Skip to comments.Journal of the Federal Convention June 15th 1787
Posted on 06/15/2011 2:36:05 AM PDT by Jacquerie
NJ/Patterson Plan. Imposts and Stamp Tax. Regulate Trade. Tax Requisitions. Force to Collect Taxes. Multiple Supreme Executives. Judicial Branch & Jurisdiction. Compel State Compliance. New States.
[FN2]Mr. PATTERSON, laid before the Convention the plan which he said several of the deputations wished to be substituted in place of that proposed by Mr. Randolph. After some little discussion of the most proper mode of giving it a fair deliberation it was agreed that it should be referred to a Committee of the whole, and that in order to place the two plans in due comparison, the other should be recommitted. At the earnest desire [FN3] of Mr. Lansing & some other gentlemen, it was also agreed that the Convention should not go into Committee of the whole on the subject till tomorrow, by which delay the friends of the plan proposed by Mr. Patterson wd. be better prepared to explain & support it, and all would have an opportuy. of taking copies. [FN4]
The propositions from N. Jersey moved by Mr. Patterson were in the words following.
(See Variant Texts A, B and C [Inserted by the Avalon Project] )
1. Resd. that the articles of Confederation ought to be so revised, corrected & enlarged, as to render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government, & the preservation of the Union.
2. Resd. that in addition to the powers vested in the U. States in Congress, by the present existing articles of Confederation, they be authorized to pass acts for raising a revenue, by levying a duty or duties on all goods or merchandizes of foreign growth or manufacture, imported into any part of the U. States, by Stamps on paper, vellum or parchment, and by a postage on all letters or packages passing through the general post-office, to be applied to such federal purposes as they shall deem proper & expedient; to make rules & regulations for the collection thereof; and the same from time to time, to alter & amend in such manner as they shall think proper: to pass Acts for the regulation of trade & commerce as well with foreign nations as with each other: provided that all punishments, fines, forfeitures & penalties to be incurred for contravening such acts rules and regulations shall be adjudged by the Common law Judiciaries of the State in which any offence contrary to the true intent & meaning of such Acts rules & regulations shall have been committed or perpetrated, with liberty of commencing in the first instance all suits & prosecutions for that purpose in the superior common law Judiciary in such State, subject nevertheless, for the correction of all errors, both in law & fact in rendering Judgment, to an appeal to the Judiciary of the U. States.
3. Resd. that whenever requisitions shall be necessary, instead of the rule for making requisitions mentioned in the articles of Confederation, the United States in Congs. be authorized to make such requisitions in proportion to the whole number of white & other free citizens & inhabitants of every age sex and condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years & three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes; that if such requisitions be not complied with, in the time specified therein, to direct the collection thereof in the non complying States & for that purpose to devise and pass acts directing & authorizing the same; provided that none of the powers hereby vested in the U. States in Congs. shall be exercised without the consent of at least ------ States, and in that proportion if the number of Confederated States should hereafter be increased or diminished.
4. Resd. that the U. States in Congs. be authorized to elect a federal Executive to consist of ------ persons, to continue in office for the term of ------ years, to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons composing the Executive at the time of such increase or diminution, to be paid out of the federal treasury; to be incapable of holding any other office or appointment during their time of service and for ------ years thereafter; to be ineligible a second time, & removeable by Congs. on application by a majority of the Executives of the several States; that the Executives [FN8] besides their general authority to execute the federal acts ought to appoint all federal officers not otherwise provided for, & to direct all military operations; provided that none of the persons composing the federal Executive shall on any occasion take command of any troops, so as personally to conduct any [FN9] enterprise as General or in other capacity. 5. Resd. that a federal Judiciary be established to consist of a supreme Tribunal the Judges of which to be appointed by the Executive, & to hold their offices during good behaviour, to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for their services in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution; that the Judiciary so established shall have authority to hear & determine in the first instance on all impeachments of federal officers, & by way of appeal in the dernier resort in all cases touching the rights of Ambassadors, in all cases of captures from an enemy, in all cases of piracies & felonies on the high Seas, in all cases in which foreigners may be interested, in the construction of any treaty or treaties, or which may arise on any of the Acts for [FN10] regulation of trade, or the collection of the federal Revenue: that none of the Judiciary shall during the time they remain in office be capable of receiving or holding any other office or appointment during their time [FN11] of service, or for ------ thereafter.
6. Resd. that all Acts of the U. States in Congs. made by virtue & in pursuance of the powers hereby & by the articles of Confederation vested in them, and all Treaties made & ratified under the authority of the U. States shall be the supreme law of the respective States so far forth as those Acts or Treaties shall relate to the said States or their Citizens, and that the Judiciary of the several States shall be bound thereby in their decisions, any thing in the respective laws of the Individual States to the contrary notwithstanding; and that if any State, or any body of men in any State shall oppose or prevent yd. carrying into execution such acts or treaties, the federal Executive shall be authorized to call forth ye. power of the Confederated States, or so much thereof as may be necessary to enforce and compel an obedience to such Acts, or an observance of such Treaties.
7. Resd. that provision be made for the admission of new States into the Union.
8. Resd. the rule for naturalization ought to be the same in every State.
9. Resd. [FN12] that a Citizen of one State committing an offense in another State of the Union, shall be deemed guilty of the same offense as if it had been committed by a Citizen of the State in which the offense was committed. [FN13]
FN1 The year "1787" is omitted in the transcript.
FN2 The words "In Convention" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN3 The word "request" is substituted in the transcript for "desire."
FN4 [this plan had been concerted among the deputations or members thereof, from Cont. N.Y.N. J Del. and perhaps Mr. Martin from Maryd who made with them a common cause [FN5] on different principles Cont. & N.Y. were agst. a departure from the principle of the Confederation, wishing rather to add a few new powers to Congs. than to substitute a National Govt. The States of N.J. & Del. were opposed to a National Govt. because its patrons considered a proportional representation of the States as the basis of it. The eagourness displayed by the members opposed to a Natl. Govt. from these different motives began now to produce serious anxiety for the result of the Convention. Mr. Dickenson said to Mr. Madison-You see the consequence of pushing things too far. Some of the members from the small States wish for two branches in the General Legislature, and are friends to a good National Government; But we would sooner submit to a foreign power than submit to be deprived of an equality of suffrage, [FN6] in both branches of the legislature, and thereby be thrown under the domination of the large States] The note in brackets for the margin. [FN7]
FN5 The word "though" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN6 The phrase "of an equality of suffrage" is transposed so that the transcript reads "deprived, in both branches of the legislature of an equality of suffrage, and thereby".
FN7 Madison's direction is omitted in the transcript.
FN8 The transcript uses the word "Executives" in the singular.
FN9 The word "military" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN10 The word "the" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN11 The word "term" is substituted in the transcript for "time."
FN12 The word "that" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN13 This copy of Mr. Patterson's propositions varies in a few clauses from that in the printed Journal furnished from the papers of Mr. Brearley a Colleague of Mr. Patterson. A confidence is felt, notwithstanding, in its accuracy. That the copy in the Journal is not entirely correct is shewn by the ensuing speech of Mr. Wilson [June 16] in which he refers to the mode of removing the Executive by impeachment & conviction as a feature in the Virga plan forming one of its contrasts to that of Mr. Patterson, which proposed a removal on the application of a majority of the Executives of the States. In the copy printed in the Journal, the two modes are combined in the same clause; whether through inadvertence, or as a contemplated amendment does not appear.
Mr. Patterson, according to Judge Robert Yates (NY) said no government could only be energetic on paper; every government needs a small standing force to give it weight.
John Lansing (NY) asked for a days delay, permitting members to take copies for further study. The two plans contrasted, with the New Jersey Plan based on the existing Confederation, and the Randolph/Virginia Plan on a national government.
Alexander Hamilton did not support either plan.
The Committee of the Whole would consider the New Jersey plan tomorrow.
Highlights of the New Jersey Plan:
Congress could raise revenue through an impost, and a stamp tax.
Congress was to regulate trade with foreign nations and among the states. State courts would deal initially with controversies therein. Appeals bumped up to the new judicial system.
Requisitions of taxes would be based on the free population plus 3/5 of slaves, rather than land ad valorem under the Articles. If certain states do not pay, a TBD percentage of states may vote to force collection. (They couldnt have been serious, could they?)
Congress would elect a TBD number of Executives to serve for one term. They could be removed by a majority of state governors. They could not lead armies.
A new Judiciary appointed by the Executive would hear impeachments of federal officers. It would be the final court of appeal regarding ambassadors, enemy captures, piracies, treaties and cases involving trade and revenue/taxes.
The new Articles, subsequent laws and treaties were to be Supreme Law of the states, including state judges. The Executive could call on the states to compel compliance.
Make provision for new states and rules for naturalization.
(It is thought beside Mr. Patterson, Roger Sherman (CN), Luther Martin (MD), the other probable authors were either John Dickinson (DE) or Judge George Read (DE), and either Robert Yates (NY) or John Lansing (NY).)
(Footnote 4 has background on the Patterson Plan. As long as proportional representation in both houses of Congress remained in the Randolph Plan, there was zero chance of support from CN, NY, NJ, DE and maybe MD. It was thought DE and NJ delegates actually supported an energetic government, and only came up with the New Jersey Plan to force change in the Randolph Plan, from proportional representation in both houses, to equality of State suffrage in the Senate. From Bowen, We should think of it, then, as a compact hastily thrown together to give the Small States a base for the fight, a standard around which the opponents of proportional representation could gather.)
(I find removal of the Executive(s) on a vote of state governors to be interesting. There is no definitive telling how such a provision in our Constitution would have affected our history, except that all Executives would have been forced to look over their shoulders and consult governors on all major questions facing the country. At first blush, this provision has merit. If nothing else, Hussein would be gone)
Constitutional Convention Ping!
Still trying to set one sovereignty against another. Not always intentionally, we must think.
If certain states do not pay, a TBD percentage of states may vote to force collection. (They couldnt have been serious, could they?)
Serious? Yes. Naïve, but serious. Fortunately, before September good sense prevailed.
I find removal of the Executive(s) on a vote of state governors to be interesting.
Instead impeachment was to be tried by the Senate (appointed by the states) and charges were to be brought by the people in the form of their representatives. Not so far from the original idea.
Of course today impeachment is a joke. How we got from there to here is a long story. I wonder if the original proposal would be any better today. Somehow, I doubt it.
Thanks for rhe ping.
In the second week of Sept, they narrowed the clause to, “He shall be removed from his office on impeachment by the House of Representatives, and conviction by the Senate, for Treason, or bribery.
Why, it was asked, impeachment for treason and bribery only? Treason will not reach many significant offenses. What of attempts to subvert the Constitution? It was moved to add, or maladministration after bribery.
James Madison feared it would lead to too many Presidents getting the boot by hostile Congresses.
George Mason motioned to withdraw maladministration to substitute, other high crimes and misdemesnors against the State, which passed by a 7-4 vote.
The Committee of Style cleaned up his prose to the clause we know today.
I agree with the pol who remarked that an impeachable crime is whatever Congress thinks it is. And yes, as you say, it has not been used often enough.
It is a pity that “maladministration” did not remain in the Constitution. The office of the President has gathered too many authoritarian powers about it these past 220 years. An office whose primary purpose was to execute the law, has turned into a force of arbitrary oppression.
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