Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, October 10, 1789, Page 208, Image 4

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    Yhe RIGHT CONSTITUTION of a COMMON
WEALTH EXAMINED,
(in continuation.)
THE iiiiith reason is, " because the people
" are less luxurious than kings or grandees."—
I hat may well be denied. Kings, nobles, and peo
pie, are all alike in this iefpe<si, and in general
Unow no other bounds of indulgence than the
capacity of enjoyment, and the power to gratify
it. The problem ought to be to find a form of go
vernment belt calculated to prevent the bad ef
fedts and corruption ofluxury, when, in the ordi
nary course of things, it mull: be expected to come
in. and nobles, if they are confefled to en
joy or indulge in luxury more than the commons, it
is merely because they have more means and op
portunities ; not because they have Itronger appe
tites, pailions, and fancies, or, in other words, a
Itronger propensity to luxury than the plebeians,
If it should be conceded, that the pailions and ap
petites ftreugthen by indulgence, it muftbecoii
fefed too, that they have more motives to re
ftrai ft-them ; but ill regard to mere animal grati
fication, it may well be denied that they indulge
or enjoy more tlijiiji the common people oil an
average. Eating and drinkingfurely is prac f tifed
with as much fatisfaCtion by the footman as his
lord ; and as much pleasure may be tailed in gin,
brandy, ale, and porter, as in Burgundy or To
kay ; in beef and pudding, as in ortolans and jel
lies. If we consider nations together, we shall find
that intemperance and excels is more indulged in
the lowest ranks than in the liigheft. The luxury
of dress, beyond the defence from the weather, is
a mere matter of politics and etiquette through
out all the ranks of life ; and, in the higher ranks,
riles only in proportion as it rises 111 the middle
and the lowest. The fame is true in furniture and
equipage, after the ordinary conveniences and
accommodations of life. Those who claim or
aspire to the liigheft ranks of life, will eternally
go a certain degree above those below them in
these particulars, if their incomes will allow it.
Confederation is attainable by appearance, and
ever will be; and it may be depended 011, that rich
men in general will not liifter others to be conii
dered more than tlienifelves, or as much, if they
can prevent it by their riches. The poor and
the middle ranks, tlfen, have it in their power to
diminifli luxury as much as the great and rich
have. Let the middle and lower ranks leflen their
style of living, and they may depend upon it the
liigher ranks will leflen theirs. It is commonly
said every thing is regis ad exeniplum ; that the
lower ranks imitate the higher; and it is true :
But it is equally true that the higher imitate the
lower. The liigherranks will never exceed their
vferiors but in a certain proportion; but Aif
s ..{lion they are absolutely obliged to keep up, or
fall into contempt and ridicule, It may gratify
vulgar malignity and popular envy, to ifeclaim
eternally against the rich and the great, the noble
and the high; but, generally and philosophically
speaking, the manners and characters in a nation
are all alike: the lowest and the middling peo
ple, in general, grow \icious, vain, and luxuri
ous, exactly in proportion. As to appearance,
the higher fort are obliged to raise theirs in pro
portion as the stories below ascend. A free peo
ple are the 1110 ft addicted to luxury of any : that
equality which they enjoy,, and in which tliey
glory, inspires them with fentiuients which hurry
them into luxury. A citizen perceives his fel
low-citisen, whom he holds his equal, have a
better coat or hat, a better house or horse, than
liimfelf, and fees his neighbors are struck with
it, talk of it, and refpec't him for it; he cannot
bear it; he must and will be upon a level with
him. Such an emulation as this takes place in
every neighboifiood, in every family; among
artizans, hulbandmen, laborers, as much as be
tween dukes and marquifles, and more—those are
all nearly equal in dress, and are now distin
guished by other marks. Declamations, oratory,
poetry, f'ermons, against luxury, riches, and com
merce, will never have much effect: the most
rigorous sumptuary laws will have little more.—
" Difcprdia et avaritia, atque ambitio, et; cetera
" fecundis rebus oriri fueta mala, post Carthaginis
" excidium maxume auCta funt. Ex quo tem
" pore majorum mores, 11011 paulatim ut antea,
" fed torrentis modo prxcipitati." Salluft. in
Frag.—ln the late war, the Americans found an
unnfual quantity of money flow in upon them,
and, without the least degree of prudence, fore
fight, consideration, ormeafure, rufliedheadlong
into a greater degree of luxury than ought to
have crept in in a hundred years. The Romans
cliargedtlie ruin of their common wealth to luxu
ry : iliey might have charged it to the want of a
balance in their constitution. 111 a country like
America, where the means and opportunities for
luxury are so easy and so plenty, it would be
madness not to expect it, bejnepared for it, and
provide against the dangers of it in the constitu
tion. The balance, in atriple-headed legislature,
is the best and the only remedy. If we will not
adopt that, we must Aider the punishment of our
temerity. The fupereminence of athreefold ba
lance, above all the imperfect balances that were
attempted in the antient republics of Greece and
Italy, and the modern ones of Switzerland -and
Holland, whether ariiAocratical or mixed, lies in
this, that as it is capable of governing a great
nation and a large territory, whereas others can
only exist in small ones, f<> it is capable of prc
ferving liberty among great degrees of wealth,
luxury, diflipation, and e\ en profligacy of man
ners ; whereas the others require the utmost fru
gality, simplicity, and moderation, to make Im
uran life tolerable under them.
The Editor hereof having had his name mentioned, as one of the
perions alluded to in the Resolve refpe£ting the pubiifhing of
the Debates of the Hon. House ot Representatives, thinks it
not improper to re-publi(h the following from the Dailv Ad
vcrtifer ot the 7th instant.
From Mr. Grcenleaf's Week!) Regifier. of Sept. 14.
" THE following motion made by Mr.
Burke 011 Monday, in the House of Representa
tives of the United States, which is supposed to
refpetft Francis Ch ilds, Printer of the Daily
Advertiser ; John Fenno, Printer of the Ga
zette of the Jnited States, and Thomas
Lloyd, Editor of the Congressional Regis
ter, was laid 011 the table for the Conlideration
of the mpmbcrs.
" Refolded, Thattlie several persons who have
publiflied the debates of this House, in the Con
greliional Regilter, and in newspapers of this
city, have misrepresented thole debates in the
molt glaring deviations from the truth—often
diltorting the arguments of the members from the
true meaning—imputing to some gentlemen ar
guments, contradictory and foreign to the fub
jett, and which were never advanced—to others
remarks and observations never made—and in a
great many inltances, mutilating, and not un
frequeiuly fupprelfing whole arguments upon
fubjecfts of the grcatelt moment —thus throwing
over the whole proceedings a thick veil of mis
representation and error ; which being done with
in the House, at the very foot of the Speaker's
chair, gives a sanction and authenticity to those
publications that refletft upon the House a ridi
cule and absurdity highly injurious to its privi
leges and dignity.
" Refohed, That to misrepresent the debates of
the House, whether it arises from incapacity, in
attention, or partiality, has a mischievous ten
dgncy to infringe the freedom of debate—and that
this House should no longer give laii&ion to it."
AS the foregoing motion of Mr. Burke re
flecting the misrepresentations of the debates of
the House of Representatives, has bee.-officioufly
printed by Thomas Greenleaf; we 1 .ink pro
per to acquaint the public that the intended reso
lution was publiflied without the countenance or
knowledge of the honorable mover, and as the mo
tion itfelf, extravagant as it is, and which was
withdrawn after being faintly supported, may
leave an unjultimpreffion 011 the minds of the pub
lic, we think proper to subjoin the following re
marks, which we flatter ourselves will have a cir
culation and imprellion, at lead co-extensive with
the other.
It is extremely difficult to conceive how any
person pollelfing common sense, could Co far mis
take the plain, full and polHtive meaning of the
debates in the Hon. Houl'e of Representatives, as
to " misrepresent them in the moll glaring de
viations from the truth;" but to " dillort the ar
guments from their true meaning," requires
some degree of ingenuity—it is extremely diffi
cult however to fuggelt any plausible reason,
which should induce the editors of the debates to
do this—The -whole world would rcfent the in
sult, so far as it was known ; and the publishers
would nlk the countenance and patronage oftlie
public. It is Hill more difficult to account for the
long silence of those whowouldbe more immedi
ately concerned had this been the cafe—it can be
imputed only to a conviction in the mipds of rlie
majority, that this has never intentionally taken
place. It may have happened that one gentle
man's name may have been placed before the
lpeecli of another ; this may have happened with
out any defigr. of " imputing to some gentlemen
arguments contradictory and foreign to the f'ub
ject, and which were never advanced," or " to
others, remarks and observations which were
never made" forJi.u'natium ejl errare—Mutilations
of speeches are sometimes made with advantage ;
they seem to be the neceilary consequence of a
very rapid enunciation, or when the speaker's
voice is small and low.
It would so completely eftabliili the reputation
of a public regilter of the debates, to have them
perjeClly accurate, that it is more difficult than all
the preceding difficulties, to account for a Prin
ter's ■wilfully making them imperfect, when it is
in his power to do otherwise—it is a fort offelo
de fe againlt his own interest. To attempt to
" throw a thick veil of misrepresentation and
error over the whole proceedings" oftlie house
of representatives, would be an undertaking so
complicate in its nature, and so impracticable in
its execution, that the person who should con
ceive the idea of making the effort in this land of
fieedom,and where the public proceeding's are
upon as the day, would be a fitfubjedt for a fir ait
•watficoai ; and this to be done too " at the very
foot of the fpeakpr's chair," isfo ndic»i ons and
absurd, that it carries its own refutation with"t
From whence it follows that for a PrinteriuhU
publications to nnfreprefent the debates n!M
house, « whether it arises fro,, incapacity \n
attention or partiality," can have no "tendency
to infringe the freedom of fpcech for it is i m
possible that any person can luppole that the house
could fanclion such publications ; nor can ajiv
system of corruption for deceiving the people b'«
predicated of fuel, publications, as they would
certainly appear to be without objecTt or deW
Theappeal ismade to the candid and impartial'
The original publifners of the debates in the newsi
papers, never proposed to give these debates so as
to conipnle the whole of the speeches at full lentil
—Sketches only of the proceedings were their obi
ject; they have aimed to be impartial; their labor?
have met a favorable reception ; their ownfenti
-1,1 cuts have never influenced them in ilatino; a sin
gle question ; and it is not in the power of 'any per
son whatever, to point out an instance of their being
confronted or influenced either diredllyor indirea
-Iy, by any man, or body of men, to alter, curtail,
mutilate or suppress an individual speech, that
has ever been heard by them, or published in
their papers.
TIIE WISE RESOLVE.
NO more I'll wandefthro' the verdant vales,
No more I'll breathe the balmy weitein gales,
No more I'll range the once enchanting bow'r,
Nor flrole with Laura at the ev'ning hour ;
But where yon wall with ivy cover'd round,
Indoles fad the village burial-ground,
, Where weeping-willows spread a pensive (hade,
And mourn in silence for ihcir neighb'nng dead :
1 here let me walk in melancholy guise, *
There teach my foul t'expand her wings and rife (
Triumphant o'er the grave, and live above the (lues. '
CIVIS,
An ESSAY on FREE TRADE and FINANCES.■
(Continued from No. XLVI.)
IN fine, we have not children or dunces to deal
with, but a people who have as quick a fight of
their interest, and as much courage, readinefsand
, chearfulnefs to support it, as any people on earth.
We can have, therefore, nothing more to do than
to make such propoiitions to them as are really
for their interest, to convince tlieir minds that
the thing proposed is neceflary and beneficial;
and this is to be done, not by refinement of argu
ment, but bv deviling and explaining such mea
sures as will, from tlieir nature and operation,
produce beneficial effects. We mull, with can
dor and fairnefs, in a manner open and undisguis
ed, tell them what we want money for, and how
much, and by a wife and upright management:
j of their intercfts defervc and gain their confi
dence, that their money, when obtained, shall to
[ the last /hilling be paid for such neceflary pur
[ poses ; the tax will then cease to be odious. It
will become an object of acknowledged interest,
and every person who smuggles or otherways
i avoids the tax, will be considered as Ihrinking
. from a burden which the public good makes ne
ceflary. Every attempt of this fort will become
disreputable and infamous, and when you can
conneift the rax and cliaractcr together, there will
be little difficulty in collecting it, which will ef
fectually obviate the great objection, viz that it
will be impracticable to collect a heavy tax on
goods of great value but little bulk, such as silks,
laces, and the like, because they be easily fnnjg
gled, &c. Whenever they are to be fold, theynffift
be exposed to view, and let the burden of proof
ever lie on the pofleflor, that the tax has been
i bona fide paid. I fliould think it advisable tocom
mit the management of this matter to the mer
chants, they are molt hurt by smuggling, and of
course have the higheJl interest in preventing it-
It will be ten times more difficult to cheat and
impose on them, than any others, because the
matter falls wholly within their own sphere of
business. Two of a tradecan't cheat one another
as easy as either of them might cheat a stranger.
If the merchants would rake the matter up, anil
make ic a kind of profeflional honor to prevent
smuggling, and fee tliat the duty is effectually
paid, there is little doubt but they could effect it.
All this reasoning depends 011 this one principle?
viz. that onr public measures must carry in them
wisdom, national fitnefs, juflice and propriety ;
then they will gain character, reputation, ana
confidence amongthepeopleat large, and mutual
interest will soon make the government easy a_ nc
effective, every individual will soon find his n'-
terell connected with that of the public, and lie
will have every inducement both of honor an
profit to Hand well with the government and e
fectually support it. And in this way, e ycn
the great doctrine of taxation itfelf, that comnn"'
and almost universal source of complaint) ma
become an object of acknowledged neceffity> 0
confefled right, and the payment made liket iat
of any other debt, with conviction of right an
full falisfaction. (to be continued.)
Published by JOHN FENNO, No. 9, Mai ® e * ]
I.ane, near the Ofwgo-Marktt, ' N tw-YoniH 3* e "'