To the Congress of the United States January 8, 1779
From the original letter at the Library of Congress:
Finding by the Journals of this House, of yesterday, that I am not to be heard, and having in my letter of the same day, prior to that resolution, declared that I could not “in duty to my character as a freeman submit to be censured unheard,” therefore consistent with that declaration, and to maintain that Right, I think it my duty to resign the office of Secretary to the Committee for foreign Affairs, and I do hereby resign the same. The papers and documents in my charge I shall faithfully deliver up to the Committee, either on Honor or oath as they, or this House shall direct.
Considering myself now no longer a Servant of Congress, I conceive it convenient that I should declare what have been the motives of my conduct.
On the appearance of Mr. Deane’s address to the Public of the 5th of Dec, in which he said, that, “The ears of the Representatives were shut against him,” the honor and justice of this House were impeached, and its Reputation sunk to the lowest ebb in the opinion of the People. The expressions of suspicion and degradation which have been uttered in my hearing and are too indecent to be related in this letter, first induced me to set the Public right; but so grounded were they almost without exception, in their Ill opinion of this House, that instead of succeeding as I wished in my first address, I fell under the same reproach and was frequently told, that I was defending Congress in their bad designs. This obliged me to go farther into the matter, and I have now reason to believe, that my endeavors have been, and will be effectual.
My wish and my intentions in all my late Publications were to preserve the Public from Error and Imposition, to support, as far as laid in my Power, the just authority of the Representatives of the People, and to cordiallize and cement the Union, that has so happily taken place between this Country and France.
I have betrayed no Trust, because I have constantly employed that Trust to the Public good. I have revealed no Secrets because I have told nothing that was, or I conceive ought to be a Secret. I have convicted Mr. Deane of Error, and in so doing I hope I have done my duty.
It is to the Interest of the Alliance, that the People should know, that before America had any agent in Europe the “Public Spirited Gentlemen” in that quarter of the world were her warm friends. And I hope this Honorable House will receive it from me, as a further Testimony of my affection to that Alliance, and of my attention to the duty of my office, that I mention, that the Duplicates of the despatches of Oct. 6th and 7th 1777 from the Commissioners, the Originals of which are in the Enemy’s possession, seem to require on that account a reconsideration.
His Excellency the Minister of France is well acquainted with the liberality of my sentiments, and I have had the pleasure of receiving repeated Testimonies of his esteem for me. I am concerned that he should in any Instance misconceive me. I beg likewise to have it understood that my appeal to this Honorable House for a hearing yesterday was as a matter of right in the character of a Freeman, which Right I ought to yield up to no Power whatever. I return my utmost thanks to the Honble. Members of this House who endeavored to support me in that Right, so sacred to themselves and to their Constituents; and I have the pleasure of reflecting and saying, that as I came into office an honest man, I go out of it with the same character.
I am Honble Sirs your Honors Obt and Humble Servant
Philadelphia, Jan. 8th. 1779