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ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION-1777 1
To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the
undersigned Delegates of the States afired to our Names send greeting
Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventyseven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia in the Words following, viz.
expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
ARTICLE III. The said States hereby severally cnter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.
ARTICLE IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different states in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.
“Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union be
tween the States of Newhampshire, Massachusettsbay, Rhodeisland and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia.
ARTICLE I. The stile of this confederacy shall be "The United States of America."
ARTICLE II. Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation
Congress Resolved, on the 11th of June, 1776, that a committee should be appointed to prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between the Colonies; and on the day following, after it had been determined that the committee should consist of a member from each Colony, the following persons were appointed to perform that duty, to wit: Mr. Bartlett, Mr. 8. Adams, Mr. Hopkins. Mr. Sherman, Mr. R. R. Livingston, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. M'Kean, Mr. Stone, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Hewes, Mr. E. Rutledge, and Mr. Gwinnett. Upon the report of this committee, the subject was, from time to time, debated, until the 16th of November, 1777, when a copy of the confederation being made out, and sundry amendments made in the diction, without altering the sense, the same was finally agreed to. Congress, at the same time, directed that the articles should be proposed to the legislatures of all the United States, to be considered, and 11 approved of by them, they were advised to authorize their delegates to ratify the same in the Congress of the United States; which being done, the same should become conclusive. Three hundred coples of the Articles of Confederation were ordered to be printed for the use of Congress; and on the 17th of November, the form of a circular letter to accompany them was brought in by a committee appointed to prepare it, and being agreed to, thirteen copies of it were ordered to be made out, to be signed by the president and forwarded to the several States, with copies of the confederation. On the 29th of November ensuing, a committee of three was appointed, to procure a translation of the articles to be made into the French language, and to report an address to the inhabitants of Canada, &c. On the 26th of June, 1778, the form of a ratification of the Articles of Confederation was adopted, and. It having been engrossed on parchment, it was signed on the 9th of July on the part and in behalf of their respective States, by the delegates of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina, agreeably to the powers vested in them. The delegates of North Carolina signed on the 21st of July, those of Georgia on the 24th of July, and those of New Jersey on the 26th of November following. On the 5th of May, 1779, Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Van Dyke signed in behalf of the State of Delaware, Mr. M'Kean having previously signed in February, at which time he produced a power to that effect. Maryland did not ratify until the year 1781. She had instructed her delegates, on the 15th of December, 1778, not to agree to the confederation until matters respecting the western lands should be settled on principles of equity and sound policy; but, on the 30th of January, 1781, finding that the enemies of the country took advantage of the circumstance to disseminate opinions of an ultimate dissolution of the Union, the legislature of the State passed an act to empower their delegates to subscribe and ratify the articles, which was accordingly done by Mr. Hanson and Mr. Carroll, on the 1st of March of that year, which completed the ratifications of the act; and Congress assembled on the 2d of March under the new powers.
NOTE.—The proof of this document, as published above, was read by Mr. Ferdinand Jefferson, the Keeper of the Rolls of the Department of State, at Washington, who compared it with the original in his custody. He says: "The Initial letters of many of the words in the original of this instrument are capitals, but as no system appears to have been observed, the same words sometimes begin. ning with a capital and sometimes with a small letter, I have thought it best not to undertake to follow the original in this particular. Moreover, there are three forms of the letter s: the capital S, the small s and the long s, the last being used indiscriminately to words that should begin with a capital and those that should begin with a small &."
If any person guilty of, or charged with treason, assembled, for the defence of such State, or its trade; felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State, flee from justice, and be found in any of the United in time of peace, except such number only, as in the States, he shall upon demand of the Governor or judgment of the United States, in Congress assemExecutive power, of the State from which he fled, be bled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts delivered up and removed to the State having juris- necessary for the defence of such State; but every diction of his offence.
State shall always keep up a well regulated and disFull faith and credit shall be given in each of these ciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, States to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, the courts and magistrates of every other State. in public stores, & due number of field pieces and
ARTICLE V. For the more convenient management tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition of the general interests of the United States, dele- and camp equipage. gates shall be annually appointed in such manner as
No State shall engage in any war without the conthe legislature of each state shall direct, to meet in sent of the United States in Congress assembled, Congress on the first Monday in November, in every
unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, year, with a power reserved to each State, to recall or shall have received certain advice of a resolution its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the being formed by some nation of Indians to invade year, and to send others in their stead, for the re- such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to mainder of the year.
admit of a delay, till the United States in Congress No State shall be represented in Congress by less
assembled can be consulted: nor shall any State than two, nor by more than seven members; and no grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor person shall be capable of being a delegate for more letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a than three years in any term of six years; nor shall declaration of war by the United States in Congress any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding assembled, and then only against the kingdom or any office under the United States, for which he, or state and the subjects thereof, against which war another for his benefit receives any salary, fees or has been so declared, and under such regulations as emolument of any kind.
shall be established by the United States in Congress Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, meeting of the States, and while they act as members in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for of the committee of the States.
that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall In determining questions in the United States, in continue, or until the United States in Congress Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote. assembled shall determine otherwise.
Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not ARTICLE VII. When land-forces are raised by any be impeached or questioned in any court, or place out State for the common defence, all oficers of or under of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the Legisprotected in their persons from arrests and imprison- lature of each State respectively by whom such forces ments, during the time of their going to and from, shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall and attendance on Congress, except for treason, fel- direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the ony, or breach of the peace.
State which first made the appointment. ARTICLE VI. No State without the consent of the ARTICLE VIII. All charges of war, and all other United States in Congress assembled, shall send any expenses that shall be incurred for the common deembassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter fence or general welfare, and allowed by the United into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out with any king, prince or state; nor shall any person of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the holding any office of profit or trust under the United several States, in proportion to the value of all land States, or any of them, accept of any present, emolu- within each State, granted to or surveyed for any ment, office or title of any kind whatever from any person, as such land and the buildings and improveking, prince or foreign state; nor shall the United ments thereon shall be estimated according to such States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant mode as the United States in Congress assembled, any title of nobility,
shall from time to time direct and appoint. No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid confederation or alliance whatever between them, and levied by the authority and direction of the Legwithout the consent of the United States in Congress islatures of the several States within the time agreed assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for upon by the United States in Congress assembled. which the same is to be entered into, and how long ARTICLE IX. The United States in Congress assemit shall continue.
bled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may power of determining on peace and war, except in the interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered cases mentioned in the sixth article-of sending and into by the United States in Congress assembled, with receiving ambassadors-entering into treaties and any king, prince or state, in pursuance of any treaties alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France be made whereby the legislative power of the respecand Spain.
tive States shall be restrained from imposing such No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people by any State, except such number only, as shall be are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation deemed necessary by the United States in Congress or importation of any species of goods or commodi
ties whatsoever-of establishing rules for deciding be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be States. legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or All controversies concerning the private right of naval forces in the service of the United States shall soil claimed under different grants of two or more be divided or appropriated-of granting letters of States, whose jurisdiction as they may respect such marque and reprisal in times of peace appointing lands, and the States which passed such grants are courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed adjusted, the said grants or either of them being at on the high seas and establishing courts for receiv- the same time claimed to have originated antecedent ing and determining finally appeals in all cases of to such settlement of jurisdiction, shall on the peticaptures, provided that no member of Congress shall tion of either party to the Congress of the United be appointed a judge of any of the said courts. States, be finally determined as near as may be in
The United States in Congress assembled shall the same manner as is before prescribed for deciding also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and disputes respecting territorial jurisdiction between differences now subsisting or that hereafter may arise different States. between two or more States concerning boundary, The United States in Congress assembled shall also jurisdiction or any other cause whatever; which au- have the sole and exclusive right and power of reguthority shall always be exercised in the manner fol- lating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own lowing. Whenever the legislative or executive au- authority, or by that of the respective States.-fixing thority or lawful agent of any State in controversy the standard of weights and measures throughout with another shall present a petition to Congress, the United States.-regulating the trade and manstating the matter in question and praying for a aging all affairs with the Indians, not members of hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of any of the States, provided that the legislative right Congress to the legislative or executive authority of of any State within its own limits be not infringed or the other State in controversy, and a day assigned violated-establishing and regulating post-offices for the appearance of the parties by their lawful from one State to another, throughout all the United agents, who shall then be directed to appoint by joint States, and exacting such postage on the papers consent, commissioners or judges to constitute a passing thro' the same as may be requisite to defray court for hearing and determining the matter in the expenses of the said office appointing all officers question: but if they cannot agree, Congress shall of the land forces, in the service of the United States, name three persons out of each of the United States, excepting regimental oficers—appointing all the and from the list of such persons each party shall officers of the naval forces, and commissioning all alternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, officers whatever in the service of the United Statesuntil the number shall be reduced to thirteen; and making rules for the government and regulation of from that number not less than seven, nor more than the said land and naval forces, and directing their nine names as Congress shall direct, shall in the pres- operations. ence of Congress be drawn out by lot, and the per- The United States in Congress assembled shall sons whose names shall be so drawn or any five of have authority to appoint a committee, to sit in the them, shall be commissioners or judges, to hear and recess of Congress, to be denominated "a Committee finally determine the controversy, so always as a of the States”, and to consist of one delegate from major part of the judges who shall hear the cause each State; and to appoint such other committees shall agree in the determination: and if either party and civil officers as may be necessary for managing shall neglect to attend at the day appointed, without the general affairs of the United States under their showing reasons, which Congress shall judge sufi- . direction—to appoint one of their number to preside, cient, or being present shall refuse to strike, the provided that no person be allowed to serve in the Congress shall proceed to nominate three persons office of president more than one year in any term of out of each State, and the Secretary of Congress shall three years; to ascertain the necessary sums of strike in behalf of such party absent or refusing; and money to be raised for the service of the United the judgment and sentence of the court to be ap- States, and to appropriate and apply the same for pointed, in the manner before prescribed, shall be defraying the public expenses to borrow money, or final and conclusive; and if any of the parties shall emit bills on the credit of the United States, transrefuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to mitting every half year to the respective States an appear or defend their claim or cause, the court shall account of the sums of money so borrowed or nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judg- emitted,—to build and equip a navy-to agree upon ment, which shall in like manner be final and deci- the number of land forces, and to make requisitions sive, the judgment or sentence and other proceedings from each State for its quota, in proportion to the being in either case transmitted to Congress, and number of white inhabitants in such State; which lodged among the acts of Congress for the security requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the Legof the parties concerned: provided that every com- islature of each State shall appoint the regimental missioner, before he sits in judgment, shall take an oficers, raise the men and cloath, arm and equip oath to be administered by one of the judges of the them in a soldier like manner, at the expense of the supreme or superior court of the State where the United States; and the oficers and men so cloathed, cause shall be tried, "well and truly to hear and de- armed and equipped shall march to the place aptermine the matter in question, according to the pointed, and within the time agreed on by the United best of his judgment, without favour, affection or States in Congress assembled: but if the United hope of reward:” provided also that no state shall States in Congress assembled shall, on consideration
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of circumstances Judge proper that any State should States, in pursuance of the present confederation,
confirmed by the Legislatures of every State.
The Congress of the United States shall have power federation are submitted to them. And that the to adjourn to any time within the year, and to any articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the place within the United States, so that no period of States we rels]pectively represent, and that the adjournment be for a longer duration than the space Union shall be perpetual. of six months, and shall publish the journal of their In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands proceedings monthly, except such parts thereof re- in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of lating to treaties, alliances or military operations, as Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the year of in their judgment require secresy; and the yeas and our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventynays of the delegates of each State on any question eight, and in the third year of the independence of shall be entered on the journal, when it is desired America." by any delegate; and the delegates of a State, or any
On the part & behalf of the State of New Hampshire of them, at his or their request shall be furnished with a transcript of the said journal, except such
JOHN WENTWORTH, Junr., parts as are above excepted, to lay before the Legis
August 8th, 1778. latures of the several States.
On the part and behalf of the State of Massachusetts ARTICLE X. The committee of the States, or any
Bay nine of them, shall be authorized to execute, in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress
FRANCIS DANA, as the United States in Congress assembled, by the
JAMES LOVELL, consent of nine States, shall from time to time think
SAMUEL HOLTEN. expedient to vest them with; provided that no power
on the part and behalf of the State of Rhode Island be delegated to the said committee, for the exercise
and Providence Plantations of which, by the articles of confederation, the voice
JOHN COLLINS. of nine States in the Congress of the United States
HENRY MARCHANT, assembled is requisite.
ARTICLE XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, On the part and behalf of the State of Connecticut and joining in the measures of the United States,
TITUS HOSMER, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the ad
ANDREW ADAMS. vantages of this Union: but no other colony shall be
OLIVER WOLCOTT, admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.
* From the circumstances of delegates from the same ARTICLE XII. All bills of credit emitted, monies bor.
State having signed the Articles of Confederation at dil
ferent times, as appears by the dates, it is probable they rowed and debts contracted by, or under the author.
affixed their names as they happened to be present in Conity of Congress, before the assembling of the United
gress, after they had been authorized by their constituents
on the part and behalf of the State of New York JAS. DUANE,
WM. DUER, FRA. LEWIS,
On the part and behalf of the State of Maryland JOHN HANSON, March 1, DANIEL CARROLL, Mar. 1, 1781.
On the part and behalf of the State of Virginia RICHARD HENRY LEE, JNO. HARVIE, JOHN BANISTER,
FRANCIS LIGHTTOOT LAR. THOMAS ADAMS,
On the part and behalf of the State of No. Carolina JOHN PENN, July 21st, CORNS. HARNETT, 1778.
JNO. WILLIAMS. On the part & behalf of the State of South Carolina HENRY LAURENS,
RICHD. HUTSON, WILLIAM HENRY DRAYTON, THOS. HEYWARD, Junr. JNO. MATHEWS,
On the part & behalf of the State of Georgia JNO. WALTON, 24th July, EDWD. TELFAIR, 1778.
On the part & behalf of the State of Delaware THO. M'KEAN, Feby. 12, NICHOLAS VAN DYKE.
1779. JOHN DICKINSON, May