Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Johnson > Political Literature > Candor in The Public Advertiser
  Political Pamphlets in Prose Woodfall’s editorship of the Advertiser  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

XVII. Political Literature.

§ 17. Candor in The Public Advertiser.

Two pamphlets, which appeared in 1764, and dealt with the constitutional questions raised by the prosecution of Wilkes, stand well above their fellows in ability and influence. The first appeared, originally, as A Letter to The Public Advertiser, and was signed “Candor.” It was an attack on Lord Mansfield for his charge to the jury in the Wilkes case and on the practice of general warrants. With a mocking irony, now pleasant, now scathing, the author works up his case, suiting the pretended moderation of his language to the real moderation of his reasoning. The same writer, we cannot doubt, under the new pseudonym “The Father of Candor,” put a practical conclusion to the legal controversy in his Letter concerning Libels, Warrants, etc., published in the same year. This masterly pamphlet attracted general admiration, and its cool and lucid reasoning, varied by an occasional ironic humour, did not meet with any reply. Walpole called it “the only tract that ever made me understand law.” The author remains undiscovered. The publisher, Almon, who must have known the secret, declared that “a learned and respectable Master in Chancery” had a hand in it.  11  Candor’s handwriting has been pronounced that of Sir Philip Francis;  12  but, clearly, in view of Almon’s evidence, he can only have been part author; and the placid, suave humour of the pamphlets reads most unlike him, and, we may add, most unlike Junius.   26

Note 11Anecdotes of Eminent Persons, vol. I, pp. 79, 80. Almon’s words obviously imply that the master in chancery was still living in 1797. He wrote again, in 1770, both anonymously and under the name Phileleutherus Anglicanus (Grenville Correspondence, vol. III, pp. clxxvi sqq., where the resemblance in manner to the Candor pamphlets is made obvious by extracts). [ back ]
Note 12. Parkes, Memoirs of Sir Philip Francis, vol. I, pp. 74–81 and 99–101. A facsimile of Candor’s handwriting is given in vol. II, plate 5. [ back ]

  Political Pamphlets in Prose Woodfall’s editorship of the Advertiser  

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