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title:“Spurious Centinel XV”
date written:1788-2-16

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:40 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Oct. 26, 2020, 11:09 a.m. UTC

"Spurious Centinel XV." Pennsylvania Mercury 1788-02-16 : . Rpt. in The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 16. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1986. 133-35. Print.
Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress

Spurious Centinel XV (February 16, 1788)

Friends, Countrymen, and Fellow-citizens! You have fought, you have bled, and you have conquered.-You have established your independence, and you ought to be free-But, behold! a set of aristocrats, demagogues, conspirators, and tyrants, have arisen up, and say you shall be governed-Is this to be endured by freemen,-men, who have lain in the open air, exposed to cold and hunger,-men who have worn out their health and constitutions in marches and counter-marches from one end of the continent to the other; and after they have attained the noble prize, for which they contended, are they to sit down tamely and be governed? Of what service is a man's liberty to him, unless he can do as he pleases? And what man can do as he pleases, who lives under a government?-The very end of government is to bind men down to certain rules and duties; therefore, 'tis only fit for slaves and vassals.-Every freeman ought to govern himself, and then he will be governed most to his own mind.
Thus, my friends, you see all government is tyrannical and oppressive. In the next place it is insulting: It is as much as to tell us, we know not how to take care of ourselves, and therefore should submit to be directed by others, who are appointed as guardians over so many wards. Now, of what use can our reason be to us, if after we have come (or ought to have come) to years of discretion, we are still to be led, guided, and bandied about by those who pretend to know better than we?-And, who pray are those who are to be thus led, guided, and bandied about? Why, the people!- Strange! that three millions of people should be led, guided, and bandied about by ninety or an hundred aristocratical, demagogical, tyrannical conspirators!-Would it not be more according to order, propriety, and the nature of things, that the ninety or an hundred conspirators should be led, guided, and bandied about by the three millions of people.
In the third place, all government is expensive; for these ninety or an hundred conspirators will not govern us for nothing, they must be paid for it.-Think on that, my countrymen, we must not only be governed, be insulted by being governed, but we must pay these demagogues for coming from all parts of the continent, to lay their heads together how to govern us most effectually-for this, we must pay them mileage, pay them wages, fill their purses, supply their tables to keep them in idleness to riot on the fat of the land, to plot, contrive, and juggle us into good order and government. Now all this money might be saved to the public, by each man governing himself, and doing as he pleased, which by nature he has a right to do.
Oh my countrymen! my bowels yearn with affliction, when I think to what a pass we are likely to come-When I think, after all we have done and suffered for dear liberty, we must still be kept in order, and governed.-I had hoped, after our glorious struggle, this country would be an asylum for all those noble, untamed spirits, who were desirous of flying from all law, gospel, and government.-But alas! after all I have said and written, after all the inventions I have racked my brain for, and horrible descriptions I have laid before you, you are still unroused, and I have made no impression on any, except a few of those choice spirits at Carlisle. And how have these been treated by the conspirators and fœderalists they have been called insurgents, rioters, and British deserters-true, many of them were deserters, and to their credit be it spoken,-they deserted from king and country, friends and relations, wives and children, to come here and be free-they expected we were to be a free people, and they have come among us to live at large, and do as they please-Think then how disappointed they must be, and how peculiarly hard their case is, either to stay here and be governed, or to return and be hanged.
Rouse then, my friends, my countrymen, my fellow-citizens!-Rouse, ye Shayites, Dayites, and Shattuckites!-Ye insurgents, rioters, and deserters! Ye tories, refugees, and antifrederalists!-Rouse, and kick up a dust before it is too late!-Be not such a parcel of stupid, dunder-headed, blunder- headed, muddle-headed, puddle-headed blockheads-Such a tribe of snivelling, drivelling, sneaking, slinking, moping, poking, mumping, pitiful, pimping, pettifogging, poltrons,-such a set of nincumpoops, ninnyhammers, mushrooms, jackasses, jackanapeses, jackadandies, goosecaps, tom-noodles, yahooes, shitepokes, and p-ssab-ds-Rouse!-awaken!-rub your eyes!-Do not you see the aristocrats, monocrats, demagogues, pedagogues, gogmagogs, brobdingnags, conspirators, and frederal hobgoblins, are preparing to govern you, to enslave you, enthral you, and bemaul you.-If you submit to them, they will rob you of your liberties-they will tie you hand and foot,-they will play hob with you, play the dickens with you, and play the d-v-l with you-they will put halters round your necks, and hold your noses to the grindstone-they will purge you and bleed you, glister you and blister you, drench you and vomit you-they will tread on your toes, break your shins, dock your tails, draw your teeth, tear your hair and scratch out your eyes,-they will pull your noses, lug your ears, punch you in the guts, and kick you in the breech-ZOUNDS! will nothing rouse you!

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