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Complete November 1787 Boston Newspaper With Numerous Articles Concerning The Proposed New Constitution

Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth Explain and Transmit Constitution to Connecticut Legislature

Word of Support for Adoption of New Constitution in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia but Rhode Island Takes No Action

Oration by John Quincy Adams at Harvard ("University of Cambridge")


    Offered here is a complete four page issue of the Massachusetts Centinel dated November 7, 1787, shortly after the Philadelphia convention proposed the new Constitution to Congress and the states. The newspaper is full of news and views on the new plan of government and is a valuable artifact of the history of the Constitution and the United States. Of particular note is the complete transmittal letter of the Constitution by Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, two important participants in the Philadelphia constitutional convention, to their state's governor explaining some important aspects of the Constitution and news of actions taken on the Constitution in Rhode Island, South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. The news was mostly accurate, Rhode Island did not ratify the Constitution before it became effective (it waited until 1790) and South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina did vote in favor of the important document, but North Carolina did not ratify it until November 21, 1789 (after Congress had convened and George Washington was President) .

    Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth were active members of the Constitutional Convention and put forth the "Connecticut Plan" the broke the deadlock on representation of the states in Congress. Ellsworth was also generally credited with the name "United States of America" which appears in the Constitution. Below are two more excerpts from their letter showing that the Founders intended a limited federal government and to protect the rights of the states, points largely forgotten today. Ellsworth and Sherman succinctly stated the purpose of the Constitution:

"The Convention endeavoured to provide for the energy of government on the one hand, and suitable checks on the other hand, to secure the rights of the particular States, and the liberties and properties of the citizens."

The article excerpted below is a mock correspondence between two opponents of the Constitution which gives arguments for the Constitution by attributing motives to the supporters and opponents.

    In a militia oration, the excerpt below notes the service of General Lincoln in suppressing Shays Rebellion and support for the new Constitution.

    There is also a small article in the newspaper of quotes from Shakespeare, Milton and Sterne believed to be applicable to the debate on the Constitution (e.g., Unite the roses red and white together, Then from one kind and friendly stalk, They both shall flourish") The front page has almost a full page of an oration "Delivered at the Publick Commencement, in the University of Cambridge, in this State, July 18, 1787, by Mr. John Quincy Adams, so of his Excellency John Adams, L. L. D. the American Minister at the court of London." I assume that it refers to the commencement at Harvard College at Cambridge, but I have never heard of it referred to as the "University of Cambridge."

Below is a picture of the first page of this four page newspaper which measures 10 x 15 inches.

    A wonderful newspaper with articles on the newly proposed Constitution at an early point in the historic debate should be a treasured artifact for any historic or legal collector.

Price: SOLD