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Chapter Nine John Hanson 3rd President of the United States in Congress Assembled by Stanley L. Klos

Chapter Nine
continued


 


by: Stanley L. Klos   Published by ROI.us Corporation

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With Laurens released and George Washington empowered to negotiate his strong position with the British Admiralty, John Hanson was now able to focus on more pressing matters of state. On February 21st Hanson signed a resolution to establish a new United States Mint "Resolved, That Congress approve of the establishment of a mint; and, that the Superintendent of Finance be, and hereby is directed to prepare and report to Congress a plan for establishing and conducting the same." The very next day Congress and Hanson completed the reorganization of the complex Department of Foreign affairs:

"Resolved, That the department of foreign affairs be raider the direction of such officer, as the United States in Congress assembled have already for that purpose appointed, or shall hereafter appoint, who shall be stiled, 'Secretary to the United States of America, for the department of foreign affairs;' shall reside where Congress or the committee of the states shall sit, and hold his office during the pleasure of Congress:

That the books, records and other papers of the United States, that relate to this department, be committed to his custody subject always to the inspection of Congress or of such persons as they may appoint to which and all other papers of his office, any member of Congress shall have access: provided that no copy shall be taken of matters of a secret nature without the special leave of Congress:

That the correspondence and communications with the ministers, consuls and agents of the United States in foreign countries, and with the ministers and other officers of foreign powers with Congress, be carried on through the office of foreign affairs by the said Secretary, who is also empowered to correspond with all other persons from whom he may expect to receive useful information relative to his department: provided always, that letters to the ministers of the United States, or ministers of foreign powers, which have a direct reference to treaties or conventions proposed to be entered into, or instructions relative thereto, or other great national subjects, shall be submitted to the inspection and receive the approbation of Congress before they shall be transmitted:

That the Secretary for the department of foreign affairs correspond with the governors or presidents of all or any of the United States, affording them such information from his department as may be useful to their states or to the United States explaining the principles on which resolutions relative to his department have passed Congress, stating complaints that may have been urged against the government of any of the said states, or the subjects thereof, by the subjects of foreign powers, so that justice may be done agreeably to the laws of such State, or the charge proved to be groundless, and the honor of the government vindicated:

He shall receive the applications of all foreigners and others relative to his department, which are designed to be submitted to Congress, and direct advise the mode in which the memorials and evidence shall be stated in order to afford Congress the most comprehensive view of the subject, and if he conceives it necessary, accompany such memorial with his report thereon he may concert measures with the ministers or officers of foreign powers, amicably to procure the redress of private injuries, which any citizen of the United States may have received from a foreign power or the subjects thereof, making minutes of all his transactions relative thereto, and entering the letters at large which have passed on such occasions and submitting them at all times to the inspection of Congress, or of such persons as they may appoint: He shall report on all cases expressly referred to him for that purpose by Congress, and on all others touching his department, in which he may conceive it necessary:

And that he may acquire that intimate knowledge of the sentiments of Congress, which is necessary for his direction, he may at all times attend upon Congress, and particularly when the President of Congress shall summon him to attend shall particularly attend when summoned or ordered by the President.

Struck out Resolved, That a seat be assigned him in Congress, which he shall take on the order of the house expressed either upon the motion of a member, or in consequence of his request in writing directed to the President. That when he shall have taken his seat, and not before, he shall be considered as officially in Congress, and may give information respecting his department, explain and answer objections to his reports, when under consideration, and state such questions as may be neces­sary for his information. He shall answer from his seat to such inquiries, respecting his department, as may be put from the chair, by order of Congress, and to questions stat­ed in writing about matters of fact which lie within his knowledge, when put by the President at the request of a member, and not disapproved of by Congress. The answer to such questions may, at the option of the Secretary be delivered by him in writing.

He may give information to Congress respecting his department, explain and answer objections to his reports when under consideration, if required by a member and no objection be made by Congress: he shall answer to such enquiries respecting his department as may be put from the chair by order of Congress, and to questions stated in writing about matters of fact which lie within his knowledge, when put by the President at the request of a member, and not disapproved of by Congress; the answers to such questions may, at the option of the Secretary, be delivered by him in writing:

He shall have free access to the papers and records of the United States, in the custody of their Secretary, or in the offices of finance and war or elsewhere; he may be furnished with copies, or take extracts therefrom, when he shall find it necessary in the execution of his office:

He shall use means to obtain from the ministers and agents of the said United States in foreign countries, an abstract of their present state, their commerce, finances, naval and military strength, and the characters of sovereigns and ministers, and every other political information which may be useful to the United States:

All letters to sovereign powers, letters of credence, plans of treaties, conventions, man­ifestoes, instructions, passports, safe conducts, and other acts of Congress relative to the department of foreign affairs, when the substance thereof shall have been previ­ously agreed to in Congress, shall be reduced to form in the office of foreign affairs, and submitted to the opinion of Congress, and when passed, signed and attested, sent to the office of foreign affairs to be countersigned and forwarded,

If an original paper is of such a nature as cannot be safely transmitted without cyphers, a copy in cyphers, signed by the Secretary for the department of foreign affairs, shall be considered as authentic, and the ministers of the United States at foreign courts may govern themselves thereby in the like manner as if the originals had been transmitted.

And for the better execution of the duties hereby assigned him, he is authorised to appoint an assistant a secretary and clerk and one, or if necessary, more clerks, to assist him in the business of his office. An Interpreter shall also be annexed to this Department to be appointed by Congress who besides the duties required of him by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, shall serve when required as interpreter to the United States in Congress their Respective Boards, and the Court of Appeals.

Resolved, That the salaries annexed to this department shall be as follows: To the Secretary of the United States for the department of foreign affairs, and the contingent expences of his office the sum of four thousand dollars per annum, exclusive of office expences, to commence from the first day of October last: to the assistantdollars; to the secretary one thousand dollars per annum: to the interpreter dollars; to the clerks each five hundred dollars per annum. Resolved, That the Secretary for the department of foreign affairs, and each of the persons employed under him, shall take an oath before the President of Congress [a judge of the State where Congress shall sit,] for the faithful discharge of their respetive trusts, and an oath of fidelity to the United States before they enter upon office. Resolved, That the act of the 10th day of January, 1781, respecting the department of foreign affairs, be, and hereby is repealed.”

Little did John Hanson and his fellow delegates realize that this office would become the most prestigious and influential executive position in the United States of America under the collapsing Confederation Constitution by 1788. On March 19, 1782, with this measure behind them, Congress, once again, turned their Christian Roots by officially thanking a “Supreme Being.” The Federal Government passed and Hanson executed a call for a Day of Fasting:

PROCLAMATION

"The goodness of the Supreme Being to all his rational creatures, demands their acknowledgments of gratitude and love; his absolute government of this world dic­tates, that it is the interest of every nation and people ardently to supplicate his mercy favor and implore his protection.

When the lust of dominion or lawless ambition excites arbitrary power to invade the rights, or endeavor to wrench wrest from a people their sacred and unalienable invalu­able privileges, and compels them, in defence of the same, to encounter all the hor­rors and calamities of a bloody and vindictive war; then is that people loudly called upon to fly unto that God for protection, who hears the eries of the distressed, and will not turn a deaf ear to the supplication of the oppressed.

Great Britain, hitherto left to infatuated councils, and to pursue measures repugnant to their her own interest, and distressing to this country, still persists in the chimerical idea design of subjugating these United States; which will compel us into another active and perhaps bloody campaign.

The United States in Congress assembled, therefore, taking into consideration our present situation, our multiplied transgressions of the holy laws of our God, and his past acts of kindness and goodness exercised towards us, which we would ought to record with the liveliest gratitude, think it their indispensable duty to call upon the dif­ferent several states, to set apart the last Thursday in April next, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, that our joint supplications may then ascend to the throne of the Ruler of the Universe, beseeching Him that he would to diffuse a spirit of univer­sal reformation among all ranks and degrees of our citizens; and make us a holy, that so we may be an happy people; that it would please Him to impart wisdom, integrity and unanimity to our counsellors; to bless and prosper the reign of our illustrious ally, and give success to his arms employed in the defence of the rights of human nature; that He would smile upon our military arrangements by land and sea; administer comfort and consolation to our prisoners in a cruel captivity; that he would protect the health and life of our Commander in Chief; give grant us victory over our enemies; establish peace in all our borders, and give happiness to all our inhabitants; that he would prosper the labor of the husbandman, making the earth yield its increase in abundance, and give a proper season for the in gathering of the fruits thereof; that He would grant success to all engaged in lawful trade and commerce, and take under his guardianship all schools and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of virtue and piety; that He would incline the hearts of all men to peace, and fill them with universal charity and benevolence, and that the religion of our Divine Redeemer, with all its benign influences, may cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.

John Hanson, President

March 19, 1782”

Due to the President's illness on April 15th Congress took up the matter of creating another executive office, Vice President of the United States in Congress Assembled. The following motion failed as recorded by the Journals on April 15th:

"A motion was then made by Mr. [Samuel] Livermore, seconded by Mr. [Elias] Boudinot, in the following words:


That a Vice-president be chosen by ballot, to exercise the office of Vice-president of Congress in the absence or inability of the President, until the first day of November next; and that in case of such absence or inability, the Vice-president shall exercise all the powers of President of Congress.

On the question to agree to this, the yeas and nays being required by Mr. Scott, So the question was lost."

The delegates then decided to elect Daniel Carroll "chairman" during the illness of President Hanson to preside over Congress. This position of chairman would become very important in the later years of the confederation as many presidents, especially John Hancock in 1786, were unable to fill the chair of Congress during the enactment of crucial legislation including the Northwest Ordinance.

In May John Hanson and the Delegates took up the matters of negotiating peace with Great Britain. John Hanson, as well as the other members of Congress, had hoped for peace with Great Britain by July 4th, 1782 but Britain had refused to enter into formal negotiations. Hanson had supported the eight main goals of the commissioners, four of which were considered to be essen­tial to any peace settlement:

1. United States Independence and removal of all British troops

2. Settlement of all boundaries to avert further conflicts with England

3. Canadian boundaries to revert to the lines before the Quebec Act

4. American rights to fish in the Grand Banks and use of Canadian shores to dry and cure the catch.

The other four goals were primarily negotiating points and they are best described as:

1. Great Britain ceding all of Canada to the United States

2. British restitution for damage caused by British military action

3. A formal apology by Parliament admitting that Great Britain was wrong to have conducted the war .

4. Granting American ships and merchants to have the same rights and privileges

of commerce as their British counterparts within the British Empire.

The point on which Hanson and some of the commissioners differed on meant nothing or every­thing to these negotiations depending on your view. It was a point that caused the British to stall the negotiations for a peaceful end to the war. John Hanson and the majority of Delegates wanted France to be included in the talks with Great Britain. On May 31, 1782, President John Hanson and his Congress made it crystal clear to all the commissioners that the peace conference must include France with the following resolution:

"Resolved, That the Secretary for foreign affairs acquaint the minister plenipotentiary of France, that the signal proofs of inviolable constancy to his engagements, given by his Most Christian Majesty in the answer to the attempts of the British court to seduce him into a seperate peace, has been received by Congress with the sentiments with which it ought naturally to inspire faithful and affectionate allies, and entirely corresponds with the expectations which the magnanimity and good faith of his past conduct had established. That Congress embrace with particular satisfaction this occasion of renewing to his Most Christian Majesty the assurances which they have so often and so sincerely repeated, of a reciprocal and equal resolution to adhere, in every event, to the principles of the alliance, and to hearken to no propositions for peace which axe not perfectly conformable thereto.

That in case any propositions conformable to these principles should be made to them, which the insidious steps the British Court is pursuing render very improbable at the present juncture, Congress will be no less attentive than they have heretofore been to the precautions necessary for preventing delays and preserving harmony and confidence in the discussion of them.

That the insidious steps which the Court of London is pursuing render it improbable that any propositions conformable to those principles will be made to the United States; but that in case such propositions should be made, Congress will not depart from the precautions measures which they have heretofore taken for preventing delay, and for conducting the discussions of them, in confidence, and in concert with his Most Christian Majesty; and that as Congress observe, with the warmest approbation, the purpose of his Most Christian Majesty to oppose to the false appearances of peace held out by Great Britain, those redoubled efforts which may render her sincerely dis­posed to it, so his Majesty may be persuaded, that they are no less impressed with the necessity of such concurrent exertions on the part of the United States, as may frus­trate the views of the common enemy in the new defensive system which their policy seems to have adopted on this continent.

That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs also furnish to the said Minister Plenipotentiary a copy of so much of the letter of the day of last from the Commander in chief as relates to a letter to him from General Carloton together with copies of the latter and of the resolution of Congress passed in consequence thereof.

That the Secretary of F. Affairs transmit copies of the first of these resolutions and of the papers referred to in the last, to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the U. States at the Court of Versailles and to their other public minister in Europe."

In June John Hanson removed his legislative and presidential "hats" to don the robes of Chief Justice. He presided over a border dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania in Congress for the next three days. Following that hearing President Hanson addressed a series of rash mail robberies with hearings resulting in a resolution and this circular letter to the States:

"Sir, Philadelphia June 19th 1782

Inclosed your Excellency will receive an Act of Congress of this date, requesting the states of New Jersey, Pensylvania, Delaware And Maryland to pursue the most likely measures for recovering the Mail, of which the southern post was robbed on Sunday the 16th, within five Miles of Harford in the State of Maryland.

With Sentiments of esteem & regard, I have the honor to be, Your Excellencys most humble Servt, John Hanson Presidt"

The resolution was drafted by James Madison, Jr. (a future President of the United States) offering rewards for the apprehension and conviction of robbers of the United States mail. The summer of 1782 was an eventful one in the Hanson Presidency. On July 23rd Congress took up the hospital department regulations and revised them. On the 31st Congress recommended the use of any western land cessions by Great Britain as collateral for restoring the public credit of the United States. On the first of August, Hanson's congress reorganized the adjutant general's department. On August 6th Congress revised John Jay's diplomatic instructions in Spain opening the door for his participation in the negotiations with Great Britain. This was a turning point in the formation of the Treaty of Paris as former President John Jay was adamant, and eventually successful, in excluding France from the negotiations. On August the 9th Hanson received good news from the British commissioners' that peace negotiations had begun at Paris with the United States.

 

In September the confederation's business, once again, turned to Christianity. In a response for "… a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of Schools" the Delegates began to debate the matter in early September. It was a common practice then and up until the 1850's for the federal government to be involved in funding Christian education. The Journals of the United States of America in Congress assembled report on September 12, 1782:

That Mr. Aitken has at a great expence now finished an American edition of the holy scriptures in English; that the committee have, from time to time, conferred with him attended to his progress in the work: that they also recommended it to the two chap­lains of Congress to examine and give their opinion of the execution, who have accordingly reported thereon:

The recommendation and report being as follows:
Philadelphia, 1 September, 1782.
Rev. Gentlemen, Our knowledge of your piety and public spirit leads us without apology to recommend to your particular attention the edition of the Holy Scriptures publishing by Mr. Aitken. He undertook this expensive work at a time, when from the circumstances of the war, an English edition of the Bible could not be imported, nor any opinion formed how long the obstruction might continue. On this account particularly he deserves applause and encouragement. We therefore wish you, rev­erend gentlemen, to examine the execution of the work, and if approved, to give it the sanction of your judgment and the weight of your recommendation. We are with very great respect, your most obedient humble servants,

(Signed) James Duane, Chairman,

In behalf of a committee of Congress on Mr. Aitken's memorial. Rev. Dr. White and Rev. Mr. Duffield, chaplains of the United States in Congress assembled.


Gentlemen, Agreeably to your desire, we have paid attention to Mr. Robert Aitken's impression of the holy scriptures, of the old and new testament. Having selected and examined a variety of passages throughout the work, we are of opinion, that it is executed with great accuracy as to the sense, and with as few grammatical and typographical errors as could be expected in an undertaking of such magnitude. Being ourselves witnesses of the demand for this invaluable book, we rejoice in the present prospect of a supply, hoping that it will prove as advantageous as it is hon­orable to the gentleman, who has exerted himself to furnish it at the evident risk of private fortune. We are, gentlemen, your very respectful and humble servants,

(Signed) William White,

George Duffield

Philadelphia, September 10, 1782.

Hon. James Duane, esq. chairman, and the other hon. gentlemen of the committee of Congress on Mr. Aitken's memorial.


Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.

This edition was printed and is known as "The Bible of Revolution".

Aitken's Bible, published under Congressional patronage, was the first English language Bible published on the North American continent -Courtesy of the Library of Congress

President Hanson was the first to utilize the title “President of the United States in Congress Assembled” after his name in an official resolution of Congress. Thomas McKean resolutions ended, “United States in Congress Assembled, Thomas McKean President.” The Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled report that on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1782 the fol­lowing resolution was enacted for the exchange of Prisoners with Great Britain, whereby John Hanson signed his name as President of the United States in Congress Assembled:

THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.


To all people who shall see these presents, send greeting.


Whereas justice and humanity and the practice of civilized nations, require
that the calamities and asperities of war should as far as possible be mitigated; and we being disposed for that benevolent purpose to accede to a general cartel between the United States of America and the British nation, for the exchange, subsistence and better treatment of all prisoners of war: ....

In testimony whereof we have caused these our letters to be made patent, and the great seal of the United States of America to be thereunto affixed. Witness his Excellency John Hanson, President of the United States in Congress assembled, the 16th day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, and of our sovereignty and independence the seventh.

[SEAL] John Hanson, President and Chas. Thomson, Secy.

On October 11th John Hanson and the United States in Congress Assembled issued its most notable Proclamation of a call for Public Thanksgiving to God due to the favorable news of trickling in on the negotiations of Peace with Great Britain.:

United States in Congress Assembled

Proclamation

It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to Almighty God, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in the a time of public distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his Providence in their behalf; therefore, the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these states, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; and the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war in the course of the last year now drawing to a close, particularly the harmony of the public councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to sow dissension between them divide them; the success of the arms of the United States and those of their allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these states; and the success of their arms and those of their allies in different parts do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these states in general, to observe, and recommend it to the executives of request the several states to inter­pose their authority in appointing and requiring commanding the observation of the last Thursday, in the 28 day of November next, as a day of solemn thanksgiving to God for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify their gratitude to God for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience to his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.

John Hanson, President

Charles Thomson, Secretary

 

 

 

United States in Congress Assembled Thanksgiving Day Proclamation dated October 11, 1782 and Signed John Hanson, President and Charles Thomson, Secretary -courtesy of the Library of Congress.

At the end of October 1781 John Hanson turned Congress’ attention to the Post Office and passed a resolution to improve its effectiveness:

"AN EXPLANATORY A SUPPLEMENTAL ORDINANCE FOR REGULATING THE POST OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Whereas, since the passing the ordinance for regulating the Post Office of the United States of America, it hath been represented that the allowance thereby made of com­missions to a deputy postmaster, on the money only arising from the postage of let­ters, would in many instances be inadequate to the service, and that the provision that all the dead letters should be registered and preserved, will occasion great and use­less trouble and expence; and no provision is made therein for the deputy postmaster with the main army; in order therefore to remedy the defects of the before-mentioned ordinance:

Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, that it shall and may be lawful for the Postmaster General for the time being, to allow to his respective deputies such commissions as he shall think their respective services may merit, not exceeding twenty per centum on the postage of all letters, making the same allowance for free letters as if they paid postage: and that instead of registering and preserving all dead letters, from time to time, remaining in the general Post Office, it shall be sufficient and the Postmaster General is only required to preserve such of them, the contents and enclosures of which may be valuable.

And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, that the act of the United States in Congress assembled, respecting the postmaster at head quarters of the army, passed on the 11th day of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, be, and the same is hereby revived and declared to be in full force.

And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, that it shall and may be lawful for the Postmaster General for the time being, to allow and pay to any informer, one moiety of the penalties which may be recovered upon his information, for offences against the 4th and 5th clauses of the before mentioned ordinance for regulating the Post Office of the United States of America."

This resolution capped a series of successful legislative and executive measures as President of United States in Congress Assembled. Hanson was responsible for initiating a number of programs that helped America gain international recognition as a thriving democracy. During his tenure the first consular service was established, a post office department was initiated, a national bank was chartered, progress was made towards taking the first census and a uniform system of coinage was adopted. As "President", Hanson also signed a treaty with Holland affirming the indebtedness of the United States for a loan from that country. In addition, he signed all laws, regulations, official papers and letters.

His presidency's chronology is as follows:

1781 - November 5 New Congress convenes; elects John Hanson president. November 8 Authorizes Board of War to prosecute spies under the Articles of War. November 9 Restricts travel of Yorktown prisoners on parole. November 12 Repeals resolve accepting quartermaster certificates in payment of quotas. November 14 Urges states to maintain representation; sets date for hearing Connecticut-Pennsylvania boundary dispute. November 20 Augments authority of secretary of marine. November 23 Recommends that states legislate to punish violations of international law. November 28 Holds audience with General Washington.

December 4 Adopts ordinance on "captures on water." December 5 Receives New York protest against Congressional resolves on Vermont. December 10 Exhorts states to complete troop quotas. December 11 Calls states to take census "of the white inhabitants thereof." December 13 Observes day of thanksgiving. December 17 Appeals to the states for men and money. December 19 Orders placing supernum­erary generals on half pay. December 20 Authorizes exchange of Governor Thomas Burke. December 31 Adopts ordinance incorporating Bank of North America.

1782 - January 2 Exhorts states to suppress trade with the enemy. January 3 Reforms medical department. January 8 Amends ordinance on captures on water; rejects motion to enlarge peace ultimatum. January 9 Authorizes negotiation of consular convention with France. January 10 Reforms inspector general's department. January 17 Investigates suspicious Silas Deane letters on conciliating Britain. January 22 Instructs peace commissioners to communicate informal demands on fisheries and boundaries. January 25 Amends consular convention. January 28 Enlarges duties of Secretary Charles Thomson to relieve president of Congress. January 29 Advised of diminution of French aid.

February 1 Instructs Benjamin Franklin on repayment of Dutch loan obtained for United States by France. February 8 Authorizes Franklin to borrow additional 12 million livres from France. February 11 Authorizes export of tobacco to New York by Yorktown "capitulants"; rejects appeal to permit states to clothe own Continental troops. February 18 Authorizes Washington to negotiate general prisoner exchange. February 20 Seeks authorization to apportion war expenses in contravention of Articles of Confederation quota formula. February 21 Authorizes establishment of a mint. February 22 Reorganizes department of foreign affairs. February 23 Authorizes exchange of Cornwallis for Henry Laurens. February 26 Amends ordinance on captures on water. February 27 Adopts plan for settlement of state accounts.

March 1 Sets conditions for recognizing Vermont independence. March 7 Revises rules of Court of Appeals. March 11 Orders settlement of Bon Home Richard prize claims; refers Native American petition to New York. March 15 Drafts fiscal appeal to the states. March 19 Adopts fast day proclamation. March 21 Holds audience with General Washington. March 27 Orders study of Continental Army staffing needs. March 30 Adopts measures for curtailing prisoner-of-war escapes.

 

April 1 Rejects fiscal quota reduction appeal. April 3-4 Debates Vermont compliance with independent statehood conditions. April 8 Revises paymaster regulations. April 9 Orders submission of comprehensive army returns. April 15 Rejects motion to elect a vice-president upon the disability of the president; elects Daniel Carroll "chairman" during the illness of President Hanson. April 18 Rejects motion to require delegates to disclose conflicts of interest on land claim issues. April 20 Debates Vermont compli­ance with independent statehood conditions. April 23 Recommends pensions for dis­abled troops; orders reduction of supernumerary officers. April 29 Endorses Washington's proposals for retaliation against the death of Joshua Huddy. April 30 Endorses John Jay's conduct of negotiations with the court of Madrid.

May 1 Warns states of British plans to divide their enemies with proposals of separate peace; debates western land cessions and motion to disclose delegates' conflicts of interest. May 4 Orders measures for the protection of American shipping. May 8 Opposes sending William Carmichael to the court of Portugal. May 13 Holds audience with French minister to celebrate birth of a Dauphin. May 14 Denies emissary of Sir Guy Carleton passport to Philadelphia. May 21 Authorizes state authorities to curb trade with the enemy. May 22 Sends delegations to states to solicit compliance with requisitions. May 24 Reviews superintendent of finance report on status of US credit abroad. May 27 Exhorts states to maintain representation in Congress; instructs Francis Dana to delay presenting his credentials to the court of Russia. May 28 Receives French report on peace overtures. May 31 Reaffirms opposition to separate peace negotiations.

June 5 Orders study of proposal to enlist German prisoners of war. June 7 Rescinds work-release program for British prisoners of war. June 12 Revises regulations for naval courts-martial. June 14 Endorses proposals for return of South Carolina exiles. June 17 Calls for biannual inspection of the operation of the executive departments. June 20 Adopts great seal for the United States in Congress assembled. June 21 Exhorts states to curb trade with the enemy. June 24-27 Debates proposals for resolution of the Connecticut-Pennsylvania boundary dispute. June 27 Receives report from the congressional delegation to the southern states. June 28 Endorses General Greene's rejection of truce proposal in South Carolina.

July 2 Endorses superintendent of finance’s recommendation against appointing consuls in the West Indies. July 3 Complains against Spanish release of British prisoners of war. July 10 Adopts ordinance regulating distribution of prizes. July 11 Places moratorium on promotion or appointment of Continental officers. July 17 Adopts ordinance to prevent illicit trade with the enemy. July 18 Receives report from the congressional delegation to the northern states; orders measures to stop mail robberies. July 23 Revises hospital department regulations. July 31 Debates recommendation for acceptance of western land cessions as a preliminary to restoring the public credit of the United States.

 

August 1 Reorganizes adjutant general's department. August 5 Receives Robert Morris' funding plan. August 6 Revises John Jay's diplomatic instructions. August 7 Reorganizes Continental Army. August 9 Receives British commissioners' announce­ment that peace negotiations have begun at Paris. August 12 Authorizes Washington to negotiate prisoner exchange. August 14 Suspends inquiry into General Gates' conduct at Camden. August 15 Rejects move to repeal peace commissioners' instructions to be guided by French court. August 16-20 Debates Massachusetts' peti­tion to include fisheries claim in peace ultimatum. August 23 Appoints judges to hear Connecticut-Pennsylvania boundary dispute. August 27 Debates Kentucky statehood petition. August 29 Orders purchase of ship for packet service to Europe.

September 3 Orders resumption of postal service to the Carolinas and Georgia; presents ship America to France. September 4 Sets fiscal quota for the immediate payment of interest on the public debt. September 6 Debates proposal to appeal to the states to cede western lands. September 9 Suspends issuance of bills of exchange to pay loan office certificate interest; instructs Washington on prisoner cartel. September 10 Sets state fiscal quotas. September 12 Endorses Robert Aitken's proposal to print an American edition of the Bible. September 14 Authorizes solicitation of $4 million in foreign loans. September 16 Commissions Washington to negotiate prisoner exchange. September 17 Refuses to accept Henry Laurens' resignation as peace commissioner. September 19-20 Debates report that Henry Laurens improperly petitioned parliament while imprisoned. September 24 Receives information from the Chevalier de La Luzerne on recent peace maneuvers in Europe. September 28 Adopts plan of a treaty of amity and commerce with Sweden.

October 1 Rejects New Jersey’s plan to retain Continental revenues for the payment of the state's Continental troops. October 3 Reassures France on US commitment to military preparedness and to its no separate peace pledge. October 10 Appeals to Rhode Island and Georgia to adopt impost amendment. October 11 Sets day of thanksgiving and prayer. October 14-15 Debates promotion of general officers. October 16 Sets fiscal quota for 1783; instructs Washington on prisoner exchange negotiations. October 18 Requests Washington to decide fate of Wyoming garrison; sets state fiscal quotas; adopts Post Office ordinance. October 23 Reorganizes quartermaster department. October 28 Adopts supplemental Post Office ordinance; recommends suspension of plans to execute Charles Asgill in retaliation for the death of Joshua Huddy. October 29 Accepts New York's western land cession.

November 1 Refers investigation of Alexander Gillon to the superintendent of finance. November 2 Committee on Native American affairs confers with Catawba Native American delegation.

After this eventful Presidency, Hanson’s health failed and compelled him to retire from public life. Hanson died a year later on November 15, 1783, at the age of 68 in Oxen Hills, Prince George County, Maryland.

John Hanson’s contributions to the government under the Articles of Confederation today are virtual obliterated by the new federal government.. Unfounded claims of John Hanson being the first President of the United States has not helped his legacy either as they are quickly dismissed by any serious scholar of the Confederation period. This great American, the 3rd President of the United States, is buried at Addison Graveyard, Oxon Hill, Prince George's County, Maryland.

John Hanson letter to the State of New Hampshire requesting the send representatives to the United States In Congress Assembled. Despite the delegations being elected under the ratified Articles of Confederation attendance was poor and the Presidents were plagued with sessions that failed to meet the necessary quorums to enact legislation.

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