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then subsisting.” He did not wish to bind down the Legislature to admit Western States on the terms here stated.
Mr. Madison opposed the motion; insisting that the Western States neither would, nor ought to submit to a union which degraded them from an equal rank with the other States.
Col. Mason. If it were possible by just means to prevent emigrations to the Western country, it might be good policy. But go the people will, as they find it for their interest; and the best policy is to treat them with that equality which will make them friends not enemies.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS did not mean to discourage the growth of the Western country. He knew that to be impossible. He did not wish, however, to throw the power into their hands.
Mr. SHERMAN was against the motion, and for fixing an equality of privileges by the Constitution.
Mr. LANGDON was in favor of the motion. He did not know but circumstances might arise, which would render it inconvenient to admit new States on terms of equality.
Mr. WILLIAMSON was for leaving the Legislature free. The existing small States enjoy an equality now,
and for that reason are admitted to it in the Senate. This reason is not applicable to new Western States.
On Mr. GOUVERNEUR Morris's motion, for striking out,
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Georgia, aye—9; Maryland, Virginia, no-2.
Mr. L. Martin and Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to strike out of Article 17, “but to such admission the consent of two-thirds of the members present shall be necessary.” Before any question was taken on this motion, — 341
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved the following proposition, as a substitute for the seventeenth Article:
“New States may be admitted by the Legislature into the Union ; but no new States shall be erected within the limits of any of the present States, without the consent of the Legislature of such State, as well as of the General Legislature.”
The first part, to “Union,” inclusive, was agreed to, nem. con.
Mr. L. Martin opposed the latter part. Nothing, he said, would so alarm the limited States, as to make the consent of the large States, claiming the Western lands, necessary to the establishment of new States within their limits. It is proposed to guarantee the States. Shall Vermont be reduced by force, in favor of the States claiming it? Frankland and the Western county of Virginia were in a like situation.
On Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS's motion, to substitute, &c. it was agreed to,—
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—6; New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, no5.
Article 17, being before the House, as amended, — Mr. SHERMAN was against it. He thought it unne
cessary. The Union cannot dismember a State without its consent.
Mr. LANGDON thought there was great weight in the argument of Mr. LUTHER MARTIN; and that the proposition substituted by Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS would excite a dangerous opposition to the plan.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought, on the contrary, that the small States would be pleased with the regulation, as it holds up the idea of dismembering the large States.
Mr. BUTLER. If new States were to be erected without the consent of the dismembered States, nothing but confusion would ensue. Whenever taxes should
press on the people, demagogues would set up their schemes of new States.
Doctor Johnson agreed in general with the ideas of Mr. SHERMAN; but was afraid that, as the clause stood, Vermont would be subjected to New York, contrary to the faith pledged by Congress. He was of opinion that Vermont ought to be compelled to come into the Union.
Mr. LANGDON said his objections were connected with the case of Vermont. If they are not taken in, and remain exempt from taxes, it would prove of great injury to New Hampshire and the other neighbouring States.
Mr. DICKINSON hoped the article would not be agreed to. He dwelt on the impropriety of requiring the small States to secure the large ones in their extensive claims of territory.
Mr. Wilson. When the majority of a State wish to divide they can do so. The aim of those in opposition to the article, he perceived, was that the
General Government should abet the minority, and by that means divide a State against its own consent.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. If the forced division of the States is the object of the new system, and is to be pointed against one or two States, he expected the gentlemen from these would pretty quickly leave us.
THURSDAY, August 30TH.
In Convention, ---Article 17, being resumed, for a question on it, as amended by Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS's substitute,
Mr. CARROLL moved to strike out so much of the Article as requires the consent of the State to its being divided. He was aware that the object of this pre-requisite might be to prevent domestic disturbances; but such was our situation with regard to the Crown lands, and the sentiments of Maryland on that subject, that he perceived we should again be at sea, if no guard was provided for the right of the United States to the back lands. He suggested, that it might be proper to provide, that nothing in the Constitution should affect the right of the United States to lands ceded by Great Britain in the treaty of
peace; and proposed a commitment to a member from each State. He assured the House, that this was a point of a most serious nature. It was desirable, above all things, that the act of the Convention
might be agreed to unanimously. But should this point be disregarded, he believed that all risks would be run by a considerable minority, sooner than give their concurrence.
Mr. L. MARTIN seconded the motion for a commitment.
Mr. RUTLEDGE. Is it to be supposed that the States are to be cut up without their own consent? The case of Vermont will probably be particularly provided for. There could be no room to fear that Virginia or North Carolina would call on the United States to maintain their government over the mountains.
Mr. WILLIAMSON said that North Carolina was well disposed to give up her western lands; but attempts at compulsion were not the policy of the United States. He was for doing nothing in the Constitution, in the present case; and for leaving the whole matter in statu quo.
Mr. Wilson was against the commitment. Unanimity was of great importance, but not to be purchased by the majority's yielding to the minority. He should have no objection to leaving the case of the new States as heretofore. He knew nothing that would give greater or juster alarm than the doctrine, that a political society is to be torn asunder without its own consent.
On Mr. CARROLL's motion for commitment,
New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, aye—3; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no—8.
Mr. SHERMAN moved to postpone the substitute for