An Elector.

A Review and Exposition, of the Falsehoods and Misrepresentations, of a Pamphlet Addressed to the Republicans of the County of Saratoga, Signed, A Citizen online

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written a history of the meeting for publication, in which _Mr. Cowen_
tells the meeting, "that _they_ must be responsible if they act without
his absolute resignation." See p. 24 and 5. This presumptuous act
throws the Citizen into a whirlwind of passion; and he falls a _cursing
like a very drab_, at _Palmer, Bunce and Cowen_, apparently not
believing that his _friend Stillwell_ would ever have told so dangerous
a _truth_. He calls it a _farrago of nonsense_, after having before
asserted that _Palmer as Secretary_ had nothing to do with it; that it
belonged exclusively to the _committee of publication;_ and _then_
recollecting that Palmer and Stillwell were a majority of that
_committee_, and consequently the _proper authority_, he takes another
leap, and says, that the _rough draft_ of the _proceedings_ were given
to _James Thompson Esq_ for wham he claims the _copy right_.

Now altho' _Thompson_ is unwilling to be outdone in telling a story,
and tho' he had peaceable and quiet possession according to _the book_
of the _consciences_ of _Stillwell and Child_, instead of telling the
public that _Mr. Cowen had resigned_, he says something which to be
sure would look "_like that_," _as the citizen says_, upon the first
impression; but which on being critically examined, contradicts the
fact on the face of it. Even the compound of jargon and inconsistency
drawn up by Thompson, and published in page 16 of the book, could not
be tortured into an _unconditional resignation_. Mr. Cowen is there
made to say, not that he _resigned_ nomination; - But that for reasons
there enumerated, "it was his _personal wish to resign his own
nomination_ &c. and he submitted to the decision of the meeting, the
question whether it would be most expedient to act on his _resignation
which_ he now made (_which_ must refer to the _personal wish_ before
expressed, for no other resignation is pretended) if the meeting should
judge a postponement impracticable, or to postpone acting until he
could have time to communicate to some of the particular friends of his
nomination (beside those who were present at the meeting) his reasons
for resigning, and procure their concurrence _before hand_ &c."

Mr Cowen thus makes the concurrence of his friends _before hand_ a
_condition precedent_; - but the meeting disregard it - reject the
condition, and gravely resolve to accept _a resignation_, which had not
yet been tendered to them. Such is the rickety production which came
straggling before the public in search of the Secretary, who had
refused it the sanction of his name. In order to remedy this evil, and
"_throw it into form_" as the citizen would say, _his_ name gives place
to that of _Thompson and Stillwell_, who it is agreed are _larger_ men
than the Secretary,[10] and must therefore carry greater weight. Even
the certificate which follows, signed by nearly the whole of the
meeting, after going on to say that Mr. Cowen openly and publicly
resigned, immediately defeats itself by referring back to, and adopting
the statement drawn up by Thompson as a _candid, fair and faithful
statement of facts_; - and it is evident that such part of the
certificate as overshoots the premises upon which it is professedly
founded, must mean nothing more than to give a _construction_ advocated
by the Citizen, and which they esteem so necessary for their defence.
The certificate of Peters, Stewart and How, shew the miserable shifts
to which the Citizen and his friends were driven in order to bear
themselves out in their conduct. They are perhaps excusable so long as
they keep to the question of _construction_; but when they tax the zeal
of their friends with certificates and declarations so far beyond what
they themselves are willing to say - nay, which actually _contradict_
the certificates and declarations that precede them, one is almost
induced to overlook the difficulties of their defence, and to suspect
the moral honesty - not of these men; but of those who have drawn them
into this singular situation.

After all this round of certifying and reasoning, the shoe still
continues to pinch, and the first Judge again appears before the public
to help the defect. Altho' he signed Thompson's statement in which he
is careful to make use of the language employed by it, and the epithet
_personal_ when he speaks of Mr. Cowen's language, yet when he
afterwards hears of a distinction between _personally_ and _absolutely_
he seems almost struck dumb with astonishment, and says he had never
heard of the distinction before. Now altho' the public will make all
rational allowance for the judge's want of distinction where Mr.
Thompson is concerned, yet I suspect they could hardly account for his
present lack of apprehension, unless he took that statement upon tick,
and signed without reading it.

Still despairing of any thing like a defence upon this ground, the
Citizen at length, p. 24, dismisses his whole train of statements,
certificates and letters, & undertakes very learnedly and elaborately
to refine upon the distinction; and insists that if a man expresses his
_personal wish to resign_, it is to all intents and purposes a
_resignation_, and that no other was ever heard of; as if it was
impossible to consult the opinions of others, and make a _general
resignation_ depend upon their consent. All that it seems necessary in
that case, is for the McBain meeting to resolve to accept what they
thus are pleased to call a resignation, and nominate another candidate.
And this it seems accords with the sense of all the world on the
subject, both federal and republican. Thus the world are at length
after a lapse of ages, furnished with an easy recipe for a
resignation - a sort of _panacea_ to correct all the sores of the body
politic and produce a "_speedy composure of the public mind" "Tereatis
Risum Amici_;" and call no one a political quack playing off his
whimsical nostrums upon the people, whose mental repose lies so near
his heart. If the meeting are told that they _shall be responsible if
they act on a declaration thus limited_, keep it out of view as much as
possible, or say as the citizen does, p. 40, that it was only something
_like that_ or _out of season_, or some such thing. If a committee of
_three_ are chosen to publish the proceedings and _two_ of them write a
_farrago of nonsense_ which puts the whole together by the ears, in
order to decide the quarrel and "_speedily compose the public mind_,"
let them raffle upon the question, and to see that every thing is fair,
appoint the _First Judge_ to hold the hat. Ancient history tells us of
more important controversies than this, decided in the same way;

Old Hector was a wary chap,
At pitch and chuck and hustle-cap,
An old Scotch bonnet quickly takes,
In which he three brass farthings shakes;
Then turn'd his head without deceit,

To shew them that he scorn'd to cheat;
And cries aloud, here goes, my boy,
'Tis _heads_ for Greece and _tails_ for Troy;
Then turns the cap: _great Troy_ prevails,
_Two farthings_ out of three were tails.

But it is time to lift the curtain, and attend more minutely to the
_chief jugglers_ who figure behind it. _The Sheriff and others_, who
sign the McBain certificate, alledge that Mr. Cowen (_according to
their construction_) not only _resigned his nomination_ but _did so_
without any previous _request (as they perceived)_ It would seem from
_this_, that these men were kept as a sort of _puppets_ to dance in
accordance with the wires which actuated them, from behind the scene;
being thus, _according to their own account_, strangers to the
_pressing request_ made to Mr. Cowen, and the _arguments_ by which it
was enforced. They are excluded the main _performance_ and reserved for
the _farce_ - probably for the _wisest_ of reasons, as there are certain
important parts which would be ruined in _vulgar hands_. It is time
that these men _should perceive_, if they have _not yet learned_ one
important fact among others, which their famous masters, _Thompson and
Child_, have thus hypocritically concealed throughout. For this purpose
I give the following extract of a _letter_ from Judge Child, written on
the subject of that _meeting_, the day after it took place, dated at
Greenfield, April 19, 1815:

"We accordingly met, and had a free candid and friendly
_consultation_ with _Mr. Cowen_; and when he came to hear the
_communication from Esquire Cowles, Ketchum and Gardner_, on
the subject of Mr. Young's _conduct_ and _usefulness_ in the
Legislature; - _and taking into consideration all the
circumstances_, he cheerfully declared that, _in his
judgement_, it was best for him to resign being a candidate;
and use his influence for the election of Mr. Young; - but
that he _really desired_ an opportunity of _consulting those
friends_ who had exerted themselves to procure his
nomination, that were not present. It was stated to him that
they lived or at least _some_ of them, at such a distance,
that it would be very difficult to give seasonable
information to the county of his _resignation_ in favor of Mr
Young, should it be put bye till Thursday or Friday as he
requested; - and that the same _reasons_[11] _which convinced
him that it would be proper for him to resign, would satisfy
them on the subject_. Mr. Cowen _still_ tho't it would be
_the best way to proceed_ and the most gratifying to his
feelings, _to take time to consult his friends_."

Thus you see Mr. Cowen was requested to resign, and the _arguments_ in
favor of that resignation founded upon the _famous certificate_, dated
Albany, April 17, 1815, published Ante, page 4 - a statement
_jesuitically_ calculated to shew that the zeal of his friends had, _by
perverting the conversation of Ketchum &c._ aided in procuring _his_
nomination. And when he expresses a _desire_ to consult his friends;
_an answer_ is ready, emanating from the same false and deceptive
source. Thus are the most _shameful arts_ employed to destroy his
_confidence in those friends_, and induce in him a reluctance _under
all the circumstances_ (as the first judge expresses it) against being
a candidate - You thus see their _rotten certificate_ made the
foundation for the _rise_ - _progress_ and _result_ of that _meeting_.
Thus does the charge of DUPLICITY, FRAUD and FALSEHOOD recoil upon the
heads of those _arch-certifiers_, or _the men_ employed in _obtaining_
and _giving currency_ to their shameful communication.

It then in fact ceases to be a question what was _said_ or _done_ by
that meeting, or any member of it. For according to every principle of
reasoning, _divine_ or _human_; if the _whole_ was grounded on _fraud_,
the whole was a _nullity_, and possessed no _moral force_. "If" says
the book, "Mr. Cowen's _nomination_ was procured _by fraud_, it cannot
be called a _nomination_; and may be departed from with impunity." It
turning out on investigation, that his _nomination_ was a _perfectly
fair one_, and his pretended _resignation_ founded on the _grossest
duplicity_; - whether it was _conditional_ or _absolute_, whether it was
_personal_ or _general_, it is void, and unworthy the name of a
_resignation_. _Eternal justice_ disavows it; _Political justice_
disowns it; and _common sense_ condemns the perversion. The
_nomination_ of _Mr. Young_, by a meeting thus _packed_ for the
purpose, by a few of _his friends_, was not only _void_ for that
reason, but it had its origin in the _same duplicity_, and was
therefore equally void with _every thing founded upon it_.

Were Young's colleagues correctly informed, as to the manner _their
conversations_ were spoken of? or were they deceived by _Kasson_ and
_Thompson_ when they called for their _certificates_ at Albany? If the
_latter_, they had near one year before giving their _second_
certificate, to correct the error. Why have they always shrunk from
investigation? Why in their _second_ certificate, contradict the
_first_? Why after having _near a year_ to _prepare_ it, does their
_second_ certificate _contradict itself_? As they now stand, they
present a more shocking _caricature_ of folly and inconsistency, than
ever _figured_ before the public. They have burst the bands of
political faith - They have melted the cement of affection, and driven
to a returnless distance, the best and dearest of friends. No man knew
what to say or think of what they said or certified - Individual ruin is
threatened, and the destruction of a _free press_ aimed at; while in
the political atmosphere all is uproar, disorder and confusion.

- Alas. - "That _men_,
Clothed with a little _brief authority_,
Should play such antic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep!"

With these men however I have now done - But let their _Pander_ beware;
let him _pause and reflect_, ere it be too late - "Already are the
sluices of public indignation opened upon him - Already is he _drifted
along on the surface of the stream, the object of_ CONTAGION and

* * * * *

NOTE: The public will duly _appreciate_ the reasons for _postponing_
the publication of the foregoing till _after Election_. The writer
hopes he has avoided the example of the _Citizen_, by not _descending_
to the retreats of _private_ character. - Even the author of the book
has not been named. The character given of that author, ante page 30 in
note, is not intended to apply to any one named in that
pamphlet. - Indeed I hope for the honor of human nature, that however
_strange_ and _inconsistently_ some of these men have acted who have in
that production given their names to the public, yet that none of them
are so far gone as to prostitute themselves to the vile purpose of
writing such a work as that in which their names are interlarded.


[1] _Several hundred of these certificates were a day or two after the
McBain Meeting, struck off at the FEDERAL Printing' Office in this
Village, and circulated thro' the County during the election_.

[2] _It will be recollected that the writer of this letter is the
famous conversation-monger, who together with his brother James Mott,
are made the instruments of proving duplicity in Mr. Cowen. John R.
Mott pretends that as early as the 1st of March, Mr. Cowen told him
that Palmer and Bunce were opposed to Young, &c and yet on the 6th day
of_ April _following, he very gravely informs Mr. Cowen by letter, of
the very facts which he says Mr. Cowen had told him before. This is the
man too who tells so much about_ private _conversation, and Mr.
Cowen's_ hesitating _to tell him names; and enjoining him to_ secresy,
_and who so very spunkily says that he called Gen. Dunning "a fool."
Mr. Cowen must, I think, feel himself greatly indebted to these_
brother _certifiers for their honor and patriotism. This too is the
man, who sometime before wrote a fawning letter, asking Mr. Cowen to
give him an office (Assistant Assessor of the U.S.) which he had at his
disposal; to which Mr. Cowen readily acceded, and afterwards on another
written request, conferred the same office on his_ brother certifier
_James Mott. [The inhabitants of Halfmoon, will furnish ample
credentials, for their extraordinary_ attention _and_ correctness _in
the execution of their offices, One of these men shortly before the
election was appointed deputy to the Sheriff: He suddenly veers about
and becomes a convert to_ court _doctrine, and evinces his zeal in the
new cause he had espoused, by his_ anathemas _against his former
friends.] These brothers in blood, in politics and in virtue,
generously avail themselves of the advantages afforded them by official
intercourse with Mr. Cowen on business, and then patriotically tender
the fruits of their_ rotten-hearted _labor to_ "the citizen" _and his
friends as proofs of duplicity_.

[3] _This was on the_ first _day of the Polls - but it seems by Mr.
Bennet's certificate, that as soon as the election was over, Thompson
flung off the mask, and exhibited his_ cloven foot _without reserve_.

[4] _Altho' it is a fact well known that this meeting was projected by,
and the canting pretences which bro't it together and sent forth the
strange account which it gives of itself, originated with_ two or three
"demagogues," _yet it is a subject of real regret that a_ few honest
men _have suffered themselves to be duped by their shameful artifices.
It commenced with_ Mr. Thompson of Milton, _who during the summer past
has been very industrious in serving up and peddling little doses of
slander against_ Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Bunce, and others. _This man has been
a real political_ scold, _ever since he found himself capable of
throwing a little confusion into the ranks of the county; He is the
first_ male Xantippe _who has reduced the doctrine of scolding to a
system, and certified it in a_ book. _Of such characters there is
little hopes:_

"_Destroy his_ web and sophistry _in vain_,
_The creature's at his_ dirty work _again_."

[5] _Altho' no man more sincerely rejoices in the charitable donations
of the people of Saratoga, for the relief of our brethren at_ Sacket's
Harbor, _than the writer of these remarks, yet he cannot avoid joining
in the general disgust at the vanity of Judge Child, in trying to
elicit public applause for himself. The judge cannot bear to hide his
charming light under a bushel. Instead of not suffering one hand to
know what the other is doing, he is not content with its being
published in a_ book, _but advertises his charity in a newspaper as a
man would one of his_ stray cattle. _From his liberal conduct to the
Editor of the Journal and others, he is perhaps excusable in calling
his charity about him as soon as possible, even if he offers a
considerable reward for it in the next advertisement which he puts into
his darling paper_.

[6] By a new species of logic adopted by the author of the Book, a man
is accounted _honorable_ and _virtuous_ by the square foot of carcase.
Ergo, "a little man" in stature, comprehends all that is _hypocritical_
and _wicked_. The _great man_, James Merrill, who is the subject of
this note, by the above rule is of course, the most _honorable_, best
informed and _religious_ man of the whole group, who embellish the fair
pages of that "book." It is proper that the public should know a little
of his _debut_ and _denoument_ as a political character.

His _first_ notorious feat was performed in his first and last
appearance as a member of assembly, where his colleague by a friendly
rap on the knuckle convinced him that he was _endeavoring_ to read off
a _federal_ vote for a council of appointment, which a federal member
had assured him was more _legible_ than the one _prepared_ for him.

The _second_ time as a quid of the _Burr_ stamp, and willing to spend
500 dollars rather than the republican candidate should succeed.

The _third_ time in a _new_ character; with his name blazoned in large
capitals in recommendation of S. Van Rensselaer for governor, in
opposition to Daniel D. Tompkins in 1813.

The fourth time in 1815, as the _sub_ agent and director of the McBain
meeting; still ready with 100 dollars, to divide the ticket with the
federalists rather than the regular nomination should succeed and Mr.
Young not be elected; swearing he had not _before taken hold since his
friend Burr went down_.

On the _first_ day of election he is a flaming democrat.

On the _second_ day, at the opening of the polls, he makes public
proclamation "for all those who did not intend to vote for Mr Young to
come forward and state their reasons, _and they should be heard_; and
that _now_ he had no objections that _three federalists_ should be

On the third day of the election, "_it depended on a word, and the
types of the republican printer would be scattered_." A true sample of
"the mild spirit of Christian humility" Vid. _book_.

[7] _This circumstance would not have been mentioned had not the
_CITIZEN_ boasted of the same office confering great honor on one of
his disciples_.

[8] In treating of the productions of an author, it is customary to
give some account of his character, pursuits, &c. &c. This is usually
done by way of _introduction_ or _appendix_. I beg leave in this
instance to deviate from the regular method, and present him in the
more appropriate station of a _Nota Bene_.

The author of that pamphlet is a _lawyer_ in _practice_ and a
_moralist_ by _profession_; by the former, he has acquired great
_booty_; by the latter a - - and what is peculiar to himself (and all
'peculiar' men have their peculiarities) he never suffers his
_profession_ to interfere with his _practice_; and yet in _money
concerns_, he has been known to handle _both_, with great _adroitness_.
In his _practice_ his fellow townsmen are "pine plains men," in his
profession "a contemptible rabble;" and truly so, for the former tell
him "the farm you live on was once the soil of a revolutionary
soldier." This is truly saucey, for he acquired it by his _practice_.
The latter tell him, "you sued us for small sums due the estate of a
relative; you made us ten times more costs than the demands - you took
advantage of a then existing law, to oppress us; you feasted on our
misfortunes, and rioted on our distresses; till an _ugly_ law extended
relief to the '_rabble_'."

One of these men living in an adjoining town, tells him, "I once owned
two farms; I own no farms now - They are swallowed up in '_morality_.'"
It is not yet ascertained, whether his rate of 40 per cent interest, is
regulated by his _practice_ or his _profession_. It certainly cannot
be, as has been supposed, in proportion to the wants of the distressed.
I am inclined to think his _morality_ often runs ahead of his
_practice_, in this case.

A _good reputation_ is not common to all men. Our author has
practically demonstrated the truth of this position, and conclusively
shewn, that the _needy_ have an absolute right to filch a supply from
their neighbor; and has exhibited such powerful proofs in support of
_his_ claims, that he has actually obtained more than a _quantum
sufficit_, and conferred the surplus on some of his _needy_ friends.

The misfortunes of his neighbor, forms the chief round in his _ladder_
to eminence; it rests on the sanctuary of domestic afflictions, and is
supported by the tears of the widow and the orphan. Lo! Avarice claims
him for her own - Billingsgate yields her choicest flowers - Envy
entwines the glowing wreath - and malice triumphantly crowns him "lord
of the ascendant."

[9] _The certificates of these men interlard several points of
conversation as minute as the souls which gave operation to their
memory; and which appear to be designed to answer no other purpose,
than to shew the extraordinary strength and accuracy of intellect by
which they are characterized. Their fixed attention to such matters may
serve as some excuse for the manner in which they executed their
offices of U.S. assessors. But I have had occasion to note these
gentlemen once before_.

[10] _The Citizen is perhaps correct when he calls Mr. Palmer a_ little
man, _and Judges of his own_ favorites _by the quantity of_ matter
_instead of_ mind; - _Like the Italian Farmer in estimating the
qualities of a_ grave animal _no less famous for_ strength and dullness
_than for the_ length _of his_ ears.

[11] _It seems that an effort was afterwards made to convince their
friends, by publishing several hundreds of the famous communication
from Young's colleagues, notwithstanding an express stipulation to the

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Online LibraryAn ElectorA Review and Exposition, of the Falsehoods and Misrepresentations, of a Pamphlet Addressed to the Republicans of the County of Saratoga, Signed, A Citizen → online text (page 5 of 5)