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On the part and behalf of the state of Maryland. John Hanson, March 1, '81, Daniel Carroll, do.
On the part and behalf of the state of Virginia. Richard Henry Lee,
Jno. Harvie, John Banister,
Francis Lightfoot Lee. Thomas Adams,
On the part and behalf of the state of North Carolina. John Penn, July 21, '78,
Corns. Harnett. Jno. Williams,
On the part and behalf of the state of South Carolina Henry Laurens,
Richard Hutson, William Henry Drayton,
Thos. Heyward, Jun. Jno. Mathews,
On the part and behalf of the state of Georgia Jno. Walton, July 24, '78, Edw'd Langworthy. Edw'd Telfair,
ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION.
CIRCUYSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS ADOPTED-CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION OF THE
COLONIES AFTER THE DECLARATION—THAT OF LIMITED OR CONSTITUTIONAL
FEDERATION-FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES-DIFFICULTY IN
OF FOREIGN ALLIANCE PROPOSITION IN CONGRESS-CALL OF VIRGINIA-CON
VENTION AT ANNAPOLIS-ITS REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURES-CONGRESS CALLS
UPON THE STATES TO SEND DELEGATES TO A CONVENTION-IMPORTANCE OF THE
PHRASEOLOGY OF THE CALL-ASSEMBLING OF THE CONVENTION AT PHILADELPHIA-PARTIES IN THE CONVENTION-THE MONARCHICAL PARTY-THE LARGE STATE PARTY--THE STATE RIGHTS PARTY-PROPOSITIONS OF MR. RANDOLPIOF MR. CHARLES PINCKNEY-OF MR. PATTERSON-OF COLONEL HAMILTONTWENTY-THREE RESOLUTIONS OF CONVENTION WITH DATES OF THEIR ADOPTION -DEBATES ON THE THIRD AND FOURTH RESOLUTIONS FROM LUTHER MARTINEQUAL DIVISION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE SUBJECT OF REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS-CONFERENCE-COMPROMISE-DRAFT OF CONSTITUTION REPORTEDOMISSION OF THE WORD NATIONAL-THE REASON-THE REVISED DRAFT-OMISSION OF THE NAMES OF STATES IN THE PREAMBLE—THE REASON-SECESSION OF STATES FROM THIE CONFEDERATION-UNANIMOUS ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION IN CONVENTION-ITS RECEPTION BY CONGRESS-RATIFICATIONS BY THE STATES-ACT FOR PUTTING IT IN OPERATION-WASHINGTON ELECTED PRESIDENT—IMPERFECTION OF THE CONSTITUTION AS ADOPTED-DECLARATIONS MADE AND AMENDMENTS OFFERED BY THE STATES-MASSACHUSETTS - NEW HAMPSHIRE-SOUTH CAROLINA-VIRGINIA-NEW YORK-RHODE ISLAND
TWELVE AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY CONGRESS-TEN OF THEM ACCEPTED BY
THE STATES-VALUE OF THE AMENDMENTS-THE ELEVENTH AMENDMENT-THE
As we are now about to enter on the history of the adoption of the Constitution, it is well that we should bear in mind the circumstances under which it was adopted. From the date of the Declaration of Independence, when the final separation of the colonies from the mother country was proclaimed to the world, each individual colony enjoyed complete selfgovernment. Whatever portion of the sovereign authority in these communities may have been rightfully or wrongfully exercised by Britain, was at once transferred to the communities themselves. Yet not in such a way as to set the liberty or rights of the individual citizen at the inercy of a mere majority of his fellow citizens. The fundamental law of the colonies was still the common law of England. The rights and liberties for which the colonies had long been struggling and for usurpations against which they had declared the king of England to have forfeited his sovereignty over them, were the rights and liberties of English subjects. By the settlement of undivided sovereignty in the colonies themselves, the existing law was not repealed, but rather confirmed and vindicated from invasions by assumed authority. The rights and liberties of individuals, as guaranteed by the great documents and charters of the English Constitution, were not abrogated, but maintained and reasserted with more pressing instance. Hence the sovereignty of the colonies after the declaration of their independ. ence was limited in its exercise by the same restrictions as the sovereign power in England; the rights of individuals were protected by the same inestimable constitutions as before; and the majority in each separate colony could lawfully pass no act contravening their provisions. It is an error, therefore, to imagine that the several colonies were ever without established laws or limitations to the exercise of sovereign power. They had from the moment of their independence actually what, from their first establishment, they had demanded rightfully, the whole English Constitution so far as it was applicable in their situation. It cannot be too frequently repeated that the State governments, whether in the hands of popular majorities or otherwise constituted, were from the first limited governments. Nor is it too much to say that if any constitutions had been subsequently adopted by majorities, or if any constitutions should ever hereafter be adopted by majorities in any of these States, setting at nought the franchise of the citizen as it then stood under the English Constitution, they would be mere usurpations, and their successful establishment would be revolution. Magna Charta and the English common law are still the fundamental law in every State within the territory originally belonging to the thirteen States. State constitutions are in fact only express applications of the principles of Magna Charta and the common law to novel circumstances. Did they abrogate the wise provisions of these fundamental laws they would be null and void, or at best revolutionary; for they would be subversive of the vested rights of individuals wrung from and conceded by our ancient sovereigns in England, and maintained here by a war of years.
The colonies, then, possessed from the moment of their independence governments of law. It is to be further observed that these were independent of each other. Between them there was no connection whatsoever. Each had been immediately connected with the mother country, from which it received its charter and the constitution of its separate provincial government, and such intercolonial connections as existed were entirely voluntary, conveying to none a right of governing or controlling another. The colonies had been separately organized; they became separately independent, enjoying separate sovereignty over separate territories; the new fact of separation from England made no change in their relations to each other ; consequently they were still as independent of each other as they had been hitherto.
Yet in every step towards independence of the mother country they had been united. The first assembly of delegates "chosen and appointed by the several colonies and provinces in North America to take into consideration the actual situation of the same, and the differences subsisting between them and Great Britain," was immediately known as the congress of delegates of the United Colonies. The Declaration of Independence professed to emanate from “the representatives of the United States of America ; it affirmed aud published to the world that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.” And the first article of the subsequent confederation was in these words: " Article I. The style of this confederacy shall be The United States of America.' From the first cooperation of the colonies in an attempt to settle their difficulty with the British Government
to the present day, their combination has been known as “ The Union.” Originally a mere combination for mutual advice on an occasion of peculiar perplexity, it became successively a defensive alliance, a confederation of independent powers, and a federal republic; but in every instance it was called in popular speech “The Union.” This is a circumstance of no small value in correcting the impression-unfortunately too common that the notion of union necessarily includes that of consolidation. The Union of England and Scotland is a consolidated union, merging as it does two separate kingdoms into one united or consolidated kingdom. Even this union, according to Blackstone, is not indissoluble; but would be resolved into its original elements or at least greatly endangered by any act which should abrogate or disregard the original conditions under which it was constituted, without “the mutual consent of both.” Whence it appears that even a consolidated union does not in any true sense destroy the individuality of the parties to it; and that the surrender of particular functions of individuality is dependent as to its perpetuity on an observance between the parties “of those points which, when they were separate and independent nations, it was mutually stipulated should be fun. damental and essential conditions of the union.' (BLACKSTONE, Com. i. 97.) But the notion of consolidation has no place in the American Union. Nothing of the sort was dreamed of when the first congress of delegates assembled to take common counsel in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia. At that time the colonies were still British dependencies; they had formed no bond of union with each other; they were united only by the influence of common dangers, sympathies, and resolutions; it was this influence alone that made their “ Union ; ” but it was a true union for all that. There has never been a truer union than when the delegates of the United Colonies in Philadelphia “locked the doors, enjoining by word of honor secrecy on the members, and all the while the people from New Hampshire to Georgia waited quietly, willingly, resolutely prepared to do, not the bidding of that congress, but to accept its conclusions as the voice of thirteen nations.” Nor was there any thought of consolidation in the Declaration of Independence, which affirmed tha: in their individual capacities as " free and in