Wednesday, 13 February 2013

13th February 1813: 'A Diligent Enquirer' responds to 'An Attentive Hearer' yet again


SIR,—“An Attentive Hearer” shines more as an ingenious quibbler, than as a faithful Narrator. His declaration, that the Editor of the Mercury has pronounced a Diligent Enquirer a publisher of falsehoods, is as far from the truth as his unblushing assertion—that Mellor, the malefactor, in his last address, talked about dying Game! and as erroneous as the declaration, that he used the expression “us poor murderers.” The truth is, that I wished to give as candid a constitution to the publication made by “An Attentive Hearer,” as possible, and therefore hazarded a supposition that he had mistaken “his murderers” for “us poor murderers;” but, so far from publishing a falsehood on the subject, I merely stated this as a matter of conjecture.

By why should I dwell upon a point already established beyond the possibility of reasonable doubt, though not beyond the reach of quibbling pertinacity; and why insist on a subject, on which there is but one opinion, and that opinion is, that “An Attentive Hearer, either from intention or error, or partly from both, has put into the mouth of a dying man, words that he never used.

What could be his motive for so committing himself, in the first instance, it is not easy to imagine; but it is probable, that after having told the story publicly, he thought it more magnanimous to proceed in error, than to retrace his steps into the paths of truth; perhaps too he had a wish to enjoy a laugh at his printer, by trying how far he could be made the dupe of such a marvellous story; and his printer, in order, I suppose, to resent the affront, and to render the DYING SPEECH MAKER as ridiculous as himself, insisted Mr. Brown's contradiction immediately under “An Attentive Hearer's Letter;” so that they now laugh at each other; and they may rely upon it, that the public would, if the subject was not too grave for merriment, laugh at them both.

I am yours truly,

This letter appeared in the Leeds Mercury of 13th February 1813.

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