Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention
By James Madison
May 29, 1787
Tuesday May 29, 1787

John Dickenson, and Elbridge Gerry, the former from Delaware, the latter from Massachusetts took their seats. The following
rules were added, on the report of Mr. Wythe from the Committee:

Additional rules. That no member be absent from the House, so as to interrupt the representation of the State, without leave.
That Committees do not sit whilst the House shall be or ought to be, sitting. That no copy be taken of any entry on the journal
during the sitting of the House without leave of the House. That members only be permitted to inspect the journal. That
nothing spoken in the House be printed, or otherwise published or communicated without leave. That a motion to reconsider a
matter which had been determined by a majority, may be made, with leave unanimously given, on the same day on which the
vote passed; but otherwise not without one day's previous notice: in which last case, if the House agree to the reconsideration,
some future day shall be assigned for the purpose.

Mr. C. PINKNEY moved that a Committee be appointed to superintend the Minutes.

Mr. G. MORRIS objected to it. The entry of the proceedings of the Convention belonged to the Secretary as their impartial
officer. A committee might have an interest and bias in molding the entry according to their opinions and wishes.

The motion was negatived, 5 noes, 4 ayes.

Mr. RANDOLPH then opened the main business. He expressed his regret, that it should fall to him, rather than those, who
were of longer standing in life and political experience, to open the great subject of their mission. But, as the convention had
originated from Virginia, and his colleagues supposed that some proposition was expected from them, they had imposed this
task on him. He then commented on the difficulty of the crisis, and the necessity of preventing the fulfillment of the
prophecies of the American downfall. He observed that in revising the federal system we ought to inquire 1. into the
properties, which such a government ought to possess, 2. the defects of the confederation, 3. the danger of our situation and
4. the remedy.

1. The Character of such a government ought to secure 1. against foreign invasion: 2. against dissentions between members of
the Union, or seditions in particular states: 3.  to procure to the several States, various blessings, of which an isolated situation
was incapable: 4. to be able to defend itself against encroachment: and 5. to be paramount to the state constitutions.

2. In speaking of the defects of the confederation he professed a high respect for its authors, and considered them, as having
done all that patriots could do, in the then infancy of the science, of constitutions, & of confederacies,-- when the inefficiency
of requisitions was unknown-no commercial discord had arisen among any states-no rebellion had appeared as in
Massachusetts.--foreign debts had not become urgent--the havoc of paper money had not been foreseen--treaties had not been
violated--and perhaps nothing better could be obtained from the jealousy of the states with regard to their sovereignty.

He then proceeded to enumerate the defects:

1. that the confederation produced no security against foreign invasion; congress not being permitted to prevent a war nor to
support it by their own authority--Of this he cited many examples; most of which tended to show, that they could not cause
infractions of treaties or of the law of nations, to be punished: that particular states might by their conduct provoke war
without control; and that neither militia nor draughts being fit for defense on such occasions, enlistments only could be
successful, and these could not be executed without money.

2. that the federal government could not check the quarrels between states, nor a rebellion in any, not having constitutional
power nor means to interpose according to the exigency:

3. that there were many advantages, which the U. S. might acquire, which were not attainable under the confederation--such
as a productive impost-- counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations --pushing of commerce ad libitum -etc.,
etc.

4. that the federal government could not defend itself against the encroachments from the states.

5. that it was not even paramount to the state constitutions, ratified, as it was in may of the states.

3. He next reviewed the danger of our situation, appealed to the sense of the best friends of the U. S.--the prospect of anarchy
from the laxity of government every where; and to other considerations. He proposed as conformable to his ideas the
following resolutions, which he explained one by one.

Resolutions proposed by Mr. Randolph in Convention May 29, 1787

1. Resolved that the Articles of Confederation ought to be so corrected & enlarged as to accomplish the objects proposed by
their institution; namely, "common defense, security of liberty and general welfare."

2. Resolved therefore that the rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the Quotas of
contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.

3. Resolved that the National Legislature ought to consist of two branches.

4. Resolved that the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several
States every _____for the term of _____; to be of the age of _____ years at least, to receive liberal stipends by with they may
be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service; 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 for the space of _____ after its expiration; to be incapable of reelection for the space of _____ after the
expiration of their term of service, and to be subject to recall.

5. Resolved that the members of the second branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by those of the first, out of
a proper number of persons nominated by the individual Legislatures, to be of the age of _____ years at least; to hold their
offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency; to receive liberal stipends, by which they may be compensated for
the devotion of their time to public service; and 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 for the space of _____ after the expiration thereof.

6. Resolved that each branch ought to possess the right of originating Acts; that the National Legislature ought to be
empowered to enjoy the Legislative Rights vested in Congress by the Confederation & 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; and to call forth the force of the Union against any member of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under
the articles thereof.

7. Resolved that a National Executive be instituted; to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of _____ years, to
receive punctually at stated times, a fixed compensation for the services rendered, in which no increase or diminution shall be
made so as to affect the Magistracy, existing at the time of increase or diminution, and to be ineligible a second time; and that
besides a general authority to execute the National laws, it ought to enjoy the Executive rights vested in Congress by the
Confederation.

8. Resolved that the Executive and a convenient number of the National Judiciary, ought to compose a Council of revision
with authority to examine every act of the National Legislature before it shall operate, and every act of a particular Legislature
before a Negative thereon shall be final; and that the dissent of the said Council shall amount to a rejection, unless the Act of
the National Legislature be again passed, or that of a particular Legislature be again negatived by _____ of the members of
each branch.

9. Resolved that a National Judiciary be established to consist of one or more supreme tribunals, and of inferior tribunals to be
chosen by the National Legislature, to hold their offices during good behavior; and to receive punctually at stated times 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. that the jurisdiction of the inferior tribunals shall be to hear and determine in the
first instance, and of the supreme tribunal to hear and determine in the dernier resort, all piracies and felonies on the high seas,
captures from an enemy; cases in which foreigners or citizens of other States applying to such jurisdictions may be interested,
or which respect the collection of the National revenue; impeachments of any National officers, and questions which may
involve the national peace and harmony.

10. 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.

11. Resolved that a Republican Government and the territory of each State, except in the instance of a voluntary junction of
Government and territory, ought to be guaranteed by the United States to each State.

12. 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.

13. Resolved that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union whensoever it shall seem necessary,
and that the assent of the National Legislature ought not to be required thereto.

14. Resolved that the Legislative Executive & Judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support
the articles of Union.

15. 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.

He concluded with an exhortation, not to suffer the present opportunity of establishing general peace, harmony, happiness and
liberty in the U. S. to pass away unimproved. It was then Resolved --- That the House will tomorrow resolve itself into a
Committee of the Whole House to consider of the state of the American Union. --- and that the propositions moved by Mr.
Randolph be referred to the said Committee. It was then Resolved---That the House will tomorrow resolve itself into a
Committee of the Whole House to consider of the state of the American Union. --- and that the propositions moved by Mr.
Randolph be referred to the said Committee.

Mr. CHARLES PINKNEY laid before the house the draught of a federal Government which he had prepared, to be agreed
upon between the free and independent States of America. ---Mr. Pinkney’s. plan ordered that the same be referred to the
Committee of the Whole appointed to consider the state of the American Union.

Adjourned.
The Illinois Conservative