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must directly carry it to THE PEOPLE for their approbation ! Is it come to this, then, that the sword must decide this controversy, and that the horrors of war must be added to the rest of our misfortunes ? But what have the people
already said ? “We find the Confederation defective. Go, and give additional powers to the Confederation - give to it the imposts, regulation of trade, power to collect the taxes, and the means to discharge our foreign and domestic debts.”
Can we not, then, as their delegates, agree upon these points ? As their ambassadors, can we not clearly grant those powers? Why, then, when we are met, must entire distinct and new grounds be taken, and a government of which the people had no idea be instituted? And are we to be told, if we won't agree to it, it is the last moment of our deliberations? I say, it is indeed the last moment, if we do not agree to this assumption of power. The states will never again be entrapped into a measure like this. The people will say, The small states would confederate, and grant further powers to Congress; but you, the large states, would
Then the fault would be yours, and all the nations of the earth will justify us. But what is to become of our public debts, if we dissolve the Union ? Where is
Where is your plighted faith? Will
Will you crush the smaller states, or must they be left unmolested ? Sooner than be ruined, there are foreign powers who will take us by the hand.
1 say not this to threaten or intimidate, but that we should reflect seriously before we act. If we once leave this floor, and solemnly renounce your new project, what will be the consequence? You will annihilate your federal government, and ruin must stare you in the face. Let us, then, do what is in our power - amend and enlarge the Confederation, but not alter ihe federal system. The people expect this, and no
We all agree in the necessity of a more efficient government — and cannot this be done ? Although my state is small, I know and respect its rights, as much, at least, as those who have the honor to represent any of the larger
Judge ELLSWORTH. I am asked by my honorable friend from Massachusetts, whether, by entering into a national government, I will not equally participate in national security. I confess I should; but I want domestic happiness, as well as general security. A general government will
never grant me this, as it cannot know my wants or relieve my distress. My state is only as one out of thirteen. Can they, the general government, gratify my wishes? My happiness depends as much on the existence of my state governinent, as a new-born infant depends upon its mother for nourishment. If this is not an answer, I have no other to give.
Mr. KING. I am in sentiment with those who wish the preservation of state governments; but the general government may be so constituted as to effect it. Let the Constitution we are about forming be considered as a commission under which the general government shall act, and as such it will be the guardian of the state rights. The rights of Scotland are secure from all danger and encroachments, although in the Parliament she has a small representation. May not this be done in our general government? Since I am up, I am concerned for what fell from the gentleman from Delaware — “ Take a foreign power by the hand!” I am sorry he mentioned it, and I hope he is able to excuse it to himself on the score of passion. Whatever may be my distress, I never will court a foreign power to assist in relieving myself from it. Adjourned till Monday next.
MONDAY, July 2, 1787. Met pursuant to adjournment. Present, eleven states.
The question was then put on Mr. Ellsworth's motion 5 ayes, 5 noes, 1 state divided. So the question, as to the amendment, was lost.
Mr. PINCKNEY. As a professional man, I might say that there is no weight in the argument adduced in favor of the motion on which we are divided ; but candor obliges me to own that equality of suffrage in the states is wrong. Prejudices will prevail, and they have an equal weight in the larger as in the smaller states. There is a solid distinction, as to interest, between the Southern and Northern States. To destroy the ill effects thereof, I renew the motion which I made in the early stage of this business. [See the plan,
Gen. PINCKNEY moved for a select committee, to take into consideration both branches of the legislature.
Mr. MARTIN. It is again attempted to compromise
You must give each state an equal suffrage, or our business is at an end.
Mr. SHERMAN. It seems we have got to a point, that we cannot move one way or the other. Such a committee is necessary, to set us right.
Mr. MORRIS. The two branches, so equally poised cannot have their due weight. It is confessed, on all hands that the second branch ought to be a check on the first ; for without its having this effect, it is perfectly useless. The first branch, originating from the people, will ever be subject to precipitancy, changeability, and excess. Experience evinces the truth of this remark, without having recourse to reading. This can only be checked by ability and virtue in the second branch. On your present system, can you suppose that one branch will possess it more than the other ? The second branch ought to be composed of men of great and established property aristocracy ; men
who, from pride, will support consistency and permanency; and to make them completely independent, they must be chosen for life, or they will be a useless body. Such an aristocratic body will keep down the turbulency of democracy. But if you elect them for a shorter period, they will be only a name, and we had better be without them. Thus constituted, i hope they will show us the weight of aristocracy.
History proves, I admit, that the men of large property will uniformly endeavor to establish tyranny. How, then, shall we ward off this evil ? Give them the second branch, and you secure their weight for the public good. They become responsible for their conduct, and this lust of power will ever be checked by the democratic branch, and thus form a stability in your government. But if we continue changing our measures by the breadth of democracy, who will confide in our engagements ? Who will trust us? Ask any person whether he reposes any confidence in the government of Congress, or that of the state of Pennsylvania, he will readily answer you, No. Ask him the reason, and he will tell you, it is because he has no confidence in their stability.
You intend also that the second branch shall be incapable of holding any office in the general government. It is a dangerous expedient. They ought to have every inducement to be interested in your government. Deprive them of this
right, and they will become inattentive to your welfare The wealthy will ever exist; and you never can be sase unless you gratify them, as a body, in the pursuit of honor and profit. Prevent then by positive institutions, and they will proceed in some left-handed way. A son may want a place
you mean to prevent him from promotion. They are not to be paid for their services; they will in some way pay themselves; nor is it in your power to prevent it. It is good policy that men of property be collected in one body, to give them one common influence in your government. Let vacancies be filled up, as they happen, by the executive. Besides, it is of little consequence, on this plan, whether the states are equally represented or not.
If the state governments have the division of many of the loaves and fishes, and the general government few, it cannot exist. This Senate would be one of the baubles of the general government. If you choose them for seven years, whether chosen by the people or the states, whether by equal suffrage or in any other proportion, how will they be a check? They will still have local and state prejudices. A government by compact is no government at all. You may as well go back to your congressional federal government, where, in the character of ambassadors, they may form treaties for each state.
I avow myself the advocate of a strong government; still I admit that the influence of the rich must be guarded ; and a pure democracy is equally oppressive to the lower orders of the community. This remark is founded on the experience of history. We are a commercial people, and as such will be obliged to engage in European politics. Local government cannot apply to the general government. These latter remarks I throw out only for the consideration of the committee who are to be appointed.
Gov. RANDOLPH. I am in favor of appointing a committee; but, considering the warmth exhibited in debate on Saturday, I have, I confess, no great hopes that any good will arise from it. Cannot a remedy be devised? If there is danger to the lesser states, from an unequal representation in the second branch, may not a check be found in the appointment of one executive, by electing him by an equality of state votes? He must have the right of interposing between the two branches, and this might give a reasonable security to the smaller states. Not one of the lesser states
can exist by itself; and a dissolution of the Confederation, I confess, would produce contentions as well in the larger as in the smaller states. The principle of self-preservation induces me to seek for a government that will be stable ana secure.
Mr. STRONG moved to refer the 7th resolve to the same committee.
Mr. WILSON. I do not approve of the motion for a committee. I also object to the mode of its appointment a small committee is the best.
Mr. LANSING. I shall not oppose the appointment, but I expect no good from it.
Mr. MADISON. I have observed that committees only delay business; and if you appoint one from each state, we shall have in it the whole force of state prejudices. The great difficulty is to conquer former opinions. The motion of the gentleman from South Carolina can be as well decided here as in committee. Mr. GERRY. The world at large expect something
If we do nothing, it appears to me we must have war and confusion; for the old Confederation would be at an end. Let us see if no concession can be made. Accommodation is absolutely necessary,
be amended by a future convention.
The motion was then put to appoint a committee on the
Massachusetts,...Mr. Gerry. Maryland, . Mr. Martin.
. Mr. Patterson. South Carolina,. .Mr. Rutledge.
Georgia, ........Mr. Baldwin.
Tuesday, July 3, 1787. The grand commitree met. Mr. Gerry was chosen chairman.
The committee proceeded to consider in what manner they should discharge the business with which they were intrusted. By the proceedings in the Convention, they were