Friday, 8 February 2013

8th February 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' keeps alive the debate about George Mellor's last words

Mr. PRINTER—Sir, when you in inserted my first Letter respecting the execution of Mellor, Thorpe and Smith, the Editor of the Mercury, in a very handsome manner, informed his readers, what I advanced was absolutely false.—To my second he made no reply; his cause was then espoused by “A Diligent Enquirer,” the dispute seemed nearly ended; we had only one word to settle; I was persuaded “A Diligent Enquirer,” if he were also a Candid Enquirer, would decide in my favour. From his silence this week, I must conclude he is now of my opinion. The dispute, in all probability, would have ended here, had not the Rev. George Brown, Chaplain of York Castle, thought it a duty he owes to the public, tho’ late, boldly to step forward and controvert my assertion.

He first positively contradicts me, and then kindly tells me where I may have been mistaken; he fears I have understood the word “Adulterers” for “Murderers.”—He is just one week too late; had he made his appearance sooner, he might, perhaps, have staggered the belief of many.  “A Diligent Enquirer” has already satisfied the public on that head, he has informed them that the obnoxious word “Murderers” did escape from Mellor's lips; but his printer thinks this ought to be surrendered, that no person is so likely to be right as the Reverend Chaplain; nay, that it would be the height of folly and absurdity to dispute his authority.—The Editor of the Mercury is once more roused—after such strong, such respectable testimony, that both “An Attentive Hearer” and “A Diligent Enquirer” have been the instruments of publishing falsehoods to the world, nothing can protect them from the charge of malice or insanity, if they do not immediately retract all they have said, and bow to the super-eminent respectability of the Rev. George Brown, Chaplain of York Castle.

So the Editor of the Mercury would have it.—What effect this appeal will have on “A Diligent Enquirer,” I will not surmise; tho’ I am willing to give the Reverend Chaplain all the credit his well-established character deserves, I will not be so credulous as thus to bow at his nod. No, I will even yet dare to inform the public, if I had before been inclined to doubt whether I was right or wrong, the enquiries I have since made of persons who were also present, would have removed every doubt.

One observation more for the Rev. George Brown, Chaplain of York Castle, and I have done:—Two newspapers printed in York (the Courant and the Herald) in the account they gave of the execution, state that the murderers “confessed the heinousness of the crime.” How strange that this Reverend Gentleman, who feels he has such a duty to perform to strangers, should have no regard for his fellow citizens, but will silently allow them to be dupes of “mischievous” Editors; he has no pity for them—what else can be his reason for taking no notice of these gross falsehoods;—did the old proverb ever recur to his mind—“A Prophet is not honoured in his own City?”— I am, &c.


Leeds, Jan. [illegible], 1813.

This letter appeared in the Leeds Intelligencer of 8th February 1813.

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