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title:“Extract of a letter from Franklin County”
date written:1788-4-30

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:10 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Sept. 26, 2022, 6:45 a.m. UTC

"Extract of a letter from Franklin County." Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer 1788-04-30 : . Rpt. in The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 17. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1995. 251-52. Print.

Extract of a letter from Franklin County (April 30, 1788)

Extract of a letter from Franklin county, 24th April, 1788.
"The necessary arrangements," as they are termed here, have taken place in these counties; committees of observation and correspondence are appointed in every township, who correspond with the militia officers and leading men in every county in the state; the counties of Cumberland, Dauphine, and Franklin, appear to take the lead, and have been long since repairing and cleaning their arms, and every young fellow who is able to do it, is providing himself with a rifle or musket, and amunition: They have also nominated a commanding officer, it is said to be General —, and say that they can turn out, at ten days warning, TWENTY THOUSAND expert woodsmen, completely armed; this is I believe very true, as all the counties, this side the Susquehanna, are nearly unanimous, and near three fourths of the other counties. They say the strength of their opponents are in the city, and give out that it will be in vain for them to make any resistance; they mean to make * * * and are promised assistance from a neighbouring state, who, I find, are as warmly opposed as this state to the system. The lawyers, &c. when they precipitated with such fraud and deception the new system upon us, it seems to me, did not recollect, that the militia had arms; however, it will be an awful lesson to tyrants, if they should feel the resentment of an enraged people; I can assure Mr. Wilson that the people are now as determined to secure their liberties as he is anxious for power and offices; and let the worst come to the worst, the opposition have the constitution of the state, the established law of the land, on their side; this yet remains good and firm, any doings, or acts of a faction, or illegal mob convention, to the contrary notwithstanding. A civil war is dreadful, but a little blood spilt now, will perhaps prevent much more hereafter. However, another general convention being called, will prevent any thing like it happening; the people appear anxious for farther powers being granted to Congress; and are generally agreed, that those offered by the minority of the convention of this state would be quite sufficient, and all their rights and privileges would be then secured by the proposed bill of rights, consequently unity and harmony would follow: on the other hand, if the votaries of power and offices do not agree to peaceable measures, by having another general convention called, I dread the consequences to themselves.1
"N. B. I hear no more of the attempt to execute the order of Council to disarm the militia, I believe the sub-lieutenants in most of the counties refused to deliver up the arms, it was well enough, for the people were determined not to part with them. It is hinted that since the western members went down, they cancelled the order."

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