Appointment of Chaplain, January 7, 1789

Of Debates in Congress

Amendments to the Constitution

Thursday, January 7, 1789

1 Annals of Cong. 1076 et seq. (J. Gales ed., 1834)

As set forth below, the First Congress established and funded its own chaplain system. This was a continuation of the pattern established by the Congress of the Confederation. At its initial meeting in September 1774, Congress invited the Rev. Jacob Duché, rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, to open its sessions with prayer. He was elected the body’s first chaplain on July 9, 1776, but defected to the British the next year. On October 1, 1777, Congress appointed joint chaplains, William White, Duché’s successor at Christ Church, and George Duffield, pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. This policy was continued as set forth below by the First Congress under the Constitution.

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Religious Institutions Group

Pg. 1076

Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut, and William Paterson, from New Jersey, attended.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that they have resolved that two Chaplains, of different denominations, be appointed to Congress for the present session, one by each House, who shall interchange weekly.

Mr. Strong, on behalf of the joint committee, reported to the Senate, that they had waited on the President of the United States, agreeably to the order of both Houses, and that he informed the committee that he would meet the two Houses in the Senate Chamber tomorrow at 11 o’clock.

The Senate proceeded to consider the resolve of the House of Representatives, of this day, relative to the appointment of Chaplains; and,

Resolved, That the Senate concur therein; and that the Right Reverend Doctor Samuel Provost be appointed for the present session, on the part of the Senate.

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