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estimate of your talents and disposition, which enabled me, in some degree, to anticipate the character of your reply. For much bold assertion,-much confused reasoning,-much idle declamation,-much vehemence, and even much passion, I was prepared. But before the appearance of your “ VINDICATION, I had, after all, no adequate conception of the animosity I was fated to encounter. The odium theologicum, which had once been proverbial, appeared to have given place to the vindictive malice of the baffled speculator; and the fastidious objector to 6 classical allusions," seemed to claim for his appropriate motto
66 OMNES HABENAS IRARUM EFFUDIT.'
You have, indeed, poured yourself forth, Mr. Colden, without restraint and without disguise. You have assailed me with every weapon of ridicule and detraction. You would devote me to public contempt and execration, as a childish reasoner,-an obscure and half learned pettifogger,-an ignorant and corrupt legislator;- but fortunately, the attack is as impotent as it is violent;-I feel, that it cannot hurt me. You may degrade yourself, Sir, but I know, you cannot degrade me. ur motives are too visible; and the reputation, which it has been the business of my life to establish, is proof, I flatter myself, against your aspersions. Believe me, therefore, I can smile, and pardon the exasperated vanity of the unlucky author; and if I cannot overlook, I do not fear, the malignant rage of the alarmed monopolist.
Whether those for whom you have displayed so much devoted, but intemperate zeal, may not have cause to deprecate your friendship, is not for me, Sir, to
determine. It is enough, that I have found consolation in your enmity. To me, yoứr vehemence is but the sign of false and wavering confidence in your strength. The virulence of your resentment is, of itself, proof of your own sense of its injustice; and the personal invective with which you labour to support your cause, will probably be interpreted by others into a confession of its weakness.
Your friends may indeed lament, that your s endeavour to refrain from any undue expression of your feelings, ,'* has not been successful; but, under all circumstances, it was certainly too much for them to have expected. In a case like yours, the influence of temperament, and the force of habit, are of themselves almost irresistible. But the peculiar acrimony which distinguishes the new progeny of
your wrath, is, moreover, to be ascribed to the accidental combination of " deep personal interest in the controversy,”+ with a scientific perception of its merits. If you had not been a lawyer, Sir, you never could have seen so clearly, that you were wrong; and if the fruits of your successful practice had not been supposed to be at stake, you could never have been so much irritated by the discovery or exposure of your
It is this happy union of personal feeling and professional skill, which gives to your malevolence its deliberate character-that " in the very whirlwind of your passion, begets a temperance that gives smoothness” to misrepresentations, which the solicitude of the party must have prompted; and enabled
+ Ibid. p.9.
• Vide Colden's Vindication, p.9.
and insolent expressions of contempt. And believe me, Sir, that your example can never tempt me to shew myself regardless of those motives by which gentlemen are usually induced to restrain and moderate the public expressions of their feelings.
On your part, you are compelled to acknowledge, that a " zeal to vindicate the rights and interests of your friends, has led you to express yourself indecorously towards the Committee ;"and
you condescend to assure the other members of that Committee that
that you had no inten
had no intention of speaking of them with disrespect.* You are careful, indeed, to exclude me, (for I had the temerity to answer you) from the benefit of this acknowledgment; but yet you repeat your former charges, without exception of persons, or qualification of terms, and appeal to my book to prove that what you had said of the committee was correct.t
To sustain, and reinforce your former allegations in regard to them, is, in fact, the avowed purpose of your latter publication. Your former charges are again set forth with every circumstance ofaggravation, and restated as the theses of your new discourse. You even avail yourself of that explanation of the views of the Committee which your own book had rendered necessary for their defence, as an apology for enlarging the bounds of the discussion, and for embodying in your :- Vindication,” every thing that had ever “ been presented in support of the Policy, Justice, Validity, and Constitutionality" of your monopoly :I-and after all this, you tell me, with rather more of frankness than consistency, “not to expect an
Coldeu's Vindication, p. 13.
+ Ibid p. 13. Ibid. p. 18,
answer to my letter."*
Believe me, Sir, the caution was unnecessary, my expectations were never immoderate, and I have the consolation to perceive that, on this occasion, I have not been disappointed,
The same motives, however, which induced me to repel your first attempts, now prompt me to resist your persevering efforts, to misrepresent and stigmatize my conduct. And although there are many passages
66 Vindication," which I may pass unnoticed, it is still my design to answer every part of it that can be supposed to merit that attention, in as nearly your own order as a due regard to perspicuity may allow,
I. You propose, in the first place, to vindicate, on the ground of “ Policy,” the grant, made by this State, to Messrs. Livingston and Fulton, (as the possessors of a particular mode of propelling vessels by means of steam or fire,)-of the exclusive right to navigate the waters of this state, with boats so propelled, upon any principle, or in any manner, then known, or thereafter to be discovered.
This extensive privilege I had ventured to speak of as a MonoPoLY, and for this you not only impute to me an invidious design in the use of that term, but deny the propriety of its application.“ MonoPOLIES,” you say, “ are the offspring of despotism, and can have their birth and being only under arbitrary government.”+ Indeed! Sir, do you seriously assert that a monopoly cannot exist in a republic? A respect to your station, and a recollection of your *6 five-and-twenty years of unremitted and devoted application to your profession,"* forbid me to impute to you gross ignorance of the meaning of a technical term of common use and known import. You must intend, Sir, that the purity of republics is such, that in them a monopoly will not be endured. And pardon me, if I suggest a suspicion that your description is the offspring of a new faith : the first fruits of conversion, laid at the foot of the political altar to which you had recently been led by some sudden inspiration of hope, or lingering disgust of antiquated principles and unrewarded service. If this conjecture be not unfounded, I may fairly presume that your definition was not so much intended for the enunciation of a truth to aid your argument, as for a sacrifice to propitiate and strengthen your dubious connections. I can scarcely persuade myself that in the long course of your professional researches, the following trite description can have escaped your observation : " Monopolies are sole grants of any trade or occupation, or of exclusive privileges, which ought to be common.”
. Colden's Vindication, p. 13.
+ Ibid. p. 17
They are, then, from whatsoever source proceeding, grants against common right, and equally at variance with the principles of political economy, and the liberal spirit of the common law; they are regarded with an evil eye by both, as unfriendly to the great rule of Public Utility, and are only to be justified when, by their introduction, some public good is to be procured, or some public evil to be averted. Even a valuable consideration given for them cannot, in every case, indemnify the community; for they are excusable upon the sole ground of their subservience to the Public Interest; and it may
• Colden's Vindication, p. 9.