Notes on a Plan
for Providing for the Debts of the United States1
[Philadelphia, January–April, 1783]
Debts to be funded probably consist of
|Foreign debt||6000.000—||a 4 Ct||240000|
|Army debt for pay—||6000.000|
|4000 000||10000.000—||a 6 Ct||600000|
|Domestic liquidated debt||12000.000—||a do —||720000|
|Unliquidated debt suppose||12000.000—||a do —||720.000|
|40000 000||2280 000|
|to form an
For the unliquidated debt a tax on houses on one of the two following plans.
For every house half a dollar & for every window above six to Eighteen the additional sum of ⅓ of a dollar Window & for every window above Eighteen to thirty ⅙ of a dollar, for every window above Thirty ¼ of a dollar window.
The preceding mode would be most simple & definite and in the view of revenue preferable but in point of equality it would not be as eligible as the following.
Every dwelling house to pay the general rate of half a dollar house and the particular rate of 2½ Cent on the excess of the rent above twenty dollars annum.
When the house is rented the calculation should be made on the actual rent when in the occupancy of the owner on an appraised rent—the appraisement to be made once in seven years by Commissioners under oath.
In towns the lot and its appurtenances to be comprehended with the house—in the country the outhouses orchard & garden & these to be excluded from the land tax.
According to the idea of land quotas—the land & house taxes must be credited to the respective states.
The whole of these revenues to be collected under the authority of Congress.
ADf, James Madison Papers, Library of Congress.
1. The exact purpose for which H prepared these notes cannot be determined. They were presumably intended to be incorporated in a plan which he proposed to submit to the Continental Congress for redeeming the debt of the United States. From January to April, 1783, H was a member of several committees appointed to suggest means for providing for the continental debt. Although these notes bear little resemblance to the plan drafted by James Madison and adopted by the Continental Congress on April 18, 1783, they probably were suggested to the committee which recommended that plan to the Continental Congress. This presumption is strengthened by the fact that they are in the James Madison Papers, Library of Congress.