AMENDMENTS PROPOSED. [caption title]

[Boston: Benjamin Russell? 1788]. Broadside, untrimmed sheet (with remnant of text, a word or two only, from another item printed below this one), 24 x 25 cm., text in two columns. We have found a record for only one other example of this broadside: [OCLC] Library of Congress, Printed Ephemera Collection (16 x 20 cm.; greatly trimmed compared to our example). Apparently not in Evans, Shipton & Mooney, Bristol, National Union Catalog, or Sabin. Faint old tidelines to margins, old fold lines, else very good. Item #60542

This rare Anti-Federalist handbill lists seven proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States then under ratification consideration by the Massachusetts Convention. The amendments are printed in the right-hand column, and the justifications for each in the left-hand column. The anonymous author's proposals relate to Congress' power to perpetuate itself, the right of habeas corpus, powers of taxation, protections for individual States against suits, trial by jury, trial 'in the vicinity,' and trial by Grand Jury indictment. Prefacing his amendments, the author states his concerns over the debates: "The Convention, having power either to accept or reject the proposed Constitution in whole, or in part, have necessarily and incidentally, a right to accept the same on condition — That the other States in the Union shall agree to such amendments as are proposed by this Convention." The printed text of his suggested alterations are as follows: "First. In the fourth section of the article of the Senate, strike out these words, "But Congress may, at any time, by law, 'make, or alter such regulation, except as to the place for choosing Senators;" and insert these words, "But if any State shall refuse to prescribe time and place for such elections, Congress shall provide therefor by laws made for that purpose." "2d. In the second clause of the ninth section insert the words, "And the Supreme Judicial Courts of the several States, and either Judge thereof shall have power to issue this writ." "3. In the eighth section of the powers of Congress, strike out the word, "Taxes." "4th. In the second section of the Judicary [sic] Power, strike out the following words, "Between a State and a citizen of another State, "between citizens of different States." "5th. In the second clause of the same section, strike out the words, "Both as to law and fact," and add to that clause these words — Provided nevertheless, that all issues of fact shall be tried by a jury to be appointed according to standing laws made by Congress." "6th. In the last clause in the same section next after the word State, insert these words, In, or near the County." "7th. At the end of the same clause, add these words — Provided that no person shall be held to answer to any charge of a criminal nature, unless it be upon indictment of a Grand Jury, appointed, sworn and charged according to known and standing laws." The text of this broadside was first published in Benjamin Russell's newspaper, the "Massachusetts Centinel," on January 26, 1788, under the pseudonym 'Hampden.' The author addresses the newspaperman: "Mr. Russell, I have had no hand in the productions respecting the proposed plan of government — but I feel interested as a citizen. — I have waited to see if any motion might be made, or any disposition appear in the Convention, to prevent one of two evils taking place: the first is, that of rejecting the Constitution; the second is, that of adopting it by a bare majority." The author particularly expresses his dissatisfaction with the proposed Constitution's amendment process and shows his regional prejudices. He states that he fears "two thirds of the Senate will perhaps never agree to — the indictment by grand jury, and trial of fact by a jury is not so much set by in the southern States, as in the northern — the great men there, are too rich and important to serve on the juries, and the smaller are considered as not having consequence enough to try the others; in short, there can be no trial by peers there. — The middle States gain advantages by having the legal business done in one of them, which may prevent their leading men from engaging seriously in amendments ..." He therefore proposes that the first Congress held take into consideration all amendments that "any seven of the States shall agree to; and which amendments shall be considered as a part of the Constitution. And that the Senators and Representatives of the several States, shall set together in one body, and vote by States, in considering such amendments …" 'Hampden's' original seven amendments, adapted and expanded, would eventually become part of the Massachusetts Convention's ratification of the Federal Constitution. Known as the "Massachusetts Compromise," the agreement allowed the convention delegates to approve the Constitution as a whole, with amendments attached for future consideration. Massachusetts thus became the sixth state to ratify, of the nine needed. Adopting the Massachusetts model, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia and New York quickly followed suit. All but Maryland submitted additional amendments for consideration. These amendments would form the basis for the foundational "Bill of Rights." (#60542) When the Massachusetts Ratification Convention met in Boston in January 1788, to consider approving the Federal Constitution, there was a deep divide between Federalists and Anti-Federalists in the delegation. It quickly became apparent that the Constitution would not be approved without compromise. Jackson Turner Main, in his book "The Anti-Federalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788 [UNC Press: 1961, p.205], discusses the contentious debates on the Constitution in Massachusetts: "In spite of all these efforts, a majority of the convention still opposed ratification, and the Federalists were forced to make concessions. Toward the end of January they concluded that a few members might be won over by submitting amendments, not as a condition of ratification, but as mere recommendations." A few days later "Hampden's" article [Main speculates the author was James Sullivan] appeared in the decidedly Federalist leaning "Massachusetts Centinel." In his "Life of James Sullivan," [Boston: 1859], Thomas Amory concurs with this identification of 'Hampden': “Though not chosen a member [of the convention], it is believed that the opinions of Judge Sullivan, expressed in conversation and in his contributions to the public press, were not without weight. He was often afterwards charged as having been an opponent of the constitution; and he no doubt was opposed to its adoption without important modifications.... As one of his [Hancock’s] Council and most intimate friends and advisors, as also the friend of [Rufus] King, [Nathaniel] Gorham, [Theophilus] Parsons, and other leading members of the convention, Sullivan’s views were no doubt respected in framing the amendments. The object was not so much to devise what could be desired, as what would be generally acceptable; and the sentiments of the other parts of the country were to be considered as well as those prevailing in Massachusetts. Many others than those accepted were no doubt suggested, but failed to secure a support sufficiently general to be included among those adopted. Theophilus Parsons, afterwards the distinguished chief justice, is believed to have drafted them, that is to say, to have put them into form; for, according to tradition, the amendments themselves were suggested by those who thought the instrument defective, which he did not. The copy which Hancock used in the convention was said by Mr. Benjamin Russell to have been in the hand-writing of Sullivan.” With this so called "Massachusetts Compromise" in place, the convention succeeded in approving the Federal Constitution on February 6, 1788, by a narrow margin. The suggested amendments accompanying the approval were to be considered once the first Congress met: "And as it is the opinion of this Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in the said Constitution would remove the fears and quiet the apprehensions of many of the good people of this commonwealth, and more effectually guard against an undue administration of the Federal Government; the Convention do therefore recommend that the following alterations and provisions be introduced into the said Constitution... [a list of nine items followed]. The ratification resolutions were signed by John Hancock, President, William Cushing, Vice-President, and George R. Minot, Secretary of the Convention. According to Merrill Jensen's "The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution," the presence of an undated fragment of proposed amendments derived from either the newspaper article or the broadside among the papers of William Cushing, the vice-president of the Massachusetts Convention held in 1788, suggests that the broadside may have been circulated among members of the convention. Benjamin Russell celebrated the ratification by adding a pillar for Massachusetts to his bold illustration in the Centinel's edition of February 9, 1788. It joined the previous five pillars of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut in Russell's "Grand Federal Edifice." James Sullivan, the purported author of these amendments, was a lawyer, member of the Continental Congress, Massachusetts Attorney General, first president of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Governor of the state, 1807-1808.

Price: $25,000.00