James Madison Papers

Report on David Howell’s Protest, [20 December] 1782

Report on David Howell’s Protest

MS (NA: PCC, No. 20, I, 233–34). In JM’s hand. Docketed: “Report of Mr Gilman Mr Madison Mr Hamilton on the Subject of Mr Howell’s motion Passed Decr 20th. 1782. relating to R. Island communications to be made to respecting applications for loans.” This docket through the date was written by George Bond; the remainder, by Benjamin Bankson, Jr., a clerk in the office of the secretary of Congress.

[20 December 1782]

The Committee appointed to report such measures as it will [be] proper for Congress to take in consequence of the motion made by Mr. Howel on the 18th. instant1 recommend

That the said motion with the preceding resolutions of Congress2 to which it refers, be transmitted by the Secy of foreign Affairs to the Executive Authority of the State of Rhode Island,3 with an authenticated State of the several applications for foreign loans & the result thereof.4

1See Notes on Debates, 18 December 1782, and nn. 4, 6.

2For these “resolutions,” see Notes on Debates, 12 December; 13 December; 20 December 1782, and n. 6.

3JM interlineated “of foreign Affairs” and “Island.” The committee recommended that “the Secretary”—that is, Charles Thomson—should transmit copies of the documents, but Congress decided that Robert R. Livingston could do it more appropriately. Hence the interlineation. The reason for the substitution is set forth by JM in his Notes on Debates for 20 December (q.v.). The governor of Rhode Island was William Greene.

4For Howell’s misrepresentation of the degree of Congress’ success in borrowing money in western Europe and the credit rating of the United States there, see Notes on Debates, 6 December, and n. 12; 13 December, and n. 3; Report on Breach of Secrecy, 12 December 1782, and n. 1. For the adoption of the amended report and Livingston’s compliance, see Notes on Debates, 20 December 1782, and n. 9.

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