University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

A. Responses to ratification and to The Dissent of the Minority,   pp. 646-669


Page 652

IV. AFTERMATH OF RATIFICATION
under a Nero, a Caligula, etc. The successive convulsions, which
happened at Rome, were the immediate consequence of the aspiring
ambition of a few great men, and the very organization and construc-
tion of the government itself. The republic of Venice, by the pro-
gressive and almost imperceptible encroachments of the nobles, has
at length degenerated into an odious and permanent aristocracy. This
we are convinced, by indubitable demonstration, will be the final con-
sequence of the proposed Federal Constitution; and because we prize
the felicity and freedom of our posterity equally with our own, we
esteem it our indispensable duty to oppose it with that determined
resolution and spirit that becomes freemen. That fire for liberty which
was kindled in every patriotic breast during the late glorious conten-
tion, though in a latent state, will be easily rekindled; and upon the
contact of a very spark will devour by its direful explosion, not only
the enemies of liberty, but both parties promiscuously. Discontent, in-
dignation, and revenge already begins to be visible in every patriotic
countenance; and civil discord already raises her sneaky head. And
we are well convinced that nothing less than a total recantation and
annihilation of the proposed aristocratic delusion will appease the
insulted and enraged defenders of liberty. If the lazy and great wish
to ride, they may lay it down as an indubitable position or axiom, that
the people of America will make very refractory and restiff hackneys.
Although the designing and artful Federalists have effected their
scheme so far as to have the Constitution adopted in this state by
surprise, notwithstanding the people are pretty generally convinced
of their delusion, and little less than the lives of their betrayrers will
satiate their revenge. Not even the authority of the clergy, whEo seem
generally to have been a set of men decidedly opposed to popular
freedom, can give sanction to such a government. The people of
America understand their rights better than, by adopting such a
constitution, to rivet the fetters of slavery; or to sacrifice thei-c liberty
at the shrine of aristocracy or arbitrary government. We, the sub-
scribers, are a society united for the express purpose of reciprocal or
mutual improvement; we meet once a week, and political matters are
frequently the subjects of litigation and debate. We have read and
endeavored fully to comprehend the proposed Federal Constitution;
and also the arguments for and against it; and after mature delibera-
tion, we unanimously acquiesce with, and cordially thank you the
minority in the late state Convention: First, for your patriotic and
spirited endeavors to support the drooping cause of liberty and rights
of your constituents. Secondly, for your integrity and firmness in
stemming the torrent of popular clamor, insult, and flattery. Thirdly,
for your unanswerable, solid, and well-founded arguments and reason
652


Go up to Top of Page