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be felt and understood in the public councils. The three principal classes into which our citizens were divisible, were the landed, the commercial, and the manufacturing. The second and third class bear, as yet, a small proportion to the first. The proportion, however, will daily increase. We see in the populous countries of Europe now, what we shall be hereafter. These classes understand much less of each other's interests and affairs, than men of the same class inhabiting different districts. It is

particularly requisite, therefore, that the interests of one or two of them, should not be left entirely to the care or impartiality of the third. This must be the case, if landed qualifications should be required; few of the mercantile, and scarcely any of the manufacturing, class, choosing, whilst they continue in business, to turn any part of their stock into landed property. For these reasons he wished, if it were possible, that some other criterion than the mere possession of land should be devised. He concurred with Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS in thinking that qualifications in the electors would be much more effectual than in the elected. The former would discriminate between real and ostensible property in the latter; but he was aware of the difficulty of forming any uniform standard that would suit the different circumstances and opinions prevailing in the different States.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion.

On the question for striking out "landed,”—New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—10; Maryland, no. 1.

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On the question on the first part of Colonel MAson's proposition, as to “ qualification of property and citizenship," as so amended, -New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye_8; Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, no—3.

The second part, for disqualifying debtors, and persons having unsettled accounts, being under consideration,

Mr. CARROLL moved to strike out, “having unsettled accounts.”

Mr. Gorham seconded the motion; observing, that it would put the commercial and manufacturing part of the people on a worse footing than others, as they would be most likely to have dealings with the public.

Mr. L. MARTIN. If these words should be struck out, and the remaining words concerning debtors retained, it will be the interest of the latter class to keep their accounts unsettled as long as possible.

Mr. Wilson was for striking them out. They put too much power in the hands of the auditors, who might combine with rivals in delaying settlements, in order to prolong the disqualifications of particular

We should consider that we are providing a Constitution for future generations, and not merely for the peculiar circumstances of the moment. The time has been, and will again be, when the public safety may depend on the voluntary aids of individuals, which will necessarily open accounts with the public; and when such accounts will be a characteristic of patriotism. Besides, a partial enumeration of cases will disable the Legislature from disqualifiying odious and dangerous characters.


Mr. LANGDON was for striking out the whole clause, for the reasons given by Mr. Wilson. So many exclusions, he thought, too, would render the system unacceptable to the people.

Mr. Gerry. If the arguments used to-day were to prevail, we might have a Legislature composed of public debtors, pensioners, placemen and contractors. He thought the proposed disqualifications would be pleasing to the people. They will be considered as a security against unnecessary or undue burdens being imposed on them. He moved to add, “pensioners” to the disqualified characters; which was negatived, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, aye—3; New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina, no_7; North Carolina, divided.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. The last clause, relating to public debtors, will exclude every importing merchant. Revenue will be drawn, it is foreseen, as much as possible from trade. Duties, of course, will be bonded; and the merchants will remain debtors to the public. He repeated that it had not been so much the fault of individuals, as of the public, that transactions between them, had not been more generally liquidated and adjusted. At all events, to draw from our short and scanty experience rules that are to operate through succeeding ages, does not savor much of real wisdom.

On the question for striking out, “persons having unsettled accounts with the United States,"—New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylva

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nia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, aye-9; New Jersey, Georgia, no-2.

Mr. ELLSWORTH was for disagreeing to the remainder of the clause disqualifying public debtors; and for leaving to the wisdom of the Legislature, and the virtue of the citizens, the task of providing against such evils. Is the smallest as well as the largest debtor to be excluded? Then every arrear of taxes will disqualify. Besides, how is it to be known to the people, when they elect, who are, or are not, public debtors. The exclusion of pensioners and placemen in England is founded on a consideration not existing here. As persons of that sort are dependent on the crown, they tend to increase its influence.

Mr. PINCKNEY said he was at first a friend to the proposition, for the sake of the clause relating to qualifications of property; but he disliked the exclusion of public debtors; it went too far. It would exclude persons who had purchased confiscated property, or should purchase western territory of the public; and might be some obstacle to the sale of the latter.

On the question for agreeing to the clause disqualifying public debtors

North Carolina, Georgia, aye-2; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, no—9. 28

Colonel Mason observed that it would be proper, as he thought, that some provision should be made in the Constitution against choosing for the seat of the General Government the city or place at which the seat of any State Government might be fixed, There were two objections against having them at the same place, which, without mentioning others, required some precaution on the subject. The first was, that it tended to produce disputes concerning jurisdiction. The second and principal one was, that the intermixture of the two Legislatures tended to give a provincial tincture to the national deliberations. He moved that the Committee be instructed to receive a clause to prevent the seat of the National Government being in the same city or town with the seat of the Government of any State, longer than until the necessary public buildings could be erected.

Mr. ALEXANDER MARTIN seconded the motion.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS did not dislike the idea, but was apprehensive that such a clause might make enemies of Philadelphia and New York, which had expectations of becoming the seat of the General Government.

Mr. LANGDON approved the idea also; but suggested the case of a State moving its seat of government to the national seat after the erection of the public buildings. Mr. Gorham. The precaution may be evaded by

GORHAM. the National Legislature, by delaying to erect the public buildings.

Mr. Gerry conceived it to be the general sense of America, that neither the seat of a State Government, nor any large commercial city should be the seat of the General Government.

Mr. Williamson liked the idea; but knowing how

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