Motion on Instructions on Peace Negotiations
MS (NA: PCC, No. 25, I, 439–40). Docketed by Charles Thomson, “Motion passd June 6, 1781.”
[6 June 1781]
Resolved1 That the M. Plen: &.2 be authorized & instructed to concur in behalf of these U.S. with his M. C. M3 in accepting the Mediation proposed by the Empress of Russia,4 and the Emperor of Germany,5 and6 to accede to any7 treaty of peace which may be the result thereof, in which the Independence and sovereignty of the thirteen United States is effectually assured to them according to the form and effect of the Treaties subsisting between the sd States & his M. C. M,8 and in which the said treaties shall9 be left in their full force and validity.
That the boundaries of the said States be as follows:10
1. The committee on the French communications concerning the mediation of a peace (above, Notes from Secret Journal, 28 May, editorial note, and n. 1) reported to Congress on 5 June. Debate ensued on that day and the next. Apparently as a consequence of the discussion on 6 June, two motions were introduced in succession. The present one was the first. Following its adoption, John Witherspoon and William C. Houston introduced the second. For the second motion and the vote upon it, see below, Notes from Secret Journal, 6 June 1781, and n. 2.
3. His Most Christian Majesty, King Louis XVI.
4. Catherine the Great.
5. The Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II of Austria, whose government is often referred to in the documents as the “Court of Vienna.”
6. Samuel Huntington, president of Congress, changed the “and” to “But.”
7. Beginning with this word and continuing through “them,” the passage was amended by Congress to read: “no treaty of peace which Shall not be Such as may effectually Secure the Indepen[denc]e & Sovereignty of the 13 States.” Huntington added these words at the bottom of the manuscript and indicated where they were to be inserted in JM’s draft.
8. The Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 6 February 1778 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XI, 419–55).
9. Probably by inadvertence, “not” appears in the printed journal after “shall” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XX, 606).