Notes on Debates
MS (LC: Madison Papers). For a description of the manuscript of Notes on Debates, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 231–34.
Mr. Fitzimmons reminded Congress of the numerous inaccuracies & errors in the American column of the Treaty with Holland and proposed that a revision of it as ratified should take place in order that some steps might be taken for redressing this evil. he added that an accurate comparison of it with the Treaty with France ought also to be made2 for the purpose of seeing whether it consisted in all its parts with the latter.*3 He desired the Committe who had prepared the ratification to give some explanation on this subject to Congress.
Mr. Madison as first on that committee4 informed Congress, that the inaccuracies & errors consisting of mispelling, foreign idioms, & foreign words, obscurity of the sense &c were attended to by the Committee & verbally noted to Congress when their report was under consideration; that the Committee did not report them in writing, as the task was disagreeable, and the faults were not conceived to be of sufficient weight to affect the ratification. He thought it wd. be improper to reconsider the act as had been suggested, for the purpose of suspending it on that or any other acct. but had no objection if Congress were disposed to instruct Mr. Adams to substitute with the consent of the other party a more correct counterpart in the American language.5 The subject was dropped, no body seeming inclined to urge it.
On the motion of Mr. Rutlidge & for the purpose of extending the discussion to particular objects of General Revenue6 Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the whole to consider of the most effectual means of restoring public credit; and the proposition relative to general revenue was referred to the Committee: Mr. Carroll was elected into the chair, & the proposition taken up.7
Mr. Bland proposed to alter the words of the proposition so as to make it read establisht. of funds “on taxes or duties, to operate generally &c” This was agreed to as a more correct phraseology.8 Mr. Hamilton objected to it at first, supposing thro’ mistake that it might exclude the back lands which was a fund in contemplation of some gentlemen.
Mr. Madison having adverted to the jealousy of Mr. Rutlidge of a latent scheme to fix a tax on land according to its quantity, moved that between the words “generally” & “to operate” might be inserted the words “and in just proportion”9
Mr. Wilson said he had no objection to this amendmt. but that it might be referred to the taxes individually, & unnecessarily fetter Congress; since if the taxes collectively sd. operate in just proportion it wd. be sufficient. He instanced a land tax & an impost on trade, the former of which might press hardest on the Southn. & the latter on the Eastn. but both together might distribute the burden pretty uniformly.10 From this consideration he moved that the words “on the whole” might be prefixed to the words “in just proportion.” This amendt. to the amendment of Mr. Madison was 2ded. by Mr. Boudinot & agreed to without opposition as was afterwards the whole amendmt.11
Mr. Wilson in order to leave the scheme open for the back lands as a fund for paying the public debts, moved that the proposition might be further altered so as to read “indispensably necessary towards doing complete justice &c” The motion was 2ded. by Mr. Boudinot & passed without opposition12
The main proposition of Mr Wilson as thus amended then passed without opposition; in the words following. “That it is the opinion of Congress that the establishment of permanent & adequate funds on taxes or duties which shall operate generally & on the whole in just proportion throughout the U. S. are indispensably necessary towards doing compleat justice to the public Creditors, for restoring public Credit, & for providing for the future exigences of the War.”13
Mr. Bland proposed as the only expedient that cd. produce immediate relief to the publc Creditors, that Congress sd. by a fixed resolution appropriate to payment of the interest, all the monies which should arise from the requisitions on the States. He thought this would not only give immediate relief to the Creditors, but by throwing into circulation the stagnant securities, enliven the whole business of taxation.14 This proposition was not 2ded.
Mr. Wilson proceeded to detail to Congress his ideas on the subject of continental revenue. He stated the internal debt liquidated and unliquidated at 21. Million of Dollrs. the foreign debt at 8 Million, the actual deficiency of 1782. at 4 Million, the probable deficiency of 83. at 4.Million. Making in the whole 37.Million; which in round numbers & probably without exceeding the reallity may be called 40 Million. The interest of this debt at 6 per Ct. is 2,400,000 Drs, to which it will be prudent to add 600,000, which if the war continues will be needed, and in case of peace may be applied to a navy.15 An annual revenue of 3 Million of Drs. then is the sum to be aimed at, and which ought to be under the management of Congs. One of the objects already mentioned from wch. this revenue was to be sought, was a poll tax. This he thought a very proper one, but unfortunately the Constitution of Maryland which forbids this tax is an insuperable obstacle.16 Salt he thought a fit article to be taxed, as it is consumed in a small degree by all and in great quantities by none. It had been found so convenient a subject of taxation, that among all nations which have a system of revenue, it is made a material branch. In England a considerable sum is raised from it. In France it is swelled to the sum of 54,000,000 of livres.17 He thought it would be improper to levy this tax during the war whilst the price wd. continue so high, but the necessary fall of price at the conclusion of it wd. render the tax less sensible to the people. The suspension of this particular tax during the war would not be inconvenient as it might be set apart for the debt due to France on which the interest would not be called for during the war. He computed the quantity of salt imported into the U. S. annually at 3 Million of Bushels, & proposed a duty of ⅓ of a Dollar per bushel which wd. yield 1,000,000 of Drs.18 This duty he observed wd. press hardest on the Eastern States on acct. of the extraordinary consumption in the fisheries.
The next tax which he suggested was on land. 1 Dollar on every 100 Acres according to the computation of the Superintendt of finance would produce 500,000 Dollrs. This computation he was persuaded might be doubled; since their could not be less than 100 Million of Acres comprehended within the titles of individuals which at 1 Dr. per 100 Acres would yields 1,000,000, of Dollars. This tax cd. not be deemed too high & would bear heaviest not on the industrious farmer, but on the great land-holder.19 As the tax on Salt would fall with most weight on the Eastern States, the equilibrium would be restored by this which would be most felt by the Middle and Southern States.
The impost on trade was another source of revenue which, altho’ it might be proper to vary it somewhat in order to remove particular objections, ought to be again & again urged upon the States by Congress. The office of Finance has rated this at 500,000 Dollars. He thought a peace would double it in which case the sum of 3,000,000 Drs. would be made up.20 If these computations however should be found to be too high there will still be other objects which would bear taxation. An Excise he said had been mentioned. In general this species of taxation was tyrannical & justly obnoxious, but in certain forms had been found consistent with the policy of the freeest States. In Massachussets a State remarkably jealous of its liberty, an Excise was not only admitted before but continued since the revolution. The same was the case with Penna. also remarkable for its freedom.21 An Excise if so modified as not to offend the spirit of liberty may be considered as an object of easy & equal revenue. Wine & imported spirits had borne a heavy Excise in other Countries, and might be adopted in ours. Coffee is another object which might be included. The amount of these three objects is uncertain but materials for a satisfactory computation might be procured. These hints & remarks he acknowledged to be extremely imperfect & that he had been led to make them solely by a desire to contribute his mite towards such a system as would place the finances of the U. S. on an honorable & prosperous footing.
Mr. Ghorum observed that the proposition of Mr. Bland, however salutary its tendency might be in the respects suggested, could never be admitted because it would leave our army to starve and all our affairs to stagnate during its immediate operation.22 He objected to a duty on salt as not only bearing too heavy on the Eastn. States, but as giving a dangerous advantage to Rivals in the fisheries. Salt he sd exported from England for the fisheries is exempted particularly from duties.23 He thought it would be best to confine our attention for the present to the impost on trade which had been carryed so far towards an accomplishment, and to remove the objections which had retarded it, by limiting the term of its continuance, leaving to the States the nomination of the collectors, and by making the appropriation of it more specific.
Mr. Rutlidge was also for confining our attention to the Impost, & to get that before any further attempts were made. In order to succeed in getting it however he thought it ought to be asked in a new form. Few of the States had complied with the recommendation of Congs. literally. Georgia had not yet complied. Rhode Island had absolutely refused to comply at all. Virga. which at first complied but partially has since rescinded even that partial compliance. After enumerating the several objections urged by the States agst. the scheme,24 he proposed in order to remove them the following resolution: viz.
“that it be earnestly recommended to the several States to impose & levy a duty of 5 PrCt. ad valorem at the time & place of importation, on all goods, wares & merchandizes of foreign growth & manufactures wch. may be imported into the said States respectively, except goods of the U. S. or any of them, and a like duty on all prizes & prize goods condemned in the Court of admiralty of said States; that the money arising from such dutys be paid into the continental Treasury, to be appropriated & applied to the payment of the interest and to sink the principal of the money which the U. S. have borrowed in Europe & of what they may borrow, for discharging the arrears due to the army & for the future support of the war & to no other use or purpose whatsoever: that the said duties be continued for 25 years, unless the debts abovemd. be discharged in the meantime, in which case they shall cease & determine, that the money arising from the said duties & paid by any State, be passed to the credit of such State on account of its quota of the debt of the U. States.”25 The motion was seconded by Mr. Lee.
Mr. Woolcot opposed the motion as unjust towards those States which having few or no ports receive their merchandize through the ports of others; repeating the observation that it is the consumer & not the importer who pays the duty. He again animadverted on the conduct of Virga. in first giving & afterwards withdrawing her assent to the Impost recommended by Congress.26
Mr. Elseworth thought it wrong to couple any other objects with the Impost: that the States would give this if any thing; and that if a land tax or an excise were combined with it the whole scheme would fail.27 He thought however that some modification of the plan recommended by Congs. would be necessary. He supposed when the benefits of this continl. revenue should be experienced it would incline the States to concur in making additions to it. He abetted the opposition of Mr. Wolcot to the motion of Mr. Rutlidge which proposed that each State should be credited for the duties collected within its ports; dwelt on the injustice of it, said that Connecticut before the revolution did not import 1/50 perhaps not 1/100 part of the foreign merchandise consumed within it, and pronounced that such a plan wd. never be agreed to.28 He concurred in the expediency of new-modelling the scheme of the impost by defining the period of its continuance; by leaving to the States the nomination, & to Congress the appointment of Collectors or vice versa; and by a more determinate appropriation of the revenue.29 The first object to which it ought to be applied was he thought the foreign debt. This object claimed a preference as well from the hope of facilitating further aids from the quarter,30 as from the disputes into wch. a failure may embroil the U. S. The prejudices agst. making a provision for foreign debts which sd. not include the domestic ones was he thought unjust & might be satisfied by immediately requiring a tax in discharge of which loan office certificates should be receivable.31 State funds for the domestic debts would be proper for subsequent consideration. He added as a further objection against crediting the States for the duties on trade respectively collected by them, that a mutual jealousy of injuring their trade by being foremost in imposing such a duty would prevent any from making a beginning.32
Mr. Williamson said that Mr. Rutledge’s motion at the same time that it removed some objections, introduced such as would be much more fatal to the measure. He was sensible of the necessity of some alterations, particularly in its duration & the appointment of the Collectors. But the crediting the States severally for the amount of their collections was so palpably unjust & injurious that he thought candor required that it should not be persisted in. He was of opinion that the interest of the States, which trade for others, also required it, since such an abuse of the advantage possessed by them would compel the States for which they trade, to overcome the obstacles of nature & provide supplies for themselves. N. Carolina he said would probably be supplied pretty much thro’ Virga. if the latter forebore to levy a tax on the former, but in case she did not forbear, the ports of N. C. which are nearly as deep as those of Holland, might & probably wd. be substituted.33 The profits drawn by the more commercial States from the business they carry on for the others, were of themselves sufficient & ought to satisfy them.
Mr. Ramsay differed entirely from his colleage (Mr Rutlidge). He thought that as the consumer pays the tax, the crediting the States collecting the impost, unjust. N. Carolina, Maryland, N. Jersey & Connecticut would suffer by such a regulation and would never agree to it.34
Mr. Bland was equally agst. the regulation, he thought it replete with injustice & repugnant to every idea of finance. he observed tht. this point had been fully canvassed at the time when the impost was originally recommended by Congress, & finally exploded.35 He was indeed he said opposed to the whole motion (of Mr. Rutlidge) Nothing would be a secure pledge to Creditors that was not placed out of the Controul of the grantors. As long as it was in the power of the States to repeal their grants in this respect, suspicions would prevail, & wd. prevent loans. Money ought to be appropriated by the States as it is by the Parliament of G. B. He proposed that the revenue to be solicited from the States should be irrevocable by them without the consent of Congress, or of nine of the States.36 He disapproved of any determinate limitation to the continuance of the revenue, because the continuance of the debt could not be fixed and that was the only rule that could be proper or satisfactory. He said he should adhere to these ideas in the face of the act of Virga. repealing her assent to the impost; that it was trifling with Congs. to enable them to contract debts, & to withold from them the means of fulfilling their contracts.37
Mr. Lee said he seconded the motion of Mr. Rutlidge because he thought it most likely to succed; that he was persuaded the States would not concur in the impost on trade without a limitation of time affixed to it. With such a limitation and the right of collection, he thought Virga. R. Island & the other States probably wd. concur. The objection of his Colleague (Mr. Bland) he conceived to be unfounded; No act of the States could be irrevocable, because if so called it might notwithstanding be repealed.38 But he thought there wd. be no danger of a repeal, observing that the national faith was all the security that was given in other countries, or that could be given. He was sensible that some thing was of necessity to be done in the present alarming crisis; and was willing to strike out the clause crediting the States for their respective collections of the revenue on trade, as it was supposed that it wd. impede the measure.39
Mr. Hamilton disliked every plan that made but partial provision for the public debts; as an inconsistent & dishonorable departure from the declaration made by Congs. on that subject.40 He said the domestic Creditors would take the alarm at any distinctions unfavorable to their claims; 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 applications from Congs. for a general revenue.41
1. For a probable explanation of this Roman numeral, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 231.
3. Regarding the comment written by JM in his footnote, Article XXII of the treaty referred to “select articles” of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and France (Report on Treaty, 23 Jan., and n. 10). These articles related in part to the North American offshore fisheries—a resource of France from which Marbois was eager to bar the United States. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 436–37; 438, n. 5; 441; 443, n. 2; Report on Treaty, 23 Jan. 1783, n. 10. In his dispatch from The Hague on 8 October 1782, forwarding the treaty and convention to Livingston, John Adams wrote: “The rights of France and Spain are sufficiently secured by the twenty-second article; although it is not in the very words of the project transmitted me by Congress, it is the same in substance and effect. The Duc de la Vauguyon was very well contented with it” (Wharton, Revol. Dipl. Corr description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends ., V, 805). For La Vauguyon, ambassador from the court of Versailles to the States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 291, n. 19; V, 207, n. 2. For Barbé-Marbois, see JM Notes, 1 Jan. 1783.
Whether the French had the “right” or only a “liberty,” granted to them by Great Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht (1714) and confirmed in the Treaty of Paris (1763), to fish off the northern coast of Newfoundland and to dry their catch on that coast during the fishing season was an issue which interested JM. By the tenth article of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 30 January 1778, the United States had pledged that neither the Americans nor their government would ever “disturb” the French in the exercise of those “rights” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XI, 428).
Bearing upon this subject are nine pages in JM’s hand, comprising his copies of an undated “Letter from Sr. Stanier Porteen Secretary to Lord Weymouth to the latter” and of an “Extract above referred to of a letter from the Earl of Egremont to his grace the Duke of Bedford dated Whitehall March 1st. 1763.” JM’s docket of these copies reads, “Mr. R. Izard copy of paper obtained by him from the Secretary of Lord Weymouth thro’ a member of the B. Parliam.” On the cover page of these transcriptions, JM wrote, “The annexed letters were obtained for Mr. R. Izzard at his request by Mr. Dempster member of Parliament, from the Secretary of Lord Weymouth.” Stressing the untenability of the claim by France to the “rights” mentioned above, the Porten and Egremont documents implicitly denied that France could extend the privilege granted her by Great Britain to the United States or any other country.
Sir Stanier Porten (d. 1789), an uncle of Edward Gibbon, historian, had been knighted in 1772 and became the keeper of state papers at Whitehall two years later. Thomas Thynne (1734–1796), third Viscount Weymouth and later first Marquis of Bath, was secretary of state of the southern department, 1768–1770, 1775–1779. Charles Wyndham (1710–1763), second Earl of Egremont, was secretary of state for the southern department, 1761–1763. John Russell (1710–1771), fourth Duke of Bedford, was then in Paris as ambassador extraordinary to conclude a peace with France. George Dempster (1732–1818) served in the House of Commons from 1761 to 1790 as the member for the boroughs of Forfar and Fife, Scotland.
When JM copied the Porten and Egremont documents is unknown, but it probably was not before 7 June 1782, when Ralph Izard presented his credentials to Congress as a delegate from South Carolina, and not after 23 March 1783, when a copy of the provisional Articles of Peace reached Philadelphia (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 320; JM Notes, 24 Mar. 1783). When Izard secured copies of the documents is also unknown. Without mentioning the documents, he had written separate letters in September 1778 from Paris to Henry Laurens and John Adams about the conflict in interpretation between France and Great Britain over the articles in the Treaty of Utrecht and Treaty of Paris relating to the Newfoundland fisheries (Wharton, Revol. Dipl. Corr description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends ., II, 713–14, 740–49). See also ibid., VI, 82–83.
5. JM Notes, 23 Jan., and n. 2; JM to Randolph, 28 Jan. 1783. Omitting any mention of these criticisms, Livingston in his dispatch of 13 February 1783 congratulated Adams “most sincerely upon having surmounted all the obstacles that opposed themselves to the completion of our important connexion” with the Netherlands. “It has, I think, given the last blow to the pride of Britain” (Wharton, Revol. Dipl. Corr description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends ., VI, 250).
6. In his old age, JM interlineated “General Revenue” over a canceled “gel reve.”
7. John Rutledge’s motion was seconded by Theodorick Bland. Judging from the official journal, a vote on this motion was suspended until, upon the suggestion of Samuel Osgood, Congress had “Resolved, That whenever the house is resolved into a Committee of the whole, the chairman of the committee be elected by ballot” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 97–98, 98, n. 2). After the Rutledge motion carried, the committee of the whole chose Daniel Carroll to preside. See JM Notes, 4 Feb., and n. 20; 21 Feb. 1783, and n. 28. The “proposition relative to general revenue” was James Wilson’s motion of 27 January 1783, as “new-modelled” by JM the next day (JM Notes, 27 Jan., and n. 16; 28 Jan. 1783, and n. 3).
8. Bland’s amendment was confined to the words “on taxes and duties.” JM noted the adoption of this amendment by altering the opening portion of the manuscript draft of his “new-modelled” proposition of 28 January to read, “That it is the opinion of Congress that the establishment of permanent & adequate funds on taxes or Duties which shall operate generally throughout the U.S.” He also underlined the words following “Duties.” See JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, and n. 3.
9. JM misstated where he intended this phrase to go. Grammatically it must follow rather than precede “generally,” and so it was located in the resolution after being “prefixed” by Wilson’s “amendt. to the amendment.” See the next paragraph of the text and n. 11.
10. Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 375, n. 15; JM Notes, 14 Jan. 1783, and n. 9.
11. See nn. 8 and 9. Upon the adoption of his amendment and Wilson’s amendment thereto, JM inserted a caret immediately after “generally” in the manuscript text of his original motion, repeated the same mark on the page below the motion, and wrote “on the whole in just proportions.” See JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, and n. 3.
12. This proposal by Wilson consisted only of changing the “for” after “necessary” in JM’s original motion to “towards.” JM duly canceled “for” in his manuscript but inadvertently interlineated “twoards.” See JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, and n. 3.
13. JM wrote “passd” below the draft of his original motion, altered by him to reflect the particulars in which it had been amended. The motion as passed by the committee of the whole was spread on the official journal of Congress the same day but not adopted until 12 February (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 97–98); JM Notes, 12 Feb. 1783, and n. 1).
14. The interest on the “securities,” of which the loan-office certificates were a prime example, had been long in default, thus rendering them largely unacceptable (“stagnant”) as payment for commodities, as security for private loans, or as capital for investment. Apparently overlooking the military creditors of the United States altogether (see Nathaniel Gorham’s subsequent remarks), Bland defended his proposal with an argument which recalls the following statement by Robert Morris in his report of 29 July 1782: “many persons by being Creditors of the Public, are deprived of those funds which are necessary to the full exercise of their skill and industry, consequently the community are deprived of the benefits which would result from that exercise, whereas if these debts, which are in a manner dead, were brought back to existence, monied men would purchase them up (tho’ perhaps at a considerable discount) and thereby restore to the public many useful members, who are now entirely lost, and extend the operations of many more to considerable advantage. For altho’ not one additional shilling would be by this means brought in, yet by distributing property into those hands which could render it most productive, the Revenue would be increased while the original stock continued the same” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 436).
15. Randolph to JM, 15 Jan., n. 13; JM Notes, 27 Jan., and nn. 11, 13. In an undated memorandum, to which reference already has been made, Alexander Hamilton estimated the annual interest on a total debt of $40,000,000 to be $2,280,000. Differing with Wilson, Hamilton calculated the sum owed abroad as $6,000,000 at 4 per cent interest, and the sum owed in the United States as $34,000,000 at 6 per cent interest (JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, n. 43).
16. Article XIII of the “Declaration of Rights” of the Constitution of Maryland, adopted in 1776, stated in part, “That the levying taxes by the poll is grievous and oppressive, and ought to be abolished” (Francis N. Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, III, 1687).
17. Except between 1730 and 1732, Parliament had levied an import duty on salt for many years. The rate was five shillings a bushel in 1783. Taxes were also assessed upon home-manufactured salt (Sir John Sinclair, The History of the Public Revenue of the British Empire [3d ed.; 3 vols.; London, 1803–4], II, 20–27, 374–78; Stephen Dowell, A History of Taxation and Taxes in England from the Earliest Times to the Present Day [4 vols.; London, 1884], IV, 3–4).
Salt in France was a royal monopoly. The hated gabelle, or salt tax, was collected by agents of the farmers-general, who pocketed each year all money collected in excess of the sum they had contracted to pay to the government. The rate of the tax varied among the provinces, and a few of them were wholly exempted from the assessment. In his Compte Rendu au Roi, submitted in January 1781, after six years as director general of the Royal Treasury, Jacques Necker reported that the gabelle yielded 54,000,000 livres annually and hence could not be abolished. On the other hand, he scathingly indicted the administration of the levy for its inequities, cruelties, corruption, and promotion of smuggling among the provinces ([Auguste Louis,] Baron de Staël [-Holstein], comp., Oeuvres Complètes de M. Necker [15 vols.; Paris, 1820–21], II, 109–18, 150–51). See also Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 225, n. 2.
18. During the Revolution the extreme scarcity of salt, especially in states south of New York, is reflected in measures exempting importers from the payment of duties on this vital commodity and promising bounties to domestic producers. See, for example, JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , II, 235, 464–65; IV, 398; VI, 135; VIII, 461–62; IX, 829–30; XV, 1291; XXI, 872–73, 951; Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I–IV, index of each volume under military supplies or its subheading, provisions, salt. Estimating the annual consumption of salt in the United States at 1,000,000 bushels and favoring a “Salt duty at 1/8 of a dollar per bushel,” Alexander Hamilton foresaw that this impost would yield only $125,000 (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (15 vols. to date; New York, 1961——). description ends , III, 248).
19. Wilson’s argument as well as his figures were taken from Robert Morris’ report of 29 July 1782 to Congress. Advocating a land tax, Morris commented, “a large proportion of America is the property of great landholders, they monopolize it without cultivation, they are (for the most part) at no expence either of money or personal service to defend it, and keeping the price higher by monopoly than otherwise it would be they impede the settlement and culture of the Country. A Land Tax, therefore, would have the salutary operation of an agrarian law without the iniquity” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 439–40). Alexander Hamilton estimated the proceeds from a “Land tax on Mr. Morris’ plan” at only $480,000 (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (15 vols. to date; New York, 1961——). description ends , III, 248).
20. Although Morris in his report on 29 July 1782 had estimated the yearly revenue from a 5 per cent tax on imports and prizes during the war at $600,000, he deducted one sixth of this total to cover “the cost of collection” and “the various defalcations, which will necessarily happen” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 439).
21. JM Notes, 27 Jan. 1783, n. 25. Under authority of the state constitution of 1780, the General Court, or legislature, of Massachusetts in 1781 continued the excise by statute amended on 7 March 1782 “for the Purposes of Paying the Interest on Government Securities,” and further amended on 3 July. On 8 November 1782 the amended statute was superseded by “An Act respecting Excise” (The Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Passed from the Year 1780, to the End of the Year 1800 … [3 vols.; Boston, 1801–7], I, 66, 73, 88).
On 6 April 1781 the legislature of Pennsylvania extended for another decade the ten-year excise law of 1 March 1772, and amended that law by stipulating that after 30 May 1781 the tax on “Wine, Rum, Brandy and other Spirits” would be doubled to a rate of 8 d. a gallon, payable in specie or its equivalent (Pa. Packet, 14 Apr. 1781). In Wilson’s view, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts were “remarkable” for their “freedom,” because their constitutions provided for more self-government than the people enjoyed in most of the eleven other states (Andrew C. McLaughlin, A Constitutional History of the United States [New York, 1935], pp. 110–12; 113, n. 17).
22. See n. 14.
23. JM wrote and canceled at the outset of this sentence, “Before the revolution he said.” See n. 17. Gorham may have had in mind that the salt was shipped free of export duty from England to her colonies of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, which were rivals of New England in the fisheries.
25. To become effective, the original recommendations of Congress of 3 and 7 February 1781, being in the nature of an amendment to the then pending Articles of Confederation, had to be ratified by every state (JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, n. 29). Evidently recognizing the impossibility of attaining that degree of unanimity, in view of the repeated refusal of Rhode Island, the inaction of Georgia, and the recent repeal by Virginia of her act of ratification, Rutledge proposed to avoid the impracticability of an amendment and to quiet the opposition of the ardent state-sovereignty delegates by having Congress request each state to levy and collect a 5 per cent impost for no longer than twenty-five years, with the understanding that the money so raised by each state would be deducted from its portion of the Confederation debt, past and future. Maryland was the only state which had limited to a maximum of twenty-five years the effectiveness of its act ratifying the 5 per cent impost amendment (NA: PCC, No. 75, fols. 320–21).
28. In 1774 the governor of Connecticut informed the Board of Trade that although direct imports from Great Britain were “few,” inhabitants of the colony received annually from the mother country, by way of Boston, Rhode Island ports, and New York City, commodities valued at about £200,000 sterling (J. Hammond Trumbull or Charles J. Hoadly, eds., The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut [15 vols.; Hartford, 1850–90], XIV, 344–45 n., 498; Oscar Zeichner, Connecticut’s Years of Controversy, 1750–1776 [Chapel Hill, N.C., 1949], pp. 131–32, 278, n. 25, 307, n. 20). Oliver Ellsworth’s fractions are approximately verified by the 1771–1772 statistics of Connecticut’s imports and exports in Stella H. Sutherland, Population Distribution in Colonial America, pp. 276–330, passim.
29. In his motion, as quoted by JM, Rutledge omitted mention of the manner whereby the collectors should be nominated and appointed.
30. Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 99; 424, n. 9; JM Notes, 9–10 Jan. 1783, and nn. 12–14; 13 Jan. 1783.
33. Of North Carolina’s five ports of entry, the busiest on the eve of the Revolution were Port Brunswick, Port Roanoke (Edenton), and Port Beaufort (Beaufort and New Bern). At that time, although her direct trade with British and foreign ports was increasing, about two-thirds of her exports and imports, not including her coastal trade, passed through ports in Virginia and South Carolina (Charles Christopher Crittenden, The Commerce of North Carolina, 1763–1789 [New Haven, Conn., 1936], pp. 41–42 n., 71–72, 75–76, 78, 83, and n. 7, 84; Harry Roy Merrens, Colonial North Carolina in the Eighteenth Century: A Study in Historical Geography [Chapel Hill, N.C., 1964], pp. 85–172, passim). See also the tables in Stella H. Sutherland, Population Distribution in Colonial America.
34. See n. 27; JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, n. 29. For the direct foreign trade of Maryland, centered principally at Oxford, Annapolis, and Baltimore, and her heavy dependence upon the port of New Castle, Del., and ports of Virginia, such as Alexandria, see Charles Albro Barker, The Background of the Revolution in Maryland (New Haven, Conn., 1940), pp. 110–16. A little of the trade of New Jersey with Great Britain and foreign countries passed through the ports of Perth Amboy, Burlington, and Salem, but most of it focused at Chester, Philadelphia, and New York City (Richard P. McCormick, Experiment in Independence: New Jersey in the Critical Period [New Brunswick, N.J., 1950], p. 104).
36. In opposing Rutledge’s proposal, Bland insisted that individuals or companies would not lend money to the government so long as Congress had no constitutional means of compelling state legislatures to provide the money for paying the interest on, or the principal of, these loans. The state legislatures, continued Bland, having refused to follow the example of the British Parliament by making long-term appropriations for specific purposes, must be prevented from exercising, wholly at their option and without the approval of Congress, the power “to repeal their grants” of revenue to the Confederation. See JM Notes, 21 Feb. 1783, and n. 11.
37. JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, nn. 31–33. For Bland, a strong proponent of state sovereignty, to speak in support of enhancing congressional power is evidence of how concerned he had become to give Congress the means of discharging its “contracts.”
38. See n. 35. Considerations of state sovereignty had been stressed by the Rhode Island legislature in refusing to ratify, and by the Virginia legislature in rescinding its ratification of, the impost amendment (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 788–89; Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 407, n. 1; Harrison to JM, 4 Jan. 1783, n. 4). By having each state levy and supervise the collection of the impost, and by limiting its duration, the Rutledge proposal seemed to Arthur Lee to pay sufficient deference to state sovereignty.
39. See n. 25.