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title:“William Shippen, Jr. to Thomas Lee Shippen”
authors:William Shippen, Jr.
date written:1787-12-10

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Shippen, William, Jr. "Letter to Thomas Lee Shippen." 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. 549-50. Print.

William Shippen, Jr. to Thomas Lee Shippen (December 10, 1787)

I long to send you the debates. Findley has gained great honor and proved himself vastly superior to Wilson and the whole Convention. In one particular instance he triumphed over McKean and Wilson to their infinite mortification. He asserted in a speech that when Sweden lost the trial by jury, it lost its freedom. Wilson warmly and in his dictatorial manner called for his authority to show that Sweden ever had a trial by jury, and the Chief called aloud on the orator to show it and declared, no country but England and her dependencies ever enjoyed trial by jury. Mr. F modestly replied, he could not immediately name his authors but was sure he had read it when reading some history of Sweden. Next day he produced the Modern Universal History and 3d Blackstone, and severely remarked that it might be excusable in the Chief Justice of Pennsylvania and counselor of the city to fo)"get such a circumstance in a history, but I will observe that had my son been at the study of the law 6 months and not know such a passage in Blackstone, I would be justifiable in whipping him. What a stroke to the pride of two men who think themselves the greatest in the United States! Wilson attempted a flimsy excuse for his colleague alleging that in such a magazine of knowledge, twas impossible not to forget some, etc. Oswald will never forget to mention the incident to his friend Jefferies, his honor. Today a writer in his paper concluded a severe piece by saying that he is no longer worthy of the rank he possesses, and that there are sufficient grounds for an impeachment. Your grandfather is sitting by me reading the Dissent of the Minority and says he would not have had such a thing happen to Tom for 100 pounds.

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