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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Hogan, Margaret A.; Reid, Jonathan M. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: New York (5)
23 (2009)

VII-B. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution, 25 July 1788-23 February 1789,   pp. 2426-2498


Page 2493

VII-B. GENERAL COMMENTARIES, 16 DEC. 1788-23 FEB. 1789
What, sir, has been alledged against Mr. Childs? The honorable gen-
tleman from Queens [Samuel Jones], has told us, that all printers will
deviate from the truth; and that their papers are replete with fals-
hoods.7-Whether this be the case or not, I cannot see how the charge
applies more to Mr. Childs than to Mr. Greenleaf, or any other printer.
Suppose it did, is not this itch for the fabulous, (which the gentleman
admits to be a common failing) a much more venial offence than the
one which Mr. Greenleaf stands charged. Is there no difference, sir,
between a printer's publishing in all of his papers information that may
be taken from other papers, or which may be commonly reported as
true, although he himself may entertain doubts of its authenticity, and
is clandestinely inserting, (if I may use the expression) in a frw of his
papers, a paragraph he knows to be false, and evidently calculated to
answer the most infamous purposes? In the one case no mischief can
be apprehended; the papers are in every one's hands; and the falshood,
if any, may easily be detected. In the other, the person whose private
views are to be answered, is put in possession of the few papers that are
published for him, and he will take care to shew them only to those who
are to be the dupes of his artifice. By this means a false credit will be
given to him, and many innocent men may be deeply involved before
they discover the snare that has been laid for them. Sir, nothing can
be a stronger proof of the enormity of Mr. Greenleaf's offence, than
the general indignation which it excited in the city of New-York8-Not
a man attempted to justify his conduct.-It was said that many of his
customers withdrew their subscriptions on that account, and I never
heard that his defence induced a single person to think more favorable
of him.
Another honorable gentleman, I mean the member from Columbia
[Matthew Adgate], by way of justifying Mr. Greenleaf, or to speak more
properly, in order to cast an odium on Mr. Childs, has brought forward
a charge of a more serious nature-It is that of partiality in printing
the debates of the late convention at Poughkeepsie. Was this accusation
supported, I should not hesitate to pronounce any man who could be
guilty of such an imposition on the public, to be an improper person
to be entrusted with the state business. But by what documents or evi-
dence is the charge supported?-Not by the gentleman's own knowl-
edge of the subject-for he declares he has never read the debates
alluded to-nor by the confession of the party, as in the case of Green-
leaf-but by an anonimous publication contained in a newspaper, and
evidently calculated to answer some party designs. Sir, I have too good
an opinion of the understanding of the gentleman who raised this ob-
jection, to believe that this kind of proof has made any impression on
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