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14-25 May, 1787

21 May, 1787: George Mason to Arthur Lee

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"The most prevalent idea...is a total change of the federal system."

Online Library of Liberty transcription (from Farrand): Philadelphia, May 21, 1787. I arrived in this city on Thursday evening last, but found so few of the deputies here from the several States that I am unable to form any certain opinion on the subject of our mission. The most prevalent idea I think at present is a total change of the federal system, and instituting a great national council or parliament upon the principles of equal, proportionate representation, consisting of two branches of the legislature invested with full legislative powers upon the objects of the Union; and to make the State legislatures subordinate to the national by giving to the latter a negative upon all such laws as they judge contrary to the principles and interest of the Union; to establish also a national executive, and a judiciary system with cognizance of all such matters as depend upon the law of nations, and such other objects as the local courts of justice may be inadequate to. . . . I have received your favor by Major Jackson; nothing that I have heard has yet been mentioned upon this subject among the deputies now here; though I understand there are several candidates, which I am surprised at, as the office will be of so short duration, and merely honorary, or possibly introductory to something more substantial.

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"The most prevalent idea...is a total change of the federal system."

Online Library of Liberty transcription (from Farrand): Philadelphia, May 21, 1787. I arrived in this city on Thursday evening last, but found so few of the deputies here from the several States that I am unable to form any certain opinion on the subject of our mission. The most prevalent idea I think at present is a total change of the federal system, and instituting a great national council or parliament upon the principles of equal, proportionate representation, consisting of two branches of the legislature invested with full legislative powers upon the objects of the Union; and to make the State legislatures subordinate to the national by giving to the latter a negative upon all such laws as they judge contrary to the principles and interest of the Union; to establish also a national executive, and a judiciary system with cognizance of all such matters as depend upon the law of nations, and such other objects as the local courts of justice may be inadequate to. . . . I have received your favor by Major Jackson; nothing that I have heard has yet been mentioned upon this subject among the deputies now here; though I understand there are several candidates, which I am surprised at, as the office will be of so short duration, and merely honorary, or possibly introductory to something more substantial.

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