« ZurückWeiter »
The following gentlemen were then appointed such Committee on Rules and Organization:
Kentucky, Charles A. Wickliffe, Chairman; New Hampshire, Amos Tuck; Rhode Island, William W. Hoppin; New Jersey, Joseph F. Randolph; Pennsylvania, Thomas E. Franklin; Delaware, George B. Rodney; Maryland, John W. Crisfield; Virginia, William C. Rives; North Carolina, Thomas Ruffin; Ohio, Reuben Hitchcock; Indiana, Godlove S. Orth.
The Conference then adjourned to meet at 12 o'clock M.
SEC O N D DAY.
THE Conference was called to order by the Chairman protem., pursuant to adjournment, and the journal of the proceedings of the first day was read and approved. Mr. FRANKLIN, of Pennsylvania:—It is usual in bodies of this description to take measures to ascertain who are and who are not duly accredited members. We should have the names of all the Commissioners present brought on to our records. I therefore move that a Committee of five be appointed by the Chairman, to whom all credentials of members shall be referred for examination and report. The motion of Mr. FRANKLIN was adopted unanimously, and the Chairman announced as such Committee Mr. Summers, of Virginia; Mr. Franklin, of Pennsylvania; Mr. Guthrie, of Kentucky; Mr. Morehead, of North Carolina, and Mr. Smith, of Indiana. Mr. WICKLIFFE, of Kentucky:-I rise at this time for the purpose of making the report of the Committee on Organization. I am instructed to report that we recommend that the permanent officers of the Convention be a President and Secretary, and that the Secretary have leave to appoint assistants, not exceeding two in number, to assist him in the discharge of his duties; and that the President of this Convention be JoHN TYLER, of Virginia, and that CRAFTs J. WRIGHT, of Ohio, be its Secretary. The committee also report a series of rules for the government of the Convention. Mr. CLAY, of Kentucky:-I move that the question upon accepting the report be divided, and that it be first taken on that part of the report which relates to the officers of the Convention. Which was agreed to without objection. It was then moved, and unanimously voted, that the part of the report relating to officers, be accepted, and the officers designated be appointed. The President pro tem. then appointed Mr. Ewing, of Ohio, and Mr. MEREDITH, of Pennsylvania, to conduct the President elect to the chair. President TYLER upon taking his seat proceeded to address the Convention as follows: Gentlemen, I fear you have committed a great error in appointing me to the honorable position you have assigned me. A long separation from all deliberative bodies has rendered the rules of their proceedings unfamiliar to me, while I should find, in my own state of health, variable and fickle as it is, sufficient reason to decline the honor of being your presiding officer. But, in times like these, one has but little option left him. Personal considerations should weigh but lightly in the balance. The country is in danger; it is enough; one must take the place assigned him in the great work of reconciliation and adjustment. The voice of Virginia has invited her co-States to meet her in council. In the initiation of this Government, that same voice was heard and complied with, and the results of seventy-odd years have fully attested the wisdom of the decisions then adopted. Is the urgency of her call now less great than it was then? Our godlike fathers created, we have to preserve. They built up, through their wisdom and patriotism, monuments which have eternized their names. You have before you, gentlemen, a task equally grand, equally sublime, quite as full of glory and immortality. You have to snatch from ruin a great and glorious Confederation, to preserve the Government, and to renew and invigorate the Constitution. If you reach the height of this great occasion, your children's children will rise up and call you blessed. I confess myself to be ambitious of sharing in the glory of accomplishing this grand and magnificent result. To have our names enrolled in the Capitol, to be repeated by future generations with grateful applause—this is an honor higher than the mountains, more enduring than the monumental alabaster. Yes, Virginia's voice, as in the olden time, has been heard. Her sister States meet her this day at the council board. Vermont is here, bringing with her the memories of the past, and reviving in the memories of all, her Ethan Allen and his demand for the surrender of Ticonderoga, in the name of the Great Jehovah and the American Congress. New Hampshire is here, her fame illustrated by memorable annals, and still more lately as the birthplace of him who won for himself the name of defender of the Constitution, and who wrote that letter to John Taylor which has been enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen. Massachusetts is not here. (Some member said “She is coming.”) I hope so, said Mr. TYLER, and that she will bring with her her daughter Maine. I did not believe it could well be that the voice which in other times was so familiar to her ears had been addressed to her in vain. Connecticut is here, and she comes, I doubt not, in the spirit of RogFR SHERMAN, whose name with our very children has become a household word, and who was in life the embodiment of that sound practical sense which befits the great lawgiver and constructer of governments. Rhode Island, the land of RogFR WILLIAMs, is here, one of the two last States, in her jealousy of the public liberty, to give in her adhesion to the Constitution, and among the earliest to hasten to its rescue. The great Empire State of New York, represented thus far but by one delegate, is expected daily in fuller force to join in the great work of healing the discontents of the times and restoring the reign of fraternal feeling. New Jersey is also here, with the memories of the past covering her all over. Trenton and Princeton live immortal in story, the plains of the last incrimsoned with the hearts blood of Virginia's sons. Among her delegation I rejoice to recognize a gallant son of a signer of the immortal Declaration which announced to the world that thirteen Provinces had become thirteen independent and sovereign States. And here, too, is Delaware, the land of the BAYARDs and the RodNEYs, whose soil at Brandywine was moistened by the blood of Virginia's youthful Monroe. Here is Maryland, whose massive columns wheeled into line with those of Virginia in the contest for glory, and whose state house at Annapolis was the theatre of the spectacle of a successful Commander, who, after liberating his country, gladly ungirthed his sword, and laid it down upon the altar of that country. Then comes Pennsylvania, rich in revolutionary lore, bringing with her the deathless names of FRANKLIN and MoRRIs, and, I trust, ready to renew from the belfry of Independence Hall the chimes of the old bell, which announced Freedom and Independence in former days. All hail to North Carolina! with her Mecklenberg Declaration in her hand, standing erect on the ground of her own probity and firmness in the cause of public liberty, and represented in her attributes by her MACON, and in this assembly by her distinguished son at no great distance from me. Four daughters of Virginia also cluster around the council board on the invitation of their ancient mother—the eldest, Kentucky, whose sons, under the intrepid warrior ANTHONY WAYNE, gave freedon of settlement to the territory of her sister, Ohio. She extends her hand daily and hourly across la belle riviere, to grasp the hand of some one of kindred blood of the noble states of Indiana, and Illinois, and Ohio, who have grown up into powerful States, already grand, potent, and almost imperial. Tennessee is not here, but is coming—prevented only from being here by the floods which have swollen her rivers. When she arrives, she will wear the badges on her warrior crest of victories won in company with the Great West on many an ensanguined plain, and standards torn from the hands of the conquerors at Waterloo. Missouri, and Iowa, and Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, still linger behind, but it may be hoped that their hearts are with us in the great work we have to do. Gentlemen, the eyes of the whole country are turned to this assembly, in expectation and hope. I trust that you may prove yourselves worthy of the great occasion. Our ancestors, probably, committed a blunder in not having fixed upon every fifth decade for a call of a general convention to amend and reform the Constitution. On the contrary, they have made the difficulties next to insurmountable to accomplish amendments to an instrument which was perfect for five millions of people, but not wholly so as to thirty millions. Your patriotism will surmount the difficulties, however great, if you will but accomplish one
triumph in advance, and that is, a triumph over party. And what is party, when compared to the work of rescuing one's country from danger? Do that, and one long, loud shout of joy and gladness will resound throughout the land.
Mr. EWING:-I move that the remaining portion of the report of the Committee on Organization be postponed until toIn Ortow.
The motion of Mr. Ewing was agreed to.
Mr. WICKLIFFE. I offer the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Conference shall be opened with prayer, and that the clergymen of the city of Washington be requested to perform that service.
The resolution offered by Mr. WICKLIFFE was adopted, and prayer was then offered by the Rev. Dr. P. D. GURLEY, of Washington. The PRESIDENT:—I have received a communication from the Messrs. Willard, placing the Hall in which the Conference is now sitting at the service of the Conference, while its sessions may continue; also, a communication from the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Washington, offering police officers to attend our sittings. It was moved, and agreed to, that these offers be severally accepted. - Mr. JOHNSON, of Maryland:—I move that the President of the Conference be requested to furnish a copy of his address to the Conference upon taking the Chair, that it be entered upon the journal as a part of this day's proceedings, and that the same be published. Which motion was unanimously agreed to. Mr. GRIMES, of Iowa:—I have received from the Governor of the State of Iowa a communication, requesting myself and my colleague in the Senate of the United States, and also the members representing that State in the House of Tepresentatives, to represent the State of Iowa here. I desire to present his communication, that it may be referred to the Committee on Credentials. The communication was so referred, and on motion of Mr. WRIGHT, of Ohio, the Conference adjourned.