#7. Resolved. that the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national Legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the articles of confederation: but according to some equitable ratio of representation- namely, in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants of every age, sex, and condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians, not paying taxes in each State.
#8. Resolved that the right of suffrage in the 2d. branch of the National Legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first.
On the question of an equitable ratio to be used in the House of Representatives:
According to Mr. Madison, Luther Martin (MD), the State Attorney General, gave a well prepared and powerful speech attacking the path of the convention. It would last three hours and be completed the next day. According to Robert Yates, his arguments were diffuse, and in many instances desultory, it was not possible to trace him through the whole, or to methodize his ideas into a systematic or argumentative arrangement.
(In other words, when it appeared the Convention was ready for debate on proportional representation in the House and equality of State suffrage in the Senate, it got instead a day of Luther Martin. The tea leaves the past few days indicated the Large State bloc against equal State suffrage in the Senate was weakening, while the small States had long indicated their willingness to accept proportional representation in the House as a compromise. The delay thanks to Mr. Martin almost sank the Convention.)
Mr. Martin continued. The general government was to preserve state governments; it should not act on individuals; limit the powers, for more can be granted later but power cannot be retrieved; the general government had little to fear from the states; do not seek approval of the people; the states will be dissolved; the convention does not have legitimate power to do what it is doing anyway.
The states complied when capable with acts of Congress. Debt and destruction during the war were primary reasons for noncompliance. Side treaties between VA/MD and PA/NJ, troops raised by MA for defense against insurrection were not violations of the Articles of Confederation. An equal vote by states was essential, founded in justice and freedom. States, like individuals were in a state of nature and equally sovereign and free. He quoted from philosophers to support his argument.
His point was that sovereign states could delegate their equality, but equality could not be taken away from them. It was a fundamental violation of the sovereign states to be left out of ratification deliberations.
Under the proposed Constitution, ten states would become slaves of VA, MA, PA. The large three would control the legislative, executive and judicial branches and be masters over the ten smaller states.
No way, no how would the states large or small permit a Congressional veto of their laws.
(Luther Martin was a skilled courtroom lawyer. One of my references cited Max Farrand as to Mr. Martin being little more than a placeman for Samuel Chase, who nominated Mr. Martin for Attorney General and delegate to the Convention. Whatever the case, Mr. Martins purpose appeared to be to obstruct and oppose progress toward a republic. He was also a fervent States rights advocate who viewed them, not the people, as sovereign. States were as equal in the civil system as people were among themselves. They should thus have equal votes. The people granted certain powers to State governments that could not be taken back. His passionate speech may have swayed the typical jury, but his listeners were anything but typical. It was a harangue that ill served the Small State cause.)
Constitutional Convention Ping!