tuesDAY, MAY 29TH, 1787
In Convention, —From Massachusetts, NATHANIEL GORHAM and CALEB STRONG; from Connecticut, OLIVER ELLSWORTH; from Delaware, GUNNING BEDFOBD; from Maryland, JAMES McHENRY; from Pennsylvania, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, GEORGE CLYMER, THOMAS MIFFLIN, and JARED INGERSOLL, —took their seats.
In Convention, —JOHN DICKINSON, and ELBRIDGE GERRY, the former from Delaware, the latter from Massachusetts. took their seats. The following rules were added, on the Report of Mr. WYTHE, from the Committee—
" 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 has 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 that purpose."
Mr. C. PINCKNEY moved, that a Committee be appointed to superintend the minutes.
Mr. G. 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 and bias in moulding the entry, according to their opinions and wishes.
The motion was negatived, five Noes, four Ayes.
Mr. RANDOLPH then opened the main business: —
He expressed his regret, that it should fall to him, rasher then 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 the task on him.
He then commented on the difficulty of the crisis, and the necessity of preventing the furfilment of the prophecies of the American downfall.
He observed, that, in revising the Federal system we ought to inquire, first, into the properties which such a government ought to possess; secondly, the defects of the Confederation; thirdly the danger of our situation; and fourthly, the remedy.
1. The character of such a government ought to secure, first, against foreign invasion; secondly, against dissensions between members of the Union, or seditions in particular States; thirdly, to procure to the several States various blessings of which an isolated situation was in- capable; fourthly, it should be able to defend itself against encroachment; and fifthly, 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, and of confederacies; when the inefficiency of requisitions was unknown— no commercial discord kind arisen among any States—no rebellion had appeared, as in Massachusetts—foreign debts had not become urgent—the havoc of paper money had not been foreseen—treaties kind 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: —First, that the Confederation produced no security against foreign invasion; Congress not being permitted to prevent a war, nor to support it by their own authority. Of this he cited many examples; most of which tended to shew, that they could not cause infractions of treaties, or of the law of nations to be punished; that particular States might by their conduct provoke war without control; and that, neither militia nor drafts being fit for defence on such occasions, enlistments only could be successful, and these couldnot be executed without money.
Secondly, that the Federal Government could not check the quarrel between the States, nor a rebellion in any, not having constitutional power nor means to impose according to the exigency.
Thirdly, that there were many advantages which the United States 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.
Fourthly, that the Federal Government could not defend itself against encroachments from the States.
Fifthly, that it was not even paramount to the State Constitutions, ratified as it was in many of the States.
3. He next reviewed the danger of our situation and appealed to the sense of the best friends of the United States—to 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, which he explained one by one.
1. " Resolved, that the Articles of 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 warfare."
2. "Resolved, therefore, that the rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.
3. "Resolved, that the National Legislature ought to consist of two branches.
4. " Resolved, that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States every for the term of; to be of the age of years at least; to receive liberal stipends by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to the public service; to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States, except those peculiarly belong to the functions of the first branch, during the term of service, and for the space of after its expiration; to be incapable of re-election for the space of after the expiration of their term of service, and to be subject to recall.
5. "Resolved, that the members of the second branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by those of the first, out of a proper number of persons nominated by the individual Legislatures, to be of the age of years at least; to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency; to receive liberal stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to the public service; and to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States, except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch, during the term of service; and for the space of after the expiration thereof.
6. " Resolved, that each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts; that the National Legislature ought to be 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 treaty subsisting under the authority of the Union; and to call forth the force of the Union against any member of the Union failing to furfil its duty under the Articles thereof.
7. " Resolved, that a National Executive be instituted; to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of; to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for the services rendered, in which no increase nor 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. " Resolved, 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, and every act of a particular Legislature before a negative thereon shall be final; and that the dissent of the said Council shall amount to a rejection, unless the act of the National Legislature be again passed, or that of a particular Legislature be again negatived by - of the members of each branch.
9. " Resolved, that a National Judiciary be established; to consist of one or more supreme tribunals, and of inferior tribunals to be chosen by the National Legislature; to hold their offices during good behaviour, and to receive punctually, at stated times, fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the same time of such increase or diminution. That the jurisdiction of the inferior tribunals shall be to hear and determine, in the first instance, and of the supreme tribunal to hear and determine, in the dernier resort, all piracies and 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. " 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.
11. "Resolved, that a republican government, and the territory of each State, except in the instance of a voluntary junction of government and territory, ought to be guaranteed by the Unitecl States to each State.
12. "Resolved, 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. " Resolved, 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. "Resolved, that the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers, within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the Articles of Union.
15. " 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."
He concluded with an exhortation, not to suffer the present opportunity of establishing general peace, harmony' happiness and liberty in the United States to pass away unimproved.
It was then 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; and that the propositions moved by Mr. RANDOLPH be referred to the said Committee.
Mr. CHARLES PINCKNEY laid before the House the draft of a federal government which he had prepared, to be agreed upon between the free and independent States of America:
PLAN OF A FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.
We, the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, do ordain, declare, and establish the following Constitution, for the government of ourselves and posterity.
" The style of this government shall be, The United States of America, and the government shall consist of supreme legislative, executive and judicial powers.
" The legislative power shall be vested in a Congress, to consist of two separate Houses; one to be called the House of Delegates; and the other the Senate, who shall meet on the— day of in every year.
" The membere of the House of Delegates shall be chosen every —year by the people of the several States; and the qualification of the electors shall be the same as those of the electors in the several States for their Legislatures. Each member shall have been a citizen of the United States for years; and shall be of— years of age, and a resident in the State chosen for. Until a census of the people shall be taken in the manner hereinafter mentioned, the House of Delegates shall consist of—, to be chosen from the different States in the following proportions: for New Hampshire, ———; for Massachusetts, ; for Rhode Island, ; for Connecticut'— —; for New York, ; for New Jersey, —; for Pennsylvania, ; for Delaware, ; for Maryland, —; for Virginia, —; for North Carolina, ; for South Carolina; for Georgia, —; and the Legislature shall hereinafter regulate the number of Delegates by the number of inhabitants, according to the provisions hereinafter made, at the rate of one for every — thousand. All money bills of every kind shall originate in the House of Delegates, and shall not be altered by the Senate. The House of Delegates shall exclusively possess the power of impeachment, and shall choose its own officers; and vacancies therein shall be supplied by the executive authority of the State in the representation from which they shall happen.
" The Senate shall be elected and chosen by the House of Delegates; which House, immediately after their meeting, shall choose by ballot Senators from among the citizens and residents of New Hampshire; - from among those of Massachusetts; from among those of Rhode Island; from among those of Connecticat; from among those of New York; from among those of New Jersey; from among those of Pennsylvania; from among those of Delaware; from among those of Maryland; —from among those of Virginia; from among those of North Carolina; from among those of Souh Carolina; and from among those of Georgia. The senators chosen from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, shall form one class; those from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, one class: ; and those from Maryland, Virginia, North Caro- lina, South Carolina, and Georgia, one class. The House of Delegates shall number these classes one, two, and three; and fix the times of their service by lot. The first clase shall serve for years; the second for years; and the third for years. As their times of service expire, the House of Delegates shall fill them up by elections for years; and they shall fill all vacancies that arise from death or resignation, for the time of service remaining of the members so dying or resigning. Each Senator shall be years of age at least; and shall have been a citizen of the United States for four years before his election; and shall be a resident of the State he is chosen from. The Senate shall choose its own officers.
"Each State shall prescribe the time and manner of holding elections by the people for the House of Delegates; and the House of Delegates shall be the judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their members.
“ In each House a majority shall constitute a quorum to do business. Freedom of speech and debate in the Legislature shall not be impeached, or questioned, in any place out of it; and the members of both Houses shall in all cases, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be free from arrest during their attendance on Congress, and in going to and returning from it. Both Houses shall keep Journals of their proceedings, and publish them, except on secret occasions; and the Yeas and Nays may be entered thereon at the desire of one —of the members present. Neither House, without the consent of the other, shall adjourn for more than —days, nor to any place but where they are sitting.
" The members of each House shall not be eligible to. Or capable of holding, any office under the Union, during the time for which they have been respectively elected; nor the members of the Senate for one year after. The members of each House shall be paid for their services by the States which they represent. Every bill which shall have passed the Legislature shall be presented to the President of the United States for his revision; if he approves it, he shall sign it; but if he does not approve it, he shall return it, with his objections, to the House it originated in; which House, if two-thirds of the members present, notwithstanding the President's objections, agree to pass it, shall send it to the other House, with the President's objections; where if two thirds of the members present also agree to pass it, the same shall become a law; and all bills sent to the President, and not returned by him within days, shall be laws, unless the Legislature, by their adjournment, prevent their return; in which case they shall not be laws.
" The Legislature of the United States shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises;
To regulate commerce with all nations, and among the several States;
To borrow money and emit bills of credit;
To establish post-offices;
To raise armies;
To build and equip fleets;
To pass laws for arming, organizing, and disciplining the militia of the United States;
To subdue a rebellion in any State, on application of its Legislature;
To coin money, and regulate the value of all coins, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide such dockyards and arsenals, and erect such fortifications as may be necessary for the United States, and to exercise exclusive jurisdiction therein;
To appoint a Treasurer, by ballot;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To establish post and military roads;
To establish and provide for a national university at the seat of government of the United States;
To establish uniform rules of naturalization;
To provide for the establishment of a seat of government for the United States, not exceeding miles square, in which they shall have exclusive jurisdiction;
To make rules concerning captures from an enemy;
To declare the law and punishment of piracies and felonies at sea, and of counterfeiting coin, and of all offences against the laws of nations;
To call forth the aid of the militia to execute the laws of the Union, enforce treaties, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;
And to make all laws for carrying the foregoing powers into execution.
" The Legislature of the United States shall have the power to declare the punishment of treason, which shall consist only in levying war against the United States, or any of them, or in adhering to their enemies. No person shall be convicted of treason but by the testimony of two witnesses.
"The proportion of direct taxation shall be regulated by the whole number of inhabitants of every description; which number shall, within years after the first meeting of the Legislature, and within the term of every year after, be taken in the mannor to be prescribed by the Legislature.
" No tax shall be laid on articles exported from the States; nor capitation tax, but in proportion to the census before directed.
" All laws regulating commerce shall require the assent of two-thirds of the members present in each House. The United States shall not grant any title of nobility, The Legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion; nor touching or abridging the liberty of the press; nor shall the privilege of the writ of Habeus corpus ever be suspended, except in case of rebellion or invasion.
" All acts made by the Legislature of the United States, pursuant to this Constitution, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and all judges shall be bound to oonsider them as such in their decisions.
" The Senate shall have the sole and exclusive power to declare war; and to make treaties; and to appoint ambassadors and other ministers to foreign nations, and judges of the Supreme Court.
" They shall have the exclusive power to regulate the manner of deciding all disputes and controversies now existing, or which may arise, between the States, respecting jurisdiction or territory.
" The executive power of the United States shall be vested in a President of the United States of America, which shall be his style; and his title shall be His Excellency. He shall be elected for years; and shall be re-eligible.
"He shall from time to time give information to the Legislature, of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration the measures he may think necessary. He shall take care that the laws of the United States be duly executed. He shall commission all the officers of the United States; and, except as to ambassadors, other ministers, and judges of the Supreme Court, he shall nominate, and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint, all other officers of the United States. He shall receive public ministers from foreign nations; and may correspond with the Executives of the different States. He shall have power to grant pardons and reprieves, except in impeachments. He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militis of the several States; and shall receive a compensation which shall not be increased or diminished during his continuance in office. At entering on the duties of his office, he shall take an oath faithfully to execute the duties of a President of the United States. He shall be removed from his office on impeachment by the House of Delegates, and conviction in the Supreme Court, of treason, bribery, or corruption. In case of his removal, death, resignation, or disability, the President of the Senate shall exercise the duties of his office until another President be chosen. And in case of the death of the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates shall do so.
'The Legislature of the United States shall have the power, and it shall be their duty, to establish such courts of law, equity, and admiralty, as shall be necessary.
" The judges of the courts shall hold their offices during good behaviour; and receive a compensation, which shall not be increased or diminished during their continuance in office. One of these courts shall be termed the Supreme Court; whose jurisdiction shall extend to all cases arising under the laws of the United States, or affecting embassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to the trial of impeachment of officers of the United States; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. In cases of impeachment affecting ambassadors, and other public ministers, this jurisdiction shall be original; and in all other cases appellate.
" All criminal offences, except in cases of impeachment shall be tried in the State where they shall be committed. The trials shall be open and public, and shall be by jury.
" Immediately after the first census of the people of the United States, the House of Delegates shall apportion the Senate by electing for each State, out of the citizens resident therein, one Senator for every members each State shall have in the House of Delegates. Each State shall be entitled to have at least one member in the Senate.
" No State shall grant letters of marque and reprisal, or enter into treaty, or alliance, or confederation; nor grant any title of nobility; nor, without the consent of the Legislature of the United States, lay any impost on imports; nor keep troops or ships of war in time of peace; nor enter into compacts with other States or foreign powers; nor emit bills of credit; nor make any thing but gold, silver, or copper, a tender in payment of debts; nor engage in war, except for self-defense when actually invaded, or the danger of invasion be so great as not to admit of a delay until the Government of the United States can be informed thereof. And to render these prohibitions effectual, the Legislature of the United States shall have the power to revise the laws of the several States that may be supposed to infringe the powers exclusively delegated by this Constitution to Congress, and to negative and annul such as do.
" The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States. Any person, charged with crimes in any State, fleeing from justice to another, shall, on demand of tne Executive of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, and removed to the State having jurisdiction of the offence.
" Full faith shall be given, in each State, to the acts of the Legislature, and to the records and judicial proceedinge of the courts and magistrates, of eve
" The Legislature shall have power to admit new States into the Union, on the same terms with the original States; provided two-thirds of the members present in both Houses agree.
" On the application of the Legislature of a State, the United States shall protect it against domestic insurrection.
"If two-thirds of the Legislatures of the States apply for the same, the Legislature of the United States shall call a convention for the purpose of amending the Constitution; or, should Congress, with the consent of two-thirds of each House, propose to the States amendments to the same, the agreement of two thirds of the Legislatures of the States shall be sufficient to make the said amendments parts of the Constitution.
" The ratification of the conventions of States shall be sufficient for organizing this Constitution."
Ordered, that the said draft be referred to the Committee of the Whole appointed to consider the state of the American Union.