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derstood by Noy, in whose mouth our author | put the whole upon that single point, whether puts just such becoming nonsense as he en- it be true that the king had a dispensing powtertained us with from himself.
er or not; which is a question of law, and not It requires no great penetration to make this of fact, and accordingly the judge appeals to discussion in question appear reasonable and his own reading in the law, not to witnesses intelligible. But it ought first to be observed or other testimonies for a decision of it.” that Edward III. was one of the best and Now the bishops had asserted in the libel wisest, as well as the bravest of our kings, and they were charged with, that the dispensing that the law had never a freer course than power, claimed by the king in his declaration, under his reign. Where the letter mentions was illegal. The remarker, by granting that that the judges would do no great things (i. the prelates might prove part of their assere. illegal things) by the king's commandment, tion, viz. that the dispensing power was illeit was plainly insinuated, that the judges sus- gal, which is a question of law, necessarily alpected that the king might command them lows them to prove the other part of their asto do illegal things. Now by the means of sertion, viz. That his majesty had claimed that letter the king being led to imagine that such a power, which is a question of fact; for the judges harboured a suspicion so unworthy the former could not be decided without provof him, might be justly incensed against then: ing or admitting the latter, and so in all other therefore the record truly says, that the let- cases, where a man publishes of a magistrate, ter was utterly false, and that there was that he has acted, or commanded an illegal couched under it, an insinuation (certainly thing, if the defendant shall be admitted to malicious) that might raise an indignation in prove the mode or illegality of the thing, it is this king against the court, &c., since it evi- evidently implied that he may prove the thing dently appears, that not only the falsehood, itself; so that on the gentleman's own prebut also the malice was the ground of the mises, it is a clear consequence that a man judgment.
prosecuted for a libel, shall be admitted to I agree with the remarker, that Noy, citing give the truth in evidence. The remarker this case, says that the letter contained no ill, has a method of reasoning peculiar to himself; yet the writer was punished; but these words he frequently advances arguments, which diare absolutely as they stand in the remarks rectly prove the very point he is labouring to attached from the context. Noy adduces confute. Northampton's case, to prove that a man is But in truth, judge Powell's words would punishable for contemplating without a cause, not have given the least colour to such a rithough the words of the complaint (simply diculous distinction, if they had been fairly considered) should contain no ill in them, it is quoted. He affirms with the strongest emphanot natural to inquire whether the application sis, that to make it a libel, it must be false, it be just: it is only an expression of a counsel must be malicious, and it must tend to sediat the bar. The case was adjourned, and we tion. (Let it be observed that these three hear no more of it. Yet these words of Noy, qualities of a libel against the government are the remarker, would pass on the reader as a in the conjunctive) his subsequent words are good authority. “ This book, therefore,” these, “ as to the falsehood, I see nothing that quoth he, referring to Godbolt's reports, “ fol- is offered by the king's counsel ; nor any lows the record of Northampton's case, and thing as to the malice.” Here the judge puts says, that because it might incense the king the proof both of the falsehood and malice on against the judges he was punished ;" which the persecutor ; and though the falsehood in is almost a translation of Prætextu cujus, this case was a question of law, it will not be &c. I could readily pardon our author's gib- denied, but that the malice was a question of berish, and want of apprehension, but cannot fact. Now shall we attribute this omission to so easily digest his insincerity.
the inadvertency of the remarker? No, that The remarker in the next place proceeds cannot be supposed; for the sentence immeto the trial of the seven bishops; I shall quote diately followed. But they were nailing dehis own words, though I know they are so cisive words, which if they were fairly quoted, senseless and insipid, that I run the risk of had put an end to the dispute, and left the retrespassing on the reader's patience; however marker without the least room for evasion; here they be, “Mr. Justice Powell also does and therefore he very honestly dropped them. say, that to make it a libel, it must be false, Our author says it is necessary to consult it must be malicious, and it must tend to sedi- Bracton, in order to fix our idea of a libel. tion.” Upon which words of this learned and Now Bracton, throughout his five books de worthy judge, I would not presume to offer legibus, et consuetudinibus angliæ, only once any comment, except that which other words happens to mention libels, very perfunctorily. of his own afford, that plainly show in what He says, no more than, that a man may resense he then spoke. His subsequent words ceive an injury by a lampoon and things of are these : "the bishops tell his majesty, it is that nature. Fit injuria cum de eo factum not out of averseness," &c. So that the judge carmen famosum et heujusmodi. Pray how
is any person's idea of a libel the better fixt | lawyer is not supposed to be acquainted with by this description of it? Our author very sa- military terms; but is it not highly ridiculous, gaciously observes, on these words of Brac- that the gentleman will not allow a squib tó ton, that the falsity of a libel is neither ex- be fired from the bulwark of liberty, yet freepressed nor implied by them. That it is not ly gives permission to erect on it a battery of expressed is self-evident; but that it is not cannon. implied, we have only the remarker's ipse Upon the whole, to suppress inquiries into dixit for it.
the administration is good policy in an arbiBut it was really idle and impertinent to trary government; but a free constitution and draw this ancient lawyer into the dispute, freedom of speech, have such a reciprocal deas nothing could be learned from him, only pendence on each other, that they cannot subthat a libel is an injury, which every body sist without consisting together. will readily grant. I have good ground to suspect, that our author did not consult Bracton on this occasion ; the passage cited in the
On Government. From the Pennsylvania remarks, is literally transcribed from Coke's
Gazette, April 1, 1736. ninth report, folio 60; by which an unlearned GOVERNMENT is aptly compared to archireader might be easily led to believe, that our tecture; if the superstructure is too heavy for author was well skilled in ancient learning: the foundation, the building totters, though asridiculous affectation and pedantry this. sisted by outward props of art. But leaving it
To follow the remarker through all his in- to every body to mould the similitude accordcoherencies and absurdities, would be irk- ing to his particular fancy, I shall only obsome; and indeed nothing is more vexatious serve, that the people have made the most conthan to be obliged to refute lies and nonsense. siderable part of the legislature in every free Besides, a writer who is convicted of imposing state; which has been more or less so, in proporwilful falsehoods on the reader, ought to be tion to the share they have had in the adminisregarded with abhorrence and contempt. It is tration of affairs. The English constitution is for this reason I have treated him with an acri- fixt on the strongest basis, we choose whommony of style, which nothing but his malice soever we please for our representatives, and and want of sincerity, and not his ignorance, thus we have all the advantages of a democrahis dullness, or vanity, could have justified: cy, without any of its inconveniences. however, as to the precedents and proceed Popular governments have not been framings against libelling, before the case of the ed without the wisest reasons. It seemed seven bishops, he ought to be left undisturbed highly fitting, that the conduct of magistrates in the full enjoyment of the honour he has created by and for the good of the whole justly acquired by transcribing them from should be made liable to the inspection and common-place books, and publishing them in animadversion of the whole. Besides, there gazettes. Pretty speculations these to be in- could not be a more potent counterpoise to the serted in newspapers, especially when they designs of ambitious men, than a multitude come clothed and loaded under the jargon and that hated and feared ambition. Moreover tackle of the law.
the power they possessed though great colI am sure that by this time the reader must lectively, yet being distributed among a vast be heartily tired with the little I have offered number, the share of each individual was too on the subject, though I have endeavoured to inconsiderable to lay him under any temptaspeak so as to be understood ; yet it in some tions of turning it to a wrong use. Again, a measure appeared necessary to expose the fol- body of people thus circumstanced, cannot be ly and ignorance of this author, inasmuch as supposed to judge amiss on any essential points ; he seemed to be cherished by some pernicious for if they decide in favour of themselves, insects of the profession, who neglecting the which is extremely natural, their decision is noblest parts feed on the rotten branches of the just, inasmuch as whatever contributes to law.
their benefit is a general benefit, and adBesides, the liberty of the press would be vances the real public good. Hence we have wholly abolished, if the remarker could have an easy solution of the sophism, so often propropagated the doctrine of punishing truth.- posed by the abettors of tyranny, who tell us, Yet he declares he would not be thought to that when differences arise between a prince derogate from that noble privilege of a free peo- and his subjects, the latter are incapable of ple. How does he reconcile those contradic-being judges of the controversy, for that tions? why truly thus: he says, that the li- would be setting up judge and party in the berty of the press is a bulwark and two-edged same person. weapon, capable of cutting two ways, and is Some foreigners, have had a truer idea of only to be trusted in the hands of men of wit our constitution. We read in the memoirs and address, and not with such fools as rail of the late archbishop of Cambray, Fenelon, without art. I pass over the blunder of his the celebrated author of Telemachus, a concalling a bulwark a two-edged weapon, for a versation which he had with the pretender,
(son of James II. of England.) “If ever you proper sphere, unbiassed by faction, undeluded come to the crown of England,” says the bi- by the tricks of designing men. shop, “ you will be a happy prince; with an Thank God! we are in the full enjoyment unlimited power to do good, and only restrain- of all these privileges. But can we be taught ed from doing evil.” A blunt Briton, per- to prize them too much? or how can we prize haps, would have said in plain English, them equal to their value, if we do not know “ You'll be at liberty to do as much good as their intrinsic worth, and that they are not a you please, but by G— you shall do us no gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a hurt.” The bishop sweetened the pill; for right that belongs to us by the laws of God such it would appear in its simple form, to a and nature ? mind fraught with notions of arbitrary power, Since they are our right, let us be vigilant and educated among a people, who, with the to preserve them uninfringed, and free from utmost simplicity, boast of their slavery. encroachments; if animosities arise, and that
What can be more ridiculous than to hear we should be obliged to resort to party ; let them frequently object to the English gentle- each of us range himself on the side which men that travel in their country. What is unfurls the ensigns of public good. Faction your king ? Commend me to our grand mo- will then vanish, which if not timely supnarch, who can do whatever he pleases. But pressed, may overturn the balance, the pallabegging pardon of these facetious gentlemen, dium of liberty, and crush us under its ruins. whom it is not my intention to disturb in their The design of this paper, is to assert the many notions of government, I shall go on to common rights of mankind, by endeavouring examine what were the sentiments of the an to illustrate eternal truths, that cannot be shakcient Romans on this head.
en even with the foundations of the world. We find that their dictator, a magistrate I may take another opportunity to show, never created but in cases of great extremity, how a government founded on these principles vested with power as absolute during his rises into the most beautiful structure, with office (which never exceeded six months) as all the graces of symmetry and proportion, as the greatest kings were never possessed of; much different from that raised on arbitrary this great ruler was liable to be called to an power, as Roman architecture from a gothic accountt by any of the tribunes of the people, building. whose persons were at the same time rendered sacred, by the most solemn laws.
This is evident proof, that the Romans were on Government.- From the Pennsylvania of opinion, that the people could not in any
Gazette, April 8, 1736. sense divest themselves of the supreme autho An ancient sage of the law,* says,—the rity, by conferring the most extensive power king can do no wrong; for if he doeth wrong they possibly could imagine, on one or more he is not the king. And in another place, persons acting as magistrates.
when the king doth justice he is God's vicar, This appears still more evident, in remark- but when he doth unjustly he is the agent of ings that the people sat as umpire of the differe the devil. The politeness of the latter times, ences which had arisen between the dictator has given a softer turn to the expression. It and senate, in the case of young Fabius. is now said, the king can do no wrong, but
The great deference which Cicero paid to his ministers may. In allusion to this the the judgment of the Roman people, appears parliament of 1741, declared they made war by those inimitable orations, of which they against the king for the king's service. But were the sole judges and auditors. That his majesty affirmed that such a distinction great orator had a just opinion of their under- was absurd, though by the way his own creed standing. Nothing gave him a more sensible contained a greater absurdity, for he believed pleasure than their approbation. But the Ro- he had an authority from God to oppress the man populace was more learned than ours subjects, whom by the same authority he was more virtuous perhaps; but their sense of obliged to cherish and defend. Aristotle calls discernment was not better than ours. How all princes tyrants, from the moment they set ever, the judgment of a whole people, espe- up an interest different from that of their subcially of a free people, is looked upon to be in-jects; and this is the only definition he gives fallible, so that it is become a common proverb, us of tyranny. Our own countryman, before that the voice of God is the voice of the peo- cited, and the sagacious Greek, both agree ple-- Vox Dei est populi vox. And this is on this point, that a governor who acts conuniversally true, while they remain in their trary to the ends of government, loses the title
* Qu'est ce qui votre roi ? parles moi de notre grand bestowed on him at his institution. It would monarque, morblieu ! qui peut faire tout ce qu'il veut.
† Si antiquus duimus plebi Romanæ esset, (says one * Bracton de leg. Angl. An author of great weight, of the tribunes.) Se audacter laturum de abrogando. contemporary with Henry III. Q. Fabii, Dictatoris Imperio, T. Liv. lib. 22. chap. 25. | Rex non facit injuriam, qui si facit injuriam, non
1 Tribunes plebis appello, (says an illustrious senator to the dictator) provoco ad populum, eumque tibi fugi. | Dum facit justitiam vicarius est regis æterni minis enti senatus judicium, judicem fero. lib. 8. chap. 33. ter autere diaboli dum declinet ad injuriam.
be highly improper to give the same name to
On Paper Money. things of different qualities, or that produce different effects; matter, while it communi- Remarks and Facts relative to the Ainerican Pa
per money.* cates heat, is generally called fire, but when the flames are extinguished, the appellation In the Report of the board of trade, dated is changed. Sometimes indeed the same February 9, 1764, the following reasons are sound serves to express things of a contrary given for restraining the emission of papernature; but that only denotes a defect, or bills of credit in America, as a legal tender. poverty in the language.
1. “ That it carries the gold and silver out A wicked prince imagines that the crown of the province, and so ruins the country; as receives a new lustre from absolute power, experience has shown, in every colony where whereas every step he takes to obtain it, is a it has been practised in any great degree. forfeiture of the crown.
2. “ That the merchants trading to AmeriHis conduct is as foolish as it is detestable; ca have suffered and lost by it. he aims at glory and power, and treads the
3. “ That the restriction of it has had a path that leads to dishonour and contempt; he beneficial effect in New England. is a plague to his country, and deceives him 4. “That every medium of trade should self.
have an intrinsic value, which paper-money During the inglorious reigns of the Stuarts has not. Gold and silver are therefore the (except a part of queen Anne's) it was a per- fittest for this medium, as they are an equivapetual struggle between them and the people; lent; which paper never can be. those endeavouring to subvert, and these brave 5. “That debtors in the assemblies make ly opposing the subverters of liberty. What paper-money with fraudulent views. were the consequences ? One lost his life on a 6. “ That in the middle colonies, where the scaffold, another was banished. The memory credit of the paper-money has been best supof all of them stinks in the nostrils of every ported, the bills have never kept to their notrue lover of his country; and their history minal value in circulation ; but have constains with indelible blots the English annals. stantly depreciated to a certain degree, when
The reign of queen Elizabeth furnishes a ever the quantity has been increased.” beautiful contrast. All her views centred To consider these reasons in their order ; in one object, which was the public good. She the first made it her study to gain the love of her sub 1.“ That paper-money carries the gold and jects, not by flattery or little soothing arts, silver out of the province, and so ruins the but by rendering them substantial favours. country; as experience has shown, in every It was far from her policy to encroach on their colony where it has been practised in any privileges; she augmented and secured them. great degree.”—The opinion, of its ruining
And it is remarked to her eternal honour, the country, seems to be merely speculative, that the acts presented to her for her royal or not otherwise founded than upon misinforapprobation (forty or fifty of a session of par- mation in the matter of fact. The truth is, liament) were signed without any examining that the balance of their trade with Britain farther than the titles. This wise and good being greatly against them, the gold and silqueen only reigned for her people, and knew ver are drawn out to pay that balance; and that it was absurd to imagine they would pro- then the necessity of some medium of trade mote any thing contrary to their own inter- has induced the making of paper-money, which ests, which she so studiously endeavoured to could not be carried away. Thus, if carryadvance. On the other hand, when this ing out all the gold and silver ruins a country, queen asked money of the parliament, they every colony was ruined before it made paperfrequently gave her more than she demanded, money.—But, far from being ruined by it, the and never inquired how it was disposed of, except for form sake, being fully convinced she * The occasion of the Report, to which this paper is
a reply, was as follows. During the war there had been would not employ it but for the general wel a considerable and an unusal trade to America, in confare. Happy princess, happy people ! what sequence of the great fleets and armies on foot there, and harmony, what mutual confidence ! Seconded the clandestine dealings with the enemy, who were cut
off from their own supplies. This made great debts. by the hearts and purses of her subjects, she The briskness of the trade ceasing with the war, the crushed the exorbitant power of Spain, which merchants were anxious for payment, which occasionthreatened destruction to England, and chains ed some confusion in the colonies, and stirred up a clato all Europe. That monarchy has ever since trade, of which lord Hillsborough was the chief, joined pined under the stroke, so that now when we
in this opposition to paper-money, as appears by the re
port. Dr. Franklin being asked to draw up an answer send a man of war or two to the West Indies, to the report, wrote the paper given here; adapted to it puts her into such a panic fright, that if the the then condition of the colonies ; in relation to which galleons can steal home, she sings Te Deum tain no more is said than what is accordant with uni. as for a victory. This is a true picture of government, its of money, bankruptcies followed, and the British credi:
tors suffered accordingly; as they have since suffered reverse is tyranny.
through similar causes. VOL. II.... 3 K
colonies that have made use of paper-money against their parting with it could arise here, have been, and are all in a thriving condition. in the country that receives it. The debt indeed to Britain has increased, be The 2d reason is, “ That the merchants cause their numbers, and of course their trade, trading to America have suffered and lost by have increased; for all trade having always the paper-money."— This may have been the a proportion of debt outstanding, which is paid case in particular instances, at particular in its turn, while fresh debt is contracted, the times and places : as in South Carolina, about proportion of debt naturally increases as the 58 years since; when the colony was thought trade increases; but the improvement and in- in danger of being destroyed by the Indians crease of estates in the colonies have been in and Spaniards; and the British merchants, in a greater proportion than their debt. New fear of losing their whole effects there, called England, particularly in 1696 (about the time precipitately for remittances; and the inhathey began the use of paper-money) had in bitants, to get something lodged in safe counall its four provinces but 130 churches or con- tries, gave any price in paper-money for bills gregations; in 1760 they were 530. The of exchange; whereby the paper, as compared number of farms and buildings there is in- with bills, or with produce, or other effects fit creased in proportion to the numbers of peo for exportation, was suddenly and greatly de ple; and the goods exported to them from preciated. The unsettled state of government England in 1750, before the restraint took for a long time in that province had also its place, were near five times as much as before share in depreciating its bills. But since that they had paper-money. Pennsylvania, before danger blew over, and the colony has been in it made any paper-money, was totally stript the hands of the crown; their currency beof its gold and silver; though they had from came fixed, and has so remained to this day. time to time, like the neighbouring colonies, Also in New England, when much greater agreed to take gold and silver coins at higher quantities were issued than were necessary nominal values, in hopes of drawing money in- for a medium of trade, to defray the expedito, and retaining it, for the internal uses of the tion against Louisbourg; and, during the last province. During that weak practice, silver war in Virginia and North Carolina, when got up by degrees to 8s. 9d. per ounce, and Eng- great sums were issued to pay the colony lish crowns were called six, seven, and eight troops, and the war made tobacco a poorer reshilling pieces, long before paper-money was mittance, from the higher price of freight and made. But this practice of increasing the insurance in these cases, the merchants denomination was found not to answer the trading to those colonies may sometimes have end. The balance of trade carried out the suffered by the sudden and unforeseen rise of gold and silver as fast as they were brought exchange. By slow and gradual rises, they in; the merchants raising the price of their seldom suffer; the goods being sold at proporgoods in proportion to the increased denomi- tionable prices. But war is a common calanation of the money. The difficulties for mity in all countries, and the merchants that want of cash were accordingly very great, deal with them cannot expect to avoid a share the chief part of the trade being carried on of the losses it sometimes occasions, by affectby the extremely inconvenient method of bar- ing public credit. It is hoped, however, that ter; when in 1723 paper-money was first the profits of their subsequent commerce with made there, which gave new life to business, those colonies may have made them some repromoted greatly the settlement of new lands paration. And the merchants trading to the (by lending small sums to beginners on easy middle colonies (New York, New Jersey, and interest, to be repaid by instalments) where- Pennsylvania) have never suffered by any rise by the province has so greatly increased in of exchange ; it having ever been a constant inhabitants, that the export from hence rule there, to consider British debts as paythither is now more than tenfold what it then able in Britain, and not to be discharged but was; and by their trade with foreign colo- by as much paper (whatever might be the rate nies, they have been able to obtain great quan- of exchange) as would purchase a bill for the tities of gold and silver to remit hither in re- full sterling sum. On the contrary, the merturn for the manufactures of this country. chants have been great gainers by the use of New York and New Jersey have also increas- paper-money in those colonies; as it enabled ed greatly during the same period, with the them to send much greater quantities of use of paper-money; so that it does not ap- goods, and the purchasers to pay more puncpear to be of the ruinous nature ascribed to tually for them. And the people there make it. And if the inhabitants of those countries no complaint of any injury done them by paare glad to have the use of paper among per-money with a legal tender; they are themselves, that they may thereby be enabled sensible of its benefits; and petition to have to spare, for remittances hither, the gold and it so allowed. silver they obtain by their commerce with fo The 3d reason is, “ That the restriction has reigners; one would expect, that no objection had a beneficial effect in New England."