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Speech of Mr. Plumer, of New-Hampshire, on the Missouri Question, Delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, February 21, 1820 (Classic Reprint)

Speech of Mr. Plumer, of New-Hampshire, on the Missouri Question, Delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, February 21, 1820 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Speech of Mr. Plumer, of New-Hampshire, on the Missouri Question, Delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, February 21, 1820

But let us look again at this clause. New states may be admitted, 8m. But no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state, without the consent of the legislature of the sev eral states concerned, as well as of the Congress. Here then is a limitation on the powers of Congress. When a state is to be admitted, formed within the limits of some other state, as in the case of Kentucky, or the more recent one of Maine, the consent of the parent state, as well as of Congress, is to be ob tained and this consent may be, and in all instances has been, granted upon conditions. In the first clause then the power to admit is given without limitation,and may therefore be exercised on such terms as the party consentingshall prescribe,&the state to be admitted shall choose to accept; but in the secondthis power is lim. Ited, by requiring the agreement of a third party, which, like the two former, may insist on its own con ditions. The limitation in the one case, and not in the other, shows clearly that when the constitution in. Tends to restrain a general delegation of power, it does so in express words and the inference is irresistible, that where the power is distinctly given, and no limi ration is expressed, none was intended. The correct ness of this very obvious rule of construction will not be denied, and it appears to me strictly applicable to the present case. To show this power, if possible, still more clearly, we need only refer to thejournal of the convention that formed the constitution. We there find that this clause, as originally proposed, (p. Stood thus The legislature shall have power to admit new states into the Union, on the same terms with the original states. These latter words are not now to be found in the constitution. It was proposed then to limit the power of Congress on this subject. That proposition was rejected by the Convention, and the power given in the broadest possible terms. I canhardly conceive a stronger case, and have heard of no answer attempted to this important fact.

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