I. Report of a Committee on Arrangements for the Public Audience
[22 December 1783]
Order for a publick Audience of General Washington.
1st. The president and Members are to be seated and covered, and the Secretary to be standing by the Side of the president.
2dly. The Arrival of the General is to be announced by the Messenger to the Secretary, who is thereupon to introduce the General attended by his Aids to the Hall of Congress.
3dly. The General being conducted to the Chair by the Secretary, is to be seated with an Aid on each side, standing, and the Secretary is to resume his place.
4thly. After a proper Time for the Arrangement of Spectators, Silence is to be ordered by the Secretary if necessary, and the president is to address the General in the following Words “Congress sir are prepared to receive your Communications”1 Whereupon the General is to rise and address Congress, after which2 he is to deliver his commission and a Copy of his Address to the president.2
N. B. When the General rises to make his Address, and also when he retires, he is to bow to Congress, which they are to return by uncovering without bowing.
MS (DLC: PCC, No. 19, vi, f. 467–70); in Elbridge Gerry’s hand with the exceptions noted below; endorsed: “Report of a Comee passed Decr. 22. 1783 [and in another hand:] Audience of Genl Washington.” Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed.,The Writings of Thomas Jefferson,“Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends iii, 363–4, prints this report as if it were entirely written by TJ; the text is also in JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxv, 820; both repeat the same errors, being somewhat less accurate than these sources usually are. Among other things, the caption is omitted. A copy of the text as finally approved by Congress, in Charles Thomson’s hand, is in DLC: Washington Papers; this, no doubt, was the copy furnished to Washington before the ceremony; it is printed in Washington, Writings, ed. Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed.,The Writings of Thomas Jefferson,“Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends x (1891), 337.
1. The words within quotation marks are underscored and a crossed circle placed in the margin, indicating that an amendment was offered in Congress. That amendment appears, in Thomson’s hand, on the verso: “Sir, The U.S. in Congress Assembled are prepared to receive your Communications.” The first words of this amendment brought the passage into line with the phraseology of the first words of the President’s response (see Document iv). Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed.,The Writings of Thomas Jefferson,“Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends iii, 364, and JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxv, 820, print the amendment as if it were a part of the report, omitting the committee’s phraseology entirely.
2. The words “after which” are interlined in the hand of Thomas Mifflin in substitution for the words “and being seated again,” which are deleted. Since the President of Congress was to read the response, it is possible that the committee submitted the report on arrangements to him for approval before handing it in to Congress.
3. A number of changes were made in this passage that are difficult to disentangle, but an analysis seems to indicate that the first part of the alteration took place in committee and the last by amendment in Congress. As originally phrased the passage read: “… after which he is to deliver a Copy of his Address to his Aid to be presented to the Secretary.” TJ altered this by interlining the words “with his commission” after the word “Address”; then, with appropriate additions and deletions, the first part of the passage was inverted to read as above. This alteration probably took place in committee. The words “to his Aid to be presented to the Secretary” are enclosed in parentheses and underscored, indicating that Congress deleted them and substituted therefor the words “to the president.” JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxv, 820, contains a note to the effect that the words “his Commission and a” and “to the President” (as well as those changes indicated in notes 2, 4, and 9) are in the hand of Elias Boudinot; but the former are indisputably TJ’s and the latter are in the same hand as the alteration in note 2, which is unquestionably Mifflin’s. Boudinot was not in Congress at this time.
4. The word “Aid” was deleted at this point and “General” interlined in the hand of Mifflin.
5. The words “by the side of the General” were deleted at this point as a part of the alteration indicated in notes 3 and 4.
6. The words “after a proper interval,” in Mifflin’s hand, were written in the margin following this point and were then deleted.
7. This passage was altered by Mifflin from the following: “… an Answer, which,” &c.
8. The word “Address” is deleted at this point and “Answer” interlined in Mifflin’s hand.
9. The words “and the General” are interlined in TJ’s hand. Preceding this point, the following words, enclosed in parentheses and underscored, were deleted (no doubt by Congress): “and receive the Commission from the General, who.”