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was afterwards likely to become, the situation of the United States in reference to the acquisition of territory and the admission of new States. There were, then, at the time when this provision was made, four classes of cases in the contemplation of the Convention. The first consisted of the Northwestern Territorry, in which the title to the soil and the political jurisdiction were already vested in the United States. The second embraced the case of Vermont, which was then exercising an independent jurisdiction adversely to the State of New York, and the case of Kentucky, then a district under the jurisdiction of Virginia; in both of which the United States neither claimed nor sought to acquire either the title to the vacant lands or the rights of political sovereignty, but which would both require to be received as new and separate States, the former without the consent of New York, the latter with the consent of Virginia. The third class comprehended the cessions which the United States in Congress were then endeavoring to obtain from the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and in which were afterwards established the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.1 These cessions, as it then appeared,

1 The cession by South Carolina of all its "right, title, interest, jurisdiction, and claim" to the "territory or tract of country" lying, within certain northern and southern limits, between the western boundary of that State and the river Mississippi, was in fact made and accepted in Congress, August

9-10, 1787, twenty days before the territorial clause was finally settled in the Convention, which took place August 30. (Journals of the Old Congress, XII. 129-139. Madison, Elliot, V. 494-497.) On the 20th of October of the same year, the Congress passed a resolution urging the States of North Carolina

might or might not all be made. If made, the title of the United States to the unoccupied lands would be complete, resting both upon the cessions and upon the treaty of peace with England; and the political jurisdiction over the existing settlements, as well as over the whole territory, would be transferred with the cessions, subject to any conditions which the ceding States might annex to their grants. If the cessions should not be made, the claims of the United States to the unoccupied lands would stand upon the treaty of peace, and would require to be saved by some clause in the Constitution which should signify that they were not surrendered; while the claims of the respective States would require to be protected in like manner.

The reader will now be prepared to understand the following explanation of the third section of the fourth article of the Constitution. First, with reference to the Northwestern Territory, the soil and jurisdiction of which was already completely vested in the United States, it was necessary that the Constitution should confer upon Congress power to exercise the political jurisdiction of the United States, power to dispose of the soil, and power to admit new States that might be formed there into the Union. Secondly, with reference to such cases as that of Vermont, it was necessary that there should be a

and Georgia to cede their Western claims. This request was not complied with until after the Constitution had gone into operation. The

cession of North Carolina was made February 25, 1790; that of Georgia, April 24, 1802.

power to admit new States into the Union without requiring the assent of any other State, when such new States were not formed within the actual jurisdiction of any other State. Thirdly, with reference to such cases as that of Kentucky, which would be formed within the actual jurisdiction of another State, it was necessary that the power to admit should be qualified by the condition of the consent of that State. Fourthly, with reference to such cessions as were expected to be made by North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, it was necessary to provide the power of political government, the power to admit into the Union, and the power to dispose of the soil, if the cessions should be made; and at the same time to save the claims of the United States and of the respective States as they then stood, if the cessions anticipated should not be made. None of these cases, however, were specifically mentioned in the Constitution, but general provisions were made, which were adapted to meet the several aspects of these cases. From the generality of these provisions, it is held by some that the clause which relates to "the territory or other property of the United States," was intended to be applied to all cessions of territory that might ever be made to the United States, as well as to those which had been made, or which were then specially anticipated; while others give to the clause a much narrower application.1

1 It is not my purpose to enter into the argument on this question. I have recently had occasion pro

fessionally to maintain that the territorial clause is applicable to all territorial cessions made to the United

There now remain to be considered the restraints imposed upon the exercise of the powers of Congress, both within the States and in all other places; both where the authority of the United States is limited to certain special objects, and where it is unlimited and universal, excepting so far as it is narrowed by these constitutional restraints. Some of them I have already described, in tracing the manner in which they were introduced into the Constitution. We have seen how far the commercial and revenue powers became limited in respect to the slave-trade, to taxes on exports, to preferences between the ports of different States, and to the levying of capitation or other direct taxes. These restrictions were applicable to these special powers. But others were introduced, which apply to the exercise of all the powers of Congress, and are in the nature of limitations upon its general authority as a government.

One of these is embraced in the provision, "that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it."1 The common law of England, which recognizes the right to the writ of habeas corpus for the purpose of deliv

States, whether by States of the Union or by foreign States, and that it clothes the government with a full legislative power over such territories and their inhabitants, which is subject only to the particular restrictions enumerated in the Constitution, or provided for in the cessions. Perhaps it is needless for me to add


that I entertain this opinion.
it is rejected by others, and, in the
present state of judicial interpre-
tation of this part of the Consti-
tution, by the supreme tribunal, it
is not easy to determine what will
finally become the settled construc-

1 Constitution, Art. I. § 9, cl. 2.

ery from illegal imprisonment or restraint, was the law of each of the American States; and it appears from the proceedings of the Convention to have been the purpose of this provision to recognize this right, in the relations of the people of the States to the general government, and to secure and regulate it. The choice lay between a declaration of the existence of the right, making it inviolable and absolute, under all circumstances, and a recognition of its existence by a provision which would admit of its being suspended in certain emergencies. The latter course was adopted, although three of the States recorded their votes against the exception of cases of rebellion or invasion.1

The prohibition upon Congress to pass bills of attainder, or ex post facto laws, came into the Constitution at a late period, and while the first draft of it was under consideration. Bills of attainder, in the jurisprudence of the common law, are acts of legislation inflicting punishment without a judicial trial. The proposal to prohibit them was received in the Convention with unanimous assent. With regard to the other class of legislative acts, described as "ex post facto laws," there was some difference of opinion, in consequence probably of different views of the extent of the term. In the common law, this expression included only, then and since, laws which punish as crimes acts which were not punishable as crimes when they were committed. Laws of a civil nature,

1 See Elliot, V. 484. The three States were North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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