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The author explores the actions and ironies of the "ardent patriot" Silas Deane's career as diplomat and places much of the blame for Deane's downfall on Paul Wentworth.
While trying to wait out a storm that had come up on the Boston Packet Silas Deane became ill, he complained that he felt dizzy and had an oppression at this stomach....
Now let us go back to the floor of the First Congress under the new Constitution, on theseventeenth day of August, 1789. Many members of that Congress were members of the ContinentalCongress before whom Silent Silas appeared in 1778. Richard Henry Lee and Oliver Ellsworth, forexample, were in the Senate. Elbridge Gerry was in the House with a copy of George Mason'soriginal draft of the Bill of Rights in his pocket. So were many others who remembered full wellthe treachery of Silas Deane -- because they felt it. The one who felt it most, perhaps, was GeorgeWashington. He could never think of Valley Forge without thinking of Silas Deane.
While the Revolution was raging, on March 3, 1781, George III wrote to Lord North requesting himto let Silas Deane have 3000 pounds in goods for America in return for Deane's services inseeking to bring about discord among the confederated states of America and restoring theirallegiance to him. "Divide and conquer" was the plan then, as in all ages and Deane was thetool. On July 19, 1781, George III wrote to Lord North expressing fear that Deane was showinghis hand and giving "too much appearance of being connected with this country." In anotherletter George III stated to Lord North that Deane's letters, which were being published in theAmerican newspapers, were "too strong in our favor to bear the appearance of his spontaneousopinions". George III then outlined the kind of letter he thought Deane should write forpublication in America.
Silas Deane was allowed to go back to Europe in 1779 for the asserted purpose of collectingdocumentary proofs of his innocence. Once there he could never find it convenient to come backhome. While in Europe certain of his private letters were intercepted and published that leftlittle doubt to patriots of that day that Deane was playing the part of a loyal subject to hisking and a traitor to his country. Old Tom Paine took his revenge in of March13, 1782.
It appeared to some that Silas Deane had surrounded himself with a cell of spies, including thefamous spy, Dr. Bancroft, who lived in the same house with Deane and Dr. Franklin, where thebrilliant and suspicious Arthur Lee was unwelcome. It was suspected that it was throughBancroft and Deane that the English authorities knew everything that Franklin knew and thatDeane knew. England was able to intercept ships bound for America, and her ministers had listsof the cargoes that were found in the holds of those ships. Deane had also entered into acommercial partnership with Robert Morris and was making a nice personal profit out ofcommercial transactions he was authorized to execute in behalf of the United States.
One of the during the Revolution reads as if torn from the of 1954. In August, 1778, Silas Deane had two audiences with theContinental Congress in Philadelphia at the request of the Congress. In other words theContinental Congress Silas Deane. His loyalty had been questioned. He was one ofthe commissioners serving with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee in France, seeking to purchasematerials and equipment for the use of our continental forces in the American Revolution. Scoresof soldiers of fortune showed up in America with "agreements" signed by Deane entitling many ofthem to outrank American officers. Thomas Conway was one of them. He conspired to displaceWashington as commander in chief. Remember the "Conway Cabal"? The Congress and the harassedcontinental army staffs were amazed and disgusted. Arthur Lee early suspected the disloyalty ofSilas Deane and both he and his brother, William Lee, also in Europe, reported certain facts andcircumstances pointing to waste and possible subversion by Deane. Deane was called home to makea report of his stewardship and was displaced at his station in Passy, France, by John Adams.
In this intriguing teaser, the authors explore an unsolved historical mystery, “The Strange Death of Silas Deane,” to illustrate that history is not merely what happened.
It invited students (1) to rate, on a scale of one to five, the usefulness of the first-day group work on “Silas Deane” in helping prepare them to understand the reading and complete the fastwrite successfully, (2) to explain their rating; (3) to explain what history is not and what it is; (4) to rate, on a scale of one to five, the usefulness of the group work on “Silas Deane” in helping them get to know one another; and (5) to explain their rating.
Silas Deane Online provides the user with lessons to start your research, some documents chosen to help the user reach a basic understanding of this provocative American, and an extensive bibliography for the user to pursue his or her own research.
While trying to wait out a storm that had come up on the Boston Packet Silas Deane became ill, he complained that he felt dizzy and had an oppression at this stomach.