To Him Whose Guilty Conscience Tells Him

in by Warren

Author: Paskalos, a pseudonym of Joseph Warren

Date: June 2, 1766

Source: Boston Gazette

Messieurs Edes & Gill,

By inserting the following Letter in your Gazette, you will oblige your Friend and Reader.


To him whose guilty Conscience tells him, He is the Man – Sir,

The Respect with which I have ever accustomed myself to treat Persons who are appointed to superintend public Affairs, has induced me in Times p[a]st to defend your Conduct, and extenuate your Errors as far as was in my Power, both in my public Writing and private Conversation. – But your late Management will admit of no Excuse – indeed I know not which most to exclaim against, your Wickedness or your Folly. Consider (if you are not void of all Sensibility) how vile it is to stir up new Differences in this so long distracted Province, at a Time when every Breast is filled with Love and Loyalty to the best of Kings – when every Tongue speaks out Gratitude to the worthy Parliament of Great Britain, and our Attachment to our Mother Country – In short, when all past Animosities are forgotten amidst universal Joy, you Sir, (I write it with Grief) have unhappily called up that Fiend Discord, from the Pit in which she would doubtless have long slept, if you had not wantonly sacrificed the Happiness of this Province to your foolish Passions – This every Man who loves his Country must esteem most base and wicked – And your Folly will be as apparent as your Wickedness, when it is considered that this People whom you have ever studied to destroy, and whom you have lately so brutishly affronted[,] is the People to whom you owe all that you possess; this, thou ungrateful B—gg-r, is the People who have so liberally granted to you their Money & their Lands; and (what will have more Weight with you than any Thing else I can say) this is the People on whom you are to depend for every future Acquisition. – are you so ignorant as to suppose they will treat an avowed Enemy with that Kindness and Generosity[,] which is only due to Friends? Do you not know that our present most gracious King, is truly the Father of his People? – that the present Ministry is composed of wise and just Men? – Do you now know that they expect you will zealously endeavour to promote the Peace and Happiness of this People? – And when they discover (as they soon must) that you have so far forgot your Duty, as to abuse his Majesty’s loyal Subjects, and disturb the public Peace. Do you not expect that a righteous and angry Monarch, will with Indignation, tear from you that Authority which you have so inhumanly unimproved. – In the Name of common Sense, Why have you behaved in this Manner? It is said that in this Affair you followed the Advice of your Buffoon Pantomime Lacquey C. M—t, who it seems, imagined it was necessary for you to shew your self a Man of Spirit upon this Occasion. – But believe me, deluded Man, this People know very well that Tyranny and Cowardice are often found together. – It is only from a uniform manly Conduct, tha[t] you are to hope to gain the Character of a Man of Spirit. – You mistake in thinking Insolence will make you more respectable. – Remember, I pray, thou Man of Spirit, Resolution and Fortitude, remember when you skulked from one Hole to another, terrified, though immured in a Castle – and all for Fear of falling into the Hands of a few drunken Rascals – though the whole Militia of this great Town were in Arms to prevent even a Possibility of any Disturbance. – Certainly a Man of Spirit, if there had been [a] real Danger, would not meanly have deserted his Station, and hid himself in a Corner. To say Truth, none of your late Feats will in the Opinion of thinking Men, give you the least Title to the Character of a Man of Spirit – I should be one of the first to acknowledge the Obligation, if I could bring myself to believe that you had in one single Instance shewn a disinterested Regard to the Province. – But your whole Behaviour from the Time we were informed that the Stamp Duty was laid upon us, together with your public Speeches, and the notorious Duplicity of your Character, has induced me, and many others, to believe (not as some do, that you wrote no such Letters, but) that you c[un]ningly lodged those Letters in the Hands of some of your trusty Friends in Great-Britain, with Directions to shew them, if they might be likely to promote your Interest, and not otherwise. When it was probable the Stamp Act would be repealed, they were produced; and perhaps, if there had been no Pro[b]abi[l]ity of its being repealed, Letters of quite a differen[t] Kind would have appeared. How surprizing is it, that you will be eternally reminding us that there was a Time when Avarice and Poverty forced you to become all Things to all Men, that y[o]u might procure your daily Bread? Thou Proteus, could’st thou not discover that those little Arts which suited very well with thy former Character, are quite improper to be adopted in the Management of public Affairs? – Indeed, Sir[,] I have no great Opinion either of your Prudence or Integrity. And I now give you fair Warning, that I will no longer restrain my Pen, but will freely lash your Vices and Follies, (which you know are many and great) unless you immediately desist from your barbarous attempt to spread Dissention and Ruin thro[u]gh this my native Country. And as I am a Man of no Party and have nothing to hope or fear from you, or any of your Dependents, I shall follow you closely. And I take this Opportunity of declaring publickly, that I have no Intention to connect with you those Gentlemen whose Cause you pretend to espouse. I esteem and honor them, particularly His Honor the Lieutenant Governor. – I am extremely sorry for the great Loss which he has sustained, and heartily wish for my own Part that the Province would take a suitable Notice of his grievous Sufferings. But I must confess, I was very well pleased with his being omitted in the List of Counsellors; yet (as I am convinced that he is a Gentleman of great Abilities, of undoubted loyalty to the best of Kings, and a true Friend to his Country,) I should be glad to see him in a higher Station. – I now, Sir, take Leave of you for the present; but depend upon it, unless you forsake your cruel Purpose of embroiling and vexing my Country, I will pursue you through all your Labyrinths, until I have made you [a]s detestable to all good Men in Great Britain, as you are to me, who subscribe myself, (only because you are vested with Authority) your humble Servant,


Commentary: A pseudonymous Joseph Warren excoriates Governor Francis Bernard for writing letters to Britain unsympathetic to Massachusetts and Boston during the Stamp Act controversy.

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