To a Committee of Congress September 1785
From the original letter at the Library of Congress.
I have applied to Mr. Milleghan’s Office where I am informed that it has always been the custom of that Office, to settle the claims or accounts of the Civil List, by the Continental Scale of Depreciation, for the whole time such persons had been in service, and to apply that relief to persons who had not resigned before the 10th day of April 1780 — That is, the Treasury Office have made the resolves of Congress of the 10th of April 1780 for settling the depreciation of the Army, the rule for settling the Civil List depreciation by.
My Resignation is prior to this.
I consider the case a special one for the following reasons and therefore claim my depreciation as a matter of justice.
First, I did not seek the office or ever applied either directly or indirectly, for the appointment, or even knew of it till afterwards. — It was a Trust put upon me at a time when Congress scarcely knew who to trust, with the secrets of their affairs.
Secondly, my Resignation was not a defection of the service on account of the depreciation of the Continental Money as will appear by my letters of Jan. 6th, 7th, 8th, 1779 which I enclose. My motive of resigning is well known to the Committee, and therefore the resolve of the 10th of April ought not to apply to me.
In addition to this I put a general reason that Congress ought to fulfill its engagement to me.
When the Committee have decided when this business, I should like to confer with them again before the report is given in. If there is a way to save the Credit of the Continent, from the obligation it lays under to me without injuring my own reputation I have no objection. But I must declare to the Committee that it hurts me exceedingly to find, that after a service of so many years, and thro’ such a perilous scene, I am now treated and higgled with as if I had no feelings to suffer or honor to preserve. —
It appears to me that the Committee if they do not chuse immediately to refer to my claim, as founded on the depreciation of the money may report.
That there is due Mr. Thomas Paine for services as Secretary to the Committee of foreign Affairs the sum of 948 dollars.
I will wait on Mr. Gerry in the Evening, and I wish it could suit the Committee that I should see them tomorrow morng.