James Madison Papers

Motion of Instruction to the President, [9 May] 1783

Motion of Instruction to the President

MS (NA: PCC, No. 36, II, 111). Docketed, “Motion of Mr. Madison Seconded by Mr. Holten passed May 9th 1783.”

Editorial Note

Closely following the tally of votes by which the plan for restoring public credit was adopted on 18 April 1783, there is printed in the Gaillard Hunt edition of the journals of Congress John Rutledge’s undated and undocketed motion of almost the same tenor as the present one of JM. Rutledge probably did not offer his resolution on 18 April, for otherwise he would not have left that date to be inserted in his opening clause, “That the resolutions of the  instant be transmitted to the several states” (NA: PCC, No. 36, II, 23; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 261–62). Rutledge’s motion may also date on 9 May. If he did introduce it, he probably withdrew it after being reminded that, although he was a strong advocate of state rights, he had confined the role of state legislatures only to taking “the measures necessary for complying with the requisitions of Congress.”

[9 May 1783]

That the Presidt. at the time of transmitting copies of the recommendations of Congs. of   the day of   &c. to the Executive authorities of the several States,1 inform them that it is the earnest desire of Congress, that such of the Legislatures as are neither sitting, nor about to meet in a short Time, may be convened with all possible expidition.2

1See ed. n. Before offering the motion, JM probably substituted for “&c” the phrase “and the address of the same month” (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 488; 498; Delegates to Harrison, 6 May 1783, and n. 3).

2Having received from Elias Boudinot a printed copy of the “recommendations” and its appended documents, Governor Harrison on 22 May 1783 referred them to the Virginia House of Delegates (Executive Letter Book, 1783–1786, p. 133, MS in Va. State Library; Harrison to Delegates, 7 June 1783). See also JM to Jefferson, 13 May 1783, and n. 11.

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