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The separate states had derived their territories from the charters of the British government, and were included by boundaries having no reference to natural advantages or to the facilities of foreign Some of them, therefore, were in possession of the great marts of commerce, while others were compelled to receive all their supplies of foreign goods through the former. Thus NewJersey, situated between the great emporia of New-York and Philadelphia, paid to those states a duty on all its consumption of imported merchandise, without having the means of countervailing the tax. North Carolina was in the same position in respect to Charleston and Norfolk; and, at the time of these discussions, Rhode Island imported for Connecticut and the western part of Massachusetts.

The embarrassments of trade and the consequent distresses, seem to have been the influential causes in leading to the call of the convention by which the present Constitution was formed. The State of Virginia had attempted to retaliate on Great Britain for the heavy tax to which her staple was liable on entrance into that country, and had thus driven the trade into Maryland. Maryland, however, was, for like reasons, disposed to make common cause with Virginia; but it was found that the only effect of its adhesion to this policy would be to cause the importations to be made through Delaware and Pennsylvania.

In view of this subject, the commissioners appointed by Maryland and Virginia to settle a disputed boundary had recommended a uniformity in the commercial regulations of the two states, but had seen the necessity of including the other two states which have been mentioned; and it was obvious that similar reasons would require that Jersey and New-York should unite in the same policy. It was, in consequence, resolved by the Legislature of Virginia, that commissioners should be named to meet such as might be appointed by other states of the Union, for the purpose of taking into consideration the state of trade, and examining how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations might be advisable. A convention, in consequence, met at Annapolis in 1786, which was attended by delegates from five states, namely, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New-York. Hamilton was among the commissioners of the latter state, and took a decided lead in the proceedings. This convention declined to execute the limited task assigned to it, and determined to recommend the calling of a new convention, with powers adequate to meet the general exigences of the Union. A report was in consequence adopted and addressed to the legislatures of the five states represented in the convention. Of this report Hamilton was the author. After stating that it was not considered advisable

to proceed on the business of the session under circumstances of a partial and defective representation, the report goes on to say, "that the power of regulating trade is of such comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the general system of the federal government, that to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other parts of the federal system."

After intimating that national circumstances exist "of a nature so serious as to render the situation of the United States delicate and critical, and calling for an exertion of the united virtue and wisdom of all the members of the confederacy," the report closes as follows:

“Your commissioners beg leave to suggest their unanimous conviction, that it may essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union, if the states by which they have respectively been delegated, would themselves concur, and use their endeavours to procure the concurrence of the other states in the appointment of commissioners, to meet at Philadelphia on the second Monday in May next, to take into consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the Constitution of the federal government adeq to the exigences of the Union; and to repo

an act for the purpose to the United States in Congress assembled, as, when agreed to by them, and afterward confirmed by the legislatures of every state, will effectually provide for the same.”

The plan of a convention of the states for the adoption of a more close and federal union, which had been proposed by Hamilton in his letters to Morris and Duane, was thus, by his instrumentality, brought before the states in a manner which carried with it enough of authority to require some definite action.


Federal Convention assembles at Philadelphia.Resolutions offered by Edmund Randolph.. Resolutions of Judge Patterson.-Plan offered by Pinckney.-Hamilton's great Speech in the Convention, in which he offers a Draught of a Constitution.-Examination of its Features.The Delegation from New-York retires from the Convention.-Hamilton alone returns and resumes his Seat.-Franklin's Speech.-Hamilton urges that all the Members should sign.Hamilton's Speech on that Occasion.-Consideration of his Services in framing the Constitution.

THE public did not hesitate to ascribe to Hamilton the principal agency in procuring the report of the Convention at Annapolis. He was therefore lauded by some and decried by others, according to their feelings on the question, as the founder of the Union which superseded the confederacy. More recently, when all parties have united in admitting the merits of the federal Constitution, his claims have been disputed. conceive, however, that it is too late to bring forward names to divide or divert the honour


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