Congress Flees to Princeton 1783

President Elias Boudinot  and Nassau Hall Medallion
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In the summer of 1783, the third United States in Congress Assembled (USCA), convened under the Articles of Confederation, was in session at the Philadelphia State House (Independence Hall). A Preliminary Treaty of Peace had been in effect since November of 1782 and the government, on the brink of insolvency, was seeking ways to satisfy the new treaty's war reparations requirements. Additionally  the demands of U.S. creditors, which included massive military payroll delinquencies, was weighing heavily on the business of USCA.

On June 21st, 1783, Continental troops in Lancaster grew desperate to receive long overdue back pay. They mutinied and marched to Philadelphia with some 300 under arms from that city’s barracks joining them as they surrounded Independence Hall where the both the Pennsylvania Executive Council and the USCA were in separate sessions.
The mutineers demands were made in very dictatorial tones to Congress and the President that “…unless their demand were complied with in twenty minutes, they would let in upon them the injured soldiery, the consequences of which they were to abide.” 

USCA President Elias Boudinot sought council with the Pennsylvania Assembly, also in session, at Independence Hall. The President requested they call out the Pennsylvania Militia but that body refused believing the state soldiers would only join the mutineers escalating the hostage crisis.  Word had been sent to Major General Arthur St. Clair.  The Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled for Saturday, June 21, 1783 report:
The mutinous soldiers presented themselves, drawn up in the street before the State House, where Congress had assembled. The executive Council of the State sitting under the same roof, was called on for the proper interposition. President Dickinson came in, and explained the difficulty under actual circumstances, of bringing out the militia of the place for the suppression of the mutiny. He thought that without some outrages on persons or property, the temper of the militia could not be relied on. Genl St. Clair then in Philadelphia was sent for, and desired to use his interposition, in order to prevail on the troops to return to the Barracks. His report gave no encouragement.

In this posture of things, it was proposed by Mr. Izard that Congress, should adjourn. It was proposed by Mr. Hamilton, that General St. Clair in concert with the Executive Council of the State should take order for terminating the mutiny. Mr. Reed moved that the General should endeavor to withdraw the troops by assuring them of the disposition of Congress to do them justice. … In the meantime the Soldiers remained in their position, without offering any violence, individuals only occasionally uttering offensive words and wantonly pointed their Muskets to the Windows of the Hall of Congress. No danger from premeditated violence was apprehended, but it was observed that spirituous drink from the tippling houses adjoining began to be liberally served out to the Soldiers, & might lead to hasty excesses. 
St. Clair, along with Delegate Alexander Hamilton went out amongst the mutineers and listened to their grievances and demands that were relayed to President Boudinot.  Congress refused to negotiate and ordered the General to march the soldiers to back to their barracks. - The St. Clair Papers: The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair page 116 

Congress adjourned and proceeded out of Independence Hall led by Major General Arthur St. Clair.  “Soldiers, though in some instances offering a mock obstruction, permitted the members to pass through their ranks.” Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, Saturday June 21, 1783

President Boudinot immediately wrote General Washington who was stationed with his troops in Newburgh, New York: 

I am greatly mortified that our circumstances here oblige me to trouble your Excellency with a detail highly disagreeable and perplexing. I presume your Excellency has received copies of letters from Cols Butler and Mr Henry forwarded a few days ago. All endeavours to oblige the men to return to Lancaster proved ineffectual. They entered this city yesterday morning in a very orderly manner and took possession of the Barracks, and with the Troops there quartered these make up about five hundred men. General St. Clair was sent for, and matters seemed tolerably easy till this morning, when they positively refused all obedience to their Officers and seemed forming a design to be troublesome by evening.

Congress being adjourned till Monday, I thought proper to call them together at One o'clock. Six States had got together when the mutineers, joined by those of the Barracks before their arrival in Town, very unexpectedly appeared before and surrounded the State House, with fixed Bayonets, The Supreme Executive Council sitting also in the same House. The mutineers sent in a paper, demanding of the President and Council to authorize them to choose their own officers, (being deserted by their former officers as they alleged) in order to represent their grievances — that they should wait twenty minutes and if nothing was then done, they would turn in an enraged Soldiery on the Council who would do themselves justice, and the Council must abide the consequences, or words to that effect. This was handed to the members of Congress by the President of the State, General St. Clair was present at the request of Congress and but very few Other Officers attended. 

Neither Congress nor the Council would take any measures while they were so menaced, and matters continued thus till half past three o'clock this afternoon, when the mutineers were prevailed on for the present to march back to the Barracks. They have seized the public Magazine and I am of opinion that the worst is not yet come. Tho' no Congress was regularly formed for want of one Member, yet the Members present unanimously directed me to inform your Excellency of this unjustifiable Movement. 

The Militia of the City, I suppose will be called out, but there are some suspicions that the Mutineers value themselves on their interest with the Inhabitants. It is therefore the wish of the Members who were assembled, that your Excellency would direct a movement of some of your best troops, on whom you can depend under these circumstances, towards this City, as it will be of the most dangerous consequences if a Measure of this kind is to be put up with, and no one can tell where it will end. Your Excellency will hear from me again, on this subject without delay. I forgot to inform your Excellency, that the Month's pay for January has been ordered to these Men, and three month's pay in Notes &c. They complain heavily of their Accounts yet remaining unsettled. It is to be wished the Pay Master could arrange Matters so as to close the accounts of the Soldiery with more expedition.

Exhibited here is Commander-in-Chief George Washington's response to President Elias Boudinot from Headquarters Newburgh evening June 24 1783.
Dear Sir, It was not until 3 O'clock this afternoon, that I had the first intimation of the infamous and outrageous Mutiny of a part of the Pennsylvania Troops; it was then I received your Excellency's Letter of the 21st by express, and agreeable to the request contained in it, I instantly ordered Three compleat Regiments of Infantry and a Detachment of Artillery to be put in motion as soon as possible; — This Corps (which you will observe by the Returns, is a large proportion of our whole Force) will consist of upwards of 1500 effectives. — As all the Troops who composed this gallant little Army, as well those who were furloughed as those who remain in Service, are Men of tried fidelity, I could not have occasion to make any choice of Corps; and I have only to regret, that that there existed a necessity, they should be employed on so disagreeable a Service,— I dare say however, they will on this and all other occasions perform their duty as brave and faithful Soldiers.
While I suffer the most poignant distress in observing that a handful of men, contemptible in numbers, and equally so in point of Service (if the Veteran Troops from the southward have not been seduced by their example) and who are not worthy to be called Soldiers, should disgrace themselves as the Pennsylvania Mutineers have done, by insulting the Sovereign Authority of the United States and that of their own; — I feel an inexpressible satisfaction, that even this behaviour cannot stain the name of the American Soldiery. — It cannot be imputable to, or reflect dishonour on the Army at large; but on the contrary, it will, by the striking contrast it exhibits, hold up to public view the other Troops in the most advantageous point of light; — Upon taking all the circumstances into consideration, I cannot sufficiently express my surprise and indignation, at the arrogance, the folly, and the wickedness of the Mutineers; nor can I sufficiently admire the fidelity, the bravery, and the patriotism, which must for ever signalize the unsullied Character of the other Corps of our Army; — for when we consider that these Pennsylvania Levies who have now mutinyed, are Recruits and Soldiers of a day, who have not born the heat and burden of the War, and who can have in reality very few hardships to complain of, — and when we at the same time recollect that these Soldiers who have lately been furloughed from this Army are the veterans who have patiently endured hunger, nakedness and cold, who have suffered and bled without a murmur, and who with perfect good order have retired to their homes, without the settlement of their Accounts, or a farthing of money in their pockets, — we shall be as much astonished at the vertues of the latter, as we are struck with horror and detestation at the proceedings of the former; — and every candid mind without indulging ill-grounded prejudices, will undoubtedly make the proper discrimination.
I intended only to wait until the Troops were collected and had occupied their new Camp, in order to make a full Report to Congress of the measures which have been taken in consequence of the Resolution of the 26th of May. — Notwithstanding the option which was given, in my answer to the address of the Generals and Officers Commanding Regiments and Corps, which has been already sent to your Excellency, — No Soldiers, except a very few whose homes are within the Enemy's Lines, and a very small number of Officers, have thought proper to avail themselves of it by remaining with the Army — A List of those who remain, is herewith transmitted. — The Men engaged to serve three Years were then formed into Reg* and Corps in the following manner, viz — The Troops of Massachusetts composed 4 Regiments, Connecticut 1 Reg' New Hampshire 5 Companies, Rhode Island 2 Companies, Massachusetts Artillery 3 Companies and New York Artillery 2 Companies — The total strength will be seen by the Weekly state, which is also forwarded.
The Army being thus reduced to merely a competent garrison for West Point, that being the only object of importance in this quarter, and it being necessary to employ a considerable part of the men in building an Arsenal and Magazines at that Post, agreeably to the directions given by the Secretary at War, — the Troops accordingly broke up the Cantonement yesterday, and removed to that Garrison, where Major Gen1 Knox still retains the Command. The Detachment which marches for Philadelphia will be under the orders of Ma' Genrl Howe and Genrl Heath having, at his own particular request, retired from the field; The Brigadiers now remaining with the Army, are Patterson, Huntington and Greaton, besides the Adjutant-General.
Thus have I given the present State of our military affairs, and hope the Arrangements will be satisfactory to Congress.
I have the honor to be Your Excellency's Most obedient Servant
G: Washington

P. S. Should anything turn up, which may prevent the necessity of the Troops proceeding to Philadelphia, I am to request your Excellency will send the earliest intimation to the Commanding Officer — that the Detachment may return immediately. — The Route will be by Ringwood, Pompton, Morristown, Princeton and Trenton, on which your Express may meet the Corps. 

As printed in the Connecticut Journal dated Wednesday, July 30, 1783, New Haven, CT, by Thomas and Samuel Green

Two days later, realizing that the Pennsylvania Supreme Council could not guarantee the USCA's safety, President Boudinot wrote his brother requesting his aid to protect Congress in what would be the new Capitol of the United States.
My dear Brother Philada. 23 June 1783 -- I have only a moment to inform you, that there has been a most dangerous insurrection and mutiny among a few Soldiers in the Barracks here. About 3 or 400 surrounded Congress and the Supreme Executive Council, and kept us Prisoners in a manner near three hours, tho' they offered no insult personally. To my great mortification, not a Citizen came to our assistance. The President and Council have not firmness enough to call out the Militia, and allege as the reason that they would not obey them. In short the political Maneuvers here, previous to that important election of next October, entirely unhinges Government. This handful of Mutineers continue still with Arms in their hands and are privately supported, and it is well if we are not all Prisoners in a short time. Congress will not meet here, but has authorized me to change their place of residence. I mean to adjourn to Princeton if the Inhabitants of Jersey will protect us. I have wrote to the Governor particularly. I wish you could get your Troop of Horse to offer them aid and be ready, if necessary, to meet us at Princeton on Saturday or Sunday next, if required. - Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789. Elias Boudinot to Elisha Boudinot June 23, 1783

 A committee, with Alexander Hamilton as chairman, waited on the State Executive Council to insure the Government of the United States protection in Philadelphia so Congress could convene the following day. Meanwhile, New Jersey responded favorable with a willingness to house and protect the USCA.

Exhibited here is a document signed by William Livingston the Governor of New Jersey who President Boudinot wrote on June 22nd, 1783 requesting his assistance and assurances of protection should the USCA decide to move the US Seat of Government to New Jersey.  Governor Livingston, who go on to be a signer of the US Constitution of 1787, promptly responded the President on June 24th:

Exhibited here is a printed letter from NJ Governor William Livingston to President Boudinot,  dated 24th June, 1783

Sir, I just this moment received your excellency’s letter of yesterday, on my journey to Elizabeth-town.  I am greatly mortified at the insult offered to Congress by a part of the soldiery.  If that august body shall think proper to honor this state with their presence, I make not the least doubt that the citizens of New Jersey will cheerfully turn out to repel any violence that may be attempted against them; and as soon as I shall be informed of the movement of Congress to this state, and that there is the least reason to apprehend, that the mutineers intend to prosecute their riotous measures, I shall with the greatest alacrity give the necessary orders, and think myself not a little honoured by being personally engaged in defending the representatives of the United States against every insult and indignity.  I have the honour to be your excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant.  
Will. Livingston, Governor 

Exhibited here is a printed letter from the Governors and Masters of the College of Princeton, to his Excellency the President of Congress.  Nassau Hall, June 26, 1783

Sir, the Governors and Masters of the College, happy in an opportunity of paying the Congress of the United States, their profoundest and sincerest honours, beg leave to offer them, through your Excellency, to that august body. 

Convinced how few accommodations this small village possesses, in comparison with those which, for several years, Congress have enjoyed in a large & flourishing city, we wish to offer them every convenience that the College, in its present state, can afford. If the Hall, or the library room, can be made of any service to Congress, as places in which to hold their Sessions, or for any other purpose, we pray that they would accept of them during their continuance in this place. And if, in the common shock of our country this institution hath suffered more than other places, both by friends & foes; from its readiness to assist the one, while the public was yet poor & unprovided with conveniences for its troops;& from the peculiar & marked resentment of the other, as supposing it to be a nursery of rebellion, we doubt not but the candour of that most honourable body will readily excuse the marks of military fury which it still retains. 

Signed, in behalf of the Governours & Masters of the College, 

Samuel S. Smith, Professor of Divinity & Moral Philosophy.

James Riddle, Professor of Math
Oddly this 1783 letter to Congress refers to the College of New Jersey as the College of Princeton. This is significant because Princeton University's website in answer to the question "When did the College of New Jersey change its name to Princeton University?" states:
 The College of New Jersey, founded in 1746, changed its name to Princeton University during the culmination of the institution's Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1896. Historically, the University was often referred to as "Nassau," "Nassau Hall," "Princeton College," or "Old North."

Exhibited here is a printed letter of John Cox and resolutions issued  At a meeting of the inhabitants of Trenton and the vicinity, at the French Arms, on the 24th June 1783.

From the Vice President of the Council of New Jersey, to the President of Congress. Trenton, June 25, 1783:

Sir, The moment I received your Excellency’s favour on the 23d instant, I summoned a meeting of the inhabitants of Trenton and the vicinity, who being justly alarmed at the daring insult offered to the supreme government of the American Union, and being desirous of rectifying their zeal in support of the dignity and privileges of Congress, immediately entered the enclosed resolves, which I have the honour to transmit your Excellency 

And am, with great respect, Sir your most obedient servant 

John Cox

Having been informed, from undoubted authority, that a most gross and daring insult has been offered to Congress, the Supreme Government of the American Union, by a number of lawless people in arms, assembled at the State-House in Philadelphia on Saturday last:

Resolved unanimously, That we think it our immediate duty to express our resentment and indignation at so flagitous a proceeding. 

Resolved unanimously, That we look upon tyranny and anarchy with equal abhorrence; and as we have, at the risque of everything, opposed the former, we are determined, at the same risque, not to be wanting in our efforts to suppress the latter, on whatever occasion or under whatever form it may present itself. 

Resolved unanimously, That we consider the support of civil government and the majesty of the laws as one of the first of social duties, and riotous citizens who disturb the publick order and violate the dignity of the Union as the worst of enemies. 

Resolved unanimously, That we feel the utmost cheerfulness in pledging our lives and fortunes to the government under which we live, in whatever way our services may be required, whether in resisting foreign invasion or quelling intestine tumults. 

Resolved unanimously, That we would deem ourselves highly honored by the presence of Congress, and by an opportunity of testifying our zeal in support of their dignity and privileges, should they in their wisdom, think proper to adjourn to, or fix their residence in this State. 

Signed by order and in behalf of the inhabitants, 








Elias Boudinot, however, received no pledge of protection from the  Pennsylvania Supreme Council, its President, or the state militia.  Additionally, Congress and the Supreme Council were in an quandary debating, which governmental, state or federal, had the final jurisdiction over the federal mutinous soldierly. With no agreement on jurisdiction  and no safety assurances from the Pennsylvania Supreme Council, the USCA ordered an adjournment of Congress to Princeton, New Jersey with President Elias Boudinot issuing the following Proclamation.  

Exhibited here is Elias Boudinot's  Presidential Proclamation dated June 24,  1783

A Proclamation. Whereas a body of armed soldiers in the service of the United States, and quartered in the barracks of this city, having mutinously renounced their obedience to their officers, did, on Saturday this instant, proceed under the direction of their sergeants, in a hostile and threatening manner to the place in which Congress were assembled, and did surround the same with guards: and whereas Congress, inconsequence thereof, did on the same day resolve, " That the president and supreme executive council of this state should be informed, that the authority of the United States having been, that day, grossly insulted by the disorderly and menacing appearance of a body of armed soldiers, about the place within which Congress were assembled; and that the peace of this city being endangered by the mutinous disposition of the said troops then in the barracks, it was, in the opinion of Congress, necessary, that effectual measures should be immediately taken for supporting the public authority: and also, whereas Congress did at the same time appoint a committee to confer with the said president and supreme executive council on the practicability of carrying the said resolution into due effect; and also whereas the said committee have reported to me, that they have not received satisfactory assurances for expecting adequate and prompt exertions of this state for supporting the dignity of the federal government ; and also whereas the said soldiers still continue in a state off open mutiny and revolt, so that the dignity and authority of the United States would be constantly exposed to a repetition of insult, while Congress shall continue to fit in this city; I do therefore, by and with the advice of the said Committee, and according to the powers and authorities in me vested for this purpose, hereby summon the Honorable the Delegates composing the Congress of the United States, and every of them, to meet in Congress on Thursday the 26th of June instant, at Princetown, in the state of New Jersey, in order that further and more effectual measures may be taken for suppressing the present revolt, and maintaining the dignity and authority of the United States; of which all officers of the United States, civil and military, and all others whom it may concern, are desired to take notice and govern themselves accordingly.
Given under my hand and seal at Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, this twenty-fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three and of our sovereignty and independence the seventh. 
Elias Boudinot, President 

President Boudinot steered the USCA   Seat of Government to Princeton because he was a former resident as well as a Trustee of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), and because his wife, Hannah was from the prominent Princeton Stockton family.   Moreover, in his youth, his older sister Annis was a standout in the Princeton community due to her beauty, charisma, and exceptional command of English composition.  Consequently, she was courted by the most accomplished men in Central New Jersey. Richard Stockton, who was the son of John Stockton (one of the founders of the College of New Jersey), won Annis’ heart and they were married in late 1757.  

Richard Stockton was a lawyer, jurist, one of Princeton’s leading citizens, a Delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.    Together, he and Annis had six children: Julia Stockton (wife of signer Benjamin Rush), Mary, Susan, Richard, Lucius and Abigail.  Stockton's oldest son Richard was an eminent lawyer and later a Senator from New Jersey. His grandson, Commodore Robert Field Stockton, was a hero of the War of 1812, and in 1846 became the Military Governor of California and later a Senator from New Jersey.

Richard Stockton died in 1781, leaving his estate and the Morven Mansion to his son Richard. Annis continued on as the mistress of Morven, raising the children; she retained a high social standing in New Jersey Society, often entertaining George and Martha Washington among others.  She expertly managed her husband’s estate, supervising the servants and slaves, and attending to daily household matters.   It was during the period after the Revolution that Annis published a number of her poems, especially odes to George Washington.   Today, Annis is celebrated as the first woman poet to be published in the British American Colonies with her poems appearing in leading newspapers and magazines of the day.    

Annis Boudinot Stockton (1736-1801), 1734 - 1767, attributed to John Wollaston, (1734 - 1767), Princeton University Art Museum

Exhibited here in The November 1786 Columbian Magazine is Annis Boudinot Stockton's Poem entitled A POETICAL EPISTLE, addressed by a LADY of New Jersey, to her NIECE, upon her Marriage, in this City. Stockton gives her newly wed niece poetic advice on the proper behavior for a wife in the eighteenth century. She has signed it with the pen name Emilia, which she often used.

Exhibited here in The November 1786 Columbian Magazine is Annis Boudinot Stockton's Poem entitled A POETICAL EPISTLE, addressed by a LADY of New Jersey, to her NIECE, upon her Marriage, in this City. Stockton gives her newly wed niece poetic advice on the proper behavior for a wife in the eighteenth century. She has signed it with the pen name Emilia, which she often used.

Well! my lov’d Niece, I hear the Bustle’s o’er,
The wedding cake and visits are no more;
Now with your usual sweetness deign to hear,
What from a heart most friendly flows sincere:

Good nature—sense—of these you’ve ample store,
And Oeconomicks you have learnt before.
But there are lurking evils that do prove
Under the name of trifles—death to love.
And from these trifles, all the jarring springs,
And trust me child, they’re formidable things.

First then—with rev’rence treat in ev’ry place,
The chosen patron of your future days;
For when you shew him but the least neglect,
Yourself you rifle of your due respect.

Whene’er your husband means to stay at home,
Whate’er th’ occasion—dont consent to roam;
For home’s a solitary place to one

Who loves his wife, and finds her always gone.

At least consult the temper of his mind,

If vex’d abroad, he finds himself inclin’d

From public business to relax awhile;

How pleasing then the solace of a smile.

A soft companion to relieve his care,

His joy to heighten—or his grief to share?

Unbend his thoughts and from the world retire,
within his sacred home and round his chearful fire;
Nor let him know you’ve made a sacrifice,
He’ll find it out himself: And then he’ll prize
Your kind endeavors to promote his ease,
And make the study of your life to please.

Another rule, you’ll find of equal weight,
When jars subside, never recriminate;
And when the cloud is breaking from his brow,
Repeat not what he said—nor when nor how.
If he’s tenacious, gently give him way
And tho’ ’tis night, if he should say, ’tis day—
Dispute it not—but pass it with a smile;
He’ll recollect himself—and pay your toil
And shew he views it in a proper light;
And no Confusion seek—to do you right:
Just in his humour meet him—no debate,
And let it be your pleasure to forget.
His friends with kindness always entertain,
And tho’ by chance he brings them, ne’er complain;
whate’er’s provided for himself and you,
With neatness serv’d, will surely please them too.

But you, my dear—if you would wish to shine,
Must always say, your friends are also mine.
The house is your’s, and I will do the best,
To give a chearful welcome to each guest.
Nor are those maxims difficult to cope
When stimulated by so fair a hope,
To reach the summit of domestic bliss;
And crown each day with ever smiling peace.

Now if these lines one caution should contain.
To gain that end, my labor’s not in vain;
And be assur’d my dear, while life endures
With every tender sentiment, I’m your’s.


There is no doubt that Hannah teamed-up with her sister-in-law Annis and lobbied the President to choose Princeton, and not Trenton, as the United States Seat of the Government in the summer of 1783. This decision to move the Seat of Government to Princeton marked the last time the Confederation Congress would convene in Pennsylvania.

Several historians maintain that the USCA first convened at Colonel George Morgan’s House, named Prospect when they first assembled in Princeton.  I was unable to find any record of their commencement in the 1783 USCA Journals, delegate letters, period newspapers and magazines at Morgan’s house.   Princeton University Professor, Varnum Collins, makes a compelling case that the USCA did assemble at Prospect:

The evidence favoring the view that “Prospect” was the scene of the opening meetings is more compelling in its strength. Congress had come to Princeton hastily and apparently without making any effort to ascertain definitely the practical accommodations of the village. Mr. Boudinot may have had Nassau Hall in his mind as a meeting place at the outset; but when Colonel Morgan, who was well acquainted in Congress, stated in his letter of the 25th that one of his buildings contained “a better room for them to meet in” than the members could be “immediately accommodated with elsewhere.” Mr. Boudinot probably accepted the offer as at least a temporary arrangement. Furthermore in the list of available accommodations issued in October by the citizens of Princeton, Colonel Morgan announces his willingness to have “the Congress Room” in his house fitted up for winter use if desired. It is difficult to explain this designation of any room at “Prospect” unless a previous occupation of it by Congress had given it a right to that title. Finally it is noted in a memorandum book of Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, that the sheet of paper bearing the record of the distribution of ten sets of the Journal was lost “in removing the Office from the House of Col. Morgan to the College.” Unfortunately, this record is dated merely “1783;” but when half of the rooms in Nassau Hall were vacant it is altogether improbable, considering the close relation existing between the Secretary of Congress and that body itself, that he should have used Colonel Morgan's house as an office if Congress were sitting in Nassau Hall. It is easier to believe that he moved his belongings over to the college building because Congress was moving also.  We may, then, take it for granted that the first three meetings (June 30th, July 1st and 2d) were held in Colonel Morgan's house and that thereafter the sessions were held in the college building, in the library room presumably, except on state occasions, when they were held in the prayer-hall. The library-room which had been stripped by the British was on the north side of the second floor over the main entrance, and was about thirty by twenty-four feet in size. - Collins, Varnum Lansing, The Continental Congress at Princeton, The University library, 1908, pages 57-58

Additionally, Princeton University’s website on the Prospect House states:

Prospect House owes its name to the stone farmhouse first constructed on the site in the mid-18th century by Colonel George Morgan, western explorer, U.S. Agent for Indian Affairs and gentleman farmer. The superb eastern view from that farmhouse prompted Colonel Morgan to name his estate "Prospect." Morgan’s estate, a popular stopping of place in Revolutionary times, was visited by such diverse groups as a delegation of Delaware Indians, 2,000 mutinous soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line and the Continental Congress. When Prospect was acquired in 1849 by John Potter, a wealthy merchant from Charleston, S.C., he replaced the colonial structure with the present mansion. Princeton University, Prospect House History, March 15, 2012,  

University’s Nassau Hall, therefore, served as the U.S. Capital Building from July 3, 1783 to November 4, 1783.

The Nassau Hall structure was built in 1756 at a cost of £2,900 for the College of New Jersey.  Originally the brick-paved halls extended one hundred and seventy-five feet of what was the largest stone structure in the Colonies. In November, 1776, the British took possession of the building and used it as barracks and hospital but were briefly ejected by George Washington during the Battle of Princeton. After the war Nassau Hall, was found to be in great disrepair with “mostly bare partition walls and heaps of fallen plaster."[lxxvii] An Article in the New American Magazine of 1760 reported on the building:

There are three flat-arched doors on the north side giving access by a flight of steps to the three separate entries (an entry refers here to the hallway on each floor running the full length of the building). At the center is a projecting section of five bays surmounted by a pediment with circular windows, and other decorations. The only ornamental feature above the cornice, is the cupola, standing somewhat higher than the twelve fireplace chimneys. Beyond these there are no features of distinction.

The simple interior design is shown in the plan, where a central corridor provided communication with the students' chambers and recitation rooms, the entrances, and the common prayer hall; and on the second floor, with the library over the central north entrance. The prayer hall was two stories high, measured 32 by 40 feet, and had a balcony at the north end which could be reached from the second-story entry. Partially below ground level, though dimly lighted by windows, was the cellar, which served as kitchen, dining area (beneath the prayer hall), and storeroom. In all there were probably forty rooms for the students, not including those added later in the cellar when a moat was dug to allow additional light and air into that dungeon. - Savage, Henry L., ed., Nassau Halls, 1756-1956, published by Princeton University, September 22, 1956

For its regular sessions, the USCA met in Nassau Hall’s library room, which was located over the front entrance. For official dignitary occasions, it adjourned to the chapel on the main floor.  The move of the capital from Philadelphia to the College of New Jersey was a boom for the Princeton economy. 

It had leaped at a bound into national importance; from a “little obscure village” it had within the week “become the capital of America.” And where the “almost perfect silence” of a country hamlet was wont to reign, now nothing was “to be seen or heard but the passing and rattling of wagons, coaches and chairs.” To supply the metropolitan taste of Congressmen the produce of Philadelphia markets was brought up every week, with the result that the village street now echoed to the unfamiliar “crying about of pineapples, oranges, lemons, and every luxurious article both foreign and domestic.” The Continental Congress at Princeton, page 57

At the same time, the citizens and businesses in Philadelphia were struggling with an economic downturn due to the loss of the  Seat of Government.  Philadelphia Newspapers were circulating citizen accounts downplaying the mutiny in an attempt to lure the USCA back to Independence Hall. These Philadelphia newspaper accounts were printed as front page stories in the CarolinasConnecticut,Virginia  New York,  and even in the Country Journal of Providence, Rhode Island newspapers.

Exhibited here is the Country Journal's front page full reprint of a letter to the Philadelphia Freeman's Journal addressed to Mr. Baily that blatantly contradicts, delegate letters, and official accounts including the one published in the 1783 Journals of Congress:

The late mutiny of the Continental troops in this City, has been attended with consequences so interesting to the United States, and affecting to the honor of this, that I presume the following account will not be disagreeable to your readers, who may be assured of its authenticity in all the material parts, and without known or intended inaccuracy in any.
About two weeks ago, advice was received from Colonel Butler, commanding officer at Lancaster, that the troops there discovered a very discontented temper, which he apprehended would soon break out into some open acts of mutiny.  A few days after farther advices came, that a party had actually thrown off all obedience to their officers and marched to Philadelphia, notwithstanding the utmost exertions of their officers to prevent it.  Accordingly, on Thursday the 17th ult. about eighty soldiers, without officers, but completely armed, with bayonets fixed, drums beating, and green boughs in their hats, marched down Market Street, and proceeded to the barracks, where there were quartered 150 old soldiers, lately arrived from Carolina, the corps of artillery, and others of different corps, to the amount of 400 in whole.  No measures were taken, except conferences between President and Council, and Congress, till the Saturday following; when, to the astonishment of the city, and public dishonor, these troops, with fixed bayonets, and drums beating, marched to the State-House, the seat of Congress, and the Supreme Executive Council.  Having placed guards at different doors, and sent off detachments to those places where supposed arms and ammunition were deposited, they sent up written paper to the President and Council, desiring that they might be authorized to choose their own officers, and demanding an answer in 20 minutes, or an enraged soldiery would be let in upon them.  No address was made to Congress, which was assembled upon special business; but not choosing to deliberate under bayonets of an armed mob, they retired without any other insult offered to them, collectively or individually.  In the meantime the soldiery grew very clamorous, complaining of the detention of their pay, while all the civil officers under Congress were amply and punctually paid of the non-settlement of their accounts, and attempts to disband them without such settlement, intermixed with general reproaches on public authority of every kind, especially upon those officers whose duty they conceived it was to effect such settlement – and threats of violence if their complaints were not instantly attended to.  In the meantime, the weather being war, and a tavern very convenient, many of them got intoxicated, and others being conversed with by indifferent persons, grew more reasonable and moderate, especially the old soldiers from Carolina; for it should be observed, the most noisy and troublesome were the recruits, many of whom had not even a uniform, and had not been in actual service during the war.
Towards the evening they were persuaded to return to the barracks, which they did; and Sunday and Monday passed quietly over; during which the President of the Council had frequent meetings and conferences with a committee of congress appointed for the purpose, the import of which I am not able to inform your readers, farther than that Congress finding their dignity and even safety to endangered, urged in very pressing terms for some measures to be taken for the security of both, ot at least for assurances what they were to expect to which they were unable to obtain any further satisfactory answer until Tuesday.  This interval was spent in deliberations of council, without any result or plan, and observation upon the proceedings at the barracks, where the unchecked soldierly by this time had grown very insolent – during which, the city was in a state of most anxious and disagreeable suspense.  On Tuesday the president called the field officers of the militia together, which was the first official notice of them in the whole transaction; there it is said his excellency communicated it, accompanied with some observations, and a request of information what might be expected from the militia, in case of any call for assistance.  After some deliberations it was concluded, that a formal legal call would be inadequate to the present emergency, as the law requires three days notice; but in the case of necessity, that they should be called on as volunteers.  They farther expressed as a general resentment, that the people were much at a loss to know what the complaints of the soldierly precisely were, that the militia would readily turn out to suppress any violence to private or public property, or personal safety, or any insult to public authority or private individuals; or if the complaints and demands of the soldiery were unreasonable, and they still continued to urge them; but that it appeared equitable to permit them to state their grievances, and if they appeared to be really such, it could not be doubted they would be redressed.  This I am assured was the substance of the report; though some of the officers went so far as to assure the President that if he would undertake to execute them in any event, rather than such proceedings should pass unnoticed and unpunished.  What report was made to Congress I cannot say  further than to be presumed the sense of the officers were not well understood, as the proclamation which was published soon after declared, “they had not been able to obtain any assurances from the PRESIDENT 7 Council, of prompt and adequate exertions for the safety and protection:” in consequences which they thought it their duty to withdraw from the State and resume their public deliberations where they could do it with ease, honour, and safety, and with full confidence the wisdom and firmness of government for their protection.

The next day after Congress had left the city, some expressions respecting the bank having dropped at the barracks, with hints of seizing some persons as hostages for their own safety; an alarm was instantly given, and the President requested the assistance of the citizens; upon which a guard was immediately turned out by the militia for the bank.  However, the night passed away in perfect tranquility.  During the night some officers had the curiosity to view the proceedings at the barracks, where they found the arms of the main guard asleep, and only one sentinel on actual duty and awake.  The careless posture suggested an idea of surprising them, but it was not encouraged, though apparently very practicable. 

Before this time, in consequence of some permission or connivance from the President and Council, the mutinous soldiery had chosen sundry officers to state the grievances  and frame a publication of the causes of the mutiny.  But while this was suppose to be in agitation, a messenger came hastily from the barracks with a letter to an officer, who, through town, was in the way to receive it; but it was delivered to some others, of the committee of officers, who, supporting it related to the business of their appointment opened it, and found it signed with the initials of two officers, also of the committee, who have since absconded.  The letter was very short, importing their advice to take measures for their own safety, as they could not protect them.  This was the first sight confirmed into a hostile declaration against the officers, and the soldiers meant to throw everything into confusion, seize them and the officers of the government, etc…  The town was soon filled with these alarming ideas.  Orders were now instantly given for the light horse and militia to turn out for immediate service, and everything wore the face of immediate hostility.  At the barracks there was little less alarms, for, as it has since appeared, the design of the letter had been wholly mistaken.  The fact was, those two officers either designed to incriminate an innocent colleague, or guard him against the dangerous consequences of any longer fomenting and conducting the mutiny; and accomplices, alarmed with militia turning out a guard the evening before, and the disposition to check them which began to manifest itself upon the departure of Congress. and particularly the proclamation, which confirmed a report that Congress ordered the General and a body of troops from camp, all conspired to damp their proceedings.  Several of the officers exerted themselves with great zeal and activity to improve these circumstances, so as to increase the terror which has visibly taken place.  It has been before remarked, that the troops from Carolina had never heartily engaged the mutiny; we ought also injustice to add, tat Col. Porter’s artillery, as well as the a State-House as afterwards, discovered a much better disposition than the others and even shewed a desire of returning to their obedience, under their officers.  Colonel Porter was among the foremost in his exertions to restore peace and good order.  Nor ought the conduct of Captain Boude to pass without particular notice, as he instantly punished, in a most exemplary manner, a soldier and some ill intention inhabitant who were endeavoring to counteract the measures to bring the mutineers to duty.  Finally this Company of Captain Boude’s under his influence led the way to open submission; the officers having prevailed on the men to lay down their arms, to seek the President and Council, or in their absence, the President, and retract their proceedings, which they accordingly did; and his Excellency being mounted on a table in the street, made them a speech, after which they returned to the barracks in good order.  The next day a part marched off to Lancaster, and peace and tranquility have been again restored to this city. 

This I have endeavored to give your readers a faithful detail of this important transaction  which I shall conclude by leaving them to those reflections which will doubtless arise when they look back on former occurrences in this city.  However the state may suffer in its credit and interest, it is hoped a lesson of candour and moderation of censure will be taught by it to those who have been so ready on the former occasions to criminate those who had the direction of public affairs on critical occasions.  It is also hoped the the hon. Congress, when they consider that the sense of this city was either misunderstood, or not sufficiently tried, will lay aside any prejudices they may have entertained, and again favour it with their residence.   

Although Congress had moved to Princeton, numerous federal departments that were an integral part in governing the new nation remained in Philadelphia hoping that the USCA would return. President Elias Boudinot, at the first USCA Princeton session brought Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris’ letter to the attention of Congress in which he requested permission to return Philadelphia. Boudinot, still unsure about the "capital's" future, wrote Morris on June 30th that the USCA “had no objections to you returning to Philadelphia and resuming the business of your department. On this information I doubt not but that you will immediately proceed to the City accordingly.”

In Princeton,   the matter of the mutiny in Philadelphia was hotly debated.  A resolution,  proposed by Alexander Hamilton and ordering General Howe to march fifteen hundred troops to Philadelphia to disarm the mutineers,  was sent to a committee and then enacted.  General Washington had already taken action and dispatched troops in response to President Boudinot’s letter of the 21st requesting military aid.  General Howe arrived just outside of Princeton on July 1st, writing Commander-in-Chief Washington: “I arrived yesterday with the Troops within four Miles of this Place where they will halt until twelve to Night.”   

The following day, the USCA resolved:

That Major General Howe be directed to march such part of the force under his command as he shall judge necessary to the State of Pennsylvania; and that the commanding officer in the said State he be instructed to apprehend and confine all such persons, belonging to the army, as there is reason to believe instigated the late mutiny; to disarm the remainder; to take, in conjunction with the civil authority, the proper measures to discover and secure all such persons as may have been instrumental therein; and in general to make full examination into all parts of the transaction, and when they have taken the proper steps to report to Congress. - Journals of USCA, July 1, 1783

With the resolution in hand, Howe set out for Philadelphia and spent the night of July 2nd encamped in Trenton.  The following morning, his troops started crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. During the crossing, Howe met with General St. Clair who was enroute to Princeton after quieting the mutiny without bloodshed.  William Henry Smith, the compiler of Arthur St. Clair’s Papers writes:  

Before this force could reach Philadelphia, St. Clair and the Executive Council had succeeded in quieting the disturbance without bloodshed. The principal leaders were arrested, obedience secured, after which Congress granted a pardon. The resolution directing General Howe to move with the troops, gave offense to General St. Clair, who regarded it as an attempt to supersede him in his command. Thereupon, he addressed a sharp letter to the President of Congress, who very considerately refrained from laying it before that body.

Delegate Richard Peters wrote Pennsylvania Delegate Thomas Fitzsimons explaining the situation over the command:

I wrote you this Morning about the Troops & told you that there were some Prospects of Sugar Plumbs from the Citizens & Council. But the Devil has set his Mark upon all this Business. I am clear it was the Intention & Determination of Congress that if General St. Clair chose to take the Command the Door was open & it was moved and agreed to that instead of General Howe, the Commanding General in Pennsylvania should be inserted. 

But now it seems this is not done. St. Clair is justly hurt by it as he has had an Agency in the Commencement of the Affair & now sees himself excluded. Tho' he would not have sought the Command yet Appearances are now against him. I assured the Malcontents of the City that their own General had the Option to take the Command if he would & therefore no Insult could be intended on the Citizens. It is now a strange General and strange Troops. The whole is a strange Medley & I will pledge myself for Nothing. But do have the Thing put upon such a Footing that our worthy Generals Feelings may not be injured or unjust Imputations thrown on his Conduct or Character. 

According to Alexander Hamilton's  motion ordering an inquiry into the instigation of the Pennsylvania mutiny, "the commanding officer in the said State" was to have charge of the investigation, but these words were struck out either in committee or in Congress. General St. Clair took it upon himself to write Congress a scathing letter, which was not read to Congress but answered by Elias Boudinot.  Exhibited here is a Presidential letter written by Boudinot  to the Commanding Officer St. Clair:

I duly recd your favor of yesterday but conceiving that you had mistaken the Resolution of Congress, I showed it to Mr. Fitzsimons and we have agreed not to present it to Congress, till we hear again from you. Congress were so careful to interfere one way or the other in the military etiquette, that we recommitted the Resolution to have everything struck out that should look towards any determination as to the Command, and it was left so that the Commanding officer be him who it might, was to carry the Resolution into Execution; and it can bear no other Construction.  If on the second reading you choose your Letter should be read in Congress, it shall be done without delay … Elias Boudinot, President P. S., You may depend on Congress having been perfectly satisfied with your conduct.  

President Boudinot undoubtedly trusted St. Clair’s judgment and spared him the embarrassment of making his letter known to Congress.   The President also wrote General Washington:

General S'. Clair is now here, and this moment suggests an Idea which he had desired me to mention to your Excellency, as a Matter of Importance in his View of the Matter in the intended Inquiry at Philadelphia.— That the Judge Advocate should be directed to attend the Inquiry — By this Means the Business would be conducted with most Regularity — The Inquiry might be more critical, and as several of the Officers are in Arrest, perhaps a Person not officially engaged, may Consider himself in an invidious Situation — It is late at Night, and no possibility of obtaining the Sense of Congress, and therefore your Excellency will consider this as the mere Suggestion of an individual & use your own Pleasure.

George Washington, after receipt of the letter, ordered Judge Advocate Edwards to repair at once to Philadelphia.  Henry Smith concludes, in his chapter on this incident: Explanations followed, showing that St. Clair had misconstrued the order, and peace prevailed once more.   The St. Clair papers, Volume I,  page 115 

Exhibited here is President Elias Boudinot's  Princeton autographed letter signed to Major General Arthur St. Clair, dated July 9, 1783, regarding the USCA flight to Princeton with a  P. S. stating the  "You may depend on Congress having been perfectly satisfied with your conduct." .  The letter is also docketed rcd by General Arthur St. Clair . - Klos Yavneh Academy Collection

The USCA now turned to other issues that were pressing on their agenda. Finding money for the payment and disbandment of the army was paramount to USCA business to avoid further mutinies.  The finalization of the Preliminary Treaty of Peace with Great Britain also presented more monetary challenges due to merchant and Tory reparations required in the settlement.  The selection of a permanent federal residence for the government also became important with the USCA being outset out of Philadelphia by its own military.  Additionally, with peace around corner the States reasserted their sovereign rights even challenging those granted to the USCA under the Articles of Confederation.  The USCA was entitled to requisition money from the States to carry on central governments functions established under the constitution.  The requisitions required proportional assumptions of national debt and budgets to be meted out fairly to the States.   Rarely did the States comply often complaining that they had no delegates present during the treasury sessions of the USCA.  It was no wonder that the delegates convened and worked until lunch on the 4th of July.  Professor Collins writes of the celebration:

It began at 1 o'clock in the afternoon with a salute of thirteen guns fired on the front campus. Then the oratorical contest between the two representatives of the college literary societies, the Cliosophic and the American Whig, took place in the college chapel. The orators were Ashbel Green, representing the American Whig Society, who spoke on "The Superiority of a Republican Form of Government," and Gilbert Tennent Snowden of the Cliosophic Society, the subject of whose oration is not known. Both of the speakers were seniors. After the intellectual feast was over, it would have been entirely contrary to precedent if the company had not adjourned to the Sign of the College or to Hudibras Inn to do justice to the punch that Christopher Beekman and Jacob Hyer always prepared for their guests on Independence Day. At six o'clock President Boudinot welcomed to a banquet at "Morven" between seventy and eighty guests, among whom were the members of Congress, the French Minister M. de la Luzerne, the faculty of the College, the two undergraduate orators of the day and prominent gentlemen of the town and neighborhood. After dinner President Boudinot proposed the usual thirteen toasts, each of which was accompanied by a discharge of artillery. Later in the evening there was a display of fireworks on the front campus, a feature so successful that it was repeated the next night. -  The Continental Congress at Princeton, page 73

There were, of course, many other matters obviously demanding attention, as, for instance, the foreign relations of the United States, the relations with the Indians, and in particular, the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation to the new era; but these questions had not the special claims of urgency and of prominence gained from recent events that made the others the chief bones of contention during the rest of the summer.

The USCA remained in Princeton for only four months and very little of great importance had been decided while it was there. Attendance in Congress was often very low, "much of the time no more than six states represented” (Burnett, The Continental Congress,p. 580).  On October 31, 1783, in the final days of Boudinot’s presidency, Peter John van Berckel presented his credentials as the minister representing the Netherlands. The USCA was mortified over the fact that he was received in such an out of the way farm town without a Robert Livingston’s office to properly greet him, James Madison wrote Governor Edmond Randolph on October 13th:
Mr. Van Berkel arrived a few [days ago]. Congress are in a charming situation to receive him, [being] in an obscure village, undetermined where they will spend the Winter, and without a Minister of F.A
The event was a success, facilitated perhaps by information provided just prior to the ceremony that the treaty between the United States and Great Britain had been signed on September 3, 1783.  It was reported the New Jersey Governor William Livingston's daughter, Sarah Jay, wrote the toast at the official signing celebration in Paris.

Steel Engraving of Sarah Livingston Jay from Rufus Wilmot Griswold  The Republican Court; or American Society in the Days of Washington,  1854: 

Sarah Livingston Jay, wife of US Peace Commissioner John Jay, was a very popular figure in French society in 1783 and a close friend of both the Marquis de Lafayette and his wife.   Although Sarah Jay planned an elaborate ball to celebrate the signing, she herself was unable to attend, due to the birth of her daughter, Ann, in August. It has been argued by Landa M. Freeman, Louise V. North and Janet M. Wedge, editors of Selected Letters of John Jay and Sarah Livingston Jay (2003), that the toasts here were not actually written by Sarah for John to read at the ball, but were rather those of John, recited on July 4th, 1783, when peace was imminent.  According to the editors, the toasts were transcribed by Mrs. Jay and sent in a letter to her sister, Kitty.

No matter what the provenance of the toasts – husband or wife – they express patriotism, a profound gratitude for the assistance of other nations, and a deep sensitivity to both the benefits and costs of hard-won liberty.

  1. The United States of America, may they be perpetual.
  2. The Congress.
  3. The King & Nation of France.
  4. General Washington and the American Army.
  5. The United Netherlands & all other free States in the world.
  6. His Catholic Majesty & all other Princes & Powers who have manifested Friendship to America.
  7. The Memory of the Patriots who have fallen for their Country.  May kindness be shown to their widows & children.
  8. The French Officers & Army who served in America.
  9. Gratitude to our Friends & Moderation to our Enemies
  10. May all our Citizens be soldiers, & all our soldiers Citizens.
  11. Concord, Wisdom & Firmness to all American Councils.
  12. May our Country be always prepared for War, but disposed to Peace.
  13. Liberty & Happiness to all Mankind. 
President Boudinot, never had the opportunity to execute the Resolution of the USCA ratifying the 1783 Treaty of Paris because the official document did not arrive inn the United States until after his term expired.

A month before the President's term expired,  the USCA took up the matter for selecting a “permanent residence” for the seat of the federal government.  Specifically the USCA were considering their options including the Legislature of New Jersey’ offer of federal jurisdiction over any district within the State to the extent of twenty miles square, and to grant £30,000 in specie for the purchase of lands and the erection of buildings. The resolutions also invited the inhabitants of New Jersey desiring the national capital in their particular locality to transmit their proposals to their USCA representatives. The inhabitants of Lamberton in Nottingham Township were among those who presented to USCA the advantages of their specific locality.

On October 6, 1783, when Congress took up the question “in which State buildings shall be provided and erected for the residence of Congress; beginning with New Hampshire and proceeding in the order in which they stand,” each State was successively negated. 

Exhibited  is a 1783 Account of Seat of Government offers by Kingston, NY, Annapolis, MD and Williamsburg, VA.
Overtures have been made to Congress by the States of New York and Maryland, by which the former have offered to cede Congress, the township of Kingston, in the said State, as the future seat of Congress, together with an exempt jurisdiction therein the establishment of such judicature as Congress shall think proper.
The state of Maryland have offered the city of Annapolis (with the unanimous concurrence of the inhabitants to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of Congress) the Assembly House for the sessions of Congress; the Governor's house for the President, and to build a hotel for each State at the expense of Maryland, provided it does not exceed £30,000 together, with a jurisdiction of whatever nature and extent Congress may judge necessary over the city, and 300 acres.
The advantages that will derive to any State, in which Congress shall establish the seat of their future sessions, will, we doubt not, be fully weighed by the Legislature of this State; and the convenience which at first view presents itself in favour of the city of Williamsburg for that purpose, in which there are large, elegant, commodious public buildings now vacant, and a considerable tract of public lands thereto adjoining  when added to superior advantages of its central situation to all America, will certainly counter-balance the liberal offers of the State of New York and Maryland, or any other State.

On October 7th Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts motioned “that buildings for the use of Congress be erected on the banks of the Delaware near Trenton, or of the Patowmack, near Georgetown, provided a suitable district can be procured on one of the rivers as aforesaid, for a federal town” (Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, Tuesday October 7, 1783). Amendments left only the names of the rivers and it was finally resolved that the site should be “That the place on the Delaware for erecting buildings for the use of Congress, be near the falls,” (Ibid) that is, near Trenton on the Jersey side, or in Pennsylvania on the opposite side. Congress further resolved:

That a committee of five be appointed to repair to the falls of Delaware, to view the situation of the country in its neighbourhood, and report a proper district for carrying into effect the preceding resolution: the members, Mr. Gerry, Mr. S. Huntington, Mr. Peters, Mr. Duane, Mr. Clark. (Ibid)

The question now resolved itself into a dispute between New England, which favored Trenton, and the Southern States who sought a capital at near Georgetown on the Potomac River. Accordingly, on October 8, 1783, the Southern members supported a motion to reconsider the proceedings of the previous day:
… re-consider the resolution of yesterday, by which the residence of Congress is to be fixed near the falls of Delaware, in order to fix on some other place that shall be more central, more favourable to the Union, and shall approach nearer to that justice which is due to the southern states. And on the question to re-consider the resolution of yesterday, by which the residence of Congress is to be fixed near the falls of Delaware. -- Journals of USCA, Wednesday October 9, 1783

This motion failed, as did other amendments, and the selection of Trenton or its immediate vicinity as the next U.S. Capitol appeared to be an accomplished fact. On the thirteenth of October, 1783, Madison wrote to Governor Edmund Randolph:

Trenton was next proposed, on which question the votes were divided by the river Delaware . . . . The vicinity of the falls is to become the future seat of the Federal Government, unless a conversion of some of the Eastern States can be effected. - Madison Papers, Vol. 1, p. 576

The continued opposition to a northern capital continued and it led to a compromise, proposed by Elbridge Gerry, and was adopted by Congress on October 21, 1783. 

And that until the buildings to be erected on the banks of the Delaware and Potomac shall be prepared for the reception of Congress, their residence shall be alternately at equal periods of not more than one year, and not less than six months in Trenton and Annapolis; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to adjourn Congress on the 12th day of November next, to meet at Annapolis on the 26th of the same month, for the despatch of public business. - Journals of USCA, Tuesday October 21, 1783

This Act moved Francis Hopkinson, of Bordentown, to write an article entitled“Intelligence Extraordinary.” Hopkinson wrote that This miraculous pendulum is to vibrate between Annapolis, on the Chesapeake, and Trenton, on the Delaware; a range of about 180 miles. - Hastings, George Everett, The life and works of Francis Hopkinson, by George Everett Hastings. Chicago, Ill., The University of Chicago press  1926 page 151 

During the course of these discussions the citizens of Trenton called a town meeting at French Arms to “formulate attractive conveniences” to induce the members of Congress to adjourn to their city rather than Annapolis. Rooms and board were offered to the members of Congress by many of Trenton’s most influential citizens, and “Good Hay in any quantity" was promised. - The Papers, Continental Congress, No. 78, Vol. XXII, pp. 283-6. 

In spite of these inducements, Congress adjourned from Princeton, November 4, 1783, to meet at Annapolis on the twenty-sixth of the same month. At Annapolis the question of the federal capital was again reopened, but no definite action was taken.

For more information on the  different Seats of the US Government please view the video below:
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