« ForrigeFortsett »
nal, except such parts as are above excepted, to lay before the legislatures of the several states. ART. 10. The committee of the states, or any nine of them, shall be authorized to execute, in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress as the United States in Congress assembled, by the consent of nine states, shall, from time to time, think expedient to vest them with ; provided that no power be delegated to the said committee, for the exercise of which, by the Articles of Confederation, the voice of nine states in the Congress of the United States assembled is requisite. ART. 11. Canada, acceding to this Confederation, and joining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to, all the advantages of this union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same unless such admission be agreed to by nine States. ART, 12. All bills of credit emitted, moneys borrowed, and debts contracted, by or under the authority of Congress, before the assembling of the United States in pursuance of the present Confederation, shall be deemed and considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith, are hereby solemnly pledged. ART. 13. Every state shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which, by this Confederation, are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every state, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration, at any time hereafter, be made in any of them, unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislature of every state.
And whereas it has pleased the Great Governor of the world to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union : Know ye, That we, the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do, by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained; and we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which, by the said Confederation, are submitted to them ; and that the articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the states we respectively represent; and that the union shall be perpetual.
In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania, the ninth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight, and in the third year of the Independence of America.
On the part and behalf of the state of New Hampshire.
Josiah Bartlett, John Wentworth, Jun., Aug. 8, 1778. On the part and behalf of the state of Massachusetts Bay. John Hancock, Francis Dana, Samuel Adams, James Lovell, Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Holten. On the part and behalf of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, William Ellery, - John Collins.
On the part and behalf of the state of Connecticut.
On the part and behalf of the state of New York.
Jas. Duane, Wm. Duer,
Jona. Bayard Smith,
On the part and behalf of the state of Delaware. Thos. M'Kean, Feb. 13, '79, Nicholas Van Dyke, John Dickinson, May 5, '79.
On the part and behalf of the state of Maryland.
John Hanson, March 1, '81, Daniel Carroll, do.
Richard Henry Lee, Jno. Harvie,
John Banister, Francis Lightfoot Lee.
On the part and behalf of the state of Worth 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,
ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION.
CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS ADOPTED–CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION OF THE COLONIES AFTER THE DECLARATION.—THAT OF LIMITED OR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENTS–INDEPENDENT OF EACH OTHER—YET UNITED–DISTINCTION BETWEEN A CONSOLIDATED AND A FEDERATIVE UNION.—WEAKNESS OF THE CONFEDERATION.—FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES-DIFFICULTY IN MAKING TREATIES OF FOREIGN ALLIANCE—PROPOSITION IN CONGRESS—CALL OF WIRGINIA—CONVENTION AT ANNAPOLIS—ITS REPORT TO THE LEGISLATUREs—CoMGRESS 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. RANDOLPHOF MR. CHARLES PINCKNEY—OF MR. PATTERSON-OF COLONEL HAMILTON.— Twenty-THREE REsolutions of convKNTION witH DATEs of THEIR ADOPTION —DEBATES ON THE THIRD AND FourTH RESOLUTIONS FROM LUTHER MARTIN— EQUAL DIVISION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE SUBJECT OF REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS—CONFERENCE—COMPROMISE—DRAFT OF CONSTITUTION REPORTED— oMission of THE word NATIONAL–THE REASON.—THE REVISED DRAFT-OMisSION OF THE NAMES OF STATES IN THE PREAMBLE–THE REASON.—SECESSION OF STATES FROM THE 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– TwPLVE AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY CONGRESS—TEN OF THEM ACCEPTED BY THE STATES.–VALUE OF THE AMENDMENTS-THE ELEVENTH AMENDMENT—THE TWELFTH-CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS.
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 self. government. 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 mercy 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 independence 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