Page:Examiner, Journal of Political Economy, v2n12.djvu/4

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180
THE EXAMINER,


contained a specific proviso that no alterations or amendments should extend to deprive each State of an equal vote in deciding all questions in congress, according to the 5th Article of Confederation. And the Act of New York, (which uses the words "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation") bears the following teste, "In testimony whereof, I have caused the privy seal of the said State to be hereunto affixed this 9th day of May, in the Eleventh year of the Independence of the said State," (Signed) Geo. Clinton.

According to appointment the Convention met at Philadelphia, and the said Credentials of the members were read to entitle them to a seat,—and officers being appointed they proceeded to business, each State voting on every question as a State, and giving but a single vote, whether she had one representative, or six. By which means the seven smaller States outvoted and controlled the five larger States, though possessing but a third of their population.

On the 17th September, 1787, was drawn up, and agreed to, in this General Convention, the present Constitution, or frame of Government, by twelve of the thirteen "Sovereign, Free, and Independent States"—(Rhode Island refusing to alter the old compact)—which Constitution or frame of Government, did not, in any respect, alter the essential conditions of union on which the said Sovereign States had previously confederated. It did not, and could not, affect the distinct and separate nature of the parties; but was expressly declared to be for the purpose (not of changing the fundamental character of the Co-partnership) but merely, on account of certain defects in the existing frame of Government, "To form a more perfect Union, establish peace, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our posterity."

This Constitution, or form of Government, in its then state, was merely a recommendation or Report of the Convention, to be adopted or rejected by the States; its last article specifying expressly that it should be considered as ratified only when the conventions of "nine States" should adopt it. It had, therefore, no efficacy, and was but a draft of an agreement, until these nine States should so adopt and ratify it.

This ratification by the several States did not take place until 1788, the year after its formation by the said General Convention of the States,—and then with a requisition for the adoption of sundry suggested amendments and alterations, which were agreed to by Congress, and adopted by the State legislatures, in 1789.—The chief of which amendments [as expressed by Massachusetts] was, "That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid constitution, are reserved to the several States, to be by them exercised"—or [as expressed by New Hampshire,] "That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not expressly and particularly delegated by the aforesaid constitution, are reserved to the several States, to be by them exercised"—or [as expressed by South Carolina,] "This convention doth declare, that no section or paragraph of the said constitution, warrants a construction that the States do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by them, and vested in the General Government of the Union."

To this compact or constitution, however, the States of North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont, did not assent for several years after its original formation and adoption, and if they had never chosen to assent, they could not be compelled to do so.

In the separate conventions of the several States for adopting the federal constitution, the number of delegates in each bore no correspondence to the population of the different States—and this is another strong answer to the absurd doctrine, that the people of this Union, as one collective body, (instead of the people of each State acting as distinct sovereignties) adopted the federal constitution. For instance, the State of Connecticut had in her convention for adopting or rejecting the federal constitution, three times as many representatives as the State of New York in her convention, viz: 168 to 55. Massachusetts nearly five times as many as Pennsylvania, viz: 355 to 74. North Carolina upward of one-third more than Virginia, viz. 268 to 168—and South Carolina nearly ten times as many as Georgia, viz: 222 to 25.

Again, many of the States adopted that constitution with much reluctance, and by bare majorities of five, two, ten, eleven, &c., viz: New York, five; Virginia, ten; New Hampshire, eleven, and Rhode Island, two.\

On the second of July, 1788, the Congress of the Confederation received the ratification of the ninth State, (New Hampshire) when the President laid it before the members, proclaiming it to be the ninth ratification; and a motion was immediately submitted and carried, that the ratifications received be referred to a committee to consider the same, and "report an act of Congress for putting the said constitution into operation in pursuance of the resolutions of the late Federal Convention"—which committee reported an act accordingly, and it was finally resolved, that the first Wednesday in March, 1789, be the time for commencing proceedings under the said constitution. This resolution contains the following words: "And whereas, the constitution so reported by the Convention, and by Congress transmitted to the several Legislatures, has been ratified in the manner therein declared to be sufficient for the establishment of the same; and such ratifications, duly authenticated, have been received by Congress, and are filed in the office of the Secretary—therefore resolved, &c. (as above.)

From this it appears that the ratification of the ninth State alone gave validity (the moment it was received,) to that instrument which previously was regarded as a mere "Report" of the convention (as termed by the above resolutions of Congress.)

Now what is the evidence furnished by the above detailed facts of our early history, to establish the proposition of the independent sovereignty of the States, and of the formation of our Federal Government by such States, and not by the collective body of the people. The evidence is this:—

1st. That the several Colonies commenced with separate acts of resistance to the tyranny of G. Britain.

2d. That some of these Colonies adopted separate constitution and declarations of independence previous to the adoption of similar measures by a general action of the Colonies—for instance, South Carolina and Virginia established independent constitutions and forms of government several months previous to the general Declaration of Independence—upwards of two years antecedent to the "Articles of Confederation"—and twelve years before the adoption of the present Federal Constitution—acting, for all that period, as perfectly distinct and independent sovereignties.

3d. That the original Colonies, by the general Declaration of Independence, formally proclaimed themselves free and independent States, with all their rights of sovereignty unlimited and uncontrolled.

4th. That by their original Articles of Confederation, these free and independent States acknowledg-