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Elliot's Debates - Volume V - Part IV - Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 (Cont)

MONDAY, June 25.

In Convention. —The fourth resolution being taken up,—

Mr. PINCKNEY spoke as follows:

The efficacy of the system will depend on this article. In order to form a right judgment in the case, it will be proper to examine the situation of this country more accurately than it has yet been done.

The people of the United States are perhaps the most singular of any we are acquainted with. Among them there are fewer distinctions of fortune, and less of rank, than among the inhabitants of any other nation. Every freeman has a

right to the same protection and security; and a very moderate share of property entitles them to the possession of all the honors and privileges the public can bestow. Hence arises a greater equality than is to be found among the

people of any other country; and an equality which is more likely to continue. I say, this equality is likely to continue; because in a new country, possessing immense tracts of uncultivated lands, where every temptation is offered to

emigration, and where industry must be rewarded with competency there will be few poor, and few dependent. Every member of the society almost will enjoy an equal power of arriving at the supreme offices, and consequently of directing

the strength and sentiments of the whole community. None will be excluded by birth, and few by fortune, from voting for proper persons to fill the offices of government. The whole community will enjoy, in the fullest sense, that kind

of political liberty which consists in the power the members of the state reserve to themselves of arriving at the public offices, or, at least, of having votes in the nomination of those who fill them.

If this state of things is true, and the prospect of its continuance probable, it is perhaps not politic to endeavor too close an imitation of a government calculated for a people whose situation is, and whose views ought to be,

extremely different.

Much has been said of the constitution of Great Britain. I will confess that I believe it to be the best constitution in existence; but, at the same time, I am confident it is one that will not or cannot be introduced into this country

for many centuries. If it were proper to go here into an historical dissertation on the British constitution, it might easily be shown that the peculiar excellence, the distinguishing feature, of that government cannot possibly be

introduced into our system; that its balance between the crown and the people cannot be made a part of our Constitution; that we neither have nor can have the members to compose it, nor the rights, privileges, and properties, of so

distinct a class of citizens to guard; that the materials for forming this balance or check do not exist, nor is there a necessity for having so permanent a part of our legislative, until the executive power is so constituted as to

have something fixed and dangerous in its principle. By this I mean a sole, hereditary, though limited executive.

That we cannot have a proper body for forming a legislative balance between the inordinate power of the executive and the people, is evident from a review of the accidents and circumstances which gave rise to the peerage of Great

Britain. I believe it is well ascertained, that the parts which compose the British constitution arose immediately from the forests of Germany; but the antiquity of the establishment of nobility is by no means clearly defined. Some

authors are of opinion that the dignity denoted by the titles of dux and comes, was derived from the old Roman, to the German, empire; while others are of opinion that they existed among the Germans long before the Romans were

acquainted with them. The institution, however, of nobility is immemorial among the nations who may properly be termed the ancestors of Great Britain. At the time they were summoned in England to become a part of the national council,

the circumstances which contributed to make them a constituent part of that constitution must be well known to all gentlemen who have had industry and curiosity enough to investigate the subject. The nobles, with their possessions and

dependents, composed a body permanent in their nature, and formidable in point of power. They had a distinct interest both from the king and the people,—an interest which could only be represented by themselves, and the guardianship of

which could not be safely intrusted to others. At the time they were originally called to form a part of the national council, necessity perhaps, as much as other causes, induced the monarch to look up to them. It was necessary to

demand the aid of his subjects in personal and pecuniary services. The power and possessions of the nobility would not permit taxation from any assembly of which they were not a part: and the blending of the deputies of the commons

with them, and thus forming what they called their parler-ment, was perhaps as much the effect of chance as of any thing else. The commons were at that time completely subordinate to the nobles, whose consequence and influence seem to

have been the only reasons for their superiority; a superiority so degrading to the commons, that in the first summons, we find the peers are called upon to consult, the commons to consent. From this time the peers have composed a part

of the British legislature; and, notwithstanding their power and influence have diminished, and those of the commons have increased, yet still they have always formed an excellent balance against either the encroachments of the crown

or the people.

I have said that such a body cannot exist in this country for ages; and that, until the situation of our people is exceedingly changed, no necessity will exist for so permanent a part of the legislature. To illustrate this, I have

remarked that the people of the United States are more equal in their circumstances than the people of any other country; that they have very few rich men among them—by rich men I mean those whose riches may have a dangerous influence,

or such as are esteemed rich in Europe—perhaps there are not one hundred such on the continent; that it is not probable this number will be greatly increased; that the genius of the people, their mediocrity of situation, and the

prospects which are afforded their industry, in a country which must be a new one for centuries, are unfavorable to the rapid distinction of ranks. The destruction of the right of primogeniture, and the equal division of the property

of intestates, will also have an effect to preserve this mediocrity; for laws invariably affect the manners of people. On the other hand, that vast extent of unpeopled territory, which opens to the frugal and industrious a sure road to

competency and independence, will effectually prevent, for a considerable time, the increase of the poor or discontented, and be the means of preserving that equality of condition which so eminently distinguishes us.

If equality is, as I contend, the leading feature of the United States, where, then, are the riches and wealth whose representation and protection is the peculiar province of this permanent body? Are they in the hands of the few who

may be called rich,—in the possession of less than a hundred citizens? Certainly not. They are in the great body of the people, among whom there are no men of wealth, and very few of real poverty. Is it probable that a change will be

created, and that a new order of men will arise? If, under the British government, for a century, no such change was produced, I think it may be fairly concluded it will not take place while even the semblance of republicanism remains.

How is this change to be effected? Where are the sources from whence it is to flow? From the landed interest? No. That is too unproductive, and too much divided in most of the states. From the moneyed interest? If such exist at

present, little is to be apprehended from that source. Is it to spring from commerce? I believe it would be the first instance in which a nobility sprang from merchants. Besides, sir, I apprehend that on this point the policy of the

United States has been much mistaken. We have unwisely considered ourselves as the inhabitants of an old, instead of a new, country. We have adopted the maxims of a state full of people, and manufactures, and established in credit. We

have deserted our true interest, and, instead of applying closely to those improvements in domestic policy which would have insured the future importance of our commerce, we have rashly and prematurely engaged in schemes as extensive

as they are imprudent. This, however, is an error which daily corrects itself; and I have no doubt that a few more severe trials will convince us, that very different commercial principles ought to govern the conduct of these states.

The people of this country are not only very different from the inhabitants of any state we are acquainted with in the modern world, but I assert that their situation is distinct from either the people of Greece or Rome, or of any

states we are acquainted with among the ancients. Can the orders introduced by the institution of Solon, can they be found in the United States? Can the military habits and manners of Sparta be resembled to ours in habits and manners?

Are the distinction of patrician and plebeian known among us? Can the Helvetic or Belgic confederacies, or can the unwieldly, unmeaning body called the Germanic empire, can they be said to possess either the same, or a situation like

ours? I apprehend not. They are perfectly different, in their distinctions of rank, their constitutions, their manners, and their policy.

Our true situation appears to me to be this,—a new, extensive country, containing within itself the materials for forming a government capable of extending to its citizens all the blessings of civil and religious liberty—capable of

making them happy at home. This is the great end of republican establishments. We mistake the object of our government, if we hope or wish that it is to make us respectable abroad. Conquests or superiority among other powers is not, or

ought not ever to be, the object of republican systems. If they are sufficiently active and energetic to rescue us from contempt, and preserve our domestic happiness and security, it is all we can expect from them—it is more than

almost any other government insures to its citizens.

I believe this observation will be found generally true—that no two people are so exactly alike, in their situation or circumstances, at to admit the exercise of the same government with equal benefit; that a system must be suited to

the habits and genius of the people it is to govern, and must grow out of them.

The people of the United States may be divided into three classes— professional men, who must, from their particular pursuits, always have a considerable weight in the government, while it remains popular; commercial men, who may or

may not have weight, as a wise or injudicious commercial policy is pursued. If that commercial policy is pursued which I conceive to be the true one, the merchants of this country will not, or ought not, for a considerable time, to

have much weight in the political scale. The third is the landed interest, the owners and cultivators of the soil, who are, and ought ever to be, the governing spring in the system. These three classes, however distinct in their

pursuits, are individually equal in the political scale, and may be easily proved to have but one interest. The dependence of each on the other is mutual. The merchant depends on the planter. Both must, in private as well as public

affairs, be connected with the professional men; who in their turn must in some measure depend on them. Hence it is clear, from this manifest connection, and the equality which I before stated exists, and must, for the reasons then

assigned, continue, that after all there is one, but one great and equal body of citizens composing the inhabitants of this country, among whom there are no distinctions of rank, and very few or none of fortune.

For a people thus circumstanced are we, then, to form a government; and the question is, what sort of government is best suited to them?

Will it be the British government? No. Why? Because Great Britain contains three orders of people distinct in their situation, their possessions, and their principles. These orders, combined, form the great body of the nation; and as,

in national expenses, the wealth of the whole community must contribute, so ought each component part to be duly and properly represented. No other combination of power could form this due representation but the one that exists.

Neither the peers or the people could represent the royalty; nor could the royalty and the people form a proper representation for the peers. Each, therefore, must of necessity be represented by itself, or the sign of itself; and this

accidental mixture has certainly formed a government admirably well balanced.

But the United States contain but one order that can be assimilated to the British nation—this is, the order of Commons. They will not, surely, then, attempt to form a government consisting of three branches, two of which shall have

nothing to represent. They will not have an executive and senate [hereditary,] because the king and lords of England are so. The same reasons do not exist, and therefore the same provisions are not necessary.

We must, as has been observed, suit our government to the people it is to direct. These are, I believe, as active, intelligent and susceptible of good government as any people in the world. The confusion which has produced the present

relaxed state is not owing to them. It is owing to the weakness and [defects] of a government incapable of combining the various interests it is intended to unite, and destitute of energy. All that we have to do, then, is to distribute

the powers of government in such a manner, and for such limited periods, as, while it gives a proper degree of permanency to the magistrate, will reserve to the people the right of election they will not or ought not frequently to part

with. I am of opinion that this may easily be done; and that, with some amendments, the propositions before the committee will fully answer this end.

No position appears to me more true than this; that the general government cannot effectually exist without reserving to the states the possession of their local rights. They are the instruments upon which the Union must frequently

depend for the support and execution of their powers, however immediately operating upon the people and not upon the states.

Much has been said about the propriety of abolishing the distinction of state governments, and having but one general system. Suffer me for a moment to examine this question. *138

The mode of constituting the second branch being under consideration, the word “national” was struck out, and “United States” inserted.

Mr. GORHAM inclined to a compromise as to the rule of proportion. He thought there was some weight in the objections of the small states. If Virginia should have sixteen votes and Delaware with several other states together sixteen,

those from Virginia would be more likely to unite than the others, and would therefore have an undue influence. This remark was applicable not only to states, but to counties or other districts of the same state. Accordingly, the

constitution of Massachusetts had provided that the representatives of the larger districts should not be in an exact ratio to their numbers; and experience, he thought, had shown the provision to be expedient.

Mr. READ. The states have heretofore been in a sort of partnership. They ought to adjust their old affairs before they opened a new account. He brought into view the appropriation of the common interest in the western lands to the use

of particular states. Let justice be done on this head: let the fund be applied fairly and equally to the discharge of the general debt; and the smaller states, who had been injured, would listen then, perhaps, to those ideas of just

representation which had been held out.

Mr. GORHAM could not see how the Convention could interpose in the case. Errors, he allowed, had been committed on the subject. But Congress were now using their endeavors to rectify them. The best remedy would be such a government as

would have vigor enough to do justice throughout. This was certainly the best chance that could be afforded to the smaller states.

Mr. WILSON. The question is, shall the members of the second branch be chosen by the legislatures of the states? When he considered the amazing extent of country, the immense population which is to fill it, the influence of the

government we are to form will have, not only on the present generation of our people, and their multiplied posterity, but on the whole globe,—he was lost in the magnitude of the object. The project of Henry IV, and his statesmen was

but the picture in miniature of the great portrait to be exhibited. He was opposed to an election by the state legislatures. In explaining his reasons, it was necessary to observe the twofold relation in which the people would stand—

first, as citizens of the general government; and, secondly, as citizens of their particular state. The general government was meant for them in the first capacity: the state governments in the second. Both governments were derived

from the people; both meant for the people; both therefore ought to be regulated on the same principles. The same train of ideas which belonged to the relation of the citizens to their state governments, was applicable to their

relation to the general government; and, in forming the latter, we ought to proceed by abstracting as much as possible from the idea of the state governments. With respect to the province and object of the general government, they

should be considered as having no existence. The election of the second branch by the legislatures will introduce and cherish local interests and local prejudices. The general government is not an assemblage of states, but of

individuals, for certain political purposes. It is not meant for the states, but for the individuals composing them; the individuals, therefore, not the states, ought to be represented in it. A proportion in this representation can be

preserved in the second as well as in the first branch; and the election can be made by electors chosen by the people for that purpose. He moved an amendment to that effect; which was not seconded.

Mr. ELLSWORTH saw no reason for departing from the mode contained in the report. Whoever chooses the member, he will be a citizen of the state he is to represent, and will feel the same spirit, and act the same part, whether he be

appointed by the people or the legislature. Every state has its particular views and prejudices which will find their way into the general council, through whatever channel they may flow. Wisdom was one of the characteristics which it

was in contemplation to give the second branch: would not more of it issue from the legislatures than from an immediate election by the people? He urged the necessity of maintaining the existence and agency of the states. Without their

coöperation it would be impossible to support a republican government over so great an extent of country. An army could scarcely render it practicable. The largest states are the worst governed. Virginia is obliged to acknowledge her

incapacity to extend her government to Kentucky. Massachusetts cannot keep the peace one hundred miles from her capital, and is now forming an army for its support. How long Pennsylvania may be free from a like situation, cannot be

foreseen. If the principles and materials of our government are not adequate to the extent of these single states, how can it be imagined that they can support a single government throughout the United States? The only chance of

supporting a general government lies in grafting it on those of the individual states.

Dr. JOHNSON urged the necessity of preserving the state governments, which would be at the mercy of the general government on Mr. Wilson’s plan.

Mr. MADISON thought it would obviate difficulty if the present resolution were postponed, and the eighth taken up, which is to fix the right of suffrage in the second branch.

Mr. WILLIAMSON professed himself a friend to such a system as would secure the existence of the state governments. The happiness of the people depended on it. He was at a loss to give his vote as to the Senate, until he knew the number

of its members. In order to ascertain this, he moved to insert, after “second branch of the national legislature,” the words, “who shall bear such proportion to the number of the first branch as one to—.” He was not seconded.

Mr. MASON. It has been agreed on all hands that an efficient government is necessary; that, to render it such, it ought to have the faculty of self-defence; that, to render its different branches effectual, each of them ought to have

the same power of self-defence. He did not wonder that such an agreement should have prevailed on these points. He only wondered that there should be any disagreement about the necessity of allowing the state governments the same

self-defence. If they are to be preserved, as he conceived to be essential, they certainly ought to have this power; and the only mode left of giving it to them was by allowing them to appoint the second branch of the national


Mr. BUTLER, observing that we were put to difficulties at every step by the uncertainty whether an equality or a ratio of representation would prevail finally in the second branch, moved to postpone the fourth resolution, and to

proceed to the eighth resolution on that point. Mr. MADISON seconded him.

On the question,—

New York, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 4; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, no, 7.

On a question to postpone the fourth, and take up the seventh, resolution,—

Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 5; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York; New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, no, 6.

On the question to agree, “that the members of the second branch be chosen by the individual legislatures.”—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; Pennsylvania, Virginia, no, 2. *139

On a question on the clause requiring the age of thirty years at least,—it was unanimously agreed to.

On a question to strike out the words, “sufficient to insure their independence,” after the word “term,”—it was agreed to.

The clause, that the second branch hold their offices for a term of “seven years,” being considered,—

Mr. GORHAM suggests a term of “four years,” one fourth to be elected every year.

Mr. RANDOLPH supported the idea of rotation, as favorable to the wisdom and stability of the corps; which might possibly be always sitting, and aiding the executive, and moves, after “seven years,” to add, “to go out in-fixed

proportion;” which was agreed to.

Mr. WILLIAMSON suggests “six years,” as more convenient for rotation than seven years.

Mr. SHERMAN seconds him.

Mr. READ proposed that they should hold their offices “during good behavior.” Mr. R. MORRIS seconds him.

Gen. PINCKNEY proposed “four years.” A longer time would fix them at the seat of government. They would acquire an interest there, perhaps transfer their property, and lose sight of the states they represent. Under these circumstances,

the distant states would labor under great disadvantages. 140

Mr. SHERMAN moved to strike out “seven years,” in order to take questions on the several propositions.

On the question to strike out “seven,”—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 7; Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, no, 3; Maryland, divided.

On the question to insert “six years,” which failed, five states being, ay; five, no; and one, divided,—

Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 5; Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 5; Maryland, divided.

On a motion to adjourn, the votes were, five for, five against it; and one divided,—

Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, ay, 5; Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 5; Maryland, divided.

On the question for “five years,” it was lost,—

Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 5; Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 5; Maryland, divided.


TUESDAY, June 26


In Convention. —The duration of the second branch being under consideration,—

Mr. GORHAM moved to fill the blank with “six years,” one third of the members to go out every second year.

Mr. WILSON seconded the motion.

Gen. PINCKNEY opposed six years, in favor of four years. The states, he said, had different interests. Those of the Southern, and of South Carolina in particular, were different from the Northern. If the senators should be appointed

for a long term, they would settle in the state where they exercised their functions, and would in a little time be rather the representatives of that, than of the state appointing them. 141

Mr. READ moved that the term be nine years. This would admit of a very convenient rotation, one third going out triennially. He would still prefer “during good behavior;” but being little supported in that idea, he was willing to take

the longest term that could be obtained.

Mr. BROOM seconded the motion.

Mr. MADISON. In order to judge of the form to be given to this institution, it will be proper to take a view of the ends to be served by it. These were,—first, to protect the people against their rulers; secondly, to protect the people

against the transient impressions into which they themselves might be led. A people deliberating in a temperate moment, and with the experience of other nations before them, on the plan of government most likely to secure their

happiness, would first be aware, that those charged with the public happiness might betray their trust. An obvious precaution against this danger would be, to divide the trust between different bodies of men, who might watch and check

each other. In this they would be governed by the same prudence which has prevailed in organizing the subordinate departments of government, where all business liable to abuses is made to pass through separate hands, the one being a

check on the other. It would next occur to such a people, that they themselves were liable to temporary errors, through want of information as to their true interest; and that men chosen for a short term, and employed but a small

portion of that in public affairs, might err from the same cause. This reflection would naturally suggest, that the government be so constituted as that one of its branches might have an opportunity of acquiring a competent knowledge

of the public interests. Another reflection equally becoming a people on such an occasion, would be, that they themselves, as well as a numerous body of representatives, were liable to err, also, from fickleness and passion. A

necessary fence against this danger would be, to select a portion of enlightened citizens, whose limited number, and firmness, might seasonably interpose against impetuous counsels. It ought, finally, to occur to a people deliberating

on a government for themselves, that, as different interests necessarily result from the liberty meant to be secured, the major interest might, under sudden impulses, be tempted to commit injustice on the minority. In all civilized

countries the people fall into different classes, having a real or supposed difference of interests. There will be creditors and debtors; farmers, merchants, and manufacturers. There will be, particularly, the distinction of rich and

poor. It was true, as had been observed, (by Mr. Pinckney,) we had not among us those hereditary distinctions of rank which were a great source of the contests in the ancient governments, as well as the modern states, of Europe; nor

those extremes of wealth or poverty which characterize the latter. We cannot, however, be regarded, even at this time, as one homogeneous mass, in which every thing that affects a part will affect in the same manner the whole. In

framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we should not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. An increase of population will of necessity increase the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of

life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of

the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this country; but symptoms of a levelling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared, in a certain quarter, to give notice of the future danger. How is this danger

to be guarded against, on the republican principles; how is the danger, in all cases of interested coalitions, to oppress the minority, to be guarded against? Among other means, by the establishment of a body, in the government,

sufficiently respectable for its wisdom and virtue to aid, on such emergencies, the preponderance of justice, by throwing its weight into that scale. Such being the objects of the second branch in the proposed government, he thought a

considerable duration ought to be given to it. He did not conceive that the term of nine years could threaten any real danger; but, in pursuing his particular ideas on the subject, he should require that the long term allowed to the

second branch should not commence till such a period of life as would render a perpetual disqualification to be reëlected, little inconvenient, either in a public or private view. He observed, that, as it was more than probable we were

now digesting a plan which, in its operation, would decide forever the fate of republican government, we ought, not only to provide every guard to liberty that its preservation could require, but be equally careful to supply the

defects which our own experience had particularly pointed out. 142

Mr. SHERMAN. Government is instituted for those who live under it. It ought, therefore, to be so constituted as not to be dangerous to their liberties. The more permanency it has, the worse, if it be a bad government. Frequent

elections are necessary to preserve the good behavior of rulers. They also tend to give permanency to the government, by preserving that good behavior, because it insures their reëlection. In Connecticut, elections have been very

frequent, yet great stability and uniformity, both as to persons and measures, have been experienced from its original establishment to the present time—a period of more than a hundred and thirty years. He wished to have provision made

for steadiness and wisdom, in the system to be adopted; but he thought six, or four, years would be sufficient. He should be content with either.

Mr. READ wished it to be observed, by the small states, that it was their interest that we should become one people as much as possible; that state attachments should be extinguished as much as possible; that the Senate should be so

constituted as to have the feelings of citizens of the whole.

Mr. HAMILTON. He did not mean to enter particularly into the subject. He concurred with Mr. Madison in thinking we were now to decide forever the fate of republican government; and that if we did not give to that form due stability and

wisdom, it would be disgraced and lost among ourselves, disgraced and lost to mankind forever. He acknowledged himself not to think favorably of republican government; but addressed his remarks to those who did think favorably of it,

in order to prevail on them to tone their government as high as possible. He professed himself to be as zealous an advocate for liberty as any man whatever; and trusted he should be as willing a martyr to it, though he differed as to

the form in which it was most eligible. He concurred, also, in the general observations of Mr. Madison on the subject, which might be supported by others if it were necessary. It was certainly true, that nothing like an equality of

property existed; that an inequality would exist as long as liberty existed and that it would unavoidably result from that very liberty itself. This inequality of property constituted the great and fundamental distinction in society.

When the tribunitial power had levelled the boundary between the patricians and plebeians, what followed? The distinction between rich and poor was substituted. He meant not, however, to enlarge on the subject. He rose principally to

remark, that Mr. Sherman seemed not to recollect that one branch of the proposed government was so formed as to render it particularly the guardians of the poorer orders of citizens; nor to have adverted to the true causes of the

stability which had been exemplified in Connecticut. Under the British system, as well as the federal, many of the great powers appertaining to government—particularly all those relating to foreign nations—were not in the hands of the

government there. Their internal affairs, also, were extremely simple, owing to sundry causes, many of which were peculiar to that country. Of late the government had entirely given way to the people, and had in fact suspended many of

its ordinary functions, in order to prevent those turbulent scenes which had appeared elsewhere. He asks Mr. Sherman, whether the state, at this time, dare impose and collect a tax on the people? To these causes, and not to the

frequency of elections, the effect, as far as it existed, ought to be chiefly ascribed.

Mr. GERRY wished we could be united in our ideas concerning a permanent government. All aim at the same end, but there are great differences as to the means. One circumstance, he thought, should be carefully attended to. There was not

a one thousandth part of our fellow-citizens who were not against every approach towards monarchy,—will they ever agree to a plan which seems to make such an approach? The Convention ought to be extremely cautious in what they hold out

to the people. Whatever plan may be proposed will be espoused with warmth by many, out of respect to the quarter it proceeds from, as well as from an approbation of the plan itself. And if the plan should be of such a nature as to

rouse a violent opposition, it is easy to foresee that discord and confusion will ensue; and it is even possible that we may become a prey to foreign powers. He did not deny the position of Mr. Madison, that the majority will generally

violate justice when they have an interest in so doing; but did not think there was any such temptation in this country. Our situation was different from that of Great Britain; and the great body of lands yet to be parcelled out and

settled would very much prolong the difference. Notwithstanding the symptoms of injustice which had marked many of our public councils, they had not proceeded so far as not to leave hopes that there would be a sufficient sense of

justice and virtue for the purpose of government. He admitted the evils arising from a frequency of elections, and would agree to give the senate a duration of four or five years. A longer term would defeat itself. It never would be

adopted by the people.

Mr. WILSON did not mean to repeat what had fallen from others, but would add an observation or two which he believed had not yet been suggested. Every nation may be regarded in two relations—first, to its own citizens; secondly, to

foreign nations. It is, therefore, not only liable to anarchy and tyranny within, but has wars to avoid, and treaties to obtain, from abroad. The Senate will probably be the depository of the powers concerning the latter objects. It

ought therefore to be made respectable in the eyes of foreign nations. The true reason why Great Britain has not yet listened to a commercial treaty with us has been, because she had no confidence in the stability or efficacy of our

government. Nine years, with a rotation, will provide these desirable qualities; and give our government an advantage in this respect over monarchy itself. In a monarchy, much must always depend on the temper of the man. In such a

body, the personal character will be lost in the political. He would add another observation. The popular objection against appointing any public body for a long term, was, that it might, by gradual encroachments, prolong itself, first

into a body for life, and finally become a hereditary one. It would be a satisfactory answer to this objection, that, as one third would go out triennally, there would be always three divisions holding their places from unequal times,

and consequently acting under the influence of different views and different impulses.

On the question for nine years, one third to go out triennially,—

Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, ay, 3; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 8.

On the question for six years, one third to go out biennally,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 7; New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 4. 143

The clause of the fourth resolution, “to receive fixed stipends by which they may be compensated for their services,” being considered,—

Gen. PINCKNEY proposed, that no salary should be allowed. As this (the senatorial) branch was meant to represent the wealth of the country, it ought to be composed of persons of wealth; and if no allowance was to be made, the wealthy

alone would undertake the service. He moved to strike out the clause.

Dr. FRANKLIN seconded the motion. He wished the Convention to stand fair with the people. There were in it a number of young men who would probably be of the Senate. If lucrative appointments should be recommended, we might be

chargeable with having carved out places for ourselves.

On the question,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, * Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, ay, 5; New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, no, 6.

Mr. WILLIAMSON moved to change the expression into these words, to wit, “to receive a compensation for the devotion of their time to the public service.” The motion was seconded by Mr. ELLSWORTH, and agreed to by all the states except

South Carolina. It seemed to be meant only to get rid of the word “fixed,” and leave greater room for modifying the provision on this point.

Mr. ELLSWORTH moved to strike out, “to be paid out of the national treasury,” and insert, “to be paid by their respective states.” If the Senate was meant to strengthen the government, it ought to have the confidence of the states. The

states will have an interest in keeping up a representation, and will make such provision for supporting the members as will insure their attendance.

Mr. MADISON considered this as a departure from a fundamental principle, and subverting the end intended by allowing the Senate a duration of six years. They would, if this motion should be agreed to, hold their places during pleasure;

during the pleasure of the state legislatures. One great end of the institution was, that, being a firm, wise, and impartial body, it might not only give stability to the general government, in its operations on individuals, but hold

an even balance among different states. The motion would make the Senate, like Congress, the mere agents and advocates of state interests and views, instead of being the impartial umpires and guardians of justice and the general good.

Congress had lately, by the establishment of a board with full powers to decide on the mutual claims between the United States and the individual states, fairly acknowledged themselves to be unfit for discharging this part of the

business referred to them by the Confederation.

Mr. DAYTON considered the payment of the Senate by the states as fatal to their independence. He was decided for paying them out of the national treasury.

On the question for payment of the Senate to be left to the states, as moved by Mr. ELLSWORTH, it passed in the negative,—

Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 5; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no, 6. 144

Col. MASON. He did not rise to make any motion, but to hint an idea which seemed to be proper for consideration. One important object in constituting the Senate was, to secure the rights of property. To give them weight and firmness

for this purpose, a considerable duration in office was thought necessary. But a longer term than six years would be of no avail in this respect, if needy persons should be appointed. He suggested, therefore, the propriety of annexing

to the office a qualification of property. He thought this would be very practicable; as the rules of taxation would supply a scale for measuring the degree of wealth possessed by every man.

A question was then taken, whether the words “to be paid out of the national treasury,” should stand,—

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, ay, 5; Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 6.

Mr. BUTLER moved to strike out the ineligibility of senators to state offices.

Mr. WILLIAMSON seconded the motion.

Mr. WILSON remarked the additional dependence this would create in the senators on the states. The longer the time, he observed, allotted to the officer, the more complete will be the dependence, if it exists at all.

Gen. PINCKNEY was for making the states, as much as could be conveniently done, a part of the general government. If the Senate was to be appointed by the states, it ought, in pursuance of the same idea, to be paid by the states; and

the states ought not to be barred from the opportunity of calling members of it into offices at home. Such a restriction would also discourage the ablest men from going into the Senate.

Mr. WILLIAMSON moved a resolution, so penned as to admit of the two following questions,—first, whether the members of the Senate should be ineligible to, and incapable of holding, offices under the United States; secondly, whether,

c., under the particular states.

On the question to postpone, in order to consider Mr. Williamson’s resolution,—

Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 8; Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, no, 3. 145

Mr. GERRY and Mr. MADISON move to add to Mr. Williamson’s first question, “and for one year thereafter.”

On this amendment,—

Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 7; Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, no, 4.

On Mr. Williamson’s first question as amended, viz., “ineligible and incapable, c., for one year, c.”—agreed to unanimously.

On the second question, as to ineligibility, c., to state offices, —

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, ay, 3; Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 8.

The fifth resolution, “that each branch have the right of originating acts,” was agreed to, nem con. 146




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 according 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 they can hear: that the states have shown 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 Locke, Vattel, Lord Somers, Priestly. To prove that

the case is the same with states, till they surrender their equal sovereignty, he read other passages in Locke, and Vattel, and also Rutherford: that the states, being equal, cannot treat of confederate so as to give up an equality of

votes, without giving up their liberty: that the propositions on the table were a system of slavery for ten states: that as Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, have forty two ninetieths of the votes, they can do as they please,

without a miraculous union of the other ten: that they will have nothing to do but to gain over one of the ten, to make them complete masters of the rest: that they can then appoint an executive, and judiciary, and legislature for

them, as they please: that there was, and would continue, a natural predilection and partiality in men for their own states: that the states, particularly the smaller, would never allow a negative to be exercised over their laws: that

no state, in ratifying the Confederation, had objected to the equality of votes: that the complaints at present ran not against this equality, but the want of power: that sixteen members from Virginia would be more likely to act in

concert than a like number formed of members from different states: that, instead of a junction of the small states as a remedy, he thought a division of the large states would be more eligible. This was the substance of a speech which

was continued more than three hours. He was too much exhausted, he said, to finish his remarks, and reminded the House that he should to-morrow resume them.




In Convention. —Mr. L. MARTIN resumed his discourse, contending that the general government ought to be formed for the states, not for individuals: that if the states were to have votes in proportion to their numbers of people, it

would be the same thing whether their representatives were chosen by the legislatures or the people; the smaller states would be equally enslaved: that if the large states have the same interest with the smaller, as was urged, there

could be no danger in giving them an equal vote: they would not injure themselves, and they could not injure the large ones, on that supposition, without injuring themselves; and if the interests were not the same, the inequality of

suffrage would be dangerous to the smaller states: that it will be in vain to propose any plan offensive to the rulers of the states, whose influence over the people will certainly prevent their adopting it: that the large states were

weak at present in proportion to their extent, and could only be made formidable to the small ones by the weight of their votes: that, in case a dissolution of the Union should take place, the small states would have nothing to fear

from their power: that if, in such a case, the three great states should league themselves together, the other ten could do so too; and that he had rather see partial confederacies take place than the plan on the table. This was the

substance of the residue of his discourse, which was delivered with much diffuseness, and considerable vehemence. 147

Mr. LANSING and Mr. DAYTON moved to strike out “not,” so that the seventh article might read, “that the right of suffrage in the first branch ought to be according to the rule established by the Confederation.”

Mr. DAYTON expressed great anxiety that the question might not be put till to-morrow, Governor Livingston being kept away by indisposition, and the representation of New Jersey thereby suspended.

Mr. WILLIAMSON thought that, if any political truth could be grounded on mathematical demonstration, it was, that if the states were equally sovereign now, and parted with equal proportions of sovereignty, that they would remain

equally sovereign. He could not comprehend how the smaller states would be injured in the case, and wished some gentleman would vouchsafe a solution of it. He observed that the small states, if they had a plurality of votes, would have

an interest in throwing the burdens off their own shoulders on those of the large ones. He begged that the expected addition of new states from the westward might be taken into view. They would be small states; they would be poor

states; they would be unable to pay in proportion to their numbers, their distance from market rendering the produce of their labor less valuable: they would consequently be tempted to combine for the purpose of laying burdens on

commerce and consumption, which would fall with greater weight on the old states.

Mr. MADISON said, he was much disposed to concur in any expedient, not inconsistent with fundamental principles, that could remove the difficulty concerning the rule of representation. But he could neither be convinced that the rule

contended for was just, nor that it was necessary for the safety of the small states against the large states. That it was not just, had been conceded by Mr. Brearley and Mr. Patterson themselves. The expedient proposed by them was a

new partition of the territory of the United States. The fallacy of the reasoning drawn from the equality of sovereign states, in the formation of compacts, lay in confounding mere treaties, in which were specified certain duties to

which the parties were to be bound, and certain rules by which their subjects were to be reciprocally governed in their intercourse, with a compact by which an authority was created paramount to the parties, and making laws for the

government of them. If France, England, and Spain, were to enter into a treaty for the regulation of commerce, c., with the Prince of Monacho, and four or five other of the smallest sovereigns of Europe, they would not hesitate to

treat as equals, and to make the regulations perfectly reciprocal. Would the case be the same, if a council were to be formed of deputies from each, with authority and discretion to raise money, levy troops, determine the value of

coin, c.? Would thirty or forty millions of people submit their fortunes into the hands of a few thousands? If they did, it would only prove that they expected more from the terror of their superior force, than they feared from the

selfishness of their feeble associates. Why are counties of the same states represented in proportion to their numbers? Is it because the representatives are chosen by the people themselves? So will be the representatives in the

national legislature. Is it because the larger have more at stake than the smaller? The case will be the same with the larger and smaller states. Is it because the laws are to operate immediately on their persons and properties? The

same is the case, in some degree, as the Articles of Confederation stand; the same will be the case, in a far greater degree, under the plan proposed to be substituted. In the cases of captures, of piracies, and of offences in a

federal army, the property and persons of individuals depend on the laws of Congress. By the plan proposed, a complete power of taxation—the highest prerogative of supremacy—is proposed to be vested in the national government. Many

other powers are added, which assimilate it to the government of individual states. The negative proposed on the state laws will make it an essential branch of the state legislatures, and of course will require that it should be

exercised by a body established on like principles with the branches of those legislatures. That it is not necessary to secure the small states against the large ones, he conceived to be equally obvious. Was a combination of the large

ones dreaded? This must arise either from some interest common to Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and distinguishing them from the other states; or from the mere circumstance of similarity of size. Did any such common

interest exist? In point of situation, they could not have been more effectually separated from each other by the most jealous citizen of the most jealous states. In point of manners, religion, and the other circumstances which

sometimes beget affection between different communities, they were not more assimilated than the other states. In point of the staple productions, they were as dissimilar as any three other states in the Union. The staple of

Massachusetts was fish, of Pennsylvania flour, of Virginia tobacco. Was a combination to be apprehended from the mere circumstance of equality of size? Experience suggested no such danger. The Journals of Congress did not present any

peculiar association of these states in the votes recorded. It had never been seen that different counties in the same state, conformable in extent, but disagreeing in other circumstances, betrayed a propensity to such combinations.

Experience rather taught a contrary lesson. Among individuals of superior eminence and weight in society, rivalships were much more frequent than coalitions. Among independent nations, preëminent over their neighbors, the same remark

was verified. Carthage and Rome tore one another to pieces, instead of uniting their forces to devour the weaker nations of the earth. The houses of Austria and France were hostile as long as they remained the greatest powers of

Europe. England and France have succeeded to the preëminence and to the enmity. To this principle we owe perhaps our liberty. A coalition between those powers would have been fatal to us. Among the principal members of ancient and

modern confederacies, we find the same effect from the same cause. The contentions, not the coalitions, of Sparta, Athens, and Thebes, proved fatal to the smaller members of the Amphictyonic confederacy. The contentions, not the

combinations, of Russia and Austria, have distracted and oppressed the German Empire. Were the large states formidable, singly, to their smaller neighbors? On this supposition, the latter ought to wish for such a general government as

will operate with equal energy on the former as on themselves. The more lax the band, the more liberty the larger will have to avail themselves of their superior force. Here, again, experience was an instructive monitor. What is the

situation of the weak, compared with the strong, in those stages of civilization in which the violence of individuals is least controlled by an efficient government? The heroic period of ancient Greece, the feudal licentiousness of the

middle ages of Europe, the existing condition of the American savages, answer this question. What is the situation of the minor sovereigns in the great society of independent nations, in which the more powerful are under no control but

the nominal authority of the law of nations? Is not the danger to the former exactly in proportion to their weakness? But there are cases still more in point. What was the condition of the weaker members of the Amphictyonic

confederacy? Plutarch (see Life of Themistocles) will inform us, that it happened but too often, that the strongest cities corrupted and awed the weaker, and that judgment went in favor of the more powerful party. What is the condition

of the lesser states in the German confederacy? We all know that they are exceedingly trampled upon, and that they owe their safety, as far as they enjoy it, partly to their enlisting themselves under the rival banners of the

preëminent members, partly to alliances with neighboring princes, which the constitution of the empire does not prohibit. What is the state of things in the lax system of the Dutch confederacy? Holland contains about half the people,

supplies about half the money, and by her influence silently and indirectly governs the whole republic. In a word, the two extremes before us are, a perfect separation, and a perfect incorporation of the thirteen states. In the first

case, they would be independent nations, subject to no law but the law of nations. In the last, they would be mere counties of one entire republic, subject to one common law. In the first case, the smaller states would have every thing

to fear from the larger. In the last, they would have nothing to fear. The true policy of the small states, therefore, lies in promoting those principles, and that form of government, which will most approximate the states to the

condition of counties. Another consideration may be added. If the general government be feeble, the larger states, distrusting its continuance, and foreseeing that their importance and security may depend on their own size and

strength, will never submit to a partition. Give to the general government sufficient energy and permanency, and you remove the objection. Gradual partitions of the large, and junctions of the small states, will be facilitated, and

time may effect that equalization which is wished for by the small states now, but can never be accomplished at once. 148

Mr. WILSON. The leading argument of those who contend for equality of votes among the states, is, that the states, as such, being equal, and being represented, not as districts of individuals, but in their political and corporate

capacities, are entitled to an equality of suffrage. According to this mode of reasoning, the representation of the boroughs in England, which has been allowed on all hands to be the rotten part of the constitution, is perfectly right

and proper. They are, like the states, represented in their corporate capacity; like the states, therefore, they are entitled to equal voices—Old Sarum to as many as London. And instead of the injury supposed hitherto to be done to

London, the true ground of complaint lies with Old Sarum: for London, instead of two, which is her proper share, sends four representatives to Parliament. 149

Mr. SHERMAN. The question is, not what rights naturally belong to man, but how they may be most equally and effectually guarded in society. And if some give up more than others, in order to obtain this end, there can be no room for

complaint. To do otherwise, to require an equal concession from all, if it would create danger to the rights of some, would be sacrificing the end to the means. The rich man who enters into society along with the poor man gives up more

than the poor man, yet, with an equal vote, he is equally safe. Were he to have more votes than the poor man, in proportion to his superior stake, the rights of the poor man would immediately cease to be secure. This consideration

prevailed when the Articles of Confederation were formed. 150

The determination of the question, for striking out the word “not,” was put off till to-morrow, at the request of the deputies from New York.

Dr. FRANKLIN. Mr. President, the small progress we have made after four or five weeks’ close attendance and continual reasonings with each other—our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many

noes as ayes—is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient

history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those republics which, having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist. And we have viewed modern states all round Europe, but find

none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark, to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying

to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard,

and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in

peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and, the longer I live, the more

convincing proofs I see of this truth— that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the

sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed, in this political building, no better than the

builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by-word down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from

this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the

clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.

Mr. SHERMAN seconded the motion.

Mr. HAMILTON and several others expressed their apprehensions that, however proper such a resolution might have been at the beginning of the Convention, it might at this late day, in the first place, bring on it some disagreeable

animadversions; and, in the second, lead the public to believe that the embarrassments and dissensions within the Convention had suggested this measure. It was answered, by Dr. FRANKLIN, Mr. SHERMAN, and others, that the past omission

of a duty could not justify a further omission; that the rejection of such a proposition would expose the Convention to more unpleasant animadversions than the adoption of it; and that the alarm out of doors, that might be excited for

the state of things within, would at least be as likely to do good as ill.

Mr. WILLIAMSON observed, that the true cause of the omission could not be mistaken. The Convention had no funds.

Mr. RANDOLPH proposed, in order to give a favorable aspect to the measure, that a sermon be preached at the request of the Convention on the Fourth of July, the anniversary of Independence; and thenceforward prayers, c., to be read in

the Convention every morning. Dr. FRANKLIN seconded this motion. After several unsuccessful attempts for silently postponing this matter by adjourning, the adjournment was at length carried, without any vote on the motion. 151

FRIDAY, June 29


In Convention. —Dr. JOHNSON. The controversy must be endless whilst gentlemen differ in the grounds of their arguments: those on one side considering the states as districts of people composing one political society, those on the other

considering them as so many political societies. The fact is, that the states do exist as political societies, and a government is to be formed for them in their political capacity, as well as for the individuals composing them. Does

it not seem to follow, that if the states, as such, are to exist, they must be armed with some power of self-defence? This is the idea of Col. Mason, who appears to have looked to the bottom of this matter. Besides the aristocratic and

other interests, which ought to have the means of defending themselves, the states have their interests as such, and are equally entitled to like means. On the whole, he thought that as, in some respects, the states are to be

considered in their political capacity, and, in others, as districts of individual citizens, the two ideas embraced on different sides, instead of being opposed to each other, ought to be combined—that in one branch the people ought to

be represented, in the other, the states.

Mr. GORHAM. The states, as now confederated, have no doubt a right to refuse to be consolidated, or to be formed into any new system. But he wished the small states, which seemed most ready to object, to consider which are to give up

most, they or the larger ones. He conceived that a rupture of the Union would be an event unhappy for all; but surely the large states would be least unable to take care of themselves, and to make connections with one another. The

weak, therefore, were most interested in establishing some general system for maintaining order. If, among individuals composed partly of weak and partly of strong, the former most need the protection of law and government, the case is

exactly the same with weak and powerful states. What would be the situation of Delaware, (for these things, he found, must be spoken out, and it might as well be done at first as last,) what would be the situation of Delaware in case

of a separation of the states? Would she not be at the mercy of Pennsylvania? Would not her true interest lie in being consolidated with her, and ought she not now to wish for such a union with Pennsylvania, under one government, as

will put it out of the power of Pennsylvania to oppress her? Nothing can be more ideal than the danger apprehended by the states from their being formed into one nation. Massachusetts was originally three colonies, viz., old

Massachusetts, Plymouth, and the Province of Maine. These apprehensions existed then. An incorporation took place, all parties were safe and satisfied, and every distinction is now forgotten. The case was similar with Connecticut and

New Haven. The dread of union was reciprocal; the consequence of it equally salutary and satisfactory. In like manner, New Jersey has been made one society out of two parts. Should a separation of the states take place, the fate of New

Jersey would be worst of all. She has no foreign commerce, and can have but little. Pennsylvania and New York will continue to levy taxes on her consumption. If she consults her interest, she would beg of all things to be annihilated.

The apprehensions of the small states ought to be appeased by another reflection. Massachusetts will be divided. The province of Maine is already considered as approaching the term of its annexation to it; and Pennsylvania will

probably not increase, considering the present state of her population, and other events that may happen. On the whole, he considered a union of the states as necessary to their happiness, and a firm general government as necessary to

their union. He should consider it his duty, if his colleagues viewed the matter in the same light he did, to stay here as long as any other state would remain with them, in order to agree on some plan that could, with propriety, be

recommended to the people.

Mr. ELLSWORTH did not despair. He still trusted that some good plan of government would be devised and adopted.

Mr. READ. He should have no objection to the system if it were truly national, but it has too much of a federal mixture in it. The little states, he thought, had not much to fear. He suspected that the large states felt their want of

energy, and wished for a general government to supply the defect. Massachusetts was evidently laboring under her weakness, and he believed Delaware would not be in much danger if in her neighborhood. Delaware had enjoyed tranquillity,

and he flattered himself would continue to do so. He was not, however, so selfish as not to wish for a good general government. In order to obtain one, the whole states must be incorporated. If the states remain, the representatives of

the large ones will stick together, and carry every thing before them. The executive, also, will be chosen under the influence of this partiality, and will betray it in his administration. These jealousies are inseparable from the

scheme of leaving the states in existence. They must be done away. The ungranted lands, also, which have been assumed by particular states, must be given up. He repeated his approbation of the plan of Mr. Hamilton, and wished it to be

substituted for that on the table.

Mr. MADISON agreed with Dr. Johnson, that the mixed nature of the government ought to be kept in view, but thought too much stress was laid on the rank of the states as political societies. There was a gradation, he observed, from the

smallest corporation, with the most limited powers, to the largest empire, with the most perfect sovereignty. He pointed out the limitations on the sovereignty of the states, as now confederated. Their laws, in relation to the

paramount law of the Confederacy, were analagous to that of bye-laws to the supreme law within a state. Under the proposed government, the powers of the states will be much further reduced. According to the views of every member, the

general government will have powers far beyond those exercised by the British Parliament when the states were part of the British empire. It will in particular, have the power, without the consent of the state legislatures, to levy

money directly from the people themselves, and, therefore, not to divest such unequal portions of the people as composed the several states of an equal voice, would subject the system to the reproaches and evils which have resulted

from the vicious representation in Great Britain.

He entreated the gentlemen representing the small states to renounce a principle which was confessedly unjust, which could never be admitted, and which, if admitted, must infuse mortality into a Constitution which we wished to last

forever. He prayed them to ponder well the consequences of suffering the Confederacy to go to pieces. It had been said that the want of energy in the large states would be a security to the small. It was forgotten that this want of

energy proceeded from the supposed security of the states against all external danger. Let each state depend on itself for its security, and let apprehensions arise of danger from distant powers or from neighboring states, and the

languishing condition of all the states, large as well as small, would soon be transformed into vigorous and high-toned governments. His great fear was, that their governments would then have too much energy; that this might not only

be formidable in the large to the small states, but fatal to the internal liberty of all. The same causes which have rendered the old world the theatre of incessant wars, and have banished liberty from the face of it, would soon

produce the same effects here. The weakness and jealousy of the small states would quickly introduce some regular military force, against sudden danger from their powerful neighbors. The example would be followed by others, and would

soon become universal. In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the executive magistrate. Constant apprehension of war has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing

military force, with an overgrown executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim, to

excite a war whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved, the people. It is, perhaps, questionable, whether the best-concerted system of absolute power in

Europe could maintain itself, in a situation where no alarms of external danger could tame the people to the domestic yoke. The insular situation of Great Britain was the principal cause of her being an exception to the general fate of

Europe. It has rendered less defence necessary, and admitted a kind of defence which could not be used for the purpose of oppression. These consequences, he conceived, ought to be apprehended, whether the states should run into a total

separation from each other, or should enter into partial confederacies. Either event would be truly deplorable, and those who might be accessary to either could never be forgiven by their country, nor by themselves. 152

* Mr. HAMILTON observed, that individuals forming political societies modify their rights differently, with regard to suffrage. Examples of it are found in all the states. In all of them some individuals are deprived of the right

altogether, not having the requisite qualification of property. In some of the states, the right of suffrage is allowed in some cases and refused in others. To vote for a member in one branch, a certain quantum of property—to vote for

a member in another branch of the legislature, a higher quantum of property, is required. In like manner, states may modify their right of suffrage differently, the larger exercising a larger, the smaller a smaller, share of it. But as

states are a collection of individual men, which ought we to respect most, the rights of the people composing them, or of the artificial beings resulting from the composition? Nothing could be more preposterous or absurd than to

sacrifice the former to the latter. It has been said that, if the smaller states renounce their equality, they renounce, at the same time, their liberty. The truth is, it is a contest for power, not for liberty. Will the men composing

the small states be less free than those composing the larger? The state of Delaware, having forty thousand souls, will lose power, if she has one tenth only of the votes allowed to Pennsylvania, having four hundred thousand; but will

the people of Delaware be less free, if each citizen has an equal vote with each citizen of Pennsylvania? He admitted that common residence within the same state would produce a certain degree of attachment, and that this principle

might have a certain influence on public affairs. He thought, however, that this might, by some precautions, be in a great measure excluded, and that no material inconvenience could result from it, as there could not be any ground for

combination among the states whose influence was most dreaded. The only considerable distinction of interests lay between the carrying and non-carrying states—which divides, instead of uniting, the largest states. No considerable

inconvenience had been found from the division of the state of New York into different districts of different sizes.

Some of the consequences of a dissolution of the Union, and the establishment of partial confederacies, had been pointed out. He would add another of a most serious nature. Alliances will immediately be formed with different rival and

hostile nations of Europe, who will foment disturbances among ourselves, and make us parties to all their own quarrels. Foreign nations having American dominion, are, and must be, jealous of us. Their representatives betray the utmost

anxiety for our fate; and for the result of this meeting, which must have an essential influence on it. It had been said, that respectability in the eyes of foreign nations was not the object at which we aimed; that the proper object

of republican government was domestic tranquillity and happiness. This was an ideal distinction. No government could give us tranquillity and happiness at home, which did not possess sufficient stability and strength to make us

respectable abroad. This was the critical moment for forming such a government. We should run every risk in trusting to future amendments. As yet we retain the habits of union. We are weak, and sensible of our weakness. Henceforward,

the motives will become feebler, and the difficulties greater. It is a miracle that we are now here, exercising our tranquil and free deliberations on the subject. It would be madness to trust to future miracles. A thousand causes must

obstruct a reproduction of them. 153

Mr. PIERCE considered the equality of votes under the Confederation as the great source of the public difficulties. The members of Congress were advocates for local advantages. State distinctions must be sacrificed as far as the

general good required, but without destroying the states. Though from a small state, he felt himself a citizen of the United States.

Mr. GERRY urged, that we never were independent states, were not such now, and never could be, even on the principles of the Confederation. The states, and the advocates for them, were intoxicated with the idea of their sovereignty. He

was a member of Congress at the time the Federal Articles were formed. The injustice of allowing each state an equal vote was long insisted on. He voted for it, but it was against his judgment, and under the pressure of public danger,

and the obstinacy of the lesser states. The present Confederation he considered as dissolving. The fate of the Union will be decided by the Convention. If they do not agree on something, few delegates will probably be appointed to

Congress. If they do, Congress will probably be kept up till the new system should be adopted. He lamented that, instead of coming here like a band of brothers, belonging to the same family, we seemed to have brought with us the spirit

of political negotiators.

Mr. L. MARTIN remarked, that the language of the states being sovereign and independent, was once familiar and understood; though it seemed now so strange and obscure. He read those passages in the Articles of Confederation which

describe them in that language.

On the question, as moved by Mr. Lansing, shall the word “not” be struck out,—

Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, ay, 4; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 6; Maryland, divided.

On the motion to agree to the clause as reported, “that the rule of suffrage in the first branch ought not to be according to that established by the Articles of the Confederation,”—

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 6; Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, no, 4; Maryland, divided.

Dr. JOHNSON and Mr. ELLSWORTH moved to postpone the residue of the clause, and take up the eighth resolution.

On the question,—

Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; Massachusetts, Delaware, no, 2.

Mr. ELLSWORTH moved, “that the rule of suffrage in the second branch be the same with that established by the Articles of Confederation.” He was not sorry, on the whole, he said, that the vote just passed had determined against this

rule in the first branch. He hoped it would become a ground of compromise with regard to the second branch. We were partly national, partly federal. The proportional representation in the first branch was conformable to the national

principle, and would secure the large states against the small. An equality of voices was conformable to the federal principle, and was necessary to secure the small states against the large. He trusted that on this middle ground a

compromise would take place. He did not see that it could on any other, and if no compromise should take place, our meeting would not only be in vain, but worse than in vain. To the eastward, he was sure Massachusetts was the only

state that would listen to a proposition for excluding the states, as equal political societies, from an equal voice in both branches. The others would risk every consequence rather than part with so dear a right. An attempt to deprive

them of it was at once cutting the body of America in two, and, as he supposed would be the case, somewhere about this part of it. The large states, he conceived, would, notwithstanding the equality of votes, have an influence that

would maintain their superiority. Holland, as had been admitted, (by Mr. Madison,) had, notwithstanding a like equality in the Dutch confederacy, a prevailing influence in the public measures. The power of self-defence was essential to

the small states. Nature had given it to the smallest insect of the creation. He could never admit that there was no danger of combinations among the large states. They will, like individuals, find out and avail themselves of the

advantage to be gained by it. It was true the danger would be greater if they were contiguous, and had a more immediate and common interest. A defensive combination of the small states was rendered more difficult by their greater

number. He would mention another consideration of great weight. The existing Confederation was founded on the equality of the states in the article of suffrage,—was it meant to pay no regard to this antecedent plighted faith? Let a

strong executive, a judiciary, and legislative power, be created, but let not too much be attempted, by which all may be lost. He was not in general a half-way man, yet he preferred doing half the good we could, rather than do nothing

at all. The other half may be added when the necessity shall be more fully experienced.

Mr. BALDWIN could have wished that the powers of the general legislature had been defined, before the mode of constituting it had been agitated. He should vote against the motion of Mr. Ellsworth, though he did not like the resolution

as it stood in the report of the Committee of the Whole. He thought the second branch ought to be the representation of property, and that, in forming it, therefore, some reference ought to be had to the relative wealth of their

constituents, and to the principles on which the senate of Massachusetts was constituted. He concurred with those who thought it would be impossible for the general legislature to extend its cares to the local matters of the states.





In Convention. —Mr. BREARLY moved that the president write to the executive of New Hampshire, informing it that the business depending before the Convention was of such a nature as to require the immediate attendance of the deputies of

that state. In support of his motion, he observed, that the difficulties of the subject, and the diversity of opinions, called for all the assistance we could possibly obtain. (It was well understood that the object was to add New

Hampshire to the number of states opposed to the doctrine of proportional representation, which it was presumed, from her relative size, she must be adverse to.)

Mr. PATTERSON seconded the motion.

Mr. RUTLEDGE could see neither the necessity nor propriety of such a measure. They are not unapprized of the meeting, and can attend if they choose. Rhode Island might as well be urged to appoint and send deputies. Are we to suspend

the business until the deputies arrive? If we proceed, he hoped all the great points would be adjusted before the letter could produce its effect.

Mr. KING said he had written more than once as a private correspondent, and the answer gave him every reason to expect that state would be represented very shortly, if it should be so at all. Circumstances of a personal nature had

hitherto prevented it. A letter could have no effect.

Mr. WILSON wished to know, whether it would be consistent with the rule or reason of secrecy, to communicate to New Hampshire that the business was of such a nature as the motion described. It would spread a great alarm. Besides, he

doubted the propriety of soliciting any state on the subject, the meeting being merely voluntary.

On motion of Mr. Brearly,

New York, New Jersey, ay, 2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, no, 5; Maryland, divided. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, not on the floor. 155

The motion of Mr. Ellsworth being resumed, for allowing each state an equal vote in the second branch,—

Mr. WILSON did not expect such a motion after the establishment of the contrary principle in the first branch; and considering the reasons which would oppose it, even if an equal vote had been allowed in the first branch. The gentleman

from Connecticut (Mr. Ellsworth) had pronounced, that, if the motion should not be acceded to, of all the states north of Pennsylvania, one only would agree to any general government. He entertained more favorable hopes of Connecticut

and of the other Northern States. He hoped the alarms exceeded their cause, and that they would not abandon a country to which they were bound by so many strong and endearing ties. But should the deplored event happen, it would neither

stagger his sentiments nor his duty. If the minority of the people of America refuse to coalesce with the majority on just and proper principles, if a separation must take place, it could never happen on better grounds. The votes of

yesterday against the just principle of representation were as twenty-two to ninety of the people of America. Taking the opinions to be the same on this point,—and he was sure, if there was any room for change, it could not be on the

side of the majority,—the question will be, Shall less than one fourth of the United States withdraw themselves from the Union, or shall more than three fourths renounce the inherent, indisputable, and unalienable rights of men, in

favor of the artificial system of states? If issue must be joined, it was on this point he would choose to join it. The gentleman from Connecticut, in supposing that the preponderance secured to the majority in the first branch had

removed the objections to an equality of votes in the second branch, for the security of the minority, narrowed the case extremely. Such an equality will enable the minority to control, in all cases whatsoever, the sentiments and

interests of the majority. Seven states will control six: seven states, according to the estimates that had been used, composed twenty-four ninetieths of the whole people. It would be in the power, then, of less than one third to

overrule two thirds, whenever a question should happen to divide the states in that manner. Can we forget for whom we are forming a government? Is it for men, or for the imaginary beings called states? Will our honest constituents be

satisfied with metaphysical distinctions? Will they, ought they to, be satisfied with being told, that the one third compose the greater number of states? The rule of suffrage ought on every principle to be the same in the second as in

the first branch. If the government be not laid on this foundation, it can be neither solid nor lasting. Any other principle will be local, confined, and temporary. This will expand with the expansion, and grow with the growth, of the

United States. Much has been said of an imaginary combination of three states. Sometimes a danger of monarchy, sometimes of aristocracy, has been charged on it. No explanation, however, of the danger has been vouchsafed. It would be

easy to prove, both from reason and history, that rivalships would be more probable than coalitions; and that there are no coinciding interests that could produce the latter. No answer has yet been given to the observations of Mr.

Madison on this subject. Should the executive magistrate be taken from one of the large states, would not the other two be thereby thrown into the scale with the other states? Whence, then, the danger of monarchy? Are the people of the

three large states more aristocratic than those of the small ones? Whence, then, the danger of aristocracy from their influence? It is all a mere illusion of names. We talk of states, till we forget what they are composed of. Is a real

and fair majority the natural hotbed of aristocracy? It is a part of the definition of this species of government, or rather of tyranny, that the smaller number governs the greater. It is true that a majority of states in the second

branch cannot carry a law against a majority of the people in the first. But this removes half only of the objection. Bad governments are of two sorts,—first, that which does too little; secondly, that which does too much; that which

fails through weakness, and that which destroys through oppression. Under which of these evils do the United States at present groan? Under the weakness and inefficiency of its government. To remedy this weakness we have been sent to

this Convention. If the motion should be agreed to, we shall leave the United States fettered precisely as heretofore; with the additional mortification of seeing the good purposes of the fair representation of the people, in the first

branch, defeated in the second. Twenty-four will still control sixty-six. He lamented that such a disagreement should prevail on the point of representation; as he did not foresee that it would happen on the other point most contested,

the boundary between the general and the local authorities. He thought the states necessary and valuable parts of a good system.

Mr. ELLSWORTH. The capital objection of Mr. Wilson, “that the minority will rule the majority,” is not true. The power is given to the few to save them from being destroyed by the many. If an equality of votes had been given to them in

both branches, the objection might have had weight. Is it a novel thing that the few should have a check on the many? Is it not the case in the British constitution, the wisdom of which so many gentlemen have united in applauding? Have

not the House of Lords, who form so small a proportion of the nation, a negative on the laws, as a necessary defence of their peculiar rights against the encroachments of the commons? No instance of a confederacy has existed in which

an equality of voices has not been exercised by the members of it. We are running from one extreme to another. We are razing the foundations of the building, when we need only repair the roof. No salutary measure has been lost for want

of a majority of the states to favor it. If security be all that the great states wish for, the first branch secures them. The danger of combinations among them is not imaginary. Although no particular abuses could be foreseen by him,

the possibility of them would be sufficient to alarm him. But he could easily conceive cases in which they might result from such combinations. Suppose that, in pursuance of some commercial treaty or arrangement, three or four free

ports, and no more, were to be established, would not combinations be formed in favor of Boston, Philadelphia, and some port of the Chesapeake? A like concert might be formed in the appointment of the great offices. He appealed again

to the obligations of the federal pact, which was still in force, and which had been entered into with so much solemnity; persuading himself that some regard would still be paid to the plighted faith under which each state, small as

well as great, held an equal right of suffrage in the general councils. His remarks were not the result of partial or local views. The state he represented (Connecticut) held a middle rank. 156

Mr. MADISON did justice to the able and close reasoning of Mr. Ellsworth, but must observe that it did not always accord with itself. On another occasion, the large states were described by him as the aristocratic states, ready to

oppress the small. Now, the small are the House of Lords, requiring a negative to defend them against the more numerous Commons. Mr. Ellsworth had also erred in saying that no instance had existed in which confederated states had not

retained to themselves a perfect equality of suffrage. Passing over the German system, in which the king of Prussia has nine voices, he reminded Mr. Ellsworth of the Lycian confederacy, in which the component members had votes

proportioned to their importance, and which Montesquieu recommends as the fittest model for that form of government. Had the fact been as stated by Mr. Ellsworth, it would have been of little avail to him, or rather would have

strengthened the arguments against him; the history and fate of the several confederacies, modern as well as ancient, demonstrating some radical vice in their structure. In reply to the appeal of Mr. Ellsworth to the faith plighted in

the existing federal compact, he remarked, that the party claiming from others an adherence to a common engagement ought at least to be guiltless itself of a violation. Of all the states, however, Connecticut was perhaps least able to

urge this plea. Besides the various omissions to perform the stipulated acts, from which no state was free, the legislature of that state had, by a pretty recent vote, positively refused to pass a law for complying with the

requisitions of Congress, and had transmitted a copy of the vote to Congress. It was urged, he said, continually, that an equality of votes in the second branch was not only necessary to secure the small, but would be perfectly safe to

the large ones, whose majority in the first branch was an effectual bulwark. But, notwithstanding this apparent defence the majority of states might still injure the majority of the people. In the first place, they could obstruct the

wishes and interests of the majority. Secondly, they could extort measures repugnant to the wishes and interest of the majority. Thirdly, they could impose measures adverse thereto; as the second branch will probably exercise some

great powers, in which the first will not participate. He admitted that every peculiar interest, whether in any class of citizens, or any description of states, ought to be secured as far as possible. Wherever there is danger of

attack, there ought to be given a constitutional power of defence. But he contended that the states were divided into different interests, not by their difference of size, but by other circumstances; the most material of which resulted

partly from climate, but principally from the effects of their having, or not having, slaves. These two causes concurred in forming the great division of interests in the United States. It did not lie between the large and small

states. It lay between the northern and southern: and if any defensive power were necessary, it ought to be mutually given to these two interests. He was so strongly impressed with this important truth, that he had been casting about

in his mind for some expedient that would answer the purpose. The one which had occurred was, that, instead of proportioning the votes of the states, in both branches, to their respective numbers of inhabitants, computing the slaves in

the ratio of five to three, they should be represented in one branch according to the number of free inhabitants only; and in the other, according to the whole number, counting the slaves as free. By this arrangement the southern scale

would have the advantage in one House, and the northern in the other. He had been restrained from proposing this expedient by two considerations; one was his unwillingness to urge any diversity of interests on an occasion where it is

but too apt to arise of itself; the other was the inequality of powers that must be vested in the two branches, and which would destroy the equilibrium of interests.

Mr. ELLSWORTH assured the House, that, whatever might be thought of the representatives of Connecticut, the state was entirely federal in her disposition. He appealed to her great exertions, during the war, in supplying both men and

money. The muster-rolls would show she had more troops in the field than Virginia. If she had been delinquent, it had been from inability, and not more so than other states.

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Madison animadverted on the delinquency of the states; when his object required him to prove that the constitution of Congress was faulty. Congress is not to blame for the faults of the states. Their measures have been

right, and the only thing wanting has been a further power in Congress to render them effctual.

Mr. DAVIE was much embarrassed, and wished for explanations. The report of the committee, allowing the legislatures to choose the Senate, and establishing a proportional representation in it, seemed to be impracticable. There will,

according to this rule, be ninety members in the outset, and the number will increase as new states are added. It was impossible that so numerous a body could possess the activity and other qualities required in it. Were he to vote on

the comparative merits of the report, as it stood, and the amendment, he should be constrained to prefer the latter. The appointment of the Senate by electors, chosen by the people for that purpose, was, he conceived, liable to an

insuperable difficulty. The larger counties or districts, thrown into a general district, would certainly prevail over the smaller counties or districts, and merit in the latter would be excluded altogether. The report, therefore,

seemed to be right in referring the appointment to the legislatures, whose agency in the general system did not appear to him objectionable, as it did to some others. The fact was, that the local prejudices and interests, which could

not be denied to exist, would find their way into the national councils, whether the representatives should be chosen by the legislatures or by the people themselves. On the other hand, if a proportional representation was attended

with insuperable difficulties, the making the Senate the representative of the states looked like bringing us back to Congress again, and shutting out all the advantages expected from it. Under this view of the subject, he could not

vote for any plan for the Senate yet proposed. He thought that, in general, there were extremes on both sides. We were partly federal, partly national, in our union; and he did not see why the government might not in some respects

operate on the states, in others on the people.

Mr. WILSON admitted the question concerning the number of senators to be embarrassing. If the smallest states be allowed one, and the others in proportion, the Senate will certainly be too numerous. He looked forward to the time when

the smallest states will contain a hundred thousand souls at least. Let there be then one senator in each, for every hundred thousand souls, and let the states not having that number of inhabitants be allowed one. He was willing

himself to submit to this temporary concession to the small states; and threw out the idea as a ground of compromise.

Dr. FRANKLIN. The diversity of opinions turns on two points. If a proportional representation takes place, the small states contend that their liberties will be in danger. If an equality of votes is to be put in its place, the large

states say their money will be in danger. When a broad table is to be made, and the edges of planks do not fit, the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint. In like manner, here, both sides must part with some of their

demands, in order that they may join in some accommodating proposition. He had prepared one, which he would read, that it might lie on the table for consideration. The proposition was in the words following:

“That the legislatures of the several states shall choose and send an equal number of delegates, namely,—, who are to compose the second branch of the general legislature.

“That in all cases or questions wherein the sovereignty of individual states may be affected, or whereby their authority over their own citizens may be diminished, or the authority of the general government within the several states

augmented, each state shall have equal suffrage.

“That in the appointment of all civil officers of the general government, in the election of whom the second branch may by the constitution have part, each state shall have equal suffrage.

“That in fixing the salaries of such officers, and in all allowances for public services, and generally in all appropriations and dispositions of money to be drawn out of the general treasury, and in all laws for supplying that

treasury, the delegates of the several states shall have suffrage in proportion to the sums which their respective states do actually contribute to the treasury.”

Where a ship had many owners, this was the rule of deciding on her expedition. He had been one of the ministers from this country to France during the joint war, and would have been very glad if allowed a vote in distributing the money

to carry it on.

Mr. KING observed, that the simple question was, whether each state should have an equal vote in the second branch: that it must be apparent to those gentlemen who liked neither the motion for this equality, nor the report as it stood,

that the report was as susceptible of melioration as the motion: that a reform would be nugatory and nominal only, if we should make another Congress of the proposed Senate: that if the adherence to an equality of votes was fixed and

unalterable, there could not be less obstinacy on the other side; and that we were in fact cut asunder already, and it was in vain to shut our eyes against it: that he was, however, filled with astonishment, that, if we were convinced

that every man in America was secured in all his rights, we should be ready to sacrifice this substantial good to the phantom of state sovereignty: that his feelings were more harrowed and his fears more agitated for his country than

he could express: that he conceived this to be the last opportunity of providing for its liberty and happiness: that he could not, therefore, but repeat his amazement, that, when a just government, founded on a fair representation of

the people of America, was within our reach, we should renounce the blessing, from an attachment to the ideal freedom and importance of states: that should this wonderful illusion continue to prevail, his mind was prepared for every

event, rather than sit down under a government founded on a vicious principle of representation, and which must be as short-lived as it would be unjust. He might prevail on himself to accede to some such expedient as had been hinted by

Mr. Wilson; but he never could listen to an equality of votes, as proposed in the motion.

Mr. DAYTON. When assertion is given for proof, and terror substituted for argument, he presumed they would have no effect, however eloquently spoken. It should have been shown that the evils we have experienced have proceeded from the

equality, now objected to; and that the seeds of dissolution for the state governments are not sown in the general government. He considered the system on the table as a novelty, an amphibious monster; and was persuaded that it never

would be received by the people.

Mr. MARTIN would never confederate, if it could not be done on just principles.

Mr. MADISON would acquiesce in the concession hinted by Mr. Wilson, on condition that a due independence should be given to the Senate. The plan in its present shape makes the Senate absolutely dependent on the states. The Senate,

therefore, is only another edition of Congress. He knew the faults of that body, and had used a bold language against it. Still he would preserve the state rights as carefully as the trial by jury.

Mr. BEDFORD contended, that there was no middle way between a perfect consolidation and a mere confederacy of the states. The first is out of the question; and in the latter they must continue, if not perfectly, yet equally, sovereign.

If political societies possess ambition, avarice, and all the other passions which render them formidable to each other, ought we not to view them in this light here? Will not the same motives operate in America as elsewhere? If any

gentleman doubts it, let him look at the votes. Have they not been dictated by interest, by ambition? Are not the large states evidently seeking to aggrandize themselves at the expense of the small? They think, no doubt, that they have

right on their side, but interest had blinded their eyes. Look at Georgia. Though a small state at present, she is actuated by the prospect of soon being a great one. South Carolina is actuated both by present interest and future

prospects. She hopes, too, to see the other states cut down to her own dimensions. North Carolina has the same motives of present and future interest. Virginia follows. Maryland is not on that side of the question. Pennsylvania has a

direct and future interest. Massachusetts has a decided and palpable interest in the part she takes. Can it be expected that the small states will act from pure disinterestedness? Look at Great Britain. Is the representation there less

unequal? But we shall be told, again, that that is the rotten part of the constitution. Have not the boroughs, however, held fast their constitutional rights? And are we to act with greater purity than the rest of mankind? An exact

proportion in the representation is not preserved in any one of the states. Will it be said that an inequality of power will not result from an inequality of votes? Give the opportunity, and ambition will not fail to abuse it. The

whole history of mankind proves it. The three large states have a common interest to bind them together in commerce. But whether a combination, as we supposed, or a competition, as others supposed, shall take place among them, in

either case the small states must be ruined. We must, like Solon, make such a government as the people will approve. Will the smaller states ever agree to the proposed degradation of them? It is not true that the people will not agree

to enlarge the powers of the present Congress. The language of the people has been, that Congress ought to have the power of collecting an impost, and of coercing the states where it may be necessary. On the first point they have been

explicit, and, in a manner, unanimous in their declarations. And must they not agree to this, and similar measures, if they ever mean to discharge their engagements? The little states are willing to observe their engagements, but will

meet the large ones on no ground but that of the Confederation. We have been told, with a dictatorial air, that this is the last moment for a fair trial in favor of a good government. It will be the last, indeed, if the propositions

reported from the committee go forth to the people. He was under no apprehensions. The large states dare not dissolve the Confederation. If they do, the small ones will find some foreign ally, of more honor and good faith, who will

take them by the hand, and do them justice. He did not mean, by this, to intimidate or alarm. It was a natural consequence, which ought to be avoided by enlarging the federal powers, not annihilating the federal system. This is what

the people expect. All agree in the necessity of a more efficient government; and why not make such a one as they desire? 157

Mr. ELLSWORTH. Under a national government, he should participate in the national security, as remarked by Mr. King; but that was all. What he wanted was domestic happiness. The national government could not descend to the local

objects on which this depended. It could only embrace objects of a general nature. He turned his eyes, therefore, for the preservation of his rights, to the state governments. From these alone he could derive the greatest happiness he

expects in this life. His happiness depends on their existence, as much as a new-born infant on its mother for nourishment. If this reasoning was not satisfactory, he had nothing to add that could be so.

Mr. KING was for preserving the states in a subordinate degree, and as far as they could be necessary for the purposes stated by Mr. Ellsworth. He did not think a full answer had been given to those who apprehended a dangerous

encroachment on their jurisdictions. Expedients might be devised, as he conceived, that would give them all the security the nature of things would admit of. In the establishment of societies, the constitution was, to the legislature,

what the laws were to individuals. As the fundamental rights of individuals are secured by express provisions in the state constitutions, why may not a like security be provided for the rights of states in the national Constitution?

The articles of union between England and Scotland furnish an example of such a provision, in favor of sundry rights of Scotland. When that union was in agitation, the same language of apprehension which has been heard from the smaller

states was in the mouths of the Scotch patriots. The articles, however, have not been violated, and the Scotch have found an increase of prosperity and happiness. He was aware that this will be called a mere paper security. He thought

it a sufficient answer to say, that, if fundamental articles of compact are no sufficient defence against physical power, neither will there be any safety against it, if there be no compact. He could not sit down without taking some

notice of the language of the honorable gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. Bedford.) It was not he that had uttered a dictatorial language. This intemperance had marked the honorable gentleman himself. It was not he who, with a vehemence

unprecedented in that House, had declared himself ready to turn his hopes from our common country, and court the protection of some foreign hand. This, too, was the language of the honorable member himself. He was grieved that such a

thought had entered his heart. He was more grieved that such an expression had dropped from his lips. The gentleman could only excuse it to himself on the score of passion. For himself, whatever might be his distress, he would never

court relief from a foreign power.


MONDAY, July 2


In Convention. —On the question for allowing each state one vote in the second branch, as moved by Mr. Ellsworth, it was lost, by an equal division of votes,—

Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, (Mr. Jenifer not being present, Mr. Martin alone voted,) ay, 5; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, no, 5; Georgia, divided, (Mr. Baldwin, ay,

Mr. Houston, no.)

Mr. PINCKNEY thought an equality of votes in the second branch inadmissible. At the same time, candor obliged him to admit, that the large states would feel a partiality for their own citizens, and give them a preference in

appointments: that they might also find some common points in their commercial interests, and promote treaties favorable to them. There is a real distinction between the northern and southern interests. North Carolina, South Carolina

and Georgia, in their rice and indigo, had a peculiar interest, which might be sacrificed. How, then, shall the larger states be prevented from administering the general government as they please, without being themselves unduly

subjected to the will of the smaller? By allowing them some, but not a full, proportion. He was extremely anxious that something should be done, considering this as the last appeal to a regular experiment. Congress have failed in

almost every effort for an amendment of the federal system. Nothing has prevented a dissolution of it but the appointment of this Convention; and he could not express his alarms for the consequence of such an event. He read his motion

to form the states into classes, with an apportionment of senators among them. (See Article 4 of his plan—ante, p. 129.)

Gen. PINCKNEY was willing the motion might be considered. He did not entirely approve it. He liked better the motion of Dr. Franklin, (q. v. June 30, p. 266.) Some compromise seemed to be necessary, the states being exactly divided on

the question for an equality of votes in the second branch. He proposed that a committee consisting of a member from each state should be appointed to devise and report some compromise.

Mr. L. MARTIN had no objection to a commitment, but no modifications whatever could reconcile the smaller states to the least diminution of their equal sovereignty.

Mr. SHERMAN. We are now at a full stop; and nobody, he supposed, meant that we should break up without doing something. A committee he thought most likely to hit on some expedient.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS * thought a committee advisable, as the Convention had been equally divided. He had a stronger reason also. The mode of appointing the second branch tended, he was sure, to defeat the object of it. What is this

object? To check the precipitation, changeableness, and excesses, of the first branch. Every man of observation had seen in the democratic branches of the state legislatures, precipitation—in Congress, changeableness—in every

department, excesses against personal liberty, private property, and personal safety. What qualities are necessary to constitute a check in this case? Abilities and virtue are equally necessary in both branches. Something more, then,

is now wanted. In the first place the checking branch must have a personal interest in checking the other branch. One interest must be opposed to another interest. Vices, as they exist, must be turned against each other. In the second

place, it must have great personal property; it must have the aristocratic spirit; it must love to lord it through pride. Pride is, indeed, the great principle that actuates both the poor and the rich. It is this principle which in the

former resists, in the latter abuses, authority. In the third place, it should be independent. In religion, the creature is apt to forget its Creator. That it is otherwise in political affairs, the late debates here are an unhappy

proof. The aristocratic body should be as independent, and as firm, as the democratic. If the members of it are to revert to a dependence on the democratic choice, the democratic scale will preponderate. All the guards contrived by

America have not restrained the senatorial branches of the legislatures from a servile complaisance to the democratic. If the second branch is to be dependent, we are better without it. To make it independent, it should be for life. It

will then do wrong, it will be said. He believed so; he hoped so. The rich will strive to establish their dominion, and enslave the rest. They always did. They always will. The proper security against them is to form them into a

separate interest. The two forces will then control each other. Let the rich mix with the poor, and, in a commercial country, they will establish an obligarchy. Take away commerce, and the democracy will triumph. Thus it has been all

the world over. So it will be among us. Reason tells us we are but men; and we are not to expect any particular interference of Heaven in our favor. By thus combining, and setting apart, the aristocratic interest, the popular interest

will be combined against it. There will be a mutual check and mutual security. In the fourth place, an independence for life involves the necessary permanency. If we change our measures, nobody will trust us; and how avoid a change of

measures, but by avoiding a change of men? Ask any man if he confides in Congress—if he confides in the state of Pennsylvania—if he will lend his money, or enter into contract? He will tell you, no. He sees no stability. He can repose

no confidence. If Great Britain were to explain her refusal to treat with us, the same reasoning would be employed. He disliked the exclusion of the second branch from holding offices. It is dangerous. It is like the imprudent

exclusion of the military officers, during the war, from civil appointments. It deprives the executive of the principal source of influence. If danger be apprehended from the executive, what a left-handed way is this of obviating it!

If the son, the brother, or the friend, can be appointed, the danger may be even increased, as the disqualified father, c., can then boast of a disinterestedness which he does not possess. Besides, shall the best, the most able, the

most virtuous citizens, not be permitted to hold offices? Who then are to hold them? He was also against paying the senators. They will pay themselves, if they can. If they cannot, they will be rich, and can do without it. Of such the

second branch ought to consist; and none but such can compose it, if they are not to be paid. He contended, that the executive should appoint the Senate, and fill up vacancies. This gets rid of the difficulty in the present question.

You may begin with any ratio you please, it will come to the same thing. The members being independent, and for life, may be taken as well from one place as from another. It should be considered, too, how the scheme could be carried

through the states. He hoped there was strength of mind enough in this House to look truth in the face. He did not hesitate, therefore, to say that loaves and fishes must bribe the demagogues. They must be made to expect higher offices

under the general than the state governments. A Senate for life will be a noble bait. Without such captivating prospects, the popular leaders will oppose and defeat the plan. He perceived that the first branch was to be chosen by the

people of the states, the second by those chosen by the people. Is not here a government by the states—a government by compact between Virginia in the first and second branch, Massachusetts in the first and second branch, c.? This is

going back to mere treaty. It is no government at all. It is altogether dependent on the states, and will act over again the part which Congress has acted. A firm government alone can protect our liberties. He fears the influence of

the rich. They will have the same effect here as elsewhere, if we do not, by such a government, keep them within their proper spheres. We should remember that the people never act from reason alone. The rich will take the advantage of

their passions, and make these the instruments for oppressing them. The result of the contest will be a violent aristocracy, or a more violent despotism. The schemes of the rich will be favored by the extent of the country. The people

in such distant parts cannot communicate and act in concert. They will be the dupes of those who have more knowledge and intercourse. The only security against encroachments will be a select and sagacious body of men, instituted to

watch against them on all sides. He meant only to hint these observations, without grounding any motion on them.

Mr. RANDOLPH favored the commitment, though he did not expect much benefit from the expedient. He animadverted on the warm and rash language of Mr. Bedford on Saturday; reminded the small states that if the large states should combine,

some danger of which he did not deny, there would be a check in the revisionary power of the executive; and intimated that, in order to render this still more effectual, he would agree that, in the choice of an executive, each state

should have an equal vote. He was persuaded that two such opposite bodies as Mr. Morris had planned could never long coëxist. Dissensions would arise, as has been seen even between the senate and house of delegates in Maryland; appeals

would be made to the people; and in a little time commotions would be the result. He was far from thinking the large states could subsist of themselves, any more than the small; an avulsion would involve the whole in ruin; and he was

determined to pursue such a scheme of government as would secure us against such a calamity. 158

Mr. STRONG was for the commitment; and hoped the mode of constituting both branches would be referred. If they should be established on different principles, contentions would prevail, and there would never be a concurrence in

necessary measures.

Dr. WILLIAMSON. If we do not concede on both sides, our business must soon be at an end. He approved of the commitment supposing that, as the committee would be a smaller body, a compromise would be pursued with more coolness.

Mr. WILSON objected to the committee, because it would decide according to that very rule of voting which was opposed on one side. Experience in Congress had also proved the inutility of committees consisting of members from each


Mr. LANSING would not oppose the commitment, though expecting little advantage from it.

Mr. MADISON opposed the commitment. He had rarely seen any other effect than delay from such committees in Congress. Any scheme of compromise that could be proposed in the committee might as easily be proposed in the House; and the

report of the committee, where it contained merely the opinion of the committee, would neither shorten the discussion, nor influence the decision of the House.

Mr. GERRY was for the commitment. Something must be done, or we shall disappoint not only America, but the whole world. He suggested a consideration of the state we should be thrown into by the failure of the Union. We should be

without an umpire to decide controversies, and must be at the mercy of events. What, too, is to become of our treaties—what of our foreign debts—what of our domestic? We must make concessions on both sides. Without these, the

constitutions of the several states would never have been formed.

On the question for committing, generally,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; New Jersey, Delaware, no, 2.

On the question for committing it “to a member from each state,”—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 10; Pennsylvania, no, 1.

The committee, elected by ballot, were, Mr. Gerry, Mr. Ellsworth, Mr. Yates, Mr. Patterson, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Bedford, Mr. Martin, Mr. Mason, Mr. Davy, Mr. Rutledge, Mr. Baldwin.

That time might be given to the committee, and to such as choose to attend to the celebrations on the anniversary of Independence, the Convention adjourned till Thursday.



In Convention. —Mr. GERRY delivered in, from the committee appointed on Monday last, the following Report: 159

“The committee to whom was referred the eighth resolution of the report from the Committee of the whole House, and so much of the seventh as has not been decided on, submit the following report:—

“That the subsequent propositions be recommended to the Convention on condition that both shall be generally adopted.

“1. That, in the first branch of the legislature, each of the states now in the Union shall be allowed one member for every forty thousand inhabitants, of the description reported in the seventh resolution of the Committee of the whole

House: that each state not containing that number shall be allowed one member: that all bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the salaries of the officers of the government of the United States, shall originate in

the first branch of the legislature, and shall not be altered or amended by the second branch; and that no money shall be drawn from the public treasury but in pursuance of appropriations to be originated in the first branch.

“2. That, in the second branch, each state shall have an equal vote.” *

Mr. GORHAM observed, that, as the report consisted of propositions mutually conditional, he wished to hear some explanations touching the grounds on which the conditions were estimated.

Mr. GERRY. The committee were of different opinions, as well as the deputations from which the committee were taken; and agreed to the report merely in order that some ground of accommodation might be proposed. Those opposed to the

equality of votes have only assented conditionally; and if the other side do not generally agree, will not be under any obligation to support the report.

Mr. WILSON thought the committee had exceeded their powers.

Mr. MARTIN was for taking the question on the whole report.

Mr. WILSON was for a division of the question; otherwise, it would be a leap in the dark.

Mr. MADISON could not regard the privilege of originating money bills as any concession on the side of the small states. Experience proved that it had no effect. If seven states in the upper branch wished a bill to be originated, they

might surely find some member, from some of the same states in the lower branch, who would originate it. The restriction as to amendments was of as little consequence. Amendments could be handed privately by the Senate to members in

the other House. Bills could be negatived, that they might be sent up in the desired shape. If the Senate should yield to the obstinacy of the first branch, the use of that body, as a check, would be lost. If the first branch should

yield to that of the Senate, the privilege would be nugatory. Experience had also shown, both in Great Britain, and the states having a similar regulation, that it was a source of frequent and obstinate altercations. These

considerations had produced a rejection of a like motion on a former occasion, when judged by its own merits. It could not, therefore, be deemed any concession on the present, and left in force all the objections which had prevailed

against allowing each state an equal voice. He conceived that the Convention was reduced to the alternative of either departing from justice in order to conciliate the smaller states, and the minority of the people of the United

States, or of displeasing these, by justly gratifying the larger states and the majority of the people. He could not himself hesitate as to the option he ought to make. The Convention, with justice and a majority of the people on their

side, had nothing to fear. With injustice and the minority on their side, they had every thing to fear. It was in vain to purchase concord in the Convention on terms which would perpetuate discord among their constituents. The

Convention ought to pursue a plan which would bear the test of examination, which would be espoused and supported by the enlightened and impartial part of America, and which they could themselves vindicate and urge. It should be

considered that, although at first many may judge of the system recommended by their opinion of the Convention, yet finally all will judge of the Convention by the system. The me its of the system alone can finally and effectually

obtain the public suffrage. He was not apprehensive that the people of the small states would obstinately refuse to accede to a government founded on just principles, and promising them substantial protection. He could not suspect that

Delaware would brave the consequences of seeking her fortunes apart from the other states, rather than submit to such a government; much less could he suspect that she would pursue the rash policy of courting foreign support, which the

warmth of one of her representatives (Mr. Bedford) had suggested; or, if she should, that any foreign nation would be so rash as to hearken to the overture. As little could he suspect that the people of New Jersey, notwithstanding the

decided tone of the gentleman from that state, would choose rather to stand on their own legs, and bid defiance to events, than to acquiesce under an establishment founded on principles, the justice of which they could not dispute, and

absolutely necessary to redeem them from the exactions levied on them by the commerce of the neighboring states. A review of other states would prove that there was as little reason to apprehend an inflexible opposition elsewhere.

Harmony in the Convention was, no doubt, much to be desired. Satisfaction to all the states, in the first instance, still more so. But if the principal states, comprehending a majority of the people of the United States, should concur

in a just and judicious plan, he had the firmest hopes that all the other states would by degrees accede to it.

Mr. BUTLER said, he could not let down his idea of the people of America so far as to believe they would, from mere respect to the Convention, adopt a plan evidently unjust. He did not consider the privilege concerning money bills as

of any consequence. He urged that the second branch ought to represent the states according to their property.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought the form as well as the matter of the report objectionable. It seemed, in the first place, to render amendment impracticable. In the next place, it seemed to involve a pledge to agree to the second part,

if the first should be agreed to. He conceived the whole aspect of it to be wrong. He came here as a representative of America; he flattered himself he came here in some degree as a representative of the whole human race; for the whole

human race will be affected by the proceedings of this Convention. He wished gentlemen to extend their views beyond the present moment of time; beyond the narrow limits of place from which they derive their political origin. If he were

to believe some things which he had heard, he should suppose that we were assembled to truck and bargain for our particular states. He cannot descend to think that any gentlemen are really actuated by these views. We must look forward

to the effects of what we do. These alone ought to guide us. Much has been said of the sentiments of the people. They were unknown. They could not be known. All that we can infer is, that, if the plan we recommend be reasonable and

right, all who have reasonable minds and sound intentions will embrace it, notwithstanding what had been said by some gentlemen. Let us suppose that the larger states shall agree, and that the smaller refuse; and let us trace the

consequences. The opponents of the system in the smaller states will no doubt make a party: and a noise, for a time; but the ties of interest, of kindred, and of common habits, which connect them with other states, will be too strong

to be easily broken. In New Jersey, particularly, he was sure a great many would follow the sentiments of Pennsylvania and New York. This country must be united. If persuasion does not unite it, the sword will. He begged this

consideration might have its due weight. The scenes of horror attending civil commotion cannot be described; and the conclusion of them will be worse than the term of their continuance. The stronger party will then make traitors of the

weaker; and the gallows and halter will finish the work of the sword. How far foreign powers would be ready to take part in the confusions, he would not say. Threats that they will be invited have, it seems, been thrown out. He drew

the melancholy picture of foreign intrusions, as exhibited in the history of Germany, and urged it as a standing lesson to other nations. He trusted that the gentlemen who may have hazarded such expressions did not entertain them till

they reached their own lips. But, returning to the report, he could not think it in any respect calculated for the public good. As the second branch is now constituted, there will be constant disputes and appeals to the states, which

will undermine the general government, and control and annihilate the first branch. Suppose that the delegates from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, in the upper house, disagree, and that the former are outvoted. What results? They will

immediately declare that their state will not abide by the decision, and make such representations as will produce that effect. The same may happen as to Virginia and other states. Of what avail, then, will be what is on paper? State

attachments, and state importance, have been the bane of this country. We cannot annihilate, but we may perhaps take out the teeth of, the serpents. He wished our ideas to be enlarged to the true interest of man, instead of being

circumscribed within the narrow compass of a particular spot. And, after all, how little can be the motive yielded by selfishness for such a policy! Who can say whether he himself, much less whether his children, will the next year be

an inhabitant of this or that state?

Mr. BEDFORD. He found that what he had said, as to the small states being taken by the hand, had been misunderstood,—and he rose to explain. He did not mean that the small states would court the aid and interposition of foreign powers.

He meant that they would not consider the federal compact as dissolved until it should be so by the acts of the large states. In this case, the consequence of the breach of faith on their part, and the readiness of the small states to

fulfil their engagements, would be, that foreign nations having demands on this country would find it their interest to take the small states by the hand, in order to do themselves justice. This was what he meant. But no man can

foresee to what extremities the small states may be driven by oppression. He observed, also, in apology, that some allowance ought to be made for the habits of his profession, in which warmth was natural and sometimes necessary. But is

there not an apology in what was said by (Mr. Gouverneur Morris,) that the sword is to unite—by Mr. Gorham, that Delaware must be annexed to Pennsylvania, and New Jersey divided between Pennsylvania and New York? To hear such language

without emotion, would be to renounce the feelings of a man and the duty of a citizen. As to the propositions of the committee, the lesser states have thought it necessary to have a security somewhere. This has been thought necessary

for the executive magistrate of the proposed government, who has a sort of negative on the laws; and is it not of more importance that the states should be protected than that the executive branch of the government should be protected?

In order to obtain this, the smaller states have conceded as to the constitution of the first branch, and as to money bills. If they be not gratified by correspondent concessions, as to the second branch, is it to be supposed they will

ever accede to the plan? And what will be the consequence if nothing should be done? The condition of the United States requires that something should be immediately done. It will be better that a defective plan should be adopted, than

that none should be recommended. He saw no reason why defects might not be supplied by meetings ten, fifteen, or twenty years hence.

Mr. ELLSWORTH said, he had not attended the proceedings of the committee, but was ready to accede to the compromise they had reported. Some compromise was necessary; and he saw none more convenient or reasonable.

Mr. WILLIAMSON hoped that the expressions of individuals would not be taken for the sense of their colleagues, much less of their states, which was not and could not be known. He hoped, also, that the meaning of those expressions would

not be misconstrued or exaggerated. He did not conceive that (Mr. Gouverneur Morris) meant that the sword ought to be drawn against the smaller states. He only pointed out the probable consequences of anarchy in the United States. A

similar exposition ought to be given of the expressions of (Mr. Gorham). He was ready to hear the report discussed; but thought the propositions contained in it the most objectionable of any he had yet heard.

Mr. PATTERSON said, that he had, when the report was agreed to in the committee, reserved to himself the right of freely discussing it. He acknowledged that the warmth complained of was improper; but he thought the sword and the

gallows little calculated to produce conviction. He complained of the manner in which Mr. Madison and Mr. G. Morris had treated the small states.

Mr. GERRY. Though he had assented to the report in the committee, he had very material objections to it. We were, however, in a peculiar situation. We were neither the same nation, nor different nations. We ought not, therefore, to

pursue the one or the other of these ideas too closely. If no compromise should take place, what will be the consequence? A secession, he foresaw, would take place; for some gentlemen seemed decided on it. Two different plans will be

proposed, and the result no man could foresee. If we do not come to some agreement among ourselves, some foreign sword will probably do the work for us.

Mr. MASON. The report was meant not as specific propositions to be adopted, but merely as a general ground of accommodation. There must be some accommodation on this point, or we shall make little further progress in the work.

Accommodation was the object of the House in the appointment of the committee, and of the committee in the report they had made. And, however liable the report might be to objections, he thought it preferable to an appeal to the world

by the different sides, as had been talked of by some gentlemen. It could not be more inconvenient to any gentleman to remain absent from his private affairs than it was for him; but he would bury his bones in this city rather than

expose his country to the consequences of a dissolution of the Convention without any thing being done.

The first proposition in the report for fixing the representation in the first branch, “one member for every forty thousand inhabitants,” being taken up,—

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS objected to that scale of approtionment. He thought property ought to be taken into the estimate as well as the number of inhabitants. Life and liberty were generally said to be of more value than property. An

accurate view of the matter would, nevertheless, prove that property was the main object of society. The savage state was more favorable to liberty than the civilized; and sufficiently so to life. It was preferred by all men who had

not acquired a taste for property; it was only renounced for the sake of property, which could only be secured by the restraints of regular government. These ideas might appear to some new, but they were nevertheless just. If property,

then, was the main object of government, certainly it ought to be one measure of the influence due to those who were to be affected by the government. He looked forward, also, to that range of new states which would soon be formed in

the West. He thought the rule of representation ought to be so fixed, as to secure to the Atlantic States a prevalence in the national councils. The new states will know less of the public interest than these; will have an interest in

many respects different; in particular, will be little scrupulous of involving the community in wars, the burdens and operations of which would fall chiefly on the maritime states. Provision ought, therefore, to be made to prevent the

maritime states from being hereafter outvoted by them. He thought this might be easily done, by irrevocably fixing the number of representatives which the Atlantic States should respectively have, and the number which each new state

will have. This would not be unjust, as the western settlers would previously know the conditions on which they were to possess their lands. It would be politic, as it would recommend the plan to the present, as well as future,

interest of the states which must decide the fate of it.

Mr. RUTLEDGE. The gentleman last up had spoken some of his sentiments precisely. Property was certainly the principal object of society. If numbers should be made the rule of representation, the Atlantic States would be subjected to

the Western. He moved that the first proposition in the report be postponed, in order to take up the following, viz.:

“That the suffrages of the several states be regulated and proportioned according to the sums to be paid towards the general revenue by the inhabitants of each state respectively: that an apportionment of suffrages, according to the

ratio aforesaid, shall be made and regulated at the end of—years from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States, and at the end of every—years; but that for the present, and until the period above mentioned, the

suffrages shall be for New Hampshire—, for Massachusetts—, c.”

Col. MASON said, the case of new states was not unnoticed in the committee: but it was thought, and he was himself decidedly of opinion, that if they made a part of the Union, they ought to be subject to no unfavorable discriminations.

Obvious considerations required it.

Mr. RANDOLPH concurred with Mr. Mason.

On the question on Mr. Rutledge’s motion,—

South Carolina, ay, 1; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no, 9; Georgia, not on the floor.


FRIDAY, July 6


In Convention. —Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to commit so much of the report as relates to “one member for every forty thousand inhabitants.” His view was, that they might absolutely fix the number for each state in the first instance;

leaving the legislature at liberty to provide for changes in the relative importance of the states, and for the case of new states.

Mr. WILSON seconded the motion; but with a view of leaving the committee under no implied shackles.

Mr. GORHAM apprehended great inconvenience from fixing directly the number of representatives to be allowed to each state. He thought the number of inhabitants the true guide; though perhaps some departure might be expedient from the

full proportion. The states, also, would vary in their relative extent by separations of parts of the largest states. A part of Virginia is now on the point of a separation. In the province of Maine, a convention is at this time

deliberating on a separation from Massachusetts. In such events, the number of representatives ought certainly to be reduced. He hoped to see all the states made small by proper divisions, instead of their becoming formidable, as was

apprehended, to the small states. He conceived, that, let the government be modified as it might, there would be a constant tendency in the state governments to encroach upon it; it was of importance, therefore, that the extent of the

states should be reduced as much, and as fast, as possible. The stronger the government shall be made in the first instance, the more easily will these divisions be effected; as it will be of less consequence, in the opinion of the

states, whether they be of great or small extent.

Mr. GERRY did not think, with his colleague, that the larger states ought to be cut up. This policy has been inculcated by the middling and small states, ungenerously, and contrary to the spirit of the Confederation. Ambitious men will

be apt to solicit needless divisions, till the states be reduced to the size of counties. If this policy should still actuate the small states, the large ones could not confederate safely with them; but would be obliged to consult

their safety by confederating only with one another. He favored the commitment, and thought that representation ought to be in the combined ratio of numbers of inhabitants and of wealth, and not of either singly.

Mr. KING wished the clause to be committed, chiefly in order to detach it from the report, with which it had no connection. He thought, also, that the ratio of representation proposed could not be safely fixed, since in a century and a

half our computed increase of population would carry the number of representatives to an enormous excess; that the number of inhabitants was not the proper index of ability and wealth; that property was the primary object of society;

and that, in fixing a ratio, this ought not to be excluded from the estimate. With regard to new states, he observed, that there was something peculiar in the business, which had not been noticed. The United States were now admitted to

be proprietors of the country 160 north-west of the Ohio. Congress, by one of their ordinances, have impoliticly laid it out into ten states, and have made it a fundamental article of compact with those who may become settlers, that,

as soon as the number in any one state shall equal that of the smallest of the thirteen original states, it may claim admission into the Union. Delaware does not contain, it is computed, more than thirty-five thousand souls; and, for

obvious reasons, will not increase much for a considerable time. It is possible, then, that, if this plan be persisted in by Congress, ten new votes may be added, without a greater addition of inhabitants than are represented by the

single vote of Pennsylvania. The plan, as it respects one of the new states, is already irrevocable—the sale of the lands having commenced, and the purchasers and settlers will immediately become entitled to all the privileges of the


Mr. BUTLER agreed to the commitment, if the committee were to be left at liberty. He was persuaded that, the more the subject was examined, the less it would appear that the number of inhabitants would be a proper rule of proportion.

If there were no other objection, the changeableness of the standard would be sufficient. He concurred with those who thought some balance was necessary between the old and the new states. He contended strenuously, that property was

the only just measure of representation. This was the great object of government; the great cause of war; the great means of carrying it on.

Mr. PINCKNEY saw no good reason for committing. The value of land had been found, on full investigation, to be an impracticable rule. The contributions of revenue, including imports and exports, must be too changeable in their amount;

too difficult to be adjusted; and too injurious to the non-commercial states. The number of inhabitants appeared to him the only just and practicable rule. He thought the blacks ought to stand on an equality with the whites; but would

agree to the ratio settled by Congress. He contended that Congress had no right, under the Articles of Confederation, to authorize the admission of new states, no such case having been provided for.

Mr. DAVY was for committing the clause, in order to get at the merits of the question arising on the report. He seemed to think that wealth or property ought to be represented in the second branch; and numbers in the first branch.

On the motion for committing, as made by Mr. Gouverneur Morris,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 7; New York, New Jersey, Delaware, no, 3; Maryland, divided.

The members appointed by ballot were Mr. Gouverneur Morris, Mr. Gorham, Mr. Randolph, Mr. Rutledge, Mr. King.

Mr. WILSON signified, that his view in agreeing to the commitment was, that the committee might consider the propriety of adopting a scale similar to that established by the constitution of Massachusetts, which would give an advantage

to the small states without substantially departing from the rule of proportion.

Mr. WILSON and Mr. MASON moved to postpone the clause relating to money bills, in order to take up the clause relating to an equality of votes in the second branch.

On the question of postponement,—

New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 8; Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, no, 3.

The clause relating to equality of votes being under consideration,—

Dr. FRANKLIN observed, that this question could not be properly put by itself, the committee having reported several propositions as mutual conditions of each other. He could not vote for it if separately taken; but should vote for the

whole together.

Col. MASON perceived the difficulty, and suggested a reference of the rest of the report to the committee just appointed, that the whole might be brought into one view.

Mr. RANDOLPH disliked the reference to that committee, as it consisted of members from states opposed to the wishes of the small states, and could not, therefore, be acceptable to the latter.

Mr. MARTIN and Mr. JENIFER moved to postpone the clause till the committee last appointed should report.

Mr. MADISON observed, that if the uncommitted part of the report was connected with the part just committed, it ought also to be committed; if not connected, it need not be postponed till report should be made.

On the question for postponing, moved by Mr. Martin and Mr. Jenifer,—

Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, ay, 6; Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, no, 3; Massachusetts, New York, divided.

The first clause, relating to the originating of money bills, was then resumed.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was opposed to a restriction of this right in either branch, considered merely in itself, and as unconnected with the point of representation in the second branch. It will disable the second branch from proposing

its own money plans, and giving the people an opportunity of judging, by comparison, of the merits of those proposed by the first branch.

Mr. WILSON could see nothing like a concession here on the part of the smaller states. If both branches were to say yes or no, it was of little consequence which should say yes or no first, which last. If either was, indiscriminately,

to have the right of originating, the reverse of the report would, he thought, be most proper; since it was a maxim, that the least numerous body was the fittest for deliberation—the most numerous, for decision. He observed that this

discrimination had been transcribed from the British into several American constitutions. But he was persuaded that, on examination of the American experiments, it would be found to be a “trifle light as air.” Nor could he ever

discover the advantage of it in the parliamentary history of Great Britain. He hoped, if there was any advantage in the privilege, that it would be pointed out.

Mr. WILLIAMSON thought, that if the privilege were not common to both branches, it ought rather to be confined to the second, as the bills in that case would be more narrowly watched than if they originated with the branch having most

of the popular confidence.

Mr. MASON. The consideration which weighed with the committee was, that the first branch would be the immediate representatives of the people; the second would not. Should the latter have the power of giving away the people’s money,

they might soon forget the source from whence they received it. We might soon have an aristocracy. He had been much concerned at the principles which had been advanced by some gentlemen, but had the satisfaction to find they did not

generally prevail. He was a friend to proportional representation in both branches; but supposed that some points must be yielded for the sake of accommodation.

Mr. WILSON. If he had proposed that the second branch should have an independent disposal of public money, the observations of (Col. Mason) would have been a satisfactory answer. But nothing could be farther from what he had said. His

question was, how is the power of the first branch increased, or that of the second diminished, by giving the proposed privilege to the former? Where is the difference, in which branch it begins, if both must concur in the end?

Mr. GERRY would not say that the concession was a sufficient one on the part of the small states. But he could not but regard it in the light of a concession. It would make it a constitutional principle, that the second branch were not

possessed of the confidence of the people in money matters, which would lessen their weight and influence. In the next place, if the second branch were dispossessed of the privilege, they would be deprived of the opportunity which

their continuance in office three times as long as the first branch would give them, of making three successive essays in favor of a particular point.

Mr. PINCKNEY thought it evident that the concession was wholly on one side, that of the large states; the privilege of originating money bills being of no account.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS had waited to hear the good effects of the restriction. As to the alarm sounded, of an aristocracy, his creed was, that there never was, nor ever will be, a civilized society without an aristocracy. His endeavor

was, to keep it as much as possible from doing mischief. The restriction, if it has any real operation, will deprive us of the services of the second branch in digesting and proposing money bills, of which it will be more capable than

the first branch. It will take away the responsibility of the second branch, the great security for good behavior. It will always leave a plea, as to an obnoxious money bill, that it was disliked, but 161 could not be constitutionally

amended, nor safely rejected. It will be a dangerous source of disputes between the two Houses. We should either take the British constitution altogether, or make one for ourselves. The executive there has dissolved two Houses, as the

only cure for such disputes. Will our executive be able to apply such a remedy? Every law, directly or indirectly, takes money out of the pockets of the people. Again, what use may be made of such a privilege in case of great

emergency! Suppose an enemy at the door, and money instantly and absolutely necessary for repelling him,—may not the popular branch avail itself of this duress, to extort concessions from the Senate, destructive of the constitution

itself? He illustrated this danger by the example of the Long Parliament’s expedients for subverting the House of Lords; concluding, on the whole, that the restriction would be either useless or pernicious.

Dr. FRANKLIN did not mean to go into a justification of the report; but as it had been asked what would be the use of restraining the second branch from meddling with money bills, he could not but remark, that it was always of

importance that the people should know who had disposed of their money, and how it had been disposed of. It was a maxim, that those who feel can best judge. This end would, he thought, be best attained, if money affairs were to be

confined to the immediate representatives of the people. This was his inducement to concur in the report. As to the danger or difficulty that might arise from a negative in the second branch, where the people would not be

proportionally represented, it might easily be got over by declaring that there should be no such negative; or, if that will not do, by declaring that there shall be no such branch at all.

Mr. MARTIN said, that it was understood, in the committee, that the difficulties and disputes which had been apprehended, should be guarded against in the detailing of the plan.

Mr. WILSON. The difficulties and disputes will increase with the attempts to define and obviate them. Queen Anne was obliged to dissolve her Parliament in order to terminate one of these obstinate disputes between the two Houses. Had

it not been for the mediation of the crown, no one can say what the result would have been. The point is still sub judice in England. He approved of the principles laid down by the honorable president, * (Dr. Franklin,) his colleague,

as to the expediency of keeping the people informed of their money affairs; but thought they would know as much, and be as well satisfied, in one way as in the other.

Gen. PINCKNEY was astonished that this point should have been considered as a concession. He remarked, that the restriction as to money bills had been rejected on the merits, singly considered, by eight states against three; and that

the very states which now called it a concession were then against it, as nugatory or improper in itself.

On the question whether the clause relating to money bills, in the report of the committee consisting of a member from each state should stand as part of the report,—

Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, ay, 5, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, no, 3; Massachusetts, New York, Georgia, divided.

A question was then raised, whether the question was carried in the affirmative; there being but five ayes, out of eleven states, present. For the words of the rule, see May 28.

On this question,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; New York, Virginia, no, 2.

(In several preceding instances, like votes had sub silentio been entered as decided in the affirmative.)




In Convention. —The question, Shall the clause, “allowing each state one vote in the second branch, stand as part of the report,” being taken up,—

Mr. GERRY. This is the critical question. He had rather agree to it than have no accommodation. A government short of a proper national plan, if generally acceptable, would be preferable to a proper one which, if it could be carried at

all, would operate on discontented states. He thought it would be best to suspend this question till the committee, appointed yesterday, should make report.

Mr. SHERMAN supposed that it was the wish of every one that some general government should be established. An equal vote in the second branch would, he thought, be most likely to give it the necessary vigor. The small states have more

vigor in their governments than the large ones; the more influence, therefore, the large ones have, the weaker will be the government. In the large states it will be most difficult to collect the real and fair sense of the people;

fallacy and undue influence will be practised with the most success; and improper men will most easily get into office. If they vote by states in the second branch, and each state has an equal vote, there must be always a majority of

states, as well as a majority of the people, on the side of public measures, and the government will have decision and efficacy. If this be not the case in the second branch, there may be a majority of states against public measures;

and the difficulty of compelling them to abide by the public determination will render the government feebler than it has ever yet been.

Mr. WILSON was not deficient in a conciliating temper, but firmness was sometimes a duty of higher obligation. Conciliation was also misapplied in this instance. It was pursued here rather among the representatives than among the

constituents; and it would be of little consequence if not established among the latter; and there could be little hope of its being established among them, if the foundation should not be laid in justice and right.

On the question, Shall the words stand as part of the report?—

Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, ay, 6; Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, no, 3; Massachusetts, Georgia, divided. *

Mr. GERRY thought it would be proper to proceed to enumerate and define the powers to be vested in the general government, before a question on the report should be taken as to the rule of representation in the second branch.

Mr. MADISON observed, that it would be impossible to say what powers could be safely and properly vested in the government, before it was known in what manner the states were to be represented in it. He was apprehensive that, if a just

representation were not the basis of the government, it would happen, as it did when the Articles of Confederation were depending, that every effectual prerogative would be withdrawn or withheld, and the new government would be

rendered as impotent and as short-lived as the old.

Mr. PATTERSON would not decide whether the privilege concerning money bills were a valuable consideration or not; but he considered the mode and rule of representation in the first branch as fully so; and that after the establishment

of that point, the small states would never be able to defend themselves without an equality of votes in the second branch. There was no other ground of accommodation. His resolution was fixed. He would meet the large states on that

ground, and no other. For himself, he should vote against the report, because it yielded too much.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. He had no resolution unalterably fixed except to do what should finally appear to him right. He was against the report because it maintained the improper constitution of the second branch. It made it another

Congress, a mere whisp of straw. It had been said (by Mr. Gerry) that the new government would be partly national, partly federal; that it ought, in the first quality, to protect individuals; in the second, the states. But in what

quality was it to protect the aggregate interest of the whole? Among the many provisions which had been urged, he had seen none for supporting the dignity and splendor of the American empire. It had been one of our greatest misfortunes

that the great objects of the nation had been sacrificed constantly to local views; in like manner as the general interest of states had been sacrificed to those of the counties. What is to be the check in the Senate? None; unless it

be to keep the majority of the people from injuring particular states. But particular states ought to be injured for the sake of a majority of the people, in case their conduct should deserve it. Suppose they should insist on claims

evidently unjust, and pursue them in a manne, detrimental to the whole body: suppose they should give themselves up to foreign influence: ought they to be protected in such cases? They were originally nothing more than colonial

corporations. On the declaration of independence, a government was to be formed. The small states, aware of the necessity of preventing anarchy, and 162 taking advantage of the moment, extorted from the large ones an equality of votes.

Standing now on that ground, they demand, under the new system, greater rights, as men, than their fellow-citizens of the large states. The proper answer to them is, that the same necessity, of which they formerly took advantage, does

not now exist; and that the large states are at liberty now to consider what is right, rather than what may be expedient. We must have an efficient government, and if there be an efficiency in the local governments, the former is

impossible. Germany alone proves it. Notwithstanding their common Diet, notwithstanding the great prerogatives of the emperor, as head of the empire, and his vast resources, as sovereign of his particular dominions, no union is

maintained; foreign influence disturbs every internal operation, and there is no energy whatever in the general government. Whence does this proceed? From the energy of the local authorities; from its being considered of more

consequence to support the Prince of Hesse than the happiness of the people of Germany. Do gentlemen wish this to be the case here? Good God, sir, is it possible they can so delude themselves? What—if all the charters and constitutions

of the states were thrown into the fire, and all their demagogues into the ocean—what would it be to the happiness of America? And will not this be the case here, if we pursue the train in which the business lies? We shall establish an

Aulic Council without an emperor to execute its decrees. The same circumstances which unite the people here, unite them in Germany. They have there a common language, a common law, common usages and manners, and a common interest in

being united; yet their local jurisdictions destroy every tie. The case was the same in the Grecian states. The United Netherlands are at this time torn in factions. With these examples before our eyes, shall we form establishments

which must necessarily produce the same effects? It is of no consequence from what districts the second branch shall be drawn, if it be so constituted as to yield an asylum against these evils. As it is now constituted, he must be

against its being drawn from the states in equal portions; but shall be ready to join in devising such an amendment of the plan, as will be most likely to secure our liberty and happiness.

Mr. SHERMAN and Mr. ELLSWORTH moved to postpone the question on the report from the committee of a member from each state, in order to wait for the report from the committee of five last appointed,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, ay, 6; New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 5.


MONDAY, July 9


In Convention. —Mr. Daniel Carroll, from Maryland, took his seat.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS delivered a report from the committee of five members, to whom was committed the clause in the report of the committee consisting of a member from each state, stating the proper ratio of representatives in the

first branch to be as one to every forty thousand inhabitants, as follows, viz:

“The committee to whom was referred the first clause of the first proposition reported from the grand committee, beg leave to report:

“That, in the first meeting of the legislature, the first branch thereof consist of fifty-six members, of which number New Hampshire shall have 2, Massachusetts, 7, Rhode Island, 1, Connecticut, 4, New York, 5, New Jersey, 3,

Pennsylvania, 8, Delaware, 1, Maryland, 4, Virginia, 9, North Carolina, 5, South Carolina, 5, Georgia, 2.

“But, as the present situation of the states may probably alter, as well in point of wealth as in the number of their inhabitants, that the legislature be authorized from time to time to augment the number of representatives. And in

case any of the states shall hereafter be divided, or any two or more states united, or any new states created within the limits of the United States, the legislature shall possess authority to regulate the number of representatives,

in any of the foregoing cases, upon the principles of their wealth and number of inhabitants.”

Mr. SHERMAN wished to know on what principles or calculations the report was founded. It did not appear to correspond with any rule of numbers, or of any requisition hitherto adopted by Congress.

Mr. GORHAM. Some provision of this sort was necessary in the outset. The number of blacks and whites, with some regard to supposed wealth, was the general guide. Fractions could not be observed. The legislature is to make alterations

from time to time, as justice and propriety may require. Two objections prevailed against the rule of one member for every forty thousand inhabitants. The first was, that the representation would soon be too numerous; the second, that

the Western States, who may have a different interest, might, if admitted on that principle, by degrees outvote the Atlantic. Both these objections are removed. The number will be small in the first instance, and may be continued so.

And the Atlantic States, having the government in their own hands, may take care of their own interest, by dealing out the right of representation in safe proportions to the Western States. These were the views of the committee.

Mr. L. MARTIN wished to know whether the committee were guided in the ratio by the wealth or number of inhabitants of the states, or both; noting its variations from former apportionments by Congress.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS and Mr. RUTLEDGE moved to postpone the first paragraph, relating to the number of members to be allowed each state in the first instance, and to take up the second paragraph, authorizing the legislature to alter

the number from time to time, according to wealth and inhabitants. The motion was agreed to, nem. con.

On the question on the second paragraph, taken without any debate,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; New York, New Jersey, no, 2.

Mr. SHERMAN moved to refer the first part, apportioning the representatives, to a committee of a member from each state.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion, observing that this was the only case in which such committees were useful.

Mr. WILLIAMSON thought it would be necessary to return to the rule of numbers, but that the Western States stood on different footing. If their property should be rated as high as that of the Atlantic States, then their representation

ought to hold a like proportion; otherwise, if their property was not to be equally rated.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. The report is little more than a guess. Wealth was not altogether disregarded by the committee. Where it was apparently in favor of one state, whose numbers were superior to the numbers of another by a fraction

only, a member extraordinary was allowed to the former, and so vice versa. The committee meant little more than to bring the matter to a point for the consideration of the House.

Mr. READ asked why Georgia was allowed two members, when her number of inhabitants had stood below that of Delaware.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. Such is the rapidity of the population of that state, that, before the plan takes effect, it will probably be entitled to two representatives.

Mr. RANDOLPH disliked the report of the committee, but had been unwilling to object to it. He was apprehensive that, as the number was not to be changed till the national legislature should please, a pretext would never be wanting to

postpone alterations, and keep the power in the hands of those possessed of it. He was in favor of the commitment to a member from each state.

Mr. PATTERSON considered the proposed estimate for the future, according to the combined rules of numbers and wealth, as too vague. For this reason New Jersey was against it. He could regard negro slaves in no light but as property.

They are no free agents, have no personal liberty, no faculty of acquiring property, but on the contrary are themselves property, and, like other property, entirely at the will of the master. Has a man in Virginia a number of votes in

proportion to the number of his slaves? and if negroes are not represented in the states to which they belong, why should they be represented in the general government? What is the true principle of representation? It is an expedient

by which an assembly of certain individuals, chosen by the people, is substituted in place of the inconvenient meeting of the people themselves. If such a meeting of the people was actually to take place, would the slaves vote? They

would not. Why then should they be represented? He was also against such an indirect encouragement of the slave trade, observing, that Congress, in their act relating to the change of the eighth article of Confederation, had been

ashamed to use the term “slaves,” and had substituted a description.

Mr. MADISON reminded Mr. Patterson that his doctrine of representation, which was, in its principle, the genuine one, must forever silence the pretensions of the small states to an equality of votes with the large ones. They ought to

vote in the same proportion in which their citizens would do if the people of all the states were collectively met. He suggested, as a proper ground of compromise, that, in the first branch, the states should be represented according

to their number of free inhabitants, and, in the second, which had, for one of its primary objects, the guardianship of property, according to the whole number, including slaves.

Mr. BUTLER urged warmly the justice and necessity of regarding wealth in the apportionment of representation.

Mr. KING had always expected that, as the Southern States are the richest, they would not league themselves with the Northern, unless some respect were paid to their superior wealth. If the latter expect those preferential distinctions

in commerce, and other advantages which they will derive from the connection, they must not expect to receive them without allowing some advantages in return. Eleven out of thirteen of the states had agreed to consider slaves in the

apportionment of taxation, and taxation and representation ought to go together.

On the question for committing the first paragraph of the report to a member from each state,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; New York, South Carolina, no, 2.

The committee appointed were Messrs. King, Sherman, Yates, Brearly, Gouverneur Morris, Read, Carroll, Madison, Williamson, Rutledge, Houston. Adjourned.

TUESDAY, July 10


In Convention. —Mr. KING reported, from the committee yesterday appointed, “that the states, at the first meeting of the general legislature, should be represented by sixty-five members, in the following proportions, to wit;

New Hampshire, by 3; Massachusetts, 8; Rhode Island, 1; Connecticut, 5; New York, 6; New Jersey, 4; Pennsylvania, 8; Delaware, 1; Maryland, 6; Virginia, 10; North Carolina, 5; South Carolina, 5; Georgia, 3.

Mr. RUTLEDGE moved that New Hampshire be reduced from three to two members. Her numbers did not entitle her to three, and it was a poor state.

Gen. PINCKNEY seconds the motion.

Mr. KING. New Hampshire has probably more than 120,000 inhabitants, and has an extensive country, of tolerable fertility. Its inhabitants may therefore be expected to increase fast. He remarked that the four Eastern States, having

800,000 souls, have one third fewer representatives than the four Southern States, having not more than 700,000 souls, rating the blacks as five for three. The eastern people will advert to these circumstances, and be dissatisfied. He

believed them to be very desirous of uniting with their southern brethren, but did not think it prudent to rely so far on that disposition as to subject them to any gross inequality. He was fully convinced that the question concerning

a difference of interests did not lie where it had hitherto been discussed, between the great and small states; but between the southern and eastern. For this reason he had been ready to yield something, in the proportion of

representatives, 163 for the security of the southern. No principle would justify the giving them a majority. They were brought as near an equality as was possible. He was not averse to giving them a still greater security, but did not

see how it could be done.

Gen. PINCKNEY. The report before it was committed was more favorable to the Southern States than as it now stands. If they are to form so considerable a minority, and the regulation of trade is to be given to the general government,

they will be nothing more than overseers for the Northern States. He did not expect the Southern States to be raised to a majority of representatives; but wished them to have something like an equality. At present, by the alterations

of the committee in favor of the Northern States, they are removed farther from it than they were before. One member, indeed, had been added to Virginia, which he was glad of, as he considered her as a Southern State. He was glad also

that the members of Georgia were increased.

Mr. WILLIAMSON was not for reducing New Hampshire from three to two, but for reducing some others. The southern interest must be extremely endangered by the present arrangement. The Northern States are to have a majority in the first

instance, and the means of perpetuating it.

Mr. DAYTON observed, that the line between northern and southern interest had been improperly drawn; that Pennsylvania was the dividing state, there being six on each side of her.

Gen. PINCKNEY urged the reduction; dwelt on the superior wealth of the Southern States, and insisted on its having its due weight in the government.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS regretted the turn of the debate. The states, he found, had many representatives on the floor. Few, he feared, were to be deemed the representatives of America. He thought the Southern States have, by the report,

more than their share of representation. Property ought to have its weight, but not all the weight. If the Southern States are to supply money, the Northern States are to spill their blood. Besides, the probable revenue to be expected

from the Southern States has been greatly overrated. He was against reducing New Hampshire.

Mr. RANDOLPH was opposed to a reduction of New Hampshire, not because she had a full title to three members, but because it was in his contemplation, first, to make it the duty, instead of leaving it to the discretion, of the

legislature, to regulate the representation by a periodical census; secondly, to require more than a bare majority of votes in the legislature, in certain cases, and particularly in commercial cases.

On the question for reducing New Hampshire from three to two representatives, it passed in the negative.

North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, no, 8. (In the printed Journal, North Carolina, no; Georgia, ay.)

164 Gen. PINCKNEY and Mr. ALEXANDER MARTIN moved that six representatives, instead of five, be allowed to North Carolina.

On the question, it passed in the negative.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 3; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, no, 7.

Gen. PINCKNEY and Mr. BUTLER made the same motion in favor of South Carolina.

On the question, it passed in the negative.

Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 4; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, no, 7.

Gen. PINCKNEY and Mr. HOUSTON moved that Georgia be allowed four instead of three representatives; urging the unexampled celerity of its population.

On the question, it passed in the negative.

Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 4; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, no, 7.

Mr. MADISON moved that the number allowed to each state be doubled. A majority of a quorum of sixty-five members was too small a number to represent the whole inhabitants of the United States. They would not possess enough of the

confidence of the people, and would be too sparsely taken from the people to bring with them all the local information which would be frequently wanted. Double the number will not be too great, even with the future additions from the

new states. The additional expense was too inconsiderable to be regarded in so important a case; and, as far as the augmentation might be unpopular on that score, the objection was overbalanced by its effect on the hopes of a greater

number of the popular candidates.

Mr. ELLSWORTH urged the objection of expense; and that the greater the number, the more slowly would the business proceed, and the less probably be decided as it ought, at last. He thought the number of representatives too great in

most of the state legislatures; and that a large number was less necessary in the general legislature than in those of the states; as its business would relate to a few great national objects only.

Mr. SHERMAN would have preferred fifty to sixty-five. The great distance they will have to travel will render their attendance precarious, and will make it difficult to prevail on a sufficient number of fit men to undertake the

service. He observed that the expected increase from new states also deserved consideration.

Mr. GERRY was for increasing the number beyond sixty-five. The larger the number, the less the danger of their being corrupted. The people are accustomed to, and fond of, a numerous representation; and will consider their rights as

better secured by it. The danger of excess in the number may be guarded against by fixing a point within which the numbers shall always be kept.

Col. MASON admitted, that the objection drawn from the consideration of expense had weight both in itself, and as the people 165166 might be affected by it. But he thought it outweighed by the objections against the smallness of the

number. Thirty-eight will he supposes, as being a majority of sixty-five, form a quorum. Twenty will be a majority of thirty-eight. This was certainly too small a number to make laws for America. They would neither bring with them all

the necessary information relative to various local interests, nor possess the necessary confidence of the people. After doubling the number, the laws might still be made by so few as almost to be objectionable on that account. Mr.

READ was in favor of the motion. Two of the states (Delaware and Rhode Island) would have but a single member if the aggregate number should remain at sixty-five; and, in case of accident, to either of these, one state would have no

representative present, to give explanations or informations of its interests or wishes. The people would not place their confidence in so small a number. He hoped the objects of the general government would be much more numerous than

seemed to be expected by some gentlemen, and that they would become more and more so. As to the new states, the highest number of representatives for the whole might be limited, and all danger of excess thereby prevented. Mr. RUTLEDGE

opposed the motion. The representatives were too numerous in all the states. The full number allotted to the states may be expected to attend, and the lowest possible quorum should not therefore be considered. The interests of their

constituents will urge their attendance too strongly for it to be omitted: and he supposed the general legislature would not sit more than six or eight weeks in the year.

On the question for doubling the number, it passed in the negative.

Delaware, Virginia, ay, 2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 9.

On the question for agreeing to the apportionment of representatives, as amended by the last committee, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 9; South Carolina, Georgia, no, 2.

Mr. BROOME gave notice to the house, that he had concurred, with a reserve to himself of an intention to claim for his state an equal voice in the second branch; which he thought could not be denied after this concession of the small

states as to the first branch.

Mr. RANDOLPH moved, as an amendment to the report of the committee of five, “that, in order to ascertain the alterations in the population and wealth of the several states, the legislature should be required to cause a census and

estimate to be taken within one year after its first meeting; and every—years thereafter; and that the legislature arrange the representation accordingly.”

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS opposed it, as fettering the legislature too much. Advantage may be taken of it in time of war or the apprehension of it, by new states, to extort particular favors. If the mode was to be fixed for taking a

census, it might certainly be extremely inconvenient: if unfixed, the legislature may use such a mode as will defeat the object, and perpetuate the inequality. He was always against such shackles on the legislature. They had been found

very pernicious in most of the state constitutions. He dwelt much on the danger of throwing such a preponderance into the western scale; suggesting that, in time, the western people would outnumber the Atlantic States. He wished

therefore to put it in the power of the latter to keep a majority of votes in their own hands. It was objected, he said, that, if the legislature are left at liberty, they will never reädjust the representation. He admitted that this

was possible, but he did not think it probable, unless the reasons against a revision of it were very urgent; and in this case it ought not to be done.

It was moved to postpone the proposition of Mr. Randolph, in order to take up the following, viz.: “that the committee of eleven, to whom was referred the report of the committee of five on the subject of representation, be requested

to furnish the Convention with the principles on which they grounded the report;” which was disagreed to,—South Carolina alone voting in the affirmative.




In Convention. —Mr. Randolph’s motion, requiring the legislature to take a periodical census, for the purpose of redressing inequalities in the representation, was resumed.

Mr. SHERMAN was against shackling the legislature too much. We ought to choose wise and good men, and then confide in them.

Mr. MASON. The greater the difficulty we find in fixing a proper rule of representation, the more unwilling ought we to be to throw the task from ourselves on the general legislature. He did not object to the conjectural ratio which

was to prevail in the outset; but considered a revision from time to time, according to some permanent and precise standard, as essential to the fair representation required in the first branch. According to the present population of

America, the northern part of it had a right to preponderate, and he could not deny it. But he wished it not to preponderate hereafter, when the reason no longer continued. From the nature of man, we may be sure that those who have

power in their hands will not give it up, while they can retain it. On the contrary, we know that they will always, when they can, rather increase it. If the Southern States, therefore, should have three fourths of the people of

America within their limits, the Northern will hold fast the majority of representatives. One fourth will govern the three fourths. The Southern States will complain; but they may complain from generation to generation without redress.

Unless some principle, therefore, which will do justice to them hereafter, shall be inserted in the Constitution, disagreeable as the declaration was to him, he must declare he could neither vote for the system here, nor support it in

his state. Strong objections had been drawn from the danger to the Atlantic interests 167 from new Western States. Ought we to sacrifice what we know to be right in itself, lest it should prove favorable to states which are not yet in

existence? If the Western States are to be admitted into the Union, as they arise, they must, he would repeat, be treated as equals, and subjected to no degrading discriminations. They will have the same pride, and other passions,

which we have; and will either not unite with, or will speedily revolt from, the Union, if they are not in all respects placed on an equal footing with their brethren. It has been said, they will be poor, and unable to make equal

contributions to the general treasury. He did not know but that, in time, they would be both more numerous and more wealthy than their Atlantic brethren. The extent and fertility of their soil made this probable; and though Spain might

for a time deprive them of the natural outlet for their productions, yet she will, because she must, finally yield to their demands. He urged that numbers of inhabitants, though not always a precise standard of wealth, was sufficiently

so for every substantial purpose.

Mr. WILLIAMSON was for making it a duty of the legislature to do what was right, and not leaving it at liberty to do or not to do it. He moved that Mr. Randolph’s propositions be postponed, in order to consider the following:—“that, in

order to ascertain the alterations that may happen in the population and wealth of the several states, a census shall be taken of the free white inhabitants, and three fifths of those of other descriptions, on the first year after this

government shall have been adopted, and every—year thereafter; and that the representation be regulated accordingly.”

Mr. RANDOLPH agreed that Mr. Williamson’s proposition should stand in place of his. He observed, that the ratio fixed for the first meeting was a mere conjecture; that it placed the power in the hands of that part of America which

could not always be entitled to it; that this power would not be voluntarily renounced; and that it was consequently the duty of the Convention to secure its renunciation, when justice might so require, by some constitutional

provisions. If equality between great and small states be inadmissible, because in that case unequal numbers of constituents would be represented by equal numbers of votes, was it not equally inadmissible, that a larger and more

populous district of America should hereafter have less representation than a smaller and less populous district? If a fair representation of the people be not secured, the injustice of the government will shake it to its foundations.

What relates to suffrage is justly stated, by the celebrated Montesquieu, as a fundamental article in republican governments. If the danger suggested by Mr. Gouverneur Morris be real, of advantage being taken of the legislature in

pressing moments, it was an additional reason for tying their hands in such a manner that they could not sacrifice their trust to momentary considerations. Congress have pledged the public faith, to new states, that they shall be

admitted on equal terms. They never would, nor ought to, accede on any other. The census must be taken under the direction of the general legislature. The states will be too much interested to take an impartial one for themselves.

Mr. BUTLER and Gen. PINCKNEY insisted that blacks be included in the rule of representation equally with the whites; and for that purpose moved that the words “three fifths” be struck out.

Mr. GERRY thought that three fifths of them was, to say the least, the full proportion that could be admitted.

Mr. GORHAM. This ratio was fixed by Congress as a rule of taxation. Then it was urged, by the delegates representing the states having slaves, that the blacks were still more inferior to freemen. At present, when the ratio of

representation is to be established, we are assured that they are equal to freemen. The arguments on the former occasion had convinced him that three fifths was pretty near the just proportion, and he should vote according to the same

opinion now.

Mr. BUTLER insisted, that the labor of a slave in South Carolina was as productive and valuable as that of a freeman in Massachusetts; that as wealth was the great means of defence and utility to the nation, they were equally valuable

to it with freemen; and that, consequently, an equal representation ought to be allowed for them in a government which was instituted principally for the protection of property, and was itself to be supported by property.

Mr. MASON could not agree to the motion, notwithstanding it was favorable to Virginia, because he thought it unjust. It was certain that the slaves were valuable, as they raised the value of land, increased the exports and imports,

and, of course, the revenue; would supply the means of feeding and supporting an army; and might, in cases of emergency, become themselves soldiers. As in these important respects they were useful to the community at large, they ought

not to be excluded from the estimate of representation. He could not, however, regard them as equal to freemen, and could not vote for them as such. He added, as worthy of remark, that the Southern States have this peculiar species of

property over and above the other species of property common to all the states.

Mr. WILLIAMSON reminded Mr. Gorham, that, if the Southern States contended for the inferiority of blacks to whites when taxation was in view, the Eastern States, on the same occasion, contended for their equality. He did not, however,

either then or now, concur in either extreme, but approved of the ratio of three fifths.

On Mr. BUTLER’S motion, for considering blacks as equal to whites in the apportionment of representation,—

Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 3; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no, 7; New York, not on the floor.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS said he had several objections to the proposition of Mr. Williamson. In the first place, it fettered the legislature too much. In the second place, it would exclude some states altogether, who would not have a

sufficient number to entitle them to a single representation. In the third place, it will not consist with the resolution passed on Saturday last, authorizing the legislature to adjust the representation, from time to time, on the

principles of population and wealth; nor with the principles of equity. If slaves were to be considered as inhabitants, not as wealth, then the said resolution would not be pursued; if as wealth, then, why is no other wealth but slaves

included? These objections may perhaps be removed by amendments. His great objection was, that the number of inhabitants was not a proper standard of wealth. The amazing difference between the comparative numbers and wealth of

different countries rendered all reasoning superfluous on the subject. Numbers might, with greater propriety, be deemed a measure of strength than of wealth; yet the late defence made by Great Britain against her numerous enemies

proved, in the clearest manner, that it is entirely fallacious even in this respect.

Mr. KING thought there was great force in the objections of Mr. Gouverneur Morris. He would, however, accede to the proposition, for the sake of doing something.

Mr. RUTLEDGE contended for the admission of wealth in the estimate by which representation should be regulated. The Western States will not be able to contribute in proportion to their numbers; they should not therefore be represented

in that proportion. The Atlantic States will not concur in such a plan. He moved that, “at the end of—years after the first meeting of the legislature, and of every—years thereafter, the legislature shall proportion the representation

according to the principles of wealth and population.”

Mr. SHERMAN thought the number of people alone the best rule for measuring wealth as well as representation; and that if the legislature were to be governed by wealth, they would be obliged to estimate it by numbers. He was at first

for leaving the matter wholly to the discretion of the legislature; but he had been convinced, by the observations of (Mr. Randolph and Mr. Mason), that the periods and the rule of revising the representation, ought to be fixed by the


Mr. READ thought, the legislature ought not to be too much shackled. It would make the Constitution, like religious creeds, embarrassing to those bound to conform to it, and more likely to produce dissatisfaction and schism than

harmony and union.

Mr. MASON objected to Mr. Rutledge’s motion, as requiring of the legislature something too indefinite and impracticable, and leaving them a pretext for doing nothing.

Mr. WILSON had himself no objection to leaving the legislature entirely at liberty, but considered wealth as an impracticable rule.

Mr. GORHAM. If the Convention, who are comparatively so little biased by local views, are so much perplexed, how can it be expected that the legislature hereafter, under the full bias of those views, will be able to settle a standard?

He was convinced, by the arguments of others and his own reflections, that the Convention ought to fix some standard or other.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. The arguments of others, and his own reflections, had led him to a very different conclusion. If we cannot agree on a rule that will be just at this time, how can we expect to find one that will be just in all

times to come? Surely, those who come after us will judge better of things present than we can of things future. He could not persuade himself that numbers would be a just rule at any time. The remarks of (Mr. Mason) relative to the

western country had not changed his opinion on that head. Among other objections, it must be apparent, they would not be able to furnish men equally enlightened, to share in the administration of our common interests. The busy haunts

of men, not the remote wilderness, was the proper school of political talents. If the western people get the power into their hands, they will ruin the Atlantic interests. The back members are always most averse to the best measures.

He mentioned the case of Pennsylvania formerly. The lower part of the state had the power in the first instance. They kept it in their own hands, and the country was the better for it. Another objection with him, against admitting the

blacks into the census, was, that the people of Pennsylvania would revolt at the idea of being put on a footing with slaves. They would reject any plan that was to have such an effect. Two objections had been raised against leaving the

adjustment of the representation, from time to time, to the discretion of the legislature. The first was, they would be unwilling to revise it at all. The second, that, by referring to wealth, they would be bound by a rule which, if

willing, they would be unable to execute. The first objection distrusts their fidelity. But if their duty, their honor, and their oaths, will not bind them, let us not put into their hands our liberty, and all our other great

interests; let us have no government at all. In the second place, if these ties will bind them, we need not distrust the practicability of the rule. It was followed in part by the committee in the apportionment of representatives

yesterday reported to the House. The best course that could be taken would be to leave the interests of the people to the representatives of the people.

Mr. MADISON was not a little surprised to hear this implicit confidence urged by a member who, on all occasions, had inculcated so strongly the political depravity of men, and the necessity of checking one vice and interest by opposing

to them another vice and interest. If the representatives of the people would be bound by the ties he had mentioned, what need was there of a Senate? What of a revisionary power? But his reasoning was not only inconsistent with his

former reasoning, but with itself. At the same time that he recommended this implicit confidence to the Southern States in the northern majority, he was still more zealous in exhorting all to a jealousy of a western majority. To

reconcile the gentleman with himself, it must be imagined that he determined the human character by the points of the compass. The truth was, that all men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. The case of

Pennsylvania had been mentioned, where it was admitted that those who were possessed of the power in the original settlement never admitted the new settlements to a due share of it. England was a still more striking example. The power

there had long been in the hands of the boroughs—of the minority—who had opposed and defeated every reform which had been attempted. Virginia was, in a less degree, another example. With regard to the Western States, he was clear and

firm in opinion that no unfavorable distinctions were admissible, either in point of justice or policy. He thought, also, that the hope of contributions to the treasury from them had been much underrated. Future contributions, it

seemed to be understood on all hands, would be principally levied on imports and exports. The extent and fertility of the western soil would, for a long time, give to agriculture a preference over manufactures. Trials would be repeated

till some articles could be raised from it that would bear a transportation to places where they could be exchanged for imported manufactures. Whenever the Mississippi should be opened to them, (which would, of necessity, be the case

as soon as their population would subject them to any considerable share of the public burden,) imposts on their trade could be collected with less expense and greater certainty than on that of the Atlantic States. In the mean time, as

their supplies must pass through the Atlantic States, their contributions would be levied in the same manner with those of the Atlantic States. He could not agree that any substantial objection lay against fixing numbers for the

perpetual standard of representation. It was said that representation and taxation were to go together; that taxation and wealth ought to go together; that population and wealth were not measures of each other. He admitted that, in

different climates, under different forms of government, and in different stages of civilization, the inference was perfectly just. He would admit that, in no situation, numbers of inhabitants were an accurate measure of wealth. He

contended, however, that in the United States it was sufficiently so for the object in contemplation. Although their climate varied considerably, yet, as the governments, the laws, and the manners, of all were nearly the same, and the

intercourse between different parts perfectly free, population, industry, arts, and the value of labor, would constantly tend to equalize themselves. The value of labor might be considered as the principal criterion of wealth, and

ability to support taxes, and this would find its level in different places, where the intercourse should be easy and free, with as much certainty as the value of money or any other thing. Wherever labor would yield most, people would

resort, till the competition should destroy the inequality. Hence it is that the people are constantly swarming from the more to the less populous places—from Europe to America—from the northern and middle parts of the United States to

the southern and western. They go where land is cheaper, because there labor is dearer. If it be true that the same quantity of produce raised on the banks of the Ohio is of less value than on the Delaware, it is also true that the

same labor will raise twice or thrice the quantity in the former, that it will raise in the latter, situation.

Col. MASON agreed with Mr. G. Morris, that we ought to leave the interests of the people to the representatives of the people; but the objection was, that the legislature would cease to be the representatives of the people. It would

continue so no longer than the states now containing a majority of the people should retain that majority. As soon as the southern and western population should predominate, which must happen in a few years, the power would be in the

hands of the minority, and would never be yielded to the majority, unless provided for by the Constitution.

On the question for postponing Mr. Williamson’s motion, in order to consider that of Mr. Rutledge, it passed in the negative,—

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 5; Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no, 5.

On the question on the first clause of Mr. Williamson’s motion, as to taking a census of the free inhabitants, it passed in the affirmative,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 6; Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 4.

The next clause, as to three fifths of the negroes, being considered,—

Mr. KING, being much opposed to fixing numbers as the rule of representation, was particularly so on account of the blacks. He thought the admission of them along with whites at all would excite great discontents among the states

having no slaves. He had never said, as to any particular point, that he would in no event acquiesce in and support it; but he would say that, if in any case such a declaration was to be made by him, it would be in this. He remarked

that, in the temporary allotment of representatives made by the committee, the Southern States had received more than the number of their white and three fifths of their black inhabitants entitled them to.

Mr. SHERMAN. South Carolina had not more beyond her proportion than New York and New Hampshire; nor either of them more than was necessary in order to avoid fractions, or reducing them below their proportion. Georgia had more, but the

rapid growth of that state seemed to justify it. In general, the allotment might not be just, but, considering all circumstances, he was satisfied with it.

Mr. GORHAM supported the propriety of establishing numbers as the rule. He said that in Massachusetts estimates had been taken in the different towns, and that persons had been curious enough to compare these estimates with the

respective numbers of people, and it had been found, even including Boston, that the most exact proportion prevailed between numbers and property. He was aware that there might be some weight in what had fallen from his colleague, as

to the umbrage which might be taken by the people of the Eastern States. But he recollected that, when the proposition of Congress for changing the eighth article of the Confederation was before the legislature of Massachusetts, the

only difficulty then was, to satisfy them that the negroes ought not to have been counted equally with the whites, instead of being counted in the ratio of three fifths only. *

Mr. WILSON did not well see on what principle the admission of blacks, in the proportion of three fifths, could be explained. Are they admitted as citizens—then why are they not admitted on an equality with white citizens? Are they

admitted as property—then why is not other property admitted into the computation? These were difficulties, however, which he thought must be overruled by the necessity of compromise. He had some apprehensions, also, from the tendency

of the blending of the blacks with the whites, to give disgust to the people of Pennsylvania, as had been intimated by his colleague, (Mr. Gouverneur Morris.) But he differed from him in thinking numbers of inhabitants so incorrect a

measure of wealth. He had seen the western settlements of Pennsylvania, and, on a comparison of them with the city of Philadelphia, could discover little other difference than that property was more unequally divided here than there.

Taking the same number in the aggregate, in the two situations, he believed there would be little difference in their wealth and ability to contribute to the public wants.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was compelled to declare himself reduced to the dilemma of doing injustice to the Southern States, or to human nature, and he must therefore do it to the former; for he could never agree to give such encouragement

to the slave trade as would be given by allowing them a representation for their negroes; and he did not believe those states would ever confederate on terms that would deprive them of that trade.

On the question for agreeing to include three fifths of the blacks,—

Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, ay, 4; Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, † South Carolina, no, 6.

On the question as to taking the census “the first year after the meeting of the legislature,”—

Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 7; Connecticut, Maryland, Georgia, no, 3.

On filling the blank for the periodical census with fifteen years,—agreed to, nem. con.

Mr. MADISON moved to add, after “fifteen years,” the words “at least,” that the legislature might anticipate when circumstances were likely to render a particular year inconvenient.

On this motion, for adding “at least,” it passed in the negative, the states being equally divided.

Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 5; Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, no, 5.

A change in the phraseology of the other clause, so as to read, “and the legislature shall alter or augment the representation accordingly,” was agreed to, nem. con.

On the question on the whole resolution of Mr. Williamson, as amended,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 9.

So it was rejected unanimously.




In Convention. —Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to add, to the clause empowering the legislature to vary the representation according to the principles of wealth and numbers of inhabitants, a proviso, “that taxation shall be in proportion

to representation.”

Mr. BUTLER contended, again, that representation should be according to the full number of inhabitants, including all the blacks, admitting the justice of Mr. Gouverneur Morris’s motion.

Mr. MASON also admitted the justice of the principle, but was afraid embarrassments might be occasioned to the legislature by it. It might drive the legislature to the plan of requisitions.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS admitted that some objections lay against his motion, but supposed they would be removed by restraining the rule to direct taxation. With regard to indirect taxes on exports and imports, and on consumption, the

rule would be inapplicable. Notwithstanding what had been said to the contrary, he was persuaded that the imports and consumption were pretty nearly equal throughout the Union.

Gen. PINCKNEY liked the idea. He thought it so just that it could not be objected to; but foresaw that, if the revision of the census was left to the discretion of the legislature, it would never be carried into execution. The rule

must be fixed, and the execution of it enforced by the Constitution. He was alarmed at what was said, (by Mr. Gouverneur Morris,) yesterday, concerning the negroes. He was now again alarmed at what had been thrown out concerning the

taxing of exports. South Carolina has, in one year, exported to the amount of £600,000 sterling, all which was the fruit of the labor of her blacks. Will she be represented in proportion to this amount? She will not. Neither ought she

then to be subject to a tax on it. He hoped a clause would be inserted in the system, restraining the legislature from taxing exports.

Mr. WILSON approved the principle, but could not see how it could be carried into execution, unless restrained to direct taxation.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS having so varied his motion by inserting the word “direct,” it passed, nem. con., as follows: “provided always that direct taxation ought to be proportioned to representation.”

Mr. DAVIE said it was high time now to speak out. He saw that it was meant by some gentlemen to deprive the Southern States of any share of representation for their blacks. He was sure that North Carolina would never confederate on any

terms that did not rate them at least as three fifths. If the Eastern States meant, therefore, to exclude them altogether, the business was at an end.

Dr. JOHNSON thought that wealth and population were the true, equitable rules of representation; but he conceived that these two principles resolved themselves into one, population being the best measure of wealth. He concluded,

therefore, that the number of people ought to be established as the rule, and that all descriptions, including blacks equally with the whites, ought to fall within the computation. As various opinions had been expressed on the subject,

he would move that a committee might be appointed to take them into consideration, and report them.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. It had been said that it is high time to speak out. As one member, he would candidly do so. He came here to form a compact for the good of America. He was ready to do so with all the states. He hoped and believed

that all would enter into such a compact. If they would not, he was ready to join with any states that would. But as the compact was to be voluntary, it is in vain for the Eastern States to insist on what the Southern States will never

agree to. It is equally vain for the latter to require what the other states can never admit, and he verily believed the people of Pennsylvania will never agree to a representation of negroes. What can be desired by these states more

than has been already proposed—that the legislature shall, from time to time, regulate representation according to population and wealth?

Gen. PINCKNEY desired that the rule of wealth should be ascertained, and not left to the pleasure of the legislature; and that property in slaves should not be exposed to danger, under a government instituted for the protection of


The first clause in the report of the first grand committee was postponed.

Mr. ELLSWORTH, in order to carry into effect the principle established, moved to add to the last clause adopted by the House the words following: “and that the rule of contribution by direct taxation, for the support of the government

of the United States, shall be the number of white inhabitants and three fifths of every other description, in the several states, until some other rule, that shall more accurately ascertain the wealth of the several states, can be

devised and adopted by the legislature.”

Mr. BUTLER seconded the motion, in order that it might be committed.

Mr. RANDOLPH was not satisfied with the motion. The danger will be revived, that the ingenuity of the legislature may evade or pervert the rule, so as to perpetuate the power where it shall be lodged in the first instance. He proposed,

in lieu of Mr. Ellsworth’s motion, “that, in order to ascertain the alterations in representation that may be required, from time to time, by changes in the relative circumstances of the states, a census shall be taken within two years

from the first meeting of the general legislature of the United States, and once within the term of every—years afterwards, of all the inhabitants, in the manner and according to the ratio recommended by Congress, in their resolution

of the 18th of April, 1783, (rating the blacks at three fifths of their number,) and that the legislature of the United States shall arrange the representation accordingly.” He urged, strenuously, that express security ought to be

provided for including slaves in the ratio of representation. He lamented that such a species of property existed; but, as it did exist, the holders of it would require this security. It was perceived that the design was entertained by

some of excluding slaves altogether; the legislature, therefore, ought not to be left at liberty.

Mr. ELLSWORTH withdraws his motion, and seconds that of Mr. Randolph.

Mr. WILSON observed that less umbrage would, perhaps, be taken against an admission of the slaves into the rule of representation, if it should be so expressed as to make them indirectly only an ingredient in the rule, by saying that

they should enter into the rule of taxation; and as representation was to be according to taxation, the end would be equally attained. He accordingly moved, and was seconded, so to alter the last clause adopted by the House, that,

together with the amendment proposed, the whole should read as follows: “provided always that the representation ought to be proportioned according to direct taxation; and, in order to ascertain the alterations in the direct taxation

which may be required, from time to time, by the changes in the relative circumstances of the states, Resolved, that a census be taken within two years from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States, and once within the

term of every—years afterwards, of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the manner and according to the ratio recommended by Congress in their resolution of the 18th of April, 1783, and that the legislature of the United States

shall proportion the direct taxation accordingly.”

Mr. KING. Although this amendment varies the aspect somewhat, he had still two powerful objections against tying down the legislature to the rule of numbers,—first, they were at this time an uncertain index of the relative wealth of

the states; secondly, if they were a just index at this time, it cannot be supposed always to continue so. He was far from wishing to retain any unjust advantage whatever in one part of the republic. If justice was not the basis of the

connection, it could not be of long duration. He must be short-sighted indeed who does not foresee that, whenever the Southern States shall be more numerous than the Northern, they can and will nold a language that will awe them into

justice. If they threaten to separate now in case injury shall be done them, will their threats be less urgent or effectual when force shall back their demands? Even in the intervening period there will be no point of time at which

they will not be able to say, Do us justice, or we will separate. He urged the necessity of placing confidence, to a certain degree, in every government; and did not conceive that the proposed confidence, as to a periodical

readjustment of the representation, exceeded that degree.

Mr. PINCKNEY moved to amend Mr. Randolph’s motion, so as to make “blacks equal to the whites in the ratio of representation.” This, he urged, was nothing more than justice. The blacks are the laborers, the peasants, of the Southern

States. They are as productive of pecuniary resources as those of the Northern States. They add equally to the wealth, and, considering money as the sinew of war, to the strength, of the nation. It will also be politic with regard to

the Northern States, as taxation is to keep pace with representation.

Gen. PINCKNEY moves to insert six years, instead of two, as the period, computing from the first meeting of the legislature, within which the first census should be taken. On this question for inserting six years instead of “two,” in

the proposition of Mr. Wilson, it passed in the affirmative.

Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, ay, 5; Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, no, 4; Delaware, divided.

On the question for filling the blank for the periodical census with “twenty years,” it passed in the negative.

Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, ay, 3; Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 7.

On the question for ten years, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 8; Connecticut, New Jersey, no, 2.

On Mr. Pinckney’s motion, for rating blacks as equal to whites, instead of as three fifths,—

South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, (Dr. Johnson, ay,) New Jersey, Pennsylvania, (three against two,) Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no, 8.

Mr. Randolph’s proposition, as varied by Mr. Wilson, being read, for taking the question on the whole,—

Mr. GERRY urged that the principle of it could not be carried into execution, as the states were not to be taxed as states. With regard to taxes on imposts, he conceived they would be more productive where there were no slaves than

where there were, the consumption being greater.

Mr. ELLSWORTH. In case of a poll-tax, there would be no difficulty. But there would probably be none. The sum allotted to a state may be levied without difficulty, according to the plan used by the state in raising its own supplies.

On the question on the whole proposition, as proportioning representation to direct taxation, and both to the white and three fifths of the black inhabitants, and requiring a census within six years, and within every ten years


168 Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, ay, 6; New Jersey, Delaware, no, 2; Massachusetts, South Carolina, divided.


FRIDAY, July 13


In Convention. —It being moved to postpone the clause in the report of the committee of eleven as to the originating of money bills in the first branch, in order to take up the following, “that in the second branch each state shall

have an equal voice,”—

Mr. GERRY moved to add, as an amendment to the last clause agreed to by the House, “that, from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States till a census shall be taken, all moneys to be raised for supplying the public

treasury by direct taxation shall be assessed on the inhabitants of the several states according to the number of their representatives respectively in the first branch.” He said this would be as just before as after the census,

according to the general principle that taxation and representation ought to go together.

Mr. WILLIAMSON feared that New Hampshire will have reason to complain. Three members were allotted to her as a liberal allowance, for this reason, among others—that she might not suppose any advantage to have been taken of her absence.

As she was still absent, and had no opportunity of deciding whether she would choose to retain the number on the condition of her being taxed in proportion to it, he thought the number ought to be reduced from three to two, before the

question was taken on Mr. Gerry’s motion.

Mr. READ could not approve of the proposition. He had observed, he said, in the committee a backwardness, in some of the members from the large states, to take their full proportion of representatives. He did not then see the motive.

He now suspects it was to avoid their due share of taxation. He had no objection to a just and accurate adjustment of representation and taxation to each other.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS and Mr. MADISON answered, that the charge itself involved an acquittal; since, notwithstanding the augmentation of the number of members allotted to Massachusetts and Virginia, the motion for proportioning the

burdens thereto was made by a member from the former state, and was approved by Mr. Madison, from the latter, who was on the committee. Mr. Gouverneur Morris said, that he thought Pennsylvania had her due share in eight members; and he

could not in candor ask for more. Mr. Madison said, that, having always conceived that the difference of interest in the United States lay not between the large and small, but the Northern and Southern States, and finding that the

number of members allotted to the Northern States was greatly superior, he should have preferred an addition of two members to the Southern States—to wit, one to North and one to South Carolina, rather than of one member to Virginia.

He liked the present motion, because it tended to moderate the views both of the opponents and advocates for rating very high the negroes.

Mr. ELLSWORTH hoped the proposition would be withdrawn. It entered too much into detail. The general principle was already sufficiently settled. As fractions cannot be regarded in apportioning the number of representatives, the rule

will be unjust, until an actual census shall be made. After that, taxation may be precisely proportioned, according to the principle established, to the number of inhabitants.

Mr. WILSON hoped the motion would not be withdrawn. If it should, it will be made from another quarter. The rule will be as reasonable and just before, as after, a census. As to fractional numbers, the census will not destroy, but

ascertain them. And they will have the same effect after, as before, the census; for, as he understands the rule, it is to be adjusted not to the number of inhabitants, but of representatives.

Mr. SHERMAN opposed the motion. He thought the legislature ought to be left at liberty; in which case they would probably conform to the principles observed by Congress.

Mr. MASON did not know that Virginia would be a loser by the proposed regulation, but had some scruple as to the justice of it. He doubted much whether the conjectural rule which was to precede the census would be as just as it would

be rendered by an actual census.

Mr. ELLSWORTH and Mr. SHERMAN moved to postpone the motion of Mr. Gerry.

On the question, it passed in the negative.

Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, ay, 4; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 6.

On the question on Mr. Gerry’s motion, it passed in the negative, the states being equally divided.

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 5; Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, no, 5.

Mr. GERRY, finding that the loss of the question had proceeded from an objection, with some, to the proposed assessment of direct taxes on the inhabitants of the states, which might restrain the legislature to a poll-tax, moved his

proposition again, but so varied as to authorize the assessment on the states, which leaves the mode to the legislature, viz.: “that, from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States until a census shall be taken, all

moneys for supplying the public treasury by direct taxation shall be raised from the said several states, according to the number of their representatives respectively in the first branch.”

On this varied question, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 5; Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, no, 4; Pennsylvania, divided.

On the motion of Mr. RANDOLPH, the vote of Monday last, authorizing the legislature to adjust, from time to time, the representation upon the principles of wealth and numbers of inhabitants, was reconsidered by common consent, in order

to strike out wealth, and adjust the resolution to that requiring periodical revisions according to the number of whites and three fifths of the blacks. The motion was in the words following:—

“But, as the present situation of the states may probably alter in the number of their inhabitants, that the legislature of the United States be authorized, from time to time, to apportion the number of representatives; and, in case

any of the states shall hereafter be divided, or any two or more states united, or new states created within the limits of the United States, the legislature of the United States shall possess authority to regulate the number of

representatives, in any of the foregoing cases, upon the principle of their number of inhabitants, according to the provisions hereafter mentioned.”

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS opposed the alteration, as leaving still an incoherence. If negroes were to be viewed as inhabitants, and the revision was to proceed on the principle of numbers of inhabitants, they ought to be added in their

entire number, and not in proportion of three fifths. If as property, the word wealth was right; and striking it out would produce the very inconsistency which it was meant to get rid of. The train of business, and the late turn which

it had taken, had led him, he said, into deep meditation on it, and he would candidly state the result. A distinction had been set up, and urged, between the Northern and Southern States. He had hitherto considered this doctrine as

heretical. He still thought the distinction groundless. He sees, however, that it is persisted in; and the southern gentlemen will not be satisfied unless they see the way open to their gaining a majority in the public councils. The

consequence of such a transfer of power from the maritime to the interior and landed interest, will, he foresees, be such an oppression to commerce, that he shall be obliged to vote for the vicious principle of equality in the second

branch, in order to provide some defence for the Northern States against it. But, to come more to the point—either this distinction is fictitious or real; if fictitious, let it be dismissed, and let us proceed with due confidence. If

it be real, instead of attempting to blend incompatible things, let us at once take a friendly leave of each other. There can be no end of demands for security, if every particular interest is to be entitled to it. The Eastern States

may claim it for their fishery, and for other objects, as the Southern States claim it for their peculiar objects. In this struggle between the two ends of the Union, what part ought the Middle States, in point of policy, to take? To

join their eastern brethren, according to his ideas. If the Southern States get the power into their hands, and be joined, as they will be, with the interior country, they will inevitably bring on a war with Spain for the Mississippi.

This language is already held. The interior country, having no property nor interest exposed on the sea, will be little affected by such a war. He wished to know what security the Northern and Middle States will have against this

danger. It has been said that North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia only, will in a little time have a majority of the people of America. They must in that case include the great interior country, and every thing was to be

apprehended from their getting the power into their hands.

Mr. BUTLER. The security the Southern States want is, that their negroes may not be taken from them, which some gentlemen within or without doors have a very good mind to do. It was not supposed that North Carolina, South Carolina, and

Georgia, would have more people than all the other states, but many more relatively to the other states than they now have. The people and strength of America are evidently bearing southwardly, and south-westwardly.

Mr. WILSON. If a general declaration would satisfy any gentleman, he had no indisposition to declare his sentiments. Conceiving that all men, wherever placed, have equal rights, and are equally entitled to confidence, he viewed without

apprehension the period when a few states should contain the superior number of people. The majority of people, wherever found, ought in all questions to govern the minority. If the interior country should acquire this majority, it

will not only have the right, but will avail itself of it, whether we will or no. This jealousy misled the policy of Great Britain with regard to America. The fatal maxims espoused by her were, that the colonies were growing too fast,

and that their growth must be stinted in time. What were the consequences? First, enmity on our part, then actual separation. Like consequences will result on the part of the interior settlements, if like jealousy and policy be pursued

on ours. Further, if numbers be not a proper rule, why is not some better rule pointed out? No one has yet ventured to attempt it. Congress have never been able to discover a better. No state, as far as he had heard, had suggested any

other. In 1783, after elaborate discussion of a measure of wealth, all were satisfied then, as they now are, that the rule of numbers does not differ much from the combined rule of numbers and wealth. Again, he could not agree that

property was the sole or primary object of government and society. The cultivation and improvement of the human mind was the most noble object. With respect to this object, as well as to other personal rights, numbers were surely the

natural and precise measure of representation. And with respect to property, they could not vary much from the precise measure. In no point of view, however, could the establishment of numbers, as the rule of representation in the

first branch, vary his opinion as to the impropriety of letting a vicious principle into the second branch.

On the question to strike out wealth, and to make the change as moved by Mr. Randolph, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; Delaware, divided.

Mr. READ moved to insert, after the word “divided,” “or enlarged by addition of territory;” which was agreed to, nem con. *




169In Convention. —Mr. L. MARTIN called for the question on the whole report, including the parts relating to the origination of money bills, and the equality of votes in the second branch.

Mr. GERRY wished, before the question should be put, that the attention of the House might be turned to the dangers apprehended from western states. He was for admitting them on liberal terms, but not for putting ourselves into their

hands. They will, if they acquire power, like all men, abuse it. They will oppress commerce, and drain our wealth into the western country. To guard against these consequences, he thought it necessary to limit the number of new states

to be admitted into the Union, in such a manner that they should never be able to outnumber the Atlantic states. He accordingly moved, “that, in order to secure the liberties of the states already confederated, the number of

representatives in the first branch, of the states which shall hereafter be established, shall never exceed in number the representatives from such of the states as shall accede to this Confederation.

Mr. KING seconded the motion.

Mr. SHERMAN thought there was no probability that the number of future states would exceed that of the existing states. If the event should ever happen, it was too remote to be taken into consideration at this time. Besides, we are

providing for our posterity, for our children and our grandchildren, who would be as likely to be citizens of new western states as of the old states. On this consideration alone, we ought to make no such discrimination as was proposed

by the motion.

Mr. GERRY. If some of our children should remove, others will stay behind; and he thought incumbent on us to provide for their interests. There was a rage for emigration from the Eastern States to the western country, and he did not

wish those remaining behind to be at the mercy of the emigrants. Besides, foreigners are resorting to that country, and it is uncertain what turn things may take there.

On the question for agreeing to the motion of Mr. Gerry, it passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, ay, 4; New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 5; Pennsylvania, divided.

Mr. RUTLEDGE proposed to reconsider the two propositions touching the originating of money bills, in the first, and the equality of votes in the second, branch.

Mr. SHERMAN was for the question on the whole at once. It was, he said, a conciliatory plan; it had been considered in all its parts; a great deal of time had been spent upon it; and if any part should now be altered, it would be

necessary to go over the whole ground again.

Mr. L. MARTIN urged the question on the whole. He did not like many parts of it. He did not like having two branches, nor the inequality of votes in the first branch. He was willing, however, to make trial of the plan, rather than do


Mr. WILSON traced the progress of the report through its several stages; remarking, that when, on the question concerning an equality of votes, the House was divided, our constituents, had they voted as their representatives did, would

have stood as two thirds against the equality, and one third only in favor of it. This fact would ere long be known, and it would appear that this fundamental point has been carried by one third against two thirds. What hopes will our

constituents entertain, when they find that the essential principles of justice have been violated in the outset of the government? As to the privilege of originating money bills, it was not considered by any as of much moment, and by

many as improper in itself. He hoped both clauses would be reconsidered. The equality of votes was a point of such critical importance, that every opportunity ought to be allowed for discussing and collecting the mind of the Convention

upon it.

Mr. L. MARTIN denies that there were two thirds against the equality of votes. The states that please to call themselves large are the weakest in the Union. Look at Massachusetts—look at Virginia—are they efficient states? He was for

letting a separation take place, if they desired it. He had rather there should be two confederacies, than one founded on any other principle than an equality of votes, in the second branch at least.

Mr. WILSON was not surprised that those who say that a minority does more than a majority should say the minority is stronger than the majority. He supposed the next assertion will be, that they are richer also; though he hardly

expected it would be persisted in, when the states shall be called on for taxes and troops.

Mr. GERRY also animadverted on Mr. L. Martin’s remarks on the weakness of Massachusetts. He favored the reconsideration, with a view, not of destroying the equality of votes, but of providing that the states should vote per capita,

which, he said, would prevent the delays and inconveniences that had been experienced in Congress, and would give a national aspect and spirit to the management of business. He did not approve of a reconsideration of the clause

relating to money bills. It was of great consequence. It was the corner-stone of the accommodation. If any member of the Convention had the exclusive privilege of making propositions, would any one say that it would give him no

advantage over other members? The report was not altogether to his mind: but he would agree to it as it stood, rather than throw it out altogether.

The reconsideration being tacitly agreed to,—

Mr. PINCKNEY moved, that, instead of an equality of votes, the states should be represented in the second branch as follows: New Hampshire by two members; Massachusetts, four; Rhode Island, one; Connecticut, three; New York, three; New

Jersey, two; Pennsylvania, four; Delaware, one; Maryland, three; Virginia, five; North Carolina, three; South Carolina, three; Georgia, two; making in the whole, thirty-six.

Mr. WILSON seconds the motion.

Mr. DAYTON. The smaller states can never give up their equality. For himself, he would in no event yield that security for their rights.

Mr. SHERMAN urged the equality of votes, not so much as a security for the small states, as for the state governments, which could not be preserved unless they were represented, and had a negative in the general government. He had no

objection to the members in the second branch voting per capita, as had been suggested by (Mr. Gerry).

Mr. MADISON concurred in this motion of Mr. Pinckney, as a reasonable compromise.

Mr. GERRY said, he should like the motion, but could see no hope of success. An accommodation must take place, and it was apparent, from what had been seen, that it could not do so on the ground of the motion. He was utterly against a

partial confederacy, leaving other states to accede or not accede, as had been intimated.

Mr. KING said, it was always with regret that he differed from his colleagues, but it was his duty to differ from (Mr. Gerry) on this occasion. He considered the proposed government as substantially and formally a general and national

government over the people of America. There never will be a case in which it will act as a federal government, on the states, and not on the individual citizens. And is it not a clear principle that, in a free government, those who

are to be the objects of a government ought to influence the operations of it? What reason can be assigned, why the same rule of representation should not prevail in the second as in the first branch? He could conceive none. On the

contrary, every view of the subject that presented itself seemed to require it. Two objections had been raised against it, drawn, first, from the terms of the existing compact; secondly, from a supposed danger to the smaller states. As

to the first objection, he thought it inapplicable. According to the existing Confederation, the rule by which the public burden is to be apportioned is fixed, and must be pursued. In the proposed government, it cannot be fixed,

because indirect taxation is to be substituted. The legislature, therefore, will have full discretion to impose taxes in such modes and proportions as they may judge expedient. As to the second objection, he thought it of as little

weight. The general government can never wish to intrude on the state governments. There could be no temptation. None had been pointed out. In order to prevent the interference of measures which seemed most likely to happen, he would

have no objection to throwing all the state debts into the federal debt, making one aggregate debt of about $70,000,000, and leaving it to be discharged by the general government. According to the idea of securing the state

governments, there ought to be three distinct legislative branches. The second was admitted to be necessary, and was actually meant to check the first branch—to give more wisdom, system, and stability, to the government; and ought

clearly, as it was to operate on the people, to be proportioned to them. For the third purpose, of securing the states, there ought then to be a third branch, representing the states as such, and guarding, by equal votes, their rights

and dignities. He would not pretend to be as thoroughly acquainted with his immediate constituents as his colleagues; but it was his firm belief that Massachusetts would never be prevailed on to yield to an equality of votes. In New

York, (he was sorry to be obliged to say any thing relative to that state in the absence of its representatives, but the occasion required it,) in New York he had seen that the most powerful argument used by the considerate opponents

to the grant of the impost to Congress, was pointed against the vicious constitution of Congress with regard to representation and suffrage. He was sure that no government would last that was not founded on just principles. He

preferred the doing of nothing, to an allowance of an equal vote to all the states. It would be better, he thought, to submit to a little more confusion and convulsion than to submit to such an evil. It was difficult to say what the

views of different gentlemen might be. Perhaps there might be some who thought no government coëxtensive with the United States could be established with a hope of its answering the purpose. Perhaps there might be other fixed opinions

incompatible with the object we are pursuing. If there were, he thought it but candid that gentlemen should speak out, that we might understand one another.

Mr. STRONG. The Convention had been much divided in opinion. In order to avoid the consequences of it, an accommodation had been proposed. A committee had been appointed; and, though some of the members of it were averse to an equality

of votes, a report had been made in favor of it. It is agreed, on all hands, that Congress are nearly at an end. If no accommodation takes place, the Union itself must soon be dissolved. It has been suggested that, if we cannot come to

any general agreement, the principal states may form and recommend a scheme of government. But will the small states, in that case, ever accede to it? Is it probable that the large states themselves will, under such circumstances,

embrace and ratify it? He thought the small states had made a considerable concession, in the article of money bills, and that they might naturally expect some concessions on the other side. From this view of the matter, he was

compelled to give his vote for the report taken altogether.

Mr. MADISON expressed his apprehensions that, if the proper foundation of government was destroyed, by substituting an equality in place of a proportional representation, no proper superstructure would be raised. If the small states

really wish for a government armed with the powers necessary to secure their liberties, and to enforce obedience on the larger members, as well as themselves, he could not help thinking them extremely mistaken in the means. He reminded

them of the consequences of laying the existing Confederation on improper principles. All the principal parties to its compilation joined immediately in mutilating and fettering the government in such a manner that it has disappointed

every hope placed on it. He appealed to the doctrine and arguments used by themselves on a former occasion. It had been very properly observed (by Mr. Patterson) that representation was an expedient by which the meeting of the people

themselves was rendered unnecessary; and that the representatives ought therefore to bear a proportion to the votes which their constituents, if convened, would respectively have. Was not this remark as applicable to one branch of the

representation as to the other? But it had been said that the government would, in its operation, be partly federal, partly national; that although in the latter respect the representatives of the people ought to be in proportion to

the people, yet, in the former, it ought to be according to the number of states. If there was any solidity in this distinction, he was ready to abide by it; if there was none, it ought to be abandoned. In all cases where the general

government is to act on the people, let the people be represented, and the votes be proportional. In all cases where the government is to act on the states as such, in like manner as Congress now acts on them, let the states be

represented, and the votes be equal. This was the true ground of compromise, if there was any ground at all. But he denied that there was any ground. He called for a single instance in which the general government was not to operate on

the people individually. The practicability of making laws, with coercive sanctions, for the states as political bodies, had been exploded on all hands. He observed, that the people of the large states would, in some way or other,

secure to themselves a weight proportioned to the importance accuring from their superior numbers. If they could not effect it by a proportional representation in the government, they would probably accede to no government which did

not, in a great measure, depend for its efficacy on their voluntary coöperation: in which case, they would indirectly secure their object. The existing Confederacy proved that where the acts of the general government were to be

executed by the particular governments, the latter had a weight in proportion to their importance. No one would say that, either in Congress or out of Congress, Delaware had equal weight with Pennsylvania. If the latter was to supply

ten times as much money as the former, and no compulsion could be used, it was of ten times more importance that she should voluntarily furnish the supply. In the Dutch confederacy, the votes of the provinces were equal; but Holland,

which supplies about half the money, governed the whole republic. He enumerated the objections against an equality of votes in the second branch, notwithstanding the proportional representation in the first. 1. The minority could

negative the will of the majority of the people. 2. They could extort measures, by making them a condition of their assent to other necessary measures. 3. They could obtrude measures on the majority, by virtue of the peculiar powers

which would be vested in the Senate. 4. The evil, instead of being cured by time, would increase with every new state that should be admitted, as they must all be admitted on the principle of equality. 5. The perpetuity it would give

to the preponderance of the northern against the southern scale was a serious consideration. It seemed now to be pretty well undertood, that the real difference of interest lay, not between the large and small, but between the northern

and southern, states. The institution of slavery, and its consequences, formed the line of discrimination. There were five states on the southern, eight on the northern side of this line. Should a proportional representation take

place, it was true, the northern would still outnumber the other; but not in the same degree, at this time; and every day would tend towards an equilibrium.

Mr. WILSON would add a few words only. If equality in the second branch was an error that time would correct, he should be less anxious to exclude it, being sensible that perfection was unattainable in any plan; but being a fundamental

and a perpetual error, it ought by all means to be avoided. A vice in the representation, like an error in the first concoction, must be followed by disease, convulsions, and, finally, death itself. The justice of the general principle

of proportional representation has not, in argument at least, been yet contradicted. But it is said that a departure from it, so far as to give the states an equal vote in one branch of the legislature, is essential to their

preservation. He had considered this position maturely, but could not see its application. That the states ought to be preserved, he admitted. But does it follow, that an equality of votes is necessary for the purpose? Is there any

reason to suppose that, if their preservation should depend more on the large than on the small states, the security of the states against the general government would be diminished? Are the large states less attached to their

existence, more likely to commit suicide, than the small? An equal vote, then, is not necessary, as far as he can conceive, and is liable, among other objections, to this insuperable one: The great fault of the existing Confederacy is

its inactivity. It has never been a complaint against Congress, that they governed overmuch. The complaint has been, that they have governed too little. To remedy this defect we were sent here. Shall we effect the cure by establishing

an equality of votes, as is proposed? No; this very equality carries us directly to Congress,—to the system which it is our duty to rectify. The small states cannot indeed act, by virtue of this equality, but they may control the

government, as they have done in Congress. This very measure is here prosecuted by a minority of the people of America. Is, then, the object of the Convention likely to be accomplished in this way? Will not our constituents say, “We

sent you to form an efficient government, and you have given us one more complex, indeed, but having all the weakness of the former government”? He was anxious for uniting all the states under one government. He knew there were some

respectable men who preferred three confederacies, united by offensive and defensive alliances. Many things may be plausibly said, some things may be justly said, in favor of such a project. He could not, however, concur in it himself;

but he thought nothing so pernicious as bad first principles.

Mr. ELLSWORTH asked two questions. One of Mr. Wilson, whether he had ever seen a good measure fail in Congress for want of a majority of states in its favor. He had himself never known such an instance. The other of Mr. Madison,

whether a negative lodged with the majority of the states, even the smallest, could be more dangerous than the qualified negative proposed to be lodged in a single executive magistrate, who must be taken from some one state.

Mr. SHERMAN signified that his expectation was, that the general legislature would in some cases act on the federal principle of requiring quotas. But he thought it ought to be empowered to carry their own plans into execution, if the

states should fail to supply their respective quotas.

On the question for agreeing to Mr. Pinckney’s motion, for allowing New Hampshire two, Massachusetts four, c., it passed in the negative.

Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, ay, 4; Massachusetts, (Mr. King, ay, Mr. Gorham absent,) Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia, no, 6.


MONDAY, July 16


In Convention. —On the question for agreeing to the whole report, as amended, and including the equality of votes in the second branch, it passed in the affirmative.

Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, (Mr. Spaight, no,) ay, 5; Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 4; Massachusetts, divided, (Mr. Gerry, Mr. Strong, ay; Mr. King, Mr. Gorham, no.)

The whole, thus passed, is in the words following, viz.:—

“ Resolved, That, in the original formation of the legislature of the United States, the first branch thereof shall consist of sixty-five members, of which number New Hampshire shall send 3; Massachusetts, 8; Rhode Island, 1;

Connecticut, 5; New York, 6; New Jersey, 4; Pennsylvania, 8; Delaware, 1; Maryland, 6; Virginia, 10; North Carolina, 5; South Carolina, 5; Georgia, 3. But as the present situation of the states may probably alter in the number of their

inhabitants, the legislature of the United States shall be authorized, from time to time, to apportion the number of representatives; and in case any of the states shall hereafter be divided, or enlarged by addition of territory, or

any two or more states united, or any new states created within the limits of the United States, the legislature of the United States shall possess authority to regulate the number of representatives, in any of the foregoing cases,

upon the principle of their number of inhabitants, according to the provisions hereafter mentioned: provided always, that representation ought to be proportioned according to direct taxation. And in order to ascertain the alteration in

the direct taxation, which may be required from time to time by the changes in the relative circumstances of the states,—

“ Resolved, That a census be taken within six years from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States, and once within the term of every ten years afterwards, of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the manner and

according to the ratio recommended by Congress in their resolution of the 18th day of April, 1783; and that the legislature of the United States shall proportion the direct taxation accordingly.

“ Resolved, That all bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the salaries of officers of the government of the United States, shall originate in the first branch of the legislature of the United States, and shall not

be altered or amended in the second branch; and that no money shall be drawn from the public treasury but in pursuance of appropriations to be originated in the first branch.

170 171 “ Resolved, That, in the second branch of the legislature of the United States, each state shall have an equal vote.”

The sixth resolution in the report from the committee of the whole House, which had been postponed, in order to consider the seventh and eighth resolutions, was now resumed. (See the resolution.)

“That the national legislature ought to possess the legislative rights vested in Congress by the Confederation,”

was agreed to, nem. con.

“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,”

being read for a question,—

Mr. BUTLER calls for some explanation of the extent of this power; particularly of the word incompetent. The vagueness of the terms rendered it impossible for any precise judgment to be formed.

Mr. GORHAM. The vagueness of the terms constitutes the propriety of them. We are now establishing general principles, to be extended hereafter into details, which will be precise and explicit.

Mr. RUTLEDGE urged the objection started by Mr. Butler; and moved that the clause should be committed, to the end that a specification of the powers comprised in the general terms might be reported.

On the question for commitment, the votes were equally divided.

Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 5; Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, no, 5.

So it was lost.

Mr. RANDOLPH. The vote of this morning (involving an equality of suffrage in the second branch) had embarrassed the business extremely. All the powers given in the report from the committee of the whole were founded on the supposition

that a proportional representation was to prevail in both branches of the legislature. When he came here this morning, his purpose was to have offered some propositions that might, if possible, have united a great majority of votes,

and particularly might provide against the danger suspected on the part of the smaller states, by enumerating the cases in which it might lie, and allowing an equality of votes in such cases. * But finding, from the preceding vote,

that they persist in demanding an equal vote in all cases; that they have succeeded in obtaining it; and that New York, if present, would probably be on the same side; he could not but think we were unprepared to discuss the subject

further. It will probably be in vain to come to any final decision, with a bare majority on either side. For these reasons he wished the Convention to adjourn, that the large states might consider the steps proper to be taken, in the

present solemn crisis of the business; and that the small states might also deliberate on the means of conciliation.

Mr. PATTERSON thought, with Mr. Randolph, that it was high time for the Convention to adjourn; that the rule of secrecy ought to be rescinded; and that our constituents should be consulted. No conciliation could be admissible, on the

part of the smaller states, on any other ground than that of an equality of votes in the second branch. If Mr. Randolph would reduce to form his motion for an adjournment sine die, he would second it with all his heart.

Gen. PINCKNEY wished to know of Mr. Randolph, whether he meant an adjournment sine die, or only an adjournment for the day. If the former was meant, it differed much from his idea. He could not think of going to South Carolina and

returning again to this place. Besides, it was chimerical, to suppose that the states, if consulted, would ever accord separately and beforehand.

Mr. RANDOLPH had never entertained an idea of an adjournment sine die, and was sorry that his meaning had been so readily and strangely misinterpreted. He had in view merely an adjournment till to-morrow, in order that some

conciliatory experiment might, if possible, be devised; and that in case the smaller states should continue to hold back, the larger might then take such measures—he would not say what—as might be necessary.

Mr. PATTERSON seconded the adjournment till to-morrow, as an opportunity seemed to be wished by the larger states to deliberate further on conciliatory expedients.

On the question for adjourning till to-morrow, the states were equally divided,—

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 5; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 5.

So it was lost.

Mr. BROOME thought it his duty to declare his opinion against an adjournment sine die, as had been urged by Mr. Patterson. Such a measure, he thought, would be fatal. Something must be done by the Convention, though it should be by a

bare majority.

Mr. GERRY observed, that Massachusetts was opposed to an adjournment, because they saw no new ground of compromise. But as it seemed to be the opinion of so many states that a trial should be made, the state would now concur in the


Mr. RUTLEDGE could see no need of an adjournment, because he could see no chance of a compromise. The little states were fixed. They had repeatedly and solemnly declared themselves to be so. All that the large states, then, had to do

was, to decide whether they would yield or not. For his part, he conceived that, although we could not do what we thought best in itself, we ought to do something. Had we not better keep the government up a little longer, hoping that

another convention will supply our omissions, than abandon every thing to hazard? Our constituents will be very little satisfied with us, if we take the latter course.

Mr. RANDOLPH and Mr. KING renewed the motion to adjourn till to-morrow.

On the question,—

Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 7; Connecticut, Delaware, no, 2; Georgia, divided.


[On the morning following, before the hour of the Convention, a number of the members from the larger states, by common agreement, met for the purpose of consulting on the proper steps to be taken in consequence of the vote in favor of

an equal representation in the second branch, and the apparent inflexibility of the smaller states on that point. Several members from the latter states also attended. The time was wasted in vague conversation on the subject, without

any specific proposition or agreement. It appeared, indeed, that the opinions of the members who disliked the equality of votes differed much as to the importance of that point, and as to the policy of risking a failure of any general

act of the Convention by inflexibly opposing it. Several of them—supposing that no good government could or would be built on that foundation, and that, as a division of the Convention into two opinions was unavoidable, it would be

better that the side comprising the principal states, and a majority of the people of America, should propose a scheme of government to the states, than that a scheme should be proposed on the other side—would have concurred in a firm

opposition to the smaller states, and in a separate recommendation, if eventually necessary. Others seemed inclined to yield to the smaller states, and to concur in such an act, however imperfect and exceptionable, as might be agreed

on by the Convention as a body, though decided by a bare majority of states and by a minority of the people of the United States. It is probable that the result of this consultation satisfied the smaller states that they had nothing to

apprehend from a union of the larger in any plan whatever against the equality of votes in the second branch.]

TUESDAY, July 17


In Convention. —Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to reconsider the whole resolution agreed to yesterday concerning the constitution of the two branches of the legislature. His object was to bring the House to a consideration, in the

abstract, of the powers necessary to be vested in the general government. It had been said, Let us know how the government is to be modelled, and then we can determine what powers can be properly given to it. He thought the most

eligible course was, first to determine on the necessary powers, and then so to modify the government, as that it might be justly and properly enabled to administer them. He feared, if we proceeded to a consideration of the powers,

whilst the vote of yesterday, including an equality of the states in the second branch, remained in force, a reference to it, either mental or expressed, would mix itself with the merits of every question concerning the powers. This

motion was not seconded. (It was probably approved by several members, who either despaired of success, or were apprehensive that the attempt would inflame the jealousies of the smaller states.)

The sixth resolution in the report of the committee of the whole, relating to the powers, which had been postponed in order to consider the seventh and eight, relating to the constitution, of the national legislature, was now resumed.

Mr. SHERMAN observed, that it would be difficult to draw the line between the powers of the general legislature and those to be left with the states; that he did not like the definition contained in the resolution; and proposed, in its

place, to the words “individual legislation,” inclusive, to insert “to make laws binding on the people 172 of the United States in all cases which may concern the common interests of the Union; but not to interfere with the government

of the individual states in any matters of internal police which respect the government of such states only, and wherein the general welfare of the United States is not concerned.”

Mr. WILSON seconded the amendment, as better expressing the general principle.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS opposed it. The internal police, as it would be called and understood by the states, ought to be infringed in many cases, as in the case of paper money, and other tricks by which citizens of other states may be


Mr. SHERMAN, in explanation of his idea, read an enumeration of powers, including the power of levying taxes on trade, but not the power of direct taxation.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS remarked the omission, and inferred, that, for the deficiencies of taxes on consumption, it must have been the meaning of Mr. Sherman that the general government should recur to quotas and requisitions, which are

subversive of the idea of government.

Mr. SHERMAN acknowledged that his enumeration did not include direct taxation. Some provision, he supposed, must be made for supplying the deficiency of other taxation, but he had not formed any.

On the question on Mr. Sherman’s motion, it passed in the negative.

Connecticut, Maryland, ay. 2; Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 8.

Mr. BEDFORD moved that the second member of the sixth resolution be so altered as to read, “and moreover to legislate in all cases for the general interests of the Union, and also in those to which the states are severally incompetent,

or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.”

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconds the motion.

Mr. RANDOLPH. This is a formidable idea, indeed. It involves the power of violating all the laws and constitutions of the states, and of intermeddling with their police. The last member of the sentence is also superfluous, being

included in the first.

Mr. BEDFORD. It is not more extensive or formidable than the clause as it stands— no state being separately competent to legislate for the general interests of the Union.

On the question for agreeing to Mr. Bedford’s motion, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, ay, 6; Connecticut, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 4.

On the sentence as amended, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 8; South Carolina, Georgia, no, 2.

The next clause, “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,” was then taken up.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS opposed this power as likely to be terrible to the states, and not necessary if sufficient legislative authority should be given to the general government.

Mr. SHERMAN thought it unnecessary, as the courts of the states would not consider as valid any law contravening the authority of the Union, and which the legislature would wish to be negatived.

Mr. L. MARTIN considered the power as improper and inadmissible. Shall all the laws of the states be sent up to the general legislature before they shall be permitted to operate?

Mr. MADISON considered the negative on the laws of the states as essential to the efficacy and security of the general government. The necessity of a general government proceeds from the propensity of the states to pursue their

particular interests, in opposition to the general interest. This propensity will continue to disturb the system unless effectually controlled. Nothing short of a negative on their laws will control it. They will pass laws which will

accomplish their injurious objects before they can be repealed by the general legislature, or set aside by the national tribunals. Confidence cannot be put in the state tribunals as guardians of the national authority and interests. In

all the states, these are more or less dependent on the legislatures. In Georgia, they are appointed annually by the legislature. In Rhode Island, the judges who refused to execute an unconstitutional law were displaced; and others

substituted, by the legislature, who would be the willing instruments of the wicked and arbitrary plans of their masters. A power of negativing the improper laws of the states is at once the most mild and certain means of preserving

the harmony of the system. Its utility is sufficiently displayed in the British system. Nothing could maintain the harmony and subordination of the various parts of the empire, but the prerogative by which the crown stifles in the

birth every act of every part tending to discord or encroachment. It is true, the prerogative is sometimes misapplied, through ignorance, or partiality to one particular part of the empire; but we have not the same reason to fear such

misapplications in our system. As to the sending all laws up to the national legislature, that might be rendered unnecessary by some emanation of the power into the states, so far at least as to give a temporary effect to laws of

immediate necessity.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was more and more opposed to the negative. The proposal of it would disgust all the states. A law that ought to be negatived will be set aside in the judiciary department, and, if that security should fail, may be

repealed by a national law.

Mr. SHERMAN. Such a power involves a wrong principle—to 173 wit, that a law of a state contrary to the Articles of the Union would, if not negatived, be valid and operative.

Mr. PINCKNEY urged the necessity of the negative.

On the question for agreeing to the power of negativing laws of states, c., it passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, ay, 3; Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 7.

Mr. L. MARTIN moved the following resolution:—

“That the legislative acts of the United States, made by virtue and in pursuance of the Articles of Union, and all treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the respective states,

as far as those acts or treaties shall relate to the said states, or their citizens and inhabitants; and that the judiciaries 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.”

Which was agreed to, nem. con.

The ninth resolution being taken up, the first clause, “that a national executive be instituted, to consist of a single person,” was agreed to, nem. con.

The next clause, “to be chosen by the national legislature,” being considered.—

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was pointedly against his being so chosen. He will be the mere creature of the legislature, if appointed and impeachable by that body. He ought to be elected by the people at large—by the freeholders of the

country. That difficulties attend this mode, he admits; but they have been found superable in New York and in Connecticut, and would, he believed, be found so in the case of an executive for the United States. If the people should

elect, they will never fail to prefer some man of distinguished character or services; some man, if he might so speak, of Continental reputation. If the legislature elect, it will be the work of intrigue, of cabal, and of faction; it

will be like the election of a pope by a conclave of cardinals; real merit will rarely be the title to the appointment. He moved to strike out “national legislature,” and insert “citizens of the United States.”

Mr. SHERMAN thought that the sense of the nation would be better expressed by the legislature than by the people at large. The latter will never be sufficiently informed of characters, and, besides, will never give a majority of votes

to any one man. They will generally vote for some man in their own state, and the largest state will have the best chance for the appointment. If the choice be made by the legislature, a majority of voices may be made necessary to

constitute an election.

Mr. WILSON. Two arguments have been urged against an election of the executive magistrate by the people. The first is, the example of Poland, where an election of the supreme magistrate is attended with the most dangerous commotions.

The cases, he observed, were totally dissimilar. The Polish nobles have resources and dependants which enable them to appear in force, and to threaten the republic as well as each other. In the next place, the electors all assemble at

one place; which would not be the case with us. The second argument is, that a majority of the people would never concur. It might be answered, that the concurrence of a majority of the people is not a necessary principle of election,

nor required as such in any of the states. But, allowing the objection all its force, it may be obviated by the expedient used in Massachusetts, where the legislature, by a majority of voices, decide, in case a majority of the people

do not concur in favor of one of the candidates. This would restrain the choice to a good nomination at least, and prevent in a great degree intrigue and cabal. A particular objection with him against an absolute election by the

legislature was, that the executive, in that case, would be too dependent to stand the mediator between the intrigues and sinister views of the representatives and the general liberties and interests of the people.

Mr. PINCKNEY did not expect this question would again have been brought forward, an election by the people being liable to the most obvious and striking objections. They will be led by a few active and designing men. The most populous

states, by combining in favor of the same individual, will be able to carry their points. The national legislature, being most immediately interested in the laws made by themselves, will be most attentive to the choice of a fit man to

carry them properly into execution.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. It is said that, in case of an election by the people, the populous states will combine and elect whom they please. Just the reverse. The people of such states cannot combine. If there be any combination, it must

be among their representatives in the legislature. It is said, the people will be led by a few designing men. This might happen in a small district. It can never happen throughout the continent. In the election of a governor of New

York, it sometimes is the case, in particular spots, that the activity and intrigues of little partisans are successful; but the general voice of the state is never influenced by such artifices. It is said, the multitude will be

uninformed. It is true, they would be uninformed of what passed in the legislative conclave, if the election were to be made there; but they will not be uninformed of those great and illustrious characters which have merited their

esteem and confidence. If the executive be chosen by the national legislature, he will not be independent of it; and, if not independent, usurpation and tyranny on the part of the legislature will be the consequence. This was the case

in England in the last century. It has been the case in Holland, where their senates have engrossed all power. It has been the case every where. He was surprised that an election by the people at large should ever have been likened to

the Polish election of the first magistrate. An election by the legislature will bear a real likeness to the election by the diet of Poland. The great must be the electors in both cases, and the corruption and cabal, which are known to

characterize the one, would soon find their way into the other. Appointments made by numerous bodies are always worse than those made by single responsible individuals, or by the people at large.

Col. MASON. It is curious to remark the different language held at different times. At one moment we are told that the legislature is entitled to thorough confidence, and to indefinite power. At another, that it will be governed by

intrigue and corruption, and cannot be trusted at all. But, not to dwell on this inconsistency, he would observe, that a government which is to last ought at least to be practicable. Would this be the case if the proposed election

should be left to the people at large? He conceived it would be as unnatural to refer the choice of a proper character for chief magistrate to the people, as it would to refer a trial of colors to a blind man. The extent of the country

renders it impossible that the people can have the requisite capacity to judge of the respective pretensions of the candidates.

Mr. WILSON could not see the contrariety stated by (Col. Mason). The legislature might deserve confidence in some respects, and distrust in others. In acts which were to affect them and their constituents precisely alike, confidence

was due; in others, jealousy was warranted. In the appointment to great offices, where the legislature might feel many motives not common to the public, confidence was surely misplaced. This branch of business, it was notorious, was

the most corruptly managed of any that had been committed to legislative bodies.

Mr. WILLIAMSON conceived that there was the same difference between an election, in this case, by the people and by the legislature, as between an appointment by lot and by choice. There are at present distinguished characters, who are

known perhaps to almost every man. This will not always be the case. The people will be sure to vote for some man in their own state; and the largest state will be sure to succeed. This will not be Virginia, however. Her slaves will

have no suffrage. As the salary of the executive will be fixed, and he will not be eligible a second time, there will not be such a dependence on the legislature as has been imagined.

On the question on an election by the people, instead of the legislature, it passed in the negative.

Pennsylvania, ay, 1; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 9.

Mr. L. MARTIN moved that the executive be chosen by electors appointed by the several legislatures of the individual states.

Mr. BROOME seconds.

On the question, it passed in the negative.

Delaware, Maryland, ay, 2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 8.

On the question on the words “to be chosen by the national legislature,” it passed unanimously in the affirmative.

174 “For the term of seven years,”—postponed, nem. con., on motion of Mr. HOUSTON and Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS;—

“To carry into execution the national laws,”—agreed to, nem. con.; —

“To appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for,”—agreed to, nem. con.; —

“To be ineligible a second time.”—Mr. HOUSTON moved to strike out this clause.

Mr. SHERMAN seconds the motion.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS espoused the motion. The ineligibility proposed by the clause, as it stood, tended to destroy the great motive to good behavior, the hope of being rewarded by a reappointment. It was saying to him, “Make hay while

the sun shines.”

On the question for striking out, as moved by Mr. Houston, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, ay, 6; Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, no, 4.

The clause, “for the term of seven years,” being resumed,—

Mr. BROOME was for a shorter term, since the executive magistrate was now to be reëligible. Had he remained ineligible a second time, he should have preferred a longer term.

Dr. M’CLURG * moved to strike out “seven years,” and insert “during good behavior.” By striking out the words declaring him not reëligible, he was put into a situation that would keep him dependent forever on the legislature; and he

conceived the independence of the executive to be equally essential with that of the judiciary department.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion. He expressed great pleasure in hearing it. This was the way to get a good government. His fear that so valuable an ingredient would not be attained had led him to take the part he had done. He

was indifferent how the executive should be chosen, provided he held his place by this tenure.

Mr. BROOME highly approved the motion. It obviated all his difficulties.

Mr. SHERMAN considered such a tenure as by no means safe or admissible. As the executive magistrate is now reëligible, he will be on good behavior as far as will be necessary. If he behaves well, he will be continued; if otherwise,

displaced, on a succeeding election.

Mr. MADISON. † If it be essential to the preservation of liberty that the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers be separate, it is essential to a maintenance of the separation, that they should be independent of each other. The

executive could not be independent of the legislature, if dependent on the pleasure of that branch for a reappointment. Why was it determined that the judges should not hold their places by such a tenure? Because they might be tempted

to cultivate the legislature by an undue complaisance, and thus render the legislature the virtual expositor, as well as the maker, of the laws. In like manner, a dependence of the executive on the legislature would render it the

executor as well as the maker of laws; and then, according to the observation of Montesquieu, tyrannical laws may be made that they may be executed in a tyrannical manner. There was an analogy between the executive and judiciary

departments in several respects. The latter executed the laws in certain cases, as the former did in others. The former expounded and applied them for certain purposes, as the latter did for others. The difference between them seemed

to consist chiefly in two circumstances;—first, the collective interest and security were much more in the power belonging to the executive, than to the judiciary, department; secondly, in the administration of the former, much greater

latitude is left to opinion and discretion than in the administration of the latter. But, if the second consideration proves that it will be more difficult to establish a rule sufficiently precise for trying the executive than the

judges, and forms an objection to the same tenure of office, both considerations prove that it might be more dangerous to suffer a union between the executive and legislative powers than between the judiciary and legislative powers. He

conceived it to be absolutely necessary to a well-constituted-republic, that the two first should be kept distinct and independent of each other. Whether the plan proposed by the motion was a proper one, was another question; as it

depended on the practicability of instituting a tribunal for impeachments as certain and as adequate in the one case as in the other. On the other hand, respect for the mover entitled his proposition to a fair hearing and discussion,

until a less objectionable expedient should be applied for guarding against a dangerous union of the legislative and executive departments.

Col. MASON. This motion was made some time ago, and negatived by a very large majority. He trusted that it would be again negatived. It would be impossible to define the misbehavior in such a manner as to subject it to a proper trial;

and perhaps still more impossible to compel so high an offender, holding his office by such a tenure, to submit to a trial. He considered an executive during good behavior as a softer name only for an executive for life; and that the

next would be an easy step to hereditary monarchy. If the motion should finally succeed, he might himself live to see such a revolution. If he did not, it was probable his children or grandchildren would. He trusted there were few men

in that House who wished for it. No state, he was sure, had so far revolted from republican principles, as to have the least bias in its favor.

175 Mr. MADISON was not apprehensive of being thought to favor any step towards monarchy. The real object with him was to prevent its introduction. Experience had proved a tendency in our government to throw all power into the

legislative vortex. The executives of the states are in general little more than ciphers; the legislatures omnipotent. If no effectual check be devised for restraining the instability and encroachments of the latter, a revolution of

some kind or other would be inevitable. The preservation of republican government, therefore, required some expedient for the purpose, but required evidently, at the same time, that, in devising it, the genuine principles of that form

should be kept in view.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was as little a friend to monarchy as any gentleman. He concurred in the opinion, that the way to keep out monarchical government was to establish such a republican government as would make the people happy, and

prevent a desire of change.

Dr. M’CLURG was not so much afraid of the shadow of monarchy as to be unwilling to approach it; nor so wedded to republican government as not to be sensible of the tyrannies that had been and may be exercised under that form. It was an

essential object with him to make the executive independent of the legislature; and the only mode left for effecting it, after the vote destroying his ineligibility a second time, was to appoint him during good behavior.

On the questing for inserting “during good behavior,” in place of “seven years, [with a reëligibility,]” it passed in the negative.

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, ay, 4; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 6. *

On the motion to strike out “seven years,” it passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, ay, 4; Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 6. †

It was now unanimously agreed, that the vote which had struck out the words “to be ineligible a second time,” should be reconsidered to-morrow.




In Convention. —On motion of Mr. L. MARTIN to fix to-morrow 176 for reconsidering the vote concerning the ineligibility of the executive a second time, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 8; New Jersey, Georgia, absent.

The residue of the ninth resolution, concerning the executive, was postponed till to-morrow.

The tenth resolution, “That the executive shall have a right to negative legislative acts not afterwards passed by two thirds of each branch,” was passed, nem. con.

The eleventh resolution, “That a national judiciary shall be established, to consist of one supreme tribunal,” agreed to, nem. con.

On the clause, “the judges of which to be appointed by the second branch of the national legislature,”—

Mr. GORHAM would prefer an appointment by the second branch to an appointment by the whole legislature; but he thought even that branch too numerous, and too little personally responsible, to insure a good choice. He suggested that the

judges be appointed by the executive, with the advice and consent of the second branch, in the mode prescribed by the constitution of Massachusetts. This mode had been long practised in that country, and was found to answer perfectly


Mr. WILSON would still prefer an appointment by the executive; but if that could not be attained, would prefer, in the next place, the mode suggested by Mr. Gorham. He thought it his duty, however, to move, in the first instance, “that

the judges be appointed by the executive.”

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion.

Mr. L. MARTIN was strenuous for an appointment by the second branch. Being taken from all the states, it would be best informed of characters, and most capable of making a fit choice.

Mr. SHERMAN concurred in the observations of Mr. Martin, adding that the judges ought to be diffused, which would be more likely to be attended to by the second branch than by the executive.

Mr. MASON. The mode of appointing the judges may depend in some degree on the mode of trying impeachments of the executive. If the judges were to form a tribunal for that purpose, they surely ought not to be appointed by the executive.

There were insuperable objections, besides, against referring the appointment to the executive. He mentioned, as one, that, as the seat of government must be in some one state, and as the executive would remain in office for a

considerable time,—for four, five, or six years at least,—he would insensibly form local and personal attachments, within the particular state, that would deprive equal merit elsewhere of an equal chance of promotion.

Mr. GORHAM. As the executive will be responsible, in point of character at least, for a judicious and faithful discharge of his trust, he will be careful to look through all the states for proper characters. The senators will be as

likely to form their attachments at the seat of government, where they reside, as the executive. If they cannot get the man of the particular state to which they may respectively belong, they will be indifferent to the rest. Public

bodies feel no personal responsibility, and give full play to intrigue and cabal. Rhode Island is a full illustration of the insensibility to character produced by a participation of numbers in dishonorable measures, and of the length

to which a public body may carry wickedness and cabal.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS supposed it would be improper for an impeachment of the executive to be tried before the judges. The latter would in such cases be drawn into intrigues with the legislature, and an impartial trial would be

frustrated. As they would be much about the seat of government, they might even be previously consulted, and arrangements might be made for a prosecution of the executive. He thought, therefore, that no argument could be drawn from the

probability of such a plan of impeachments, against the motion before the House.

Mr. MADISON suggested, that the judges might be appointed by the executive, with the concurrence of one third at least of the second branch. This would unite the advantage of responsibility in the executive, with the security afforded

in the second branch against any incautious or corrupt nomination by the executive.

Mr. SHERMAN was clearly for an election by the Senate. It would be composed of men nearly equal to the executive, and would of course have, on the whole, more wisdom. They would bring into their deliberations a more diffusive knowledge

of characters. It would be less easy for candidates to intrigue with them than with the executive magistrate. For these reasons, he thought there would be a better security for a proper choice in the Senate than in the executive.

Mr. RANDOLPH. It is true that, when the appointment of the judges was vested in the second branch, an equality of votes had not been given to it. Yet he had rather leave the appointment there than give it to the executive. He thought

the advantage of personal responsibility might be gained, in the Senate, by requiring the respective votes of the members to be entered on the Journal. He thought, too, that the hope of receiving appointments would be more diffusive,

if they depended on the Senate, the members of which would be diffusively known, than if they depended on a single man, who could not be personally known to a very great extent; and, consequently, that opposition to the system would be

so far weakened.

Mr. BEDFORD thought, there were solid reasons against leaving the appointment to the executive. He must trust more to information than the Senate. It would put it in his power to gain over the larger states by gratifying them with a

preference of their citizens. The responsibility of the executive, so much talked of, was chimerical. He could not be punished for mistakes.

Mr. GORHAM remarked, that the Senate could have no better information than the executive. They must, like him, trust to 177 information from the members belonging to the particular state where the candidate resided. The executive would

certainly be more answerable for a good appointment, as the whole blame of a bad one would full on him alone. He did not mean that he would be answerable under any other penalty than that of public censure, which with honorable minds

was a sufficient one.

On the question for referring the appointment of the judges to the executive, instead of the second branch,—

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, ay, 2; Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, no, 6; Georgia, absent.

Mr. GORHAM moved, “that the judges be nominated and appointed by the executive, by and with the advice and consent of the second branch; and every such nomination shall be made at least—days prior to such appointment.” This mode, he

said, had been ratified by the experience of a hundred and forty years in Massachusetts. If the appointment should be left to either branch of the legislature, it will be a mere piece of jobbing.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded and supported the motion.

Mr. SHERMAN thought it less objectionable than an absolute appointment by the executive; but disliked it, as too much fettering the Senate.

On the question on Mr. Gorham’s motion,—

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, ay, 4; Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, no, 4; Georgia, absent.

Mr. MADISON moved, “that the judges should be nominated by the executive, and such nomination should become an appointment if not disagreed to within—days by two thirds of the second branch.”

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion.

By common consent, the consideration of it was postponed till to-morrow.

“To hold their offices during good behavior, and to receive fixed salaries,”—agreed to, nem. con.

“In which [salaries of judges] no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time.”

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to strike out “no increase.” He thought the legislature ought to be at liberty to increase salaries, as circumstances might require; and that this would not create any improper dependence in the judges.

Dr. FRANKLIN was in favor of the motion. Money may not only become plentier, but the business of the department may increase, as the country becomes more populous.

Mr. MADISON. The dependence will be less if the increase alone should be permitted; but it will be improper even so far to permit a dependence. Whenever an increase is wished by the judges, or may be in agitation in the legislature, an

undue complaisance in the former may be felt towards the latter. If at such a crisis there should be in court suits to which leading members of the legislature may be parties, the judges will be in a situation which ought not to be

suffered, if it can be prevented. The variations in the value of money may be guarded against, by taking, for a standard, wheat or some other thing of permanent value. The increase of business will be provided for by an increase of the

number who are to do it. An increase of salaries may easily be so contrived as not to affect persons in office.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. The value of money may not only alter, but the state of society may after. In this event, the same quantity of wheat, the same value, would not be the same compensation. The amount of salaries must always be

regulated by the manners and the style of living in a country. The increase of business cannot be provided for in the supreme tribunal, in the way that has been mentioned. All the business of a certain description, whether more or

less, must be done in that single tribunal. Additional labor alone in the judges can provide for additional business. Additional compensation, therefore, ought not to be prohibited.

On the question for striking out “no increase,”—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, ay, 6; Virginia, North Carolina, no, 2; Georgia, absent.

The whole clause, as amended, was then agreed to, nem con.

The twelfth resolution, “That the national legislature be empowered to appoint inferior tribunals,” being taken up,—

Mr. BUTLER could see no necessity for such tribunals. The state tribunals might do the business.

Mr. L. MARTIN concurred. They will create jealousies and oppositions in the state tribunals, with the jurisdiction of which they will interfere.

Mr. GORHAM. There are in the states already federal courts, with jurisdiction for trial of piracies, c., committed on the seas. No complaints have been made by the states or the courts of the states. Inferior tribunals are essential to

render the authority of the national legislature effectual.

Mr. RANDOLPH observed, that the courts of the states cannot be trusted with the administration of the national laws. The objects of jurisdiction are such as will often place the general and local policy at variance.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS urged also the necessity of such a provision.

Mr. SHERMAN was willing to give the power to the legislature, but wished them to make use of the state tribunals, whenever it could be done with safety to the general interest.

Col. MASON thought many circumstances might arise, not now to be foreseen, which might render such a power absolutely necessary.

On the question for agreeing to the twelfth resolution, empowering the national legislature to appoint inferior tribunals, it was agreed to, nem. con.

The clause of “impeachments of national officers,” was struck out, on motion for the purpose.

The thirteenth resolution, “The jurisdiction of the national judiciary, c.,” being then taken up, several criticisms having been made on the definition, it was proposed by Mr. MADISON so to alter it as to read thus: “That the

jurisdiction shall extend to all cases arising under the national laws, and to such other questions as may involve the national peace and harmony;” which was agreed to, nem. con.

The fourteenth resolution, providing for the admission of new states, was agreed to, nem. con.

The fifteenth resolution, “That provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress, c., and for the completion of their engagements,” being considered,—

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought the assumption of their engagements might as well be omitted; and that Congress ought not to be continued till all the states should adopt the reform; since it may become expedient to give effect to it

whenever a certain number of states shall adopt it.

Mr. MADISON. The clause can mean nothing more than that provision ought to be made for preventing an interregnum; which must exist, in the interval between the adoption of the new government and the commencement of its operation, if

the old government should cease on the first of these events.

Mr. WILSON did not entirely approve of the manner in which the clause relating to the engagements of Congress was expressed; but he thought some provision on the subject would be proper, in order to prevent any suspicion that the

obligations of the Confederacy might be dissolved along with the government under which they were contracted.

On the question on the first part, relating to the continuance of Congress,—

Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 3; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, no, 6. (In the printed Journal, South Carolina, no.)

The second part, as to the completion of their engagements, was disagreed to, nem. con.

The sixteenth resolution, “That a republican constitution and its existing laws ought to be guarantied to each state by the United States,” being considered,—

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought the resolution very objectionable. He should be very unwilling that such laws as exist in Rhode Island should be guarantied.

Mr. WILSON. The object is merely to secure the states against dangerous commotions, insurrections, and rebellions.

Col. MASON. If the general government should have no right to suppress rebellions against particular states, it will be in a bad situation indeed. As rebellions against itself originate in and against 178 individual states, it must

remain a passive spectator of its own subversion.

Mr. RANDOLPH. The resolution has two objects,—first, to secure a republican government; secondly, to suppress domestic commotions. He urged the necessity of both these provisions.

Mr. MADISON moved to substitute, “that the constitutional authority of the states shall be guarantied to them respectively against domestic as well as foreign violence.”

Dr. M’CLURG seconded the motion.

Mr. HOUSTON was afraid of perpetuating the existing constitutions of the states. That of Georgia was a very bad one, and he hoped would be revised and amended. It may also be difficult for the general government to decide between

contending parties, each of which claim the sanction of the constitution.

Mr. L. MARTIN was for leaving the states to suppress rebellions themselves.

Mr. GORHAM thought it strange that a rebellion should be known to exist in the empire, and the general government should be restrained from interposing to subdue it. At this rate, an enterprising citizen might erect the standard of

monarchy in a particular state; might gather together partisans from all quarters; might extend his views from state to state, and threaten to establish a tyranny over the whole,—and the general government be compelled to remain an

inactive witness of its own destruction. With regard to different parties in a state, as long as they confine their disputes to words, they will be harmless to the general government and to each other. If they appeal to the sword, it

will then be necessary for the general government, however difficult it may be to decide on the merits of their contest, to interpose, and put an end to it.

Mr. CARROLL. Some such provision is essential. Every state ought to wish for it. It has been doubted whether it is a casus fœderis at present; and no room ought to be left for such a doubt hereafter.

Mr. RANDOLPH moved to add, as an amendment to the motion, “and that no state be at liberty to form any other than a republican government.”

Mr. MADISON seconded the motion.

Mr. RUTLEDGE thought it unnecessary to insert any guaranty. No doubt could be entertained but that Congress had the authority, if they had the means, to coöperate with any state in subduing a rebellion. It was and would be involved in

the nature of the thing.

Mr. WILSON moved, as a better expression of the idea, “that a republican form of government shall be guarantied to each state; and that each state shall be protected against foreign and domestic violence.”

This seeming to be well received, Mr. MADISON and Mr. RANDOLPH withdrew their propositions, and, on the question for agreeing to Mr. Wilson’s motion, it passed, nem. con.




In Convention. —On reconsideration of the vote rendering the executive reëligible a second time, Mr. MARTIN moved to reinstate the words, “to be ineligible a second time.”

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. It is necessary to take into one view all that relates to the establishment of the executive, on the due formation of which must depend the efficacy and utility of the union among the present and future states.

It has been a maxim in political science, that republican government is not adapted to a large extent of country, because the energy of the executive magistracy cannot reach the extreme parts of it. Our country is an extensive one. We

must either, then, renounce the blessings of the union, or provide an executive with sufficient vigor to pervade every part of it. This subject was of so much importance that he hoped to be indulged in an extensive view of it. One

great object of the executive is, to control the legislature. The legislature will continually seek to aggrandize and perpetuate themselves, and will seize those critical moments produced by war, invasion, or convulsion, for that

purpose. It is necessary, then, that the executive magistrate should be the guardian of the people, even of the lower classes, against legislative tyranny; against the great and the wealthy, who, in the course of things, will

necessarily compose the legislative body. Wealth tends to corrupt the mind; to nourish its love of power; and to stimulate it to oppression. History proves this to be the spirit of the opulent. The check provided in the second branch

was not meant as a check on legislative usurpations of power, but on the abuse of lawful powers, on the propensity of the first branch to legislate too much, to run into projects of paper money, and similar expedients. It is no check

on legislative tyranny. On the contrary, it may favor it, and, if the first branch can be seduced, may find the means of success. The executive, therefore, ought to be so constituted as to be the great protector of the mass of the

people. It is the duty of the executive to appoint the officers, and to command the forces, of the republic—to appoint, first, ministerial officers for the administration of public affairs; secondly, officers for the dispensation of

justice. Who will be the best judges whether these appointments be well made? The people at large, who will know, will see, will feel, the effects of them. Again, who can judge so well of the discharge of military duties, for the

protection and security of the people, as the people themselves, who are to be protected and secured? He finds, too, that the executive is not to be reëligible. What effect will this have? In the first place, it will destroy the great

incitement to merit, public esteem, by taking away the hope of being rewarded with a reappointment. It may give a dangerous turn to one of the strongest passions in the human breast. The love of fame is the great spring to noble and

illustrious actions. Shut the civil road to glory, and he may be compelled to seek it by the sword. In the second place, it will tempt him to make the most of the short space of time allotted him, to accumulate wealth and provide for

his friends. In the third place, it will produce violations of the very Constitution it is meant to secure. In moments of pressing danger, the tried abilities and established character of a favorite magistrate will prevail over respect

for the forms of the Constitution. The executive is also to be impeachable. This is a dangerous part of the plan. It will hold him in such dependence, that he will be no check on the legislature, will not be a firm guardian of the

people and of the public interest. He will be the tool of a faction, of some leading demagogue in the legislature. These, then, are the faults of the executive establishment, as now proposed. Can no better establishment be devised? If

he is to be the guardian of the people, let him be appointed by the people. If he is to be a check on the legislature, let him not be impeachable. Let him be of short duration, that he may with propriety be reëligible. It has been said

that the candidates for this office will not be known to the people. If they be known to the legislature, they must have such a notoriety and eminence of character, that they cannot possibly be unknown to the people at large. It cannot

be possible that a man shall have sufficiently distinguished himself to merit this high trust, without having his character proclaimed by fame throughout the empire. As to the danger from an unimpeachable magistrate, he could not

regard it as formidable. There must be certain great officers of state, a minister of finance, of war, of foreign affairs, c. These, he presumes, will exercise their functions in subordination to the executive, and will be amenable, by

impeachment, to the public justice. Without these ministers, the executive can do nothing of consequence. He suggested a biennial election of the executive, at the time of electing the first branch; and the executive to hold over, so

as to prevent any interregnum in the administration. An election by the people at large, throughout so great an extent of country, could not be influenced by those little combinations and those momentary lies, which often decide

popular elections within a narrow sphere. It will probably be objected, that the election will be influenced by the members of the legislature, particularly of the first branch; and that it will be nearly the same thing with an

election by the legislature itself. It could not be denied that such an influence would exist. But it might be answered, that, as the legislature or the candidates for it would be divided, the enmity of one part would counteract the

friendship of another; that if the administration of the executive were good, it would be unpopular to oppose his reëlection; if bad, it ought to be opposed, and a reappointment prevented; and, lastly, that, in every view, this

indirect dependence on the favor of the legislature could not be so mischievous as a direct dependence for his appointment. He saw no alternative for making the executive independent of the legislature, but either to give him his

office for life, or make him eligible by the people. Again, it might be objected, that two years would be too short a duration. But he believes that as long as he should behave himself well he would be continued in his place. The

extent of the country would secure his reelection against the factions and discontents of particular states. It deserved consideration, also, that such an ingredient in the plan would render it extremely palatable to the people. These

were the general ideas which occurred to him on the subject, and which led him to wish and move that the whole constitution of the executive might undergo reconsideration.

Mr. RANDOLPH urged the motion of Mr. L. Martin for restoring the words making the executive ineligible a second time. If he ought to be independent, he should not be left under a temptation to court a reappointment. If he should be

reappointable by the legislature, he will be no check on it. His revisionary power will be of no avail. He had always thought and contended, as he still did, that the danger apprehended by the little states was chimerical; but those

who thought otherwise ought to be peculiarly anxious for the motion. If the executive be appointed, as has been determined, by the legislature, he will probably be appointed, either by joint ballot of both houses, or be nominated by

the first and appointed by the second branch. In either case, the large states will preponderate. If he is to court the same influence for his reappointment, will he not make his revisionary power, and all the other functions of his

administration, subservient to the views of the large states? Besides, is there not great reason to apprehend that, in case he should be reëligible, a false complaisance in the legislature might lead them to continue an unfit man in

office, in preference to a fit one? It has been said, that a constitutional bar to reappointment will inspire unconstitutional endeavors to perpetuate himself. It may be answered, that his endeavors can have no effect unless the people

be corrupt to such a degree as to render all precautions hopeless; to which may be added, that this argument supposes him to be more powerful and dangerous than other arguments which have been used admit, and consequently calls for

stronger fetters on his authority. He thought an election by the legislature, with an incapacity to be elected a second time, would be more acceptable to the people than the plan suggested by Mr. Gouverneur Morris.

Mr. KING did not like the ineligibility. He thought there was great force in the remark of Mr. Sherman, that he who has proved himself most fit for an office ought not to be excluded by the Constitution from holding it. He would

therefore prefer any other reasonable plan that could be substituted. He was much disposed to think, that in such cases the people at large would choose wisely. There was indeed some difficulty arising from the improbability of a

general concurrence of the people in favor of any one man. On the whole, he was of opinion that an appointment by electors chosen by the people for the purpose would be liable to fewest objections.

Mr. PATTERSON’S ideas nearly coincided, he said, with those of Mr. King. He proposed that the executive should be appointed by electors, to be chosen by the states in a ratio that would allow one elector to the smallest, and three to

the largest, states.

Mr. WILSON. It seems to be the unanimous sense that the executive should not be appointed by the legislature, unless he be rendered ineligible a second time. He perceived with pleasure that the idea was gaining ground of an election,

mediately or immediately, by the people.

Mr. MADISON. If it be a fundamental principle of free government, that the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers should be separately exercised, it is equally so that they be independently exercised. There is the same, and

perhaps greater, reason why the executive should be independent of the legislature, than why the judiciary should. A coalition of the two former powers would be more immediately and certainly dangerous to public liberty. It is

essential, then, that the appointment of the executive should either be drawn from some source, or held by some tenure, that will give him a free agency with regard to the legislature. This could not be, if he was to be appointable,

from time to time, by the legislature. It was not clear that an appointment in the first instance, even with an ineligibility afterwards, would not establish an improper connection between the two departments. Certain it was, that the

appointment would be attended with intrigues and contentions that ought not to be unnecessarily admitted. He was disposed, for these reasons, to refer the appointment to some other source. The people at large was, in his opinion, the

fittest in itself. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an executive magistrate of distinguished character. The people generally could only know and vote for some citizen whose merits had rendered him an object

of general attention and esteem. There was one difficulty, however, of a serious nature, attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the

latter could have no influence in the election, on the score of the negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty, and seemed, on the whole, to be liable to fewest objections.

Mr. GERRY. If the executive is to be elected by the legislature, he certainly ought not to be reeligible. This would make him absolutely dependent. He was against a popular election. The people are uninformed, and would be misled by a

few designing men. He urged the expediency of an appointment of the executive by electors to be chosen by the state executives. The people of the states will then choose the first branch, the legislatures of the states the second

branch, of the national legislature; and the executives of the states the national executive. This, he thought, would form a strong attachment in the states to the national system. The popular mode of electing the chief magistrate

would certainly be the worst of all. If he should be so elected, and should do his duty, he will be turned out for it, like Governor Bowdoin in Massachusetts, and President Sullivan in New Hampshire.

179 On the question on Mr. Gouverneur Morris’s motion, to reconsider generally the constitution of the executive,—Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and all the others, ay.

Mr. ELLSWORTH moved to strike out the appointment by the national legislature, and to insert, “to be chosen by electors, appointed by the legislatures of the states in the following ratio, to wit: one for each state not exceeding two

hundred thousand inhabitants; two for each above that number, and not exceeding three hundred thousand; and three for each state exceeding three hundred thousand.”

Mr. BROOME seconded the motion.

Mr. RUTLEDGE was opposed to all the modes, except the appointment by the national legislature. He will be sufficiently independent, if he be not reëligible.

Mr. GERRY preferred the motion of Mr. Ellsworth to an appointment by the national legislature, or by the people; though not to an appointment by the state executives. He moved that the electors proposed by Mr. Ellsworth should be

twenty-five in number, and allotted in the following proportion: to New Hampshire, one; to Massachusetts, three; to Rhode Island, one; to Connecticut, two; to New York, two; to New Jersey, two; to Pennsylvania, three; to Delaware, one;

to Maryland, two; to Virginia, three; to North Carolina, two; to South Carolina, two; to Georgia, one.

The question, as moved by Mr. Ellsworth, being divided, on the first part, “Shall the national executive be appointed by electors?”—

Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, ay, 6; North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 3; Massachusetts, divided.

On the second part, “Shall the electors be chosen by the state legislatures?”—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, ay, 8; Virginia, South Carolina, no, 2.

The part relating to the ratio in which the states should choose electors, was postponed, nem. con.

Mr. L. MARTIN moved, that the executive be ineligible a second time.

Mr. WILLIAMSON seconds the motion. He had no great confidence in electors to be chosen for the special purpose. They would not be the most respectable citizens, but persons not occupied in the high offices of government. They would be

liable to undue influence, which might the more readily be practised, as some of them will probably be in appointment six or eight months before the object of it comes on.

Mr. ELLSWORTH supposed any persons might be appointed electors, except, solely, members of the national legislature.

On the question, “Shall he be ineligible a second time?”—

North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, no, 8.

On the question, “Shall the executive continue for seven years?” it passed in the negative.

180 Connecticut, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 3; New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, no, 5; Massachusetts, North Carolina, divided. (In the printed Journal, Connecticut, no; New Jersey, ay.)

Mr. KING was afraid we should shorten the term too much.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was for a short term, in order to avoid impeachments, which would be otherwise necessary.

Mr. BUTLER was against the frequency of the elections. Georgia and South Carolina were too distant to send electors often.

Mr. ELLSWORTH was for six years. If the elections be too frequent, the executive will not be firm enough. There must be duties which will make him unpopular for the moment. There will be outs as well as ins. His administration,

therefore, will be attacked and misrepresented.

Mr. WILLIAMSON was for six years. The expense will be considerable, and ought not to be unnecessarily repeated. If the elections are too frequent, the best men will not undertake the service, and those of an inferior character will be

liable to be corrupted.

On the question for six years,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 9; Delaware, no.


FRIDAY, July 20


In Convention. —The proposed ratio of electors for appointing the executive, to wit, one for each state whose inhabitants do not exceed two hundred thousand, c., being taken up,—

Mr. MADISON observed, that this would make, in time, all or nearly all the states equal, since there were few that would not in time contain the number of inhabitants entitling them to three electors; that this ratio ought either to be

made temporary, or so varied as that it would adjust itself to the growing population of the states.

Mr. GERRY moved that in the first instance the electors should be allotted to the states in the following ratio: to New Hampshire, one; Massachusetts, three; Rhode Island, one; Connecticut, two; New York, two; New Jersey, two;

Pennsylvania, three; Delaware, one; Maryland, two; Virginia, three; North Carolina, two; South Carolina, two; Georgia, one.

On the question to postpone in order to take up this motion of Mr. Gerry, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 6; Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, no, 4.

Mr. ELLSWORTH moved that two electors be allotted to New Hampshire. Some rule ought to be pursued; and New Hampshire has more than a hundred thousand inhabitants. He thought it would be proper also to allot two to Georgia.

Mr. BROOM and Mr. MARTIN moved to postpone Mr. Gerry’s allotment of electors, leaving a fit ratio to be reported by the committee to be appointed for detailing the resolutions.

On this motion,—

New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, ay, 3; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 7.

Mr. HOUSTON seconded the motion of Mr. Ellsworth, to add another elector to New Hampshire and Georgia.

On the question,—

Connecticut, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 3; Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no, 7.

Mr. WILLIAMSON moved as an amendment to Mr. Gerry’s allotment of electors, in the first instance, that in future elections of the national executive, the number of electors to be appointed by the several states shall be regulated by

their respective numbers of representatives in the first branch, pursuing, as nearly as may be, the present proportions.

On the question on Mr. Gerry’s ratio of electors,—

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, ay, 6; New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, no, 4.

On the clause, “to be removable on impeachment and conviction for malpractice or neglect of duty,” (see the ninth resolution,)— 181

Mr. PINCKNEY and Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to strike out this part of the resolution. Mr. PINCKNEY observed, he ought not to be impeachable whilst in office.

Mr. DAVIE. If he be not impeachable whilst in office, he will spare no efforts or means whatever, to get himself reëlected. He considered this as an essential security for the good behavior of the executive.

Mr. WILSON concurred in the necessity of making the executive impeachable whilst in office.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. He can do no criminal act without coadjutors, who may be punished. In case he should be reëlected, that will be a sufficient proof of his innocence. Besides, who is to impeach? Is the impeachment to suspend his

functions? If it is not, the mischief will go on. If it is, the impeachment will be nearly equivalent to a displacement, and will render the executive dependent on those who are to impeach.

Col. MASON. No point is of more importance than that the right of impeachment should be continued. Shall any man be above justice? Above all, shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice? When great crimes

were committed, he was for punishing the principal as well as the coadjutors. There had been much debate and difficulty as to the mode of choosing the executive. He approved of that which had been adopted at first, namely, of referring

the appointment to the national legislature. One objection against electors was the danger of their being corrupted by the candidates, and this furnished a peculiar reason in favor of impeachments whilst in office. Shall the man who

has practised corruption, and by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment by repeating his guilt?

Dr. FRANKLIN was for retaining the clause, as favorable to the executive. History furnishes one example only of a first magistrate being formally brought to public justice. Every body cried out against this as unconstitutional. What

was the practice before this, in cases where the chief magistrate rendered himself obnoxious: Why, recourse was had to assassination, in which he was not only deprived of his life, but of the opportunity of vindicating his character.

It would be the best way, therefore, to provide in the Constitution for the regular punishment of the executive, where his misconduct should deserve it, and for his honorable acquittal, where he should be unjustly accused.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS admits corruption, and some few other offences, to be such as ought to be impeachable; but thought the cases ought to be enumerated and defined.

Mr. MADISON thought it indispensable that some provision should be made for defending the community against the incapacity, negligence, or perfidy of the chief magistrate. The limitation of the period of his service was not a

sufficient security. He might lose his capacity after his appointment. He might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers. The case of the executive magistracy was

very distinguishable from that of the legislature, or any other public body holding offices of limited duration. It could not be presumed that all, or even the majority, of the members of an assembly would either lose their capacity

for discharging, or be bribed to betray, their trust. Besides the restraints of their personal integrity and honor, the difficulty of acting in concert for purposes of corruption was a security to the public. And if one or a few

members only should be seduced, the soundness of the remaining members would maintain the integrity and fidelity of the body. In the case of the executive magistracy, which was to be administered by a single man, loss of capacity, or

corruption, was more within the compass of probable events, and either of them might be fatal to the republic.

Mr. PINCKNEY did not see the necessity of impeachments. He was sure they ought not to issue from the legislature, who would in that case hold them as a rod over the executive, and by that means effectually destroy his independence. His

revisionary power, in particular, would be rendered altogether insignificant.

Mr. GERRY urged the necessity of impeachments. A good magistrate will not fear them. A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them. He hoped the maxim would never be adopted here, that the chief magistrate could do no wrong.

Mr. KING expressed his apprehensions that an extreme caution in favor of liberty might enervate the government we were forming. He wished the House to recur to the primitive axiom, that the three great departments of government should

be separate and independent; that the executive and judiciary should be so as well as the legislative; that the executive should be so equally with the judiciary. Would this be the case if the executive should be impeachable? It had

been said that the judiciary would be impeachable. But it should have been remembered, at the same time, that the judiciary hold their places not for a limited time, but during good behavior. It is necessary, therefore, that a form

should be established for trying misbehavior. Was the executive to hold his place during good behavior? The executive was to hold his place for a limited time, like the members of the legislature. Like them, particularly the Senate,

whose members would continue in appointment the same term of six years, he would periodically be tried for his behavior by his electors, who would continue or discontinue him in trust according to the manner in which he had discharged

it. Like them, therefore, he ought to be subject to no intermediate trial, by impeachment. He ought not to be impeachable unless he held his office during good behavior—a tenure which would be most agreeable to him, provided an

independent and effectual forum could be devised. But under no circumstances ought he to be impeachable by the legislature. This would be destructive of his independence, and of the principles of the Constitution. He relied on the

vigor of the executive, as a great security for the public liberties.

Mr. RANDOLPH. The propriety of impeachments was a favorite principle with him. Guilt, wherever found, ought to be punished. The executive will have great opportunities of abusing his power, particularly in time of war, when the

military force, and in some respects the public money, will be in his hands. Should no regular punishment be provided, it will be irregularly inflicted by tumults and insurrections. He is aware of the necessity of proceeding with a

cautious hand, and of excluding, as much as possible, the influence of the legislature from the business. He suggested for consideration an idea which had fallen, (from Colonel Hamilton,) of composing a forum out of the judges

belonging to the states; and even of requiring some preliminary inquest, whether just ground of impeachment existed.

Dr. FRANKLIN mentioned the case of the Prince of Orange, during the late war. An arrangement was made between France and Holland, by which their two fleets were to unite at a certain time and place. The Dutch fleet did not appear.

Every body began to wonder at it. At length it was suspected that the stadtholder was at the bottom of the matter. This suspicion prevailed more and more. Yet, as he could not be impeached, and no regular examination took place, he

remained in his office; and strengthening his own party, as the party opposed to him became formidable, he gave birth to the most violent animosities and contentions. Had he been impeachable, a regular and peaceable inquiry would have

taken place, and he would, if guilty, have been duly punished,—if innocent, restored to the confidence of the public.

Mr. KING remarked, that the case of the stadtholder was not applicable. He held his place for life, and was not periodically elected. In the former case, impeachments are proper to secure good behavior: in the latter, they are

unnecessary, the periodical responsibility to electors being an equivalent security.

Mr. WILSON observed, that, if the idea were to be pursued, the senators, who are to hold their places during the same term with the executive, ought to be subject to impeachment and removal.

Mr. PINCKNEY apprehended, that some gentlemen reasoned on a supposition that the executive was to have powers which would not be committed to him. He presumed that his powers would be so circumscribed as to render impeachments


Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS’S opinion had been changed by the arguments used in the discussion. He was now sensible of the necessity of impeachments, if the executive was to continue for any length of time in office. Our executive was not

like a magistrate having a life interest, much less like one having an hereditary interest, in his office. He may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust; and no one would say that we ought to expose ourselves to the danger

of seeing the first magistrate in foreign pay, without being able to guard against it by displacing him. One would think the king of England well secured against bribery. He has, as it were, a fee simple in the whole kingdom. Yet

Charles II. was bribed by Louis XIV. The executive ought, therefore, to be impeachable for treachery. Corrupting his electors, and incapacity, were other causes of impeachment. For the latter he should be punished, not as a man but as

an officer, and punished only by degradation from his office. This magistrate is not the king, but the prime minister. The people are the king. When we make him amenable to justice, however, we should take care to provide some mode

that will not make him dependent on the legislature.

It was moved and seconded to postpone the question of impeachments; which was negatived,—Massachusetts and South Carolina, only, being ay.

On the question, Shall the executive be removable on impeachments? c.,—

Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, ay, 8; Massachusetts, South Carolina, no, 2.

“The executive to receive fixed compensation,”—agreed to, nem. con.

“To be paid out of the national treasury,”—agreed to, New Jersey only in the negative.

Mr. GERRY and Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved, “that the electors of the executive shall not be members of the national legislature, nor officers of the United States, nor shall the electors themselves be eligible to the supreme

magistracy.” Agreed to, nem. con.

Dr. M’CLURG asked, whether it would not be necessary, before a committee for detailing the Constitution should be appointed, to determine on the means by which the executive is to carry the laws into effect, and to resist combinations

against them. Is he to have a military force for the purpose, or to have the command of the militia, the only existing force that can be applied to that use? As the resolutions now stand, the committee will have no determinate

directions on this great point.

Mr. WILSON thought that some additional directions to the committee would be necessary.

Mr. KING. The committee are to provide for the end. Their discretionary power to provide for the means is involved, according to an established axiom.