Papers of John Adams, volume 12

Abbé Raynal to John Adams: A Translation

Editorial Note


The letter was probably Silas Deane to Jeremiah Wadsworth, 13 June 1781, which appeared in the London Chronicle of 27–29 Dec. 1781. The letter was reprinted from the New York Royal Gazette, 31 Oct. 1781. It was one of a series of “intercepted” letters from Deane that appeared in the Royal Gazette between 24 Oct. and 12 Dec. 1781. All were dated at Paris between 10 May and 15 June and were written to American correspondents, including Wadsworth, William Duer, Robert Morris, Samuel Holden Parsons, Charles Thomson, Simeon Deane, Thomas Mumford, James Wilson, Benjamin Harrison, Jesse Root, and Benjamin Talmadge. For the origin of the letters and their publication in the New York paper, see Julian Boyd, “Silas Deane: Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?” WMQ , 3d ser., 16:167–168 (April 1959). Unfortunately for Deane, his letters, which called on Americans to end the war and reconcile with England, appeared almost simultaneously with news of the U.S. victory at Yorktown and cast him into the role of traitor in the struggle against England. Deane’s letters to Wadsworth and Robert Morris appeared serially in Le politique hollandais of 4, 11, and 25 March. Antoine Marie Cerisier prefaced the letter to Wadsworth with the observation that it was clearly written to discredit the American cause in Europe. Deane’s letters to Wadsworth, Morris, Samuel Holden Parsons, and William Duer were printed in The Remembrancer . . . for the Year 1782, pt. 1, p. 71–86.