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Resolved, unanimously, That it be recommended to the General Assembly to take effectual measures for the redemption of the paper currency, as speedily as may be, consistent with the situation and circumstances of the people of this state."
On a motion made by Mr. WILLIE JONES, and seconded by Mr. JAMES GALLOWAY,
“Resolved, unanimously, That the honorable the president be requested to transmit to Congress, and to the executives of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, a copy of the resolution of the committee of the whole Convention on the subject of the Constitution proposed for the government of the United States, concurred with by this Convention, together with a copy of the resolutions on the subject of impost and paper money."
The Convention afterwards proceeded to the business of fixing the seat of government, and on Monday, the 4th of August, adjourned sine die.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. IN THE LEGISLATURE,
WEDNESDAY, January 16, 1788. Read the proposed Federal Constitution, after which the house resolved itself into a committee of the whole. Hon. THOMAS BEE in the chair.
Hon. CHARLES PINCKNEY (one of the delegates of the Federal Convention) rose in his place, and said that, although the principles and expediency of the measures proposed by the late Convention will come more properly into discussion before another body, yet, as their appointment originated with them, and the legislatures must be the instrument of submitting the plan to the opinion of the people, it became a duty in their delegates to state with conciseness the motives which induced it.
It must be recollected that, upon the conclusion of the definitive treaty, great inconveniences were experienced, as resulting from the inefficacy of the Confederation. The one first and most sensibly felt was the destruction of our commerce, occasioned by the restrictions of other nations, whose policy it was not in the power of the general government to counteract. The loss of credit, the inability in our citizens to pay taxes, and languor of government, were, as they ever must be, the certain consequences of the decay of commerce. Frequent and unsuccessful attempts were made by Congress to obtain the necessary powers. The states, too, individually attempted, by navigation acts and other
commercial provisions, to remedy the evil. These, instead of correcting, served but to increase it; their regulations interfered not only with each other, but, in almost every instance, with treaties existing under the authority of the Union. Hence arose the necessity of some general and permanent system, which should at once embrace all interests, and, by placing the states upon firm and united ground, enable them effectually to assert their commercial rights. Sensible that nothing but a concert of measures could effect this, Virginia proposed a meeting of commissioners at Annapolis, from the legislature of each state, who should be empowered to take into consideration the commerce of the Union ; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations might be necessary to their common interest; and to report to the states such an act as, when unanimously ratified by them, would enable Congress effectually to provide for the same. In consequence of this, ten states appointed delegates. By accident, or otherwise, they did not attend, only five states being represented. The gentlemen present, not being a majority of the Union, did not conceive it advisable to proceed; but in an address to their constituents, which was also transmitted to the other legislatures, acquainted them with the circumstances of their meeting; that there appeared to them to be other and more material defects in the federal system than merely those of commercial powers. That these, upon examination, might be found greater than even the acts of their appointments implied, was at least so far probable, from the embarrassments which mark the present state of national affairs, foreign and domestic, as to merit, in their opinions, a deliberate and candid discussion in some mode which would unite the sentiments and councils of all the states. They therefore suggested the appointment of another convention, under more extensive powers, for the purpose of devising such further provisions as should appear to them necessary to render the federal government adequate to the exigencies of the Union.
Under this recommendation the late Convention assembled; for most of the appointments had been made before the recommendation of Congress was formed or known. He thought proper concisely to mention the manner of the Convention's assembling, merely to obviate an objection which all the opposers of the federal system had used, viz.,
that, at the time the Convention met, no opinion was entertained of their departing from the Confederation that merely the grant of commercial powers, and the establishment of a federal revenue, were in agitation; whereas nothing can be more true, than that its promoters had for their object a firm national government. Those who had seriously contemplated the subject were fully convinced that a total change of system was necessary — that, however the repair of the Confederation might for a time avert the inconveniences of a dissolution, it was impossible a government of that sort could long unite this growing and extensive country. They also thought that the public mind was fully prepared for the change, and that no time could be more proper for introducing it than the present -- that the total want of government, the destruction of commerce, of public credit, private confidence, and national character, were surely sufficiently alarming to awaken their constituents to a true sense of their situation.
Under these momentous impressions the Convention met, when the first question that naturally presented itself to the view of almost every member, although it was never formally brought forward, was the formation of a new, or the amendment of the existing system. Whatever might have been the opinions of a few speculative men, who either did, or pretended to, confide more in the virtue of the people than prudence warranted, Mr. Pinckney said he would venture to assert that the states were unanimous in preferring a change. They wisely considered that, though the Confederation might possess the great outlines of a general government, yet that it was, in fact, nothing more than a federal union; or, strictly speaking, a league founded in paternal and persuasive principles, with nothing permanent and coercive in its construction, where the members might, or might not, comply with their federal engagements, as they thought proper that no power existed of raising supplies but by the requisitions or quotas on the states that this defect had been almost fatally evinced by the experience of the states for the last six or eight years, in which not one of them had completely complied; but a few had even paid up their specie proportions; others very partially; and some, he had every reason to believe, had not to this day contributed a shilling to the common treasury since the Union was formed. He
should not go into a detail of the conduct of the states, or the unfortunate and embarrassing situation to which their inattention has reduced the Union ; these have been so often and so strongly represented by Congress, that he was sure there could not be a member on the floor unacquainted with them. It was sufficient to remark that the Convention saw and felt the necessity of establishing a government upon different principles, which, instead of requiring the intervention of thirteen different legislatures between the demand and the compliance, should operate upon the people in the first in
He repeated, that the necessity of having a government which should at once operate upon the people, and not upon the states, was conceived to be indispensable by every delegation present; that, however they may have differed with respect to the quantum of power, no objection was made to the system itself. They considered it, however, highly necessary that, in the establishment of a constitution possessing extensive national authorities, a proper distribution of its powers should be attended to.
Sensible of the danger of a single body, and that to such a council the states ought not to intrust important rights, they considered it their duty to divide the legislature into two branches, and, by a limited revisionary power, to mingle, in some degree, the executive in their proceedings - a provision that he was pleased to find meets with universal approbation. The degree of weight which each state was to have in the federal council became a question of much agitation. The larger states contended that no government could long exist whose principles were founded in injustice ; that one of the most serious and unanswerable objections to the present system was the injustice of its tendency in allowing each state an equal vote, notwithstanding their striking disparity. The small ones replied, and perhaps with reason, that, as the states were the pillars upon which the general government must ever rest, their state governments must remain ; that, however they may vary in point of territory or population, as political associations they were equal ; that upon these terms they formally confederated, and that no inducement whatsoever should tempt them to unite upon others; that, if they did, it would amount to nothing less than throwing the whole government of the Union into the hands of three or four of the largest states.