Monday May 14 & Friday 25, 1787
James Madison's Notes
Monday May 14th 1787 was the day fixed for the meeting of the deputies in Convention for revising the federal 1 system of Government. On that day a small number only had assembled Seven States were not convened till,
Friday 25 of May , when the following members appeared to wit: viz. From Massachusetts Rufus King. N. York Robert Yates, Alexr. Hamilton. N. Jersey , David Brearley, William Churchill Houston, William Patterson. Pennsylvania , Robert Morris, Thomas Fitzsimmons, James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris. Delaware, George Read, Richard Basset, Jacob Broom. Virginia , George Washington, Edmund Randolph, John Blair, James Madison, George Mason, George Wythe, James McClurg. N. Carolina , Alexander Martin, William Richardson Davie, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson. S. Carolina , John Rutlidge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler. Georgia , William Few. 2
Mr Robert Morris informed the members assembled that by the instruction & in behalf, of the deputation of Pena. he proposed George Washington Esqr. late Commander in chief for president of the Convention. Mr. Jno. Rutlidge seconded the motion; expressing his confidence that the choice would be unanimous, and observing that the presence of Genl Washington forbade any observations on the occasion which might otherwise be proper. General Washington 3 was accordingly unanimously elected by ballot, 4 and conducted to the chair by Mr. R. Morris and Mr. Rutlidge; 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. (The nomination came with particular grace from Penna, as Docr. Franklin alone could have been thought of as a competitor. 5 The Docr. 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.) 6
Mr. Wilson moved that a Secretary be appointed, and nominated Mr. Temple Franklin.
Col. Hamilton nominated Major Jackson.
On the ballot Majr. Jackson had 5 votes & Mr. Franklin 2 votes. 7 On 8 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. 9
The appointment of a Committee, consisting of Messrs. Wythe, Hamilton & C. Pinckney, on the motion of Mr. C. Pinckney, to prepare standing rules & orders was the only remaining step taken on this day
May 14, 1787 10 -- appointed for the meeting of ye Convention on the 7 States met May 25. -- (page 1 to 4) list of members assembled -- G. Washington unanimously elected prest. notes of J. M. Major Jackson elected Secy-- credentials of deputies read. Commee appd to prepare rules.
1: Crossed out "Constitution".
2: Copied from Journal.
3: Originally "The General".
4: Crossed out "the requisites for it".
5 Crossed out "for the President".
6: Crossed out "of the Genl. but the season of the rain did not permit him to venture to the Convention chamber."
7: On the election of Jackson as secretary see Introduction, note 6.
8: This paragraph may be a later insertion suggested by Yates.
9: See below Records, May 30.
10: Memoranda by Madison, preserved with his Debates. Evidently a summary of his notes.