Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Journal of the Federal Convention September 7th 1787
Constitution Society ^ | James Madison

Posted on 09/07/2011 2:30:38 AM PDT by Jacquerie

Down in the Electoral Weeds. Disabled President. Natural Born Citizen. The Useless Vice President. Ambassadors. Treaties. New Corps of Officers. Recess Appointments. Two Thirds Treaty Requirement. Privy Council.

In Convention.

The mode of constituting the Executive being resumed, Mr. RANDOLPH moved, to insert in the first Section of the report made yesterday [FN2]

"The Legislature may declare by law what officer of the U. S. shall act as President in case of the death, resignation, or disability of the President and Vice-President; and such officer shall act accordingly until the time of electing a President shall arrive."

Mr. MADISON observed that this, as worded, would prevent a supply of the vacancy by an intermediate election of the President, and moved to substitute- "until such disability be removed, or a President shall be elected. [FN3] Mr. GOVERNr. MORRIS 2ded. the motion, which was agreed to. It seemed to be an objection to the provision with some, that according to the process established for chusing the Executive there would be difficulty in effecting it at other than the fixed periods; with others, that the Legislature was restrained in the temporary appointment to "officers" of the U. S: They wished it to be at liberty to appoint others than such.

On the Motion of Mr. Randolph as amended, it passed in the affirmative, N. H. divided. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN4]

Mr. GERRY moved "that in the election of President by the House of Representatives, no State shall vote by less than three members, and where that number may not be allotted to a State, it shall be made up by its Senators; and a concurrence of a majority of all the States shall be necessary to make such choice." Without some such provision five individuals might possibly be competent to an election; these being a majority of two thirds of the existing number of States; and two thirds being a quorum for this business.

Mr. MADISON 2ded. the motion

Mr. READ observed that the States having but one member only in the House of Reps. would be in danger of having no vote at all in the election: the sickness or absence either of the Representative or one of the Senators would have that effect.

Mr. MADISON replied that, if one member of the House of Representatives should be left capable of voting for the State, the states having one Representative only would still be subject to that danger. He thought it an evil that so small a number at any rate should be authorized, to elect. Corruption would be greatly facilitated by it. The mode itself was liable to this further weighty objection that the representatives of a Minority of the people, might reverse the choice of a majority of the States and of the people. He wished some cure for this inconveniency [FN5] might yet be provided.

Mr. GERRY withdrew the first part of his motion; and on the,-Question on the 2d. part viz. "and a concurrence of a majority of all the States shall be necessary to make such choice" to follow the words "a member or members from two thirds of the States"

It was agreed to nem: con:

The section 2 (see Sepr. 4) requiring that the President should be a natural- born Citizen, &c & have been resident for fourteen years, & be thirty five years of age, was agreed to nem: con:

[FN6]Section 3. (see Sepr. 4). "The vice President shall be ex-officio President of the Senate"

Mr. GERRY opposed this regulation. We might as well put the President himself at the head of the Legislature. The close intimacy that must subsist between the President & vice-president makes it absolutely improper. He was agst. having any vice President.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS. The vice president then will be the first heir apparent that ever loved his father. If there should be no vice president, the President of the Senate would be temporary successor, which would amount to the same thing.

Mr. SHERMAN saw no danger in the case. If the vice-President were not to be President of the Senate, he would be without employment, and some member by being made President must be deprived of his vote, unless when an equal division of votes might happen in the Senate, which would be but seldom.

Mr. RANDOLPH concurred in the opposition to the clause.

Mr. WILLIAMSON, observed that such an officer as vice-President was not wanted. He was introduced only for the sake of a valuable mode of election which required two to be chosen at the same time.

Col: MASON, thought the office of vice-President an encroachment on the rights of the Senate; and that it mixed too much the Legislative & Executive, which as well as the Judiciarydepartments, [FN7] ought to be kept as separate as possible. He took occasion to express his dislike of any reference whatever of the power to make appointments to either branch of the Legislature. On the other hand he was averse to vest so dangerous a power in the President alone. As a method for avoiding both, he suggested that a privy Council of six members to the president should be established; to be chosen for six years by the Senate, two out of the Eastern two out of the middle, and two out of the Southern quarters of the Union, & to go out in rotation two every second year; the concurrence of the Senate to be required only in the appointment of Ambassadors, and in making treaties, which are more of a legislative nature. This would prevent the constant sitting of the Senate which he thought dangerous, as well as keep the departments separate & distinct. It would also save the expence of constant sessions of the Senate. He had he said always considered the Senate as too unwieldy & expensive for appointing officers, especially the smallest, such as tide waiters &c. He had not reduced his idea to writing, but it could be easily done if it should be found acceptable.

On the question shall the vice President be ex officio President of the Senate? N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del ay. Mas no. Va. ay. N. C. abst. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN8]

The other parts of the same Section (3) [FN9] were then agreed to.

The Section 4.-to wit, "The President by & with the advice and consent of the Senate shall have power to make Treaties &c" [FN10]

Mr. WILSON moved to add, after the word "Senate" the words, "and House of Representatives." As treaties he said are to have the operation of laws, they ought to have the sanction of laws also. The circumstance of secrecy in the business of treaties formed the only objection; but this he thought, so far as it was inconsistent with obtaining the Legislative sanction, was outweighed by the necessity of the latter.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the only question that could be made was whether the power could be safely trusted to the Senate. He thought it could; and that the necessity of secresy in the case of treaties forbade a reference of them to the whole Legislature.

Mr. FITZIMMONS 2ded. the motion of Mr. Wilson, & on the question N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [FN11]

The first sentence as to making treaties was then Agreed to: nem: con:

[FN12]"He shall nominate &c Appoint Ambassadors &c."

Mr. WILSON objected to the mode of appointing, as blending a branch of the Legislature with the Executive. Good laws are of no effect without a good Executive; and there can be no good Executive without a responsible appointment of officers to execute. Responsibility is in a manner destroyed by such an agency of the Senate. He would prefer the council proposed by Col: Mason, provided its advice should not be made obligatory on the President.

Mr. PINKNEY was against joining the Senate in these appointments, except in the instance of Ambassadors whom [FN13] he thought ought not to be appointed by the President.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS said that as the President was to nominate, there would be responsibility, and as the Senate was to concur, there would be security. As Congress now make appointments there is no responsibility.

Mr. GERRY. The idea of responsibility in the nomination to offices is chimerical. The President can not know all characters, and can therefore always plead ignorance.

Mr. KING. As the idea of a Council proposed by Col. Mason has been supported by Mr. Wilson, he would remark that most of the inconveniencies charged on the Senate are incident to a Council of Advice. He differed from those who thought the Senate would sit constantly. He did not suppose it was meant that all the minute officers were to be appointed by the Senate, or any other original source, but by the higher officers of the departments to which they belong. He was of opinion also that the people would be alarmed at an unnecessary creation of new Corps which must increase the expence as well as influence of the Government.

On the question on these words in the clause viz-"He shall nominate & by & with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, and other public ministers (and Consuls) [FN14] Judges of the Supreme Court." [FN15] Agreed to nem: con: the insertion of "and consuls" having first taken place.

On the question on the following words "And all other officers of [FN16] of the US,” N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. ay. [FN17]

On motion of Mr. SPAIGHT-"that the President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate by granting Commissions which shall expire at the end of the next Session of the Senate" It was agreed to nem: con:

[FN16]Section 4. "The President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall have power to make Treaties"-"But no treaty shall be made without the consent of two thirds of the members present"-this last [FN18] being before the House.

Mr. WILSON thought it objectionable to require the concurrence of 2/3 which puts it in [FN19] the power of a minority to controul the will of a majority.

Mr. KING concurred in the objection; remarking that as the Executive was here joined in the business, there was a check which did not exist in Congress where The concurrence of 2/3 was required.

Mr. MADISON moved to insert after the word "treaty" the words "except treaties of peace" allowing these to be made with less difficulty than other treaties-It was agreed to nem: con:

Mr. MADISON then moved to authorise a concurrence of two thirds of the Senate to make treaties of peace, without the concurrence of the President."-The President he said would necessarily derive so much power and importance from a state of war that he might be tempted, if authorised, to impede a treaty of peace.

Mr. BUTLER 2ded. the motion

Mr. GORHAM thought the precaution [FN20] unnecessary as the means of carrying on the war would not be in the hands of the President, but of the Legislature.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS thought the power of the President in this case harmless; and that no peace ought to be made without the concurrence of the President, who was the general Guardian of the National interests.

Mr. BUTLER was strenuous for the motion, as a necessary security against ambitious & corrupt Presidents. He mentioned the late perfidious policy of the Statholder in Holland; and the artifices of the Duke of Marlbro' to prolong the war of which he had the management.

Mr. GERRY was of opinion that in treaties of peace a greater rather than less proportion of votes was necessary, than in other treaties. In Treaties of peace the dearest interests will be at stake, as the fisheries, territory &c. In treaties of peace also there is more danger to the extremities of the Continent, of being sacrificed, than on any other occasions.

Mr. WILLIAMSON thought that Treaties of peace should be guarded at least by requiring the same concurrence as in other Treaties.

On the motion of Mr. Madison & Mr. Butler N.H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N.J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN21]

On the part of the clause concerning treaties amended by the exception as to Treaties of peace, N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N.C. ay. S.C. ay. Geo. no. [FN22] [FN23]"and may require the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each of the Executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices," being before the House

Col: MASON [FN24] said that in rejecting a Council to the President we were about to try an experiment on which the most despotic Governments had never ventured. The Grand Signor himself had his Divan. He moved to postpone the consideration of the clause in order to take up the following.

"That it be an instruction to the Committee of the States to prepare a clause or clauses for establishing an Executive Council, as a Council of State, for the President of the U. States, to consist of six members, two of which from the Eastern, two from the middle, and two from the Southern States, with a Rotation and duration of office similar to those of the Senate; such Council to be appointed by the Legislature or by the Senate."

Doctor FRANKLIN 2ded. the motion. We seemed he said too much to fear cabals in appointments by a number, and to have too much confidence in those of single persons. Experience shewed that caprice, the intrigues of favorites & mistresses, &c [FN25] were nevertheless the means most prevalent in monarchies. Among instances of abuse in such modes of appointment, he mentioned the many bad Governors appointed in G. B. for the Colonies. He thought a Council would not only be a check on a bad President but be a relief to a good one.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS. The question of a Council was considered in the Committee, where it was judged that the Presidt. by persuading his Council, to concur in his wrong measures, would acquire their protection for them.

Mr. WILSON approved of a Council in preference to making the Senate a party to appointmts.

Mr. DICKENSON was for a Council. It wd. be a singular thing if the measures of the Executive were not to undergo some previous discussion before the President.

Mr. MADISON was in favor of the instruction to the Committee proposed by Col: Mason.

The motion of Mr. [FN26] Mason was negatived. Maryd. ay. S.C. ay. Geo. ay- N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no Pa. no. Del. no. Va. no. N C no. [FN27]

On the question, [FN28] "authorising the President to call for the opinions of the Heads of Departments, in writing": it passed in the affirmative, N. H. only being no. [FN29] The clause was then unanimously agreed to-

Mr. WILLIAMSON & Mr. SPAIGHT moved "that no Treaty of Peace affecting Territorial rights shd.; be made without the concurrence of two thirds of the members of the Senate present.”

Mr. KING. It will be necessary to look out for securities for some other rights, if this principle be established; he moved to extend the motion-"to all present rights of the U. States."

Adjourned

FN 1 The year "1787" is omitted in the transcript.

FN2 The words "the following" are here inserted in the transcript.

FN3 In the printed Journal this amendment is put into the original Motion.

FN4 In the transcript the vote reads: "New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-6; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, no-4; New Hampshire, divided."

FN5 The word "inconveniency" is changed to "inconvenience" in the transcript.

FN6 This paragraph is changed in the transcript to read as follows: "The third section, 'The Vice-President shall be ex-officio President of the Senate' being then considered."

FN7 The letter "s" is striken from the word "departments" in the transcript.

FN8 In the transcript the vote reads: "New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-8; New Jersey, Maryland, no-2; North Carofina, absent."

FN9 The figure "3" is omitted in the transcript.

FN10 The phrase "was then taken up" is here added in the transcript.

FN11 In the transcript the vote reads: "Pennsylvania, aye-1; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no-10."

FN12 The words "On the clause" are here inserted in the transcript.

FN13 The word "who" is substituted in the transcript for "whom."

FN14 The word "and" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN15 The words "it was" are here inserted in the transcript.

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

FN17 In the transcript the vote reads: "New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Deal ware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, aye-9; Pennsylvania, South Carolina, no-2."

FN18 The words "being considered, and the last clause" are substituted in the transcript for "this last."

FN19 The word "into" is substituted in the transcript for "in."

FN20 In the transcript the word "precaution" is stricken out and the word "security" is written above it.

FN21 In the transcript the vote reads: "Maryland, South Carolina, Georiga, aye-3; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, no-8."

FN22 In the transcript the vote reads: "New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, aye- 8; New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, no-3."

FN23 The words "The clause" are here inserted in the transcript.

FN24 In the printed Journal, Mr. Madison is erroneously substituted for Col: uMason.

FN25 The character "&C" is omitted in the transcript.

FN26 The word "Col." is substituted in the transcript for "Mr."

FN27 In the transcript the vote reads' "Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, aye- 3; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, no-8".

FN28 The word "for" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN29 Not so stated in the Printed Journal; but conformable to the result- afterwards appearing.


TOPICS: Government; Reference
KEYWORDS: constitution; convention; framers; freeperbookclub; madison
The mode of electing the Executive resumed.

Governor Edmund Randolph moved to insert, “The Legislature may declare by law what officer of the U. S. shall act as President in case of the death, resignation, or disability of the President and Vice-President; and such officer shall act accordingly until the time of electing a President shall arrive."

James Madison motioned to add, “until such disability be removed, or a President shall be elected,” which was seconded by Mr. G. Morris.

The amended motion passed 6-4-1.

Elbridge Gerry motioned and James Madison seconded, "that in the election of President by the House of Representatives, no State shall vote by less than three members, and where that number may not be allotted to a State, it shall be made up by its Senators; and a concurrence of a majority of all the States shall be necessary to make such choice."

Judge George Read and James Madison commented on the mode of Presidential election; Mr. Gerry pulled the first clause of his motion.

Agreed to without opposition, “No person except a natural born citizen or a Citizen of the U. S. at the time of the adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the office of President; nor shall any person be elected to that office, who shall be under the age of thirty five years, and who has not been in the whole, at least fourteen years a resident within the U. S.”

Up next: "The Vice President shall be ex-officio President of the Senate."

Elbridge Gerry opposed it and even the office of Vice President. The VP would of course do the bidding of the President and that had no place in the Senate.

Governeur Morris made a funny. At this point, Congress would appoint a temporary successor to the President in the event of death. The President of the Senate would be a likely choice.

Roger Sherman, the conciliator, saw no problem with the VP as Senate President. Heck, the guy should have some official function.

Governor Randolph and Hugh Williamson opposed the office of VP and reminded the Convention that the only reason there was one, was due to the requirement to vote for two men for President.

(It appears the office of VP was the butt of jokes and ridicule from the start.)

George Mason also thought it an Executive encroachment on the Legislative. He opposed the grant of appointment powers to both the Senate and Executive. Instead, a Privy Council should be utilized. (Recall Luther Martin’s comment from the 4th of June, “We were eternally troubled with arguments and precedents from the British government.”) Mr. Mason outlined his idea of six members . . . chosen from . . . for a term of . . . years to decide most questions regarding appointments. The exceptions were ratification of Ambassadors and Treaties which would remain with the Senate. There were various advantages, such as prevention of a continually sitting Senate, expense, and dealing with minor posts, such as tide waiters. Mr. Mason made no motion, but would do so if it appeared to meet with approval.

Section 3, “The vice-president shall be ex officio President of the Senate, except when they sit to try the impeachment of the President, in which case the Chief Justice shall preside, and excepting also when he shall exercise the powers and duties of President, in which case & in case of his absence, the Senate shall chuse a President pro tempore-The vice President when acting as President of the Senate shall not have a vote unless the House be equally divided,” was approved.

Section 4 was next, “The President by and with the advice and Consent of the Senate, shall have power to make Treaties; and he shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint ambassadors, and other public Ministers, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the U. S., whose appointments are not otherwise herein provided for. But no Treaty shall be made without the consent of two thirds of the members present.

James Wilson motioned to require the approval of the entire Congress to approve treaties. Since treaties would have the force of law, it was only logical to require both houses. He thought the need of secrecy could be accommodated.

Roger Sherman doubted the ability of an entire Congress to keep treaty deliberation details confidential.

Thomas Fitzsimmons (PA) seconded Mr. Wilson, and his motion failed 10-1.

The Advise and Consent duty of the Senate regarding treaties passed without opposition.

The next clause, “and he shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint ambassadors, and other public Ministers, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the U. S., whose appointments are not otherwise herein provided for,” was considered.

James Wilson still objected to Senatorial involvement with executive level officers. He approved of Mr. Mason’s idea as long as the recommendations of the Privy Council were not mandatory.

Charles Pinckney would allow Senate participation only in the case of Ambassadors.

Governeur Morris summed it up. A President will show responsibility; consent of the Senate would provide security. As is stood under the Articles of Confederation there was no responsibility.

Elbridge Gerry discounted Presidential responsibility. (He implied strictly politically based appointments.)

Rufus King, did not support the naysayers and viewed a consent duty as incidental to the duties of the Senate. In an interesting but unfortunately terse summary in Mr. Madison’s notes, he spoke of “alarm” in the creation and expense of a Corps of Executive officers.

The clause, “He shall nominate & by & with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, and other public ministers, and consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, passed without opposition.

"And all other officers of the US,” passed 9-2.

Richard Spaight (NC) motioned to put, "that the President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate by granting Commissions which shall expire at the end of the next Session of the Senate," which was agreed to without opposition.

Next: "But no treaty shall be made without the consent of two thirds of the members present."

James Wilson and Rufus King did not care for minority control, which is what the two thirds requirement would do.

James Madison motioned to exclude treaties of peace from the two thirds requirement, which passed without opposition. He then motioned, and Pierce Butler seconded to allow the Senate to make treaties of peace on its own, without submission by the President. The fear was that wars were profitable for some, and the President may have an interest in extending one.

(While this did not make it into the Constitution, it once again reflected concern over concentration of powers and self serving men.)

Nathaniel Gorham reminded the delegates that Congress could cut off war funding. In his view, Mr. Madison’s amendment was unnecessary.

Pierce Butler forcefully supported the motion to curb corrupt Executives. He pointed to two historic foreign examples for support.

Elbridge Gerry thought peace treaties deserved extra votes; two thirds would suffice.

(Mr. Gerry gently touched on the latest foreign policy problem facing the Convention. The weak Confederation was having trouble pressing its claims to the Spanish southwest territory up to the Mississippi River. Southerners feared NY born emissary John Jay would negotiate away what became TN, AL and MS in exchange for commercial treaties favorable to the northern States.) Mr. Madison’s motion to allow the Senate to make peace treaties without Executive input was defeated 8-3.

Next, "and may require the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each of the Executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices."

(George Mason’s dander was up again over the absence of a Privy Council equivalent. I do not claim adequate knowledge as to its importance in Great Britain.)

George Mason predicted despotic government without a Council to the President. He motioned to postpone the issue before the Convention in order to consider:

"That it be an instruction to the Committee of the States to prepare a clause or clauses for establishing an Executive Council, as a Council of State, for the President of the U. States, to consist of six members, two of which from the Eastern, two from the middle, and two from the Southern States, with a Rotation and duration of office similar to those of the Senate; such Council to be appointed by the Legislature or by the Senate."

(If I read this correctly, he asked the Convention to include in its cover letter with the Constitution, which would go to the Confederate Congress, instructions asking for a Privy Council amendment to the Constitution. Gosh, for the want of a professional court recorder, so much history has been lost.)

Benjamin Franklin seconded. He thought too much trust had been placed in individuals and not enough with small groups. While we were not designing a monarchy, single executives will always be subject to the influence of people not in the government, such as a wife, mistress, close friends . . . Even with a Council, too many bad Governors were appointed to the various colonies. A Council would assist both good and poor Presidents.

(Now this motion obviously never passed. So, what of the advisors to the modern President? Shouldn’t we know who has his ear? Hasn’t Hussein’s staff conducted off site meetings with Labor Unions, Enviros and other assorted statist malcontents?)

Governeur Morris said the committee considered a privy council, and feared it would offer protection to wrong measures.

James Wilson, John Dickinson, and James Madison made comments supporting the Council.

Mr. Mason’s motion to postpone was defeated 8-3.

The question, "authorizing the President to call for the opinions of the Heads of Departments, in writing,” passed 10-1.

Hugh Richardson & Richard Spaight motioned "that no Treaty of Peace affecting Territorial rights should be made without the concurrence of two thirds of the members of the Senate present.”

Rufus King alluded to security for “other rights.”

Adjourned.

1 posted on 09/07/2011 2:30:44 AM PDT by Jacquerie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Lady Jag; Ev Reeman; familyof5; NewMediaJournal; pallis; Kartographer; SuperLuminal; unixfox; ...
Constitutional Convention Ping!

Check out this letter from Revolutionary War militiaman and Philly merchant, Jonas Phillips to the Convention. Mr. Phillips was a Jew, who asked General Washington and the Federal Convention to secure the people’s unalienable right to religious freedom.

Sires,

With leave and submission I address myself To those in whome there is wisdom understanding and knowledge. they are the honourable personages appointed and Made overseers of a part of the terrestrial globe of the Earth, Namely the 13 united states of america in Convention Assembled, the Lord preserve them amen —

I the subscriber being one of the people called Jews of the City of Philadelphia, a people scattered and despersed among all nations do behold with Concern that among the laws in the Constitution of Pennsylvania their is a Clause Sect. 10 to viz — I do believe in one God the Creature and governour of the universe the Rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked — and I do acknowledge the scriptures of the old and New testement to be given by a devine inspiration — to swear and believe that the new testement was given by devine inspiration is absolutly against the Religious principle of a Jew. and is against his Conscience to take any such oath — By the above law a Jew is deprived of holding any publick office or place of Government which is a Contridectory to the bill of Right Sect 2. viz

That all men have a natural and unalienable Right To worship almighty God according to the dectates of their own Conscience and understanding, and that no man aught or of Right can be Compelled to attend any Relegious Worship or Erect or support any place of worship or Maintain any minister contrary to or against his own free will and Consent nor Can any man who acknowledges the being of a God be Justly deprived or abridged of any Civil Right as a Citizen on account of his Religious sentiments or peculiar mode of Religious Worship, and that no authority Can or aught to be vested in or assumed by any power what ever that shall in any Case interfere or in any manner Controul the Right of Conscience in the free Exercise of Religious Worship —

It is well known among all the Citizens of the 13 united States that the Jews have been true and faithful whigs, and during the late Contest with England they have been foremost in aiding and assisting the States with their lifes and fortunes, they have supported the Cause, have bravely faught and bleed for liberty which they Can not Enjoy —

Therefore if the honourable Convention shall in ther Wisdom think fit and alter the said oath and leave out the words to viz — and I do acknoweledge the scripture of the new testement to be given by devine inspiration then the Israeletes will think them self happy to live under a goverment where all Relegious societys are on an Eaquel footing — I solecet this favour for my self my Childreen and posterity and for the benefit of all the Isrealetes through the 13 united States of America

My prayers is unto the Lord. May the people of this States Rise up as a great and young lion, May they prevail against their Enemies, May the degrees of honour of his Excellencey the president of the Convention George Washington, be Extollet and Raise up. May Every one speak of his glorious Exploits. May God prolong his days among us in this land of Liberty — May he lead the armies against his Enemys as he has done hereuntofore — May God Extend peace unto the united States — May they get up to the highest Prosperetys — May God Extend peace to them and their seed after them so long as the Sun and moon Endureth — and may the almighty God of our father Abraham Isaac and Jacob endue this Noble Assembly with wisdom Judgement and unamity in their Councells, and may they have the Satisfaction to see that their present toil and labour for the wellfair of the united States may be approved of, Through all the world and perticular by the united States of america is the ardent prayer of Sires.

Your Most devoted obed Servant

Jonas Phillips

Philadelphia 24th Ellul 5547 or Sepr 7th 1787

(Under the guise of religious freedom, barbaric Islam is bent on colonizing our beloved United States. Are our traditions, institutions and culture too rotten to withstand this invasion?)

2 posted on 09/07/2011 2:37:18 AM PDT by Jacquerie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jacquerie

I am a bit confused by the existence of the Jonas Phillips letter
commenting on the language used in a clause in section 10...

Was the convention not held in secret?
And if so, how did Jonas Phillips know the details of the content?


3 posted on 09/07/2011 3:48:25 AM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Proud to be a small monthly donor.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Repeal The 17th
I don't think he knew of the language under consideration, nor that his plea could have no effect on the PA Constitution that restricted his participation. Religious tolerance was advancing among some States at the time and I suspect, as a former soldier, he wished to be accepted in the polis like any other patriot.

Oath taking in PA had been problematic from the beginning of the colony. Quakers who controlled the government until around the French and Indian Wars refused to take oaths. Unless some alternate provision was made for them in the PA Constitution, they could not participate in government either, along with Jews.

In some corners, the prohibition of religious oaths was used as ammunition against the Federal Constitution. Luther Martin for one, railed against it at the MD ratifying convention.

4 posted on 09/07/2011 4:22:50 AM PDT by Jacquerie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Jacquerie
Reading it a second time...
I see that he was commenting on the Pennsylvania State Constitution.
"...that among the laws in the Constitution of Pennsylvania their is a Clause Sect. 10..."

Never mind.
5 posted on 09/07/2011 4:39:14 AM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Proud to be a small monthly donor.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Repeal The 17th
No, you asked a logical question. Prohibition of Religious tests for offices had come up on August 20th and 30th. Maybe he caught wind of it. It is only my opinion he probably did not.
6 posted on 09/07/2011 5:09:22 AM PDT by Jacquerie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Jacquerie
That all men have a natural and unalienable Right To worship almighty God according to the dectates of their own Conscience and understanding, and that no man aught or of Right can be Compelled to attend any Relegious Worship or Erect or support any place of worship or Maintain any minister contrary to or against his own free will and Consent nor Can any man who acknowledges the being of a God be Justly deprived or abridged of any Civil Right as a Citizen on account of his Religious sentiments or peculiar mode of Religious Worship, and that no authority Can or aught to be vested in or assumed by any power what ever that shall in any Case interfere or in any manner Controul the Right of Conscience in the free Exercise of Religious Worship -

Perhaps we should number among our Founding Fathers the Jew and Philly merchant, Jonas Phillips, for he has it exactly right what constitutes an Establishment of Religion. His objections are precisely the objections held by Madison, Jefferson, et al, and they are the motivating force behind the submission of Article One of the Bill of Rights (the First Amendment) in 1789 by Congress to the States, and its ratification by 1791.

By 1994, the amendment allowed Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, to conclude that “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion.”

We may all observe the results of that.

7 posted on 09/07/2011 8:17:45 AM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: YHAOS
Yes, there's no doubt the States were moving in that direction. Madison and Jefferson were movers behind a contentious law that had recently cut the nearly two hundred year connection between VA and the American Anglican church.

Still, I wonder, what if the Constitution was silent as to establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof? Thanks to Scotus, the 1st Amendment has been turned on its head and instead of protecting our freedom to publicly pray, is used to restrict it.

As for religious test oaths, Mr. Phillips’ appeal certainly could not have hurt.

8 posted on 09/07/2011 8:56:59 AM PDT by Jacquerie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Jacquerie

To borrow from a friend— “way cool” -and T’anks.


9 posted on 09/07/2011 11:21:52 AM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Jacquerie

Are our traditions and culture too rotten to withstand this
invasion— I am inclined to say we are. But then I recall Americans tend to remain in the supine until the last moment when defeat seems assured then we finally stand and reply “Nuts!” Sometime I think it is so there will be no shortage of target in a free fire zone.


10 posted on 09/07/2011 11:26:24 AM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: StonyBurk
I hope you are right. I alternate between some hope and mostly despair. Our rulers refuse to repel a open invasion from Mexico, so I doubt they will combat barbarians cloaked with the protection of 1st Amendment religious freedom.
11 posted on 09/07/2011 12:15:40 PM PDT by Jacquerie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Jacquerie

They -will Not— We must do whatever we can.I hope I am right as well- for I believed any other of my people I would die in the darkest despair. The people can yet do many things our Government is unwilling — or unable to do.It takes one rolling up their sleeves and saying What they will Not do— I Will.Our Govt. will Never admit the Truth about Islam- they would have us all submit—or die. And on this ground I am forever staked I simply refuse to submit and I am not ready to die.


12 posted on 09/07/2011 3:17:10 PM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson