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title:“Richard Peters to James Madison”
authors:Richard Peters
date written:1789-7-20

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Peters, Richard. "Letter to James Madison." Creating the Bill of Rights. Ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 264-66. Print.
Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress

Richard Peters to James Madison (July 20, 1789)

It is but within a Day or two that I recieved yours of the 14th. in which you very properly leave me as you found me on the Subject I rambled into. But I will revenge myself by sending you a Copy of an old Fable which I have in a curious Collection by me entitled "Aunciente connynge Balladdes." I am chained to my Chair by my old Tormentor the Piles & I maliciously wish not that all my Friends should be entirely at Ease. But I let you off gently by only obliging you to read some bad Verses which I know not that you are any wise concerned in save that had you lived in the Days of these Cooks your Easiness of Temper (for which I do not like you a Jot the worse) would have prompted you to indulge the Anti Soupites in some of their Whims of an innocent Nature especially if they had been some of your Neighbours. . . . . The Wise Cooks & Foolish Guests A Fable
Eleven Cooks assembled once To make a Treat of Soup All knowing—not a Dunce Among the skilful Group. The Soup was made—delicious! good! Exclaim'd each grateful Guest, But some who would not taste the Food, Declar'd it wanted Zest. Among those Malcontents were found Some faulting each Ingredient While others eager search'd around To find out some Expedient With which at once to damn the whole Not take it in Detail. They would not sup a single Bowl Lest more they dare not rail. At Length the Grumblers all fell out In Nothing could agree Not e'en while making of a Rout of what the Soup should be. They curse the Cooks & hungry rave For those of better Skill—
Another Mess some swear they'l have On which they'l freely swill. "Pray taste the Soup" requir'd the Cooks "We'll yield if we're outreason'd." —We know 'tis bad—"by what?"—its Looks 'Tis rich & highly season'd— We wish for Soup in th'Maigre Stile That's thin—to save Expences— (The Cooks exclaim & archly smile "Good Sirs you've lost your Senses!") We know you Cooks who've learnt your Trade Will think we talk like Asses— But we'll have Broth tha's cheaply made No Salt—not much Molasses. Instead of Dumplins we'll have Chips Instead of Gravy—Vapour—And e'er it goes between our Lips We'll fine it down with—Paper— And that all Palates we may please And on your Plan refine We'll add some scrap'd Rh: Island Cheese Warm'd up with Knotts of Pine. We'll tender this to all we meet And if their Tastes forsake 'em So that our Fare they will not eat By—with Force we'll make 'em— If we can't have our proper Broth We'll join & spoil your Mess. No Master Cook we'll have—In Troth We wish for Nothing less— We'll make a Bargain with ourselves That one sha'n't poison t'other We are such wise suspicious elves That none will trust his brother. We'll watch our Pot with sleepless Care, O'er all we'll keep a tight Hand, For Honesty we feel's so rare Our left will cheat our right Hand— "Our Comprehensions" cry the Cooks "With yours are not on Level. "To us your Mixture really looks "A Pottage for the Devil. "At us, good Sirs, then cease to rave "You're surely touch'd with Mania "We'll eat our Soup—do you go shave—"Lord help your Pericrania!" Moral To mend is truly always right But then the Way to do it Is not so facile to the Wight Who undertakes to shew it.

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