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Article 1, Section 9, Clause 6



Document 1

Records of the Federal Convention

[2:410; Journal, 25 Aug.]

It was moved and seconded to agree to the following propositions

"The Legislature of the United States shall not oblige Vessels belonging to Citizens thereof, or to foreigners, to enter or pay duties, or imposts in any other State than in that to which they may be bound, or to clear out in any other than the State in which their cargoes may be laden on board--Nor shall any privilege, or immunity, be granted to any vessels on entering, clearing out, or paying duties or imposts in one State in preference to another"

"Should it be judged expedient by the Legislature of the United States that one or more ports for collecting duties or imposts other than those ports of entrance and clearance already established by the respective States should be established, the Legislature of the U. S. shall signify the same to the Executive of the respective States ascertaining the number of such ports judged necessary; to be laid by the said Executives before the Legislatures of the States at their next session; and the legislature of the U. S. shall not have the power of fixing or establishing the particular ports for collecting duties or imposts in any State except the Legislature of such State shall neglect to fix and establish the same during their first session to be held after such notification by the legislature of the U. S. to the executive of such State.

"all duties, imposts, and excises, prohibitions or restraints laid or made by the Legislature of the U. S. shall be uniform and equal throughout the United States"

It was moved and seconded to refer the above propositions to a Committee of a Member from each State

which passed in the affirmative

[2:417; Madison, 25 Aug.]

Mr. Carrol & Mr. L. Martin expressed their apprehensions, and the probable apprehensions of their constituents, that under the power of regulating trade the General Legislature, might favor the ports of particular States, by requiring vessels destined to or from other States to enter & clear thereat, as vessels belonging or bound to Baltimore, to enter & clear at Norfolk &c They moved the following proposition

"The Legislature of the U-- S. shall not oblige vessels belonging to citizens thereof, or to foreigners, to enter or pay duties or imposts in any other State than in that to which they may be bound, or to clear out in any other than the State in which their cargoes may be laden on board; nor shall any privilege or immunity be granted to any vessels on entering or clearing out or paying duties or imposts in one state in preference to another"

Mr Ghorum thought such a precaution unnecessary; & that the revenue might be defeated, if vessels could run up long rivers, through the jurisdiction of different States without being required to enter, with the opportunity of landing & selling their cargoes by the way.

Mr McHenry & Genl Pinkney made the following propositions

"Should it be judged expedient by the Legislature of the U-- S-- that one or more ports for collecting duties or imposts other than those ports of entrance & clearance already established by the respective States, should be established, the Legislature of the U-- S-- shall signify the same to the Executives of the respective States, ascertaining the number of such ports judged necessary; to be laid by the said Executives before the Legislatures of the States at their next Session; and the Legislature of the U-- S-- shall not have the power of fixing or establishing the particular ports for collecting duties or imposts in any State, except the Legislature of such State shall neglect to fix and establish the same during their first Session to be held after such notification by the Legislature of the U-- S-- to the Executive of such State"

"All duties imposts & excises, prohibitions or restraints laid or made by the Legislature of the U-- S-- shall be uniform and equal throughout the U-- S--"

These several propositions were referred, nem: con: to a committee composed of a member from each State, The committee appointed by ballot were Mr. Langdon, Mr. Ghorum, Mr. Sherman, Mr Dayton, Mr. Fitzimmons, Mr. Read, Mr. Carrol, Mr. Mason, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Butler, Mr. Few.

[2:420; McHenry, 25 Aug.]

Moved several propositions to restrict the legislature from giving any preference in duties, or from obliging duties to be collected in a manner injurious to any State, and from establishing new ports of entrance and clerance, unless neglected to be established by the States after application--Opposed by Massachusetts--Mr. Gorahm said it might be very proper to oblige vessels, for example, to stop at Norfolk on account of the better collection of the revenue.

Mr. King thought it improper to deliberate long on such propositions but to take the sense of the house immediately upon them.

I moved to have them committed to a committee consisting of a member from each State. Committed.

[2:434; Journal, 28 Aug.]

The honorable Mr Sherman from the Committee to whom were referred several propositions entered on the Journal of the 25 instant informed the House that the Committee were prepared to report--The report was then delivered in at the Secretary's table, was read, and is as follows.

The Committee report that the following be inserted after the 4 clause of the 7 section

"Nor shall any regulation of commerce or revenue give preference to the ports of one State over those of another or oblige Vessels bound to or from any State to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.

And all tonnage, duties, imposts, and excises, laid by the Legislature shall be uniform throughout the United States"

[2:470; McHenry, 30 Aug.]

Endeavoured to recall the house to the reported propositions from maryland, to prevent the U. S. from giving preferences to one State above another or to the shipping of one State above another, in collecting or laying duties.--The house averse to taking any thing up till this system is got through. XXI. adjourned on this article.

[2:480; Madison, 31 Aug.]

The report of the grand Committee of eleven made by Mr. Sherman was then taken up (see Aug: 28).

On the question to agree to the following clause, to be inserted after sect-- 4. art: VII. "nor shall any regulation of commerce or revenue give preference to the ports of one State over those of another". Agreed to nem: con:

On the clause "or oblige vessels bound to or from any State to enter clear or pay duties in another"

Mr. Madison thought the restriction wd. be inconvenient, as in the River Delaware, if a vessel cannot be required to make entry below the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Fitzimmons admitted that it might be inconvenient, but thought it would be a greater inconveniency to require vessels bound to Philada. to enter below the jurisdiction of the State.

Mr. Gorham & Mr. Langdon, contended that the Govt would be so fettered by this clause, as to defeat the good purpose of the plan. They mentioned the situation of the trade of Mas. & N. Hampshire, the case of Sandy Hook which is in the State of N. Jersey, but where precautions agst smuggling into N. York, ought to be established by the Genl. Government.

Mr. McHenry said the clause would not shreen a vessel from being obliged to take an officer on board as a security for due entry &c--.

Mr Carrol was anxious that the clause should be agreed to. He assured the House, that this was a tender point in Maryland.

Mr Jenifer urged the necessity of the clause in the same point of view

On the question for agreeing to it

N. H. no. Ct ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md ay. Va. ay. N-- C-- ay. S-- C. no. Geo. ay, [Ayes--8; noes--2.]

The word "tonnage" was struck out, nem: con: as comprehended in "duties"

[2:571, 596; Committee of Style]

Nor shall any regulation of commerce or revenue give preference to the ports of one State over those of another, or oblige Vessels bound to or from any State to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.

. . . . .

No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another--nor shall vessels bound to or from one State be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another.


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 6, Document 1
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_9_6s1.html
The University of Chicago Press

Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed. 4 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1937.

Easy to print version.


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