745. Massachusetts Gazette, 19 February 1788

Extract of a letter from a gentleman at Portland (Casco-Bay)

to his friend in this town.

[“]The generality of the men of sense and property in the eastern counties are perfectly satisfied with the decision of the convention respecting the federal constitution. Indeed, the principal opposition to the new system in this quarter, arises from a set of men known by the name of SQUATTERS. This class of beings you no doubt have had an account of: the reason of their having the epithet applied to them which I have just mentioned, is this. You must know that there is a tract of land which borders on the British lines, and that tract belongs to government. On this land a number of persons have erected buildings, and some part of it is occupied in tillage; they have cut a vast deal of timber off it, and thus enriched themselves by rioting on the property of the publick. These men are afraid of being called on by government to relinquish the property thus seized on, should regularity and order take place in the government. The reason why the T-p—m hero [i.e., Samuel Thompson] is so violently opposed to the constitution, and has made so much noise and so many pathetick exclamations about it, is, that he is one of the class of squatters, and experiences the same fears that agitate his brethren in iniquity. Really my friend, when I see so much opposition made to the federal system of government by knaves and rogues, it is sufficient to induce me to be decidedly in favour [of] it, and convinces me that there is some peculiar excellence, some remarkable check against fraud and injustice, contained in it: things not congenial in their natures, ever clash with each other; and surely more clashing never took place between any two things in creation, than there has between knavery and the federal constitution. It is my sincere wish that the new system may meet the approbation of all the states, and if it should, under the administration of it, I have no doubt but in time this western empire will exceed in wealth, dignity and greatness, the most famed nations of ancient or modern date. The moment I hear that a general ratification has taken place, I shall look forward to years far distant, and anticipate scenes more bright.”