1779, August: Congress set minimum terms for peace with Great Britain
which include independence, boundaries to be set at the Mississippi, free
navigation of the Mississippi, British evacuation, and certain fishing
1779, September 27: Congress selects John Adams to negotiate peace
and a treaty of commerce with England.
1779, November: Thomas Sim Lee takes office as the second Governor
of Maryland, succeeding Thomas Johnson who, as a Congressman in 1775, nominated
George Washington as Commander-in-Chief
1780, July: Over five thousand French troops under the command of
Comte de Rochambeau arrive in Rhode Island and begin preparations for the
long march south to join Washington.
1780, December: After months of often bitter debate, the Maryland
General Assembly agrees to confiscate the property of British Citizens
(known as "loyalists") in order to help defray the cost of the
1781, March: Maryland ratifies the Articles of Confederation after
successfully arguing that any western lands acquired by the peace treaty
be administered by Congress. Lafayette and the American troops under his
command encamp at Annapolis on their way south.
1781, June: Congress appoints a Peace Commission consisting of John
Adams, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson.
Peace demands are limited to independence and sovereignty, giving the Committee
discretion on boundaries, fishing rights, and navigation of the Mississippi.
1781, September: The French fleet and "Vessels from all Parts"
of Maryland transport troops, artillery, and supplies from Annapolis to
Virginia, while a wagon train of provisions proceeds overland.
1781, October 17: The British, under General Cornwallis, surrender
at Yorktown, near the mouth of the York River, in Virginia.
1781, November: A Marylander, John Hanson, is elected the first President
of Congress under the recently ratified Articles of Confederation.
1782, March: Parliament advises King George III to make peace.
1782, April: Richard Oswald, one of the British negotiators, reaches
Paris where he begins informal peace talks with Benjamin Franklin. The
Dutch recognize American independence. >
1782, September: A new British Ministry gives tacit recognition to
the "13 United States" and formal negotiations for peace begin.
1782, October: John Jay delivers a draft of a treaty to Richard Oswald
who is joined by a second British negotiator, Henry Strachey.
1782, November: William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence,
begins his first term as governor. Maryland and British barges clash near
Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay. One Maryland barge is blown up, killing
its captain and a large number of his crew.
Contrary to Congressional instructions, France is excluded from the
peace negotiations and on the 30th the preliminary articles of peace are
signed in Paris by the American and British commissioners.
1782, December: King George III opens Parliament with a speech from
the throne offering to declare the thirteen colonies "free and independent
states, by an article to be inserted in the treaty of peace."
1783, January: Articles of peace between France and Britain; Britain
and Spain are signed.
1783, February: Thomas Jefferson waits in Baltimore (January 30-February
24) for passage to France where Congress expects him to join the other
commissioners negotiating peace. On February 14 he receives a copy of King
George's speech from the throne of the previous December recognizing independence.
He doubts the necessity of going to Paris, but his instructions are not
rescinded by Congress until April 1.
1783, March: Captain Joshua Barney, a Marylander, arrives in Philadelphia
from France with the provisional treaty of peace which he delivers to Congress.
1783, April: Congress declares an end to hostilities and agrees to
the preliminary articles of peace. In Paris, British negotiator Richard
Oswald is replaced by David Hartley, a friend of Franklin's. In Annapolis,
the announcement of the armistice is met with public rejoicing and "the
State House, a superb Building," is "beautifully and magnificently
1783, May: Annapolis is offered to Congress as a permanent home.
1783, June: Congress adjourns to Princeton, New Jersey from Philadelphia,
to avoid soldiers protesting non-payment of back pay.
1783, September 3: The definitive copy of the treaty of peace is
signed by John Adams, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, and David Hartley at
the Hotel d'York in Paris and immediately dispatched to Congress. Article
Ten required ratification and exchange of copies within six months.
1783, October: All furloughed officers and men of the Continental
Army are discharged. Only a small force remains in arms awaiting the British
evacuation of New York.
1783, November: Annapolis Mayor Jeremiah Townley Chase informs the
town that, by resolution of October 23, Congress intends to make Annapolis
its temporary home. William Paca begins his second term as governor. On
the twenty-second, John Thaxter, Jr., John Adams' private secretary, reaches
Philadelphia, after over a month at sea, with an official copy of the definitive
treaty which he delivers to the new president of Congress, Thomas Mifflin.
At the State House in Annapolis, the Maryland Senate offers its chamber
to Congress and moves upstairs. In New York, the British complete their
1783, December: President Mifflin arrives in Annapolis on December
3 where he is given the governor's official residence. A United States
flag, especially made for the occasion by the noted cabinetmaker John Shaw,
is hoisted for the first time. A Congressional committee, chaired by Thomas
Jefferson, reports favorably on the treaty. Debate begins over whether
seven or nine states are needed to ratify with Jefferson strongly advocating
On the nineteenth, George Washington arrives in Annapolis greeted
at the edge of the city by General Horatio Gates, General William Smallwood,
several distinguished citizens, and a thirteen cannon salute. He lodges
at George Mann's new and elegant tavern and attends festivities organized
in his honor. At noon on the twenty-third, he resigns his commission in
the Old Senate Chamber of the Maryland State House, carefully following
a program worked out by a committee that included Thomas Jefferson. After
the ceremonies he leaves immediately for Mount Vernon to spend Christmas
with his family.
1784, January 14: Congress, with nine states represented, ratifies
the treaty of peace, known also as the Treaty of Paris. New Jersey and
New Hampshire have one delegate present. New York and Georgia are unrepresented.
Three copies are rushed by separate couriers to Paris.
1784, March: The first of the copies of the ratified treaty reaches
1784, April 9: King George III ratifies the treaty, five weeks after
the deadline, but no one objects.
1784, May 12: Ratified copies of the Treaty of Paris are exchanged
1784, June: Congress adjourns from Annapolis to Trenton, New Jersey,
leaving government in the hands of a Committee of Thirteen States.
1784, August: The Committee of the Thirteen States adjourns to Trenton
and Annapolis ceases to be the capital of the United States.
The English followed the course of the war on this could be bought on the streets of London for a shilling (about half the cost of a good meal). Accompanying the map was a printed account of principal places. Annapolis was described as "a small neat town of 150 houses; the streets are irregular, and not paved. It is situated on a peninsula formed by the river Severn and two small creeks, affording a beautiful prospect of Chesapeake -bay, and of the Eastern shore beyond it."
The William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Facsimile, Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 1556-40