27 December 1773228



    Bowed low his grey Dissimulation.


    IT is a just observation, that man in nothing seems more to resemble his Creator, than in the utter abhorrence of hypocrisy.—The villain who determines his conduct without reserve, and executes his resolutions with open bravery, seems to irradiate his guilt with a kind of heroism. Attracted with the frankness and splendor of his conduct, we admire the fortitude of the man, while we detest his crime. But to plot in secret, discovers malignity without courage, as, the cruelty of a coward displays turpitude of heart without strength of mind. Thus a villain, adventrous and intrepid forces an involuntary applause, while the malicious and wily coward hath nothing to exempt him from our bitterest hatred and indignation.

    The various affections of the human breast were implanted for wise and good reasons. It was requisite, that the most dangerous wickedness should excite the sharpest resentment. It is just and right, that those, who are the most injurious to the common happiness and security of mankind should be exposed to proportionate detestation & vengeance. The safety of society and individuals could in no way be better secured. The thrust of a duelist may be parried; but who can repel the stab of an assassin? Against the bold and open invader we are in some measure prepared, by the knowledge of our enemy and danger: there is something of generosity in the attack; there is scope for the exertions of virtue. Justice may be present at the combat; the struggle may be glorious and exemplary: the event may be happy—and virtue may be triumphant.—But against the secret destroyer, who approaches with smiles of beneficence and professions of regard; who hides his dagger under the veil of friendship or the mantle of religion; innocence is no protection—valour is no adequate defence. Thus disguised, the odious creature wreaths himself into the bosom, and in an unsuspecting moment plunges a poignard230 to the heart. Having effected his purpose he steals to his covert, and in secret ruminates with malignant joy on the works of his hands.

    No wonder that a character of this sort is hateful to all men. As no system of morality hath given a definition of it’s guilt, so no code of laws hath assigned an adequate punishment. THE WISDOM OF GOD AND THE POLICY OF MAN SEEM TO RESERVE SUCH INSTANCES OF ENORMITY AND EXTRAVAGANT WICKEDNESS TO BE JUDGED AND AVENGED ACCORDING TO THE RANK OF THE CRIMINAL, AND THE EXIGENCE OF THE OCCASION.

    Leaving the truth and application of the preceeding remarks to the wisdom of others, I proceed to pay my attention to his eminence, the governor. A gentleman who owes all that he enjoys, which is truly honorable, to the partiality and favor of his countrymen: a man born, bred, and educated among us; and under every moral and religious tie to love, honour and do good to this province: one, who has been unremitted in his pretensions to zeal for it’s laws, liberties and religion; profuse of declarations of concern for it’s welfare, and lavish of his tears for the errors and delusions of the people. With all this fine show—what has been this man at heart? What have been his designs?—What his deeds?—What has he effected?

    Have not the council and representatives of the province charged this very man, in the face of the world, with gross misrepresentations and falsehood—with aiming to introduce arbitrary power, and the actual introduction of an armed force,—a force which stained our streets with blood and slaughter;—and finally, with the most capital offence against the common wealth—an intent to subvert the constitution?—And have not all these charges been supported by the most conspicuous facts?

    Is this THE MAN, who vapours the Attorney-General—TREASON and REBELLION? Surely he has forgot his law and his history. His law books would tell him, what a Finch, a Berkeley and Strafford suffered “for HIGH TREASON against the fundamental laws and introducing arbitrary power.”231—His history will tell him, that “any treacherous perfidious attempt to alter and subvert fundamentally the frame of policy and government, was made (in this colony) a CAPITAL OFFENCE”;* and that “A BETRAYER OF THE GOVERNMENT” was by a law of our fathers subjected to the same penalty.+

    Who is the Traitor, who the Betrayer of Government? He who openly assembles with his brethren to consider of public affairs; who speaks his sentiments freely, and determines his conduct in the face of all men?—Or he who conspires against the very being of the state, and plots the cutting off individuals;—who writes secret and confidential letters to the enemies of his country, blasts its reputation with calumny, and points the way to its overthrow and ruin?—and while he thus aims the fatal stroke, sneaks like a coward behind the veil of darkness, and supplicates concealment from the face of day?

    Surely this is not the period for his Excellency to chaunt of treasons and carrol prosecutions; a lower note is better suited to the day: a softer strain must lull the tumult of the times.

    Certain I am, that whenever THIS PEOPLE shall be called to consider THE GREAT DOCTRINES OF CRIMINAL LAW, they will soon cry for justice with a zeal that will not bear restraint, and urge their suit with an impetuosity which will not brook delay.—When A WHOLE PEOPLE present a criminal at the bar of justice, the sword must not linger in the hand of the executioner.


    [to be continued.]


    * See Hist. Massa: Bay, 1 Vol. p. 412.

    + See same Hist. p. 295. Note.