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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt
TEI

423. George Bloomfield to W. Weston, [c. 1830]* 

Example draws, where precept fails
And Sermons are less read then Tales

——————— prior [1] 

To Mr W Weston [2] 

To say I was pleased with the lines you affixed to Banks of Wye is but faintly to express my feelings. I am astonished at the command of language you possess when I consider your youth; Oh how grateful you ought to be to providence and to your excelant parents for your education!!—the mastery of language may be acquired by Education but the poets art canot be taught. the allusions, Similes, and all the decorations of poetical composition, can be employ'd but by a few, I could point out 6 or 7 very happy poetical strokes in that little poem (or at least such they appear to me) but I forbear, to you I am an entire stranger you know not but I may wish to praise, whereas at 3 score and 10 I feel it my Duty to deal in truth only you have heard no doubt that grey-beards will prate, I claim the priviledge of a Grey-beard to be allow'd to advise you to be very cautious how you indulge your bent for poetical composition I said above how grateful you ought to be to your parents for your Education &c your gratitude ought to evince itself, in your steady, active, persute of Business, I mean you ought not to let the charms of poesy allure you from what we terms the main chance I should not have been guilty of such freedom had I not been quite certain you are possessed of poetical powers, The marks are upon you

The proverbs of Threescore Affectionately Addrest to Eighteen [3]  p85 N Bloomfield's poems

1

Have you seen the delightful abode
Where penury nursed despair,
Where comfortless life is a load
Age wishes no longer to bear?
And who in that lazerhouse pent
His lone wailings sends up to the skies
'Tis the man whose young prime was misspent
'Tis he that so bitterly sighs

2

His youth, sunk in profligate waste,
Left no comforts lifes evening to cheer
He must only its bitterness taste
No friend no kind relative near
The children by want forced to roam,
Are aliens wherever they are,
They have long left his desolate home,
Have left him alone to despair

3

Have you seen the delectable place
Where honourd age loves to abide
With virtue and wisdom reside,
Autumns fruits he has carefully stored
His herds willing tributes abound
By his Childrens children are crown'd

4

And his is the Godlike delight
The power to relieve the distressd.
Who can contemplate prospects so bright
And not wish to be equally blessd,
Then let not the means be forgot
Remember and mark this great truth
'Twas not chance fix'd his prosperous lot
'Twas the Virtues of provident youth

5

If such a bright prospect can charm,
If you feel emulation arise
If your juvenile bosom is warm
With the hope to be wealthy and wise
O cherish the noble design
The maxims of prudence persue
Application and industry join
'Tis the way fickle fortune to woo,

6

Early cultivate virtues rich seeds
These will fruits in lifes winter display
Ne'er defer till to mo-row good deeds
That as well might be finished to day
For Age and Experience can tell
And you'l find when you are an old man
Though tis never too late to do well
You will wish you had sooner began—

If Sir, you are tired, (as I dare say you are) of this string of proverbs, I beg leave to say I am not going any farther that way; the proverbs are from a small voloumn of poems, which that excelant man the late Mr Peter Gedge so kindly printed at his own risque for my Brother Nathaniel; proverbs are very good things in their way, example is better than precept, a few particulars of my misspent life I think may warn you, In early life like you I had a great bent for reading soon had read all the Books my mother possessed, it happened we had a relation in the village who had many Books and who took great delight in putting me forward as he termed it, [4]  there were at that time but two papers read herebouts (ie) the Norwich, and the Ipswich, By constantly seeing the Ipswich I could talk very finely about the first William Pit, Beckford, Sawbridge, John Wilks, Dr Price Dr Priestly &c &c [5]  In short by the time I was 12 my vanity was wonderously improved, I was apprenticed at Thetford, where I saw both the papers, and still indulged my favorite persuit, reading all the Books I could borrow, I started off to London as soon as my time came out, and happening to lodge in a family who were Wesleyan Methodists I went with them to their class and prayer meetings &c, I read every thing I could borrow on the subject of Religion, but curiosity led me to the Tabernacle to hear Witfields preachers roaring away under the banners of Calvin, tearing the poor Arminians to rags, [6]  and often went to hear the famous Mr Romaine on the same side, [7]  Thus I was plunging in the mists and fogs of Theological controversy, still vainly conceipting I should find it all out, but an accident happened that at once set me free, the Will-with-a-wisp I had been chasing so many years, I now gave up, French America had been conquered, and the great Dispute about the Quebeck Bill came on, I saw 30000 Methodists march in martial order under Lord Gordon, to try to over awe parliament [8]  &c this intolerant army disgusted me so I bad adieu to Methodism of both sorts for ever,—but it happened I was soon provided with a new Hobby-horse My mother brought up to London my Little Brother Bob, who proved an excelant companion to me 10 years younger then my self, yet with as strong prejudices against strange faces as I had my self, as fond of Books, but his turn for poetry displayed it self, poets corner in our Dayly paper caught his attention, to indulge him I bought Milton, Thompson, Young [9]  and many other standard works in short bought, hired, or borrowed every thing I could to oblige him took him to the Theatres when I had money to the debating societys at Coachmakers Hall [10]  &c &c to Give him a chance of learning to accent words &c but neither my self or him ever learned a rule of grammer, five happy years I spent with him in Garrets in London, I was on the wrong side 30 when I left him, and had not acquired money enough to bring me down to Bury I stopd at safron Walden a fortnite, to raise a wind to bring me home, I had now spent the prime of Life from 21 to 30 without bettering my condition, but I hit upon an excelant Expedient to improve my Fortune, I soon met a young woman, we were soon married lived some years in Skiners Lane, had 7 children, the times were then good and we might have still got on as well as our neighbours, but my Brothers in London were poets and both so shy, Nat never came down attal, have not been here these 40 years, Bob came two or three times but slip'd about so slyly few persons saw him, ad to this they were both extreemly averse to corrisponding except with me, so that their great friends here applied to me for any information they wish'd for, as those great men the poets were so extreemly cautious of commiting themselves on paper I actualy became a corrispondant of Sir C Bunbury Esq and 20 others, I do not mean that these persons wrote to me (they did not except Mr Lofft) but were often sending queries by servants &c which as I never would be seen if I could help it caused me to lose much time and slur a great deal of beautiful white paper, the private friendship and assistance I received from Bob amply paid me for my loss of time &c. and when they prevailed on me to be a Master (in that which is now Mrs Armstrong the Hatters shop) my Sheepishness increased so as to inspissate me, And besides it pleased God to take from me my Excelant wife. The Gentlemen the Great friends of my Brothers rais'd a subscription for me Mr Wright (once Recorder of this Borough) set it of,) Mr Gedge, Sir C Bunbury, Capel Lofft Esq &c joind raised upwards of 30 pounds, still I was wretched, I had lost all my fireside comforts It was soon discovered I was going to marry a young widow with 4 childrens!! And as I had 5 we had 9 to begin the world with, this imprudent step displeased some of my great friends, But Mr Smith Sir C Bunbury, Mr gedge and many others continued to be my Benefactors while they lived. In my second marriage I have had 3 children, have (to late) been brought to my senses, In the 20 years that have past in my present marriage I have seen most of my Brothers great friends removed by Death, it is one of the great trials of those who live to be old, they outlive those they love, and those who were able and wiling to help in Time of Need, were that excelant man Mr Gedge or William Smith Esq Sir C bunbury, Sir C Davers, Capel Lofft &c now alive old age would to me be disarmed of half its terrors here are none to blame or to accuse, it is the lot of all the aged to out live their friends and benefactors, I am truly grateful to kind providence, still Charles Bloomfield Esq lives, a man who did not know there were such a man as me in the world, who on my Brothers account have been my sure protector and unwearied Benifactor for 30 years, but for whome I must have been in a workhouse years ago; still how precarious is my condition should providence remove him though Mr Hasted and other Gentlemen have often befriended me yet I am at this instant, a poor feeble old man allmost wholly dependant on Charity, I have Grand Children whom I dearly love often nearly naked and bearfoot, and have not the power to help them, And my Self in rags, for though I have clothes given me, my necessities send them up the Spout, my natural Shyness makes me a recluse, for squallid poverty soon pall the beholder, and seldom do I have a second visit from any one unless it is Brassy faced pretenders to poesy, such as David Service Ned Preston &c &c who would willingly count up how many patches are on my old Breeches (I beg pardon) I mean my Small Clothes,—now had I been wise and prudent from 21 to 50 should I have been a poor Despicable being, without the power of Doing any creature on Earth good!!! I had continued health have not kep'd my bed for a single Day since I had the small pox in the year 1765, was a good workman and found the greatest friendship from the wealthy part of society, my present distresses arrise entirely from my too Eager persute of information, and what did the little superficial knowledge I glanend [sic] avail!! True it gratified my vanity while my Brothers lived, with whom I corrisponded, (I never had other confidential correspondents than them) Isaac & Bob are Dead, And poor Nat is near my own Age, O how Vain appears to me, now the waste of time, the waste of Lifes prime, to acquire that which is altogether Vanity my mind I hope is prepared, though I feel my present Dificulties like a man, I hope to bear them like a man, I have no other motive for mentioning them, then as a hint to you to avoid my folly, I am aware of the Dissimilarity of the cases, you have been bless'd with education and have a prospect of succeeding to property I was born at the bottom of the Lowest class of Society, Fielding had a curious Classification of Society, but allowed it was Dificult to Distinguish the top of the bottom class, from the bottom of the top class, [11]  but it is easy to see the distinctions in our case I have stated that I have no doubt on my mind but you are one of those Distinguished minds that we disignate a Genius I suppose because we have no terme that will suit better, thus we call Cowper A Genius, he could not succeed as a man of Business, But shone as A Genius, And I believe it is a prevelent oppinion that men of Genius are impressed by their leading propensity into a particular persute, disregarding their worldly Interest For instance Lord Byron declares my unfortunate Brother Nat A madman, now there is doubtless A cause for this malignant Censure of his Lordship, Nat published but one small Voloumn wheras David Service, Ned Preston, Holloway, Pratt and 50 others he never censured at all though they published 10 times more than Nat did of whom he thus express himself:

'Him to the mania not the muse has seized
Not inspiration, but a Mind diseased' [12] 

As Nat wrote against Common Stealing at the time that Common Stealing was all the rage, how probable it is, the Noble Lords family had acquired some Thousand Acres of Land in that way, consequently he would feel sore, Honington Green is most severe upon Common Stealers, [13]  Miss Quince the Lady who enclosed the spot into her Croft actually scolded Mr Lofft, [14] Mr P Gedge &c she actually placed the Voloumn on the little shelf in the Garden privy to be reserved for very particular occasions would it not naturally appear to the Noble Lord a species of Madness in Nat to censure so unmercifully that very Class of Society who alone possess wealth sufficient to promote the sale of such works of amusement to any extent!!—Again poor Nat blundered upon a theme which led him to advocate the Christian Religion!!—In his Culprit, p 51

Yea who the lore of distant climes
Canvas, latent truth to find
Who hail our philosophic times
And mans emancipated mind

Oh ye who boast the enlightened age
Who boast your right of thinking free,
If ere ye learn the lessons sage,
Taught in Afflictions school like me,

Should you ere a Culprit stand,
You'll wish mankind all christians then,
If ere you raise the Culprits hand
You'l wish the Jurors Christian Men

Culprit p 51 [15] 

Now though this is I think perfectly in character in the Culprit, yet certain it is, that to plead for any particular Religion is esteemed Vulgarism A publication that treats of the veneration and piety that all Religions profess to feel towards the Supreme Being, will pass, but not when we Descend to particulars,—

Some 60 years ago there were some young Gentlemen at Oxford who used to meet in their Rooms to expound the Scriptures to sing psalms and pray &c &c, now this seems to be harmless But they were admonished by the higher powers in the university to desist, and as they still continued the practice they were at length expelled the university!!! This gave rise to A well written pamphlet called The Shaver—this shews that the great World disapprove of what they sneeringly terme enthusiasm Methodism &c &c, [16]  There is a Gentleman at Great Gransden Vicarage, the Revd Mr Plumtre, This Gentleman took unusual pains to get my Brother Bob from his retirement thinking that his health sufferd from the confinement: he often wrote to Bob inviting him to Gransden, take his house for his home and breath the free Air &c &c but could not draw him from Shefford, but Mr P is not a man that give up a point easily, he visited Bob at Shefford and contrived to get a promise from him to go to Gransden &c poor Bob though in bad health and low spirits felt compeld to keep his word, he visited Mr P, and while he staid slep'd in a chamber at the corner of the house, Mr P gave the Room the name of poets corner and it will long retain that Name, Bobs account of this parson to me is that he appear'd to him, the best of human beings, so kind, so charitable, and so every way amiable, I was charmed with the picture, when Bob sent me Mr Ps works to read, I thought them excelant, I mentioned them to a gentleman who has been very kind to me, the gentleman seemd to be acurately acquainted with the parsons manner of writing, But said he is a Methodist, told me a tale, of how a young Cantab affronted Mr P, Mr Plumtre sent a voloumn of his, as a present to a young student at Cambridge, the youth instead of reading it wrote on the cover and returned it unopened

There was an Old Woman Lived at Dundee
Out of her B-tt-m there grew a plumbtree

Now I cannot conceive a more gross vulgar and unfeeling insult than this, or one that could more deserve to be phisiced with a stout crab-stick, to such usage Mr P is exposed for advocating the Christian religion!!—and it ought to be a warning to those who do not wish to offend the great world, it is the great world that are the masters of the Great Booksellers in London, and those booksellers are the masters and commanders of the Critics from the Great London packs; down to the little country kennels,

As Sir, I consider you as a youth of real genius, consequently think it probable you will be led on from little to much, I therefore think poor Nats failure may lead you to be very cautious in the choice of your themes &c for as it is the great world who alone can pay for Books a writer should avoid as much as he can giving them unnecessary offence.

Poor Nat was very unfortunate in his choice of subjects to write upon, his Loves Triumph [17]  make Love and poverty despise wealth and the wealthy mans grandure &c and even his essay on War [18]  is conducted on what was then believed to be a false principle (ie) he maintained that the population of the country was too Great!! Hence war is a necessary evil &c Goldsmith makes his vicar of Wakefield say... when I look round on my Children, all blooming around me, I consider my Country my deptor, for presenting it with such a present!! Goldsmith makes the parson urge the lads and lasses to early marriage., The notion that in the population of a state, consisted its wealth, writers of all descriptions entertained this idea 50 years ago, when nat wrote the Idea was still in fashion consequently he offended the great World by what their packs of critics stiled ignorance of the subject, [19]  I wish Dear Sir, if (as I think you will) you should be forced by your Genius into a serious attempt at poetry, you may study to give as little offence to the great world as possible, and with unfeigned wishes for your health and prosperity, remain yours Geo Bloomfield

P.S. If Sir you ever find time or patience to read my long long scrawl, you will find my advice is not to follow the allurements of poesy, to the detriment of business &c there are circumstances in my family which if known to youth, might teach them caution, there are other things besides the leading foly, that may be injurious to a man, thus it happen'd that the late Duke of Grafton was prime minister, I loved and revered the Duke, many a day I followed on foot after the good Duke and his hounds, and when Junius [20]  and 50 others abused him I felt as much as if he had been my father, hence arrose my mad attachment to political reading hence my Brothers laughing stiled me the politician & but I too had a second hobby my Brothers and Sisters were all Song-smiths all wrote occasional Verses on particular occasions and I too you may laugh if you will, wrote Verses for the Universal, the London, and the Mirror Magns [21]  and have sometimes actually received the thanks of the editors, but I assure you on the Veracity of an Historian I never got any thing more (a forlorn trade this) how many hours of valuable time in Lifes prime have I misspent, and besides I was allways rhyming on passing local occurrences &c this brought me a notoreity that often gave me pain, as people choose to see me, and like all my family I had an avertion to strange faces But I never had patience or talents to attempt seriously at poetical compositions or to write any but short pieces, this turn of mine have when I least expected it, and when I most wanted it, been beneficial to me, I had left Thetford more then 50 years, but I love the old Town some are still living there rememberd me, and when the Spa was discovered, I was sent for to the Angel here at Bury, J Burrell Faux Esq was there, he told me in few words, if I wrote a few verses, he would endeavour to get them printed, promote their sale &c he had with him a jolly man the picture of good nature, I have found out since it was Mr Smith the printer from Cambridge the Gentleman who so charitably printed my lines on the Spa, [22]  but I dared not let my Name appear, I remembered too well how the Dogs of Critics worried poor Nat from first to last Mr Faux sold so many I reciev'd upwards of 40 pounds in my years of old age which was a great blessing to me while it lasted,: John Wright Esq of Kilverston Hall [23]  in 1822 advised me to write some verses on stack burning &c [24]  this brought me considerable benefit. Mr Dutton like Mr Smith had the charity to print them gratis I inclose you coppys not because of any merit in them but to shew how kind these gentlemen have been to me—as you see my Dapper hobby by accident brought me profit while my great hobby had brought me rags for Nat the next brother to me whose great leading hobby was poetical composition was hunted down by the dogs of critics and his 2nd poney was as unprofitable he studied machinery, invented a horse, the riders weight was to have impeld it along, but as this horse would never move I can give no account of his movements, poor Isaac the next Brother (a bricklayer) lived at Honington, his great hobby was music, he wrote music to a great variety of songs, he published 12 anthems and cleard 15 or 16 pounds profit, he to had a second hobby he invented a self-working pump this hobby he studied for 7 years, Mr Boys, (a gentleman in London) advanced him 10 pounds to go on with, and an ingenious smith, Mr Burrell of Thetford assisted him, Mr Boys advanced him a second 10 pounds, and he made 2 journeys to London on the business, but died suddenly and left it unfinished,!!—It happened luckily for us all that Bob too my youngest Brother had his hoby, descriptive poetry was his grand hobby but to read of the Drama, &c Dramatist & was his and he was at the expense of reading Hunts Examiner [25]  for that sole purpose, so that we had [MS ends, remaining sheets lost]

* Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds 406/2 BACK

[1] Matthew Prior, 'The Turtle and the Sparrow' (1725), lines 190–91. BACK

[2] Presumably the son of Bloomfield's friend and the family's supporter Joseph Weston. BACK

[3] The poem was published in Nathaniel Bloomfield's volume An Essay on War, in Blank Verse; Honington Green, a Ballad . . . and Other Poems (London: Hurst, Vernor and Hood, 1803), pp. 85–88. BACK

[4] Perhaps George and Robert's maternal grandfather Robin Manby who lent the family books including Goldsmith's The Deserted Village: A Poem (London, 1770) and Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard (London, 1751). BACK

[5] A list of the principal Whig and radical politicians and writers of the second half of the eighteenth-century. The elder Pitt was the minister who led Britain to success in the Seven Years' War but who later, ennobled as Lord Chatham, presided over the unpopular refusal to let John Wilkes take the seat in parliament to which he had been elected. Alderman William Beckford was a wealthy plantation owner who, in 1770, when Lord Mayor of London, became a Whig political hero by supporting John Wilkes's campaign to be allowed to take his seat. Wilkes, journalist, pornographer, campaigner for the extension of the franchise was the centre of popular protest, culminating in London-wide riots, when he was excluded from the House of Commons although elected by a majority. Alderman John Sawbridge, also a Lord Mayor of London, was one of Wilkes's coterie. Drs Richard Price and Joseph Priestley were Unitarian theologians and political writers who supported Whig campaigns for the reform of parliament and, in 1789, welcomed the French Revolution, both as a model for the revolution they hoped would occur in Britain and as a sign of the coming millennium. BACK

[6] Witfield's preachers: at the Moorfields Tabernacle, George Whitfield's (1714–70) Calvinistic Methodists, asserting the doctrine of predestination, attacked the Arminian doctrines of Anglicans and Wesleyan Methodists, who asserted that salvation was possible for any faithful person. BACK

[7] William Romaine (1714–95), a leading Anglican evangelical associated, like Whitfield, with the Countess of Huntingdon's movement. Also like Whitfield, a Calvinist famed for his public preaching in London and beyond. BACK

[8] George Gordon led mass protests over the relaxation of laws placing restrictions on Catholics made in the wake of the acquisition of Quebec, with its population of French Catholic colonists. The protests culminated in days of bloody rioting and looting in June 1780. BACK

[9] George refers to James Thomson's The Seasons (London, 1726–30) and Edward Young's Night Thoughts (London, 1741). BACK

[10] Debating societies met at Coachmakers' Hall throughout the 1780s and early 1790s. See Mary Thale, 'London Debating Societies in the 1790s', The Historical Journal, 32.1 (March 1989), 57–86. BACK

[11] The passage to which Bloomfield refers occurs in Book 2, Chapter 13 of Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews (London, 1742), 'A Dissertation concerning high People and low People. . .': 'these two Parties, especially those bordering nearly on each other, to-wit the lowest of the High, and the highest of the Low, often change their Parties according to Place and Time; for those who are People of Fashion in one place, are often People of no Fashion in another'. BACK

[12] Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (London, 1809), lines 765–94.

When some brisk youth, the tenant of a stall,
Employs a pen less pointed than his awl,
Leaves his snug shop, forsakes his store of shoes,
St. Crispin quits, and cobbles for the muse,
Heavens! how the vulgar stare! how crowds applaud!
How ladies read, and literati laud!
If chance some wicked wag should pass his jest,
'Tis sheer ill-nature—don't the world know best?
Genius must guide when wits admire the rhyme,
And Capel Lofft declares 'tis quite sublime.
Here, then, ye happy sons of needless trade!
Swains! quit the plough, resign the useless spade!
Lo! Burns and Bloomfield, nay, a greater far,
Gifford was born beneath an adverse star,
Forsook the labours of a servile state,
Stemm'd the rude storm, and triumph'd over fate;
Then why no more? if Phoebus smiled on you,
Bloomfield! why not on brother Nathan too?
Him too the mania, not the muse, has seized;
Not inspiration, but a mind diseased;
And now no boor can seek his last abode,
No common be enclosed without an ode.
Oh! since increased refinement deigns to smile
On Britain's sons, and bless our genial isle,
Let poesy go forth, pervade the whole,
Alike the rustic, and mechanic soul!
Ye tuneful cobblers! still your notes prolong,
Compose at once a slipper and a song;
So shall the fair your handywork peruse,
Your sonnets sure shall please—perhaps your shoes.
Byron added a footnote on Nathaniel's poem: 'See Nathaniel Bloomfield's ode, elegy, or whatever he or any one else chooses to call it, on the enclosure of "Honington Green."' See here for the text of 'Honington Green'. BACK

[13] By 'Common stealing' George refers to the enclosure of common land. Nathaniel Bloomfield's, 'Elegy on the Enclosure of Honington Green' was published in An Essay on War, in Blank Verse; Honington Green, a Ballad . . . and Other Poems (London, 1803). BACK

[14] Miss Quince, the encloser in this case, probably resented Lofft because he wrote the preface to Nat's volume, extolling the virtues of his anti-enclosure poem. BACK

[15] 'The Culprit' also appears in Nathaniel's An Essay on War, in Blank Verse; Honington Green, a Ballad . . . and Other Poems (London: Hurst, Vernor and Hood, 1803), pp. 43–59. BACK

[16] George refers to the trial and expulsion of so-called 'Methodistical' evangelical students from St Edmund Hall, Oxford in 1768. The students were sons of tradesmen, rather than gentlemen, and they were defended in the press by George Whitfield and by Baptist minister John Macgowan, 'the Shaver', whose satirical pamphlet Priestcraft Defended saw 25 editions and was being re-printed as late as 1813. BACK

[17] 'Love's Triumph': another poem from Nathaniel's An Essay on War, in Blank Verse; Honington Green, a Ballad . . . and Other Poems (London, 1803). BACK

[18] The increase of population is discussed in Nathaniel's 'Essay on War' from An Essay on War, in Blank Verse; Honington Green, a Ballad . . . and Other Poems (London, 1803). BACK

[19] The Revd. Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population, first published in 1798 and repeatedly reworked over the next twenty years, gradually changed the climate of opinion and persuaded the public and parliament that population was in fact too large and becoming larger. Previously, the position espoused by Oliver Goldsmith in chapter one of his 1766 novel The Vicar of Wakefield was the norm—and William Pitt, as Prime Minister, had been concerned to introduce measures tending to increase national population. BACK

[20] Junius: the Whig pamphleteer, whose real identity has never been determined, who attacked the Duke of Grafton and others in his ministry. BACK

[21] George Bloomfield's poems 'Lines to a Young Woman' and 'Quatduorzain to the new-born Daughter of Capel Lofft Esq.' appeared in The Monthly Mirror, 15 (1803), 50 and 413. BACK

[22] George refers to his Thetford Chalybeate Spa. A Poem by a Parishioner of St. Peter's (Cambridge, 1820). BACK

[23] The Wrights of Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk were an ancient and powerful local landowning dynasty: it would have been in their interest to have a labouring-class writer lament the rick-burning by which starving rural labourers were protesting at the price of grain (kept artificially high by the interest of landowners in Parliament). BACK

[24] George's verses on rick-burning were issued as a broadside 'Friendly Hints Affectionately Addressed, by an Old Man to the Labouring Poor of Suffolk and Norfolk'. BACK

[25] Leigh and John Hunt's Examiner (1808–21) featured regular articles on contemporary and Shakespearian drama. BACK

Published @ RC

September 2009