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FEDERAL CONVENTION OF 1787.
MONDAY, May 14th, 1787,
Was the day fixed for the meeting of the Deputies in Convention, for revising the federal system of government. On that day a small number only had assembled. Seven States were not convened till,
FRIDAY, MAY 25TH.
When the following members appeared :
Robert Yates, and
William Richardson Davie,
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney,
William Few. Mr. ROBERT Morris informed the members assembled, that, by the instruction and in behalf of the deputation of Pennsylvania, he proposed GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esquire, late Commander-in-Chief, for President of the Convention. * Mr. John RUTLEDGE seconded the motion, expressing his confidence that the choice would be unanimous; and observing, that the presence of General WASHINGTON forbade any observations on the occasion which might otherwise be proper.
General WASHINGTON was accordingly unanimously elected by ballot, and conducted to the Chair by
* The nomination came with particular grace from Pennsylvania, as Doctor Franklin alone could have been thought of as a competitor. The Doctor was himself to have made the nomination of General Washington, but the state of the weather and of his health confined him to his house,
Mr. R. MORRIS and Mr. Rutledge; from which, in a very emphatic manner, he thanked the Convention for the honor they had conferred on him; reminded them of the novelty of the scene of business in which he was to act, lamented his want of better qualifications, and claimed the indulgence of the House towards the involuntary errors which his inexperience might occasion.
Mr. Wilson moved that a Secretary be appointed, and nominated Mr. Temple Franklin.
Colonel HAMILTON nominated Major Jackson. On the ballot Major Jackson had five votes, and Mr. Franklin two votes.
On reading the credentials of the Deputies, it was noticed that those from Delaware were prohibited from changing the Article in the Confederation establishing an equality of votes among the States. ""
The appointment of a Committee, on the motion of Mr. C. PINCKNEY, consisting of Messrs. WYTHE, Hamilton, and C. PINCKNEY, to prepare standing rules and orders, was the only remaining step taken on this day.
Monday, May 28th.
In Convention,-From Massachusetts, NATHANIEL GORHAM and CalEB STRONG; from Connecticut, OLIVER ELLSWORTH; from Delaware, GUNNING BenFORD; from Maryland, JAMES MCHENRY; from Pennsylvania, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, George CLYMER, THOMAS MIFFLIN, and JARED INGERSOLL,—took their seats.
Mr. WYTHE, from the Committee for preparing rules, made a report, which employed the deliberations of this day.
Mr. King objected to one of the rules in the report authorizing any member to call for the Yeas and Nays and have them entered on the minutes. He urged, that as the acts of the Convention were not to bind the constituents, it was unnecessary to exhibit this evidence of the votes; and improper, as changes of opinion would be frequent in the course of the business, and would fill the minutes with contradictions.
Colonel Mason seconded the objection, adding, that such a record of the opinions of members would be an obstacle to a change of them on conviction; and in case of its being hereafter promulged, must furnish handles to the adversaries of the result of the meeting
The proposed rule was rejected, nem. con. The standing rules agreed to were as follows:
“A House to do business shall consist of the Deputies of not less than seven States; and all questions shall be decided by the greater number of these which shall be fully represented. But a less number than seven may adjourn from day to day.
“Immediately after the President shall have taken the Chair, and the members their seats, the minutes of the preceding day shall be read by the Secretary.
“Every member, rising to speak, shall address the President; and, whilst he shall be speaking, none