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FRIDAY, October 31, 1783. Mr. George Bond, deputy secretary, having informed, that the state of his private affairs will not suffer him to continue longer in the service of the public, and therefore tendered to Congress his resignation of the appointment of deputy secretary.
Resolved, That the resignation of Mr. George Bond, deputy secretary of Congress, be accepted; and that he be informed, Congress approve the fidelity and assiduity with which he has discharged the duties of his appointment,
On metion of Mr. Mercer, seconded by Mr. Williamson,
Resolved. That the secretary be, and he is hereby empowered and instructed, to continue to employ Mr. John Dunlap, to print for Congress; and to inform him, that Congress expect he will keep his office at the place where they
Nathan Jones, a clerk in the war-office, having informed, that he is under a necessity of quitting his office,
Resolved, That the account of Nathan Jones, a clerk in the war-office, for his salary, be made up to the first of January next, in consideration of his faithful services.
The committee, consisting of Mr. Clark, Mr. Holten and Mr. Hawkins, to whom was referred a memorial from Henry Remsen, jun. and Benjamin Bankson, clerks in the secretary's office; report,
That at a time when Congress are taking measures to reduce the national expenses, it will be highly improper to augment salaries, yet considering the increased labour of the memorialists, occasioned by the reduced number of clerks in the secretary's office, and the temporary suspension of the department for foreign affairs, the committee are of opinion, that some allowance ought to be made them for such extra services: Whereupon,
Resolved, by nine states, That there be allowed to Henry Reisen, jr. and Benjamin Bankson, the two clerks in the secretary's office, 200 dollars each for their extra services.
A contract between his most Christian majesty and the United States of America, entered into on the 25th day of February, 1783, being laid before Congress, Resolved, That the same be ratified in the terms following:
THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED,
To all who shall see these presents, send greeting: Whereas Benjamin Franklin, our minister plenipotentiary at the court of Versailles, in pursuance of the powers in him vested, did, on the 25th day of February, in the year 1783, with Charles Gravier de Vergennes, &c. counsellor of the king in all his councils, commander of his orders, minister and secretary of state, &c. vested with full power of his most Christian majesty for the purpose, enter into, conclude and sign a contract between his most Christian majesty and the United States of North-America, in the words following, viz. (Here insert the contract at large.]
Now know ye, That we the said United States in Congress assembled, impressed with a lively sense of the assistance and affection manifested by his most Christian majesty in the above contract, have ratified and confirmed, and by these presents do ratify and confirm the said contract, and every article thereof; and we do hereby empower our minister plenipotentiary at the court of Versailles, to deliver this our ratification in exchange for the ratification of the said contract on the part of his most Christian majesty. In testimony whereof, we have caused our seal to be hereunto affixed, witness his excellency Elias Boudinot
, president, this 31st day of October, 1783, and of our sovereignty and independence the eighth.
On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr. Duane, Mr. Gerry and Mr. Lee, to whom was referred a report of the secretary for foreign affairs, respecting an agent or consul at Madeira,
Resolved, That a commercial agent be appointed to assist the merchants and other citizens of these United States, trading to the Island of Madeira and Porto Santo.
The ballots being taken, Mr. John Marsden Pintard was elected. According to order, the Hon. P. J. Van Berckel, minister plenipotentiary from their high mightinesses the states general of the United Netherlands, was admitted to an audience:
And upon being introduced, he addressed Congress in a speech, of which the following is a translation:
GENTLEMEN OF TIE CONGRESS, Previous to my laying before you the commission with which their high mightinesses the states general of the United Netherlands have honored me, permit me to express the joy I feel on finding myself this day in this assembly, and meeting those illustrious men whom the present age admires, and whom posterity will always point to as models of patriotism, and whose merits eternity itself can alone recompense.
While all Europe kept its eyes fixed on your exploits, their high mightinesses could not refrain from very seriously interesting themselves therein, recollecting as they always did the dangers and difficulties to which their fore-fathers were subjected, before they could free themselves from the yoke in which they were enthralled. They knew better than any other the worth of independence, and they knew better to set a just value on the greatness of your designs. They applauded your generous enterprise, which was inspired by a love of your country, conducted with prudence and supported with heroic courage; and they rejoiced at the happy success which crowned your labuurs.
In order to convince you of their affection, and the part they take in whatever regards your republic, my masters have charged me to congratulate you on the accomplishment of your desire, which had for its objeet the power of your own absolute will, and the enjoyment of that inestimable and natural treasure, which places you in the rank of sovereign and independent
How flattering is it to me to find myself this day the organ and interpreter of the sentiments and dispositions of my masters, and to have it in my power to assure you, on their behalf, that there is nothing which they more ardently wish than the happiness of your republic, and the establishment of the union of your states. May this union, founded on the principles of true patriotism and a love for the public good, be cemented in such a manner, that neither false ambition, jealousy, or private interest, may ever be able to do it the least injury. May the administration of a wise and prudent government, dispense happiness and plenty among the people, and give them a glory extended from pole to pole, and as lasting as ages.
GENTLEMEN, Their high mightinesses are not content with sending compliments of congra. tulation, which are in themselves unfruitful, but being convinced that an intercourse of commerce and mutual good will, are the surest means of binding closer the sacred bonds of friend. ship, which already unite you together; they have commanded me to assure you, that they have nothing nearer at heart, than to labour effectually to render this friendship fruitful and profitable, and to contribute as far as possible to the aggrandizement of an ally, from whom they promise themselves the same efforts. This is a sketch, but a very feeble and imperfect sketch, of the sentiments of my masters, whose sincerity surpassess expression, but which is however manifested in the letter which I shall have the honor to deliver you. This, gentlemen, this is the purpose of the mission with which they have honored me. May it be in my power worthily to answer their expectation, and at the same time to gain your affection and confidence, which are so necessary for the success of my undertaking. As to myself, without guile and without artifice, I shall always conduct myself with that rectitude, candor and cordiality, which form the distinguished character of a true republican, and which is at the same time the best security for my attaining the point of my ambition, which is that of gaining the approbation of Congress, the friendship of its members, and the esteem of the United States of America.
He then delivered the letter from their high mightinesses the states general, of which the following is a translation :
TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED. Our FRIENDS AND ALLIES, With very great satisfaction did we, by the reception of the honorable Mr. Adams, your minister with our state, acknowledge the independence of your republic; and with equal and much greater delight have we received the pleasing tidings of the conclusion of the preliminary articles of peace, by which the court of Great-Britain has declared you free and independent states. We have long ardently wished for this happy period, having, for several years past, with sorrow seen the troubles and difficulties with which you were obliged to struggle. And we do most cordially congratulate you on this happy event, sincerely taking a share in your present agreeable situation.
To give a testimony of our sentiments in this respect, and to convince you of our unfeigned esteem, we have thought it proper to send to you an envoy extraordinary; we have for that purpose chosen a gentleman of distinction, whose personal qualifications are in great repute among us; the honorable Mr. Peter John Van Berckel, burgo-master of the city of Rotterdam, and a deputy in our assembly. We hope and trust that you will graciously receive this gentleman in quality of our minister plenipotentiary, and when he shall have the honor to deliver you these presents, and to enter into further negotiations with you, that you will give full faith unto bim as unto ourselves, being assured that he will not be able to express in terms too strong the sentiments of esteem and reverence which we have for a long time possessed for that wis. dom, courage and perseverance by which you have rendered yourselves famous throughout tire world,
May God grant that your rising republic may become more and more prosperous; that it may increase in lustre and glory, and subsist to the end of time.
We shall at all times rejoice in your increasing felicity; and we desire nothing more ardently than that we may maintain the strictest friendship and correspondence with you, for the good of the subjects and inhabitants of both countries.
This letter being read, the president returned the following answer to the minister:
Sir, In a contest for the rights of human nature, the citizens of the United States of America, could not but be impressed with the glorious example of those illustrious patriots, who, triumphing over every difficulty and danger, established the liberties of the United Nether. lands on the most honorable and permanent basis. Congress, at an early period of the war, sought the friendship of their high mightinesses; convinced that the same inviolable regard for liberty, and the same wisdom, justice and magnanimity which led their fore-fathers to glory, was handed down unimpaired to their posterity; and our satisfaction was great in accomplishiing with them a treaty of amity and commerce on terms so acceptable to both nations.
With the sincerest pleasure, sir, we receive the honorable testimonials of confidence and esteem of their high mightinessess, and their affectionate congratulations on the success of our efforts in the sacred cause of liberty.
We assure you, sir, that it is our earnest desire, to unite with their high mightinesses in every measure which can promote the most unreserved confidence, and the most friendly intercourse between two nations, which have vindicated their freedom amidst the most trying scenes of danger and distress, and have been equally blessed by the gracious interposition of Divine Providence, with that sovereignty and independence so essential to their safety and happiness.
Governed by the same ardent love of freedom, and the same maxims of policy; cemented by a liberal system of commerce, and earnest by disposed to advance
our mutual prosperity, by a reciprocity of good offices; we persuade ourselves that the most friendly and beneficial con nexion between the two republics, will be preserved inviolate to the latest ages.
It adds, sir, greatly to our pleasure on this interesting occasion, that therr high mightinesses have employed as their minister, a gentleman so highly celebrated for rectitude and patriotism, and from whose illustrious family these United States have received the most distinguished proofs of regard and friendship.
The secretary at war reported, that the following lines, corps and individuals, have agreed to accept the commutation of five years pay, in lieu of the half-pay for life, as appears by the papers accompanying his report:
The lines of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New-York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
Armand's legion, two light-dragoons, Hazen's regiment:
Corps of engineers, sappers and miners, Patton's and Pendleton's artificers, Van Heer's troop:
Adjutant-general and family, brigadier-general Clinton: Colonel William Grayson, colonel Malcom, lieutenant-colonel Morris: •Major Franks, major Aquilla Giles, major M.Pherson, major Burnet, major Barber, major Bruin, of the artificers, captain Turper, captain Bentalou, captain John Stevens, captain M'Lane, captain Second, lieutenant Beaulieu, lieutenant Jollibois, and hospital-departinent, Dr. Tilton, Dr. Bodo Otto, Dr. Fre» derick Otto, Dr. Martin. The Rev. Mr. Ellis, Mr. Plumb, and Mr. Armstrong.
SATURDAY, November 1, 1783. On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Madison and Mr. Peters, to whom was referred a letter of 14th March, 1783, from the secretary at war:
Resolved, That all lieutenant-colonels commandant in the army of the United States, shall rank as full colonels from the date of their respective commissions, and that new commissions issue accordingly, the resolution of the 27th May, 1778, notwithstanding.
On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr. S. Huntington, Mr. A. Lee and Mr. Duane, to whom were referred a letter from captain J. P. Jones, to the agent of marine, of the 13th October, and a letter from him to Congress of the 18th of the same month,
Resolved, That captain John Paul Jones be, and he hereby is recommended to the minister plenipotentiary of the United States, at the court of Versailles, as agent, to solicit under the direction of the said minister for payment and satisfaction to the officers and crews, for all prizes taken in Europe under bis command, and to which they are anywise entitled. And that the said captain J. P. Jones, shall receive the commission usually allowed in such cases, out of the money which he shall recover as agent for the said prizes, in full compensation for his services and expepses: Provided always, that the said captain J. P. Jones, previous to his entering upon the execution of the said trust, shall give to the superintendent of finance, for the benefit of all concerned, sufficient bonds with good security, for the faithful discharge thereof, and for the just payment of the same to the said superintendent of finance, to be by him distri. buted to those persons who may be entitled thereto.
A letter, of this day, from major-general Greene, was read, stating, that the letters and miscellaneous papers, containing a history of the most material parts of the southern operations, may contain-some things which Congress or their officers may hereafter have occasion to refer to : That if Congress should think it an object worthy the expense, he would be glad to get the whole papers transcribed into bound books, and would take the trouble of directing the business, if Congress will be at the expense of a clerk to do the writing: Whereupon,
Ordered, That the secretary furnish general Greene with a clerk, to copy into a book or books, the papers or letters in his possession, relative to the southern operations; and that the record thereof be lodged in the secretary's office:
Resolved, That the agent of marine provide captain J. P. Jones with a passage to France, in the ship Washington.
On a report from the secretary at war, to whom was referred a petition from lieutenant Richard Fullerton, and a motion thereon ; Congress came to the following resolution :
Lieutenant Richard Fullerton, having acted as a volunteer at an early period of the war, particularly in the action on Long Island, and at the battles of Trenton and Princeton; and having discharged the several extra appointments of adjutant, major of brigade, and the important one of assistant adjutant-gene. ral to the soutbern army, highly to the satisfaction of his general officers :
Resolved, That the secretary at war issue to lieutenant Fullerton, the brevet commission of captain.
On motion of Mr. Ellery, seconded by Mr. Williamson,
Ordered, That the post-master general enquire into the circumstances of the mail being stolen out of the post office in Princeton, on last Thursday evening, and make report thereof to Congress.
The committee, consisting of Mr. Carroll, Mr. Duane and Mr. S. Huntington, to whom was referred a motion of Mr. Wilson, to devise means for procuring a full representation in Congress, having reported,
“ That whether from the peculiar circumstances some of the states have been under during the war, or that the states in general were not sufficiently impressed with the importance of keeping up a constant representation in Congress, the committee caunot find, on examining the journals, notwithstanding the repeated earnest recommendations for that purpose, that all the states have been represented at the same time: it appears that frequently there have not been more than nine states, and too generally not more than a competent representation for the lesser objects of the confederation. As the articles of confederation are silent upon this subject, any further than by fixing the number of delegates for each state, and by declaring how many shall constitute a representation, the committee presume such silence was in consequence of a firm reliance that the states could not be inattentive to a duty not only essential to the interests of each state, but likewise to a principle on which the federal government itself rests.
The articles of confederation requiring, for certain purposes, the agreement of nine states; and as it has seldom happened more than that number have attended, the committee conceive, that not only the injury the public and individuals have suffered hereby, have been occasioned, in many instances, by the absence of the delegates of some of the states, but likewise that the spirit of the articles of confederation have been defeated, by making an unanimity necessary, whereas nine only out of thirteen are required. And the committee are further of opinion, that unless the states pursue effectual measures for keeping up a constant representation, another material object of the confederation will be frustrated. The delays unavoidable for want of a full representation, will, they conceive, oblige Congress to remain sitting the whole year, whereas by the articles of confederation it appears, that it was expected part of the business of the United States, would be transacted by a committee of the states.
The committee therefore are of opinion, that it should be earnestly recommended to the respective states, to take the most effectual measures to obtain, at all times, while Congress are sitting, a full representation, that the delay of business, which has proved so injurious to the public, and grievous to individuals, may no longer be a subject of complaint.
Resolved, That Congress agree to the said report ;
And in order that the states may have a proper knowledge of the circumstances Congress shall be under in this respect,
Resolved, That every morning, at eleven o'clock, an account be taken of the attendance of the several delegates in Congress, and a copy thereof, together with an account of the states unrepresented, be sent to the executive of each state.
On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr. S. Huntington, Mr. Duane and Mr. Madison, to whom were referred,
among other things, a letter from the superintendent of finance, of the 15th September last, and sundry papers therein enclosed,
Resolved, That it be an instruction to the superintendent of finance, to inform the farmers general of France, that Congress are sensible of their generous attention to the circumstances of the war in which these United States have been so long engaged, and which, interrupting their commerce, deprived them of the means of seasonable remittances, to satisfy the balance so justly due on the loan made by them.
That the United States in Congress assembled, in providing for the national debt, by their act of the 18th day of April, 1783, were not unmindful of the demands of said farmers general; and when the system thereby adopted for the relief of public creditors shall have taken effect, the interest accruing on the balance due to the said farmers general will be punctually remitted: And that if this arrangement shall not prove satisfactory to the farmers general, they shall be assured in the name of the United States, that all the means in their power shall be employed to discharge the principal sum due to the said farmers general, as soon as the condition of the public finances will admit.
On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Lee and Mr. Duane, to whom was referred a memorial of lieutenant William Stewart, • Resolved, That the superintendent of finance take order for paying lieutenant William Stewart, two months pay on account.
On motion of Mr. Holten, seconded by Mr. Williamson,
Resolved, That the several matters now before Congress, be referred over and recommended to the attention of the United States in Congress assembled, to meet at this place on Monday next.
MONDAY, November 3, 1783. Pursuant to the articles of confederation, the following delegates attended :
FROM THE STATE OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE. Mr. A. Foster, who referred to bis credentials dated the 18th of February, 1783, read in Congress the 29th of July last, and recorded in the book of credentials, page 83.
MASSACHUSETTS. Mr. E. Gerry, who produced a certificate under the seal of the state, signed John Avery, Vol. IV.