Excerpt from Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Vol. 16: Edited From the Original Records in the Library of Congress, January 1-May 5, 1780
In the year 1780 the difficulties which beset the Conti nental Congress were almost overwhelming. On January 10, the Board of War reported that, in spite of the necessities of the troops, no clothing could be bought, because there was no money to pay for it; on March 10, the Board of Treasury said that the commissary general of issues had announced that there was not bread enough on hand to feed the army for ten days longer; on April 4, a committee reported: There is no money in the Treasury and scarce any pro visions in the public magazines. The currency had depre ciated to such a point that forty dollars of continental money had not the purchasing power of one specie dollar. An alarming note from the Minister of France was read, on January 28, setting forth the impending danger of armed mediation between America and Great Britain, and that the mediator would be certain to insist upon the retention by Great Britain of such territory as she then held as the basis of peace. Nevertheless, on June 21, Congress was obliged to inform the states that they had failed to furnish any of the men who, it had promised the King of France, would be in the field to cooperate with the forces which he was sending over. On August 3, came a representation from the general officers, in their own and the soldiers' behalf, that they were not paid, and that no attention was given to their demands. On May 12, Charleston fell; on August 16, news was received of Gates's defeat at Camden; on September 30, despatches arrived announcing Arnold's treason.
Nevertheless, the Congress struggled on, meeting the dis asters which surrounded it as best it could. On March 18, it agreed to recommend to the states to call in the old con tinental bills of credit, to be destroyed and replaced by a new currency, issued on the funds of the individual states pledged by the faith of the United States; the following month it despatched a committee to headquarters, to con cert with the Commander in Chief measures for improving the condition of the army. The new bank was recognized June '22, and made an auxiliary to continental financial arrangements; on July 15, the quartermaster's department was reorganized; September 25, the inspecting and mustering department; September 30, the general hospital. The dere liction of the states in furnishing their quotas was brought to their attention by a forcible appeal, on April 24; the con tending parties in the Vermont controversy were afforded a new Opportunity to present their claims, by the resolution of June 9; the ratification of the Articles of Confederation was brought nearer, by the resolution of September 6, urging Virginia and Maryland to conclude an agreement on the subject of the western lands, that question being the obstacle to Maryland's acceptance of the confederation.
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