The Age of George III

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The Letters of Junius

Letter XXXII: Junius to the Printer of the Public Advertiser: 15 November 1769.

[115] SIR

I ADMIT the claim of a gentleman, who publishes in the Gazetteer under the name of Modestus. He has some right to expect an answer from me; though, I think, not so much from the merit or importance of his objections, as from my own voluntary engagement. I had a reason for not taking notice of him sooner, which, as he is a candid person, I believe, he will think sufficient. In my first letter, I took for granted, from the time which had elapsed, that there was no intention to censure, or even to try, the persons concerned in the rescue of General Gansel: but Modestus having since either affirmed, or strongly insinuated, that the offenders might still be brought to a legal trial, any attempt to prejudge the cause, or to prejudice the minds of a jury, or a court-martial, would be highly improper.

A man more hostile to the Ministry than I am, would not so often remind them of their duty. If the Duke of GraftonDuke of Grafton will not perform the duty of his station, why is he Minister? I will not descend to a scurrilous altercation with any man; but this is a subject too important to be passed over with silent indifference. If the gentlemen, whose conduct is in question, are not brought to a trial, the Duke of Grafton shall hear from me again.

The motives on which I am supposed to have taken up this cause are of little importance, compared with the facts themselves, and the observations I have made upon them. Without a vain profession of integrity, which in these times might justly be suspected, I shall shew myself, in effect, a friend to the interests of my countrymen; and leave it to them to determine, whether I am moved by a personal malevolence to three private gentlemen, or merely by a hope of perplexing the Ministry; or, whether I am animated by a just and honourable purpose of obtaining a satisfaction to the laws of this country, equal, if possible, to the violation they have suffered.


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