10. Cassius
Massachusetts Gazette, 18 September 1787

It is a great pity that such an able writer as Numa should take up the pen to distribute sentiments which have a tendency to create uneasiness in the minds of the misinformed and weak, (for none other will be influenced by them) especially at this time, when the state is hardly recovered from those convulsions it has so recently experienced. The real well-wisher to peace and good government cannot but execrate many of the ideas which that would be disturber of tranquillity has lately proclaimed to the publick, through the channels of the Hampshire Gazette, and Independent Chronicle. The man of sense, the true lover of his country, would, if a change of officers was to take place in the government to which he was subject, and men be placed in power whom he thought not so capable of the task as those who preceded them, endeavour, all in his power, to extenuate the evil; and none but the ruthless incendiary, or the disappointed tool, would, at such a period, conduct in a manner the reverse.

It is well known, that there is a party in this state whose sentiments are in favour of aristocracy; who wish to see the constitution dissolved, and another, which shall be more arbitrary and tyrannical, established on its ruins. Perhaps a few of this description were members of the last ad——st——n. If so, most happy for the commonwealth, they are now hurled from seats of power, and unable to carry into effect plans laid for subverting the liberties of the people.—Checked at once in their horrid career—all those hopes blasted which they entertained of concerting measures which would “afford them matter for derision at a future day,”—they now put on the garb of hypocrisy, and seem to weep for the terrible misfortunes which they pretend are hovering around us. Such characters are, it is hoped, forever banished from places of trust. Some of them pretend to be mighty politicians—they display a vast knowledge of ancient times—and by their harangues about the conduct of Greece, Rome and Athens, show their acquaintance with the pages of antiquity. In some few instances, however, perhaps they are a little mistaken. The learned Numa says, “the degenerate Romans banished Cicero for saving the commonwealth.” Rome did not banish Cicero—A faction, who wished to triumph over the liberties of Rome, exiled that immortal orator; and to that, or a similar one, he at last fell a sacrifice. If a faction can be styled, the people, with great propriety do the disappointed aristocraticks, and their tools, in our day, style themselves, the great majority of the people.

If Numa, and others of the like stamp, are politicians, they are very short-sighted ones. If our government is weak, is it policy to weaken it still more by false suggestions, and by a scandalous abuse of our rulers? by endeavouring to spread a spirit of discontent among the people, and prejudicing their minds against those who, by their suffrages, they have chosen to take the helm of affairs? If this is policy, Numa is, indeed, an accomplished politician.

But the time of triumph for the aristocratick clan is now over. The people have seen their folly in listening too much to them already. Their conduct has involved the state in confusion; but it is hoped, a conduct the reverse will place matters again upon a right footing. The secret machinations, which were harboured in the breasts of those aristocratick dupes, have been laid open to publick inspection—their plans thoroughly investigated—and the horrid tendency of them, had they taken effect, been fully manifested. They may weep, crocodile-like, till the source of their tears is dried up, they never will get the prey into their jaws, which they hoped to devour. The sting of remorse, it may be hoped, will bring them to a sense of their guilt, and an upright conduct make some amends for their high-handed offences. Should this take place, an injured people may forgive, though they never can forget, them.

Let Numa reflect, that we now have, at the head of government, those men who were the first to step forth in the great cause of liberty—who risked their all to acquire the blessings of freedom; though that freedom, through the influence of such characters as himself, has been often abused. The people know their rulers, and have confidence in them: and can it be supposed, that they would have confidence in those, whose dastardly souls, in times of danger, shrunk back from the scene of action, and kept secure in their strong holds? and when peace and independence had crowned the exertions of far more noble souls, they grooped out of darkness and obscurity, and intruded themselves into places of power and trust? Can it be expected, that the people should have confidence in such men, or feel themselves secure under their government? By no means. The bandage is taken from their eyes—they see and detest them. They have displaced them, that they may return to their former obscurity, and pass the remainder of their days in philosophizing upon their conduct. Numa and his coadjutors may exert themselves all in their power; but they cannot again stir up sedition and rebellion—The people now have too much penetration to be led away by their falsehoods and scandal: they will, it is hoped, ere long, reap the blessings of good government, under the direction of a wise administration, and treat in a manner they deserve, every incendiary attempt aganst their peace and happiness.