Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

" or by

Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no—7; New Hampshire, divided.

Mr. GERRY moved to strike out the words, Conventions in three-fourths thereof." On which motion,

Connecticut, aye—1; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no—10.

Mr. SHERMAN moved, according to his idea above expressed, to annex to the end of the Article a further proviso “that no State shall, without its consent, be affected in its internal police, or deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

Mr. Madison. Begin with these special provisos, and every State will insist on them, for their boundaries, exports, &c.

On the motion of Mr. SHERMAN, –

Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, aye—3; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no 8.

Mr. SHERMAN then moved to strike out Article 5 altogether.

Mr. BREARLY seconded the motion; on which,

Connecticut, New Jersey, aye—2; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no –8; Delaware, divided.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to annex a further proviso, “ that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

This motion, being dictated by the circulating

murmurs of the small States, was agreed to without debate, no one opposing it, or, on the question, saying,

no.

Colonel Mason, expressing his discontent at the power given to Congress, by a bare majority to pass navigation acts, which he said would not only enhance the freight, a consequence he did not so much regard, but would enable a few rich merchants in Philadelphia, New York and Boston, to monopolize the staples of the Southern States, and reduce their value perhaps fifty per cent., moved a further proviso, “ that no law in the nature of a navigation act be passed before the year 1808, without the consent of two-thirds of each branch of the Legislature. On which motion,

Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, aye—3; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, no—7; North Carolina, absent.

Mr. RANDOLPH, animadverting on the indefinite and dangerous power given by the Constitution to Congress, expressing the pain he felt at differing from the body of the Convention on the close of the great and awful subject of their labors, and anxiously wishing for some accommodating expedient which would relieve him from his embarrassments, made a motion importing, “that amendments to the plan might be offered by the State conventions, which should be submitted to, and finally decided on by, another general convention.” Should this proposition be disregarded, it would, he said, be impossible for him to put his name to the instrument. Whether he should oppose it afterwards, he would not then

decide; but he would not deprive himself of the freedom to do so in his own State, if that course should be prescribed by his final judgment.

Col. MASON seconded and followed Mr. RANDOLPH in animadversions on the dangerous power and structure of the Government, concluding that it would end either in monarchy, or a tyrannical aristocracy; which, he was in doubt, but one or other, he was sure. This Constitution had been formed without the knowledge or idea of the people. A second convention will know more of the sense of the people, and be able to provide a system more consonant to it. It was improper to say to the people, take this or nothing. As the Constitution now stands, he could neither give it his support or vote in Virginia; and he could not sign here what he could not support there. With the expedient of another Convention, as proposed, he could sign.

Mr. PINCKNEY. These declarations from members so respectable, at the close of this important scene, give a peculiar solemnity to the present moment. He descanted on the consequences of calling forth the deliberations and amendments of the different States, on the subject of government at large. No thing but confusion and contrariety will spring from the experiment.

The States will never agree in their plans, and the deputies to a second convention, coming together under the discordant impressions of their constituents, will never agree. Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated. He was not without objections, as well as others, to the plan. He objected to the contemptible weakness and dependence of the Executive. He objected to

the power of a majority, only, of Congress, over commerce. But apprehending the danger of a general confusion, and an ultimate decision by the sword, he should give the plan his support.

Mr. GERRY stated the objections which determined him to withhold his name from the Constitution : 1, the duration and re-eligibility of the Senate; 2, the power of the House of Representatives to conceal their Journals; 3, the power of Congress over the places of election; 4, the unlimited power of Congress over their own compensation; 5, that Massachusetts has not a due share of representatives allotted to her; 6, that three-fifths of the blacks are to be represented, as if they were freemen; 7, that under the power over commerce, monopolies may be established; 8, the Vice President being made head of the Senate. He could, however, he said, get over all these, if the rights of the citizens were not rendered insecure-first, by the general power of the Legislature to make what laws they may please to call “ necessary and proper;" secondly, to raise armies and money without limit; thirdly, to establish a tribunal without juries, which will be a Star Chamber as to civil cases. Under such a view of the Constitution, the best that could be done, he conceived, was to provide for a second general Convention. 369

On the question, on the proposition of Mr. RANDOLPH, all the States answered, no.

On the question to agree to the Constitution, as amended, all the States, aye.

The Constitution was then ordered to be engrossed, and the House

Adjourned.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH.

In Convention,—The engrossed Constitution being read,

Doctor FRANKLIN rose with a speech in his hand, which he had reduced to writing for his own convenience, and which Mr. Wilson read in the words following :"Mr. PRESIDENT:

“I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve,

but I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that, the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men, indeed, as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that whereever others differ from them, it is so far error. Steele, a Protestant, in a dedication, tells the Pope, that the only difference between our churches, in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines, is, 'the Church of Rome is infallible, and the Church of England is never in the wrong.' But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who, in a dispute with her sister, said, 'I don't know how it happens, sister, but I meet with nobody but myself,

« ZurückWeiter »