SERIES of events which occurred at the end of 1778, including Deane's publication of December 5 and Paine's altercation with Deane and Gérard and his final resignation from the secretaryship of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, made it clear that there would be much unsavory business in Congress during 1779. Our present interest in the events of that year centers around the questions of the Western boundary and the navigation of the Mississippi, but these matters were so inextricably involved in the factional strife then in progress that it is necessary to turn our attention first to that subject.
While Deane was waiting upon Congress for the settlement of his accounts Arthur Lee laid before that body his interpretation of the activities of the American commissioners in Paris both while Deane was there and after his departure. Franklin was still domiciled with Chaumont at Passy, and Dr. Bancroft and Samuel Wharton were in attendance upon him. Captain Thomas Hutchins of the British Army, the erstwhile surveyor for Vandalia, was in London carrying on his correspondence with Wharton and engaging, with Thomas Walpole, in speculation in British stocks on the basis of inside information received from Wharton.1
Franklin took no direct part in these transactions, but he had been warned that Bancroft was engaged in such speculations and he knew that information used for that purpose was very likely, if not certain, to be accessible to the British government also. Furthermore, it is extremely unlikely that Wharton and Hutchins could have carried on a correspondence through the necessary secret channels without Franklin knowing of it. These channels were open to Wharton only because Franklin controlled them. And if Franklin was not acquainted with the character of Bancroft, his long association with Wharton had made him thoroughly familiar with the dishonest methods of that merchant-speculator. Of the____________________