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so equally divided on the important question of representation in the two branches, that the idea of a conciliatory adjustment must have been in contemplation of the house in the appointment of this committee. But still, how to effect this salutary purpose was the question. Many of the members, impressed with the utility of a general government, connected with it the indispensable necessity of a representation from the states according to their numbers and wealth ; while others, equally tenacious of the rights of the states, would admit of no other representation but such as was strictly federal, or, in other words, equality of suffrage. This brought on a discussion of the principles on which the house had divided, and a lengthy recapitulation of the arguments advanced in the house in support of these opposite propositions. As I had not openly explained my sentiments on any former occasion on this question, but constantly, in giving my vote, showed my attachment to the national government on federal principles, I took this occasion to explain my motives.
These remarks gave rise to a motion of Dr. Franklin, which, after some modification, was agreed to, and made the basis of the following report of the committee:
“The committee to whom was referred the 8th resolution reported from the committee of the whole house, and so much of the 7th as had not been decided on, submit the following report:
“That the subsequent propositions be recommended to the Convention, on condition that both shall be generally adopted.
«• That, in the first branch of the legislature, each of the states now in the Union be allowed one member for every 40,000 inhabitants of the description reported in the 7th resolution of the committee of the whole house. That each state, not containing that number, shall be allowed one member.
"That bills for raising or apportioning money, and for fixing salaries of the officers of government of the United States, shall originate in the first branch of the legislature, and shall not be altered or amended by the second branch; and that no money shall be drawn from the public treasury but in pursuance of appropriations to be originated in the first branch.
"That, in the second branch of the legislature, each state shall have an equal vote.'"
THURSDAY, July 5, 1787. Met pursuant to adjournment. The report of the coinmittee was read.
Mr. GORHAM. I call for an explanation of the prin..iples on which it is grounded.
Mr. GERRY, the chairman, explained the principles.
Mr. MARTIN. The one representation is proposed as an expedient for the adoption of the other.
Mr. WILSON. The committee have exceeded their powers.
Mr. MARTIN proposed to take the question on the whole of the report.
Mr. WILSON. I do not choose to take a leap in the dark. I have a right to call for a division of the question on each distinct proposition. Mr. MADISON. I restrain myself from animadverting report,
from the respect I bear to the members of the committee. I must confess I see nothing of concession in it.
The originating money bills is no concession on the part of the smaller states ; for, if seven states in the second branch should want such a bill, their interest in the first branch will prevail to bring it forward. It is nothing more than a nominal privilege.
The second branch, small in number, and well connected, will ever prevail. The power of regulating trade, imposts, treaties, &c., are more essential to the community than raising money, and no provision is made for those in the report. We are driven to an unhappy dilemma. Two thirds of the inhabitants of the Union are to please the remaining one third by sacrificing their essential rights.
When we satisfy the majority of the people in securing their rights, we have nothing to fear ; in any other way, every thing. The smaller states, I hope, will at last see their true and real interest; and I hope that the warmth of the gentleman from Delaware will never induce him to yield to his own suggestion of seeking for foreign aid.
[At this period (July 5, 1787) Messrs. Yates and Lansing left the Convention, and the remainder of the session was employed to complete the Constitution, on the principles already adopted.]
LETTER FROM THE HON. ROBERT YATES AND THE
HON. JOHN LANSING, JUN., ESQUIRES,
TO THE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK ;
CONTAINING THEIR REASONS FOR NOT SUBSCRIBING
TO THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.
Six: We do ourselves the honor to advise your excellency that, in pursuance to concurrent resolutions of the honorable Senate and Assembly, we have, together with Mr. Hamilton, attended the Convention ap pointed for revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting amendments to the same.
It is with the sincerest concern we observe that, in the prosecution of the important objects of our mission, we have been reduced to the disagreeable alternative of either exceeding the powers delegated to us, and giving assent to measures which we conceive destructive to the political happiness of the citizens of the United States, or opposing our opinions to that of a body of respectable men, to whom those citizens had given the most unequivocal proofs of confidence. Thus circumstanced, under these impressions, to have hesitated would have been to be culpable. We therefore gave the principles of the Constitution, which has received the sanction of a majority of the Convention, our decided and unreserved dissent; but we must candidly confess that we should have been equally opposed to any system, however modified, which had in object the consolidation of the United States into one government. We beg leave, briefly, to state some cogent reasons,
others, influenced us to decide against a consolidation of the states. These are reducible into two heads :
1st. The limited and well-defined powers under which we acted, and which could not, on any possible construction, embrace an idea of such magnitude as to assent to a general Constitution, in subversion of that of the state.
2d. A conviction of the impracticability of establishing a general government, pervading every part of the United States, and extending essential benefits to all.
Our powers were explicit, and confined to the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting such alterations and provisions therein as should render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union.
From these expressions, we were led to believe that a system of consolidated government could not, in the remotest degree, have been in contemplation of the legislature of this state; for that so important a trust as the adopting measures which tended to deprive the state government of its most essential rights of sovereignty, and to place it in a dependent situation, could not have been confided by implication; and the circunstance, that the acts of the Convention were to receive a state approbation in the last resort, forcibly corroborated the opinion that our powers could not involve the subversion of a Constitution which, being immedi ately derived from the people, could only be abolished by their express
consent, and not by a legislature possessing authority vested in them for its preservation. Nor could we suppose that, if it had been the intention of the legislature to abrogate the existing Confederation, they would, in such pointed terms, have directed the attention of their delegates to the revision and amendment of it, in total exclusion of every other idea.
Réasoning in this manner, we were of opinion that the leading feature of every amendment ought to be the preservation of the individual states in their uncontrolled constitutional rights; and that, in reserving these, a mode might have been devised of granting to the Confederacy the moneys arising from a general system of revenue, the power of regulating commerce and enforcing the observance of foreign treaties, and other necessary inatters of less moment.
Exclusive of our objections originating from the want of power, we entertained an opinion that a general government, however guarded by declarations of rights, or cautionary provisions, must unavoidably, in a short time, be productive of the destruction of the civil liberty of such citizens who could be effectually coerced by it, by reason of the extensive territory of the United States, the dispersed situation of its in. habitants, and the insuperable difficulty of controlling or counteracting the views of a set of men (however unconstitutional and oppressive their acts might be) possessed of all the powers of government, and who, from their remoteness from their constituents, and necessary permanency of office, could not be supposed to be unifornily actuated by an attention to their welfare and happiness; that, however wise and energetic the prin. ciples of the general government might be, the extremities of the United States could not be kept in due submission and obedience to its laws, at the distance of many hundred miles from the seat of government; that, if the general legislature was composed of so numerous a body of men as to represent the interests of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the usual and true ideas of representation, the expense of supporting it would become intolerably burdensome; and that, if a few only were vested with a power of legislation, the interests of a great majority of the inhabitants of the United States must necessarily be unknown; or, if known, even in the first stages of the operations of the new government, unattended to.
These reasons were, in our opinion, conclusive against any system of consolidated government: to that recommended by the Convention, we suppose most of them very forcibly apply.
It is not our intention to pursue this subject farther than merely to explain our conduct in the discharge of the trust which the honorable the legislature reposed in us. Interested, however, as we are, in common with our fellow-citizens, in the result, we cannot forbear to declare that we have the strongest apprehensions that a government so organized as that recommended by the Convention cannot afford that security to equal and permanent liberty which we wished to make an invariable object of our pursuit.
We were not present at the completion of the new Constitution; but before we left the Convention, its principles were so well established as to convince us that no alteration was to be expected, to conform it to our ideas of expediency and safety. A persuasion, that our further attendance would be fruitless and unavailing, rendered us less solicitous to return.
We have thus explained our motives for opposing the adoption of the
pational Constitution, which we couceived it our duty to communicate to your excellency, to be submitted to the consideration of the honorable legislature.
We have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your excellency's most obedient and very humble servants,
JOHN LANSING, Jun. His Excellency, Governor CLINTON.
A LETTER OF HIS EXCELLENCY, EDMUND
ADDRESSED TO THE HONORABLE THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES,
RICHMOND, Oct. 10, 1787. Str: The Constitution, which I enclosed to the General Assembly in a late official letter, appears without my signature. This circumstance, although trivial in its own nature, has been rendered rather inportant, to myself at least, by being misunderstood by some and misrepresented by others. As I disdain to conceal the reasons for withholding my subscription, I have always been, still am, and ever shall be, ready to proclaim them to the world. To the legislature, therefore, by whom I was deputed to the Federal Convention, I beg leave now to address them; affecting no indifference to public opinion, but resolved not to court it by an un manly sacrifice of my own judgment.
As this explanation will involve a summary but general review of our federal situation, you will pardon me, I trust, although I should transgrese the usual bounds of a letter.
Before my departure for the Convention, I believed that the Confederation was not so eminently defective as it had been supposed. But after I had entered into a free communication with those who were best informed of the condition and interest of each state; after I had compared the intelligence derived from them with the properties which ought to characterize the government of our Union, - I became persuaded that the Confederation was destitute of every energy which a constitution of the United States ought to possess.
For the objects proposed by its institution were, that it should be a shield against foreign hostility, and a firm resort against domestic commotion; that it should cherish trade, and promote the prosperity of the states under its care.
But these are not among the attributes of our present union. Severe experience under the pressure of war, a ruinous weakness manifested since the return of peace, and the contemplation of those dangers which darken the future prospect, have condemned the hope of grandeur and safety under the auspices of the Confederation