Gerry and Mason Proposal
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Gerry and Mason propose a Committee to draft
a Bill of Rights, 12 September 1787Mr. WILLIAMSON, observed to the House that no provision was yet made for juries in Civil cases and suggested the necessity of it.
Mr. GORHAM. It is not possible to discriminate equity cases from those in which juries are proper. The Representatives of the people may be safely trusted in this matter.
Mr. GERRY urged the necessity of Juries to guard agst corrupt Judges. He proposed that the Committee last appointed should be directed to provide a clause for securing the trial by Juries.
Col: MASON perceived the difficulty mentioned by Mr. Gorham. The jury cases can not be specified. A general principle laid down on this and some other points would be sufficient. He wished the plan had been prefaced with a Bill of Rights, & would second a Motion if made for the purpose. It would give great quiet to the people; and with the aid of the State declarations, a bill might be prepared in a few hours.
Mr. GERRY concurred in the idea & moved for a Committee to
prepare a Bill of Rights. Col: MASON 2ded the motion.
Mr. SIHERMAN, was for securing the rights of the people where requisite. The State Declarations of Rights are not repealed by this Constitution; and being in force are sufficient. There are many cases where juries are proper which cannot be discriminated. The Legislature may be safely trusted.
Col: MASON. The Laws of the U. S. are to be paramount to State Bills of Rights.
On the question for a Come to prepare a Bill of Rights
N.H. no. Mas, abst Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa . no. Del no. Md no.
Va no. N.C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.