The engrossed Constitution being read,
Docr. FRANKLIN rose with a speech in his hand, which he had reduced to writing for his own conveniency, and which Mr. Wilson read in the words following.
I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain french lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said "I don't know how it happens, Sister but I meet with no body but myself, that's always in the right-Il n'y a que moi qui a toujours raison."
In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partizans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects & great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength & efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends, on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administred.
On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.-
He then moved that the Constitution be signed by the members and offered the following as a convenient form viz. "Done in Convention by the unanimous consent of the States present the 17th. of Sepr. &c-In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names."
This ambiguous form had been drawn up by Mr. G. M. in order to gain the dissenting members, and put into the hands of Docr. Franklin that it might have the better chance of success.
Mr. GORHAM said if it was not too late he could wish, for the purpose of lessening objections to the Constitution, that the clause declaring "the number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every forty thousand" which had produced so much discussion, might be yet reconsidered, in order to strike out 40,000 & insert "thirty thousand." This would not he remarked establish that as an absolute rule, but only give Congress a greater latitude which could not be thought unreasonable.
Mr. KING & Mr. CARROL seconded & supported the idea of Mr. Gorham.
When the PRESIDENT rose, for the purpose of putting the question, he said that although his situation had hitherto restrained him from offering his sentiments on questions depending in the House, and it might be thought, ought now to impose silence on him, yet he could not forbear expressing his wish that the alteration proposed might take place. It was much to be desired that the objections to the plan recommended might be made as few as possible. The smallness of the proportion of Representatives had been considered by many members of the Convention an insufficient security for the rights & interests of the people. He acknowledged that it had always appeared to himself among the exceptionable parts of the plan, and late as the present moment was for admitting amendments, he thought this of so much consequence that it would give much satisfaction to see it adopted
No opposition was made to the proposition of Mr. Gorham and it was agreed to unanimously.
On the question to agree to the Constitution enrolled in order to be signed. It was agreed to all the States answering ay.
Mr. RANDOLPH then rose and with an allusion to the observations of Docr. Franklin apologized for his refusing to sign the Constitution notwithstanding the vast majority & venerable names that would give sanction to its wisdom and its worth. He said however that he did not mean by this refusal to decide that he should oppose the Constitution without doors. He meant only to keep himself free to be governed by his duty as it should be prescribed by his future judgment. He refused to sign, because he thought the object of the Convention would be frustrated by the alternative which it presented to the people. Nine States will fail to ratify the plan and confusion must ensue. With such a view of the subject he ought not, he could not, by pledging himself to support the plan, restrain himself from taking such steps as might appear to him most consistent with the public good.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS said that he too had objections, but considering the present plan as the best that was to be attained, he should take it with all its faults. The majority had determined in its favor and by that determination he should abide. The moment this plan goes forth all other considerations will be laid aside, and the great question will be, shall there be a national Government or not? and this must take place or a general anarchy will be the alternative. He remarked that the signing in the form proposed related only to the fact that the States present were unanimous.
Mr. WILLIAMSON suggested that the signing should be confined to the letter accompanying the Constitution to Congress, which might perhaps do nearly as well, and would he found be satisfactory to some members who disliked the Constitution. For himself he did not think a better plan was to be expected and had no scruples against putting his name to it.
Mr. HAMILTON expressed his anxiety that every member should sign. A few characters of consequence, by opposing or even refusing to sign the Constitution, might do infinite mischief by kindling the latent sparks which lurk under an enthusiasm in favor of the Convention which may soon subside. No man's ideas were more remote from the plan than his were known to be; but is it possible to deliberate between anarchy and Convulsion on one side, and the chance of good to be expected from the plan on the other.
Mr. BLOUNT said he had declared that he would not sign, so as to pledge himself in support of the plan, but he was relieved by the form proposed and would without committing himself attest the fact that the plan was the unanimous act of the States in Convention.
Docr. FRANKLIN expressed his fears from what Mr. Randolph had said, that he thought himself alluded to in the remarks offered this morning to the House. He declared that when drawing up that paper he did not know that any particular member would refuse to sign his name to the instrument, and hoped to be so understood. He professed a high sense of obligation to Mr. Randolph for having brought forward the plan in the first instance, and for the assistance he had given in its progress, and hoped that he would yet lay aside his objections, and by concurring with his brethren, prevent the great mischief which the refusal of his name might produce.
Mr. RANDOLPH could not but regard the signing in the proposed form, as the same with signing the Constitution. The change of form therefore could make no difference with him. He repeated that in refusing to sign the Constitution, he took a step which might be the most awful of his life, but it was dictated by his conscience, and it was not possible for him to hesitate, much less, to change. He repeated also his persuasion, that the holding out this plan with a final alternative to the people, of accepting or rejecting it in toto, would really produce the anarchy & civil convulsions which were apprehended from the refusal of individuals to sign it.
Mr. GERRY described the painful feelings of his situation, and the embarrassment under which he rose to offer any further observations on the subject wch. had been finally decided. Whilst the plan was depending, he had treated it with all the freedom he thought it deserved. He now felt himself bound as he was disposed to treat it with the respect due to the Act of the Convention. He hoped he should not violate that respect in declaring on this occasion his fears that a Civil war may result from the present crisis of the U. S. In Massachussetts, particularly he saw the danger of this calamitous event-In that State there are two parties, one devoted to Democracy, the worst he thought of all political evils, the other as violent in the opposite extreme. From the collision of these in opposing and resisting the Constitution, confusion was greatly to be feared. He had thought it necessary, for this & other reasons that the plan should have been proposed in a more mediating shape, in order to abate the heat and opposition of parties. As it has been passed by the Convention, he was persuaded it would have a contrary effect. He could not therefore by signing the Constitution pledge himself to abide by it at all events. The proposed form made no difference with him. But if it were not otherwise apparent, the refusals to sign should never be known from him. Alluding to the remarks of Docr. Franklin, he could not he said but view them as levelled at himself and the other gentlemen who meant not to sign;
Genl. PINKNEY. We are not likely to gain many converts by the ambiguity of the proposed form of signing. He thought it best to be candid and let the form speak the substance. If the meaning of the signers be left in doubt, his purpose would not be answered. He should sign the Constitution with a view to support it with all his influence, and wished to pledge himself accordingly.
Docr. FRANKLIN. It is too soon to pledge ourselves before Congress and our Constituents shall have approved the plan.
Mr. INGERSOL did not consider the signing, either as a mere attestation of the fact, or as pledging the signers to support the Constitution at all events; but as a recommendation, of what, all things considered, was the most eligible.
On the motion of Docr. Franklin
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. divd. Geo. ay.
Mr. KING suggested that the Journals of the Convention should be either destroyed, or deposited in the custody of the President. He thought if suffered to be made public, a bad use would be made of them by those who would wish to prevent the adoption of the Constitution.
Mr. WILSON prefered the second expedient, he had at one time liked the first best; but as false suggestions may be propagated it should not be made impossible to contradict them.
A question was then put on depositing the Journals and other papers of the Convention in the hands of the President, on which,
N. H. ay. Mtts. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pena. ay. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
The President having asked what the Convention meant should be done with the Journals &c, whether copies were to be allowed to the members if applied for. It was Resolved nem: con "that he retain the Journal and other papers, subject to the order of the Congress, if ever formed under the Constitution.
The members then proceeded to sign the instrument.
Whilst the last members were signing it Doctr. FRANKLIN looking towards the Presidents Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. I have said he, often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicisitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.
The Constitution being signed by all the members except Mr. Randolph, Mr. Mason, and Mr. Gerry who declined giving it the sanction of their names, the Convention dissolved itself by an Adjournment sine die-
The few alterations and corrections made in these debates which are not in my hand writing, were dictated by me and made in my presence by John C. Payne.
Mr. CARROL reminded the House that no address to the people had yet been prepared. He considered it of great importance that such an one should accompany the Constitution. The people had been accustomed to such on great occasions, and would expect it on this. He moved that a Committee be appointed for the special purpose of preparing an Address.
Mr. RUTLEDGE objected on account of the delay it would produce and the impropriety of addressing the people before it was known whether Congress would approve and support the plan. Congress, if an address be thought proper can prepare as good a one. The members of the Convention can also explain the reasons of what has been done to their respective Constituents.
Mr. SHERMAN concurred in the opinion that an address was both unnecessary and improper.
On the motion of Mr. Carrol
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. abst. S. C. no. Geo. no
Mr. LANGDON. Some gentlemen have been very uneasy that no increase of the number of Representatives has been admitted. It has in particular been thought that one more ought to be allowed to N. Carolina. He was of opinion that an additional one was due both to that State & to Rho: Island, & moved to reconsider for that purpose.
Mr. SHERMAN. When the Committee of eleven reported the apportionment-five Representatives were thought the proper share of N. Carolina. Subsequent information however seemed to entitle that State to another.
On the motion to reconsider
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. no. Pen. divd. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
Mr. LANGDON moved to add 1 member to each of the Representations of N. Carolina & Rho: Island.
Mr. KING was agst. any change whatever as opening the door for delays. There had been no official proof that the numbers of N. C. are greater than before estimated, and he never could sign the Constitution if Rho: Island is so be allowed two members that is, one fourth of the number allowed to Massts, which will be known to be unjust.
Mr. PINKNEY urged the propriety of increasing the number of Reps. allotted to N. Carolina.
Mr. BEDFORD contended for an increase in favor of Rho: Island, and of Delaware also
On the question for allowing two Reps. to Rho: Island, it passed in the negative
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay.
On the question for allowing six to N. Carolina, it passed in the negative.
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
Art 1. Sect. 10. (paragraph 2). "No State shall, without the consent of Congress lay imposts or duties on imports or exports; nor with such consent, but to the use of the Treasury of the U. States."
In consequence of the proviso moved by Col: Mason: and agreed to on the 13 Sepr., this part of the section was laid aside in favor of the following substitute viz. "No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its Inspection laws; and the nett produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the Treasury of the U. S; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and controul of the Congress"
On a motion to strike out the last part "and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and controul of the Congress" it passed in the negative.
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. divd. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay.
The substitute was then agreed to: Virga. alone being in the negative.
The remainder of the paragraph being under consideration-viz-"nor keep troops nor ships of war in time of peace, nor enter into any agreement or compact with another State, nor with any foreign power. Nor engage in any war, unless it shall be actually invaded by enemies, or the danger of invasion be so imminent as not to admit of delay, until Congress can be consulted"
Mr. Mc. HENRY & Mr. CARROL moved that "no State shall be restrained from laying duties of tonnage for the purpose of clearing harbours and erecting light-houses."
Col. MASON in support of this explained and urged the situation of the Chesapeak which peculiarly required expences of this sort.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS. The States are not restrained from laying tonnage as the Constitution now Stands. The exception proposed will imply the contrary, and will put the States in a worse condition than the gentleman [Col Mason] wishes.
Mr. MADISON. Whether the States are now restrained from laying tonnage duties depends on the extent of the power "to regulate commerce." These terms are vague, but seem to exclude this power of the States. They may certainly be restrained by Treaty. He observed that there were other objects for tonnage Duties as the support of Seamen &c. He was more & more convinced that the regulation of Commerce was in its nature indivisible and ought to be wholly under one authority.
Mr. SHERMAN. The power of the U. States to regulate trade being supreme can controul interferences of the State regulations when such interferences happen; so that there is no danger to be apprehended from a concurrent jurisdiction.
Mr. LANGDON insisted that the regulation of tonnage was an essential part of the regulation of trade, and that the States ought to have nothing to do with it. On motion "that no State shall lay any duty on tonnage without the Consent of Congress"
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. divd. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. no.
The remainder of the paragraph was then remoulded and passed as follows viz- "No State shall without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay." Art II. sect. 1. (paragraph 6) "or the period for chusing another president arrive" was changed into "or a President shall be elected" conformably to a vote of the ----- day of
Mr. RUTLIDGE and Docr. FRANKLIN moved to annex to the end of paragraph 7. Sect. 1. art II-"and he [the President] shall not receive, within that period, any other emolument from the U. S. or any of them," on which question
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
Art: II. Sect. 2. "he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the U. S. &c"
Mr. RANDOLPH moved to "except cases of treason." The prerogative of pardon in these cases was too great a trust. The President may himself be guilty. The Traytors may be his own instruments.
Col: MASON supported the motion.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS had rather there should be no pardon for treason, than let the power devolve on the Legislature.
Mr. WILSON. Pardon is necessary for cases of treason, and is best placed in the hands of the Executive. If he be himself a party to the guilt he can be impeached and prosecuted.
Mr. KING thought it would be inconsistent with the Constitutional separation of the Executive & Legislative powers to let the prerogative be exercised by the latter. A Legislative body is utterly unfit for the purpose. They are governed too much by the passions of the moment. In Massachussets, one assembly would have hung all the insurgents in that State: the next was equally disposed to pardon them all. He suggested the expedient of requiring the concurrence of the Senate in Acts of Pardon.
Mr. MADISON admitted the force of objections to the Legislature, but the pardon of treasons was so peculiarly improper for the President that he should acquiesce in the transfer of it to the former, rather than leave it altogether in the hands of the latter. He would prefer to either an association of the Senate as a Council of advice, with the President.
Mr. RANDOLPH could not admit the Senate into a share of the Power. the great danger to liberty lay in a combination between the President & that body.
Col: MASON. The Senate has already too much power. There can be no danger of too much lenity in legislative pardons, as the Senate must con concur, & the President moreover can require 2/3 of both Houses.
On the motion of Mr. Randolph.
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. divd. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. ay.
Art II. Sect. 2. (paragraph 2) To the end of this, Mr. GOVERNr. MORRIS moved to annex "but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of law, or in the heads of Departments."
Mr. SHERMAN 2ded. the motion
Mr. MADISON. It does not go far enough if it be necessary at all. Superior officers below Heads of Departments ought in some cases to have the appointment of the lesser offices.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS There is no necessity. Blank commissions can be sent-
On the motion
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. divd. Va. no. N. C. ay. S C no. Geo. no.
The motion being lost by the equal division of votes, It was urged that it be put a second time, some such provision being too necessary to be omitted, and on a second question it was agreed to nem. con.
Art II. Sect. 1. The words, "and not per capita"-were struck out as superfluous-and the words "by the Representatives" also-as improper, the choice of a President being in another mode as well as eventually by the House of Reps.
Art. II. Sect. 2. After "officers of the U. S. whose appointments are not otherwise provided for." were added the words "and which shall be established by law."
Art III. Sect. 2. parag: 3. Mr. PINKNEY & Mr. GERRY moved to annex to the end, "And a trial by jury shall be preserved as usual in civil cases."
Mr. GORHAM. The constitution of Juries is different in different States and the trial itself is usual in different cases in different States.
Mr. KING urged the same objections
Genl. PINKNEY also. He thought such a clause in the Constitution would be pregnant with embarrassments. The motion was disagreed to nem: con:
Art. IV. Sect 2. parag: 3. the term "legally" was struck out, and "under the laws thereof" inserted after the word "State," in compliance with the wish of some who thought the term legal equivocal, and favoring the idea that slavery was legal in a moral view.
Art. IV. Sect 3. "New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union: but no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congs"
Mr. GERRY moved to insert after "or parts of States" the words "or a State and part of a State" which was disagreed to by a large majority; it appearing to be supposed that the case was comprehended in the words of the clause as reported by the Committee.
Art. IV. Sect. 4. After the word "Executive" were inserted the words "when the Legislature can not be convened."
Art. V. "The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem necessary, or on the application of two thirds of the Legislatures of the several States shall propose amendments to this Constitution, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part thereof, when the same shall have been ratified by three fourths at least of the Legislatures of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress: Provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year 1808 shall in any manner affect the 1 & 4 clauses in the 9. section of article 1"
Mr. SHERMAN expressed his fears that three fourths of the States might be brought to do things fatal to particular States, as abolishing them altogether or depriving them of their equality in the Senate. He thought it reasonable that the proviso in favor of the States importing slaves should be extended so as to provide that no State should be affected in its internal police, or deprived of its equality in the Senate.
Col: MASON thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable & dangerous. As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, in the second, ultimately, on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS & Mr. GERRY moved to amend the article so as to require a Convention on application of 2/3 of the Sts.
Mr. MADISON did not see why Congress would not be as much bound to propose amendments applied for by two thirds of the States as to call a call a Convention on the like application. He saw no objection however against providing for a Convention for the purpose of amendments, except only that difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum &c. which in Constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided.
The motion of Mr. Govr. MORRIS & Mr. GERRY was agreed to nem: con: [see the first part of the article as finally past]
Mr. SHERMAN moved to strike out of art. V. after "legislatures" the words "of three fourths" and so after the word "Conventions" leaving future Conventions to act in this matter, like the present Conventions according to circumstances.
On this motion
N. H. divd. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no
Mr. GERRY moved to strike out the words "or by Conventions in three fourths thereof"
On this motion
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.
Mr. SHERMAN moved according to his idea above expressed to annex to the end of the article a further proviso "that no State shall without its consent be affected in its internal police, or deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."
Mr. MADISON. Begin with these special provisos, and every State will insist on them, for their boundaries, exports &c.
On the motion of Mr. Sherman
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.
Mr. SHERMAN then moved to strike out art V altogether.
Mr. BREARLEY 2ded. the motion, on which
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del divd. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to annex a further proviso-"that no State, without its consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate"
This motion being dictated by the circulating murmurs of the small States was agreed to without debate, no one opposing it, or on the question, saying no.
Col: MASON expressing his discontent at the power given to Congress by a bare majority to pass navigation acts, which he said would not only enhance the freight, a consequence he did not so much regard-but would enable a few rich merchants in Philada N. York & Boston, to monopolize the Staples of the Southern States & reduce their value perhaps 50 Per Ct.-moved a further proviso "that no law in nature of a navigation act be passed before the year 1808, without the consent of 2/3 of each branch of the Legislature"
On this motion
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. abst. S. C. no. Geo. ay.
Mr. RANDOLPH animadverting on the indefinite and dangerous power given by the Constitution to Congress, expressing the pain he felt at differing from the body of the Convention, on the close of the great & awful subject of their labours, and anxiously wishing for some accomodating expedient which would relieve him from his embarrassments, made a motion importing "that amendments to the plan might be offered by the State Conventions, which should be submitted to and finally decided on by another general Convention" Should this proposition be disregarded, it would he said be impossible for him to put his name to the instrument. Whether he should oppose it afterwards he would not then decide but he would not deprive himself of the freedom to do so in his own State, if that course should be prescribed by his final judgment.
Col: MASON 2ded. & followed Mr. Randolph in animadversions on the dangerous power and structure of the Government, concluding that it would end either in monarchy, or a tyrannical aristocracy; which, he was in doubt, but one or other, he was sure. This Constitution had been formed without the knowledge or idea of the people. A second Convention will know more of the sense of the people, and be able to provide a system more consonant to it. It was improper to say to the people, take this or nothing. As the Constitution now stands, he could neither give it his support or vote in Virginia; and he could not sign here what he could not support there. With the expedient of another Convention as proposed, he could sign.
Mr. PINKNEY. These declarations from members so respectable at the close of this important scene, give a peculiar solemnity to the present moment. He descanted on the consequences of calling forth the deliberations & amendments of the different States on the subject of Government at large. Nothing but confusion & contrariety could spring from the experiment. The States will never agree in their plans, and the Deputies to a second Convention coming together under the discordant impressions of their Constituents, will never agree. Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated. He was not without objections as well as others to the plan. He objected to the contemptible weakness & dependence of the Executive. He objected to the power of a majority only of Congs. over Commerce. But apprehending the danger of a general confusion, and an ultimate decision by the sword, he should give the plan his support.
Mr. GERRY, stated the objections which determined him to withhold his name from the Constitution. 1. the duration and reeligibility of the Senate. 2. the power of the House of Representatives to conceal their journals. 3. the power of Congress over the places of election. 4 the unlimited power of Congress over their own compensation. 5. Massachusetts has not a due share of Representatives allotted to her. 6. 3/5 of the Blacks are to be represented as if they were freemen. 7. Under the power over commerce, monopolies may be established. 8. The vice president being made head of the Senate. He could however he said get over all these, if the rights of the Citizens were not rendered insecure 1. by the general power of the Legislature to make what laws they may please to call necessary and proper. 2. raise armies and money without limit. 3. to establish a tribunal without juries, which will be a Star-chamber as to Civil cases. Under such a view of the Constitution, the best that could be done he conceived was to provide for a second general Convention.
On the question on the proposition of Mr. Randolph. All the States answered- no
On the question to agree to the Constitution, as amended. All the States ay.
The Constitution was then ordered to be engrossed.
And the House adjourned.
The Report of the Committee of Stile & arrangement being resumed,
Mr. WILLIAMSON moved to reconsider in order to increase the number of Representatives fixed for the first Legislature. His purpose was to make an addition of one half generally to the number allotted to the respective States; and to allow two to the smallest States.
On this motion
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no.
Art. 1. sect. 3.-the words "by lot" were struck out nem: con: on motion of Mr. MADISON, that some rule might prevail in the rotation that would prevent both the members from the same State from going out at the same time.
"Ex officio" struck out of the same section as superfluous: nem: con: and "or affirmation." after "oath" inserted also unanimously.
Mr. RUTLIDGE and Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved "that persons impeached be suspended from their office until they be tried and acquitted"
Mr. MADISON. The President is made too dependent already on the Legislature, by the power of one branch to try him in consequence of an impeachment by the other. This intermediate suspension, will put him in the power of one branch only. They can at any moment, in order to make way for the functions of another who will be more favorable to their views, vote a temporary removal of the existing Magistrate.
Mr. KING concurred in the opposition to the amendment
On the question to agree to it
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct ay. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
Art. 1. sect. 4. "except as to the places of choosing Senators" added nem: con: to the end of the first clause, in order to exempt the seats of Govt. in the States from the power of Congress.
Art. 1. Sect. 5. "Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secresy."
Col: MASON & Mr. GERRY moved to insert after the word "parts" the words "of the proceedings of the Senate" so as to require publication of all the proceedings of the House of Representatives.
It was intimated on the other side that cases might arise where secresy might be necessary in both Houses. Measures preparatory to a declaration of war in which the House of Reps. was to concur, were instanced.
On the question, it passed in the negative
N. H. no. (Rh. I abs) Mas. no. Con: no. (N. Y. abs) N. J. no. Pen. ay. Del. no. Mary. ay. Virg. no. N. C. ay. S. C. divd. Geor. no.
Mr. BALDWIN observed that the clause, Art. 1. Sect 6. declaring that no member of Congs. "during the time for which he was elected; shall be appointed to any Civil office under the authority of the U.S. which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time," would not extend to offices created by the Constitution; and the salaries of which would be created, not increased by Congs. at their first session. The members of the first Congs. consequently might evade the disqualification in this instance. -He was neither seconded nor opposed; nor did any thing further pass on the subject.
Art. 1. Sect. 8. The Congress "may by joint ballot appoint a Treasurer"
Mr. RUTLIDGE moved to strike out this power, and let the Treasurer be appointed in the same manner with other officers.
Mr. GORHAM & Mr. KING said that the motion, if agreed, to would have a mischievous tendency. The people are accustomed & attached to that mode of appointing Treasurers, and the innovation will multiply objections to the System.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS remarked that if the Treasurer be not appointed by the Legislature, he will be more narrowly watched, and more readily impeached.
Mr. SHERMAN. As the two Houses appropriate money, it is best for them to appoint the officer who is to keep it; and to appoint him as they make the appropriation, not by joint but several votes.
Genl. PINKNEY. The Treasurer is appointed by joint ballot in South Carolina. The consequence is that bad appointments are made, and the Legislature will not listen to the faults of their own officer.
On the motion to strike out
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
Art 1. sect. 8. "but all such duties imposts & excises, shall be uniform throughout the U.S." was unanimously annexed to the power of taxation. To define & punish piracies and felonies on the high seas, and "punish" offences against the law of nations.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to strike out "punish" before the words "offences agst. the law of nations," so as to let these be definable as well as punishable, by virtue of the preceding member of the sentence.
Mr. WILSON hoped the alteration would by no means be made. To pretend to define the law of nations which depended on the authority of all the civilized nations of the world, would have a look of arrogance, that would make us ridiculous.
Mr. Govr. The word define is proper when applied to offences in this case; the law of nations being often too vague and deficient to be a rule.
On the question to strike out the word "punish" it passed in the affirmative
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. no.
Docr. FRANKLIN moved to add after the words "post roads" Art I. Sect. 8. "a power to provide for cutting canals where deemed necessary"
Mr. WILSON 2ded. the motion
Mr. SHERMAN objected. The expence in such cases will fall on the U. States, and the benefit accrue to the places where the canals may be cut.
Mr. WILSON. Instead of being an expence to the U.S. they may be made a source of revenue.
Mr. MADISON suggested an enlargement of the motion into a power "to grant charters of incorporation where the interest of the U.S. might require & the legislative provisions of individual States may be incompetent." His primary object was however to secure an easy communication between the States which the free intercourse now to be opened, seemed to call for. The political obstacles being removed, a removal of the natural ones as far as possible ought to follow.
Mr. RANDOLPH 2ded. the proposition
Mr. KING thought the power unnecessary.
Mr. WILSON. It is necessary to prevent a State from obstructing the general welfare.
Mr. KING. The States will be prejudiced and divided into parties by it. In Philada. & New York, It will be referred to the establishment of a Bank, which has been a subject of contention in those Cities. In other places it will be referred to mercantile monopolies.
Mr. WILSON mentioned the importance of facilitating by canals, the communication with the Western Settlements. As to Banks he did not think with Mr. King that the power in that point of view would excite the prejudices & parties apprehended. As to mercantile monopolies they are already included in the power to regulate trade.
Col: MASON was for limiting the power to the single case of Canals. He was afraid of monopolies of every sort, which he did not think were by any means already implied by the Constitution as supposed by Mr. Wilson.
The motion being so modified as to admit a distinct question specifying & limited to the case of canals,
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C no. Geo. ay.
The other part fell of course, as including the power rejected. Mr. MADISON & Mr. PINKNEY then moved to insert in the list of powers vested in Congress a power-"to establish an University, in which no preferences or distinctions should be allowed on account of Religion."
Mr. WILSON supported the motion
Mr. Govr. MORRIS. It is not necessary. The exclusive power at the Seat of Government, will reach the object.
On the question
N. H. no. Mas. no. Cont. divd. Dr. Johnson ay. Mr. Sherman no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. no.
Col: MASON, being sensible that an absolute prohibition of standing armies in time of peace might be unsafe, and wishing at the same time to insert something pointing out and guarding against the danger of them, moved to preface the clause (Art I sect. 8) "To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the Militia &c" with the words" "And that the liberties of the people may be better secured against the danger of standing armies in time of peace" Mr. RANDOLPH 2ded. the motion
Mr. MADISON was in favor of it. It did not restrain Congress from establishing a military force in time of peace if found necessary; and as armies in time of peace are allowed on all hands to be an evil, it is well to discountenance them by the Constitution, as far as will consist with the essential power of the Govt. on that head.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS opposed the motion as setting a dishonorable mark of distinction on the military class of Citizens
Mr. PINKNEY & Mr. BEDFORD concurred in the opposition. On the question
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Maryd. no Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. ay.
Col: MASON moved to strike out from the clause (art I sect 9.) "No bill of attainder nor any expost facto law shall be passed" the words "nor any ex post facto law." He thought it not sufficiently clear that the prohibition meant by this phrase was limited to cases of a criminal nature, and no Legislature ever did or can altogether avoid them in Civil cases.
Mr. GERRY 2ded. the motion but with a view to extend the prohibition to "Civil cases," which he thought ought to be done.
On the question; all the States were-no
Mr. PINKNEY & Mr. GERRY, moved to insert a declaration "that the liberty of the Press should be inviolably observed."
Mr. SHERMAN. It is unnecessary. The power of Congress does not extend to the Press.
On the question, it passed in the negative
N. H. no. Mas. ay. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. no.
Art. I. Sect. 9. "No capitation tax shall be laid, unless &c"
Mr. READ moved to insert after "capitation" the words, "or other direct tax" He was afraid that some liberty might otherwise be taken to saddle the States, with a readjustment by this rule, of past requisitions of Congs.-and that his amendment by giving another cast to the meaning would take away the pretext. Mr. WILLIAMSON 2ded. the motion which was agreed to,
On motion of col: MASON "or enumeration" inserted after, as explanatory of "Census" Con. & S. C. only, no. Here insert the amendment added in the lateral margin. At the end of the clause "no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State" was added the following amendment conformably to a vote on the ----- day of ----- viz-no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to or from one State, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another.
Col. MASON moved a clause requiring "that an Account of the public expenditures should be annually published" Mr. GERRY 2ded. the motion
Mr. Govr. MORRIS urged that this wd. be impossible in many cases.
Mr. KING remarked, that the term expenditures went to every minute shilling. This would be impracticable. Congs. might indeed make a monthly publication, but it would be in such general statements as would afford no satisfactory information.
Mr. MADISON proposed to strike out "annually" from the motion & insert "from time to time," which would enjoin the duty of frequent publications and leave enough to the discretion of the Legislature. Require too much and the difficulty will beget a habit of doing nothing. The articles of Confederation require half-yearly publications on this subject. A punctual compliance being often impossible, the practice has ceased altogether.
Mr. WILSON 2ded. & supported the motion. Many operations of finance can not be properly published at certain times.
Mr. PINKNEY was in favor of the motion.
Mr. FITZIMMONS. It is absolutely impossible to publish expenditures in the full extent of the term.
Mr. SHERMAN thought "from time to time" the best rule to be given.
"Annual" was struck out-& those words-inserted nem: con: The motion of Col: Mason so amended was then agreed to nem: con: and added after-"appropriations by law as follows-"and a regular statement and account of the receipts & expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time"
Here insert the Amendment at the foot of the page The first clause of Art. I Sect 10-was altered so as to read-'No State shall enter into any Treaty alliance or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold & silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility."
Mr. GERRY entered into observations inculcating the importance of public faith, and the propriety of the restraint put on the States from impairing the obligation of contracts, alledging that Congress ought to be laid under the like prohibitions, he made a motion to that effect. He was not 2ded.
Col: MASON. He had moved without success for a power to make sumptuary regulations. He had not yet lost sight of his object. After descanting on the extravagance of our manners, the excessive consumption of foreign superfluities, and the necessity of restricting it, as well with oeconomical as requblican views, he moved that a Committee be appointed to report articles of association for encouraging by the advice the influence and the example of the members of the Convention, oeconomy frugality and american manufactures.
Docr. JOHNSON 2ded. the motion which was without debate agreed to; nem: con: and a Committee appointed, consisting of Col: Mason, Docr. Franklin, Mr. Dickenson, Docr. Johnson, and Mr. Livingston.
Col: MASON renewed his proposition of yesterday on the subject of inspection laws, with an additional clause giving to Congress a controul over them in case of abuse-as follows,
"Provided that no State shall be restrained from imposing the usual duties on produce exported from such State, for the sole purpose of defraying the charges of inspecting, packing, storing, and indemnifying the losses on such produce, while in the custody of public officers: but all such regulations shall in case of abuse, be subject to the revision and controul of Congress."
There was no debate & on the question
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay.
The Report from the Committee of stile & arrangement, was taken up, in order to be compared with the articles of the plan as agreed to by the House & referred to the Committee, and to receive the final corrections and sanction of the Convention.
Art. 1. sect. 2. On motion of Mr. RANDOLPH the word "servitude" was struck out, and "service" unanimously inserted, the former being thought to express the condition of slaves, & the latter the obligations of free persons.
Mr. DICKENSON & Mr. WILSON moved to strike out "and direct taxes," from sect. 2. art. 1. as improperly placed in a clause relating merely to the Constitution of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS. The insertion here was in consequence of what had passed on this point; in order to exclude the appearance of counting the negroes in the Representation. The including of them may now be referred to the object of direct taxes, and incidentally only to that of Representation.
On the motion to strike out "and direct taxes" from this place
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.
Art. 1. sect. 7 "-if any bill shall not be returned by the president within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him &c"
Mr. MADISON, moved to insert between "after" and "it" in Sect. 7. Art. 1 the words "the day on which," in order to prevent a question whether the day on which the bill be presented, ought to be counted or not as one of the ten days.
Mr. RANDOLPH 2ded. the motion.
Mr. GOVERNUr. MORRIS. The amendment is unnecessary. The law knows no fractions of days.
A number of members being very impatient & calling for the question
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no S. C. no. Geo. no-
Docr. JOHNSON made a further report from the Committee of stile &c of the following resolutions to be substituted for 22 & 23 articles
"Resolved that the preceding Constitution be laid before the U. States in Congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, under the recommendation of its Legislature, for their assent & ratification; & that each Convention assenting & ratifying the same should give notice thereof to the U.S. in Congs. assembled.
"Resolved that it is the opinion of this Convention that as soon as the Conventions of nine States, shall have ratified this Constitution, the U.S. in Congs. assembled should fix a day on which electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same; and a day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President; and the time and place for commencing proceedings under this Constitution-That after such publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the day fixed for the election of the President, and should transmit their votes certified signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the U. States in Congs. assembled: that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the time & place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President for the sole purpose of receiving, opening, and counting the votes for President, and that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President should without delay proceed to execute this Constitution."
Docr. JOHNSON from the Committee of stile &c. reported a digest of the plan, of which printed copies were ordered to be furnished to the members. He also reported a letter to accompany the plan, to Congress. (Here insert a transcript of the former from the annexed sheet as printed and of the latter from the draft as finally agreed to.
WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, IN ORDER TO FORM a more perfect union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Sect. 1. ALL legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Sect. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.
No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every forty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative: and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New-Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New-Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Deleware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North-Carolina five, South-Caroline five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, the Executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers; and they shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Sect. 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years: and each senator shall have one vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided [by lot] as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year: and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the Legislature of any state, the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the Legislature.
No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice-President of the United States shall be, ex officio President of the senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice-President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.
Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.
Sect. 4. The times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof: but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Sect. 5. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business: but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorised to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.
Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings; punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
Neither house, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.
Sect. 6. The senators and representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.
Sect. 7. The enacting stile of the laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the senators and representatives in Congress assembled." All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives: but the senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.
Every bill which shall have passed the house of representatives and the senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the president of the United States. If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two-thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or, being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by three-fourths of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
Sect. 8. The Congress may by joint ballot appoint a treasurer. They shall have power
To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises; to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.
To borrow money on the credit of the United States.
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.
To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States.
To establish post offices and post roads.
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.
To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court.
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and [punish] offences against the law of nations.
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.
To raise and support armies: but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.
To provide and maintain a navy.
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.
To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.
To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings -And
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
Sect. 9. The migration or importation of such persons as the several states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
No bill of attainder shall be passed, nor any ex post facto law.
No capitation tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census herein before directed to be taken.
No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.
No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States. And no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
Sect. 10. No state shall coin money, nor emit bills of credit, nor make any thing but gold or silver coin a tender in payment of debts, nor pass any bill of attainder, nor ex post facto laws, nor laws altering or impairing the obligation of contracts; nor grant letters of marque and reprisal, nor enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation, nor grant any title of nobility.
No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay imposts or duties on imports or exports, nor with such consent, but to the use of the treasury of the United States. Nor keep troops nor ships of war in time of peace, nor enter into any agreement or compact with another state, nor with any foreign power. Nor engage in any war, unless it shall be actually invaded by enemies, or the danger of invasion be so imminent, as not to admit of delay until the Congress can be consulted.
Sect. 1. The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the vice-president, chosen for the same term, be elected in the following manner:
Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in Congress: but no senator or representative shall be appointed an elector, nor any person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States.
The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the general government, directed to the president of the senate. The president of the senate shall in the presence of the senate and house of representatives open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the house of representatives shall immediately chuse by ballot one of them for president; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said house shall in like manner choose the president. But in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states and not per capita, the representation from each state having one vote. A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the president by the representatives, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the vice-president. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the senate shall choose from them by ballot the vice-president.
The Congress may determine the time of chusing the electors, and the time in which they shall give their votes; but the election shall be on the same day throughout the United States.
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
In case of the removal of the president from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the vice-president, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the president and vice-president, declaring what officer shall then act as president, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or the period for chusing another president arrive.
The president shall, at stated times, receive a fixed compensation for his services, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected.
Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I --------, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my judgment and power, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States."
Sect. 2. The president shall be commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States: he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, when called into the actual service of the United States, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the supreme court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for.
The president shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.
Sect. 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient: he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper: he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers: he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.
Sect. 4. The president, vice-president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Sect. 1. The judicial power of the United States, both in law and equity, shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Sect. 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, both in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority. To all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls. To all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. To controversies to which the United States shall be a party. To controversies between two or more States; between a state and citizens of another state; between citizens of different States; between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different States, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens or subjects.
In cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.
The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.
Sect. 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood nor forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.
Sect. 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
Sect. 2. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states. A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled be delivered up, and removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.
No person legally held to service or labour in one state, escaping into another, shall in consequence of regulations subsisting therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due.
Sect. 3. New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States: and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.
Sect. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature or executive, against domestic violence.
The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem necessary, or on the application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states, shall propose amendments to this constitution, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part thereof, when the same shall have been ratified by three- fourths at least of the legislatures of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress: Provided, that no amendment which may be made prior to the year 1808 shall in any manner affect the ----- and ----- section of ----- article
All debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the confederation.
This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
The senators and representatives beforementioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
The ratification of the conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution between the States so ratifying the same.
We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which as appeared to us the most adviseable.
The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident-Hence results the necessity of a different organization.
It is obviously impracticable in the foederal government of these States to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all-Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was encreased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.
In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensible.
That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.
Mr. WILLIAMSON moved to reconsider the clause requiring three fourths of each House to overrule the negative of the President, in order to strike out 3/4 and insert 2/3 . He had he remarked himself proposed 3/4 instead of 2/3 , but he had since been convinced that the latter proportion was the best. The former puts too much in the power of the President.
Mr. SHERMAN was of the same opinion; adding that the States would not like to see so small a minority and the President, prevailing over the general voice. In making laws regard should be had to the sense of the people, who are to be bound by them, and it was more probable that a single man should mistake or betray this sense than the Legislature
Mr. Govr. MORRIS. Considering the difference between the two proportions numerically, it amounts in one House to two members only; and in the other to not more than five; according to the numbers of which the Legislature is at first to be composed. It is the interest moreover of the distant States to prefer 3/4 as they will be oftenest absent and need the interposing check of the President. The excess rather than the deficiency of laws was to be dreaded. The example of N. York shews that 2/3 is not sufficient to answer the purpose.
Mr. HAMILTON added his testimony to the fact that 2/3 in N. York had been ineffectual either where a popular object, or a legislative faction operated; of which he mentioned some instances.
Mr. GERRY. It is necessary to consider the danger on the other side also. 2/3 will be a considerable, perhaps a proper security. 3/4 puts too much in the power of a few men. The primary object of the revisionary check of the President is not to protect the general interest, but to defend his own department. If 3/4 be required, a few Senators having hopes from the nomination of the President to offices, will combine with him and impede proper laws. Making the vice-President Speaker increases the danger.
Mr. WILLIAMSON was less afraid of too few than of too many laws. He was most of all afraid that the repeal of bad laws might be rendered too difficult by requiring 3/4 to overcome the dissent of the President.
Col: MASON had always considered this as one of the most exceptionable parts of the System. As to the numerical argument of Mr. Govr. Morris, little arithmetic was necessary to understand that 3/4 was more than 2/3 , whatever the numbers of the Legislature might be. The example of New York depended on the real merits of the laws. The Gentlemen citing it, had no doubt given their own opinions. But perhaps there were others of opposite opinions who could equally paint the abuses on the other side. His leading view was to guard against too great an impediment to the repeal of laws.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS dwelt on the danger to the public interest from the instability of laws, as the most to be guarded against. On the other side there could be little danger. If one man in office will not consent where he ought, every fourth year another can be substituted. This term was not too long for fair experiments. Many good laws are not tried long enough to prove their merit. This is often the case with new laws opposed to old habits. The Inspection laws of Virginia & Maryland to which all are now so much attached were unpopular at first.
Mr. PINKNEY was warmly in opposition to 3/4 as putting a dangerous power in the hands of a few Senators headed by the President.
Mr. MADISON. When 3/4 was agreed to, the President was to be elected by the Legislature and for seven years. He is now to be elected by the people and for four years. The object of the revisionary power is twofold. 1. to defend the Executive Rights 2. to prevent popular or factious injustice. It was an important principle in this & in the State Constitutions to check legislative injustice and incroachments. The Experience of the States had demonstrated that their checks are insufficient. We must compare the danger from the weakness of 2/3 with the danger from the strength of 3/4 . He thought on the whole the former was the greater. As to the difficulty of repeals, it was probable that in doubtful cases the policy would soon take place of limiting the duration of laws so as to require renewal instead of repeal.
The reconsideration being agreed to. On the question to insert 2/3 in place of 3/4.
N. H. divd. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Mr. Mc.Henry no. Va. no. Genl.
Washington Mr. Blair, Mr. Madison no. Col. Mason, Mr. Randolph ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
Mr. WILLIAMSON, observed to the House that no provision was yet made for juries in Civil cases and suggested the necessity of it.
Mr. GORHAM. It is not possible to discriminate equity cases from those in which juries are proper. The Representatives of the people may be safely trusted in this matter.
Mr. GERRY urged the necessity of Juries to guard agst. corrupt Judges. He proposed that the Committee last appointed should be directed to provide a clause for securing the trial by Juries
Col: MASON perceived the difficulty mentioned by Mr. Gorham. The jury cases can not be specified. A general principle laid down on this and some other points would be sufficient. He wished the plan had been prefaced with a Bill of Rights, & would second a Motion if made for the purpose. It would give great quiet to the people; and with the aid of the State declarations, a bill might be prepared in a few hours.
Mr. GERRY concurred in the idea & moved for a Committee to prepare a Bill of Rights.
Col: MASON 2ded. the motion.
Mr. SHERMAN, was for securing the rights of the people where requisite. The State Declarations of Rights are not repealed by this Constitution; and being in force are sufficient. There are many cases where juries are proper which can not be discriminated. The Legislature may be safely trusted.
Col: MASON. The Laws of the U. S. are to be paramount to State Bills of Rights.
On the question for a Come. to prepare a Bill of Rights
N. H. no. Mas. abst. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.
The Clause relating to exports being reconsidered, at the instance of Col: Mason, who urged that the restriction on the States would prevent the incidental duties necessary for the inspection & safe-keeping of their produce, and be ruinous to the Staple States, as he called the five Southern States, he moved as follows-"provided nothing herein contained shall be construed to restrain any State from laying duties upon exports for the sole purpose of defraying the charges of inspecting, packing, storing and indemnifying the losses, in keeping the commodities in the care of public officers, before exportation." In answer to a remark which he anticipated, towit, that the States could provide for these expences, by a tax in some other way, he stated the inconveniency of requiring the Planters to pay a tax before the actual delivery for exportation.
Mr. MADISON 2ded. the motion. It would at least be harmless; and might have the good effect of restraining the States to bona fide duties for the purpose, as well as of authorising explicitly such duties; tho' perhaps the best guard against an abuse of the power of the States on this subject, was the right in the Genl. Government to regulate trade between State & State.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS saw no objection to the motion. He did not consider the dollar per Hhd laid on Tobo. in Virga. as a duty on exportation, as no drawback would be allowed on Tobo. taken out of the Warehouse for internal consumption.
Mr. DAYTON was afraid the proviso wd. enable Pennsylva. to tax N. Jersey under the idea of Inspection duties of which Pena. would Judge.
Mr. GORHAM & Mr. LANGDON, thought there would be no security if the proviso shd. be agreed to, for the States exporting thro' other States, agst. the oppressions of the latter. How was redress to be obtained in case duties should be laid beyond the purpose expressed?
Mr. MADISON. There will be the same security as in other cases. The jurisdiction of the supreme Court must be the source of redress. So far only had provision been made by the plan agst. injurious acts of the States. His own opinion was, that this was insufficient. A negative on the State laws alone could meet all the shapes which these could assume. But this had been overruled.
Mr. FITZIMMONS. Incidental duties on Tobo. & flour, never have been & never can be considered as duties on exports.
Mr. DICKINSON. Nothing will save States in the situation of N. Hampshire N Jersey Delaware &c from being oppressed by their neighbors, but requiring the assent of Congs. to inspection duties. He moved that this assent shd. accordingly be required.
Mr. BUTLER 2ded. the motion.
The Report of the Committee of Stile & arrangement not being made & being waited for,
The House Adjourned
Mr. GERRY moved to reconsider Art XIX. viz. "On the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the States in the Union, for an amendment of this Constitution, the Legislature of the U. S. shall call a Convention for that purpose." [see Aug. 6.] This Constitution he said is to be paramount to the State Constitutions. It follows, hence, from this article that two thirds of the States may obtain a Convention, a majority of which can bind the Union to innovations that may subvert the State-Constitutions altogether. He asked whether this was a situation proper to be run into.
Mr. HAMILTON 2ded. the motion, but he said with a different view from Mr. Gerry. He did not object to the consequence stated by Mr. Gerry. There was no greater evil in subjecting the people of the U. S. to the major voice than the people of a particular State. It had been wished by many and was much to have been desired that an easier mode for introducing amendments had been provided by the articles of Confederation. It was equally desireable now that an easy mode should be established for supplying defects which will probably appear in the New System. The mode proposed was not adequate. The State Legislatures will not apply for alterations but with a view to increase their own powers. The National Legislature will be the first to perceive and will be most sensible to the necessity of amendments, and ought also to be empowered, whenever two thirds of each branch should concur to call a Convention. There could be no danger in giving this power, as the people would finally decide in the case.
Mr. MADISON remarked on the vagueness of the terms, "call a Convention for the purpose," as sufficient reason for reconsidering the article. How was a Convention to be formed? by what rule decide? what the force of its acts?
On the motion of Mr. Gerry to reconsider
N. H. divd. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. GEO ay.
Mr. SHERMAN moved to add to the article "or the Legislature may propose amendments to the several States for their approbation, but no amendments shall be binding until consented to by the several States."
Mr. GERRY 2ded. the motion
Mr. WILSON moved to insert "two thirds of" before the words "several States"- on which amendment to the motion of Mr. Sherman
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.
Mr. WILSON then moved to insert "three fourths of" before "the several Sts" which was agreed to nem: con:
Mr. MADISON moved to postpone the consideration of the amended proposition in order to take up the following,
"The Legislature of the U. S. whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem necessary, or on the application of two thirds of the Legislatures of the several States, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part thereof, when the same shall have been ratified by three fourths at least of the Legislatures of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Legislature of the U S:"
Mr. HAMILTON 2ded. the motion.
Mr. RUTLIDGE said he never could agree to give a power by which the articles relating to slaves might be altered by the States not interested in that property and prejudiced against it. In order to obviate this objection, these words were added to the proposition: "provided that no amendments which may be made prior to the year 1808, shall in any manner affect the 4 & 5 sections of the VII article"-The postponement being agreed to,
On the question on the proposition of Mr. Madison & Mr. Hamilton as amended
N. H. divd. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo ay.
Mr. GERRY moved to reconsider art: XXI and XXII. from the latter of which "for the approbation of Congs." had been struck out. He objected to proceeding to change the Government without the approbation of Congress, as being improper and giving just umbrage to that body. He repeated his objections also to an annulment of the confederation with so little scruple or formality.
Mr. HAMILTON concurred with Mr. Gerry as to the indecorum of not requiring the approbation of Congress. He considered this as a necessary ingredient in the transaction. He thought it wrong also to allow nine States as provided by art XXI. to institute a new Government on the ruins of the existing one. He Wd. propose as a better modification of the two articles (XXI & XXII) that the plan should be sent to Congress in order that the same if approved by them, may be communicated to the State Legislatures, to the end that they may refer it to State Conventions; each Legislature declaring that if the Convention of the State should think the plan ought to take effect among nine ratifying States, the same shd. take effect accordingly.
Mr. GORHAM. Some States will say that nine States shall be sufficient to establish the plan, others will require unanimity for the purpose. And the different and conditional ratifications will defeat the plan altogether.
Mr. HAMILTON. No Convention convinced of the necessity of the plan will refuse to give it effect on the adoption by nine States. He thought this mode less exceptionable than the one proposed in the article, and would attain the same end.
Mr. FITZIMMONS remarked that the words "for their approbation" had been struck out in order to save Congress from the necessity of an Act inconsistent with the Articles of Confederation under which they held their authority.
Mr. RANDOLPH declared, if no change should be made in the this part of the plan, he should be obliged to dissent from the whole of it. He had from the beginning he said been convinced that radical changes in the system of the Union were necessary. Under this conviction he had brought forward a set of republican propositions as the basis and outline of a reform. These Republican propositions had however, much to his regret, been widely, and in his opinion, irreconcileably departed from. In this state of things it was his idea and he accordingly meant to propose, that the State Conventions shd. be at liberty to offer amendments to the plan; and that these should be submitted to a second General Convention, with full power to settle the Constitution finally. He did not expect to succeed in this proposition, but the discharge of his duty in making the attempt, would give quiet to his own mind.
Mr. WILSON was against a reconsideration for any of the purposes which had been mentioned.
Mr. KING thought it would be more respectful to Congress to submit the plan generally to them; than in such a form as expressly and necessarily to require their approbation or disapprobation. The assent of nine States be considered as sufficient; and that it was more proper to make this a part of the Constitution itself, than to provide for it by a supplemental or distinct recommendation.
Mr. GERRY urged the indecency and pernicious tendency of dissolving in so slight a manner, the solemn obligations of the articles of confederation. If nine out of thirteen can dissolve the compact, Six out of nine will be just as able to dissolve the new one hereafter.
Mr. SHERMAN was in favor of Mr. King's idea of submitting the plan generally to Congress. He thought nine States ought to be made sufficient: but that it would be best to make it a separate act and in some such form as that intimated by Col: Hamilton, than to make it a particular article of the Constitution.
On the question for reconsidering the two articles, XXI & XXII-
N. H. divd. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay.
Mr. HAMILTON then moved to postpone art XXI in order to take up the following, containing the ideas he had above expressed, viz Resolved that the foregoing plan of a Constitution be transmitted to the U. S. in Congress assembled, in order that if the same shall be agreed to by them, it may be communicated to the Legislatures of the several States, to the end that they may provide for its final ratification by referring the same to the Consideration of a Convention of Deputies in each State to be chosen by the people thereof, and that it be recommended to the said Legislatures in their respective acts for organizing such convention to declare, that if the said Convention shall approve of the said Constitution, such approbation shall be binding and conclusive upon the State, and further that if the said Convention should be of opinion that the same upon the assent of any nine States thereto, ought to take effect between the States so assenting, such opinion shall thereupon be also binding upon such State, and the said Constitution shall take effect between the States assenting thereto"
Mr. GERRY 2ded. the motion.
Mr. WILSON. This motion being seconded, it is necessary now to speak freely. He expressed in strong terms his disapprobation of the expedient proposed, particularly the suspending the plan of the Convention on the approbation of Congress. He declared it to be worse than folly to rely on the concurrence of the Rhode Island members of Congs. in the plan. Maryland has voted on this floor; for requiring the unanimous assent of the 13 States to the proposed change in the federal System. N. York has not been represented for a long time past in the Convention. Many individual deputies from other States have spoken much against the plan. Under these circusmtances can it be safe to make the assent of Congress necessary. After spending four or five months in the laborious & arduous task of forming a Government for our Country, we are ourselves at the close throwing insuperable obstacles in the way of its success.
Mr. CLYMER thought that the mode proposed by Mr. Hamilton would fetter & embarrass Congs. as much as the original one, since it equally involved a breach of the articles of Confederation.
Mr. KING concurred with Mr. Clymer. If Congress can accede to one mode, they can to the other. If the approbation of Congress be made necessary, and they should not approve, the State Legislatures will not propose the plan to Conventions; or if the States themselves are to provide that nine States shall suffice to establish the System, that provision will be omitted, every thing will go into confusion, and all our labor be lost.
Mr. RUTLIDGE viewed the matter in the same light with Mr. King. On the question to postpone in order to take up Col: Hamilton's motion
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.
A Question being then taken on the article XXI. It was agreed to unanimously.
Col: HAMILTON withdrew the remainder of the motion to postpone art XXII, observing that his purpose was defeated by the vote just given;
Mr. WILLIAMSON & Mr. GERRY moved to re-instate the words "for the approbation of Congress" in art: XXII which was disagreed to nem: con:
Mr. RANDOLPH took this opportunity to state his objections to the System. They turned on the Senate's being made the Court of Impeachment for trying the Executive-on the necessity of 3/4 instead of 2/3 of each house to overrule the negative of the President-on the smallness of the number of the Representative branch,-on the want of limitation to a standing army-on the general clause concerning necessary and proper laws-on the want of some particular restraint on navigation acts-on the power to lay duties on exports-on the Authority of the General Legislature to interpose on the application of the Executives of the States-on the want of a more definite boundary between the General & State Legislatures-and between the General and State Judiciaries-on the the unqualified power of the President to pardon treasons-on the want of some limit to the power of the Legislature in regulating their own compensations. With these difficulties in his mind, what course he asked was he to pursue? Was he to promote the establishment of a plan which he verily believed would end in Tyranny? He was unwilling he said to impede the wishes and Judgment of the Convention, but he must keep himself free, in case he should be honored with a seat in the Convention of his State, to act according to the dictates of his judgment. The only mode in which his embarrassments could be removed, was that of submitting the plan to Congs. to go from them to the State Legislatures, and from these to State Conventions having power to adopt reject or amend; the process to close with another General Convention with full power to adopt or reject the alterations proposed by the State Conventions, and to establish finally the Government. He accordingly proposed a Resolution to this effect.
Docr. FRANKLIN 2ded. the motion
Col: MASON urged & obtained that the motion should lie on the table for a day or two to see what steps might be taken with regard to the parts of the system objected to by Mr. Randolph.
Mr. PINKNEY moved "that it be an instruction to the Committee for revising the stile and arrangement of the articles agreed on, to prepare an Address to the People, to accompany the present Constitution, and to be laid with the same before the U. States in Congress."
The motion itself was referred to the Committee, nem: con:
Mr. RANDOLPH moved to refer to the Committee also a motion relating to pardons in cases of Treason-which was agreed to nem: con: