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. Jones Mr. Rutlidge & Mr. Wilson to whom had been referr’d on Teusday last a letter from Mr. Jefferson stating the obstacles to his voyage,1 reported that they had conferred with the Agent of Marine2 who sd. there was a fit vessel already for sea in this port but was of opinion the arrival of the British King’s Speech3 would put a stop to the sailing of any vessels from the ports of America untill something definitive should take place; and that if Congress judged fit that Mr. Jefferson sd. proceed immediately to Europe it would be best to apply to the French Minister4 for one of the Frigates in the Chesapeake.5 The general opinion of Congs. seemed to be that under present circumstances he sd. suspend his voyage untill the further orders of Congs: and on motion of Mr. Ghorum seconded by Mr. Wolcot the Secy. of For. Affrs. was accordingly without opposition directed to make this known to Mr. Jefferson.6
The Report of the Come. for obtaining a valuation of land was made & considered. See the Journal of this date.7
1. Jefferson’s letter of 7 February to Robert R. Livingston, secretary for foreign affairs, was referred by Livingston to Congress four days later. Congress then named the committee to recommend a reply.
2. Robert Morris.
4. Chevalier de La Luzerne.
6. JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 132. Livingston enclosed a copy of the resolution in his letter of 14 February to Jefferson (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , VI, 239–40). See also JM to Jefferson, 15 Feb. 1783.
7. For the appointment of the Rutledge committee to prepare “a proper act” embodying the will of Congress concerning the mode of evaluating privately owned land and the buildings thereon, see JM Notes, 11 Feb. 1783. Judging from the official journal of 14 February, the debate of that day centered upon Arthur Lee’s proposal to have any dispute arising from a state’s valuation of land referred to “a court of commissioners” comprising a member from each state, appointed by that state rather than by Congress. The judgment of this “court” would be “final.” Only nine of the twenty-nine delegates present in Congress voted for the Lee amendment. Among its supporters two were from North Carolina and two from Rhode Island. The four Virginia colleagues of Lee voted with the majority (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 129, 130–32). See JM Notes, 17 Feb. 1783.