James Madison Papers

Salaries for Members of the Senate, [26 June] 1787

Salaries for Members of the Senate

[26 June 1787]

Ellsworth moved that the members of the Senate be paid by their respective states instead of by the national treasury.

Mr. Madison considered this a departure from a fundamental principle, and subverting the end intended by allowing the Senate a duration of 6 years. They would if this motion should be agreed to, hold their places during pleasure; during the pleasure of the State Legislatures. One great end of the institution was, that being a firm, wise and impartial body, it might not only give stability to the Genl. Govt. in its operations on individuals, but hold an even balance among different States. The motion would make the Senate like Congress, the mere Agents & Advocates of State interests & views, instead of being the impartial umpires & Guardians of justice and general Good. Congs. had lately by the establishment of a board with full powers to decide on the mutual claims between the U. States & the individual States, fairly acknowledged themselves to be unfit for discharging this part of the business referred to them by the Confederation.1

Ms (DLC).

1Lansing’s version:

“Madison—by making Elections six Years distant from each other we evince a Disposition to make them independent.—this can only be done by a Payment from national Treasury” (Strayer, Delegate from N.Y. description begins Joseph R. Strayer, ed., The Delegate from New York or Proceedings of the Federal Convention … from the Notes of John Lansing, Jr. (Princeton, 1939). description ends , p. 86).

Index Entries