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Max Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1 [1911]

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Max Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911). Vol. 1. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1057

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About this Title:

Volume 1 covers May 14 to July 13, 1787. The records of the Federal Convention which was held in Philadelphia between May and September 1787. The sessions were secret but the proceedings were reconstructed from notes kept by the official secretary and some participants, most notably James Madison.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
THE RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL CONVENTION OF 1787
EDITED BY MAX FARRAND professor of history in yale university
Volume I
NEW HAVEN:
YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON:
HENRY FROWDE
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
MCMXI
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

Copyright, 1911, by Yale University Press

The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

To JOHN FRANKLIN JAMESON

Edition: current; Page: [iv] Edition: current; Page: [v]

CONTENTS

  • VOLUME I
    • Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page vii
    • Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
    • Proceedings
      • of Convention, May 14-29 . . . . . . . . . 1
        • The Virginia Plan . . . . . . . . . . 20
      • of Committee of the Whole House, May 30-June 19 . . 29
        • The Virginia Plan as amended in Committee . . 228
        • The New Jersey Plan . . . . . . . . . 242
      • of Convention, June 19-July 13 . . . . . . . 322
  • VOLUME II
    • Proceedings
      • of Convention, July 14-26 . . . . . . . . . 1
      • of Committee of Detail, July 27-August 4 . . . . 129
      • of Convention, August 6-September 10 . . . . . 176
        • Draft of Constitution reported by Committee of Detail 177
        • Proceedings referred to Committee of Style . . . 565
      • of Convention, September 11-17 . . . . . . . 581
        • Report of Committee of Style . . . . . . . 590
    • The Constitution of the United States . . . . . 651
  • VOLUME III
    • Appendix A. Supplementary Records . . . . . . . 1
    • Appendix B. The Delegates to the Convention, their Credentials and Attendance . . . . . . . . . . 555
    • Appendix C. The Virginia Plan . . . . . . . . 593
    • Appendix D. The Pinckney Plan . . . . . . . . 595
    • Appendix E. The New Jersey Plan . . . . . . . 611
    • Appendix F. The Hamilton Plan . . . . . . . . 617
    • Index by Clauses of the Constitution . . . . . . 631
    • General Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . 649
  • ILLUSTRATIONS
    • A Page of the Journal . . . . . . . . . volume I page 32
    • A Page of Madison’s Debates . . . . . . . II 128
Edition: current; Page: [vi] Edition: current; Page: [vii]

PREFACE

The available sources of our information for studying the work of the convention that framed the present Constitution of the United States are scattered through various printed volumes; and some material has never been published. The present work was undertaken with the primary purpose of gathering all available records into a single work of two or three volumes, but it was also intended that these records should be in trustworthy form. The latter aspect has subsequently developed into the more important feature of this edition.

It has been found that most printed texts of the more important records cannot be accepted implicitly because of the liberties that have been taken with the manuscripts in preparing them for publication. Furthermore, in the case of the most important record of all, Madison’s Debates, it is easily proved that, over thirty years after the Convention, the author revised the manuscript and made many changes upon insufficient data, which seriously impaired the value of his notes. This is also true of other records. It has accordingly become the first purpose of the editor in this work to present the records of the Federal Convention in the most trustworthy form possible. Mistakes and inaccuracies are unavoidable, but no effort has been spared to reduce these to a minimum.

The other purpose of this work, to gather all of the available records into a convenient and serviceable edition, has not, however, been neglected. From the editor’s own experience and from that of others in studying and teaching the subject of the formation of our Constitution, certain needs have presented themselves in quite definite form, and the attempt has been made to meet those needs in the present edition. The extent and variety of the material has made the task a difficult one to accomplish, and the results are by no means satisfactory. Other methods of arrangement have been tried, Edition: current; Page: [viii] but in every case insuperable objections presented themselves, and it finally seemed best to adopt the plan of gathering together all the records of each day’s session, and of allowing each record for that day to remain complete by itself. This method has made it impossible to place subject headings at the top of each page, and the editor has endeavored partially to supply this lack by giving cross references to some of the more important subjects in foot-notes, and by making the general index as nearly exhaustive as is possible. A special index has been added, giving such references for every clause in the Constitution finally adopted as will enable any one to trace the origin and development of that particular clause, and to find every item in the present work that bears upon it.

While carrying on his investigations the editor has been fairly overwhelmed by the courtesies extended to him. In the examination of manuscripts, every possible facility has been afforded him. He was placed at a disadvantage by working most of the time at a great distance from the depositories of all the documents he required, and his work would have been prolonged indefinitely, — it would, perhaps, have been impossible — had it not been for the assistance rendered him whenever asked: documents have been examined, copied, and even photographed for his special use; every request has been cheerfully complied with, and no trouble seems to have been too great. Where the material was in printed form, permission to reprint has been readily granted in every instance. Assuredly, the “gospel of service” is a fundamental article in the creed of American historical scholarship.

In publicly acknowledging his indebtedness to so many who have been of service to him, the editor desires to express his obligations in particular: to Mr. John A. Tonner, Chief of the Bureau of Rolls and Library of the Department of State, to his predecessors, Mr. William McNeir and Mr. Andrew H. Allen, and to their obliging assistants, in whose care are most of the manuscripts from which the texts of this edition have been taken; to the late Edward King, of New York City, for permission to use the Rufus King manuscripts, to the New York Historical Society and its Librarian, Mr. Robert H. Kelby, the custodians of these manuscripts; to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and its Librarian, Mr. John Edition: current; Page: [ix] W. Jordan, for the privilege of examining and copying the Wilson manuscripts; to Mr. Herbert Putnam and his able staff in the Library of Congress for their many courtesies, especially to Mr. Worthington C. Ford, the former Chief of the Division of Manuscripts and to the present Chief, Mr. Gaillard Hunt, who have been unfailing in their kindliness and assistance; to Mr. William Harden, Librarian of the Georgia Historical Society, for his scholarly description of the annotations on Baldwin’s copy of the printed draft of September 12; to the Department of Foreign Affairs of the French Government for the privilege of examining and copying from its Archives; to the Editors of the American Historical Review for permission to reprint documents from that journal; to Miss Kate Mason Rowland for permission to use extracts from her Life of George Mason; to Mr. William M. Meigs for the privilege of reprinting the draft of the Committee of Detail, published in photograph facsimile in his Growth of the Constitution; to Messrs. G. P. Putnam’s Sons for permission to reprint freely from their series of “Writings of the Fathers of the Republic” — Jefferson, King, Madison, Randolph and Washington; and to the Macmillan Company for permission to reprint extracts from A. H. Symth, Writings of Benjamin Franklin.

The editor has repeatedly called upon his friends for advice and assistance, which have always been cheerfully given. Without holding them in any way responsible for its short-comings, he wishes to express his appreciation of the fact that this work would not have taken its present form had it not been for their suggestions, nor would the editor have endured to the end but for their kindly encouragement. He is especially grateful to President Lowell of Harvard; to Mr. Frederick J. Turner, of Wisconsin; to Mr. Charles H. Hull, of Cornell; to the late Edward G. Bourne, of Yale; and to Mr. Roger Foster, of New York. He feels still more indebted to two others who have been his constant advisers and have rendered him every assistance ungrudgingly — Mr. Andrew C. McLaughlin, of Chicago, and Mr. J. Franklin Jameson, Director of the Department of Historical Research of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. To the latter this work has been dedicated in recognition of his great services to the cause of American historical scholarship.

Edition: current; Page: [x]

Finally, the editor would express his appreciation of the consideration shown him by President David Starr Jordan and the authorities of Leland Stanford Junior University; their liberal policy, while he was a member of the faculty of that institution, made it possible for him to carry on and complete this work.

Max Farrand.
New Haven, Connecticut

Just as these volumes are going to press, the editor wishes to express his hearty appreciation of the spirit of cooperation and generous attitude of the Yale University Press, and in particular of its president, Mr. George Parmly Day, in everything connected with the publication of this work. He gratefully acknowledges, also, his indebtedness to the Plimpton Press, for the care and interest taken in the manufacture.

Edition: current; Page: [xi]

INTRODUCTION

The official authorization of the Federal Convention was a resolution of the Congress of the Confederation, adopted February 21, 1787:

“Resolved, That in the opinion of Congress, it is expedient, that on the second Monday in May next, a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several states, be held at Philadelphia, . . .”1

The second Monday in May, 1787, fell on the fourteenth, and on that day delegates from several of the states gathered in the “long room” of the State House in Philadelphia.2 It was not until the twenty-fifth, however, that a sufficient number of delegates appeared to constitute a representation of a majority of the states. On May 25, the Convention organized and remained in continuous session until September 17, with the execption of one adjournment of two days over the Fourth of July and another of ten days, from July 26 to August 6, to allow the Committee of Detail to prepare its report.

The Journal

The sessions of the Convention were secret; before the final adjournment the secretary was directed to deposit “the Journals and other papers of the Convention in the hands of the President”, and in answer to an inquiry of Washington’s, the Convention resolved “that he retain the Journal and other papers subject to the order of Congress, if ever formed under the Constitution.” Accordingly the secretary, William Jackson, after destroying “all the loose scraps of paper”, which he evidently thought unimportant, formally delivered the papers to the president.3 Washington in turn deposited these papers with the Department of State in 1796,4 where they remained untouched until Congress by a joint resolution in 1818 ordered Edition: current; Page: [xii] them to be printed.5 They are still in the keeping of the Bureau of Rolls and Library of that department.

President Monroe requested the Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, to take charge of the publication of the Journal. The task proved to be a difficult one. The papers were, according to Adams, “no better than the daily minutes from which the regular journal ought to have been, but never was, made out.”6 Adams reports that at his request William Jackson, the secretary of the Convention, called upon him and “looked over the papers, but he had no recollection of them which could remove the difficulties arising from their disorderly state, nor any papers to supply the deficiency of the missing papers.” With the expenditure of considerable time and labor, and with the exercise of no little ingenuity, Adams was finally able to collate the whole to his satisfaction. General Bloomfield supplied him with several important documents from the papers of David Brearley; Charles Pinckney sent him a copy of the plan he “believed” to be one he presented to the Convention; Madison furnished the means of completing the records of the last four days; and Adams felt that “with all these papers suitably arranged, a correct and tolerably clear view of the proceedings of the Convention may be presented”.7

The results of his labor were printed at Boston in 1819 in an octavo volume of some 500 pages, entitled, Journal, Acts and Proceedings of the Convention, . . . which formed the Constitution of the United States.8 As Adams had nothing whatever to guide him in his work of compilation and editing, mistakes were inevitable, and not a few of these were important. Edition: current; Page: [xiii] In the present edition the secretary’s minutes are printed exactly as he left them, except that the scattered notes are brought together for each day. They are grouped under the heading of Journal. Where occasion requires, Adams’ edition is cited as Journal (in italics), while the secretary’s minutes are referred to as “the Journal”.

The secretary’s minutes consist of the formal journal of the Convention, the journal of the Committee of the Whole House and, partly on loose sheets and partly in a bound blank book, a table giving the detail of ayes and noes on the various questions. The detail of ayes and noes offers the greatest difficulty, for no dates are given and to about one tenth of the votes no questions are attached. The photograph of the first loose sheet of this table9 reveals the difficulties at a glance; the later pages are not as bad as the first, for the secretary evidently profited by experience, but uncertainty and confusion are by no means eliminated. For convenience of reference, in the present edition a number in square brackets is prefixed to each vote, and the editor has taken the liberty of dividing the detail of ayes and noes into what are, according to his best judgment, the sections for each day’s records. The sections are retained intact, and a summary of each vote in square brackets is appended to that question in the Journal to which, in the light of all the evidence, it seems to belong.

This method seems to promise the greatest usefulness combined with a presentation that permits of another interpretation if any one so desires. In the judgment of the editor, however, a word of warning seems necessary. With notes so carelessly kept, as were evidently those of the secretary, the Journal cannot be relied upon absolutely. The statement of questions is probably accurate in most cases, but the Edition: current; Page: [xiv] determination of those questions and in particular the votes upon them should be accepted somewhat tentatively.

Yates

When the seal of secrecy had been broken by the publication of the Journal, there was printed in Albany shortly afterward (1821): Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Convention Assembled at Philadelphia, in the year 1787, for the purpose of forming the Constitution of the United States of America. From Notes taken by the late Robert Yates, Esq. Chief Justice of New York, and copied by John Lansing, Jun, Esq. etc.10 J. C. Hamilton stated that Edmond C. Genet, former minister from France, was responsible for this publication.11 This is borne out by the fact that in 1808 Genet published A Letter to the Electors of President and Vice-President of the United States,12 which was an attack upon Madison, then a candidate for the presidency. The “Letter” consisted almost entirely of an abstract or extracts from the notes of Yates, mainly direct quotations, but cleverly pieced together in such a way as to represent Madison as the leader of the national party in the Federal Convention and working for the annihilation of the state governments.

As Yates and his colleague Lansing left the Convention early — because they felt that their instructions did not warrant them in countenancing, even by their presence, the action which the Convention was taking — Yates’s notes cease with the fifth of July. For the earlier days of the Convention the notes of proceedings are quite brief; and while the reports are somewhat fuller after the presentation of the New Jersey plan on June 15, it was evident that they did not give at all a complete picture of the proceedings, though they threw a great deal of light upon what had taken place and in particular upon the attitude of individuals in the debates.13

Edition: current; Page: [xv]

A careful search has failed to reveal the existence of the original manuscript, so that in the present work the editor has been compelled to reprint the Secret Proceedings from the first edition. As they are next in importance they have been placed immediately after Madison’s notes in the records of each day.

Madison

It was well known that James Madison had taken full and careful notes of the proceedings in the Convention, and he had often been urged to publish them. He had, however, decided that a posthumous publication was advisable.14 Madison died in 1836. His manuscripts were purchased by Congress, and shortly afterwards, in 1840, under the editorship of H. D. Gilpin, The Papers of James Madison were published in three volumes.15 More than half of this work was given over to his notes of the debates in the Federal Convention,16 and at once all other records paled into insignificance.

Edition: current; Page: [xvi]

In a preface to the Debates, written before his death, Madison had explained with what care the material was gathered and written up:17

“I chose a seat in front of the presiding member, with the other members, on my right and left hand. In this favorable position for hearing all that passed I noted in terms legible and in abbreviations and marks intelligible to myself what was read from the Chair or spoken by the members; and losing not a moment unnecessarily between the adjournment and reassembling of the Convention I was enabled to write out my daily notes during the session or within a few finishing days after its close.”

Indeed Madison was evidently regarded by his fellow-delegates to the Convention as a semi-official reporter of their proceedings, for several of them took pains to see that he was supplied with copies of their speeches and motions.18 And from the day of their publication until the present, Madison’s notes of the Debates have remained the standard authority for the proceedings of the Convention.

Madison’s correspondence and the manuscript itself reveal the fact that Madison went over his notes after the publication of the Journal in 1819.19 He not only noted differences between his own record and that of the Journal, but also in many cases corrected his own notes from the Journal. In the wording of motions, this is not to be wondered at, for Madison, during the sessions of the Convention, in his haste to note what the speaker was saying could do no more than take down the substance of motions and resolutions, while these would be copied into the journal in full. Nor is it surprising, when we remember that Madison accepted the printed Journal as authoritative, to find him in not a few cases copying from it proceedings of which he had no record. But the importance of this fact is evident at once, for these items have been accepted upon the double record of the Journal and Madison, Edition: current; Page: [xvii] whereas they are in reality to be stated upon the authority of the Journal alone.

But Madison went even one step farther and actually changed his records of votes in the Convention in order to bring them into conformity with the Journal. This might involve the change of the vote of a single state, or of several states, or even reverse his record of the decision of the Convention. On what basis or for what reasons Madison felt justified in changing his records of votes is not to be ascertained conclusively. Sometimes it seems to have been done because the records of Journal and Yates were in accord in their disagreement with him; sometimes he probably saw that subsequent action in the Convention proved the record of Journal to be correct, and his own to be wrong; sometimes it was done because the vote of a state as recorded in Journal harmonized better with the sentiments of the delegates from that state as expressed in their speeches; and sometimes there is no apparent reason.

The matter might be merely of antiquarian interest, were it not for the fact that the printed Journal is itself unreliable, and that there are not a few cases in which Madison has made corrections from the Journal that are undoubtedly mistaken: Votes ascribed in the Journal to the wrong questions were used, in several cases, to change records that were probably correct as first made. Questions and votes were copied into his manuscript from the printed Journal without observing that these same questions and votes were recorded in other places, sometimes even on the same day; an examination of the original records shows that in most of these cases the questions were not to be found in the body of the Journal, but were incorporated into the text by John Quincy Adams; they are only to be found in the Detail of Ayes and Noes, and their relative position in the proceedings could only be inferred from the order in which the votes happened to be recorded.

It is not surprising, indeed, to find that Madison was thus misled by the mistakes in the printed Journal, for if his own records were correct, these would be the very points in which the discrepancies would occur. It is only necessary then to recognize Madison’s evident acceptance of the Journal as Edition: current; Page: [xviii] authoritative, to expect him to incorporate these mistakes in his Debates.20

Another extensive set of corrections is to be found in the speeches made in debate. These are generally in the form of additions to Madison’s original record. Because of misquotations of his own remarks, Madison condemned Yates’s notes severely, as being a “very erroneous edition of the matter”.21 It is more than surprising, then, to discover that these additions were taken from Yates. Such proves to have been the case, however, and in over fifty instances. There were a number of speeches or remarks, including several of his own, that Madison failed to note in any form, but later thought worthy of inclusion. And there were also new ideas or shades of thought which Yates had noticed but which Madison failed to catch.

The fact of these changes being made does not rest merely upon the wording of the text and Madison’s statement in 1821 that he was intending to prepare his notes for posthumous publication. The manuscript22 shows that most of the changes thus made are easily recognizable. The ink which was used at the later date has faded quite differently from that of the original notes, so that most of the later revisions stand out from the page almost as clearly as if they had been written in red ink.23

Edition: current; Page: [xix]

In the present edition such changes — except in trivial instances — are indicated by enclosing them within angle brackets 〈 〉, and in foot-notes the original readings are given, wherever they have any significance, and the editor expresses his opinion as to the probable source of the change, wherever it is possible to trace it.24

In view of the fact that the Journal is so imperfect and not altogether reliable, and that Madison made so many changes in his manuscript, all other records of the Convention take on a new importance. Formerly they have been regarded only in so far as they might supplement our information; now it is seen that they may be of service also in determining what the action really was in doubtful cases.

King

Without question, the next most important notes to those which have been considered are the notes of Rufus King, that have not received the attention they deserve, because of the form in which they were first printed. The original notes are, in the main, memoranda taken at the time in the Convention on odds and ends of paper.25 Each sheet or scrap of paper is dated and most of them are endorsed with date and Edition: current; Page: [xx] substance of the contents, so that in only one or two cases can there be any doubt as to the place and order of the notes.

It is altogether probable that Rufus King was induced by the printing of the Journal and Yates, Secret Proceedings, to prepare his notes for publication. At any rate, many years after the Convention was over, he attempted to put his notes into better form.26 In doing this work, although in most cases he did not venture to change the substance of his earlier records, he did drop out the dates in a number of instances; he sometimes omitted important items or notes, either unintentionally or because he could not understand them; and in a few cases, at least one or two of which are important, he modified his original notes. It was this revised copy that was printed (1894) as an appendix to volume I of the Life and Correspondence of Rufus King. The editor, Doctor Charles R. King, grandson of Rufus King, attempted to insert some of the omitted items, but as he evidently was not familiar with the other records of the Convention his well-meant efforts only added to the confusion. The original notes are reprinted in the present edition.

Within the last few years there have been brought to light the notes and memoranda of proceedings in the Convention found among the papers of some of the delegates. The greater part of this material has been printed in the American Historical Review, and in the present edition the texts as there printed have been used, although in most cases they have been compared with the original documents. The care shown in preparing these documents for publication, and the accuracy of printing these texts in the Review, have made necessary almost no changes, and those but minor ones.

McHenry

Quite the best of these are the notes of James McHenry, of Maryland.27 McHenry started out with the evident intention of taking somewhat extensive notes, and he adds not a little to our information of Randolph’s speech in presenting the Edition: current; Page: [xxi] Virginia Resolutions on May 29. On account of his brother’s illness, he left Philadelphia on June 1, and remained away during June and July, but in August he returned to the Convention and to his note-taking with all the enthusiasm of the beginner. The records became more and more brief as time passed, but they are valuable because they are, for the latter part of the Convention’s work, almost the only material we have besides the Journal and Madison’s Debates.

Pierce

The notes of William Pierce of Georgia, which were first printed in the Savannah Georgian in 1828,28 add somewhat to our information of the proceedings of the first few days of the sessions. The character sketches of his fellow-members in Convention, which accompany these notes,29 are not only interesting, but are also helpful in portraying the delegates as they appeared to a contemporary.

Paterson

The notes of William Paterson, of New Jersey,30 were evidently taken solely for his own use. While they are of little help in studying the general proceedings of the Convention, they are of great assistance in following Paterson’s own line of reasoning, and in particular in studying the development of the resolutions Paterson presented on June 15, commonly called the New Jersey Plan. This is here given in its various stages of construction.31

Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton’s notes were found among the Hamilton Papers in the Library of Congress.32 They are little more than brief memoranda and, like those of Paterson, are of importance not so much in determining what others thought or said as in tracing the development of the writer’s own reasoning.

Edition: current; Page: [xxii]

Pinckney

The plan of government which Pinckney presented to the Convention on May 29 is not among the papers of the Convention, nor has any copy of it ever been found. Among the Wilson manuscripts in the library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, however, are an outline of the plan and extracts from the same.33 These documents confirm and supplement another method of working, and make it possible to present a fairly complete restoration of the original text.34

Mason

A few notes and memoranda relating to the Federal Convention were found among the papers of George Mason, and were printed in 1892 by Miss K. M. Rowland in her Life of George Mason. They are not of much importance, except in so far as they throw a little further light upon Mason’s position in the Convention.

Committee of Detail

For the first two months of its sessions the Convention had devoted itself mainly to the discussion of general principles, modifying and developing the resolutions Randolph had presented on behalf of the Virginia delegation. Late in July, the conclusions that had been reached were turned over to a committee of five, known as the Committee of Detail, of which Rutledge was chairman and Wilson an important member. On July 26, the Convention adjourned for ten days to permit this committee to prepare a draft of a constitution. Among the Wilson papers in the Library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania are various documents revealing the work of the Committee of Detail in different stages of its progress.35 These documents, taken with an Edition: current; Page: [xxiii] important document found among the Mason papers,36 present clearly the work of the committee in preparing the draft of the constitution presented to the Convention on August 6.

In the present edition, all of these documents are brought together and placed in the Records between July 26 and August 6.

Printed Drafts

The draft of August 6 was printed for the use of the delegates and was the subject of their discussions for over a month. The proceedings were then referred to a committee of five, known as the Committee of Style and Revision, of which William Samuel Johnson was chairman and Gouverneur Morris the most important member. The Committee of Style made its report on September 12, which was also printed for the delegates’ use.

Several copies of the drafts of August 6 and September 12, belonging to various delegates, are extant, and most of them have emendations and marginal notes indicating the action taken upon particular clauses and sections, and sometimes revealing the writer’s attitude or preference.

These documents are hardly worthy of being reprinted, for the marginal notes are in general only confirmatory of other records, but where the comments give any additional information of proceedings in the Convention, they have been embodied in foot-notes.

It is possible, indeed probable, that other records of the Convention will be brought to light. Charles Pinckney stated explicitly that he had taken careful notes of the proceedings;37 William Jackson, secretary of the Convention, kept minutes of the debates;38 in a communication to the Massachusetts convention, Elbridge Gerry “subjoined a state of facts, founded on documents”;39 Gouverneur Morris referred to “some gentlemen” writing up their notes between sessions;40 and James Wilson in the Pennsylvania convention Edition: current; Page: [xxiv] on December 4, 1787, stated that within a week he had “spoken with a gentleman, who had not only his memory, but full notes that he had taken in that body”.41 Whatever may be the accuracy or the value of these various statements, at least they indicate that there once existed material of which we have no present knowledge, but which may at any time be found. It is not probable, however, that any such new material would modify to any great extent our conceptions of the Convention’s work, and it has, therefore, seemed worth while to gather in the present edition the existing records of the Federal Convention.

Supplementary Material

Although the sessions of the Convention were secret, and it was understood that the delegates would regard the proceedings as confidential, when the question of the adoption of the Constitution was before the country, and in later years when the interpretation of the Constitution was discussed, many of the delegates referred to and explained the action or the intention of the Convention upon particular subjects. Such statements are to be found in the private correspondence of the delegates, in contributions to the press, in public orations, in the debates in state legislatures and conventions, and in the debates in Congress. The farther away from the Convention one gets, the less reliable these reports become, owing to the deforming influence of memory. But taken as a whole, this supplementary material throws not a little light upon the work of the Convention, and in particular upon the parts taken by individual delegates, and upon opinions and personalities.

In the present edition, all of this supplementary material that could be found has been collected and reprinted in Appendix A; but a few words of explanation are necessary. In the first place, this collection could not be made exhaustive without covering practically all of the material, printed and unprinted, on American history since 1787; the editor has accordingly confined his efforts to the more obvious and accessible sources. In the second place, a distinction has been made Edition: current; Page: [xxv] between notes taken as a part of, or in connection with, the work of the Convention, and information supplied to others; accordingly, letters written while the Convention was in session, and such items as Charles Pinckney’s Observations and Luther Martin’s Genuine Information have been classed as supplementary material. In the next place, the editor has tried to discriminate carefully between statements of proceedings in the Convention and theoretical interpretations of clauses in the Constitution; only the former are included. And finally, to render this material serviceable, in foot-notes to the main text of the Records, references have been made to this supplementary material wherever it seems to throw any light on the proceedings.42

In the present edition, the original manuscripts have been reprinted exactly, except that in abbreviations superior letters have not been used, and in the few cases where it occurs the tilde has been resolved into the corresponding “m” or “n”. In the case of Yates’s Secret Proceedings, Mason’s notes, and the supplementary material in Appendix A, the most reliable printed texts have been followed. Footnotes in the originals are marked by “*” and “†” while the editor’s notes are numbered consecutively for each day. Because Madison’s records have proven to be the best and most reliable source of information, the editor’s notes and references have been attached, in most cases, to Madison’s Debates.

Edition: current; Page: [xxvi] Edition: current; Page: [1]

VOLUME I: THE RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL CONVENTION OF 1787

JOURNAL

In fœderal-Convention.

On Monday the 14th of May. ad 1787. and in the eleventh year of the independence of the United States of America, at the State-House in the city of Philadelphia — in virtue of appointments from their respective States, sundry Deputies to the fœderal-Convention appeared — but, a majority of the States not being represented, the Members present adjourned from day to day until friday the 25th of the said month, when, in virtue of the said appointments appeared from the States of

Massachusetts The honorable Rufus King Esquire.
New-York The honorable Robert Yates, and Alexander Hamilton Esquires.
New-Jersey The honorable David Brearly, William Churchill Houston, and William Patterson Esquires.
Pennsylvania The honorable Robert Morris, Thomas Fitz Simmons, James Wilson, and Gouverneur Morris Esquires.
Delaware The honorable George Read, Richard Basset, and Jacob Broom Esquires.
Virginia His Excellency George Washington, Esquire, His Excellency Edmund Randolph Esquire The honorable John Blair, James Madison, George Mason, George Wythe, and James McClurg Esquires.
North-Carolina The honorable Alexander Martin, William Richardson Davie, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Hugh Williamson Esquires.
South-Carolina The honorable John Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, and Pierce Butler Esquires.
Georgia The honorableFew Esquire.

In fœderal-Convention Friday May 25. 1787.

It was moved by the honorable Robert Morris Esquire, One of the Deputies from Pennsylvania, that a President be elected by ballot, which was agreed to — and thereupon he nominated, on the part of the said State,

His Excellency George Washington Esquire

The Members then proceeded to ballot on behalf of their respective States — and, the ballots being taken, it appeared that the said George Washington was unanimously elected — and he was conducted to the chair by

The honorable Robert Morris, and John Rutledge Esquires. The President then proposed to the House that they should proceed to the election of a Secretary — and, the ballots being taken, it appeared that

William Jackson Esquire was elected.

The following credentials were produced and read — (here insert the Credentials).

The House then appointed Nicholas Weaver Messenger, and Joseph Fry Door-Keeper.

On motion of Mr C. Pinckney — ordered that a Committee be appointed to draw up rules to be observed as the standing Orders of the Convention — and to report the same to the House. — a Committee by ballot was appointed of

Mr Wythe, Mr Hamilton, and Mr C. Pinckney.

And then the House adjourned ’till monday next at 10 o’clock A.M.1

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MADISON

Monday May 14th 1787 was the day fixed for the meeting of the deputies in Convention for revising the federal2 system of Government. On that day a small number only had assembled Seven States were not convened till,3

Friday 25 of May,

〈when the following members appeared to wit:

viz. From Massachusetts Rufus King. N. York Robert Yates, Alexr. Hamilton. N. Jersey, David Brearley, William Churchill Houston, William Patterson. Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, Thomas Fitzsimmons, James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris. Delaware, George Read, Richard Basset, Jacob Broom. Virginia, George Washington, Edmund Randolph, John Blair, James Madison, George Mason, George Wythe, James McClurg. N. Carolina, Alexander Martin, William Richardson Davie, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson. S. Carolina, John Rutlidge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler. Georgia, William Few.〉4

Mr Robert Morris informed the members assembled that by the instruction & in behalf, of the deputation of Pena. he proposed George Washington Esqr. late Commander in chief for president of the Convention. Mr. Jno. Rutlidge seconded the motion; expressing his confidence that the choice would be unanimous, and observing that the presence of Genl Washington forbade any observations on the occasion which might otherwise be proper.

General 〈Washington〉5 was accordingly unanimously elected by ballot,6 and conducted to the chair by Mr. R. Morris and Mr. Rutlidge; from which in a very emphatic manner he thanked the Convention for the honor they had conferred on him, reminded them of the novelty of the scene Edition: current; Page: [4] of business in which he was to act, lamented his want of 〈better qualifications〉,7 and claimed the indulgence of the House towards the involuntary errors which his inexperience might occasion.

(The nomination came with particular grace from Penna, as Docr. Franklin alone could have been thought of 〈as a competitor〉.8 The Docr. was himself to have made the nomination 〈of General Washington, but the state of the weather and of his health confined him to his house.〉9

Mr. Wilson moved that a Secretary be appointed, and nominated Mr. Temple Franklin.

Col. Hamilton nominated Major Jackson.

On the ballot Majr. Jackson had 5 votes & Mr. Franklin 2 votes.10

On11 reading the Credentials of the deputies it was noticed that those from Delaware were prohibited from changing the Article in the Confederation establishing an equality of votes among the States.12

The appointment of a Committee, consisting of Messrs. Wythe, Hamilton & C. Pinckney, on the motion of Mr. C. Pinckney, to prepare standing rules & orders was the only remaining step taken on this day

May 14, 178713 — appointed for the meeting of ye Convention on the 7 States met

May 25. — (page 1 to 4) list of members assembled — G. Washington unanimously elected prest. notes of J. M. Major Jackson elected Secy — credentials of deputies read. Commee appd to prepare rules.

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YATES
Friday, May 25, 1787.

Attended the convention of the states, at the state house in Philadelphia, when the following states were represented:

NEW-YORK, Alexander Hamilton,
Robert Yates.
NEW-JERSEY, David Brearly,
William Churchill Houston,
William Patterson.
PENNSYLVANIA, Robert Morris,
Thomas Fitzsimons,
James Wilson,
Gouverneur Morris.
DELAWARE, George Read,
Richard Bassett,
Jacob Broom.
VIRGINIA, George Washington,
Edmund Randolph,
George Wythe,
George Mason,
James Madison,
John Blair,
James M’Clurg.
NORTH-CAROLINA, Alexander Martin,
William Richardson Davie,
Richard Dobbs Spaight,
Hugh Williamson.
SOUTH-CAROLINA, John Rutledge,
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney,
Charles Pinckney,
Pierce Butler.

A motion by R. Morris, and seconded, that General Washington take the chair — unanimously agreed to.

When seated, he (Gen. Washington) declared, that as he never had been in such a situation, he felt himself embarrassed; Edition: current; Page: [6] that he hoped his errors, as they would be unintentional, would be excused.

Mr. Hamilton, in behalf of the state of New-York, moved that Major Jackson be appointed secretary; the delegates for Pennsylvania, moved for Temple Franklin: by a majority Mr. Jackson carried it — called in and took his seat.

After which, the respective credentials of the seven states were read. N. B. That of Delaware restrained its delegates from assenting to an abolition of the fifth article of the confederation, by which it is declared that each state shall have one vote.

Door keeper and messengers being appointed, the house adjourned to Monday the 28th day of May, at ten o’clock.

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MONDAY, MAY 28, 1787.

JOURNAL
Monday May 28. 1787.

The Convention met agreeably to adjournment —The honorable Nathaniel Gorham, and Caleb Strong Esquires, Deputies from the State of Massachusetts, The honorable Oliver Elsworth Esq, a deputy from the State of Connecticut — The honble Gunning Bedford Esq. a Deputy from the State of Delaware and The honorable James McHenry Esquire, a Deputy from the State of Maryland, attended and took their seats.

The following Credentials were produced and read.

(here insert the credentials of the Deputies from the States of Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and the credentials of James McHenry Esquire from the State of Maryland)1 His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esquire, and of The honorable George Clymer, Thomas Mifflin and Jared Ingersol Esquires four of the Deputies of the State of Pennsylvania attended and took their seats

Mr Wythe reported from the Committee, (to whom the drawing up rules, proper in their opinion, to be observed by the Convention in their proceedings, as standing Orders, was referred) that the Committee had drawn up the rules accordingly, and had directed him to report them to the House — and he read the report in his place, and afterwards delivered it in at the Secretary’s table; where the said rules were once read throughout, and then a second time one by one; and upon the question severally put thereupon two of them were disagreed to; and the rest with amendments to some of them were Edition: current; Page: [8] agreed to by the House, which rules, so agreed to, are as follow:

Rules to be observed as the standing Orders of the Convention.

A House, to do business, shall consist of the Deputies of not less than seven States; and all questions shall be decided by the greater number of these which shall be fully represented; but a less number than seven may adjourn from day to day.

Immediately after the President shall have taken the Chair, and the members their seats, the minutes of the preceding day shall be read by the Secretary.

Every member, rising to speak, shall address the President; and, whilst he shall be speaking, none shall pass between them, or hold discourse with another, or read a book, pamphlet, or paper, printed or manuscript — and of two members, rising at the same time, the President shall name him who shall be first heard.

A member shall not speak oftner than twice, without special leave, upon the same question; and not the second time, before every other, who had been silent, shall have been heard, if he choose to speak, upon the subject.

A motion made and seconded, shall be repeated and, if written, as it shall be when any member shall so require, read aloud, by the Secretary, before it shall be debated; and may be withdrawn at any time before the vote upon it shall have been declared.

Orders of the day shall be read next after the minutes, and either discussed or postponed before any other business shall be introduced.

When a debate shall arise upon a question, no motion, other than to amend the question, to commit it, or to postpone the debate shall be received.

A question, which is complicated, shall, at the request of any member, be divided, and put separately upon the propositions, of which it is compounded.

The determination of a question, although fully debated, shall be postponed, if the Deputies of any State desire it, until the next day.

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A Writing, which contains any matter brought on to be considered, shall be read once throughout, for information, then by paragraphs, to be debated, and again, with the amendments, if any, made on the second reading; and afterwards the question shall be put upon the whole, amended, or approved in it’s original form, as the case shall be.

That Committees shall be appointed by ballot; and that the members who have the greatest number of ballots, although not a majority of the votes present, be the Committee. When two or more Members have an equal number of votes, the Member standing first on the list in the order of taking down the ballots shall be preferred.

A member may be called to order by any other Member, as well as by the President, and may be allowed to explain his conduct or expressions, supposed to be reprehensible — And all questions of order shall be decided by the President without appeal or debate.

Upon a question to adjourn, for the day, which may be made at any time, if it be seconded, the question shall be put without a debate.

When the House shall adjourn every Member shall stand in his place until the President pass him.

Resolved that the said rules be observed as standing Orders of the House.

a letter from sundry Persons of the State of Rhode Island addressed to the honorable the Chairman of the General Convention was presented to the Chair by Mr G. Morris2 — and, being read, ordered that the said letter do lye upon the table for farther consideration.

A motion was made by Mr Butler, one of the Deputies of South Carolina, that the House provide against interruption of business by absence of members, and against licentious publication of their proceedings: also

A motion was made by Mr Spaight, one of the Deputies of North-Carolina, to provide, that, on the one hand, the house, may not be precluded, by a vote upon any question, Edition: current; Page: [10] from revising the subject matter of it, when they see cause, nor, on the other hand, be led too hastily to rescind a decision, which was the result of mature discussion.

Ordered that the said motions be referred to the consideration of the Committee appointed on friday last, to draw up rules to be observed as the standing orders of the Convention; and that they do examine the matters thereof, and report thereupon to the House.

adjourned till to-morrow at 10 o’clock A. M

MADISON
Monday May 28. —

〈From Masst’s Nat: Gorham & Caleb Strong. From Connecticut Oliver Elseworth. From Delaware Gunning Bedford. From Maryland James McHenry. From Penna. B. Franklin, George Clymer, Ths. Mifflin & Jared Ingersol took their seats.〉3

Mr. Wythe from the Committee for preparing rules made a report which employed the deliberations of this day.

Mr. King objected to one of the rules in the Report authorising any member to call for the yeas & nays and have them entered on the minutes. He urged that as the acts of the Convention were not to bind the Constituents it was unnecessary to exhibit this evidence of the votes; and improper as changes of opinion would be frequent in the course of the business & would fill the minutes with contradictions.

Col. Mason seconded the objection; adding that such a record of the opinions of members would be an obstacle to a change of them on conviction; and in case of its being hereafter promulged must furnish handles to the adversaries of the Result of the Meeting.

The proposed rule was rejected nem. contradicente.

〈The standing rules* agreed to were as follow:4

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viz, A House to do business shall consist of the Deputies of not less than seven States; and all questions shall be decided by the greater number of these which shall be fully represented: but a less number than seven may adjourn from day to day.

Immediately after the President shall have taken the chair, and the members their seats, the minutes of the preceding day shall be read by the Secretary.

Every member, rising to speak, shall address the President; and whilst he shall be speaking, none shall pass between them, or hold discourse with another, or read a book, pamphlet or paper, printed or manuscript — and of two members rising at the same time, the President shall name him who shall be first heard.

A member shall not speak oftener than twice, without special leave, upon the same question; and not the second time, before every other, who had been silent, shall have been heard, if he choose to speak upon the subject.

A motion made and seconded, shall be repeated, and if written, as it shall be when any member shall so require, read aloud by the Secretary, before it shall be debated; and may be withdrawn at any time, before the vote upon it shall have been declared.

Orders of the day shall be read next after the minutes, Edition: current; Page: [12] and either discussed or postponed, before any other business shall be introduced.

When a debate shall arise upon a question, no motion, other than to amend the question, to commit it, or to postpone the debate shall be received.

A question5 which is complicated, shall, at the request of any member, be divided, and put separately on the propositions. of which it is compounded.

The determination of a question, altho’ fully debated, shall be postponed, if the deputies of any State desire it until the next day.

A writing which contains any matter brought on to be considered, shall be read once throughout for information, then by paragraphs to be debated, and again, with the amendments if any, made on the second reading; and afterwards, the question shall be put on the whole, amended, or approved in its original form, as the case shall be.

Committees shall be appointed by ballot; and the members who have the greatest number of ballots, altho’ not a majority of the votes present, shall be the Committee — When two or more members have an equal number of votes, the member standing first on the list in the order of taking down the ballots, shall be preferred.

A member may be called to order by any other member, as well as by the President; and may be allowed to explain his conduct or expressions supposed to be reprehensible. — and all questions of order shall be decided by the President without appeal or debate.

Upon a question to adjourn for the day, which may be made at any time, if it be seconded, the question shall be put without a debate.

When the House shall adjourn, every member shall stand in his place, until the President pass him.〉

〈A letter6 from sundry persons of the State of Rho. Island Edition: current; Page: [13] addressed to the Honorable The Chairman of the General Convention was presented to the chair by Mr. Govr. Morris, and being read, was ordered to lie on the table for further consideration. (For the letter see Note in the appendix).7

Mr Butler moved that the house provide agst. interruption of business by absence of members, and against licentious publications of their procedings — to which was added by — Mr. Spaight — a motion to provide that on the one hand the House might not be precluded by a vote upon any question, from revising the subject matter of it, When they see cause, nor, on the other hand, be led too hastily to rescind a decision, which was the result of mature discussion. — Whereupon it was ordered that these motions be referred to the consideration of the Committee appointed to draw up the standing rules and that the Committee make report thereon.

Adjd till to morrow 10. OClock〉8

[May] 28.9 (pa. 4 to 10). Other members attended — Mr. Wythe from Commee reports rules — one of them rejected others adopted — note of J. M. on rule of voting. a letter from R. I. presented by G. Morris.

YATES
Monday, May 28, 1787

Met pursuant to adjournment.

A committee of three members, (whose appointment I omitted in the entry of the proceedings of Friday last,) reported a set of rules for the order of the convention; which being considered by articles, were agreed to, and additional ones proposed and referred to the same committee. The representation was this day increased to nine states — Massachusetts and Connecticut becoming represented. Adjourned to next day.

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McHENRY

Convention.

On the 25th seven states being represented viz. New-York New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina George Washington was elected (unanimously) president of the convention.

The convention appoint a committee to prepare and report rules for conducting business which were reported, debated, and in general agreed to on the 28th.

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TUESDAY, MAY 29, 1787.

JOURNAL
Tuesday May 29, 1787.

Mr Wythe reported, from the Committee to whom the motions made by Mr Butler and Mr Spaight were referred, that the Committee had examined the matters of the said motions, and had come to the following resolution thereupon,

resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that provision be made for the purposes mentioned in the said motions — and to that end.

The Committee beg leave to propose that the rules written under their resolution be added to the standing orders of the House.

And the said rules were once read throughout and then a second time, one by one; and, on the question severally put thereupon, were, with amendments to some of them, agreed to by the House which rules so agreed to are as follow.

rules.

That no member be absent from the House so as to interrupt the representation of the State without leave.

That Committees do not sit whilst the House shall be, or ought to be, sitting.

That no copy be taken of any entry on the journal during the sitting of the House without the leave of the House.1

That members only be permitted to inspect the journal.

That nothing spoken in the House be printed, or otherwise published, or communicated without leave.2

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That a motion to reconsider a matter, which had been determined by a majority, may be made, with leave unanimously given,-on-the same day in which the vote passed, but otherwise, not without one days previous notice; in which last case, if the House agree to the reconsideration some future day shall be assigned for that purpose.

Resolved that the said rules be added to the standing orders of the House.

The honorable John Dickinson Esq a Deputy of the State of Delaware — and the honorable Elbridge Gerry Esquire, a Deputy from the State of Massachusetts, attended and took their seats.

Mr Randolph, one of the Deputies of Virginia, laid before the House, for their consideration, sundry propositions, in writing, concerning the american confederation, and the establishment of a national government3

Resolved that the House will to-morrow resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the American Union.

Ordered that the propositions this day laid before the House, for their consideration, by Mr Randolph be referred to the said Committee.

Mr Charles Pinckney, one of the Deputies of South Carolina, laid before the House for their consideration, the draught of a fœderal government to be agreed upon between the free and independent States of America.4

Ordered that the said draught be referred to the Committee of the whole House appointed to consider of the state of the american Union

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow morning at 10 o’clock

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MADISON
Tuesday May 29

〈John Dickenson, and Elbridge Gerry, the former from Delaware, the latter from Massts. took their seats,5

The following rules were added, on the report of Mr. Wythe, from the Committee

Additional rules.5

That no member be absent from the House, so as to interrupt the representation of the State, without leave.

That Committees do not sit whilst the House shall be or ought to be, sitting.

That no copy be taken of any entry on the journal during the sitting of the House without leave of the House.

That members only be permitted to inspect the journal.

That nothing spoken in the House be printed, or otherwise published or communicated without leave.

That a motion to reconsider a matter which had been determined by a majority, may be made, with leave unanimously given, on the same day on which the vote passed, but otherwise not without one day’s previous notice: in which last case, if the House agree to the reconsideration, some future day shall be assigned for the purpose.〉

Mr. C. Pinckney moved that a Committee be appointed to superintend the minutes.

Mr. Govr. Morris objected to it. The entry of the proceedings of the Convention belonged to the Secretary as their impartial officer. A committee might have an interest & bias in moulding the entry according to their opinions and wishes

The motion was negatived 5 noes 4 ays.6

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Mr. Randolph 〈then〉 opened the main business7

He expressed his regret, that it should fall to him, rather than those, who were of longer standing in life and political experience, to open the great subject of their mission. But, as the convention had originated from Virginia, and his colleagues supposed, that some proposition was expected from them, they had imposed this task on him.8

He then commented on the difficulty of the crisis, and the necessity of preventing the fulfilment of the prophecies of the American downfal.

He observed that in revising the fœderal system we ought to inquire 1. into the properties, which such a government ought to possess, 2. the defects of the confederation, 3. the danger of our situation &. 4. the remedy.

1. The character of such a governme[nt] ought to secure 1. against foreign invasion: 2. against dissentions between members of the Union, or seditions in particular states: 3. to p[ro]cure to the several States various blessings, of which an isolated situation was i[n]capable: 4. to be able to defend itself against incroachment: & 5. to be paramount to the state constitutions.

2. In speaking of the defects of the confederation he professed a high respect for its authors, and considered, them as having done all that patriots could do, in the then infancy of the science, of constitutions, & of confederacies, — when the inefficiency of requisitions was unknown — no commercial discord had arisen among any states — no rebellion had appeared as in Massts. — foreign debts had not become urgent — the havoc of paper money had not been foreseen — treaties Edition: current; Page: [19] had not been violated — and perhaps nothing better could be obtained from the jealousy of the states with regard to their sovereignty.

He then proceeded to enumerate the defects: 1. that the confederation produced no security agai[nst] foreign invasion; congress not being permitted to prevent a war nor to support it by th[eir] own authority — Of this he cited many examples; most of whi[ch] tended to shew, that they could not cause infractions of treaties or of the law of nations, to be punished: that particular states might by their conduct provoke war without controul; and that neither militia nor draughts being fit for defence on such occasions, enlistments only could be successful, and these could not be executed without money.

2. that the fœderal government could not check the quarrals between states, nor a rebellion in any not having constitutional power Nor means to interpose according to the exigency:

3. that there were many advantages, which the U. S. might acquire, which were not attainable under the confederation — such as a productive impost — counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations — pushing of commerce ad libitum — &c &c.

4. that the fœderal government could not defend itself against the incroachments from the states:

5. that it was not even paramount to the state constitutions, ratified as it was in may of the states.

3. He next reviewed the danger of our situation appealed to the sense of the best friends of the U. S. — the prospect of anarchy from the laxity of government every where; and to other considerations.

4. He then proceeded to the remedy; the basis of which he said, must be the republican principle

He proposed as conformable to his ideas the following resolutions,9 which he explained one by one.

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The Virginia Plan

Resolutions10 proposed by Mr Randolph in Convention.

May 29. 1787.

1. Resolved that the articles of Confederation ought to be so corrected & enlarged as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution; namely. “common defence, security of liberty and general welfare.”11

2. Resd. therefore that the rights of suffrage in the National12 Legislature ought to be proportioned to the Quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.

3. Resd. that the National Legislature ought to consist of two branches.

4. Resd. that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States everyfor the term of; to be of the age ofyears at least, to receive liberal stipends by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service; to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States, except those beculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch, during the term of service, and for the space ofafter its expiration; to be incapable of re-election for the space ofafter the expiration of their term of service, and to be subject to recall.

5. Resold. that the members of the second branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by those of the first, out of a proper number of persons nominated by the individual Legislatures, to be of the age ofyears at least; to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency, to receive liberal stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service; Edition: current; Page: [21] and to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States, except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch, during the term of service, and for the space ofafter the expiration thereof.

6. Resolved that each branch ought to possess the right of originating Acts; that the National Legislature ought to be impowered to enjoy the Legislative Rights vested in Congress by the Confederation & moreover to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual Legislation; to negative all laws passed by the several States, contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles of Union; and to call forth the force of the Union agst. any member of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under the articles thereof.

7. Resd. that a National Executive be instituted; to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term ofyears, to receive punctually at stated times, a fixed compensation for the services rendered, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the Magistracy, existing at the time of increase or diminution, and to be ineligible a second time; and that besides a general authority to execute the National laws, it ought to enjoy the Executive rights vested in Congress by the Confederation.

8. Resd. that the Executive and a convenient number of the National Judiciary, ought to compose a council of revision with authority to examine every act of the National Legislature before it shall operate, & every act of a particular Legislature before a Negative thereon shall be final; and that the dissent of the said Council shall amount to a rejection, unless the Act of the National Legislature be again passed, or that of a particular Legislature be again negatived byof the members of each branch.

9. Resd. that a National Judiciary be established to consist of one or more supreme tribunals, and of inferior tribunals to be chosen by the National Legislature, to hold their offices during good behaviour; and to receive punctually at stated Edition: current; Page: [22] times fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution. that the jurisdiction of the inferior tribunals shall be to hear & determine in the first instance, and of the supreme tribunal to hear and determine in the dernier resort, all piracies & felonies on the high seas, captures from an enemy; cases in which foreigners or citizens of other States applying to such jurisdictions may be interested, or which respect the collection of the National revenue; impeachments of any National officers, and questions which may involve the national peace and harmony.

10. Resolvd. that provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of Government & Territory or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the National legislature less than the whole.

11. Resd. that a Republican Government & the territory of each State, except in the instance of a voluntary junction of Government & territory, ought to be guaranteed by the United States to each State

12. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress and their authorities and privileges, until a given day after the reform of the articles of Union shall be adopted, and for the completion of all their engagements.

13. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union whensoever it shall seem necessary, and that the assent of the National Legislature ought not to be required thereto.

14. Resd. that the Legislative Executive & Judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of Union

15. Resd. that the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation, by the Convention ought at a proper time, or times, after the approbation of Congress to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of Representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures to be expressly chosen by the people, to consider & decide thereon.

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He concluded with an exhortation, not to suffer the present opportunity of establishing general peace, harmony, happiness and liberty in the U. S. to pass away unimproved.*

〈It13 was then Resolved &c — &c — That the House will to-morrow resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American Union, — and that the propositions moved by Mr. Randolph be referred to the said Committee.

Mr. Charles Pinkney laid before the house the draught of a federal Government which he had prepared to be agreed upon between the free and independent States of America.14—Mr. P. plan ordered that the same be referred to the Committee of the whole appointed to consider the State of the American Union.

adjourned.〉15

[May]17 29. — (pages 10 to 38.) two additional members take their seats — other rules added on report of Mr W. Mr Randolph on the part of the Virginia delegation opened the main business, enumerating defects of the confederation & proposed his resolutions which were referred to a Comee of the whole—copy of C. Pinkneys resolutions (journal) & note &co on them by J. M. — resolutions referred to same Comee

YATES
Tuesday, May 29th, 1787.

The additional rules agreed to.

His excellency Governor Randolph, a member from Virginia, got up, and in a long and elaborate speech, shewed the defects in the system of the present federal government as Edition: current; Page: [24] totally inadequate to the peace, safety and security of the confederation, and the absolute necessity of a more energetic government.

He closed these remarks with a set of resolutions, fifteen in number, which he proposed to the convention for their adoption, and as leading principles whereon to form a new government — He candidly confessed that they were not intended for a federal government — he meant a strong consolidated union, in which the idea of states should be nearly annihilated. (I have taken a copy of these resolutions, which are hereunto annexed.)18

He then moved that they should be taken up in committee of the whole house.

Mr. C. Pinkney, a member from South-Carolina, then added, that he had reduced his ideas of a new government to a system, which he read, and confessed that it was grounded on the same principle as of the above resolutions.

The house then resolved, that they would the next day form themselves into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the state of the union.

Adjourned to next day.

McHENRY
29.

Governor Randolph opened the business of the convention.18a He observed that the confederation fulfilled none of the objects for which it was framed. 1st. It does not provide against foreign invasions. 2dly. It does not secure harmony to the States. 3d. It is incapable of producing certain blessings to the States. 4 It cannot defend itself against encroachments. 5th. It is not superior to State constitutions.

1st It does not provide against foreign invasion. If a State acts against a foreign power contrary to the laws of nations or violates a treaty, it cannot punish that State, or compel Edition: current; Page: [25] its obedience to the treaty. It can only leave the offending State to the operations of the offended power. It therefore cannot prevent a war. If the rights of an ambassador be invaded by any citizen it is only in a few States that any laws exist to punish the offender. A State may encroach on foreign possessions in its neighbourhood and Congress cannot prevent it. Disputes that respect naturalization cannot be adjusted. None of the judges in the several States under the obligation of an oath to support the confederation, in which view this writing will be made to yield to State constitutions.

Imbecility of the Confederation equally conspicuous when called upon to support a war. The journals of Congress a history of expedients. The States in arrears to the federal treasury from theto the

What reason to expect that the treasury will be better filled in future, or that money can be obtained under the present powers of Congress to support a war. Volunteers not to be depended on for such a purpose. Militia difficult to be collected and almost impossible to be kept in the field. Draughts stretch the strings of government too violently to be adopted. Nothing short of a regular military force will answer the end of war, and this only to be created and supported by money.

2. It does not secure harmony to the States.

It cannot preserve the particular States against seditions within themselves or combinations against each other. What laws in the confederation authorise Congress to intrude troops into a State. What authority to determine which of the citizens of a State is in the right, The supporters or the opposers of the government, Those who wish to change it, or they who wish to preserve it.

No provision to prevent the States breaking out into war. One State may as it were underbid another by duties, and thus keep up a State of war.

3 Incapable to produce certain blessings.

The benefits of which we are singly incapable cannot be produced by the union. The 5 per cent impost not agreed; a blessing congress ought to be enabled to obtain.

Edition: current; Page: [26]

Congress ought to possess a power to prevent emissions of bills of credit.

Under this head may be considered the establishment of great national works — the improvement of inland navigation — agriculture — manufactures — a freer intercourse among the citizens.

4 It cannot defend itself against incroachments. Not an animated existence which has not the powers of defence. Not a political existence which ought not to possess it. In every Congress there has been a party opposed to federal measures? In every State assembly there has been a party opposed to federal measures. The States have been therefore delinquent. To What expedient can congress resort, to compel delinquent States to do what is right. If force, this force must be drawn from the States, and the States may or may not furnish it.

5 Inferior to State constitutions.

State constitutions formed at an early period of the war, and by persons elected by the people for that purpose. These in general with one or two exceptions established about 1786. The confederation was formed long after this, and had its ratification not by any special appointment from the people, but from the several assemblies. No judge will say that the confederation is paramount to a State constition.

Thus we see that the confederation is incompetent to any one object for which it was instituted. The framers of it wise and great men; but human rights were the chief knowlege of the times when it was framed so far as they applied to oppose Great Britain. Requisitions for men and money had never offered their form to our assemblies. None of those vices that have since discovered themselves were apprehended. Its defects therefore no reflextion on its contrivers.

Having pointed out its defects, let us not be affraid to view with a steady eye the perils with which we are surrounded. Look at the public countenance from New Hampshire to Georgia. Are we not on the eve of war, which is only prevented by the hopes from this convention.

Our chief danger arises from the democratic parts of our constitutions. It is a maxim which I hold incontrovertible, Edition: current; Page: [27] that the powers of government exercised by the people swallows up the other branches. None of the constitutions have provided sufficient checks against the democracy. The feeble Senate of Virginia is a phantom. Maryland has a more powerful senate, but the late distractions in that State, have discovered that it is not powerful enough. The check established in the constitution of New York and Massachusetts is yet a stronger barrier against democracy, but they all seem insufficient.

He then submitted the following propositions which he read and commented upon seriatim. . . .19

The convention resolved that on to-morrow, the convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole.

to take into consideration the state of the american union.

It was observed by Mr. Hamilton before adjourning that it struck him as a necessary and preliminary inquiry to the propositions from Virginia whether the united States were susceptible of one government, or required a separate existence connected only by leagues offensive and defensive and treaties of commerce.

PATERSON

Govr. Randolph —

Propositions founded upon republican Principles.20

1. The Articles of the Confdn. should be so enlarged and corrected as to answer the Purposes of the Instn.

2. That the Rights of Suffrage shall be ascertained by the Quantum of Property or Number of Souls — This the Basis upon which the larger States can assent to any Reform.

Objn. — Sovereignty is an integral Thing — We ought to be one Nation —

3. That the national Legr. should consist of two Branches—

4. That the Members of the first Branch should be elected Edition: current; Page: [28] by the People, etc. This the democratick Branch — Perhaps, if inconvenient, may be elected by the several Legrs. —

5. Members of the 2d. Branch to be elected out of the first — to continue for a certain Length of Time, etc. To be elected by Electors appointed for that Purpose —

6. The Powers to be vested in the national Legr. — A negative upon particular acts, etc. contravening the Articles of the Union — Force —

7. A national Executive to be elected by the national Legr.

Checks upon the Legv. and Ex. Powers—

1. A Council of Revision to be selected out of the ex. and judy. Departments, etc.

2. A natl Judiciary to be elected by the natl. Legr. — To consist of an inferior and superior Tribunal — To determine Piracies, Captures, Disputes between Foreigners and Citizens, and the Citizen of one State and that of another, Revenue-matters, national Officers —

1. Provision for future States —

2. A Guary. by the United States to each State of its Territory, etc.

3. Continuation of Congress till a given Day.

4. Provision, that the Articles of national Union should be amended —

5. That the leg. ex. and judy. Officers should be bound by Oath to observe the Union.

6. That Members be elected by the People of the several States to ratify the Articles of national Union —

Edition: current; Page: [29]

WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 1787.

JOURNAL
Wednesday May 30. 1787.

The honorable Roger Sherman Esquire a Deputy of the State of Connecticut attended and took his seat.

The order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the American union

Mr President left the chair.

Mr Gorham, chosen by ballot,1 took the chair of the Committee.

Mr President resumed the chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee, that the Committee had made a progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the American union

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 10 o’clock A.M.

In a Committee of the Whole House.
Wednesday May 30. 1787.

Agreeably to the order of the day the House resolved itself Edition: current; Page: [30] into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American union. — Mr Gorham in the Chair:

The propositions offered yesterday to the consideration of the House by Mr Randolph were read — and on motion of Mr Randolph, seconded by Mr G. Morris

That the consideration of the first resolution contained in the said propositions be postponed.

it passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved by Mr Randolph and seconded by Mr G Morris to substitute the following resolution in the place of the first resolution

Resolved that an union of the States, merely fœderal, will not accomplish the objects proposed by the articles of confederation, namely “common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare.

It was moved by Mr Butler seconded by Mr Randolph to postpone the consideration of the said resolution in order to take up the following resolution submitted by Mr Randolph namely

Resolved that a national government ought to be established consisting of a supreme legislative, judiciary and executive.

It was moved by Mr Read seconded by Mr C. C. Pinckney to postpone the consideration of the last resolution in order to take up the following

Resolved That in order to carry into execution the design of the States in forming this convention and to accomplish the objects proposed by the confederation “a more effective government consisting of a Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive ought to be established”

On the question to postpone, in order to take up the last resolution, the question was lost.

On motion to agree to the said resolution moved by Mr Butler it passed in the affirmative [ayes — 6; noes — 1; divided — 1.]2 — and the resolution, as agreed to, is as follows.

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that a Edition: current; Page: [31] national government ought to be established consisting of a supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive

The following resolution was then moved by Mr Randolph,

Resolved that the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned to the quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.

It was moved by Mr Hamilton seconded by Mr Spaight that the resolution be altered so as to read

Resolved that the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned to the number of free inhabitants

It was moved and seconded that the resolution be postponed — and on the question to postpone it passed in the affirmative

The following resolution was moved by Mr Randolph seconded by Mr Madison

Resolved that the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned — it was moved and seconded to add the words “and not according to the present system” — On the question to agree to the amendment it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 7; noes — 0.]3

It was then moved and seconded so to alter the resolution that it should read

Resolved that the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought not to be according

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the last resolution — And, on the question to postpone, it passed in the affirmative

The following resolution was then moved by Mr Madison seconded by Mr G. Morris.

Resolved that the equality of suffrage established by the articles of confederation ought not to prevail in the national legislature and that an equitable ratio of representation ought to be substituted

Edition: current; Page: [32]

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the last resolution

And on the question to postpone it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 7; noes — 1.]4

It was moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise.

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lf0544-01_figure_001.jpg

Photograph of First Page of Secretary’s Record of Votes5

Edition: current; Page: [33]

MADISON
Wednesday May 30.

〈Roger Sherman (from Connecticut) took his seat.〉7

The House went into Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union. Mr. Gorham was elected to the Chair by Ballot.

The propositions of Mr. Randolph which had been referred to the Committee being taken up. He moved on the suggestion of Mr G. Morris

that the first of his propositions to wit 〈“Resolved8 that the articles of Confederation ought to be so corrected & enlarged, as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution; namely, common defence, security of liberty & general welfare〉 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .should be postponed in order to consider the 3 following.

1. that a Union of the States merely federal 〈will not accomplish the objects proposed by the articles of Condeferation, namely common defence, security of liberty, & genl. welfare.〉9

2. that no treaty or treaties among the whole or part of the States, as individual sovereignties, would be sufficient.

3 that a national Government 〈ought to be established〉 consisting of a supreme Legislative, Executive & Judiciary.

The motion for postponing was seconded by Mr. Govr. Morris and unanimously agreed to.

Some verbal criticisms were raised agst. the first proposition, and it was agreed 〈on motion of Mr Butler seconded by Mr. Randolph,〉7 to pass on to the third, which underwent a discussion. less however on its general merits than on the force and extent of the particular terms national10 & supreme.

Mr. Charles Pinkney wished to know of Mr. Randolph Edition: current; Page: [34] whether he meant to abolish the State Governts. altogether. Mr. R. replied that he meant by these general propositions merely to introduce the particular ones which explained the outlines of the system he had in view.

Mr. Butler said he had not made up his mind on the subject, and was open to the light which discussion might throw on it. 〈After some general observations he concluded with saying that he had〉11 opposed the grant of powers to Congs. heretofore, because the whole power was vested in one body. The proposed distribution of the powers into different bodies changed the case, and would induce him to go great lengths.

Genl. Pinkney expressed a doubt whether the act of Congs. recommending the Convention,12 or the Commissions of the deputies to it,13 could authorize a discussion of a System founded on different principles from the federal Constitution.

Mr. Gerry seemed to entertain the same doubt.

Mr. Govr. Morris explained the distinction between a federal and national, supreme, Govt.; the former being a mere compact resting on the good faith of the parties; the latter having a compleat and compulsive operation. He contended that in all communities there must be one supreme power, and one only.

Mr. Mason observed that the present confederation was not only deficient in not providing for coercion & punishment agst. delinquent States; but argued very cogently that punishment could not 〈in the nature of things be executed on〉 the States collectively, and therefore that such a Govt. was necessary as could directly operate on individuals, and would punish those only whose guilt required it.

Mr. Sherman who took his seat to day, admitted that the Confederation had not given sufficient power to Congs. and that additional powers were necessary; particularly that of raising money which he said would involve many other powers. He admitted also that the General & particular jurisdictions Edition: current; Page: [35] ought in no case to be concurrent. He seemed however not be disposed to Make too great inroads on the existing system; intimating as one reason, that it would be wrong to lose every amendment, by inserting such as would not be agreed to by the States

〈It was moved by Mr. Read 2ded by Mr. Chas. Cotesworth Pinkney, to postpone the 3d. proposition last offered by Mr. Randolph viz that a national Government ought to be established consisting of a supreme legislative Executive and Judiciary,” in order to take up the following — viz. “Resolved that in order to carry into execution the Design of the States in forming this Convention, and to accomplish the objects proposed by the Confederation a more effective Government consisting of a Legislative, Executive and Judiciary ought to be established.” The motion to postpone for this purpose was lost:

Yeas Massachusetts, Connecticut. Delaware S. Carolina — 4 Nays N. Y. Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina — 4〉14

On the question 〈as moved by Mr. Butler on the third proposition〉15 it was resolved in Committee of the whole that a national Governt. ought to be established consisting of a supreme Legislative Executive & Judiciary.” Massts. being ay — Connect. no. N. York divided (Col. Hamilton ay Mr. Yates no) Pena. ay. Delaware ay. Virga. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. [Ayes — 6; noes — 1; divided — 1.]

〈The following Resolution being the 2d. of those proposed by Mr. Randolph was taken up. viz — “that the rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.”〉16

Mr. M〈adison〉 observing that the words 〈“or to the number Edition: current; Page: [36] offree inhabitants.” might occasion debates which would divert the Committee from the general question whether the principle of representation should be changed, moved that they might be struck out.

Mr. King observed that the quotas of contribution which would alone remain as the measure of representation, would not answer; because waving every other view of the matter, the revenue might hereafter be so collected by the general Govt. that the sums respectively drawn from the States would 〈not〉 appear; and would besides be continually varying.

〈Mr. Madison admitted the propriety of the observation, and that some better rule ought to be found.17

Col. Hamilton moved to alter the resolution so as to read “that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought to be proportioned to the number of free inhabitants. Mr. Spaight 2ded. the motion.

It was then moved that the Resolution be postponed, which was agreed to.

Mr. Randolph and Mr. Madison then moved the following resolution — “that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought to be proportioned”

It was moved and 2ded. to amend it by adding “and not according to the present system” — which was agreed to.

It was then moved and 2ded. to alter the resolution so as to read “that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought not to be according to the present system.”

It was then moved & 2ded. to postpone the Resolution moved by Mr. Randolph & Mr. Madison, which being agreed to;

Mr. Madison, moved, in order to get over the difficulties, the following resolution — “that the equality of suffrage established by the articles of Confederation ought not to prevail in the national Legislature, and that an equitable ratio of representation ought to be substituted” This was 2ded. by Mr. Govr. Morris, and being generally relished, would have been agreed to; when,〉

Edition: current; Page: [37]

Mr. Reed moved that the whole clause relating to the point of Representation be postponed; reminding the Come. that the deputies from Delaware were restrained by their commission from assenting to any change of the rule of suffrage, and in case such a change should be fixed on, it might become their duty to retire from the Convention.18

Mr. Govr. Morris observed that the valuable assistance of those members could not be lost without real concern, and that so early a proof of discord in the convention as a secession of a State, would add much to the regret; that the change proposed was however so fundamental an article in a national Govt. that it could not be dispensed with.

Mr. M〈adison〉 observed that whatever reason might have existed for the equality of suffrage when the Union was a federal one among sovereign States, it must cease when a national Governt. should be put into the place. In the former case, the acts of Congs. depended so much for their efficacy on the cooperation of the States, that these had a weight both within & without Congress, nearly in proportion to their extent and importance. In the latter case, as the acts of the Genl. Govt. would take effect without the intervention of the State legislatures, a vote from a small State wd. have the same efficacy & importance as 〈a vote〉 from a large one, and there was the same reason for 〈different numbers〉 of representatives from different States, as from Counties of different extents within particular States. He suggested as an expedient for at once taking the sense of the members on this point and saving the Delaware deputies from embarrassment, that the question should be taken in Committee, and the clause on report to the House 〈be postponed without a question there〉. This however did not appear to satisfy Mr. Read.

By several it was observed that no just construction of the Act of Delaware, could require or justify a secession of her deputies, even if the resolution were to be carried thro’ the House as well as the Committee. It was finally agreed however that the clause should be postponed: it being understood Edition: current; Page: [38] that in the event the proposed change of representation would certainly be agreed to, no objection or difficulty being started from any other quarter 〈than from Delaware.19

The motion of Mr. Read to postpone being agreed to

The Committee then rose. The Chairman reported progress, and the House having resolved to resume the subject in Committee tomorrow,20

Adjourned to 10 OClock〉

[May]21 30. — (pa. 38 to 47) Mr Sherman attended. In Comee of the whole — Mr Rs 1. res. was on his motion postponed. to consider three others introduced by him — the two first asserting the inefficiency of the federal & the 3d the necessity for a national & supreme govt. The latter after some discussion was resolved after debating the 2. res. on the right of suffrage it was postponed —

YATES
Wednesday, May 30th, 1787.

Convention met pursuant to adjournment.

The convention, pursuant to order, resolved itself into a committee of the whole — Mr. Gorham (a member from Massachusetts) appointed chairman.

Mr. Randolph then moved his first resolve, to wit: “Resolved, that the articles of the confederation ought to be so corrected and enlarged, as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution, namely, common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare.”

Mr. G. Morris observed, that it was an unnecesaary resolution, as the subsequent resolutions would not agree with it. It was then withdrawn by the proposer, and in lieu thereof the following were proposed, to wit:

Edition: current; Page: [39]

1. Resolved, That a union of the states, merely federal, will not accomplish the objects proposed by the articles of the confederation, namely, common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare.

2. Resolved, That no treaty or treaties among any of the states as sovereign, will accomplish or secure their common defence, liberty or welfare.

3. Resolved, That a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme judicial, legislative and executive.

In considering the question on the first resolve, various modifications were proposed, when Mr. Pinkney22 observed, at last, that if the convention agreed to it, it appeared to him that their business was at an end; for as the powers of the house in general were to revise the present confederation, and to alter or amend it as the case might require; to determine its insufficiency or incapability of amendment or improvement, must end in the dissolution of the powers.

This remark had its weight, and in consequence of it, the 1st and 2d resolve was dropt, and the question agitated on the third.

This last resolve had also its difficulties; the term supreme required explanation — It was asked whether it was intended to annihilate state governments? It was answered, only so far as the powers intended to be granted to the new government should clash with the states, when the latter was to yield.

For the resolution — Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Corolina.

Against it — Connecticut, New-York divided, Jersey and the other states unrepresented.

The next question was on the following resolve:

In substance that the mode of the present representation was unjust — the suffrage ought to be in proportion to number or property.

Edition: current; Page: [40]

To this Delaware objected, in consequence of the restrictions in their credentials, and moved to have the consideration thereof postponed, to which the house agreed.

Adjourned to to-morrow.

McHENRY

May 30.

Mr. Randolph wished the house to dissent from the first proposition on the paper delivered in to the convention in order to take up the following

1st. That a union of the States merely federal will not accomplish the object proposed by the articles of confederation, namely “common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare.”

2. That no treaty or treaties between the whole or a less number of the States in their sovereign capacities will accomplish their common defence, liberty, or welfare.

3. That therefore a national government ought to be established consisting of a supreme legislature, judi[c]iary and executive.

On a question taken on the last proposition after various attempts to amend it, the same was agreed to. For it, Massachusets Pennsylv. Delaware, Virginia, N. Carolina, and S. Carolina — against it Connecticut. New York divided.

The Committee then proceeded to consider the 2 Resolution in Mr. Randolphs paper viz

That the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned to the quotas of contribution or to the number of free inhabitants as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.

As this gave the large States the most absolute controul over the lesser ones it met with opposition which produced an adjournment without any determination.

The Committee of the whole to sit to-morrow.

Edition: current; Page: [41]

May 30th23

1st resolution from Mr. Randol.

Mr. R. wishes to have that resol. dissented to. The resol. postponed to take up the following:

1st. That a union of the States merely fœderal will not accomplish the object proposed by the articles of confederation, namely, “common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare”.

Mr. C. Pinkney wishes to know whether the establishment of this Resolution is intended as a ground for a consolidation of the several States into one.

Mr. Randol has nothing further in contemplation than what the propositions he has submitted yesterday has expressed.

2. Resolved that no treaty or treaties between the whole or a less number of the States in their sovereign capacities will accomplish their common defence, liberty or welfare.

3. Resolved therefore that a national governmen ought to be established consisting of a supreme legislature, judiciary and executive.

Mr. Whythe presumes from the silence of the house that they gentn. are prepared to pass on the resolution and proposes its being put.

Mr. Butler — does not think the house prepared, that he is not. Wishes Mr. Randolph to shew that the existence of the States cannot be preserved by any other mode than a national government.

Gen. Pinkney — Thinks agreeing to the resolve is declaring that the convention does not act under the authority of the recommendation of Congress.

The first resolution postponed to take up the 3d. viz — Resolved that a national government ought to be established consisting of a supreme legislature, judiciary and executive.

1787, 21 Febry. Resolution of Congress.

Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient Edition: current; Page: [42] that on the 2d Monday of May next a convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several States to be held at Philada. for the sole and expres purpose of revising the articles of confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures, such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreeed to in Congress, and confirmed by the States, render the fœderal constitution, adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the union.”

Mr. Randolph explains the intention of the 3d Resolution. Repeats the substance of his yesterdays observations. It is only meant to give the national government a power to defend and protect itself. To take therefore from the respective legislatures or States, no more soverignty than is competent to this end.

Mr. Dickinson. Under obligations to the gentlemen who brought forward the systems laid before the house yesterday. Yet differs from the mode of proceeding to which the resolutions or propositions before the Committee lead. Would propose a more simple mode. All agree that the confederation is defective all agree that it ought to be amended. We are a nation altho’ consisting of parts or States — we are also confederated, and he hopes we shall always remain confederated. The enquiry should be —

1. What are the legislative powers which we should vest in Congress.

2. What judiciary powers.

3 What executive powers.

We may resolve therefore, in order to let us into the business. That the confederation is defective; and then proceed to the definition of such powers as may be thought adequate to the objects for which it was instituted.

Mr. E. Gerry. Does not rise to speak to the merits of the question before the Committee but to the mode.

A distinction has been made between a federal and national government. We ought not to determine that there is this distinction for if we do, it is questionable not only whether this convention can propose an government totally different or whether Congress itself would have a right to pass such a Edition: current; Page: [43] resolution as that before the house. The commission from Massachusetts empowers the deputies to proceed agreeably to the recommendation of Congress. This the foundation of the convention. If we have a right to pass this resolution we have a right to annihilate the confederation.

Proposes — In the opinion of this convention, provision should be made for the establishment of a fœderal legislative, judiciary, and executive.

Governeur Morris. Not yet ripe for a decision, because men seem to have affixed different explanations to the terms before the house. 1. We are not now under a fœderal government. 2. There is no such thing. A fœderal government is that which has a right to compel every part to do its duty. The fœderal gov. has no such compelling capacities, whether considered in their legislative, judicial or Executive qualities.

The States in their appointments Congress in their recommendations point directly to the establishment of a supreme government capable of “the common defence, security of liberty and general welfare.

Cannot conceive of a government in which there can exist two supremes. A federal agreement which each party may violate at pleasure cannot answer the purpose. One government better calculated to prevent wars or render them less expensive or bloody than many.

We had better take a supreme government now, than a despot twenty years hence — for come he must.

Mr. Reed, Genl. Pky [Pinckney] 2dng. proposes — In order to carry into execution the design of the States inthis meeting and to accomplish the objects proposed by the confederation resolved that A more effective government consisting of a legislative judiciary and executive ought to be established.

In order to carry into execution

Mr. R. King — The object of the motion from Virginia, an establishment of a government that is to act upon the whole people of the U. S.

The object of the motion from Delaware seems to have Edition: current; Page: [44] application merely to the strenghtening the confederation by some additional powers —

Mr. Maddison — The motion does go to bring out the sense of the house — whether the States shall be governed by one power. If agreed to it will decide nothing. The meaning of the States that the confed. is defect. and ought to be amended. In agreeing to the . . .24

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THURSDAY, MAY 31, 1787.

JOURNAL
Thursday May 31. 1787.

The honorable William Pierce Esquire, a Deputy of the State of Georgia attended and took his seat1

The following credentials were produced and read

(here insert the credentials of Mr Few and Mr Pierce)2 The order of the day being read,

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American Union

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the American union

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 10 o’clock A M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Thursday May 31. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair.

It was moved & seconded that the Committee proceed to the consideration of the following resolution (submitted by Mr Randolph) namely

“Resolved that the national legislature ought to consist of two branches.” —

Edition: current; Page: [46]

And on the question to agree to the said resolution it passed in the affirmative.3

It was then moved & seconded to proceed to the consideration of the following clause of the fourth resolution (submitted by Mr Randolph) namely

“Resolved that the members of the first branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States:”

and on the question to agree to the said clause of the fourth resolution

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 6; noes — 2; divided — 2.]4

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the remaining clauses of the said fourth resolution

and on the question to postpone the remaining clauses of the said fourth resolution

it passed in the affirmative

[Ayes — 0; noes — 9; divided — 1.]5

It was then moved and seconded to proceed to the consideration of the following resolution (being the fifth submitted by Mr Randolph)

Resolved that the members of the second branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by those of the first: out of — &ca

and on the question to agree to the said fifth resolution

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 3; noes — 7.]6

It was then moved and seconded to proceed to the consideration of the following resolution (being the sixth submitted by Mr Randolph)

Resolved “that each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts:”

Edition: current; Page: [47]

“That the national legislature ought to be empowered”

“to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the confederation; and moreover

To legislate in all cases, to which the separate States are incompetent: [Ayes — 9; noes — 0; divided — 1.]7 or

in which the harmony of the united States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation

To negative all laws, passed by the several States, contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the articles of union: (the following words were added to this clause on motion of Mr Franklin, “or any Treaties subsisting under the authority of the union

Questions being taken separately on the foregoing clauses of the sixth resolution they were agreed to.

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the last clause of the sixth resolution, namely,

“to call forth the force of the union against any member of the union, failing to fulfil it’s duty under the articles thereof.”

on the question to postpone the consideration of the said clause

it passed in the affirmative

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13.
N. H. Massa: C: R. I. N. Y. N. J: P: D: Mary: V: N. C. S. C. G.
[5] aye divided aye no aye divided aye aye no aye
ayes noes
[6] 0 9 no no no no no divided no no no no
[7] 3 7 aye no no no no no aye no aye no
[8] 9 aye divided aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye

MADISON
Thursday May 31.

〈William Pierce from Georgia took his seat.〉8

In Committee of the whole on Mr. R.〈andolph’s〉 propositions. Edition: current; Page: [48] 〈The 3d. Resolution〉 “that the national Legislature ought to consist of two branches” was agreed to without debate or dissent, 〈except that of Pennsylvania, given probably from complaisance to Docr. Franklin who was understood to be partial to a single House of Legislation.〉9

〈Resol: 4. first clause〉 “that the 〈members of the first branch of the National Legislature〉 ought to be elected by the people of 〈the several〉 States” 〈being taken up,〉10

Mr. Sherman opposed the election by the people, insisting that it ought to be by the 〈State〉 Legislatures. The people he said, 〈immediately〉 should have as little to do as may be about the Government. They want information and are constantly liable to be misled.

Mr. Gerry. The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue; but are the dupes of pretended patriots.11 In Massts. it has been fully confirmed by experience that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute. One principal evil arises from the want of due provision for those employed in the administration of Governnt. It would seem to be a maxim of democracy to starve the public servants. He mentioned the popular clamour in Massts. for the reduction of salaries and the attack made on that of the Govr. though secured by the spirit of the Constitution itself. He had he said been too republican heretofore: he was still however republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the levilling spirit.

Mr. Mason. argued strongly for an election of the larger branch by the people. It was to be the grand depository of the democratic principle of the Govt. It was, so to speak, to be our House of Commons — It ought to know & sympathise with every part of the community; and ought therefore to be Edition: current; Page: [49] taken not only from different parts of the whole republic, but also from different districts of the larger members of it, which had in several instances particularly in Virga., different interests and views arising from difference of produce, of habits &c &. He admitted that we had been too democratic but was afraid we sd. incautiously run into the opposite extreme. We ought to attend to the rights of every class of the people. He had often wondered at the indifference of the superior classes of society to this dictate of humanity & policy, considering that however affluent their circumstances, or elevated their situations, might be, the course of a few years, not only might but certainly would, distribute their posterity throughout the lowest classes of Society. Every selfish motive therefore, every family attachment, ought to recommend such a system of policy as would provide no less carefully for the rights — and happiness of the lowest than of the highest orders of Citizens.

Mr. Wilson contended strenuously for drawing the most numerous branch of the Legislature immediately from the people. He was for raising the federal pyramid to a considerable altitude, and for that reason wished to give it as broad a basis as possible. No government could long subsist without the confidence of the people. In a republican Government this confidence was peculiarly essential. He also thought it wrong to increase the weight of the State Legislatures by making them the electors of the national Legislature. All interference12 between the general and local Governmts. should be obviated as much as possible. On examination it would be found that the opposition of States to federal measures had proceded much more from the Officers of the States, than from the people at large.

Mr. Madison considered the popular election of one branch of the national Legislature as essential to every plan of free Government. He observed that in some of the States one branch of the Legislature was composed of men already removed from the people by an intervening body of electors. Edition: current; Page: [50] That if the first branch of the general legislature should be elected by the State Legislatures, the second branch elected by the first — the Executive by the second together with the first; and other appointments again made for subordinate purposes by the Executive, the people would be lost sight of altogether; and the necessary sympathy between them and their rulers and officers, too little felt. He was an advocate for the policy of refining the popular appointments by successive filtrations, but thought it might be pushed too far. He wished the expedient to be resorted to only in the appointment of the second branch of the Legislature, and in the Executive & judiciary branches of the Government. He thought too that the great fabric to be raised would be more stable and durable if it should rest on the solid foundation of the people themselves, than if it should stand merely on the pillars of the Legislatures.

Mr. Gerry did not like the election by the people. The maxims taken from the British constitution were often fallacious when applied to our situation which was extremely different. Experience he said had shewn that the State Legislatures drawn immediately from the people did not always possess their confidence. He had no objection however to an election by the people if it were so qualified that men of honor & character might not be unwilling to be joined in the appointments. He seemed to think the people might nominate a certain number out of which the State legislatures should be bound to choose.

Mr. Butler thought an election by the people an impracticable mode.

On the question for an election of the first branch of the national Legislature, by the people, Massts. ay. Connect. divd. N. York ay. N. Jersey no. Pena. ay. Delawe. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Georga. ay. [Ayes — 6; noes — 2; divided — 2.]

The 〈remaining〉 Clauses 〈of Resolution 4th.〉13 relating to the qualifications of members of the National Legislature Edition: current; Page: [51] 〈being〉 postpd. nem. con. as entering too much into detail for general propositions;

The 〈Committee proceeded to Resolution 5,〉 “that the second, (or senatorial) branch of the National Legislature 〈ought to〉 be chosen by the first branch out of persons nominated by the State Legislatures.”13

Mr. Spaight contended14 that the 2d. branch ought to be chosen by the State Legislatures and moved an amendment to that effect.

Mr. Butler apprehended that the taking so many powers out of the hands of the States as was proposed, tended to destroy all that balance 〈and security〉 of interests among the States which it was necessary to preserve; and called on Mr. Randolph the mover of the propositions, to explain the extent of his ideas, and particularly the number of members he meant to assign to this second branch.

Mr. Randf. observed that he had at the time of offering his propositions stated his ideas as far as the nature of general propositions required; that details made no part of the plan, and could not perhaps with propriety have been introduced. If he was to give an opinion as to the number of the second branch, he should say that it ought to be much smaller than that of the first; so small as to be exempt from the passionate proceedings to which numerous assemblies are liable. He observed that the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the U. S. laboured; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy: that some check therefore was to be sought for agst. this tendency of our Governments: and that a good Senate seemed most likely to answer the purpose.

Mr. King reminded the Committee that the choice of the second branch as proposed (by Mr. Spaight) viz. by the State Legislatures would be impracticable, unless it was to be very numerous, or the idea of proportion among the States was to be disregarded. According to this idea, there must be 80 or Edition: current; Page: [52] 100 members to entitle Delaware to the choice of one of them.—Mr. Spaight withdrew his motion.

Mr. Wilson opposed both a nomination by the State Legislatures, and an election by the first branch of the national Legislature, because the second branch of the latter, ought to be independent of both. He thought both branches of the National Legislature ought to be chosen by the people, but was not prepared with a specific proposition. He suggested the mode of chusing the Senate of N. York. to wit of uniting several election districts, for one branch, in chusing members for the other branch, as a good model.

Mr. Madison observed that such a mode would destroy the influence of the smaller States associated with larger ones in the same district; as the latter would15 chuse from within themselves, altho’ better men might be found in the former. The election of Senators in Virga. where large & small counties were often formed into one district for the purpose, had illustrated this consequence Local partiality, would often prefer a resident within the County or State, to a candidate of superior merit residing out of it. Less merit also in a resident would be more known throughout his own State.

Mr. Sherman favored an election of one member by each of the State Legislatures,

Mr. Pinkney moved to strike out the “nomination by the State Legislatures.” On this question.

*Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pena. no. Del. divd. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no Georg no. [Ayes — 0; noes — 9; divided — 1.]

On the whole question for electing by the first branch out of nominations by the State Legislatures, Mass. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. Jersey. no. Pena. no. Del. no. Virga. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Ga. no. [Ayes — 3; noes — 7.]

So the clause was disagreed to & a chasm left in this part of the plan.

The 〈sixth Resolution〉 stating the cases in which the Edition: current; Page: [53] national Legislature ought to legislate was next taken into discussion. On the question whether each branch shd. originate laws, there was an unanimous affirmative without debate. On the question for transferring all the Legislative powers of the 〈existing〉 Congs. to this Assembly,17 there was also a silent affirmative nem. con.

On the proposition for giving “Legislative power in all cases to which the State Legislatures were individually incompetent”.

Mr. Pinkney, & Mr. Rutledge objected to the vagueness of the term incompetent, and said they could not well decide how to vote until they should see an exact enumeration of the powers comprehended by this definition.18

Mr. Butler repeated his fears that we were running into an extreme in taking away the powers of the States, and called on Mr. Randolp for the extent of his meaning.

Mr. Randolph disclaimed any intention to give indefinite powers to the national Legislature, declaring that he was entirely opposed to such an inroad on the State jurisdictions, and that he did not think any considerations whatever could ever change his determination. His opinion was fixed on this point.

Mr. Madison said that he had brought with him into the Convention a strong bias in favor of an enemeration and definition of the powers necessary to be exercised by the national Legislature; but had also brought doubts concerning its practicability. His wishes remained unaltered; but his doubts had become stronger. What his opinion might ultimately be he could not yet tell. But he should shrink from nothing which should be found essential to such a form of Govt. as would provide for the safety, liberty and happiness of the Community. This being the end of all our deliberations, all the necessary means for attaining it must, however reluctantly, be submitted to.

On the question for giving powers, in cases to which the States are not competent,

Edition: current; Page: [54]

Massts. ay. Cont. divd. (Sharman no Elseworth ay) N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay, S. Carolina ay. Georga. ay. [Ayes — 9; noes — 0; divided — 1.]

The other clauses giving powers necessary to preserve harmony among the States 〈to negative all State laws contravening in the opinion of the Nat Leg the articles of Union down to the last clause, (the words “or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union”, being added after the words “contravening &c. the articles of the Union”; on motion of Dr. Franklin,〉19 were agreed to witht. debate or dissent.

The 〈last〉 clause 〈of Resolution 6. authorizing〉 an exertion of the force of the whole agst. a delinquent State came next into consideration.

Mr. 〈Madison〉, observed that the more he reflected on the use of force, the more he doubted the practicability, the justice and the efficacy of it when applied to people collectively and not individually. — , A Union of the States 〈containing such an ingredient〉 seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force agst. a State, would look more like a declaration of war, than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound. He hoped that such a system would be framed as might render this recourse unnecessary, and moved that the clause be postponed.20 This motion was agreed to nem. con.

〈The Committee then rose & the House

Adjourned〉21

[May] 31.22. — Mr Pierce attended.

The 3. res. dividing the Nat. Leg. into 2 branches agreed to without debate.

The 1st clause of 4th res. referring the election of the first branch to the people debated and carried. 6 ays. 2 noes — Edition: current; Page: [55] 2 divided. The other clauses postponed. The 5. Res. for electing the 2d branch by the first from nominations of State Legislatures, & after debate proposed amendment to leave out the nomination, negatived.

YATES
Thursday, May 31st, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment.

This day the state of Jersey was represented, so that there were now ten states in convention.

The house went again into committee of the whole, Mr. Gorham in the chair.

The 3d resolve, to wit, “That the national legislature ought to consist of two branches,” was taken into consideration, and without any debate agreed to. (N. B. As a previous resolution had already been agreed to, to have a supreme legislature, I could not see any objection to its being in two branches.)

The 4th resolve, “That the members of the first branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several states,” was opposed; and strange to tell, by Massachusetts and Connecticut, who supposed they ought to be chosen by the legislatures; and Virginia supported the resolve, alledging that this ought to be the democratic branch of government, and as such, immediately vested in the people.

This question was carried, but the remaining part of the resolve detailing the powers, was postponed.

The 5th resolve, That the members of the second branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by those of the first out of a proper number of persons nominated by the individual legislatures, and the detail of the mode of election and duration of office, was postponed.23

The 6th resolve is taken in detail: “That each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.” Agreed to.

“That the national legislature ought to be empowered Edition: current; Page: [56] to enjoy the legislative rights vested in congress by the confederation.” — Agreed to.

“And, moreover, to legislate in all cases to which the separate states are incompetent.” — Agreed to.

KING
Thursday 31 May

The first br. to be elected by ye. People.

Ger. opposed to the measure, & prefers appointments by the state Legis — because the people are not imformed —

Mason. in favor, because the first Br. is to represent the people, we must not go too far, we must preserve a portion of Democ. our own Children will in a short time be among the genl. mass —

Wilson — agrees wt. Mason. we ought to adopt the measure to secure the popular Confidence and to destroy the rivalry between the State & Genl. Govts — They will in this way both proceed immediately from the people &c —

Madison — agrees with Wilson — this mode immediately introduces the people, and naturally inspires that affection for the Genl. Govt. wh. takes place towards our own offspring — The alternative of a Legislative appt. removes the Genl. Govt. too far from the People — in Maryland the Senate is two removes from the People, a Depy. appointed by ym. will be three, the first Br. having power to appt. the 2d. Br. they will be four, the Genl. Legis. appts. the Executive which will be five removes from the People — if the Election is made by the Peop. in large Districts there will be no Danger of Demagogues —

Carried thus “that the first Br. be elected by the people of the sevl. States.

Mass. NYk. Penn. Virg. N. Car. & Georg. Ay

Cont. & Delr. divd.

N Jersey & S. Caro. no —24

Edition: current; Page: [57]

PIERCE25

On the 30th May Govr. Randolph brought forward the principles of a federal Government. The idea suggested was, a national Government to consist of three branches. Agreed. The Legislature to consist of two branches.26

Resolved that the first branch of the Legislature ought to be elected by the People of the several States.

A debate arose on this point.

Mr. Sherman thought the State Legislatures were better qualified to elect the Members than the people were.

Mr. Gerry was of the same opinion.

Mr. Mason was of the opinion that the appointment of the Legislature coming from the people would make the representation actual, but if it came from the State Legislatures it will be only virtual.

Mr. Wilson thought that one branch of the Legislature ought to be drawn from the people, because on the great foundation of the people all Government ought to rest. He would wish to see the new Constitution established on a broad basis, and rise like a pyramid to a respectable point.

Mr. Maddison was of the opinion that the appointment of the Members to the first branch of the national Legislature ought to be made by the people for two reasons, — one was that it would inspire confidence, and the other that it would induce the Government to sympathize with the people.

Mr. Gerry was of opinion that the representation would not be equally good if the people chose them, as if the appointment was made by the State Legislatures. He also touched on the principles of liberal support, and reprobated that idea of œconomy in the different States that has been so injuriously practised.

Edition: current; Page: [58]

Mr. Strong would agree to the principle, provided it would undergo a certain modification, but pointed out nothing.

Mr. Butler was opposed to the appointment by the people, because the State Legislatures he thought better calculated to make choice of such Members as would best answer the purpose.

Mr. Spaight thought it necessary previous to the decision on this point that the mode of appointing the Senate should be pointed out. He therefore moved that the second branch of the Legislature should be appointed by the State Legislatures.27

Mr. King observed that the Question called for was premature, and out of order, — that unless we go on regularly from one principle to the other we shall draw out our proceedings to an endless length.

Mr. Butler called on Govr. Randolph to point out the number of Men necessary for the Senate, for on a knowledge of that will depend his opinion of the style and manner of appointing the first branch.

Mr. Randolph said he could not then point out the exact number of Members for the Senate, but he would observe that they ought to be less than the House of Commons. He was for offering such a check as to keep up the balance, and to restrain, if possible, the fury of democracy. He thought it would be impossible for the State Legislatures to appoint the Senators, because it would not produce the check intended. The first branch of the fœderal Legislature should have the appointment of the Senators, and then the check would be compleat.

Butler said that until the number of the Senate could be known it would be impossible for him to give a vote on it.

Mr. Wilson was of opinion that the appointment of the 2d branch ought to be made by the people provided the mode of election is as he would have it, and that is to divide the union into districts from which the Senators should be chosen. He Edition: current; Page: [59] hopes that a fœderal Government may be established that will insure freedom and yet be vigorous.

Mr. Maddison thinks the mode pointed out in the original propositions the best.

Mr. Butler moved to have the proposition relating to the first branch postponed, in order to take up another, — which was that the second branch of the Legislature consist of blank.

Mr. King objected to the postponement for the reasons which he had offered before.

Mr. Sherman was of opinion that if the Senate was to be appointed by the first branch and out of that Body that it would make them too dependent, and thereby destroy the end for which the Senate ought to be appointed.

Mr. Mason was of opinion that it would be highly improper to draw the Senate out of the first branch; that it would occasion vacancies which would cost much time, trouble, and expence to have filled up, — besides which it would make the Members too dependent on the first branch.

Mr. Chs. Pinckney said he meant to propose to divide the Continent into four Divisions, out of which a certain number of persons shd. be nominated, and out of that nomination to appoint a Senate.

I was myself of opinion that it would be right first to know how the Senate should be appointed, because it would determine many Gentlemen how to vote for the choice of Members for the first branch, — it appeared clear to me that unless we established a Government that should carry at least some of its principles into the mass of the people, we might as well depend upon the present confederation. If the influence of the States is not lost in some part of the new Government we never shall have any thing like a national institution. But in my opinion it will be right to shew the sovereignty of the State in one branch of the Legislature, and that should be in the Senate.

On the proposition in the words following — “to legislate in all cases where the different States shall prove incompetent.”

Mr. Sherman was of opinion that it would be too indifinitely expressed, — and yet it would be hard to define all the Edition: current; Page: [60] powers by detail. It appeared to him that it would be improper for the national Legislature to negative all the Laws that were connected with the States themselves.

Mr. Maddison said it was necessary to adopt some general principles on which we should act, — that we were wandering from one thing to another without seeming to be settled in any one principle.

Mr. Wythe observed that it would be right to establish general principles before we go into detail, or very shortly Gentlemen would find themselves in confusion, and would be obliged to have recurrence to the point from whence they sat out.

Mr. King was of opinion that the principles ought first to be established before we proceed to the framing of the Act. He apprehends that the principles only go so far as to embrace all the power that is given up by the people to the Legislature, and to the fœderal Government, but no farther.

Mr. Randolph was of opinion that it would be impossible to define the powers and the length to which the federal Legislature ought to extend just at this time.

Mr. Wilson observed that it would be impossible to enumerate the powers which the federal Legislature ought to have.

Mr. Maddison said he had brought with him a strong prepossession for the defining of the limits and powers of the federal Legislature, but he brought with him some doubts about the practicability of doing it: — at present he was convinced it could not be done.

McHENRY

31 May

Mr. Randolph motioned to take into consideration, vz. That the national legislature ought to consist of two branches.

agreed to.

Part of the 4 resolution moved. vz. That the members of the first branch ought to be elected by the people of the several States.

6 States aff. 2 neg. 2 divided.

Edition: current; Page: [61]

5 Reso. so far as follows taken up vz. That the members of the second branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by those of the first out of a proper number of persons nominated by the individual legislatures.

Neg. 7. affirm 3. aff. Mass. S. C. Virginia.

Motioned vz.

That each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.

agreed.

That the national legislature ought to be empowered to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the confedn. and moreover to legislate in all cases to which the seperate States are incompetent.

agreed.

or in which the harmony of the U. S. may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.

agreed.

To negative all laws passed by the several States contravening in the opinion of the national legislature the articles of union, (or any treaty subsisting under the authority of the union, added by Dr. Franklin).

agreed.

And to call forth the force of the union against any member of the union failing to fulfil its duty under the articles thereof.

postponed.

Mr. E. Gery thought this clause “ought to be expressed so as the people might not understand it to prevent their being alarmed”.

This idea rejected on account of its artifice, and because the system without such a declaration gave the government the means to secure itself.

Edition: current; Page: [62]

FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 1787.

JOURNAL
Friday June 1. 1787.

The honorable William Houstoun, Esq a Deputy of the State of Georgia, attended and took his seat.

The following credential was produced and read

(here insert Mr Houstoun’s credential)1

The Order of the day being read,

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American Union — Mr President left the Chair.

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 10 o’clock. A.M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Friday June 1. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair

It was moved and seconded to proceed to the consideration of the 7th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph, namely

“Resolved that a national executive be instituted; to Edition: current; Page: [63] be chosen by the national legislature; for the term ofyears

to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for the services rendered; in which no encrease or diminution shall be made so as to affect the magistracy existing at the time of such encrease or diminution; and

to be ineligible a second time; and that besides a general authority to execute the national laws, it ought to enjoy the executive rights vested in Congress by the confederation.”

On motion, by Mr Wilson seconded by Mr C. Pinckney, to amend the first clause of the resolution by adding, after the word instituted, the words “to consist of a single person” — so as to read

“resolved “that a national executive to consist of a single person be instituted”

It was moved and seconded to to postpone the consideration of the amendment — and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative

It was then moved and seconded to agree to the first clause of the resolution, namely

“Resolved that a national executive be instituted” and on the question to agree to the said clause

it passed in the affirmative

It was then moved, by Mr Madison, seconded by Mr Wilson, after the word instituted to add the words

“with power to carry into execution the national laws, — to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for; and to execute such powers, not legislative or judiciary in their nature, as may from time to time be delegated by the national legislature”

and on a division of the amendment the following clauses were agreed to — namely

“with power to carry into execution the national laws”; “to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for”2

On the question to continue the last clause of the amendment namely

Edition: current; Page: [64]

“and to execute such other powers, not legislative or judiciary in their nature, as may from time to time be delegated by the national legislature.”

it passed in the negative.3

It was then moved and seconded to fill up the blank with the word “seven” — so as to read

“for the term of seven years”

And on the question to fill up the blank with the word “seven”

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 5; noes — 4; divided — 1.]4

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the following words — namely

“to be chosen by the national legislature”

and on the question to postpone it passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise — and report a further progress

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13.
N. H. Massa: C: R. I. N. Y. N. J: P: D: Mary: V. N. C. S. C. G.
ayes noes
[9] 5 4 divided no on the questn of 7 years to ye executive aye aye aye aye aye no no no

MADISON
Friday June 1st. 1787.

〈William Houston from Georgia took his seat〉5

〈The〉 Committee of the whole 〈proceeded to Resolution 7.〉

“that a national Executive be 〈instituted, to be chosen〉 by the national Legislature————for the term ofyears 〈&c〉 to be ineligible thereafter, to possess the executive powers of Congress &c” —6

Mr. Pinkney was for a vigorous Executive but was afraid Edition: current; Page: [65] the Executive powers of 〈the existing〉 Congress might extend to peace & war &c which would render the Executive a Monarchy, of the worst kind, towit an elective one.

Mr. Wilson moved that the Executive consist of a single person. Mr. C Pinkney seconded the motion, 〈so as to read “that a national Ex. to consist of a single person, be instituted —〉6

A considerable pause ensuing and the Chairman asking if he should put the question, Docr. Franklin observed that it was a point of great importance and wished that the gentlemen would deliver their sentiments on it before the question was put.

Mr. Rutlidge animadverted on the shyness of gentlemen on this and other subjects. He said it looked as if they supposed themselves precluded by having frankly disclosed their opinions from afterwards changing them, which he did not take to be at all the case. He said he was for vesting the Executive power in a single person, tho’ he was not for giving him the power of war and peace. A single man would feel the greatest responsibility and administer the public affairs best.

Mr. Sherman said he considered the Executive magistracy as nothing more than an institution for carrying the will of the Legislature into effect, that the person or persons ought to be appointed by and accountable to the Legislature only, which was the despositary of the supreme will of the Society. As they were the best judges of the business which ought to be done by the Executive department, and consequently of the number necessary from time to time for doing it, he wished the number might 〈not〉 be fixed, but7 that the legislature should be at liberty to appoint one or more as experience might dictate.

Mr. Wilson preferred a single magistrate, as giving most energy dispatch and responsibility to the office. He did not consider the Prerogatives of the British Monarch as a proper guide in defining the Executive powers. Some of these prerogatives were of a Legislative nature. Among others that Edition: current; Page: [66] of war & peace &c. The only powers he conceived strictly Executive were those of executing the laws, and appointing officers, not 〈appertaining to and〉 appointed by the Legislature.

Mr. Gerry favored the policy of annexing a Council 〈to the Executive〉 in order to give weight & inspire confidence.

Mr. Randolph strenuously opposed a unity in the Executive magistracy.8 He regarded it as the fœtus of monarchy. We had he said no motive to be governed by the British Governmt. as our prototype. He did not mean however to throw censure on that Excellent fabric. If we were in a situation to copy it he did not know that he should be opposed to it; but the fixt genius of the people of America required a different form of Government. He could not see why the great requisites for the Executive department, vigor, despatch & responsibility could not be found in three men, as well as in one man. The Executive ought to be independent. It ought therefore 〈in order to support its independence〉 to consist of more than one.9

Mr. Wilson said that Unity in the Executive instead of being the fetus of Monarchy would be the best safeguard against tyranny. He repeated that he was not governed by the British Model which was inapplicable to the situation of this Country; the extent of which was so great, and the manners so republican, that nothing but a great confederated Republic would do for it.

Mr. Wilson’s motion for a single magistrate was postponed by common consent, the 〈Committee〉 seeming unprepared for any decision on it; 〈and the first part of the clause agreed to, viz. “that a National Executive be instituted.”〉10

Mr. 〈Madison〉 — 〈thought〉 it would be proper, before a choice shd. be made between a unity and a plurality in the Executive, to fix the extent of the Executive authority; that Edition: current; Page: [67] as certain powers were in their nature Executive, and must be given to that departmt. whether administered by one or more persons, a definition of their extent would assist the judgment in determining how far they might be safely entrusted to a single officer. He accordingly moved that so much of the clause before the Committee as related to the powers of the Executive shd. be struck out & that 〈after the words〉 “that a national Executive ought to be instituted” 〈there be inserted the words following〉 viz, “with power to carry into effect. the national laws. to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for, and to execute such other powers 〈“not Legislative nor Judiciary in their nature.”〉 as may from time to time be delegated by the national Legislature”. The words 〈“not legislative nor judiciary in their nature”〉 were added to the proposed amendment in consequence of a suggestion by Genl Pinkney that improper powers might 〈otherwise〉 be delegated,11

〈Mr. Wilson seconded this motion〉10

Mr. Pinkney moved to amend the amendment by striking out the last member of it; viz. “and to execute such other powers not Legislative nor Judiciary in their nature as may from time to time be delegated.” He said they were unnecessary, the object of them being included in the “power to carry into effect the national laws”.

Mr. Randolph seconded the motion.

Mr. Madison did not know that the words were absolutely necessary, or even the preceding words. “to appoint to offices &c. the whole being perhaps included in the first member of the proposition. He did not however see any inconveniency in retaining them, and cases might happen in which they might serve to prevent doubts and misconstructions.

〈In consequence of the motion of Mr. Pinkney, the question on Mr. Madison’s motion was divided; and the words objected to by Mr. Pinkney struck out; by the votes of Connecticut. N. Y. N. J. Pena. Del. N. C. & Geo: agst. Mass. Virga. & S. Carolina the preceding part of the motion being first agreed to: Connecticut divided, all the other States in the affirmative.

Edition: current; Page: [68]

The next clause in Resolution 7, relating to the mode of appointing, & the duration of, the Executive being under consideration,〉12

Mr. Wilson said he was almost unwilling to declare the mode which he wished to take place, being apprehensive that it might appear chimerical. He would say however at least that in theory he was for an election by the people; Experience, particularly in N. York & Massts, shewed that an election of the first magistrate by the people at large, was both a convenient & successful mode. The objects of choice in such cases must be persons whose merits have general notoriety.

Mr. Sherman was for the appointment by the Legislature, and for making him absolutely dependent on that body, as it was the will of that which was to be executed. An independence of the Executive on the supreme Legislative, was in his opinion the very essence of tyranny if there was any such thing.

Mr. Wilson moves that the blank for the term of duration should be filled with three years, observing at the same time that he preferred this short period, on the supposition that a re-eligibility would be provided for.

Mr. Pinkney moves for seven years.

Mr. Sherman was for three years, and agst. the doctrine of rotation as throwing out of office the men best qualified to execute its duties.

Mr. Mason was for seven years at least, and for probibiting a re-eligibility as the best expedient both for preventing the effect of a false complaisance on the side of the Legislature towards unfit characters; and a temptation on the side of the Executive to intrigue with the Legislature for a re-appointment.

Mr. Bedford was strongly opposed to so long a term as seven years. He begged the committee to consider what the Edition: current; Page: [69] situation of the Country would be, in case the first magistrate should be saddled on it for such period and it should be found on trial that he did not possess the qualifications ascribed to him, or should lose them after his appointment. An impeachment he said would be no cure for this evil, as an impeachment would reach misfeasance only, not incapacity. He was for a triennial election, and for an ineligibility after a period of nine years.

On the question for seven years,

Massts. dividd. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pena. ay. Del. ay. Virga. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Georg. no [Ayes — 5; noes — 4; divided — 1.]

There being 5. ays, 4 noes, 1 divd. a question was asked whether a majority had voted in the affirmative? The President decided that it was an affirmative vote.

The mode of appointing the Executive was the next question.

Mr. Wilson renewed his declarations in favor of an appointment by the people. He wished to derive not only both branches of the Legislature from the people, without the intervention of the State Legislatures 〈but the Executive also;〉 in order to make them as independent as possible of each other, as well as of the States;

Col. Mason favors the idea, but thinks it impracticable. He wishes however that Mr. W〈ilson〉 might have time to digest it into his own form. — 〈the clause “to be chosen by the National Legislature” — was accordingly postponed. —〉13

Mr. Rutlidge suggests an election of the Executive by the second branch only of the national Legislature —

〈The Committee then rose and the House

〈adjourned.〉14

Edition: current; Page: [70]

YATES
Friday, June 1st, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment.

The 7th resolve, that a national executive be instituted. Agreed to.

To continue in office for seven years. Agreed to.

A general authority to execute the laws. Agreed to.

To appoint all officers not otherwise provided for. Agreed to.

Adjourned to the next day.

KING
Comee. of the Whole

1 June. Ex. power to be in one person

Friday 1 June

This amend. moved by Wilson & secd. by Cs. Pinck.

Rutledge in favor of it. Sherman proposes to leave the number wth. the Legislature —

Wilson — an extive. ought to possess the powers of secresy, vigour & Dispatch — and to be so constituted as to be responsible — Extive. powers are designed for the execution of Laws, and appointing Officers not otherwise to be appointed — If appointments of Officers are made by a sing. Ex he is responsible for the propriety of the same. not so where the Executive is numerous

Mad: agrees wth. Wilson in his difinition of executive powers — executive powers ex vi termini, do not include the Rights of war & peace &c. but the powers shd. be confined and defined — if large we shall have the Evils of elective Monarchies — probably the best plan will be a single Executive of long duration wth. a Council, with liberty to depart from their Opinion at his peril —

Gerry — I am in favr. of a council to advise the Ex — they will be the organs of information of the persons proper for Edition: current; Page: [71] offices — their opinions may be recorded — they may be called to acct. for yr. Opinions. & impeached — if so their Responsibility will be certain, and in Case of misconduct their punishment certain —

Randolph — Danger of Monarchy, or Tyranny, if the ex. consists of three persons they may execute yr. Functions without Danger — if one he can not be impeached until the expiration of his Office, or he will be dependent on the Legislature — such an Unity wd. be agt. the fixed Genius of America &c &c —

Wilson

We must consider two points of Importance existing in our Country — the extent & manners of the United States — the former seems to require the vigour of Monarchy, the manners are agt. a King and are purely republican — Montesquieu is in favor of confederated Republicks — I am for such a confedn. if we can take for its basis liberty, and can ensure a vigourous execution of the Laws.

A single ex. will not so soon introduce a Mony. or Despotism, as a complex one.

The people of Amer. did not oppose the British King but the parliament — the opposition was not agt. an Unity but a corrupt multitude —

Wmson — There is no true difference between a complex executive, formed by a single person with a Council, or by three or more persons as the executive —

The Question of the unity or plurality of the Exve. postponed — and the Come. proceeded to examine the powers — these points being discussed — the Come took into consideration the Duration of the Office of the Ex —

Wilson for 3 Yrs and no exclusion or rotation —

Mad. 7 years and an exclusion for ever after — or during good behavior —

Mason — in Favor of 7 years. and an exclusion afterwards — thereby he is made independent of the Legislature, who are proposed as his Electors — if he is capable of reelection by the Leg: the Ex. will be complaisant, & reelect — the Executive Edition: current; Page: [72] will be subservient and court a reelection — on the Quest to fill the Blank for seven yrs

15[Endorsed: June 1 — | Number power and duration of Ex. | Duration 7 yrs and no reelection | Mass. dived | Con N Car S Car Geor No. | N Y N J Pen Del Virg Aye | Madison 7 yrs or good Behaviour
Mass. divd. Con no NY. ay } filled15
Gor. & K. ay } NC. no NJ. ay }
Ger. & Sg. no } SC. no Pen. ay }
G. no Del. ay }
Vir ay }

HAMILTON

1 — The way to prevent a majority from having an interest to oppress the minority is to enlarge the sphere.
Madison 2 — Elective Monarchies turbulent and unhappy — Men unwilling to admit so decided a superiority of merit in an individual as to accede to his appointment to so preeminent a station —
If several are admitted as there will be many competitors of equal merit they may be all included — contention prevented — & the republican genius consulted —
Randolph — I Situation of this Country peculiar —
II — Taught the people an aversion to Monarchy
III All their constitutions opposed to it —
IV — Fixed character of the people opposed to it —
V — If proposed ’twill prevent a fair discussion of the plan.
VI — Why cannot three execute?
View of America — — Great exertions only requisite on particular occasions
Safety to liberty the great object — { — Legislature may appoint a dictator when necessary —
{ — Seeds of destruction — Slaves might be easily enlisted —
{ — May appoint men devoted to them — & even bribe the legislature by offices —
{ — Chief Magistrate must be free from impeachment
Wilson — extent — manners —
Confederated republic unites advantages & banishes disadvantages of other kinds of governments —
————— rendering the executive ineligible an infringement of the right of election —
Bedford — peculiar talents requisite for executive, therefore ought to be opportunity of ascertaining his talents — therefore frequent change —
Princ 1 The further men are from the ultimate point of importance the readier they will be concur in a change —
2 Civilization approximates the different species of governments —
3 — Vigour is the result of several principles — Activity wisdom — confidence —
4 — Extent of limits will occasion the non attendance of remote members & tend to throw the government into the hands of the Country near the seat of government — a reason for strengthening the upper branch & multiplying the Inducements to attendance —

PIERCE
On the Executive Power

Mr. Wilson said the great qualities in the several parts of the Executive are vigor and dispatch. Making peace and Edition: current; Page: [74] war are generally determined by Writers on the Laws of Nations to be legislative powers.

Mr. Maddison was of opinion that an Executive formed of one Man would answer the purpose when aided by a Council, who should have the right to advise and record their proceedings, but not to control his authority.

Mr. Gerry was of opinion that a Council ought to be the medium through which the feelings of the people ought to be communicated to the Executive.

Mr. Randolph advanced a variety of arguments opposed to a unity of the Executive, and doubted whether even a Council would be sufficient to check the improper views of an ambitious Man. A unity of the Executive he observed would savor too much of a monarchy.

Mr. Wilson said that in his opinion so far from a unity of the Executive tending to progress towards a monarchy it would be the circumstance to prevent it. A plurality in the Executive of Government would probably produce a tyranny as bad as the thirty Tyrants of Athens, or as the Decemvirs of Rome.

A confederated republic joins the happiest kind of Government with the most certain security to liberty.

(a consideration.)

Every Government has certain moral and physical qualities engrafted in their very nature, — one operates on the sentiments of men, the other on their fears.

Mr. Dickinson was of opinion that the powers of the Executive ought to be defined before we say in whom the power shall vest.

Mr. Bedford said he was for appointing the Executive Officer for three years, and that he should be eligible for nine years only.

Mr. Maddison observed16 that to prevent a Man from holding an Office longer than he ought, he may for malpractice be impeached and removed; — he is not for any ineligibility.

Edition: current; Page: [75]

McHENRY
June 1st.

Recd an express from home that my brother lay dangerously sick in consequence of which I set out immediately for Baltimore.

Edition: current; Page: [76]

SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 1787.

JOURNAL
Saturday June 2nd 1787.

The honorable William Samuel Johnson Esquire, a Deputy of the State of Connecticut, and the honorable Daniel of St Thomas Jenifer, a Deputy of the State of Maryland,1 and the honorable John Lansing junior a Deputy of the State of New-York attended and took their seats.

The following credentials were produced and read.

(here insert the credentials of the Deputies of the State of Maryland)2

The Order of the day being read,

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American union.

Mr President left the Chair

Mr. Gorham took the Chair of the Committee.

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again

Resolved that this House will on Monday again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union.

And then the House adjourned till Monday next at 11 o’clock A.M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Saturday June 2nd 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair.

It was moved and seconded to postpone the farther consideration Edition: current; Page: [77] of the resolution, submitted by Mr Randolph, which respects the Executive — in order to take up the consideration of the resolution respecting the second branch of the Legislature.

And on the question to postpone

it passed in the negative3

it was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of these words namely

“to be chosen by the Natl. Lege”

in order to take up the following resolution submitted by Mr Wilson. namely.

“Resolved that the Executive Magistracy shall be elected in manner following.

That the States be divided intoDistricts — and that the persons, qualified to vote in each District, electMembers for their respective Districts to be electors of the Executive Magistracy

That the electors of the Executive Magistracy meet and they or anyof them shall elect by ballot, but not out of their own Body,Person in whom the Executive authority of the national government shall be vested.” “and on the question to postpone

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 2; noes — 7; divided — 1.]4

It was then moved and seconded to agree to the words in the resolution, submitted by Mr. Randolph, so as to read

“To be chosen by the national legislature for the term of seven years”

And on the question to agree to these words.

it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 8; noes — 2]5

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of that part of the resolution, as submitted by Mr Randolph, which respects the stipend of the Executive, in Order to introduce the following motion made by Dr Franklin namely

Edition: current; Page: [78]

“whose necessary expences shall be defrayed, but who shall receive no salary, stipend, Fee or reward whatsoever for their services.”

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the said motion offered by Dr Franklin.

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved by Mr Dickinson seconded by Mr Bedford to amend the resolution, before the Committee, by adding after the words “to be chosen by the national legislature for the term of seven years” the following words

“to be removable by the national legislature upon request by a majority of the legislatures of the individual States”

it was moved and seconded to strike out the words “upon request by a majority of the legislatures of the individual States”

On the question to strike out

it passed in the negative6

The question being taken to agree to the amendment, offered by Mr Dickinson

it passed in the negative. [Ayes — 1; noes — 9.]7

The question being then taken on the words contained in the resolution submitted by Mr Randolph, namely “to be ineligible a second time”

it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 7; noes — 2; divided — 1.]8

It was then moved by Mr. Williamson seconded by Mr Davie to add the following words to the last clause of the resolution respecting the executive namely “and to be removable on impeachment and conviction of mal-practice or neglect of duty”

Edition: current; Page: [79]

On the question to add the words

it passed in the affirmative.9

It was then moved by Mr Rutledge seconded by Mr C Pinckney to fill up the blank after the words “executive to consist of — with the words “One person.”

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the last motion.

and on the question to postpone.

it passed in the affirmative.9

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit againthe Committee then rose.

DETAILS OF AYES AND NOES
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13.
N. H. Massa: C: R. I. N. Y N. J: P: D: Mary: V. N. C. S. C. G.
ayes noes
[10] 3 7 no no aye aye no aye no no no no
[11] 2 7 no no divided aye no aye no no no no
[12] 2 8 aye aye aye no aye no aye aye aye aye
[13] 3 7 no aye no no no no no no aye aye
[14] 1 9 no no no no aye no no no no no
[15] 2 7 aye no Executive to be again ineligible aye divided aye aye aye aye aye no
[16] 6 4 aye aye aye no no no no aye ay aye

MADISON
Saturday June 2d. In Committee of whole.

〈William Saml. Johnson, from Connecticut, Daniel of St. Thomas Jennifer, from Maryld — & John Lansing Jr. from N. York, took their seats —〉10

〈It was movd. & 2ded. to postpone ye Resol: of Mr. Randolph respecting the Executive in order to take up the 2d. branch of the Legislature; which being negatived by Mas: Con: Del: Virg: N. C. S. C. Geo: agst. N. Y. Pena. Maryd〉10

Edition: current; Page: [80]

〈The〉 mode of appointg ye Executive 〈was〉 resumed.

Mr. Wilson made the following motion, 〈to be substituted for the mode proposed by Mr. Randolph’s resolution.〉

“that the Executive Magistracy shall be 〈elected〉 in the following manner: 〈That〉 the States be divided intodistricts: 〈& that〉 the persons qualified 〈to vote in each〉 district for members of the first branch of the national Legislature electmembers for their respective districts to be electors of the Executive magistracy. that the said Electors of the Executive magistracy meet atand they or anyof them so met shall proceed to elect by ballot, but not out of their own bodypersonin whom the Executive authority of the national Government shall be vested.”11

Mr. Wilson repeated his arguments in favor of an election without the intervention of the States. He supposed too that this mode would produce more confidence among the people in the first magistrate, than an election by the national Legislature.

Mr. Gerry, opposed the election by the national legislature. There would be a constant intrigue kept up for the appointment. The Legislature & the candidates wd. bargain & play into one another’s hands. votes would be given by the former under promises or expectations from the latter, of recompensing them by services to members of the Legislature or to their friends. He liked the principle of Mr. Wilson’s motion, but fears it would alarm & give a handle to the State partizans, as tending to supersede altogether the State authorities. He thought the Community not yet ripe for stripping the States of their powers, even such 〈as〉 might 〈not〉 be requisite for local purposes. He 〈was〉 for waiting till people 〈should〉 feel more the necessity of it. He seemed to prefer the taking the suffrages of the States instead of Electors, or letting the Legislatures nominate, and the electors appoint. 〈He was〉 not clear that the people ought to act directly even in 〈the〉 choice of electors, being too little informed of personal characters in large districts, and liable to deceptions.

Edition: current; Page: [81]

Mr Williamson could see no advantage in the introduction of Electors chosen by the people who who would stand in the same relation to them as the State Legislatures, whilst the expedient would be attended with great trouble and expence. On the question for agreeing to Mr. Wilson’s 〈substitute, it was negatived:〉 Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no.* Pa. ay. Del. no. Mard. ay. Virga. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geoa. no. [Ayes — 2; noes — 8.]

On the question for electing the Executive by the national legislature, 〈for the term of seven years,12 it was agreed to〉13 Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. Pena. no. Del. ay. Maryd. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [ayes — 8; noes — 2.]

〈Docr. Franklin14 moved that what related to the compensation for the services of the Executive be postponed, in order to substitute — “whose necessary expences shall be defrayed, but who shall receive no salary, stipend fee or reward whatsoever for their services” — He said that being very sensible of the effect of age on his memory, he had been unwilling to trust to that for the observations which seemed to support his motion, and had reduced them to writing, that he might with the permission of the Committee, read instead of speaking them. Mr. Wilson made an offer to read the paper, which was accepted —〉15

〈The following is a literal copy of the paper.〉16

Sir.

It is with reluctance that I rise to express a disapprobation of any one article of the plan for which we are so much obliged to the honorable gentleman who laid it before us. From its first reading I have borne a good will to it, and in general Edition: current; Page: [82] wished it success. In this particular of salaries to the Executive branch I happen to differ; and as my opinion may appear new and chimerical, it is only from a persuasion that it is right, and from a sense of duty that I hazard it. The Committee will judge of my reasons when they have heard them, and their judgment may possibly change mine. — I think I see inconveniences in the appointment of salaries; I see none in refusing them, but on the contrary, great advantages.

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. place before the eyes of such men a post of honour that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is that renders the British Government so tempestuous. The struggles for them are the true sources of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the Nation, distracting its councils, hurrying sometimes into fruitless & mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace.

And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your Government and be your rulers. And these too will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation: For their vanquished competitors of the same spirit, and from the same motives will perpetually be endeavouring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

Besides these evils, Sir, tho’ we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not Edition: current; Page: [83] be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations. And there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them. —Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the Governing & Governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partizans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharoah, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants forever. It will be said, that we don’t propose to establish Kings. I know it. But there is a natural inclination in mankind to Kingly Government. It sometimes relieves them from Aristocratic domination. They had rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among Citizens, and that they like. I am apprehensive therefore, perhaps too apprehensive, that the Government of these States, may in future times, end in a Monarchy. But this Catastrophe I think may be long delayed, if in our proposed system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction & tumult, by making our posts of honor, places of profit. If we do, I fear that tho’ we do employ at first a number, and not a single person, the number will in time be set aside, it will only nourish the fœtus of a King, as the honorable gentleman from Virginia very aptly expressed it, and a King will the sooner be set over us.

It may be imagined by some that this is an Utopian Idea, and that we can never find men to serve us in the Executive department, without paying them well for their services. I Edition: current; Page: [84] conceive this to be a mistake. Some existing facts present themselves to me, which incline me to a contrary opinion. The high Sheriff of a County in England is an honorable office, but it is not a profitable one. It is rather expensive and therefore not sought for. But yet, it is executed and well executed, and usually by some of the principal Gentlemen of the County. In France the office of Counsellor or Member of their Judiciary Parliaments is more honorable. It is therefore purchased at a high price: There are indeed fees on the law proceedings, which are divided among them, but these fees do not amount to more than three per Cent on the sum paid for the place. Therefore as legal interest is there at five per Ct. they in fact pay two per Ct. for being allowed to do the Judiciary business of the Nation, which is at the same time entirely exempt from the burden of paying them any salaries for their services. I do not however mean to recommend this as an eligible mode for our Judiciary department. I only bring the instance to shew that the pleasure of doing good & serving their Country and the respect such conduct entitles them to, are sufficient motives with some minds to give up a great portion of their time to the Public, without the mean inducement of pecuniary satisfaction.

Another instance is that of a respectable Society who have made the experiment, and practiced it with success more than an hundred years. I mean the Quakers. It is an established rule with them, that they are not to go to law; but in their controversies they must apply to their monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings. Committees of these sit with patience to hear the parties, and spend much time in composing their differences. In doing this they are supported by a sense of duty, and the respect paid to usefulness. It is honorable to be so employed, but it was never made profitable by salaries, fees, or perquisites. And indeed in all cases of public service the less the profit the greater the honor.

To bring the matter nearer home, have we not seen the great and most important of our officers, that of General of our armies executed for eight years together without the smallest salary, by a Patriot whom I will not now offend by Edition: current; Page: [85] any other praise; and this through fatigues and distresses in common with the other brave men his military friends & companions, and the constant anxieties peculiar to his station? And shall we doubt finding three or four men in all the U. States, with public spirit enough to bear sitting in peaceful Council for perhaps an equal term, merely to preside over our civil concerns, and see that our laws are duly executed. Sir, I have a better opinion of our country. I think we shall never be without a sufficient number of wise and good men to undertake and execute well and faithfully the Office in question.

Sir, The saving of the salaries that may at first be proposed is not an object with me. The subsequent mischiefs of proposing them are what I apprehend. And therefore it is that I move the amendment. If it is not seconded or accepted I must be contented with the satisfaction of having delivered my opinion frankly and done my duty.

The motion was seconded by Col. Hamilton with the view he said merely of bringing so respectable a proposition before the Committee, and which was besides enforced by arguments that had a certain degree of weight. No debate ensued, and the proposition was postponed for the consideration of the members. It was treated with great respect, but rather for the author of it, than from any apparent conviction of its expediency or practicability.

Mr. Dickenson moved “that the Executive be made removeable by the National Legislature on the request of a majority of the Legislatures of individual States”. It was necessary he said to place the power of removing somewhere. He did not like the plan of impeaching the Great Officers of State. He did not know how provision could be made for removal of them in a better mode than that which he had proposed. He had no idea of abolishing the State Governments as some gentlemen seemed inclined to do. The happiness of this Country in his opinion required considerable power to be left in the hands of the States.

Mr. Bedford seconded the motion.

Mr. Sherman contended that the National Legislature should have power to remove the Executive at pleasure.

Edition: current; Page: [86]

Mr. Mason. Some mode of displacing an unfit magistrate is rendered indispensable by the fallibility of those who choose, as well as by the corruptibility of the man chosen. He opposed decidedly the making the Executive the mere creature of the Legislature as a violation of the fundamental principle of good Government.

Mr. 〈Madison〉 & Mr. Wilson observed that it would leave an equality of agency in the small with the great States; that it would enable a minority of the people to prevent ye removal of an officer who had rendered himself justly criminal in the eyes of a majority; that it would open a door for intrigues agst. him in States where his administration tho’ just might be unpopular, and might tempt him to pay court to particular States whose leading partizans he might fear, or wish to engage as his partizens. They both thought it bad policy 〈to introduce such a mixture〉 of the State authorities, when their agency could be otherwise supplied.

Mr. Dickenson considered the business as so important that no man ought to be silent or reserved. He went into a discourse of some length, the sum of which was, that the Legislative, Executive, & Judiciary departments ought to be made as independt. as possible; but that such an Executive as some seemed to have in contemplation was not consistant with a republic; that a firm Executive could only exist in a limited monarchy. In the British Govt. itself the weight of the Executive arises from the attachments which the Crown draws to itself, & not merely from the force of its prerogatives. In place of these attachments we must look out for something else. One source of stability is the double branch of the Legislature. The division of the Country into distinct States formed the other principal source of stability. This division ought therefore to be maintained, and considerable powers to be left with the States. This was the ground of his consolation for the future fate of his Country. Without this, and in case of a consolidation of the States into one great Republic17 we might read its fate in the history of smaller ones. A limited Monarchy Edition: current; Page: [87] he considered as one of the best Governments in the world. It was not certain that the same blessings were derivable from any other form. It was certain that equal blessings had never yet been derived from any of the republican form. A limited monarchy however was out of the question. The spirit of the times — the state of our affairs, forbade the experiment, if it were desireable. Was it possible moreover in the nature of things to introduce it even if these obstacles were less insuperable. A House of Nobles was essential to such a Govt. Could these be created by a breath, or by a a stroke of the pen? No. They were the growth of ages, and could only arise under a complication of circumstances none of which existed in this Country. But though a form the most perfect perhaps in itself be unattainable. we must not despair. If antient republics have been found to flourish for a moment only & then vanish forever, it only proves that they were badly constituted; and that we ought to seek for every remedy for their diseases. One of these remedies he conceived to be the accidental lucky division of this country into distinct States; a division which some seemed desirous to abolish altogether.

As to the point of representation in the national legislature as it might affect States of different sizes, he said it must probably end in mutual concession. He hoped that each State would retain an equal voice at least in one branch of the National Legislature, and supposed the sums paid within each state would form a better ratio for the other branch than either the number of inhabitants or the quantum of property.

〈A motion, being made to strike out “on request by a majority of the Legislatures of the individual States” and rejected, Connecticut. S. Carol: & Geo. being ay. the rest no: the question was taken —〉18

On Mr. Dickenson’s motion for making Executive removeable by Natl. Legislature at request of majority of State Legislatures 〈was also rejected〉 all the States 〈being in the negative〉 except Delaware which 〈gave an〉 affirmative vote.

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The Question for making ye. Executive ineligible after seven years, 〈was next next taken, and agreed to:〉

Massts. ay. Cont. no. N Y — ay Pa. divd. Del. ay. Maryd. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. no:* [Ayes — 7; noes — 2; divided — 1.]

〈Mr. Williamson 2ded. by Mr. Davie moved to add to the last Clause, the words — “and to be removeable on impeachment & conviction of mal-practice or neglect of duty” — which was agreed to.〉18

〈Mr. Rutlidge &〉18 Mr. C. Pinkney moved that the blank for the no. of persons in the Executive be filled with the words “one person”. He supposed the reasons to be so obvious & conclusive in favor of one that no member would oppose the motion.

Mr. Randolph opposed it with great earnestness, declaring that he should not do justice to the Country which sent him if he were silently to suffer the establishment. of a Unity in the Executive department. He felt an opposition to it which he believed he should continue to feel as long as he lived. He urged 1. that the permanent temper of the people was adverse to the very semblance of Monarchy. 2. that a unity was unnecessary a plurality being equally competent to all the objects of the department. 3. that the necessary confidence would never be reposed in a single Magistrate. 4. that the appointments would generally be in favor of some inhabitant near the center of the Community, and consequently the remote parts would not be on an equal footing. 〈He was in favor of three members of the Executive to be drawn from different portions of the Country.〉20

Mr. Butler contended strongly for a single magistrate as most likely to answer the purpose of the remote parts. If one man should be appointed he would be responsible to the whole, and would be impartial to its interests. If three or Edition: current; Page: [89] more should be taken from as many districts, there would be a constant struggle for local advantages. In Military matters this would be particularly mischievous. He said his opinion on this point had been formed under the opportunity he had had of seeing the manner in which a plurality of military heads distracted Holland when threatened with invasion by the imperial troops. One man was for directing the force to the defence of this part, another to that part of the Country, just as he happened to be swayed by prejudice or interest.

〈The motion was then〉 postpd. 〈the Committee rose〉 & the House Adjd.21

YATES
Saturday, June 2d, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Mr. Pinkney called for the order of the day.

The convention went into committee of the whole.

Mr. Wilson moved that the states should be divided into districts, consisting of one or more states, and each district to elect a number of senators to form the second branch of the national legislature — The senators to be elected, and a certain proportion to be annually dismissed — avowedly on the plan of the New-York senate.22 — Question put — rejected.

In the 7th resolve, the words to be chosen by the national legislature, were agreed to.

President Franklin moved, that the consideration of that part of the 7th resolve, which had in object the making provision for a compensation for the service of the executive, be postponed for the purpose of considering a motion, that the executive should receive no salary, stipend or emolument for the devotion of his time to the public services, but that his expenses should be paid.

Postponed.

Mr. Dickinson moved that in the seventh resolution, the Edition: current; Page: [90] words, and removable on impeachment and conviction for malconduct or neglect in the execution of his office, should be inserted after the words ineligible a second time. Agreed to. The remainder postponed.

Mr. Butler moved to fill the number of which the executive should consist.

Mr. Randolph. — The sentiments of the people ought to be consulted — they will not hear of the semblance of monarchy — He preferred three divisions of the states, and an executive to be taken from each. If a single executive, those remote from him would be neglected — local views would be attributed to him, frequently well founded, often without reason. This would excite disaffection. He was therefore for an executive of three.23

Mr. Butler. — Delays, divisions and dissentions arise from an executive consisting of many. Instanced Holland’s distracted state, occasioned by her many counsellors. Further consideration postponed.

Mr. C. Pinkney gave notice for the re-consideration of the mode of election of the first branch.

Adjourned till Monday next.

KING

Dickinson

A vigs. executive with checks &c can not be republican, it is peculiar to monarchy —

The monarchl. Ex is vigour — not alone from power but attachment or respect —

The Repub. plan may have an equivalent to the attachmt. that is the 3d Br. of the Legis:

We cannot have a limited monarchy instanter — our situation will not allow it — Repubs. are for a while industrious but finally destroy ymselves — they were badly constituted —

I dread a Consolidation of the States

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I hope for a good national Govt. from the present Division of the State —

With a feeble executive — We are to have a Legis: of 2 Br. or 2 Legislatures the Sovereign of the nation. This will bring a Change unless you have the Judicial to aid and correct the Executive — The first Br: will be on another plan, but the 2d. may be on the present plan — 1st. Br. to be formed by the Quotas pd. into ye. Genl Treasury — 2d B.

The Ex to be removed on the, petition of 7. Sts by the national Legislature —24

PIERCE

Mr. Charles Pinckney25 was of opinion that the election of the Executive ought to be by the national Legislature, that then respect will be paid to that character best qualified to fill the Executive department of Government.

Mr. Wilson proposed that the U. States should be divided into districts, each of which should elect a certain number of persons, who should have the appointment of the Executive.

Mr. Gerry observed that if the appointment of the Executive should be made by the national Legislature, it would be done in such a way as to prevent intrigue. If the States are divided into districts, there will be too much inconvenience in nominating the Electors.

Mr. Wm’son observed that if the Electors were to chuse the Executive it would be attended with considerable expence and trouble; whereas the appointment made by the Legislature would be easy, and in his opinion, the least liable to objection.

On the subject of salary to the Executive Dr. Franklin arose and produced a written Speech. It was, on account of his age, read by Mr. Wilson, in which was advanced an opinion that no salaries should be allowed the public Officers, but that their necessary expences should be defrayed. This would make Men, he said, more desirous of obtaining the Esteem of Edition: current; Page: [92] their Countrymen, — than avaricious or eager, in the pursuit of wealth.

Mr. Dickinson moved that the Executive should be removed at the request of a majority of the State Legislatures.

No Government can produce such good consequences as a limited monarchy, especially such as the English Constitution.

The application of the several Legislatures brings with it no force to the national Legislature.

Mr. Maddison said it was far from being his wish that every executive Officer should remain in Office, without being amenable to some Body for his conduct.

Mr. Randolph was for appointing three Persons, from three districts of the Union, to compose the Executive. A single Person may be considered the foetus of a Monarchy.

Mr. Butler was of opinion that a unity of the Executive would be necessary in order to promote dispatch; — that a plurality of Persons would never do. When he was in Holland the States general were obliged to give up their power to a French Man to direct their military operations.

Edition: current; Page: [93]

MONDAY, JUNE 4, 1787.

JOURNAL
Monday June 4th 1787.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the american Union.

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee.

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the american union.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’clock a. m.

In a Committee of the whole House

Monday June 4. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair

It was moved and seconded to proceed to the farther consider of the propositions submitted to the Committee by Mr Randolph — when

On motion of Mr C. Pinckney seconded by Mr Wilson to fill up the blank after the words “that a national executive be instituted to consist of” with the words “a single person”

On the question to fill up the blank with the words “a single person”

it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 7; noes — 3.]1

It was then moved and seconded to take into consideration the first clause of the eighth resolution, submitted by Mr Randolph. namely

Edition: current; Page: [94]

“Resolved that the national executive and a convenient number of the national judiciary ought to compose a Council of revision”

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the said clause in order to introduce the following resolution submitted by Mr Gerry namely

“resolved that the national Executive shall have a right to negative any legislative act, which shall not be afterwards passed unless byparts of each branch of the national legislature.”

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 6; noes — 4.]2

It was then moved by Mr Wilson seconded by Mr Hamilton to strike out the words

“shall not be afterwards passed but but byparts of each branch of the national legislature.”

and on the question to strike out the words

it passed unan: in the negative3

It was then moved by Mr Butler seconded by Dr Franklin that the resolution be altered so as to read

“resolved that the national executive have a power to suspend any legislative act for

and on the question to agree to the alteration

it passed unan: in the negative.4

A question was then taken on the resolution submitted by Mr Gerry5 namely

“resolved that the national executive shall have a right to negative any legislative act which shall not be afterwards passed unless by two third parts of each branch of the national legislature”

And on the question to agree to the same

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 8; noes — 2.]6

It was then moved by Mr Wilson seconded by Mr Madison Edition: current; Page: [95] that the following amendment be made to the last resolution after the words “national Executive” to add the words “a convenient number of the national judiciary.” —

An objection of order being taken by Mr Hamilton to the introduction of the last amendment at this time. — notice was given by Mr Wilson seconded by Mr Madison that the same would be moved to-morrow. — Wednesday assigned to reconsider

It was then moved and seconded to proceed to the consideration of the 9th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph

When on motion to agree to the first clause namely

“resolved that a national judiciary be established”

it passed in the affirmative

It was then moved and seconded to add these words to the first clause of the ninth resolution namely

“to consist of One supreme tribunal, and of one or more inferior tribunals.

and on the question to agree to the same.

it passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again

The Committee then rose.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13.
N. H. Massa: C: R. I. N. Y. N. J: P: D: Mary: V: N. C. S. C. G.
ayes noes
[17] 7 3 aye aye single executive no aye no no aye aye aye aye
[18] 6 4 aye no aye aye no no no aye aye aye
[19] 0 10 no no On giving the Executive a complete negative no no no no no no no no
[20] no no no no no no no no no no
[21] 2 8 aye no limiting the negative of the executive aye aye aye no aye aye aye aye
Edition: current; Page: [96]

MADISON
Monday June 4. In Committee of the whole

〈The〉 Question 〈was〉 resumed 〈on motion of Mr. Pinkney 2ded. by Wilson〉 “shall the blank for the number of the Executive be filled with 〈“a single〉 person”?7

Mr. Wilson was in favor of the motion. It had been opposed by the gentleman from Virga. (Mr. Randolph) but the arguments used had not convinced him. He observed that the objections of Mr. R. were levelled not so much agst. the measure itself, as agst. its unpopularity. If he could suppose that it would occasion a rejection of the plan of which it should form a part, though the part was an important one, yet he would give it up rather than lose the whole. On examination he could see no evidence of the alledged antipathy of the people. On the contrary he was persuaded that it does not exist. All know that a single magistrate is not a King. one fact has great weight with him. All the 13 States tho’ agreeing in scarce any other instance, agree in placing a single magistrate at the head of the Governmt. The idea of three heads has taken place in none. The degree of power is indeed different: but there are no co-ordinate heads. In addition to his former reasons for preferring a Unity, he would mention another. The tranquility not less than the vigor of the Govt. he thought would be favored by it. Among three equal members, he foresaw nothing but uncontrouled, continued, & violent animosities; which would not only interrupt the public administration; but diffuse their poison thro’ the other branches of Govt., thro’ the States, and at length thro’ the people at large. If the members were to be unequal in power the principle of the opposition to the Unity was given up. If equal, the making them an odd number would not be a remedy. In Courts of Justice there are two sides only to a question. In the Legislative & Executive departmts. questions have commonly many sides. Each member therefore might espouse a separate one & no two agree.

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Mr. Sherman. This matter is of great importance and ought to be well considered before it is determined. Mr. Wilson he said had observed that in each State a single magistrate was placed at the head of the Govt. It was so he admitted, and properly so, and he wished the same policy to prevail in the federal Govt. But then it should be also remarked that in a all the States there was a Council of advice, without which the first magistrate could not act. A Council he thought necessary to make the establishment acceptable to the people. Even in G. B. the King has a council; and though he appoints it himself, its advice has its weight with him, and attracts the Confidence of the people.

Mr. Williamson asks Mr. Wilson whether he means to annex a Council

Mr. Wilson means 〈to have〉 no Council, which oftener serves to cover, than prevent malpractices.

Mr Gerry. was at a loss to discover the policy of three members for the Executive. It wd. be extremely inconvenient in many instances, particularly in military matters, whether relating to the militia, an army, or a navy. It would be a general with three heads.8

On the question for a single Executive 〈it was agreed to〉 Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. Pena. ay. Del. no. Maryd. no. Virg. ay. (Mr. R & Mr. Blair no — Docr. Mc.Cg. Mr. M. & Gen W. ay. Col. Mason being no, but not in house, Mr. Wythe ay but gone home). N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Georga. ay. [Ayes — 7; noes — 3.]

〈First〉 Clause 〈of Proposition 8th〉 relating to a Council of Revision taken into con-consideration.

Mr. Gerry doubts whether the Judiciary ought to form a part of it, as they will have a sufficient check agst. encroachments on their own department by their exposition of the laws, which involved a power of deciding on their Constitutionality. In some States the Judges had 〈actually〉 set aside laws as being agst. the Constitution. This was done too with general approbation. It was quite foreign from the Edition: current; Page: [98] nature of ye. office to make them judges of the policy of public measures. 〈He moves to postpone〉 the clause 〈in order〉 to propose “that the National Executive 〈shall〉 have a right to negative any Legislative act 〈which〉 shall not be afterwards passed byparts of each branch of the national Legislature.9

Mr. King seconds the motion, observing that the Judges ought to be able to expound the law as it should come before them, free from the bias of having participated in its formation.

Mr. Wilson thinks neither the original proposition nor the amendments go far enough. If the Legislative Exētiv & Judiciary ought to be distinct & independent, The Executive ought to have an absolute negative. Without such a Self-defence the Legislature can at any moment sink it into non-existence. He was for varying the proposition in such a manner as to give the Executive & Judiciary jointly an absolute negative

On the question to postpone in order to take Mr. Gerry’s proposition into consideration 〈it was agreed to〉 Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Maryd. no. Virga. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Ga. ay. [Ayes — 6; noes — 4.]

Mr. Gerry’s proposition being now before Committee, Mr. Wilson & Mr. Hamilton move that the last part of it 〈(viz wch. sl. not be afterwds. passed” unless by parts of each branch of the National legislature)〉10 be struck out, so as to give the Executive an absolute negative on the laws. 〈There was no danger they thought of such a power being too much exercised. It was mentioned (by Col: Hamilton) that the King of G. B. had not exerted his negative since the Revolution.〉11

Mr. Gerry sees no necessity for so great a controul over the legislature as the best men in the Community would be comprised in the two branches of it.

Docr. Franklin, said he was sorry to differ from his colleague Edition: current; Page: [99] for whom he had a very great respect, on any occasion, but he could not help it on this. He had had some experience of this check in the Executive on the Legislature, under the proprietary Government of Pena. The negative of the Governor was constantly made use of to extort money. No good law whatever could be passed without a private bargain with him. An increase of his salary, or some donation, was always made a condition; till at last it became the regular practice, to have orders in his favor on the Treasury, presented along with the bills to be signed, so that he might actually receive the former before he should sign the latter. When the Indians were scalping the western people, and notice of it arrived, the concurrence of the Governor in the means of self-defence could not be got, till it was agreed that his Estate should be exempted from taxation. so that the people were to fight for the security of his property, whilst he was to bear no share of the burden. This was a mischievous sort of check. If the Executive was to have a Council, such a power would be less objectionable. It was true the King of G. B. had not, As was said, exerted his negative since the Revolution: but that matter was easily explained. The bribes and emoluments now given to the members of parliament rendered it unnecessary, everything being done according to the will of the Ministers. He was afraid, if a negative should be given as proposed, that more power and money would be demanded, till at last eno’ would be gotten to influence & bribe the Legislature into a compleat subjection to the will of the Executive.

Mr. Sherman was agst. enabling any one man to stop the will of the whole. No one man could be found so far above all the rest in wisdom. He thought we ought to avail ourselves of his wisdom in revising the laws, but not permit him to overrule the decided and cool opinions of the Legislature.

〈Mr.〉M〈adison〉 supposed that if a proper proportion of each branch should be required to overrule the objections of the Executive, it would answer the same purpose as an absolute negative. It would rarely if ever happen that the Executive constituted as ours is proposed to be would, have firmness eno’ Edition: current; Page: [100] to resist the Legislature, unless backed by a certain part of the body itself.12 The King of G. B. with all his splendid attributes would not be able to withstand ye. unanimous and eager wishes of both houses of Parliament. To give such a prerogative would certainly be obnoxious to the 〈temper of this country; its present temper at least.〉

Mr. Wilson believed as others did that this power would seldom be used. The Legislature would know that such a power existed, and would refrain from such laws, as it would be sure to defeat. Its silent operation would therefore preserve harmony and prevent mischief. The case of Pena. formerly was very different from its present case. The Executive was not then as now to be appointed by the people. It will not in this case as in the one cited be supported by the head of a Great Empire, actuated by a different & sometimes opposite interest. The salary too is now proposed to be fixed by the Constitution, or if Dr. F’s idea should be adopted all salary whatever interdicted. The requiring a large proportion of each House to overrule the Executive check might do in peaceable times; but there might be tempestuous moments in which animosties may run high between the Executive and Legislative branches, and in which the former ought to be able to defend itself.

Mr. Butler had been in favor of a single Executive Magistrate; but could he have entertained an idea that a compleat negative on the laws was to be given him he certainly should have acted very differently. It had been observed that in all countries the Executive power is in a constant course of increase. This was certainly the case in G. B. Gentlemen seemed to think that we had nothing to apprehend from an abuse of the Executive power. But why might not a Cataline or a Cromwell arise in this Country as well as in others.

Mr. Bedford was opposed to every check on the Legislative, even the Council of Revision first proposed. He thought it would be sufficient to mark out in the Constitution the boundaries to the Legislative Authority, which would give all the Edition: current; Page: [101] requisite security to the rights of the other departments. The Representatives of the People were the best judges of what was for their interest, and ought to be under no external controul whatever. The two branches would produces a sufficient controul within 〈the Legislature itself.〉

Col. Mason13 observed that a vote had already passed he found (he was out at the time) for vesting the executive powers in a single person. Among these powers was that of appointing to offices in certain cases. The probable abuses of a negative had been well explained by Dr. F as proved by experience, the best of all tests. Will not the same door be opened here. The Executive may refuse its assent to necessary measures till new appointments shall be referred to him; and having by degrees engrossed all these into his own hands, the American Executive, like the British, will by bribery & influence, save himself the trouble & odium of exerting his negative afterwards. We are Mr. Chairman going very far in this business. We are not indeed constituting a British Government, but a more dangerous monarchy, an elective one. We are introducing a new principle into our system, and not necessary as in the British Govt. where the Executive has greater rights to defend. Do gentlemen mean to pave the way to hereditary Monarchy? Do they flatter themselves that the people will ever consent to such an innovation? If they do I venture to tell them, they are mistaken. The people never will consent. And do gentlemen consider the danger of delay, and the still greater danger of a a rejection not for a moment but forever, of the plan which shall be proposed to them. Notwithstanding the oppressions & injustice experienced among us from democracy; the genius of the people is in favor of it, and the genius of the people must be consulted. He could not but consider the federal system as in effect dissolved by the appointment of this Convention to devise a better one. And do gentlemen look forward to the dangerous interval between the extinction of an old, and the establishment of a new Governmt. and to the scenes of confusion which may ensue. He Edition: current; Page: [102] hoped that nothing like a monarchy would ever be attempted in this Country. A hatred to its oppressions had carried the people through the late Revolution. Will it not be eno’ to enable the Executive to suspend offensive laws, till they shall be coolly revised, and the objections to them overruled by a greater majority than was required in the first instance. He never could agree to give up all the rights of the people to a single Magistrate. If more than one had been fixed on, greater powers might have been entrusted to the Executive. He hoped this attempt to give such powers would have its weight hereafter 〈as an argument〉 for increasing the number of the Executive.

Docr. Franklin.14 A Gentleman from S. C. (Mr. Butler) Edition: current; Page: [103] a day or two ago called our attention to the case of the U. Netherlands. He wished the gentleman had been a little fuller, and had gone back to the original of that Govt. The people being under great obligations to the Prince of Orange whose wisdom and bravery had saved them, chose him for the Stadtholder. He did very well. Inconveniences however were felt from his powers; 〈which growing more & more oppressive, they were at length set aside.〉 Still however there was a party for the P. of Orange, which descended to his son who excited insurrections, spilt a great deal of blood, murdered the de Witts, and got the powers revested in the Stadtholder. Afterwards another Prince had power to excite insurrections & to make the Stadtholdership hereditary. And the present Stadthder. is ready to wade thro’ a bloody civil war to the establishment of a monarchy. Col. Mason had mentioned the circumstance of appointing officers. He knew how that point would be managed. No new appointment would be suffered as heretofore in Pensa. unless it be referred to the Executive; so that all profitable offices will be at his disposal. The first man, put at the helm will be a good one. No body knows what sort may come afterwards. The Executive will be always increasing here, as elsewhere, till it ends in a monarchy

On the question for striking out so as to give Executive an absolute Negative —

Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. Pa. no. Dl. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Georga. no. [Ayes — 0; noes — 10.]15

Mr. Butler moved that 〈the Resoln. be altered so as to read — “Resolved that the National Executive have a power to suspend any legislative act for the term of.”〉16

Doctr. Franklin seconds the motion.

Edition: current; Page: [104]

Mr. Gerry observed that a power of suspending might do all the mischief dreaded from the negative of useful laws; without answering the salutary purpose of checking unjust or unwise ones.

On question “for giving this suspending power”. all the States, to wit Massts. Cont. N. Y. Pa. Del. Maryd. Virga. N. C. S. C. Georgia. were no.

On a question for enabling two thirds of each branch of the Legislature to overrule the revisionary check: it passed in the affirmative sub silentio; 〈and was inserted in the blank of Mr. Gerry’s motion.〉17

On the question on Mr. Gerry’s motion which gave the Executive alone without the Judiciary the revisionary controul on the laws 〈unles overruled by ⅔ of each branch.〉18 Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. Pena. ay. Del. ay. Maryd. no. Va. ay N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 8; noes — 2.]19

〈It was moved by Mr. Wilson 2ded. by Mr. Madison — that the following amendment be made to the last resolution — after the words “National Ex.” to add “& a convenient number of the National Judiciary.”20

An Objection of order being taken by Mr. Hamilton to the introduction of the last amendment at this time, notice was given by Mr. W. & Mr. M — that the same wd. be moved tomorrow. — whereupon Wednesday (the day after) was assigned to reconsider the amendment of Mr. Gerry.

It was then moved & 2ded. to proceed to the consideration of the 9th. resolution submitted by Mr. Randolph — when on motion to agree to the first clause namely “Resolved that a National Judiciary be established” It passed in the Affirmative nem. con.

It was then moved and 2ded. to add these words to the first clause of the ninth resolution namely — “to consist of one Edition: current; Page: [105] supreme tribunal, and of one or more inferior tribunals”. which passed in the affirmative —

The Comme. then rose and the House

Adjourned.〉

YATES
Monday, June 4th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment.

Mr. Pinkney moved that the blank in the 7th resolve consisting ofbe filled up with an individual.

Mr. Wilson, in support of the motion, asserted, that it would not be obnoxious to the minds of the people, as they in their state governments were accustomed and reconciled to a single executive. Three executives might divide so that two could not agree in one proposition — the consequence would be anarchy and confusion.

Mr. Sherman thought there ought to be one executive, but that he ought to have a council. Even the king of Great Britain has his privy council.

Mr. Gerry was for one executive — if otherwise, it would be absurd to have it consist of threeNumbers equally in rank would oddly apply to a general or admiral.

Question put — 7 states for, and 3 against. New-York against it.

The 8th resolve, That the executive and a number of the judicial officers ought to compose a council of revision.

Mr. Gerry objects to the clause — moves its postponement in order to let in a motion — that the right of revision should be in the executive only.

Mr. Wilson contends that the executive and judicial ought to have a joint and full negative — they cannot otherwise preserve their importance against the legislature.

Mr. King was against the interference of the judicial — they may be biased in the interpretation — He is therefore to give the executive a complete negative.

Carried to be postponed, 6 states against 4 — New-York for it.

Edition: current; Page: [106]

The next question, that the executive have a complete negative; and it was therefore moved to expunge the remaining part of the clause.

Dr. Franklin against the motion — the power dangerous, and would be abused so as to get money for passing bills.

Mr. Madison against it — because of the difficulty of an executive venturing on the exercise of this negative, and is therefore of opinion that the revisional authority is better.

Mr. Bedford is against the whole, either negative or revisional — the two branches are sufficient checks on each other — no danger of subverting the executive, because his powers may by the convention be so well defined that the legislature cannot overleap the bounds.

Mr. Mason against the negative power in the executive, because it will not accord with the genius of the people.

On this the question was put and carried, nem. con. against expunging part of the clause so as to establish a complete negative.

Mr. Butler then moved that all acts passed by the legislature be suspended for the space ofdays by the executive.

Unanimously in the negative.

It was resolved and agreed, that the blank be filled up with the words two thirds of the legislature. Agreed to.

The question was then put on the whole of the resolve as amended and filled up. Carried, 8 states for — 2 against. New-York for it.

Mr. Wilson then moved for the addition of a convenient number of the national judicial to the executive as a council of revision. Ordered to be taken into consideration to-morrow.

Adjourned until to-morrow.

KING
4 June Comee. of y Whole

On the Question of vesting the executive powers in one or more persons — it was carried for the former

Edition: current; Page: [107]

Mas. Cont. NYk. Pen. Virg. NC. SC. Geor. Ay N Jer. Del. Mar. No.21

Motion by Mr Gerry & Mr Kg to postpone the article for a Council of Revision and adopt one vesting a qualified negative in the Executive —

8 ays 2 no — Cont. & Mard.22

Wilson moves & Hamilton seconds him that the Executive shd. have a complete and full negative — the former is in favor because the natural operation of the Legislature will be to swallow up the Executive — power divided is the object of Contest — the strongest will finally acquire the whole — Butler agt. it — it will terminate in a King — Franklin agt. it — one former Govr. abused his power of negative and extorted Money from the Legislature before he wd. sign yr. Acts. — in one instance of an indian Invasion, he wd. not agree to an act for marching the Militia agt. the Indians unless the Estate of the Proprietors was exempted from Taxes for the support of the Militia —

We ought not to believe that one man Can possess more wisdom than both br’s. of the Legislature — The Negative of the King of G. B. has not been exercised since the Revolution — he effects that by Corruption wh. he might with hazard accomplish by his negative —

Mad: I am opposed to the complete negative, because no man will dare exercise it whn. the law was passed almost unanimously. I doubt whether the Kng of Eng. wd. have firmness sufficient to do it.

Mason. opposed to the Complete negative, We have voted that the Ex. powers be vested in one person, we now propose to give that single person a negative in all Cases. You have agreed that he shall appoint all Officers not otherwise to be appointed — and those which he has not the sole right of appointing, he has a power to negative — with these powers the executive may soon currupt the Legislature & we shall Edition: current; Page: [108] have a monarchy & we must consult the Genius of our People wh. is republican — this Genius will not receive a King —

Franklin

The Pr. of Orange first had limited powers and for life — his son raised a faction and caused himself to be elected by force — in the present Century the Pr. of Orange caused himself to be declared hereditary & — we shall meet with the same misfortune —

Wil } ay Unanimous negative
Ham }
Kg }

Mad. The Judicial ought to be introduced in the business of Legislation — they will protect their Department, and uniting wh. the Executive render their Check or negative more respectable — there is weight in the objections agt. this measure — but a Check is necessary experience proves it, and teaches us that what we once thought the Calumny of the Enemies of Republican Govts. is undoubtedly true — There is diversity of Interest in every Country the Rich & poor, the Dr. & Cr. the followers of different Demagogues, the diversity of religious Sects — The Effects of these parties are obvious in the ant’. Govts. — the same causes will operate with us —

We must introduce the Checks, which will destroy the measures of an interested majority — in this view a negative in the Ex: is not only necessary for its own safety, but for the safety of a minority in Danger of oppression from an unjust and interested majority — The independent condition of the Ex. who has the Eyes of all Nations on him will render him a just Judge — add the Judiciary and you increase the respectability —

Wilson moves the addition of the Judiciary — Madison seconds —

Dickerson — agt. it — you must separate the Leg. Jud. & Ex. — but you propose to give the Executive a share in Legislation — why not the Judicial —

There is a Difference — the Judges must interpret the Laws they ought not to be legislators. The Executive is merely Edition: current; Page: [109] ministerial — besides we have Experience in the British Constitution of the Executive’s having a negative —

The motion was waved —23

PIERCE.

Mr. Wilson said that all the Constitutions of America from New Hampshire to Georgia have their Executive in a single Person. A single Person will produce vigor and activity. Suppose the Executive to be in the hands of a number they will probably be divided in opinion.

It was proposed that the Judicial should be joined with the Executive to revise the Laws.

Mr. King was of opinion that the Judicial ought not to join in the negative of a Law, because the Judges will have the expounding of those Laws when they come before them; and they will no doubt stop the operation of such as shall appear repugnant to the constitution.

Dr. Franklin thinks it would be improper to put it in the power of any Man to negative a Law passed by the Legislature because it would give him the controul of the Legislature; and mentioned the influence of the British King, and the influence which a Governor of Pennsylvania once had in arresting (for the consideration of an encrease of salary) the power out of the hands of the Legislature.

Mr. Maddison was of opinion that no Man would be so daring as to place a veto on a Law that had passed with the assent of the Legislature24

Mr. Butler observed that power was always encreasing on the part of the Executive. When he voted for a single Person to hold the Executive power he did it that Government be expeditiously executed, and not that it should be clogged.

Mr. Bedford was of opinion that no check was necessary on a Legislature composed as the national Legislature would be, with two branches, — an upper and a lower House.

Mr. Mason was of opinion that it would be so dangerous Edition: current; Page: [110] for the Executive in a single Person to negative a Law that the People will not accept of it. He asked if Gentlemen had ever reflected on that awful period of time between the passing and final adoption of this constitution; — what alarm might possibly take place in the public mind.

Mr. Maddison in a very able and ingenious Speech,25 ran through the whole Scheme of the Government, — pointed out all the beauties and defects of ancient Republics; compared their situation with ours wherever it appeared to bear any anology, and proved that the only way to make a Government answer all the end of its institution was to collect the wisdom of its several parts in aid of each other whenever it was necessary. Hence the propriety of incorporating the Judicial with the Executive in the revision of the Laws. He was of opinion that by joining the Judges with the Supreme Executive Magistrate would be strictly proper, and would by no means interfere with that indepence so much to be approved and distinguished in the several departments.

Mr. Dickinson could not agree with Gentlemen in blending the national Judicial with the Executive, because the one is the expounder, and the other the Executor of the Laws.

MASON26

It is not yet determined how the Executive is to be regulated, whether it is to act solely from its own judgment, or with the advice of others; whether there is, or is not to be a council annexed to it, and if a council how far their advice shall operate in controlling the judgment of the supreme magistracy. If there is no Council of State and the executive power be vested in a single person, what are the provisions for its Edition: current; Page: [111] proper operation, upon casual disability by sickness or otherwise. These are subjects which must come under our consideration, and perhaps some of the most important objections would be obviated by placing the executive power in the hands of three, instead of one person.

There is also to be a council of revision, invested, in a great measure, with a power of negative upon the laws; and an idea has been suggested, either within or without doors, that this council should be formed of the principal officers of the state, I presume of the members of the Treasury Board, the Board of War, the Navy Board, and the Department for Foreign Affairs. It is unnecessary, if not improper, to examine this part of the subject now, but I will venture to hazard an opinion, when it comes to be thoroughly investigated, that we can hardly find worse materials out of which to create a council of revision, or more improper or unsafe hands in which to place the power of a negative upon our laws. It is proposed, I think, sir, in the plan upon your table, that this council of revision shall be formed out of the members of the Judiciary departments joined with the Executive; and I am inclined to think, when the subject shall be taken up, it may be demonstrated, that this will be the wisest and safest mode of constituting this important council of revision. But the federal inferior courts of justice must, I presume, be fixed in the several respective States, and consequently most of them at a great distance from the seat of the federal government. The almost continual operation of the council of revision upon the acts of the national parliament, and upon their negative of the acts of the several State legislatures, will require that this council should be easily and speedily convened, and consequently, that only the judges of the Supreme Federal Court, fixed near the seat of government, can be members of it. Their number will be small. By placing the Executive in three persons, instead of one, we shall not only increase the number of the council of revision (which I have endeavored to show will want increasing), but by giving to each of the three a vote in the council of revision, we shall increase the strength of the Executive in that particular circumstance in Edition: current; Page: [112] which it will most want strength — in the power of defending itself against the encroachments of the legislature. These, I must acknowledge, are, with me, weighty considerations for vesting the Executive rather in three than in one person.

The chief advantages which have been urged in favor of unity in the Executive, are the secresy, the dispatch, the vigor and energy which the government will derive from it, especially in time of war. That these are great advantages, I shall most readily allow. They have been strongly insisted on by all monarchical writers; they have been acknowledged by the ablest and most candid defenders of republican government; and it cannot be denied that a monarchy possesses them in a much greater degree than a republic. Yet perhaps a little reflection may incline us to doubt whether these advantages are not greater in theory than in practice, or lead us to enquire whether there is not some pervading principle in republican government which sets at naught and tramples upon this boasted superiority, as hath been experienced to their cost, by most monarchies which have been imprudent enough to invade or attack their republican neighbors. This invincible principle is to be found in the love, the affection, the attachment of the citizens to their laws, to their freedom, and to their country. Every husbandman will be quickly converted into a soldier when he knows and feels that he is to fight not in defence of the rights of a particular family, or a prince, but for his own. This is the true construction of the pro aris et focis which has, in all ages, performed such wonders. It was this which in ancient times enabled the little cluster of Grecian republics to resist, and almost constantly to defeat, the Persian monarch. It was this which supported the States of Holland against a body of veteran troops through a thirty years’ war with Spain, then the greatest monarchy in Europe, and finally rendered them victorious. It is this which preserves the freedom and independence of the Swiss Cantons in the midst of the most powerful nations. And who that reflects seriously upon the situation of America, in the beginning of the late war — without arms — without soldiers — without trade, money or credit, in a manner destitute of all resources, Edition: current; Page: [113] but must ascribe our success to this pervading, all-powerful principle?

We have not yet been able to define the powers of the Executive, and however moderately some gentlemen may talk or think upon the subject, I believe there is a general tendency to a strong Executive, and I am inclined to think a strong Executive necessary. If strong and extensive powers are vested in the Executive, and that executive consists only of one person, the government will of course degenerate (for I will call it degeneracy) into a monarchy — a government so contrary to the genius of the people that they will reject even the appearance of it. I consider the federal government as in some measure dissolved by the meeting of this Convention. Are there no dangers to be apprehended from procrastinating the time between the breaking up of this Assembly and the adoption of a new system of government? I dread the interval. If it should not be brought to an issue in the course of the first year the consequences may be fatal. Have not the different parts of this extensive government, the several States of which it is composed a right to expect an equal participation in the Executive, as the best means of securing an equal attention to their interests? Should an insurrection, a rebellion or invasion happen in New Hampshire when the single supreme magistrate is a citizen of Georgia, would not the people of New Hampshire naturally ascribe any delay in defending them to such a circumstance and vice versa? If the Executive is vested in three persons, one chosen from the Northern, one from the Middle, and one from the Southern States, will it not contribute to quiet the minds of the people and convince them that there will be proper attention paid to their respective concerns? Will not three men so chosen bring with them, into office, a more perfect and extensive knowledge of the real interests of this great Union? Will not such a mode of appointment be the most effectual means of preventing cabals and intrigues between the legislature and the candidates for this office, especially with those candidates who from their local situation, near the seat of the federal government, will have the greatest temptations and the greatest Edition: current; Page: [114] opportunities? Will it not be the most effectual means of checking and counteracting the aspiring views of dangerous and ambitious men, and consequently the best security for the stability and duration of our government upon the invaluable principles of liberty? These Sir, are some of my motives for preferring an Executive consisting of three persons rather than of one.

Edition: current; Page: [115]

TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 1787.

JOURNAL
Tuesday June 5 1787.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American union.

His Excellency William Livingston Esquire, a Deputy of the State of New Jersey, attended and took his seat

Mr President left the chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American union.

The following credentials were then produced and read.

(here insert the credentials of His Excellency William Livingston Esquire, and the honorable Abraham Clark Esquire)1

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’clock. A M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Tuesday June 5. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair

It was moved and seconded to proceed to the further considn of the 9th resolution, submitted by Mr Randolph.

Edition: current; Page: [116]

It was then moved and seconded to amend the last clause by striking out the words “One or more” so as to read “and of inferior to tribunals”

and on the question to strike out

it passed in the affirmative

It was then moved and seconded to strike out the words “the national legislature” so as to read

to be appointed by.

On the question to strike out

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 8; noes — 2.]2

Notice was given by Mr. Wilson that he should at a future day move for a reconsideration of that clause which respects “inferior tribunals”

Mr C. Pinckney gave notice that when the clause which respects the appointment of the Judiciary came before the Committee he should move to restore the words

“the national legislature”

It was then moved and seconded to agree to the following part of the 9th resolution namely.

“To hold their offices during good behaviour and to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services, in which no encrease or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such encrease or diminution”

and on the question to agree to the same

it passed in the affirmative

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the remaining clause of the 9th resolution

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative

On the question to agree to the 10th resolution, as submitted by Mr Randolph namely

Edition: current; Page: [117]

“resolved that provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national legislature less than the whole”

it passed in the affirmative

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the 11th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph.

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative3

On the question to agree to the 12th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph — namely

“resolved that provision ought to be made for the continuance of a Congress and their authorities and privileges, until a given day, after the reform of the articles of union shall be adopted, and for the completion of all their engagements”

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 8; noes — 2.]4

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the 13th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative5

It was moved and seconded to postpone the considn of the 14th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph.

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative6

Edition: current; Page: [118]

It was moved and seconded to postpone the considn of the 15th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative

It was moved by Mr C Pinckney seconded by Mr Rutledge that to-morrow be assigned to reconsider that clause of the 4th resolution which respects the election of the first branch of the national legislature.

And on the question to reconsider the same to-morrow

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 6; noes — 5.]7

It was moved by Mr Rutledge seconded by Mr. Sherman

To strike out the following words in the 9th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph namely

“and of inferior tribunals”

And on the question to strike out

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 5; noes — 4; divided — 2.]8

It was then moved and seconded that the following clause be added to the 9th resolution namely

“That the national legislature be empowered to appoint inferior Tribunals”

And on the question to agree to the same

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]9

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again.

The Committee then rose

Edition: current; Page: [119]
DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13.
N. H. Massa: C: R. I. N. Y. N. J: P: D: Mary: V: N. C. S. C. G.
ayes noes
[22] 8 2 aye no aye aye aye aye aye aye no aye
[23] 8 2 aye no 12th resolution aye aye no aye aye aye aye aye
[24] 7 3 aye aye aye aye aye aye no aye no no
[25] 6 4 divided aye no aye no no aye aye no aye aye
[26] 6 5 no aye to reconsider aye no aye aye aye aye no no no
[27] 5 4 divided aye to strike out inferior tribs divid. aye no no no no aye aye aye
[28] 7 3 aye no divid. no aye aye aye aye aye no aye
[End of first loose sheet]

MADISON
Teusday June 5. In Committee of the Whole

〈Governor Livingston from New Jersey took his seat.

The words, “one or more” were struck out before “inferior tribunals” as an amendment to the last clause of Resoln. 9th.〉10 〈The〉 Clause — “that the national Judiciary be 〈chosen〉11 by the National Legislature”, 〈being under consideration.〉

Mr. Wilson opposed the appointmt 〈of Judges by the〉 national Legisl: Experience shewed the impropriety of such appointmts. by numerous bodies. Intrigue, partiality, and concealment were the necessary consequences. A principal reason for unity in the Executive was that officers might be appointed by a single, responsible person.12

Mr. Rutlidge was by no means disposed to grant so great a power to any single person. The people will think we are leaning too much towards Monarchy. He was against establishing any national tribunal except a single supreme one. The State Tribunals 〈are most proper〉 to decide in all cases in the first instance.

Docr. Franklin observed that two modes of chusing the Edition: current; Page: [120] Judges had been mentioned, to wit, by the Legislature and by the Executive. He wished such other modes to be suggested as might occur to other gentlemen; it being a point of great moment. He would mention 〈one which〉 he had understood was practiced in Scotland. He then in a brief and entertaining manner related a Scotch mode, in which the nomination proceeded from the Lawyers, who always selected the ablest of the profession in order to get rid of him, and share his practice 〈among themselves〉. It was here he said the interest of the electors to make the best choice, which should always be made the case if possible.

Mr. Madison disliked the election of the Judges by the Legislature or any numerous body. Besides, the danger of intrigue and partiality, many of the members were not judges of the requisite qualifications. The Legislative talents which were very different from those of a Judge, commonly recommended men to the favor of Legislative Assemblies. It was known too that the accidental circumstances of presence and absence, of being a member or not a member,13 had a very undue influence on the appointment. On the other hand He was not satisfied with referring the appointment to the Executive. He rather inclined to give it to the Senatorial branch, as numerous eno’ to be confided in — as not so numerous as to be governed by the motives of the other branch; and as being sufficiently stable14 and independent to follow their deliberate judgments. He hinted this only and moved that the appointment by the Legislature might be struck out, & and a blank left to be hereafter filled on maturer reflection. Mr. Wilson seconds it. On the question for striking out. Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pena. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 9; noes — 2.]15

〈Mr. Wilson gave notice that he should at a future day move for a reconsideration of that clause which respects “inferior tribunals”16

Edition: current; Page: [121]

Mr. Pinkney gave notice that when the clause respecting the appointment of the Judiciary should again come before the Committee, he should move to restore the “appointment by the national Legislature”17

The following clauses of Resol: 9. were agreed to viz “to hold their offices during good behaviour, and to receive punctually at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution”

The remaining clause of Resolution 9. was postponed.

Resolution 10 was agreed to — viz — that provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the U. States, whether from a voluntary junction of Government & territory, or otherwise with the consent of a number of voices in the National Legislature less than the whole.〉

〈The 11. propos:〉 “for guarantying to StatesRepublican Govt. & territory &c,” being read,〉18 Mr. Patterson wished the point of representation could be decided before this clause should be considered, and moved to postpone it: which was not. opposed, and agreed to: 〈Connecticut & S. Carolina only voting agst. it.19 propos. 12〉 “for continuing Congs. till a given day, and for fulfilling their engagements.” 〈produced〉 no debate”

On the question Mass. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J.* ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N C. ay. S. C. ay. G. ay. [Ayes — 9; noes — 2.]

〈propos: 13.〉 “that provision ought to be made for 〈hereafter〉 amending the system now to be established, without requiring the assent of the Natl. Legislature.” 〈being taken up.〉

Mr. Pinkney doubted the propriety or necessity of it.

Edition: current; Page: [122]

Mr. Gerry favored it. The novelty & difficulty of the experiment requires periodical revision. The prospect of such a revision would also give intermediate stability to the Govt. Nothing had yet happened in the States where this provision existed to proves its impropriety. — The Proposition was postponed for further consideration: 〈the votes being. Mas: Con. N. Y. Pa. Del. Ma. N. C. — ay

Virga. S. C. Geo: no〉20

propos. 14. “requiring oath from the State officers to support national Govt.” was postponed after a short uninteresting conversation; 〈the votes, Con. N. Jersey. Md. Virg: S. C. Geo. ay

N. Y. Pa. Del. N. C. . . . no

Massachusetts. . . . divided〉21

〈propos. 15.〉 for “recommending conventions under appointment 〈of the people〉 to ratify the new Constitution &c.” 〈being taken up.〉

Mr. Sherman thought such a popular ratification unnecessary. the articles of Confederation providing for changes and alterations with the assent of Congs. and ratification of State Legislatures.

Mr. M〈adison〉 thought this provision essential. The articles of Confedn. themselves were defective in this respect, resting in many of the States on the Legislative sanction only. Hence in conflicts between acts of the States, and of Congs. especially where the former are of posterior date, and the decision is to be made by State Tribunals, an uncertainty must necessarily prevail, or rather perhaps a certain decision in favor of the State authority. He suggested also that as far as the articles of Union were to be considered as a Treaty only of a particular sort, among the Governments of Independent States, the doctrine might be set up that a breach of any one article, by any of the parties, absolved the other parties Edition: current; Page: [123] from 〈the whole〉 obligation. For these 〈reasons as well as others〉 he thought it indispensable that the new Constitution should be ratified in the most unexceptionable form, and by the supreme authority of the people themselves.

Mr. Gerry. Observed that in the Eastern States the Confedn. had been sanctioned by the people themselves. He seemed afraid of referring the new system to them. The people in that quarter have 〈at this time〉 the wildest ideas of Government in the world. They were for abolishing the Senate in Massts. and giving all the other powers of Govt. to the other branch of the Legislature.

Mr. King supposed the last article of ye Confedn. Rendered the legislature competent to the ratification. The people of the Southern States where the federal articles had been ratified by the Legislatures only, had since impliedly given their sanction to it. He thought notwithstanding that there might be policy in varying the mode. A Convention being a single house, the adoption may more easily be carried thro’ it. than thro’ the Legislatures where there are several branches. The Legislatures also being to lose power, will be most likely to raise objections. 〈The people having already parted with the necessary powers it is immaterial to them, by which Government they are possessed, provided they be well employed.〉

Mr. Wilson took this occasion to lead the Committee by a train of observations to the idea of not suffering a disposition in the plurality of States to confederate anew on better principles, to be defeated by the inconsiderate or selfish opposition of a few 〈States〉. He hoped the provision for ratifying would be put on such a footing as to admit of such a partial union, with a door open for the accession of the rest. —*

Mr. Pinkney hoped that in the case the experiment should not unanimously take place nine States might be authorized to unite under the same Governmt.

The 〈propos. 15.〉 was postponed nem. cont:22

Edition: current; Page: [124]

〈Mr. Pinkney & Mr. Rutlidge moved that tomorrow be assigned to reconsider that clause of Propos. 4: which respects the elections of the first branch of the National Legislature — which passed in affirmative: Con: N. Y. Pa. Del: Md. Va. ay — 6 Mas. N J. N. C. S. C. Geo. no. 5〉23

Mr. Rutlidge havg. obtained a rule for reconsideration of the clause for establishing inferior tribunals under the national authority, now moved that that part of the clause 〈in propos. 9.〉 should be expunged: arguing that the State Tribunals might and ought to be left in all cases to decide in the first instance the right of appeal to the supreme national tribunal being sufficient to secure the national rights & uniformity of Judgmts: that it was making an unnecessary encroachment on the jurisdiction 〈of the States,〉 and creating unnecessary obstacles to their adoption of the new system. — 〈Mr. Sherman 2ded. the motion.〉

Mr. 〈Madison〉 observed that unless inferior tribunals were dispersed throughout the Republic with final juridsiction in many cases, appeals would be multiplied to a most oppressive degree; that besides, an appeal would not in many cases be a remedy. What was to be done after improper Verdicts in State tribunals obtained under the biassed directions of a dependent Judge, or the local prejudices of an undirected jury? To remand the cause for a new trial would answer no purpose. To order a new trial at the supreme bar would oblige the parties to bring up their witnesses, tho’ ever so distant from the seat of the Court. An effective Judiciary establishment commensurate to the legislative authority, was essential. A Government without a proper Executive & Judiciary would be the mere trunk of a body without arms or legs to act or move.

Mr. Wilson opposed the motion on like grounds. he said the admiralty jurisdiction ought to be given wholly to the national Government, as it related to cases not within the jurisdiction of particular states, & to a scene in which controversies with foreigners would be most likely to happen.

Edition: current; Page: [125]

Mr. Sherman was in favor of the motion. He dwelt chiefly on the supposed expensiveness of having a new set of Courts, when the existing State Courts would answer the same purpose.

Mr. Dickinson contended strongly that if there was to be a National Legislature, there ought to be a national Judiciary, and that the former ought to have authority to institute the latter.

On the question for Mr. Rutlidge’s motion to strike out “inferior tribunals”

Massts. divided, Cont. ay. N. Y. divd. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo ay [Ayes — 5; noes — 4; divided — 2.]

Mr. Wilson & Mr. Madison then moved, in pursuance of the idea expressed above by Mr. Dickinson, to add to Resol: 9. the words following “that the National Legislature be empowered to institute inferior tribunals”. They observed that there was a distinction between establishing such tribunals absolutely, and giving a discretion to the Legislature to establish or not establish them. They repeated the necessity of some such provision.

Mr. Butler. The people will not bear such innovations. The States will revolt at such encroachments. Supposing such an establishment to be useful, we must not venture on it. We must follow the example of Solon who gave the Athenians not the best Govt. he could devise; but the best they wd. receive.

Mr. King remarked as to the comparative expence that the establishment of inferior tribunals wd. cost infinitely less than the appeals that would be prevented by them.24

On this question as moved by Mr. W. and Mr. M.

Mass. ay. Ct. no. N. Y. divd. N. J.* ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 8; noes — 2; divided — 1.]

Edition: current; Page: [126]

The Committee then rose & the House adjourned to 11 OC. tomw.

YATES
Tuesday, June 5th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment.

The 9th resolve, That a national judicial be established to consist of one supreme tribunal, and of inferior tribunals, to hold their offices during good behaviour, and no augmentation or diminution in the stipends during the time of holding their offices. Agreed to.

Mr. Wilson moved that the judicial be appointed by the executive, instead of the national legislature.

Mr Madison opposed the motion, and inclined to think that the executive ought by no means to make the appointments, but rather that branch of the legislature called the senatorial; and moves that the words, of the appointment of the legislature, be expunged.

Carried by 8 states — against it 2.

The remaining part of the resolve postponed.

The 10th resolve read and agreed to.

The 11th resolve agreed to be postponed.

The 12th resolve agreed to without debate.

The 13th and 14th resolves postponed.

The 15th or last resolve, That the amendment which shall be offered to the confederation, ought at a proper time or times after the approbation of congress to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the people, to consider and decide thereon, was taken into consideration.

Mr. Madison endeavored to enforce the necessity of this resolve — because the new national constitution ought to have the highest source of authority, at least paramount to the powers of the respective constitutions of the states — points out the mischiefs that have arisen in the old confederation, which depends upon no higher authority than the confirmation of an ordinary act of a legislature — Instances the law Edition: current; Page: [127] operation of treaties, when contravened by any antecedent acts of a particular state.

Mr. King supposes, that as the prople have tacitly agreed to a federal government, that therefore the legislature in every state have a right to confirm any alterations or amendments in it — a convention in each state to approve of a new government he supposes however the most eligible.26

Mr. Wilson is of opinion, that the people by a convention are the only power that can ratify the proposed system of the new government.

It is possible that not all the states, nay, that not even a majority, will immediately come into the measure; but such as do ratify it will be immediately bound by it, and others as they may from time to time accede to it.

Question put for postponement of this resolve. 7 states for postponment — 3 against it.

Question on the 9th resolve to strike out the words, and of inferior tribunals.

Carried by 5 states against 4 — 2 states divided, of which last number New-York was one.

Mr. Wilson then moved, that the national legislature shall have the authority to appoint inferior tribunals, be added to the resolve.

Carried by 7 states against 3. New-York divided. (N. B. Mr. Lansing from New-York was prevented by sickness from attending this day.)

Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

KING
5 June. Come. whole

How shall the Judiciary be appointed by the Legislative or Executive —

Wilson in favor of the latter because the Executive will be responsible —

Rutledge agt. it because the States in genl. appt. in yt. way

Edition: current; Page: [128]

Franklin. The 16 lords of Sessions in Scotland are the Judicial — they are appointed by the Barristers or Doctors. They elect the most learned, Doctor, because he has the most business wh. they may divide when he becomes a Judge —

Madison — I am for farther Diliberation perhaps it will be best that the appointment shd. be by the Senate — postponed. N. H. Mas. N Y. Pen. Mard. by ye. Executive

R Iby the people

Con. N Jer. Del. Virg. N C. S C. by the Leg.

Rutledge proposes to have a supreme Tribunal to be appointed by the Genl. Govt. but no subordinate Tribunals — except those already in the several States — Wilson agt. it — Dickerson — agt. Wilson the State and Genl. Tribunals will interfere — we want a National Judicial — let it be entire and originate from the Genl. Govt.

Madison proposes to vest the Genl. Govt. with authority to erect an Independent Judicial, coextensive wt. ye. Nation — 5 A. 4 No. 2 divd.27

PIERCE

Mr. Rutledge was of opinion that it would be right to make the adjudications of the State Judges, appealable to the national Judicial.

Mr. Madison was for appointing the Judges by the Senate.

Mr. Hamilton suggested the idea of the Executive’s appointing or nominating the Judges to the Senate which should have the right of rejecting or approving.

Mr. Butler was of opinion that the alteration of the confederation ought not to be confirmed by the different Legislatures because they have sworne to support the Government under which they act, and therefore that Deputies should be chosen by the People for the purpose of ratifying it.

Mr. King thought that the Convention would be under the necessity of referring the amendments to the different Edition: current; Page: [129] Legislatures, because one of the Articles of the confederation expressly made it necessary.

As the word perpetual in the Articles of confederation gave occasion for several Members to insist upon the main principles of the confederacy, i e that the several States should meet in the general Council on a footing of compleat equality each claiming the right of sovereignty, Mr. Butler observed that the word perpetual in the confederation meant only the constant existence of our Union, and not the particular words which compose the Articles of the union.

Some general discussions came on. —

Edition: current; Page: [130]

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 1787.

JOURNAL
Wednesday June 6. 1787.

The Order of the day being read.

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American Union

Mr President left the Chair.

Mr. Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’Clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Wednesday June 6. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair

It was moved by Mr C. Pinckney seconded by Mr Rutledge to strike the word “people” out of the 4th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph, and to insert in it’s place the word

“Legislatures” so as to read “resolved that the Members of the first branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by the Legislatures of the several states”

and On the question to strike out

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 3; noes — 8.]1

Edition: current; Page: [131]

On motion of Mr Wilson seconded by Mr Madison to amend theresolution, which respects the negative to be vested in the national executive by adding after the words “national executive” the words

“with a convenient number of the national Judiciary”

On the question to agree to the addition of these words

it passed in the negative. [Ayes — 3; noes — 8.]2

Mr C. Pinckney gave notice that to-morrow he should move for the reconsideration of that clause in theresolution, adopted by the Committee, which vests a negative in the national legislatute on the laws of the several States. friday assigned to reconsider

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again.

The Committee then rose.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
[Beginning of second loose sheet]
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[29] no aye no aye no no no no no aye no for striking out the words “people” in the first clause of the 4th resolution and inserting the words “Legislatures 3 8
[30] no aye aye no no no no aye no no no for adding a convenient number of the national Judiciary to the Executive in the exercise of the negative 3 8
Edition: current; Page: [132]

MADISON
Wednesday June 6th. In Committee of the whole

Mr. Pinkney according to previous notice & rule obtained, moved “that the first branch of the national Legislature be elected by the State Legislatures, and not by the people”. contending that the people were less fit Judges 〈in such a case,〉 and that the Legislatures would be less likely to promote the adoption of the new Government, if they were to be excluded from all share in it.3

Mr. Rutlidge 2ded. the motion.

Mr. Gerry. Much depends on the mode of election. In England, the people will probably lose their liberty from the smallness of the proportion having a right of suffrage. Our danger arises from the opposite extreme: hence in Massts. the worst men get into the Legislature. Several members of that Body had lately been convicted of infamous crimes. Men of indigence, ignorance & baseness, spare no pains however dirty to carry their point agst. men who are superior to the artifices practiced. He was not disposed to run into extremes. He was as much principled as ever agst. aristocracy and monarchy. It was necessary on the one hand that the people should appoint one branch of the Govt. in order to inspire them with the necessary confidence. But he wished the election on the other to be so modified as to secure more effectually a just preference of merit. His idea was that the people should nominate certain persons in certain districts, out of whom the State Legislatures shd. make the appointment.

Mr. Wilson. He wished for vigor in the Govt. but he wished that vigorous authority to flow immediately from the legitimate source of all authority. The Govt. ought to possess not only 1st. the force but 2ndly. the mind or sense of the people at large. The Legislature ought to be the most exact transcript of the whole Society. Representation is made necessary Edition: current; Page: [133] only because it is impossible for the people to act collectively. The opposition was to be expected he said from the Governments, not from the Citizens of the States. The latter had parted as was observed (by Mr. King) with all the necessary powers; and it was immaterial to them, by whom they were exercised, if well exercised. The State officers were to be losers of power. The people he supposed would be rather more attached to the national Govt. than to the State Govts. as being more important in itself, and more flattering to their pride. There is no danger of improper elections if made by large districts. Bad elections proceed from the smallness of the districts which give an opportunity to bad men to intrigue themselves into office.

Mr. Sherman. If it were in view to abolish the State Govts. the elections ought to be by the people. If the State Govts. are to be continued, it is necessary in order to preserve harmony between the national & State Govts. that the elections to the former shd. be made by the latter. The right of participating in the National Govt. would be sufficiently secured to the people by their election of the State Legislatures. The objects of the Union, he thought were few. 1. defence agst. foreign danger. 2. agst. internal disputes & a resort to force. 3. Treaties with foreign nations 4 regulating foreign commerce, & drawing revenue from it. These & perhaps a few lesser objects alone rendered a Confederation of the States necessary. All other matters civil & criminal would be much better in the hands of the States. The people are more happy in small than large States. States may indeed be too small as Rhode Island, & thereby be too subject to faction. Some others were perhaps too large, the powers of Govt not being able to pervade them. He was for giving the General Govt. power to legislate and execute within a defined province.

Col. Mason. Under the existing Confederacy, Congs. represent the States not the people of the States: their acts operate on the States not on the individuals. The case will be changed in the new plan of Govt. The people will be represented; they ought therefore to choose the Representatives. The requisites in actual representation are that the Edition: current; Page: [134] Reps. should sympathize with their constituents; shd. think as they think, & feel as they feel; and that for these purposes shd. even be residents among them. Much he sd. had been alledged agst. democratic elections. He admitted that much might be said; but it was to be considered that no Govt. was free from imperfections & evils; and that improper elections in many instances, were inseparable from Republican Govts. But compare these with the advantage of this Form in favor of the rights of the people, in favor of human nature. He was persuaded there was a better chance for proper elections by the people, if divided into large districts, than by the State Legislatures. Paper money had been issued by the latter when the former were against it. Was it to be supposed that the State Legislatures then wd. not send to the Natl. legislature patrons of such projects. if the choice depended on them.

Mr. Madison considered an election of one branch at least of the Legislature by the people immediately, as a clear principle of free Govt. and that this mode under proper regulations had the additional advantage of securing better representatives, as well as of avoiding too great an agency of the State Governments in the General one. — He differed from the member from Connecticut (Mr. Sherman) in thinking the objects mentioned to be all the principal ones that required a National Govt. Those were certainly important and necessary objects; but he combined with them the necessity, of providing more effectually for the security of private rights, and the steady dispensation of Justice. Interferences with these were evils which had more perhaps than any thing else, produced this convention. Was it to be supposed that republican liberty could long exist under the abuses of it practiced in 〈some of〉 the States. The gentleman (Mr. Sherman) had admitted that in a very small State, faction & oppression wd. prevail. It was to be inferred then that wherever these prevailed the State was too small. Had they not prevailed in the largest as well as the smallest tho’ less than in the smallest; and were we not thence admonished to enlarge the sphere as far as the nature of the Govt. would admit. This was the Edition: current; Page: [135] only defence agst. the inconveniences of democracy consistent with the democratic form of Govt. All civilized Societies would be divided into different Sects, Factions, & interests, as they happened to consist of rich & poor, debtors & creditors, the landed the manufacturing, the commercial interests, the inhabitants of this district, or that district, the followers of this political leader or that political leader, the disciples of this religious sect or that religious sect. In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger. What motives are to restrain them? A prudent regard to the maxim that honesty is the best policy is found by experience to be as little regarded by bodies of men as by individuals. Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided. Conscience, the only remaining tie is known to be inadequate in individuals: In large numbers, little is to be expected from it. Besides, Religion itself may become a motive to persecution & oppression. — These observations are verified by the Histories of every Country antient & modern. In Greece & Rome the rich & poor, the creditors & debtors, as well as the patricians & plebeians alternately oppressed each other with equal unmercifulness. What a source of oppression was the relation between the parent Cities of Rome, Athens & Carthage, & their respective provinces: the former possessing the power & the latter being sufficiently distinguished to be separate objects of it? Why was America so justly apprehensive of Parliamentary injustice? Because G. Britain had a separate interest real or supposed, & if her authority had been admitted, could have pursued that interest at our expense. We have seen the mere distinction of colour made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man. What has been the source of those unjust laws complained of among ourselves? Has it not been the real or supposed interest of the major number? Debtors have defrauded their creditors. The landed interest has borne hard on the mercantile interest. The Holders of one species of property have thrown a disproportion of taxes Edition: current; Page: [136] on the holders of another species. The lesson we are to draw from the whole is that where a majority are united by a common sentiment and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure. In a Republican Govt. the Majority if united have always an opportunity. The only remedy is to enlarge the sphere, & thereby divide the community into so great a number of interests & parties, that in the 1st. place a majority will not be likely at the same moment to have a common interest separate from that of the whole or of the minority; and in the 2d. place, that in case they shd. have such an interest, they may not be apt to unite in the pursuit of it. It was incumbent on us then to try this remedy, and with that view to frame a republican system on such a scale & in such a form as will controul all the evils wch. have been experienced.4

Mr. Dickinson considered it as essential that one branch of the Legislature shd. be drawn immediately from the people; and as expedient that the other shd. be chosen by the Legislatures of the States. This combination of the State Govts. with the National Govt. was as politic as it was unavoidable. In the formation of the Senate we ought to carry it through such a refining process as will assimilate it as near as may be to the House of Lords in England. He repeated his warm eulogiums on the British Constitution. He was for a strong National Govt. but for leaving the States a considerable agency in the System. The objection agst. making the former dependent on the latter might be obviated by giving to the Senate an authority permanent & irrevocable for three, five or seven years. Being thus independent they will speak & decide with becoming freedom.

Mr. Read. Too much attachment is betrayed to the State Govermts. We must look beyond their continuance. A national Govt. must soon of necessity swallow all of them up. They will soon be reduced to the mere office of electing the national Senate. He was agst. patching up the old federal System: he hoped the idea wd. be dismissed. It would be Edition: current; Page: [137] like putting new cloth on an old garment. The confederation was founded on temporary principles. It cannot last: it cannot be amended. If we do not establish a good Govt. on new principles, we must either go to ruin, or have the work to do over again. The people at large are wrongly suspected of being averse to a Genl. Govt. The aversion lies among interested men who possess their confidence.

Mr. Pierce was for an election by the people as to the 1st. branch & by the States as to the 2d. branch; by which means the Citizens of the States wd. be represented both individually & collectively.

General Pinkney wished to have a good national Govt. & at the same time to leave a considerable share of power in the States. An election of either branch by the people scattered as they are in many States, particularly in S. Carolina was totally impracticable. He differed from gentlemen who thought that a choice by the people wd. be a better guard agst. bad measures, than by the Legislatures. A majority of the people in S. Carolina were notoriously for paper money as a legal tender; the Legislature had refused to make it a legal tender. The reason was that the latter had some sense of character and were restrained by that consideration. The State Legislatures also he said would be more jealous, & more ready to thwart the National Govt. if excluded from a participation in it. The Idea of abolishing these Legislatures wd. never go down.

Mr. Wilson, would not have spoken again, but for what had fallen from Mr. Read; namely, that the idea of preserving the State Govts. ought to be abandoned. He saw no incompatability between the national & State Govts. provided the latter were restrained to certain local purposes; nor any probability of their being devoured by the former. In all confederated systems antient & modern the reverse had happened; the Generality being destroyed gradually by the usurpations of the parts composing it.

On the question for electing the 1st. branch by the State Legislatures as moved by Mr. Pinkney; 〈it was negatived:〉

Mass no. Ct. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. Edition: current; Page: [138] no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. no. [Ayes — 3; noes — 8.]

Mr. Wilson moved to reconsider the vote excluding the Judiciary from a share in the revision of the laws, and to add after “National Executive” the words “with a convenient number of the national Judiciary”; remarking the expediency of reinforcing the Executive with the influence of that Department.

Mr. Madison 2ded. the motion. He observed that the great difficulty in rendering the Executive competent to its own defence arose from the nature of Republican Govt. which could not give to an individual citizen that settled pre-eminence in the eyes of the rest, that weight of property, that personal interest agst. betraying the National interest, which appertain to an hereditary magistrate. In a Republic personal merit alone could be the ground of political exaltation, but it would rarely happen that this merit would be so pre-eminent as to produce universal acquiescence. The Executive Magistrate would be envied & assailed by disappointed competitors: His firmness therefore wd. need support. He would not possess those great emoluments from his station, nor that permanent stake in the public interest which wd. place him out of the reach of foreign corruption: He would stand in need therefore of being controuled as well as supported. An association of the Judges in his revisionary function wd both double the advantage and diminish the danger. It wd. also enable the Judiciary Department the better to defend itself agst. Legislative encroachments. Two objections had been made 1st. that the Judges ought not to be subject to the bias which a participation in the making of laws might give in the exposition of them. 2dly. that the Judiciary Departmt. ought to be separate & distinct from the other great Departments. The 1st. objection had some weight; but it was much diminished by reflecting that a small proportion of the laws coming in question before a Judge wd. be such wherein he had been consulted; that a small part of this proportion wd. be so ambiguous as to leave room for his prepossessions; and that but a few cases wd. probably arise in the life of a Judge under Edition: current; Page: [139] such ambiguous passages. How much good on the other hand wd. proceed from the perspicuity, the conciseness, and the systematic character wch. the Code of laws wd. receive from the Judiciary talents. As to the 2d. objection, it either had no weight, or it applied with equal weight to the Executive & to the Judiciary revision of the laws. The maxim on which the objection was founded required a separation of the Executive as well as of the Judiciary from the Legislature & from each other. There wd. in truth however be no improper mixture of these distinct powers in the present case. In England, whence the maxim itself had been drawn, the Executive had an absolute negative on the laws; and the supreme tribunal of Justice (the House of Lords) formed one of the other branches of the Legislature. In short, whether the object of the revisionary power was to restrain the Legislature from encroaching on the other co-ordinate Departments, or on the rights of the people at large; or from passing laws unwise in their principle, or incorrect in their form, the utility of annexing the wisdom and weight of the Judiciary to the Executive seemed incontestable.5

Mr. Gerry thought the Executive, whilst standing alone wd. be more impartial than when he cd. be covered by the sanction & seduced by the sophistry of the Judges

Mr. King. If the Unity of the Executive was preferred for the sake of responsibility, the policy of it is as applicable to the revisionary as to the Executive power.

Mr. Pinkney had been at first in favor of joining the heads of the principal departmts. the Secretary at War, of foreign affairs & — in the council of revision. He had however relinquished the idea from a consideration that these could be called on by the Executive Magistrate whenever he pleased to consult them. He was opposed to an introduction of the Judges into the business.

Col Mason was for giving all possible weight to the revisionary institution. The Executive power ought to be well secured agst. Legislative usurpations on it. The purse & the Edition: current; Page: [140] sword ought never to get into the same hands 〈whether Legislative or Executive.〉

Mr. Dickinson. Secrecy, vigor & despatch are not the principal properties reqd. in the Executive. Important as these are, that of responsibility is more so, which can only be preserved; by leaving it singly to discharge its functions. He thought too a junction of the Judiciary to it, involved an improper mixture of powers.

Mr Wilson remarked, that the responsibility required belonged to his Executive duties. The revisionary duty was an extraneous one, calculated for collateral purposes.

Mr. Williamson, was for substituting a clause requiring ⅔ for every effective act of the Legislature, in place of the revisionary provision

On the question for joining the Judges to the Executive in the revisionary business Mass. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes — 3; noes — 8.]

〈Mr. Pinkney gave notice6 that to morrow he should move for the reconsideration of that clause in the sixth Resolution adopted by the Comme. which vests a negative in the National Legislature on the laws of the several States.

The Come rose & the House adjd. to 11 OC.7

YATES
Wednesday, June 6th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment.

Mr. Pinkney moved (pursuant to a standing order for re-consideration) that in the 4th resolve, the words by the people, be expunged, and the word by the legislature, be inserted.

Mr. Gerry. — If the national legislature are appointed by the state legislatures, demagogues and corrupt members will creep in.

Edition: current; Page: [141]

Mr. Wilson is of opinion that the national legislative powers ought to flow immediately from the people, so as to contain all their understanding, and to be an exact transcript of their minds. He observed that the people had already parted with as much of their power as was necessary, to form on its basis a perfect government; and the particular states must part with such a portion of it as to make the present national government, adequate to their peace and the security of their liberties. He admitted that the state governments would probably be rivals and opposers of the national government.

Mr. Mason observed that the national legislature, as to one branch, ought to be elected by the people; because the objects of their legislation will not be on states, but on individual persons.

Mr. Dickinson is for combining the state and national legislatures in the same views and measures, and that this object can only be effected by the national legislature flowing from the state legislatures.

Mr. Read is of opinion, that the state governments must sooner or later be at an end, and that therefore we must make the present national government as perfect as possible.

Mr. Madison is of opinion, that when we agreed to the first resolve of having a national government, consisting of a supreme executive, judicial and legislative power, it was then intended to operate to the exclusion of a federal government, and the more extensive we made the basis, the greater probability of duration, happiness and good order.8

The question for the amendment was negatived, by 8 states against 3. New-York in the majority.

On the 8th resolve, Mr. Wilson moved (in consequence of a vote to re-consider the question on the revisional powers vested in the executive) that there be added these words, with a convenient number of the national judicial.

Upon debate, carried in the negative — 3 states for and 8 against. New-York for the addition.

Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

Edition: current; Page: [142]

KING
5 [6] June Com. wh.

Pinckney Cs. proposes that the Election of the members of the first Br. or Commons, shd. be by the State Legis: and not by the people —

Gerry — proposes that the people sd. choose double the Number required, & the Legislature shd. out of them elect the members to the first Br — he states yt. the people will be imposed on by corrupt & unworthy men &c

Wilson contra — they shd. be appointed by the people you will then come nearer to the will or sense of the majority — the protrait is excellent in proportion to its being a good likeness — if you leave the Election with the Legislature you leave it wt. the Rivals of the Genl. Govt. for the people have already parted with powers sufficient to form a vigourous Govt: it remains only to divide the granted powers between the Genl. & State Govts & the people will love and respect the Genl. Govt. if it is immediately founded in yr. consent — it will take rank over the State Governments —

Mason — at present the representation in congress are not representatives of the people, but of the States — now it is proposed to form a Govt for men & not for Societies of men or States, therefore you shd. draw the Representatives immediately from the people. it shd. be so much so, that even the Diseases of the people shd. be represented — if not, how are they to be cured —? but how will this be remedied by an appt. by the Legislature — suppose a majority of the Legislat. in favor of paper money or any other Bad measure, wd. they not consider the opinions of the candidates on these favorite measures?

Sherman — If the State Govts. are to remain it will be best to appoint by their Legislatures; if they are to be totally abolished then the people must elect — but the State Governments must continue — Few objects then will be before the Genl. Government — foreign War, Treaties of commerce &c — in short let the Genl. Government be a sort of collateral Edition: current; Page: [143] Government which shall secure the States in particular difficulties such as foreign war, or a war between two or more States — I am agt. a Genl. Govt. and in favor of the independence and confederation of the States, with powers to regulate comerce & draw therefrom a revenue—

Dickson. We cannot form a national Govt. as is proposed unless we draw a Br. from the people, & a Br. from the legislature — it is necessary in theory — And essential to the success of the project — The objections to an election by the people arise from the nature of a Free Government and are slight when compared with the excellence of the Government — The 2d Br. must come from the State sovereignties or Legislature, they will be more respectable and they must for yr respectability & duration be something like the British House of peers —

But can one Br. be drawn from the Legislatures who are and have been opposed to ye Genl. Govt. It can— the appointment of the Legislature. of the States, to be in office 3-5 or 7. yrs; not subject to a recall and to depend on the Genl. Govt. for yr. support —

Read — We must come to a consolidation — The State Govts must be swept away — We had better speak out — the Idea that the people will not approve perhaps is a mistake — The State Magistrates may disagree but the people are with us —

Gnl. Pinckney — I think that an election by the people is impracticable in So. Car. the Inhabitants are so sparse that four or five thousand men can not be brought together to vote — I am in favor of the appointment by the Legis: in S. Car. they are agt. an issue of paper with a Tender; but I think the majority of the people are in favor of yt. measure —

Wilson — I am in favor of a preservation of the State Govts there is no apprehension of the State Govts being swallowed up by the Genl. Govt. in every instance of a Confedn. of States; the contrary has been the Case — the Amphictionic Council — the& Achaian Leagues were dissolved by the encroachments of the constituent members —

Madison — The election may safely be made by the People if you enlarge the Sphere of Election — Experience proves it Edition: current; Page: [144] — if bad elections have taken place from the people, it will generally be found to have happened in small Distracts —

Butler — I am agt: determining the mode of election until the ratio of Representation is fixed — if that proceeds on a principle favorable to wealth as well as numbers of Free Inhabitants, I am content to unite wh. Delaware (Mr Read) in abolishing the State Legislatures, and becoming one Nation instead of a confedn. of Republics —

On the Question to agree to the amendmt. Cont. N Jersey & S Car Aythe eight other states No.

Motion by Mr. Wilson secd. by Madison to reconsider the vote vesting the Executive with a partial negative, and vesting that power in him jointly wh a part of the Judicial — Madison

A check is devised for three purposes — to prevent encroachments by the Legislature on the Executive, the Judicial, or on private Rights. If on the executive, his negative will be corroberated by an union with the Judicial; and so in every other case — The Dificulty is this; the check will be too weak if in the Executive only — perhaps the British King wd not interpose his negative agt. the unanimous voice of both houses of Parliament —

Gerry — The motion unites orders wh. ought to be separate — it connects with the Executive numbers to divide the infamy of bad conduct.

Pinckney Cs. agt. the motion because the responsibility —

Mason. The purse and sword must not be in the same hands, if this is true, and the Legislature are able to raise revenues and make & direct a war; I shall agree to a restraining power of the Legislature either in the Executive or a council of Revision —

Dickerson — Secresy, vigour & Dispatch, are not the properties of Repubs — we cannot have them in that Form — but Responsibility is the great point — if you unite the Judicial the Executive will no longer be responsible — it is bad because it mingles separate Orders — and the Object may be acquired by the acquisition of the voluntary Opinions of wise and discreet men —

Edition: current; Page: [145]

It will require as great Talents, Firmness, & Abilities, to discharge the proper Duties of the Executive, as to interpose their veto, or negative which shall require ⅔ of both Branches to remove —

but the Comee have not thought proper to introduce a plurality in the Executive in the former instance, why then in this — On the Question to agree to the reconsideration Con. NYk. Virg. Ay — 8 States No —9

HAMILTON10

11“Re” may refer to Read.
12“Executive” struck out and “legislature” substituted. Cf. Madison and King.
Sent:
A free government to be preferred to an absolute monarchy not because of the occasional violations of liberty or property but because of the tendency of the Free Government to interest the passions of the community in its favour beget public spirit and public confidence —
Re:11 When public mind is prepared to adopt the present plan they will outgo our proposition — They will never part with Sovereignty of the state till they are tired of the state governments —
Mr. Pinkney. If Legislatures do not partake in the appointment of they will be more jealous
Pinckney — Elections by the state legislatures will be better than those by the people —
Principle — Danger that the Executive by too frequent communication with the judicial may corrupt it — They may learn to enter into his passions —
Note — At the period which terminates the duration of the Executive there will be always an awful crisis — in the National situation.
Note — The arguments to prove that a negative would not be used would go so far as to prove that the revisionary power would not be exercised.
Mr. Mason — The purse & sword will be in the hands of the — legislature.12
1 One great defect of our Governments are that they do not present objects sufficiently interesting to the human mind.
I — A reason for leaving little or nothing to the state legislatures will be that as their objects are diminished they will be worse composed — Proper men will be less inclined to participate in them

Principles13

1 — Human mind fond of Compromise —

Maddisons Theory —

Two principles upon which republics ought to be constructed —

I that they have such extent as to render combinations on the ground of interest difficult —

II By a process of election calculated to refine the representation of the People —

Answer — There is truth in both these principles but they do not conclude so strongly as he supposes —

— The Assembly when chosen will meet in one room if they are drawn from half the globe — & will be liable to all the passions of popular assemblies.

If more minute links are wanting others will supply then — Distinctions of Eastern middle and Southern states will come into view; between commercial and non commercial states — Imaginary lines will influence &c — Human mind prone to limit its view by near and local objects —

Paper money is capable of giving a general impulse. It Edition: current; Page: [147] is easy to conceive a popular sentiment pervading the E states —

Observ: large districts less liable to be influenced by factious demagogues than small —
Note — This is in some degree true but not so generally as may be supposed — Frequently small portions of [mutilated] large districts carry elections — An influential demagogue will give an impulse to the whole — Demagogues are not always inconsiderable persons — Patricians were frequently demagogues — Characters are less known & a less active interest taken in them —

PIERCE

Mr. Charles Pinckney said he was for appointing the first branch of the Legislature by the State Legislatures, and that the rule for appointing it ought to be by the contributions made by the different States.

Mr. Wilson was of opinion that the Judicial, Legislative and Executive departments ought to be commensurate.

Mr. Cotesworth Pinckney was of opinion that the State Legislatures ought to appoint the 1st branch of the national Legislature; — that the election cannot be made from the People in South Carolina. If the people choose it will have a tendency to destroy the foundation of the State Governments.

Mr. Maddison observed that Gentlemen reasoned very clear on most points under discussion, but they drew different conclusions. What is the reason? Because they reason from different principles. The primary objects of civil society are the security of property and public safety.

Edition: current; Page: [148]

THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 1787.

JOURNAL
Thursday June 7. 1787.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the American Union

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee.

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that the House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’Clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House.

Thursday June 7. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair

The following resolution was submitted by Mr Dickinson seconded by Mr Sherman. namely

Resolved that the members of the second branch of the national Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures.

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the last resolution, in order to introduce the following — submitted by Mr Wilson seconded by Mr Morris, namely

Resolved that the second Branch of the national Legislature Edition: current; Page: [149] be elected by the people in Districts to be formed for that purpose.

And on the question to postpone

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 1; noes — 10.]1

A question was then taken on the resolution submitted by Mr Dickinson namely

“Resolved that the members of the second branch of the national Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures”

And on the question to agree to the same

it passed unanimously in the affirmative2

Mr Gerry gave notice that he would to-morrow move for the reconsideration of the resolution which respects the appointment of the national executive — when he should offer to substitute the following mode of appointing the national Executive namely

by the Executives of the several States

The Committee then rose. [Ayes — 11; noes — 0.]3

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes
[31] no no no no aye no no no no no no To postpone Mr Dickinson’s motion for electing the second branch to take up Mr Wilson’s 1 10
[32] aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye That the second branch of the national legislature be elected by the individual legislatures 11
[33] aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye The Committee to rise 11
Edition: current; Page: [150]

MADISON
Thursday June 7th. 1787. 〈In Committee of the whole.〉

Mr. Pinkney 〈according to notice〉 moved to reconsider the clause respecting the negative on State laws which was agreed to and 〈tomorrow〉 fixed for the purpose.

The Clause providing for ye appointment of the 2d branch of the national Legislature, having lain blank since the last vote on the mode of electing it, to wit, by the 1st. branch, Mr. Dickenson now moved “that the members 〈of the 2d. branch ought to be chosen〉4 by the individual Legislatures.”

Mr. Sherman seconded the motion; observing that the particular States would thus become interested in supporting the National Governmt. and that a due harmony between the two Governments would be maintained. He admitted that the two ought to have separate and distinct jurisdictions, but that they ought to have a mutual interest in supporting each other.

Mr. Pinkney. If the small States should be allowed one Senator only, the number will be too great, there will be 80 at least.

Mr. Dickenson had two reasons for his motion. 1. because the sense of the States would be better collected through their Governments; than immediately from the people at large. 2. because he wished the Senate to consist of the most distinguished characters, distinguished for their rank in life and their weight of property, and bearing as strong a likeness to the British House of Lords as possible; and he thought such characters more likely to be selected by the State Legislatures, than in any other mode. The greatness of the number was no objection with him. He hoped there would be 80 and twice 80. of them. If their number should be small, the popular branch could not be [ba]lanced by them. The legislature of a numerous people ought to be a numerous body.

Mr. Williamson, preferred a small number of Senators, but wished that each State should have at least one. He suggested Edition: current; Page: [151] 25 as a convenient number. The different modes of representation in the different branches, will serve as a mutual check.

Mr. Butler was anxious to know the ratio of representation before he gave any opinion.

Mr. Wilson. If we are to establish a national Government, that Government ought to flow from the people at large. If one branch of it should be chosen by the Legislatures, and the other by the people, the two branches will rest on different foundations, and dissentions will naturally arise between them. He wished the Senate to be elected by the people as well as the other branch, and the people might be divided into proper districts for the purpose & moved to postpone the motion of Mr. Dickenson, in order to take up one of that import.

Mr Morris 2ded. him.

Mr. Read proposed “that the Senate should be appointed by the Executive Magistrate out of a proper number of persons to be nominated by the individual legislatures.” He said he thought it his duty, to speak his mind frankly. Gentlemen he hoped would not be alarmed at the idea. Nothing short of this approach towards a proper model of Government would answer the purpose, and he thought it best to come directly to the point at once. — His proposition was not seconded nor supported.

Mr. Madison, if the motion (of Mr. Dickenson) should be agreed to, we must either depart from the doctrine of proportional representation; or admit into the Senate a very large number of members. The first is inadmissable, being evidently unjust. The second is inexpedient. The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, & with more wisdom, than the popular branch. Enlarge their number and you communicate to them the vices which they are meant to correct. He differed from Mr. D. who thought that the additional number would give additional weight to the body. On the contrary it appeared to him that their weight would be in an inverse ratio to their number. The example of the Roman Tribunes was applicable. They Edition: current; Page: [152] lost their influence and power, in proportion as their number was augmented. The reason seemed to be obvious: They were appointed to take care of the popular interests & pretensions at Rome, because the people by reason of their numbers could not act in concert; were liable to fall into factions among themselves, and to become a prey to their aristocratic adversaries. The more the representatives of the people therefore were multiplied, the more they partook of the infirmaties of their constituents, the more liable they became to be divided among themselves either from their own indiscretions or the artifices of the opposite factions, and of course the less capable of fulfilling their trust. When the weight of a set of men depends merely on their personal characters; the greater the number the greater the weight. When it depends on the degree of political authority lodged in them the smaller the number the greater the weight. These considerations might perhaps be combined in the intended Senate; but the latter was the material one.

Mr. Gerry. 4. modes of appointing the Senate have been mentioned. 1. by the 1st. branch of the National Legislature. This would create a dependence contrary to the end proposed. 2. by the National Executive. This is a stride towards monarchy that few will think of. 3. by the people. the people have two great interests, the landed interest, and the commercial including the stockholders. To draw both branches from the people will leave no security to the latter interest; the people being chiefly composed of the landed interest, and erroneously, supposing, that the other interests are adverse to it. 4 by the Individual Legislatures. The elections being carried thro’ this refinement, will be most likely to provide some check in favor of the commercial interest agst. the landed; without which oppression will take place, and no free Govt. can last long when that is the case. He was therefore in favor of this last.

Mr. Dickenson.* The preservation of the States in a certain Edition: current; Page: [153] degree of agency is indispensible. It will produce that collision between the different authorities which should be wished for in order to check each other. To attempt to abolish the States altogether, would degrade the Councils of our Country, would be impracticable, would be ruinous. He compared the proposed National System to the Solar System, in which the States were the planets, and ought to be left to move freely in their proper orbits. The Gentleman from Pa. (Mr. Wilson) wished he said to extinguish these planets. If the State Governments were excluded from all agency in the national one, and all power drawn from the people at large, the consequence would be that the national Govt. would move in the same direction as the State Govts. now do, and would run into all the same mischiefs. The reform would only unite the 13 small streams into one great current pursuing the same course without any opposition whatever. He adhered to the opinion that the Senate ought to be composed of a large number, and that their influence 〈from family weight & other causes〉 would be increased thereby. He did not admit that the Tribunes lost their 〈weight〉 in proportion as their no. was augmented and gave a historical sketch of this institution. If the reasoning of (Mr. 〈Madison〉) was good it would prove that the number of the Senate ought to be reduced below ten, the highest no. of the Tribunitial corps.

Mr. Wilson. The subject it must be owned is surrounded with doubts and difficulties. But we must surmount them. The British Governmt. cannot be our model. We have no materials for a similar one. Our manners, our laws, the abolition of entails and of primogeniture, the whole genius of the people, are opposed to it. He did not see the danger of the States being devoured by the National. Govt. On the contrary, he wished to keep them from devouring the national Govt. He was not however for extinguishing these planets as was supposed by Mr. D. — neither did he on the other hand, believe that they would warm or enlighten the Sun. Within their proper orbits they must still be suffered to act for subordinate Edition: current; Page: [154] purposes 〈for which their existence is made essential by the great extent of our Country.〉 He could not comprehend in what manner the landed interest wd. be rendered less predominant in the Senate, by an election through the medium of the Legislatures than by the people themselves. If the Legislatures, as was now complained, sacrificed the commercial to the landed interest, what reason was there to expect such a choice from them as would defeat their own views. He was for an election by the people in large districts which wd. be most likely to obtain men of intelligence & uprightness; subdividing the districts only for the accomodation of voters.

Mr. Madison could as little comprehend in what manner family weight, as desired by Mr. D. would be more certainly conveyed into the Senate through elections by the State Legislatures, than in some other modes. The true question was in what mode the best choice wd. be made? If an election by the people, or thro’ any other channel than the State Legislatures promised as uncorrupt & impartial a preference of merit, there could surely be no necessity for an appointment by those Legislatures. Nor was it apparent that a more useful check would be derived thro’ that channel than from the people thro’ some other. The great evils complained of were that the State Legislatures run into schemes of paper money &c, whenever solicited by the people, & sometimes without even the sanction of the people. Their influence then, instead of checking a like propensity in the National Legislature, may be expected to promote it. Nothing can be more contradictory than to say that the Natl. Legislature witht. a proper check will follow the example of the State legislatures, & in the same breath, that the State Legislatures are the only proper check.

Mr. Sharman opposed elections by the people in districts, as not likely to produce such fit men as elections by the State Legislatures.

Mr. Gerry insisted that the commercial & monied interest wd. be more secure in the hands of the State Legislatures, than of the people at large. The former have more sense of character, and will be restrained by that from injustice. The Edition: current; Page: [155] people are for paper money when the Legislatures are agst. it. In Massts. the County Conventions had declared a wish for a depreciating paper that wd. sink itself. Besides, in some States there are two Branches in the Legislature, one of which is somewhat aristocratic. There wd. therefore be so far a better chance of refinement in the choice. There seemed, he thought to be three powerful objections agst. elections by districts 1. It is impracticable; the people can not be brought to one place for the purpose; and whether brought to the same place or not, numberless frauds wd. be unavoidable. 2. small States forming part of the same district with a large one, or large part of a large one, wd. have no chance of gaining an appointment for its citizens of merit. 3 a new source of discord wd. be opened between different parts of the same district.

Mr. Pinkney thought the 2d. branch ought to be permanent & independent, & that the members of it wd. be rendered more so by receiving their appointment from the State Legislatures. This mode wd. avoid the rivalships & discontents incident to the election by districts. He was for dividing the States into three classes according to their respective sizes, & for allowing to the 1st. class three members — to the 2d. two. & to the 3d. one.

On the question for postponing Mr. Dickinson’s motion referring the appointment of the Senate to the State Legislatures, in order to consider Mr. Wilson’s for referring it to the people.

Mass. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes — 1; noes — 10.]

Col. Mason. whatever power may be necesary for the Natl. Govt. a certain portion must necessarily be left in the States. It is impossible for one power to pervade the extreme parts of the U. S. so as to carry equal justice to them. The State Legislatures also ought to have some means of defending themselves agst. encroachments of the Natl. Govt. In every other department we have studiously endeavored to provide for its self-defence. Shall we leave the States alone Edition: current; Page: [156] unprovided with the means for this purpose? And what better means can we provide than the giving them some share in, or rather to make them a constituent part of, the Natl. Establishment. There is danger on both sides no doubt; but we have only seen the evils arising on the side of the State Govts. Those on the other side remain to be displayed. The example of Cong: does not apply. Congs. had no power to carry their acts into execution as the Natl. Govt. will have.

On Mr. Dickinson’s motion for an appointment of the Senate by the State-Legislatures.

Mass. ay. Ct. ay. N. Y. ay. Pa. ay Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 10; noes — 0.]5

Mr. Gerry gave notice that he wd. tomorrow move for a reconsideration of the mode of appointing the Natl. Executive in order to substitute an appointm. by the State Executives

The Committee rose & The House adjd.

YATES
Thursday, June 7th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment.

Mr. Rutledge moved to take into consideration the mode of electing the second branch of the national legislature.

Mr. Dickinson thereupon moved, that the second branch of the national legislature be chosen by the legislatures of the individual states. He observed, that this mode will more intimately connect the state governments with the national legislature — it will also draw forth the first characters either as to family or talent, and that it ought to consist of a considerable number.

Mr. Wilson against the motion, because the two branches thus constituted, cannot agree, they having different views and different sentiments.

Mr. Dickinson is of opinion that the mode by him proposed, like the British house of lords and commons, whose powers flow from different sources, are mutual checks on each Edition: current; Page: [157] other, and will thus promote the real happiness and security of the country — a government thus established would harmonize the whole, and like the planetary system, the national council like the sun, would illuminate the whole — the planets revolving round it in perfect order; or like the union of several small streams, would at last form a respectable river, gently flowing to the sea.

Mr. Wilson. The state governments ought to be preserved — the freedom of the people and their internal good police depends on their existence in full vigor — but such a government can only answer local purposes — That it is not possible a general government, as despotic as even that of the Roman emperors, could be adequate to the government of the whole without this distinction. He hoped that the national government would be independent of state governments, in order to make it vigorous, and therefore moved that the above resolution be postponed, and that the convention in its room adopt the following resolve: That the second branch of the national legislature be chosen by districts, to be formed for that purpose.6

Mr. Sherman supposes the election of the national legislature will be better vested in the state legislatures, than by the people, for by pursuing different objects, persons may be returned who have not one tenth of the votes.

Mr. Gerry observed, that the great mercantile interest and of stockholders, is not provided for in any mode of election — they will however be better represented if the state legislatures choose the second branch.

Question carried against the postponement — 10 states against 1.

Mr. Mason then spoke to the general question — observing on the propriety, that the second branch of the national legislature should flow from the legislature of each state, to prevent the encroachments on each other and to harmonize the whole.

The question put on the first motion, and carried unanimously. Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

Edition: current; Page: [158]

KING
7 June. Come. whole

The proposition before the comee. — that the Senate be appointed by the other Br. of the national legislature out of persons nominated by the State Legislatures being negatived —

Dickerson — proposed an amendment so that the appointment of the Senate shd. be by the Legislatures of the individual States — for two reasons, first, that the mind & body of the State as such shd. be represented in the national Legislature. Second, that the men of first Talents may be employed in the national Legislature; they first will have a chance in the Election of the people, failing there, wealth, family, or Talents may hold them up to the State Legislatures as fit characters for the Senate — let their numbers be more than 200; by inlarging their Numbers you increase their consequence & weight & by combining the families and wealth of the aristocracy, you establish a balance that will check the Democracy —

Wilson — If this amendment passes — we shall not have a national Govt: the Senate will be too numerous, and will not represent the property or numbers of the Nation, but they will represent the States, whose interests may oppose the Genl. Government — the consequence will be unfavorable to the Harmony of the Nation.

Madison — We are about to form a national Govt. and therefore must abandon Ideas founded alone in the plan of confedn. the Senate ought to come from, & represent, the Wealth of the nation, and this being the Rule, the amendment cannot be adopted — besides the numbers will be too large — the Proofs of History establish this position, that delegated power will have the most weight & consequence in the hands of a few — when the Roman Tribunes were few, they checked the Senate; when multiplied, they divided, were weak, ceased to be that Guard to the people which was expected in their institution —

Dickerson — The objection is that you attempt to unite distinct Interests — I do not consider this an objection, Safety Edition: current; Page: [159] may flow from this variety of Interests — there exists this Diversity in the constitution of G. Britain — We cannot abolish the States and consolidate them into one Govt — Indeed if we could I shd. be agt. it — Let our Govt. be like that of the solar System; let the Genl. Govt. be the Sun and the States the Planets repelled yet attracted, and the whole moving regularly and harmoniously in their respective Orbits — the Objection from Virgina. (Madison) that power delegated to a few will be a better & more weighty check to the Democy. & the Instance of the Roman Tribunes proves too much; they never exceeded ten in number; no Gentlemen has an Idea that the Senate shd. be so small as the number of Roman Tribunes at any Time, much less when their Numbers were only three

Wilson — I am not in favor of an abolition of the States — I revere the theory of the Brit. Govt. but we can’t adopt it — we have no laws in favor of primogeniture — no distinction of families — the partition of Estates destroys the influence of the Few — But I know that all confederations have been destroyed by the growth & ambition of some of their members — if the State Legisltures. appoint the Senate, the principle, which has formerly operated the ruin of antient Confederacies, will be received and cherished, in that we are abt. to establish —

I therefore propose that the Senate be elected by the people and that the Territory be thrown into convenient Districts —

Dickerson — opposed the substitute proposed by Wilson because the same is either impracticable or unfair — the Districts must be either parts of States, or entire States, or parts of distinct States united — if the first, how will you prevent fraudulent or corrupt Elections, if the second, how will you establish an intermediate body to elect from those who have the most votes and are not elected — if the third the small States will never have a member therefore it is unfair —

On the Question to agree to Wilson’s substitute providing for an Election in Districts

Pen. ay — the 10. other States no —

Mason — It is true that the antient confederacies were dissolved by the overgrown power and unreasonable ambition Edition: current; Page: [160] of some one of its members. but their situation was different from that which is proposed for the U. S. — we have agreed that the national Legislature shall have a negative on the State Legislatures — the Danger is that the national, will swallow up the State Legislatures — what will be a reasonable guard agt. this Danger, and operate in favor of the State authorities — The answer seems to me to be this, let the State Legislatures appoint the Senate —

On the Question whether the Senate shd. be appointed by the State Legislatures the Question was carried unanimously in the affirmative —7

HAMILTON

Dickinson II — He would have the state legislatures elect senators, because he would bring into the general government the sense of the state Governments &
II — because the more respectable choices would be made —
Note — Separate states may give stronger organs to their governments & engage more the good will of Ind: — while Genl Gov —
Consider the Principle of Rivalship by excluding the state Legislatures —
Mason General government could not know how to make laws for every part — such as respect agriculture &c
particular governments would have no defensive power unless let into the constitution as a Constituent part — — —

MASON8

At a time when our government is approaching to dissolution, when some of its principles have been found utterly Edition: current; Page: [161] inadequate to the purposes for which it was established, and it is evident that without some material alterations it can not much longer subsist, it must give real concern to every man who has his country’s interest at heart to find such a difference of sentiment and opinion in an assembly of the most respectable and confidential characters in America, appointed for the special purpose of revising and amending the federal constitution, so as to obtain and preserve the important objects for which it was instituted — the protection, safety and happiness of the people. We all agree in the necessity of new regulations; but we differ widely in our opinions of what are the safest and most effectual. Perhaps this contrariety of sentiment arises from our not thoroughly considering the peculiar circumstances, situation, character and genius of the people of America, differing materially from that of any other nation. The history of other nations has been minutely investigated, examples have been drawn from and arguments founded on the practice of countries very dissimilar to ours. The treaties, leagues, and confederacies between different sovereign, independent powers have been urged as proofs in support of the propriety and justice of the single and equal representation of each individual State in the American Union; and thence conclusions have been drawn that the people of these United States would refuse to adopt a government founded more on an equal representation of the people themselves, than on the distinct representation of each separate, individual State. If the different States in our Union always had been as now substantially and in reality distinct, sovereign and independent, this kind of reasoning would have great force; but if the premises on which it is founded are mere assumptions not founded on facts, or at best upon facts to be found only upon a paper of yesterday, and even these contradictory to each other, no satisfactory conclusions can be drawn from them.

Edition: current; Page: [162]

FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 1787.

JOURNAL
Friday June 8. 1787

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American union

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed Him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’Clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Friday June 8. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair

It was moved by Mr C Pinckney seconded by Mr Madison to strike out the following words in the 6th resolution adopted by the Committee namely.

“to negative all laws passed by the several States contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the articles of union; or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the union.”

— and to insert the following words in their place namely

“to negative all laws which to them shall appear improper.”

And on the question to strike out

Edition: current; Page: [163]

it passed in the negative. [Ayes — 3; noes — 7; divided — 1.]1

It was moved by Mr Gerry seconded by Mr King to reconsider that clause of the seventh resolution, adopted by the Committee, which respects the appointment of the national Executive

On the question to reconsider

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 9; noes — 2.]2

and to-morrow was assigned for the reconsideration

It was then moved by Mr C Pinckney seconded by Mr Rutledge that the following resolution be added after the 4th resolution adopted by the Committee namely.

Resolved That the States be divided into three Classes — the first Class to have three members, the second two, and the third One member each — that an estimate be taken of the comparative importance of each State, at fixed periods, so as to ascertain the number of members they may from time to time be entitled to.

Before any debate was had, or determination taken on Mr Pinckney’s proposition — it was moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again.

The Committee then rose.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[34] aye no no no aye dd no aye no no no for vesting the national legislature with a negative on all State laws which shall appear to them improper 3 7 1
[35] aye no aye aye aye aye aye aye no aye aye To reconsider the mode of appointing the executive 9 2
Edition: current; Page: [164]

MADISON
Friday June 8th. In Committee of the Whole.

On a reconsideration of the clause giving the Natl. Legislature a negative on such laws of the States as might be contrary to the articles of Union, or Treaties with foreign nations,3

Mr. Pinkney moved “that the National Legislature shd. have authority to negative all Laws which they shd. judge to be improper”. He urged that such a universality of the power was indispensably necessary to render it effectual; that the States must be kept in due subordination to the nation; that if the States were left to act of themselves in any case, it wd. be impossible to defend the national prerogatives, however extensive they might be on paper; that the acts of Congress had been defeated by this means; nor had foreign treaties escaped repeated violations; that this universal negative was in fact the corner stone of an efficient national Govt.; that under the British Govt. the negative of the Crown had been found beneficial, and the States are more one nation now, than the Colonies were then.

Mr. 〈Madison〉 seconded the motion. He could not but regard an indefinite power to negative legislative acts of the States as absolutely necessary to a perfect system. Experience had evinced a constant tendency in the States to encroach on the federal authority; to violate national Treaties, to infringe the rights & interests of each other; to oppress the weaker party within their respective jurisdictions. A negative was the mildest expedient that could be devised for preventing these mischiefs. The existence of such a check would prevent attempts to commit them. Should no such precaution be engrafted, the only remedy wd. lie in an appeal to coercion. Was such a remedy elegible? was it practicable? Could the national resources, if exerted to the utmost enforce a national decree agst. Massts. abetted perhaps by several Edition: current; Page: [165] of her neighbours? It wd. not be possible. A; small proportion of the Community in a compact situation, acting on the defensive, and at one of its extremities might at any time bid defiance to the National authority. Any Govt. for the U. States formed on the supposed practicability of using force agst. the 〈unconstitutional proceedings〉4 of the States, wd. prove as visionary & fallacious as the Govt. of Congs. The negative wd. render the use of force unnecessary. The States cd. of themselves then pass no operative act, any more than one branch of a Legislature where there are two branches, can proceed without the other. But in order to give the negative this efficacy, it must extend to all cases. A discrimination wd. only be a fresh source of contention between the two authorities. In a word, to recur to the illustrations borrowed from the planetary System, This prerogative of the General Govt. is the great pervading principle that must controul the centrifugal tendency of the States; which, without it, will continually fly out of their proper orbits and destroy the order & harmony of the political system.

Mr. Williamson was agst. giving a power that might restrain the States from regulating their internal police.

Mr. Gerry cd. not see the extent of such a power, and was agst. every power that was not necessary. He thought a remonstrance agst. unreasonable acts of the States wd. reclaim them. If it shd. not force might be resorted to. He had no objection to authorize a negative to paper money and similar measures. When the confederation was depending before Congress, Massachusetts was then for inserting the power of emitting paper money amg. the exclusive powers of Congress. He observed that the proposed negative wd. extend to the regulations of the militia, a matter on which the existence of a State might depend. The Natl. Legislature with such a power may enslave the States. Such an idea as this will never be acceded to. It has never been suggested or conceived among the people. No speculative projector, and there are eno’ of that character among us, in politics as well as in other things, has Edition: current; Page: [166] in any pamphlet or newspaper thrown out the idea. The States too have different interests and are ignorant of each other’s interests. The negative therefore will be abused, New States too having separate views from the old States will never come into the Union, They may even be under some foreign influence; are they in such case to participate in the negative on the will of the other States?

Mr. Sherman thought the cases in which the negative ought to be exercised, might be defined. He wished the point might not be decided till a trial at least shd. be made for that purpose

Mr. Wilson would not say what modifications of the proposed power might be practicable or expedient. But however novel it might appear the principal of it when viewed with a close & steady eye, is right. There is no instance in which the laws say that the individuals shd. be bound in one case, & at liberty to judge whether he will obey or disobey in another. The cases are parallel, Abuses of the power over the individual person may happen as well as over the individual States. Federal liberty is to States, what civil liberty, is to private individuals. And States are not more unwilling to purchase it, by the necessary concession of their political sovereignty, that the savage is to purchase Civil liberty by the surrender of the personal sovereignty. which he enjoys in a State of nature. A definition of the cases in which the Negative should be exercised, is impracticable. A discretion must be left on one side or the other? Will it not be most safely lodged on the side of the Natl. Govt.? — Among the first sentiments expressed in the first Congs. one was that Virga. is no more. That Massts. is no [more], that Pa. is no more &c. We are now one nation of brethren. We must bury all local interests & distinctions. This language continued for some time. The tables at length began to turn. No sooner were the State Govts. formed than their jealousy & ambition began to display themselves. Each endeavoured to cut a slice from the common loaf, to add to its own morsel, till at length the confederation became frittered down to the impotent condition in which it now stands. Review the progress of the articles of Confederation thro’ Congress & compare the first & last Edition: current; Page: [167] draught of it. To correct its vices is the business of this convention. One of its vices is the want of an effectual controul in the whole over its parts. What danger is there that the whole will unnecessarily sacrifice a part? But reverse the case, and leave the whole at the mercy of each part, and will not the general interest be continually sacrificed to local interests?

Mr. Dickenson deemed it impossible to draw a line between the cases proper & improper for the exercise of the negative. We must take our choice of two things. We must either subject the States to the danger of being injured by the power of the Natl. Govt. or the latter to the danger of being injured by that of the States. He thought the danger greater from the States. To leave the power doubtful, would be opening another spring of discord, and he was for shutting as many of them as possible.

Mr. Bedford. In answer to his colleagues question, where wd. be the danger to the States from this power, would refer him to the smallness of his own State which may be injured at pleasure without redress. It was meant he found to strip the small States of their equal right of suffrage. In this case Delaware would have about 1/90 〈for its〉 share in the General Councils, whilst Pa. & Va. would possess ⅓ of the whole. Is there no difference of interests, no rivalship of commerce, of manufactures? Will not these large States crush the small ones whenever they stand in the way of their ambitions or interested views. This shows the impossibility of adopting such a system as that on the table, or any other founded on a change in the prinple of representation. And after all, if a State does not obey the law of the new System, must not force be resorted to as the only ultimate remedy, in this as in any other system. It seems as if Pa. & Va. by the conduct of their deputies wished to provide a system in which they would have an enormous & monstrous influence. Besides, How can it be thought that the proposed negative can be exercised? are the laws of the States to be suspended in the most urgent cases until they can be sent seven or eight hundred miles, and undergo the deliberations of a body who may be incapable of Edition: current; Page: [168] Judging of them? Is the National Legislature too to sit continually in order to revise the laws of the States?

〈Mr.〉 〈Madison〉 observed that the difficulties which had been started were worthy of attention and ought to be answered before the question was put. The case of laws of urgent necessity must be provided for by some emanation of the power from the Natl. Govt. into each State so far as to give a temporary assent at least. This was the practice in Royal Colonies before the Revolution and would not have been inconvenient; if the supreme power of negativing had been faithful to the American interest, and had possessed the necessary information. He supposed that the negative might be very properly lodged in the senate alone, and that the more numerous & expensive branch therefore might not be obliged to sit constantly. — He asked Mr. B. what would be the consequence to the small States of a dissolution of the Union wch. seemed likely to happen if no effectual substitute was made for the defective System existing, and he did not conceive any effectual system could be substituted on any other basis than that of a proportional suffrage? If the large States possessed the Avarice & ambition with which they were charged, would the small ones in their neighbourhood, be more secure when all controul of a Genl. Govt. was withdrawn.

Mr. Butler was vehement agst. the Negative in the proposed extent, as cutting off all hope of equal justice to the distant States. The people there would not he was sure give it a hearing.

On the question for extending the negative power to all cases as proposd. by (Mr. P. & Mr- M —) Mas. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. divd. Mr. Reed & Mr. Dickenson ay. Mr. Bedford & Mr. Basset no. Maryd. no. Va. ay. Mr. R. Mr. Mason no. Mr. Blair, Docr. Mc. Cg. Mr. M. ay. Genl. W. not consulted. N. C. no. S. C. no Geo. no. [Ayes — 3; noes — 7; divided — 1.]

〈On motion of Mr. Gerry and Mr. King tomorrow was assigned for reconsidering the mode of appointing the National Executive: the reconsideration being voted for by all the States except Connecticut & N. Carolina.

Edition: current; Page: [169]

Mr. Pinkney and Mr. Rutlidge moved to add to Resoln. 4. agreed to by the Come. the following, viz. “that the States be divided into three classes, the 1st. class to have 3 members, the 2d. two. & the 3d. one member each; that an estimate be taken of the comparative importance of each State at fixed periods, so as to ascertain the number of members they may from time to time be entitled to” The Committee then rose and the House adjourned.〉5

YATES
Friday, June 8, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment — 11 states.

Mr. Pinkney moved, That the national legislature shall have the power of negativing all laws to be passed by the state legislatures which they may judge improper, in the room of the clause as it stood reported.

He grounds his motion on the necessity of one supreme controlling power, and he considers this as the corner-stone of the present system; and hence the necessity of retrenching the state authorities in order to preserve the good government of the national council.

Mr. Williamson against the motion. The national legislature ought to possess the power of negativing such laws only as will encroach on the national government.

Mr. Madison wished that the line of jurisprudence could be drawn — he would be for it — but upon reflection he finds it impossible, and therefore he is for the amendment. If the clause remains without the amendment it is inefficient — The judges of the state must give the state laws their operation, although the law abridges the rights of the national government — how is it to be repealed? By the power who made it? How shall you compel them? By force? To prevent this disagreeable expedient, the power of negativing is absolutely necessary — this is the only attractive principle which will retain its centrifugal force, and without this the planets will fly from their orbits.6

Edition: current; Page: [170]

Mr. Gerry supposes that this power ought to extend to all laws already made; but the preferable mode would be to designate the powers of the national legislature, to which the negative ought to apply — he has no objection to restrain the laws which may be made for issuing paper money. Upon the whole he does not choose on this important trust, to take a leap in the dark.6

Mr. Pinkney supposes that the proposed amendment had no retrospect to the state laws already made. The adoption of the new government must operate as a complete repeal of all the constitutions and state laws, as far as they are inconsistent with the new government.

Mr. Wilson supposes the surrender of the rights of a federal government to be a surrender of sovereignty. True, we may define some of the rights, but when we come near the line it cannot be found. One general excepting clause must therefore apply to the whole. In the beginning of our troubles, congress themselves were as one state — dissentions or state interests were not known — they gradually crept in after the formation of the constitution, and each took to himself a slice. The original draft of confederation was drawn on the first ideas, and the draft concluded on how different!

Mr. Bedford was against the motion, and states the proportion of the intended representation of the number 90: Delaware 1 — Pennsylvania and Virginia one third. On this computation where is the weight of the small states when the interest of the one is in competition with the other on trade, manufactures and agriculture? When he sees this mode of government so strongly advocated by the members of the great states, he must suppose it a question of interest.

Mr. Madison confesses it is not without its difficulties on many accounts — some may be removed, others modified, and some are unavoidable. May not this power be vested in the senatorial branch? they will probably be always sitting. Take the question on the other ground, who is to determine the line when drawn in doubtful cases? The state legislatures Edition: current; Page: [171] cannot, for they will be partial in support of their own powers — no tribunal can be found. It is impossible that the articles of confederation can be amended — they are too tottering to be invigorated — nothing but the present system, or something like it, can restore the peace and harmony of the country.

The question put on Mr. Pinkney’s motion — 7 states against it — Delaware divided — Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for it.

Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

KING
8 June

Conee. of the whole — Mr. C. Pinckney moves to reconsider a former vote of the Comee. vesting the national Legislatr. with a negative on the State Laws in certain instances, for the purpose of vesting them with the power of a general Negative —

The interruption of the Laws and Treaties passed and entered into by Congress, by particular State laws have been sufficiently experienced, the Harmony of the Union makes this measure necessary, and the national independence must in a great Degree rest on its adoption —

Williamson — agt. the reconsideration because he thinks the State Legislatures ought to possess independent powers in cases purely local, and applying to their internal policy —

Madison — The amendment or a reconsideration for discussion seems necessary — I am of opinion that ye Genl. Govt. will not be able to compel the large and important State to rescind a popular law passed by their Legislature. If this power does not rest in the national Legisl: there will be wanting a check to the centrifugal Force which constantly operates in the several states to force them off from a common Centre, or a national point —

Gerry — this power may enable the Genl. Govt. to depress a part for the benefit of another part — it may prevent the encouragements which particular States may be disposed to Edition: current; Page: [172] give to particular manufactures, it may prevent the States from traing. their militia, and thereby establish a military Force & finally a Despotism —

Wilson — In the Establishment of society every man yields his life, his liberty, property & Character to the society. there is no reservation of this sort, that the individual shall be subject to one and exempt from another Law — Indeed we have seen the Legislatures in our own Country deprive the citizen of Life, of Liberty, & property we have seen Attainders, Banishment, & Confiscations.

If we mean to establish a national Govt. the States must submit themselves as individuals — the lawful Government must be supreme — either the Genl. or the State Government must be supreme — We must remember the language with wh. we began the Revolution, it was this, Virginia is no more, Massachusetts is no more — we are one in name, let us be one in Truth & Fact — Unless this power is vested in the Genl. Govt. the States will be used by foreign powers as Engines agt the Whole — New States will be soon formed, the Inhabitants may be foreigners and possess foreign affections, unless the Genl. Govt. can check their State laws they may involve the Nation in Tumult and Confusion.

Dickerson — There can be no line of separation dividing the powers of legislation between the State & Genl. Govts. The consequence is inevitable that there must be a supreme & august national Legislature — the objection that the States may be prevented from training the Militia, is obviated by the mode of appointing the Senate and the actual representation of the people —

Bedford — Agt. the amendment — Delaware now stands 1/13th of the whole — when the system of equal representation obtains Delaware will be 1/90th — Virginia & Pensylvania will stand 28/90th — Suppose a rivalry in commerce or manufacture between Delaware and these two States; what chance has Delaware agt. them? Bounties may be given in Virgina. & Pensylvania, and their influence in the Genl. Govt. or Legislature will prevent a negative, not so if the same measure is attempted in Delaware —

Edition: current; Page: [173]

The Committee having agreed to a reconsideration on the question to agree to the proposed amendment

7[Endorsed:] 8 June | Shall Congress have power to negative State Laws | Mass. Pen. Virgin. aye | Del. divided | Con. NY. Jers. Mar. N. & S. Car and Geor no
Mass. Penn. & Virgin. Ay } lost7
Dela — divid — }
Cont. NYk. NJ. Mar. N.C SC. & Geor. No. }

HAMILTON

Pinckey — For general Negative —
Gerry — Is for a negative on paper emissions —
New states will arise which cannot be controuled — & may outweigh & controul —
Wilson — Foreign influence may infect certain corners of confederacy which ought to be restrained —
Union basis of our oppos & Ind:
Bedford — Arithmetical calculation of proportional influence in General Government —
{ Pensyl. & Delaware may have rivalship in commerce — & influence of Pens — sacrifice delaware
If there be a negative in G G — yet if a law can pass through all the forms of S - C. it will require force to abrogate it
Butler — Will a man throw afloat his property & confide it to a government a thousand miles distant?
Edition: current; Page: [174]

SATURDAY, JUNE 9, 1787.

JOURNAL
Saturday June 9. 1787.

The honorable Luther Martin Esquire One of the Deputies of the State of Maryland attended and took his Seat.

The order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union.

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee.

Mr President resumed the Chair.

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will on Monday next again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American union

And then the House adjourned till Monday next at 11 o’Clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Saturday June 9. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair.

A question being taken, on Mr Gerry’s motion, to strike out the following words in that clause of the 7th resolution, adopted by the Committee, which respects the appointment of the national Executive

namely “to be chosen by the national legislature” and to insert

“to be chosen by the Executives of the individual States”

Edition: current; Page: [175]

it passed in the negative. [Ayes — 0; noes — 10; divided — 1.]1

It was moved by Mr Patterson seconded by Mr Brearley to enter on the consideration of theresolution submitted by Mr Randolph.

After some time passed in debate —

It was moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again.

The Committee then rose.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[36] no no no no no dd no no no no no To appoint the national Executive by the Executives of the sevl States 10 1

MADISON
Saturday June 9th. 〈Mr. Luther Martin from Maryland took his Seat〉2 In committee of the whole

Mr. Gerry, according to previous notice given by him, moved “that the National Executive should be elected by the Executives of the States whose proportion of votes should be the same with that allowed to the States in the election of the Senate.” If the appointmt. should be made by the Natl. Legislature, it would lessen that independence 〈of the Executive〉 which ought to prevail, would give birth to intrigue and corruption between the Executive & Legislature previous to the elections and to partiality in the Executive afterwards to the friends who promoted him. Some other mode therefore appeared to him necessary. He proposed that of appointing by the State Executives as most analogous to the principle observed in electing the other branches of the Natl. Edition: current; Page: [176] Govt.; the first branch being chosen by the people of the States, & the 2d. by the Legislatures of the States; he did not see any objection agst. letting the Executive be appointed by the Executives of the States. He supposed the Executives would be most likely to select the fittest men, and that it would be their interest to support the man of their own choice.

Mr. Randolph urged strongly the inexpediency of Mr. Gerry’s mode of appointing the Natl. Executive. The confidence of the people would not be secured by it to the Natl. magistrate. The small States would lose all chance of an appointment. from within themselves. Bad appointments would be made; the Executives of the States being little conversant with characters not within their own small spheres. The State Executives too notwithstanding their constitutional independence, being in fact dependent on the State Legislatures will generally be guided by the views of the latter, and prefer either favorites within the States, or such as it may be expected will be most partial to the interests of the State. A Natl. Executive thus chosen will not be likely to defend with becoming vigilance & firmness the national rights agst. State encroachments. Vacancies also must happen. How can these be filled? He could not suppose either that the Executives would feel the interest in supporting the Natl. Executive which had been imagined. They will not cherish the great Oak which is to reduce them to paltry shrubs.3

On the question for referring the appointment of the Natl. Executive to the State Executives as propd. by Mr. Gerry Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. divd. Md. no. Va. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes — 0; noes — 9; divided — 1.]4

Mr. Patterson moves that the Committee resume the clause relating to the rule of suffrage in the Natl. Legislature.

Mr. Brearly seconds him. He was sorry he said that any question on this point was brought into view. It had been much agitated in Congs. at the time of forming the Confederation and was then rightly settled by allowing to each sovereign Edition: current; Page: [177] State an equal vote. Otherwise the smaller States must have been destroyed instead of being saved. The substitution of a ratio, he admitted carried fairness on the face of it; but on a deeper examination was unfair and unjust. Judging of the disparity of the States by the quota of Congs. Virga. would have 16 votes, and Georgia but one. A like proportion to the others will make the whole number ninity.5 There will be 3. large states and 10 small ones. The large States by which he meant Massts. Pena. & Virga. will carry every thing before them. It had been admitted, and was known to him from facts within N. Jersey that where large and small counties were united into a district for electing representatives for the district, the large counties always carried their point, and Consequently that the large States would do so. Virga. with her sixteen votes will be a solid column indeed, a formidable phalanx. While Georgie with her Solitary vote, and the other little States will be obliged to throw themselves constantly into the scale of some large one, in order to have any weight at all. He had come to the convention with a view of being as useful as he could in giving energy and stability to the Federal Government. When the proposition for destroying the equality of votes came forward, he was astonished, he was alarmed. Is it fair then it will be asked that Georgia should have an equal vote with Virga.? He would not say it was. What remedy then? One only, that a map of the U. S. be spread out, that all the existing boundaries be erased, and that a new partition of the whole be made into 13 equal parts6

Mr. Patterson considered the proposition for a proportional representation as striking at the existence of the lesser States. He wd. premise however to an investigation of this question some remarks on the nature structure and powers of the Convention. The Convention he said was formed in pursuance of an Act of Congs. that this act was recited in several of the Commissions, particularly that of Massts. which he required to be read: That the amendment of the confederacy was the object of all the laws and commissions on the subject; that the articles Edition: current; Page: [178] of the confederation were therefore the proper basis of all the proceedings of the Convention. We ought to keep within its limits, or we should be charged by our constituents with usurpation. that the people of America were sharpsighted and not to be deceived. But the Commissions under which we acted were not only the measure of our power. they denoted also the sentiments of the States on the subject of our deliberation. The idea of a national Govt. as contradistinguished from a federal one, never entered into the mind of any of them, and to the public mind we must accommodate ourselves. We have no power to go beyond the federal scheme, and if we had the people are not ripe for any other. We must follow the people; the people will not follow us. The proposition could not be maintained whether considered in reference to us as a nation, or as a confederacy. A confederacy supposes sovereignty in the members composing it & sovereignty supposes equality. If we are to be considered as a nation, all State distinctions must be abolished, the whole must be thrown into hotchpot, and when an equal division is made, then there may be fairly an equality of representation. He held up Virga. Massts. & Pa. as the three large States, and the other ten as small ones; repeating the calculations of Mr. Brearly as to the disparity of votes which wd. take place, and affirming that the small States would never agree to it. He said there was no more reason that a great individual State contributing much, should have more votes than a small one contributing little, than that a rich individual citizen should have more votes than an indigent one. If the rateable property of A was to that of B as 40 to 1. ought A for that reason to have 40 times as many votes as B. Such a principle would never be admitted, and if it were admitted would put B entirely at the mercy of A. As A. has more to be protected than B so he ought to contribute more for the common protection. The same may be said of a large State wch. has more to be protected than a small one. Give the large States an influence in proportion to their magnitude, and what will be the consequence? Their ambition will be proportionally increased, and the small States will have every thing to fear. It was once proposed by Galloway Edition: current; Page: [179] & some others that America should be represented in the British Parlt. and then be bound by its laws. America could not have been entitled to more than ⅓ of the no. of Representatives which would fall to the share of G. B. Would American rights & interests have been safe under an authority thus constituted? It has been said that if a Natl. Govt. is to be formed so as to operate on the people and not on the States, the representatives ought to be drawn from the people. But why so? May not a Legislature filled by the State Legislatures operate on the people who chuse the State Legislatures? or may not a practicable coercion be found. He admitted that there was none such in the existing System. He was attached strongly to the plan of the existing confederacy, in which the people chuse their Legislative representatives; and the Legislatures their federal representatives. No other amendments were wanting than to mark the orbits of the States with due precision, and provide for the use of coercion, which was the great point. He alluded to the hint thrown out heretofore by Mr. Wilson of the necessity to which the large States might be reduced of confederating among themselves, by a refusal of the others to concur. Let them unite if they please, but let them remember that they have no authority to compel the others to unite. N. Jersey will never confederate on the plan before the Committee. She would be swallowed up. He had rather submit to a monarch, to a despot, than to such a fate. He would not only oppose the plan here but on his return home do everything in his power to defeat it there

Mr. Wilson. hoped if the Confederacy should be dissolved, that a majority, that a minority of the States would unite for their safety. He entered elaborately into the defence of a proportional representation, stating for his first position that as all authority was derived from the people, equal numbers of people ought to have an equal no. of representatives, and different numbers of people different numbers of representatives. This principle had been improperly violated in the Confederation, owing to the urgent circumstances of the time. As to the case of A. & B, stated by Mr. Patterson, he observed that in districts as large as the States, the number of people Edition: current; Page: [180] was the best measure of their comparative wealth. Whether therefore wealth or numbers were to form the ratio it would be the same. Mr. P. admitted persons, not property to be the measure of suffrage. Are not the citizens of Pena. equal to those of N. Jersey? does it require 150 of the former to balance 50 of the latter? Representatives of different districts ought clearly to hold the same proportion to each other, as their respective constituents hold to each other. If the small States will not confederate on this plan, Pena. & he presumed some other States, would not confederate on any other. We have been told that each State being sovereign, all are equal. So each man is naturally a sovereign over himself, and all men are therefore naturally equal. Can he retain this equality when he becomes a member of civil Government? He can not. As little can a Sovereign State, when it becomes a member of a federal Governt. If N. J. will not part with her Sovereignty it is in vain to talk of Govt. A new partition of the States is desireable, but evidently & totally impracticable.

Mr. Williamson, illustrated the cases by a comparison of the different States, to Counties of different sizes within the same State; observing that proportional representation was admitted to be just in the latter case, and could not therefore be fairly contested in the former.

The question being about to be put Mr. Patterson hoped that as so much depended on it, it might be thought best to postpone the decision till tomorrow, which was done nem. con —7

〈The Come. rose & the House adjourned.〉8

YATES
Saturday, June 9th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment.

Motion by Mr. Gerry to reconsider the appointment of the national executive.

Edition: current; Page: [181]

That the national executive be appointed by the state executives.

He supposed that in the national legislature there will be a great number of bad men of various descriptions — these will make a wrong appointment. Besides, an executive thus appointed, will have his partiality in favor of those who appointed him — that this will not be the case by the effect of his motion, and the executive will by this means be independent of the national legislature, but the appointment by the state executives ought to be made by votes in proportion to their weight in the scale of the representation.

Mr. Randolph opposes the motion. The power vested by it is dangerous — confidence will be wanting — the large states will be masters of the election — an executive ought to have great experience, integrity and activity. The executives of the states cannot know the persons properly qualified as possessing these. An executive thus appointed will court the officers of his appointment, and will relax him in the duties of commander of the militia — Your single executive is already invested with negativing laws of the state. Will he duly exercise the power? Is there no danger in the combinations of states to appoint such an executive as may be too favorable to local state governments? Add to this the expense and difficulty of bringing the executives to one place to exercise their powers. Can you suppose they will ever cordially raise the great oak, when they must sit as shrubs under its shade?

Carried against the motion, 10 noes, and Delaware divided.

On motion of Mr. Patterson, the consideration of the 2d resolve was taken up, which is as follows: Resolved, therefore, that the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be apportioned to the quotas of contribution, or to the number of inhabitants, as the one or other rule may seem best in different cases.

Judge Brearly. — The present question is an important one. On the principle that each state in the union was sovereign, congress, in the articles of confederation, determined that each state in the public councils had one vote. If the states still remain sovereign, the form of the present resolve is founded on principles of injustice. He then stated the comparative Edition: current; Page: [182] weight of each state — the number of votes 90. Georgia would be 1, Virginia 16, and so of the rest. This vote must defeat itself, or end in despotism. If we must have a national government, what is the remedy? Lay the map of the confederation on the table, and extinguish the present boundary lines of the respective state jurisdictions, and make a new division so that each state is equal — then a government on the present system will be just.

Mr. Patterson opposed the resolve. Let us consider with what powers are we sent here? (moved to have the credentials of Massachusetts read, which was done.) By this and the other credentials we see, that the basis of our present authority is founded on a revision of the articles of the present confederation, and to alter or amend them in such parts where they may appear defective. Can we on this ground form a national government? I fancy not. — Our commissions give a complexion to the business; and can we suppose that when we exceed the bounds of our duty, the people will approve our proceedings?

We are met here as the deputies of 13 independent, sovereign states, for federal purposes. Can we consolidate their sovereignty and form one nation, and annihilate the sovereignties of our states who have sent us here for other purposes?

What, pray, is intended by a proportional representation? Is property to be considered as part of it? Is a man, for example, possessing a property of £4000 to have 40 votes to one possessing only £100? This has been asserted on a former occasion. If state distinctions are still to be held up, shall I submit the welfare of the state of New-Jersey, with 5 votes in the national council, opposed to Virginia who has 16 votes? Suppose, as it was in agitation before the war, that America had been represented in the British parliament, and had sent 200 members; what would this number avail against 600? We would have been as much enslaved in that case as when unrepresented; and what is worse, without the prospect of redress. But it is said that this national government is to act on individuals and not on states; and cannot a federal government be so framed as to operate in the same way? It Edition: current; Page: [183] surely may. I therefore declare, that I will never consent to the present system, and I shall make all the interest against it in the state which I represent that I can. Myself or my state will never submit to tyranny or despotism.9

Upon the whole, every sovereign state according to a confederation must have an equal vote, or there is an end to liberty. As long therefore as state distinctions are held up, this rule must invariably apply; and if a consolidated national government must take place, then state distinctions must cease, or the states must be equalized.

Mr. Wilson was in favor of the resolve. He observed that a majority, nay even a minority, of the states have a right to confederate with each other, and the rest may do as they please. He considered numbers as the best criterion to determine representation. Every citizen of one state possesses the same rights with the citizen of another. Let us see how this rule will apply to the present question. Pennsylvania, from its numbers, has a right to 12 votes, when on the same principle New-Jersey is entitled to 5 votes. Shall New-Jersey have the same right or influence in the councils of the nation with Pennsylvania? I say no. It is unjust — I never will confederate on this plan. The gentleman from New-Jersey is candid in declaring his opinion — I commend him for it — I am equally so. I say again I never will confederate on his principles. If no state will part with any of its sovereignty, it is in vain to talk of a national government. The state who has five times the number of inhabitants ought, nay must have the same proportion of weight in the representation. If there was a probability of equalizing the states, he would be for it. But we have no such power. If however, we depart from the principle of representation in proportion to numbers, we will lose the object of our meeting.

The question postponed for farther consideration.

Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

Edition: current; Page: [184]

KING
9 June

Brearly. opposes the equality of Representation, alledges that although it is numerically equal, yet in its operation it will be unequal — illustrates by saying there will be two divisions in the States thus represented, the one made up of Mass. Penn. & Virgin. the other including the Ten other states — when Georga. sends one member, Virginia will send sixteen — These 16 members are united, the members of three or four small States although equal in number are not capable of combination, the influence of the 16 members of Virginia will be different, for these Reasons, from those from three or four small States — I agree that the Rule of confedn. is unequal — I shall be willing to take the map of the U S. and divide it into 13 equal parts — this being done there may fairly be an equality in the representation of the States —

Patterson. Our powers do not extend to the abolition of the State Governments, and the Erection of a national Govt. — They only authorise amendments in the present System, and have for yr. Basis the present Confederation which establishes the principle that each State has an equal vote in Congress — agrees wth. Brearly for an equal Division of the Territory of the US, and then the equality of Territory will be the parent or origin of an equality of Representation — But perhaps the inequality of the present system is not so obvious — the States are equals and they vote equal, in every state the individual Citizens have equal votes although their property is unequal — a man of 4000£ has one vote, and the man of 100£ has one vote, yet one has forty times as much property as the other — why shd. not this be the case in the several States — Mr. Galloway who was early in Cong. proposed that america shd. be represented in the Brith. parl. perhaps they wd. have sent 200 members, and G. Britain 500 members; but it was clearly seen that this project wd. not secure the american Liberties — neither wd. the smaller States be secured in their Liberties — the project of an equality in Representation will Edition: current; Page: [185] never succeed — Admit that a majority of the States in Convention shd. agree in the Measure — they cannot give the assent of the other States — I never will agree to this project here, and I will use my influence agt. it in N Jersey — New Jersey never will agree to the Scheme —

Wilson — the Doctrine of Representation is this — first the representative ought to speak the Language of his Constituents, and secondly that his language or vote shd. have the same influence as though the Constituents gave it — apply this principle and it concludes in favor of an equality of Representation & agt. the present System —10

PATERSON11

[A]12

  • 1. The Plan.
  • 2. The words national and federal.
  • 3. Collection of Sentiment — Object, to take under Consideration the State of the American Union —

Consider the Nature and Construction of this Assembly. Formed under the act of Congress passed in Conformity with one of the Articles of the Confedn.

See the Comn. from Massts.13

Assumption of Power13a—The Comn. measures our Power — to revise the Confedn. to report to Congress and the several Legs. — must not go beyond our Powers —

Self-constituted and self-ordained Body.

The Coms. give the political Complexion of the several Edition: current; Page: [186] States — not ripe — we must follow the People; the People will not follow us — The Plan must be accommodated to the public Mind — consult the Genius, the Temper, the Habits, the Prejudices of the People.

A little practicable Virtue to be preferred to Theory.

Not to sport Opinions of my own — not to say wt. is the best Govt. or what ought to be done — but what can be done — wt. can we do consistently with our Powers; wt. can we do that will meet with the Approbation of the People — their Will must guide —

Insurrections — So there are in every Govt. — even in England — it may shew, that our particular Systems are wrong — that our Instns. are too pure — not sufficiently removed from a State of Nature to answer the Purposes of a State of Society — it will not militate agt. the democratick Principle when properly regulated and modified —

The democratick Spirit beats high —

Not half wrong enough to have a good Govt. —

2. The Plan proposed — The 1st. Propn. withdrawn14 — it was incompatible with the 2d. The Principles were gradually unfolded —

Wt. Qy. of Land14a — The 1 Propn. accords with the Spirit of the Constn.

Each State is sovereign, free, and independt. etc. Sovereignty includes Equality —

If then the States in Union are as States still to continue in Union, they must be considered as Equals —

13 sovereign and independent States can never constitute one Nation, and at the same Time be States — they may be Treaty make one confederated Body —

Mr. Randolph — We ought to be one Nation — etc. The States as States must be cut up, and destroyed — This is the way to form us into a Nation — It has Equality — it will not break in upon the Rights of any Citizen — it will destroy State Politicks and Attachmts. Will it be acceded to, etc.

Edition: current; Page: [187]

G. Morris — Every Citizen should enjoy a rateable Proportion of Sovereignty —

Fœtus of a Monarch —15 An infant Hercules in his Cradle —15a The Mind of Man is fond of Power —

Enlarge his prospects, you increase his Desires — Proportion of Votes — State-Politicks, State-Attachments, State-Influence, State-Passions — Districts —

Great Britain and America — Suppose Representn. from the latter before the Revolutn. according to the Quantum of Property or Number of Souls — Wt. the Consequence —

3 Article —16 Com. Defence, Security of Liberty, mutual and general Welfare.

A national Govt. to operate individually upon the People in the first Instance, and not upon the States — and therefore a Representation from the People at large and not from the States —

Will the Operation of the natl. Govt. depend upon the Mode of Representn. — No — it depends upon the Quantum of Power lodged in the leg. ex. and judy. Departments — it will operate individually in the one Case as well as in the other —

Why not operate upon the States — if they are coerced, they will in Turn coerce each individual —

Let the People elect the State-Legr. — The State-Legr. elect the federal Legr. — assign to the State Legr. its Duty — the same to the federal — they will be Checks upon each other, and the best Checks that can be formed — Cong. the Sun of out political System —17

Why a Representation from the People at large — to equalize Representn. Majr. Butler18 — Representn. — Property — People —

Mr. Wilson — Majority of the States sufficient. This in Opposition to Mr. King —19

Edition: current; Page: [188]

2 Views. 1. Under the Confedn. — 13th. Article — Rhode-Island. 2. As forming an original Combinn. or Confederacy — can bind the contracting Parties only —

The large States can agree upon a Reform only upon the Principle of an equal Representn.

11 Propn.20

If the lesser States form a Junction of Govt. and Territory, the Gy.21 ceases to operate as to them — This will prevent a Consolidn. of Govt. and Territory —

The people will likewise prevent any new State from being taken from the old — Vermont — Kentucky — several in Embryo — Republicks — Monarchies — large Frontiers.

[B]

1. The Confederation — its leading Principle. unanimously assented to —

2. The Nature and Construction of this Assembly. Formed under the Confedn. Resn. of Congress — The Comn. measures our Power — it gives the political Complexion of each State — to revise the Confedn.

Must not go beyond our Powers — People not ripe —

A little practicable Virtue to be preferred to Theory.

What expected — Regulation of Commerce, Colln. of the Revenue, Negative, etc this will draw after it such a Weight of Influence and Power as will answer the Purpose — they will call forth the dormant Powers —

3. The Plan proposed. The 1 Propn. withdrawn — it was incompatible with the 2d. Much Dispute about Distn. between federal and National Governments. The Principle was gradually unfolded —

Wt Qy. of Land, etc they approach each other, etc.21a — The 1 Prop. accords with the Spirit of the Confedn.

Each State is sovereign, free, and independent etc. The Idea of a Supreme, and the Maxim Imperium in Imperio —

Edition: current; Page: [189]

If then the States in Union are as States still to continue in Union, they must be considered as Equals, etc.

13 sovereign and independant states can never constitute one Nation; they may by Treaty make one confederated Body —

Mr. Randolph — we ought to be one Nation — 2 Article — 5th. Article —22

G. Morris — Every Individual should enjoy a rateable Proportion of Sovereignty —

Districts —

3 Article — Common Defence, Security of Liberty, mutual and general Welfare — Proportion of Votes.

11 Propn.

If the lesser States form a Junction of Govt. and Territory, the Gy. ceases to operate as to them — This will prevent a Consoln. of Govt. and Territory —

The Propn. will likewise prevent any new States from being taken from the old — Vermont, Kentucky — Several in embryo — Republics — Monarchies — large Frontiers —

The large States can agree to a Reform only upon the Principle of an Equality of Representn.

In what we are all agreed —

[C]

Massts.

“for the sole and express Purpose of revising the Articles of Confdn. and reporting to Congress and the several Legs. such Alterations and Provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the States render the federal Constn. adequate to the Exigencies of Government and the Preservn. of the Union.”23

Connectt. as above —

Jersey, etc

Georgia,

Edition: current; Page: [190]
24

Among the Wilson papers in the Library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, upon the first page of the copy of the resolutions used by the Committee of Detail, is a duplicate of this document except that: the names of states are abbreviated; New Jersey’s quota is given as 166,316; and in the column of “Delegates”, instead of a line after the number for Pennsylvania, lines are drawn after the numbers for New York and South Carolina and after the total of “90”, “24” and “25¼” have been crossed out, and then “12” written, showing that an estimate had been made of the total number of the delegates for the seven and five smaller states.

See a similar document from the Brearley Papers, below July 10.

States.24 Quota of Tax. Delegates.
Virginia 512,974 16.
Massachusetts 448,854 14.
Pennsylvania 410,378 12.¾. 42¾
Maryland 283,034 8.¾.
Connecticut 264,182 8-
New York 256,486 8-
North Carolina 218,012 6¾.
South Carolina 192,366 6-
New Jersey 166,716 5-
New Hampshire 105,416 3¼.
Rhode Island 64,636 2-
Delaware 44,886 1¼.
Georgia 32,060 1.
90-

[D]

Ambition goads him on. The Impulse is progressive — enlarge his Prospects, and you enlarge his Desires. As to orders — as to Societies. Mithradates — Com. Defence —

Liberty.

  • Mr. Madison — Districts.
  • Mr. King.
    • Guarranty.
    • Nature of Govts.
  • So corrected and enlarged.
  • Regulation of Commerce,
  • the Collection of Revenue.
  • Negative in particular
  • Cases.
Edition: current; Page: [191]

To promote the general Welfare, to protect Liberty and Property.

Cr. Lands.

[E]

1 — Great Britain and America — Representn. from the latter before the Revolution according to the Number of Souls — Wt. the Consequence.

2. Representation from the People at large and not from the States —

3. National Governmt. to operate individually upon the People in the first Instance, and not upon the States —

Durability.

[F]

Mr. Brearley. unfair; because of the Combination of the Parts.

Districts —

Equalize the States —

Mr. Wilson — All Authority is derived from the People — the People entitled to exercise Authority in Person — Italy — Roman Citizens —

2 Things necessary — 1. That the Representatives express the Sentiments of the represented. 2. That the Sentiments thus expressed should have the same Operation as if expressed by the People themselves —

Numbers the best Estimate of Property. One free Citizen ought to be of equal Importance with another.

One Mass — 13 — it will be given away ⅓ of the Territory —

No Authority — it is besides impracticable.

He wishes the Distinction of States might be destroyed.

A Principle given up in the first Confedn.

Mr. Wm.son. It does not appear to him, that the lesser States will be swallowed up.

A small County, and a large County; according to Numbers —

Mr. Maddison

Edition: current; Page: [192]

MONDAY, JUNE 11, 1787.

JOURNAL
Monday June 11. 1787.

The Honorable Abraham Baldwin Esquire, one of the Deputies of the State of Georgia, attended and took his seat.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union

Mr President left the chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred: and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American union

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o clock A. M

In a Committee of the whole House

Monday June 11. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair.

It was moved by Mr King seconded by Mr Rutledge to agree to the following resolution namely

Resolved that the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national Legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the articles of confederation; but according to some equitable ratio of representation

And on the question to agree to the same

Edition: current; Page: [193]

it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes—7; noes—3; divided—1.]1

It was then moved by Mr Rutledge seconded by Mr Butler to add the following words to the last resolution

“namely, according to the quotas of contribution”

It was moved by Mr Wilson seconded by Mr C. Pinckney to postpone the consideration of the last motion in order to introduce the following words, after the words “equitable ratio of representation” namely.

“in proportion to the whole number of white and other free Citizens and inhabitants of every age, sex and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians, not paying taxes in each State”

On the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 10; noes — 1.]

On the question to agree to Mr Wilson’s motion

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 9; noes — 2.]

It was moved by Mr Sherman seconded by Mr Ellsworth

“That in the second branch of the National Legislature each State have One vote”

On the question to agree to the same

it passed in the negative. [Ayes — 5; noes — 6.]

It was then moved by Mr Wilson seconded by Mr Hamilton to adopt the following resolution, namely,

“Resolved that the right of suffrage in the second branch of the national Legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first”

On the question to agree to the same

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes—6; noes 5.]

[To amend the 11th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph by adding the words voluntary junction or partition. Ayes — 7; noes — 4.

To amend the resolution by adding the words “national government” after the words [Ayes — 7; noes — 4.]2

It was moved and seconded to agree to the 11th resolution Edition: current; Page: [194] submitted by Mr Randolph — and amended to read as follows —

“Resolved that a republican constitution, and it’s existing laws ought to be guaranteed to each State by the United States.”

And on the question to agree to the same

it passed unanimously in the affirmative

It was then moved and seconded to agree to the following resolution

Resolved that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the articles of union whensoever it shall seem necessary.

On the question to agree to the same

it passed in the affirmative

It was agreed to postpone the following clause in the 13th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph namely

“and that the assent of the national legislature ought not to be required thereto”

It was then moved and seconded to agree to the 14 resolution submitted by Mr Randolph namely

“Resolved that the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of union”

It was then moved by Mr Martin seconded byto strike out the words “within the several States”

and on the question to strike out.

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 4; noes — 7.]

It was then moved and seconded to agree to the 14th resolution as submitted by Mr. Randolph

And on the question to agree to the same.

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 6; noes — 5.]

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again

The Committee then rose.

Edition: current; Page: [195]
DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[37] aye aye no no aye no dd aye aye aye aye That the right of suffrage in the first branch of the N. L. ought not to be accordg to the rule established in the confedn but accordg to some equitable ratio of representation 7 3 1
[38] aye aye aye aye aye no aye aye aye aye aye To postpone Mr Rutledge’s motion in order to take up Mr Wilson’s, respecting the right of suffrage in the N. L. 10 1
[39] aye aye aye no aye no aye aye aye aye aye That the right of suffrage in the first branch be accordg to the whole number of white and three fifths of the other inhabitants 9 2
[40] no aye aye aye no aye aye no no no no That in the second branch of the national Legislature each State have One vote 5 6
[41] aye no no no aye no no aye aye aye aye That the right of suffrage in the second branch ought to be accordg to the rule established for the first 6 5
[42] aye no aye no aye no no aye aye aye aye To amend the 11th resolution submitted by Mr Randolph by adding the words voluntary junction or partition 7 4
[43] aye aye no no aye no no aye aye aye aye To amend theresolution by adding the words “national government” after the words 7 4
[44] no aye no aye no aye aye no no no no To strike these words out of the 14 resolution “within the sevl States” 4 7
[45] aye no no no aye no no aye aye aye aye To agree to the 14 resolution as submitted by Mr Randolph 6 5
Edition: current; Page: [196]

MADISON
Monday, June 11th. 〈Mr Abraham Baldwin from Georgia took His Seat.〉3 In Committee of the Whole.

The clause concerning the rule of suffrage in the natl. Legislature postponed 〈on Saturday,〉 was resumed.4

Mr. Sharman proposed that the proportion of suffrage in the 1st branch should be according to the respective numbers of free inhabitants; and that in the second branch or Senate, each State should have one vote and no more. He said as the States would remain possessed of certain individual rights, each State ought to be able to protect itself: otherwise a few large States will rule the rest. The House of Lords in England he observed had certain particular rights under the Constitution, and hence they have an equal vote with the House of Commons that they may be able to defend their rights.

Mr. Rutlidge proposed that the proportion of suffrage in the 1st branch should be according to the quotas of contribution. The justice of this rule he said could not be contested. Mr. Butler urged the same idea: 〈adding that money was power; and that the States ought to have weight in the Govt. — in proportion to their wealth.〉5

Mr. King & Mr. Wilson* 〈in order to bring the question to a point〉5 moved “that the right of suffrage in 〈the first branch of〉6 the national Legislature ought not to be according the rule established in the articles of Confederation, but according to some equitable ratio of representation”. The clause so far as it related to suffrage in the first branch was postponed in order to consider this motion:

Mr. Dickenson contended for the actual contributions of the States as the rule of their representation & suffrage 〈in the first branch〉. By thus connecting the interest of the States with their duty, the latter would be sure to be performed.

Edition: current; Page: [197]

Mr. King remarked that it was uncertain what mode might be used in levying a national revenue; but that it was probable, imports would be one source of it. If the actual contributions were to be the rule the non-importing States, as Cont. & N. Jersey, wd. be in a bad situation indeed. It might so happen that they wd. have no representation. This situation of particular States had been always one powerful argument in favor of the 5 Per Ct. impost.

The question being abt. to be put Docr. Franklin sd. he had thrown his ideas of the matter on a paper wch. Mr. Wilson read to the Committee in the words following —7

Mr Chairman

It has given me a great pleasure to observe that till this point, the proportion of representation, came before us, our debates were carried on with great coolness & temper. If any thing of a contrary kind, has on this occasion appeared. I hope it will not be repeated; for we are sent here to consult not to contend, with each other; and declarations of a fixed opinion, and of determined resolution, never to change it, neither enlighten nor convince us. Positiveness and warmth on one side, naturally beget their like on the other; and tend to create and augment discord & division in a great concern, wherein harmony & Union are extremely necessary to give weight to our Councils, and render them effectual in promoting & securing the common good.

I must own that I was originally of opinion it would be better if every member of Congress, or our national Council, were to consider himself rather as a representative of the whole, than as an Agent for the interests of a particular State; in which case the proportion of members for each State would be of less consequence, & it would not be very material whether they voted by States or individually. But as I find this is not to be expected, I now think the number of Representatives should bear some proportion to the number of the Represented; and that the decisions shd. be by the majority of members, Edition: current; Page: [198] not by the majority of States. This is objected to from an apprehension that the greater States would then swallow up the smaller. I do not at present clearly see what advantage the greater States could propose to themselves by swallowing the smaller, and therefore do not apprehend they would attempt it. I recollect that in the beginning of this Century, when the Union was proposed of the two Kingdoms, England & Scotland, the Scotch Patriots were full of fears, that unless they had an equal number of Representatives in Parliament, they should be ruined by the superiority of the English. They finally agreed however that the different proportions of importance in the Union, of the two Nations should be attended to, whereby they were to have only forty members in the House of Commons, and only sixteen in the House of Lords; A very great inferiority of numbers! And yet to this day I do not recollect that any thing has been done in the Parliament of Great Britain to the prejudice of Scotland; and whoever looks over the lists of public officers, Civil & military of that nation will find I believe that the North Britons enjoy at least their full proportion of emolument.

But, Sir, in the present mode of voting by States, it is equally in the power of the lesser States to swallow up the greater; and this is mathematically demonstrable. Suppose for example, that 7 smaller States had each 3 members in the House, and the 6 larger to have one with another 6 members; and that upon a question, two members of each smaller State should be in affirmative and one in the Negative, they will make

Affirmatives 14 Negatives 7
And that all the larger States should be unanimously
in the negative, they would make Negatives 36
In all 43

It is then apparent that the 14 carry the question against the 43. and the minority overpowers the majority, contrary to the common practice of Assemblies in all Countries and Ages.

Edition: current; Page: [199]

The greater States Sir are naturally as unwilling to have their property left in the disposition of the smaller, as the smaller are to have theirs in the disposition of the greater. An honorable gentleman has, to avoid this difficulty, hinted a proposition of equalizing the States. It appears to me an equitable one, and I should, for my own part, not be against such a measure, if it might be found practicable. Formerly, indeed, when almost every province had a different Constitution, some with greater others with fewer privileges, it was of importance to the borderers when their boundaries were contested, whether by running the division lines, they were placed on one side or the other. At present when such differences are done away, it is less material. The Interest of a State is made up of the interests of its individual members. If they are not injured, the State is not injured. Smal. States are more easily well & happily governed than large onesl If therefore in such an equal division, it should be found necessary to diminish Pennsylvania, I should not be averse to the giving a part of it to N. Jersey, and another to Delaware. But as there would probably be considerable difficulties in adjusting such a division; and however equally made at first, it would be continually varying by the augumentation of inhabitants in some States, and their [more]8 fixed proportion in others; and thence frequent occasion for new divisions, I beg leave to propose for the consideration of the Committee another mode which appears to me to be as equitable, more easily carried into practice, and more permanent in its nature.

Let the weakest State say what proportion of money or force it is able and willing to furnish for the general purposes of the Union.

Let all the others oblige themselves to furnish each an equal proportion.

The whole of these joint supplies to be absolutely in the disposition of Congress.

The Congress in this case to be composed of an equal number of Delegates from each State:

Edition: current; Page: [200]

And their decisions to be by the majority of individual members voting.

If these joint and equal supplies should on particular occasions not be sufficient, Let Congress make requisitions on the richer and more powerful States for farther aids, to be voluntarily afforded, leaving to each State the right of considering the necessity and utility of the aid desired, and of giving more or less as it should be found proper.

This mode is not new, it was formerly practiced with success by the British Government with respect to Ireland and the Colonies. We sometimes gave even more than they expected, or thought just to accept; and in the last war carried on while we were united, they gave us back in five years a million Sterling. We should probably have continued such voluntary contributions, whenever the occasions appeared to require them for the common good of the Empire. It was not till they chose to force us, and to deprive us of the merit and pleasure of voluntary contributions that we refused & resisted. Those contributions however were to be disposed of at the pleasure of a Government in which we had no representative. I am therefore persuaded, that they will not be refused to one in which the Representation shall be equal

My learned colleague (Mr. Wilson) has already mentioned that the present method of voting by States, was submitted to originally by Congress, under a conviction of its impropriety, inequality, and injustice. This appears in the words of their Resolution. It is of Sepr. 6. 1774. The words are

“Resolved that in determining questions in this Congs. each colony or province shall have one vote: the Congs. not being possessed of or at present able to procure materials for ascertaining the importance of each Colony.”

On the question for agreeing to Mr. Kings and Mr. Wilsons motion. 〈it passed in the affirmative〉 Massts. ay. Ct. ay. N. Y no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]

〈It was then moved by Mr. Rutlidge 2ded. by Mr. Butler to add to the words “equitable ratio of representation” at Edition: current; Page: [201] the end of the motion just agreed to, the words “according to the quotas of Contribution.9 On motion of

Mr. Wilson seconded by Mr. C. Pinckney,9 this was postponed; in order to add, after, after the words “equitable ratio of representation” the words following “in proportion to the whole number of white & other free Citizens & inhabitants of every age sex & condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes, in each State.”10 this being the rule in the Act of Congress agreed to by eleven States, for apportioning quotas of revenue on the States. and requiring a census only every 5 — 7, or 10 years.

Mr. Gerry thought property not the rule of representation. Why then shd. the blacks, who were property in the South, be in the rule of representation more than the cattle & horses of the North.11

On the question.

Mass: Con: N. Y. Pen: Maryd. Virga. N. C. S. C. and Geo: were in the affirmative: N. J. &. Del: in the negative. [Ayes — 9; noes — 2.]〉12

Mr. Sharman moved that a question be taken whether each State shall have 〈one〉 vote13 in the 2d. branch. Every thing he said depended on this. The smaller States would never agree to the plan on any other principle 〈than an equality of suffrage in this branch. Mr. Elsworth14 seconded the motion.〉 On the question for allowing each State 〈one〉 vote in the 2d. branch.

Massts. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay Edition: current; Page: [202] Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes — 5; noes — 6.]

〈Mr. Wilson & Mr. Hamilton moved that the right of suffrage in the 2d. branch ought to be according to the same rule as in the 1st. branch.〉14a

On this question for making the ratio of representation the same in the 2d. as in the 1st. branch 〈it passed in the affirmative:〉 Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 6; noes — 5.]15

〈Resol: 11.〉 for guarantying Republican Govt. & territory to each State 〈being〉 considered: 〈the words “or partition” were, on motion of Mr. Madison added, after the words “voluntary junction”: Mas. N. Y. P. Va. N. C. S. C. G. ay.

Con: N. J. Del. Md. - - - no.〉16

Mr. Read disliked the idea of guarantying territory. It abetted the idea of distinct States wch. would be a perpetual source of discord. There can be 〈no〉 cure for this evil but in doing away States altogether and uniting them all into 〈one〉 great Society.

Alterations 〈having been made in the Resolution, making it read “that a republican Constition & its existing laws ought to be guaranteed to each State by the U. States”〉17 the whole was agreed to nem. con.

〈Resolution 13.〉 for amending the national Constitution hereafter without consent of Natl. Legislature 〈being〉 considered, several members did not see the necessity of the 〈Resolution〉 at all, nor the propriety of making the consent of the Natl. Legisl. unnecessary.

Col. Mason urged the necessity of such a provision. The plan now to be formed will certainly be defective, as the Confederation has been found on trial to be. Amendments therefore Edition: current; Page: [203] will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence. It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account. The opportunity for such an abuse, may be the fault of the Constitution calling for amendmt.

Mr. Randolph 〈enforced〉 these arguments.

The words, “without requiring the consent of the Natl. Legislature” were postponed. The other provision in the clause passed nem. con.

〈Resolution 14.〉 requiring oaths from the 〈members of the State Govts.〉 to observe the Natl. Constitution 〈& laws, being〉 considered.

Mr. Sharman opposed it as unnecessarily intruding into the State jurisdictions.

Mr. Randolph considered 〈it〉 as necessary to prevent that competition between the National Constitution & laws & those of the particular States, which had already been felt. The officers of the States are already under oath to the States. To preserve a due impartiality they ought to be equally bound to the Natl. Govt. The Natl. authority needs every support we can give it. The Executive & Judiciary of the States, notwithstanding their nominal independence on the State Legislatures are in fact, so dependent on them, that unless they be brought under some tie 〈to〉 the Natl. system, they will always lean too much to the State systems, whenever a contest arises between the two.

Mr. Gerry did not like the clause. He thought there was as much reason for requiring an oath of fidelity to the States, from Natl. officers, as vice. versa.

Mr. Luther Martin moved to strike out the 〈words〉 requiring such an oath from the State Officers 〈viz “within the several States.”〉 observing that if the new oath should be contrary to that already taken 〈by them〉 it would be improper; if coincident the oaths already taken will be sufficient.18

Edition: current; Page: [204]

On the question for striking out as proposed by Mr. L. Martin

Massts. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes — 4; noes — 7.]

Question on whole 〈Resolution as proposed by Mr. Randolph;〉

Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. Ayes — 6; noes — 5.]

〈Come. rose & House〉 adjd.19

YATES
Monday, June 11th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Mr. Sherman moved that the first branch of the national legislature be chosen in proportion to the number of the whole inhabitants in each state. He observed that as the people ought to have the election of one of the branches of the legislature, the legislature of each state ought to have the election of the second branch, in order to preserve the state sovereignty; and that each state ought in this branch to have one vote.

Gov. Rutledge moved as an amendment of the first proposition, that the proportion of representation ought to be according to and in proportion to the contribution of each state.

Mr. Butler supported the motion, by observing that money is strength; and every state ought to have its weight in the national council in proportion to the quantity it possesses. He further observed, that when a boy he read this as one of the remarks of Julius Cæsar, who declared if he had but money he would find soldiers, and every thing necessary to carry on a war.

Mr. King observed, that it would be better first to establish a principle (that is to say) whether we will depart from federal grounds in forming a national government; and therefore, Edition: current; Page: [205] to bring this point to view, he moved as a previous question, that the sense of the committee be taken on the following question:

That the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national legislature, ought not to be according to the rule in the articles of confederation, but according to some equitable ratio of representation.

Gov. Franklin’s written remarks on this point were read by Mr. Wilson. In these Gov. Franklin observes, that representation ought to be in proportion to the importance of numbers or wealth in each state — that there can be no danger of undue influence of the the greater against the lesser states. This was the apprehension of Scotland when the union with England was proposed, when in parliament they were allowed only 16 peers and 45 commons; yet experience has proved that their liberties and influence were in no danger.

The question on Mr. King’s motion was carried in the affirmative — 7 ayes — 3 noes, and Maryland divided. New-York, New-Jersey and Delaware in the negative.

Mr. Dickinson moved as an amendment, to add the words, according to the taxes and contributions of each state actually collected and paid into the national treasury.

Mr. Butler was of opinion that the national government will only have the right of making and collecting the taxes, but that the states individually must lay their own taxes.

Mr. Wilson was of opinion, and therefore moved, that the mode of representation of each of the states ought to be from the number if its free inhabitants, and of every other description three fifths to one free inhabitant. He supposed that the impost will not be the only revenue — the post office he supposes would be another substantial source of revenue. He observed further, that this mode had already received the approbation of eleven states in their acquiescence to the quota made by congress. He admitted that this resolve would require further restrictions, for where numbers determined the representation a census at different periods of 5, 7 or 10 years, ought to be taken.

Mr. Gerry. The idea of property ought not to be the Edition: current; Page: [206] rule of representation. Blacks are property, and are used to the southward as horses and cattle to the northward; and why should their representation be increased to the southward on account of the number of slaves, than horses or oxen to the north?20

Mr. Madison was of opinion at present, to fix the standard of representation, and let the detail be the business of a subcommittee.

Mr. Rutledge’s motion was postponed.

Mr. Wilson’s motion was then put, and carried by 9 states against 2. New York in the majority.

Mr. Wilson then moved, as an amendment to Mr. Sherman’s motion, That the same proportion be observed in the election of the second branch as the first.

The question however was first put on Mr. Sherman’s motion, and lost — 6 states against, and 5 for it.

Then Mr. Wilson’s motion was put and carried — 6 ayes, 5 noes.

The eleventh resolve was then taken into consideration. Mr. Madison moved to add after the word junctions, the words, or separation.

Mr. Read against the resolve in toto. We must put away state governments, and we will then remove all cause of jealousy. The guarantee will confirm the assumed rights of several states to lands which do belong to the confederation.

Mr. Madison moved an amendment, to add to or alter the resolution as follows: The republican constitutions and the existing laws of each state, to be guaranteed by the United States.

Mr. Randolph was for the present amendment, because a republican government must be the basis of our national union; and no state in it ought to have it in their power to change its government into a monarchy. — Agreed to

13th Resolve — the first part agreed to.

14th Resolve — taken into consideration.

Edition: current; Page: [207]

Mr. Williamson. This resolve will be unnecessary, as the union will become the law of the land.

Governor Randolph. He supposes it to be absolutely necessary. Not a state government, but its officers will infringe on the rights of the national government. If the state judges are not sworn to the observance of the new government, will they not judicially determine in favor of their state laws? We are erecting a supreme national government; ought it not to be supported, and can we give it too many sinews?

Mr. Gerry rather supposes that the national legislators ought to be sworn to preserve the state constitutions, as they will run the greatest risk to be annihilated — and therefore moved it.

For Mr. Gerry’s amendment, 7 ayes, 4 noes.

Main question then put on the clause or resolve — 6 ayes, 5 noes. New-York in the negative.

Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

PATERSON

Resolved, That the Rights of Suffrage in the first Branch of the national Legr. ought not to be according to the Article of Confedn., but according to some equitable Ratio of Representation —

Rutledge. Not by the Number of free Inhabitants, but according to the Quotas of Contribution —

Dickinson — The Terms, “Quotas of Contribution,” very indefinite—it ought to be according to the actual Contribution

Wm.son. Supposes, that there will not be any Assignment or Quotas to States; the Governmt. to operate individually, and not on States —

Dickinson The Power to be in Proportion to actual Contribution —

King — Suppose an Impost — Connecticut and Jersey do not import — they will have no Representatives —

Butler. This to be left to the State Legrs. — Sum to be proportioned —

Edition: current; Page: [208]

Wilson. Either Rule good — by Numbers best to ascertain the Right of Representn. this agreeably to the Sentiments of 11 States — Impost alone will not be sufficient to answer the national Exigencies — Revenues arising from Postage — The present Quota not a lasting Rule — People to be numbered at fixed Periods — A Rule arising from Property and Numbers —

Gerry. Rule of Taxation not the Rule of Representation — 4 might then have more Voices than ten — Slaves not to be put upon the Footing of freemen — Freemen of Massts. not to be put upon a Footing with the Slaves of other States — Horses and Cattle ought to have the Right of Representn. Negroes — Mules —

The Taxes must be drawn by the natl. Governmt. immediately from the People; otherwise will never be collected —

Madison. Leave the particular Rule for the present. A common Standard ought to be provided —

Edition: current; Page: [209]

TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 1787.

JOURNAL
Tuesday June 12. 1787.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the american union

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committe that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again

Resolved that this House will tomorrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the american union

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’Clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Tuesday June 12. 1787

Mr Gorham in the Chair

[To agree to the 15 resolution submitted by Mr. Randolph

Ayes — 5; noes — 3; divided — 2.]1

It was moved and seconded to fill up the blank in the resolution respecting the term for which the members of the first branch of the national Legislature should be chosen with the words “three years”

On the question to fill up with three years

it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 7; noes — 4.]

Edition: current; Page: [210]

It was moved and seconded to strike out the following words in theresolution namely

to be ofyears at least.

And on the question to strike out

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 10; noes — 1.]

It was moved and seconded to add the words

“and fixed” after the word “liberal” in that clause of theresolution which respects the stipend of the first branch

passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 8; noes — 3.]

It was then moved and seconded to add the words

“to be paid out of the public Treasury”

agreed to [Ayes — 8; noes — 3.]

[To agree to the clause respectg the salary of the first branchAyes — 8; noes — 3.]2

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words

“by a particular State”

passed in the negative [Ayes — 4; noes — 5; divided — 2.]

a question being taken on the clause which respects the ineligibility of the members of the first branch

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 10; noes — 1.]

It was moved and seconded to amend theresolution by inserting the words

“and under the national government for the space of three years after it’s expiration.”

passed in the negative [Ayes — 1; noes — 10.]

Moved and seconded to fill up the blank with

“One year”

passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 8; noes — 2; divided — 1.]

it was moved and seconded to strike out the following words namely

“to be incapable of re-election for the space ofafter the expiration of their term of service and to be subject to re-call.

On the question to strike out

passed in the affirmative

Edition: current; Page: [211]

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words to be ofyears at least

passed in the negative [Ayes — 3; noes — 6; divided — 2.]

Moved to fill up the blank with

“Thirty”

passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 7; noes — 4.]

Moved and seconded to fill up the blank after the words “sufficient to ensure their independency” with

“seven years”

passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 8; noes — 1; divided — 2.]

It was moved by Mr Rutledge seconded by Mr Butler to strike out the clause which respects stipends to be allowed to the second branch

On the question to strike out

passed in the negative [Ayes — 3; noes — 7; divided — 1.]

It was then moved and seconded that the clause which respects the stipends to be given to the second branch be the same as that of the first

passed in the affirmative

It was moved and seconded that the ineligibility of the second branch to office be the same as the first.

passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 10; noes — 1.]

It was moved and seconded to alter the resolution submitted by Mr Randolph, so as to read as follows namely.

“That the jurisdiction of the supreme Tribunal shall be to hear and determine in the dernier resort all piracies, felonies &ca”

It was moved and seconded to postpone the whole of the last clause generally.

It was then moved and seconded to strike out the words “all piracies and felonies on the high seas”

passed in the affirmative

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words

“all captures from an enemy”

passed in the affirmative

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words “other States” and to insert the words “two distinct States in the union”

passed in the affirmative

Edition: current; Page: [212]

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the resolution which respects the Judiciary.

passed in the affirmative

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again

The Committee then rose

Edition: current; Page: [213]
DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[46] aye no no no dd dd aye aye aye aye To agree to the 15 resolution submitted by Mr Randolph 5 3 2
[47] no no aye aye aye aye aye aye no no aye To fill up the term of election for the first branch with three year 7 4
[48] aye aye aye aye aye aye no aye aye aye aye For striking out the words “to be ofage at least. 10 1
[49] no no aye aye aye aye aye aye aye no aye For adding the words “& fixed” after the words liberalstipend 8 3
[50] aye no no aye aye aye aye aye aye no aye To add the words “to be paid out of the national Treasury” 8 3
[51] aye no no aye aye aye aye aye aye no aye To agree to the clause respectg the salary of the first branch 8 3
[52] dd aye aye no no no dd no aye aye no To strike out the words “by a particular State or” in theclause of theresolution 4 5 2
[53] aye no aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye To agree to the clause respecting the ineligibility of the first branch to offices 10 1
[54] no no no no no no aye no no no no To fill the blank of ineligibility to office after the term with three years 1 10
[55] aye aye no aye aye aye dd aye aye aye no To fill up the blank with One year 8 2 1
[56] no aye no aye aye no no no dd no dd To strike out the words “to be ofyears at least” in the resolution respectg the second bran. 3 6 2
[57] aye no aye no aye no aye aye aye aye no To fill up the blank with “Thirty” 7 4
[58] dd no dd aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye To fill up the blank in the election of the 2 branch with Seven years: 8 1 2
[59] dd aye no no no aye no no no aye no To strike out the clause which respects stipends to be allowed to the second branch 3 7 1
[60] aye no aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye That the ineligibility of the 2 branch to office be the same as the first 10 1
Edition: current; Page: [214]

MADISON
Teusday June 12th. in Committee of whole.

〈The〉 Question taken on 〈Resolution 15〉, to wit, referring the new system to the people of the States for ratification 〈it passed in the affirmative〉: Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay* Del. divd. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 6; noes — 3; divided — 2.]3

Mr. Sharman & Mr. Elseworth moved to fill the blank 〈left in the 4th Resolution〉4 for the periods of electing the members of the first branch with the words “every year.” Mr. Sharman observing that he did it in order to bring on some question.

Mr. Rutlidge proposed “every two years.”

Mr. Jennifer propd. “every three years.” observing that the too great frequency of elections rendered the people indifferent to them, and made the best men unwilling to engage in so precarious a service.

Mr. M〈adison〉 seconded the motion for three years. Instability is 〈one of〉 the great vices of our republics, to be remedied. Three years will be necessary, in a Government so extensive, for members to form any knowledge of the various interests of the States to which they do not belong, and of which they can know but little from the situation and affairs of their own. One year will be almost consumed in preparing for and traveling to & from the seat of national business.

Mr. Gerry. The people of New England will never give up the point of annual elections. they know of the transition made in England from triennial to Septennial elections, and will consider such an innovation here as the prelude to a like usurpation. He considered annual Elections as the only Edition: current; Page: [215] defence of the people agst. tyranny. He was as much agst. a triennial House as agst. a hereditary Executive.

Mr. M〈adison.〉 observed that if the opinions of the people were to be our guide, it wd. be difficult to say what course we ought to take. No member of the Convention could say what the opinions of his Constituents were at this time; much less could he say what they would think if possessed of the information & lights possessed by the members here; & still less what would be their way of thinking 6 or 12 months hence. We ought to consider what was right & necessary in itself for the attainment of a proper Governmt. A plan adjusted to this idea will recommend itself — The respectability of this convention will give weight to their recommendation of it. Experience will be constantly urging the adoption of it. and all the most enlightened & respectable citizens will be its advocates. Should we fall short of the necessary & proper point, this influential class of citizens will be turned against the plan, and little support in opposition to them can be gained to it from the unreflecting multitude.

Mr. Gerry repeated his opinion that it was necessary to consider what the people would approve. This had been the policy of all Legislators. If the reasoning of Mr. M〈adison〉 were just, and we supposed a limited Monarchy the best form in itself, we ought to recommend it, tho’ the genius of the people was decidedly adverse to it, and having no hereditary distinctions among us, we were destitude of the essential materials for such an innovation.

On the question for triennial election of the 1st branch

Mass. no. (Mr King ay.) Mr. Ghorum wavering. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 7; noes — 4.]

The 〈words〉6 requiring members of ye. 1st. branch to be of the age ofyears were struck out 〈Maryland alone, no〉7 〈The words〉 “liberal compensation for members” 〈being〉 considd. Mr. M〈adison〉 moves to inset the words “& fixt.” He observed that it would be improper to leave the members Edition: current; Page: [216] of the Natl. legislature to be provided for by the State Legisls: because it would create an improper dependence; and to leave them to regulate their own wages, was an indecent thing, and might in time prove a dangerous one. He thought wheat or some other article 〈of which〉 the average price throughout a reasonable period precedn’g might be settled in some convenient mode, would form a proper standard.

Col. Mason seconded the motion; adding that it would be improper for other reasons to leave the wages to be regulated by the States. 1. the different States would make different provision for their representatives, and an inequality would be felt among them, whereas he thought they ought to be in all respects equal. 2. the parsimony of the States might reduce the provision so low that as had already happened in choosing delegates to Congress, the question would be not who were most fit to be chosen, but who were most willing to serve.

On the question for inserting the words “and fixt.”

Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 8; noes — 3.]

Doctr. Franklyn said he approved of the amendment just made for rendering the salaries as fixed as possible; but disliked the word “liberal”. He would 〈prefer〉 the word moderate if it was necessary to substitute any other. He remarked the tendency of abuses in every case, to grow of themselves when once begun. and related very pleasantly the progression in ecclesiastical benefices, from the first departure from the gratuitous 〈provision for〉8 the Apostles, to the establishment of the papal system. The word “liberal” was struck out nem. con.

On the motion of Mr. Pierce,9 that the wages should be paid out of the National Treasury, Massts. ay. Ct. no. N. Y. no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. G. ay. [Ayes — 8; noes — 3.]10

Question on the clause relating to term of service & compensation of 1st. branch

Edition: current; Page: [217]

Massts. ay. Ct. no. N. Y no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 8; noes — 3.]

On a question for striking 〈out〉 the “ineligibility of members of Natl. Legis: to State Offices.

Massts. divd.11 Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. divd. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. no [Ayes — 4; noes — 5; divided — 2.]

On the question for agreeing to the clause as amended.12

Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 10; noes — 1.]

On a question for making Members of Natl. legislature ineligible to any Office under the Natl. Govt. for the term of 3 years after ceasing to be members.

Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. no. N C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes — 1; noes — 10.]

On the question for such ineligibility for one year.13

Massts. ay. Ct. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. no. [Ayes — 8; noes — 2; divided — 1.]

On question 〈moved by Mr. Pinckney〉14 for striking out “incapable of re-election into 1st. branch of Natl. Legisl. foryears and subject to recall” agd. to nem. con.

On question for striking out 〈from Resol: 5〉 the words requiring members of the Senatorial branch to be of the age ofyears 〈at least〉15

Massts. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. ay. Pa. .ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. divd. S. C. no. Geo. divd. [Ayes — 3; noes — 6; divided — 2.]

On the question for filling the blank with 30 years as the qualification; it was agreed to.

Edition: current; Page: [218]

Massts. ay Ct. no. N. Y. ay N. J. no Pa. ay Del. no Md. ay Va. ay N. C. ay S. C. ay Geo. no [Ayes — 7; noes — 4.]

Mr. Spaight moved to fill the blank for the duration of the appointmts. to the 2d branch of the National 〈Legislature〉 with the words “7 years.

Mr. Sherman thought 7 years too long. He grounded his opposition he said on the principle that if they did their duty well, they would be reelected. And if they acted amiss, an earlier opportunity should be allowed for getting rid of them. He preferred 5 years which wd. be between the terms of 1st branch & of the executive.

Mr. Pierce proposed 3 years. 7 years would raise an alarm. Great mischiefs had arisen in England from their septennial act which was reprobated by most of their patriotic Statesmen.

Mr. Randolph was for the term of 7 years. The Democratic licentiousness of the State Legislatures proved the necessity of a firm Senate. The object of this 2d. branch is to controul the democratic branch of the Natl. Legislature. If it be not a firm body, the other branch being more numerous, and coming immediately from the people, will overwhelm it. The Senate of Maryland constituted on like principles had been scarcely able to stem the popular torrent. No mischief can be apprehended, as the concurrence of the other branch, and in some measure, of the Executive, will in all cases be necessary. A firmness & independence may be the more necessary also in this branch, as it ought to guard the Constitution agst. encroachments of the Executive who will be apt to form combinations with the demagogues of the popular branch.

〈Mr.〉 M〈adison〉, considered 7 years as a term by no means too long. What we wished was to give to the Govt. that stability which was every where called for, and which the enemies of the Republican form alleged to be inconsistent with its nature. He was not afraid of giving too much stability by the term of seven years. His fear was that the popular branch would still be too great an overmatch for it. It was to be much lamented that we had so little direct experience to guide us. The Constitution of Maryland was the only one that bore any analogy to this part of the plan. In no instance had Edition: current; Page: [219] the Senate of Maryd. created just suspicions of danger from it. In some instances perhaps it may have erred by yielding to the H. of Delegates. In every instance of their opposition to the measures of the H. of. D. they had had with them the suffrages of the most enlightened and impartial people of the other States as well as of their own. In the States where the Senates were chosen in the same manner as the other branches, of the Legislature, and held their seats for 4 years, the institution was found to be no check whatever agst. the 〈instabilities of the other branches.〉 He conceived it to be of great importance that a stable & firm Govt. organized in the republican form should be held out to the people. If this be not done, and the people be left to judge of this species of Govt. by ye. operations of the defective systems under which they now live, it is much to be feared the time is not distant when, in universal disgust, they will renounce the blessing which they have purchased at so dear a rate, and be ready for any change that may be proposed to them.16

On the question for “seven years”, as the term for the 2d. branch

Massts. divided. (Mr. King. Mr. Ghorum ay — Mr. Gerry, Mr. Strong, no.) Cont. no. N. Y. divd. N. J. ay. Pa. ay Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 8; noes — 1; divided — 2.]

Mr. Butler 〈& Mr. Rutlidge〉17 proposed that the members of the 2d. branch should be entitled to no salary or compensation for their services. on the question

Masts. divd. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. no. P. no. Del. ay. Md. no Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. no.* [Ayes — 3; noes — 7; divided — 1.]

〈It was then moved18 & agreed that the clauses respecting the stipends & ineligibility of the 2d. branch be the same as, of the 1st. branch: Con: disagreeing to the ineligibility.

Edition: current; Page: [220]

It was moved & 2ded. to alter Resol: 9. so as to read “that the jurisdiction of the supreme tribunal shall be to hear & determine in the dernier resort, all piracies, felonies, &c”

It was moved & 2ded. to strike out “all piracies & felonies on the high seas,” which was agreed to.

It was moved & agreed to strike out “all captures from an enemy”.

It was moved & agreed to strike out “other States” and insert “two distinct States of the Union”

It was moved & agree to postpone the consideration of Resolution 9. relating to the Judiciary:

The Come. then rose & the House adjourned〉19

YATES
Tuesday, June 12th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

The 15th or last resolve was taken into consideration. No debate arose on it, and the question was put and carried — 5 states for it, 3 against, and 2 divided. New-York in the negative.

Having thus gone through with the resolves, it was found necessary to take up such parts of the preceding resolves as had been postponed, or not agreed to.20 The remaining part of the 4th resolve was taken into consideration.

Mr. Sherman moved that the blank of the duration of the first branch of the national legislature, be filled with one year. Mr. Rutledge with two years, and Mr. Jenifer with three years.

Mr. Madison was for the last amendment — observing that it will give it stability, and induce gentlemen of the first weight to engage in it.

Mr. Gerry is afraid the people will be alarmed, as savoring of despotism.

Mr. Madison. The people’s opinions cannot be known, Edition: current; Page: [221] as to the particular modifications which may be necessary in the new government — In general they believe there is something wrong in the present system that requires amendment; and he could wish to make the republican system the basis of the change — because if our amendments should fail of securing their happiness, they will despair it can be done in this way, and incline to monarchy.

Mr. Gerry could not be governed by the prejudices of the people — Their good sense will ever have its weight. Perhaps a limited monarchy would be the best government, if we could organize it by creating a house of peers; but that cannot be done.

The question was put on the three year’s amendment and carried — 7 ayes — 4 noes. New-York in the affirmative.

On motion to expunge the clause of the qualification as to age, it was carried, 10 states against one.

On the question for fixed stipends, without augmentation or diminution, to this branch of the legislature, it was moved that the words, to be paid by the national treasury, be added — Carried, 8 states for — 3 against. New-York in the negative.

The question was then put on the clause as amended, and carried, 8 ayes — 3 noes. New-York in the negative.

On the clause respecting the ineligibility to any other office, it was moved that the words, by any particular state, be expunged. 4 states for — 5 against, and 2 divided. New-York affirmative.

The question was then put on the whole clause, and carried 10 ayes — 1 no.

The last blank was filled up with one year, and carried — 8 ayes — 2 noes, 1 divided.

Mr. Pinkney moved to expunge the clause. Agreed to, nem. con.

The question to fill up the blank with 30 years. Agreed to — 7 states for — 4 against.

It was moved to fill the blank, as to the duration, with seven years.

Mr. Pierce moved to have it for three years — instanced the danger of too long a continuance, from the evils arising Edition: current; Page: [222] in the British parliaments from their septenual duration, and the clamors against it in that country by its real friends.

Mr. Sherman was against the 7 years, because if they are bad men it is too long, and if good they may be again elected.

Mr. Madison was for 7 years — Considers this branch as a check on the democracy — It cannot therefore be made too strong.

For the motion, 8 ayes — 1 no — 2 states divided. New-York one of the last.

Mr. Butler moved to expunge the clause of the stipends.

Lost — 7 against — 3 for — 1 divided.

Agreed that the second branch of the national legislature be paid in the same way as the first branch.

Upon the subject of ineligibility, it was agreed that the same rule should apply as to the first branch.

6th resolve agreed to be postponed, sine die.

9th resolve taken into consideration, but postponed to to-morrow. Then adjourned to to-morrow morning.

Edition: current; Page: [223]

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 1787.

JOURNAL
Wednesday June 13. 1787.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole

House to consider of the state of the american Union.

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee having considered and gone through the propostions offered to the House by the honorable Mr Randolph, and to them referred, were prepared to report thereon — and had directed him to submit the report to the consideration of the House.

The report was then delivered in at the Secretary’s table, and having been once read

It was moved by Mr. Randolph seconded by Mr Martin to postpone the farther consideration of the report till to-morrow

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’Clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Wednesday June 13. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair

It was moved by Mr Randolph seconded by Mr Madison to adopt the following resolution respecting the national Judiciary namely

“That the jurisdiction of the national Judiciary shall Edition: current; Page: [224] extend to cases which respect the collection of the national revenue, impeachments of any national officers, and questions which involve the national peace and harmony”

passed in the affirmative

It was moved by Mr Pinckney seconded by Mr Sherman to insert after the words “One supreme Tribunal” “the Judges of which to be appointed by the second branch of the national Legislature.1

passed in the affirmative.

It was moved by Mr Gerry seconded by Mr Pinckney2 to add the following words to the fifth resolution adopted by the Committee namely

“excepting money bills, which shall originate in the first branch of the national Legislature”

passed in the negative [Ayes — 3; noes — 8.]3

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do rise and report their proceedings to the House.

The Committee then rose

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[61] no no aye no no aye no aye no no no That money bills should only originate in the first branch 3 8

[A]

State of the resolutions submitted to the consideration of the House by the honorable Mr Randolph, as agreed to in a Committee of the whole House.4

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee Edition: current; Page: [225] that a national government ought to be established, consisting of

a Supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive.

Resolved that the National Legislature ought to consist of two branches.

Resolved that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States.

Resolved5 that the members of the second branch of the national Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures.

Resolved that each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.

Resolved that the national Legislature ought to be empowered. to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the confederation; and moreover.

to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent: or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.

to negative all laws passed by the several States contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the articles of union; or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union

Resolved that a national Executive be instituted to consist of

Edition: current; Page: [226]

a single person.6

with power

to carry into execution the national laws;

to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for.

To be chosen by the national Legislature

for the term of seven years.

to be ineligible a second time; and; to be removable on impeachment and conviction of mal-practice, or neglect of duty.

Resolved that the national Executive shall have a right to negative any legislative act; which shall not be afterwards passed unless by two third parts of each branch of the national Legislature.

Resolved that a national Judiciary be established to consist of

One supreme tribunal

To hold their Offices during good behaviour; and to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services; in which no encrease or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in Office at the time of such encrease or diminution.

Resolved7 that the national Legislature be empowered to appoint inferior Tribunals.

Resolved that provision ought to be made for the admission of States, lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national Legislature, less than the whole.

Edition: current; Page: [227]

Resolved that provision ought to be made for the continuance of a Congress, and their authorities and privileges, until a given day after the reform of the articles of Union shall be adopted; and for the completion of all their engagements.

Resolved that the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national Legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the articles of confederation; but according to some equitable ratio of representation — namely in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants, of every age, sex and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians, not paying taxes in each State.

Resolved that the right of suffrage in the second branch of the national Legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first

Resolved that a republican constitution, and it’s existing laws, ought to be guaranteed to each State by the United-States.

Resolved that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the articles of union whensoever it shall seem necessary.

Resolved that the Legislative, Executive, and judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of union

Resolved that the amendments which shall be offered to the confederation by the Convention, ought at a proper time or times, after the approbation of Congress, to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several legislatures, to be Edition: current; Page: [228] expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon

[B]8

The Virginia Plan as amended in Committee

State of the resolutions submitted to the consideration of the House by the honorable Mr Randolph, as altered, amended, and agreed to in a Committee of the whole House.

  • 1. Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that a national government ought to be established consisting of a Supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive.
  • 2 Resolved. that the national Legislature ought to consist of Two Branches.
  • 3

    Resolved that the Members of the first branch of the national Legislature ought to be elected by

    the People of the several States

    for the term of Three years.

    to receive fixed stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service

    to be paid out of the National-Treasury.

    to be ineligible to any Office established by a particular State or under the authority of the United-States (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch) during the term of service, and under the national government for the space of one year after it’s expiration.

  • 4

    Resolved. that the Members of the second Branch of the national Legislature ought to be chosen by

    the individual Legislatures.

    to be of the age of thirty years at least.

    to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency, namely

    seven years.

    Edition: current; Page: [229]

    to receive fixed stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service — to be paid out of the National Treasury

    to be ineligible to any Office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States (except those pecularily belonging to the functions of the second branch) during the term of service, and under the national government, for the space of One year after it’s expiration.

  • 5. Resolved that each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts
  • 6.

    Resolved. that the national Legislature ought to be empowered

    to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the confederation — and moreover

    to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent: or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.

    to negative all laws passed by the several States contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the articles of union, or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the union.

  • 7.

    Resolved. that the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national Legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the articles of confederation: but according to some equitable ratio of representation — namely.

    in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants of every age, sex, and condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians, not paying taxes in each State.

    Edition: current; Page: [230]
  • 8 Resolved. that the right of suffrage in the second branch of the national Legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first
  • 9

    Resolved. that a national Executive be instituted to consist of

    a Single Person.

    to be chosen by the National Legislature.

    for the term of Seven years.

    with power to carry into execution the National Laws.

    to appoint to Offices in cases not otherwise provided for

    to be ineligible a second time, and

    to be removable on impeachment and conviction of mal practice or neglect of duty.

    to receive a fixed stipend, by which he may be compensated for the devotion of his time to public service9

    to be paid out of the national Treasury.9

  • 10 Resolved. that the national executive shall have a right to negative any legislative act: which shall not be afterwards passed unless by two third parts of each branch of the national Legislature.
  • 11

    Resolved. that a national Judiciary be established to consist of

    One supreme Tribunal

    The Judges of which to be appointed by the second Branch of the National Legislature.

    to hold their offices during good behaviour

    to receive, punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services: in which no encrease or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons Edition: current; Page: [231] actually in office at the time of such encrease or diminution

  • 12

    Resolved. That the national Legislature be empowered to appoint

    inferior Tribunals.

  • 13 Resolved. that the jurisdiction of the national Judiciary shall extend to cases which respect the collection of the national revenue: impeachments of any national Officers: and questions which involve the national peace and harmony.
  • 14. Resolved. that provision ought to be made for the admission of States, lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national Legislature less than the whole.
  • 15. Resolved. that provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress10 and their authorities until a given day after the reform of the articles of Union shall be adopted; and for the completion of all their engagements.
  • 16. Resolved that a republican Constitution, and it’s existing laws, ought to be guaranteed to each State by the United States.
  • 17. Resolved. that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the articles of Union, whensoever it shall seem necessary.
  • 18. Resolved. that the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of UnionEdition: current; Page: [232]
  • 19 Resolved. that the amendments which shall be offered to the confederation by the Convention, ought at a proper time or times, after the approbation of Congress to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the People to consider and decide thereon.

MADISON
Wednesday June 13. in Committee of the whole

〈Resol: 9. being resumed〉 The latter parts of the clause relating to the jurisdiction of the Natl. tribunals, was struck out nem. con in order to leave full room for their organization.

〈Mr. Randolph & Mr. Madison, then moved the following resolution respecting a National Judiciary, viz “that the jurisdiction of the national Judiciary shall extend to cases, which respect the collection of the National revenue, impeachments of any national officers, and questions which involve the national peace and harmony” which was agreed to.11

Mr. Pinkney & Mr. Sherman moved to insert after the words “one supreme tribunal” the words “the Judges of which to be appointed by the national Legislature”12

〈Mr.〉 M〈adison〉, objected to an appt. by the whole Legislature. Many of them were incompetent Judges of the requisite qualifications. They were too much influenced by their partialities. The candidate who was present, who had displayed a talent for business in the legislative field, who had perhaps assisted ignorant members in business of their own, or of their Constituents, or used other winning means, would without any of the essential qualifications for an expositor of Edition: current; Page: [233] the laws prevail over a competitor not having these recommendations but possessed of every necessary accomplishment. He proposed that the appointment should be made by the Senate, which as a less numerous & more select body, would be more competent judges, and which was sufficiently numerous to justify such a confidence in them.

Mr. Sharman & Mr. Pinkney withdrew their motion, and the appt. by the Senate was agd. to nem. con.

Mr. Gerry. moved to restrain the Senatorial branch from originating money bills.13 The other branch was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings. If the Senate should be allowed to originate such bills, they wd. repeat the experiment, till chance should furnish a sett of representatives in the other branch who will fall into their snares.

Mr. Butler saw no reason for such a discrimination. We were always following the British Constitution when the reason of it did not apply. There was no analogy between the Ho of Lords and the body proposed to be established. If the Senate should be degraded by any such discriminations, the best men would be apt to decline serving in it in favor of the other branch. And it will lead the latter into the practice of tacking other clauses to money bills.

〈Mr.〉 M〈adison〉 observed that the Commentators on the Brit: Const: had not yet agreed on the reason of the restriction on the H. of L. in money bills. Certain it was there could be no similar reason in the case before us. The Senate would be the representatives of the people as well as the 1st. branch. If they sd. have any dangerous influence over it, they would easily prevail on some member of the latter to originate the bill they wished to be passed. As the Senate would be generally a more capable sett of men, it wd. be wrong to disable them from any preparation of the business, especially of that which was most important and in our republics, worse prepared than any other. The Gentleman in pursuance of Edition: current; Page: [234] his principle ought to carry the restraint to the amendment; as well as the originating of money bills. Since, an addition of a given sum wd. be equivalent to a 〈distinct〉 proposition of it.

Mr. King14 differed from Mr. Gerry, and concurred in the objections to the proposition.

Mr. Read favored the proposition, but would not extend the restraint to the case of amendments.

Mr. Pinkney thinks the question premature. If the Senate shd. be formed on the same proportional representation as it stands at present, they sd have equal power; otherwise if a different principle sd. be introduced.

Mr. Sherman. As both branches must concur, there can be no danger whichever way the Senate be formed. We establish two branches in order to get more wisdom, which is particularly needed in the finance business — The Senate bear their share of the taxes, and are also the representatives of the people. What a man does by another, he does by himself is a maxim. In Cont. both branches can originate in all cases, and it has been found safe & convenient. Whatever might have been the reason of the rule as to The H. of Lords, it is clear that no good arises from it now even there.

Genl. Pinkney. This distinction prevails in S. C. & has been a source of pernicious disputes between ye. 2 branches. The constitution is now evaded, by informal schedules of amendments handed 〈from ye. Senate to the other House.〉

Mr. Williamson wishes for a question chiefly to prevent re-discussion. The restriction will have one advantage, it will oblige some member in lower branch to move, & people can then mark him

On the question for excepting money bills as propd. by Mr. Gerry. Mas. no. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. no. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes — 3; noes — 7.]15

Committee rose16 & Mr. Ghorum made report, which was Edition: current; Page: [235] postponed till tomorrow, to give an opportunity for other plans to be proposed, the report was in the words following.

June 13
Report of the Committee of Whole on Mr. Randolphs propositions17

1. Resd. that it is the opinion of this Committee that a National Governmt. ought to be established, consisting of a supreme Legislative, Executive & Judiciary.

2. Resold. that the National Legislature ought to consist of two branches.

3. Resd. that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States for the term of three years, to receive fixed Stipends by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service, to be paid out of the National Treasury: to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the U. States, (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch), during the term of service, and under the national Government for the space of one year after its expiration.

4. Resd. that the members of the second branch of the Natl. Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures, to be of the age of 30 years at least, to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency, namely, seven years, to receive fixed stipends by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service to be paid out of the National Treasury; to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the U. States, (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch) during the term of service, and under the Natl. Govt. for the space of one year after its expiration.

Edition: current; Page: [236]

5. Resd. that each branch ought to possess the right of originating Acts

6. Resd. that the Natl. Legislature ought to be empowered to enjoy the Legislative rights vested in Congs. by the Confederation, and moreover to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent; or in which the harmony of the U. S. may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation; to negative all laws passed by the several States contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles of Union, or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union.

7. Resd. that the rights of suffrage in the 1st. branch of the National Legislature, ought not to be according to the rule established in the articles of confederation but according to some equitable ratio of representation, namely, in proportion to the whole number of white & other free citizens & inhabitants, of every age sex and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, & three fifths of all other persons, not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes in each State:

8. Resolved that the right of suffrage in the 2d. branch of the National Legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first.

9. Resolved that a National Executive be instituted to consist of a single person, to be chosen by the Natl. Legislature for the term of seven years, with power to carry into execution the national laws, to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for — to be ineligible a second time, & to be removeable on impeachment and conviction of malpractices or neglect of duty — to receive a fixed stipend by which he may be compensated for the devotion of his time to public service to be paid out of the national Treasury.

10. Resold. that the natl. Executive shall have a right to negative any Legislative Act, which shall not be afterwards passed unless by two thirds of each branch of the National Legislature

11. Resold. that a Natl. Judiciary be established, to consist of one supreme tribunal, the Judges of which to be appointed Edition: current; Page: [237] by the 2d. branch of the Natl. Legislature, to hold their offices during good behaviour, & to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution.

12. Resold. that the Natl. Legislature be empowered to appoint inferior Tribunals.

13. Resd. that the jurisdiction of the Natl. Judiciary shall extend to all cases which respect the collection of the Natl. revenue,18 impeachments of any Natl. Officers, and questions which involve the national peace & harmony.

14. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the U. States, whether from a voluntary junction of Government & territory or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the Natl. Legislature less than the whole.

15. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress and their authorities and privileges untill a given day after the reform of the articles of Union shall be adopted and for the completion of all their engagements.

16. Resd. that a Republican Constitution & its existing laws ought to be guaranteed to each State by the U. States.

17. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union whensoever it shall seem necessary.

18. Resd. that the Legislative, Executive, & Judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of Union

19. Resd. that the amendments which shall be offered to the confederation by the convention ought at a proper time or times after the approbation of Congs. to be submitted to an Assembly or Assemblies19 recommended by the several Legislatures to be expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon.

Edition: current; Page: [238]

YATES
Wednesday, June 13th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Gov. Randolph observed the difficulty in establishing the powers of the judiciary — the object however at present is to establish this principle, to wit, the security of foreigners where treaties are in their favor, and to preserve the harmony of states and that of the citizens thereof. This being once established, it will be the business of a sub-committee to detail it; and therefore moved to obliterate such parts of the resolve so as only to establish the principle, to wit, that the jurisdiction of the national judiciary shall extend to all cases of national revenue, impeachment of national officers, and questions which involve the national peace or harmony. Agreed to unanimously.

It was further agreed, that the judiciary be paid out of the national treasury.

Mr. Pinkney moved that the judiciary be appointed by the national legislature.

Mr. Madison of is opinion that the second branch of the legislature ought to appoint the judiciary, which the convention agreed to.

Mr. Gerry moved that the first branch shall have the only right of originating bills to supply the treasury.

Mr. Butler against the motion. We are constantly running away with the idea of the excellence of the British parliament, and with or without reason copying from them; when in fact there is no similitude in our situations. With us both houses are appointed by the people, and both ought to be equally trusted.

Mr. Gerry. If we dislike the British government for the oppressive measures by them carried on against us, yet he hoped we would not be so far prejudiced as to make ours in every thing opposite to theirs.

Mr. Madison’s question carried.

The committee having now gone through the whole of the propositions from Virginia — Resolved, That the committee Edition: current; Page: [239] do report to the convention their proceedings — This was accordingly done. (See a copy of it hereunto annexed.)20

The house resolved on the report being read, that the consideration thereof be postponed to to-morrow, and that members have leave to take copies thereof.

Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

Edition: current; Page: [240]

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 1787.

JOURNAL
Thursday June 14. 1787.

It was moved by Mr Patterson seconded by Mr Randolph that the farther consideration of the report from the Committee of the whole House be postponed till to-morrow.

and before the question for postponement was taken.

It was moved by Mr Randolph seconded by Mr Patterson that the House adjourn.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’clock.

MADISON
Thursday June 14. 〈In Convention〉

Mr. Patterson, observed to the Convention that it was the wish of several deputations, particularly that of N. Jersey, that further time might be allowed them to contemplate the plan reported from the Committee of the Whole, and to digest one purely federal, and contradistinguished from the reported plan. He said they hoped to have such an one ready by tomorrow to be laid before the Convention: and the Convention adjourned that leisure might be given for the purpose.1

YATES
Thursday, June 14th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 States.

Mr. Patterson moved that the further consideration of the report be postponed until to-morrow, as he intended to give in principles to form a federal system of government materially different from the system now under consideration. Postponement agreed to.

Adjourned until to-morrow morning.

Edition: current; Page: [241]

FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 1787.

JOURNAL
Friday June 15. 1787.

Mr. Patterson submitted several resolutions to the consideration of the House, which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Secretary’s table —1 They were then read — and

It was moved by Mr Madison seconded by Mr Sherman to refer the resolutions, offered by Mr Patterson, to a Committee of the whole House

which passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 11; noes — 0.]2

It was moved by Mr Rutledge seconded by Mr Hamilton to recommit the resolutions reported from a Committee of the whole House.

which passed in the affirmative.

Resolved that this House will to-morrow resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the american union.

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’clock. A. M.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
3Vote 63 belongs to the Records of July 21.
[62] aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye To resolve the House into a Committee of the whole House 11
[63]3 aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye The Electors to be paid out of the national Treasury
[End of second loose sheet]
Edition: current; Page: [242]

MADISON
Friday June 15th. 〈1787.〉

Mr. Patterson, laid before the Convention the plan which he said several of the deputations wished to be substituted in place of that proposed by Mr. Randolph. After some little discussion of the most proper mode of giving it a fair deliberation it was agreed that it should be referred to a Committee of the Whole, and that in order to place the two plans in due comparison, the other should be recommitted. At the earnest desire of Mr. Lansing & some other gentlemen, it was also agreed that the Convention should not go into Committee of the whole on the subject till tomorrow, by which delay the friends of the plan proposed by Mr. Patterson wd. be better prepared to explain & support it, and all would have an opportuy of taking copies.*

The propositions from N. Jersey moved by Mr. Patterson were in the words following.5

The New Jersey Plan

1. Resd. that the articles of Confederation ought to be so revised, corrected & enlarged, as to render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigences of Government, & the preservation of the Union.

Edition: current; Page: [243]

2. Resd. that in addition to the powers vested in the U. States in Congress, by the present existing articles of Confederation, they be authorized to pass acts for raising a revenue, by levying a duty or duties on all goods or merchandizes of foreign growth or manufacture, imported into any part of the U. States, by Stamps on paper, vellum or parchment, and by a postage on all letters or packages passing through the general post-Office, to be applied to such federal purposes as they shall deem proper & expedient; to make rules & regulations for the collection thereof; and the same from time to time, to alter & amend in such manner as they shall think proper: to pass Acts for the regulation of trade & commerce as well with foreign nations as with each other: provided that all punishments, fines, forfeitures & penalties to be incurred for contravening such acts rules and regulations shall be adjudged by the Common law Judiciarys of the State in which any offence contrary to the true intent & meaning of such Acts rules & regulations shall have been committed or perpetrated, with liberty of commencing in the first instance all suits & prosecutions for that purpose in the superior Common law Judiciary in such State, subject nevertheless, for the correction of all errors, both in law & fact in rendering judgment, to an appeal to the Judiciary of the U. States

3. Resd. that whenever requisitions shall be necessary, instead of the rule for making requisitions mentioned in the articles of Confederation, the United States in Congs. be authorized to make such requisitions in proportion to the whole number of white & other free citizens & inhabitants of every age sex and condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years & three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes; that if such requisitions be not complied with, in the time specified therein, to direct the collection thereof in the non complying States & for that purpose to devise and pass acts directing & authorizing the same; provided that none of the powers hereby vested in the U. States in Congs. shall be exercised without the consent of at least Edition: current; Page: [244] States, and in that proportion if the number of Confederated States should hereafter be increased or diminished.

4. Resd. that the U. States in Congs. be authorized to elect a federal Executive to consist ofpersons, to continue in office for the term ofyears, to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons composing the Executive at the time of such increase or diminution, to be paid out of the federal treasury; to be incapable of holding any other office or appointment during their time of service and foryears thereafter; to be ineligible a second time, & removeable by Congs. on application by a majority of the Executives of the several States; that the Executives besides their general authority to execute the federal acts ought to appoint all federal officers not otherwise provided for, & to direct all military operations; provided that none of the persons composing the federal Executive shall on any occasion take command of any troops, so as personally to conduct any enterprise as General, or in other capacity.

5. Resd. that a federal Judiciary be established to consist of a supreme Tribunal the Judges of which to be appointed by the Executive, & to hold their offices during good behaviour, to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for their services in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution; that the Judiciary so established shall have authority to hear & determine in the first instance on all impeachments of federal officers, & by way of appeal in the dernier resort in all cases touching the rights of Ambassadors, in all cases of captures from an enemy, in all cases of piracies & felonies on the high seas, in all cases in which foreigners may be interested, in the construction of any treaty or treaties, or which may arise on any of the Acts for regulation of trade, or the collection of the federal Revenue: that none of the Judiciary shall during the time they remain in Office be capable of receiving or holding any other office or appointment during their time of service, or forthereafter.

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6. Resd. that all Acts of the U. States in Congs. made by virtue & in pursuance of the powers hereby & by the articles of confederation vested in them, and all Treaties made & ratified under the authority of the U. States shall be the supreme law of the respective States so far forth as those Acts or Treaties shall relate to the said States or their Citizens, and that the Judiciary of the several States shall be bound thereby in their decisions, any thing in the respective laws of the Individual States to the contrary notwithstanding; and that if any State, or any body of men in any State shall oppose or prevent ye. carrying into execution such acts or treaties, the federal Executive shall be authorized to call forth ye power of the Confederated States, or so much thereof as may be necessary to enforce and compel an obedience to such Acts, or an Observance of such Treaties.

7. Resd. that provision be made for the admission of new States into the Union.

8. Resd. the rule for naturalization ought to be the same in every State

9. Resd. that a Citizen of one State committing an offence in another State of the Union, shall be deemed guilty of the same offence as if it had been committed by a Citizen of the State in which the Offence was committed.*

Adjourned

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YATES
Friday, June 15th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Mr. Patterson, pursuant to his intentions as mentioned yesterday, read a set of resolves as the basis of amendment to the confederation. (See those resolves annexed.)7

He observed that no government could be energetic on paper only, which was no more than straw — that the remark applied to the one as well as to the other system, and is therefore of opinion that there must be a small standing force to give every government weight.

Mr. Madison moved for the report of the committee, and the question may then come on whether the convention will postpone it in order to take into consideration the system now offered.

Mr. Lansing is of opinion that the two systems are fairly contrasted. The one now offered is on the basis of amending the federal government, and the other to be reported as a national government, on propositions which exclude the propriety of amendment. Considering therefore its importance, and that justice may be done to its weighty consideration, he is for postponing it a day.

Col. Hamilton cannot say he is in sentiment with either plan — supposes both might again be considered as federal plans, and by this means they will be fairly in committee, and be contrasted so as to make a comparative estimate of the two.

Thereupon it was agreed, that the report be postponed, and that the house will resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration both propositions to-morrow. Then the convention adjourned to to-morrow morning.

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KING

81. To enlarge the powers of Confed. &c

2. To authorise Congress to receive an Imp. on the Imp. of For. Goods — stampt Art. & Postage of Letters — to pass acts regulating Foreign & Domest. Commerce, to pass regulations or ordinance relative to revennue & commerce, provided that the recovery of Fines Forfitures shd. be in the common law Judiciaries of the several States wh. appeal &c

3. The rule of apportioning Requis: on the States shall be the Whites ⅗ of all others — if the Req. is in arrear in any State, Congress shall have authority to divise & pass acts remedial in such case

4. Cong. to app — persons as an Executive to be in Office — years wh. fixed Salary & ineligible a secd. Time, & removable by Cong. on appln. of a majory. of the Executives of the several States, but none of the Executive personally to command any military Expedn.

5. Sup. Judl. appd. by the Executive during good behaviour to try impeachmts. of fed. Officers, & appeals from the State Judicials in all cases where Foreigrs. are concernd. in the Construction of Treaties, or where the Acts of Trade & Revenue are contravened

6. The Acts Treaties &c &c to be paramount to State Laws and when any State or body of men oppose Treaties or general Laws, the Executive to call forth the force of the Union to enforce the Treaty or Law — 8 Naturalization to be the same in every State —

9 a Citizen offending in one state & belonging to another State, to be deemed Guilty of the same Offence as though the offence was committed by a Citizen of the State where the Offence was committed

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SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 1787.

JOURNAL
Saturday June 16. 1787.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the american union

Mr. President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a progress in the matter to them referred; and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will on monday next again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the American Union.

And then the House adjourned till Monday next at 11 o’Clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Saturday June 16. 1787.

Mr Gorham in the Chair.

After some time passed in debate on the propositions offered by the honorable Mr Paterson.

It was moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again —

The Committee then rose.

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MADISON
Saturday June 16. In Committee of the whole on Resolutions proposd. by Mr. P. & Mr. R1

Mr. Lansing called for the reading of the 1st. resolution of each plan, which he considered as involving principles directly in contrast; that of Mr. Patterson says he sustains the sovereignty of the respective States, that of Mr. Randolph distroys it: the latter requires a negative on all the laws of the particular States; the former, only certain general powers for the general good. The plan of Mr. R. in short absorbs all power except what may be exercised in the little local matters of the States which are not objects worthy of the supreme cognizance. He grounded his preference of Mr. P’.s plan, chiefly on two objections agst that of Mr. R. 1. want of power in the Convention to discuss & propose it.2 2 the improbability of its being adopted. 1. He was decidedly of opinion that the power of the Convention was restrained to amendments of a federal nature, and having for their basis the Confederacy in being. The Act of Congress The tenor of the Acts of the States, the commissions produced by the several deputations all proved this. and this limitation of the power to an amendment of the Confederacy, marked the opinion of the States, that it was unnecessary & improper to go farther. He was sure that this was the case with his State. N. York would never have concurred in sending deputies to the convention, if she had supposed the deliberations were to turn on a consolidation of the States, and a National Government. 2. was it probable that the States would adopt & ratify a scheme, which they had never authorized us to propose? and which so far exceeded what they regarded as sufficient? We see by their several acts 〈particularly in relation to the plan of revenue proposed by Congs. in 1783 not authorized by the articles of Edition: current; Page: [250] Confederation, what were〉3 the ideas they then entertained. Can so great a change be supposed to have already taken place. To rely on any change which is hereafter to take place in the sentiments of the people would be trusting to too great an uncertainty. We know only what their present sentiments are, and it is in vain to propose what will not accord with these. The States will never feel a sufficient confidence in a general Government to give it a negative on their laws. The Scheme is itself totally novel. There is 〈no〉 parallel to it to be found. The authority of Congress is familiar to the people, and an augmentation of the powers of Congress will be readily approved by them.

Mr. Patterson. said 〈as〉 he had on a former occasion given his sentiments on the plan proposed by Mr. R. he would now avoiding repetition as much as possible give his reasons in favor of that proposed by himself. He preferred it because it accorded 1. with the powers of the Convention.4 2 with the sentiments of the people. If the confederacy was radically wrong, let us return to our States, and obtain larger powers, not assume them of ourselves. I came here not to speak my own sentiments, but 〈the sentiments of〉 those who sent me. Our object is not such a Governmt. as may be best in itself, but such a one as our Constituents have authorized us to prepare, and as they will approve. If we argue the matter on the supposition that no Confederacy at present exists, it can not be denied that all the States stand on the footing of equal sovereignty. All therefore must concur before any can be bound. If a proportional representation be right, why do we not vote so here? If we argue on the fact5 that a federal compact actually exists, and consult the articles of it we still find an equal Sovereignty to be the basis of it. He reads the 5th. art: of Confederation giving each State a vote — & the 13th. declaring that no alteration shall be made without unanimous consent. This is the nature of all treaties. What is unanimously done, must be unanimously undone. It was observed (by Mr. Wilson) that the larger State gave up the Edition: current; Page: [251] point, not because it was right, but because the circumstances of the moment urged the concession. Be it so. Are they for that reason at liberty to take it back. Can the donor resume his gift Without the consent of the donee. This doctrine may be convenient, but it is a doctrine that will sacrifice the lesser States. The large States acceded readily to the confederacy. It was the small ones that came in reluctantly and slowly. N. Jersey & Maryland were the two last, the former objecting to the want of power in Congress over trade: both of them to the want of power to appropriate the vacant territory to the benefit of the whole. If the sovereignty of the States is to be maintained, the Representatives must be drawn immediately from the States, not from the people: and we have no power to vary the idea of equal sovereignty. The only expedient that will cure the difficulty, is that of throwing the States into Hotchpot. To say that this is impracticable, will not make it so. Let it be tried, and we shall see whether the Citizens of Massts. Pena. & Va. accede to it. It will be objected that Coercion will be impracticable. But will it be more so in one plan than the other? Its efficacy will depend on the quantum of power collected, not on its being drawn from the States, or from the individuals; and according to his plan it may be exerted on individuals as well as according that of Mr. R. a distinct executive & Judiciary also were equally provided by this plan. It is urged that two branches in the Legislature are necessary. Why? for the purpose of a check. But the reason of the precaution is not applicable to this case. Within a particular State, when party heats prevail, such a check may be necessary. In such a body as Congress it is less necessary, and besides, the delegations of the different States are checks on each other. Do the people at large complain of Congs.? No: what they wish is that Congs. may have more power. If the power now proposed be not eno’. the people hereafter will make additions to it. With proper powers Congs. will act with more energy & wisdom than the proposed Natl. Legislature; being fewer in number, and more secreted & refined by the mode of election. The plan of Mr. R. will also be enormously expensive. Allowing Georgia & Del. two Edition: current; Page: [252] representatives each in the popular branch the aggregate number of that branch will be 180. Add to it half as many for the other branch and you have 270. members coming once at least a year from the most distant parts as well as the most central parts of the republic. In the present deranged State of our finances can so expensive a system be seriously thought of? By enlarging the powers of Congs. the greatest part of this expense will be saved, and all purposes will be answered. At least a trial ought to be made.

Mr. Wilson6 entered into a contrast of the principal points of the two plans so far 〈he said〉 as there had been time to examine the one last proposed. These points were 1. in the Virga. plan there 〈are〉 2 & in some degree 3 branches in the Legislature ÷ in the plan from N. J. there is to be a single legislature only — 2. Representation of the people at large is the basis of the one ÷ the State Legislatures the pillars of the other — 3. proportional representation prevails in one ÷ equality of suffrage in the other — 4. a single Executive Magistrate is at the head of the one: — a plurality is held out in the other. — 5. in the one the majority of 〈the people of〉7 the U. S. must prevail: — in the other a minority may prevail. 6. the Natl. Legislature is to make laws in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent & —: — 〈in place of this〉 Congs. are to have additional power in a few cases only — 7. a negative on the laws of the States: — 〈in place of this〉 coertion to be substituted — 8. The Executive to be removeable on impeachment & conviction; — 〈in one plan: in the other〉 to be removeable at the instance of majority of the Executives of the States — 9. Revision of the laws 〈provided for in one:〉 — no such check 〈in the other〉 — 10. inferior national tribunals 〈in one:〉 — none such 〈in the other〉 — 11 〈In ye. one〉 jurisdiction of Natl. tribunals to extend &c —; an appellate jurisdiction only 〈allowed in the other〉. 12. 〈Here〉 the jurisdiction is to extend to all cases affecting the Natl. peace & harmony: — 〈there〉 a few cases only 〈are〉 marked out. Edition: current; Page: [253] 13. 〈finally ye〉 ratification 〈is in this to be〉 by the people themselves — 〈in that〉 by the legislative authorities according to the 13 art: of Confederation.

With regard to the power of the Convention,8 he conceived himself authorized to conclude nothing, but to be at liberty to propose any thing. In this particular he felt himself perfectly indifferent to the two plans.

With regard to the sentiments of the people, he conceived it difficult to know precisely what they are. Those of the particular circle in which one moved, were commonly mistaken for the general voice. He could not persuade himself that the State Govts. & sovereignties were so much the idols of the people, nor a Natl. Govt. so obnoxious to them, as some supposed. Why sd. a Natl. Govt. be unpopular? Has it less dignity? will each Citizen enjoy under it less liberty or protection? Will a Citizen of Delaware be degraded by becoming a Citizen of the United States? Where do the people look at present for relief from the evils of which they complain? Is it from an internal reform of their Govt.? No. Sir, It is from the Natl. Councils that relief is expected. For these reasons he did not fear, that the people would not follow us into a national Govt. and it will be a further recommendation of Mr. R.’s plan that it is to be submitted to them and not to the Legislatures, for ratification.

proceeding now to the 1st. point on which he had contrasted the two plans, he observed that anxious as he was for some augmentation of the federal powers, it would be with extreme reluctance indeed that he could ever consent to give powers to Congs. he had two reasons either of wch. was sufficient. 1. Congs. as a Legislative body does not stand on the people.9 2. it is a single body. 1. He would not repeat the remarks he had formerly made on the principles of Representation. he would only 〈say〉 that an inequality in it, has ever been a poison contaminating every branch of Govt. In G. Britain where this poison has had a full operation, the security of private Edition: current; Page: [254] rights is owing entirely to the purity of her tribunals of Justice, the Judges of which are neither appointed nor paid by a venal Parliament. The political liberty of that Nation, owing to the inequality of representation is at the mercy of its rulers. He means not to insinuate that there is any parallel between the situation of that country & ours at present. But it is a lesson we ought not to disregard, that the smallest bodies in G. B. are notoriously the most corrupt. Every other source of influence must also be stronger in small than large bodies of men. When Lord Chesterfield had told us that one of the Dutch provinces had been seduced into the views of France, he 〈need〉 not have added, that it was not Holland, but one of the smallest of them. There are facts among ourselves which are known to all. Passing over others, he will only remark that the Impost, so anxiously wished for by the public was defeated not by any of the larger States in the Union. 2. Congress is a single Legislature. Despotism comes on mankind in different shapes. sometimes in an Executive, sometimes in a military, one. Is there no danger of a Legislative despotism? Theory & practice both proclaim it. If the Legislative authority be not restrained, there can be neither liberty nor stability; and it can only be restrained by dividing it within itself, into distinct and independent branches. In a single house there is no check, but the inadequate one, of the virtue & good sense of those who compose it.

On another great point, the contrast was equally favorable to the plan reported by the Committee of the Whole. It vested the Executive powers in a single Magistrate. The plan of N. Jersey, vested them in a plurality. In order to controul the Legislative authority, you must divide it. In order to controul the Executive you must unite it. One man will be more responsible than three. Three will contend among themselves till one becomes the master of his colleagues. In the triumvirates of Rome first Cæsar, then Augustus, are witnesses of this truth. The Kings of Sparta, & the Consuls of Rome prove also the factious consequences of dividing the Executive Magistracy. Having already taken up so much time he wd. not he sd. proceed to any of the other points. Those Edition: current; Page: [255] on which he had dwelt, are sufficient of themselves: and on a decision of them, the fate of the others will depend.

Mr. Pinkney, the whole comes to this, as he conceived. Give N. Jersey an equal vote, and she will dismiss her scruples, and concur in the Natil. system. He thought the Convention authorized to go any length in recommending, which they found necessary to remedy the evils which produced this Convention.

Mr. Elseworth proposed as a more distinctive form of collecting the mind of the Committee on the subject, “that the Legislative power of the U. S. should remain in Congs. This was not seconded, though it seemed better calculated for the purpose than the 1st. proposition of Mr. Patterson in place of which Mr. E. wished to substitute it.

Mr. Randolph. was not scrupulous on the point of power.10 When the salvation of the Republic was at stake, it would be treason to our trust, not to propose what we found necessary. He painted in strong colours, the imbecility of the existing confederacy, & the danger of delaying a substantial reform. In answer to the objection drawn from the sense of our Constituents as denoted by their acts relating to the Convention and the objects of their deliberation, he observed that as each State acted separately in the case, it would have been indecent for it to have charged the existing Constitution with all the vices which it might have perceived in it. The first State that set on foot this experiment would not have been justified in going so far, ignorant as it was of the opinion of others, and sensible as it must have been of the uncertainty of a successful issue to the experiment. There are certainly reasons of a peculiar nature where the ordinary cautions must be dispensed with; and this is certainly one of them. He wd. 〈not〉 as far as depended on him leave any thing that seemed necessary, undone. The present moment is favorable, and is probably the last that will offer.

The true question is whether we shall adhere to the federal plan, or introduce the national plan. The insufficiency of the Edition: current; Page: [256] former has been fully displayed by the trial already made. There are but two modes, by which the end of a Genl. Govt. can be attained: the 1st. is by coercion as proposed by Mr. Ps. plan. 2. by real legislation as propd. by the other plan. Coercion he pronounced to be impracticable, expensive, cruel to individuals. It tended also to habituate the instruments of it to shed the blood & riot in the spoils of their fellow Citizens, and consequently trained them up for the service of Ambition. We must resort therefore to a national Legislation over individuals, for which Congs. are unfit. To vest such power in them, would be blending the Legislative with the Executive, contrary to the recd. maxim on this subject: If the Union of these powers heretofore in Congs. has been safe, it has been owing to the general impotency of that body. Congs. are moreover not elected by the people, but by the Legislatures who retain even a power of recall. They have therefore no will of their own, they are a mere diplomatic body, and are always obsequious to the views of the States, who are always encroaching on the authority of the U. States. A provision for harmony among the States, as in trade, naturalization &c. — for crushing rebellion whenever it may rear its crest — and for certain other general benefits, must be made. The powers for these purposes, can never be given to a body, inadequate as Congress are in point of representation, elected in the mode in which they are, and possessing no more confidence than they do: for notwithstanding what has been said to the contrary, his own experience satisfied him that a rooted distrust of Congress pretty generally prevailed. A Natl. Govt. alone, properly constituted, will answer the purpose; and he begged it to be considered that the present is the last moment for establishing one. After this select experiment, the people will yield to despair.

The Committee rose & the House adjourned.

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YATES
Saturday, June 16, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Mr. Lansing moved to have the first article of the last plan of government read; which being done, he observed, that this system is fairly contrasted with the one ready to be reported — the one federal, and the other national. In the first, the powers are exercised as flowing from the respective state governments — The second, deriving its authority from the people of the respective states — which latter must ultimately destroy or annihilate the state governments. To determine the powers on these grand objects with which we are invested, let us recur to the credentials of the respective states, and see what the views were of those who sent us. The language is there expressive — it is, upon the revision of the present confederation, to alter and amend such parts as may appear defective, so as to give additional strength to the union. And he would venture to assert, that had the legislature of the state of New-York, apprehended that their powers would have been construed to extend to the formation of a national government, to the extinguishment of their independency, no delegates would have here appeared on the part of that state. This sentiment must have had its weight on a former occasion, even in this house; for when the second resolution of Virginia, which declared, in substance, that a federal government could not be amended for the good of the whole, the remark of an honorable member of South-Carolina, that by determining this question in the affirmative their deliberative powers were at an end, induced this house to wave the resolution. It is in vain to adopt a mode of government, which we have reason to believe the people gave us no power to recommend — as they will consider themselves on this ground authorized to reject it. See the danger of exceeding your powers by the example which the requisition of congress of 1783 afforded. They required an impost on all imported articles; to which, on federal grounds, they had no right unless voluntarily Edition: current; Page: [258] granted. What was the consequence? Some, who had least to give, granted it; and others, under various restrictions and modifications, so that it could not be systematized. If we form a government, let us do it on principles which are likely to meet the approbation of the states. Great changes can only be gradually introduced. The states will never sacrifice their essential rights to a national government. New plans, annihilating the rights of the states (unless upon evident necessity) can never be approved. I may venture to assert, that the prevalent opinion of America is, that granting additional powers to congress would answer their views; and every power recommended for their approbation exceeding this idea, will be fruitless.

Mr. Patterson. — As I had the honor of proposing a new system of government for the union, it will be expected that I should explain its principles.

1st. The plan accords with our own powers.

2d. It accords with the sentiments of the people.

But if the subsisting confederation is so radically defective as not to admit of amendment, let us say so and report its insufficiency, and wait for enlarged powers. We must, in the present case, pursue our powers, if we expect the approbation of the people. I am not here to pursue my own sentiments of government, but of those who have sent me; and I believe that a little practical virtue is to be preferred to the finest theoretical principles, which cannot be carried into effect. Can we, as representatives of independent states, annihilate the essential powers of independency? Are not the votes of this convention taken on every question under the idea of independency? Let us turn to the 5th article of confederation — in this it is mutually agreed, that each state should have one vote — It is a fundamental principle arising from confederated governments. The 13th article provides for amendments; but they must be agreed to by every state — the dissent of one renders every proposal null. The confederation is in the nature of a compact; and can any state, unless by the consent of the whole, either in politics or law, withdraw their powers? Let it be said by Pennsylvania, and the other large Edition: current; Page: [259] states, that they, for the sake of peace, assented to the confederation; can she now resume her original right without the consent of the donee?

And although it is now asserted that the larger states reluctantly agreed to that part of the confederation which secures an equal suffrage to each, yet let it be remembered, that the smaller states were the last who approved the confederation.

On this ground, representation must be drawn from the states to maintain their independency, and not from the people composing those states.

The doctrine advanced by a learned gentleman from Pennsylvania, that all power is derived from the people, and that in proportion to their numbers they ought to participate equally in the benefits and rights of government, is right in principle, but unfortunately for him, wrong in the application to the question now in debate.

When independent societies confederate for mutual defence, they do so in their collective capacity; and then each state for those purposes must be considered as one of the contracting parties. Destroy this balance of equality, and you endanger the rights of the lesser societies by the danger of usurpation in the greater.

Let us test the government intended to be made by the Virginia plan on these principles. The representatives in the national legislature are to be in proportion to the number of inhabitants in each state. So far it is right upon the principles of equality, when state distinctions are done away; but those to certain purposes still exist. Will the government of Pennsylvania admit a participation of their common stock of land to the citizens of New-Jersey? I fancy not. It therefore follows, that a national goverment, upon the present plan, is unjust, and destructive of the common principles of reciprocity. Much has been said that this government is to operate on persons, not on states. This, upon examination, will be found equally fallacious; for the fact is, it will, in the quotas of revenue, be proportioned among the states, as states; and in this business Georgia will have 1 vote, and Edition: current; Page: [260] Virginia 16. The truth is both plans may be considered to compel individuals to a compliance with their requisitions, although the requisition is made on the states.

Much has been said in commendation of two branches in a legislature, and of the advantages resulting from their being checks to each other. This may be true when applied to state governments, but will not equally apply to a national legislature, whose legislative objects are few and simple.

Whatever may be said of congress, or their conduct on particular occasions, the people in general, are pleased with such a body, and in general wish an increase of their powers, for the good government of the union. Let us now see the plan of the national government on the score of expense. The least the second branch of the legislature can consist of is 90 members — The first branch of at least 270. How are they to be paid in our present impoverished situation? Let us therefore fairly try whether the confederation cannot be mended, and if it can, we shall do our duty, and I believe the people will be satisfied.

Mr. Wilson first stated the difference between the two plans.

Virginia plan proposes two branches in the legislature.

Jersey a single legislative body.

Virginia, the legislative powers derived from the people.

Jersey, from the states.

Virginia, a single executive.

Jersey, more than one.

Virginia, a majority of the legislature can act.

Jersey, a small minority can control.

Virginia, the legislature can legislate on all national concerns.

Jersey, only on limited objects.

Virginia, legislature to negative all state laws.

Jersey, giving power to the executive to compel obedience by force.

Virginia, to remove the executive by impeachment.

Jersey, on application of a majority of the states.

Virginia, for the establishment of inferior judiciary tribunals.

Jersey, no provision.

Edition: current; Page: [261]

It is said and insisted on, that the Jersey plan accords with our powers. As for himself he considers his powers to extend to every thing or nothing; and therefore that he has a right and is at liberty to agree to either plan or none. The people expect relief from their present embarrassed situation, and look up for it to this national convention; and it follows that they expect a national government, and therefore the plan from Virginia has the preference to the other. I would (says he) with a reluctant hand add any powers to congress, because they are not a body chosen by the people, and consist only of one branch, and each state in it has one vote. Inequality in representation poisons every government. The English courts are hitherto pure, just and incorrupt, while their legislature are base and venal. The one arises from unjust representation, the other from their independency of the legislature. Lord Chesterfield remarks, that one of the States of the United Netherlands withheld its assent to a proposition until a major of their state was provided for. He needed not to have added (for the conclusion was self evident) that it was one of the lesser states. I mean no reflection, but I leave it to gentlemen to consider whether this has not also been the case in congress? The argument in favor of the Jersey plan goes too far, as it cannot be completed, unless Rhode-Island assents. A single legislature is very dangerous. — Despotism may present itself in various shapes. May there not be legislative despotism if in the exercise of their power they are unchecked or unrestrained by another branch? On the contrary an executive to be restrained must be an individual. The first triumvirate of Rome combined, without law, was fatal to its liberties; and the second, by the usurpation of Augustus, ended in despotism. — The two kings of Sparta and the consuls of Rome, by sharing the executive, distracted their governments.

Mr. C. C. Pinkney supposes that if New-Jersey was indulged with one vote out of 13, she would have no objection to a national government. He supposes that the convention have already determined, virtually, that the federal government cannot be made efficient. A national government being Edition: current; Page: [262] therefore the object, this plan must be pursued — as our business is not to conclude but to recommend.

Judge Elsworth is of opinion that the first question on the new plan will decide nothing materially on principle, and therefore moved the postponement thereof, in order to bring on the second.

Gov. Randolph. — The question now is which of the two plans is to be preferred. If the vote on the first resolve will determine it, and it is so generally understood, he has no objection that it be put. The resolutions from Virginia must have been adopted on the supposition that a federal government was impracticable — And it is said that power is wanting to institute such a government. — But when our all is at stake, I will consent to any mode that will preserve us. View our present deplorable situation — France, to whom we are indebted in every motive of gratitude and honor, is left unpaid the large sums she has supplied us with in the day of our necessity — Our officers and soldiers, who have successfully fought our battles — and the loaners of money to the public, look up to you for relief.

The bravery of our troops is degraded by the weakness of our government.

It has been contended that the 5th article of the confederation cannot be repealed under the powers to new modify the confederation by the 13th article. This surely is false reasoning, since the whole of the confederation upon revision is subject to amendment and alteration; besides our business consists in recommending a system of government, not to make it. There are great seasons when persons with limited powers are justified in exceeding them, and a person would be contemptible not to risk it. Originally our confederation was founded on the weakness of each state to repel a foreign enemy; and we have found that the powers granted to congress are insufficient. The body of congress is ineffectual to carry the great objects of safety and protection into execution. What would their powers be over the commander of the military, but for the virtue of the commander? As the state assemblies are constantly encroaching on the powers Edition: current; Page: [263] of congress, the Jersey plan would rather encourage such encroachments than be a check to it; and from the nature of the institution, congress would ever be governed by cabal and intrigue — They are besides too numerous for an executive, nor can any additional powers be sufficient to enable them to protect us against foreign invasion. Amongst other things congress was intended to be a body to preserve peace among the states, and in the rebellion of Massachusetts it was found they were not authorized to use the troops of the confederation to quell it. Every one is impressed with the idea of a general regulation of trade and commerce. Can congress do this? when from the nature of their institution they are so subject to cabal and intrigue? And would it not be dangerous to entrust such a body with the power, when they are dreaded on these grounds? I am certain that a national government must be established, and this is the only moment when it can be done — And let me conclude by observing, that the best exercise of power is to exert it for the public good.

Then adjourned to Monday morning.

KING11

Natl. Fedl.
Lansing
One Br. to come from the people in propn. to yr. numbers To come from the State Legislatures equally & to represent the States
All acts of ind. States subject to a national Negative To possess enumerated powers
Will absorb the State sovereignties & leave them mere Corporations, & Electors of the natl. Senate —
Edition: current; Page: [264]

Remarks — The confedn. admits the sovereignties of the States — it speaks of an Union — but it never meant a consolidation — If this had been in view NYk never wd. have sent Delegates — we must attend to the Disposition of the People — They never will agree to a consolidation — the System of Imp: proved the Jealousies of the States — they introduced provisos &c &c — If the people are unfavorable at will it be prudent to form a plan for Futurity — I think not — Experience dont warnt. our forming a Natl. Govt. — Where we have no experience there can be no reliance on Reason12

Patterson

The plan from Jersey —

1. accd. wt. our powers —

2 in accord with the Sentiments of the People

If we are of opinion that the confedn. is incapable of amendment, let us tell them so & obtain larger powers —

I dont expect to deliver my own Sentiments — I aim at a delivery of the Opinions of my Constituents

I am willing to take it on the Plan of no confed — we are then all Equal — The confedn. was formed unanimously — it can be altered or disolved only by unanimous Consent —

Federal or national — It is sd. that to be national the Representation shd. be from & proportionable to, the people and operate on the people — the first part is unnecessary — if so a federal Govt. may operate on the people individually — It is proposed to have two Brs. because one will check the other — this is unnecessary because the Delegates in Cong. are a Check to each other — two Br. will be expensive and the plan will be burdensome in the extreme — they will be less segacious and able than Congress — because the latter will be few & the former numerous —

Edition: current; Page: [265]

Wilson — contrasts the two —

Nat. Fed.
1
Legis. of 2 Brs. A Congress or one Br.
2
The People are the basis of Rep — The Legislatures of the State
3
A repn. according to Numbers or Wealth The States are equal
4
A single person as Ex. More than one person
5
A majority of the People are to govern A minority
6
The Nal. Legis. to legislate in national Cases enumerated and partial Instances
7
Nat. Leg. to negative State laws The Right to call out the force of the Union
8
Ex. removeable for Misbehavior by impeach of ye. Legis — Majory. Executives of the States
to possess a qualified Neg.
infr. Tribunls. None but the States Courts to have cognizance in cases of Revenue
Edition: current; Page: [266]

Relative to the powers of this convention — We have powers to conclude nothing — we have power to propose anything — we expect the Approbation of Cong. we hope for that of the Legis. of the several States perhaps it will not be inconsistent wth Revolution principles, to promise ourselves the Assent of the People provided a more regular establishment cannot be obtained &c &c

As to the Sentiments of the People

I don’t think that State Governments and State Sovereignties is so much the Idol of the People, or that they are averse to receive a national Government — the latter is as precious as the former — a Citizen of N. Jersey will not conceive himself complimented by that epithet, and degraded by being called a citizen of the US — the people expect Relief from national & not from State measures — They therefore expect it from a national & not from State Governments —

It is said we may enlarge the powers of Congress — there are two Objections agt. this proposal

1st Congress as a legislative body dont stand on the principles of a Free Govt. the authority of the people

2d. They are a legislature of a single Br. when they ought to be devided13

1st Where the principle of unequal Represtn. prevails there exists a poison wh. eventually will destroy it the Government — A measure has been prevented in the S Genl. until a particular person was made a majr. this was one of the small Gratifications of a small Province —

2d. The single Br — we dread a military despot — is there no danger of a Legislative Despotism there is it must therefore be limited — It cannot be limited or restrained when single — The restraint must be in its own formation, namely a Division — Although it is true that to restrain the powers of a Legislature you must divide them and make them independent; the contrary is true in the Executive — if divided the responsibility Edition: current; Page: [267] of the Executive is destroyed; they will contend wh. each other or combine for wicked purposes — this was the case of the first triumvirs of Rome, and afterwards with the Congress.

HAMILTON

Mr. Lansing — N S — proposes to draw representation from the whole body of people, without regard to S Sovereignties —
Subs: proposes to preserve the state Sovereignties
— Powers — { — Different Legislatures had a different object —
{ — Revise the Confederation —
{ Ind. States cannot be supposed to be willing to annihilate the States —
{ State of New York would not have agreed to send members on this ground —
— In vain to devise systems however good which will not be adopted —
If convulsions happen nothing we can do will give them a direction —
Legislatures cannot be expected to make such a sacrifice —
The wisest men in forming a system from theory apt to be mistaken —
The present national government has no precedent or experience to support it —
General opinion that certain additional powers ought to be given to Congress —
Mr. Patterson — 1 — plan accords with powers
2 — accords with sentiment of the People —
If Confederation radically defective we ought to return to our states and tell them so —
Comes not here to sport sentiments of his own but to speak the sense of his Constitu[en]ts —
— States treat as equal —
— Present Compact gives one Vote to each state.
alterations are to be made by Congress and all the Legislatures —
All parties to a Contract must assent to its dissolution —
— States collectively have advantages in which the smaller states do not participate — therefore individual rules do not apply.
— Force of government will not depend on proportion of representation — but on Quantity of power —
— Check not necessary in a ge[ne]ral government of communities — but
in an individual state spirit of faction is to be checked —
— How have Congress hitherto conducted themselves?
The People approve of Congress but think they have not powers enough —
— body constituted like Congress from the fewness of their numbers more wisdom and energy — than the complicated system of Virginia
— Expence enormous —
180 — commons
90 — senators
270 —
Edition: current; Page: [269]

Wilson — Points of Disagreement —

V — 1 2 or three branches . . . N J { one branch —
2 Derives authority from People { from states —
3 Proportion of suffrage { Equality —
4 Single Executive { Plural —
5 — Majority to govern { Minority to govern —
6 — Legislate in all matters of general Concern { partial objects —
7 Negative { None —
8 Removeable by impeachment { on application of majority of Executives
9 — Qualified Negative by Executive None
10 — Inf. tribunals None —
11 — Orig: Jurisdiction in all cases of Nat: Rev. None —
12. National Government to be ratified by People to be ratified by Legislatures —
— Empowered to propose every thing to conclude nothing —
— Does not think state governments the idols of the people —
Thinks a competent national government will be a favourite of the people —
Complaints from every part of United States that the purposes of government cannot be answered
— In constituting a government — not merely necessary to give proper powers — but to give them to proper powers — but to give them to proper hands —
Two reasons against giving additional powers to Congress —
— First it does not stand on the authority of the people —
Second — It is a single branch —
Inequality — the poison of all governments —
— Lord Chesterfield speaks of a Commission to be obtained for a member of a small province.
Pinkney
Mr. Elseworth
Mr. Randolp — Spirit of the People in favour of the Virginian scheme —
We have powers; but if we had not we ought not to scruple —

PATERSON14

Lansing14a—Contrasts the Principles of the two Systems —

The national Plan proposes to draw Representn. from the People.

The federal Plan proposes to draw Representn. from the States.

The first will absorb the State-Governmts.

1. The Powers of the Convention.

2. The Probability as to the Adoption of either System —

Publick Acts — particularly the Act respecting the Impost.

Reasoning upon Systems unsupported by Experience generally erroneous —

Paterson.15

Wilson14a — The Plans do not agree in the following Instances.

1. The Govt. consists of 2 Branches.

to connect them together as States.14a 2. The original Authority of the People at Large is brought forward.

3. Representation to be according to the Number and Importance of the Citizens.

4. A single Executive.

5. A Majority of the United States are to control.

6. The national Leg. can operate in all Cases in which the State Leg. cannot.

Edition: current; Page: [271]

7. The national Leg. will have a Right to negative all State-Acts contravening Treaties, etc.

8. Ex. Mag. removable on Conviction.

9. The Ex. to have a qualified Negative over Acts of the Legr. —

10. Provision is made for superior16 Tribunals —

11. The Jurisdn. of the national Legr.17 is to extend to all Cases of a national Nature.

12. National Peace, all Questions comprehending it, will be the Object of the national Judiciary —

13. Delegates18 to come from the People.

The relative Merit of the two Plans.

  • 1. Upon Principles
  • 2. Upon Experience.
  • 3. The joint Result of both.

He can conclude finally Nothing; and to propose every Thing — he may propose any Plan —

Sentiments of the People; those with whom we converse we naturally conclude to be the Sentiments of the People.

States Sovereignments and State Governmts. not so much an Idol as is apprehended — a national Government to protect Property and promote Happiness, the Wish of the People.

Will a Citizen of New Jersey think himself honoured when addressed as a Citzn. of that State, and degraded when addressed as a Citizen of the U. S.

The People expect Relief from the national Councils; it can be had only from a national Governmt. —

Equalization14a—A new Proposal thrown out for the Sentiments of the People.

Adl Powers ought not to be given to Congress. Objns. to that Body.

1. Congress as a legislative Body does not stand upon the Authority of the People.

Edition: current; Page: [272]

2. Congress consists of but one Branch.

An equal Representn. in Proportion to Numbers.

Answr. Citizens of the same State.18a— The Foundation, the Progress, and Principles of Representation — Look at England — Holland — the Vote of every Province necessary. Ld. Chesterfield —

Impost opposed and defeated not by one of the large States —

The Consent of Rhode-Island will be necessary on the Jersey-Plan —

A single Legr.

Despotism presents itself in several various Shapes — military Despot — ex. Despot — Is there no such Thing as a leg. Despot — The Leg. Authority ought to be restrained —

The Restraints upon the Legr. must be such as will operate within itself — No Check in a single Branch — Should have distinct and independant Branches — reciprocal Controul.

A single Executive — Triumvirate of Rome — 2 Triumvirate — Augustus rose superior — Sparta — Rome —

Pinckney18a— If Jersey can have an equal Representn. she will come into the Plan from Virginia —

Views — to amend the Confedn. if not amendable, then to propose a new Governmt. —

Solely recommendatory — Powers sufficient. Division of Territory; not seriously proposed — The due Settlemt. of the Importance of the States necessary — this done at present with Respect to Contribution.

England.

1 Congress unfortunately fixed on equal Representn. — they had not the Means of determining the Quota — If each State must have a Vote, each State must contribute equally —

Elsworth.18a

Randolph.18a 1. Whether the Articles of the Confedn. can be so reformed as to answer the Purposes of a national Governmt. —

No Usurpation of Power in this Convention. The Spirit of the People in Favour of the Plan from Virginia —

Edition: current; Page: [273]

Powers pursued; if Powers wanting, we should do what is right.

Our Debts remain unpaid while the federal Govt. remains as it is —

Delaware.18a The 13th Article — provides for the alteration of the Articles, then of course for the Alteration of the 5th. Article.

Annapolis18a Powers in a deliberate Assembly — ridiculous — We are only to compare Sentiments — Disdain Danger, and do what is necessary to our political Salvation — We must avail ourselves of the present Moment.

His Constituents will applaud, when he has done every Thing in his Power to relieve America —

No Provision agt. foreign Powers or Invasions. no Mony nor Men — Militia not sufficient —

No Provision agt. internal Insurrections. nor for the Maintenance of Treaties —

Coercion two Ways — 1. as to Trade — 2. as to an Army —

Legislation affecting Individuals the only Remedy. This Power too great to lodge in one Body —

Congress possess both Legislation and Execution —

The Variety of Interests19 in the several States require a national Legislation; or else there may be a Combination of States —

The mode of electing Congress an Objn. — the Delegates will be under the Influence of its particular States.

Cabal and Intrigue of which such a Body as Congress may be capable. They are too numerous for an Executive.

No Provision under the Confedn. for supporting the Harmony of the States — their commercial Interests different.

No provision for Congress to settle Disputes —

No Provision made or Power in Congress for the Suppression of Rebellion — no Troops can be raised — Congress ought not to have the Power of raising Troops.

A Navigation Act may be necessary — Give Power to whom — not to Congress — capable of Intrique and Cabal; Edition: current; Page: [274] Inadequacy of Representation; Want of Confidence in Congress —

Divide leg. and ex. Branches and then Doors may be open19a—Congress fallen considerably in their Reputation.

Doors not open in Congress.

This the last Moment ever will be offered —

[Paterson]

1. Because it accords with our Powers. Suppose an Attorney. Who can vote agt. it — If Confedn. cannot be amended, say so — The Experimt. has not been made.

2. Because it accords with the Sentiments of the People.

1. Coms.

2. News-papers — Political Barometer. Jersey never would have sent Delegates under the first Plan —

Not to sport Opinions of my own. Wt. can be done. A little practicable Virtue preferrable to Theory —

1. As States — independant of any Treaty or Confedn.

Each State is sovereign, free, and independant — Sovereignty includes Equality. We come here as States and as Equals — Why vote by States in Convention — We will not give up the Right —

Mr. Wilson — A Principle given up in the first Confedn.

2. As under the existing Articles of the Confedn.

5th. Article — unanimously entered into.

Back Lands — Jersey — Maryland —

A Contract. The Nature of a Contract. Solemnly entered into — Why break it — why not the new or present one be broke in the same Manner —

Convenience.

The last Clause in the Confedn. —

Some of the States will not consent —

Self-Destruction.

Abolition of the lesser States19a— Hitherto argued upon Principle — as States — as subsisting Treaties — The Danger to the lesser States — The Natural Progress of Power — Combination Edition: current; Page: [275] of Parts — Orders — States — Proportion of Votes — State-Politicks and Attachments — Great Britain and America

Objns. The larger States contribute most, and therefore Representn. ought to be in Proportion —

No — they have more to protect.

A rich State and poor State in same Relation as a rich individual and a poor one.19a 2. For the Sake of preserving the Liberty of the others —

3. Wealth will have its Influence —

Objn. — Mr. Wilson — first Principles — All Authority derived from the People — The People entitled to exercise Authority in Person. One free Citizen ought to be of equal Importance with another — true — One free State of equal Importance with another — Both true when properly applied. The Beauty of all Knowledge consists in the Application —

A large County and a small County19a— One free Citizen ought to be of equal Importance with another — they are Members of the Society, and therefore true — England and Switzerland. Pennsylva. and Jersey — they have the same Privileges, partake in the same common Stock, for Instance, in back and unlocated Lands. The Genn. soon found out the Diffe. between a Pennsylva. and a Jersey-Man when we talked of Consolidn. then the Pennsyla. gave up ⅓ — No; no — A Nation, when it is necessary to go by Majority of Votes, a State, when it is necessary to divide the common Stock —

Equalize the States — No Harm — no Hurt. No authority for that Purpose — and then it is impracticable —

Authority — Why talk of the first set of Propositions —

Impracticable — how does that appear — Make the Experiment — Propose the Measure to the Consideration of the States —

Objn. — There must be a national Governmt. to operate individually upon the People in the first Instance, and not upon the States — and therefore a Representation from the People at Large and not from the States —

1. Will the Operation and Force of the Govt. depend upon the mode of Representn. — No — it will depend upon the Quantum of Power lodged in the leg. ex. and judy. Departments — it will operate individually in the one Case as well as in the other —

2. Congress are empowered to act individually or to carry the Reqt. into Execn. in the same Manner as is set forth in the first Plan —

3. If not, it may be modified to answer the Purpose.

4. If it cannot be done, better than to have some States devoured by others —

Objn. — Congress not sufficient — there must be two Branches — a House of Delegates and a Senate; why, they will be a Check — This not applicable to the supreme Council of the States — The Representatives from the several States are Checks upon each other.

In a single State Party Heat and Spirit may pervade the whole, and a single Branch may of a sudden do a very improper Act — A second Branch gives Time for Reflexion; the Season of Calmness will return, etc. Is this likely to be the Case among the Representatives of 13 States —

What is the Fact — Congress has hitherto conducted with great Prudence and Sagacity — the People have been satisfied — Give Congress the same Powers, that you intend to give the two Branches, and I apprehend they will act with as much Propriety and more Energy than the latter.

The Chance for Wisdom greater — Refinement — Secretion —

The Expence will be enormous —

Congress the Sun of our political World.

WILSON

[A — 1]20

Propositions
21Crossed out in the preliminary draft: “To punish Opposition by calling”.
from Virginia from New Jersey
1. A Legislature consisting of two or three branches 1. A single Legislature.
2. On the original Authority of the People 2. On the derivative Authority of the Legislatures of the States
3. Representation of Citizens according to Numbers and Importance 3. Representation of States without Regard to Numbers and Importance
4. A single Executive Magistrate. 4. More than one Executive Magistrate.
5. A Majority empowered to act 5. A small Minority able to control
6. The national Legislature to legislate in all Cases to which the State Legislatures are incompetent, or in which the Harmony of the Union may be interrupted. 6. The United States in Congress vested with additional Powers only in a few inadequate Instances.
7. To negative Laws contrary to the Union or Treaties 7. To call forth the Powers of the confederated States in order21 to compel Obedience.
8. Executive removeable on Impeachment and Conviction. 8. — by Congress on Application by a Majority of the Executives of the States.
9. The Executive to have a qualified Negative 9. — to have none.
10. Provision made for inferior national Tribunals 10 — None
11. The Jurisdiction of the national Tribunal to extend to Cases of national Revenue. 11 — Only by Appeal in the dernier Resort.
12. — to Questions that may involve the national Peace 12 — Only limited and appellate Jurisdiction.
13. The national Government to be ratified under the authority of the People by Delegates expressly appointed for that Purpose. 13. The Alterations in the Confederation must be confirmed by the “Legislatures of every State”

[A — 2]22

Consider the different Points in Question — 1. on Principle — 2. on the declared Sense of the Committee — 3. By some striking Instances, which may happen, if the Plan from New-Jersey be adopted.
Uncertain what the Sense of the People is on several Points —
Reasons why it should be in Favour of national Government — 1. from Interest — 2. from Honour.
Distinction between Citizens and State-Officers.
Uncertain how long the present Opinion of the People may continue unaltered.
But we mean that our Plan of national Government shall stand or fall by their Opinion.
In forming a Government for the United States two great Objects demand our Attention — 1. That proper Powers be given — 2. That the different Departments of Government be so instituted and arranged that proper Powers may, with Safety, be lodged in them.
The Plan from New-Jersey is liable to three general Objections

[A — 3]22

No. 1. 4. 5.) 1. The Government is instituted in an improper Manner —
To secure the Constitution the Legislature must be restrained: It can be restrained only in its Operations: That can be accomplished only by dividing it into distinct and independent Branches. — legislative Authority single
— executive divided
No. 2. 3. 13.) 2. It flows from an illegitimate Sources, the Legislative and Executive Powers of the States, and not the People at large.
Inequality of Representation —
— Great Britain —
Experience of the United States.
— Solomon.
No. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.) 3. It provides not sufficiently for the true Ends of Government.
The legislative and executive Powers are too feeble and dependent —
They and the judicial Power are too confined.
II. What
Edition: current; Page: [281]

MONDAY, JUNE 18, 1787.

JOURNAL
Monday June 18. 1787.

The Order of the day being read.

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the State of the American Union

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair.

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee had made a further progress in the matter to them referred: and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again

Resolved that this House will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the american Union.

and then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 oClock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Monday June 18. 1787

Mr Gorham in the Chair.

It was moved by Mr Dickinson seconded byto postpone the consideration of the first resolution submitted by Mr Paterson namely. in order to introduce the following.

“Resolved that the articles of confederation ought to be revised and amended, so as to render the government of the United States adequate to the Exigencies, the preservation, and the prosperity of the Union.”

And on the question to agree to the same

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 10; noes — 0; divided — 1.]1

Edition: current; Page: [282]

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise, report a further progress, and request leave to sit again

The Committee then rose.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
[Beginning of third loose sheet]
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[64] aye aye aye aye dd aye aye aye aye aye aye To postpone the first resolution offered by Mr Patterson in order to take up Mr. Dickinson’s motion 10 1

MADISON
Monday June 18. in Committee of the whole. on the propositions of Mr. Patterson & Mr. Randolph.

〈On motion of Mr. Dickinson to postpone the 1st. Resolution in Mr. Patterson’s plan, in order to take up the following. viz: “that the articles of confederation ought to be revised and amended so as to render the Government of the U. S. adequate to the exigencies, the preservation and the prosperity of the union.” the postponement was agreed to by 10 States, Pen: divided.〉2

Mr. Hamilton, had been hitherto silent on the business before the Convention, partly from respect to others whose superior abilities age & experience rendered him unwilling to bring forward ideas dissimilar to theirs, and partly from his delicate situation with respect to his own State, to whose sentiments as expressed by his Colleagues, he could by no means accede. The crisis however which now marked our affairs, was too serious to permit any scruples whatever to prevail Edition: current; Page: [283] over the duty imposed on every man to contribute his efforts for the public safety & happiness. He was obliged therefore to declare himself unfriendly to both plans. He was particularly opposed to that from N. Jersey, being fully convinced, that no amendment of the confederation, leaving the States in possession of their sovereignty could possibly answer the purpose. On the other hand he confessed he was much discouraged by the amazing extent of Country in expecting the desired blessings from any general sovereignty that could be substituted. — As to the powers of the Convention, he thought the doubts started on that subject had arisen from distinctions & reasonings too subtle.3 A federal Govt. he conceived to mean an association of independent Communities into one. Different Confederacies have different powers, and exercise them in different ways. In some instances the powers are exercised over collective bodies; in others over individuals. as in the German Diet — & among ourselves in cases of piracy. Great latitude therefore must be given to the signification of the term. The plan last proposed departs itself from the federal idea, as understood by some, since it is to operate eventually on individuals. He agreed moreover with the Honble. gentleman from Va. (Mr. R.) that we owed it to our Country, to do on this emergency whatever we should deem essential to its happiness. The States sent us here to provide for the exigences of the Union. To rely on & propose any plan not adequate to these exigences, merely because it was not clearly within our powers, would be to sacrifice the means to the end. It may be said that the States can not ratify a plan not within the purview of the article of Confederation providing for alterations & amendments. But may not the States themselves in which no constitutional authority equal to this purpose exists in the Legislatures, have had in view a reference to the people at large. In the Senate of N. York, a proviso was moved, that no act of the Convention should be binding untill it should be referred to the people & ratified; and the motion was lost by a single voice only, the reason Edition: current; Page: [284] assigned agst. it, being that it 〈might possibly〉 be found an inconvenient shackle.

The great question is what provision shall we make for the happiness of our Country? He would first make a comparative examination of the two plans — prove that there were essential defects in both — and point out such changes as might render a national one, efficacious. — The great & essential principles necessary for the support of Government. are 1. an active & constant interest in supporting it. This principle does not exist in the States in favor of the federal Govt. They have evidently in a high degree, the esprit de corps. They constantly pursue internal interests adverse to those of the whole. They have their particular debts — their partcular plans of finance &c. all these when opposed to, invariably prevail over the requisitions & plans of Congress. 2. the love of power, Men love power. The same remarks are applicable to this principle. The States have constantly shewn a disposition rather to regain the powers delegated by them than to part with more, or to give effect to what they had parted with. The ambition of their demagogues is known to hate the controul of the Genl. Government. It may be remarked too that the Citizens have not that anxiety4 to prevent a dissolution of the Genl. Govt as of the particular Govts. A dissolution of the latter would be fatal: of the former would still leave the purposes of Govt. attainable to a considerable degree. Consider what such a State as Virga. will be in a few years, a few compared with the life of nations. How strongly will it feel its importance & self-sufficiency? 3. an habitual attachment of the people. The whole force of this tie is on the side of the State Govt. Its sovereignty is immediately before the eyes of the people: its protection is immediately enjoyed by them. From its hand distributive justice, and all those acts which familiarize & endear Govt. to a people, are dispensed to them. 4. Force by which may be understood a coertion of laws or coertion of arms. Congs. have not the former except in few cases. In particular States, this coercion Edition: current; Page: [285] is nearly sufficient; tho’ he held it in most cases, not entirely so. A certain portion of military force is absolutely necessary in large communities. Massts. is now feeling this necessity & making provision for it. But how can this force be exerted on the States collectively. It is impossible. It amounts to a war between the parties. Foreign powers also will not be idle spectators. They will interpose, the confusion will increase, and a dissolution of the Union ensue. 5. influence. he did not 〈mean〉 corruption, but a dispensation of those regular honors & emoluments, which produce an attachment to the Govt. almost all the weight of these is on the side of the States; and must continue so as long as the States continue to exist. All the passions then we see, of avarice, ambition, interest, which govern most individuals, and all public bodies, fall into the current of the States, and do not flow in the stream of the Genl. Govt. the former therefore will generally be an overmatch for the Genl. Govt. and render any confederacy, in its very nature precarious. Theory is in this case fully confirmed by experience. The Amphyctionic Council had it would seem ample powers for general purposes. It had in particular the power of fining and using force agst. delinquent members. What was the consequence. Their decrees were mere signals of war. The Phocian war is a striking example of it. Philip at length taking advantage of their disunion, and insinuating himself into their Councils, made himself master of their fortunes. The German Confederacy affords another lesson. The authority of Charlemagne seemed to be as great as could be necessary. The great feudal chiefs however, exercising their local sovereignties, soon felt the spirit & found the means of, encroachments, which reduced the imperial authority to a nominal sovereignty. The Diet has succeeded, which tho’ aided by a Prince at its head, of great authority independently of his imperial attributes, is a striking illustration of the weakness of Confederated Governments. Other examples instruct us in the same truth. The Swiss cantons have scarce any Union at all, and 〈have been more than once at〉5 war with Edition: current; Page: [286] one another — How then are all these evils to be avoided? only by such a compleat sovereignty in the general Govermt. as will turn all the strong principles & passions above mentioned on its side. Does the scheme of N. Jersey produce this effect? does it afford any substantial remedy whatever? On the contrary it labors under great defects, and the defect of some of its provisions will destroy the efficacy of others. It gives a direct revenue to Congs. but this will not be sufficient. The balance can only be supplied by requisitions; which experience proves can not be relied on. If States are to deliberate on the mode, they will also deliberate on the object of the supplies, and will grant or not grant as they approve or disapprove of it. The delinquency of one will invite and countenance it in others. Quotas too must in the nature of things be so unequal as to produce the same evil. To what standard will you resort? Land is a fallacious one. Compare Holland with Russia: France or Engd. with other countries of Europe. Pena. with N. Carolia. will the relative pecuniary abilities in those instances, correspond with the relative value of land. Take numbers of inhabitants for the rule and make like comparison of different countries, and you will find it to be equally unjust. The different degrees of industry and improvement in different Countries render the first object a precarious measure of wealth. Much depends too on situation. Cont. N. Jersey & N. Carolina, not being commercial States & contributing to the wealth of the commercial ones, can never bear quotas assessed by the ordinary rules of proportion. They will & must fail 〈in their duty.〉 their example will be followed, and the Union itself be dissolved. Whence then is the national revenue to be drawn? from Commerce, even 〈from〉 exports which notwithstanding the common opinion are fit objects of moderate taxation, 〈from〉 excise, &c &c. These tho’ not equal, are less unequal than quotas. Another destructive ingredient in the plan, is that equality of suffrage which is so much desired by the small States. It is not in human nature that Va. & the large States should consent to it, or if they did that they shd. long abide by it. It shocks too much the ideas of Justice, and every human feeling. Bad Edition: current; Page: [287] principles in a Govt. tho slow are sure in their operation, and will gradually destroy it. A doubt has been raised whether Congs. at present have a right to keep Ships or troops in time of peace. He leans to the negative. Mr. P.s plan provides no remedy. — If the powers proposed were adequate, the organization of Congs. is such that they could never be properly & effectually exercised. The members of Congs. being chosen by the States & subject to recall, represent all the local prejudices. Should the powers be found effectual, they will from time to time be heaped on them, till a tyrannic sway shall be established. The general power whatever be its form if it preserves itself, must swallow up the State powers. otherwise it will be swallowed up by them. It is agst. all the principles of a good Government to vest the requisite powers in such a body as Congs. Two Sovereignties can not co-exist within the same limits. Giving powers to Congs. must eventuate in a bad Govt. or in no Govt. The plan of N. Jersey therefore will not do. What then is to be done? Here he was embarrassed. The extent of the Country to be governed, discouraged him. The expence of a general Govt. was also formidable; unless there were such a diminution of expence on the side of the State Govts. as the case would admit. If they were extinguished, he was persuaded that great œconomy might be obtained by substituting a general Govt. He did not mean however to shock the public opinion by proposing such a measure. On the other 〈hand〉 he saw no other necessity for declining it. They are not necessary for any of the great purposes of commerce, revenue, or agriculture. Subordinate authorities he was aware would be necessary. There must be district tribunals: corporations for local purposes. But cui bono, the vast & expensive apparatus now appertaining to the States. The only difficulty of a serious nature which occurred to him, was that of drawing representatives from the extremes to the center of the Community. What inducements can be offered that will suffice? The moderate wages for the 1st. branch, would only be a bait to little demagogues. Three dollars or thereabouts he supposed would be the Utmost. The Senate he feared from a similar cause, would be filled by Edition: current; Page: [288] certain undertakers who wish for particular offices under the Govt. This view of the subject almost led him to despair that a Republican Govt. could be established over so great an extent. He was sensible at the same time that it would be unwise to propose one of any other form. In his private opinion he had no scruple in declaring, supported as he was by the opinions of so many of the wise & good, that the British Govt. was the best in the world: and that he doubted much whether any thing short of it would do in America.6 He hoped Gentlemen of different opinions would bear with him in this, and begged them to recollect the change of opinion on this subject which had taken place and was still going on. It was once thought that the power of Congs was amply sufficient to secure the end of their institution. The error was now seen by every one. The members most tenacious of republicanism, he observed, were as loud as any in declaiming agst. the vices of democracy. This progress of the public mind led him to anticipate the time, when others as well as himself would join in the praise bestowed by Mr. Neckar on the British Constitution, namely, that it is the only Govt. in the world “which unites public strength with individual security.” — In every community where industry is encouraged, there will be a division of it into the few & the many. Hence separate interests will arise There will be debtors & Creditors &c. Give all power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all power to the few they will oppress the many. Both therefore ought to have power, that each may defend itself agst. the other. To the want of this check we owe our paper money — instalment laws &c To the proper adjustment of it the British owe the excellence of their Constitution. Their house of Lords is a most noble institution. Having nothing to hope for by a change, and a sufficient interest by means of their property, in being faithful to the National interest, they form a permanent barrier agst. every pernicious innovation, whether Edition: current; Page: [289] attempted on the part of the Crown or of the Commons. No temporary Senate will have firmness en’o’ to answer the purpose. The Senate 〈(of Maryland)〉 which seems to be so much appealed to, has not yet been sufficiently tried. Had the people been unanimous & eager, in the late appeal to them on the subject of a paper emission they would would have yielded to the torrent. Their acquiescing in such an appeal is a proof of it. — Gentlemen differ in their opinions concerning the necessary checks, from the different estimates they form of the human passions. They suppose Seven years a sufficient period to give the Senate an adequate firmness, from not duly considering the amazing violence & turbulence of the democratic spirit. When a great object of Govt. is pursued, which seizes the popular passions, they spread like wild fire, and become irresistable. He appealed to the gentlemen from the N. England States whether experience had not there verified the remark. As to the Executive, it seemed to be admitted that no good one could be established on Republican principles. Was not this giving up the merits of the question; for can there be a good Govt. without a good Executive. The English model was the only good one on this subject. The Hereditary interest of the King was so interwoven with that of the Nation, and his personal emoluments so great, that he was placed above the danger of being corrupted from abroad — and at the same time was both sufficiently independent and sufficiently controuled, to answer the purpose of the institution at home. one of the weak sides of Republics was their being liable to foreign influence & corruption. Men of little character, acquiring great power become easily the tools of intermedling neibours. Sweeden was a striking instance. The French & English had each their parties during the late Revolution which was effected by the predominant influence of the former. What is the inference from all these observations? That we ought to go as far in order to attain stability and permanency, as republican principles will admit. Let one branch of the Legislature hold their places for life or at least during good-behaviour. Let the Executive also be for life. He appealed to the feelings of the members present whether a term of seven Edition: current; Page: [290] years, would induce the sacrifices of private affairs which an acceptance of public trust would require, so so as to ensure the services of the best Citizens. On this plan we should have in the Senate a permanent will, a weighty interest, which would answer essential purposes. But is this a Republican Govt. it will be asked? Yes, if all the Magistrates are appointed, and vacancies are filled, by the people, or a process of election originating with the people. He was sensible that an Executive constituted as he proposed would have in fact but little of the power and independence that might be necessary. On the other plan of appointing him for 7 years, he thought the Executive ought to have but little power. He would be ambitious, with the means of making creatures; and as the object of his ambition wd. be to prolong his power, it is probable that in case of a war, he would avail himself of the emergence, to evade or refuse a degradation from his place. An Executive for life has not this motive for forgetting his fidelity, and will therefore be a safer depositary of power. It will be objected probably, that such an Executive will be an elective Monarch, and will give birth to the tumults which characterise that form of Govt. He wd. reply that Monarch is an indefinite term. It marks not either the degree or duration of power. If this Executive Magistrate wd. be a monarch for life — the other propd. by the Report from the Committee of the whole, wd. be a monarch for seven years. The circumstance of being elective was also applicable to both. It had been observed by judicious writers that elective monarchies wd. be the best if they could be guarded agst. the tumults excited by the ambition and intrigues of competitors. He was not sure that tumults were an inseparable evil. He rather thought this character of Elective Monarchies had been taken rather from particular cases than from general principles. The election of Roman Emperors was made by the Army. In Poland the election is made by great rival princes with independent power, and ample means, of raising commotions. In the German Empire, The appointment is made by the Electors & Princes, who have equal motives & means, for exciting cabals & parties. Might 〈not〉 such a mode of election be devised Edition: current; Page: [291] among ourselves as will defend the community agst. these effects in any dangerous degree? Having made these observations he would read to the Committee a sketch of a plan which he shd. prefer to either of those under consideration. He was aware that it went beyond the ideas of most members. But will such a plan be adopted out of doors? In return 〈he would ask〉 will the people adopt the other plan? At present they will adopt neither. But 〈he〉 sees the Union dissolving or already dissolved — he sees evils operating in the States which must soon cure the people of their fondness for democracies — he sees that a great progress has been already made & is still going on in the public mind. He thinks therefore that the people will in time be unshackled from their prejudices; and whenever that happens, they will themselves not be satisfied at stopping where the plan of Mr. R. wd. place them, but be ready to go as far at least as he proposes. He did not mean to offer the paper he had sketched as a proposition to the Committee. It was meant only to give a more correct view of his ideas, and to suggest the amendments which he should probably propose to the plan of Mr. R. in the proper stages of its future discussion. He reads his sketch in the words following:7 to wit

I “The Supreme Legislative power of the United States of America to be vested in two different bodies of men; the one to be called the Assembly, the other the Senate who together shall form the Legislature of the United States with power to pass all laws whatsoever subject to the Negative hereafter mentioned.

II The Assembly to consist of persons elected by the people to serve for three years.

III. The Senate to consist of persons elected to serve during good behaviour; their election to be made by electors chosen for that purpose by the people: in order to this the States to be divided into election districts. On the death, removal or resignation of any Senator his place to be filled out of the district from which he came.

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IV. The supreme Executive authority of the United States to be vested in a Governour to be elected to serve during good behaviour — the election to be made by Electors chosen by the people in the Election Districts aforesaid — The authorities & functions of the Executive to be as follows: to have a negative on all laws about to be passed, and the execution of all laws passed, to have the direction of war when authorized or begun; to have with the advice and approbation of the Senate the power of the making all treaties; to have the sole appointment of the heads or chief officers of the departments of Finance, War and Foreign Affairs; to have the nomination of all other officers (Ambassadors to foreign Nations included) subject to the approbation or rejection of the Senate; to have the power of pardoning all offences except Treason; which he shall not pardon without the approbation of the Senate.

V. On the death resignation or removal of the Governour his authorities to be exercised by the President of the Senate till a Successor be appointed.

VI The Senate to have the sole power of declaring war, the power of advising and approving all Treaties, the power of approving or rejecting all appointments of officers except the heads or chiefs of the departments of Finance War and foreign affairs.

VII. The Supreme Judicial authority to be vested inJudges to hold their offices during good behaviour with adequate and permanent salaries. This Court to have original jurisdiction in all causes of capture, and an appellative jurisdiction in all causes in which the revenues of the general Government or the citizens of foreign nations are concerned.

VIII. The Legislature of the United States to have power to institute Courts in each State for the determination of all matters of general concern.

IX. The Governour Senators and all officers of the United States to be liable to impeachment for mal — and corrupt conduct; and upon conviction to be removed from office, & disqualified for holding any place of trust or profit — all impeachments to be tried by a Court to consist of the Chiefor Judge of the Superior Court of Law of each State, Edition: current; Page: [293] provided such Judge shall hold his place during good behavior, and have a permanent salary.

X All laws of the particular States contrary to the Constitution or laws of the United States to be utterly void; and the better to prevent such laws being passed, the Governour or president of each state shall be appointed by the General Government8 and shall have a negative upon the laws about to be passed in the State of which he is Governour or President

XI No State to have any forces land or Naval; and the Militia of all the States to be under the sole and exclusive direction of the United States, the officers of which to be appointed and commissioned by them

〈On these several articles he entered into explanatory observations corresponding with the principles of his introductory reasoning9

Committee rose & the House adjourned.〉

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YATES
Monday, June 19th,10 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Mr. Hamilton. — To deliver my sentiments on so important a subject, when the first characters in the union have gone before me, inspires me with the greatest diffidence, especially when my own ideas are so materially dissimilar to the plans now before the committee — My situation is disagreeable, but it would be criminal not to come forward on a question of such magnitude. I have well considered the subject, and am convinced that no amendment of the confederation can answer the purpose of a good government, so long as state sovereignties do, in any shape, exist; and I have great doubts whether a national government on the Virginia plan can be made effectual. What is federal? An association of several independent states into one. How or in what manner this association is formed, is not so clearly distinguishable. We find the diet of Germany has in some instances the power of legislation on individuals. We find the United States of America have it in an extensive degree in the cases of piracies.

Let us now review the powers with which we are invested. We are appointed for the sole and express purpose of revising the confederation, and to alter or amend it, so as to render it effectual for the purposes of a good government. Those who suppose it must be federal, lay great stress on the terms sole and express, as if these words intended a confinement to a federal government; when the manifest import is no more than that the institution of a good government must be the sole and express object of your deliberations. Nor can we suppose an annihilation of our powers by forming a national government, as many of the states have made in their constitutions no provision for any alteration; and thus much I can say for the state I have the honor to represent, that when Edition: current; Page: [295] our credentials were under consideration in the senate, some members were for inserting a restriction in the powers, to prevent an encroachment on the constitution: it was answered by others, and thereupon the resolve carried on the credentials, that it might abridge some of the constitutional powers of the state, and that possibly in the formation of a new union it would be found necessary. This appears reasonable, and therefore leaves us at liberty to form such a national government as we think best adapted for the good of the whole. I have therefore no difficulty as to the extent of our powers, nor do I feel myself restrained in the exercise of my judgment under them. We can only propose and recommend — the power of ratifying or rejecting is still in the states. But on this great question I am still greatly embarrassed. I have before observed my apprehension of the inefficacy of either plan, and I have great doubts whether a more energetic government can pervade this wide and extensive country. I shall now show that both plans are materially defective.

  • 1. A good government ought to be constant, and ought to contain an active principle.
  • 2. Utility and necessity.
  • 3. An habitual sense of obligation.
  • 4. Force.
  • 5. Influence.

I hold it, that different societies have all different views and interests to pursue, and always prefer local to general concerns. For example: New-York legislature made an external compliance lately to a requisition of congress; but do they not at the same time counteract their compliance by gratifying the local objects of the state so as to defeat their consession? And this will ever be the case. Men always love power, and states will prefer their particular concerns to the general welfare; and as the states become large and important, will they not be less attentive to the general government? What in process of time will Virginia be? She contains now half a million of inhabitants — in twenty-five years she will double the number. Feeling her own weight and importance, must she not become indifferent to the concerns of the union? Edition: current; Page: [296] And where, in such a situation, will be found national attachment to the general government?

By force, I mean the coercion of law and the coercion of arms. Will this remark apply to the power intended to be vested in the government to be instituted by their plan? A delinquent must be compelled to obedience by force of arms. How is this to be done? If you are unsuccessful, a dissolution of your government must be the consequence; and in that case the individual legislatures will reassume their powers; nay, will not the interest of the states be thrown into the state governments?

By influence, I mean the regular weight and support it will receive from those who will find it their interest to support a government intended to preserve the peace and happiness of the community of the whole. The state governments, by either plan, will exert the means to counteract it. They have their state judges and militia all combined to support their state interests; and these will be influenced to oppose a national government. Either plan is therefore precarious. The national government cannot long exist when opposed by such a weighty rival. The experience of ancient and modern confederacies evince this point, and throw considerable light on the subject. The amphyctionic council of Greece had a right to require of its members troops, money and the force of the country. Were they obeyed in the exercise of those powers? Could they preserve the peace of the greater states and republics? or where were they obeyed? History shows that their decrees were disregarded, and that the stronger states, regardless of their power, gave law to the lesser.

Let us examine the federal institution of Germany. It was instituted upon the laudable principle of securing the independency of the several states of which it was composed, and to protect them against foreign invasion. Has it answered these good intentions? Do we not see that their councils are weak and distracted, and that it cannot prevent the wars and confusions which the respective electors carry on against each other? The Swiss cantons, or the Helvetic union, are equally inefficient.

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Such are the lessons which the experience of others affords us, and from whence results the evident conclusion that all federal governments are weak and distracted. To avoid the evils deducible from these observations, we must establish a general and national government, completely sovereign, and annihilate the state distinctions and state operations; and unless we do this, no good purpose can be answered. What does the Jersey plan propose? It surely has not this for its object. By this we grant the regulation of trade and a more effectual collection of the revenue, and some partial duties. These, at five or ten per cent, would only perhaps amount to a fund to discharge the debt of the corporation.

Let us take a review of the variety of important objects, which must necessarily engage the attention of a national government. You have to protect your rights against Canada on the north, Spain on the south, and your western frontier against the savages. You have to adopt necessary plans for the settlement of your frontiers, and to institute the mode in which settlements and good government are to be made.

How is the expense of supporting and regulating these important matters to be defrayed? By requisition on the states, according to the Jersey plan? Will this do it? We have already found it ineffectual. Let one state prove delinquent, and it will encourage others to follow the example; and thus the whole will fail. And what is the standard to quota among the states their respective proportions? Can lands be the standard? How would that apply between Russia and Holland? Compare Pennsylvania with North-Carolina, or Connecticut with New-York. Does not commerce or industry in the one or other make a great disparity between these different countries, and may not the comparative value of the states from these circumstances, make an unequal disproportion when the data is numbers? I therefore conclude that either system would ultimately destroy the confederation, or any other government which is established on such fallacious principles. Perhaps imposts, taxes on specific articles, would produce a more equal system of drawing a revenue.

Another objection against the Jersey plan is, the unequal Edition: current; Page: [298] representation. Can the great states consent to this? If they did it would eventually work its own destruction. How are forces to be raised by the Jersey plan? By quotas? Will the states comply with the requisition? As much as they will with the taxes.

Examine the present confederation, and it is evident they can raise no troops nor equip vessels before war is actually declared. They cannot therefore take any preparatory measure before an enemy is at your door. How unwise and inadequate their powers! and this must ever be the case when you attempt to define powers. — Something will always be wanting. Congress, by being annually elected, and subject to recall, will ever come with the prejudices of their states rather than the good of the union. Add therefore additional powers to a body thus organized, and you establish a sovereignty of the worst kind, consisting of a single body. Where are the checks? None. They must either prevail over the state governments, or the prevalence of the state governments must end in their dissolution. This is a conclusive objection to the Jersey plan.

Such are the insuperable objections to both plans: and what is to be done on this occasion? I confess I am at a loss. I foresee the difficulty on a consolidated plan of drawing a representation from so extensive a continent to one place. What can be the inducements for gentlemen to come 600 miles to a national legislature? The expense would at least amount to £100,000. This however can be no conclusive objection if it eventuates in an extinction of state governments. The burthen of the latter would be saved, and the expense then would not be great. State distinctions would be found unnecessary, and yet I confess, to carry government to the extremities, the state governments reduced to corporations, and with very limited powers, might be necessary, and the expense of the national government become less burthensome.

Yet, I confess, I see great difficulty of drawing forth a good representation. What, for example, will be the inducements for gentlemen of fortune and abilities to leave their Edition: current; Page: [299] houses and business to attend annually and long? It cannot be the wages; for these, I presume, must be small. Will not the power, therefore, be thrown into the hands of the demagogue or middling politician, who, for the sake of a small stipend and the hopes of advancement, will offer himself as a candidate, and the real men of weight and influence, by remaining at home, add strength to the state governments? I am at a loss to know what must be done — I despair that a republican form of government can remove the difficulties. Whatever may be my opinion, I would hold it however unwise to change that form of government. I believe the British government forms the best model the world ever produced, and such has been its progress in the minds of the many, that this truth gradually gains ground. This government has for its object public strength and individual security. It is said with us to be unattainable. If it was once formed it would maintain itself. All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government. Can a democratic assembly, who annually revolve in the mass of the people, be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. Their turbulent and uncontrouling disposition requires checks. The senate of New-York, although chosen for four years, we have found to be inefficient. Will, on the Virginia plan, a continuance of seven years do it? It is admitted that you cannot have a good executive upon a democratic plan. See the excellency of the British executive — He is placed above temptation — He can have no distinct interests from the public welfare. Nothing short of such an executive can be efficient. The Edition: current; Page: [300] weak side of a republican government is the danger of foreign influence. This is unavoidable, unless it is so constructed as to bring forward its first characters in its support. I am therefore for a general government, yet would wish to go the full length of republican principles.

Let one body of the legislature be constituted during good behaviour or life.

Let one executive be appointed who dares execute his powers.

It may be asked is this a republican system? It is strictly so, as long as they remain elective.

And let me observe, that an executive is less dangerous to the liberties of the people when in office during life, than for seven years.

It may be said this constitutes an elective monarchy? Pray what is a monarchy? May not the governors of the respective states be considered in that light? But by making the executive subject to impeachment, the term monarchy cannot apply. These elective monarchs have produced tumults in Rome, and are equally dangerous to peace in Poland; but this cannot apply to the mode in which I would propose the election. Let electors be appointed in each of the states to elect the executive — (Here Mr. H. produced his plan, a copy whereof is hereunto annexed)11 to consist of two branches — and I would give them the unlimited power of passing all laws without exception. The assembly to be elected for three years by the people in districts — the senate to be elected by electors to be chosen for that purpose by the people, and to remain in office during life. The executive to have the power of negativing all laws — to make war or peace, with the advice of the senate — to make treaties with their advice, but to have the sole direction of all military operations, and to send ambassadors and appoint all military officers, and to pardon all offenders, treason excepted, unless by advice of the senate. On his death or removal, the president of the senate to officiate, with the same powers, until another is elected. Supreme Edition: current; Page: [301] judicial officers to be appointed by the executive and the senate. The legislature to appoint courts in each state, so as to make the state governments unnecessary to it.

All state laws to be absolutely void which contravene the general laws. An officer to be appointed in each state to have a negative on all state laws. All the militia and the appointment of officers to be under the national government.

I confess that this plan and that from Virginia are very remote from the idea of the people. Perhaps the Jersey plan is nearest their expectation. But the people are gradually ripening in their opinions of government — they begin to be tired of an excess of democracy — and what even is the Virginia plan, but pork still, with a little change of the sauce.12

Then adjourned to to-morrow.

KING13

Federal is an association of distinct Govts: into one — these fed. Govts. in some instances legislate on collective bodies, in others on individuals. The Confederation partakes of both — Piracies are cognizable by the Congress — &c.

Our powers have this object — the Freedom & Happiness of our Country — we must go all lengths to accomplish this Object — if the Legislatures have no powers to ratify because thereby they diminish their own Sovereignty the people may come in on revolution Principles —

We have power,

Upon the plan of the separation & indipendence of the States, you incourage those Habits, and opinions, that Esprit de Corps which is peculiar to the State and to every individual. These habits prefer their own State to those of the Genl. or fed. Govt. — this has been the case, State Debts, State Crs. have always stood before the fedl. Debr or Cr. —

Edition: current; Page: [302]

Man loves power — State Magistrates will desire to increase yr. own power at the Expense of the Genl. or fed. Govt.

One great objt. of Govt. is personal protection and the security of Property — if you establish a federal Govt. men will not be interested in the protection or preservation of the Genl. Govt. but they will in the existence of the State Govts. if the latter is dissolved and the former remains their persons & fortune will be safe — Besides the large States will be indisposed to remain connected —

Habits of obedience

Men will see their fortunes secured, their persons protected, offenders punished by State laws and State magistrates — they will love the Govt. that is thus immediate —

Force

The Force of law or the strength of Arms — The former is inefficient unless the people have the habits of Obedience — in this case you must have Arms — if this doctrine is applied to States — the system is utopian — you could not coerce Virgina — a fedl. Govt: is impracticable — you must call in foreign powers to aid the Genl. Govt. agt. the individual States — this will desolve the Union and destroy your Freedom

Influence

No govt. will be good without Influence. that is unless Men of Merit or the Pillars of Govt. are rewarded with Offices of Honor & Profit — the State Govts. have this influence — the fed. Govt. will be without it — this being true the Genl. Govt. will fail — as long as the States are rivals of the Genl. Govt. so long the Genl. will be subordinate —

How does History illustrate this point

The amphictions — had power to levy money men &c on the States — it was peculiarly federal — when a State failed the Amphictions fined — this was the case of the Phocians when Philip interposed —

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Germany

their Diets are as weak as the amphictions, although the Emperor is bound to carry their Decrees into Execution — they put an Electorate under the Ban, & the Electorate puts the Diet & the Emperor at Defiance —

Switzerland

Their Diet is divided, their union is destroyed — part are in alliance wh France and the other part wh the U Netherlands

The Result is that all the passions of avarice, pride, ambition &c. shd. depend on the Genl. & not the State Govts. — you must make the national Sovereignty transcendent & entire —

The plan of N. Jersey

It proposes Requisitions on the States for such monies as the Impost does not yield — States will not comply — they have not — you have no standard to Quote

Numbers or Lands will not be a just Standard — an equal Difficulty arises in the Quotas of men — the States find men only in proportion to their Zeal — this was the Case in the late war — they cannot now obtain an honest adjustment of yr. Expence — for this gave large pecuniary bounties —

The Hic labor the hoc Opus is the Genl. Government

The Extent of Territory, the Variety of Opinions, & numerous considerations, seem to prevent a General Govt: The expence of the Genl. Govt. is important — not less yn. 100,000£ an y

How will you induce Genl. to come into the Genl. Govt. — what will be yr. inducement: you can give them perhaps 3 Dols. pr. Diem. Men of first consequence will not come forward — it will be managed by undertakers & not by the most able hands — I fear Republicanism will not answr. and yet we cannot go beyond it — I think the British Govt. is the only proper one for such an extensive Country — this govt. unites the highest public strength with the most perfect individual security — we are not in a situation to receive it Edition: current; Page: [304] — perhaps if it was established it wd. maintain itself — I am however sensible that it can’t be established by consent, and we ought not to think of other means — We may attempt a general & not a federal Govt: let the senate hold yr. office for life or during good behavior; so of the Executive — This is republican if the people elect and also fill vacancies

HAMILTON14

Introduction

  • I Importance of the occasion
  • II — Solid plan without regard to temporary opinion.
  • III — If an ineffectual plan be again proposed it will beget despair & no government will grow out of consent
    • 115Objections to the present confederation
      • I Entrusts the great interests of the nation to hands incapable of managing them —
      • All matters in which foreigners are concerned —
      • The care of the public peace: Debts
      • Power of treaty without power of execution
      • Common defence without power to raise troops have a fleet — raise money
    • — Power to contract debts without the power to pay —
    • — These great interests of the state must be well managed or the public prosperity must be the victim —
    • Legislates upon communities —
    • Where the legislatures are to act they will deliberate —
    • No sanction — To ask money not to collect — & by an unjust measure
  • IV There seem to be but three lines of conduct.
    • I A league offensive and defensive, treaty of commerce, & apportionment of the public debt.
    • II An amendment of the present confederation by Edition: current; Page: [305] adding such powers as the public mind seems nearest being matured to grant.
    • III — The forming a new government to pervade the whole with decisive powers in short with complete sovereignty.
  • B — Last seems to be the prevailing sentiment —
    • I Its practicability to be examined —
      • Immense extent unfavourable to representation —
      • Vast expence —
      • double setts of officers —
      • Difficulty of judging of local circumstances —
      • ☞ Distance has a physical effect upon mens minds —
      • Difficulty of drawing proper characters from home —
      • — Execution of laws feeble at a distance from government — particularly in the collection of revenue —
      • Sentiment of Obedience }
      • Opinion }
  • C16Amendment of Confederation according to present Ideas
    • 1 —

      Difficult because not agreed upon any thing Ex — Impost

      Commerce different Theories

    • — To ascertain the practicability of this let us examine the principles of civil obedience —

      Supports of Government —

    • I — Interest to support it
    • II — Opinion of Utility & necessity
    • III Habitual sense of obligation
    • IV — Force
    • V — Influence.
17J. C. Hamilton drops out “III” before “Necessity” and inserts it where “IV” stands in the text, and changes the other numbers “IV” and “V” so as to make them correspond to the subjects and numbers in the summary which precedes.
18“Fiscal Jurisdiction” was originally placed between “2” and “4” and numbered “3”. It was then struck out, and the original numbering left unchanged. J. C. Hamilton revised the numbering.
I C I Interest
Particular & general interests
Esprit de Corps —
Vox populi vox Dei
II II — Opinion of Utility & necessity
1 — First will decrease with the growth of the states.
III17 III Necessity
This does not apply to Fœderal Government —
This may dissolve & yet the order of the community continue —
Anarchy not a necessary consequence
IV Habitual sense of obligation.
This results from administration of private justice —
Demand of service or money odious —
V Force of two kinds.
Coertion of laws Coertion of arms.
First does not exist — & the last useless
Attempt to use it a war between the states —
Foreign aid —
Delinquency not confined to one.
VI — Influence
1 Influence from municipal Jurisdiction
2 Influence appointment of Officers —
418 Military Jurisdiction
5 Fiscal Jurisdiction
  • D All these now reside in particular states
    • — Their governments are the chief sources of honor and emolument.
    • Ambition Avarice.
    • To effect any thing Passions must be turned towards general government —?
    • Present Confederation cannot be amended unless the most important powers be given to Congress constituted as they are —
    • This would be liable to all objections against any form Edition: current; Page: [307] of general government with the addition of the want of Checks
  • E Perpetual effort in each member
    • Influence of Individuals in office employed to excite jealousy & clamour
    • State leaders
      • Experience corresponds
      • Grecian Republics
      • Demosthenes says
        • Athens 73 years
        • Lacedaemon 27 —
        • Thebans after battle of Leuctra —
        • Phocians consecrated ground
        • Philip &c
  • F Germanic Empire
    • Charlemagne & his successors
    • Diet Recesses —
    • Electors now 7 excluding other
  • G Swiss Cantons
  • Two diets —
  • opposite alliances
  • Berne Lucerne
  • To strengthen the Foerderal government powers too great must be given to a single branch
  • H Leage Offensive & Defensive &c
    • particular Govs. might exert themselves &c
    • But liable to usual Vicissi —
    • — Internal Peace affected —
    • Proximity of situation — natural enemies —
    • Partial confederacies from unequal extent
    • Power inspires ambition —
    • Weakness begets jealousy
    • Western territory —
  • Obj: Genius of republics pacific —
  • Answer — Jealousy of commerce as well as jealousy of power begets war —
    • Sparta Athens Thebes Rome Carthage Venice Hanseatic Leage Edition: current; Page: [308]
      • England as many
      • Popular as Royal Wars
      • Lewis the 14h Austria Bourbon William & Anne —
      • Wars depend on triffling circumstances everywhere Dutchess of Malboroughs Glove
      • Foreign Conquest —
      • Dismemberment — Poland —
      • Foreign Influence —
      • Distractions set afloat Vicious humour
      • Standing armies by dissensions
      • Domestic Factions —
      • Montesquieu —
      • Monarchy in Southern States —
    • ☞ Foederal Rights Fisheries
      • Wars destructive
    • I Loss of advantages —
      • — Foreign Nations would not respect our rights nor grant us reciprocity —
      • Would reduce us to a passive Commerce
      • — Fisheries Navigation of the lakes, of the Mississippi Fleet

The19 general government must, in this case, not only have a strong soul, but strong organs by which that soul is to operate.

Here I shall give my sentiments of the best form of government — not as a thing attainable by us, but as a model which we ought to approach as near as possible.

British constitution best form.

Aristotle — Cicero — Montesquieu — Neckar.

Society naturally divides itself into two political divisions — the few and the many, who have distinct interests.

If government in the hands of the few, they will tyrannize over the many.

If [in] the hands of the many, they will tyrannize over the few. It ought to be in the hands of both; and they should be separated.

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This separation must be permanent.

Representation alone will not do.

Demagogues will generally prevail.

And if separated, they will need a mutual check.

This check is a monarch.

Each principle ought to exist in full force, or it will not answer its end.

The democracy must be derived immediately from the people.

The aristocracy ought to be entirely separated; their power should be permanent, and they should have the caritas liberorum.

They should be so circumstanced that they can have no interest in a change — as to have an effectual weight in the constitution.

Their duration should be the earnest of wisdom and stability.

’Tis essential there should be a permanent will in a community.

Vox populi, vox Dei.

Source of government — the unreasonableness of the people — separate interests — debtors and creditors, &c.

There ought to be a principle in government capable of resisting the popular current.

No periodical duration will come up to this.

This will always imply hopes and fears.

Creature and Creator.

Popular assemblies governed by a few individuals.

These individuals seeing their dissolution approach, will sacrifice.

The principle of representation will influence.

The most popular branch will acquire an influence over the other.

The other may check in ordinary cases, in which there is no strong public passion; but it will not in cases where there is — the cases in which such a principle is most necessary.

☞ Suppose duration seven years, and rotation.

One-seventh will have only one year to serve.

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One-seventh two years.
One-seventh three years.
One-seventh four years.

A majority will look to a dissolution in four years by instalments.

The monarch must have proportional strength. He ought to be hereditary, and to have so much power, that it will not be his interest to risk much to acquire more.

The advantage of a monarch is this — he is above corruption — he must always intend, in respect to foreign nations, the true interest and glory of the people.

Republics liable to foreign corruption and intrigue — Holland — Athens.

  • Effect of the British government.
    • A vigorous execution of the laws — and a vigorous defence of the people, will result.
    • Better chance for a good administration.
    • It is said a republican government does not admit a vigorous execution.
    • It is therefore bad; for the goodness of a government consists in a vigorous execution.

The principle chiefly intended to be established is this — that there must be a permanent will.

Gentlemen say we need to be rescued from the democracy. But what the means proposed?

A democratic assembly is to be checked by a democratic senate, and both these by a democratic chief magistrate.

The end will not be answered — the means will not be equal to the object.

It will, therefore, be feeble and inefficient.

Recapitulation

I. Impossible to secure the union by any modification of foederal government.

II. League, offensive, and defensive, full of certain evils and greater dangers.

III. General government, very difficult, if not impracticable, liable to various objections.

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What is to be done?

Answer. Balance inconveniences and dangers, and choose that which seems to have the fewest objections.

Expense admits of this answer. The expense of the state governments will be proportionably diminished.

Interference of officers not so great, because the objects of the general government and the particular ones will not be the same — Finance — Administration of private justice Energy will not be wanting in essential points, because the administration of private justice will be carried home to men’s doors by the particular governments.

And the revenues may be collected from imposts, excises &c. If necessary to go further, the general government may make use of the particular governments.

The attendance of members near the seat of government may be had in the lower branch.

And the upper branch may be so constructed as to induce the attendance of members from any part.

But this proves that the government must be so constituted as to offer strong motives.

In short, to interest all the passions of individuals.

And turn them into that channel.

Edition: current; Page: [312]

TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 1787.

JOURNAL
Tuesday June 19. 1787.

The Order of the day being read

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider of the state of the American Union.

Mr President left the Chair

Mr Gorham took the Chair of the Committee

Mr President resumed the Chair.

Mr Gorham reported from the Committee that the Committee, having spent some time in the consideration of the propositions submitted to the House by the honorable Mr Paterson — and of the resolutions heretofore reported from a Committee of the whole House, both of which had been to them referred, were prepared to report thereon — and had directed him to report to the House that the Committee do not agree to the propositions offered by the honorable Mr Paterson — and that they again submit the resolutions, formerly reported, to the consideration of the House.

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the first resolution, reported from the Committee till to-morrow.

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the affirmative

And then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’clock A. M.

In a Committee of the whole House

Tuesday June 19. 1787

Mr Gorham in the Chair

On a question to adopt Mr Dickinson’s motion — moved yesterday —

Edition: current; Page: [313]

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 4; noes — 6; divided — 1.]

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the first proposition offered by Mr Paterson.

passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 9; noes — 2.]

It was then moved and seconded that the Committee do now rise — and report to the House that they do not agree to the propositions offered by the honorable Mr Paterson — and that they report the resolutions offered by the honorable Mr Randolph, heretofore reported from a Committee of the whole House

passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]

The Committee then rose.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[65] no aye aye aye no aye dd no no no no To adopt Mr Dickinson’s motion offered as a substitute for Mr Paterson’s 4 6 1
[66] aye aye no no aye aye aye aye aye aye aye To postpone the first proposition offered by Mr Paterson 9 2
[67] aye aye no no aye no dd aye aye aye aye not to agree to the Jersey propositions but to report those offered by Mr Randolph 7 3 1

MADISON
Teusday June 19th. in Committee of whole. on the propositions of Mr. Patterson.

〈The Substitute offered yesterday by Mr. Dickenson being rejected by a vote now taken on it; Con. N. Y. N. J. Del. ay. Mas. Pa. V. N. C. S. C. Geo. no Mayd. divided Mr. Patterson’s plan was again at large before the Committee〉1

Edition: current; Page: [314]

Mr. M〈adison〉. Much stress had been laid by some gentlemen on the want of power in the Convention to propose any other than a federal plan.2 To what had been answered by others, he would only add, that neither of the characteristics attached to a federal plan would support this objection. One characteristic, was that in a federal Government, the power was exercised not on the people individually; but on the people collectively, on the States. Yet in some instances as in piracies, captures &c. the existing Confederacy, and in many instances, the amendments to it 〈proposed by Mr. Patterson〉 must operate immediately on individuals. The other characteristic was, that a federal Govt. derived its appointments not immediately from the people, but from the States which they respectively composed. Here too were facts on the other side. In two of the States, Connect. and Rh. Island, the delegates to Congs. were chosen, not by the Legislatures, but by the people at large; and the plan of Mr. P. intended no change in this particular.

It had been alledged (by Mr. Patterson) that the Confederation having been formed by unanimous consent, could be dissolved by unanimous Consent only Does this doctrine result from the nature of compacts? does it arise from any particular stipulation in the articles of Confederation? If we consider the federal union as analagous to the fundamental compact by which individuals compose one Society, and which must in its theoretic origin at least, have been the unanimous act of the component members, it cannot be said that no dissolution of the compact can be effected without unanimous consent. a breach of the fundamental principles of the compact by a part of the Society would certainly absolve the other part from their obligations to it.3 If the breach of any article by any of the parties, does not set the others at liberty, it is because, the contrary is implied in the compact itself, and particularly by that law of it, which gives an indefinite authority Edition: current; Page: [315] to the majority to bind the whole in all cases. This latter circumstance shews that we are not to consider the federal Union as analogous to the social compact of individuals: for if it were so, a Majority would have a right to bind the rest, and even to form a new Constitution for the whole, which the Gentn: from N. Jersey would be among the last to admit. If we consider the federal union as analogous not to the 〈social〉 compacts among individual men: but to the conventions among individual States. What is the doctrine resulting from these conventions?4 Clearly, according to the Expositors of the law of Nations, that a breach of any one article, by any one party, leaves all the other parties at liberty, to consider the whole convention as dissolved, unless they choose rather to compel the delinquent party to repair the breach. In some treaties indeed it is expressly stipulated that a violation of particular articles shall not have this consequence, and even that particular articles shall remain in force during war, which in general is understood to dissolve all susbsisting Treaties. But are there any exceptions of this sort to the Articles of confederation? So far from it that there is not even an express stipulation that force shall be used to compell an offending member of the Union to discharge its duty. He observed that the violations of the federal articles had been numerous & notorious. Among the most notorious was an Act of N. Jersey herself; by which she expressly refused to comply with a constitutional requisition of Congs. — and yielded no farther to the expostulations of their deputies, than barely to rescind her vote of refusal without passing any positive act of compliance. He did not wish to draw any rigid inferences from these observations. He thought it proper however that the true nature of the existing confederacy should be investigated, and he was not anxious to strengthen the foundations on which it now stands

Proceeding to the consideration of Mr. Patterson’s plan, he stated the object of a proper plan to be twofold. 1. to preserve the Union. 2. to provide a Governmt. that will remedy5 Edition: current; Page: [316] the evils felt by the States6 both in their united and individual capacities. Examine Mr. P.s plan, & say whether it promises satisfaction in these respects.

1. Will it prevent those violations of the law of nations & of Treaties which if not prevented must involve us in the calamities of foreign wars? The tendency of the States to these violations has been manifested in sundry instances. The files of Congs. contain complaints already, from almost every nation with which treaties have been formed. Hitherto indulgence has been shewn to us. This cannot be the permanent disposition of foreign nations. A rupture with other powers is among the greatest of national calamities. It ought therefore to be effectually provided that no part of a nation shall have it in its power to bring them on the whole. The existing confederacy does 〈not〉 sufficiently provide against this evil. The proposed amendment to it does not supply the omission. It leaves the will of the States as uncontrouled as ever.

2. Will it prevent encroachments on the federal authority? A tendency to such encroachments has been sufficiently exemplified among ourselves, as well in every other confederated republic antient and Modern. By the federal articles, transactions with the Indians appertain to Congs. Yet in several instances, the States7 have entered into treaties & wars with them. In like manner no two or more States can form among themselves any treaties &c without the consent of Congs. yet Virga & Maryd in one instance — Pena. & N. Jersey in another, have entered into compacts, without previous application or subsequent apology. No State again can of right raise troops in time of peace without the like consent8 Of all cases of the league, this seems to require the most scrupulous observance. Has not Massts, notwithstanding, the most powerful member of the Union, already raised a body of troops? Is she not now augmenting them, without having even deigned to apprise Congs. of Her intention? In fine Have we not seen the public Edition: current; Page: [317] land dealt out to Cont. to bribe her acquiescence in the decree constitutionally awarded agst. her claim on the territory of Pena. —? for no other possible motive can account for the policy of Congs. in that measure? — if we recur to the examples of other confederacies, we shall find in all of them the same tendency of the parts to encroach on the authority of the whole. He then reviewed the Amphyctrionic & Achæan confederacies among the antients, and the Helvetic, Germanic & Belgic among the moderns, tracing their analogy to the U. States9 — in the constitution and extent of their federal authorities — in the tendency of the particular members to usurp on these authorities; and10 to bring confusion & ruin on the whole. — He observed that the plan of Mr. Pat—son besides omitting a controul over the States as a general defence of the federal prerogatives was particularly defective in two of its provisions. 1. Its ratification was not to be by the people at large, but by the Legislatures. It could not therefore render the acts of Congs. in pursuance of their powers even legally paramount to the Acts of the States. 2. It gave 〈to the federal tribunal〉 an appellate jurisdiction only — even in the criminal cases enumerated, The necessity of any such provision supposed a danger of undue acquittals in the State tribunals. Of what avail wd. an appellate tribunal be, after an acquttal? Besides in most if not all of the States, the Executives have by their respective Constitutions the right of pardg. How could this be taken from them by a legislative ratification only?

3. Will it prevent trespasses of the States on each other? Of these enough has been already seen. He instanced Acts of Virga. & Maryland which give a preference to their own citizens in cases where the Citizens 〈of other states〉11 are entitled to equality of privileges by the Articles of Confederation. He considered the emissions of paper money 〈& other kindred measures〉11 as also aggressions. The States relatively to one an other being each of them either Debtor or Creditor; Edition: current; Page: [318] The Creditor States must suffer unjustly from every emission by the debtor States. We have seen retaliating acts on this subject which threatened danger not to the harmony only, but the tranquillity of the Union. The plan of Mr. Paterson, not giving even a negative on the Acts of the States, left them as much at liberty as ever to execute their unrighteous projects agst. each other.

4. Will it secure12 the internal tranquillity of the States themselves? The insurrections in Massts. admonished all the States of the danger to which they were exposed. Yet the plan of Mr. P. contained no provisions for supplying the defect of the Confederation on this point. According to the Republican theory indeed, Right & power being both vested in the majority, are held to be synonimous. According to fact & experience, a minority may in an appeal to force be an overmatch for the majority. 1. If the minority happen to include all such as possess the skill & habits of military life, with such as possess the great pecuniary resources, one third13 may conquer the remaining two thirds. 2. one third of those who participate in the choice of rulers may be rendered a majority by the accession of those whose poverty disqualifies them from a suffrage, & who for obvious reasons may be more ready to join the standard of sedition than that of the established Government. 3. Where slavery exists, the Republican Theory becomes still more fallacious.

5. Will it secure a good internal legislation & administration to the particular States? In developing the evils which vitiate the political system of the U. S. it is proper to take into view those which prevail within the States individually as well as those which affect them collectively: Since the former indirectly affect the whole; and there is great reason to believe that the pressure of them had a full share in the motives which produced the present Convention. Under this head he enumerated and animadverted on 1. the multiplicity of the laws passed by the several States. 2. the mutability of their laws. 3. the injustice of them. 4. the impotence of Edition: current; Page: [319] them: observing that Mr. Patterson’s plan contained no remedy for this dreadful class of evils, and could not therefore be received as an adequate provision for the exigencies of the Community.

6. Will it secure the Union agst. the influence of foreign powers over its members. He pretended not to say that any such influence had yet been tried: but it naturally to be expected that occasions would produce it. As lessons which claimed particular attention, he cited the intrigues practiced among the Amphictionic Confederates first by the Kings of Persia, and afterwards fatally by Philip of Macedon: Among the Achæans, first by Macedon & afterwards no less fatally by Rome: Among the Swiss by Austria, France & the lesser neighbouring Powers; among the members of the Germanic 〈Body〉 by France, England,14 Spain & Russia —: and in the Belgic Republic, by all the great neighbouring powers. The plan of Mr. Patterson, not giving to the general Councils any negative on the will of the particular States, left the door open for the15 like pernicious machinations among ourselves.

7. He begged the smaller States which were most attached to Mr. Pattersons plan to consider the situation in which it would leave them. In the first place they would continue to bear the whole expense of maintaining their Delegates in Congress. It ought not to be said that if they were willing to bear this burden, no others had a right to complain. As far as it led the small States to forbear keeping up a representation, by which the public business was delayed, it was evidently a matter of common concern. An examination of the minutes of Congress would satisfy every one that the public business had been frequently delayed by this cause; and that the States most frequently unrepresented in Congs. were not the larger States. He reminded the convention of another consequence of leaving on a small State the burden of Maintaining a Representation in Congs. During a considerable period of the War, one of the Representatives of Delaware, in whom alone before the signing of the Confederation the entire Edition: current; Page: [320] vote of that State and after that event one half of its vote, frequently resided, was a Citizen & Resident of Pena. and held an office in his own State incompatible with an appointment from it to Congs. During another period, the same State was represented by three delegates two of whom were citizens of Penna. — and the third a Citizen of New Jersey.16 These expedients must have been intended to avoid the burden of supporting delegates from their own State. But whatever might have been ye. cause, was not in effect the vote of one State doubled, and the influence of another increased by it? 〈In the 2d. place〉 The coercion, on which the efficacy of the plan depends, can never be exerted but on themselves. The larger States will be impregnable, the smaller only can feel the vengeance of it. He illustrated the position by the history of the Amphyctionic Confederates: and the ban of the German Empire, It was the cobweb wch. could entangle the weak, but would be the sport of the strong.

8. He begged them to consider the situation in which they would remain in case their pertinacious adherence to an inadmissable plan, should prevent the adoption of any plan. The contemplation of such an event was painful; but it would be prudent to submit to the task of examining it at a distance, that the means of escaping it might be the more readily embraced. Let the union of the States be dissolved and one of two consequences must happen. Either the States must remain individually independent & sovereign; or two or more Confederacies must be formed among them. In the first event would the small States be more secure agst. the ambition & power of their larger neighbours, than they would be under a general Government pervading with equal energy every part of the Empire, and having an equal interest in protecting every part agst. every other part? In the second, can the Edition: current; Page: [321] smaller expect that their larger neighbours would confederate with them on the principle of the present confederacy, which gives to each member, an equal suffrage; or that they would exact less severe concessions from the smaller States, than are proposed in the scheme of Mr. Randolph?

The great difficulty lies in the affair of Representation; and if this could be adjusted, all others would be surmountable. It was admitted by both the gentlemen from N. Jersey, (Mr. Brearly and Mr. Patterson) that it would not be just to allow Virga. which was 16 times as large as Delaware an equal vote only. Their language was that it would not be safe for Delaware to allow Virga. 16 times as many votes. The expedient proposed by them was that all the States should be thrown into one mass and a new partition be made into 13 equal parts. Would such a scheme be practicable?17 The dissimelarities existing in the rules of property, as well as in the manners, habits and prejudices of the different States, amounted to a prohibition of the attempt. It had been found impossible for the power of one of the most absolute princes in Europe (K. of France) directed by the wisdom of one of the most enlightened and patriotic Ministers (Mr. Neckar) that any age has produced, to equalize in some points only the different usages & regulations of the different provinces. But admitting a general amalgamation and repartition of the States, to be practicable, and the danger apprehended by the smaller States from a proportional representation to be real; would not a particular and voluntary coalition of these with their neighbours, be less inconvenient to the whole community, and equally effectual for their own safety. If N. Jersey or Delaware conceive that an advantage would accrue to them from an equalization of the States, in which case they would necessaryly form a junction with their neighbors, why might not this end be attained by leaving them at liberty by the Constitution to form such a junction whenever they pleased? and why should they wish to obtrude a like arrangement on all the States, when it was, to say the least, extremely difficult, would Edition: current; Page: [322] be obnoxious to many of the States, and when neither the inconveniency, nor the benefit of the expedient to themselves, would be lessened, by confining it to themselves. — The prospect of many new States to the Westward was another consideration of importance. If they should come into the Union at all, they would come when they contained but but few inhabitants. If they shd. be entitled to vote according to their proportions of inhabitants, all would be right & safe. Let them have an equal vote, and a more objectionable minority than ever might give law to the whole.

〈On a question for postponing generally the 1st. proposition of Mr. Patterson’s plan, it was agreed to: N. Y. &. N. J. only being no —〉18

On the question 〈moved by Mr. King〉19 whether the Committee should rise & Mr. Randolphs propositions be re-reported without alteration, which was in fact a question whether Mr. R’s should be adhered to as preferable to those of Mr. Patterson;20

Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]

〈insert here from Printed Journal p. 13[4]. Copy of the Resoln. of Mr. R. as altered in the Come: and reported to the House〉

(Of Mr. Randolph’s plan as reported from the Committee). the 1. propos: “that Natl. Govt. ought to be established consisting &c”., 〈being〉 taken up in 〈the House.〉

Mr. Wilson observed that by a Natl. Govt. he did not mean one that would swallow up the State Govts. as seemed to be wished by some gentlemen.21 He was tenacious of the idea of preserving the latter. He thought, contrary to the opinion of (Col. Hamilton) that they might 〈not〉 only subsist but subsist on friendly terms with the former.22 They were absolutely Edition: current; Page: [323] necessary for certain purposes which the former could not reach. All large Governments must be subdivided into lesser jurisdictions. as Examples he mentioned Persia, Rome, and particularly the divisions & subdivisions of 〈England by〉 Alfred.

Col. Hamilton coincided with the proposition 〈as it stood in the Report〉. He had not been understood yesterday. By an abolition of the States, he meant that no boundary could be drawn between the National & State Legislatures; that the former must therefore have indefinite authority. If it were limited at all, the rivalship of the States would gradually subvert it. Even as Corporations the extent of some of them as Va. Massts. &c. would be formidable. As States, he thought they ought to be abolished. But he admitted the necessity of leaving in them, subordinate jurisdictions. The examples of Persia & the Roman Empire, cited by (Mr Wilson) were, he thought in favor of his doctrine: the great powers delegated to the Satraps & proconsuls, having frequently produced revolts, and schemes of independence.

Mr. King, wished as everything depended on this proposition, that no objections might be improperly indulged agst. the phraseology of it. He conceived that the import of the terms “States” “Sovereignty” “national” “federal,” had been often used & applied in the discussion inaccurately & delusively. The States were not “sovereigns” in the sense contended for by some. They did not possess the peculiar features of sovereignty. They could not make war, nor peace, nor alliances, nor treaties. Considering them as political Beings, they were dumb, for they could not speak to any forign Sovereign whatever. They were deaf, for they could not hear any propositions from such Sovereign. They had not even the organs or faculties of defence or offence, for they could not of themselves raise troops, or equip vessels, for war. On the other side, if the Union of the States comprises the idea of a confederation, it comprises that also of consolidation. A Union of the States is a union of the men composing them, from whence a national character results to the whole. Congs. can act alone without the States — they can act & their acts will Edition: current; Page: [324] be binding agst. the Instructions of the States. If they declare war, war is de jure declared, captures made in pursuance of it are lawful. No acts of the States can vary the situation, or prevent the judicial consequences. If the States therefore retained some portion of their sovereignty, they had certainly divested themselves of essential portions of it. If they formed a confederacy in some respects — they formed a Nation in others. The Convention could clearly deliberate on & propose any alterations that Congs. could have done under ye. federal articles. and could not Congs. propose by virtue of the last article, a change in any article whatever: And as well that relating to the equality of suffrage, as any other. He made these remarks to obviate some scruples which had been expressed. He doubted much the practicability of annihilating the States; but thought that much of their power ought to be taken from them.

Mr. Martin, said he considered that the separation from G. B. placed the 13 States in a state of nature towards each other; that they would have remained in that state till this time, but for the confederation; that they entered into the confederation on the footing of equality; that they met now to to amend it on the same footing, and that he could never accede to a plan that would introduce an inequality and lay 10 States at the mercy of Va. Massts. and Penna.

Mr. Wilson, could not admit the doctrine that when the Colonies became independent of G. Britain, they became independent also of each other. He read the declaration of Independence, observing thereon that the United Colonies were declared to be free & independent States; and inferring that they were independent, not Individually but Unitedly and that they were confederated as they were independent, States.23

Col. Hamilton, assented to the doctrine of Mr. Wilson. He denied the doctrine that the States were thrown into a State of nature He was not yet prepared to admit the doctrine that the Confederacy, could be dissolved by partial infractions of Edition: current; Page: [325] it. He admitted that the States met now on an equal footing but could see no inference from that against concerting a change of the system in this particular. He took this occasion of observing for the 〈purpose of〉 appeesing the fears of the 〈small〉24 States, that two circumstances would render them secure under a national Govt. in which they might lose the equality of rank they now hold: one was the local situation of the 3 largest States Virga. Masts. & Pa. They were separated from each other by distance of place, and equally so by all the peculiarities which distinguish the interests of one State from those of another. No combination therefore could be dreaded. In the second place, as there was a gradation in the States from Va. the largest down to Delaware the smallest, it would always happen that ambitious combinations among a few States might & wd. be counteracted by defensive combinations of greater extent among the rest. No combination has been seen among large Counties merely as such, agst. lesser Counties. The more close the Union of the States, and the more compleat the authority of the whole; the less opportunity will be allowed the stronger States to injure the weaker.

Adjd.

YATES
Tuesday, June 19th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

On the consideration of the first resolve of the Jersey plan.

Mr. Madison. — This is an important question — Many persons scruple the powers of the convention. If this remark had any weight, it is equally applicable to the adoption of either plan. The difference of drawing the powers in the one from the people and in the other from the states, does not affect the powers. There are two states in the union where the members of congress are chosen by the people. A new government must be made. Our all is depending on it; and Edition: current; Page: [326] if we have but a clause that the people will adopt, there is then a chance for our preservation. Although all the states have assented to the confederation, an infraction of any one article by one of the states is a dissolution of the whole. This is the doctrine of the civil law on treaties.25

Jersey pointedly refused complying with a requisition of congress, and was guilty of this infraction, although she afterwards rescinded her non-complying resolve. What is the object of a confederation? It is two-fold — 1st, to maintain the union; 2dly, good government. Will the Jersey plan secure these points? No; it is still in the power of the confederated states to violate treaties — Has not Georgia, in direct violation of the confederation made war with the Indians, and concluded treaties? Have not Virginia and Maryland entered into a partial compact? Have not Pennsylvania and Jersey regulated the bounds of the Delaware? Has not the state of Massachusetts, at this time, a considerable body of troops in pay? Has not congress been obliged to pass a conciliatory act in support of a decision of their federal court, between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, instead of having the power of carrying into effect the judgment of their own court? Nor does the Jersey plan provide for a ratification by the respective states of the powers intended to be vested. It is also defective in the establishment of the judiciary, granting only an appellate jurisdiction, without providing for a second trial; and in case the executive of a state should pardon an offender, how will it effect the definitive judgment on appeal? It is evident, if we do not radically depart from a federal plan, we shall share the fate of ancient and modern confederacies. The amphyctionic council, like the American congress, had the power of judging in the last resort in war and peace — call out forces — send ambassadors. What was its fate or continuance? Philip of Macedon, with little difficulty, destroyed every appearance of it. The Athenian had nearly the same fate — The Helvetic confederacy is rather a league — In the German confederacy the parts are too strong for the Edition: current; Page: [327] whole — The Dutch are in a most wretched situation — weak in all its parts, and only supported by surrounding contending powers.

The rights of individuals are infringed by many of the state laws — such as issuing paper money, and instituting a mode to discharge debts differing from the form of the contract. Has the Jersey plan any checks to prevent the mischief? Does it in any instance secure internal tranquility? Right and force, in a system like this, are synonymous terms. When force is employed to support the system, and men obtain military habits, is there no danger they may turn their arms against their employers? Will the Jersey plan prevent foreign influence? Did not Persia and Macedon distract the councils of Greece by acts of corruption? And is not Jersey and Holland at this day subject to the same distractions? Will not the plan be burthensome to the smaller states, if they have an equal representation? But how is military coercion to enforce government? True, a smaller state may be brought to obedience, or crushed; but what if one of the larger states should prove disobedient, are you sure you can by force effect a submission? Suppose we cannot agree on any plan, what will be the condition of the smaller states? Will Delaware and Jersey be safe against Pennsylvania, or Rhode-Island against Massachusetts? And how will the smaller states be situated in case of partial confederacies? Will they not be obliged to make larger concessions to the greater states? The point of representation is the great point of difference, and which the greater states cannot give up; and although there was an equalization of states, state distinctions would still exist. But this is totally impracticable; and what would be the effect of the Jersey plan if ten or twelve new states were added?

Mr. King moved that the committee rise, and report that the Jersey plan is not admissible, and report the first plan.

Mr. Dickinson supposed that there were good regulations in both. Let us therefore contrast the one with the other, and consolidate such parts of them as the committee approve.

Mr. King’s motion was then put — For it 7 states — 3 against — one divided. New-York in the minority.

Edition: current; Page: [328]

The committee rose and reported again the first plan, and the inadmissibility of the Jersey plan.

The convention then proceeded to take the first plan into consideration.

The first resolve was read.

Mr. Wilson. I am (to borrow a sea-phrase) for taking a new departure, and I wish to consider in what direction we sail, and what may be the end of our voyage. I am for a national government, though the idea of federal is, in my view, the same. With me it is not a desirable object to annihilate the state governnents, and here I differ from the honorable gentleman from New-York. In all extensive empires a subdivision of power is necessary. Persia, Turkey and Rome, under its emperors, are examples in point. These, although despots, found it necessary. A general government, over a great extent of territory, must in a few years make subordinate jurisdictions. — Alfred the great, that wise legislator, made this gradation, and the last division on his plan amounted only to ten territories. With this explanation, I shall be for the first resolve.

Mr. Hamilton. I agree to the proposition. I did not intend yesterday a total extinguishment of state governments; but my meaning was, that a national government ought to be able to support itself without the aid or interference of the state governments, and that therefore it was necessary to have full sovereignty. Even with corporate rights the states will be dangerous to the national government, and ought to be extinguished, new modified, or reduced to a smaller scale.

Mr. King. None of the states are now sovereign or independent — Many of these essential rights are vested in congress. Congress, by the confederation, possesses the rights of the United States. This is a union of the men of those states. None of the states, individually or collectively, but in congress, have the rights of peace or war. The magistracy in congress possesses the sovereignty — To certain points we are now a united people. Consolidation is already established. The confederation contains an article to make alterations — Congress have the right to propose such alterations. Edition: current; Page: [329] The 8th article respecting the quotas of the states, has been altered, and eleven states have agreed to it. Can it not be altered in other instances? It can, excepting the guarantee of the states.

Mr. Martin. When the states threw off their allegiance on Great Britain, they became independent of her and each other. They united and confederated for mutual defence, and this was done on principles of perfect reciprocity — They will now again meet on the same ground. But when a dissolution takes place, our original rights and sovereignties are resumed. — Our accession to the union has been by states. If any other principle is adopted by this convention, he will give it every opposition.

Mr. Wilson. The declaration of independence preceded the state constitutions. What does this declare? In the name of the people of these states, we are declared to be free and independent. The power of war, peace, alliances and trade, are declared to be vested in congress.

Mr. Hamilton. I agree to Mr. Wilson’s remark. — Establish a weak government and you must at times overleap the bounds. Rome was obliged to create dictators. Cannot you make propositions to the people because we before confederated on other principles? — The people can yield to them, if they will. The three great objects of government, agriculture, commerce and revenue, can only be secured by a general government.

Adjourned to to-morrow morning.

KING
18 [19] June

Madison

Confedn. unanimously adopted can be dissolved only by unanimous consent — this Position is not true — A contract entered into by men or societies may be dissolved by the breach of a single Articles — this is the case in Treaties — sometimes however provision is made that the Breach of a single Article shall not dissolve the Contn. or Treaty

Edition: current; Page: [330]

Georgia has declared & prosecuted a war agt. the Indians — they have treated with them — N Jersey has expressly refused a constitutional Requisition — Virginia & Maryland have formed a Contract relative to the Potomack — Pennsylvania & NYk have agreed about their boundary — Massachussets has raised an Army, & are now about to augment that Establishment —

Will a federal Govt. answer —

Amphictions — to decide between the members — to mulct offenders — command the forces, sent Embass. chose the Comr. in Chief, and used the Genl. Forces agt. the deficient —

Athenian confed. similar to the Amphictions — their fate terminated by the strength of the members

Helvetic Confed. loose & weak and not like our situation —

Germanic Confedy.

Loose & weak, the strength of individual Members exceed that of the whole —

The Netherlands — weak — no powers —

Wilson

I dont agree that the Genl. Govt. will swallow up the states or yr. Government — I think they must be preserved they must be continued — they may live in harmony with the Genl. Government — our Country is too extensive for a single Govt. no Despot ever did govern a country so extensive — Persia is divided into 20 subordinate Govts. Rome governed by her Proconsuls — Alfred adopted the plan and formed societies of 10, to those of 100ds towns counties, &c —26

Edition: current; Page: [331]

Objections to a general or national Govt.27

This convention does not possess authority to propose any reform which is not purely federal —

2. If they proposed such power it wd be inexpedient to exercise it, because the small States wd. loose their State influence or equality, and because the Genius of the people is of that sort that such a Reform wd. be rejected —

Answer — The States under the confed. are not sovereign States — they can do no act but such as are of a subordinate nature or such as terminate in themselves — and even then in some instances they are restrained — Coinage. P. Office &c they are wholly incompentent to the exercise of any of the Gt. & distinguishing acts of Sovereignty — They can neither make nor receive to or from any other sovereign they have not the powers of injuring another, or of defending themselves from an Injury offered from another — they are deaf, dumb, and impotent — these Faculties are yielded up and the US in C. assd. hold and possess them, and they alone can exercise them — they are so far out of the controul of the separate States, yt. if every State in the Union was to instruct yr. Deleg. and those Delegates within ye powers of the Arts. of Union shd. do an act in violation of their Instructions it wd. nevertheless be validIf they declare a war, any giving aid & comfort to the enemy wd. be Treason; if peace any capture on the high Seas wd. be piracy.

This remark proves yt. the States are now subordinate corporations or Societies and not Sovereigns — these imperfect States are the confederates, and they are the Electors of the Magistrates who exercise the national Sovereignty — The articles of Confedn. are perpetual union, — are partly federal & partly of the nature of a constitution or form of Govt. arising from & applying to the Citizens of the US. & not from the individual States —

The only criterion of determing what is federal and what is national is this, those acts which are for the government of Edition: current; Page: [332] the states only are purely federal, those which are for the Government of the Citizens of the individual States are national & not federal

If then the articles of Confedn. & perpetl. union have this twofold capacity, and if they provide for an alteration in a certain mode, why may not they be so altered as that the federal article may be changed to a national one and the national to a federal? I see no argument that can be objected to the authority — the 5. art. regulates the influence of the several States and makes them equal — does not the confed. authorise this alteration that instead of this Equality, that one State may have double the Influence of another — I conceive it does — and so of every Article except that wh destroys the Idea of a confedy. I think it may be proved that every article may be totally altered provided you have one guarantying to each State the right of regulating its private & internal affairs in the manner of a subordinate corporation —

But admiting that the Arts. of Confed. & Perpet. Union, or the powers of the Legis. did not extend to the proposed Reform; yet the public Expectations, & the public Danger requires it — the System proposed to be adopted is no scheme of a day, calculated to postpone the hour of Danger, & then leave it to fall with double ruin on our successors — It is no crude and undigested plan, the Child of narrow and unextensive views, brought forward und[er] the auspices of Cowardice & Irresolution. it is a measure of Decision, it is the foundation of Freedom & of national Glory — it will draw on itself, and be able to support the severest scrutiny & Examination — It is no idle Experiment, no romantic Speculation — the measure forces itself upon wise men, and if they have not firmness to look it in the face and protect it — Farwel to the Freedom of our Government — our military Glory will be tarnished, and our boasts of Freedom will be the scorn of the Enemies of Liberty28

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HAMILTON

Maddison — Breach of compact in one article releases the whole —

Treaties may still be violated by the states under the Jersey plan —

Appellate jurisdiction not sufficient because second trial cannot be had under it —

Attempt made by one of the greatest monarchs of Europe to equalize the local peculiarities of their separate provinces — in which the Agent fell a victim

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 1787.

JOURNAL
Wednesday June 20. 1787.

The honorable William Blount Esquire a Deputy from the State of North Carolina attended and took his seat.

The following credentials were then produced and read. (here insert Mr Blount’s credentials)1

It was moved by Mr Ellsworth seconded by Mr Gorham to amend the first resolution reported from the Committee of the whole House so as to read as follows — namely,

Resolved that the government of the United States ought to consist of

a Supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive.

On the question to agree to the amendment

it passed unanimously in the affirmative

It was then moved by Mr Lansing, seconded by Mr Sherman to postpone the consideration of the second resolution reported from the Committee, in order to take up the following, namely.

Resolved that the powers of legislation be vested in the United States in Congress.

and on the question to postpone

it passed in the negative. [Ayes — 4; noes — 6; divided — 1.]

It was then moved and seconded to adjourn

which passed in the negative [Ayes — 4; noes — 7.]

On motion of the Deputies of the State of Delaware the determination of the House on the second resolution reported from the Committee was postponed until to-morrow.

and then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’clock A. M.

Edition: current; Page: [335]
DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[68] no aye aye aye no aye dd no no no no to postpone the 2 resolution reported to take up the one offered by Mr Lansing 4 6 1
[69] no no aye aye no aye aye no no no no to adjourn 4 7

MADISON
Wednesday June 20. 〈1787. In Convention〉

〈Mr. William Blount from N. Carolina took his seat.2 1st. propos: of the Report of Come. of the whole before the House〉

Mr. Elseworth 〈2ded. by Mr. Gorham〉2 moves to alter it so as to run “that the Government of the United States ought to consist of a supreme legislative, Executive and Judiciary”. This alteration he said would drop the word national, and retain the proper title “the United States.”3 He could not admit the doctrine that a breach of 〈any of〉4 the federal articles could dissolve the whole. It would be highly dangerous not to consider the Confederation as still subsisting. He wished also the plan of the Convention to go forth as an amendment to the articles of Confederation, since under this idea the authority of the Legislatures could ratify it. If they are unwilling, the people will be so too. If the plan goes forth to the people for ratification several succeeding Conventions within the States would be unavoidable. He did not like these conventions. They were better fitted to pull down than to build up Constitutions.

Edition: current; Page: [336]

Mr. Randolph did not object to the change of expression, but apprised the gentleman who wished for it that he did not admit it for the reasons assigned; particularly that of getting rid of a reference to the people for ratification. The motion of Mr. Elsewth was acquiesed in. nem: con:

The 2d. Resoln. “that the national Legislature ought to consist of two branches”. taken up.5 the word “national” struck out as of course.

Mr. Lansing, observed that the true queston here was, whether the Convention would adhere to or depart from the foundation of the present Confederacy; and moved instead of 〈the 2d〉 Resolution “that the powers of Legislation be vested 〈in the U. States〉 in Congress”. .6 He had already assigned two reasons agst. such an innovation as was proposed. 1. the want of competent powers 〈in the Convention〉 — 2. the 〈state〉7 of the public mind. It had been observed by (Mr. M〈adison〉) in discussing the first point, that in two States the Delegates to Congs. were chosen by the people. Notwithstanding the first appearance of this remark, it had in fact no weight, as the Delegates however chosen, did not represent the people merely as so many individuals; but as forming a sovereign State. (Mr Randolph) put it, he said, on its true footing namely that the public safety superseded the scruple arising from the review of our powers. But in order to feel the force of this consideration, the same impression must be had of the public danger. He had not himself the same impression, and could not therefore dismiss his scruple. (Mr Wilson) contended that as the Convention were only to recommend, they might recommend what they pleased. He differed much from him. any act whatever of so respectable a body must have a great effect, and if it does not succeed, will be a source of great dissentions. He admitted that there was no certain criterion of the public mind on the subject. He therefore recurred to the evidence of it given by the opposition in the States to the scheme of an Impost. It could Edition: current; Page: [337] not be expected that those possessing Sovereignty could ever voluntarily part with it. It was not to be expected from any one State, much less from thirteen. He proceeded to make some observations on the plan itself and the argumts. urged in support of it. The point of Representation could receive no elucidation from the case of England. The corruption of the boroughs did not proceed from their comparative smallness: but from the actual fewness of the inhabitants, some of them not having more than one or two. a great inequality existed in the Counties of England. Yet the like complaint of peculiar corruption in the small ones had not been made. It had been said that Congress represent the State Prejudices: will not any other body whether chosen by the Legislatures or people of the States, also represent their prejudices? It had been asserted by his Colleague (Col. Hamilton)8 that there was no coincidence of interests among the large States that ought to excite fears of oppression in the smaller. If it were true that such a uniformity of interests existed among the States, there was equal safety for all of them, whether the representation remained as heretofore, or were proportioned as now proposed. It is proposed that the genl. Legislature shall have a negative on the laws of the States. It it conceivable that there will be leisure for such a task? there will on the most moderate calculation, be as many Acts sent up from the States as there are days in the year. Will the members of the general Legislature be competent Judges? Will a gentleman from Georgia be a Judge of the expediency of a law which is to operate in N. Hamshire. Such a Negative would be more injurious than that of Great Britain heretofore was. It is said that the National Govt. must have the influence arising from the grant of offices and honors. In order to render 〈such a Government〉 effectual he believed such an influence to be necessary. But if the States will not agree to it, it is in vain, worse than in vain to make the proposition. If this influence is to be attained, the States must be entirely abolished. Will any one Edition: current; Page: [338] say this would ever be agreed to? He doubted whether any Genl Government equally beneficial to all can be attained. That now under consideration he is sure, must be utterly unattainable. He had another objection. The system was too novel & complex. No man could foresee what its operation will be either with respect to the Genl. Govt. or the State Govts. One or other it has been surmised must absorb the whole.

Col. Mason. did not expect this point would have been reagitated. The essential differences between the two plans, had been clearly stated. The principal objections agst. that of Mr. R. were the want of power & the want of practicability. There can be no weight in the first as the fiat is not to be here, but in the people. He thought with his colleague Mr. R. that there were besides certain crisises, in which all the ordinary cautions yielded to public necessity. He gave as an example, the eventual Treaty with G. B. in forming which the Commsrs of the U. S. had boldly disregarded the improvident shackles of Congs. had given to their Country an honorable & happy peace, and instead of being censured for the transgression of their powers, had raised to themselves a monument more durable than brass. The impracticability of gaining the public concurrence he thought was still more groundless. (Mr. Lansing) had cited the attempts of Congress to gain an enlargment of their powers, and had inferred from the miscarrige of these attempts, the hopelessness of the plan which he (Mr. L) opposed. He thought a very different inference ought to have been drawn; viz. that the plan which (Mr. L.) espoused, and which proposed to augument the powers of Congress, never could be expected to succeed. He meant not to throw any reflections on Congs. as a body, much less on any particular members of it. He meant however to speak his sentiments without reserve on this subject; it was a privilege of Age, and perhaps the only compensation which nature had given for, the privation of so many other enjoyments; and he should not scruple to exercise it freely. Is it to be thought that the people of America, so watchful over their interests; so jealous of their liberties, will give up their all, will Edition: current; Page: [339] surrender both the sword and the purse, to the same body, and that too not chosen immediately by themselves? They never will. They never ought. Will they trust such a body, with the regulation of their trade, with the regulation of their taxes; with all the other great powers, which are in contemplation? Will they give unbounded confidence to a secret Journal — to the intrigues — to the factions which in the nature of things appertain to such an Assembly? If any man doubts the existence of these characters of Congress, let him consult their Journals for the years, 78, 79, & 80 — It will be said, that if the people are averse to parting with power, why is it hoped that they will part with it to a National Legislature. The proper answer is that in this case they do not part with power: they only transfer it from one sett of immediate Representatives to another sett. Much has been said of the unsettled state of the mind of the people. he believed the mind of the people of America, as elsewhere, was unsettled as to some points; but settled as to others. In two points he was sure it was well settled. 1. in an attachment to Republican Government. 2. in an attachment to more than one branch in the Legislature. Their constitutions accord so generally in both these circumstances, that they seem almost to have been preconcerted. This must either have been a miracle, or have resulted from the genius of the people. The only exceptions to the establishmt. of two branches in the Legislatures are the State of Pa. & Congs. and the latter the only single one not chosen by the people themselves. What has been the consequence? The people have been constantly averse to giving that Body further powers — It was acknowledged by (Mr. Patterson) that his plan could not be enforced without military coertion. Does he consider the force of this concession. The most jarring elements of nature; fire & water themselves are not more incompatible that such a mixture of civil liberty and military execution. Will the militia march from one State to another, in order to collect the arrears of taxes from the delinquent members of the Republic? Will they maintain an army for this purpose? Will not the citizens of the invaded State assist one another till they rise as one Edition: current; Page: [340] Man, and shake off the Union altogether. Rebellion is the only case in which 〈the military force of the State can be properly〉9 exerted agst. its Citizens. In one point of view he was struck with horror at the prospect of recurring to this expedient. To punish the non-payment of taxes with death, was a severity not yet adopted by depotism itself: yet this unexampled cruelty would be mercy compared to a military collection of revenue, in which the bayonet could make no discrimination between the innocent and the guilty. He took this occasion to repeat. that notwithstanding his solicitude to establish a national Government, he never would agree to abolish the State Govts. or render them absolutely insignificant. They were as necessary as the Genl. Govt. and he would be equally careful to preserve them. He was aware of the difficulty of drawing the line between them, but hoped it was not insurmountable. The Convention, tho’ comprising so many distinguished characters, could not be expected to make a faultless Govt. And he would prefer trusting to posterity the amendment of its defects, rather than push the experiment too far.

Mr. Luther Martin agreed with (Col Mason) as to the importance of the State Govts. he would support them at the expense of the Genl. Govt. which was instituted for the purpose of that support. He saw no necessity for two branches, and if it existed Congress might be organized into two. He considered Congs as representing the people, being chosen by the Legislatures who were chosen by the people. At any rate, Congress represented the Legislatures; and it was the Legislatures not the people who refused to enlarge their powers. Nor could the rule of voting have been the ground of objection, otherwise ten of the States must always have been ready, to place further confidence in Congs. The causes of repugnance must therefore be looked for elsewhere. — At the separation from the British Empire, the people of America preferred the Establishment of themselves into thirteen separate sovereignties instead of incorporating themselves into one: to these Edition: current; Page: [341] they look up for the security of their lives, liberties & properties: to these they must look up — The federal Govt. they formed, to defend the whole agst. foreign nations, in case of war, and to defend the lesser States agst. the ambition of the larger: they are afraid of granting powers unnecessarily, lest they should defeat the original end of the Union; lest the powers should prove dangerous to the sovereignties of the particular States which the Union was meant to support; and expose the lesser to being swallowed up by the larger. He conceived also that the people of the States having already vested their powers in their respective Legislatures, could not resume them without a dissolution of their Governments. He was agst. Conventions in the States: was not agst. assisting States agst. rebellions subjects; thought the federal plan of Mr. Patterson did not require coercion more than the national one, as the latter must depend for the deficiency of its revenues on requisitions & quotas, and that a national Judiciary extended into the States would be ineffectual, and would be viewed with a jealousy inconsistent with its usefulness.10

Mr. Sherman 2ded & supported Mr. Lansing’s motion. He admitted two branches to be necessary in the State Legislatures, but saw no necessity for them in a Confederacy of States. The Examples were all, of a single Council. Congs. carried us thro’ the war, and perhaps as well as any Govt. could have done. The complaints at present are not that the views of Congs. are unwise or unfaithful, but that that their powers are insufficient for the execution of their views. The national debt & the want of power somewhere to draw forth the National resources, are the great matters that press. All the States were sensible of the defect of power in Congs. He thought much might be said in apology for the failure of the State Legislatures to comply with the confederation. They were afraid of bearing too hard on the people, by accumulating taxes; no constitutional rule had been or could be observed in the quotas, — the accounts also were unsettled & Edition: current; Page: [342] every State supposed itself in advance, rather than in arrears. For want of a general system taxes to a due amount had not been drawn from trade which was the most convenient resource. As almost all the States had agreed to the recommendation of Congs. on the subject of an impost, it appeared clearly that they were willing to trust Congs. with 〈power to draw a revenue from Trade.〉11 There is no weight therefore in the argument drawn from a distrust of Congs. for money matters being the most important of all, if the people will trust them with power as to them, they will trust them with any other necessary powers. Congs. indeed by the confederation have in fact the right of saying how much the people shall pay, and to what purpose it shall be applied: and this right was granted to them in the expectation that it would in all cases have its effect. If another branch were to be added to Congs. to be chosen by the people, it would serve to embarrass. The people would not much interest themselves in the elections, a few designing men in the large districts would carry their points, and the people would have no more confidence in their new representatives than in Congs. He saw no reason why the State Legislatures should be unfriendly as had been suggested, to Congs. If they appoint Congs. and approve of their measures, they would be rather favorable and partial to them. The disparity of the States in point of size he perceived was the main difficulty. But the large States had not yet suffered from the equality of votes enjoyed by the small ones. In all great and general points, the interests of all the States were the same. The State of Virga. notwithstanding the equality of votes, ratified the Confederation without, or even proposing, any alteration. Massts. also ratified without any material difficulty &c. In none of the ratifications is the want of two branches noticed or complained of. To consolidate the States as some had proposed would dissolve our Treaties with foreign nations, which had been formed with us, as Confederated States. He did not however suppose that the creation of two branches in the Legislature would have such Edition: current; Page: [343] an effect. If the difficulty on the subject of representation can not be otherwise got over, he would agree to have two branches, and a proportional representation in one of them, provided each State had an equal voice in the other. This was necessary to secure the rights of the lesser States; otherwise three or four of the large States would rule the others as they please. Each State like each individual had its peculiar habits usages and manners, which constituted its happiness.12 It would not therefore give to others a power over this happiness, any more than an individual would do, when he could avoid it.

Mr. Wilson, urged the necessity of two branches; observed that if a proper model was not to be found in other Confederacies it was not to be wondered at. The number of them was 〈small〉 & the duration of some at least short. The Amphyctionic & Achæan were formed in the infancy of political Science; and appear by their History & fate, to have contained radical defects, The Swiss & Belgic Confederacies were held together not by any vital principle of energy but by the incumbent pressure of formidable neighbouring nations: The German owed its continuance to the influence of the H. of Austria. He appealed to our own experience for the defects of our Confederacy. He had been 6 years in the 12 since the commencement of the Revolution, a member of Congress and had felt all its weaknesses. He appealed to the recollection of others whether on many important occasions, the public interest had not been obstructed by the small members of the Union. The success of the Revolution was owing to other causes, than the Constitution of Congress. In many instances it went on even agst. the difficulties arising from Congs. themselves — He admitted that the large States did accede as had been stated, to the Confederation in its present form. But it was the effect of necessity not of choice. There are other instances of their yielding from the same motive to the unreasonable measures of the small States. The situation of things is now a little altered. He insisted that a jealousy Edition: current; Page: [344] would exist between the State Legislatures & the General Legislature: observing that the members of the former would have views & feelings very distinct in this respect from their constituents. A private citizen of a State is indifferent whether power be exercised by the Genl. or State Legislatures, provided it be exercised most for his happiness. His representative has an interest in its being exercised by the body to which he belongs. He will therefore view the National Legisl: with the eye of a jealous rival. He observed that the addresses of Congs. to the people at large, had always been better received & produced greater effect, than those made to the Legislatures.

On the question for postponing in order to take up Mr. Lansings proposition “to vest the powers of Legislation in Congs.”

Masst. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay.13 N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay Md. divd. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no [Ayes — 4; noes — 6; divided — 1.]

On motion of the Deputies from Delaware, the question on the 2d. Resolution in the Report from the Committee of the whole was postponed till tomorrow.

adjd.

YATES
Wednesday, June 20th, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Judge Elsworth. I propose, and therefore move, to expunge the word national, in the first resolve, and to place in the room of it, government of the United States — which was agreed to, nem. con.

Mr. Lansing then moved, that the first resolve be postponed, in order to take into consideration the following: That the powers of legislation ought to be vested in the United States in congress.

Edition: current; Page: [345]

I am clearly of opinion that I am not authorized to accede to a system which will annihilate the state governments, and the Virginia plan is declarative of such extinction. It has been asserted that the public mind is not known. To some points it may be true, but we may collect from the fate of the requisition of the impost, what it may be on the principles of a national government. — When many of the states were so tenacious of their rights on this point, can we expect that thirteen states will surrender their governments up to a national plan? Rhode-Island pointedly refused granting it. Certainly she had a federal right so to do; and I hold it as an undoubted truth, as long as state distinctions remain, let the national government be modified as you please, both branches of your legislature will be impressed with local and state attachments. The Virginia plan proposes a negative on the state laws where, in the opinion of the national legislature, they contravene the national government: and no state laws can pass unless approved by them. — They will have more than a law in a day to revise; and are they competent to judge of the wants and necessities of remote states?

This national government will, from their power, have great influence in the state governments; and the existence of the latter are only saved in appearance. And has it not been asserted that they expect their extinction? If this be the object, let us say so, and extinguish them at once. But remember, if we devise a system of government which will not meet the approbation of our constituents, we are dissolving the union — but if we act within the limits of our power, it will be approved of; and should it upon experiment prove defective, the people will entrust a future convention again to amend it. Fond as many are of a general government, do any of you believe it can pervade the whole continent so effectually as to secure the peace, harmony and happiness of the whole? The excellence of the British model of government has been much insisted on; but we are endeavoring to complicate it with state governments, on principles which will gradually destroy the one or the other. You are sowing the seeds of rivalship, which must at last end in ruin.

Edition: current; Page: [346]

Mr. Mason. The material difference between the two plans has already been clearly pointed out. The objection to that of Virginia arises from the want of power to institute it, and the want of practicability to carry it into effect. Will the first objection apply to a power merely recommendatory? In certain seasons of public danger it is commendable to exceed power. The treaty of peace, under which we now enjoy the blessings of freedom, was made by persons who exceeded their powers. It met the approbation of the public, and thus deserved the praises of those who sent them. The impracticability of the plan is still less groundless. These measures are supported by one who, at his time of life, has little to hope or expect from any government. Let me ask, will the people entrust their dearest rights and liberties to the determination of one body of men, and those not chosen by them, and who are invested both with the sword and purse? They never will — they never can — to a conclave, transacting their business secret from the eye of the public. Do we not discover by their public journals of the years 1778-9, and 1780, that factions and party spirit had guided many of their acts? The people of America, like all other people, are unsettled in their minds, and their principles fixed to no object, except that a republican government is the best, and that the legislature ought to consist of two branches. The constitutions of the respective states, made and approved of by them, evince this principle. Congress, however, from other causes, received a different organization. What, would you use military force to compel the observance of a social compact? It is destructive to the rights of the people. Do you expect the militia will do it, or do you mean a standing army? The first will never, on such an occasion, exert any power; and the latter may turn its arms against the government which employs them. I never will consent to destroy state governments, and will ever be as careful to preserve the one as the other. If we should, in the formation of the latter, have omitted some necessary regulation, I will trust my posterity to amend it. That the one government will be productive of disputes and jealousies against the other, I believe; but it will produce Edition: current; Page: [347] mutual safety. I shall close with observing, that though some gentlemen have expressed much warmth on this and former occasions, I can excuse it, as the result of sudden passion; and hope that although we may differ in some particular points, if we mean the good of the whole, that our good sense upon reflection, will prevent us from spreading our discontent further.

Mr. Martin. I know that government must be supported; and if the one was incompatible with the other, I would support the state government at the expense of the union — for I consider the present system as a system of slavery. Impressed with this idea, I made use, on a former occasion, of expressions perhaps rather harsh. If gentlemen conceive that the legislative branch is dangerous, divide them into two. They are as much the representatives of the states, as the state assemblies are the representatives of the people. Are not the powers which we here exercise given by the legislatures? (After giving a detail of the revolution and of state governments, Mr. M. continued.) I confess when the confederation was made, congress ought to have been invested with more extensive powers; but when the states saw that congress indirectly aimed at sovereignty, they were jealous, and therefore refused any farther concessions. The time is now come that we can constitutionally grant them not only new powers, but to modify their government, so that the state governments are not endangered. But whatever we have now in our power to grant, the grant is a state grant, and therefore it must be so organized that the state governments are interested in supporting the union. Thus systematized, there can be no danger if a small force is maintained.

Mr. Sherman. We have found during the war that though congress consisted of but one branch, it was that body which carried us through the whole war, and we were crowned with success. We closed the war, performing all the functions of a good government, by making a beneficial peace. But the great difficulty now is, how we shall pay the public debt incurred during that war. The unwillingness of the states to comply with the requisitions of congress, has embarrassed us greatly. — But to amend these defects in government I am Edition: current; Page: [348] not fond of speculation. I would rather proceed on experimental ground. We can so modify the powers of congress, that we will all be mutual supporters of one another. The disparity of the states can be no difficulty. We know this by experience — Virginia and Massachusetts were the first who unanimously ratified the old confederation. They then had no claim to more votes in congress than one. Foreign states have made treaties with us as confederated states, not as a national government. Suppose we put an end to that government under which those treaties were made, will not these treaties be void?

Mr. Wilson. The question before us may admit of the three following considerations:

1. Whether the legislature shall consist of one or two branches.

2. Whether they are to be elected by the state governments or by the people.

3. Whether in proportfon to state importance, or states individually.

Confederations are usually of a short date. The amphyctionic council was instituted in the infancy of the Grecian republics — as those grew in strength, the council lost its weight and power. The Achæan league met the same fate — Switzerland and Holland are supported in their confederation, not by its intrinsic merit, but the incumbent pressure of surrounding bodies. Germany is kept together by the house of Austria. True, congress carried us through the war even against its own weakness. That powers were wanting, you Mr. President, must have felt. To other causes, not to congress, must the success be ascribed. That the great states acceded to the confederation, and that they in the hour of danger, made a sacrifice of their interest to the lesser states is true. Like the wisdom of Solomon in adjudging the child to its true mother, from tenderness to it, the greater states well knew that the loss of a limb was fatal to the confederation — they too, through tenderness sacrificed their dearest rights to preserve the whole. But the time is come, when justice will be done to their claims — Situations are altered.

Congress have frequently made their appeal to the people. Edition: current; Page: [349] I wish they had always done it — the national government would have been sooner extricated.

Question then put on Mr. Lansing’s motion and lost. — 6 states against 4 — one divided. New-York in the minority.

Adjourned till to-morrow morning.

KING
19 [20] June

Mason

The powers are ample; if they were not we shd. imitate the commissrs of the US who formed the Treaty of peace, who proceeded without power —

The System proposed is not impracticable — the public Mind is not agt. it — the reason why the Impost was opposed was because congress was a single Br. with Extive. Jud. & Legislative authority — they ought not to be trusted. the people ought not to rest satisfied with the secret Journals of a Conclave —

The people are unanimous in these points — 1st Republicanism —

— 2d Two Br. of the Legislature

The two Brs. being so unanimously adopted must have been the Effect of miracle or a proof of a fixed character or opinion among America —

The Genl. from N. Jersey proposed a military force to carry Requisitions into Execution — This never can be accomplished — you can no more execute civil Regulations by Military Force than you can unite opposite Elements, than you can mingle Fire with Water — military coercion wd. punish the innocent with the Guilty — therefore unjust —

But I never will consent to the Abolition of the State Govts. there never can be a Genl. Govt. that will perform their Offices — I will go a proper length in favor of the Genl. Government but I will take equal care of the State Govts — we cannot form a perfect System — there will be faults — we can trust our successors with farther amendments —

Martin. Maryld. I think the Confederation was formed for Edition: current; Page: [350] the protection & safety of the particular States & not for those of the US. I will not support the Genl. Govt. at the Expense of the particular States, but I will contend for the safety & happiness of the particular States at the Expense of the US —

One Br. or two BrSherman one is sufficient for confederated States — No precedent can be given of two Br. in the Govt. of confederated States — I am for an increase of the powers of Congress, & wish to preserve the State Governments, and am agt. a consolidation or Union — I think our Treaties wd. be void if we change the nature of our Confederacy — they are all formed with the US of NH. M. &c —

Wilson The question is whether the Legislat. shall consist of one or two Brs —

1 whether the Legis. of a single body

2 Whether it shall be elected by States or individuals —

3 & whether the states shall stand equal or the representation be proportionate to the Importance of the States —

The antient confedes. were formed in the infancy of politicks — they soon fell victims to the inefficacy of yr. organization — because they had but one Br. there is no reason to adopt their Example —

The Dutch & Swiss confederacys are presirved by external balances — the Germanic Confed: is preserved by the power & Dominion of the House of Austria — our equality of votes was an occasional Compact — the Great States conducted like the true mother in the controversy of the Harlots, they like her in the claim of her child gave their sovereignty to the small States rather than it shd. be destroyed by the British King —

HAMILTON

Mr. Lansing — Resolved that the powers of legislation ought to be vested in the United States in Congress —
— If our plan be not adopted it will produce those mischiefs which we are sent to obviate —
Principles of System —
— Equality of Representation —
Dependence of members of Congress on States —
So long as state distinctions exist state prejudices will operate whether election be by states or people
— If no interest to oppress no need of apportionment
— Virginia 16 — Delaware 1 —
— Will General Government have liesure to examine state laws —?
— Will G Government have the necessary information?
— Will states agree to surrender?
— Let us meet public opinion & hope the progress of sentiment will make future arrangements —
— Would like my system if it could be established —
System without example —
Mr. Mason — Objection to granting power to Congress arose from their constitution.
Sword and purse in one body —
Two principles in which America are unanimous
1 attachment to Republican government
2 — to two branches of legislature—
— Military force & liberty incompatible —
— Will people maintain a standing army?
— Will endeavour to preserve state governments & draw lines — trusting to posterity to amend —
———
Mr Martin — General Government originally formed for the preservation of state governments —
Objection to giving power to Congress has originated with the legislatures — — —
10 of the states interested in an equal voice —
Real motive was an opinion that there ought to be distinct governments & not a general government —
If we should form a general government twould break to pieces — — —
— For common safety instituted a General government —
Jealousy of power the motive —
People have delegated all their authority to state government —
Coertion necessary to both systems —
Requisitions necessary upon one system as upon another —
In their system made requisitions necessary in the first instance but left Congress in the second instance — to assess themselves —
Judicial tribunals in the different states would become odious — — —
If we always to make a change shall be always in a state of infancy —
———
States will not be disposed hereafter to strengthen the general government.
———
Mr. Sherman — Confederacy carried us through the war —
Non compliances of States owing to various embarrassment
Why should state legislatures be unfriendly?
State governments will always have the confidence & government of the people: if they cannot be conciliated no efficacious government can be established.
Sense of all states that one branch is sufficient.
If consolidated all treaties will be void.
State governments more fit for local legislation customs habits etc
Edition: current; Page: [353]

THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 1787.

JOURNAL
June 21. 1787.

The honorable Jonathan Dayton Esquire, a Deputy of the State of New Jersey, attended and took his seat

The following credentials were produced and read.

(here insert Mr Dayton’s credentials).1

It was moved and seconded to agree to the second resolution reported from the Committee, namely,

Resolved that the Legislature consist of

Two Branches.

which passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]

It was moved and seconded to amend the first clause of the 3rd resolution reported from the Committee so as to read

Resolved that the Members of the first branch of the Legislature ought to be appointed in such manner as the Legislature of each State shall direct

On the question to agree to the amendment

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 4; noes — 6; divided — 1.]

It was then moved and seconded to agree to the first clause of the third resolution as reported from the Committee, namely,

Resolved that the Members of the first branch of the Legislature ought to be elected by the People of the several States.2 which passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 9; noes — 1; divided — 1.]

Edition: current; Page: [354]

It was moved and seconded to erase the word

“three” from the second clause of the third resolution, reported from the Committee

which passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]

It was moved and seconded to insert the word

“Two” in the second clause of the third resolution reported from the Committee.

which passed unanimously in the affirmative

and then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’Clock. A. M.

DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[70] aye aye no no aye no dd aye aye aye aye That the Legislature consist of Two Branches. 7 3 1
[71] no aye no aye no aye dd no no aye no To agree to Genl Pinckney’s amendmt that the first branch be elected as the State Legislatures shall direct 4 6 1
[72] aye aye aye no aye aye dd aye aye aye aye That the first branch of the Legislature be elected by the People of the several States 9 1 1
[73] aye aye no dd aye no no aye aye aye aye To strike out the word three in the 2nd clause of the 4 resolution 7 3 1

MADISON
Thursday June 21.* in Convention

Mr. Jonathan Dayton from N. Jersey took his seat.

Doctr. Johnson. On a comparison of the two plans which Edition: current; Page: [355] had been proposed from Virginia & N. Jersey, it appeared that the peculiarity which characterized the latter was its being calculated to preserve the individuality of the States. The plan from Va. did not profess to destroy this individuality altogether, but was charged with such a tendency. One Gentleman alone (Col. Hamilton) in his animadversions on the plan of N. Jersey, boldly and decisively contended for an abolition of the State Govts. Mr. Wilson & the gentleman from Virga. who also were adversaries of the plan of N. Jersey held a different language. They wished to leave the States in possession of a considerable, tho’ a subordinate jurisdiction. They had not yet however shewn how this cd. consist with, or be secured agst. the general sovereignty & jurisdiction, which they proposed to give to the national Government. If this could be shewn in such a manner as to satisfy the patrons of the N. Jersey propositions, that the individuality of the States would not be endangered, many of their objections would no doubt be removed. If this could not be shewn their objections would have their full force. He wished it therefore to be well considered whether in case the States, as was proposed, shd. retain some portion of sovereignty at least, this portion could be preserved, without allowing them to participate effectually in the Genl. Govt., without giving them each a distinct and equal vote for the purpose of defending themselves in the general Councils.

Mr. Wilson’s respect for Dr. Johnson, added to the importance of the subject led him to attempt, unprepared as he was, to solve the difficulty which had been started. It was asked how the genl. Govt. and individuality of the particular States could be reconciled to each other; and how the latter could be secured agst. the former? Might it not, on the other side be asked how the former was to be secured agst. the latter? It was generally admitted that a jealousy & rivalship would be felt between the Genl. & particular Govts. As the plan now stood, tho’ indeed contrary to his opinion, one branch of the Genl. — Govt. (the Senate or second branch) was to be appointed by the State Legislatures. The State Legislatures, therefore, by this participation in the Genl. Govt. would have Edition: current; Page: [356] an opportunity of defending their rights. Ought not a reciprocal opportunity to be given to the Genl. Govt. of defending itself by having an appointment of some one constituent branch of the State Govts. If a security be necessary on one side, it wd. seem reasonable to demand it on the other. But taking the matter in a more general view, he saw no danger to the States from the Genl. Govt. In case a combination should be made by the large ones it wd produce a general alarm among the rest; and the project wd. be frustrated. But there was no temptation to such a project. The States having in general a similar interest, in case of any proposition in the National Legislature to encroach on the State Legislatures, he conceived a general alarm wd. take place in the National Legislature itself, that it would communicate itself to the State Legislatures, and wd. finally spread among the people at large. The Genl. Govt. will be as ready to preserve the rights of the States as the latter are to preserve the rights of individuals; all the members of the former, having a common interest, as representatives of all the people of the latter, to leave the State Govts. in possession of what the people wish them to retain. He could not discover, therefore any danger whatever on the side from which it had been apprehended. On the contrary, he conceived that in spite of every precaution the General Govt. would be in perpetual danger of encroachments from the State Govts.4

〈Mr. Madison〉 was of opinion that there was 1. less danger of encroachment from the Genl. Govt. than from the State Govts. 2. that the mischief from encroachments would be less fatal if made by the former, than if made by the latter. 1. All the examples of other confederacies prove the greater tendency in such systems to anarchy than to tyranny; to a disobedience of the members than to usurpations of the federal head. Our own experience had fully illustrated this tendency. — But it will be said that the proposed change in the principles & form of the Union will vary the tendency, that the Genl. Govt. will have real & greater powers, and will be Edition: current; Page: [357] derived in one branch at least from the people not from the Govts. of the States. To give full force to this objection, let it be supposed for a moment that indefinite power should be given to the Gen’l Legislature, and the States reduced to corporations dependent on the Genl. Legislature; why shd. it follow that the Gen’l Govt. wd. take from the States 〈any〉5 branch of their power as far as its operation was beneficial, and its continuance desirable to the people? In some of the States, particularly in Connecticut, all the Townships are incorporated, and have a certain limited jurisdiction. Have the Representatives of the people of the Townships in the Legislature of the State ever endeavored to despoil the Townships of any part of their local authority? As far as this local authority is convenient to the people they are attached to it; and their representatives chosen by & amenable to them 〈naturally〉 respect their attachment to this, as much as their attachment to any other right or interest: The relation of a Genl. Govt. to State Govts. is parallel. 2. Guards were more necessary agst. encroachments of the State Govts. — on the Genl. Govt. than of the latter on the former. The great objection made agst. an abolition of the State Govts. was that the Genl. Govt. could not extend its care to all the minute objects which fall under the cognizance of the local jurisdictions. The objection as stated lay not agst. the probable abuse of the general power, but agst. the imperfect use that could be made of it throughout so great an extent of country, and over so great a variety of objects. As far as its operation would be practicable it could not in this view be improper; as far as it would be impracticable, the conveniency of the Genl. Govt. itself would concur with that of the people in the maintenance of subordinate Governments. Were it practicable for the Genl. Govt. to extend its care to every requisite object without the cooperation of the State Govts. the people would not be less free as members of one great Republic than as members of thirteen small ones. A citizen of Delaware was not more free than a citizen of Virginia: nor would either Edition: current; Page: [358] be more free than a citizen of America. Supposing therefore a tendency in the Genl. Government to absorb the State Govts. no fatal consequence could result. Taking the reverse of the supposition, that a tendency should be left in the State Govts. towards an independence on the General Govt. and the gloomy consequences need not be pointed out. The imagination of them, must have suggested to the States the experiment we are now making to prevent the calamity, and must have formed the chief motive with those present to undertake the arduous task.

On the question6 for resolving “that the Legislature ought to consist of two Branches”

Mass ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. 〈N. Jersey no〉7 Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. divd.8 Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]

The third resolution9 of the Report taken into consideration.

Genl. Pinkney moved “that the 1st. branch, instead of being elected by the people, shd. be elected in such manner as the Legislature of each State should direct.” He urged 1. that this liberty would give more satisfaction, as the Legislature could then accomodate the mode to the conveniency & opinions of the people. 2. that it would avoid the undue influence of large Counties which would prevail if the elections were to be made in districts as must be the mode intended by the Report of the Committee. 3. that otherwise disputed elections must be referred to the General Legislature which would be attended with intolerable expence and trouble to the distant parts of the republic.

Mr. L. Martin seconded the Motion.10

Col. Hamilton considered the motion as intended manifestly to transfer the election from the people to the State Legislatures, which would essentially vitiate the plan. It would increase that State influence which could not be too Edition: current; Page: [359] watchfully guarded agst. All too must admit the possibility, in case the Genl. Govt. shd. maintain itself, that the State Govts. might gradually dwindle into nothing. The system therefore shd. not be engrafted on what might possibly fail.

Mr. Mason urged the necessity of retaining the election by the people. Whatever inconveniency may attend the democratic principle, it must actuate one part of the Govt. It is the only security for the rights of the people.

Mr. Sherman, would like an election by the Legislatures, best, but is content with plan as it stands.

Mr. Rutlidge could not admit the solidity of the distinction between a mediate & immediate election by the people. It was the same thing to act by oneself, and to act by another. An election by the Legislature would be more refined than an election immediately by the people: and would be more likely to correspond with the sense of the whole community. If this Convention had been chosen by the people in districts it is not to be supposed that such proper characters would have been preferred. The Delegates to Congs. he thought had also been fitter men than would have been appointed by the people at large.

Mr. Wilson considered the election of the 1st. branch by the people not only as the corner Stone, but as the foundation of the fabric: and that the difference between a mediate and immediate election was immense. The difference was particularly worthy of notice in this respect: that the Legislatures are actuated not merely by the sentiment of the people, but have an official sentiment opposed to that of the Genl: Govt. and perhaps to that of the people themselves.

Mr. King enlarged on the same distinction. He supposed the Legislatures wd. constantly choose men subservient to their own views as contrasted to the general interest; and that they might even devise modes of election that wd. be subversive of the end in view. He remarked several instances in which the views of a State might be at variance with those of the Gen’l. Govt. and mentioned particularly a competition between the National & State debts, for the most certain & productive funds.

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Genl. Pinkney was for making the State Govts. a part of the General System. If they were to be abolished, or lose their agency, S. Carolina & other States would have but a small share of the benefits of Govt.

On the question for Genl. Pinkney motion to substitute election of 1st branch in such mode as the Legislatures should appoint, in stead of its being elected by the people

Masst. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. divd. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay Geo. no. [Ayes — 4; noes — 6; divided — 1.]

Genl. Pinkney then moved that the 1st. branch be elected by the people in such mode as the Legislatures should direct; but waved it on its being hinted that such a provision might be more properly tried in the detail of the plan.

On the question for ye election of the 1st branch by the people

Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay Geo. ay. [Ayes — 9; noes — 1; divided — 1.]

Election of the 1st. branch “for the term of three years,” considered11

Mr. Randolph moved to strike out, “three years” and insert “two years” — he was sensible that annual elections were a source of great mischiefs in the States, yet it was the want of such checks agst. the popular intemperance as were now proposed, that rendered them so mischievous. He would have preferred annual to biennial, but for the extent of the U. S. and the inconveniency which would result from them to the representatives of the extreme parts of the Empire. The people were attached to frequency of elections. All the Constitutions of the States except that of S. Carolina, had established annual elections.

Mr. Dickenson. The idea of annual elections was borrowed from the antient usage of England, a country much less extensive than ours. He supposed biennial would be inconvenient. He preferred triennial: and in order to prevent the inconveniency Edition: current; Page: [361] of an entire change of the whole number at the same moment, suggested a rotation, by an annual election of one third.

Mr. Elseworth was opposed to three years. supposing that even one year was preferable to two years. The people were fond of frequent elections and might be safely indulged in one branch of the Legislature. He moved for 1 year.

Mr. Strong seconded & supported the motion.

Mr. Wilson being for making the 1st. branch an effectual representation of the people at large, preferred an annual election of it. This frequency was most familiar & pleasing to the people. It would be not more inconvenient to them, than triennial elections, as the people in all the States have annual meetings with which the election of the National representatives might be made to coin —cide. He did not conceive that it would be necessary for the Natl. Legisl: to sit constantly; perhaps not half — perhaps not one fourth of the year.

Mr. M〈adison〉 was persuaded that annual elections would be extremely inconvenient and apprehensive that biennial would be too much so: he did not mean inconvenient to the electors; but to the representatives. They would have to travel seven or eight hundred miles from the distant parts of the Union; and would probably not be allowed even a reimbursement of their expences. Besides, none of those who wished to be re-elected would remain at the seat of Governmt. confiding that their absence would not affect them. The members of Congs. had done this with few instances of disappointment. But as the choice was here to be made by the people themselves who would be much less complaisant to individuals, and much more susceptible of impressions from the presence of a Rival candidate than the Legislatures had been, it must be supposed that the members from the most distant States would travel backwards & forwards at least as often as the elections should be repeated. Much was to be said also on the time requisite for new members who would always form a large proportion, to acquire that knowledge of the affairs of the States in general without which their trust could not be usefully discharged.

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Mr. Sherman preferred annual elections, but would be content with biennial. He thought the representatives ought to return home and mix with the people. By remaining at the seat of Govt. they would acquire the habits of the place which might differ from those of their Constituents.

Col. Mason observed that the States being differently situated such a rule ought to be formed as would put them as nearly as possible on a level. If elections were annual the middle States would have a great advantage over the extreme ones. He wished them to be biennial; and the rather as in that case they would coincide with the periodical elections of S. Carolina as well as of the other States.

Coll. Hamilton urged the necessity of 3 years. there ought to be neither too much nor too little dependence, on the popular sentiments. The checks in the other branches of Governt. would be but feeble, and would need every auxiliary principle that could be interwoven. The British House of Commons were elected septennially, yet the democratic spirit of ye Constitution had not ceased. Frequency of elections tended to make the people listless to them; and to facilitate the success of little cabals. This evil was complained of in all the States. In Virga. it had been lately found necessary to force the attendance & voting of the people by severe regulations.

On the question for striking out “three years”

Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N J. divd. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.]

The motion for “two years.” was then inserted nem. con.

Adjd.12

YATES
Thursday, June 21st, 1787.

Met pursuant to adjournment. Present 11 states.

Dr Johnson — It appears to me that the Jersey plan has for its principal object, the preservation of the state governments. Edition: current; Page: [363] So far it is a departure from the plan of Virginia, which although it concentres in a distinct national government, it is not totally independent of that of the states. A gentleman from New-York, with boldness and decision, proposed a system totally different from both; and though he has been praised by every body, he has been supported by none. How can the state governments be secured on the Virginia plan? I could have wished, that the supporters of the Jersey system could have satisfied themselves with the principles of the Virginia plan and that the individuality of the states could be supported. It is agreed on all hands that a portion of government is to be left to the states. How can this be done? It can be done by joining the states in their legislative capacity with the right of appointing the second branch of the national legislature, to represent the states individually.

Mr. Wilson. If security is necessary to preserve the one, it is equally so to preserve the other. How can the national government be secured against the states? Some regulation is necessary. Suppose the national government had a component number in the state legislature? But where the one government clashed with the other, the state government ought to yield, as the preservation of the general interest must be preferred to a particular. But let us try to designate the powers of each, and then no danger can be apprehended nor can the general government be possessed of any ambitious views to encroach on the state rights.

Mr. Madison. I could have wished that the gentleman from Connecticut had more accurately marked his objections to the Virginia plan. I apprehended the greatest danger is from the encroachment of the states on the national government — This apprehension is justly founded on the experience of ancient confederacies, and our own is a proof of it.13

The right of negativing in certain instances the state laws, affords one security to the national government. But is the danger well founded? Have any state governments ever encroached on the corporate rights of cities? And if Edition: current; Page: [364] it was the case that the national government usurped the state government, if such usurpation was for the good of the whole, no mischief could arise. — To draw the line between the two, is a difficult task. I believe it cannot be done, and therefore I am inclined for a general government.

If we cannot form a general government, and the states become totally independent of each other, it would afford a melancholy prospect.

The 2d resolve was then put and carried — 7 states for — 3 against — one divided. New-York in the minority.

The 3d resolve was then taken into consideration by the convention.

Mr. Pinkney. I move that the members of the first branch be appointed in such manner as the several state legislatures shall direct, instead of the mode reported. If this motion is not agreed to, the other will operate with great difficulty, if not injustice — If you make district elections and join, as I presume you must, many counties in one district, the largest county will carry the election as its united influence will give a decided majority in its favor.

Mr. Madison. I oppose the motion — there are difficulties, but they may be obviated in the details connected with the subject.

Mr. Hamilton. It is essential to the democratic rights of the community, that this branch be directly elected by the people. Let us look forward to probable events — There may be a time when state legislatures may cease, and such an event ought not to embarrass the national government.

Mr. Mason. I am for preserving inviolably the democratic branch of the government — True, we have found inconveniencies from pure democracies; but if we mean to preserve peace and real freedom, they must necessarily become a component part of a national government. Change this necessary principle, and if the government proceeds to taxation, the states will oppose your powers.

Mr. Sherman thought that an amendment to the proposed amendment is necessary.

Gov. Rutledge. It is said that an election by representatives Edition: current; Page: [365] is not an election by the people. This proposition is not correct. What is done by my order is done by myself. I am convinced that the mode of election by legislatures will be more refined, and better men will be sent.

Mr. Wilson. The legislature of the states by the proposed motion will have an uncontrolable sway over the general government. Election is the exercise of original sovereignty in the people — but if by representatives, it is only relative sovereignty.

Mr. King. The magistrates of the states will ever pursue schemes of their own, and this, on the proposed motion, will pervade the national government — and we know the state governments will be ever hostile to the general government.

Mr. Pinkney. All the reasoning of the gentlemen opposed to my motion has not convinced me of its impropriety. There is an esprit de corps which has made heretofore every unfederal member of congress, after his election, become strictly federal, and this I presume will ever be the case in whatever manner they may be elected.

Question put on Mr. Pinkney’s motion and carried by 6 states against 4 — one divided.

Question then put on the resolve — 9 states for — 1 against — one divided.

Gov. Randolph. I move that in the resolve for the duration of the first branch of the general legislature, the word three be expunged, and the words two years be inserted.

Mr. Dickinson. I am against the amendment. I propose that the word three shall remain, but that they shall be removable annually in classes.

Mr. Sherman. I am for one year. Our people are accustomed to annual elections. Should the members have a longer duration of service, and remain at the seat of government, they may forget their constitutents, and perhaps imbibe the interest of the state in which they reside, or there may be danger of catching the esprit de corps.

Mr. Mason. I am for two years. One year is too short. — In extensive states four months may elapse before the returns can be known, Hence the danger of their remaining too long unrepresented.

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Mr. Hamilton. There is a medium in every thing. I confess three years is not too long — A representative ought to have full freedom of deliberation, and ought to exert an opinion of his own. I am convinced that the public mind will adopt a solid plan — The government of New-York, although higher toned than that of any other state, still we find great listlessness and indifference in the electors; nor do they in general bring forward the first characters to the legislature. The public mind is perhaps not now ready to receive the best plan of government, but certain circumstances are now progressing which will give a different complexion to it.

Two years duration agreed to.

Adjourned till to-morrow morning.

KING
20 [21] June

Johnson — The Gentleman from NYk is praised by every gentleman, but supported by no gentleman — He goes directly to ye abolition of the State Governts. and the erection of a Genl. Govt. — All other Gentlemen agree that the national or Genl. Govt. shd. be more powerful — & the State Govts. less so. Provision is made in the Virgina Project to secure the Genl. Govt: but no provision is made for the security of the State Government — The plan from N Jersey provides for the security of the State & Genl. Govt. — If the advocates for the Genl. Govt. agreeably to the Virgin. Plan can show that the State Govts. will be secure from the Genl. Govt. we may all agree —

Wilson — We have provided that the States or yr. Legislatures shall appt. a Brh. of the national Govt. let the Natl. Govt. have a reciprocal power to elect or appoint one Br. of each State Govt — I dont see how the State Govts will be endangered — what power will the states possess, which the Genl. Govt. will wish to possess? their powers if added wd. not be of any considerable consequence — the attempt, however Edition: current; Page: [367] to acquire these powers wd. alarm the Citizens, who gave them to the States individually, and never intended them for the Genl. Govt. — The people wd. not suffer it —

Madison — The history of antient Confedys. proves that there never has existed a danger of the destruction of the State Govts. by encroachments of the Genl. Govts the converse of the proposition is true — I have therefore been assiduous to guard the Genl. from the power of the State Governments — the State Govts. regulate the conduct of their Citizens, they punish offenders — they cause Justice to be administered and do those arts wh endear the Govt. to its Citizens. The Citizens will not therefore suffer the Genl. Govt. to injure the State Govts —

The Convention agreed yt the Legislature shd. consist of two Brs —

The Delegates of So. Car. moved yt. the Election of the Members of the House shd. be agreeable to such mode as the several Legislatures shd. judge proper —

Wilson & Madison

Agt. the Election by the Legislatures and in favor of one by the People — the Election by the States will introduce a State Influence, their interest will oppose yt of the Genl. Govt: the Legislators will be not only Electors of the members of the House, — but they will manage the affairs of the States — The mode of Election may be essential to the Election, this may be different in the several States — if the Legislatures appt. they will instruct, and thereby embarrass the Delegate — not so if the Election is by the people — there will be no difficulty in yr. Election. the Returns may be made to the Legislatures of the several States — They may judge of contested Elections — On the Quest. 4 ay 1 divd. 6 no —

Question whether the Members of the House shd. hold yr. Office three or two years —

Dickerson — annual Elections are favorite ideas in America — Edition: current; Page: [368] it suits Eng. they are a small Country — Annual or biennial or triennial are too short for America — I wd. agree on classing the house — let the Election be for 3 yrs and ⅓ go out & come in annually —

Elsworth & Strong — The fixed habit throughout our country except So. Carolina is in favor of annual Elections —

Wilson — Agrees in annual Elections —

Mason — I dont see but that an annual Election will give an advantage to some States over the others — in Virginia & Georgia from the sparse and remote situation of the Inhabitants, we cd. not ascertain the persons elected under three years — The States wh are most compact will be first on the Floor and those of the extensive States will be absent — Remark let the election be previous three or 6 months to the time of meeting —

Hamilton — I prefer three years to a longer or shorter duration — three soon becomes two & two one — The Dependence is sufficient, & the independence is as little as it ought to be —14

HAMILTON15

Mr. Pinckney is of opinion that the first branch ought to be appointed in such manner as the legislatures shall direct

Impracticable for general legislature to decide contested elections —

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FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 1787.

JOURNAL
Friday June 22.

[To strike out the 3 clause in ye 3 resolution — to substitute “their stipends to be ascertained by the Legislature to be paid out of the pub: treasury Ayes — 2; noes — 7; divided — 2.]1

It was moved and seconded to strike the following words out of the 4th clause in the 3rd resolution reported from the Committee namely

“To be paid out of the public treasury”2

On the question to strike out the words

it passed in the negative [Ayes — 4; noes — 5; divided — 2]

It was moved and seconded to strike the following words out of the 3rd resolution reported from the committee, namely

“to receive fixed stipends by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service” and to substitute the following clause, namely

“to receive an adequate compensation for their services”

On the question to agree to the amendment

it passed in the affirmative [Ayes — 11; noes — 0.]

It was then moved and seconded to take the vote of the House on the whole proposition namely

“To receive an adequate compensation for their services, to be paid out of the public Treasury.”

An objection of order being taken to this motion — it was submitted to the House.

and on the question is the motion in order

it passed in the affirmative. [Ayes — 6; noes — 4; divided — 1.]3

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The determination of the House on the whole proposition was, on motion of the Deputies of the State of South Carolina, postponed till to-morrow.

It was moved and seconded to add the following clause to the 3rd resolution

to be of the age of 25 years at least.

which passed in the affirmative. Ayes — 7; noes — 3; divided — 1.] -

It was moved and seconded to strike out the following words in the last clause of the 3rd resolution

“and under the national government for the space of One year after it’s expiration”

On the question to strike out the words

it passed in the negative. [Ayes — 4; noes — 4; divided — 3.]

and then the House adjourned till to-morrow at 11 o’Clock. A. M.

Edition: current; Page: [371]
DETAIL OF AYES AND NOES
New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Questions Ayes Noes Divided
[74] no no dd aye aye no no no no no dd To strike out the 3 clause in ye 3 resolution — to substitute “their stipends to be ascertained by the Legislature to be paid out of the pub: treasury 2 7 2
[75] aye aye dd no no no no no aye aye dd To strike out the words “to be paid out of the National Treasy” 4 5 2
[76] aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye aye To receive an adequate compensation for their services 11
[77] dd aye no aye no aye aye no aye aye no whether separate votes having been taken on diff: clauses of a proposition a question shall be taken on ye whole 6 4 1
[78] no aye dd aye no aye aye aye aye aye no To add the followg words to the clause of the 3 resolution to be of the age of 25 years at least 7 3 1
[79] aye no dd aye dd dd no no aye no aye To strike out the following words in the 3rd resolution namely and under the national govt for the space of One year after it’s expiration 4 4 3

MADISON
Friday June 22. 〈in Convention〉

The clause 〈in Resol. 3〉 “to receive fixed stipends to be paid out of the Nationl. Treasury” considered.

Mr. Elseworth, moved to substitute payment by the States out of their own Treasurys: observing that the manners of different States were very different in the Stile of living and in the profits accruing from the exercise of like talents. What Edition: current; Page: [372] would be deemed therefore a reasonable compensation in some States, in others would be very unpopular, and might impede the system of which it made a part.

Mr. Williamson favored the idea. He reminded the House of the prospect of new States to the Westward. They would be poor — would pay little into the common Treasury — and would have a different interest from the old States. He did not think therefore that the latter ought to pay the expences of men who would be employed in thwarting their measures & interests.

Mr. Ghorum, wished not to refer the matter to the State Legislatures who were always paring down salaries in such a manner as to keep out of offices men most capable of executing the functions of them. He thought also it would be wrong to fix the compensations by the constitution, because we could not venture to make it as liberal as it ought to be without exciting an enmity agst. the whole plan. Let the Natl. Legisl: provide for their own wages from time to time; as the State Legislatures do. He had not seen this part of their power abused, nor did he apprehend an abuse of it.

Mr. Randolph feared we were going too far, in consulting popular prejudices. Whatever respect might be due to them, in lesser matters, or in cases where they formed the permanent character of the people, he thought it neither incumbent on nor honorable for the Convention, to sacrifice right & justice to that consideration. If the States were to pay the members of the Natl. Legislature, a dependence would be created that would vitiate the whole System. The whole nation has an interest in the attendance & services of the members. The National. Treasury therefore is the proper fund for supporting them.

Mr. King, urged the danger of creating a dependence on the States by leavg. to them the payment of the members of the Natl. Legislature. He supposed it wd. be best to be explicit as to the compensation to be allowed. A reserve on that point, or a reference to the Natl. Legislature of the quantum, would excite greater opposition than any sum that would be actually necessary or proper.

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Mr. Sherman contended for referring both the quantum and the payment of it to the State Legislatures.

Mr. Wilson was agst. fixing the compensation as circumstances would change and call for a change of the amount. He thought it of great moment that the members of the Natl. Govt. should be left as independent 〈as possible〉 of the State Govts. in all respects.

Mr. M〈adison〉 concurred in the necessity of preserving the compensations for the Natl. Govt. independent on the State Govts. but at the same time approved of fixing them by the constitution, which might be done by taking a standard which wd. not vary with circumstances.4 He disliked particularly the policy suggested by Mr. Wiliamson of leaving the members from the poor States beyond the Mountains, to the precarious & parsimonious support of their constituents. If the Western States hereafter arising should be admitted into the Union, they ought to be considered as equals & as brethren. If their representatives were to be associated in the Common Councils, it was of common concern that such provisions should be made as would invite the most capable and respectable characters into the service.

Mr. Hamilton apprehended inconveniency from fixing the wages. He was strenuous agst. making the National Council dependent on the Legislative rewards of the States. Those who pay are the masters of those who are paid. Payment by the States would be unequal as the distant States would have to pay for the same term of attendance and more days in travelling to & from the seat of the Govt. He expatiated emphatically on the difference between the feelings & views of the people — & the Governments of the States arising from the personal interest & official inducements which must render the latter unfriendly to the Genl. Govt.

Mr. Wilson moved that the salaries of the 1st. branch “be ascertained by the National Legislature,” and be paid out of the Natl. Treasury.

〈Mr. Madison, thought the members of the Legisl. too much Edition: current; Page: [374] interested to ascertain their own compensation. It wd. be indecent to put their hands into the public purse for the sake of their own pockets.〉5

On this question Mas. no. Con. no. N. Y. divd. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. 〈no〉 S. C. 〈no〉 Geo. divd. [Ayes — 2; noes — 7; divided — 2.]6

On the question for striking out “Natl. Treasury” 〈as moved by Mr. Elseworth〉7

〈Mr. Hamilton renewed his opposition to it. He pressed the distinction between State Govts. & the people. The former wd. be the rivals of the Gen’l Govt. The State legislatures ought not therefore to be the pay masters of the latter.

Mr. Elesworth. If we are jealous of the State Govts. they will be so of us. If on going home I tell them we gave the Gen: Govt. such powers because we cd. not trust you. — will they adopt it. & witht. yr. approbation it is a nullity.〉8

Masts. ay.* Cont. ay. N. Y. divd. N. J. no. Pena. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no, N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. divd. [Ayes — 4; noes — 5; divided — 2.]

On a question for substituting “adequate compensation” in place of “fixt Stipends” it was agreed to nem. con. the friends of the latter being willing that the practicability of fixing the compensation should be considered hereafter in forming the details.

It was then moved by Mr. Butler that a question be taken on both points jointly; to wit “adequate compensation to be paid out of the Natl. Treasury.” It was objected to as out of order, the parts having been separately decided on. The Presidt. referd. the question of order to the House, and it was Edition: current; Page: [375] determined to be in order. 〈Con. N. J. Del. Md. N. C. — ay — N. Y. Pa. Va. Geo. no