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

B. The Carlisle Riot and its aftermath, 26 December 1787-20 March 1788,   pp. 670-708

Page 682

support of civil authority constitute a friend to government, then they
are the friends to government; but if a declaration that if the laws
are executed, the jail will be pulled down and the town reduced to
ashes constitute a real friend to government, then most certainly their
adversaries are entitled to that honorable appellation.
It is admitted by the Federalists that they did assemble at the
public square; that they were armed with muskets and bayonets;
that they had balls in their pockets and cartouches; that there were
several discharges of the cannon and firings of musketry; and I can as-
sure the world that they were not prevented by fear, from fUring the
cannon thirteen times. They gave but a discharge for each of those
states who had acceded to Constitution; they remained on the ground
two hours; it was some time before they could unspike the gun. The
ratification was read-every countenance beamed with joy, gladness,
and happiness, except those of a few worthless ragamuffins, who were
made drunk for the purpose of burning the effigies. The contempt
displayed by the men under arms must have grated their leaders.
One cub insulted a young gentleman and provoked him so Far as to
lay his hand on his sword, but he immediately staggered off. This
is the man of vivacity, who treated them with a little irony-he is
certainly a young man of great vivacity, but his natural vivacity, on
this occasion, must have been increased by the artificial vivacity of
New England rum. The drum of the mob had not beat until the
Federalists left the ground. One of the captains had not slept off his
night's drunkenness; the other was unfit to appear, as he had provoked
a Federalist to bung his eyes on Wednesday evening. The vapor about
the beating of the drum resembles the declaration of one of the parti-
sans when the cannon was in the fire, "Damn the cannon, if I was
not afraid of breaking my stick, 0 how I could beat it." Ore of the
People says, that a pacific disposition and determined resolu.tion are
palpable contradictions. I think not. A man might possess a very
pacific disposition, and at the same time take his life, if he attempted
to burn his house, to rob, or to assassinate him. The whole transac-
tion, they say, had the appearance of a funeral ceremony. If they
allude to the rejoicing, it is false, if to a meeting of a knot of their
demagogues at a spunging house upon the first intelligence of ratifi-
cation, it may be true, for they held down their disappointed and
disconsolate heads and mourned with bitterness, the ruin, the de-
struction of that anarchy and confusion, which raised them to any
kind of consequence; they lamented the loss of their beloved popu-
larity, and shed tears at sinking again into that state of insignificance
and contempt, which nature intended they should occupy. This
sagacious writer denies that the Chief Justice is the first magistrate of

Go up to Top of Page