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NORTHAMPTON, February 14.
Extract of a letter from a gentleman in one of the eastern counties, to his friend, an officer in General Lincoln's army.

"In monarchies, mercy to rebels may be the highest magnanimity—In republics, it assumes a different character, and becomes a weakness. Insurrection in a monarchy effects but the extremities and limbs. In a republic, the disease is in the head; the disease therefore, must not only be removed, but the seeds of it rooted out for one or two returns may bring on a political dissolution. And it is not enough to hang two or three to terrify the rest—many must be cut off, because it is dangerous to society that they should live. The poor wretches I pity, God knows. It is melancholy their vices and follies should plunge them into such deep distresses. Pardon ought, I think, to be granted upon these conditions and disqualifications, that they petition—the petition be preferred before __ days. That the pardon be available to them, but upon condition that they keep the peace, and are of good behaviour, for a certain number of years. That the petitioner be ineligible to any office or to vote for others for a certain number of years. How absurd is it, that the very men, whom you have this day declared rebels, shall on the morrow, merely from the circumstance of defeat, have a right to appoint magistrates, and constitute a part of the supreme authority? The present appearance of the General Court is highly favourable. They speak out.—Some cunning men however, are wriggling about among them: Their vices are pitiful. They are known and marked; some with the business to be but half finished, because they flourish most in confusion. Some fear to be decided, least they should shake their popularity. Others are desirous of having the business taper off, to throw an odium on the present administration. But the current in favor of exertion, sets so strong at present in the court, that the characters I have described, are obliged to grin their teeth and vote—they dare not stand in opposition.

Last Monday evening was committed to gaol in this town, a John Wheeler, of Hardwick, who has acted in the capacity of an Aid to Capt. Shays.—Nine others were also committed the same evening.

Yesterday was brought to this town and committed to gaol, a Capt. Clark, of Colrain.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: This letter, supposedly from a "gentleman in the eastern counties" to a friend serving in General Benjamin Lincoln's army of militia, was printed in the Hampshire Gazette in February, 1787. Its author agreed with Samuel Adams that, while "In monarchy the crime of treason may admit of being pardoned or lightly punished, but the man who dares rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death." He favored pardoning repentant rebels so long as they "uphold the peace," but recommended withholding the vote from them "for a certain number of years." To do otherwise would be foolhardy: "How absurd is it, that the very men, whom you have this day declared rebels, shall on the morrow, merely from the circumstance of defeat, have a right to appoint magistrates, and constitute a part of the supreme authority?" The writer was pleased to report that the representatives to the Massachusetts General Court were "highly favorable" to taking strong action against the insurgents who had taken up arms against the government. He referred contemptuously to the few who opposed such measures as "cunning men" whose "vices are pitiful." William Butler began publication of the Hampshire Gazette on September 6, 1786, in Northampton, Massachusetts. The mission of the newspaper was to inform the public about the issues pertaining to the ongoing conflicts of 1786-87. Butler was decidedly on the government side of the issues.

 

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Extract of a Letter regarding fate of the insurgents published in the Hamsphire Gazette

creator   Unidentified
publisher   Hampshire Gazette
date   Feb 14, 1787
location   Northampton, Massachusetts
height   7.5"
width   3.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L04.087


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See Also...

"The Confession of Judah Marsh" published in the Hamsphire Gazette

Oath of Allegiance [Faith]

Proclamation regarding apprehension of Shays' Insurgents published in the Hampshire Gazette


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