47. Simon the Tanner
Hampshire Gazette, 7 November 1787

Mr. PRINTER, The Public are in a critical situation, and people ask a good many questions for information: with this view the following are offered, and the subscriber asks a place for them in your useful paper.

1st. Whether a person in an exalted station might not as easily have found it “to be within the duties of his office” to decide upon the wisdom of receiving “the Constitution of the United States,” as to decide with confidence respecting the views of the late insurgents?

2d. Whether an appeal to the G——l C——t for concurrence in a “sentiment,” the falshood of which has been written as it were with a sun-beam, and confirmed by a thousand obstinate facts and circumstances—to say nothing about the “sentiments” of the Supreme Executive and the Legislature of the last year, nor about the “sentiments” and correspondent conduct of the same respectable authority in a number of our sister states, on the same subject—savours most of vanity or politeness, folly or wisdom, Shayism or disinterested regard to the dignity of the Commonwealth?

3d. Will not the appeal aforesaid reduce the L——e to the sad dilemma—either oblige them to tell a whisker, and flatter the G——r, or speak the truth, and gain the approbation of the wise and good?

4th. Whether, in case the L——e, forsaken of their guardian angel, should prefer the first part of said dilemma, we might not anticipate with pleasure the happy moment when the Commonwealth should exclaim, in immitation of the humble language of an animal, who never spake but once, but then talked to the purpose, “Am I not thine ass on which thou hast ridden these many years, ever since I was thine?”

5th. Since it is said, “Similar insurrections are found in the history of all countries,” would it not have been quite obliging to have produced an example of one “similar insurrection” in the “history” of some onecountry,” on terra firma?

6th. Since “insurrections in a state, where no tax can be levied, or law made, &c. but by the consent of the immediate representatives of the people, are” acknowledged to be “inexcusable;” does it become the character of a gentleman in high office to hint at other motives for the conduct of the “insurgents” than such as themselves constantly and openly avowed; and thus speciously attempt to EXCUSE them, at the extreme hazard of truth, and at the expence of those citizens whose patriotism and public virtue have been conspicuous in an evil day, and some of whom have been found faithful even unto death?

7th. Can the conduct of the Legislature, in pardoning the common herd of the rebels, and excluding others from the luxuriant offer of grace, be thought a sufficient foundation on which to proceed to extend pardon to all flesh—“The flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great?” Rev. xix. 18.

8th. Whether, in case the four unhappy persons, in the counties of Hampshire and Berkshire, convicted of the crime of burglary, had plead that they perpetrated said crime with seditious and traitorous designs, they might not have hugg’d themselves in the prospect of a “free and full pardon?[”]

9th. Whether when great folks show their —— in a place “where great assemblies meet,” it might not (with due submission to the venerable example of the sons of Noah—Gen. ix. 20, 23.) upon certain occasions, be proper to treat the part aforesaid with some degree of severity?

10th. Whether an unbounded lurch for Popularity ought not to be dignified with the high-sounding appellation of “SAVING GRACE?”

11th. Would there be any harm, at the present day, in reading the following lines of the celebrated Churchill?

“Smit with the love of honour or the pence,

O’er run with wit and destitute of sense,

Legions of factious authors throng at once,

Fool beckons fool, and dunce awakens dunce.

To —— the ready lies repair;

Ne’er was lie made which was not welcome there.

Thence, on maturer judgment’s anvil wrought

The polished falshoods into public brought;

Quick circulating slanders mirth afford,

And reputation bleeds in every word.”

Whackum, October 27th.