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prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the senate."


All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this constitution, as under the confederation.

This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land ;† and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution ; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.


The ratification of the conventions of nine states, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution between the states so ratifying the same. Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names.

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See ante art. i., sect. 3, clause 1.

An act of Congress repugnant to the constitution can not become a law.-Marbury vs. Madison, I Cranch, 176.

The courts of the United States are bound to take notice of the constitution.-Marbury vs. Madison, 1 Cranch, 178.

A contemporary exposition of the constitution, practised and acquiesced under for a period of years, fixes its construction.-Stuart vs. Laird, 1 Cranch, 299.

The government of the Union, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphers of action, and its laws, when made in pursuance of the constitution, form the supreme law of the land-McCulloch vs. State of Maryland, 4 Wheaton, 405.

See laws of the United States, vol. ii., chap. 1.





ARTICLE THE FIRST. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting 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 the government for a redress of grievances.

ARTICLE THE SECOND. A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shah not be infringed.

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

ARTICLE THE FOURTH. The right of the people to be secure in thei persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall 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.

ARTICLE THE FIFTH. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shal any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be 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 shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

ARTICLE THE SIXTH. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which distric shall have been previously ascertained by law, and 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 favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

ARTICLE THE SEVENTH. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.t

ARTICLE THE EIGHTH. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

*Congress, at its first session, begun and held in the city of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789, proposed to the legislatures of the several states twelve amend ments to the constitution, ten of which, only, were adopted.

The act of assembly of Maryland, of 1793, chap. 30, incorporating the bank of Colum bia, and giving to the corporation a summary process by execution in the nature of an attachment against its debtors who have, by an express consent in writing, made the bonds, bills, or notes, by them drawn or endorsed, negotiable at the bank, is not repugnant to the constitution of the United States or of Maryland.—Bank of Columbia vs. Okely, 4 Wheaton, 236, 249.

But the last provision in the act of incorporation, which gives this summary process to the bank, is no part of its corporate franchise and may be repealed or altered at pleasure by the legislative will ―Id., 245.

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

ARTICLE THE TENTH. The powers not delegated to the United States, by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.*

ARTICLE THE ELEVENTH. The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

ARTICLE THE TWELFTH. The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for president and vice-president, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as president, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as vice-president, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as president, and of all persons voted for as vice-president, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the senate ;§-the president of the senate shall, in the presence of the senate and house of representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;-the person having the greatest number of votes for president, shall be the president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as president, the house of representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the president. But in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two

The powers granted to Congress are not exclusive of similar powers existing in the states, unless where the constitution has expressly in terms given an exclusive power to Congress, or the exercise of a like power is prohibited to the states, or there is a direct repuguancy or incompatibility in the exercise of it by the states.-Houston vs. Moore, 5 Whea ton, 1, 12.

The example of the first class is to be found in the exclusive legislation delegated to Congress over places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be for forts, arsenals, dockyards, &c. Of the second class, the prohibition of a state to coin money or emit bills of credit. Of the third class, the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and the delegation of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.-Id., 49.

In all other classes of cases, the states retain concurrent authority with Congress.-Id. 49. But in cases of concurrent authority, where the laws of the states and the Union are in direct and manifest collision on the same subject, those of the Union being the supreme law of the land are of paramount authority, and the state laws so far, and so far only as such incompatibility exists, must necessarily yield.-Id., 49.

There is nothing in the constitution of the United States similar to the articles of confed. eration, which excludes incidental or implied powers.-McCulloch vs. State of Maryland, 4 Wheaton, 406,

If the end be legitimate, and within the scope of the constitution, all the means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, and which are not prohibited, may constitutionally be employed to carry it into effect.-Id., 421.

The act of Congress of 4th May, 1812, entitled, " An act further to amend the charter of the city of Washington," which provides (sect. 6) that the corporation of the city shall be empowered for certain purposes and under certain restrictions, to authorize the drawing of lotteries, does not extend to authorize the corporation to force the sale of the tickets in such lottery in states where such sale may be prohibited by the state laws.-Cohens vs. Virginia, 6 Wheaton, 264, 375.

This amendment was proposed at the first session of the third Congress. See ante art. iii., sect. 2, clause 1.

Proposed at the first session of the eighth Congress. See ante art. ii., sect. 1, clause 3. Annulled by this amendment.

§ See laws of the United States, vol. ii., chap. 109, sect. 5.

thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be neces cessary to a choice. And if the house of representatives shall not choose a president whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the vice-president shall act as president, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the president. The person having the greatest number of votes as vicepresident, shall be the vice-president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the senate shall choose the vicepresident; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of president shall be eligible to that of vice-president of the United States.

NOTE.-Another amendment was proposed as article xiii., at the second session of the eleventh Congress, but not having been ratified by a sufficient number of states, has not yet become valid as a part of the constitution of the United States. It is erroneously given as a part of the constitution, in page 74, vol i., laws of the United States.

I have examined and compared the foregoing print of the constitution of the United States, and the amendments thereto, with the rolls in this office, and find it a faithful and literal copy of the said constitution and amendments, in the text and punctuation thereof. It ap pears that the first ten amendments, which were proposed at the first session of the first Congress of the United States, were finally ratified by the constitutional number of states, on the 15th day of December, 1791; that the eleventh amendment, which was proposed at the first session of the third Congress, was declared, in a message from the president of the United States to both houses of Congress, dated 8th January, 1798, to have been adopted by three fourths, the constitutional number of states; and that the twelfth amendment, which was proposed at the first session of the eighth Congress, was adopted by three fourths, the constitutional number of states, in the year one thousand eight hundred and four, according to a public notice thereof, by the secretary of state, under date the 25th of September, of the same year.

DANIEL BRENT, Chief Clerk.

Department of State, Washington, 25th Feb., 1828.

For history of the formation of the constitution, the declaration of independence, and the articles of confederation, see vol. ii., end of the messages.




THE family of Washington, in Virginia, is descended from English ancestors, who were anciently established at Turtfield and Warton, in Lancashire, from a branch of whom came Sir William Washington, of Leicestershire, eldest son and heir of Lawrence Washington, Esq., of Sulgrave in Northamptonshire. Sir William had, besides other younger brothers, two, named John and Lawrence, who emigrated to Virginia in 1657, and settled at Bridge's creek, on the Potomac river, in the county of Westmoreland. John, the father of Lawrence Washington, died in 1697, leaving two sons, John and Augustine. Augustine died in 1743, at the age of forty-nine, leaving several sons by his two marriages. George, the president, was the eldest by his second wife, Mary Ball, and was born at Bridge's creek, on the 22d (or 11th, old style) of February, 1732.

Each of the sons of Augustine Washington inherited from him a separate plantation. To the eldest, Lawrence, he bequeathed the estate on the Potomac river, afterward called Mount Vernon, which then consisted of twenty-five hundred acres, and also other lands and property. The second son, Augustine, received an estate in Westmoreland. To George were left the lands and mansion where his father lived at the time of his disease, situated in Stafford county, on the east side of the Rappahannock river, opposite Fredericksburg; and to each of the other four sons an estate of six or seven hundred acres. The youngest daughter died in infancy, and for the only remaining one a suitable provision was made in the will. Thus, it will be seen, that Augustine Washington left all his children in a state of comparative independence. His occupation had been that of a planter, and the large estates he was enabled to leave his family had been acquired chiefly by his own industry and enterprise.


Left a widow, with the charge of five young children, the eldest of whom was eleven years of age, Mrs. Washington, the mother of George, exhibited her resources of mind in the superintendence of their education and the management of the complicated affairs of her deceased husband,

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