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CONGRESS OF THE CONFEDERATION,
FROM FEBRUARY 19TH TILL APRIL 25TH, 1787.
In Congress, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1787.*
Mr. PINCKNEY, in support of his motion entered on the Journal, for stopping the enlistment of troops, argued that he had reason to suppose the insurrection in Massachusetts, the real, though not ostensible object of this measure, to be already crushed; that the requisition of five hundred thousand dollars for
supporting the troops had been complied with by one State only, viz. Virginia, and that but in part; that it would be absurd to proceed in the raising of men who could neither be paid, clothed nor fed, and that such a folly was the more to be shunned, as the consequences could not be foreseen, of embodying and arming men under circumstances which would be more likely to render them the terror than the support of the Government. We had, he observed, been so lucky in one instance—meaning the disbanding of the army on the peace—as to get rid of an armed force without satisfying their just claims; but that it would not be prudent to hazard the repetition of the experiment.
Mr. King made a moving appeal to the feelings of
* From 1783 till this period Mr. Madison was not a member.
that under these circumstances a new crisis more solemn than the late one might be brought on, and therefore to stop the Federal enlistments, and thereby withdraw the aid which had been held out, would give the greatest alarm imaginable to the Government and its friends, as it would look like a disapprobation and desertion of them; and, if viewed in that light by the disaffected, might rekindle the insurrection. He took notice of the possibility, to which every State in the Union was exposed, of being visited with similar calamities; in which event they would all be suing for support in the same strain now used by the Delegates from Massachusetts; that the indulgence now requested in behalf of that State might be granted without the least inconvenience to the United States, as their enlistments, without any countermanding orders, would not go on whilst those of the State were in competition; it being natural for men to prefer the latter service, in which they would stay at home, and be sure of their pay, to the former, in which they might, with little prospect of it, be sent to the Ohio to fight the Indians. He concluded with the most earnest entreaties, and the fullest confidence, that Congress would not, at so critical a moment, and without any necessity whatever, agree to the motion, assuring them that in three or four weeks, possibly in less time, he might himself be a friend to it, and would promote it.
Mr. PINCKNEY, in reply, contended, that if the measures pursuing by Massachusetts were such as had been stated, he did not think the United States bound to give them countenance. He thought them