William Hone to The Editor of the Morning Chronicle, October, 1819

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William Hone to The Editor of the Morning Chronicle, 15 October, 1819.1-TEI-


Perceiving in your Paper of this morning, that my name is introduced in a manner calculated to lead the Public to believe that I was instrumental in framing the Defence of Mr. Carlile, on his trial for publishing Paine's Age of Reason, I request you will afford your readers an opportunity of knowing the true state of the case. Having been present in Court, as an auditor, I was earnestly solicited, at the close of the second day, by several friends to the Liberty of the Press, to point out, in conjunction with two literary Gentlemen, those authors who had written the most ably in defence of Toleration, and unrestricted freedom of opinion on religious subjects, and to mark the passages. This I assented to; nor do I apprehend that such a request would have been refused by any liberal minded man, -- or, that the most scrupulous would find fault with me for having acquiesced in it. I accordingly arranged, and, as well as I could, in a few hours the next morning, connected a series of quotations from Archbishop Tillotson, Bishop Squire, Dr. Furneaux, Bishop Watson, Professor Limborch, Professor Campbell, Mr. Locke, Dr. Enfield, the Reverend Mr. Wyvill, the Reverend Mr. Aspland, the Christian Reformer, and other authorities of equal weight and tendency.2 This was read by Mr. Carlile on the third day, with interpolations of his own; and this, with the loan of Erasmus, Milton's Æropogetica, Delaune on Nonconformity, a volume of Blackstone, a tract by Lord Somers, and a few sermons and pamphlets, constituted the whole of my exertions on this extraordinary occasion.

I am, Sir
Your obedient servant,

45, Ludgate-hill,
Oct. 15.

Huntington Library; Morning Chronicle clipping. [return]
Hone's notes are held in the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. They show that Hone's assistance to Carlile was somewhat more extensive than the present letter would indicate, though he does indeed provide citations to several of the figures and texts mentioned here. [return]
William Hone. Date: 2014-03-17