Make your own free website on Tripod.com
 
| Home | Heritage | Fam Histories - Mom's | Surnames | Other Stuff | What's New | E Mail |
 
Silas Deane
Vindicated Revolutionary Hero!
Exiled from America - Vindicated by Congress in 1842
Descendant of George Partridge, Ralph Partridge and Stephen Tracy

 
Silas Deane - Biography One
Silas Deane - Biography Two
Silas Deane's Intelligence Activities
Silas Deane - Conflict with Congress
Essay of a Patriot - 1779 - Why Hasn't Congress Looked into Deane's Address?
Double Spy use Silas Deane During the Revolution
One of Silas Deane's Recruits Involved in Attempted Overthrow of Washington
Silas Deane - Step-father of Samuel Blatchley Webb
Silas Deane - Involved in Taking of Ticonderoga
Recruits LaFayette
Silas Deane Causes Thomas Paine to Resign Post
Arthur Lee Argues with Franklin and Paine
George Washington Drops in for Dinner
How Does Ralph Izard fit into the mix??
The Lee Brothers - The Other Side of the Story
Bits and Pieces on Silas Deane - Related Links
A Painting of Silas Deane - from the CIA Home Page
Silas Deane's Genealogy
Lingering Questions
Return Links
 
 
Biography I of Silas Deane - Vindicated Patriot
 
"Deane, Silas, diplomatist, was born in Groton, Conn., Dec. 24, 1737. He was graduated at Yale in 1758, and engaged as a storekeeper at Weathersfield, Conn. He was one of the earliest advocates of Revolutionary methods to secure the rights of the colonists, and was a delegate from Connecticut to the Continental congress, 1774-76. 

In 1776 he was sent by congress to France as special ambassador on a secret mission, which resulted in his securing substantial loans from French capitalists and in inducing Lafayette, De Kalb and other trained military officers of the French army, personally to take service in the Continental army in the war against Great Britain. With Franklin and Lee he negotiated the treaties of amity and commerce between the United Colonies and France, as signed at Paris, Feb. 6. 1778. 

The contracts he made with the French officers were deemed extravagant in the matter of compensation, and his financial transactions generally were questioned. Congress, by resolution passed Nov. 21, 1777, recalled him and sent John Adams as his successor. He appeared before congress in 1778 and there had a long and bitter controversy. He was greatly befriended by John Adams and John Jay, who had implicit faith in his financial integrity. 

He was required by congress to make a detailed statement of his financial transactions, and in order to do so was obliged to return to France in 1782 to obtain the vouchers of his receipts and disbursements. In consequence of the unauthorized publication of certain of his private letters and dispatches to his brother which had been intercepted, the French government would not receive him and he was obliged to seek refuge in Holland.  

He then went to England where he died in poverty. 

In 1842 congress made a full examination of the unfortunate affair and vindicated the memory of the eminent diplomatist by paying to his heirs a considerable sum of money found to be due him after an impartial adjustment of his accounts as financial agent. Yale college gave him his A.M. degree in 1763. He is the author of: Paris Papers; or Mr. Silas Deane's Late Intercepted Letters to His Brother and Other Friends (New York, 1751); and published in his own defence An Address to the Free and Independent Citizens of the United States of North America (1784), issued in America and England. 

He died in Deal, England, Aug. 23, 1789." 
  
American Biographical Library, The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Volume 3, page 186

 
Top of Page
 
Biography II of Silas Deane - Vindicated Patriot
 
"DEANE, Silas, a Delegate from Connecticut; born in Groton, Conn., December 24, 1737; received a classical training, and was graduated from Yale College, New Haven, Conn., in 1758; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1761 and commenced practice in Wethersfield, Conn.; afterward engaged in mercantile pursuits in the same town; deputy of the general assembly 1768-1775; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776. 

He was ordered to France in March 1776 as a secret political and financial agent, and in September was commissioned as Ambassador with Franklin and Lee; negotiated and signed the treaty between France and the United States in Paris on February 6, 1778; personally secured the services of Lafayette, De Kalb, and other foreign officers, for which he was accused of extravagance, and was recalled in 1777 and investigated by Congress; returned to France to procure transcripts of his transactions there, and found that the publication of some of his confidential dispatches had embittered that Government against him, and he was  compelled to go to Holland, and thence to Great Britain, greatly impoverished; died on board ship sailing from Gravesend to Boston September 23, 1789; interment in Deal, on the Kentish coast, England. 

In 1842 Congress vindicated his memory by deciding that a considerable sum of money was due him, which was paid to his heirs." 

Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949, Biographies, page 1069

 
Top of Page
 
Silas Deane's Intelligence Activities
   
From the CIA's "Intelligence in the War of Independence" Web Page  
 
  • On March 1, 1776, the Committee of Secret Correspondence appointed Silas Deane, a former delegate to the Continental Congress, as its agent in France. He was instructed to pose as a Bermudian merchant dealing in Indian goods. He was also appointed as an agent of the Secret Committee, charged with making secret purchases and with attempting to gain secret assistance from the French Crown. Later, both Deane and Lee would be converted from agents to commissioners to the French Crown, albeit secret ones, until the open and formal alliance of France with the Americans.
  • Shortly after arriving in Paris in the spring of 1776, Silas expanded the Franco-American relationship begun by Arthur Lee, who had been working secretly from England. He worked with Beaumarchais and other French merchants to procure ships, commission privateers, recruit French officers, and purchase French military supplies declared "surplus" for that purpose. 
  • On September 26, 1776, Congress selected Franklin, Deane, and Lee (Lee replaced Thomas Jefferson who stayed home to tend his sick wife) as secret commissioners to France. Deane had already been operating as a secret agent there for six months.
  • On the high seas, British supply ships and troop ships often fell to American privateers operating under letters of marque and reprisal from the Continental Congress. Franklin, for example, ran a flotilla of Irish and French privateers from the American mission in Paris. Success in intercepting British vessels was so great that the British accused their captains of taking bribes from the Americans to surrender their ships. One privateer, operating under contract to Silas Deane and a French business associate and utilizing a French ship obtained by Benjamin Franklin, was the Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones.
  • Silas Deane arranged for the "John the Painter" to make entry into England and begin his series of sabotoge bombings against sites in England. James Aitken, aka "John the Painter", was eventually caught and hung in England in March, 1777.
  • While serving in Paris as an agent of the Committee of Secret Correspondence, Silas Deane is known to have used a heat-developing invisible ink, compounded of cobalt chloride, glycerine and water, for some of his intelligence reports back to America. Even more useful to him later was a "sympathetic stain" created for secret communications by James Jay, a physician and the brother of John Jay. Dr. Jay, who had been knighted by George III, used the "stain" for reporting military information from London to America. Later he supplied quantities of the stain to George Washington at home and to Silas Deane in Paris. 
  • On March 30, 1778, Franklin, Lee, and Deane were received at the French Court as "official" representatives of the United States of America. 
 
 
 Top of Page
 
The Deane Conflict with Congress
 
"Silas Deane, while representing the United States at the court of France, and agent under the Congress committee of secret correspondence, entered into conventions with a number of foreign officers whereby they  were to receive commissions in the American army which would cause them to outrank meritorious American officers who had been fighting for a year or more in behalf of their country. Congress repudiated this agreement, declaring that Deane had no authority to make such conventions, and on November 21, 1777, ordered his recall from Paris.  

On his return to this country Congress, in August, 1778, desired him to give an account of his transactions in France, as well as a particular state of the funds entrusted to his care. They were not satisfied with his reports, and on December 1 resolved to hold night sessions to consider the subject, and so notified Mr. Deane. But he, instead of attempting to satisfy their curiosity as to his financial transactions abroad, published in the Philadelphia newspapers of December 4, 1778, "An address to the free and virtuous citizens of America," in which he bitterly assailed the Congress, reflected upon the integrity of some leading members, and insinuated that there was a design to break faith with France, &c. 

The matter was threshed out in Congress and in the public prints, Tom Paine, in particular, in his incisive and trenchant style, under the signature of "Common Sense," showing the insincerity and essential falsity of Deane's charges, and the urgent need he was in of clearing his own skirts from the taint of incapacity, dishonesty and corruption. A very good summary of the controversy is given in Gordon's History of the American War, 3: 38, 216. The fullest account is in the Deane Papers, Vol. III., N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., 1888." 

DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE  REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY  OF THE   STATE OF NEW JERSEY.  VOLUME III. EXTRACTS FROM AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS RELATING  TO NEW JERSEY.  VOL. III. 1779.  EDITED BY WILLIAM NELSON. 

 
Top of Page
 
Double Spy Used Silas Deane! Revolutionary Intrigue!
 
"BANCROFT, Edward, author, was born at Westfield, Mass:, Jan. 9, 1744. Having a natural love for adventure, he left home at an early age, and shipped on a vessel. A second voyage took him to Guiana, where he engaged in the practice of medicine. He afterwards went to England where he devoted himself to literary work. Through the influence of Benjamin Franklin he became a writer on the Monthly Review. He was suspected of aiding in the attempt to burn the Portsmouth dock-yard and was obliged to take refuge in France, in 1777, where, through his acquaintance with Silas Deane, commissioner of the Continental Congress, he obtained intelligence about American Continental affairs of use to the British government, and he imparted his knowledge to the British ministry. He was in the employ of both the English and Continental governments as a spy. He accumulated a large fortune by securing patents from England and France for exclusive right to import yellow oak bark for dyeing purposes. He was a member of the Royal college of physicians in London, and a fellow of the Royal society. His publications include "Natural History of Guiana" (1769); "Remarks on the Review of the Controversy between Great Britain and Her Colonies" (1771); "Charles Wentworth"; "Experimental Researches Concerning Permanent Colors" (1794); "Philosophy of Permanent Colors" (2 vols., 1813), and many short articles. He died in England, Sept. 8, 1820." 
 
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume I
 
Top of Page
 
A Silas Deane French Recruit Tries to Overthrow Washington!
 
"CONWAY, Thomas, soldier, was born in Ireland, Feb. 27, 1733. He was a soldier in the French army and had won the rank of colonel and the decoration of St. Louis, when Silas Deane urged him to join the American army in the war of the Revolution. He sailed to America and offered his services to the Continental congress, which body on May 1l, 1777, made him a brigadier-general and he took part in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. 

Later in the same year he became the conspicuous leader of a plot to displace Washington and give the command of the army to General Gates, then the hero of the hour by reason of the surrender of Burgoyne's army at Saratoga. Into this plot a considerable number of members of congress and such statesmen as John Adams, Benjamin Rush and other as prominent patriots were unconsciously drawn. 

General Gates was made president of the board-of-war and Lafayette the proposed leader of a Canadian campaign in which Conway was to be second in command. Letters from Conway to prominent men, alleging Washington's responsibility for disasters in the south, and even forged papers purporting to be signed by Washington, added to the spirit of discontent until the plot was exposed to Washington, who speedily restored subordination.  

Lafayette refused to lead the Canadian expedition unless he should have as his second officer Baron de Kalb. Conway had meanwhile been promoted to the rank of major-general and congress on Dec. 14, 1777, confirmed the promotion in spite of Washington's disapproval. In the following March, however, he made a conditional offer to resign, which congress promptly accepted, making it unconditional, and he was obliged to leave the army. Gen. John Cadwallader in July, 1778, challenged Conway, and the meeting resulted in Conway's being badly wounded in the mouth. He complimented his antagonist on his marksmanship and as soon as physically able wrote an apology to Washington. He returned to France, re-entered the army and was made governor of Pondicherry and the French settlements in Hindustan. His quarrel with Tippoo Saib is said to have damaged greatly the prospects of French acquisitions in India. In 1792 he was given command of the royalist troops in the south of France but fled the country during the revolution and died about 1800." 
  
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume II, page 355

 
Top of Page
 
Silas Deane - Father-in-law to Samuel Webb
 
"WEBB, Samuel Blatchley, soldier, was born in Wethersfield, Conn., Dec. 15, 1753; descendant of Richard Webb, a native of Dorsetshire, England, who came to Cambridge, Mass., in 1626; was a freeman in Boston, Mass., in 1632, and a companion of the Rev. Thomas Hooker in Hartford, Conn., in 1635. His father having died when he was quite young, Samuel B. Webb became private secretary to his stepfather, Silas Deane. 

He was 1st lieutenant of a company under Captain Chester; commanded a company of light infantry at Bunker Hill, where he was wounded, and was commended for his gallantry in general orders. He was appointed aide-de-camp to Gen. Israel Putnam in 1775, and in 1776 was private secretary to General Washington with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. 

He wrote the order for making public the Declaration of Independence in New York city, July 9, 1776, and refused to accept despatches from Lord Howe, addressed to "Mr." George Washington. He took part in the battles of Long Island, Princeton, White Plains and Trenton; raised the 3d Connecticut regiment, and participated in Gen. Samuel H. Parsons's disastrous expedition to Long Island, where he was captured, Dec. 10, 1777, and imprisoned for three years. 

He was brevetted brigadier-general in 1780 and succeeded General Steuben to the command of the light infantry under Washington. He was a founder of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783, and was the grand marshal during Washington's inauguration in New York city as first President of the United States. He removed to Claverack, Columbia county, N.Y., in 1789; was married to Catherine Hageboom, and their son, James Watson Webb, was born there, Feb. 8, 1802. General Webb died at his home in Claverack, N.Y., Dec. 3, 1807." 
  
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume X

 
Top of Page
 
Silas Deane Involved in Taking of Ticonderoga!
 
".... On the way he (Samuel Holden Parsons) met Benedict Arnold at Hartford, April 27, 1775, who informed him of the extent of the armament at Ticonderoga, and with Col. Samuel Wyllys and Silas Deane he formed a plan for taking the fort and its large number of brass cannon, so much needed by the Continental army at Cambridge, Mass. These men with three others pledged their personal security for the money borrowed to fit out the expedition. Col. Parsons informed Ethan Allen of the project, and Allen met the Connecticut troop at Bennington, took command and captured the fort, May 10, 1775." 
  
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume IIV, Sketch of Samuel Holden Parsons,  page 211 

See also The Taking of Ticonderoga, which mentions Silas Deane.

 
Top of Page
 
Recruits LaFayette
 
LAFAYETTE, Marie Jean Paul Roch Yves Gilbert Motier, Marquis de, patriot, was born at the Château de Chavagnac, Auvergne, France, Sept. 6, 1757; son of Michael Louis Christophe Roch Gilbert Metier and Marie Louise (do Rivière) de Lafayette. His ancestor the Marechal de Lafayette was a distinguished French soldier, and Madame de Lafayette was a lady of extensive literary celebrity. He was educated at the College of Louis-le-Grand, at Paris, and upon the death of his mother and grandfather in 1770 he inherited a large fortune. He was a page to Queen Marie Leczinska and in 1772 was given a lieutenant's commission in the Mousquetaires du Roi. He was married April 11, 1774, to Anastasie Adrienne, daughter of the Duke de Noailles. He was commissioned a captain of artillery in a regiment stationed at Metz in 1776, and at a dinner given in honor of the Duke of Gloucester he heard of the American Declaration of Independence, and of the disasters attending the patriot army in New Jersey. He communicated to Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin his intention of enlisting his services in the cause of American liberty and although forbidden by the court, and exposing himself to the loss of his property and to capture by the British on his passage to America, he purchased and fitted out a vessel at Bordeaux, and learning that an order had been issued for his arrest, he sailed to Passages, Spain, where his preparations were completed. He sailed April 26, 1777, in company with de Kalb and eleven other French officers; arrived at Charleston, S.C., where he equipped one hundred men with arms and clothing, as a testimonial of his admiration of the gallantry displayed in the defence of Fort Moultrie, and proceeding to Philadelphia offered his services to congress as a volunteer without pay. He was appointed major-general in the Continental army, July 31, 1777, and served for a time on the staff of General Washington. 
  
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume VI, page 302303 
 
 
 Top of Page
 
Deane Causes Thomas Paine to Resign Post!
 
Shortly after (issuing the pamphlet "Common Sense")  Paine was appointed Secretary to the Committee of the United States on Foreign Affairs. His business was merely to copy papers, number and file them, and generally do the duty of what is now called a clerk in the Foreign Department. But in the title-page of his 'Rights of Man,' he styles himself 'Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Congress of the United States in the Late War.' While in this office, he published a series of appeals on the struggle between Great Britain and the colonies. In 1777 he was obliged to resign his secretaryship on account of a quarrel with Silas Deane, American agent in France.
 
 Top of Page
 
Arthur Lee Argues with Deane and Franklin
 
Arthur Lee Bio Sketch: "...... The effort to enforce the stamp act which called forth the Westmoreland declaration determined him to study law in order more effectively to assist the colonies in obtaining redress from the heavy taxation laid upon them. He studied law in the Temple, London, 1766-70, and practised in London, 1770-76, meantime studying the Colonial questions and discussing the Townshend acts and other aggressive measures proposed by Parliament. At this time he won considerable fame as a writer, signing himself "Monitor" and "Junius Americanus." He was also the author of "An Appeal to the English Nation." He was a leading member of the "Supporters of the Bill of Rights," organized for the discussion of the measures of the British ministry and the restoration to the American colonies of the right to regulate taxes through their own representatives. 

In supporting the resolutions adopted by the society, of which Lee was the author, he sustained an able discussion with the unknown author of the "Letters of Junius." He gained the friendship of Burke, Priestly, Dunning, Baire and Sir Willlain Jones, and was admitted to a fellowship in the Royal society. He was appointed by the general court of Massachusetts in 1770 as representative for that colony in London as associate with Benjamin Franklin, and in 1775, when Richard Penn reached London with the last petition from the Continental congress and the appeal to the English people, of which his brother, Richard Henry Lee, was the author, he undertook to have the petition reach the king, but in vain. 

He was appointed by congress, with Franklin, Jay and Dickinson, to open correspondence with friends of America in Europe and was made the secret agent of the committee in London, and he opened negotiations with the French government which led to his residence in Paris during the spring and summer of 1776. In 1776 congress appointed him a joint commissioner with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane to secure a treaty of alliance with France, and in 1777 he was intrusted with special missions to the governments of Spain and Prussia, and in October, 1778, was continued as sole commissioner to Spain, also acting in the same capacity to the court of Prussia but residing in Paris. His frequent quarrels with Franklin and Deane led to his recall in the autumn of 1779. He was a representative in the general assembly of Virginia, 1781; a delegate to the Continental congress, 1781-84; Indian commissioner in western New York and Pennsylvania, 1784, and a member of the board of treasury, 1784-89. He was opposed to the adoption of the Federal constitution, and his opposition appears to have been due to excessive distrust in the motives that actuated his fellow patriots and his concern for the rights of the colonists. 
    
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume VI, page 373

 
Top of Page
 
George Washington Drops in for Dinner!
 
From Washington's Travels in New England - A Chronological Itinerary, we have:  
 
    "The photograph (apparently in this publication in book form, not on the web) shows the Webb-Deane-Stevens House and Museum in Wethersfield, Connecticut, managed by the Connecticut Society of Colonial Dames of America, where General Washington met with the comte de Rochambeau on 21 May 1781.  

    1775: 
    "Washington lodged the night of June 29-30 in the home of Silas Deane and his second wife, Elizabeth Saltonstall Deane, in Wethersfield, then passed through Durham, Middletown, and New Britain.  

    1781 
    "On May 19th Washington established his headquarters in the home of Joseph Webb, Jr. in Wethersfield. Abigail Chester Webb was Washington's hostess. The Webb house is next door to the Deane house where Washington had lodged in 1775. Silas Deane's first wife Methitable Webb was the widow of Joseph Webb, Sr." 

   
 
 
Top of Page
 
Who is Ralph Izard?
 
[Note: Ralph Izard was one of the cadre of opponents recruited by Arthur Lee to depose and ruin Silan Deane. He wrote a letter to Congress to support Deane's recall, which was detrimental to Deane in his efforts to try to reconcile with Congress. The contents of his letter apparently contained nothing but unsubstantiated complaints and reveals personal amibitions unfulfilled, ie being uninformed about the Treaty of Paris negotiations, with which he actually had no official capacity in, but felt "neglected". nmt] 

"IZARD, Ralph, statesman, was born at "The Elms," near Charleston, S.C., in 1742; son of Henry and Margaret (Johnson) Izard; grandson of Ralph and Magdalene Elizabeth (Chastaigner) Izard and of Governor Robert Johnson, of South Carolina, and great grandson of Ralph Izard, who came to America from England during the reign of Queen Anne, and was the founder of the South Carolina branch of the family; and also great grandson of Governor Sir Nathaniel Johnson. 

Ralph Izard was early sent to England and placed at school at Hackney, finishing his education at Christ college, Cambridge. Returning to America, he took possession of his estate in South Carolina, but spent much of his time in New York, where he met his future wife, Alice, daughter of Peter De Lancey, of Westchester, N.Y., and niece of James De Lancey, lieutenant- governor of the province. He was married in 1767, and in 1771 returned to England and residence in London. 

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war he made several attempts to intercede with the king in behalf of the colonists,but without success. In 1777 he removed with his family to France, and soon after was appointed by congress commissioner to the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Considering it inexpedient to proceed to the court of Tuscany, he continued his residence in Paris, where he supported Arthur Lee in opposition to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Deane. When Commodore Gillon was sent from South Carolina to Europe to purchase frigates, and for that purpose to obtain a loan, he could not effect the object on the security of the state government alone. Mr. Izard then pledged his whole estate, and the vessels were secured. 

Through alleged misrepresentations, the Continental congress, in 1779, passed resolutions to recall Mr. Izard, and he returned to the United States in July, 1780, and reported at Washington's headquarters. He influenced Washington to send General Greene to take command of the southern army, for which service he received the thanks of the governor of South Carolina. He was a delegate from South Carolina to the Continental congress, 1782-83, and U.S. senator, 1789-95. He was president pro tempore of the senate from May 31, 1794, to Feb. 20, 1795, serving in the first and second sessions of the 3d congress. He was a founder of the College of Charleston and a trustee of that institution, 1791-1804. 

Of his children, George (q.v.)became governor of Arkansas Territory; Ralph was a lieutenant in the U.S. navy, and served with distinction in the war with Tripoli; and Henry was married to Emma, daughter of Arthur Middleton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. See Correspondence of Mr. Ralph Izard, of South Carolina, from the Year 1774 to 1804, with a Short  Memoir (1844), by his daughter, Anne Izard Deas. He died at South Bay, near Charleston, S.C., May 30, 1804." 
  
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume VI

 
Top of Page
 
The Lee Brothers The Other Side of the Story
 
From the Stratford Hall Plantation Page... the other side of the story... 
   
    "The careers of William and Arthur (Lee) were impeded by bitter debates with Silas Deane, each questioning the other's allegiance to his country. The controversy divided Congress in a vituperative debate. The political infighting resulted in the reorganization of the diplomatic corps and all but one of the positions held by the two brothers were eliminated. Neither brother was ever reappointed to an important government post.  

    The Silas Deane affair seemed to have embittered not only William and Arthur but the Lee family as a whole. Accusations, though unproven and unfounded, tarnished the Lee family name. Ever courageous, the brothers defended one another with the same vigor and spirit that brought them so much respect and admiration in their pursuit of American liberty."

Note: These two brothers were also brothers to the two Lee brothers, Richard and Frank Lightfoot Lee, who signed the Declaration of Independence. These four brothers were, in addition, apparently cousins to General Lighthorse Harry Lee, Revolutionary War General and father of Robert E. Lee, Civil War General. It is ironic to note that General Lighthorse Harry Lee also met with a sad fate, eventually being broke and confined to debtor's prison. Another Revolutionary meets a sad end. 
  
This page has  some bibliographies that might prove interesting in explaining the story (click on bibliographies at the bottom of the page.) 
 
 
Top of Page
 

 
Bits and Pieces on Silas Deane
Surfin the Web
 
Info Please Almanac article on Silas Deane 
 
Read more about Silas Deane: 
      
    See Charles Isham, ed., The Deane Papers, 17741790 (5 vol., 188791); biography by G. L. Clark (1913). 

    Notes and Suggestions, Commercial Activities of Silas Deane in France. S.l.: s.n., 1934. 

    Silas Deane - Patriot or Traitor, Coy Hilton James, Michigan State University Press, 1975 

    Silas Deane - A Connecticut Leader in the American Revolution, George L. Clark, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1913. 

    Vol. XXIII: The Deane Papers: Correspondence Between Silas Deane, His 
    Brothers, and Their Business and Political Associates, 1771 - 1795. 
    1930. 277 p., index. Deane Resources At the Conn Historical Society: 

    A very good summary of the controversy is given in Gordon's History of the American War, 3: 38, 216. The fullest account is in the Deane Papers, Vol. III., N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., 1888."  
     

Miscellaneous Info Found
Recommended book at a Teacher's web site: 
    After the Fact:  The Art of Historical Detection by James West 
    Davidson and Mark Hamilton Lytle (Knopf, 1986).  This book is as much 
    about doing history as about history itself, demonstrating how 
    exciting the pursuit of history can and ought to be.  Each chapter 
    tackles a different type of historical research (e.g., documentary 
    analysis, psychohistory, photographs, oral history) through fourteen 
    intriguing case studies (e.g., the strange death of Silas Deane or the 
    Salem Witch Trials). 
     
A play about the Revolution and Conway, the Frenchman who plotted Washington's overthrow, with reference to Silas Deane 

In group of newspaper articles dated 1779: 

    "On Sunday passed through Morris Town, on his way to Boston, where he intends to embark for France, his Excellency Monsieur Gerard, Ambassador from the Court of France to these United States, and his suit. He was accompanied by Silas Deane, Esq."  

    DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE  REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY  OF THE   STATE OF NEW JERSEY.  VOLUME III. EXTRACTS FROM AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS RELATING  TO NEW JERSEY.  VOL. III. 1779.  EDITED BY WILLIAM NELSON.  
     

Considered in group of names as the "father of the US Navy" 
       
    "Candidates for the title "father of the Navy" include George 
    Washington, Continental Navy officers Esek Hopkins, John Barry, and 
    John Paul Jones, as well as civilians John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, 
    Robert Morris, Joseph Hewes, and Silas Deane. Many men in numerous 
    locations played prominent roles in the founding of our national navy. 
    And so, the Navy recognizes no one individual as "father," to the 
    exclusion of others." 
 
Promised LaFayette Generalship, Silas provided way out of France since King 
wouldn't approve. 
       
    "Lafayette's real introduction to America came at a dinner on August 
    8, 1775, when the young Marquis came into contact with the Duke of 
    Gloucester who spoke with sympathy of the struggle going on in the 
    colonies. With thoughts of the "romantic" American cause, glory and 
    excitement, Lafayette made plans to travel to America. Realizing his 
    plans would be disapproved of by the King and his family, Lafayette 
    confided in his friend the Comte de Broglie, who in turn introduced 
    him to the Baron Johan de Kalb. Both men were seeking to travel to 
    America and after several delays, the two men set up a journey across 
    the Atlantic with written agreements from Silas Deane that they would 
    be commissioned major generals." 
     
All three Conn delegates to First Continental Congress were cousins of mine! 
Silas Deane campaigns for taking Bermuda during the Revolution: 
        
    "There were many more French prisoners-of-war on Prison and Convict 
    Hulks, mostly in St. George's Harbour, when British soldiers were 
    stationed in Bermuda during the American War of Independence. And also 
    during that conflict, Silas Deane, a secret American agent in France, 
    was spirited into Bermuda for a spying mission. On his arrival back in 
    Paris, he recommended that the United States seize and fortify 
    Bermuda, with French help. His activities in France led the British 
    Ambassador there to complain that Mr. Deane was passing himself off to 
    French officials as a native of Bermuda endeavoring to cause an 
    insurrection. " 
     
A transcription of the Secret Agreement with France for commercial  
support, signed by Silas Deane: 
 
A transcription of Treaty of Amity and Commerce with France,  February  
6, 1778, signed by Silas Deane 
 
A transcription of the Treaty of Alliance with France:
 
5 reels of documents of Silas Deane at the David Library of the   
American Revolution: 
       
    Deane, Silas (1737-1789). Papers, 1737-1789. 5 reels. Correspondence 
    of the Connecticut delegate to the Continental Congress and 
    Revolutionary American diplomat to France. Includes letterbook. 
    Originals are in the Connecticut Historical Society. [FILM 393] 

    David Library Home Page  
     

.
 
     
 
 Top of Page
 
Silas Deane's Genealogy
   
I share three common immigrant ancestors with Silas Deane: Ralph Partridge, George Partridge (not related to Ralph) and Stephen Tracy. This is the lineage from Ralph Partridge to Silas: 
        
       1   Ralph Partridge 1579 - 1655 
      ..  +Patience 1604 - 
      .... 2   Elizabeth Partridge 1620 - 1664 
      ....  *2nd Husband of Elizabeth Partridge:  
      ........  +Thomas Thacher 1620 - 1678 
      ........... 3   Rodolphus Thacher 1648 - 1733 
      ...............  +Ruth Partridge 1651 - 1717 
                             George Partridge is Ruth's father; Sarah Tracy her mother.
      .................. 4   Lydia Thacher 1680 - 1737 
      ......................  +John Deane 1678 - 1748 
      ........................ 5   Silas Deane 1709 - 
      ............................  +Hannah Barker 1710 - 
      ............................... 6   Silas Deane 1737 - 1789 
      ...................................  +Elizabeth Saltonstall 1744 -
George Partridge is the father of Ruth Partridge at 3) above. Stephen Tracy is the maternal grandfather of Ruth Partridge (#3) through his daughter Sarah (Tracy) Partridge. 

Silas Deane was married twice and only had one child, a son named Jesse. His step-children from his first wife were embittered towards him for not closing out their father's estate, as he was executor. His second wife, Elizabeth Saltonstall, was a child of the former governor of Connecticut, Gurdon Saltonstall, and of royal ancestry. She died during his exile in Europe.

 
 
Genealogy Web pages on the Dean family (Hit page down once to get past a 
list of names to the narrative).  Sources quoted are:
  
The John Deane Home Page has some great genealogy information on the Dean Family, including sources and transcriptions of wills. Specific page for Silas Deane. 

The Doutberg Page 

The Record of the Dean Family 

The Rubins Page 

      
    Note: this page has a different wife for James Deane (Silas' 1xg) than the Powers-Banks genealogy does. Powers-Banks says the wife of this James was Sarah Tisdale. Powers-Banks has John Deane, son of John and Lydia (Thacher) Deane, (Silas' uncle) married to Sarah Douglas. Note that another Sarah Douglas married Jonathan Deane, son of James. This is another woman and is not a mixup, per Powers-Banks. (Note the Doutberg Page above does not identify the wife of James Dean.) Powers-Banks quotes a monument erected over their graves showing her maiden name as his source. Giving his position more credibility is that his work encompassed a genealogy of the Tisdale family, a direct line of his. 
     
genealogylibrary.com has the Deane line from immigrant in a well written descendant register in the Power-Banks Genealogy. Either search for Silas or go straight to the book. (Pay service) 
 
Top of Page
 
Lingering Questions about Silas Deane
It is obvious that that Lee had it in for Deane, as he apparently led the charges about financial dealings. What was the stance re Silas Deane by the third member of the US triumvirate in Paris - Benjamin Franklin? 
  
What were the particular circumstances under which the contents of the private letter(s) to his brother made public? 
  
What is known, and not known, about his mysterious death? 
  
Was his "exile" self-imposed? Did he face prison if had returned to America? 
  
Did LaFayette offer him any support? 

Are the letters that embarrassed him and his defense essay on the web anywhere? Or, where can they be found in print? 

What exactly was his relationship to the double spy Bancroft? Was Deane just a naive dupe to allow Bancroft access to the material that Bancroft gave the British? 
 

 
Top of Page

 
Return Links:
 
Return to the following indexes at this site: 
  Top of Page
 

| Top of PageHome | Heritage | Fam Histories - Mom's | Surnames | Other Stuff | What's New | E Mail |
 
Copyright 1998 Norris Taylor