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THE FINISHING SCHOOLMASTER

It was recently supposed and feared that a
vacancy had occurred in this great national
office. One of the very few public Instructors
we had almost written the only oneas
to whose moral lessons all sorts of
Administrations and Cabinets are united in having
no kind of doubt, was so much engaged in
enlightening the people of England, that an
occasion for his services arose, when it was
dreaded they could not be rendered. It is
scarcely necessary to say who this special
public instructor is. Our administrative
legislators cannot agree on the teaching of The
Lord's Prayer, the Sermon on the Mount, the
Christian History; but they are all quite clear
as to the public teaching of the Hangman.
The scaffold is the blessed neutral ground on
which conflicting Governments may all accord,
and Mr. John Ketch is the great state
Schoolmaster.

Maria Clarke was left for execution at
Ipswich, Suffolk, on Tuesday the 22nd of
April. It was Easter Tuesday; and besides
the decent compliment to the Festival of
Easter that may be supposed to be involved
in a Public Execution at that time, it was
important that the woman should be hanged
upon a holiday, as so many country people
were then at leisure to profit by the improving
spectacle. It happened, however, that the
great finishing Schoolmaster was pre-engaged
to lecture, that morning, to other pupils in
another part of the country, and thus a
paragraph found its way into the
newspapers announcing that his humanising office
might, perhaps, be open for the nonce to
competition.

A gentleman of the county, distinguished
for his truth and goodness, has placed in our
hands copies of the letters addressed to the
Sheriff by the various candidates for this
post of instruction. We proceed to lay them
before our readers, as we have received
them, without names or addresses. In all
other respects they are exact copies from
the originals. This is no jest, we beg it to
be understood. The letters we present, are
literal transcripts of the letters written to
the High Sheriff of Suffolk, on the occasion
in question.

The first, is in the form of a polite note, and
has an air of genteel common-placelike
an invitation., or an answer to one.

Mr.        residing at         Southwark
will accept the office unavoidably declined by
Calcraft on Wednesday next viz to execute Maria
Clarke a speedy answer will oblige stating terms
say not less than £20.
To the High Sheriff of Suffolk.

The second, has a Pecksniffian morality in
it, which is very edifying.

Sir                                       20 April

This day i Was Reading the newspaper
When i saw the advertise for A hangman for that
unfortunate Woman if there is not A person come
fored and and that you cannot Get no one by the
time i Will come as A suBstitute to finish that
wich the law require

Yours respect
fully

prepaid
for the Govener of the

ipsWich Goal
Suffolk

The third, is respectful towards the great
finishing Schoolmaster, thoughsuch is fame!
it mis-spells a name, with which (as we have
elsewhere observed) the public has become
familiarised.

Sir                                   Saturday April 19/51

Seeing a statement in the Times of this
day that you wanted a person to execute Maria
Clarke & you could not get a substitute as Mr
Calcroft was engagd on Wednesday next if well
Paid I am Redey to do it myself an early
communication will oblige yours &c

P S. You must pay all expences Down as I am
in Desperate Circumstances hoping this is
in secreecy I am

In the fourth, the writer modestly recommends
himself as a self-reliant trustworthy
person.

Sir                         April th21/51

having understood you Want a Man on
Wednesday Morning to Perform the Office Of
hangman i beg most respectfully To Offer Myself
to your Notice feeling Confident i Am Abel to
undertake it.

From your obedient
Servant                         No
               Street              Square
White Chappel

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