TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES
Mount-Vernon March 28th. 1785.
We have the Honour to transmit to the General Assembly the Result of the Deliberations of the Commissioners of Virginia & Maryland, appointed to settle the Navigation & Jurisdiction of that Part of the Chesapeake Bay, within the Limits of Virginia, and of the Rivers Potomack & Pokomoke.
We flatter ourselves that, in the Execution of this important Trust, the Commissioners have consulted the true Interest of both Governments, in a Compact of such just & mutual Principles, that executed with good Faith, will perpetuate Harmony, Friendship, & good Offices, between the two States, so essential to the Prosperity & Happiness of their People.
In the Conferrence on the Subject of our Appointment, several Matters occured to the Commissioners, which they conceived very important to the Commerce of the two States; and which, with all Deference, we take the Liberty to communicate.
The Commissioners were of Opinion, these States ought to have Leave from the United States in Congress assembled, to form a Compact for the Purpose of affording in due Time, and in just Proportion between the two States, naval Protection to such Part of Chesapeake Bay and Potomack River, which may at any Time hereafter, be left unprovided for by Congress. The Commissioners did not consider themselves authorised to make any Compact on this Subject, and submit the Propriety of the two Governments making a joint Application to Congress, for their Consent to enter into Compact, for the Purpose aforesaid; such Compact, when made, to be laid before Congress, for their Approbation; and to continue, until mutually dissolved by these States, or Congress shall declare that such Compact shall no longer exist.
It also appeared to the Commissioners, that foreign Gold & Silver Coin received in the two States, as the Current Money thereof, shou'd pass at the same Value, according to it's Fineness & Weight; and if the Species of Coin cou'd be regulated at the same nominal Value; it wou'd be of great Convenience to the Commerce & Dealings between the Citizens of the two States.
The Damage on foreign Bills of Exchange, protested, are very different in the two States, and it is obvious that they ought to be the same, and shou'd be considered in all Cases, & to all Purposes, as of equal Rank with Debts upon Contract in Writing, signed by the Party; and it was suggested that fifteen Ct. shou'd be allowed, without Regard to the time of Negotiation, & legal Interest on the Principal, from the time of Protest. It was also conceived by the Commissioners, that Drafts by the Merchants of either state, upon those of the other; in the Nature of Inland Bills of Exchange, shou'd be subject, by Law, to official Protest, by a Notary Public; and that the Damages, for non-payment, shou'd be the same in both States; and it was thought, that eight Ct. shou'd be allowed upon Protest, and legal Interest upon the Principal, from the Time of Protest.
It appeared to the Commissioners to be essential to the Commerce & Revenue of the two Governments, that Duties on Imports or Exports (if laid) shou'd be the same in both States.
If these Subjects shou'd be deemed worthy [of] Notice, it may be proper for the two Legislatures, at their annual Meeting in the Autumn, to appoint Commissioners to meet, &communicate the Regulations of Commerce & Duties proposed by each State, and to confer on such Subjects as may concern the commercial Interests of both States. It was suggested that the Number of the said Commissioners shou'd be equal, and not less than three, nor more than five, from each State; and that they shou'd annually meet in the third Week in September, at such Place as they shou'd appoint. We have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir Your most obdt. Servants
P. S. The Commissioners also beg Leave to transmit to the General Assembly the Inclosed Copy of their joint Application to the State of Pensylvania, respecting the Communication between Potomack River and the Western Waters.
[2 Enclosures as separate documents]