Alexander Hamilton Papers

Continental Congress Report on the Memorial of Francis Cazeau, 6 February 1783

Continental Congress
Report on the Memorial of Francis Cazeau1

[Philadelphia] February 6, 1783

The Committee2 to whom was referred the Memorial from Mr. De Cazeau report:

That it appears by Mr. Cazeaus representation that he was possessed of large property in Canada; that he took an early and decided part in favour of the American revolution; rendered services to our army in that Country by supplies of provisions & otherwise which were productive of immediate loss to him and attempted to render still greater services in which he was unsuccessful; that his conduct and principles drew upon him the resentment of the British government which operated in the sequestration of all his property, in the imprisonment of himself and son and in other outrages, that he made his escape from prison, and after encountering many dangers and hardships, has arrived among us, destitute of every thing to throw himself upon the justice and generosity of Congress

That it appears by other respectable testimony that Mr. Cazeau was a man of influence and property in Canada and has been ruined by his attachment to the American cause.

The Committee however are upon the whole of opinion, that as it is impossible now to judge of the eventual circumstances of Mr. Cazeau or of the precise extent of his services and sacrifices, Congress ought at present to take up the General consideration of his case but that policy and justice require as far as the situation of public affairs will permit some relief to his distress, they therefore advise that the Superintendant of Finance be directed to advance him One thousand dollars on acct.

AD, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

1Francis Cazeau was a Montreal merchant, who, according to his memorial, sold provisions to the American troops in 1775 and 1777. He argued that the money paid him had depreciated in value and that because he had assisted the Americans he had been imprisoned by Canadian officials. He asked Congress to compensate him for his losses.

2The endorsement states that the report was “referred to the Superint. of finance to take Order.” The Superintendent did not immediately comply with the congressional resolution. On March 18, 1784, Cazeau’s memorial was again the subject of a congressional resolution which awarded him part of the compensation for which he asked. The report, however, was not acted on by the Superintendent of Finance (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXVII, 398, 410). On April 30, 1784, Cadwalader Morris wrote to Edward Hand that “Poor Cazeau is very much distressed at the hesitation of the Comptroller and Treasurer to comply with the Resolution of Congress on his Memorial …” (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (Washington, 1921–1938). description ends , VII, 508).

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