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SPEECHES AND RESOLUTIONS IN CONGRESS - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 1 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 1.
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SPEECHES AND RESOLUTIONS IN CONGRESS
SPEECHES AND RESOLUTIONS IN CONGRESS1
January 27, 1783.
MR. HAMILTON went extensively into the subject; the sum of it was as follows: He observed that funds considered as permanent sources of revenue were of two kinds: first, such as would extend generally and uniformly throughout the United States, and would be collected under the authority of Congress; secondly, such as might be established separately within each State, and might consist of any objects which were chosen by the States, and might be collected either under the authority of the States or of Congress. Funds of the first kind, he contended, were preferable; as being, first, more simple, the difficulties attending the mode of fixing the quotas laid down in the Confederation rendering it extremely complicated, and in a manner insuperable; secondly, as being more certain, since the States, according to the said plan, would probably retain the collection of the revenue, and a vicious system of collection prevailed generally throughout the United States,—a system by which the collectors were chosen by the people, and made their offices more subservient to their popularity than to the public revenue; thirdly, as being more economical, since the collection would be effected with fewer officers under the management of Congress than under that of the States.
Tuesday, January 28th.
Mr. Hamilton, in reply to Mr. Ellsworth, dwelt long on the inefficacy of State funds. He supposed, too, that greater obstacles would arise to the execution of the plan than to that of a general revenue. As an additional reason for the latter to be collected by officers under the appointment of Congress, he signified that as the energy of the Federal Government was evidently short of the degree necessary for pervading and uniting the States, it was expedient to introduce the influence of officers deriving their emoluments from, and consequently interested in supporting the power of, Congress.1
Wednesday, January 29th.
Mr. Hamilton disliked every plan that made but partial provision for the public debts, as an inconsistent and dishonorable departure from the declaration made by Congress on that subject. He said the domestic creditors would take the alarm at any distinctions unfavorable to their claims; that they would withhold their influence from any such measures recommended by Congress; and that it must be principally from their influence on their respective Legislatures that success could be expected to any application from Congress for a general revenue.
February 12, 1783.
Resolved, That it is the opinion of Congress that complete JUSTICE cannot be done to the creditors of the United States, nor the restoration of PUBLIC CREDIT be effected, nor the future exigencies of the war provided for, but by the establishment of permanent and adequate funds to operate generally throughout the United States, to be collected by Congress.1
Wednesday, February 19th.
Mr. Hamilton said, in support of his motion,1 that it was in vain to attempt to gain the concurrence of the States by removing the objections publicly assigned by them against the impost; that these were the ostensible and not the true objections; that the true objection on the part of Rhode Island was the interference of the impost with the opportunity afforded by their situation of levying contributions on Connecticut, etc., which received foreign supplies through the ports of Rhode Island; that the true objection on the part of Virginia was her having little share in the debts due from the United States, to which the impost would be applied; that a removal of the avowed objections would not therefore remove the obstructions, whilst it would admit, on the part of Congress, that their first recommendation went beyond the absolute exigencies of the public; that Congress, having taken a proper ground at first, ought to maintain it till time should convince the States of the propriety of the measure.
Mr. Hamilton opposed the motion2 strenuously; declared that, as a friend to the army as well as to the other creditors and to the public at large, he would never assent to such a partial distribution of justice; that the different States, being differently attached to different branches of the public debt, would never concur in establishing a fund which was not extended to every branch; that it was impolitic to divide the interests of the civil and military creditors, whose joint efforts in the States would be necessary to prevail on them to adopt a general revenue.
Whereas it is the desire of Congress that the motives of their deliberations and measures (so far as they can be disclosed consistently with the public safety) should be fully known to their constituents, therefore Resolved, That when the establishment of funds for paying the principal and interest of the public debt shall be under the consideration of this House, the doors shall be opened.
MUTINY OF TROOPS
June 21, 1783.
Resolved,1 That the President and Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania be informed that the authority of the United States having been this day grossly insulted by the disorderly and menacing appearance of a body of armed soldiers about the place within which Congress were assembled, and the peace of this city being endangered by the mutinous disposition of said troops, now in the barracks, it is, in the opinion of Congress, necessary that effectual measures be immediately taken for supporting the public authority.
Resolved, That the Committee, on a letter from Colonel Butler, be directed to confer, without loss of time, with the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, on the practicability of carrying the preceding resolution into effect; and that in case it shall appear to the Committee that there is not a satisfactory ground for expecting adequate and prompt exertions of this State, for supporting the dignity of the Federal Government, the President, on the advice of the Committee, be authorized to summon the members of Congress to meet on Thursday next, at Trenton or Princeton, in New Jersey, in order that further and more effectual measures may be taken for suppressing the present revolt and maintaining the dignity and authority of the United States.
Resolved, That the Secretary of War be directed to communicate to the Commander-in-Chief the state and disposition of the said troops, in order that he may take immediate measures to dispatch to this city such force as he may judge expedient for suppressing any disturbances that may ensue.
RESOLUTIONS FOR A GENERAL CONVENTION
June 30, 1783.
Whereas, in the opinion of this Congress, the Confederation of the United States is defective in the following essential points, to wit:
Firstly, and generally: In confining the power of the Federal Government within too narrow limits; withholding from it that efficacious authority and influence, in all matters of general concern, which are indispensable to the harmony and welfare of the whole; embarrassing general provisions by unnecessary details and inconvenient exceptions incompatible with their nature, tending only to create jealousies and disputes respecting the proper bounds of the authority of the United States, and of that of the particular States, and a mutual interference of the one with the other.
Secondly: In confounding legislative and executive powers in a single body: as, that of determining on the number and quantity of force, land and naval, to be employed for the common defence, and of directing their operations when raised and equipped, with that of ascertaining and making requisitions for the necessary sums or quantities of money to be paid by the respective States into the common treasury; contrary to the most approved and well-founded maxims of free government, which require that the legislative, executive, and judicial authorities should be deposited in distinct and separate hands.
Thirdly: In want of a Federal Judicature, having cognizance of all matters of general concern in the last resort, especially those in which foreign nations and their subjects are interested; from which defect, by the interference of the local regulations of particular States militating directly or indirectly against the powers vested in the Union, the national treaties will be liable to be infringed, the national faith to be violated, and the public tranquillity to be disturbed.
Fourthly: In vesting the United States in Congress assembled with the power of general taxation, comprehended in that of “ascertaining the necessary sums of money to be raised for the common defence, and of appropriating and applying the same, for defraying the public expenses”; and yet rendering that power, so essential to the existence of the Union, nugatory, by withholding from them all control over either the imposition or the collection of the taxes for raising the sums required: whence it happens that the inclinations, not the abilities, of the respective States are, in fact, the criterion of their contributions to the common expense; and the public burthen has fallen, and will continue to fall, with very unequal weight.
Fifthly: In fixing a rule for determining the proportion of each State towards the common expense, which, if practicable at all, must, in the execution, be attended with great expense, inequality, uncertainty, and difficulty.
Sixthly: In authorizing Congress “to borrow money, or emit bills on the credit of the United States,” without the power of establishing funds to secure the repayment of the money borrowed, or the redemption of the bills emitted; from which must result one of these evils: Either a want of sufficient credit, in the first instance, to borrow, or to circulate the bills emitted, whereby, in great national exigencies, the public safety may be endangered; or, in the second instance, frequent infractions of the public engagements, disappointments to lenders, repetitions of the calamities of depreciating paper, a continuance of the injustice and mischiefs of an unfunded debt, and, first or last, the annihilation of public credit.
Indeed, in authorizing Congress at all to emit an unfunded paper as the sign of value, a resource which, though useful in the infancy of this country, and indispensable in the commencement of the revolution, ought not to continue a formal part of the Constitution, nor ever, hereafter, to be employed, being, in its nature, pregnant with abuses, and liable to be made the engine of imposition and fraud, holding out temptations equally pernicious to the integrity of government and to the morals of the people.
Seventhly: In not making proper or competent provisions for interior or exterior defence. For interior defence, by leaving it to the individual States to appoint all regimental officers of the land-forces; to raise the men in their own way; to clothe, arm, and equip them at the expense of the United States: from which circumstances have resulted, and will hereafter result, great confusion in the military department; continual disputes of rank; languid and disproportionate levies of men; an enormous increase of expense, for want of system and uniformity in the manner of conducting them, and from the competitions of State bounties; by an ambiguity in the fourth clause of the sixth article, susceptible of a construction which would devolve upon the particular States in time of peace the care of their own defence, both by sea and land, and would preclude the United States from raising a single regiment, or building a single ship, before a declaration of war or an actual commencement of hostilities,—a principle dangerous to the Confederacy in different respects, by leaving the United States at all times unprepared for the defence of their common rights, obliging them to begin to raise an army and to build and equip a navy at the moment they would have occasion to employ them, and by putting into the hands of a few States, who, from their local situations, are more immediately exposed, all the standing forces of the country; thereby, not only leaving the care of the safety of the whole to a part which will naturally be both unwilling and unable to make effectual provision at its particular expense, but also furnishing grounds of jealousy and distrust between the States; unjust, in its operation, to those States in whose hands they are, by throwing the exclusive burthen of maintaining those forces upon them, while their neighbors, immediately, and all the States, ultimately, would share the benefits of their services.
For exterior defence, in authorizing Congress to “build and equip a navy” without providing any means of manning it, either by requisitions of the States, by the power of registering and draughting the seamen in rotation, or by embargoes in cases of emergency to induce them to accept employment on board the ships of war; the omission of all of which, leaves no other resource than voluntary enlistment,—a resource which has been found ineffectual in every country, and, for reasons of peculiar force, in this.
Eighthly: In not vesting in the United States, a general superintendence of trade, equally necessary in the view of revenue and regulation. Of revenue, because duties on commerce, when moderate, are one of the most agreeable and productive species of it; which cannot, without great disadvantages, be imposed by particular States while others refrain from doing it, but must be imposed in concert, and by laws operating upon the same principles, at the same moment, in all the States, otherwise those States which should not impose them would engross the commerce of such of their neighbors as did. Of regulation, because by general prohibitions of particular articles, by a judicious arrangement of duties, sometimes by bounties on the manufacture or exportation of certain commodities, injurious branches of commerce might be discouraged, favorable branches encouraged, useful products and manufactures promoted, none of which advantages can be as effectually attained by separate regulations, without a general superintending power; because, also, it is essential to the due observance of the commercial stipulations of the United States with foreign powers, an interference with which will be unavoidable if the different States have the exclusive regulation of their own trade, and, of course, the construction of the treaties entered into.
Ninthly: In defeating essential powers by provisions and limitations inconsistent with their nature, as the power of making treaties with foreign nations, “provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the importation or exportation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever”; a proviso, susceptible of an interpretation which includes a constitutional possibility of defeating the treaties of commerce entered into by the United States. As also the power “of regulating the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians, not members of any of the States, provided that the legislative right of any State, within its own limits, be not infringed or violated”; and others of a similar nature.
Tenthly: In granting the United States the sole power “of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority or by that of the respective States,” without the power of regulating the foreign coin in circulation; though the one is essential to the due exercise of the other, as there ought to be such proportions maintained, between the national and foreign coin as will give the former preference in all internal negotiations; and without the latter power the operations of government, in a matter of primary importance to the commerce and finances of the United States, will be exposed to numberless obstructions.
Eleventhly: In requiring the assent of nine States to matters of principal importance, and of seven to all others, except adjournments from day to day; a rule destructive of vigor, consistency, or expedition in the administration of affairs; tending to subject the sense of the majority to that of the minority, by putting it in the power of a small combination to retard, and even to frustrate, the most necessary measures; and to oblige the greater number, in cases which require speedy determinations, as happens in the most interesting concerns of the community, to come into the views of the smaller; the evils of which have been felt in critical conjunctures, and must always make the spirit of government a spirit of compromise and expedient rather than of system and energy.
Twelfthly: In vesting in the Federal Government the sole direction of the interests of the United States, in their intercourse with foreign nations, without empowering it to pass all general laws in aid and support of the laws of nations; for the want of which authority the faith of the United States may be broken, their reputation sullied, and their peace interrupted by the negligence or misconception of any particular State.
And whereas, experience hath clearly manifested that the powers reserved to the Union in the Confederation are unequal to the purpose of effectually drawing forth the resources of the respective members, for the common welfare and defence: whereby the United States have, upon several occasions, been exposed to the most critical and alarming situations; have wanted an army adequate to their defence, and proportioned to the abilities of the country; have, on account of that deficiency, seen essential posts reduced, others eminently endangered, whole States, and large parts of others overrun and ravaged by small bodies of the enemy's forces; have been destitute of sufficient means of feeding, clothing, paying, and appointing that army; by which the troops, rendered less efficient for military operations, have been exposed to sufferings which nothing but unparalleled patience, perseverance, and patriotism could have endured; whereby, also, the United States have been too often compelled to make the administration of their affairs a succession of temporary expedients, inconsistent with order, economy, energy, or a scrupulous adherence to the public engagements; and now find themselves, at the close of a glorious struggle for independence, without any certain means of doing justice to those who have been its principal supporters,—to an army which has bravely fought and patiently suffered, to citizens who have cheerfully lent their money, and to others who have in different ways contributed their property and their personal service to the common cause; obliged to rely, for the only effectual mode of doing that justice, by funding the debt on solid securities, on the precarious concurrence of thirteen distinct deliberatives, the dissent of either of which may defeat the plan, and leave these States, at this early period of their existence, involved in all the disgrace and mischiefs of violated faith and national bankruptcy.
And whereas, notwithstanding we have, by the blessing of Providence, so far happily escaped the complicated dangers of such a situation, and now see the object of our wishes secured by an honorable peace, it would be unwise to hazard a repetition of the same dangers and embarrassments in any future war in which these States may be engaged, or to continue this extensive empire under a government unequal to its protection and prosperity.
And whereas, it is essential to the happiness and security of these States, that their union should be established on the most solid foundations: and it is manifest that this desirable object cannot be effected but by a government capable, both in peace and war, of making every member of the Union contribute, in just proportion, to the common necessities, and of combining and directing the forces and wills of the several parts to a general end; to which purposes, in the opinion of Congress, the present Confederation is altogether inadequate.
And whereas, on the spirit which may direct the councils and measures of these States at the present juncture may depend their future safety and welfare, Congress conceives it to be their duty freely to state to their constituents the defects which, by experience, have been discovered in the present plan of the Federal Union, and solemnly to call their attention to a revisal and amendment of the same.
Therefore, Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the several States to appoint a Convention to meet at, on the day of, with full powers to revise the Confederation, and to adopt and propose such alterations as to them shall appear necessary; to be finally approved or rejected by the States respectively; and that a Committee of be appointed to prepare an address upon the subject.
MUTINY OF THE TROOPS
July 1, 1783.
Resolved, That Major-General Howe be directed to march such part of the force under his command as he shall judge necessary to the State of Pennsylvania, in order that immediate measures may be taken to confine and bring to trial all such persons belonging to the army as have been principally active in the late meeting, to disarm the remainder, and to examine fully.into all the circumstances relating thereto.
That in the exercise of the foregoing resolution, if any matters shall arise which may concern the civil jurisdiction, or in which its aid may be necessary, application be made for the same to the executive authorities of the State.
MUTINY OF THE TROOPS
July 1, 1783.
The Committee, consisting of Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Ellsworth, and Mr. Peters, to whom were referred a letter of the 17th of June from Col. R. Butler, at Lancaster, and sundry papers communicated to Congress by the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, through their delegates, having, on the 19th of June, made a verbal report, and on the 20th of the same month, a report in writing, and the written report being on the 30th recommitted that they might amend it by adding thereto their verbal report, and the report being this day brought in with the said amendment, ordered that it be entered on the journal.
The Committee, to whom were referred the letters and papers communicated to Congress by the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, through their delegates, report: That they had a conference yesterday, as directed, with the Supreme Executive Council, in which, in the first instance, the propriety of calling out a detachment of militia to intercept the mutineers on their march from Lancaster was proposed to the Council, suggesting the danger of their being suffered with impunity to join the troops in the barracks, who a few days before had manifested a dangerous spirit by an insolent and threatening message sent to Congress in the name of a board of sergeants, and who, it was apprehended, would be ready to make common cause with those on their march for mutinous purposes; that the Council having shown a reluctance to call out any part of the militia, expressing an opinion that they would not be willing to act till some outrage should have been committed by the troops, there appeared to the Committee no alternative but to endeavor to dissuade the mutineers from coming to town, and if they failed in that attempt, to make use of expedients to prevent the troops in the barracks from joining in any excesses, and to induce the detachment from Lancaster to return to that place; that, in this view, and at their desire, the Assistant Secretary of War met the detachment then on its march to the city, and endeavored to engage them to return to the former place, urging the considerations contained in the annexed instructions within, but the said detachment persisted in their intention of coming to this city and arrived here this morning; that upon conferring with the Superintendent of Finance they find there is a probability that the Paymaster General, to whom the settlement of the accounts of the army has been committed, and who, having all the documents in his possession, can alone execute the business with propriety, will shortly arrive from the army, and will immediately enter upon a settlement with the troops in this State; that, in the meantime, measures will be taken to prepare the business for a future adjustment; that there will immediately be sent to Lancaster a sum of money to be paid to the troops on account of the month's pay heretofore described to be advanced to them, the payment of which has hitherto been delayed by particular circumstances, together with notes for three months’ pay, intended to be advanced to the men when furloughed; that they have desired this information to be transmitted to the commanding officer here and at Lancaster, with this declaration, that the corps stationed at Lancaster, including the detachment, can only be settled with or paid at that place.
Instructions to Major Jackson
Information having been received that a detachment of about eighty mutineers are on their way from Lancaster to this place, you will please to proceed to meet them, and to endeavor by every prudent method to engage them to return to the post they have left. You will inform them of the orders that have been given, permitting them to remain in service till their accounts shall have been settled, if they prefer it to being furloughed, and of the allowance of pay which has been made to the army at large, and in which they are to be included. You will represent to them that their accounts cannot be settled without their officers, whom they have left behind them at Lancaster. You will represent to them with coolness but energy the impropriety of such irregular proceedings, and the danger they will run by persisting in an improper conduct. You will assure them of the best intentions in Congress to do them justice, and of the absurdity of their expecting to procure it more effectually by intemperate proceedings. You will point out to them the tendency which such proceedings may have to raise the resentments of their country, and to indispose it to take effectual measures for their relief. In short, you will urge every consideration in your power to induce them to return, at the same time avoiding whatever may tend to irritate. If they persist in coming to town, you will give the earliest notice to us of their progress and disposition. Should they want provisions, you will assure them of a supply, if they will remain where they are, which you are to endeavor to persuade them to do, in preference to coming to town.
I am, sir, Your most obedient servant,
June 19, 1783.
The Committee, consisting of Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Ellsworth, appointed on the 21st of June, to confer with the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania on the practicability of taking effectual measures to support the public authority, having delivered in a report, ordered that it be entered in the journal.
The Committee appointed to confer with the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania on the practicability of taking effectual measures to support the public authority, in consequence of the disorderly and menacing appearance of a body of armed soldiers surrounding the place where Congress were assembled on Saturday the 21st, beg leave to report.
That they had a conference the morning following with the Supreme Executive Council, agreeable to the intention of Congress, and having communicated their resolution on that subject, informed the Council that Congress considered the proceeding on which that resolution was founded of so serious a nature as to render palliatives improper, and to require that vigorous measures should be taken to put a stop to the further progress of the evil, and to compel submission on the part of the offenders; that, in this view, they had thought it expedient to declare to the Executive of the State in which they reside the necessity of taking effectual measures for supporting the public authority; that though they had declined a specification of the measures which they would deem effectual, it was their sense that a number of the militia should be immediately called out, sufficient to suppress the revolt; that Congress, unwilling to expose the United States to a repetition of the insult, had suspended their ordinary deliberations in this city, till proper steps could be taken to provide against the possibility of it.
The Council, after some conversation, informed the committee that they would wish, previous to a determination, to ascertain the state and disposition of the militia, and to consult the officers for that purpose.
The day following the Committee waited upon the Council for their final resolution, having previously Presented a letter addressed to his Excellency the President, of which a copy is annexed, 1 requesting the determination of the Council in writing. The Council declined a written answer, alleging that it had been unusual on similar occasions; that they were unwilling to do any thing which might appear an innovation in the manner of conducting conferences between their body and committees of Congress; adding, however, that they were ready to give their answer in writing if Congress should request it. They then proceeded to a verbal answer, in substance as follows: that the Council had a high respect for the representative sovereignty of the United States, and were disposed to do every thing in their power to support its dignity. That they regretted the insult which had happened, with this additional motive of sensibility, that they had themselves had a principal share in it. That they had consulted a number of well-informed officers of the militia, and found that nothing in the present state of things was to be expected from that quarter. That the militia of the city in general were not only ill-provided for service, but disinclined to act upon the present occasion. That the Council did not believe any exertions were to be looked for from them, except in case of further outrage and actual violence to person or property. That in such case a respectable body of citizens would arm for the security of their property and of the public peace; but it was to be doubted what measure of outrage would produce this effect; and in particular, it was not to be expected merely from a repetition of the insult which had happened.
The Council observed that they thought it their duty to communicate their expectations with candor, and passed from the subject of the practicability of vigorous measures to the policy of them. They stated that General St. Clair, with the approbation of several members of Congress and of Council, had, by a declaration in writing, permitted the mutineers to choose a committee of commissioned officers to represent their grievances to Council, and had authorized them to expect that a conference would be allowed for that purpose. That it was said the mutineers began to be convinced of their error, and were preparing submissions. That from the steps which had been taken, the business seemed to be in a train of negotiation, and that it merited consideration, how far it would be prudent to terminate the matter in that way rather than employ coercive means.
The Committee remarked, with respect to the scruple about giving an answer in writing, that they could not forbear differing in opinion as to its propriety. That nothing was more common than written communications between the Executives of the different States and the Civil and military officers acting under the authority of the United States; that for a much stronger reason there was a propriety in this mode of transacting business between the Council and a Committee of the body of Congress. That indeed it would be conformable to the most obvious and customary rules of proceeding, and that the importance of the present occasion made it desirable to give every transaction the greatest precision. With respect to the practicability of employing the militia, the Committee observed that this was a point of which the Council was alone competent to judge. That the duty of the Committee was performed in explicitly signifying the expectations of Congress.
And with respect to the policy of coercion, the Committee remarked that the measures taken by Congress clearly indicated their opinion that the excesses of the mutineers had passed the bounds within which a spirit of compromise might consist with the dignity and even safety of government. That impunity for what had happened might encourage to more flagrant proceedings, invite others to follow the example, and extend the mischief. That the passiveness of conduct observed toward the detachment which had mutinied at Lancaster, and came to the city in defiance of their officers, had, no doubt, led to the subsequent violences. That these considerations had determined Congress to adopt decisive measures. That besides the application to the State in which they reside for its immediate support, they had not neglected other means of ultimately executing their purposes, but had directed the Commander-in-Chief to march a detachment of troops toward the city. That whatever moderation it might be prudent to exercise toward the mutineers, when they were once in the power of the government, it was necessary, in the first instance, to place them in that situation. That Congress would probably continue to pursue this object unless it should be superseded by unequivocal demonstrations of submission on the part of the mutineers. That they had hitherto given no satisfactory evidence of this disposition, having lately presented the officers they had chosen to represent their grievances, with a formal commission in writing, enjoining them, if necessary, to use compulsory means for redress, and menacing them with death in case of their failing to execute their views. Under this state of things the Committee could not forbear suggesting to the Council that it would be expedient for them so to qualify the reception which they should think proper to give to any propositions made by the mutineers, as not to create embarrassment, should Congress continue to act on the principle of coercion.
The Committee, finding that there was no satisfactory ground to expect prompt and adequate exertions on the part of the Executive of this State for supporting the public authority, were bound, by the resolution under which they acted, to advise the President to summon Congress to assemble at Princeton or Trenton on Thursday the 26th inst.
Willing, however, to protract the departure of Congress as long as they could be justified in doing it, still hoping that further information would produce more decisive measures on the part of the Council, and desirous of seeing what complexion the intimated submissions would assume, they ventured to defer advising the removal till the afternoon of the day following that on which the answer of Council was given. But having then received no further communication from the Council, and having learned from General St. Clair that the submissions proposed to be offered by the mutineers, through the officers they had chosen to represent them, were not of a nature sufficiently explicit to be accepted or relied on; that they would be accompanied by new demands, to which it would be improper to listen; that the officers themselves composing the committee had shown a mysterious reluctance to inform General St. Clair of their proceedings; had refused in the first instance to do it, and had afterwards only yielded to a peremptory demand on his part; the Committee could no longer think themselves at liberty to delay their advice for an adjournment, which they this day accordingly gave; persuaded, at the same time, that it was necessary to impress the mutineers with a conviction that extremities would be used against them before they would be induced to resolve on a final and unreserved submission.
June 24, 1783.
Almost all the resolutions offered in Congress by Hamilton are omitted here, because they are given in the journals of that body. Many of them are unimportant, and nearly all are the work of committees. Those which follow are retained solely because they show the drift of Hamilton's mind at this time on the subject of government, and the nature of his efforts as a public man to bring about the desired changes in our political system. The speeches are taken from Madison's Debates, and although mere fragments, illustrate better than anything else the character of Hamilton's work as a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation.
This remark was imprudent and injurious to the cause which it was meant to serve. This influence was the very source of the jealousy which rendered the States averse to a revenue under collection, as well as appropriation, of Congress. All the members of Congress who concurred in any degree with the States in this jealousy smiled at the disclosure. Mr. Bland, and still more Mr. Lee, who were of this number, took notice in private conversation that Mr. Hamilton had let out the secret. (Note by Madison.)
There has been much useless controversy as to whether the honor of first advocating the establishment of permanent funds belongs to Hamilton, Madison, or Wilson of Pennsylvania. (See Hamilton's History of the Republic, ii., 398, and Rives’ Life of Madison, i., 437.) The first suggestion of permanent funds was in the report of a Committee on the Army Memorial, drafted by Hamilton. (See Journals of Congress, Jan. 25, 1783.) Then followed the debates on this question of public credit, and the speeches given above show that Hamilton took strong grounds in favor of permanent funds. On Jan. 29th, a resolution for permanent funds was passed substantially as above, and was amended Feb. 12th. Madison and Wilson both sustained the principle. It is of no importance whether the ultimate resolution was identical with this of Hamilton's or not. This resolution, as given here, shows Hamilton's views exactly, and that is sufficient.
To postpone clause limiting time of duration of impost, and to make it unlimited in duration.
By Mr. Rutledge, to appropriate impost to army exclusively.
This resolution, and those which follow, with the exception of the very next series, relate to the mutiny of certain troops at Philadelphia and Lancaster. Congress was threatened and insulted, and the Government of Pennsylvania displayed great feebleness. Hamilton favored most vigorous measures, and subsequently defended his action and that of Congress in The Vindication. His resolutions and other writings in connection with this incident do not strictly belong to his writings on government, but they show the difficulties with which he was contending, the way in which he met a danger that shook severely the crazy fabric of the Confederation, and the use which he made of this wretched affair to advance his broad and far-reaching schemes.
“Sir:,—We have the honor to enclose for your Excellency and the Council, a copy of the resolutions communicated in our conference yesterday. Having then fully entered into all the explanations which were necessary on the subject, we shall not trouble your Excellency with a recapitulation, but as the object is of a delicate and important nature, we think it our duty to request the determination of the Council in writing.” Philadelphia, June 23, 1783.