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Memorial of Samuel Loudon to the New-York Committee of Safety


To the Honourable the Committee of Safety of the Colony of NEW-YORK.

The Memorial of SAMUEL LOUDON, of the City of NEW-YORK, Printer, showeth:

That some weeks ago a manuscript, composed by a gentleman at some considerable distance, and sent in order to be printed here, in answer to the celebrated pamphlet entitled Common Sense, was put into my hands by a gentleman of this city, who desired me to print it. As a publication


of this nature required mature deliberation, I did not incline, nor did the gentleman require me, to comply with his proposal till I should be convinced that the manuscript was written with decency, or did not express, or even imply, any disapprobation of the proceedings of the honourable Continental Congress, or the glorious cause, in defence of which Americans are spending their blood and treasure. Being satisfied as to these particulars, I agreed to print the manuscript on my own account.

Having made some progress in printing off the sheets, I advertised the publication of the pamphlet in Mr˙ Gaine' s Gazette, not imagining that any offence could justly be taken by my fellow-citizens. But, to my great surprise, I soon found that the advertisement had given disgust to some of the inhabitants, who highly resented it.

On the evening of the 18th ultimo, I received a message to attend on the Committee of Mechanicks. I attended accordingly, and was interrogated by Mr˙ Christopher Duyckinck, the Chairman, "Who was the author of the manuscript I was printing, and who gave it me?" I told them I did not know the author, and that I got the manuscript from a gentleman of this city, whose name, in my opinion, they had no right to demand. Displeased at this reply, they threatened to bum the pamphlets, blaming me, in strong terms, for printing it. I expostulated with them on the impropriety of condemning a book before they had read it, proposed to send them the sheets that were printed, for their perusal, and to refer the whole affair to the Committee of Safety, and abide by their determination. They did not, however, think it proper to regard any of my proposals, but sent six of their number to my house, who nailed and sealed up the printed sheets in boxes, except a few which were drying in an empty house, which they locked, and took the key with them. The following evening they returned the key, and informed me that they had referred the


matter to the General Committee of Inspection. Same evening I received a note to wait on that Committee. I attended; and was informed by the Chairman (Colonel Broome) that a complaint had been preferred against me for printing an answer to the pamphlet entitled Common Sense, and the Committee advised me not to persist in publishing it at present, as my personal safety might be endangered. I thanked the Committee, and promised to comply with their advice. This availed nothing for my security, for some time after ten o' clock, the same night, the before-mentioned Mr˙ Duyckinck, without any commission from the Committee, attended by a considerable number, to appearance more than forty persons, who rushed into my house; some of them ran up stairs to the printing-office (while others guarded the door) and took away the whole impression of said pamphlets, being about fifteen hundred, which, at a very moderate calculation, amounts to seventy-five pounds. They carried them to the commons, and there burned them, as I have been informed.

Your Memorialist, conceiving the above-mentioned transactions a violent infraction of the liberty of the Press, and an unjustifiable attack on his private property, prays that the honourable Committee will take such measures and give directions, in the premises, as may secure the liberty of the Press, protect private property, prevent such insults for the future, and enable your Memorialist to recover damages adequate to the injuries he has sustained.

And your Memorialist. &,c.


New-York, March 20, 1776.