Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Saturday, August 25, 1787.

It was moved by Mr. Randolph, and seconded, to postpone the 1st clause of the 1st section, 7th article, in order to take up the following amendment:—

“All debts contracted, and engagements entered into, by or under the authority of Congress, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the Confederation;”

which passed in the affirmative.

On the question to agree to the amendment, it passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 10. Nay: Pennsylvania, 1.

It was moved and seconded to add the following clause to the 1st clause of the 1st section, 7th article:—

“for the payment of said debts, and for the defraying the expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence and general welfare;”

which passed in the negative.

Yea: Connecticut, 1. Nays: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 10.

It was moved and seconded to amend the report of the committee of eleven, entered on the Journal of the 24th instant, as follows: to strike out the words “the year eighteen hundred,” and to insert the words “the year eighteen hundred and eight;” which passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 7. Nays: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, 4.

It was moved and seconded to amend the 1st clause of the report, to read,—

“The importation of slaves into such of the states as shall permit the same shall not be prohibited by the legislature of the United States until the year 1808;”

which passed in the negative.

Yeas: Connecticut, Virginia, Georgia, 3. Nays: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, 6. Divided: Maryland, 1.

On the question to agree to the 1st part of the report as amended, namely,—

“The migration or importation of such persons as the several states now existing shall think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by the legislature prior to the year 1808,”—

it passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 7. Nays: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, 4.

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words “average of the duties laid on imports,” and to insert the words “common impost on articles not enumerated;” which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to amend the 2d clause of the report, to read, “but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person;” which passed in the affirmative.

On the question to agree to the 2d clause of the report, as amended, it passed in the affirmative.

On the question to postpone the further consideration of the report, it passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to amend the 8th article, to read,—

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the several states, and of their citizens and inhabitants; and the judges in the several states shall be bound thereby in their decisions, any thing in the constitutions of laws of the several states to the contrary notwithstanding;”

which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to agree to the following propositions:—

“The legislature of the United States shall not oblige vessels belonging to the citizens thereof, or to foreigners, to enter or pay duties or imposts in any other state than in that to which they may be bound; or to clear out in any other than the state in which their cargoes may be laden on board; nor shall any privilege or immunity be granted to any vessels, on entering, clearing out, or paying duties or imposts, in one state in preference to another.

“Should it be judged expedient, by the legislature of the United States, that one or more ports for collecting duties or imposts, other than those ports of entrance and clearance already established by the respective states, should be established, the legislature of the United States shall signify the same to the executive of the respective states, ascertaining the number of such ports judged necessary, to be laid by the said executives before the legislatures of the states at their next session; and the legislature of the United States shall not have the power of fixing or establishing the particular ports for collecting duties or imposts in any state, except the legislature of such state shall neglect to fix and establish the same during their first session to be held after such notification by the legislature of the United States to the executive of such state.

“All duties, imposts, and excises, prohibitions or restraints, laid or made by the legislature of the United States, shall be uniform and equal throughout the United States.”

It was moved and seconded to refer the above propositions to a committee of a member from each state; which passed in the affirmative.

And a committee was appointed, by ballot, of the Hon. Mr. Langdon, Mr. Gorham, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Dayton, Mr. Fitzsimons, Mr. Read, Mr. Carroll, Mr. Mason, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Butler, and Mr. Few.

It was moved and seconded to add the words “and other public ministers” after the word “ambassadors,” 2d section, 10th article; which passed unanimously in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to strike the words, “and may correspond with the supreme executives of the several states,” out of the 2d section, 10th article; which passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 9. Nay: Maryland, 1.

It was moved and seconded to insert the words “except in cases of impeachment” after the word “pardons,” 2d section, 10th article; which passed in the affirmative.

On the question to agree to the following clause, “but his pardon shall not be pleadable in bar,” it passed in the negative.

Yeas: New Hampshire, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, 4. Nays: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Georgia, 6.

The house adjourned.

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Contents

General Overview

In 1787 and 1788, following the Constitutional Convention, a great debate took place throughout America over the Constitution that had been proposed.

In-Doors Debate

View in-depth studies of the Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York state ratifying conventions.

The Federal Pillars

View drawings of the federal pillars rising published by the Massachusetts Centinel during the ratification debate.

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The Stages of Ratification: An Interactive Timeline

View the six stages of the ratification of the Constitution with links to many other features on this site.

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Interactive Ratification Map

View interactive maps showing the breakdown of Federalist-Antifederalist strength at the state level during the Ratification debate.

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