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Editorial "To the Public" on the Constitution published in the Hampshire Gazette

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This editorial in the Hampshire Gazette advocates a peaceful, reasoned approach to resolving Regulator grievances against the Massachusetts government. Published three days after General Lincoln had routed the Regulator army under Daniel Shays at Petersham, its author insists, "I have no part under the government neither do I ever expect to have any." The contents of his open letter "To The Public" suggest, however, that the writer is a government supporter. "Amicus" calls on the Regulators to accomplish by petition and constitutional means the reforms they seek by force of arms. He claims that the present troubles could be "lessened in a constitutional way, and no tumults, or risings to arms are necessary for that purpose." "[F]rugality and economy, both public and private," will ease the crisis. As for amending or revising the present Massachusetts Constitution as some demanded, Amicus argues that it had been written and ratified while people were "cool and dispassionate." In contrast, the current upheavals would be a poor time to consider any radical alterations. Should Regulators seek redress "in the orderly constitutional way of petition and remonstrance," there could be "not the least doubt but it may be obtained." Only through such means might citizens "expect to see union and harmony again restored to our bleeding land." William Butler began publication of the Hampshire Gazette on September 6, 1786, in Northampton, Massachusetts. The mission of the newspaper was to inform the public about the ongoing conflicts between the government and the men who called themselves Regulators. Butler was decidedly on the government side of the issues.


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