[Philadelphia]: May 26, 1783. Folio leaf folded to  pp, each page 7-1/4" x 8 3/4". Several light but large spots, not affecting legibility, Very Good. Docketed on page : "ACT OF CONGRESS- MAY 26TH 1783." The Resolution, entirely in manuscript, is signed in the same hand, 'Chas. Thomson, Secy.' Probably written by George Bond, Deputy Secretary, one of Thomson's assistants.
The manuscript Resolution reads, in full:
"BY THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED | MAY 26TH, 1783
"WHEREAS BY THE ARTICLES AGREED UPON THE 30TH OF NOVEMBER LAST BY AND BETWEEN THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR MAKING PEACE, AND THE COMMISSIONERS ON THE PART OF HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY, IT IS STIPULATED, THAT HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY SHALL WITH ALL CONVENIENT SPEED, AND WITHOUT CAUSING ANY DESTRUCTION, OR CARRYING AWAY ANY NEGROES OR OTHER PROPERTY OF THE AMERICAN INHABITANTS, WITHDRAW ALL HIS ARMIES, GARRISONS & FLEETS FROM THE SAID UNITED STATES, AND FROM EVERY PORT, PLACE & HARBOUR WITHIN THE SAME.-- AND WHEREAS A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF NEGROES BELONGING TO THE CITIZENS OF THESE STATES HAVE BEEN CARRIED OFF THEREFROM, CONTRARY TO THE TRUE INTENT AND MEANING OF THE SAID ARTICLES--
"RESOLVED, THAT COPIES OF THE LETTERS BETWEEN THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF & SIR GUY CARLETON AND OTHER PAPERS ON THIS SUBJECT BE TRANSMITTED TO THE MINISTERS PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THESE STATES, FOR NEGOCIATING A PEACE IN EUROPE, AND THAT THEY BE DIRECTED TO REMONSTRATE THEREON TO THE COURT OF GREAT BRITAIN, AND TAKE PROPER MEASURES FOR OBTAINING SUCH REPARATIONS AS THE NATURE OF THE CASE WILL ADMIT.
"ORDERED, THAT A COPY OF THE FOREGOING RESOLVE BE TRANSMITTED TO THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF AND THAT HE BE DIRECTED TO CONTINUE HIS REMONSTRANCES TO SIR GUY CARLETON, RESPECTING THE PERMITTING NEGROES BELONGING TO THE CITIZENS OF THESE STATES TO LEAVE NEW YORK, AND TO INSIST ON THE DISCONTINUANCE OF THAT MEASURE
"CHAS THOMSON SECY
Excepting minor punctuation differences, this manuscript copy is identical to the printed version in the Journals of the Continental Congress for May 26, 1783. The printed Journal records that the Resolution was introduced on May 26, "On motion of Mr. Hamilton, seconded by Mr. Izard." Alexander Hamilton, then a Member of the Continental Congress, would later assist in founding the Society for the Promotion of the Manumission of Slaves in New York. Hamilton had urged the enlistment of black soldiers in the Continental Army and the emancipation of those soldiers. But his position on slavery was nuanced, at least to the extent that anti-slavery scruples did not hinder his personal ambition: he had married into a wealthy slaveholding family, the Schuylers. Though he may not have owned slaves himself, he participated in transactions for their purchase and sale. See, DuRoss, 'Somewhere in Between: Alexander Hamilton and Slavery.' [15 Early America Review, No. 1, Winter-Spring 2011]. Ralph Izard, who seconded Hamilton's motion, was a South Carolina slaveholder who, motivated by ideology as well as self-interest, supported African slavery.
On June 2, 1783, General George Washington transmitted the original Resolution to Sir Guy Carleton. "Your Excellency will be pleased to notice the purport of this Act," he wrote, "and I am persuaded you will consider it with that attention which you shall judge the nature of its object requires." [Letter reproduced at Vol. 16, 'Documenting the American South', pages 874-875. See, also, Calendar of the Correspondence of George Washington. GPO. 1906, pages 659 and 660]. Carleton had replaced General Henry Clinton as Commander of British Forces in America. He would oversee the evacuation of British troops, Loyalists, and freed slaves from New York.
During the War, the British had successfully recruited American slaves, who were promised freedom in exchange for service in the British army. American objections to the manumission of those slaves lay at the heart of the May 26 Resolution. "As the British prepared for their final evacuation, the Americans demanded the return of American property, including runaway slaves, under the terms of the peace treaty. Sir Guy Carleton, the acting commander of British forces, refused to abandon black Loyalists to their fate as slaves. With thousands of apprehensive blacks seeking to document their service to the Crown, Brigadier General Samuel Birch, British commandant of the city of New York, created a list of claimants known as The Book of Negroes [including] 3,000 to 4,000 African Americans Loyalists who boarded ships in New York bound for Nova Scotia, Jamaica, and Britain." ["The Revolutionary War", PBS website, African in American, Revolution, Part 2: 1750-1805.]
We have searched diligently for another manuscript copy of this Resolution, but without success. The original manuscript, written and signed by Thomson, was conveyed to George Washington for his negotiations with Carleton. It appears in the 'George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799; Series 4. General Correspondence, 1697-1799. Image 1072.' It is referenced in the 'Calendar of the Correspondence of George Washington.' GPO. 1906, page 659.
Not located on online sites of OCLC, AAS, Boston Athenaeum, Society of the Cincinnati, Huntington, Newberry, NYPL, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton. Item #32134