Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"the great and unalienable rights of mankind"

   "The subject of amending the constitution, was brought before congress during this session, by petitions from the states of Virginia and New York. requesting that another convention might be called to take into consideration and report such amendments as they might think proper and best calculated "to promote our common interests, and to secure to ourselves and our latest posterity, the great and unalienable rights of mankind." The states of Virginia and New York were both opposed to the constitution without the amendments proposed in their respective conventions. This opposition was strongly manifested in the legislature of Virginia, in the first choice of senators. Mr. Madison, who had been so instrumental, not only in forming the new system, but in procuring its ratification, though a candidate, lost his election. His opponents, Richard Henry Lee and William Grayson, were chosen. The same legislature requested another general convention.

   "Congress, however, had no authority to call a convention. Mr. Madison submitted to the house several amendments, which, together with those presented by the several states, were referred to a committee consisting of one member from a state, with general instructions. Amendments were reported by this committee, and after long debates and various alterations, twelve articles were agreed to by both houses, to be submitted to the states. These were in substance, that congress should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition for a redress of grievances.

   "That the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.

   "That no soldier, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.

   "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, not to be violated; and no warrants to issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

   "No person to be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime, unless on presentment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service; no person to be subject to be put twice in jeopardy of life or limb for the same offence; or compelled in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

   "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused to enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury in the state where the crime was committed; to be informed of the nature of the accusation; be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for his witnesses, and to have council for his defense.

   "The right of trial by jury to be preserved, in all suits at common law, where the value in controversy exceeded twenty dollars; and no fact tried by a jury to be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

   "Excessive bail not to be required; nor excessive fines imposed, nor unusual punishments inflicted.

   "The enumeration of certain rights in the constitution, not to be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

   "The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, were reserved to the states, or to the people...."

[A POLITICAL AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FROM THE YEAR 1763 TO THE CLOSE OP THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT WASHINGTON IN MARCH 1797: INCLUDING A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE POLITICAL AND CIVIL STATE OF THE NORTH AMERICAN COLONIES, PRIOR TO THAT PERIOD. BY TIMOTHY PITKIN. IN TWO VOLUMES. VOL. II. NEW HAVEN: PUBLISHED BY HEZEKIAH HOWE AND DURRIE & PECK. 1828.  Pg. 331-3]

(Timothy Pitkin, Jan. 21, 1766 - Dec. 18, 1847, graduated from Yale in 1785. He taught in the academy at Plainfield, Connecticut for a year, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1788. He served in the Connecticut State Legislature in 1790, 1792, and 1794‑1805, serving as Clerk of the House 1800‑1802, and as Speaker 1803‑1805. He was elected as a Federalist to the United States Congress in the Ninth Congress. And was reĆ«lected to the Tenth and to the five succeeding Congresses, serving from Sept. 16, 1805, to March 3, 1819.He was also a delegate to the convention which framed the new State constitution in that year. He resumed his private law practice, then returned to serve as a member of the Connecticut State House of Representatives from 1819 to 1830. His writing and gathering of statistical materials are what afford him a special place United States history. Particularly, "A Statistical View of the Commerce of the United States of America", (1816) and "Political and Civil History of the United States from 1763 to the Close of Washington's Administration", (1828) are considered as valuable reference works for students of American history.)

No comments: