of Government, and the preservation of the Union; 3d, that these purposes were to be effected by alterations and provisions in the Articles of Confederation, as it is expressed in the Act of Congress; or by such further provisions as should appear necessary, as it stands in the recommendatory Act from Annapolis; 4th, that the alterations and provisions were to be reported to Congress, and to the States, in order to be agreed to by the former and confirmed by the latter.
From a comparison and fair construction of these several modes of expression, is to be deduced the authority under which the Convention acted. They were to frame a National Government, adequate to the exigencies of Government, and of the Union; and to reduce the Articles of Confederation into such form as to accomplish these purposes.
There are two rules of construction, dictated by plain reason, as well as founded on legal axioms. The one is, that every part of the expression ought, if possible, to be allowed some meaning, and be made to conspire to some common end. The other is, that where the several parts cannot be made to coincide, the less important should give way to the more important part: the means should be sacrificed to the end, rather than the end to the means.
Suppose, then, that the expressions defining the authority of the Convention were irreconcilably at variance with each other; that a National and adequate Government could not possibly, in the judgment of the Convention, be affected by alterations and provisions in the Articles of Confederation; which part of the definition ought to have been embraced, and which rejected? Which was the more important, which the less important part? Which the end; which the means? Let the most scrupulous expositors of delegated powers; let the most inveterate objectors against those