26 February 177096

    Messi’rs EDES & GILL,

    “This is the master-piece of a modern politician, how to qualify and mould the sufferance and subjection of the people to the length of that foot, that is to tread on their necks; how rapine may serve itself with fair and honourable pretences of public good; how the puny law, may be brought under the wardship, and controul of lust, and will, in which attempt if he fall short, then must a superficial colour of reputation, by all means, be gotten to wash over the unsightly bruise of honour. To make men governable in this manner, precepts are inculcated, that mainly tend to break a national spirit and courage by countenancing open riot, luxury, and ignorance, till having thus disfigured and made men beneath men, as Juno in the fable of Io, the poor transformed heifer of the common-wealth is delivered up to be stung and vext with the breeze and goad of oppression.”97

    HAVING observed, that the publications, in the Chronicle, were passed over, with general neglect, I took occasion, in the Gazette of the 12th instant, to express some concern, at this disregard:—the cause and the consequence of this neglect were also mentioned;—and the truth of what was remarked, on those publications, it was thought, wou’d serve as an apology, for the notice paid to a writer, in the Boston Chronicle.

    The Bostonian, at his first appearance, was unjust, in his insinuations, abusive to individuals, and flagrantly false in his account of facts;—of this all ranks among us, were so well convinced, it would have been time mispent to enter upon a long confutation of what gained no belief.98 Accordingly, I openly declared, that I would not “divert the public attention from matters of general concern:” And after collecting the most plausible part of the Bostonian, I endeavoured to show the absurdity and sophistry of his reasoning. How far this endeavour was attained, the candid will judge, without being much influenced by the indiscreet vapour of the BOSTONIAN, on “the imbecility of my performance.”

    When an author informs his readers, that he is about to “wave his plan to answer what has been advanced by another gentleman, who signs himself AN INDEPENDANT”, one would not naturally be led to conjecture, that this Independant, “instead of contending any, gave up several of the points started by the answerer”: I say one would not readily think, that a writer of the Bostonian’s “kidney” would lay down his important plan, to encounter sentiments, that, it should seem, no way interfered with his own: And now we are upon this head, I wish the BOSTONIAN for his own credit, would give us a minute delineation of his plan and his schemes, in order that we may judge of his consistency. For some sagacious minds are but too jealous, that his indeterminate expressions, and his inaccurate reasonings forebode no laudable design.

    Since the BOSTONIAN has assured us, that “it would be unreasonable in him to expect that his assertions should be received as facts,” many would be pleased to find his conduct, more conformable to his professions. It is, in general, a just observation, that matters of fact may be so fully proved, that mankind will be well satisfied of the truth; but should we make the gaining credit, the standard, by which to determine the merits of the present dispute; the BOSTONIAN and his party, when tried by this scale, would certainly be found wanting. After such an apparently generous declaration, it is reasonable for me to expect, that the BOSTONIAN will prove his plump assertion, that The INDEPENDANT “gave up several of the points started by him.”

    As there appears a diffidence, in the “defence of the Printers,” and the matter is not very momentous, severe animadversion is declined, and we come to that part of our opponent’s “answer,” where he, with singular assurance affirms, that “the INDEPENDANT does not deign to take notice of the misery brought upon the town by the eligible scheme of non-importation; not a word does he administer to sooth the needy, but to aggravate their distress, he tells us of such as indulge themselves in luxuries.”—I am at loss to determine, whether the author, here, intended to be pathetic or to insult.

    Something, however, was offered, by the Independant, which, he imagined, was “a sufficient answer to all the salacious cries of the hirelings, who were pretendedly lamenting the distresses of non-importation:”—And this surely was, at lest, “a deigning to take that notice,” which the Bostonian roundly declares to have been omitted.

    Will any thing “sooth” a good mind so much, as to be sure and certain, that the inconveniencies that are felt, result from a noble struggle, in the most noble cause, that can inspire the human breast? Little minds are pleased with soothings: the hope of Americans is in greatness of soul: We determine to repel the stroke of adversity: we are animated in the trial, by the example of our persecuted, suffering and triumphant ancestors. Fired by their virtues, we will fight the good fight of faith, and protected by that ARM, which wrought their salvation, we, yet, hope to do valiantly for this goodly heritage of our fathers.

    It is recommended to the BOSTONIAN, that while he is weeping over the calamities of the poor, that he would make some effectual discovery of their true source. For notwithstanding all that has yet been offered, the very poor themselves believe, that the enormous clogs and burdens of trade contribute much to deprive them of their daily bread. They have heard, that the very breath of tyranny blasts the luscious fruits of industry; and they are foolish enough to believe, that the misfortunes, they now bewail, are but the natural consequences of a fatal bondage;—they view present distress only as ominous of future woe, and the first fruits of oppression, however artfully gilded, are unpleasing to the eye, and ungrateful to the taste. And, at this day, even the studied productions, and harrangues of the sweet-speech maker, will gain no proselytes:—the man is known:—the charm is dissolved:—“Hic niger est, bunc tu Romane cavete.”99

    And tho’, like fallen BELIAL,100 “he seems

    For dignity compos’d and high exploit;—

    Yet all is false and hollow: tho’ his tongue

    Drop manna, and he make the worse appear

    The better reason, to perplex and dash

    Maturest counsels; yet his thoughts are low:

    To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds

    Timorous and slothful.101

    That Cincinnatus was called from the “plough” to conduct in the field of Mars, the histories of Rome mention; but that any of the Fabian name were husbandmen, I do not recollect to have heard. But in the days of Roman freedom, “Pensioners” of the great were not intrusted with the chief command, either in the camp or senate.102

    In the purity of the Roman state, the great Fabius would have been more than “taxed with the meanness of his occupation, and the dirtiness of his hands,” had he displayed the contracted notions of a warehouse education—the little pique of private resentment;—the wicked byass of a party-policy;—and the indefatigable lust of restless ambition;—when, in solemn judgment, upon the property, life, and liberty of the citizen—in senatorial debate upon the privileges and rights of the comon-wealth;—and in awful decision upon points, which intimately affected the fate of empires!

    The same Johnson, who supplied the “definition of a pension”—affords the following account of a PENSIONER:—“One, who is supported by an allowance paid at the will of another; a dependant; a slave of state hired by a stipend to obey his master”103—Good GOD! What must be the distress, the sentiments, and feelings of a people, legislated, condemned and governed, by a creature so mercenary, so dependant, and so ——— But I forbear: my anguish is too exquisite—my heart is too full!

    We will resume then, our enquiry, whether the BOSTONIAN was not a little precipitate in his unwary intimation, that the INDEPENDANT had not “contended any of the points he had started.”

    Were the observations I made on the Bostonian’s “good cause” pertinent and unanswerable? Is not that gentleman caught between the horns of a fatal dilemma? Must not the gentlemen either frankly own his concession to be “futile and absurd,” or endeavour to answer the purport of what was offered, on the only rational constructions of his words? On this head, I will not, here, press the gentleman further.

    The “impertinence,” or “the palpable sophistry” of the Bostonian’s reasonings, was so sufficiently evidenced, that, to save appearances, it would have been more politic and decent for the gentleman to have given a better reply, than barely to suggest, that no points he had started were contended.

    Lest I should give further occasion to PACIFICUS, and other such courtly writers, to descant on a very fertile and interesting subject:—and animate “my countrymen to confide in the experienced justice and generosity of G.B.” I close, with the sentiments of a man, whose genious, learning, fortitude and piety, rendered him the scourge of tyrants, and a glory to the world.104

    “What stirs the Englishmen sooner to rebellion, than violent and heavy hands upon their properties and persons? yet there are those, who (in spight of our charter, and the souls of our progenitors, that wrested their liberties out of the Norman gripe, with their dearest blood and highest prowess) have not ceased to set at naught and trample under foot all the most sacred, life blood laws, statutes and acts of parliament, that are the holy covenant of union and marriage, between the king and his realm, by proscribing and confiscating, from us, all the right we have to our bodies, goods and liberties. What is this, but to blow a trumpet and proclaim a fire-cross to an hereditary ad perpetual CIVIL WAR?”105