James Madison Papers

Notes on Debates, 21–22 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.

The Motion was made by Mr. Hamilton 2ded by Mr. Madison to annex to the plan of the 18th. instant the part omitted relating to expences incurred by individual States,1 on the question, N. York, Pena. & Virga. alone were in the affirmative, Cont. & Georgia not present.2

Teusday Apr. 22. see Journal3

1The report of the Committee on Public Credit, drafted by JM and submitted on 6 March, was frequently debated and considerably revised before Congress adopted it on 18 April (Report on Restoring Public Credit, 6 Mar., and nn. 15, 16; JM Notes, 6 Mar.; 7 Mar., and ed. n.; 18 Apr. 1783, and n. 7). On 27 March Congress unanimously rejected the ninth (the original tenth) paragraph of the report relating to “equitable exceptions and abatements” being granted in financial settlements with states which, as a result of “invasions” by the enemy, had become delinquent in paying congressional requisitions. On the same day the tenth (the original eleventh) paragraph of the report, providing for an assumption by the United States of “reasonable expences” incurred by states without prior sanction of Congress but made necessary by war within their borders, was recommitted (JM Notes, 27 Mar. 1783, and nn. 11, 12, 14–16, 18, 19).

JM had tried unsuccessfully on 27 March to have Congress accept a proposal of a tenor similar to that of the excised ninth paragraph, and on 17 April a revised version of the tenth paragraph (JM Notes, 27 Mar.; Amendment to Report on Public Credit, 17 Apr., ed. n., and nn. 1, 5; JM Notes, 17 Apr. 1783, and nn. 3–8, 10). In the present session JM obviously joined Hamilton in another attempt to “revive” the tenth paragraph, even though Congress had already adopted the plan for restoring public credit.

2Neither the motion nor the tallied vote was entered in the journal. New Hampshire as well as Connecticut had only one delegate in Congress and hence could not cast an effective vote. Georgia was not represented. See JM Notes, 7 Apr. 1783, n. 4.

3Among other proceedings on the 22 April, Congress took action on six private claims for compensation, including the defeat of a motion to pay Oliver Pollock an annual salary of $2,000 for five years’ service as a commercial agent. Congress also appointed a committee, Samuel Osgood, chairman, and JM one of the other four members, to confer with Robert Morris “relative to his continuance” as superintendent of finance (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 265–68; Harrison to Delegates, 19 Apr. 1783, n. 4). See also JM Notes, 18 Apr., n. 1; 23–24 Apr. 1783, n. 3.

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