History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 4

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII.
VIRGINIA INVITES DEPUTIES OF THE SEVERAL LEGISLATURES OF
THE STATES TO MEET IN CONVENTION.
SEPTEMBER 1786 TO MAY 1787.

CONGRESS having confessedly failed to find ways and means for carrying on the government, the convention which had been called to Annapolis became the ground of hope for the nation. The house of delegates of Maryland promptly accepted the invitation of Virginia, but the senate, in its zeal to strengthen the appeal which congrese was then addressing to the states for a revenue, refused its concurrence. Neither Connecticut, nor South Carolina, nor Georgia sent delegates to the meeting. In Massachusetts two sets of nominees, among whom appears the name of George Cahot, declined the service; the third were, like the Rhode Island delegates, arrested on the way by tidings that the convention was over.

Every one of the commissioners chosen for New York, among whom were Egbert Benson and Hamilton, was engrossed by pressing duties. Egbert Benson, the guiding statesman in the Hartford convention of 1780, was engaged as attorney-general in the courts at Albany. With Schloss Hobart, the upright judge, he agreed that the present opportunity for obtaining a revision of the system of general government ought not to be neglected. He therefore consigned his public business to a friend, reported the conversation with Schloss Hobart to Hamilton in New York, and repaired with him to Annapolis. There, on the eleventh of September, they found Madison with the commissioners of Virginia aiming at a plenipotentiary general convention, and commissioners from New

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