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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 authentick, 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 authorized to appoint a secretary and one, or if necessary, more clerks, to assist him in the business of his office.
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, the sum of four thousand dollars per annum, exclusive of office expenses to commence from the first day of October last.
To the secretary, one thousand dollars per annum.
eign affairs, and each of the persons employed under him, shall take an oath before a judge of the state where Congress shall sit, for the faithful discharge of their respective trusts, and an oath of fidelity to the United States, before they enter upon office.
Resolved, That the act of the roth of January, 1781, respecting the department of foreign affairs, be and is hereby repealed.*
These resolutions, which embodied remedies for the difficulties Livingston had pointed out in his letter, were passed February 22, 1782, and modified March 1 so as to allow the appointment of two Under Secretaries at a salary of $800 and $700 per annum, respectively, instead of a Secretary and clerk.
Communications from our Ministers abroad now regularly came to Livingston, and were by him submitted to Congress, and the replies were sent through him. The French Minister, however, communicated occasionally directly with Congress.
The workings of the Department were still unsatisfactory, as, indeed, all our Governmental workings at the time were ;* and Madison, Izard, Witherspoon, and Clymer were appointed a committee to inquire into the proceedings of the Department. Lovell, also, was appointed, but left Congress before the report was completed. The committee reported September 18, 1782, that, from the time of the institution of the Department, in October, 1781, up to July 5, 1782, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had sent fourteen letters to the Minister Plenipotentiary at Versailles, ten to the Minister Plenipotentiary at Madrid, eight to the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Hague, five to the Minister Plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg, two to the Secretary of Legation at Madrid, to our Consul in France four letters, five to our Agent at Habana, one to Mr. Dumas, one to Messrs. de Neuville & Son, three to Mr. Harrison at Cadiz, one to Samuel Parsons at Martinique, and thirteen to the French Minister. The Department had also corresponded with the Governors and Presidents of the States, requesting authentic statements of damages sustained from the enemy, sending circulars containing information touching the progress of our foreign intercourse and similar information. Altogether there had been but eight of these communications. The report closed as follows:
* Secret Journals of Congress, III, 93.
* Rudely formed amid the agonies of a revolution, the Confederation had never been revised and brought nearer to perfection in a season of tranquility. Each of the thirteen States the Union bound together retained all the rights of sovereignty, and asserted them punctiliously against the central government. (McMaster's History of the People of the United States, I, 130.)
Upon the whole the committee report that the business of this Department appears to have been conducted with much industry, attention and utility; and without any errors or defects worthy of being taken notice of to Congress. Such improvements and alterations in the general plan of the business as were judged by the committee proper they have taken the liberty of suggesting to the Secretary in the course of their inquiry. As far as their suggestions can be of use, the committee have no doubt that they will be attended to.*
December 3, 1782, Livingston announced his intention of retiring from office, but consented
* Department of State MS. archives.
to remain until May following, and did, in fact, serve until June 4, when he took his departure for New York, receiving before he left the thanks of Congress for his services. as his reasons for resigning that he had been elected to an important office in the State of New York (the Chancellorship), and that he could not, in justice to himself, sacrifice such a portion of his private fortune as was absolutely necessary to support his office.
Previous to his departure he submitted to Congress a report showing all the officers serving under him, with their salaries.
The “Secretary to the United States for Foreign Affairs” received a salary of $4,000 per annum. Benjamin Franklin, “Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at the Court of Versailles, and Minister Plenipotentiary for negotiating a Peace;" John Adams, “Minister Plenipotentiary at the Hague and for negotiating a Peace;” John Jay, Minister Plenipotentiary at Madrid and for negotiating a peace; Henry