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person may think
From these weighty considerations, and not from his aversion to falsehood, he has evaded all attempt at justification on this head, under the pitiful, though plausible pretext, that he is NOT ANSWERABLE for what Sione or any other proper to write to him, choosing rather to run the risk of being still regarded as a “spy in the inte“ rest of France," than to incur the certain displeasure of his patrons at Paris, and the no less certain vengeance of his friend and disciple.
As the Doctor could not help Stone's writing treason to him, it follows of course, that he could not help his enclosing a letter for Citizen M. B. P.
These three letters, the Doctor confesses, were made use of by Stone to designate a person, whom he speaks of as his, the Doctor's and Talleyrands friend, and whom he understood to be, at the time of his writing, “ secreted at Kennebeck.” I night here stop to observe, that this way of speaking in initials, proves, that the Doctor must have received letters from Stone before on the same subject.
As it notes a foregone conclusion ; but, since he could not help Stone's writing an illfated letter that was intercepted, it is obvious that he could not help his writing others that were not intercepted.
The mysterious hints concerning M. B. P., the circumstance of his being secreted, and his connection with Talleyrand, were well calculated to excite a suspicion of his being a spy, or, at least, a mischievous agent of some sort, in the service of France; and we have now to examine whether this suspicion ought to be weakened by the Doctor's explanation of the matter:
This secreted person to whom Stone refers Priestley as a counsellor, respecting the time when he shall leave America, the Doctor tells us, is " Mr.
Benjanin Vaughan, son of Mr. Samuel Vaughan,
who I say,
“ who sometime ago resided at Philadelphia." I shall leave this eulogium on this skulking correspondent of Stone and Talleyrand to be commented upon by the reader, and shall enquire a little further into his pedigree than his eulogist seems to wish to go. If, in this inquiry, any thing should arise disagreeable to the Vaughans, they must attribute it to their officious friend, by whom it was provoked.
The Doctor says true, I believe, that Benjamin Vaughan is the son of Samuel Vaughan, formerly an emigrant from England to Philadelphia, where he some time resided. But, Doctor, could you not have told us a little more about this worthy progenitor of the secreted M. B. P. who thought it necessary to leave England, and to assume a feigned name? Could you,
have related no honourable anecdote about the reverend old Samuel, that might have heightened our esteem for him ? Since you have not done it, I will.
In the year 1765, this yery Samuel Vaughan attempted to bribe the Duke of Grafton, in order to obtain a lucrative post for this “ most excellent”
He was repulsed by the Duke, threatened with a prosecution, and immediately (as it were by interest) commenced his career as a Patriot, a Billof-Righis-Man, a Whig, and a Parliamentary Reformer.
At the close of the American war, this immaculate gentleman came to Philadelphia, where he was guilty of an act of impious buffoonery, which the general delirium of the times, and the contemptibleness of the actor, tended to bury in oblivion, but which always ought to be revived, when any one is impudent enough to speak of him with respect.
It was on a day of parade of some kind; GENERAL WASHINGTON was passing through the
street on horseback, followed by an immense crowd, when Vaughan happened to set eyes upon him for the first time. The moment the General approached the place where he stood, Vaughan, totally regardless of the crowd by which he was surrounded, fell upon his knces, and, lifting up his hands and eyes toward Heaven, exclaimed with a loud voice, in the words of the holy Simeon ; Lord, now 5 lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according “ to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salva« tion!” This salvation of the Lord was neither more nor less than a man, who had been the chief instrument in cutting off the right arm of the nation, in which the sham prophet was born, to which he still owed allegiance, and the good of which he had constantly pretended was the sole object of his political pursuits !
The remainder of this man's history is short. He expected like Priestley, that proclaining himself 56 a friend to the American revolution" would insure him respect and reward ; like Priestley he was disappointed, neglected, and despised; and he at last left the country in dudgeon, just as Priestley will, the moment he can do it with a prospect of living elsewhere in safety and in ease.
So much for the ancestor of M. B. P. who, if this letter should ever fall into his hands, will certainly not thank the Doctor for dragging him forth from obscurity. Let us now return to the son, whose great abilities, knowledge, and integrity, the Doctor boasts of, and whom he says, “any country may so be proud to possess."
By Priestley's manner of expressing himself one might be led to suppose Vaughan a member of the British parliament, at this time : this is not, however, the case. He was a member of that assembly previous to the last general election. And the Doctor should have told us, how he gained admittance there. It was not, he well knows, by the free voice of any part of the people of Great Britain. He was not chosen by the free men of a county, of a city, or of an open independent borough ; but was thrust in by the influence of the Marquis of Lansdown, under whose roof the Doctor and his Hackney predecessor were lodged and fed. He owed his seat to one of those very patronised boroughs, about which he and Priestley, and Price, and Stone, and Fox, and Paine, and Grey, and the Sheares's, and the O'Connor's have kept up such a loud and incessant clamour! His acceptance of such a seat was an act of patriotism very little inferior to that of his patriotic father, who, in his zeal for the public good, in his eagerness to apply the great abilities and integrity of his son to the service of his dear country, nobly threw aside every selfish consideration, and—tendered a bribe to the minister of state!
There must be something extremely pliant and commodious in the conscience of a seclarian reformer, TYTHES' were an abominable grievance, but the Doctor had no objection to their being still exacted, provided he were admitted to participate. Bribery, and corruption, and rotten borcughs were all execrable with his pupil Vaughan ; but they were quite proper, as the means of obtaining him a sinecure and a seat in parliament. Hudibras's puritan 'Squire (who, by the by, would have made a charming preacher at Hackney) has very logically proved that whores and dice are the exclusive property of the Saints, and are (he should have said, in part,) unjustly detained from them by the wicked. This is the prototype of the Unitarian creed. Every thing, of which they can (no matter how) engross the possession or the controul, is allowable, and praise-worthy, aud excellent. The oppression of tythes is done away by their reception; from their lips perjury is a pious fraud; when they conspire
against the state, it is a proof of their fidelity; a bible becomes purified by passing through their hallowed fingers, and a rotten seat in parliament is made as sound as heart of oak, by coming in contract with their sanctified sans-culottes.
Never was the Doctor more hampered than in framing an explanation of these unfortunately Intercepted Letters. His talents at equivocation are such as reflect infinite honour on his sect; but to such a dilenıma was he reduced, that it was impossible to advance any thing in his vindication, which must not, upon examination, make against him. Some excuse he was compelled to give, for the unlimited confidence reposed in him by Stone and Vaughan, other than the niere relationship between them as brother traitors to Great Britain, which he well knew, would, just at this moment, have been rather unpopular; and, therefore, to carry the origin of his connection as far back as possible, he tells us that the former was one of his flock, and the latter was one of his pupils. But, in saying this, he was not aware that he communicated a very valuable fact to the public, who will be able, from the sentiments, connections, and conduct of these men, to form a very correct opinion of the political, moral, and religious principles, inculcated in the conventicle and seminary at Hackney; and the Doctor will have the honour of being known and acknowledged as the preceptor of a secreted renegado passing under a feigned name, and as the pastor of ihe most execrable traitor, and most infamous miscreant, of even this base, treacherous, and im. prous age.
From the “ parentage and education” (to speak in the Tyburn stile) of his secreted pupil, M. B. P. alias Benjamin Vaughan, I now come to his Emigration from England. The Doctor says, He, “ like me, THOUGHT IT NECESSARY to leave Eng