Page:Examiner, Journal of Political Economy, v2n12.djvu/3

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AND JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY.


coast." [See Drayton's Memoirs, vol. 2, page 186.]

In 1778, South Carolina formed another independent Constitution; and in 1790, another, (which is the one now in force.)

In May, 1775, the people of North Carolina in Mecklenburg county adopted, for that county, a Declaration of Independence which is the first on the records of our History, and by the terms of which they solemnly abjured all allegiance to the British Crown.

In June 1776, Virginia declared herself Independent, and adopted her Bill of Rights and first Constitution.

On 2d July, 1776, New Jersey adopted a separate and independent Constitution—and in December, 1776, North Carolina did the same.

On the 4th of July, 1776, the Thirteen States, or Colonies, in General Congress assembled, solemnly published and declared that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be Free and Independent States,—which Declaration was ratified and signed by the Representatives of each State, under the name of their respective States—and was merely a formal Annunciation or Proclamation to the world of the existing fact that these States had achieved their Independence. This Proclamation had, of itself, no power or efficacy to render them independent, if their own courageous love of liberty and invincible hatred of oppression had not enabled them to effect this glorious object. Had they been destitute of these exalted and efficient virtues all the parchment Declarations in the world, (however sacred they may be as records,) would have been but vain and empty boastings.

On the 9th of July, 1778, "Articles of confederation and perpetual Union" were adopted, "between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, &c.," to the number of thirteen States—which articles commence thus: "The style of this confederacy shall be the United States of America.

"Each State retains its Sovereignty, Freedom and Independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not, by this Confederation expressly delegated to the U. States in Congress assembled."

There had been since the year 1774, and annual Congress of Deputies from the Colonies held in Philadelphia, first (like the original Congress at New York in 1765) to remonstrate, and afterwards to concert measures of Defence. But none for the purposes of Government until the Confederation was formed in 1778.

The Congress of the old confederation soon finding itself put to great inconvenience and embarrassment for the want of a power to regulate the external relations—especially the commerce—of the country [which power was at that time under the almost entire control of the States individually,] made repeated representations to the State Legislatures of the necessity of enlarging their powers on these subjects by amendments of the Articles of confederation. In consequence of these applications, and under a conviction of their reasonableness and importance, several of the State Legislatures as early as the year 1786 recommended the holding of a general convention to consider these representations, and to "revise and amend the Articles of Confederation"—and a few of the States actually appointed Delegates to meet those of other states "that might be appointed" for this purpose, some time before the Federal congress passed the resolution calling for, and authorising the meeting of the said convention.

Thus, we find that Virginia (who appears to have been the first to adopt measures on the subject) recommended the holding of a convention first at Annapolis, "to consider the state of trade,"—at which (in Sept. 1786) only five of the States attended, to wit, Virginia, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. Finding, however, that their deliberations would be of little importance without a more general action of the states, Virginia again recommended a convention of all the states, "to revise and amend the Articles of confederation," to be held at Philadelphia the ensuing year. In pursuance of which on the 16th of October, 1786, the Virginia Legislature passed an Act for the "appointment of seven deputies by joint ballot at both Houses of Assembly" "to meet such deputies as may be appointed by other staets, to meet in Philadelphia, for the purpose of revising the Federal constitution"—(See the Act, Elliot's Debates, vol. 4, p. 30.) Which deputies were accordingly so appointed on 4th Dec. 1786.

So also the Pennsylvania Legislature on the 30th Dec. 1786, passed an Act appointing Deputies to the convention intended to be held in the city of Philadelphia, "for the purpose of revising the Federal constitution,"

So also the New Jersey Legislature appointed delegates for the same purpose on the 23d November, 1786.

So also the Delaware Legislature appointed delegates on 3d Feb. 1787.

On the 21st Feb. 1787, the Congress of the Confederation adopted the resolution which recommended and authorized the meeting of the said convention at Philadelphia.

The resolution is in these words: "Whereas, there is provision in the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union for making alterations therein, by the assent of a Congress of the United States, and of the Legislatures of the several states; and whereas experience has evinced that there are defects in the present confederation; as a mean to remedy which several of the States, and particularly the state of New York, by express instructions to their Delegates in Congress, have suggested a convention for the purposes expressed in the following Resolution; and such convention appearing to be the most probable mean of establishing in these States a firm National Government.

"Resolved, That in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next, a Convention of Delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several States, be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several Legislatures, such alterations and provisions therein, as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the States, render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the union."

In conformity with the Resolution, the States, which had not previously done so, appointed, by their Legislatures, Delegates to attend the said convention (except Rhode Island, who refused to appoint) each appointing separately as a State, without any rule, or standard, as to the number of Delegates, which was wholly immaterial as each was to be represented but as a State, and to have one equal vote, the smallest with the largest. Hence we find that whilst New York appointed but three delegates, Delaware appointed five.

The Credentials of each of these Delegates consisted of attested copies of the Acts of their several legislatures, so appointing them. Many of which Acts recite, or refer to, the terms of the said Resolution of the old congress; and all of them are similar in purport. The Act of Delaware, however,