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title:“Newspaper Report of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings”
date written:1787-12-10

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:32 a.m. UTC
retrieved:July 8, 2020, 10:35 a.m. UTC

"Newspaper Report of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 2. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1976. 532, 547-48. Print.

Newspaper Report of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings (December 10, 1787)

WILLIAM FINDLEY: . . . on Monday afternoon, he produced the Modern Universal History, and the 3d volume of Blackstone's Commentaries, which incontrovertibly established his position. Having read his authorities, he concluded in the following manner: "I am not accustomed, Mr. President, to have my word disputed in public bodies upon the statement of a fact; but in this Convention it has already occurred more than once. It is now evident, however, that I was contradicted on this subject improperly and unjustly by the learned Chief Justice and Counselor from the city. That the account given in the Universal History should escape the recollection or observation of the best informed man is not extraordinary, but this I will observe, that if my son had been at the study of the law for six months and was not acquainted with the passage in Blackstone, I should be justified in whipping him. But the contradiction coming from the quarter known to this Convention, I am at a loss whether to ascribe it to the want of veracity or the ignorance of the learned members."
Smilie: As soon as Mr. M'Kean had closed his speech, a loud and general tribute of applause was expressed by the citizens in the gallery; which gave occasion to the following philippic from Mr. Smilie."Mr. President, I confess that hitherto I have persuaded myself that the opposition had the best of the argument on the present important question; but I have found myself mistaken, for the gentlemen on the other side have, indeed, an argument which surpasses and supersedes all others - a party in the gallery prepared to clap and huzza in affirmance of their speeches. But, sir, let it be remembered that this is not the voice of the people of Pennsylvania; for, were I convinced of that, I should consider it as a conclusive approbation of the proposed system and give a ready acquiescence. No, sir, this is not the voice of the people of Pennsylvania; and were this Convention assembled at another place, the sound would be of a different nature, for the sentiments of the citizens are different indeed. Even there, however, it would pain me were I to see the majority of this body treated with such gross insult and disrespect by my friends as the minority now experience from theirs. In short, Mr. President, this is not the mode which will prevail on the citizens of Pennsylvania to adopt the proposed plan, let the decision here be what it may; and I will add that such conduct, nay were the gallery filled with bayonets, such appearance of violence would not intimidate me, or those who act with me, in the conscientious discharge of a public duty."
THOMAS McKEAN: When Mr. Smilie had finished, Mr. M'Kean remarked that the worthy gentleman seemed mighty angry, merely because somebody was pleased.

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