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tion of cases will disable the Legislature from disqualifiying odious and dangerous characters.
Mr. LANGDON was for striking out the whole clause, for the reasons given by Mr. Wilson. So many exclusions, he thought, too, would render the system unacceptable to the people.
Mr. GERRY. If the arguments used to-day were to prevail, we might have a Legislature composed of public debtors, pensioners, placemen and contractors. He thought the proposed disqualifications would be pleasing to the people. They will be considered as a security against unnecessary or undue burdens being imposed on them. He moved to add, “pensioners” to the disqualified characters; which was negatived, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, aye—3; New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina, no—7; North Carolina, divided.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. The last clause, relating to public debtors, will exclude every importing merchant. Revenue will be drawn, it is foreseen, as much as possible from trade. Duties, of course, will be bonded; and the merchants will remain debtors to the public. He repeated that it had not been so much the fault of individuals, as of the public, that transactions between them, had not been more generally liquidated and adjusted. At all events, to draw from our short and scanty experience rules that are to operate through succeeding ages, does not savor much of real wisdom.
On the question for striking out,“ persons having unsettled accounts with the United States,”—New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylva
nia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, aye-9; New Jersey, Georgia, no 2.
Mr. Ellsworth was for disagreeing to the remainder of the clause disqualifying public debtors; and for leaving to the wisdom of the Legislature, and the virtue of the citizens, the task of providing against such evils. Is the smallest as well as the largest debtor to be excluded ? Then every arrear of taxes will disqualify. Besides, how is it to be known to the people, when they elect, who are, or are not, public debtors. The exclusion of pensioners and placemen in England is founded on a consideration not existing here. As persons of that sort are dependent on the crown, they tend to increase its influence.
Mr. PINCKNEY said he was at first a friend to the proposition, for the sake of the clause relating to qualifications of property; but he disliked the exclusion of public debtors; it went too far. It would exclude persons who had purchased confiscated property, or should purchase western territory of the public; and might be some obstacle to the sale of the latter.
On the question for agreeing to the clause disqualifying public debtors,
North Carolina, Georgia, aye—2; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, no—9. 289
Colonel Mason observed that it would be proper, as he thought, that some provision should be made in the Constitution against choosing for the seat of the
General Government the city or place at which
Mr. ALEXANDER MARTIN seconded the motion.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS did not dislike the idea, but was apprehensive that such a clause might make enemies of Philadelphia and New York, which had expectations of becoming the seat of the General Government.
Mr. Langdon approved the idea also; but suggested the case of a State moving its seat of government to the national seat after the erection of the public buildings.
Mr. Gornam. The precaution may be evaded by the National Legislature, by delaying to erect the public buildings.
Mr. Gerry conceived it to be the general sense of America, that neither the seat of a State Government, nor any large commercial city should be the seat of the General Government.
Mr. Williamson liked the idea; but knowing how
much the passions of men were agitated by this matter, was apprehensive of turning them against the system. He apprehended, also, that an evasion might be practised in the way hinted by Mr. Gor
Mr. PINCKNEY thought the seat of a State Government ought to be avoided; but that a large town, or its vicinity, would be proper for the seat of the General Government.
Col. Mason did not mean to press the motion at this time, nor to excite any hostile passions against the system. He was content to withdraw the motion for the present.
Mr. BUTLER was for fixing, by the Constitution, the place, and a central one, for the seat of the National Government.
The proceedings since Monday last were unanimously referred to the Committee of Detail; and the Convention then unanimously adjourned till Monday, August 6th, that the Committee of Detail might have time to prepare and report the Constitution. The whole Resolutions, as referred, are as follows:
1. Resolved, That the Government of the United States ought to consist of a supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive.
2. Resolved, That the Legislature consist of two branches.
3. Resolved, That the members of the first branch of the Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States for the term of two years; to be paid out of the public treasury; to receive an
adequate compensation for their services; to be of
4. Resolved, That the members of the second
5. Resolved, That each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.
6. Resolved, That the National Legislature ought to possess the legislative rights vested in Congress by the Confederation; and, moreover, to legislate in all cases for the general interests of the Union, and also in those to which the States are separately incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.
7. Resolved, That the legislative acts of the United States, made by virtue and in pursuance of the Articles of Union, and all treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the respective States, as far as