« PreviousContinue »
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 honest 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 establishments, 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 literature, 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 out 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 convex 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 irresistible 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 re, store 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 philosophy, 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 lash. es 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 discussion or general information. The editor's 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 ; here a change in the popular sentiment removes the administration; in England an administration is removed at the instigation of particular interests, of family 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 ORDEAL 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,
II. Twenty-six numbers will form a volume, the price of which
to subscribers will be Two Dollars. Single numbers 10
Cents. 11. It will be delivered to subscribers in Boston and the "vic
cinity on the day of publication, and to those at a distance by the earliest conveyance. None will be considered as subscribers but such as pay for one volume at the time of subcribing ; and it will be sent to no persons living out of Boston, after his term of subscription has expired. That we may never disturb the good nature of our friends with a call for payment, nor experience the mortification of a refusal ourselves,
the above article will be dispensed with in no case whatever. IV. With the last number of each volume will be given a title
page and index.
INTRODUCTION TO POLITICKS.
I would wish to act with those statesmen who would as far as is consistent with the dignity and safety of the country, by a timely concession and a rational departure from too rigid principles, prevent those calamities which result from authority wii bout power, and expense without supplies.
A CAREFUL review of the several administrations of the Federal Government since the adoption of the constitution, would be much more likely to lead to a judicious estimate among honest men of the compartive merits and peculiar policy of each, than any other cop. ceivable method, on the authority of which an opinion could be formed. The federal administrations under Washington and Adams pursued a course of policy evidently contrary to the path which Mr. Jefferson and his party have followed ; and in order to bring the merits of their respective systems to the test, it will only be necessary to mention the particular principles of both as contrasted with each other, and the effects which the promulgation of their doctrines have had, not only upon foreign nations, but our own domestick happiness.
The first very important difference of opinion which arose among the citizens of the United States after Washington accepted the office of President, resulted from the French revolution. Although that was an event, which began with the most atrocious crimes and continued cruel and bloody to its termination in the present military despotism of Napoleon, and although it is now universally censured by all well dis. posed partizans in this country, yet it is an undoubted fact that the predominant party which now presides over the destinies of America first
originated in the disgraceful enthusiasm created by French licentiousness. They were so rapt in admiration at the conflagration of consuming despotism, that they could not discern the tumult which threatened the destruction of those who first kindled the fame. The influence of French principles which was early extended over every country in Europe, soon became evident in this ; when shall we forget the machinations of French agents in fomenting rebellion, and the clam. ours of faction for a war with Great-Britain ? At this crisis the proclamation of neutrality by Washington arrested the dangers which threatened us, by opposing to them the effectual rampart of his personal responsibility, Let those persons who were so loud in their resentments on that occasion, reflect on what our probable situation at this time would have been had their policy been pursued, by considering our present situation, under the adoption of measures of similar tendency, when we are so much better able to sustain the distress which follows them.
The discussions relative to the treaty with Great Britain, negotiated by Mr. Jay, formed the next most important distinction between the Federalists and Democrats. How fairly their opposition to the administration on that subject was pursued, how justly their charges of treachery were founded, and how solid were their objections to the in strument itself, may be tested by the impossibility of their obtaining so good a one themselves, even under the Fox administration ; the panegyricks on Mr. Jay's integrity and personal influence, pronounced by Lord Grenville in the House of Commons; and by their mean crimina. tion of Mr. Munroe's negotiation, to hide their own disgrace.
The establishment of a navy was a favourite scheme of the late president Mr. Adams, and the violent opposition with which the present party assailed it, creates another striking difference in the opinions of the respective parties. The respect which was paid us abroad wherever our national flag was unfurled, the character of our President, and the practicability of all his measures, form a contrast to the present state of our national character and the personal influence of Mr. Jefferson, as gratifying to our feelings as partizans as it is overwhelming to our hopes as citizens. During the administration of the present govern. ment, from its systematick opposition to its predecessors, we have seen an obstinate perseverance in a trial of experiments in politicks, which none but the blindest theorists could presume would terminate in a fortunate result. We have seen a navy annihilated, philosophy displace experience, impracticable measures proposed and adopted, and though evidently inefficacious, most pertinaciously adhered to, and tyranically enforced. In short, the same tendency which attracted the Jacobins of 1998, to republican France, are in full operation in 1809, towards the despotick governour of the same nation. And the