James Madison Papers

Notes for Debate on Commercial Regulations by Congress, 30 November–1 December 1785

Notes for Debate on
Commercial Regulations by Congress

[30 November–1 December 1785]

⟨1784–5 Notes of Speech⟩

Genl. Regns. necessary ⟨thro: the States⟩ 1. Counteract foreign plans 2. encourage Ships & Seamen 3. ______ manufactures 4. revenue 5. frugality — articles of luxury easily smuggled 6. embargoes in war. Delaware

————— necessary to prevent animosity.

contention: France
& smuggling Mass: & Cnt.
N. Y. & N. J.
Irish propositions


necessary to Justice — N. Carola.
& Policy — W. Country

————— necessary, as within reason of Constiton.

power of War
Treaties of Commerce especially
which already (1) comprise
2. or require it (3) State [illegible] treaty


Safe. 1. with regd. to liberties of States (1) control over Congs. (2) Greece Swiss (3) Dutch. (4) peculia[r] situation of U. S.

    2. with regd. to Virga. (1) Tobo. (2.) Ships (3.) coast trade lo[c]al

————— (4) 5. S. States — Cont. & N. J


Necessary to preserve a Confederation. (1) decline of Congs. (2) inadequacy to end (3) G. B. aims to break the Union, as to monopoly of Trad[e] Consequences of breaking or dissolving Union. 1. appeal to Sword2. Standg. armies3. perpetual Debts4. Sport of foreign politic[s]5. glorious prospect of Revolution if blasted

power May be qualified 1. duties on Ships & cargoes confined to Nations not in treaty. 2. limited to 5 per Ct. on all for union treasy. 3. enumerated luxuries taxed for State treasy. or prohibited 4. restrain States from regulating so as to oppress each other but may prohibit 5. 2/3 of Congs. regd. & no act   to be in force more than 15 years Mr. Braxton ideas Speakers do. French sd. H. Lees — do. Rum Ronald — manufacturers

————— Fedl. Town. Navigation Act Jealousy of Eastern States

Ms (DLC). Written by JM on verso of Gerard Banks’s letter of 28 Oct. 1785. Hunt printed a later, slightly expanded version found on the verso of JM’s notes for a speech on paper money, ca. 31 Oct. 1786 (DLC) (see Madison, Writings, II, 194–96). Used by JM during a hasty preparation for the House debates on 30 Nov. and 1 Dec. of resolutions granting Congress power to regulate international trade and collect a 5 percent ad valorem duty (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1785, pp. 66–67). JM appears to have added the heading and several other words much later, as noted here within angle brackets.

Index Entries