938. Senex
Massachusetts Centinel, 20 September 1788

Mr. RUSSELL, The celebrated writer of Common Sense compared the marches and countermarches of Gen. Howe, in America, to “a dog running after his tail.”—The similitude was striking; but it is better applied to the knot of scribblers who have been for a long time harping on the subject of “amendments,” in our papers. But to what can one compare the folly of these witlings in taking it upon them to call the writings of those who are opposed to them, “trash,” &c. when even they themselves must confess that they are not competent to judge of composition—and by their writings shew themselves to be not only destitute of every species of political knowledge and pretensions to candour; but of the first rudiments of grammar?—A similitude is to be found only in their ignorance. If the federal paragraphs which have been occasionally inserted, to caution the people against the arts of these designing seekers—were such “trash” as they would insinuate, why need they take such unwearied pains to make the publick believe them such? The publick could determine on them—and a consolation is, that the enlightened publick WILL judge of the merits or demerits of the paragraphs on both sides—and I believe there is no occasion for any thing to be said, to convince them which are “trash.”

Opposed to these moonshine politicians, are the writings of Publius, and Mr. Adams—of Gen. Washington, Dr. Price, and many other dignified and enlightened characters, both in America and Europe. If one were to ask on whose opinion it was safe for the people to rely—the characters above mentioned, or these wiseacres—who would not smile?

The proposed amendments, Mr. RUSSELL, have effected the purpose for which they were intended—i. e. conciliation. Did not a number of gentlemen in our Convention, among whom was our Commander in Chief, declare—and have not a majority in all the other Conventions which have since met—declared, that they were willing to receive the Constitution without ANY ALTERATIONS? But, for the sake of conciliation, and a regard for the weakness of those who from the want of time to consider the subject maturely—prejudice, and the arts of demagogues, had supposed the Constitution to be dangerous—they consented to the recommendation of amendments. This is the truth, and the object being happily attained, alterations ought not to be further thought of—until found by experience, wanting.

While one cannot but smile at the shrewd guesses of these wis[e]acres, respecting the authors of the paragraphs they find fault with—and the motives in which they originate—I can assure the publick, that their conjectures on both heads are wholly ill-founded. That their project is contrary to the expressed sentiments of the People of America, need not be told at this time of day.