Page:The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 Volume 2.djvu/96

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9 z ?ECO?tDS OF TIlE FEDERAL CONVENTION Monday MADISON Ju/y 2 3 Mr. Govr. Morris considered the inference of Mr. Elseworth from the plea of necessity as applied to the establishment of a new System on ye. consent of the people of a part of the States, in favor of a like establishnt. on the consent of a part. of the Legislatures as a non sequitur. If the Confederation is to be pursued no alteration can be made without the unanimous consent of the Legislatures: Legislative alterations not con- formable to the federal compact, would clearly not be valid. The Judges would consider them as null & void. Whereas in case of an appeal to the people of the U.S., the supreme authority, the federal compact may be altered by a majority of them; in like manner as the Constitution of a particular State may be altered by a majority of the people of the State. The amendmt. moved by Mr. Elseworth erroneously supposes that we are proceeding on the basis of the Confederation. This Convention is unknown to the Confederation. Mr. King thought with Mr. Elseworth that the Legislatures had a competent authority, the acquiescence of the people of America in the Confederation, being equivalent to a formal ratification by the people. He thought with Mr. Em also that the plea of necessity was as valid in the one case as in the other. At the same time he preferred a reference to the authority of the people expressly delegated to Conventions, as the most cer- tain means of obviating all disputes & doubts concerning the legitimacy of the new Constitution; as well as the most likely means of drawing forth the best men in the States to decide on it. He remarked that among other objections made in the State of N. York to granting powers to Congs. one had been that such powers as would operate within the State, could not be'reconciled to the Constitution; and therefore were not grant- ible by the Legislative authority. He considered it as of some consequence also to get rid of the scruples which some mem- bers of the States Legislatures might derive from their oaths to support & maintain the existing Constitutions. Mr. <Madison) thought it clear that the Legislatures were incompetent to the proposed changes. These changes would make essential inroads on the State Constitutions, and it would be a novel & dangerous doctrine that a Legislature