22 June 1772158

    “When one in Viciousness grows hard,

    On Misery on’t! the wise GOD seals his eyes;

    ———— makes him

    Adore his Errors, —– while he struts,

    To his Confusion.” SHAKESPEARE.159

    IN political, as well as other matters, there is nothing like research and examination to determine our judgment: It is not every man who bawls—LIBERTY! is a patriot; neither are all they who croak—GOVERNMENT! friends to peace and good order. It becomes therefore a wise people to attend to their own interests; remembering that there are powers, in every state, perpetually operating on the most important concerns of the community. Believe no man for his professions; but consider whether he is in the service of those, who dispose the loaves and the fishes. Trust with discretion. The people have in general nothing to bestow, but their plaudit—and Heaven knows!—that is sufficiently precarious. No wise man will enter into conflicts for the people, for such a poor reward, unless a sense of his duty impells him to action. It has ever been the bane of man, that he has generally neglected, or not sufficiently supported and revered, those who have sacrificed health and fortune, in the service of the common cause. Neither does the history of the world afford us reason to hope, that the enemies of public felicity, the partizans of public oppression, and the advocates of tyranny (under the sacred name of government) will receive from their injured fellowmen—justice—justice!---Hence encouraged by impunity, the most atrocious criminals have their abettors, and every day affords us an instance that shameless man is capable of espousing the most shameless measures.

    Let any one review the history of this country for the last seven years; let him consider what has been done and said, and by whom; let him advert to the transactions of this day, and trace their operation to what will probably be the consequences; I say let this be done, and my remarks will receive confirmation.—But I must hasten to attend upon Mr. Hutchinson and his defenders,—LELIUS and THE COBLER:160—the renowned triumvirate who gave rise to my observations.

    Lelius may think it uncourtly to have the truth publickly told of him, when such a declaration bespeaks his falsehood. As well might a thief or robber complain of the incivility of the post and gallows, as many whom I could name, who are eternally lamenting the just rewards of their crimes and infamy.

    Lelius after a public conviction of one falsehood, if he had any respect for the understanding and virtue of his countrymen, any modesty or feeling, would not have hoped any success from the same little artifice. He tells us, in the front of his last publication, that “Marchmont Nedham, to the charge against his Excellency of inconsistence, prevarication, insincerity and falshood, has added, hypocritical solemnity, base duplicity, and malevolence of intention! Language (adds Lelius) better becoming the porter, than the instructor of youth and the guardian of the people.”—What a scurvy trick have some men got of lying? What sentiments concerning the design and use of language?

    Lelius knows that either of these charges was never made by me against his Excellency in my first publication. I stated facts, and reasoned upon them. What those facts and that reasoning supported and proved, and no more, the Governor or his friends might answer as they were able. Mankind were to judge between the ruler and the people. Lelius or others who penetrated into matters, and properly considered them, would decide for themselves, and denominate the transactions by such names as seemed best expressive of their sentiments. But for myself, whatever I tho’t, or believed, I charged his Excellency with nothing but his own public conduct; and if this eventually convicted him of “inconsistence, prevarication, insincerity and falshood,” his advocates will not better his cause by pursuing the same practices in the Governor’s vindication.---My last contained this great truth, that “hypocritical solemnity, and base duplicity, may deceive for a season.” And tho’ a naked position by itself, unapplied to any individual, and (as connected with the rest of my observations) equally relative to Lelius, Philanthrop and Mr. Hutchinson, yet Lelius tells us, this is an additional charge against the governor. Was it thought, that the truth of this position was so strikingly exemplified, as that all, who read or heard, must make the application? Or did Lelius wish to be considered, or did he know himself, so intimately incorporated with the three notable adventurers, as that a truth which affected any one of them, must equally touch his Excellency?

    A curious figure this writer makes with his “language of a porter,” when his remark had no sanction from truth of fact or brilliancy of thought. For he ought to know, that propriety of language must be determined by a joint consideration of the sentiment to be conveyed, the person addressed, and him who is spoken of. Now, when the sentiment of the heart is justly abhorrent of the turpitude of the culprit, the language of the lips ought to be expressive of the feelings. Hence it is becoming the man, who acts from principle, to treat all villains with words and actions correspondent to their crimes. This alone ought to silence one half of the clamour made about civility and politeness to dignified knaves and robbers. FACT is a test of just sentiment: TRUTH is an eternal standard of propriety in language.

    The celebrated author, who tells us, that “he who goes about to persuade a multitude they are not so well governed as they ought to be, will not fail of finding attentive and favourable hearers,” delivered a truth:—but as it would have been as fair and as profitable to mankind, had he told us the reason, which he has chose to conceal, let me do it for him. He who goes about to persuade a multitude of this EVERLASTING TRUTH, will always find abundant matter for his discourse; matter deeply interesting to the many, greatly galling to the few: matter that deserves the attention and favor of all good men, and will therefore ever have it from some;—while he who attempts thus to persuade, properly feels for his fellows:—has understanding to know their wrongs, ability to display them, and spirit to redress them. Heaven knows that a want of more of these “PERSWADERS,” a deficiency in the number of THE “ATTENTIVE AND FAVOURABLE,” has been the bane of human happiness—an encouragement of those, who have been the scourges of GOD, and the plagues of mankind.

    We are informed by Lelius, that he will “endeavor to shew forth several matters,” for “reconciling the conduct of the governor, with truth, wisdom and integrity”. This is said with reference to my last, which I hope will be read by all those who are inclined to think Lelius has performed what he has undertaken. However Lelius takes care not to proceed in his reconciling planin the way Marchmont has pleased to point out.” Proceed in any honest way in your labours, and I am content:—Take the stone Sisiphus, as a device for your standard, and “the thirst of Tantalus” for your motto.161 Philanthrop held forth in 1767, a “fixed resolution, to examine in his own way every charge bro’t against G — r B — d, and, if it could be fairly done, to set his (BERNARD’s) CHARACTER FOR INTEGRITY, AND TRUE FRIENDSHIP TO THE PROVINCE in a just point of light.” Philanthrop and Lelius on a comparison of their “fixed resolution” and “endeavour” ‘in their own way’ to “examine” and “reconcile” seem as likely to be the same “single soul,” as Mucius and Marchmont; and I have no doubt but the hero of 1767 and 1772 will be alike deserving, if not alike rewarded. However, going your “own way” will not succeed so well now as formerly.—But we will attend Lelius in “his way”.

    “In last week’s papers every thing bad was said of the governor because he would NOT remove the court to Boston”: Not barely for this only; but for his not doing it conformable to the words and spirit of his promise, and agreeable to his ostentatious professions and pretences. “In the next paper (continues our advocate) he is abused for doing it.” It is not true Lelius, and you know it. This is plain truth and good manners, among men, whatever you may say about porters and politeness. Mr. H. has not been abused by me, or any one else that I know, for removing the Court to Boston. He has been sifted rather more thoroughly than common touching this point: he has been weighed and found greatly wanting. He acted a part that no honest man will attempt to palliate, much less justify: a part, which, with them who know the man, his aims and measures, precludes all charity, till he shows, true contrition and reformation

    He apparently designed to bring the House into his plot; and if once ensnared, we are not ignorant who would make it a merit, and who have pensions at disposal. It is not every day, that such a subtle ruler, as our present is exhibited in true colours. There are a thousand ways to act the villain in a mask: and an equal number of ways for the great and guilty to elude conviction or defeat justice. He, who with so odious, so poor, so mean a motive, openly practice such devices, is capable of ——— all that a free people dread and abhor. Such conduct ought to be fixed up as a land-mark, to the present and future generations, and as a genuine standard by which to judge the ruler and the man.

    Who “told” Lelius that “the governor would not even now have regarded the earnest request and prayer of his councellors and commons, had he not been afraid to do otherwise; and his remanding the Court to Boston was an act of compulsion or design, not of will”? Lelius after having affirmed this tale, which I am well satisfied he never saw in print, knight errant-like sets about “determining the truth of it with precision.” But “his review” has not shown any thing to prove even this tale, (which he pretends to have been “told”) was untrue in fact; tho’ it should seem a mighty easy matter to knock down a man of straw of our own formation. One ground of complaint against Mr. H. was directly the reverse of all this. It was his dependence upon a minister,162 and his monstrous independance of this people, which we supposed made him so little afraid of doing what he did. It is no easy thing to compel a man to forfeit the approbation of one who feeds and pays him; especially when this man has a herd of monsters in his train, an army at his heels, and a fleet at his command. Hence Lelius was called upon to shew THE VERY REVERSE of what he pretends to be told:—“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.” Plainly pointing out, that Mr. H. so far from “being afraid,” had actually dared to do what NO KING OF ENGLAND, from the Norman tyrant to the present occupier of the throne defacto, had ventured to attempt.—Lelius surely must know, that to serve a turn, the most hardy and daring oppressor163 may resort to “the little wiles of timidity”, and practice, for a time, “the arts of subterfuge and evasion.”

    Lelius tells the world, that the GOVERNOR WAS UNDER A NECESSITY of continuing the Court out of Boston, while the king’s authority to appoint the place for holding it was disputed.” THIS I UTTERLY DENY: And I call upon Lelius to prove it. I have good reason to believe that Mr. Hutchinson HAD NOT EVEN AN INSTRUCTION from the king to this purpose. I have been well informed, that when he lately asked the advice of council he read a letter from Lord Hillsborough, the purport of which was no more than simply this: – that so long as the house continued such dispute, “his excellency would BE JUSTIFIED in holding the Court out of Boston.” These I say, I am told are the words of that letter, which one would suppose, as the advice of Council was asked on it, was recorded: However it is said, this was forbid: If I am wrong, let me be set right. Now if this letter contains “the necessity” talked of; if this letter is the only instruction which has influenced his conduct, let people consider how his behaviour is aggravated.—What a farce to seek advice under such circumstances and on such an occasion? What a poor incentive to actuate Mr H. in his explanatory Message? A resort to Council will not serve the purpose.

    Lelius informs us, that the “Governor sends the House a second message, civilly desiring them to resolve a doubt, which upon consideration had arisen in his mind respecting the intent of one expression in their answer.” But before this can serve as any excuse, let it be owned, that he had not considered it to be in the three days precedent to his first message; and what is still more important, give us some shadow of plausible pretext for the doubt he pretends to raise upon FURTHER consideration. Shameless as men are in these days, from the highest to the lowest, no one attempts this. Therefore this FURTHER consideration which gave rise to a declaration of this doubt, serves only to evidence a deeper plot at the bottom, and, of course, gives a ten-fold blackness to the despicable project. And publickly, as a governor, to affirm “that as plain as the words were to the House, to him they were doubtful and equivocal,” adds a new shade to the exhibition. Neither does it at all better the matter to say (let who will say it) that the words of the House “might be construed in such a manner, as if the Governor complied with the desire of the House” he would depart from the KING’s instruction”; unless some evidence besides a bare ipse dixit164 is given to support the fact, and then some rule of language, of common sense or of parliament, which will warrant “such a construction.” The application to the Council is seen thro’ by all wise men, and will never be tho’t anything more, than a new specimen of his Excellency’s dexterity in methods to save appearances, unless as many suppose, that there was a further view of getting the Board unwarily and suddenly to go into a measure, which “might be construed,” as the phrase goes, a tacit or implied allowance of a right to give the modern kind of instructions to continental governors. If this was, also, the design, the keeness of my resentment surpasses the expression of my pen.

    I shall now leave my intelligent countrymen to determine, whether Lelius has succeeded in an “endeavor” precisely in my way, or any other, to show these “several matters”:—“That the answer of the House was of enigmatical or doubtful meaning; that the word “convene”, is ever used in parliament or in our charter in the sense Mr. H. pretends; that his Excellency did not understand a message he had three days to consider, and, as a governor was undertaking to answer; that 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 unfavourable sense; and that specimen from English history”, which we have heretofore mentioned. “This work, this labor” must be performed, before Lelius or any other, will accomplish the arduous task “of reconciling the conduct of the Governor, with truth, wisdom, or integrity.”

    I would just inform “the Cobler” that agreeable to his “prayer”,165 I have taken a new, I wish it may be “a full draught” of Milton: And let me recommend to his serious meditation and improvement, this one passage from that sublime author, that wise, great & good man.

    “They undoubtedly, that by their labors, counsels and prayers, have been earnest for the common good of religion and their country, shall receive above the inferior orders of the blessed, the regal addition of principalities, legions, and thrones, into their glorious titles, and in super-eminence of beatific vision, progressing the dateless and irrevocable circle of eternity, shall clasp inseperable hands with joy and bliss, in over-measure forever.

    “But they on the contrary, that by the impairing and diminution of the true faith, THE DISTRESSES AND SERVITUDE OF THEIR COUNTRY, ASPIRE TO HIGH DIGNITY, RULE AND PROMOTION HERE, after a shameful end in this life (which GOD grant them) shall be thrown down eternally into the darkest and deepest gulph of hell, where under the despightful controul, the trample and spurne of all the other damned, shall remain in that plight forever;—THE BASEST, THE LOWER-MOST, THE MOST-DEJECTED, MOST UNDER-FOOT AND DOWN-TRODDEN VASSALS OF PERDITION.”166