George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 17 September 1787]

Monday 17th. Met in Convention when the Constitution received the Unanimous assent of 11 States and Colo. Hamilton’s from New York (the only delegate from thence in Convention) and was subscribed to by every Member present except Govr. Randolph and Colo. Mason from Virginia & Mr. Gerry from Massachusetts. The business being thus closed, the Members adjourned to the City Tavern, dined together and took a cordial leave of each other—after which I returned to my lodgings—did some business with, and received the papers from the secretary of the Convention, and retired to meditate on the momentous wk. which had been executed, after not less than five, for a large part of the time Six, and sometimes 7 hours sitting every day, sundays & the ten days adjournment to give a Comee. opportunity & time to arrange the business for more than four Months.

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), one of the most active delegates in the convention and a frequent advocate of compromise, listed a series of objections to his signing the completed document (see FARRAND description begins Max Farrand, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed. 4 vols. New Haven, 1966. description ends , 2:632–33, 635–36, 646–47, 649). Other delegates besides the three mentioned by GW opposed the Constitution, but they had already left the convention.

the papers: “Major Jackson, after burning all the loose scraps of paper which belong to the Convention, will this evening wait upon the General with the Journals and other papers which their vote directs to be delivered to His Excellency” (William Jackson to GW, 17 Sept. 1787, DLC:GW).

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