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most remarkable degree by the letters, as yet unpublished, from the archives at Stowe, in which the writer, who certainly was Junius, avows in explicit terms not only the authorship of the papers signed Atticus and Lucius, but also, as he says, of many more. Such was the state of these publications, not much rising
in interest above the common level of many such at other
times, when on the 21st of January 1769 there came forth another letter from the same hand with the novel signature of JUNIUs. It did not greatly differ from its predecessors either in superior merit or superior moderation; it contained, on the contrary, a fierce and indiscriminate attack on most men in high places, including the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Granby. But, unlike its predecessors, it roused to controversy a well-known and respectable opponent. . Sir William Draper, General in the army and Knight of the Bath, undertook to meet and parry the blows which it had aimed at his Noble friend. In an evil hour for himself he sent to the Public Advertiser a letter subscribed with his own name, and defending the character and conduct of Lord Granby. An answer from Junius soon appeared, urging anew his original charge, and adding some thrusts at Sir William himself on the sale of a regiment, and on the nonpayment of the Manilla ransom. Wincing at the blow, Sir William more than once replied; more than once did the keen pen of Junius lay him prostrate in the dust. The discomfiture of poor Sir William was indeed complete. Even his most partial friends could not deny that so far as wit and eloquence were concerned the man in the mask had far, very far, the better in the controversy. It was scarcely an exaggeration when Junius addressed Sir William as follows in the tone of lofty scorn: “I should justly be suspected “of acting upon motives of more than common enmity to “Lord Granby if I continued to give you fresh materials or “occasion for writing in his defence!”*
* Letter v., Feb. 21. 1769. In the notes which Junius himself afterwards supplied to his letters it is added: “Sir William Draper certainly
1769. HIS ATTACK UPON THE KING. 223
These victories over a man of rank and station such as Draper's gave importance to the name of Junius. Henceforth letters with that signature were eagerly expected by the public, and carefully prepared by the author. He did not indeed altogether cease to write under other names; sometimes especially adopting the part of a by-stander, and the signature of PHILo-JUNIUs; but it was as Junius that his main and most elaborate attacks were made. Nor was it long before he swooped at far higher game than Sir William. First came a series of most bitter pasquinades against the Duke of Grafton. Dr. Blackstone was then assailed for the unpopular vote which he gave in the case of Wilkes. In September was published a false and malignant attack upon the Duke of Bedford, – an attack, however, of which the sting is felt by his descendants to this day.” In December the acme of audacity was reached by the celebrated letter to the King. All this while conjecture was busy as to the secret author. Names of well-known statesmen or well-known writers — Burke or Dunning, Boyd or Dyer, George Sackville or Gerard Hamilton—flew from mouth to mouth. Such guesses were for the most part made at mere hap-hazard, and destitute of any plausible ground. Nevertheless the stir and talk which they created added not a little to the natural effects of the writer's wit and eloquence. “The most important secret “of our times!” cries Wilkes.** Junius himself took care to enhance his own importance by arrogant, may even impious, boasts of it. In one letter of August 1771 he goes so far as to declare that “the Bible and Junius will be read when the “commentaries of the Jesuits are forgotten!” Mystery, as I have said, was one ingredient to the popularity of Junius. Another not less efficacious was supplied
“drew Junius forward to say more of Lord Granby's character than he * originally intended. . . . . In private life he was unquestionably that “good man who, for the interest of his country, ought to have been a “great one.” * See the remarks of Lord John Russell, Bedford Correspondence, vol. iii. Introduction, p. lxv-lxx. * Letter to Junius, Sept. 12. 1771, vol. i. p. 297. ed. 1812.
by persecution. In the course of 1770 Mr. Woodfall was indicted for publishing, and Mr. Almon with several others for reprinting, the letter from Junius to the King. The verdict in Woodfall's case was: Guilty of printing and publishing only. It led to repeated discussions and to ulterior proceedings. But in the temper of the public at that period such measures could end only in virtual defeat to the Government, in augmented reputation to the libeller. During the years 1770 and 1771 the letters of Junius were continued with little abatement of spirit. He renewed inveetives against the Duke of Grafton; he began them against Lord Mansfield, who had presided at the trials of the printers; he plunged into the full tide of City politics; and he engaged in a keen controversy with the Rev. John Horne, af. terwards Horne Tooke. The whole series of letters from January 1769, when it commences, until January 1772, when it terminates, amounts to sixty-nine, including those with the signature of Philo-Junius, those of Sir William Draper, and those of Mr. Horne. Several other communications from Junius, but no longer with that signature, nor known to proceed from him, appeared in the Public Advertiser during the spring of 1772. They referred mainly to some matters at the War Office, and were for the most part subscribed WETERAN or NEMESIS, If then we discard the name, and look only to the author, of Junius, we shall find that the series of letters coming from his pen, and published in the Public Advertiser, extends from April 1767 until May 1772. But besides the letters which Junius designed for the press, there were many others which he wrote and sent to various persons, intending them for those persons only. Two addressed to Lord Chatham appear in Lord Chatham's correspondence. Three addressed to Mr. George Grenville have until now remained in manuscript among the papers at Wotton, or Stowe; all three were written in the same year, 1768, and the two first signed with the same initial C. Several
1769. PRIVATE LETTEERS OF JUNIUS. 225
others addressed to Wilkes were first made known through the son of Mr. Woodfall. But the most important of all, perhaps, are the private notes addressed to Mr. Woodfall himself. Of these there are upwards of sixty, signed in general with the letter C.; some only a few lines in length; but many of great value towards deciding the question of the authorship. It seems that the packets containing the letters of Junius for Mr. Woodfall or the Public Advertiser were sometimes brought to the office-door, and thrown in, by an unknown gentleman, probably Junius himself; more commonly they were conveyed by a porter or other messenger hired in the streets. When some communication from Mr. Woodfall in reply was deemed desirable, Junius directed it to be addressed to him under some feigned name, and to be left till called for at the bar of some coffee-house; both the name and the coffee-house being frequently changed. It may be doubted whether Junius had any confidantor trusted friend. One among his private notes to Mr. Woodfall mentions a “gentleman who transacts the conveyancing part of “our correspondence.” ” But on a more solemn occasion, when dedicating his collected letters to the English people, he declares: “I am the sole depository of my own secret, “and it shall perish with me.” After the letters of Veteran and Nemesis which ceased in May 1772 no communications from Junius, either public or private, were received by Mr. Woodfall during many months. In his “Notices to Correspondents” the printer inserted from time to time, but without effect, certain signals and catch-words as previously agreed upon between them to invite the re-appearance of his unknown friend. At length on the 19th of January 1773 Junius in a private note addressed him once more, and finally, as follows: “I have seen the “signals thrown out for your old friend and correspondent. “Be assured that I have had good reason for not complying “with them. In the present state of things if I were to write no. Private Note of January 18, 1772. See also the Note, No. iii., Sept. 10. Mahon, History. V. 15
“again Imust be as silly as any of the horned cattle that run “mad through the City, or as any of your wise Aldermen. I “meant the cause and the public. Both are given up. I feel “for the honour of this country when I see that there are not “ten men in it who will unite and stand together upon any “one question. But it is all alike, – vile and contemptible. “— You have never flinched that I know of, and I shall al“ways rejoice to hear of your prosperity.”” Such were the last words of Junius. Like other pamphlet-writers, Junius may be viewed in two separate aspects, – as an author in regard to his style, as a politician in regard to his principles. In the former class it is certainly no slight proof of his merit that his popularity should so long have survived the fleeting topics of the day to which alone he applied himself. That popularity endures even now when those topics have altogether ceased to be appreciated or even clearly understood. Indeed his terseness and perspicuity of statement, — his terrible energy of invective, – the force and fire with which he pleads any political opinion, — the poised and graceful structure of his sentences, – and, above all, the elaborate polish of his sarcasms, – can never be denied. So ably does he make his illustrations subservient to his arguments, his fancy to his reasoning, (in this how unlike to Burke!) that we might almost say of Junius as Junius says of kingly splendour: “the feather that “adorns the Royal bird supports his flight.”* But while freely owning the great merits of Junius as a writer, I yet believe that these merits have been often and extravagantly over-rated; I cannot look upon them as wholly surpassing and unrivalled. Mr. Fox, as we learn on high authority, never thought them so.” Another eminent statesman, one * Woodfall's Junius, vol. i. p. *255. As a postscript Junius adds: “If “you have anything to communicate (of moment to yourself) you may use “the last address, and give a hint.” Mr. Woodfall did write accordingly and transmit some books (copies of Junius) on March 7.; after which all communication between them absolutely ceased. ** Letter xlii., January 30. 1771.
*** See Lord John Russell's Introduction to the Bedford Correspondence, vol. iii. p. lxx.