To the Honorable Congress of the United States March 30, 1779

From the original letter at the Library of Congress.

To the Honorable Congress of the United States March 30, 1779

Philadelphia March 30th 1779

Honorable Sirs

On the 19th Inst I applied by letter to this honorable House, requesting a copy of their proceedings respecting me from Jany 2d to Jany 16th, the day on which the papers of the foreign committee were taken out of my keeping: And by a personal application to Mr. Thomson your Secretary I have since learned that nothing has been done thereon.

I am thus laid under the necessity of renewing my application to Congress for copies of all papers and Proceedings respecting me, except copies of my own Letters of Jany 6th 7th & 8th, and March 19th —

Were I asking a favor I should address my language accordingly, but my application being a matter of right, I cannot discredit the latter by giving it the disguise of the former. I conceive that the character of no Person can be constitutionally secure, where a formal judgment can be discretionarily produced and published and the grounds and proceedings on which that judgment is founded withheld, or subject to future and private alterations.

Congress have published their Judgment in a Resolution of Jany 12th and I have a right to know the proceedings. That Resolution is prefaced, in the Pennsylvania Packet with a letter signed “]ohn Jay”; yet as far as I have a right to know, that letter may be spurious; for as I have never been wanting in any duty I could perform, or service I could render, to America or her allies, I ought not to believe that the Honorable President of Congress would address a letter to the Minister of France, which by a very close laid implication holds me up as deserving the “Indignation and resentment of both countries.

I ought likewise not to believe, that at the time I was innocently suffering public abuse for endeavouring, in the sincerity of good will, to justify this honble house from Mr. Deane’s libellous publication of Decr 5th, that any gentleman, a member of this House, would add to the burthen of that undertaking so necessary at that time to the injured and insulted character of Congress, and withal feel so little for himself and the dignity of the State he represented, as to prefer the dishonor of the libel by discrediting the detection of the libeller.

Neither ought I to believe, that, while, apprehensive of clandestine conduct in Mr. Deane to the injury and inconvenience of the United States, I was endeavoring, both officially and otherwise, to collect information on the points in question respecting his proceedings that any Member of this honorable House would use his Vote and Influence to prevent such information, and thereby to fix on his constituents, a Man, who, there were many reasons to believe was unworthy their Esteem and undeserving their Confidence.

Furnished with opportunities and anxious in my wishes to support the interest of the united States, I very soon became possessed of many suspicious Circumstances respecting Mr. Deane and judging to what issue they would lead and render at that time of the personal reputation of Congress, I sent in the most pressing letters of January 6th, 7th and 8th hoping thereby to prevent a precipitate determination on a business which to my knowledge was not sufficiently before the House, the result of which, I had reason to conclude, would contradict the beginning. For though Congress might have reasons to declare that the supplies were not a present from His most Christian Majesty, yet those reasons could form no grounds whereon to conclude they were “not a present” because the Commissioners letter of the 30th of Novr 1777 would have informed you that you were left “to consider them as the effects of private benevolence

Thus frustrated in my endeavours to promote the Interest of the united States, to cement the affections of the Countries in alliance, and to guard even the* Personal* Honor of Congress, by detection in the first instance, and by intimation in the last, I am now anxious to know what returns they severally made to me, that I may not render Evil for good.

I am Honorable Sirs your Honors Obt Hble Servant