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certain of a real, not nominal reward-personal liberty perfectly protected—that notwithstanding the unavoidable demands upon them to satisfy the justice, retrieve the reputation, and answer the exigencies of the country, they are neither less burthened than they were, or more equal to the burthen they have to sustain ;—if these are their opinions and their experience, let them know and understand, that the sentiments of the officer who has been mentioned--both as to the principles and the practice of the Constitution which was framed by them, and has been administered by their representatives, freely chosen-are essentially different from theirs.
If, on the contrary, the people of the United States are of opinion, that they erred in adopting their present Constitutionthat it contains pernicious principles and dangerous powersthat it has been administered injudiciously and wickedly—that men whose abilities and patriotism were tried in the worst of times, have entered into a league to deceive, defraud, and oppress them; that they are really oppressed and ruined, or in imminent danger of being so ;—if they think the preservation of national Union a matter of no or small consequence; if they are willing to return to the situation from which they have escaped, and to strip the government of some of the most necessary powers with which they have clothed it; if they are desirous that those which may be permitted to remain should be frittered away by a parrow, timid, and feeble exercise of them; if they are disposed to see the national government transformed into the skeleton of power;-if they are persuaded that nations are under no ties of moral obligation—that public credit is useless, or something worse—that public debts may be paid or cancelled at pleasure—that when a provision is not likely to be made for them, the discontents to be expected from the omission may honestly be transferred from a government able to vindicate its rights to the breasts of individuals who may first be encouraged to become the substitutes to the original creditors and may afterwards be defrauded without danger;*—if to national union, national respectability, public order, and public credit, they are willing to substitute national disunion, national insignificance, public disorder, and discredit, then let them unite their acclamations and plaudits in favor of Mr. Jefferson; let him be the toast of every political club, and the theme of every popular huzza; for to those points, without examining his motives, do the real or pretended political tenets of that gentleman most assuredly tend.
* Such was the advice given to Congress by Mr. Jefferson, when Minister Plenipotentiary to the court of France, respecting the debt due to the French nation. The precise terms are not recollected, but the substance may be depended upon. The poor Hollanders were to be victims.
These strictures are made from a conviction that it is important to the people to know the characters intrusted with their public affairs.
As Mr. Jefferson is emulous of being the head of a party whose politics have ever aimed at depressing the national authority, let him enjoy all the glory and all the advantage of it. But let it at the same time be understood by those who are persuaded that the real and permanent welfare of the country is to be promoted by other means, that such are the views by which he is actuated.
August 11, 1792. Facts, Mr. Fenno, speak louder than words, and, under certain circumstances, louder than oaths. The editor of the Na. tional Gazette must not think to swear away their efficacy. If he is truly, as they announce, the pensioned tool of the public character who has been named, no violation of truth in any shape ought to astonish; equivocations and mental reservations are the too common refuge of minds struggling to escape from disgraceful imputations.
It may be very true, in a literal sense, that no negotiation was ever opened with Mr. Freneau by Thomas Jefferson, Secre. tary of State, and yet it may be very certain, that a negotiation was opened with him, directly or circuitously, by a particular friend of that officer, and expectation given of his patronage and encouragement.
It may be very true, in the same sense, that Mr. Freneau's coming to the city of Philadelphia, as publisher of a newspaper, was at no time urged, advised, or influenced, by the same officer, and yet it may be equally a fact, that it was urged, advised, and influenced by a friend of his, in concert with him, and to answer his views, and with authority to engage his assistance and support. It may in the strictest sense be true, that Mr. Freneau's coming to Philadelphia was his own voluntary act; and yet true that he came from interested motives, and to do the work of a party; for a man acts not the less voluntarily because he yields to considerations of interest. It may be even true, that the editor of the National Gazette was never either directed, controlled, or attempted to be influenced in any manner, either by the Secretary of State, or any of his friends; and yet it may, in the strongest sense, be true, that under the influence of the emoluments received from that officer, he has acted in precise conformity to his known principles and views.
As to the assertion, that not a single line in the National Gazette was ever, directly or indirectly, written, dictated, or composed for it, by the Secretary of State, it is a shocking instance of rashness and levity. Unless Mr. Freneau be himself the author of every line which has been contained in every one of his papers (a thing not to be believed), it is impossible that he can know that none has ever been directly or indirectly written, dictated, or composed by the officer in question. And if he had been as scrupulous about an oath as he ought to have been, he never could have sworn so positively as he has done, to a thing which it was impossible for him to know; temerity like this would invalidate his testimony in a court of justice, if he were even, as he is not in the present case, a disinterested witness.
No, Mr. Freneau, this is not the way to exculpate yourself before a judicious public, from the conclusions which are to be drawn from the most convincing facts. Nor can it be believed, from any thing that you have either sworn or said, that the whole of what has been alleged is “a lie."
The material facts which have been alleged, and may be added in confirmation, are either acknowledged, or such as you dare not deny; and they prove decisively your improper connection with the Secretary of State, and the influence of that connection upon your press.
It is a fact which you have acknowledged, that you receive a regular salary from the Secretary of State, as clerk in his department for foreign languages, while you pretend not to act in any other capacity than that of translator of one foreign language.
It is a fact which you tacitly concede, that you came from New-York, where you was in capacity of an editor or director of a newspaper, to become in this city editor of the National Gazette.
It is a fact which you dare not deny, that your appointment as clerk for foreign languages, was cotemporary with or rather antecedent to the commencement of your paper. The first number of your paper is dated 31st of October, 1791, your appointment was announced in the Daily Advertiser of October 26th, 1791 (a paper printed in New-York), in the following terms: “We hear from Philadelphia that the Hon. Thomas Jefferson, Esq., Secretary of State for the United States, has appointed Captain Philip Freneau, Interpreter of the French language for the Department of State."*
It is a fact, which the debates in the Virginia Convention will testify, that Mr. Jefferson was in the origin opposed to the present Constitution of the United States.
It is a fact known to every man who approaches that officer (for he takes no pains to conceal it, and will not thank you to deny it), that he arraigns the principal measures of the government, and it may be added, with indiscreet if not indecent warmth.
* It is believed that Mr. Freneau could throw light upon this question, by naming the day when his salary commenced.
It is a fact which results from the whole complexion of your paper, that it is a paper intemperately devoted to the abuse of the government, and all the conspicuous actors in it, except the Secretary of State and his coadjutors, who are the constant theme of your panegyric. Even the illustrious Patriot who presides at the head of the government, has not escaped your envenomed shafts.
And from these facts the inferences which have been drawn are irresistible.
The circumstances of your having come from another State to set up and conduct a new paper ; the circumstance of the editor of that new paper being appointed a clerk in the Department of State ; the coincidence in point of time of that appointment with the commencement of your paper, or to speak more correctly, its precedency—the conformity between the complexion of your paper, and the known politics of the head of the department who employed you—these circumstances, collectively, leave no doubt of your true situation; the conviction arising from them is too strong to be weakened by any of those bold or even solemn declarations, which are among the hackneyed tricks employed by the purists in politics, of every country and age, to cheat the people into a belief of their superior sanctity, integrity, and virtue.
If you had been previously the conductor of a newspaper in this city-if your appointment had been any considerable time subsequent to the institution of your paper, there might have been some room for subterfuge; but as matters stand, you have no possible escape.
The fact of the preliminary negotiation which brought you to this city, is not material, when so many other facts presuppos. ing it occur; but even this, if the scruples of family connection, or the dread of party resentment, does not prevent the evidence being brought forward, will be proved incontestably; not, indeed, a negotiation in which Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, was the immediate agent, but one carried on by a very powerful, influential, and confidential friend and associate of that gentleman.