Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"On Liberty" (1793)


On Liberty.

CURST be the wretch that's bought and sold,

And barters liberty for gold!

For when elections are not free,

In vain we boast our liberty.

And he who sells his single right,

Would sell his country, if he might.

When liberty is put to sale,

For wine, for money, or for ale,

The sellers must be abject slaves,

The buyers vile, designing knaves.

This maxim, in the statesman's school,

Is always taught, "divide and rule"--

All parties are to him a joke;

While zealots foam, he fits the yoke:

When men their reason once resume,

He in his turn begins to fume,

Hence, learn, Columbians, to unite:

Leave off the old, exploded bite.

Henceforth let feuds and discords cease,

And turn all party rage to peace.

American Spy [Lansingburgh, NY]. March 22, 1793

Though about the buying of individual votes en masse, it might as well be about today's billionaires, left and right, buying elections left and right.

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