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The general plan of Barclay's Digest as published in the Forty-fourth Congress has been pursued, and so much of the text of Mr. Barclay's work is repeated as seems to be pertinent to the rules and practice of the House. Care las been taken, however, to eliminate from the text reproduced, decisions and references which have become obsolete by reason of changes in the rules and repeals of statutes.
In the preparation of the preceding edition, decisions noted in the Journals from the Forty-first Congress, to and including those of the first session of the Fifty-third, were examined and epitoinized from the Journals and Congressional Records. That work has been carefully revised and extended in this edition to embrace decisions of the House of Representatives at the second session of the Fifty-third Congress. Such parts of the Statutes of the United States subsequent to the Revised Statutes, down to and including the laws passed at the second session of the Fifty-third Congress, as directly affect the procedure and functions of Congress are also presented.
In the Index to the Digest, pp. 675–766, the substance of the several propositions or decisions is briefly stated, so as to furnish an almost complete synopsis of the text.
The notes and index to the Constitution are from the text published in the Revised Statutes prepared by Hon. Geo. S. Boutwell, and extended by Mr. Charles B. Reade for use in the Senate Manual, some additional citations of recent decisions being also added. Jefferson's Manual, with the Senate rules in italics, is also substantially from the text prepared by Mr. Reade for the Senate Manual.
In the Appendix, the tabulated statement relative to the volumes containing debates in Congress is chiefly the work of Mr. A. W. Church, Librarian of the Senate. This table has been extended to include the several volumes of the Record for the second session of the Fifty-third Congress. The table showing the period of eachi Congress, the Speakers and Clerks of the House, is after the plan of Mr. Lanman as published in his biographical and statistical work. Valuable assistance has been rendered by Mr. William T. Page in revising and extend. ing these tables, as also in the work of appropriately arranging the new text of the Digest.
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES—1787.*
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more per
fect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall., 419; McCulloch v. State of Maryland et al., 4 Wh., 316; Brown et als. v. Maryland, 12 Wh., 419; Barron v. The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 7 Pet., 243; Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall., 71; Texas v. White et al., 7 Wall., 700.
SECTION. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Hayburn's case (notes), 2 Dall., 409. Section. 2. "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
* In May, 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken on it, and it was left to the State Legislatures to proceed in the matter. In January, 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a resolution providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or any three of them, should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the other States of the Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their permanent harmony; and to report to the several
2 No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty-five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
States such an act, relative to this great object, as, when ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually 10 provide for the same. The Virginia commissioners, after some correspondence, fixed the first Monday in September as the time, and the city of Annapolis as the place for the meeting, but only four other States were represented, viz: Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Rhode Island failed to attend. Under the circumstances of so partial a representation, the commissioners present agreed upon a report, (drawn by Mr. Hamilton, of New York,) expressing their unanimous conviction that it might essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union is the States by which they were respectively delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to procure the concurrence of the other States, in the appoin'ment of commissioners to meet at Philadelphia on the second Monday of May following, to take into consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such further provisions as should appear to them necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled as, when agreed to by them and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State, would effectually provide for the same.
Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, adopted a resolution in favor of a convention, and the Legislatures of those States which had not already done so (with the exception of Rhode Island) promptly appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States having convened, George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and the consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced. On the 17th of September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon was signed by all the members present, except Mr. Gerry, of Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and Randolph, of Virginia. The president of the convention transmitted it to Congress, with a resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should be put in operation, and an explanatory letter. Congress, on the 28th of September, 1787, directed the Constitution so framed, with the resolutions and letter concerning the same, to “be transmitted to the several Legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention."
On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had been fixed for commencing the operations of Government under the new Constitution, it had been ratified by the conventions chosen in each State to consider it, as follows: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788; Virginia, June 26, 1788; and New York, July 26, 1788.
The President informed Congress, on the 28th of January, 1790, that North Carolina had ratified the Constitution November 21, 1789; and he informed Congress on the ist of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution May 29, 1789. Vermont, in convention, ratified the Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of Congress approved February 18, 1791, "received and admitted into this Union as a new and entire member of the United States."