Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"A New Catechism" (1789)


More studied than an OLDER and BETTER one.

WHAT is the chief end of man?

To gather up riches---to cheat all he can,

To flatter the rich---the poor to despise,

To pamper the fool--to humble the wise,

The rich to assist--to do all in his power,

To kick the unfortunate still a peg lower;

To cry up fair freedom--to defend it with vigor,

Have slaves without number--and use them with rigor,

To deal fair with all men, where riches attend them;

To grind down the poor, where there's none to defend them,

To seduce the fair virgin to accept his embrace,

To cast on her then all the shame and disgrace;

To be angel without, and divil within,

To pretend to all virtue, and practice all sin,

This is most men's chief and, or their actions belie them,

And if you don't believe it, you may e‘en go and try them.

The Federal Herald. July 1789.

On August 10, 1789, though not specifically related to the above, the paper reprinted an extract from one of George Washington's letters that included the following:

These works of charity & goodwill towards men reflect, in my estimation, great lustre upon the Authors and presage an æra of still farther improvements. How pitiful, in the eye of reason & religion, is that false ambition which desolates the world with fire & sword for the purposes of conquest & fame; when compared to the milder virtues of making our neighbours and our fellow men as happy as their frail conditions & perishable natures will permit them to be!

“From George Washington to John Lathrop, 22 June 1788,” Founders Online, National Archives ( http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/04-06-02-0310, ver. 2013-12-27). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series, vol. 6, 1 January 1788 – 23 September 1788, ed. W. W. Abbot. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997, pp. 348–349.

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