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TO THE PUBLIC.

of travesty is laughable deformity, the original must at least possess some symmetry, before it could be twisted into deformity. Nay, I should have felt myself flattered to have been placed in the same line of attack in which many illustrious literary characters have been assailed, although immeasurably removed from them in literary reputation. I should also have reflected that the Public would not be interested in the travesty of an unknown author. But many, who have never read the Tour in Ireland, have considered the quotations as authentic, and the comment as fair and candid. I am placed before a mirror that distorts, and the mirror is thought to represent me faithfully. Submitting to this malignant and mischievous attack as one of the pains and penalties attached to authorship, I took no notice of the first edition.

In the beginning of the following year, however, a second edition appeared, considerably enlarged, with several caricature prints. It was advertised,

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in a long and striking manner, in the London, and most of the provincial, newspapers; and, lest the Public should mistake the object, my name, at full length, was introduced; and the publishers, by means unusual in the trade with regard to works of such a nature, circulated an immense number of copies of it.

The frontispiece of this publication, in most of its parts, and the explanation annexed to it, attempted personally to degrade me in a point of view that had no reference to my travels in Ireland. Legal advisers assured me that both were libellous ; and it would be impossible, I believe, even for my adversaries, to deny that their own Counsel partook of the same opinion ; I was therefore induced to look for redress to the law. To prove that these caricature prints ought not to be considered as fair critical elucidation, I beg leave to call the attention of the reader to another of them. In my work I have mentioned, that the cruel custom of yoking the

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plough to the tail of the drawing horse, which once existed in the uncivilized parts of Ireland, has for some time past been discontinued ; yet, in this print, I am represented in the attitude of making a drawing of this barbarous usage ; and, if such print be admitted to be fair criticism, I am made by the artist's pencil to assert that the custom still endures. In fact I am assured that I have already incurred the displeasure of some of the Irish, who have not perused my work, and who have been misled by this print, for having, as they thought, in this instance thrown an odium upon the character of their peasantry. To return to the action, the frontispiece caricature, and the explanation, constituted the sole ground of my legal complaint. My declaration, or, as it is legally defined, a shewing in writing of the cause of complaint, embraced no other; and my proofs, as the law requires they should be, were confined to the innuendos contained in the declaration. Could I have conceived, or had I been legally advised, that the Court,

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after my declaration had been so shaped, would have admitted of evidence to shew that the body. of the obnoxious work was unfair criticism, I could have produced many distinguished literary men to have proved it to have been so. When the cause came on, the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, who presided, maintained that a personal caricature of an author may be considered as fair criticism, as far as he is connected with his work, and impressed such his opinion upon the , minds of the jury, who gave their verdict accordingly. My adversaries immediately announced the event as a victory obtained over an enemy to the press, and a person who wished to arm justice , against criticism. I hope I shall not be considered as deviating from that respect which is due to Lord Ellenborough as a dignified magistrate, a scholar, and a gentleman, and from that reverence which , ought to attend upon judicial opinion, if I submit a few further observations.

So far from aiming at the freedom of the press,

TO THE PUBLIC.

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I thought I was making a struggle on behalf of its liberty, as well as its dignity, by an attempt to prevent both from being contaminated and brought into discredit by the low and base alliance of caricature and buffoonery; and that I never did wish to interfere with the liberty of the press is plain from my not attacking the first work, which was equally as unjust as the second.

The most dignified satirists, such as Dryden, Boileau, Pope, Swift, and Young, never thought of lashing a man by pictures: that task they left to inferior artists; they confined themselves to their pens alone. If there was any press that I wished to obtain a victory over, it was not the literary press, but the caricature press. Plain fact will demonstrate that I could have no other intentioni Had Lord Ellenborough thought the caricature and explanation were libellous, and had I, in consequence, obtained a verdict, the letter-press part of the work, without the caricatures, might have continued to be sold with impunity.

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