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Kaminski, John P.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Fields, David P.; Conley, Patrick T.; Moore, Timothy D. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Rhode Island (3)
(2013)

VII. The Rhode Island Convention first session, 1-6 March 1790,   pp. 898-983


Page 898

VII.
THE RHODE ISLAND CONVENTION
FIRST SESSION
1-6 March 1790
Introduction
The opening session of the Rhode Island Convention met on 1 March
1790 at 3:00 P.M. at the statehouse in Little Rest (now Kingston), the
town seat of South Kingstown and the seat of Washington County. All
seventy delegates attended on 1 March when, in an uncontested election,
Antifederalist Deputy Governor Daniel Owen, a Glocester delegate, was
chosen president. Antifederalist Daniel Updike of North Kingstown, the
clerk of the House of Deputies, defeated Federalist Theodore Foster of
Providence as secretary by twelve votes. The Convention then appointed
a five-man committee to draft and report rules and orders.
On 2 March the rules committee reported. After amending the final
rule so that a "previous question" to vote on an amendment or ad-
journment would take precedence over a vote on ratification, the rules
were accepted. Smithfield Antifederalist John Sayles, seconded by his
fellow townsman Andrew Waterman, then moved that a committee be
appointed that would draft a bill of rights and amendments to be sent
to the towns for their consideration and that the Convention should
then immediately adjourn to a future day. The delegates adjourned to
3:00 P.M., when the Convention read the Constitution, the resolution
of Congress of 28 September 1787 transmitting the Constitution to the
states, and the resolution of the General Assembly calling the Conven-
tion. After some debate on the Constitution, the delegates adjourned
to the next morning when, setting aside Sayles' motion, they began
considering the Constitution by paragraphs.
On Thursday morning, 4 March, the Convention completed its con-
sideration of the Constitution. After reading the amendments to the
Constitution proposed by the new U.S. Congress and those proposed
by the conventions of several states, a committee of ten (two delegates
from each county) was appointed to draft amendments to the Constitu-
tion. The Convention met at 9:00 A.M. on Friday, 5 March, but adjourned
to 3:00 P.M. because the committee's report was not yet ready. It re-
assembled, and after a further brief delay, Secretary Updike read the
report to the delegates and the observers who crowded the statehouse.
The report consisted of a bill of rights and amendments. After the
bill of rights was read, AntifederalistJob Comstock moved that the Con-
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