1783 Annual Register
End of Revolutionary War - Peace Treaties and Recognition of American Independence
George Washington Gives Up His Command of the Continental Army: Circular Address and Final Orders Emphasize Need For Stronger Federal Government
The highlight of this volume is the acknowledgement by the King of England and the English Parliament that the former English colonies in America were free and independent states. In this volume that acknowledgement comes in a variety of forms, the full text of the speech of King George III in December 1782 in which he notes his offer "to declare them free and independent states," the full text of the September 1783 peace treaty between the United States and England signed by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, and an extended history of the peace negotiations and significance of the treaty provisions.
There are two more interesting historical items in this volume that flowed directly from those peace negotiations. The first was settling account with France, the biggest financial and military supporter of America during the war and the second was the resignation of George Washington as head of the Continental Army and his advice to his troops, Congress and Governors.
Below are two excerpts from the speech of King George III to Parliament in December 1782 which for the first time acknowledged American independence and his self-serving wish that "America may be free from those calamities which have formerly proved in the mother country how essential monarchy is to the enjoyment of constitutional liberty." He was right that something more than the Articles of Confederation were needed, but it was not an monarchy, it was our own Constitution adopted in 1787.
Below is part of the analysis of the treaty provision, here noting the "freedom, sovereignty and independence" granted as well as the "vast tracts of land" included within the agreed boundaries. The history section includes extensive information on the treaty negotiations as well as the debate in Parliament over the treaty provisions, especially regarding the treatment of Loyalists and their property.
Below is the start of the full text of the final treaty between England and the United States granting independence, establishing borders, fishing rights and other matters and the signature page of the document.
Below left is the signature page for the final peace treaty with England and below right the start of the contract between the French King and the United States that was signed by Benjamin Franklin which called for America to pay back 18 million livres of loans given by France during the Revolutionary War.
With the Revolutionary War over it was time for George Washington to resign from the Continental Army and he did so in a manner that was important to American constitutional history. This volume contains the full text of Washington's June 18, 1783 Circular Letter to Governors and Congress and his November 2, 1783 Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States.
It is clear from the circular letter that Washington viewed the transition from war to peace as an auspcious moment to correct the problems with the current government:
Seeing the need, Washington wanted to help provide a solution:
His priorities were clearly influenced by his frustrating experience with the government under the Articles of Confederation:
He continues this theme even in his final orders to the army later in the year, as an obligation of each solder:
With such strong views on the need for a more powerful federal government it was not hard to convince George Washington to serve as President of the Constitutional Convention, which addresseed the central concerns he voiced in 1783.
Below are excerpts from George Washington's two works in the 1783 Annual Register and the full texts are available here.
Much of the Annual Register for 1783 concerns event far from America in the British colony of India,. There the doings of the East India Company, Warren Hastings and British battles with Indians and the French occupy the first four chapters of the History of Europe
Besides the single volumes available below, this volume is also available in a first edition in both the 1758 through 1791 multi-volume set and the 1778 though 1783 Revolutionary War leather set of Annual Registers.
Fine Leather 1783 Annual Register 1st Edition
This is a first edition of the 1783 Annual Register in a fine full leather binding executed by Green Dragon Bindery.