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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 661

A. RESPONSES TO RATIFICATION/13 FEB.
produce some speculation-I can neither satisfy myself nor others upon
the subject. In the meantime the Antifederalists are triumphing, as
if the publications on their side were unanswerable. [Have you?], in
the city, determined not to publish any reply? If so, I should be
[glad?] to know the reasons. It may, perhaps, be best. Yet I cannot
help thinking there is some attention, or, if you please, compassion
due to those who, tho well-meaning, are in danger of being prejudiced
against a good cause by the silence of its friends and the constant
exertions of its enemies.
Some of the people of Franklin County (instigated, I suppose, by
Messrs. [James] McClean and [Abraham] Smith) are preparing a
petition to the Assembly to interpose their authority that the new
Constitution may not be adopted.8 Amazing infatuationl Whilst they
are setting the state in an uproar for liberty, they themselves are, in
fact, declaring that the Assembly are legally possessed of sovereign
power and authority, and have a right to control the solemn decisions
of the body of the people-consequently, that the people have, of right,
no power at all.
1. RC, Rush Papers, PPL. Black, a Presbyterian clergyman, had represented
York County in the Pennsylvania Convention and voted for ratification.
2. For an Antifederalist's explanation of why the majority did not publish any
"reply and vindication," see Mfm:Pa. 288.
3. See IV:C below for the petition campaign requesting that the ratification of
the Constitution "not be confirmed" by the Assembly.
An Address of Thanks, Freeman's Journal, 13 February1
An address of Thanks from a number of the Inhabitants of the
borough of Carlisle, to the minority of the late State Convention, in
general, and the representatives of Cumberland County, in particular.
Gentlemen: WE return you our hearty thanks for the magnanimous
and spirited opposition which you made in the late state Convention,
to that instrument of oppression, injustice, and tyranny, which was
then the subject of your deliberations, viz., the proposed Constitution
for the United States.
We assure you, that your conduct meets with our most cordial ap-
probation, and fully answers the expectation we formed of you when
we voted you to represent us. Altho we did not tie up your hands, by
dictating to you how to behave or what side to take, nor did we pre-
clude you from investigating its properties or discussing its principles
in the most ample manner, according to the dictates of your own en-
lightened understanding, by extorting from you, previous to your
election, or afterwards, any promises or engagements to vote for or
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