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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
3 (1978)

V. Commentaries on the Constitution, 13 November 1787-7 January 1788,   pp. 456-534


Page 508

CONNECTICUT/24 DEC.
Clinton] and a train of collectors of impost and excise, tidewaiters,
and bailiffs to instruct us poor and despised Yankees in the arts of
government. We did not expect from the owner of several hundred
Negroes such unusual anxiety for our liberties-still less from a person
whom we well remember several years ago endeavored to persuade us
to degrade General Washington and promote his relation, General
Charles Lee-a man altogether unfit to command an army, of violent
passions, unprincipled character, and one whom we had good reason to
suspect was connected with our enemies.4
In one respect only have you discovered your real character; we can
perceive that you have a better opinion of your own sagacity and dis-
cernment than of ours. Your comments and explanations of the new
form of government are such as would be very proper were you ad-
dressing the people of New Zealand-but we can pardon your minute
interpretations-by being accustomed to despise New England, you
probably thought we were as dull as the Negroes of Virginia.
We however confess a dullness of apprehension when we attempt
to conceive, what honest motives could induce a Virginian planter to
become the instructor and guardian of New England. We have
heard a rumor that you and your connections have been for several
years the personal enemies of General Washington, and some shrewd
men imagine that your only motive to your present conduct arises
from a low envy of the brilliant virtues and unbounded popularity
of that illustrious character. If we are not mistaken, all your cant
about liberty, democracy, and aristocracy is hypocritical, or else arises
from a real ignorance of the nature of political liberty-in your prac-
tical sense, liberty can only mean a privilege for gentlemen planters
to do what they please. In no conversation, in no intercourse with
mankind, have you been known as the guardian or protector of that
depressed race of men whose toils have enabled you to live in afflu-
ence and, at leisure, plot dissensions and mischief to your country.
It is also very remarkable that your associates in New York should
all happen to be persons whom we consider as our enemies and un-
worthy our confidence.
If those gentlemen who have printed a vast edition of your
books, which they are distributing among us at their own expense,
are as zealous friends as they represent, they have in their power to
bestow a mere unequivocal evidence of attachment, than a present
of several thousand pamphlets containing the most evident misrep-
resentations and the weakest reasoning. We are not so wanting in
sagacity as not to discover the motives of this extraordinary zeal.
Those gentlemen in New York, who receive larg salaries and have
large sums to employ in speculations, are too well acquainted with
human nature not to know that their offices will be more insecure,
508


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