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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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which every one thought he understood, and was egregiously mistaken.  For you must know the shepherds kept the dictionary of the day, and like the mysteries of the ancient mythology, it was not for profane eyes or ears.  This answered many purposes; the simple flock put themselves entirely under the protection of these most excellent shepherds.  By and bye behold a great metamorphosis, without the help of Ovid or his divinities, but entirely effectuated by two modern genii, the god of ambition and the goddess of faction.  The first of these prompted the shepherds to shear some of their flock, and then, in conjunction with the other, converted the belwethers into shepherds.  That we have been in hot water with the British Parliament ever since, every body knows.  Consequently these new shepherds had their hands full of employment.  The old ones kept themselves least in sight, and a want of confidence in each other was not the least evil which followed.  The port of Boston has been shut up.  These sheep, simple as they are, cannot be gulled as heretofore.  In short, there is no ruling them; and now, to leave the metaphor, the heads of the mobility grow dangerous to the gentry, and how to keep them down is the question.  While they correspond with the other colonies, call and dismiss popular assemblies, make resolves to bind the consciences of the rest of mankind, bully poor printers, and exert with full force all their other tribunitial powers, it is impossible to curb them.

' But art sometimes goes farther than force, and therefore to trick them handsomely a committee of patricians was to be nominated, and into their hands was to be committed the majesty of the people, and the highest trust was to be reposed in them by a mandate, that they should take care, quod respublica non capiat injuriam.  The tribunes, through want of a good legerdemain in the senatorial order, perceived the finesse, and yesterday I was present at a grand division of the city, and there I beheld my fellow citizens very accurately counting all their chickens, not only before any of them were hatched, but before above one half of the eggs were laid.  In


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 24. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006