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Part 4 Chapter 12

The History Returns to the Contemplation of Greatness.

But we have already, perhaps, detained our reader too long in this relation from the consideration of our hero, who daily gave the most exalted proofs of greatness in cajoling the prigs, and in exactions on the debtors; which latter now grew so great, i. e., corrupted in their morals, that they spoke with the utmost contempt of what the vulgar call honesty. The greatest character among them was that of a pickpocket, or, in truer language, a file; and the only censure was want of dexterity. As to virtue, goodness, and such like, they were the objects of mirth and derision, and all Newgate was a complete collection of prigs, every man being desirous to pick his neighbour’s pocket, and every one was as sensible that his neighbour was as ready to pick his; so that (which is almost incredible) as great roguery was daily committed within the walls of Newgate as without.

The glory resulting from these actions of Wild probably animated the envy of his enemies against him. The day of his trial now approached; for which, as Socrates did, he prepared himself; but not weakly and foolishly, like that philosopher, with patience and resignation, but with a good number of false witnesses. However, as success is not always proportioned to the wisdom of him who endeavours to attain it, so are we more sorry than ashamed to relate that our hero was, notwithstanding his utmost caution and prudence, convicted, and sentenced to a death which, when we consider not only the great men who have suffered it, but the much larger number of those whose highest honour it hath been to merit it, we cannot call otherwise than honourable. Indeed, those who have unluckily missed it seem all their days to have laboured in vain to attain an end which Fortune, for reasons only known to herself, hath thought proper to deny them. Without any farther preface then, our hero was sentenced to be hanged by the neck: but, whatever was to be now his fate, he might console himself that he had perpetrated what

—— —— — Nec Ju............

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