The following is an advertisement which was posted throughout New Brunswick, New Jersey during the summer of 1776. The purpose of the advertisement was to scare Mister Lagrange into either supporting the patriot cause or to leave town. The letter is rendered in its original form. Please read the following and answer the questions which follow.
To Mr. Bernardus Lagrange,
Permit me your fellow citizen to spend a few moments in conversation with you the reason of my causing to discourse with you in the black and white is because you are a person of so hasty, and violent a temper that is impossible for anyone coolly to reason with you which I know by frequent experience. In the first place I shall relate a few certain facts. To begin you are looked upon by all the virtuous inhabitants of this city to be a most inveterate enemy to your country, as such you justly deserve to be despised by every good man, you are esteemed as a man but of very little sense and a disturber of the Community as such you deserve punishment. Let us once take a view of your conduct from the beginning of our struggles for liberty when a corrupted and venal ministry together with a deluded King made a member of acts tending to enslave the inhabitants of North America...They have stopped our harbors, marched a hostile force into our country, destroyed a number of our most valuable towns, declared the whole continent in a state of rebellion; plundered our property, distressed our seamen, confined some of the Americans in dungeons, bound others in chains, and for what? Because they nobly stepped forth in defense of that liberty which God himself granted them at their citation, they have gone so far to have foreign Troops to destroy us...you have B. Lagrange from the beginning of the present contest for Liberty and do still by the whole of your conduct heartily agree with the destructive measures pursued against us. Have we not the sufficient reason to pronounce you are an enemy of your country, and to brand you with the odious name of traitor?...You have proceeded so far in your imprudence as to damn the whole Congress in whom centers the united wisdom of America. I dare say...when you call to mind your effigy which was not long since carted through the streets of this City amist the acclamation of your injured Countrymen ever since that unhappy Day which strained your character with eternal infamy...you are late becoming an avowed enemy of the Liberty and true virtue. I really just pity you when I behold the storm that is gathering over you head, big with desctruction, and threatened every moment to burst upon you, for when your enraged citizens rise against you, the consequences will be dreadful...Set down Mr. Lagrange and seriously reflect upon the character of a true friend to Liberty and then compare your own character to it, that is the character of an enemy to the country, to benevelence and true virtue, and considering what an odious light you must appear to your countrymen, to all mankind, nay to God himself. But to conclude if neither reason, justice or humanity are able to change your sentiments, and daily practice, assured there is a fatal day approachong which will bring ruin to your devoted head.
Letter from the Bernardus Lagrange folder, Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives.
Please answer the following questions.
- What kind of man is Mr. Lagrange according to the above? What are reasons to doubt the authenticity of the description? What kind of man do you feel Mr. Mechanic is?
- What Acts is Mr. Mechanic referring to when describing the wrongs the King has done to the inhabitants of the 13 colonies?
- Do you feel this is a proper way to voice an opinion? Do you feel the threatening of violence is necessary in this situation?
- How do you feel the author, Mechanic, of this advertisement defines the word liberty? How do you think Lagrange defines Liberty? How do you?
- If you were Lagrange, do you think you would you want to leave? If not, what would be enough to make you leave?
- What do you think Lagrange will do? Why?
To find out what Lagrange did, please click on Letter from Brother (1788).