THE STRUGGLE FOB REVENUE.
SCHUYLER had been led by his own experience to perceive the necessity for the states to surrender some part of their sovereignty, and “adopt another system of government.” On the twenty-first of January 1781 he moved in the senate of New York to request the eastern states to join in an early convention, which should form a perpetual league of incorporation, subservient, however, to the common interest of all the states; invite others to accede to it; erect Vermont into a state; devise a fund for the redemption of the common debts; substitute a permanent and uniform system for temporary expedients; and invest the confederacy with powers of coercion.*
“We stand ready on our part to confer adequate powers on congress,” was the message of both houses to that body in a letter of the fifth of February, written in the name of the state by their joint committee, on which were Schuyler and Benson.†
Washington had been taught by his earliest observation as general, and had often declared the indispensable necessity of more responsibility and permanency in the executive bodies,‡ The convention at Boston of August 1780 had recommended
* Schuyler to Washington, 21 January 1781. Letters to Washington, iii., 213.
† Letter from the state of New York to congress, 5 February 1781. Papers of Old Congress, lxvii., 344. MS. A copy of the letter was sent to Washington by Clinton, 14 February 1781. Letters to Washington, xlvi., 172. MS.
‡ Washington to Duane, 26 December 1780.