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slavery, and while the latter resolutions were in spirit adopted, and by adopting the principles of the others with this word “freeman’’ stricken out, thereby making the principles embodied in each of them to have a universal extension, — we cannot but come to the conclusion that the American people did not mean to have that system continued; but, on the contrary, they prepared the way for its entire extinction. In order, therefore, to throw all the light in our power on this subject, we have concluded to copy the whole of the amendments that were introduced before congress, as reported in the Massachusetts Centinel of 1789–90, and also as they were passed by that body. We do it because we think them allimportant to a candid decision of the several points under consideration ; and, if we find this word “freeman,” in-contradistinction to other classes of persons, not made use of, or even not entertained, by the representatives of the people, we think our points are proved ; for the introduction of it in the amendments proposed by Virginia and North Carolina shows what they thought would be the effect of the Constitution and of their amendments without this word. We therefore think it not only fair, but right, to suppose, if it is not used, the States that are in the Union fully acknowledged the principles contained in these amendments, and that they are of universal obligation; and we cannot but suppose our Supreme Court would thus decide; and, as a consequence, slavery would be no more ; and the colored man will see the door
opened by which he can enter the temple of freedom; the only word we can here say to him is, let him be careful, when he has entered, how he deports himself in it.
Mr. Madison, after previous notice, introduced to the house of representatives (June 12, 1789) the following resolutions, for the consideration of the house, to be adopted as amendments to the Constitution :
“Resolved, That the following amendments ought to be proposed by congress to the legislatures of the States, to become, if ratified by three fourths thereof, part of the Constitution of the United States: “First, that there be prefixed to the Constitution a declaration that all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; “That government is instituted, and ought to be exercised, for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; “That the people have an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government, whenever it is found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution. “Secondly, that, in article 1, section 2, clause three, these words shall be struck out, to wit: “The number of representatives shall not exceed thirty thousand,’ &c.; [this amendment relating simply to the number of representatives.] “Thirdly, that, in article 1, section 6, clause one, there be added to the end of the first sentence these words, to wit: “But no law, varying the compensation last ascer
tained, shall operate before the next ensuing election of representatives.” “Fourthly, that, in article 1, section 9, between the clauses three and four, be inserted these clauses, to wit: “‘The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship; nor shall any national religion be established; nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience, in any manner, nor on any pretext, be infringed. “‘The people shall not be deprived or abridged of the right to speak, to write, to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. “‘The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good, nor from applying to the legislature, by petition or remonstrance, for redress of grievances. “‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security for a free country. But no person, religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be obliged to render military service in person. “‘No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owners; nor at any time, but in the manner warranted by law. “‘No person shall be subject, except in case of impeachment, to more than one punishment, or one trial, for the same offence; nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor be obliged to relinquish his property, when it may be necessary for public use, without a just compensation. “‘Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted. “‘The right of the people to be secure in their per
sons, their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized. “In all criminal prosecutions, the criminal shall enjoy the right of a speedy and public trial; to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation; to be confronted by his accusers and the witnesses against him; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel in his defence. “‘The exceptions here or elsewhere in the Constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people, or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the Constitution, but either as actual limitation of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.” “Fifthly, that, in article 1, section 10, between clauses one and two, be inserted this clause: “‘No State shall violate equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.” “Sixthly, that in article 3, section 2, to be annexed to clause two these words, to wit: “‘But no appeal to such courts will be allowed when the value in controversy shall not amount to dollars; nor shall any fact triable by jury, according to the course of common law, be otherwise reëxamined than consists with the principles of common law.” “Seventhly, that, in article 3, section 2, the clause to strike out, and insert the clauses following: “‘In the trial of all crimes (except in cases of impeachment, and cases arising in the land and naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or
public danger) there shall be an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage, with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, of the right of challenge, and other accustomed requisites; and, in all crimes punishable with loss of life or member, presentment or indictment by a grand jury shall be an essential preliminary, provided that, in cases of crimes committed within any county which may be in the possession of the enemy, or in which a general insurrection may prevail, the trial may by law be authorized in some other county in the same State, as near as may be to the seat of the offence.” “Eighthly, that immediately after article 6 be inserted, as article 7, the clauses following, to wit: “‘The powers delegated by this Constitution, and appropriated to the departments to which they are respectively distributed; so that the legislature shall never exercise the powers vested in the executive or judicial, nor the executive exercise the powers vested in the legislative or judicial, nor the judicial exercise the powers vested in the legislative or executive departments. “‘The powers not delegated by this Constitution, nor prohibited by the States, are reserved to the States respectively.” “Ninthly, that article 7 be numbered as article 8.” After the amendments had been some time before the committee of the whole house, Mr. Ames moved they, together with the amendments proposed by the several States, be referred to a special committee; and Messrs. Gilman, Goodhue, Sherman, Benson, Boudinot, Clymer, Wining, Gall, Madison, Bush, Baldwin, were appointed on the 21st of July, 1789. On the 28th of the same month, Mr. Wining, from the committee, reported the following, to wit: