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minds as have not been mended by religion, nor improved by good education.
There is a lust in man no charm can tame,
On eagles' wings, immortal, scandals fly,
Whoever feels pain in hearing a good character of his neighbour, will feel a pleasure in the reverse. And of those who, despairing to rise to distinction by their virtues, are happy if others can be depressed to a level with themselves, there are a number sufficient in every great town to maintain one of these courts by their subscription. A shrewd observer once said, that in walking in the streets of a slippery morning, one might see where the good-natured people lived, by the ashes thrown on the ice before the doors j probably he would have formed a different conjecture of the temper of those whom he might find engaged in such subscriptions.
Of the checks proper to be established against the abuses of fozver in those courts. Hitherto there are none. But since so much has been written and published on the federal constitution; and the necessity of checks, in all other parts of good government, has been so clearly and learnedly explained, I find myself so far enlightened as to suspect some check may be proper in this part also; but I have been at loss to imagine any that may not be construed an infringement of the sacred liberty of the. press. At length, however, I think I have found one, that, instead of diminishing general liberty, shall augment it; which is, by restoring to the people a species of liberty of which they have been deprived by our laws, I mean the liberty of the cudgel! In the rude state of society prior to the existence of laws, if one man gave another ill language, the affronted person might return it by a box on the ear; and if repeated, by a good drubbing: and this without offending against any law; but now the right of making such returns is denied, and they are punished as breaches 'of the peace, while the right of abusing seems to remain in full force; the laws made against it being rendered ineffectual by the liberty of the press.
My proposal then is, to leave the liberty of the press untouchedf to be exercised in its full extent, force, and vigour, but to permit the liberty of the cudgel to go with it, pari passu. Thus, my fellow-citizens, if an impudent writer attacks your reputation—dearer perhaps to you than your life, and puts his name to the charge, you may go to him as openly*ahd break his head. If he conceals himself behind the printer, and you can nevertheless discover who he is, you may in like manner waylay him in the night, attack him behind, and give him a good drubbing. If your adversary hires better writers than himself, to abuse you more effectually^you may hire brawny porters, stronger than yourself, to assist you in giving him a more effectual drubbing. Thus far goes my project, as to private resentment and retribution. But if the public should ever happen to be affronted, as it ought to be with the conduct of such writers, I would not advise proceeding immediately to these extremities, but that we should in moderation content ourselves with tarring and feathering, and tossing them in a blanket.
If, however, it should be thought that this proposal of mine may disturb the public peace, I would then humbly recommend to our legislators, to take up the consideration of both liberties, that of the press, and that of the cudgel; and by an explicit law mark their extent and limits: 'and at the same time that they secure the person of . a citizen from assaults, they would likewise provide for the security of his reputation.
PAPER: A POEM.
SOME wit of old—such wits of old there were—
The thought was happy, pertinent, and true;
Various the papers various wants produce,
Pray note the fop—half powder and half lace—
Mechanics, servants, farmers, and so forth,
Less priz'd, more useful, for your desk decreed,
The wretch whom av'rice bids to pinch and spare,
Take next the miser's contrast, who destroys
The retail politician's anxious thought
The hasty gentleman, whose blood runs high,
What are our poets, take them as they fall, \ ^ .
Observe the maiden, innocently sweet,
One instance more, and only one I 'll bring;
ON THE ART OF SWIMMING.
In answer to some enquiries of M. Dubourg* on the subject. ." _ l AM apprehensive that I shall not be able ft) find leisure for making all the disquisitions and
* Translator of Dr. Franklin's works into French.
experiments which would be desirable on this subject. I must, therefore, content myself with a few remarks. ,''
The'specific gravity of some human bodies, in comparison to that of water, has been examined by M. Robinson, in our Philosophical Transactions, volume SO, page 30, for the year 1757. He asserts, that fat persons with small bones float most easily upon water.
The diving bell is accurately described in our transactions.
When I was a boy, I made two oval pallets, each about ten inches long, and six broad, with a hole for the thumb, in order to retain it fast in the palm of my hand. They much resemble a painter's pallets. In swimming I pushed the edges of these forward, and I struck the water with their flat surfaces as I drew them back. I remember I swam faster by means of these pallets, but they fatigued my wrists.—I also fitted to the soles of my feet a kind of sandals; but I was not satisfied with them, because I observed that the stroke is partly given with the inside of the feet and the ancles, and not entirely with the soles of the feet.
We have here waistcoats for swimming, which are made of double sail-cloth, with small pieces of cork quilted between them.
I know nothing of the scabhandre of M. de la Chapelle.
I know by experience that it is a great comfort to a swimmer, who has a considerable distance to go, to turn himself sometimes on his back, t