14. Cassius
Massachusetts Gazette, 21 September 1787

It is not the most surprising thing in nature, that the late ad——st——n should find scribblers base enough to support their measures; the greatest villains and tyrants, in every age, have not been without their sycophants—have not wanted for minions and dupes to declare to the people, that the edicts of tyranny, and excess of arbitrary power, was solely for their good.

When Cæsar, that tyrant and monster, who had awed the greatest part of the citizens of Rome into a submission to his power, was deprived of his existence, by an immortal band of patriots, headed by a Brutus, and his body thrown into the streets, Mark Anthony stepped forth from the croud, and made a long oration over his cor[p]se—he told the citizens, that Cæsar was preparing for them the greatest blessings, that his exertions were solely for their benefit, and that their good was ever his leading object—and as a proof of his attachment to them, produced a will (which probably was one of his own forging) wherein he informed them that Cæsar had left them money to a great amount.—This had the desired effect—he gained his point. But the tools of aristocracy, in our day, will find it more difficult to effect their plans than Mark Anthony did, in the days of Cæsar—The generality of the people have now more knowledge of the state of governmental affairs, than at that period—and are more capable of judging whether the conduct of their rulers has a manifest tendency to promote their welfare, or infringe their liberties.

It is true, that many, who are supporters of those men whose object is to effect their own aggrandizement; whose exertions have been unremitted to get unlimited power vested in their own hands, are persons of knowledge and sense, though they are base enough to prostitute it to the most scandalous purposes—and such men it behoves tyrants ever to employ—men who gild over the most deadly poison with a medicine that is sweet to the palate but bitter to the stomach—men who can represent patriotism as villainy, and who dare insult the feelings of a grateful people, so far, as to place a liberal donation in the light of a bribe—a donation as foreign to bribery as the East is to the West, or as virtue and truth is to the breast of Numa.—Had Numa related the circumstance where A BRIBE INDEED WAS OFFERED, for a re-election to publick office; where a sum was refused to be given up, when a great majority in a certain assembly demanded it—and when, instead of a compliance, their feelings were insulted by a paltry, negative cavillation, he would, in this instance, have strictly adhered to truth;—but truth is by no means his object—his endeavours—vain endeavours—are to render despicable men, whom their country revere, whose worth is known, who have been tried in the days of adversity, and found to be firm and stedfast friends to the cause of liberty, and the freedom of their country. Equally vain will be his endeavours to place in a favourable point of view the conduct of a clan, whose deeds ought to be transmitted to future generations in all the glare of reproach and censure.

It is indeed curious to observe how those short-sighted scribblers will often overshoot themselves in the course of their lengthy harangues, and, by putting themselves off their guard, discover sentiments which they would wish to conceal. It is not, however, greatly to be wondered at, as the mask but slightly covers their real wishes and intentions.—The man who propagates a sentiment foreign to his heart, can never do it with that gracefulness and ease, with which he can convey his real sentiments; the garb he puts on, galls him in such a manner, that, in the height of his phrensy, he is often apt to belch out expressions which discover the ass, though covered with the skin of the lion.

It is sincerely to be hoped, that the citizens of Massachusetts will beware, and not heedlessly swallow the bait which is laid to entrap them, by a designing clan whose grand object is, to overthrow their liberties, and erect the standard of aristocracy on the ruins of republicanism; and to this end are endeavouring to blast those characters who have the welfare of the people at heart. They are indefatigable in representing, that every action which is done for the publick good, is merely with a view to gain popularity; and, in this tone, are they now loudly exclaiming against our present patriotick rulers. Envy and malice, however, seem almost to have exhausted their stores, and the dim taper of scandal but feebly glows in its socket. May it soon expire, and its smoke obscure the vile defamers of virtue and merit!

Beware, O citizens of Massachusetts! that ye are not so far led away as to be induced again to call men into office, whose guiding principles are self interest!

In those times, when Tarquin was banished from Rome, for repeated acts of tyranny and injustice, a faction soon after laboured very hard in order that he might be recalled, again to wield the regal sceptre. In Massachusetts, a faction are exerting their utmost to replace men in power, whose deeds would, in a short time, if we may judge from what has already been experienced, be little inferiour to those of a Tarquin,—men, whose deeds, with those of others of the like stamp, in past ages, deserve to be recorded on the black roll of eternal infamy. Reflect on the firmness and patriotick conduct, manifested by those characters, who are now the guardians and protectors of your liberties, and you will be satisfied that you have made choice of those men for your rulers, who are adequate to the important task of securing to you the blessings of that freedom which they so nobly exerted themselves to procure.