Speech to Congress on Debt

April 22, 1790.
1
One of my colleagues has asked a very proper question — If, as we have been told, the assumption originated in the Convention, why were not words inserted that would have incorporated and made the State debts part of the debts of the United States? Sir, if there was a majority who disapproved of the measure, certainly no argument can be drawn from this source; if there was a majority who approved of it, but thought it inexpedient to make it a part of the Constitution, they must have been restrained by a fear that it might produce dissensions and render the success of their plan doubtful. I do recollect that such a measure was proposed; and, if my memory does not deceive me, the very gentleman1 who now appeals to the Constitution in support of his argument, disrelished the measure at that time, and assigned for a reason, that it would administer relief perhaps exactly in proportion as the States had been deficient in making exertions.
[Footnotes as included or written by Farrand]
  • 1 Gerry, see CCLII above.