The Debates in the
Federal Convention of 1787
JUNE 15th. 1787
2 Mr. PATTERSON,
laid before the Convention the plan which he said several of the deputations
wished to be substituted in place of that proposed by Mr. Randolph. After some
little discussion of the most proper mode of giving it a fair deliberation it
was agreed that it should be referred to a Committee of the whole, and that in
order to place the two plans in due comparison, the other should be recommitted.
At the earnest desire
3 of Mr. Lansing & some other
gentlemen, it was also agreed that the Convention should not go into Committee
of the whole on the subject till tomorrow, by which delay the friends of the
plan proposed by Mr. Patterson wd. be better prepared to explain & support
it, and all would have an opportuy. of taking copies. *4
The propositions from N. Jersey moved by Mr. Patterson were in the words
1. Resd. that the articles of Confederation ought to be so revised,
corrected & enlarged, as to render the federal Constitution adequate to the
exigencies of Government, & the preservation of the Union.
2. Resd. that in addition to the powers vested in the U. States in Congress,
by the present existing articles of Confederation, they be authorized to pass
acts for raising a revenue, by levying a duty or duties on all goods or
merchandizes of foreign growth or manufacture, imported into any part of the U.
States, by Stamps on paper, vellum or parchment, and by a postage on all letters
or packages passing through the general post-office, to be applied to such
federal purposes as they shall deem proper & expedient; to make rules &
regulations for the collection thereof; and the same from time to time, to alter
& amend in such manner as they shall think proper: to pass Acts for the
regulation of trade & commerce as well with foreign nations as with each
other: provided that all punishments, fines, forfeitures & penalties to be
incurred for contravening such acts rules and regulations shall be adjudged by
the Common law Judiciaries of the State in which any offence contrary to the
true intent & meaning of such Acts rules & regulations shall have been
committed or perpetrated, with liberty of commencing in the first instance all
suits & prosecutions for that purpose in the superior common law Judiciary
in such State, subject nevertheless, for the correction of all errors, both in
law & fact in rendering Judgment, to an appeal to the Judiciary of the U.
3. Resd. that whenever requisitions shall be necessary, instead of the rule
for making requisitions mentioned in the articles of Confederation, the United
States in Congs. be authorized to make such requisitions in proportion to the
whole number of white & other free citizens & inhabitants of every age
sex and condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years &
three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description,
except Indians not paying taxes; that if such requisitions be not complied with,
in the time specified therein, to direct the collection thereof in the non
complying States & for that purpose to devise and pass acts directing &
authorizing the same; provided that none of the powers hereby vested in the U.
States in Congs. shall be exercised without the consent of at least _____
States, and in that proportion if the number of Confederated States should
hereafter be increased or diminished.
4. Resd. that the U. States in Congs. be authorized to elect a federal
Executive to consist of _____ persons, to continue in office for the term of
_____ years, to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for
their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect
the persons composing the Executive at the time of such increase or diminution,
to be paid out of the federal treasury; to be incapable of holding any other
office or appointment during their time of service and for _____ years
thereafter; to be ineligible a second time, & removeable by Congs. on
application by a majority of the Executives of the several States; that the
Executives 8 besides their general
authority to execute the federal acts ought to appoint all federal officers not
otherwise provided for, & to direct all military operations; provided that
none of the persons composing the federal Executive shall on any occasion take
command of any troops, so as personally to conduct any 9
enterprise as General or in other capacity.
5. Resd. that a federal Judiciary be established to consist of a supreme
Tribunal the Judges of which to be appointed by the Executive, & to hold
their offices during good behaviour, to receive punctually at stated times a
fixed compensation for their services in which no increase or diminution shall
be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such
increase or diminution; that the Judiciary so established shall have authority
to hear & determine in the first instance on all impeachments of federal
officers, & by way of appeal in the dernier resort in all cases touching the
rights of Ambassadors, in all cases of captures from an enemy, in all cases of
piracies & felonies on the high Seas, in all cases in which foreigners may
be interested, in the construction of any treaty or treaties, or which may arise
on any of the Acts for 10 regulation of
trade, or the collection of the federal Revenue: that none of the Judiciary
shall during the time they remain in office be capable of receiving or holding
any other office or appointment during their time 11
of service, or for _____ thereafter.
6. Resd. that all Acts of the U. States in Congs. made by virtue & in
pursuance of the powers hereby & by the articles of Confederation vested in
them, and all Treaties made & ratified under the authority of the U. States
shall be the supreme law of the respective States so far forth as those Acts or
Treaties shall relate to the said States or their Citizens, and that the
Judiciary of the several States shall be bound thereby in their decisions, any
thing in the respective laws of the Individual States to the contrary
notwithstanding; and that if any State, or any body of men in any State shall
oppose or prevent yd. carrying into execution such acts or treaties, the federal
Executive shall be authorized to call forth ye. power of the Confederated
States, or so much thereof as may be necessary to enforce and compel an
obedience to such Acts, or an observance of such Treaties.
7. Resd. that provision be made for the admission of new States into the
8. Resd. the rule for naturalization ought to be the same in every State.
9. Resd. 12 that a Citizen of one
State committing an offense in another State of the Union, shall be deemed
guilty of the same offense as if it had been committed by a Citizen of the State
in which the offense was committed. *13
1. The year "1787" is omitted in
2. The words "In Convention" are
here inserted in the transcript.
3. The word "request" is
substituted in the transcript for "desire."
*4. [this plan had been concerted among
the deputations or members thereof, from Cont. N.Y.N. J Del. and perhaps Mr.
Martin from Maryd who made with them a common cause 5
on different principles Cont. & N.Y. were agst. a departure from the
principle of the Confederation, wishing rather to add a few new powers to Congs.
than to substitute a National Govt. The States of N.J. & Del. were opposed
to a National Govt. because its patrons considered a proportional representation
of the States as the basis of it. The eagourness displayed by the members
opposed to a Natl. Govt. from these different motives began now to produce
serious anxiety for the result of the Convention. Mr. Dickenson said to Mr.
Madison — You see the consequence of pushing things too far. Some of the
members from the small States wish for two branches in the General Legislature,
and are friends to a good National Government; But we would sooner submit to a
foreign power than submit to be deprived of an equality of suffrage,
6 in both branches of the legislature, and
thereby be thrown under the domination of the large States]
The note in brackets for the margin. 7
5. The word "though" is here
inserted in the transcript.
6. The phrase "of an equality of
suffrage" is transposed so that the transcript reads "deprived, in
both branches of the legislature of an equality of suffrage, and thereby".
7. Madison's direction is omitted in the
8. The transcript uses the word "Executives"
in the singular.
9. The word "military" is here
inserted in the transcript.
10. The word "the" is here
inserted in the transcript.
11. The word "term" is
substituted in the transcript for "time."
12. The word "that" is here
inserted in the transcript.
*13. This copy of Mr. Patterson's
propositions varies in a few clauses from that in the printed Journal furnished
from the papers of Mr. Brearley a Colleague of Mr. Patterson. A confidence is
felt, notwithstanding, in its accuracy. That the copy in the Journal is not
entirely correct is shewn by the ensuing speech of Mr. Wilson [June 16] in which
he refers to the mode of removing the Executive by impeachment & conviction
as a feature in the Virga plan forming one of its contrasts to that of Mr.
Patterson, which proposed a removal on the application of a majority of the
Executives of the States. In the copy printed in the Journal, the two modes are
combined in the same clause; whether through inadvertence, or as a contemplated
amendment does not appear.