Shay's Rebellion

An early report of the opening salvos of Shay's Rebellion in Northampton and Worcester Massachusetts as reported in the Connecticut Journal September 1786.

An early report of the opening action of Shay's Rebellion as reported in the Wednesday, September 13, 1786 edition of The Connecticut Journal (New Haven: Printed by Thomas and Samuel Green, opposite the Post-Office) 4 pages, 10" x 16". Minor marginal tears and chips, light folds.

The Journal opens with news from abroad including a report on the latest parachute jump from a hot-air balloon in Brussels by Jean-Pierre Blanchard. However, the right-hand column of page two notes the opening salvo of Shay's rebellion when Luke Day and a band of 100 men closed the courthouse at Northampton, Massachusetts:

"NORTHAMPTON, September 6. Last week on Tuesday, being the day for holding the Courts of Common Pleas and General Sessions of the Peace in this town, --- early in the morning, abut one hundred men from West-Springfield, with white staffs (the insignia of Mobs) embodied themselves near the Court House, commanded by Capt. Luke Day, whose private character and circumstances, as well as his personal liberty, made it very convenient that there should be an immediate redress of public grievances. -- In the course of the forenoon they were joined by a number from various other towns in this county, and at one o'clock by a body of horse and foot from Amherst, Pelham, &c. under the command of Capt. Hinds and Lieut. Billings, forty of whom brought their arms, making in the whole bar 400[.] The friers to government wished to lend their aid to support the Court, and impatiently waited for orders from the proper officer. What would have been their numbers, or what the consequences of a forcible attack, is uncertain but instead of calling upon the militia of this, as the neighbouring towns, the day was spent in frequent and idle conferences, and those people who had heretofore signalized themselves upon such occasions, had the mortification to find that the Court had complied with all the wishes of the insurgents and adjourned without delay, without the least attempt to do their duty … We hear from Boston, that his Excellency the Governor has issued a Proclamation, requiring the Sheriffs, Constables, &c. of this country, immediately to exert themselves in apprehending the leaders of the late Insurgents, who assembled in this town to prevent the sitting of the Courts of Justice. WORCESTER, Sept. 6 Early on Tuesday morning last, this town was visited by a body of Men under arms from several towns in the North-west part of the county, who surrounded and took possession of the Court-house, in order to stop the sitting of the Court of Common Pleas … About 12 o'clock the Judges of the Court proceded [sic] by the High Sheriff proceeded to the Court-house, but were stopped at the door by the points of bayonets … in consequence of which they soon after assembled at the United States arms and there opened the Court in due form … " The writers at the Journal were dismissive of the rioters and their motives adding: "It is a truth, that he promoters and ringleaders of the riots which have for sometime past disturbed the country, are composed of disgraced officers of our late army, and creatures who were need opposed to our present government. -- With the cry of grievances, and pretended danger, they have alarmed and led from the duty they ow the Commonwealth, numbers of hones, undesigning men, who, it is not doubled, on a moment's calm reflection, will discover the wicked designs of these real foes to their happiness, and will treat them and their measures with becoming detestation."


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Shay's Rebellion
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