Benjamin Franklin's final speech in the Constitutional Convention, 17 September 1787

Benjamin Franklin’s Address in the Constitutional Convention

‘We have been long together. Every possible objection has been combated. With so many different and contending interests it is impossible that any one can obtain every object of their wishes. We have met to make mutual sacrifices for the general good, and we have at last come fully to understand each other, and settle the terms. Delay is as unnecessary as the adoption is important. I confess it does not fully accord with my sentiments. But I have lived long enough to have often experienced that we ought not to rely too much on our own judgments. I have often found I was mistaken in my most favorite ideas. I have upon the present occasion given up, upon mature reflection, many points which at the beginning, I thought myself immoveably and decidedly in favor of. This renders me less tenacious of the remainder. There is a possibility of my being mistaken. The general principle which has presided over our deliberations now guides my sentiments. I repeat, I do materially object to certain points, and have already stated my objections. But I do declare that these objections shall never escape me without doors; as, upon the whole, I esteem the constitution to be the best possible, that could have been formed under present circumstances; and that it ought to go abroad with one united signature, and receive every support and countenance from us. I trust none will refuse to sign it. If they do, they will put me in mind of the French girl who was always quarelling and finding fault with every one around her, and told her sister that she thought it very extraordinary, but that really she had never found a person who was always in the right but herself.’