Notes on Debates
MS (LC: Madison Papers). For a description of the manuscript of Notes on Debates, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 231–34.
Some days prior to this sundry papers had been laid before Congress by the war office, shewing that a Cargo of Supplies which had arrived at Wilmi[n]gton for the British & German Prisoners of war under a passport from the Commander in cheif and which were thence proceeding by land to their distination, had been siezed by sundry persons in Chester County under a law of Pennsa. wch. required in Such cases a licence from the Executive authority, who exposed to confiscation all articles not necessary for the prisoners, & referrd. the question of necessity to the judgment of its own Magistrates.1 Congress unanimously considered the violation of the passport issued under the authority as an encroachment on their constitutional & essential rights; but being disposed to get over the difficulty as gently as possible appointed a Come. consisting of Mr. Rutlidge, Mr. Wolcot & Mr. Madison to confer with the Executive of Pa. on the subject.2 In the first conference the Executive represented to the Committee the concern they felt at the incident, their disposition to respect & support the dignity & rights of the fœderal Sovereignty; and the embarrassments in which they were involved by a recent & present law of the State to which they were bound to conform.3 The Come. observed to them that the power of granting passports for the purpose in question being inseparable from the general power of war delegated, to Congress, & being essential for conducting the war, it could not be expected that Congress wd. acquiesce in any infractions upon it; that as Pa. had concurred in the alienation of this power to Congress, any law whatever contravening this was necessaryly void, and cd. impose no obligation on the Executive.4 The latter requested further time for a consideration of the case & laid it before the Legislature then sitting; in consequence of which a Come. of their body was appd. jointly with the Executive to confer with the Committee of Congress.5 In this 2d. conference6 the first remarks made by the Come. of Congress were repeated. The Come. of the Legislature expressed an unwillingness to intrench on the jurisdiction of Congress, but some of them seemed not to be fully satisfied that the law of the State did so. Mr. Montgomery lately a member of Congress7 observed that altho’ the general power of war was given to Congress yet that the mode of exercising that power might be regulated by the States in any manner which wd. not frustrate the power, & which their policy might require. To this it was answered that if Congress had the power at all, it could not either by the Articles of Confederation or the reason of things admit of such a controuling power in each of the States, & that to admit such a construction wd. be a virtual surrender to the States of the whole federal power relative to war; the most essential of all the powers delegated to Congress.8 The Come of the Legisre: represented as the great difficulty with them, that even a repeal of the law wd. not remedy the case without a retrospective law which their Constitution wd. not admit of,9 & expressed an earnest desire that some accomodating plan might be hit upon. They proposed in order to induce the siezors to wave their appeal to the law of the State, that Congress wd. allow them10 to appt. one of two persons who sd. have authority to examine into the supplies & decide whether they comprehended any articles that were not warranted by the passport. The Come. of Congress answered that whatever obstacles might lie in the way of redress by the Legislature,11 if no redress proceeded from them, equal difficulties wd. lie on the other side, since Congress in case of a confiscation of the supplies under the law which the omission of some formalities reqd. by it wd. probably produce, would be obliged by honor & good faith to indemnify the Enemy for their loss out of the common Treasury;12 that the other States wd. probably demand a reimbursemnt. to the U. S. from Pa. & that it was impossible to say to what extremity the affair might be carried. They observed to the Come. of the Legre. and the Executive, that Congress altho’ disposed to make all allowances, and particularly in the case of a law passed for a purpose recommended by themselves,13 yet they cd. not condescend to any expedient which in any manner departed from the respect wch. they owed to themselves & to the articles of Union. The Come. of Congress however suggested that as the only expedient wch. wd. get rid of the clashing of the power of Congress & the Law of the State, wd. be the dissuading the siezors from their appeal to the latter, it was probable that if the Siezors wd. apply to Congress for Redress that such steps wd. [be] taken as wd. be satisfactory. This hint was embraced & both the Executive & the Come. of the Legre. promised to use their influence with the persons of most influence among the siezors for that purpose. In consequence thereof a Memorial from (see Journal) was sent in to Congress, commited to the same Come. of Congress,14 & their report of this day agreed to in wch. the Presidt. of Pa. is requested to appt. one of the referees.15 It is proper to observe that this business was conducted with great temper & harmony, & that Presidt. Dickenson in particular manifested throughout the course of it, as great a desire to save the rights & dignity of Congress as those of the State over which he presided. As a few of the Siezors only were parties to the Memorial to Congress, it is still uncertain whe[the]r others may not adhere to their claims under the law in wch. case all the embarrassments will be revived.16
In a late report which had been drawn up by Mr. Hamilton & made to Congress, in answr. to a Memorial from the Legislatre. of Pa. (see ) among other things shewing the impossibility Congress had been under of payg. their Credrs. it was observed that the aid afforded by the Ct. of France had been appropriated by that Court at the time to the immediate use of the army. This clause was objected to as unnecessary, & as dishonorable to Congress. The fact also was controverted. Mr. Hamilton & Mr. Fitzimmons justified the expediency of retaing it, in order to justify Congress the more completely in failing in their engagements to the public Creditors. Mr. Wilson & Mr. Madison proposed to strike out the words appropriated by France, & substitute the words applied by Congress to the immediate & necessary support of the army.17 This proposition wd. have been readily approved had it not appeared on examination that in one or two small instances, & particularly in the paymt. of the balance due to A. Lee Esqr. other applications had been made of the aid in question.18 The report was finally recommitted.19
A letter from the Supernt. of Finance was received & read, acquaintg Congress that as the danger from the Enemy which led him into the Dept. was disappearing & he saw little prospect of provision being made without which injustice wd. take place of which he wd. never be the Minister, he proposed not to serve longer than may next, unless proper provision sd. be made. This letter made a deep & solemn impression on Congress.20 It was considered as the effect of dispondence in Mr. Morris of seeing justice done to the public Credtrs. or the public finances placed on an honorable establishmt; as a Source of fresh hopes to the enemy when known, as ruinous both to domestic & foreign Credit: & as producing a vacancy which noone knew how to fill & which no fit man wd. venture to accept. Mr. Ghoram21 after observing that the Administration of Mr. Morris had inspired great confidence and expectation in his State, & expressing his extreme regret at the event, moved that the letter sd. be committed. This was opposed as unnecessary & nugatory by Mr. Wilson since the known firmness of Mr. Morris after deliberately taking a step wd. render all attempts to dissuade him fruitless: and that as the Memorial from the Army had brought the subject of funds before Congress, there was no other object for a Comme.22 The motion to commit was disagreed to. Mr. Wilson then moved that a day might be assigned for the consideration of the letter. Agst. the propriety of this it was observd. by Mr. Madison that the same reasons which opposed a Commitmt. opposed the assignment of day: Since Congress cd. not however anxious their wishes or alarming their apprehensions might be, condescend to solicit Mr. Morris even if there were a chance of its being successful; & since it wd. be equally improper for Congress, however cogent a motive it might add in the mind of every member, to struggle for substantial funds, to let such a consideration appear in their public acts, on that subject. The motion of Mr. Wilson was not pressed. Congress supposing that a knowledge of Mr. Morris’ intentions wd. anticipate the ills likely to attend his actual resignation, ordered his letter to be kept secret.23
Nothing being said to day as to the mode of insertion of the Treaty & Convention with the States General the Secy. proceeded in retaining both columns.24
In consequence of the report to the Grand Comme on the memorial from the army, by the Subcomme, the following report was made by the former to Congs. and came under consideration to day.25
1. present pay
2. a settlemt. of accts. of the arrearages of pay and security for what is due.27
3. A commutation of the half pay allowed by differt. resolutions of Congress for an equivalent in gross:28
4. A settlemt. of the accts. of deficiencies of rations & compensation.29
5. A settlemt. of accts. of deficiencies of cloathing & compensation.30
The Comme are of opinion with respt. to the 1st. that the Superintendt. of finance be directed, conformable to the measures already taken for that purpose, as soon as the State of the public finances will permit, to make such payt. & in such manner as he shall think proper till the further order of Congress.31
With respect to the 2d. art: so far as relates to the settlemt. of accts, that the several States be called upon to compleat the settlemt., without delay, with their respective lines of the army up to the first day of Aug: 1780: that the Superintendant be also directed to take such measures as shall appear to him most proper & effectual for accomplishing the object in the most equitable & satisfactory manner, havg. regard to former resolutions of Congs. & to the settlemts. made in consequence thereof. and so far as relates to the providing of security for what shall be found due on such settlemt.32 Resolved that the troops of the United States in common with all the Creditrs. of the same, have an undoubted right to expect such security, and that Congress will make every effort in their power to obtain from the respective States, general & substantial funds adequate to the object of funding the whole debt of the U. S.33 and that Congs. ought to enter upon an immediate & full consideration of the nature of such funds & the most likely mode of obtaining them.
With respect to the 3d. Article the Comme. are of opinion that it will be expedient for Congs. to leave it to the option of all officers entitled to half pay, either to preserve their claim to that provision as it now stands by the several resolutions of Congs. upon that subject or to accept years full pay to be paid to them in one year after the conclusion of the war in money or placed upon good funded security bearing an annual interest of 6 prCt.34 provided that the allowance to widows & orphans of such officers as have died or been killed or may die or be killed in the service during the war shall remain as established by the resolution of the day of 35
With respect to the 4 & 5 Art: the Come. beg leave to delay their report untill they have obtained more precise information than they now possess on the subject”
The 1st. Clause of this report relative to immediate pay passed without opposition.36 The Supt. had agreed to make out 1 months’ pay. Indeed long before the arrival of the deputies from the army he had made contingent & secret provision for that purpose; and to ensure it now he meant if necessary to draw bills on the late application for loans. The words “conformable to measures already taken” referred to the above secret provisn, and were meant to shew that the payment to the army did not originate in the Memol. but in an antecedent attention to the wants of the army.37
In the discussion of the 2d. clause, the epoch of Aug: 1780 was objected to, by the Eastern delegates. Their States havg. settled with their lines down to later periods, they wishd now to obtain the Sanction of Congress to them.38 After some debate, a compromise was proposed by Mr. Hamilton by substituting the last day of Decr. 1780. This was agreed to without opposition altho several members disliked it.39 The latter part of the clause beginning with the word Resolved &c. was considered as a very solemn point, and the basis of the plans by which the public engagements were to be fulfilled & the union cemented.40 A motion was made by Mr. Bland to insert after the words “in their power” the words, “consistent with the Articles of Confederation[”]. This amendment as he explained it was not intended to contravene the idea of funds extraneous to the federal articles, but to leave those funds for a consideration subsequent to providing Constitutional ones.41 Mr. Arnold however eagerly 2ded. it.42 No question however was taken on it, Congress deeming it proper to postpone the matter till the next day, as of the most solemn nature; and to have as full a representation as possible. With this view & to get rid of Mr. Bland’s motion, they adjourned; & ordering all the members not present & in town to be summoned.43
1. On 27 November 1782 Washington issued a passport to the British flag-of-truce ship “Amazon,” then in New York Harbor, to protect her from capture on her voyage to Wilmington, Del., with a cargo of clothing and other articles for the British and German prisoners of war quartered in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia (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, 376–77). The wagons, into which the goods were transferred at Wilmington, were stopped at the Pennsylvania line by the sheriff and other officials of Chester County, Pa. (n. 14). Although they permitted some of the heavily laden vehicles to proceed toward their destinations, they impounded “by a due course of law” most of the commodities, claiming that both their nature and volume made clear an intent to sell them illegally rather than to use them for the relief of the approximately 6,100 prisoners of war. In view of the Pennsylvania statute “for the more effectual suppression of all intercourse and commerce with the enemies of the United States of America,” the Chester County officers could strongly defend their action (NA: PCC, No. 149, II, 229–30, 233–40, 243, 245–69).
2. On 17 January 1783, after receiving a protest from the British assistant deputy quartermaster general who had accompanied the cargo of the “Amazon,” Major William Jackson, the assistant secretary at war, laid the matter before Congress. Before adjourning that day, Congress appointed John Rutledge, chairman, Oliver Wolcott, and JM a committee to confer with President John Dickinson and the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania (NA: PCC, No. 185, III, 52; No. 186, fol. 80). Besides violating the ninth article of the Articles of Confederation, delegating to Congress “the sole and exclusive right and power of determining peace and war” and “of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal,” the action of the Chester County officials transgressed the Articles of War and the law of nations, manifested disrespect for Washington’s passport, and invited British retaliation against American prisoners of war confined in the noisome jails of New York City or aboard hulks in its harbor. This last was a practical consideration which would appeal strongly to Dickinson and the executive council, for they had been endeavoring since November 1782 to provide Pennsylvania soldiers incarcerated in New York with food, clothing, and blankets (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XIX, 217; Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds., Pennsylvania Archives (9 ser., 138 vols.; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949). description ends , 1st ser., IX, 674–75, 677–78, 756–57, 763; Colonial Records of Pa. [16 vols.; Harrisburg, 1851–53], XIII, 431, 446, 459, 481, 483).
3. The first conference of the Rutledge committee with Dickinson and the Supreme Executive Council occurred on 17 January (ibid., XIII, 482). For the statute of Pennsylvania, see n. 1, above.
4. See n. 2. Pennsylvania “had concurred in the alienation” by ratifying the Articles of Confederation on 5 March 1778 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XI, 668). The committee in effect contended that the Articles of Confederation in the areas of its delegated powers was the supreme law of the sovereign states, that Congress in an instance of conflict between the Articles and a state statute was the final judge of the scope of authority conferred by the former and of the constitutionality of the latter, and that, if Congress held a state statute to be “void,” it no longer was law and hence need not be enforced by the executive of that state. This assertion of power, uttered over four years before the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and at a time when Congress was unable to make its will effective in domestic affairs, is of marked constitutional interest.
5. The House of the Pennsylvania General Assembly convened on 15 January 1783 (Pa. Packet, 18 Jan. 1783). President Dickinson’s message of 18 January, having been approved by the Supreme Executive Council, was delivered to the legislature two days later. Designating the issue as one of “high importance,” Dickinson pointed out that, because he was obliged by his oath of office to enforce a statute which, in the judgment of Congress, violated “the laws of nations or the rights of the United States,” he was “not competent” to grant “the solicited redress” (Colonial Records of Pa., XIII, 482). Upon reading the message and the half-dozen documents which accompanied it, the Assembly named a committee of five members to investigate and recommend appropriate action (Pa. Packet, 30 Jan. 1783). In an undated letter, probably written before Dickinson drafted his message, William Bradford, Jr., attorney general of Pennsylvania, advised the senior member of the Supreme Executive Council that “any wanton & improper infringement” of Washington’s passport would be an indictable offense “against the Law of nations” and that the “goods seized,” if “necessary for the Prisoners of war,” were “not contraband nor liable to condemnation” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds., Pennsylvania Archives (9 ser., 138 vols.; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949). description ends , 1st ser., IX, 731).
6. On 22 January Dickinson and the Supreme Executive Council reviewed for the benefit of the legislative committee what had been said at the conference on 17 January. See n. 2. The “2d conference” with the Rutledge committee took place on 23 January (Colonial Records of Pa., XIII, 485–86).
7. Joseph Montgomery had last attended Congress about 1 November 1782 (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 301, n. 1).
8. See n. 4.
9. That is, in seizing the goods the Chester County officials had only performed their duty to enforce the act mentioned in n. 1. Although the passage of a “retrospective law” was not specifically prohibited by any provision in the Pennsylvania constitution of 1776, that instrument did not confer the power to enact such legislation. Section 15, furthermore, provided that laws proposed in one session of the General Assembly could not be passed until the next session, “except on occasions of sudden necessity,” which in the present instance might not be deemed by the majority of legislators to have occurred (Francis Newton Thorpe, comp. and ed., The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming the United States of America [7 vols.; Washington, 1909], V, 3086).
10. For the names of some of “the siezors,” see n. 14. The word “them” stands for the Pennsylvania legislature.
11. The phrase following “lie” is interlineated above a canceled “against a retrospective law.”
12. Most of the prisoners of war interned in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia were officers and soldiers surrendered by Cornwallis at Yorktown, Va., on 19 October 1781. By Article V of the Articles of Capitulation, the British army headquarters at New York City had been assured that, upon application, passports would be granted to enable the captives to be supplied with “cloathing and other necessaries” (Benjamin Franklin Stevens, comp. and ed., The Campaign in Virginia, 1781 (2 vols. [London, 1888], II, 200–201).
13. JM refers to the ordinance of Congress of 21 June 1782 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 340–41). See also Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 338; 339, n. 3; IV, 351–52; 353, n. 11; V, 311, n. 12.
14. The minutes of the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council for 23 January 1783 make clear that “a draft of a representation to Congress” was proposed, but the share, if any, of the Rutledge committee in composing the document is indeterminable. Before the council adjourned, Persifor Frazer, John Hannum, and Joseph Gardner, three of “the siezors,” were admitted to the council chamber. They signed the “representation” and may have helped to draft it (Colonial Records of Pa., XIII, 485–86). This document, now missing, was laid before Congress and referred to the Rutledge committee on 23 January (NA: PCC, No. 185, III, 52). The committee reported the next day (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 82–83).
Persifor Frazer (1736–1792), merchant and ironmaster, was a member of the Chester County Committee of Safety at the outbreak of the Revolution. Commissioned a captain of the 5th Pennsylvania Battalion, continental line, in January 1776, he subsequently advanced to the grade of lieutenant colonel. During the Brandywine campaign the British plundered his home and captured him and Hannum. He escaped and rejoined the army in March 1778, only to resign in October of the same year. Proffered the office of clothier general of the continental army in July 1779, he declined, but in May 1782 he became brigadier general of the Pennsylvania militia and so remained until the end of the war. He was treasurer of Chester County, 1781; member of the General Assembly, 1781–1782; commissioner to the Wyoming Valley, 1785; and justice of the state Court of Common Pleas and register of wills from 1786 until his death.
Like Frazer, John Hannum (1742–1799) was a large landowner and served in various official capacities in Chester County during most of his adult life. He, too, had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel when he resigned his commission in the Pennsylvania state line. He was a member of the state legislature, 1781–1785, and of the state convention of 1787 to consider the Federal Constitution (Colonial Records of Pa., XII, 477; Pa. Mag. Hist. and Biog., XI , 213–14).
Dr. Joseph Gardner (1752–1794) raised a company of volunteers in 1776 and commanded the 4th Battalion of militia in Chester County. He was a member of the county Committee of Safety, 1776–1777, of the General Assembly, 1776–1778, of the state Supreme Executive Council, 1779, and of the Continental Congress, 1784–1785. He thereafter resumed the practice of medicine in Philadelphia until 1792, and in Elkton, Md., until his death.
15. JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 82–83. The committee’s report, in Rutledge’s hand, ordered the assistant secretary at war and requested President Dickinson and the Supreme Executive Council to have “proper persons” examine the undelivered cargo of the “Amazon” for the purpose of determining whether the passport of the vessel had been violated. The assistant secretary at war was also directed to submit a report of this survey, of a similar inquiry into the portion of the cargo already delivered, and of the number of “British or German prisoners of war” to whom presumably all “the cloathing and other necessaries imported in the said vessel” had been consigned. Upon receiving from Charles Thomson a copy of these resolutions, President Dickinson in Council immediately complied with the request (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds., Pennsylvania Archives (9 ser., 138 vols.; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949). description ends , IX, 741–42, Colonial Records of Pa., XIII, 490–91).
16. Although the three “Siezors,” identified in n. 14, stated that their memorial to Congress was “in behalf of themselves and others,” these “others” soon justified JM’s remark that the outcome of the issue was “uncertain.” See JM Notes, 13 Feb. 1783.
17. On 4 December 1782 a committee comprising Rutledge, Hamilton, and JM had been appointed to confer with a committee of the legislature of Pennsylvania in an attempt, temporarily successful, to prevent a diversion of the financial quota requisitioned from that state for the Confederation treasury to the payment of overdue debts owed to citizens of Pennsylvania by Congress (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 362; 365, n. 9; 366, and nn. 19, 23, 26; 367, n. 29). By referring to the conference and to “subsequent information” warning that the Pennsylvania General Assembly at its next meeting would “resume the plan which they had suspended,” JM’s notes for 6 December 1782 strongly suggest that the Rutledge committee had reported back to Congress, either orally or in a document now lost, on or about 5 December 1782 (ibid., V, 373). This probability, in turn, virtually eliminates the “late report which had been drawn up by Mr. Hamilton” as the one which was still being debated on 24 January 1783.
The action of the Rutledge committee, which had been appointed only to meet an instant emergency, was not the formal response by Congress to the Pennsylvania legislature’s memorials of 28 August and 12 November 1782. That response was intended to be prepared by the committee named on 20 November, with Daniel Carroll as chairman, to draft a reply to the “Memorials of the Assembly of Pennsylvania relative to the liquidation of public accounts and payment of interest for debts due to the citizens of the state” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 745, n. 2). Probably early in December, Congress appointed Hamilton to this committee in the place of James Duane, a delegate from New York who had returned home.
In his committee book, Charles Thomson noted only that the Carroll committee reported on 30 January 1783 (NA: PCC, No. 186, fol. 68). This report is in the hand of Thomas FitzSimons, rather than in Hamilton’s, and contains no statement approximating the words which JM in his notes on 24 January attributed to Hamilton (NA: PCC, No. 20, II, 141–49; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 99–105; JM Notes, 30 Jan. 1783, and n. 1). Although this attribution by JM and his account of the debate upon the “late report” by Hamilton, followed by its recommittal to the Carroll committee on 24 January, apparently must remain unsupported because confirmatory evidence, including the Hamilton draft, is missing, the entry by JM in his notes for that day cannot be dismissed as merely fictional.
Arguing principally from the incorrect premise that the report of 30 January was written by his father, John Church Hamilton accused Madison of falsifying his notes by having Alexander Hamilton include in that report, or in an earlier version of it, a statement about “the Ct. of France” appropriating its loans to the United States in 1782 “to the immediate use of the army.” According to the son, JM thereby charged Alexander Hamilton with “stating an untruth, and justifying it on the score of expediency.” The younger Hamilton also stressed that his father’s alleged phraseology, having remained unaltered because the Wilson-JM amendment failed of adoption, should appear, but does not, in the report on 30 January (John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton [7 vols.; New York, 1850–51], II, 230–35; John C. Hamilton, History of the Republic, II, 361–63 n.). In this John C. Hamilton made another erroneous assumption. Unless specifically instructed by Congress to the contrary, a committee to which a report was recommitted had complete liberty to alter its phraseology in whole or in part before resubmitting it.
18. Clearly JM and James Wilson did not mean to refute Hamilton but only to replace his statement with one which could not be interpreted as undue subservience to France for allocating her loan “to the immediate use of the army” without reference to Congress. Even before King Louis XVI had loaned 6,000,000 livres, Congress had issued drafts upon the hoped-for amount. Furthermore, Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens and his assistant, Major William Jackson, while on their mission to obtain large quantities of military goods for the continental army, had succeeded in France and the Netherlands only because the cost had been assessed against the loan or because King Louis XVI had guaranteed payment if John Adams should be unable to borrow from Dutch bankers (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 256–60; 260, n. 9; III, 245, n. 5; 247; 248, n. 2; IV, 407–9; V, 121, n. 3; 200). For the recompense of Arthur Lee from the French loan, see ibid., V, 299, n. 5. For other examples of how this fund was occasionally levied upon for non-military expenditures, see ibid., V, 21, n. 4; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 291–93.
20. Robert Morris no doubt hoped that his letter, by adding to the pressures already exerted by the memorial from the army and by the threat of Pennsylvania and other states to pay their own citizens who were creditors of the United States, would impel Congress and the state legislatures to agree upon and enforce a plan for yielding adequate revenue to the Confederation treasury. The failure to ratify the 5 per cent impost amendment to the Articles of Confederation, the delinquency of most of the states in paying their financial quotas, the continuing resort by Congress to drafts upon funds of an uncertain amount in Europe, and the probable belief of many delegates that the personal credit and skill of Morris, as superintendent of finance, were indispensable, also account for the “deep & solemn impression” made by his letter. In his view the financial situation was becoming “utterly insupportable,” at odds with his “Ideas of Integrity,” and fast rendering impossible of attainment “the last essential Work of our glorious Revolution,” that is, the funding of the public debts “on solid Revenues.” Unless “effectual Measures” for this purpose were taken, he would retire on 31 May (NA: PCC, No. 137, II, 115–16). See also Randolph to JM, 3 Jan., and n. 2; JM Notes, 7 Jan., n. 4; 13 Jan., and nn. 5, 17; 28 Jan., and n. 40; 4–5 Mar., and nn.; Conference with Morris, 10 Jan., n. 5; Randolph to JM, 15 Jan. 1783, n. 13; Clarence L. Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, pp 169–72, 248, nn. 23, 25.
21. Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts.
23. The injunction of secrecy explains why Thomson did not enter the subject in the official journal intended for publication.
25. Above “consideration,” JM interlineated and canceled “yesterday &.” The subcommittee, comprising Hamilton, chairman, JM, and Rutledge, had been appointed by the grand committee on 13 January, immediately following its meeting with the deputation from the army (JM Notes, 13 Jan. 1783). Although neither the entire text of the subcommittee’s report nor the date of its presentation to the grand committee is known, the debate in Congress on the grand committee’s report, which had been submitted on 22 January, opened the next day (NA: PCC, No. 186, fol. 78; JM Notes, 25 Jan. 1783, n. 9; Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VII, 20, 35 n.). Unlike JM’s notes, the journal of Congress fails to mention the debate on the twenty-third and twenty-fourth and reproduces the report of the committee on 25 January, when two “articles,” the first, and the second as amended, were adopted (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 93–95). The close approximation of JM’s account, most of it verbatim, with the report in Hamilton’s hand strongly suggests that JM made a copy from Hamilton’s draft (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (15 vols. to date; New York, 1961——). description ends , III, 243–44). See also n. 26.
26. Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 474, n. 8; JM Notes, 13 Jan. 1783, and n. 21. The quotation mark matching the one at the outset of this paragraph is at the close of the later paragraph beginning, “With respect to the 4 & 5 Art.”
27. See n. 32, below.
28. JM Notes, 13 Jan. 1783, nn. 11, 18. See also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XVII, 771–73; XVIII, 958–62; XX, 541; XXIII, 747–48, 748, n. 1, 797–98, 798, n. 1.
29. Congress had resolved on 24 August 1780 that officers were entitled to subsistence money in lieu of rations withheld, “according to the just cost of such rations” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XVII, 726, 771–73). See also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXI, 1012–13; XXII, 206; XXIII, 737, and n., 759–60.
30. The basic ordinances prescribing the clothing or the money in lieu of clothing to which officers of each rank were entitled, had been enacted on 17 and 18 August and 25 November 1779 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XIV, 973, 978; XV, 1304–6).
31. See n. 20, and especially the citations at its close.
32. The ordinance of 12 August 1780 prescribed that whatever was due to officers and soldiers for service prior to 1 August of that year should be paid by their respective states (or by Congress in case they did not “belong to the quota of any state”) in the old continental or state currency, with appropriate adjustments for depreciation. The ordinance further stipulated that service on or after 1 August should be paid by the United States with the new 40-for-1 currency emitted in accordance with the resolutions of 18 March of that year (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XVII, 725–27). Although no distinction was made in the army memorial between the pre- and post-1 August 1780 medium of payment, the signers stressed that depreciation had rendered almost worthless the “settlements” and “securities” provided by the states in recompense of part of the service performed during the “four years past” (NA: PCC, No. 42, VI, 59–64; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 291).
33. See n. 20.
35. 24 August 1780 (NA: PCC, No. 21, fols. 247–50; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XVII, 771–73).
36. JM interlineated “without opposition” above a canceled “yesterday.” Since this “Clause” was passed on 25 January, it is possible that the interlineation was made as late as 26 January 1783 (JM Notes, 25 Jan. 1783; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 95, n. 1). See also n. 25, above.
38. See n. 32. On 25 January reinstatement of 1 August was opposed by the unanimous vote of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 94).
39. John C. Hamilton wrote later that, in view of the stipulation of the ordinance of 12 August 1780 (n. 32, above) and in view of Alexander Hamilton’s vote to reinstate 1 August, the “probability is more than questionable” that Madison’s ascription of the compromise proposal to Hamilton was accurate (History of the Republic, II, 358 n.). Provided that the army would eventually be recompensed in the new currency at 40-to-1, even though the market ratio of the money to specie was far less favorable, a deferment of five months in the time of starting payment in that currency obviously would impose a considerable financial loss upon at least some of the officers and men. Recognizing this fact, John C. Hamilton implied that Madison had deliberately charged Alexander Hamilton, a veteran, with favoring a breach of contract detrimental to his brother officers and the troops. Although Madison, of course, may have erred in his notes, John C. Hamilton should have mentioned that the vote of his father to reinstate 1 August was on 25 January, after he had conferred again with Robert Morris. See JM Notes, 25 Jan. 1783, and n. 3.
40. The resolution, set off in a separate paragraph in the journal of Congress (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 94–95), is the final sentence of JM’s paragraph above, beginning “With respect to the 2d. art.”
41. Upon returning from Virginia, Theodorick Bland had resumed his seat in Congress on 22 or 23 January.
42. Jonathan Arnold of Rhode Island.
43. In accordance with custom, President Elias Boudinot probably directed Charles Thomson, the secretary, to dispatch Robert Patton, doorkeeper and “messenger” of Congress, to inform the absentees, “Gentlemen, your attendance is desired in Congress” tomorrow (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , X, 386–89). Although the number of delegates in attendance on 24 January is unknown, the thirty-one present the next day permitted eleven of the thirteen states to vote effectively (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 94). Congress was not empowered by the Articles of Confederation either to compel the attendance of a delegate or to expel him for breaking its own rules. As had recently been discovered in the case of David Howell, the only method of controlling a refractory member was to condemn his conduct to the government of his own state or to publish in the official journal a censure of his conduct (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 411, and n. 4; 419–20; 420, nn. 4, 6; 421, n. 10; 422, 423; 424, n. 7).