Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States

By Charles C. Tansill; Library of Congress Legislative Reference Service | Go to book overview
Save to active project

PAPERS OF DR. JAMES McHENRY ON THE FEDERAL
CONVENTION OF 1787.1

PHILADELPHIA 14 May 1787.


Convention.

On the 25th seven states being represented viz. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, George Washington was elected (unanimously) president of the convention.

The convention appoint a committee to prepare and report rules for conducting business which were reported, debated, and in general agreed to on the 28th.


29.

Governor Randolph opened the business of the convention.2 He observed that the confederation fulfilled none of the objects for which it was framed. 1st. It does not provide against foreign invasions. 2dly. It does not secure harmony to the States. 3d. It is incapable of producing certain blessings to the States. 4. It cannot defend itself against encroachments. 5th. It is not superior to State constitutions.

1st. It does not provide against foreign invasion. If a State acts against a foreign power contrary to the laws of nations or violates a treaty, it cannot punish that State, or compel its obedience to the treaty. It can only leave the offending State to the operations of the offended power. It therefore cannot prevent a war. If the rights of an ambassador be invaded by any citizen it is only in a few States that any laws exist to punish the offender. A State may encroach on foreign possessions in its neighbourhood and Congress cannot prevent it. Disputes that respect naturalization cannot be adjusted. None of the judges

____________________
Text and notes reprinted from the American Historical Review, Vol. XI (Washington, 1905-6), pp. 596-618.
2
McHenry's report of this opening speech of Randolph adds much to that which Randolph gave to Madison and which is printed in Gilpin, pp. 728-730, and elsewhere.

-923-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 1124

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?