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Source & Citation Info

title:“George Mason to Arthur Lee”
authors:George Mason
date written:1787-5-21

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retrieved:Dec. 1, 2023, 10:11 p.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to Arthur Lee." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

George Mason to Arthur Lee (May 21, 1787)

Philadelphia, May 21, 1787.
I arrived in this city on Thursday evening last, but found so few of the deputies here from the several States that I am unable to form any certain opinion on the subject of our mission. The most prevalent idea I think at present is a total change of the federal system, and instituting a great national council or parliament upon the principles of equal, proportionate representation, consisting of two branches of the legislature invested with full legislative powers upon the objects of the Union; and to make the State legislatures subordinate to the national by giving to the latter a negative upon all such laws as they judge contrary to the principles and interest of the Union; to establish also a national executive, and a judiciary system with cognizance of all such matters as depend upon the law of nations, and such other objects as the local courts of justice may be inadequate to. . . .1
I have received your favor by Major Jackson; nothing that I have heard has yet been mentioned upon this subject among the deputies now here; though I understand there are several candidates, which I am surprised at, as the office will be of so short duration, and merely honorary, or possibly introductory to something more substantial.