The American revolution was born and raised in taverns and in the early days of the Republic serious business and political discourse was often conducted in taverns as well.
In the spring of 1787, the Grand Convention, which we moderns refer to as the Constitutional Convention, came to the State House in Philadelphia. By the beginning of a sweltering, humid summer, enough delegates had arrived to get at the business at hand, which initially didn't include drafting a new constitution.
George Washington presided and the delegates hammered on each other all summer long. Nearing the end of the process, on Friday the 14th of September, 1787, General Washington and the delegates to the Constitutional Convention adjourned to City Tavern at 138 S 2nd Street, Philadelphia, Pa, for some well deserved rest.
According to the bar tab they drank:
- 54 bottles of Madeira
- 60 bottles of Claret
- 8 bottles of whiskey
- 22 bottles of Porter
- 8 bottles of hard cider
- 7 bowls of punch so large that, it was said, ducks could swim around in them.
Oh? You did the math? Well, the servants and musicians drank the other 21 bottles of wine (billed separately).
55 delegates and 54 bottles of Madeira? Coincidence? I think not and I wonder which founder was the slacker? Certainly not Jefferson, he was in Paris.
18th Century Print: City Tavern (l) Bank of Pennsylvania (r)
If I did the math and conversions correctly, this was a $14,000.00 night of revelry. Roughly $250.00 per delegate in modern US monopoly money.
Please make a note that the Founders weren't drinking Pinot Grigio or Chard. They were drinking red wine, which is what all wine would be if it had a choice.
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