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title:“Autobiography of William Few”
authors:William Few
date written:1816

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:27 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 13, 2021, 12:32 p.m. UTC

Few, William. "Autobiography of William Few." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.
Manuscript in the possession of William Few Chrystie

Autobiography of William Few (1816)

Manuscript in the possession of William Few Chrystie. There is no date ascribed to the manuscript. The last date in it is October, 1816. In the opening paragraph he refers to the "approach of age." As he was born in 1748, he would have been sixty-eight years old in 1816, so the manuscript is probably of about that date.
At the time appointed for the meeting of the Convention at Philadelphia, a full representation of all the States convened in the State House, and chose G. Washington for their President, and commenced their business, but they had to encounter incalculable difficulties. The modification of the State Rights, the different interests and diversity of opinions seemed for some time to present obstacles that could not be surmounted. After about three weeks deliberation and debating, the Convention had serious thoughts of adjourning without doing anything. All human efforts seemed to fail. Doctor Franklin proposed to appoint a chaplain and implore Divine assistance, but his motion did not prevail. It was an awful and critical moment. If the Convention had then adjourned, the dissolution of the union of the States seemed inevitable. This consideration no doubt had its weight in reconciling clashing opinions and interests. It was believed to be of the utmost importance to concede to different opinions so far as to endeavor to meet opposition on middle ground, and to form a Constitution that might preserve the union of the States. On that principle of accommodations the business progressed, and after about three months' arduous labor, a plan of Constitution was formed on principles which did not altogether please anybody, but it was agreed to be the most expedient that could be devised and agreed to.

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