The Halton Demonstration
The Daily Leader – Toronto, 13 March 1854
We publish this morning a report of the proceedings of the Georgetown demonstration in favor of Mr. White, the representative of Wentworth and Halton. If the provocation were less, the frequent reference to Mr. Brown would be in the worst possible taste; and it would have been improper to gratify the love of infamous notoriety which he does so much deserve. But when an assassin strikes a blow, the arm of the assailed is instinctively raised to parry it. And that man is a moral assassin who wickedly seeks to ruin the reputation of another by the utterance of the foulest libels. It is useless to say that by recognizing the necessity of replying, you give the libelous assailant a degree of attention which he does not deserve. The mosquito is a very contemptible insect; but its bite is greatly painful; and it may be necessary to defend yourself against such enemies as this. As to the value of the notoriety conferred on such characters as the Browns, we wish them luck of their bargain. There is an infamous as well as a virtuous notoriety. A Fieschi, a Manning, a Courveisier, a Burke and a Hare have each and all enjoyed to the full the distinction of the former description of notoriety. But how many envied them that distinction? He who finds it necessary to play the part of a moral assassin to obtain notoriety does but follow in the footsteps of these objects of infamous distinction. The libeler by profession is an assassin at heart; and wants but the animal courage to exchange the pen for the dagger.
The most encouraging feature of the Georgetown demonstration is the evidence of unanimity among reformers which it developed. The effect of such demonstrations is good. They bring together persons more or less estranged: and creates opportunities for mutual understandings which would otherwise be wanting. The explanations which they … clear up doubts and impart new confidence. All this was abundantly apparent at the Georgetown demonstration; and the effects cannot fail to be advantageous to the liberal cause.