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Ordered, That two members be added to the committee on the letter, of 19th February, from Baron d'Arendt, in the room of Mr. [Alexander] McDougall and Mr. [Meriwether] Smith:

The members, Mr. (James) Madison and Mr. [Artemas] Ward.

Adjourned to 10 o'Clock to Morrow.

THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 1781

A letter, of 31st of March, from General Washington, was read; Whereupon,

On motion of Mr. (John] Mathews, seconded by Mr. [William] Sharpe,

Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled, approve of the reasons given by the Commander in Chief, for not exchanging Lieutenant Colonel Hill for Lieutenant Colonel du Buysson.

A letter, of the 7th March, from the governor of Connecticut, was read, enclosing a memorial from sundry continental troops, inhabitants of Westmoreland, and a letter from Moses Bush, relative to the ship Bourbon; 3

Ordered, That the memorial be referred to the Board of War, and that the letter from M. Bush be referred to the Board of Admiralty.

A petition from John Hall was read:

Ordered, That it be referred to the Board of Treasury to take order.

A letter, of 23d of March, from the governor of New York, was read, enclosing a copy of an act authorising Congress to levy a duty on foreign merchandise imported into that State.

From this point the entries are by George Bond.
2 This letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 152, X, folio 27.

3 This letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 66, II, folio 188. The memorial is in No.41, X, folio 538.

86382°-VOL 19-12-23

A letter, of February 16th, from Egbert Benson, was read, signifying his acceptance of the office of procurator in the State of New York.1

A memorial from John Ross, and a letter, of the 3d, from E. Forman, were read: 2

Ordered, That the committee appointed to estimate the amount of the debts due from the United States, take into consideration the public debt and finances, and state the same with the necessary estimates for the current year as near as can be done, in order that the same may be laid before the respective legislatures.

Agreeable to the order of the day, the report of the committee appointed "to devise and report the mode for appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas," was taken into consideration; and, Thereupon,

The Committee appointed to devise and report the mode of appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, do now report, that they have essayed a draught of a bill for that purpose, which they submit to the correction of Congress.

The United States in Congress assembled, agreed to the following Ordinance for establishing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies

committed on the high seas. Whereas by the ninth article of the confederation and perpetual union of the Thirteen United States of America, it is agreed, that the United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power (inter alia) of appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas. And whereas it is expedient that such courts should be speedily erected, and it is reasonable that the same mode of trial should be adopted for offenders of this kind on the high seas as is used for offenders of the like sort upon the land,

1 Hall's petition, dated April 4, 1781, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 42, III, folio 413; the New York letter is in No. 67, II, folio 362, and the act enclosed is in No. 75, folios 157-162; Benson's letter is in No. 78, IV, folio 77.

2 Ross's memorial, dated April 5, 1781, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 41, VIII, folio 298; Forman's letter is in No. 78, IX, folio 459.

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Be it therefore ordained, and it is hereby ordained by the United States of America in Congress assembled, and by the authority of the same, that all and every person and persons who heretofore have committed, or who hereafter shall commit, any piracy or felony upon the high seas, or who shall be charged as accessories to the same, either before or after the fact, may and shall be enquired of, tried and judged by grand and petit juries, according to the course of the common law, in like manner as if the piracy or felony were committed upon the land, and within some county, district or precinct in one of these United States. And the justices of the supreme or superior courts of judicature, and judge of the Court of Admiralty of the several and respective states, or any two or more of them, are hereby constituted and appointed judges for hearing and trying such offenders.

And be it further ordained, that if any person or persons shall be indicted for any piracy or felony done, or hereafter to be done, upon the high seas, or as accessories before or after the fact, either on the land or upon the seas, by a grand jury for any county, district, or precinct within any of these United States, before the justices of the supreme or superior court and judge of the admiralty, or any two of them, that then such order, process, judgment and execution shall be used, had, done and made to and against every such person and persons, so being indicted, as against robbers, murderers, or other felons for robbery, murder, or other felony done upon the land within such county, district, or precinct, as by the laws of the said State is accustomed; and the trial of such offence or offences, if it be denied by the offender or offenders, shall be had by twelve lawful men of the said county, district, or precinct; and such as shall be convicted of any such offence or offences, by verdict, confession, or otherwise, in the said court, shall have and suffer such pains of death, losses of lands, goods and chattels, or other punishment, and by the same authority as if they had been convicted and attainted of any robbery, felony or other the said offences done upon the land; and shall be utterly excluded the benefit of clergy where the same is taken away or not admitted for such like offences committed within the body of a county, or on land where such trial shall be had.

And be it further ordained, that if there shall be more than one judge of the admiralty in any of the United States, that then, and in such case, the supreme executive power of such State may and shall commissionate one of them exclusively to join in performing the duties required by this ordinance.

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And be it further ordained, that all losses and forfeitures of lands, goods and chattels, incurred upon any such conviction and attainder, shall go and belong to the State in which the said conviction and attainder shall happen, towards the support-of-the-government thereof be had.

Signed by-order-of-the United States of Amorica in congress assembled

Ordained the day-of in the fifth yearof our Independence, and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred And eighty

One.

Done by the United States in Congress assembled, the fifth of April, 1781, and in the fifth year of our Independence.

The delegates for the State of Maryland laid before Congress a list of arms and ammunition wanted for the use of that State, which was read:

Ordered, That the same be referred to the Board of War to take order.

The committee to whom was re-committed their report on the estimate of articles for the quartermaster's department, and the committee on instructions to the captains of private armed vessels, delivered in their respective reports.

The motion of thanks, passed yesterday, being amended, was passed as follows:

Resolved, That the President transmit the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled to the Count de Rochambeau and the Chevalier Destouches, commanders of the army and fleet sent by his Most Christian Majesty to the succour of his allies, for the zeal and vigilance they have, on every occasion, manifested to fulfil the generous intentions of their sovereign and the expectations of these States:

That he present their particular thanks to the Chevalier Destouches and the officers and men under his command, for the bravery, firmness and good conduct displayed in the late enterprize against the enemy at Portsmouth, in Virginia,

1 This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 31, folio 281. Another copy is in United States Revolution, VI.

2 Here Charles Thomson resumes the entries.

in which, although the accomplishment of the object was prevented by unforeseen events, the arduous contest so gallantly and advantageouly maintained, on the 16 March last, off the capes of Chesapeak bay against a superior British fleet does honor to the arms of his Most Christian Majesty, and is a happy presage of decisive advantages to the United States.

Adjourned to 10 o'clock to Morrow.

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 1781

A letter, of 23 March, from Major General Greene, was read:1

Ordered, That it be referred to the Committee of Intelligence.

A representation from the delegates of Connecticut respecting the schooner Spy, was read; Whereupon,

Ordered, That the accounts of the schooner Spy, Robert Niles, master, be referred to the Board of Treasury to be liquidated and adjusted in specie value, and the sum due on such adjustment be placed to the credit of the State of Connecticut in specie, to draw an interest of six per cent. per annum from the time the same became due until paid.

A letter, of this day, from Josiah Throop, was read.?

A motion was made by Mr. (John) Mathews, seconded by Mr. [Thomas] McKean:

That Congress proceed immediately to the consideration of the present state of the affairs of these United States, in order that full information may be obtained thereon, and such measures adopted, as, in the opinion of Congress, shall appear best calculated effectually to prosecute the war against the enemies of these United States; to satisfy the creditors thereof, and restore the public credit: that for this

1 This letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 155, II, folio 13. 2 The Connecticut representation is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 66, II, folio 190; Throop's letter is in No. 78, XXII, folio 461.

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