Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Steele, 3 June 1790

To John Steele

New York June 3d. 1790.


There are in my office the proceedings of six States on the subject of the amendments proposed by Congress to the federal Constitution. These are the following

1. A vote of the Legislature of New Hampshire rejecting the second article of the said amendments, and accepting all the others.

2. An Act of the Legislature of New York intituled “an Act ratifying certain articles in addition to, and amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by the Congress” whereby they ratify all the said articles except the second.

3. An Act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania intituled “an Act declaring the assent of this State to certain amendments to the Constitution of the United States” wherein the first and second articles are passed over in silence, and all the others assented to.

4. A Resolution of the Legislature of Delaware postponing the first article, and acceding to all the others.

5. An Act of the Legislature of Maryland intituled “an Act to ratify certain articles in addition to, and amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the several States” ratifying all the said articles.

6. A Resolution of the Legislature of South Carolina, ratifying all the said Articles.

So that it appears on the whole that
the 1st. article is agreed to by four States
the 2d. by three
and all the others by six.

No proceedings of any other States on this subject have been returned to my office. I have the honor to be with sentiments of great respect &c.

FC (DNA: PCC, No. 120). Entry in SJL reads: “June 3. Steele (of <Maryld.> N. Carolina).” An undated memorandum in the hand of a clerk (Roger Alden), endorsed by TJ: “Steele. Honble. John,” gives the substance of this letter and was evidently used by TJ in composing it (MoSHi). The memorandum contains three dates not utilized by TJ: the New York “Act … passed the Council of revision Feby. 27th. 1790” the Pennsylvania statute was “Enacted into a Law March 11th. 1790” and the Maryland statute was adopted “Decr. 19th. 1789.” TJ’s letter was in reply to one from Steele of 2 June 1790, reading: “A committee has been appointed to examine into, and report what order has been taken in the several states, upon the amendments to the Constitution, proposed by Congress heretofore. This Committee request you to furnish any information from your Office, that may be necessary to enable us to report satisfactorily” (RC in MoSHi; recorded in SJL as received 2 June 1790). On 17 June 1790 Steele wrote TJ that he had received an Act of the North Carolina legislature ratifying the “whole of the articles of amendment proposed by Congress” (FC in DNA: RG 59, PCC No. 120). Steele was chairman of a committee appointed 27 May 1790 to “examine into and report the decisions of the several States” respecting the amendments formerly proposed; that part of the motion which authorized this committee to report “what other and further amendments” were necessary for Congress to recommend to the states was defeated (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, Gales & Seaton, 1826– description ends , i, 225).

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