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title:“A Freeman”
date written:1788-5-13

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:05 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 5, 2023, 6:43 p.m. UTC

"A Freeman." Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer 1788-05-13 : . Rpt. in The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 18. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1995. 13-14. Print.

A Freeman (May 13, 1788)

The conduct of the majority in the Maryland convention is a striking display of the nature of power, and a sample of what the freemen of America would experience from the great Congress established: inebriated with a temporary superiority, they arrogantly refused to discuss the merits of a system of government that was to determine the fate of a great people, that would prove either the instrument of their freedom and prosperity or of their slavery and misery for ages to come, but observed a contemptuous silence, notwithstanding some of the greatest and most able men in Maryland, with the ardour of patriotism, represented the dangers with which the new constitution was replete, and repeatedly urged the majority to invalidate their objections if in their power; a greater insult than this was never offered to freemen, and the infatuation of the people must indeed be astonishing if they are not aroused by it to a sense of the imposition practising upon them under the sanction of a Washington. The conduct of the Maryland convention also shews the folly of trusting to future amendments; for they have already thrown aside the masque, and avowed the intention of establishing the new constitution in all its plentitude of powers, without any reservation in favor of the liberty of the people. After amusing the minority with hopes that suitable amendments would be recommended by them, they at length in a despotic manner dissolved the convention.
What must be the feelings of the great body of the people in Massachusetts, who were deluded into the adoption of this system of government, by specious assurances that the amendments would be acceded to by all the states, and certainly incorporated in the government, that it argued ignorance of the weight of Massachusetts in the union, to entertain the smallest doubt that her example would not be followed by all the others? I rejoice that the rash confidence of the advocates of the new constitution, has led them to discover so soon this dangerous, deceptive game of the amendments, by which they have imposed upon so many. The question now is simply, Whether the people will submit to the absolute establishment of a form of government, which all, even the most designing are obliged to allow, is defective? I recommend the perusal of the narrative of facts and propositions of amendment, subscribed by the minority of the Maryland convention, to every person who wishes to continue free.

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