Report of Committee on Reductions in the Civil List
5 Mar. 1784
The Committee appointed to consider what reductions may be made in the civil list have agreed to the following resolutions.
Resolved that the following offices be discontinued, to wit the Chargé des affaires at the Court of Madrid whose salary is 4444 Dollars
|Agent at the Hague||920.|
|2d Under Secretary of Foreign affairs||700.|
|the Secretary of the War office||1000.|
|Agent of marine||1500.|
|Commissary of prisoners||1200.|
|the Assistant to the Superintendant of finance||1850.|
| 3 clerks in the office of finance (meaning that
3. shall remain)
|1. clerk [to] the Comptroller||500|
|the establishment of the jail||1338⅓|
|door keeper to Congress||400|
|whereby an annual saving will accrue to the United states of||Dol.|
Resolved that the following salaries may be reduced by taking from the allowances heretofore established the following sums.
|The Superintendant of finance||2000. Doll.|
|the Three foreign ministers each 1111 1/9 Doll||3333 ⅓|
|whereby annual saving will accrue to the United
Resolved that instead of the annual salary heretofore allowed to the judges of the court of appeals, they be allowed on every special occasion wherein they shall be called on the sum of 14. Dollars each for every day they shall sit in court, and the same for every day necessarily employed in travelling to and from court.
Resolved that after the day of the following offices may be discontinued.
|13.||Commissioners for settling the accounts of the
U. S. in the several states.
|9.||Clerks to the said Commissioners||4,500|
|5.||Commissioners for settling the accounts of the
|9.||Clerks to the Commissioners last mentioned||4,500|
|Whereby an annual saving will thence ensue of||oll.|
Resolved that the duties of Agent of marine be performed by the Secretary at war, who for his assistance therein shall retain a Secretary of marine heretofore allowed in the office of the agent of marine.
A view of the civil list as proposed to be reduced (stated for the satisfaction of the house, but not made a part of the report).
|Secretary of Congress||3000. Doll.|
|Secretary of Foreign affairs||4000.|
|1st. Under Secretary||800.|
|Secretary at War|
|Secretary of Marine||1000.|
|Superintendant of finance|
|6. clerks of accounts||3000.|
|3. Foreign ministers @ 10,000 D.||30,000.|
|1. Secretary of embassy|
|3. Judges of Appeals|
MS (DNA: PCC, No. 26); entirely in TJ’s hand; endorsed by Charles Thomson: “Report of Mr Williamson Mr Gerry Mr Tilton Mr Jefferson Mr McHenry Reduction of civil list Entd. read 5 March 1784."
On 17 Sep. 1783 Duane moved that, as a duty of Congress at all times, but especially when “their constituents are exposed to heavy taxes, and the finances greatly embarrassed,” economy in public expenditures should be introduced; that with the arrival of peace the business of many officers on the domestic civil list was reduced; that great savings also might be effected by a change in the diplomatic establishment; and that a committee of five should be appointed to consider what reductions might be made in the civil list and “to report specially on each department” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxv, 577). The original committee, which consisted of Duane, Huntington, Williamson, Gerry, and Clark, reported in part on 27 Sep. 1783 (Committee Book, PCC: No. 186). On 18 Dec. 1783 Tilton, TJ, and McHenry were appointed in the place of Duane, Huntington, and Clark; the report of 27 Sep. seems to have been recommitted on 4 Mch. 1784 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxv, 577; Burnett, Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress description ends , vii, No. 502, note 5). For Robert Morris’ estimates of expenses under the civil list, which afford an interesting comparison with what TJ recommended, see Morris to TJ, 25 Feb. 1784. The report was debated on 24 Mch. and 5 May. On 17 May the committee on unfinished business reported that the present report on reductions proposed in the civil list was still awaiting approval and was classified under those matters requiring action prior to adjournment. Under category 6 of unfinished business, however, which included matters requiring “no consideration, being rendered unnecessary by subsequent Acts of Congress, or by alteration of time and other circumstances,” there was the following: “11. On reduction of the Civil list and concerning War department” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvii, 398, 405, under 17 May 1784). This was no doubt owing to the fact that the report of the Grand Committee, which included $107,525.33 for the civil list, had been adopted on 27 Apr. 1784 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvi, 297–309). Morris had recommended a budget for the civil list of $184,300 (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., vi, 779–80).