To the Congress of the United States January 8, 1779

To the Congress of the United States January 8, 1779

PHILADELPHIA,

HONORABLE SIRS :

Finding by the Journals of this House, 45 of yesterday, that I am not to be heard, and having in my letter of the same day, prior to that resolution, declared that I could not "in duty to my character as a freeman submit to be censured unheard," therefore, consistent with that declaration, and to maintain that right, I think it my duty to resign the office of Secretary to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, and I do hereby resign the same. The papers and documents in my charge I shall faithfully deliver up to the Committee, either on honor or oath, as they or this House shall direct.

Considering myself now no longer a servant of Congress, I conceive it convenient that I should declare what have been the motives of my conduct. On the appearance of Mr. Deane's address to the public of the 5 of Dec, in which he said "The ears of the Representatives were shut against him," the honor and justice of this House were impeached and its reputation sunk to the lowest ebb in the opinion of the people. The expressions of suspicion and degradation which have been uttered in my hearing and are too indecent to be related in this letter, first induced me to set the public right; but so grounded were they almost without exception, in their ill opinion of this House, that instead of succeeding as I wished in my first address, I fell under the same reproach and was frequently told that I was defending Congress in their bad designs. This obliged me to go farther into the matters, and I have now reason to believe that my endeavors have been and will be effectual.

My wish and my intentions in all my late publications were to preserve the public from error and imposition, to support as far as laid in my power the just authority of the Representatives of the people, and to cordiallize and cement the union that has so happily taken place between this country and France.

I have betrayed no trust because I have constantly employed that trust to the public good. I have revealed no secrets because I have told nothing that was, or I conceive ought to be a secret. I have convicted Mr. Deane of error, and in so doing I hope I have done my duty.

It is to the interest of the Alliance that the people should know that before America had any agent in Europe the "public-spirited gentlemen" in that quarter of the world were her warm friends. And I hope this honorable House will receive it from me as a farther testimony of my affection to that Alliance, and of my attention to the duty of my office, that I mention, that the duplicates of the Dispatches of Oct. 6 and 7, 1777, from the Commissioners, the originals of which are in the Enemy's possession, seem to require on that account a reconsideration.

His Excellency, the Minister of France, is well acquainted with the liberality of my sentiments, and I have had the pleasure of receiving repeated testimonies of his esteem for me. I am concerned that he should in any instance misconceive me. I beg likewise to have it understood that my appeal to this honorable House for a hearing yesterday was as a matter of right in the character of a freeman, which right I ought to yield up to no power whatever. I return my utmost thanks to the honorable Members of this House who endeavored to support me in that right, so sacred to themselves and to their constituents; and I have the pleasure of saying and reflecting that as I came into office an honest man, I go out of it with the same character.

I am, Honorable Sirs, your honors most obedient and humble servant,

THOMAS PAINE.