Friday, 22 March 2013

22nd March 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' writes his longest piece yet on the last words of George Mellor

Mr. PRINTER.—Sir,—It is indeed painful to trespass on the patience of your readers, by so repeatedly calling their attention, to a subject which at first might appear trifling and unimportant; that the murderers were guilty there can be no doubt: it must however be satisfactory to the public to be assured that they confessed guilt: viewing it in this light, I am compelled again to appear before the public. On the 9th January, I communicated to you my statement of the execution of Mr. Horsfall's Murderers, in which I informed you, that the following sentence was used by Mellor in his prayer: "Thou who cast devils out of Mary Magdalen, thou who pardonest the thief upon the Cross,—thou canst still save thieves, aye and even us poor murderers." The three last words, "us poor murderers," A Diligent Enquirer has continued constantly and positively to contradict.

He confesses he was not present; but has repeatedly boasted of his authorities; and on all occasions drawn up a Noble Phalanx of official Characters, Persons who, from their consequence at executions, must of course hear for all. These, he has always vociferated, were quite positive the words were never used, one would have supposed they would have been equally confident—but No, they will not see him through; they only now, to use his own language, "declare to him that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the words in question were not used;" here am I left without an opponent. After all the vaunting of my adversary, he at last publishes his own infamy; and positively contradicts himself: indeed so fond have my antagonists been of contradiction, they have at no time hesitated pointedly to controvert the testimony of each other.

If the Diligent Enquirer had in the first instance spoken the truth, he would have required no answer. When he so readily showered down such volleys of abuse, and so confidently boasted of his positive information, one would have supposed he had at least some authorities to produce; this week however he publicly confesses he has none—had my report been unaccompanied by the testimony of any other, I have fair claim to public credit; not one who can positively contradict me!!—But my assertion is corroborated by the authority of other persons, "Gentlemen of character" who do not merely state, that, "to the best of their knowledge and belief" they heard Mellor confess himself and his companions to be murderers. No—they state positively that they distinctly heard the words. Here then is a proof positive that I am correct; I do not expect the "Diligent Enquirer" will allow this; when he introduced himself to me, he candidly told me "he would not be convinced." The public however will not be thus duped. The truth of my assertion as far as relates to "us poor murderers" is now most positively established, "the Diligent Enquirer" himself being the reporter. In my letter to you of the 9th January, I also quoted the following passage from Mellor's Prayer: "There are many here who have come expecting to see is die Game, let such know that we the penitent—we acknowledge the heinousness of our sins, and our only hope to be forgiven is in the infinite and boundless mercy of our redeemer."

The "Diligent Enquirer" and his friends have also objected much to the expression, "Die Game," it has however remained the one of their own authorities to be a corroborating evidence to the use of it; he states that he distinctly heard the words "die Game" used when Mellor was praying, but he believes it was not Mellor that used them—I hope my opponent will be convinced that those words did not originate with myself; that they were used is now certain; and that they were not used by Mellor, yet remains to be proved.

The "Printer’s" paragraph respecting the Reverend Gentleman, at York, reflects no credit on its author; had it been necessary to have further proofs of his duplicity, he has furnished me with one. If he chose to notice part, he ought to have mentioned all. When I gave him the names of my references, I mentioned to him that I had just been with a friend who told me a Gentleman had said, that a Reverend Gentleman who resides in York, had mentioned the circumstance, stating that he was on the platform at the time, and that the "Attentive Hearer" was correct. I informed him, I believed that gentleman would corroborate what I said;—it was of course impossible I could have written to him, up having only heard this a few hours before I was with the "Diligent Enquirer;" he cannot say I mentioned the Reverend Gentleman's name, in any other way, than as now stated by me.

I must apologize to your readers for trespassing so long, but cannot take leave of this subject without recommending my opponent, when he again undertakes to contradict any one, to have better grounds for his confident and positive assertions; and not amuse his readers with vapouring about a long list of Authorities, whose testimony in the end, according to his own statement, amounts to nothing. Let him take a view of his abusive language, throughout the whole of this dispute. Let him remember what he has charged me with; then look to his authorities, and after all see himself absolutely obliged to publish my vindication.—Let him do this and refrain from blushing if he can!


Leeds, March 13th, 1813.

This appeared in the Leeds Intelligencer of 22nd March 1813.

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