Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Credentials of Members of the Federal Convention

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.

In the Year of our Lord 1787.

An Act for appointing Deputies from this State to the Convention proposed to be holden in the City of Philadelphia, in May, 1787, for the Purpose of revising the federal Constitution

Whereas, in the formation of the federal compact, which frames the bond of union of the American states, it was not possible, in the infant state of our republic, to devise a system which, in the course of time and experience, would not manifest imperfections that it would be necessary to reform:

And whereas the limited powers, which, by the Articles of Confederation, are vested in the Congress of the United States, have been found far inadequate to the enlarged purposes which they were intended to produce; and whereas Congress hath, by repeated and most urgent representations, endeavored to awaken this, and other states of the Union, to a sense of the truly critical and alarming situation in which they may inevitably be involved, unless timely measures be taken to enlarge the powers of Congress, that they may be thereby enabled to avert the dangers which threaten our existence as a free and independent people; and whereas this state hath been ever desirous to act upon the liberal system of the general good of the United States, without circumscribing its views to the narrow and selfish objects of partial convenience; and has been at all times ready to make every concession, to the safety and happiness of the whole, which justice and sound policy could vindicate;—

Be it therefore enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened, That John Langdon, John Pickering, Nicholas Gilman, and Benjamin West, Esqrs, be, and hereby are, appointed commissioners; they, or any two of them, are hereby authorized and empowered, as deputies from this state, to meet at Philadelphia said Convention, or any other place to which the Convention may be adjourned, for the purposes aforesaid, there to confer with such deputies as are, or may be, appointed by the other states for similar purposes, and with them to discuss and decide upon the most effectual means to remedy the defects of our federal Union, and to procure and secure the enlarged purposes which it was intended to effect, and to report such an act to the United States in Congress, as, when agreed to by them, and duly confirmed by the several states, will effectually provide for the same.

STATE of NEW HAMPSHIRE.—IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, June 27, 1787. The foregoing bill having been and read a third time,—voted that it pass to be enacted. Sent up for concurrence.            JOHN SPARHAWK, Speaker.

IN SENATE, the same day. This bill having been read a third time,—voted that the same be enacted.            JOHN SULLIVAN, President.

Copy examined, per JOSEPH PEARSON, Secretary.

[L. S.]

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.

By his excellency, James Bowdoin, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of [L. S.] Massachusetts.

To the Hon. Francis Dana, Elbridge Gerry, Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King, and Culeb Strong, Esqrs., Greeting:

Whereas Congress did, on the 21st day of February, A. D. 1787, resolve, “That, in the opinion of Congress, it is expedient that, on the second Monday in May next, a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several states, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the states, render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union;” And whereas the General Court have constituted and appointed you their delegates, to attend and represent this commonwealth in the said proposed Convention, and have, by a resolution of theirs of the 10th of March last, requested me to commission you for that purpose;—

Now, therefore, Know ye, That, in pursuance of the resolutions aforesaid, I do, by these presents, commission you, the said Francis Dana, Elbridge Gerry, Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus, King, and Caleb Strong, Esqrs., or any three of you, to meet such delegates as may be appointed by the other, or any of the other, states in the Union, to meet in Convention at Philadelphia, at the time and for the purposes aforesaid.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the public seal of the commonwealth aforesaid to be hereunto affixed.

Given at the Council Chamber, in Boston, the ninth day of April, A. D. 1787, and in the 11th year of the independence of the United States of America.

JAMES BOWDOIN.

By his excellency’s command.—John Avery, Jun., Secretary.

STATE OF CONNECTICUT.

At a General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, in America, holden at Hartford, [L. S.] on the second Thursday of May, A. D. 1787.

An Act for appointing Delegates to meet in Convention of the States, to be held at Philadelphia, on the second Monday of May instant.

Whereas the Congress of the United States, by their act of the 21st February, 1787, have recommended that, on the second Monday of May inst., a Convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several states, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation,—

Be it enacted by the governor, council, and representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That the Hon. William Samuel Johnson, Roger Sherman, and Oliver Ellsworth, Esqrs., be, and they hereby are, appointed delegates to attend the said Convention, and are requested to proceed to the city of Philadelphia, for that purpose, without delay; and the said delegates, and, in case of sickness or accident, such one or more of them as shall attend the said Convention, is and are hereby authorized and empowered to represent this state therein, and to confer with such delegates appointed by the several states, for the purposes mentioned in the said act of Congress, that may be present and duly empowered to sit in said Convention, and to discuss upon such alterations and provisions, agreeably to the general principles of republican government, as they shall think proper to render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union; and they are further directed, pursuant to the said act of Congress, to report such alterations and provisions as may be agreed to by a majority of the United States represented in Convention, to the Congress of the United States, and to the General Assembly of this state.

A true copy of record. Examined by GEORGE WILLYS, Secretary.

STATE OF NEW YORK.

By his excellency, George Clinton, governor of the state of New York, general and [L. S.] commander-in-chief of all the militia, and admiral of the navy of the same.

To all to whom these presents shall come.

It is by these presents certified, that John M’Kesson, who has subscribed the annexed copies of resolutions, is clerk of the Assembly of this state.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the privy seal of the said state to be hereunto affixed, this 9th day of May, in the 11th year of the independence of the said state.

GEO. CLINTON.

State of New York.—In Assembly, February 28, 1787.—A copy of a resolution of the honorable the Senate, delivered by Mr. Williams, was read, and is in the words following, viz.:—

Resolved, If the honorable the Assembly concur therein, that three delegates be appointed, on the part of this state, to meet such delegates as may be appointed on the part of the other states, respectively, on the second Monday in May next, at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress, and to the several legislatures, such alterations and provisions therein us shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the several states, render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union; and that in case of such concurrence, the two houses of the legislature will, on Tuesday next, proceed to nominate and appoint the said delegates, in like manner as is directed by the Constitution of this state for nominating and appointing delegates to Congress.

Resolved, That this house do concur with the honorable the Senate in the said resolution.

In Assembly, March 6, 1787.—Resolved, That the Hon. Robert Yates, Esq., Alexander Hamilton, and John Lansing, Jun., Esqrs., be, and they are hereby, nominated by this house delegates on the part of this state, to meet such delegates as may be appointed on the part of the other states, respectively, on the second Monday in May next, at Philadelphia, pursuant to concurrent resolutions of both houses of the legislature, on the 28th ultimo.

Ordered, That Mr. N. Smith deliver a copy of the last preceding resolution to the honorable the Senate.

A copy of a resolution of the honorable the Senate was delivered by Mr. Vanderbilt, that the Senate will immediately meet this house in the Assembly Chamber, to compare the list of persons nominated by the Senate and Assembly, respectively, as delegates, pursuant to the resolutions before mentioned.

The honorable the Senate accordingly attended in the Assembly Chamber, to compare the lists of persons nominated for delegates, as above mentioned.

The list of persons nominated by the honorable the Senate were the Hon. Robert Yates, John Lansing, Jun., and Alexander Hamilton, Esqrs.; and, on comparing the lists of the persons nominated by the Senate and Assembly respectively, it appeared that the same persons were nominated in both lists; thereupon, Resolved, that the Hon. Robert Yates, John Lansing, Jun., and Alexander Hamilton, Esqrs., be, and they are hereby, declared duly nominated and appointed delegates, on the part of this state, to meet such delegates as may be appointed on the part of the other states, respectively, on the second Monday in May next, at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress, and to the several legislatures, such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the several states, render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union.

True extracts from the journals of the Assembly. JOHN M’KESSON, Clerk.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY.

To the Hon. David Brearly, William Churchill Houston, William Patterson, and John Neilson, Esqrs., Greeting.

The Council and Assembly, reposing especial trust and confidence in your integrity, prudence, and ability, have, at a joint meeting, appointed you, the said David Brearly, William Churchill Houston, William Patterson, and John Neilson, Esqrs., or any three of you, commissioners, to meet such commissioners as have been, or may be, appointed by the other states in the Union, at the city of Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on the second Monday in May next, for the purpose of taking into consideration the state of the Union as to trade and other important objects, and of devising such other provisions as shall appear to be necessary to render the Constitution of the federal government adequate to the exigencies thereof.

In testimony whereof, the great seal of the state is hereunto affixed. Witness, William Livingston, Esq., governor, captain-general, and commander-in-chief in and over the state of New Jersey, and territories thereunto belonging, chancellor and ordinary in the same, at Trenton, the 23d day of November, in the year of our Lord 1786, and of our sovereignty and independence the eleventh.

WILLIAM LIVINGSTON.

By his excellency’s command.—Bowes Reed, Secretary.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY.

To his excellency, William Livingston, and the Hon. Abraham Clark, Esqrs., [L. S.] Greeting.

The Council and Assembly, reposing especial trust and confidence in your integrity, prudence, and ability, have, at a joint meeting, appointed you, the said William Livingston and Abraham Clark, Esqrs., in conjunction with the Hon. David Brearly, William Churchill Houston, and William Patterson, Esqrs., or any three of you, commissioners, to meet such commissioners as have been appointed by the other states in the Union, at the city of Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on the second Monday in this present month, for the purpose of taking into consideration the state of the Union, as to trade and other important objects, and of devising such other provisions as shall appear to be necessary to render the constitution of the federal government adequate to the exigencies thereof.

In testimony whereof, the great seal of the state is hereunto affixed. Witness, William Livingston, Esq., governor, captain-general, and commander-in-chief, in and over the state of New Jersey, and territories thereunto belonging, chancellor and ordinary in the same, at Burlington, the 18th day of May, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of our sovereignty and independence the eleventh.

WIL. LIVINGSTON.

By his excellency’s command.—Bowes Reed, Secretary.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY.

To the Hon. J. Dayton, Esq.

The Council and Assembly, reposing especial trust and confidence in your integrity, prudence, and ability, have, at a joint meeting, appointed you, the said Jonathan Dayton, Esq., in conjunction with his excellency, William Livingston, the Hon. David Brearly, William Churchill Houston, William Patterson, and Abraham Clark, Esqrs., or any three of you, commissioners, to meet such commissioners as have been appointed by the other states in the Union, at the city of Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of taking into consideration the state of the Union as to trade and other important objects, and of devising such other provisions as shall appear to be necessary to render the constitution of the federal government adequate to the exigencies thereof.

In testimony whereof, the great seal of the state is hereunto affixed. Witness, Robert Lettice Hooper, Esq., vice-president, captain-general, and commander-in-chief in and over the state of New Jersey, and territories thereunto belonging, chancellor and ordinary in the same, at Burlington, the fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of our sovereignty and independence the eleventh.

ROBERT L. HOOPER.

By his honor’s command.—Bowes Reed, Secretary.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.

An Act appointing Deputies to the Convention intended to be held in the City of Philadelphia, for the Purpose of revising the Federal Constitution.

Sec. 1. Whereas the General Assembly of this commonwealth, taking into their serious consideration the representations heretofore made to the legislatures of the several states in the Union, by the United States in Congress assembled, and also weighing the difficulties under which the confederated states now labor, are fully convinced of the necessity of revising the Federal Constitution, for the purpose of making such alterations and amendments as the exigencies of our public affairs require; And whereas the legislature of the state of Virginia have already passed on act of that commonwealth, empowering certain commissioners to meet at the city of Philadelphia, in May next, a convention of commissioners or deputies from the different states; and the legislature of this state are fully sensible of the important advantages which may be derived to the United States, and every of them, from cooperating with the commonwealth of Virginia and the other states to the Confederation, in the said design.

Sec. 2. Be it enacted, and it is hereby enacted, by the representatives of the freemen of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, That Thomas Mifflin, Robert Morris, George Clymer, Jared Ingersoll, Thomas Fitzsimons, James Wilson, and Gouverneur Morris, Esqrs., are hereby appointed deputies from this state, to meet to the Convention of the deputies of the respective states of North America, to be held at the city of Philadelphia, on the 2d day in the month of May next; and the said Thomas Mifflin, Robert Morris, George Clymer, Jared Ingersoll, Thomas Fitzsimons, James Wilson, and Gouverneur Morris, Esqrs., or any four of them, are hereby constituted and appointed deputies from this state, with powers to meet such deputies as may be appointed and authorized by the other state, to assemble in the said Convention, at the city aforesaid, and join with them in devising, deliberating on, and discussing, all such alterations and further provisions as may be necessary to render the Federal Constitution fully adequate to the exigencies of the Union, and in reporting such act or acts, for that purpose, to the United States in Congress assembled, as, when agreed to by them, and duly confirmed by the several states, will effectually provide for the same.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That, in case any of the said deputies hereby nominated shall happen to die, or to resign his or their said adpointment or appointments, the supreme executive council shall be, and hereby are, empowered and required to nominate and appoint other person or persons, in lieu of him or them so deceased, or who has or have so resigned, which person or persons, from and after such nomination and appointment, shall be, and hereby are, declared to be vested with the same powers respectively as any of the deputies nominated and appointed by this act is vested with by the same: Provided always, that the council are not hereby authorized, nor shall they make any such nomination or appointment, except in vacation and during the recess of the General Assembly of this state. Signed by order of the house, [L. S.]

THOMAS MIFFLIN, Speaker.

Enacted into a law at Philadelphia, on Saturday, December 30, in the year of our Lord 1786.

PETER ZACHARY LLOYD,

Clerk of the General Assembly.

I, Matthew Irwine, Esq., master of the rolls for the state of Pennsylvania, do certify the preceding writing to be a true copy (or exemplification) of a certain act of Assembly lodged in my office.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal of office, the 15th May,

[L. S.] A. D. 1787.

MATTHEW IRWINE, M. R.

A Supplement to the Act entitled “An Act appointing Deputies to the Convention intended to be held in the City of Philadelphia, for the Purpose of revising the Federal Constitution.

Sec. 1, Whereas, by the act to which this act is a supplement, certain persons were appointed as deputies from this state to sit in the said Convention; And whereas it is the desire of the General Assembly, that his excellency, Benjamin Franklin, Esq., president of this state, should also sit in the said Convention, as deputy from this state; therefore,

Sec. 2. Be it enacted, and it is hereby enacted, by the representatives of the freemen of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, That his excellency, Benjamin Franklin, Esq., be, and he is hereby, appointed and authorized to sit in the said Convention as a deputy from this state, in addition to the persons heretofore appointed; and that he be, and he hereby is, invested with like powers and authorities as are invested in the said deputies, or any of them.

Signed by order of the House,

THOMAS MIFFLIN, Speaker.

Enacted into a law at Philadelphia, on Wednesday, the 28th day of March, in the year of our Lord 1787.

PETER ZACHARY LLOYD,

Clerk of the General Assembly.

I, Matthew Irwine, Esq., master of the rolls for the state of Pennsylvania, do certify the above to be a true copy (or exemplification) of a supplement to a certain act of Assembly, which supplement is lodged in my office.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal of office, the 15th May,

[L. S.] A. D. 1787.

MATTHEW IRWINE, M. R.

DELAWARE STATE.

His excellency, Thomas Collins, Esq., president, captain-general, and commander-in-chief, of the Delaware state,
To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:

Know ye, that, among the laws of the said state, passed by the General Assembly of the same, on the 3d day of February, in the year of our Lord 1787, it is thus [L. S.] enrolled:—

“In the eleventh year of the independence of the Delaware state.

“An Act appointing Deputies from this State to the Convention proposed to be held in the City of Philadelphia, for the Purpose of revising the Federal Constitution.”

Whereas the General Assembly of this state are fully convinced of the necessity of revising the Federal Constitution, and adding thereto such further provisions as may render the same more adequate to the exigencies of the Union; And whereas the legislature of Virginia have already passed an act of that commonwealth, appointing and authorizing certain commissioners to meet, at the city of Philadelphia, in May next, a Convention of commissioners or deputies from the different states; and this state being willing and desirous of cooperating with the commonwealth of Virginia, and the other states in the Confederation, in so useful a design:—

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of Delaware, that George Read, Gunning Bedford, John Dickinson, Richard Basset, and Jacob Broom, Esqrs., are hereby appointed deputies from this state to meet in the Convention of the deputies of other states, to be held at the city of Philadelphia, on the 2d day of May next; and the said George Read, Gunning Bedford, John Dickinson, Richard Basset, and Jacob Broom, Esqrs., or any three of them, are hereby constituted and appointed deputies from this state, with powers to meet such deputies as may be appointed and authorized by the other states to assemble in the said Convention at the city aforesaid, and to join with them in devising, deliberating on, and discussing, such alterations and further provisions as may be necessary to render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and in reporting such act or acts, for that purpose, to the United States in Congress assembled, as, when agreed to by them, and duly confirmed by the several states, may effectually provide for the same. So always and provided, that such alterations or further provisions, or any of them, do not extend to that part of the 5th article of the Confederation of the said states, finally ratified on the 1st day of March, in the year 1781, which declares that, “In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each states shall have one vote.”

And be it enacted, That in case any of the said deputies hereby nominated shall happen to die, or resign his or their appointment, the president or commander-in-chief, with the advice of the privy council, in the recess of the General Assembly, is hereby authorized to supply such vacancies.

Signed by order of the House of Assembly.

JOHN COOK, Speaker.

Signed by order of the Council.

GEORGE CRAGHED, Speaker.

Passed at Dover, February 3, 1787.

All and singular which premises, by the tenor of these presents, I have caused to be exemplified. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and caused the great seal of the said state to be affixed to these presents, at New Castle, the 2d day of April, in the year of our Lord 1787, and in the 11th year of the independence of the United States of America.

Attest, James Booth, Secretary.

THOMAS COLLINS.

STATE OF MARYLAND.

An Act for the Appointment of, and conferring Powers on Deputies from this State to the Federal Convention.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland, That the Hon. James M’Henry, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Daniel Carroll, John Francis Mercer, and Luther Martin, Esqrs., be appointed and authorized, on behalf of this state, to meet such deputies as may be appointed and authorized, by any other of the United States, to assemble in Convention at Philadelphia, for the purpose of revising the federal system, and to join with them in considering such alterations and further provisions as may be necessary to render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and in reporting such an act for that purpose, to the United States in Congress assembled, as, when agreed to by them, and duly confirmed by the several states, will effectually provide for the same; and the said deputies, or such of them as shall attend the said Convention, shall have full power to represent this state for the purposes aforesaid; and the said deputies are hereby directed to report the proceedings of the said Convention, and any act agreed to therein, to the next session of the General Assembly of this state.

By the House of Delegates, May, 26, 1787. Read and assented to.

By order,

WM. HARWOOD, Clerk.

True copy from the original.

WM. HARWOOD, Clerk H. D.

By the Senate, May 26, 1787. Read and assented to.

By order,

J. DORSEY, Clerk.

True copy from the original.

J. DORSEY, Clerk Senate.

W. SMALLWOOD.

COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA.

General Assembly begun and held at the Public Buildings in the city of Richmond, on Monday, the 16th day of October, in the year of our Lord 1786.

An Act for appointing Deputies from this Commonwealth to a Convention proposed to be held in the City of Philadelphia, in May next, for the Purpose of revising the Federal Constitution.

Whereas the commissioners who assembled at Annapolis, on the 14th day of September last, for the purpose of devising and reporting the means of enabling Congress to provide effectually for the commercial interests of the United States, have represented the necessity of extending the revision of the federal system to all its defects, and have recommended that deputies for that purpose be appointed by the several legislatures, to meet in Convention, in the city of Philadelphia, on the 2d day of May next,—a provision which was preferable to a discussion of the subject in Congress, where it might be too much interrupted by the ordinary business before them, and where it would, besides, be deprived of the valuable counsels of sundry individuals who are disqualified by the constitution or laws of particular states, or restrained by peculiar circumstances from a seat in that assembly: And whereas the General Assembly of this commonwealth, taking into view the actual situation of the confederacy, as well as reflecting on the alarming representations made, from time to time, by the United States in Congress, particularly in their act of the 15th day of February last, can no longer doubt that the crisis is arrived at which the good people of America are to decide the solemn, question—whether they will, by wise and magnanimous efforts, reap the just fruits of that independence which they have so gloriously acquired, and of that union which they have cemented with so much of their common blood—or whether, by giving way to unmanly jealousies and prejudices, or to partial and transitory interests, they will renounce the auspicious blessings prepared for them by the revolution, and furnish to its enemies an eventful triumph over those by whose virtue and valor it has been accomplished: And whereas the same noble and extended policy, and the same fraternal and affectionate sentiments, which originally determined the citizens of this commonwealth to unite with their brethren of the other states in establishing a federal government, cannot but be felt with equal force now as motives to lay aside every inferior consideration, and to concur in such further concessions and provisions as may be necessary to secure the great objects for which that government was instituted, and to render the United States as happy in peace as they have been glorious in war:—

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia, That seven commissioners be appointed, by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly, who, or any three of them, are hereby authorized, as deputies from this commonwealth, to meet such deputies as may be appointed and authorized by other states, to assemble in Convention at Philadelphia, as above recommended, and to join with them in devising and discussing all such alterations and further provisions as may be necessary to render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and in reporting such an act, for that purpose, to the United States in Congress, as, when agreed to by them, and duly confirmed by the several states, will effectually provide for the same.

And be it further enacted, That, in case of the death of any of the said deputies, or of their declining their appointments, the executive are hereby authorized to supply such vacancies; and the governor is requested to transmit forthwith a copy of this act to the United States in Congress, and to the executives of each of the states in the Union.

[Signed]

JOHN JONES, Speaker of the Senate.

JOSEPH PRENTIS, Speaker of the House of Delegates.

A true copy from the enrolment.—John Beckley, Clerk H. D.

In the House of Delegates.

Monday, the 4th of December, 1786.

The house, according to the order of the day, proceeded, by joint ballot with the Senate, to the appointment of seven deputies, from this commonwealth, to a Convention proposed to be held in the city of Philadelphia, in May next, for the purpose of revising the Federal Constitution; and the members having prepared tickets with the names of the persons to be appointed, and deposited the same in the ballot-boxes, Mr. Corbin, Mr. Mathews, Mr. David Stuart, Mr. George Nicholas, Mr. Richard Lee, Mr. Wills, Mr. Thomas Smith, Mr. Goodall, and Mr. Turberville, were nominated a committee to meet a committee from the Senate, in the conference chamber, and jointly with them to examine the ballot-boxes, and report to the house on whom the majority of the votes should fall. The committee then withdrew, and, after some time, returned into the house, and reported that the committee had, according to order, met a committee from the Senate, in the conference chamber, and jointly with them examined the ballot-boxes, and found a majority of votes in favor of George Washington, Patrick Henry, Edmund Randolph, John Blair, James Madison, George Mason, and George Wythe, Esqrs.

Extract from the journal.

JOHN BECKLEY, Clerk H. Delegates.

Attest, John Beckley, Clerk H. D.

In the House of Senators.

Monday, the 4th of December, 1786.

The Senate, according to the order of the day, proceeded, by joint ballot with the House of Delegates, to the appointment of seven deputies, from this commonwealth, to a Convention proposed to be held in the city of Philadelphia, in May next, for the purpose of revising the Federal Constitution; and the members having prepared tickets, with the names of the persons to be appointed, and deposited the same in the ballot-boxes, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Nelson, and Mr. Lee, were nominated a committee to meet a committee from the House of Delegates, in the conference chamber, and jointly with them to examine the ballot-boxes, and report to the house on whom the majority of votes should fall. The committee then withdrew, and, after some time, returned into the house, and reported that the committee had, according to order, met a committee from the House of Delegates, in the conference chamber, and jointly with them examined the ballot-boxes, and found a majority of votes in favor of George Washington, Patrick Henry, Edmund Randolph, John Blair, James Madison, George Mason, and George Wythe, Esqrs.

Extract from the journal.

JOHN BECKLEY, Clerk H. D.

Attest, H. Brook, Clerk S.

[L. S.] Virginia, to wit:

I do hereby certify and make known, to all whom it may concern, That John Beckley, Esq., is clerk of the House of Delegates for this commonwealth, and the proper officer for attesting the proceedings of the General Assembly of the said commonwealth, and that full faith and credit ought to be given to all things attested by the said John Beckley, Esq., by virtue of his office as aforesaid.

Given under my hand, as governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, and under the seal thereof, at Richmond, this 4th day of May, 1787. EDM. RANDOLPH.

[L. S.] Virginia, to wit:

I do hereby certify, That Patrick Henry, Esq., one of the seven commissioners appointed by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia, authorized as a deputy therefrom to meet such deputies as might be appointed and authorized by other states to assemble in Philadelphia, and to join with them in devising and discussing all such alterations and further provisions as might be necessary to render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union, and in reporting such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress as, when agreed, to by them, and duly confirmed by the several states, might effectually provide for the same, did decline his appointment aforesaid; and thereupon, in pursuance of an act of the General Assembly of the said commonwealth, entitled “An Act for appointing deputies from this commonwealth to a Convention proposed to be held in the city of Philadelphia, in May next, for the purpose of revising the Federal Constitution,” I do hereby, with the advice of the council of state, supply the said vacancy by nominating James M’Clurg, Esq. a deputy for the purposes aforesaid.

Given under my hand, as governor of the said commonwealth, and under the seal thereof, this 2d day of May, in the year of our Lord 1787. EDM. RANDOLPH.

THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.

To the Hon. Alexander Martin, Esq., Greeting.

Whereas our General Assembly, in their late session, holden at Fayetteville, by adjournment, in the month of January last, did, by joint ballot of the Senate and House of Commons, elect Richard Caswell, Alexander Martin, William Richardson Davie, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Willie Jones, Esqrs., deputies to attend a Convention of delegates from the several United States of America, proposed to be held at the city of Philadelphia, in May next, for the purpose of revising the Federal Constitution,—

We do therefore, by these presents, nominate, commissionate, and appoint you, the said Alexander Martin, one of the deputies for and in behalf, to meet with our other deputies at Philadelphia, on the 1st of May next, and with them, or any two of them, to confer with such deputies as may have been, or shall be, appointed by the other states; for the purpose aforesaid: To hold, exercise, and enjoy, the appointment aforesaid, with all powers, authorities, and emoluments, to the same belonging, or in any wise appertaining—you conforming, in every instance, to the act of our said Assembly, under which you are appointed.

Witness, Richard Caswell, Esq., our governor, captain-general, and commander-in-chief, under his hand and our seal, at Kinston, the 24th day of February, in the eleventh year of our independence, A. D. 1787. RICH. CASWELL.

By his excellency’s command.—WINSTON CASWELL, P. Secretary. [L. S.]

THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.

To the Hon. William Richardson Davie, Esq., Greeting.

Whereas our General Assembly, in their late session, holden at Fayetteville, by adjournment, in the month of January last, did, by joint ballot of the Senate and House of Commons, elect Richard Caswell, Alexander Martin, William Richardson Davie, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Willie Jones, Esqrs., deputies to attend a Convention of delegates from the several United States of America, proposed to be held in the city of Philadelphia, in May next, for the purpose of revising the Federal Constitution,—

We do therefore, by these presents, nominate, commissionate, and appoint you, the said William Richardson Davie, one of the deputies for and in our behalf, to meet with other deputies at Philadelphia, on the 1st day of May next, and with them, or any two of them, to confer with such deputies as may have been, or shall be, appointed by the other states, for the purpose aforesaid: To hold, exercise, and enjoy, the said appointment, with all powers, authorities, and emoluments, to the same belonging, or in any wise appertaining—you conforming, in every instance, to the act of our said Assembly, under which you are appointed.

Witness, Richard Caswell, Esq., our governor, captain-general, and commander-in-chief, under his hand and our great seal, at Kinston, the 24th day of February, in the eleventh year of our independence, A. D. 1787.

RICH. CASWELL.

By his excellency’s command.

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Contents

General Overview

In 1787 and 1788, following the Constitutional Convention, a great debate took place throughout America over the Constitution that had been proposed.

In-Doors Debate

View in-depth studies of the Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York state ratifying conventions.

The Federal Pillars

View drawings of the federal pillars rising published by the Massachusetts Centinel during the ratification debate.

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The Stages of Ratification: An Interactive Timeline

View the six stages of the ratification of the Constitution with links to many other features on this site.

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Interactive Ratification Map

View interactive maps showing the breakdown of Federalist-Antifederalist strength at the state level during the Ratification debate.

View Interactive

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