LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 19: James Perry

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
‣ Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
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The pleasures of others lessen our pain,
And memory multiplies all again;
Nature is kind!
Shall we be blind,
When even her dreams are not woven in vain?

In the preceding volumes were some statements respecting the celebrated Peter Pindar, which were impugned and drew forth an answer from me; since writing which I have re-ascertained that Dr. Wolcott did directly, through a friend, offer his pen to support the measures of Government, with the tacit understanding that it should not be without its reward. Instead of service, he did nothing, and then demanded a remuneration for his silence and discontinuing his attacks on the King. As far as the most honourable witness ought to be credited, this is the truth; and all the rest is leather and prunella. The fact must now rest, pro or con, on this assurance of W. J.

In another part of Volume II. I noticed how little of political hostilities remained, after the fierce and violent newspaper conflicts of an agitated era, to embitter the enjoyments of social intercourse; and I instanced the friendly relations which were so long cultivated between Mr. Perry and myself after the war of party politics was over, and we
met on the pleasant field of literature, to which, as well as to the Fine Arts, he was cordially attached. As a sort of lesson or example to political writers, now raging in the brunt of fiercest fights, I have much satisfaction in appending the following letter; and I have only to express my wish that in the provinces, where such enmities are too often perpetuated, as well as in London, where they are rarely so intense and never so lasting, it might be learned that great difference of opinion did not necessarily lead to a life of anger and hatred.

“Strand, Feb. 2.

Mr. Perry presents compliments to the Editor of the ‘Literary Gazette,’ and thanks him for his obliging note. He believes that his collection of the numbers of the ‘Literary Gazette’ is complete, as, from the value he set upon the work, he was careful to preserve them as they came out. He rejoices in this opportunity of expressing his warm approbation of the manner in which it is conducted, and he is persuaded that its acceptance by the public must be satisfactory to the able Editor.”

In recalling such matters from the obscurity of a preceding generation, I think it may be acceptable to my readers of the present time, to have set before them an effusion of Mr. Crabbe, so strikingly personal to the poet, and descriptive of strong personal feelings, that it can hardly fail to excite much interest. It was written on the night of the 15th of April, 17**, immediately before the perusal of a Letter then received.

Through many a year the Merchant views
With steady eye his distant gains,
Right on, his object he pursues,
And what he seeks, in Time obtains.
So he some distant prospect sees
Who gazes on a Patron’s smile,
And if he finds it hard to please,
That pleasant view his cares beguile.
Not such my fate—what years disclose
And piecemeal on such minds bestow;
The lively joys, the grievous woes!
Shall this tremendous instant show;
Concenter’d hopes and fears I feel;
As on the verge of fate I stand;
In sight of fortune’s rapid wheel,
And with the ticket in my hand.
No intermediate good can rise,
And feeble compensation make;
’Tis one dread blank or one rich prize,
And life’s grand hope is now at stake;
Where all is lost or all is won,
That can distress, that can delight—
Oh! how will rise to-morrow’s Sun
On him who draws his Fate to-night?

The philosophising in suspense and in the agony of fear, before his hand could break the seal, appears to me finely and peculiarly characteristic of the poet.

I am not aware that my most estimable friend, Mr. Freeling, overwhelmed with the business of the Post Office, ever committed much poetry, though he was a diligent general collector, and also as a Roxburghe-ian of works on witchcraft and demonology, and I can only preserve one of his compositions, “On the Duke of Gloucester’s Visit to Plymouth, and his descent in a Diving Machine.”
Why should we Royal Gloucester’s tour unfold?
What levées, routs, what mayors and maces?
It may, with truth, in one short line be told—
He Plymouth saw, and divers places.

His Royal Highness was not always so tenderly treated, but, on the contrary, was made the butt of many witticisms
by many witlings. Thus one describes his visit to inspect Bedlam, where one of the patients recognised him and cried out, “
Silly Billy,” upon which his Royal Highness observed, “Surely that man is not mad!” On another occasion he was represented as observing upon the remarkable fact, that it was no matter which road out of London he travelled, he was sure to meet ten times as many carriages as he found going the same way with himself!

To revert to Mr. Freeling (for I can hardly touch upon any circumstance in my life, for years, without finding some relic of him which gave me great pleasure at the time), the following is an interesting literary trait.

On the 7th of December, 1819, he writes:—“I never doubted that Scott was the author of ‘Waverley,’ and his allusion to me in the preface to ‘Ivanhoe’ confirms it. We corresponded a good deal together. I wrote him two letters within the last three months, and I put some points so adroitly that he could not elude my grasp if he answered them at all. He has never replied, and I think his silence is as confirmatory to my mind as if he had written. [I had just then come to my agreement with Messrs. Longman about the “Gazette:” and he adds] I have found the Longmans fair and liberal people, and I trust you will find them so too.”

Two years later my imputed taste in the Fine Arts, prompted him to give Etty the commission for the “Cleopatra sailing down the Nile,” the artist’s first great hit in the London world. When exhibited, Mr. Freeling wrote after the private day, “It has made a great sensation among the artists and the cognoscenti. Unfortunately it wants drapery! Look also at Jones’s picture of the “Inn at Waterloo,” painted for me, and much praised by Lord Mulgrave, Mr. Phipps, &c. It is in the first room to the left
as you go in, and in a bad light. View that also critically, and give me your short opinion, at your leisure, on both.

“Yours ever, &c.” *

Notwithstanding my grand fracas with Dr. Kitchiner, when amity was restored, I believe we were better friends than ever, for I was really sorry that his self-love had been so wounded, through me, and seemed to owe him some amends; whilst he, perhaps, loved, or at least courted me the more, from a sort of fear of my [i.e. his friend Haslam’s] satirical talent at reviewing. But, however this might be, I was a frequent guest at his curious dinner-parties, and, generally speaking, their style, and the fun in which the guests always indulged, were exceedingly amusing. The Doctor boasted alike of his sauces, which were excellent; his medicaments, which might be useful upon occasion; and his cheap dishes, which were sometimes the reverse of appetising. A tureen of soup for eight at the cost of eightpence was no real recommendation, though, to say the truth, the stuff was palatable enough, and would have passed muster if the price had not been boasted of. Then the wines were queer, the Doctor maintaining an opinion that the new was superior to the old, and consequently we had to resort to various arts in order to get some of the latter out of the cellar, when we were resolved to break through our Amphytrion’s written, ay, and painted law: for it was true that a board was suspended as you entered the Hall, on which, among other rules, was set down “Come at seven, go at eleven,” which was waggishly improved by the insertion of the monosyllabic “it” after “go”—so that it read “Go it at eleven.” The only way to manage this, however, was to get the Doctor to the pianoforte and ply him with requests for

* See page 301.

certain of his compositions, ideas, variations, and illustrations—at which he would sit for hours, till every accessible drop of liquid, wines, spirits, liqueurs, &c., was consumed, and the wrapt musician was only then released by his merry company from his ill-appreciated labours. He was a man of considerable acquirements, and a great oddity, which made him very entertaining. He was, besides, good-natured, and a Socialist in the best sense of the term; ever promoting convivial enjoyments of a friendly and kindly nature. I have three notes before me, all within a few months’ date, which I will insert, and then explain, as amusing specimens of the Doctor’s busy life, and the incidents of those days.

No. 1.
“43, Warren-street, Dec. 13th, 1823.
My Dear Sir,

“You have been unanimously elected a Member of the London Literary Club, and I am desired to request the pleasure of your company at their next dinner at Albion House, Aldersgate Street, on Monday the 22nd inst., at five o’clock precisely.

“Yours very sincerely,
No. 2.
“Saturday, Noon.
My Dear Sir,

“‘Everything is for the best,’ is a comforting maxim which I sometimes try to think a true one—it has been so in the accident to the Eyehead,* for I think the new one is an alteration greatly for the better.

“I have seen Braham, who assures me he will do his

* Some improvement in spectacles to repair an accident. The Doctor was very ingenious in the science of the optician.

utmost to join us on Fryday [sic in orig.] next—and I know you will forget what is passed, and meet the Melodist in perfect harmony. I have also asked Harley and Tom Cooke, so we shall have a great treat, and you, the General, a capital corps to command.

“Yours, my dear Sir,
“Very sincerely,

“The Letter B— wrote you was meant as a perfectly good-humoured bit of irony.”

No. 3.
“43, Warren-street, Wednesday Eve.
My Dear Sir,

“I hope that you are disengaged on Tuesday next, and that you will favour me with your company at five precisely, at Albion House, Aldersgate Street. My friend Mr. Kay and myself give on that day a little pic-nic dinner, which we hope will be a bonne-bouche of the best goût.

“Yours very sincerely,

The note No. 1 referred to a club which enjoyed some three years of a jolly existence, generally assembling from twenty to forty, and consisting of authors, publishers, stationers, printers, and others connected with literary matters. It was an invariable rule for the chairman of the day to look out for visitors, who should contribute to the pleasure of the meeting over which he presided; and the most popular singers and comic actors of the times contributed all their powers to give éclat to these entertainments. I never saw Munden, on or off the stage, in such rich and glorious humour as in
singing and acting ballads there—he was a perfect artist; and
Mathews, and Yates, and Taylor, and all of voice and vis comica, used to minister to the delightful “fooling” of these jocund festivities. But, alas, there came a horrid handwriting to be inscribed on the wall; and the panic crisis of 1825-1826 struck no class more severely than that connexion which was flourishing as the Literary Club. Two or three absentees at a time were missing from their mess—their plates were empty, and so were their seats. Aldermen sent turtles no more; wealthy publishers forgot whence haunches came; stationers and printers, instead of baskets from their hot-houses, got a poor dessert in hot water; and as for the authors, they had to relinquish their feasting, and find themselves rather worse accommodated than they were before. I know I had my share of loss and disappointment, but I will not anticipate. It is a wise maxim never to meet troubles half way!

The note No. 2 relates to the founding of the Melodist Club, as previously mentioned. I do not remember who or what had given me offence; but I never cherished a resentment, and, of course, I attended. This was the beginning of the Society, which is now one of the most popular in the musical world.

The note No. 3 conducted to an entertainment at the Albion Tavern, at which Mr. Kay, then the landlord, professed to show of what the house was capable from kitchen and cellar; and certainly such a repast could not be excelled by royalty itself. The party was about twenty, Mr. Kay presiding; and it is fixed on my mind by one of those untoward contre-temps which so often mar “the best laid schemes of mice and men.” Sir John Franklin and Dr. Richardson were present, and, in commenting jocularly on some of the compounded viands, Charles Mathews
unluckily observed, that they were at any rate much better than a raw Indian—a thoughtless remark, considering the account of the “
Journey up the Coppermine River” just published, and one which had the instantaneous effect of sending Dr. Richardson from the table. The bare recollection of a melancholy event, and great privations and sufferings, was too much for the contrast with the feast in hand; and our regrets were so unavailing, that I daresay we were glad enough to drown them in some superb Sillery.

Poor Kitchiner: it so happened that I saw the last of him at a soirée at Braham’s. He sat later at supper than usual, being much amused by the tricks and talk of a favourite parrot or cockatoo of Mrs. Braham’s. He took leave at one o’clock, and was dead in seven hours after.

In the vein of anecdote, and reminded of tavern fêtes, with their toasts and songs and music, I may mention a few of the many amusing “àpropos” instances in the appellation of the latter, with which I have met. At a City dinner, so political that “the Three Consuls” of France were drunk, the toast-master, quite unacquainted with Buonaparte, Cambaçeres, and Lebrun, halloaed out from behind the chair, “Gentlemen, fill bumpers! The Chairman gives, ‘The Three per cent. Consols!’” On another occasion, at the Freemasons’, for a charity on behalf of negro children, where the little black cupids were paraded, the President drank “King Christophe of Hayti,” which his Voice in waiting mistook, and proclaimed the glass “To the memory of King Henry the Eighth!” With regard to appropriate tunes, take the following amusing instances.

A wealthy farmer, whom I knew at Brompton, was induced to embark in a parochial contest at considerable expense, and in acknowledgment was fêted with a public
dinner at Kensington. On his health being drunk with all the honours, the singer on the rota sang “The Wealthy Fool with Gold in Store” amid great applause. Miss S—, a pretty young lass, won the prize at an archery meeting, and, on being invested, the brass band struck up “See the Conquering Hero comes.” It was at the Guildhall dinner to the
Emperor Alexander and his brother monarchs, that, on toasting his health, the orchestra played “Green grow the Rushes!” and at the Glasgow Reform Dinner to Brougham, Denman, and others, the wily Scotch pipers glorified them with “The Mucking o’ Geordie’s Byre!”

The last of these Scottish facetiæ does not inaptly send back this chapter of recollections to the witty family of Erskine. The following epigram by Lord Erskine, on presenting the Prince Regent with Buonaparte’s spurs, will, just now, be read with new interest.
These spurs Napoleon left behind,
Flying swifter than the wind.—
Useless to him, if buckled on,—
Needing no spur but Wellington!
How is’t the French in all they do
Have goût, white we’re without!
Nature, who gives them simply goût,
Has changed our goût to gout.

His lordship’s next, on a speech of Pascoe Grenfell, met with a fair repartee.
Pascoe attempts at eloquence to reach,
And makes a blunder which he calls a speech.

Mr. Grenfell’s reply—
Erskine, at least, is guiltless of my blunder,
For ev’ry speech he makes, he calls a wonder.


His lordship got another hit on going to a masquerade in the character of an old gipsy, with a child on her back:—

That Erskine a Teller of Fortunes should act,
His friends all deny, as a matter of fact;
But surely the thing’s not so very uncommon,
For a Chancery Lord to become an Old Woman!

The next is neater. I got it in the same company, but I am not sure if it be quite new. It is an

Be ye steadfast and immoveable.”
Not what the Preacher says but does,
Ought chiefly to be noted;
Be ye immoveable, he says—
But off he goes promoted.
The Preacher’s comment from his Text
Appears a variation,
The original is not perplext,
The fault’s in his Translation.

In going over the uniform portions of my life, I find a pleasure in reviewing the brighter hours, and even the glittering sparkles of minutes, which contributed to cheer and enliven the passing dullness; and if the reader is not too fastidious to go along with me for a page or two, I must cry peccavi, or, as a late eminent publisher pronounced it, pessavi! It was the same (and I am not sure if I have not mentioned it before), who admired the cantharides (caryatides) that supported the vestry-room of the Marylebone Church, in the New Road, and had only to say nolo Episcoperry to an author in order to have his work printed [Imprimatur.]


When Thomas Sheridan was in a nervous, debilitated condition, and dining with his father at Peter Moore’s, the servant, in passing by the fire-place, knocked down the plate-warmer, and made such a clatter as caused the invalid to start and tremble. Moore, provoked by the accident, rebuked the man, and added, “I suppose you have broken all the plates?” “No, sir,” said the servant, “not one!” “Not one,” exclaimed Sheridan, “then, d——n it, you have made all this noise for nothing!”

Sheridan’s historical gossip was certainly often spontaneous, and not premeditated, as was alleged against his rarer wit. Upon some legacy to Sir Matthew Wood, he said it reminded him of Sir John Germaine, who was so utterly ignorant, that he bequeathed a considerable sum to Sir Matthew Decker, as the author of Saint Matthew’s Gospel!

To the oft-told jest of his son’s answer when advised to take a wife, he tacked an anecdote (I rather think from Horace Walpole), of a more simple Mr. Naylor, the son of Bishop Naylor, who, when his father married his second wife, inquired—“Father, they say you are going to be married to-day; are you?”—“Well,” replied the Bishop, “and what is that to you?”—“Nay, nothing,” was the rejoinder; “only, if you had told me, I would have powdered my hair!”

But I have got, at this moment, a remembrance which induces me to break off here with my budget of small wares. A friend of old times was an usher at a school in Southampton, when that town was made a free port, and the schoolmaster sported an epigram on the subject, which concluded
Now our Port is made free, let’s make free with our Port,
to which lively effusion his usher wrote the following answer:—
I hail the Re-port, not Red Port, I must own;
For since I’ve been here, it so seldom has shown [or shone],
And the jolly red Bacchus so seldom we sport,
I thought we were long ago free of All Port.

Of such calibre as this were my friend’s epigrams—some better, some worse—and he wrote one thousand of them, which he sold to a publisher for 30l. or 50l. But wherever they are, they are in manuscript still, for the purchaser took fright at the expense of printing and publishing, and the chagrined epigrammatist had no remedy but to sit down and write the best epigram he ever wrote (so he said) on the diaphragmless beast.

The consideration suggested by this fact cuts my light, sportive humour short; and I will close it with a similar publication anecdote, the force of which cannot be misunderstood. In like manner Mr. Mawman bought a copyright from Mr. Montagu (of Sandwich memory), but after weighing and calculating the matter, would not risk the printing and other expenses. On stating this resolution, the angry author (as any other burked in such a way would do) “blew up” the bookseller for depriving him of immortal fame by putting his light under a bushel. To this Mr. M. gravely replied, “You may print it yourself, and take all the profits, returning me my money (out of them); but I do not print it, because I think it will not pay.” They quarrelled, however, so bitterly on the point, that the difference was never made up.

And now, therefore, to leave the lighter for the graver illustrations of my subject, I will select for this chapter one of a number of particulars of another celebrated contem-
porary (though nearly fifty years my senior), of whom, as of
Porson, I have some interesting memorials. I allude to Horne Tooke, of whose boy-age, Conversation Sharpe, especially mentioned in reference to the division on Canning’s Lisbon Mission (vol. ii.), related the following characteristic anecdote:—

“When Horne was about fourteen or fifteen years old, at Eton, in construing a passage in a Latin author, the Master asked him why some ordinary construction, the rule of which was very familiar, obtained in the passage. The pupil replied he did not know, on which the Master, provoked by his ignorance or perverseness, caused him to he flogged, a punishment which he received with perfect sang froid and without a murmur. The Master then put the question to the next boy in the class, who readily gave the answer, whatever it was, as laid down among the common rules in the Eton Grammar. The Master said, ‘Take him down—a blockhead,’ on which Horne burst into tears, which the Master observing as something not readily intelligible, exclaimed, ‘Why, what is the meaning of this?’ Horne replied, ‘I knew the Rule as well as he did; but you asked me the Reason, which I did not know.’ ‘My boy, I am afraid I have done you some wrong. I will make the best reparation I can,’ and, taking down a Virgil from his bookcase, he subscribed it as a presentation copy with his own name, and presented it to Tooke, at the same time taking him back to the class and restoring him to the place he had apparently lost.”

This anecdote Sharpe received from the mouth of Horne Tooke himself, who showed the Virgil when he told the story. The boy was father to the man. The youthful logical precision of Eton, quite worthy of the author of the “Diversions of Purley.”


I have elsewhere given one of my yet regretted comrade, William Pollock’s, amusing tales, and I will take leave not to dismiss this volume without (as well as I can) repeating another of a more affecting nature, and which to hear him tell would beguile even the careless and callous of their tears. In his clerkship he was travelling to Winchester Assizes, and made acquaintance with two young men, officers in the army, who were going to surrender and take their trial on a charge arising out of a duel in which they had been seconds. One of the Principals was killed, and the survivor, a Captain Sooper, was also to be tried. It was understood at that time (a year or two before 1817, when William died,) that the attention of the Judges had been called to the frequency of duelling, and the Government were determined to make an example, in order to put a stop to this prevailing evil. The seconds surrendered. Captain Sooper was already in custody. The grand jury threw out the bill against the seconds altogether, and did not put them on their trial even for manslaughter; but they found a true bill against Sooper for murder. At the trial the case was fully proved, that is, that Sooper and his antagonist met in the field of honour (so called), and the result was the death of Sooper’s opponent. Justice Dampier presided, and laid down the law with more than usual firmness and severity. Sooper listened to his charge with great interest and anxiety. He was a married man with a family of children; he had watched the earlier proceedings with some indifference; he knew the grand jury had thrown out the bill against the seconds, and in his own case he expected the common result, either a verdict of acquittal or, at most, of manslaughter, followed by a short imprisonment. But the tone of the Judge’s summing up roused him from his dream; he fully understood the import of every word that fell from
the bench, and he listened with increasing alarm. Sometimes there was even a slight movement in his face, as of spasm: but in all other respects he maintained his perfect composure. At length the jury were dismissed to consider their verdict, and were absent about half-an-hour—a delay which led to the hope of a favourable result. Their names were called over—there was the deepest silence—every one in the Court was interested, and the verdict was waited for with breathless expectation. It was pronounced, “Guilty of Murder,” and the moment Sooper heard it, he fell down as if shot with a mortal wound, and amid the profoundest silence of the audience, uttered one loud, long groan. It occupied several minutes to restore the prisoner; but in a short time he was sufficiently recovered to receive the sentence of the Court, and was called upon in the usual form to say “Why Sentence of Death should not be passed upon him according to Law?”

He began by apologising for the interruption he had given to the business of the Court, which he said he hoped would not be imputed to the fear of death, which he had faced unmoved in the field of battle, and the more fatal climate of the West Indies. But he had a wife and children to whom he had trusted to bequeath his only fortune—the unstained character of a soldier and a man of honour; but now he was to die the death of a felon, and to leave to his children the infamy of a murderer. He then adverted to the circumstances of the duel (which had come out in part during the trial)—that his adversary was the aggressor, and had publicly offered him an insult which he dared not overlook—that he had been willing to accept any apology, but could get none—that he had no alternative but to send a challenge or lose his commission—that it was well known (he averred) to every one acquainted with the army, that if
he had not sent a challenge to vindicate his honour, and the honour of the service, the next post would have brought an intimation from the Horse Guards that the King had no further occasion for his services; and he pointed out strongly the strange contrast between the practice of the Army, not only authorised and encouraged, but expected and exacted by the highest powers, and the stern sentence of the law with reference to the same transaction. He spoke of the deceased with affection and regret, and declared that nothing but a sense of what he owed to his profession would have led him to send the challenge; and he bitterly lamented that a false idea of honour had precluded a friend whom he esteemed from yielding the apology which would have prevented the result he now deplored!

This is but a faint outline of Captain Sooper’s address, and ever so feelingly repeated, nothing equal in effect to the manner in which my dear informant described it, as delivered with a firm voice and in a manly style of speaking to an audience, which was moved beyond all example. Scarcely a dry eye was seen, and in many parts of the crowded court loud sobs proclaimed the deep sympathy excited. The Judge was taken quite by surprise; he was an able and a good man, and full of the kindest feelings. He listened attentively, and was obviously much interested. Soon he stooped forward, and, leaning on his elbows, rested his chin upon one hand clenched; presently, he added the other, clenching both hands, apparently to control his emotions. At length, tears started from his eyes and rolled down his fine manly face; he raised his head, unclenched his hands, and covered his face, still leaning on his elbows, and thus awaited the end of Captain Sooper’s appeal. At the conclusion, he omitted all comment on the offence, and made no remark of any sort, but simply said, “The
sentence of the Law is that you, &c.” But whilst the Judge was moved, and his face covered with his hands, as I have stated, during Captain Sooper’s address, when the prisoner, after alluding to the necessity of his position and his sorrow, said, “And for this, I am to he led to execution like the vilest felon and murderer,”
Dampier, overpowered by the appeal, said to himself, but loud enough to be overheard by the High Sheriff, who sat close by, “I’ll be damned if you shall!”

Yet I believe he had some difficulty in procuring a remission of the sentence; but it was understood, at that time, that no capital punishment was ever inflicted against the opinion of the presiding Judge. Dampier was firm, and Sooper was ultimately pardoned!

I cannot resist the temptation to add one short note more from Mr. Freeling, in proof of the estimation in which some tolerably good judges held me and my literary labours, and as an Apology (if needed) for writing these Memoirs. To be so long intimately associated with, and prized by the leading Spirits of the Age, I confess it, seem to me to justify the self-approbation which screwed my courage to the sticking place:—

“General Post-office, Sunday.
My Dear Sir,

“You are as a giant in criticism as you are in kindness. I do not hesitate to send back the MS. that I may fully avail myself of your disposition to oblige me, and be thus additionally your debtor.

“Believe me, ever yours,