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Salaries for Members of the First Branch of the Legislature, [12 June] 1787

Salaries for Members of
the First Branch of the Legislature

[12 June 1787]

The clause of the fourth resolution providing for the members “to receive liberal stipends” was under consideration.

Mr. Madison moves to insert the words “& fixt.” He observed that it would be improper to leave the members of the Natl. legislature to be provided for by the State Legisls: because it would create an improper dependence; and to leave them to regulate their own wages, was an indecent thing, and might in time prove a dangerous one. He thought wheat or some other article of which the average price throughout a reasonable period precedn’g might be settled in some convenient mode, would form a proper standard.1

Ms (DLC).

1JM and Jefferson were convinced that wheat was the most suitable standard for fixing salaries. Jefferson had proposed the equivalent of two bushels as a proper daily wage for state legislators in 1783, and JM suggested a salary scale based on “the medium value of wheat” for the Kentucky constitution in 1785 (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (19 vols. to date; Princeton, 1950——). description ends , VI, 297; PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (10 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VIII, 351).

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