The Writings of Samuel Adams— Volume 2

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Author: Samuel Adams

Article Signed "a Chatterer."

[Boston Gazette, August 27, 1770.]

MESSIEURS PRINTERS,

I Find in the last Monday’s Evening Post,1 a Piece, signed Probus; the Intention of which seems to be, at least in Part, to show that I must be "effectually disappointed in my Attempt to convince the World that I am a greater Scholar than the Lieutenant-Governor of this Province"! Now upon the Word of a Chatterer, I declare to all my kind Readers, as well as Hearers, that I never did make the least Pretension to Scholarship; and besides, the World must long have been so fully convinced of the "profound Erudition" of the Lieutenant-Governor of this Province, that it would be the highest Degree of Vanity in any Man to think of rivaling him as a Scholar. It was obvious to common Readers that "what comes from the King thro’ his Minister, does not come immediately from the King"—And yet every Paper of the 6th of August led us to think that an "Expression in itself repugnant and absurd", had, perhaps thro’ Inadvertency, drop’t even from a learned Pen—So far was I from "bravely attacking the Word immediately," or "entering into a formal Criticism," or any Criticism at all, that I but barely mentioned it as a "little inaccuracy"; at the same Time making the best Apology I could for it, by saying that as his Honor had assured us he "had taken one Day only for his Reply" it was rather to be wonder’d at, that we met with so few Imperfections of that kind. But Probus has rectify’d the Mistake, and Probus has vindicated the Lt. Governor of this Province as a Scholar.—We Chatterers, Messrs. Printers, have as much Pretension to the Character of the Gentleman, as any such formal and grave kind of folks as Probus: But I did not think myself under any obligation "as a Gentleman or an honest Man" to hunt after the Original, and therefore I have no Acknowlegment to make to any one for "a faulty Neglect in not seeing it before my Publication." I suppos’d, as any one might, that the printed Copies were agreable to the original; and, that our Enemies may not avail themselves of the common Artifice, in representing the Advocates for the People as endeavoring to deceive the public I do again declare, that "in my Conscience I thought the printed Copy to be genuine"; and I hereby bear my Testimony, as far as that will go, against any Abuse being offered to Probus, which, poor Man, he either is, or affects to be under Apprehensions of, for rectifying this Mistake: But as few persons beside his Honor the Pope, lay Claim to Infallibility, upon due Consideration it seemeth not, that I am guilty of such high Crime and Misdeameanour, as by any Rule in Law to be subjected to Indictment or ex officio Information. However, I think it incumbent on you to suffer your Readers to be advertiz’d, that instead of immediately in his Honor’s Reply to the House of Representatives, as published in your Paper of the 6th of August, they ought to read mediately; which may prevent some other Chatterer from rudely attempting to convince the World that he is "a greater Scholar than the Lt. Governor of this Province;" Such an attempt perhaps may otherwise be made at a Distance where Probus may not have it in his Power to set right this notable Mistake—The Word being thus restored, the Passage will remain just as liable to the Chatterer’s Exception, notwithstanding all that Probus has said, as if it stood as it did; for the whole that was intended, was, to show, that we ought to take the Characters of Ministers of State into Consideration, before we conclude, as his Honor would have us, that every Order from them comes mediately from the Crown, or is a Signification of his Majesty’s Pleasure.

There is in the same Evening Post, as well as the Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser,2 & also in the Gazette of Thursday last, an Advertisement wherein the same Notice is taken of this Assault and Battery of mine upon the Scholarship of the Lieutenant Governor of this Province—I am sorry that my poor Publication, which seems after all to be of no more Significancy in their Opinion than "a Man of Straw" has given so great Uneasiness to some of his Honor’s Friends—This Advertiser indirectly chargeth me with Indecency in "undertaking to answer a Governor’s Message." Now I did not undertake to anwer a Governor’s Message; and to speak plain, I did not think it worth while to undertake it—I believe I am not alone in the Opinion, that some messages might easily be answered, & possibly each in "one Day only": But if I had undertaken it, where in the Name of common sense would have been the Indecency of it? I know very well that it has been handed as a political Creed of late, that the Reasoning of the People without Doors is not to be regarded—But every "transient Person" has a Right publickly to animadvert upon whatever is publickly advanc’d by any Man, and I am resolv’d to exercise that Right, when I please, without asking any Man’s Leave—And moreover, I am free to say, that if ever a Governor’s Message should happen to be below the Attention of a Scholar, no Person can more aptly take Notice of it, that I know of, than

A CHATTERER.

1The Boston Evening Post, published by T. & J. Fleet. 2The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy Advertiser, published by Mills and Hicks.

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Chicago: Samuel Adams, "Article Signed a Chatterer.," The Writings of Samuel Adams— Volume 2 in The Writings of Samuel Adams—Volume 2 Original Sources, accessed January 27, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PPXQK79IX27VT7.

MLA: Adams, Samuel. "Article Signed "a Chatterer."." The Writings of Samuel Adams— Volume 2, in The Writings of Samuel Adams—Volume 2, Original Sources. 27 Jan. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PPXQK79IX27VT7.

Harvard: Adams, S, 'Article Signed "a Chatterer."' in The Writings of Samuel Adams— Volume 2. cited in , The Writings of Samuel Adams—Volume 2. Original Sources, retrieved 27 January 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PPXQK79IX27VT7.