<br /> Lee Letter: n433

Washington and Lee University

This a general resolution.

Letters shewn & insinuations made.

Did you or the Committee desire a settlement of Accounts?

Mr. D. to settle his accotts with Commissioners.

He was frequently called on to settle.

Gave a list of partial expenditures – Ves[se]ll in Hol[lan]d – Arms.

Mr. D. left his papers.

Was he to leave his Vouchers – with an enemy.

Said one Getn. shd. be Comr. at France and every other place. Redescribe
the Test of truth.

Approve of the Treaty & now Criminate the Minister for a part of it.

Did not lend his confidence.

Worm out answers to his own Condemna[tio]n.

Gentn. wanted to entrap me – my papers absent.


Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

1 Although a month elapsed after his arrival in America before Congress
invited him to testify on the “general state” of foreign affairs and
on Congress’ “commercial transactions in Europe,” Silas Deane finally
appeared in Congress on 15, 17, and 21 August to give an account of
his conduct in France since 1776. Opposed by many delegates and
intruded at an inconvenient time, the Deane hearings immediately
provoked dissension within Congress and opened an era of sustained
factional conflict previously unknown. Although the purpose of these
notes can only be conjectured, they appear to have been made by Lee
during the course of one of Deane’s three August appearances before
Congress. They are written on the verso of a brief “Memorandum of
sums received & paid out on account of the United States from
January 1777 to April 1778” which Lee endorsed “Mr. Deanes Account of
the expenditure of the pub. money, Aug. 1778”; and they are concerned
with a number of topics that were probably discussed in the course of
Deane’s testimony. See JCC, 11:787, 799, 802,
813, 826; Richard Henry Lee to Arthur Lee, 16 September, note 3; and
Gouverneur Morris’ Proposed Resolve on William Carmichael, 18 September 1778. For a discussion of the scope of the factional conflict in
Congress that was occasioned by Deane’s return to America at this
time, see Jack N. Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics: An
Interpretive History of the Continental Congress
(New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1979), pp. 246 – 74. And for an assessment of Deane’s public
career in the context of his conduct of family and business affairs
before the war, which concluded that his activities and responses
during the Deane-Lee controversy “were prefigured and influenced, if
not determined, by the events of his earlier life,” see Kalman
Goldstein, “Silas Deane: Preparation for Rascality,” Historian, 43
(November 1980): 75 – 97.