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Resolved, That the public faith be pledged for the payment of the provisions or other articles to be taken, and for which certificates shall have been given, at such prices as are expressed in the certificates; or, if the prices are not expressed, to be paid for as the same shall be valued by commissioners for that purpose to be hereafter appointed by Congress. (VIII Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), September 17, 1777, p. 751.)
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING IMPRESSMENT.
Resolved, That the commissaries general of purchases and issues, and their deputies and assistants, have power and authority to impress and seize waggons, shallops, and proper store-houses, on extraordinary occasions, for the use of their departments; this authority to extend to the distance of 70 miles from head-quarters, and to be in force until the first day of January next, and no longer; and that they respectively be directed not to contravene a former resolution of Congress, relative to waggons going with necessaries to the army; and, as far as circumstances will admit, that they exercise their authority on persons who have not taken the oaths or affirmations of allegiance to the respective states, in compliance with the laws of such states. [IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), October 6, 1777, p. 774.)
RESOLUTION REGARDING IMPRESSMENT.
That he or his deputies, at any principal department or post, be authorized to hire or impress one or more waggons or carriages for the use of his department, as occasion may require, which shall not be subject to be impressed for any other service by any officer of the army, unless by special direction of the commander in chief for the time being; and, if any officer shall (except as before excepted) on any pretence whatsoever, impress, without his consent, any waggon, cart, or carriage, in the service of the said commissary of hides, he shall immediately, on application to the commanding officer nearest the place where the transaction happens, be put under arrest, be liable to pay all loss the states sustained by such impressment, and suffer such other punishment as shall be deemed proper by a court martial. (IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), October 11, 1777, p. 794.)
RESOLUTION CONTINUING CERTAIN POWERS THERETOFORE
VESTED IN WASHINGTON. Resolved, That General Washington be informed that Congress have long since written to the commissioners in France for cloaths complete for eighty thousand men, and have received for answer that they might be expected here by the setting in of winter; in consequence of which, Congress have reason to hope for this necessary arrival in a short time: that Congress have also adopted various other means for importing cloathing, which they have reason to expect will be successful; and, on the 16th day of October, ordered a copy of the General's return of articles wanted for the army to be transmitted to the respective assemblies of the eastern and middle states, with a pressing recommendation to them to use their utmost endeavours to collect the same without delay, and send them to the army. But, since the wants of the army are immediate, Congress wish the General may avail himself of the powers vested in him for obtaining these necessary supplies from the disaffected inhabitants, Congress being of opinion that the well disposed people of these states will rather be pleased than dissatisfied with a procedure, by which their enemies shall be compelled to supply those things that are essential to the support and comfort of the army; and the more especially as even the disaffected will be paid a reasonable price for what is demanded of them;
Resolved, That the powers with which General Washington was invested by a resolution of Congress of the 17 September, and another of the 8th of October last, be continued till the first day of March next, unless sooner revoked. [IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), November 14, 1777, p. 905.)
RECOMMENDATION THAT STATES ENACT PRICE FIXING LEGISLATION AND LAWS REGULATING ENGROSSERS AND FORESTALLERS.
5. Resolved, That it be recommended to the legislatures, or, in their recess, to the executive power of the respective states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, respectively, to appoint commissioners to convene at New Haven, in Connecticut, on the 15 day of January next; and to the states of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina, respectively, to appoint commissioners to convene at Fredericksburg, in Virginia, on the said 15 day of January; and to the states of South Carolina and Georgia, respectively, to appoint commissioners to convene at Charleston, on the 15 day of February next; in order to regulate and ascertain the price of labour, manufactures, internal produce, and commodities imported from foreign parts, military stores excepted; and also to regulate the charges of inn-holders; and that, on the report of the commissioners, each of the respective legislatures enact suitable laws, as well for enforcing the observance of such of the regulations as they shall ratify, and enabling such inn-holders to obtain the necessary supplies, as to authorize the purchasing commissaries for the army, or any other person whom the legislature may think proper, to take from any engrossers, forestallers, or other person possessed of a larger quantity of any such commodities or provisions than shall be competent for the private annual consumption of their families, and who shall refuse to sell the surplus at the prices to be ascertained as aforesaid, paying only such price for the same.
6. And in order to introduce immediate economy in the public expence, the spirit of sharping and extortion, and the rapid and excessive rise of every commodity being confined within no bounds; and considering how much time must unavoidably elapse before the plan directed by the preceding resolution can be carried into effect.
Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the respective legislatures of the United States, without delay, by their separate authority, to adopt and effectually enforce a temporary regulation of the prices of provisions and other commodities for the supply of the army, in such manner as they shall judge reasonable; and to continue in force until the general regulation before proposed shall be adopted. (IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), November 22, 1777, p. 956.)
IMPRESSMENT OF INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES AND USE OF
ARMY TO OPERATE SAME.
To proceed to head quarters, and hire 12 or more mills within six miles of, and covered by the army, to purchase or impress wheat in the sheaf; if the farmers cannot be prevailed on to thrash for the troops, to solicit the General to spare 150 men from the army for that purpose, and set the mills to work. (IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), November 24, 1777, p. 961.)
8. Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the several states, as soon as may be, to confiscate and make sale of all the real and personal estate therein, of such of their inhabitants and other persons who have forfeited the same, and the right to the protection of their respective states, and to invest the money arising from the sales in continental loan office certificates, to be appropriated in such manner as the respective states shall hereafter direct. (IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), November 27, 1777, p. 971.)
RESOLUTION URGING WASHINGTON TO SUBSIST ARMY ON
COUNTRY IMMEDIATELY AROUND IT, IF NECESSARY, BY
Resolved, That General Washington be informed, that Congress have observed, with deep concern, that the principal supplies for the army under his command have, since the loss of Philadelphia, been drawn from distant quarters, whereby great expence has accrued to the public, the army has been irregularly and (often) scantily supplied, and the established magazines greatly reduced, while large quantities of stock, provision and forage, are still remaining in the counties of Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester, which by the fortune of war, may be soon subjected to the power of the enemy:
That Congress, firmly persuaded of General Washington's zeal and attachment to the interest of these states, can only impute his forbearance in exercising the powers vested in him by Congress, by their resolutions of the 17 September and 14 November, to a delicacy in exerting military authority on the citizens of these states; a delicacy, which though highly laudable in general, may, on critical exigencies, prove destructive to the army and prejudicial to the general liberties of America:
That from these considerations, it is the desire and expectation of Congress, that General Washington should, for the future, endeavour as much as possible to subsist his army from such parts of the country as are in its vicinity, and especially from such quarters as he shall deem most likely to be subjected to the power or depredations of the enemy: and that he issue orders for such purpose to the commissaries and quarter masters belonging to the army:
That General Washington be directed to order every kind of stock and provisions in the country above-mentioned, which may be beneficial to the army or serviceable to the enemy, to be taken from all persons without distinction, leaving such quantities only as he shall judge necessary for the maintenance of their families; the stock and provisions so taken to be removed to places of security under the care of proper persons to be appointed for that purpose; and that he issue a proclamation, requiring all persons within seventy miles of headquarters, forthwith to thresh out their grain within such limited periods of time, as he shall deem reasonable, on penalty, in case of failure, of having the same seized by the commissaries and quarter masters of the army and paid for as straw:
That General Washington be directed to cause all provisions, stock, forage, waggons and teams, which may be, at any time, in the route of the enemy, and which cannot be seasonably removed, to be destroyed.
Whereas, it is essentially necessary, that magazines should be seasonably provided in the interior part of the country, and many
inhabitants, through motives of avarice or disaffection, refuse to thresh out their grain.
Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the legislature of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, forthwith to enact a law, requiring all persons within their State, at the distance of seventy miles and upwards, from General Washington's head quarters, and below the Blue Mountains, to thresh out their wheat and other grain, within as short a period of time as the said legislature shall deem sufficient for that purpose; and, in case of failure, to subject the same to seizure by the commissaries and quarter masters of the American army, to be paid for at the price of straw only, excepting from such penalty, such families only, who, from the absence of the master, sons or servants, in the service of their country, can give good proof that their compliance with the said law was not practicable. [IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), December 10, 1777, p. 1013.)
RESOLUTION REGARDING CATTLE IN DANGER OF SEIZURE BY
Congress having received information that large quantities of cattle have been driven down upon the marshes of the county of Kent, in the State of Delaware, and into other parts of the said county, which are exposed to the depredations of the enemy; and the present situation of the State of Delaware, with respect to its internal and open enemies, rendering it impracticable that any measures, which may be devised by the government of the said State, for securing the said stock, can be executed with secrecy and despatch:
Resolved, That the Board of War be authorized and directed to give such orders for securing the said stock as they shall deem most effectual:
That the owners of the stock so removed be paid for the same at reasonable rates. (IX Journals of the Continental Congress (Library of Congress), December 15, 1777, p. 1028.)
RECOMMENDATION TO STATE LEGISLATURES TO ENACT
IMPRESSMENT, AND OTHER LEGISLATION.
Resolved, 1. That it be most earnestly recommended to the respective legislatures of the United States, forthwith to enact laws, appointing suitable persons to seize and take, for the use of the continental army of the said states, all woollen cloths, blankets, linens, shoes, stockings, hats, and other necessary articles of cloathing, suitable for the army, which may be in the possession of any persons inhabitants of, or residents within, their respective states, for the purpose of sale and not for their own private use or family consumption, giving them