839. Peregrine
Massachusetts Centinel, 19 April 1788

Mr. RUSSELL, Having lately travelled into the western and southern parts of the Commonwealth, I have been favoured with an opportunity of making a variety of observations upon the present temper and disposition of the people—and you may be assured that a very great revolution of sentiment on many points has taken place: At present I shall instance only in one or two.—The spirit of insurgency is very much abated, and in many towns is entirely extinct—this wicked principle discovered itself in a violent opposition to law and lawyerscreditors, taxes, and Courts of Justice;—but the people begin to see through the knavery of their leaders, and that many of the opposers of law and lawyers, are in grain, tyrants; who only mean to raise themselves to power through the medium of anarchy and confusion: That the harangues which have been published against the “ORDER,” have had a pernicious tendency, unhinging the publick mind, and destroying that respect for the Courts of Justice, which has so remarkably distinguished this people, and from which the most permanent advantages were derived. They begin to realize that their just debts and taxes must be paid, and find that “honesty is the best policy”—from all which we may anticipate better times on a solid foundation.

There is one other point, which I think the people in the country begin to have more just and accurate ideas of—and that is the CINCINNATI, so called. The officers of the late American army, are universally acknowledged to possess as much merit, as any description of men whatever. Having served their country in the field, and secured (under Providence) the independence of America, they are returned to the bosom of peace, and the enjoyment of those social blessings they have so richly purchased: They stand as citizens in their lot—candidates with their brethren for those honours and employments to which the free suffrages of their country may appoint them—they claim no exclusive rights and privileges—on the bottom of their own merits they stand—their ALL as men, as husbands, brothers, fathers, being involved in the fate of their country.—In this view they are now considered by their brethren the enlightened citizens throughout the State—and he is now justly suspected of being a secret enemy to the Constitution, and an underminer of the publick peace, who invidiously attempts to fix a stigma on the officers of the late American army, under the idea of Cincinnati, or any other denomination whatever.

That the foregoing are the just, and liberal sentiments, which are gaining ground in the country, is manifest by many recent events—May they encrease, to the confusion and disappointment of every artful demagogue and time-serving politician. More in my next.

  Your’s,