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a declared royalist. He has given Tom Paine the severest lashing he ever met with. And as to “tra“ ducing the people of this country,” does not Peter traduce them, when, in speaking of the United States, he says
“ Where sons of liberty their pæans sing,
“ And every scoundrel convi&t is a king." Is not this traducing the people? And yet Mr. Bache publicly boasts of his intimacy with this fellow, and takes infinite pains to propagate his works ! “ Birds of a feather will flock together,” says the old proverb, and it is no more than reasonable to suppose, that Mr. Bache, whatever mask he may choose to wear, participates in the sentiments of his friend Pindar.
Nay, even Doctor Franklin was an aristocrat, and an abominable one too, as may be seen in the very last item of his last will and testament. “ bequeath,” says he, “to my worthy friend George
Washington, my gold-headed cane, surmounted “ with a Liberty-Cap: if it were a Sceptre he is “ worthy of it!” Thus, you see, reader, after all the Doctor's clamour against kings, he thought a Sceptre something better than a Liberty-Cap. That the Doctor was sincere here there is no doubt; men are generally so upon their death-beds, howsoever profound their hypocrisy may have been through life.—Poor Richard certainly deserves to be tumbled from his niche for this dying confession, and, I trust, “ when the day of retribution comes," as my cutthroat terms it, he will not be forgotten. 'Tis ridiculous, to be sure, to lay violent hands on a statue ; but as this kind of heroism has made a very considerable figure in this “ Age of Reason,” I do not see why old Lightning-Rod should escape any more than another.
Doctor Priestley, in his first American publication, congratulates himself on being now got into a country, where he can publish his sentiments, be they what they may, without any fear of
fear of persecution from either church or state. But he had forgot that there was the democratic gang, more intolerant than either. What will he say, when he sees the letter of my eaves-dropping cut-throat ? Will he not begin to repent of having so bitterly complained of the want of liberty of the press in England ? One of his excuses for quitting his country was, that he had threatening letters sent to him. Perhaps my cut-throat thinks that all Englishmen are like the Doctor ; but he will find himself mistaken: all the stink pots of all the democrats in the western hemisphere shall never drive me from America, nor make me take coach in disguise, as the Birmingham philosopher did.
The democratic societies (for they were then in existence) might, perhaps, have informed Doctor Priestley, that he should be permitted to print whatever he pleased, and, if so, he might well venture to say that the press was free for him ; but, unless he had received such previous intimation, his boast of enjoying the liberty of the press was made very much at házard. These people plead the liberty of the press,
in the fullest extent of the word; they claim a right to print and publish whatever they please; they tell you that free discussion must lead to the truth, and a thousand other arguments they have always ready at their fingers ends to oppose to every kind of restraint. They have calumniated the best of governments and the best of men; they revile all that is good and all that is sacred, and that too in language the most brutal and obscene; and, if they are accused of indecency, or called on for proofs of what they advance, they take shelter in their sanc
tury, the liberty of the press. But, on the other
, hand, if any one has courage enough to oppose them, and is so happy as to do it with success ; if the mildest of their expressions are retorted, they instantly threaten their opponents with violence and even murder. Their doctrine is, that the press is free for them, and them alone. This is democratic liberty of the press ; just such as is enjoyed in that free and happy country whose revolutionary career the people of this country are called upon to imitate.
Much has been said and sung about the Sedition Bills of Mr. Pitt, and the restraint on the liberty of the press in England; but, whatever that restraint may be, it is by law. The law says, that there are such and restraints, and, therefore, he who trespasses deserves punishment. The laws of this country say, that the press is free, and we well know what invidious comparisons are continually made between this country and England, in that respect; but, if men are to be murdered, or have their houses burnt for exercising this much talked of liberty, it is time to cease giving it a place among the advantages that the United States enjoy over the “mo"ther country,” as it is sometimes called in derision. When a foreigner arrives in Great Britain, he looks at the written law; there he sees how far he is permitted to carry the use of the press ; and, so long as he keeps within the bounds prescribed, his person and property is safe. There is no subaltern power, whose consent he has to obtain, before he dares publish a book, or expose a print for sale. His house is not threatened with destruction, because his window exhibits what is indicative of the prowess of his nation, and of the disgrace of their enemies; at any rate, he is not threatened with murder, for having stepped forward in defence of the laws and the government of the country,
When I first took up the pen, I found a good deal of difficulty (as the public will see, one of these days) to get access to the press at all; not because the manuscript I offered contained any thing libellous or immoral, but because it was not adapted to what was supposed to be the taste of the public. In fact, the press was at the time, generally speaking, as far as related to what is usually termed politics, in the hands of a daring and corrupt faction, who, by deceiving some, and intimidating others, had blocked up every avenue to true information. My publications were looked upon as so many acts of rebellion against this despotic combination, and, therefore, every possible trick was essayed to discredit them and their author; all these tricks have, however, proveđ vain.
My object, and my only object, in writing, was to contribute my mite towards the support of a government under which I enjoyed peace and plenty. This object I have pursued as steadily as my
small share of leisure would allow me ; and that I have not laboured in vain, the present conduct of the democratic faction most amply proves. The cutthroat's letter, which I now lay before the public, shows to what a state of desperation they are driven. They at first made some pitiful attempts to answer me; those sunk out of sight, and were forgotten for ever. They then vomited forth calumnies against the author; calumnies so totally void of all truth and even probability, that even their own herd did not believe a word they contained *. Next they published a blasphemous book under my assumed name: this failed also, and the city of NewYork has witnessed their shameful defeat as well as Philadelphia. At last, smarting all over with the lashes I had given them, and fearing a continuation, they have had recourse to the poor sneaking trick of a threatening letter. A trick of robbers, who have not courage enough to venture their necks. I have often been congratulated on my triumph over this once towering, but fallen and despicable faction, and I now possess undeniable proof that the triumph is complete.
* Among other abominable falsehoods contained in the Aurora concerning me, is my having refused to pay my taxes in this country. To which I answer, ihat, the small portion of taxes that I have had to pay, has been paid without hesitation,
It is in vain that the cut-throat would persuade us, that the democrats do not think my“ mise“ rable productions worthy of notice ;" the very scrawl of this their stupid secretary proves that they have dreaded them, and that they yet dread them. If they despised my “miserable produc« tions," why not laugh at them, as I do at theirs ? Why not suffer them to rot on the shelf, like the Political Progress of Britain, or be kicked about the street like the Aurora ? Threatening Mr. Oldden with the destruction of his house, unless he could prevail on me to cease publishing, is curious enough in itself; but it is much more curious, when accompanied with the observation, that my publications are miserable and unworthy of notice,
Of all the stupid inventions that ever entered the brains of this bungling clan, the cut-throat letter to Mr. Oldden is the most ridiculous. Had they studied for years, they could not have found out any thing that would have pleased me so well.
No man, either in a private or public capacity, ever called on me twice for payment of the same sum. The taxes for the property I now rent I have paid up to January next. I owe nobody, neisher the State nor the people of the State, a farthing, let the members of the ci-devant democratic society say as much if they can.