James Madison Papers

Resolution Ordering the Election of a Northwest Claims Commissioner, 1 June 1784

Resolution Ordering the Election of
a Northwest Claims Commissioner

In the House of Delegates Tuesday the 1st: of June 1784.

Whereas it has been agreed by the United States in Congress assembled and the General Assembly of this Commonwealth that the necessary and reasonable expences incured by this Commonwealth in subduing any British Posts or in maintaining Forts or Garrisons within and for the defence, or in acquiring any part of the territory North Westward of the River Ohio, shall be reimbursed by the United States; and that one Commissioner shall be appointed by Congress, one by this Commonwealth, and another by those two, who, or a Majority of them shall be empow[er]ed to liquidate the said expences;

Resolved that this House will on Friday next proceed by joint ballot with the Senate to the choice of the Commissioner so agreed to be appointed on the part of this Commonwealth.1

Ms (Vi). In a clerk’s hand. Endorsed and docketed: “Reso to ballot for a Commissioner to liquidate expences incured in defending Territory North-Westward the River Ohio.” At the bottom of the docket a clerk added: “Mr. Madison.”

1Although no manuscript in JM’s hand has been found, the entry of his name on the docket and the order of the House for JM to “acquaint the Senate” with the resolution are convincing evidence of his authorship. Usually the author of a resolution or bill was accorded that courtesy, and evidence abounds regarding JM’s concern with the settlement of the continental accounts. While still in Congress, JM had helped pass the compromise embodied in the resolution. On 1 Mar. 1784 the United States took over most of the Northwest Territory previously claimed by Virginia and agreed to assume the state’s wartime expense in reinforcing its claimed chartered limits. By joint ballot on 11 June, Edward Carrington was chosen as the state commissioner.

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