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1787 - A Cumberland County Mutual Improvement Society Addresses the Pennsylvania Minority

Carlisle Gazette (Pennsylvania), January 2, 1788

Messieurs PRINTERS. By inserting the following in your useful gazette, you will oblige a number of your constant readers.

An Address to the Minority of the State Convention of Pennsylvania.

The history of mankind is pregnant with frequent, bloody and almost imperceptible transitions from freedom to slavery. Rome, after she had been long distracted by the fury of the patrician and plebeian parties, at length found herself reduced to the most abject slavery under a Nero, a Caligula, &c. The successive convulsions, which happened at Rome, were the immediate consequence of the aspiring ambition of a few great men, and the very organization and construction of the government itself. The republic of Venice, by the progressive and almost imperceptible encroachments of the nobles, has at length degenerated into an odious and permanent aristocracy. This we are convinced by indubitable demonstration, will be the final consequence of the proposed Federal Constitution; and because we prize the felicity and freedom of our posterity equally with our own, we esteem it our indispensible duty to oppose it with that determined resolution and spirit that becomes freemen. That fire for liberty which was kindled in every patriotic breast during the late glorious contention, though in a latent state, will be easily rekindled; and upon the contact of a very spark will devour by its direful explosion, not only the enemies of liberty, but both parties promiscuously. Discontent, indignation and revenge already begins to be visible in every patriotic countenance; and civil discord already raises her sneaky head: And we are well convinced that nothing less than a total recantation and annihilation of the proposed aristocratic delusion will appease the insulted and enraged defenders of liberty. If the lazy and great wish to ride, they may lay it down as an indubitable position or axiom, that the people of America will make very refractory and restiff hackneys. Although the designing and artful Federalists have effected their scheme so far as to have the constitution adopted in this state by surprize, notwithstanding the people are pretty generally convinced of their delusion, and little less than the lives of their betrayers will satiate their revenge. Not even the authority of the clergy, who seem generally to have been a set of men decidedly opposed to popular freedom, can give sanction to such a government. The people of America understand their rights better than, by adopting such a constitution, to rivet the fetters of slavery; or to sacrifice their liberty at the shrine of aristocracy or arbitrary government. We, the subscribers, are a society united for the express purpose of reciprocal or mutual improvement; we meet once a week, and political matters are frequently the subjects of litigation and debate. We have read and endeavoured fully to comprehend the proposed federal constitution; and also the arguments for and against it; and after mature deliberation, we unanimously acquiesce with, and cordially thank you the Minority in the late State Convention:—First, for your patriotic and spirited endeavours to support the drooping cause of liberty, and rights of your constituents: Secondly, for your integrity and firmness in stemming the torrent of popular clamour, insult and flattery: Thirdly, for your unanswerable, solid, and well-founded arguments and reason of dissent: Lastly, we rejoice to think that your names will shine illustriously in the page of history, and will be read with honour and grateful remembrance in the annals of fame; while the names of the majority, and their ignorant tools will be spurned and execrated by the succeeding generations as the pillars of slavery, tyranny and despotism.