Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

United States at the Court of Versailles, and the memorial from the minister plenipotentiary of his Most Christian Majesty, of 24 March, was taken into consideration; and, Thereupon,

The Committee to whom were referred the letters of the 2nd and 300 of December last from the Minister Plenipotentiary from these United States at the Court of Versailles and the Memorial from the Minister Plenipotentiary of his Most Christian Majesty to these United States of the 24th of March 1781.

Report,

That upon the conference with his Most Christian Majesty's Minister Plenipotentiary, it appeared to your Committee that the Court of Versailles is at all times attentive to the situation and circumstances of these United States and extremely disposed to give every assistance which the peculiar affairs of France will admit of for extricating the affairs of these States from their difficulties and embarrassments. That his Most Christian Majesty will not only liberally perform all his engagements but also will give very powerful succours of Sea and Land forces for the operations of the ensuing Campaign. That the arrival of very considerable reinforcements of troops and ships of war may be seasonably expected; but that the disposition state and arrangement of his Finances will not admit of the supplying funds for the payment of bills of exchange drawn on the Minister of these States at his Court beyond the provisions already made which amount to one million of livres tournois for the last, and three millions of the same livres for the present year. Being however desirous of assisting these United States in measures for establishing their Finances, and for carrying their operations on with vigor and effect, his Majesty is willing that his Ministers make such arrangements respecting the supplying of his forces in America as may admit of the constituting a fund in France for the purposes of Congress, of the monies destined for the paying for such supplies, and therefore if Congress can give assurances that such supplies will be duly furnished, at the prices for which they could be purchased in specie payment shall be made by his Majesty's Paymaster in America in Bills on the Treasury of France, which shall be punctually discharged. That as this Proposition is intended for the convenience and advantage of these United States if Congress deem it inexpedient his Majesty does not wish them to adopt it; But if they deem it expedient it will be necessary that they take measures for furnishing supplies of provisions for 12 thousand land and as many Sea forces at the least.

Besides this general subject his Most Christian Majesty's Minister communicated to your Committee that the Minister of Finance in France had obtained from the Minister of these United States a' letter of credit on Congress for supplies to the amount of four hundred thousand dollars, which your Committee suppose to be the same mentioned in the letters from Dr Franklin referred to them and which appears to have been in consideration for funds to enable him to discharge the bills drawn on him by Congress.

These last supplies your Committee are of opinion ought to be furnished at all events, as well because the faith and honor of Congress requires that they should perform engagements made by their Minister for procuring funds to enable him to pay their bills and support their credit as because it is probable that the supplies may be relied on for the subsistance of the succors which his Majesty has destined for the ensuing campaign, and your Committee know of no resources in the power of Congress from whence the said supplies can be furnished except from the arrears of the specific supplies required from the States by the Resolutions of the 25th of February 1780.

Your Committee cannot discover that any powers or resources at present vested in Congress can enable them to give assurances to be relied on for supplying the provisions which are the object of the first proposition communicated to them, and therefore are of opinion that Congress ought not to enter into such engagement.

Upon the whole they submit the following Resolutions,

That the Committee be instructed to inform the Minister Plenipotentiary of his Most Christian Majesty that Congress have a just and high sense of his Majesty's friendly and liberal attention to the affairs of these United States.

That the candor and sincerity becoming honest Magistrates and faithful Allies forbid their holding up assurances of the certainty of which they have not the fullest conviction.

That the situation of the affairs of these United States does not at present afford them such assurances for furnishing supplies of provisions for the forces which his Majesty has destined for the succour of these States, to be paid for in bills drawn by his Majesty's Paymaster on the Treasury of France, and they therefore cannot avail themselves of his Majesty's good intentions for enabling them to establish such a fund in aid of their finances.

Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled will take every measure in their power for furnishing the supplies to the amount of four hundred thousand dollars for which their minister has given a letter of credit on them for entered into engagements, and will give immediate orders for forming magazines of flour, biscuit, Indian corn, and flesh provisions to be in readiness for the officers of his Most Christian Majesty:

But at the same they cannot beabsolutely-certain-that the quantity required ean-be delivered.

Ordered, That the Board of War cause Magazines of flower, Indian corn and flesh, to be formed of the arrears of the specific supplies, required by the Resolution of the 25th of February 1780 and cause

hundred weight of biscuit to be prepared from the proper materials afforded by the said specific supplies. And they lay before Congress as soon as may be a return of the supplies aforesaid.?

Ordered, That the remainder of the report be re-committed.

Ordered, That a warrant issue on Thomas Smith, commissioner of the continental loan office, in favour of Cha. Thomson, Sec', for three hundred dollars new emission, on account of money due to him.

The report of the committee on rules for conducting business was taken into consideration, and some progress being made therein;

TREASURY OFFICE April 11th 1781. The Board of Treasury having considered the petition of William Kinnan copper plate Printer to the United States referred to them by Congress the 26th ultimo setting forth the insufficiency of the pay heretofore allowed him, and praying to be allowed a salary adequate to his services; and the Board having conferred with him on the subject find, that less than five hundred pounds specie or other current money equivalent per annum will not be satisfactory to him and in their opinion is no more than a sufficiency for his services. Whereupon the following resolution is submitted:

1 This resolution was also entered in the manuscript Secret Journal, Foreign Affairs. 2 This report, in the writing of Thomas Burke, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 25, I, folio 435.

Resolved, That W. Kinnan, copper plate printer to the United States, be allowed a salary of 1333 dollars and } of a dollar specie, or other current money equivalent per annum.'

Adjourned to 10 o'clock to Morrow.

THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 1781

Ordered, That the letter, of 31 March, from the governor of Virginia, with the papers enclosed, be referred to the Board of War.

A letter, of 8, from General Washington, was read.
A letter, of 10, from J. Wilkinson, was read:2

Ordered, That Mr. Wilkinson be furnished with an extract of the letter required by him in his letter, of 10th.

A motion was made by Mr. (James) Madison:

That the Judges of Appeal in cases of capture hold their sessions at Williamsburg in the State of Virginia on the first Monday of November in each year; at Philadelphia on the first Monday of April; at Boston, Mass; Providence, R. I.; [or] Hartford in Connecticut on the first Monday of June; and at the place where Congress shall be sitting on the first Monday of September.

That when an appeal is prayed in any case and granted, the states order their respective Judges that full and fair copies in one record be sent up to the Court of Appeals.

That the appellant in every cause pay to the register of appeals thirty specie dollars or the real equivalent before the cause shall be argued--the said monies to be deducted from the salary of the said register.

That the Judges have a discretionary power of determining the costs, but that only one advocate's fee be charged upon the party who are to pay the costs at no more than thirty specie dollars for each cause or its real equivalent.

That the states be called upon to order their respective marshals to carry into immediate execution the decrees of judgment of the said

1 This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 136, V, folio 231. It was read on this day, as the indorsement indicates, but, apparently, not acted upon.

2 Washington's letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 152, X, folio 67. It is printed in the Writings of Washington (Ford) IX, 207. Wilkinson's letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 78, XXIV, folio 301.

Court under the penalty of dismission by the said Court of Appeals and action for damages in the Courts of common law at the suit of the party injured.

That the Judges of appeal in cases of capture be also the Judges for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, whose commissions shall be during good behaviour.

That their sessions be held at the places above mentioned and immediately upon the adjournment of the Court of Appeals.

That the states be called upon to order their sheriffs and Gaolers to attend the said Court when necessary; and to remove all persons charged with piracy or felony on the high seas to the goal most convenient for trial. That the States of R. I., Mass., [or] Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Virginia be requested to furnish proper apartments for holding the said Courts in their respective dominions.

That the Judges be authorised to appoint a person in each of the places above mentioned to act as register and clerk of the said Courts, whose salary shall be 890 500 specie dollars per annum, or the real equivalent to be paid quarterly yearly from the Continental Treasury, the said officer paying all the incidental charges of the Court such as wood, paper, ink &c, and also an under officer to keep the peace and attend the Court while sitting.

That the Judges be complimented with a black robe by the United States as proper to appear in during the sitting of the Courts.

That as the expences of such extensive duty in travelling, books and other matters, will be great,

That the said Judges be allowed each five thousand dollars per annum, or the real equivalent to be paid by the Continental Treasurer in quarterly payments.

That the said Judges or their Registers be allowed or entitled to no perquisites of office whatever.'

Ordered, That it be referred to a committee of three:

The members, Mr. (James Mitchell] Varnum, Mr. [Thomas] Bee, Mr. [Thomas] McKean.

On motion of the Medical Committee:

Ordered, That a warrant issue on Thomas Smith, commissioner of the continental loan office for the State of Pensylvania, in favour of Thomas Bond, jun", purveyor of the

1 This motion, in the writing of James Madison, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 36, I, folio 137.

« ForrigeFortsett »