Friday, 1 March 2013

1st March 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' won't let the debate about George Mellor's last words die

Mr. PRINTER—A Diligent Enquirer seems to be rather hurt that I have not allowed myself to be publicly accused, without endeavouring publicly to defend myself; he thinks I ought to have been silenced long since; he will, however, recollect I am not answerable to the Public for the length of this dispute.

In the first instance I stated what passed at the Execution, as nearly as I could remember, which has weekly been disputed by either one or another.—Mr. Brown came forward and positively contradicted my assertion. I believe a Diligent Enquirer and an Attentive Hearer and not the only persons who are willing to waive his authority.—And now, we will consider the matter as resting on the authority of two anonymous writers, one of whom was present at the Execution, and the other some miles distant. Certainly persons unknown to the public have no right to expect credit, unless there assertions can be proved, either by positive or corroborative proof;—but there is a difference even in the character of an anonymous writer. When any one is fairly proved to have published an untruth, we have a right at least to suspect him; if a Diligent Enquirer will take the trouble to refer to my last letter, he will find a blemish on his character, of which he has not even attempted to clear himself. As an anonymous writer, I think I have a [fairer] claim to public credence than my opponent; he has a length, however, come forwards like a gentleman, without either wagers or abuse, and is consequently entitled to my attention.

I am not at liberty to publish names, but if he will be at the trouble of enquiring of my Printer; he will be informed of several Gentleman, whose characters he cannot dispute, to whom I would refer him; and I hope he will not think it too much trouble, candidly to inform the public the results of his further enquiries; this I think I have a right to expect from him.

AN ATTENTIVE HEARER.

This was published in the Leeds Intelligencer of 1st March 1813.

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