Alexander Hamilton Papers

Continental Congress Report on Continuance in Office of the Superintendent of Finance, 23 April 1783

Continental Congress
Report on Continuance in Office
of the Superintendent of Finance1

[Philadelphia] April 23, 1783. On this date a committee, consisting of Samuel Osgood, Theodorick Bland, Hamilton, James Madison, and Richard Peters, reported on plans to be adopted for paying and discharging the Army. It was recommended that Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance, continue in office until funds could be procured for paying the officers and soldiers of the Army. To this report, in the writing of Samuel Osgood, Hamilton added the concluding section which recommended “… to Congress the propriety of appointing a Committee2 to confer with him3 on his continuance in office ’till proper arrangements can be carried into effect for advancing to the army three months pay at the time of its dissolution or at such short subsequent periods as will satisfy their expectations.”4

D, in the writings of Samuel Osgood and H, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

1On January 24, 1783, Robert Morris had informed Congress that he intended to resign as Superintendent of Finance. (See H to George Washington, April 8, 1783, note 7.) For the immediate background of the congressional resolve to continue Morris in office, see George Washington to H, April 22, 1783, note 4. See also Robert Morris to Theodorick Bland, Thomas FitzSimons, H, Samuel Osgood, and Richard Peters, April 14, 1783.

2An entry in Morris’s Diary for April 24, 1783, concerning the committee and the meeting Morris had with its members reads:

“The Honble. Mr. Osgood, Madison Peters, Hamilton and Bland Committee of Congress appointed to Confer with me as to my Continuance in Office called this morning in Consequence of Mr. G. Morris having told Mr. Osgood that he imagined I was ready for a Conference with them. I told this honorable Committee that my mind had been constantly occupied on the Subject from the Time they first called until the present Moment; That I see and feel the necessity and Propriety of dismissing the Army amongst their fellow Citizens satisfied and Contented; that I dread the Consequence of sending them into civil Life with Murmurs and Complaints in their mouths and that no Man can be better disposed than I am to satisfy the Army or more desirous of serving our Country but that my own Affairs call loudly for my Care and Attention &c. however being already engaged in this Business and willing to Oblige Congress if they think my Assistance essential I will Consent to remain in Office for the Purpose of Compleating such Payment to the Army as may be agreed on as necessary to disband them with their own Consent &c. but praying of Congress to excuse me from even this Service if they can accomplish their Views in such other Way as they may approve.” (Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress.)

3Robert Morris.

4The endorsement states that this report was “Referred back to the Comee. to confer with the Superintendt. of finance respecting his continuance in Office.” See “Report on Conference with the Superintendent of Finance,” April 28, 1783.

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