Roger Sherman to Governor Samuel Huntington, transmitting the printed Constitution

No study questions

We have the honor to transmit to Your Excellency a printed copy of the Constiution formed by the Federal Convention, to be laid before the legislature of the state.

The general principles which governed the Convention in their deliberations on the subject are stated in their letter addressed to Congress.

We think it may be of use to make some further observations on particular parts of the Constiution.

The Congress is differently organized; yet the whole number of members, and this state’s proportion of suffrage, remain the same as before.

The equal representation of the states in the Senate and the voice of that branch in the appointment to offices will secure the rights of the lesser as well as the greater states.

Some additional powers are vested in Congress, which was a principal object that the states had in view in appointing the Convention; those powers extend only to matters respecting the common interests of the Union and are specially defined, so that the particular states retain their Sovereignty in all other matters.

The objects for which Congress may apply monies are the same mentioned in the eighth Article of the Confederation, viz., for the common defense and general welfare, and for payment of the debts incurred for those purposes. It is probably that the principle branch of revenue will be duties on imports; what may be necessary to be raised by direct taxation is to be apportioned on the several states according to the numbers of their inhabitants, and altho Congress may raise the money by their own authority, if necessary, yet that authority need not be exercised if each state will furnish its quota.

The restraint on the legislatures of the several states resepcting emitting bills of credit, making anything but money a tender in payment of debts, or impairing the obligation of contracts by ex post facto laws was though necessary as a security to commerce, in which the interest of foreigners as well as the citizens of different states may be affec ted.

The Convention endeavored to provide for the energy of government on the one hand and suitable checks on the other hand to secure the rights of the particular states, and the liberties and properties of the citizens. We wish it may meet the approbation of the several states and be a mean of securing their rights and lengthening out their tranquility.

Teacher Programs

Conversation-based seminars for collegial PD, one-day and multi-day seminars, graduate credit seminars (MA degree), online and in-person.

Our Core Document Collection allows students to read history in the words of those who made it. Available in hard copy and for download.