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The Age of George III

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The Letters of Junius

Letter LVI: From the Reverend Horne to Junius; 17 August 1771.

[229] I CONGRATULATE you, sir, on the recovery of your wonted style, though it has cost you a fortnight. I compassionate your labour in the composition of your letters, and will communicate to you the secret of my fluency. — Truth needs no ornament; and in my opinion, what she borrows of the pencil is deformity.

[230] You brought a positive charge against me of corruption. I denied the charge, and called for your proofs. You replied with abuse, and reasserted your charge. I called again for proofs. You reply again with abuse only, and drop your accusation. In your fortnight's letter, there is not one word upon the subject of my corruption.

I have no more to say, but to return thanks to you for your condescension, and to a grateful public, and honest ministry, for all the favours they have conferred upon me. The two latter, I am sure, will never refuse me any grace I shall solicit: and since you have been pleased to acknowledge, that you told a deliberate lie in my favour, out of bounty, and as a charitable donation, why may I not expect that you will hereafter (if you do not forget you ever mentioned my name with disrespect) make the same acknowledgment for what you have said to my prejudice? This second recantation will perhaps, be more abhorrent from your disposition; but should you decline it, you will only afford one more instance, how much easier it is to be generous that just, and that men are sometimes bountiful who are not honest.

At all events, I am as well satisfied with your panegyric as Lord Chatham can be. Monument I shall have none; but over my grave it will be said, in your own words, "Horne's situation did not correspond with his intentions."*

JOHN HORNE.

* The epitaph would not be ill suited to the character; at the best it is but equivocal.

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