President John Hanson
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Third President of the United States
in Congress Assembled
November 5, 1781 to November 4, 1782
Copyright © Stan Klos, President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008
The Third United American Republic
Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789
March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 9, 1781
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789
Two days later, on November 5th, at the convening of the second USCA under the Articles of Confederation the credentials of the Delegates were entered into the record and a President was elected. The Journals report:
The following members attended: New Hampshire: Mr. [Samuel] Livermore; Massachusetts: Mr. [James] Lovell, [George] Partridge, and [Samuel] Osgood; Rhode Island: Mr. [Daniel] Mowry and [James Mitchell] Varnum; Connecticut: Mr. [Richard] Law; New Jersey: Mr. [Abraham] Clark and [Elias] Boudinot; Pennsylvania: Mr. [Joseph] Montgomery, [Samuel John] Atlee and T[homas] Smith; Maryland: Mr. [John] Hanson, Mr. [Daniel of St. Thomas] Jenifer, Mr. [Daniel] Carroll; Virginia: Mr. [James] Madison, [Edmund] Randolph, and Jo[seph] Jones; North Carolina: Mr. [Benjamin] Hawkins; South Carolina: Mr. [Arthur] Middletown, [John] Mathews, [Thomas] Bee, [Nicholas] Eveleigh, and [Isaac] Motte; and Georgia: Mr. [Edward] Telfair and N[oble] W[imberly] Jones. Their credentials being read, Congress proceeded to the election of a President; and the ballots being taken, the honorable John Hanson was elected.
On President Hanson’s election, the letters of the delegates in attendance are silent. It is noted that the USCA almost failed to achieve the minimum seven state delegation quorum on November 5th. Elias Boudinot, who was supposed to return to New Jersey on the 5th, was persuaded by the other delegates to remain in Philadelphia so New Jersey would have two representatives in the USCA thus qualifying a seventh state to convene Congress. Boudinot writes to John Stevens on November 5th:
Embarrassed on this Occasion, I was preparing to return home, having had no Idea of remaining here longer than this day, being the Terms on which I first accepted the Appointment. Indeed had this not been the Case, the exhausted State of my Finances and the derangement of my Family Affairs would oblige me to return. The monstrous Expence attending a residence in this City, must soon take away the Ready Cash of any fortune among us. However as there were only Mr. Clark & myself here, and our Presence absolutely necessary to form a Congress in this important Conjuncture, We took our Seats this Day and have proceeded to the Choice of a President, Mr. Hanson of Maryland. I shall Continue here this Week, in hopes that your honorable Houses will urge the attendance of one of the other Gentn. by that Time. I shall do myself the honor of calling on you next week, as I have some matters of great Importance I would willingly communicate to the Legislature before my Return Home. Never was there Time which required a full representation of the States more than the present as Matters of the utmost future Consequence to this rising Empire, are & must be the Subjects of constant discussion.
President John Hanson, the day after his election, responded to Philip Thomas’ letter noting that he had resigned his seat in the Maryland Assembly:
I am favored with yours by the post. I have Wrote to the speaker of the House of Delegates resigning my Seat in the Legislature Which you will immediately make public and if Mr. Johnson Will Serve pray use your influence in getting him elected. The Business of the present session will be important indeed and will require much Wisdom and Cool deliberation to conduct it properly.
It is always a pleasing task to pay a just tribute to distinguished Merit. Under this impression give me leave to assure you, that it is with inexpressible satisfaction that I present you the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, in testimony of their approbation of your conduct in the Chair and in the execution of public business; a duty I am directed to perform by their Act of the 7th instant, a copy of which I have the honor of enclosing.
When I reflect upon the great abilities, the exemplary patience and unequalled skill and punctuality, which you so eminently displayed in executing the important duties of a President, it must unavoidably be productive of great apprehensions in the one who has the honor of being your Successor. But the Choice of Congress obliges me for a moment to be silent on the subject of my own inability: And although' I cannot equal the bright example that is recently set me, yet it shall be my unremitting study to imitate it as far as possible; and in doing this the reflection is pleasing that I shall invariably pursue the sacred path of Virtue, which alone ought to preserve me free from censure. 
On the same day the President also wrote George Washington:
" I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency a copy of an Act of Congress of the 7th instant, for your information and satisfaction. Your Excellency's letters of the 27th and 31st ult. have been received and laid before Congress.
As this is the first opportunity I have had of writing to your Excellency since Congress were pleased to elect me to the singular honor of being their President, and as a literary correspondence, from our mutual situations, becomes indispensably necessary between us, give me leave to assure you, Sir, that it will not only be a pleasure of a superior nature, but invariably my study, to render that correspondence as advantageous and agreeable as possible. Any intelligence worth communicating, which first reaches me, shall be related with unreserved freedom, candor & punctuality- And permit me to hope for a similar treatment from your Excellency. Already my knowledge of your Character leads me to anticipate infinite satisfaction.
I cannot avoid mentioning that the present Aspect of our Public Affairs is particularly pleasing: And so much do we seem extricated from our perplexing difficulties, and such, I hope, is the power and force of recent Experience that we shall not relapse into our former state of imbecility and distress. The events of the present Campaign will, no doubt, fill the most brilliant pages in the history of America. May Heaven still continue to smile on our efforts!
Two days later, John Hanson considered resigning from the Presidency because of poor health, family responsibilities, and the "irksome" qualities of the "form and ceremonies" required as president. He was urged to continue by fellow members who cited the great difficulty Congress would have selecting a replacement, since only seven states were then represented. Hanson decided to remain as president, contingent upon his reelection as a delegate by the Maryland Assembly. On the 16th, he wrote to his wife Jane asking her to join him in Philadelphia:
My last was of the 13th by the post, acquainting you for the reasons I mentioned, of my intentions of resigning my Seat as president of Congress, and accordingly on Wednesday last I desired leave of absence; but some of the members Expressing their dissatisfaction at my so-soon laying Congress under the difficulty of Electing Another, (for a Difficulty there would be as the votes of Seven States are necessary and only Seven States are at present represented) I Shall Continue, unless the assembly of our State Should leave me out of their Delegation. I therefore hope you will immediately prepare to Come up, if your State of health will permit it. I have got a very good match for my Horse, And Shall Send them down about the 25th of this month.
On November 28, 1781, Maryland returned Hanson as one of its four delegates to the USCA enabling him to remain serving the United States as its President. The USCA, however, suffered from cavalier delegate attendance. Hanson, like predecessors Samuel Huntington and Thomas McKean, was required by the USCA to write the States on the deficiency of their members:
Congress feel themselves reduced to the disagreeable necessity of directing me to write to your Excellency respecting the deficiency of a Representation from your State. For a considerable time past only seven States have been represented, and those merely by the essential number of Delegates. From this information you will readily conceive, without a minute and painful detail, the numerous inconveniencies and real dangers they are subjected to, abstracted from every consideration of interest, honor and reputation.
The most important powers vested in Congress by the Confederation lie dormant at this time by reason of the unpunctuality of the Delegates of six States in point of attendance, and some of those powers too indispensably necessary to be exercised at this great and important Crisis. Permit me, Sir, to flatter myself that it is superfluous to urge anything more upon this delicate but momentous subject, and to hope that your Excellency's influence will be exerted to prevail upon your State to send forward and keep up a full Representation in future.
It was only two days later, with support of 21 delegates against 2, that Edmund Randolph's motion to take a national census failed due to Constitution of 1777 state quorum requirements not being met. Two delegations were divided and five states were unrepresented on November 17th so only six states voted YES on the census resolution. This census quorum fiasco was not forgotten in 1787 when Edmund Randolph, who would help draft the second U.S. Constitution, was sure the census would be complied with every ten years.
The Confederation government, despite the Victory at Yorktown, was off to an all too familiar shaky start in its efforts to govern the United States of America. John Hanson and the USCA, however, did not forget the superb efforts of General Lafayette defending Virginia against Cornwallis while George Washington was preparing to attack General Clinton in New York. John Hanson, at the direction of the USCA, wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette on November 24th, 1781:
It is with infinite pleasure and satisfaction, that I transmit to you the enclosed copy of an Act of Congress of the 23d instant. Believe me, Sir, that Congress being sensible of your great ability, integrity and fortitude, and your distinguished and zealous attachment to the cause of America, have, with the greatest cheerfulness, bestowed upon you the new and great marks of confidence & esteem contained in that Act-And certain I am they could not have bestowed them more worthily or with greater propriety.
I shall at this time only beg leave to assure you, that it is my most sincere & ardent prayer, that you may have a safe & prosperous voyage to your native Country; that you may receive a gracious and welcome reception from the greatest and best of Kings; and that you may arrive to an happy and pleasing interview with your Family; And permit me to indulge the Hope of your speedy return to America.
On that date the USCA also directed the Secretary for Foreign Affairs to prepare a letter for the King of France of thanks to be carried by Lafayette on his return home.
Later that month, George Washington arrived in Philadelphia on a clear crisp sunny autumn day. He was immediately received at Independence Hall being formally introduced to the USCA by two members. President Hanson rose and welcomed him remarking:
Sir: Congress, at all times happy in seeing your Excellency, feel particular pleasure in your presence at this time, after the glorious success of the allied arms in Virginia. It is their fixed purpose to draw every advantage from it by exhorting the states in the strongest terms to the most vigorous and timely exertions. A committee has accordingly been appointed to state the requisitions necessary to be made for the establishment of the army, and they are instructed to confer with you upon that subject. It is. therefore, the expectation of Congress that your Excellency would remain for some time in Philadelphia, that they may avail themselves of your aid in this important business, and it would at the same time be agreeable to them that you may enjoy a respite from the fatigues of war, as far as is consistent with the service.
To which George Washington made the following reply:
Mr. President: I feel very sensibly the favorable declaration of Congress expressed by your Excellency. This fresh proof of their approbation cannot fail of making a deep impression upon me, and my study shall be to deserve a continuance of it. It is with peculiar pleasure I hear that it is the fixed purpose of Congress to exhort the states to the most vigorous and timely exertions. A compliance on their parts will, I persuade myself, be productive of the most happy consequences. I shall yield a ready obedience to the expectation of Congress, and give every assistance in my power to their committee. I am obliged by the goodness of Congress in making my personal ease and convenience a part of their concern. Should the service require my attendance with the army upon the North River, or elsewhere, I shall repair to whatever place my duty calls, with the same pleasure that I remain in this city.
After the Commander-in-Chief returned to the field, the USCA, for the remainder of his Hanson’s term, would follow the lead of previous congresses to greatly weaken the powers of the president. This was accomplished by transferring presidential powers and duties to numerous committees, departments and federal employees. One such transference occurred in 1781 with the appointment of Robert Morris as Superintend of Finance, a modern day Secretary of the Treasury. Six months later, on December 31, 1781, the passage of Robert Morris’ plan for to establish Bank of North America was enacted. By the middle of January President Hanson and other Delegates were sending letters home praising the successful launch of the Bank by Superintendent Morris:
Our national Bank opend Monday last and many notes have been Issued-it seems to be the inclination of all ranks of people to give it all possible Credit-some notes have been brought in by the Farmers to be Exchanged what were instantly paid off in hard money. While others after finding that the money was ready went off with the notes well Satisfyed of their being equal in Value to Gold and silver. The Merchants here are throwing their money into the Bank, and taking out notes, which they find equally Answers their purposes. These notes too will be received in the Continental Treasury in discharge of Taxes. Ten or twelve Vessels are lately arrived here from the Havanna, with a large quantity of Specie, which it is said will all go into the Bank-in short from present Appearances I think there Can be no doubt, but the Credit of the Bank will in a very Short time, be so well established, that it will be in the power of the Directors, to Issue notes to any Amount they please; prudence will dictate to them, not to Issue more than they have Cash in hand, at least for some time. When those notes get Circulated through the Continent, it will be a difficult matter in Case our Enemies (I mean the disaffected) Should have designs Against the Bank, to Collect a number Sufficient to endanger its Credit; and no man or Set of men perhaps would think themselves Safe in making the Attempt.
In another important step of weakening the presidency, the USCA watered down presidential duties by successfully proposing and passing the removal of the voluminous correspondence tasks from Hanson’s office. Specifically, on January 28th, 1782 the USCA passed a resolution transferring the "signature" and other presidential communication duties to the Secretary of the United States, Charles Thomson with this resolution.
In order that the President may be relieved from that load of the business with which he is unnecessarily incumbered, that the officers at the head of the several boards executive departments lately established, may be enabled to execute the duties required of them, and that business may be conducted with regularity and despatch, Resolved, That it shall be the business of the Secretary--
1st. To transmit to the Superintendent of finance, all papers referred to him by Congress; as well as an authenticated copy of every act, ordinance and resolution of Congress touching the finances of the United States and particularly of those which relate to supplies, the expenditure of public money or the settlement of public accounts: to the Secretary at War, all papers referred to him by Congress; as well as an authenticated copy of every act, ordinance and resolution touching his department and particularly of those which relate to military preparations or the land forces of the United States and: to the Secretary or agent of marine, or to the person entrusted with the duties of the office of Secretary or agent of marine, all papers referred to him by Congress; as well as an authenticated copy of every act, ordinance or and resolution touching his department and particularly those which relate to naval preparations and maritime matters: and to the Secretary for foreign affairs, all papers referred to him by Congress; as well as an authenticated copy of every act, ordinance and resolution of Congress touching his department and particularly of those which relate to the intercourse between the U. S. and foreign nations or which it may be necessary to communicate to the Ministers of these United States at foreign courts.
2nd. To return such answers as Congress shall direct to be given to the memorials petitions and communications: To keep a daily register account of all memorials, petitions and communications received by Congress, noting therein their object and the steps taken respecting them; and lay the said account or register every day, on the table of Congress for the inspection of the members.
3rd. To return such answers as Congress shall direct to be given to the memorials, petitions and communications, except where Congress shall judge it proper that the same be given by their President, or where it shall be the duty of any of the executive departments to return such answers:
4th. To attend Congress during their sessions, and, in their recess, to attend the committee of the states, to read the public despatches, acts, ordinances and reports of committees, and to make the proper entries in the journals; to authenticate all acts and proceedings not specially directed to be authenticated by their President; and to keep a register of all treaties, conventions and ordinances:
5th. to cause to be made and laid upon the table for every State represented in Congress, a copy of every ordinance or report upon a matter of importance, and not of a secret nature, for the consideration of which a day is assigned:
6th. To keep the public seal, and cause the same to be affixed to every act, ordinance or paper, which Congress shall direct:
7th. To superintend the printing of the journals and publications ordered by Congress:
8th. To keep a book in which shall be noted in columns, the names of the several members of Congress, the State which they represent, the date of their appointments, the term for which they are appointed, and the date of leave of absence.
On that same date the USCA voted for a new “postmaster general; and, the ballots being taken, Mr. Ebenezer Hazard was elected.” On February 18th, the USCA granted George Washington broad powers to negotiate directly with Great Britain over the fate of Cornwallis and his army eliminating another duty from the John Hanson and his office.
On February 21st, the USCA debated and passed another resolution proposed by Superintendent Morris which was for the establishment of a United States Mint.
That Congress approve of the establishment of a mint; and, that the Superintendent of Finance be, and hereby is directed to prepare and report to Congress a plan for establishing and conducting the same. 
The mint, however, was never constructed under the USCA government. The U.S. Mint law was re-enacted by the Constitution of 1787 Congress as the Coinage Act of 1792. The 1782 USCA legislation, although mistakenly credited with the Mint’s creation by many John Hanson enthusiasts, was defunct ten years when the U.S. Mint opened its doors on April 2, 1792 under directorship David Rittenhouse
On February 19th, Congress and Hanson completed the reorganization of the complex Department of Foreign Affairs. Little did John Hanson and his fellow delegates realize that by 1787 this office would become the most prestigious and influential executive position in the United States of America under the collapsing federal government.
On other foreign affairs matters it was decided by the USCA in late February that President Hanson would alert Massachusetts officials to the suspicious nature of John Temple's return to Boston from London in October 1781. Temple had introduced himself to Congress in November because he had brought with him letters for Congress from John Adams written from Amsterdam, where he had visited Adams en route to America. President Hanson decided to direct his correspondence to Governor John Hancock writing:
although Mr. Temple was the Bearer of some letters from the honorable John Adams, at Amsterdam, yet the subject of the letters with which he was intrusted and of those which Mr. Adams chose to send at the same time by another conveyance, sufficiently evince that he had not the full confidence of that Minister; and that the letter which Mr. Adams took the trouble of writing respecting Mr. Temple did in no wise account for his past conduct or explain his future views or designs. Therefore, as the United States ought to be on their guard, as well against the secret arts as open force of their subtle and inveterate enemy, it is the wish of Congress that your Excellency and the Council would enquire strictly into the conduct, views and designs of Mr. Temple, and, if you are not fully convinced of the uprightness of his intentions, or if you have any apprehensions that he has, in his visits to America, been countenanced or employed by, or has acted in concert with, the British Ministry or their Agents, that you take such measures respecting him, as may put it out of his power to injure the cause of these United States.
Just day before writing Hancock, John Hanson wrote Philip Thomas about various business matters including, sadly, the sale of some of his slaves:
I have not the least inclination to purchase Mr. Bowles's Hand. Sally I am persuaded will be very easy without him-if she wants to be Sold I have no objection to let Mr. Bowles have her, at £100 (not less). Bond on Interest for the money will do. I observe Mr. Lee, Mr. Addison, and J Hanson, have advertised their Negroes for Sale. I was Surprised at it. I did not Know the motive, and wish their plan may Succeed.
President Hanson, on other monetary matters, received a letter from Maryland Governor Thomas Sim Lee in March that he and the other delegates were to be paid in "red money." These red bills were receivable for 1781 taxes at par and redeemable in bullion coins after December 25, 1784 but they were already depreciating rapidly in Philadelphia’s money exchanges. Hanson wrote the Governor
If it is meant, that the Delegates in Congress are to receive the 35/ allowance in red money, it will be prudent in us to decamp in time, for that money will be of no more use to us here than so much waste paper. I thank your Excellency for your kind offer in procuring my balance in red money.
Due to the red money fiasco, later in the week Hanson sent an urgent letter to the ever dutiful Thomas averring “… little time [I will] be in a great want of money-if you Can get me £100, it will make me easy. I should be under no difficulties if the state would remit but half of what is due me.” 
On March 19, 1782, the USCA officially thanked a “Supreme Being” when calling for a national Day of Fasting. The resolution was sent out to all the states and Generals as evidenced by this Hanson letter to Nathanael Greene:
Your two favours of the 24th January and 10th of February have been received and laid before Congress. I have now the honor to enclose a Proclamation of Congress, dated the l9th instant, assigning the last Thursday in April for fasting, humiliation and prayer. The general Affairs and transactions on the Continent seem to afford little matter either to inform or amuse. The reduction of the Islands of St. Christopher and Nevis, in the West Indies, will, no doubt, be known before this can reach you. For farther and more minute Intelligence I beg leave to refer you to Capt. Hutchins, who will have the honor of delivering this letter.
In early April, John Hanson fell ill. By April 15th the President was unable to fulfill his duties and the USCA began to debate the merits of creating an USCA office of Vice President, who would serve in the absence of the President. A motion was then made by Samuel Livermore, seconded by Mr. Elias Boudinot, in the following words:
That a Vice-president be chosen by ballot, to exercise the office of Vice-president of Congress in the absence or inability of the President, until the first day of November next; and that in case of such absence or inability, the Vice-president shall exercise all the powers of President of Congress Rejects motion to elect a vice-president upon the disability of the president; elects Daniel Carroll "chairman" during the illness of President Hanson.
The measured failed and a second motion was brought to the floor:
That whenever the President for the time being, shall be prevented, by sickness or otherwise, from attending the house, one of the members present be chosen by ballot to act as chairman for the purpose of keeping order in the house only, but that all official papers shall nevertheless be signed and authenticated by the President as heretofore.
The USCA then proceeded to the election of a chairman “…and, the ballots being taken, the Honorable D. Carroll was elected.”
Hanson’s illness spread through the family but by the end of April he wrote Thomas that he was feeling better:
I have lately had a most severe fit of Sickness but thank God am so far recovered as to be able to ride out-Little Caty has had several fits of the Ague & fever but as every fit is more moderate am in hopes she will soon get rid of it. She rides out with us every day. Your mother thank God is recovering her health tho' she has been a good deal fatigued since my illness and that of Catys… [two days later writes] I Am not yet perfectly recovered, am Generally feverish-began this morning to take the Bark, which with the help of Exercise I am hopes I shall in a few days be restored to my former health. Poor little Caty has not yet lost her Ague and fever.
During this period Minister John Adams achieved recognition from the Dutch of US Independence. On April 19th, Adams dispatched the following letter and resolutions to US Foreign Secretary Robert. R. Livingston:
John Adams to Robert R. Livingston
Amsterdam, April 19th, 1782.
To: Robert R. Livingston,
Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
Sir: I have the honour to transmit you the following resolutions of the respective provinces, relative to my admission in quality of Minister Plenipotentiary, together with two resolutions of their High Mightinesses, upon the same subject, all in the order in which they were taken.
I have the honour, etc.,
Extract from the Register Book of the Lords, the States of Friesland.
"The requisition of Mr. Adams, for presenting his letters of credence from the United States of North America to their High Mightinesses, having been brought into the Assembly and put into deliberation, as also the ulterior address to the same purpose, with a demand of a categorical answer, made by him, as is more amply mentioned in the minutes of their High Mightinesses, of the 4th of May, 1781, and the 9th of January, 1782, whereupon, it having been taken into consideration, that the said Mr. Adams would have, probably, some propositions to make to their High Mightinesses, and to present to them the principal articles and foundations upon which the Congress, on their part, would enter into a treaty of commerce and friendship, or other affairs to propose, in regard to which dispatch would be requisite.
"It has been thought fit and resolved to authorize the gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province at the generality, and to instruct them to direct things, at the table of their High Mightinesses, in such a manner that the said Mr. Adams be admitted forthwith as Minister of the Congress of North America, with further order to the said Deputies, that if there should be made, moreover, any similar propositions by the same to inform immediately their Noble Mightinesses of them. And an extract of the present Resolution shall be sent them for their information, that they may conduct themselves conformably.
"Thus resolved at the Province House, the 26th of February, 1782.
"Compared with the aforesaid book to my knowledge,
A. J. V. Sminia."
Holland and West Friesland.
Extract of the Resolutions of the Lords, the States of Holland and West Friesland, taken in the Assembly of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses. – March 28, 1782
"Deliberated by resumption upon the address and the ulterior address of Mr. Adams, made the 4th of May, 1781, and the 9th of January, 1782, to the President of the States-General, communicated to the Assembly, the 9th of May, 1781, and the 22d of last month, to present his letters of credence, in the name of the United States of America, to their High Mightinesses, by which ulterior address the said Mr. Adams has demanded a categorical answer, that he may acquaint his constituents thereof; deliberated also upon the petitions of a great number of merchants, manufacturers and others, inhabitants of this Province interested in commerce, to support their request presented to the States-General the 20th current, to the end that efficacious measures might be taken to establish a commerce between this country and North America, copies of which petitions have been given to the members the 21st; and it has been thought fit, and resolved, that the affairs shall be directed, on the part of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, at the Assembly of the States-General, and there shall be there made the strongest instances that Mr. Adams be admitted and acknowledged, as soon as possible, by their High Mightinesses in quality of Envoy of the United States of America. And the Counsellor-Pensionary has been charged to inform, under his hand, the said Mr. Adams of this Resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses."
Extract of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces. – April 8, 1782
"The Deputies of the Province of Zealand have brought to the Assembly and caused to be read there the Resolution of the States of the said Province, their principals, to cause to be admitted as soon as possible, Mr. Adams, in quality of Envoy of the Congress of North America in the following terms:
April 4th, 1782.
"It has been thought fit and ordered, that the gentlemen, the Ordinary Deputies of this Province at the generality, shall be convoked and authorized, as it is done by the present, to assist in the direction of affairs at the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, in such a manner that Mr. Adams may be acknowledged as soon as possible as Envoy of the Congress of North America; that the letters of credence be accepted, and that he be admitted in that quality according to the ordinary form, enjoining further upon the said Lords, the Ordinary Deputies, to take such propositions as should be made to this Republic, by the said Mr. Adams, for the information and the deliberation of their High Mightinesses, to the end to transmit them here as soon as possible. And an extract of this resolution of their Noble Mightinesses shall be sent to the gentlemen, their Ordinary Deputies, to serve them as an instruction.
"Upon which, having deliberated, it has been thought fit and resolved to pray, by the present, the gentlemen, the Deputies of the Provinces of Guelderland, Utrecht, and Groningen, and Ommelanden, who have not as yet explained themselves upon this subject, to be pleased to do it, as soon as possible."
Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of the Equestrian Order, and of the cities composing the States Overyssel.
Zwoll, April 5, 1782.
"The grand Bailiff de Sallande, and the other commissions of their Noble Mightinesses for the affairs of finance, having examined, conformably to their commissarial resolution of the 3d of this month, the addresses of Mr. Adams, communicated to the Assembly the 4th of May, 1781, and the 22d of February, 1782, to present his letters of credence to their High Mightinesses, in the name of the United States of North America; as well as the resolution of the Lords, the States of Holland and West Friesland, dated the 28th of March, 1782, carried the 29th of the same month to the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, for the admission and acknowledgment of Mr. Adams, have reported to the Assembly, that they should be of opinion that the gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province in the States-General, ought to be authorized and charged to declare in the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, that the Equestrian Order and the cities' Judge, that it is proper to acknowledge, as soon as possible, Mr. Adams, in quality of Minister of the United States of North America, to their High Mightinesses. Upon which, having deliberated, the Equestrian Order and the cities have conformed themselves to the said report.
"Compared with the aforesaid Register.
Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of their Noble Mightinesses, the States of Groningen and Ommelanden.
Tuesday, April 9, 1782
"The Lords, the States of Groningen and Ommelanden, having heard the report of the gentlemen, the Commissioners for the Petitions of the Council of State and the Finances of the Province, and having carefully examined the demand of Mr. Adams, to present his letters of credence from the United States of North America, to their High Mightinesses, have, after deliberation upon the subject, declared themselves of opinion that in the critical circumstances in which the Republic finds itself at present, it is proper to take, without loss of time, such efficacious measures as may not only repair the losses and damages that the kingdom of Great Britain has caused, in a manner so unjust, and against every shadow of right, to the commerce of the Republic, as well before as after the war, but particularly such as may establish the free navigation and the commerce of the Republic, for the future, upon the most solid foundations, as may confirm and re-assure it by the strongest bonds of reciprocal interest, and that, in consequence, the gentlemen, the Deputies at the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, ought to be authorized on the part of the Province, as they are by the present, to admit Mr. Adams to present his letters of credence from the United States of North America, and to receive the propositions which he shall make, to make report of them to the Lords, the States of this Province.
E. Lewe, Secretary
"The States-General, having deliberated the same day upon this resolution, have Resolved, 'That the Deputies of the Province of Guelderland, which has not yet declared itself upon the same subject, should be requested to be pleased to do it as soon as possible.'"
Extract of the Resolutions of their Noble Mightinesses, the States of the Province of Utrecht.
April 10, 1782
"Heard the report of Mr. de Westerveld, and other Deputies of their Noble Mightinesses for the Department of War, who, in virtue of the commissarial resolutions of the 9th of May, 1781, the 16th of January, and the 20th of March, of the present year, 1782, have examined the resolution of their High Mightinesses of the 4th of May, 1781, containing an overture, that the President of the Assembly of their High Mightinesses had made, 'that a person, styling himself J. Adams, had been with him, and had given him to understand that he had received letters of credence for their High Mightinesses from the United States of North America, with a request that he would be pleased to communicate them to their High Mightinesses,' as well as the resolution of their High Mightinesses, of the 9th of January, containing an ulterior overture of the President, 'that the said Mr. Adams had been with him, and had insisted upon a categorical answer, whether his said letters of credence would be accepted or not;' finally, the resolution of their High Mightinesses, of the 5th of March last, with the insertion of the resolution of Friesland, containing a proposition 'to admit Mr. Adams in quality of Minister of the Congress of North America.'"
"Upon which, having deliberated and remarked that the Lords, the States of Holland and West Friesland, by their resolution, carried the 29th of March to the States-General, have also consented to the admission of the said Mr. Adams in quality of Minister of the Congress of North America, it has been thought fit, and resolved, that the gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province in the States-General, should be authorized, as their Noble Highnesses authorize them by the present, to conform themselves, in the name of this Province, to the resolution of the Lords, the States of Holland and West Friesland, and of Friesland, and to consent, by consequence, that Mr. Adams be acknowledged and admitted as Minister of the United States of North America, their Noble Mightinesses being at the same time of opinion that it would be necessary to acquaint Her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, and the other neutral powers, with the resolution to be taken by their High Mightinesses upon this subject, in communicating to them (as much as shall be necessary) the reasons which have induced their High Mightinesses to it, and in giving them the strongest assurances, that the intention of their High Mightinesses is by no means to prolong thereby the war, which they would have willingly prevented and terminated long since; but that, on the contrary, their High Mightinesses wish nothing with more ardor than a prompt re-establishment of peace, and that they shall be always ready on their part to co-operate in it, in all possible ways, and with a suitable readiness, so far as that shall be any way compatible with their honour and their dignity. And to this end an extract of this shall be carried by missive to the gentlemen, the Deputies at the Generality."
Extract from the Precis of the ordinary Diet, held in the City of Nimeguen, in the month of April, 1782.
Wednesday, April 17, 1782
"The requisition of Mr. Adams to present his letter of credence to their High Mightinesses, in the name of the United States of North America, having been brought to the Assembly and read, as well as an ulterior address made upon this subject, with the demand of a categorical answer by the said Mr. Adams, more amply mentioned in the registers of their High Mightinesses, of the date of the 4th of May, 1781, and the 9th of January, 1782, moreover, the resolutions of the Lords, the States of the six other Provinces, carried successively to the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, and all tending to admit Mr. Adams, in quality of Envoy of the United States of North America, to this Republic; upon which their Noble Mightinesses, after deliberation, have resolved to authorize the Deputies of this Province, as they authorize them by the present, to conform themselves in the name of this Province, to the resolution of the Lords, the States of Holland and West Friesland, and to consent, by consequence, that Mr. Adams may be acknowledged and admitted, in quality of Envoy of the United States of North America, to this Republic. In consequence, an extract of the present shall be sent to the said Deputies, to make, as soon as possible, the requisite overture of it to the Assembly of their High Mightinesses.
J. In DeBetouw."
This resolution of Guelderland was no sooner remitted, on the 19th, to their High Mightinesses, than they took immediately a resolution conformable to the unanimous wish of the Seven Provinces, conceived in the following terms:
Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces.
Friday, April 19th, 1782
Deliberated by resumption upon the address and the ulterior address, made by Mr. Adams, the 4th of May, 1781, and the 9th of January of the current year, to the President of the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, to present to their High Mightinesses his letters of credence, in the name of the United States of North America, and by which ulterior address the said Mr. Adams has demanded a categorical answer, to the end to be able to acquaint his constituents thereof; it has been thought fit and resolved, that Mr. Adams shall be admitted and acknowledged in quality of Envoy of the United States of North America to their High Mightinesses, as he is admitted and acknowledged by the present."
"Compared with the aforesaid register.
The Formal Resolution Of Their High Mightinesses.
Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces.
Monday, April 22, 1782
"Mr. Boreel, who presided in the Assembly the last week, has reported to their High Mightinesses and notified them, that Mr. John Adams, Envoy of the United States of America, had been with him last Saturday, and had presented to him a letter from the Assembly of Congress, written at Philadelphia, the 1st of January, 1781, containing a credence for the said Mr. Adams, to the end to reside in quality of its Minister Plenipotentiary near their High Mightinesses. Upon which, having deliberated, it has been thought fit and resolved to declare by the present, that the said Mr. Adams is agreeable to their High Mightinesses; that he shall be acknowledged in quality of Minister Plenipotentiary, and that there shall be granted to him an audience, or assigned commissioners, when he shall demand it. Information of the above shall be given to the said Mr. Adams by the agent, Van der Burch de Spieringshoek.
W. van Citters."
"Compared with the aforesaid register.
It was not until Wednesday, May 8th, that President Hanson returned to the USCA. Daniel Carroll happily turned over the gavel as the first USCA Chairman. In the coming years several more patriots, including Thomas Jefferson at Annapolis, would once again hold the title of USCA Chairman. That evening, Hanson wrote home urging the sale of his farm’s hemp bounty to raise money for family in Philadelphia:
Your mother request you to tell Toney to raise her all the money he can from his & Molls Chickens &c. You will be pleased to sell the Hemp if the price is not lowered. Chloe too is to Sell all She can out of the Garden.
On May 31, 1782, the USCA made it clear to Paris Peace Commissioners that the negotiations must include France with the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Secretary for foreign affairs acquaint the minister plenipotentiary of France, that the signal proofs of inviolable constancy to his engagements, given by his Most Christian Majesty in the answer to the attempts of the British court to seduce him into a seperate peace, has been received by Congress with the sentiments with which it ought naturally to inspire faithful and affectionate allies, and entirely corresponds with the expectations which the magnanimity and good faith of his past conduct had established. That Congress embrace with particular satisfaction this occasion of renewing to his Most Christian Majesty the assurances which they have so often and so sincerely repeated, of a reciprocal and equal resolution to adhere, in every event, to the principles of the alliance, and to hearken to no propositions for peace which axe not perfectly conformable thereto.
That in case any propositions conformable to these principles should be made to them, which the insidious steps the British Court is pursuing render very improbable at the present juncture, Congress will be no less attentive than they have heretofore been to the precautions necessary for preventing delays and preserving harmony and confidence in the discussion of them.
That the insidious steps which the Court of London is pursuing render it improbable that any propositions conformable to those principles will be made to the United States; but that in case such propositions should be made, Congress will not depart from the precautions measures which they have heretofore taken for preventing delay, and for conducting the discussions of them, in confidence, and in concert with his Most Christian Majesty; and that as Congress observe, with the warmest approbation, the purpose of his Most Christian Majesty to oppose to the false appearances of peace held out by Great Britain, those redoubled efforts which may render her sincerely disposed to it, so his Majesty may be persuaded, that they are no less impressed with the necessity of such concurrent exertions on the part of the United States, as may frustrate the views of the common enemy in the new defensive system which their policy seems to have adopted on this continent.
That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs also furnish to the said Minister Plenipotentiary a copy of so much of the letter of the day of last from the Commander in chief as relates to a letter to him from General Carloton together with copies of the latter and of the resolution of Congress passed in consequence thereof.
That the Secretary of F. Affairs transmit copies of the first of these resolutions and of the papers referred to in the last, to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the U. States at the Court of Versailles and to their other public minister in Europe.
By the time these USCA orders were received by the Peace Commissioners, John Jay had already taken a hard line in the Peace negotiations. Commissioner Jay refused to continue treaty negotiations with Great Britain unless the United States was recognized as a foreign nation. Additionally Jay, against these direct orders of USCA, persuaded fellow Commissioners John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to exclude France from the treaty negotiations.
The three Commissioners in 1782 required the British Ministry to formulate a new commission authorizing Peace Commissioner Richard Oswald to negotiate a treaty without France or Spain and with the United States of America as a sovereign nation. The absence of France and Spain in the negotiations came as a great relief to Great Britain because it took their claims to North American territory off the negotiation table in the areas being claimed by the United States of America. On September 21st, 1782, Parliament passed an act empowering Commissioner Oswald to enact a treaty with United States of America as a sovereign nation:
An act to enable his Majesty to conclude a peace or truce with certain colonies in North America therein mentioned, it is recited … And it is our royal will and pleasure, and we do hereby authorize, empower and require you, the said Richard Oswald, to treat, consult of, and conclude with any commissioners or persons veiled with equal powers, by, and on the part of the Thirteen United States of America, viz. New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three Lower Counties on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, in North America, a peace or a truce with the said Thirteen United States, any law, act or acts of parliament, matter or thing, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
President Hanson and the USCA, for purposes of successful negotiations were kept in the dark by the Commissioners until the very end as evidenced by this late October Hanson letters to Maryland’s Governor:
No letters from our foreign Ministers Since my last and therefore can give you no Account of the progress of the Negotiation for Peace. I fear it is going on very slowly. The Evacuation of New York this fall remains a Doubt. What little intelligence we have from thence is rather favorable to that Event. They are not laying in wood or forage in Any great quantities, And numbers of the refugees are embarking for Nova Scotia. I enclose you a paper.
In June, John Hanson removed his legislative and presidential "hats" to don the robes of judge. Hanson presided over a border dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania in Congress for the next three days. Following that hearing, President Hanson addressed a series of rash mail robberies with debates over a new federal law being passed offering rewards for the apprehension and conviction of robbers of the United States mail. June also produced legislation creating a seal for the United States. The Seal adopted was Secretary Charles Thomson’s drawing representing the assemblage of three different Committee designs of the Great Seal of the United States in Congress Assembled:
|First Die of the Great Seal of the United States, 1782|
The device for an armorial achievement and reverse of the great seal for the United States in Congress assembled, is as follows: ARMS. Paleways of thirteen pieces, argent and gules; a chief, azure; the escutcheon on the breast of the American bald eagle displayed proper, holding in his dexter talon an olive branch, and in his sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper, and in his beak a scroll, inscribed with this motto, "E pluribus Unum." For the Cest. Over the head of the eagle, which appears above the escutcheon, a glory, or, breaking through a cloud, proper, and surrounding thirteen stars, forming a constellation, argent, on an azure field. REVERSE. A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith, an eye in a triangle, surrounded with a glory proper. Over the eye these words, "Annuit Coeptis." On the base of the pyramid the numerical letters MDCCLXXVI. And underneath the following motto, "Novus Ordo Seclorum."
On July 23rd Congress took up the hospital department regulations and revised them. On the 31st the USCA resolved to use all western land cessions ceded by Great Britain as collateral for restoring the public credit of the United States. August brought the reorganizing of the adjutant general's department and a revision of John Jay's diplomatic instructions regarding in Spain. On August the 9th the USCA received news that peace negotiations had begun at Paris with the United States.
We are acquainted Sir, by authority, that negotiations for a general Peace, have already commencd at Paris, & that Mr. Grenville is invested with full Powers, to treat with all Parties at war, & is now at Paris in the execution of his Commission, & we are likewise, Sir, further made acquainted, that his Majesty, in order to remove all obstacles to that Peace, which he so ardently wishes to restore, has commanded his Ministers to direct Mr. Grenville that the independency of the 13 Provinces should be proposed by him, in the first instance, instead of making it a condition of a general treaty; however not without the highest confidence, that the Loyalists shall be restord to their possessions, or a full compensation made them for whatever Confiscations may have taken place. dated Augt. 2d. 1782.
In September the USCA’s business turned to a request for “… a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of Schools." The Delegates began to debate the matter because it was a common practice for the federal government to be involved in funding Christian education. The Journals of the USCA report on September 12, 1782.
Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper. 
Robert Aitken’s Bible was printed at his Philadelphia print shop, using an early American movable-type press. The paper stock was a thick grade of wood-pulp paper because cotton was too expensive for this production. The edition was printed and sold as "The Bible of Revolution" for two centuries.
The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments: Newly translated out of the Original Tongues; and with the former Translations Diligently compared and revised. Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by Robert Aitken, 1782; printed in two parts in one volume (6 1/8 x 3 1/2 inches). Text in double-columns, unpaginated, ornamental border and woodcut arms of Philadelphia on General title-page, printer's woodcut monogram on title-page verso of New Testament. Before the Revolutionary War, British printers held the royal patent to publish the King James Bible, to the exclusion of American printers. During the war, importation of English bibles ceased. When sales of Aitken's edition was threatened with the prospect of peace, the United States in Congress Assembled passed a resolution on 10 September to protect Aitken's investment. In true entrepreneurial fashion, to insure sales remained steady, Aitken inserted a copy of the resolution just after the title page resulting in this edition being the only bible endorsed by the U.S. Congress.
On September 28th, the USCA adopted and passed a preliminary treaty for Benjamin Franklin, Peace Commissioner, to propose to the King of Sweden. Franklin, being dutifully involved in the Treaty of Paris negotiations with Great Britain was unable to travel to Sweden. The King sent his emissary to France and there through the efforts of Franklin, the two nations signed a treaty on April 3, 1783. This was the first treaty signed by the U.S. with any nation not directly involved in the Revolutionary War. Sweden, thus became the first neutral nation to officially recognize United States of America as an independent republic. President Hanson’s USCA is often credited with this treaty because on September 28 they gave Benjamin Franklin sweeping powers to conclude a treaty (which they enclosed) with these instructions:
You are to negotiate and conclude the proposed treaty of amity and commerce with the person or persons that shall be appointed by his Swedish Majesty at Paris, and not elsewhere, unless some other place should be fixed upon for negotiating a general peace; in which case you may negotiate and conclude it at the same place.
The privilege of holding, inheriting and disposing of real property by the Citizens and Subjects of the contracting parties within their respective Territories reciprocally cannot be admitted but under the restriction of actual residence within the Nation where such real property may be at the time of holding, inheriting or disposing of the same. As we shall be better able to judge by experience what commercial regulations will be most beneficial for the citizens and subjects of the contracting powers, it is our desire that the treaty be made for twelve years only.
It is possible that the fourth article in the plan of a treaty may be objected to on the part of the king of Sweden, as unequal, he having more ships of war than the United States, and not being engaged in any war which may render protection necessary to the ships of his subjects. He may also apprehend, that the giving protection to our vessels may involve him in a war with Great Britain. To this it may be answered, that the fifteenth article is as unequally in favor of Sweden, giving her the benefit of the carrying trade, which cannot be enjoyed by the citizens of the United States--Therefore the one article may be set against the other.
Nor do we apprehend that according to the laws of nations the protection to be given to the vessels of the United States conformably to the forth article can be a just cause of war on the part of Great Britain.But as the direct and essential object of the treaty is to obtain the recognition of our Independency by another European power, you are instructed not to adhere to the 4th article so as to prevent the conclusion of the treaty. Upon the same principle you may also use your discretion in extending the term of the treaty to twenty years but no farther. You are also at liberty, in case it be found necessary, to recede from the stipulation proposed in the 9th article, that whatever shall be found laden by the Subjects and Inhabitants of either party on any Ship belonging to the Enemies of the other shall be subject to confiscation.
Done in Congress at Philadelphia the twenty-eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two and of our Sovereignty and Independence the Seventh.
Also occurring under the Hanson Presidency was a separate treaty, executed by Minister John Adams in Amsterdam on October 8, 1782:
To commemorate the October 8th, 1782 treaty Congress issued the following gold medal:
Treaty of Amity and Commerce between their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands and the United States of America, to wit: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Concluded October 8, 1782; ratified January 22, 1783.
Their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands and the United States of America, to wit: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, desiring to ascertain, in a permanent and equitable manner, the rules to be observed relative to the commerce and correspondence which they intend to establish between their respective States, countries and inhabitants, have judged that the said end cannot be better obtained than by establishing the most perfect equality and reciprocity for the basis of their agreement, and by avoiding all those burdensome preferences which are usually the sources of debate, embarrassment, and discontent; by leaving also each party at liberty to make, respecting commerce and navigation, such ulterior regulations as it shall find most convenient to itself; and by founding the advantages of commerce solely upon reciprocal utility and the just rules of free intercourse; reserving withal to each party the liberty of admitting at its pleasure other nations to a participation of the same advantages.
On these principles their said High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands have named for their Plenipotentiaries, from the midst of their assembly, Messieurs their Deputies for the Foreign Affairs; and the said United States of America, on their part, have furnished with full powers Mr. John Adams, late Commissioner of the United States of America at the Court of Versailles, heretofore Delegate in Congress from the State of Massachusetts Bay, and Chief Justice of the said State, who have agreed and concluded as follows, to wit:
There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace and sincere friendship between their High Mightinesses, the Lords, the States-General of the United Netherlands, and the United States of America, and between the subjects and inhabitants of the said parties, and between the countries, islands, cities, and places situated under the jurisdiction of the said United Netherlands and the said United States of America, their subjects and inhabitants, of every degree, without exception of persons or places.
The subjects of the said States-General of the United Netherlands shall pay in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities, or places of the United States of America, or any of them, no other nor greater duties or imposts, of whatever nature or denomination they may be, than those which the nations the most favoured are or shall be obliged to pay; and they shall enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges immunities, and exemptions in trade, navigation, and commerce which the said nations do or shall enjoy, whether in passing from one port to another in the said States, or in going from any of those ports to any foreign port of the world, or from any foreign port of the world to any of those ports.
The subjects and inhabitants of the said United States of America shall pay in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or places of the said United Netherlands, or any of them, no other nor greater duties or imposts, of whatever nature or denomination they may be, than those which the nations the most favoured are or shall be obliged to pay; and they shall enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce, which the said nations do or shall enjoy, whether in passing from one port to another in the said States, or from any one toward any one of those ports from or to any foreign port of the world. And the United States of America, with their subjects and inhabitants, shall leave to those of their High Mightinesses the peaceable enjoyment of their rights in the countries, islands and seas in the East and West Indies, without any hindrance or molestation.
There shall be an entire and perfect liberty of conscience allowed to the subjects and inhabitants of each party, and to their families; and no one shall be molested in regard to his worship, provided he submits, as to the public demonstration of it, to the laws of the country: There shall be given, moreover, liberty, when any subjects or inhabitants of either party shall die in the territory of the other, to bury them in the usual burying-places, or in decent and convenient grounds to be appointed for that purpose, as occasion shall require; and the dead bodies of those who are buried shall not in any wise be molested. And the two contracting parties shall provide, each one in his jurisdiction, that their respective subjects and inhabitants may henceforward obtain the requisite certificates in cases of deaths in which they shall be interested.
Their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands and the United States of America shall endeavour, by all the means in their power, to defend and protect all vessels and other effects, belonging to their subjects and inhabitants, respectively, or to any of them, in their ports, roads, havens, internal seas, passes, rivers, and as far as their jurisdiction extends at sea, and to recover, and cause to be restored to the true proprietors, their agents, or attorneys, all such vessels and effects, which shall be taken under their jurisdiction: And their vessels of war and convoys, in cases when they may have a common enemy, shall take under their protection all the vessels belonging to the subjects and inhabitants of either party, which shall not be laden with contraband goods, according to the description which shall be made of them hereafter, for places with which one of the parties is in peace and the other at war, nor destined for any place blockaded, and which shall hold the same course or follow the same route; and they shall defend such vessels as long as they shall hold the same course or follow the same route, against all attacks, force and violence of the common enemy, in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend the vessels belonging to their own respective subjects.
The subjects of the contracting parties may, on one side and on the other, in the respective countries and States, dispose of their effects by testament, donation or otherwise; and their heirs, subjects of one of the parties, and residing in the country of the other, or elsewhere, shall receive such successions, even ab intestato, whether in person or by their attorney or substitute, even although they shall not have obtained letters of naturalization, without having the effects of such commission tested under pretext of any rights or prerogatives of any province, city or private person. And if the heirs to whom such successions may have fallen shall be minors, the tutors or curators established by the judge domiciliary of the minors may govern, direct, administer, sell and alienate the effects fallen to the said minors by inheritance, and, in general, in relation to the said successions and effects, use all the rights and fulfill all the functions which belong, by the disposition of the laws, to guardians, tutors and curators: provided, nevertheless, that this disposition cannot take place but in cases where the testator shall not have named guardians, tutors or curators by testament, codicil or other legal instrument.
It shall be lawful and free for the subjects of each party to employ such advocates, attorneys, notaries, solicitors or factors as they shall judge proper.
Merchants, masters and owners of ships, mariners, men of all kinds, ships and vessels, and all merchandizes and goods in general, and effects of one of the confederates, or of the subjects thereof, shall not be seized or detained in any of the countries, lands, islands, cities, places, ports, shores, or dominions whatsoever of the other confederate, for any military expedition, publick or private use of any one, by arrests, violence, or any colour thereof; much less shall it be permitted to the subjects of either party to take or extort by force anything from the subjects of the other party, without the consent of the owner; which, however, is not to be understood of seizures, detentions, and arrests which shall be made by the command and authority of justice, and by the ordinary methods, on account of debts or crimes, in respect whereof the proceedings must be by way of law, according to the forms of justice.
It is further agreed and concluded that it shall be wholly free for all merchants, commanders of ships, and other subjects and inhabitants of the contracting parties, in every place subjected to the jurisdiction of the two powers respectively, to manage themselves their own business; and moreover as to the use of interpreters or brokers, as also in relation to the loading or unloading of their vessels, and everything which has relation thereto, they shall be, on one side, and on the other, considered and treated upon the footing of natural subjects, or, at least, upon an equality with the most favoured nation.
The merchant ships of either of the parties, coming from the port of an enemy, or from their own, or a neutral port, may navigate freely towards any port of an enemy of the other ally: they shall be, nevertheless, held, whenever it shall be required, to exhibit, as well upon the high seas as in the ports, their sea-letters and other documents described in the twenty-fifth article, stating expressly that their effects are not of the number of those which are prohibited as contraband; and not having any contraband goods for an enemy's port, they may freely, and without hindrance, pursue their voyage towards the port of an enemy. Nevertheless, it shall not be required to examine the papers of vessels convoyed by vessels of war, but credence shall be given to the word of the officer who shall conduct the convoy.
If, by exhibiting the sea-letters and other documents described more particularly in the twenty-fifth article of this treaty, the other party shall discover there are any of those sorts of goods which are declared prohibited and contraband, and that they are consigned for a port under the obedience of his enemy, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches of such ship, nor to open any chests, coffers, packs, casks, or other vessels found therein, or to remove the smallest parcels of her goods, whether the said vessel belongs to the subjects of their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands or to the subjects or inhabitants of the said United States of America, unless the lading be brought on shore, in presence of the officers of the Court of Admiralty, and an inventory thereof made; but there shall be no allowance to sell, exchange or alienate the same until after that due and lawful process shall have been had against such prohibited goods of contraband, and the Court of Admiralty, by a sentence pronounced, shall have confiscated the same, saving always as well the ship itself as any other goods found therein, which are to be esteemed free, and may not be detained on pretence of their being infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawful prize: But, on the contrary, when, by the visitation at land, it shall be found that there are no contraband goods in the vessel, and it shall not appear by the papers that he who has taken and carried in the vessel has been able to discover any there, he ought to be condemned in all the charges, damages and interests of them, which he shall have caused, both to the owners of vessels and to the owners and freighters of cargoes with which they shall be loaded, by his temerity in taking and carrying them in; declaring most expressly the free vessels shall assure the liberty of the effects with which they shall be loaded, and that this liberty shall extend itself equally to the persons who shall be found in a free vessel, who may not be taken out of her, unless they are military men actually in the service of an enemy.
On the contrary, it is agreed that whatever shall be found to be taken by the subjects and inhabitants of either party, or any ship belonging to the enemies of the other, or to their subjects, although it be not comprehended under the sort of prohibited goods, the whole may be confiscated in the same manner as if it belonged to the enemy; except, nevertheless, such effects and merchandizes as were put on board such vessel before the declaration of war, or in the space of six months after it, which effects shall not be, in any manner, subject to confiscation, but shall be faithfully and without delay restored in nature to the owners who shall claim them, or cause them to be claimed, before the confiscation and sale, as also their proceeds, if the claim could not be made, but in the space of eight months after the sale, which ought to be publick: Provided, nevertheless, that if the said merchandizes are contraband, it shall by no means be lawful to transport them afterwards to any port belonging to enemies.
And that more effectual care may be taken for the security of subjects and people of either party, that they do not suffer molestation from the vessels of war or privateers of the other party, it shall be forbidden to all commanders of vessels of war and other armed vessels of the said States-General of the United Netherlands and the said United States of America, as well as to all their officers, subjects and people, to give any offence or do any damage to those of the other party; and if they act to the contrary they shall be, upon the first complaint which shall be made of it, being found guilty after a just examination, punished by their proper judges, and, moreover, obliged to make satisfaction for all damages and interests thereof, by reparation, under pain and obligation of their persons and goods.
For further determining of what has been said, all captains of privateers or fitters-out of vessels armed for war, under commission and on account of private persons, shall be held, before their departure, to give sufficient caution, before competent judges, either to be entirely responsible for the malversations which they may commit in their cruizes or voyages, as well as for the contraventions of their captains and officers against the present treaty, and against the ordinances and edicts which shall be published in consequence of and conformity to it, under pain of forfeiture and nullity of the said commissions.
All vessels and merchandizes, of whatsoever nature, which shall be rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers, navigating the high seas without requisite commissions, shall be brought into some port of one of the two States, and deposited in the hands of the officers of that port, in order to be restored entire to the true proprietor as soon as due and sufficient proofs shall be made concerning the property thereof.
If any ships or vessels belonging to either of the parties, their subjects, or people, shall, within the coasts or dominions of the other, stick upon the sands, or be wrecked, or suffer any other sea damage, all friendly assistance and relief shall be given to the persons shipwrecked, or such as shall be in danger thereof; and the vessels, effects and merchandizes, or the part of them which shall have been saved or the proceeds of them, if, being perishable, they shall have been sold, being claimed within a year and a day by the masters or owners, or their agents or attorneys, shall be restored, paying only the reasonable charges, and that which must be paid, in the same case, for the salvage, by the proper subjects of the country: there shall also be delivered them safe conducts or passports for their free and safe passage from thence, and to return, each one to his own country.
In case the subjects or people of either party, with their shipping, whether publick and of war, or private and of merchants, be forced, through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies, or any other urgent necessity for seeking of shelter and harbor, to retract and enter into any of the rivers, creeks, bays, ports, roads or shores belonging to the other party, they shall be received with all humanity and kindness, and enjoy all friendly protection and help, and they shall be permitted to refresh and provide themselves, at reasonable rates, with victuals, and all things needful for the sustenance of their persons or reparation of their ships; and they shall no ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the said ports or roads, but may remove and depart when and whither they please, without any let or hindrance.
For the better promoting of commerce on both sides, it is agreed that, if a war should break out between their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands and the United States of America, there shall always be granted to the subjects on each side the term of nine months after the date of the rupture, or the proclamation of war, to the end that they may retire, with their effects, and transport them where they please, which it shall be lawful for them to do, as well as to sell or transport their effects and goods, in all freedom and without any hindrance, and without being able to proceed, during the said term of nine months, to any arrests of their effects, much less of their persons; on the contrary, there shall be given them, for their vessels and their effects, which they could carry away, passports and safe conducts for the nearest ports of their respective countries, and for the time necessary for the voyage. And no prize made at sea shall be adjudged lawful, at least if the declaration of war was not or could not be known in the last port which the vessel taken has quitted; but for whatever may have been taken from the subjects and inhabitants of either party, and for the offences which may have been given them, in the interval of the said terms, a complete satisfaction shall be given them.
No subject of their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands shall apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the said United States of America, or any of them, or the subjects and inhabitants of the said United States, or any of them, or against the property of the inhabitants of any of them, from any Prince or State with which the said United States of America may happen to be at war: nor shall any subject or inhabitant of the said United States of America, or any of them, apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the High and Mighty Lords the States-General of the United Netherlands, or against the subjects of their High Mightinesses, or any of them, or against the property of any one of them, from any Prince or State with which their High Mightinesses may be at war: And if any person of either nation shall take such commission or letters of marque, he shall be punished as a pirate.
If the vessels of the subjects or inhabitants of one of the parties come upon any coast belonging to either of the said allies, but not willing to enter into port, or being entered into port and not willing to unload their cargoes or break bulk, or take in any cargo, they shall not be obliged to pay, neither for the vessels nor for the cargoes, at least if there is not just cause to presume that they carry to an enemy merchandizes of contraband.
The two contracting parties grant to each other, mutually, the liberty of having, each in the ports of the other, consuls, vice-consuls, agents, and commissaries, of their own appointing, whose functions shall be regulated by particular agreement, whenever either party chooses to make such appointments.
This treaty shall not be understood in any manner to derogate from the ninth, tenth, nineteenth, and twenty-fourth articles of the treaty with France, as they were numbered in the same treaty, concluded the sixth of February, 1778, and which make the articles ninth, tenth, seventeenth, and twenty-second of the treaty of commerce now subsisting between the United States of America and the Crown of France; nor shall it hinder His Catholic Majesty from according to that treaty, and enjoying the advantages of said four articles.
If at any time the United States of America shall judge necessary to commence negotiations with the King or Emperor of Morocco and Fez, and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, or Tripoli, or with any of them, to obtain passports for the security of their navigation in the Mediterranean Sea, their High Mightinesses promise that upon the requisition which the United States of America shall make of it, they will second such negotiations in the most favourable manner, by means of their Consuls residing near the said King, Emperor, and Regencies.
The liberty of navigation and commerce shall extend to all sorts of merchandizes, excepting only those which are distinguished under the name of contraband, or merchandizes prohibited; and under this denomination of contraband and merchandizes prohibited, shall be comprehended only warlike stores and arms, as mortars, artillery, with their artifices and appurtenances, fusils, pistols, bombs, grenades, gunpowder, saltpetre, sulphur, match, bullets and balls, pikes, sabres, lances, halberts, casques, cuirasses, and other sorts of arms, as also soldiers, horses, saddles, and furniture for horses; all other effects and merchandizes, not before specified expressly, and even all sorts of naval matters, however proper they may be for the construction and equipment of vessels of war, or for the manufacture of one or another sort of machines of war, by land or sea, shall not be judged contraband, neither by the letter, nor according to any pretended interpretation whatever, ought they or can they be comprehended under the notion of effects prohibited or contraband: so that all effects and merchandizes, which are not expressly before named, may, without any exception, and in perfect liberty, be transported by the subjects and inhabitants of both allies, from and to places belonging to the enemy; excepting only the places which at the time shall be besieged, blocked, or invested; and those places only shall be held for such which are surrounded nearly by some of the belligerent powers.
To the end that all dissention and quarrel may be avoided and prevented, it has been agreed, that in case that one of the two parties happens to be at war, the vessels belonging to the subjects or inhabitants of the other ally shall be provided with sea letters or passports, expressing the name, the property, and the burthen of the vessel, as also the name of abode of the master, or commander of the said vessel, to the end that thereby it may appear that the vessel really and truly belongs to the subjects or inhabitants of one of the parties; which passports shall be drawn and distributed, according to the form annexed to this treaty; each time that the vessel shall return, she should have such her passport renewed, or at least they ought not to be of more ancient date than two years, before the vessel has been returned to her own country.
It has also been agreed that such vessels, being loaded, ought to be provided not only with the said passports or sea letters, but also with a general passport, or with particular passports or manifests, or other publick documents, which are ordinarily given to vessels outward bound in the ports from whence the vessels have set sail in the last place, containing a specification of the cargo, of the place from whence the vessel departed, and of that of her destination, or, instead of all these, with certificates from the magistrates or governors of cities, places and colonies from whence the vessel came, given in the usual form, to the end that it may be known whether there are any effects prohibited or contraband, on board the vessels, and whether they are destined to be carried to an enemy's country or not; and in case any one judges proper to express in the said documents the persons to whom the effects on board belong, he may do it freely, without, however, being bound to do it; and the omission of such expression cannot and ought not to cause a confiscation.
If the vessels of the said subjects or inhabitants of either of the parties, sailing along the coasts or on the high seas, are met by a vessel of war, or privateer, or other armed vessel of the other party, the said vessels of war, privateers, or armed vessels, for avoiding all disorder, shall remain without the reach of cannon, but may send their boats on board the merchant vessel, which they shall meet in this manner, upon which they may not pass more than two or three men, to whom the master or commander shall exhibit his passport, containing the property of the vessel, according to the form annexed to this treaty: And the vessel, after having exhibited such a passport, sea letter, and other documents, shall be free to continue her voyage, so that it shall not be lawful to molest her, or search her in any manner, nor give her chase, nor to force her to alter her course.
It shall be lawful for merchants, captains, and commanders of vessels, whether publick and of war, or private and of merchants, belonging to the said United States of America, or any of them, or to their subjects and inhabitants, to take freely into their service, and receive on board of their vessels, in any port or place in the jurisdiction of their High Mightinesses aforesaid, seamen or others, natives or inhabitants of any of the said States, upon such conditions as they shall agree on, without being submitted for this to any fine, penalty, punishment, process, or reprehension whatsoever.
And reciprocally, all merchants, captains, and commanders, belonging to the said United Netherlands, shall enjoy, in all the ports and places under the obedience of the said United States of America, the same privilege of engaging and receiving seamen or others, natives or inhabitants of any country of the domination of the said States-General: Provided, that neither on one side nor the other, they may not take into their service such of their countrymen who have already engaged in the service of the other party contracting, whether in war or trade, and whether they meet them by land or sea; at least if the captains or masters under the command of whom such persons may be found, will not of his own consent discharge them from their service, upon pain of being otherwise treated and punished as deserters.
The affair of the refraction shall be regulated in all equity and justice, by the magistrates of cities respectively, where it shall be judged that there is any room to complain in this respect.
The present treaty shall be ratified and approved by their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands and by the United States of America; and the acts of ratification shall be delivered in good and due form, on one side and on the other, in the space of six months, or sooner if possible, to be computed from the day of the signature.
In faith of which, we the Deputies and Plenipotentiaries of the Lords the States-General of the United Netherlands, and the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, in virtue of our respective authorities and full powers, have signed the present treaty and apposed thereto the seals of our arms.
George van Randwyck.[L.S.]
B. V. D. Santheuvel.[L.S.]
P. V. Bleiswijk.[L.S.]
W. C. H. van Lijnden.[L.S.]
D. J. van Heeckeren.[L.S.]
Joan van Kuffeler.[L.S.]
F: G: van Dedem, tot den gelder.[L.S.]
Convention between the Lords the States-General of the United Netherlands and the United States of America, concerning vessels recaptured.
Concluded October 8, 1782.
The Lords the States-General of the United Netherlands and the United States of America, being inclined to establish some uniform principles with relation to prizes made by vessels of war, and commissioned by the two contracting Powers, upon their common enemies, and to vessels of the subjects of either party, captured by the enemy, and recaptured by vessels of war commissioned by either party, have agreed upon the following articles:
The vessels of either of the two nations recaptured by the privateers of the other, shall be restored to the first proprietor, if such vessels have not been four and twenty hours in the power of the enemy, provided the owner of the vessel recaptured pay therefor one-third of the value of the vessel, as also of that of the cargo, the cannons and apparel, which third shall be valued by agreement, between the parties interested; or, if they cannot agree thereon among themselves, they shall address themselves to the officers of the admiralty of the place where the privateer who has retaken the vessel shall have conducted her.
If the vessel recaptured has been more than twenty-four hours in the power of the enemy, she shall belong entirely to the privateer who has retaken her.
In case a vessel shall have been recaptured by a vessel of war belonging to the States-General of the United Netherlands, or to the United States of America, she shall be restored to the first owner, he paying a thirtieth part of the value of the ship, her cargo, cannons and apparel, if she has been recaptured in the interval of twenty-four hours, and the tenth part if she has been recaptured after the twenty-four hours, which sums shall be distributed in form of gratifications to the crews of the vessels which have retaken her. The valuation of the said thirtieth parts and tenth parts shall be regulated according to the tenor of the first article of the present convention.
The restitution of prizes, whether they may have been retaken by vessels of war or by privateers, in the mean time and until requisite and sufficient proofs can be given of the property of vessels recaptured, shall be admitted in a reasonable time, under sufficient sureties for the observation of the aforesaid articles.
The vessels of war and privateers of one and of the other of the two nations, shall be reciprocally, both in Europe and in the other parts of the world, admitted in the respective ports of each with their prizes, which may be unloaded and sold according to the formalities used in the State where the prize shall have been conducted, as far as may be consistent with the 22d article of the treaty of commerce: Provided, always, that the legality of prizes by the vessels of the Low Countries shall be decided conformably to the laws and regulations established in the United Netherlands; as, likewise, that of prizes made by American vessels, shall be judged according to the laws and regulations determined by the United States of America.
Moreover, it shall be free for the States-General of the United Netherlands, as well as for the United States of America, to make such regulations as they may judge necessary, relative to the conduct which their respective vessels and privateers ought to hold in relation to the vessels which they shall have taken and conducted into the ports of the two powers.
In faith of which, We, the Deputies and Plenipotentiaries of the Lords the States-General of the United Netherlands, and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, have, in virtue of our respective authorities and full powers, signed these presents, and confirmed the same with the seals of our arms.
Done at the Hague the eighth of October, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two.
George van Randwyck.[L.S.]
B. V. D. Santheuvel.[L.S.]
P. V. Bleiswijk.[L.S.]
W. C. H. van Lijnden.[L.S.]
D. J. van Heeckeren.[L.S.]
Joan van Kuffeler.[L.S.]
F: G: van Dedem, tot den gelder.[L.S.]
To commemorate the October 8th, 1782 treaty Congress issued the following gold medal:
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to Almighty God, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in the a time of public distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his Providence in their behalf; therefore, the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these states, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; and the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war in the course of the last year now drawing to a close, particularly the harmony of the public councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to sow dissension between them divide them; the success of the arms of the United States and those of their allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these states; and the success of their arms and those of their allies in different parts do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these states in general, to observe, and recommend it to the executives of request the several states to interpose their authority in appointing and requiring commanding the observation of the last Thursday, in the 28 day of November next, as a day of solemn thanksgiving to God for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify their gratitude to God for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience to his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness. Done in Congress at Philadelphia, the eleventh of October, in the year of our LORD one thousand and seven hundred and eighty two, and of our Sovereignty and Independence, the eleventh.
John Hanson, President Charles Thomson, Secretary.
In Philadelphia, with Hanson’s term as President nearing its end, the USCA completed the reorganization of the quartermasters department, enacted post office regulations and happily accepted, on October 29th, New York’s accession of its Northwest Territory lands.
On the same day Hanson wrote a letter to the acting commandant of New Orleans. Estévan Mirù was governing New Orleans in the absence of Governor Bernardo de Galvez. On May 4, 1782 Mirù’s had written a letter to Thomas McKean on behalf of Oliver Pollock, a former commercial agent for the United States in New Orleans. Pollock’s claims were long outstanding and had been reintroduced to Congress on September 23rd. Hanson responded to Mirù, in his final letter as President, transmitting the resolution passed by the USCA:
I had the honor to receive the two letters which your Excellency was pleased to write on the 4th of May and address to Mr. McKean, my Predecessor, respecting Mr. Oliver Pollock. I immediately communicated them to the United States in Congress Assembled. The inclosed Resolution will satisfy your Excellency of the good disposition of Congress and of their firm determination to do Justice to Mr. Pollock, and as soon as possible enable him to satisfy the demands of those subjects of His Catholic Majesty who have so generously aided him in his services for the United States. I pray God to have you in his Holy Keeping, and grant you happiness & success in the administration of your Government. 
Hanson ended his presidency listening to committee report on Native American affairs. The USCA chronology with John Hanson as its President is as follows:
1781 - November 5 New Congress convenes; elects John Hanson president. November 8 Authorizes Board of War to prosecute spies under the Articles of War. November 9 Restricts travel of Yorktown prisoners on parole. November 12 Repeals resolve accepting quartermaster certificates in payment of quotas. November 14 Urges states to maintain representation; sets date for hearing Connecticut-Pennsylvania boundary dispute. November 20 Augments authority of secretary of marine. November 23 Recommends that states legislate to punish violations of international law. November 28 Holds audience with General Washington.
December 4 Adopts ordinance on "captures on water." December 5 Receives New York protest against Congressional resolves on Vermont. December 10 Exhorts states to complete troop quotas. December 11 Calls states to take census "of the white inhabitants thereof." December 13 Observes day of thanksgiving. December 17 Appeals to the states for men and money. December 19 Orders placing supernumerary generals on half pay. December 20 Authorizes exchange of Governor Thomas Burke. December 31 Adopts ordinance incorporating Bank of North America.
1782 - January 2 Exhorts states to suppress trade with the enemy. January 3 Reforms medical department. January 8 Amends ordinance on captures on water; rejects motion to enlarge peace ultimatum. January 9 Authorizes negotiation of consular convention with France. January 10 Reforms inspector general's department. January 17 Investigates suspicious Silas Deane letters on conciliating Britain. January 22 Instructs peace commissioners to communicate informal demands on fisheries and boundaries. January 25 Amends consular convention. January 28 Enlarges duties of Secretary Charles Thomson to relieve president of Congress. January 29 Advised of diminution of French aid.
February 1 Instructs Benjamin Franklin on repayment of Dutch loan obtained for United States by France. February 8 Authorizes Franklin to borrow additional 12 million livres from France. February 11 Authorizes export of tobacco to New York by Yorktown "capitulants"; rejects appeal to permit states to clothe own Continental troops. February 18 Authorizes Washington to negotiate general prisoner exchange. February 20 Seeks authorization to apportion war expenses in contravention of Articles of Confederation quota formula. February 21 Authorizes establishment of a mint. February 22 Reorganizes department of foreign affairs. February 23 Authorizes exchange of Cornwallis for Henry Laurens. February 26 Amends ordinance on captures on water. February 27 Adopts plan for settlement of state accounts.
March 1 Sets conditions for recognizing Vermont independence. March 7 Revises rules of Court of Appeals. March 11 Orders settlement of Bon Home Richard prize claims; refers Native American petition to New York. March 15 Drafts fiscal appeal to the states. March 19 Adopts fast day proclamation. March 21 Holds audience with General Washington. March 27 Orders study of Continental Army staffing needs. March 30 Adopts measures for curtailing prisoner-of-war escapes.
April 1 Rejects fiscal quota reduction appeal. April 3-4 Debates Vermont compliance with independent statehood conditions. April 8 Revises paymaster regulations. April 9 Orders submission of comprehensive army returns. April 15 Rejects motion to elect a vice-president upon the disability of the president; elects Daniel Carroll "chairman" during the illness of President Hanson. April 18 Rejects motion to require delegates to disclose conflicts of interest on land claim issues. April 20 Debates Vermont compliance with independent statehood conditions. April 23 Recommends pensions for disabled troops; orders reduction of supernumerary officers. April 29 Endorses Washington's proposals for retaliation against the death of Joshua Huddy. April 30 Endorses John Jay's conduct of negotiations with the court of Madrid.
May 1 Warns states of British plans to divide their enemies with proposals of separate peace; debates western land cessions and motion to disclose delegates' conflicts of interest. May 4 Orders measures for the protection of American shipping. May 8 Opposes sending William Carmichael to the court of Portugal. May 13 Holds audience with French minister to celebrate birth of a Dauphin. May 14 Denies emissary of Sir Guy Carleton passport to Philadelphia. May 21 Authorizes state authorities to curb trade with the enemy. May 22 Sends delegations to states to solicit compliance with requisitions. May 24 Reviews superintendent of finance report on status of US credit abroad. May 27 Exhorts states to maintain representation in Congress; instructs Francis Dana to delay presenting his credentials to the court of Russia. May 28 Receives French report on peace overtures. May 31 Reaffirms opposition to separate peace negotiations.
June 5 Orders study of proposal to enlist German prisoners of war. June 7 Rescinds work-release program for British prisoners of war. June 12 Revises regulations for naval courts-martial. June 14 Endorses proposals for return of South Carolina exiles. June 17 Calls for biannual inspection of the operation of the executive departments. June 20 Adopts great seal for the United States in Congress assembled. June 21 Exhorts states to curb trade with the enemy. June 24-27 Debates proposals for resolution of the Connecticut-Pennsylvania boundary dispute. June 27 Receives report from the congressional delegation to the southern states. June 28 Endorses General Greene's rejection of truce proposal in South Carolina.
July 2 Endorses superintendent of finance’s recommendation against appointing consuls in the West Indies. July 3 Complains against Spanish release of British prisoners of war. July 10 Adopts ordinance regulating distribution of prizes. July 11 Places moratorium on promotion or appointment of Continental officers. July 17 Adopts ordinance to prevent illicit trade with the enemy. July 18 Receives report from the congressional delegation to the northern states; orders measures to stop mail robberies. July 23 Revises hospital department regulations. July 31 Debates recommendation for acceptance of western land cessions as a preliminary to restoring the public credit of the United States.
August 1 Reorganizes adjutant general's department. August 5 Receives Robert Morris' funding plan. August 6 Revises John Jay's diplomatic instructions. August 7 Reorganizes Continental Army. August 9 Receives British commissioners' announcement that peace negotiations have begun at Paris. August 12 Authorizes Washington to negotiate prisoner exchange. August 14 Suspends inquiry into General Gates' conduct at Camden. August 15 Rejects move to repeal peace commissioners' instructions to be guided by French court. August 16-20 Debates Massachusetts' petition to include fisheries claim in peace ultimatum. August 23 Appoints judges to hear Connecticut-Pennsylvania boundary dispute. August 27 Debates Kentucky statehood petition. August 29 Orders purchase of ship for packet service to Europe.
September 3 Orders resumption of postal service to the Carolinas and Georgia; presents ship America to France. September 4 Sets fiscal quota for the immediate payment of interest on the public debt. September 6 Debates proposal to appeal to the states to cede western lands. September 9 Suspends issuance of bills of exchange to pay loan office certificate interest; instructs Washington on prisoner cartel. September 10 Sets state fiscal quotas. September 12 Endorses Robert Aitken's proposal to print an American edition of the Bible. September 14 Authorizes solicitation of $4 million in foreign loans. September 16 Commissions Washington to negotiate prisoner exchange. September 17 Refuses to accept Henry Laurens' resignation as peace commissioner. September 19-20 Debates report that Henry Laurens improperly petitioned parliament while imprisoned. September 24 Receives information from the Chevalier de La Luzerne on recent peace maneuvers in Europe. September 28 Adopts plan of a treaty of amity and commerce with Sweden.
October 1 Rejects New Jersey’s plan to retain Continental revenues for the payment of the state's Continental troops. October 3 Reassures France on US commitment to military preparedness and to its no separate peace pledge. October 10 Appeals to Rhode Island and Georgia to adopt impost amendment. October 11 Sets day of thanksgiving and prayer. October 14-15 Debates promotion of general officers. October 16 Sets fiscal quota for 1783; instructs Washington on prisoner exchange negotiations. October 18 Requests Washington to decide fate of Wyoming garrison; sets state fiscal quotas; adopts Post Office ordinance. October 23 Reorganizes quartermaster department. October 28 Adopts supplemental Post Office ordinance; recommends suspension of plans to execute Charles Asgill in retaliation for the death of Joshua Huddy. October 29 Accepts New York's western land cession.
November 1 Refers investigation of Alexander Gillon to the superintendent of finance. November 2 Committee on Native American affairs confers with Catawba Native American delegation.
USCA Sessions 1781 to 1789
*Samuel Johnston was also elected President during the first USCA Session on July 9th, 1781, but the following day declined the office.
At age 62 and in poor health, Hanson returned to home to Frederick Town after spending 15 months in Philadelphia. John Hanson died a year later on November 15th, 1783, aged 63, at the residence of Thomas Hanson, his nephew at Oxon Hill, Prince George County, Maryland.
|John Hanson's obituary: Maryland Gazette, Thursday, November 27, 1783. http://www.msa.md.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc4800/sc4872/001283/html/m1283-0646.html|
At his death he owned 11 slaves and 223 acres of farmland with another 255 acres under lease all in Frederick County. He also owned six Frederick Town lots and one lot in Georgetown, Maryland. His will passed the estate to his wife and then to their sole surviving son, Alexander Contee Hanson. Hanson also made provisions for Philip Thomas and his grandchildren in his will.
John Hanson's Last Will and Testament are published below along with its transcription:
John Hanson's Last Will and Testament are published below along with its transcription:
In the name of God Amen. I, John Hanson of Frederick Town in Frederick County being in Good Health but considering the uncertainty of Human Life do make and ordain this my last will and Testiment as follows Vizt.
I give and Bequeath to my son Alexander Contee Hanson one Negro Woman Named Sal and her son Charles Roger and her Daughter Named Nan, one Negro man named John and one Negro man Commonly Called Ned Barnes two feather Beds Such as my Wife may Choose to Part with one Silver Pint Cup Six Silver Table Spoons Six Silver Tea Spoons and one pair of Silver Tea Tongs to him and his heirs forever.
The Lots or portions of Ground remaining unsold of the ground I purchased of Benjamin Delaney Esq. Adjoining to Frederick Town I desire may be sold by my Ex. Hereafter named and the Money Arising from Such Sale be paid one third thereof to Richard Potts one third to Doctor Philip Thomas and the remaining third may be Divided Between my wife and Son Alexander
I Give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Catherine Thomas one Negro Boy (nan’s son) named Bill to her and her heirs forever.
I Give and Bequeath to my Grand Daughter Rebecca Thomas one Negro Girl Named Charity (Moll’s Child) to her and her heirs forever.
I give and Bequeath to my Grand Son John Hanson Thomas one Negro Boy named Bob and the Child my Negro Nan is now big with one feather Bed and Twenty Pounds in Current Money to him and his heirs forever.
I Give and Bequeath to my Beloved Wife Jane Hanson my Lots and Houses in Frederick Town and which I purchased of a certain Adam Koon for and during her Natural life and after her Decease I Give the said Lots and Houses to my son Alexander and his heirs forever the remaining part of my personal Estate not herein before Divided
I Also Give and Bequeath to my said Wife forever.
My will is that Debts which may be Justly due and owing from me at the time of my Death my be paid and satisfied out of the Debts that may be due and owing to me and if those Debts or what may be Collected be not Sufficient to discharge what I owe then my will is that the Deficiency be paid and Satisfied out of the Legacies given to my Son Alexander and out of the Residuary part of my Personal Estate to my Wife in due proportion according to the Value of the Personal estate hereby bequeathed to each of them.
I give and Bequeath to my much esteemed Son in Law Doct. Philip Thomas one Mourning Ring
Lastly I Constitute and Ordain my Wife Sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament And I desire my Estate may not be Appraised or any Inventory thereof returned unless she shall Choose to Appraise and Inventory the same And I do hereby revoke all former Wills by me made and in Testimony Whereof I have in the presence of the Witnessed Subscribing Signed Published and Declared this to be my last will and affix my seal to the same this 20th day of September 1781
Signed Sealed Published and
John Hanson jr (seal)
Declared in the Presence of us (signature)John Nelson, Jeffery Magruder, Rich Butler
Frederick County April 13th 1784 Then came Jane Hanson and made Oath that the a foregoing Instrument of writing is the True and Whole Will and Testiment of John Hanson late of Frederick County Deceased that hath Come to her hands in Posession and that she Doth not know of any other - Geo. Murdock Regt.
Frederick County April 13th 1784 Then came Richard Butler one of the Subscribing Witnesses to the aforegoing Last Will and Testament of John Hanson late of Frederick County Deceased and made Oath the Holy evangelists
President John Hanson is believed to be buried in Addison Graveyard, at Oxon Hill.
By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
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United States in Congress Assembled
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
Sarah Armitage McKean (1756-1820)
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
Hannah Stockton Boudinot (1736-1808)
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
Anne Gaskins Pinkard Lee (1738-1796)
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
Phoebe Bayard St. Clair (1743-1818)
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
Christina Stuart Griffin (1751-1807)
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
Constitution of 1787
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782 (Aged 33)
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
January 20, 2009 to date
 James Terry White, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, James T. White Company, New York, 1909, page 312
 See this website’s page “John Hanson Myths” for the refutation of both assertions.
 Alexander Contee Hanson was appointed by General Washington as his private secretary during Revolutionary War. Alexander would spend most of his service in the field.
 Peter Contee Hanson served as an Army Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War and died in the Battle of Fort Washington, New York, on November 16, 1776 at the age 25.
 Samuel Contee Hanson, the Hanson’s youngest son, served as surgeon on the staff of General George Washington. He was killed in action on June 29, 1781 at the age 24.
 The Maryland Assembly exists today and has remained a part-time “citizen legislature” for more than 350 years. The first assembly convened on February 26, 1635 but was not recognized by the Proprietary’s representative, Governor Leonard Calvert, and its records are lost. Three years later the Maryland General Assembly would convene again on January 25, 1638 with the blessings of the Governor. The meeting took place at the original Maryland capital in St. Mary’s City. It was at St. Mary’s in 1649 that the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Act of Religious Toleration making it the only place in the world at that time where freedom of religion was granted to its citizens under law. In 1694 the General Assembly designated Anne Arundel Town (now known as Annapolis) as the capital of Maryland and held its first session at that location The General Assembly met for the first time in the new capital in 1695, and there it has sat continuously since, with two exceptions. In April 1757 an epidemic of smallpox in Annapolis drove it to Baltimore, and in April 1861, the Assembly left Annapolis and repaired to Frederick, a Maryland city loyal to the Union.
 Dr. Philip Thomas (1747-1812) began his medical practice in Frederick after studying at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His role during the Revolutionary War involved the forwarding of supplies from the Frederick County militia to the Continental Army, including several shipments to Washington at Yorktown. Thomas also had charge of the Hession Barracks in Frederick that was used as a jail for British prisoners during the war along with Fort Frederick. After the battle of Yorktown Washington order the transfer of British prisoners to different confinement areas in several states. Those to be forwarded to Fort Frederick, placed under Thomas's care, included Light Infantry, 594; Seventeenth Foot, 205; Thirty-Third Foot, 225; Seventy-first Foot, 242; Eightieth Foot, 558; Hereditary Prince, 425; Regiment Du Bose, 271; Jagers, 68; British Legion, 192; and North Carolina Volunteers, 114;. For a total destined for Fort Frederick of 2924. For these and other services Thomas attained the rank of Colonel. Jane Hanson, his wife, passed away at their Frederick home forcing John Hanson to take a summer of 1781 leave of absence from the USCA in Philadelphia. Hanson would return to Congress in September 1781 and be elected its President. His letters in 1781 and 1782 to Philip Thomas have provided scholars with much information on Hanson’s political, business and family was serving as USCA President. Thomas and the President remained friends and business partners until Hanson’s death in 1783. In 1789 Thomas was one of the electors for George Washington in the first nation election for U.S. President.
 On June 20, 1774 John Hanson was elected Chairman of Frederick County Committee of Observation, the new county governing body, which is equivalent to the current Frederick County Board of Commissioners.
 On June 21, 1775 Hanson was elected Frederick County Treasurer
 Proceedings Of The Conventions Of The Province Of Maryland, Held At The City Of Annapolis, on the twenty-second day of June, 1774; on the twenty-first day of November, 1774; on the eighth day of December, 1774; on the twenty-fourth day of April, 1775; and on the twenty-sixth day of July, 1775 Volume 78, Page 5
 Article X, Proceedings Of The Conventions Of The Province Of Maryland, Held At The City Of Annapolis, on the twenty-second day of June, 1774. Volume 78, Page 5
 John Hanson to Charles Carroll of Carrolton, September 7, 1780, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Charles Carroll of Carrolton, December 11, 1780, LDC 1774-1789
 Maryland Plan, for the purpose of this work, is the series of Maryland demands, beginning in 1777, that required all state land claims to the Northwest Territory be ceded to the Articles of Confederation government, the United States in Congress Assembled (USCA).
 Instructions of the General Assembly of Maryland to George Plater, William Paca, William Carmichael, John Henry, James Forbes, and Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Esqs. laid before the Continental Congress on 21st of May, 1779, State Claims Northwest Territory Address Of Hon William E. Chilton Of West Virginia , In The Senate of The United States On April 10. 1912, p.5-6
 Journals of the US Continental Congress, September 6, 1780
 Journals of the US Continental Congress, October 10, 1780
 John Hanson to Charles Carroll of Carrolton, November 28, 1780, LDC 1774-1789
 Daniel Carroll to Charles Carroll of Carrolton, February 20, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 February 22, 1781, JCC 1774-1789
 Articles of Confederation, March 1, 1781, JCC 1774-1789
 March 2, 1781, JCC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Thomas Lee, April 2, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, April, 10, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Thomas Lee, October 2, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Thomas Lee, October 10, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 Election of John Hanson, Journals of the United States, in Congress Assembled, November 5, 1781
 Elias Boudinot to John Stevens, November 5, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, November 6, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Thomas McKean, November 10, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to George Washington, November 10, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789, John Hanson, Jr. Maryland State Archives, page 406
 John Hanson to States, November 15, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 2: "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."
 John Hanson to Marquis de Lafayette, November 25, 1781, LDC 1774-1789
 Washington’s Remarks to the USCA, November 28, 1781, JCC 1774-1789
, Bank of North America, December 3, 1781, JCC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, January 14, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 Ibid, January 28th, 1782
 January 28, 1782, JCC 1774-1789
 Ebenezer Hazard (1744–1817) was born in Philadelphia and educated at Princeton University. He established a publishing business in New York in (1770). He was appointed NYC's Postmaster in 1776 and U.S. Postmaster General in 1782.
 Ibid, February 18th, 1782
 Ibid, February 21st, 1782
 Ibid, Department of Foreign affairs February 22nd, 1782
 John Hanson to John Hancock, March 1, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, February 23, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 For more on red money see Kathryn L. Behrens, Paper Money in Maryland, 1727-1789 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1923), pp. 72-75.
 John Hanson to Thomas Sim Lee, March 12, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, March 18, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 Ibid, Day of Fasting, March 19, 1782
 John Hanson to Nathanael Greene, March 22, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 Vice President Motion, April 15, 1782, JCC 1774-1789
 Chairman Motion, April 15, 1782, JCC 1774-1789
 Daniel Carroll Elected Chairman, April 15, 1782, JCC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, April 27, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, April 30, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 John Hanson to Phillip Thomas, May 8, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 King George III, An act to enable His Majesty to conclude a peace or truce with certain Colonies in North America Colonies in North America therein Mentioned. Printed Charles Eyre and William Strahan, London, September 21, 1782
 John Hanson to Thomas Sim Lee, October 15, 1782, LDC 1774-1789
 Ibid, Great Seal of the United States in Congress Assembled, June 20, 1782
 John Hanson to Thomas Sim Lee, The August 2 conciliatory letter of Gen. Guy Carleton and Adm. Robert Digby to Washington, which the latter had enclosed with August 5 letter to Congress, was printed in this day's Pennsylvania Packet. LDC 1774-1789
 Ibid, Aiken’s Bible, September 12, 1782
 Bancroft-Parkman, American Book Prices Current, Published 1895, Page 206
 Treaty Instructions to Benjamin Franklin, September 28, 1782, JCC 177-1789
 Opt Cit, “Public Thanksgiving to God “ October 11th, 1782
 John Hanson to Estévan Mirù, October 29, 1782, LDC 1774-1789