Article 6, Clause 1
Elbridge Gerry, Public Credit, House of Representatives25 Feb. 1790Annals 2:1360--61
Gentlemen have said, that it never was in contemplation to assume the State debts. When the present Constitution was under consideration in the General Convention, a proposition was brought forward, that the General Government should assume and provide for the State debts, as well as the debts of the Union. It was opposed on this ground, that it did not extend to the repayment of that part which the States had sunk, as well as that which remained unpaid; had it not been for this objection, I believe that the very provision which gentlemen say was never expected, would have been incorporated in the Constitution itself. If I recollect rightly, it was also contended, in Convention, that the proposition would be useless, as Congress were authorized, under other parts of the Constitution, to make full provision on this head. From this circumstance, gentlemen will see that the assumption of the State debts was in contemplation from the very commencement of the new Government.
The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 6, Clause 1, Document 4
The University of Chicago Press
Annals of Congress. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States. "History of Congress." 42 vols. Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton, 1834--56.
Easy to print version.