Sunday, 31 August 2014

31st August 1814: Letter from 'A Priest' to the 'Editor of the Nottingham Gazette'



SIR—Walking near the rock-holes in the park, early this morning, I picked up the inclosed manuscript, which, as it was "unwafered and unsealed," I had the curiosity to open; and must confess, that the reading of it had such an effect upon my risible faculties, as for a moment, to drive the morning devotional thoughts from my mind. I found it addressed to the Editor of the Gazette, and having heard that an advertisement had been posted up in different parts of Nottingham, offering a reward for the recovery of a "Lost Manuscript," I thought the Editor might have lost it there a night or two before. Reflecting on the oddity of the circumstance, the words amor mertricor, meretrix inusia lues venerea came forcibly into my head. I determined, however, to take the article to the office; but when I got there, the offered reward was refused, because the author, I was told, had furnished another copy; I therefore send it to you for the perusal of your readers.

Your’s, &c.

August 31, 1814.


Sir—Having been a constant reader of your luminous publication, permit me to say, that I have perused the efforts of your transcending genius with ecstatic pleasure; and have viewed your matchless triumphs over the cold-water Tory and Jacobin factions, that is over the readers of the Journal and Review, with supreme delight. At a period when a Jacobinical war raged around the kingdom, and a not less cruel, and still more dangerous one raged within, which was carried on by mysterious gangs of depredators, called Luddites, at this period you commenced your arduous labours. Your laudable and professed object was, to crush the monster Bonaparte and his myrmydon follower, and all the Luddites, with the magic of your pen; and to convert the cold-water Tories and Jacobins, into ranting true-blue Royalists; whilst the incorrigible Burdett, Whitbread, Brougham, Cochrane, Cobbett, White, Hunt, Drakard, Lovell, Cartwright, Wood, and Waithman, along with John Smith, Lord Radcliffe, the Political Scribe, and the Rev. Editor, you were to muzzle or confine in strong holds. And, worthy Sir, have you not succeeded?—have you not driven Bonaparte to Elba, and his man-eating myrmydons into the mouths of the Cossacks?—have you not proved this wife, the daughter of the Apostolic Emperor, to be a prostitutum; and the wife of our immaculate Regent to belong to the Cyprian sisterhood?—nay, have you not driven her into exile, as too dangerous an animal to remain on British soil?—have you not laid every Luddites prostrate at your feet, and made them lick the dust in sorrow and anguish?—have you not driven the cold-water Tories into hiding places, with faces as long as a maypole?—have you not silenced the Burdetts, Whitbreads, Broughams, Cobbetts, Whites, Hunts, Drakards, Lovells, Woods, Waithmans, Smith, Rancliffes, Political Scribes, and Reverend Editors, and driven the troublesome Cochrane into a dungeon–have you not cleared the very Pig-styes of their filth, though you got a little soiled in the operation?—have you not rendered an essential service to society, by discovering and practising a new mode of chastisement in Sunday Schools for girls in their teens, for which a saucy cobler was silly enough to threaten you with the vengeance of this lap stone and strap?—have you not almost ruined the Review, by reducing its sale to Fifteen Hundred; while you have advanced the sale of your self-instructing paper to three hundred, besides what you generously give away?—and I need not say how fully and satisfactorily you have proved that the Review has been the occasion of the premature death of all those unfortunate men who have been hung at York, as well as of the rebellion in Ireland, for to the REVIEW may be attributed all that disaffection which now manifests itself; and there can be no doubt that you will be able to prove, that the differences between this country and America, have been owing to the filth of the Review; and were you properly to trace cause and effect, there can be no question but every moral and political evil will be found to have arisen from this source.

But my principal object for troubling you with this letter, is to inform you, that it is in the contemplation of the two Houses of Parliament, at the commencement of the next Session, to vote public thanks to you for the many and extraordinary services you have rendered this country and the world at large, by your not less extraordinary publication, and, I have heard it whispered too, in the higher circles, the Regent intends devoting ten thousand pounds out of his savings, to the erecting a statue to commemorate your virtues in Westminster Abbey, for having driven away his wife.

There are some evil disposed persons that say, that you were the cause of frame-breaking, by suggesting and putting in practice, a plan for reducing the workmen's prices, in your capacity as a hosier, in 1811.—This, I hope, is all sheer gammon and malice; otherwise the blood of a Horsefall, a Trentham, and the seventeen men hung at York, with a long catalogue of other crimes, you will have to expiate, either in this world, or the next. There are persons, likewise, who maintain that you wish to level all distinctions in society, and to create a national convulsion, by driving the working class in acts of desperation for want of food, hoping thereby to become Robespierre or a Marat. But this insinuation, also, I hope, you will be able to refute, or it shall be attempted to be done by

Your humble servant,

This satirical letter was published in the Nottingham Review of 9th September 1814.

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