ed, have been received by congress, and are filed in the office of the secretary: therefore,

Resolved, That the first Wednesday in January next, be the day for appointing electors in the several states, which before the said day shall have ratified the said constitution ; that the first Wednes. day in February next, be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective states, and vote for a president; and that the first Wednesday in March next, be the time, and the present seat of congress the place, of commencing proceedings under the said constitution.

Presidential electors were accordingly chosen, George Washington was elected president, and John Adams, vice president; senators and members of congress were also elected for the several states, and the government was organized in March, 1789, and went into operation in and over the eleven states that had approved and ratified the constitution, leaving Rhode Island and North Carolina to govern themselves as sovereign and independent states.

Congress proceeded immediately to pass laws to establish and organize the executive and judicial departments of the government to provide for a department of state, finance, war, navy, and post office department and passed laws to regulate foreign commerce and navigation, and the coasting trade, and to impose duties on tonnage and foreign imports. In all their acts, Congress necessarily regarded and treated North Carolina and Rhode Island as independent and foreign states, not subject to the constitution and laws of the United States, nor entitled to the benefits thereof. The action of Congress tended to alarm the people of those two states, and particularly the inhabitants of the cities, who were dependent upon commerce and navigation, and to bring them to a realizing sense of their isolated and helpless condition.

The legislature of North Carolina finally called a second convention, which approved and ratified the constitution of the United States, November 13th, 1789. In January, 1790, the legislature of Rhode Island passed an act calling a convention to take into consideration the federal constitution. When the convention met, it was ascertained that a majority of the members were opposed to the constitution--but doubting and hesitating upon the subject, and wishing to witness its operation for a longer period, they adjourned the convention until May. The people, and particularly those engaged in commerce or navigation, felt very uneasy, and as Hildreth says, “ The secession of the commercial towns of Providence and Newport, and indeed the partition of the whole state between Massachusetts and Connecticut, was openly talked of, as well in Rhode Island itself as in the neighboring States.” On the assembling of the convention the constitution was finally approved and ratified on the 29th of May, 1790, by a majority of two votes. Members of the senate and house of representatives were soon after elected and took their seats in Congress, and Rhode Island was once more united with her sister states.

Many objected to the constitution because it contained no bill of rights—no such limitations of power as are prescribed in the great charter of King John, and other English Kings, and no such express reservation of power to the states as is contained in the second of the articles of confederation. To obviate these and many

other objections, several of the state conventions, which ratified the constitution, proposed various amendments thereto, which were referred to a special committee of the first Congress, and on the coming in of their report, a preamble and resolution was adopted, and amendments proposed by Congress, which were afterwards adopted by the requisite number of states to become operative. They are as follows, to wit:

Congress of the United States, begun and held at the city of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789. The conventions of a number of the states having at the time of their adopting the constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added ; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution,

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the legislatures of the several states, as amendments to the constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of said legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said constitution, viz:



Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

ARTICLE II. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of a free people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.


No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner ; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

ARTICLE IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ; and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

ARTICLE V. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war or public danger ; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ;* nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation ; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

* As to the meaning of the words “ due process of law,” in the 5th amendment, see the decision of the Supreme Court, in the case of Murray vs. Hoboken Land Comp , in 18th Howard's Rep., 272 and 276 to 280.


In suits at common law, when the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved ; and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


The enumeration in the constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. *

[The following amendment was proposed at the second session of the third congress. It is printed in the laws of the United States, 1st vol., p. 73, as article 11.]


The judicial powers of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

* The 10th amendment, in its terms, limits the powers of the federal government within the several states, and not outside of their respective boundaries, nor in the territories. This is obvious from the nature of the federal and state governments, and also from the concluding words, "reserving power to the several states, or to the people thereof;" for the states, having granted to ihe national government all their power as sovereign and independent states, to declare and wage war, to make treaties, to acquire territory by conquest or treaty, and to legislate upon the subject of foreign commerce and navigation, they cannot legitim. ately exercise any power whatever beyond their respective limits.

[The three following sections were proposed as amendments at the first session of the eighth congress. They are printed in the laws of the United States as article twelve.]


1. The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for president and vice president, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves ; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as president, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as vice president, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as president, and of all persons voted for as vice president, and of the number of votes for each, which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the Uuited States, directed to the president of the senate; the president of the senate shall, in the presence of the senate and house of representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted ; the person having the greatest number of votes for president, shall be the president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed ; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as president, the house of representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the president. But, in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the house of representatives shall not choose a president whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the vice president shall act as president, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the president.

2. The person having the greatest number of votes as vice president, shall be the vice president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed ; and it no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the senate shall choose the vice president: a quorum for the purpose shall

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