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includes a constitutional possibility of defeating the treaties of commerce entered into by the United States. As also the power 'of regulating the trade, and managing all affairs with the Indians, not members of any states ; provided, that the legislative right of any state within its own limits be not infringed or violated,' and others of a similar nature.
"Tenthly-In granting the United States the sole power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states,' without the power of regulating foreign coin in circulation, though one is essential to the duo exercise of the other, as thero ought to be such proportions maintained between the national and foreign coin, as will give the former a preference in all internal negotiations; and without the latter power, the operations of government, in a matter of primary importance to the commerce and finances of the United States, will be exposed to numberless obstructions.
Eleventhly - In requiring the assent of nine states to matters of principal importance, and of seven to all others, except adjournments from day to day, a rule destructive of vigour, consistency, or expedition, in the administration of affairs, tonding to subject the sense of the majority to that of the minority, by putting it in the power of a small combination to retard and even to frustrate the most necessary measures, and to oblige the greater number, in cases which require speedy determinations, as happens in the most interesting concerns of the community, to come into the views of the smaller; the evils of which have been felt in critical conjunctures, and must always make the spirit of government a spirit of compromise and expedience, rather than of system and energy.
“Twelfthly-In vesting in the foederal government the sole direction of the interests of the United States in their intercourse with foreign nations, without empowering it to pass ALL GENERAL Laws in aid and support of the laws of nations ; for the want of which authority, the faith of the United States may be broken, their reputation sullied, and their pence interrupted, by the negligence or misconception of any particular state.
“And whereas experience hath clearly manifested that the powers reserved to the union in the confederation, are unequal to the purpose of effectually drawing forth the resources of the respective members, for the common welfare and defence ; whereby the United States have, upon several occasions, been exposed to the most critical and alarming situations; have wanted an army adequate to their defence, and proportioned to the abilities of the country; have on account of that deficiency seen essential posts reduced-others imminently endangered-whole states, and large parts of others, overrun and ravaged by small bodies of the enemy's forces ; have been destitute of sufficient menns of feeding, clothing, paying, and appointing thnt army, by which tho troops, renderod less efficient for military operations, have been exposed to sufferings, which nothing but unparalleled patience, perseverance, and patriotism could have endured. Wherens, also, the United States bave been too often compelled to make the adminis'ration of their affairs a succession of temporary expediente, inconsistent with order, economy, energy, or a scrupulous adherence to the publio
augagenients, and now find themselves, at the close of a glorious struggle for independence, without any certain means of doing justice to those who have been its principal supporters - to an army which has bravely fought, and patiently suffered—to citizens who have cheerfully lent their moneyand to others who have in different ways contributed their property and their personal service to the common cause; obliged to rely for the only effectual mode of doing that justice by funding the debt on solid securities, on the precarious concurrence of thirteen distinct deliberatives, the dissent of either of which may defeat the plan, and leave these states, at this early period of their existence, involved in all the disgrace and mischiefs of violated faith and national bankruptcy. And whoroas, notwithstanding we havo, by the blessing of Providence, so far happily escaped the complicated dangers of such a situation, and now see the object of our wishes secured by an honourable peace, it would be unwise to hazard a repetition of the same dangers and embarrassments, in any future war in which these statos may be engaged, or to continue this extensive empire under a government unequal to its protection and prosperity. And whereas, it is essential to the happiness and security of these states, that their union should be established on the most solid foundations, and it is manifest that this desirable object cannot be effected but by a GOVERNMENT, capable, both in peace and war, of making every member of the union contribute in just proportion to the common necessities, and of combining and directing the forces and wills of the several parts to a general end; to which purposes, in the opinion of congress, the present confederation is altogether inade quate. And whereas, on the spirit which may direct the councils and measures of these states, at the present juncture, may depend their future safety and welfaro-Congress conceive it to be their duty, freely to state to their constituents the defects which, by experience, have been discovered in the present plan of the foodoral union, and solemnly to call their attention to a revisal and amendment of the same. Therefore resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the several states to appoint a Convention, to meet at - - on the day of — with full powers to revise the confederation, and to adopt and propose such alterations as to them shall appear necessary, to be finally approved or rejected by the states respectively - and that a committee of be appointed to prepare an address upon the subject."
ANNAPOLIS, September 14th, 1786. “To the honourable the legislatures of Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, and New-York. "The commissioners from the said states respectively assembled at Annapolis, humbly beg leave to report, That pursuant to their several appointments, they met at Annapolis, in the state of Maryland, on the eleventh day of September, instant, and having proceeded to a communi. cation of their powers, they found that the states of New-York, Pennsyl.
vania, and Virginia, had in substance, and nearly in the same terdis, authorized their respective commissioners to meet such commissioners us were or might be appointed by the other states in the union, at such tinic and place as should be agreed upon by the said commissioners, to take into consideration the trade and commerce of the United States, to consider how far an uniform system in their commercial intercourse and regulations might be necessary to their common interest and permanent harmony, and to report to the several states such an act relative to this great object, as, when unanimously ratified by them, would enable the United States in congress assembled effectually to provide for the same.
“That the state of Delaware had given similar powers to their commissioners; with this difference only, that the act to be framed in virtue of these powers, is required to be reported to the United States in congress assembled, to be agreed to by them, and confirmed by the legislature of every state.'
“That the state of New-Jersey had enlarged the object of their appointment, empowering their commissioners 'to consider how far an uniform system in their commercial regulations, and other important matters, might be necessary to the common interest and permanent harmony of the several states ; and to report such an act on the subject, as, when ratified by them, would enable the United States in congress assembled effectually to provide for the exigencies of the union.''
“ That appointments of commissioners have also been made by the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina, none of whom, however, have attended. But that no information has been received by your commissioners of any appointment having been made by the states of Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina, or Georgia. That the express terms of the powers to your commissioners supposing a deputation from all the states, and having for their object the trade and com, merce of the United States, your commissioners did not conceive it advisable to proceed to the business of their mission under the circumstance of so partial and defective a representation.
"Deeply impressed, however, with the magnitude and importance of the object confided to them on this occasion, your commissioners cannot forbear to indulge an expression of their earnest and unanimous wish that speedy measures may be taken to effect a general meeting of the states in a future convention for the same, and such other purposes, as the situation of public affairs may be found to require.
“If in expressing this wish, or intimating any other sentiment, your cummissioners should seem to exceed the strict bounds of their appointment, they entertain a full confidence that a conduct dictated by an anxiety for the welfare of the United States will not fail to receive a favourable construction. In this persuasion, your commissioners submit an opinion that the idea of extending the powers of their deputies to other objects than those of commerce, which had been adopted by the state of New"Jersey, was an improvement on the original plan, and will deserve to be incorporated into that of a future convention. They are the more naturally
led to this conclusion, as, in the course of their reflections on the subject, they have been induced to think that the power of regulating ade is of such comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the general system of the federal government, that to give it efficacy, and to obviato questions und doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other parts of the federal system. That there are important defects in the system of the federal government, is acknowledged by the acts of all those states which have concurred in the present meeting; that the defects, upon a closer examination, may be found greater and more numerous than even these acts imply, is at least so far probable, from the embarrassments which characterize the present state of our national affairs foreign and domestic, as may reasonably be supposed to merit a deliberate and candid discussion in some mode which will unite the sentiments and councils of all the states.
" In the choice of the mode, your commissioners are of the opinion that a CONVENTION of deputies from the different states for the special and sole purpose of entering into this investigation, and digesting a plan of supply. ing such defects as may be discovered to exist, will be entitled to a preference, from considerations which will occur without being particularized. Your commissioners decline an enumeration of those national circumstances on which their opinion respecting the propriety of a future convention with those enlarged powers is founded, as it would be an intrusion of facts and observations, most of which have been frequently the subject of public discussion, and none of which can have escaped the penetration of those to whom they would in this instance be addressed.
“They are, however, of a nature so serious, as, in the view of your commissioners, to render the situation of the United States delicate and critical, calling for an exertion of the united virtue and wisdom of all the members of the confederacy. Under this impression, your commissioners with the most respectful deference beg leave to suggest their unanimous conviction, that it may effectually tend to advance the interests of the union, if the states by which they have been respectively delegated would concur themselves, and use their endeavours to procure the concurrence of the other states, in the appointment of commissioners to meet at Philadelphia on the second Monday in May next, to take into consideration the situation of the United States, to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the constitution of the federal government adequate to the exigencies of the union, and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in congress assembled, as, when agreed to by them, and afterwards confirmed by the legislature of every state, will effectually provide for the same.
“Though your commissioners could not with propriety address these observations and sentiments to any but the states' they have the honour to represent, they have nevertheless concluded, from motives of respect, to transmit copies of this report to the United States in congress assembled, and to the executives of the other States."
SPEECH ON THE IMPOST GRANT.
The first objection (and that which is supposed to have the greatest force) Against the principles of the bill, is, that it would be unconstitutional to delegate legislative power to Congress. If this objection be founded in truth, there is at once an end of the enquiry. God forbid that we should violate that Constitution which is the charter of our rights! But it is our duty to examine dispassionately whether it really stands in our way. If it does not, let us not erect an ideal barrier to a measure which the public good may require.
The first ground of the objection is deduced from that clause of the Constitution which declares “ that no power shall be exercised over the people of this state but such as is granted by or derived from them."
This, it is plain, amounts to nothing more than a declaration of that fundamental maxim of republican governments, “ that all power, mediately or immediately, is derived from the consent of the people,” in opposition to those doctrines of despotism which uphold the divine right of kings, or lay the foundations of government in force, conquest, or necessity. It does not at all affect the question how far the legislature may go in granting power to the United States. A power conferred by the representatives of the people, if warranted by the Constitution under which they act, is a power derived from the people. This is not only a plain inference of reason, but the terms of the clause itself seem to have been calculated to let in the principle. The words, “ derived from,” are added to the words, "granted by," as if with design to distinguish an indirect derivation of power from an immediate grant of it. This explanation is even necessary to reconcile the Constitution to itself, and to give effect to all its parts, as I hope fully to demonstrate in its proper place.
The next clause of the Constitution relied upon, is that which declares that “the supreme legislative power within this state shall be vested in a Senate and Assembly.” This, it is said, excludes the idea of any other legislative power operating within the state. But the more obvious construction of this clause, and that which best consists with the situation and views of the country at this time, with what has been done before and since the formation of our Constitution, and with those parts of the Constitution itself which acknowledge the Federal Government, is this—“In the distribution of the different parts of the sovereignty in the particular government of this state, the legislative authority shall reside in a Senate! and Assembly," or, in other words, "the legislative authority of the particular Government of the State of New York shall be vested in a Senate and Assembly."
The framers of the Constitution could have had nothing more in view than to delineate the different departments of power in our own State government, and never could have intended to interfere with the formation of such a Constitution for the Union as the safety of the whole might require.