Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1
[Volume 2, Page 376]
Records of the Federal Convention
[1:233; Madison, 13 June]
Mr. Gerry. moved to restrain the Senatorial branch from originating money bills. The other branch was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings. If the Senate should be allowed to originate such bills, they wd. repeat the experiment, till chance should furnish a sett of representatives in the other branch who will fall into their snares.
Mr. Butler saw no reason for such a discrimination. We were always following the British Constitution when the reason of it did not apply. There was no analogy between the Ho of Lords and the body proposed to be established. If the Senate should be degraded by any such discriminations, the best men would be apt to decline serving in it in favor of the other branch. And it will lead the latter into the practice of tacking other clauses to money bills.
Mr. Madison observed that the Commentators on the Brit: Const: had not yet agreed on the reason of the restriction on the H. of L. in money bills. Certain it was there could be no similar reason in the case before us. The Senate would be the representatives of the people as well as the 1st. branch. If they sd. have any dangerous influence over it, they would easily prevail on some member of the latter to originate the bill they wished to be passed. As the Senate would be generally a more capable sett of men, it wd. be wrong to disable them from any preparation of the business, especially of that which was most important and in our republics, worse prepared than any other. The Gentleman in pursuance of his principle ought to carry the restraint to the amendment; as well as the originating of money bills. Since, an addition of a given sum wd. be equivalent to a distinct proposition of it.
Mr. King differed from Mr. Gerry, and concurred in the objections to the proposition.
Mr. Read favored the proposition, but would not extend the restraint to the case of amendments.
Mr. Pinkney thinks the question premature. If the Senate shd. be formed on the same proportional representation as it stands at present, they sd have equal power, otherwise if a different principle sd. be introduced.
Mr. Sherman. As both branches must concur, there can be no danger whichever way the Senate be formed. We establish two branches in order to get more wisdom, which is particularly needed in the finance business--The Senate bear their share of the taxes, and are also the representatives of the people. What a man does by another, he does by himself is a maxim. In Cont. both branches can originate in all cases, and it has been found safe & convenient. Whatever might have been the reason of the rule as to The H. of Lords, it is clear that no good arises from it now even there.
Genl. Pinkney. This distinction prevails in S. C. & has been a source of pernicious disputes between ye. 2 branches. The constitution is now evaded, by informal schedules of amendments handed from ye. Senate to the other House.
Mr. Williamson wishes for a question chiefly to prevent re-discussion. The restriction will have one advantage, it will oblige some members in lower branch to move, & people can then mark him.
On the question for excepting money bills as propd. by Mr. Gerry. Mas. no. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. no. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--3; noes--7.]
[1:527; Madison, 5 July]
Mr. Madison. could not regard the exclusive privilege of originating money bills as any concession on the side of the [Volume 2, Page 377] small States. Experience proved that it had no effect. If seven States in the upper branch wished a bill to be originated, they might surely find some member from some of the same States in the lower branch who would originate it. The restriction as to amendments was of as little consequence. Amendments could be handed privately by the Senate to members in the other house. Bills could be negatived that they might be sent up in the desired shape. If the Senate should yield to the obstinacy of the 1st. branch the use of that body as a check would be lost. If the 1st. branch should yield to that of the Senate, the privilege would be nugatory. Experience had also shewn both in G. B. and the States having a similar regulation that it was a source of frequent & obstinate altercations. These considerations had produced a rejection of a like motion on a former occasion when judged by its own merits. It could not therefore be deemed any concession on the present, and left in force all the objections which had prevailed agst. allowing each State an equal voice.
. . . . .
Mr. Butler said he could not let down his idea of the people. of America so far as to believe they, would from mere respect to the Convention adopt a plan evidently unjust. He did not consider the privilege concerning money bills as of any consequence. He urged that the 2d. branch ought to represent the States according to their property.
. . . . .
[Mr. Bedford:] . . . As to the propositions of the Committee, the lesser States have thought it necessary to have a security somewhere. This has been thought necessary for the Executive Magistrate of the proposed Govt. who has a sort of negative on the laws; and is it not of more importance that the States should be protected, than that the Executive branch of the Govt. shd. be protected. In order to obtain this, the smaller States have conceded as to the constitution of the first branch, and as to money bills. If they be not gratified by correspondent concessions as to the 2d. branch is it to be supposed they will ever accede to the plan. . . .
[1:543; Madison, 6 July]
The 1st. clause relating to the originating of money bills was then resumed.
Mr. Governr. Morris was opposed to a restriction of this right in either branch, considered merely in itself and as unconnected with the point of representation in the 2d. branch. It will disable the 2d. branch from proposing its own money plans, and giving the people an opportunity of judging by comparison of the merits of those proposed by the 1st. branch.
Mr. Wilson could see nothing like a concession here on the part of the smaller States. If both branches were to say yes or no, it was of little consequence which should say yes or no first, which last. If either was indiscriminately to have the right of originating, the reverse of the Report. would he thought be most proper; since it was a maxim that the least numerous body was the fittest for deliberation; the most numerous for decision. He observed that this discrimination had been transcribed from the British into several American constitutions. But he was persuaded that on examination of the American experiment, it would be found to be a trifle light as air. Nor could he ever discover the advantage of it in the parliamentary history of G. Britain. He hoped if there was any advantage in the privilege, that it would be pointed out.
Mr. Williamson thought that if the privilege were not common to both branches it ought rather to be confined to the 2d. as the bills in that case would be more narrowly watched, than if they originated with the branch having most of the popular confidence.
Mr. Mason. The consideration which weighed with the Committee was that the 1st. branch would be the immediate representatives of the people, the 2d. would not. Should the latter have the power of giving away the peoples money, they might soon forget the Source from whence they received it. We might soon have an aristocracy. He had been much concerned at the principles which had been advanced by some gentlemen, but had the satisfaction to find they did not generally prevail. He was a friend to proportional representation in both branches; but supposed that some points must be yielded for the sake of accomodation.
Mr. Wilson. If he had proposed that the 2d. branch should have an independent disposal of public money, the observations of (Col. Mason) would have been a satisfactory answer. But nothing could be farther from what he had said. His question was how is the power of the 1st. branch increased or that of the 2d. diminished by giving the proposed privilege to the former? Where is the difference, in which branch it begins if both must concur, in the end?
Mr. Gerry would not say that the concession was a sufficient one on the part of the small States. But he could not but regard it in the light of a concession. It wd. make it a constitutional principle that the 2d. branch were not possessed of the Confidence of the people in money matters, which wd. lessen their weight & influence. In the next place if the 2d. branch were dispossessed of the privilege, they wd. be deprived of the opportunity which their continuance in office 3 times as long as the 1st. branch would give them of make'g three successive essays in favor of a particular point.
Mr. Pinkney thought it evident that the Concession was wholly on one side, that of the large States, the privilege of originating money bills being of no account.
Mr. Govr. Morris had waited to hear the good effects of the restriction. As to the alarm sounded, of an aristocracy, his creed was that there never was, nor ever will be a civilized Society without an Aristocracy. His endeavor was to keep it as much as possible from doing mischief. The restriction if it has any real operation will deprive us of the services of the 2d. branch in digesting and proposing money bills of which it will be more capable than the 1st. branch, It will take away the responsibility of the 2d branch, the great security for good behavior. It will always leave a plea as to an obnoxious money bill that it was disliked, but could not be constitutionally amended; nor safely rejected. It will be a dangerous source of disputes between the two Houses. We should either take the British Constitution altogether or make one for ourselves. The [Volume 2, Page 378] Executive there has dissolved two Houses as the only cure for such disputes. Will our Executive be able to apply such a remedy? Every law directly or indirectly takes money out of the pockets of the people. Again what use may be made of such a privilege in case of great emergency? Suppose an enemy at the door, and money instantly & absolutely necessary for repelling him, may not the popular branch avail itself of this duress, to extort concessions from the Senate destructive of the Constitution itself. He illustrated this danger by the example of the Long Parliament's expedts. for subverting the H. of Lords: concluding on the whole that the restriction would be either useless or pernicious.
Docr. Franklin did not mean to go into a justification of the Report; but as it had been asked what would be the use of restraining the 2d. branch from medling with money bills, he could not but remark that it was always of importance that the people should know who had disposed of their money, & how it had been disposed of. It was a maxim that those who feel, can best judge. This end would, he thought, be best attained, if money affairs were to be confined to the immediate representatives of the people. This was his inducement to concur in the report. As to the danger or difficulty that might arise from a negative in the 2d. where the people wd. not be proportionally represented, it might easily be got over by declaring that there should be no such Negative: or if that will not do, by declaring that there shall be no such branch at all.
Mr. Martin said that it was understood in the Committee that the difficulties and disputes which had been apprehended, should be guarded agst. in the detailing of the plan.
Mr. Wilson. The difficulties & disputes will increase with the attempts to define & obviate them. Queen Anne was obliged to dissolve her Parliamt. in order to terminate one of these obstinate disputes between the two Houses. Had it not been for the mediation of the Crown, no one can say what the result would have been. The point is still sub judice in England. He approved of the principles laid down by the Honble President (Docr. Franklin) his Colleague, as to the expediency of keeping the people informed of their money affairs. But thought they would know as much, and be as well satisfied, in one way as in the other.
Genl. Pinkney was astonished that this point should have been considered as a concession. He remarked that the restriction to money bills has been rejected on the merits singly considered, by 8 States agst. 3. and that the very States which now called it a concession, were then agst. it as nugatory or improper in itself.
On the question whether the clause relating to money bills in the Report of the Come. consisting of a member from each State, shd. stand as part of the Report--
Massts. dividd. Cont. ay. N. Y. divd. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. divd. [Ayes--5; noes--3; divided--3.]
[2:224; Madison, 8 Aug.]
Mr. Pinkney moved to strike out Sect. 5, As giving no peculiar advantage to the House of Representatives, and as clogging the Govt. If the Senate can be trusted with the many great powers proposed, it surely may be trusted with that of originating money bills.
Mr. Ghorum. was agst. allowing the Senate to originate; but only to amend.
Mr. Govr. Morris. It is particularly proper that the Senate shd. have the right of originating money bills. They will sit constantly. will consist of a smaller number. and will be able to prepare such bills with due correctness; and so as to prevent delay of business in the other House.
Col. Mason was unwilling to travel over this ground again. To strike out the section, was to unhinge the compromise of which it made a part. The duration of the Senate made it improper. He does not object to that duration. On the Contrary he approved of it. But joined with the smallness of the number, it was an argument against adding this to the other great powers vested in that body. His idea of an Aristocracy was that it was the governt. of the few over the many. An aristocratic body, like the screw in mechanics, workig. its way by slow degrees, and holding fast whatever it gains, should ever be suspected of an encroaching tendency--The purse strings should never be put into its hands.
Mr Mercer, considered the exclusive power of originating Money bills as so great an advantage, that it rendered the equality of votes in the Senate ideal & of no consequence.
Mr. Butler was for adhering to the principle which had been settled.
Mr. Wilson was opposed to it on its merits, with out regard to the compromise
Mr. Elseworth did not think the clause of any consequence, but as it was thought of consequence by some members from the larger States, he was willing it should stand.
Mr. Madison was for striking it out: considering it as of no advantage to the large States as fettering the Govt. and as a source of injurious altercations between the two Houses.
On the question for striking out "Sect. 5. art. IV" N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--7; noes--4.]
[2:230; Madison, 9 Aug.]
Art: IV. sect. 6. Mr. Randolph expressed his dissatisfaction at the disagreement yesterday to sect 5. concerning money bills, as endangering the success of the plan, and extremely objectionable in itself; and gave notice that he should move for a reconsideration of the vote.
Mr. Williamson said he had formed a like intention.
. . . . .
Mr. Randolph called for a division of the Section, so as to leave a distinct question on the last words, "each member shall have one vote". He wished this last sentence to be postponed until the reconsideration should have taken place on sect. 5. Art. IV. concerning money bills. If that section should not be reinstated his plan would be to vary the representation in the Senate.
Mr. Strong concurred in Mr. Randolphs ideas on this point[Volume 2, Page 379]
Mr. Read did not consider the section as to money bills of any advantage to the larger States and had voted for striking it out as being viewed in the same light by the larger States. If it was considered by them as of any value, and as a condition of the equality of votes in the Senate, he had no objection to its being re-instated.
Mr. Wilson--Mr. Elseworth & Mr. Madison urged that it was of no advantage to the larger States, and that it might be a dangerous source of contention between the two Houses. All the principal powers of the Natl. Legislature had some relation to money.
Docr. Franklin, considered the two clauses, the originating of money bills, and the equality of votes in the Senate, as essentially connected by the compromise which had been agreed to.
Col. Mason said this was not the time for discussing this point. When the originating of money bills shall be reconsidered, he thought it could be demonstrated that it was of essential importance to restrain the right to the House of Representatives the immediate choice of the people.
Mr. Williamson. The State of N. C. had agreed to an equality in the Senate, merely in consideration that money bills should be confined to the other House: and he was surprised to see the smaller States forsaking the condition on which they had received their equality.
Question on the Section 1. down to the last sentence
N. H ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no- Del. ay. Md. ay. Virga ay N. C. no. S. C. divd. Geo. ay. [Ayes--7; noes--3; divided--1.]
Mr. Randolph moved that the last sentence "each member shall have one vote." be postponed
It was observed that this could not be necessary; as in case the section as to originating bills should not be reinstated, and a revision of the Constitution should ensue, it wd. still be proper that the members should vote per capita. A postponement of the preceding sentence allowing to each State 2 members wd. have been more proper.
Mr. Mason, did not mean to propose a change of this mode of voting per capita in any event. But as there might be other modes proposed, he saw no impropriety in postponing the sentence. Each State may have two members, and yet may have unequal votes. He said that unless the exclusive originating of money bills should be restored to the House of Representatives, he should, not from obstinacy, but duty and conscience, oppose throughout the equality of Representation in the Senate.
Mr. Govr. Morris. Such declarations were he supposed, addressed to the smaller States in order to alarm them for their equality in the Senate, and induce them agst. their judgments, to concur in restoring the section concerning money bills. He would declare in his turn that as he saw no prospect of amending the Constitution of the Senate & considered the Section relating to money bills as intrinsically bad, he would adhere to the section establishing the equality at all events.
Mr. Wilson. It seems to have been supposed by some that the section concerning money bills is desirable to the large States. The fact was that two of those States (Pa. & Va) had uniformly voted agst. it without reference to any other part of the system.
Mr. Randolph, urged as Col. Mason had done that the sentence under consideration was connected with that relating to money bills, and might possibly be affected by the result of the motion for reconsidering the latter. That the postponement was therefore not improper.
Question for postponing "each member shall have one vote."
N. H. divd. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--2; noes--8; divided--1.]
The words were then agreed to as part of the section.
Mr. Randolph then gave notice that he should move to reconsider this whole Sect: 1. Art. V. as connected with the 5. Sect. art. IV. as to which he had already given such notice.
[2:262; Madison, 11 Aug.]
Mr. Randolph moved according to notice to reconsider Art: IV: Sect. 5. concerning money-bills which had been struck out. He argued 1. that he had not wished for this privilege whilst a proportional Representation in the Senate was in contemplation. but since an equality had been fixed in that house, the large States would require this compensation at least. 2. that it would make the plan more acceptable to the people, because they will consider the Senate as the more aristocratic body, and will expect that the usual guards agst its influence be provided according to the example in G. Britain. 3. the privilege will give some advantage to the House of Reps. if it extends to the originating only--but still more, if it restrains the Senate from amendg 4. he called on the smaller States to concur in the measure, as the condition by which alone the compromise had entitled them to an equality in the Senate. He signified that he should propose instead of the original Section, a clause specifying that the bills in question should be for the purpose of Revenue, in order to repel ye. objection agst. the extent of the words "raising money," which might happen incidentally, and that the Senate should not so amend or alter as to increase or diminish the sum; in order to obviate the inconveniences urged agst. a restriction of the Senate to a simple affirmative or negative.
Mr. Williamson 2ded. the motion
Mr. Pinkney was sorry to oppose the opportunity gentlemen asked to have the question again opened for discussion, but as he considered it a mere waste of time he could not bring himself to consent to it. He said that notwithstanding what had been said as to the compromise, he always considered this section as making no part of it. The rule of Representation in the 1st. branch was the true condition of that in the 2d. branch.--Several others spoke for & agst the reconsideration, but without going into the merits--on the Question to reconsider.
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. divd. Geo. ay. [Ayes--9; noes--1; divided--1.]--Monday was then assigned--
[2:273; Madison, 13 Aug.]
Mr. Randolph moved that the clause be altered so as to read--"Bills for raising money for the purpose of revenue or for appropriating the same shall originate in the House of [Volume 2, Page 380] Representatives and shall not be so amended or altered by the Senate as to increase or diminish the sum to be raised, or change the mode of levying it, or the object of its appropriation."--He would not repeat his reasons, but barely remind the members from the smaller States of the compromise by which the larger States were entitled to this privilege.
Col. Mason. This amendment removes all the objections urged agst. the section as it stood at first. By specifying purposes of revenue, it obviated the objection that the Section extended to all bills under which money might incidentally arise. By authorizing amendments in the Senate it got rid of the objections that the Senate could not correct errors of any sort, & that it would introduce into the House of Reps. the practice of tacking foreign matter to money bills: These objections being removed, the arguments in favor of the proposed restraint on the Senate ought to have their full force. 1. the Senate did not represent the people, but the States in their political character. It was improper therefore that it should tax the people. The reason was the same agst. their doing it; as it had been agst. Congs. doing it. Nor was it in any respect necessary in order to cure the evils of our Republican system. He admitted that notwithstanding the superiority of the Republican form over every other, it had its evils. The chief ones, were the danger of the majority oppressing the minority, and the mischievous influence of demagogues. The Genl. Government of itself will cure these. As the States will not concur at the same time in their unjust & oppressive plans, the general Govt. will be able to check & defeat them, whether they result from the wickedness of the majority, or from the misguidance of demagogues. Again, the Senate is not like the H. of Reps. chosen frequently and obliged to return frequently among the people. They are to be chosen by the Sts for 6 years, will probably settle themselves at the seat of Govt. will pursue schemes for their own aggrandizement--will be able by wearyg out the H. of Reps and taking advantage of their impatience at the close of a long Session, to extort measures for that purpose. If they should be paid as he expected would be yet determined & wished to be so, out of the Natl. Treasury, they will particularly extort an increase of their wages. A bare negative was a very different thing from that of originating bills. The practice in Engld was in point. The House of Lords does not represent nor tax the people, because not elected by the people. If the Senate can originate, they will in the recess of the Legislative Sessions, hatch their mischievous projects, for their own purposes, and have their money bills ready cut & dried, (to use a common phrase) for the meeting of the H. of Reps. He compared the case to Poyning's law--and signified that the House of Reps. might be rendered by degrees like the Parliament of Paris, the mere depository of the decrees of the Senate. As to the compromise so much had passed on that subject that he would say nothing about it. He did not mean by what he had said to oppose the permanency of the Senate. On the contrary he had no repugnance to an increase of it--nor to allowing it a negative, though the Senate was not by its present constitution entitled to it. But in all events he would contend that the pursestrings should be in the hands of the Representatives of the people.
Mr. Wilson was himself directly opposed to the equality of votes granted to the Senate by its present Constitution. At the same time he wished not to multiply the vices of the system. He did not mean to enlarge on a subject which had been so much canvassed, but would remark as an insuperable objection agst. the proposed restriction of money bills to the H. of Reps. that it would be a source of perpetual contentions where there was no mediator to decide them. The Presidt. here could not like the Executive Magistrate in England interpose by a prorogation, or dissolution. This restriction had been found pregnant with altercation in every State where the Constitution had established it. The House of Reps. will insert the other things in money bills, and by making them conditions of each other, destroy the deliberate liberty of the Senate. He stated the case of a Preamble to a money bill sent up by the House of Commons in the reign of Queen Anne, to the H. of Lords, in which the conduct of the displaced Ministry, who were to be impeached before the Lords, was condemned; the Commons thus extorting a premature judgmt. without any hearing of the Parties to be tried, and the H. of Lords being thus reduced to the poor & disgraceful expedient of opposing to the authority of a law a protest on their Journals agst. its being drawn into precedent. If there was any thing like Poynings law in the present case, it was in the attempt to vest the exclusive right of originating in the H. of Reps. and so far he was agst it. He should be equally so if the right were to be exclusively vested in the Senate. With regard to the pursestrings, it was to be observed that the purse was to have two strings, one of which was in the hands of the H. of Reps. the other in those of the Senate. Both houses must concur in untying, and of what importance could it be which untied first, which last. He could not conceive it to be any objection to the senate's preparing the bills, that they would have leisure for that purpose and would be in the habits of business. War, Commerce, & Revenue were the great objects of the Genl. Government. All of them are connected with money. The restriction in favor of the H. of Represts. would exclude the Senate from originating any important bills whatever--
Mr Gerry considered this as a part of the plan that would be much scrutinized. Taxation & representation are strongly associated in the minds of the people, and they will not agree that any but their immediate representatives shall meddle with their purses. In short the acceptance of the plan will inevitably fail, if the Senate be not restrained from originating Money bills.
Mr. Govermr. Morris All the arguments suppose the right to originate money & to tax, to be exclusively vested in the Senate.--The effects commented on may be produced by a Negative only in the Senate. They can tire out the other House, and extort their concurrence in favorite measures, as well by withholding their negative, as by adhering to a bill introduced by themselves.
Mr Madison thought If the substitute offered by Mr. Randolph for the original section is to be adopted it would be proper to allow the Senate at least so to amend as to [Volume 2, Page 381] diminish the sums to be raised. Why should they be restrained from checking the extravagance of the other House?--One of the greatest evils incident to Republican Govt. was the spirit of contention & faction. The proposed substitute, which in some respects lessened the objections agst. the section, had a contrary effect with respect to this particular. It laid a foundation for new difficulties and disputes between the two houses. The word revenue was ambiguous. In many acts, particularly in the regulations of trade, the object would be twofold. The raising of revenue would be one of them. How could it be determined which was the primary or predominant one; or whether it was necessary that revenue shd: be the sole object, in exclusion even of other incidental effects. When the Contest was first opened with G. B. their power to regulate trade was admitted. Their power to raise revenue rejected. An accurate investigation of the subject afterward proved that no line could be drawn between the two cases. The words amend or alter, form an equal source of doubt & altercation. When an obnoxious paragraph shall be sent down from the Senate to the House of Reps it will be called an origination under the name of an amendment. The Senate may actually couch extraneous matter under that name. In these cases, the question will turn on the degree of connection between the matter & object of the bill and the alteration or amendment offered to it. Can there be a more fruitful source of dispute, or a kind of dispute more difficult to be settled? His apprehensions on this point were not conjectural. Disputes had actually flowed from this source in Virga. where the Senate can originate no bill. The words "so as to increase or diminish the sum to be raised," were liable to the same objections. In levying indirect taxes, which it seemed to be understood were to form the principal revenue of the new Govt. the sum to be raised, would be increased or diminished by a variety of collateral circumstances influencing the consumption, in general, the consumption of foreign or of domestic articles--of this or that particular species of articles, and even by the mode of collection which may be closely connected with the productiveness of a tax.--The friends of the section had argued its necessity from the permanency of the Senate. He could not see how this argumt. applied. The Senate was not more permanent now than in the form it bore in the original propositions of Mr. Randolph and at the time when no objection whatever was hinted agst. its originating money bills. Or if in consequence of a loss of the present question, a proportional vote in the Senate should be reinstated as has been urged as the indemnification the permanency of the Senate will remain the same.--If the right to originate be vested exclusively in the House of Reps. either the Senate must yield agst. its judgment to that House, in which case the Utility of the check will be lost--or the Senate will be inflexible & the H. of Reps must adapt its Money bill to the views of the Senate, in which case, the exclusive right will be of no avail.--As to the Compromise of which so much had been said, he would make a single observation. There were 5 States which had opposed the equality of votes in the Senate. viz. Masts. Penna. Virga. N. Carolina & S. Carola. As a compensation for the sacrifice extorted from them on this head, the exclusive origination of money bills in the other House had been tendered. Of the five States a majority viz. Penna. Virga. & S. Carola, have uniformly voted agst. the proposed compensation, on its own merits, as rendering the plan of Govt. still more objectionable-- Massts has been divided. N. Carolina alone has set a value on the compensation, and voted on that principle. What obligation then can the small States be under to concur agst. their judgments in reinstating the section?
Mr. Dickenson. Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not Reason that discovered the singular & admirable mechanism of the English Constitution. It was not Reason that discovered or ever could have discovered the odd & in the eye of those who are governed by reason, the absurd mode of trial by Jury. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has give[n] a sanction to them. This is then our guide. And has not experience verified the utility of restraining money bills to the immediate representatives of the people. Whence the effect may have proceeded he could not say; whether from the respect with which this privilege inspired the other branches of Govt. to the H. of Commons, or from the turn of thinking it gave to the people at large with regard to their rights, but the effect was visible & could not be doubted Shall we oppose to this long experience, the short experience of 11 years which we had ourselves, on this subject--As to disputes, they could not be avoided any way. If both Houses should originate, each would have a different bill to which it would be attached, and for which it would contend.--He observed that all the prejudices of the people would be offended by refusing this exclusive privilege to the H. of Repress. and these prejudices shd. never be disregarded by us when no essential purpose was to be served. When this plan goes forth, it will be attacked by the popular leaders. Aristocracy will be the watchword; the Shibboleth among its adversaries. Eight States have inserted in their Constitutions the exclusive right of originating money bills in favor of the popular branch of the Legislature. Most of them however allowed the other branch to amend. This he thought would be proper for us to do.
Mr Randolph regarded this point as of such consequence, that as he valued the peace of this Country, he would press the adoption of it. We had numerous & monstrous difficulties to combat. Surely we ought not to increase them. When the people behold in the Senate, the countenance of an aristocracy; and in the president, the form at least of a little monarch, will not their alarms be sufficiently raised without taking from their immediate representatives, a right which has been so long appropriated to them.--The Executive will have more influence over the Senate, than over the H. of Reps--Allow the Senate to originate in this case, & that influence will be sure to mix itself in their deliberations & plans. The Declaration of War he conceived ought not to be in the Senate composed of 26 men only, but rather in the other House. In the other House ought to be placed the origination of the means of war. As to Commercial regulations which [Volume 2, Page 382] may involve revenue, the difficulty may be avoided by restraining the definition to bills for the mere or sole, purpose of raising revenue. The Senate will be more likely to be corrupt than the H. of Reps and should therefore have less to do with money matters. His principal object however was to prevent popular objections against the plan, and to secure its adoption.
Mr. Rutlidge. The friends of this motion are not consistent in their reasoning. They tell us, that we ought to be guided by the long experience of G. B. & not our own experience of 11 years: and yet they themselves propose to depart from it. The H. of Commons not only have the exclusive right of originating, but the Lords are not allowed to alter or amend a money bill. Will not the people say that this restriction is but a mere tub to the whale. They cannot but see that it is of no real consequence; and will be more likely to be displeased with it as an attempt to bubble them, than to impute it to a watchfulness over their rights. For his part, he would prefer giving the exclusive right to the Senate, if it was to be given exclusively at all. The Senate being more conversant in business, and having more leisure, will digest the bills much better, and as they are to have no effect, till examined & approved by the H. of Reps there can be no possible danger. These clauses in the Constitutions of the States had been put in through a blind adherence to the British model. If the work was to be done over now, they would be omitted. The experiment in S. Carolina-- where the Senate cannot originate or amend money bills, has shown that it answers no good purpose; and produces the very bad one of continually dividing & heating the two houses. Sometimes indeed if the matter of the amendment of the Senate is pleasing to the other House they wink at the encroachment; if it be displeasing, then the Constitution is appealed to. Every Session is distracted by altercations on this subject. The practice now becoming frequent is for the Senate not to make formal amendments; but to send down a schedule of the alterations which will procure the bill their assent.
Mr. Carrol. The most ingenious men in Maryd. are puzzled to define the case of money bills, or explain the Constitution on that point; tho' it seemed to be worded with all possible plainness & precision. It is a source of continual difficulty & squabble between the two houses.
Mr. McHenry mentioned an instance of extraordinary subterfuge, to get rid of the apparent force of the Constitution
On Question on the first part of the motion as to the exclusive originating of Money bills in the H. of Reps.
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Virga. ay. Mr. Blair & Mr. M. no-- Mr. R. Col. Mason and Genl. Washinton ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no [Ayes--4; noes--7.]
Question on Originating by H. of Reps & amending by Senate. as reported, art IV. Sect. 5.
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. no. N J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Virga. ay. Mr. Blair & Mr. M. no-- Mr. R. Col. Mason and Genl. Washington ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no [Ayes--4; noes--7.]
Question on Originating by H. of Reps & amending by Senate. as reported, Art IV. Sect. 5.
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. no. N J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay S. C. no. Geo. no [Ayes--4; noes--7.]
Question on the last clause of sect: 5--Art: IV--viz "No money shall be drawn from the Public Treasury, but in pursuance of appropriations that shall originate in the House of Reps. It passed in the negative
N. H. no. Mas. ay Con. no N. J no. Pa. no Del no. Md no Va no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--1; noes--10.]
[2:297; Madison, 15 Aug.]
Mr. Strong moved to amend the article so as to read--"Each House shall possess the right of originating all bills, except bills for raising money for the purposes of revenue, or for appropriating the same and for fixing the salaries of the officers of the Govt. which shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in other cases"
Col. Mason, 2ds. the motion. He was extremely earnest to take this power from the Senate, who he said could already sell the whole Country by means of Treaties.
Mr Ghorum urged the amendment as of great importance. The Senate will first acquire the habit of preparing money bills, and then the practice will grow into an exclusive right of preparing them.
Mr. Gouvernr. Morris opposed it as unnecessary and inconvenient.
Mr. Williamson--some think this restriction on the Senate essential to liberty--others think it of no importance. Why should not the former be indulged. he was for an efficient and stable Govt: but many would not strengthen the Senate if not restricted in the case of money bills. The friends of the Senate would therefore lose more than they would gain by refusing to gratify the other side. He moved to postpone the subject till the powers of the Senate should be gone over.
Mr. Rutlidge 2ds. the motion.
[2:509; Madison, 5 Sept.]
The (3) clause, Mr. Govr. Morris moved to postpone. It had been agreed to in the Committee on the ground of compromise, and he should feel himself at liberty to dissent to it; if on the whole he should not be satisfied with certain other parts to be settled.--Mr. Pinkney 2ded. the motion
Mr. Sherman was for giving immediate ease to those who looked on this clause as of great moment, and for trusting to their concurrence in other proper measures.
On the question for postponing
N-- H-- ay-- Mas-- no. Ct. ay. N-- J-- ay-- Pa. ay--Del. ay. Md ay--Va. no. N-- C-- ay-- S. C ay-- Geo ay. [Ayes--9; noes--2.]
. . . . .
Mr King observed that the influence of the Small States in the Senate was somewhat balanced by the influence of the large States in bringing forward the candidates, and also by the Concurrence of the small States in the Committee in the clause vesting the exclusive origination of Money bills in the House of Representatives.[Volume 2, Page 383]
[2:552; Madison, 8 Sept.]
The clause of the report made on the 5th. Sepr. & postponed was taken up, to wit--"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; and shall be subject to alterations and amendments by the Senate. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law."
It was moved to strike out the words "and shall be subject to alterations and amendments by the Senate" and insert the words used in the Constitution of Massachusetts on the same subject--"but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in other bills"--which was agreed too nem: con:
On the question On the first part of the clause--"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of Representatives"
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. N. J. ay Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--9; noes--2.]
Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed. 4 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1937.
© 1987 by The University of Chicago