Monthly Archives: February 2008

Item of the Day: Epistles of Phalaris, 1749 (cont’d)

Full Title: The Epistles of Phalaris. Translated from the Greek. To which are added, Some Select Epistles of the most eminent Greek Writers. By Thomas Francklin. London: Printed for R. Francklin, in Russel-Street, Covent-Garden, MDCCXLIX.

(See previous post of August 22, 2007 for the earlier section of the “Preface” to The Epistles of Phalaris).

[…] As Greece was in those ages an utter stranger to tyranny and arbitrary power, (for according to Pliny he was the first tyrant that ever reign’d) it is no wonder that the Agrigentines, even tho’ Phalaris had been a much milder master, should endeavor to shake off the yoke; or that they should, as Plutarch informs us, immediately after his death send forth strict orders forbidding any man to wear a blue garment; which it seems was the colour worn by Phalaris‘s guards; that so not the least trace or footstep might remain of a form of government, which they held in the greatest detestation.

It will naturally be expected that I should say here something of the celebrated dispute between the late lord Orrery and doctor Bentley concerning these Epistles.  It will, I think, be sufficient to inform the unlearned reader (which all besides are already acquainted with) that in the year 1695, the late lord Orrery, by the desire of doctor Aldrich, then dean of Christ-Church, put out a new and correct edition of the Epistles with a Latin translation.  A reflection on doctor Bentley in the preface occasion’d a small quarrel between them, which produced a book, publish’d about two years and a half after by the doctor, call’d, A dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris.  The dissertation was answer’d by mr. Boyle, and replied to by doctor Bentley.  The controversy was on both sides carried on with great learning and spirit, and convinced the world that no subject was so inconsiderable, but, if in the hands of able men, might produce something worthy of their attention. 

I never heard my lord Orrery‘s abilities as a scholar call’d into question, and doctor Bentley was always look’d on as a man of wits and parts, and yet I have been assured that, whilst the dispute was in its height, the partizans of each side behaved with a partiality, usual in such cases.  The friends of Phalaris and mr. Boyle would not allow their adversary any wit, whilst the doctor’s advocates on the other hand made it their business to represent mr. Boyle as void of learning; and attributed all the merit of his book to the assistance of some men of distinguish’d merit in the college and university, of which he was member, and so far did this malicious assertion prevail, that doctor Swift alludes to it as a fact in his battle of the books, where he says, that Boyle had a suit of armour given him by all the gods.  Many indeed, who gave into this foolish opinion, did at the same time allow, in justice to the late lord Orrery, that if the weapons were put into his hand he had at least to manage them to the best advantage. 

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Filed under 1690's, 1740's, Ancient Greece, Eighteenth century, Greek/Roman Translations, Jonathan Swift

Item of the Day: Historical Review of the Consitution and Government of Pensylvania [sic] (1759)

Full Title: An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pensylvania [sic], From its Origin; So far as regards the several Points of Controversy, which have, from Time to Time, arisen between The several Governors of the Province, and Their several Assemblies. Founded on authentic Documents. London: Printed for R. Griffiths, in Paternoster-Row, MDCCLIX [1759].

The Constitution of Pensylvania [sic] is deriv’d, first, from the Birthright of every British Subject; secondly, from the Royal charter granted to William Penn by King Charles II. and thirdly, from the Charter of Privileges granted by the said William Penn as Proprietary and Governor, in Virtue of the former, to the Freemen of the said Province and Territories; being the last of four at several Periods issued by the same Authority.

The Birthright of every British Subject is, to have a Property of his own, in his Estate, Person and Reputation; subject only to Laws enacted by his own Concurrence, either in Person or by his Representatives: And which Birthright accompanies him wheresoever he wanders or rests; so long as he is within the Pale of the British Dominions, and is true to his Allegience.

The Royal Charter was granted to William Penn in the Beginning of the Year 1681. A most alarming Period! The Nation being in a strong Ferment; and the Court forming an arbitrary Plan; which, under the Countenance of a small standing Army, there began the same Year to carry into Execution, by cajolling some Corporations, and forcing others by Quo Warrantos to surrender their Charters: So that by the Abuse of Law, the disuse of Parliaments, and the Terror of Power, the Kingdom became in Effect the Prey of Will and Pleasure.

The Charter Governments of America had, before this, afforded a Place of Refuge to the persecuted and miserable: And as if to enlarge the Field of Liberty abroad, which had been so sacrilegiously contracted at home, Pensylvania [sic] even then was made a new Asylum, where all who wish’d or desir’d to be free might be so for ever.

The Basis of the Grant express’d in the Preamble was, the Merits and Services of Admiral Penn, and the commendable Desire of his Son to enlarge the British Empire, to promote such useful Commodities as might be of Benefit to it, and to civilize the savage inhabitants. . . .

(See also blog posting of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pensylvania for October 11, 2005)

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Filed under 1750's, Colonial America, Franklin, Government, History, Pennsylvania, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Appendix to the Canada Papers (c.1779)

Full Title: Appendix to the Canada Papers, Relating principally to the Convention Army after its Arrival in the Neighbourhood of Boston, in the Years 1777 and 1778. [Caption Title]

Philadelphia, 8th Nov. 1777.

Dear Sir,

By Lieutenant Vellancy, who arrived here on the 31st of October with your dispatches from Albany, I received with infinite concern the particular account of your misfortune.

The loss of your services with the services of General Phillips in this country, I exceedingly regret, and since the fortune of war has thrown you both out of that line, I shall request the Admiral to send a frigate for you, and necessary transports for the conveyance of the troops, as soon as they can be got ready and victualled: but as there is little prospect of light transports being able to get round to Boston at this late season of the year, it is thought most adviseable to send them with the frigate to Rhode Island, from whence you will be advised of their arrival, and I hope, on the above consideration, you will get permission to embark from Newport or some convenient port in the sound; otherwise it will be impossible for the troops to be embarked before the spring.

With the most perfect respect,

I have the honour to be,

Dear Sir,

Your most obedient

And most humble servant,

W. Howe.

Lieut. Gen. Burgoyne, at Boston.

________________

Philadelphia, 14th November, 1777.

SIR,

The season of the year not permitting the transports to proceed to Boston, they are dispatched to Rhode Island, at which place I flatter myself you will obtain permission to embark with your troops, as the spirit of the Convention will not be infringed in the smallest degree by their embarking at that port instead of Boston; and under these circumstances I am hopeful you will readily prevail in your application. But should it be refused, I can by no means object to your returning to Europe, leaving your troops under the direction of Major General Phillips, with orders for the foreign troops to prceed from thence to Plymouth, and the British to Portsmouth in Great Britain, with all convenient dispatch after the arrival of the transports. And if you should not obtain permission to go to Rhode Island, where you will find a frigate to receive you, by sending a letter to Sir Peter Parker, commanding his Majesty’s ships at that place, the frigate will be sent round to Boston.

With the most perfect respect,

I have the hnour to be,

SIR,

Your most obedient servant,

W. Howe.

Lieut. Gen. Burgoyne, at Boston.

_________________

State of Massachuset’s Bay.

Head Quarters, Boston, Nov. 8th, 1777.

Major General Heath commanding the Eastern department being disposed to treat Lieutenant General Burgoyne and his officers with politeness and generosity, and the soldiery with humanity and care, expects the utmost attention of General Burgoyne and his officers to cultivate and observe strict order and discipline among the British and Foreign troops, especially in the following particulars, which are laid down as standing orders, viz.

1st, That if any officer shall exceed the limits of his parole, it being a forfeiture of his honour, he is to be immediately confined within the limits assigned for private men, or if the General shall think proper, on board the guardship.

2d, All officers under the rank of Field Officers are to repair to their quarters, and not to absent them after nine o’clock in the evening.

3rd, As the legislature of this State, in order to accommodate the Officers and to prevent imposition, have appointed commissaries to supply the officers and soldiers with various sorts of provisions brought to Boston market, which are to be sold to them at the same prices as were given for them, and care has been also taken that the officers should be supplied with liquors at the market price, until they can be procured by themselves from the town of Newport on the island of Rhode Island, or such other place as may be fixed upon for that purpose; no officer or soldier is to purchase any article whatever either by himself or others, except of the commissaries and grand sutler, who are appointed as aforesaid. But in case the Council or General Assembly shall think proper to discontinue the supplying the officers and soldiers in the manner above-mentioned, or shall think fit to make any alterations in the mode of supplying them, this article to be void as far as their order may extend.

4th, The officers will carefully avoid disputes with and every kind of insult or abuse to the inhabitants; should they receive any they are to enter regular complaints.

5th, The servants belonging to the officers who are on parole are not to stroll from their master’s quarters; they may be sent to the commissaries or to the grand sutler, or ride to wait on their masters when they shall think proper to ride out, if they shall be found otherwise, they will be taken up and confined.

J. Keith, D.A.G.

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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Canada, Continental Army, Massachusetts, Military, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695, 1777)

Full Title:

The Works of John Locke, in Four Volumes.  The Eighth Edition.  Volume the Third.  London:  Printed for W. Strahan, J. F. and C. Rivington, L. Davis, W. Owen, S. Baker and G. Leigh, T. Payne and Son, T. Caslon, S. Crowder, T. Longman, B. Law, C. Rivington, E. and C. Dilly, J. Wilkie, T. Cadell, N. Conant, T. Beecroft, T. Lowndes, G. Robinson, Jos. Johnson, J. Robson, J. Knox, T. Becket, and T. Evans. 1777.

The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures [originally, 1695]

It is obvious to any one, who reads the new testament, that the doctrine of redemption, and consequently of the gospel, is founded upon the supposition of Adam’s fall.  To understand therefore, what we are restored to by Jesus Christ, we must consider what the scriptures shew [sic] we lost by Adam.  This I thought worthy of a diligent and unbiassed [sic] search: since I found the two extremes, that men run into on this point, either on the one hand shook the foundations of all religion, or, on the other, made christianity almost nothing: for whilst some men would have all Adam’s posterity doomed to eternal, infinite punishment, of the transgression of Adam, whom millions had never heard of, and no one had authorised to transact for him, or be his representative; this seemed to others so little consistent with the justice or goodness of the great and infinite God, that they thought there was no redemption necessary, and consequently, that there was none; rather than admit of it upon a supposition so derogatory to the honour and attributes of that infinite Being; and so made Jesus Christ nothing but the restorer and preacher of pure natural religion; thereby doing violence to the whole tenor of the new testament.  And, indeed, both sides will be suspected to have trespassed this way, against the written word of God, by any one, who does but take it to be a collection of writings, designed by God, for the instruction of the illiterate bulk of mankind, in the way to salvation; and therefore, generally, and in necessary points, to be understood in the plain direct meaning of the words and phrases; such as they may be supposed to have had in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country wherein they lived; without such learned, artificial, and forced senses of them, as are fought out, and put upon them, in most of the systems of divinity, according to the notions that each one has been bred up in. 

To one that, thus unbiassed, reads the scriptures, what Adam fell from (is visible), was the state of perfect obedience, which is called justice in the new testament; though the word, which in the original signifies justice, be translated righteousness: and, by this fall, be lost paradise, wherein was tranquility and the tree of life; i.e. he lost bliss and immortality.  The penalty annexed to the breach of the law, with the sentence pronounced by God upon it, shew this. The penalty stands thus, Gen. ii. 17. “In the day, that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”  How was this executed?  He did eat: but, in the day he did eat, he did not actually die; but was turned out of paradise from the tree of life, and shut out for ever from it, lest he shoul take thereof, and live for ever.  This shews, that the state of paradise was a state of immortality, of life without end; which he lost that very day that he eat: his life began from thence to shorten, and waste, and to have an end; and from thence, to his actual death, was but like the time of a prisoner, between the sentence passed and the execution, which was in view and certain.  Death then entered, and shewed his face which before was shut out, and not known.  So St. Paul, Rom. v. 12. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;” i.e. a state of death and mortality: and, 1 Cor. xv. 22.  In Adam all die; i.e. by reason of his transgression, all men are mortal, and come to die.    

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Filed under 1690's, 1770's, Church of England, Eighteenth century, Philosophy, Posted by Matthew Williams, Reason, Religion

Item of the Day: Miscellany, for The Port Folio (9 July 1803)

Found In: The Port folio. Enlarged. By Oliver Oldschool. Vol. III., No. 28. Philadelphia, Saturday, July 9, 1803. [p. 219]

 

MISCELLANY,

FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

 

ADVICE TO THE EDITOR OF THE AURORA.

As you have, for some time, assumed the office, and rather imperiously exercised the functions of perpetual dictator to the good people of Pennsylvania, it may be proper to indicate to an attention so heedless as yours, that there are certain elements, in which you should be tolerably skilled, before you establish yourself over us, as our political schoolmaster.

As from a long and assiduous survey of your works, I have frequently found you not a little imperfect in orthography, a total stranger to grammar, and wholly averse to all purity of diction and elegance of stile. I strongly recommend to you the perusal of certain little volumes, written for the benefit of children and other Tyros, by Mr. Thomas Dilworth, a philosopher of the sixteenth century.

The next science, in the order of the circle, to which I would direct your blundering steps, is rhetoric, which, you must know, is the art of speaking eloquently, and of investing your thoughts in colours, bright and clear. As I know that you flounder in the muddiness of your mind, and are extremely unhappy, both in the choice and perspicuity of your phrases, I would advise you to borrow a few hours from those which you dedicate to the silencing of Mr. Burr, or the solacing of your wife, and commit to memory, Farnaby’s little system. Moreover, as I am told, you sometimes make an effort to speak in the primary assemblies, vulgarly called town meetings, and that your voice and periods are equally tuneless, perhaps some discipline of this kind may lash you into something, like a similitude of eloquence.

In Logic, you are so lame, that I am positive you are not equal to the management of a syllogism in Bocardo. Consult some of your Low German friends and borrow Burgersdyck, and Professor Schiltenbruch de Quidditate. From the leaden pages of laborious stupidity, your own cannot be encreased, and possibly you may learn in the art of reasoning, that some pains are necessary to establish the verity of your premises, before you suffer your zeal to hurry you to the conclusion. An important truth of which I am sorry to say, you are utterly regardless in all your speeches and writings.

With Metaphysics, I will not disturb a brain, so confused as yours; and in charity to your ignorance and incompetence, I will not lead them into a thorny thicket, where they would be miserably scratched, and instantly lose their way. I therefore pass on to Ethics; and here I am constrained to say that you will enter this region of science, as an utter stranger. You are not more an alien to America, than to your duties, as a man and a citizen; and such is my diffidence of your capacity, I know you must be frequently and severely flogged, before you will get by heart, the first lesson in this branch of your education.

Having thus suggested to you a course of studies, comprehending some of the initial sciences, I will reserve what I have to say to you upon mathematics, natural philosophy and theology, to another occasion. Of my didactics, I give you only a dose at a time, presuming that this is as much as so weak a creature can bear; and having thus prescribed what you will think sufficiently drastic, you have my permission to go “to breakfast with what appetite you may.”

 

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Filed under 1800's, Culture, Early Republic, Federalists, Magazine, Newspapers, Political Commentary, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: “Prior Documents” (1777)

Full Title: A Collection of Interesting Authentic Papers, relative to the Dispute between Great Britain and America; Shewing the Causes and Progress of that Misunderstanding, from 1764 to 1775. London: Printed for J. Almon, Opposite Burlington-House, in Piccadilly, M.DCC.LXXVII. [1777]

PRIOR DOCUMENTS

The dispute between Great Britain and America commenced in the year 1764, with an attempt to prevent smuggling in America. There are some persons who apprehend the seeds of it were sown much earlier. They may be right. –But it is not the design of this compilation to explain motives, or explore latent causes. The object here is, to present an impartial collection of authentic Documents; with such additions only, as are absolutely necessary to connect the narrative.

In 1764, the British ministry having come to a resolution, to prevent, as much as possible, the practice of smuggling, not only the commanders of the armed cutters stationed on the British coasts, but of the ships sent to America, were ordered to act in the capacity of revenue officers, to take the usual Custom-house oaths, and observe the Custom-house regulations; by which that enterprising spirit of theirs, which had been lately, with great success, exerted against the common enemy, was now directed and encouraged against the sujbect. Trade was injured by this measure. The gentlemen of the navy were not acquainted with Custom-house laws, and therefore many illegal seizures were made. The subject in America could get no redress but from England, which was tedious and difficult to obtain.

A trade had for many years been carried on between the British, and Spanish colonies, consisting of the manufactures of Great Britain, imported by the British colonies for their own consumption, and bought with their own produce; for which they were paid by the Spaniards in gold and silver, sometimes in bullion and sometimes in coin, and with cochineal, &c occasionally. This trade was not literally and strictly according to law, yet the advantage of it being obviously on the side of Great Britain and her colonies, it had been connived at. But the armed ships, under the new regulations, seized the vessels; and this beneficial traffic was suddenly almost destroyed. Another trade had been carried on between the North American colonies and the French West India islands, to the great disadvantage of both, as well as to the mother country. These matters had been wined at many years, in consideration of the quantity of manufactures our North American colonies were thereby enabled to take from us. This advantagious commerce not only prevented the British colonies being drained of their current specie by the calls of the mother country, but added to their common circulation of cash; which encreased in proportion with the trade. But this trade being also cut off, by the cruizers [sic], all America became uneasy.

On the 10th of March, 1764, the House of Commons agreed to a number of resolutions respecting the American trade; upon a number of which, a bill was brought in and passed into a law, laying heavy duties on the articles imported into the colonies from the French and other islands in the West Indies; and ordering these duties to be paid, in specie, into the Exchequer of Great Britain. As to the Spanish trade, the Court of Madrid had always been against it; and in complaisance to that Court, as well as in compliance with the old law, and treaties with Spain, it continued to be prevented, as much as possible.

The Americans complained much of this new law; and of the unexampled hardship, of first being deprived of obtaining specie, and next being ordered to pay the new duties, in specie, into the Treasurey at London; which they said must speedily drain them of all the specie they had. But what seemed more particularly hard upon them, was, a bill brought in the same session, and passed into a law, “To restrain the currency of paper money in the colonies.”

At the end o the session, the King thanked the House of Commons, for the “wise regulations which had been established to augment the public revenues, to unite the interests of the most distant possessions of his crown, and to encourage and secure their commerce with Great Britain.”

 

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Filed under 1760's, 1770's, American Revolution, Colonial America, Commerce, Great Britain, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Trade

Item of the Day: Botta’s History of the War of Independence (1834)

Full Title:

History of the War of Independence of the United States of America.  By Charles [Carlo Giuseppe Gugliehmo] Botta.  Sixth Edition, in two volumes, revised and corrected.  Vol. I. Translated from the Italian, by George Alexander Otis, Esq.   New Haven: Published and Printed by Nathan Whiting.  1834.

Book V.  1775.

[…] In New Jersey, at the news of the affair at Lexington, the people took possession of the provincial treasure; and a part of it was destined to pay the troops which were levied at the same time in the province.

At Baltimore, in Maryland, the inhabitants laid a strong hand upon all the military stores that were found in the public magazines; and among other arms, fifteen hundred muskets thus fell into their power.  A decree was published, inderdicting all transportation of commodities to the islands where fisheries were carried on, as also to the British army and fleet stationed at Boston.

The inhabitants of Philadelphia took the same resolution, and appeared in all respects, equally disposed to defend the common cause.  The Quakers themselves, notwithstanding their pacific institutions, could not forbear to participate in the ardor with which their fellow-citizens flew to meet a new order of things.

When Virginia, this important colony, and particularly opposed to the pretensions of England, received the intelligence of the first hostilities, it was found in a state of extreme commotion, excited by a cause, which, though trivial in itself, in the present conjuncture became of serious importance.  The provincial congress, convened in the month of March, had recommended a levy of volunteers in each county, for the better defense of the country.  The governor, lord Dunmore, at the name of volunteers, became highly indignant; and conceived suspicions of some pernicious design.  Apprehending the inhabitants intended to take possession of a public magazine, in the city of Williamsburg, he caused all the powder in it to be removed, by night, and conveyed on board an armed vessel, at anchor in the river James.  The following morning, the citizens, on being apprised of the fact, were violently exasperated; they flew to arms, assembled in great numbers, and demonstrated a full determination to obtain restitution of the powder, either by fair means or force.  A serious affair was apprehended; but the municipal council interposed, and, repressing the tumult, dispatched a written request to the governor, entreating him to comply with the public desire.  They complained, with energy, of the injury received; and represented the dangers to which they should be exposed, in case of insurrection on the part of the blacks, whose dispositions, from various reports, they had too much reason to distrust.  The governor answered, that the powder had been removed, because he had heard of an insurrection in a neighboring county; that he had removed it in the night time to prevent any alarm; that he was much surprised to hear the people were under arms; and that he should not think it prudent to put powder into their hands in such a situation.  He assured them, however, that in case of a revolt of the negroes, it should be returned immediately.  Tranquility was re-established; but in the evening, an alarm was given, that the soldiers of the ship of war were approaching the city in arms; the people again also took up theirs, and passed the whole night in expectation of an attack.

The governor, not knowing, or unwilling to yield to the temper of the times, manifested an extreme irritation at these popular movements.  He suffered certain menaces to fall from his lips, which it would have been more prudent to suppress.  He intimated, that the royal standard would be erected; the blacks emancipated, and armed against their masters; a thing no less imprudent than barbarous, and contrary to every species of civilization; finally, he threatened the destruction of the city, and to vindicate, in every mode, his own honor, and that of the crown.  These threats excited a general fermentation throughout the colony, and even produced an absolute abhorrence toward the government.  Thus, incidents of slight importance, assisted by the harsh and haughty humors of the agents of England and America, contributed to accelerate the course of things toward that crisis, to which they tended already, but too strongly, of themselves.

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Filed under 1770's, 1830's, Colonial America, Eighteenth century, History, Military, New Jersey, Posted by Matthew Williams, Revolution, Slavery, United States