Deane, Silas

Deane, Silas (1737-1789) Statesman, Diplomat: Deane was elected to the Connecticut Assembly, and was appointed a representative to the Continental Congress. From the Continental Congress, he was sent to France to represent the colonies, acting as America's first foreign representative. Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee joined him shortly thereafter. The three men signed treaties with France in 1778, but could not obtain enough supplies and competent foreign officers for the Continental Army. Most of the blame fell on Deane, who had promised American commissions to many incompetent European officers and was unable to account for his spending of public money. He returned to Europe in 1781 in an attempt to free himself of the charges haunting him. Deane was disgraced as a traitor when the British captured and published his letters, some of which urged friends to accept reconciliation with Britain. After that crushing blow to his reputation, Deane died in shame aboard a ship on the English Channel.