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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.'79
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 BEDFORD; 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
shall pass between them, or hold discourse with another, or read a book, pamphlet, or paper, printed or manuscript. And of two members rising to speak at the same time, the President shall name him who shall be first heard.
“A member shall not speak oftener than twice, without special leave, upon the same question; and not the second time, before every other who had been silent shall have been heard, if he choose to speak upon the subject.
"A motion, made and seconded, shall be repeated, and, if written, as it shall be when any member shall so require, read aloud, by the Secretary, before it shall be debated; and may be withdrawn at any time before the vote upon it shall have been declared.
“Orders of the day shall be read next after the minutes; and either discussed or postponed, before any other business shall be introduced.
“When a debate shall arise upon a question, no motion, other than to amend the question, to commit it, or to postpone the debate, shall be received.
“A question which is complicated shall, at the request of any member, be divided, and put separately upon the propositions of which it is compounded.
“ The determination of a question, although fully debated, shall be postponed, if the Deputies of any State desire it, until the next day.
"A writing which contains any matter brought on to be considered shall be read once throughout, for information; then by paragraphs, to be debated; and again, with the amendments, if any, made on the second reading; and afterwards the question shall be put upon the whole, amended, or approved in its original form, as the case shall be.
“ Committees shall be appointed by ballot; and the members who have the greatest number of ballots, although not a majority of the votes present, shall be the Committee. When two or more members have an equal number of votes, the member standing first on the list, in the order of taking down the ballots, shall be preferred.
“A member may be called to order by any other member, as well as by the President; and may
be allowed to explain his conduct, or expressions, supposed to be reprehensible. And all questions of order shall be decided by the President, without appeal or debate.
Upon a question to adjourn, for the day, which may be made at any time, if it be seconded, the question shall be put without a debate.
“When the House shall adjourn, every member shall stand in his place until the President pass
* Previous to the arrival of a majority of the States, the rule by which they ought to vote in the Convention had been made a subject of conversation among the members present. It was pressed by Gouverneur Morris, and favored by Robert Morris and others from Pennsylvania, that the large States should unite in firmly refusing to the small States an equal vote, as unreasonable, and as enabling the small States to negative every good system of govemment, which must, in the nature of things, be founded on a violation of that equality. The members from Virginia, conceiving that such an attempt might beget fatal altercations between the large and small States ; and that it would be easier to prevail on the latter, in the course of the deliberations, to give up their equality for the sake of an effective government, than, on taking the field of discussion, to disarm themselves of the right, and thereby throw themselves on the mercy of the larger States, discountenanced and stifled the project.