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Journal of the Federal Convention August 29th 1787
Avalon Project ^ | James Madison

Posted on 08/29/2011 1:54:36 AM PDT by Jacquerie

Bankruptcies. Full Faith. William Blackstone & Ex Post Facto Law. Commerce as Trade. Sectional Rivalry. Navigation Acts. Randolph Resists the Constitution. Article VII Section 6 Navigation Acts Struck. New States. Article XVII.

In Convention.

Art: XVI. [FN2], [FN3], taken up.

Mr. WILLIAMSON moved to substitute in place of it, the words of the Articles of Confederation on the same subject. He did not understand precisely the meaning of the article.

Mr. WILSON & Docr. JOHNSON supposed the meaning to be that Judgments in one State should be the ground of actions in other States, & that acts of the Legislatures should be included, for the sake of Acts of insolvency &c. Mr. PINKNEY moved to commit art XVI, with the following proposition, "To establish uniform laws upon the subject of bankruptcies, and respecting the damages arising on the protest of foreign bills of exchange"

Mr. GHORUM was for agreeing to the article, and committing the proposition.

Mr. MADISON was for committing both. He wished the Legislature might be authorized to provide for the execution of Judgments in other States, under such regulations as might be expedient. He thought that this might be safely done, and was justified by the nature of the Union.

Mr. RANDOLPH said there was no instance of one nation executing judgments of the Courts of another nation. He moved the following proposition:

"Whenever the act of any State, whether Legislative, Executive or Judiciary shall be attested & exemplified under the seal thereof, such attestation and exemplification, shall be deemed in other States as full proof of the existence of that act-and its operation shall be binding in every other State, in all cases to which it may relate, and which are within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the State, wherein the said act was done."

On the question for committing Art: XVI. with Mr. Pinkney's motion

N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN4]

The motion of Mr. Randolph was also committed nem: con:

Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to commit also the following proposition on the same subject.

"Full faith ought to be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State; and the Legislature shall by general laws, determine the proof and effect of such acts, records, and proceedings," and it was committed nem: contrad:

The committee appointed for these references, were Mr. Rutlidge, Mr. Randolph, Mr. Gorham, Mr. Wilson, & Mr. Johnson. Mr. DICKENSON mentioned to the House that on examining Blackstone's Commentaries, he found that the terms, [FN5] "ex post facto" related to criminal cases only; that they would not consequently restrain the States from retrospective laws in civil cases, and that some further provision for this purpose would be requisite.

Art. VII Sect. 6 by ye. Committee of eleven reported to be struck out (see the 24 instant) being now taken up,

Mr. PINKNEY moved to postpone the Report in favor of the following proposition-"That no act of the Legislature for the purpose of regulating the commerce of the U- S. with foreign powers, or among the several States, shall be passed without the assent of two thirds of the members of each House."

He remarked that there were five distinct commercial interests.

1.the fisheries & W. India trade, which belonged to the N. England States. 2. the interest of N. York lay in a free trade. 3. Wheat & flour the Staples of the two Middle States (N. J. & Penna.). 4 Tobo. the staple of Maryd. & Virginia & partly of N. Carolina. 5. Rice & Indigo, the staples of S. Carolina & Georgia.

These different interests would be a source of oppressive regulations if no check to a bare majority should be provided. States pursue their interests with less scruple than individuals. The power of regulating commerce was a pure concession on the part of the S. States. They did not need the protection of the N. States at present.

Mr. MARTIN 2ded. the motion

Genl. PINKNEY said it was the true interest of the S. States to have no regulation of commerce; but considering the loss brought on the commerce of the Eastern States by the revolution, their liberal conduct towards the views [FN6] of South Carolina, and the interest the weak Southn. States had in being united with the strong Eastern States, he thought it proper that no fetters should be imposed on the power of making commercial regulations; and that his constituents though prejudiced against the Eastern States, would be reconciled to this liberality. He had himself, he said, prejudices agst. the Eastern States before he came here, but would acknowledge that he had found them as liberal and candid as any men whatever.

Mr. CLYMER. The diversity of commercial interests of necessity creates difficulties, which ought not to be increased by unnecessary restrictions. The Northern & middle States will be ruined, if not enabled to defend themselves against foreign regulations.

Mr. SHERMAN, alluding to Mr. Pinkney's enumeration of particular interests, as requiring a security agst. abuse of the power; observed that the diversity was of itself a security, adding that to require more than a majority to decide a question was always embarrassing as had been experienced in cases requiring the votes of nine States in Congress.

Mr. PINKNEY replied that his enumeration meant the five minute interests. It still left the two great divisions of Northern & Southern Interests.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS, opposed the object of the motion as highly injurious. Preferences to American ships will multiply them, till they can carry the Southern produce cheaper than it is now carried. -A navy was essential to security, particularly of the S. States, and can only be had by a navigation act encouraging American bottoms & seamen. In those points of view then alone, it is the interest of the S. States that navigation acts should be facilitated. Shipping he said was the worst & most precarious kind of property, and stood in need of public patronage.

Mr. WILLIAMSON was in favor of making two thirds instead of a majority requisite, as more satisfactory to the Southern people. No useful measure he believed had been lost in Congress for want of nine votes. As to the weakness of the Southern States, he was not alarmed on that account. The sickliness of their climate for invaders would prevent their being made an object. He acknowledged that he did not think the motion requiring 2/3 necessary in itself, because if a majority of [FN7] Northern States should push their regulations too far, the S. States would build ships for themselves: but he knew the Southern people were apprehensive on this subject and would be pleased with the precaution.

Mr. SPAIGHT was against the motion. The Southern States could at any time save themselves from oppression, by building ships for their own use.

Mr. BUTLER differed from those who considered the rejection of the motion as no concession on the part of the S. States. He considered the interests of these and of the Eastern States, to be as different as the interests of Russia and Turkey. Being notwith-standing desirous of conciliating the affections of the East: States. he should vote agst. requiring 2/3 instead of a majority.

Col. MASON. If the Govt. is to be lasting, it must be founded in the confidence & affections of the people, and must be so constructed as to obtain these. The Majority will be governed by their interests. The Southern States are the minority in both Houses. Is it to be expected that they will deliver themselves bound hand & foot to the Eastern States, and enable them to exclaim, in the words of Cromwell on a certain occasion-"the lord hath delivered them into our hands.

Mr. WILSON took notice of the several objections and remarked that if every peculiar interest was to be secured, unanimity ought to be required. The majority he said would be no more governed by interest than the minority. It was surely better to let the latter be bound hand and foot than the former. Great inconveniences had, he contended, been experienced in Congress from the article of confederation requiring nine votes in certain cases.

Mr. MADISON, went into a pretty full view of the subject. He observed that the disadvantage to the S. States from a navigation act, lay chiefly in a temporary rise of freight, attendedhowever with an increase of Southn. as well as Northern Shipping-with the emigration of Northern Seamen & merchants to the Southern States-& with a removal of the existing & injurious retaliations among the States on each other. The power of foreign nations to obstruct our retaliating measures on them by a corrupt influence would also be less if a majority shd. be made competent than if 2/3 of each House shd. be required to Legislative acts in this case. An abuse of the power would be qualified with all these good effects. But he thought an abuse was rendered improbable by the provision of 2 branches-by the independence of the Senate, by the negative of the Executive, by the interest of Connecticut & N: Jersey which were agricultural, not commercial States; by the interior interest which was also agricultural in the most commercial States, [FN8] by the accession of Western States which wd. be altogether agricultural. He added that the Southern States would derive an essential advantage in the general security afforded by the increase of our maritime strength. He stated the vulnerable situation of them all, and of Virginia in particular. The increase of the coasting trade, and of seamen, would also be favorable to the S. States, by increasing, the consumption of their produce. If the Wealth of the Eastern should in a still greater proportion be augmented, that wealth wd. contribute the more to the public wants, and be otherwise a national benefit.

Mr. RUTLIDGE was agst. the motion of his colleague. It did not follow from a grant of the power to regulate trade, that it would be abused. At the worst a navigation act could bear hard a little while only on the S. States. As we are laying the foundation for a great empire, we ought to take a permanent view of the subject and not look at the present moment only. He reminded the House of the necessity of securing the West India trade to this country. That was the great object, and a navigation Act was necessary for obtaining it.

Mr. RANDOLPH said that there were features so odious in the constitution as it now stands, that he doubted whether he should be able to agree to it. A rejection of the motion would compleat the deformity of the system. He took notice of the argument in favor of giving the power over trade to a majority, drawn from the opportunity foreign powers would have of obstructing retaliating [FN9] measures, if two thirds were made requisite. He did not think there was weight in that consideration. The difference between a majority & two thirds did not afford room for such an opportunity. Foreign influence would also be more likely to be exerted on the President who could require three fourths by his negative. He did not mean however to enter into the merits. What he had in view was merely to pave the way for a declaration which he might be hereafter obliged to make if an accumulation of obnoxious ingredients should take place, that he could not give his assent to the plan.

Mr. GORHAM. If the Government is to be so fettered as to be unable to relieve the Eastern States what motive can they have to join in it, and thereby tie their own hands from measures which they could otherwise take for themselves. The Eastern States were not led to strengthen the Union by fear for their own safety. He deprecated the consequences of disunion, but if it should take place it was the Southern part of the Continent that had the [FN10] most reason to dread them. He urged the improbability of a combination against the interest of the Southern States, the different situations of the Northern & Middle States being a security against it. It was moreover certain that foreign ships would never be altogether excluded especially those of Nations in treaty with us.

On the question to pospone in order to take up Mr. Pinkney's Motion, N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay. [FN11]

The Report of the Committee for striking out sect: 6. requiring two thirds of each House to pass a navigation act was then agreed to, nem: con:

Mr. BUTLER moved to insert after art: XV. "If any person bound to service or labor in any of the U. States shall escape into another State, he or she shall not be discharged from such service or labor, in consequence of any regulations subsisting in the State to which they escape, but shall be delivered up to the person justly claiming their service or labor," which was agreed to nem: con:

Art: XVII [FN12] being [FN13] taken up, Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to strike out the two last sentences, to wit "If the admission be consented to, the new States shall be admitted on the same terms with the original States. But the Legislature may make conditions with the new States, concerning the public debt, which shall be then subsisting." -He did not wish to bind down the Legislature to admit Western States on the terms here stated.

Mr. MADISON opposed the motion, insisting that the Western States neither would nor ought to submit to a union which degraded them from an equal rank with [FN17] other States.

Col: MASON. If it were possible by just means to prevent emigrations to the Western Country, it might be good policy. But go the people will as they find it for their interest, and the best policy is to treat them with that equality which will make them friends not enemies.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS, did not mean to discourage the growth of the Western Country. He knew that to be impossible. He did not wish however to throw the power into their hands.

Mr. SHERMAN, was agst. the motion, & for fixing an equality of privileges by the Constitution.

Mr. LANGDON was in favor of the Motion, he did not know but circumstances might arise which would render it inconvenient to admit new States on terms of equality.

Mr. WILLIAMSON was for leaving the Legislature free. The existing small States enjoy an equality now, and for that reason are admitted to it in the Senate. This reason is not applicable to new Western States.

On Mr. Govr. Morris's motion for striking out N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN14]

Mr. L. MARTIN & Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to strike out of art XVII. "but to such admission the consent of two thirds of the members present shall be necessary." Before any question was taken on this motion,

Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved the following proposition as a substitute for the XVII art:

"New States may be admitted by the Legislature into this Union: but no new State shall be erected within the limits of any of the present States, without the consent of the Legislature of such State, as well as of the Genl. Legislature"

The first part to Union inclusive was agreed to nem: con:

Mr. L. MARTIN opposed the latter part. Nothing he said would so alarm the limited States as to make the consent of the large States claiming the Western lands, necessary to the establishment of new States within their limits. It is proposed to guarantee the States. Shall Vermont be reduced by force in favor of the States claiming it? Frankland & the Western country of Virginia were in a like situation.

On Mr. Govr. Morris's motion to substitute &c it was agreed to, N. H. no. Mas. ay. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN15]

Art: XVII- [FN16] before the House, as amended.

Mr. SHERMAN was against it. He thought it unnecessary. The Union can not dismember a State without its consent.

Mr. LANGDON thought there was great weight in the argument of Mr. Luther Martin, and that the proposition substituted by Mr. Govr. Morris would excite a dangerous opposition to the plan.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS thought on the contrary that the small States would be pleased with the regulation, as it holds up the idea of dismembering the large States.

Mr. BUTLER. If new States were to be erected without the consent of the dismembered States, nothing but confusion would ensue. Whenever taxes should press on the people, demagogues would set up their schemes of new States.

Docr. JOHNSON agreed in general with the ideas of Mr. Sherman, but was afraid that as the clause stood, Vermont would be subjected to N. York, contrary to the faith pledged by Congress. He was of opinion that Vermont ought to be compelled to come into the Union.

Mr. LANGDON said his objections were connected with the case of Vermont. If they are not taken in, & remain exempt from taxes, it would prove of great injury to N. Hampshire and the other neighbouring States.

Mr. DICKINSON hoped the article would not be agreed to. He dwelt on the impropriety of requiring the small States to secure the large ones in their extensive claims of territory.

Mr. WILSON. When the majority of a State wish to divide they can do so. The aim of those in opposition to the article, he perceived, was that the Genl. Government should abet the minority, & by that means divide a State against its own consent. Mr. Govr. MORRIS. If the forced division of States is the object of the new System, and is to be pointed agst. one or two States, he expected, the Gentleman [FN17] from these would pretty quickly leave us.

Adjourned

FN1 The year "1787" is omitted in the transcript.

FN2 see ante.

FN3 The word "being" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN4 In the transcript the vote reads: "Connecticut, Mew Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina,South Carolina, Georgia, aye--9; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, no--2."

FN5 the transcript uses the word "terms" in the singular.

FN6 he meant the permission to import slaves. An understanding onthe two subjects of navigation and slavery, had taken place between those parts of the Union, which explains the voteon the motion depending, as well as the language of Gen [FN1] Pinkney & others.

FN7 The word "the" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN8 The word" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN9 The word "retaliatory" is substituted in the transcript for "retaliating."

FN10 the word "the " is omitted in the transcript.

FN11 In the transcript the vote reads: Maryland, Virginia, North Crolina, Georgia, aye--4; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, no-7."

FN12 See p. -.

FN13 The word "then" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN14 In the transcript the vote reads: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Mayland, no-5."

FN15 In the transcript the vote reads: "Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye6; New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, no-5."

FN16 The word "being" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN17 The TRanscript uses the word "Gentleman" in the plural.

FN18 The transcript uses the word "Gentleman" in the plural.


TOPICS: Government; Reference
KEYWORDS: constitution; convention; framers; freeperbookclub; madison
Article XVI was next, “Full faith shall be given in each State to the acts of the Legislatures, and to the records and judicial proceedings of the Courts and magistrates of every other State.”

Hugh Williamson (NC) did not understand precisely what was meant, and moved to substitute the words from the Articles of Confederation on the subject. (Article IV of the Confederation read, “Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State.” So what is the difference?)

James Wilson (PA) and Dr. William Samuel Johnson (CN), (by their questions and assumptions showed why the Article needed work.)

Charles Pinckney (SC) motioned to send Article XVI to a committee, to work on the proposition, "To establish uniform laws upon the subject of bankruptcies, and respecting the damages arising on the protest of foreign bills of exchange."

Nathaniel Gorham (MA) and James Madison (VA) agreed to both the Article and motion to commit. Mr. Madison would have the National Government be involved in the execution of State Judgments.

Governor Edmund Randolph disagreed with Mr. Madison and proposed:

"Whenever the act of any State, whether Legislative, Executive or Judiciary shall be attested & exemplified under the seal thereof, such attestation and exemplification, shall be deemed in other States as full proof of the existence of that act-and its operation shall be binding in every other State, in all cases to which it may relate, and which are within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the State, wherein the said act was done."

On the motion to commit Article XVI along with Mr. Pinckney’s proposition, it passed 9-2. Committee members: Mr. Rutlidge, Mr. Randolph, Mr. Gorham, Mr. Wilson, & Mr. Johnson.

Governeur Morris (PA) moved to add another proposition to the committee dealing with acts of other States. It moved to committee without opposition.

John Dickinson (DE) noted that ex post facto laws as referenced in Blackstone’s Commentaries on The Laws of England, dealt only with criminal statutes. The term as used would not prevent retrospective laws in civil matters; some provision must be made to correct this.

(For some unexplained reason, no debate on the matter followed.) Article VII Section 6 as reported by the Committee of Eleven on 24 Aug was taken up, “No navigation act shall be passed without the assent of two thirds of the members present in the each House.” The Committee recommended to strike the Section entirely.

(The nub of this issue was distrust between Southern and Northern States. Northern shipping interests continued to suffer after the war as Great Britain prohibited all but British ships from trade with the West Indies and the home island. Simultaneously, their ships carried goods to and from their recent colonies with few restrictions because the Confederate Congress could not regulate trade. Southern agricultural products were thus shipped in British bottoms at reasonable rates. If given Commerce and Navigation powers, this beneficial arrangement would be threatened. Southern delegates had real reasons to distrust John Jay, a New Yorker, who had already offered to give up commercial rights to the Mississippi River.) Charles Pinckney (SC) motioned and Mr. Martin seconded to postpone debate in order to consider his proposition, "That no act of the Legislature for the purpose of regulating the commerce of the U- S. with foreign powers, or among the several States, shall be passed without the assent of two thirds of the members of each House." There were five distinct areas of commercial interest.

1. Fisheries and West Indies Trade of the New England States.

2. NY interest in free trade.

3. Wheat and flour exports from NJ, PA.

4. Tobacco exports from MD, VA, NC.

5. Rice & Indigo from GA, SC.

These important concerns should not be left up to simple majority abuse. The power to regulate commerce was a concession from the Southern States, and no, they did not need maritime protection at the present time.

(He said States pursue interests with less scruple than individuals. How true with almost any group. That which most people would not even consider, say stealing, can become noble when done by Congress and called a Law. In addition, there is once again no indication our Framers considered “commerce” to extend to State manufactures. Commerce is synonymous with trade, the actual movement of physical goods. That is all.)

(General Pinckney (SC) then said more than his words conveyed. I do not think we can grasp today the sectional rivalries and plain mistrust of those in other states. Since the war, they viewed each other increasingly as competitors. They were sovereign rivals to be beaten in trade, and prosperity as any nation would attempt to treat others. Think about the wild threads at FR when the Civil War is discussed. Multiply that by 100 to get a feel for the atmosphere of 1787. General Pinckney (SC) admitted after three months of working with delegates from distant states, that they were not Martians, but decent fellows with ideas as liberal as his. Considering the Southern delegates knew many in the Eastern States abolish slavery if they could, this was a remarkable admission.)

George Clymer (PA) acknowledged the necessity of commercial regulation to the Northern and Middle States. Foreign restrictions, if left in place, would ruin them.

Roger Sherman (CN) viewed diverse commercial interests as security in itself. He cautioned super-majority requirements; it had lead to crippling inaction in the Confederation Congress.

General Pinckney (SC) described his enumeration as “five minute interests.” The great division was North/South.

Governeur Morris (PA) viewed protective Navigation Acts as essential. They would encourage our merchant marine, and a Navy was essential protection. Seaborne trade was a dangerous business and stood in need of “public patronage.”

Hugh Williamson (NC) favored a two thirds majority. He disagreed with Mr. Sherman; no worthwhile act was defeated for lack of nine votes. Southern States were apprehensive, rest their minds. They could build their own ships if needed.

Richard Spaight opposed the two thirds requirement; Southern States could build ships as needed.

Pierce Butler (SC), in the interest of comity with his Northern brethren, whose differences with the Southern States were as that between Russia and Turkey, would vote against a two thirds majority requirement.

George Mason (VA) (Uttered words of wisdom our rulers should heed today) said any lasting government must have the confidence and affection of the people. In so many words, he said the Southern States, which would be outnumbered in both the House and Senate, would not sit idly by to be screwed by the Eastern States.

James Wilson (PA) retorted that large majority requirements only mean the larger is governed by the smaller. If all interests were to be covered, unanimous consent should be required. No, the fact was that the Confederation nine vote requirement caused great inconvenience.

James Madison (VA) (summed things up nicely) thought the only disadvantage to a Navigation Act was a temporary increase in Southern shipping rates. The advantages were more North/South shipping activity, more seamen visiting southern ports and elimination of ruinous trade wars between the States. A simple majority would be more difficult to corrupt with foreign money than a smaller one third. He also asked delegates to consider how the form of our government, a two House Congress, independent Executive with veto power is not likely to pass heinous legislation. Also, the Middle and Northern States could not be described as purely commercial; CN and NJ in particular were agricultural and even the interior parts of commercial States had strong agricultural interests. Oh, and agriculture would certainly dominate new Western States. Southern States would benefit from Naval protection and the coasting trade. Trade would promote wealth, to the benefit of all.

(I notice the delegates never defined what a Navigation Act was, or what its component parts could be. They didn’t because it was understood. The British enacted and amended Navigation Acts on a regular basis to protect home island merchant and manufacturing interests.)

John Rutlidge (SC) opposed Mr. Pinckney’s motion. He asked delegates to once again think of the future nation and not their current, narrow State interests. There was much gain to be had in the West Indies trade, a Navigation Act was crucial.

Governor Edmund Randolph doubted he could sign the Constitution; there were too many odious features. A rejection of the two thirds requirement would complete the “deformity” of the system. He informed the Convention of a possible declaration from him against the evolving Constitution.

Nathaniel Gorham (MA) responded to Mr. Randolph. Absent trade relief, there was no reason for Eastern States to join the Union. They did not lack protection. Southern States did, and if the plan should fall apart, it will be their fault. He could not envision Eastern States ganging up on the Southern over trade.

On the question to postpone, it failed 7-4.

As recommended by the Committee, Article VII Section 6, “No navigation act shall be passed without the assent of two thirds of the members present in the each House,” was struck.

(The effect of this was to treat Navigation Acts as any other acts under the Commerce Clause, meaning a simple majority for passage.)

Pierce Butler (SC) motioned, and the Convention agreed without opposition, to the following addition to Article XV, "If any person bound to service or labor in any of the U. States shall escape into another State, he or she shall not be discharged from such service or labor, in consequence of any regulations subsisting in the State to which they escape, but shall be delivered up to the person justly claiming their service or labor."

Article XVII was next, “New States lawfully constituted or established within the limits of the United States may be admitted, by the Legislature, into this Government; but to such admission the consent of two thirds of the members present in each House shall be necessary. If a new State shall arise within the limits of any of the present States, the consent of the Legislatures of such States shall be also necessary to its admission. If the admission be consented to, the new States shall be admitted on the same terms with the original States. But the Legislature may make conditions with the new States, concerning the public debt which shall be then subsisting.

Governeur Morris moved to strike the last two sentences. He once again did not wish to force Congress to admit new States on the same basis as the old.

James Madison opposed the motion once again as degrading.

George Mason thought the idea somewhat foolish. The people were moving West and it would be best to treat them as friends, not enemies. (The idea of “my country, the US, was weak at best. Some Western settlers had petitioned the Spanish King for trading licenses.)

Governeur Morris said he did not wish to discourage the settlers, yet did not wish to yield dominant power to them.

Roger Sherman opposed Mr. Morris and supported equality of privileges in the Constitution.

John Langdon could not declare why he supported the motion, but he did.

Hugh Williamson wished to let Congress decide, and supported Mr. Morris’ motion. (If I read Madison’s notes correctly, Mr. Williamson would entertain denying new States two Senators.)

Mr. Morris’ motion to strike the last two Sentences of Article XVII passed 8-3.

The struck sentences were, “If the admission be consented to, the new States shall be admitted on the same terms with the original States. But the Legislature may make conditions with the new States, concerning the public debt which shall be then subsisting.”

(I think resistance to admit new States reflected apprehension over the new plan as much as a concerted effort to deny State equality.)

Luther Martin and Governeur Morris (wished to make state admission a simple majority matter) moved to strike from Article XVII, "but to such admission the consent of two thirds of the members present shall be necessary."

Until the question could be put,

Governeur Morris motioned to replace Article XVII with, “New States may be admitted by the Legislature into this Union: but no new State shall be erected within the limits of any of the present States, without the consent of the Legislature of such State, as well as of the Genl. Legislature."

The first clause to “Union,” passed without opposition.

Luther Martin opposed the remainder because it would require States with known, limited perimeters (like MD) to obtain permission from large States with unknown western extents to form new States. (I think he also suspected Large States would oppose entry of Vermont and allow nearby States to absorb it. Mr. Martin brought up what would become TN and perhaps Franklin, NC at the western edge of the State.)

On Mr. Morris’ motion to substitute Article XVII, it passed 6-5.

(The new Article XVII was not approved, only Mr. Morris’ substitution.)

The amended Article XVII was under consideration.

Roger Sherman opposed it as unnecessary; no State could be dismembered without its permission.

Hugh Langdon gave great weight to Mr. Martin’s argument; be careful this amendment would bring opposition to the plan.

Governeur Morris (was he sarcastic?) said Small States should support his amendment for it could lead to dismemberment of the Large States.

Pierce Butler predicted a mess if new States could be formed without consent of the existing State.

Dr. William Samuel Johnson (CN) expressed concern over NY domination of emerging Vermont. He thought Vermont should be “compelled to come into the Union.”

John Langdon (NH) appeared to fear increased taxation if Vermont was not admitted to the Union.

John Dickinson (DE) opposed the Article.

James Wilson said when the majority of a State wished to divide it could do so. Opposition appeared to be from those who fear a faction in Congress could encourage a State minority to promote division.

Governeur Morris thought those members from States who were possibly the object of division, knew it and would not join the Union.

The Convention adjourned without voting on Article XVII.

1 posted on 08/29/2011 1:54:40 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Lady Jag; Ev Reeman; familyof5; NewMediaJournal; pallis; Kartographer; SuperLuminal; unixfox; ...
Constitutional Convention Ping!

The second greatest compromise of the Convention roared back today.

Just as equality of State suffrage in the Senate was a do or die issue for small states, so was Slavery to the South and National Government regulation of commerce to the North.

Navigation Acts, the rules over foreign commerce had earlier in the Convention required a 2/3 majority of Congress. Southern States were fearful what simple majorities could do to the Slave trade. Their fears were put to rest in recent days. The Committee of Eleven, composed of one delegate from each attending State, hammered out a deal to allow simple majorities to determine foreign trade laws in exchange for previous guarantees to the institution of Slavery.

Now, Southern delegates had to date never shown any reluctance to protect their peculiar institution on either moral or practical grounds. The deal had been made and things were going smoothly until Charles Pinckney (SC) motioned to revive the 2/3 requirement for Navigation Acts.

His cousin, General Pinckney immediately arose and protested. Fellow South Carolinian Pierce Butler did as well. They knew the Convention would blow up without this compromise. Charles Pinckney’s motion was thus rejected without debate.

So what of Slavery? Could the North have held out for restrictions, closer limits? I think so. Immediate abolition was never spoken of, it didn’t have chance. Still, the three Southernmost States would have had a hard time outside the union and could have been pushed for a concession. They were under populated, feared slave uprisings and had few means of supporting or protecting themselves either in manufactures or a Navy.

IMHO, the Northern States could have driven a better bargain. I think Slavery could have been restricted to the existing States without jeopardizing their ratification of the Constitution. It would have been in their economic interests to do so, for there would have been less agricultural competition from new States envisioned in the southwest. Forcing the issue probably would have saved us from civil war.

That the Framers did not do so, does not reflect poorly on them. No one envisioned black equality at the time. They gathered in Philly not to compose the best government possible, but rather the best the people would accept.

2 posted on 08/29/2011 2:01:59 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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