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title:“Jasper Yeates' Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention”
date written:1787-12-8

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:02 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 1, 2024, 2:40 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. 526-29. Print.

Jasper Yeates' Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention (December 8, 1787)

Smilie: The appellate jurisdiction is borrowed from the civil law and will exclude trials by jury. Writ of attaint lies against a jury for giving a false verdict - case of Forsey v. Cunningham at New York in 1764. Appeal from the general verdict of a jury assessing damages in the case of a trespass and assault to the governor and council refused in the supreme court by the judges. England, corrupt as she is, would not bear an innovation like our appellate jurisdiction.
The trials in criminal cases by jury is secured, but, not being mentioned in civil cases, it is clearly excepted in such latter cases.
Whitehill: The Federal Convention found the task too great for them to ascertain the mode of trial in civil cases. We are solemnly bound to our God not to give away the rights and liberties of the people. The rich will swallow up the poor—we shall have no security for our property. Why need we obtain property if it is insecure?
There is no security for people's houses or papers by the Constitution. All depends on the goodwill of Congress and the judges.1 It is a solemn mockery of Heaven to say that our rights are by the Constitution. Cites 9th Letter of the Farmer's Letters published in Pennsylvania.
Thomas McKean: Too much time has been spent in this business. The whole matter might have been dispatched in a few days.
Findley: Future ages will be surprised at America's adopting this Constitution. Englishmen would not do it and would wonder at freemen's adopting it.
If there is no bill of rights, there should be ample security given that our rulers should be honest and virtuous; and that if they themselves were virtuous, they should not be imposed on by the vicious. If otherwise, our liberties are held on the most precarious tenures.
Smilie: 3 Blackst. 380. Eulogy on Juries. Aristocracy is the most oppressive of all tyrannical governments. The Convention deliberately planned the system of taking away the trials by jury.
An altercation between the Chief Justice and Mr. Smiley. Mr. Chambers defended the Chief Justice and berated the opposition.

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