Memorandum from James Madison
[ca. 6 Mch. 1783]
Plan proposed consists of 1st. permanent revenue. 2. abatements in favor of the States distressed by the war. 3. common mass of all reasonable expences incurred by the States without sanction of Congress. 4. territorial cessions.
Manner in which the interests of the several States will be affected by these objects:
N. Hamshire will approve the establishment of permanent revenue, as tending to support the confederacy, to remove cause of future contention, and to guard her trade from taxation by the States through which it is carried on:1 the loans of her Citizens being under her proportion, she has not that motive. Having never been much invaded will be against abatements—for the same reason against common mass—covets a share of vacant territory.
Massts. is deeply interested in the provision for the public debts by the loans of her citizens—against abatements. The Penobscot expedition alone interests her in a common mass. The other objects do not particularly affect her.
R.I. being a weak State is interested in a permanent revenue as tending to support the confederacy and prevent future contentions; but against it as tending to deprive her of the occasion of taxing commerce of neighbouring states. Her proportion of loans does not interest her in it. Not opposed to abatements, nor against a common mass, having been long the seat of war. Anxious for territorial Cessions.
Connecticut interested in general revenue as tending to shelter her trade from taxation by N.Y. and R.I. and in Some degree as providing for loan office debts, her loans being above her proportion. Strenuous against abatements—in favor of common, having often employed militia without sanction of Congss. Since the condemnation of her title to West: claims interested in the cessions of other States.
N.Y. strongly attached to permanent revenue as tending to support the Confederacy &c—altho her Citizens are not lenders beyond her proportion yet individuals of great weight are deeply interested in the funds. Deeply and peculiarly interested in abatements—favorable to a common mass. Since the acceptance of her cession of territory interested in those of other States.
N.J. interested as a small State in the tendency of permanent revenue to Support the Confederacy &c.—and to save her commerce from taxation by Pa. and N.Y. The loans of her Citizens are not materially disproportionate altho much the seat of war not interested in abatements and2 her expenditures have been previously Sanctioned, solicitous for territorial cessions.
Pena. deeply interested by the loans of her Citizens in a permanent revenue—as far as revenue from trade tends to restrain her from taxing that of N.J. her interest opposed to it. Not interested in abatements nor common mass, but has espoused both—urgent for vacant territory.
Delaware interested by her weakness in permanent revenue as tending to support the confederacy and—not materially by the credits of her Citizens—opposed to abatements and common mass. To the vacant territory firmly attached.
Maryland having never been the seat of war and her citizens being creditors below her proportion is no otherwise interested in permanent revenue than in the support of Confederacy &c. Against abatements—and common mass. The vacant territory is her ruling object.
Virga. in common with the S. States interested by her opulent and defenceless commerce in a permanent revenue as tending to secure the protection of the Confederacy against the maritime superiority of E. States. As it tends to discharge the loan-office debts and to restrain her from taxing the trade of N.C. justice and a liberal policy only recommend to her a permanent revenue. It is uncertain how the credit of her Citizens may stand in a liquidation of their claims on U.S.3 Interested somewhat perhaps in abatements—particularly so in common mass—not only her excentric expenditures being enormous—but many of them which have been similar to those allowed to other States, having received no sanction of Congs. Her Cession will be considered as a sacrifice.
N. Carolina interested in permanent and general revenue as tending to prolong the protection of Confederacy against maritime superiority of E. States; and to guard her trade from taxation of Virga. and South Carolina—the loans of her Citizens are inconsiderable, but their claims for supplies must be great—in abatements and in common mass essentially interested. In the article of territory would make a Sacrifice.
S. Carolina being a weak and exposed State is interested in permanent revenue as tending to secure the protection of Confedcy. against enemies of every kind—also as to providing for debts, her Citizens having been lenders above her proportion and having besides immense unliquidated demands on U.S. As tending to restrain her taxation of trade of N.C. a Continentl. revenue not favorable to her supposed interest—in abatements and common mass she is supposed to be deeply interested, but in fact opposed to both—her sacrifice of territory would be inconsiderable.
Georgia as a feeble, opulent and frontier State peculiarly interested in whatever tends to support and prolong confederacy; also in permanent revenue by the credits of her Citizens, even those of the loan Office being beyond her proportion—in abatements and in common mass deeply interested—in article of territory would make sacrifice.
To make this plan more effectual for removing all present difficulties and occasions of future disputes, a recommendation is to be included for substituting numbers in place of the value of land as the rule of apportionment. In this all the States are interested, if proper deductions be made from the number of Slaves.
MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 11:1913–14); entirely in Madison’s hand; undated; only the most important emendations are noted below.
Madison’s memorandum consists of a significantly revised version of a long footnote that he had appended to his notes of debates in the Confederation Congress for 26 Feb. 1783, which among other things concerned issues relating to a revenue plan he was preparing as a member of a committee that had been appointed five days earlier for that purpose (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 22 vols. description ends , vi, 290–2, 293–4n; same, 309–11, for an analysis of the major variations between the footnote and the memorandum; and the discussion of the revenue plan in Morris, Papers description begins E. James Ferguson, John Catanzariti, Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, Mary A. Y. Gallagher, and others, eds., The Papers of Robert Morris, 1781–1784, Pittsburgh, 1973–99, 9 vols. description ends , vii, 517–19n). The committee presented Madison’s plan to Congress on 6 Mch. 1783, and it was probably on or about this date that he submitted the memorandum to TJ, who had returned to Philadelphia from Baltimore on 26 Feb. after Congress suspended his ultimately abortive appointment as one of the commissioners to negotiate peace with Great Britain (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 22 vols. description ends , vi, 309–16).
1. Remainder of sentence interlined in place of “however,” replacing the part of the interlineation through “proportion” that Madison initially wrote as the last sentence of the paragraph.
2. Preceding five words interlined.
3. Sentence interlined.