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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

I. The Pennsylvania Assembly and the Constitution, 17-29 September 1787,   pp. [53]-57

Page 54

The third and final session of the 11th General Assembly met
from 4 to 29 September 1787. When the Assembly reconvened on 4
September, the Constitutional Convention was still meeting in the
legislative chamber. Therefore, the Assembly resolved to meet "above
stairs," where it proceeded with its usual business concerning bills for
the creation of counties, towns, and ecclesiastical societies, for internal
improvements and the erection of public buildings, for altering acts
already in force, and to assist private persons.
The Constitutional Convention "broke up" at 4 P.M., 17 September,
and the next morning Pennsylvania's Convention delegates delivered
a copy of the Constitution and accompanying documents to the As-
sembly which read them into its Journals. At the end of the reading
Benjamin Franklin suggested that the Assembly pass an act ceding
land to the United States for the seat of government. The Assembly
then adjourned for the day and did not resume consideration of the
Constitution until Monday, 24 September, when it began to receive
petitions supporting the Constitution.
After the Constitutional Convention adjourned, the central issue
in the Assembly was whether or not to remain in session until the
Confederation Congress acted on the Constitution. The Federalists
wanted to call a state convention before the end of the session on 29
September, while the Antifederalists wanted to delay until after the
election of the new Assembly on 9 October.
There were conflicting reports as to what the Assembly would do.
On 20 September the Pennsylvania Herald reported that "It is said
that the General Assembly will break up in the beginning of next
week. The important business reported from the Federal Convention
will probably be left to the succeeding house." On 22 September the
Independent Gazetteer declared that "We are informed by good
authority, that our legislature have no intention of rising next week
as has been reported; so far from it, that they are anxiously waiting
the return of the new Federal Constitution from Congress, in order
that they may take it under their most serious consideration before
they close the present session."
During a debate on 27 September, Robert Whitehill stated that
the Assembly "intended to adjourn on Saturday," 29 September.

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