Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Friday, June 15, 1787.

Mr. Patterson submitted several resolutions to the consideration of the house, which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the secretary’s table. They were then read.

[Paper furnished by General Bloomfield.]

“1. Resolved, That the Articles of Confederation ought to be revised, corrected, and enlarged, so as to render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the Union.

“2. Resolved, That, in addition to the powers vested in the United States in Congress, by the present existing Articles of Confederation, they be authorized to pass acts for raising a revenue, by levying a duty or a duties on all goods and merchandise of foreign growth or manufacture, imported into any part of the United States; by stamps on paper, vellum, or parchment; and by a postage on all letters and packages passing through the general post-office—to be applied to such federal purposes as they shall deem proper and expedient; to make rules and regulations for the collection thereof; and the same from time to time alter and amend, in such manner as they shall think proper. To pass acts for the regulation of trade and commerce, as well with foreign nations as with each other; provided, that all punishments, fines, forfeitures, and penalties, to be incurred for contravening such rules and regulations, shall be adjudged by the common-law judiciary of the states in which any offence contrary to the true intent and meaning of such rules and regulations shall be committed or perpetrated; with liberty of commencing, in the first instance, all suits or prosecutions for that purpose in the superior common-law judiciary of such state; subject, nevertheless, to an appeal for the correction of all errors both in law and fact, in rendering judgment, to the judiciary of the United States.

“3. Resolved, That, whenever requisitions shall be necessary, instead of the present rules, the United States in Congress be authorized to make such requisitions in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants, of every age, sex, and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes; that, if such requisitions be not complied with in the time to be specified therein, to direct the collection thereof in the non-complying states; and for that purpose to devise and pass acts directing and authorizing the same; provided, that none of the powers hereby vested in the United States in Congress shall be exercised without the consent of at least states; and in that proportion, if the number of confederated states should be hereafter increased or diminished.

“4. Resolved, That the United States in Congress be authorized to elect a federal executive to consist of persons, to continue in office for the term of years; to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for the services by them rendered, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons composing the executive at the time of such increase or diminution; to be paid out of the federal treasury; to be incapable of holding any other office or appointment during their time of service, and for years thereafter; to be ineligible a second time, and removable on impeachment and conviction for malpractices or neglect of duty, by Congress, on application by a majority of the executives of the several states. That the executive, besides a general authority to execute the federal acts, ought to appoint all federal officers not otherwise provided for, and to direct all military operations; provided, that none of the persons composing the federal executive shall, on any occasion, take command of any troops, so as personally to conduct any military enterprise as general, or in any other capacity.

“5. Resolved, That a federal judiciary be established, to consist of a supreme tribunal, the judges of which to be appointed by the executive, and to hold their offices during good behavior; 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 judiciary, so established, shall have authority to hear and determine, in the first instance, on all impeachments of federal officers; and by way of appeal, in the dernier resort, in all cases touching the rights and privileges of ambassadors; in all cases of captures from an enemy; in all cases of piracies and felonies on the high seas; in all cases in which foreigners may be interested, in the construction of any treaty or treaties, or which may arise on any act or ordinance of Congress for the regulation of trade, or the collection of the federal revenue. That none of the judiciary officers shall, during the time they remain in office, be capable of receiving or holding any other office or appointment during their term of service, or for…thereafter.

“6. Resolved, That the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers, within the several states, ought to be bound, by oath, to support the articles of union.

“7. Resolved, That all acts of the United States in Congress assembled, made by virtue and in pursuance of the powers hereby vested in them, and by the Articles of Confederation, and all treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the respective states, as far as those acts or treaties shall relate to the said states, or their citizens; and that the judiciaries of the several states shall be bound thereby in their decisions, any thing in the respective laws of the individual states to the contrary notwithstanding.

“And if any state, or any body of men in any state, shall oppose or prevent the carrying into execution such acts or treaties, the federal executive shall be authorized to call forth the powers of the confederated states, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to enforce and compel an obedience to such acts, or an observance of such treaties.

“8. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the admission of new states into the Union.

“9. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for hearing and deciding upon all disputes arising between the United States and an individual state, respecting territory.

“10. Resolved, That the rule for naturalization ought to be the same in every state.

“11. Resolved, That a citizen of one state, committing an offence in another state, shall be deemed guilty of the same offence as if it had been committed by a citizen of the state in which the offence was committed.”

It was moved by Mr. Madison, seconded by Mr. Sherman, to refer the resolutions, offered by Mr. Patterson, to a committee of the whole house; which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved by Mr. Rutledge, seconded by Mr. Hamilton, to recommit the resolutions reported from a committee of the whole house; which passed in the affirmative.

Resolved, That this house will to-morrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to consider of the state of the Union.”

And then the house adjourned till to-morrow, at 11 o’clock, A. M.

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