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title:“Note on Convention Site by Farrand”
authors:Anonymous
date written:1787-7-13

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https://consource.org/document/note-on-convention-site-by-farrand-1787-7-13/20130122080746/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:07 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Aug. 15, 2022, 10:42 p.m. UTC

transcription
citation:
"Note on Convention Site by Farrand." Supplement to Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Ed. James H. Hutson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 167-68. Print.

Note on Convention Site by Farrand (July 13, 1787)

Robert P. Reeder, in a footnote to a paper "The First Homes of the Supreme Court of the United States" published in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, LXXVI, 567-68 (n. 136), commented upon this quotation from Watson's Annals. "The passage was in the 1843 edition of Watson, I, 402, but not in the 1830 edition. The statement of an unnamed person so long after the event carries but limited weight."
Mr. Reeder then adds the following important information: "On the other hand, the Columbian Magazine for July, 1787, said that the sessions were held 'in the same hall which enclosed the patriots who framed the Declaration of Independence.' The Diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer, a member of the General Assembly, for September 5, said the Convention had been meeting downstairs and that the Assembly, which had been in recess, would meet upstairs. The Minutes of the Assembly for that date appear to make the same statement. Madison's Debates for September 17 quotes a remark by Franklin about looking often at a carving on the President's chair which appears to show that from time to time through the Convention he had been looking at the chair in which Washington sat on September 17. Mease, A Picture of Philadelphia (1811), 319, says that the Convention sat in the east room on the first floor. It thus seems probable that the Convention met downstairs usually if not always, although it is possible that when the Assembly was not in session the choice of the Convention as to its meeting-place depended upon whether it gave more weight to the accessibility of the lower room and the associations connected with it or to the desire for the utmost secrecy at some stages of its proceedings. Secrecy may have been more desirable in June and July than it was later on. Yet we must remember that during the war, when there was some need for secrecy, the Congress sat downstairs and the Assembly upstairs. It is also possible that the use of the courtroom in July, 1787, when Cutler was in Philadelphia, made it desirable for the Convention to sit upstairs while the court was in session."

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