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emigrants; but did not choose to let foreigners and adventurers make laws for us and govern us. Citizenship for three years was not enough for ensuring that local knowledge which ought to be possessed by the representative. This was the principal ground of his objection to so short a term. It might also happen, that a rich foreign nation, for example Great Britain, might send over her tools, who might bribe their way into the Legislature for insidious purposes. He moved that “seven” years, instead of “ three,” be inserted.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion; and on the question, all the States agreed to it, except Connecticut.
Mr. SHERMAN moved to strike out the word "resident” and insert "inhabitant,” as less liable to misconstruction.
Mr. Madison seconded the motion. Both were vague, but the latter least so in common acceptation, and would not exclude persons absent occasionally for a considerable time on public or private business. Great disputes had been raised in Virginia concerning the meaning of residence as a qualification of representatives, which were determined more according to the affection or dislike to the man in question than to any fixed interpretation of the word.
Mr. Wilson preferred“ inhabitant."
Mr. GOUVERNEUR Morris was opposed to both, and for requiring nothing more than a freehold. He quoted great disputes in New York occasioned by these terms, which were decided by the arbitrary will of the majority. Such a regulation is not necessary. People rarely choose a non-resident. It is
Vol. I.—79 *
improper, as in the first branch, the people at large, not the States, are represented.
Mr. RUTLEDGE urged and moved, that a residence of seven years should be required in the State wherein the member should be elected. An emigrant from New England to South Carolina or Georgia would know little of its affairs, and could not be supposed to acquire a thorough knowlegde in less time.
Mr. READ reminded him that we were now forming a national government, and such a regulation would correspond little with the idea that we were one people.
Mr. Wilson enforced the same consideration.
Mr. Madison suggested the case of new States in the west, which could have, perhaps, no representation on that plan.
Mr. MERCER. Such a regulation would present a greater alienship than existed under the old federal system. It would interweave local prejudices and State distinctions, in the very Constitution which is meant to cure them. He mentioned instances of violent disputes raised in Maryland concerning the term “residence."
Mr. ELLSWORTH thought seven years of residence was by far too long a term: but that some fixed term of previous residence would be proper. He thought one year would be sufficient, but seemed to have no objection to three years.
Mr. DICKINSON proposed that it should read “inhabitant actually resident for
years." This would render the meaning less indeterminate.
Mr. WILSON. If a short term should be inserted
in the blank, so strict an expression might be construed to exclude the members of the Legislature, who could not be said to be actual residents in their States, whilst at the seat of the General Government.
Mr. Mercer. It would certainly exclude men, who had once been inhabitants, and returning from residence elsewhere to resettle in their original State, although a want of the necessary knowledge could not in such cases be presumed.
Mr. Mason thought seven years too long, but would never agree to part with the principle. It is a valuable principle. He thought it a defect in the plan, that the Representatives would be too few to bring with them all the local knowledge necessary. If residence be not required, rich men of neighbouring States may employ with success the means of corruption in some particular district, and thereby get into the public councils after having failed in their own States. This is the practice in the boroughs of England.
On the question for postponing in order to consider Mr. DICKINSON'S mot'on,
Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—3; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina,
On the question for inserting "inhabitant," in place of “resident,”—agreed to, nem. con.
Mr. EllSWORTH and Col. MASON moved to insert “one year” for previous inhabitancy.
Mr. Williamson liked the Report as it stood. He thought resident a good enough term.
enough term. He was
against requiring any period of previous residence. New residents, if elected, will be most zealous to conform to the will of their constituents, as their conduct will be watched with a more jealous eye.
Mr. BUTLER and Mr. RUTLEDGE moved "three years," instead of “one year,” for previous inhabitancy.
On the question for three years,”—
South Carolina, Georgia, aye—2; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no—9.
On the question for "one year,”
New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—4; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, no—6; Maryland, divided.
Article 4, Sect. 2, as amended in manner preceding, was agreed to, nem. con.
Article 4, Sect. 3, was then taken up.
General PINCKNEY and Mr. PINCKNEY moved that the number of Representatives allotted to South Carolina be “six."
On the question,
Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—4; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, no—7.
The third section of Article 4, was then agreed to. Article 4, Sect. 4, was then taken up.
Mr. Williamson moved to strike out, “according to the provisions hereinafter made," and to insert
the words “according to the rule hereafter to be provided for direct taxation.”-See Art. 7, Sect. 3.
On the question for agreeing to Mr. WILLIAMSON'S amendment,
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—9; New Jersey, Delaware, no-2.
Mr. KING wished to know what influence the vote just passed was meant to have on the succeeding part of the Report, concerning the admission of slaves into the rule of representation. He could not reconcile his mind to the Article, if it was to prevent objections to the latter part. The admission of slaves was a most grating circumstance to his mind, and he believed would be so to a great part of the people of America. He had not made a strenuous opposition to it heretofore, because he had hoped that this concession would have produced a readiness, which had not been manifested, to strengthen the General Government, and to mark a full confidence in it. The Report under consideration had, by the tenor of it, put an end to all those hopes. In two great points the hands of the Legislature were absolutely tied. The importation of slaves could not be prohibited. Exports could not be taxed. Is this reasonable? What are the great objects of the general system? First, defence against foreign invasion ; secondly, against internal sedition. Shall all the States, then, be bound to defend each, and shall each be at liberty to introduce a weakness which will render defence more difficult? Shall one part of the United States be bound to defend an