To Nathaniel Barrell

    New York City        22 December 1787

    Give me leave, my dear Sir, to assure you of the pleasure I enjoyed, a few days since, upon being informed of your election, by the Town of York, to represent that Town them in the Convention1—I have, for a long tim[e bee]n desirous to see you in public Business, and now am exceedingly happy to see find you recommencing a political Life on this important occasion—An event of greater [im]portance to America, ’tis probable, will not [o]pen again in our day, than the present establishment of a general Government ove[r the] United States. The cool, deliberate manner, hitherto adopted, and pursued, to form a Government over an extant of more than fifteen hundred miles in Length, & from two, to seven or eight hundred in bredth, and containing above three millions of Souls, is singular indeed, and stands without an example in History—

    And, notwithstanding what the wisest man among the Jews said I really look upon it [as] a new thing under the Sun.2 This event goes far in convincing me that the time will come when nations, and individuals, will act as becomes rational Creatures; free from Prejudice, & Superstition. This may not happen in our day, but it is approaching as fast as moral & political improvements will admit the world to advance towards perfection—

    Without knowing your sentiments respecting the new plan of Government I take the liberty to inclose, for your perusal, a small pamphlet upon that subject3—It is wrote in an easy familiar s[tyle?]—And in my judgment contains an ans[wer] to many objections against the new Government—

    It is worthy of notice that the chief Objections made, by the enemies to the new p[la]n are founded upon remote possibilities—[and] originate from that horrid Doctrine, you have often heard me reprobate, when seting by your social fire, that the heart of man is naturally averse from every thing good, and inclined, by nature, to every thing that is bad & unfriendly to virtue; And these Objections are greatly strengthened by an infamous maxim—that we ought to deal with all men as tho they were all rogues—Hence the Objectors say that Congress, under the new Government, can keep up a standing Army—they can make such an arrangment of the Judicial Courts as may prove very inconvenient to the people—they can order the elections of the Representatives to be in such a manner as greatly to distress and harass the Subjects—And a thousand other wild Scheems they can enter into—

    But when it is asked, if it is any way probable, from the circumstances of the people in America, that Congress will do these things—why say, the objectors, you know all men are bad & tyrants at heart, and only want to get hold of power & they will abuse it—To which I have made answer—if they behave ill turn them out, the people have the power in their own hands—oh, but, say the objectors—it will signify nothing to turn the representatives out & put in new ones—for the Senate will immediately bribe & corrupt the new house—[we]ll then turn the Senate out—But th[at] we can only do by thirds; And if we [turn out?] one third this year, the remaining [two will?] corrupt the new set, before we can [elect?] another Class—This is the manner [objec]tors reason—or rather burlesque their understandings—It all arises from [the hor]red [?] Doctrine & maxim before mention[ed].

    For my part I think the new Gover[nment] secures political Liberty with all necess[ary] checks—and I have no doubt but if it [is] established, it will promote the Dignity of America, & produce happiness to the subjects.

    Make my Respects to Elder [Jonathan] Sayward & Lad[y] [Elizabeth Plummer Sayward] and believe me to be, with Compliments [to] Mrs. [Sarah Sayward] Barrell, your sincere friend and humble Servant

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    ALS, Barrell Correspondence. Addressed to York; franked; postmarked Boston, 30 December.