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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

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


Page 660

IV. AFTERMATH OF RATI.'FICATION
have decided in favor of the new Constitution. The opposition to it
after this, by a minority, is not only an attempt to establish an aris-
tocracy, or a government of a few over the many, but it is downright
rebellion.
But we are told, this majority have adopted a system of despotism.
This is false, for the new government is the best bulwark of freedom
that ever was framed in the world. But I will suppose this was not
the case, and that the new Constitution was as bad as it is said to be.
What then? The minority are still bound to submit to it; :For it is
the choice of the majority, and they cannot be free unless it be adopted.
If it is rejected, then the majority, who are deprived of what they
love and prefer, yield to the minority, which is contrary to every
principle of democracy.
I wish the public creditors to look to themselves. The funding
system of Pennsylvania is on its last legs. It cannot exist another year
without convulsing our state. All the distress, oppression, speculation,
idleness, peculation in government, and bankruptcies, not of merchants
only, but of tradesmen and farmers (a thing unheard of befbre and
unknown in other <ountries) are owing to the funding law. Pennsyl-
vania has assumed a million and an half of dollars in certificates, above
her quota of the public debt. It is only by adopting the federal
government that this enormous, unequal, and oppressive burthen can
be taken off our shoulders, and the state rescued out of the hands of
speculators, sharpers, and public defaulters. It is, moreover, only
from a federal treasury that the public creditors, of all desciiptions,
can expect substantial and permanent justice.
1. "A Citizen of Philadelphia" was a pseudonym which had been used by
Pelatiah Webster ever since the late 1770s. This item was reprintecl in the
New York Morning Post, 30 January.
2. The three signers of the protest who spoke against the Constitution in the
Convention were William Findley, John Smilie, and Robert Whitehill.
3. "Centinel" XI was printed in the Independent Gazetteer and in the Free-
man's Journal, 16 January.
John Black to Benjamin Rush,
Marsh Creek, 13 February1
That morning I left Philadelphia the Dissent of the Minority ap-
peared in the public prints. I certainly expected, agreeably to our
plan, that the reply and vindication of the majority would have fol-
lowed in a few days; and signified it to my acquaintances at my return
home. I have not yet, however, seen, nor heard of a single sentence
published to that purpose.2 This, you may naturally suppose, would
660


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