James Madison Papers

Notes on Debates, 21 December 1782

Notes on Debates

MS (LC: Madison Papers). See Notes on Debates, 4 November 1782, ed. n.

The Committee to1 confer wth. Mr. Livingston was appointed the preceding day in consequence of the unwillingness of several States to elect either Gel. Schuyler, Mr. Clymer or Mr. Read the Gentlemen previously put into nomination,2 & of a hint that Mr. L. might be prevailed on to serve till the Spring.3 The Committee found him in this disposition and their report was agreed to without opposition. *see the Journal4

[The Presidt acquainted Congress that Ct. Rochambeau had communicated the intended embarkation of the French troops for the W. Indies with an assurance from the King of France that in case the war sd. be renewed agst. U.S. they should immediately be sent back.]5

1Between “Committee” and “to,” JM deleted “appointed.”

2See Report on Conference with Livingston, 21 December 1782, and n. 1. For Philip Schuyler, 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 , I, 158, n. 3; for Joseph Reed, ibid., II, 93, n. 2.

3Perhaps JM had dropped the “hint,” for he was a friend of Livingston and was appointed chairman of the committee which Congress directed to confer with the secretary. See Report on Conference with Livingston, 21 December, and n. 1; JM to Randolph, 24 December 1782.

4JM at first wrote “see Monday 23” and then almost obliterated it by superimposing “see the Journal.” The asterisk refers to JM’s bracketed paragraph at the close of his notes for 23 December. The editors have placed the paragraph where JM wished it to be.

5Following this paragraph, JM wrote in his old age and seemingly later partially erased, “see Saturday 24.” The date should be “21.” In spite of JM’s remark, “see the Journal” (n. 4), President Elias Boudinot’s announcement is not mentioned in the journal for that day.

Rochambeau had arrived in Philadelphia on 12 December 1782 and remained there until 2 January 1783 (Jean-Edmond Weelen, Rochambeau, Father and Son [New York, 1936], p. 270). On 9 December, after being informed by La Luzerne of a dispatch from Rochambeau telling of orders to move his troops to the West Indies and to maintain during the winter a sufficient naval force on the Atlantic coast to protect American commerce, Livingston transmitted this news to Boudinot (NA: PCC, No. 79, II, 399–400). By 21 December Rochambeau evidently had also given assurance that French troops would return to aid the continental army if the British resumed the offensive on the American mainland. See JM to Randolph, 30 December 1782, and n. 10.

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