Letter to the Editor of the Columbian Centinel
February 28, 1795
I observe, that the scribblers of the Chronicle, with their usual impudence, still persist in their inunuation that the Centinel is opposed to the principles of the French Revolution! As a friend to the paper, I beg leave to make a few observations on the calumny.
The charges of Thursday are, that in the Centinel have appeared Pacificus, Manlius, “forged letters” and abuse of the French Republic since the death of the King.” To these charges, I answer, that the writings of Pacificus not only do honor to the papers which have given them publicity; but to the head and heart of the distinguished Patriot who is said to be the author. In these numbers the rights and the duties of the United States were ably ascertained and clearly defended and the ebenfits of an honorable neutrality demonstrated beyond the power of contradiction. The President’s proclamation enjoining neutrality was the text which this able civilian commented on; the experience of United America has proved the verity of his predictions; and the voice of the whole Continent proclaimed the wisdom of the measure; and the Centinel, in being the organ of communication for writings so eminently useful, has richly deserved well of its country.
As to the writings of Manlius, they have passed the ordeal of minute investigation, and like pure gold have returned from the furnace lossing none of their value. In unveiling the dark designs of the Jacobin faction in illucidating the measures pursued by the Executive and Legislative Authorities of the Union and in pointing, with the fingers of truth and andour, the citizens of Massachusetts to the things which make for their political happiness, no writer has attained to greater eminence; and you, Mr. Editor, ought to feel a conscious pride, that you were the first to announce his labours to the public.
The charge of the “forged letters” betrays nothing but the meaness of the author. From whatever source the letter in question came, it contained solemn and serious truths. I have now before me the Paris papers of November and December last; in one of which the Representative of the people, Carrier, positively declares, in palliation of his enormities, that there were at one time, Two hundred thousand rebels in arms, in La Vendee. And a Deputy of the Convention, at Nantz, writes to the Committee of Public Safety, that the rebels were daily returning into the bosom of the Republic, and that he was happy, the cry of “Vive la Republic” was now substituted for “Vive le Roi.” What did the letters say more? Nothing, but that the cry of “Vive le Roi” existed.
Until the “reign of terror” commenced in France, I marked, that the Centinel was foremost in vindicating the liberties of Frenchmen; But if it had applauded the shameful execution of thousands of men, women and children the destruction of arfts and sciences in short, had it advocated the catalogue of “murders, treason, sacrilege and crimes,” which distinguish that four years reign of terror, it ought to have gone down to posterity loaded with excrations! During those bloody days of proscription, Lewis XVI, to whom the voice of America as well as France had given the title of “Guardian of Liberty“who aided the United States with his fleets and armies, when his WILL WAS LAW and who loaned us monies, and generously refused receiving interest thereon, when he had but to say, and it was done has been brought to the scaffold, besides FIFTY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, and innumerable multitude of Statesmen, artists, warriors, and distinguished patriots Among whom humanity particularly laments the venerable martyr to Liberty Baron Trenck escaped from the tyranny of the Prussian despot, to fall victim to the despotism of Robespierre, and his faction. The contemplation of these murders are enough to warp the heart of any one; and he, who could applaud them, must, to be consistent, condemn the first principles of the Revolution as recognized by the present ruling powers of France whose eyes, at length opened to the dangers they have been led into, by empty declaimers in favour of Liberty, are now exerting all their energies to correct the abuses, and attone for the horrid enormities committed by their deceivers. From this fact may Americans learn a useful lesson. To conclude, the propogators of the calumnies and falshoods of the Chronicle may rest assured, that those who could display in CAPITALS, “TRIUMPH of JACOBINISM” when murder carnage and vandalism marked those triumphs, will never be able to palm their hypocrisy upon an enlightned public for patriotism; and that their just inheritance will be the contempt and detestation of the French as well as the American people.
A FRIEND TO THE CENTINEL.
[All italics in this document appeared in the original.]