Editor says, what if the American merchant ship carrying Silas Deane had been intercepted by the British? muses Jeff Provine on the This Day in Alternate History web site. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s). This article is part of the Jeff Provine Blog thread.
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Editor says, in reality Silas Deane arrived in France and established negotiations with the French Foreign Minister, Comte de Vergennes. He secured two hundred brass cannons, thirty mortars, weapons, ammunition, tents, and gear for 30,000 men, in addition to key figures such as Lafayette and Baron von Steuben who would train Americans to military prominence. However, upon the arrival of Franklin and Arthur Lee, Deane was accused of profiteering, disgraced without proof, bankrupt, and barred from the United States as a traitor. He would die of mysterious illness in 1789 after finally settling affairs in Europe, possibly poisoned by double agents. Editorial comments are entered in [light green] typeface.