George Washington Papers

General Orders, 30 March 1783

Sunday March 30th 1783

Parole Deposite
Countersigns Engage Funds
For tomorrow Major Oliver
B.Q. Mr Jersey Brigade

For duty the 1st Massachusetts regiment.

The honorable the Congress have been pleased to pass the following Resolves.

By the United States in Congress assembled March 22d 1783.

On the report of a Committee to whom was referred a motion of Mr Dyer together with the Memorial of the officers of the Army and the report of the Committee thereon; Congress came to the following Resolutions.

Whereas the officers of the several Lines under the immediate command of his Excellency Genl Washington, did by their late Memorial, transmitted by their Committee represent to Congress that the half pay granted by sundry resolutions was regarded in an unfavorable light, by the Citizens of some of these states who would prefer a compensation for a limitted term of years, or by a sum in Gross, to an establishment for life; and did on that account solicit a commutation of their half pay for an equivalent, in one of the two modes above mentioned; in order to remove all subject of dissatisfaction from the minds of their fellow Citizens. And whereas Congress are desirous as well of gratifying the reasonable expectations of the officers of the Army, as of removing all objections which may exist in any part of the United States to the principle of the half pay establishment, for which the faith of the United States hath been pledged; persuaded that those objections can only arise from the nature of the compensation, not from any indisposition to compensate those, whose services, sacrifices and sufferings have so just a title to the approbation and rewards of their Country. therefore

Resolved That such officers as are now in service and shall continue therein to the end of the war, shall be entitled to receive the amount of five years full pay in money or securities on interest, at six per cent per Annum, as Congress shall find most convenient, instead of the half pay promised for Life, by the resolution of the 21 day of October 1780. the said securities to be such as shall be given to other Creditors of the United States; provided that it be at the option of the Lines of the respective states, and not of officers individually in those Lines to accept or refuse the same and provided also that their election shall be signifyed to Congress through the Commander in Chief from the Lines under his immediate command within two months: And through the Commanding officer of the southern army from those under his command within six months from the date of this Resolution.

That the same Commutation shall extend to the Corps not belonging to the Lines of particular states and who are entitled to half pay for Life as aforesaid the acceptance or refusal to be determined by corps, and to be signifyed in the same manner and within the same time as above mentioned. That all officers belonging to the Hospital Department who are entitled to half pay by the resolution of the 17th day of January 1781 may collectively agree to accept or refuse the aforesaid Commutation—signifying the same through the Commander in Chief within six months from this time.

That such officers as have retired at differnt periods entitled to half pay for life may collectively in such state of which they are inhabitants accept or refuse the same their acceptance or refusal to be signifyed by agents authorized for that purpose within six months from this period — That with respect to such retiring officers the commutation if accepted by them shall be in lieu of whatever may be more due to them since the time of their retiring from service as well as of what might hereafter become due and that so soon as their acceptance shall be signifyed, the Superintendent of Finance be and he is hereby direacted to take measures for the settlement of their accounts accordingly, and So if due to them certificates bearing interest at six per cent — That all officers entitled to half pay for life not induced in the preceeding resolution may also agree collectively to accept or refuse the aforesaid Commutation signifying the same within six months from this time.

The Commander in Chief desires the officers immediately concerned will defer reporting their election on the subject of the foregoing act untill the 15th of April by which time the officers now absent on furlow will have returned—and it will be expected that the reports of the several Lines and corps not belonging to the Line of any State which compose this Army shall be lodged at Head Quarters as soon after as conveniently may be.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Index Entries