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Kaminski, John P.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Fields, David P.; Conley, Patrick T.; Moore, Timothy D. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Rhode Island (3)
(2013)

VI. The debate over the Constitution in Rhode Island, 20 January-29 May 1790,   pp. 711-897


Page 727

COMMENTARIES, 18 FEBRUARY 1790
1. The Providence Gazette, 27 February, reprinted this article "By request," along with "A
Freeholder" (immediately below).
2. For the two acts, see RCS:R.I., 675-78.
3. See Newport Herald, 25 February (RCS:R.I., 736-37).
4. "Farmer" in the original printing but corrected to "former" by an errata in the
Newport Herald, 25 February. The Providence Gazette reprinting used the corrected "for-
mer.
5. A condensed and modified version of this paragraph appeared in the New York
Daily Advertiser, 15 March (Mfm:R.I.), and was reprinted in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette,
19 March; Pennsylvania Packet, 25 March; and Charleston City Gazette, 9 April.
6. John Heywood, A dialogue conteinyng the number in effect of all prouerbes in the englishe
tongue ... (London, 1546), Part I, chapter 3: "And whyle I at length debate and beate
the bush/There shall steppe in other men, & catche the burdes."
A Freeholder
Newport Herald, 18 February 17901
To the OPPOSERS of the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES, in this
State.
An ancient Sage being asked, how he acquired so superior a degree
of knowledge? replied, that he examined all subjects before he adopted
or rejected them, with as much circumspection as the blind man who
feels with his stick the ground on which he is going to step;-But the
manner of obtaining information (or rather of ignorance) in this State,
hath been blindly to step first, and then to feel; hence many are found
in the ditch.
Hearing a person warmly inveigh against the Constitution of the
United States, I asked him what parts of it he objected to?-all-all of
it, he replied-'twill strip us of our houses-lands-make us slaves,-
I'll therefore have nothing to do with it, but kick it out.-You have not
perused it with candor, rejoined I.-No, said he, I have never read
it:-Never read it, cried I with astonishment, and yet oppose it!-No,
replied he; for Squire     -    and neighbor       -    told me what it
was, and I am therefore against it.-Wretched picture of ignorance,
and a melancholy proof of the baneful influence of party spirit!
Long-too long, have we determined the merit, or demerit of prop-
ositions, which have been submitted to us in this State by the principle
of party; 'tis time therefore, that each one searches for himself before
he makes up his judgment, and pay some regard to the general good.
The Constitution of the United States hath undergone a liberal and
manly discussion in the twelve States that have adopted it.-The im-
perfections that the most critical could point out, are so trifling as not
to be placed in competition with its merits; but however important they
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