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Motion on Management of Funds, [27 November] 1781

Motion on Management of Funds

MS (NA: PCC, No. 79, II, 41). Written by JM.

[27 November 1781]

That the resolution of the   day of   committ[ing?] to the management & disposition of the superintendt. all loans or other monies obtained in Europe or else where for the use of the U. States.1

That the Superintendt. of Finance be authorised & directed to take under his care & management all loans or other monies obtained in Europe or elsewhere for the use of the U. States subject to the appropriation of Congress2

1JM offered this motion immediately after a letter was read in Congress from Secretary for Foreign Affairs Robert R. Livingston, telling of his conference with Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris. The two officials had conferred about Benjamin Franklin’s statement in his dispatch of 11 June 1781 that the court of France refused to permit, “without an express order from Congress,” bills to be paid by drawing against funds loaned to the United States by Louis XVI. For this reason, Franklin asked Congress to send him posthaste the needed authorization (Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , IV, 493). The first paragraph of JM’s resolution is obviously a draft which he discarded, perhaps because he decided that to cite an authority—probably the resolution of 4 June 1781 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XX, 597)—would be superfluous.

2Although Livingston suggested an appropriate resolution, Congress accepted JM’s wording, except that “and hereby is” was inserted between “of Finance be” and “authorised” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXI, 1142). Charles Thomson wrote “passd” on the sheet upon which JM drafted his motion. Livingston held open his dispatch of 26 November to Franklin long enough to enclose a copy of this resolution (Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , V, 7).

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