Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2
Records of the Federal Convention
[1:20; Virginia Plan, 29 May]
5. Resold. that the members of the second branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by those of the first, out of a proper number of persons nominated by the individual Legislatures, to be of the age of years at least; to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency, to receive liberal stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service; and to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States, except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch, during the term of service, and for the space of after the expiration thereof.
[1:35; Madison, 30 May]
The following Resolution being the 2d. of those proposed by Mr. Randolph was taken up. viz--"that the rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases."
Mr. Madison observing that the words "or to the number of free inhabitants." might occasion debates which would divert the Committee from the general question whether the principle of representation should be changed, moved that they might be struck out.
Mr. King observed that the quotas of contribution which would alone remain as the measure of representation, would not answer; because waving every other view of the matter, the revenue might hereafter be so collected by the general Govt. that the sums respectively drawn from the States would not appear; and would besides be continually varying.
Mr. Madison admitted the propriety of the observation, and that some better rule ought to be found.
Col. Hamilton moved to alter the resolution so as to read "that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought to be proportioned to the number of free inhabitants. Mr. Spaight 2ded. the motion.
It was then moved that the Resolution be postponed, which was agreed to.
Mr. Randolph and Mr. Madison then moved the following resolution--"that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought to be proportioned"
It was moved and 2ded. to amend it by adding "and not according to the present system"--which was agreed to.
It was then moved and 2ded. to alter the resolution so as to read "that the rights of suffrage in the national Legislature ought not to be according to the present system."
It was then moved & 2ded. to postpone the Resolution moved by Mr. Randolph & Mr. Madison, which being agreed to;
Mr. Madison, moved, in order to get over the difficulties, the following resolution--"that the equality of suffrage established by the articles of Confederation ought not to prevail in the national Legislature, and that an equitable ratio of representation ought to be substituted" This was 2ded. by Mr. Govr. Morris, and being generally relished, would have been agreed to; when,
Mr. Reed moved that the whole clause relating to the point of Representation be postponed; reminding the Come. that the deputies from Delaware were restrained by their commission from assenting to any change of the rule of suffrage, and in case such a change should be fixed on, it might become their duty to retire from the Convention.
Mr. Govr. Morris observed that the valuable assistance of those members could not be lost without real concern, and that so early a proof of discord in the convention as a secession of a State, would add much to the regret; that the change proposed was however so fundamental an article in a national Govt. that it could not be dispensed with.
Mr. Madison observed that whatever reason might have existed for the equality of suffrage when the Union was a federal one among sovereign States, it must cease when a national Governt. should be put into the place. In the former case, the acts of Congs. depended so much for their efficacy on the cooperation of the States, that these had a weight both within & without Congress, nearly in proportion to their extent and importance. In the latter case, as the acts of the Genl. Govt. would take effect without the intervention of the State legislatures, a vote from a small State wd. have the same efficacy & importance as a vote from a large one, and there was the same reason for different numbers of representatives from different States, as from Counties of different extents within particular States. He suggested as an expedient for at once taking the sense of the members on this point and saving the Delaware deputies from embarrassment, that the question should be taken in Committee, and the clause on report to the House be postponed without a question there. This however did not appear to satisfy Mr. Read.
By several it was observed that no just construction of the Act of Delaware, could require or justify a secession of her deputies, even if the resolution were to be carried thro' the House as well as the Committee. It was finally agreed however that the clause should be postponed: it being understood that in the event the proposed change of representation would certainly be agreed to, no objection or difficulty being started from any other quarter than from Delaware.
The motion of Mr. Read to postpone being agreed to
The Committee then rose. The Chairman reported progress, and the House having resolved to resume the subject in Committee tomorrow,
[1:51; Madison, 31 May]
The Committee proceeded to Resolution 5, "that the second, (or senatorial) branch of the National Legislature ought to be chosen by the first branch out of persons nominated by the State Legislatures."
Mr. Spaight contended that the 2d. branch ought to be chosen by the State Legislatures and moved an amendment to that effect.
Mr. Butler apprehended that the taking so many powers out of the hands of the States as was proposed, tended to destroy all that balance and security of interests among the States which it was necessary to preserve; and called on Mr. Randolph the mover of the propositions, to explain the extent of his ideas, and particularly the number of members he meant to assign to this second branch.
Mr. Randf. observed that he had at the time of offering his propositions stated his ideas as far as the nature of general propositions required; that details made no part of the plan, and could not perhaps with propriety have been introduced. If he was to give an opinion as to the number of the second branch, he should say that it ought to be much smaller than that of the first; so small as to be exempt from the passionate proceedings to which numerous assemblies are liable. He observed that the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the U. S. laboured; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy: that some check therefore was to be sought for agst. this tendency of our Governments: and that a good Senate seemed most likely to answer the purpose.
Mr. King reminded the Committee that the choice of the second branch as proposed (by Mr. Spaight) viz. by the State Legislatures would be impracticable, unless it was to be very numerous, or the idea of proportion among the States was to be disregarded. According to this idea, there must be 80 or 100 members to entitle Delaware to the choice of one of them.--Mr. Spaight withdrew his motion.
Mr. Wilson opposed both a nomination by the State Legislatures, and an election by the first branch of the national Legislature, because the second branch of the latter, ought to be independent of both. He thought both branches of the National Legislature ought to be chosen by the people, but was not prepared with a specific proposition. He suggested the mode of chusing the Senate of N. York. to wit of uniting several election districts, for one branch, in chusing members for the other branch, as a good model.
Mr. Madison observed that such a mode would destroy the influence of the smaller States associated with larger ones in the same district; as the latter would chuse from within themselves, altho' better men might be found in the former. The election of Senators in Virga. where large & small counties were often formed into one district for the purpose, had illustrated this consequence Local partiality, would often prefer a resident within the County or State, to a candidate of superior merit residing out of it. Less merit also in a resident would be more known throughout his own State.
Mr. Sherman favored an election of one member by each of the State Legislatures,
Mr. Pinkney moved to strike out the "nomination by the State Legislatures." On this question.
Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pena. no. Del. divd. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no Georg no. [Ayes--0; noes--9; divided--1.]
On the whole question for electing by the first branch out of nominations by the State Legislatures, Mass. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. Jersey. no. Pena. no. Del. no. Virga. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Ga. no. [Ayes--3; noes--7.]
So the clause was disagreed to & a chasm left in this part of the plan.
[1:58; Pierce, 31 May]
Mr. Butler called on Govr. Randolph to point out the number of Men necessary for the Senate, for on a knowledge of that will depend his opinion of the style and manner of appointing the first branch.
Mr. Randolph said he could not then point out the exact number of Members for the Senate, but he would observe that they ought to be less than the House of Commons. He was for offering such a check as to keep up the balance, and to restrain, if possible, the fury of democracy. He thought it would be impossible for the State Legislatures to appoint the Senators, because it would not produce the check intended. The first branch of the foederal Legislature should have the appointment of the Senators, and then the check would be compleat.
Butler said that until the number of the Senate could be known it would be impossible for him to give a vote on it.
Mr. Wilson was of opinion that the appointment of the 2d branch ought to be made by the people provided the mode of election is as he would have it, and that is to divide the union into districts from which the Senators should be chosen. He hopes that a foederal Government may be established that will insure freedom and yet be vigorous.
Mr. Maddison thinks the mode pointed out in the original propositions the best.
Mr. Butler moved to have the proposition relating to the first branch postponed, in order to take up another,--which was that the second branch of the Legislature consist of blank.
Mr. King objected to the postponement for the reasons which he had offered before.
Mr. Sherman was of opinion that if the Senate was to be appointed by the first branch and out of that Body that it would make them too dependent, and thereby destroy the end for which the Senate ought to be appointed.
Mr. Mason was of opinion that it would be highly improper to draw the Senate out of the first branch; that it would occasion vacancies which would cost much time, trouble, and expence to have filled up,--besides which it would make the Members too dependent on the first branch.
Mr. Chs. Pinckney said he meant to propose to divide the Continent into four Divisions, out of which a certain number of persons shd. be nominated, and out of that nomination to appoint a Senate.
I was myself of opinion that it would be right first to know how the Senate should be appointed, because it would determine many Gentlemen how to vote for the choice of Members for the first branch,--it appeared clear to me that unless we established a Government that should carry at least some of its principles into the mass of the people, we might as well depend upon the present confederation. If the influence of the States is not lost in some part of the new Government we never shall have any thing like a national institution. But in my opinion it will be right to shew the sovereignty of the State in one branch of the Legislature, and that should be in the Senate.
[1:150; Madison, 7 June]
The Clause providing for ye appointment of the 2d branch of the national Legislature, having lain blank since the last vote on the mode of electing it, to wit, by the 1st. branch, Mr. Dickenson now moved "that the members of the 2d. branch ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures."
Mr. Sherman seconded the motion; observing that the particular States would thus become interested in supporting the National Governmt. and that a due harmony between the two Governments would be maintained. He admitted that the two ought to have separate and distinct jurisdictions, but that they ought to have a mutual interest in supporting each other.
Mr. Pinkney. If the small States should be allowed one Senator only, the number will be too great, there will be 80 at least.
Mr. Dickenson had two reasons for his motion. 1. because the sense of the States would be better collected through their Governments; than immediately from the people at large. 2. because he wished the Senate to consist of the most distinguished characters, distinguished for their rank in life and their weight of property, and bearing as strong a likeness to the British House of Lords as possible; and he thought such characters more likely to be selected by the State Legislatures, than in any other mode. The greatness of the number was no objection with him. He hoped there would be 80 and twice 80. of them. If their number should be small, the popular branch could not be [ba]lanced by them. The legislature of a numerous people ought to be a numerous body.
Mr. Williamson, preferred a small number of Senators, but wished that each State should have at least one. He suggested 25 as a convenient number. The different modes of representation in the different branches, will serve as a mutual check.
Mr. Butler was anxious to know the ratio of representation before he gave any opinion.
Mr. Wilson. If we are to establish a national Government, that Government ought to flow from the people at large. If one branch of it should be chosen by the Legislatures, and the other by the people, the two branches will rest on different foundations, and dissentions will naturally arise between them. He wished the Senate to be elected by the people as well as the other branch, and the people might be divided into proper districts for the purpose & moved to postpone the motion of Mr. Dickenson, in order to take up one of that import.
Mr Morris 2ded. him.
Mr. Read proposed "that the Senate should be appointed by the Executive Magistrate out of a proper number of persons to be nominated by the individual legislatures." He said he thought it his duty, to speak his mind frankly. Gentlemen he hoped would not be alarmed at the idea. Nothing short of this approach towards a proper model of Government would answer the purpose, and he thought it best to come directly to the point at once.--His proposition was not seconded nor supported.
Mr. Madison, if the motion (of Mr. Dickenson) should be agreed to, we must either depart from the doctrine of proportional representation; or admit into the Senate a very large number of members. The first is inadmissable, being evidently unjust. The second is inexpedient. The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, & with more wisdom, than the popular branch. Enlarge their number and you communicate to them the vices which they are meant to correct. He differed from Mr. D. who thought that the additional number would give additional weight to the body. On the contrary it appeared to him that their weight would be in an inverse ratio to their number. The example of the Roman Tribunes was applicable. They lost their influence and power, in proportion as their number was augmented. The reason seemed to be obvious: They were appointed to take care of the popular interests & pretensions at Rome, because the people by reason of their numbers could not act in concert; were liable to fall into factions among themselves, and to become a prey to their aristocratic adversaries. The more the representatives of the people therefore were multiplied, the more they partook of the infirmaties of their constituents, the more liable they became to be divided among themselves either from their own indiscretions or the artifices of the opposite factions, and of course the less capable of fulfilling their trust. When the weight of a set of men depends merely on their personal characters; the greater the number the greater the weight. When it depends on the degree of political authority lodged in them the smaller the number the greater the weight. These considerations might perhaps be combined in the intended Senate; but the latter was the material one.
Mr. Gerry. 4 modes of appointing the Senate have been mentioned. 1. by the 1st. branch of the National Legislature. This would create a dependence contrary to the end proposed. 2. by the National Executive. This is a stride towards monarchy that few will think of. 3. by the people. the people have two great interests, the landed interest, and the commercial including the stockholders. To draw both branches from the people will leave no security to the latter interest; the people being chiefly composed of the landed interest, and erroneously, supposing, that the other interests are adverse to it. 4 by the Individual Legislatures. The elections being carried thro' this refinement, will be most likely to provide some check in favor of the commercial interest agst. the landed; without which oppression will take place, and no free Govt. can last long when that is the case. He was therefore in favor of this last.
Mr. Dickenson. The preservation of the States in a certain degree of agency is indispensible. It will produce that collision between the different authorities which should be wished for in order to check each other. To attempt to abolish the States altogether, would degrade the Councils of our Country, would be impracticable, would be ruinous. He compared the proposed National System to the Solar System, in which the States were the planets, and ought to be left to move freely in their proper orbits. The Gentleman from Pa. (Mr. Wilson) wished he said to extinguish these planets. If the State Governments were excluded from all agency in the national one, and all power drawn from the people at large, the consequence would be that the national Govt. would move in the same direction as the State Govts. now do, and would run into all the same mischiefs. The reform would only unite the 13 small streams into one great current pursuing the same course without any opposition whatever. He adhered to the opinion that the Senate ought to be composed of a large number, and that their influence from family weight & other causes would be increased thereby. He did not admit that the Tribunes lost their weight in proportion as their no. was augmented and gave a historical sketch of this institution. If the reasoning of (Mr. Madison) was good it would prove that the number of the Senate ought to be reduced below ten, the highest no. of the Tribunitial corps.
Mr. Wilson. The subject it must be owned is surrounded with doubts and difficulties. But we must surmount them. The British Governmt. cannot be our model. We have no materials for a similar one. Our manners, our laws, the abolition of entails and of primogeniture, the whole genius of the people, are opposed to it. He did not see the danger of the States being devoured by the Nationl. Govt. On the contrary, he wished to keep them from devouring the national Govt. He was not however for extinguishing these planets as was supposed by Mr. D.--neither did he on the other hand, believe that they would warm or enlighten the Sun. Within their proper orbits they must still be suffered to act for subordinate purposes for which their existence is made essential by the great extent of our Country. He could not comprehend in what manner the landed interest wd. be rendered less predominant in the Senate, by an election through the medium of the Legislatures than by the people themselves. If the Legislatures, as was now complained, sacrificed the commercial to the landed interest, what reason was there to expect such a choice from them as would defeat their own views. He was for an election by the people in large districts which wd. be most likely to obtain men of intelligence & uprightness; subdividing the districts only for the accomodation of voters.
Mr. Madison could as little comprehend in what manner family weight, as desired by Mr. D. would be more certainly conveyed into the Senate through elections by the State Legislatures, than in some other modes. The true question was in what mode the best choice wd. be made? If an election by the people, or thro' any other channel than the State Legislatures promised as uncorrupt & impartial a preference of merit, there could surely be no necessity for an appointment by those Legislatures. Nor was it apparent that a more useful check would be derived thro' that channel than from the people thro' some other. The great evils complained of were that the State Legislatures run into schemes of paper money &c, whenever solicited by the people, & sometimes without even the sanction of the people. Their influence then, instead of checking a like propensity in the National Legislature, may be expected to promote it. Nothing can be more contradictory than to say that the Natl. Legislature witht. a proper check will follow the example of the State legislatures, & in the same breath, that the State Legislatures are the only proper check.
Mr. Sharman opposed elections by the people in districts, as not likely to produce such fit men as elections by the State Legislatures.
Mr. Gerry insisted that the commercial & monied interest wd. be more secure in the hands of the State Legislatures, than of the people at large. The former have more sense of character, and will be restrained by that from injustice. The people are for paper money when the Legislatures are agst. it. In Massts. the County Conventions had declared a wish for a depreciating paper that wd. sink itself. Besides, in some States there are two Branches in the Legislature, one of which is somewhat aristocratic. There wd. therefore be so far a better chance of refinement in the choice. There seemed, he thought to be three powerful objections agst. elections by districts 1. It is impracticable; the people can not be brought to one place for the purpose; and whether brought to the same place or not, numberless frauds wd. be unavoidable. 2. small States forming part of the same district with a large one, or large part of a large one, wd. have no chance of gaining an appointment for its citizens of merit. 3 a new source of discord wd. be opened between different parts of the same district.
Mr. Pinkney thought the 2d. branch ought to be permanent & independent, & that the members of it wd. be rendered more so by receiving their appointment from the State Legislatures. This mode wd. avoid the rivalships & discontents incident to the election by districts. He was for dividing the States into three classes according to their respective sizes, & for allowing to the 1st. class three members--to the 2d. two. & to the 3d. one.
On the question for postponing Mr. Dickinson's motion referring the appointment of the Senate to the State Legislatures, in order to consider Mr. Wilson's for referring it to the people.
Mass. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--1; noes--10.]
Col. Mason. whatever power may be necessary for the Natl. Govt. a certain portion must necessarily be left in the States. It is impossible for one power to pervade the extreme parts of the U. S. so as to carry equal justice to them. The State Legislatures also ought to have some means of defending themselves agst. encroachments of the Natl. Govt. In every other department we have studiously endeavored to provide for its self-defence. Shall we leave the States along unprovided with the means for this purpose? And what better means can we provide than the giving them some share in, or rather to make them a constituent part of, the Natl. Establishment. There is danger on both sides no doubt; but we have only seen the evils arising on the side of the State Govts. Those on the other side remain to be displayed. The example of Cong: does not apply. Congs. had no power to carry their acts into execution as the Natl. Govt. will have.
On Mr. Dickinson's motion for an appointment of the Senate by the State-Legislatures.
Mass. ay. Ct. ay. N. Y. ay. Pa. ay Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--10; noes--0.]
[1:156; Yates, 7 June]
Mr. Rutledge moved to take into consideration the mode of electing the second branch of the national legislature.
Mr. Dickinson thereupon moved, that the second branch of the national legislature be chosen by the legislatures of the individual states. He observed, that this mode will more intimately connect the state governments with the national legislature--it will also draw forth the first characters either as to family or talent, and that it ought to consist of a considerable number.
Mr. Wilson against the motion, because the two branches thus constituted, cannot agree, they having different views and different sentiments.
Mr. Dickinson is of opinion that the mode by him proposed, like the British house of lords and commons, whose powers flow from different sources, are mutual checks on each other, and will thus promote the real happiness and security of the country--a government thus established would harmonize the whole, and like the planetary system, the national council like the sun, would illuminate the whole--the planets revolving round it in perfect order; or like the union of several small streams, would at last form a respectable river, gently flowing to the sea.
Mr. Wilson. The state governments ought to be preserved--the freedom of the people and their internal good police depends on their existence in full vigor--but such a government can only answer local purposes--That it is not possible a general government, as despotic as even that of the Roman emperors, could be adequate to the government of the whole without this distinction. He hoped that the national government would be independent of state governments, in order to make it vigorous, and therefore moved that the above resolution be postponed, and that the convention in its room adopt the following resolve: That the second branch of the national legislature be chosen by districts, to be formed for that purpose.
Mr. Sherman supposes the election of the national legislature will be better vested in the state legislatures, than by the people, for by pursuing different objects, persons may be returned who have not one tenth of the votes.
Mr. Gerry observed, that the great mercantile interest and of stockholders, is not provided for in any mode of election--they will however be better represented if the state legislatures choose the second branch.
Question carried against the postponement--10 states against 1.
Mr. Mason then spoke to the general question--observing on the propriety, that the second branch of the national legislature should flow from the legislature of each state, to prevent the encroachments on each other and to harmonize the whole.
The question put on the first motion, and carried unanimously. Adjourned to to-morrow morning.
[1:160; Mason, 7 June]
[Mason:] At a time when our government is approaching to dissolution, when some of its principles have been found utterly inadequate to the purposes for which it was established, and it is evident that without some material alterations it can not much longer subsist, it must give real concern to every man who has his country's interest at heart to find such a difference of sentiment and opinion in an assembly of the most respectable and confidential characters in America, appointed for the special purpose of revising and amending the federal constitution, so as to obtain and preserve the important objects for which it was instituted--the protection, safety and happiness of the people. We all agree in the necessity of new regulations; but we differ widely in our opinions of what are the safest and most effectual. Perhaps this contrariety of sentiment arises from our not thoroughly considering the peculiar circumstances, situation, character and genius of the people of America, differing materially from that of any other nation. The history of other nations has been minutely investigated, examples have been drawn from and arguments founded on the practice of countries very dissimilar to ours. The treaties, leagues, and confederacies between different sovereign, independent powers have been urged as proofs in support of the propriety and justice of the single and equal representation of each individual State in the American Union; and thence conclusions have been drawn that the people of these United States would refuse to adopt a government founded more on an equal representation of the people themselves, than on the distinct representation of each separate, individual State. If the different States in our Union always had been as now substantially and in reality distinct, sovereign and independent, this kind of reasoning would have great force; but if the premises on which it is founded are mere assumptions not founded on facts, or at best upon facts to be found only upon a paper of yesterday, and even these contradictory to each other, no satisfactory conclusions can be drawn from them.
[1:201; Madison, 11 June]
Mr. Sharman moved that a question be taken whether each State shall have one vote in the 2d. branch. Every thing he said depended on this. The smaller States would never agree to the plan on any other principle than an equality of suffrage in this branch. Mr. Elsworth seconded the motion. On the question for allowing each State one vote in the 2d. branch.
Massts. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--5; noes--6.]
Mr. Wilson & Mr. Hamilton moved that the right of suffrage in the 2d. branch ought to be according to the same rule as in the 1st. branch.
On this question for making the ratio of representation the same in the 2d. as in the 1st. branch it passed in the affirmative: Massts. ay. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--6; noes--5.]
[1:218; Madison, 12 June]
Mr. Spaight moved to fill the blank for the duration of the appointmts. to the 2d branch of the National Legislature with the words "7 years.
Mr. Sherman thought 7 years too long. He grounded his opposition he said on the principle that if they did their duty well, they would be reelected. And if they acted amiss, an earlier opportunity should be allowed for getting rid of them. He preferred 5 years which wd. be between the terms of 1st branch & of the executive
Mr. Pierce proposed 3 years. 7 years would raise an alarm. Great mischiefs had arisen in England from their septennial act which was reprobated by most of their patriotic Statesmen.
Mr. Randolph was for the term of 7 years. The Democratic licentiousness of the State Legislatures proved the necessity of a firm Senate. The object of this 2d. branch is to controul the democratic branch of the Natl. Legislature. If it be not a firm body, the other branch being more numerous, and coming immediately from the people, will overwhelm it. The Senate of Maryland constituted on like principles had been scarcely able to stem the popular torrent. No mischief can be apprehended, as the concurrence of the other branch, and in some measure, of the Executive, will in all cases be necessary. A firmness & independence may be the more necessary also in this branch, as it ought to guard the Constitution agst. encroachments of the Executive who will be apt to form combinations with the demagogues of the popular branch.
Mr. Madison, considered 7 years as a term by no means too long. What we wished was to give to the Govt. that stability which was every where called for, and which the enemies of the Republican form alleged to be inconsistent with its nature. He was not afraid of giving too much stability by the term of seven years. His fear was that the popular branch would still be too great an overmatch for it. It was to be much lamented that we had so little direct experience to guide us. The Constitution of Maryland was the only one that bore any analogy to this part of the plan. In no instance had the Senate of Maryd. created just suspicions of danger from it. In some instances perhaps it may have erred by yielding to the H. of Delegates. In every instance of their opposition to the measures of the H. of. D. they had had with them the suffrages of the most enlightened and impartial people of the other States as well as of their own. In the States where the Senates were chosen in the same manner as the other branches, of the Legislature, and held their seats for 4 years, the institution was found to be no check whatever agst. the instabilities of the other branches. He conceived it to be of great importance that a stable & firm Govt. organized in the republican form should be held out to the people. If this be not done, and the people be left to judge of this species of Govt. by ye. operations of the defective systems under which they now live, it is much to be feared the time is not distant when, in universal disgust, they will renounce the blessing which they have purchased at so dear a rate, and be ready for any change that may be proposed to them.
On the question for "seven years", as the term for the 2d. branch
Massts. divided. (Mr. King. Mr. Ghorum ay--Mr. Gerry, Mr. Strong, no.) Cont. no. N. Y. divd. N. J. ay. Pa. ay Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--8; noes--1; divided--2.]
[1:235; Report of the Committee of the Whole, Madison, 13 June]
4. Resd. that the members of the second branch of the Natl. Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures, to be of the age of 30 years at least, to hold thier offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency, namely, seven years, to receive fixed stipends by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service to be paid out of the National Treasury; to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the U. States, (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch) during the term of service, and under the Natl. Govt. for the space of one year after its expiration.
. . . . .
8. Resolved that the right of suffrage in the 2d. branch of the National Legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first.
[1:289, 291; Madison, 18 June]
[Hamilton:] No temporary Senate will have firmness en'o' to answer the purpose. The Senate (of Maryland) which seems to be so much appealed to, has not yet been sufficiently tried. Had the people been unanimous & eager, in the late appeal to them on the subject of a paper emission they would have yielded to the torrent. Their acquiescing in such an appeal is a proof of it.--Gentlemen differ in their opinions concerning the necessary checks, from the different estimates they form of the human passions. They suppose Seven years a sufficient period to give the Senate an adequate firmness, from not duly considering the amazing violence & turbulence of the democratic spirit. When a great object of Govt. is pursued, which seizes the popular passions, they spread like wild fire, and become irresistable. He appealed to the gentlemen from the N. England States whether experience had not there verified the remark.
. . . . .
III. The Senate to consist of persons elected to serve during good behaviour; their election to be made by electors chosen for that purpose by the people: in order to this the States to be divided into election districts. On the death, removal or resignation of any Senator his place to be filled out of the district from which he came.
[1:300; Yates, 18 June]
[Hamilton:]--(Here Mr. H. produced his plan, a copy whereof is hereunto annexed) to consist of two branches--and I would give them the unlimited power of passing all laws without exception. The assembly to be elected for three years by the people in districts--the senate to be elected by electors to be chosen for that purpose by the people, and to remain in office during life.
[1:309; Hamilton, 18 June]
The aristocracy ought to be entirely separated; their power should be permanent, and they should have the caritas liberorum.
They should be so circumstanced that they can have no interest in a change--as to have an effectual weight in the constitution.
Their duration should be the earnest of wisdom and stability.
'Tis essential there should be a permanent will in a community.
Vox populi, vox Dei.
Source of government--the unreasonableness of the people--separate interests--debtors and creditors, &c.
There ought to be a principle in government capable of resisting the popular current.
No periodical duration will come up to this.
This will always imply hopes and fears.
Creature and Creator.
Popular assemblies governed by a few individuals.
These individuals seeing their dissolution approach, will sacrifice.
The principle of representation will influence.
The most popular branch will acquire an influence over the other.
The other may check in ordinary cases, in which there is no strong public passion; but it will not in cases where there is--the cases in which such a principle is most necessary.
Suppose duration seven years, and rotation.
One-seventh will have only one year to serve.
One-seventh two years.
One-seventh three years.
One-seventh four years.
A majority will look to a dissolution in four years by instalments.
[1:404; Madison, 25 June]
[Charles Pinckney:] No position appears to me more true than this; that the General Govt. can not effectually exist without reserving to the States the possession of their local rights.--They are the instruments upon which the Union must frequently depend for the support & execution of their powers, however immediately operating upon the people, and not upon the States.
Much has been said about the propriety of abolishing the distinction of State Governments, & having but one general System. Suffer me for a moment to examine this question.
(The residue of this speech was not furnished) like the above by Mr. Pinckeney.
The mode of constituting the 2d. branch being under consideration
The word "national" was struck out and "United States" inserted.
Mr. Ghorum, inclined to a compromise as to the rule of proportion. He thought there was some weight in the objections of the small States. If Va. should have 16 votes & Delre. with several other States together 16. those from Virga. would be more likely to unite than the others, and would therefore have an undue influence. This remark was applicable not only to States, but to Counties or other districts of the same State. Accordingly the Constitution of Massts. had provided that the representatives of the larger districts should not be in an exact ratio to their numbers. And experience he thought had shewn the provision to be expedient.
Mr. Read. The States have heretofore been in a sort of partnership. They ought to adjust their old affairs before they open a new account. He brought into view the appropriation of the common interest in the Western lands, to the use of particular States. Let justice be done on this head; let the fund be applied fairly & equally to the discharge of the general debt, and the smaller States who had been injured would listen then perhaps to those ideas of just representation which had been held out.
Mr. Ghorum. did not see how the Convention could interpose in the case. Errors he allowed had been committed on the Subject. But Congs. were now using their endeavors to rectify them. The best remedy would be such a Government as would have vigor enough to do justice throughout. This was certainly the best chance that could be afforded to the smaller States.
Mr. Wilson. the question is shall the members of the 2d. branch be chosen by the Legislatures of the States? When he considered the amazing extent of country--the immense population which is to fill it, the influence which the Govt. we are to form will have, not only on the present generation of our people & their multiplied posterity, but on the whole Globe, he was lost in the magnitude of the object. The project of Henry the 4th. & his Statesmen was but the picture in miniature of the great portrait to be exhibited. He was opposed to an election by the State Legislatures. In explaining his reasons it was necessary to observe the twofold relation in which the people would stand. 1. as Citizens of the Gen'l Gov't. 2. as Citizens of their particular State. The Genl. Govt. was meant for them in the first capacity; the State Govts. in the second. Both Govts. were derived from the people--both meant for the people--both therefore ought to be regulated on the same principles. The same train of ideas which belonged to the relation of the Citizens to their State Govts. were applicable to their relations to the Genl. Govt. and in forming the latter, we ought to proceed, by abstracting as much as possible from the idea of State Govts. With respect to the province & objects of the Gen'l Govt. they should be considered as having no existence. The election of the 2d. branch by the Legislatures, will introduce & cherish local interests & local prejudices. The Genl. Govt. is not an assemblage of States, but of individuals for certain political purposes--it is not meant for the States, but for the individuals composing them: the individuals therefore not the States, ought to be represented in it: A proportion in this representation can be preserved in the 2d. as well as in the 1st. branch; and the election can be made by electors chosen by the people for that purpose. He moved an amendment to that effect, which was not seconded.
Mr. Elseworth saw no reason for departing from the mode contained in the Report. Whoever chooses the member, he will be a citizen of the State he is to represent & will feel the same spirit and act the same part whether he be appointed by the people or the Legislature. Every State has its particular views & prejudices, which will find their way into the general councils, through whatever channel they may flow. Wisdom was one of the characteristics which it was in contemplation to give the second branch. Would not more of it issue from the Legislatures; than from an immediate election by the people. He urged the necessity of maintaining the existence & agency of the States. Without their co-operation it would be impossible to support a Republican Govt. over so great an extent of Country. An army could scarcely render it practicable. The largest States are the Worst Governed. Virga. is obliged to acknowledge her incapacity to extend her Govt. to Kentucky. Masts can not keep the peace one hundred miles from her capitol and is now forming an army for its support. How long Pena. may be free from a like situation can not be foreseen. If the principles & materials of our Govt. are not adequate to the extent of these single States; how can it be imagined that they can support a single Govt. throughout the U. States. The only chance of supporting a Genl. Govt. lies in engrafting it on that of the individual States.
Docr. Johnson urged the necessity of preserving the State Govts--which would be at the mercy of the Genl. Govt. on Mr. Wilson's plan.
Mr. Madison thought it wd. obviate difficulty if the present resol: were postponed. & the 8th. taken up. which is to fix the right of suffrage in the 2d. branch.
Docr. Williamson professed himself a friend to such a system as would secure the existence of the State Govts. The happiness of the people depended on it. He was at a loss to give his vote, as to the Senate until he knew the number of its members. In order to ascertain this, he moved to insert these words after "2d. branch of Natl. Legislature"--"who shall bear such proportion to the nol of the 1st. branch as 1 to " He was not seconded.
Mr. Mason. It has been agreed on all hands that an efficient Govt. is necessary that to render it such it ought to have the faculty of self-defence, that to render its different branches effectual each of them ought to have the same power of self defence. He did not wonder that such an agreement should have prevailed in these points. He only wondered that there should be any disagreement about the necessity of allowing the State Govts. the same self-defence. If they are to be preserved as he conceived to be essential, they certainly ought to have this power, and the only mode left of giving it to them, was by allowing them to appoint the 2d. branch of the Natl. Legislature.
Mr. Butler observing that we were put to difficulties at every step by the uncertainty whether an equality or a ratio of representation wd. prevail finally in the 2d. branch. moved to postpone the 4th. Resol: & to proceed to the Resol: on that point. Mr. Madison seconded him.
On the question
Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. ay. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--4; noes--7.]
On a question to postpone the 4 and take up the 7. Resol: Ays--Mard. Va. N. C. S. C. Geo.--Noes. Mas. Ct. N. Y. N. J. Pa. Del:
On the question to agree "that the members of 2d. branch be chosen by the indivl. Legislatures"
Masts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--9; noes--2.]
On a question on the clause requiring the age of 30 years at least"--it was agreed to unanimously:
On a question to strike out--the words "sufficient to ensure their independency" after the word "tmer" it was agreed to.
That the 2d. branch hold their offices for term of seven years", considered.
Mr. Ghorum suggests a term of "4 years", 1/4 to be elected every year.
Mr. Randolph. supported the idea of rotation, as favorable to the wisdom & stability of the Corps. which might possibly be always sitting, and aiding the executive. And moves after "7 years" to add, "to go out in fixt proportion" which was agreed to.
Mr Williamson. suggests "6 years," as more convenient for Rotation than 7 years.
Mr Sherman seconds him.
Mr Reed proposed that they sd. hold their offices "during good" behaviour. Mr. R. Morris seconds him.
Genl. Pinkney proposed "4 years". A longer term wd. fix them at the seat of Govt. They wd. acquire an interest there, perhaps transfer their property & lose sight of the States they represent. Under these circumstances the distant States wd. labour under great disadvantages.
Mr. Sherman moved to strike out "7 years" in order to take questions on the several propositions. On the question to strike out "seven"
Masts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. divd. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--7; noes--3; divided--1.]
On the question to insert "6 years, which failed 5 Sts. being ay. 5. no. & 1: divided.
Masts. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no.
On a motion to adjourn, the votes were 5 for 5 agst. it & 1 divided.--Con. N. J. Pa.--Del. Va.--ay--Masts. N. Y. N. C. S. C. Geo: no. Maryd. divided.
On the question for "5 years" it was lost
Masts. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. No. Geo. No. [Ayes--5; noes--5; divided--1.]
[1:421; Madison, 26 June]
The duration of the 2d. branch under consideration.
Mr. Ghorum moved to fill the blank with "six years". one third of the members to go out every second year.
Mr Wilson 2ded. the motion.
Genl. Pinkney opposed six years in favor of four years. The States he said had different interests. Those of the Southern, and of S. Carolina in particular were different from the Northern. If the Senators should be appointed for a long term, they wd. settle in the State where they exercised their functions; and would in a little time be rather the representatives of that than of the State appoint'g them.
Mr. Read movd. that the term be nine years. This wd. admit of a very convenient rotation, one third going out triennially. He wd. still prefer "during good behaviour," but being little supported in that idea, he was willing to take the longest term that could be obtained.
Mr. Broome 2ded. the motion
Mr. Madison. In order to judge of the form to be given to this institution, it will be proper to take a view of the ends to be served by it. These were first to protect the people agst. their rulers: secondly to protect the people agst. the transient impressions into which they themselves might be led. A people deliberating in a temperate moment, and with the experience of other nations before them, on the plan of Govt. most likely to secure their happiness, would first be aware, that those chargd. with the public happiness, might betray their trust. An obvious precaution agst. this danger wd. be to divide the trust between different bodies of men, who might watch & check each other. In this they wd. be governed by the same prudence which has prevailed in organizing the subordinate departments of Govt. where all business liable to abuses is made to pass thro' separate hands, the one being a check on the other. It wd. next occur to such a people, that they themselves were liable to temporary errors, thro' want of information as to their true interest, and that men chosen for a short term, & employed but a small portion of that in public affairs, might err from the same cause. This reflection wd. naturally suggest that the Govt. be so constituted, as that one of its branches might have an oppy. of acquiring a competent knowledge of the public interests. Another reflection equally becoming a people on such an occasion, wd. be that they themselves, as well as a numerous body of Representatives, were liable to err also, from fickleness and passion. A necessary fence agst. this danger would be to select a portion of enlightened citizens, whose limited number, and firmness might seasonably interpose agst. impetuous counsels. It ought finally to occur to a people deliberating on a Govt. for themselves, that as different interests necessarily result from the liberty meant to be secured, the major interest might under sudden impulses be tempted to commit injustice on the minority. In all civilized Countries the people fall into different classes havg. a real or supposed difference of interests. There will be creditors & debtors, farmers, merchts. & manufacturers. There will be particularly the distinction of rich & poor. It was true as had been observd. (by Mr Pinkney) we had not among us those hereditary distinctions, of rank which were a great source of the contests in the ancient Govts. as well as the modern States of Europe, nor those extremes of wealth or poverty which characterize the latter. We cannot however be regarded even at this time, as one homogeneous mass, in which every thing that affects a part will affect in the same manner the whole. In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we shd. not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. An increase of population will of necessity increase the proportion of those who will labour under all the hardships of life, & secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this Country, but symptoms of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarters to give notice of the future danger. How is this danger to be guarded agst. on republican principles? How is the danger in all cases of interested co-alitions to oppress the minority to be guarded agst.? Among other means by the establishment of a body in the Govt. sufficiently respectable for its wisdom & virtue, to aid on such emergencies, the preponderance of justice by throwing its weight into that scale. Such being the objects of the second branch in the proposed Govt. he thought a considerable duration ought to be given to it. He did not conceive that the term of nine years could threaten any real danger; but in pursuing his particular ideas on the subject, he should require that the long term allowed to the 2d. branch should not commence till such a period of life as would render a perpetual disqualification to be re-elected little inconvenient either in a public or private view. He observed that as it was more than probable we were now digesting a plan which in its operation wd. decide forever the fate of Republican Govt we ought not only to provide every guard to liberty that its preservation cd. require, but be equally careful to supply the defects which our own experience had particularly pointed out.
Mr. Sherman. Govt. is instituted for those who live under it. It ought therefore to be so constituted as not to be dangerous to their liberties. The more permanency it has the worse if it be a bad Govt. Frequent elections are necessary to preserve the good behavior of rulers. They also tend to give permanency to the Government, by preserving that good behavior, because it ensures their re-election. In Connecticut elections have been very frequent, yet great stability & uniformity both as to persons & measures have been experienced from its original establishmt. to the present time; a period of more than 130 years. He wished to have provision made for steadiness & wisdom in the system to be adopted; but he thought six or four years would be sufficient. He shd. be content with either.
Mr. Read wished it to be considered by the small States that it was their interest that we should become one people as much as possible, that State attachments shd. be extinguished as much as possible, that the Senate shd. be so constituted as to have the feelings of citizens of the whole.
Mr. Hamilton. He did not mean to enter particularly into the subject. He concurred with Mr. Madison in thinking we were now to decide for ever the fate of Republican Government; and that if we did not give to that form due stability and wisdom, it would be disgraced & lost among ourselves, disgraced & lost to mankind for ever. He acknowledged himself not to think favorably of Republican Government; but addressed his remarks to those who did think favorably of it, in order to prevail on them to tone their Government as high as possible. He professed himself to be as zealous an advocate for liberty as any man whatever, and trusted he should be as willing a martyr to it though he differed as to the form in which it was most eligible.--He concurred also in the general observations of (Mr. Madison) on the subject, which might be supported by others if it were necessary. It was certainly true that nothing like an equality of property existed: that an inequality would exist as long as liberty existed, and that it would unavoidably result from that very liberty itself. This inequality of property constituted the great & fundamental distinction in Society. When the Tribunitial power had levelled the boundary between the patricians & plebians what followed? The distinction between rich & poor was substituted. He meant not however to enlarge on the subject. He rose principally to remark that (Mr. Sherman) seemed not to recollect that one branch of the proposed Govt. was so formed, as to render it particularly the guardians of the poorer orders of citizens; nor to have adverted to the true causes of the stability which had been exemplified in Cont. Under the British system as well as the federal, many of the great powers appertaining to Govt. particularly all those relating to foreign Nations were not in the hands of the Govt there. Their internal affairs also were extremely simple, owing to sundry causes many of which were peculiar to that Country. Of late the Governmt. had entirely given way to the people, and had in fact suspended many of its ordinary functions in order to prevent those turbulent scenes which had appeared elsewhere. He asks Mr S. whether the State at this time, dare impose & collect a tax on ye people? To those causes & not to the frequency of elections, the effect, as far as it existed ought to be chiefly ascribed.
Mr. Gerry. wished we could be united in our ideas concerning a permanent Govt. All aim at the same end, but there are great differences as to the means. One circumstance He thought should be carefully attended to. There were not 1/1000 part of our fellow citizens who were not agst. every approach towards Monarchy. Will they ever agree to a plan which seems to make such an approach. The Convention ought to be extremely cautious in what they hold out to the people. Whatever plan may be proposed will be espoused with warmth by many out of respect to the quarter it proceeds from as well as from an approbation of the plan itself. And if the plan should be of such a nature as to rouse a violent opposition, it is easy to foresee that discord & confusion will ensue, and it is even possible that we may become a prey to foreign powers. He did not deny the position of Mr. Madison that the majority will generally violate justice when they have an interest in so doing; But did not think there was any such temptation in this Country. Our situation was different from that of G. Britain: and the great body of lands yet to be parcelled out & settled would very much prolong the difference. Notwithstanding the symtoms of injustice which had marked many of our public Councils, they had not proceeded so far as not to leave hopes, that there would be a sufficient sense of justice & virtue for the purpose of Govt. He admitted the evils arising from a frequency of elections: and would agree to give the Senate a duration of four or five years. A longer term would defeat itself. It never would be adopted by the people.
Mr. Wilson did not mean to repeat what had fallen from others, but wd. add an observation or two which he believed had not yet been suggested. Every nation may be regarded in two relations 1 to its own citizens. 2 to foreign nations. It is therefore not only liable to anarchy & tyranny within but has wars to avoid & treaties to obtain from abroad. The Senate will probably be the depositary of the powers concerning the latter objects. It ought therefore to be made respectable in the eyes of foreign nations. The true reason why G. Britain has not yet listened to a commercial treaty with us has been, because she had no confidence in the stability of efficacy of our Government. 9 years with a rotation, will provide these desirable qualities; and give our Govt. an advantage in this respect over Monarchy itself. In a monarchy much must alway depend on the temper of the man. In such a body, the personal character will be lost in the political. He wd. add another observation. The popular objection agst. appointing any public body for a long term was that it might by gradual encroachments prolong itself first into a body for life, and finally become a hereditary one. It would be a satisfactory answer to this objection that as 1/3 would go out triennially, there would be always three divisions holding their places for unequal terms, and consequently acting under the influence of different views, and different impulses--On the question for 9 years. 1/3 to go out triennially
Massts no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--3; noes--8.]
On the question for 6 years 1/3 to go out biennially Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--7; noes--4.]
[1:468; Madison, 29 June]
Mr. Elseworth moved that the rule of suffrage in the 2d. branch be the same with that established by the articles of confederation". He was not sorry on the whole he said that the vote just passed, had determined against this rule in the first branch. He hoped it would become a ground of compromise with regard to the 2d. branch. We were partly national; partly federal. The proportional representation in the first branch was conformable to the national principle & would secure the large States agst. the small. An equality of voices was conformable to the federal principle and was necessary to secure the Small States agst. the large. He trusted that on this middle ground a compromise would take place. He did not see that it could on any other. And if no compromise should take place, our meeting would not only be in vain but worse than in vain. To the Eastward he was sure Massts. was the only State that would listen to a proposition for excluding the States as equal political Societies, from an equal voice in both branches. The others would risk every consequence rather than part with so dear a right. An attempt to deprive them of it, was at once dutting the body of America in two, and as he supposed would be the case, somewhere about this part of it. The large States he conceived would notwithstanding the equality of votes, have an influence that would maintain their superiority. Holland, as had been admitted (by Mr. Madison) had, notwithstanding a like equality in the Dutch Confederacy, a prevailing influence in the public measures. The power of self-defence was essential to the small States. Nature had given it to the smallest insect of the creation. He could never admit that there was no danger of combinations among the large States. They will like individuals find out and avail themselves of the advantage to be gained by it. It was true the danger would be greater, if they were contiguous and had a more immediate common interest. A defensive combination of the small States was rendered more difficult by their greater number. He would mention another consideration of great weight. The existing confederation was founded on the equality of the States in the article of suffrage: was it meant to pay no regard to this antecedent plighted faith. Let a strong Executive, a Judiciary & Legislative power be created; but Let not too much be attempted; by which all may be lost. He was not in general a half-way man, yet he preferred doing half the good we could, rather than do nothing at all. The other half may be added, when the necessity shall be more fully experienced.
Mr. Baldwin would have wished that the powers of the General Legislature had been defined, before the mode of constituting it had been agitated. He should vote against the motion of Mr. Elseworth, tho' he did not like the Resolution as it stood in the Report of the Committee of the whole. He thought the second branch ought to be the representation of property, and that in forming it therefore some reference ought to be had to the relative wealth of their Constituents, and to the principles on which the Senate of Massts. was constituted. He concurred with those who thought it wd. be impossible for the Genl. Legislature to extend its cares to the local matters of the States.
[1:474; Yates, 29 June]
[Ellsworth:] I now move the following amendment to the resolve--that in the second branch each state have an equal vote. I confess that the effect of this motion is, to make the general government partly federal and partly national. This will secure tranquility, and still make it efficient; and it will meet the objections of the larger states. In taxes they will have a proportional weight in the first branch of the general legislature--If the great states refuse this plan, we will be for ever separated. Even in the executive the larger states have ever had great influence.--The provinces of Holland ever had it. If all the states are to exist they must necessarily have an equal vote in the general government. Small communities when associating with greater, can only be supported by an equality of votes. I have always found in my reading and experience, that in all societies the governors are ever gradually rising into power.
The large states, although they may not have a common interest for combination, yet they may be partially attached to each other for mutual support and advancement. This can be more easily effected than the union of the remaining small states to check it; and ought we not to regard antecedent plighted faith to the confederation already entered into, and by the terms of it declared to be perpetual? And it is not yet obvious to me that the states will depart from this ground. When in the hour of common danger we united as equals, shall it now be urged by some that we must depart from this principle when the danger is over? Will the world say that this is just? We then associated as free and independent states, and were well satisfied--To perpetuate that independence, I wish to establish a national legislature, executive and judiciary, for under these we shall I doubt not preserve peace and harmony--nor should I be surprised (although we made the general government the most perfect in our opinion,) that it should hereafter require amendment--But at present this is as far as I possibly can go--If this convention only chalk out lines of a good government we shall do well.
Mr. Baldwin. It appears to be agreed that the government we should adopt ought to be energetic and formidable, yet I would guard against the danger of becoming too formidable. The second branch ought not to be elected as the first. Suppose we take the example of the constitution of Massachusetts, as it is commended for its goodness: There the first branch represents the people, and the second its property.
Mr. Madison. I would always exclude inconsistent principles in framing a system of government. The difficulty of getting its defects amended are great and sometimes insurmountable. The Virginia state government was the first which was made, and though its defects are evident to every person, we cannot get it amended. The Dutch have made four several attempts to amend their system without success. The few alterations made in it were by tumult and faction, and for the worse. If there was real danger, I would give the smaller states the defensive weapons--But there is none from that quarter. The great danger to our general government is the great southern and northern interests of the continent, being opposed to each other. Look to the votes in congress, and most of them stand divided by the geography of the country, not according to the size of the states.
Suppose the first branch granted money, may not the second branch, from state views, counteract the first? In congress, the single state of Delaware prevented an embargo, at the time that all the other states thought it absolutely necessary for the support of the army. Other powers, and those very essential, besides the legislative, will be given to the second branch--such as the negativing all state laws. I would compromise on this question, if I could do it on correct principles, but otherwise not--if the old fabric of the confederation must be the ground-work of the new, we must fail.
[1:482; Madison, 30 June]
The motion of Mr. Elseworth resumed for allowing each State an equal vote in ye 2d branch
Mr. Wilson did not expect such a motion after the establishment of ye. contrary principle in the 1st. branch; and considering the reasons which would oppose it, even if an equal vote had been allowed in the 1st. branch. The Gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Elseworth) had pronounced that if the motion should not be acceded to, of all the States North of Pena. one only would agree to any Genl. Government. He entertained more favorable hopes of Connt. and of the other Northern States. He hoped the alarms exceeded their cause, and that they would not abandon a Country to which they were bound by so many strong and endearing ties. But should the deplored event happen, it would neither stagger his sentiments nor his duty. If the minority of the people of America refuse to coalesce with the majority on just and proper principles, if a separation must take place, it could never happen on better grounds. The votes of yesterday agst. the just principle of representation, were as 22 to 90 of the people of America. Taking the opinions to be the same on this point, and he was sure if there was any room for change it could not be on the side of the majority, the question will be shall less than 1/4 of the U. States withdraw themselves from the Union, or shall more than 3/4 renounce the inherent, indisputable, and unalienable rights of men, in favor of the artificial systems of States. If issue must be joined, it was on this point he would chuse to join it, The gentleman from Connecticut in supposing that the prepondenancy secured to the majority in the 1st. branch had removed the objections to an equality of votes in the 2d. branch for the security of the minority narrowed the case extremely. Such an equality will enable the minority to controul in all cases whatsoever, the sentiments and interests of the majority. Seven States will controul six: seven States according to the estimates that had been used, composed 24/90. of the whole people. It would be in the power then of less than 1/2 to overrule 2/3 whenever a question should happen to divide the States in that manner. Can we forget for whom we are forming a Government? Is it for men, or for the imaginary beings called States? Will our honest Constituents be satisfied with metaphysical distinctions? Will they, ought they to be satisfied with being told that the one third, compose the greater number of states. The rule of suffrage ought on every principle to be the same in the 2d. as in the 1st. branch. If the Government be not laid on this foundation, it can be neither solid nor lasting, any other principle will be local, confined & temporary. This will expand with the expansion, and grow with the growth of the U. States.--Much has been said of an imaginary combination of three States. Sometimes a danger of monarchy, sometimes of aristocracy has been charged on it. No explanation however of the danger has been vouchsafed. It would be easy to prove both from reason & history that rivalships would be more probable than coalitions; and that there are no coinciding interests that could produce the latter. No answer has yet been given to the observations of (Mr. Madison) on this subject. Should the Executive Magistrate be taken from one of the large States would not the other two be thereby thrown into the scale with the other States? Whence then the danger of monarchy? Are the people of the three large States more aristocratic than those of the small ones? Whence then the danger of aristocracy from their influence? It is all a mere illusion of names. We talk of States, till we forget what they are composed of. Is a real & fair majority, the natural hot-bed of aristocracy? It is a part of the definition of this species of Govt. or rather of tyranny, that the smaller number governs the greater. It is true that a majority of States in the 2d. branch can not carry a law agst. a majority of the people in the 1st. But this removes half only of the objection. Bad Governts. are of two sorts. 1. that which does too little. 2. that which does too much: that which fails thro' weakness; and that which destroys thro' oppression. Under which of these evils do the U. States at present groan? under the weakness and inefficiency of its Governt. To remedy this weakness we have been sent to this Convention. If the motion should be agreed to, we shall leave the U. S. fettered precisely as heretofore; with the additional mortification of seeing the good purposes of ye fair representation of the people in the 1st. branch, defeated in 2d. Twenty four will still controul sixty six. He lamented that such a disagreement should prevail on the point of representation, as he did not foresee that it would happen on the other point most contested, the boundary between the Genl. & the local authorities. He thought the States necessary & valuable parts of a good system.
Mr. Elseworth. The capital objection of Mr. Wilson "that the minority will rule the majority" is not true. The power is given to the few to save them from being destroyed by the many. If an equality of votes had been given to them in both branches, the objection might have had weight. Is it a novel thing that the few should have a check on the many? Is it not the case in the British Constitution the wisdom of which so many gentlemen have united in applauding? Have not the House of Lords, who form so small a proportion of the nation a negative on the laws, as a necessary defence of their peculiar rights agst the encroachmts of the Commons. No instance of a Confederacy has existed in which an equality of voices has not been exercised by the members of it. We are running from one extreme to another. We are razing the foundations of the building. When we need only repair the roof. No salutary measure has been lost for want of a majority of the States, to favor it. If security be all that the great States wish for the 1st. branch secures them. The danger of combinations among them is not imaginary. Altho' no particular abuses could be foreseen by him, the possibility of them would be sufficient to alarm him. But he could easily conceive cases in which they might result from such combinations. Suppose that in pursuance of some commercial treaty or arrangement, three or four free ports & no more were to be established would not combinations be formed in favor of Boston, Philada. & & some port in Chesapeak? A like concert might be formed in the appointment of the great officers. He appealed again to the obligations of the federal pact which was still in force, and which had been entered into with so much solemnity, persuading himself that some regard would still be paid to the plighted faith under which each State small as well as great, held an equal right of suffrage in the general Councils. His remarks were not the result of partial or local views. The State he represented (Connecticut) held a middle rank.
Mr. Madison. did justice to the able and close reasoning of Mr. E. but must observe that it did not always accord with itself. On another occasion, the large States were described by him as the Aristocratic States, ready to oppress the small. Now the small are the House of Lords requiring a negative to defend them agst the more numerous Commons. Mr. E. had also erred in saying that no instance had existed in which confederated States had not retained to themselves a perfect equality of suffrage. Passing over the German system in which the K. of Prussia has nine voices, he reminded Mr. E. of the Lycian confederacy, in which the component members had votes proportioned to their importance, and which Montesquieu recommends as the fittest model for that form of Government. Had the fact been as stated by Mr. E. it would have been of little avail to him, or rather would have strengthened the arguments agst. him; The History & fate of the several Confederacies modern as well as Antient, demonstrating some radical vice in their structure. In reply to the appeal of Mr. E. to the faith plighted in the existing federal compact, he remarked that the party claiming from others an adherence to a common engagement ought at least to be guiltless itself of a violation. Of all the States however Connecticut was perhaps least able to urge this plea. Besides the various omissions to perform the stipulated acts from which no State was free, the Legislature of that State had by a pretty recent vote positively refused to pass a law for complying with the Requisitions of Congs. and had transmitted a copy of the vote to Congs. It was urged, he said, continually that an equality of votes in the 2d. branch was not only necessary to secure the small, but would be perfectly safe to the large ones whose majority in the 1st. branch was an effectual bulwark. But notwithstanding this apparent defence, the Majority of States might still injure the majority of people. 1. they could obstruct the wishes and interests of the majority. 2. they could extort measures, repugnant to the wishes & interest of the majority. 3. They could impose measures adverse thereto; as the 2d branch will probly exercise some great powers, in which the 1st will not participate. He admitted that every peculiar interest whether in any class of citizens, or any description of States, ought to be secured as far as possible. Wherever there is danger of attack there ought be given a consitutional power of defence. But he contended that the States were divided into different interests not by their difference of size, but by other circumstances; the most material of which resulted partly from climate, but principally from the effects of their having or not having slaves. These two causes concurred in forming the great division of interests in the U. States. It did not lie between the large & small States: it lay between the Northern & Southern. and if any defensive power were necessary, it ought to be mutually given to these two interests. He was so strongly impressed with this important truth that he had been casting about in his mind for some expedient that would answer the purpose. The one which had occurred was that instead of proportioning the votes of the States in both branches, to their respective numbers of inhabitants computing the slaves in the ratio of 5 to 3. they should be represented in one branch according to the number of free inhabitants only; and in the other according to the whole no. counting the slaves as if free. By this arrangement the Southern Scale would have the advantage in one House, and the Northern in the other. He had been restrained from proposing this expedient by two considerations; one was his unwillingness to urge any diversity of interests on an occasion when it is but too apt to arise of itself--the other was the inequality of powers that must be vested in the two branches, and which wd. destroy the equilibrium of interests.
Mr. Elseworth assured the House that whatever might be thought of the Representatives of Connecticut the State was entirely federal in her disposition. He appealed to her great exertions during the War, in supplying both men & money. The muster rolls would show she had more troops in the field than Virga. If she had been delinquent, it had been from inability, and not more so than other States.
Mr. Sherman. Mr. Madison had animadverted on the delinquency of the States, when his object required him to prove that the Constitution of Congs. was faulty. Congs. is not to blame for the faults of the States. Their measures have been right, and the only thing wanting has been, a further power in Congs. to render them effectual.
Mr. Davy was much embarrassed and wished for explanations. The Report of the Committee allowing the Legislatures to choose the Senate, and establishing a proportional representation in it, seemed to be impracticable. There will according to this rule be ninety members in the outset, and the number will increase as new States are added. It was impossible that so numerous a body could possess the activity and other qualities required in it. Were he to vote on the comparative merits of the report as it stood, and the amendment, he should be constrained to prefer the latter. The appointment of the Senate by electors chosen by the people for that purpose was he conceived liable to an insuperable difficulty. The larger Counties or districts thrown into a general district, would certainly prevail over the smaller Counties or districts, and merit in the latter would be excluded altogether. The report therefore seemed to be right in referring the appointment to the Legislatures, whose agency in the general System did not appear to him objectionable as it did to some others. The fact was that the local prejudices & interests which could not be denied to exist, would find their way into the national Councils whether the Representatives should be chosen by the Legislatures or by the people themselves. On the other hand, if a proportional representation was attended with insuperable difficulties, the making the Senate the Representative of the States, looked like bringing us back to Congs. again, and shutting out all the advantages expected from it. Under this view of the subject he could not vote for any plan for the Senate yet proposed. He thought that in general there were extremes on both sides. We were partly federal, partly national in our Union. And he did not see why the Govt. might not in some respects operate on the States, in others on the people.
Mr Wilson admitted the question concerning the number of Senators, to be embarrassing. If the smallest States be allowed one, and the others in proportion, the Senate will certainly be too numerous. He looked forward to the time when the smallest States will contain 100,000 souls at least. Let there be then one Senator in each for every 100,000 souls, and let the States not having that no. of inhabitants be allowed one. He was willing himself to submit to this temporary concession to the small States: and threw out the idea as a ground of compromise.
Docr. Franklin The diversity of opinions turns on two points. If a proportional representation takes place, the small States contend that their liberties will be in danger. If an equality of votes is to be put in its place, the large States say their money will be in danger. When a broad table is to be made, and the edges of planks do not fit the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint. In like manner here both sides must part with some of their demands, in order that they may join in some accomodating proposition. He had prepared one which he would read, that it might lie on the table for consideration. The proposition was in the words following"
"That the Legislatures of the several States shall choose & send an equal number of Delegates, namely who are to compose the 2d. branch of the General Legislature--
That in all cases or questions wherein the Sovereignty of individual States may be affected, or whereby their authority over their own Citizens may be diminished, or the authority of the General Government within the several States augmented, each State shall have equal suffrage.
That in the appointment of all Civil Officers of ye. Genl. Govt. in the election of whom the 2d. branch may by the Constitution have part, each State shall have equal suffrage.
That in fixing the salaries of such officers, and in all allowances for public services, and generally in all appropriations & dispositions of money to be drawn out of the General Treasury; and in all laws for supplying that Treasury, the Delegates of the several States shall have suffrage in proportion to the Sums which their respective States do actually contribute to the treasury "Where a ship had many owners this was the rule of deciding on her expedition. He had been one of the ministers from this Country to France during the joint war and wd. have been very glad if allowed a vote in distributing the money to carry it on."
Mr. King observed that the simple question was whether each State should have an equal vote in the 2d. branch; that it must be apparent to those gentlemen who liked neither the motion for this equality, nor the report as it stood, that the report was as susceptible of melioration as the motion; that a reform would be nugatory & nominal only if we should make another Congress of the proposed Senate: that if the adherence to an equality of votes was fixed & unalterable, there could not be less obstinacy on the other side, & that we were in fact cut insunder already, and it was in vain to shut our eyes against it: that he was however filled with astonishment that if we were convinced that every man in America was secured in all his rights, we should be ready to sacrifice this substantial good to the phantom of State sovereignty: that his feelings were more harrowed & his fears more agitated for his Country than he could express, that he conceived this to be the last opportunity of providing for its liberty & happiness: that he could not therefore but repeat his amazement that when a just Governt. founded on a fair representation of the people of America was within our reach, we should renounce the blessing, from an attachment to the ideal freedom & importance of States: that should this wonderful illusion continue to prevail, his mind was prepared for every event, rather than sit down under a Govt. founded in a vicious principle of representation and which must be as shortlived as it would be unjust. He might prevail on himself to accede to some such expedient as had been hinted by Mr. Wilson: but he never could listen to an equality of votes as proposed in the motion.
Mr. Dayton. When assertion is given for proof, and terror substituted for argument, he presumed they would have no effect however eloquently spoken. It should have been shewn that the evils we have experienced have proceeded from the equality now objected to: and that the seeds of dissolution for the State Governments are not sown in the Genl. Government. He considered the system on the table as a novelty, an amphibious monster; and was persuaded that it never would be recd. by the people.
Mr. Martin wd. never confederate if it could not be done on just principles
Mr Madison would acquiesce in the concession hinted by Mr. Wilson, on condition that a due independence should be given to the Senate. The plan in its present shape makes the Senate absolutely dependent on the States. The Senate therefore is only another edition of Congs. He knew the faults of that Body & had used a bold language agst. it. Still he wd. preserve the State rights, as carefully as the trials by jury.
Mr. Bedford, contended that there was no middle way between a perfect consolidation and a mere confederacy of the States. The first is out of the question, and in the latter they must continue if not perfectly, yet equally soverign. If political Societies possess ambition avarice, and all the other passions which render them formidable to each other, ought we not to view them in this light here? Will not the same motives operate in America as elsewhere? If any gentleman doubts it let him look at the votes. Have they not been dictated by interest, by ambition? Are not the large States evidently seeking to aggrandize themselves at the expense of the small? They think no doubt that they have right on their side, but interest had blinded their eyes. Look at Georgia. Though a small State at present, she is actuated by the prospect of soon being a great one. S. Carolina is actuated both by present interest & future prospects. She hopes too to see the other States cut down to her own dimensions. N. Carolina has the same motives of present & future interest. Virga. follows. Maryd. is not on that side of the Question. Pena. has a direct and future interest. Massts has a decided and palpable interest in the part she takes. Can it be expected that the small States will act from pure disinterestedness. Look at G. Britain. Is the Representation there less unequal? But we shall be told again that that is the rotten part of the Constitution. Have not the boroughs however held fast their constitutional rights? and are we to act with greater purity than the rest of mankind. An exact proportion in the Representation is not preserved in any one of the States. Will it be said that an inequality of power will not result from an inequality of votes. Give the opportunity, and ambition will not fail to abuse it. The whole history of mankind proves it. The three large States have a common interest to bind them together in commerce. But whether a combination as we suppose, or a competition as others suppose, shall take place among them, in either case, the smaller States must be ruined. We must like Solon make such a Governt. as the people will approve. Will the smaller States ever agree to the proposed degradation of them. It is not true that the people will not agree to enlarge the powers of the present Congs. The Language of the people has been that Congs. ought to have the power of collecting an impost, and of coercing the States when it may be necessary. On The first point they have been explicit & in a manner, unanimous in their declarations. And must they not agree to this & similar measures if they ever mean to discharge their engagements. The little States are willing to observe their engagements, but will meet the large ones on no ground but that of the Confederation. We have been told with a dictatorial air that this is the last moment for a fair trial in favor of a good Governmt. It will be the last indeed if the propositions reported from the Committee go forth to the people. He was under no apprehensions. The Large States dare not dissolve the confederation. If they do the small ones will find some foreign ally of more honor and good faith, who will take them by the hand and do them justice. He did not mean by this to intimidate or alarm. It was a natural consequence; which ought to be avoided by Enlarging the federal powers not annihilating the federal system. This is what the people expect. All agree in the necessity of a more efficient Govt. and why not make such an one; as they desire.
Mr. Elseworth,. Under a National Govt. he should participate in the National Security, as remarked by (Mr. King) but that was all. What he wanted was domestic happiness. The Natl. Govt. could not descend to the local objects on which this depended. It could only embrace objects of a general nature. He turned his eyes therefore for the preservation of his rights to the State Govts. From these alone he could derive the greatest happiness he expects in this life. His happiness depends on their existence, as much as a newborn infant on its mother for nourishment. If this reasoning was not satisfactory, he had nothing to add that could be so.
Mr. King was for preserving the States in a subordinate degree, and as far as they could be necessary for the purposes stated by Mr. Elsewth. He did not think a full answer had been given to those who apprehended a dangerous encroachment on their jurisdictions. Expedients might be devised as he conceived that would give them all the security the nature of things would admit of. In the establishment of Societies the Constitution was to the Legislature what the laws were to individuals. As the fundamental rights of individuals are secured by express provisions in the State Constitutions; why may not a like security be provided for the Rights of States in the National Constitution. The articles of Union between Engld. & Scotland furnish an example of such a provision in favor of sundry rights of Scotland. When that Union was in agitation, the same language of apprehension which has been heard from the smaller States, was in the mouths of the Scotch patriots. The articles however have not been violated and the Scotch have found an increase of prosperity & happiness. He was aware that this will be called a mere paper security. He thought it a sufficient answer to say that if fundamental articles of compact, are no sufficient defence against physical power, neither will there be any safety agst. it if there be no compact. He could not sit down, without taking some notice of the language of the honorable gentleman from Delaware (Mr Bedford). It was not he that had uttered a dictatorial language. This intemperance had marked the honorable gentleman himself. It was not he who with a vehemence unprecedented in that House, had declared himself ready to turn his hopes from our common Country, and court the protection of some foreign hand--This too was the language of the Honbl member, himself. He was grieved that such a thought had entered into his heart. He was more grieved that such an expression had dropped from his lips. The gentleman cd. only excuse it to himself on the score of passion. For himself whatever might be his distress, he wd. never court relief from a foreign power.
[1:510; Madison, 2 July]
On the question for allowing each State one vote in the Second branch as moved by Mr. Elseworth,
Massts. no. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Mr. Jenifer being not present Mr. Martin alone voted Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. divd. Mr. Houston no Mr Baldwin ay [Ayes--5; noes--5; divided--1.]
Mr. Pinkney thought an equality of votes in the 2d. branch inadmissable. At the same time candor obliged him to admit that the large States would feel a partiality for their own Citizens & give them a preference, in appointments: that they might also find some common points in their commercial interests, and promote treaties favorable to them. There is a real distinction the Northern & Southn. interests. N. Carola. S. Carol: & Geo. in their Rice & Indigo had a peculiar interest which might be sacrificed. How then shall the larger States be prevented from administering the Genl. Govt. as they please, without being themselves unduly subjected to the will of the smaller? By allowing them some but not a full proportion. He was extremely anxious that something should be done, considering this as the last appeal to a regular experiment. Congs. have failed in almost every effort for an amendment of the federal System. Nothing has prevented a dissolution of it, but the appointmt. of this Convention; & he could not express his alarms for the consequences of such an event. He read his motion to form the States into classes, with an apportionment of Senators among them, (see art. 4 of his plan.)
General Pinkney. was willing the motion might be considered. He did not entirely approve it. He liked better the motion of Dr. Franklin (which see Saturday June 30). Some compromise seemed to be necessary: the States being exactly divided on the question for an equality of votes in the 2d. branch. He proposed that a Committee consisting of a member from each State should be appointed to devise & report some compromise.
Mr: L. Martin had no objection to a Commitment, but no modifications whatever could reconcile the Smaller States to the least diminution of their equal Sovereignty.
Mr. Sharman. We are now at a full stop, and nobody he supposed meant that we shd. break up without doing something. A Committee he thought most likely to hit on some expedient.
Mr. Govr. Morris. thought a Come. advisable as the Convention had been equally divided. He had a stronger reason also. The mode of appointing the 2d. branch tended he was sure to defeat the object of it. What is this object? to check the precipitation, changeableness, and excesses of the first branch. Every man of observation had seen in the democratic branches of the State Legislatures, precipitation--in Congress changeableness. in every department excesses agst. personal liberty private property & personal safety. What qualities are necessary to constitute a check in this case? Abilities and virtue, are equally necessary in both branches. Something more then is wanted. 1. the Checking branch must have a personal interest in checking the other branch. one interest must be opposed to another interest. Vices as they exist, must be turned agst. each other. 2. It must have great personal property, it must have the aristocratic spirit; it must love to lord it thro' pride, pride is indeed the great principle that actuates both the poor & the rich. It is this principle which in the former resists, in the latter abuses authority. 3. It should be independent. In Religion the Creature is apt to forget its Creator. That it is otherwise in political affairs. The late debates here are an unhappy proof. The aristocratic body, should be as independent & as firm as the democratic. If the members of it are to revert to a dependence on the democratic choice. The democratic scale will preponderate. All the guards contrived by America have not restrained the Senatorial branches of the Legislatures from a servile complaisance to the democratic. If the 2d. branch is to be dependent we are better without it. To make it independent, it should be for life. It will then do wrong, it will be said. He believed so: He hoped so. The Rich will strive to establish their dominion & enslave the rest. They always did. They always will. The proper security agst them is to form them into a separate interest. The two forces will then controul each other. Let the rich mix with the poor and in a Commercial Country, they will establish an Oligarchy. Take away commerce, and the democracy will triumph. Thus it has been all the world over. So it will be among us. Reason tells us we are but men: and we are not to expect any particular interference of Heaven in our favor. By thus combining & setting apart, the aristocratic interest, the popular interest will be combined agst. it. There will be a mutual check and mutual security. 4. An independence for life, involves the necessary permanency. If we change our measures no body will trust us: and how avoid a change of measures, but by avoiding a change of men. Ask any man if he confides in Congs. if he confides in the State of Pena. if he will lend his money or enter into contract? He will tell you no. He sees no stability. He can repose no confidence. If G. B. were to explain her refusal to treat with us, the same reasoning would be employed.--He disliked the exclusion of the 2d. branch from holding offices. It is dangerous. It is like the imprudent exclusion of the military officers during the war, from civil appointments. It deprives the Executive of the principal source of influence. If danger be apprehended from the Executive what a lift-handed way is this of obviating it? If the son, the brother or the friend can be appointed, the danger may be even increased, as the disqualified father &c. can then boast of a disinterestedness which he does not possess. Besides shall the best, the most able, the most virtuous citizens not be permitted to hold offices? Who then are to hold them? He was also agst. paying the Senators. They will pay themselves if they can. If they can not they will be rich and can do without it. of such the 2d. branch ought to consist; and none but such can compose it if they are not to be paid--He contended that the Executive should appoint the Senate & fill up vacancies. This gets rid of the difficulty in the present question. You may begin with any ratio you please; it will come to the same thing. The members being independt. & for life, may be taken as well from one place as from another.--It should be considered too how the scheme could be carried through the States. He hoped there was strength of mind eno' in this House to look truth in the face. He did not hesitate therefore to say that loaves & fishes must bribe the Demagogues. They must be made to expect higher offices under the general than the State Govts. A Senate for life will be a noble bait. Without such captivating prospects, the popular leaders will oppose & defeat the plan. He perceived that the 1st. branch was to be chosen by the people of the States: the 2d. by those chosen by the people. Is not here a Govt. by the States. A Governt. by Compact between Virga. in the 1st. & 2d. branch; Massts. in the 1st & 2d. branch &c. This is going back to mere treaty. It is no Govt. at all. It is altogether dependent--on the States, and will act over again the part which Congs. has acted. A firm Governt. alone can protect our liberties. He fears the influence of the rich. They will have the same effect here as elsewhere if we do not by such a Govt. keep them within their proper sphere. We should remember that the people never act from reason alone. The rich will take advantage of their passions and make these the instruments for oppressing them. The Result of the Contest will be a violent aristocracy, or a more violent despotism. The schemes of the Rich will be favored by the extent of the Country. The people in such distant parts can not communicate & act in concert. They will be the dupes of those who have more Knowledge & intercourse. The only security agst. encroachments will be a select & sagacious body of men, instituted to watch agst. them on all sides. He meant only to hint these observations, without grounding any motion on them
Mr. Randolph favored the commitment though he did not expect much benefit from the expedient. He animadverted on the warm & rash language of Mr. Bedford on Saturday; reminded the small States that if the large States should combine some danger of which he did not deny there would be a check in the revisionary power of the Executive, and intimated that in order to render this still more effectual, he would agree that in the choice of the Executive each State should have an equal vote. He was persuaded that two such opposite bodies as Mr. Morris had planned could never long co-exist. Dissentions would arise as has been seen even between the Senate and H. of Delegates in Maryland, appeals would be made to the people; and in a little time commotions would be the result--He was far from thinking the large States could subsist of themselves any more than the small; an avulsion would involve the whole in ruin, and he was determined to pursue such a scheme of Government as would secure us agst. such a calamity.
Mr. Strong was for the Commitment; and hoped the mode of constituting both branches would be referred. If they should be established on different principles, contentions would prevail and there would never be a concurrence in necessary measures.
Docr. Williamson. If we do not concede on both sides, our business must soon be at an end. He approved of the commitment, supposing that as the Come. wd. be a smaller body, a compromise would be pursued with more coolness
Mr. Wilson objected to the Committee, because it would decide according to that very rule of voting which was opposed on one side. Experience in Congs. had also proved the inutility of Committees consisting of members from each State
Mr. Lansing wd. not oppose the Commitment, though expecting little advantage from it.
Mr. Madison opposed the commitment. He had rarely seen any other effect than delay from such Committees in Congs. Any scheme of compromise that could be proposed in the Committee might as easily be proposed in the House; and the report of the Committee when it contained merely the opinion of the Come. would neither shorten the discussion, nor influence the decision of the House.
Mr. Gerry was for the commitmt. Something must be done, or we shall disappoint not only America, but the whole world. He suggested a consideration of the State we should be thrown into by the failure of the Union. We should be without an Umpire to decide controversies and must be at the mercy of events. What too is to become of our treaties--what of our foreign debts, what of our domestic? We must make concessions on both sides. Without these the constitutions of the several States would never have been formed.
On the question "for commiting" generally
Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. no. P. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--9; noes--2.]
On the question for commiting "to a member from each State"
Massts. ay. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo--ay. [Ayes--10; noes--1.]
The Committee elected by ballot, were Mr. Gerry, Mr. Elseworth, Mr. Yates, Mr. Patterson. Dr. Franklin, Mr. Bedford, Mr. Martin, Mr. Mason, Mr. Davy. Mr. Rutlidge, Mr. Baldwin.
That time might be given to the Committee, and to such as chose to attend to the celebrations on the anniversary of Independence, the Convention adjourned till Thursday.
[1:526; Madison, 5 July]
Mr. Gerry delivered in from the Committee appointed on Monday last the following Report.
"The Committee to whom was referred the 8th Resol. of the Report from the Committee of the whole House, and so much of the 7th. as has 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. 1. that in the 1st. branch of the Legislature each of the States now in the Union shall be allowed 1 member for every 40,000 inhabitants of the description reported in the 7th Resolution of the Come. of the whole House: that each State not containing that number shall be allowed 1 member: that all bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the Salaries of the Officers of the Governt. of the U. States shall originate in the 1st branch of the Legislature, and shall not be altered or amended by the 2d branch: and that no money shall be drawn from the public Treasury, but in pursuance of appropriations to be originated in the 1st branch" II. that in the 2d branch each State shall have an equal vote"
Mr. Ghorum observed that as the report consisted of propositions mutually conditional he wished to hear some explanations touching the grounds on which the conditions were estimated.
Mr. Gerry. The Committee were of different opinions as well as the Deputations from which the Come. were taken, and agreed to the Report merely in order that some ground of accommodation might be proposed. Those opposed to the equality of votes have only assented conditionally; and if the other side do not generally agree will not be under any obligation to support the Report.
Mr. Wilson. thought the Committee had exceeded their powers.
Mr. Martin was for taking the question on the whole report.
Mr. Wilson was for a division of the question: otherwise it wd. be a leap in the dark.
Mr. Madison could not regard the exclusive privilege of originating money bills as any concession on the side of the 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. He conceived that the Convention was reduced to the alternative of either departing from justice in order to conciliate the smaller States, and the minority of the people of the U. S. or of displeasing these by justly gratifying the larger States and the majority of the people. He could not himself hesitate as to the option he ought to make. The Convention with justice & the majority of the people on their side, had nothing to fear. With injustice and the minority on their side they had every thing to fear. It was in vain to purchase concord in the Convention on terms which would perpetuate discord among their Constituents. The Convention ought to pursue a plan which would bear the test of examination, which would be espoused & supported by the enlightened and impartial part of America, & which they could themselves vindicate & urge. It should be considered that altho' at first many may judge of the system recommended, by their opinion of the Convention, yet finally all will judge of the Convention by the system. The merits of the system alone can finally & effectually obtain the public suffrage. He was not apprehensive that the people of the small States would obstinately refuse to accede to a Govt. founded on just principles, and promising them substantial protection. He could not suspect that Delaware would brave the consequences of seeking her fortunes apart from the other States, rather than submit to such a Govt: much less could he suspect that she would pursue the rash policy of courting foreign support, which the warmth of one of her representatives (Mr. Bedford) had suggested, or if she shd. that any foreign nation wd. be so rash as to hearken to the overture. As little could he suspect that the people of N. Jersey notwithstanding the decided tone of the gentlemen from that State, would choose rather to stand on their own legs, and bid defiance to events, than to acquiesce under an establishment founded on principles the justice of which they could not dispute, and absolutely necessary to redeem them from the exactions levied on them by the commerce of the neighbouring States. A review of other States would prove that there was as little reason to apprehend an inflexible opposition elsewhere. Harmony in the Convention was no doubt much to be desired. Satisfaction to all the States, in the first instance still more so. But if the principal States comprehending a majority of the people of the U. S. should concur in a just & judicious plan, he had the firmest hopes that all the other States would by degrees accede to it.
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. Govr. Morris. thought the form as well as the matter of the Report objectionable. It seemed in the first place to render amendments impracticable. In the next place, it seemed to involve a pledge to agree to the 2d. part if the 1st. shd. be agreed to. He conceived the whole aspect of it to be wrong. He came here as a Representative of America; he flattered himself he came here in some degree as a Representative of the whole human race; for the whole human race will be affected by the proceedings of this Convention. He wished gentlemen to extend their views beyond the present moment of time; beyond the narrow limits of place from which they derive their political origin. If he were to believe some things which he had heard, he should suppose that we were assembled to truck and bargain for our particular States. He can--not descend to think that any gentlemen are really actuated by these views. We must look forward to the effects of what we do. These alone ought to guide us. Much has been said of the sentiments of the people. They were unknown. They could not be known. All that we can infer is that if the plan we recommend be reasonable & right; all who have reasonable minds and sound intentions will embrace it, notwithstanding what had been said by some Gentlemen. Let us suppose that the larger States shall agree; and that the smaller refuse; and let us trace the consequences. The opponents of the system in the smaller States will no doubt make a party, and a noise for a time, but the ties of interest, of kindred & of common habits which connect them with the other States will be too strong to be easily broken. In N. Jersey particularly he was sure a great many would follow the sentiments of Pena. & N. York. This Country must be united. If persuasion does not unite it, the sword will. He begged that this consideration might have its due weight. The scenes of horror attending civil commotion can not be described, and the conclusion of them will be worse than the term of their continuance. The stronger party will then make traytors of the weaker; and the Gallows & Halter will finish the work of the sword. How far foreign powers would be ready to take part in the confusions he would not say. Threats that they will be invited have it seems been thrown out. He drew the melancholy picture of foreign intrusions as exhibited in the History of Germany, and urged it as a standing lesson to other nations. He trusted that the Gentlemen who may have hazarded such expressions, did not entertain them till they reached their own lips. But returning to the Report he could not think it in any respect calculated for the public good. As the 2d. branch is now constituted, there will be constant disputes & appeals to the States which will undermine the Genl. Government & controul & annihilate the 1st branch. Suppose that the Delegates from Massts. & Rho I. in the upper House disagree, and that the former are out-voted. What Results? they will immediately declare that their State will not abide by the decision, and make such representations as will produce that effect--The same may happen as to Virga. & other States. Of what avail then will be what is on paper. State attachments, and State importance have been the bane of this Country. We cannot annihilate; but we may perhaps take out the teeth of the serpents. He wished our ideas to be enlarged to the true interest of man, instead of being circumscribed within the narrow compass of a particular Spot. And after all how little can be the motive yielded by selfishness for such a policy. Who can say whether he himself, much less whether his children, will the next year be an inhabitant of this or that State.
Mr. Bedord. He found that what he had said as to the small States being taken by the hand, had been misunderstood; and he rose to explain. He did not mean that the small States would court the aid & interposition of foreign powers. He meant that they would not consider the federal compact as dissolved untill it should be so by the acts of the large States. In this case the consequence of the breach of faith on their part, and the readiness of the small States to fulfill their engagements, would be that foreign nations having demands on this Country would find it their interest to take the small States by the hand, in order to do themselves justice. This was what he meant. But no man can foresee to what extremities the small States may be driven by oppression. He observed also in apology that some allowance ought to be made for the habits of his profession in which warmth was natural & sometimes necessary. But is there not an apology in what was said by (Mr. Govr. Morris) that the sword is to unite: by Mr. Ghorum that Delaware must be annexed to Penna. and N. Jersey divided between Pena. and N. York. To hear such language without emotion, would be to renounce the feelings of a man and the duty of a citizen--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; and what will be the consequence if nothing should be done! The condition of the U. States requires that something should be immediately done. It will be better that a defective plan should be adopted, than that none should be recommended. He saw no reason why defects might not be supplied by meetings 10, 15 or 20 years hence.
Mr. Elseworth said he had not attended the proceedings of the Committee, but was ready to accede to the compromise they had reported. Some compromise was necessary; and he saw none more convenient or reasonable.
Mr. Williamson hoped that the expressions of individuals would not be taken for the sense of their colleagues, much less of their States which was not & could not be known. He hoped also that the meaning of those expressions would not be misconstrued or exaggerated. He did not conceive that (Mr. Govr. Morris) meant that the sword ought to be drawn agst. the smaller States. He only pointed out the probable consequences of anarchy in the U. S. A similar exposition ought to be given of the expressions (of Mr. Ghorum). He was ready to hear the Report discussed; but thought the propositions contained in it, the most objectionable of any he had yet heard.
Mr. Patterson said that he had when the Report was agreed to in the Come. reserved to himself the right of freely discussing it. He acknowledged that the warmth complained of was improper; but he thought the Sword & the Gallows as little calculated to produce conviction. He complained of the manner in which Mr. M--& Mr. Govr. Morris had treated the small States.
Mr. Gerry. Tho' he had assented to the Report in the Committee, he had very material objections to it. We were however in a peculiar situation. We were neither the same Nation nor different Nations. We ought not therefore to pursue the one or the other of these ideas too closely. If no compromise should take place what will be the consequence. A secession he foresaw would take place; for some gentlemen seem decided on it; two different plans will be proposed, and the result no man could foresee. If we do not come to some agreement among ourselves some foreign sword will probably do the work for us.
Mr. Mason. The Report was meant not as specific propositions to be adopted, but merely as a general ground of accomodation. There must be some accomodation on this point, or we shall make little further progress in the work. Accomodation was the object of the House in the appointment of the Committee; and of the Committee in the Report they had made. And however liable the Report might be to objections, he though[t] it preferable to an appeal to the world by the different sides, as had been talked of by some Gentlemen. It could not be more inconvenient to any gentleman to remain absent from his private affairs, than it was for him: but he would bury his bones in this city rather than expose his Country to the Consequences of a dissolution of the Convention without any thing being done.
[1:549; Madison, 7 July]
"Shall the clause allowing each State one vote in the 2d. branch. stand as part of the Report"? being taken up--
Mr. Gerry. This is the critical question. He had rather agree to it than have no accomodation. A Governt. short of a proper national plan if generally acceptable, would be preferable to a proper one which if it could be carried at all, would operate on discontented States. He thought it would be best to suspend the question till the Comme. yesterday appointed, should make report.
Mr. Sherman Supposed that it was the wish of every one that some Genl. Govt. should be established. An equal vote in the 2d. branch would, he thought, be most likely to give it the necessary vigor. The small States have more vigor in their Govts. than the large ones, the more influence therefore the large ones have, the weaker will be the Govt. In the large States it will be most difficult to collect the real & fair sense of the people. Fallacy & undue influence will be practiced with most success: and improper men will most easily get into office. If they vote by States in the 2d. branch, and each State has an equal vote, there must be always a majority of States as well as a majority of the people on the side of public measures, & the Govt. will have decision and efficacy. If this be not the case in the 2d. branch there may be a majority of the States agst. public measures, and the difficulty of compelling them to abide by the public determination, will render the Government feebler than it has ever yet been.
Mr. Wilson was not deficient in a conciliating temper, but firmness was sometimes a duty of higher obligation. Conciliation was also misapplied in this instance. It was pursued here rather among the Representatives, than among the Constituents; and it wd. be of little consequence, if not established among the latter; and there could be little hope of its being established among them if the foundation should not be laid in justice and right.
On Question shall the words stand as part of the Report?
Massts. divd. Cont. ay. N. Y. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. divd. [Ayes--6; noes--3; divided--2.]
(Note. several votes were given here in the affirmative or were divd. because another final question was to be taken on the whole report.)
Mr. Gerry thought it would be proper to proceed to enu[m]erate & define the powers to be vested in the Genl. Govt. before a question on the report should be taken as to the rule of representation in the 2d. branch.
Mr. Madison, observed that it wd. be impossible to say what powers could be safely & properly vested in the Govt. before it was known, in what manner the States were to be represented in it. He was apprehensive that if a just representation were not the basis of the Govt. it would happen, as it did when the articles of Confederation were depending, that every effectual prerogative would be withdrawn or withheld, and the New Govt. wd. be rendered as impotent and as short lived as the old.
Mr. Patterson would not decide whether the privilege concerning money bills were a valuable consideration or not: But he considered the mode & rule of representation in the 1st. branch as fully so, and that after the establishment of that point, the small States would never be able to defend themselves without an equality of votes in the 2d. branch. There was no other ground of accommodation. His resolution was fixt. He would meet the large States on that Ground and no other. For himself he should vote agst. the Report, because it yielded too much.
Mr. Govr. Morris. He had no resolution unalterably fixed except to do what should finally appear to him right. He was agst. the Report because it maintained the improper Constitution of the 2d. branch. It made it another Congress, a mere whisp of straw. It had been sd. (by Mr. Gerry) that the new Governt. would be partly national, partly federal; that it ought in the first quality to protect individuals; in the second, the States. But in what quality was it to protect the aggregate interest of the whole. Among the many provisions which had been urged, he had seen none for supporting the dignity and splendor of the American Empire. It had been one of our greatest misfortunes that the great objects of the nation had been sacrificed constantly to local views; in like manner as the general interests of States had been sacrificed to those of the Counties. What is to be the check in the Senate? none; unless it be to keep the majority of the people from injuring particular States. But particular States ought to be injured for the sake of a majority of the people, in case their conduct should deserve it. Suppose they should insist on claims evidently unjust, and pursue them in a manner detrimental to the whole body. Suppose they should give themselves up to foreign influence. Ought they to be protected in such cases. They were originally nothing more than colonial corporations. On the declaration of Independence, a Governmt. was to be formed. The small States aware of the necessity of preventing anarchy, and taking advantage of the moment, extorted from the large ones an equality of votes. Standing now on that ground, they demand under the new system greater rights as men, than their fellow Citizens of the large States. The proper answer to them is that the same necessity of which they formerly took advantage does not now exist, and that the large States are at liberty now to consider what is right, rather than what may be expedient We must have an efficient Govt. and if there be an efficiency to the local Govts. the former is impossible. Germany alone proves it. Notwithstanding their common diet, notwithstanding the great prerogatives of the Emperor as head of the Empire, and his vast resources as sovereign of his particular dominions, no union is maintained: foreign influence disturbs every internal operation, & there is no energy whatever in the general Governmt. Whence does this proceed? From the energy of the local authorities; from its being considered of more consequence to support the Prince of Hesse, than the Happiness of the people of Germany. Do Gentlemen wish this to be ye case here. Good God, Sir, is it possible they can so delude themselves. What if all the Charters & Constitutions of the States were thrown into the fire, and all their demagogues into the ocean. What would it be to the happiness of America. And will not this be the case here if we pursue the train in wch. the business lies. We shall establish an Aulic Council without an Emperor to execute its decrees. The same circumstances which unite the people here, unite them in Germany. They have there a common language, a common law, common usages and manners--and a common interest in being united; yet their local jurisdictions destroy every tie. The case was the same in the Grecian States. The United Netherlands are at this time torn in factions. With these examples before our eyes shall we form establishments which must necessarily produce the same effects. It is of no consequence from what districts the 2d. branch shall be drawn, if it be so constituted as to yield an asylum agst. these evils. As it is now constituted he must be agst. its being drawn from the States in equal portions. But [still] he was ready to join in devising such an amendment of the plan, as will be most likely to secure our liberty & happiness.
Mr. Sherman & Mr. Elseworth moved to postpone the Question on the Report from the Committee of a member from each State, in order to wait for the Report from the come. of 5 last appointed.--
[2:3; Madison, 14 July]
Mr. Rutlidge proposed to reconsider the two propositions touching the originating of money bills in the first & the equality of votes in the second branch.
Mr. Sherman was for the question on the whole at once. It was he said a conciliatory plan, it had been considered in all its parts, a great deal of time had been spent on it, and if any part should now be altered, it would be necessary to go over the whole ground again.
Mr. L. Martin urged the question on the whole. He did not like many parts of it. He did not like having two branches, nor the inequality of votes in the 1st. branch. He was willing however to make trial of the plan, rather than do nothing.
Mr. Wilson traced the progress of the Report through its several stages, remarking yt when on the question concerning an equality of votes, the House was divided, our Constituents had they voted as their representatives did, would have stood as 2/3 agst. the equality, and 1/3 only in favor of it. This fact would ere long be known, and it will appear that this fundamental point has been carried by 1/3 agst. 2/3. What hopes will our Constituents entertain when they find that the essential principles of justice have been violated in the outset of the Governmt. As to the privilege of originating money bills, it was not considered by any as of much moment, and by many as improper in itself. He hoped both clauses wd. be reconsidered. The equality of votes was a point of such critical importance, that every opportunity ought to be allowed, for discussing and collecting the mind of the Convention on it.
Mr. L. Martin denies that there were 2/3 agst. the equality of votes. The States that please to call themselves large, are the weekest in the Union. Look at Masts. Look at Virga. Are they efficient States? He was for letting a separation take place if they desired it. He had rather there should be two Confederacies, than one founded on any other principle than an equality of votes in the 2d branch at least.
Mr Wilson was not surprised that those who say that a minority does more than the majority should say that that minority is stronger than the majority. He supposed the next assertion will be that they are richer also, though he hardly expected it would be persisted in when the States shall be called on for taxes & troops--
Mr. Gerry also animadverted on Mr. L. Martins remarks on the weakness of Masts. He favored the reconsideration with a view not of destroying the equality of votes; but of providing that the States should vote per capita. which he said would prevent the delays & inconveniences that had been experienced in Congs. and would give a national aspect & Spirit to the management of business. He did not approve of a reconsideration of the clause relating to money bills. It was of great consequence. It was the corner stone of the accomodation. If any member of the Convention had the exclusive privilege of making propositions, would any one say that it would give him no advantage over other members. The Report was not altogether to his mind. But he would agree to it as it stood rather than throw it out altogether.
The reconsideration being tacitly agreed to
Mr. Pinkney moved that instead of an equality of votes the States should be represented in the 2d branch as follows: N. H. by. 2. members. Mas 4. R. I. 1. Cont. 3. N. Y. 3. N. J. 2. Pa. 4. Del 1. Md. 3. Virga. 5. N. C. 3. S. C. 3. Geo. 2. making in the whole 36.
Mr. Wilson seconds the motion
Mr. Dayton. The smaller States can never give up their equality. For himself he would in no event yield that security for their rights.
Mr. Sherman urged the equality of votes not so much as a security for the small States; as for the State Govts. which could not be preserved unless they were represented & had a negative in the Genl. Government. He had no objection to the members in the 2d b. voting per capita, as had been suggested by (Mr. Gerry)
Mr Madison concurred in the motion of Mr. Pinkney as a reasonable compromise.
Mr. Gerry said he should like the motion, but could see no hope of success. An accomodation must take place, and it was apparent from what had been seen that it could not do so on the ground of the motion. He was utterly against a partial confederacy, leaving other States to accede or not accede; as had been intimated.
Mr. King said it was always with regret that he differed from his colleagues, but it was his duty to differ from (Mr Gerry) on this occasion. He considered the proposed Government as substantially and formally, a General and National Government over the people of America. There never will be a case in which it will act as a federal Government on the States and not on the individual Citizens. And is it not a clear principle that in a free Govt. those who are to be the objects of a Govt. ought to influence the operations of it? What reason can be assigned why the same rule of representation sd. not prevail in the 2d. branch as in the 1st.? He could conceive none. On the contrary, every view of the subject that presented itself, seemed to require it. Two objections had been raised agst. it, drawn 1. from the terms of the existing compact. 2. from a supposed danger to the smaller States.--As to the first objection he thought it inapplicable. According to the existing confederation, the rule by which the public burdens is to be apportioned is fixed, and must be pursued. In the proposed Govermt. it cannot be fixed, because indirect taxation is to be substituted. The Legislature therefore will have full discretion to impose taxes in such modes & proportions as they may judge expedient. As to the 2d. objection, he thought it of as little weight. The Genl. Governt. can never wish to intrude on the State Governts. There could be no temptation. None had been pointed out. In order to prevent the interference of measures which seemed most likely to happen, he would have no objection to throwing all the State debts into the federal debt, making one aggregate debt of about 70,000,000, of dollars, and leaving it to be discharged by the Genl. Govt.--According to the idea of securing the State Govts. there ought to be three distinct legislative branches. The 2d. was admitted to be necessary, and was actually meant, to check the 1st. branch, to give more wisdom, system, & stability to the Govt. and ought clearly as it was to operate on the people to be proportioned to them. For the third purpose of securing the States, there ought then to be a 3d. branch, representing the States as such and guarding by equal votes their rights & dignities. He would not pretend to be as thoroughly acquainted with his immediate Constituents as his colleagues, but it was his firm belief that Masts. would never be prevailed on to yield to an equality of votes. In N. York (he was sorry to be obliged to say any thing relative to that State in the absence of its representatives, but the occasion required it), in N. York he had seen that the most powerful argument used by the considerate opponents to the grant of the Impost to Congress, was pointed agst. the viccious constitution of Congs. with regard to representation & suffrage. He was sure that no Govt. could last that was not founded on just principles. He preferred the doing of nothing, to an allowance of an equal vote to all the States. It would be better he thought to submit to a little more confusion & convulsion, than to submit to such an evil. It was difficult to say what the views of different Gentlemen might be. Perhaps there might be some who thought no Governmt. co-extensive with the U. States could be established with a hope of its answering the purpose. Perhaps there might be other fixed opinions incompatible with the object we were pursing. If there were, he thought it but candid that Gentlemen would speak out that we might understand one another.
Mr. Strong. The Convention had been much divided in opinion. In order to avoid the consequences of it, an accomodation had been proposed. A Committee had been appointed; and though some of the members of it were averse to an equality of votes, a Report has been made in favor of it. It is agreed on all hands that Congress are nearly at an end. If no Accommodation takes place, the Union itself must soon be dissolved. It has been suggested that if we can not come to any general agreement the principal States may form & recommend a scheme of Government. But will the small States in that case ever accede it. Is it probable that the large States themselves will under such circumstances embrace and ratify it. He thought the small States had made a considerable concession in the article of money bills, and that they might naturally expect some concessions on the other side. From this view of the matter he was compelled to give his vote for the Report taken all together.
Mr Madison expressed his apprehensions that if the proper foundation of Governmt was destroyed, by substituting an equality in place of a proportional Representation, no proper superstructure would be raised. If the small States really wish for a Government armed with the powers necessary to secure their liberties, and to enforce obedience on the larger members as well as on themselves he could not help thinking them extremely mistaken in their means. He reminded them of the consequences of laying the existing confederation on improper principles. All the principal parties to its compilation, joined immediately in mutilating & fettering the Governmt. in such a manner that it has disappointed every hope placed on it. He appealed to the doctrine & arguments used by themselves on a former occasion. It had been very properly observed by (Mr. Patterson) that Representation was an expedient by which the meeting of the people themselves was rendered unnecessary; and that the representatives ought therefore to bear a proportion to the votes which their constituents if convened, would respectively have. Was not this remark as applicable to one branch of the Representation as to the other? But it had been said that the Governt. would in its operation be partly federal, partly national; that altho' in the latter respect the Representatives of the people ought to be in proportion to the people: yet in the former it ought to be according to the number of States. If there was any solidity in this distinction he was ready to abide by it, if there was none it ought to be abandoned. In all cases where the Genl. Governt. is to act on the people, let the people be represented and the votes be proportional. In all cases where the Governt. is to act on the States as such, in like manner as Congs. now act on them, let the States be represented & the votes be equal. This was the true ground of compromise if there was any ground at all. But he denied that there was any ground. He called for a single instance in which the Genl. Govt. was not to operate on the people individually. The practicability of making laws, with coercive sanctions, for the States as political bodies, had been exploded on all hands. He observed that the people of the large States would in some way or other secure to themselves a weight proportioned to the importance accruing from their superior numbers. If they could not effect it by a proportional representation in the Govt. they would probably accede to no Govt. which did not in great measure depend for its efficacy on their voluntary cooperation; in which case they would indirectly secure their object. The existing confederacy proved that where the acts of the Genl. Govt. were to be executed by the particular Govts the latter had a weight in proportion to their importance. No one would say that either in Congs. or out of Congs. Delaware had equal weight with Pensylva. If the latter was to supply ten times as much money as the former, and no compulsion could be used, it was of ten times more importance, that she should furnish voluntarily the supply. In the Dutch Confederacy the votes of the Provinces were equal. But Holland, which supplies about half the money, governed the whole republic. He enumerated the objections agst an equality of votes in the 2d. branch, notwithstanding the proportional representation in the first. 1. the minority could negative the will of the majority of the people. 2. they could extort measures by making them a condition of their assent to other necessary measures. 3. they could obtrude measures on the majority by virtue of the peculiar powers which would be vested in the Senate. 4. the evil instead of being cured by time, would increase with every new State that should be admitted, as they must all be admitted on the principle of equality. 5. the perpetuity it would give to the preponderance of the Northn. agst. the Southn. Scale was a serious consideration. It seemed now to be pretty well understood that the real difference of interests lay, not between the large & small but between the N. & Southn. States. The institution of slavery & its consequences formed the line of discrimination. There were 5 States on the South, 8 on the Northn. side of this line. Should a proportl. representation take place it was true, the N. side would still outnumber the other: but not in the same degree, at this time; and every day would tend towards an equilibrium.
Mr. Wilson would add a few words only. If equality in the 2d. branch was an error that time would correct, he should be less anxious to exclude it being sensible that perfection was unattainable in any plan: but being a fundamental and a perpetual error, it ought by all means to be avoided. A vice in the Representation, like an error in the first concoction, must be followed by disease, convulsions, and finally death itself. The justice of the general principle of proportional representation has not in argument at least been yet contradicted. But it is said that a departure from it so far as to give the States an equal vote in one branch of the Legislature is essential to their preservation. He had considered this position maturely, but could not see its application. That the States ought to be preserved he admitted, But does it follow that an equality of votes is necessary for the purpose? Is there any reason to suppose that if their preservation should depend more on the large than on the small States, the security of the States agst. the Genl. Government would be diminished? Are the large States less attached to their existence, more likely to commit suicide, than the small? An equal vote then is not necessary as far as he can conceive: and is liable, among other objections to this insuperable one: The great fault of the existing Confederacy is its inactivity. It has never been a complaint agst. Congs. that they governed overmuch. The complaint has been that they have governed too little. To remedy this defect we were sent here. Shall we effect the cure by establishing an equality of votes, as is proposed? no; this very equality carries us directly to Congress: to the system which it is our duty to rectify. The small States cannot indeed act, by virtue of this equality, but they may controul the Govt. as they have done in Congs. This very measure is here prosecuted by a minority of the people of America. Is then the object of the Convention likely to be accomplished in this way? Will not our Constituents say? we sent you to form an efficient Govt and you have given us one more complex indeed, but having all the weakness of the former Governt. He was anxious for uniting all the States under one Governt. He knew there were some respectable men who preferred three confederacies, united by offensive & defensive alliances. Many things may be plausibly said, some things may be justly said, in favor of such a project. He could not however concur in it himself; but he thought nothing so pernicious as bad first principles.
Mr. Elseworth asked two questions one of Mr. Wilson, whether he had ever seen a good measure fail in Congs. for want of a majority of States in its favor? He had himself never known such an instance: the other of Mr. Madison whether a negative lodged with a majority of the States even the smallest, could be more dangerous than the qualified negative proposed to be lodged in a single Executive Magistrate, who must be taken from some one State?
Mr. Sherman, signified that his expectation was that the Genl. Legislature would in some cases act on the federal principle, of requiring quotas. But he thought it ought to be empowered to carry their own plans into execution, if the States should fail to supply their respective quotas.
On the question for agreeing to Mr Pinkney's motion for allowing N. H. 2. Mas. 4. &c--it passed in the negative
Mas. no. Mr. King ay. Mr. Ghorum absent. Cont. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. no. S. C. ay Geo. no. [Ayes--4; noes--6.]
[2:17; Madison, 16 July]
Mr. Randolph. The vote of this morning (involving an equality of suffrage in 2d. branch) had embarrassed the business extremely. All the powers given in the Report from the Come. of the whole, were founded on the supposition that a Proportional representation was to prevail in both branches of the Legislature--When he came here this morning his purpose was to have offered some propositions that might if possible have united a great majority of votes, and particularly might provide agst. the danger suspected on the part of the smaller States, by enumerating the cases in which it might lie, and allowing an equality of votes in such cases. But finding from the preceding vote that they persist in demanding an equal vote in all cases, that they have succeeded in obtaining it, and that N. York if present would probably be on the same side, he could not but think we were unprepared to discuss this subject further. It will probably be in vain to come to any final decision with a bare majority on either side. For these reasons he wished the Convention might adjourn, that the large States might consider the steps proper to be taken in the present solemn crisis of the business, and that the small States might also deliberate on the means of conciliation.
Mr. Patterson, thought with Mr. R. that it was high time for the Convention to adjourn that the rule of secrecy ought to be rescinded, and that our Constituents should be consulted. No conciliation could be admissible on the part of the smaller States on any other ground than that of an equality of votes in the 2d. branch. If Mr Randolph would reduce to form his motion for an adjournment sine die, he would second it with all his heart.
Genl. Pinkney wished to know of Mr R. whether he meant an adjournment sine die, or only an adjournment for the day. If the former was meant, it differed much from his idea He could not think of going to S. Carolina, and returning again to this place. Besides it was chimerical to suppose that the States if consulted would ever accord separately, and beforehand.
Mr. Randolph, had never entertained an idea of an adjournment sine die; & was sorry that his meaning had been so readily & strangely misinterpreted. He had in view merely an adjournment till tomorrow in order that some conciliatory experiment might if possible be devised and that in case the smaller States should continue to hold back, the larger might then take such measures, he would not say what, as might be necessary.
Mr. Patterson seconded the adjournment till tomorrow, as an opportunity seemed to be wished by the larger States to deliberate further on conciliatory expedients.
On the question for adjourning till tomorrow, the States were equally divided.
Mas. no. Cont. no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no. So it was lost. [Ayes--5; noes--5.]
Mr. Broome thought it his duty to declare his opinion agst. an adjournment sine die, as had been urged by Mr. Patterson. Such a measure he thought would be fatal. Something must be done by the Convention tho' it should be by a bare majority.
Mr. Gerry observed that Masts. was opposed to an adjournment, because they saw no new ground of compromise. But as it seemed to be the opinion of so many States that a trial shd be made, the State would now concur in the adjournmt.
Mr. Rutlidge could see no need of an adjournt. because he could see no chance of a compromise. The little States were fixt. They had repeatedly & solemnly declared themselves to be so. All that the large States then had to do, was to decide whether they would yield or not. For his part he conceived that altho' we could not do what we thought best, in itself, we ought to do something. Had we not better keep the Govt. up a little longer, hoping that another Convention will supply our omissions, than abandon every thing to hazard. Our Constituents will be very little satisfied with us if we take the latter course.
Mr. Randolph & Mr. King renewed the motion to adjourn till tomorrow.
On the question Mas. ay. Cont. no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. divd. [Ayes--7; noes--2; divided--1.]
On the morning following before the hour of the Convention a number of the members from the larger States, by common agreement met for the purpose of consulting on the proper steps to be taken in consequence of the vote in favor of an equal Representation in the 2d. branch, and the apparent inflexibility of the smaller States on that point--Several members from the latter States also attended. The time was wasted in vague conversation on the subject, without any specific proposition or agreement. It appeared indeed that the opinions of the members who disliked the equality of votes differed so much as to the importance of that point, and as to the policy of risking a failure of any general act of the Convention by inflexibly opposing it. Several of them supposing that no good Governnt could or would be built on that foundation, and that as a division of the Convention into two opinions was unavoidable it would be better that the side comprising the principal States, and a majority of the people of America, should propose a scheme of Govt. to the States, than that a scheme should be proposed on the other side, would have concurred in a firm opposition to the smaller States, and in a separate recommendation, if eventually necessary. Others seemed inclined to yield to the smaller States, and to concur in such an Act however imperfect & exceptionable, as might be agreed on by the Convention as a body, tho' decided by a bare majority of States and by a minority of the people of the U. States. It is probable that the result of this consultation satisfied the smaller States that they had nothing to apprehend from a Union of the larger, in any plan whatever agst. the equality of votes in the 2d. branch.
[2:94; Madison, 23 July]
Mr. Govr. Morris & Mr. King moved that the representation in the second branch consist of members from each State, who shall vote per capita.
Mr Elseworth said he had alway approved of voting in that mode.
Mr. Govr. Morris moved to fill the blank with three. He wished the Senate to be a pretty numerous body. If two members only should be allowed to each State, and a majority be made a quorum the power would be lodged in 14 members, which was too small a number for such a trust.
Mr Ghorum preferred two to three members for the blank. A small number was most convenient for deciding on peace & war &c. which he expected would be vested in the 2d. branch. The number of States will also increase. Kentucky, Vermont, the province of Mayne & Franklin will probably soon be added to the present number. He presumed also that some of the largest States would be divided. The strenghth of the general Govt. will lie not in the largeness, but in the smallness of the States.
Col. Mason thought 3 from each State including new States would make the 2d. branch too numerous. Besides other objections, the additional expence ought always to form one, where it was not absolutely necessary.
Mr. Williamson. If the number be too great, the distant States will not be on an equal footing with the nearer States. The latter can more easily send & support their ablest Citizens. He approved of the voting per capita.
On the question for filling the blank with "three"
N. H. no. Mas. no. Cont. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--1; noes--8.]
On question for filling it with "two." Agreed to nem-con,
Mr. L Martin was opposed to voting per Capita, as departing from the idea of the States being represented in the 2d. branch.
Mr. Carroll, was not struck with any particular objection agst. the mode; but he did not wish so hastily to make so material an innovation.
On the question on the whole motion viz. the 2d. b. "to consist of 2 members from each State and to vote per capita."
N. H. ay. Mas. ay. Ct. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay: S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--9; noes--1.]
[2:231; Madison, 9 Aug.]
Mr. Wilson objected to vacancies in the Senate being supplied by the Executives of the States. It was unnecessary as the Legislatures will meet so frequently. It removes the appointment too far from the people; the Executives in most of the States being elected by the Legislatures. As he had always thought the appointment of the Executives by the Legislative department wrong: so it was still more so that the Executive should elect into the Legislative department.
Mr. Randolph though it necessary in order to prevent inconvenient chasms in the Senate. In some States the Legislatures meet but once a year. As the Senate will have more power & consist of a smaller number than the other House, vacancies there will be of more consequence. The Executives might be safely trusted he thought with the appointment for so short a time.
Mr. Elseworth. It is only said that the Executive may supply vacancies. When the Legislative meeting happens to be near, the power will not be exerted. As there will be but two members from a State vacancies may be of great moment.
Mr. Williamson. Senators may resign or not accept. This provision is therefore absolutely necessary.
On the question for striking out "vacancies shall be supplied by Executives"
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Md. divd. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [Ayes--1; noes--8; divided--1.]
Mr. Williamson moved to insert after "vacancies shall be supplied by the Executives", the following words "unless other provision shall be made by the Legislature" (of the State).
Mr Elseworth. He was willing to trust the Legislature, or the Executive of a State, but not to give the former a discretion to refer appointments for the Senate to whom they pleased.
Question on Mr Williamson's motion
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Md. ay. Va. no. N- C. ay. S. C. ay-- Geo. ay. [Ayes--4; noes--6.]
Mr. Madison in order to prevent doubts whether resignations could be made by Senators, or whether they could refuse to accept, moved to strike out the words after "vacancies". & insert the words "happening by refusals to accept, resignations or otherwise may be supplied by the Legislature of the State in the representation of which such vacancies shall happen, or by the Executive thereof until the next meeting of the Legislature"
Mr. Govr. Morris this is absolutely necessary. otherwise, as members chosen into the Senate are disqualified from being appointed to any office by sect. 9. of this art: it will be in the power of a Legislature by appointing a man a Senator agst. his consent, to deprive the U. S. of his services.
The motion of Mr. Madison was agreed to nem. con.
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
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.
[2:291; Madison, 14 Aug.]
Mr Madison. If the H. of Reps. is to be chosen biennially--and the Senate to be constantly dependent on the Legislatures which are chosen annually, he could not see any chance for that stability in the Genl Govt. the want of which was a principal evil in the State Govts. His fear was that the organization of the Govt supposing the Senate to be really independt. for six years, would not effect our purpose. It was nothing more than a combination of the peculiarities of two of the State Govts. which separately had been found insufficient. The Senate was formed on the model of that of Maryld. The Revisionary check, on that of N. York. What the effect of A union of these provisions might be, could not be foreseen. The enlargement of the sphere of the Government was indeed a circumstance which he thought would be favorable as he had on several occasions undertaken to show. He was however for fixing at least two extremes not to be exceeded by the Natl. Legislre. in the payment of themselves.
The Founders' Constitution
Volume 2, Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2, Document 3
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.