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To the Committee of Inspection for the City and County of New-York



New-York, March 23, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: While the late Committee of fifty-one acted as a Committee of Correspondence for the City, the generality of its inhabitants, particularly the most sensible and judicious part of them, were happy in reposing the trust with so respectable a body, composed as it was of the principal citizens; but when the present Committee was formed out. of the ruins, as I may say, of the old Committee, was there a cool, considerate man among us who did not forebode evil?

It has been remarked, that we have but one Press in this Colony which has been at all times strictly impartial. Now an impartial Press is observed, for reasons best known to themselves, to be extremely obnoxious to a certain party; they have not failed to persecute their supporters in all parts of America. And that we have had our share of the


same persecuting spirit, may be seen in the Republican Resolves at and near Elizabethtown — Resolves that are subversive of the very idea of freedom. You, gentlemen, who compose our City Committee, to show that you are as highly seasoned with the old leaven, seem only to have waited for an opportunity of playing the same game; and before the occasion could well be said to have arrived, you greedily descend, like a hawk upon his prey, and seize the poor Printer in your talons; meanly condescending to be the echo of little, piddling, Country Committees. But let me caution you to beware how you tread upon this hallowed ground, lest, instead of the Printer' s, you work your own downfall.

The liberty of the Press is a sacred privilege; it is the only means in the hands of the people, that can be safely used to check the growth of arbitrary power. Should those who have fixed themselves as sentinels upon the watch-tower of liberty, to give notice of all invaders, be the first to curtail this darling immunity, will it not give the people cause to suspect that they themselves are about to establish a power more arbitrary and tyrannical than any thing we have hitherto complained of? Will not a severe reprehension for what can be scarcely called a crime in a Printer, coming from a quarter that could have been the least suspected, raise alarming apprehensions in the minds of their fellow-citizens? The tenour of your publication speaks for itself, and needs no comment; it does not appear as barely intended to rectify the errours of the Press, but it breathes a spirit of intimidation towards the Printer. Were I to put the same sentiment into plainer language, I should translate it thus: "Beware, Mr˙ Printer, we, the Grand Committee of New-York, are not to be trifled with! Ours is a sacred body! and must not be made the sport of Printers or their devils. Abuse the Parliament as much as you list; glut your spleen upon the House of Assembly, but come not within the verge of our jurisdiction, at your utmost peril."

In your eagerness to censure the Printer, you forgot to inform us what you had done; we are only told what you have not done, but are left in the dark as to the foundation for the report in question, though it is still believed that something passed in your Committee respecting the nomination or election of Delegates, but what this was is artfully concealed from us.

If you are afraid of your conduct being misrepresented, why are not your proceedings published? Your office is of so extraordinary a nature, that your conduct will be canvassed by thousands who never converse with any of your members. It is the peculiar excellency of the British Constitution, that the proceedings of all publick bodies should be freely discussed; and amidst so many inquirers, it is scarcely possible to avoid some misrepresentations; to guard against which, nothing is more necessary than to lay the particulars before the publick, and if any censure is due at all, it is to a neglect of this precaution.




* The reader is requested to compare the Resolves of the Committee with those of Parliament, on the subject of common report, and then he will see clearly the dangerous tendency of all assumed powers.

Resolved, That common report is not a sufficient authority for any Printer in this City to publish any matters as facts relative to this Committee, &c.

I Car, 1, 1625. — Resolved, That common fame is a good ground of proceedings for this House, either by inquiry, or presenting the complaint (if the House find cause) to the King and Lords.

Vide Lex Parliamentaria, where it is recited by the authority of Rushworth, one of the Republican party, and Secretary to Lord Fairfax.