USCA Annapolis Session


United States in Congress Assembled


Eight USCA Unicameral Congresses © 

March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1788



  • First USCA:  Convened March 2, 1781 with Samuel Huntington and Thomas McKean serving as Presidents in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House.
  • Second USCA: Convened November 5, 1781 with John Hanson serving as President and convened in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House.
  • Third USCA: Convened November 4, 1782 with Elias Boudinot serving as President in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, in Princeton at the Prospect House and the College of New Jersey’s Nassau Hall.
  • Fourth USCA: Convened November 3, 1783 with Thomas Mifflin serving as President in Princeton at the College of New Jersey’s Nassau Hall and Annapolis at the Maryland State House.
  • Fifth USCA: Convened November 29, 1784 with Richard Henry Lee serving as President in Trenton at the French Arms Tavern and in New York City at the Old New York City Hall.
  • Sixth USCA: Convened November 23, 1785 with John Hancock & Nathaniel Gorham elected Presidents but Hancock did not serve due to illness.   Congress convened in New York City at the Old New York City Hall.
  • Seventh USCA: Convened February 2, 1787 with Arthur St. Clair serving as President in New York City at the Old New York City Hall.
  • Eighth USCA: Convened January 21, 1788 with Cyrus Griffin serving as President in New York City at the Old New York City Hall and Fraunces Tavern.


Annapolis USCA  Fourth Session 
December 13, 1783 to August 9, 1784




By: Stanley Yavneh Klos

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.


Important Events and Key USCA Annapolis Legislation 

  • On December 23rd, 1783 the USCA holds a public session accepting George Washington's resignation  as Commander-in-Chief with seven states present.
  • On January 14th, 1784 the USCA ratifies the Paris Definitive Treaty of Peace with nine states present. In compliance with the treaty the USCA recommends that the states "provide for the restitution of" confiscated loyalist property.  
  • On January 30th, 1784 the USCA grants the necessary Canton ship’s papers to the Empress of China for opening U.S. trade to the Far East.
  • On February 3th, 1784 Congress creates a post of undersecretary to revive office for foreign affairs. On March 2nd they elect Henry Remsen under secretary for foreign affairs but deadlock over the appointment of a new US Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
  • On March 24th, 1784 Major General Baron Steuben Inspector General resigns and the USCA accepts on April 15, 1784. 
  • On April 9th, 1784 King George III accepts the USCA nine state January 14th, 1784 ratification proclamation and ratifies the Definitive Treaty of Peace ending the Revolutionary War.
  • On April 23th, 1784 Thomas Jefferson’s Land Ordinance of 1784 is passed as the first step of Northwest Territory settlement under federal jurisdiction.
  • May 7th, 1784 the USCA appoints John Jay US Secretary for Foreign Affairs. 
  • Committee of States convenes on July 8, 1784 and meets intermittently until August 9, 1784 when it collapses. The chief lesson that comes from  the Committee of the States was that an executive of the plurality was not an effective form of government.  This lesson ultimately resulted in the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 creating a separate executive branch of government  in its tripartite system, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America.


Delegates Serving in the Annapolis USCA Session



Connecticut
  • Roger Sherman  Elected: October 9,1783 Annapolis Attendance: January 13 to June 4,1784
  • James Wadsworth Elected: October 9,1783 to Annapolis Attendance: January 13 to June 3,1784 


Delaware
  • Gunning Bedford, Jr. , Elected: February 1, 1783,   Annapolis Attendance: March 8-13, 1784.
  • Eleazer McComb, Elected: February 1, 1783 Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to January 17, 1784.
  • James Tilton, Elected: February 1, 1783 Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to March 13, 1784


Georgia
  • John Houstoun  Elected: January 9, 1784  Annapolis Attendance: June 30 to August 13, 1784


Maryland
  • Jeremiah Townley Chase, Elected: December 9,1783  Annapolis Attendance: December 15, 1783, to March 8, 1784; March 17 to April 5; April 12 to June 4; June 28 to August 9; August 12-19,1784
  • Edward Lloyd, Elected: November 26, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: December 13-27, 1783; January 2 to February 6, 1784.
  • James McHenry, Elected: November 26, 1783 Annapolis Attendance: December 13-27, 1783; March 27 to April 29; May 31 to June 3; August 10-11, 1784
  • Thomas Stone,  Elected: November 26,1783  Annapolis Attendance:  March 26 to June 3,1784


Massachusetts
  • Francis Dana,  Elected:  February 11, 1784 Annapolis Attendance:  May 24 to June 4; June 26 to August 10,1784
  • Elbridge Gerry, Elected: June 27, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to June 3, 1784.
  • Samuel Osgood, Elected: July 9, 1783,   Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to March 1, 1784.
  • George Partridge, Elected: June 28, 1783, Annapolis Attendance:  December 13, 1783, to June 3, 1784.


New Hampshire
  • Jonathan Blanchard, Elected: December 26, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: March 1 to June 4; June 26 to August 9, 1784
  • Abiel Foster, 12-13-1783   Elected: Elected: February 19, 1783  and December 26, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to June 3, 1784


New Jersey
  • John Beatty, Elected: November 6, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: January 13 to June 3,1784 
  • Samuel Dick Elected: November 6, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: February 25 to June 4, 1784; July 5 to August 11, 1784.
  • John Stevens, Elected: November 6, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: May 20 to June 3, 1784


New York
  • Charles DeWitt,  Elected: February 3, 1784,  Annapolis Attendance:  March 27 to June 4, 1784
  • Ephraim Paine, Elected: February 3, 1784,  Annapolis Attendance:  March 25 to June 3, 1784


North Carolina
  • Benjamin Hawkins, Elected: April 25, 1783   Annapolis Attendance:  December 13-20, 1783
  • Hugh Williamson, Elected: April 23, 1783  Annapolis Attendance:  December 13, 1783 to May 13, 1784; May 17 to June 3, 1784
  • Richard Dobbs Spaight, Elected: May 11, 1783   Annapolis Attendance:   December 13, 1783 to February 13, 1784; February 23 to May 13; May 17 to June 4; June 30 to August 19, 1784


Pennsylvania
  • Edward Hand, Elected: November 12, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: December 24, 1783 to February 5, 1784; March 27 to June 4; June 26 to August 19, 1784.
  • Thomas Mifflin, Elected: November 12, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to March 8, 1784; March 15-27; April 1 to June 3, 1784.  He served as President during the Annapolis Session.
  • John Montgomery, Elected: November 12, 1783,   Annapolis Attendance: January 22 to March 19; March 25 to April 1; April 13 to June 3, 1784.
  • Cadwalader Morris, Elected: November 12, 1783,  Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to January 15, 1784,


Rhode Island
  •  William Ellery, Elected: May 7, 1783,  Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to June 4, 1784
  • David Howell, Elected: May 5, 1784,   Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783, to June 3, 1784


South Carolina
  • Jacob Read, Elected: February 12, 1783,  Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783 to June 4, 1784
  • Richard Beresford, Elected: March 15, 1783    Annapolis Attendance:  January - 14 to June 3, 1784


Virginia
  • Samuel Hardy, Elected: June 6, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: December 13-21, 1783; February 24 to June 4, 1784; June 26 to August 19, 1784.
  • Thomas Jefferson, Elected: June 6, 1783, Annapolis Attendance: December 13, 1783 to April 12, 1784. Thomas Jefferson was elected Chairman of the United States in Congress assembled on March 12, 1784  and elected  Chairman again on March, 30 1784 to preside during Thomas Mifflin’s Absence.
  • Arthur Lee, Elected: June 6, 1783   Annapolis Attendance:  December 13, 1783 to April 12, 1784; May 5 to June 3, 1784. 
  • John Francis Mercer, Elected: June 6, 1783,  Annapolis Attendance:   March 19 to June 3, 1784 
  • James Mercer,  Elected: June 6, 1783; June 22, 1784, Annapolis Attendance:   March 19 to June 3, 1784
  • James Monroe, Elected: June 6, 1783  Annapolis Attendance:   December 13, 1783 to April 14, 1784; April 23 to June 3, 1784 


Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled Containing  the Proceedings From the Third Day of November, 1783 ti the Third Day of June, 1784 - Volume IX, Published by order of Congress - Philadelphia, Printed by John Dunlap, Printer to the United States in Congress Assembled -- Image Courtesy of Historic.us


Chronology of the Fourth USCA Session

1783 - November 3 Convenes new Congress in Princeton; elects Thomas Mifflin president (elects Daniel Carroll chairman in the president's absence). November 4 Authorizes discharge of the Continental Army- "except 500 men, with proper officers." Adjourns to Annapolis, to reconvene the 26th.

Delegate account of the initial session in Annapolis:


To: William Blount 

Dear sir, Annapolis 28th Novr. 1783 
On the 25th I arrived at this Place, we had adjourned to the 26th but have not yet made a Congress, Virginia alone being here. Yesterday the Delegates were chosen for this State, viz Jas McHenry, Coll. Lloyd, Mr Stone & Mr Chase. Mr Stone who is a Lawyer is said to be a man of considerable abilities mental and Col. Loy'd of the first abilities pecuniary in the State. He appears also to be clever. I left Mr Spaight at Philada. & expect him here on Monday. 
The State House here is certainly an elegant Building. The Room we are to sit in is perhaps the prettyest in America. Be so good as give me a detail of assembly news. The acct. of western Lands in particular. As soon as I have settled at a private Lodging, which I hope will be on to morrow I shall try to connect the Chain of occurrences which have lately been interrupted.... 
Hugh Williamson


Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled Containing  the Proceedings From the Third Day of November, 1783 ti the Third Day of June, 1784 Open to the December 13th, 1783 start of the Annapolis, MD session - -- Image Courtesy of Historic.us 




December 13  -  A number of members met on November 26 according to adjournment, but there not being a sufficient number of states assembled to proceed to business, Congress was adjourned from day to day, till December 13th, 1783, when seven states appearing the following states and members appeared from

New Hampshire,
Mr. Abiel Foster,

Massachusetts,
Mr. Elbridge Gerry,
Mr. Samuel Osgood,
Mr. George Partridge,

Rhode Island,
Mr. William Ellery,
Mr. David Howell,

Pennsylvania,
Mr. Tibetans Mifflin,
Mr. Cadwalader Morris,

Delaware,
Mr. James Tilton,
Mr. Eleazer McComb,

Maryland,
Mr. James McHenry,
Mr. Edward Lloyd,

Virginia,
Mr. Thomas Jefferson,
Mr. Samuel Hardy,
Mr. Arthur Lee,
Mr. James Monroe,

North Carolina,
Mr. Benjamin Hawkins,
Mr. Hugh Williamson,
Mr. Richard Dobbs Spaight,

South Carolina,
Mr. Jacob Read,

Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled Containing  the Proceedings From the Third Day of November, 1783 ti the Third Day of June, 1784 Open to the December 13th to 20th 1783 noting the Treaty of Paris has been received  -  Image courtesy of Historic.us 

December 15 Fails to convene quorum. December 16 Reads foreign dispatches. December 17 Fails to convene quorum. December 22 Holds a public ball for General Washington. December 23 Appeals to unrepresented states to maintain congressional attendance; receives Washington and accepts his resignation as Commander-in-Chief. December 27 Receives report on capital location. December 29

1784 - January 1 Fails to convene quorum. 1784 January 3 Resolves to receive Francis Dana, "relative to his mission to the Court of Russia." January 5 Rejects proposal to nominate knights to the Polish Order of Divine Providence. January 8 Debates Quaker petition for suppression of the slave trade. January 10 Fails to convene quorum. January 14 Ratifies definitive treaty of peace, "nine states being present"; recommends that the states "provide for the restitution of" confiscated loyalist property.  


United States in Congress Assembled  Treaty of Paris Ratification Proclamation signed by President Thomas Mifflin and Secretary Charles Thomson.

Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled Containing  the Proceedings From the Third Day of November, 1783 to the Third Day of June, 1784 Open to the January 14th, 1784 vote on the Treaty of Paris Ratification.  Note that the Journals record that 11 of the 13 States had a total of 23 delegates present during the ratification vote.   The States of New Hampshire and New Jersey did not meet the two Delegate minimum per State mandated by the Articles of Confederation so their State's votes are not counted being marked with a black circle rather than the ay.  The remaining nine States that voted ay on the ratification met the Articles of Confederation State quorum minimum of nine to enact a Treaty.   - -- Image Courtesy of Historic.us 





January 15 Acquiesces in public creditor demand that loan office certificate interest not be subject to depreciation. January 17-20 Fails to convene quorum. January 21 Rejects motion denying Continental jurisdiction in Lusannah admiralty appeal. January 22 Halts plan to dispose of military stores. January 23 Sets date for selecting judges to determine "the private right of soil" in the Wyoming Valley. January 26 Narrows half-pay eligibility rules. January 27-28 Fails to convene quorum. January 30 Grants sea-letters for The Empress of China voyage to Canton.

February 3 Creates post of undersecretary to revive office for foreign affairs. February 4-5 Fails to convene quorum. February 6 Issues brevet promotions for departing foreign officers. February 7-9 Fails to convene quorum. February 10 Plans general treaty with Native American nations of the northern department. February 11 Registers commissions of five French consuls and five vice-consuls. February 12 Fails to convene quorum. February 16-23 Fails to convene quorum. February 24 Postpones debate on garrisoning frontier posts for failure of nine-state representation. February 27 Commends Marquis de la Rouerie; deadlocks over appointment of a secretary for foreign affairs.

March 1 Receives Indiana Company petition; accepts Virginia cession of western land claims; reads western land ordinance report. March 2 Elects Henry Remsen under secretary for foreign affairs; deadlocks over appointment of a secretary. March 4 Elects commissioners to negotiate with the Native Americans. March 5 Debates plans for holding treaty with the Native Americans. March 10 Fails to convene quorum. March 12 Rejects Connecticut protest against half-pay plan. March 13 Rejects Delaware delegate credentials, exceeding three-year limitation. March 16 Bars appointment of aliens to consular and other foreign posts. March 19 Adopts instructions for Native American commissioners. March 22-25 Postpones debate on Lusannah admiralty appeal. March 23 Rejects credentials of Massachusetts delegate Samuel Osgood. March 26 Affirms that in negotiating commercial treaties these United States be considered . . . as one nation, upon the principles of the federal constitution." March 30 Sets quotas and adopts fiscal appeal to the states; rejects motion denying Continental jurisdiction in Lusannah appeal.

April 1-2 Debates report on negotiating commercial treaties. April 5 Adopts appeal to the states on arrears of interest payments on the public debt. April 6 Reads report on maintaining frontier garrisons. April 8 Instructs agent of marine on sale of Continental ships. April 12 Debates public debt. April 14 Debates motion to adjourn from Annapolis to various proposed sites. April 16 Instructs "commissioners for treating with the Native American nations." April 19 Debates western land ordinance; deletes anti-slavery paragraph. April 20-21 Debates western land ordinance. April 23 Debates and passes the western land ordinance. 



Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled Containing  the Proceedings From the Third Day of November, 1783 ti the Third Day of June, 1784 Open to the April 23rd, 1784 Western Land Ordinance    -- Image Courtesy of Historic.us  


April 24 Receives New York memorial concerning the Vermont dispute.[105]April 26 Resolves to adjourn June 3, to reconvene at Trenton October 30; debates capital's location. April 27-28 Debates public debt. April 28 Orders arrest of Henry Carbery, leader of Pennsylvania mutiny. April 29 Exhorts states to complete western land cessions. April 30 Requests states to vest Congress with power to regulate trade "for the term of fifteen years."

May 3 Reaffirms secrecy rule on foreign dispatches; receives French announcement on opening free ports to US trade. May 5 Debates retrenchment of the civil list. May 7 Sets diplomatic salaries; appoints John Jay secretary for foreign affairs. May 11 Adopts instructions for negotiation of commercial treaties. May 12 Resolves to request delivery of frontier posts to US troops. May 15 Debates disqualification of Rhode Island delegates. May 17 Receives announcement of French Minister La Luzerne's intention to return to France. May 18 Orders troops for the protection of Native American commissioners. May 19-24 Debates disqualification of Rhode Island delegates. May 21-22 Fails to convene quorum. May 25-27 Debates garrisoning frontier posts. May 28 Adopts "Ordinance for putting the department of finance into Commission"; reads proposed land ordinance and report on Native American affairs. May 29 Appoints Committee of the States "to sit in the recess of Congress," and adopts resolutions defining its powers and rules. Offers reward for arrest of chevalier de Longchamps for assault on the French consul general, the marquis de Barbe-Marbois. May 31 Debates garrisoning frontier posts.

June 1 Resolves to meet thrice daily until adjournment. June 2 Orders discharge of Continental troops "except 25 privates to guard the stores at Fort Pitt, and 55 to guard the stores at West Point." June 3 Instructs ministers plenipotentiary not to relinquish navigation of the Mississippi; authorizes call of 700 militiamen to protect the northwestern frontiers; elects three treasury commissioners; adjourns "to meet at Trenton on the 30th day of October.

July 5 Committee of the States convenes, adopts rules, meets in 20 regular sessions to August 3. August 4-19 Committee of the States fails to convene quorum, except briefly on August 9, and dissolves amid controversy.November 1 Convenes at Trenton, two states represented.





Articles of Confederation Congress
United States in Congress Assembled (USCA) Sessions

USCA
Session Dates
USCA Convene Date
President(s)
First
11-05-1780 to 11-04-1781*
03-02-1781
Second
11-05-1781 to 11-03-1782
11-05-1781
Third
11-04-1782 to 11-02-1783
11-04-1782
Fourth
11-03-1783 to 10-31-1784
11-03-1783
Fifth
11-01-1784 to 11-06-1785
11-29-1784
Sixth
11-07-1785 to 11-05-1786
11-23-1785
Seventh
11-06-1786 to 11-04-1787
02-02-1787
Eighth
11-05-1787 to 11-02-1788
01-21-1788
Ninth
11-03-1788 to 03-03-1789**
None
None

* The Articles of Confederation was ratified by the mandated 13th State on February 2, 1781, and the dated adopted by the Continental Congress to commence the new  United States in Congress Assembled government was March 1, 1781.  The USCA convened under the Articles of Confederation Constitution on March 2, 1781.  

** On September 14, 1788, the Eighth United States in Congress Assembled resolved that March 4th, 1789, would be commencement date of the Constitution of 1787's federal government thus dissolving the USCA on March 3rd, 1789.




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