VI. The Draft Reported by the Committee
(Amendments Thereto Offered in Convention)
[24 June 1776]
Amendments to the plan of Government continued1
Page 3 line 23.2 leave out from the word successively to the word an in the next line & insert nor be eligible until the expiration of jour years after he shall have been out of that office.
24. after the word salary insert shall.
25. strike out the words let him and insert he shall
26. strike out from the word Government to the end of the Clause & insert according to the laws of this common Wealth and shall not under any pretence exercise any power or prerogative by virtue of any law statute or custom of England. <He shall be bound by the Acts of the legislature tho’ not expressly named; he shall have no negative on the Bills of the legislature; he shall be liable to action tho’ not to personal restraint for private duties or wrongs; he shall not possess the prerogatives of declaring War or concluding Peace or issuing letters of Marque or Reprisal, of raising or introducing arm’d forces building armed Vessels forts or strong holds,>3 but he shall with the advice of the Council of State have the power of granting reprieves or pardons except where the prosecution shall have been carried on by the House of Delegates, or the law shall otherwise particularly direct, in which Cases no reprieve or pardon shall be granted but by resolve of the House of Delegates
Page 5. line 1. Strike out the words let each & insert either
same line after the Word assembly insert may Strike out from the word respectively in the same line to the word prorogue in the next line and insert “the Governor shall not”
3. Strike out the words “let him” and insert “he shall”
6. Strike out the word let
same line after the word Members insert shall
7. strike out from the word Assembly to the Word either in the same line
8. strike out from the Word Government to the Word President in the tenth line & insert they shall annually choose out of their own Members a
11. after the word Governor insert “from the Government”
Same line strike out Let & insert shall after the word Members
12. after the word Advice insert and proceedings
same line strike out from the word Members to the word to in the same line and insert present to any part whereof any Member may enter his dissent
13. Strike out from the Word them to the Word appoint in the next line and insert “this Council may”
15. Strike out the Word let
16. After the word purpose insert “shall be”
17. Strike out the words let them & insert they shall
18. Strike out the Word let
Line 18. After the Word Members insert shall
19. Strike out the word let
same line after the Word this insert shall
21. Strike out the word let
same line after the word incapacity insert shall
23. Strike out the word let
24. same line after the word Congress insert shall
25. Strike out the word let
same line after the word officers insert shall
26. Strike out the words “or commander in chief
27. Strike out from the word from4 to the Word in in the next line and insert the respective County Courts but the Governor & Council shall have a power of suspending any officer & ordering Martial
29. Strike out from the word Service to the word embody in the next line & insert the Governor may
31. Strike out the word Let
same line after the word alone insert shall
Page 7. line 1. Strike out the word let
same line after the word Assembly insert shall
same line strike out or Superior Courts & insert of appeals & Genl. Court.
Line the 3d. strike out Let & after Council in the next line insert shall.
4. Strike out the words Pro tempore
5. Strike out the word let
same line after the word officers insert shall
6. Strike out the words having a seat in & insert being elected Members of
same line after the Word or strike out the word in
same line strike out from the Word Council to the end of the Clause
8. Strike out the word let & the words commander in chief same line after the word Council insert shall
9. Strike out from the Word number to the Word the in the eleventh line & insert hereafter such appointments to be made upon the Recommendation of the respective County Courts
12. After the word Courts insert shall.
14. Strike out the word Let
same line after the word Clerks insert shall
15. Strike out the word supreme & insert General strike out let
same line after the word Coroners insert shall
16. Strike out the words or Commander in chief
17. Strike out the word Let
same line after the word Justices insert shall
18. Strike out the word Let
same line strike out all other offenders & insert others offending
20. Strike out the word impeached & insert impeachable Page 7. line 21. Strike out the words supreme Court of common law & insert Genl. Court.
22. Strike out the Words let him or them & insert he or they shall
25. Strike out the Words supreme Court of common Law & insert Genl. Court.
26. Strike out the Word Let5
30. Strike out the Word Let
same line after the word Grants insert shall
same line Strike out the Words be attested & insert bear teste
31. Strike out the Word Let
same line after the word Writs insert shall
same line strike out the Words be attested & insert bear teste
32. Strike out the Word Let
same line after the Word indictments insert shall
34. Strike out the word Let
same line after the Word Treasurer insert shall
MS (Vi); in an unidentified clerk’s hand, with corrections by others, one of whom is Edmund Pendleton.
1. While these amendments are “continued,” this does not necessarily mean that some parts of the MS are missing; the amendments to the first part of the Constitution may have been made directly on page 1 of the Report of the Committee itself. It is in the first and last parts of the Constitution that most of the borrowings from TJ’s Draft were made, and the amendments to these parts may, therefore, have been made on his MS, since it was obviously not a part of the Report of the Committee and could not be cited with the same precision that that Report is cited in this MS list of amendments.
The Report of the Committee of 24 June, to which these amendments refer, is missing. That the amendments do refer to that Report is proved by the fact, among others, that the missing draft employed, as the Mason Plan did, the subjunctive rather than the imperative form (“Let a Privy Council … be chosen” instead of “A Privy Council … shall be chosen”). From these amendments it is possible to reconstruct and to conjecture some of the characteristics of the missing Report of the Committee: it was an eight-page document; its text was only on rectos 1, 3, 5, 7; the verso pages (2, 4, 6, 8) were possibly left blank as space for the inclusion of amendments. It was almost certainly printed; the Mason Plan had been printed “for the perusal of the members” and the missing Report, which was obviously a fair copy and not the printed Mason Plan with marginal amendments, as in Fleming’s copy of it, was equally if not more necessary to be printed. Moreover, the assumption that there were blank pages would seem more clearly to indicate a printed than a written text; printed on one side the report would have required only one instead of two impressions by the slow hand-presses of the day-and time was important to the Convention. Finally, by using these amendments in reference to the Committee Revision on 22 June (Document v), the enlarged and missing Report of the Committee of 24 June can be substantially reconstructed to fit pages 3, 5, and 7 in lines of precise and provable length. This reconstruction of the missing Report establishes with certainty 34 lines on page 7, 31 lines on page 5, and 8 lines on page 3. Since the length of lines may be regarded as constant, the remainder of page 3 and page 1 can be established by extrapolation. This procedure, however, reveals the surprising fact that only two lines of the text are left over for page 1. Now the preamble to TJ’s Draft is of the right length to fill the remainder of page 1. Consequently, it seems a plausible conjecture that the Committee may have added TJ’s preamble to its own text before reporting (but see Document VII, explanatory note). The conjectured opinion that the missing Report of the Committee was printed is further supported by the alteration made in the subtitle of the printed Mason Plan by Madison (see Document IV, descriptive note).
2. This amendment refers to the paragraph corresponding to section 7 in the Committee’s Revision of the Mason Plan, q.v. The first entry was deleted: “line 22. After the Word Magistrates insert shall.” This seems to be a further indication that preceding amendments were made directly on the Report of the Committee. Other deletions appear in the list of amendments, but are not noted in all cases, being unimportant or repetitive.
3. The preceding sentence had been drawn directly from TJ’s Draft. The remainder of the amendment, preceding and following this, was retained and became part of the Constitution.
4. This amendment (referring to paragraph 9 of the Committee Revision of Mason Plan, concerning militia officers) indicates that the Committee made further changes in the text after Fleming wrote on 22 June, for his copy of the Committee’s Revision of the Mason Plan does not contain the word “from” in paragraph 9; it is, of course, possible that such an amendment was made in Convention, prior to these amendments.
5. At this point the following are struck out: “27. After the word House insert shall. 28. Strike out the word Let. Same line after the word House insert shall.” Opposite these deleted lines is written, in an unidentified hand: “see Mr. Wythe’s amt.” This amendment refers to paragraph 12 of the Committee’s Revision of the Mason Plan; there it was provided that judges of the “supreme court of common law” could be impeached by the lower house before the upper house and tried before commissioners appointed by the latter. Wythe’s amendment provided that judges of the General Court could be impeached by the House of Delegates and tried before the Court of Appeals, which is precisely what TJ’s Draft provided for. This marginal note establishes Wythe’s presence in the Convention and also is evidence that he himself offered an amendment based on TJ’s Draft (see note 17 to Document vii).