Particular grace at the Constitutional Convention

Picture it: Philadelphia, Friday, May 25, 1787.

The convention is getting started.  First job is to choose a president.  Mr. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania nominates George Washington of Virginia.

Mr Jn RUTLIDGE seconded the motion; expressing his confidence that the choice would be unanimous, and observing that the presence of Genl Washington forbade any observations on the occasion which might be otherwise be proper.

General Washington was accordingly unanimously elected by ballot, and conducted to the chair by Mr R. Morris and Mr. Rutlidge; from which in a very emphatic manner he thanked the Convention for the honor they had conferred on him, reminded them of the novelty of the scene of business in which he was to act, lamented his want of better qualifications, and claimed the indulgence of the House towards the involuntary errors which his inexperience might occasion.

That’s George Washington, the guy who had just defeated the British Empire, who held the Continental Army together over seven horrible years on the strength of his own character.  He begins this job with an expression of humility. An apology for any involuntary errors.

Then Madison adds, in a parenthetical:

Particular grace.

Happy Fourth of July everybody!



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