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Deane

congress, american and silas

DEANE, Silas, American diplomatist: b. Groton, Conn., 24 Dec. 1737; d. Deal, England, 23 Aug 1789. He was graduated at Yale Col lege in 1758, and was a member of the first Con tinental Congress in 1774. He was sent by Con gress to France as a political and financial agent, with instructions to ascertain the temper of the French government concerning the rupture with Great Britain, and to obtain supplies of military stores. But he did not confine himself to his instructions, and made promises and engage ments on all sides, which afterward brought the Congress into considerable embarrassment. When it was determined to send ministers to negotiate treaties, Dr. Franklin and Arthur Lee were commissioned to join him at Paris, and he assisted in the negotiation of the treaty with France. In consequence of the extravagant con tracts he had entered into, he was recalled 21 Nov. 1777, and John Adams appointed in his place. He left Paris 1 April 1778, and upon his return, being called upon to give an account of his proceedings on the floor of Congress, evaded a complete disclosure on the ground that his papers were in Europe. He then attacked his

fellow commissioners and Congress itself in a public manifesto for the manner in which he had been treated, but did not succeed in remov ing the public suspicion from himself. Later his lack of sympathy with the American Revolution increased the animosity of his fellow citizens. He afterward published in 1784 An Address to the Free and Independent Citizens of the United States' on the same subject, and retarning to Europe, died in great poverty. It was not until 1842 that Congress succeeded in adjusting his case and discovered its financial indebtedness to the supposed mismanagement of Deane. About $35,000 was subsequently paid to his heirs. Consult Ingraham, E. D. (editor), -Papers in Relation to the Case of Silas Deane' (1855) ; Clark, George Larkin, 'Silas Deane, a Connecticut Leader in the American Revolu tion' (New York 1913).