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Farewell Editorial

by Isaac Mitchell

Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Political Barometer
Vol. V, No. 14, (whole No. 222), September 7, 1806, p. 2

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[Placed on-line December 2002]

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: This text has been transcribed, as accurately as possible, from its original publication on page 2 of the September 7, 1806 issue of the Poughkeepsie weekly newspaper Political Barometer, which up until then had been owned and edited by the author Isaac Mitchell. Apparent typographical errors, and some non-standard spellings, have been identified by "[sic]" placed after them. Where letters, or necessary punctuation, appear to be missing, they have been inserted between [square brackets].
          We include it both as of biographic/journalistic significance, and as a sample of Mitchell's non-literary style.
                    Hugh MacDougall, Secretary, James Fenimore Cooper Society.

POLITICAL BAROMETER.

"PUBLISHED EVERY TUESDAY MORNING BY THOMAS NELSON & SON, FIVE DOORS SOUTH OF THE COURTHOUSE"

NO 14, VOL V.}               POUGHKEEPSIE, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1806               {NUMB. 222.


TO THE PEOPLE OF DUTCHESS COUNTY.

THE readers of the Barometer will perceive by the title page, that this paper has changed owners since its last publication.

With emotion more readily experienced than described, the late Editor comes now before the public to announce this alteration, and to present his valedictory address.

However sudden this arrangement may appear, yet in reality it is not so. It is the result of deliberations the most mature, of consequences the most important and indispensible [sic].

That the political affairs in this state still call for energetic, unremitted, and increasing exertion, need scarcely be repeated. The time speedily approaches when the grand point in controversy is to be decided, whether correct or factious principles are to prevail; whether a flood of insatiable and boundless ambition is to bear down all before it, or a system of truth, order and regularity to be established.

When I engaged in the present controversy it was with a determination not to retire from the field until this important decision should be made. Personalities and prosecutions have proved, and will still prove, insufficient to shake my resolution on this subject.

As it respects existing politics, the middle district is correct and firm. It has so manifested itself at the late election, and it is out of the power of the opposition to make therein a different impression. But there are other parts of the state where information is restricted, or publicly disseminated only through channels sinister and corrupt. To correct this evil is the object of the present arrangement.

In relinquishing, therefore, the Barometer, I do not relinquish the cause. I only change my position to another part of the field of battle, where I conceive my services are more immediately demanded. As a political soldier, while I remain in the ranks, I am willing to take my stand in that part of the line where I may be most useful.

One remark is here proper. The opposition, to cover their own duplicit transactions, have charged us with being hirelings and turncoats. Cheetham has plainly insinuated that I have been bribed by the governor; and he has positively asserted that the governor is the owner of my press. Mr. Holt has declared that I have been hired to turn my coat, which neither of them believed when they made the respective assertions, both of which are libellous, and merit prosecution, to which, however averse I may have been, I know not but that I may now, in this respect, alter my mind. This, however, is introduced merely to state, that it is not the expectation of emolument that has induced me to change my residence; I do not, indeed calculate that it will advance my pecuniary interest. It is on a thorough conviction of the necessity of counteracting the base misrepresentations of the enemies to peace and good government, by carrying the antidote to the place where the poison is spread.

And though the Barometer has exchanged owners, it has not changed its politics. Mr. Nelson, the Seinor [sic] proprietor, has long been known as a firm, decided and influential supporter of the unchangeable principles of Republicanism; his son, the junior Editor, has been, for some time past, foreman in the office; his principles are the same. They will pursue the same Editorial course that I have pursued; they are attached to our general and state administrations for the same reasons that they are attached to the laws and constitution of their country. By them will the cause of truth and justice be zealously defended.

I will not, I cannot, therefore, doubt for a moment, that the friends of order and good government will continue to rally round the press, and give it the same support they have heretofore given it; that they will not cease to patronize and liberally to bestow upon it those favors which are its life and soul, and without which it must fall, and with it, perhaps, our liberties and our independence.

I will here make one remark on the liberty of the press, which has been the subject of so much disquisition. I believe the press ought to be left free and unfettered, the responsibility resting upon its proprietor. Instances will happen in which redress for abuses cannot be obtained, owing to the insignificance or incompetency of its conductor. This however is one of those evils which attend all valuable institutions, and from which good must inevitably arise. It is now reduced to a demonstration that the more licentious presses a party employs, the more they permit them to abuse and traduce personal character, so much the more will that party accelerate its own destruction.

Considering this, probably, the last address I shall make to my late patrons and political friends in this county, might I not be permitted, without the insinuation of egotism, to say a few words concerning myself?

I will not boast, but I will state a few facts. When I took upon myself the responsibility of this paper, its avails but little exceeded its expenditures, its circulation was limited. Its subscription list, its advertising custom, and its circulation are now equal, I believe I may say superior to that of any weekly paper in this state, if not in the United States. I have not the presumption to attribute this solely to my own exertion. It is also owing to the energies and influence of my political friends, to whom I am under the greatest obligations. But I have imposed no exactions on my party. I have not threatened them with desertion in case they did not immediately grant me official patronage, I have not whined them into donations, I have not even requested, or received from them a loan. I have depended on my own exertions for the bread of my family. Yet my political opponents have charged me with being a hireling, with being bought, with being bribed--I disdained to reply to them.

During the time of my Editorship, political controversy has not ceased. One hostile party, or section of a party, has risen upon the ruins of another, which has kept the state in perpetual commotion. As the Baromoter [sic] took its stand on correct grounds, it has never changed its position, consequently it has ever been in the majority.

Citizens of Dutchess, I leave you with regret and with gratitude. You have acted, you will still act worthy of yourselves. You have shewn to the faction, that your independence and your integrity are superior to their artifices and their intrigues. You, with the electors of the other counties in your senatorial district, have manifested to the world the inflexibile [sic] firmness of your principles, and the importance of a union of action in so considerable a section of this great and respectable state.

But much yet remains to be done. Your enemies will be alive to the contest. They will exert every nerve, they are artful, intriguing, subtle and insidious. Your energy, your activity, your watchfulness, and your perseverence [sic], must be eminently exerted to oppose them.-You will do your duty. You will pursue the career you have so gloriously commenced, You will seal by your suffrages, when the decisive trial arrives, the sacred charter of those principles you have so nobly and so vigorously advocated, and on which your future peace, happiness and political security rest.

To the patrons of the Barometer I tender my most grateful thanks for all their various attentions to its welfare, confident that they will extend the same liberality to my successors, they have extended to me.

To those gentlemen who, enabled by their local situation, have on all necessary occasions, assisted me by their advice, aided me by their counsel, and formed an impenetrable barrier around my press, my warmest gratitude is due. May they find their reward in the triumph of their principles.

In leaving a place where a residence of more than eight years has endeared a variety of objects, I know not that I leave, I hope, I trust, I do not leave a personal enemy. And I believe that my candid political adversaries will do me the justice to say, that I have opposed them on honorable grounds, only.

With these sentiments and remarks, the late editor of the Barometer bids the people of Dutchess an affectionate adieu.

I. MITCHELL

Poughkeepsie, August 27th, 1806.

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