15 June 1772148

    “Fain would a LELIUS149 for a favorite plead,

    Fain would he form some reconciling plan,

    To spare the person ———

    “Allied alas! for ever to the crime,

    No kind exemption can the person claim;

    But blackens downwards on the lapse of Time,

    The equal object of eternal shame.”150

    HOWEVER “posterity may be careless of enquiry concerning the fautors151 of a junto,” it is not probable that they will be less affected with the subject-matter of the political treatises of the present day, than their ancestors:—and, if I am not mistaken, the Lelii, the Philanthropes,152 and the Hutchinsons of futurity will find the next generation as refractory as their fires. There is a degree of imposition beyond which man will not suffer; hypocritical solemnity, and base duplicity may deceive for a season; but an awakening people are not easily appeased; and when thoroughly roused, inward murmurings and execrations will not satisfy their feelings.

    Whether Lelius or myself are “worthy to be ranked among the sagacious and penetrating”, is not matter of sufficient moment to divert the public attention; and this artifice so successfully played off in times past, on similar occasions, shall not prevent my considering those subjects which are infinitely more important to my countrymen and posterity. However, tho’ my inclination does not prompt me to expatiate on literary trifles, yet it may, in some cases, be profitable to gratify a word-catcher.

    Lelius suggests that I have “mistaken myself” in saying “it was his Excellency’s business on Election-day, to sooth and conciliate:”—“For if it was his business, (says this acute logician) it must have been his duty, and if his duty, doubtless justifiable.”—As if a governor might not, with sinister designs and odious machinations, be as busy, as the Prince of the air, without once doing, or even thinking of, his duty. Should an Historian of the next age, in recording the present aera, inform our countrymen, that Mr. ____ though his whole life sacrificed understanding, conscience and peice of mind, to gratify a “lust of power” and avarice of wealth; and that from the moment he was elevated in authority, he made it his whole BUSINESS to prostitute the sanctity of office to the same execrable purposes; would even Lelius plainly say, this “business must have been his duty?”—and “doubtless justifiable.”—That a man’s business is not always his duty, but frequently his engagement, EMPLOYMENT and delight, and that this is a current sense of that word, as used by the best authors in the English language, would not be exemplified in any instance, did not Addison afford one, of which Lelius, and such critics may make a very happy application.

    I never knew one, who made it his business to lash the faults of other writers, that was not guilty of greater himself.” Addison.153

    It was never thought “unpardonable in Mr. H. to ask any question in order to determine his judgment.” But when a governor on an Election-day, makes high professions of his affection for the welfare of his country, and as soon as the Election is over, takes measures, which must incense and exasperate; we want no other index of his heart:—We have a right to presume and say, ‘till he gives good evidence to the contrary, that he designed “to sooth and conciliate,” “to invite and charm” those, who unawares of “the serpent” in the grass, were tho’tlesly gazing at “the subtle beast.”

    But Lelius asks, “Did his Excellency in his speech promise to comply with the requests of the Council and House at all events?” Was this query put for information or deception? Let us consider.

    In answer to the message of the House, in which they make an “earnest request” for removal, Mr. H. as governor, declares, “I will take the subject-matter of your message into consideration, and IF IT SHALL NOT APPEAR NECESSARY to me for his Majesty’s service and the good of the province to continue the Court in some other place than the town of Boston, I WILL COMPLY WITH YOUR DESIRE, AND REMOVE IT THERE.”154—Now, I say, that here is an EXPRESS “PROMISE, at all events to comply with the requests of the Council and House,” unless the JOINT necessity of the service of his Majesty AND the good of the province prevented. This I affirm his Excellency declares shall govern his conduct: and if no such necessity, in the estimation of “his Majesty’s Council,” the House, or the people of the province is existing, we have good reason to say, it does not exist at all; because if these are not proper judges of what Mr. H. means by “his Majesty’s service,” yet I say they are fit judges of “the good of the province.” And Mr. H. (in the zeal of HIS PROFESSION) has made a necessity unitedly affecting both “King and Province” the standard of his conduct, and such necessity alone is now to be the criterion of his veracity. Now I again call upon Mr. H. the cabal, and the “fautors of the junto,” either to prove, that this “PROMISE” had no meaning, or that he who made it, did not know what he said, or what he designed; if neither of these can be satisfactorily done, then let those gentlemen exhibit some specious evidence of the existence of such a necessity as we have been considering, or I am afraid, that if at present there is no formal “presentment” (or IMPEACHMENT) “accusing his Excellency of insincerity, prevarication, and falshood,” yet a day of search and trial, of arraignment and condemnation is approaching, in which neither the sophistry of an Advocate, the eminence of the Criminal, or the number of his Accomplices, will be able to blind, warp or elude the justice and vengeance of an ALMIGHTY JUDGE.

    Had Mr. H. however found that the fervor of his profession had carried him too far, that his heart or his instructions forbid a compliance with “the good of the province,” and then like a bold, a hardy and INDEPENDANT VETERAN had plumply declared his sentiments and determination, we might perhaps have let such open frankness mitigate the warmth of our resentment; but when the little wiles of timidity and the arts of subterfuge and evasion unite with a malevolence of intention, our scorn and abhorrence alternately predominate.

    Lelius may think, that it is his best answer to talk of “vermicular convolutions,” and the “taking up too much of Draper’s paper”;—but this will do only with gulls and gudgeons. Sensible and honest men see, and sufficiently despise such little gubernatorial tricks. This game will not do now.—Therefore, Sir, show that the answer of the house was of enigmatical or doubtful meaning;—show us that the word “convene” is ever used in parliament or in our charter in the sense Mr. H. pretends;—show that his excellency did not understand a message he had three days to consider, and as a governor was undertaking to answer;—give us a rule of construction, that admits a private individual or a judge; a governor and a prince, when treating with his commons, to take doubtful words in an unfavorable sense; give us a specimen from English history of that monarch, who dared to disregard “the prayer” of his LORDS and COUNCELLORS, and “the earnest request” of his COMMONS.—This is the work, this is the labor.

    Till this is done, Lelius will serve his reputation more by his silence, than by such false affirmations as these:—that “the very respectable body of the Council are saluted (by Me) with a broadside, as being HIGHLY CRIMINAL in thanking his excellency.” This charge is not true. I never did salute the Council as being highly criminal, in what they did. I did think and intimate my own sentiments of thanking a ruler for doing his duty, tho’ it went no further than an “expression of readiness” to perform it. That such kinds of gratitude and such modes of thanks to rulers never did any good, and have done much mischief, we need not spend time to prove. The design and tendency of such political manoeuvres are equally obvious to the statesman, the patriot and the discerning citizen. And if they had the sanction of “Faneuil-Hall in a unanimous plaudit, to one for his moderation”, it would by no means prove or convince me, that it was therefore “politick, prudent or christian-like.” All understanding and honest men will view with a like watchfulness, perhaps not with equal indignation, the Tribunitian declaimer, and the Patrician prostitute, the pirate of northern seas, and the plunderers of American revenue; the venal and corrupt judge, and the rapacious and dutiful governor.