221 CHRONICLESnare a staple of these exchanges. But they are set alongsidenfresh imagery, fragments of irritation, candor, hyperbole,nunderstatement, sarcasm, drollery, and a suggestion ofnassorted parables working at the back of the minds of mostnof the delegates who gathered that winter in Boston tondecide the fate of the document made in Philadelphianduring the previous summer. We have the compass to takennote of only a few illustrations of this lively and indigenousnspeech—an idiom shared by all of those who sat within thenclosed and comforting circle, inside the walls of JohnnWinthrop’s “City on a Hill.”nGeneral Samuel Thompson, one of the most stubborn ofnthe Anti-Federalists, speaks of being ready to give a goodn”thump” to the provision for regulating elections bynCongress—a test of the kind given by country men tonmelons to see if they are ripe. Elsewhere the good Generalnwarns of the danger of building on a “sandy foundation”nand of “swallowing a large bone for the sake of a littlenmeat.” His counterpart, the Honorable Amos Singletary,ncomplains that the Federalists “play round the subject withntheir fine stories, like a fox round the trap.” Mr. BenjaminnRandall of Sharon, in response to the theory that theninstitution of slavery would end in 1808, said that thenSoutherners “would call us pumpkins” if they heard reportsnof such speculation. Captain Isaac Snow argued in behalf ofnratification that the imbecility of government under thenArticles had caused this country to be “held in the samenlight by foreign nations as a well-behaved negro in angentleman’s family.” In other situations, delegates drewnupon images of “clouds” rising upon the horizon, of facingnthe “musket of death.” They referred to themselves asn”plough joggers” and compared government to farming—nwith the proposed Constitution being like a barrier erectednto keep the wild beasts out of the new ground. They travelednover the text from the first word to the last, and gave it then”thump” General Thompson promised.nYet assuredly more important than this folk speech is thenway in which the members of the Massachusetts conventionndrew upon the idiom of the English Bible. As did nonother state ratification convention, the proceedings innMassachusetts presumed the theological doctrine that Godndeals collectively with the tribes and nations of men as theynexist in the world—according to the operations of Hisncovenant with them, if they have a rightful fear of the Lord.nOn this assumption, the Honorable Charles Turner ofnScituate shortly before the final vote was taken invokes “thatnGod, who has always in a remarkable manner, watchednover us and our fathers for good, in all difficulties, dangersnand distresses.” His authority in this instance is what JamesnM. Banner Jr. calls “the myth of New England exclusiveness”:na set of “ideals at whose core was the conviction thatnthe people of New England, and none more than those ofnMassachusetts, were somehow set apart from the nation” inntheir particular intimacy with the Deity. On these groundsnthe members of the Massachusetts convention sometimesnreferred to their Commonwealth as if it were anothernIsrael—and the sayings and stories in Holy Writ materialndrawn from the lives of their neighbors or the neighbors ofntheir forefathers. When Nathaniel Barrell of York comparesna rush toward final judgment of the Constitution to then”driving of Jehu, very furiously,” he invokes for frame ofnnnreference an entire narrative (II Kings 9:20) of two kings ofnIsrael and two of Judah who rule after the fall of that wickednprince, Ahab. Elsewhere, General Washington is comparednto Joshua and the people of Massachusetts to Jonah swallowednup by the great Leviathan of government. Onensuspicious Anti-Federalist, speaking somewhat out of character,ndeclares that he would not follow a “flock of Moseses”nto the detriment of his liberty. To a contrary effect, thenReverend Isaac Backhus discoursed learnedly of I Corinthians:n”Ye are bought with a price.”nThe new covenant is for free men. Free men might arguenyea or nay about the omission of a religious test for holdersnof federal office. They might defend either liberty ornauthority with a view to the common good. And in thisn”Protestant” fashion they worked their way through thenproposed Constitution, comparing ancient and modernntimes, passage with passage, after the practice of “elucidatingnscripture with scripture.” When Mr. Jones of Bristolnsuggested there was not enough of the old Puritan spirit inntheir proceedings and proposed that the convention adjournnfor a period of fasting and adoration, his colleagues did notnagree with him, even though they knew that the politiciansnof their time “were not better now than when men afternGod’s own heart did wickedly.” But when they pulledntogether their final apology for the revision of governmentnunder the United States Constitution, the Federalists ofnMassachusetts, even more than those of Connecticut andnNew Hampshire, spoke of an enterprise in the language ofncovenant theory, postulating a regime which would preserventhe Saints, with their liberties, together—or not at all.nThe classic text for the corporate theory of MassachusettsnFederalism is the one from which I draw the title for thesenremarks. It is of course the work of the brilliant FishernAmes, much of it offered just at the close of the Massachusettsnconvention, on February 5, 1788. In content it is asnrich in metaphor and as vibrantiy colorful as any of thenoverheated warnings of the opponents of the Constitution:nWho is there that really loves liberty, that will notntremble for its safety, if the Federal governmentnshould be dissolved? Can liberty be safe withoutngovernment?nThe period of our political dissolution isnapproaching. Anarchy and uncertainty attend ournfuture state; but this we know, that liberty, which isnthe soul of our existence, once fled, can return nonmore.nAmes then continues with his tropes. The Union is the “sapnthat nourishes the trees.” Once girdled, it will moulder andn”be torn down by the tempest.” Massachusetts cannotnsecure its fisheries or its trade by itself, or defend itself alonenfrom external enemies almost as dangerous as the anarchynwithin. Then the great peroration: “We talk as if there werenno danger in deciding wrong. But when the inundationncomes, shall we stand on dry land? The state government isna beautiful structure. It is situated, however, upon thennaked beach. The Union is the dike to fence out the flood.nThat dike is broken and decayed, and if we do not repair it,nwhen the next spring-tide comes, we shall be buried in onencommon destruction.”nThe images here are of powerful forces of nature whichn