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^^ That Mr. Deane be informed, that if he hath any thing to- communicate to congress in the interim, of immediate importance) he shall be heard to-morrow evening at fix o'clock." Mr. Deane attending was called in, and the foregoing resolutions were read. Thus were the ears of congress opened to him: but their good disposition was not improved for the communication of that wondrous information which he had threatened to give in his address. The conduct of Mr. Deane in his address to the public, was the subject of debate in congress; many members were for having no more concern with him at present, but for leaving him to the public as he had appealed to them, till he had done with them and they with him. They judged that the honor of congress bound them to this measure: but others apprehended that discontents would arise from a supposed inattention, and were therefore inclined to a different line of conduct. This division of sentiment on what might be supposed the honor of the house, occasioned Mr. Laurens, who p^ adhered to the former opinion, to resign the chair, on *?• the, 9th of December. The next day John Jay esq; was elected president.
Such was the clamor rapidly raised, and the torture occasioned through the United States, by Mr. Deane's publication, that Mr. Payne, under the former signature of Common Sense, endeavoured to allay them in an address to him. This led on to further publications proand con, in which Mr. Payne made a conspicuous figure, and had great advantage, from being secretary to the committee of congress for foreign affairs. They have brought to light several important secrets, and particularly the following—The commissioners, Messrs. Franklin, Arthur Lee and Deane, in their joint letter of Febru- '77*. ary 16, 1778, say, "We hear Mr. Beaumarchais has sent over a person to demand a large sum os money of you on account of arms, ammunition, &c. We think it will be best for you to leave that matter to be settled here (in France) as there is a mixture of public and private which you cannot so well develop." [Though Mr, Deane was privy to Mr. Francey's coming, and had even by letter recommended the business he came upon, yet in this joint letter he appears to know no more of the matter than the other two.]—In the spring of 1776, a subscription was raised in France to send a present to America of two hundred thousand pounds sterling, in money, arms and ammunition. All that the suppliers wanted to know was, through what channel it should be remitted, and Mr. Beaumarchais was fixed upon as their agent. [If this subscription had not the pecuniary support, it undoubtedly had the countenance, of the crown, for the despotic police of France would otherwise have immediately crushed it.] Mr. Beaumarchais appears to have been employed by the subscribers, to offer the supplies purchased by their money as a present to America, and a contract was made for the freightage of them: fhey were sent in the Amphitrite, Seine and Mercury, two years ago.—The duplicates of the dispatches of October 6 and 7, f777, which should have arrived by capt. Folger, but who had received blank papers in their stead, were brought over with the treaty of alliance by Mr. Simeon Deane. These show, that had the dispatches arrived safely, congress would have had a clew to guide them, in settling with Mr. Francey as Mr. Beaumarchais' agent, and have escaped paying for. the present.
*778* Beside the general information communicated by the three commissioners in their joint letter of October the 7th, Mr. Arthur Lee in his single one of the preceding day, gave a circumstantial account in what manner the present was first offered, and declared—" That for the money and military stores already given, no remittance will ever be required." The duplicates arrived a month too late, congress having on the 8 th of April fettled the business on which Mr. Francey was sent.-~ While the packets for congress and col. R. H. Lee containing the before-mentioned two letters were filled up with blank white paper, a large handsome packet directed to Mr. Hancock, president when the dispatches were written, beside one to Mr. Robert Morris, and another to Mr. Silas Deane's brother Barnaby, came in perfect safety by capt. Folger.
Many are now very suspicious, that the parties who possessed themselves of the missing dispatches, had a knowledge of their contents; and that Mr. Deane is capable of informing the public who they were, and what advantages they were to enjoy from Mr. Francey's success through the loss of the dispatches and the nonparrival of the duplicates in season. The public at large, and their representatives in congress, were much divided by the publications relating to Mr. Deane. The army in general sided with him. Their attachment was increased by his declaring—" I am fully confident, that every intrigue and cabal formed against our illustrious commander in chief, will prove as ineffectual as those against Dr. Franklin." This declaration brought forward to public view, part of Mr. Deane's letter to the fpreign committee, dated Paris, December 6, 1776—
*' I submit the thought to you, whether if you could 1778. engage a great general of the highest character in Europe, such for instance as prince Ferdinand, or M (arshal) B (roglio), or others of equal rank to take the lead of your armies, such a step would not be politic, as it would give a character and credit to your military, and strike perhaps a greater terror into our enemies. I only suggest the thoughts, and leave you to confer with baron (Kalbe) on the subject at large."
Mr. Gerard was so alarmed at the publications of Mr. 1779. Payne, that he presented a memorial to congress upon^"^ the occasion, .by which they were led into the consideration of them. Various motions were made respecting the secretary; among the rest one for hearing him the next day, which being negatived, and the negative communicated to him, he wrote on the 3th a letter to congress, by which he resigned his office of secretary to the committee of foreign affairs. Two days after, the French minister sent a second memorial; and on the 12th con- J2> gress " resolved unanimously, that the president be directed to assure the said minister, that the congress do fully, in the clearest and most explicit manner, disavow the publications referred to in the said memorials; and as they are convinced by indisputable evidence, that the supplies shipped in the Amphitrite, Seine and Mercury, were not a present, and that his most Christian majesty, the great and generous ally of these United States, did not preface his alliance with any supplies whatever sent to America, so they have not authorized the writer of the said publications to make any such assertions as are contained therein, but on the contrary do highly disapprove of the same." They were indeed
*779- convinced, by the indisputable evidence of having beetf charged with, and drawn in to make themselves debtorsfor the supplies* that they were not a present: but had the dispatches been received, or the duplicates in time* so that they could have known that they were originally intended for a present, and that no remittance for them would ever be required, that invincible evidence would have been wanting. Had their generous ally really presaced his alliance with any supplies, it would have been undoubtedly in such a guarded way, as to have admitted of a negative, whenever the same became politically necessary. For the further satissaction of Mr. Gerard,
14.* the congress "resolved unanimously, That as neither France or these United States may of right, so these United States will not conclude either truce or peace with the common enemy, without the formal consent of their ally first obtained, and that any matters or things which may be insinuated or asserted to the contrary thereof, tend to the injury and dishonor of the said states."
Instead of proceeding further in the account of con- gressional acts and resolves, let me here relate certain articles of intelligence that have been necessarily omitted.
The confederation has been ratified by all the state* excepting Maryland. On the 5th of December congress resolved, " That the sentence of the general court martial upon general Lee be carried into execution." All but New York and the Delaware counties were represented. Four voted in the affirmative, two in the negative; the other five were not sufficiently united to vote either way. It is probable, that a regard to gen. Washingtop, and an apprehension that if the sentence wa*