indeed it proved. The scene of agitation and distress which immediately followed we will not attempt to describe.

The sorrow and concern excited by this sentence, which removed Mr. Wakefield to so great a distance, were not confined to his family and friends. It was felt even by the attendants and many of the prisoners in the King's Bench. In their minds his affable deportment and uniform readiness to oblige and befriend had excited considerable interest and respect.

It now occurred to one of Mr. Wakefield's friends, that the present opportunity of improving his slender fortune, in some permanent manner, ought not to be neglected, while the severity of his sentence was fresh in recollection.

The design was immediately adopted by two or three other friends. Nor had they reason to complain of the want of generous support. They encountered, indeed, in a few instances, the discouragement of a refusal, where they had promised themselves the most prompt and liberal assistance. These disappointments were amply compensated by the zeal and readiness which other opulent persons discovered to indulge their generous feelings

upon this occasion. Many also, in humbler life eagerly profferred their contributions, the honourable fruits of æconomy and self-denial.

It was intended, if possible, to keep this design from the knowledge of Mr. Wakefield till it should be completed. However, before he had any intimation of it nearly fifteen hundred pounds was raised, and in the sequel the subscription amounted to more than double that sum.

With the addition of two munificent tokens of regard, chiefly, if not entirely, presented to him on the same account, he received about five thousand pounds. For this increase of fortune he pleasantly says that he was indebted to Sir John Scott.” That such was the intention of that gentleman, in originating this prosecution, is more than we can venture to assert.

We have mentioned that persons of different ranks encouraged this design. Among the rest, a great political character, whom we have lately named as honouring our friend with his correspondence, was not deficient in bis attentions. Immediately after the sentence, he interested himself so far as to write to Mr. Wakefield to suggest the propriety of his publishing some work by subscription for the benefit of himself and his family. As soon as he heard that his kind purpose had been

anticipated, he promoted this object as far as lay in his power. Besides other persons of rank, one especially, the late Duke of Bedford, from whose merit even party-animosity has now ceased to detract, countenanced this

project in a very handsome manner. A letter having been addressed to him by the friend of Mr. Wakefield, who was entrusted with the conduct of the subscription, he immediately sent the following reply:

Bedford House, June 27, 1799.

I HEARD but a few days ago of the subscription for Mr. Wakefield, and have since been endeavouring to find out to whom I should address myself on the subject. I am happy to find it is likely to be attended with so much success.

I have added a draft on my banker [for one hundred pounds] the amount of which

you will have the goodness to appropriate to your very laudable design.

I am, Sir,
Your very obedient servant,


We have already noticed the attachment born to Mr. Wakefield by those who had been

his pupils. They were forward to testify it upon the present occasion. Among several letters received from gentlemen who had the good fortune to enjoy that advantage, we 'select one which expresses the sentiments common to them all. It also well describes the leading object of the subscription.

Mr. Wakefield had long experienced how little a scholar, independent and unpatronised, could contribute to the support of a family. This handsome addition to his fortune, therefore, afforded him a high gratification. He was enabled, by his own sufferings, to benefit those whose interest was so dear to him. "A consummation devoutly to be wished,” we fear, rather than generally expected, in all similar cases.

The letter which we have just mentioned was from a gentleman in a distant part of the country, who liad been one of Mr. Wakefield's pupils at Warrington. Their personal intercourse had been interrupted by distance of residence for many years.

But his attachment to the tutor of his youth was unabated. He enclosed his liberal present of one hundred pounds in the following letter:

June 11, 1799.

You have done me a favour by communicating to me the intention of Mr. Wakefield's friends to raise a sum of money for the assistance of his family; and I have much pleasure in co-operating with yourself, and the other gentlemen whọ interest themselves in this laudable design, in the endeavour to shield him from the effects of a ministerial persecution, in that quarter where he will most sensibly, if not solely, feel its weight.

I send you the enclosed draft (which, I have reason to believe, will not be the only subscription from this neighbourhood) as a tribute of respect to Mr. Wakefield, for whom I entertain the highest regard, as my much esteemed tutor; and whom I consider as the victim of oppression for his independent exertions for the promotion of general liberty and free enquiry.

I shall esteem myself much obliged to you, Sir, if you will take the first opportunity of conveying to Mr. Wakefield, through the medium of Mrs. W, the sentiments of sympathy with which I am impressed on his account, together with my sincere wishes for

« ForrigeFortsett »