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Elliot’s Debates: Volume 2

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Convention of New York

Monday, July 7, 1788.

—The secretary continued reading the 4th and 5th articles without interruption. To the 2d clause of article 6th, Mr. LANSING proposed the following amendments: —

Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, that no treaty ought to operate so as to alter the constitution of any state; nor ought any commercial treaty to operate so as to abrogate any law of the United States.”

To the 3d clause of article 6th, Mr. M. SMITH moved the following addition:—

Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, that all the officers of the United States ought to be bound, by oath or affirmation, not to infringe the constitutions or rights of the respective states.”

After the Constitution had been gone through, Mr. M. SMITH moved for the following amendment to clause 17, of sec. 8, art. 1:—

Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, that the right of the Congress to exercise exclusive legislation over such district, not exceeding ten miles square, as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, shall not be so exercised as to exempt the inhabitants of such district from paying the same taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, as shall be imposed on the other inhabitants of the state where such district may be, nor shall it be so exercised as to prevent the laws of the state, and all process under those laws, from extending to such district, in all cases of crimes committed without the district, or in cases of contracts made between persons residing within such district and persons residing without it. Nor shall it be so exercised, as to authorize any inhabitant of the said district to bring any suit in any court, which may be established by the Congress within the same, against any citizen or person not an inhabitant of the said district. And it is understood that the stipulations in this Constitution, respecting all essential rights, shall extend as well to this district as to the United States in general. Resolved, further, as the opinion of this committee, that the right of exclusive legislation, with respect to such places as may be purchased for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, and dock-yards, and other needful buildings, shall not be construed to authorize the Congress to make any law to prevent the laws of the states in which they may lie, from extending to such places in all civil and criminal matters, except as to such persons as shall be in the service of the United States, nor to them with respect to crimes committed without such places.”

Mr. LANSING then read, and presented to the committee, a bill of rights to be prefixed to the Constitution.

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