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Congress resumed the consideration of the report of the committee of the whole, (for laying a duty of five per cent. ;)
And on the question to insert the words (to transfer the power to lay the duty from the states to Congress) moved to be inserted, the yeas and nays were required; and it was resolved in the affirmative.
The report of the committee of the whole, being amended, was agreed to, as follows:
Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states, as indispensably necessary, that they vest a power in Congress to levy, for the use of the United States, a duty of five per cent. ad valorem, at the time and place of importation, upon all goods, wares, and merchandise, of foreign growth and manufacture, which may be imported into any of the said states from any foreign port, island, or plantation, after the 1st day of May, 1781; except arms, ammunition, clothing, and other articles imported on account of the United States, or any of them; and except wool cards and cotton cards, and wire for making them; and also except salt, during the
Also a like duty of five per cent. on all prizes and prize goods, condemned in the court of adiniralty of any of these states as lawful prize.
That the moneys arising from the said duties be appropriated to the discharge of the principal and interest of the debts already contracted, or
be contracted, on the faith of the United States, for supporting the
present war. That the said duties be continued until the said debts shall be fully and finally discharged.
Friday, April 18, 1783. -Congress proceeded in the consideration of the report, (concerning duties and revenues ;) and sundry amendments being made,
Resolved, by nine states, That it be recommended to the several states, as indispensably necessary to the restoration of public credit, and to the punctual and honorable discharge of the public debts, to invest the United States in Congress assembled with a power to levy, for the use of the United States, the following duties upon goods imported into the said states from any foreign port, island, or plantation :Upon all rum of Jamaica proof, per gallon,.
4-90ths of a dollar. Upon all other spirituous liquors,
3-90ths ditto. Upon Madeira wine,
.12-90ths ditto. Upon all other wines,..
0-90ths ditto. Upon common Bohea tea, per lb.,
6-90ths ditto. Upon all other teas,.
.24-90ths ditto. Upon pepper, per lb.g...
3-90ths ditto. Upon brown sugar, per lb.go.
1-90th ditto. Upon loaf sugar,
2-90ths ditto. Upon all other sugars,
1-90th ditto. Upon molasses, per gallon,..
1-90th ditto. Upon cocoa and coffee, per lb.
1-90th ditto. Upon all other goods, a duty of five per cent. ad valorem, at the time and place
of importation. Provided, That none of the said duties shall be applied to any other purpose than the discharge of the interest or principal of the debts contracted, on the faith of the United States, for supporting the war, agreeably to the resolution of the 16th day of December last, nor be continued for a longer term than twenty-five years; and provided, that the collectors of the said duties shall be appointed by the states within which their offices are to be respectively exercised; but when so appointed, shall be amenable to, and
reno, able by, the United States in Congress assembled, alone; and in case any state shall not make such appointment within one month after notice given tor that purpose, the appointment may be made by the United States in Congress assembled.
That it be further recommended to the several states to establish, for a term limited to twenty-five years, and to appropriate to the discharge of the interest and principal of the debts contracted on the faith of the United States for supporting the war, substantial and effectual revenues, of such nature as they may judge most convenient, for supplying their respective proportions of one million five hundred thousand dollars, annually, exclusive of the afore-mentioned duties, which proportion shall be fixed and equalized from time to time, according to the rule which is, or may be, prescribed by the Articles of Confederation; and in case the revenues established by any state shall at any time yield a sum exceeding its actual proportion, the excess shall be refunded to it; and in case the revenues of any state shall be found to be deficient, the immediate deficiency shall be made up by such state with as little delay as possible, and a future de. ficiency guarded against by an enlargement of the revenues established; provided, that, until the rule of the Confederation can be carried into practice, the proportions of the said one million five hundred thousand dollars shall be as follows, viz. :New Hampshire, .52,708 Delaware,
.22,443 Massachusetts, .224,427 Maryland,
.141,517 Rhode Island, .32,318 Virvinia,
.256,487 Connecticut, .132,091 North Carolina,
.109,006 New York, 12,243 South Carolina,
.96,183 New Jersey, .83,358 Georgia,
. 16,030 Pennsylvania,
205,189 The said last-mentioned revenues to be collected by persons appointed as aforesaid, but to be carried to the separate credit of the states within which they shall be collected.
That an annual account of the proceeds and application of all the afore-mentioned revenues shall be made out and transmitted to the seve eral states, distinguishing the proceeds of each of the specified articles, and the amount of the whole revenue received from each state, together with the allowances made to the several officers employed in the collection of the said revenues.
That none of the preceding resolutions shall take effect until all of them shall be acceded to by every state; aster which unanimous accession, however, they shall be considered as forming a mutual compact among all the states, and shall be irrevocable by any one or more of them, without the concurrence of the whole, or a majority of the United States in Congress assembled.
That, as a further mean, as well of hastening the extinguishment of the debts, as of establishing the harmony of the United States, it be recommended to the states which have passed no acts towards complying with the resolutions of Congress of the 6th of September, and 10th of October, 1780, relative to the cession of territorial claims, to make the liberal ce.:sions therein recommended, and to the states which may have passed acts complying with the said resolutions in part only, to revise and complete such compliance.
That, as a more convenient and certain rule of ascertaining the proportions to be supplied by the states respectively to the common treasury.
the following alteration in the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between these states, be, and the same is hereby agreed to in Congress; and the several states are advised to authorize their respective delegates to subscribe and ratify the same, as part of the said instrument of union, in the words following, to wit:
So-much of the 8th of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, between the thirteen states of Anjerica, as is contained in the words following, to wit, “ All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states, in proportion to the value of all land within each state, granted to or surveyed for any person, as such land, and the buildings and improve nents thereon shall be estiinated, according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled shall from time to tiine direct and appoint,” is hereby revoked and made void; and in place thereof, it is declared and concluded, the same having been agreed to in a Congress of the United States, that all charges of war, and all other expenses, that have been, or shall be, incurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, except so far as shall be otherwise provided for, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants, of every age, sex, and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes, in each state ; which number shall be triennially taken and transmitted to the United States in Congress assembled, in such mode as they shall direct and appoint.
On the question to agree to the foregoing act, the yeas and nays being required by Mr. Arnold : New Hampshire,
Mr. Higginson Ay.
Mr. Ellsworth, .Ay.
. Ay. Mr. Hamilton,
Mr. Bnudinot, .Ay.
Mr. Fitzsimmons, .Ay.
Mr. Bedford, . .Ay.
Mr. T. S. Lee,
. Ay. J
Ay. o it was resolved in the affirmative.
SATURDAY, April 26, 1783. — The committee, consisting of Mr. Mad. ison, Mr. Ellsworth, and Mr. Hamilton, appointed to prepare an address to the states, to accompany the act of the 18th of this month, reported a draft, which, being read and amended, was agreed to, as follows:
ADDRESS TO THE STATES, BY THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS
To accompany the Act of April 18, 1783. The prospect which has for some time existed, and which is now har. pily realized, of a successful termination of the war, together with the critical exigencies of public affairs, has made it the duty of Congress to review and provide for the debts which the war has left upon the United States, and to look forward to the neans of obviating dangers which may interrupt the harmony and tranquillity of the confederacy. The result of their mature and solemn deliberations, on these great objects, is contained in their several recommendations of the 18th inst., herewith transmitted. Although these recommendations speak themselves the principles on which they are founded, as well as the ends which they propose, it will not be improper to enter into a few explanations and remarks, in order to place in a stronger view the necessity of complying with them.
The first measure recommended is, effectual provision for the debts of the United States. The amount of these debts, as far as they can now be ascertained, is 42,000,375 dollars. To discharge the principal of this aggregate debt at once, or in any short period, is evidently not within the compass of our resources; and, even if it could be accomplished, the ease of the community would require that the debt itself should be left to a course of gradual extinguishment, and certain
funds be provided for paying, in the mean time, the annual interest. The amount of the annual interest is computed to be 2,415,956 dollars. Funds, therefore, which will certainly and punctually produce this annual sum, at least, must be provided.
OBSERVATIONS ON REVENUE. In devising these funds, Congress did not overlook the mode of supplying the common treasury, provided by the Articles of Confederation; biit, after the most respectful consideration of that mode, they were constrained to regard it as inadequate, and inapplicable to the form into which the public debt must be thrown. The delays and uncertainties incident to a revenue to be established and collected, from time to time, by thirteen independent authorities, is, at first view, irreconcilable with the punctuality essential in the discharge of the interest of a national debt. Our own experience, after making every allowance for transient impediinents, has been a sufficient illustration of this truth. Some departure, therefore, in the recommendation of Congress, from the Federal Constitution, was unavoidable; but it will be found to be as small as could be reconciled with the object in view, and to be supported, besides, by solid considerations of interest and sound policy.
The fund which presented itself on this, as it did on a former occasion, was a tax on imports. The reasons which recommended this branch of revenue have heretofore been stated in an act, of which a copy, No. 2, is now forwarded, and need not be here repeated. It will suffice to recapitulate, that taxes on consumption are always least burdensome, hecause
they are least felt, and are borne too by those who are both willing and able to pay them; that, of all taxes on consumption, those on foreign com merce are most compatible with the genius and policy of free states ; that, from the relative positions of some of the more commercial states, it will be impossible to bring this essential resource into use without a concerted uniformity; that this uniformity cannot be concerted through any channel so properly as through Congress, nor for any purpose so aptly as for pay ing the debts of a revolution, from which an unbounded freedom has ac. crued to commerce.
In renewing this proposition to the states, we have not been unmindful of the objections which heretofore frustrated the unanimous adoption of
We have limited the duration of the revenue to the term of twenty-five years; and we have left to the states themselves the appointment of the othcers who are to collect it. If the strict maxims of national credit alone were to be consulted, the revenue ought manifestly to be coexistent with the object or it, and the collection placed in every respect under that thority which is to dispense the former, and is responsible for the latter. These relaxations will, we trust, be regarded, on one hand, as the effect of a disposition in Congress to attend, at all times, to the sentiments of those whom they serve, and, on the other hand, as a proof of their anxious desire that provision may be made, in some way or other, for an honorable and just fulfilment of ihe engagements which they have formed.
To render this fund as productive as possible, and, at the same time, to narrow the roo'n for collusions and frauds, it has been judged an improvement of the plan, to recommend a liberal duty on such articles as are most susceptible of a tax according to their quantity, and are of most equal and general consumption; leaving all other articles, as heretofore proposed, to be taxed according to their value.
The annount of this fund is coniputed to be 915,956 dollars. Accuracy, in the first essay, on so complex and Aluctuating a subject, is not to be expected. It is presumed to be as near the truth as the defect of proper materials would admit.
The residue of the computed interest is 1,500,000 dollars, and is referred to the states to be provided for by such funds as they may judge most convenient. Here, again, the strict maxims of public credit gave way to the desire of Congress to conform to the sentiments of their constituents. It ought not to be omitted, however, with respect to this portion of the revenue, that the mode in which it is to be supplied varies so little from that pointed out in the Articles of Confederation, and the variations are so conducive to the great object proposed, that a ready and unqualified compliance on the part of the states may be the more justly expected. In fixing the quotas of this sum, Congress, as may be well imagined, were guided by very imperfect lights, and some inequalities may consequently have ensued. These, however, can be but temporary, and, as far as they may exist at all, will be redressed by a retrospective adjustment, as soon as a constitutional rule can be applied.
The necessity of making the two foregoing provisions one indivisible and irrevocabie act, is apparent.
Without the first quality, partial provision only might be made where complete provision is essential; nay, as some states might prefer and adopt one of ihe funds only, and the other siates the other fund only, it might happen that no provision at all would be made: without the second, a single state, out of the thirteen, night at any time involve the natiun in bankruptcy, the mere prac.icauility VOL. I.