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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces
An anonymous pamphlet

printed in Baltimore, Md.
on September 1, 1812.

The text is in the public domain.

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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.


At a meeting of the citizens of Prince George's county, held at Upper Marlborough, on the 13th of August — James Somerville, Esq. was called to the chair, and S. Addison, Esq. Secretary — The following preamble and resolutions were reported by a committee appointed for that purpose, and unanimously adopted: —

Whereas the bill of rights has declared, that the liberty of the press ought to be inviolably preserved, and deeming it essentially necessary for the security of freedom that it should be unawed by power and unassailable by licentiousness, we have viewed with abhorrence and indignation the attempts which have been made to destroy this sacred right. Our indignation has been greatly increased when we have seen that the civil authorities in this state, instead of interposing their power in protecting its citizens  p69  in the full and free enjoyment of this inestimable privilege, have been silent spectators of the most atrocious enormities that ever disgraced a civilized community. We have seen with emotions of horror not only the invasion and destruction of private property, but the lives of our fellow citizens sacrificed by an infuriated Mob, with all the merciless rage of the savage Indian, while they were nobly defending and supporting those rights, which were guaranteed to them by our constitution — And whereas this lawless force commenced their outrageous violations of the law on the 22d June last, and with impunity have repeated the most wanton acts of violence and bloodshed — believing as we sincerely do, that the liberty of the press is the palladium of all our civil, political and religious rights; that they must exist, or perish together — believing that a succession of such outrages will not only lead to the prostration of the press itself, but to the destruction of every thing held dear and valuable by freemen — Who do, therefore, in the spirit of that liberty, derived to us from the valour of our fathers,

Resolveº — "That all persons invested with the legislative or executive powers of government, are only the trustees of the people, and as such, accountable for their conduct," that therefore it is the right of the people at all times, either by liberty of speech or through the medium of the press, freely to examine into the measures of government, to lay open and expose to the public the conduct of their rulers, boldly to set forth and publish any delinquency or mis-management  p70  in their administration, that the people may see and judge whether the government committed to their charge has been wisely directed, and whether it has been conducted in such a manner and upon such principles as may best conduce to the interest, the happiness, and prosperity of their country.

Resolved — That if the liberty of the press be subverted, it is a matter of perfect indifference to us by whom. The consequences are precisely the same, whether it be by the wicked ambition or criminal relaxation of our rulers. The municipality of Baltimore have the power, and it is imperatively their duty to protect the citizens thereof, both in their persons and their property, against all lawless force and violence, and to secure to them the enjoyment of all their rights and privileges; consequently, their failure to curb the unbridled cruelty and savage outrages of the Mob, merits the severest execration and animadversion of all who duly estimate the peace and good order of society, and evinces a criminal acquiescence in a detestable usurpation of the authority of the laws.

Resolved — That from a deliberate and impartial examination of the report of the civil authority of Baltimore, we consider the conduct of the Mayor and Brigadier General as distinguished and characterized by perfidy and cowardice. — Perfidy, in not affording that protection they had promised to unarmed men, who had confided in their honor for the safety of their persons and security of their property —  p71  and cowardice, in being deterred by the menaces of the Mob from the execution of their duty.

Resolved — That the executive of this state are the constitutional guardians of the law, and conservators of the peace of Maryland, and it is their duty to take care that the former be faithfully enforced, and the latter inviolably maintained — when they fail to discharge the high trust confided to them, they will merit the severest censure of their constituents.

Resolved — That as a tribute of respect to the memory of the brave LINGAN, who died in defence of that liberty he fought to achieve, it be recommended to our citizens to wear crape on the left arm for the space of thirty days.

Resolved — That Francis M. Hall and Richard W. West, be authorised and requested to repair to Annapolis, and to lay a copy of these resolutions before his excellency the governor.

Resolved — That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the "Federal Republican," the "National intelligencer," and the "Maryland Gazette."

The End.

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Page updated: 25 Aug 04