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easily govern his Temper, and he has some Notions of Elegance, Rank and Dignity, that may be carried rather too far. He has been of opinion that the public Money has been too freely issued here, and has often opposed. The other you knew personally, and that he loves his ease, hates to offend, and seldom gives any opinion untill obliged to do it. I know also, and it is necessary you should be informed that he is overwhelmed with a Correspondence from all quarters, most of them upon trifling subjects, and in a mere trifling style; with unmeaning visits from Multitudes of People chiefly from the vanity of having it to say they have seen him.

There is another thing which I am obliged to mention. There are so many private Families Ladies and Gentlemen that he visits so often and they are so fond of him that he cannot well avoid it and so much Intercourse with Accademicians, that all these things together keep his mind in such a constant State of Dissipation that if he is left alone here, the public Business will suffer in a degree beyond description, provided our affairs are continued upon the present footing.

If indeed you take out of his hands the public Treasury, and the Direction of the Frigates and continental Vessells that are sent here, and all Commercial affairs, and intrust them to Persons to be appointed by Congress, at Nantes and Bourdeaux, I should think it would be best to leave him here alone, with such a Secretary as you can confide in.

But if he is left here alone, even with such a secretary, and all maritime and commercial as well as political affairs, and money matters are left in his hands I am perswaded that France and America both will have Reason to repent it. He is not only so indolent, that Business will be neglected; but you know that altho' he has as determined a soul as any Man, yet it is his constant Policy never to say Yes or No decidedly but when he cannot avoid it, and it is certain in order to preserve the Friendship between the two Countries the Minister here must upon some occasions speak freely and without Reserve, preserving Decency and Politeness at the same time. Both he and his Colleague,2 who is or I Benjamin Franklin.

2 Silas Deane.

has been lately with you, were, I am sorry to say in a constant opposition to your old Friend, and this Misunderstanding was no secret, at Court, in the City, or in the seaport Towns, either to French, English or Americans, and this was carried so far, that Insinuations, I have been told have been made at Court, against your old Friend, not by either of his Colleagues, that I know of, but by somebody or other, emboldened by and taking advantage of the Misunderstanding among the three, that he was too friendly to the English, too much attached to Lord Shelborne, and even that he corresponded with his Lordship and communicated Intelligence to him.

This, whoever suggested it, was I am perfectly confident, a cruel Calumny, and could not have made an Impression if the Colleagues had contradicted it in the manner that you and I should have done. You and I had opportunity to know his invariable attachment to our Cause, long enough before Hostilities commenced, and I have not a Colour of Ground for Suspicion, that from that time to this he has deviated an Iota from the Cause of our Country in Thought, Word or Deed. When he left England or soon after, he wrote a Letter of mere Compliment to his Lordship, a mere card to bid him farewell, and received such another in return which he assures me are all the letters that ever passed between them, and I have not a doubt of the Truth of it.

The other Gentleman,1 whom you know, I need not say much of. You know his ambition, you know his Desire of making a Fortune, of promoting his Relations, you also know his Art, and his Enterprize. Such Characters are often useful, altho always to be carefully watched and controuled, especially in such a Govern

ment as ours.

There has been so much said among Americans here and in America, about his making a Fortune, by speculating in English Funds, and by private Trade, that it is saying nothing new to mention it. Our Countrymen will naturally like to know if it is true, and it will be expected of me that I should say something of it. I assure you I know nothing about it. An intimate Friend of his, who recommended the Major to you, certainly speculated

I Silas Deane.

largely in the Funds, and some Persons suspect that the other was concerned with him. But I know of no Proof that he was.

Combinations, Associations, Copartnerships in Trade, have been formed here, in which he and his Brothers are or have been supposed to be connected, but I know nothing more than you do about them.

But supposing it was proved that he speculated and traded, the Question will arise whether it was justifiable. Neither you nor I should have done it, it is true; But if he did not employ the public Money, nor so much of his own Time, as to neglect the public Business, where is the Harm? That is the Question, and it ought to be remembered that he was here a long time, not as Ambassador, Envoy, Commissioner or Minister, or in any other Trust or Character from Congress, but merely as an Agent for the Committees of Commerce and Correspondence.

Some of the Gentlemen of Character, who are now in America, from this Country, particularly the Minister and Consul, altho their Characters are very good, it is to be feared have had Prejudices insinuated into them against your old Correspondent. I am extremely sorry for this, because I think it is against a worthy Character, and because it will be likely to have unhappy Effects both with you and abroad.

The other Gentleman, whose Consolation when left out by his first Constituents was that he stood well with the Body to which he was sent, consoled himself also when recalled by that Body, with the Thought that he was esteemed by the Court where he had resided. This no doubt, will be displayed in all its variegated Colours. The Letter from the Minister, expressing high Esteem, the Present from an higher Personage, and above all, the Fleet, and the Magnificence that accompanied, will be all repeated, and rung in Changes, in order to magnify Merit. Yet I am sorry to see in your News Papers such expressions as these Mr. — “who was the principal Negotiator." Such expressions if true ought not to be used, because they have only a tendency to occasion Division and Animosity, and cannot do any Good. But there is cause to doubt the Justice of them. In short I think upon an Examination of the Treaties and a Comparison of them, with the

Treaties and Instructions sent from Congress, I think it is plain that there was not much Negociation or Discussion in the Case. I wish with all my Heart there had been more.

This letter is not so free as I wish to write to you, but still it is too free, to be used without Discretion. You will use it accordingly only for the public Good. Knowing the animosity that has been in two against one here, which I believe to have been carried unwarrantable Lengths, knowing the Inveteracy of many Subaltern and Collateral Characters, which I think is injurious to the Individual as well as the public, and knowing that you have these things, and will have them in Contemplation, and much at Heart I have said thus much of my sentiments upon these subjects, which I hope will do no harm.

Believe me to be your Friend,


BOSTON, Decr. 8th, 1778

MY DEAR SIR, — I have only time to acknowledge the receipt of your several favours of the 3d and 9th of Novr. and likewise of the Curious Extracts per M. Dod and others. I am, as usual, much obliged to you for three favours, but as the Gratifying one Curiosity frequently Excites another, I wish to know how these Accounts have Operated at Philadelphia since the recall. I think you have put your Treasury upon a proper footing and perhaps you will soon find it necessary to make similar Establishments for your other public Boards. I have wrote to the President relative to the money received from Coll. Baldwin and agreable to your desire suspended the matter of resignation for further Consideration.

We have no kind of Intelligence here. I shall write you again soon. in the Meantime am with regards to my other Friends yours assuredly


I From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.

The Navy Board must have another Supply of Money. it is of so little value that it goes off very fast. we paid last Saturday to Mr. Huntington 50,000 dollars for the Ship Confederacy and 10,000 to Mr. Cotton for the other Ship.

We have done much Business for the French Squadron and some of it attended with much difficulty, for which we have Charged a Commission, and that after adviseing with General Whipple I hope the Marine Committee will approve of it, and think we are Intitled to it, not supposeing we were to do the Business of the French as well as the American Squadron.


BRAINTREE, December 10, 1779 [1778] Nothing but a very bad soar finger has withheld my Hand from writing to my Friend, and telling her that I most sincerely sympathize with her in the late melancholy dispensation of providence towards her, an event tho not unexpected yet when we are calld to the trial of resigning our dear Friends to the grave Nature will recoil, and the Belief of a Glorious immortality can only support the anguish of a bleading Heart, or bring the mind quietly to submit to the allotments of Heaven.1

From this and other sources you have reason for consolation, your parent had lived to a good old age with Honour and reputation, the recollection of his virtues will embalm his memory to you

The sweet remembrance of the just

Shall flourish when they sleep in Dust.

Nor am I unmindfull of my Friend or less disposed to sympathize with her in an other call which she will soon have to exert her fortitude; this life is well termed a checkerd state; tis wisely orderd so, since with all the visisitudes we pass through we are still strongly attached to it. I rejoice with my Friend that she has the best of earthly comforts to support her, and console her, through the painfull tasks to which she is call'd, there is such a I James Otis, her father, died November 9, 1778.

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