Alexander Hamilton Papers

Continental Congress Report on a Letter from the Commander in Chief, 20 February 1783

Continental Congress
Report on a Letter from the Commander in Chief

[Philadelphia] February 20, 1783

The Committee1 to whom were referred the letter from The Commander in Chief2 with its inclosures submit the following resolution

Resolved that The Commander in Chief be informed that Congress always happy to receive his sentiments either on the political or military affairs of these states the utility of which they have upon so many occasions experienced have paid all the attention to his letter of the 30th. of Jany which the importance of it demands.

That should the war continue another campaign every motive of policy and œconomy would operate in favour of the enterprise suggested, but that such are the present situation and prospects of these states that it would be inexpedient at this time to determine upon the plan or to enter upon the expensive preparations which it would require.

That the official accounts received by Congress corresponding with other intelligence afford appearances of an approaching peace.

Resolved that the Secretary for foreign affairs be directed to make a confidential communication to the Commander in Chief of the state of the negotiations for peace when the last advices were received.3

AD, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

1The committee consisted of H, Richard Peters, Theodorick Bland, John Rutledge, and Thomas Mifflin.

2On January 30, 1783, George Washington wrote to the President of Congress that the Army should be prepared for the possible continuation of the war, and recommended that Congress provide adequate supplies for the quarter-master’s department. Although he stated that he had no desire to increase the Army “in the smallest degree beyond what the exigence of the Circumstances may appear to demand,” he suggested that if the peace negotiations failed, it would be wise “to attempt by one great and decisive effort to expel the Enemy from the remaining part of their possessions in the United States” (GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XXVI, 82–86).

3The endorsement states that the resolution was passed on the day it was delivered, February 20, 1783.

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