Under what authority do THEY decide what is best for the country? Because they're armed?
"William Henry testified substantially as follows:
"I arrived at Bethlehem on the evening of the 6th of March, 1799. We had heard that there was a party of men would collect, for the purpose of rescuing the prisoners who were there in custody of the marshal; in consequence of that, I went to assist the marshal, and, if possible, prevail on the people to desist. I was one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Northampton. About ten o' clock on the morning of the 7th, two men, with arms, arrived at the tavern where we were; who, when inquired of by the marshal as to their intention in coming armed, appeared to be diffident about answer; after first saying that they came upon a shooting frolic, one of them said they were come in order to see what was best to be done for the country. After that, came in several others, armed and on horseback, two of them in uniform, with swords and pistols...."
"...I also walked out for the same purpose, requesting them to withdraw, and not appear in arms in order to obstruct the process of the United States laws. They answered, that they were freemen, and might go where they pleased with their arms. I told them that they ran great risk by appearing in arms for such a purpose as I feared they were come. They came in a number, but I don t know how many particularly, as they mixed among the crowd. We requested them to deliver up their arms; but they refused. I also, at the same time, told one of them that it would be best for him to surrender himself, and not oppose the process; the others gave me answer, that they had come to accompany their friend, and to see that no injury was done to him. After this I returned into the lower back room of the house; by this time there were a number more collected round the house, but mostly armed. I don't recollect whether it was before these three men arrived, or not, that the marshal had sent off four men of his posse in order to meet the men with arms who were coming forward; and after we were up stairs three men arrived as a deputation from the armed body, making inquiry as to the intention of the marshal in taking these prisoners; with these three men, the four deputed by the marshal had returned from the armed body that was the other side of the bridge, in order to learn the marshal's object. The marshal assured them of the legality of the process, and reasoned with them as to the consequences of opposition, or threats to him, or preventing him from executing his duty; but I believe he liberated the two men that were first put in confinement, and returned them their guns. During the time that these two men were in confinement, we examined their guns, and found them loaded...."
- TRIAL OF THE NORTHAMPTON INSURGENTS, IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA, 1799-1800, James Iredell, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.