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idea of extending the powers of their deputies to other objects than those of commerce, which has been adopted by the state of New Jersey, was an improvement on the original plan, and will deserve to be incorporated into that of a future convention. They are the more naturally led to this conclusion, as, in the course of their reflections on the subject, they have been induced to think that the power of regulating trade is of such comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the general system of the federal government, that, to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other parts of the federal system.

“ That there are important defects in the system of the federal government, is acknowledged by the acts of all those states which have concurred in the present meeting; that the defects, upon a closer examination, mily be found greater and more numerous than even these acts imply, is at least so far probable, from the embarrassments which characterize the present state of our national affairs, foreign and domestic, as may reason. ably be supposed to merit a deliberate and candid discussion, in some mode which will unite the sentiments and councils of all the states. In the choice of the mode, your commissioners are of opinion that a convention of deputies from the different states, for the special and sole purpose of entering into this investigation, and digesting a plan for supplying such defects as may be discovered to exist, will be entitled to a preference, froin considerations which will occur without being particularized.

“ Your commissioners decline an enumeration of those national circumstances on which their opinion respecting the propriety of a future convention, with more enlarged powers, is founded; as it would be a useless intrusion of facts and observations, most of which have been frequently the subject of public discussion, and none of which can have escaped the penetration of those to whom they would in this instance be addressed. They are, however, of a nature so serious, as, in the view of your commissioners, to render the situation of the United States delicate and critical, callo ing for an exertion of the united virtue and wisdom of all the members of the confederacy.

“ Under this impression, your commissioners, with the most respectful deference, beg leave to suggest their unanimous conviction, that it may essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union, if the states, by whom they have been respectively delegated, would themselves concur, and use their endeavors to procure the concurrence of the other states, in the appointment of commissioners, to meet at Philadelphia on the second Monday in May next, to take into consideration the situation of the United States, to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the constitution of the federal government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled, as, when agreed to by them, and afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state, will effectually pro. vide for the same.

“ Though your commissioners could not with propriety address these observations and sentiments to any but the states they have the honor to represent, they have nevertheless concluded, from motives of respect, to transmit copies of this report to the United States in Congress assembled, and to the executive of the other states.

“ By order of the Commiss.cnere. : Dated at ANNAPOLIS, September 14, 1786."

Resolved, That the chairman sign the aforegoing report in behalf of the commissioners. Then adjourned without day. New York.

Egbert Benson,

George Read,
Alexander Hainilton.

John Dickinson,

Richard Bassett.
Nero Jersey.
Abra. Clark,

Wm. Ch. Houston,

Edmund Randolph,
James Schureman.

James Madison, Jun.,

St. George Tucker
Tench Coxe.


In Congress, Wednesday, February 21, 1787. — The report of a grand committee, consisting of Mr. Dane, Mr. Varnum, Mr. S. M. Mitchell, Mr. Smith, Mr. Cadwallader, Mr. Irvine, Mr. N. Mitchell, Mr Forrest, Mr. Grayson, Mr. Blount, Mr. Bull, and Mr. Few, to whom was referred a letter of 14th September, 1786, from J. Dickinson, written at the request of commissioners from the states of Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, assembled at the city of Annapolis, together with a copy of the report of the said commissioners to the legislatures of the states by whom they were appointed, being an order of the day, was called up, and which is contained in the following resolution, viz. :

Congress having had under consideration the letter of John Dickinson, Esq., chairman of the commissioners who assembled at Annapolis during the last year; also the proceedings of the said commissioners; and entirely coinciding with them as to the inefficiency of the federal governmnent, and the necessity of devising such further provisions as shall render the same adequate to the exigencies of the Union, do strongly recommend to the different legislatures to send forward delegates, to meet the proposed convention, on the second Monday in May next, at the city of Philadelphia."

The delegates for the state of New York thereupon laid before Congress instructions which they had received from their constituents, and, ir: pursuance of the said instructions, moved to postpone the further consideration of the report in order to take up the following proposition, viz. :

“ That it be recominended to the states composing the Union, that a convention of representatives, from the said states respectively, be held at

for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the United States of America, and reporting to the United States in Congress asseinbled, and to the states respectively, such alterations and amendments of the said Articles of Confederation as the representatives met in such convention shall judge proper and necessary to render them adequate to the preservation and support of the Union.”

On the question to postpone, for the purpose above mentioned, the yeas and naye being required by the delegates for New York : Massachusetts,. ......Mr. King,

Mr. Dane,
Connecticut, .Mr. Johnson,

Mr. S. Mitchell,.....No.








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.Ay. Divided.

New Yo-he, ...... Mr. Smith,.

Mr. Benson,
Nero Jersay,...... Mr. Cadwallader,
Mr. Clark,

.No. (No.
Mr. Schureman,.. No. S
Pennsylvania,.. Mr. Irvine,..

Mr. Meredith,

...Ay. No.
Mr. Binghan,


Mr. N. Mitchell, ..No.
Mr. Forrest,

Virginia,.. Mr. Grayson,
Mr. Madison,

North Carolina,..... Mr. Blount,


Mr. Hawkins, .No.
South Carolinu, Mr. Bull,
Mr. Kean,


Mr. Huger,

Mr. Parker


Mr. Few,
Mr. Pierce,

So the question was lost.

A motion was then made, by the delegates for Massachusetts, to postpone the further consideration of the report, in order to take into consid. eratiou a motion which they read in their place. This being agreed to, the motion of the delegates for Massachusetts was taken up, and, being amended, was agreed to, as follows:

“Whereas provision, in the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, for making alterations therein, by the assent of a Congress of the United States, and of the legislatures of the several states; and whereas experience hath evinced that there are defects in the present Confederation; as a mean to remedy which, several of the states, and

particularly the state of New York, by express instructions to their delegates in Congress, have suggested a convention for the purposes expressed in the following resolution ; and such convention appearing to be the most probable mean of establishing in these states a firin national government,

Resolved, That, in the opinion of Congress, it is expedient that, on the second Monday in May next, a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several states, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the states, render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union."


The day appointed by this resolution for the meeting of the Convention was the 2d Monday in May, [1787 ;] but the 25th of that month was the first day upon which a sufficient number of members appeared to constitute a representation of a majority of the states. They then elected

George Washington their president, and proceeded to business, at the city of Philadelphia.

On the 29th of May, Mr. Edmund Randolph presenteri to the Convention fifteen resolutions, and Mr. C. Pinckner laid before them the draft of a federal government, which were referred to a committee of the whole; which debated the resolutions, from day to day, until the 13th of June, when the committee of the whole reported to the Convention a series of nineteen resolutions, founded upon those which had been proposed by Mr. Randolph.

On the 15th of June, Mr. Patterson submitted to the Convention his resolutions, which were referred to a committee of the whole, to whom were also recommitted the resolutions reported by them on the 13th.

On the 19th of June, the committee of the whole reported that they did not agree to Mr. Patterson's propositions, but reported again the resolutions which had been reported before.

The Convention never afterwards went into committee of the whole ; but, from the 19th of June till the 23d of July, were employed in debating the nineteen resolutions reported by the cominittee of the whole on the 13th of June, some of which were occasionally referred to grand committees of one member from each state, or to select committees of five members.

Aster passing upon the nineteen resolutions, it was, on the 23d of July, resolved, “ That the proceedings of the Convention for the establishment of a national government, except what respects the supreme executive, be referred to a committee for the purpose of reporting a constitution conformably to the proceedings aforesaid."

This committee, consisting of five members, and called in the journal “ the coinmittee of detail,” was appointed on the 24th of July; and, with the proceedings of the Convention, the propositions submitted to the Convention, by Mr. Charles Pinckney, on the 29th of May, and by Mr. Patterson, on the 15th of June, were referred to them.

On the 26th of July, a resolution respecting the executive, and two others, offered for the consideration of the Convention, were referred to the committee of detail; and the Convention adjourned till Monday, the 6th of August, when the committee reported a Constitution for the estab


VOL. 1.


lishment (if a national government. This drast formed the general text of debate from that time till the 8th of September; many additional resolutions being, in the course of the deliberations, proposed, and referred to and reported upon by the same committee of detail, or other committees of eleven, (a member from each state,) or of five.

On the 8th of September, a committee of five was appointed “to revise the style of and arrange the articles agreed to by the house."

On the 12th of September, this committee reported the Constitution, as revised and arranged, and the draft of a letter to Congress. It was ordered that printed copies of the reported Constitution should be furnished to the members, and they were brought in the next day.

On the 17th day of Šepteinber, 1787, the Convention dissolved itself, by an adjournment without day, after transmitting the plan of the Constitution, which they had prepared, to Congress, to be laid before conventions, delegated by the people of the several states, for their assent and ratification.

The last act of the Convention was a resolution that their journal and other papers should be deposited with their president, to be retained by him, subject to the order of the Congress, if ever formed under the Constitution.

On the 19th of March, 1796, President Washington deposited in the department of state three manuscript volumes ; one containing, in 153 pages, the Journal of the Eederal Convention of 1787 ; one the Journal of the Proceedings of the same Convention, while in committee of the whole, in 28 pages; and one, three pages of lists of yeas and nays, on various questions debated in the Convention; and after an interval of eight blank pages, five other pages of like yeas and nays. There were also two loose sheets, and one half sheet of similar yeas and nays; a printed draft of the Constitution, as reported on the 6th of August, 1787, with erasures and written interlineations of amendments afterwards adopted ; two sheets containing copies of the series of resolutions offered to the Convention by Mr. Edmund Randolph, in different stages of amendment, as reported by the committee of the whole ; and seven other papers, of no importance, in relation to the proceedings of the Concention.

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