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slander cannot find anything in my political conduct to contradict them,)—they are, to sacrifice all lesser considerations to the service of the whole, and in this tempestuous season to throw cheerfully overboard private fortune, private emoluments, and all partial or interested views, even my Life,-if the ship with the jewel Liberty on board may be saved. This being my line of conduct, I have a calmness of mind, I thank God, resulting from such resolutions, · which more than balances every external trouble; of which I have not a few, and of which the late conduct of a part of our officers, in support of Spencer, is not the least. Inclosed I send a letter for Parsons, which please to read, then copy, seal, and forward. I will say no more on the very disagreeable subject, than that the copy and this letter may hereafter shew my sentiments at the time.
I am glad our Assembly did not interpose in favor of Spencer. They have hereby acted up to the high character they sustain with the Congress; and the only consistent part he, Spencer, can now act, is to throw up his commission and give place to men who do not think it degrading to serve their Country, though they have not the highest feather in their cap. Let them look at Major Mifllin, who is a member of the Continental Congress, a respectable one, too, yet he condescends to act as Aid-ile-camp, and, of course, ranks no higher than Samuel B. Webb, whose appointment I rejoice at, not because he was my friend, but because he merits it; and will, if it please God to preserve him, make an officer of the first rank and character, when some blusterers of the present hour are forgotten, or I am much mistaken.
At the time I recommended Capt. Chester, I did not think he would accept, but I knew he deserved it; on that motive I acted; his conduct has justified my voice in his favor, and will, I doubt not, justify what I have said and wrote to the Generals in his favor ; and expect soon to hear of his promotion, which I have with pleasure. I recommended, without solicitation, my friend, Jos. Trumbull, and have been happy enough to find him successful in an honorable and important, though a very laborious station. My interest in our Assembly has been something; in the Congress, it is as large as my vanity could wish; but God forbid I ever use it but to promote the meritorious; and my rule of judging of those must be, by actual specimens of their conduct, not by Squireship or Cousinship.
From the Committee of Secret Correspondence to Silas Deane. *
PHILADELPHIA, March 30, 1776. On your arrival in France, you will for some time be engaged in the business of providing goods for the Indian trade. This will give good countenance to your appearing in the character of a merchant, which we wish you to continually retain among the French, in general, it being probable that the court of France may not like it should be known publicly, that any agent from the Colonies is in that country. When you go to Paris, by delivering Dr. Franklin's letter to Monsieur Le Roy, at the Louvre, and M. Dubourg, you will be introduced to a set of acquaintance, all friends to the Americans.
By conversing with them, you will have a good opportunity of ac· quiring Parisian French, and you will find in M. Dubourg, a man
prudent, faithful, secret, intelligent in affairs, and capable of giving you very sage advice.
It is scarce necessary to pretend any other business at Paris, than the gratifying of that curiosity, which draws numbers thither yearly, merely to see so famous a city. With the assistance of Monsieur Dubourg, who understands English, you will be able to make immediate application to Monsieur de Vergennes, Ministre des Affaires Estrangères, either personally or by letter, if M. Dubourg adopts that method, acquainting him that you are in France upon business of the American Congress, in the character of a merchant, having something to communicate to him, that may be mutually beneficial to France and the North American Colonies; that you request an audience of him, and that he would be pleased to appoint the time and place. At this audience if agreed to, it may be well to show him first your letter of credence, and then acquaint him that the Congress, finding that in the common course of commerce, it was not practicable to furnish the continent of America with the quantity of arms and ammunition necessary for its defence, (the Ministry of Great Britain having been extremely industrious to prevent it), you had been despatched by their authority to apply to some European power for a supply. That France had been pitched on for the first application, from an opinion, that if we should, as there is a great appearance we shall, come to a total separation from Great Britain, France would be looked upon as the power, whose friendship it would be fittest for us to obtain and cultivate. That the commercial advantages Britain had enjoyed with the Colonies, had contributed greatly to her late wealth and importance. That it is likely great part of our commerce will naturally fall to France; especially if she favor us in this application, as that will be a means of gaining and securing the friendship of the Colonies; and that as our trade was rapidly increasing with our increase of people, and in a greater proportion, her part of it will be extremely valuable. That the supply we at present want, is clothing and arms for twenty-five thousand men, with a suitable quantity of ammunition, and one hundred field pieces. That we mean to pay for the same by remittances to France, through Spain, Portugal, or the French Islands, as soon as our navigation can be protected by ourselves or our friends and that we, besides, want great quantities of linens and woolens, with other articles for the Indian trade, which you are now actually purchasing, and for which you ask no credit, and that the whole, if France should grant the other supplies, would make a cargo which it might be well to secure by a convoy of two or three ships of war.
* Reprinted from the Diplomatic Corresponderce of the American Revolution, (vol. i., pp. 5-9.) The first volumes of that collection contains Mr. Deane's letters to the Committee of Secret Correspondence and the Committee of Foreign Affaire, from his arrival at Paris, July 7th, 1776, till his recall, and his communication to the President of progress, after his return to America, July 9th, 1778.
If you should find M. de Vergennes reserved, and not inclined to enter into free conversation with you, it may be well to shorten your visit ; request him to consider what you have proposed; acquaint him with your place of lodging; that you may yet stay some time at Paris, and that knowing how precious his time is, you do not presume to ask another audience; but that if he should have any commands for you, you will, upon the least notice, immediately wait upon him. If, at a future conference, he should be more free, and you find a disposition to favor the Colonies, it may be proper to acquaint him, that they must necessarily be anxious to know the disposition of France, on certain points, which, with his permission, you would mention, such as, whether, if the Colonies should be forced to form themselves into an independent state, France would probably acknowledge them as such ; receive their embassadors ; enter into any treaty or alliance with them, for commerce or defence, or both? If so, on what principal conditions? Intimating that you shall speedily have an opportunity of sending to America, if you do not immediately return, and that he may be assured of your fidelity
If these sup
and secrecy in transmitting carefully anything he would wish con-
You will endeavor to procure a meeting with Mr. Bancroft by writing a letter to him, under cover to Mr. Griffith's, at Turnham Green, near London, and desiring him to come over to you, in France or Holland, on the score of old acquaintance. From him you may obtain a good deal of information of what is now going forward in England, and settle a mode of continuing a correspond
It may be well to remit him a small bill to defray his expenses in coming to you, and avoid all political matters in your letter to him. You will also endeavor to correspond with Mr. Arthur Lee, agent of the Colonies in London. You will endeavor to obtain acquaintance with M. Garnier, late Chargé des Affaires de France d'Angleterre, if now in France, or if returned to England, a correspondence with him, as a person extremely intelligent and friendly to our cause. From him you may learn many particulars occasionally, that will be useful to 119.
Silas Deane to Col. Sam'l B. Webb.
PHILADELPHIA, 14th Nov'r, 1778. MY DEAR SIR:-Miss Ogden has the goodness to be the bearer of this Letter. I have wrote you several, & am surprised to learn that you have not received them as I sent them open, & the Contents were inoffensive. I fondly hoped you would, before this, have been exchanged, for I am extremely impatient to see you though it were but for a few Days, thus as the last resource, I proposed to Capt. Duncan that at least you might be permitted to come out on your parole for a few weeks. I wrote you a Letter by him open, which you must have received before this will come to hand. I pray you to take care of your health, and to write me by every opportunity just to let me know how you are, as to health, & if I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you, yet I shall be no less anxious for your release, to obtain which nothing in my power shall be wanting. I am, my Dear Sir, yours most affectionately,
Silas Deane to Samuel Adams.
WETHERSFIELD, 13th June, 1776. SIR:—You have seen the Resolutions of our Brethren Westward respecting a Congress. Pursuant to the Committee's direction, I have wrote to Boston, Newport, Portsmouth, New York, New Jersey, &c., and per next Post shall receive their answer, which will doubtless be in approbation of the speedy executing the Proposal. Meanwhile I think it best for us to appoint our members for the Congress in season.
Towns are holding warning Meetings. Resolutions are forming. Subscriptions are circulating in this Colony of such various kinds and complexions that a preparation for a Congress is necessary, if for no other purpose than to prevent that diversity of sentiment and confusion into which the People, in consequence of their present uncertain and apprehensive state of mind, must throw themselves. I therefore propose a Meeting of the Committee, on Wednesday, the