Thursday, October 25, 2012

President Cyrus Griffin

President Cyrus Griffin
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10th President of the United States

in Congress Assembled

January 22, 1788 to January 21, 1789

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.

The Third United American Republic

Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 10, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789

Cyrus Griffin was born in Farnham, Richmond County, Virginia in 1749 and died in Yorktown, Virginia on December 14th, 1810. He was educated in Great Britain, studying chemistry philosophy, and law at the University of Edinburgh then law at the Temple in London.  It was at the University he became acquainted with  classmate Charles Stuart or Stewart, Lord Linton, first son and heir of the 6th Earl of Traquair and his sister Lady Christina.   

Traquair Family Estate

In her book, Love Stories of Famous Virginians, Sally Nelson Robbins writes:
He was a young gentleman of birth and breeding, whose ambition took him to Edinburgh town in Scotland, for the study of civil law. He was tall and handsome, clever and, undoubtedly, ambitious. At the University of Edinburgh, he was popular for his fresh, untrammeled spirit and his bright mind; and we know that he did make friends and that he partook of the social life of the country. Among his friends was Charles Stuart, Lord Linton, son and heir of the Earl of Traquair. When Christmas came Linton invited the Virginian to Traquair for the holidays. Cyrus Griffin accepted the invitation, and then and there the trouble began. 
Traquair had three daughters, the Lady Christina, the Lady Mary and the Lady Louisa. Only Lady Christina was beautiful, so beautiful and so fascinating that Cyrus Griffin could not resist her charms; they emboldened him to a declaration, the discovery of which shocked and infuriated the proud house that had extended him an invitation to their Christmas cheer. 
Of course, the love making was kept secret; the Lady Christina could but believe that no such denouncement as a matrimonial alliance would be tolerated by her proud father; she knew too well that Linton would no longer be the friend of the bold Virginian when he discovered his sentiment and intention with regard to his sister, who, probably, was already carefully reserved for a noble man of fame and fortune and certainly of social equality.
...  The Earl was, of course, furious when he discovered the clandestine courtship of his noble daughter by the plebeian whom he had allowed to enter his sacred gates. He raved and ranted and the rest of his family, especially Linton, who was the first cause of the mischief, was awed by the probability of such a tragedy overshadowing the hitherto quiet and happy life at Traquair. Cyrus, of course, was never invited to Traquair after his secret was out, but love scorns bars or locks and by hook or by crook the courtship went clandestinely on. 
Who was the Mercury who bore the love -letters? What was the secret spot in which they met? We do not know; but the culmination of the romance was a real runaway through forests and over dale, and in the wild escape from Traquair and the Earl, the Lady Christina fell and broke her ankle. Then this solid, sensible young man, worthy of the notice and friendship of a London merchant, took her in his strong arms and bore her over brake and over borne to a parson, who united him and his noble Christina in the bonds of holy matrimony. This act estranged the young lady forever from her parents ...    Robbins, Sally Nelson, Love Stories of Famous Virginians, The National Society Colonial Dames of America in the State of Virginia; Press of the Dietz Printing Co. 1925, Richmond, VA "Cyrus Griffin: The Lover", pages 133 – 141.
News of the courtship and marriage of the Griffins reached America through the business contacts of Colonel Richard Adams. Griffin's brother-in-law, who wrote this letter to his London merchant:
Mr. Cyrus Griffin, who has been several years at Edinburgh studying the law, and we expect at this time is at the Temple, has lately been privately married to the oldest daughter of the Earl of Traquair; and we suppose his lordship may have some struggles to reconcile himself to such a connection with a plebian, we are apprehensive that Mr. Griffin, from this unexpected event, this extraordinary call, may have occasion for more money than he can readily command, especially as he has been so unfortunate as to have some bills remitted him, return protested. I shall, therefore, esteem it a great favor if you will present him the enclosed and give him any assistance in this way in your power. You will find him a solid, sensible young man well worthy of your notice and friendship.

In June 2022, a visit was made to Edinburgh, Traquair, the University of Edinburgh Archives and  National Records Scotland, to verify his student status and elopement by feretting out primary sources on Cyrus Griffin, Charles Stuart  and Lady Christina.

It is important to note that Mark Muller, QC, husband of Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, is in the final stages of completing a book on the Griffin Family.  Marck was very open in sharing his research on the Griffin Family, even alerting us to the April 29th, 1770 clandestine marriage record noted below.  His research is thorough and once his work is  published, the book  will vastly expand and enlighten us on the life of  Cyrus Griffin and Lady Christina.   Also a special thanks to Margaret Fox, Traquair's Archivist who was instrumental in our research on Lady Christina.

Dr. Naomi Yavneh Klos at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections

We discovered that Cyrus Griffin studied a mixture of Arts, Law and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh between 1767 and 1770 but did not graduate. He appears in the  "Album Academia" University of Edinburgh 1762-1786 as follows:

Academic Year

University of Edinburgh Subjects


Moral Philosophy


Natural Philosophy; Moral Philosophy; Civil Law


Civil Law; Chemistry [part of Medicine]

Cyrus's lecturers included Adam Ferguson (Moral Philosophy), James Russell (Natural Philosophy), Robert Dick (Civil Law) and Joseph Black (Chemistry). Ferguson, Russell and Black are considered to be significant philosophers and scientists. 

Charles Stuart or Steward (Christina's brother) was not listed, unlike classmate Cyrus Griffin, on the University of Edinburgh's alumni website. However, inspection of the University of Edinburgh's matriculation records uncovered Charles Stuart or Stewart's autographs of attendance, during Cyrus Griffin's matriculation:




Charles Stewart

Logic & Rational Philosophy


Chas. Stewart

Municipal Law


Charles Stewart

Moral Philosophy


Charles Steuart

Literarum Humanorum


Charles Steuart



Chas. Stuart

Civil Law


It is difficult to determine if any of these various spellings are the signatures of Lord Linton because  his Catholic Lord status would have, most likely, resulted in the Lord  altering his name and handwriting for privacy purposes. The coincidence of even one of these Charles signatories, let alone three, attending the same courses as Cyrus Griffin provides credence that the two were classmates at the University of Edinburgh.

Cyrus's brother Corbin Griffin also studied Arts and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh 1762-1765, and graduated M.D. along with classmate and U.S. Founder  Arthur Lee.  We also located the University of Edinburgh  records of  Dr. Samuel Stuart Griffin, Cyrus and Lady Christina's son,  who graduated  with a Doctoratis in Arte Medica, June 25th, 1805.  Finally, it is important to note that two Declaration of Independence signers attended the University of Edinburgh during this period,  James Wilson and Benjamin Rush

Next we turn to the "elopement marriage" of Cyrus Griffin to Lady Christina Stuart.  To our surprised we found that there were  two 1770 marriages, within days apart, that can be attributed to the couple. The first is from the Old Parish Register dated 29/04/1770, Parish number 685/1, Reference number 490 452, Parish St. Giles, Edinburgh marked as the 29th, April 1770,  which reads:  
Cyrus Griffen Resident in Tolbooth parish and Miss Christian Stewart Daughter of the Deceased Charles Stewart farmer at Peebles now in New North  Parish

In the register, Griffin is spelled incorrectly as Griffen and Lady Christina Stuart has given her name  as Christian Stewart the Daughter of the Deceased Peebles farmer named Charles Stewart.  This is clearly a clandestine entry one would expect of an elopement to insure the marriage not be objected to by her father the Earl of Traquair.

The second Cyrus Griffin and Lady Christina Stuart record occurs in the Old Parish Register of Marriages 685/2 160 231 - St Cutber's page 232 of 449  with the header of "(18) April XX, 1770  Marriages"  a list of 8 marriages dating from April 20, 1770 on the first entry to May 1, 1770 on the 7th entry.  There is, however, no date on the 8th and  last Griffin entry so the actual date is not recorded. The next entry on page 19 is dated May 3rd, 1770 indicating that this marriage occurred sometime between May 1st and May 3rd in 1770. The entry reads:

Cyrus Griffin, Esq, Alison's Square And The Right Hon. Lady Christina Stuart; daughter of the Right Honourable John Earl of Traquair, Residing in  Nicolson Street of this Parish. 

The Griffin marriage blossomed and one year later Lady Christina bore her first child, John on April 20, 1771 at Traquair CastleTraquair House provides  a August 3, 1773,  letter from Christina to her father stating "... that they will soon be setting sail from Glasgow for York River in the “Bell.”  
A year later, Cyrus would return to London to conduct business for his friend Burgess Ball. In this 1774 letter to Burgess Ball,  Griffin writes that  "My wife is now safely delivered of a stout girl and continues at present very hearty and shall be prepared for the first ship."  

Autograph Letter Signed dated 1774 by Cyrus Griffin to Burgess Ball, in full:   "Richmond, Sunday, -- My wife is now safely delivered of a stout girl and continues at present very hearty and shall be prepared for the first ship - have you got the colony Seal appended?  If you have any opportunity pray inquire if there is any ship at Hobshole to sail before mid-winter I think it would be worth your while to find out, if there is, to lend tobacco payment unless Wm Armisted is to give you an account of the ships at London & --- I hope Wm Bale is better -- accept our compliments -- yours etc -- Cyrus Griffin” Verso:  Burgess Ball, Lancaster [docketed by Ball] Cyrus Griffin 1774". 

It is not known when Cyrus set sail for London.  We do know, thanks to the acquisition of a 1776 London Complaint by Burgess Ball, that Cyrus ran into difficulties represententing Burgess Ball in London. According to this legal document, Cyrus Griffin defaulted on his January 6th, 1776 "First Bill of Exchange for one hundred pounds sterling/ for one Hundred and thirty pounds current money here received…" in London, England. The complaint was filed by wealthy Ball's agents on June 14, 1776 after the collector went to number 3 Fig Tree Court in the Temple where 
"Cyrus Griffin, Esq., on whom the same is Drawn, "lodges to which he had removed from Grange Court Cary Street where having knocked several times at the Door and no person appearing to give an answer I exhibited the said Bill to a man belonging to the Chambers a Story Lower and demanded from him if he could inform me where the said Cyrus Griffin was or where I might procure payment of said Bill…"

June 14th, 1776 default on a Bill of Exchange legal document in favor of Burgess Ball on Cyrus Griffin, Esq. of 3 Fig Tree Court at the Temple in London. copyright Klos Yavneh Academy Collection  
The default on the bill of exchange was eventually paid by Cyrus Griffin and the friendship between Burgess Ball flourished in Virginia.  

Cyrus Griffin returned  to Virginia in 1776, opened a law practice and became a staunch supporter of the cause of colonial independence. In 1777 and again in 1778, he was elected a member of the State House of Delegates.   On 19 May, 1778,  Thomas Jefferson and Cyrus Griffin were appointed to bring a Bill Empowering the High Court of Chancery to Supply Vacant Offices.  Jefferson reported it the same day and must have been its author, since he drafted the earlier bills pertaining to the High Court of Chancery. The Bill passed the third reading 21 May and Thomas Jefferson  carried it to the Senate, where it was agreed to on 28 May, 1778.

National Collegiate Honor’s Council Partners in the Park Independence Hall Class of 2017 students at Carpenters' Hall with the docent holding a Virginia Three Pound Note signed by the first President of the United Colonies Continental Congress Peyton Randolph AND a 1774 Autograph Letter Signed (see below) by Cyrus Griffin the last President of the United States in Congress Assembled. Carly is holding an original 1774 printing of the Articles of Association passed in this hall, which named the Continental Congress. – For more information visit our National Park and NCHC Partners in the Park Class of 2017 website
Cyrus Griffin was elected a delegate, along with Thomas Adams, John Banister, John Harvie, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, and Meriwether Smith, to the Continental Congress in June of  1778.  He served until 1780 in that capacity, often complaining about the state of Congress 

During the end of his first term as a Delegate, Griffin wrote Governor Thomas Jefferson this taxing letter on October 6, 1778:

You will be good enough, my dear Sir, to excuse this Letter. There are but few Men indeed with whom I could wish to be thus candid. It appears to me that Congress will shortly be dissolved. If the large Emissions of Money and visionary Expeditions do not bring forth our destruction, I greatly fear that Party will complete the matter. Congress exhibit not more than two or three Members actuated by Patriotism. Great questions are carried every day in favor of the Eastward, and to the prejudice of the Southern States. Great questions are now upon the Carpet and if determined in the affirmative will do excessive Damage to Virginia and Maryland particularly. At present we are under secrecy perhaps in a little time I shall think myself obligated to quit Congress; I will not sit in a house whose proceedings I cannot assent to with honor, nor is it in my abilities to oppose them with success. I value most what our great Politicians value least.

Congress is at present a Government of Men. It would astonish you to think how all affairs proceed upon the interested Principle: Members prostituting their votes in expectation of mutual assistance upon favorite Points. I am apprehensive that in getting free from oppression in one quarter, we are likely to establish it in another; by avoiding one set of Plunderers we are certain to fall into the Clutches of a still more dangerous set. I am sorry our good Friend Harvey is about to leave Congress; he is a valuable man in times like the present, a man of great virtue and boldness of Spirit. If the Land office should be established, put him at the head of it; his abilities and honesty will be highly necessary in that Employment.

The motions of the Enemy are very uncertain; there is an expedition going forward on the part of General Clinton, but to what object is merely conjecture, perhaps to Boston New England and the French Fleet are powerful inducements. All Circumstances considered, I believe they are going to guard the remaining parts of their Dominion. In the mean time they will destroy everything they possibly can, and I should not wonder if Philadelphia itself was reduced to ashes before their departure. As yet Spain has taken no part to our advantage, indeed Arthur Lee still remains at Paris. The Court of Berlin have refused William Lee the Commissioner of Congress to that quarter: he is now gone to Vienna, the most accomplished Metropolis in the world. We are plagued to death with quarrels and recriminations relative to our Commissioners abroad; these men will involve the Continent in perdition. It is absolutely necessary that Dean should be sent over to Europe for the most valuable purpose in the world, but some Gentlemen are determined to ruin an innocent Character, notwithstanding he alone has the great merit of concluding that valuable Treaty with the Minister of France. Tell MacLurg and President Madison they are both s____ in not answering my Letters. The next I write you will be in a different stile; this only by way of preface. I must beg to trouble you with my best respects to Mr. Wythe.[3]

The Congress "dissolved" two weeks later but Griffin returned in December to begin another term despite his bleak assessment of the governing body. In July of 1779 Delegate Griffin wrote Governor Thomas Jefferson a pointed letter giving us more insights into the future President's thoughts on war and the price of Independence:

It appears to me that Virginia will do her part in placing things upon an adequate foundation; a large Income of Money, and a most judicious taxation. Members of Congress highly applaud your wisdom in demanding Indian Corn, Wheat, Tobacco etc. I wish to heaven such measures had been adopted many months ago by every State in the union. I have no doubt the Enemy are waiting thus long to see the downfall of our paper Credit, but even that calamitous affair would do them no essential Service; America can never be reunited to Britain; and finances with our brave and determined people are only a secondary consideration. The proceedings of Council relative to G. Hamilton etc… were received by Congress with the utmost applause; the whole matter is beautifully stated; the sentence judicious and spirited. That peace is a most desirable object no man in his senses ought to deny, but then it must be a peace honorable to America and grateful to our allies. I hope such a one will take place before Christmas next. By the violence of a giddy Multitude it would be highly disagreeable to patch up even an Independent peace at the expense of public faith and future salvation.

Why are committees upon the establishment throughout all America? They have almost murdered the French Agent at Wilmington. Indeed Fisheries are too much of external nature to be fought for at present; yet in a treaty of peace I would not relinquish them; they should stand upon the common right of Independent nations. But unhappily this will not answer the purpose. The bleeding Continent must bleed still further. When I say my expectations lead to peace I do not mean that England will expressly acknowledge our Independence; the pride of George will not submit; but she may treat with us as an Independent people notwithstanding provided our demands are not unreasonable, which the French Court are in apprehension about, and therefore trust that moderation and a well guaranteed peace ought not to be despised in our low circumstances. The Enemy with a body of five thousand men have plundered and destroyed Newhaven NB in Connecticut; they carried off the wife and children of old Shearman the member of Congress; yesterday he left this City full of anxiety and trouble; I pity the Lady and Children exceedingly, but I have no tender feelings for the old fellow on many accounts.[4]
In September of 1779 Cyrus Griffin discharged financial matters concerning his late father-in-law, John Stuart, through Benjamin Franklin. In the end Stuart, through his will, remembered his daughter in America after many years of estrangement. Griffin also took the time to inform Minister Franklin of his thoughts on Congress recalling the foreign ministers and explain why Mon. Gérard, "a most valuable and most amiable Man indeed" was not provided with a more fanciful welcome in Philadelphia:
I do myself the honor to enclose a packet of letters which being carried by your Servant to the place directed will greatly oblige me. We thank you for the trouble of attaching a Bond executed by the late Earl of Traquair. This Letter will be conveyed by Mon. Gérard, a most valuable and most amiable Man indeed! And who has given all the satisfaction possible in his public and private Character. No doubt you were astonished how any part of Congress should wish that all the Commissioners might be recalled to Philadelphia. It was for the purpose of explaining those unhappy dissentions and animosities which have arisen among them; and tho Yourself would have left Europe at a most critical period, yet returning to France with accumulated honors after receiving the blessings of America and convincing Congress in what path to walk upon this unhappy and most disgraceful business, perhaps the whole matter impartially considered the united States would have found great benefit if such a plan had taken place.

The French are a gay people and entertain a good deal; I am afraid Mon. Gérard has thought the Delegates in Congress were rather deficient in that respect; but really the expense of every article is so very enormous, and the allowance from the different states so very trifling, that a person of a handsome American fortune could not entertain frequently without absolute ruin in the period of two or three years and especially since some of the states think it best for their delegates to live in separate houses. In the course of conversation you would do some of us a singular favor to hint this matter to Mon. Gérard since it has the appearance of not paying proper Civilities to a man of his worth and elevated station.
The reply from Benjamin Franklin to Delgate Griffin, provides interesting insight into European diplomacy:
March 16, 1780. Sir, I have just received the letter you have done me the honor to write to me and shall immediately deliver the packet it recommends to my care. I will take the first opportunity of mentioning to Mr. Gerard what you hint, relative to our not entertaining strangers so frequently and liberally, as is the custom in France. But he has travelled in Europe, and knows that modes of nations differ. The French are convivial, live much at one another’s tables, and are glad to feast travellers. In Italy and Spain a stranger, however recommended, rarely dines at the house of any gentleman, but lives at his inn. The Americans hold a medium. I have the honor to be, &c. B. Franklin
On September 21st, 1779, Griffin took the time to reply to Burgess Ball, who first served in cause for Independence as a captain with the 5th Regiment of Virginia and later as lieutenant colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment Infantry of the Continental Army. In 1776, Burgess Ball organized, equipped and clothed an infantry regiment for the Continental Line (which probably why he sought payment so earnestly on Griffin's Bill of Exchange in 1776). Griffin writes his friend and his former Bill of Exchange creditor in 1779:
I have recd. your letter dated on the 4th. No person upon Earth can be more welcome to what little satisfaction I am able to give him in the way of writing now and then. The subscription to Dunlap's paper I think is 80 dollars by the year, I shall not order that matter until you again write me for the purpose. I fancy the Enemy will attempt nothing great notwithstanding the arrival of Arbuthnot. I wish we could know with Certainty to what place the Regiments lately embarked from N. York are intended; perhaps the Count D. Estaing may fall in with them, the Count having quitted his former station. I am almost as sanguine as yourself that the present Campaign will finish the Contest; the opposition to Great Britain is very formidable indeed; and yet when so conspicuous a nation begins to fall, perhaps she may go on to the brink of destruction, and of consequence the war may be lengthened a considerable time to come.

The resolutions of Congress relative to the Army were but so many Acts of Justice; and I hope the different states will provide half pay exactly conformable to the English establishment. Congress have done and are doing all they can to appreciate the money; yet the states and Individuals can alone apply the most effectual remedy by loaning and taxation. Enclosed you will find a handsome address upon this subject; written by our president; it contains to my Judgment a great deal of sterling sense and the most solid reasoning. I do not absolutely condemn your associations: but perhaps in consequence of them you may want many comfortable private supplies. I shall take notice of what you mention about the adjutants, paymasters, and Clothiers, I thank you exceedingly and General M[uhlenberg] for a sight of those papers enclosed to his Brother [Frederick Muhlenberg]. They greatly expanded my Ideas upon the subject; our officers write and fight in the same spirit. Your circumstantial account of that affair has given me pleasure tho I feel exceedingly for your situation and yet w[hen] the public are acquainted with the whole matter as more praise will be given you as the brave and fortunate officer who executed the command. I would take a trip to Camp with the utmost satisfaction; but Smith and Fleming are setting off to Virginia, and there only remains a bare delegation.[5]

Later that month Governor Jefferson wrote President Samuel Huntington requesting Naval Commissions in the form of "blank letters of marque for use in this state" and copied the Virginia Delegation on the matter. Such papers were required for International and Intrastate trade. They were executed by the President and Secretary of the Continental Congress. The burden of issuing these papers to merchant U.S. was lessened by the President signing blank commissions and giving them to the Governors of each state to issue as they deemed necessary. On November 2nd, 1779 Griffin was quick to inform Jefferson that

My Colleague Mr. Mercer has charged himself with the naval Commissions mentioned a post ago in a letter from your Excellency. We have a report from the Eastward that a bloody Engagement has happened in English Channel, and that the admiral of his Britannic Majesty was sunk with sails and Colors flying; but we do not give the utmost credit to the Intelligence.[6]

On November 9th, 1779, Griffin wrote a lengthy letter to the Virginia House of Delegates as their lone representative to the Continental Congress questioning the federal political authority over land and other issues involving Virginia and the Continental Congress:

I beg you will do me the honor to lay this letter before the house. I am at present alone in this important delegation; perhaps abundantly more important than my Constituents suppose. A majority of states in Congress shew a manifest inclination to lessen the weight of Virginia in the general scale of the union; and the Continental

Credit is already upon the very brink of ruin. At such a period the assembly are satisfied that my abilities and Influence are greatly inadequate to represent so vast a Country as Virginia, even upon the supposition I had the power of voting in Congress. I feel exceedingly for the rights of my Country, and the Welfare of America, and I hope to be excused when I express some degree of astonishment that at least three members are not sent forward to Philadelphia, and members too of the first abilities and character.

After a great deal of heat and debate Congress have thought proper to pass a resolution relative to the Land office, which resolution and other proceedings were transmitted by the last post. I am sorry to observe that so important a measure as that should have taken its origin from the Memorial of two private Companies claiming a large extent of Lands within the Bounds of Virginia to their own use and benefit, and offering a recompense to Congress of ten thousand pounds sterling for a confirmation thereof; and however as a member of the Virginia assembly I might be induced to make some compensation to the Indiana Claimants which they are very desirous to accept, and wish to acknowledge the Jurisdiction of Virginia and to defend the state against all opposition whatever, yet I think Congress have no business to interfere with such matters at the expense of our chartered rights, and the rights of an independent Legislature. When Virginia instructed her delegates in Congress to sign the declaration of Independency what did she mean by reserving the sovereignty and internal Government of the state? No deception could be intended of any latent claim to extended Boundary; for Virginia ceded to Pennsylvania and Maryland and the two Carolinas all the Countries within their respective charters which might be supposed a part of her chartered territory and then adds 'the western and northern extent of Virginia shall in all respects stand as fixed by the Charter of King James the first in the year 1709 [1609], and the public Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and France in 1763.'

Yesterday a letter was read in Congress from Colonel Brodhead with a late date at Pittsburg giving Information that some Inhabitants from the Counties of Yoghagania and Ohio had committed Trespasses upon the Lands of the Indians on the farther side of the Ohio River, which produced the enclosed Resolution.[7]

Delegate Griffin would continue serving in the Continental Congress through the harsh winter of 1779-80 and the British Capture of Charleston where, former Continental Congress President Henry Middleton capitulated and swore allegiance to KingGeorge III. Griffin's friend, Burgess Ball was also captured but chose prison over betraying the United States of America.
Griffin also  stayed true to the patriot cause. His astute, London trained legal mind was an invaluable asset to Congress during these troubling times. Congress wisely, after finally forming a Court of Appeals, presented Griffin with an appointment as a Judge. President Samuel Huntington wrote to Cyrus Griffin on May 1, 1780:

I have the Pleasure and Satisfaction of presenting you with the enclosed Act of Congress & Commission by which you are appointed and constituted one of the Judges of the Court of Appeals.[8]

The Continental Congress established the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture by resolution on January 15, 1780, making it the country's first, albeit limited, federal court. Enemy ship and cargo capture cases fell under the purview of the court. From soon after its inception in 1780 until its final cases in 1787, the Court was in operation. Following the passage of the United States Constitution in 1789, which gave the newly established U.S. Supreme Court and any other inferior (i.e., subordinate) federal courts that Congress may establish, it formally ceased to exist. Although there were three justices on the Court, only two were necessary for a quorum to exist. Prior to service on the Court, each judge was needed quorum to exist. Prior to service on the Court, each judge was needed to:
You do swear [or affirm] that you will well, faithfully and impartially execute the office of one of the judges of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, according to the best of your skill and judgment. So help you God.
The judges' salary was eventually adjusted to exclusively allow for set daily rates, including time spent travelling on Court business, from their initial yearly salaries with reimbursement for expenses.  Records still in existence reveal that the Court received 56 cases in total, of which 11 were transferred from Congressional committees to the Court for adjudication or other disposition. Opinions of the Court were nonetheless published in the following cases, despite the fact that the Court normally did not release official written opinions of its rulings.
The Resolution, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 19 (Ct. App. in Cases of Capture 1781) (rehearing).
The Gloucester, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 36 (Ct. App. in Cases of Capture 1782).
The Squirrel, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 40 (Ct. App. in Cases of Capture 1783) (authorized sale of ship to avoid deterioration; proceeds from sale remained subject to adjudication).
The Speedwell, 2 Dall. *40 (Ct. App. in Cases of Capture, 1784). This was an appeal from the Admiralty Court from Rhode Island. This decision dealt with a capture that occurred after the operation of preliminary articles of peace; thus, the ship’s condemnation was reversed.
Luke v. Hulbert, 2 Dall. *41 (Ct. App. in Cases of Capture, 1787). This appeal was decided during the May Session of 1787. The appeal was not sustained (i.e., the petition was dismissed) in the court’s discretion, under authority of a congressional resolution of June 1786, as the judges were of the opinion that the interests of “justice and right” did not require the appeal to proceed.
The Experiment v. The Chester, 2 Dall. *41 (Ct. App. in Cases of Capture, 1787). This was an appellate rehearing during the May Session of 1787. It was an appeal from the Admiralty Court in South Carolina. Despite some irregularities in the proceedings, the court would not sustain the appeal because it did not appear that substantial justice would be prevented. In view of the fact that the captors of the vessel had engaged in some irregularities, however, and had thus “given color to the petition,” the court refused to award any costs to the respondents.
Ira Cohen, Esquire who reviewed the cases above distilled these "interesting factoids" about these Continental Court of Appeals cases. 
First, the written opinions of the court frequently refer to the judges as "Commissioners" or "Presiding Commissioners" rather than "Judges." Furthermore, the Court's judgement is commonly referred to as the "Sentence." Third, despite the aforementioned, the phrases "Decree" and/or "Judgment" are also occasionally used. Fourth, it is apparent from the cases that this court permitted appellate rehearings in the event that fresh evidence was presented. Fifth, more trials were permitted for the sake of justice. Sixth, just a few rulings identify a trio of judges; most refer to a two-judge panel. 
Upon receiving notice of his appointment to the Court of Appeals, Cyrus Griffin wrote USCC President Samuel Huntington on May 4th:

The appointment of Congress to the Court of appeals does me great honor. I thank them exceedingly for the confidence they repose in my Integrity and abilities, but as the nomination was unsolicited and even unknown to me, and being delegated by the state of Virginia to a very different employment I do not think myself justifiable in a peremtory acceptation of the office without the approbation of my constituents. In the meantime, the state of Virginia being so ably and fully represented without my attendance, if Congress shall think proper I will undertake the business of a Judge and endeavor to pay that attention which so important and distinguished a commission may require.

I thank you, Sir, for the very polite manner in which the act of Congress has been communicated to me, and as I always profess the utmost affection for the dignified and extensive body over which you preside so believe me to be with the highest personal esteem.[9]

One month later on June 9th, 1780  while still serving as a delegate, Cyrus Griffin wrote Governor Jefferson a most alarming letter:

I have the mortification to inform you that the Enemy are parading the Jerseys in great force, at least with six thousand Infantry and the General says with a large body of horse also. In consequence of this movement the Commander in chief requests that major Lee may be ordered to the main army, and I suppose this morning Congress will prevent his proceeding to the southward. A Committee of Congress who have been many weeks at headquarters with very extensive powers, in concurrence with G. Washington and the marquis de La Fayette, think proper to call upon the different states for a considerable quantity of specific supplies in addition to a former resolution of Congress, and also for 22,000 militia immediately to join the northern army but whether Congress will send forth the requisitions to the state of Virginia I cannot determine as the neighboring states will demand your utmost exertions.

I suppose the great plan of finance is already happily executed; indeed the resolutions of Congress should be complied with, as a General scheme for without unanimity upon these important points our confederation will break to pieces. Whatever may have been the opinions of some states in Congress, a large majority of that body ought to be regarded especially in critical times like the present.

Congress have no objection that I should sit in the Court of appeals, notwithstanding my resignation be not accepted but my attendance must be dispensed with whilst acting in that commission. It is probable I shall not act in that Commission long. There has been skirmishing in the Jerseys. The militia behaved well, as yet no great mischief. The army is moving towards the enemy.[10]

Griffin's last letter to Governor, On June 13th discussed his Court of Appeals appointment and additional enemy military maneuvers:

As this will be the last letter I shall have the honor of writing your Excellency in my official capacity, I hope to obtain the governor's approbation that whilst alone and at the head of the Delegation to Congress I have done my part in making those representations and giving that Intelligence from time to time, which the executive ought constantly to be informed of. I do not recollect any one matter of importance that was omitted in my communications to your Excellency and I confess as an Individual that I felt a pride and pleasure in corresponding with a great character, exclusive of that sacred duty which my honorable appointment demanded of me.

The Enemy are still in the Jersey, not far from Elisabeth Town and by a letter from Lord Sterling they are considerably reinforced. They have built a floating bridge to secure a retreat to Staten Island if necessary. Two or three little battles have taken place, in which the militia fought well but have suffered greatly. I fancy the object of the Enemy was to try the force of General Washington's regular Troops. Unluckily by the experiment they find our illustrious commander unable to meet them without the aid of militia and what next? I fear they will remain in the Jersey until Clinton gets back from Charles Town, and then make a bold attempt upon the continental stores and army. I wish the French fleet and Troops were happily arrived. About fifty sail of merchantmen have got to this City within a few days past. By one of them the last night we are told that Barbadoes is taken, and probably by this time Antigua and Saint Kitts, but I cannot credit so hastily as some Gentlemen are disposed to do.[11]

Cyrus Griffin oil on canvas portrait --  copyright 

Cyrus Griffin would serve as a Judge on the Court of Appeals until 1786, which had moved to the Merchants Exchange Building in lower Manhattan, NY.. It was in the previous year that the financially insolvent Confederation government notified the judges that they could no longer pay their salaries. Despite this Congress expected the men to continue with their commissions, like them, without any pay. Griffin served in that payless position for several months before writing a letter to the appropriate committee on January 24, 1786. Griffin's letter contained a protest against Congress' July 1, 1785, decision to discontinue the salaries of the judges of the court of appeals without vacating their commissions. The Secretary of the United States, Charles Thomson responded on February 13, 1786 as follows:

 Your letter of the 6 of January was duly received and communicated to Congress, in consequence of which they passed a resolution a copy of which I have the honor to enclose.[12]

The resolve reasserted that it was "necessary that the salaries of the said judges should cease," but in an appeasing gesture Congress also avowed "That Congress are fully impressed with a sense of the ability, fidelity and attention of the judges of the court of Appeals."
Merchants Exchange or the Exchange Building, New York City

Cyrus Griffin resigned the commission and returned to Virginia and was quickly elected a delegate to the state assembly in 1786 and served until late 1787.  While in office he attended a Protestant Convention of lay and clerical delegates.   On June 26th, 1786,  he signed the document drafted by John Jay, written to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England by a Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America.:
Most Worthy and Venerable Prelates: We, the Clerical and Lay Deputies of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, have received the friendly and affectionate letter which your Lordships did us the honour to write on the 24th day of February, and for which we request you to accept our sincere and grateful acknowledgments. 
It gives us pleasure to be assured, that the success of our application will probably meet with no greater obstacles than what have arisen from doubts respecting the extent of the alterations we have made and proposed; and we are happy to learn, that as no political impediments oppose us here, those which at present exist in England may be removed. 

While doubts remain of our continuing to hold the same essential articles of faith and discipline with the Church of England, we acknowledge the propriety of suspending a compliance with our request. 

We are unanimous and explicit in assuring your Lordships, that we neither have departed, nor propose to depart from the doctrines of your Church. We have retained the same discipline and forms of worship, as far as was consistent with our civil Constitutions; and we have made no alterations or omissions in the Book of Common Prayer but such as that consideration prescribed, and such as were calculated to remove objections, which it appeared to us more conducive to union and general content to obviate, than to dispute. It is well known, that many great and pious men of the Church of England have long wished for a revision of the Liturgy, which it was deemed imprudent to hazard, lest it might become a precedent for repeated and improper alterations. This is with us the proper season for such a revision. We are now settling and ordering the affairs of our Church, and if wisely done, we shall have reason to promise ourselves all the advantages than can result from stability and union. 

 We are anxious to complete our Episcopal system, by means of the Church of England. We esteem and prefer it, and with gratitude acknowledge the patronage and favours for which, while connected, we have constantly been indebted to that Church. These considerations, added to that of agreement in faith and worship, press us to repeat our former request, and to endeavour to remove your present hesitation, by sending you our proposed Ecclesiastical Constitution and Book of Common Prayer.

These documents, we trust, will afford a full answer to every question that can arise on the subject. We consider your Lordships’ letter as very candid and kind. We repose full confidence in the assurance it gives; and that confidence, together with the liberality and catholicism of your venerable body, leads us to flatter ourselves, that you will not disclaim a branch of your Church merely for having been, in your Lordships’ opinion, if that should be the case, pruned rather more closely than its separation made absolutely necessary. 

We have only to add, that as our Church in sundry of these States have already proceeded to the election of persons to be sent for consecration, and others may soon proceed to the same, we pray to be favoured with as speedy an answer to this our second address, as in your great goodness you were pleased to give to our former one. -- We are, With great and sincere respect, Most worthy and venerable Prelates, Your obedient and Very humble servants, 

VIRGINIA: David Griffith, President and Cyrus Griffin. 
NEW YORK: Samuel Provost, Rector of Trinity Church, New York. Joshua bloomer, Rector of Jamaica, Long Island. John Jay. 
NEW JERSEY: Abraham Beach, Rector of Christ Church, New Brunswick. James Parker. Matthias Halsted. 
PENNSYLVANIA: William White, D. D., Rector of Christ Church and St. Peter’s. Samuel Magaw, D. D., Vice Provost of the University of Pennsylvania and Rector of St. Paul’s. Robert Blackwell, Assistant Minister of Christ Church and St. Peter’s. Samuel Powell. Francis Hopkinson.
 DELAWARE: Sydenham Thorne, Rector of Christ Church and St. Paul’s. Charles Wharton, D. D., Rector of Emanuel Church, New Castle. Robert Clay. Nicholas Ridgeley. 
MARYLAND: William Smith, D. D., Principal of Washington College, and Rector of Chester Parish. William Smith, Rector of Stepney Parish. 
SOUTH CAROLINA: Robert Smith, Rector of St. Philip’s Church, Charleston. John Parker. 
The delegates listed above are considered among  the founders of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America,

In December of 1786, a vacancy in the Virginia Council occurred to the Resignation of Mr. Roane.   Cyrus Griffin was a candidate but "...was left considerably in the rear," according to James Madison.  The position was  filled by Mr. Bolling Starke.

By the end of his General Assembly term, it was clear that Virginia needed experienced representation in the United States in Congress Assembled. A new Constitution had emerged from the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 and much work needed to be done to insure. in event of  ratification, the implementation of an entirely new federal government.  On October 23rd, 1787, the Virginia Assembly elected James Madison, Edward Carrington, Henry Lee, John Brown, and Cyrus Griffin delegates to represent Virginia in the United States in Congress Assembled

 For More Information go to 
America's Four United Republics

Griffin arrived in New York in November and as in the past, States representation was sparse and no quorums could be formed in either that month or December to conduct the nation's business. On December 15th he wrote his friend and Constitution Signer Thomas Fitzsimmons on a matter concerning the Treasury Board and his health:

I should have written some days ago, but waited a private conveyance which at last has disappointed me. I had great difficulty in getting your little matter adjusted with the Treasury Board, because the promise of payment was to Harison only, and because not a shilling was in hand for continental purposes; however, as being preferable to nothing, You will receive enclosed a warrant upon Thomas Smith for the sum entrusted to my care. I was obliged to accommodate a little affair of my own in the like mode which has occasioned an unexpected inconveniency. For some days past I have been confined with a violent cold and disagreeable affection of the head; but as nothing very alarming is to be feared I wish my poor little woman to know but little of it. I doubt the family of Mr. Marshall's will give you and your amiable lady a good deal of Trouble; but as they are the last few months they will ever spend to the northward I hope it may be forgiven; for indeed having but little property of my own and scarcely any thing by my wife, I should not be justifiable in spending that little at a distance from my own country even for the purposes of Religion; yet in the meantime I flatter myself they will ask for anything that may be wanting, and when the little stock is expended that you were kind enough to take charge of I will endeavor to procure them more.

I make free to enclose a letter for your friendly messenger to deliver. There are but four states rep[r]esented in Congress and I see no probability of a majority for weeks to come. Our foreign correspondence contain the strongest reasons why a fixed and efficient government should be organized with all expedition. [13]

In early January 1788, the United States in Congress Assembled still was not able to muster a quorum. On January 10, 1788 with still no Congress formed, Foreign Secretary John Jay and his wife Sally held a dinner party and Delegate Griffin was included in the invitation.  His wife, Lady Christina was still residing in Philadelphia with their children. The list read:  
Iinvited secry. Thomson—, Bishop Provost—, Mr. Parker—, Mr. Gardoqui—, Mr. Huger—, Mr. Armstrong—, Mr. Gilman—, Mr. Madison—, Mr. Griffin—, Mr. V. Berckel—, Mr. Hamilton—, Stuben—, Chancellor—, Duer—, Knox—, Wa. Livingston—, invited for the 10th., Mr. Barclay—, Col. Burr—, General Stewart, Mr. Patterson
.On January 13th, The New York Daily Advertiser contained a notice that the Connecticut convention had ratified the Constitution by a vote of 127 to 40. The newspaper also included a copy of John Lansing's and Robert Yates' December 21 letter to Gov. George Clinton explaining their objections to the Constitution. Griffin wrote Fitzsimmons of this news on the same day:

… We are also very impatient for European Intelligence; nothing of consequence canas yet be relied upon; the packets are hourly expected. A little period since our Ministers abroad were predicting a speedy war. I do not believe the affairs of Europe exhibit at this time a more pacific appearance. If the contest in Holland has terminated with peace to the provinces, France will accept the challenge from England with spirit and with equal ability. A little while and then we may determine with certainty.

Connecticut has received the Constitution; a great majority. Four states have now adopted. Parties are running very high in Massachusetts: Samuel Adams and his friends have at length come forward: the Delegates from that Government, who understand characters, are doubtful of a happy Issue. If Mass. should be so unwise and dishonest to reject the system, N. York and Virginia will not hesitate one moment to follow the example; and then farewell to a federal Government of the whole; the baneful, the fatal consequences not one of us can foresee in their extent.

I beg leave to trouble you with a small letter to Spruce Street. I intended to Philadelphia for a little; but as my cold is bad, and what is still worse my pay would cease when absent from the Seat of Congress. I believe dear Madam had better spend the long nights without a partner, than the short days without Soup.

Do me the kindness to present my best Regards to your lady.

On January 22, 1788 with the arrival of Jonathan Dayton from New Jersey the last United States in Congress Assembled government finally reached a quorum. Their first order of business was to choose the last President of the Unites States Confederation. The Delegates, wisely, sent an important message to the States still deliberating ratification of the newly proposed Constitution of 1787. They overwhelmingly selected a member who supported the ratification of the new Constitution, Cyrus Griffin. The Massachusetts Delegation wrote their Governor, John Hancock the following day:
Since we last did ourselves the honor to address Your Excellency nothing of importance has taken place until yesterday when the delegates from seven States being assembled, Congress proceeded to the choice of The Honble. Cyrus Griffin Esq. for their President. The States of Georgia, N Carolina, Connecticut & N Hampshire have each a member present, but are unrepresented.

New York will probably make their election this week, And R Island is without a Member in Congress. The arrival of a Minister, Count de Moustiers from the Court of France, is a fresh proof of the attention, which the United States have uniformly received, from an illustrious ally; And we are confident of Your Excellency's concurrence in the sincerest wishes, that whilst our Nation is respectable abroad, Nothing may take place that will diminish our importance at home.

We shall continue to detail to Your Excelly from time to time, such facts as may be that of consequence to be communicated.[15]

Secretary Thomson's letter to the States on the 23rd read:

I have the honor to inform your Excellency that on Monday last Seven states assembled, namely Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, and from New Hampshire Mr. Gilman, from Connecticut, Mr. Wadsworth, from North Carolina, Mr. White and from Georgia Mr. Baldwin. Yesterday Congress proceeded to the election of a President and made choice of His Excellency Cyrus Griffin[16]

The Election of Cyrus Griffin JOURNALS OF THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED containing the proceedings from the 5th day of November, 1787 to the 3rd day of November 1788, Volume XIII, Published by order of the United States in Congress Assembled, [Philadelphia] Printed by John Dunlap, 1788. copyright Klos Yavneh Academy Collection  

James Madison wrote George Washington, “A Congress of seven States was made up on Monday. Mr. C. Griffin has been placed in the chair. This is the only step yet taken.”[17] This election, however, was an important measure for the federalists because President Cyrus Griffin was strong proponent for the constitution’s ratification.   Madison adds joyously in another letter, “the Newspapers will have proclaimed Mr. C. Griffin as President”[18] communicating matters of state, the constitution ratification prospects, and the features of the French Marchioness.[19]
From January 23rd to the 31st, Congress failed to achieve a quorum. On February 1st, with a quorum of representation, the new members were faced with reviewing a backlog of reports and letters that accumulated in the federal capital since early November. To the dismay of a plethora of citizens, diplomats and merchants Congress failed to achieve a quorum on the 6th and didn't reconvene for six consecutive days.  The financial state of the federal government remained dire and despite serving without salary, President Griffin’s only compensation, lodgings, food and staff, were going unpaid.

I need not enlarge upon the weak state of the Federal Government; Many circumstances contribute to debase its dignity. The Treasury of the USA being without supplies, their troops stationed to secure the frontiers, and the Civil list of Congress destitute of provision; And even the small pittance necessary for the subsistence of the Presidents household, even in the most eligible stile, of republican neatness & simplicity, only attainable from other inadequate appropriations; Are facts which evince the most degrading poverty in the federal Government.[20]
On February 11th the New York Daily Advertiser brought the welcome news to the USCA that Massachusetts had ratified the new US Constitution.  Madison wrote Washington:

I have at length the pleasure to inclose you the favorable result of the Convention at Boston. The amendments are a blemish, but are in the least Offensive form. The minority also is very disagreeably large, but the temper of it is some atonement. I am assured by Mr. King that the leaders of it as well as the members of it in general are in good humor; and will countenance no irregular opposition there or elsewhere. The Convention of N Hampshire is now sitting. There seems to be no question that the issue there will add a seventh pillar, as the phrase now is, to the federal Temple.[21]
On the 12th they resumed deliberations and gave the power to issue the backlog of ships papers to John Jay, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Also on February 12th, the USCA recalled John Adams with this letter to King George III.
 Great and Good Friend His Britannic Majesty. 

As the Time We had limited for the Duration of Mr Adams’s Residence in Quality of our Minister Plenipotentiary near your Majesty, will Shortly expire,  We have directed him, then to take Leave of your Majesty and to assure you of our Friendship and Sincere Desire to promote the most perfect Harmony and Confidence between the two Nations. Our Opinion of Mr Adams persuades Us that he will do this in the manner most expressive of these Sentiments, and of the Respect and Sincerity with they are offered. We pray God to keep your Majesty under his holy Protection.
Written at the City of New York the 12th Day of February in the Year of our Lord 1788, by your Majestys good Friends the United States of America in Congress Assembled

Cyrus Griffin. President
John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs

The USCA met again on February 14th and agreed that the French “count de Moustier be received as Minister plenipotentiary from his most Christian Majesty and that agreeably to his request he be admitted to a public Audience on Tuesday the 26 of the present Month in the room where Congress assembles.”[22] The Minister was seeking, among other things, repayment of United States’ loans to France that were in default. The Minister was very frustrated over the unpaid debts and the USCA quorum challenges delaying his reception.   This was duly communicated by Moustier to the newspapers. Also of note, the minister had established residence in the home of Thomas Fitzsimmons with Anne Flore Millet, the marquise de Bréhan and her son.   Millet was the sister of the Minister’s dead wife Antoinette-Louise.  Millet was married to Marquis de Bréhan, a man twenty years her senior and known for his philandering.  Millet residence with her brother-in-law eventually caused a scandal in New York.   On the 26th of February a USCA quorum was present and the Minister was received on the floor of Congress.  President Griffin made this response to the Minister’s address:

It will always give us pleasure to acknowledge the friendship and important good offices which we have experienced from his Most Christian Majesty and Your generous Nation; and we flatter ourselves that the same principles of magnanimity and regard to mutual convenience which dictated the connections between us, will continue to operate, and to render them still more extensive in their benefits to the two Countries.  We consider the Alliance as involving engagements highly interesting to both parties, and we are persuaded that they will be observed with entire and mutual good faith.

We are happy in being so explicitly assured of the continuance of his Majesty's friendship and attachment; and in this opportunity of expressing the high sense we entertain of their sincerity and value. It is with real satisfaction Sir, that we receive You as his Minister Plenipotentiary, especially as Your Character gives us reason to expect that the harmony and Interest of both Nations will not be less promoted by Your talents, candor and liberality, than they were by those which distinguished Your Predecessor, and recommended him to our Esteem and regard.[23]
Griffin would later write to James Madison “that the French Minister confines himself at home too much; I am sorry he does not mix more with the Inhabitants.”[24]
Cyrus Griffin Exhibit at 2008 Republican National Convention's CivicFest - copyright Klos Yavneh Academy Collection  

On February the 28th Griffin's Congress received the treasury report on the foreign debt and on the 29th they elected paid Chaplains for the USCA and its governmental departments. On that same day they appointed Richard Winn a Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern Department and deliberated until March 4th on whether or not to allow Kentucky into the Confederation. On March 6th President Griffin and his Congress deliberated the fate of French settlers’ claims in the Northwest Territory in what would become the State of Illinois.  Congress also took up the matter of surveying more of the western lands the following day to fulfill their obligations to obtain already agreed installments on over a million acres of sold land.  They also received a report on which lands should be set aside for military purposes.  

The rest of March was spent debating amendments to the land ordinance of the Northwest Territory.  As winter blossomed into spring a quorum failed to materialize from March 31st until May 2nd.   On March 24 Cyrus Griffin wrote to James Madison:

We are still going forward in the same tract of Seven states, of course not a great deal can be done, and indeed not a great deal to do. A prospect of the new Constitution seems to deaden the activity of the human mind as to all other matters; and yet I greatly fear that constitution may never take place; a melancholy Judgment most certainly; and would to heaven that nothing under the Sun shall be more erroneous!

The adjournment of N. Hampshire, the small majority of Massachusetts, a certainty of rejection in Rhode Island, the formidable opposition in the state of New York, the convulsions and Committee meetings in Pennsylvania, and above all the antipathy of Virginia to the system, operating together, I am apprehensive will prevent the noble fabric from being enacted. The constitution is beautiful in Theory; I wish the experiment to be made; in my opinion it would be found a government of sufficient energy only.[25]

On April 6th, William Short United States Minister Resident at The Hague,  upon receiving news of Griffin's election to the Presidency, wrote Thomas Jefferson: "Cyrus Griffin is President of Congress! Hamilton, a member from N. York. Some think this a favorable symptom in so antifederal a State, as he is a federal man. Genl. Washington writes to the Marquis de la f. that there no longer remains any doubt of the constitution being accepted by at least nine States."

In an April letter, Griffin, "the federal man," provided this account of news from oversees and on the ratification of the constitution to Samuel Johnson. 
Dear Sir New York. April. 14th. 1788. -- The Congratulations of so kind a friend I receive with the utmost pleasure. -- Accept my thankfull acknowledgements for your Excellencies very Obliging Letter and very polite Attention. -- By the last Vessels from Europe we are told that the Netherlands are Still in Great Confusion---;that Russia is Carrying on the war against the Turks with uncommon Vigour, and perhaps will be powerfully assisted by the Emperor---;that in all probability the horrid flame may be extended much further---;and that in truth the Peace between France & England will not continue any considerable time. -- This being the Appearance of things abroad, I hope the United States at home will adopt a Constitution beautiful in theory and which will be found a Government of Safety, and of Energy. -- I have the honour to be Dear Sir, with profound Esteem & regard, Your Excellencys most Obedient servant, Cyrus Griffin
Griffin then writes James Madison on crates that have arrived for him from Europe.  He then congratulates Madison on his election to the Virginia Convention adding a succinct opinion of his colleagues that will attend the ratification assembly. 

We all rejoice greatly at your election; indeed, my dear sir, we consider you as the main pillar of the business on the right side; but from the elections hitherto sent to us there is certainly a majority against the system, but the western members will preponderate the scale. In point of virtues and real abilities the federal members are much superior. Henry is weighty and powerful but too interested; Mason too passionate; the Governor by nature timid and undecided; and Grayson too blustering.[26]

With the USCA still dissembled and the weather improving, President Griffin makes plans for his family writing to Thomas Fitzsimons on April 14th. 
 My dear Sir,  At present I discover no probability that Congress will adjourn to Philadel; the southren states not being fully represented---;and as my family, when seperate from me are very expensive, money difficult to be gotten, and their situation in a boarding house not the most agreeable, I think they had better conclude and come to this place, to set out about the last day of April in order to reach N. York, on the first Friday or Saturday in May. The horses will remain in Bristol, fed upon grain &c untill about the 28th but I wished to know if any Gentleman was coming this way and would take charge of the family some distance upon the road. I fear Mr. Obrien cannot wait so long; and whether decent postilions could be hired for the Journey. As to the woman I shall write lady C.(1) The chariot would be too much crouded & she not wanting upon the Journey. -- But, my dear sir, how does the money hold forth---;and if not, can you negotiate a Bill upon me. -- Be so kind to answer this letter and I will trouble you upon the subject with only one more letter. -- By the last vessels from Europe we are told that the Netherlands are still in great confusion; that Russia is carrying on the war against the Turks with uncommon vigor, and perhaps will be powerfully assisted by the Emperor---;that in all probability the horrid flame may be extended much farther; and that in Truth the peace between France and England will not continue any considerable length of time; and say our ministers the conduct of the united states should be a system of neutrality. -- Be so good to send the enclosed letter; and with my affect respects to your kind lady believe me with the utmost sincerity & regard Your most obedient servant, C Griffin
On April 27th he writes again to Fitzsimons: 

I now send a Boy under your friendly direction as one postilion to drive my family to this place; another I must beg to be hired in Philadelphia. The President's Coach was demolished before I came to the house or I would send it. and the Chariot is still less than my own, and indeed cannot be spared at present.[27]

At the end of April the news of Maryland’s April 28, 1788 ratification of the new U.S. Constitution reached the USCA. Griffin writes Madison:

Maryland has acceded to the proposed Constitution by a great majority. Chase, Paca, Martin, and Mercer oppossed it with their utmost vigor and abilities, but with decency. South Carolina will adopt the system very soon. The opposition in Virginia is much to be lamented and in New York also; however from the present appearance of things I rather incline to believe that in the course of 12 months we shall have the Government in operation; yet I am not so sanguine as Hamilton or Gen. Knox.[28]

During this hiatus, war was raging once again in Europe this time between the Turks and the Austrians along with rebellions in the Netherlands. Catherine the Great of Russia was joining into the struggle against the Turks and President Griffin's office was the clearinghouse for all the diplomatic reports on the conflict and requests for aid. The USCA reconvened on May the 2nd and was swamped with ten communications from Foreign Secretary John Jay and three import reports from the Secretary of War. The business of the USCA remained tenuous as the ratification process was the focus of the nation’s attention. On May 8th, still struggling with representatives that came and went as they pleased, Griffin wrote to the States:

I do myself the honor of transmitting to your Excellency a Resolution of Congress upon the subject of the Delegation. Most ardently do I wish and request that the Gentlemen from your State would attend upon the national business, and particularly at this interesting period.[29]

The USCA on the same date elected Jonathan Burrall and Benjamin Walker commissioners for settling the accounts of the five wartime departments and adjourned until the 20th knowing quorum setting representation would not be forthcoming until the States acted on the President’s letter.  Griffin wrote a letter updating Madison on Foreign correspondence and that the Marchioness

… received your Comments with great pleasure; she & the Count most cordially return them.  the  noting that The lady has procured a negro Girl, and only wants a Boy in order that they may breed to use her own language.[30]

Despite the poor representation, May was a positive month as Griffin received reports that South Carolina was expected to announce ratification and it was number eight of the required nine needed to ratify the new U.S. Constitution. 

The President and his Lady were mentioned in Abigail Adams Smith's letter to her mother, Abigail Adams ,on May 18, 1788:
Congress are sitting; but one hears little more of them, than if they were inhabitants of the new discovered planet.12 The President is said to be a worthy man; his lady is a Scotch woman, with the title of Lady Christina Griffin; she is out of health, but appears to be a friendly disposed woman; we are engaged to dine there next Tuesday; Mr. Franks is first aid-de-camp
Also on May 18th, Cyrus Griffin wrote James Madison this letter discussing Mr. Adams departure from England and the Kings wishes, as well as his jesters wishes for the United States:

My dear Sir,
I am honored with your two letters of May 1. & 3.  Paradise was embarked—and carried to mr Jefferson the debates you mention, and other publications worth attention. I had all the boxes and packages brought to my house, have paid the freight and bonded the duties—they shall be distributed as you direct. some of the acorns, Sulla, and pease are deposited in my little garden. The box containing the greater part are gone forward to colonel Lewis. 

The piece of Information I have communicated to the delegates of South-Carolina as you desired. -- I will purchase the mass. debates and send them in good time to meet you at Richmond. 

We have heared lately from Mr. Adams —he is greatly mortified at taking leave without the letters customary upon that occasion—and still more distressed that Mr Smith is not continued at the Court of London in some capacity or other. He seems to think that the war will be general, but has given no reasons for that opinion.  At the parting scene he was told by the King [“]that he wished always to cultivate a good understanding with the united states, and would amply comply with the Treaty whenever America manifested the same disposition.” That the Courtiers jest very much upon our debelitated situation, but all seem to think that the new Constitution if adopted will place this Country upon a respectable foundation—and untill that period arrives they can have no permanent Intercourse with us. Accept the papers.
On May 20th Congress enacted regular mail service to Pittsburgh, the gateway to the Northwest Territory with this resolution:

That the postmaster general be and he is hereby directed to employ posts for the regular transportation of the mail between the city of Philadelphia and the town of Pittsburg in the state of Pennsylvania by the rout of Lancaster, York town, Carlisle, Chamberstown and Bedford and that the mail be dispatched once in each fortnight from the post Offices respectively.[31]

Due to quorum considerations, they adjourned until the 26th.  President Griffin, the following day, wrote Madison on his request to acquire the Massachusetts Constitution Convention debates and have it delivered to Richmond:

I will purchase the Massachusetts debates and send them in good time to meet you at Richmond. We have heard lately from Mr. Adams; he is greatly mortified at taking leave without the letters customary upon that occasion; and still more distressed that Mr. Smith is not continued at the Court of London in some capacity or other. He seems to think that the war will be general, but has given no reasons for that opinion. At the parting scene he was told by the King George III that "he wished always to cultivate a good understanding with the United States, and would amply comply with the Treaty whenever America manifested the same disposition." That the Courtiers jest very much upon our debilitated situation, but all seem to think that the new Constitution if adopted will place this Country upon a respectable foundation; and until that period arrives they can have no permanent Intercourse with us.[32]

On the same day Griffin also writes Fitzsimons:

I have the pleasure to write you a few lines to inform the kind family that lady Christina and the children are in good health; to make enquiry about yourself and our amiable friend Mrs. Fitzsimons and also in the name of us all to make our sincere acknowledgements for the many favors received. I hope that Mr. O’Conner was safely landed in the City; we are greatly obliged to him for the care and attention he showed to my helpless family. Being indebted to you also in the money way I beg to know the amount that such balance may be discharged with many thanks. Messrs. Jefferson and Adams have been able to borrow for the United States another million of florins in Holland, upon the prospect of the new Constitution being established, but as Congress have not yet ratified the Contract it may remain with You. Mr. Jefferson seems to think that the War in Europe will be general; but no positive Judgment can be drawn from such a Chaos of politics as that part of the world now exhibits. The British Courtiers are ridiculing our situation very much; and tell Mr. Adams in a sneering manner when America shall assume some kind of Government then England will speak to her.[33]

The USCA awaited news on South Carolina’s ratifying convention and on the 29th Delegate Nicholas Gilman[34] wrote: 

I have the pleasure to inform you that letters were received last evening from a gentleman in the Convention of South Carolina by which it appears there is a very respectable Majority in favor of the new System. An account of the ratification is hourly expected. And there is good reason to believe that the majority will be greater than appeared against the adjournment (vide the enclosed paper) as many of the minority came fettered with instructions, repugnant to their present sentiments.[35]

Delegate John Armstrong, Jr.[36] wrote Horatio Gates about good news, and included an interesting paragraph about the French Minister, the Marquise de Bréhan and France:

We have a French Minister now with us; & if France had wished to destroy the little remembrance that is left of her & her exertions; she would have sent just such a minister; distant, haughty & penurious; & entirely governed by the caprice of a little, singular, whimsical, hysterical old woman whose delight is in playing with a Negro child and caressing a monkey. I wish to God we had paid our debts to our good ally & were well rid of her; for there's some danger in remaining the connection of a power whose character I must just suggest my reason for it. For this so treasonable that I might else again be suspected of being a British Emissary.

On May 30th the USCA took up the matter of allowing Kentucky to separate from Virginia and enter the confederation as an independent state.  The Virginia Assembly passed a second enabling resolution stipulating that the Kentucky convention could vote on separation but once detached, Kentucky must immediately join the Confederation of the United States. The act also suggested that Kentucky assume her share of Virginia's war debt, a pro-vision that westerners opposed.  The Virginia assembly also appointed delegate John Brown to plead Kentucky's case to the USCA Congress. Brown was a former delegate to the Danville convention and Virginia State Senator from the Kentucky region. John Brown had until July 4, 1788, as stated in the Virginia enabling act, to persuade the USCA to admit Kentucky as a state. 

John Brown had arrived in New York in January and managed to get the resolution before the USCA on February 28th. They had taken no action and Brown believed the it was due to northeastern delegate fears "of the growing importance of the western country" and therefore unwilling " to add a vote to the southern interest."[37]  It was now the end of May and the debate on Kentucky statehood resumed consuming the USCA deliberations until June third when a grand committee was appointed:

Congress took into consideration the report made yesterday from the Committee of the whole and on the question.

“That in their opinion it is expedient that the district of Kentucky be erected into an independent state and therefore they submit the following resolution, That the address and resolutions from the district of Kentucky with the acts of the legislature of Virginia therein specified be referred to a committee consisting of a member from each state, to prepare and report an act for acceding to the independence of the said district of Kentucky and for receiving the same into the Union as a member thereof, in a mode conformable to the Articles of Confederation.”[38]

Resolved That Congress agree to the said report. Congress thereupon proceeded to the election and the ballots being taken the following members were elected and appointed to compose the Committee.[39]

The vote on Kentucky Statehood was delayed because the USCA was expecting news later that month on the ninth state ratification of the new constitution.  If approved, the new constitution required the dissolution of the USCA and therefore precluding the possibility of this lame duck entity admitting Kentucky into the Union.

On June 4th, 1788, President Griffin received this letter from John Jay requesting leave from his duties as Foreign Secretary:


The City and County of New York have elected me one of their Deputies to the State Convention, which is to meet on the 17th. instant at Poughkeepsie to consider and decide on the proposed fœderal Constitution. 

If it be agreeable to Congress I will attend, if not I will decline the Appointment. Permit me therefore to request their Directions on the Subject. 

I have the Honor to be with great Respect & Esteem Your Excellency’s Most obt. and hble: Servt. 

John Jay

Leave was granted by Congress on June 7th and Delegate John Jay provided the pivotal role in assuring New York's ratification of the new U.S. Constitution. 

On June 22nd the delegates received word of New Hampshire’s ratification of the new constitution.  A copy of John Langdon’s[40] letter was hurriedly rushed south to USCA Delegate James Madison who was attending the Virginia ratification convention:

By the desire of our mutual friend, Rufus King, Esq, I have the great pleasure and satisfaction of informing you that this State has this day adopted the federal constitution this all important Question was carried by a majority of Eleven - 57 yeas and 46 nays.  Excuse hast and believe me with the greatest respect.[41]

In Virginia, word came back to the USCA that the matter of rights to the Mississippi raised the ratification debate to a boiling point in Virginia because key members maintained the new constitution would empower the northern states to establish a Jay-Gardoqui Treaty with Spain. William Grayson retorted at the Virginia’s ratification proceedings:

I look upon this as a contest for empire. Our country [Virginia] is equally affected with Kentucky. The Southern States are deeply interested in this subject. If the Mississippi be shut up, emigration will be stopped entirely. There will be no new states formed on the western waters. . . . This contest of the Mississippi involves this great national contest; that is, whether one part of the continent shall govern the other. The Northern States have the majority, and will endeavor to retain it.

James Madison, who was a strong proponent to James Monroe’s 1786 opposition of the Jay-Gardoqui Treaty, was able to shelf the measure. Instead Madison, with the help of Convention President Edmund Pendleton and Chair of the Rules Committee George Wythe, focused on drafting a bill of rights that Virginia would recommend to the new Congress thus satisfying just enough members of the opposition to garnish an 89 to 79 ratifying vote.

Cyrus Griffin autograph  invitation "The President of Congress presents his compliments to Mr. Greenleaf and begs the pleasure of his company to a family dinner tomorrow about  o'clock, Saturday."   James Greenleaf, who recently married Dutch Baroness Antonia Scholten van Aschat, was the junior partner in an Import business named Watson and Greenleaf with offices in Philadelphia and New York City.-- copyright Klos Yavneh Academy Collection  

On June 25th, 1788 an important June 21 dispatch letter from John Langdon to Alexander Hamilton informing him that the New Hampshire ratifying convention had just adopted the Constitution by a vote of 57 to 46. On the verso was a June 24 letter of transmittal from Philip Schuyler to Madison written on Hamilton's behalf and forwarded by stage.  The Virginia delegation sent this dipatch to James Madison with this cover letter:
Dr Sir, ½ after 12. June 25. 1788 -- The Inclosed this moment came to hand(1); contemplating the critical State of the subject it concerns in Virginia we thought it best to dispatch it by express, rather than depend on the progress of the post. We have the Honor to be Sir, Yr. Most Obt Servts. Ed. Carrington -- J. Brown -- C Griffin 

On July 2,[42] 1788 the USCA received official word of New Hampshire’s ratification and passed the following resolution that established a committee to for putting the new “constitution into operation.”

 The State of New Hampshire having ratified the constitution transmitted to them by the Act of the 28 of September last and transmitted to Congress their ratification and the same being read, the president reminded Congress that this was the ninth ratification transmitted and laid before them.  Ordered, that the ratifications of the constitution of the United States transmitted to Congress be referred to a committee to examine the same and report an Act to Congress for putting the said constitution into operation in pursuance of the resolutions of the late federal Convention.[43]

Correspondingly, on July 2nd Governor Randolph’s June 28th letter arrived in President Griffin’s office notifying the USCA that Virginia, the tenth State, had ratified the constitution.  The USCA held no official celebrations for the birth of the new republic because New York was in the midst of their ratifying convention and Governor George Clinton was leading the opposition. USCA Delegate Abraham Yates wrote his Governor this cryptic message on July 2 upon receiving news of the New Hampshire’s ratification:

A description of the reception of the News of New Hampshire you have had in my former which I directed to Mr. D Witt as I supposed that letters between us would be liable to at least observations if not to other abuse. L Hommedieu last Monday mentioned that he had from a Strong federal (Dr. Tillotson) that the antes went upon a supposition that Virginia and NH both would Adopt: and that they were Determined that they would not adopt without Previous Amendments. The federalists notwithstanding had hopes that the News from New Hampshire would have struck a damp on the Spirits if not thrown the majority on the federal side [The NY ratifying convention was meeting in Poughkeepsie]; but Mr. Euger (the Member from South Carolina) informs that he was at Poughkeepsie when the news arrived and that it made no impression on the convention at all; so that they recur to their old hopes to get the members divided or to an adjournment. They seem to be confident that the antes will not agree among themselves. Colonel Lewis told me that he knew of two principal members that were of opinion that they by the Resolution of the Legislator of last February had no other powers but to Adopt or Reject. I tell him the federal Gentlemen had the Most Extraordinary Talents of Swallowing Camels themselves and recommending others to stick at nats.[44]

Cyrus Griffin Military Commission executed as President of the United States in Congress Assembled appointing Asa Hartshorn to the rank of Ensign in the newly formed United States Army on October 11, 1787. The commission is also signed by the nation's first Secretary of War, Henry Knox. This document currently owned by Rick Badwey of Museum Framing.  

On July 3rd the USCA took up the matter of Kentucky and the Delegates denied its Statehood with this resolution:

Resolved that a copy of the proceedings of Congress relative to the independency of the district of Kentucky be transmitted to the legislature of Virginia and that the said legislature be informed that as the constitution of the United States is now ratified Congress think it unadviseable to adopt any further measures for admitting the district of Kentucky into the federal Union as an independent member thereof under the articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, but that Congress thinking it expedient that the said district be made a separate state and member of the Union as soon after proceedings shall commence under the said constitution as circumstances shall permit recommend it to the said legislature and to the inhabitants of the said district so to alter their Acts and resolutions relative to the premises, as to render them conformable to the provisions made in the said constitution to the end that no impediment may be in the way of the speedy accomplishment of this important business.[45]

Cyrus Griffin and his Congress celebrated the 4th of July with this ratification of the Fourth Dutch Loan:
United States in Congress Assembled, 
Ratification of the Fourth Dutch Loan
Be it remembered that the within Contract or Engagement, entered into by the Honorable John Adams Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to their High Mightinesses the Lords the States General of the United Netherlands, in Behalf of the said States, with sundry Money Lenders, for a Loan of one Million of Guilders dutch current Money, dated at Amsterdam the thirteenth Day of March one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight, hath been read in Congress, approved and ratified, and declared obligatory on the United States of America. 

Done in the City Hall in the City of New York by the United States in Congress assembled this fourth Day of July in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight, and in the thirteenth Year of our Sovereignty and Independence.

Cha Thomson, Secretary
Cyrus Griffin, President
On July 14th, the USCA entered Virginia’s ratification into the records.  On July 25th the USCA convened and ordered the deployment of troops to pacify Luzerne County, Pa with this resolution:

That the Secretary at War direct the detachment of troops marching to the westward to rendezvous at Easton in Pennsylvania and from thence march into the county of Luzerne for quelling the disturbances in that county provided the executive council of Pennsylvania shall find the assistance of those troops necessary, provided also that the said troops shall not be delayed in the march to the Ohio more than two weeks.[46]

On July 28th, with the news trickling in of New York ratification the Constitution.  Following Massachusetts and Virginia's leads, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and their Federalist minority were able to obtain affirmation by linking the N.Y. ratification to a bill of rights:

The Convention having met, the bill of rights, and form of the ratification of the Constitution, with the amendments, were read, when the question being put, whether the same should pass, as agreed to and ratified by the Convention, it was carried in the affirmative.[47]

The USCA, with eleven States approving ratification, began its debate on the committee’s report on implementing the new constitution:

That the first Wednesday in January next be the day for appointing electors in the several States which have or shall before the said day have ratified the said constitution; that the first Wednesday in February next be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective states and vote for a president and that the first Wednesday in March next be the time and the place for commencing proceedings under the said constitution.[48]

The matters were tabled with the exception of the USCA rejecting a resolution to establish the federal capital in Philadelphia for the new constitutional government.  James Madison writes Virginia Governor Randolph of these matters and Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence from France on the new constitution.

I find that he [Thomas Jefferson] is becoming more & more a friend to the new Constitution, his objections being gradually dispelled by his own further reflections on the subject. He particularly renounces his opinion concerning the expediency of ratification by nine and a refusal by four States, considering the mode pursued by Massachusetts as the only rational one, but disapproving some of the alterations recommended by that State. He will see still more room for disapprobation in the recommendations of other States. The defects of the Constitution which he continues to criticize are the omission of a bill of rights, and of the principle of rotation at least in the Ex. Department.

Congress have been some days on the question where the first meeting of the New Congress shall be placed. Philadelphia failed by a single voice from Delaware which ultimately aimed at that place, but wished to bring Wilmington into view. In that vote New Hampshire & Connecticut both concurred. New York is now in nomination and if those States accede which I think probable, and Rhode Island which has as yet refused to sit in the Question can be prevailed on to vote which I also think probable, the point will be carried. In this event a great handle I fear will be given to those who have opposed the new Govt. on account of the Eastern preponderancy in the federal system. [P.S.] I enclose a copy of the ratification of N. York. What think you of some of the expository articles?[49]

The news of North Carolina’s ratification convention convening on July 21 and adjourning on August 4th began to trickle into the USCA.  The North Carolina convention had drafted a "Declaration of Rights" and a list of "Amendments to the Constitution," but voted "neither to ratify nor reject the Constitution proposed for the government of the United States."  James Madison still advocated the new federal system writing his father:

We just learn the fate of the Constitution in N. Carolina. Rho. Island is however her only associate in the opposition and it will be hard indeed if those two States should endanger a system which has been ratified by the eleven others. Congress has not yet finally settled the arrangements for putting the new Government in operation. The place for its first meeting creates the difficulty. The Eastern States with N. York contend for this City. Most of the other States insist on a more central position.[50]

All throughout August and into September the USCA debated the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution.  The major roadblock to adopting a plan for the dissolution of the confederation and implementation of the new tripartite government was its capital’s location. 

Congress have not yet decided on the arrangements for inaugurating the new Government. The place of its first meeting continues to divide the Northern & Southern members, though with a few exceptions to this general description of the parties. The departure of Rhode Island, and the refusal of North Carolina in consequence of the late event there to vote in the question, threatens a disagreeable issue to the business, there being now an apparent impossibility of obtaining seven States for any one place. The three Eastern States & New York, reinforced by South Carolina, and as yet by New Jersey, give a plurality of votes in favor of this City [New York]. The advocates for a more central position however though less numerous, seemed very determined not to yield to what they call a shameful partiality to one extremity of the Continent.[51]

On September 8, 1788 the report of a committee consisting of Mr. Nathaniel Dane, Mr. James Madison, Mr. Abraham Clarke, Mr. William Irvine and Mr. Egbert Benson to investigate certain intrusions on the Cherokees’ hunting grounds was brought before the USCA. After much debate, the USCA enacted the following resolutions in the form of a Presidential Proclamation honor the 1785 treaty with the Cherokees. The resolutions afford the Cherokees military protection against trespassers, foreign or domestic.

Resolved that the Secretary at War be, and he is hereby directed to have a sufficient number of the troops in the service of the United States in readiness to march from the Ohio, to the protection of the Cherokees, whenever Congress shall direct the same, and that he take measures for obtaining information of the best routes for troops to march from the Ohio to Chota, and for dispersing among all the white Inhabitants settled upon or in the vicinity of the hunting grounds secured to the Cherokees by the treaty concluded between them and the United States Nov. 28th, 1785 the proclamation of Congress of this date.

Resolved, that copies of the said proclamation and of these resolutions be transmitted to the Executives of Virginia and North Carolina, and that the said States be and they are hereby requested to use their influence that the said proclamation may have its intended effect to restore peace and harmony between the citizens of the United States and the Cherokees, and to prevent any further invasions of their respective rights and possessions and in case Congress shall find it necessary to order troops to the Cherokee towns to enforce a due observance of the said treaty, that the said States be and they are hereby requested to cooperate with the said troops for enforcing such observance of that treaty.

Resolved, that the papers which have been transmitted to Congress concerning certain hostilities alleged to have been committed by John Sevier and others on the Cherokee Indians at Chota, be referred to the Executive of North Carolina, and that the said Executive be and they hereby are earnestly requested to cause enquiry to be made into the said hostilities, and to take measures for having the perpetrators thereof, apprehended and punished.[52]

On September 13th the Delegates “finally passed, without a dissentient voice or the least apparent animosity,” a federal capital location and the USCA enacted this enabling resolution: 

… whereas the constitution so reported by the Convention and by Congress transmitted to the several legislatures has been ratified in the manner therein declared to be sufficient for the establishment of the same and such ratifications duly authenticated have been received by Congress and are filed in the Office of the Secretary therefore Resolved That the first Wednesday in January next be the day for appointing Electors in the several states, which before the said day shall have ratified the said constitution; that the first Wednesday in February next be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective states and vote for a president; and that the first Wednesday in March next be the time and the present seat of Congress the place for commencing proceedings under the said constitution.[53]

Virginia delegate Henry Lee delivered the news on the 13th to George Washington noting that the capital would remain in New York and added this paragraph on the new U.S. Presidency:

It would certainly be unpleasant to you & obnoxious to all who feel for your just fame, to see you at the head of a tumbling system. It is a sacrifice on your part, unjustifiable in any point of view. But on the other hand no alternative seems to be present. Without you the govt. can have but little chance of success, & the people of that happiness, which its prosperity must yield.[54]

The USCA then turned to chronic problem of Algiers pirating U.S. ships then holding sailors and citizens’ for ransom. Foreign Secretary John Jay reported on yet another hostage situation that:

Mr. Jefferson has found it necessary in order to facilitate their Redemption, to let it be reported and believed at Algiers that Congress would not redeem them. That Intelligence has greatly added to their Distress; but it would not be expedient that they should at present be undeceived. Little supplies may however be conveyed in so indirect a Manner as not to be traced either by them or by the Algerines, and would tend greatly to the Comfort of these unhappy People.[55]

The USCA after hearing John Jay’s report resolved:

That out of the fund appropriated for the redemption of the American captives at Algiers or any other monies belonging to the United States in Europe, the Minister plenipotentiary of the United States at the Court of Versailles be and he is hereby authorized to make such provision for the maintenance and Comfortable subsistence of the American Captives at Algiers and to give such orders touching the same as shall to him appear right and proper.[56]

On September 16th the USCA address a committee’s report on a September 8th North Carolina resolution, whose convention had not ratified the new constitution. 

…Whereas many citizens of the United States who possess lands on the western waters, have expressed much uneasiness from a report that Congress are disposed to treat with Spain for the surrender of their claim to the navigation of the river Mississippi, in order therefore to quiet the minds of our fellow citizens by removing such ill-founded apprehensions resolved that the United States have a clear absolute and unalienable claim to the free navigation of the river Mississippi which claim is not only supported by the express stipulations of treaties but by the great law of nature …

The committee consisting of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison,  Hugh Williamson,  Nathan Dane and Pierpont Edwards after eight days of deliberations proposed the following resolutions:

Resolved that, the said report not being founded in fact, the delegates be at liberty to communicate all such circumstances as may be necessary to contradict the same and to remove misconceptions. Resolved that the free navigation of the river Mississippi is a clear and essential right of the United States and that the same ought to be considered and supported as such. Resolved that no further progress be made in the negotiations with Spain by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, but that the subject to which they relate be referred to the federal government which is to assemble in March next.[57]

Griffin's USCA was then unable to form a quorum until September 30th when it poured over treasury matters.  The following day the USCA convened and reviewed Silas Deane propose settlement of the Pierre Beaumarchais' covert arms accounts.  In 1776 Beaumarchais traveled to the United Colonies of America as a secret agent commissioned by French Foreign Minister Vergennes to ascertain how France could covertly help the revolutionaries. Beaumarchais, most notably, met with Virginia businessman Arthur Lee who recommended the covert military aid could be conducted under the guise of a loan. Despite objections from French Finance Minister Baron Turgot, Spain and France formed Roderique Horalez and Company, a fictitious business, to fund the Continental Army with firearms and munitions. The covert aid of weapons, munitions, clothes and provisions that was delivered in shiploads from Europe, by way of the Dutch West Indies, to the Northern Continental Army was never paid along with personal money that Beaumarchais loaned the Continental Congress.

Early in 1776, Silas Deane was commissioned by the Continental Congress as a secret agent to obtain the covert financial loans. With the help of Beauhemarchis, Deane arranged many shipments of ammunition and arms to support the Northern Continental Army that eventually defeated British General Burgoyne in New York.   Deane also recruited and contracted key allied officers including Marquis de Lafayette, Baron Johann de Kalb, Thomas Conway, Casmir Pulaski, and Baron von Steuben. So successful was Deane’s efforts that he became, along with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, a Continental Congress accredited commissioner to France.  Unfortunately, this great patriot was a careless when it came to bookkeeping of his expenses and receipts.  He also clashed with Arthur Lee, the brother of Richard Henry Lee, on issues regarding Beaumarchais firearms contracts. A major Lee contention was that the arms were a gift from France and not a loan. In turn, this meant that repayment of personal loans made by Beaumarchais and Deane to procure direly need arms for the Continental Army was the responsibility of France and not Congress.  This, along with Lee’s influence in the Continental Congress led to Deane’s recall and replacement with John Adams on November 21, 1777. 

Deane remained in France, however, until just after he signed the Franco-American treaties on February 6, 1778 that he helped to negotiate.   France was so pleased with Deane’s services that he returned to America aboard Admiral Charles Hector D’Estaing’s ship that also carried Conrad-Alexandre Gérard, the first French Ambassador to the United States.

In the United States Deane entered into a bitter and very public dispute with the Continental Congress over his receipts and expenditures.  France, who had the receipts of the covert arms transactions, refused to release the records.  The loans, receipts, and expenditures the Deane required were all issued well before the Franco-American treaties of February 6, 1778 and irrefutable testaments to King Louis XV and Spain’s covert military support the colonists with arms and munitions in 1776-77.   French official did not want to risk this evidence leaking from the Continental Congress into the newspapers.

In 1781, Congress finally permitted Deane to return to France and attempt to find copies of the receipts and the disputed records.  The French officials still denied his access.  Moreover, Deane’s private letters written to his brother of disgust with Congress, the revolution, and a suggested rapprochement with Great Britain were intercepted and published in the Royal Gazette in New York.  The letters publication was a great blow to Deane as summed up in this Benjamin Franklin letter to Foreign Secretary Robert R. Livingston:

There is no doubt of their being all genuine. His conversation since his return from America has, as I have been informed, gone gradually more and more into that style, and at length come to an open vindication of Arnold’s conduct; and within these few days he has sent me a letter of twenty full pages, recapitulating those letters, and threatening to write and publish an account of the treatment he has received from Congress, &c. He resides at Ghent, is distressed both in mind and circumstances, raves and writes abundance, and I imagine it will end in his going over to join his friend Arnold in England. I had an exceeding good opinion of him when he acted with me, and I believe he was then sincere and hearty in our cause; but he is changed, and his character ruined in his own country and in this, so that I see no other but England to which he can now retire. He says that we owe him about £12,000 sterling, and his great complaint is that we do not settle his accounts and pay him. Mr. Johnson having declined the service, I proposed engaging Mr. Searle to undertake it, but Mr. Deane objected to him as being his enemy. In my opinion, he was for that reason even fitter for the service of Mr. Deane, since accounts are of a mathematical nature, and cannot be changed by an enemy, while that enemy’s testimony that he had found them well supported by authentic vouchers would have weighed more than the same testimony from a friend.[58]

Deane was barred entry back into the United States but continued to maintain his innocence and patriotism. In late 1788, six years later, Deane made plans to return to the United States to clear his name, recoup his lost fortune by presenting his evidence the new Congress.  Beaumarchais, however, decided to present the 1781 Deane settlement before the old confederation congress for payment.  In one of the last acts before its dissolution, the USCA resolved:

Resolved That the settlement of the accounts of Mr. Caron de Beaumarchais said to have been made by Mr. Silas Deane at Paris in the month of April 1781 cannot be deemed binding on the United States the said Mr. Deane not being vested with any authority to make such settlement.[59]

On September 30th of 1788, the United States in Congress Assembled (USCA) also formed a committee  to determine where to move the seat of government during the renovations of the former New York City Hall building. The USCA, in an arrangement to keep the capitol in NYC, negotiated an agreement with Mayor James Duane and NY City Council to completely renovate the building they were currently occupying for the new Constitution of 1787 government. Architect and engineer Pierre L'Enfant was charged, earlier that month, to remodel the colonial city hall, which when completed would be known as Federal Hall.

On October 1st, USCA Massachusetts Delegate George Thatcher wrote his wife, Sarah:
I told you there was an addition going to be made to the Building Congress now sets in. Twenty or thirty people are daily to work upon this; and the house we now set in must, immediately be unroofed---; And Congress must of course adjourn to some other house for the present. There is none where they can be very well accommodated, And I should not wonder if an adjournment without day should take place. If this should be the case you may look for me some time in this month.    
The USCA Journals report on October 2, 1788:
The committee consisting of Mr [Thomas Tudor] Tucker, Mr [John] Parker, and Mr [Abraham] Clark to whom was referred a letter3 from the Mayor of the city of New York to the Delegates having reported, That it appears from the letter referred to them, that the repairs and alterations intended to be made in the buildings in which Congress at present Assemble, will render it highly inconvenient for them to continue business therein, that it will therefore be necessary to provide some other place for their accommodation, the committee having made enquiry find no place more proper for this purpose than the two Apartments now appropriated for the Office of foreign Affairs. They therefore recommend that the said Apartments be immediately prepared for the reception of Congress and the papers of the Secretary. Resolved, that Congress agree to the said report. .

On that same date, Massachusetts USCA Delegate George Thatcher wrote Nathan Dane, that:
The new Building is going on with spirit. Congress has this day adjourned till Monday, & then to meet in the rooms where Mr. Jay kept his office. This had become necessary, as the Old Hall and Court Room are to be new modled; And the workman made such a continual noise that it was impossible to hear one another speek. I should not wonder if by middle of next week Congress were to adjourn without day. Many are uneasy and are for going home.     

On Monday, October 6th, 1788, the USCA vacated the old colonial NY City Hall and six States assembled on the second floor offices of the Department of Foreign affairs.  The USCA Journals report: 
Six States assembled namely Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, and from New Hampshire Mr [Nicholas] Gilman from Rhode Island Mr [Peleg] Arnold, from New York Mr [Leonard] Gansevoort, from Delaware Mr [Dyre] Kearny, and from Maryland Mr [Benjamin] Contee."  
Failing to form the required seven states quorum, Congress adjourned. 

The location of this new seat of government was on Broadway at the Walter Livingston House, which had not only been leasing space to the Office of Foreign Affairs and Department of War, but other government offices as indicated by this excerpt from the Massachusetts Gazette dated May 16, 1788:

Massachusetts Gazette dated May 16, 1788: An arrangement of the several offices under Congress, which occupy that spacious and elegant building of the Honorable Walter Livingston, Esquire, in Broadway.  On the first floor is the War-Office.  Second Floor, the Office of Foreign Affairs.  Third floor, Burrel's Office, for settling the accounts of Commissary and Quartermaster Departments -- Walker's Office, for the accounts of Marine, Clothing and Hospital departments.  Fourth Floor, Treasurer's Office -- Farrel's office for adjusting the accounts of the State of New York and New Jersey.
On October 8th,  the USCA formed a quorum in their Broadway assembly room. On motion by Virginia Delegate Henry Lee that was seconded by John Armstrong Congress resolved:

That considering the peculiar circumstances attending the case of Muscoe Livingston, late a Lieutenant in the navy of the United States, in the settlement of his accounts, Resolved, that the Commissioner for the marine department adjust the said account, any resolution of Congress to the contrary notwithstanding.[63] 

The rest of the session was spent reviewing Governor Arthur St. Clair’s letter and five enclosures from the Northwest Territory. On the 9th they assembled as before and passed a resolution  permitting the Board of treasury to satisfy a lottery claim providing that the beneficiaries “do give security that no further Claim on account of said Prize Ticket shall be made upon the United States by the Heirs, Executors or Administrators of the said deceased, Gail, or either of them.”[64]

On October 10, 1788 Massachusetts, Connecticut New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina assembled as the USCA along with only one delegate under representation from New Hampshire, from Rhode Island Delaware and Maryland.   Only Georgia, as in the first Continental Congress, failed to send delegates.   The USCA in their last official act suspended the work of the commissioners that were appointed to settle the states' Continental accounts.   The USCA last motion, made by Abraham Clark and seconded by Hugh Williamson,

That the Secretary at War be and he hereby is directed to forbear issuing warrants for bounties of land to such of the officers of the late army who have neglected to account for monies by them received as pay masters of Regiments, or for recruiting or other public service, until such officers respectively shall have settled their accounts with the commissioner of army accounts, or others legally authorized to settle the same, and have paid the balances that may be found due from them, into the treasury of the United States, anything in the land ordinance passed the 9th . day of July 1788 to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Delegates tabled the measure and “the question was lost” and Eighth USCA adjourned. 

Article V of the Articles of Confederation called for a new congress each year on the first Monday of each November: 
V. For the most convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislatures of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the remainder of the year.
The Ninth USCA, however, was unable to form a quorum on November 3, 1788, to elect a new USCA President. 

Cyrus Griffin, John Brown, John Dawson, James Madison, and Mann Page were elected on October 31, 1788 as Delegates to the Ninth USCA from Virginia. Griffin wrote Governor Edmund Randolph in November:
Be so obliging to inform the House of Delegates that I shall continue in New York to execute the important Trust with which the general Assembly is pleased to honor me. I receive this further Mark of their Confidence with gratitude and pleasure & will endeavor to answer the expectations of my Country.[65]  
 On December 27th, 1788 the Virginia legislature elected Cyrus Griffin to the Virginia Council of State. The eleventh article of Virginia’s Form of Government provided for a Privy Council, or Council of State, of eight members to be chosen by the legislature. Every three years the two houses of the legislature, by joint ballot, removed two of the councilors and thereupon, by the same method, chose two persons in their stead.

The 9th Congress being unable to form a quorum all throughout November, December and January,   Cyrus Griffin remained in the office of USCA President despite being elected to the Virginia Council of State on December 27th, 1788.  

On January 21, 1789,  Griffin's one year term limit under the Articles of Confederation expired.  The USCA continued to try and form a quorum to elect a President as evidenced by Tench Coxe letter to James Madison on January 27th, 1789:

"I have been here about a Fortnight during which time we have not made a Congress. So. Carolina, Virga, Pennsa, N. Jersey, & Massachussets are represented. There is one Member from each of the States of Rhode Island, N. Carolina & Georgia, but none from New Hampshire, Connecticut, N. York, Delaware or Maryland. I very much wish we may make a house in a week or ten days, as I think the Appearance in Europe, & perhaps even here, of the old Congress being in full operation and tranquilly yielding the seats to the new would have a good effect. The misrepresentations in Europe have been extremely gross, and must have an unfavorable effect upon Emigration in the poorer ranks of life. Col. Wadsworth has been mentiond as President. I respect him much, but I wish to give appearance to the old System by a Character of rather more celebrity. Mr. Adams would meet my Judgment better than any member of the present house. The principal Objection is his Absence, which I fear will deprive him of his chance." 
A quorum never formed and so the USCA Presidency ended with Griffin on January 21, 1789. From January 22, 1789 until George Washington took office under the Constitution of 1787 on April 30th, 1789.  

On the evening of March 3, 1789, the demise of the Articles of Confederation government was marked by the firing of thirteen guns at sunset, honoring each of the 13 States from the Federal Fort opposite Bowling Green. 

A Watercolor of the New York City Hotel, Trinity Church, and Grace Church, which captures the former four story Walter Livingston House located at 95 Broadway.  This building, not Fraunces Tavern, was the last Seat of Government for the Articles of Confederation United States in Congress Assembled. - Hill, J. W. (John William) (1812-1879) , Watercolor, Broadway and Trinity Church, Circa: 1830, I. N. Phelps Stokes Collection of American Historical Prints. 
At daybreak on March 4th, 1789, the current United States constitutional government was ushered in by the firing of eleven canons, in honor of the eleven States that had ratified the Constitution of 1787. The States of Rhode Island and North Carolina were now severed from the American Union and the Articles of Confederation government was dissolved. 

In the expense accounts that he submitted to the Virginia treasurer, Cyrus Griffin claimed continuous delegate service from November 1, 1787, to March 4, 1789, plus twenty days for travelling.  Since the last USCA was never able to form a quorum, technically Cyrus Griffin held the Presidency for one year under the Articles of Confederation. He was elected on January 22, 1788, which means his Presidential office expired on January 21, 1789.  It is not known if continued to reside with his family in the President's House in 1789.

Cyrus Griffin Medallion - copyright Klos Yavneh Academy Collection  

The USCA Chronology of President Griffin is as follows :

January 21 Convenes seven states represented. January 22 Elects Cyrus Griffin president. January 23-31 Fails to achieve quorum

February 1 Reviews backlog of reports and letters. February 5 Receives report on Massachusetts-New York boundary survey. February 6-9 Fails to achieve quorum. February 12 Authorizes secretary for foreign affairs to issue sea letters. February 14 Sets date for reception of new French minister, comte de Moustier. February 19 Elects John Cleves Symmes judge of the Northwest territory. February 25 Debates appointment job superintendent of Indian affairs for the southern department. February 26 Holds audience for comte de Moustier. February 28 Receives treasury report on foreign debt. February 29 Appoints Samuel Provost and John Rodgers chaplains of Congress, and Richard Winn superintendent of Indian affairs for the southern department; debates Kentucky statehood motion.

March 4 Debates Kentucky statehood in committee of the whole. March 6 Receives reports on the claims of French settlers in the Illinois country and on the survey of western lands. March 10-11 Fails to achieve quorum. March 12 Receives report on military bounty lands. March 18 Receives communications on Indian affairs. March 19 Debates western land ordinance amendment. March 24-27 Debates western land ordinance amendment. March 31 Fails to achieve quorum.

April 1-30 Fails to achieve quorum.

May 1 Fails to achieve quorum. May 2 Receives treasury report on proposed new Dutch loan, three war office reports on Indian affairs, and ten communications from the secretary for foreign affairs. May 5 Receives reports on western land issues. May 8 Elects Jonathan Burrall and Benjamin Walker commissioners for settling the accounts of the five wartime departments. May 20 Authorizes fortnightly posts between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. May 21 Receives treasury report on coinage. May 22 Orders institution of suits to collect outstanding Continental accounts. May 26 Receives treasury report on western land contracts and war department report on settler violations of Cherokee treaty rights. May 27-29 Debates western land ordinance amendment. May 30 Debates Kentucky statehood in committee of the whole.

June 2 Receives committee of the whole report recommending Kentucky statehood. June 3 Elects grand committee on Kentucky statehood. June 5 Fails to achieve quorum. June 6 Authorizes survey of New York; Pennsylvania boundary preparatory to granting Pennsylvania greater access to Lake Erie. June 9 Directs treasury to submit 1788-89 fiscal estimates. June 12 Receives report on land reserve for French settlers in the Illinois country. June 13 Responds to French protest against Virginia's harboring a French pirate. June 17 Receives war office report on manpower and recruitment. June 18 Receives report opposing state inspection of the mails. June 19 Debates western land ordinance amendment. June 20 Elects Joseph Martin Continental agent to the Cherokees; authorizes negotiation of western land contract with George Morgan associates. June 24 Authorizes three-month extension of Continental claims. June 25 Abolishes office of inspector of Continental troops. June 27 Debates report on Georgia;Creek Indian affairs.

July 2 Debates western land ordinance amendment; receives notification of the ratification of the Constitution by the ninth state (New Hampshire); appoints committee "for putting the said constitution into operation." July 3 Postpones action on Kentucky statehood until proceedings shall commence under the new Constitution. July 7-8 Debates western land ordinance amendment. July 9 Refers fiscal estimates to committee; adopts "supplement" to western land ordinance. July 14 Debates report on implementing the Constitution. July 15 Rejects terms of Georgia's western land cession, but accepts responsibility for southwestern frontier defense. July 17 Directs resumption of western land surveys; rejects proposed Virginia western land reserve for military bounties. July 21 Receives report on Continental Army manpower needs. July 25 Orders deployment of Continental troops to pacify Luzerne County, Pa. July 28 Debates report on implementing the Constitution; rejects motion to establish capital at Philadelphia. July 30 Rejects motion to establish capital at New York.

August 1 Extends term of northern superintendent of Indian affairs. August 4 Extends term of southern superintendent of Indian affairs. August 5-6 Debates motions on the location of the capital. August 7 Debates status of delegates from states that have not ratified the Constitution. August 12 Plans mobilization of frontier militia against western Indians. August 13 Debates report on implementing the Constitution. August 20 Adopts 1788 requisition. August 26 Debates report on implementing the Constitution; seeks Spanish cooperation for apprehending fugitive slaves fleeing to Florida. August 28 Revises George Morgan associates western land contract. August 29 Confirms land titles of French settlers in the Illinois country. 

September 1 Condemns settler encroachments on Cherokee lands. September 2 Debates report on implementing the Constitution. September 3 Reserves Ohio lands of Christian Delaware Indians; rejects motion to establish capital at Annapolis. September 4 Debates report on implementing the Constitution; confirms land contract giving Pennsylvania large tract bordering Lake Erie. September 8 Receives John Jay report on negotiations with Spain concerning the Mississippi question. September 13 Adopts plan for implementing the Constitution. September 16 Recommends that states ban importation of felons; directs suspension of negotiations concerning the Mississippi question. September 18-24 Fails to achieve quorum. September 26-29 Fails to achieve quorum. September 30 Receives report on treasury department inquiry. 

October 1 Rejects Silas Deane settlement of Beaumarchais' accounts.
October 2 Receives report on war department inquiry. October 6-7 Fails to achieve quorum. October 8 Receives communications on Indian relations in the western territory. October 10 Suspends the work of the commissioners appointed to settle the states' Continental accounts; adjourns what proves to be its final session under the Articles of Confederation. October 13-16 Fails to achieve quorum. October 21

November 1 Fails to achieve quorum. November 3 Assembles for the new federal year; only two delegates attending. November 15- 1789 March 2 Secretary Charles Thomson records occasional attendance of 17 additional delegates.

July 25, 1789 Secretary Thomson delivers papers and records of the Confederation to new federal government.

The Constitution was finally implemented and President Griffin helped ease the nation into this new form of government as evidenced by this March 9th, 1789 letter to Beverley Randolph:

I am honored by your Excellency's letter of the 13th of February only this morning. I did not understand that any person was appointed to come forward with the accounts of the State against the United States, or most certainly myself would not have been mentioned. Colonel Davies is a man very proper to answer the purpose, and I think will be found extremely useful. The Board of Commissioners met on the 17th of January, and are now ready to act upon the business of their destination.

I am favored also with the Returns of nine of the Representatives of Virginia enclosed by your Excellency, which I shall deliver to Colonel White, the only member at present from that State. There are only eight Senators and 18 Representatives assembled; a very unfortunate thing.  Be so kind to accept the enclosed papers and to believe me with sincere respect and attachment.[66]  

In 1788-1789 President Griffin and Secretary Charles Thomson were relegated to conclude the Constitution of 1777’s business in a New York tavern as City Hall was being renovated for the new federal government forming under the Constitution of 1787. The Presidency began under the Articles of Association along with the Continental Congress in a Philadelphia tavern  in 1774, evolved and moved to eight different capital cities until its finally fading away in Fraunces Tavern in New York City where the Commander-in-Chief, George Washington also bade farewell to his troops just before his resignation in 1783.  Under the new Constitution of 1787 the United States government would never again convene in a tavern. In 1789 the era of the confederation of the founding ended where it began, in an 18th Century city tavern.

During this transition, President's Griffin’s social status as President of the United States in New York was second to none under the Articles of Confederation. His office, English education, and marriage to nobility solidified his standing as the pinnacle in confederation society among the nation's leaders. Lady Christina and Sarah Jay's, wife of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, state events held for both foreign and domestic dignitaries set the new republic's political hospital standard for future first ladies.   His last Presidential duty was acted out at the inauguration of President George Washington in the newly renovated Federal Hall. 
A project to remodel and enlarge the city hall began in October 1788. Reflecting the city's optimism that the government would decide to remain there permanently, officials renamed the greatly expanded structure "Federal Hall." As members of the First Congress arrived for the appointed convening date, March 4, 1789, workmen hastened to complete the job.
Most observers admired the remodeled structure, an early example of a new federal architectural style. One who did not was the Speaker of the House--Pennsylvania's Frederick Muhlenberg, who had begun quietly to lay plans for a move southward to Philadelphia.
Because the building was demolished in 1812, we must rely on sketchy contemporary accounts for a sense of how space was assigned. We know that the sixty-five-member House of Representatives met in the larger ground floor chamber, while the twenty-six-member Senate convened in smaller second-floor quarters. From its earliest days, the Senate thus came to be referred to as the "upper chamber."
The Senate chamber occupied a richly carpeted space, forty feet long and thirty feet wide. The chamber's most striking features were its high arched ceiling, tall windows curtained in crimson damask, fireplace mantels in handsomely polished marble, and a presiding officer's chair elevated three feet from the floor and placed under a crimson canopy. The ceiling was adorned with a sun surrounded by thirteen stars.
The chamber's elegance may have prompted the planners of George Washington's first inauguration to select it for his swearing-in ceremony. Washington took his oath on the chamber's outdoor balcony, with Secretary of the Senate Samuel Otis holding the Bible, and then returned inside to deliver a brief address to assembled members of Congress.  -- Meeting Places and Quarters from the US Senate Historian's office
The following Presidential installation Broadside published by the new federal government marks the beginning of the current US Presidency under the Constitution of 1787 and the demise of the Confederation government:

Broadside Announcing Ceremonial for Washington's Inauguration, 29 April 1789

THE Committees of both Houses of Congress, appointed to take order for conducting the ceremonial of the formal reception, &c. of the President of the United Stares, on Thursday next, have agreed to the following order thereon, viz.

That General Webb, Colonel Smith, Lieutenant-Colonel Fish, Lieut. Col. Franks, Major L'Enfant, Major Bleecker, and Mr. John R. Livingston, be requested to serve as Assistants on the occasion.

That a chair he placed in the Senate-Chamber for the President of the United States. That a chair be placed in the Senate-Chamber for the Vice-President, to the right of the President’s chair; and that the Senators take their seats on that side of the chamber on which the Vice-President’s chair shall be placed. That a chair be placed in the Senate-Chamber for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the left of the President’s chair—and that the Representatives take their seats on that side of the chamber on which the Speaker’s chair shall be placed.

That seats be provided in the Senate-Chamber sufficient to accommodate the late President of the United States in Congress Assembled [Cyrus Griffin of Virginia], the Governor of the Western territory [Arthur St Clair], the five persons being the heads of the three great departments [Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay, Secretary of War Henry Knox, Commissioners of the Treasury Arthur Lee, Walter Livingston, and Samuel Osgood], the Minister Plenipotentiary of France [Eleanor Francois Elie, Cpmte de Moustier], the Encargado de negocios of Spain [Don Diego de Gardoqui], the Chaplains of Congress [Bishop Samuel Provoost. Dr. William Liin], the persons in the suite of the President:42 and also to accommodate the following Public Officers of the State, viz. The Governor [George Clinton], the Lieutenant-Governor [Pierre Van Cortlandt], the Chancellor [Robert R. Livingston], the Chief Justice [Richard Morris], and other Judges of the Supreme Court [Robert Yates, Jon Sloss Hobart], and the Mayor of the city [James Duane]. That one of the Assistants wait on these gentlemen, and inform them that seats are provided for their accommodation, and also to signify to them that no precedence of seats is intended, and that no salutation is expected from them on their entrance into, or their departure from the Senate-Chamber.

That the members of both Houses assemble in their respective Chambers precisely at twelve o’clock, and that the Representatives preceded by the Speaker, and attended by their Clerk, and other Officers proceed to the Senate-Chamber, there to be received by the Vice-President and Senators rising.

That the Committees attend the President from his residence to the Senate-Chamber, and that he be there received by the Vice-President, the Senators and Representatives rising, and be by the Vice-President conducted to his chair.

That after the President shall be seated in his Chair and the Vice-President, Senators and Representatives shall be again seated, the Vice-President shall announce to the President that the members of both Houses will attend him to be present at his taking the Oath of Office required by the Constitution. To the end that the Oath of Office may be administered to the President in the most public manner, and that the greatest number of the people of the United States and without distinction, may be witnesses to the solemnity, that therefore the Oath be administered in the outer Gallery adjoining to the Senate Chamber.

That when the President shall proceed to the gallery to take the Oath, he be attended by the Vice-President, and be followed by the Chancellor of the State, and pass through the door on the right, and the Representatives, preceded by the Speaker, pass through the door on the left, and such of the persons who shall have been admitted into the Senate-Chamber, and may be desirous to go into the gallery, are then also to pass through the door on the right. That when the President shall have taken the Oath, and returned into the Senate-Chamber, attended by the Vice-President, and shall be seated in his chair, that the Senators and the Representatives also return into the Senate-Chamber, and that the Vice-President and they resume their respective seats.

Both Houses having resolved to accompany the President after he shall have taken the Oath, to St. Paul’s Chapel, to hear divine service, to be performed by the Chaplain of Congress, that the following order of procession be observed, viz. The door-keeper [Gifford Dalley] and messenger [‘Ihomas Claxton] of the House of Representatives. The Clerk of the House [John Beckley]. The Representatives. The Speaker. The President, with the Vice-President at his left hand. The Senators. The Secretary of the Senate [Samuel A. Otis]. The door-keeper [James Mathews] and messenger [Cornelius Maxwell] of the Senate.

That a Pew be reserved for the President—Vice-President—Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Committees; and that pews be also reserved sufficient for the reception of the Senators and Representatives.

That after divine service shall be performed, the President be received at the door of the Church, by the Committees, and by them attended in carriages to his residence.

That it be intrusted to the Assistants to take proper precautions for keeping the avenues to the Hall open, and that for that purpose, they wait on his Excellency the Governor of this State, and in the name of the Committees request his aid, by an order or recommendation to the Civil Officers, or militia of the city, to attend and serve on the occasion, as he shall judge most proper.

On July 10, 1789, Cyrus Griffin wrote George Washington this letter seeking a Presidential nomination to Diplomatic or Judicial service under the new Constitution:
Mr Cyrus Griffin, presiding Judge of the Court of appeals and late president of Congress, having devoted the greater part of his life to the study of Laws, and particularly the Law of Nations & the Interpretation of Treaties, from duty and Inclination takes the liberty to offer his farther Services to the union, either in the diplomatic line or as one of the Judges of the Supreme Court.

To recommend him upon this important business, he can appeal to certain resolutions of Congress, to his Colleagues in office, and to the Gentlemen of the Bar who attended the Continental Court of Admiralty; and whilst a Member and president of Congress he can with like propriety appeal to many Gentlemen who are now engaged in the federal Legislature, and even to those Citizens of N. York who had an opportunity of observing and understanding his public and private demeanor.

if better Characters should be unwilling to act, and since the underwritten has invariably pursued the destiny of the Confederation could he be so happy and experience the good fortune to be honored with the President’s nomination, he flatters himself that the advice and Consent of the Senate will not be wanting to his appointment.
Griffin evidently had second thoughts about the propriety of his application after sending George Washington this letter of application. He followed up on August 14 with a letter that “understanding it as the wish of the President that every Candidate for public business Should make known his pretensions, I took the freedom, Sir, the other week to offer my Slender Services to the general Government. . . . if I have done wrong in that proceeding it has followed from misinformation concerning the manner, and from an ardent desire to continue in the employment of the union, particularly as the Government is now Constituted” 

The number of reports from state officials and frontier settlers detailing Native American raids by war parties from southern tribes, particularly those encouraged by the Creek chief Alexander McGillivray, increased throughout the summer of 1789. Possibly before Washington received Griffin's letter, Benjamin Lincoln, Cyrus Griffin, and David Humphreys were chosen by the government as United States commissioners  with the aim of "establishing peace between the State of Georgia and the Creeks." 

Griffin accepted position even though it meant loosing his seat on the Virginia council as the result of “An act to disable certain officers under the continental government, from holding offices under the authority of this commonwealth,” passed by the Virginia legislature on 8 Dec. 1788, to prevent officeholders from serving in both state and federal establishments .  

On September 10, the commissioners arrived in Savannah, Georgia. Over the following three weeks, they had consultations with state leaders and Indian chieftains. They returned to New York on November 10, 1789. They informed Knox on November 17 and 20 that the Creek were unwilling to sign a treaty, but that McGillivray and the other Creek chiefs "have given strong assurances in their talks, and by writing, that no further hostilities or depredations shall be committed on the part of their nation." The Governor of Georgia agreed to prevent the commission of hostilities and depredations upon the Creek nation.

George Washington's November 16, 1789  Diary entry records: 
The Commissioners, who had returned from the proposed Treaty with the Creek Indians before me, to this City dined with me to day, as did their Secretary Colonel Franks and young Mr. Lincoln who accompanied them.
Later that month, President Washington offered Griffin the position of the Federal District Judge for Virginia after Edmund Pendleton turned down the office. Griffin accepted. Although, as he later wrote GW, “my Genius and Inclination, and some family considerations, would have led me to a diplomatic employment, yet I expect to be very happy in my present situation, & shall always render the most sincere acknowledgements to the kind author of my future welfare; particularly, Sir, as I was but little known to you—for indeed a real diffidence and being unwilling to intrude upon the amiable and hospitable family did always prevent me from shewing my attachment, and paying my Compliments at mount Vernon”.

 George Washington explained his decision to appoint Cyrus Griffin a federal judge in this letter to a Mr. Joseph Jones:
 New York, November 30, 1789. Dear Sir: Your favor, without date, came to my hands by the last post, but not till after I had decided in favor of Mr. Cyrus Griffin, and directed the commission to be made out. This being the case your application for the office of District Judge has not, nor will it be mentioned by me. -- In every nomination to office I have endeavored, as far as my own knowledge extended, or information could be obtained, to make fitness of character my primary object. If with this the peculiar necessities of the Candidates could be combined, it has been, with me, an additional inducement to the appointment. By these principles, in a proper degree, have I been influenced in the case of Mr. Griffin, who is not only out of office and in want of the emoluments of one, but has been deprived of the former by my means, owing to an opinion which prevailed here at the time, among our Countrymen, that his accepting of the temporary appointment of Commissioner to treat with the southern Indians would not bring him under the disqualifying act of Virginia by which, however, it seems he has lost his station in the council of that State, and is now entirely out of employment. This circumstance added to the knowledge of his having been a regular Student of law, having filled an important office in the union in the line of it, and being besides a man of competent abilities, and of pure character, weighed with me in the choice, to which I was not a little influenced by the opportunity of deciding positively whether he would accept or not, for I confess I was not a little unwilling to hazard another choice without some previous enquiry and consultation, and sufficient time was not allowed me between the receipt of Colonel Pendleton's resignation, which came to this place whilst I was on a tour through the eastern States, and the day appointed for the session of the District Court, to do this. With very sincere esteem and regard, George Washington.
Shortly after his appointment to the Federal Bench, Cyrus Griffin wrote Thomas Jefferson asking for him to recommend him to President Washington as his replacement as U.S. Ambassador to France.

Richmond Dear Sir,
After coming with much expedition from N York I was greatly mortified at your departure from this place only some hours before I could reach the Town. - I ardently wished in person to congratulate your safe arrival; and again to renew that pleasing friendship with which you once honored me. 
I had also the enclosed letter in charge from the President of the united States to deliver to your Excellency if in Richmond, or to forward by express.   Whatever you may think proper to write shall be sent on with safety and immediately.  
In case you do not return to France; but shall judge it better to accept the ardent wishes of the President, let me solicit my kind friend to mention me for that foreign employment, if there shall be no particular objection. The appointment I understand would be acceptable to the French, and generally expected throughout the united States, honorable and advantageous to me, and more consonant to my turn of mind than a legal character. I am confident the President would pay the greatest attention to whatever you may say upon the subject. I should hope also that the elevated stations I have filled in the Republic would add some consequence to the Individual.  
I wanted to pay my respects to my amiable young friend Miss Jefferson, but I suppose she is now grown beyond my recollection; do present to her the hearty regards of an old fellow. 
May I ask if you propose to visit N York this winter. -- During the last year I was honored by a letter from your Excellency in recommendation of a French Gentleman, which I not only answered very soon after but took the liberty to enclose two letters to my wife’s sisters in Paris upon particular business. We have not heard from them since that period; perhaps they have now troubled you with letters to lady Christina or myself. 
I have the honor to be Dear Sir with the highest respect and consideration your most obedient servant, 
Cyrus Griffin
Griffin had already informed President Washington in July that he would prefer to be appointed "to the diplomatic service or as a judge of the Supreme Court." It is highly improbable that the appointment of Griffin as Thomas Jefferson's successor at Versailles was widely anticipated throughout the United States. The fact that Griffin wanted the position, however, was already known in Paris as noted in William Short's November 30, 1789 to Jefferson. The fact that Jefferson's private secretary dared to let mentor know that Griffin "cannot be supposed proper for this place" is a commentary on both Cyrus and Washington's very recent choice of him for the federal bench.

Thomas Jefferson responded to Griffin politely refusing his request "mention me for that foreign employment" in this December 11th  written from Eppington:

 I am honored with your favor of to-day, and thank you for your care of the letter which accompanied it. I am sincerely sorry that I had not the pleasure of seeing you at Richmond, and of renewing to you vivâ voce the assurances of friendship and attachment which I have long entertained for you. With respect to the office I hold at present and that newly proposed to me, the indulgence of the President leaves me incertain. I shall state to him certain circumstances and ask his decision. If he chuses to make use of me here, I shall at all times and places be ready to render you any service in my power. This however could only be on my arrival at New York, as I do not feel myself on such a footing with the President as to suggest any person to him but in the course of a conversation when a fit occasion could be made.—I cannot at this time say from memory whether I received a letter from you inclosing others to the sisters of lady Christina, within a year past. If I did, I can answer for the having safely delivered them. I have none in charge from them at present. I am not without hopes of still seeing you either in a visit I must yet make to Richmond, or on my journey Northwardly. My daughter is thankful for your kind remembrance of her, and joins me in esteem for you..

The Gazette of the United-States (New-York [N.Y.]), January 6, 1790 reported:

RICHMOND, December 16. Yesterday, the District Court of the United States for the District of Virginia, was opened in the Capitol in this city, where the Hon. Cyrus Griffin (formerly as Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Continental, and late President of Congress) presided Judge, being first duly qualified. William Marshall, Esq. was appointed Clerk, protern. James Innes, Jerman Baker, William DuVal, and John Marshal, Esquires, were admitted as Counsel in said Court. After which, there being business depending, the Court adjourned to the third Tuesday in March, to be holden in the city of Williamsburg

RICHMOND, December 16. Yesterday, the District Court of the United States for the District of Virginia, was opened in the Capitol in this city, where the Hon. Cyrus Griffin (formerly as Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Continental, and late President of Congress) presided Judge, being first duly qualified. William Marshall, Esq. was appointed Clerk, protern. James Innes, Jerman Baker, William DuVal, and John Marshal, Esquires, were admitted as Counsel in said Court. After which, there being business depending, the Court adjourned to the third Tuesday in March, to be holden in the city of Williamsburg
Since Congress was not session on the date of Cyrus Griffin's nomination, George Washington submitted his name for confirmation to the U.S. Senate on February 9th, 1790:
Gentlemen of the Senate, 
Among the persons appointed during your late Session, to offices under the national Government, there were some who declined serving. Their names and offices are specified in the first column of the annexed list. I supplied these Vacancies, agreeably to the Constitution, by temporary appointments; which you will find mentioned in the second column of the list. These appointments will expire with your present session, and indeed ought not to endure longer than until others can be regularly made—for that purpose I now nominate to you the persons named in the third column of the list, as being in my opinion qualified to fill the Offices opposite to their names in the first. -- Go: Washington 


Temporary Appt.


Robert H. Harrison—one of the Associate Judges of the Supreme Court

James Iredell

Thomas Johnson—District Judge of Maryland

William Paca

William Paca

Edmund Pendleton—District Judge of Virginia

Cyrus Griffin

Cyrus Griffin.

John Marshall—Atty District of Virginia

William Nelson Jr.

William Nelson Jr

Thomas Pinckney—District Judge of S Carolina

William Drayton

William Drayton.

George Handley—Collector of the Port of Brunswick, in Georgia

Christopher Hillary

Peyton Short—Collector of the Port of Louisville in Kentucky

Richard Taylor

Asher Miller—Surveyor of the Port of Middletown in Connecticut


Griffin was confirmed the next day and President Washington mailed him the commission on February 13th.  Judge Griffin failed to respond until the 16th of March writing the President from Williamsburg.  
After discharging the business of the last special Court I paid a visit to a Brother who lives at some considerable distance from the post road, and over two pretty wide Rivers, which prevented me the honor of receiving your letter of February the 13th untill this day, enclosing a second Commission for the Judge of the Virginia district.
The first U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Virginia convened in Charlottesville on  May 22, 1790 with Associate Justice of the Supreme Court James Wilson and federal judges John Blair and Cyrus Griffin present. Wilson presided and delivered a charge to the grand jury on the role of juries.  On May 30th, Judge Griffin wrote President Washington:

Richmond [Va.] May 30th 1790

Pardon me, Sir, that I take the freedom to disturb your anxious moments, to congratulate you and my Country on the most happy recovery from your late Indisposition. the last mail has brought to us that pleasing and most important Intelligence, the reverse of which would have thrown this Country into despair and confusion. I hope to heaven the malady may operate as the renovation of health, and will continue the blessing unto a very distant period.

As the first Circuit of the Supreme Court in my district was holden the other day I think it my duty to inform you, Sir, that the Court was complete, that an excellent charge was given by Judge Wilson to the best Grand Jury that perhaps have been assembled under the new Judiciary, and that all the people p[r]esent seemed perfectly satisfied with the proceedings throughout.1

may I presume to offer my respectful Compliments to Mrs. Washington. I am, sir, with every sense of admiration, Gratitude, and respect Your most obedient Servant

C. Griffin
There is no record of response by George Washington to this letter.  

On August 6th, 1790, President Washington was still struggling with the Creek Indians as a treaty never materialized from the work of Cyrus Griffin and the two other commissioners.  Hence Washington made the following appointment:

To the United States Senate 

Gentlemen of the Senate,

Considering the circumstances which prevented the late Commissioners from concluding a Peace with the Creek Nation of Indians,1 it appeared to me most prudent that all subsequent measures for disposing them to a Treaty should in the first Instance be informal.

I informed you on the 4th Inst: that the adjustment of the Terms of a Treaty with their Chiefs now here, was far advanced2—such further Progress has since been made, that I think measures may at present be taken for conducting and concluding that Business in Form. It therefore becomes necessary that a proper Person be appointed and authorized to Treat with these Chiefs, and to conclude a Treaty with them. For this Purpose I nominate to you Henry Knox.

Go: Washington

In 1792, the "December 15, 1793, report of expenditures for discharging warrants issued by the late board of treasury recorded" the following for the District Court of Virginia: To Cyrus Griffin, Judge, warrant Number 1489: January 18 - $450, April 12 - $450, July 6 - $450 and October 4 - $450 for a total of $1800 in 1792.

On  February 7th, 1794, Judge Griffin wrote the following letter President Washington, seeking employment for his son:

Williamsburg [Va.] February 7th 1794
I hope, sir, you will pardon me for transgressing upon a Single moment of your very precious time; I avoid it to the utmost. 
My Son John Griffin now in London and having Some years Studied the General and Common Law, is extremely anxious to be employed in Some inferior character abroad. he is twenty three years of age, of good Talents, of firm Integrity, a proper degree of Spirit, and I think of considerable Industry.  

I do not presume to ask any particular employment for him, indeed I am ignorant of any vacancy as Secretary to an Embassy or any other; neither Sir do I Send forward any recommendations in his favor, because I am not humble enough with Gentlemen to ask those unwilling kindnesses; because I have long been convinced that the man who relies upon himself is the man who will always best discharge the duties of his office, he has no pillar to lean upon in his deficiency; and because I never made use of them in my own Case either under the old or the present Government, but only once in a letter to Mr Jefferson when it was Supposed he would act as Secretary of State, from our former Intimacy & the nature of his office I wrote him a request—if he Saw no impropriety in the Thing, to mention me to the President as a minister to Some foreign Court, being the most Suited to my abilities and general Course of reading and acting for Some years past.

I offer this young Gentleman to you Sir if you should find it convenient to notice him, at any future period, and I am Sure his Gratitude to be employed under the present Administration would be evinced by the acknowledgement and cheerfulness of his heart. 

With lady Christina may I beg to present our best respects To Mrs. Washington and yourself, and permit me Sir to remain with truest consideration Your most obedient Servant. 

Cyrus Griffin
President Washington did not appoint John Griffin (1771–1849), but in 1800, President John Adams did, and he became one of the three judges of the recently created Indiana Territory. Until Thomas Jefferson named Griffin a judge of the Michigan Territory in 1805, Griffin held this position. After retiring in 1824, he moved to Philadelphia and stayed there till he passed away.

On June 2, 1795, the United States Circuit Court for the District of Virginia heard the case of Hylton v United States. James Wilson, associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, decided for the constitutionality of the carriage tax; Cyrus Griffin,  decided against its constitutionality. Judgment was entered against Hylton for two thousand dollars, to be discharged by a payment of sixteen dollars. A writ of error proceeding took the case to the Supreme Court of the United States in February–March, 1796 deciding with Griffin.

On May 23rd, 1796, Cyrus Griffin wrote President Washington concerning Justice John Blair resignation from the Supreme Court.   In this letter, Judge Griffin make a rather verbose case, which includes him recounting his reasoning and decisions as the Virginia District Federal Judge:
Can I hope for pardon Sir if once more I take the liberty to experience your well known Goodness and Indulgence. 

Upon the resignation of Mr. Blair I think it was generally expected that if a Judge was nominated from Virginia the present District Judge would have the preference,1 unless indeed Mr. Marshall or Mr. Washington from their uncommon legal Talents. I did not solicit because I thought it unseemly to do so for a man already upon the Bench; it would shew a greediness of disposition not characteristic with the office, and a diffidence that the chief magistrate had forgotten me; but the appointments being made from other states, and as they are Gentlemen of the best abilities in the Law the union are extremely happy and thankful to have the Supreme Court thus ably Completed. And yet it has been now hinted to me that perhaps some objections might lay against my character if it should be in contemplation to appoint another Judge from Virginia when a vacancy shall arrive.

Would there, Sir, be any objection to my moral character? Indeed I am not sensible of it myself. I do not game. I have not speculated to the amount of one shilling in my life; and I am temperate & retired, confining myself to Books, my Family, and the duties of my station.

Would there be any objection to my political character? I do not believe there is a more orderly Citizen in the United States. always a sincere friend, and advocate for the present Constitution; a real well wisher and defender of the Administration of Government—particularly in the late Treaty with England.

Perhaps I have not Industry for the labour of a Judge? the gentlemen of the Bar will not say so. I hold it impossible for any man to be more assiduous in the stated and special District and the Circuit Courts than I am. I have not lost one day since my Family were brought from New York unless by unavoidable necessity—and I do a great deal of business out of Court; the district is very extensive and myself always upon the spot.

Then it would be for the want of Talents to exercise that very important Employment. I hope to Heaven that is the only objection, for I had rather be thought honest and attentive than a man of the most splendid Intellects. however I have determined many Causes of great importance in my Court from which there has not been a single appeal but in two cases to establish points of practice, and two others upon the Jurisdiction of the Court; none upon the merits of a question; the lawyers being perfectly satisfied with the reasons of the Judge. In the circuit Court indeed I gave my opinion that payment of British Debts into the loan office of the state should be considered as valid and here Mr. Iredell and myself had the misfortune to differ from a very learned and virtuous Judge, Mr. Jay, whom we both revere. I gave my opinion also in another great question the carriage Tax, and was unlucky enough to differ from Judge Wilson. I thought the Tax one of the best that could be laid, but it appeared to me not to be done in a Constitutional manner. Most of the Bar were of the same opinion. I was sworn to determine according to the best of my Judgment; but I constantly paid the Tax myself and advised others to do it also. upon both of these two important qu[e]stions I have the honor of according in opinion with a late amiable and able Judge.

I should hope, Sir, that no misrepresentations have been made to you relative to me. I have long known that a Gentleman once high in your Confidence was not a friend of mine, that confidence is deservedly withdrawn, and his conduct shews that I never had occasion to lament his want of friendship.  Other gentlemen also who stood high in estimation professed a great deal towards me, but having changed their principles, possibly they may have changed their attachments. a Family rising into consequence and who possess very considerable merit I hope are not Enemies of mine, tho early in the Consideration and upon the purest public principle I gave my voice in Congress to recall their Relations from the Courts of Europe. this occasioned great bitterness against me in the elder names. Some reports were also hinted to me.

That I was not active enough in condemning a vessel belonging to a Mr. Sinclair and said to be fitting out as a privateer. the case came before the Court upon the day appointed by the District Attorney, 24 witnesses were suprened on the part of the U. States, 22 of them appeared and were Sworn, but their Testimony was not sufficient and the Jury acquitted the vessel without hesitation. as a material witness was absent the attorney obtained a new Trial and after a special Court lately the cause is dismissed unless good reasons can be given at the June Court to reinstate the business. I was fully as active as a Judge ought to be.

Another report was circulated that I was determined to Condemn all prizes brought into this district by armed vessels of the above description or fitted in our ports. nothing under the Sun was ever more false. there lives not a Judge upon Earth of more discretion in his office. my opinion upon any qu[e]stion was never known untill given Judicially.

It was said also that I was an advocate for Mr. Genet. The only thing I ever said was, upon that subject, “that a man of Mr. Genet’s understanding could hardly have acted So absurdly and unwarrantably unless he had been thus instructed by his nation, and if his nation had thus instructed him he was bound to obey.” when the Instructions were published the points then agitated turned out such as I supposed them.

Another matter has been mentioned that I admitted to bail a man charged with opposing the militia draught to be sent against the Insurgent: the Truth is that no witness appeared against him, and I admitted the man to bail in a large amount to be present at the next succeeding Court; the prisoner appeared; and the prosecution was dismissed by the attorney.

A late affair also: a young man by the name of Goosely in the Town of York was surrendered upon my warrant for stealing Bank Bills &c. from the Post-office agreeable to the promises of the assistant post master, upon the surrender by the young man’s friends when he might have escaped, upon his delivering up all the money, and upon his making a candid discovery of the particulars of that wicked Transaction, I thought it perfectly right to bail him with good security in the sum of 20,000 dollars.

I beg leave to mention another matter also; some little time ago it was stated to me by Colonel Newton of Norfolk “That he had good grounds to believe certain British agents were purchasing Horses in this Country for the military use of that Government, to be sent against our Allies the French in the West Indies, and that Vessels were getting ready to transport the said Horses.” I wrote him for answer that the law of Congress pointed out the mode of proceeding, and that in the first Instance it was not consistent with my Station as Judge to interfere. Mr. Oster the French Consul has also written to me upon the subject by way of memorial.

I ought to mention also that I had the imprudence to write to you sir concerning my son John in Europe. poor Fellow! having no Fortune to give him, he being very anxious to be introduced to the public under the present administration, and being convinced myself that he was a young man of an active mind, sensible, and honorable in his demeanor I did venture to write in his behalf, but the letter was hardly gone before I repented and saw the impropriety.

Thus Sir I have taken the freedom to say somewhat relative to myself, only as a sort of exculpation if any person whatever has unkindly traduced me, and I defy any man to prove the contrary of what I have now the honor to assert. I know my Innocence and can challenge with Confidence.

That I have faults, that I have follies and deficiencies I do not deny—but I owe to you a thousand obligations, and no man breathing is possessed of a more feeling heart.

“Truth and candour will always estimate the conduct of public men,” and well knowing that I have never laid one Syllable derogatory to your personal or political character I am with a grateful mind & the most profound respect Sir Your very obedient servant

Cyrus Griffin
George Washington replied to Cyrus Griffin from Philadelphia writing:

I am sorry, that without being accused, you should think it necessary to go into a lengthy justification of your conduct and principles. What the entire design of your letter of the 23d. ulto.89 may be, I am at a loss to conceive; and pressed as I have been, and still am, on all sides, in the discharge of my public functions, I have no leizure to enquire. If the object of it (among other things) is to intimate that you have been overlooked in some recent appointments, I can only say, that nominations are made from the best view I am able to take of the cases which come before me. in doing which I have often, if not always, where the appointments are not of a local nature, found it necessary to combine a variety of considerations, none of which, however, have originated from a desire to serve a friend or relation; or a wish to oblige this, or that man, or set of men; but from the information I can obtain (where I have no personal knowledge) of the fitness of characters to offices. 

That I may have erred, and in many instances made injudicious nominations, is highly probable: wonderful indeed would it be, if the case was otherwise; but numerous, and chagreening as disappointments may have been to individuals (and abundant they are) I can defy malignancy itself to ascribe partiality, or interested motives to any of my nominations; or omissions, to prejudice or dislike. I have naught therefore, on this score to reproach myself with. For the attachment you have professed for my person and administration, 

I pray you to accept my best thanks, and the assurances of the esteem and regard with which I am 

Geo Washington.
Cyrus Griffin replied to the President on July 4th from Williamsburg::

Being engaged upon duty at the Circuit and District Courts held in the City of Richmond I had not an opportunity of sooner acknowleging the honor of your letter.

I am particularly uneasy and depressed to have taken one moment from the immense labour of your public functions, or to have incured your displeasure in the remotest degree. We understood that Congress were to adjourn on the 20th of May; I thought you would do me the favor to read the letter at some more leisure period; nor had I the least claim to receive an answer but what should arise from your extreme Goodness to every description of persons. Indeed Sir, I did not mean to intimate that I had been overlooked in any recent appointments, but meant to obviate some objections to me that possibly might have come to your Information, in case that another Judge of the Supreme Court should be nominated from Virginia, and upon supposition that gentlemen of better talents, from their lucrative practice at the Bar, would not think proper to accept such appointment.

I have taken the liberty to write to you three or four letters since your Benevolence was shewn to me, in one of which I expressed a wish that my destination had been fixed to a diplomatic employment — the wish was a most improper one as those employments were so much better arranged, and I did wrong in fatiguing you with letters unnecessarily. Repentance never reaches to restitution, but I will promise most faithfully never more to encroach upon your valuable hours, the only compensation in my power to make.

most eagerly do I thank you for those kind assurances of esteem and regard; and ’tho I am destitute of the great advantages of the mind which other gentlemen possess, yet very honestly may I take the liberty to profess the sentiments of my heart—that purest veneration, and most respectful attachment with which I shall always remain Sir Your obedient and obliged humble Servant

C. Griffin
On January 16, 1797, Griffin wrote President- Elect John Adams a congratulatory letter that also sought employment for his his son, John Griffin.


A late Mail having brought Intelligence that you are certainly elected the future President of the United States permit me to congratulate you and my Country upon the happy Event; I do it with Sincerity and heartfelt pleasure; and tho’ Virginia has contributed but little to the joyful Occasion in the vote of her Electors, still I can pronounce with confidence that a great and respectable part of the Community will be highly delighted with the favorable Termination of this interesting Business.

Should you have occupation for a young Man of the best Education, of good Character and Conduct, 25 years of Age, who has been studying the Law in London, and by residing some time in France has made himself perfect master of that language, and speaks it with propriety and fluency, I take the liberty to offer my Son John Griffin to your Patronage; he is anxious to get into your Family for the present in hopes that hereafter if he behaves well you may think proper to employ him in some inferior Diplomatic character, for which mode of life he has a great predilection. Pray Sir excuse the freedom I assume in behalf of a Child; and allow me the honor to remain with profound consideration and the most respectful Sir, your humble and / most obedient Servant.

Cyrus Griffin
On February 2, 1797, President-Elect Adams responded:
I have Received the Polite and friendly Letter you did me the honour to write me on the Sixteenth of Last month and I Pray you to accept of my Thanks for your kind Congratulations on a Late Event—nothing Can be more agreeable to me.

Then the assurances you give me that a Respectable Part—of Virginia—will be Satisfied with the issue of the late Election my Character was once better known then it is at Present in that great and Respectable State but the Persons who there knew me are most of them Removed To another world where, I hope they find neither Sophistry Party Spirit or Malevolence.

I Receive very kindly Sir your Proposal to Take your Son Mr. John Griffin into my family but have Previously Engaged all the assistance of that kind which I intend to have it is not now in my Power I wish the young Gentleman Every felicity and Every Success in his honourable Pursuits which his Character and Conduct Shall merit I have the honor to be with great / Esteem Sir your most obedient Servant,

John Adams
In the Summer of 1798. Captain Nicholson of the USS Constitution captured the British privateer, The Niger, off the coast of North Carolina. The Captain, during the Quasi-war with France, mistook the Niger for a French vessel. The matter was brough before the Virginia District Court and Judge Griffin.  On November 10th, Cyrus Griffin wrote President John Adams concerning this case's decision, the burdens of his present office and seeking aemployment for his son, John Griffin.
This being the first instance of capture and trial in my Court under the late Acts of Congress, I take the liberty to inform you that the Ship Niger, brought into this District by Capt. Nicholson of the Constitution, after long and very able arguments by the best Lawyers of this Country, was decreed by me to be restored to the Respondents, together with the ordinary Costs of defence.

It appeared to the Court from the shipping papers, from the Bills of lading, from the commissions or letters of Mark, from depositions, & other documents, together with the British Acts of Parliament authorising the King to dispense with certain regulations of the Navigation Act, & naturalising foreign Seamen in the service of that Country, that the Ship could not be considered as a French Vessel, and therefore not subject to condemnation as a Prize in the meaning of those Laws.

No damages were decreed, because Sir, in my opinion there was reasonable cause of seisure and detention; such as, the Crew consisting principally of Frenchmen & Spaniards; two of the Officers in French uniform; their unwillingness to obey the Lieutenant of the Constitution, when boarded; the smallness of the cargo; the log Book in the French Language; the want of shipping articles for Seamen; the general conduct of the Commander; not bringing all the papers on board the Constitution when required; and some other circumstances—but from this latter part of the Decree the Respondents have thought proper to appeal.

May I take the freedom, illustrious Sir, to mention that if consistent with the maxims of your wise Administration, I could wish most fervently to change my Situation upon the Bench, and would willingly take some other respectable employment.—Indeed, Sir, I am the very oldest civil Officer under the general Government, that is, I have served more years than any other man, from early in the year 1778 to the present period, and sometimes in very high Stations, at the expence of all the property I possessed; and now with a large family & nothing but a small Salary to maintain them; and even one fourth of that Salary at least I am obliged to spend in Public Houses & other charges necessarily attending the duties of my Office at the stated & special Courts, the business of the District being probably more than any three Courts in the Union, & the Supreme Judges tell me, that the business of the Circuit Court for Virginia is considerably more than all the Union together. Nor have I omitted a single Court since my return to this Country from the Seat of Government at New York; no man can be more attentive to the requisites of his Station, and surely no person can be more federal, or a more strenuous advocate for the Administration—& though at first view it seems to bear a little hard, and is certainly a great discouragement for men to be active and faithful in discharging their respective duties if they are always to remain as they set out—and surely a laudable ambition to be promoted, & a parental anxiety about the better welfare of a man’s family can never be considered as reprehensible in a virtuous Republic like ours; yet Sir I am very ready to confess that in point of Law Talents, if talents are the only criterion, that I am not equal to many other Gentlemen, a Marshall or a Washington for instance, tho’ my Education has been a more systematical one; and thus knowing my inferiority in this respect whatever appointments you may think proper to make will always be highly satisfactory to me, & to every good federal Character—yet this consideration of diffidence in my Law talents will operate as an additional reason to pray you, Sir, for a change of my position if convenient & consistent with your arrangements in future.

But if not, then may I beg you to notice the Son of an Officer so old as myself upon the Civil list; John Griffin; a young man of excellent genius, the best education, well acquainted with foreign Languages, & no youth more federal—could he go in some inferior Diplomatic character abroad we should owe to you infinite obligations; or if that should be impracticable, then perhaps a military Commission in the permanent Army it might not be inconvenient to give him.
As I shall not have the presumption in this way again to encroach upon the valuable time of your Excellency, I hope to stand acquitted in your correct opinion: and that with the utmost sincerity I may pray that you long preside over the Councils of this Country; & that your private happiness may still continue to bless you, as so aptly corresponding with your Public reputation & exertions; I am Sir / with profound respect & consideration / Your most obedient Servant

Cyrus Griffin
President Adams did not respond, so on a different topic, Griffin wrote the President on January 21, 1800:

Understanding that an increase of Salary, will be solicited by some of the District Judges, and that the President of the United States would be written to upon [the] subject, if not improper I take the freedom to mention to you that my claim particularly rests upon a solid foundation: the District of Virginia is very large, the Business of the different Courts lengthy and laborious, almost equal to that of the whole Union, living very expensive, and my necessary disbursements exceeding the Salary more than five hundred dollars.

As to myself personally it may be said with truth that I have been in the Federal Service more years than any man in the United States, to the total ruin of my little patrimony.

Some time ago I did myself the honor to write to you Sir concerning the Ship Niger, and other matters; I hope and trust there was nothing offensive in the letter, as nothing of that Nature was intended, but the most profound respect and consideration with which / I am, Sir, 

Your obedient Servant

Cyrus Griffin

On March 4, 1801, Cyrus Griffin wrote Thomas Jefferson to congratulate him on his election to the U.S. Presidency:
Dear Sir, 

Permit me to offer the most sincere congratulations upon your election to the Office of President.

We anticipate with heartfelt pleasure that your wise Administration will reconcile the contending Parties of our common Country.

From early and long attachment, & with the most perfect respect and esteem, I have the honour to be, dear Sir, your faithful & obedient Servant and friend,

Cyrus Griffin.
The following week, President Jefferson responded:


I return you my thanks for your friendly congratulations on my election to the chair of the Union. if it shall be in my power to effect a reconciliation of parties, I shall think I have not lived in vain. to effect this something must be yielded on both sides, and I hope there is a spirit of accomodation rising among us. I know the task is difficult, and cannot possibly be so executed as to give satisfaction to every one: but by suffering no passions of my own to intervene, I will give myself a right to the dispassionate judgment of others. I pray you to accept assurances of my high consideration & esteem.

Th: Jefferson
On April 5th, 1801, Judge Griffin sent James Madison a note that  indisposition prevented him going to Richmond when Madison was last there. Griffin enclosed a medal as token of friendship and “high consideration,” knowing that Madison was a collector of historic medals.  Griffin added that the letter enclosing it “was [in] the handwriting of my son Stuart, a Rheumatisim in the arm … preventing me from using the pen.”

On June 6th, Griffin wrote President Jefferson a letter recommending appointments of bankruptcy commissioners:  


I take the liberty to make a request, if perfectly agreable to yourself, in the appointment of general commissioners of Bankruptcy for Virginia, you will be so good as to include, for the Norfolk District, Henry Hiort Attorney at Law, Thomas Willock and John Dunn Merchants, & for the Petersburg District Robert Hines Attorney at Law, Edmund B. Holloway and Edwin Fort Merchants. These Gentlemen have acted from the commencement of the Bankrupt Business with entire approbation, are Men of understanding, and now well experienced in that intricate and difficult Law. I have no intimate private connexion with any of these Gentlemen; but assume this liberty merely from public consideration. 

The President will therefore excuse the trouble I give to him. I fervently hope that you have enjoyed the best health, since I had the pleasure of paying my respects at Washington. I should have encroached one minute more in taking leave, but found myself very unwell on the day I had the honor of dining with you: prudence told me I ought to return home with all expedition. -- Be pleased to accept my sincere respects and attachment. 

Cyrus Griffin.

The president responded on July 7th:

Dear Sir,

As soon as the act was passed transferring to the Executive the duty of naming Commissioners of bankruptcy, measures were taken by enquiries from the members of Congress, and in some instances from the Governors to have a proper selection made. you are sensible of the opinion which has prevailed that the Judiciary of the US. as a body have lent their influence to the promotion of a certain set of political principles disapproved, as is believed, by the great majority of our citizens. while I accuse no one of the body of giving into this practice, I am happy in the opportunity of expressly acquitting yourself of it, according to the best information I have recieved. and I do it that you may be assured that the praetermetting the commissioners who had been occasionally named by the judges in the state of Virginia has not been from any doubt of undue bias, but in pursuit of a general line of enquiry, to wit from the members & Governors of the states. the list was made out for Richmond & Petersburg before the reciept of your letter, and that for Norfolk, tho’ the commissions are but lately signed, had been ready some time. not a single person of those named in your letter was known to me personally, so that their omission can be no imputation on them. I pray you to consider this as written for your private information, and to accept assurances of my high consideration & respect.

Th: Jefferson
Griffin politely responded on July 12th:

Dear Sir,

I am honoured by your obliging and very friendly letter of July the 7th.

Please to accept my hearty and sincere thanks for the good opinion expressed towards me, and be assured that I have never exerted even my small influence in the promotion of principles thus decidedly condemned by the great majority of our Citizens. Perhaps the affair of Callender might be considered as militating against this declaration; but really certain parts of the Prospect were so very exceptionable when applied to almost any chief Magistrate, no sort of proof to support those paragraphs of that Publication, Council having declined to argue the unconstitutionality of the sedition law before the Judges, and although a Court is bound not to assume a jurisdiction, yet in my opinion they are not to reject a law as unconstitutional unless that point by argument shall be substantiated; and after the verdict of a Jury who consider’d both the law & the fact; I did think that a small fine, and a short confinement could not be construed in any way as contradictory to the purest principles of a Republic, where laws and a decency of deportment are essentially necessary to its preservation.

Except two of the gentlemen, I was totally unacquainted with the political tenets of the Commissioners mentioned in a former letter; and those two directly opposed to each other, yet the utmost harmony has always prevailed when engaged upon the duties of their appointment. To be selected by the President would have been highly gratifying to those Individuals; but they do not consider their omission as meaning to convey the slightest imputation upon them.

I found it very difficult to obtain proper Characters who would act, in Richmond, Petersburg, or Norfolk. The line of enquiry, you have been pleased to adopt, is certainly the most eligible for procuring the best information. I do not entertain the smallest doubt that the Gentlemen commissioned will give entire satisfaction, and make particular exertions to merit the honour of their appointments.

Permit me, dear Sir, to express for you personally the most heartfelt esteem; and for your official situation as conducted, a very profound and sincere respect.

Cyrus Griffin.

Griffin's most notable case was Aaron Burr versus the United States of America.  

On October 5th, 1805, Judge Griffin wrote James Madison a letter on behalf of his son John, an Indiana Territorial Judge appointed by President John Adams in 1800:

Will you have the Goodness to pardon this Intrusion. 

My Son John Griffin is anxious to change his position from Indiana to Michican, principally on account of health.2 Having been Judge for Some years, a young man of good Genius, and speaking the French language with fluency, perhaps he might be an acquisition to the new Teritory, if there shall be a vacancy in the Judiciary department.

Not having fatigued our most excellent president, or you, my dear Friend, with any applications for myself or my dear Children, may I hope that this Solicitation will not be rejected, if convenient to grant it. With my very best Respects to the president.
The following year, President Jefferson appointed John Griffin to the Supreme Court of the Michigan Territory.   On March 1, 1806, John Griffin wrote this letter of thanks to James Madison:

The interest you have taken in procuring me a seat on the Bench of the Michigan Territory, shall be ever most gratefully remembered by me.1 Agreeably to your opinion, I herewith enclose my commission as a Judge of the Indiana Territory, Which you will do me the honor of presenting to the President, as my resignation of the appointment. May I beg the favor of you, to address a few lines to me at Vincennes, whither I shall return in a few days, on the event of the nomination of me, as a Judge of the Michigan Territory. With sentiments of the warmest gratitude, for the obligations you have lain me under.

Adds in a postscript: “Will you pardon me, if I beg to be informed, whether, as I hope it is the nomination of Gov Harrison has succeeded.
On October 8th, 1807, Lady Christina Stuart died in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Norfolk Gazette and Publick Ledger, on Monday evening, October 19, 1807 published this obituary:

"DIED on the 8 inst. After a short but violent illness LADY C. GRIFFIN, consort of the Hon. Cyrus Griffin, of Williamsburg. 

This Lady was distinguished for the benevolence of her disposition, and the strength of her mind. The fortitude and resignation with which she met and endured the ills of life, evinced the Christian. -- Her many amiable qualities endeared her to an extensive acquaintance, and she has left to posterity a valuable legacy, in the example of her virtuous and pious life .

In 1808, James Madison was elected President of the United States. On March 3, 1809, Cyrus Griffin wrote President Madison from Yorktown, Virginia:

Dear Sir, Will you permit an old and sincere Friend to congratulate his Country, on what Tomorrow shall auspicially witness: from my Heart and Soul I rejoice at Your Elevation to the chief Magistracy of our Union.

Long, very long, may you enjoy the best Health—as I am certain you will live long in the Blessings of the American People. With every Sentiment of perfect Respect and Esteem, for yourself, and most amiable Lady.
On April 19, 1809 Judge John Griffin wrote President Madison:
Sir, Having passed three years in this Country, and finding my Health extremely shattered, by the severity of the Climate, if there should be no impropriety in the application, and if the vacancies in the Illinois Territory should not all be filled, may I venture so far to trouble your Excellency, as to propose that I might be transferred to that Territory, upon my resignation of the situation I hold in this. I fear indeed that the Step I have just taken can scarcely be justified. Nothing indeed could have emboldened me so to do, but my continued ill state of health, which although some-what re-established by an excursion to Virginia last year, has again been greatly impaired by last winters residence in this extremely cold climate. In the nine years that I have spent in the Western Country, six of them have been passed in that part of it, to which I have presumed to solicit a transfer; and since that section of Indiana, where I formerly resided and where I am well known has been erected into a separate Territory, an exchange of Situations, should it not be deemed an impropriety, will be the last request that I shall venture to make. I hope that the liberty I have presumed To take, from the circumstances I have mentioned, will be pardoned, and I beg the permission to express my own great satisfaction, along with the immense majority of the American People, at the elevation of a Gentleman to preside over their Affairs, whose great merits, and services are known and acknowledged by all. With Sentiments of the most profound respect I beg to be considered as your most obedient and most devoted Servant

John Griffin
This letter was followed-up by a Cyrus Griffin letter, dated December 25, 1809, asking President Madison to provide for a transfer that would shift his son, John Griffin, “from Michigan to a western or Southern position: he finds the Climate too cold for his Constitution.” Since his son is fluent in both French and Spanish, a judicial vacancy “upon or near the Mississippi” might be “advantageous to the public.”

While on the court in Michigan, John Griffin generally deferred to the opinions of Chief Justice Augustus Woodward, going so far as to refuse to hear cases by himself without Woodward present. He spent seventeen years on the court, and was considered a  "petulantly dissatisfied office-holder" because he spent the entire time trying to secure another position. He resigned from the Michigan bench in 1823 and moved to Philadelphia for his remaining years.

On May 25, 1810, Thomas Jefferson wrote President Madison a  letter referring to the party passions of John Marshall and the imbecility of Cyrus Griffin:
Monticello .

Dear Sir 
I inclose you the extract of a letter from Govr. Tyler which will explain itself, and I do it on the same principle on which I have sometimes done the same thing before, that whenever you are called on to select, you may have under consideration all those who may properly be thought of & the grounds of their pretensions. 
From what I can learn Griffin cannot stand it long, and really the state has suffered long enough by having such a cypher in so important an office, and infinitely the more from the want of any counterpoise to the rancorous hatred which Marshal bears to the government of his country, & from the cunning & sophistry within which he is able to enshroud himself. It will be difficult to find a character of firmness enough to preserve his independance on the same bench with Marshall. Tyler, I am certain, would do it. He is an able & well read lawyer about 59. years of age: he was popular as a judge, & is remarkeably so as a governor, for his incorruptible integrity, which no circumstances have ever been able to turn from it’s course. Indeed I think there is scarcely a person in the state so solidly popular, or who would be so much approved for that place. A milk & water character in that office would be seen as a calamity. Tyler having been the former state judge of that court too, and removed to make way for so wretched a fool as Griffin has a kind of right of reclamation, with the advantage of repeated elections by the legislature, as Admiralty judge, circuit judge & Governor. But of all these things you will judge fairly between him & his competitors. You have seen in the papers that Livingston has served a writ on me, stating damages at 100,000. D.  The ground is not yet explained, but it is understood to be the batture. I have engaged Wirt, Hay, & Wickham as counsel. I shall soon look into my papers to make a state of the case to enable them to plead: and as much of our proceedings was never committed to writing, and my memory cannot be trusted, it is probable I shall have to appeal to that of my associates in the proceedings. I believe that what I did was in harmony with the opinions of all the members of the administration, verbally expressed altho’ not in writing. I have been delighted to see the effect of Monroe’s late visit to Washington on his mind. There appears to be the most perfect reconciliation & cordiality established towards yourself. I think him now inclined to rejoin us with zeal. The only embarrasment will be from his late friends. But I think he has firmness of mind enough to act independently as to them. The next session of our legislature will shew. We are suffering under a most severe drought of now 3. weeks continuance. Late sown wheat is yellow. But the oats suffer especially. In speaking of Livingston’s suit, I omitted to observe that it is little doubted that his knolege of Marshall’s character has induced him to bring this action. His twistifications in the case of Marbury, in that of Burr, & the late Yazoo case, shew how dexterously he can reconcile law to his personal biasses: and nobody seems to doubt that he is ready prepared to decide that Livingston’s right to the batture is unquestionable, and that I am bound to pay for it with my private fortune. Ever affectionately yours.

Th: Jefferson

Cyrus Griffin died on December 14, 1810.  In his will written in 1808 Cyrus had stipulated:

“My body to be deposited in the Church yard of Wmsburg [Williamsburg] near that of my dearly beloved Christina at the smallest expense possible in every respect”. 

President Griffin's obituary read:

Virginia Argus Friday Dec 28 1810 DIED . In York Town , on Friday the 14 " instant at an advanced age , the honourable CYRUS GRIFFIN , Judge of the Federal Court for the District of Virginia . 

When appreciating the blessings of liberty we cannot too highly estimate the services of those who have been instrumental in its establishment; and whilst we offer to the memory of the warrior ... the most exalted tribute of respect and gratitude , we should not overlook the hero of the Cabinet ... amongst the number of those most excellent characters, who aided in our councils , to place us in the rank of an independent nation, was the departed Cyrus Griffin . 

Although educated in Britain and connected by marriage with an ancient and noble family of that country, he was one of the first who came forward to assert the rights and independence of his native country .... General Washington , who well knew Mr Griffin's merit , determined to provide for him a permanent situation suited to his talents and habits , and as the first token of his respect and confidence, appointed Mr Griffin in conjunction with general Lincoln and Col. Humphreys , to adjust all differences then existing with the Creek Nation of Indians ; the mission produced the happy effect expected from it . ... in this lengthy career of valuable services , the honor and integrity of this excellent public servant have never been suspected . 

Mr Griffin's memory will be respected and revered by all who knew him , for he was the polite scholar, the accomplished gentleman , and an affectionate husband and father , a most sincere friend , a very humane master and a good christian .

On December 25, 1810, the Reverant James Madison wrote President James Madison a letter recommending that Mr. Tucker be appointed Griffin's replacement on the bench:


My dear Sir, 

To the Multitude of Addresses, which you will, no Doubt, receive in Consequence of the Death of Judge Griffin, I feel great Reluctance in making an Addition; but, persuaded as I am that your Selection of a Successor will be guided by no other Consideration, than the relative Fitness of the different Characters, which may pass in Review before you, I take the Liberty of mentioning, that Judge Tucker would willingly accept of the office held by Mr Griffin. 

The Talents of Mr. Tucker, I beleive, are known to you; they, certainly, are inferior to those possessed by few, if any, in this State, especially, if we take our Comparison from the Bench. In Application to Official Duties, in the excellent Qualities of his Heart, and in the Soundness of his republican Principles, he is inferior to none. Of the present Administration he is a warm & decided Friend. -- Mr. Tucker knows Nothing of this Communication; nor would I have made it, did I not think, that you only want to know who is the most fit Person to sit on the same Bench, & at the same Time, with Judge Marshall: such Mr. Tucker appears to be. With the highest Respect & Esteem I am, Dr sir Yrs truly & affy -- 

J Madison

As per Thomas Jefferson's recomendation, James Madison nominated John Tyler as his Cyrus Griffin's successor on January 2 1811. After Tyler died, Madison then named St. George Tucker to the position on January 18, 1813 

[1] Image courtesy of the Traquair House Charitable Trust, Traquair House, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire EH44 6PW, Scotland.
[2] Robins, Sally Nelson Love Stories of Famous Virginians, National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia Published in 1923 by the Dietz Printing Company, pages 133-135
[3] Letters of the Delegates,  Cyrus Griffin to Governor Thomas Jefferson,  October 6, 1778
[4] Letters of the Delegates,  Cyrus Griffin to Governor Thomas Jefferson,  July , 1779
[5] Letters of the Delegates,  Cyrus Griffin to Burgess Ball,  September 21, 1779
[6] Letters of the Delegates,  Cyrus Griffin to Governor Thomas Jefferson,  November 2, 1779
[7] Letters of the Delegates,   Cyrus Griffin to Virginia House of Delegates ,  November 9, 1779
[8] Letters of the Delegates,   Samuel Huntington to Cyrus Griffin,  May 1, 1780
[9] Letters of the Delegates,   Cyrus Griffin to Samuel Huntington ,  May 4, 1780

[10] Letters of the Delegates,   Cyrus Griffin to Governor Jefferson,  June 9, 1780

[11] Letters of the Delegates,   Cyrus Griffin to Governor Jefferson,  June 13, 1780
[12] Letters of the Delegates, Charles Thomson to Cyrus Griffin, February 13, 1786
[13] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to Thomas Fitzsimons, December 15th, 1787
[14] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to Thomas Fitzsimons, January 13, 1788
[15] Letters of the Delegates, Massachusetts Delegation to Governor John Hancock, January 23, 1788
[16] Letters of the Delegates, Charles Thomason to the States, January 23, 1788
[17] Letters of the Delegates, Madison to George Washington, January 25, 1788
[18] Letters of  the Delegates, Madison to Eliza House Trist, January 27, 1788
[19] Anne Flore Millet, the marquise de Bréhan, was lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette. She wed the Marquis de Bréhan, a man twenty years her senior, and it proved unhappy. After the death of her sister Antoinette-Louise in 1783, Bréhan formed a life-long attachment with her widowed brother-in-law, French US Ambassador Elénor-François-Elie, Comte de Moustier (1751-1817). She and her son traveled with Moustier to America, where rumors about them strained relations between the two nations.
[20] Letters of the Delegates, Samuel A. Otis to James Warren, February 6, 1788
[21] Letters of the Delegates, Madison to George Washington , February 15, 1788
[22] Journals of the USCA, February 14, 1788
[23] Journals of the USCA, February 26, 1788
[24] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to James Madison, March 17, 1788
[25] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to James Madison, March 24, 1788
[26] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to James Madison, April 14, 1788
[27] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to Thomas Fitzsimons, April 27, 1788
[28] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to James Madison, May 5, 1788
[29] Journals of the USCA, May 8, 1788
[30] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to James Madison, May 20, 1788
[31] Ibid, Nay 20, 1788
[32] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to James Madison, May 20, 1788
[33] Letters of the Delegates, Cyrus Griffin to Thomas Fitzsimons, May 26, 1788
[34] Nicholas Gilman, Jr. (August 3, 1755 – May 2, 1814) was a Revolutionary War Officer, USCA delegate 1787-1789, and signer of the U.S. Constitution, representing New Hampshire. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives during the first four Congresses, and served in the U.S. Senate from 1804 until his death in 1814.
[35] Letters of the Delegates, Nicholas Gilman to John Langdon, May 29, 1788
[36] John Armstrong, Jr. (November 25, 1758 – April 1, 1843) was an American soldier and statesman who was a Pennsylvania delegate to the USCA 1787-1788, U.S. Senator from New York, and Secretary of War.
[37] Caruso, John Anthony The Appalachian Frontier: America's First Surge Westward,  Newfound Press, Knoxville, 2003,  page 320
[38] Journals of the USCA, June 2, 1788
[39] Journals of the USCA, June 3, 1788
[40] John Langdon (June 26, 1741 - Sept 18, 1819) was a Revolutionary War officer, Delegate to Continental Congress 1775-1776, USCA 1787, and 1787 Philadelphia Convention.  He was elected to the United States Senate (1789-18010),  first US Senate President pro tempore, and Governor of New Hampshire 1805-1811.
[41] The James Madison Papers, John Langdon to Alexander Hamilton,  June 21, 1788 
[42] On this same day, July 2, the United Colonies in 1776 declared Independence from Great Britain.  
[43] Ibid, July 2, 1788
[44] Smith, Paul H., et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789  25 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976-2000), Abraham Yates to Governor Clinton, July 2, 1788.
[45] Journals of the USCA, July 3, 1788
[46] Journals of the USCA, July 25, 1788
[47] New York Ratification Convention Journals, Saturday, July 26, 1788.
[48] Journals of the USCA, July 28, 1788
[49] James Madison Papers, James Madison to Edmund Randolph, August 2, 1788.
[50] Letters of the Delegates, James Madison, Jr. to James Madison, August 18, 1788
[51] Letters of the Delegates, James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, August 23, 1788.
[52] Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, September 8, 1788
[53] Journals of the USCA, September 13, 1788.
[54] Letters of the Delegates, Henry Lee to George Washington, September 13, 1788
[55] Reports of Secretary of Congress, Papers of the USCA, No. 180, p. 80.
[56] Journals of the USCA, September 13, 1788
[57] Journals of the USCA, September 16, 1788
[58] Letters of the Delegates, Benjamin Franklin to Robert Livingston Mar. 4, 1782
[59] Journals of the USCA, October 1, 1788
[60] Office of the Historian, Department of State, Buildings of the Department of State,
[61] New York Royal Gazette, March 17, 1781.
[62] Journals of the USCA, October 2, 1788
[63] Journals of USCA, October 8, 1788
[64] Journals of USCA, October 9, 1788
[65] Smith, Paul H., et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789. 25 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976-2000), Cyrus Griffin to Thomas Matthews, November 22, 1788
[66] Ibid, March 9th, 1789 Cyrus Griffin to Beverley Randolph

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