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language, to strangers, by means of sounds "borrowed from their own. And he begins
"with the French.
“I remember, a few years ago, when an attempt was made to prove lord Harborough an "idiot, the council on both sides produced the
same instance; one of his wit, the other of his "folly. His servants were puzzled once to un"pack a large box, and his lordship advised them "to do with it, as they did with an oyster, put "it in the fire, and it would gape!
"This commission of Sheridan appears to me equally equivocal. And should a similar sta"tute be at any time attempted against his majesty, they who do not know him may be apt "to suspect that he employed Sheridan in this manner, not so much for the sake of foreigners as his own subjects; and had per"mitted him to amuse himself abroad, to prevent "his spoiling our pronunciation at home.
"I have this moment seen a letter from Eng"land, that tells me that Fitzherbert has sent 66 you a power to draw on him to the amount of "1000l. a year:
"Eutrapelus, cuicunque nocere volebat
* As this well quoted passage afterwards became a subject of contention, the whole of it is here subjoined:
"I am afraid this is Eutrapelian generosity; " and that, by furnishing you with the means of pleasure, they intend to consign you over to dissipation, and the grand points of national "liberty and your glory to oblivion. I am sure they will be mistaken; nothing little or com"mon is for the future to be pardoned you.
"The public have done you the justice to "form extravagant notions of you; and though they would be very sorry to see you neglect any opportunity of serving your private in"terest; yet they hope never to have cause to reproach you as Brutus did Cicero.-'That it was not so much a master that he feared, as "Anthony for that master."
"You perceive how freely I deliver my sen"timents; but all this is uttered in the openness "of my heart, and ought not to offend you, as "it proceeds from a man who has always both
"Eutrapelus, cuicumque nocere volebat,
"Vestimenta dabat pretiosa. Beatus enim jam
Volumnius Eutrapelus was a companion of the profligate Anthony, and is mentioned by Cicero, both in his Epistles and Philippics.
"felt for your sufferings, and spoken highly of your conduct in the public cause. In the "meantime,
"I am, dear sir,
"Your most obedient,
"and very humble servant, "JOHN HORNE."
Of the first portion of this letter, enough has been already said, and it is to be hoped, that the writer, on this occasion, rather flattered the supposed opinions of his new acquaintance, than exhibited his own. The remainder is equally curious and interesting; for it proves that Mr. Horne had already detected the secret views of Mr. Wilkes, who had long wished to repair to a distant part of the world, in some honourable and lucrative employment, and that of minister to the Ottoman Porte had been actually selected by himself. It appears evident, too, that his intelligence was so excellent, that he had become acquainted with the negociation with the Rockingham administration, in consequence of which, a considerable annuity was to be paid this gentleman, while he remained in exile, with a view of keeping him quiet. The sum in question, however, was not to be taken out of the
public money, but levied by a voluntary subscription from the salaries of those in place.
Whether it was, that Mr. Wilkes was piqued at the discovery, or mortified at the disclosure of this transaction, is uncertain; but true it is, that no answer was ever returned to this singular epistle. Whatever be its faults, no one can deny, that the sentiments disclosed in the latter part of it, are as just and commendable, as those in the former are offensive and indiscreet; and it will readily occur, that therein is developed, even at this early period, not only that warmth of sentiment, but the same noble scorn of corruption, which the writer steadily evinced through life.
Meanwhile, the neglect with
which he was
treated, could not but prove trying in the extreme, to a man eager to cultivate an intimacy with Mr. Wilkes; who had been prevailed upon to accept an invitation to a literary intercourse, and had committed himself, in a manner, and to an exent, whence it was impossible to recede. Notwithstanding all this, on his return to Paris, in the course of the ensuing spring, Mr. Horne found means to see the exiled patriot, without undergoing either the formality or humiliation of a visit. This opportunity of demanding an explanation was not suf
fered to escape; but every attempt to gratify his curiosity was skilfully parried for a time by the gallant colonel, who, over a bottle of burgundy, in a jocular manner, and with his usual flow of wit and vivacity, endeavoured to convert the whole into a joke. Finding, however, that his correspondent was too serious to participate in his witticisms, he concluded by denying the receipt of the fatal epistle!
But notwithstanding our traveller had reason to suspect his veracity, even at that period, yet a reconciliation actually took place; and although he soon after learned, that the letter in question had been actually shown to numbers, accompanied with a menace of publication, yet this instance of treachery, superadded to untruth, was freely forgiven.
Being now about to repair to England, where it was necessary that he should resume his clerical dress and functions, Mr. Horne determined to leave his fashionable clothes at Paris, whither he had determined to return in the course of a few months. He accordingly confided his wardrobe to the care of Mr. Wilkes, as may be seen from the following curious note, transmitted to that gentleman on the morning of his departure.