Trickle Down Economics of the Townshend Duties Good for Americans

The Owl Face by Bockman

in about Warren

To the Publishers of the Boston Evening-Post.

Here stood her Opium, here she nursed her Owls,

And here she plann’d the imperial Seat of Fools.


When the True Patriot considers the benevolent dispositions and most respectable characters of the worthy triumvirate that have been pleased to treat him with an inundation of grub-street and ribaldry in the public papers of the 5th instant, he cannot help smiling – What better language or reasoning could be expected form Hyperion, Libermoriturus, and Conscius Recti.* – It’s true there was one Determinatus that belonged to this Junto, but he it is supposed is rendered incapable of further service (being struck with a dead palsy on the 28th day of September) shall therefore put him out of the question; and only have an eye to this most respectable triumvirate, who do not scruple to prostitute Holy Writ (by detached pieces) to answer their licentious purposes.

The True Patriot has not the least inclination or intention to indulge spleen or resentment against those respectable gentlemen; that would be condescending to become what me most thoroughly despises in them; nor does he think it by any means necessary to call such scurvy materials to his assistance; as he does not apprehend that all their elocution will ever be sufficient to work the minds of the people to a repetition of any extravagance, in opposition to the mother-country. – Nor is he a little pleased to find that his two publications have raised the apprehensions of those gentlemen – he is by no means surprised they should be thus highly alarmed; as every man of sense must know, that the vary essence of the British constitution to conceive the most distant thoughts (excepting always those of the triumvirate) that Britons who (to a man) detest the very name of slavery, should once think of governing their colonies by any other method, than that of the full enjoyment of the same liberty themselves so highly prize.  Away then, my countrymen, with those imaginary notions of chains and slavery, so extravagantly banded about my those turbulent men; we have nothing so much to complain of as the indiscreet conduct of those people; who have undoubtedly filled the minds of the most considerable people in Great-Britain with jealousy and distrust, and put them upon schemes to keep us from attempting independency, a thought that I am convinced never in fact ever entered the hearts of loyal Americans; tho’ strongly hinted to and urged upon them by this triumvirate.

Let us now examine what real cause those gentry have for such extravagant murmuring – there is no new internal taxation imposed on them, therefore it cannot come into dispute, and assuredly they cannot pretend to dispute the rights of an external one; as that is a point that has been given up these many years, by all the colonies in America; particularly during the dispute of the stamp-act: Where then are all those chains, and this slavery, so artfully turned and twisted by my very good friends – It seems they don’t like the thoughts of Great-Britain’s paying their officers (salaries, independent of the people) – but were they to be asked the reason why, I dare say it would puzzle them to give a good one; as it is evidently for the advantage of America to have those sums that are thus raised, distributed to and expended by the officers of the crown, rather than sent away to Great-Britain (as has been the custom) in specie, from the different custom-houses on the continent – the great detriment of such a practice must appear evident to every man that chuses to see – then I would ask this triumvirate, if those things be true, which they most certainly are – how are we ruined.

            A true Patriot. Swanzey, Octob. 14. 1767.

* The Publishers have omitted an Explanation of these Characters, as they can assure the True-Patriot that he is mistaken, at least with regard to two of them. – The other was not in this Paper.”

Source: Boston Evening-Post, October 19, 1767, issue 1673, p. 1

Commentary: The flowery and sarcastic Loyalist writer styling himself A true Patriot, Swanzey continues to blast away at Whig objections to the Townshend Duties. Here he argues that payment of customs officials from the new import duties would actually benefit America because those hard money, specie salaries would be spent locally versus gravitating to the colonial mother country.

Note that the editor of the Boston Evening-Post, though allowing space and apparent sympathy to this Loyalist writer, plays coyly in the footnote with identifying the pseudonyms of the writer and those he criticizes. This wicked fun, apparently copied from English newspapers, was the style of the time. Presumably it tickled readers and prompted tavern discussion.

How long will Joseph Warren be quiet in context of A true Patriot, Swanzey’s convoluted and sarcastic arguments?

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