Rights and the Liberty of the Press

in by Warren

Author: A True Patriot, pseudonym

Date: March 14, 1768

“With Pleasure I hear the general Voice of this People in favor of freedom; and it gives me solid satisfaction to find all orders of unplaced independent men, firmly determined, as far as in them lies, to support their own Rights, and the Liberty of the Press.  The hon. house of Representatives have shewed themselves resolute in the cause of justice – The Grand Jurors have convinced us, that no influence is able to overcome their attachment to their country, and our free constitution – they deserve honor – But this is one of those cases, in which by doing as they have done, they really merit praise; yet the path was so plain, that to have done otherwise, would have rendered them – indeed!

While this people know their true interest, they will be able to distinguish their friends from their enemies; and with uniform courage, will defend from tyrannic violence, all those who generously offer themselves volunteers in the cause of truth and humanity.  But if ever a mistaken complaisance leads them to sacrifice their privileges, or the well-meaning assertors of them, they will deserve bondage, and soon will find themselves in chains.

Every society of men have a clear right to refute any unjust aspersions upon their characters; especially when they feel the ill effects of such aspersion: And though they may not pursue the slanderer from motives of revenge, yet are obliged to endeavour to detect him, that so he may be prevented from injuring them again. – This province has been most barbarously traduced; and now groans under the weight of those misfortunes which have been thereby brought upon it; and we have detected some of the authors; we will zealously endeavour to deprive them of the power of injuring us hereafter. – We will strip the serpents of their stings, & consign to disgrace, all those guileful betrayers of their country. – There is but one way for men to avoid being set up as objects of general hate, which is, Not To Deserve It.

A true Patriot.”

Source: Boston Gazette

Commentary: A move to indict Boston Gazette publishers Edes and Gill for publishing Joseph Warren’s A True Patriot letter, was quashed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Warren’s last published letter under this pseudonym maintains its acerbic tone targeting Governor Francis Bernard and revels in a victory lap for the cause of press freedom.

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