|Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention
By James Madison
June 13, 1787
Wednesday June 13, 1787
IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Resolution 9 being resumed
The latter parts of the clause relating to the jurisdiction of the National tribunals, was struck out nem con in order to leave full
room for their organization.
Mr. RANDOLPH & Mr. MADISON, then moved the following resolution respecting a National Judiciary, viz "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 national peace and harmony" which was agreed to.
Mr. PINKNEY and Mr. SHERMAN moved to insert after the words "one supreme tribunal" the words "the Judges of which
to be appointed by the national Legislature."
Mr. MADISON, objected to an appoint by the whole Legislature. Many of them were incompetent Judges of the requisite
qualifications. They were too much influenced by their partialities. The candidate who was present, who had displayed a talent
for business in the legislative field, who had perhaps assisted ignorant members in business of their own, or of their
Constituents, or used other winning means, would without any of the essential qualifications for an expositor of the laws
prevail over a competitor not having these recommendations, but possessed of every necessary accomplishment. He proposed
that the appointment should be made by the Senate, which as a less numerous and more select body, would be more
competent judges, and which was sufficiently numerous to justify such a confidence in them.
Mr. SHARMAN and Mr. PINKNEY withdrew their motion, and the appointment by the Senate was agreed to nem con.
Mr. GERRY moved to restrain the Senatorial branch from originating money bills. The other branch was more immediately
the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings. If the Senate should be
allowed to originate such bills, they would repeat the experiment, till chance should furnish a sort of representatives in the
other branch who will fall into their snares.
Mr. BUTLER saw no reason for such a discrimination. We were always following the British Constitution when the reason of
it did not apply. There was no analogy between the H. of Lords and the body proposed to be established. If the Senate should
be degraded by any such discriminations, the best men would be apt to decline serving in it in favor of the other branch. And
it will lead the latter into the practice of tacking other clauses to money bills.
Mr. MADISON observed that the Commentators on the British Constitution had not yet agreed on the reason of the
restriction on the House of Lords in money bills. Certain it was there could be no similar reason in the case before us. The
Senate would be the representatives of the people as well as the 1st branch. If they should have any dangerous influence over
it, they would easily prevail on some member of the latter to originate the bill they wished to be passed. As the Senate would
be generally a more capable sort of men, it would be wrong to disable them from any preparation of the business, especially
of that which was most important, and in our republics, worse prepared than any other. The Gentleman in pursuance of his
principle ought to carry the restraint to the amendment, as well as the originating of money bills, since, an addition of a given
sum wd. be equivalent to a distinct proposition of it.
Mr. KING differed from Mr. GERRY, and concurred in the objections to the proposition.
Mr. READ favored the proposition, but would not extend the restraint to the case of amendments.
Mr. PINKNEY thinks the question premature. If the Senate should be formed on the same proportional representation as it
stands at present, they should have equal power, otherwise if a different principle sd. be introduced.
Mr. SHERMAN As both branches must concur, there can be no danger whichever way the Senate be formed. We establish
two branches in order to get more wisdom, which is particularly needed in the finance business. The Senate bear their share
of the taxes, and are also the representatives of the people. What a man does by another, he does by himself is a maxim. In
Cont. both branches can originate in all cases, and it has been found safe and convenient. Whatever might have been the
reason of the rule as to The House of Lords, it is clear that no good arises from it now even there.
Gen. PINKNEY This distinction prevails in South Carolina and has been a source of pernicious disputes between the 2
branches. The Constitution is now evaded, by informal schedules of amendments handed from the Senate to the other House.
Mr. WILLIAMSON wishes for a question chiefly to prevent re-discussion. The restriction will have one advantage, it will
oblige some member in lower branch to move, and people can then mark him.
On the question for excepting money bills as proposed by Mr. Gerry, Massachusetts, no. Connecticut no. New York, aye.
New Jersey, no. Delaware, ay. Maryland, no. Virginia, aye. North Carolina, no. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.
Committee rose and Mr. GHORUM made report, which was postponed till tomorrow, to give an opportunity for other plans
to be proposed. The report was in the words following:
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF WHOLE ON Mr. RANDOLPH'S PROPOSITIONS
1. Resolved, that it is the opinion of this Committee that a National Government ought to be established, consisting of a
supreme Legislative, Executive & Judiciary.
2. Resolved, that the National Legislature ought to consist of two branches.
3. Resolved, that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several
States for the term of 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 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 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 Natl. Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures,
to be of the age of 30 years at least, to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency, namely, seven
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 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 second branch) during the term of service, and under the
National Government for the space of one year after its expiration.
5. Resolved, that each branch ought to possess the right of originating Acts.
6. Resolved, that the Natl. Legislature 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
7. Resolved, that the rights of suffrage in the 1st. 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 description, except
Indians not paying taxes in each State.
8. Resolved, that the right of suffrage in the 2d. branch of the National 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, to be removable on impeachment and conviction of malpractices 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 Natl. Executive shall have a right to negative any Legislative Act, which shall not be afterwards passed
unless by two thirds 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 2d branch of the National Legislature, to hold their offices during good behavior, 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. Legislature be empowered to appoint inferior Tribunals.
13. Resolved, that the jurisdiction of the National Judiciary shall extend to all cases which respect the collection of the
National revenue, impeachments of any National Officers, and questions which involve the national 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 guaranteed 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
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 recommended by the several
Legislatures to be expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon.
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