Charles Pinckney of South Carolina was one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was, however, no ordinary delegate because not only was he the one who suggested to the Continental Congress in 1786 that the Articles of Confederation be revised, he carried with him to the Constitutional Convention a set of draft provisions for the the new constitution. He developed this draft through an extensive study of colonial laws and reference materials. Nearly one half (29 components out of 60) of the adopted United States Constitution follows Pinckney’s provisions.1
Charles Pinckney also has the distinction to be the last of the framers of the Constitution to remain in Congress.
Speaking to the Sixth Congress, on the method by which the Congress certifies election of the President, Senator Pinckney said:
They [the framers] well knew, that to give to the members of Congress a right to give votes [as presidential electors] in this election, or to decide upon them when given, was to destroy the independence of the Executive, and make him the creature of the Legislature. This therefore they have guarded against, and to insure experience and attachment to the country, they have determined that no man who is not a natural born citizen, or citizen at the adoption of the Constitution, of fourteen years residence, and thirty-five years of age, shall be eligible. . . .
“Experience and attachment” was the “original intent” of the framers, according to one of them who “remembers it well.” It was not “super citizenship” or “purity of blood” or “perfect undivided loyalty” but simple “experience and attachment”.
As best my research shows, this is the only comment by a framer of the Constitution on natural born citizenship that has survived. [John Jay was not a delegate to the Convention. The closest Jay gives to a definition is “not a foreigner.”]
1 Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina by Richart Barry, Ayer Company, Publishers, Inc., Salem NH, 1942. p. 314.