Amendment to Report on Restoring Public Credit
MS (NA: PCC, No. 26, verso of fol. 412). Written by JM on a printed copy of the report as laid before “each member” of Congress on 7 March. See Report on Restoring Public Credit, 6 Mar. hdn.; JM Notes, 6 Mar.; 7 Mar. 1783.
[27 March 1783]
That1 it be further recommended to the several states, to establish for a Term limited to 25 Years, and to appropriate to the discharge of the Interest & principal of the debts which shall have been contracted on the faith of the US. for supporting the present war, substantial & effective Revenues of such nature as they may judge most convenient2 for supplying their respective proportions of 2 Millions of Dollrs annually, which proportions shall be fixed & equalized from time to time according to the rule which is or may be prescribed by the Articles of Confederation,3 and in case the revenues established by any State, shall at any Time yield a Sum exceeding its actual proportion, the excess shall be refunded to it, and in case the Revenues of any State shall be found to be deficient, the immediate deficiency shall be made up by such State with as little delay as possible,4 & a future deficiency guarded agst by an Enlargement of the Revenues established,5 provided that until the Rule of the confederation can be carried into practice, the proportions of the sd. 2000000 of Dollrs. shall be as follows—viz.6
1. For the background of the report to which the present amendment pertains, see JM Notes, 21 Feb., and n. 29; 27 Feb., and n. 8; 3 Mar. and n. 3; 7 Mar., ed. n., and nn. 2, 3; 11 Mar., and nn. 9, 10; 18 Mar., and nn. 1, 8; 20 Mar., and n. 25; Report on Restoring Public Credit, 6 Mar. 1783, and nn. 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 16, 18, 20. On 21 March, after discussing the “5 & 6 paragraphs” of the report, Congress recommitted them to be made more explicit (JM Notes, 21 Mar. 1783, and n. 1). The present amendment, which, together with all other business before Congress on 27 March, is omitted in the journal, was offered in compliance with that instruction.
2. The portion of this amendment following the word “convenient” merges, with an exception mentioned in n. 4, and greatly alters the fifth and sixth paragraphs of the printed report laid before Congress on 7 March 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, 171–72). All taxes, other than duties specified in the first four paragraphs of that report, obviously were to be selected by the states rather than by Congress.
3. Randolph to JM, 3 Jan., and n. 4; JM Notes, 9–10 Jan., nn. 3, 8; 14 Jan., nn. 4, 6; 31 Jan.; 11 Feb., and nn. 2, 4; 17 Feb., and n. 3; JM to Jefferson, 11 Feb.; to Randolph, 18 Feb. 1783. Besides stipulating for the first time a definite amount of money to be requisitioned annually from the states, the committee suggested that the eighth article of the Articles of Confederation, with which Congress had never been able to conform in apportioning quotas, should be amended. For the amendment recommended, see Amendment to Report on Public Credit, 28 Mar. 1783.
4. JM Notes, 28 Jan. 1783, and n. 19. From “and in case” through “as possible,” the amendment changes the recommendation of the sixth paragraph of the committee’s printed report, laid before Congress on 7 March, but, unlike that paragraph, omits mention of how the collectors of “the revenues” were to be appointed. The apparent lack of future debate upon this controversial issue and also the fourth paragraph of the report, as finally adopted on 18 April, lead to the inference that the present amendment implicitly shortened the sixth paragraph to read: “The said last mentioned revenues to be collected by persons appointed as aforesaid, but to be carried to the separate credit of the states within which they shall be collected” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 172, 259). The “appointed as aforesaid” refers to the mode specified in the fourth paragraph of the printed report or in the second paragraph as adopted on 18 April 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, 171, 258).
5. That is, every state which had been “deficient” should thereafter raise sufficient additional revenue to meet its allotted quota in full.
6. For the debate upon, and the adoption of, this amendment, see JM Notes, 27 March 1783. The state-by-state quotas, ranging upward from $24,000 for Georgia to $320,000 for Massachusetts, appear in the hand of Thomas FitzSimons, a member of the committee, along the right margin of a printed copy of the report submitted to Congress on 7 March 1783 (NA: PCC, No. 26, fol. 413). For alterations in this list of quotas, see JM Notes, 4 Apr. 1783.