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NOTES ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1802.
THE Constitutional Convention of 1802 forms a connecting link between the Territorial and State Government which seems to find
its proper consideration at this point. The first session of the Second (and last) Territorial Legislature, was adjourned by Governor St. Clair in January, 1802, to meet in Cincinnati, November 29. The Congress, by an act of April 30, 1802, provided for the election of members of a convention which should :
First. Decide on the desirability of forming a state government, and
Second. Frame the constitution for the state should the convention decide the first question affirmatively.
This convention met in Chillicothe on Monday, November I, four weeks prior to the time set for the convening of the Second Territorial Legislature in its second session, and on the day appointed for the legislature to meet, promulgated the FIRST CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF OHIO.
Many members of the territorial legislature were members of this first constitutional convention, and the following notes from the Journal of that convention are republished as matters of history.
NOTES FROM THE JOURNAL OF CONVENTION.
The members of the Convention were :
Joseph Darlington, Thomas Kirker, Israel Donaldson.
James Caldwell, Elijah Woods.
Philip Gatch, James Sargent.
Francis Dunlavy, John Paul, Jeremiah Morrow,
John Wilson, Charles Willing Byrd,
William Goforth, John Smith, John Reily,
John Browne, John Kitchel.
Rudolph Bair, John Milligan, George Humphrey,
Bazaleel Wells, Nathan Updegraff.
Edward Tiffin, Nathaniel Massie, Thomas Worthington,
Michael Baldwin, James Grubb.
Samuel Huntington, David Abbot.
Emanuel Carpenter, Henry Abrams.
Rufus Putnam, Ephraim Cutler, John McIntire,
Benjamin Ives Gilman.
Edward Tiffin was chosen president of the Convention.
William Goforth was elected president pro tempore.
Thomas Scott was elected secretary at $3 per day.
William McFarland was elected assistant secretary, and ordered to attend the Committee on Preamble and First Article.
Adam Betz was elected door-keeper at $1.50 per day.
Upon the question whether it would be expedient to form a constitution and state government for the people of the Territory, at this time, the question carried in the affirmative by a vote Of 32 to 1. Mr. Cutler voted in the negative.
NOTE "Although more than a fourth of the members comprising the body had expressed their opinion in very decided terms against the expediency of the measure, and against the manner of its accomplishment, yet the resolution was carried. * * * Judge Cutler, an indomitable Whig, of Washington County, voting in the negative, solitary and alone. (Burnett's Notes on the Northwest Territory, P. 352-3.)"
A resolution was adopted requesting the governor to prorogue the territorial legislature which had adjourned in January last, to meet in Cincinnati on the fourth Monday of the present month. But this was not done, as the members of the legislature, many of whom were in convention, manifested no disposition to interfere with the progress of the Territory toward statehood. (See Burnett quoted.)
Nathaniel Willis was elected printer to the Convention, on the terms of his proposition to print 700 copies of the Journal of Convention, and i.000 copies of the constitution then being framed.
A resolution to submit the proposed constitution to the people is found on page 15 of the Journal. It was disagreed to by the vote of 27 to 7, and the constitution was not submitted to the people, but was put in operation by the act of the delegates to the convention in formally signing the instrument in their representative capacity.
A proposition to have the members of the Senate chosen annually instead of biennially was defeated by a vote of 15 to 18.
A proposition to insert a proviso in Section 19 of Article I, prohib-
iting any member of the Convention from holding any office under the constitution so framed, unless elective, for the term of one year after its adoption, was defeated yeas, 3, nays, 31.
A proposition to strike out of the bill of rights that part of the second section relating to servitude of adult persons not negroes or mulattoes, was defeated by a vote of 12 to 21.
A proposition to strike out that part of the same section which forbids slavery or involuntary servitude in this state, was defeated overwhelmingly, by a vote of yeas 2, nays 31.
Messrs. Paul and Reily, of Hamilton County, voted in favor of the proposition. ( See Journal, p. 26; November 20, 1802.)
A proposition to amend the third section of the bill of rights by striking out the words "no religious test shall be required," etc., and inserting words to the effect that no person who denies the being of a God, or a place of future rewards and punishments, shall hold office in the civil government, was lost yeas, 3; nays, 30.
In considering Article 4, on the twenty-second of November, the Convention voted yeas, 19; nays, 15 to add these words to the end
of the article :
"Privided, that all male negroes and mulattoes, now residing in this
territory, shall be entitled to the right of suffrage, if they shall within
twelve months make a record of their citizenship."
As this is one of the earliest records of an attempt to give the right of suffrage to the negro in America, the vote on that proposition is interesting. Those who voted aye were : Abbot, Byrd, Cutler, Darlinton, Dunlavy, Gatch, Gilman, Goforth, Grubb, Kitchel, Morrow, Paul, Putnam, Reily, Sargent, Smith, Updegraff, Wells and Wilson - 19
Those who voted in the negative were : Abrams, Baldwin, Bair, Browne, Caldwell, Carpenter, Donaldson, Humphrey, Huntington, Kirker,
McIntire, Massie, Milligan, Woods and Worthington 15.
At the same time the Convention refused, by a vote of 17 to 16l to wa
extend the right of suffrage to the male descendants of such negro residents. osit
A motion was made to add to the seventh article of the constitution
a new section as follows :
"Section 7. No negro or mulatto shall ever be eligible to any office,
civil or military, or give their oath in any court of justice against a fries
white person, be subject to do military duty, or pay a poll tax in this but
state ; provided always, and it is fully understood and declared, that all
negroes and mulattoes, now in, or who may hereafter reside in this state,
shall be entitled to all the privileges of citizens of this state, not excepted by this constitution."
This was agreed to by a vote of yeas, 19; nays, 16 as follows
Yeas Abrams, Baldwin, Bair, Byrd, Caldwell, Carpenter, Darlinton, Donaldson, Grubb, Humphrey, Kirker, Massie, McIntire, Milligan, Morrow, Smith, Tiffin, Woods and Worthington 19.
Nays Abbot, Browne, Cutler, Gatch, Gilman, Goforth, Huntington, Kitchel, Paul, Putnam, Reily, Sargent, Updegraff, Wells and Wilson 15.
On Friday, November 26, in considering Article IV, a motion was made to strike out the provision which had been inserted on the twenty-second, giving right of suffrage to negroes and mulattoes who would prove their residence within twelve months. On this motion the yeas and nays were taken and resulted, 17 to 17. There being a tie vote, the president of the Convention (Edward Tiffin, afterward governor of the State) voted in the affirmative, and the proposition was stricken from the first constitution of the state. The change of front was brought about by the vote of the president and of the Messrs. Darlinton, Grubb and Smith, who had previously voted to add this provision to the constitution. On the other hand, Mr. Browne, who had voted against the proposition in the first instance, now voted to retain it as a part of the or anic law of the state. (P. 34 ) Mr. Donladson who had opposed
the proposition on the twenty-second, refrained from voting on the question as now presented.
A proposition was made to strike out the fifth section of Article IV, relating to labor on roads, and its relation to an elector's qualifications, which was defeated by a vote of 13 to 21
A provision in Article VII, Section 3, that "no new county shall be established by the legislature, which is not entitled by its numbers to a. representative," was stricken out by a vote Of 22 to 12,
An effort to make the minimum number of square miles in a county
five hundred instead of four hundred was defeated, 11 to 23.
A motion to strike out the section (7) added to Article VII on the
twenty-second, in relation to the bar to negroes in office, etc.
was carried by a vote of 17 to 16.
On this vote, Messrs. Dunlavy (who had not voted on this proposition before), and Milligan (who had voted to incorporate it in the article), voted with the friends of the negro, and cused the amendment
to be made. President Tiffin, who had voted for the incorporation of the sectino on the twenty-second, is not recorded on this later vote. The friends of the restriction tried to have it inserted in an amended form, but on a demand for the previous question were outgeneralled and defeared. (P. 36.)
By a vote of 20 to 13, the convention inserted a provision in Section 2, Article VIII, prohibiting in this state the indenture of any negro or mulatto.
Early in the sitting of the convention the following message was adopted and ordered to be officially transmitted to the representatives of the United States :
TO THE PRESIDENT AND BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS:
The Convention of the State of Ohio, November 27, 1802, duly appreciating the importance of a free and independent state government and impressed with Sentiments of gratitude to the Congress of the United States, for the prompt and decisive measures taken at their last session, to enable the people of the northwesterii territory, to immerge from their colonial government, and to assume a rank among the sister states, beg leave to take the earliest opportunity of announcing to you this important event: on this occasion the Convention cannot help expressing their unequivocal appropriation of the measures pursued by the present administration of the general government, and both Houses of Congress, in di nimishing the public burthens, cultivating peace with all nations, and promoting the happiness and prosperity of our country.
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds