Mr. Henry. Government is dissolved. Fleets and Armies and the present State of Things shew that Government is dissolved. -- Where are your Land Marks? your Boundaries of Colonies.
We are in a State of Nature, Sir. I did propose that a Scale should be laid down. That Part of N. America which was once Mass. Bay, and that Part which was once Virginia, ought to be considered as having a Weight. Will not People complain, 10,000 People Virginians have not outweighed 1,000 others.
I will submit however. I am determined to submit if I am overruled.
A worthy Gentleman Ego near me, seemed to admit the Necessity of obtaining a more Adequate Representation.
I hope future Ages will quote our Proceedings with Applause. It is one of the great Duties of the democratical Part of the Constitution to keep itself pure. It is known in my Province, that some other Colonies are not so numerous or rich as they are. I am for giving all the Satisfaction in my Power.
The Distinctions between Virginians, Pensylvanians, New Yorkers and New Englanders, are no more.
I am not a Virginian, but an American.
Slaves are to be thrown out of the Question, and if the freemen can be represented according to their Numbers I am satisfyed.
Mr. Lynch. I differ in one Point from the Gentleman from Virginia, that is in thinking that Numbers only ought to determine the Weight of Colonies. I think that numbersProperty ought to be considered, and that it ought to be a compound of Numbers and Property, that should determine the Weight of the Colonies.
I think it cannot be now settled.
Mr. Lynch Rutledge. We have no legal Authority and Obedience to our Determinations will only follow the reasonableness, the apparent Utility, and Necessity of the Measures We adopt. We have no coercive or legislative Authority. Our Constitutents are bound only in Honour, to observe our Determinations.
Govr. Ward. There are a great Number of Counties in Virginia, very unequal in Point of Wealth and Numbers, yet each has a Right to send 2 Members.
Mr. Lee. But one Reason, which prevails with me, and that is that we are not at this Time provided with proper Materials. I am afraid We are not.
Mr. Gadsden. I cant see any Way of voting but by Colonies.
Coll. Bland. I agree with the Gentleman Ego who spoke near me, that We are not at present provided with Materials to ascertain the Importance of each Colony. The Question is whether the Rights and Liberties of America shall be given up, or contended for, or given up to arbitrary Power.
Mr. Pendleton. If the Committee should find themselves unable to ascertain the Weight of the Colonies, by their Numbers and Property, they will report this, and this will lay the Foundation for the Congress to take some other Steps to procure Evidence of Numbers and Property at some future Time.
Mr. Henry. I agree that authentic Accounts cannot be had -- if by Authenticity is meant, attestations of officers of the Crown.
I go upon the Supposition, that Government is at an End. All Distinctions are thrown down. All America is all thrown into one Mass. We must aim at the Minuti of Rectitude.
Mr. Jay. Could I suppose, that We came to frame an American Constitution, instead of indeavouring to correct the faults in an old oneI cant yet think that all Government is at an End. The Measure of arbitrary Power is not full, and I think it must run over, before We undertake to build frame a new Constitution.
To the Virtue, Spirit, and Abilities of Virginia We owe much -- I should always therefore from Inclination as well as Justice, be for giving Virginia its full Weight.
I am not clear that We ought not to be bound by a Majority tho ever so small, but I only mentioned it, as a Matter of Danger, worthy of Consideration .
In the Committee for States Rights, Grievances and Means of Redress.
Coll. Lee. The Rights are built on a fourfold foundation -- on Nature, on the british Constitution, on Charters, and on immemorial Usage. The Navigation Act, a Capital Violation.
Mr. Jay. It is necessary to recur to the Law of Nature, and the british Constitution to ascertain our Rights.
If The Constitution of G.B. will not apply to some of the Charter Rights.
A Mother Country surcharged with Inhabitants, they have a Right to emigrate. It may be said, if We leave our Country, We cannot leave our Allegiance. But there is no Allegiance without Protection. And Emigrants have a Right, to erect what Government they please.
Mr. J. Rutledge. An Emigrant would not have a Right to set up what constitution they please. A Subject could not alienate his Allegiance.
Lee. Cant see why We should not lay our Rights upon the broadest Bottom, the Ground of Nature. Our Ancestors found here no Government.
Mr. Pendleton. Consider how far We have a Right to interfere, with Regard to the Canada Constitution.
If the Majority of the People there should be pleased with the new Constitution, would not the People of America and of England have a Right to oppose it, and see whether prevent such a Constitution being established in our Neighbourhood.
Lee. It is contended that the Crown had no Right to grant such Charters as it has to the Colonies -- and therefore We shall rest our Rights on a feeble foundation, if we rest em only on Charters -- nor will it weaken our Objections to the Canada Bill.
Mr. Rutledge. Our Claims I think our claims are well founded on the british Constitution, and not on the Law of Nature.
Coll. Dyer. Part of the Country within the Canada Bill, is a conquered Country, and part not. It is said to be a Rule that the King can give a Conquered Country what Law he pleases.
Mr. Jay. I cant think the british Constitution inseperably attached to the Person of every Subject. Whence did the Constitution derive its Authority? From compact. Might not that Authority be given up by Compact.
Mr. Wm. Livingston. A Corporation cannot make a Corporation. Charter Governments have done it. K. [King] cant appoint a Person to make a Justice of Peace. All Governors do it. Therefore it will not do for America to rest wholly on the Laws of England.
Mr. Sherman. The Ministry contend, that the Colonies are only like Corporations in England, and therefore subordinate to the Legislature of the Kingdom. -- The Colonies not bound to the King or Crown by the Act of Settlement, but by their consent to it.
There is no other Legislative over the Colonies but their respective Assemblies.
The Colonies adopt the common Law, not as the common Law, but as the highest Reason.
Mr. Duane. Upon the whole for grounding our Rights on the Laws and Constitution of the Country from whence We sprung, and Charters, without recurring to the Law of Nature -- because this will be a feeble Support. Charters are Compacts between the Crown and the People and I think on this foundation the Charter Governments stand firm.
England is Governed by a limited Govt. Monarchy and free Constitution.
Priviledges of Englishmen were inherent, their
Objection. That all the Rights of Englishmen will make us independent.
I hope a Line may be drawn to obviate this Objection.
James was against Parliaments interfering with the Colonies. Charles 2 In the Reign of Charles 2d. the Sentiments of the Crown seem to have been changed. The Navigation Act was made.Massachusetts denyed the Authority -- but made a Law to inforce it in the Colony.
Lee. Life and Liberty, which is necessary for the Security of Life, cannot be given up when We enter into Society.
Mr. Rutledge. The first Emigrants could not be considered as in a State of Nature -- they had no Right to elect a new King.
Mr. Jay. I have always withheld my Assent from the Position that every Subject discovering Land [does so] for the State to which they belong.
Mr. Galloway. I never could find the Rights of Americans, in the Distinctions between Taxation and Legislation, nor in the Distinction between Laws for Revenue and for the Regulation of Trade. I have looked for our Rights in the Laws of Nature -- but could not find them in a State of Nature, but always in a State of political Society.
I have looked for them in the Constitution of the English Government, and there found them. We may draw them from this Soursce securely.
Power results from the Real Property, of the Society.
The States of Greece, Macedon, Rome, were founded on this Plan. None but Landholders could vote in the Comitia, or stand for Offices.
English Constitution founded on the same Principle. Among the Saxons the Landholders were obliged to attend and shared among them the Power. In the Norman Period the same. When the Landholders could not all attend, the Representation of the freeholders, came in. Before the Reign of H. [Henry] 4., an Attempt was made to give the Tenants in Capite a Right to vote. Magna Charta. Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Earls and Barons and Tenants in Capite held all the Lands in England.
It is of the Essence of the English Constitution, that no Law shall be binding, but such as are made by the Consent of the Proprietors in England.
How then did it stand with our Ancestors, when they came over here? They could not be bound by any Laws made by the British Parliament -- excepting those made before. I never could see any Reason to allow that we are bound to any Law made since -- nor could I ever make any Distinction between the Sorts of Laws.
I have ever thought We might reduce our Rights to one. An Exemption from all Laws made by British Parliament, made since the Emigration of our Ancestors. It follows therefore that all the Acts of Parliament made since, are Violations of our Rights.
These Claims are all defensible upon the Principles even of our Enemies --Ld. North himself when he shall inform himself of the true Principles of the Constitution, &c.
I am well aware that my Arguments tend to an Independency of the Colonies, and militate against the Maxim that there must be some absolute Power to draw together all the Wills and strength of the Empire .
Mr. Lee made a Mo. [Motion] for a Non Importation.
Mr. Mifflin. The 1st of Novr. ought to be fixed, for no honest orders were sent after the first of June. Orders are generally sent in April and May. But the Intention was known, of a Non Importation.
Coll. Bland. I think the Time ought to be fixed, when Goods are shipp'd in Great Britain, because a ship may have a long Voyage.
Mr. Gadsden. For the 1st of Novr. -- We may be deceived and defrauded, if we fix it to the Time when Goods are shipped.
Coll. Lee. Invoices have been antedated.
Mr. John Rutledge. I think all the Ways and Means should be proposed.
Mr. Mifflin. Proposes Stoppage of Flax seed and Lumber to the West Indies -- and Non Importation of dutied Articles -- to commence 1st. Aug. 1775
Mr. Chace [Chase]. Force, I apprehend is out of the Question, in our present Enquiry.
In 1770, the annual Tax was 13 millions. Last Year it was only 10 millions.
Land Tax, Malt Tax, perpetual Funds, amount to only 10 millions. They are compelled to raise 10 millions in time of Peace.
The Emigrations from G. Britain prove that they are taxed as far as they can bear.
A total Non Import and Non Export to G. Britain and W. Indies must produce a national Bankruptcy, in a very short Space of Time.
The foreign Trade of G. Britain is but four Million and an half. As great a Man as ever Britain produc'd, calculated the Trade with the Colonies at two Millions. I believe the Importation to the Colonies now represented, may be three millions.
A Non Exportation amounts to 3 millions more, and the Debt due to four Million. Two thirds in the Colonies, are cloathed in British Manufactures. Non Exportation of vastly more importance than a Non Importation -- it affects the Merchants as well as Manufacturers, the Trade as well as the Revenue.
60 thousand Hdds. of Tobacco -- 225 british Ships employed.
I am for a Non Exportation of Lumber to W. Indies immediately.
The Importance of the Trade of the West Indies to G. Britain almost exceeds Calculation.
The Sugar carries the greatest Revenue -- the Rum a great deal.
If you dont stop the Lumber immediately, you cant stop it at all. If it takes Place immediately, they cant send home their next Years Crop.
A Non Exportation at a future day, cannot avail us.
What is the Situation of Boston and the Massachusetts.
A Non Exportation at the Virginia Day, will not opperate before the fall 1766 .
I [It?] would not affect the Trade of the Colonies to the Mediterranean or other Parts of the World.
I am for a more distant Day than the first of November.
Mr. Linch. We want not only Redress, but speedy Redress. The Mass. cant live without Government I think one Year. Nothing less than what has been proposed, by the Gentleman last speaking, will put the Colonies in the State I wish to see them in. I believe the Parliament would grant us immediate Relief.Bankrupcy would be the Consequence if they did not.
Mr. Gadsden. By saving our own Liberties, we shall save those of the West Indies. I am for being ready, but I am not for the sword. The only Way to prevent the sword from being used is to have it ready.
'Tho the Virginians are tied up, I would be for doing it without them.
Boston and New England cant hold out -- the Country will be deluged in Blood, if We dont Act with Spirit. Dont let America look at this Mountain, and let it bring forth a Mouse.
Mr. Chace. We cant come into a Non Exportation immediately without Virginia.
Mr. Cushing. For a Non Importation, Non Exportation and Non Consumption, and immediately.
Coll. Bland. It has been our Glory [sentence unfinished.]
Mr. Hooper. We make some Tobacco. I was instructed to Protest vs. Petitioning alone.
Tar, Pitch, and Turpentine We can ship nowhere but to Great Britain. The whole of the Subsistence of the People in the Southern Parts, are from naval Stores.
G. Britain cannot do without Naval Stores, from N. Carolina.
Mr. Ed. Rutledge. A Gentleman from the other End of the Room talked of Generosity. True Equality is the only public Generosity. If Virginia raises Wheat instead of Tobacco they will not suffer. Our Rice is an enumerated Commodity. We shall therefore loose all our Trade.
I am both for Non Im and Exportation to take Place immediately.
Mr. Henry. We dont mean to hurt even our Rascalls -- if We have any. I move that December may be inserted instead of November.
Mr. Jay. Negociation, suspension of Commerce, and War are the only three things. War is by general Consent to be waived at present.
I am for Negociation and suspension of Commerce.
Coll. Lee. All Considerations of Interest and Equality of Sacrifice should be laid aside.
Produce of the other Colonies, is carried to Markett, in the same Year when it is raised, even Rice.
Tobacco is not untill the next Year.
Mr. Sullivan. We export Masts, Boards, Plank, Fish, Oil and some Potash. Ships, we load with Lumber for the West Indies, and thence carry Sugar to England and pay our Debts that Way.
Every kind of Lumber, We export to West Indies.
Our Lumber is made in Winter. Our Ships sale in Jany. or Feby. for W. Indies.
Coll. Dyer. They have now drawn the Sword, in order to execute their Plan, of subduing America. And I imagine they will not sheath it, but that next Summer will decide the Fate of America.
To withdraw all Commerce with Great Britain at once, would come upon them like a Thunder Clap. By what I heard Yesterday, G. Britain is much more in our Power, than I expected -- the Masts from the Northward -- the Naval Stores from N. Carolina.
We are struggling for the Liberties of the
Stopping the Flax Seed to Ireland would greatly distress 'em.
Mr. Cushing. Whoever considers the present State of G. Britain and America must see the Necessity of spirited Measures. G.B. has drawn the sword against Us, and nothing prevents her sheathing it in our Bowells but Want of Sufficient Force.
I think it absolutely necessary to agree to a Non Importation Non Exportation immediately.
Mr. Galloway. The Proposal I intended to make having been opposed, I have waited to hear a more effectual one. A general Non Importation from G. Britain and Ireland has been adopted, but I think this will be too gradual in its Operation for the Relief of Boston.
A General Non Exportation, I have ever looked on as an indigested
Proposition. It is impossible
America can exist, under a total Non Exportation. We in this
Province should have tens of Thousands of People thrown upon the cold Hand of
To explain my Plan I must state a Number of facts relative to Great Britain, and relative to America.
I hope no facts which I shall state will be disagreable.
In the last War, America was in the greatest Danger of Destruction. This was held up by the Massa. [Massachusetts] and by the Congress in 1754. They said We are disunited among ourselves. Their is no indifferent Arbiter between us.
Requisitions came over. A No. of the Colonies gave most extensively and liberally, others gave nothing, or late. Pensylvania gave late, not for Want of Zeal or Loyalty, but owing to their Disputes, with Proprietors -- their disunited State.
These Delinquencies were handed up to the Parent State, and these gave Occasion to the Stamp Act.
America with the greatest Reason and justice complained of the Stamp Act.
Had they proposed some Plan of Policy -- some Negociation but set afoot, it would have terminated in the most happy Harmony between the two Countries.
They repealed the Stamp Act, but they passed the declaratory Act.
Without some Supream Legislature, some common Arbiter, you are not, say they, part of the State.
I am as much a friend of Liberty [as] exists -- and No Man shall go [illegible] further, in Point of Fortune, or in Point of Blood, than the Man who now addresses you.
Burlamaqui, Grotius, Puffendorf, Hooker. -- There must be an Union of Wills and Strength. Distinction between a State and a Multitude. A State is animated by one Soul.
As We are not within the Circle of the Supream Jurisdiction of the Parliament, We are independent States. The Law of Great Britain dont bind us in any Case whatever.
We want the Aid and Assistance and Protection of the Arm of our Mother Country. Protection And Allegiance are reciprocal Duties. Can We lay claim to the Money and Protection of G. Britain upon any Principles of Honour or Conscience? Can We wish to become Aliens to the Mother State.
We must come upon Terms with G. Britain.
Some Gentlemen are not for Negociation. I wish I could hear some Reason against it.
The Minister must be at 20, or 30 millions [expense]
I propose this Proposition. The Plan. -- 2 Classes of Laws. 1 . Laws of Internal Policy. 2. Laws in which more than one Colony were concerned, raising Money for War. -- No one Act can be done, without the Assent of Great Britain. -- No one without the Assent of America. A British American Legislature.
Mr. Duane. As I mean to second this Motion, I think myself bound to lay before the Congress my Reasons. N. York thought it necessary to have a Congress for the Relief of Boston and Mass. -- and to do more, to lay a Plan for a lasting Accommodation with G. Britain.
Whatever may have been the Motive for departing from the first Plan of the Congress, I am unhappy that We have departed from it.The Post Office Act was before the Year 1763. -- Can we expect lasting Tranquility. I have given my full Assent to a Non Im and Exportation Agreement.
The Right of regulating Trade, from the local Circumstances of the Colonies, and their Disconnection with each other, cannot be exercised by the Colonies.
Mass. disputed the Navigation Act, because not represented, but made a Law of their own, to inforce that Act.
Virginia did the same nearly.
I think we should justice requires that we should expressly ceed to Parliament the Right of regulating Trade.
In the Congress in 1754 which consisted of the greatest and best Men in the Colonies, this was considered as indispensable.
A civil War with America, would involve a national Bankruptcy.
Coll. Lee. How did We go on for 160 Years before the Year 1763? -- We flourished and grew.
This Plan would make such Changes in the Legislatures of the Colonies that I could not agree to it, without consulting my Constituents.
Mr. Jay. I am led to adopt this Plan.
It is objected that this Plan will alter our Constitutions and therefore cannot be adopted without consulting Constituents.
Does this Plan give up any one Liberty? -- or interfere with any one Right.
Mr. Henry. The original Constitution of the Colonies, was founded on the broadest and most generous Base.
The Regulation of Our Trade, was Compensation enough for all the Protection we ever experienced from her.
Non Importation, Non Consumption, Non Exportation to Britain, and W. Indies.
Petition to the King -- Address to the People of England -- Address to the People of America.
Societies of Arts and Manufactures in every Colony.
A Militia Law in every Colony. Encouragement of Militia and military Skill.
Raising 500,000 St. and 20,000 Men.
Offering to raise a sum of Money, and appropriate it to the Support of the Navy.
Sending home Agents from the Congress to negociate -- and propose an American Legislature -- to impose
We shall liberate our Constituents from a corrupt House of Commons, but thro them into the Arms of an American Legislature that may be bribed by that Nation which avows in the Face of the World, that Bribery is a Part of her System of Government.
Before We are obliged to pay Taxes as they do, let us be as free as they. Let us have our Trade open with all the World.
We are not to consent by the Representatives of Representatives.
I am inclined to think the present Measures lead to War.
Mr. Ed. Rutledge. I came with an Idea of getting a Bill of Rights, and a Plan of permanent Relief.
I think the Plan may be freed from almost every objection. I think it almost a perfect Plan.
Mr. Galloway. In every Government, Patriarchal, Monarchical,Aristocratical or democratical, there must be a Supream Legislature. [illegible]
I know of no American Constitution. A Virginia Constitution, a Pensylvanian Constitution We have. We are totally independent of each other.
Every Gentleman here thinks, that Parliament ought to have the Power over Trade, because Britain protects it and us.
Why then will we not declare it.
Because Parliament and Ministry is wicked, and corrupt and will take Advantage of such Declaration to tax us -- and will also Reason from this Acknowledgment, to further Power over us.
Answer. We shall not be bound further than We acknowledge it.
Is it not necessary that the Trade of the Empire should be regulated by some Power or other? Can the Empire hold together, without it.No. -- Who shall regulate it? Shall the Legislature of Nova Scotia, or Georgia, regulate it?Mass. or Virginia? Pensylvania or N. York. It cant be pretended. Our Legislative Powers extend no farther than the Limits of our Governments. Where then shall it be placed. There is a Necessity that an American Legislature should be set up, or else that We should give the Power to Parliament or King.
Protection. -- Acquiescence. Mass. Virginia.
Advantages derived from our Commerce.
Proof of Depth of Abilities, and Wickedness of Heart.
Precedent. Lords refusal of perpetual Imprisonment.
Prerogative to give any Government to a conquered People.
Union of feudal Law and Romish Superstition.
Knights of Malta. Orders of military Monks.
Goths and Vandals -- overthrew the roman Empire.
Danger to us all. An House on fire.
1. Petition to the King. -- Send
Agents to carry it.
2. Offers to raise Money 200,000 say, and appropriate it to the Support of the Navy.
Agents to negotiate this -- and propose an American Legislatureto lay Taxes in certain Cases and make Laws in certain others.
3. Address to the People of England -- and America -- commercial Struggle
4.. Societies of Arts and Manufactures, in every Colony. Auxiliary to.
5. N. Importation, N. Consumption, N. Exportation.
Preparations for War, procuring Arms and Ordnance, and military Stores
6. Raising Money and Men.
7. A Militia Law in every Colony. Encouragement of Militia and military skill.
Mr. Gadsden. There are Numbers of Men who will risque their all. I shudder at the thought of the Blood which will be spilled, and would be glad to avoid it.
Mr. Pendleton. How is the Purchaser to know whether the Molosses, Sugar, or Coffee, has paid the Duty or not? It cant be known. Shant We by this hang out to all the World our Intentions to smuggle?
Don't We complain of these Acts as Grievances, and shant we insist on the Repeal.
But this will give an Advantage to the West Indians and will make it their Interest to oppose our obtaining Redress.
Coll. Dyer. This Subject as every Part of our Deliberations are important. The Q. [Question] is how far to extend the Non Importation of dutiable Articles.
Mr. Chace. I am against the Question before you. -- What are the Ways and Means of obtaining Redress. In the manner it is penn'd it would not answer the End. How shall the Buyer know whether the Duties have been paid or not.
Our Enemies will think that We mean to strike at the Right of Parliament to lay duties for the Regulation of Trade.
I am one of those who hold the Position, that Parliament has a Right to make Laws for us in some Cases, to regulate the Trade -- and in all Cases where the good of the whole Empire requires it.
My Fears were up when We went into the Consideration of a Bill of Rights. I was afraid We should say too little or too much.
It is said this is not a Non Importation Resolution. But it is, for there is no Importation of goods but according to the Law of the Land.
Mr. Linch. I came here to get Redress of Grievances, and to adopt every Means for that End, which could be adopted with a good Conscience.
In my Idea Parliament has no Power to regulate Trade. But these Duties are all for Revenue not for Regulation of Trade.
Many Gentlemen in this Room know how to bring in Goods, sugars and others, without paying Duties.
Will any Gentleman say he will never purchase any Goods untill he is sure, that they were not smuggled.
Mr. Mifflin. We shall Agree I suppose, to a Non Exportation of Lumber to the West Indies. They cannot send their Sugars to England, nor to America. Therefore they cant be benefited.
Mr. Low. Gentlemen have been transported by their Zeal, into Reflections upon an order of Men who deserve it the least of any Men in the Community.
We ought not to deny the just Rights of our Mother Country. We have too much Reason in this Congress, to suspect that Independency is aimed at.
I am for a Resolution against any Tea, Dutch as well as English.
[We] ought to consider the Consequences possible as well as [probable] of every Resolution We take and provide ourselves [with] a Retreat or Resource.
[What] would be the Consequence of an Adjournment of the [Congress] for 6 months? or a Recommendation of a [new] Election of another to meet at the End of 6 Months? [Is not it] possible they may make it criminal, as Treason, Misprision of Treason, or Felony or a Prmunire? Both in the Assemblies who choose and in the Mem. [Members] who shall accept the Trust.
[Would] the assemblies or Members be intimidated? [Would] they regard such an Act?
Will, Can the People bear a total Interruption of the West India Trade? Can they live without Rum, Sugar, and Molasses? Will not their Impatience, and Vexation defeat the Measure?
This would cutt up the Revenue by the Roots -- if Wine, Fruit, Molasses and Sugar, were discarded, as well as Tea.
But, a Prohibition of all Exports to the West Indies, will annihilate the Fishery -- because, that cannot afford to loose the West India Fish -- and this would throw a Multitude of Families in our fishing Towns into the Arms of Famine.