1805 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Hardinge

Lady Jerningham to Lady Bedingfield, 25 March 1805; The Jerningham Letters (1896) 1:264-65.



What an eloquent Speech Mr. Hardinge made to that poor unhappy Girl of 16 for destroying her Bastard Child! I hope you have seen it in the Globe this week. The Circumstance of preparing the Knife, and the Cruel perpetration of the murder by nearly cutting the Childs head off, makes one fear that She would never have been under the Chastised restraint of Virtue: or must have been miserable in proportion to the sincerity of her return to it. Therefore perhaps, in this Case, her being removed out of the World was mercy to all; it may deter some, and may have prevented bad Seed from budding forth in Her.

But a sad Circumstance is that the Speech (which made me suppose Mr. Hardinge a most excellent as well as eloquent man), does not Become the mouth of the Speaker — He has Himself been very irregular; so much so that his Wife parted from Him ... and in Short, I am afraid it is something of Mrs. Inchbald's affecting Novel, where the poor girl Calls out to the Judge who is going to Condemn Her — "Not you!"