Front Page Titles (by Subject) DIARY DURING THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, MAY—SEPTEMBER, 1787. 1 - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790)
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DIARY DURING THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, MAY—SEPTEMBER, 1787. 1 - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XI (1785-1790).
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DIARY DURING THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, MAY—SEPTEMBER, 1787.1
Monday 7th [May].—At home preparing for my journey to Philadelphia. * * *
Tuesday 8th.—The weather being squally with showers, I defer’d setting off till the morning. Mr. Chas. Lee came to dinner, but left it afterwards.
Wednesday 9th.—Crossed from Mt. Vernon to Mr. Digges a little after sunrise, and pursuing the rout by the way of Baltimore, dined at Mt. Rich’d Henderson’s in Bladensb’g, and lodged at Majr. Snowden’s, when feeling very severely a violent hd. ach & sick stomack I went to bed early.
Thursday 10th.—Very great appearances of rain in the morning & a little falling induced me, tho’ well recovered, to wait till abt. 8 o’clock before I set off. At one o’clock I arrived at Baltimore, dined at the Fountain, & supped & lodged at Doctr. McHenry’s. Slow rain in the evening.
Friday 11th.—Set off before breakfast, rid 12 miles to Sherretts for it, bated there and proceeded without halting (weather threatening) to the Ferry at Havre de Gras where I dined, but could not cross, the wind being turbulent & squally. Lodged here.
Saturday 12th.—With difficulty (on acct. of the wind), crossed the Susquehanna.—Breakfasted at the Ferry house on the East side. Dined at the head of Elk (Hollingsworth’s Tavern) and lodged at Wilmington at O’Flin’s. At the head of Elk I was overtaken by Mr. Francis Corbin, who took a seat in my carriage.
Sunday 13th.—About 8 o’clock,1 Mr. Corbin and myself set out, and dined at Chester (Mrs. Withy), where I was met by the Genls. Mifflin (now Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly), Knox and Varnum; the Colonels Humphreys and Minges [Mentges]—and Majors Jackson and Nicholas, with whom I proceeded to Philadh. At Grays Ferry the City light horse, commanded by Colo. Miles, met me and escorted me in by the Artillery officers who stood arranged & saluted me as I passed. Alighted through a crowd at Mrs. House’s,2 but being again warmly and kindly pressed by Mr. & Mrs. Rob. Morris to lodge with them, I did so and had my baggage removed thither.
Waited on the President, Doctr. Franklin, as soon as I got to town. On my arrival the Bells were chimed.
Monday 14th.—This being the day appointed for the Convention to meet, such members as were in town assembled at the State Ho., but only two States being represented—viz. Virginia & Pensylvania, agreed to attend at the same place at 11 o’clock tomorrow.
Dined in a family way at Mr. Morris’s.1
Tuesday 15th.—Repaired, at the hour appointed, to the State Ho., but no more states being represented than were yesterday (tho’ several more members had come in,2 ) we agreed to meet again tomorrow. Govr. Randolph from Virginia came in today.
Dined with the Members to the Genl. Meeting of the Society of the Cincinnati.
Wednesday 16th.—No more than two States being yet represented agreed till a quoram of them should be formed to alter the hour of meeting at the State House to one o’clock.3
Dined at the President, Doctr. Franklin’s—and drank Tea, and spent the evening at Mr. Jno. Penn’s.
Thursday 17th.—Mr. Rutledge, from Charleston, and Mr. Chs. Pinkney, from Congress, having arrived, gave a representation to So. Carolina; and Colo. Mason getting in this Evening, placed all the Delegates from Virginia on the floor of Convention. Dined at Mr. Powell’s4 and dr’k Tea there.
Friday 18th.—The representation from New York appeared on the floor today.—
Dined at Gray’s Ferry, and drank Tea at Mr. Morris’s; after which accompanied Mrs. and some other Ladies to hear a Mrs. O’Connell read (a charity affair). The lady being reduced in circumstances had had recourse to this expedient to obtain a little money—her performe. was tolerable, at the College Hall.5
Saturday 19th.—No more states represented.1
Dined at Mr. [Jared] Ingersoll’s, spent the evening at my lodgings, & retired to my room soon.
Sunday 20th.—Dined with Mr. & Mrs. Morris and other company at their farm (called the Hills); returned in the afternoon & drank Tea at Mr. Powell’s
Monday 21st.—Delaware State was represented.
Dined and drank Tea at Mr. [William] Bingham’s in great splendor.
Tuesday 22d.—The Representation from No. Carolina was compleated, which made a representation for five States.
Dined and drank Tea at Mr. Morris’s.
Wednesday 23d.—No more States being represented, I rid to Genl. Mifflin’s to breakfast. After which in company with him, Mr. Madison, Mr. Rutledge, and others, I crossed the Schuylkill above the Falls, visited Mr. Peters, Mr. Penn’s seat, and Mr. Wm. Hamilton’s.2
Dined at Mr. Chew’s, with the wedding guests (Colo. [John Eager] Howard of Baltimore having married his daughter Peggy) drank Tea there in a very large circle of ladies.
Thursday 24th.—No more States represented. Dined and Drank Tea at Mr. John Ross’s. One of my Postilion boys (Paris) being sick, requested Doctr. [John] Jones to attend him.
Friday 25th.—Another Delegate coming in from the State of New Jersey, gave it a representation, and encreased the number to Seven, which forming a quoram of the 13, the members present resolved to organize the body; when by a unanimous vote I was called up to the chair as President of the body.3 Majr. William Jackson1 was appointed Secretary and a Comee. was chosen consisting of 3 members2 to prepare rules and regulations for conducting the business; and after ’pointing door keepers, the Convention adjourned till Monday, to give time to the Comee. to report the matter referred to them.
Returned many visits today. Dined at Mr. Thos. Willing’s and spt. the evening at my lodgings.
Saturday 26th.—Returned all my visits this forenoon,3 dined with a club at the City Tavern, and spent the evening at my quarters writing letters.
Sunday 27th.—Went to the Romish Church,4 to high mass. Dined; drank Tea, and spent the evening at my lodgings.
Monday 28th.—Met in Convention at 10 o’clock. Two States more, viz. Massachusetts and Connecticut, were on the floor today.
Established rules—agreeably to the plan brot. in by the Comee. for the Governmt. of the Convention, & adjourned. No Comns.5 without doors.
Dined at home, and drank Tea in a large circle at Mr. [Tench] Francis’s.
Tuesday 29th.—Attended Convention, and dined at home, after wch. accompanied Mrs. Morris to the benefit concert of a Mr. Juhan.
Wednesday 30th.—Attended Convention.
Dined with Mr. [John] Vaughan. Drank Tea and spent the evening at a Wednesday evening’s party at Mr. & Mrs. [John] Lawrence’s.
Thursday 31st.—The State of Georgia came on the Floor of the Convention to-day,1 which made a representation of ten States.
Dined at Mr. Francis’s and drank Tea with Mrs Meredith.
Friday, 1stJune.—Attending in Convention, and nothing being suffered to transpire, no minutes of the proceedings has been or will be inserted in this diary.
Dined with Mr. John Penn, and spent the evening at a superb entertainment at Bush-Hill given by Mr. Hamilton, at which were more than a hundred guests.
Saturday 2nd.—Majr. Jenifer coming in with sufficient powers for the purpose, gave a representation to Maryland, which brought all the States in the Union into Convention, except Rhode Island, which had refused to send delegates thereto.
Dined at the City Tavern with the Club, & spent the evening at my own quarters.
Sunday 3d.—Dined at Mr. Clymer’s and drank Tea there also.
Monday 4th.—Attended Convention; Representation as on Saturday.
Reviewed (at the importunity of Genl. Mifflin and the officers,) the Light Infantry—Cavalry—and part of the Artillery, of the City.
Dined with Genl. Mifflin and drk. Tea with Mrs. Cadwallader.
Tuesday 5th.—Dined at Mr. Morris’s with a large Company, & spent the evening there. Attended in Convention the usual hours.
Wednesday 6th.—In Convention as usual; dined at the Presidents (Doctr. Franklin’s), and drank Tea there, after which retired to my lodgings and wrote letters for France.
Thursday 7th.—Attended Convention as usual. Dined with a club of Convention members at the Indian Queen.2 Drank Tea and spent the evening at my lodgings.
Friday 8th.—Attended the Convention. Dined, drank Tea, and spent the evening at my lodgns.
Saturday 9th.—At Convention. Dined with the Club at the City Tavern; Drank Tea, and set till 10 o’clock at Mr. Powell’s.
Sunday 10th.—Breakfasted by agreement at Mr. Powell’s, and in company with him rid to see the botanical gardens of Mr. Bartram; which, tho’ stored with many curious plts., shrubs, & trees, many of which are exotics, was not laid off with much taste, nor was it large.
From hence we rid to the Farm of one Jones, to see the effect of the plaister of Paris, which appcared obviously great. * * *
From hence we visited Mr. Powell’s own farm, after which I went (by appointment) to the Hills and dined with Mr. & Mrs. Morris, returned to the city abt. dark.
Monday 11th.—Attended in Convention. Dined, drank Tea, and spent the evening in my own room.
Tuesday 12th.—Dined and drank Tea at Mr. Morris’s; went afterwards to a concert at the City Tavern.1
Wednesday 13th.—In convention; dined at Mr. Clymer’s, & drank Tea there; spent the evening at Mr. Bingham’s.
Thursday 14th.—Dined at Major [Thomas Lloyd] Moore’s (after being in Convention,) and spent the evening at my own lodgings.
Friday 15th.—In Convention as usual, dined at Mr. Powell’s & drank Tea there.
Saturday 16th.—In Convention, dined with the Club at the City Tavern, and drank Tea at Doctr. Shippings [Shippen] with Mrs. Livingston’s party.2
Sunday 17th.—Went to Church, heard Bishop White preach, and see him ordain two Gentlemen Deacons; after wch. rid 8 miles into the Country & dined with Mr. Jno. Ross, in Chester County; returned in the Afternoon.
Monday 18th.—Attended the Convention. Dined at the Quarterly Meeting of the Sons of St. Patrick—held at the City Tavern. Drank Tea at Doctr. Shippens with Mrs. Livingston.
Tuesday 19th.—Dined (after leaving Convention,) in a family way at Mr. Morris’s and spent the evening there in a very large company.
Wednesday 20th.—Attended Convention. Dined at Mr. Meredith’s, and drank Tea there.
Thursday 21st.—Attended Convention. Dined at Mr. Prager’s, and spent the evening in my chamber.
Friday 22nd.—Dined at Mr. Morris’s, & drank Tea with Mr. Frans. Hopkinson.
Saturday 23rd.—In Convention. Dined at Doctr. Rushton’s, and drank Tea at Mr. Morris’s.
Sunday 24th—Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and spent the evening at Mr. Meredith’s at Tea.
Monday 25th.—Attended Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, drank Tea there, and spent the evening in my Chamber.
Tuesday 26th.—Attended Convention. Partook of a family dinner with Govr. Randolph, and made one of a party to drink Tea at Gray’s ferry.
Wednesday 27th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, drank Tea there also, and spent the evening in my Chamber.
Thursday 28th.—Attended Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s in a large Company (the news of his Bills being protested arriving last night a little mal á propos) drank Tea there & spent the evening in my Chamber.
Friday 29th—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and spent the evening there.
Saturday 30th.—Attended Convention. Dined with a club at1 Springsbury, consisting of several associated families of the City, the Gentlemen of which met every Saturday, accompanied by the females of the families every other Saturday; this was the ladies day.2
Sunday 1st,July.—Dined & spent the evening at home.
Monday 2d.—Attended Convention. Dined with some of the Members of the Convention at the Indian Queen. Drank Tea at Mr. Bingham’s, and walked afterwards in the State house yard.
Set this morning for Mr. Pine who wanted to correct his portt. of me.
Tuesday 3rd.—Sat before the meeting of the Convention for Mr. Peale, who wanted my picture to make a print or Metzotinto by.
Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and drank Tea at Mr. Powell’s. After which in Company with him, I attended the Agricultural Society at Carpenters Hall.
Wednesday 4th.—Visited Doctr. Shovat’s Anatomical figures, and (the Convention having adjourned for the purpose,) went to hear an Oration on the anniversary of Independence delivered1 by a Mr. Mitchell, a student of Law. After which I dined with the State Society of the Cincinnati, at Epplees Tavern, and drank Tea at Mr. Powell’s.
Thursday 5th.—Attended Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and drank Tea there; Spent the evening also.
Friday 6th.—Sat for Mr. Peale in the morning, attended Convention. Dined at the City Tavern with some members of Convention, and spent the evening at my lodgings.
Saturday 7th.—Attended Convention. Dined with the Club at Springsbury, and drank Tea at Mr. Meredith’s.
Sunday 8th.—About 12 o’clock rid to Doctr. Logan’s, near Germantown, where I dined. Returned in the evening, and drank Tea at Mr. Morris’s.
Monday 9th.—Sat in the morning for Mr. Peale. Attended Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, & accompanied Mrs Morris to Doctr. [John] Redman’s, 3 miles in the Country, where we drank Tea and returned.
Tuesday 10th.—Attended Convention, dined at Mr. Morris’s, drank Tea at Mr. Bingham’s, and went to the play.2
Wednesday 11th.—Attended Convention, dined at Mr. Morris’s and spent the evening there.
Thursday 12th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and drank Tea with Mrs. Livingston.
Friday 13th.—In Convention. Dined, drank Tea, and spent the evening at Mr. Morris’s.
Saturday 14th.—In Convention. Dined at Springsbury with the Club and went to the play in the afternoon.1
Sunday 15th.—Dined at Mr. Morris’s and remained at home all day.
Monday 16th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and drank Tea with Mrs. Powell.
Tuesday 17th.—In Convention. Dined at Mrs. House’s, and made an Excursion with a party for Tea to Gray’s Ferry.
Wednesday 18th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. [Robert] Milligan’s, & drank Tea at Mr. Meredeth’s.
Thursday 19th—Dined (after coming out of Convention) at Mr. John Penn, the Youngers—Drank Tea & spent the evening at my lodgings.
Friday 20th.—In Convention. Dined at home and drank Tea at Mr. Clymer’s.
Saturday 21st.—In Convention. Dined at Springsbury with the Club of Gentn. & Ladies. Went to the play afterwards.2
Sunday 22nd.—Left town by 5 o’clock A.M. Breakfasted at Genl. Mifflin’s, rode up with him & others to the Spring Mills and returned to Genl. Mifflin’s to dinner; after which proceeded to the City.
Monday 23rd.—In Convention as usual. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and drank Tea at Lansdown (The seat of Mr. Penn.)
Tuesday 24th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and drank Tea, by appointment, and partr. Invitation at Doctr. Rush’s.
Wednesday 25th.—In Convention.—Dined at Mr. Morris’s, drank Tea & spent the evening there.3
Thursday 26th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, drank Tea there, and stayed within all the afternoon.
Friday 27th.—In Convention, which adjourned this day, to meet again on Monday the 6th of August that a Comee. which had been appointed (consisting of 5 members) might have time to arrange, and draw into method and form the several matters which had been agreed to by the Convention as a constitution for the United States. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and drank Tea at Mr. Powell’s.
Saturday 28th.—Dined with the club at Springsbury.—Drank Tea there, and spent the evening at my lodgings.
Sunday 29th.—Dined and spent the whole day at Mr. Morris’s, principally in writing letters.
Monday 30th.—In Company with Mr. Govr. Morris’s and in his Phaeton with my horses; went up to one Jane Moore’s in the vicinity of Valley forge to get Trout.
Tuesday 31st.—Whilst Mr. Morriss was fishing I rid over the old cantonment of the American [army] of the winter 1777 & 8, visited all the Works, wch. were in Ruins; and the Incampments in woods where the ground had not been cultivated. * * *
On my return to Mrs. Moores I found Mr. Robt. Morris & his lady there.
Wednesday, 1st August.—About 11 O’clock, after it had ceased raining, we all set out for the City and dined at Mr. Morris’s.
Thursday 2nd.—Dined, drank Tea, and spent the evening at Mr. Morris’s.
Friday 3rd.—In company with Mr. Robt. Morris and his lady, and Mr. Govr. Morris, I went up to Trenton on another fishing party. Lodged at Colo. Sam Ogden’s, at the Trenton Works. In the evening fished, not very successfully.
Saturday 4th.—In the morning & between Breakfast and dinner, fished again with more success (for perch) than yesterday. Dined at Genl. [Philemon] Dickenson’s on the east side of the river, a little above Trenton, & returned in the evening to Colo. Ogden’s.
Monday 6th.—Met according to adjournment in Convention, & received the rept. of the Committee. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and drank tea at Mr. Meredith’s.
Tuesday 7th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and spent the evening there also.
Wednesday 8th.—In Convention. Dined at the City Tavern, and remained there till near ten o’clock.
Thursday 9th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. [John] Swanwick’s, and spent the afternn. in my own room, reading letters and accts. from home.
Friday 10th.—Dined (after coming out of Convention) at Mr. Bingham’s, and drank Tea there; spent the evening at my lodgings.
Saturday 11th.—In Convention. Dined at the Club at Springsbury, and after Tea returned home.
Sunday 12th.—Dined at Bush-Hill with Mr. William Hamilton, spent the evening at home writing letters
Monday 13th.—In Convention.2 Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and drank Tea with Mrs. Bache, at the President’s.
Tuesday 14th.—In Convention. Dined, drank Tea, and spent the evening at home.
Wednesday 15th.—The same as Yesterday.
Thursday 16th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. [Oliver] Pollock’s, & spent the evening in my Chamber.
Friday 17th.—In Convention. Dined and drank Tea at Mr. Powell’s.
Saturday 18th.—In Convention. Dined at Chief Justice. McKean’s—Spent the Afternoon & evening at my lodgings.
Sunday 19th.—In Company with Mr Powell rode up to the White Marsh. Traversed my old incampment, and contempleated on the dangers which threatened the American Army at that place. Dined at Germantown, visited Mr. Blair McClenegan, drank Tea at Mr. Peters’s, and returned to Philadelphia in the evening.1
Monday 20th.—In Convention. Dined, drank Tea, and spent the evening at Mr. Morris’s.
Tuesday 21st.—Did the like this day also.
Wednesday 22nd.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s farm at the Hills—visited at Mr. Powell’s in the Afternoon.
Thursday 23rd.—In Convention. Dined, drank Tea, & spent the evening at Mr. Morris’s.
Friday 24th.—Did the same this day.
Saturday 25th.—In Convention.—Dined with the Club at Springsbury, & spent the afternoon at my lodgings.
Sunday 26th.—Rode into the Country for exercise 8 or 10 miles. Dined at the Hills, and spent the evening in my chamber writing letters.
Monday 27th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and drank Tea at Mr. Powell’s.
Tuesday 28th.—In Convention. Dined, drank Tea, and spent the evening at Mr. Morris’s.
Wednesday 29th.—Did the same as Yesterday.
Thursday 30th.—Again the same.
Friday 31st.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and with a Party went to Lansdale & drank Tea with Mr. and Mrs. Penn.
Saturday, 1stSeptember.—Dined at Mr. Morris’s after coming out of Convention, and drank Tea there.
Sunday 2nd.—Rode to Mr. Bartram’s and other places in the country, dined and drank tea at Gray’s ferry, and returned to the City in the evening.
Monday 3d.—In Convention Visited a Machine at Doctr. Franklin’s (called a mangle) for pressing, in place of Ironing, Clothes from the wash, which machine from the facility with which it dispatches business is well calculated for Table cloths & such articles as have not pleats & irregular foldings and would be very useful in all large families. Dined, drank Tea, & spent the evening at Mr. Morris’s.
Tuesday 4th.—In Convention. Dined &c. at Mr. Morris’s.
Wednesday 5th.—In Convention. Dined at Mrs. House’s, & drank Tea at Mr. Bingham’s.
Thursday 6th.—In Convention. Dined at Doctr. [James] Hutchinson’s and spent the Afternoon and evening at Mr. Morris’s.
Friday 7th.—In Convention. Dined, and spent the afternoon at home (except when riding a few miles).
Saturday 8th.—In Convention. Dined at Springsbury with the Club, and spent the evening at my lodgings.
Sunday 9th.—Dined at Mr. Morris’s after making a visit to Mr. Gardoqui, who, as he says, came from New York on a visit to me.
Monday 10th.—In Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s & drank Tea there.
Tuesday 11th.—In Convention. Dined at home in a large company with Mr. Gardoqui—drank Tea, and spent the evening there.
Wednesday 12th.—In Convention. Dined at the Presidents and drank Tea at Mr. Pine’s.
Thursday 13th.—Attended Convention. Dined at the Vice Presidents, Chas. Biddle’s, Drank Tea at Mr. Powell’s.
Friday 14th.—Attended Convention. Dined at the City Tavern, at an entertainmt. given on my acct. by the City Light Horse. Spent the evening at Mr. Merediths.
Saturday 15th.—Concluded the business, of Convention all to signing the proceedings, to effect which the House sat till 6 o’clock, and adjourned till Monday that the Constitution, which it was proposed to offer to the People might be engrossed, and a number of printed copies struck off. Dined at Mr. Morris’s and spent the evening there.
Mr. Gardoqui sat off for his return to New York this forenoon.
Sunday 16th.—Wrote many letters in the forenoon. Dined with Mr. & Mrs. Morris at the Hills, & returned to town in the evening.
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.1
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,2 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,1 [excepted.]
Tuesday 18th.—Finished what private business I had to do in the city this forenoon, took my leave of those families in wch. I had been most intimate, dined early at Mr. Morris’s with whom & Mr. Gouvr. Morris’s I parted at Gray’s ferry and reached Chester in company with Mr. [John] Blair, who I invited to a seat in my Carriage till we should reach Mount Vernon.2
Wednesday 19th.—Prevented by rain (much of which fell in the night) from setting off till about 8 o’clock, when it ceased, & promising to be fair we departed, baited at Wilmington, Dined at Christiana, and lodged at the head of Elk. At the bridge near to which my horses (two of them) and carriage had a very narrow escape, for the rain which had fallen the preceeding evening having swelled the water considerably there was no fording it safely, I was reduced to the necessity therefore of remaining on the other side or of attempting to cross on an old, rotten & long disused bridge. Being anxious, to get on, I prefered the latter and in the attempt one of my horses fell fifteen feet at least, the other very near following which (had it happened) would have taken the carriage with baggage along with him and destroyed the whole effectually; however by prompt assistance of some people at a mill just by and great exertion, the first horse was disengaged from his harness, the 2d. prevented from going quite through and drawn off, and the Carriage secured from hurt.
Thursday 20th.—Sett off after an early breakfast, crossed the Susquehanna and dined in Havre de Gras at the House of one Roger’s—and lodged at Skirrett’s Tavern, 12 miles short of Baltimore.
Friday 21st.—Breakfasted in Baltimore, dined at the Widow Balls (formerly Spurrier’s), and lodged at Major Snowden’s, who was not at home.
Saturday 22nd.—Breakfasted at Bladensburgh, and, passing through George Town, dined in Alexandria and reached home (with Mr. Blair) about sun set, after an absence of four months and 14 days.
[1 ]Two forms of this diary exist: the one is in the Library of Congress and has been printed in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, xi., 296; the other, in the Department of State, is made the basis for this version. I have not hesitated to use the notes given in the Pennsylvania Magazine, and give such variations in the texts as seem necessary.
[1 ]“Nine o’clock.”
[2 ]Mrs. Mary House kept a boarding-house at the corner of Fifth and Market streets.—Penn. Mag.
[1 ]“and took tea there.”
[2 ]From North Carolina, Delaware, and New Jersey.
[3 ]“Dr. McClurg, of Virginia, came in.”
[4 ]Samuel Powel.
[5 ]“The lecture to be read this Evening is a continuance of the Dissertation on Eloquence, which commenced in the first course; at the conclusion of which Solima of the Poet Hamet, translated by Sir William Jones, will be delivered.”—Penn. Packet, quoted in the Penn. Mag.
[1 ]“Agreed to meet at 1 o’clock on Monday.”
[2 ]“and repaired at the hour of one to the State House.”
[3 ]The nomination of Washington for this position was made by Robert Morris, instructed by the Pennsylvania delegation, and seconded by John Rutledge. The only possible competitor was Benjamin Franklin, making the act of the Pennsylvanians all the more graceful. There was no opposing ballot, and, on being conducted to the chair by Morris and Rutledge, Washington “in a very emphatic manner thanked the Convention for the honor they had conferred on him; reminded them of the novelty of the scene of business in which he was to act, lamented his want of better qualifications, and claimed the indulgence of the House towards the involuntary errors which his inexperience might occasion.”—Madison. To Knox he wrote, 31 May: “I was, much against my wish, placed in the chair.” Madison had in April foreseen the fitness of making him the conspicuous figure.—To Randolph, 15 April, 1787.
[1 ]Wilson nominated W. T. Franklin, and Hamilton, Jackson.
[2 ]Wythe, Hamilton, and Charles Pinckney.
[3 ]“Where I could get an account of the Lodg’gs of those to whom I was indebted for theirs.”
[4 ]St. Mary’s, on Fourth Street.—Penn. Mag.
[5 ]Communications (?)
[1 ]William Pierce and William Houston were the delegates.
[2 ]A famous hostelry, on Fourth above Chestnut Street. It was torn down in May, 1851.—Penn. Mag.
[1 ]Reinagle’s concert. See Penn. Mag.
[2 ]“Spent evening at my own lodgings.”
[1 ]Cool Spring, Springsbury.
[2 ]Spent the evening at home.
[1 ]At the Calvinist Church.
[2 ]“Spectaculum Vitæ. At the Opera House in Southwark. This evening the 10 July, will be performed a Concert, on the First Part of which will be introduced an entertainment, called the Dectective; or, the Servants Hall in an Uproar. To which will be added a Comic Opera in two acts called Love in a Camp, or Patrick in Prussia, &c., &c.”—Penn. Mag.
[1 ]A concert, introducing “The Tempest, or the Inchanted Island,” and a “Grand Masque of Neptune and Amphitrite.”—Penn. Mag.
[2 ]A Concert introducing a “Moral Poem, called the Crusade, or the Generous Sultan,” by Mr. James Thomson, was recited, with the “Original Epilogue to Edward & Eleanora.”—Penn. Mag.
[3 ]“Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national government, and to declare expressly that the commander-in-chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born citizen.”—John Jay to Washington, 25 July, 1787.
[1 ]“About 4 o’clock.”
[1 ]“Halted an hour at Bristol.”
[2 ]On this day Madison records that Washington voted in favor of giving to the House of Representatives the exclusive originating of money-bills. “He disapproved, and till now voted against the exclusive privilege. He gave up his judgment, he said, because it was not of any material weight with him, and was made an essential point with others, who, if disappointed, might be less cordial in other points of real weight.”
[1 ]“By slow, I wish I could add, and sure movements, the business of the convention advances; but to say when it will end, or what will be the result, is more than I dare venture to do; and therefore shall hazard no opinion thereon. If something good does not proceed from the session, the defects cannot with propriety be charged to the hurry with which the business has been conducted, notwithstanding which many things may be forgot, some of them not well digested, and others, from the contrariety of sentiments with which such a body is pervaded, become a mere nullity; yet I wish a disposition may be found in Congress, the several State legislatures, and the community at large, to adopt the government, which may be agreed on in convention, because I am fully persuaded it is the best that can be obtained at the present moment under such a diversity of ideas as prevail.”—Washington to Knox, 19 August, 1787.
[1 ]“When the President rose, for the purpose of putting the question [on representation], he said, that although his situation had hitherto restrained him from offering his sentiments on questions depending in the House, and, it might be thought, ought now to impose silence on him, yet he could not forbear expressing his wish that the change proposed might take place. It was much to be desired that the objections to the plan recommended might be made as few as possible. The smallness of the proportion of Representatives had been considered by many members of the Convention an insufficient security for the rights and interests of the people. He acknowledged that it had always appeared to himself among the exceptionable parts of the plan; and late as the present moment was for admitting amendments, he thought this of so much consequence, that it would give him much satisfaction to see it adopted.”—Madison’s Debates. The change was made. This is the only occasion on which any remarks from Washington in the Convention are recorded.
[2 ]“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 Monday evening.”
[1 ]“In the midst of hurry, and in the moment of my departure from this city, I address this letter to you. The principal, indeed the only design of it, is to fulfil the promise I made, that I would send to you the proceedings of the federal convention, as soon as the business was closed. More than this, circumstanced as I am at present, it is not in my power to do; nor am I inclined to attempt it, as the enclosure must speak for itself, and will occupy your thoughts for some time.
[2 ]“Reached Chester, where we lodged.”