Silas Deane was born in Groton, Connecticut. His father was only a blacksmith but he managed to get the boy to Yale where Silas received his law degree. Silas was a very ambitious young man. He married well, not once, but twice. His first bride was a widow and her late husband was a merchant. Silas took over the business. After his first wife died he met and married the granddaughter of a former governor of Connecticut. This must have peeked Silas’s interest in politics. He became a delegate to the first and second Continental Congress.
In 1776 Congress sent Deane to France. He was the first American to represent the American Colonies abroad. He also had a rather clandestine mission. The Americans wanted him to purchase war materials and arms for the upcoming battle. In France, he was secretly hooked up with a playwright, named Beaumarchais and a dummy company called Hortalez and Company. The French were on shaky terms with the British. They wanted no publicity with regards to their helping British Colonies to revolt. The French King was not ready for a war with England at the moment.
Beaumarchais ... The courtly gentleman of ‘wit and genius’ as Deane called him, sold gunpowder to Americans at a 500 percent markup and sent bills of lading with the shipments indicating these were not gifts. Muskets discarded by the French army and given to Beaumarchais for nothing were passed along to the United States at half their original cost. Robert Morris, another well known Patriot, told Deane before he left Philadelphia ... “If we have but luck in getting the goods safe to America the profits will be sufficient to content us all. Late in 1777 Congress got the bill from Hortalez and Company for 4,500,000 livres. It was authorized by Deane. The Congress decided to call Deane home for a little talk.
Congress, through the year 1778 had been having a little difficulty with scandals of a similar nature. A Dr. William Shippen, head of the medical department, seemed to have a good deal of extra money from his negotiations in hospital supplies. Then there was Thomas Mifflin an army quartermaster-general who had done a little too well at his post. And good old General Nathanael Green was rumored to be making a rather quick fortune. “By late 1778 the American Revolution for many had lost the quality of a crusade. Those who had prospered on wartime contracts now rolled about Philadelphia in gaudy coaches.
While the ragged continental army survived on half rations, slim supplies and often no pay, the city’s rich, many of them friends of Deane, dressed their women in finery and loaded their tables with delicacies. John Adams was worried. He feared that the publicity from all these money scandals and profiteering could result in an actual civil war.
Deane had a couple of other scams going at the time. Deane would use his political connections in France to ship goods without declaring what the cargo was. If the ship would arrive safely, he would declare it private - his personal goods. If the ship sunk, or the goods were damaged, he would declare it a U.S. government cargo. On top of that he seemed to have a little gambling problem. One of the more interesting gambling casinos of the day were the insurance companies. The insurance companies would insure anything. They would even give you odds on current events. You could “insure” yourself on the possibility of an upcoming war, or who might win or lose the present war. Deane being an “insider” in the political shenanigans going on between France and the Colonies had been doing quite well in many of his “insurance” ventures.
When Deane got back home a big brouhaha erupted. The inspectors asked to see the account books, only to find that Deane had “forgotten” them in Europe. Tom Paine who had proudly taken the position of Secretary for Foreign Affairs to Congress in the American War, at no pay I might add, had privileged information in his files. These privileged files clearly stated that the King of France had donated the bulk of these materials to the Colonial war effort, free of charge. When Tom pointed this out to the investigating committee, he was called a liar. Deane not only called Tom Paine a liar, but he went to the newspapers with his side of the story. Paine demanded an apology from Deane. When Deane refused, Paine went to the newspapers himself. Deane then demanded an apology and a retraction from Paine. Paine proceeded to document his allegation to the committee and the newspapers with information from his privileged files. This mess caused the president of the Congress, Henry Laurens, to resign and the French ambassador, Mr. Gerard, to have convulsions. If the King of England found out that the King of France had been supplying arms to the Colonists, the English would attack the French immediately.
Now Mr. Gerard entered the committee room and the newspaper columns. He demanded that Paine denounce all such accusation about his beloved France and its proper King. The French government would never, never do such a thing, and certainly not the King. Tom Paine had made this whole thing up. In private, Mr. Gerard was not at all upset with Mr. Paine. He even offered to put Tom on the French payroll as a propagandist for French causes in the Colonies. In public, though, he was “hot.”
Paine had P.O.ed a number of other people besides Mr. Gerard; both Robert and Gouverneur Morris where not happy with Tommy. Gouvernouer Morris was a friend of Deane and Tommy had insinuated that such notables as Robert Morris might actually be in on some of the ill-gotten gain themselves. Needless to say Paine was asked to resign. Paine resigned from the committee, but not as a journalist. He continued to defend himself and attacked publicly several prominent members of the committee who had forced his resignation; Gouvernor Morris, John Penn, William Drayton, and others.
Paine was disgraced and ostracized and Deane went back to France. As Deane bumped about Europe, he was approached by the British to write home to some of his influential friends encouraging the Colonies to capitulate with the British. The British double-crossed Deane and had the letters printed in occupied New York. Immediately Deane became a traitor and Paine, once again a hero. Deane was forced to remain in Europe. He took to alcohol and most likely gambling. He went broke. Finally, after a number of years, a relative in the Colonies agreed to pay his passage home. He died mysteriously aboard the ship. Some say he committed suicide; others say that he was poisoned. If he was poisoned, it was probably by a guy named Edward Bancroft who is alleged to have been a double agent.
Bancroft was an old friend. They were involved in many an “insurance” deal together. Bancroft had done quite well in the espionage game and may not have wanted the publicity that an old, wimpy, soul searching Deane might have engaged in upon returning to his home land. *
* “Paine” David Freeman Hawke. . . Harper & Row
* Three works used in this essay; “After the Fact”, James West Davidson & Mark Hamilton Lytle.... “Paine” David Freeman Hawke... The Oxford History of the American People, Samuel Eliot Morison.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Don't Laugh - This Could Have Been Your Life
Funny stories and some strange characters.
Monkey Dishes and Cocktail Fawks
My Harrowing days in the restaurant business. Great Read.
It's a Long Story
Long Short Fiction - Great stories!
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Talking To Myself
This is my third book of poetry.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Come On-A My House
This is # 4 in my Lawrence Hometown series.The old homested at 32 Chelmsford ST is pictured on the cover..
Down By The Old Mill Stream
# 5 in the Lawrence My Hometown series.
Standing on the Corner is # 6 in the lawrence My Hometown series.
The old Howard Playstead on Lawrence St.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
# 7 in the Lawrence my Hometown series.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
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