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all of them some individuals are deprived of the right altogether, not having the requisite qualification of property. In some of the States the right of suffrage is allowed in some cases and refused in others. To vote for a member in one branch, a certain quantum of property, to vote for a member in another branch of the Legislature, a higher quantum of property is required. In like manner, States may modify their right of suffrage differently, the large States exercising a larger, the smaller a smaller share of it. But as States are a collection of individual men, which ought we to respect most, the rights of the people composing them, or of the artificial beings resulted from the composition ? Nothing could be more preposterous or absurd than to sacrifice the former to the latter. It has been said that, if the smaller States renounce their equality, they renounce, at the same time, their liberty. The truth is, it is a contest for power, not for liberty. Will the men composing the small States be less free than those com. posing the larger? The State of Delaware, having forty thousand souls, will lose power, if she has one-tenth only of the votes allowed to Pennsylvania, having four hundred thousand; but will the people of Delaware be less free, if each citizen has an equal vote with each citizen of Pennsylvania ? He admitted that common residence within the same State would produce a certain degree of attachment, and that this principle might have a certain influence on public affairs. He thought, however, that this might, by some precautions, be in a great measure excluded, and that no material inconvenience could result from it, as there could not be any ground for combination among the States whose influence was most dreaded. The only considerable distinction of interests lay between the carrying and non-carrying States, which divides, instead of uniting, the larger States. No considerable inconvenience had been found from the division of the State of New York into different districts of different sizes.
Some of the consequences of a dissolution of the Union, and the establishment of partial confederacies, had been pointed out. He would add another of a most serious nature. Alliances will immediately be formed with different rival and hostile nations of Europe, who will foment disturbances among ourselves, and make us parties to all their own quarrels. Foreign nations having American dominion, are, and must be, jealous of us. Their representatives betray the utmost anxiety for our fate; and for the result of this meeting, which must have an essential influence on it. It had been said, that respectability in the eyes of foreign nations was not the object at which we aimed; that the proper object of republican government was domestic tranquillity and happiness. This was an ideal distinction. No government could give us tranquillity and happiness at home, which did not possess sufficient stability and strength to make us respectable abroad. This was the critical moment for forming such a government. We should run every risk in trusting to future amendments. As yet we retain the babits of Union. We are weak, and sensible of our weakness. Henceforward, the motives will become fcebler, and the difficulties greater. It is a miracle that we are now here, exercising our tranquil and free deliberations on the subject. It would be madness to trust to future miracles. A thousand causes must obstruct a reproduction of them.
Mr. Pierce considered the equality of votes under the Confederation as the great source of the public difficulties. The members of Congress were advocates for local advantages. State distinctions must be sacrificed as far as the general good required, but without destroying the States. Though from a small State, he felt himself a citizen of the United States. Mr. Gerry urged, that we never were independent States, were not such now,
and never could be, even on the principle of the Confederation. The States, and the advocates for them, were intoxicated with the idea of their sovereignty. He was a member
of Congress at the time the Federal Articles were formed. The injustice of allowing each State an equal vote was long insisted on. He voted for it, but it was against his judgment, and under the pressure of public danger, and the obstinacy of the lesser States. The present Confederation he considered as dissolving. The fate of the Union will be decided by the Convention. If they do not agree on something, few delegates will probably be appointed to Congress. If they do, Congress will probably be kept up till the new system should be adopted. He lamented that, instead of coming here like ą band of brothers, belonging to the same family, we seemed to have brought with us the spirit of political negotiators.
Mr. L. Martin remarked, that the language of the States being sovereign and independent, was once familiar and understood; though it seemed now so strange and obscure. He read those passages in the Articles of Confederation which describe them in that language.
On the question, as moved by Mr. Lansing, Shall the word “ not be struck out ?
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware—aye, 4; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia-no, 6; Maryland, divided.
On the motion to agree to the clause as reported, “ that the rule of suffrage in the first branch ought not to be according to that established by the Articles of the Confederation :"
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgiaaye, 6; Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware-no, 4; Maryland, divided. 5 Elliott's Deb., 257.
BASIS OF REPRESENTATION-CONTINUED.
MR. ELLSWORTH moved, “ that the rule of suffrage in the second branch be the same as that established by the Articles of Confederation." He
He was 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 second branch. We were partly national, partly federal. The proportional representation in the first branch was conformable to the national principle, and would secure the large States against the small. An equality of voices was conformable to the federal principle, and was necessary to secure the small States against 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 vain. * * * 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, and 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 should vote against the motion of Mr. Ellsworth, though 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 representative of property, and that, in forming it, there. fore, some reference ought to be had to the relative wealth of their constituents, and to the principles on which the Senate of Massachusetts was constituted.
Mr. Wilson did not expect such a motion after the establishment of the contrary principle in the first branch, and considering the reasons which would oppose it, even if an equal vote had been allowed in the first branch. The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Ellsworth) had pronounced that, if the motion should not be acceded to, of all the States north of Pennsylvania, one only would agree to any general government. He entertained more favorable hopes of Connecticut 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 bappen, 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 against the just principle of representation were as twenty-two to ninety 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 one-fourth of the United States withdraw themselves from the Union, or shall more than three-fourths renounce the inherent, indisputable, and unalienable rights of men, in favor of the artificial system of States? If issue must be joined, it was on this point he would choose to join it.
Mr. Ellsworth. 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 i 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 against the encroachments of the Commons ? No instance of a confederacy has existed in which an equality of voices has not been exer. cised by the members of it. We are running from one extreme to another razing the foundation of the building, when we need only repair the roof.
Mr. Madison did justice to the able and close reasoning of Mr. Ellsworth, 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 against the more numerous Commons. Mr. Ellsworth 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 King of Prussia has nine voices, he reminded Mr. Ellsworth of the Lycian confederacy, in which the component members had votes proportional to their importance, and which Montesquieu recommends as the fittest model for that form of government.
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 United States. It did not lie between the large and small States. It lay between the Northern and 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 oue 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 five to three, they should be represented in one branch according to the number of free inhabitants only; and in the other, according to the whole number, counting the slaves as 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 where 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 would destroy the equilibrium of interests.
Mr. Davy was much embarrassed. * * 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 government 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 a hundred thousand souls at least. Let there be then one senator in each, for every hundred thousand souls, and let the States not having that number 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.
Dr. 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 accommodating proposition. He had prepared one, which he would read, that it might lay on the table for consideration. The proposition was in the words following:
“ That the Legislatures of the several States shall choose and send an equal number of delegates, namely, -, who are to compose the second branch of the General Legislature,
“ That in all cases or questions wherein the sovereignty of individual States may be effected, 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 the General Government, in the election of whom the second 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 and 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
Mr. King observed, that the simple question was, whether each State should have an equal vote in the second 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 and nominal only, if we should make another Congress of the proposed Senate; that if the adherence to an equality of votes was fixed and unalterable, there could not be less obstinacy on the other side; and that we were in fact cut asunder 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 and 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 and happiness; that he could not, therefore, but repeat his amazement, that, when a just government, 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 and importance of States ; that should this wonderful illusion continue to prevail, his mind was prepared for every event, rather than sit down under a government founded on a vicious principle of representation, and which must be as short-lived 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 shown 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 General Government. He considered the system on the table as a novelty, an am. phibious monster; and was persuaded that it never would be received by the people.
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 Congress. He knew the faults of that body, and had used a bold - language against it. Still he would preserve the State rights as carefully as the trial by jury.
Mr. Bedford contended, that there was no middle way between a perfect consolidation and a mere confederacy of the States.
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. We have been told, with a dictatorial air, that this is the last moment for a fair trial in favor of a good government. 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 government; and why not make such a one as they desire ?
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. Ellsworth.