Elliot’s Debates: Volume 2

Convention of Massachusetts

In Convention, Boston, January 9, 1788.

On motion, Ordered, That the Hon. Nathaniel Gorham, John Carnes, Esq., Dr. Charles Jarvis, Hon. Tristam Dalton, Hon. Walter Spooner, Hon. Caleb Davis, and Hon. John Taylor, be a committee to receive the returns of the several towns.

Ordered, That a committee of five persons be appointed to collect, count, and sort the votes for a secretary; and the Hon. Caleb Davis, Tristam Dalton, Aaron Wood, Eleazer Brooks, and Charles Turner, Esquires, were appointed.

The Convention then proceeded to the choice of a secretary by ballot, and, the votes being taken, it appeared that George Richards Minot, Esq. was chosen, who accepted of the choice, and was duly sworn to qualify him for exercising the duties of that office.

Voted, That Mr. Jacob Kuhn, the messenger of the General Court, be appointed messenger to this Convention.

Voted, That five monitors be chosen, and the following gentlemen were elected, viz., the Hon. Noah Goodman, Mr. Phanuel Bishop, Mr. Daniel Cooley, Hon. Azor Orne, and Mr. Thomas Davis.

Voted, That a committee of seven be appointed to prepare rules and orders for the regulation of the Convention. The Hon. Nathaniel Gorham, Dr. Charles Jarvis, Hon. John Taylor, Mr. William Widgery, Hon. Tristam Dalton, Hon.

Theodore Sedgwick, and James Bowdoin, Jun., Esq., were then appointed on the said committee.

Afternoon.—The Convention proceeded to the choice of a president by ballot, according to assignment; and, a committee of five being appointed to collect, count, and sort the votes, it appeared that his Excellency, John Hancock, was chosen.

Voted, That the Convention proceed to the choice of a vice-president.—The Convention then proceeded to the choice of a vice-president accordingly, by ballot; and, a committee being appointed to collect, count, and sort the votes, it appeared that the Hon. William Cushing was chosen; who by request took the chair.

Voted, That a committee of five be appointed to wait upon his Excellency, John Hancock, and acquaint him that this Convention have made choice of him for their president, and to request his Excellency’s acceptance of that appointment.

On motion of the Hon. Mr. Adams, Voted, That the Convention will attend morning prayers, daily, and that the gentlemen of the clergy, of every denomination, be requested to officiate in turn.

The members from Boston were appointed to wait upon them, and acquaint them thereof.

A vote of the church in Brattle Street, in Boston, offering the use of their meeting-house to the Convention, being communicated by the Hon. Mr. Bowdoin, Voted, That a committee of nine be appointed, to view the accommodations of the said meeting-house, and report.

Mr. Sedgwick, Mr. Lincoln, Dr. Taylor, Gen. Brooks of Lincoln, Dr. Jarvis, Dr. Holton, Mr. Strong, Mr. Nason, and Mr. Thatcher, were then appointed on said committee.

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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.

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