Слике страница

On the part and behalf of the state of New

Jas. Duane,
Fra. Lewis,
Wm. Duer,
Gouy. Morris.

On the part and behalf of the state of New

Jno. Witherspoon, Nov. 26, 1778.
Nath. Scudder,

do. On the part and behalf of the state of Pennsyl

Rob't. Morris,
Daniel Roberdeau,
Jona. Bayard Smith,
William Clingan,

Jos. Reed, 22d July, 1778.
On the part and behalf of the state of Delaware.

Thos. M'Kean, Feb. 13, 1779.
John Dickinson, May 5th, 1779.

Nicholas Van Dyke.
On the part and behalf of the state of Mary-

land. John Hanson, March 1, 1781. Daniel Carroll,


On the part and behalf of the state of Virginia.

Richard Henry Lee,
John Banister,
Thomas Adams,
Jno. Harvie,

Francis Lightfoot Lee.
On the part and behalf of the state of North

John Penn, July 21st, 1778.
Corns. Harnett,

Jno. Williams.
On the part and behalf of the state of South

Henry Laurens,
William Henry Drayton,
Jno. Mathews,
Richard Hutson,

Thomas Heyward jun.
On the part and behalf of the state of Georgia.

Jno. Walton, 24th July, 1778.
Edwd. Telfair,
Edw. Langworthy.

[Note. From the circumstance of delegates from the same state having signed the articles of confed. eration at different times, as appears by the dates, it is probable they affixed their names as they happen. ed to be present in congress, after they had been authorized by their constituents.]

It may be well here to review the principal features of the Articles of Confederation.

In the first place, they were an agreement entered into, not by the people at large, but by the state governments. The state governments confided certain powers with which they were invested, to a congress of delegates to be chosen by themselves. These delegates represented, not the people of the states, but the state sovereignties. This will be the more evident, if we observe, that the votes in congress were to be taken by states. The states might have not less than two, nor more than seven delegates. But no state had more than one vote. Rhode Island on the floor of congress was as great as New York. This was, most clearly, on the principle that sovereigns, whatever be the number of their subjects, or the extent of their territory, are all equal.

The powers confided to congress, related to foreign intercourse, to peace and war, and to certain domestic concerns of common interest. By comparing the Articles

of Confederation with the present Constitution of the United States, we shall perceive that the objects aimed at in the two instruments, are essentially the same.

The members of congress constituted one single house, over which one of their number, chosen by themselves, presided. He was styled the President of Congress.

For the decision of certain questions, the votes of nine states were requisite. For the decision of other questions, less important, the votes of a majority of the states were sufficient.

For settling disputes between the states, a court was always constituted for the occasion. The state governments were directed by congress to appear by their agents and to appoint commissioners or judges. If they could not agree, the judges were appointed by congress itself.

The money necessary for paying the expenses of the government was to be drawn from a common treasury. This treasury, the states were under obligation to supply, each one contributing its share, as determined by congress, according to a certain

rule. The states agreed to abide by the determinations of congress on all questions which were, by the terms of their agreement, submitted to them. Such is the substance of the Articles of Confederation.

The congress which framed them, seem to have been aware that they constituted a union far from perfect. When they were submitted to the state legişlatures "they were declared to be the result of impending necessity." They were agreed to, not for their “intrinsic excellence," but as the best system which could under the circumstances be adopted. Any union was better than no union.

The framers in executing their task were not without examples. The Amphictyonic Council and the Achæan League in ancient Greece, the Confederacy of the Lycian cities in Asia Minor, the Confederacies of Poland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany in Europe, were all before them, either on the page of History or in actual, though disordered and feeble existence. They all possessed on paper powers sufficient for their purposes. But they

« ПретходнаНастави »