網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

rity of the United States, (except those particularly belonging to the functions of the second branch,) during the term of service; and for the space of after the ex

piration thereof.

"6. Resolved, That each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts; that the national legislature ought to be empowered to enjoy the legislative right vested in Congress by the Confederation; and moreover, to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation; to negative all laws passed by the several States, contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the articles of union, or any treaty subsisting under the authority of the Union; and to call forth the force of the Union against any member of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under the articles thereof.

"7. Resolved, That a national executive be instituted, to be chosen by the national legislature for the term of years, to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for the services rendered, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the magistracy existing at the time of the increase or diminution; to be ineligible a second time; and that, beside a general authority to execute the national laws, it ought to enjoy the executive rights vested in Congress by the Confederation.

"8. Resolved, That the executive and a convenient number of the national judiciary ought to compose a council of revision, with authority to examine every act of the national legislature before it shall operate, and every act of a particular legislature, before a negative thereon shall be final; and that the dissent of the said council shall amount to a rejection, unless the act of the national legislature be again passed, or that of a particular legislature be again negatived by of the members of each branch.

"9. Resolved, That a national judiciary be established, to hold their offices during good behavior, and to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution. That the jurisdiction of the inferior tribunals, shall be to hear and determine in the first instance, and of the supreme tribunal to hear and determine in the dernier ressort, all piracies and felonies on the seas; captures from an enemy; cases in which foreigners, or citizens of other States, applying to such jurisdictions, may be interested or which respect the collection of the national revenue; impeachments of any national officer; and questions which involve the national peace or harmony.

"10. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government or territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national legislature less than the whole.

"11. Resolved, That a republican government, and the territory of each State, (except in the instance of a voluntary junction of government, and territory,) ought to be guaranteed by the United States to each State.

"12. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress, and their authorities and privileges, until a given day, after the reform of the articles of union shall be adopted, and for the completion of all their engagements.

"13. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the amendment of the articles of union, whensoever it shall seem necessary; and that the assent of the national legislature ought not to be required thereto.

"14. Resolved, That the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of union.

"15. Resolved, That the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation by the Convention, ought, at a proper time or times, after the approbation of Congress, to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon.

"16. Resolved, That the House will to-morrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to consider of the state of the American Union."

Wednesday, May 30. The Hon. Roger Sherman, a deputy from the State of Connecticut, appeared and took his seat.

The House went into Committee of the Whole, Mr. Gorham in the Chair, on the resolutions of Mr. Randolph.

Mr. Madison moved "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 opposed, on the ground that the deputies from Delaware were instructed not to assent to such a change, and they would therefore retire should it be adopted. After some discussion the Committee rose and the House adjourned.

Thursday, May 1. The Hon. William Pierce, of Georgia, took his seat.

Mr. Randolph's third resolution, "that the national legislature ought to consist of two branches," was agreed to without dissent, except from Dr. Franklin of Pennsylvania.

The first clause of the fourth resolution, "that the members of the first branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States," was taken up.

Mr. Sherman opposed election by the people, and said it onght to be by the State legislatures; that the people were constantly liable to be misled.

Mr. Gerry also opposed election by the people, saying that we had been having an excess of democracy heretofore. Pretended patriots would dupe and deceive the people— that they had done it heretofore in Massachusetts.

Mr. Madison considered the election of one branch by the people as essential to every plan of a free government. He thought that the great fabric to be raised would be more stable and durable, if it should rest on the solid foundation of the people themselves, than if it should stand merely on the pillars of the legislatures.

On the question for election by the people, Ayes 6, Noes 2, Connecticut and Delaware divided.

[The reader will here observe that the votes of the Convention in all cases were taken by States.]

It was then moved to elect the members of the second branch by the members of the first. This, after considerable discussion, was voted down.

Friday, June 1. The Hon. William Houstoun, from Georgia, took his seat.

The Committee of the Whole proceeded to the seventh resolution, "that a national executive be instituted, to be chosen by the national legislature for the term of years, to be ineligible thereafter, &c."

Mr. Pinckney was for a vigorous executive, but was afraid it might run into a monarchy.

Mr. Wilson was for a single executive.

Dr. Franklin wanted the question discussed, as it was very important.

Mr. Sherman thought the executive should be elected by Congress.

Mr. Madison opposed fixing the executive till his powers were first agreed upon. Pending the discussion the House adjourned.

Saturday, June 2. William S. Johnson, from Connecticut, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, from Maryland, and John Lansing, Jr., from New York, took their seats.

The motion to elect the executive by the national legislature for the term of seven years was agreed to.

Monday, June 4. It was agreed that the executive should consist of but one person, New York, Delaware and Maryland voting No. It was also agreed that the executive should have the right of veto. It was also agreed that a national judiciary, to consist of one supreme tribunal, and one or more inferior, should be constituted.

Tuesday, June 5. On the question of choosing the judiciary by the national legislature,

Dr. Franklin suggested the Scotch mode of letting the lawyers choose the judges, as they would always choose the ablest of the profession in order to get his practice themselves.

Mr. Madison was opposed to electing judges by the legislature, or by any numerous body, and was inclined to give it to the Senate.

William Livingston, from New Jersey, took his seat.

Wednesday, June 6. Mr. Pinckney moved "that the first branch of the national legislature be elected by the State legislatures, and not by the people."

Mr. Mason spoke against this motion. He said that under the confederacy Congress represented the States, not the people; under the present plan of government Congress should represent the people, therefore should be chosen by the people.

Mr. Dickinson proposed that the two systems should be blended. Let one branch come directly from the people, and the other be chosen by the State legislatures. One

« 上一頁繼續 »