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out the propriety of cultivating with them a friendly correspondence and connection:
That to render such an intercourse advantageous, the necessity of a competent knowledge of the interests, views, relations, and systems of those potentates, is obvious:
That a knowledge, in its nature so comprehensive, is only to be acquired by a constant attention to the state of Europe, and an unremitted application to the means of acquiring well grounded information:
That Congress are moreover called upon to maintain with our ministers at foreign courts a regular correspondence, and to keep them fully informed of every circumstance and event which regards the public honor, interest, and safety:
That to answer those essential purposes, the committee are of opinion, that a fixed and permanent office for the Department of Foreign Affairs ought forthwith to be established, as a remedy against the fluctuation, the delay and indecision to which the present mode of managing our foreign affairs must be exposed”; Whereupon,
That your Committee are further of Opinion-that the most efeetual mode of condueting the Business of the Department-for-foreign-affairs woud be thro’s Minister-Fested-with-Confidential powers after the Ex amplo of othor nations, responsible for his Trust and under the immediate Direction of Congress
That thoro aro howovor obstacles to be-apprehended which-mat retard the Introduetion of sueh a plan; and as a provision which can be-earried into immediate praetiee is indispensably necessary, Four Committee therefore submit the following Resolution:
Resolved, That an office be forthwith established for the Department of Foreign Affairs, to be kept always in the place where Congress shall reside:
That there shall be a secretary for the despatch of the business of the said office, to be stiled “Secretary for foreign affairs:”
That it shall be the duty of the said secretary to keep and preserve all the books and papers belonging to the Department of Foreign Affairs; to receive and report the applications of all foreigners; [to correspond with the ministers of the United States at foreign courts, and with the ministers of foreign powers and other persons, for the purpose of obtaining the most extensive and useful information relative to foreign affairs, to be laid before Congress when required; also to transmit such communications as Congress shall direct, to the ministers of these United States and others at foreign courts, and in foreign countries;] the said minister secretary shall have liberty to attend Congress, that he may be better informed of the affairs of the United States, and have an opportunity of explaining his reports respecting his department; [he shall also be authorized to employ one or, if necessary, more clerks to assist him in the business of his office; and the secretary, as well as such clerks, shall, before the president of Congress, take an oath of fidelity to the United States, and an oath for the faithful execution of their respective trusts.]
That a Committee-of-Congress-consisting-of-three-members of whom the president shall always be one shall-have-the-superintendanee and
direetion of the Department of foreign affairs and that the Negativa
Seeretary for-foreign-affairs-shall-be-subjeet-to-their-Instruetions and Submit all his correspondence and proceedings to their Inspection,
Adjourned to 10 o'Clock to Morrow.
Two letters, of 10th, from the committee appointed to confer with the supreme executive of Pensylvania; and one,
, of 7th, from Major General St. Clair, were read:
Ordered, That the letter from the committee be referred to a committee of three.
1 This report, in the writing of James Duane, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 25, I, folio 311, and was delivered June 12, 1780. The portions in brackets were not in the report, but were added during the debate.
The members, Mr. [James] Duane, Mr. (James) Lovell, Mr. [Thomas] Burke.
A letter, of 31 December, from E. Blaine, was read:1
The members, Mr. [Joseph] Montgomery, Mr. [Abraham] Clark, Mr. (James) Duane.
A memorial from Lieutenant Colonel Fleuri was read :2 Ordered, That it be referred to the Board of War.
A report from the Board of Treasury, on the letter of J. Pierce, was read:
TREASURY OFFICE January 10, 1781. The Board of Treasury represent for the Information of Congress
That from the Entries in the Treasury Books it appears that a Balance is due from the Respective States upon the Monthly Tax of fifteen Million of Dollars per month; to the month of February, 1780, inclusive 42,491,28437 Dollars as will more particularly appear by the Paper herewith sent, wherein the separate balances are particularly specified; as a part of these Balances three Warrants have been drawn in favor of the Commissary General of Purchases in Consequence of a Resolution of Congress of the 26th of August last. One on the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey for 281,435 Dollarsone on the Treasurer of the State of New York for 647,810 Dollarsand one on the Treasurer of the State of Pennsylvania for 268,04938 dollars, none of which warrants are paid as this Board believe, and therefore it is considered the balance stated above is due.
That from any information received from the respective Treasurers of the different States, it is not probable that any more money will be brought in, in Discharge of their Quotas aforesaid up to the first of March last in the old money.
The Board also lay before Congress another Paper which will shew the whole amount of the four Tenths of the Money of the 18 of March subject to the order of Congress and the amount of the Warrants already drawn as a part of that money.
The Board have not received any information from the Loan officer of the State of New Hampshire and can't say that the new
One Pennsylvania letter of 10th is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 20, II, folio 97; the other is in No. 152, IX, folio 465; St. Clair's letter is in No. 152, IX, folio 451; Blaine's letter is in No. 165, folio 331.
This memorial is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 147, VI, folio 135.
Bills are in circulation. The Loan officer of the State of Massachusetts informs that on the 10th of November last the Treasurer had drawn from him 300,000 dollars in the new Bills. No information from the Loan officer of Rhode Island. No information from the Loan officer of Connecticut. The Loan officer of the State of New York has sent forward to the Treasurer 600,000 Dollars in Cancelled bills. The Loan officer of New Jersey has sent forward to the Treasurer 1,180,87238 Dollars in Cancelled Bills.
The Treasurer of Pennsylvania has not taken into the Loan office of that State any money to Exchange as this Board is informed by the Loan officer.
The Loan officer of Maryland has sent forward one hundred and fifteen thousand dollars old Emissions to be destroyed.
No information has been received from the Loan officer of Virginia.
The Board upon the Letter of John Pierce D: P; MasGeneral of the 11 of December (referred to them by Congress) beg leave further to Report,
That there are no resources they know of by which the sum of three Millions one hundred and Twenty six thousand Seven hundred and Eighty dollars can be raised within a Short time, but from the disposal of Bills of Exchange on the Ministers in Europe if Congress shall incline to adopt that measure.
That in regard to the further sum of eight hundred seventy six thousand one hundred and fifty dollars in the new Emissions to discharge the Pay of the army from the first of August to the 31 of December last, they can only propose Warrants to be drawn on the several Loan offices in such proportions as may be most likely to be answered in the shortest time; at present the Board have no knowledge of any sum of Consequence but in the State of Massachusetts Bay.1
Ordered, That the same be referred to the committee on Mr. Blaine's letter, and that two members be added to the committee.
The members added, Mr. [Samuel] Adams, Mr. (James Mitchell] Varnum.
The Board of Admiralty, to whom was referred the letter of J. Wharton, delivered in a report; Whereupon,
1 This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 34, folio 123.
ADMIRALTY OFFICE Jan.". 9th 1781. The Board of Admiralty to whom the letter of John Wharton Esq! to the Honorable the Congress of the 4th Instant respecting his resignation is referred beg leave to report
That it is not without regret they find themselves called upon to attend to the proposed resignation of M: Wharton who hath been so long, and so diligent a member of the Navy Board, but in compliance with their duty they would observe, that as from his first appointment he hath been principally employed in that branch of the business, which respects the equipping and fitting out ships, they cannot conceive that he ought to be constrained to keep his seat at that Board for the purpose of settling its accounts, and therefore they submit to Congress this Resolution.
Ordered, That the resignation of John Wharton be accepted.
And whereas the business of the Navy Board, by its present constitution cannot proceed, in case M: Wharton's resignation should be accepted, unless a member should be chosen in his room, or the only present member James Reed Esq: be clothed with authority to conduct the same, and as from the information of M: Reed, it appears to be altogether impracticable for him to settle the accounts of the Navy Board without a suitable Clerk, the Board of Admiralty therefore, provided that the aforegoing Resolution should be agreed to by Congress, and they should not think it proper to appoint a member in the room of M: Wharton, beg leave to submit the following Resolution.
Resolved, That James Reed be, and he is hereby invested with full powers for conducting the business of the navy
board in the middle department, until the further order of Congress, and that he be empowered to hire a competent clerk for the purpose of assisting him in settling the accounts of that Board.
Resolved, That Monday next be assigned for electing a director general of the hospital, and a paymaster general
to the army
This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 37, folio 455.