Letter to George Mason Jr.

George Mason

May 27, 1787

It is impossible to judge how long we shall be detained here, but from present appearances I fear until July, if not later.” I begin to grow heartily tired of the etiquette and nonsense so fashionable in this city.  It would take me some months to make myself master of them, and that it should require months to learn what is not worth remembering as many minutes, is to me so discouraging a circumstance as determines me to give myself no manner of trouble about them….

We had yesterday, for the first time, a representation of seven States—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia will be here by Monday or Tuesday.  The State of Rhode Island has refused to appoint deputies, and although New Hampshire has appointed it is thought we shall be deprived of their representation by no provision having been made for defraying their expenses.  The State of Delaware has tied up the hands of her deputies by an express direction to retain the principle in the present Confederation of each State having the same vote; no other State, so far as we have yet seen, hath restrained in deputies on any subject.

Nothing was done yesterday but unanimously appointing General Washington President; Major Jackson (by a majority of five States to two) Secretary, reading the credentials from the different States on the floor, and appointing a committee to draw up and report the rules of proceeding.  It is expected our doors will be shut, and communications upon the business of the Convention be forbidden during its sitting.  This I think myself a proper precaution to prevent mistakes and misrepresentation until the business shall have been completed, when the whole may have a very different complexion from that in which the several crude indigested parts might in their first shape appear if submitted to the public eye.

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