Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, September 23, 1789, Page 188, Image 4

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(in continuation.)
IN free Hates, the people being fenfibleof
" their pait condition in former times under the
" power of great ones, and comparing it with the
" polhbilities and enjoyments of the present, be
" come immediately instructed, that their main
interest and concernment consists in liberty ;
" and are taught by common sense, that the only
" way to secure it from the reach of great ones,
" is to place it in the people's hands, adorned
" with all the prerogatives and rights of fupre
" macy." It is very true that the main interest
and concernment of the people is liberty. If
their liberties are well secured they may be happy
it they will; and they generally, perhaps always,
are so. 1 lie way to secure liberty is to place it
in the people's hands, that is, to give them a pow
er at all times to defend it in the legislature and
in the courts of justice : But to give the people,
uncontrolled, all the prerogatives and rights of
fupreinacy, meaning the whole executive and ju
dicial power, or even the whole undivided legis
lative, is not the way to preserve liberty. In
such a government it is often as great a crime to
oppole or decry a popular demagogue, or any
of his principal friends, as in a simple monarchy
to oppose a king, or in a simple aristocracy the
senators : The people will not bear a contemp
tuous look or difrefpectful word ; nay, if the
stile of your homage, flattery, and adoration, is
not as hyperbolical as the pppular enthusiasm dic
tates, it isconftrued into difaffe<stion ; the popu
lar cry of envy, jealousy, suspicious temper,
vanity, arrogance, pride, ambition, impatience,
ofafuperior, is set up against a man, and the
rage and fury of an ungovernable rabble, ftimu
lated underhand by the demagogic despots,
breaks out into every kind of infiilt, obloquy,
and outrage, often ending in murders and mas
sacres, like those of the De Witts, more horri
ble than any that the annals of despotism can pro
It is indeed true, that " the interest of free
" dom is a virgin that every one seeks to deflower ;
" and like a virgin it inuft be kept, or else (so
" great is the lult of mankind after dominion)
" there follows a rape upon the firft opportuni
" ty." From this it follows, that liberty in the
legislature is " more secure in the people's hands,
" than in any other, because they are most con
" cerned in it:"—provided you {keep the ex
ecutive power out of their hands entirely, and
give the property and liberty of the rich a secu
rity in a senate, against the encroachments of
the poor in a popular afleinbly. Without this
the rich will never enjoy any liberty, property,
reputation, or life, in security. The rich have
asxlear a right to their liberty and property as
the poor : It is eflential to liberty that the rights
of the rich be secured ; if they are not, they will
soon be robbed and become poor, and in their
turn rob their robbers, and thus neither the li
berty or property of any will be regarded.
" The careful attention to liberty makes the
" people both jealous and zealous, keeping a
" coliftant guard against the attempts and en
" croachments of powerful or crafty undermin
" ers." But this is true only while they are
made a diftincft body from the executive power,
and the most conlpicuous citizens mingle altoge
ther, and a scramble instantly commences for the
loaves and filhes, abolition of debts, Glutting up
courts of justice, divisions of property, &c. Is
it not an insult to common sense, for a people
with the fame breath to cry liberty an abolition of
debts and divifon of goods ? If debts are once abo
lished, and goods are divided, there will be the
fame reason for af-refli abolition anddivifion eve
ry month and every day, and thus the idle, vici
ous and abandoned, will live in constant riot 011
the spoils of the industrious, virtuous, and de
serving. " Powerful and crafty uiulerminers
" have no where such rare sport" as in a simple
democracy, or single popular aftembly. No
where, not in the complete!!: defpotifins, does
human nature fliow itfelffo completely depraved,
so nearly approaching to an equal mixture of bru
tality and devil ifin, as in the last stages of such a
democracy, and in the beginning of defyotifin
that always succeeds it
" A people having once tasted the sweets of
" freedom, are so afifedted with it, that if they
" discover or fufpetft tlieleaftdefign to encroach
" upon it, they count it a crime never to be for
" given," Strange perversion of truth and fadt!
This is so far from the truth, that our author him
felf is not able to produce a single instance of it
as a proof or illuftrafion. Instead of adducing an
example of it from simple democracy, he is oblig
ed to have recourse to an example that operates
strongly against him, because taken from an ari
stocracy. In the Roman State, one gave up his
children, another his brother, to death, to re
venge anattempt against common liberty. Was
Brutus a man of the'people ? was Brutus for a
government of the people in their sovereign as
semblies? Was not Brutus a Patrician ? Did lie
not think patricians n different order of beings
from plebeians ? Bid he not eretft a simple ari
llocracy ? Did lie not facrifice his fgns to pie
ferve that ariltocracy ? Is it not equally probable
that he would have lacrificed them to preserve
his aristocracy from any attempt to set up such a
government as our author contends for, or even
againlt any attempt to have given the plebeians
a share in the government ; nay, againlt any at
tempt to erec't the office of tribunes at that time ?
—" Divers facrificed their lives to preserve it."
Topreferve what? The Handing government of
grandees, againlt which our author's whole book
is written. " Some lacrificed their belt friends
" to vindicate it, upon bare suspicion, asjn the
" cafe of Melius and Manlius." To vindicate
what? Liberty? popular liberty ? plebeian li
berty ? Precisely the contrary. These charac
ters were murdered for daring to be friends to
popular liberty ; for daring to think of limiting
the power of the grandees, by introducing a
lliare of popular authority, and a mixed conltim
tion ; and the people thenifelves were so far
from the zeal, jealouly, and love ofliberty, that
our author afciibes to them, that they fuffered
their own authority to be pi oftituted before their
eyes, to the deftrudion of the only friends they
had, and to the eftabliiliment of their enemies,
and a form of government by grandees, under
which they had 110 liberty, and iu which they
had 110 lliare.—Our author cites examples of re
venge in Greece. 1656 was a late age in the his
tory of philosophy, as well as morality and re
ligion, for a writer to preach up revenge as a du
ty and a virtue: Reaion and philanthropy, as
well as religion, pronounce it a weakness and a
vice in all pofiible cales. Examples enough of it,
however, may be found in all revolutions : But
monarchies and ariltocracies have pratftifed it,
and therefore the \irtue of revenge is not pecu
liar to our author's plan. In Corcyra itfelf the
people were mallacred by the grandees as often
as they mallacred the grandees: and ofall kind of
spirits that we read of, out of hell, this is the
last that an enlightened friend of liberty would
pliilofophically inculcate. Let legal liberty vin
dicate itfelf by legal punifliments and moral mea
sures; but mobs and mallacres are the disgrace
of her sacred cause ttill more than that of huma
O POPULARITY, thou giddy thing !
What grace or profit doll thou bring ?
Thou -art not honest, thou art not fame ;
I cannot call thee by a worthy name
To fay I hate thee were not true ;
Contempt is properly thy due ;
I cannot love thee and despise thee too.
Thou art no patriot, but the veriest cheat
That ever trafficked in deceit;
A slate empiric, bellowing loud
Freedom and phrenzy to the mobbing crowd ;
And what car'ft thou, if thou can'ft raise
Illuminations and huzzas
Tho' half the city funk, in one bright blaze!
A patriot! no ; for thou dost hold in hate
The very peace and welfare of the state;
When anarchy alTaultS the Sovereign's throne,
Tl»en is thy day, the night thy own ;
Then is thy triumph, when the foe
Levels some dark insidious blow,
Or strong rebellion lays thy country low.
Thou canst affe& humility, to hide
Some deep device of monftroTis pride ;
Conscience and charity pretend,
For comparing some private end ;
And in a canting conventicle note
Long scripture paflages canst quote
When persecution rankles in thy throa\
Thou haft no sense of nature at thy heart,
No ear for Icience, and no eye for art,
Yet confidently dost decide at once
This man a wit, and that a dunce;
And (strange to tell) how'eruniuft,
We take thy -dictates upon trust,
For if the world will be deceiv'd, it mull.
In truth and justice thou haft uo delight,
Virtue thou dost not know by light ;
But, as the chymift by fiis skill.
From dross and dregs a spirit can diftill,
So from the prisons, or the stews,
Bullies, blafphcmcrs, chcats, or jews
Shall tu»rn to heroes, if they serve thy views.
Thou dost but make a ladder of the mob,
Whereby to climb into some courtly job ;
There fafe reposing, warm and snug,
Thou anfwer'ft with a patient ftirug
Miscreants, begone ; who cares for you,
Ye base born brawling, clamorous crew ?
You've fcrv'd my turn, and, vagabonds, adieu.
IN description, our author often indulges a
figurative poetical manner, highly improper.
" The figure of the imperial city (Conftanti.
noplc) may be represented under that of an un
equal triangle. The obtuse point, which ad
vances towards the east, and the fliores of Asia,
meets and repels the waves of the Thracian Bof
phorus." Here the author soars on poetic wings
and we behold the obtuse point of a triangle, march
ing ealhvard attacking and repulftng its foes, the
waves of the Bofpliorus ; in the next line, the
author finks from the heights of Parnaflus,' and
creeps on the plain of pfnfle narative—" The
northern fide of the city ig bounded by the har
On theft banks, tradition long prefer*, i
the memory of the fylvaa reign of Anivcus J,
defied the fori of Leda to the combat or' the f r
tus. ihe author takes it for granted that hit
reader is acquainted with all the ancient i'abl'
of Greece and Rome. Such situ fans to 1'
or fables make a wretched figure in J, bey
Ihe author, after the manner of the Jets'
admits epilodes into liis descriptions WJ,
variety and embellishment. He begins adei'Hn
non of Coaiftantioiople ; to do jultice to the citv
hemuft describe its situation ; he therefore ri',«
an account of the Tin acian Bofphorus the p
pontus and Hellespont, interfperted with and"
ent lables, and adorned with Poetical v"
When he arrives at the mouth of the Hellefpo'/
his fancy leads him to the feat of ancient Trov'
and he cannot pass it without tellino us
Homer, where the Grecian armies were eiieam,,
ed; where the flanks of the army were guarded
by Agamemnon's bravest chiefs; where Achilles
and his myrmidons occupied a promontory
where Ajax pitched his tent; and where
tomb was erected after his death. After indci
ging his fancy on this memorable field of heroic
actions, he is qualified to describe Conftantiuo.
But it is needless to multiply examples; f or
similar faults occur in almost every pac;e. Moll
men, who have read this hiltory, perceivea dif
ficulty in undei Handing it ; yet few have at
tempted to find the reason ; and hardly a nun
has dared to censure theftileand manner.
To what cause then shall we ascribe the al
nioft unanimous content of the English and Ame.
ricans, in lavishing praises upon Gibbon's ltilio
ry > In some mealure doubtlel's to the greatness
of the attempt, and the want of an English liifto
ry which iliould unfold a series of events which
connects ancient and modern times. The
man who lhould light a lamp, to illuminate the
dark period of time from the jth to the 15th ten»
tury, would deserve immortal honors. The at
tempt is great; it is noble; it is meri roriou'
Gibbon appears to have been faithful, laboric ,
and perhaps impartial. It is his stile and manner
only I am censuring > for these are exceedingly
faulty. For proof of this I appea Ito a single fact,
which I have never heard contradicted; thatamatt
who would comprehend Gibbon, mult read with
painful attention, and after all receive little im
The encomiums of his countrymen proceed
from falfe caste ; a taste for fujperfluous orm
inent. Men are disposed to lefleni the troubleof
reading, <uid to (pare the labor of examiningin
to the causes and Consequences of events. They
clioofe to please their eyes and ears, rather than
feed the mind. Hence the rage for abridgementi,
and a display of rhetorical embellishments. But
a man who would know the minute springs of
action ; the remote and collateral, as well as the
direct causes and consequences of events ; and the
nice shades of character which diflinguifli emi
nent men, with a view to draw rules from living
examples ; f6ch a man luuft pass by abridge
ments as trash ; hemuft have recourse to theori
ginal'writers, or to collections of authentic papers.
Indeed a collection of all the material, official pa
pers, arranged in the order of time, however
dry and unentertainingto inoft readers, is really
the befl and the only authentic history of a coun
try. The philosopher and statesman, 'who wifli
to substitute fa>ft for opinion, will generally sus
pect human testimony ; but repose full confidence
in the evidence of papers, which have beeil the
original instruments of public tranfa&ions, ani
recorded by public authority.
Thefeftrictures are contrary to the opinions of
moll men, especially as they regard the stile ot
the author mentioned. Yet tliey are written
with full conviction of their being well founded.
They proceed from an earnest desire of arreting
the progress of falfe taste in writing, and oH'ee
ing my countrymen called back to nature and
* So Gillies, in his History of Greece, chap. 11. talks
the death of the friend of Achilles : M but leaves the readerto
difcoverthe person— not having once men'ioned the name of
troclus. I would observe further, that such appellations as the//">
oj Leda are borrowed irora the Greek; but wholly improper
in our lauguage. The Greek? had a diftinft ending of the nan*
of the father to fignify son or descendants; as Bcradiia.
■ orm of the noun was known and had a definite meaning in Greece,
but in EnglifK the idiom is awkward and embarrafling.
ABOUT thirty years ago great complaints
were made that the Watchmen of London anu
Westminster negleifted their duty to a great de
gree.—On this a wife Senator made a motion) 11
the House of Commons, for Jeave to bring in
Bill to compel Watchmen to sleep in the Daj,
that they might the better discharge their dun
in the Night.—The late Sir James Creed begge'
the Hon. Member would include him in the Bi •
for he was so troubled with the Gout, that
could neither lleep Night nor Day.
Published by JOHN FENNO, No. 9, Maid**'
Lane, nearth e Ufwego-Markct, New-York. —[3 d°Lp r ' an '