[December] 21. . Mr. Baldwin was one of the Continental Convention at Philada last Summer. He gave me an Acct of the whole Progress in Convention. It appeared that they were pretty unanimous in the followg Ideas, viz. 1. In a firm fœderal Government. 2. That this shd be very popular or stand on the People at large. 3. That their Object shd comprehend all Things of common fœderal Concern & wc individual States could not determine or enforce. 4. That the Jurisdictions & Govt of each State shd be left intire & preserved as inviolate as possible consistent with the coercive Subordina for preservg the Union with Firmness. 5. That the present fœderal Govt was inadequate to this End. 6. That a certain Portion or Deg. of Dominion as to Laws
as well as to Treaties with foreign Nations, War & Armies, was necessy to be ceded by individual States to the Authory of the National Council. 7. That the National Council shd consist of two Branches viz, a Senate, & Representatives. That the last shd be a local Representa apportioned to the Property & Number of Inhabitants, as far as practicable. That this shd be the governg Idea. And yet that the Distinction of States shd be preserved in the House of Representa as well as in the Senate. 8. That the Senate stand on the Election & Distinction of States as at present in Congress, and tho' like the Representa be in some measure proportioned to the No of Inhab. yet that besides this the Vote in Senate shd be by States, tho' in the House of Representa the Vote shd be by Plurality of Members present indeed but not by States as States. Hereby two things are secured, one, that the People at large shall be efficaciously represented, the other that the States as separate States be as also efficaciously represented. 9. That these two Branches combined into one Republican Body be the supreme Legislature & become vested with the Sovereignty of the Confederacy; & have powers of Govt & Revenue adequate to these Ends. 10. As to a President, it appeared to the Opin. of Convention, that he shd be a Character respectable by the Nations as well as by the fœderal Empire. To this End that as much Power shd be given him as could be consistently with guardg against all possibility of his ascending in a Tract of years or Ages to Despotism & absolute Monarchy: — of which all were cautious. Nor did it appear that any Members in Convention had the least Idea of insidiously layg the Founda of a future Monarchy like the European or Asiatic Monarchies either antient or modern. But were unanimously guarded & firm against every Thing of this ultimate Tendency.
Accordinly they meant to give considerable Weight as Supreme Executive, but fixt him dependent on the States at large, and at all times impeachable. 10. They vested Congress thus modified with the Power of an adequate Revenue, by Customs on Trade, Excise and direct Taxation by Authory of Congress; as well as with the Army, Navy & makg War & Peace. These were delicate Things, on which all felt sollicitous & yet all were unanimously convinced that they were necessary. 11. They were unanimous also in the Expedy & Necessy of a supreme judiciary Tribunal of universal Jurisdiction — in Controversies of a legal Nature between States — Revenue — & appellate Causes between subjects of foreign or different States. 12. The Power of appointing Judges & Officers of the supreme Judiciary to be in the Senate.1