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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 9

10 MAY, CC:740
the cause why no person has thought worth while to refute such
charges. But it may not be amiss to examine, what foundation the
incendiaries had for applying the appellation of conspirators to the
members of the federal convention.
Much might here be said of the patriotism, integrity, abilities, and
past services, of almost all the gentlemen who were honored, by their
respective states, with seats in that august assembly; but as gratitude
for past services is rather unfashionable, and the "authority of great
names" is no authority, let us consider them independent of their
patriotic bravery in asserting the rights of mankind, of freedom, and
their country.
Let us remember that they are citizens, possessed of a considerable
share of property in the United States, their security for the peaceable
enjoyment of which, must rest upon the just administration of an
equitable and well established form of government. Such men are
seldom Catalines in any country: conspiracies are usually formed and
executed by desperate and abandoned wretches, who have neither for-
tune nor reputation to lose, but may perchance gain something, by
such an event.-Let us consider them as men, who have, in common
with their fellow-citizens, their respective connections in society, their
circles of friends, and a rising offspring, all of whom must inevitably
participate in the miseries of their country; and say, what motives could
induce such men to conspire against the liberty and happiness of all
who are near and dear to them, and to consign them to endless
misery.-Let us consider them as fellow-citizens, not one of whom may,
perhaps, ever be elected to a seat either in the federal senate, or in
the house of representatives, and, if he should, that he may be speedily
removed, be forced to share in the general calamity, and obliged to
wear those galling chains he had forged for others. Common sense,
self-interest and self-preservation, independent of every other motive,
must certainly have prevented such men from meditating the over-
throw of American freedom, when they well knew that, like Sampson,
they must be crushed by the fall and perish in the ruins.-Let us also
recollect that they have appealed to the people at large to judge of
the uprightness of their conduct, and have submitted to their decision
that plan of government which is the result of more than four months
deliberation. Surely this is an undeniable proof of conscious integrity;
for that the "well-born" (as they are called) should endeavour to en-
slave their country, and at the same time, leave it in the power of the
meanest citizen, to put on, or reject, the chains, at his option, would
argue them totally void of that understanding and precaution which
even their enemies do not deny them. If they had had any designs
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