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A day or two after the foregoing letter was published in
the Intelligencer, the following belligerent editorial appeared
in the Government organ, the Washington Union, then edited
by the veteran and venerable Thomas Ritchie:

Jack Downing.—We enjoy wit, and have no objection to
waggery. We can excuse it, even when the joke is made at
our own expense. But then we have a right to ask if the wit
be `good,' and the waggery `genuine?'

“To this issue we are brought by a letter in Wednesday's
National Intelligencer, headed, `Another Letter from Major
Downing,' and signed ostensibly by `Major Jack Downing.'
The question with us is, is this the veritable Major Jack
Downing? or is it some inferior wag, some `counterfeit presentment,'
who assumes the mask and name of the true Jack
Downing, and passes off his spurious coin for the solid bullion
of that original wit and wag, Jack Downing? It is not
because its writer makes fun of us that we raise the question.
It is not because he jeers at our blunders, or our Republican
principles of yore, that we doubt his identity. To some blunders


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we cannot but plead guilty, though they have been excessively
magnified by the scribblers of the day, and though
they are generally, by some extraordinary cross purposes, more
the work of others than of our own. Of the firmness of our
opinions, indorsed, as they have been, by the principles of
Jefferson and the `resolutions' of Madison, we have no reason
to be ashamed. But if there was any very extraordinary
humor in the letters of this fictitious `Jack Downing'—if
there was any of the wit and naivete of the original Jack
Downing—the worthy C. A. D., of New York, the one who
universally passes as the author of the Downing Letters—we
should give him the credit he deserves. It is not because we
happen to be the subject of his last letter that we protest
against his pretensions; but because we happen to know that
the present Jack Downing, who has written three letters in a
mask for the National Intelligencer, is not the Simon Pure,
but a counterfeit presentment—in other words, something of
the literary `jackdaw in the peacock's plumes.' And we fear
that our friends of the National Intelligencer knew that they
were palming off this amusing trick upon their readers when
they hailed, with such cordial acclamation, the receipt of the
two first letters of `Jack Downing,' and when they introduced
the letter of Wednesday as `Another Letter from Jack Downing.'
We undertake to say positively that these letters in
the Intelligencer are something of humbugs; that they are
not written by the original Jack Downing, of New York;
that he has not employed that signature since the days of Old
Hickory; and that he would be the last man to satirize the
President or his administration. Therefore, we strip the mask
off from the counterfeit, and repeat the motto of the Intelligencer—
`Ridentem, dicere verum quid vetat?'

“We seize the same opportunity to say that we, too, may
have done unconscious injustice to Jack Downing himself


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when, mistaking one person for another of similar name, we
asked whether any of the blood of Jack Downing could flow
in the veins of the author of the letters of the `Genevese
Traveler,' in the London Times. The very question was calculated
to mislead our readers, as we find upon better information;
but we correct our blunder, at the hazard of provoking
the laughter even of this mock Jack Downing.”