951. Massachusetts Centinel, 1 November 1788


A correspondent observes, that it was to be expected that the Federal Constitution would meet with opposition in every stage of its progress, until its final organization—but it was hardly possible to conceive, that at this time of day, the hackneyed trumphery with which the antifederalists assailed it at its first appearance, would be detailed out again—but so it is.—Hence we see Honestus, Solon and Alfred, in their lengthy lucubrations, going over the same ground with the junto who figured under the signature of Centinel, Brutus, &c. &c.

The speedy and prompt decision of the Legislature in the present session, upon the Federal Government are justly expected, from their highly patriotick character—and as the operations of the new system, will derive great vigour and confidence, from the open and candid proceedings of the several State Legislatures, in performing their parts of federal duty, all ranks and orders of men anticipate with pleasure the arrangements which will shortly be made by our Legislature.

In electing federal characters for the Federal Government, there is a peculiar propriety and consistency—besides this, the federalists have established a reputation for honesty and independency—for while it was uncertain how the Constitution would be received by the people, they openly, boldly and incessantly contended for it, as the last and only hope of our country. How is it with the croakers for amendments?

The method of chusing Federal Representatives by districts is justly to be deprecated, in as much as it will deprive the people, in a great degree, of the opportunity of electing such characters as they may think are the most competent.

On the plan of chusing Federal Representatives at large, the pernicious acts of caballing, and influencing will be avoided—and the best chance afforded of obtaining the best men and the best abilities.

The federal Constitution, perhaps the best plan of government that ever graced the ancient or modern world, receives its highest lustre from its catholicism in matters of religion. Our statesmen and patriots too well know the disposition of the human heart, to imagine that so weak a barrier as a religious test would be sufficient to check the progress of unprincipled ambition. While the infidel and unbeliever embrace a religious test as a cloke for licentiousness, the only man qualified to extricate his country from destruction, must remain in obscurity, or violate his conscience, and offend his God.