<br /> Lee Letter: b181

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Arthur Lee

There is no truth that I am more fully persuaded of, than I am that Gerard’s countenance of and siding with Mr. Deane and his party has injured the American cause more than a reifnforcement of 30,000 men to the enemy’s general could have hurt it. Whether he really knew of that libel published on the 5th of Dec. before it appeared in the Gazette, I will not undertake to say, but I am very sure Mr. Deane would not have dared to publish it had he not been sure of M. Gerard’s countenance. And it was a common observation of astonishment that they were so constantly seen walking together in the streets. The open countenance uniformly given to Mr. Deane by M. Gerard, after that publication, demonstrated to all the world that he did not really disapprove of it. Indeed there is no one point better understood than that this minister of France was the patron and protector of Deane, and the great favorer of his faction. I fancy he will not deny offering or causing to be offered a bribe to Paine, the author of Common Sense, if he would cease writing in Deane’s affairs. Everybody knows that the point was whether Deane’s fiction should succeed in procuring your disgrace.

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Sparks Mss.Harvard University

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, p. 124. At the end of the letter Jared Sparks wrote: “In my papers from the French officers it will be seen that Gerard was expressly instructed not to meddle in Deane’s affairs. His inclinations were probably on Deane’s side, but it is doubtful whether he took my part, other than he supposed to be required by the interests of the
Alliince.”