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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
(1978)

II. The New Jersey Legislature calls the state convention, 24 October-1 November 1787,   pp. 162-172


Page 162

162
II
THE NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE
CALLS THE STATE CONVENTION
24 October-1 November 1787
The first session of the 12th legislature met in Trenton on 23
October. The next day the Council received and read a Salem County
petition recommending the calling of a state convention. Several
similar petitions were read to the House on the 25th (see I above,
County Petitions to the Legislature, 1-25 October). On the same
day, the Assembly also received Governor William Livingston's mes-
sage transmitting Congress' four-page official broadside containing
the Constitution, the letter and resolutions of the Constitutional Con-
vention, and the congressional resolution of 28 September trans-
mitting the Constitution to the states. On the 26th, three of the
state's five delegates to the Constitutional Convention reported in
person to both houses of the legislature.
Between 26 and 30 October, the House completed action on calling
a state convention. On Friday afternoon, the 26th, the Assembly unani-
mously adopted resolutions calling a convention, and the Council
unanimously concurred on Monday, the 29th. The resolutions pro-
vided for the election of delegates on 27 November and the meeting
of the Convention on 11 December.
The legislators evidently thought that resolutions were not enough.
On Saturday the 27th, the Assembly appointed a committee to draft a
bill making it "lawful" for a convention to meet, and the committee
immediately drafted a bill which was read the same day. On Monday
the 29th, the bill was read a second time, debated, and ordered en-
grossed without sending it to the Council for approval. The engrossed
act was read a third time and approved by the Assembly on Tuesday
the 30th. It was then sent to the Council, and, after reading it three
times, the Council passed the act unanimously on Thursday, 1 Novem-
ber.
On 6 November the legislature provided for the payment of dele-
gates to the state Convention. It authorized the state treasurer to
pay "each of the Delegates who shall attend on the Part of this State
in the State Convention, the Sum of Ten Shillings lawful Money of this
State per Day, for each Day he shall have attended...." (For docu-
ments relating to this act, see Mfm:N.J. 18 A-J.)


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