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title:“Newspaper Report of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings”
date written:1787-11-21

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:58 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Feb. 22, 2024, 11:35 a.m. UTC

"Newspaper Report of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 2. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1976. 328. Print.

Newspaper Report of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings (November 21, 1787)

Sixty members of the Convention being assembled, Mr. M'Kean proposed that the returns should be read over, whereupon it was found that the following persons were duly elected, viz.
The members then proceeded by ballot to the election of a president, when there appeared 30 votes for Mr. Muhlenberg, 29 for M'Kean, and one for Mr. Gray. General Wayne doubted, whether 30 votes could be deemed the sense of the meeting, as it was not a majority of 60, the number of delegates present, which occasioned a short conversation upon the subject; but at length, the question being taken, "Whether Mr. Mullenbergh should be conducted to the chair?" it was determined in the affirmative. It was then proposed to proceed to the choice of a clerk, but that business was deferred on motion of Mr. Smilie. Dr. Rush moved "that a committee be appointed to request the attendance of some minister of the Gospel tomorrow morning, in order to open the business of the Convention with prayer." This was considered by several gentlemen as a new and unnecessary measure, which might be inconsistent with the religious sentiments of some of the members, as it was impossible to fix upon a clergyman to suit every man's tenets, and it was neither warranted by the example of the General Assembly or of the convention that framed the government of Pennsylvania. To these observations Dr. Rush replied that he hoped there was liberality sufficient in the meeting to unite in prayers for the blessing of Heaven upon their proceedings, without considering the sect or persuasion of the minister who officiated; and with respect to precedent, he remarked that it might be taken from the conduct of the first and every succeeding Congress, who certainly deserved our imitation. "That the convention who framed the government of Pennsylvania did not preface their business with prayer is probably the reason," added the Doctor, "that the state has ever since been distracted by their proceedings." Mr. Smilie objected to the absurd superstition of that opinion, and moved a postponement which was accordingly agreed to. An invitation was read from the trustees of the University requesting the attendance of the members at the ensuing commencement, which was unanimously accepted, and the Convention adjourned to meet tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock, in order to proceed in a body to the college hall.

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