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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Moore, Timothy D. (Historian); Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Fields, David P. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Maryland (2)
12 (2015)

Appendix II: Maryland appoints delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 16 December 1786-26 May 1787,   pp. 780-805


Page 780

Appendix II
Maryland Appoints
Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
16 December 1786-26 May 1787
On 16 December 1786, John Davidson of the Governor's Executive Council
delivered to George Plater, the president of the Maryland state Senate, a cir-
cular letter dated 1 December from Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph.
The letter enclosed an act of the Virginia legislature "respecting the appoint-
ment of commissioners from this state to meet in convention at Philadelphia
on the subject of revising the confederation of the United States." The act, a
very political statement, indicated that the Virginia legislature "can no longer
doubt that the crisis is arrived at which the good people of America are to
decide the solemn question, whether they will by wise and magnanimous ef-
forts reap the just fruits of that Independence, which they have so gloriously
acquired, and of that Union which they cemented with so much of their com-
mon blood; or whether by giving way to unmanly jealousies and prejudices, or
to partial and transitory interests, they will renounce the auspicious blessings
prepared for them by the Revolution, and furnish to its enemies an eventual
triumph over those by whose virtue and valour it has been accomplished"
(CDR, 197).
The Senate forwarded the letter and enclosed act to the House of Delegates.
Five days later the House sent a message to the Senate suggesting the appoint-
ment of seven deputies to a constitutional convention "by the joint ballot of
both houses." That day the Senate prepared a response and sent it to the
House. Convinced that a convention was "necessary to give strength and sta-
bility to the union," the Senate "cheerfully" agreed that delegates should be
chosen with one caveat. The senators believed that before the legislature elected
delegates it ought "to determine in a conference of both houses the nature
and extent of their [future delegates'] power." Such an "important and deli-
cate" project demanded "the united wisdom of the legislature."
While the House of Delegates and the Senate concurred that a constitu-
tional convention was crucial in securing the future of the Union, cooperation
was tenuous. The paper-money issue had strained relations between the House
and the Senate for months. While delegates, led by Samuel Chase, had several
times tried to alleviate the burden of debtors, senators, led by Charles Carroll
of Carrollton, worked equally hard to protect creditors' interests. In December
1785 the House passed a bill to issue paper money to be loaned to those in
need of immediate credit. The Senate unanimously rejected it. The same month
the senators put forth a bill designed "to prevent frivolous appeals" by debtors
to delay repayment of their debts. Delegates in the House reasserted their
partiality toward debtors, defeating the bill 43 to 9. The stalemate was a major
issue in the elections of 1786, which failed to break the logjam. On 30 Decem-
ber 1786, the Senate again unanimously rejected a House bill that would have
issued paper money to loan.
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