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"Noplace in similar circumstances suffered less by depredation ttian Savannah did upon this occasion. A strong circumstantial testimony, that those enormities so frequently attributed to the" licentiousness of the soldiers, should with much more justice be Charged to the indefensible conduct of their superiors; whether, by a previous relaxation of discipline, an immediate participation in the guilt, or a no less culpable sufferance of the enormity. About the time that the embarkation took, place at. New-York, general'Prevost marched from East-Florida into the southern parts of Georgia. The royal troops, in traversing the desert that separates the one from the other, were obliged to live for. several, days on oysters. After encountering many difficulties, the'y heard of colonel-Campbell's arrival and success. , They at. length appeared before and surrounded the town and fort of Sunbury. The garrison; consisting of about two hundred men, madeashow of defence, and gave the general the trouble of opening ttfenches; but all hope of relief being cut off by the fall of the capital, they surrendered at discretion. The general marched to. Savannah, and took the commmand of the combined forces from. New-York and St. Augustine, and consequently of Georgia.. Previous to his arrival a proclamation had been issued to encourage the inhabitants to come in and submit to the conquerors, with promises of protection, on condition that "with their arms they would support royal government."" Numbers submitted, but the determined republicans fled up into the western parts of the country, or into South-Carolina. \ . .
The attention of congress and the public has been much engaged about Mr. Silas Deane, since his return from France. You will recollect what has been written relative to his reeal.—; Congress, in August, desired him to give, from his memory, a general account of his whole transactions in France, from the time of his first arrival, as well as a particular state of the funds at congress, and the commercial transactions' in Europe, especially with Mr. Beaumarchais. They appear not to have been thoroughly satisfied; and to have had apprehensions lest there had been a misapplication of the public money. Mr. Deane seems not to have relished his situation; but to have been desirous ot changing it by returning to France, or exciting a general resentment against congress. He had not yet accounted for his expenditure of public money; and had carefully left his papers and vouchers behind him, though he had the opportunity of d'Estaing's fleet to procure them a safe transportation to America. On the 30th of November lie addressed a letter to congress, signifying his intentions of returii:ng to Fiance, and pressing to have liis affairs brought to some conclusion. December u '. the
the 1st, congress resolved, “that after to-morrow they will meet two hours at least each evening, Saturday’s excepted, beginning at six o'c: :, until the present state of their foreign affairs be fully considered.” . On the 4th Mr. Deane wrote again to them, acc. ...ing them of his having received their notification of the resolve, and expressed his thanks; and yet, on the day following, he published in the newspapers, An address to the free and virtuous citizens of America, dated November, but without any day of the month. The address threw the public into a convulsion, and made them jealous and uneasy; for it expressed a necessity of appealing to them, and communicating that information against which their representatives had shut their ears—declared, or insinuated, that their public servants, Messrs. Arthur and William Lee, were deficient in abilities, application and fidelity, and were universally disgustful to the French nation—intimated a design to lead them into a breach of their national faith and honor, solemnly pledged to their ally—reflected upon the integri. ty of some leading members in congress—and strongly hinted at further important information to be brought forward if there should be occasion. Mr. Deane, by publishing his address on the Saturday, secured the advantage of the Sunday for its bei
more universally read in the city and neighborhood, while ; from the press, than it would otherwise have been. In the morning of the day when it appeared, and before congress (as must be supposed) were acquainted with its contents, they assigned Monday evening for hearing him, and ordered his being notified to attend. The intervening space gave the members an opportunity of perushng it, so that when they met on Monday eveniug at six o'clock, they resolved, “That Silas Deane, esq. report to congress, in writing, as soon as may be, his agency of their affairs in Earope, together with any intelligence respecting their foreign affairs, which he may judge proper; that Mr Deane be informed, that if he hath any thing to communicate to congress in the interim, of immediate inportance, he shall be heard-tomorrow evening at six 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 eonduct 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 publie, 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
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stise 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 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, endeavored to allay them in an address to him. This led on to further publications, pro and 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 impovant secrets, and particularly the following: The commissioners, Messrs. Franklin, Arthur Lee and Deane, in their joint letter of February 16, 1718, say, “We hear Mr. Beaumarchais has sent over a person to demand a large sum of 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. Gannot so well develope.” . Though Mr. Deanc 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 776, a subscription was raised in France to send a present to. America of £200,000 sterling, in money, arms and ammunition. All that the suppliers wanted to know was, through what channel it should be iSmitted, 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. J. Mr. Beaumarchais appears to have been employed by the subscribers to offer the supplies purchased by their money a8 a present to America, and a contract was made for the freightage of them; they were sent in the Amphatrite, Seine, and Mercury, two years ago. The duplicates of the dispatches of October 6 and 7, 1777, which should have arrived by captain 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 clue to guide them in settling with Mr. Francey, as Mr. Beaumarchais' agent, and have escaped paying for the present. Beside the general information communicated by the three commissioners in their joint letter of October the 7th, Mr. Arthur ice, in his single one of the preceding day, gave a circumstanti
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al account in what manner the present was first offered, and de»
clared-—" That tor the money and military stores already given, no remittance will ever be required." The duplicates arrived a month too late, congress having on the 8th of April settled the business on which Mr. Francey was sent. While the packets for congress and colonel R. H. Lee, containing the before mentioned two letters, were filled up with blank white papers 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 captain Folger.
Many are now very suspicious that the parties who possessed, themselves of the missing dispatches, had a knowledge of thenr contents; and that Mr. Deane is capable of informing the publie who they were, and what advantages they were to enjoy from Mr. Francey's success through the loss of the dispatches and the non-arrival 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 gene? ral 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 At ineffectual as those against Dr. Franklin." This declaration brought forward to public view, part of Mr. Deane's letter to the foreign committee, dated Paris, December 6, H76—" \ submit the thought to you, whether if you could engage a great general of the highest character in Europe, such for instance, as prince Ferdinand or M(arshal) B(ioglio) 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 in your enemies. I only, suggest the thoughts, and leave you to confer with baron (Kaibe) on the subject at large. ,: •
[Jan. 5.] Mr. Gerard was so alarmed at the publications of Mr. Payne, that he presented a memorial to congress upon tha occasion, by which they were led into the consideration of then?. 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 8th a letter to congress, by which he resigned his office of secretary to the committee of foreign affairs. Two days after the Freneib minister sent a second memorial; and on the twelfth congress "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 publication referred to in the
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said memorials; and as they are convinced by indisputable evidence, that the supplies shipped in the Amphatrite, 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 author of the said publications to make any such assertions as are contained therein, but et, the contraty, do highly disapprove of the same.” They were irideed convinced by the indisputable evidence of having been elserged with, and drawn in to make themselves debtors for 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 to remittance for them would ever be required, that invincible evidence would have been wanting. Had their generous ally Fea'iy prefaced his alliance with any supplies, it would have been undoubtedly in such a guarded way as to have admitted of à negative, whenever the same became politically necessary. For the further satisfaction of Mr. Gerard, the congress “resolvi ed Ejan. 24.] unanimously, That as neither France or these United States may of right, so these United States will not conelude: 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 congressionat atts and resolves, let me here relate certain articles of intelägence that have been necessarily omitted. ... The confederation has been ratified by all the states excepting Maryland. On the 5th of December congress resolved, “That the sentence of the general court-martial upon general Lee, be Garried into execution.” Ali 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 general Wash: ington, arid an apprehension that if the sentence was not confirmed he might resign, produced a confirmation. But the genuine patriotism of the commander in chief, would have prevented his declining to serve his country while his exertions were acceptable, had the resolve been different. in that case, no censire could have falien upon him, it would have been only declaring, that upon a close attention to the evidence contained in the trial, with a copy of which every member was furnished, congress thought the court-martial mistaken. **Vol. Ił, F 3 * * * Wednesday,
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