Sunday, 14 January 2018

we have thought proper by these presents, to notify the good citizens of these united states

Though preliminary articles of peace were drawn up by the Continental Congress the previous April, the American Revolutionary War did not officially end until this day in 1784 with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the colonies’ assent in the Maryland State House in Annapolis, the then capitol. According to the rules on entering into treaties and accords established in the Articles of Confederation, delegates from at least nine colonies (states) were needed to comprise a quorum but due to the severity of the winter weather, only seven were present and it seemed unlikely any more could make the arduous journey.
The reason that more than a simple majority was stipulated and the cause for Thomas Jefferson’s insistence was that with only a bald majority’s acquiescing, Britain could later reasonably declare the terms of the treaty invalid and renege on the deal. Going ahead with just seven and compromising constitutional law this early on in the nation’s history was, according to Jefferson, a dishonourable prostitution of the Great Seal of the United States. Finally, a deal was reached whereby a stay of three months would be requested until such time as other representatives could arrive, or that if Great Britain were to sue for immediate resolution, that the matter be agreed to with seven members but without the competency of precedence nor of the legislature.