History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 6

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
THE ADJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION.
FROM THE THIRD TO THE TWENTY-THIRD OF JULY 1787.

ON the morning of the third of July the grand committee accepted as a basis for a compromise* the proposal of Franklin,† that in the first branch of the first congrese there should be one member for every forty thousand inhabitants, counting all the free and three fifths of the rest; that in the second branch each state should have an equal vote; and that, in return for this concession to the small states, the first branch should be invested with the sole power of originating taxes and appropriations. The settlement of the rule of representation for new states was considered, but was left to the convention.

“The committee have exceeded their powers,”‡ cried Wilson, when Gerry, on the fifth, delivered the report to the convention. Madison encouraged the large states to oppose it steadfastly. Butler denounced the plan as unjust.# Gouverneur Morris, delighting to startle by his cynicism, condemned alike its form and substance,∥ adding : “State attachments and state importance have been the bane of the country. We cannot annihilate the serpents, but we may perhaps take out their teeth.▵ Suppose the larger states agree, the smaller states must come in. Jersey would follow the opinions of New York and Pennsylvania. If persuasion does not unite the small states with the others, the sword will. The strongest party

* Yates in Elliot, i., 478.

† Martin in Elliot, i., 358.

‡ Gilpin, 1025; Elliot, 274.

# Gilpin, 1028; Elliot, 275.

∥ Gilpin, 1028; Elliot, 276.

▵ Gilpin, 1030; Elliot, 277.

-255-

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