is referring to information contained in a piece by Thomas Paine signed “Common Sense”
that appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet
of 2 March. There he wrote that “Mr. Deane now wants to get off the Continent and
has applied to Congress for leave of absence,” but Paine questioned whether Deane
should be permitted to go in view of his unsettled accounts and the charges made by
him. Even before Deane left France he had indicated his intention of returning as
early as October or November (Deane to JA
, 8 April 1778
, vol. 6:10–13). His plans, however, went awry because the congress, in the face of
the Deane-Lee controversy, required Deane to appear before it in August and December
and refused to make a final determination in the case and thus excuse him from further
, 11:787, 789, 802, 826; 12:1240, 1246, 1247, 1258, 1265). On 11 Sept., Deane, impatient
at the delay, began a series of appeals to the president of the congress. The last
one previous to Paine's letter was of 22 Feb., asking that he be informed of the congress'
demands so that he might fulfill them and then return to France (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
, 2:710; 3:57; see also Deane's letters of 22 Sept., 12 Oct., 19, 30 Nov., 4 Dec.
1778, and 21 Jan. 1779 in same, 2:736–738, 761–762, 841–842, 845, 847; 3:29). Deane's
pleas for action were to no avail, for not until 6 Aug. 1779 was it resolved that
he could “be discharged from any further attendance on Congress” (JCC
, 14:930). Deane did not return to France until the summer of 1780, and then as a
private citizen. For additional comments on Deane's rumored return, see Jenings to
May, and JA
to Jenings, 22
May (both below).