The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Without the Help of Moses, the Delegates Debated Judges

Journal Federal Cons LogoJune 5, 1787
In a busy session, the delegates debated multiple facets of the judiciary. They agree on a Supreme Court and inferior courts but declined to have the legislature approve them. The delegates debated various aspects of forming an interim government and agreed on a policy of admitting new states into the union.
The delegates cited experience, Scotland, and Athens as foundations for their positions.

Mr. WILSON opposed the appointment of Judges by the National Legislature. Experience showed the impropriety of such appointments by numerous bodies. Intrigue, partiality, and concealment were the necessary consequences. A principal reason for unity in the Executive was, that officers might be appointed by a single, responsible person.
Doctor FRANKLIN observed, that two modes of choosing the Judges had been mentioned, to wit, by the Legislature, and by the Executive. He wished such other modes to be suggested as might occur to other gentlemen; it being a point of great moment. He would mention one which he had understood was practised in Scotland. He then, in a brief and entertaining manner, related a Scotch mode, in which the nomination proceeded from the lawyers, who always selected the ablest of the profession, in order to get rid of him, and share his practice among themselves. It was here, he said, the interest of the electors to make the best choice, which should always be made the case if possible.

South Carolina delegate Pierce Butler appealed to the Athenian lawmaker Solon to support Butler’s view that the people wouldn’t favor a federal judiciary.

Mr. BUTLER. The people will not bear such innovations. The States will revolt at such encroachments. Supposing such an establishment to be useful, we must not venture on it. We must follow the example of Solon, who gave the Athenians not the best government he could devise, but the best they would receive.

If the delegates wanted to go to Moses and Exodus 18, today would have been a good day for it since they debated the creation of a judicial system throughout the nation. However, there was no mention of Moses or his scheme for addressing the disputes of the Jewish people.
 
To read all of the posts in this series from May 25 to the present, click here.

Benjamin Franklin's Prophecy about Those Who Seek To Be President

Journal Federal Cons LogoOn June 2, 1787, PA delegate James Wilson read a paper written by the elder statesman of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin, which made a case against paying the chief executive a salary. While Franklin thought the executive should be reimbursed for expenses incurred while serving, he did not believe a salary would bring out the best candidates. In fact, he was direct about the kind of people who would seek an office promising power and money.

And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation: for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

Franklin’s prophecy seems remarkably accurate regarding the present occupant of the White House. Franklin is correct that some who oppose Trump now do so because of similar motives. However, Trump hasn’t needed much of their help to “distress” his administration and render himself “odious to the people.”
The president’s salary isn’t high enough now to compete with private sector work but in our day the payoff comes in other ways. Trump’s position has already benefited his family and charges of kleptocracy are not far fetched. Former presidents (e.g., Clinton) have used their influence and position to tally up millions in speeches. One crisis of the last election was that so many people didn’t want to vote for either candidate. I hope we have a better choice next time around.

June 2, 1787 in Constitutional Convention – Should the Executive Be Paid?

Journal Federal Cons LogoJune 2, 1787
Today, the delegates decided that the Executive should be elected by the legislature for one seven year term. Benjamin Franklin made an passionate appeal not to pay the Executive a salary but his motion was postponed.
Regarding expressed influences on the content of the Constitution, the Bible and Christianity again didn’t explicitly come to bat. However, some who are inclined to see interpret the founders as expressing Christianity in coded messages might see an influence in Franklin’s speech (a paper read by delegate James Wilson) opposing a salary for the chief executive (what became the office of the president).

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. place before the eyes of such men a post of honour that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is that renders the British Government so tempestuous. The struggles for them are the true sources of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the Nation, distracting its councils, hurrying sometimes into fruitless & mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace.

Although Franklin didn’t cite I Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – he did use a phrase from the verse. Overtly, however, he referenced the problems experienced in the British government rather than use a religious foundation.
Franklin invoked history and more specifically cited the Egyptian Pharoah

Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the Governing & Governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partizans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharoah, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants forever. It will be said, that we don’t propose to establish Kings. I know it. But there is a natural inclination in mankind to Kingly Government.

I believe the mention of Pharaoh would have conjured up images of Old Testament stories of Jewish slavery and redemption. Here Franklin used biblical imagery as illustration rather than blueprint.
So where did Franklin go for his recommendations about proper policy?

The high Sheriff of a County in England is an honorable office, but it is not a profitable one. It is rather expensive and therefore not sought for. But yet, it is executed and well executed, and usually by some of the principal Gentlemen of the County. In France the office of Counsellor or Member of their Judiciary Parliaments is more honorable. It is therefore purchased at a high price: There are indeed fees on the law proceedings, which are divided among them, but these fees do not amount to more than three per Cent on the sum paid for the place. Therefore as legal interest is there at five per Ct. they in fact pay two per Ct. for being allowed to do the Judiciary business of the Nation, which is at the same time entirely exempt from the burden of paying them any salaries for their services. I do not however mean to recommend this as an eligible mode for our Judiciary department. I only bring the instance to shew that the pleasure of doing good & serving their Country and the respect such conduct entitles them to, are sufficient motives with some minds to give up a great portion of their time to the Public, without the mean inducement of pecuniary satisfaction.

Franklin looked to local offices in England and judges in France where service to country is sufficient to attract people of high quality.
Taking an example from his home state, Franklin then extolled the virtues of service as found in the Quaker tradition.

Another instance is that of a respectable Society who have made the experiment, and practiced it with success more than an hundred years. I mean the Quakers. It is an established rule with them, that they are not to go to law; but in their controversies they must apply to their monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings. Committees of these sit with patience to hear the parties, and spend much time in composing their differences. In doing this they are supported by a sense of duty, and the respect paid to usefulness. It is honorable to be so employed, but it was never made profitable by salaries, fees, or perquisites. And indeed in all cases of public service the less the profit the greater the honor.

Franklin then paid George Washington a compliment by using him as an example of someone who served without salary.
Despite Franklin’s good reputation and use of biblical imagery, the motion was politely postponed without debate. Madison wrote:

The motion was seconded by Col. Hamilton with the view he said merely of bringing so respectable a proposition before the Committee, and which was besides enforced by arguments that had a certain degree of weight. No debate ensued, and the proposition was postponed for the consideration of the members. It was treated with great respect, but rather for the author of it, than from any apparent conviction of its expediency or practicability.

Other influences referred to in this session include “antient republics.” Lauding state governments, Dickinson said:

If antient republics have been found to flourish for a moment only & then vanish forever, it only proves that they were badly constituted; and that we ought to seek for every remedy for their diseases. One of these remedies he conceived to be the accidental lucky division of this country into distinct States; a division which some seemed desirous to abolish altogether.

On the question of how many people should hold the position of Executive, delegate Butler said:

He said his opinion on this point had been formed under the opportunity he had had of seeing the manner in which a plurality of military heads distracted Holland when threatened with invasion by the imperial troops. One man was for directing the force to the defence of this part, another to that part of the Country, just as he happened to be swayed by prejudice or interest.

Heterodox Ben Franklin was the first to hint at Christianity to illustrate a point he wished to make. While interesting as a matter of rhetoric, his warning about “love of money” and use of the Quakers as a positive example cannot be seen as a blueprint for governance from the Bible.

June 1, 1787 in Constitutional Convention – Debating the Executive Branch

June 1, 1787
The delegates discussed the role of the Executive branch of the new government. The delegates decided on a seven year term but did not decide how the person(s) should be chosen. Some wanted the Executive appointed by the legislature and others wanted a popular vote to decide.
As the day before, delegates used the British experience as a caution against making their mistakes:

Mr. WILSON preferred a single magistrate, as giving most energy, dispatch, and responsibility, to the office. He did not consider the prerogatives of the British monarch as a proper guide in defining the executive powers. Some of these prerogatives were of a legislative nature; among others, that of war and peace, &c. The only powers he considered strictly executive were those of executing the laws, and appointing officers, not appertaining to, and appointed by, the legislature.

and

Mr. RANDOLPH strenuously opposed an unity in the executive magistracy. He regarded it as the fœtus of monarchy. We had, he said, no motive to be governed by the British government as our prototype. He did not mean, however, to throw censure on that excellent fabric. If we were in a situation to copy it, he did not know that he should be opposed to it; but the fixed genius of the people of America required a different form of government. He could not see why the great requisites for the executive department, vigor, despatch, and responsibility, could not be found in three men, as well as in one man. The executive ought to be independent. It ought, therefore, in order to support its independence, to consist of more than one.
Mr. WILSON said, that unity in the Executive, instead of being the fœtus of monarchy, would be the best safeguard against tyranny. He repeated, that he was not governed by the British model, which was inapplicable to the situation of this country; the extent of which was so great, and the manners so republican, that nothing but a great confederated republic would do for it.

Wilson favored an election by the people as was the case for choosing a governor in New York and Massachusetts. In Ferrand’s compilation, Pierce quotes Wilson using Athens and Rome as negative examples.

Mr. Wilson said that in his opinion so far from a unity of the Executive tending to progress towards a monarchy it would be the circumstance to prevent it. A plurality in the Executive of Government would probably produce a tyranny as bad as the thirty Tyrants of Athens, or as the Decemvirs of Rome.

What did not come up was Moses or Exodus 18.
 
 

May 31, 1787 In Constitutional Convention – Were the Founders Influenced by the Hebrew Republic?

Journal Federal Cons LogoMay 31, 1787
On this day in Convention, the delegates voted to make the legislature bicameral. Although there was some disagreement, they also agreed that one body should consist of representatives elected by the people. As to the Senate, the delegates could not decide how to comprise that branch. Madison recorded that “a chasm [was] left in this part of the plan.” They also agreed that either house could introduce legislation.
I find the delegate’s discussion relevant to a claim made often by David Barton and more recently by American University historian Daniel Dreisbach. Speaking recently on Barton’s Wallbuilders Live program, Dreisbach claimed that the founders were influenced by the “Hebrew Republic” of Moses. Rick Green is the host to which Dreisbach responded:

The Origins Of Our Republic
Rick:
And you mentioned that earlier even the idea of a republic or a representative government, where did they draw from in the Bible on those types of things?
Daniel:
Well, this is interesting. So one thing we can say about the Founding generation is that they were all Republicans. They wanted to create a political system that was Republican in nature.
Now, Republicanism always meant two things to the Founders. It meant government by consent of the governed and it meant representative government. They drew on diverse traditions including the ancients, the Romans for example.
The one example that I think they come back to time and time again is the example of the Hebrew Republic. What they read about in the Books of Moses. You remember the children of Israel crossed over the Red Sea and all the responsibilities of government fall on the shoulders of Moses. And his father in law Jethro comes to him and says, “Moses you’re going to need some help in governing this tribe, these children of Israel.” And so Moses with divine providence begins to flesh out a form of government.
Now, Americans in the 18th Century read about this government in the books of Moses and in the books of Judges and Joshua and they see in that a model of Republican government. And they want to emulate that in their own system.

In Search of Biblical Principles

In addition to a search for David Barton’s biblical principles in “every clause” of the Constitution, another reason I am reading the entire Convention debate this summer is to look for evidence that the framers “came back to” the example of Moses “time and time again.”
In the discussion and debate of May 31, Moses wasn’t mentioned. The British government was invoked as a negative example (“The maxims taken from the British constitution were often fallacious when applied to our situation, which was extremely different.” Elbridge Gerry).
I was interested to learn that one of the most orthodox Christian of the founders – Roger Sherman of CT – didn’t want the people to vote for their representatives. Sherman said:

Mr. SHERMAN  opposed the election by the people, insisting that it ought to be by the State Legislatures. The people, he said, immediately, should have as little to do as may be about the government. They want information, and are constantly liable to be misled.

In any case, this debate surrounding the legislature and republican government didn’t invoke the Bible one time.
Read all of the posts in this Constitutional Convention series here.

Today May 30 in Constitutional Convention: Three Branches of Government

May 30, 1787
The delegates debated the need for three branches of government and postponed a decision on representation. Delaware’s delegates had been instructed not to change the current arrangement which gave small states the same representation as large states. Many delegates wanted to change representation to be based on population but did not want to lose Delaware so early in the Convention. This matter was postponed.
The delegates did agree that the new government needed executive, judicial and legislative branches. At this point, no rationale was offered.
Read all of the posts in this Constitutional Convention series here.

May 29 Constitutional Convention – The Randolph Plan and the Pinckney Plan

Journal Federal Cons LogoMay 29, 1787
The Convention wasted little time considering substantial changes to the Articles of Confederation. After seating John Dickinson (DE) and Elbridge Gerry (MA) and passing some additional rules, plans of government were introduced for consideration by Edmund Randolph and Charles Pinckney.
Randolph’s plan began with a set of goals:

The character of such a government ought to secure, first, against foreign invasion ; secondly, against dissensions between members of the Union, or seditions in particular States; thirdly, to procure to the several States various blessings of which an isolated situation was incapable; fourthly, it should be able to defend itself against encroachment; and fifthly, to be paramount to the State Constitutions. (p. 59).

Randolph first listed the problems in the Articles of Confederation:

2. In speaking of the defects of the Confederation, he professed a high respect for its authors, and considered them as having done all that patriots could do, in the then infancy of the science of constitutions, and of confederacies; when the inefficiency of requisitions was unknown— no commercial discord had arisen among any States —no rebellion bad appeared, as in Massachusetts — foreign debts had not become urgent— the havoc of paper-money had not been foreseen — treaties had not been violated— and perhaps nothing better could be obtained, from the jealousy of the States with regard to their sovereignty.
He then proceeded to enumerate the defects:—-First, that the Confederation produced no security against foreign invasion; Congress not being permitted to prevent a war, nor to support it by their own authority. Of this he cited many examples; most of which tended to shew, that they could not cause infractions of treaties, or of the law of nations to be punished; that particular States might by their conduct provoke war without control ; and that, neither militia nor drafts being fit for defence on such occasions, enlistments only could be successful, and these could not be executed without money.
Secondly, that the Federal Government could not check the quarrel between the States, nor a rebellion in any, not having constitutional power nor means to impose according to the exigency.
Thirdly, that there were many advantages which the United States might acquire, which were not attainable under the Confederation— such as a productive impost— counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations — pushing of commerce ad libitum, &c, &c.
Fourthly, that the Federal Government could not defend itself against encroachments from the States.
Fifthly, that it was not even paramount to the State Constitutions, ratified as it was in many of the States.
3. He next reviewed the danger of our situation and appealed to the sense of the best friends of the United States— to the prospect of anarchy from the laxity of government every where — and to other considerations.

In presenting the case for a new governing document, Randolph referred to practical problems without resorting to religious justification or the Declaration of Independence. Christian nation advocates often view the Attestation clause of the Constitution as incorporating the religious language of the Declaration into the Constitution. The starting point for these delegates was the Articles and the problems with the current government.

The Pinckney Plan

After Randolph’s plan was presented, Charles Pinckney moved to introduce his plan. Madison records:

Mr. Charles Pinckney laid before the House the draft of a federal government which he had prepared, to be agreed upon between the free and independent States of America.
Ordered, that the said draft be referred to the Committee of the Whole appointed to consider the state of the American Union.

Pinckney’s plan was referred to committee and not referred to until later. However, it apparently had influence because much of it made it into the finished product. The story of what was in Pinckney’s original plan is beyond the scope of this post. For more on the contents and debates by historians about what was in the original plan consult the most ambitious record of the Convention, that of Yale historian Max Ferrand.
Ferrand brought together notes made by other delegates in addition to Madison. This record may be examined online in several formats (e.g., also here). In that record, a speech planned by Pinckney but probably not delivered, is included. Pinckney later had it published as a part of his support for the Constitution’s ratification. In this speech found in Appendix A of Ferrand’s Records, Pinckney lays out his rationale for the plan he presented to the delegates on May 29. He gives very little information about the sources for his work but below are some hints:

Upon this principle, however abused, the parliament of Great Britain is formed, and it has been universally adopted by the States in the formation of their Legislatures. It would be impolitic in us, to deem that unjust, which is a certain and beneficial truth. The abuse of this equality, has been censured as one of the most dangerous corruptions of the English Constitution; and I hope we shall not incautiously contract a disease that has been consuming them. (p. 109)
Montesquieu, who had very maturely considered the nature of a confederated Government, gives the preference to the Lycian, which was formed upon this model. The assigning to each State its due importance in the federal Councils, at once removes three of the most glaring defects and inconveniences of the present Confederation. (p. 109)
No possibility of precipitately adopting improper measures ought to be admitted, and such checks should be imposed, as we find, from experience, have been useful in other governments. In the Parliament of Great Britain, as well as in most, and the best instituted legislatures in the States, we find, not only two Branches, but in some, a Council of Revision, consisting of their executive, and principal officers of government. This, I consider as an improvement in legislation, and have therefore incorporated it as a part of the system. (p. 110)
Under the British Government, notwithstanding we early and warmly resisted their other attacks, no objection was ever made to the negative of the King. (p. 113)
It is the anarchy, if we may use the term, or rather worse than anarchy of a pure democracy, which I fear. Where the laws lose their respect, and the Magistrates their authority; where no permanent security is given to the property and privileges of the Citizens; and no measures pursued, but such as suit the temporary interest and convenience of the prevailing parties, I cannot figure to myself a Government more truly degrading; and yet such has been the fate of all the antient, and probably will be, of all the modern Republics. The progress has been regular, from order to licentiousness; from licentiousness to anarchy, and from thence to despotism. If we review the ancient Confederacies of Greece, we shall find that each of them in their turn, became a prey to the turbulence of their members; who, refusing to obey the Federal Head, and upon all occasions insulting, and opposing its authority, afforded an opportunity to foreign powers, to interfere and subvert them. There is not an example in history, of a Confederacy’s being enslaved or ruined by the invasions of the supreme authority, nor is it scarcely possible, for depending for support and maintenance upon the members, it will always be in their power to check and prevent injuring them. The Helvetic and Belgic Confederacies, which, if we except the Gryson league, are the only Governments that can be called Republics in Europe, have the same vices with the ancients. The too great and dangerous influence of the parts — an influence, that will sooner or later subject them to the same fate. In short, from their example, and from our own experience, there can be no truth more evident than this, that, unless our Government is consolidated, as far as is practicable, by retrenching the State authorities, and concentering as much force and vigor in the Union, as are adequate to its exigencies, we shall soon be a divided, and consequently an unhappy people. (p. 115)
I trust no Government will ever again be adopted in this Country, whose Alteration cannot be effected but by the assent of all its Members. The hazardous situation the United Netherlands are frequently placed in on this account, as well as our own mortifying experience, are sufficient to warn us from a danger which has already nearly proved fatal. (p. 121)
The next Article l provides for the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus — the Trial by Jury in all cases, Criminal as well as Civil — the Freedom of the Press, and the prevention of Religious Tests, as qualifications to Offices of Trust or Emolument: The three first essential in Free Governments; the last, a provision the world will expect from you, in the establishment of a System founded on Republican Principles, and in an age so liberal and enlightened as the present. (p. 122)

In addition to these specific influences, Pinckney appealed generally to the problems encountered while trying to make the Article of Confederation work. The founders learned from experience that something else was needed.
Near the end of Pinckney’s explanations, he mentions religion. He advises the elimination of religious tests for holding office (many states had these), as a provision expected by the world in a liberal and enlightened age. If Charles Pinckney wished to establish a Constitution with biblical principles in every clause, he certainly didn’t do a very good job.

David  Barton’s Deuteronomy Citizenship Claim

David Barton frequently claims that the citizenship requirement of Article II of the Constitution came from Deuteronomy’s requirement that a Jewish king be a Jew. Pinckney opines in favor of a citizenship requirement but doesn’t mention the Bible as a basis.

The Federal Government should also possess the exclusive right of declaring on what terms the privileges of citizenship and naturalization should be extended to foreigners. At present the citizens of one State, are entitled to the privileges of citizens in every State. Hence it follows, that a foreigner, as soon as he is admitted to the rights of citizenship in one, becomes entitled to them in all. The States differed widely in their regulations on this subject. I have known it already productive of inconveniences, and think they must increase. The younger States will hold out every temptation to foreigners, by making the admission to office less difficult in their Governments, than the older. — I believe in some States, the residence which will enable a foreigner to hold any office, will not in others intitle him to a vote. To render this power generally useful it must be placed in the Union, where alone it can be equally exercised. (p. 120)

With two plans before the Convention, the delegates then adjourned.
 
Madison’s notes with a version of Pinckney’s plan added by the editor.

May 28 Constitutional Convention – The Rules

Journal Federal Cons LogoOn May 28, 1787 the delegates heard and approved the rules which governed the Convention.  These sound very much like Robert’s Rules of Order, which were published in the mid-1800s.
I like this one:

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. (p. 57)

George Washington had the final say to decide if a member was unruly.
I note that the Convention did not open in prayer nor did they appeal to any religious basis for their tasks.
Source for notes on the entire Convention; notes for May 28.
 

Revisiting the Constitutional Convention This Summer

Journal Federal Cons LogoI was reminded by Thomas Kidd in his excellent article about Benjamin Franklin in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal that the Constitutional Convention kicked off activities this month on May 14, 1787 and then really got down to business on May 25. In light of recent claims by David Barton that “every clause of the Constitution has an overarching Biblical theme to it. Because they understood the nature of man, the nature of God, the nature of government, and that all comes from a study of the Bible in the study of history,” I thought it would be good to read through the notes taken by James Madison on a daily basis. For my reading, I am using the 1893 version edited by E.H. Scott and published by Albert, Scott & Company. Another reading option from the Avalon project provides a link to each day’s entry (see also this one from Ashland University). I hope you will read along with me.

I plan to look for the Bible in the notes of the Convention. Surely, if the Bible influenced much of the Constitution, I will find frequent references to it in my reading. I will report every one I find.

I hope readers will also read along in order to keep me honest and help discern the influences which animated the delegates to create the form of government we now enjoy.

Madison’s first dated entry was May 14:

Monday, May 14th, 1787,
Was the day fixed for the meeting of the Deputies in Convention, for revising the federal system of government. On that day a small number only had assembled. Seven States were not convened till,

Friday, May 25th.
When the following members appeared: (p. 53)

Madison then listed the delegates in the first meeting.

The first order of business on May 25, 1787 was to elect a president. George Washington was unanimously chosen:

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 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.

Following the selection of a secretary and rules committee, the Convention adjourned until May 28.