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was an unaccountable animal—such parts! but would I kill nim, who had never offended me, &c., &c.
We had, after this, a good deal of conversation about the Buckinghamshire militia, and the day his Iship came to see us on Wycombe Heath, before I was colonel. He soon after flamed out agair and said to me, you are a murderer ; you want to kill me, but I am sure that I shall kill you; I know I shall, by God. If you will fight, if you kill me, I hope you will be hanged. I know you will. Berkeley and Harris were shocked. I asked, if I was first to be killed, and afterwards hanged; that I knew his lordship fought me with the king's pardon in his pocket, and I fought him with a halter about my neck; that I would fight him for all that, and if he fell, I should not tarry here a moment for the tender mercies of such a ministry, but would directly proceed to the next stage, where my valet de chambre waited for me, And from thence I would make the best of my way to France, for men of honour were sure of protection in that kingdom. He seemed much affected by this. He then told me, that I was an unbeliever, and wished to be killed. I could not help smiling at this, and observed that we did not meet at Bagshot to settle articles of faith, but points of honour; that indeed I had no fear of dying, but I enjoyed life as much as any man in it; that I was as little subject to be gloomy, or even peevish, as any Englislıman whatever; that I valued life, and the fair enjoyments of it so much, I would never quit it by my own consent, except on a call of honour.
I then wrote a letter to your lordship, respecting the education of Miss Wilkes, and gave you my poor thanks for the steady friendship with which you have so many years honoured me. Colonel Berkeley took the care of the letter, and I have since desired him to send it to Stowe; for the sentiments of the heart at such a moment are beyond all politics, and indeed every thing else, but such virtue as Lord Temple's.
When I had sealed my letter, I told Lord Talbot that I was entirely at his service, and I again desired that we might decide the affair in the room, because there could not be a possibility of interruption; but he was quite inexorable. He then asked me, how many times we should fire. I said that I left it to his choice; I had brought a flask of powder and a bag of bullets. Our seconds then charged the pistols, which my lord had brought. They were large horse pistols It was agreed that we should fire at the word of command, to be given by one of our seconds. They tossed up, and it fell to my adjutant to give the word. We then left the Inn, and walked to a garden at some distance from the house. It was near seven, and the moon shone very bright. We stood about eight yards distant, and agreed not to turn round before we fired, but to continue facing each other. Harris gave the word. Both our fires were in very exact time, but neither took effect. I walked up immediately to Lord Talbot, and told him that I now avowed the paper. His lordship paid me the highest encomiums on my courage, and said he would declare everywhere that I was the noblest fellow God had ever made. He then desired that we might now be good friends, and retire to the Inn to drink a bottle of claret together, which we did with great good humour and much laugh. Lord Talbot afterwards went to Windsor, Berkeley and Harris to Winchester, and I continue here till to-morrow morning, waiting the return of my valet de chambre, to whom I have sent a messenger. Berkeley told me, that he was grieved for Lord Talbot's passion, and admired my courage and coolness beyond his farthest idea: that was his expression.
I have a million of other particulars to relate, but I blush already at the length of this letter. Your lordship will soon see Colonel Berkeley, and I hope in a very few days to pay my devoirs at Stowe. I intend to be at Aylesbury quarter sessions by Thursday dinner.
My most respectful compliments always attend Lady Temple.
I am ever, my dear Lord, your lordship's very devoted and obedient humble servant,
JOHN WILKES. Directed to Earl Temple.
When the above letter was first published, which was in Almon's Political Register, Lord Talbot supposed that Lord Temple had furnished the editor of that work with a copy of it; and very abruptly charged Lord Temple with it as a fact in the House of Lords, not publicly but privately. The rude manner in which Lord Talbot spoke prevented Lord Temple giving any answer, upon which Lord Talbot declared that he expected immediate satisfaction. Lord Temple went out of the house and beckoned Lord Gower after him. Lord Talbot followed and brought Lord Pomfret. They were in the Princes Chamber, Lord Temple's sword was out, when Lord Montfort coming through stept into the house and informed it of what was going on, upon which the four Lords were instantly ordered into the house, and obliged to pledge their honours that the affair should go no farther. The fact was, Lord Temple had no concern in the publication of the letter, a copy of which had been furnished to the Editor by Wilkes himself.
438 “ Another Tofts must rabbits breed.” We should, with greater interest, if not satisfaction, record the gullible propensities of our forefathers in the articles of Toft, Canning, monstrous whales, mermaids, fortune-tellers, and bottle-conjurers, were it not our mortifying duty to admit, that notwithstanding our boasted intellectual advance, by the professed diffusion of useful knowledge,* and of a too ambitious system of education altogether unsuitable to the class for whom intended, the same appetite for the marvellous still exists, and has heen and is amply supplied by a succession of delusions, as ludicrous and more mischievous than those we have noticed. In proof of which we need only allude to the Princess Caraboo of Bristol, Miss M'Evoy of Liverpool, metallic tractors, hydropathy, homeopathy, mesmerism, and by way of climax Puseyism.
* As specimens of useful knowledge provided for the mil. lion, it is enough to give the names only of some of the sub. jects propounded for popular instruction. Pneumatics, hydrostatics, dynamics, plane and sphere trigonometry, the integral calculus, the doctrine of probabilities, and algebra in all its phases.
A SACRED standard rule we find,
This custom, through a bigot zeal
With ancient bards, an invocation
They talk'd not of Castalian springs,
And they believed that holy stream
The Pagan system, whether true
With settled faith and pious awe,