« ZurückWeiter »
country, where the rulers had laid aside even the appearance of justice and mercy. I wished, however, to see Paris, and had actually hired a coach to go thither. I was even on the way, when I heard, at Abbeville, that the king was dethroned and his guards murdered. This intelligence made me turn off towards Havre-de- Grace, whence I embarked for America.
I beg leave here to remind the reader, that one of the lying paragraphs, lately published in the lying Aurora, states, that I was whipped at Paris, and that hence I bear a grudge against the French Republic. Now, I never was at Paris, as I can prove by the receipts for my board and lodging, from the day I entered France to that of my leaving it; and, as to the Republic, as it is called, I could have no grudge against it; for the tyrants had not given it that name, when I was so happy as to bid it an eternal adieu. Had I remained a few months longer I make no doubt that I should have had reason to execrate it as every other man, woman, and child has, who has had the misfortune to groan under its iron anarchy.
Some little time after my arrival in this country, I sent Mr. Jefferson, then Secretary of State, a letter of recommendation, which I had brought from the American Ambassador at the Hague. The following is a copy of the letter Mr. Jefferson wrote me on that occasion.
"Philadelphia, Nov. 5th. 1792.
"In acknowledging the receipt of your favour
"of the 2d instant, I wish it were in my power to
"announce to you any way in which I could be
"useful to you. Mr. Short's assurances of your
"merit would be a sufficient inducement to me.
E <2 "Public "Public Offices in our government are so few, "and of so little value, as to offer no resource to "talents. When you shall have been here some "small time, you will be able to judge in what way "you can set out with the best prospect of suc"Cess, and if I can serve you in it, I shall be very "ready to do it.
I will just observe on this letter, that it was thankfully received, and that, had I stood in need of Mr. Jefferson's services, I should have applied to him; but as that did not appear likely to be the case, I wrote him a letter some few months afterwards, requesting him to assist a poor man, the bearer of it, and telling him that I should look upon the assistance as given to myself. I dare say he complied with my request, for the person recommended was in deep distress, and a Frenchman.
With respect to the authenticity of this letter there can be no doubt. I have shown the original, as well as those of the other documents here transcribed, to more than fifty gentlemen of the city of Philadelphia, and they may, at any time, be seen by any person of credit, who wishes a sight of them. Nor have I confined the perusal of them to those who have the misfortune to be deemed aristocrats. Among persons of distant places, I have shown them to Mr. Ketletas of New York, who, I must do him the justice to say, had the candour to express a becoming detestation of the base cut-throat author of the threatening letter sent to Mr. Oldden.
I have now brought myself to the United States, and have enabled the reader to judge of me so far. It remains for me to negative two assertions, which apply to my authoring transactions; the one is, that " Mr. Bradford put a coat upon my back;" and the other, that I am, or have been, "in the pay of "a British Agent."
In the month of July, 1794, the famous Unitarian Doctor, fellow of the Royal Society, London, citizen of France, and delegate to the Grande Convention Nationale of notorious memory, landed at New-York. His landing was nothing to me, nor to any body else; but, the fulsome and consequential addresses, sent him by the pretended patriots, and his canting replies, at once calculated to flatter the people here, and to degrade his country and mine, was something to me. It was my business, and the business of every man, who thinks that truth ought to be opposed to malice and hypocrisy.
When the Observations on the emigration of this "martyr to the cause of liberty," were ready for the press, I did nor, at first, offer them to Mr. Bradford. I knew him to retain a rooted hatred against Great Britain, and concluded, that his principles would prevent him from being instrumental in the publication of any thing that tended to unveil one of its most bitter enemies. I therefore addressed myself to Mr. Carey. This was, to make use of a culinary figure, jumping out of the fryingpan into the fire. Mr. Carey received me as booksellers generally receive authors (I mean authors whom they hope to get but little by): he looked at the title, from top to bottom, and then at me, from head to foot.—" No, my lad" says he, "I "don't think it will suit."—My lad!—God in heaven forgive me! I believe that, at that moment, I wished for another yellow fever to strike the city;
£ 3 not not to destroy the inhabitants, but to furnish me too, with the subjecl of a pamphlet, that might make me rich.—Mr, Carey has sold hundreds of the Observations since that time, and therefore, I dare say, he highly approved of them, when he came to a perusal. At any rate, I must not forget to say, that he behaved honourably in the business; for, he promised not to make known the author, and he certainly kept his word, or the discovery would not have been reserved for the month of June, 1796. This circumstance, considering Mr. Carey's politics, is greatly to his honour, and has almost wiped from my memory, that contumelious " my lad."
From Mr. Carey, I went to Mr. Bradford, and left the pamphlet for his perusal. The next day, I went to him, to know his determination. He hesiT tated, wanted to know if I could not make it a little more popular, adding that, unless I could, he feared that the publishing of it would endanger his windows. More popular, I could not make it. I never was of an accommodating disposition in my life. The only alteration I would consent to, was in, the title. I had given the pamphlet the double title of " The Tartuffe Detecled; or, Observations, *' &c." The former was suppressed, though, had I not been pretty certain that every press in the city was as little free, as that to which I was sending it, the Tartuffe Detecled, should have remained; for the person on whom it was bestowed, merited it much better than the character so named by Moliere.
These difficulties, and these fears of the bookseller, at once opened my eyes with respect to the boasted liberty of the press. Because the laws of this country proclaim to the world, that every man may write and publish freely; and because I saw the newspapers filled with vaunts on the subject, I was fool enough to imagine, that the press was
really really free for every one. I had not the least idea, that a man's windows were in danger of being broken, if he published any thing that was not popular. I did, indeed, see the words liberty and equality; the rights of man, the crimes of kings, and such like, in most of the bookseller's windows; but I did not know that they were put there to save the glass, as a free republican Frenchman puts a cockade tricolor in his hat, to save his head. I was ignorant of all these arcana of the liberty of the press.
If it had so happened, that one of the WhiskeyBoys had went over to England, and had received addresses from any part of the people there, congratulating him on his escape, from a nation of ruffians, and beseeching the Lord, that those ruffians might (( tread back the paths of infamy and "ruin;" and if this emigrating "Martyr' in the cause of Whiskey, had echoed back the hypocritical cant; and if he and all his palavering addressers had been detected and exposed by some good American in London, would not such an American have received the applause of all men of virtue and sense? Arid what would, or rather what would not have been said here against the prostituted press of Great Biitain, had an English bookseller testified his fears to publish the truth, lest his windows should be dashed in }
The work that it was feared would draw down punishment on the publisher, did not contain one untruth, one anarchical, indecent, immoral, or irreligious expression; and yet the bookseller feared for his windows! For what? Because it was not popular enough. A bookseller,. in a despotic state, fears to publish a work that is too popular; and one in a free state, fears to publish a work that is not popular enough. I leave it to the learned philosophers of the "Age of Reason," to determine in
E 4 which.