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rage, which cured him completely of the slow fever just alluded to. But, on the other hand, there is reason to suppose, that it implanted, or rather developed another disease, to the full as disagreeable: this proved to be the gout, with which he was occasionally afflicted ever after, from this period, until the day of his death.
In the mean time, Mr. Horne was treated with great civility by the marshal, the officer to whom is confided the superintendence of the prison; and he was accustomed to relate, that, on being summoned to attend a trial at Reading, in Berkshire, it was hinted to him, by one in authority, "that he need not hurry himself, either going or returning." Instead of being troubled with a tipstaff for his companion, with a view to his personal comfort, his own servant was entrusted with the custody of his master; and, in short, every thing was done for his accommodation, that could possibly be wished for. On receiving his instructions, he accordingly crossed the river, and repaired in a post-chaise to Brentford; whence, after spending a few days, in a very pleasant manner, in company with his quondam parishioners, he set out for the place of his destination. Thus this journey, instead of being performed, as in ordinary cases, under the inspection and control of
an officer of the court, was converted into an excursion for health and pleasure; and, after the lapse of a considerable time, he returned, as he went, at his own leisure.
It was at this precise period, that the poor woman, who had given a night's lodging to him when a school-boy, being attracted by his reputation, waited on, and solicited his assistance. She had become both old and wretched, and had a long pitiful tale to relate, of a husband's death, and the beggary and dispersion of her little family. These incidents of domestic woe were not narrated in vain; for he immediately presented his former hostess with a small sum to relieve her present necessities, and settled on her, at the same time, an annuity of ten pounds, which was regularly paid until her death.
Meanwhile, the current of life glided quickly along, and the term: for the expiration of his imprisonment was now at hand. Accordingly, at the end of twelve months, he paid his fine of two hundred pounds, and found two securities for his good behaviour, during a couple of years, On adding the sum in which he was mulcted, to that which he had expended, he was accustomed to calculate the whole at twelve hundred pounds; -no trifling loss for a man in his situation of
life, but one at which he was never once heard
While a prisoner in the King's Bench, Mr. Horne did not entirely resign himself to the pleasures of society and his newly acquired relish for wine. On the contrary, he dedicated much of his time to study and retirement. As he deemed his sentence both unjust and illegal, in 1771, while still detained by its operation, he addressed a letter to Mr. Dunning, "which," to adopt his own language, "though published, was not written on the spur of the occasion. The substance of that letter, and of all that I have further to communicate on the subject of language, has been amongst the loose papers in my closet now upwards of twenty years; and would probably have remained there twenty years longer; and have been finally consigned with myself to oblivion, if I had not been made the miserable victim of two prepositions and a conjunction.
The officiating priests, indeed *, were them
* "The present lord chancellor, lord Thurlow.
"The two present chief justices, lord Mansfield and sir James Eyre.
"The late attorney-general, Mr. Wallace.
The late solicitor-general, sir J. Mansfield, now chief
justice of the common pleas; and
"Mr. Bearcroft, afterwards chief justice of Chester."
selves of rank and eminence sufficient to dignify and grace my fall. But that the conjunction THAT, and the prepositions oF and CONCERNING, Words which have hitherto been held to have No meaning, should be made the abject instruments of my civil extinction, (for such was the intention, and such has been the consequence of my prosecution,) appeared to me to make my exit from civil life as degrading as if I had been brained by a lady's fan. For mankind in general are not sufficiently aware, that words, without meaning, or of equivocal meaning, are the everlasting engines of fraud and injustice; and that the grim gribber of Westminster Hall, is a more fertile,, and a much more formidable source of imposture than the abracadabra of magicians.
Upon a motion," adds he, "made by me in arrest of judgment, in the court of King's Bench, in the year 1777, the chief justice adjourned the decision: and instead of arguments on the merits of my objection, (which, however, by a side wind, were falsely represented by him as merely literal flaws,) decided that precedents might be brought by the attorney-general on a future day. None were, however, adduced, but by the chief justice himself; who indeed produced two. (Thereby depriving me of the opportunity of combating the precedents and their
application, which I should have had, if they had been produced by the attorney-general.) And on the strength of these two precedents alone (forgetting his own description and distinction of the crime to the jury) he decided against me.
"I say, on the strength of these two precedents alone. For the gross perversion and misapplication of the technical term de bene esse, was merely pour eblouir, to introduce the proceedings on the trial, and to divert the attention from the only point in question—the sufficiency of the charge in the record. And I cannot believe that any man breathing, (except lord Mansfield,) either in the profession or out of it, will think it an argument against the validity of my objection; that it was brought forward only by myself, and had not been alledged before for the learned counsel for the printers. This, however, I can truly tell his lordship, that the most learned of them all, (absit invidia,) Mr. Dunning, was not aware of the objection when I first mentioned it to him, and that he would not believe the information could be so defective in all its counts, till I produced to him an office
Strange as it may appear! one of those precedents was merely imagined by the chief