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

IV. The aftermath of ratification in Pennsylvania,   pp. [641]-645


Page 643

The Antifederalists argued that the new Congress could not be
trusted and demanded that a second constitutional convention be
called immediately to adopt a bill of rights to protect the people.
They argued that the vast powers of Congress under the Constitution
would corrupt its members, who would never relinquish such power.
In particular, Antifederalists demanded guarantees of trial by jury in
civil cases, religious freedom and liberty, and the freedom of the press.
Such Antifederalists as "Centinel" (Samuel Bryan) and "Philadel-
phiensis" (Benjamin Workman) were particularly insistent upon a
bill of rights. They argued that the Constitution was a "conspiracy"
against the rights, liberties, and property of the American people be-
cause it established an aristocratic government which would almost
certainly become a "despotic monarchy." "Philadelphiensis" described
the "monarchy men" in the Constitutional Convention as "a set of the
basest conspirators that ever disgraced a free country." (The "Centinel"
and "Philadelphiensis" essays are published in Commentaries on the
Constitution.)
The Antifederalists, led by "Centinel" (XVI and XVII, Independent
Gazetteer, 26 February and 24 March), declared there were conspira-
cies of other kinds. They charged that Robert Morris, William
Bingham, and Thomas Mifflin had pocketed millions of dollars of
public funds during the War for Independence, and that the ex post
facto clause of the Constitution would enable them to avoid paying
their just debts (for examples, see Mfm:Pa. 455, 457, 487, 511, 522,
538). Robert Morris replied that it was through no fault of his own
that his remaining accounts had never been settred (Mfm:Pa. 613),
while Mifflin's supporters declared that he had done everything pos-
sible to settle his accounts as quartermaster general of the Continental
Army (Mfm:Pa. 493).
Charges that Federalists used their influence with postal officials to
prevent the circulation of Antifederalist material through the mails
were made throughout the United States, but most heatedly in Penn-
sylvania. OnI 1 January, Ebenezer Hazard, postmaster general of the
United States, with the consent of Congress, transferred the carrying
of mail from stagecoaches to postriders. The stagecoaches had carried
newspapers from one publisher to another without charge, but the
postriders refused to carry newspapers without being paid to do so.
Antifederalists led by "Centinel" (IX, Independent Gazetteer, 8
January) charged that Hazard's decision was a plot to prevent the
circulation of Antifederalist material, while others declared that
Federalists paid postmasters and postriders to destroy Antifederalist
material. Federalists denied such charges and insisted that the Anti-
federalists were merely trying to stir up trouble. (For documents on
643
INTRODUCTION


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