William Hone to Francis Place, 26 June, 1817

[1780-1818] - [1818-1824] - [1825-1832] - [1832-1842] - Hone Correspondence

WH to Francis Place, 26 June, 1817.1-TEI-


No circumstance has befallen me of more real concern since I came into this place2 than the delay of your shorthand writer with Mr. Wooler's Trial. Mr Wooler has been wholly precluded from obtaining and publishing a Report as he had originally purposed and certainly if there was a strong interest anywhere to prevent the gratification of laudable curiosity and feeling in the public when at the heighth the disappointment could not have been more effectual— If the object was to serve Mr Wooler by this report — it has robbed him of £200 or £300; if the object was to serve his enemies—it has been completed.3 Again I say I feel the deepest regret for this affair — you must in justice to him & above all to the cause he has so eminently so nobly served make him reparation and atone to the public to the fullest extent in your power — Wooler is a brave fellow. I am sick and savage at his usage.

W Hone4

Addressed from Hone at

King's Bench Prison
26 June 1817

British Library, Add. MS 37949, f. 46. [return]
Hone was himself in King's Bench Prison, having been arrested on 3 May on ex officio libel charges. [return]
It became a common practice for radical writers to publish accounts of their trials, just as Hone would do with his own trials some months later. (Trials, of course, were official proceedings and thus could not themselves be deemed libellous, even though the transcripts of the trials often contained the full text of the supposed libel.) Hone's anger at the apparent confusion and delay over a shorthand writer whom Place had hired to transcribe Wooler's trial is an indication of the deliberate exploitation of this novel publishing/legal strategy. [return]
The blunt "Place" as a salutation and the omission of a formal closing are perhaps an indication of Hone's indignation as expressed in the letter. [return]
William Hone. Date: 2012-05-20