12 February 177093

    Messi’rs EDES & GILL,

    IT has been the general apprehension of all parties, among us, that the publications in Messirs. Mein and Fleeming’s paper, have tended much, to promote that very cause, they were designed to defeat. “The great encouragement those persons received,”—and “gratitude for that encouragement,” they so publickly professed, gave some grounds to imagine, that they would have pursued a scheme, widely different, from the one, it seems, they have adopted. The “plan of their weekly paper,” when proposed, was to “be of no party”—to “publish & propagate with the greatest industry whatever might promote THE GENERAL GOOD”: How plain a deviation from this eligible plan! How did those specious pretenses gull the good people of this province?

    Messieurs Mein and Fleeming have so thoro’ly discovered themselves, and their weekly efforts have, thence, been thought so feeble, as that a dangerous disregard of their publications seems to have taken place. But I conceive, that when any thing is said, tho’ by the worst of men, which is plausible, and may deceive the unwary, that some strictures should be made to prevent any bad consequences. Hence, I have been influenced to offer a few remarks, upon the BOSTONIAN, of Monday last.94 But before I enter upon that task, I would desire Messirs. Mein and Fleeming to peruse the following passage, in the plan of their paper, which was presented to the Public.—“Be independent;—your interest is intimately connected with this noble virtue;—if you depart from this, you must sink from the esteem of the public, to the partial praise of a party, who, when their purpose is served or defeated, may, perhaps, desert you; and then, HOW CAN YOU EXPECT THAT THOSE, WHOM YOU HAVE REVILED, WILL SUPPORT YOU.”

    The BOSTONIAN, in common with most of the writers, who have appeared in the Chronicle, is guilty of very illiberal reflections, wicked misrepresentations, and unjustifiable personal abuse. However, it is not my design to enter upon a defence of gentlemen whose characters are unblemished, and thereby to divert the public attention from matters of general moment, to the, comparatively, trifling concern of private individuals. If particular men are knaves, or fools, the public will soon find them out—but it is too late, to play the old game:—Philanthrop and many others, of lesser note, have had their time of deception:—but what is the interest of America, who espouse it, and who seek it’s destruction, we want, at this day, but little information

    A writer who sets out, with telling us, that “our attention has long been engrossed with wild chimeras”, carries “a title page that speaks the nature of his volume.” The objects, that have attracted our eyes, as well as the hearts of all N. America, need no further elucidation to shew their value and importance.—If there is any “charm” that is like to ensnare us;—any “fascination” that should be dispelled, it is the “fascinating charm” of imitating the inticing luxuries of those who riot on the toil of others:—A great danger, a danger, that is alarming, in proportion as it is not generally perceived;—a great danger of the present day is, that we should be allured by the affluence and splendor of the creatures, among us, who are insinuating their poison, by increasing their connections, and corrupting the minds of the young and unwary, with flattering expectations of eating idle bread. Here is a source of danger, my countrymen are not normally apprized of, and of a much more fatal nature, than we, in general, imagine.

    The BOSTONIAN tells us, what we well knew before, namely, that “our cause is good”: This is a concession quite unexpected; and as it seems a generous one, we wish he had been more explicit in telling us what he imagined that “cause” to be. For this indeterminate mode of expression, may give an opening, for future evasion, and some may conjecture, that this ambiguity was designed for that purpose.

    If the words “good cause”, mean the present plan of non-importation, the gentleman’s argument is apparently futile; nay absurd: But if an intire exemption, from any British tax on America, is the idea affixed to those words, it may be worth while to enquire, how this concession squares with the purport of this BOSTONIAN performance. One of these things, it seems, was intended, by that “granted good cause,” which “my countrymen” had embraced. Now if this latter construction is a fair and just one, my fellowmen will be at no loss by what standard to examine and measure their past and future conduct.

    The enquiry, then, will be reduced to a very few heads;—whether any individual is a free man, whose property and person is subject to a power, over whom he has no influence? Whether a state can, in any sense, be free, who are under a foreign, legislative, controul? These are questions, which a New-England yeoman, with his domestic companions, his BIBLE and Law-book, can answer, without the pensioned assistance of a corrupt judge, “whose education was behind the counter,” and “whose hands are yet dirty; with sweeping a shop.”—Whether tamely to submit to a merciless oppression, an insatiable tyranny; to drag out a miserable life of ignominious vassalage, and bequeath the chains, he can wear no longer, to the offspring of his loins;—or nobly to hazard all that is dear, in the defence of the household of his fathers and the household of his faith, would cause little deliberation, in the breast of an AMERICAN husbandman, with his mattock and hayfork, as it would, in the mind of a wretched miscreant, whether to turn from his way, and live, or sacrifice his country, his soul and his GOD, for the mammon of unrighteousness, the wages of his iniquities?

    If these things are true, and, if they are not, let them be confuted; I say, if these remarks are just, we call on the BOSTONIAN and his abettors to convince us, we are in no danger, or point out the way of relief.

    To be free, we are resolved. To obtain a great good, or defend from a destroying evil, without some danger, and some difficulties, is the vain expectation of the ignorant or the dastard. For the greatest blessings all good men will make the greatest sacrifice. This alone is a sufficient answer to all the fallacious cries of the hirelings, who have been pretendedly lamenting the distresses of non-importation.

    “If I ask, says the BOSTONIAN, an advocate for the non importation agreement, what end it is to answer, I am told it is to bring about a REPEAL of the revenue laws.” But, by the gentleman’s leave, I, who am an advocate for the same agreement, would make a very different answer. I believe, if those laws are never repealed, it will be happy for my country; and therefore, as a good citizen I wish their continuance. My reasons for this creed are founded on many circumstances, and arise from various considerations; and when I think it expedient, I shall enlarge on this subject: But, as I know there are multitudes who think, with me, I wave, for the present, extensive observations on this head. Yet, as the BOSTONIAN, may, possibly chuse to hear what answer, some others would make to his question; I give him the following reply.

    From a conviction, in my own mind, that America is now the slave of Britain; from a sense, that we are every day, more and more, in danger of an increase of our burdens, and a fastment of our shackles, I wish to see my countrymen break off—OFF FOREVER!—all social intercourse, with those, whose commerce contaminates, whose luxuries poison, whose avarice is insatiable, & whose unnatural oppressions are not to be borne. That Americans well know their rights, that they will resume, assert and defend them are matters of which I harbour no doubt. Whether the arts of POLICY, or the arts of war will decide the contest, are problems we will solve, at a more convenient season. He, whose heart is enamoured, with the refinements of political artifice and finesse, will seek one mode of relief; he, whose heart is free, honest and intrepid, will pursue another, a bolder, and more noble mode of redress.—This reply is so intelligible, that it needs no comment, for explanation.

    When the BOSTONIAN “observes, that a town (a single one is only mentioned) within this province would not very readily meet with a redress of grievances by such conduct*”, he seems to be either guilty of palpable sophistry, or to have produced a case, no way applicable or pertinent to the times.

    “That all is not gold that glitters”, we are convinced of, by the friendly information of the BOSTONIAN, “that we have hurt our own cause, so as to lose our best friends, and that we are in danger of frustrating the intentions of Administrations IN OUR FAVOUR”! Risum teneatis amici?95

    “The cause of the repeal of the stamp-act” we are not solicitous to inquire; for we knew, at the time, and we have been confirmed since, that the repeal was not made on right-principles.

    Of “the riches of the East and the West”; of the “greatness, traffic & rivalship” of our neighbours, we are not envious: The genuine cause of their riches, greatness and traffic, we can well ascribe to that industry, frugality and oeconomy which is more and more prevalent: And we would be far from easily believing those are knaves and villains, whose interest is inseperably interwoven with our own, more especially, as the intelligence comes from such a suspicious quarter.


    *Non-importation conduct is meant.