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Massachusetts, Connecticut and Georgia, only, being
Mr. MCHENRY observed, that the President had not yet been any where authorized to convene the Senate, and moved to amend Article 10, Section 2, by striking out the words, "He may convene them [the Legislature] on extraordinary occasions;" and inserting, "He may convene both, or either of the Houses, on extraordinary occasions." This he added would also provide for the case of the Senate being in session, at the time of convening the Legislature.
Mr. WILSON said, he should vote against the motion, because it implied that the Senate might be in sesssion when the Legislature was not, which he thought improper.
On the question,-New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, aye—7; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, no-4.
A committee was then appointed by ballot, to revise the style of, and arrange, the articles which had been agreed to by the House. The Committee consisted of Mr. JOHNSON, Mr. HAMILTON, Mr. GouvERNEUR MORRIS, Mr. MADISON, and Mr. KING.
Mr. WILLIAMSON moved, that, previous to this work of the Committee, the clause relating to the number of the House of Representatives should be reconsidered, for the purpose of increasing the number.
Mr. MADISON seconded the motion.
Mr. SHERMAN opposed it. He thought the provision on that subject amply sufficient.
Col. HAMILTON expressed himself with great earnestness and anxiety in favor of the motion. He avowed
himself a friend to a vigorous government, but would declare, at the same time, he held it essential that the popular branch of it should be on a broad foundation. He was seriously of opinion, that the House of Representatives was on so narrow a scale, as to be really dangerous, and to warrant a jealousy in the people, for their liberties. He remarked, that the connection between the President and Senate would tend to perpetuate him, by corrupt influence. It was the more necessary on this account that a numerous representation in the other branch of the Legislature should be established.
On the motion of Mr. WILLIAMSON to reconsider, it was negatived,*—
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, aye-5; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, no-6. Adjourned.
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 10TH.
In Convention,-Mr. GERRY moved to reconsider Article 19, viz: "On the application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the States in the Union, for an amendment of this Constitution, the Legislature of the United States shall call a Convention for that purpose," (see the sixth of August,- page 1241.)
This Constitution, he said, is to be paramount to
This motion and vote are entered on the printed Journal of the ensuing morning.
the State Constitutions. It follows, hence, from this article, that two-thirds of the States may obtain a Convention, a majority of which can bind the Union to innovations that may subvert the State Constitutions altogether. He asked whether this was a situation proper to be run into.
Mr. HAMILTON seconded the motion; but, he said, with a different view from Mr. GERRY. He did not object to the consequences stated by Mr. GERRY. There was no greater evil in subjecting the people of the United States to the major voice, than the people of a particular State. It had been wished by many, and was much to have been desired, that an easier mode of introducing amendments had been provided by the Articles of the Confederation. It was equally desirable now, that an easy mode should be established for supplying defects which will probably appear in the new system. The mode proposed was not adequate. The State Legislatures will not apply for alterations; but with a view to increase their own powers. The National Legislature will be the first to perceive, and will be most sensible to, the necessity of amendments; and ought also to be empowered, whenever two-thirds of each branch should concur, to call a Convention. There could be no danger in giving this power, as the people would finally decide in the case.
Mr. MADISON remarked on the vagueness of the terms, "call a Convention for the purpose," as sufficient reason for reconsidering the article. How was a Convention to be formed?-by what rule decide? -what the force of its acts?
On the motion of Mr. GERRY to reconsider,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-9; New Jersey, no-1; New Hampshire, divided.
Mr. SHERMAN moved to add to the article: "or the Legislature may propose amendments to the several States for their approbation; but no amendments shall be binding until consented to by the several States." Mr. GERRY seconded the motion.
Mr. WILSON moved to insert, "two-thirds of," before the words, "several States;" on which amendment to the motion of Mr. SHERMAN,
New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, aye-5; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no-6.
Mr. WILSON then moved to insert, "three-fourths of," before" the several States;" which was agreed to, nem. con.
Mr. MADISON moved to postpone the consideration of the amended proposition, in order to take up the following:
"The Legislature of the United States, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem necessary, or on the application of two-thirds of the Legislatures of the several States, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part thereof, when the same shall have been ratified by three-fourths, at least, of the Legislatures of the several States, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Legislature of the United States."
Mr. HAMILTON seconded the motion.
Mr. RUTLEDGE said he never could agree to give a power by which the articles relating to slaves might be altered by the States not interested in that property, and prejudiced against it. In order to obviate this objection, these words were added to the proposition:* "provided that no amendments, which may be made prior to the year 1808 shall in any manner affect the fourth and fifth sections of the seventh article." The postponement being agreed to,
On the question on the proposition of Mr. MADISON and Mr. HAMILTON, as amended,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-9; Delaware, no-1;-New Hampshire, divided. 350
Mr. GERRY moved to reconsider Articles 21 and 22; from the latter of which "for the approbation of Congress," had been struck out. He objected to proceeding to change the Government without the approbation of Congress, as being improper, and giving just umbrage to that body. He repeated his objections, also, to an annulment of the confederation with so little scruple or formality.
Mr. HAMILTON concurred with Mr. GERRY as to the indecorum of not requiring the approbation of Congress. He considered this as a necessary ingredient in the transaction. He thought it wrong, also, to allow nine States, as provided by Article 21, to institute a new Government on the ruins of the ex
*The printed Journal makes the succeeding proviso as to the fourth and fifth sections of the seventh article, moved by Mr. Rutledge, part of the proposition of Mr. Madison.