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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H. (ed.) / Commentaries on the Constitution, public and private. Volume 6: 10 May to 13 September 1788
18 (1995)

Commentaries on the Constitution: public and private,   pp. [1]-367


Page 8

COMMENTARIES ON THE CONSTITUTION
absurd is it to suppose that one seventh of the people should pretend
to controul six sevenths?
Had the writers opposed to the constitution confined their strictures
to the system itself, and pointed out its defects (or what they thought
its defects) with manly candor and decency, they had merited the
thanks of their country, and clearly evinced that they were actuated
by patriotism, not by that self-interested, turbulent and seditious spirit
which uniformly characterises their inflammatory essays.
Finding this constitution proof against all attacks, by argument, they
have cautiously avoided reasoning on the subject; but have asserted,
in plain English, that the framers of it, and those who have ratified
it, are all villainous conspirators, and consequently that this plan of
government is calculated to enslave the people of America, to make
them hewers of wood and drawers of water, and to force them to make
bricks without straw.2 What an insult to the freemen of America! "They
chose delegates to the federal convention who are traitors and con-
spirators against their liberties!-They are abettors of the treason in
approving of the conspirators conduct!" The degrading insult has been
felt, and has rendered the incendiaries infamous in the eyes of many,
who were at first wavering, but are now decidedly federal. Shortly after
the promulgation of the constitution, one of the anti-federal cham-
pions, in this city, poured forth a whole torrent of abuse against the
federal convention, and particularly pointed his calumny at their il-
lustrious president: the citizens of Philadelphia, to their immortal
honor be it told, were fired with a manly resentment, and burned with
indignation against the slanderers of their beloved Washington. One
prudent step was taken by the incendiary party-They perceived that
they had trespassed too far on the patience of the people, who had
not yet forgot the tribute of gratitude due to their worthy chief; for
this reason, in their German translations, which they circulated through
the back counties of this state, they took care to leave out their in-
famous slander of this truly great and good man. It had been much
to their credit to have acted thus at all times; but this was impossible,
they soon found all their hopes of duping their fellow-citizens idle and
vain; their disappointment was succeeded by envy, malice, rancour and
despair, and these infernal passions have produced a plentiful harvest
of the most scurrilous abuse and slanderous falsehoods that ever dis-
graced an enlightened country, or a free press.
So glaringly absurd has their slander been, that it has operated in
a manner directly contrary to what they intended, and has prevented
due faith being given even to their probable assertions, agreeably to
the old adage-A liar, tho' he speak truth, is not believed.4 This may be
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