Page images
PDF
EPUB

My mother and sister are well, and I have two charming little nephews-the eldest is already an excellent republican.

In another Hand.--I snatch a little scrap of M.'s paper, to recal myself to your remembrance, and to remind you, my dear Sir, that we count the seasons for the fulfilment of your promise to your friends in this part of the world. All here remember you with those sentiments of respect and affection, and regret your loss with that unaffected concern to which you have such claim.

have such claim. We hope the period is not distant when those requests will cease.

REMARKS ON THE EXPLANATION, LATELY PUB

LISHED BY DR. PRIESTLEY, RESPECTING THE
INTERCEPTED LETTERS OF HIS FRIEND AND
DISCIPLE, John H. STONE.

Introductory Address to the People of Birmingham. -The factious disposition of Doctor Priestley; the feuds he excited in England; the violence to which his insolence roused some misguided men, and the melancholy consequences of those violences, must all be remembered by the People of Birmingham.

As he, at last, left his country, in 'search, as he professed, only of security and repose, it might have been expected from a “ Saint," that he would have forgotten the objects of his enmity, But oblivion of resentment is no article of the Seclarian Creed. No sooner had he set his foot on the shores of America, than he recommenced a series of calumnies against his former neighbours and government, which, either in the form of paragraphs, , R 3

letters,

letters, or sermons, he has; till very lately, continued with little intermission.

Those calumnies, I, as an Englishman, felt it my duty to repel. Unlearned as I was, I had never before ventured to commit my thoughts to the press; but fired with indignation, and knowing that I had truth on my side, I feared neither the shafts of ridicule, nor the dagger of malice. Success has attended my endeavours. In spite of the almost general prejudice which then existed against the British nation; in spite of the Doctor's experience in such warfare, and his vast superiority in point of abilities; in spite of myriads of virulent and lying newspapers and pamphlets, aided by the clamours of a numerous democratic faction; in spite of all these disadvantages, I have lived to see the truth of my statements, and the justice of my opinions respecting Priestley, fully and universally acknowledged. Assuredly the battle has not been unto the strong. The Goliath of Literature has fled from the sling of the shepherd's boy.

Since a desire to defend you, the people of Birmingham, against the malignant aspersions of Doctor Priestley, was, in some degree, the cause of my first attempting to write, I am persuaded you will not think it unnatural, that I address to you this pamphlet, the intent of which is to prove, that this Apostle of Sedition, go where he will, into whatever country, and under whatever government, still carries with him the same hostility to all lawful power; that he is still the admirer of the woeful revolution of France; that he still entertains against Great Britain, and her institutions, a hatred which neither time, nor distance, nor a conviction of his errors, nor the advance of age, can remove, dimipish, or mollify; that he still wishes her revolutionized and ruined, and still indulges the wicked,

though

though delusive hope, of seeing his wishes accomplished.

WM. COBBETT. Bustleton, 12th Sep. 1798.

REMARKS, &c. The intercepted letters of Stone were received in America by the June Packet. Their appearance, first in my Gazette, and successively in all the public papers in the United States, except those notoriously devoted to the cause of France, is a fact too well known to be mentioned here with any other view than that of introducing the following Note, Explanation, and Remarks.

To Mr. Colbert, Philadelphia. · Doctor Priestley hopes Mr. Cobbett will do him the justice to insert the enclosed in his newspaper. Northumberland, Sept. 4, 1798.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• I beg leave, through the channel of your paper, to give what satisfaction I can to many persons ' in this country, who seem to be alarmed at the

publication of an intercepted letter, addressed to me by Mr. J. Stone at Paris, and inclosing another, which I was to transmit to M. B. P. (which

means a member of the British parliament) at 'Kennebeck. They were first printed in England,

with a view to render me obnoxious here. Whether

they ought to have this effect, let any impar' tial person judge from the following circumstances. R4

- Mr.

6

[ocr errors]

• Mr. John Stone was a member of my congrega.' $ tion at Hackney, and a zealous friend of the Ames

rịcan and French revolutions, which sufficiently accounts for his corresponding with me. But ! I am not answerable for what be, or any other person, may think proper to write to me.

. « The letter inclosed to me is for Mr. BENJAMIN VAUGHAN, formerly a pupil of mine, and son to Mr. Samuel Vaughan, who some time ago resided in Philadelphia. He, like me, thought it necessary to leave England, and for some time is

said to have assumed a feigned name. This he ! does not do here, and he is a man that any coun

try may be proud to possess ; haying, for ability, knowledge of almost every kind, and the most

approved integrity, very few equals. He is well ? known to, and probably corresponds with, the Pre

SIDENT, who will smile at the surmises that have

been thrown out on the subject. He has fixed * his residence at Kennebeck, because his family • has large property there. If he or I had been a

spy in the interest of France, we have made a very strange choice of situations in which to do mischief.

- But trifles light as air,
“ Are to the jealous confirmations strong;
“ As proofs of holy writ."-
! I am, &c.

JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Before I begin my remarks, I must not forget to caution the reader against ascribing it to any respect which I entertain for Doctor Priestley, for whom I thus early take occasion to avow my most unqualified contempt ; and this I do, lest, by inadvertence, I should let fall any thing resembling that affected civility, which has lessened the force of

too

too many well-meant publications, and which partakes too much of the cool, placid, Priestlean cant, to find an imitator in me, or in any man who feels a becoming zeal in the cause of his country, and who scorns to make a cowardly compromise with malice and with treason. *

The Doctor begins his explanation by allowing, that the pnblicity of the intercepted letters has alarmedmany persons in America. He after, wards admits that he is suspected as “ a spy in the ! service of France;" and, in consequence of this, he very obligingly. comes forward a volunteer, to give what satisfaction he can on the subject; or, more properly speaking, he endeavours to remove the dangerous impression against himself, which he perceives the discovery has produced.

In what degree the people of the United States are alarmed, or ought in any case, to be alarmed, at the suspected treachery of a miserable though perverse old man, I shall not pretend to determine ; momen but, if the reader will lend me his patience through

pages, I pledge myself to prove, that whatever suspicion or“alarms the intercepted letters were, in themselves, calculated to excite, it ought by no means to be diminished by the "satisfactionwhich the Doctor has vainly attempted to give.

But, before I enter on the explanation itself, I shall bestow a minute or two on an insinuation, with which the cunning Sectary has thought proper to preface it, respecting the motives from which the

a few

* “I love the bold uncompromising mind,
Whose principles are fix'd, whose views defin'd ;
“ Who owns, when traitors feel th' avenging rod,
" Just retribuzion, and the hand of God:
Who hears the groans through Olmutz roofs that ring,
Of him who chain'd and who betray'd his king."

ANTI-JACQBIN, No. 36.

letters

!

« PreviousContinue »