Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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President of the Continental Congress
September 28, 1779 to February 28, 1781
Stanley L. Klos
HUNTINGTON was born on July 16,
1731 at Scotland, Connecticut, the
son of a Puritan farmer. Thedate of July 16th differs from the official
Congressional Biography as during the restoration of the tomb
a 207 year old plaque
was discovered with the bodies
Samuel Huntington Esq.
Governor of the State of Connecticut
was born July 16th AD 1731
and died January 5th AD 1796
aged 64 years
Both Martha and Samuel Huntington were re-interred on November 24, 2003 Old
Norwichtown Cemetery, Norwich, New London County, Connecticut (see
President Huntington was a
self-educated man who at age sixteen, was apprenticed to a cooper. He taught
himself Latin at night and devoured every book on law he could find. At
twenty-seven he was admitted to the bar, then moved to Norwich, a larger town
offering more opportunity. After a year, however, he married
the local minister's daughter, and set up what would eventually become a most
lucrative law practice.
In 1764, Huntington was
elected to the provincial assembly, and in quick succession became a justice of
the peace, the king's attorney for Connecticut, and a member of the colony's
council. He was elected and served in the second Continental Congress of the
United Colonies of America representing Connecticut at Independence Hall in
Huntington worked hard and
long for independence, however quietly. A fellow delegate wrote:
He is a man of mild,
steady, and firm conduct and of sound methodical judgment, tho' not a man of
many words or very shining abilities. But upon the whole is better suited
to preside than any other member now in Congress.
After signing the Declaration, Huntington
served in the Continental Congress for three more years when, on September
28, 1779, he was elected President. Huntington presided over the
Confederation Congress during a critical period in the War for Independence. His commitment to Independence and his Presidency is renowned among
scholars as his unwavering leadership held our nation together during a
succession of military losses, sedition and defections:
October 10th, 1779 - American attempt to recapture
Savannah, GA fails.
Winter of 1779-80 - was the coldest of the war and
provisions for Washington and his army were scarce Morristown, NJ. causing a
May 12, 1780 - British capture Charleston, SC.
May 1780 - Former
Continental Congress President Henry Middletonpledgeshis allegiance
to the crown after the Fall of Charleston.
May 29, 1780 - British crush Americans at Waxhaw Creek.
August 16, 1780 - British rout Americans at Camden,
September 25, 1780 - Major General Benedict Arnold's plans to
cede West Point to the British discovered.
January 1, 1781 - Mutiny of unpaid Pennsylvania
January 14, 1781 - Benedict Arnold burns Richmond.
March 15, 1781 - British win costly victory
at Guilford Courthouse, NC.
April 25, 1781 - General Greene defeated at
Hobkirk's Hill, SC.
May 15, 1781 - Cornwallis clashed with Greene at
Guilford Courthouse, NC.
June 6, 1781 - British hold off Americans at Ninety
Six, SC .
July 6, 1781 - General Anthony Wayne repulsed at
Green Springs Farm, VA
By the fall of 1780 three years had elapsed since
Burgoyne's surrender at
Saratoga. The fortunes of the Americans, instead of improving, had grown
worse to the point of desperation. France’s aid had thus far proved to be quite
minor, the southern army had been annihilated, US paper money, the Continental
had become worthless, US credit abroad hinged on the dwindling fortunes of
patriots like Robert Morris and Haym Salomon. The founding Articles of Confederation
which were to form the perpetual Union of the United States of America, after
four years, had yet to be ratified. Legally, the nation that sought
foreign recognition and aid was not a united country as its own
"constitution" was no ratified by all 13 states. Prospects of the United
State's survival were far past bleak as the country had never been
The army, clothed in rags, half-starved and not paid,
was ripe for the mutiny and desertions to the British lines averaged more than
100 a month. Samuel Huntington's Presidential Predecessor, former
Continental Congress President Henry Middleton betrayed his fellow patriots and
declared a renewed loyalty to King George III. Even George Washington wrote
that "he had almost ceased to hope."
In the summer of 1780 the spirit of desertion now seized
Washington's greatest General, Benedict Arnold, with whom the British commander
had for some time tampered through the mediation of
John Andre and an American loyalist, Beverley Robinson. Stung by the
injustice he had suffered, and influenced by history surroundings,
Arnold made up his mind to play a part like
that which General Monk had played in the restoration of Charles II to the
British throne. By putting the British in possession of the Hudson river at West
Point, Arnold would deliver the British all that they had sought to obtain by
the campaigns of 1776-'77. Once West Point was secured the American cause would
thus become so hopeless that an occasion would be offered for negotiation.
In July, 1780, General Arnold, who like
President Huntington was a Norwich, Connecticut son, obtained command of
West Point from George Washington in order
to surrender it to the enemy. In September, when his scheme was detected by the
timely capture of Andre, Arnold fled to tile British at New York, a disgraced
and hated traitor. As the winter of 1781 approached and the British advanced
northward towards Virginia desperation seized Washington's troops and resulted
in a mutiny on January 1, 1781. Benedict
Arnold conducted a plundering expedition into Virginia even burning Richmond
on January 14, 1781.
Want to know
about Samuel Huntington and the 9 other US Presidents before George
Now Available in Paperback President Who?
Forgotten Founders Click Here
In this landmark work on Early
Presidential History, Historian Stanley L. Klos unravels the complex birth of
the US Presidency while providing captivating biographies on the Four Presidents
of the Continental Congress and ten Presidents of the United States before
George Washington. The book is filled with actual photographs of
Pre-Constitutional letters, resolutions, treaties, and laws enacted by the
Confederation Congress and signed by the Presidents of the Confederation
Congress as “President of the United States.”
From the United Colonies Birth in 1774 to the Constitutional Convention of 1787
the author clearly and concisely maps out the role and duties of the Presidents
who led the fledging nation through the Revolutionary War and the formation of
the United States under the Articles of Confederation. Accounts include the
birth of the Presidency and the United Colonies in Philadelphia’s City Tavern
(Yes the first “convening” of the
Continental Congress occurred in a tavern), the US Capitol
“road show” as it moved from town to town fleeing the British
Military Forces, the 1781ratification of the Articles of Confederation in
Philadelphia forming the first US Presidency, the entire US Government being
held hostage in Independence Hall in 1783 by its own Military, the near collapse
of Confederation Government in 1786 due to its failure to govern under the
threat of Shay’s Rebellion, the rebirth of the United States under the
Philadelphia Convention of 1787 called to revise the Articles of Confederation
and finally President Abraham Lincoln’s use of the Articles of Confederation as
his central legal argument to “Preserve the Perpetual Union of the United
States of America” in 1861.
This is a brilliant and most enjoyable
book which helps us to rediscover our rich history and heritage. Stan Klos
clearly establishes that Virginia -- not Delaware -- became the first State in
the Perpetual Union of the United States America ... because it was the first to
ratify the Articles of Confederation (1779). You too will want to read his
documentation complete with photographs and facsimiles of primary source
documents of our lively and enlightening Americana history.
-- G. William Thomas, Jr., President,
James Monroe Memorial Foundation
A well-written and extremely thought provoking piece of historical scholarship.
By using extensive primary source materials, Stan Klos effectively proves his
point that from 1781 to 1789 ten men served as President of the United States in
Congress Assembled. Mr. Klos does not wish to displace George Washington as
"Father of Our Country." Rather, Mr. Klos is seeking recognition for
Washington's predecessors. A must read for anyone interested in American
-- Greg Priore
Archivist, William R. Oliver Special Collections Room
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
It is a masterpiece in defining presidential
history. Stanley Klos clearly presents the historic path of the presidency
beginning with the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled
Samuel Huntington, to the eleventh President, George Washington. It is a must
read for any serious student of American History.
-- Senator Bill Stanley
President of the Norwich Historical Society
… a thought provoking argument for “righting” our
history books about the very early years of our democracy. Samuel Huntington,
His Excellency the President of the United States in Congress Assembled, indeed!
- Lee Langston-Harrison, Curator
James Madison’s Montpelier
Despite this, through painstaking
diplomacy, encouragement and a firm commitment to independence Huntington was
successful in persuading the 13 states to meet their quotas of men, dollars and
provisions enabling Washington and his Generals to conduct what most 18th
Century Americans believed to be a lost war for freedom. On September 10, 1780
Samuel Huntington, determined to achieve the ratification necessary to from the
United States, brokered this legislation and sent this circular letter to each
of the states:
Your Excellency will receive herewith
enclosed an Act of Congress of the 6 Instant, adopting the report of a
Committee; together with Copies of the several Papers referred to in the report.
I am directed to transmit Copies of this report and the several Papers therein
mentioned to the Legislatures of the several States, (1) that they may all be
informed of the Desires & Endeavours of Congress on so important a Subject, and
those particular States which have Claims to the Western Territory, & the State
of Maryland may adopt the Measures recommended by Congress in Order to obtain a
final ratification of the Articles of Confederation.
Congress, impressed with a Sense of the vast Importance of the Subject, have
maturely considered the same, and the result of their Deliberation is contained
in the enclosed report, which being full & expressive of their Sentiments upon
the Subject; without any additional Obervations: it is to be hoped, and most
earnestly desired, that the Wisdom, Generosity & Candour of the Legislatures of
the several States, which have it in their Power on the one Hand to remove the
Obstacles, and on the other to complete the Confederation, may direct them to
such Measures, in Compliance ...
Samuel Huntington, President
On the 30th of January, 1781, succumbing to Samuel
Huntington's proofs that the enemies of the United States were taking advantage
of the circumstance to propagate opinions of an inevitable dissolution of the
Union, the Maryland legislature passed an act to empower their delegates to
subscribe and ratify the Articles of Confederation. Finally amidst
all this Revolutionary War chaos on March 1, 1781 President Huntington accomplished what
Continental Congress Presidents John Hancock, Henry Laurens and John Jay failed
to do; he achieved the unanimous ratification of the
Articles of Confederation. After four
long years of ratification consideration, from 1778 to 1781, the
Perpetual Union known as the United States of America became a legal reality:
"Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states of New
Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia."
I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United
States of America".
II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and
independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this
Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm
league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of
their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to
assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or
any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense
whatever ..." (for the entire text please visit
By virtue of this ratification the
ever fluidContinental Congress
ceased to exist and on March 2nd "The United States in
Congress Assembled" was placed at the head of each page of the Official
Journal of Congress. The United States of America which was conceived on July
2, 1776 had finally been born in 1781 under the watch of President Samuel
The New Journal of the United States in Congress Assembled reported on March 2, 1781:
ratification of the Articles of Confederation being yesterday completed by the
accession of the State of Maryland: The United States met in Congress, when the
following members appeared: His Excellency Samuel Huntington, delegate for
Connecticut, President ...
The March 2,
1781 circular letter that President Samuel
Huntington sent to each of the states stated:
By the Act of Congress herewith enclosed
your Excellency will be informed that the Articles of Confederation & perpetual
Union between the thirteen United States are formally & finally ratified by all
are happy to congratulate our Constituents on this important Event, desired by
our Friends but dreaded by our Enemies.
Samuel Huntington, President
The office, President of the
United States in Congress Assembled was now established by the Articles, and the term was limited to one
year by the appointment (election) of the delegates:
to appoint one of their
members to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the office of
president more than one year in any term of three years;
A form of this
method of election was later incorporated into the US Constitution of 1787 with the people
of each state voting for electors (delegates). The Electors, in turn,
vote for the President of the United States which in 2000 resulted in George W.
Bush winning the US Presidency despite loosing the popular vote.
In 1781 Samuel Huntington,
had already served as President of the Continental Congress for 17
months. The Articles, the first US Constitution, limited all presidencies
to a term of one year. Since their was no operating constitution prior to
1781 Huntington was eligible to serve one year as President under the Articles.
Upon the urging of his fellow delegates he agreed to accept the new office
President of the United States in Congress Assembled.
The First use of the title President of the United States in the Journals
of Congress was by the Treasury Department:
Treasury Office March 12th. 1781. The Board of Treasury to whom was
referred the letter from the Honble. the Minister of France to
Samuel Huntington his Excellency the President of the
United States in Congress assembled on the subject of the affairs of
the late Monsieur De Coudray dated the 4th. instant beg leave to report as
Four score years later on
July 4, 1861 President Abraham Lincoln would use the Articles of Confederation's
language against South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia's attempt
to secede from the United States. It was the unanimous "Perpetual Union"
verbiage in the Articles that provided President Lincoln with the legal
authority, not granted in the US Constitution, to Preserve the Union.
"The express plighting of
faith by each and all of the original thirteen in the Articles of Confederation,
two years later, that the Union shall be perpetual is most conclusive."
- Abraham Lincoln's Address
to Congress in Special Session 4 July 1861.
Lincoln, a student of history, must have
gained great strength during the dark days of the Civil War from President
Samuel Huntington's perseverance. One can only imagine the embarrassment and
pressure that ensued from his Presidential predecessor, Henry Middleton,
declaring his loyalty to King George III after the fall of Charleston. One can
only imagine the pressures that were placed upon President Huntington when his
fellow Norwich Revolutionary sold out to the British after the fall of the
Southern States in 1781. In September of the same year Benedict Arnold was
actually sent to attack New London, in order to divert Washington from his
southward march against Cornwallis.
One can only imagine the overtures that must have been made by the British
through Arnold's Norwich Family of amnesty, rank, land and money if President
Huntington would declare allegiance to the crown. President Huntington
remained true to independence presiding over the ratification ceremonies and
like Abraham Lincoln preserved the Perpetual Union of the United States of
How true to this hazardous declaration, of his
principles, Mr. Huntington subsequently proved; how intelligently and
fearlessly he met all the responsibilities involved in it; how, step by step,
he showed himself more and more indispensable to its efficient maintenance;
how he won for himself, from the leaders of that day, the place and honor of
leadership over even themselves, is abundantly attested by their vote of
September 28,1779, in which he is chosen their PRESIDENT, with a unanimity as
honorable to them as to him. Nor did he fail in this trying office, an office
which called for the highest qualities both of the jurist and statesman. From
the date of his election, until his resignation, July 6, 1781, he was most
incessantly and acceptably engaged in the engrossing cares of his office.
Perhaps no one of those honored men who were called to that eminent post
during the formative period of our government, occupied it with more credit
than he. Certainly never did congress show sincerer reluctance than when, from
utter exhaustion of his strength, he was forced to ask either for a temporary,
or a final retirement from the office. For two months they delayed seeking for
a successor, hoping that meanwhile he might so far recover as to justify his
continuance. But such had been the tax upon his strength that be was compelled
to insist upon his resignation, about a month before the close of his second
year. The resignation was
accepted, and a hearty vote of thanks testified to the confidence which
congress reposed in him as the chief executive of the nation, and their
gratitude for his impartial and able administration.
An example of one daunting challenge Huntington faced can be found in this letterto Caesar Rodney.
The letter is dated Philadelphia, PA, 13 November 1780
only 6 months after General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered to British Forces in
Charleston, South Carolina. The British, who now effectively controlled the
Carolinas and Georgia, were making liberal use of papers and
clearances that they took from this great southern “prize.” In this
letter a beleaguered President Huntington
asks Caesar Rodney of Delaware to support his resolution, adopted at the urging
of Minister of France, to deal with the problem of British Spys and their
disruption of our trade with France and other allies.
View the actual letter to Caesar Rodney from President Huntington click
here and here.
Circular, Philadelphia November 13, 1780
Congress having received Information from the
Honorable the Minister of France, of Inconveniencies & Injuries received
by our Allies, resulting from the Abuse the British make of Papers &
Clearances they take in American Prizes, by personating the Officers &
Commanders named in such Papers, being fully acquainted with the Language
& Manners of our Officers & Seamen &c.
In Compliance with the request of the Minister of
France, Congress have adopted the enclosed Resolution in Order to detect such
Abuses in future; and I am to request your Excellency's Attention to the
necessary Measures for carrying the same into effectual Execution.
I have the Honor to be with the highest Respect
your Excellency's most obedient and very humble
Sam. Huntington President.
The President of Delaware State
Huntington's accomplishments as President
didn't end with the Articles' ratification. On April 5, 1781 Huntington's
Congress passed an ordinance, which declared Congress' "sole and exclusive
right and power (inter alia) of appointing courts for the trial of piracies..."
and empowering "the justices of the supreme or superior courts of judicature,
and judge of the Court of Admiralty of the several and respective states, or any
two or more of them" to hear and try offenders charged with such offences.
Huntington sent this circular letter on April 19th, 1781 to all the states:
Your Excellency will receive herewith
enclosed, an Ordinance for establishing Courts for the Trial of Piracies and
Felonies committed upon the high Seas, passed in Conformity to Articles of
I have the Honor to be &c, &c,
Samuel Huntington, President
By May 1781 Samuel Huntington strongly
supported Robert Morris's financial plan for the maintenance of the army, which
was ready to be disbanded by their own act. It was perceived by many states that
the Congress had no power to enforce taxation. Morris proposed the establishment
of a Bank at Philadelphia with a capital of four hundred thousand dollars, the
promissory notes of which should be a legal-tender currency to be received in
payment of all taxes, duties and debts, due the United States. The plan was
approved by the Congress:
Resolved, That Congress do approve of
the plan for establishing a national bank in these United States, submitted to
their consideration by Mr. R. Morris, the 17 day of May, 1781; and that they
will promote and support the same by such ways and means, from time to time, as
may appear necessary for the institution and consistent with the public good:
That the subscribers to the said bank shall be incorporated agreeably to the
principles and terms of the plan, under the name of The President, Directors and
company of the bank of North-America, so soon as the subscription shall be
filled, the directors and president chosen, and application for that purpose
made to Congress by the president and directors elected.
So it was resolved in the affirmative.
With the able guidance of Mr. Morris, who was the Secretary of the Treasury,
that corporation furnished adequate means for saving the Continental army from
disbanding. He collected the taxes, and he used his private fortune freely for
the public welfare.
Much about Samuel Huntington's
accomplishments and the inner workings of the United States Government during this
period of revolution is lost. The historical record is severely fragmented
because the Congressional delegates, the Secretary of War, Secretary of State, Minister of
Finance, Secretary of the United States, and President of the United States
Samuel Huntington were all bound by an oath of secrecy not to publish or record
the debates and intrigues of the new Confederation Government. The Journals of The
United States in Congress Assembled record only resolution outcomes and a
minuscule amount of official correspondence that were deemed necessary to enter
into the official record. Only now, as
institutions, libraries, foundations and private individuals upload their
rare private and official Pre-Washington presidential
letters to the internet, is the full nature of the US President's office coming
What we are learning from
these letters and the official Journals of Congress is that Samuel Huntington
and the other nine Presidents under the Articles of Confederation issued orders,
ratified treaties, executed military commissions, received foreign dignitaries,
called for Congressional sessions, held councils of War and signed foreign loans as both President of
Congress and President of the United States depending on the situation. Treaties,
for instance, were signed as President of the United States while resolutions of
Congress were signed as President of Congress (for examples of both please visit
One only needs to visit
the Journals of United States in Congress Assembled
on-line and search .
Here are a few examples of official documents issued as President of the United States
in Congress Assembled found in the search:
Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled --THURSDAY, AUGUST 23,
178;MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1782; SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1782;MONDAY, JUNE 2, 1783;FRIDAY,
MARCH 12, 1784;FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 1784; FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 1786.
of Samuel Huntington's Presidency in both the Continental Congress and United
States in Congress Assembled is as follows:
Journals of the Continental
1779 - September 28Elects Samuel Huntington president of Congress; adopts commissions and
instructions for John Adams and
October 1 Orders preparation of a plan for
reorganizing the conduct of naval affairs. October
2 Requests Vermont claimants to authorize Congress to settle
Vermont claims. October 4 Adopts
instructions for minister to Spain (John Jay).
October 6 Admonishes Benedict Arnold
on treatment of Pennsylvania officials. October
7 Calculates and apportions 1780 state fiscal quotas. October 9 Adopts circular letter to the
states on meeting fiscal quotas. October 13
Authorizes Arthur Lee to return to America. October
14 Commends John Sullivan for conduct
of expedition against the Indians; resolves to emit an additional $5 million;
sets day of thanksgiving. October 15
Adopts instructions for minister to Spain; resolves to seek a loan in Holland.
October 20 Adopts thanksgiving day
proclamation. October 21 Appoints
Henry Laurens to negotiate Dutch loan. October 22 Rejects appeal for Continental
intervention against state taxation of Continental quartermasters. October 26 Adopts instructions for
negotiation of Dutch loan and treaty of amity and commerce. October 28 Creates Board of Admiralty,
ending management of naval affairs by congressional committee. October 30 Urges Virginia to reconsider
decision to open land office for sale of unappropriated lands.
November 1 Appoints
Henry Laurens to negotiate Dutch treaty of
amity and commerce. November 2-3
Adjourns because of expiration of President Huntington's credentials as
Connecticut delegate. November 5
Notified of evacuation of Rhode Island; appoints committee to plan an
executive board to supervise Continental officials. November 8 Requests correspondence files of
former presidents of Congress. November 9
Elects Treasury officers. November 10
Orders deployment of three frigates to South Carolina. November 11 Orders reinforcement of
southern department; observes funeral of Joseph Hewes. November 13 Rejects resignation of Gen.
John Sullivan; approves parole of Gens. William Phillips and Baron Riedesel of
the Convention Army. November 16
Undertakes care of Spanish prisoners held at New York, rejects Massachusetts'
appeal to retain Continental taxes to defray Penobscot expedition costs;
recommends that states compel persons to give testimony at Continental
courts-martial. November 17 Holds
audience with the newly arrived French minister, the chevalier de La Luzerne;
resolves to emit an additional $10 million.
November 18 Gives General
Washington free hand to coordinate operations with the French armed
forces. November 19 Recommends state
adoption of price regulations. November 23
Resolves to draw bills of exchange to £100,000 sterling each on John Jay and
Henry Laurens. November 25 Adopts new
regulations for clothing Continental Army; discharges committee for
superintending the commissary and quartermaster departments. November 26 Appoints Admiralty
commissioners. November 29 Commemorates
General Pulaski's death- resolves to emit an additional $10 million; accepts
resignation of commissary general Jeremiah Wadsworth. November 30 Appoints committee to confer
with Washington at headquarters; accepts resignation of Gen. John Sullivan.
December 2 Receives notification of
Spanish declaration of war against Britain; appoints Ephraim Blaine commissary
general of purchases. December 3
Resolves to move Congress from Philadelphia at the end of April 1780; appoints
Admiralty commissioners. December 6
Reinforces armed forces in southern department.
December 9 Observes day of thanksgiving. December 15 Recommends that states extend
provisions embargo to April 1780. December 16
Authorizes Gen. Benjamin Lincoln to coordinate
southern operations with Spanish officers at Havana. December 20-24 Debates proposal to borrow
$20 million abroad. December 24
Authorizes use of depositions of witnesses at courts martial in non-capital
cases. December 27 Recommends moratorium
on granting lands in region of Pennsylvania-Virginia boundary dispute; orders
Post Office to institute twice-weekly in place of weekly deliveries. December 28 Authorizes Continental
reimbursement of militia expenses incurred defending Connecticut against
invasion. December 31 Endorses Board of
War plan to employ greater secrecy to reduce procurement expenses.
1780 - January 3 Postpones decision on
selecting a new site for Congress. January 4-8
Debates plan for creating a court of appeals.
January 8 Reorganizes Georgia's Continental regiments. January 10 Dismisses Charles Lee, second
ranking Continental general; debates plan for reducing the army to curtail
expenses. January 12 Sends emergency
appeal to the states for provisioning the army; abolishes mustermaster's
department. January 13 Adopts new
regulations for negotiation of prisoner exchanges.
January 14 Recommends that states make provision for guaranteeing
the privileges and immunities of French citizens recognized in the
Franco-American treaty of amity and commerce.
January 15 Creates Court of Appeals in admiralty cases. January 17 Endorses export of grain to
French forces by the French agent of marine.
January 18 Resolves to print the journals of Congress monthly, but
ends practice of printing the yeas and nays.
January 20 Orders investigation into the expenses of the staff
departments; abolishes barrackmaster's department.
January 22 Elects judges to Court of Appeals. January 24 Adopts new measures for
recruitment of Continental troops. January 25
Halts pay of inactive naval officers. January 26
Appoints committee to confer with the French minister on joint Franco-American
operations. January 27 Authorizes
inflation adjustment in the salaries of Continental officials. January 31 Pledges to wage a vigorous
campaign in conjunction with French forces during 1780.
February 4-5 Debates Continental Army
quotas for 1780. February 9 Sets state
quotas and adopts recruitment measures for an army of 35,000 by April 1, 1780.
February 11 Affirms commitment to the
re-conquest of Georgia. February 12
Confirms sentence in the court-martial of Gen.
Benedict Arnold. February 16-24
Debates proposals for a system of in-kind requisitions from the states. February 22 Debates congressional privilege
issue arising from the complaint of Elbridge Gerry. February 25 Adopts system of in-kind
requisitions from the states. February 28
Postpones decision on selecting a new site for Congress.
March 2 Postpones debate on Vermont
controversy. March 3 Sets "day of
fasting, humiliation and prayer." March 4
Commends John Paul Jones and crew of Bonhomme Richard for victory over
Serapis. March 8 Orders reinforcements
for the southern department. March 13-18
Debates proposals for fiscal reform. March 18
Repudiates Continental dollar, adopting measures for redeeming bills in
circulation at the ratio of 40 to 1. March 20 Recommends state revision of
legal tender laws. March 21 Postpones
debate on Vermont controversy. March 24
Observes Good Friday. March 26 Observes
funeral of James Forbes. March 27
Rejects proposals for a new site for Congress; receives plan for reorganizing
quartermaster department. March 29-31
Debates proposals for adjusting Continental loan office certificates for
April 1 Debates plan for reorganizing
quartermaster department. April 3
Rejects motion to hear Elbridge Gerry appeal. April
4 Authorizes defense of New York frontier at Continental expense.
April 6 Resolves to send a committee to
confer with Washington at headquarters. April 8
Authorizes partial reimbursement to Massachusetts for Penobscot expedition
expenses. April 10 Authorizes
depreciation allowances for Continental troops.
April 12 Adopts instructions for Committee at Head quarters. April 13 Appoints Committee at
Headquarters. April 15 Appoints Joseph
Ward commissary general of prisoners. April 17
Rejects proposal to appoint a "resident" at the Court of Versailles. April 18 Authorizes depreciation allowances
for holders of Continental loan office certificates; authorizes issuance of
commissions to Delaware Indians. April 20
Resolves to draw bills of exchange on John Jay in Spain. April 21 Adopts measures for the relief of
prisoners of war. April 24 Adopts appeal
to the states to meet fiscal quotas. April 28
Appoints Cyrus Griffin to Court of Appeals, William
Denning to Board of Treasury.
May 2 Revises commissions, bonds, and
instructions for privateers. May 5
Doubles rates of postage. May 10 Adopts
regulations for replacing destroyed loan office certificates. May 15 Three Georgia delegates attend,
representing the state for the first time in more than a year. May 17 Considers Committee at Headquarters
report presented by John Mathews. May 18-20
Debates La Luzerne memorial on Franco American cooperation. May 19 Urges states to remit quota payments
immediately. May 20 Urges states to meet
troop quotas immediately. May 22 Urges
Delaware to extend provisions embargo indefinitely. May 23 Debates Vermont controversy. May 26 Requests states to receive
Continental certificates in payment of taxes. May
29 Debates Vermont controversy. May 30
Rescinds Committee at Headquarters instruction on the propriety of reducing
June 1 Adopts measures for defense of New
York and New Hampshire frontiers. June 2
Censures Vermont settlers and pledges final de termination of the Vermont
controversy when ever nine "disinterested" states are represented in Congress.
June 5 Adopts plans for cooperating with
anticipated French forces. June 6 Orders
arms for southern defense. June 9
Postpones Vermont inquiry to September 12. June 12
Orders restrictions on the issuance of Continental rations; creates two extra
chambers of accounts to facilitate settlement of staff department accounts. June 13 Appoints Horatio Gates to southern
command. June 14 Adopts measures for the
defense of the southern department. June 15
Issues circular letter to the states to reinforce the appeals of the Committee
at Headquarters. June 19 Adopts measures
to prevent and punish counterfeiting. June 20
Empowers John Adams to seek Dutch loan. June 21 Reaffirms commitment to
Franco-American military cooperation; appoints an agent to transact U.S.
affairs in Portugal. June 22 Endorses
plan to establish a private bank for provisioning and supplying the
Continental Army. June 23 Orders inquiry
into the fall of Charleston, S.C.; reaffirms support for Georgia and South
Carolina. June 28 Adopts plan for paying
depreciation allowances to holders of Continental loan office certificates.
July 3 Orders Admiralty Board to implement
intelligence gathering plan. July 5-6
Debates plan to reform quartermaster department.
July 7 Endorses La Luzerne's request to permit the shipment of
provisions to Spanish forces in the West Indies.
July 11 Orders publication of Congress' May 1778 resolution
requesting that Articles 11 and 12 of the Franco-American treaty of commerce
be revoked. July 13 Orders Washington to
seek the exchange of General du Portail, chief of engineers. July 15 Reorganizes quartermaster
department; continues Nathanael Greene in office as quarter master general. July 17 Receives announcement of arrival of
French fleet at Rhode Island. July 19
Opens debate on the court-martial of Dr. William Shippen, Jr., director
general of hospitals. July 20 Suspends deputy quartermaster Henry Hollingsworth . July 25 Appoints Charles Pettit assistant
quartermaster general. July 26 Orders
deployment of Continental frigates to cooperate with French fleet; orders
reforms in the department of military stores. July
27 Transfers responsibility for issuing privateer commissions and
bonds to the office of the secretary of Congress.
August 2 Lifts restrictions on
Washington's operational authority; chides Committee at Headquarters. August 3-4 Debates Quartermaster Greene's
resignation request. August 5 Appoints
Timothy Pickering quartermaster general to succeed Nathanael Greene; orders
Washington to confer with French officers to plan the expulsion of the enemy
from Georgia and South Carolina. August 7
Instructs Washington on exchanging prisoners of war and on reinforcing the
southern department. August 9 Authorizes
drawing bills of exchange on Benjamin Franklin for the relief of the southern
department. August 11 Dismisses
Committee at Headquarters. August 12
Reforms department of military stores; responds to general officers'
grievances. August 17 Commends General
Rochambeau and the conduct of the French forces.
August 18 Confirms court-martial acquittal of William Shippen, Jr.
August 22 Orders punishment of abuses in
the staff departments. August 23 Adopts
regulations for the issuance of certificates in the commissary and
quartermaster departments; authorizes drawing additional bills of exchange on
Benjamin Franklin. August 24-25 Extends
additional benefits to general officers. August 26
Exhorts states to implement Congress' March 18 resolves for exchanging
Continental currency. August 29 Appoints
committee to plan a "new arrangement of the civil executive departments."August 31 Receives news of General
Gates' defeat at Camden,
September 1 Receives informal invitation
to trade with Morocco. September 5
Authorizes issuance of loan office certificates to $1 million specie value at
6 percent interest. September 6 Urges
states to cede western land claims and Maryland to ratify Articles of
Confederation. September 8 Orders
reinforcement of southern military department.
September 13 Sets salary schedule for the Continental
establishment. September 14 Reopens
debate on Vermont dispute. September 15
Appoints Abraham Skinner commissary general of prisoners; adopts plan to
supply meat to Continental Army. September 19
Convenes evening session to continue Vermont dispute debate. September 21 Approves enlistment of troops
for one year in absence of sufficient "recruits enlisted for the war. "September 22 Authorizes drawing
additional bills of exchange on Benjamin Franklin.
September 25 Adopts new plan for the inspecting department,
consolidating mustering functions under the inspector general. September 26 Resolves to instruct
commanders of ships to observe principles conforming to the Russian
declaration on neutral rights. September 27
Postpones Vermont dispute debate. September 28
Resolves to limit presidential terms to one year.
September 30 Receives account of the treason of Gen. Benedict
Arnold; adopts new plan for the medical department.
October 2 Authorizes drawing additional
bills of exchange on Franklin and John Jay. October
3 Adopts new establishment for the Continental Army. October 4 Adopts instructions for John Jay
on navigation of the Mississippi River and southwestern boundaries. October 6 Elects officers for hospital
department. October 10 Adopts Virginia
proposal to reimburse state expenses related to cession of western lands and
to require that ceded lands "be disposed of for the common benefit of the
United States."October 13 Appoints
Daniel Morgan brigadier general; creates third chamber of accounts. October 14 Votes memorial for Baron de
Kalb; commends various officers and troops for bravery at the battle of
Camden. October 16 Receives proceedings
of the Hartford convention of New England states.
October 17 Adopts letter of instruction for John Jay. October 18 Instructs John Adams on peace
negotiations; sets day of prayer and thanksgiving.
October 21 Endorses proposal to receive Cherokee delegation;
revises Continental Army establishment. October 23
Receives report on the victory at King's Mountain .
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