Archive for February 28th, 2009

Long Live Your Choice

February 28, 2009


The Sprig of Liberty.

In Lewistown, in this state, we have been informed that a majority of the people were so much displeased with the eleven senators, who voted for the acquittal of judges Shippen, Yeates and Smith, that they actually burnt them — in effigy. The 4th of March, was celebrated  at that place with much spirit, and some excellent toasts were drank on the occasion. The following extempore account of the proceedings on that day is taken from the Western Star,, published in Lewistown.

“To a Friend in the Country.

I promised, sir, to let you know,
How here the fourth of March would go,
Rejoic’d old Tom was Chief once more,
We all assembled just at four;
The spot we chose — a rifling ground,
The air with loud huzzas resound;
Our cannon tells the welcome news,
That Jefferson again we choose;
And echo pleased to hear its voice,
Re-echoes back, “Long live your choice!”

Our front, old Seventy-Six men led,
For scenes like this, they fought and bled;
With pleasure glistening in their eye,
They haild the Reign of Liberty.
Indignant at Oppressions name,
Their hearts soon caught the sacred name;
Their tongues assumed the martial strain,
And fought the Britons o’er again.
Thee patriots of a later date,
Who joined to save a sinking state,
When hovering dangers did combine,
To mark the black year Ninety-nine,
With pleasure celebrate the day;
Apostate Burr* has lost his sway.
Old Tommy’s health goes round again,
With Clinton, Washington, MKean;
The noted Eleven not forgot —-
(Poor Passmore left in gaol to rot.)

But still a few not more than ten,
Refused to show themselves like men
And citizens, but lurk’d behind,
And at the general good repined;
Brooding in gloomy melancholy;
The monuments of federal folly;
The satellites of that fall’n star,
Whom Fame disbanded from her car.

The night was spent in mirth and noise,
And loud huzzas of men and boys;
All swigg’d — none from their duty flunk;
And all were gay — though not quite drunk.”


*Although there is very strong reason for suspecting Mr. Burr, of apostacy, we believe it has never been fairly proven.

The Sprig Of Liberty (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Mar 29, 1805


From the “Against the Grain” website:

In Pennsylvania, the feeling against the Common Law took shape, in 1802-1805, in the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice and judges of the Supreme Court, Edward Shippen, Jasper Yeates and Thomas Smith, charged with a single “arbitrary and unconstitutional act,” that of sentencing Thomas Passmore to jail for thirty days and imposing a $50 fine for a “supposed contempt,” the ground of the impeachment being that punishment for contempt of court was a piece of English Common Law barbarism, unsuited to this country and illegal)

Report of the Trial and Acquittal can be found on Google Books (click the link.)

Trial page graphics from the linked book.