Article 1, Section 10, Clause 2

[Volume 3, Page 474]

Document 4

Records of the Federal Convention

[2:441; Madison, 28 Aug.]

Mr. Madison moved that the words "nor lay imposts or duties on imports" be transferred from art: XIII where the consent of the Genl. Legislature may license the act--into art. XII which will make the prohibition on the States absolute. He observed that as the States interested in this power by which they could tax the imports of their neighbours passing thro' their markets, were a majority, they could give the consent of the Legislature, to the injury of N. Jersey, N. Carolina &c--

Mr. Williamson 2ded. the motion

Mr. Sherman thought the power might safely be left to the Legislature of the U. States.

Col: Mason, observed that particular States might wish to encourage by impost duties certain manufactures for which they enjoy natural advantages, as Virginia, the manufacture of Hemp &c.

Mr. Madison-- The encouragement of Manufacture in that mode requires duties not only on imports directly from foreign Countries, but from the other States in the Union, which would revive all the mischiefs experienced from the want of a Genl. Government over commerce.

On the question

N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J--ay. Pa. no. Del: ay. Md. no. Va. no N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--4; noes--7.]

Art: XII as amended agreed to nem: con:

Art: XIII being taken up. Mr. King moved to insert after the word "imports" the words "or exports" so as to prohibit the States from taxing either.--& on this question it passed in the affirmative.

N. H--ay. Mas. ay. Ct no. N. J. ay. P. ay. Del. ay. Md no. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--6; noes--5.]

Mr. Sherman moved to add, after the word "exports"--the words "nor with such consent but for the use of the U. S."--so as to carry the proceeds of all State duties on imports & exports, into the common Treasury.

Mr. Madison liked the motion as preventing all State imposts--but lamented the complexity we were giving to the commercial system.

Mr. Govr. Morris thought the regulation necessary to prevent the Atlantic States from endeavouring to tax the Western States--& promote their interest by opposing the navigation of the Mississippi which would drive the Western people into the arms of G. Britain.

Mr. Clymer thought the encouragement of the Western Country was suicide on the old States-- If the States have such different interests that they can not be left to regulate their own manufactures without encountering the interests of other States, it is a proof that they are not fit to compose one nation.

[Volume 3, Page 475]

Mr. King was afraid that the regulation moved by Mr. Sherman would too much interfere with a policy of States respecting their manufactures, which may be necessary. Revenue he reminded the House was the object of the general Legislature.

On Mr. Sherman's motion

N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--9; noes--2.]

[2:444; McHenry, 28 Aug.]

XIII amended so [th]at all duties laid by a State shall accrue to the use of the U. S.

[2:588; Madison, 12 Sept.]

The Clause relating to exports being reconsidered, at the instance of Col: Mason, Who urged that the restriction on the States would prevent the incidental duties necessary for the inspection & safe-keeping of their produce, and be ruinous to the Staple States, as he called the five Southern States, he moved as follows--"provided nothing herein contained shall be construed to restrain any State from laying duties upon exports for the sole purpose of defraying the Charges of inspecting, packing, storing and indemnifying the losses, in keeping the commodities in the care of public officers, before exportation," In answer to a remark which he anticipated, to wit, that the States could provide for these expences, by a tax in some other way, he stated the inconveniency of requiring the Planters to pay a tax before the actual delivery for exportation.

Mr. Madison 2ded the motion-- It would at least be harmless; and might have the good effect of restraining the States to bona fide duties for the purpose, as well as of authorizing explicitly such duties; tho' perhaps the best guard against an abuse of the power of the States on this subject, was the right in the Genl. Government to regulate trade between State & State.

Mr Govr Morris saw no objection to the motion. He did not consider the dollar per Hhd laid on Tobo in Virga. as a duty on exportation, as no drawback would be allowed on Tobo. taken out of the Warehouse for internal consumption,

Mr. Dayton was afraid the proviso wd. enable Pennsylva. to tax N. Jersey under the idea of Inspection duties of which Pena. would Judge.

Mr. Gorham & Mr. Langdon, though there would be no security if the proviso shd. be agreed to, for the States exporting thro' other States, agst. oppressions of the latter. How was redress to be obtained in case duties should be laid beyond the purpose expressed?

Mr. Madison-- There will be the same security as in other cases-- The jurisdiction of the supreme Court must be the source of redress. So far only had provision been made by the plan agst. injurious acts of the States. His own opinion was, that this was insufficient,-- A negative on the State laws alone. could meet all the shapes which these could assume. But this had been overruled.

Mr. Fitzimons. Incidental duties on Tobo. & flour. never have been & never can be considered as duties on exports--

Mr. Dickinson. Nothing will save States in the situation of N. Hampshire N Jersey Delaware &c. from being oppressed by their Neighbors, but requiring the assent of Congs to inspection duties, He moved that this assent shd accordingly be required

Mr. Butler 2ded the motion.

[2:624; Madison, 15 Sept.]

Art. 1. sect. 10. (paragraph) 2) "No State shall, without the consent of Congress lay imposts or duties on imports or exports; nor with such consent, but to the use of the Treasury of the U. States"--

In consequence of the proviso moved by Col: Mason: and agreed to on the 13 Sepr, this part of the section was laid aside in favor of the following substitute viz. "No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its Inspection laws; and the nett produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the Treasury of the U-- S--; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and controul of the Congress"

On a motion to strike out the last part "and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and controul of the Congress" it passed in the Negative.

N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct no-- N. J. no. Pa divd. Del. no. Md. no Va ay-- N-- C-- ay. S. C. no Geo. ay. [Ayes--3; noes--7; divided--1.]

The substitute was then agreed to: Virga. alone being in the Negative.

[2:640; Mason, 15 Sept.]

The State legislatures are restrained from laying export duties on their own produce.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 1, Section 10, Clause 2, Document 4
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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