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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


This note contained in document ADMS-04-04-02-0155
3. AA must mean Silas Deane, who has appeared with some frequency in the Adams Family Correspondence and more often in JA's Diary and Autobiography. Deane had returned to France in the summer of 1780, reaching Paris soon after JA left that city for Amsterdam, and resumed his residence with Franklin at Passy (Deane Papers, 4:174, 190, 218). He spent some weeks in the Netherlands early in 1781, and apparently paid another brief visit there in the summer of that year (same, 4:274–275, 287, 290; 5:30), but he seems otherwise to have been steadily in Paris. He had come back to Europe ostensibly to settle his accounts with Congress as a joint commissioner, but he was much occupied with fruitless commercial ventures of his own and with long letters of apologetics that by May 1781 turned into arguments for renouncing American independence as a hopeless cause. A number of these letters written to Deane's friends in America may have been paid for and were certainly circulated by the British government; the tory printer James Rivington was beginning to publish them, as if intercepted, at just this time in his New York Royal Gazette, Oct.–Dec. 1781 (same, 4:311–315, 500–505, and passim; see also AA to JA, 23 Dec., below; and Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 6:262–263). At about the same time Deane left Paris, “distressed both in mind and circumstances” according to Franklin, to live in Ghent, where he remained until he went to England for his final tragic years early in 1783 (Deane Papers, 4:491, 497; 5:70, 145). On the subject of Deane's character, wanderings, and lurid last years, see Julian P. Boyd: “Silas Deane: Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?” WMQ, 3d ser., 16:164–187, 318–342, 515–550 (April, July, Oct. 1959).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/