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Bill of Rights: First House of Representatives Draft, Rare July 31, 1789 Newspaper Printing
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On June 8, 1789, Congressman James Madison introduced his summary of proposed amendments to the Constitution. On July 21, John Vining of Delaware was appointed to chair a Committee of 11, with one member representing each state, as Rhode Island and North Carolina had yet to ratify the Constitution, to consider the subject.  This is the Report of Mr. Vining and the Committee “to whom it was referred to take the subject of Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, generally into their consideration...,” in essence the first Congressional draft of the Bill of Rights. The twenty words this report proposed to be added before the introductory phrase “We the people,” were not accepted by Congress. Revisions were made by both the House and the Senate, but within two months, this draft was edited down to twelve proposed amendments that Congress submitted to the states for ratification.

[BILL OF RIGHTS]. The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, July 31, 1789 (No. 3276). Philadelphia: John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole. 4 pp., 11 x 18¼ in.

Inventory #26013       Price: $12,000

Complete Transcript
Mr. Vining, from the committee of eleven, to whom it was referred to take the subject of Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, generally into their consideration, and to report thereupon, made a report, which was read, and is as followeth:

In the introductory paragraph before the words, “We the people,” add, “Government being intended for the benefit of the people, and the rightful establishment thereof being derived from their authority alone.”

Art. 1, sec. 2, par. 3 — Strike out all between the words “direct” and “until such,” and instead thereof insert, “After the first enumeration there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand until the number shall amount to one hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress that the number of representatives shall never be less than one hundred, nor more than one hundred and seventy-five, but each State shall always have at least one representative.”

Art. 1, sec. 6 — Between the words “United States,” and “shall in all cases,” strike out “they,” and insert, “But no law varying the compensation shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened. The members.”

Art. 1, sec. 9 — Between par. 2 and 3 insert, “No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.”

“The freedom of speech, and of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to apply to the government for redress of grievances, shall not be infringed.”

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.”

“No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

“No person shall be subject, except in case of impeachment, to more than one trial or one punishment for the same offence, nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

“The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers and effects, shall not be violated by warrants issuing, without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, and not particularly describing the places to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

“The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Art. 1, sec. 10—between the 1st and 2d par. insert, “No State shall infringe the equal rights of conscience, nor the freedom of speech, or of the press, nor of the right of trial by jury in criminal cases.”

Art. 3, sec. 2, add to the 2d par. “But no appeal to such court shall be allowed, where the value in controversy shall not amount to one thousand dollars; nor shall any fact, triable by a jury according to the course of the common law, be otherwise re-examinable than according to the rules of common law.”

Art. 3, sec. 2—Strike out the whole of the 3d paragraph, and insert — “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

“The trial of all crimes (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger) shall be by an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage, with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, the right of challenge and other accustomed requisites; and no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment by a grand Jury; but if a crime be committed in a place in the possession of an enemy, or in which an insurrection may prevail, the indictment and trial may by law be authorized in some other place within the same state; and if it be committed in a place not within a state, the indictment and trial may be at such place or places as the law may have directed.”

“In suits at common law the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.”

“Immediately after Art. 6, the following to be inserted as Art. 7:
“The powers delegated by this Constitution to the government of the United States, shall be exercised as therein appropriated, so that the legislative shall never exercise the powers vested in the executive or the judicial; nor the executive the powers vested in the legislative or judicial; nor the judicial the powers vested in the legislative or executive.”

“The powers not delegated by this constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively.”

Art. 7 to be made Art. 8. (p3/c2)

Historical Background
Congress omitted two Vining proposals relating to the liberty of conscience that were among those put forth by James Madison. His original proposal concerning firearms concluded, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms,” but Congress dropped the latter clause, at the time referring to Quakers and other religious pacifists, in what became the 2nd Amendment. Madison, in the Committee of 11, wrote, “No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.” The third proposed amendment, which became the 1st Amendment, begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” but does not mention the “equal rights of conscience.”

After debating Vining’s Report, on August 24, 1789, the House passed an official draft of 17 amendments. the House passed 17 proposed amendments. The fine-tuning between House and Senate versions would continue for the rest of the Congressional session. On September 25, 1789, Congress passed and sent 12 proposed amendments to the states. On December 15, 1791, ten were ratified by three-quarters if the then fourteen states in the Union.

Only seven states ratified the second proposed amendment, but in 1992, it became the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:  “No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

Additional Content in this Paper
This issue also includes news from Europe (p2/c1-3); the articles of the Quadruple Alliance between Russia, Austria, France, and Spain, declaring that an attack upon any would be considered an attack upon all (p2/c3-4); notice of the presentation of several petitions in the House of Commons in the British Parliament against the abolition of the slave trade (p2/c4); news that President Washington was recovering from his recent illness but limiting visits (p2/c4); the proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives (p3/c1-2); An Act for establishing the Executive Department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs [State Department], signed in type by President George Washington, Vice President and President of the Senate John Adams, and Speaker of the House Frederick A. Muhlenberg (p3/c2-3); and a variety of advertisements and notices, including one offering a $6 reward for the return of a “mulatto fellow” (likely a slave), and another offering an $8 reward for an eighteen-year-old apprentice to a shoemaker (p3/c4).

Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiserwas established by John Dunlap in Philadelphia in 1771 as a weekly. In 1776, Dunlap became the official printer for the Continental Congress, and printed the first copies of the Declaration of Independence. In 1777-1778, during the British occupation of Philadelphia,  the newspaper moved to Lancaster. Around 1780, David C. Claypoole became Dunlap’s partner. In 1784, the Pennsylvania Packet became the first successful daily newspaper published in the United States. Dunlap was first to print the U.S. Constitution in 1787 and the first to publish George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796.

Condition: The two sheets are separated so it is possible to display together the first page, revealing the title and issue date, and the third page publishing the text of the proposed Bill of Rights. Minor loss in margin of page 1 and 2, affecting about a dozen words of an article from the British House of Commons on the Slave Trade. Otherwise fine.


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