Notes on Debates
MS (LC: Madison Papers). See Notes on Debates, 4 November 1782, ed. n.
The Secy. at war was authorised to permit1 the British prisoners to hire themselves out on condition of a bond from the Hirers for their return.2 The measure was not opposed, but was3 acquiesced in by some, only as conformable to antecedent principles established by Congress on this subject. Col Hamilton in particular gave this explanation.4
Mr. Wilson made a motion refering the transmission of the Resolutions concerning Vermont, to the Secy. at War in such words as left him an option of being the Bearer, without the avowed5 Sanction of Congress. The votes of Virga. & N. York negatived it. The Presidt. informed Congress that he should send the Resolutions to the Commander in cheif to be forwarded.6
1. JM interlineated “was,” and also “permit” above a canceled “hire out.”
2. The required “penal bond” had to be for “one hundred pounds current money of Pensylvania.” The employer was required to pay “to the Superintendant of Finance four dollars monthly for the hire of such prisoner” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 785).
3. JM interlineated “was.’
4. Between “this” and “explanation,” JM wrote and canceled “obser.” For similar action by Congress, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 130, n. 5; 320; 321, n. 6; 390, n. 2.
5. JM canceled “apparent” and wrote “avowed” above it.
6. James Wilson’s motion is not entered in the journal, but it was probably inspired by the fact that on this day Congress granted Benjamin Lincoln “leave of absence to visit his family” in Massachusetts (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 783; Notes on Debates, 10 December 1782, and n. 2). The motion was similar to one introduced by Hugh Williamson and also defeated, probably on 5 December (Notes on Debates, 5 December, n. 16). Since President Boudinot was without authority to inform Congress what he should do, his move to end a debate must be regarded as raising a point of order which, being uncontested, had the effect of a motion duly made and passed. Boudinot’s letter of 11 December to “Governor” Chittenden of Vermont, enclosing the resolutions, was sent to Washington with the request that he forward the letter to the addressee (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VI, 561; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , XXV, 436, and n. 49; XXVI, 53–54).