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HistRevolV1_251-300.indd 38 3/16/12 11:48 AM CHAPTER X I V Foreign Negociations • Dissensions among the American Commissioners • Deane recalled • Mr. Adams appointed • Mr. Lee and Mr. Adams recalled • Spain declares War against England • Mr. Jay sent to the Court of Madrid • Sir George Collier's Expedition to Virginia-His sudden Recal-Ravages on the North River • Depredations in the State of Connecticut , in aid ofGovernor Tryon and his Partizans • General Washington se1zes Stoney Point-Recovered by the British • Penobscot Expedition • Destruction of the American Navy CHAP. x1v [128] It has already been observed, that in an early stage of the 1 1 1 s American contest, some gentlemen were deputed to negociate, and to endeavour to secure the assistance of several European nations. This had had such an effect, that at the period we are now upon, the United States were in strict alliance with France, and were considered in a partial and respectful light by some of the first powers in Europe. Yet difficulties both at home and abroad, which had scarcely been viewed in theory, were now realized and felt with poignancy, by the true friends of their country. The objects that employed the abilities of congress at this period, were of such magnitude, [129] as required the experience of ancient statesmen, the coolness of long practised politicians, and the energies of virtue. The articles of confederation offered to the consideration of each legislative in the several states, in one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, had been rejected by some, and suspended by others. It is true they were now recently ratified by all of them, but were scarcely yet established on a permanent basis.* They had to arrange, harmonize, and support the new permanent army, collected from every part of the union, and now interwoven with foreign volunteers from different European nations: and in the " See Appendix, Note No. V. 288 HistRevolV1_251-300.indd 39 3/16/12 11:48 AM VOLU:\1E TWO 289 rear of every other difficulty at home, they had to guard with all CHAP. xrv possible discretion, against the innumerable moral and political evils, r 7 7 s ever the inevitable consequence of a depreciating currency. Abroad they had a task of equal difficulty, to heal the animosities that existed, and to conciliate the differences that had arisen among the American ministers at the court of France, or to prevent the fatal consequences oftheir virulence towards each other. This was expressed [130] in strong language in their letters to congress, nor was it a secret in the courts of England or France, and in some instances, perhaps it was fomented by both. In the infancy of congress, in the magnitude of the new scenes that were opening before them, and in the critical emergencies that sprung up on untrodden ground, they, through hurry or inexperience, had not in all instances, selected men of the most impeccable characters, to negociate with foreign powers. Perhaps in some of their appointments , they did not always look so much at the integrity of the heart, as at the capacity of the man for the arts of intrigue, the ready address, and supple accomplishments necessary for the courtier, both to insure his own reception with princes, and to complete the wishes of his employers, in his negociations with practised statesmen. Silas Deane, esquire, a delegate to congress from the state of Connecticut, was the first person who had been vested with a foreign commission. He embarked as a commercial agent in behalf of the United States, in one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six; and was afterwards named in the honorable commission for a treaty of alliance with the court of France, in conjunction with doctor Franklin and Arthur Lee, esquire. [131] Mr. Deane had nothing to recommend him to such a distinguished and important appointment, except a degree of mercantile experience, combined with a certain secrecy or cunning, that wore the appearance of knowing things much beyond his ability, and the art of imposing a temporary belief of a penetration far beyond his capacity. His weakness and ostentation, his duplicity, extravagance, and total want of principle, were soon discovered by his constituents: but they placed the most unlimited confidence in the great abilities, profound knowledge, and unshaken patriotism, of the venerable and philosophic Franklin. His warm attachment to his native country, had been evinced in numberless instances, during his long residence in England as agent to the British court, both for...


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