« PreviousContinue »
That the State of Delaware had given similar powers to their commissioners; with this difference only, that the act to be framed in virtue of these powers is required to be reported to the United States in Congress assembled, to be agreed to by them, and confirmed by the legislature of every State.”'
That the State of New Jersey had enlarged the object of their appointment, empowering their commissioners to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations, and other important matters, might be necessary to the common interest and permanent harmony of the several States ;” and to report such an act on the subject, as, when ratified by them, “would enable the United States in Congress assembled effectually to provide for the exigencies of the Union."
That appointments of commissioners have also been made by the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina, none of whom, however, have attended ; but that 110 information has been received by your commissioners of any appointment having been made by the States of Maryland, Connecticut, South Carolina, or Georgia.
That, the express terms of the powers to your commissioners supposing a deputation from all the States, and having for their object the trade and commerce of the United States, your commissioners did not conceive it advisable to proceed on the business of their mission under the circumstance of so partial and defective a representation.
Deeply impressed, however, with the magnitude and importance of the object confided to them on this occasion, your commissioners cannot forbear to indulge an expression of their earnest and unanimous wish, that speedy measures may be taken to effect a general meeting of the States in a future convention, for the same and such other purposes as the situation of public affairs may be found to require.
If, in expressing this wish, or in intimating any other sentiment, your commissioners should seem to exceed the strict bounds of their appointment, they entertain a full confidence, that a conduct dictated by an anxiety for the welfare of the United States will not fail to receive an indulgent construction.
In this persuasion your commissioners submit an opinion, that the idea of extending the powers of their deputies to other objects than those of commerce, which had been adopted by the State of New Jersey, was an improvement on the original plan, and will deserve to be incorporated into that of a future convention. They
are the more naturally led to this conclusion, as, in the course of their reflections on the subject, they have been induced to think that the power of regulating trade is of such comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the general system of the federal government, that, to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other parts of the federal system.
That there are important defects in the system of the federal government, is acknowledged by the acts of all those States which have concurred in the present meeting ; that the defects, upon a closer examination, may be found greater and more numerous than even these acts imply, is at least so far probable, from the embarrassments which characterize the present state of our national affairs, foreign and domestic, as may reasonably be supposed to merit a deliberate and candid discussion, in some mode which will unite the sentiments and councils of all the States. In the choice of the mode, your commissioners are of opinion that a convention of deputies from the different States, for the special and sole purpose of entering into this investigation, and digesting a plan for supplying such defects as may be discovered to exist, will be entitled to a preference, from considerations which will occur without being particularized.
Your commissioners decline an enumeration of those national circumstances on which their opinion respecting the propriety of a future convention, with more enlarged powers, is founded; as it would be a useless intrusion of facts and observations, most of which have been frequently the subject of public discussion, and none of which can have escaped the penetration of those to whom they would in this instance be addressed. They are, however, of a nature so serious, as, in the view of your commissioners, to render the situation of the United States delicate and critical, calling for an exertion of the united virtue and wisdom of all the members of the Confederacy.
Under this impression, your commissioners, with the most respectful deference, beg leave to suggest their unanimous conviction that it may essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union, if the States, by whom they have been respectively delegated, would themselves concur, and use their endeavors to procure the concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of commissioners, to meet at Philadelphia, on the second Monday of May next, to take into consideration the situation of the United States, to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them