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

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

Page 662

against the proposed plan; this would have been treating you like
machines or tools, and for such a purpose as this parrots and magpies
trained to prattle would have answered the purpose much better than
freemen. Nevertheless, gentlemen, the measures you have taken have
fully justified the confidence we reposed in you, and comes up to our
most sanguine wishes.
We, gentlemen, with you, deprecate the impending ruin, and de-
plore the unhappy fate of our dear country and innocent posterity,
should this engine of slavery ever be established. We sincerely grieve
to see the people of this state plunge themselves into the jaws of
destruction, and sacrifice their dearest interests to gratify the ambi-
tion of a few selfish despots. Yet we sorrow not as those who have no
hope. We are happy to find that a formidable opposition Is made
to it in some of our sister states. We rejoice in the expectation of
your cogent arguments and spirited protest being disseminated through
America, and rousing multitudes from their supine lethargy, and open-
ing the eyes of others who are blinded with prejudice, and misled by
artful men; we comfort ourselves with the hope that your example
will animate such citizens of our own state, whose generous souls
recoil at the idea of slavery, and who have not yet degenerated so far
from their original principles as to be content to live in fei-ters, to
oppose it. We hope it is not yet too late, although the chains are
making they are not yet riveted on, and their Constitution is not
yet "the supreme law of the land," and we flatter ourselves it never
will. When liberty was the grand question, America combated an
infinitely more formidable power than the partisans of the proposed
Constitution; when her rights and privileges were invaded by one
of the most puissant monarchs on earth, she bravely resisted the at-
tack, and laughed at the shaking of their spear-she despiscd their
menaces, and returned their threats with redoubled vengeance on
their own heads. Will her brave freeborn yeomen, then, tamely sub-
mit to be circumvented or cajoled out of their freedom and invalua,
ble rights by a few petty domestic tyrants? No, we are persuaded they
never will.
It is, gentlemen, with the most agreeable surprise that we behold
a very few country farmers and mechanics nonplus the great rabbis
and doctors of the schools, who no doubt summoned in all the rhetoric,
logic, and sophistry they were capable of on this occasion. We re-
joice to see scholastic learning and erudition fly before simple reason,
plain truth, and common sense. But though you defeated them in
argument, they exceeded you in numbers; however, should the worst
happen (which Heaven avert) this will be your consolation, that in
the time of danger you exerted every effort to prevent the calamity;

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