James Madison Papers
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Additional Revenue, [20 January] 1797

Additional Revenue

[20 January 1797]

The House took up the resolution for direct taxes on land and on slaves reported by the Committee of the Whole on 19 January. Coit (Connecticut) called for the propositions for taxes on land and slaves to be put separately (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 4th Cong., 2d sess., 1932).

Mr. Madison thought it would be best for the two propositions to go together; but if not, he did not think the embarrassments insuperable. If the question was divided, those who thought a tax on slaves necessary, must vote for the first part, and if the second was rejected, there would not be wanting an opportunity of voting against the tax on land. It was necessary to observe that it had been found expedient to associate these two taxes together in order to do justice to and to conform to the established usage of a very large tract of country, who were entitled to some degree of attention, and to whom a tax on land, without a tax on slaves, would be very objectionable.

Claypoole’s Am. Daily Advertiser, 23 Jan. 1797 (reprinted in New World, 23 Jan. 1797, Gales’s Independent Gazetteer, 24 Jan. 1797, Philadelphia Gazette, 26 Jan. 1797, Gazette of the U.S., 25 Feb. 1797, and American Senator, 2:173–74). The House voted on the resolutions calling for taxes on land and slaves separately, then on the resolution as reported by the Committee of the Whole. JM voted with the majority in favor on each occasion (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 4th Cong., 2d sess., 1933–42).

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