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

C. The petition campaign for legislative rejection of ratification, 2 January-29 March 1788,   pp. 709-[726]

Page 711

That the powers therein proposed to be granted to the government
of the United States are too great, and that the proposed distribution
of those powers are dangerous and inimical to liberty and equality
amongst the people.
That they esteem frequent elections and rotation in offices as the
greatest bulwark of freedom.
That they conceive standing armies in times of peace are not only
expensive but dangerous to liberty, and that a well-organized militia
will be the proper security for our defense.
That the liberty of the press, that palladium of freedom, should not
be insecure or in danger.
That the rights of conscience should be secured to all men, that no
man should be molested for his religion, and that none should be com-
pelled contrary to their principles and inclination to hear or support
the clergy of any one religion.
That the right of trial by jury should be secured both in civil and
criminal cases.
That the government as proposed would be burthensome, expensive,
and oppressive, and that your petitioners are averse from paying taxes
to support a numerous train of offices erected thereby, which would
be not only unnecessary but dangerous to our liberties.
That your petitioners conceive the majority of the deputies of the
General Convention, who have been appointed by this state, have ex-
ceeded the powers with which they were delegated, that their conduct
is reprehensible, and that they should be brought to account for the
same as the precedent is highly dangerous and subversive of all gov-
That your petitioners observe this proposed Constitution hath not
been approved by the Congress of the United States as directed by
the Articles of the Confederation; and your petitioners desire that it
may not be confirmed by the legislature of this state, nor adopted in
the said United States, and that the delegates of Congress from this
state be instructed for that purpose.
1. MS, Nicholson Papers, PHarH. This undated document in John Nicholson's
handwriting was endorsed "Copy of A Petition Agt The Proceedings of the Con-
2. See the resolution of the Confederation Congress, 21 February 1787, CDR:V, C.
Samuel Turbett to John Nicholson,
Lancaster, 14, 28 January (excerpts)1
Your very agreeable favors 27th ult. and 11 inst. at hand, half an
hour since. The pamphlet2 and petition enclosed. Tomorrow I shall

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