William Pierce from Georgia took his seat.
In Committee of the whole on Mr. Randolph's propositions.
The 3d. Resolution "that the national Legislature ought to consist of two branches" was agreed to without debate or dissent, except that of Pennsylvania, given probably from complaisance to Docr. Franklin who was understood to be partial to a single House of Legislation.
Resol: 4. first clause "that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States" being taken up,
Mr. SHERMAN opposed the election by the people, insisting that it ought to be by the State Legislatures. The people he said, immediately should have as little to do as may be about the Government. They want information and are constantly liable to be misled.
Mr. GERRY. The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massts. it had been fully confirmed by experience that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute. One principal evil arises from the want of due provision for those employed in the administration of Governmt. It would seem to be a maxim of democracy to starve the public servants. He mentioned the popular clamour in Massts. for the reduction of salaries and the attack made on that of the Govr. though secured by the spirit of the Constitution itself. He had he said been too republican heretofore: he was still however republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the levilling spirit.
Mr. MASON, argued strongly for an election of the larger branch by the people. It was to be the grand depository of the democratic principle of the Govtt. It was, so to speak, to be our House of Commons-It ought to know & sympathise with every part of the community; and ought therefore to be taken not only from different parts of the whole republic, but also from different districts of the larger members of it, which had in several instances particularly in Virga., different interests and views arising from difference of produce, of habits &c &c. He admitted that we had been too democratic but was afraid we sd. incautiously run into the opposite extreme. We ought to attend to the rights of every class of the people. He had often wondered at the indifference of the superior classes of society to this dictate of humanity & policy; considering that however affluent their circumstances, or elevated their situations, might be, the course of a few years, not only might but certainly would, distribute their posterity throughout the lowest classes of Society. Every selfish motive therefore, every family attachment, ought to recommend such a system of policy as would provide no less carefully for the rights and happiness of the lowest than of the highest orders of Citizens.
Mr. WILSON contended strenuously for drawing the most numerous branch of the Legislature immediately from the people. He was for raising the federal pyramid to a considerable altitude, and for that reason wished to give it as broad a basis as possible. No government could long subsist without the confidence of the people. In a republican Government this confidence was peculiarly essential. He also thought it wrong to increase the weight of the State Legislatures by making them the electors of the national Legislature. All interference between the general and local Governmts. should be obviated as much as possible. On examination it would be found that the opposition of States to federal measures had proceded much more from the officers of the States, than from the people at large.
Mr. MADISON considered the popular election of one branch of the National Legislature as essential to every plan of free Government. He observed that in some of the States one branch of the Legislature was composed of men already removed from the people by an intervening body of electors. That if the first branch of the general legislature should be elected by the State Legislatures, the second branch elected by the first-the Executive by the second together with the first; and other appointments again made for subordinate purposes by the Executive, the people would be lost sight of altogether; and the necessary sympathy between them and their rulers and officers, too little felt. He was an advocate for the policy of refining the popular appointments by successive filtrations, but though it might be pushed too far. He wished the expedient to be resorted to only in the appointment of the second branch of the Legislature, and in the Executive & judiciary branches of the Government. He thought too that the great fabric to be raised would be more stable and durable, if it should rest on the solid foundation of the people themselves, than if it should stand merely on the pillars of the Legislatures.
Mr. GERRY did not like the election by the people. The maxims taken from the British constitution were often fallacious when applied to our situation which was extremely different. Experience he said had shewn that the State legislatures drawn immediately from the people did not always possess their confidence. He had no objection however to an election by the people if it were so qualified that men of honor & character might not be unwilling to be joined in the appointments. He seemed to think the people might nominate a certain number out of which the State legislatures should be bound to choose.
Mr. BUTLER thought an election by the people an impracticable mode.
On the question for an election of the first branch of the national Legislature by the people.
Massts. ay. Connect. divd. N. York ay. N. Jersey no. Pena. ay. Delawe. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Georga. ay.
The remaining Clauses of Resolution 4th. relating to the qualifications of members of the National Legislature, being pospd. nem. con., as entering too much into detail for general propositions:
The Committee proceeded to Resolution 5. "that the second, [or senatorial] branch of the National Legislature ought to be chosen by the first branch out of persons nominated by the State Legislatures."
Mr. SPAIGHT contended that the 2d. branch ought to be chosen by the State Legislatures and moved an amendment to that effect. Mr. BUTLER apprehended that the taking so many powers out of the hands of the States as was proposed, tended to destroy all that balance and security of interests among the States which it was necessary to preserve; and called on Mr. Randolph the mover of the propositions, to explain the extent of his ideas, and particularly the number of members he meant to assign to this second branch.
Mr. RAND observed that he had at the time of offering his propositions stated his ideas as far as the nature of general propositions required; that details made no part of the plan, and could not perhaps with propriety have been introduced. If he was to give an opinion as to the number of the second branch, he should say that it ought to be much smaller than that of the first; so small as to be exempt from the passionate proceedings to which numberous assemblies are liable. He observed that the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the U. S. laboured; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy: that some check therefore was to be sought for agst. this tendency of our Governments: and that a good Senate seemed most likely to answer the purpose.
Mr. KING reminded the Committee that the choice of the second branch as proposed (by Mr. Spaight) viz. by the State Legislatures would be impracticable, unless it was to be very numerous, or the idea of proportion among the States was to be disregarded. According to this idea, there must be 80 or 100 members to entitle Delaware to the choice of one of them. -Mr. SPAIGHT withdrew his motion.
Mr. WILSON opposed both a nomination by the State Legislatures, and an election by the first branch of the national Legislature, because the second branch of the latter, ought to be independent of both. He thought both branches of the National Legislature ought to be chosen by the people, but was not prepared with a specific proposition. He suggested the mode of chusing the Senate of N. York to wit of uniting several election districts, for one branch, in chusing members for the other branch, as a good model.
Mr. MADISON observed that such a mode would destroy the influence of the smaller States associated with larger ones in the same district; as the latter would chuse from within themselves, altho' better men might be found in the former. The election of Senators in Virga. where large & small counties were often formed into one district for the purpose, had illustrated this consequence Local partiality, would often prefer a resident within the County or State, to a candidate of superior merit residing out of it. Less merit also in a resident would be more known throughout his own State.
Mr. SHERMAN favored an election of one member by each of the State Legislatures.
Mr. PINKNEY moved to strike out the "nomination by the State Legislatures." On this question.
Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pena. no. Del divd. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Georg no.
On the whole question for electing by the first branch out of nominations by the State Legislatures, Mass. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. Jersey. no. Pena. no. Del. no. Virga. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Ga. no.
So the clause was disagreed to & a chasm left in this part of the plan.
The sixth Resolution stating the cases in which the national Legislature ought to legislate was next taken into discussion: On the question whether each branch shd. originate laws, there was an unanimous affirmative without debate. On the question for transferring all the Legislative powers of the existing Congs. to this Assembly, there was also a silent affirmative nem. con.
On the proposition for giving "Legislative power in all cases to which the State Legislatures were individually incompetent."
Mr. PINKNEY & Mr. RUTLEDGE objected to the vagueness of the term incompetent, and said they could not well decide how to vote until they should see an exact enumeration of the powers comprehended by this definition.
Mr. BUTLER repeated his fears that we were running into an extreme in taking away the powers of the States, and called on Mr. Randolp for the extent of his meaning.
Mr. RANDOLPH disclaimed any intention to give indefinite powers to the national Legislature, declaring that he was entirely opposed to such an inroad on the State jurisdictions, and that he did not think any considerations whatever could ever change his determination. His opinion was fixed on this point.
Mr. MADISON said that he had brought with him into the Convention a strong bias in favor of an enumeration and definition of the powers necessary to be exercised by the national Legislature; but had also brought doubts concerning its practicability. His wishes remained un ltered; but his doubts had become stronger. What his opinion might ultimately be he could not yet tell. But he should shrink from nothing which should be found essential to such a form of Govt. as would provide for the safety, liberty and happiness of the community. This being the end of all our deliberations, all the necessary means for attaining it must, however reluctantly, be submitted to.
On the question for giving powers, in cases to which the States are not competent, Massts. ay. Cont. divd. [Sharman no Elseworth ay] N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. Carolina ay. Georga. ay.
The other clauses giving powers necessary to preserve harmony among the States to negative all State laws contravening in the opinion of the Nat. Leg. the articles of union, down to the last clause, (the words "or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union," being added after the words "contravening &c. the articles of the Union," on motion of Dr. FRANKLIN) were agreed to witht. debate or dissent. The last clause of Resolution 6. authorizing an exertion of the force of the whole agst. a delinquent State came next into consideration.
Mr. MADISON, observed that the more he reflected on the use of force, the more he doubted the practicability, the justice and the efficacy of it when applied to people collectively and not individually. -A union of the States containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force agst. a State, would look more like a declaration of war, than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound. He hoped that such a system would be framed as might render this recourse unnecessary, and moved that the clause be postponed. This motion was agreed to nem. con.
The Committee then rose & the House
Roger Sherman (from Connecticut) took his seat.
The House went into Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union. Mr. Gorham was elected to the Chair by Ballot.
The propositions of Mr. RANDOLPH which had been referred to the Committee being taken up. He moved on the suggestion of Mr. G. Morris, that the first of his propositions to wit "Resolved that the articles of Confederation ought to be so corrected & enlarged, as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution; namely, common defence, security of liberty & general welfare: -should be postponed, in order to consider the 3 following:
1. that a Union of the States merely federal will not accomplish the objects proposed by the articles of Confederation, namely common defence, security of liberty, & genl. welfare.
2. that no treaty or treaties among the whole or part of the States, as individual Sovereignties, would be sufficient.
3. that a national Government ought to be established consisting of a supreme Legislative, Executive & Judiciary. The motion for postponing was seconded by Mr. Govr. MORRIS and unanimously agreed to.
Some verbal criticisms were raised agst. the first proposition, and it was agreed on motion of Mr. BUTLER seconded by Mr. RANDOLPH, to pass on to the third, which underwent a discussion, less however on its general merits than on the force and extent of the particular terms national & supreme.
Mr. CHARLES PINKNEY wished to know of Mr. Randolph whether he meant to abolish the State Governts. altogether. Mr. R. replied that he meant by these general propositions merely to introduce the particular ones which explained the outlines of the system he had in view.
Mr. BUTLER said he had not made up his mind on the subject, and was open to the light which discussion might throw on it. After some general observations he concluded with saying that he had opposed the grant of powers to Congs. heretofore, because the whole power was vested in one body. The proposed distribution of the powers into different bodies changed the case, and would induce him to go great lengths.
Genl. PINKNEY expressed a doubt whether the act of Congs. recommending the Convention, or the Commissions of the Deputies to it, could authorise a discussion of a System founded on different principles from the federal Constitution.
Mr. GERRY seemed to entertain the same doubt.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS explained the distinction between a federal and national, supreme, Govt.; the former being a mere compact resting on the good faith of the parties; the latter having a compleat and compulsive operation. He contended that in all Communities there must be one supreme power, and one only.
Mr. MASON observed that the present confederation was not only deficient in not providing for coercion & punishment agst. delinquent States; but argued very cogently that punishment could not in the nature of things be executed on the States collectively, and therefore that such a Govt. was necessary as could directly operate on individuals, and would punish those only whose guilt required it.
Mr. SHERMAN who took his seat today, admitted that the Confederation had not given sufficient power to Congs. and that additional powers were necessary; particularly that of raising money which he said would involve many other powers. He admitted also that the General & particular jurisdictions ought in no case to be concurrent. He seemed however not be disposed to make too great inroads on the existing system; intimating as one reason that it would be wrong to lose every amendment, by inserting such as would not be agreed to by the States.
It was moved by Mr. READ 2ded. by Mr. Chs. COTESWORTH PINKNEY, to postpone the 3d. proposition last offered by Mr. Randolph viz that a national Government ought to be established consisting of a supreme Legislative Executive and Judiciary," in order to take up the following-viz. "Resolved that in order to carry into execution the Design of the States in forming this Convention, and to accomplish the objects proposed by the Confederation a more effective Government consisting of a Legislative, Executive and Judiciary ought to be established."
The motion to postpone for this purpose was lost:
Yeas Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, S. Carolina-4 Nays. N. Y. Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina-4.
On the question as moved by Mr. Butler, on the third proposition it was resolved in Committee of the whole that a national governt. ought to be established consisting of a supreme Legislative Executive & Judiciary." Massts. being ay- Connect.-no. N. York divided [Col. Hamilton ay Mr. Yates no] Pena. ay. Delaware ay. Virga. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay.
Resol: 2. of Mr. R's proposition towit-see May 29. The following Resolution being the 2d. of those proposed by Mr. Randolph was taken up, viz-"that the rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases."
Mr. MADISON observing that the words "or to the number of free inhabitants," might occasion debates which would divert the Committee from the general question whether the principle of representation should be changed, moved that they might be struck out.
Mr. KING observed that the quotas of contribution which would alone remain as the measure of representation, would not answer, because waving every other view of the matter, the revenue might hereafter be so collected by the general Govt. that the sums respectively drawn from the States would not appear; and would besides be continually varying.
Mr. MADISON admitted the propriety of the observation, and that some better rule ought to be found.
Col. HAMILTON moved to alter the resolution so as to read "that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought to be proportioned to the number of free inhabitants. Mr. SPAIGHT 2ded. the motion. It was then moved that the Resolution be postponed, which was agreed to.
Mr. RANDOLPH and Mr. MADISON then moved the following resolution-"that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought to be proportioned." It was moved and 2ded. to amend it by adding "and not according to the present system"-which was agreed to. It was then moved and 2ded. to alter the resolution so as to read "that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought not to be according to the present system." It was then moved & 2ded. to postpone the Resolution moved by Mr. Randolph & Mr. Madison, which being agreed to:
Mr. MADISON, moved, in order to get over the difficulties, the following resolution-"that the equality of suffrage established by the articles of Confederation ought not to prevail in the national Legislature, and that an equitable ratio of representation ought to be substituted." This was 2ded. by Mr. Govr. MORRIS, and being generally relished, would have been agreed to; when,
Mr. REED moved that the whole clause relating to the point of Representation be postponed; reminding the Come. that the deputies from Delaware were restrained by their commission from assenting to any change of the rule of suffrage, and in case such a change should be fixed on, it might become their duty to retire from the Convention.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS observed that the valuable assistance of those members could not be lost without real concern, and that so early a proof of discord in the Convention as a secession of a State, would add much to the regret; that the change proposed was however so fundamental an article in a national Govt. that it could not be dispensed with.
Mr. MADISON observed that whatever reason might have existed for the equality of suffrage when the Union was a federal one among sovereign States, it must cease when a national Govermt. should be put into the place. In the former case, the acts of Congs. depended so much for their efficacy on the cooperation of the States, that these had a weight both within & without Congress, nearly in proportion to their extent and importance. In the latter case, as the acts of the Genl. Govt. would take effect without the intervention of the State legislatures, a vote from a small State wd. have the same efficacy & importance as a vote from a large one, and there was the same reason for different numbers of representatives from different States, as from Counties of different extents within particular States. He suggested as an expedient for at once taking the sense of the members on this point and saving the Delaware deputies from embarrassment, that the question should be taken in Committee, and the clause on report to the House be postponed without a question there. This however did not appear to satisfy Mr. Read. By several it was observed that no just construction of the Act of Delaware, could require or justify a secession of her deputies, even if the resolution were to be carried thro' the House as well as the Committee. It was finally agreed however that the clause should be postponed: it being understood that in the event the proposed change of representation would certainly be agreed to, no objection or difficulty being started from any other quarter than from Delaware.
The motion of Mr. Read to postpone being agreed to, The Committee then rose. The Chairman reported progress, and the House having resolved to resume the subject in Committee tomorrow,
Adjourned to 10 OClock.
John Dickenson, and Elbridge Gerry, the former from Delaware, the latter from Massts. took their seats. The following rules were added, on the report of Mr. Wythe from the Committee.
Additional rules. That no member be absent from the House, so as to interrupt the representation of the State, without leave.
That Committees do not sit whilst the House shall be or ought to be, sitting.
That no copy be taken of any entry on the journal during the sitting of the House without leave of the House.
That members only be permitted to inspect the journal.
That nothing spoken in the House be printed, or otherwise published or communicated without leave.
That a motion to reconsider a matter which had been determined by a majority, may be made, with leave unanimously given, on the same day on which the vote passed; but otherwise not without one day's previous notice: in which last case, if the House agree to the reconsideration, some future day shall be assigned for the purpose.
Mr. C. PINKNEY moved that a Committee be appointed to superintend the Minutes.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS objected to it. The entry of the proceedings of the Convention belonged to the Secretary as their impartial officer. A committee might have an interest & bias in moulding the entry according to their opinions and wishes.
The motion was negatived, 5 noes, 4 ays.
Mr. RANDOLPH then opened the main business. [Here insert his speech including his resolutions.] (Mr. R. Speech A. to be inserted Tuesday May 29) He expressed his regret, that it should fall to him, rather than those, who were of longer standing in life and political experience, to open the great subject of their mission. But, as the convention had originated from Virginia, and his colleagues supposed that some proposition was expected from them, they had imposed this task on him. He then commented on the difficulty of the crisis, and the necessity of preventing the fulfilment of the prophecies of the American downfal. He observed that in revising the foederal system we ought to inquire 1. into the properties, which such a government ought to possess, 2. the defects of the confederation, 3. the danger of our situation & 4. the remedy.
1. The Character of such a government ought to secure 1. against foreign invasion:
2. against dissentions between members of the Union, or seditions in particular states: 3. to procure to the several States, various blessings, of which an isolated situation was incapable: 4. to be able to defend itself against incroachment: & 5. to be paramount to the state constitutions.
2. In speaking of the defects of the confederation he professed a high respect for its authors, and considered them, as having done all that patriots could do, in the then infancy of the science, of constitutions, & of confederacies,-when the inefficiency of requisitions was unknown-no commercial discord had arisen among any states-no rebellion had appeared as in Massts.-foreign debts had not become urgent-the havoc of paper money had not been foreseen-treaties had not been violated-and perhaps nothing better could be obtained from the jealousy of the states with regard to their sovereignty.
He then proceeded to enumerate the defects:
1. that the confederation produced no security against foreign invasion; congress not being permitted to prevent a war nor to support it by their own authority-Of this he cited many examples; most of which tended to shew, that they could not cause infractions of treaties or of the law of nations, to be punished: that particular states might by their conduct provoke war without controul; and that neither militia nor draughts being fit for defence on such occasions, inlistments only could be successful, and these could not be executed without money.
2. that the foederal government could not check the quarrels between states, nor a rebellion in any, not having constitutional power nor means to interpose according to the exigency: 3. that there were many advantages, which the U. S. might acquire, which were not attainable under the confederation-such as a productive impost- counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations-pushing of commerce ad libitum-&c &c.
4. that the foederal government could not defend itself against the incroachments from the states.
5. that it was not even paramount to the state constitutions, ratified, as it was in may of the states.
3. He next reviewed the danger of our situation, appealed to the sense of the best friends of the U.S.-the prospect of anarchy from the laxity of government every where; and to other considerations. He proposed as conformable to his ideas the following resolutions, which he explained one by one [Here insert ye Resolutions annexed.]
Resolutions proposed by Mr. Randolph in Convention May 29, 1787
1. Resolved that the Articles of Confederation ought to be so corrected & enlarged as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution; namely, "common defence, security of liberty and general welfare."
2. Resd. therefore that the rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the Quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.
3. Resd. that the National Legislature ought to consist of two branches.
4. Resd. that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States every ----- for the term of -----; to be of the age of ----- years at least, to receive liberal stipends by with they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service; to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States, except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch, during the term of service, and for the space of ----- after its expiration; to be incapable of reelection for the space of ----- after the expiration of their term of service, and to be subject to recall.
5. Resold. that the members of the second branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by those of the first, out of a proper number of persons nominated by the individual Legislatures, to be of the age of ----- years at least; to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency; to receive liberal stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service; and to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States, except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch, during the term of service, and for the space of ----- after the expiration thereof.
6. Resolved that each branch ought to possess the right of originating Acts; that the National Legislature ought to be impowered to enjoy the Legislative Rights vested in Congress by the Confederation & moreover to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual Legislation; to negative all laws passed by the several States, contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles of Union; and to call forth the force of the Union agst. any member of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under the articles thereof.
7. Resd. that a National Executive be instituted; to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of ----- years, to receive punctually at stated times, a fixed compensation for the services rendered, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the Magistracy, existing at the time of increase or diminution, and to be ineligible a second time; and that besides a general authority to execute the National laws, it ought to enjoy the Executive rights vested in Congress by the Confederation.
8. Resd. that the Executive and a convenient number of the National Judiciary, ought to compose a Council of revision with authority to examine every act of the National Legislature before it shall operate, & every act of a particular Legislature before a Negative thereon shall be final; and that the dissent of the said Council shall amount to a rejection, unless the Act of the National Legislature be again passed, or that of a particular Legislature be again negatived by ----- of the members of each branch.
9. Resd. that a National Judiciary be established to consist of one or more supreme tribunals, and of inferior tribunals to be chosen by the National Legislature, to hold their offices during good behaviour; and to receive punctually at stated times fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution. that the jurisdiction of the inferior tribunals shall be to hear & determine in the first instance, and of the supreme tribunal to hear and determine in the dernier resort, all piracies & felonies on the high seas, captures from an enemy; cases in which foreigners or citizens of other States applying to such jurisdictions may be interested, or which respect the collection of the National revenue; impeachments of any National officers, and questions which may involve the national peace and harmony.
10. Resolvd. that provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of Government & Territory or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the National legislature less than the whole.
11. Resd. that a Republican Government & the territory of each State, except in the instance of a voluntary junction of Government & territory, ought to be guarantied by the United States to each State
12. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress and their authorities and privileges, until a given day after the reform of the articles of Union shall be adopted, and for the completion of all their engagements.
13. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union whensoever it shall seem necessary, and that the assent of the National Legislature ought not to be required thereto.
14. Resd. that the Legislative Executive & Judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of Union
15. Resd. that the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation, by the Convention ought at a proper time, or times, after the approbation of Congress to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of Representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures to be expressly chosen by the people, to consider & decide thereon.
He concluded with an exhortation, not to suffer the present opportunity of establishing general peace, harmony, happiness and liberty in the U. S. to pass away unimproved. It was then Resolved - That the House will tomorrow resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House to consider of the state of the American Union. - and that the propositions moved by Mr. Randolph be referred to the said Committee. It was then Resolved-That the House will tomorrow resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House to consider of the state of the American Union. - and that the propositions moved by Mr. Randolph be referred to the said Committee.
Mr. CHARLES PINKNEY laid before the house the draught of a federal Government which he had prepared, to be agreed upon between the free and independent States of America. -Mr. P. plan ordered that the same be referred to the Committee of the Whole appointed to consider the state of the American Union.
From Massts. Nat. Gorham & Caleb Strong. From Connecticut Oliver Elseworth. From Delaware, Gunning Bedford. From Maryland James McHenry. From Penna. B. Franklin, George Clymer, Ths. Mifflin & Jared Ingersol took their seats.
Mr. WYTHE from the Committee for preparing rules made a report which employed the deliberations of this day.
Mr. KING objected to one of the rules in the Report authorising any member to call for the yeas & nays and have them entered on the minutes. He urged that as the acts of the Convention were not to bind the Constituents, it was unnecessary to exhibit this evidence of the votes; and improper as changes of opinion would be frequent in the course of the business & would fill the minutes with contradictions.
Col. MASON seconded the objection; adding that such a record of the opinions of members would be an obstacle to a change of them on conviction; and in case of its being hereafter promulged must furnish handles to the adversaries of the Result of the Meeting. The proposed rule was rejected nem. contradicente. The standing rules agreed to were as follow:
A House to do business shall consist of the Deputies of not less than seven States; and all questions shall be decided by the greater number of these which shall be fully represented: but a less number than seven may adjourn from day to day. Immediately after the President shall have taken the chair, and the members their seats, the minutes of the preceding day shall be read by the Secretary. Every member, rising to speak, shall address the President; and whilst he shall be speaking, none shall pass between them, or hold discourse with another, or read a book, pamphlet or paper, printed or manuscript -- and of two members rising at the same time, the President shall name him who shall be first heard. A member shall not speak oftener than twice, without special leave, upon the same question; and not the second time, before every other, who had been silent, shall have been heard, if he choose to speak upon the subject. A motion made and seconded, shall be repeated, and if written, as it shall be when any member shall so require, read aloud by the Secretary, before it shall be debated; and may be withdrawn at any time, before the vote upon it shall have been declared. Orders of the day shall be read next after the minutes, and either discussed or postponed, before any other business shall be introduced. When a debate shall arise upon a question, no motion, other than to amend the question, to commit it, or to postpone the debate shall be received.
A question which is complicated, shall, at the request of any member, be divided, and put separately on the propositions, of which it is compounded. The determination of a question, altho' fully debated, shall be postponed, if the deputies of any State desire it until the next day. A writing which contains any matter brought on to be considered, shall be read once throughout for information, then by paragraphs to be debated, and again, with the amendments, if any, made on the second reading; and afterwards, the question shall be put on the whole, amended, or approved in its original form, as the case shall be. Committees shall be appointed by ballot; and the members who have the greatest number of ballots, altho' not a majority of the votes present, shall be the Committee. When two or more members have an equal number of votes, the member standing first on the list in the order of taking down the ballots, shall be preferred. A member may be called to order by any other member, as well as by the President; and may be allowed to explain his conduct or expressions supposed to be reprehensible. And all questions of order shall be decided by the President without appeal or debate. Upon a question to adjourn for the day, which may be made at any time, if it be seconded, the question shall be put without a debate. When the House shall adjourn, every member shall stand in his place, until the President pass him.
A letter from sundry persons of the State of Rho. Island addressed to the Honorable The Chairman of the General Convention was presented to the Chair by Mr. Govr. MORRIS, and being read, was ordered to lie on the table for further consideration.
Mr. BUTLER moved that the House provide agst. interruption of business by absence of members, and against licentious publications of their proceedings-to which was added by-Mr. SPAIGHT-a motion to provide that on the one hand the House might not be precluded by a vote upon any question, from revising the subject matter of it when they see cause, nor, on the other hand, be led too hastily to rescind a decision, which was the result of mature discussion. - Whereupon it was ordered that these motions be referred to the consideration of the Committee appointed to draw up the standing rules and that the Committee make report thereon.
Adjd. till tomorrow 10. OClock.
Monday May 14th 1787 was the day fixed for the meeting of the deputies in Convention for revising the federal system of Government. On that day a small number only had assembled. Seven States were not convened till,
Friday 25 of May, when the following members appeared to wit: viz, From Massachusetts Rufus King. N. York Robert Yates, Alexr. Hamilton. N. Jersey, David Brearly, William Churchill Houston, William Patterson. Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, Thomas Fitzsimmons, James Wilson, Govurneur Morris. Delaware, George Read, Richard Basset, Jacob Broome. Virginia, George Washington, Edmund Randolph, John Blair, James Madison, George Mason, George Wythe, James Mc.Clurg. N. Carolina, Alexander Martin, William Richardson Davie, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson. S. Carolina, John Rutlidge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler. Georgia, William Few.
Mr. ROBERT MORRIS informed the members assembled that by the instruction & in behalf, of the deputation of Pena. he proposed George Washington Esqr. late Commander in chief for president of the Convention. Mr. JNo. RUTLIDGE seconded the motion; expressing his confidence that the choice would be unanimous, and observing that the presence of Genl. Washington forbade any observations on the occasion which might otherwise be proper. General WASHINGTON was accordingly unanimously elected by ballot, and conducted to the Chair by Mr. R. Morris and Mr. Rutlidge; from which in a very emphatic manner he thanked the Convention for the honor they had conferred on him, reminded them of the novelty of the scene of business in which he was to act, lamented his want of better qualifications, and claimed the indulgence of the House towards the involuntary errors which his inexperience might occasion. [The nomination came with particular grace from Penna. as Docr. Franklin alone could have been thought of as a competitor. The Docr. was himself to have made the nomination of General Washington, but the state of the weather and of his health confined him to his house.]
Mr. WILSON moved that a Secretary be appointed, and nominated Mr. Temple Franklin.
Col HAMILTON nominated Major Jackson.
On the ballot Majr. Jackson had 5 votes & Mr. Franklin 2 votes. On reading the credentials of the deputies it was noticed that those from Delaware were prohibited from changing the article in the Confederation establishing an equality of votes among the States.
The appointment of a Committee, consisting of Messrs. Wythe, Hamilton & C. Pinckney, on the motion of Mr. C. PINCKNEY, to prepare standing rules & orders was the only remaining step taken on this day.