James Madison Papers

Outline of Speech in Support of Direct Taxation, [11 June] 1788

Outline of Speech in Support of Direct Taxation

[11 June 1788]1

direct taxation


I. necessary.

1. for punctuality—credit—suppose war & most to feared &c—free ships free goods.

2. conditl. taxn. produce failure from

3 distrust of concurrent exertions amg. Sts who will deliberate

4. Some Sts less in danger & less willing to exert.

5. Contests between Congs & Sts.

6 effect of being punishment & St. on side of people.
Represents. of particular oppose 1st. in Congs. then elsewhere.

7. case of partial payments within time.

8. prevent whole burden on imposts & S. Sts.

9. imports not eno’—now—& decrease in war—& manufactures.

10. Secure responsibility—when not to fix sum only—but find means—

II. practicable

1. 10 or 15 men eno’ for this State

2. aid of State laws—

3. increase of mutual knowledge

4. land—poll—property

5 uniformity not essential—Engd. & Scotd.—local customs.

6. concurrent collections—as both act for people.

III. Safe

1 to public liberty—Reps. of large distrcts—as London &c.

2. comparative dependence & influence of Genl & St: Govts—

3. No members of St: Govt. elected by Genl. Govt.

4. Presidt. elected under influence of St: Legislre.

5. Senate appd. by St: Legislres—
Col: Monroes idea & inconsistency here—

6. H. of Reps—attached to Sts: more than Senate.

7. people of Sts. attachd. to St: Govts.

8. compare no. of appointmts.

9. compare powers—

10. powers of Congs. same only as of Confedn. substantiated.—case of Congs [Issuing?] paper money.

IV. Œconomical

1—as to customs

2. as in place of 1500, or 2000 Members.

3—as less mutable—& less exposed to speculations &c.

Ms (DLC). Docketed by Rives: “Notes for speech on power of Direct taxation in Virginia Convention on the 11 June 1788 / See Debates p. 180–90.”

1JM’s illness probably prevented him from attending the 9 June session, but he was present for James Monroe’s speech of 10 June. Monroe objected to the power of direct taxation as “unnecessary, impracticable under a democracy; and if exercised, as tending to anarchy, or the subversion of liberty, and probably the latter” (Robertson, Virginia Debates description begins David Robertson, Debates and Other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia (2d ed.; Richmond, 1805). description ends , p. 158). Having prepared notes for his reply, JM delivered what the historian of the convention called “the most elaborate speech of his whole life” (Grigsby, Virginia Convention of 1788, I, 187).

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