901. Massachusetts Gazette, 15 July 1788

LEONIDAS’s Remonstrance!

Mr. PRINTER, When the interest of one man clashes with a brother’s of the same craft, they naturally fall to wrangling and disputing, and enter into a general engagement as instinctively as two game cocks. For this reason my brothers of the type are chocked with envy, malice and ill nature at my success and importance. Because they cannot raise themselves to the distinguished honours, to which I, by my own industry, diligence, diffidence and modest deportment, am now happily arrived, they wish to pull me down to the dirty level where they lie, and to which they were doomed by nature to grovel. That honour, honesty, and truth, should ever meet with its due reward and gratuity (which is sometimes not the case) is a consummation devoutly to be wished. Modest merit is but slightly, if ever known, and therefore as an indispensible duty I owe myself, I think it high time to throw off that bashfulness, that trick of blushing, that modesty and shame-facedness, that mauvaise bonte and diffidence to which I am unhappily attached, and which seem to be grafted in my nature. This load of embarrassment being thrown off my shoulders I shall be at full leisure to display my own knowledge of things—my personal merit—my acknowledged abilities—my sagacity in politicks—my penetration, and literary judgment.—And here give me leave to ask my envious brother editors, who was he that got, by his exertions, the constitution down in this State? Who lifted up the New-Hampshire pillar from the pool of repentance? That it was I, the voice of the people cry aloud—and vox populi vox DEI. Let malice vent its spleen, I shall continue to disregard it, as I ever have done. I shall continue to carry myself as a BOSTON MECHANICK ought to do—as a mechanick of the same PROFESSION as the illustrious “FRANKLIN,” in whose steps I now tread. Being equally possessed of his genius and enterprise, I doubt not to record my name on the same muster-roll of immortality with that of his. This gives me great consolation, even though the arrows of rancour, clamour and defamation mortify my wounded bosom. It must afford infinite regret to the well meaning and sober part of the community to observe such calumniating trash communicated to their ears and eyes, as our semi hebdomedal, newspaporical publications issue forth, especially on me—I never dealt in scandal myself; I always held truth dearer than my blood—My press was always pure, impartial, and as chaste as any -st——mp: whatever—admitting to its compressions and embraces any production of any libidinous politician—A shabby dress or a dirty face, were no disqualifications. With this sacred regard to impartiality, I am bold for once to acknowledge, that I received a certain quantum of congenial pleasure in contemplating the beauties, and wit, and genius, and graces of such productions; yet like the good natured girl aforesaid, if I could make it subservient to my interest, and wrest from the authors, or party concerned, a little of THAT which adds weight to argument—the “larshong;”—why, I never made a scruple of conscience in such a case.

Another consolation I enjoy is this—That I am abused in the same papers where many good federalists are, and have been abused, and this considerably abates the anguish and smart occasioned by such torrents of detraction as are poured upon me. Can I reluct at being in good company? A man, I think, is always known by his company, and therefore when I see (which is always the fate of superiour merit) I say, when I see myself squinted at, ridiculed, calumniated and made fun of, in such “RASCALLY PAPERS,” I flatter myself I am of as much consequence and importance as all those federalists who have been ridiculed and made fun of; and consequently I am on a par with my friend General Washington, who is also a staunch federalist.

I am indeed perfectly willing to bestow a competent portion of “federal lenity” on my vulgar backbiters, despicable, envious and undeserving—the—notice—of—a GENTLEMAN as they are. I pity their ignorance, and smile with scorn on the vain arts they unavailably practice to imitateME.” In pity to their incapacity, and to exhibit to the world that I bear them no spleen, I bequeath to them the three following rules, the result of my own close application and long experience.


Primo. A Printer should not go out of the line of his profession, and never should let his ambition, vanity, love of pleasure, or lust of lucre, tempt him from the path of his duty. 2. A printer should remember that he is employed in a useful calling, which requires unwearied attention, and stands high in the list of mechanicks; but he should not forget to let his light shine before men with the continued lustre of a “fixed star,” for if he should be so vain-glorious as to imagine himself a “political comet,” he is evidently verging to his perihelion. 3. A Printer should never use crabbed words or technical terms which he does not understand, and never insert scraps of Latin, without advising with some Doctor, Minister, or Collegiansat verbum sappyants as the old saying is.

If I observe my brother editors follow these rules with exactitude and precision, I may possibly (as I am known to be perfectly liberal of advice) condescend to give a few instructions to all my brother mechanicks in their several branches: but as I am a good deal employed in bringing forward the great subject of corporation, I cannot attend to this matter yet awhile. After I have planned the grand procession hereafter to take place on the erection of the other pillars, and after I have incorporated the town to my mind, if I am not too busy in the election of federal officers, I promise to come forward for the personal benefit of my fellow citizens. And, after all these, my spirited exertions for a grateful people, if I should declare myself a candidate for a certain high office, I hope to secure their votes, in order to raise myself, to the fame and glory of the present living, venerable TYPE of philosophy and politicks! Every body, however, is not qualified for a “Gov—r.”

——Non omnia possumus omnes—says the Mantuan. But I beg pardon for being so tedious. The publick will excuse me, for whenever I am speaking or writing of myself, I never know when to quit the pleasing subject.