To George Washington
April 9th. 1783
Congress having appointed a committee consisting of Messrs. Maddison Osgood, Wilson, Elseworth1 and myself to consider what arrangements it will be proper to adopt in the different departments with reference to a peace; I am directed by the Committee to address your Excellency on the subject of the military department.2
The Committee wish Your Excellency’s sentiments at large on such institutions of every kind, for the interior defence of these states as may be best adapted to their circumstances and conciliate security with œconomy and with the principles of our governments. In this they will be glad you will take as great latitude as you may think necessary; and will therefore omit entering into any details.
The Committee apprehend it to be the intention of Congress to lay down a general plan to be carried into execution as circumstances will permit; and that in attending to such dispositions as the immediate situation of the Country may require, they are chiefly desirous of establishing good principles, that will have a permanently salutary operation.
I have the honor to be Yr. Excellency’s Most Obedient servant
His Excellency General Washington
ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; copy, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.
1. James Madison, Samuel Osgood, James Wilson, and Oliver Ellsworth.
2. Although there is no reference to its appointment in the Journals of the Congress, the committee probably was appointed on April 3 or 4. Madison, in his “Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress,” under the inclusive dates of April 3–6, states that
“A Come., consisting of Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Madison & was appointd to report the proper arrangements to be taken in consequence of peace. The object was to provide a system for foreign affairs, for Indian affairs, for military and naval peace establishments; and also to carry into execution the regulation of weights & measures & other articles of the Confederation not attended to during the war. To the same Come. was referred a resolution of the Executive Council of Pa., requesting the Delegates of that State to urge Congs. to establish a general peace with the Indians.” (“Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress,” MS, James Madison Papers, Library of Congress.)