Benjamin Franklin, by an unidentified painter, after Charles Nicolas Cochin's drawing or the engraving from it by Augustin de Saint Aubin, circa 1777-1780.
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An oil on canvas portrait of Franklin, shown wearing his spectacles and the famous Canadian fur cap.

Credit: Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society

Expounding upon the Constitutional Convention of 1787, author Walter Issacson described Benjamin Franklin (1709-1790) as its symbolic host. "His garden and shady mulberry tree, just a few hundred yards from the statehouse, became a respite from the debates, a place where delegates could talk over tea, hear Franklin's tales, and be calmed into a mood of compromise." While he counseled compromise between competing regional interests, Franklin was not above seeking the help of a higher authority. On June 28, Franklin questioned why the delegates had "not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings" He went on to "move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business," The motion failed because, as everyone knew, the Convention simply had no funds to hire a daily chaplain.

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