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Excerpt from Our Busy Town

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trouble enough in these years of 1780's, and when relief failed necessarily to arrive, wild projects to pull out of what we would call the depression, sprang up, and eager mobs caught on. The government of the United States was in a far better position in the 1930's to help solve the economic post-war problems; and tho we have been assured by many that the solutions were wild, they were at least backed by all the resources of the federal power.

Daniel Shay preached direct action to prevent the sale of property at auction, often it is true at a low price paid by men of some means who thereby increased their property while causing the poor man to become poorer. But instead of bringing a rope with running noose to string up the auctioneer (as happened in our western farming troubles) Daniel Shay advocated breaking up the courts in which judgments against debtors were given. In August, 1786, the Court at Northampton had been routed; the Supreme Court was to be held in September, and the government called on the forces of law and order to protect it.

Silas Hamilton was with Shay's mob; Justin Hitchcock, his erstwhile neighbor tradesman in Albany Lane was with the company called to Springfield.

"I went with a company from Deerfield, above forty, well armed. The mob turned out at the same time, and we frequently passed them, or they us, on the road, but was no dispute. We marched to Springfield in about 24 hours, and passed by the mob stationed on the west side of the road above Ferry lane. When we came to the Court House we found it well guarded by friends of the government who were well armed and had two pieces of artillery. The court was sitting but could do no business amid the noise and confusion. The mob were numerous and as they marched by us, by agreement, I counted the sections and allowing 8 men to a section I made them from 1200 to 1300. Others did the same. Daniel Shays was at their head. About 300 in front were armed—the rest were not—or not generally so. The court adjourned A.M. We had no further business. A sort of agreement was entered into with the mob by which we all returned home in peace."

Peace for the moment, but later Silas Hamilton was convicted of "Stirring up Sedition" and sentenced "to stand one hour in pillory and be publically whipped on the naked back with twenty stripes", a sentence suspended when he went about his peaceful pursuits. But Shays' Rebellion