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modulation of the voice, to express them properly. But if they are obscurely printed, or disguised by omitting the capitals and long 's, or otherwise, the reader is apt to modulate wrong, and finding he has done so, he is obliged to go back and begin the sentence again; which lessens the pleasure of the hearers. This leads me to mention an old error in our mode of printing. We are sensible that when a question is met with in the reading, there is a proper variation 10 be used in the management of the voice. We have, therefore, a point, called an interrogation, affixed to the, question, in order to distinguish it. But this is ab. surdly placed at its end, so that the reader does not discover it till he finds that he has wrongly modulated his voice, and is therefore obliged to begin again the sentence. To prevent this, the Spanish printers, more sensibly, place an interrogation at the beginning as well as at the end of the question. We have another error: of the same kind in printing plays, where something: ofted occurs that is marked as spoken aside. But the word aside is placed at the end of the speech, when it ought to precede it, as a direction to the reader, that he may govern his voice accordingly. The practice of our ladies'in meeting five or six together to form litic busy parties, where each is employed in some useful work, while one reads to then, is so commendable in · itself, that it deserves the attention of authors and printers'to make it as pleasing as possible, both to the readers and hearers.
My best wishes attend you,' being, with sincere esa teem, Sir, your most obedient and very humble servang
An account of the highest court of Judicature
in Pennsylvania, viz.
Power of this Court. . It may receive and promulgate accusations of alf kinds, against all persons and characters. among the citizens of the state, and even against all inferior courts; and may judge, sentence, and condemn to jofamy, not only private individuals, but public bodies, &c. with or without enquiry or hearing, at the court's discretion. Whose favor, or for whose emolument this Court is estab.
In favor of about one citizen in five hundred, who, by education, or practice in scribbling, has acquired a tolerable style as to grammar and construction, so as to bear printing; or who is possessed of a press and a few types. This five hundredth part of the citizens have the privilege of accusing and abusing the other four hundred and ninety-nine parts at their pleasure ; or they may hire out their pens and press to others, for that purpose.
Practice of Cthisourt. It is not governed by any of the rules of the com. . mon courts of law. The accused is allowed no grand jury to judge of the truth of the accusation before it is publicly made ; nor is the name of the accuser made known to him ; nor has he an opportunity of confronting the witnesses against him, for they are kept in the dark, as in the Spanish court of inquisition. Nor is there any petty jury of his peers sworn to try the truth of the charges. The proceedings are also sometimes so l'apid, that an honest good citizen may find himself suddenly and unexpectedly accused, and in the sanie morning judged and condemned, and sentence pronounced against him that he is a l'ogue and a villaineria
Yet if an officer of this court receives the slightest check for misconduct in this his office, he claims immediately the rights of a free citizen by the constitution, and demands to know his accuser, tu confront the witnesses, and to have a fair trial by a jury of his peers.
The foundation of its authority. · It is said to be founded on an article in the state constitution, which establishes the liberty of the pressa liberty which every Pennsylvanian would fight and die for, though few of us, I believe, have distinct ideas of its nature and extent. It seems, indeed, somewhat like the liberty of the press, that felons have by the common law of England before conviction ;' that is, to be either pressed to death or hanged. If,, by the liberty of the press, were understood merely the liberty of disa cussing the propriety of public, measures and, polilical opinions, let us have as much of it as you please ; but if it ineans the liberty of affronting, calumniating, and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself wil. ling to part with my share of it, whenever our legisla. tors, shall please so to alter the law: and shall cheerful. ly consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others, for the privilege of not being abused myself.
By whom this Court is commissioned or constituted.
It is not any commission from the supreme executive council, who might previously judge of the abilities, integrity, knowledge, &c. of the persons to be appointed to this great trust of deciding upon the characters and good fame of the citizens: for this court is above that council, and may accuse, judge, and condemn it at pleasure. Nor is it hereditary, as is the court of der: nier resort in the peerage of 1.nzland. But any man who cau procure pen, ink, and paper, with a presso a few types, snd a huge pair of blacking balls, may coin missionate hiinseif, and his court is immediately estab. lished in the plenary possession and exercise of its rightse For if you make the least consplaint of the
judge's conduct, he daubs his blacking balls in your face wherever he meels you, and besides tearing your private character to splinters, marks you out for the odium of the public, as an enemy to the liberty of the press.
of the natural suppot of this court. Its support is founded in the depravity of such minds as have not been mended by religion, nor improved by good education.
There is a lust in man no charm can tame,
Of loudly publishing his neighbor's shame. - Hence,
On eagles' wings, immortal, scandals fly,
DRYDEN. Whoever feels pain in hearing a good character of his neighbor, will feel pleasure in the reverse. And of those who, despairing to rise to distinction by their virtues, are happy if others can be depressed to a level with themselves, there are a number sufficient in every great town to maintain one of these courts by their subscription. A shrewd observer once said, that in walking the streets in a slippery morning, one might see where the good natured people lived, by the ashes thrown on the ice before the doors ; probably he would have formed a different conjecture of the temper of those whom he might find engaged in such subscrip tions. Of the checks firoper to be established against the abuses
of power in those Courts. Hitherto there are none. But since so much has been written and published on the federal constitution ; and the necessity of checks, in all other parts of good government, has been so clearly and learnedly explained, I find myself so far enlightened as to suspect sonie check may be proper in this part also ; but I have been at a loss to imagine any that may not be construed au infringement of the sacred liberty of the press. At
length, however, I think I have found one, that, instead: of diminishing general liberty, shall augment it; which is, by restoring to the people a species of liberty of which they have been deprived by our laws, I mean the liberty of the cudgel! In the rude state of society, prior to the existence of laws, if one man give another ill language, the affronted person might return it by a box on the ear; and if repeated, by a good drubbing; and this without offending against any law : but now the right of making such returns is denied, and they are punished as breaches of the peace, while the right of abusing seems to remain in full force ; the laws niade a. gainst it being rendered ineffectual by the liberty of the press.
My proposal then is, to leave the liberty of the press. untouched, to be exercised in its full extent: force, and vigour, but to perniit the liberty of the cudgel to go with it, fari pa88u Thus, my fellow citizens, if an impudent writer attacks your reputation-clearer perhaps to you than your life, and puts his name to the charge, you may go to him as openly and break his head. if he conceals himself behind the printer, and you can nevertheless discover who he is, you may, in like manner, waylay him in the night, attack him behind, and give him a good drubbing. If your adversary hires better waiters than himself, to abuse you more effectually, you may hire brawny porters, stronger than yourself, to assist you in giving him a more effcctual drubbing. Thus far goes my project, as to private resentment and retri. bution. But if the public should ever happen to be affrontec, as it ought to be, with the conduct of such wri. ters, I would not advise proceeding immediately to these extremities, but that we should in moderation content ourselves with tarring and feathering, and tossing them in a blanket.
If, however, it should be thought that this proposal of mine may disturb the public peace, I would then humbly recommend to our legislators to take up the consideration of both liberties, Heat of the press, and