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Enterou sucording to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eigh. hundre 1

and thirty-six,

By Jonathan Elliot, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Columbia.

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The following volumes furnish a collection of the Debates and Proceedings which took place in the different states, on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, as submitted by the General Convention, on the 17th of September, 1787 In the compilation, care has been taken to search into contemporary publications, in order to make the work as perfect as possible. Still, however, the Editor is sensible, from the daily experience of the newspaper reports of the present time, that the sentiments they contain may, in some instances, have been inaccurately taken down, and, in others, probably, too faintly sketched, fully to gratify the inquisitive politician; but they nevertheless disclose the opinions of many of the most distinguished revolutionary patriots and statesmen, in relation to the powers intended to be granted to the Congress of the United States under the Constitution, and certainly may form an excellent guide in expounding many doubtful points in that instrument. In forming a History of the Constitution, the materials they furnish must be also considered of the greatest importance. The lights, 1.00, which they throw on the character and the men of those extraordinary times, will always give them a sufficient interest, in the eyes of an intelligent community, to confer a peculiar value on their publication, rescued from the ephemeral prints of that day, and now, for the first time, presented in a uniform and durable form.

In another point of view, these Debates must be acceptable, at the present moment. In the recent Congresses, 1

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vast number of resolutions have been submitted, proposing
various amendments to the Constitution -a fact sufficiently
striking to call the attention of the nation at large, seriously
to consider the views and ponder on the arguments of those
who opposed or advocated the Constitution at the time of its
adoption. Hence, on entering the field of debate on con-
stitutional topics, an acquaintance with these opinions and
sentiments must certainly be of the first importance to
public speakers. In exercising the powers of legislation,
could Congress consult higher authority ? In expounding
parts of the Constitution which seem extremely doubtful,
the publication of the Proceedings and Debates of the states
must, at least, be useful; for what the states really in-
tended to grant to the general government must be looked
for in their acts, and in their discussions, which manifest
their intentions, in a manner peculiarly satisfactory, touching
constitutional topics, so frequently the subject of contro-
'versy in Congress, and in the legal tribunals of the country.

There is a further, and perhaps not much inferior interest, that attaches to these Debates ; they abound, it will be seen, in many of the most bold and striking features of eloquence, which do not yield, in force of argument, strength of intellect, or in statesman-like views, to the productions of any modern orator. With prophetic vision, (in our days singularly verified, *) a distinguished individual, who participated in these debates, looked forward to the bigh destinies of this republic, and foretold that political prosperity and happiness which an excellent Constitution is daily developing for the benefit of posterity.



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WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 1830

• General Hamilton's prediction in relation to imposta.


HONORED by the adoption of resolutions, in both Houses of Congress, directing these volumes of Debates to be furnished for the use of the senators and representatives, and gratified by an extensive demand, elsewhere, for this work, the Editor has been induced to publish a Second Edition, much enlarged and improved, not only by the insertion of additional illustrative matter, but also by a more extensive stock of Debates, which he hopes may confer greater value on his undertaking. The practice of the Constitution has likewise been brought down to the present time, in the form of “ Opinions," delivered during debate, in the twentyfourth Congress.

J. E. May 17, 1836


Extract of a Letter, dated Montpelier, July 7, 1830. “ Dear Sir:-Being obliged, at my age, to economize my intellectual employments of every sort, I have only been able to glance over the selections illustrative of the Federal Constitution, you have appended to the last volume. They appear to be of a class which must add to the value of the work, such as that of which they make a part.

With well wishes and respect, Mr. ELLIOT.


Extract of a Letter, dated Cambridge, Mass., Aug. 28, 1830. " Dear Sir: I wish you to direct your Boston bookseller to send a copy of your work to the Law Library of Harvard College. I have not a doubt that it will find a ready sale among us. : : : In a political view, I can scarcely imagine a more accept: able present to the public; and to statesmen it must be invaluable, as a repository of facts, as well as of arguments, respecting the great points of constitutional law. I am with great respect, your obliged and humble servant, " JONATHAN Elliot, Esq.


From the Vice-President of the United Stutes, dated Fort Hill, May 16, 1831. “Sir :- I have looked over, with care, your compilation, and consider it a valuable collection of facts and arguments, calculated to shed much light on the nature of our political institutions.

"Such a work was greatly needed, and, if extensively circulated, must have a most salutary effect, by enlightening the public mind on points so important to be well understood as the powers and character of the general government. I wish you much success in so useful an undertaking. With respect, I am, &c. &c. “ Jonathan Elliot, Esq.


“A great body of valuable materials relative to the Federal Constitution is em braced in Mr. Elliot's work, published yesterday. The Debates and Proceedings of the General Convention, and the State Conventions, are given at large, as far as they have been reported. There is also a vast mass of matter touching the practice of the Constitution in the halls of Congress, and in the courts of the Union. Politicians must save labor by consulting it.” – Nutional Intelligencer, May 28, 1830.

“Ample illustrations of the Federal Constitution have been produced, in a work just from the press, by Mr. Elliot, in which he has imbodied all the matter of the Journal of the Federal Convention, including Yates's Notes of Debates, Luther Mar. tin's Letter, &c., at large; and a record of congressional opinions, collected from the files of forty years past, on controverted points on the Constitution. Such a work must possess a prominent interest, for the present as well as the future. To politicians or constitutional lawyers it will indeed be acceptable.” – United States Telegraph of May 29, 1830.

The Federal Constitution.– Mr. JONATHAN Elliot has just published, in four volumes, a collection of valuable materials illustrative of the Constitution. Full indexes to the whole make it a work of convenient reference, and valuable to the priyate citizen as well as to the statesinan or constitutional lawyer. We trust that the work will receive a patronage commensurate with the great labor and cost of its prep. aration.” – N. Journal, May, 1830.

“The · Debates on the Constitution,' a work which has lately been published by Mr. JONATHAN Elliot, of this city, in four volumes octavo, and which we briefly noticed a few days since, is one of the greatest importance that could have made its appearance at the present day. We cannot too strongly recommend it to all who desire to be enlightened upon the great questions which nowo occupy the public mind, as they will therein see the opinions as to the nature and powers of the Federal Gov. ernment entertained at the time of its original organization, by many of the most emi. nent men of this country." Bunner of the Constitution.' by C. Raguet, Esq.. of June 8, 1830.

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