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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
(1976)

F. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution and the convention, 7 November-11 December 1787,   pp. 279-[320]


Page 279

F. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COMMENTARIES ON THE
CONSTITUTION AND THE CONVENTION
7 November-11 December 1787
Between the election of delegates on 6 November and the meeting
of the Convention on 20 November, the number of Pennsylvania
Federalist and Antifederalist publications decreased, while the major
essays reprinted from newspapers in other states increased. The
number of major original and reprinted items was about evenly divided
between the Federalists and Antifederalists, although in terms of squibs
and news reports from other states, the Federalists had the advantage
(for examples of squibs, see CC:233-B, 258, 259).
The principal Pennsylvania Federalist publication during this period
was a pamphlet by Pelatiah Webster (8 November, CC:244), answering
"Brutus" I (CC:178), a New York Antifederalist. Webster's pamphlet,
like his first pamphlet (CC:125-B) which answered the "Address of
the Seceding Assemblymen" (I:B above), was signed "A Citizen of
Philadelphia." Other important Federalist items were the answer to
"An Officer of the Late Continental Army" by "Plain Truth," 10
November (II:C above); "The Prayer of an American Citizen," 7-10
November (CC:235); and "G," 10 November (Mfm:Pa. 217). Federalist
material reprinted from out-of-state newspapers included "The Fed-
eralist" I-III (CC:201, 217, 228), and Roger Sherman gnd Oliver Ells-
worth's letter to the Governor of Connecticut (CC:192). Between 12
and 21 November six Pennsylvania newspapers reprinted an item from
the New Jersey Journal, 7 November (CC:233-A) reporting George
Washington's only speech in the Constitutional Convention.
The principal Pennsylvania Antifederalist publications were "Phila-
delphiensis" I, 7 November (printed immediately below); "Centinel"
III, 8 November (CC:243); "One of the Dissenting Assemblymen
[William Findley?], 14 November (Mfm:Pa. 224); and "One of the
Late Army," 14 November (Mfm:Pa. 225). Antifederalist items re-
printed from out-of-state newspapers included "Brutus, Jr." (CC:289);
"Cincinnatus to James Wilson, Esquire," I-II (CC:222, 241); and El-
bridge Gerry's letter to the Massachusetts General Court (CC:227).
Gerry's letter, outlining his objections to the Constitution, was re-
printed ten times in Pennsylvania between 16 November and 26 De-
cember.
During the meeting of the Convention (20 November-15 December),
the number of major Federalist newspaper essays continued to de.
cline, while there was a resurgence in the number of Antifederalist
items published. The need to amend the Constitution became the
principal issue. Between 2 October and the opening of the Conven-
tion, many Antifederalists had demanded amendments, and some had
called for a second constitutional convention. For examples, see "Ad-
279


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