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penalties, and their application of one and the same word to the lowest private scandal and the highest impulses of public spirit, have rendered honest men not ashamed of it. It is remarkable, that the same Whig Judge (Lord Ellenborough) who had directed the Jury to find us innocent on a prior occasion, when we were indicted for saying that of all Monarchs since the Revolution, the successor of George the Third (then reigning) would have the finest opportunity of becoming nobly popular, had now the task of giving them a very different intimation, because we thought that the Regent had not acted up to his opportunities. I was provoked to write the libel by the interest I took in the disappointments of the Irish nation, which had very particular claims on the promises of his Royal Highness; but what, perhaps, embittered it most in the palate of that illustrious Personage, was its contradiction of an awkward panegyric which had just appeared on him from the
person in the Morning Post,' calling him, at his time of life, a charmer of all hearts and an Adonis of loveliness. At another time, I should hava
laughed at this in a rhyme or two, and remained free; the courts of law having a judicious instinct against the reading of merry rhymes; ; but the two things coming together, and the Irish venting their spleen pretty stoutly over their wine at the dinner on St. Patrick's Day, (indeed they could not well be more explicit, for they groaned and hissed when his name was mentioned,) I wrote an attack equally grave and vehement, and such as every body said would be prosecuted. Little did I foresee, that, in the course of a few years, this same people, the Irish, would burst into an enthusiasm of joy and confidence, merely because the illustrious Personage paid them a visit! I will not say they were rightly served, in finding that nothing came of it, for I do not think so; especially as we are not bound to take the inhabitants of a metropolis as representatives of the wretched millions in other parts of the country, who have since been in worse state than before. But this I may be allowed to say, that if ever I regretted having gone to prison in their behalf, it was then and then only.
“ Between the verdict and the passing of sentence, a circumstance occurred, not of so singular a nature, perhaps, as it may seem. We were given to understand, through the medium of a third person, but in a manner emphatically serious and potential, that if we would abstain in future from commenting upon the actions of the royal Personage, means would be found to prevent our going to prison. The same offer was afterwards repeated, as far as the payment of a fine was concerned, upon our going thither. I need not add, that we declined both. We do not mean to affirm, that these offers came directly or indirectly from the quarter in which they might be supposed to originate; but we know the immediate quarter from which they did come; and this we may affirm, that of all the two hundred and fifty particular friends, who dined on one occasion at Carlton House, and delighted the public with that amazing record of attachment, his Royal Highness had not one more zealous or liberal in his behalf.
“ The expectation of a prison was in one respect very formidable to me; for I had been
a long time in a bad state of health; and when notice was given that we were to be brought up for judgment, I had just been advised by the physician to take exercise every day on horseback, and
down to the sea-side. I was resolved, however, to do no disgrace either to the courage which I really possessed, or to an example which I can better speak of in any other place than this. I accordingly put my countenance in its best trim; I made a point of wearing my best apparel ; put on my new hat and gloves, and descended into the legal arena to be sentenced gallantly. As an instance of the imagination which I am accustomed to mingle with every thing, I was at that time reading a little work, to which Milton is indebted, the Comus of Erycius Puteanus; and this, which is a satire on · Bacchuses and their revellers,' I pleased myself with having in my pocket. It is necessary, on passing sentence for a libel, to read over again the words that composed it. This was the business of Lord Ellenborough, who baffled the attentive audience in a very ingenious manner by affecting every instant to hear a noise,
and calling upon the Officers of the Court to prevent it. Mr. Garrow, the Attorney-General, (who had succeeded Sir Vicary Gibbs at a very cruel moment, for the indictment had been brought by that irritable person, and was
the first against us which took effect,) behaved to us with a politeness that was considered extraordinary. Not so Mr. Justice Grose, who delivered the sentence. To be didactic and old womanish belonged to his office; but to lecture us on pandering to the public appetite for scandal, was what we could not so easily bear. My brother, as I had been the writer, expected me, perhaps, to be the spokesman; and speak I certainly should have done, had not I been prevented by the dread of a hesitation in my speech, to which I had been subject when a boy, and the fear of which (perhaps idly, for I hesitate least among strangers, and very rarely at all) has been the main cause, I believe, that I have appeared and acted in public less than any other public man. There is reason to think, that Lord Ellenborough was still less easy
than ourselves. He knew that we were acquaint