The Bill of Rights, the collective name for the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States, were introduced by James Madison to the 1st United States Congress as a series of legislative articles, and were adopted by the House of Representatives on August 21, 1789. By joint resolution of Congress they were formally proposed on September 25, 1789, and were ratified by three-fourths of the states on December 15, 1791.
Once passed in the House of Representatives, the Bill of Rights, along with other legislation passed was printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine, Printers to the United States, in New York, and sent to the Senate for consideration as Acts passed at a Congress of the United States of America, begun and held at the City of New-York on Wednesday the Fourth of March in the Year, M,DCC,LXXXIX and of the Independence of the United States, the Thirteenth. This publication also included a version of the United States Constitution. The first edition was in folio format; a smaller octavo reprint also appeared in 1789. In the folio version owned by George Washington and preserved in the Chapin Library of Williams College:
"there are seventeen articles, parts of which are of particular interest in comparison to the final text: for example, the original third article provided not only that 'Congress shall make no law establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' but also that 'the rights of Conscience [shall not] be infringed'; while the original fifth article, establishing “the right of the People to keep and bear arms' in relation to 'a well regulated militia,' also provided that 'no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.'
"The Senate in its deliberations deleted some of the articles written by the House, and combined others. Their preferred text then went to a House-Senate committee, and finally twelve articles, shown in the Chapin Library in a copy of the first printed Acts of Congress, were sent to the states for ratification. The states failed to ratify the first and second articles, which, respectively, concerned the proportion of representation in Congress and the method by which congressional salaries could be changed. Articles three through twelve as approved by Congress became, therefore, in the final ratified Bill of Rights, articles one through ten. (The original second article, concerning congressional salaries, in fact was never officially taken off the table, and was eventually ratified as the 27th Amendment in May 1992) (http://chapin.williams.edu/exhibits/founding.html#rights, accessed 04-22-2012).
The original manuscript of the Bill of Rights is preserved in the National Archives, Washington, D.C., where it is on public display.
♦ On June 22, 2012 Christie's in New York offered for sale at auction George Washington's annotated copy of the 1789 folio edition of the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The auction catalogue mentioned that Washington owned three copies of the folio edition and three copies of the octavo version. One of the three was the copy owned by Williams College mentioned above. The other two, including the copy being auctioned, remained in private hands. The pre-sale estimate was $2,000,000-$3,000,000. The book sold for $9,826,500. million. This set a new high price record for an American book or document. The book was purchased by the non-profit Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union, which maintains the historic Mount Vernon estate in Virginia that was Washington's home, and is now open to the public.