James Madison Papers

Notes on Debates, 10 April 1783

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.

Letters rcd. from Genl. Carlton & Admiral Digby inclosing British proclamation of cessation of arms1 &c also Letters from Docr. Franklin & Mr. Adams, notifying the conclusion of Preliminaries between G. B. & F. & Spain, with a declaration entered into with Mr. Fitzherbert applying the epochs of cessation to the case of G. B. & U. S.2 These papers were referred to Secy. of F. A. to report a proclamation for Congs. at 6 OClock—at which time Congs. met & recd. report nearly as it stands on the Journal of Friday, Apl. 11. After some consideration of the Report as to the accuracy & propriety of which a diversity of sentiments prevailed, they postponed it till next day.3 They Secy also reported a Resolution directing Secy. at War and Agent of Marine to discharge all prisoners of war.4

2The dispatches to Livingston, secretary for foreign affairs, were John Adams’ of 22 and 23 January and Benjamin Franklin’s of 21 January, enclosing a copy of the document signed by Alleyne Fitzherbert, announcing a cessation of the war by Great Britain against France, Spain, and the United States. Appended to this document were three brief paragraphs in which Franklin and Adams “reciprocally declare” that the United States will “cause to cease all hostilities against his Britannic majesty, his subjects and possessions, at the terms or periods agreed” by Great Britain, France, and Spain (NA: PCC, No. 185, III, 61; Wharton, Revol. Dipl. Corr description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends ., VI, 223–25, 226–27). For Fitzherbert, see Jefferson to JM, 7–8 Feb., n. 12. For the “terms or periods,” see Delegates to Harrison, 25 Mar., and n. 4. See also Delegates to Harrison, 24 Mar., and n. 2; 1 Apr. and n. 4; JM Notes, 24 Mar., and n. 1; 31 Mar.; JM to Maury, 24 Mar., and n. 2; JM to Randolph, 1 Apr. 1783.

3JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 238–40. For the debate on “the Report” and the few changes of any significance which were made in its text before it was adopted, see JM Notes, 11 Apr. 1783.

4JM inadvertently wrote “They” instead of “The” before “Secy” (Robert R. Livingston). The “Secy at War” was Benjamin Lincoln, and the “Agent of Marine,” Robert Morris. For the issue of discharging “all prisoners of war,” see JM Notes, 12 Apr.; 14 Apr. 1783.

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