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Address to the Inhabitants of the American Colonies: Cosmopolitan, No. 9



To the Inhabitants of the AMERICAN Colonies:

FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS: Had I not been interrupted by the misfortune of the press, I should have given the hero of my paper no rest until I had completed his character as delineated in his letters. As I left him somewhat abruptly in my last, I must intrude so far on the reader' s patience, as once more to bring him upon the stage, promising to keep him there only until my next, with which I shall conclude.

Resolved as he was, to plague his country with every species of oppression, he was exceedingly fertile in projecting the means. Incessant and wily, but baffled and embarrassed were his attempts in their execution. No measures, however base, however cruel, however horrid and unheard of, startled him in his headlong career. Despairing of Grand Juries indicting whole towns, and in effect the whole Province, as an unlawful, tumultuous, and riotous assembly, for refusing to transgress the first command of Heaven, the great law of self-preservation, Caligula like, he was determined to sever its head from all its members with one stroke. Union, a mutual intercourse and interest being inimical to tyranny, and divisions, ignorance, and disconnected exertions, the very companions of her bosom; hence, both the policy, and his plan of separating Boston, that first devoted capital, the head and heart of the community, from the rest of the Province; and to treat her meetings as properly a mob, and an outrage upon Government — a mob liable to have the leaden messengers of death hurled among them, or the bayonet lifted to their throats by a licentious soldiery, when innocently assembled for the discharge of some social duty.

What shall I say of his humanity, his immaculate tenderness, when he demanded of — and — whether they would order the troops to fire upon mobs, if he should call upon them? What of his principles of friendship when he upbraids his inmates, who were disposed to go the greatest lengths, the one, with want of firmness, for excusing himself from the monstrous carnage, for fear of consequences; and the other, with stupidity, for qualifying his rancorous malice, by an immaterial distinction?

What shall I say of his tender-hearted pity, at a time when affliction and grief mantled on every face; when the sorrows of our country were seen in blood, flowing from the veins of our slaughtered citizens; when the pavements in the street blushed with a crimson hue, and upbraided the more unfeeling, the flinty heart, of a cruel, inactive magistrate; when, to his own townsmen pleading in the language of distress, clad in the robes of affliction from wounds of his own procuring, he refused to remove the cause of their we, and to dry up the fountain of their tears, by suppressing the terror of arms! When the temples of God seemed to mourn, and the very


dwellings of the city appeared to languish, with what seeming delight does he review the tragick scene, and transmit, in delusive colours, his own merits in that bloody transaction, that most execrable proceeding, to his approving master? A scene sufficient to have caused the lawless sword to drop from every humane hand, swells up his lungs to a higher tone, for more troops, more havock, more bloodshed.

The leaders and the led, are likewise the objects of his malignity, but especially the former; rightly imagining that lie could never entirely compass his ruinous designs so long as they continued clasped to the neck of their country, so long as they remained on their post, as watchmen, vigilantly opposing his parrieidious attempts. From their blood he expected success. On them he poured forth all that rancour and splenetick fury that a bold and manly opposition had enkindled in his ambitious breast. Hence his increasing clamours for laws that would enable him to seize, expose, and extinguish those guides of publick councils, those lamps of intelligence, which, amidst the threatening convulsions, have continued to burn unimpaired on the altar of liberty. Hence Ins importunate demands for British laws to make it treason for any person to deny, by word or writing, the all-binding authority of Parliament; and if the Juries refused to convict on such statutes, to extend the Act of Henry VIII. for their trial in Great Britain; that is, to have them pinioned, dragged from their friends, transported like convicts, tried without evidence, condemned undefended, without law, and executed without mercy. And also to have persons taken, carried to England, and punished at the Execution-Block, possibly without even the sham formality of a mock-trial. Did the head of man ever project a scheme more black, his heart assent to measures more horrid against America, than the above, conceived and hatched by one of her sons?

It is difficult to conceive of a greater political curse, than a magistrate armed with full authority to obstruct, unchecked, the whole proceedings of the people. This has been our state ever since the independency of the Governour. From that fatal period, under his guidance, the community has been, post haste, on the high-road to destruction. The most audaciously abandoned, before him, never dared so far to shake the pillars of the State, and totally to demolish the power of the people. But in the bosom of his domination, as in a grave, was buried every principle of freedom, and in his letters, we may literally read the dismal ruins of a free country. By what appellation, by what name, shall I call, shall I describe the man who, for a mercenary consideration, sold the authority of a whole Province, attacked the rights of a whole Continent, bartered away the Constitution of a free Government, and desperately aimed at enslaving his own countrymen, in whose souls the love of liberty is so deep rooted as not to be extinguishable but with life itself.

Like the horse-leech, ever craving, not satisfied with the reception of a bribe himself, he labours to contaminate all with whom he is concerned with the same pollution. Lest the streams of impartial justice should continue to flow, even according to new-fangled laws, he was determined to defile the fountain by the same royal influence, and to create a dependance that would entail the corruption. Five hundred sterling a year, says he, for the Chief Justice, and three hundred for the Puny Judges, are the least sums proper for them to receive from the Crown to induce them to continue in their offices, and subserve Governmental purposes. This being established, it would be of no avail to impeach for high crimes and misdemeanours, not even by the grand inquest for the Province.

The extension of the boundaries of Canada, the arming Roman Catholicks, and calling the tawny Savage from the wilderness, to scalp, murder, and desolate the English Colonies, have been justly complained of as unconstitutional, barbarous, and disgraceful. But even this is, at least in part, of an American origin; the cession of Canada to the English, says our letter-writer, has had worse effects than if it had remained in the hands of the French and Indians; plainly intimating that it ought to be held as a menacing rod over our backs, to scourge for disobedience, or awe to submissions.

Traversing land and sea, ruin and destruction mark his route on both elements. He was largely concerned in restraining, hampering, and finally banishing commerce, navigation, and trade, from the coast of America. He is express, for the restraining trade in all the Colonies who will not acknowledge themselves under the uncontrollable dominion


of a third State, of confining it to Great Britain, and of excluding them from the bounty of Heaven, common to all mortals — catching the fishes of the sea for their support and sustenance.

In short, the demolition of the Charter, the abolishing of Juries, which were attempted by a late importation of infamous laws, were planned, recommended, and procured by this fatal monster to his country. It is evident from his own words: "Something (says he) immediately must be done; no time is to be lost; something, I repeat it, must be done this session, to show the sense Parliament has of our past conduct." To Secretary Pownall, by whom he was informed that something very decisive might be done in Parliament, unless a favourable issue in the case of Preston and the soldiers should cause an alteration of proposed measures, he writes, "I am now anxious lest Parliament should pass over all our affronts, contempts, and insults, without notice. This would be extremely dangerous. In some way or other, the power of Parliament must be evinced. You know I have been begging, begging for measures to support the supremacy of Parliament. It will be best that I should not be suspected by the people of having suggested any alterations in our Constitution." These, and similar expressions, are not unfrequent in his letters. His incessant prayers to a Minister of State for measures against the virtuous, patriotick Americans, reminds me of a stale story that I once heard, with which I shall conclude, respecting a very troublesome woman, who made application to an unjust judge that neither feared God nor regarded man, to avenge her of her adversaries, who, by the force of importunity and pressing solicitations, wearied him into compliance.