01/02/2018 · CATO'S LETTERS OR Essays on Liberty, ..

“You tell me, that Cicero wonders why, in any of my letters, I have never discovered to him my sentiments concerning his management and administration at Rome; I therefore discover those sentiments to you, since you are so earnestto know them.

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Cato's Letters were essays by British writers John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, ..

That the same is inseparable from publick Liberty; Cato's Letter ..

Thomas Gordon was the joint author with John Trenchard of these 4 volumes. Almost a generation before Washington, Henry, and Jefferson were even born, two Englishmen, concealing their identities with the honored ancient name of Cato, wrote newspaper articles condemning tyranny and advancing principles of liberty that immensely influenced American colonists. The Englishmen were John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon. Their prototype was Cato the Younger (95-46 B.C.), the implacable foe of Julius Caesar and a champion of liberty and republican principles. Their 144 essays were published from 1720 to 1723, originally in the , later in the . Subsequently collected as , these “Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious” became, as Clinton Rossiter has remarked, “the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period.” This new two-volume edition offers minimally modernized versions of the letters from the four-volume sixth edition printed in London in 1755.

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You have constantly urged me to collect and publish the more highly finished of the letters that I may have written. I have made such a collection, but without preserving the order in which they were composed, as I was not writing a historical narrative. So I have taken them as they happened to come to hand. I can only hope that you will not have cause to regret the advice you gave, and that I shall not repent having followed it; for I shall set to work to recover such letters as have up to now been tossed on one side, and I shall not keep back any that I may write in the future. Farewell.

The Letters were collected and printed as Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious.
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John Trenchard & Thomas Gordon: Cato's Letters




~LXXIX+ ON THE REWARDS OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY I have been awaiting a letter from you,that you might inform me what new matter was revealed to you during yourtrip round Sicily,/a and especially that you might give me further informationregarding Charybdis itself./b I know very well that Scylla is a rock -and indeed a rock not dreaded by mariners; but with regard to CharybdisI should like to have a full description, in order to see whether it agreeswith the accounts in mythology; and, if you have by chance investigatedit (for it is indeed worthy of your investigation), please enlighten meconcerning the following: Is it lashed into a whirlpool by a windfrom only one direction, or do all storms alike serve to disturb its depths?

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Our plan was first to prove the guilt of Classicus himself; then it was a natural transition to his intimates and tools, because the latter could never be condemned unless Classicus were guilty. Consequently, we took two of them and closely connected them with Classicus, Baebius Probus and Fabius Hispanus, both men of some influence, while Hispanus possesses a strong gift of eloquence. To prove the guilt of Classicus was an easy and simple task that did not take us long. He had left in his own handwriting a document showing what profits he had made out of each transaction and case, and he had even despatched a letter couched in a boasting and impudent strain to one of his mistresses containing the words, "Hurrah! hurrah! I am coming back to you with my hands free; for I have already sold the interests of the Baetici to the tune of four million sesterces." But we had to sweat to get a conviction against Hispanus and Probus. Before I dealt with the charges against them, I thought it necessary to establish the legal point that the execution of an unjust sentence is an indictable offence, for if I had not done this it would have been useless for me to prove that they had been the henchmen of Classicus. Moreover, their line of defence was not a denial. They pleaded that they could not help themselves and therefore were to be pardoned, arguing that they were mere provincials and were frightened into doing anything that a proconsul bade them do. Claudius Restitutus, who replied to me, a practised and watchful speaker who is equal to any emergency however suddenly sprung up upon him, is now going about saying that he never was so dumbfounded and thrown off his balance as when he discovered that the ground on which he placed full reliance for his defence had been cut from under him and stolen away from him.

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For certain gentlemen to find fault with Cato's letters, is to avow their own shame. Why was there occasion given for those letters? Some other questions might be asked too, which would discover fresh blackness in these betrayers, were they not already all over black. Who is it that might have checked, and yet did not check, rampant rogues last summer? And from what motives proceeded such omission? Who is it that openly screens open guilt? Who is it that conceals the evidence of guilt? Who is it that brow- beats the pursuers of guilt? Who is it that throws obstacles in the Parliament's way? Who is it that lengthens out the process? Who is it that strives to defeat the enquiry?Who is it that makes malcontents, and then reproaches them for being so?