Silas Deane Replaced By John Adams – 11/28/1777

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Looking back to the eighteenth century, there were those who either had no problem letting it be known publicly their disloyalty to their leaders or were accused by others of this sentiment whether it was true or false. One such example happened when Congress made the decision of appointing John Adams as the commissioner to France who replaced Silas Deane on November 28th, 1777 after his loyalty and judgment was called into question.

The reason for Deane returning to America was that Congress made the decision to recall him from France based on accusations of misappropriating funds from the French made by fellow diplomat Arthur Lee. Arthur Lee’s background was that he hailed from Virginia in which he followed the career and education road of the elite British at the time politics regarding the revolution intervened. 

Deane was born and grew up in Connecticut while deciding to get educated at Yale. Deane was not as well-known as his brothers Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee were. So, he chose to move away from the colonies in order to register at Eton College in England where it is known as an aristocratic boarding school. Deane continued his education at the prestigious Edinburgh University in Scotland to enroll in medical studies until 1765 when he received his degree. One year later, his selection in studies changed to legal studies after arriving in London in order to enroll in another renowned school called Temple Bar. He remained there until 1770 when he moved on to practice legally in London until 1776 when the revolution started. He would be named as an American commissioner to France along with Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin.

Arthur was unable to work well with Deane and Franklin which may have been a reason for being responsible in the recall of Deane on charges of corruption and financial mismanagement. John Adams, who would become Deane’s replacement, tried to defend him; he was a New Englander although from Harvard and Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Deane was judged as being guilty and was mandated to live in exile until 1789 when he died. However, Congress reopened his case in 1842 and when no evidence could be found in his accounts, $37,000 in reparations were ordered by Congress to his heirs.

Although members of the congressional delegation had their own personal vendettas, they managed eventually to fulfill their agenda by gaining support from the French towards the American war effort. The Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce were signed on February 6th, 1778 and the Continental Congress ratified them in May of 1778. War between France and Britain started one month later when two French ships were fired upon by a British squadron. Throughout the American Revolution, naval fleets from France were vital in the British being defeated which the Battle of Yorktown put the final nail in their coffin in October of 1781.  

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Nancy Reyes

Senior Writer

One of our top senior writers, Nancy came to us wanting to break away from the politics that comes with major news corporations. She leads our team of historical writers in creating the best engaging content out there that keeps our readers coming back for more. She is an enthusiast of all things medieval and has been a member of her renaissance fair group for 15 years. She received her degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California and hopes to one day travel the world.