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Sad spirits, summond from the tomb,
the conspiracy, wrote a pamphlet in vindication of Canning, called a clear state of the case; he was conclusively refuted by Dr. Hill, in a tract entitled the story of Elizabeth Canning Considered.
The public were inflamed to an incredible pitch of folly and injustice on the occasion; they not only raised subscriptions for the artful girl's defence, but insulted the Lord Mayor, and threatened the lives of the witnesses called in support of the poor old gypsy woman.
The conspiracy and alibi were however incontrovertibly proved, Moll Squires's innocence clearly established, and no doubt entertained that the girl never was at the house of Mrs. Wills, much less confined and starved there, as was alleged, the whole story being a tissue of falsehood, which Virtue Hall had been suborned or intimidated partially to confirm, but who on being strictly interrogated apart by the Lord Mayor, acknowledged the fabrication, and which was confirmed by Bet Canning's contradictory statements. She, however, was a heroine and a martyr in the estimation of the mob, and was selebrated as such in several popular street ballads.
Unless escorted by his clerk.
But let not every bungler deem
and saucer eyes ;
SOME passages, in the preceding book, bearing no distant allusion to Lord Talbot's duel with Mr. Wilkes, we think the humorous account of it given by the latter, in a letter to Lord Temple, may not be displeasing to the reader.
In No. 12 of the North Briton, for the 21st of August, 1762, the Lord Steward's sumptuary regulations, respecting the royal kitchen, were placed in a ludicrous point of view, and the author of them ironically praised. His lordship naturally displeased with this species of panegyric, applied to Mr. Wilkes by letter to know if he was the author of that paper. Mr. Wilkes replied by questioning his lordship's right to catechise him, and concluded by declining giving any farther
a chailenge ensued, and the parties, with their seconds, met at Bagshot, from whence the following epistle was written:
MY LORD, Red Lion at Bagshot, Tuesday, 10 at night. I HAD the honour of transmitting to your lordship copies of seven letters, which passed between Lord Talbot and me. As the affair is now over, I enclose an original letter of Colonel Berkeley, with a copy of mine previous to it, which fixed the particulars of our meeting, and therefore remained a secret, very sacredly kept by the four persons concerned.
I came here at three this afternoon, and about five I was told that Lord Talbot and Colonel Berkeley were in the house. Lord Talbot had been here at one, and was gone again, leaving a message however that he would soon return. I had continued in the room where I was at my first coming, for fear of raising any suspicion. I sent a compliment to Colonel Berkeley, and that I wished to see him. He was so obliging as to come to me directly. I told him that I supposed we were to sup together with Lord Talbot, whom I was ready to attend, as became a private gentleman, and that he and Mr. Harris, as our seconds, would settle the business of the next
orning, ac to my letter to him from Winchester, and bis answer. Berkeley said that his lordship desired to finish the business immediately; I replied, that the appointment was to sup together that evening, and to fight in the morning; that in consequence of such an arrangement, I had, like an idle man of pleasure, put off some business of real importance, which I meant to settle before I went to bed. I added, that I was come from Medmenham Abbey, where the jovial Monks of St. Francis had kept me up till four in the morning, that the world would therefore conclude I was drunk, and form no favourable opinion of his lordship from a duel at such a time; that it more became us both to take a cool hour of the next morning, as early a one as was agreeable to Lord Talbot. Berkeley said, that he had undertaken to bring us together, and as we were now both at Bagshot, he would leave us to settle our own business. He then asked me, if I would go with him to Lord Talbot.
I said I would any moment he pleased. We went directly, with my adjutant, Mr. Harris.
I found Lord Talbot in an agony of passion. He said, that I had injured, that I had insulted him, that he was not used to be injured, or insulted: what did I mean? Did I, or did I not, write the North Briton of August the 21st, which affronted his honour? He would know; he insisted on a direct answer: here were his pistols. I replied, that he would soon use them; that I desired to know by what right his lordship catechised me about a paper, which did not bear my name; that I should never resolve him that question, till he made out the right of putting it; and that if I could have entertained any other idea, I was too well bred to have given his Lordship and Colonel Berkeley the trouble of coming to Bagshot. I observed, that I was a private English gentleman, perfectly free and independent, which I held to be a character of the highest dignity; that I obeyed with pleasure a gracious sovereign, but would never submit to the arbitrary dictates of a fellow-subject, a lord steward of his household, my superior indeed in rank fortune, and abilities, but my equal only in honour, courage and liberty. Lord Talbot then asked me, if I would fight him that evening. I said, that I preferred the next morning, as it had been settled before, and gave my reasons.
His lord ship replied, that he insisted on finishing the affair ins
mediately. I told him, that I should very soon be ready that I did not mean to quit him, but would absolutely first settle some important business relative to the education of an only daughter, whom I tenderly loved; that it would take up a very little time, and I would immediately after decide the affair in any way he chose, for I had brought both sword and pistols. I rung the bell for pen, ink, and paper, desiring his lordship to conceal his pistols, that they might not be seen by the waiter. He soon after became half frantic, and made use of a thousand indecent expressions, that I should be hanged, damned, &c. I said, that I was not to be frighted, nor in the least affected, by such violence; that God had given me a firmness and spirit, equal to his lordship's, or any man's; that cool courage should always mark me, and that it would be seen how well bottomed I was.
After the waiter had brought pen, ink, and paper, I pro posed that the door of the room might be locked, and not opened till our business was decided. Lord Talbot on this proposition became quite outrageous, declared that this was mere butchery, and that I was a wretch, who sought his life. I reminded him, that I came there on a point of honour, to give his lordship satisfaction; that I mentioned the circumstance of locking the door only to prevent all possibility of interruption, and that I would in every circumstance be governed, not by the turbulence of the most violent temper I had ever seen, but by the calm determinations of our two seconds, to whom I implicitly submitted. Lord Talbot then
if I would deny the paper. I answered that I neither would own nor deny it: if I survived, I would afterwards declare, not before. Soon after he grew a little cooler, and in a soothing tone of voice, said, I have never, I believe, offended Mr. Wilkes, why has he attacked me? he must be sorry to see me unhappy. I asked upon what grounds his lordship imputed the paper to me; that Mr. Wilkes would justify any paper to which he had put his name, and would equally assert the privilege of not giving any answer whatever about a paper to which he had not; that this was my undoubted right, which I was ready to seal with my blood. He then said he admired me exceedingly, really loved me, but I