20. Cassius
Massachusetts Gazette, 28 September 1787

That some of the productions of Numa have a tendency to excite sedition, and stir up commotions in the commonwealth, every man of sense, who will give his real opinion, will not hesitate to declare. And how mean must be the opinion entertained by every honest man, of those incendiaries who, under the cloak of dissimulation, are endeavouring to wreck the basis of our freedom, and overthrow the constitutional rights of the people. Almost void of common honesty, and destitute of every principle of candour and good policy, these sycophants of departed power are employing themselves in searching the records of ancient monarchies and republicks, and attempting to adduce facts applicable to the present state of our affairs; but they are in reality no more similar to them, than the most adverse things in the creation. But under their tutorage, they are altered in almost every respect. In some instances, additions are made, and in others, facts are curtailed, and twisted, till they are brought to a shape suitable to their taste, and then dressed up in a specious garb, and presented to the citizens of Massachusetts, as patterns for their conduct. It is, however, natural for those whose hearts suggest base actions, to commit others still baser to screen them, in order to have a subterfuge from the sting of ridicule or the lash of justice. Could the hearts of those sons of sedition be laid open, we should find, that while they, Sempronius-like, cried out, that their sentiments were still for good government, and the equal enjoyment of law and liberty by every citizen, that, instead of being possessed of such sentiments, they were replete “with all that’s horrid”—“treason, sacrilege and crimes.” In almost every age, we shall find examples, to prove that those who were busy in aiming a fatal stab to the liberties of the people, always, to effect their purposes, put on the cloak of patriotism, and were foremost to talk loudly of the privileges of the people, and weep over their pretended sufferings.

When Cato, and those of the Roman senate, and others who adhered to the principles of liberty, were obliged to fly before the legions of a tyrant, who had invaded the rights of their country, Sempronius was one who fled with them;—and whenever this chosen band of patriots met to consult upon what measures it was best for them to pursue, he ever was foremost in debate; thundering out his pompous expressions, with all the apparent fire of the most patriotick zeal, and declaring that a measure which he knew if it was pursued would effect the destruction of Cato, and those who had adhered to him, was the only one which ought to be pursued, and this measure he set forth in a most advantageous point of view; and at the same time vilely insinuated, that they, who from far more honest views than those which actuated his own base heart, were for pursuing a different course, were enemies to liberty, and by no means fit to be confided in—and notwithstanding all this, Sempronius himself was at the same time carrying on a traiterous correspondence with that tyrant, against whom he so bitterly inveighed.

It is much to be feared that many a modern Sempronius now taint the air of this western hemisphere, with their blasting breath! and while they pretend to be stimulated by principles of patriotism, and a love of their country, are actuated by the most villanous principles that were ever harboured in the human breast; labouring with unwearied zeal to sap the foundation of that confidence which the people have in those who guard their rights, that they may introduce men into power, whose views seem far beyond the principles of republicanism, equal liberty, law and justice.

For what other intent than the foregoing are the laboured productions of Numa? Smoothly, indeed, he seems to glide along upon many subjects, and often dresses many of his arguments in the mask of candour; but it is only with a view to gain a better opportunity to stab, in the dark, Italian-like, the reputation of those characters, who, when he and his clan were groveling in the dark corners of obscurity, fostered freedom in its infancy, and nurtured it up through many difficulties, dangers and hazards.

In the midst of the contest with Britain, when danger surrounded us on every side, Numa and his clan were ready enough to cry up the merit of those men whom they now labour so hard to overthrow. On every occasion they sounded forth their praises, and were foremost in applauding their worth. But now the danger is over, and those who took great care not to interest themselves in it, now wish to reap the benefit acquired by the godlike exertions of others, and not only wish that, but are even so selfish as to wish to secure it wholly to themselves, and exclude those who were so instrumental in procuring it from tasting its pleasures.

Wretched clan!—how long are the citizens of Massachusetts to be insulted by your falsehoods, baseness and slander? will ye never be weary in ill-doing? Come forward, ye defamers of merit! and prove, if you can, that either you, or your more despicable patrons, ever possessed the least tincture of patriotism, or ever exerted yourselves in the manner you ought to establish the independence of your country.—If this can be done, you may then, and not till then, with propriety lay claim to the notice of your fellow citizens; and till you do this, they cannot view you in any other light, than traitors against their peace and happiness. Forbear therefore;—cease your vile attacks against those whose merit ever has, and without doubt ever will, supercede that of your own.—Your bellowing will answer no other purpose, than to place you, if possible, in a more contemptible sphere in the eyes of your fellow-citizens, and in the end bring down on your heads the punishment you most deservedly merit.