To Thomas Jefferson May 1789

From the original letter at the Library of Congress.

Explanatory Circumstances

1 — The lost dispatches are dated Octr 6th & Oct 7th. — they were sent by a private hand, — that is, they were not sent by the post. — Capt. Folger had the charge of them. — They were all under one cover containing five separate Packets, three of the Packets were on commercial matters only — One of these was to Mr. R Morris — Chairman of the Commercial Committees — One to Mr. Hancock (private concerns) another to Barneby Deane, S. Deane’s brother. — of the other two Packets, one of them was to the Secret Committee, then stiled the Committee of foreign Affairs — the other was to Richd H. Lee — These two last packets had nothing in them but blank white French paper —

2 — In Sepr. preceding the date of the dispatches, Mr. B — sent Mr. Francis to Congress to press payment to the amount mentioned in the Official Letter of Oct. 6 — Mr. F — brought a letter signed only by S Deane — The Capt of the vessel (Landais) brought another letter from Deane both of these letters were to enforce Mr.  B — demand. Mr. F — arrived with his letter and demand — The official dispatches (if I may say so) arrived blank — Congress had therefore no authoritative Information to act by — About this time Mr.  D — was recalled, and arrived in America in Count D’Estain’s fleet — He gave out that he had left his accounts in France —

With the treaty of Alliance came over the duplicates of the lost dispatches — They came into my office not having been seen by Congress — and as they contained an injunction not to be concealed by Congress, I kept them secret in the Office for at that time the foreign Committee were dispersed and new members not appointed —

On the 5th of Dec 1778 Mr. D published an inflamatory piece against Congress. — As I saw it had an exceeding Ill effect out of doors I made some remarks upon it — with a view of preventing people running mad — This piece was replied to by a piece under the signature of Plain Truth — in which it was stated — that Mr. D — though a stranger in France and to the Language, and without money — had by himself procured 30,000 Stand of Arms, 30,000 such of clothing & more than 200 pieces of Brass Cannon — I replied that these supplies were in a train of Execution before he was sent to France. — That Mr. Deane’s private letters, and his official dispatches jointly with the other two Commissioners contradicted each other —

At this time I found that Deane had made a large party in Congress — and that a motion had been made but not decided upon for dismissing me from the foreign office — with a kind of censure —