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"of Mr. Wilkes, who had been brought thither "for the purpose, amongst whom were his two brothers, his attorney, &c.
This literary contest, as has been already. hinted, rendered Mr. Horne one of the most odi ous men in the kingdom., Respecting the justice of the dispute, there can be little hesitation; but, in regard to its impolicy, no doubt whatever can be now entertained. It is but candid to confess, that Mr. Horne did not succeed in his attempt to expose Mr. Wilkes to the multitude, for he became more popular than ever, and that, too, in consequence of the opposition to his career.
That gentleman, indeed, although his talents and learning were far inferior, yet, by means of superior skill, and a more intimate knowledge of mankind, appears, on the whole, to have foiled his adversary. By stoutly denying some, and artfully parrying other charges against his character, he continued to confuse and perplex the whole business; and although Mr. Horne had most, if not all the respectable men on his side, yet the public at large, which is seldom capable of entering into a minute
and laborious investigation, after being some time bewildered in the maze of a prolonged periodical correspondence, at length declared, fully and unequivocally, in behalf of Mr. Wilkes. On the whole, it may be questioned whether this contention did not rather tend to hurt than to serve the public cause; while their common enemies rejoiced at a quarrel, which, by dividing, weakened their party, and, for a time at least, subjected both of the champions to the animadversions, and even to the ridicule of the public.
Mr. Horne takes a Degree at Cambridge-on his return, he advocates the Cause of the Printers.-Result.
BUT notwithstanding the frequent public contests of the subject of these memoirs had engrossed much of his time, and nearly ruined his fortune, they did not render him unmindful of academical honours. He accordingly repaired to Cambridge, in 1771, and became a candidate for the degree of master of arts.
On this, as on all similar occasions, his political creed proved highly injurious to his pretensions; for Mr. Paley opposed the very moderate claims, now urged, in consequence of his disapprobation of some violent passages in the recent correspondence with Mr. Wilkes.This gentleman, afterwards so eminent in the lite
rary world, was supported by Mr. Hubbard, of Emanuel College; but, on the other hand, the doctors Beadon and Jebb, both men of considerable influence, stoutly contended, that Mr. Horne, while resident at St. John's College, had conducted himself with great propriety, and was distinguished alike by the ardour of his genius and the purity of his morals. He was accordingly admitted master of arts, notwithstanding Mr. Bromley, afterwards lord. Mumford, had joined the two former in their dissent.
It was thus that he was obliged to fight every inch of his way through the whole course of a long and busy life, which, indeed, had become almost one continual series of agitation and inquietude. But, on the other hand, it must be allowed, that he acquired an accession of strength by constantly contending against the stream. Continual opposition sharpened his wit and talents, gave him at once a taste for, and an ascendancy in business; nay, if we are to believe some, his disappointments were at length rendered so frequent, as never to be unexpected, and not always displeasing.
In the spring of the same year, Mr. Horné was enabled to complete a project already alluded to, which he had for some time formed, and always contemplated, as intimately connect
ed with the safety of the constitution, and the liberty of the press. Of all modern inventions, that of Printing confers the greatest honour on human ingenuity; and had either Guttemburgh or Faustus been natives of ancient Greece, her cities might have once more contended, as in the case of Homer, for the honour of producing these eminent benefactors of mankind. One of the chief efforts of this art, perhaps, consists of a newspaper, composed, printed, and circulated with such celerity, that a complete historical register of all the occurrences of one day is regularly exhibited on the breakfast-table of the succeeding one.
These periodical productions seem to have originated with modern liberty and commerce, on the shores of the Mediterranean, and to have been introduced into this part of Enrope in consequence of the desultory inroads of the French into Italy. All the neighbouring states appear to have been enlightened, and every government occasionally alarmed, by such a novel species of communication. As much, however, depends on the genius of the nation and the character of the reigning prince, the indiscriminate publication of a loose sheet, under the house of Tudor, would have been considered as something approaching to treason for that