« PreviousContinue »
that he should as studiously avoid inflicting it on any other person, and vice versa, with regard to pleasure; because, a virtuous mind will create and feel pleasure by bestowing it on others. This I take to have been the Epicurean philosophy, as laid down by Epicurus; and this is the philosophy I mean to practice through life, out of which there can be no real virtue or morality.
I see no other point that deserves notice in your friend's letter; but should he send you another string of questions, and you wish to have them published, with an answer, you may command my attention.
I am, Sir, with great esteem,
TO THE PUBLIC.
I have now a very disagreeable task to perform, and had I not been publicly called upon for explanation, I should certainly have paid no attention to rumour so little deserving of credit; as it is not to be expected that every man who calls himself a reformer, should be perfect, and free from the common foibles of men in society. As I have no apology to make for myself on this occasion; but being anxious to obtain and retain, both for myself and family, the good opinion of all good men, I lay before the public the particulars of an unfounded complaint rumoured about against Mrs. Carlile, and an explanation of the matter. I have to observe, that I have received both the complaint and the explanation at the same time, on the 14th inst. The person who writes the explanation is the shopman; and as he did not expect that I should insert his own account, but make a note from it, some little allowance is craved for the tone, as I have judged it best to let each speak for himself; and I would advise the person who called with the subscription, to go again to Fleet-street, and see whether he has not mistaken my sister for Mrs. Carlile. I have this confidence in Mrs. Carlile, that I am certain she would have gladly taken a subscription for Wedderburn, if it had been but a shilling, as she has been in Dorchester Gaol since his confinement, and is quite alive to its severity and his solitary situation.
With respect to myself, I am as much debarred from communication with Wedderburn, as I am with any person in London, and more so; for I doubt whether 1 could pass a private communication to him. On his first entering the prison, I enquired of the turnkey about his situation. (for I never see the keeper but on particular business, and I never exchange a word with him but on that business) I was told that Wedderburn was anxious to learn to write during his confinement, and that he expressed this wish immediately on entering his cell. I bid the turnkey tell him that I should be most happy to assist him with books, paper, or money, if he wanted, but I had no answer to this. I have frequently enquired whether he has any books to read, but I can only get answered, that he has books; and I understand that the Magistrates, or Keeper, have ordered that no kind of communication whatever shall pass between him and me. I have mentioned the refusal to my sending him a plate of fruit; and even in this last week, I had ordered a few bushels of coals from Weymouth, and was informed that Wedderburn had ordered a bushel at the same time, when, on my offering to pay for the whole, the turnkey was afraid to take my money for Wedderburn's bushel of coals. The Magistrates and Keeper of this Prison are a set of strange animals, and are the most despotic, and at the same time, the most servile tools, that I have ever met with.
Dorchester Gaol, Oct. 16, 1820.
TO MRS. CARLILE.
Oct. 3d. 1820.
MADAM,-Having no personal acquaintance with you, or any of your family, it may be thought that I should have apologised for the liberty I am taking with you on the present occasion: but when I consider that I am not personally concerned in the affair to which I am about to direct your attention, and that you in fact are, it being an affair of no small importance to you, inasmuch as it is likely to operate, if, indeed, it has not already operated, to your injury, lessening you in the esteem of the reformers, which it must do wherever it is believed, as it reproaches your humanity. I therefore take it for granted that all apologies are entirely unnecessary, seeing that my only motive is to set you right in the eyes of all good reformers; and I doubt not, you will readily believe that I am actuated by a love of truth, and an honest zeal for the good cause in which your husband
has so ably and intrepidly distinguished himself. I confidently hope that Mr. Carlile will, for the satisfaction of all your real friends, give a full explanation of the affair to which I allude, as early as possible.
A report, calculated to do you much injury, has for some time been in circulation, and has obtained considerable belief among the Reformers, that a certain person took a pound note to Mrs. CarJile, and requested that she would get it conveyed to her husband, for Mr. Wedderburn, which she refused to do. The story was told me by the person himself, (which however, I do not believe) in the following words, as nearly as my memory serves me:-"I went," said he, "to Mrs. Carlile, and told her I had brought a pound, being part of a subscription raised for the relief of sufferers in the cause of reform; she smiled, and took down a book for me to enter it in. But when I added it is for Mr. Wedderburn, and you are requested to enclose it in your next communication, and desire your husband to give it to that gentleman, she with an air of disdain suddenly shut the book, and returned it to the shelf, saying, we receive no subscriptions for Mr. Wedderburn, indeed!' I then asked her if she could inform me where subscriptions were received for him? Somewhere in the Strand, she believed."
Written at the request of several friends of reform, by
EXPLANATION TO MR. CARLILE.
As you perhaps will deem an explanation of this circumstance necessary to be inserted in the Republican, I will state it exactly as it occurred. In the first place, Mrs. Carlile was up stairs, did not see the man, and was totally unacquainted with the circumstance, until told by Miss Carlile, your sister. When the man came into the shop, I was behind the folding, or packing counter, and your sister on the serving side he addressed a few words to her, which I was not paying attention to, until Miss Carlile said:" A subscription, George," and then they both came round to me. I naturally enough, took down our own Subscription Book, when Miss Carlile observed, "It's for Wedderburn," on which, I (without the least idea of giving of fence) suggested the propriety of its being taken to Mr. Davison, the publisher of Wedderburn's works, which I imagined was the regular channel through which he had received his subscriptions, &c. and as we had never received, or been offered one at that time for Wedderburn, I thought it might be considered, by his more immediate friends, officiousness on our part to send any thing to him, without its first going through their hands, therefore thought he had better take it to them, but was about to add, "if he preferred sending it by our parcel, we most certainly should have no objection to enclose it,"
but before I could finish speaking to him, he darted out of the shop, apparently highly incensed at what I had said, which, as I before observed, was merely a suggestion, and by no means a refusal.
This is the whole of the affair, exactly as it occurred, so that in your note, you can entirely clear Mrs. C. of it, who was not present; and if you consider that there was a fault on my part, I can assure you, the error was in my head, and not in my heart, therefore, I hope you will have the goodness to apologize for me to that effect. I should be astonished at the gross falsehoods in the letter, was I not satisfied that it originated with a fiery and inconsiderate character. How shamefully any one may be abused by such fabrications! To state, "that Mrs. C. smiled, and took down a book, and returned it to the shelf with an air of disdain, saying, that she did not receive subscriptions for Wedderburn, indeed, and that they were received in the Strand, somewhere,'" is really so gross, as to excite one rather to treat it with the contempt it deserves, than to take the trouble of say. ing a word in explanation. Please to observe that your sister did not do, or say any thing of the kind, so that she could not have been taken for Mrs. C. The whole is a scandalous falsehood, and quite undeserving of notice.
Your humble servant,
ANSWERS OF OF THE QUEEN TO VARIOUS ADDRESSES.
WARD OF PORTSOKEN.
The omission of my name in the Liturgy, had certainly the sanction of the dignified Clergy, but what is called " worldly wisdom" was never wanting among the members of that pious corporation.
The present condition of the country is certainly one that may well alarm the serious and perplex the wise. Those who can read the future in the present cannot but contemplate with awfulness the prognostics of some impending change that are every where visible. If the nation has been brought to the edge of a precipice, to whom is the guilt to be imputed but to the temerity of my adversaries? I am not the offending party I am not the injurer, but the injured; not the assailant, but the assailed. I have demanded my rights; all my rights, but nothing but my rights. This I claim, but I am not ambitious of more; and I claim this for the public good more than for my own. If the people are powerfully excited, that excitement is most honourable to them, but it is most ignominious to my enemies. In the people it is the hatred of oppression, but how great is the responsibility of my enemies, who have caused that hatred to be so universally felt? They have kindled the flame. They have filled the country from one end to the other with the materials of discontent. They have called forth the tempest; but will they be able to moderate its rage, and to direct the storm ?
Where knowledge is confined to a few, servitude will be the lot of the many. Knowledge is power, and the few that are enlightened will readily domineer over the many that are besotted in ignorance, or overrun with superstition. But where knowledge is not contracted within a narrow circle, but, like the light of Heaven, is diffused among all, the power that is exercised must be exercised for the common good, or it will be speedily despised and ultimately overturned. The possessors of the power may retard the required change; but, when the sentiment of its usefulness is sufficiently diffused, it will be spontaneously produced.
THE LETTER-PRESS PRINTERS OF LONDON.
I am highly gratified by this loyal and affectionate Address from the Letter-press Printers of London and its environs.
It is public opinion which has supported me in the otherwise unequal conflict with numerous adversaries, who not only possess unbounded resources, but who have never scrupled any means by which their vengeance could be gratified. This public opinion is the concentrated force of many enlightened minds, operating through the medium of the press. Hence the public sentiment has been directed, and the public feeling been excited, till the people have risen up like one man in vindication of my rights. The conviction, with few exceptions, has become universal, that I am the victim of a foul conspiracy; and that I have for years been persecuted by the most flagrant injustice and inhumanity,
There is a part of the press which has been busily employed in fabricating the most atrocious slanders against myself, and all who have manifested any zeal or ability in my defence. Base natures cannot eudure natures of a higher order. They loath the moral and intellectual superiority that they can never reach. Hence calumny is the tax that worthlessness is perpetually levying upon worth, It is the Bill of Pains and Penalties that envy and malevolence are ever busily labouring to pass, in order to degrade virtue and talents to their own contemptible inferiority. But when I cousider that my adversaries are invested with all the patronage of the country, and, possess such extensive means of intimidation and corruption, I am not surprised that I should have been vilified by a few of their unprincipled mercenaries. My surprise is, that the greater part of the persons engaged in the conduct of the press should have remained incorrupt and incorruptible. It is a great honour to be honest in any times; but to be honest in bad times is a species of panegyric which no man need blush to have inscribed upon his tomb.
The press is, at this moment, the only strong hold that liberty has left. If we loose this, we lose all. We have no other rampart against an implacable foe,
The press is not only the best security against the inroads of despotism, but it is itself a power that is perpetually checking the progress of tyranny and diminishing the number of its adherents. That sun never rises which does not, before it sets, behold some addition to the friends of liberty. To what is this owing? To what can it be owing but to the agency of the press? The force of truth is ultimately irresistible. But truth, without some adventitious aid, moves with a slow pace; and sometimes its motion is so slow as to be imperceptible. The press is its accelerating power the press gives it wings-the press does more for truth in a day, thau mere oral teaching could in a century. What is it that has made the members of the Holy Alliance turn pale with dread? It is that the press has inspired the love of liberty even in the sword.