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title:“Jasper Yeates Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention”
date written:1787-12-10

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:13 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Feb. 22, 2024, 8:55 p.m. UTC

"Jasper Yeates Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 2. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1976. 532, 545-47. Print.

Jasper Yeates Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention (December 10, 1787)

Findley: 33d Vol. Universal History, fol. 21. Trials by jury are in disuse in Sweden except in the lower courts. 3 Blackst. 349, 380. 381. Every new tribunal without a jury is an introduction of aristocracy, the worst of all tyrannies. Trials by jury in Sweden have been in disuse for near a century past.
McKean: The following are objections to the system.
Objection 1. The election of Representatives and Senators is not frequent enough to secure their responsibility.
Response 1. People greatly differ on these points. Annual elections may be proper in a single branch but not so of the present system where their objects are to matters which particular states are not competent to.
2. 30,000 people represented by one delegate is too small a representation.
Response 2. In England Parliament exercise general legislative powers in all cases. Here the powers of the legislative body are restricted to more general matters reaching over the whole Union.
3. Senators have a share in the appointment of certain officers, and yet must try them on impeachment which blends the executive and judicial offices.
Response 3. This resembles the constitution of Great Britain which is deemed the best balanced in the world. It holds in the strongest light in the constitution of Pennsylvania where the Executive Council alone appoint and try impeachments.
4. Congress may affix improper modes of election in their control of the legislatures of the states.
Response 4. The United States at large have a greater interest in the due election of Representatives than any one state has, and this power is absolutely necessary to their preservation.
5. Powers of Congress too large in laying internal direct taxations, their power over militia too great, the appropriations of money for too long a time. The people have no control over them.
Response 5. Congress owe large debts and ought to have the powers of compelling the payment of money. The power of raising armies and paying them must be lodged somewhere and where so properly as in Congress? It is absolutely necessary for the salvation of the United States.
6. The whole executive power not lodged in the President-his power of pardoning treasons enormous. Vice President is an useless office.
Response 6. Is it an objection that the President is bound to consult the Senate? This is contending for his monarchy. But he clearly is responsible to the people. The objection of his solely having the power of granting pardons is inconsistent with the first objection. This power should be lodged in one person. The Vice President's office is grounded on the practice in England.
7. Objection against the judiciary department. The salary of the judges may be increased and they may hold lucrative offices. The President's salary may not be increased or diminished.
Response 7. The judges hold their offices during life and great changes may happen in the value of money. Not so of the President who can only continue for 4 years. You cannot avoid their getting offices, for they may elude these provisions by getting the office conferred on a son, etc.
8. No bill of rights to secure the liberties of the people.
Response 8. It is not necessary where there is no king or prerogative. All that is not granted is reserved (cites Locke, on Govt. pt. 2. sect. 141, 152).
9. A consolidation of the several states.
Response 9. This is a mere criticism on terms. It will, by uniting the states, secure us against exterior force.
10. An aristocracy and so intended by the Federal Convention.
Response 10. The frequent changes in the Senate, every 2 years some going out, will prevent all danger of caballing which is the greatest danger of an aristocracy.
Objection 11. The trial by jury not secured under the appellate jurisdiction.
Response 11. The verdicts of juries should in some instances be revised. The House of Lords have an appellate jurisdiction both as to law and in fact. So have the Supreme Court in matters in the orphans court, so of the court of errors and appeals in disputes about wills, so of chancery who determines it jus testes. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, cases are removed into the supreme courts by appeal instead of writs of error.
By acceding to the Constitution you have the wisdom and experience of the United States brought to your aid.
(2) You will thereby perpetuate our independence by destroying the hopes of foreign and domestic enemies.
(3) You will encourage your allies and other powers will make treaties with us.
(4) It will break our parties and divisions in every state and particularly in this.
(5) It will invigorate your commerce; your shipbuilding will flourish under it. If you not accede to it, there is no prospect of getting another constitution. It has the seeds of amendment in it. Upon the most mature deliberation, I pronounce the Constitution to be the best on the face of the earth.
Findley: The principle on which the Chief Justice is that the government should be consolidated.
Smilie: I never found we had the worst of the argument until tonight. We have no people to laugh for us. We are not to be intimidated tho the gallery were armed with bayonets.

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