939. Lucius
Massachusetts Centinel, 24 September 1788

Mr. RUSSELL, The ingenious Letter Writer of “the Herald of Freedom,” has thrown out a variety of observations, which are worthy of attention; but are they attended to? Whether a native or foreigner, it matters not; his animadversions upon the police of the town, are similar to those which will be excited in the mind of every judicious stranger who visits the metropolis; and why some small efforts are not made to wipe off the reproach that cleaves to us, for permitting the nuisances which he complains of, to exist, can be accounted for in no other way, but that the evil is rooted in the defects of our system of Town Government.

The compliments upon the hospitality of the citizens in his third letter, are doubtless well-founded; but why he should talk about “better sort” or “well born,” after saying “that the most perfect equality reigns throughout,” is very unaccountable! The Letter Writer, in this part of his observations, appears to be under the same cloud of prejudice, which envelopes the understanding of too many others—All that can be said in favour of the people of America, in distinction from those of other nations, is, that no legal family distinctions or titles are known among them—But that there are degrees of rank and estimation here, is as true, as of any other country; and these distinctions always did and always will obtain, so long as human nature continues. In commercial States the cause is obvious; and in proportion to civilization, the spirit of emulation and laudable ambition will discover itself. These distinctions in life give a spring to exertion, and are the foundation of all that heroism, fortitude and patriotism which adorn the annals of mankind, and give the necessary circulations to the body politick.

Away then with the invidious epithets of tailors, shoe-makers, ploughjoggers, &c. As good blood flows in the veins of our mechanicks and yeomanry, as ever warmed the heart of the proudest hero of antiquity. America has taught mankind a new lesson, and shewn that from her farmers, her mechanicks, her merchants, she can turn out Generals that can conquer—Philosophers that can astonish mankind by their researches—and legislators that build empires.

Happy, thrice happy for the glorious emulating spirit of our country, the TEMPLE OF HONOUR is opened to every free citizen of America.

The FEDERAL CONSTITUTION knows of no distinctions, but those of MERIT—this consideration will most powerfully operate as a stimulus for the acquisition of those honourable distinctions which await the sons of virtue and real patriotism. The plaudits of an enlightened, grateful country, are worth ambition—and whom the people from sentiment, and conviction delight to honour—such are the truly honourable ones of the earth, let their origin be from shoe-makers, tinkers, coopers, merchants or farmers.