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into this embarrassment, I felt myself bound in honour to defray, and have defrayed, all his expences; which amounted, far beyond my previous calculation, to no less a sum, exclusive of some small appendages, than £153. 4s. 8d. which is equal to the clear annual income of all I am worth." An act of generosity which, in similar circumstances, we may venture to affirm, is almost, if not entirely, without example.
The painful apprehensions of Mr. Wakefield's family, and of himself, on their account, during the year which elapsed between the arrest of Mr. Cuthell, and his own trial, with the various injuries they sustained, can be justly estimated only by those who endured them, or who witnessed them in the daily intercourses of an intimate acquaintance. thus describes them to his jury:
"Consider, gentlemen! how afflictive this prosecution has been already. More than twelve months have elapsed now, since these proceedings were begun. Ye will be sensible (for the habitual inhumanities of office have not hardened your hearts to stone) of the alarms which have agitated my family and
Intended" Address to the Judges," &c. p. 8.
friends, through so long a period; particularly females-mother, wife, and daughters-who view the black apparatus and grim practitioners of judicial authority with sentiments of horror disproportionate to the real terror of the objects, as presented to the less confused contemplation of manly souls. Consider also the enormous expences of these prosecutions, inconceivable to those unexercised in such odious rencounters, and of comparative insignificance to the wealthy, but most oppressive to men like me. One specimen of that uncostly justice, which I satirise in my pamphlet, was gloriously exemplified in my very information. Some court, or some office, of some denomination extorted sir guineas for a copy of the charge against me: so precious, so dearly purchaseable are the favours of this indulgent gentleman. In short, if I were in reality that mischievous person of the information, my penalties of mind, body, and estate, (which are not half exhausted even on a propitious issue of this trial,—a mere beginning of sorrows,) my penalties, I say, from a grievous interruption of my studies, to me an irreparable injury, the enormous expences of the law, and the distractions of my family and relatives; these penalties surely preponderate above the mistake, into which I may possibly
have fallen from a perversity of purpose or opinion." h
With regard to his feelings, merely on his own account, a sense of the integrity of his design, in the publication of his pamphlet, never failed to preserve his habitual cheerfulness. Nor were his friends deficient in their kind offices.
The trial of Mr. Cuthell had been fixed for July 6, at Westminster; it was then postponed on account of the non-attendance of a full special jury, and the refusal of the Attorney General to complete the number from the common jury; in the professional language, to "pray a tales." A few days afterwards the trial and conviction of Mr. Johnson took place, before the late Chief Justice Lord Kenyon,' at Guildhall.
Mr. Wakefield immediately printed "A
h" Defence," &c. pp. 66—71.
1 Upon this occasion his Lordship, a truly worthy successor of "Murray, long his country's pride," displayed his usual dignity and forbearance. The classical allusions with which he adorned his Charge to the Jury were, no doubt, designed to gratify Mr. Wakefield and many other literary characters, who happened to be among his audience.
"And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew
That one small head should carry all he knew."
Letter to Sir John Scott, his Majesty's Attorney General, on the Subject of a late Trial in Guildhall."
Besides an introductory address, conveyed in no very courtly terms, this pamphlet, as might be expected, abounds with expressions of disgust at the harsh language so lavishly bestowed upon the " Reply," and the intentions of its author. For it appeared throughout these proceedings that Sir John Scott was desirous that no one should consider this prosecution as imposed upon him among the unpleasant duties of his official situation. the trial of Mr. Johnson, especially, unless we strangely misunderstood his language, he declared, that had he not been permitted to proceed against such a publication he would have resigned his office of Attorney General, "Credat Judæus."
In his usual manner, Mr. Wakefield introduced into this pamphlet some remarks on questions of moral and political economy, the importance of which will remain, when the circumstances by which they were occasioned shall have lost their interest, and when
"Such as Kenyon is shall Eldon be.”
His arguments for a most extensive free
dom of the press, we have already quoted.* Another subject near to his heart, the low condition of the poor, with the means of their improvement, he also took this opportunity to discuss.1
At length, after a tedious suspense, the trial of Mr. Cuthell came on in the Court of King's Bench, at Westminster, Feb. 21, 1799; and immediately on his conviction the trial of Mr. Wakefield succeeded, before a jury who had been suffered to remain in court through the whole morning, and therefore could scarcely be expected to listen to his case with unwearied attention, or unprejudiced minds. Of this he justly complains.
"Indeed the whole legal proceedings on this occasion appear to my judgment exceedingly reprehensible; especially the adjudication of the two causes, the publisher's and mine, upon the same day; so that my jury were previously in court, and came to a decision on my defence with the invectives of the Judge and the Attorney-General against me, and my pamphlet, still sounding in their ears. How men, virtuous, benevolent, and of amiable manners in private life, such as the Attorney
* See "Letter to Sir John Scott," &c. pp. 8, &c.