Ratification of the Constitution by the State of
February 6, 1788.
In Convention of the delegates of the People of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts February 6th 1788.
The Convention have impartially discussed, & fully considered the
Constitution for the United States of America, reported to Congress by the
Convention of Delegates from the United States of America, & submitted to
us by a resolution of the General Court of the said Commonwealth, passed the
twenty fifth day of October last past, & acknowledging with grateful
hearts, the goodness of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe in affording the
People of the United States in the course of his providence an opportunity
deliberately & peaceably without fraud or surprize of entering into an
explicit & solemn Compact with each other by assenting to & ratifying a
New Constitution in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
insure Domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the
general welfare & secure the blessings of Liberty to themselves & their
posterity; Do in the name & in behalf of the People of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts assent to & ratify the said Constitution for the United
States of America.
And, as it is the opinion of this Convention that certain amendments &
alterations in the said Constitution would remove the fears & quiet the
apprehensions of many of the good people of this Commonwealth & more
effectually guard against an undue administration of the Federal Government,
The Convention do therefore recommend that the following alterations &
provisions be introduced into the said Constitution: —
First, That it be explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly
delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States to
be by them exercised.
Secondly, That there shall be one representative to every thirty
thousand persons according to the Census mentioned in the Constitution until
the whole number of the Representatives amounts to Two hundred.
Thirdly, That Congress do not exercise the powers vested in them by
the fourth Section of the first article, but in cases when a State shall
neglect or refuse to make the regulations therein mentioned or shall make
regulations subversive of the rights of the People to a free & equal
representation in Congress agreeably to the Constitution.
Fourthly, That Congress do not lay direct Taxes but when the Monies
arising from the Impost & Excise are insufficient for the publick
exigencies nor then until Congress shall have first made a requisition upon the
States to assess levy & pay their respective proportions of such
Requisition agreeably to the Census fixed in the said Constitution; in such way
& manner as the Legislature of the States shall think best, & in such
case if any State shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion pursuant to
such requisition then Congress may assess & levy such State's proportion
together with interest thereon at the rate of Six per cent per annum from the
time of payment prescribed in such requisition
Fifthly, That Congress erect no Company of Merchants with exclusive
advantages of commerce.
Sixthly, That no person shall be tried for any Crime by which he may
incur an infamous punishment or loss of life until he be first indicted by a
Grand Jury, except in such cases as may arise in the Government &
regulation of the Land & Naval forces.
Seventhly, The Supreme Judicial Federal Court shall have no
jurisdiction of Causes between Citizens of different States unless the matter
in dispute whether it concerns the realty or personally be of the value of
three thousand dollars at the least. nor shall the Federal Judicial Powers
extend to any actions between Citizens of different States where the matter in
dispute whether it concerns the Realty or personally is not of the value of
Fifteen hundred dollars at the least.
Eighthly, In civil actions between Citizens of different States every
issue of fact arising in Actions at common law shall be tried by a Jury if the
parties or either of them request it.
Ninthly, Congress shall at no time consent that any person holding an
office of trust or profit under the United States shall accept of a title of
Nobility or any other title or office from any King, prince or Foreign State.
And the Convention do in the name & in behalf of the People of this
Commonwealth enjoin it upon their Representatives in Congress at all times
until the alterations & provisions aforesaid have been considered agreeably
to the Fifth article of the said Constitution to exert all their influence
& use all reasonable & legal methods to obtain a ratification of the
said alterations & provisions in such manner as is provided in the said
And that the United States in Congress Assembled may have due notice of the
Assent & Ratification of the said Constitution by this Convention it is,
Resolved, that the Assent & Ratification aforesaid be engrossed on
Parchment together with the recommendation & injunction aforesaid &
with this resolution & that His Excellency John Hancock Esqr President
& the Hong William Cushing Esqr Vice President, of this Convention transmit
the same, counter-signed by the Secretary of the Convention under their hands
& seals to the United States in Congress Assembled
JOHN HANCOCK President
WM CUSHING Vice President
GEORGE RICHARDS MINOT, Secretary.
Pursuant to the Resolution aforesaid WE the President & Vice President
abovenamed Do hereby transmit to the United States in Congress Assembled, the
same Resolution with the above Assent and Ratification of the Constitution
aforesaid for the United States, And the recommendation & injunction above
In Witness whereof We have hereunto set our hands & Seals at Boston in
the Commonwealth aforesaid this Seventh day of February Anno Domini, one
thousand Seven Hundred & Eighty eight, and in the Twelfth year of the
Independence of the United States of America.
JOHN HANCOCK President [SEAL.]
Wm CUSHING Vice President [SEAL.]
Reprinted from Documentary History of the
Constitution, Vol. II (1894), pp. 93-96.
Debates in Massachusetts
Convention on Ratification of the Constitution
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