Papers of John Adams, volume 6

Simeon Deane to the Commissioners, 16 April 1778 Deane, Simeon First Joint Commission at Paris JA


Simeon Deane to the Commissioners, 16 April 1778 Deane, Simeon First Joint Commission at Paris Adams, John
Simeon Deane to the Commissioners
Honorable Gentlemen Casco Bay Falmouth 16 Apl 1778

I have the Pleasure to inform you of my arrival here yesterday in the Frigate Le Sensible and do this day set out for Congress.1 It would be with much satisfaction could I write whatever News may be now Current—but the short Time I am here (previous to my departure) gives me no Opportunity of very particular enquiry, further than that no very Considerable Transaction between the Two Armies has lately occurred.

The Continental Fleet which left France in Febry. last we have not yet any intelligence of2—nor of Captn. Courter from Spain.3

Chevalier Marigny being very apprehensive of the British Cruizers who are so plenty here is desirous of leaving this Place as soon as possible, for which reason am not able to be more particular in my Intelligence.

I beg leave to observe in behalf of that worthy Officer that I have experienced the utmost Politeness and Civility from him as well as the other Officers of the Frigate.

From Boston I shall send to this Port (Express) if any thing particular occur and hope to be in Season for the Ship. I am happy to inform your Honors that I hear the Spirits of the People are very high and I make no Doubt the good News which I have the Honor to be bearer of will give the greatest Satisfaction.

I must at the same time add that a report prevails that Quebeck is in our Hands by a revolution in Canada. As the News is not yet Confirmed I have desired the Gentlemen of the Committee here to write if they obtain any further Intilligence which may be authentick—and Inclose it (if in Season by this Frigate) To the Hon. Commissioners at Paris. I am, Honorable Gentlemen, your most Obedient & most devoted Servant

Simeon Deane

RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable The Commissioners for the United States of North America at Versailles"; docketed: “M. Simeon Deane Falmouth Ap. 16. 1778”

36 1.

Simeon Deane, Silas Deane's brother, was dispatched in early January on the frigate Belle-Poule, which had been alerted to be ready for his use, with news of the preliminaries and imminent signing of the Franco-American treaties. Beset by bad weather and storm damage, Deane was forced to return to France and by late February was again in Paris, where he received copies of the treaties signed in his absence. Setting out again, he departed from Brest on 8 March in the Sensible. From Casco Bay, Deane traveled overland through Boston and finally arrived, on 2 May, at York, Penna., where the congress had its first reading of the treaties the same evening (Boston Gazette, 20 April; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence , p. 93; Silas Deane to Conrad Alexandre Gerard, 1 March, Deane Papers , 2:385; JCC , 11:417–418; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 3:214–215).


Probably the fleet under Capt. La Motte-Picquet that reportedly was intended to convoy several transports carrying military supplies during the initial stages of their voyage to America, and which sailed from Quiberon Bay about a week before the departure of Simeon Deane and the Sensible (Boston Gazette, 20 April).


Capt. Harmon Courter was the original instrument by which the signed treaties were to reach America. The return of Simeon Deane, however, presented a second opportunity and, as luck would have it, Deane arrived at the congress first. Courter sailed in the French frigate Nymphe, Capt. Senneville, from La Coruña, Spain, in mid-March, arriving at Boston on 5 May and at York, Penna., on the 18th (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions , p. 141, note 4; Silas Deane to Courter, 17 Feb.; Courter to Deane, 13 March, Deane Papers , 2:370–371,406–407; Courter to Benjamin Franklin, 5 May, Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 1:413; Boston Gazette, 11 May; James Lovell to Benjamin Franklin, 20 June, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:626–627).