Notes of William Paterson in the Federal Convention of 1787
May 29, 1787
I. NOTES OF THE VIRGINIA PLAN, MAY 29. (2)
Propositions founded upon republican Principles.
1. The Articles of the Confdn. should be so enlarged and corrected as to answer the Purposes of
2. That the Rights of Suffrage shall be ascertained by the Quantum of Property or Number of
Souls-This the Basis upon which the larger States can assent to any Reform.
Objn. -Sovereignty is an integral Thing-We ought to be one Nation (3)-
3. That the national Legr. should consist of two Branches-
4. That the Members of the first Branch should be elected by the People, etc. This the
democratick Branch-Perhaps, if inconvenient, may be elected by the several Legrs.-
5. Members of the 2d. Branch to be elected out of the first-to continue for a certain Length of
Time, etc. To be elected by Electors appointed for that Purpose-
6. The Powers to be vested in the national Legr. -A negative upon particular acts, etc.
contravening the Articles of the Union-Force-
7. A national Executive to be elected by the national Legr.
Checks upon the Legr. and Ex. Powers-
1. A Council of Revision to be selected out of the ex. and judy. Departments, etc. (4)
2. A natl. Judiciary to be elected by the natl. Legr. -To consist of an inferior and superior
Tribunal-To determine Piracies, Captures, Disputes between Foreigners and Citizens, and the
Citizen of one State and that of another, Revenue-matters, national Officers-
1. Provision for future States-
2. A Guary. by the United States to each State of its Territory, etc.
3. Continuation of Congress till a given Day.
4. Provision, that the Articles of national Union should be amended-
5. That the leg. ex. and judy. Officers should be bound by Oath to observe the Union.
6. That Members be elected by the People of the several States to ratify the Articles of National
II. REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE, JUNE 13. (5)
Report of the Committee of the whole House
1. Resolved, that [it is) the [opinion of this Committee -------------------------------- of the
U. S. -------------------------------- that a National) Government ought to [be established)
consist [ing) of a Supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive.
2. Resolved, that the [National) Legislature ought to consist of two branches.
3. Resolved, that the Members of the first Branch of -------------------------------- of the
United States -------------------- the [(National)) Legislature ought to be elected by the People
of the several States, for the term of two --- to be of the Age of 25 years at least: ----------
three years; [to receive -------------------------------- fixed Stipends, by which they may be
compensated for the devotion of their time to Public Service-to be paid out of the Public
-------------------- and incapable of holding, National Treasury:) to be ineligible to, any
Office [established by a particular State, or) under the authority of the United States (except
those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first Branch) during the term ---- of the
first Branch -------------------------------- of service, [and under the National Government for
the space of one year after its expiration.)
4. Resolved, that the Members of the second Branch -------------------------------- of the U. S.
-------------------- of the [National) Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual
Legislatures: to be of the Age of 30 years, ------------------ of six years, one third of whom to
go at least; to hold their Offices for the Term [sufficient out of office biennially;
--------------------------------- to ensure their independency namely of seven years)-to
compensation for -------------------------------------- receive [fixed Stipends, by which they
may be compensated for) the devotion of their time to public service,-to be paid out of the
To be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the
United States (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second Branch) during
the term of service, and under the Natl. Government. for the space of one year after its
5. Resolved, that each Branch ought to possess the right of originating Acts.
6. Resolved, that the National Lege. ought to [be empowered to enjoy) the Legislative Rights
vested in Congress by the Confederation; and moreover to Legislate in all cases to which the
separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted
by the exercise of individual Legislation,-to negative all laws passed by the several States
contravening, in the opinion of the National Legislature, the Articles of Union, or any Treaties
subsisting under the Authority of the Union.
7. Resolved, that the Right of suffrage in the first Branch of the National Legislature ought not
to be according to the Rule established in the Articles of Confederation, but according to some
equitable Ratio of representation, namely, in proportion to the whole number of White and other
free Citizens and Inhabitants, of every Age, Sex and Condition, including those bound to
servitude for a Term of Years, and three fifths of all other persons, not comprehended in the
foregoing discription, except Indians not paying Taxes in each State.
8. Resolved, that the right of suffrage in the second Branch of the Nationl. Legislature ought to
be according to the rule established for the first.
9. Resolved, that a National Executive be instituted, to consist of a single person to be chosen
by the National Legislature for the term of seven years, with Power to carry into execution the
National Laws-to appoint to Offices in cases not otherwise provided for; to be ineligible a
second time; and to be removable on Impeachment and Conviction of Mal-Practice, or neglect of
duty. To receive a fixed stipend by which he may be compensated for the Devotion of his time to
public service; to be paid out of the National Treasury.
10. Resolved, that the National Executive shall have ------------------------------ Legislative
------------------------------ a right to negative any [National) Act, which shall not be
afterwards passed unless by two third parts of each Branch of the National Legislature.
11. Resolved, that a National Judiciary be established, to consist of one Supreme Tribunal,-the
Judges of which to be appointed by the second Branch of the National Legislature; to hold their
offices during good behaviour and to receive punctually at stated times, a fixed compensation for
their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons
actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution.
12. Resolved, that the Natl. Legislate. be empowered to appoint inferior Tribunals.
13. Resolved, that the Jurisdiction of the National Judiciary shall extend to cases which respect
the collection of the National Revenue; -Impeachments of any National Officers, and questions
which involve the Nal. peace and harmony.
14. Resolved, that Provision ought to be made for the admission of States, lawfully arising
within the limits of the United States; whether from a voluntary Junction of Government and
Territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a Number of Voices in the National Legislature less
than the whole.
15. Resolved, that provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress and their
Authorities and privileges, until a given day after the reform of the Articles of Union shall be
adopted; and for the completion of all their Engagements.
16. Resolved, that a Republican Constitution, and its existing laws, ought to be garraunteed to
each State, by the United States
17. Resolved, that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union,
whensoever it shall seem necessary.
18. Resolved, that the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary Powers within the several States,
ought to be bound by Oath, to support the Articles of Union.
19. Resolved, that the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation, by the Convention,
ought at a proper time or times, after the Approbation of Congress, to be submitted to an
Assembly or Assemblies of Representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures, to be
expressly chosen by the People to Consider and decide thereon. [Indorsement: Report of Committee
12 June 1787)
III. NOTES APPARENTLY USED BY PATERSON IN PREPARING THE NEW JERSEY PLAN, JUNE
1. Resolved, That a union of the States merely federal ought to be the sole Object of the
Exercise of the Powers vested in this Convention. (6)
2. Resolved, That the Articles of the Confederation ought to be so revised, corrected, and
enlarged as to render the federal Constitution adequate to the Exigencies of Government, and the
Preservation of the Union (7)-
3. Resolved, That the federal Government of the United States ought to consist of a Supreme
Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary-
4. Resolved, That the Powers of Legislation ought to be vested in Congress. (8)
5. Resolved, That in Addition to the Powers vested in the United States in Congress by the
present existing Articles of Confederation, they be authorized to pass Acts for levying a Duty or
Duties on all Goods and Merchandize of foreign Growth or Manufacture imported into any Part of
the United States not exceeding ------ per Cent. ad Valorem to be applied to such federal
Purposes as they shall deem proper and expedient, and to make Rules and Regulations for the
Collection thereof; and the same from Time to Time to alter and amend in such Manner as they
shall think proper. Provided, That all Punishments, Fines, Forfeitures, and Penalties to be
incurred for contravening such Rules and Regulations shall be adjudged and decided upon by the
Judiciaries of the State in which any Offence contrary to the true Intent and Meaning of such
Rules and Regulations shall be committed or perpetrated; subject nevertheless to an Appeal for
the Correction of any Errors in rendering Judgment to the Judiciary of the United States.
That the United States in Congress be also authorized to pass Acts for the Regulation of Trade as
well with foreign Nations as with each other, and for laying such Prohibitions, and such Imposts
and Duties upon Imports as may be necessary for the Purpose; Provided, That the Legislatures of
the several States shall not be restrained from laying Embargoes in Times of Scarcity; and
provided further that such Imposts and Duties so far forth as the same shall exceed . . . per
Centum ad Valorem on the Imports shall accrue to the Use of the State in which the same may be
1. Resolved, That the articles of the confederation ought to be so revised, corrected, and
enlarged as to render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the
preservation of the union-
2. Resolved, That the alterations, additions, and provisions made in and to the articles of the
confederation shall be reported to the united states in congress and to the individual states
composing the union, agreeably to the 13th. article of the confederation-
3. Resolved, That the federal government of the united states ought to consist of a supreme
legislative, executive, and judiciary-
4. Resolved, That the powers of legislation be vested in Congress-
Resolved, That every State in the Union as a State possesses an equal Right to, and Share of,
Sovereignty, Freedom, and Independance-
Resolved, therefore, that the Representation in the supreme Legislature ought to be by States,
otherwise some of the States in the Union will possess a greater Share of Sovereignty, Freedom,
and Independance than others-
Whereas it is necessary in Order to form the People of the U. S. of America into a Nation, that
the States should be consolidated, by which Means all the Citizens thereof will become equally
intitled to and will equally participate in the same Privileges and Rights, and in all waste,
uncultivated, and back Territory and Lands; it is therefore resolved, that all the Lands
contained within the Limits of each State individually, and of the U. S. generally be considered
as constituting one Body or Mass, and be divided into thirteen or more integral Parts. (11)
Resolved, That such Divisions or integral Parts shall be styled Districts.
IV. NOTES FOR SPEECHES (12)
A. Notes for Speech of June 9 (13)
1. The Plan.
2. The words national and federal.
3. Collection of Sentiment-Object, to take under Consideration the State of the American Union-
Consider the Nature and Construction of this Assembly. Formed under the act of Congress passed in
Conformity with one of the Articles of the Confedn.
See the Comn. (14) from Massts.
The Comn. measures our Power-to revise the Confedn. to report to Congress and the several Legs.
-must not go beyond our Powers-
Self-constituted and self-ordained Body.
The Coms. give the political Complexion of the several States-not ripe-we must follow the People;
the People will not follow us-The Plan must be accommodated to the public Mind-consult the
Genius, the Temper, the Habits, the Prejudices of the People.
A little practicable Virtue to be preferred to Theory.
Not to sport Opinions of my own-not to say wt. is the best Govt. or what ought to be done-but
what can be done-wt. can we do consistently with our Powers; wt. can we do that will meet with
the Approbation of the People-their Will must guide-
Insurrections-So there are in every Govt. -even in England-it may shew, that our particular
Systems are wrong-that our Instns. are too pure-not sufficiently removed from a State of Nature
to answer the Purposes of a State of Society-it will not militate agt. the democratick Principle
when properly regulated and modified-
The democratick Spirit beats high-
Not half wrong enough to have a good Govt. -
2. The Plan proposed-The 1st. Propn. withdrawn (15)-it was incompatible with the 2d. The
Principles were gradually unfolded-
The 1 Propn. accords with the Spirit of the Constn.
Each State is sovereign, free, and independt. etc. Sovereignty includes Equality-
If then the States in Union are as States still to con tinue in Union, they must be considered as
13 sovereign and independent States can never constitute one Nation, and at the same Time be
States-they may by Treaty make one confederated Body-
Mr. Randolph-We ought to be one Nation-etc. The States as States must be cut up, and destroyed-
This is the way to form us into a Nation (16)-It has Equality-it will not break in upon the
Rights of any Citizen-it will destroy State Politicks and Attachmts. Will it be acceded to, etc.
G. Morris-Every Citizen should enjoy a rateable Proportion of Sovereignty-
The Mind of Man is fond of Power-
Enlarge his Prospects, you increase his Desires- Proportion of Votes-State- Politicks,
State-Attachments, State-Influence, State-Passions-Districts-
Great Britain and America-Suppose Representn. from the latter before the Revolutn. according to
the Quantum of Property or Number of Souls-Wt. the Consequence-
3 Article (17)-Com. Defence, Security of Liberty, mutual and general Welfare.
A national Govt. to operate individually upon the People in the first Instance, and not upon the
States- and therefore a Representation from the People at large and not from the States-
Will the Operation of the natl. Govt. depend upon the Mode of Representn. - No-it depends upon
the Quantum of Power lodged in the leg. ex. and judy. Departments-it will operate individually in
the one Case as well as in the other-
Why not operate upon the States-if they are coerced they will in Turn coerce each individual-
Let the People elect the State-Legr. -The State-Legr. elect the federal Legr. -assign to the
State Legr. its Duty-the same to the federal-they will be Checks upon each other, and the best
Checks that can be formed-Cong. the Sun of our political System-
Why a Representation from the People at large-to equalize Representn. Majr. Butler-Representn.
Mr. Wilson-Majority of the States sufficient. This in Opposition to Mr. King-
2 Views. 1. Under the Confedn. -13th. Article-Rhode-Island. 2. As forming an original Combinn. or
Confederacy-can bind the contracting Parties only-
The large States can agree upon a Reform only upon the Principle of an equal Representn. (18)
11 Propn. (19)
If the lesser States form a Junction of Govt. and Territory, the Gy. (20) ceases to operate as to
them-This will prevent a Consolidn. of Govt. and Territory-
The People will likewise prevent any new State from being taken from the old-
Vermont-Kentucky-several in Embryo-Republicks-Monarchies-large Frontiers.
B. Notes for Speech of June 9.
1. The Confederation-its leading Principle. unanimously assented to-
2. The Nature and Construction of this Assembly. Formed under the Confedn. Resn. of Congress-The
Comn. measures our Power-it gives the political Complexion of each State-to revise the Confedn.
Must not go beyond our Powers-People not ripe-
A little practicable Virtue to be preferred to Theory.
What expected-Regulation of Commerce, Colln. of the Revenue, Negative, etc this will draw after
it such a Weight of Influence and Power as will answer the Purpose-they will call forth the
3. The Plan proposed. The 1 Propn. withdrawn-it was incompatible with the 2d. (21) Much Dispute
about Distn. between federal and National Governments. The Principle was gradually unfolded-
The 1 Propn. accords with the Spirit of the Confedn. Each State is sovereign, free, and
independent etc. The Idea of a Supreme, and the Maxim Imperium in Imperio-
If then the States in Union are as States still to continue in Union, they must be considered as
13 sovereign and independant states can never constitute one Nation; they may by Treaty make one
Mr. Randolph-we ought to be one Nation-2 Article (22)-5th. Article (22)-
G. Morris-Every Individual should enjoy a rateable Proportion of Sovereignty-
3 Article (22)-Common Defence, Security of Liberty, mutual and general Welfare-Proportion of
If the lesser States form a Junction of Govt. and Territory, the Gy. ceases to operate as to
them-This will prevent a Consoln. of Govt. and Territory-
The Propn. will likewise prevent any new States from being taken from the old- Vermont,
Kentucky-Several in embryo-Republics -Monarchies-large Frontiers-
The large States can agree to a Reform only upon the Principle of an Equality of Representn.
In what we are all agreed-
C. Notes for speech of June 9.
"for the sole and express Purpose of revising the Articles of Confdn. and reporting to Congress
and the several Legs. such Alterations and Provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress
and confirmed by the States render the federal Constn. adequate to the Exigencies of Government
and the Preservn. of the Union."
Connectt. as above-
States. (1) Quota of Tax. Delegates.
Virginia ........................ 512,974 ................................. 16.
Massachusetts ................... 448,854 ................................. 14.
Pennsylvania .................... 410,378 ..................... 12. 3/4 .42 3/4
Maryland ........................ 283,034 ............................. 8. 3/4.
Connecticut ..................... 264,182 .................................. 8.
New York ........................ 256,486 .................................. 8.
North Carolina .................. 218,012 .............................. 6 3/4.
South Carolina .................. 192,366 .................................. 6.
New Jersey ...................... 166,716 .................................. 5.
New Hampshire ................... 105,416 .............................. 3 1/4.
Rhode Island .................... 64,636 ................................... 2.
Delaware ........................ 44,886 ............................... 1 1/4.
Georgia ......................... 32,060 ................................... 1.
1 This table is printed in Doc. Hist., 1. 331, except that the column giving
quotas is not footed here. It is there dated "Sepr 27th 17.85" and indorsed
"hon. D. Brearly Esq."
D. A Fragment, possibly connected with Paterson's Speech of June 9.
Ambition goads him on. The Impulse is progressive-enlarge his Prospects, and you enlarge his
Desires. As to orders-as to Societies. Mithradates-Com. Defence-Liberty.
Nature of Govts.
So corrected and enlarged.
Regulation of Commerce,
the Collection of Revenue.
Negative in particular Cases.
To promote the general Welfare, to protect Liberty and Property.
E. Notes for Speech of June 9.
1-Great Britain and America-Representn. from the latter before the Revolution according to the
Number of Souls-Wt. the Consequence. (23)
2. Representation from the People at large and not from the States (24)-
3. National Governmt. to operate individually upon the People in the first Instance, and not upon
the States (24)
F. Notes for Speech of June 16 (25)
1. Because it accords with our Powers. Suppose an Attorney. Who can vote agt. it- If Confedn.
cannot be amended, say so- The Experimt. has not been made.
2. Because it accords with the Sentiments of the People.
2. News-papers-Political Barometer. Jersey never would have sent Delegates under the first Plan-
Not to sport Opinions of my own. Wt. can be done. A little practicable Virtue preferrable to
1. As States-independant of any Treaty or Confedn.-
Each State is sovereign, free, and independant-Sovereignty includes Equality. We come here as
States and as Equals-Why vote by States in Convention-We will not give up the Right-
Mr. Wilson-A Principle given up in the first Confedn. (26)
2. As under the existing Articles of the Confedn.
5th. Article-unanimously entered into.
Back Lands-Jersey-Maryland- (27)
A Contract. The Nature of a Contract. Solemnly entered into-Why break it-why not the new or
present one be broke in the same Manner-
The last Clause in the Confedn.-
Some of the States will not consent-
Hitherto argued upon Principle-as States-as subsisting Treaties-The Danger to the lesser States-
The Natural Progress of Power-Combination of Parts-Orders-States-Proportion of
Votes-State-Politicks and Attachments-Great Britain and America-
Objns. The larger States contribute most, and therefore Representn. ought to be in Proportion-
No-they have more to protect.
2. For the Sake of preserving the Liberty of the others-
3. Wealth will have its Influence-
Objn.-Mr. Wilson (28)-first Principles-All Authority derived from the People-The People entitled
to exercise Authority in Person. One free Citizen ought to be of equal Importance with
another-true-One free State of equal Importance with another-Both true when properly applied. The
Beauty of all Knowledge consists in the Application-
One free Citizen ought to be of equal Importance with another-they are Members of the Society,
and therefore true-England and Switzerland. Pennsylva. and Jersey-they have the same Privileges,
partake in the same common Stock, for Instance, in back and unlocated Lands. The Genn. soon found
out the Diffe. between a Pennsylva. and a Jersey-Man when we talked of Consolidn. then the
Pennsyla. gave up 1/3 -No; no-A Nation, when it is necessary to go by Majority of Votes, a State,
when it is necessary to divide the common Stock-
Equalize the States-No Harm-no Hurt. No authority for that Purpose-and then it is impracticable-
Authority-Why talk of the first set of Propositions-
Impracticable-how does that appear-Make the Experiment-Propose the Measure to the Consideration
of the States- (30)
Objn.-There must be a national Governmt. to operate individually upon the People in the first
Instance, and not upon the States-and therefore a Representation from the People at Large and not
from the States-
1. Will the Operation and Force of the Govt. depend upon the mode of Representn.-No-it will
depend upon the Quantum of Power lodged in the leg. ex. and judy. Departments-it will operate
individually in the one Case as well as in the other-
2. Congress are empowered to act individually or to carry the Reqt. into Execn. in the same
Manner as is set forth in the first Plan-
3. If not, it may be modified to answer the Purpose.
4. If it cannot be done, better than to have some States devoured by others-
Objn.-Congress not sufficient-there must be two Branches-a House of Delegates and a Senate; why,
they will be a Check-This not applicable to the supreme Council of the States-The Representatives
from the several States are Checks upon each other.
In a single State Party Heat and Spirit may pervade the whole, and a single Branch may of a
sudden do a very improper Act-A second Branch gives Time for Reflexion; the Season of Calmness
will return, etc. Is this likely to be the Case among the Representatives of 13 States-
What is the Fact-Congress has hitherto conducted with great Prudence and Sagacity-the People have
been satisfied-Give Congress the same Powers, that you intend to give the two Branches, and I
apprehend they will act with as much Propriety and more Energy than the latter.
The Chance for Wisdom greater-Refinement-Secretion-
The Expence will be enormous-
Congress the Sun of our political World.
G. Notes, probably for a Speech not delivered. (31)
1. The Equality of the States-Sovereignty and Equality are convertible Terms. Pennsylva. a
distinct political Being-
2. As under the existing Articles of the Confedn. A Contract solemnly entered into.
3. The Danger to the lesser States.
4. The Impracticability of the present System.
5. Its Expence-
It must be admitted, that before a Treaty can be binding, each State must consent.
The larger States contribute most-and therefore Representn. ought to be in Proportn.
1. Ansr. They have more to protect. A rich State and a poor State in same Relation as a rich
Individual and a poor one.
2. For the Sake of preserving the Liberty of the others-Compromise-Their System.
3. Wealth will have its Influence.
Objn. Mr. Wilson-The Minority will vote away the Property of the Majority.
Ansr. This secured by the first Branch- (32)
The Majority will vote away the Liberties of the Minority (33)-Wt. is Wealth when put in
Competition with Freedom-
The lesser States will destroy the larger-Lamb and Lyon-
Objn. Mr. Maddison-The Confedn. inadequate to its Purposes. Repeated Violations in every
State-Each Violation renders the Confedn. a Nullity- (34)
1 No. The same Power to rescind as to make. It would be in the Power of one Party always to
abrogate a Compact.
Objn. Mr. Maddison-The Confedn. obtained by the Necessity of the Times.
Is the Plea of Compulsion set up. Look at the Confedn. unanimously assented to-Mr. Wilson given
up-Not complained of-We come here under that Confedn.
Objn. Mr. King-Equality is the Vice of the present System. How does it appear-
Objectn.-Mr. King (35) -The great Charter of England-Certain constitutional Principles to be
observed-Power in the Magy. to prevent a Violation of fundamental Principles-
Union of England and Scotland.
1. A Union or Consolidation-this a Confederacy.
2. It was to be sure agreed to-Bribery made use of-
3. A King.
4. The Vicinity of France-
The last Time of Meeting-
H. Notes apparently for Speech of July 9.
Number of Inhabitants
New Hampshire in 1774 ....................................... 100,000.
Massachusetts in 1774 ....................................... 400,000.
Rhode-Island by a Return to the Legislature in Feb. 1783
Connecticut in 1774 ......................... Whites 192.000
Blacks (nearly) 6.000.
IN 1782 NEARLY 220.000.
New York in 1956.................................... 96.775.
in 1771................................... 168.000.
in 1786............................ Whites 219.996.
New Jersey in 1783 .......................................... 139.000.
about 10,000 Blacks included--
Maryland in 1774 estimated at ............................... 350.000.
Blacks 3/7 ................................................. 150.000.
Virginia in 1774 ............................................. 650.000
Blacks as 10 to II ......................................... 300.000.
In the lower States the accts are not to be depended on --
The Proportion of Blacks
In Connecticut as 1. to 33.
The same Ratio will answer for Massachusetts--
In Rhode-Island as 1 to 151/2.
In New York as 1 to 12 nearly.
In New Jersey as 1 to 13 nearly.
Virginia .......................................... 9. 10
Massts ............................................ 7. 8
Pennsylva ........................................... 8. 8
Maryland ............................................ 4. 6.
Connecticut ......................................... 4. 5.
New York ............................................ 5. 6.
N. Carolina ......................................... 5. 5.
S. Carolina ......................................... 5. 5.
N. Jersey ........................................... 3. 4.
New Hampshire ....................................... 2 3.
Rh. Island .......................................... 1 1
Del ................................................. 1. 1
Georgia ............................................. 2. 3.
56. 65 (1)
Eastn States ............................................... 17.
5 Middle States ............................................ 25.
4 Southn States ............................................ 23.
V. NOTES ON DEBATES
A. Notes on Debate of June 9. (36)
unfair; because of the Combination of the Parts.
Equalize the States-
All Authority is derived from the People-the People entitled to exercise Authority in
2 Things necessary-1. That the Representatives express the Sentiments of the represented. 2. That
the Sentiments thus expressed should have the same Operation as if expressed by the People
Numbers the best Estimate of Property. One free Citizen ought to be of equal Importance with
One Mass-13-it will be given away 1/3 of the Territory-
No authority-it is besides impracticable.
He wishes the Distinction of States might be destroyed.
A Principle given up in the first Confedn.
It does not appear to him, that the lesser States will be swallowed up.
A small County, and a large County; according to Numbers-
B. Notes on Debate of June 11.
Resolved, That the Rights of Suffrage in the first Branch of the national Legr. ought not to be
according to the Article of Confedn., but according to some equitable Ratio of Representation-
Not by the Number of free Inhabitants, but according to the Quotas of Contribution-
The Terms, "Quotas of Contribution," very indefinite-it ought to be according to the actual
Supposes, that there will not be any Assignment or Quotas to States; the Governmt. to operate
individually and not on States-
The Power to be in Proportion to actual Contribution-
Suppose an Impost-Connecticut and Jersey do not import-they will have no Representatives-
This to be left to the State Legrs.-Sum to be proportioned-
Either Rule good-by Numbers best to ascertain the Right of Representn. this agreeably to the
Sentiments of 11 States-Impost alone will not be sufficient to answer the national
Exigencies-Revenues arising from Postage-The present Quota not a lasting Rule-People to be
numbered at fixed Periods-A Rule arising from Property and Numbers-
Rule of Taxation not the Rule of Representation-4 might then have more Voices than ten-Slaves not
to be put upon the Footing of freemen-Freemen of Massts. not to be put upon a Footing with the
Slaves of other States-Horses and Cattle ought to have the Right of Representn. Negroes-Mules-
The Taxes must be drawn by the natl. Governmt. immediately from the People: otherwise will never
Leave the particular Rule for the present. A common Standard ought to be provided-
C. Notes on Debate of June 16.
Contrasts the Principles of the two Systems-
The national Plan proposes to draw Representn. from the People.
The federal Plan proposes to draw Representn. from the States.
The first will absorb the State-Governmts.
1. The Powers of the Convention.
2. The Probability as to the Adoption of either System-
Publick Acts-particularly the Act respecting the Impost.
Reasoning upon Systems unsupported by Experience generally erroneous-
The Plans do not agree in the following Instances.
1. The Govt. consists of 2 Branches.
2. The original Authority of the People at Large is brought forward.
3. Representation to be according to the Number and Importance of the Citizens.
4. A single Executive.
5. A Majority of the United States are to control.
6. The national Leg. can operate in all Cases in which the State Leg. cannot.
7. The national Leg. will have a Right to negative all State-Acts contravening Treaties, etc.
8. Ex. Mag. removable on Conviction.
9. The Ex. to have a qualified Negative over Acts of the Legr.-
10. Provision is made for superior Tribunals-
11. The Jurisdn. of the national Legr. is to extend to all Cases of a national Nature.
12. National Peace, all Questions comprehending it, will be the Object of the national Judiciary-
13. Delegates to come from the People.
The relative Merit of the two Plans.
1. Upon Principles.
2. Upon Experience.
3. The joint Result of both.
He can conclude finally Nothing; and to propose every Thing-he may propose any Plan-
Sentiments of the People; those with whom we converse we naturally conclude to be the Sentiments
of the People.
States Sovereignments and State Governmts. not so much an Idol as is apprehended-a national
Government to protect Property and promote Happiness, the Wish of the People.
Will a Citizen of New Jersey think himself honoured when addressed as a Citzn. of that State, and
degraded when addressed as a Citizen of the U. S.
The People expect Relief from the national Councils; it can be had only from a national
A new Proposal thrown out for the Sentiments of the People.
Adl Powers ought not to be given to Congress. Objns. to that Body.
1. Congress as a legislative Body does not stand upon the Authority of the People.
2. Congress consists of but one Branch.
An equal Representn. in Proportion to Numbers.
The Foundation, the Progress, and Principles of Representation-Look at England-Holland-the Vote
of every Province necessary. Ld. Chesterfield-
Impost opposed and defeated not by one of the large States-
The Consent of Rhode-Island will be necessary on the Jersey-Plan-
A single Legr.
Despotism presents itself in several various Shapes-military Despot-ex. Despot-Is there no such
Thing as a leg. Despot-The Leg. Authority ought to be restrained-
The Restraints upon the Legr. must be such as will operate within itself-No Check in a single
Branch-Should have distinct and independant Branches- reciprocal Controul.
A single Executive-Triumvirate of Rome-2 Triumvirate-Augustus rose superior- Sparta-Rome-
If Jersey can have an equal Representn. she will come into the Plan from Virginia-
Views-to amend the Confedn. if not amendable, then to propose a new Governmt.-
Solely recommendatory-Powers sufficient. Division of Territory; not seriously proposed (37)-The
due Settlemt. of the Importance of the States necessary-this done at present with Respect to
1 Congress unfortunately fixed on equal Representn-they had not the Means of determining the
Quota-If each State must have a Vote, each State must contribute equally-
1. Whether the Articles of the Confedn. can be so reformed as to answer the Purposes of a
No Usurpation of Power in this Convention. The Spirit of the People in Favour of the Plan from
Powers pursued; if Powers wanting. we should do what is right.
Our Debts remain unpaid while the federal Govt. remains as it is-
The 13th. Article-provides for the alteration of the Articles, then of course for the Alteration
of the 5th. Article.
Powers in a deliberate Assembly-ridiculous-We are only to compare Sentiments- Disdain Danger, and
do what is necessary to our political Salvation-We must avail ourselves of the present Moment.
His Constituents will applaud, when he has done every Thing in his Power to relieve America-
No Provision agt. foreign Powers or Invasions. no Mony nor Men-Militia not sufficient-
No Provision agt. internal Insurrections. nor for the Maintenance of Treaties-
Coercion two Ways-1. as to Trade-2. as to an Army-
Legislation affecting Individuals the only Remedy. This Power too great to lodge in one Body-
Congress possess both Legislation and Execution-
The Variety of Interests (38) in the several States require a national Legislation; or else there
may be a Combination of States-
The Mode of electing Congress an Objn.-the Delegates will be under the Influence of its
Cabal and Intrigue of which such a Body as Congress may be capable. They are too numerous for an
No Provision under the Confedn. for supporting the Harmony of the States-their commercial
No provision for Congress to settle Disputes-
No Provision made or Power in Congress for the Suppression of Rebellion-no Troops can be
raised-Congress ought not to have the Power of raising Troops.
A Navigation Act may be necessary-Give Power to whom-not to Congress-capable of Intrigue and
Cabal; Inadequacy of Representation; Want of Confidence in Congress-
Congress fallen considerably in their Reputation.
Doors not open in Congress.
This the last Moment ever will be offered (39)-
D. Notes on Debates of June 27, 28, and 29. (40)
June 27. 1787. (41)
Have those who upon the present plan hold 1/13 part of the Votes, a 13th part of the
weight,-certainly not-upon this plan they sink to nothing
The Individual right of Citizens is given up in the State Govts. they cannot exercize it again in
the Genl. Government. (42)
It has never been complained of in Congress-the complaint there is the want of proper powers.
Mr. Martin resumed his argument.
The Genl. Govt. is not to regulate the rights of Individuals, but that of States. The Genl. Govt.
is to Govern Sovereignties. then where the propriety of the several Branches-they cannot
exist-there can be no such checks.
Amphictyonick Council of Greece represented by two from each town-who were notwithsg. the dispn.
of the Towns equal-Rollins Ancient Hist. 4 Vol. pa. 79.
All the Ancient and Modern Confedns. and Leagues were as equals notwithstanding the vast
disproportions in size and wealth.
If the large States, who have got a Majority, will adhere to their plan, we cannot help it, but
we will publish to the world our plan and our principles, and leave it to judge.
Have we seen the Great Powers of Europe combining to oppress the small- (44)
Yes-the division of Poland.
They talk in vague Terms of the great States combining etc. (45)
Wants to know how it is possible that the large States can oppress the small (46)
The rule to tax the States according to their numbers would be cruel and unjust-it would Create a
If you form the present Government, the States will be satisfied-and they will divide and
sub-divide so as to become nearly equal-
If the States are represented as States-they must be represented as Individuals.
New-Jersey ought not to oppose the plan, as she at present pays the Taxes of Penn. and N. York,
from which she would be relieved.
Will have the States considered as so many great Corporations, and not otherwise.
That States have equal rights to vote, is not true It is estabd. by the Law of Nations that they
have equal votes-but does it follow that they can not contract upon a different footing-
That the Genl. Governmt. will act, not only, upon the States, but upon Individuals.
As long as the State influence is kept up there will be danger-but the influence will not be as
great as is apprehended.
It is a contest for power in the weaker States. (47)
Gentlemen of Congress when they vote always connect with them the State views and politicks-and
That upon Tryal it has been found that the Articles of Con. are not adequate-
That the small States have abused their power, and instanced Rho. Island.
E. Notes on Debate of June 30. (48)
Did not expect this Question at this Stage of the Business.
Member of Connecticut said, not more than one State to Eastward would accede.
Sense of Duty.
22 out of 90-not 1/4-
Artificial Systems of States-
The Voice of the Minority will vote away the Property of the Majority-
7 States can control the 6.
States imaginary Beings abstracted from Men-
No other Foundation will be solid-
The 3 large States combined. Wt. He wants the Principles of the Combn.-they will be Rivals.
Their Interests are different.
24 out of 90 carry more of an Aristocracy.
2 Kinds of bad Govt.-1. That Govt. which does not do enough-and 2. that which does too much-Be as
we were before we met.
The System of Virginia and the System of Jersey agree as to the Powers-
Govt. by the States necessary. There can be no Difficulty as to this Point.
Objn. A Minority will govern a Majority. You put it in the Power of a few to prevent the
Oppression of the many.
Political Societies are to govern-
In the Br. Constn. the few has a Check upon the many; and one upon both-
The House must be demolished-but it only wants a Shingle- (49)
If Congress had voted by a Majority, all Evils would have been cured'
Rhode-Island-The Power not in Congress.
Are not the large States safe now-
Suppose the large States should agree that 4 free Ports should be established.
Suppose lucrative Offices-
No Unity of Interests-
The Confedn. inadequate to its Purposes.
Resoln. of Cont. refusing to comply with a federal Reqn.
Reported Violations in every State.
The Rule of Confdn. obtained by the Necessity of the Times-
The large States will not be secure by the lower Branch.
2d. Branch may possess a Negative over the Laws of the State-Legs.
Cont. has furnished more thn. her Quota as to Men-
Mr. Wilson asks, why the Interests of the lesser States cannot be as safe in the Hands of the
larger States as in their own-
The Resoln. as reported by the Comee. is impracticable-is too large-
The 2d. Branch being executive must sit constantly.
Not necessary to sit constantly-
Each State should have one Senator-1 Member in the second for every 100,000 People; and 1 for the
This a Compromise on the Part of the large States.
He will not insist upon small Matters-if the great Principles can be established-
Govt. placed upon a false Basis.
The lesser States afraid of their Liberties; the larger States afraid of their Money.
Treaty between France and the U. S. the latter had no Disposition over the Treasury of the
Equality is the Vice of the present System.
The Amt. (50) is Congress in a new Form; servile to the States.
No Disposn. in Cl. (51) Rep. or Corporations to swallow up the Rest.
Purity of Principle-
Magna Charta of England. Certain constl. Principles to be observed.
Union of England and Scotland.
Power in the Magy. to prevent a Violation of fundamental Principles.
Govt. a progressive Force.
F. Notes on Debate of July 5. (52)
The Interest of the smaller States to come into the Measure - Delaware - foreign Power -
New-Jersey. Single and unconnected.
The People will not agree to it.
Suppose the larger States agree-the smaller States must come in.
Jersey would follow the Opinions of New York and Pennsylva.
The Sword must decide-
The strongest Party will make the weaker Traitors and hang them-foreign Power.
Should be open to Conviction-
-The larger States must prevail-they must decide; they are most powerful.
Not Members of a Synod, or Conventicle-
G. Notes on Debates of July 7 and 9.
About 2,000 Men in the smaller States, who compose the Executives, Legislatives, and Judiciaries;
all interested in opposing the present Plan, because it tends to annihilate the
If a Majority of the lesser states be agt. the Laws of the national Governmt.; those Laws cannot
be executed-There must then be a Branch immediately from the States.
An Agreemt. elsewhere cannot be expected unless the Representation be fair-
1. The Upper Branch may put a Veto upon the Acts of the lower Branch.
2. May extort a Concurrence. The smaller States near the Centre; they may compose a Majority of
The larger States will have more Influence; they have in Congress; this from the Nature of
Great Care will be taken to lessen the Powers of the 2d. Branch-
Corporations to be protected.
Separate colonial Existances-
Corporations-The small States-go on and fight out the Revn. or give us an equal Vote.
The small States say, that they will have greater Rights as Citizens-
Must have such a Govt. as will give Safety-
State-Policy not a proper Object for a vigorous Governmt.
In Proportion to the Vigour and Strength of the State Governmts. will be the Febleness of the
We must have it in View eventually to lessen and destroy the State Limits and Authorities-
The Germanick Constn.-The Emperor has never been able to collect them-the separate Parts were too
Monday 9th. July, 87.
Report of Comee. (53)
Necessary, that the Atlantic States should take Care of themselves; the Western States will soon
be very numerous.
H. Notes on Debate of July 23. (54)
1. The Constitutionality of the Measure.
1. The People the Source of Power. Union-
2. The Legr. of To-Morrow may repeal the Act of the Legr. of To-Day. So as to Convention-
3. Some of the Constns. not well or authoritativelyfounded-Acquiesence.
2 Branches in some of the States-
Judges, etc excluded-
The very Men that will oppose-Rh. Island-
The Debt will go with the Govt.-this a prevailing Idea-
The Legr. has no Right to alter the Constn. or the Confedn.-
Not acting under the Confedn. Nothing but a Compact resting upon the 13 States.
Congress over again.
A Violation of the Compact by one of the Parties, leaves the rest at Large, and exonerated from
1 Text and notes reprinted from the American Historical Review, Vol. IX (Washington, 1904), pp. 312-340.
2 CF. Documentary History of the Constitution, III. 17-20. The original of this paper is in the possession of Miss Emily K. Paterson, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. It is evidently a condensation, perhaps hastily made, of Randloph's plan presented to the convention May 29.
3 The purport of this interpolated comment is not plain; but it would seem to be the center of what Paterson afterward contended for viz. the convention could not divide up the sovereignty of the states; if there was to be one nation, the states must be thrown together.
4 Beginning with this note the remaining eight resolutions of the fifteen are summed up, though not numbered as in the plan.
5 This paper is in the handwriting of David Brearley. It is indorsed "Report of Committee 12 June 1787" in Brearley's handwriting. The committee, as a matter of fact, did not report until June 13. The interlineations and erasures as here represented admirably illustrate the subjects under discussion and the changes made in the report. Erasures are bracketed and in italics. Evidently Brearley, using the report of the Committee of the Whole, or more properly his copy of the report, made changes in it in the course of the succeeding debates.
6 This resolution is partly stricken out in the original. Jameson says these five resolutions may not improperly be attributed to John Lansing, Jr., of New York. He also says that it will be plainly seen that it represents an early stage of the Paterson plan. The fifth resolution is especially noteworthy. "In short," says Jameson, "we have in this document a Vorschrift for the New Jersey plan, drawn up by a man or men who were willing to go but little beyond" the schemes earlier proposed. Ann, Rep. Am. Hist. assoc., 1902, I. 142.
7 This resolution is thus given in Madison's notes, Documentary History, III, 125. It is the first resolution of Paterson's plan as there given. Jameson argues (p. 137) that this could not have been the first of Paterson's resolutions as finally presented. His evidence is probably conclusive; and yet it should be noticed that the resolution offered by Dickinson, "That the Articles of Confederation ought to be revised and amended, so as to render the Government of the United States adequate to the exigencies, the preservation, and the prosperity of the Union," would not be acceptable to either party. Paterson's supporters would wish to retain the words "federal Constitution." It not Dickinson's motion characteristic?
8 See Jameson, loc. cit., 140-141.
9 This resolution is somewhat similar to the second resolution as given in Madison's notes, Documentary History, III. 125, and in the Brearley copy, ibid., I. 322. Either no more was written of this paper or Paterson copied no more, Jameson, loc. cit., 142.
10 This goes farther than A and marks a later stage of the plan.
11 To account for such a proposition as this in connection with the New Jersey plan is a matter of some difficulty. In the original paper this resolution is so written as undoubtedly to be joined with the preceding. Otherwise it might seem to be a mere sporadic note. Reference is evidently made to this in other notes and memoranda below. See also Brearley's speech of June 9, where the erasure of state boundaries is advocated, and Paterson's reference to the same idea, Doc. Hist. III. 96, 97. See also especially Madison's speech of June 19. It is apparent that Paterson and Brearley proposed this as the only way of doing justice to the large states and securing the safety of the small states. Ibid, III. 161.
12 The notes numbers A-E are in the Bancroft copies marked "Notes for speceh of 9 June," but it is by no means clear that all these are notes for the speech of that day. Apparently Paterson worked over his argument several times, and the burden of his thought was somewhat consistently the same; the want of power in the Convention; the unreadiness of the people o support a plan for a consolidated government; the maintenance of the equality of states. In the notes of Madison, Pierce, King, and Yates we find no indication that Gouverneur Morris made a speech on the ninth. The words in A given in connection with the name of Morris appear again in B.
13 This document is in the possession of Miss Emily K. Paterson.
15 Evidently referring to Randolph's first proposition as contradicting the second. The first resolution of Randolph is distinctly like the first of Paterson's as the Paterson plan appears in Madison's notes, Doc. Hist., III. 125. Paterson was here contending that Randolph's original first proposition was constitutionally sound, i.e. in conformity with the Articles.
16 Apparently a reference to the ideal later embodied in the resolution in III. B. See above also Paterson's speech of June 9.
17 Referring to the third article of the Articles of the Confederation.
18 So the original plainly says. Possibly Paterson meant to write unequal; or by "equal" he meant just or proportional.
19 Referring to the eleventh proposition of the Virginia plan: "Resd., that a Republican Government and the territory of each State, except in the instance of a voluntary injunction of Government and territory, ought to be guaranteed by the United States to each State.
21 See above, p. 888, note 15.
22 Evidently a reference to the second, fifth, and third articles of the Articles of Confederation.
23 Apparently referring to the argument used in his speech of June 9: "It was once proposed by Galloway and some others that America should be represented in the British Parlt and then be bound by its laws. America could not have been entitled to more than 1/3 of the No of Representatives which would fall to the share of G. B. Would American rights and interests have been safe under an authority thus constituted?" Madison's notes, in Documentary History, III. 98.
25 This document is in possession of Miss Emily K. Paterson.
26 Wilson, according to Madison's notes, made use of some such expression in his speech of June 9, Doc, Hist., III. 99.
27 "It was the small ones that came in reluctantly and slowly. N. Jersey and Maryland were the two last, the former objecting to the want of power in Congress over trade: both of them to the want of power to appropriate the vacant territory to the benefit of the whole." Paterson, June 16, as condensed by Madison, Ibid., 131.
28 Reference is made here and in many of the succeeding arguments to Wilson's speech of June 9 Doc. Hist., III. 99.
29 Perhaps referring to Williamson's speech of June 9, which he made in answer to Paterson, Doc. Hist., III. 100.
30 Paterson's argunment in these paragraphs may be this: The gentlemen are desirous of making a nation but when we propose consolidation by a redivision of the states so that the parts may be equal, then it is apparent that Pennsylvania would lose a portion, one-third, of its land. They are for a nation, when it is a question of voting, but they are for the state when a division of the land is proposed, or a division of the common stock. Let us try the plan of equalizing the states. No harm will be done. Gentlemen argue that they have no authority. If they are hesitating because of want of authority, why do they talk of the Randolph plan? They have no authority to propose those measures either. Why is it argued that it is impracticable to throw the land into a common stock and divide the states anew? How does that appear? Make the experiment. Propose the measure to the consideration of the states. If Paterson and Brearley had this scheme as much in mind as it would appear they had, it is apparent that they were not quite so determined as some to adhere to the principle of the Confederation as the only solution. There came out distinctly the old small state jealousy and above all the interminable land question which and agitated the states almost from the beginning of the war.
31 This document is in the possession of Miss Emily K. Paterson. These notes are in one document, and it has not seemed wise to separate them. On the Bancroft copies the first portion, i.e. to the words "Objn Mr Wilson-The Minority," is headed "Notes for speech of 16 June"; what follows is headed "Notes of Wilson's of 30 June; Madison's of 19 June; King's of 30 June cf. Elliot V." A comparison with the notes given below in V. E. p. 336, belonging to June 30, seems to show that the remarks of Madison, as well as those of Wilson and King as nere given were made on June 30.
32 This would seem to make it plain that this note was made after June 29.
33 This probably from Ellsworth.
34 A reference to V. E. below and to Doc. Hist., III. 253, will show that this is a part of Madison's speech of June 30.
35 Doc. Hist., III. 262.
36 See Documentary History, III. 94 ff.
37 Once more a reference to Paterson's and Brearley's plan for consolidation.
38 That this argument is important in Paterson's mind is indicated by a hand on the margin of his notes pointing to this.
39 "A Natl Govt alone, properly constituted, will answer the purpose; and he begged it to be considered that the present is the last moment for establishing one. After this select experiment, the people will yield to despair." Doc. Hist., III. 138.
40 In the handwriting of David Brearley.
41 According to Madison's notes, Martin alone spoke on this day, his speech lasting three hours. Doc. Hist., III. 224.
42 This is undoubtedly the argument Martin based on his notion that the state governments rested on compact.
43 Here Mr. Brearley has indicated by a hand the importance of the argument.
44 A hand on the margin.
45 In Madison's notes this speech precedes that of Madison. Doc. Hist., III. 227.
46 A hand on the margin.
47 A hand on the margin.
48 This document is in the possession of Miss Emily K. Paterson.
49 "We are razing the foundations of the building. When we need only repair the roof." Doc. Hist., III. 252.
50 Amendment probably; if so, it may refer to Wilson's proposition to have one senator in each state "for every 100,000 souls, and let the States not having that no of inhabitants be allowed one." Doc. Hist., III. 256. Such would seem to be the connection judging by Madison's notes; but on the other hand it is much more reasonable to suppose that Madison in this speech is referring either to Ellsworth's motion, "that the rule of suffrage in the 2d branch be the same with that established by the articles of confederation" (Doc. Hist., III. 245), or to Franklin's proposals (Ibid., 257).
51 Or Cy meaning county.
52 The subject under discussion was the report of the Committee providing for equal representation in the second branch and the initiation of revenue and appropriation by the first branch.
53 This was the report of the committee stating the representation of each state in the first Congress.
54 The heading on the Lenox Library copy is "Notes of Paterson possibly of Madison's speech of 19 June." iThe notes seem however to cover the debates of July 23, the day on which Paterson seconded Ellsworth's motion that the Constitution be referred to the legislatures for ratification. Down to the first blank line, i.e. through the word "Acquiesence," the notes refer to the speech of Mason. Down to the next blank line, i.e. from "Expediency" through "Rh. Island," the notes refer to the speech of Gorham. The next line, beginning with "The Debt" and ending with "Idea," refers to Ellsworth's remarks. From the words "The Legr," through the words "13 States," reference seems to be to the remarks of G. Morris. Possibly "Congress over again" refers to something said by King but perhaps by Morris. The last sentence is doubtless an assertion of Madison's.
Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States.
Government Printing Office, 1927.
House Document No. 398.
Selected, Arranged and Indexed by Charles C. Tansill