638. A Dissenter
Massachusetts Centinel, 23 January 1788

Mr. RUSSELL, Your acknowledged candour induces a gentleman of this town, who lately received a letter from a gentleman of distinction at Philadelphia, from which the following is an extract, to request you will be so good as to insert it in the Centinel.

“Your worthy townsman, the Rev. Mr. Freeman and his congregation, are spoke of in this city in terms of the most flattering applause; the most judicious are united in opinion, that in a very few years his name will be mentioned in Europe and America, with the same emotions of gratitude and respect, as the asserter of religious liberty, in this country, as the immortal Washington is, as the asserter and champion of the natural rights of mankind. The narrow-minded politicks of those of the clergy and laity, who call themselves Episcopalians—who lately having laid aside their religion, their learning and their candour, are endeavouring to cram their own sentiments down other people’s throats, while they evince their inquisitorial disposition, in endeavouring to excite the publick prejudice against those who presume to judge for themselves, meets the contempt it deserves, and has fully convinced every one, that under an assumed anxiety for the cause of religion, Mr. P. and his friends, are now doing more injury to religion, than they will be able to repair to the end of their lives. The liberal hand with which our quondam parent is now distributing her lawn sleeves in this country, has awakened our suspicions, and will effectually prevent our being caught in this trap; for, to the honour of our country, priest-craft like king-craft, have lost their influence among us; the word of God is printed in a language we all understand—we can all read—and notwithstanding the efforts of the bishops, &c. are determined to think.

[“]Go on to compleat the good work you have begun—for every circumstance conspires to prove, that ‘the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father, in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship him.’ We are impatiently waiting the result of the deliberations of your Convention, on the subject of the Constitution, should the Massachusetts accept it, we may then bid defiance to the united malice of all our enemies, and hope to enjoy to the latest generation, all the many blessings, which the late revolution has placed within the reach of a good government, in our happy country. As I feel myself greatly interested in every thing which respects either the Church or state of America, do send me from time to time, whatever turns up on either of these subjects, at this interesting period.”

A DISSENTER, (Commonly so called.)