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The Rovers, or Double Ar-· Military Discipline,
On Religious Madness and En- Retrospective Address,
1 say nothing but what i protest intendment of doing....SHAKSPEARE.
In a place like Boston, which has always been remarkable for a disregard, if not discountenance of periodical works, and at a time when not only all the avenues to the altar of publick favour are filled with importunate candidates, but when the crisis in our publick affairs is so alarming as to threaten the very existence of the nation, it may well be enquired of the editors of the present publication, what result they can expect to their undertaking but failure, and what prospects they can discover but such as are overshadowed with clouds. At least it must be required of them, to state their peculiar pretensions to favour, and their intrinsick claims for support, and to show in what. respect their labours are required to overthrow the monsters of political experiment which stamp disgrace upon the present times, and which from their unchecked progress threaten to endanger the happiness of this country to remote posterity.
Though the editors are completely sensible of the difficulties they must be obliged to encounter in their struggle for success, and though it is their lot to have fallen upon times
with corruptions in politicks, religion and literature, but barren alike of patriotism, and munificence ; yet, supported by their confidence in the sterling merit of old fashioned principles, they do not shrink from their attempt ; and even should it prove abortive, they can compromise with misfortune from the impression that they have intended well, and have offered some feeble aid to that glorious opposition which has for its object the attainment of peace without dishonour, government without experiment, and national energy without national disgrace. We wish our poVol. 1.
litical, religious and literary sentiments to be unequivocally understood, and our intentions openly explained : We think the political errours of the times fatal to the best interests of the community, and that such principles of religion and literature are spreading abroad as are calculated vitally to injure our national establishments. The paramount necessity of securing our civil and political existence should unite all honesť men in an ardent effort to exhibit to the view of the people the deformities which disgrace the present administration of government, by tearing away the curtain of hypocrisy under which they have long been concealed.
The same imperious impressions relative to our religious es. tablishments, which are daily experiencing the most daring innovations of principles, inculcate the necessity of a like exposure of their absurdities; and the strong connexion which subsists, in all good governments, between politicks, religion, and literaľure, renders it equally important to detect the fallacy of such literary hypotheses as may have a tendency to subvert our understandings or undermine our principles of action. It is under every aspect necessary to point oụt the paths of honour, sound principle, and true fame, to the votaries of their country's happiness, and show how the opposite course will conduct to licentiousness in action, corruption in motive, and degradation in renown.
The general avowal of their wishes having been thus announced, it is incumbent on the editors, to declare the methods by which they expect to realise their hopes and reduce their theory to practice.
The office of the satirist is always an ungrateful, though at the same time it is a necessary one. Eminence of station is not, nor should it be, exempt from attack. In the discussion of publick affairs, the vices of an administration may oftentimes be magnified when viewed through the conver medium of party opposition; but this extension of truth, if it encroach not too far upon falsehood, is authorised by the latitude of discussion which the interests of society require. Every principle of publick concern, is open to publick investigation and satirick assault. The pulpit, the senate, and the closet of the scholar, are equally exposed to reprehension. The animadversion of satire reaches to cases beyond the efforts of legal restraint. When the cognizance of law has no effect, the satirist appeals to the tribunal of publick opinion, and enforces his doctrines with ir resistible power. Under the proper limitations which prescribe its progress, if it be neither immoral, seditious, scandalous, nor blasphemous, it may fairly be used to cleanse the foul body of the infected world, and become the most effectual engine left, to restore to this country its ancient principles of government, and reform our deadly errours, not only in politicks, but in morals and religion. The time for discrimination is come; the times of pure and unsophisticated reason, of rational and practical phis losophy, are past ; solid reasonings are never read ; and satire must find its way to the consciences of men when other resources are insufficient.
But the satirist himself is often considered in the light of a common enemy, whom it is the interest of society to avoid ; his observations are continually distorted from their natural shape, his criticism is denominated abuse and his expostulation enmity. Under these imputations the editors must of necessity be contented. Though their office is dangerous, it is effective. The satirist consults his courage as well as conduct, he is the soldier for hazardous enterprise, is always employed upon coup de mains ; and though he encounters the greatest dangers of the service, his whole satisfaction must be drawn from the singular effects of his operations and the distresses with which they load the enemy
The application of satire must be local, to render it beneficial or effective ; hence it must rather be employed on persons than topics ; on the palpable exhibition of the vice, than the abstract nature of the crime. While it degenerates not into malignant abuse nor personal invective, but has only the fair prospects of sound literature, religion and politicks in view, it undoubtedly is in the true exercise of its legitimate peculiar powers' when it lashes publick men, who are supposed to be subverting the interests and endangering the safety of their country. Satire therefore will be one of the engines which the editors of this publication will employ to further their general design ; but in what shape that satire will be exercised, whether in drawing allegorical or real characters, or whether in poetry or prose, it is now useless to determine, as its complexion will be changed according to the variation of circumstances,
These observations, however, in favour of satire, are by no means intended to imply an exclusion of articles of serious dis. cussion or general information. The editors however, determine, if possible, that every thing which their paper is to contain, shall have a direct or implied local application ; since they are thoroughly convinced that a work conducted on any other principles, however meritorious its execution might be, would comparatively, have but an ineffectual influence on the manners and opinions" of men." But the influence of grave discussions, after all, is nugatory. The object of political investigation in the United States, is rather to inform the people. than to check the government's here a change in the popular sentiment removes the administration; in England an administrai tion is removed at the instigation of particular interests, of fámily connexions, or the royal will. There political remarks may contain more gravity of reason, and will have a certain effect; but here discussion must entertain as well as instruct; the multitude must be conducted to the point by the torch of fancy and not by the clue of logical investigation.
Events of great importance will be related as they transpire in the world; but unless they see the necessity of changing their plan, the editors will not undertake to render their paper a medium of early intelligence. The most important subjects of publick concern will be investigated with liveliness, and they are confident to hope, without any, perversion of truth. In their particular introductions to the several departments of this publication, the editors intend to unfold distinctly their tenets of belief and intentions which each branch is designed to promote. They here, therefore, only think it necessary to mention the terms and typographical plan according to which the paper is to be executed.
1. It is intended that the ORDE AL shall be published every Sat
urday evening, each number containing 16 octavo pages, on type and paper similar to this specimen, and be occasionally decorated with plates,