CHAPTER 14 | Document 20

Records of the Federal Convention

[2:340; Madison, 20 Aug.]

Mr. Pinkney submitted to the House, in order to be referred to the Committee of detail, the following propositions--"Each House shall be the Judge of its own privileges, and shall have authority to punish by imprisonment every person violating the same; or who, in the place where the Legislature may be sitting and during the time of its Session, shall threaten any of its members for any thing said or done in the House, or who shall assault any of them therefor--or who shall assault or arrest any witness or other person ordered to attend either of the Houses in his way going or returning; or who shall rescue any person arrested by their order."

"Each branch of the Legislature, as well as the Supreme Executive shall have authority to require the opinions of the supreme Judicial Court upon important questions of law, and upon solemn occasions"

"The privileges and benefit of the Writ of Habeas corpus shall be enjoyed in this Government in the most expeditious and ample manner; and shall not be suspended by the Legislature except upon the most urgent and pressing occasions, and for a limited time not exceeding months."

"The liberty of the Press shall be inviolably preserved"

"No troops shall be kept up in time of peace, but by consent of the Legislature"

"The military shall always be subordinate to the Civil power, and no grants of money shall be made by the Legislature for supporting military Land forces, for more than one year at a time"

"No soldier shall be quartered in any House in time of peace without consent of the owner."

"No person holding the office of President of the U.S., a Judge of their Supreme Court, Secretary for the department of Foreign Affairs, of Finance, of Marine, of War, or of, shall be capable of holding at the same time any other office of Trust or Emolument under the U.S. or an individual State"

"No religious test or qualification shall ever be annexed to any oath of office under the authority of the U.S."

"The U.S. shall be for ever considered as one Body corporate and politic in law, and entitled to all the rights privileges, and immunities, which to Bodies corporate do or ought to appertain"

"The Legislature of the U.S. shall have the power of making the great Seal which shall be kept by the President of the U.S. or in his absence by the President of the Senate, to be used by them as the occasion may require.--It shall be called the great Seal of the U.S. and shall be affixed to all laws."

"All Commissions and writs shall run in the name of the U.S."

"The Jurisdiction of the supreme Court shall be extended to all controversies between the U.S. and an individual State, or the U.S. and the Citizens of an individual State"

These propositions were referred to the Committee of detail without debate or consideration of them, by the House.

[2:587; Madison, 12 Sept.]

Mr. Williamson, observed to the House that no provision was yet made for juries in Civil cases and suggested the necessity of it.

Mr. Gorham. It is not possible to discriminate equity cases from those in which juries are proper. The Representatives of the people may be safely trusted in this matter.

Mr. Gerry urged the necessity of Juries to guard agst. corrupt Judges. He proposed that the Committee last appointed should be directed to provide a clause for securing the trial by Juries.

Col: Mason perceived the difficulty mentioned by Mr. Gorham. The jury cases cannot be specified. A general principle laid down on this and some other points would be sufficient. He wished the plan had been prefaced with a Bill of Rights, & would second a Motion if made for the purpose--It would give great quiet to the people; and with the aid of the State declarations, a bill might be prepared in a few hours.

Mr Gerry concurred in the idea & moved for a Committee to prepare a Bill of Rights. Col: Mason 2ded the motion.

Mr. Sherman. was for securing the rights of the people where requisite. The State Declarations of Rights are not repealed by this Constitution; and being in force are sufficient--There are many cases where juries are proper which cannot be discriminated. The Legislature may be safely trusted.

Col: Mason. The Laws of the U.S. are to be paramount to State Bills of Rights. On the question for a Come to prepare a Bill of Rights

N.H. no. Mas. abst. Ct no. N-- J-- no. Pa. no. Del-- no. Md no. Va no. N-- C. no. S-- C-- no-- Geo-- no. [Ayes--0; noes--10; absent--1.]

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 14, Document 20
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.

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