849. Peregrine
Massachusetts Centinel, 3 May 1788

Mr. RUSSELL, It has been observed that many of the antifederalists, or opposers of the newly adopted national Constitution, were known by the opprobious appellation of tories in '74—this is pointedly true, with respect to many that might be mentioned; and how the people came to forget this circumstance with respect to several members of the late Convention so far, as to elect them for that important occasion, is very surprizing. But bodies of men, as well as individuals, are sometimes “taken by surprize.” Their inattention to federal and revolution principles was strikingly exemplified in the choice of two or three of the medical profession. The people, however, are now sensible of the mistake, and all the arts, threats and cajolings of the noted M. S. in a neighbouring town, to get into the senate, have failed—and there is a very great prospect that similar characters in other places, will lose their election.—So that we shall not have reason to exclaim with this good Doctor “Help Lord, for the godly man ceaseth.”

There are some antifederalists, alias tender-law gentry, for whose tory principles and conduct, we have not to go so far back as '74—they are to be found even in '75 and '76. Some of this latter sort, after defaming and reviling the revolution and its authors, to as great a degree as was consistent with their personal safety, finding it in vain to resist any longer, and perceiving that the road to fortune lay in tacking about, they had the consummate address to get into the government service, and to form contracts with the legislature for supplies of provisions, waggons, and transportation of stores, &c.—They bellowed (with whigs) as loud for liberty, as the fiercest enemy of Britain in the State.—But, (mark the sequel) roguery and law brought some of these harpies to the point from which they had digressed—poverty and bankruptcy. Hence their present opposition to federal measures.

Is it possible that such characters should ever receive the suffrages of independent men?—Men who love their country—their property—their wives and children? It is hoped, if this has been the case, it may be considered as the sin of ignorance—To such, says wisdom and common sense, Do so no more.

I was at —— the first week in April, and learnt from several quarters, that a certain GENERAL had very industriously circulated, that the elections through the Commonwealth would be of such a complexion, as to establish beyond a doubt, that THREE-FOURTHS OF THE PEOPLE were opposed to the NEWLY ADOPTED and RATIFIED Constitution.—There happened to be a majority in that town of similar sentiments, with the General—But to his very great mortification, the reverse has turned out to be fact, through the State at large—and as his calculations continue to be ill-founded, and worse supported, it is shrewdly suspected that all his sanguine expectations will prove “castles in the air.”

The town of M——n has been once taken in—“a burnt child dreads the fire.” More of this next time.