To Jonathan Williams, Merchant November 26, 1781
From the original letter at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia Nov. 26th. 1781
Since my arrival I have received a letter from you dated Passy May 18, and directed to me at Brest. I intended writing to you by Mr. Baseley who is counsel at L’Orient but neglected it till it was too late — Mem: I desired Baseley to mention to you that Mr. Butler of S: Carolina is surprised at Capt. Rob-n’s drawing on him for money; this, Mr. Butler mentioned to me, and as a friend I communicate it to you. — I sent you Col. Laurens’s draft on Madam Babut (I think that is her name) at Nantes for 12 L’ d’ors for the expense of the Journey but have never learned if you received it.
Your former friend Silas Deane has run his last length. In france he is reprobating America, and in America (by letters) he is reprobating france, and advising her to abandon her Alliance, relinquish her independance and once more become subject to Britain. A number of letters signed Silas Deane, have been published in the New York papers to this effect: they are believed, by those who formerly were his friends, to be genuine. Mr. Robt. Morris assured me that he had been totally deceived in Deane, but that he now looked upon him to be a bad man, and his reputation totally ruined. Governeur Morris hopped round upon one leg, swore they had all been duped, himself among the rest, complimented me on my quick sight, — and by God says he nothing carries a man through the world like honesty: — And my old friend Duer “sometimes a sloven and sometimes a Beau” says, Deane is a damned artful rascal. However Duer has fairly cleared himself. He received a letter from him a considerable time before the appearance of these in the New York papers — which was so contrary to what he expected to receive, and of such a traitorous cast that he communicated it to Mr. Luzerne the Minister.
Lord Cornwallis with 7247 officers and men are nabbed nicely in the Chesapeake, which I presume you have heard already, otherwise I should send you the particulars. I think the enemy can hardly hold out another campaign. Genl Greene has performed wonders to the Southward, and our affairs in all quarters have a good appearance — The French Ministry have hit on the right scheme, that of bringing their force and ours to act in conjunction against the enemy.
The Marquis de Lafayette is on the point of setting out for France, but as I am now safely on this side the water again, I believe I shall postpone my second journey to France a little longer — Lest Doctr. Franklin should not have heard of Deane I wish you would write to him — and if anything new transpires in the mean time and the Marquis do not set off too soon I shall write by him.
Remember me to Mr. & Mrs. Johnstone, Dr. Pierce Mr. Watson and Ceasey and Mr. Wilt. Make my best wishes to Mrs. Williams, Mr. Alexander, and all the good girls at St. Germain —
I am your friend and Obt. Hble servt,
P. S. Mind, I’ll write no more till I hear from you — The French fleet is sailed from the Chesapeake, and the British fleet from New York — and since writing the above, a vessel is come up the Delaware, which informs, that he was chased by two french frigates to the southward of Chesapeake, which, on their coming up acquainted him that the french fleet was a head in chase of a fleet which they supposed to be the British. — N. B. The french fleet sailed the 4th of this month, and the British much about the same time — both to the southward —