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.Yet if an officer of this court receives the slightest check for misconduct in this his office, he claims immediately the rights of a free citizen by the constitution, and demands to know his accuser, to confront tne witnesses and to have a fair trial by a jury of his peers.

The foundation of its authority.

It is said to be founded on an article in the state con. stitution, which establishes the liberty of the press—-a liberty which every Pennsylvanian would fight and dtie for, though few of us, I believe, have, distinct ideas of its nature and extent. It seems, indeed, somewhat like the liberty of the press, that felons have by the common law of Ijngland before conviction; that is,, to be either pressed to death or hanged. If,, by the liberty of the press, were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public. measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please; but if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating, and /lefaming one another, I, for .my part, own myself willing to part with my share of it, whenever our legislators shall please so to alter the law: i;;id shall cheerfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others* for the privilege of not being abused myself.

By whom this Court is commissioned or constituted.

It is not any commission from the supreme executive council, who might previously judge of the abilities* integrity, knowledge, &c. of the persons to be appointed to this tjreat trust of deciding upon the characters and t;ood fame of the ciiizens: .for this court is above that council, and may accuse, judge, and condemn it at pleasure. Nor is it hereditary, as is the court of der(lier resort in the peerage of Lnglund. But any man who can procure pen, ink, and paper, vvith a press, a few types, snd a huge pair of blacking balls, may cotnmissionate himself, and his court is immediately established in the plenary possession and exercise of its rights {'or if you make the least complaint of the judge's conduct, he daubs his blacking balls in yoirr face wherever he metis you, and besides tailing your private character to splinters, marks you out for the odium of the public, as on enemy to the liberty of the press.


Of the natural svppct of this Court.

Its support is founded in the depravity of such minds as hawe not been mended by religion, nor improved bf .good education.

There is a lust in man no charm can tame, Of loudly publishing his neighbor's shame. . Hence,

On eagles' wings, immortal, scandals fly,
While virtuous actions are but born and die.

Dsvdew. Whoever feels pain in hearing a good character of his neighbor, will feel 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 Tviih 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 the streets in a slippery morning, one might see where the good natured people lived, by the ashes thrown on the ice before the doors; probably he would have formed a different conjecture of the temper of those whom he might find engaged in such subscriptions*

Q/ che cheeks firofter to be established against the abuses of [loiver in those Courts. Hitherto there are none. But since so much ha* been written and published on the federal constitution; and the necessity of checks, in all other parts of good government, has been so clearly an. i learnedly explained, 1 find myself so far enlightened as to suspect some check muy be proper in this part also ; but I have been at a loss to imagine any that may not be| construed au 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 restoiing 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 give 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 lawsmadeagainst it being rendered ineffectual by the liberty of the press.

My proposal then is, to leave the liberty of the press untouched, to be exercised in its full extent, force, and vigour, but to permit the liberty of the cudgel to go with it,paripawn. 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 and break his head. If he conceals himself behind the printer, and you can nevertheless discover who he is, you may, Hi like manner, waylay him in the night, attack him behind, and give him a good drubbing. Jf your adversary hi es better waiters 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, aslofirivate resentment and retribution. But if the public should ever happen to be affronted, as it ought to be, with the conduct of such writers,J would not advise proceeding immediately to these extremities, but that we. should in moderation content ourselves with tarring ai.d feathering, and tossing them in a blanket.

If, however, it should be thought that this proposal of mine may disturb the public peace, 1 would then humbly recommend to our legislators to take up the consideration of both liberties; that of the press, and

, t

that of the cudgel j and by an explicit ia* mark their extent and limits: and at the same time that they se-. cure 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—
Whose hints show'd meaning, whose allusions cures"
By one brave stroke to mark all human kind,
"Call'd clear blank paper ev'ry infant mind;
When still, as op'ning sense her dictates wrote*
Fair virtue put a seal, or vice a blot.

The thought was happy, pertinent, and true;
Methinks a genius might the plan pursue.
I, (can you pardon my presumption? I—)'
No wit, no genius, yet for once will try.

Various the papers various wants produce,'
The wants of fashion, elegance, and use.
Men are as various: and, if right i scan,
Each sort of /iaper represents some man.

Pray note the fop—half powder and half late-
Nice, as a band box were his dwelling place;
He's the gilt fuiftrr, which apart you store,
And lock from vulgar hands in the 'scrutoire..'

Mechanics, servants, farmers, and so forth,
Are copy paper, of inferior worth;
Less piiz'ii, more useful, for your desk decreed,
Free to all pens, and prompt at ev'ry need.

The wretch whom av'rice bids to pinch and spare>
Starve, cheat, and pilfer, to enrich an heir,
Is coarse brown paper; such as pedlars choose
To wrap up wares, which better men will use.

Take next the miser's contrast, who destroys'
Heahh, fame, and fortune, in a round of joys.
W ill any paper match him? Mes, thro'out,
He's a true sinking fuejitr, past all douh£J

The vetaJl politician's anxious thought
Deem this side always right, and that stark nought^
He foams with censure; with applause he raves—
A dupe to rumours, and a tool of knaves;
He'll want no type his weakness to proclaim,
While such a thing &sJbols<afi has a name.

The hasty gentleman, whose blood runs higty
Who picks a quarrel, if you step awry,
Who can't a jest, or hint, or look endure:
What's he? What? Touch.paper to be sure.

What are our poets, take them as they fall,
Good, bad, rich, poor, much read, not read at alii
Them and their works in the same class you'll find J
They are the mere waste /ia/ier of mankind. *"

Observe the maiden, innocently sweet,
She's fair whiteftafier^ an unsullied sheet;
On which the happy man whom fate ordains,
May write his jiameand take her for his pains.

One instance more and only one I'll bring; »Tis the great man who scorns a little tiling, . Whose tho'ts, whose deeds, whose maxims are hisown} rorm'd on the feelings of his heart alone: True genuine royalpaper is his breast; Of all the kinds most precious, purest, best.


In answer to some enquiries of M. Dubourg* on the subject.

I Am apprehensive that I shall not be able to find leisure for making all disquisitions and experiments which would be desirable on this subject. I must, therefore, consent myself with a few remarks.

The specific gravity of some human bodies, m comparison to that of water, has been examined by M. Ro

Iransjatvr of Dr. Franklin's v/mjcsinlt Frtnoh,

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