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The Address and reasons of dissent of the minority of the convention, of the state of Pennsylvania, to their constituents.
P. 7 First. The right of conscience shall be held inviolable; and neither the legislative, executive nor judicial powers of the United States, shall have authority to alter, abrogate, or infringe any part of the constitution of the several states, which provide for the preservation of liberty in matters of religion
P. 8 Fourth. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed nor cruel nor unusual punishments inflicted.
Fifth. That warrants unsupported by evidence, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded or required to search suspected places, or to seize any person or persons, his or their property, not particularly described, are grievous and oppressive, and shall not be granted either by the magistrates of the federal government or others.
Sixth. That the people have a right to the freedom of speech, of writing and publishing their sentiments, therefore, the freedom of the press shall not be restrained by any law of the United States.
Seventh. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game, and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil powers.
Eleventh. That the power of organizing, arming and disciplining the militia (the manner of disciplining the militia to be prescribed by Congress) remain with the individual states, and that Congress shall not have authority to call or march any of the militia out of their own state, without the consent of such state, and for such length of time only as such state shall agree
Thirteenth. That no treaty which shall be directly opposed to the existing laws of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be valid until such laws shall be repealed or made conformable to such treaty; neither shall any treaties be valid which are in contradiction to the constitution of the United States, or the constitutions of the several states.
Fourteenth. That the judiciary power of the United States shall be confined to cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states--between a state and citizens of different states --between citizens claiming lands under grants of different states; and between a state or the citizens thereof and foreign states; and in criminal cases to such only as are expressly enumerated in the constitution, and that the United States in Congress assembled, shall not have power to enact laws, which shall alter the laws of descents and distribution of the effects of deceased persons, the titles of land or goods, or the regulation of contracts in the individual states
P. 11 We dissent, secondly, because the powers vested in Congress by this constitution, must necessarily annihilate and absorb the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the several states, and produce from their ruins one consolidated government, which from the nature of things will be an iron handed despotism, as nothing short of the supremacy of despotic sway could connect and govern these United States under one government.
P.15 The celebrated Montesquieu, in his Spirit of Laws, vol. 1, page 12th, says " That in a democracy there can be no exercise of sovereignty, but by the suffrages of the people, which are their will; now the sovereigns will is the sovereign himself; the laws therefore, which establish the right of suffrage, are fundamental to this government.
Miserable is the let of that people whose every concern depends on the WILL and PLEASURE of their rulers. Our soldiers will become Janissaries, and our officers of government Bashaws; in the short the system of despotism would soon be compleat.
Secondly, The rights of conscience maybe violated, as there is no exemption of those persons, who are conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms. These compose a respectable proportion of the community in the state.
Thirdly, the absolute command of congress over the militia, may be destructive of public liberty; for under the guidance of an arbitrary government, they may be made the unwilling instruments of tyranny.
The militia of Pennsylvania may march to New-England or Virginia to quell an insurrection occasioned by the most galling oppression, and aided by the standing army, they will, no doubt, be successful in subduing their liberty and independence; but in so doing, although the magnanimity of their minds will be extinguished, yet the meaner passions of resentment and revenge will be increased, and those in turn will be the ready and obedient instruments of despotism to enslave the others; and that with an irritated vengeance.
Thus may the militia be made the instruments of crushing the last efforts of expiring liberty, of rivetting the chains of despotism on their fellow citizens and on one another. This power can be exercised not only without violating the constitution but in strict conformity with it, it is calculated for this express purpose, and will doubtless be executed accordingly.
As this government will not enjoy the confidence of the people, but be executed by force, it will be a very expensive and burdensome government. The standing army must be numerous, and as a further support, it will be the policy of this government to multiply officers in every department; judges, collectors, tax-gathers, excise men, and the whole host of revenue officers will swarm over the land, devouring the hard earnings of the industrious. Like the locusts of old, impoverishing and desolating all before them.
We have not noticed the smaller, nor many of the considerable blemishes, but have confined our objections to the great and essential defects; the main pillars of the constitution; which we have shewn to be inconsistent with the liberty and happiness of the people, as its establishment will annihilate the state governments, and produce one consolidated government that will eventually and speedily issue in the supremacy of despotism.