The Debates in the
Federal Convention of 1787
SEPr 12. 1787.
1 IN CONVENTION
from the Committee of stile &c. reported a digest of the plan, of which
printed copies were ordered to be furnished to the members. He also reported a
letter to accompany the plan, to Congress. (Here insert a transcript of the
former from the annexed sheet as printed
*2 and of the latter from the draft as
finally agreed to.
WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED
STATES, IN ORDER TO FORM a more perfect union, to
establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence,
promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America.
Sect. 1. ALL legislative powers herein
granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist
of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Sect. 2. The House of Representatives shall
be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several
states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite
for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.
No person shall be a representative who shall not
have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of
the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that
state in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct taxes shall be
apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union,
according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to
the whole number of free persons, including those bound to servitude for a term
of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.
The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting
of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten
years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of representatives
shall not exceed one for every forty thousand, but each state shall have at
least one representative: and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of
New-Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight,
Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six,
New-Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Deleware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten,
North-Carolina five, South- Caroline five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the representation from any
state, the Executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill
The House of Representatives shall choose their
Speaker and other officers; and they shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Sect. 3. The Senate of the United States
shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature
thereof, for six years: and each senator shall have one vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in
consequence of the first election, they shall be divided *5
[by lot] as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the senators of
the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the
second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the
expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year:
and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the
Legislature of any state, the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments
until the next meeting of the Legislature.
No person shall be a senator who shall not have
attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United
States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for
which he shall be chosen.
The Vice-President of the United States shall be, ex
officio 6 President of the senate, but
shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall choose their other officers, and
also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice-President, or when he
shall exercise the office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole power to try all
impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath. When the
President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no
person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members
Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend
further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any
office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party
convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial,
judgment and punishment, according to law.
Sect. 4. The times, places and manner of
holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each
state by the legislature thereof: but the Congress may at any time by law make
or alter such regulations.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every
year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they
shall by law appoint a different day.
Sect. 5. Each house shall be the judge of
the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of
each shall constitute a quorum to do business: but a smaller number may adjourn
from day to day, and may be authorised to compel the attendance of absent
members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.
Each house may determine the rules of its
proceedings; punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the
concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings,
and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their
judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house
on any question shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered
on the journal.
Neither house, during the session of Congress,
shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor
to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.
Sect. 6. The senators and representatives
shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and
paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except
treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their
attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and
returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, they
shall not be questioned in any other place.
No senator or representative shall, during the time
for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority
of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof
shall have been encreased during such time; and no person holding any office
under the United States, shall be a member of either house during his
continuance in office.
Sect. 7. The enacting stile of the laws
shall be, "Be it enacted by the senators and representatives in Congress
assembled." All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of
representatives: but the senate may propose or concur with amendments as on
Every bill which shall have passed the house of
representatives and the senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to
the president of the United States. If he approve he shall sign it, but if not
he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have
originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and
proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two-thirds of that house
shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to
the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by
two-thirds of that house, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes
of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the
persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each
house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within
ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same
shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by
their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Every order, resolution, or vote to which the
concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except
on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United
States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or,
being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by *7
three-fourths of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules
and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
Sect. 8. The Congress may by joint ballot
appoint a treasurer. They shall have power
To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and
excises; to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare
of the United States.
To borrow money on the credit of the United States.
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the
several states, and with the Indian tribes.
To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and
uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of
foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the
securities and current coin of the United States.
To establish post offices and post roads.
To promote the progress of science and useful arts,
by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to
their respective writings and discoveries.
To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed
on the high seas, and
*9 [punish] offences against the law of
To declare war, grant letters of marque and
reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.
To raise and support armies: but no appropriation of
money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.
To provide and maintain a navy.
To make rules for the government and regulation of
the land and naval forces.
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute
the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.
To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining
the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the
service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the
appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according
to the discipline prescribed by Congress.
To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases
whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by
cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of
the 11 government of the United States,
and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the
legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts,
magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings -And
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper
for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by
this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department
or officer thereof.
Sect. 9. The migration or importation of
such persons as the several states now existing shall think proper to admit,
shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight
hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not
exceeding ten dollars for each person.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not
be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety
may require it.
No bill of attainder shall be passed, nor any ex
post facto law.
No capitation tax shall be laid, unless in
proportion to the census herein before directed to be taken.
No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported
from any state.
No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in
consequence of appropriations made by law.
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United
States. And no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall,
without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office,
or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
Sect. 10. No state shall coin money, nor
12 emit bills of credit, nor
12 make any thing but gold or silver coin
a tender in payment of debts, nor 12 pass
any bill of attainder, nor 12 ex post
facto laws, nor
12 laws altering or impairing the
obligation of contracts; nor 12 grant
letters of marque and reprisal, nor 12
enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation, nor 12
grant any title of nobility.
No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay
imposts or duties on imports or exports, nor 12
with such consent, but to the use of the treasury of the United States. Nor
12 keep troops nor 12
ships of war in time of peace, nor
12 enter into any agreement or compact
with another state, nor 12 with any
foreign power. Nor 12 engage in any war,
unless it shall be actually invaded by enemies, or the danger of invasion be so
imminent, as not to admit of delay until the Congress can be consulted.
Sect. 1. The executive power shall be vested
in a president of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during
the term of four years, and, together with the vice-president, chosen for the
same term, be elected in the following manner:
Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the
legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number
of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in Congress:
but no senator or representative shall be appointed an elector, nor any person
holding an office of trust or profit under the United States.
The electors shall meet in their respective states,
and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an
inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all
the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they
shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the general
government, directed to the president of the senate. The president of the senate
shall in the presence of the senate and house of representatives open all the
certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the
greatest number of votes shall be the president, if such number be a majority of
the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have
such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the house of
representatives shall immediately chuse by ballot one of them for president; and
if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said
house shall in like manner choose the president. But in choosing the president,
the votes shall be taken by states and not per capita, the representation from
each state having one vote. A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member
or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall
be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the president by
the representatives, the person having the greatest number of votes of the
electors shall be the vice-president. But if there should remain two or more who
have equal votes, the senate shall choose from them by ballot the
The Congress may determine the time of chusing the
electors, and the time in which they shall give their votes; but the election
shall be on the same day throughout the United States.
No person except a natural born citizen, or a
citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this constitution,
shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be
eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five
years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
In case of the removal of the president from office,
or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of
the said office, the same shall devolve on the vice-president, and the Congress
may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability,
both of the president and vice-president, declaring what officer shall then act
as president, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be
removed, or the period for chusing another president arrive.
The president shall, at stated times, receive a
fixed compensation for his services, which shall neither be encreased nor
diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected.
Before he enter on the execution of his office, he
shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I _____, do solemnly swear
(or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United
States, and will to the best of my judgment and power, preserve, protect and
defend the constitution of the United States."
Sect. 2. The president shall be commander in
chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the
several States: 13 he may require the
opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive
departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective
offices, when called into the actual service of the United States,
13 and he shall have power to grant
reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of
He shall have power, by and with the advice and
consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators
present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of
the senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls,
judges of the supreme court, and all other officers of the United States, whose
appointments are not herein otherwise provided for.
The president shall have power to fill up all
vacancies that may happen during the recess of the senate, by granting
commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.
Sect. 3. He shall from time to time give to
the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their
consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient: he may,
on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them, and in case
of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may
adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper: he shall receive ambassadors
and other public ministers: he shall take care that the laws be faithfully
executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.
Sect. 4. The president, vice-president and
all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on
impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and
Sect. 1. The judicial power of the United
States, both in law and equity, shall be vested in one supreme court, and in
such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices
during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a
compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Sect. 2. The judicial power shall extend to
all cases, both in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of
the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their
authority. To all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and
consuls. To all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. To controversies
to which the United States shall be a party. To controversies between two or
more States; between a state and citizens of another state; between citizens of
different States; between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants
of different States, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign
States, citizens or subjects.
In cases affecting ambassadors, other public
ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the supreme
court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned,
the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact,
with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.
The trial of all crimes, except in cases of
impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where
the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any
state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law
Sect. 3. Treason against the United States,
shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies,
giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on
the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open
The Congress shall have power to declare the
punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of
blood nor forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.
Sect. 1. Full faith and credit shall be
given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of
every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in
which such acts, records and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect
Sect. 2. The citizens of each state shall be
entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states. A
person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee
from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive
authority of the state from which he fled be delivered up, and removed to the
state having jurisdiction of the crime.
No person legally held to service or labour in one
state, escaping into another, shall in consequence of regulations subsisting
therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on
claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due.
Sect. 3. New states may be admitted by the
Congress into this union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the
jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two
or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of
the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make
all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property
belonging to the United States: and nothing in this Constitution shall be so
construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular
Sect. 4. The United States shall guarantee
to every state in this union a Republican form of government, and shall protect
each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature or
executive, against domestic violence.
The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses
shall deem necessary, or on the application of two-thirds of the legislatures of
the several states, shall propose amendments to this constitution, which shall
be valid to all intents and purposes, as part thereof, when the same shall have
been ratified by three- fourths at least of the legislatures of the several
states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode
of ratification may be proposed by the Congress: Provided, that no amendment
which may be made prior to the year 1808 shall in any manner affect the _____
and _____ section of 14_____ article
All debts contracted and engagements entered into
before the adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid against the United
States under this Constitution as under the confederation.
This constitution, and the laws of the United States
which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall
be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of
the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the
constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
The senators and representatives beforementioned,
and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and
judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be
bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution; but no religious
test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust
under the United States.
The ratification of the conventions of nine States,
shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution between the
States so ratifying the same.
We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in
Congress assembled, that Constitution which as appeared to us the most
The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of
making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce,
and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and
effectually vested in the general government of the Union: but the impropriety
of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident — Hence
16 results the necessity of a different
It is obviously impracticable in the foederal government of these States to
secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the
interest and safety of all — Individuals entering into society must give up
a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must
depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained.
It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those
rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the
present occasion this difficulty was encreased by a difference among the several
States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.
In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that
which appears 17 to us the greatest
interest of every true American, the consolidation of our union, in which is
involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This
important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each
State in the Convention to be less rigid on 18
points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus
the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and
of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political
situation rendered indispensible.
That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not
perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider, that had her interest
alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable
or 19 injurious to others; that it is
liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and
believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us
all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.
Mr. WILLIAMSON moved to reconsider the
clause requiring three fourths of each House to overrule the negative of the
President, in order to strike out 3/4 and insert 2/3 . He had he remarked
himself proposed 3/4 instead of 2/3 , but he had since been convinced that the
latter proportion was the best. The former puts too much in the power of the
Mr. SHERMAN was of the same opinion;
adding that the States would not like to see so small a minority and the
President, prevailing over the general voice. In making laws regard should be
had to the sense of the people, who are to be bound by them, and it was more
probable that a single man should mistake or betray this sense than the
Mr. GOVr. MORRIS.
Considering the difference between the two proportions numerically, it amounts
in one House to two members only; and in the other to not more than five;
according to the numbers of which the Legislature is at first to be composed. It
is the interest moreover of the distant States to prefer 3/4 as they will be
oftenest absent and need the interposing check of the President. The excess
rather than the deficiency of laws was to be dreaded. The example of N. York
shews that 2/3 is not sufficient to answer the purpose.
Mr. HAMILTON added his testimony to the
fact that 2/3 in N. York had been ineffectual either where a popular object, or
a legislative faction operated; of which he mentioned some instances.
Mr. GERRY. It is necessary to consider
the danger on the other side also. 2/3 will be a considerable, perhaps a proper
security. 3/4 puts too much in the power of a few men. The primary object of the
revisionary check of the President is not to protect the general interest, but
to defend his own department. If 3/4 be required, a few Senators having hopes
from the nomination of the President to offices, will combine with him and
impede proper laws. Making the vice-President Speaker increases the danger.
Mr. WILLIAMSON was less afraid of too
few than of too many laws. He was most of all afraid that the repeal of bad laws
might be rendered too difficult by requiring 3/4 to overcome the dissent of the
Col: MASON had always considered this as one of the
most exceptionable parts of the System. As to the numerical argument of Mr.
Govr. Morris, little arithmetic was necessary to understand that 3/4 was more
than 2/3 , whatever the numbers of the Legislature might be. The example of New
York depended on the real merits of the laws. The Gentlemen citing it, had no
doubt given their own opinions. But perhaps there were others of opposite
opinions who could equally paint the abuses on the other side. His leading view
was to guard against too great an impediment to the repeal of laws.
Mr. GOVr. MORRIS
dwelt on the danger to the public interest from the instability of laws, as the
most to be guarded against. On the other side there could be little danger. If
one man in office will not consent where he ought, every fourth year another can
be substituted. This term was not too long for fair experiments. Many good laws
are not tried long enough to prove their merit. This is often the case with new
laws opposed to old habits. The Inspection laws of Virginia & Maryland to
which all are now so much attached were unpopular at first.
Mr. PINKNEY was warmly in opposition to
3/4 as putting a dangerous power in the hands of a few Senators headed by the
Mr. MADISON. When 3/4 was agreed to, the
President was to be elected by the Legislature and for seven years. He is now to
be elected by the people and for four years. The object of the revisionary power
is twofold. 1.
20 to defend the Executive Rights 2.
20 to prevent popular or factious
injustice. It was an important principle in this & in the State
Constitutions to check legislative injustice and incroachments. The Experience
of the States had demonstrated that their checks are insufficient. We must
compare the danger from the weakness of 2/3 with the danger from the strength of
3/4 . He thought on the whole the former was the greater. As to the difficulty
of repeals, it was probable that in doubtful cases the policy would soon take
place of limiting the duration of laws so as to require renewal instead of
The reconsideration being agreed to. On the question to insert 2/3 in place
N. H. divd. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Mr. Mc.Henry
no. Va. no. Genl. Washington Mr. Blair, Mr. Madison no. Col. Mason, Mr. Randolph
ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. 21
Mr. WILLIAMSON, observed to the House
that no provision was yet made for juries in Civil cases and suggested the
necessity of it.
Mr. GORHAM. It is not possible to
discriminate equity cases from those in which juries are proper. The
Representatives of the people may be safely trusted in this matter.
Mr. GERRY urged the necessity of Juries
to guard agst. corrupt Judges. He proposed that the Committee last appointed
should be directed to provide a clause for securing the trial by Juries
Col: MASON perceived the difficulty mentioned by Mr.
Gorham. The jury cases can not be specified. A general principle laid down on
this and some other points would be sufficient. He wished the plan had been
prefaced with a Bill of Rights, & would second a Motion if made for the
purpose. It would give great quiet to the people; and with the aid of the State
declarations, a bill might be prepared in a few hours.
Mr. GERRY concurred in the idea &
moved for a Committee to prepare a Bill of Rights.
Col: MASON 2ded. the motion.
Mr. SHERMAN, was for securing the rights
of the people where requisite. The State Declarations of Rights are not repealed
by this Constitution; and being in force are sufficient. There are many cases
where juries are proper which can not be discriminated. The Legislature may be
Col: MASON. The Laws of the U. S. are to be
paramount to State Bills of Rights.
On the question for a Come. to prepare a Bill of Rights
N. H. no. Mas. abst. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C.
no. S. C. no. Geo. no. 22
The Clause relating to exports being reconsidered, at the instance of Col:
Mason, who urged that the restriction on the States would prevent the incidental
duties necessary for the inspection & safe-keeping of their produce, and be
ruinous to the Staple States, as he called the five Southern States, he moved as
follows — "provided nothing herein contained shall be construed to
restrain any State from laying duties upon exports for the sole purpose of
defraying the charges of inspecting, packing, storing and indemnifying the
losses, in keeping the commodities in the care of public officers, before
exportation." In answer to a remark which he anticipated, towit, that the
States could provide for these expences, by a tax in some other way, he stated
23 of requiring the Planters to pay a tax
before the actual delivery for exportation.
Mr. MADISON 2ded. the motion. It would
at least be harmless; and might have the good effect of restraining the States
to bona fide duties for the purpose, as well as of authorising explicitly such
duties; tho' perhaps the best guard against an abuse of the power of the States
on this subject, was the right in the Genl. Government to regulate trade between
State & State.
Mr. GOVr. MORRIS
saw no objection to the motion. He did not consider the dollar per Hhd laid on
Tobo. in Virga. as a duty on exportation, as no drawback would be allowed on
Tobo. taken out of the Warehouse for internal consumption.
Mr. DAYTON was afraid the proviso wd.
enable Pennsylva. to tax N. Jersey under the idea of Inspection duties of which
Pena. would Judge.
Mr. GORHAM & Mr. LANGDON, thought there would be no security if the proviso shd.
be agreed to, for the States exporting thro' other States, agst. the
24 oppressions of the latter. How was
redress to be obtained in case duties should be laid beyond the purpose
Mr. MADISON. There will be the same
security as in other cases. The jurisdiction of the supreme Court must be the
source of redress. So far only had provision been made by the plan agst.
injurious acts of the States. His own opinion was, that this was insufficient. A
negative on the State laws alone could meet all the shapes which these could
assume. But this had been overruled.
Mr. FITZIMMONS. Incidental duties on
Tobo. & flour, never have been & never can be considered as duties on
Mr. DICKINSON. Nothing will save
25 States in the situation of N.
Hampshire N Jersey Delaware &c from being oppressed by their neighbors, but
requiring the assent of Congs. to inspection duties. He moved that this assent
shd. accordingly be required.
Mr. BUTLER 2ded. the motion.
1. The year "1787" is omitted in
*2. "This is a literal copy of the
printed Report. The Copy in the printed Journal contains some of the alterations
subsequently made in the House. 4
3. Madison's direction concerning the
report is omitted in the transcript.
4. No transcript of the report was,
however, made by Madison, but it was copied by Payne and inserted in this place
in the Payne transcript. The text here printed is a copy of the printed report
accompanying Madison's notes.
*5. The words, "by lot," were
not in the Report as printed; but were inserted in manuscript, as a typografical
error, departing from the text of the Report referred to the Committee of Style
6. The words "ex officio" are
omitted in the transcript.
*7. In the entry of this Report in the
printed Journal "two thirds" are substituted for "three fourths."
This change was made after the Report was received.
8. This is a mistake on Madison's part.
*9. [punish] a typographical omission.
10. The words "in the printed Report"
are here added in the transcript.
11. The word "the" is omitted
in the transcript.
12. The word "or" is
substituted in the transcript for "nor," the letter "n"
having been crossed off in Madison's printed copy.
13. The phrase "when called into the
actual service of the United States" is transposed in the transcript so
that it follows the words "several States."
14. The word "the" is here
inserted in the transcript.
15. The draft of the letter accompanied
the draft of the Constitution reported on this date, but was not printed with
it. The Journal says: "The draft of a letter to Congress being at the same
time reported was read once throughout; and afterwards agreed to by paragraphs."
(See Journal of the Federal Convention (1819), page 367.) The letter
does not appear to have caused debate. Having been accepted September 12th, it
was printed with the final Constitution September 17th. The text here used is
that of the final print, which was also copied by Payne for the transcript. The
letter is printed in full, infra, page 639.
16. The word "Thence" is
substituted in the transcript for "Hence."
17. The word "appeared" is
substituted in the transcript for "appears."
18. The word "in" is
substituted in the transcript for "on"
19. The word "and" is
substituted in the transcript for "or"
20. The figures "1" and "2"
are changed in the transcript to "first" and "secondly."
21. In the transcript the vote reads: "Connecticut,
New Jersey, Maryland [Mr. McHenry, no.], North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, aye — 6; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia [General
Washington, Mr. Blair, Mr. Madison, no; Col. Mason, Mr. Randolph, aye], no —
4; New Hampshire divided."
22. In the transcript the vote reads: "New
Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, aye — 5;
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no — 5;
Massachusetts, absent." This was the copyist's error as Madison's orginal
notes agree with the Journal, which reads: "Which passed unanimously in the
23. The word "inconveniency" is
changed in the transcript to "inconvenience."
24. The word "these" is
substituted in the transcript for "the."
25. The word "the" is here
inserted in the transcript.