James Madison Papers

Military Establishment, [3 February] 1795

Military Establishment

[3 February 1795]

The Committee of the Whole rejected Nicholas’s report on the military establishment and took up Dayton’s resolution.

Mr. Madison, after all that had been said, was still of opinion that there had been a change in our situation, and so there might be a possibility that a reduction was proper. By the arrangements made in this session, it might be practicable to reduce the numbers nominally and yet have a real augmentation, because the new regulations would actually bring more men into the field.1

Philadelphia Gazette, 6 Feb. 1795 (reprinted in Gazette of the U.S., 10 Feb. 1795 [speech misdated 30 Jan. 1794]).

1After further debate, the House passed the resolution and appointed Dayton chairman of a select committee that on 11 Feb. reported “a bill for continuing and regulating the Military Establishment of the United States.” In Committee of the Whole on 13 Feb., JM moved an amendment “that the troops should only be employed for the protection of the frontier.” The committee defeated his amendment and reported the bill to the House. JM voted with the minority when the House defeated an amendment to reduce the military establishment to 2,500 men “whenever there shall be peace with the Indian tribes.” He “renewed his amendment proposed in the committee in other words. The substance was, that regulars ought not to be used against citizens, for enforcing the laws of the United States, but only for protection against foreign invasion, and the Indian tribes.” JM was again in the minority when the House defeated his amendment. On 14 Feb. the House passed the bill, which (as amended by the Senate) Washington signed on 3 Mar. (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., 1212, 1221–23, 1275; Philadelphia Gazette, 14 Feb. 1795; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 1:430–32).

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