925. A Federalist
Massachusetts Centinel, 30 August 17881

Mr. RUSSELL, It is a well known fact, that the “proposed amendments,” as they are called, to the Federal Constitution, took their rise from a variety of causes, very few of which, if impartially considered, will be found honest or praise worthy—so far as they were acceded to, by the real patriots of our country, the prompt and steady advocates for an unconditional adoption of the Constitution, a laudable motive may be assigned—that of peace and conciliation.

Let us advert to the conduct of those who are now clamourers for introducing into the Federal Legislature the sticklers for alterations while they were members of the Convention—particular reference is now had, to the writer whose signature is Solon, in last Thursday’s Chronicle—The conduct of this man has been uniformly such, both in the field and legislature, that he may with propriety be called the doubting General, and the doubting Politician.—When the proceedings of the Grand Convention, in their excellent system, were first promulgated, the vague, doubting and inconclusive lucubrations of this doubting statesman, upon the subject, saluted the publick eye: Through some fatality, he obtained a seat in the State Convention—and there he added fresh laurels to his doubting character—(see his very extraordinary declamation upon the subject without object, spirit or decision—an enemy to, and an advocate for, the same thing in the same speech)—What good fruit can ever be expected from such a non-descriptive soil? While the die spun doubtful, this doubting orator fluttered upon the wings of uncertainty; but when he found a clear vote would be obtained for the adoption of this system, the friends of the Constitution were enabled, and not before, to count him in the affirmative. Can it be possible that such a character is ever actuated by independent principles? However capable of forming adequate ideas upon any subject, no credit is due to, nor can any reliance be placed upon, so equivocal a character.—And yet astonishing as it may appear, THIS MAN is a candidate for a seat in the federal Legislature. And what are the methods by which he is now trying to effect his purpose; are they manly, decisive and patriotick? By no means. Under the appearance of contending for amendments, his design is to draw the publick attention to himself, and some other characters, who, when in Convention, would have effected a total rejection of the Constitution, had not their secret machinations been counteracted by those inflexible and able patriots, who realized and demonstrated that our ALL was suspended on a decisive system of conduct.

Should the plan of this camelion politician succeed; should we be so highly unfortunate as to have persons of his kidney introduced into the federal Legislature, the blessed effects to be derived from the operation of the new government, which the people so justly and fondly anticipate, will in all probability be procrastinated to a period that shall exhaust the patience of the States; and may be finally productive of that despair, anarchy and confusion, from which we have but just escaped.

But, Mr. Russell, our FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES are to be instructed—and such instructions are to be “seasonably prepared”!—Blessed proposition! To say nothing of its absurdity, which neither the General himself, nor any of a similar cut, could reduce to a consistent idea: It has been thought that such a flagellation as some folks received from the pen of a very ingenious satirist, for his code of ready “cut and dried” instructions, respecting the “annihilation of the Order,” would have operated a little to prevent a like fruitless essay in future. It is devoutly to be wished that this stepping stone may fail, as it did on the above occasion.—“And as we have hitherto been the care of a kind Providence,” we have reason from that circumstance to hope, that our federal councils will be preserved from the direction of shufflers, shifters, doubters, and time-serving politicians.

1. Reprinted: New York Journal 11 September.