Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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he made me an impertinent answer. I insisted on his leaving the garden ; he refused. I still persisted in desiring his depar­ture. He then threatened to knock out my eyes, with many abominable imprecations, and with some contempt for my person ; it affronted my foolish pride. I therefore took him by the elbows, and pushed him before me until I had got him out. There I intended to have left him ; but he, turning about, put himself into a posture of defiance, threatening and swearing at me. I, perhaps foolishly and perhaps not, stepped out at the gate, and, putting aside his blows, took him again by the elbows, and, keeping his back to me, pushed him forward down the road about fifty yards—he all the while endeavouring to turn round and strike me, and raging and cursing, which drew out several neighbours. At length when I had got him to where he was quartered, which was very quickly done, we were met at the gate by the master of the house—the Fox Inn —(who is the proprietor of my cottage) and his wife and daughter, and the man's comrade, and several other people. My landlord compelled the soldiers to go indoors, after many abusive threats against me and my wife from the two soldiers ; but not one word of threat on account of sedition was uttered at that time."
As a result, Blake was haled before the magistrates and committed for trial. The trial was held in the Guildhall at Chichester, on January nth, 1804. Hayley, in spite of having been thrown from his horse on a flint with, says Gilchrist, Blake's biographer, " more than usual violence" was in attend­ance to swear to the poet's character, and Cowper's friend Rose, a clever barrister, had been retained. According to the report in the County paper, " William Blake, an engraver at Felpham, was tried on a charge exhibited against him by two soldiers for having uttered seditious and treasonable expressions, such as
1 d-----n the king, d-----n all his subjects, d-----n his soldiers,
they are all slaves; when Buonaparte comes, it will be cut­throat for cut-throat, and the weakest must go to the wall; I
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