In Convention,—Mr. RUTLEDGE moved to postpone the sixth Resolution, defining the powers of Congress, in order to take up the seventh and eighth, which involved the most fundamental points, the rules of suffrage in the two branches; which was agreed to, nem. con.
A question being proposed on the seventh Resolution, declaring that the suffrage in the first branch should be acoording to an equitable ratio,—
Mr. L. MARTIN contended, at great length, and with great eagerness, that the General Government was meant merely to preserve the State Governments, not to govern individuals. That its powers ought to be kept within narrow limits. That if too little power was given to it, more might be added; but that if too much, it could never be resumed. That individuals, as such, have little to do, but with their own States; that the General Government has no more to apprehend from the States composing the Union, while it pursues proper measures, than a government over individuals has to apprehend from its subjects. That to resort to the citizens at large for their sanction to a new government, will be throwing them back into a state of nature; that the dissolution of the State Governments is involved in the nature of the process; that the people have no right to do this, without the consent of those to whom they have delegated their power for State purposes. Through their tongues only they can speak, through their ears only can hear. That the States have strewn a good disposition to comply with the acts of Congress, weak, contemptibly weak, as that body has been; and have failed through inability alone to comply. That the heaviness of the private debts, and the waste of property during the war, were the chief causes of this inability,—that he did not conceive the instances mentioned by Mr. MADISON, of compacts between Virginia and Maryland, between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, or of troops raised by Massachusetts for defence against the rebels, to be violations of the Articles of Confederation. That an equal vote in each State was essential to the Federal idea, and was founded in justice and freedom, not merely in policy. That though the States may give up this right of sovereignty, yet they had not, and ought not. That the States, like individuals, were in a state of nature equally sovereign and free. In order to prove that individuals in a state of nature are equally free and independent, he read passages from Looke, Vattel, Lord Somers, Priestley. To prove that the case is the same with states, till they surrender their equal sovereignty, he read other passages in Looke and Vattel, and also Ru