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The Speech of his Excellency John Hancock, Esquire, late Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to both branches of the Legislature of said Commonwealth, at their sessions begun and held at Boston, Sept. 18th, 1793, agreeably to his Excellency's proclamation-with the answers of the two branches of the Legislature-together with the following resolutions of the Legislature of Massachusetts, viz. “ COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS. IN SENATE, Sept. 234, 1793.
“Whereas a decision has been had in the Supreme Judicial Court of the United States, that a State may be sued in the said Court, by a citizen of another State; which decision appears to have been grounded on the second section of the third article in the constitution of the United States:
“ Resolved, That a power claimed, or that may be claimed, of compelling a State to be made defendant in any court of the United States, at the suit of an individual, is, in the opinion of this Legislature, unnecessary and inexpedient, and in its exercise, dangerous to the peace, safety, and independence of the several States, and repugnant to the first principles of a federal government.
“ Therefore, Resolved, That the Senators from this State, in the Congress of the United States, be, and they are hereby instructed, and the Representatives requested, to adopt the most speedy and effectual measures in their power, to obtain such amendments in the constitution of the United States, as will remove any clause or article of said constitution, which can be construed to imply or justify a decision, that a State is compellable to answer in any suit, by an individual or individuals, in any court of the United States. And his Excellency is hereby requested to communicate the foregoing resolves to the Supreme Executives of the several States, to be submitted to the consideration of their respective Legislatures. Sent down for concurrence. SAMUEL PHILLIPS, President.
“ In the House of Representatives, Sept. 27th, 1793. “Read and concurred.
EDWARD H. ROBBINS, Speaker. "By the Governor approved, Sept. 27th, 1793. JOHN HANCOCK. “A true copy,
Attest, JOHN AVERY, jun. Secretary.”
Samuel Adams to Thomas Chittenden. The letter of Samuel Adams has been preserved in the Ms. Vermont State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 65, and is as follows:
(CIRCULAR.) COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS. Boston, October 9th 1793.
Sir,—The papers which I have the honor to inclose to your Excellency, contain the Speech of the late Governor, & the proceedings of the Legislature of this Commonwealth, upon a principle of National Government, in which each State in the Union is equally interested.
A Mandatory precept of the Supreme Judicial Court of the United States, having been served by the Marshal of the District of Massachusetts, on his Excellency John Hancock Esq" late Governor, & James Sullivan Esq" the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, directing their appearance in that Court, to answer
on the behalf of the Commonwealth, to a complaint filed by William Vassal, it became necessary to
For the speech of Gov. Hancock, see Ms. Vermont State Papers, Vol. 38, p. 114.
call the Legislature into Session: The Governor therefore, with the advice of the Council, convened the General Court.
The claim of a Judiciary Authority over a State possessed of Sovereignty, was of too much moment to be submitted to, without the most serious deliberation. The Legislature of this Commonwealth has treated the subject with an attention, commensurate to the importance of the power demanded; & as you will please to observe by their proceedings, have resolved, that it is unnecessary & inexpedient; & in its exercise dangerous to the peace, safety & independence of the several States, & repugnant to the first principles of a Federal Government.
The support of the Federal Government is an object of high importance in the mind of every true friend of the Union; but it is easily discerned, that the power claimed, if once established, will extirpate the federal principle, & procure a consolidation of all the Governments.
The resolutions of the Legislature made it the duty of the late Governor to communicate their proceedings on this subject, to the Governors of the several States; but the melancholly event of his death intervening, it becomes my duty, as Lieut. Governor of the Commonwealth, to make the Communication: And I do it with great cheerfulness, because my opinion fully accords with the determination of the Legislature, who have requested it.
As this is a question of so interesting a nature, & in which all the States are equally concerned, there seems to be a propriety in a free communication of their sentiments upon it: And it is hoped that, when the Legislature of the State, over which you have the honor to preside, shall be in Session, & contemplate the importance of the subject, this Commonwealth will find itself greatly supported by the Wisdom of their measures, & their salutary & candid advice.
I have the honor to be, sir, With great Respect & Esteem, Your Excellency's Very hble Servt.
SAML. ADAMS. His Excellency Thomas Chittenden Esq".
In October 1792, Isaac Tichenor was requested by the Legislature to act for the State in the settlement of Ira Allen's accounts as State Treasurer and Surveyor General, Allen having proposed to enter a suit against the State in the U. S. Circuit Court for the District of Vermont. Oct. 20 1793, Tichenor by letter informed the Speaker of the House that, being unable to attend court, he had appointed Darius Chipman to take charge of the suit, " who attended and prerented the entry of the action.”
This was five days before Gov. Chittenden communicated the resolutions of Massachusetts ; and doubtless in consequence of this order of
? Ms. Vt. State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 67. In the same, Vol. 38, p. 123, is Allen's writ declaring against the State for fifteen thousand dollars. The officer levied on the townships of " Carthage and Woodbridge, so called," and described by the bounds of the present towns of Jay (Carthage] and Troy (Woodbridge). In the original charter of Woodbridge that township is bounded on the west by Alburgh, and that charter covered, in part at least, the New Hampshire grant of Highgate. It is evident, therefore, that, after the original charter of Woodbridge had been abandoned, Allen transferred the name of "Woodbridge” to the township now known as Troy.
the court, no action was had by the legislature, and the matter passed over to the next session with other unfinished business. In the meantime, on the 2d of January 1794, a resolution was submitted in the U. S. Senate, proposing for adoption the eleventh amendment to the constitution; and on the 14th of the same month, the Senate adopted the resolution by a vote of 23 to 2. The Senators from Massachusetts and Vermont voted for the resolution, Messrs. Gallatin of Pennsylvania and Rutherford of New Jersey alone voting against it. The resolution was concurred in by the House. At the October session, 1794, the amendment was ratified by Vermont;' and Jan. 8 1798, it was declared by the President, in a message to the two Houses of Congress, to have been adopted by the Legislatures of three fourths of the States.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT IN 1798, ON THE ELIGIBILITY OF CERTAIN
FEDERAL OFFICERS. STATE OF VERMONT. IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Oct. 12, 1798. The Speaker then laid before the house the communication from the Governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, alluded to in his Excellency's speech,' which is in the words following, to wit.
“ COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS. Boston, July 12th, 1798. " Sir,—The two branches of the Legislature of this Commonwealth, have thought it highly necessary that some constitutional barrier should be opposed to the introduction of foreign influence into our National Councils; and have requested me to transmit the enclosed resolutions to the supreme executive of the several states in the union, that the same may be submitted to the consideration of their respective Legislatures, in order that the constitution of the United States may be so amended as to effect more fully, the great objects for which it was designed.
“The legislature of this Commonwealth, strongly impressed with the necessity of the measure, have thought it expedient to take this preparatory step, and it is hoped, when the Legislature of the state over which you have the honor to preside, shall be in session, and contemplate the importance of the subject, this commonwealth will find itself greatly supported, by a concurrence in the measure.—To their wisdom it is submitted.
" I must take the liberty of requesting your Excellency, to inform me of the determination of the Legislature of your state upon the subject, as soon as it shall be known.
“I have the honor to be, With the highest respect, Your Excellency's very humble servant,
INCREASE SUMNER. "His Excellency Governor Tichenor.” “ COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS,
“ IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, June 28th, '98. " Whereas it is highly expedient, that every constitutional barrier should be opposed, to the introduction of foreign influence, into our na
Benton's Abridgement of Debates in Congress. Vol. I, pp. 445, 446. ? Printed Assembly Journal, 1794, p. 179. * See Appendix J, Governor's speech of 1798.
tional councils, and that the constitution of the United States should be so amended, as to effect and secure in the best manner, the great object for which it was designed:
Resolved, That the Senators and Representatives of this commonwealth, in the Congress of the United States, be and they hereby are requested to use their best endeavours, that Congress propose to the legislatures of the states, the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to wit: That (in addition to the other qualifications prescribed by the said Constitution.) no person shall be eligible as President, or Vice President of the United States, nor shall any person be a Senator or Representative in the Congress of the United States, except a natural born citizen, or unless he shall have been a resident in the United States, at the declaration of independence, and shall have continued either to reside within the same, or to be employed in its service, from that period to the time of his election.
“And whereas the spirit of amity and mutual concession, which produced the federal Constitution, ought always to be cultivated in the proposition and adoption of any amendments to the same:
“Resolved further, That in case the Senators and Representatives of this state in Congress, shall find that the amendment above proposed, is not perfectly conformable to the wishes and sentiments of a Constitutional majority, of both branches of the National Legislature, they are hereby empowered and requested so to modify the same, as to meet the sentiments of such majority. Provided however, and it is the opinion and wish of this Legislature, that any amendment, which may be agreed upon, should exclude at all events, from a seat in either branch of Congress, any person, who shall not have been actually naturalized at the time of making this amendment, and have been admitted a citizen of the United States, fourteen years at least, at the time of such election.
“Resolved, further, That his excellency the Governor, is hereby requested to communicate the foregoing resolves to the supreme executive of the several states, with a request, that the same may be submitted to the consideration of their respective Legislatures. And that the President of the senate, and speaker of this house, be requested forthwith to transmit the same to the senators and representatives of this state in Congress. “Read and unanimously accepted. Sent up for concurrence.
EDWARD H. ROBBINS, Speaker. “IN SENATE, June 28th, 1798. Read and unanimously concurred.
SAMUEL PHILLIPS, President. "June 29th, 1798. Approved,
INCREASE SUMNER. "A true copy,
JOAN AVERY, Secretary." Oct. 26 1798, the Vermont Assembly adopted the foregoing resolutions — yeas 152, nays 5.1
This proposition was made at a time when party spirit was strong throughout the country, and the second resolution was evidently suggested by the fact that Albert Gallatin had taken his seat in the United States Senate in 1793 when he had been a resident of the country less than fourteen years. His right was successfully resisted, he being unseated Feb. 28 1794, shortly after which he was elected to the House. Doubtless the resistance to Mr. Gallatin by the federalists brought the Jeffersonian Republican party into sympathy with Gallatin and hostility
Printed Assembly Journal for 1798, pp. 17-20, 103-105.
to the proposition of Massachusetts. The discussions of that time on this topic did result, however, in a more stringent naturalization act, in 1798, than had previously been passed.
TWELFTH AMENDMENT, SUBMITTED TO THE STATES IN 1803, AND
RATIFIED IN 1804. On the 18th of Oct. 1799, Gov. Tichenor laid before the Assembly resolutions of sundry States, and among them certain resolutions of New Hampshire on the mode of electing President and Vice President of the United States, which were referred to a committee. Nov. 5th, the committee reported in favor of the proposition; which report was accepted, and John W. Blake was appointed to report resolutions accordingly. On the same day he reported the following:
STATE OF VERMONT. Resolved, That the senators and representatives of this State, in Congress, be, and they are hereby requested to use thair best endeavors, that Congress propose to the legislatures of the several states the following amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to wit:
That the Electors of President and Vice President, in giving in their votes, shall respectively distinguish the person whom they desire to be President, from the one they desire to be Vice President, by annexing the words President, or Vice President, as the case may require, to the proper name voted for. And the person having the greatest number of votes for Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors chosen, shall be Vice President. And if there be no choice and two or more persons shall have the highest number of votes, and those equal, the senate shall immediately, by ballot, choose one of them for Vice President. And if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list, the senate shall in like manner choose the Vice President. But in choosing the Vice President the votes shall be taken by the states, the Senators from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of member or nembers from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.
And in case the Senators and Representatives of this state in Congress shall find that the aforesaid amendment is not conformable to the sentiments of a constitutional majority, of both branches of the national legislature, they are hereby requested so to modify the same as to meet the sentiments of such majority. Provided however, that any amendment which may be agreed upon shall oblige the electors to designate the person they desire to be President from the one they desire to be Vice President.
Resolved further, That his Excellency the Governor be, and he hereby is requested to communicate the foregoing resolve to the supreme executive of the several states; and also to transmit the same to the senators and representatives in Congress.
The question being put by yeas and nays, the resolutions were adopted by the House, 94 to 42, and the Governor and Council concurred. The purpose of this proposal was gained by the twelfth article of amendments to the constitution, which see. Senator Bradley of Vermont