To M. Gerard January 2, 1779
From the original letter at the New York Historical Society:
Philadelphia, January 2d, 1779.
As I feel much concern at the interpretation which you supposed my last publication would admit of, so I feel much impatience to relieve both your anxiety and my own. My continuation of the piece will appear on Tuesday.
I thank you for communicating your apprehensions to me; it will make me more explicit on the Subject, for my deign was and is to place the merit of these supplies where I think the merit is most due, that is in the disposition of the french nation to help us, “in the time of our greatest wants” these were the words I used in the papers of to day. And my full opinion is, that whether M Deane had been there or not, those Supplies would have found their way to America — Yet I mean not to deprive him of what Share may be his due, tho I cannot believe it to be very great.
It is my wish it is my earnest desire to lead the people of America to see the friendship of the french nation in the light they ought to see it; they have deserved much from us of friendship and equal benevolence — And I think I am justified in saying, which is I believe the truth, and on honour which france is justly intitled to, that had America not succeeded, the supplies would have generously submitted to the loss.
I am under no obligation to Congress otherwise than the honour they did me in the apointment. It is in every other light a disadvantage to me — I serve from principle. No member of Congress knows what I write till it appears in public, and this being the plan I go upon, I request for the Sake of the union which has so happily taken place that you will not misapprehend my design.
I am Dear Sir Your Obt humble servt
Signed Ths Paine.
P. S. An anxiety to give you notice when my next would appear is the cause of my writing this.
Response, de M Gerard. (Copied by Paine onto this copy.)
Philadelphia January 2d. 1779.
The attention which you show to me in giving me notice of the time of the publication which shall take place to morrow requires my thanks, and I deliver them to you with pleasure and confidence.
I am fully persuaded that you will remember that all what I had the honor to say to you has no reference to any person and that I have care but for the direct honor and interest of my Court and that my desire is rather that all personal reference should be avoided as far as it could start questions which which would be desirable, should be avoided; but the sentiment you profess leave no occasion to fear about this delicate object that commands my most serious concern.
I am with great regards.
Je soupigne certifie les copies ci depris veritables et conformes aux Originaux. A Philadelphia le 15 Octobre 1779. Gerard.