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 (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 231–34.
Thursday June 5. see Journal.1
1. The journal records the adoption of a resolution introduced by Hugh Williamson to vacate the commission of any “captain or commander” who, without authorization of Congress or the agent of marine, should transport “goods and merchandise” aboard a “vessel in the service of the United States.”
Following the adoption of this proposal, Bland, seconded by Hamilton, offered a motion designed to promote domestic tranquillity; placate and reward the discontented veterans of the continental army; resolve the long-extended controversy over Virginia’s land claims north and west of the Ohio River; assure the settlement, defense, and making of states in that area; and provide large revenues for the use of the nearly bankrupt Congress. If Congress adopted the motion, it was not to become effective until approved by “the army of the United States” and until the Virginia General Assembly had rescinded from its offer of cession the stipulation requiring Congress to guarantee to that state its remaining territory west of the Appalachian Mountains. Should Virginia acquiesce in this regard, the motion recommended that Congress accept Virginia’s offer of cession with its other provisos.
These proposals were followed by others in the Bland-Hamilton motion: (1) repeal of the resolution pledging full pay for five years to the officers of the continental army; (2) in lieu thereof and of all other money owed to officers and soldiers who had served for the duration of the war, a grant to each of them, for every dollar due him, of thirty acres in the Northwest Territory in addition to the promised bounty lands; (3) a guarantee that the acreage would be free of all taxes and quitrents for seven years; (4) extension of the provisions of No. 2 and No. 3 to apply to officers and soldiers who served for at least three years; (5) a regulation that surveyors of the United States lay off for the above purposes a sufficiently large tract divided into districts, subdivided into townships; (6) admission of a district, containing “20,000 male inhabitants” as a state, equally “Independent free and Sovereign” as any of the original thirteen states; (7) reservation as the unalienable property of the United States of ten thousand acres “out of every hundred thousand acres so granted”—the “rents, issues, profits and produce” of the reserve to be used only for “the payment of the Civil List of the United States, the erecting frontier forts, the founding Seminaries of larning, and the surplus after such purposes (if any) to be appropriated to the building and equiping a Navy” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIV, 384–86, 386, n. 1). Congress referred this motion to the grand committee appointed on 30 May (JM Notes, 4 June 1783, n. 1). See also 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 , II, 72–78; VI, 371, n. 4; 375; 435; 436–37; 471; 472, nn. 2–4; Randolph to JM, 9 May; JM to Jefferson, 20 May, and nn. 5, 8; Jones to JM, 25 May, and n. 12; 31 May 1783.