THE USE OF COERCION BY THE NEW GOVERNMENT (PART II)
One of the dominant impulses of many Antifederalists was the fear of aristocratic rule. The Constitution, by centralizing authority and containing the right to enforce that authority, appeared to these Antifederalists to be a vehicle for exploiting the "low-born."The following satiric essay was indicative of these fears, but also exhibited the liberal freedom of expression that individuals enjoyed in that era. Written by the anonymous "JOHN HUMBLE," it appeared in the [ Philadelphia] Independent Gazetteer, October 29, 1787, and is reprinted in McMaster and Stone, pp. 173-75.
The humble address of the low-born of the United States of America, to their fellow slaves scattered throughout the world--greeting:
Whereas it hath been represented unto us that a most dreadful disease hath for these five years last past infected, preyed upon and almost ruined the government and people of this our country; and of this malady we ourselves have had perfect demonstration, not mentally, but bodily, through every one of the five senses. For although our sensations in regard to the mind be not just so nice as those of the well born, yet our feeling, through the medium of the plow, the hoe and the grubbing ax, is as acute as any nobleman's in the world. And, whereas, a number of skillful physicians having met together at Philadelphia last summer, for the purpose of exploring, and, if possible, removing the cause of this direful disease, have, through the assistance of John Adams, Esq., in the profundity of their great political knowledge, found out and discovered that nothing but a new government, consisting of three different branches, namely, king, lords, and commons-- or, in the American language, President,, Senate and Representatives--can save this, our country, from inevitable destruction. And, whereas, it has been reported that several of our low-born brethren have had the horrid audacity to think for themselves in regard to this new system of government, and, dreadful thought! have wickedly begun to doubt concerning the perfection of this evangelical constitution, which our political doctors have declared to be a panacea, which (by inspiration) they know will infallibly heal every distemper in the confederation, and finally terminate in the salvation of America.
Now we the low born, that is, all the people of the United States, except 600 thereabouts, well born, do by this our humble address, declare and most solemnly engage, that we will allow and admit the said 600 well born, immediately to establish and confirm this most noble, most excellent and truly divine constitution. And we further declare that without any equivocation or mental reservation whatever we will support and maintain the same according to the best of our power, and after the manner and custom of all other slaves in foreign countries, namely by the sweat and toil of our body. Nor will we at any future period of time ever attempt to complain of this our royal government, let the consequences be what they may.