12 October 1772182

    The following came to Hand last Saturday se-nnight, but too late to be inserted in our last Week’s Gazette.

    “He who dares my rights invade

    By NATURE’S oldest LAW is made

    My VICTIM or my Slave.183

    DRAPER’s last Thursday’s Paper tells us, that “the extravagant licentiousness of the Press is arrived to such a pitch of late, that unless it be in some measure curbed, bids fair to be the destruction of all government in this province.”184 It is curious to observe the variant accounts we have, from the same quarter, of the licentiousness of the Press;—that hackneyed theme of knaves who feel and fear the lash of truth.—At one time they aim to amuse by pretending this licentiousness to be so enormous as to be contemptible; at another so extravagant as to become formidable to all government. And I have observed these changes to be rung, according as they who bear rule imagine the body of the people FEAR or HATE their power and oppression. If timidity and supineness are thought to predominate among the populace—the licentiousness of the Press must be in some measure curbed;—if rage and revenge inflame the injured multitude;—the liberty of the Press is too contemptible for notice. However no writer has ever yet shown us a government destroyed by licentious Printers; and what is more, such a phenomenon never did or will appear in the political world: Though I could easily name states, nations, colonies and provinces for whom it would be HAPPY, if any licentiousness could be found sufficient to dissolve ALL that, among them, is called GOVERNMENT. Now if this be true, and moreover that it is the duty of every man to aim at this happiness of such a community, I need not spend time to prove, that ONE AND ALL ought to arise and overturn, overturn, and continue to overturn, till they “leave not a wreck (of their bondage) behind.”

    Let us suppose, for a moment, a nation, sunk in vice, and prostitute to a herd of plundering villains, assuming & exerting a supreme power over many millions of people in a distant land; let us realize this people as having a charter from GOD and Nature to be free from all manner of foreign controul without their consent; let us also consider that the whole administration of what is called government, in this assuming nation, to be wicked and corrupt to a degree unparalleled in history; and that all officers over these subjugated millions do and must, upon the present plan, hold their offices by the tenure of slaves and vassals to the worst of men; let us suppose these things and many more impositions and thraldoms needless here to enumerate;—and I ask whether such a government as is over this distant land is worth preserving; yea rather I ask,—whether the cry ought not to be as in the days of Sampson, know you not that the Philistines are rulers over you? Whether firebrands, or the jaw-bone, the first weapon just rage can lay hold on, may not be lawfully employed against the oppressors?185 For the word of GOD in the example of an Ehud has pointed the remedy against tyranny, and the mode of relief from Moabitish oppression. Prayers and tears with the help of a dagger,—crying to the Lord and the hand of an Ehud. DEVOTION and ACTION united: Tyrants are of that race of Devils that they are not cast out by fasting and prayer alone. The light of nature has not left us in the dark relative to the way of exterminating robbers and destroyers: We have natural light sufficient to show us how an enslaved people are to obtain deliverance. But the LORD OF LIGHT has given us the fit message to send to a tyrant:—A DAGGER OF A CUBIT IN HIS BELLY:—and every worthy man who desires to be an Ehud, the deliverer of his country, will strive to be the messenger.186

    From hence, I infer, that bad men and bad measures, are not exempted from “opprobrious epithets”—nay; not from death and extinction itself, by being shrouded under great names and dignified appellations. “Ministers” of state, foreign “jurisdictions” and “immediate executors of laws,” in certain cases, are to be pursued—not with “epithets and abuse”—but with execrations and death. Desert,—desert, I say, is the standard of such pursuit and punishment:—this is the touchstone by which we are to determine the justice of those who thus pursue, and the lawfulness of the punishment they inflict on the overtaken.

    It seems the writer in Draper’s paper thinks that “Americans DO and ought to contend for the trial by Jury with a becoming assurance.” We should be glad to know;—Whether Americans have and DO thus contend, while they submit with tameness, cowardice and eternal infamy, to the extended and extending jurisdictions of Admiralty Courts on this Continent? Whether so gross impositions, rapine and barbarity were ever practised upon any other people, under colour of law, as those Courts decree, execute and record?—Whether it is not the policy of the times from Mansfield to the lowest subaltern in office to eradicate, render useless, or worse than useless, the trial by Jury?

    As to the Account of the Trial of Pierpont and Davis, which it seems provoked Draper’s COMMON SENSE to issue forth; whether true or no I am unable to say: I own that part of the publications which have been by some thought to relate to that cause would have pleased me better, had they been otherwise worded and more clearly expressed.187 And I have good reason to believe that if the whole of the matter was before the world, it would much serve that Cause, which Draper’s employers seek to destroy. For I have taken great pains to enquire and know the truth relative to every hearing of Cutler’s case, and find the uniform account from almost every one who inhabits the county of Worcester, serving to confirm the sentiment, I ever entertained concerning the Judges and lawyers who bore a part in that trial. I am verily perswaded that the eyes of that county have been much opened and their opinions of certain men and things much changed in the course of this cause:—A knowledge of this, I have no doubt contributed to certain steps and manoeuvres, which otherwise COMMON SENSE, prudence and policy would have forbidden.

    Till last Thursday’s paper, I never heard it suggested that “Pierpont’s management at the trial was extraordinary” in any degree; and if it was so much so as “to more than counterbalance the extraordinary management of others,” the Public ought to know it. And as there can be no manner of danger in telling the whole truth with regard to Pierpont, we have a right to expect this writer will give it to us; and I am well informed that others would do the like with respect TO ALL CONCERNED, if FINES and IMPRISONMENTS, STOCKS & PILLORIES were not in the administration of some, who will not permit the one half to be told. But the breath of man is in his nostrils, he dieth—and his deeds are recorded.

    We all know that “the whole Jury bring in the verdict”: but it is as well known, that some men have much more art, address, powers, and influence with their fellows, than others: now I cannot say, how far McClanathan and Wheeler were fitted for the purpose of perswasion or influence, but this I firmly believe that every man sees a reason why McClanathan was permitted to set, tho’ objected against, and why two Hardwick men should successively strike the pupil of Sheriff Chandler’s eye in preference to any others of a large multitude who were about him. And as I have over and over again heard, that the Council for Pierpont and Davis made repeated offers to draw a Jury by lot, or strike a Jury, as ‘tis said they do in England, none of which were accepted, it serves to confirm me and many others, that all was not right. I presume our sentiments of this affair is no evidence, that we are unfriendly to trials by Jury in general, any more than an opinion, that some one beguiled Jury were insidiously drawn to give an unrighteous verdict, could be fairly construed as “villifying” that excellent institution for the purposes of distributive justice.

    A jury acquitted a Preston and a Killroy; A jury convicted a SIDNEY of high-treason: This is the difference between the reigns of a Brunswick and a Stuart!188—But still juries are admirable inventions. Laud with his religion was a curse, Caesar with his Senate was a curse, Charles the second with his Parliament was a curse, and JEFFRIES189 with his JURY was a curse; but religion, senates, parliaments and juries have and will be blessings to mankind for ages past and to come.—“A fair trial, in GOD’s name” said a Jeffries, and prostituted his office, his conscience, and stained his robes with blood—the blood of a SIDNEY!—Execrable villain! Historians have told his speeches, his windings, his arts and his—! at the trial of this first of men!—History also can and will tell more modern stories.—We execrate Jeffries, while to this day we almost adore a Sidney:—and generations unborn will do the same. These different fates are not peculiar to the judges and convicts of the last century.—But THE WHOLE TRUTH is never told of THE GREAT AND GUILTY, while they live and bear rule. ‘Tis succeeding ages relate the frauds, the ravages, and butcheries of enormous villains.

    “Hear this—& tremble! ye who ‘scape the laws.”190

    What the C—J—said or did in Cutler’s cause, I am unable to relate; but if the concurrent testimony of 50 people who were present may be relied on, he did deliver it as his opinion, that “the non-importation agreement was against the laws of GOD and Man.” And if so, how it can be considered as “demonstrating a gross want of regard and respect” to inform the world of it, I leave others to say: For though I have heard lawyers often talk of their reports, I never before heard it intimated that reporting was exclusively confined to the Long-robe. Thus much is certain, if this doctrine concerning the non-importation agreement is law, we should be glad to know it: And it may have this valuable tendency;—to make the next efforts for freedom favour more of that virtue and valour for which Englishmen in former ages have been justly renowned; and may turn this GREAT PEOPLE to call on the name of the LORD, and to seek a redress of their grievances, with the spear and the lance, at that GLORIOUS SEAT OF JUSTICE,—where Moses brought the Egyptian; and Sampson the Phillistines.