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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 698

commit them. The above is a true state of the affair. Witness our
hand this 26th day of February, 1788.
1. Carlisle Gazette, 27 February. Reprinted: Independent Gazetteer, 22 March.
Six Prisoners Explain Why They Refused Bail
and Were Imprisoned on 25 February'
Whereas a publication has appeared in the last Gazette, signed
John Agnew and Samuel Irvin, in which our conduct is misrepresented
in the most glaring manner; our own vindication, therefore, calls upon
us to set before you a true state of facts; for the truth of which we
appeal to every spectator who was present during the transaction. By
the appointment of the sheriff [Charles Leeper] we appeared before
John Agnew, Esquire, at his office on Monday last [25 February
1788] in the afternoon, who laid before us a warrant and a number
of depositions containing the charge alleged against us. Upon perusal
of the warrant and depositions aforesaid, we prayed a hearirg or in-
vestigation of the premises, which, if granted, we proposed to ex-
culpate ourselves from every part of the accusation; but this was posi-
tively refused. We then, with some degree of spirit, contended that
the warrant required a hearing, there being no oath set forith in it,
which we pleaded was absolutely necessary according to the consti-
tution and laws of this state, before any person should be held to
bail or deprived of their liberty. For this we had every reason to
believe the Chief Justice [Thomas McKean] (who issued ihe war-
rant), had neither oath or affirmation before them at the time of
granting the warrant, Thomas Duncan, Esquire having declared on
his honor, at the late orphans' court, in a reputable meeting at Mr.
William Rainey's, that no deposition had been sent down to the
Chief Justice. We again pleaded that as freemen we had a right to an
impartial investigation of the affair, but still the old cant was reiter-
ated by John Agnew, Esquire that he could grant us no hearing. The
only alternative was to enter bail or be committed, for he would not
be browbeat. At length Samuel Irvin, Esquire arrived and retired
with John Agnew, Esquire to a separate apartment, in order to con-
sult what would be best to be done. On their return they proposed to
write to the chief justices to know whether they would grant us a
hearing or not; and in the meantime remain in the custody of the
sheriff, until the 25th day of March next, and then appear to know
their determination. Although we considered that the chief justices
had no power to supersede our rights as freemen, yet we agreed to
postpone it to the time proposed provided we were assured of a full

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