Remarks on Plans for Paying the Public Debt
[Philadelphia, January 29, 1783]
Mr. Hamilton disliked every plan that made but partial provision for the public debts;1 as an inconsistent & dishonorable departure from the declaration made by Congs. on that subject. He said the domestic Creditors would take the alarm at any distinctions unfavorable to their claims;2 that they would withhold their influence from any such measures recommended by Congress; and that it must be principally from their influence on their respective legislatures that success could be expected to any application from Congs. for a general revenue.
“Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress,” MS, James Madison Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Following a two-day debate on the necessity of establishing permanent funds for the United States (see the two preceding documents), John Rutledge on January 29, 1783, moved “That Congress be resolved into a committee of the whole, to consider of the most effectual means of restoring and supporting public credit …” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXIV, 97). From that date until February 21, Congress intermittently resolved itself into a committee of the whole to consider ways of creating a permanent fund for the United States.
2. H is referring to a proposal by John Rutledge that Congress impose a five percent impost to continue twenty-five years for the exclusive purpose of paying the interest and principal on the money borrowed by the United States in Europe (“Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress,” MS, James Madison Papers, Library of Congress).