Page:The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 Volume 3.djvu/164
thousand, and according to the generally received opinion of the increase of population throughout the United States, the present number of their inhabitants will be doubled in twenty-five years, and according to that progressive proportion, and the ratio of one member for thirty thousand inhabitants, the House of Representatives will, within a single century, consist of more than six hundred members. Permit me to add a further observation on the numbers — that a large number is not so necessary in this case as in the cases of state legislatures. In them there ought to be a representation sufficient to declare the situation of every county, town and district, and if of every individual, so much the better, because their legislative powers extend to the particular interest and convenience of each; but in the general government its objects are enumerated, and are not confined in their causes or operations to a county, or even to a single state. No one power is of such a nature as to require the minute knowledge of situations and circumstances necessary in state governments possessed of general legislative authority. These were the reasons, Sir, that I believe had influence on the convention to agree to the number of thirty thousand; and when the inconveniences and conveniences on both sides are compared, it would be difficult to say what would be a number more unexceptionable.
December 3, 1787.
Much fault has been found with the mode of expression used in the first clause of the ninth section of the first article. I believe I can assign a reason why that mode of expression was used, and why the term slave was not directly admitted in this constitution:— … These were the very expressions used in 1783, and the fate of this recommendation was similar to all their [Congress] other resolutions. It was not carried into effect, but it was adopted by no fewer than eleven out of thirteen States; … It was natural, Sir, for the late convention to adopt the mode after it had been agreed to by eleven states, and to use the expression which they found had been received as unexceptionable before. With respect to the clause restricting Congress from prohibiting the migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, prior to the year 1808, the honorable gentleman says that this clause is not only dark, but intended to grant to Congress, for that time, the power to admit the importation of slaves.
- McMaster and Stone, Pennsylvania and the Federal Constitution, 311–313.