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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesConnecticut

Silas DEANE

(1737-1789)

DEANE, Silas, a Delegate from Connecticut; born in Groton, Conn., December 24, 1737; received a classical training, and was graduated from Yale College, New Haven, Conn., in 1758; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1761 and commenced practice in Wethersfield, Conn., afterward engaged in mercantile pursuits in the same town; deputy of the general assembly 1768-1775; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776; ordered to France in March 1776 as a secret political and financial agent, and in September was commissioned as Ambassador with Franklin and Lee; negotiated and signed the treaty between France and the United States in Paris on February 6, 1778; personally secured the services of Lafayette, De Kalb, and other foreign officers; recalled in 1778 and investigated by Congress for financial misconduct; returned to Europe to secure documents for his defense; died on board ship sailing from Gravesend to Boston, September 23, 1789; interment in St. Leonard’s Churchyard in Deal, on the Kentish coast, England; in 1842 Congress voted to pay his heirs a restitution.

Bibliography

James, Coy H. Silas Deane: Patriot or Traitor? East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1975; Halsted, Janet G. “Silas Deane: Intelligence Agent and Ambassador from the Continental Congress,” M. A. Thesis, Southern Connecticut State University, 1999.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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