James Madison Papers

Military Establishment, [9 December] 1794

Military Establishment

[9 December 1794]

Nicholas called for a committee “to enquire how far the act of Congress for the defence of the frontier had been complied with, and what number of the men ordered to be raised are yet to be enlisted.” JM had reported that act from committee in 1792 (PJM, 14:199 and n. 1).

Mr. Madison observed that a gentleman from New-Jersey (Mr. Dayton) had stated three different ways, in which the act was explained. He said that nothing required greater precision than a law which authorised the levying of troops. He suggested the propriety of an enquiry into the defects of the law in question, that there might be no room for mistake in applying it.

Philadelphia Gazette, 9 Dec. 1794 (reprinted in Aurora General Advertiser, 16 Dec. 1794, Dunlap and Claypoole’s Am. Daily Advertiser, 17 Dec. 1794, and Independent Gazetteer, 17 Dec. 1794). Nicholas amended his motion as suggested by JM. The House appointed a committee to conduct the inquiry, chaired by Nicholas who reported on 15 Dec. (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 3d Cong., 2d sess., 976).

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