« ForrigeFortsett »
sylvania in Favor of Col. James Wood to enable him to furnish an Officer to be sent to Connecticut on public business with moneys to bear his Expences; Or
Resolved, That the executive of the State of Maryland be and hereby are requested to pay to Colonel James Wood, superintending the Convention prisoners, fifteen thousand dollars of the old emissions, or an equivalent in the bills emitted pursuant to the act of Congress, of the 18 March, 1780, to enable him to comply with the orders he has received from the Board of War, and charge the same to the United States, for which sum he is to be accountable.
A memorial from the honorable the Minister of France was read:
The Chevalier de la Luzerne, minister plenipotentiary of France, by a memorial informed Congress, That the king, being made acquainted with the situation of the affairs of the confederacy, had resolved to continue during the next campaign the land and sea forces which are now in this continent. That unforeseen obstacles had prevented the junction of the second divisio : of sea forces with the first, as soon as was expected; but that it was to sail as soon as possible; and that Congress should use their utmost exertions to have their army ready for action without the least delay.
But while the king, actuated by his love for the United States, of his mere motion was giving them succours which he was under no obligation to do, and out of regard to them lessened the efforts which he could have made for his own advantage, he had reason to expect a proportionable activity from Congress; and he hopes that the United States, which have so much to gain or lose by the issue of the contest, will employ all their resources in the present conjuncture; and that the Congress which
is entrusted with their dearest interest will hasten to * This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 147, VI, folio 317.
adopt effectual measures for conducting matters to a happy issue.
The Chevalier de la Luzerne, when he communicated to the king the news of the final ratification of the confederation, thought himself warranted to assure his majesty that this event would have a happy influence on the councils of this republick; that they would thereby acquire all the energy necessary for conducting the important business entrusted to them; that the union would receive new force; and he did not doubt but the ensuing campaign would give decisive proofs of this. And the minister relies that his hopes, which are the same as are entertained by the whole continent, will not be disappointed. It is at the same time essential, while Congress are making the necessary arrangements for the ensuing campaign, that they should know for certain that they are to count only on their own resources for defraying the expenses that it will require. The frankness of the king, and the friendship he bears to the United States, will not permit him to encourage an errour which they appear to be in, with respect to the pecuniary aids which they seem to expect. The desire of securing their independence had induced his majesty to exceed the measure of the engagements he had contracted with them; and he will continue to support their interests, either by powerful diversions or by immediate succours; and they may rely not only on his most scrupulous punctuality in the execution of his engagements, but upon all the extraordinary assistance which it will be in his power to give them. But as to pecuniary aids, the enormous expenses of the present war, and the necessity of preserving credit, which is the only means of providing for those expenses, do not permit his majesty's ministers to give Congress the least hope in that respect. The Chevalier de la Luzerne will not dissemble that his court was exceedingly surprised on being informed of the step which Congress had taken in disposing of bills drawn on their minister, although they could not be ignorant that they had no funds for discharging them. This is a conduct totally inconsistent with that order which his majesty is forced to observe in his finances, and he has no doubt but, in future, Congress will most studiously avoid a repetition of it. He has nevertheless resolved to discharge the bills which became due last year, to the amount of one million of livres; and it is probable his majesty will be able to provide funds to the amount of three millions for the discharge of those which will become due in the course of the present year. The king's ministers have also procured for Mr. Franklin,whose zeal,wisdom and patriotism deserve their utmost confidence, the sums necessary for the purchase he is ordered to make. These
expenses, joined to those occasioned by sending a fleet and army to this continent, far exceed what Congress had a right to expect from the friendship of their ally; and the Chevalier de la Luzerne is persuaded, that from this moment Congress will abstain from that ruinous measure of drawing bills of exchange without the previous knowledge and consent of his majesty's ministers. And as their attention is employed in what may be most for the convenience of the United States, they propose that Congress should furnish the fleet and army of his majesty which are in this country with the necessary provisions, and receive in payment bills on the treasury of France, which will be punctually discharged. As to the manner in which this arrangement may be made, the minister will have the honour of entering into a minute discussion with a committee which he begs Congress would be pleased to appoint to confer with him on the subject.
The above was referred to a committee of six, namely, Mr. [Joseph] Jones, Mr. S[amuel] Adams, Mr. [Thomas] Burke, Mr. [Thomas] McKean, Mr. [James] Madison and
Mr. [John] Hanson. Ordered, That it be referred to the committee on the letter, of December 2, 1780, from Doctor Franklin, and that three members be added to that committee:
The members, Mr. [Thomas] McKean, Mr. (James] Madison, Mr. [John] Hanson.
The Medical Committee delivered in a report.
MONDAY, MARCH 26, 1781
A letter, of 10, from the senate of Massachusetts, were read: 3
Ordered, That the letter from the senate be referred to a committee of three:
The members, Mr. [Samuel] Adams, Mr. (James] Duane, Mr. (Oliver] Wolcott.
A letter, of 19, from the governor of the State of New York to the delegates of that State, was read:
Ordered, That it be referred to a committee of three:
The members, Mr. (John] Sullivan, Mr. [Thomas] McKean, Mr. [William Churchill] Houston.
A petition of William Kinnan was read:4 1 This memorial was entered only in the manuscript Secret Journal, Foreign Affairs. It is printed in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (Wharton), IV, 328.
2 Washington's letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 152, X, folio 21. Carmichael's letter is printed in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (Wharton), IV, 99.
3 The Governor's letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 65, I, folio 517; that of the Senate is on folio 521.
* This petition, dated March 26, 1781, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 41, V, folio 79.
Ordered, That it be referred to the Board of Treasury.
A memorial of John Henderson, in behalf of 0. Pollock, was read:1
On motion of Mr. [Thomas] McKean, seconded by Mr. (Joseph] Montgomery:
Ordered, That a warrant issue on Thomas Smith, commissioner of the continental loan office for the State of Pensylvania, in favour of Joseph Carleton, paymaster of the Board of War and Ordnance, for thirty thousand dollars new emissions, to enable the Board of War to comply in part with their contract for shot and shells.
A letter, of 22 February, from the governor of Virginia, was read, with a memorial enclosed from Messrs. Stodder, Kerr and North;? Whereupon,
On motion of Mr. (James) Madison, seconded by Mr. M[eriwether] Smith,
Ordered, That authenticated copies of the said memorial, protests and affidavits, be transmitted to the hon. John Adams, and that he be instructed to represent the case to which they relate to their High Mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and to claim such redress for the memorialists as justice and the law of nations require.
According to the order of the day, the motion of Mr. (James) Madison was taken into consideration, and after debate:
Adjourned to 10 o'clock to Morrow. 1 This memorial, undated, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 41, IV, folio 177.
2 The Virginia letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 71, II, folio 45; the memorial of Stodder, Kerr, and North is in No. 41, IX, folio 133.
3 This order and the preamble were also entered in the manuscript Secret Journal, Foreign Affairs.