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SHAYS' REBELLION.

285

men to fire, but to direct the first shot over their heads. This only quickened their approach. The artillery was then levelled against them, and three of their number were killed and one wounded.

14. Shays endeavored to rally his men, but in vain. They retreated first to Ludlow, and afterward to Pelham, where they again assembled. General Lincoln, hearing of this at Hadley, marched against them, in the midst of deep snow, and took one hundred and fifty of them prisoners, and dispersed the rest.

15. Conditional pardon was now offered by the legislature of Massachusetts to all the rebels; of which seven hundred and ninety availed themselves. Fourteen were tried and received sentence of death; but were, one after another, finally pardoned. The rebellion was at length suppressed, and the peace of the commonwealth restored.

CHAPTER CXXXVII.

Formation and Adoption of the Constitution of the United States. Washington elected President.

1. WE have seen that a confederacy of the states was proposed,

THE CONVENTION.

during the first years of the Revolutionary War, and signed by the thirteen states, in 1781. But experience at length seemed to show that, how wisely soever it had been framed for a time of war, it was not adequate to all the wants of the country in a time of peace.

2. In January,

[graphic]

1786, a proposal was made by the legislature of Virginia, for a con

13. Describe the advance of the insurgents. Their reception. 14. What was the fate o' Shays' men? 15. What was the fate of the rebels?

CHAP. CXXXVII.-1. What can you say of the confederacy signed in 1781 ?

7. The country was not, however, in a perfectly settled state. There were some men in Massachusetts who, though they had been willing, in 1776, to go to war with Great Britain rather than submit to taxation without representation, were willing, in 1786, to go to war with the government rather than pay their share of the expenses which the contest with Great Britain had occasioned.

8. On the 22d of August, 1786, delegates from fifty towns in the county of Hampshire met at Hatfield, and set on foot an opposition to the burdens, as they called them, which were lying on the people. The excitement soon spread to Worcester, Middlesex, Bristol, and Berkshire counties. Indeed, it did not stop in Massachusetts-it extended to New Hampshire.

9. In some parts of Massachusetts, tumultuous assemblies, under the specious names of conventions, were assembled, which obstructed the proceedings of courts and other bodies. Daniel Shays, who had been a captain in the revolutionary war, was considered as the head of the insurgents-hence the movement took the name "Shays' Insurrection.”

10. In August, no less than fifteen hundred of these insurgents assembled in Northampton. They took possession of the court-house, and would not allow the courts to sit. In December, three hundred of them, under Shays himself, acted a similar farce in Springfield. In truth, the spirit of opposition to taxation was rife everywhere in the states. and seemed to be on the increase.

11. In December, 1786, or early in January, 1787, a body of four thousand men was raised to sustain the courts and suppress the insurrection, and General Lincoln-the same man who had so much distinguished himself in the army of the United States-was appointed to the chief command. The troops were raised for a service of only thirty days.

12. One of the first directions to the new army, was to go to Worcester, and defend the courts there. In this they succeeded. Another object was to defend the arsenal at Springfield. For this last purpose, twelve hundred men, under General Shepard, assembled at Springfield; and, on the 24th of January, Shays, with eleven hundred men, marched against them.

13. When the insurgents were within two hundred and fifty yards of the arsenal, word was sent them not to come any nearer, for if they did they would be fired on. Disregarding this, they advanced one hundred yards further, upon which General Shepard ordered his

10.

7. What new trouble now arose ? 8. What was done in 1786? How far did the opposition extend? 9. What of tumultuous assemblies? Who headed the insurrection? What was done in August? In December? 11. Who headed the men raised to suppress the insurrection? 12. What did the army first attempt? What was another object?

SHAYS' REBELLION.

285

men to fire, but to direct the first shot over their heads. This only quickened their approach. The artillery was then levelled against them, and three of their number were killed and one wounded.

14. Shays endeavored to rally his men, but in vain. They retreated first to Ludlow, and afterward to Pelham, where they again assembled. General Lincoln, hearing of this at Hadley, marched against them, in the midst of deep snow, and took one hundred and fifty of them prisoners, and dispersed the rest.

15. Conditional pardon was now offered by the legislature of Massachusetts to all the rebels; of which seven hundred and ninety availed themselves. Fourteen were tried and received sentence of death; but were, one after another, finally pardoned. The rebellion was at length suppressed, and the peace of the commonwealth restored.

CHAPTER CXXXVII.

Formation and Adoption of the Constitution of the United States. Washington elected President.

1. WE have seen that a confederacy of the states was proposed,

THE CONVENTION.

during the first years of the Revolutionary War, and signed by the thirteen states, in 1781. But experience at length seemed to show

that, how wisely soever it had been framed for a time of war, it was not adequate to all the wants of the country in a time of peace.

2. In January,

[graphic]

1786, a proposal was made by the legislature of Virginia, for a con

13. Describe the advance of the insurgents. Their reception. 14. What was the fate o' Shays' men? 15. What was the fate of the rebels?

CHAP. CXXXVII.-1. What can you say of the confederacy signed in 1781 ?

vention of commissioners from the several states, whose duty it should be to take into consideration the trade and commerce of the country, and either devise some plan for their regulation, or delegate to Congress the power to legislate upon it;-in other words, to revise the federal system.

3. Provision was made for holding such a convention in Annapolis in the following September; but as there were delegates present at that time from only six of the states, the subject was deferred to the following May. In the mean time, new efforts were made to procure a general attendance at that meeting.

4. In May, 1787, commissioners from all the states but Rhode Island met at Philadelphia, and having chosen General Washington, who was one of the delegates from Virginia, their president, they proceeded to the important business assigned them. Their whole number was fiftyfive.

5. The question which first engaged their attention was, whether to revise the old federal system, or form a new one. The object for which the convention had been originally appointed, was that of mere revision. And yet the defects of the old system were such that it was finally determined by the majority to form a new system.

6. The next thing was, to agree upon the principles which should form the basis of the new confederation. Here, in general, there was much harmony of opinion at first. But when they came to the practical application of those principles, there was more of disagreement. One point, in particular, upon which they could not soon agree, was the formation of a national legislature.

7. It was a long time before all the members of the convention were willing to have the members of the House of Representatives be in proportion to the whole number of free citizens in the state and threefifths of the others. And as to the Senate, there was still greater difficulty. The small states wished to be on an equal footing with the larger ones; to which the latter were, of course, strongly opposed.

8. When this last point had been agitated for a long time, and the convention seemed about to adjourn without accomplishing its object, Dr. Franklin, a member from Pennsylvania, then over eighty years of age, in a speech which abounded in good sense, and was not wanting in eloquence, proposed daily morning prayer.

9. This hint being well received, prayer was henceforth offered, every day, before proceeding to business. From this time, there was

2. What was to be the duty of the commissioners? 8. What of a convention at Annapo lis? 4. What was done in May, 1787? How many commissioners were there? 5. What first occupied them? What was the next consideration? Upon what point did they disagree? 7. What difficulties arose in the states? 8. What was proposed by Dr. Franklin?

WASHINGTON ELECTED PRESIDENT.

287

more and more of harmony in their deliberations, till at length a constitution was matured and signed by the members, and presented to Congress, who forthwith presented it to the several states, for them to consider and ratify.

10. It had been resolved by the convention, that state conventions should be called to discuss the merits of the new constitution, and to accept or reject it, as might seem to them best; and that Congress should carry it into effect as soon as it should be signed or ratified by nine of the states.

11. For a time it was quite doubtful whether it would ever go into operation. At length, however, it was ratified by eleven of the states; North Carolina and Rhode Island alone, of the thirteen, refusing to accept it. They finally consented to receive it-the former in 1789.

the latter in 1790.

12. All classes of people, whether federalists or not-for by this name the friends of the federal government were called-now turned their eyes toward Washington as their first president. On opening the votes for chief magistrate of the United States, at New York, March 3d, 1789, it was found that George Washington was unanimously elected; and that John Adams was chosen vice-president.

9. What contributed to produce harmony? What was at length formed? 10, What was resolved upon by the convention? 11. By how many states was it ratified? What states finally received it?' 12. On whom did all fix as president? When were the votes taken? Who was chosen president? Who vice-president?

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