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ON TALE-BEARERS, SPIES, AND INFORMERS:-STATES
OF THEM:— CLEAN
MODE IN WHICH THEY JUSTIFY THEMSELVES FOR SO DQING. THE PUBLIC HAVE AN UNDOUBTED RIGHT TO FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE. THE READER ENTERTAINS DOUBTS OF THE AUTHOR's IxTEGRITY. “THE LEAST SAID, IS SOONEST MENDED;
AND SO, HE CUTS SHORT THE CHAPTER BY PROMISING TO PROCEED WITH HIS STORY; WHICH HE PERFORMS, BY SHOWING HOW TO GET RID OF
PETITIONS AGAINST UNDUE ELECTIONS.
-Well, Reader, how dost like the Fragment?
Reader. - It is a curious one, and the application of it is obvious enough. But, is it not deemed beneath a man of honour to wade to secrets through such an impure channel as footmen, chambermaids, &c. ?
Author. In the next cargo of blessings, pray to heaven to send thee a little brain ! We thought we had already taught thee to distinguish between private and public life: but thou seemest to have lost sight of the distinction. We repeat, therefore, that they are quite different affairs. To pry into the secrets of private families, which should be ever kept among themselves, by means of their understrappers, is a most contemptible, vile occupation: but, in public affairs, where all are concerned, every one is justifiable, nay praiseworthy, - in keeping a strict eye upon what the levers of the machine,-the political directors,-are doing: And, as those great men make a practice of keeping the public in the dark, the public should make it their constant aim to bring their dark practices to the light. It matters not how vile the instruments are, since the greatest men have set the examples of making use of the most vile; and as we have said before, what is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.' - However, to make us believe that their pure hearts would not resort to such foul means, but from necessity and for the public weal, they tell us that they love the treason, but despise the traitor,
When the two sons of the Roman Brutus, and others of the young nobility, were conspiring, over their cups, to restore the banished tyrant Tarquinius Superbus to the throne, they were overheard by one Vindicius, a slave, an eave's-dropper,who had placed himself at the door on purpose to listen to their conversation. On their trial, this man was the princi. pal evidence against them ; but the vileness of his condition and character were overlooked in a state-affair; they were not even pleaded by a father to save the lives of two sons. He himself pronounced upon them sentence of death, which was executed in his presence.--Innumera able are the instances that might be given of the statesmenlike practices in all ages and countries ; and we need not travel far back, nor from home for them :
" Can none remember? Yes, I know all must ; — when”
the coffee-houses, public-houses, and even private houses of Freeland swarmed with hired spies and informers; - with slaves worse than Vindicius, since he was prompted only by cu
riosity, and not by the wages of infamy to listen to private conversation, and divulged what passed, for the general safety, and not to appear to be doing somewhat for those wages ; --when the Reeves, bailiffs, and other pettyofficers were creeping, like as many ear-wigs, into the porch of the public ear to extract private opinions, and inflict deadly wounds ? Was this the conduct of brave men, conscious of rectitude ? May we assassinatea man, because he is barely suspected of an intention of assassinating us? Freeland scouted such an idea, which could only originate in base fear. Treason is a most detestable crime, as it includes bloodshed, breach of faith, and all the others; but the strongest breast-plate is a heart untainted ; ---the best and most repulsive weapon is a fair, open, firm, and manly opposition. Affairs must be in an aweful situation, when rulers are most dreaded by those by whom they ought to be most beloved,
Reader. (smiling.) You have already told us that this was the patriotic cant of Hareskin, and all the Brushites.
Author. We take your hint.
You would imply that if we were greased in the palm, we should, like them, be ready to turn a courtiera wha wants me? But let any minister, or other great man, make the attempt to bribe us, and we should see whether tlie bribe Targe enough, or not.
We should like very much to have the opportunity of — refu
Reader. Like enough. - A pretty broad hint!
Author. Aye, it should be so: Chastity is no chastity, till it has been put to the push.
Reader. And do you think that your conscience could parry an Exchequer thrust.2
Author. It will be time enough to shew that, when we shall be exposed to such imminent dan-'ger. If we should not be able to put it by, we sliould only resemble many reverend gentle men, wlio point out to their flocks the road which they should take; but go on themselves in one diametrically opposite. If we should spurn the temptation, you would say of us :
“ An honest man he is, and hates the slime