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Title: Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. — Volume 3
Author: Hunt, Henry
Language: English
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MEMOIRS

OF

HENRY HUNT, ESQ.

Written by Himself,

IN HIS MAJESTY'S JAIL AT ILCHESTER,

_IN THE COUNTY OF SOMERSET._



Volume 3


  "Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
  Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
  In every work regard the Writer's end,
  Since none can compass more than they intend;
  And if the means be just, the conduct true,
  Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due."
  POPE.



MEMOIRS OF HENRY HUNT.


This wanton outrage was perpetrated in the presence of those, who will,
perhaps, blush when they read this. I do not say that this was done by
the Magistrate; but it was done by the gang that surrounded him, and I
know the villain who did it. The poor thing lay senseless for some time;
no one of the numerous spectators daring to go to her assistance. When
she came to her senses, she was covered from head to foot with blood,
that had flowed from the wound, which was on the scalp, and was four
inches in length. In this state she came running to me, and made her
way up to the front of the procession:--we halted, horror-struck at her
appearance. The blood was streaming down her snowy bosom, and her white
gown was nearly covered with the crimson gore; her cap and bonnet and
clothes had been torn to rags; her fine black hair reached her waist;
and, in this state, she indignantly recounted her wrongs. O God, what I
felt! There were from four to five thousand brave Bristolians
present, who heard this tale, and with one accord they burst forth in
exclamations of revenge; every man of them was worked up to such a pitch
of excitement by the cruelty of the atrocious act, that they would have
instantly sacrificed their lives, to have executed summary justice upon
the cowardly authors of it. I own that I never was so near compromising
my public duty, by giving way to my own feelings, as I was at this
moment. Burning with indignation, I half turned my horse's head; but,
recovering my reason, I took the fair sufferer by the hand, and led her
forward, admonishing my friends not to be seduced into the trap, that
had been so inhumanly set for them. In this state we proceeded through
the streets of Bristol; the poor girl streaming with blood. I took her
to my inn, sent for a surgeon, and had the wound dressed and the scalp
sewed up. She never failed to attend the election every day afterwards,
and she displayed as genuine a specimen of female heroism, as ever I met
with in my life.

I could relate a hundred such instances of the manly conduct of my
loyal opponents during the election, if I chose; but, in spite of their
baseness, we continued steadily and resolutely to attend the poll, from
nine till four, for fifteen days; our enemies writhing with the expense
that was daily incurred, and groaning under the lash of my daily
exposures.

The above-named Mr. Goldney was, in his private character, esteemed a
very worthy man; but when he gave way to the baleful system of factious
politics, he became as great a tool, and as blind a bigot to the
over-ruling power of intimidation, as any one of the execrable gang that
composed the Members of the White Lion Club. "But list! O list!" Amiable
as Mr. Goldney is, he could not resist the temptation of _coming to
Ilchester_, out of his own County of Gloucester, forty miles, to _have a
peep at the captive in his cage_. I, however, felt just as much superior
to him, when I saw him here, as I did when he was running about with
Burn's Justice in his hand, exclaiming, "Stop, and hear the Riot Act
read!" If he meant to gratify himself, by having a peep at him, whom
the _Courier_ calls _a fallen leader of the rabble_, he never was more
disappointed in his life; for he came just at the time that I had
substantiated before the Commissioners all my charges against the Gaoler
and the Magisstrates.

Every evening, after coming from the hustings, I went to the public
Exchange, and delivered an oration to the assembled multitude, who
always came there at that time to hear an account of the transactions of
the day; for the Guildhall was not capable of containing a fiftieth
part of the inhabitants who were interested in the election. It will
be recollected, and let it never be forgotten, that not only the whole
press of Bristol, but the whole press of England was employed in
traducing and vilifying me; for I was daily exposing the two factions
who had united against me: in fact, that has been always the case, both
the factions have always united against _every_ friend of the people,
whether in or out of Parliament. Mr. Oldfield, in his History of the
Boroughs, gives this short account of this election: "Henry Hunt, Esq.
of Middleton Cottage, in Hampshire, offered himself as a candidate, upon
the old constitutional system, of incurring no expenses, nor canvassing
votes. He was received with every demonstration of popular enthusiasm,
though the newspapers were hired to traduce him, and every measure was
resorted to, that the ingenuity of his opponents could devise, to injure
him in the public opinion."

This is a brief, but a true, history of the case; this election was,
perhaps, one of the most severe and expensive contests that the White
Lion Club, or Tory Faction, ever had to encounter; and, for the purpose
of shortening it, every art, trick, and manoeuvre was resorted to, in
the vain hope of drawing me off from the main point, that of being
always present upon the hustings, and keeping open the poll. They
flattered themselves, too, with the idea, that it would be physically
impossible for me to hold out. I was, indeed, very ill, for I had caught
a cold, and laboured under an irritation of the lungs, which bordered
closely on inflammation, and was aggravated by daily speaking. The
papers announced, that I was suffering under a very severe fit of
illness, although I never quitted the hustings. This reached my family
at Rowfant, in Sussex, and they began to grow uneasy upon the subject.
Fortunately, they set off to Bristol the very day before one of the
most diabolical acts of malice and cowardice, that ever disgraced the
character of a human being, was put into execution by my despicable
opponents. One of the cowardly wretches wrote into Sussex, a letter to
one of my family (it was to a female too!) in the name of the Chairman
of my Committee, to say, that I had fallen a sacrifice to the fury of
the mob, whose rage had been turned against me by some circumstance.
The caitiff described, in very pathetic language, the distress of my
friends, and requested instructions for the funeral of the mangled
corpse. This letter was written in the most plausible manner; the
hand-writing and name of the Chairman of my Committee was forged, and
every thing was admirably calculated to give the impression, that it
was genuine truth. But, fortunately, this fiendish scheme failed of its
purpose; for, as my family had left Rowfant before the letter arrived,
the letter was never opened till we returned together after the election
was over.

The day subsequent to the closing of the election, Mr. Davis was to be
chaired; he having been returned by a very large majority, only _Two
Hundred and Thirty-five_ freemen having voted for me. I left Bristol on
that day for Bath, as I by no means wished to interrupt the ceremony of
chairing Mr. Davis, who was so very unpopular, that half the city were
sworn in as special constables on the occasion, and all the avenues were
barricaded and blockaded with three-inch deal planks, to prevent the
populace from making any sudden rush upon the procession. He was chaired
amidst the hisses, groans, and hootings of an immense majority of the
population. I had promised to return to dine with my friends the day
following.

The White Lion Club immediately printed and posted up a large placard,
containing the names, trades, and places of abode, of all those persons
who voted for me. This was done to injure them in their business, by
pointing them out to the malice and the vengeance of my opponents. But
I will now publish a list for a very different purpose, to hand their
names down to posterity, as follows:

_Bristol. July 22_, 1812. A LIST OF THE PERSONS WHO VOTED FOR MR. HUNT
AT THE LATE ELECTION.

_Those marked fr. are Freeholders, and voted as such._

Attwood John, cabinet-maker, Castle Precincts. Atkins George, tiler
and plasterer, St. Mary, Redcliff. Allen William, shipwright, St. Mary
Redcliff. Anderson George, gentleman, St. James (fr. St. James). Barnett
S. A. carpenter, St. Philip and Jacob. Baker Thomas, cordwainer, St.
Paul. Baker John, cordwainer, St. Paul. Baker Joseph, cordwainer, St.
Paul. Brown Charles, sailcloth-maker, St. Philip. Burge Samuel, cooper,
St. Paul. Bartlett Robert, cordwainer, St. Philip. Belcher Joseph,
tailor, Castle Precincts. Bright Newman, brickmaker, St. Philip (out).
Brown George, brightsmith, St. Philip. Brewer Richard, ironfounder, St.
Philip, Ballard John, tobacco-pipe-maker, St. Philip. Broad William,
freestone mason, St. Philip (fr. St. Paul). Bansill John, brazier, St.
James. Buffory Mark, tyler and plasterer, St. Augustine. Brownjohn
William, peruke-maker, Castle Precincts. Biddell John, printer, Temple.
Bright William, cutler, St. Philip. Bennett Elisha, labourer, St.
Philip. Briton William, house-carpenter, St. John. Bush Peter,
turner, Kingswood. Bright William, brightsmith, St. Paul. Beale
John, glasscutter, St. Mary Redcliff. Brookes Samuel, mason, Bitton,
Gloucestershire. Bowles Peter, cordwainer, Temple. Blacker Henry,
carpenter, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul.) Bennett Francis, brazier, Temple.
Beckett Charles, cooper, St. Paul. Bower William, tailor, St. James.
Clark W. N. carpenter, St. James (fr. St. James). Cardwell Thomas,
gentleman, St. Philip (fr. St. Michael). Codrington John, corkcutter,
St. Mary Redclif. Cole Joseph, butcher, St. James. Coles John,
upholsterer, St. Paul. Cork John, victualler, St. Augustine. Coombs
John, brightsmith, St. Philip. Coombs John, baker, St. James. Crew
Solomon, coal-miner, Bitton, Gloucestershire. Cunningham B. B.,
cordwainer, St. Mary Redcliff. Coddington Richard, corkcutter, Bath.
Clark John, toymaker, St. Philip. Dolman Charles, brightsmith,
Christ Church. Duffett John, brushmaker, St. Philip. Daniel Samuel,
barber-surgeon, St. Philip. Duffy Jonathan, labourer, St. Paul. Davis
James, miller, St. George. Daniel Thomas, painter, St. James. Davis
David, mason, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul). Davis William, victualler, Castle
Precincts. Duffett Daniel, brushmaker, St. Philip. Docksey Thomas,
peruke-maker, St. James. Ellis John, cordwainer, St. Philip. Edmonds
Richards, barber-surgeon, St. James. Elliott Alexander, tailor, Temple
(fr. Temple). Emers James, mason, St. Paul. Ellis James, brightsmith,
St. James. Eagle William, tailor, St. Philip. Francis James, cooper, St.
Michael. Foot John, cordwainer, St. Philip. Fudge George, mason, Temple
(fr. St. Philip). Fenley John, bookseller, St. James (fr. St. James).
Ferris John, tailor, Bath. Godwin John, wire-worker, St. Thomas. Griffin
John, shipwright, St. Michael. Grimes John, silk-weaver, St. James.
George John, stone-cutter, St. James. Green William, mariner,
Bedminster. Hughes Benjamin, blacksmith, St. Philip. Hobbs James, mason.
St. James. Hobbs William, mason, St. Philip. Haycock William, tailor,
St. Philip. Harding John, gentleman, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul). Hewlins
Moses, currier, St. Philip. Hopwood William, labourer, St. Philip. Hunt
James, cordwainer, Temple. Hole James, shoemaker, St. Paul (fr. St.
Paul). Hughes Joshua, cordwainer, St. Paul (fr. St. Michael) Hurst
Joseph, mason, St. James. Hope John, labourer, St. Michael. Hardwick
Robert, waterman, Hanham. Hone James, tailor, St. James. Haskins Samuel,
plasterer, St. Michael (fr. St. Michael.) Hemmings James, maltster,
Castle Precincts. Hunt William, hooper, Clifton. Autchinson, John,
currier, Temple (fr. Temple). Jones Richard, joiner, St. John. James
Thomas, brewer, St. James. Jewell William, smith, St. Mary Redcliff.
Jeremiah Edmond, wheelwright, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul.) Jennings
Benjamin, carpenter, St. Mary, Redcliff. James John, tailor, St. James
(fr. St. James.) James Philip, pin-maker, St. George. Jennings
James, tailor, St. Thomas. Jones Isaac, plumber, Temple. James John,
shipwright, St. Augustine. Kennecott Nicholas, tobacco-pipe-maker,
Bedminster. Knight William, labourer, St. James. Knight Joseph, broker,
St. Thomas (fr. St. Thomas.) Lovett John, waterman, St. Philip. Liscombe
Robert, carpenter and joiner, St. James (fr. St. James.) Lewis John,
mason, St. James. Lansdown William, hooper, St. Philip. Lewis Matthew,
mason, St. James. Leonard William, pork-butcher, St. James (fr. St.
James.) Lewis Edward, plumber, Redeliff. Languell Thomas, mason, St.
James. Lawful Francis, sawyer, St. Philip. Lancaster James, cordwainer,
St. James. Lewis John, joiner, Bridgewater. Liddiard James, turner,
Temple. Martin John, rope-maker, Temple. Morgan William, carpenter,
Redcliff (fr. St. Mary, Redcliff.) Meredith James, confectioner, St.
Stephen. Morgan William, glazier, St. Philip. Milton Francis, printer,
St. James. Mittens Thomas, cabinet-maker, St. Paul. Mountain Abraham,
blacksmith, St. Philip. Mutter Joshua, carpenter, St. Paul (fr. St.
Paul.) Moore Joseph, crate-maker, St. Mary, Redcliffe. Mitchell James,
sawyer, St. Paul. Melsom William, cheese-factor, St. James (fr. St.
Paul.) Norris John, tobacconist, St. Peter. Oliver George, victualler,
St. Mary, Redcliff (fr. St. Paul.) Owens Lewis, tailor and mercer, St.
Michael. Owen Robert, tiler and plasterer, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul.) Pymm
Thomas, currier, Christchurch. Phelps James, gardener, St Philip. Perry
James, jun. Cooper, St. Peter. Parker William, yeoman, St. Paul. Primm
Jacob, cordwainer, St. Michael. Prescott William, carpenter, St.
Philip. Palmer William, hat-maker, St. Philip. Pymm William, tailor,
Christchurch. Parfitt Thomas, cabinet-maker, St. Thomas. Perry Charles,
labourer, Frenebay. Pearce Joseph, cordwainer, St. Paul, (fr. St.
James.) Perrins John, potter, Temple. Parker James, carver and gilder,
St. James. Phillips Samuel, glass-maker, St. Philip. Parker Edward,
grocer, St. James (fr. St. James.) Philips Christopher, victualler,
St. Nicholas. Prigg Francis, iron-founder, St. Philip. Poole William,
tailor, St. Michael. Phillips William, plasterer, St. Phillip. Price
William, tiler and plasterer, St. Philip (fr. St. Paul.) Pollard
William, blacksmith, St. Nicholas. Penny Thomas, painter, Castle
Precincts. Phillips Thomas, saddler, Bath. Perrin Robert, painter,
St. Michael (fr. St. Michael.) Perrin William, jun. Cooper, St. Paul.
Philips James, turner, St. James. Palmer William, brass-founder,
Bedminster. Price James, shopkeeper, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul.) Roberts
John, baker, St. Philip. Rate John, shoemaker, St. Paul. Rowland Thomas,
carver, St. Stephen (fr. St. Stephen.) Rosser John, turner, St. James.
Rogers Churchman, yeoman, St. James. Rumley Benjamin, labourer, Temple.
Ravenhill Robert, bellows-maker, St. Philip. Rivers James, potter,
Temple. Rees David, stationer, Christchurch (fr. St. Paul.) Rogers John,
cooper, St. Mary, Redclif. Robins Charles, cabinet-maker, St. James.
Reynolds John, wheelwright, Castle Precincts (fr. Castle Precincts.)
Reed William, cordwainer, St. James. Radford Joseph, brass-founder,
Temple. Rawle William, cordwainer, St. Philip. Stanmore Samuel,
shipwright, Temple. Sexton, Daniel, trunk-maker, Temple. Sheppard John,
brazier, Temple. Stinchcomb William, cabinet-maker, St. James. Simms
Thomas, glass-cutter, Nailsea. Sheppard William, hatter, St. Philip.
Stringer Thomas, confectioner, St. Philip (fr. St. Philip.) Sheppard
Benjamin, clothier, Frome. Skone William, grocer, St. Paul. Smith John,
pewterer, St. Michael. Slocombe John, glazier, St. James. Sayce Thomas,
carpenter, St. Paul. Smith Thomas, shopkeeper, Temple. Stephens James,
carpenter, St. Augustine. Stokes John, joiner, St. Paul. Stretton
William, cooper, St. Nicholas. Sweet Thomas, potter, St. Philip. Stokes
Henry, cordwainer, Chepstow (fr. Temple.) Simms William, glassman,
Wraxall. Sims James, glass-maker, Nailsea. Skammell R. V. tiler and
plasterer, St. James. Searle Benjamin, plasterer, St. Philip. Simpkins
George, cordwainer, St. Paul. Smith William, ironmonger, St. Mary,
Redcliff (fr. St. Mary, Redcliff.) Snig William, box-maker, St. James.
Shackell Robert, cordwainer, Frampton (fr. St. James.) Thomas Timothy,
tallow-chandler, St. Stephen (fr. St. Stephen.) Taylor James,
brushmaker, St. Mary, Redcliff Thomas John, brushmaker, St. Mary,
Redcliff Tilly John, block-maker, St. Stephen. Tippet James,
shipwright, St. Augustine. Tilley William, crate-maker, Temple. Thomas
Thomas, carpenter, St. Paul. Tiler William, gentleman, Bedminster (fr.
St. James.) Taylor Thomas, glazier, St. Peter. Underaise James, merchant
tailor, St. James. Vaughan John, gentleman, St. Paul (fr. Temple,)
Walker Richard, accomptant, St. Michael (fr. St. Michael.) Westcott
James, cabinet-maker, St. Michael (fr. St. Michael.) Wood William,
twine-spinner, St. Philip. Whittington Thomas, carpenter and joiner,
Temple. Williams Isaac, carpenter, Mangotsfield. Weetch Robert,
undertaker, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul.) White John, mariner, Temple. Welsh
John, butcher, St. Philip. Williams Robert, cordwainer, St. Augustine.
Watts William, cordwainer, St. Paul. Watts Thomas, cordwainer, St.
Philip. Wilmot W. W. glass-cutter, Temple. White William, carpenter, St.
Paul. Wipperman Christopher, baker, St. Augustine (fr. St. Paul.) Wells
Robert, wheelwright, Bath. Wilson William, Accomptant, St. Paul. Ware
George, cordwainer, St. Paul (fr. St. Paul.) Webb George, carver and
gilder, St. Michael. Woodland William, turner, St. Philip (fr. St.
Philip.) Welch James, brickmaker, Binegar. Waters Benjamin, wine-hooper,
St. Philip. Wood John, clerk, Newton St. Loe. Young George, cutler, St.
Philip. Yearbury R. A. cordwainer, Frome.

I have recorded the names of these brave men, for the purpose of
handing them down to posterity, as a specimen of genuine patriotism
and disinterested love of Liberty. Men who, in the nineteenth century,
regardless of every personal consideration, and anxious only to perform
conscientiously what they considered to be a sacred duty to their
country, had the courage and the honesty to give their votes agreeable
to the dictates of their hearts, in spite of the terror and threats of
lawless power; in defiance of the corrupt influence of the corporation,
the clergy, and the merchants of Bristol, and all the bribes that were
held out to seduce them from giving me their support. Men such as these
deserve to be remembered with honour. I am bound to declare that, during
the election, I witnessed as great a degree of enthusiasm as was ever
exhibited by the people upon any occasion; and I beheld such daily
individual acts of heroism as would have done honour to the character of
the most revered Roman or Spartan patriot. My worthy friends Williams,
Cranidge, Brownjohn, William Pimm, and many others, were incessant in
their labours to assist me, and most cheerfully braved the anger and the
ungovernable rage of our opponents. We had daily to encounter the most
artful and unprincipled manoeuvres, which were put in practice to entrap
and mislead us. There was no mean and despicable art, nothing which was
likely to irritate and inflame, that was not tried, for the purpose
of throwing me off my guard; and all those who chose to try these
experiments upon my patience and my temper, let them commit any atrocity
however glaring, were sure to be shielded by the authorities. There was
no law, no protection for me or my friends; and we had only to rely upon
the goodness of our cause, our general forbearance, or our prompt and
courageous resistance to lawless violence. One day, towards the latter
end of the contest, a person introduced himself into my room (for any
one who asked was instantly admitted), and, after behaving in a very
improper manner, he placed himself in a boxing attitude, and commanded
me to defend myself, or he should floor me. I had no inclination to have
a set-to with a perfect stranger, and was about to request his immediate
departure, when he struck me a smart blow upon the chin, and then
affected to apologise for the insult, or rather assault, by saying,
that it arose entirely from the want of my keeping a proper guard. I,
however, instantly spoiled his harangue, by retaliating in a way that he
little expected: I seized the gentleman, and, having sprung with him out
of the door, I gave him, in spite of the most determined resistance, a
cross-buttock, and pitched him a neat somerset over the banisters, into
the landing-place of the ground-floor, before my friend Davenport had
scarcely left his seat. This being witnessed by some of my friends,
who were standing at the bottom of the stairs, and saw the fellow come
flying over the banisters, with part of my coat in his hand, which he
had seized hold of, and held fast in the struggle; they, without
farther ceremony, began "to serve him out" in proper stile, as he was
immediately recognized to be a sheriff's officer, and a notorious
bruiser, belonging to the White Lion faction; and if Mr. Davenport had
not rushed to his assistance, and secured him by consigning him to
the custody of two constables, he would have paid very dearly for his
insolent frolic; and, as it was, he came off very roughly, with several
bruises and a dislocated shoulder.

I had given my word to my friends, that on the day after the chairing of
Mr. Davis, I would return from Bath, and dine with them. I kept my word,
and I was met at Totterdown, about a mile from the entrance of the city,
and conducted through the streets in the most triumphant manner. I was
taken to the Exchange, where I protested against the illegal manner in
which the election had been carried by the lawless introduction of the
military force, and I pledged myself to petition Parliament against the
return of Mr. Davis; this pledge was received with every demonstration
of applause, and promises of pecuniary support were reiterated from
every quarter. I dined with a very large party of my friends, and thus
ended a contest as severe as ever was maintained at any election upon
record.

From this contest there resulted one benefit, which amply paid me for my
toils. During fifteen days, the people of Bristol had an opportunity of
hearing more bold political truths, than they had ever heard before;
both the factions of Whigs and Tories were exposed, and their united
and unprincipled efforts to deceive and cajole the people were freely
canvassed, and rendered incontrovertible.--There had always been in
Bristol two factions, nearly equally divided between the Whigs and
Tories; and the whole of the politics of the people consisted in
supporting these two factions, which were designated the _high_ and the
_low_ party. The opposition, or Whigs, had always contrived to make the
people believe that they were their friends, and that the Government, or
Tory faction, were their enemies; that the Whigs were every thing that
was pure and honourable, and disinterested and patriotic; but that the
Tories, or Blues, were every thing that is the reverse. During these
fifteen days, this delusion was dispelled, and the actions of the Whigs
were as rigidly discussed as those of the other faction; in fact, more
so, for the people all well understood the practice as well as the
principles of the Tories, but they had not till now been enlightened
upon the subject of the Whigs, so as plainly to see and understand their
situation. The task of enlightening them on this head, I made it my
business to accomplish, and, aided by the Whigs themselves, I did
accomplish it effectually. At the appearance of such an antagonist as I
was, all the leading Whigs, united with those whom they had heretofore
made the people believe to be their greatest enemies, their chiefs of
the low party, now left that party, and joined the high party, though
hitherto it had been the constant study and care of both these factions,
to make the people give credit to the sincerity and purity of the
opposition. To banish this delusion was my grand object, in which I
flatter myself, that I succeeded to a miracle. I not only recounted the
famous acts of the Whig administration, and dilated upon the sinecures,
pensions, and places of profit, that the Whigs enjoyed out of the
earnings of the people; but I also caused the list of them to be
published and placarded. There were the sinecures of Lord Grenville and
his family, the Marquis of Buckingham and others, placed side by side
with those of Lord Arden and the Marquis Camden; _Whigs_ and _Tories_
were blended together; and when this light was thrown upon the business,
the people soon saw through the mist of faction, by which they had been
kept in utter darkness. This mode of proceeding, of course, drew down
upon me the maledictions of both factions; nor was this all, for they
joined heartily in misrepresenting me, and fabricating every species
of calumny against me. There was no falsehood too gross to serve their
turn. They seem to have acted on the old rascally maxim, of throwing as
much dirt as possible, in the presumption that _some_ of it will stick.
Perhaps, since the invention of printing, no man had ever been so
grossly attacked and belied as I was, by the whole of the public press;
with the exception of Mr. Cobbett, who stood manfully by me. I do not
know a single public newspaper in the kingdom that did not vilify me,
and labour in all ways to sully my character, and to depreciate my
exertions. The liberal and enlightened editor of the _Examiner_,
took the lead in making these attacks upon me, and professed to be
desperately alarmed, lest the public should imagine that he was the
vulgar candidate for Bristol, of the name of _Hunt_. He not only
disclaimed all connection with me, or even knowledge of me, but he
professed to lament, as a misfortune, that _his_ name was "Hunt." This
being the subject of conversation one night, when Sir Francis Burdett
and some other friends were spending the evening with Mr. Cobbett, in
Newgate; the Baronet, speaking of this foul abuse from Mr. Leigh Hunt,
said "that the editor of the _Examiner_ was not worthy to wipe the shoes
of his friend Hunt." This was what I was afterwards told by those who
were present. Nothing, indeed, could be more unfair than the conduct of
Mr. Leigh Hunt upon this occasion, because he was not writing from his
own knowledge, nor from the knowledge of any one that he could rely
upon; but all his information must have been derived from the venal
press; and to be sure, I was bespattered and misrepresented as much
by the opposition press, as I was by that of the ministerial hacks. I
freely forgive Mr. Hunt, however, as I have no doubt that he was imposed
upon, in fact, he has long, long since, honourably done me ample
justice, and made amends for his former attacks and mis-statements.

After the election was over, I returned by the way of Botley, in
Hampshire, on purpose to pay a visit to my friend Cobbett, who had just
been liberated from Newgate, after having been imprisoned there for _two
years_, if it might be called imprisonment, though I can scarcely call
it imprisonment, when compared to my incarceration in this infamous
bastile. I do not hesitate to say, that one month's imprisonment in this
gaol, is a greater punishment than one year's imprisonment in Newgate;
and that I have suffered many more privations during the FORTY DAYS Of
my solitary confinement here, than Mr. Cobbett suffered during the whole
of the two years that he was in Newgate. As I have before said, his
sentence was not much more than living two years in London in lodgings.
To be sure, he paid dear for that accommodation, but actually little
more than he would have paid for ready furnished lodgings, of equal
goodness, in any other part of London. He would have paid just as much
for good lodgings upon Ludgate-Hill; and his lodgings in Mr. Newman's
house were equal, if not superior, to any on Ludgate-Hill. All his
friends had free access to him, from eight o'clock in the morning till
ten at night, and his family remained with him night and day. As
I visited him a great deal, I know how well he was at all times
accommodated. When I knocked at Mr. Newman's door, and asked for
Mr. Cobbett, I was received with attention by the servant, and
introduced immediately; in fact, the reception given by Mr. Newman's
servants to Mr. Cobbett's visitors, was much more respectful, and
more attentive and accommodating, than they ever experienced from the
servants of Mr. Cobbett at his own house; at least it always struck me
so, as my friend Cobbett's servants were not always the best mannered in
the world, I mean his domestic servants, those who were not under his
management altogether, but under the direction and management of the
female part of his family. In truth, I do not remember ever going to Mr.
Cobbett's house twice following, without seeing new faces, or rather new
maid servants. Mrs. Cobbett was, what was called amongst the gossips,
very _unfortunate_ in getting maid servants; they seldom suited long
together. But not so with Mr. Cobbett; it was quite the reverse with
him: his servants about his farms always lived as long with him as they
conducted themselves with propriety; he was, indeed, what is called
very lucky the choice of his servants. For years and years, and years
together, when I went to visit him, I found the same faces, the same
well-known names. The same tenant occupied the same cottage; the same
carter drove the same team; the same ploughman held the same plough; the
same thrasher occupied the same barn; and the same shepherd attended the
flock. The names of Dean, Jurd, Coward, and Hurcot, and many others,
were for a number of years, as familiar to me as the names of my own
servants. The editors of the venal hireling press, and the enemies of
Mr. Cobbett's political writings, have always represented him as a bad
master, and as being capricious, cruel, and tyrannical amongst his
servants and poorer neighbours; and by means of as foul a conspiracy
against him as ever disgraced the age in which we live, or as ever
disgraced the courts of justice in any country. The calumny about _Jesse
Burgess_ was propagated from one end of the land to the other, by the
whole venal press of the kingdom, sanctioned by the dastardly conduct of
the hireling barristers of the day, particularly by the infamous conduct
of Mr. Counsellor, now Judge Burrough. The whole of this was a base,
fraudulent, and infamous transaction. Mr. Cobbett has behaved very ill
to me ever since his return from America; his desertion of me at a time
of danger and difficulty, and his neglecting to aid me with his pen, in
the herculean task which I have had to perform in this bastile, must to
every liberal mind appear unpardonable. Such a struggle, and made by a
prisoner under such circumstances too, to detect, expose, and punish
fraud, cruelty, tyranny, and lust, perpetrated within the walls of
an English gaol, surely deserved the assistance of every enemy of
oppression.--Mr. Cobbett having failed to render me the slightest
assistance, and by his silence having even done every thing that lay in
his power to counteract my exertions, and to encourage my cowardly and
vindictive enemies to destroy me, it will not be imagined that I shall
write with any degree of undue partiality towards him, or that I can be
prejudiced so much in his favour as to exceed the bounds of truth. But I
have a duty to perform to myself, and a duty to perform to the public,
and no feeling of personal irritation on my part, arising from neglect
on his, shall induce me to withhold the truth. I most unequivocally and
most solemnly declare, from my own personal knowledge, that Mr. Cobbett
was one of the _kindest_, the _best_, and the _most considerate
masters_, that I ever knew in my life. His servants were indeed obliged
to work for their wages, as it was their duty to do; but they always had
an example of industry and sobriety set them by their master; they were
always treated with the greatest kindness by him; they were well paid
and well treated in every respect; and the best proof, if any were
wanting, after what I have said, that they were well satisfied with
their employer, is, that they all lived with him for very long periods,
and that those who left his service did so not in consequence of any
dislike to their MASTER, and were always anxious to return to him.

While on the subject of servants, I may be allowed to say a word
respecting myself: I was never accused, even by the venal hirelings of
the press, of being a bad master; but, on the contrary, I was always
proverbial for being a good one. The fact that I was so, is abundantly
proved by one circumstance. When I left my farm in Wiltshire, and went
to reside at Rowfant, in Sussex, my old servants followed me there, a
distance of nearly one hundred miles, so that in Sussex I had the same
servants, the whole time I remained there, that had lived with me and my
father for, from ten to thirty years before; they all followed me into
Sussex at their own risk, and they remained with me as long as I lived
in that county; and when I left it to go into Hampshire, they also all
left it, and accompanied me. This is the best evidence that can be given
of my being a good master; yet I have no hesitation in saying, that
there never was a better master living than Mr. Cobbett. I was, however,
_more fortunate_ than he was in my domestic servants; for in twenty
years I have only had three cooks, three housemaids, and three men
servants, each of them having lived seven years, and none of them having
left us till they married and settled; and, thank God, it is a great
satisfaction they have all done well, improved their situation in life,
and got up in the world. The man servant and two maid servants, whom I
have now remaining with me, to take care of my cottage, have lived with
me, I think it is now nearly eight years.

During the whole time that Mr. Cobbett was in Newgate, I was in the
constant habit of visiting him; there was never a month, and seldom a
fortnight passed, that I did not go to London to see him. Up to this
period I had always received from Mrs. Cobbett the greatest civility and
attention, in return for my attention to her husband. I was never an
evening in London but I passed it with my friend who was in prison, and
very delightful and rational parties we used to have in Mr. Cobbett's
apartments; these parties consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Cobbett, Sir Francis
Burdett, Col. Wardle, Major Cartwright, Major Worthington, Mr. Peter
Walker, Mr. Samuel Millar, and a few other select friends, all staunch
assertors of the cause of Liberty. I will relate two circumstances which
occurred at these meetings, because I have always considered them to
have had a very important share in creating the political hostility
that has since existed between Sir F. Burdett and myself, and to have
ultimately led to that coolness which has been so visible in the conduct
of Mr. Cobbett towards me, during the last two years. There is no breach
of confidence in my mentioning them, and the narrative will shew by what
trifles important results may be produced. One evening, Sir Francis
and Mr. Cobbett were speaking in very warm terms of my exertions in
procuring a Requisition which led to the first County Meeting held at
Wells, in Somersetshire; and the former was giving me great credit for
having roused such a large, long, dormant county, and for having made
such a favourable impression upon the Free-holders, in the cause of
Reform. With the intention of putting an end to such overwhelming praise
bestowed on me to my face, I replied, that I was a zealous and devoted
political disciple of the Baronet, that I would continue to follow his
praiseworthy example, and never would desert the cause in which we were
embarked. "But," said I, "remember, Sir Francis, that at the same time
that I promise you never to withdraw my zealous and faithful support
to those principles which you advocate, and of the partizans of which
principles you are deservedly the leader; yet, if ever you should _stand
still_, so far from promising you, that I also shall _halt_, I assure
you that nothing shall deter me from proceeding; then, and only then,
shall I leave you." What induced me to utter this speech, I cannot tell;
I certainly had not the slightest opinion or suspicion that the Baronet
would ever _stand still_. It was the farthest thing in the world from my
intention to say any thing to create surmises, or to give the slightest
offence. My words were merely a sort of involuntary, random-shot
effusion of the heart, meant only to evince my sincerity, and to silence
the praises which were bestowed upon me to my face. It certainly had the
latter effect; it immediately put a stop to the conversation altogether.
I saw that I had unintentionally committed a blunder; I saw, or
thought that I saw, Mr. Cobbett look at me with a most inquiring eye,
endeavouring to discover whether my words were meant to convey an
impression that I really suspected that the Baronet would ever _stand
still_. God is my witness, I had not at the time the slightest idea of
the sort; for Sir Francis Burdett, in his professions and conversation,
if not in his actions, always appeared to desire for the people the
full extent of that liberty for which I was contending, namely, the
representation of the whole of them in the House of Commons. Sir Francis
Burdett drew up instantly, and I perceived that I had, without meaning
it, cast a damp upon the cheerfulness that had previously prevailed.
There was, however, no room for explanation. I looked grave myself, and
my mind was occupied with such thoughts as had never obtruded themselves
before; not created by what I had said, but by the impression which it
appeared to have made upon my hearers. Whether it was imagination, or
whether there was any just ground for it, I do not know, but I always
fancied, from that time forward, that the Baronet was not so familiar as
he was before; and, although we continued upon the best of terms, that
he manifested a degree of reserve that I had never previously observed.

The other blunder which I made was as follows:--one evening, when there
was a large party, and Mr. Cobbett had been keeping us in a roar of
laughter by his wit and vivacity, the very life and soul of the company,
which he always was when he chose, all at once, in the midst of
our mirth, he exclaimed, addressing himself to me, "Hunt, I have a
_particular_ favour to ask of you; will you promise to grant it me?"
This was said with great earnestness, and with peculiar emphasis. I
replied, "if it is any thing in reason and within my power, I will; but
let me know what it is, and I have no doubt that I shall gratify your
wish." He urged me again and again to promise him before-hand--all eyes
were fixed upon me, and Mrs. Cobbett appeared by her looks to desire
that I should comply with her husband's request, evidently indeed
shewing that she anticipated what it was he wished me to promise him.
This earnestness made me press him to explain, and at the same time I
repeated my assurance that I would comply with his wish, if within my
power. I own I expected that he was about to get me to promise him, in
the presence of our mutual friends, that I would accomplish something of
importance; as he knew if I once gave my word, that nothing would deter
me from endeavouring to carry my promise into effect. Expectation was
upon the tiptoe, every one seeming anxious to know what was the object
of such a serious and almost solemn request. "Well," said he, "_promise
me then that you will never wear white breeches again_!" Every one
appeared thunder-struck, that the mountain had brought forth such a
mouse. I had on a clean pair of _white cord breeches_, and a neat pair
of top boots, a fashionable, and a favourite dress of mine at that
time. There was a general laugh, and as soon as this subsided, all were
curious to hear my answer. It was briefly this: "I certainly will, upon
one condition." "What is that?"--"Why, that you will promise me never to
wear _dirty breeches_ again." Cobbett at the time had on a remarkably
dirty pair of old drab kerseymere breeches. The laugh was now turned
against my friend, and I instantly felt sorry for the _repartee_. I saw
that my friend was hurt. He thought it unkind, and dropped his under
lip. Mrs. Cobbett's eyes flashed the fire of indignation, and she
was never civil to one afterwards. Nothing could be farther from my
intention than to hurt the feelings of my friend; it was an ill-natured
and thoughtless, although a just retaliation. At all events I was very
sorry for it, and it called to my recollection an old saying, which was
very commonly used by my father, "a fool's bolt is soon shot."

In consequence of Mr. Cobbett having given me the support of his able
pen previous to the Bristol election, every exertion was made to induce
him not to write upon that occasion in my favour. On the day that I was
going down to Bristol, I was sitting with Mr. Cobbett, in his room in
Mr. Newman's house, in Newgate, and consulting with him about the best
plan of operation, when a gentleman was introduced; he was a stranger to
me, and Mr. Cobbett rose hastily, and said, "walk this way, my Lord,"
and instantly took him into the next room. After having remained with
him some time, and then sent him down the back stairs. He returned to
me, laughing, and informed me that it was Lord F----c, who had been
endeavouring to prevail upon him not to support me for Bristol, but to
give his aid to Sir Samuel Romilly. The reader will, however, have seen
by the letter, and the observations published in my last two numbers,
selected from Mr. Cobbett's Register at that period, how little weight
those attempts to injure me in his opinion had upon him. But my
enemies took a more effectual course to injure me with Mr. Cobbett, by
whispering calumny to those who were more ready to listen to it than he
was; they assailed _Mrs._ Cobbett, and endeavoured to injure me in
the estimation of my friend, by poisoning the ear of his wife. I may,
perhaps, relate a few instances of this sort hereafter. But there was
one act of baseness that ought to be, and shall be recorded, to enable
the world to form a proper judgment of the villain who could be guilty
of it. It occurred at the latter end of the year 1811 or at the
beginning of the year 1812, at the time when there was such a desperate
attempt made to impose upon the public, by endeavouring to persuade
them that a one pound note and a shilling, were equivalent to a
guinea, although the latter was selling in the market at the time for
twenty-seven shillings.

As I have alluded to the paper system, I may as well, before I proceed
to my promised story, mention one circumstance connected with it. To
expose that system was always a favourite scheme with Mr. Cobbett, and
he was now anxious to try the question with a country banker, to shew
that, notwithstanding the Bank of England was protected against paying
in specie, yet the country banks were liable to pay in gold. If you
carried 50_l_. to the Bank of England of their notes, scribbled over
with the lying formula "I promise to pay," instead of giving cash for
them, they only give you other paper of "I promise to pay," in exchange.
If you carried 50_l_. of country notes to the bank which had issued
them, instead of giving you cash, they gave you Bank of England notes in
exchange. Mr. Cobbett very much wished to have this question tried,
and, at his request, I promised him that the first time I went into
the country I would do it. Being at Bath soon afterwards, and having
received, in payment of rent, some of Sir Benjamin Hobhouse's bank
notes, I took my tenant with me to the Bank, and tendered twenty-six
pounds worth of their notes, for which I demanded cash in payment. They
refused to give it, and tendered in return twenty-six pounds in Bank of
England paper. This I declined to receive, and persisted in my demand
for cash. One of the partners was called; and, upon my peremptorily
demanding payment in coin, he as peremptorily refused to pay it, and
once more offered me Bank of England paper. This I again declined to
take, assuring him, that if he did not pay me the amount in cash, I
would bring an action against him for the debt, and compel him to do
so. This then he treated with great levity, and I left his shop and
the twenty-six pounds of bank notes together. I immediately went to an
attorney in Bath, and instructed him to bring an action against the firm
of Hobhouse and Co. for a debt of twenty-six pounds, to which I offered
to make an affidavit. When I explained the circumstance, the Bath
attorney declared that he would not act. I then applied to my own
attorney in London, who politely declined the honour of conducting such
a suit, as he very honestly said, that if he did conduct it, he must
never expect to have another bill discounted, or any accommodation
from one of these formidable country bankers. At length, after some
difficulty, Mr. Cobbett procured me an attorney in London, who commenced
an action against the firm of Hobhouse and Co.

I will now proceed to my story, which is, indeed, connected in some
degree with what I have just related. While I was in the country,
at Glastonbury, I let several little odd lots of land by auction,
specifying that those who might become tenants should find security for
payment of the rent. Mr. John Haine, a perfect stranger to me, took the
manor-house, orchard, and the fishery within the manor, for thirty-six
pounds a-year, for three years. The next morning, when he came to sign
and complete his contract, I told him, that, as he was a stranger to me,
and as I had great trouble in collecting my rents, I must require him to
give security for the payment of the rent. Mr. Haine, who was a man of
considerable property, felt very indignant at this proposition, and
certainly expressed his indignation in no very equivocal terms. In the
course of some rather warm conversation, I told him, that I should
expect he would pay the rent in cash, if he were called upon to do so.
He contended that I could not compel him to do that; however, to shew me
that he was a man of property, and to get rid of all difficulty about
finding security for the payment of the rent, he pulled out of his
pocket several hundred pounds in bank notes, and offered to pay me down
the three years' rent, amounting to one hundred and eight pounds,
which money he tendered to me upon the table, saying, that it was no
difference to him, and that it would at once save trouble and the
expense of drawing up any agreement or lease, as I should have nothing
to do but to give him a receipt. At first I declined to do this, but a
person who was with me suggested, that, if I allowed Mr. Haine five per
cent. for the money, nothing could be more equitable on both sides. This
was at once assented to; I threw my tenant back five per cent. and gave
him a receipt for the three years' rent; we had, therefore, no occasion
for any settlement till the three years were expired, when we renewed
the agreement, and never had a word of dispute as to the rent afterward.

This, however, led to the following misrepresentation, by one of those
persons who had been very pressing to induce Mr. Cobbett not to write
in my favour on my becoming a candidate for Bristol, but to support the
cause of Sir Samuel Romilly. This man, one William Adams, a currier, of
Drury Lane, one of the pillars of the Westminster Rump, had frequently
been traducing me to Mr. Cobbett, who always dared him to the proof of
any of the calumnies that he urged against me; and, in order to get
rid of the fellow's impudent and malignant representations, told him
plainly, that he should not be prejudiced against me without proof.
"But," added he, "Adams, I promise you, that if you will bring me proof
that Mr. Hunt has ever been guilty of a dishonest or dishonourable act,
I will give him up instantly, and will have no more to do with him:
but, till you do this, I beg you will refrain from all your little
tittle-tattle about his wife, of whom you appear to know nothing."

Adams took his departure, but called again some time after, saying,
that he had been to Bristol fair, and he now could substantiate, upon
unquestionable authority, that I had been guilty of a most flagrant act
of dishonesty to all my tenants at Glastonbury. "Well," said Cobbett,
"let us hear what it is." Adams proceeded as follows:--"Mr. Hunt went
down to Glastonbury, and under a threat of compelling all his tenants to
pay their rent in specie, he induced them to advance him three years'
rent, for which he gave them receipts. But, no sooner had they paid
him their rent, than the mortgagee came, and made them all pay it over
again, so that all his tenants were paying double rents." "Well," said
Cobbett, "if this be true, it is a very dishonourable act; but, as I
have ascertained that the last story you told me, about his having
turned his wife out of doors to starve, without making her any
allowance, is a fiction, or, to speak plainly, I have ascertained it to
be a most scandalous and wicked falsehood, you must excuse me if I do
not believe one word of this affair, about his tenants, till you bring
me some better proof than your bare assertion." At length, Adams
confessed that he was only told so by a person with whom he met at
Bristol fair. The fact was, that Mr. Haine had related the circumstance
at Bristol amongst his friends, just as it happened; Adams heard of
it, and out of such slender materials, he manufactured as base and as
unfounded a lie as ever defiled the lips of an inhabitant of Drury-Lane
or St. Giles's. Mr. Cobbett saw at once through the villainy of this Mr.
Currier Adams, and he always afterwards treated him; as he deserved,
with merited contempt. This Adams is the person who, in the Court of
King's Bench, upon the trial of "Wright _versus_ Cobbett," for a libel,
(if Wright's and the other reports are true,) swore that he had several
times assisted in turning Hunt out of the room at public meetings. This
is a most bare-faced falsehood as ever was stated in a court of justice;
and Mr. Cobbett, who knew that it was false, should have indicted the
fellow for perjury. No human being ever laid hands upon me in the whole
course of my life, to turn me out of a room, either public or private,
with the exception of the ruffians who endeavoured to drive me and my
friends out of the theatre at Manchester, in the year 1818. The very
idea of Mr. Currier Adams ever attempting to do any such thing, is
absolutely ludicrous. If the ruffian had said that he had often been
hired to assail me at the Crown and Anchor meetings, for the purpose of
preventing the truths that I delivered being heard there, he might have
told the truth; but to swear that he or any of his gang had ever dared
to lay hands on me, either at a public or a private meeting, is as
arrant a falsehood as ever was uttered at the Old Bailey.

As I observed before, when the election was over at Bristol I returned
to Rowfant, in Sussex, by the way of Botley, in Hampshire, to
congratulate my friend upon his release from Newgate, and to talk over
the election at Bristol. When I arrived there with my friend Davenport,
Mr. Cobbett received us with that hearty welcome which he was accustomed
to give; but the other part of the family behaved in the most rude,
unhandsome, and disgusting manner, both to Mr. Davenport and myself. I
shall not descend to particulars; but I am sure my friend Davenport will
never forget it, as long as he lives. There is, however, no accounting
for the conduct of some women. Mr. Cobbett was always, as far as I was
capable of seeing, a kind and indulgent husband, as well as a most fond
father, and this he carried even to a fault; and it now appeared very
evident that he began to feel his error. But perhaps Socrates would
never have proved himself so great a philosopher, if he had not been
blessed with the little _ripplings_ of Xantippe.

I returned to Rowfant, where every thing had gone on pretty well in my
absence, under the care of my brother and my old Wiltshire servants. The
hay was all made, and the harvest was near at hand. I soon recovered
from the excessive exertion which I had undergone at Bristol, an
exertion, such as few men ever overcome, and in consequence of which, my
family always said, I was seven years older. It is a fact, that my hair
turned grey during the three weeks that I was at Bristol, and I have no
doubt but it was occasioned by excessive mental and corporeal efforts.
On our arrival at Rowfant we found the infamous letter, which was
written from Bristol to my family, giving a detailed and sanctimonious
account of my death. I have met with a great number of base scoundrels
during my political life, but it was reserved for the gentlemen
of Bristol to find among them a monster in human form, capable of
committing so detestable and cowardly an act as that. The people of
Bristol are proverbial for their bravery; witness the Belchers, Pierce,
Neate, &c. but what is called the _gentry_ of Bristol, with a very few
exceptions, are the most mean, dastardly, selfish, and cowardly of
their species. Burke's definition of a Bristol merchant is truly
characteristic. "He has no church but the Exchange; no Bible but his
ledger; and no God but his gold!!!" Burke stood a contested election for
Bristol, and represented that city many years in Parliament, and he well
knew the character of the dominant classes. I believe that this race of
Bristolians are greatly degenerated since Burke's time. The people, the
populace, are brave, generous, and humane; but the merchants and gentry,
as they are called, are the most selfish, the most corrupt, the most
vulgar, the most ignorant, the most illiberal, and the most time-serving
race that are to be found in Europe. It is said that a Bristol man is
known all over the world for his underhanded, tricking, overreaching,
sharper-like dealing; he is described to be exactly the reverse of a
Liverpool merchant; and it is added, (and the sarcasm is not too bitter)
that you may know a Bristol merchant, by his always sleeping with one
eye open. There are, of course, some very honourable exceptions, though
I am compelled to say, that I met with very few instances of liberality,
Christian charity, or even common honesty amongst them, while I was
there. The Corporation is the richest in the world, perhaps, except
London; while the freemen, whose property goes to enrich the said
Corporation, are the very poorest freemen in the world. Queen Anne
granted a charter to the city, by which the daughters of a freeman
confer upon their husbands the right of voting at an election. Tradition
says, that the Queen, when at Bristol, took notice that the women were
so remarkably plain, that she conferred this boon upon them as a sort
of dower; so that whoever marries the daughter of a freeman, is himself
immediately entitled to the freedom of the city. So that the freedom of
Bristol may be gained by birth, by marriage, or by servitude. While,
however, I relate this circumstance, I do not mean to concur in the
assertion, that the women of Bristol are proverbially ugly; on the
contrary, some of them are very pretty; and I recollect that, when I was
a young man, Bristol justly boasted of having given birth to one of the
handsomest women of the age. Miss Clementina Atwood, who was a native of
Bristol, was, at the period when I knew her, universally esteemed, and
in my estimation was the most beautiful, elegant, and accomplished
female in the British dominions. I remember riding from Enford to
Bristol and back again, a distance of ninety-two miles, on the same day,
only for the chance of passing a few hours in her society; and the worst
of it was, that I was disappointed at last, as she had left Bristol for
a few days, with her friend Miss Rigg, whose mother was just deceased.
But I passed the day with her cousins, and returned home in the evening.

I now directed my attention towards the management of my farm, with
as much zeal as I had recently directed it to the concerns of the
election. My natural disposition, my taste, and my habits, all led me
to the enjoyment of domestic comforts, in a rural sphere. I was always
doatingly fond of the country, country pursuits, and a country life. The
sports of the field--hunting, shooting, &c., to me afforded the most
captivating delight. The pleasures of cultivating the soil, and
attending to the growth and progress of the crops, can only be known
to, and can only be estimated by, one who has a perfect knowledge of
agricultural pursuits. Then, the domestic felicity enjoyed in a quiet,
cheerful country house, surrounded by one's own family, and every now
and then a good neighbour and sincere friend dropping in, has always
been to me that sort of exquisite enjoyment which I could never find in
any other situation, or in any other occupation. My natural taste is so
domestic, that I should not wish, on my own account, ever to mingle in
the busy haunts of man. I could freely remain in the country, and never
enter a city or a town again. Nothing but a sense of public duty should
ever induce me to sacrifice myself by residing in a town; and if I
could once see my country free, and the people happy, and honestly
represented, the greatest blessing I could wish for, would be, to pass
uninterrupted, a tranquil old age in the country, far away from the
harassing turmoil, danger, and misery of boisterous, unprofitable
politics. But the man who would immolate the interest, the honour, the
freedom, and the happiness of his country, to gratify his own love of
ease and comfort, is unworthy the name of patriot. I can scarcely
hope to be permitted to enjoy such unmixed bliss, such delightful
tranquillity, during the remainder of that short race which I have to
run in this sublunary world; neither shall I sigh and pine after that,
which it appears fate has forbidden.

In the early part of this year 1812, there had been great riots in the
North; great mischief was done at and near Nottingham, by the Luddites
destroying knitting frames. On the 9th of January, a number of those
Luddites were taken up at Nottingham, for breaking frames, and they
showed a spirit of resistance, and had several skirmishes with the
military. On the 16th of March, the Spanish constitution was settled by
the Cortes, which Cortes abolished the Inquisition in Spain, on the
20th of June. On the 9th of May, _Napoleon left Paris for Poland_, and
entered upon that fatal campaign which ended in his ruin. The Senate met
in Paris, and decreed extraordinary levies of soldiers, and an immense
army was formed, to attempt the subjugation of Russia. Both Prussia and
Austria had now signed treaties of alliance with France. A negotiation
was entered into between France and Russia, but without success; and the
latter power concluded treaties with England and Sweden. Having passed
the Vistula, Napoleon declared war against Russia on the 22nd of June.
The French then advanced, and entered Wilna on the 28th of June; upon
which the Russians formed a plan of a gradual retreat, and the invaders
pursued them towards the Russian frontiers. Many partial actions took
place, and on the 17th of August, the Moscovites sustained a severe
defeat at Smolensko, which city they set on fire before it was entered
by the French. A second battle was fought at Viasma; but that at
Borodino, on the 7th of September, was most decisive in favour of the
French; when the Russians, having been completely routed, left open
the road to Moscow, into which city Buonaparte entered on the 14th;
Rostophin, the Russian Governor, having taken the dreadful resolution to
have it set on fire in various quarters, previous to the entry of the
French army. He accomplished his purpose by means of criminals, whom he
employed under the promise of having their lives saved. It is said, that
30,000 Russians were burnt in this city, whose wounds rendered them
incapable of escaping from this terrible conflagration. Half the city
was destroyed before Napoleon and his troops entered, and the work of
ruin was nearly completed before a stop could be put to the flames.
Napoleon ordered the execution of all those that were detected in
spreading and increasing the fire. This city being mostly built of wood,
nothing could equal the dreadful ravages which the flames committed.

Calculating too confidently upon the character of the Emperor Alexander
alone, which he knew well to be timid and indecisive, and anticipating
that the moment he approached his capital, the Russian sovereign would
sue for peace, in which case the French troops might take up their
winter quarters in Moscow with perfect safety, Napoleon had pushed on to
Moscow so late as the 14th of September, the time when a Russian winter
was already approaching. In thus calculating upon the fears of his
enemy, Napoleon was perfectly correct, and it was well known that
Alexander would come himself, with open arms, as he had before done,
to ask for terms of peace from Napoleon, the moment after the decisive
battle of Brorodino, if he had not been prevented by his nobles. It was
by his not taking the nobles into the account that the French Emperor
failed in his calculations. It is confidently said, and I can readily
believe the fact, that Alexander was threatened with sharing a similar
fate to that which was inflicted upon his _Father Paul_, if he offered
to make any terms with Napoleon; these nobles having determined to
burn riot only Moscow, but, if necessary, Petersburgh itself, and
three-fourths of the inhabitants, in order to harass and destroy the
French army by the frost, as they well knew that they could not conquer
it by arms.

I will now leave Napoleon amidst the ruins of Moscow, and return to
what was passing in the southern parts of Europe; and if I dwell a
considerable time on the events of this year, my readers must recollect
that it was the most interesting period in the history of the world, and
that more important events occurred in this year than in any other that
I have recorded.

In England, the manufacturing population began to suffer the greatest
distresses, and consequently rioting and Ludditism were the order of the
day. Great and destructive riots occurred at Macclesfield, Manchester,
Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, and various towns in the North: the people
were ignorant of the cause of their distresses, and they wreaked their
vengeance upon the knitting frames, machinery in general, and destroyed
the property of their employers. These excesses they were, no doubt, led
to in consequence of the delusions and deception practised upon them
by the venal hirelings of the public press, under the influence and
controul of the Government. Every particle of the real liberty of the
press was nearly destroyed; almost every liberal writer in the kingdom
had been prosecuted by the _ex-officio_ informations of the vindictive
and remorseless tyrant, Sir Vicary Gibbs, the Attorney-General,
encouraged by the equally cruel and remorseless Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Spencer Perceval. Mr. Cobbett, Messrs. Hunts, of the
_Examiner_, Mr. Drakard, of the _Stamford News_, Mr. Peter Finnerty,
and other literary characters, were incarcerated in the dungeons of
the borough-mongers. Under this system eight persons were executed at
Manchester for rioting, and many others suffered death in various parts
of the country.

While Napoleon in person had been successful in every battle that he
fought, and had penetrated even to the Russian capital, his Generals in
the south had been much less successful, probably in consequence of
the main energies of the empire being directed to the great object of
subduing the powerful Autocrat. The French armies in Spain sustained
several signal defeats. Ballasteros defeated the French, and the grand
combined army, under Wellington, stormed Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajos.
This army also took Salamanca on the 16th of June. On the 1st of July
it was ascertained that the number of prisoners of war in England was
54,517. Another battle was fought at Salamanca, on the 23d of July, when
the French were again defeated by Wellington's army. On the 11th of
August, Lord Wellington entered Madrid, and on the following day the
French evacuated Bilboa. On the 19th of August, Soult abandoned the
siege of Cadiz, and on the 27th Seville was taken by the combined army
of English and Spaniards. It is necessary to record the fact, that
during the whole of the war in Spain, whenever the French obtained
possession of a place, the inquisition was abolished; whenever the
English got possession, the inquisition was restored with all its
terrors, until at length the Cortes formally caused it to be abolished,
in the latter end of June, in this year. While these things were going
on abroad, an event occurred at home that caused a great political
sensation throughout the whole kingdom. On the 11th of May, Mr. Spencer
Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was shot in the lobby of
the House of Commons, by Mr. John Bellingham. It is an extraordinary
coincidence, that Mr. Perceval should thus come by his death, at
the threshold of the House of Commons, on the anniversary of the
ever-memorable day on which Mr. Maddocks made his motion, in the House
of Commons, charging him and Lord Castlereagh with having been concerned
in trafficking for the seat of Mr. Quintin Dick, in Parliament, into
the grounds of which motion the Honourable House refused to inquire.
Bellingham never attempted to make his escape, which he might easily
have done in the confusion which the event created. After the
consternation had a little subsided, some one present, who had been
brought out of the House by the report of the pistol, inquired who
was the murderer? Bellingham replied, "I am the man that killed Mr.
Perceval;" upon which he was seized and searched, and another pistol
loaded was found in his pocket. He was then taken into the House of
Commons, and being examined, he admitted the fact, adding, "I have
been denied the redress of my grievances by Government; I have
been ill-treated, I sought redress in vain, and I feel sufficient
justification for what I have done." The fact was, that Mr. Bellingham
was a merchant of Liverpool, and had, while in Russia, been wrongfully
accused and thrown into prison by the Governor-General. He applied to
the English Consul, Lord Leveson Gower, for redress, but his application
was fruitless. He had suffered great pecuniary losses in consequence,
and when he returned to England, he laid his case before the Government,
who at first treated his application with neglect, and ultimately
refused to grant him any redress, or to inquire into the cause of his
complaint. He was then induced to draw up a petition to be presented to
Parliament; but he was informed, that it was necessary to obtain the
consent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, before his petition could be
received, as it prayed for pecuniary remuneration. He applied in vain;
and, in his own words upon his trial, "he was bandied about from one
Minister to another," till he became desperate. He then wrote a letter
to the Magistrates at Bow-street, to inform them, that unless his case
was inquired into, "he _should feel justified in executing justice
himself_." "Justice, and justice only," said he, "was my object, which
Government had uniformly denied me, and the distress it reduced me to,
drove me to despair. In consequence, and purely for the purpose
of having this affair legally investigated, I gave notice at the
Public-Office, at Bow-street, requesting the Magistrates to acquaint his
Majesty's Ministers, that, if they persisted in refusing justice, or
even to permit me to bring my just petition into Parliament for redress,
_I should be under the imperious necessity of executing justice myself?_
At length I was told, by a Mr. Hill, at the Treasury, that he thought it
would be useless for me to make further application to the Government,
and that I was at full liberty _to take what measures I thought proper
for redress_. Mr. Beckett, the Under Secretary of State, confirmed the
same, adding, that _Mr. Percecal had been consulted, and could not allow
my petition to come forward_. Thus a direct refusal of justice, with a
_carte blanche_ to act in whatever manner I thought proper, were the
sole causes of the fatal catastrophe; _and they have now to reflect upon
their own impure conduct for what has happened_." Mr. Bellingham was
found guilty and sentenced to death, and was executed in the front of
Newgate, on the Monday following. Previously to his being taken
upon the scaffold, one of the Sheriffs put some very impertinent and
unfeeling questions to him, which he answered with great coolness and
dignity. In fact, from the time of his committing the deed, he conducted
himself with the greatest calmness and courage; he made a most eloquent
defence, always acknowledged the fact, but vindicated it to the very
last moment of his existence. No man was treated with greater neglect,
no one endeavoured more to gain a hearing and a fair inquiry into his
case; but, alas! justice was denied him; and injustice will drive the
soundest mind to acts of desperation. His answer to a most unfeeling and
impertinent question of one of the Sheriffs was,--"I bore no resentment
to Mr. Perceval as a man--and as a man I am sorry for his fate. I was
referred from Minister to Minister, from office to office, and at length
refused all redress for my grievances. It was my own sufferings that
caused the melancholy event; and I hope it will be a warning to future
Ministers to attend to the applications and prayers of those who suffer
from oppression. Had my petition been brought into Parliament, this
catastrophe would not have happened." SHERIFF--"I hope you feel deep
contrition for the deed?" Upon which the prisoner drew up, and said,
with a severe firmness, "I hope, Sir, I feel as a man ought to feel."
After the cap had been drawn over his face, at the moment when he was
going out of the world, his ears were saluted with "God bless you! God
Almighty bless you!" issuing from the lips of thousands. He met his
fate with the greatest fortitude and resignation, and left the world
apparently with an unchangeable impression that he had only committed
an imperious act of necessity, an act of justice. I am one of those who
will never assent to the justice of taking away the life of man in cold
blood, upon any other principle than that of law, and laws made, too,
by _universal consent_. A man put to death in cold blood, deliberately
executed, in pursuance of any law that is not made by _common consent_,
that is, by the _assent_ of the _whole community_, I shall always hold
to be murdered; this consideration alone is quite sufficient to justify
the demand for universal suffrage. If the laws had been made by persons
chosen by the whole people, Mr. Perceval would not have been shot; it
was the want of an honest House of Commons that made Mr. Perceval a
tyrant; it was the protection that he was sure of receiving, from a
corrupt majority of a corrupt and packed House of Commons, that induced
him to persevere in denying justice to Mr. Bellingham; and if ever a man
received the reward of his own injustice, it was Mr. Perceval. I repeat,
that I by no means defend assassination; but in examining an act we must
be careful to inquire whether some palliation of it may not be found in
the motive by which it is prompted. This was an extreme case; Bellingham
had been grievously oppressed, he could not obtain justice from the
Government; he could not even make his case known in any way except by
means of a petition to Parliament; and, as he had asked for remuneration
for his losses, his petition could not, according to a rule of the
House, be presented without the consent of the Minister or the
Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the end of eighteen months of hope and
fear and agony, Mr. Bellingham found that the consent of Mr. Perceval
was positively refused; he was driven to despair, and he shot him. It
may not be amiss to say a few words here respecting Mr. Perceval. He had
become, most unexpectedly, Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was a lawyer,
and had been hired as the advocate of the Princess of Wales. During the
"delicate investigation," he had not only made himself master of all her
secrets, but, it is said, had also obtained the knowledge of all the
private history of the Royal Family, particularly of the Prince
of Wales. When the "delicate investigation" was closed, and the
Commissioners had acquitted the Princess of all the charges brought
against her, the _Morning Post_ announced that two gentlemen of the Bar
had been employed by the Princess, to draw up a report of the matter,
which would _speedily_ be published. The fact is, that Mr. Perceval did
print this book, but he suppressed it, and became Chancellor of the
Exchequer and First Lord of the Treasury. If he did not betray his
mistress, the Princess of Wales, which is doubtful, there can be no
doubt that he at least deserted her for place and power. All his family
and political connections, of course, lamented his death; but it cannot
be disguised that the people were far differently affected by it, and,
in many parts of the kingdom, they openly testified their feeling by
acts of public rejoicing. There was a woeful howling set up by the
writers of the Ministerial press, about the great loss of Mr. Perceval,
on account of his being such an excellent husband. According to the
statement of these hirelings, there was not such another husband in the
kingdom; and a very large pension was in consequence settled upon
his wife; it being urged in the House of Commons, that, as the loss
sustained by Mrs. Perceval was not only irreparable, but beyond all
precedent, that loss ought to be made up to her in the magnitude of
her pension---an argument worthy of the sound sense and honourable
principles of those by whom it was urged. The best answer, however, to
these hypocritical pleadings, was given by Mrs. Perceval herself; for,
in a very few months after the decease of that best of all possible
husbands, that nonpareil of married males; yes, in a few short months
after her irreparable loss, his disconsolate widow concealed herself in
the arms of another and a younger husband!

I had not long returned from Bristol before I repaired to London, and
formally presented a petition to the House of Commons, against the
return of Richard Hart Davis, Esq., as Member for Bristol. The petition
charged him with bribery, intimidation, and the introduction of a
military force during the election, contrary to the statute law of the
land. I also entered into the proper recognizances, and gave security
for trying the merits of the election, before a committee of the House
of Commons.

In the mean time Mr. Cobbett published a second letter, as follows:--
TO THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORS OF BRISTOL.

Gentlemen,--If I have not to congratulate you upon the return of Mr.
Hunt as your representative, I may well congratulate you upon the spirit
which you have shown during the election, and upon the prospect of final
success from the exertion of a similar spirit. That another contest will
take place in a few months, there can be no doubt; for, the law allows
of no exceptions with regard to the use of soldiers. The ancient common
law of England forbade not only the use, but the very _show_ of force of
any kind, at elections; and, the Act of Parliament, made in the reign of
King George the Second, is quite positive as to a case like yours. That
Act, after stating the principle of the Common Law as to soldiers in an
election town, says, that, when an election is about to take place
in any city or borough, wherein there are any soldiers stationed or
quartered, the soldiers shall be removed out of the said city or
borough; that they shall go out one day, at least, before the poll
begins; that they shall not return till one day, at least, after the
poll has closed; that the distance to which they shall be removed, shall
be two miles at least. There are a few exceptions, such as Westminster
or any other place where the Royal Family may be, who are to have their
guards about them whether there be an election going on or not; and
also, in case of fortified towns, where, though there be an election
going on, soldiers are to remain in sufficient number to take care of
the works.

Now, then, as Bristol is neither a place of residence of the Royal
Family, nor a fortified town, it is clear, that, if soldiers have been
suffered to remain in, or to return to, your city within the periods
above described, the election must be void; or, there is, at once, an
end to the abovementioned Act of Parliament, and also to the ancient
common law of England in this respect, and the very show of freedom
of election is gone. It has not only been stated to me from the best
authority; but, it has been stated in print by your well-known enemies,
that soldiers were not only brought within the precincts of your city,
during the time that the poll was open, but that they actually were
stationed, with bayonets fixed, in the very Guildhall; and, in short,
after the first or second day of the election, the city was, under the
control of military armed men.

This being the case, there can be no doubt of the election being
declared void; or, if it be not, there will, at any rate, be no
disguise; it will become _openly declared_, that soldiers, under the
command of men appointed by the King, and removeable at his sole will,
can be, at any time, brought into a place where an election is going
on, and can be stationed in the very building where the poll is taken.
Whether, amongst the other strange things of our day, we are doomed to
witness this, is more than I can say; but, at the least, it will be
something _decisive_; something that will speak a _plain language_;
something that will tend to fashion men's minds to what is to come. But,
I have heard it asked: "would you, then, in _no case_, have soldiers
called in during an election? Would you rather see a city _burnt
down_?" Aye would I, and to the very ground; and, rather than belong to
a city where soldiers were to be brought in to assist at elections, I
would expire myself in the midst of the flames, or, at least, it would
be my duty so to do, though I might fail in the courage to perform it.
But, why should a city be _burnt down_, unless protected by _soldiers_?
Why suppose any such case? Really, to hear some men talk now-a-days,
one would be almost tempted to think that they look upon soldiers
as necessary to our very existence; or, at the least, that they are
necessary to keep us in order, and that the people of England, so famed
for their good sense, for their public spirit, and their obedience to
the laws, are now a set of brutes, to be governed only by force. If
there are men who think thus of the people of England, let them _speak
out_; and then we shall know them. But, Gentlemen, it is curious enough,
that the very persons, who, upon all occasions, are speaking of the
people of England as being so happy, so contented, so much attached to
their government, are the persons who represent soldiers as absolutely
necessary to _keep this same people in order!_

To hear these men talk, one would suppose, that soldiers, as the means
of keeping the peace, had always made a part of our government; and,
that, as to elections, there always may have been cases when the calling
in of soldiers was necessary. But, the fact is, that soldiers were
wholly unknown to the ancient law of England; and, that, as to an
_army_, there never was any thing of an army _established_ in England
till within a hundred years. How was the peace _kept then_? How were
riots suppressed in those times? We do not hear of any cities having
been burnt at elections in those days. I will not cite the example of
America, where there are elections going on every year, and where every
man who pays a sixpence tax has a vote, and yet where there is not a
single soldier in the space of hundreds and thousands of miles; I will
not ask how the peace is kept in that country; I will not send our
opponents across the Atlantic; I will confine myself to England; and,
again I ask, _how the peace was kept in the times when there were no
soldiers in England?_ I put this questien to the friends of Corruption;
I put this question to Mr. Mills, of the Bristol Gazette, whose paper
applauds the act of introducing the troops, This is my question: how was
the peace kept at elections, how were towns and cities preserved, how
was the city of Bristol saved from destruction, _in those days when
there were no soldiers in England?_ I put this question to the apostles
of tyranny and despotic sway; and, Gentlemen, we may wait long enough, I
believe, before they will venture upon an answer.

I have heard it asked: "What! would you, then, make an election void,
because soldiers were introduced, though one of the candidates would
have been killed, perhaps, without the protection of the bayonet? Would
you thus set an election aside, when it might be evident, that, without
the aid of soldiers, the man who has been elected, would not, and could
not, have been elected, on account of the violence exercised against
him? If that be the case, there is nothing to do but to excite great
popular violence against a man; for, that being done, you either drive
him and his supporters from the polling place, or, if he call in
soldiers, you make his election void." This has a little plausibility
in it; but, as you will see, it will not stand the test of examination.
Here is a talk about exciting of violent proceedings; here is a talk
about burning the city: but, _who_, Gentlemen, were to be guilty of
these violent proceedings? _who_ were to burn the city? Not the horses
or dogs of Bristol; not any banditti from a foreign land; not any
pirates who had chanced to land upon the coast. No, no; but "the
_rabble_, the _mob_;" and _what_ were they? Were they a species of
monsters, unknown to our ancient laws and to the Act of George the
Second? Or were they men and women? If the latter, they were, in fact,
_people of Bristol_; and, the truth is, that if the people of Bristol
abhorred a man to such a degree that it was unsafe for him or his
advocates to appear on the hustings, or in the streets; if this was the
case, it was improper that that man should be elected, since it must
be clear, that, if elected, he must owe his election to undue, if not
corrupt, influence. What! and do the advocates of corruption suppose,
that our law-makers had not this in their view? Is it to be imagined,
that they did not foresee, and, indeed, that they had not frequently
seen, that elections produced fierce and bloody battles? They knew it
well, and so did the legislators in America; but, still they allowed of
no use of soldiers. They reasoned thus, or, at least, thus they would
have reasoned, if any one had talked to them of soldiers: 'No; we will
have no soldiers. The magistrate has full power to keep the peace at all
times, not excepting times of election, when assaults and slanders are
no more permitted by law than at any other time. The magistrate has all
the constables and other inferior peace officers at his command: he can,
if he find it necessary, add to the number of these at his pleasure;
and, if the emergency be such as not to allow time for this, he can, by
his sole authority, and by virtue of his commission, which is at all
times effective, call upon the whole of the people to _aid and assist_
him in the execution of his duty, and for refusing to do which any man
is liable to punishment. Having endued the magistrate with these powers;
having given him a chosen band of sworn officers, armed with staves;
having given him unlimited power to add to that band; having given him,
in case of emergency, the power of commanding every man, of whatever age
or degree, to aid and assist him in the execution of his duty; having
thus armed the magistrate, how can we suppose him to stand in need of
the aid of _soldiers_, without first supposing the country in a state of
rebellion, in which case it is nonsense to talk about _elections_. To
tell us about the _popular prejudices_ excited against a candidate, is
to tell us of an insufficient cause even for the calling out of the
possé; but, if this prejudice be so very strong, so very general, and so
deeply rooted, that the magistrate, with all his ordinary and special
constables, and his power to call upon the _whole of the people_ to aid
and assist, is unable to protect him from violence, or, is unable
to preserve the city against the rage excited by his presence and
pretensions; if there be a prejudice like this against a candidate, we
are sure that it would be an insult to the common sense of mankind to
call such a man, if elected, the _representative_ of that city; and,
therefore, we will make no new law for favouring the election of such a
man.' Such, Gentlemen, would have been the reasoning of our ancestors,
such would have been the reasoning of the legislators of America,
if they had been called upon to make a law for the introduction of
_soldiers at an election;_ which, let the circumstances of the case be
what they may, and let the sophistry of the advocates of corruption be
what it may, is, after all, neither more nor less than the forcing of
the people to suffer one candidate to be elected and another to be set
aside. The soldiers do, in fact, decide the contest, and cause the
return of the sitting member; unless it be acknowledged, that his
election _could have been effected without them;_ and, then, _where is
the justification for calling them in?_ I have heard of nobody who has
attempted to anticipate any other decision than that of a void election;
and, indeed, who will dare to anticipate any other? For, if the return
be allowed to stand good in favour of Hart Davis, does any man pretend
that there can ever exist a case in which soldiers may not be brought
in? They are brought in under the pretence of quelling _a riot;_ under
the pretence of their being necessary to preserve the peace, and where
is the place where this pretence may not be hatched? It is in any body's
power to make a row and a fight during an election at Westminster, for
instance; and, of course, according to the Bristol doctrine, it is in
any body's power to give the magistrate cause for calling in soldiers,
and for posting them even upon the very hustings of Covent Garden. In
short, if Hart Davis, his return being petitioned against, be allowed to
sit, we can never again expect to see a candidate of that description
unsupported by soldiers; and, then, I repeat it, the very show, the mere
semblance, of freedom of election will not exist.

It being, for these reasons, my opinion, that the return of Hart Davis
will be set aside, and, of course, that another election for your city
is at no great distance, I shall now take the liberty to offer you my
advice as to the measures which you then ought to pursue; first adding
to what I said in my last a few observations relative to Mr. Hunt.

At the close of my last letter I observed to you, that it was owing to
this gentleman, and to him alone, that you had _an election._ You now
know this well, You have now seen what it is to have at your head a man
of principle and courage. With all the purses of almost all those in
Bristol who have grown rich out of the taxes; with all the influence of
all the corrupt; with all the Bristol newspapers and almost all the
London newspapers; with all the Corporation of the City; with all the
bigoted Clergy and all their next a-kin, the pettifogging Attorneys;
with all the bigots, and all the hypocrites, and all alarmist fools;
with all these against him, and with hundreds of bludgeon-men to boot;
opposed to all this, and to thirty or forty hired barristers and
attorneys, Mr. Hunt stood the poll for the thirteen days, in the face of
horse and foot soldiers, and that, too, without the aid of advocate or
attorney, and with no other assistance than what was rendered him by one
single friend, who, at my suggestion, went down to him on the sixth or
seventh day of the election. Gentlemen, this is, as I verily believe,
what no other man in England, whom I know, would have done. There may
be others capable of the same exertions; and, let us hope, that England
does contain some other men able to undergo what he underwent; but, it
falls to the lot of no country to produce _many_ such men. At any rate,
he has _proved_ himself to be the man for you; he has done for you what
none of the milk-sop, miawling orators at Sir Samuel Romilly's meetings
would have dared even to think of. _They_ talk of freeing the city
from the trammels of corruption; _they_ talk of giving you freedom of
election; _they_ talk of making a stand for your rights. What stand have
they made? What have you had from them but talk? They saw the enemy
within your walls; they saw him offer himself for the choice of the
people of Bristol; they saw preparations making for chairing him as your
representative on the first day of the election; and what did _they_ do
to rescue you from the disgrace of seeing him triumph over you, while
you were silent? Nothing. They did, in fact, sell you to him upon the
implied condition, that he, as far as he was able, should sell his
followers to them when the time came. You have been saved from that
disgrace; you have had 14 days of your lives wherein to tell your
enemies and the enemies of your country your minds; you have had 14
days, during which corruption trembled under your bitter but just
reproaches; you have had 14 days of political instruction and inquiry;
you have had those who affect to listen to your voice 14 days before
you, and in the hearing of that voice; there have been, in your city, 14
days of terror to the guilty part of it. This is a great deal, and for
this you are indebted to Mr. Hunt and to him alone. Your own public
virtues, your zeal, activity and courage, and your hatred of your
country's enemies did, indeed, enable Mr. Hunt to make the stand; but,
still there wanted such a man as Mr. Hunt; without such a man the stand
could not have been made; without such a man you could not have had an
opportunity of giving utterance to the hatred which you so justly feel
against the supporters of that corruption, the consequences of which you
so sorely feel.

That a man, who was giving such annoyance to the corrupt, should pass
without being calumniated, was not to be expected. Every man, who
attacks corruption, who makes war upon the vile herd that live upon
the people's labour, every such man must lay his account with being
calumniated; he must expect to be the object of the bitterest and most
persevering malice; and, unless he has made up his mind to the enduring
of this, he had better, at once, quit the field. One of the weapons
which corruption employs against her adversaries is calumny, secret as
well as open. It is truly surprising to see how many ways she has of
annoying her foes, and the artifices to which she stoops to arrive at
her end. No sooner does a man become in any degree formidable to her,
than she sets to work against him in all the relationships of life.
In his profession, his trade, his family; amongst his friends, the
companions of his sports, his neighbours, and his servants. She eyes him
all round, she feels him all over, and, if he has a vulnerable point,
if he has a speck, however small, she is ready with her stab. How many
hundreds of men have been ruined by her without being hardly able to
perceive, much less name, the cause; and how many thousands, seeing the
fate of these hundreds, have withdrawn from the struggle, or have been
deterred from taking part in it!

Mr. Hunt's _separation from his wife_ presented too fair a mark to be
for a moment overlooked; but, it required the _canting crew_, with a Mr.
Charles Elton at their head, to give to this fact that deformity which
it has been made to receive. Gentlemen, I wish to be clearly understood
here. I do not think lightly of such matters. When a man separates from
his wife there must always be ground for regret; it is a thing always
to be lamented; and, if the fault, in this case, was on the side of
Mr. Hunt, it is a fault, which, even in our admiration of his public
conduct, we ought by no means to endeavour to palliate. But, Gentlemen,
I do not, and the public cannot, know what was the _real cause_ of
the separation of which so much has been said. Mr. Hunt has, upon no
occasion that I have heard of, attempted to justify his conduct, in this
respect, by stating the reasons of the separation; but, I am sure that
you are too just to conclude from _that circumstance_, that the fault
was wholly his. It is impossible for the public to know the facts of
such a case. They cannot enter into a man's family affairs. The tempers
and humours of wives and of husbands nobody but those wives and husbands
know. They are, in many cases, unknown even to domestic servants and to
children; and, is it not, then, the height of presumption for the public
to pretend to any knowledge of the matter?

But, be the facts of the case what they may, I am quite sure, that as
a candidate for a seat in Parliament, they have nothing to do with the
pretensions of Mr. Hunt, any more than they would have had to do with
his claims to a title for having won the battle of Trafalgar. There is a
Mr. Walker, who, I think, is an Attorney at Bristol, who has written a
pamphlet against Mr. Hunt, in which pamphlet he argues thus: 'Mr.
Hunt has, by quitting his wife to live with another woman, broken his
plighted vows to his own wife; a man who will break his promises in one
case will break them in another case; and, therefore, as Mr. Hunt has
broken his promises to his wife, _he will break his promises to the
people of Bristol_.' These are not Mr. Walker's words, but you have here
his reasoning, and from it you may judge of the shifts to which Mr.
Hunt's adversaries are driven. As well might Mr. Walker tell you that
you will break any promise that you may make to your neighbours, because
you have not wholly renounced the Devil and all his works, and all
the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, as you, in your baptism,
promised and vowed to do. If Mr. Walker's argument were a good one,
a man who lives in a state of separation from his wife ought to be
regarded as a man dead in law; or, rather, as a man excommunicated by
the Pope. If his promises are good for nothing when made to electors,
they are good for nothing when made to any body else. He cannot,
therefore, be a proper man for any body to deal with, or to have any
communication with; and, in short, he ought to be put out of the world,
as being a burden and a nuisance in it.

There is something so absurd, so glaringly stupid, in this, that it is
hardly worth while to attempt a further exposure of it, or I might ask
the calumniating crew, who accuse Mr. Hunt of _disloyalty_, whether they
are ready to push their reasoning and their rules up to _peers_ and
_princes,_ and to assert that they ought to be put out of power if they
cease to live with their wives. They would say, no; and that their
doctrine was intended to apply only to those who had the boldness to
attack corruption. The man who does that is to be as pure as snow; he is
to have no faults at all. He is to be a _perfect Saint;_ nay, he is to
be a great deal more, for he is to have no human being, not even his
wife, to whisper a word to his disadvantage. "You talk of mending the
_constitution_," said an Anti-jacobin to Dr. Jebb, when the latter was
very ill, "mend _your own_:" and I have heard it seriously objected to
a gentleman that he signed a petition for a Reform of Parliament while
there needed a reformation amongst his servants, one of whom had
assisted to burden the parish; just as if he had on that account less
right to ask for a full and fair representation of the people! After
this, who need wonder if he were told not to talk against rotten
boroughs while he himself had a rotten tooth, or endeavour to excite a
clamour against corruption when his own flesh was every day liable to be
corrupted to the bone?

After this, Gentlemen, I trust that you are not to be cheated by such
wretched cant. With Mr. Hunt's family affairs you and I have nothing to
do, any more than he has with ours. We are to look to his conduct as a
public man, and, if he serve us in that capacity, he is entitled to our
gratitude. Suppose, for instance, the plague were in Bristol, and the
only physician, who had skill and courage to put a stop to its ravages,
was separated from his wife and living with the wife of another man;
would you refuse his assistance? Would you fling his prescriptions
into the kennel? Would the canting Messrs. Mills and Elton and Walker
exclaim, "no! we will have none of your aid; we will die rather than be
saved by you, who have broken your marriage vows!" Would they say this?
No; but would crawl to him, would supplicate him, with tears in their
eyes. And yet, suffer me to say, Gentlemen, that such a physician in a
plague would not be more necessary in Bristol than such a man as Mr.
Hunt now is; and that the family affairs of a Member of Parliament is
no more a matter of concern with his constituents than are the family
affairs of a physician a matter of concern with his patients. When an
important service had been received from either, it would be pleasanter
for the benefited party to reflect that the party conferring the benefit
was happy in his family; but, if the case were otherwise, to suppose
the benefit less real, or the party conferring it entitled to less
gratitude, is something too monstrously absurd to be entertained by any
man of common sense.

The remainder of my subject I must reserve for another Letter, and in
the mean while, I am, Gentlemen, your sincere friend, Wm. COBBETT.
_Botley, July 27, 1812._

By the insertion of these letters, which were published at the time,
I shall give the reader a pretty clear insight into the whole of my
exertions at that period. My doing this will show that I entertained and
avowed exactly the same principles of politics at that moment which I do
at this moment, and that I have not deviated to the right or to the
left ever since; and thus I think I shall be enabled, by unquestionable
documentary proof, to shew that I have been the consistent undeviating
friend of universal liberty up to the present day.

It was generally imagined that the return of Mr. Davis would be rendered
void by a committee of the House of Commons, and I was preparing my case
and ready to attack him, as one of the most corrupt and unprincipled
pillars of a corrupt administration, when the Parliament was dissolved,
by proclamation, on the 29th of September, which at once put an end to
my labours relating to that petition. As soon as the Parliament was
dissolved, I addressed a public letter to the Electors of Bristol,
promising them to be at my post on the day of election; which promise,
as will hereafter he seen, I scrupulously observed.

As a petitioner, who had given the proper securities to try the merit
of his appeal, I was entitled to a seat below the Bar in the House of
Commons, and I occasionally availed myself of this privilege. During the
latter part of this Parliament, an interesting discussion took place in
the House of Commons, upon the subject of the treatment of prisoners in
Lincoln Gaol, to which Mr. Finnerty and Mr. Drakard had been sentenced
by the Judges of the Court of King's Bench (Lord Ellenborough, Judges
Grose, Le Blanc, and Bayley,) for the term of eighteen months each,
for _Libels_. Mr. Finnerty had previously sent up a petition, but this
discussion arose upon Sir Samuel Romilly presenting a petition from
Thomas Houlden late a prisoner for debt in the said Gaol of Lincoln. Sir
Samuel moved for a committee of the House, to inquire into the grounds
of the complaint preferred by Mr. Houlden against MERRYWEATHER, the
Gaoler and Dr. CALEY ILLINGWORTH, a Parson Justice, and Visiting
Magistrate. In the 22d volume of Cobbett's Register, a full and ample
account of this interesting debate is given, accompanied by some very
just and most appropriate remarks. In speaking of Mr. Finnerty's
conduct, in bringing this affair before the public, Mr. Cobbett says,
"By his courage and perseverance he has not only bettered his own
condition, but that of others also; and is now, I hope, in a fair way
of doing the public a still greater service. The conduct of the
Magistrates, as they are called, but of the Justices of the Peace, as
they ought to be called, stands in need of investigation more than that
of almost any other description of men in authority; the powers which
they possess are, when one reflects on them, really terrific; if their
conduct is not to be investigated, what responsibility is there? What
check is there? And in what a state are the people who are so much
within their power?" This was Mr. Cobbett's opinion in 1812, but it
appears that similar dreadful evils in 1821 and 1822, are not worthy Mr.
Cobbett's attention, neither have they been thought of sufficient import
to excite the interest of his readers, even although they have been
grappled with and exposed in a much more efficient manner, within the
walls of Ilchester Gaol. I have not the least doubt in my own mind, from
what I have heard from the most respectable authority, but that the
Gaoler, MERRYWEATHER, and the Parson Justice, Dr. CALEY ILLINGWORTH,
were at _that time_ equally criminal with the Gaoler BRIDLE, and the
Parson Justice Dr. HUNGERFORD COLSTON, at the _present_ time.

I believe, through the exertions of Sir Samuel Romilly, a commission was
sent down to Lincoln, to inquire into the conduct of the Gaoler, &c.,
and from that time forth the affair was completely hushed up, and the
said worthy Gaoler was considered as a much injured calumniated
man. This gentleman Gaoler, it seems, has feathered his nest pretty
handsomely. With a handsome salary, besides pickings, "cheese parings
and candle-ends," &c. he has an elegant garden of two acres, fitted up
with hot-houses, &c. equal to any nobleman's, the finest wall fruit, &c.
&c.; the fruit from which walls and hot-houses finds its way upon
the _table_ of the Visiting Justices. By these and other means, Mr.
MERRYWEATHER, I am told, contrives to lead the Worthies as completely by
their noses as Bridle did some of the Somersetshire Worthies.--When,
however, we call to mind who and what these said Magistrates are, and
how they are appointed, this is not to be wondered at so much. It should
always be kept in recollection that ONE HUNDRED POUNDS a year qualifies
any man for a Magistrate; and that they are all appointed by the Lord
Chancellor, at the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant of the County,
who is appointed by the Ministers of the Crown; and that, therefore, the
Lord Lieutenant take cares to recommend _gentlemen_ whose principles and
politics are well known. In most counties they also take care to have
a sufficient sprinkling of Parsons in the Commission of the Peace, a
precious and over-whelming sample of which breed we have in this county.
I have frequently been admonished, by some very worthy men, for making
use of the term PARSON so often, it being looked upon as rather
derogatory to the CLOTH; but, really, gentlemen must excuse me. If the
Clergy do not degrade themselves, nothing that I can say will ever bring
them into disrepute. Why, it was only the other day that I saw, by the
Police Report, published the 19th March, 1822, I think it was, that a
Clergyman of the Church of England was committed to one of the Prisons
of the Metropolis, as a ROGUE and VAGABOND! I have accidentally laid my
hand upon it, and I will insert it as a proof of what a Parson can be.
GUILDHALL.--_R.S---,_ a clergyman who, we understand, once enjoyed
considerable popularity, was brought before Alderman BROWN, on a charge
of having committed an act of vagrancy. Mr. Dunsley, hosier, Cheapside,
stated, that on the previous night the prisoner came to his shop, and
begged charity for himself and family. Ha stated that he had not himself
for a considerable time tasted bread, and that his wife and children
were lying in a deplorable condition at some place in Ratcliffe-highway.
The prisoner was in a disgraceful state of intoxication. The
complainant, who knew him, remonstrated with him upon disgracing himself
as an ordained clergyman, by presenting himself in such a condition. The
prisoner upon this changed his tone, said he would have relief before he
quitted the shop, and became so violent in his abuse, and so outrageous
in his conduct, that the complainant was under the necessity of availing
himself of the protection of an officer, to whom he gave the prisoner in
custody. This, the prosecutor said, was the third time he had been
so treated by the prisoner. The prisoner, in an eloquent address,
deprecated the wrath of the prosecutor, by admitting that his conduct
had been most disgraceful. But he declared it was done without the
slightest reflection, and that his aberrations were occasioned by a
contusion which he received on the brain whilst on service in Egypt. His
family, he admitted, were well provided for, and he promised if he were
this time forgiven, to retire to the country, and endeavour to live upon
his half-pay of fifty-four pounds per annum, in solitude and repentance.
All the eloquence of the unfortunate Divine on this occasion proved
unavailing. Mr. Dunsley pressed the execution of the law, stating that
he had on former occasions received promises of this kind, which were
never thought of by the prisoner after his release. The Alderman
expressed great pain at seeing a Clergyman in such a situation, but
found himself compelled to put the law in force. He committed the
prisoner to the Compter for fourteen days, as a "rogue and vagabond."


I could exhibit some living specimens of Clergymen of the Church of
England, in this county, that would not only be a match for the worthy
described in this police report, but would far surpass in infamy what is
here held up as an example to the world. I could produce an instance
of a man, or at least a thing in the garb of a man, the opprobrium
and scorn of human nature, dressed up on a Sunday in the robes of
priesthood, mounted in the pulpit and defiling the very show of
religion, by pretending to read and preach lessons of holiness and
godliness to those who, the night before, had witnessed him in a
state of beastly intoxication, at a common village alehouse, not only
degrading the character of a clergyman, but even that of the lowest and
most abandoned of the human species, by exhibitions of his person, most
indecent and most revolting to humanity; nor am I alluding to this as
a solitary instance of such conduct, but to his common practice in the
presence of the lowest of his parishioners. I am not drawing the picture
of an imaginary monster, but of a living clergyman of this county; and I
could describe others equally disgusting. These are pretty examples of
morality; these are pretty specimens of clerical purity! There is seldom
a week passes over my head that I do not receive some evidence of the
abandoned behaviour of some of the clergy; and is not this a precious
race of men out of which to select Magistrates! In fact, I scarcely
ever see a farmer, who has not some tale to tell me, of the rapacity,
immorality, or injustice, of some one of these Parson Justices; one
and all exclaiming against the tythe system, which does more to uphold
infidelity than ever did all the works of Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabaud,
Paine, and all the theological writers that ever existed, put together.

Let it be always remembered, that I know many very honourable
exceptions, even in this county, which appears to be notorious for
profligate and time-serving parsons; for instance, there is the Rev. Dr.
Shaw, of Chelvey, near Bristol; a better christian, both in principle
and practice, does not exist. A more honourable, upright, and public
spirited man does not live; England cannot boast a more pious and
exemplary divine; in _him_ is combined the gentleman, the scholar, the
liberal and enlightened patriot, and real christian. He is an honour to
his country, and he does justice to that profession of which he forms
one of the brightest ornaments. Although labouring under the pressure of
ill health, and approaching the age of eighty, this venerable divine has
made two pilgrimages, a distance of nearly forty miles, to visit the
"Captive of Ilchester," during his incarceration, to console, to
comfort, to cherish, and to cheer him in his dungeon. What a contrast
does this worthy and pious clergyman furnish, to the Clerical Parson
Justice, Dr. Colston! It would be dangerous for me to draw that
contrast; a person who did not know the fact would scarcely believe
that two dignified clergymen of the same diocese, that two doctors of
divinity, could form two such opposite characters. For the honour of the
county of Somerset, and of the cloth also, I can boast the kindness
and attention of many other clergymen, and to no one do I stand more
indebted for repeated acts of that nature than to the patriotic and
public spirited clergyman, the Rev. Henry Cresswell, the Vicar of Creech
St. Michael. I am proud to bear testimony to his zealous co-operation
to assist me and the worthy Alderman Wood, to procure the liberation of
poor old Mr. Charles Hill, who was falsely imprisoned and wrongfully
detained in this Bastile for SIXTEEN YEARS. I had the happiness to
see him liberated, in spite of his remorseless persecutors, who have
repeatedly sworn, ever since I have been here, that he should never
leave Ilchester Gaol alive. It will be recollected that it was this poor
man's sufferings that I made the ground-work of my charges against the
monster of a gaoler and the Magistrates. How much more delightful is
the occupation to record the good, than the evil deeds of one's fellow
creatures; how much more gratifying is it to me, to write of a Dr. Shaw,
than of a Dr. Colston!

When the Parliament was dissolved I was at Rowfant, in Sussex, attending
to my farm, where Sir Francis Burdett and his brother Jones Burdett had
recently been to pay me a visit, for a few days. The Baronet wishing to
purchase an estate in that county, I showed him over several that were
to be sold, but he saw none that he liked, except the one which I
occupied, _Rowfant House_, and the estate of a thousand acres of land
attached to it. This was certainly a most gentleman-like property, and
just such an estate as would have suited the Baronet. The party who had
purchased it would also have been very happy to have disposed of it, if
they could, to have got rid at once of the inconvenience of the lease
which they had granted to me; and as the Baronet appeared to have set
his mind upon it, and had got the ready cash, so that price did not
appear to be an object to him, there seemed to be no obstacle; but, as
I saw the danger of a disagreement between him and myself, in case he
should purchase it, I made him fully acquainted with the nature of my
lease, which empowered me to grub up and destroy six thousand thriving
young oak trees; a measure of all others that would have been the most
annoying to him, because, instead of grubbing up one tree, he would have
planted thousands and encouraged the growth of timber, which was so
congenial to the soil. I perceived very clearly that, were he to
purchase the estate, he would give me my own price for the lease, or
any sum, to save the trees. Instead, however, of thinking of my own
interest, I was anxious to avoid every thing that could produce a
quarrel or a shyness between us, and therefore I took care to put him
fully upon his guard, and to conceal nothing from him, expecting, at all
events, that he would consult me about the terms that I would take
to give up the lease, or at least to give up that part of it which
empowered me to destroy the timber. It was obvious to me that I could
make a handsome sum out of the Baronet, which would have been of no
small importance to me, and yet would have been nothing to him who was
so rich. But I repeat, that I acted from the most disinterested
motives, and far from planning how I could make the most of him, I was
excessively anxious to avoid whatever might lead to any thing like a
money transaction between us. For this reason I unreservedly laid open
the whole affair to him, informing him upon what terms I had offered
to forbear to grub the timber, and almost urging him not to think of
purchasing the estate, with such a lease upon it, till he had reflected
whether he could approve of my conditions for giving up the lease. I
believe that there were few men in the kingdom who would have so acted
as I did, but I valued the friendship of Sir Francis Burdett far above
any pecuniary consideration. The Baronet was a most delightful visitor,
a gentleman-like, easy, unassuming, cheerful inmate; and as we had every
comfort at Rowfant compatible with the residence of a country gentleman,
both he and his brother, but particularly Sir Francis, expressed
themselves as well pleased with their reception as we were with our
visitors.

About a week after the Baronet left us, I received a letter from the
persons who were concerned for the proprietors of Rowfant, to say that
they had entered into a treaty with Sir Francis Burdett for the estate
at Rowfant, which treaty they expected would be completed in a few days.
I was rather surprised at this intelligence; and although I concluded
that Sir Francis Burdett had made up his mind to purchase the estate
and comply with my terms; and although I knew that it would answer the
purpose of Sir Francis to give me what I asked, even had it been double
the sum, yet I had a sort of inherent dread of any money transaction
between us, a sort of presentiment that it might be the cause of some
disagreement, which might end in shyness. I therefore wrote to him
immediately, requesting him by all means not to purchase the estate till
he and myself had settled definitively the terms upon which I was to
give him up the lease, as I knew that he was also desirous at once to
have the house as a residence. I did this from the purest motives, and
from a most anxious wish not to have the Baronet in my power; for fear
that he might suspect me of having made a market of him. I believe,
nevertheless, that the very means that I took to prevent any chance of
any thing of the sort, tended to create a suspicion on his part, and he
suddenly broke off the bargain, and never mentioned the subject after
except in a casual manner. Thus did it happen, I have no doubt, that,
from an over delicacy in striving to avoid every thing like the shew
of over-reaching, or taking advantage of the Baronet's liberality, I
excited in him a suspicion which I by no means merited. As it turned
out afterwards that political disagreements occurred between us, I
am, however, most happy that we never had any the slightest money
transaction. Some time after this, I disposed of the lease of this
estate for five hundred pounds more than I should have demanded of
him; a fact which proves at once that I acted towards him in the most
honourable manner, and that I had no reason to regret his not having
purchased the property.

On the 15th of August Mr. Cobbett published his Third Letter to the
Independent Electors of Bristol, and, as these letters will give the
reader a clear insight into the whole affair, I shall insert the whole
of them in this work. This Bristol election was a very important
transaction of my history, and one to which, I have no doubt, I may
fairly attribute some part of my sentence of TWO YEARS AND SIX MONTHS,
and a very considerable portion of the persecution and ill-treatment
which I have experienced from the local authorities and Magistrates of
this county; and for this reason I wish to have the whole placed fairly
upon record.

TO THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORS OF BRISTOL.

GENTLEMEN,--Before I resume the subject, upon which I addressed you in
my last, give me leave to explain to you what I mean by an _independent
elector_. I do not mean a man who has money or land enough to make him
independent; for, I well know, that money and land have no such effect;
as we see every day of our lives, very rich men, and men of what is
called family too, amongst the meanest and most dirty dependents of
the ministry or the court. Independence is in the mind; and I call
independent that man, who is, at all times, ready to sacrifice a part,
at least, of what he has, and to brave the anger and resentment of
those from whom he derives his living, rather than act, in his public
capacity, contrary to the dictates of his own mind. This is what I mean
by an independent man. The journeyman who carries all his fortune in a
silk handkerchief is as likely to be an independent man as is a Lord or
a 'Squire; and, indeed, we find him much oftener worthy of the name.

It is to men of this description that I address myself upon the present
occasion, and to their attention I now beg leave to recall some of the
circumstances of the late election at Bristol, or, rather, the late
_contest_; for, according to my notion of the law, there can be _no
election_ where soldiers are present during any portion of the time,
from the beginning to the end of the poll.

Of the two candidates, generally, I have spoken before; but, I now wish
to draw your attention more particularly to the pledges tendered you,
and given you, by Mr. Hunt. He promised and vowed three things: 1st.
That he never would, as long as he lived, either directly or indirectly,
pocket a single farthing of the _public money_. This, Gentlemen, is,
with me, and so, I trust, it is with you, a capital point. Indeed, it
always appears to me necessary to the safety of the electors, as far
as the fidelity of their member goes. If the man elected can take the
public money, is not the temptation too great for most men? In short,
what can be more absurd, what can be more revolting to reason, what more
shocking to common sense, than the idea of a man's being _a guardian of
the public purse_, while, at the same time, he votes, in that capacity,
part of the people's money into his own pocket? In all the other
situations of life we see the payer and the receiver a check upon each
other; but, in the case of a Member of Parliament who receives part of
the public money, there is no such check.

We are often asked, whether we would wish gentlemen of great talents to
serve the country as Secretaries of State, Chancellors of the Exchequer,
&c. &c. without any pay? To which I, for myself, answer _no_. I would
not only have them paid, but _well paid_; but I would not have them sit
in parliament while they received the pay. If we are told that this is
_impracticable_, we point to the experience in its support; for, in the
United States of America, there are no paid officers in the Legislature.
No man can be a member of either House who is in the receipt of a
six-pence of the public money under the Executive; and, what is more, he
cannot receive any of the public money, in the shape of salary, during
the time for which he has been elected, if the office from which the
salary is derived has been created or its income increased since his
election. This is the case in America. There are no chancellors of the
exchequer, no secretaries of state, or of war, or of the admiralty, in
either House of Congress; there is no _Treasury Bench_; there are no
ministers and none of those other things of the same kind, and which I
will not here name. Yet is America now exceedingly well governed; the
people are _happy_ and _free_; there are about _eight millions_ of them,
and there are _no paupers_; in that country poor men do not, to be sure,
crawl almost upon their bellies before the rich, but, there are very few
murders. I lived eight years in the largest city in the country, and
there was no human being _hanged_, or otherwise put to death for a
crime, while I lived there. The country, therefore, must be pretty well
governed, and yet there is no member of either House of the Legislature
who is in any office whatever under the government. The members are
_paid for their time_, and paid their expenses to and from the place of
sitting. They are appointed by the people and paid by the people;
they are the people's representatives, and are not suffered to be the
servants of, or to receive pay from, any body else.

Here, then, we have a proof, an experimental proof, of the
practicability of conducting a government without giving placemen seats
in the Legislature. And, though the _positive pledge_ may, in all cases,
not be insisted on, the principle ought to be clearly understood; and,
where the candidate is not very well known indeed, and has not had _long
trial_, I am for insisting upon the positive pledge. This pledge Mr.
Hunt has given you, and you must be well assured, that, if he were
disposed to break it, he would not dare to do it. For this alone I
should prefer him to either of the other candidates, both of whom, all
three of whom, you may be assured, have in view either _public money_ or
_title_, both of which Mr. Hunt disclaims. The 2nd pledge that Mr. Hunt
has given you is, that he will endeavour, if elected, to do away all the
sinecure places, and all the pensions not granted for real services.
This is a pledge which I deem of great importance. The sum of money
expended _annually_ in this way has been stated by Sir Francis Burdett
at nearly a _million of pounds sterling_, that is to say, a sum
sufficient to maintain 125,000 poor people all the year round, supposing
them not to labour at all I, for my part, should deem the abolition
of these places and pensions of far greater importance to us than the
gaining of a hundred battles, by land or sea.

The 3rd pledge of Mr. Hunt is, that he will, if elected, do all that in
him lies to procure for the nation a peace and a _Reform of Parliament_.
Now, Gentlemen, look back for the last 20 years; reflect on what has
passed during that time; and then say, whether you sincerely believe,
that this nation can possibly continue in its present course much
longer. The finger of wisdom, of common sense, points to peace as
the only possible means of rescuing ourselves from our dangers; but,
Gentlemen, _how are we to have peace_? The terms offered by the Emperor
of France are fair; they are, indeed, such as I never expected to see
obtained at the close of a negociation; they would, if accepted of,
leave us in possession of all our conquests, of all the Islands in the
West Indies; of the exclusive fishery of Newfoundland; of the Cape of
Good Hope and the French Settlements in Senegal; of the French and Dutch
Settlements in the East Indies; of the Isles of France and Bourbon;
in short, they would leave us in possession of about 40 millions of
conquered people, while France herself would not possess above 17 or 18
millions of conquered people. And, which is never to be forgotten, they
would leave in our hands, the island of Malta itself, which, as you well
know, was _the avowed object of the war_.

Why, then, have we not peace? _Because we have not reform_, it being
absolutely impossible, in my opinion, for our present internal system to
be continued during a peace which should be accompanied with the usual
consequences of peace. When the present war began, it was stated by the
then Minister, Addington, that _we were at war because we could not be
at peace_; and, I suppose, that the same reason would now be given; for,
otherwise, it is, I think, impossible to account for the rejection of
the late overtures of the Emperor Napoleon, which, as I have, I am
persuaded, clearly shown in a former Register, were both honourable and
advantageous to England. Not only, therefore, will this country, in my
opinion, never regain its former state of freedom and happiness without
a reform of parliament; but, I am convinced, that, without such reform,
it will never again have peace with France.

This being the case, it must be an inexcusable folly for you to elect
any man who is not decidedly for a reform of the parliament; and,
amongst all your candidates, Mr. Hunt is the only man who has declared
for that reform. The partisans of Sir Samuel Romilly say, that they
doubt not that _he will_ declare for reform. I do not think that he
ever will; at least, not till such men as Mr. Hunt shall have made it
_inconvenient_ to be against reform. If Sir Samuel Romilly were for
reform, why should he be so loath to make the declaration? He has told
you, that those who promise most perform least; but, if this were to be
taken as a rule without an exception, there would, at once, be an end of
all promises and engagements between man and man. In this case, however,
the rule did not apply; for he might have expressed his wish to see
reform take place without making any promise upon the subject. This he
did not do; and, during the whole time that he has been a candidate
for Bristol, he has not once _mentioned_, in any way, the subject of
parliamentary reform.

There is, besides, with regard to Sir Samuel Romilly, a most suspicious
circumstance; and that is, that his leading partisans all belong to that
corrupt faction, which has been designated under the name of _Whigs_,
and which faction is, if possible, more hostile to reform than the
followers of Pitt and Perceval themselves. I have frequently asserted,
that the two factions cordially unite upon all occasions, where an
attack is made upon corruption in general, or where the interests of
_party_ are concerned. We saw them join hand-in-hand and heart to heart
when the late Perceval and Castlereagh were accused by Mr. Madocks, on
the 11th of May, 1809, on the anniversary of which day Perceval was
shot, at the door of the very place where he had before triumphed. We
saw them join in rallying round that same Perceval when Sir Francis
Burdett was sent to the Tower under the escort of thousands of soldiers.
We saw them join in reprobating the Address to the Prince Regent
proposed by Sir Francis Burdett. In short, upon all occasions when
something was to be effected hostile, decidedly hostile, to the people,
the two factions have cordially joined; they have, for the time, become
one. They hate one another; they would destroy one another; but, they
love the public money more than they hate one another; and, therefore,
when the _system_ is in danger, they always unite. They cordially unite
also against every man who is hostile to the system. They hate him even
more than they hate each other; because he would destroy the very meat
that they feed on.

Hence, Gentlemen, the united rancour of the factions against Mr. Hunt,
and their united approbation of Mr. Bragge Bathurst. But, of this latter
we must take more particular notice. There has appeared in the Bristol
newspapers a publication respecting a Meeting for the purpose of uniting
in a testimony of gratitude to Bragge Bathurst. At this meeting the
following resolutions were passed; but, I beg you to observe, first,
the language and sentiments of the resolutions, and next, who were the
principal actors in the scene. The whole of the publication was as
follows:----"At a General Meeting of the Merchants, Traders, and other
Inhabitants of this City, convened by public advertisement, for
the purpose of uniting in a testimony of _gratitude_ to their late
_Representative_, the Right Hon. Charles Bathurst,--THOMAS DANIEL, Esq.
in the Chair,--the following Resolutions were moved by _Michael Castle_,
Esq. and seconded by _John Cave_, Esq. and carried unanimously:--1st,
That the conduct of the Right Hon. Charles Bathurst has been
distinguished, during 18 years that he represented this City in
Parliament, by a _meritorious attention to its local interest, and
an invariable zeal for the individual concerns of its inhabitants_,
entirely independent of every consideration of political party.--2d,
That in the _retirement_ of the Right Hon. Charles Bathurst from that
elevated situation which he so deservedly held amongst us, we feel
desirous of testifying, in this public manner, _the gratitude we
entertain for services that have reflected so much honour upon his
abilities and exertions_.--3d, That a Subscription be now entered into,
for the purpose of presenting the Right Hon. Charles Bathurst with a
permanent Token of our esteem and approbation of services that have been
so frequently called upon, and attended to with so much advantage to the
City at large.--4th, That a Committee be appointed of those Gentlemen
who signed the requisition for the call of this meeting, together with
any of those who may be subscribers, for the purpose of carrying into
execution the wishes and intentions of this meeting.--5th, That the name
of Mr. Robert Bruce be added to the twenty gentlemen who have signed the
requisition, for the purpose of forming a Committee, with any other of
the Subscribers.--6th, That Mr. Thomas Hellicar be requested to take
upon himself the office of Treasurer.--THOMAS DANIEL, Chairman."

Now, Gentlemen, you will observe, that here is as decided praise as men
can bestow. Mr. Bragge is praised for his _eighteen years' conduct_,
though, during that time, he has been doing every thing which the
supporters of Sir Samuel Romilly affect to disapprove of. To describe
his conduct under three heads, it has been this: he has uniformly
supported Pitt and the war; he has uniformly _distinguished_ himself
as an opponent of Parliamentary Reform, and was one of the foremost in
reprobating Mr. Madocks's motion; he has, during the 18 years of war and
national misery, been a great part of the time a placeman, and he is
now a placeman in possession of a rich sinecure, with immense patronage
attached to it. And, it is for _conduct like this_ that these townsmen
of yours are about to give a testimony of their _gratitude_!

If, however, this were confined to the friends of Bragge Bathurst, to
those who profess his principles, all would be in its place, all would
be natural enough. But, you will bear in mind, Gentlemen, that the two
factions have united here, and these resolutions, extolling to the skies
a sinecure placeman, a Pittite, and a known and decided enemy of reform
of parliament; you will bear in mind that these resolutions were _moved_
by Mr. MICHAEL CASTLE, the very man who introduced Sir Samuel Romilly
into your city; the very man in whose carriage Sir Samuel Romilly
entered your city; the very man who filled the chair at Sir Samuel
Romilly's dinner. This was the man selected to MOVE resolutions
expressive of the gratitude of the people of Bristol for the conduct of
Bragge Bathurst, the sinecure placeman, the supporter of Pitt and the
war, and the decided and distinguished enemy of parliamentary reform.
This was the man, this Mr. Michael Castle, to tell the world in the most
solemn manner, that the friends of Sir Samuel Romilly approved of the
conduct of the very man, whom they, when canvassing you for your votes,
represented as unfit to be your member.

Gentlemen, can you want any further proof of the political hypocrisy
of such men as Mr. Charles Elton, and Mr. Mills, and Mr. Castle? Can you
be made to believe that they are sincere when they tell you that they
wish for a reform of any sort? The truth is, they wish to put in a
member of their own, that they may enjoy the benefit of his patronage;
but, in doing this, they must take care not to do any thing hostile to
_the system_, for without the existence of that all their prospects are
blasted. You see, that they have in these resolutions, no scruple to
declare the vile and abominable principle upon which they act. They here
most explicitly avow, that they are grateful to Bragge Bathurst for the
zeal he has shown in the _individual concerns_ of his constituents. That
is to say, in getting _them places under the government_; or, in other
words, in enabling them to live upon the taxes; that is to say, upon the
fruit of the people's labour. I told you, in my first letter, that they
had no other object than this in view; that one part of them only wanted
to put in Sir Samuel Romilly that he might give them more of the taxes
than thev had been able to get from Bragge Bathurst. Mr. Hunt had told
you this before; and now you see the fact openly avowed. The jobbers on
both sides plainly tell whoever is to be their candidate, that he must
take care of their _individual concerns_.

This, Gentlemen, is the real cause of the hatred, the rancour, the
poisonous malice, of both factions towards Mr. Hunt, who makes open war
upon the tax-eaters. This is the reason why they hate him. There are
other reasons, but this is the great reason of all; and you may be well
assured, that you will see both the factions always unite against any
man, be he who he may, who is opposed to the system of places and
pensions. But, what, then, must be the extent of the hypocrisy of the
friends of Sir Samuel Romilly! They pretend that they wish for a reform
of parliament, when they must well know, that such a reform would
totally destroy the very root whence spring those _individual_ benefits
for which they express their gratitude to Bragge Bathurst. Sir Samuel
Romilly, as I had before the honour to observe to you, has never
told you that he is for a reform of the parliament; and, after the
publication of these Resolutions, moved by the man who introduced him
into your city, there are very few amongst you, I trust, who will not
be convinced, that his partisans are well convinced that he will not
support such a reform as shall give us a chance of destroying that
corruption which is now eating out the very vitals of the country.

Clear as it is, then, that both the factions are your enemies, I hope
that you will stand firmly by each other in opposition to so detestable
an union. Both factions are hateful; but of the two the Whigs are the
worst; because they disguise their hostility to the cause of freedom.
Take, however, only a little time to reflect, and you will not be
deceived by the cant of Mr. Charles Elton and Mr. Mills, both of whom,
I would venture my life, have bespoke places for themselves in case of
success to their candidate. They well know that the success of Mr. Hunt
would defeat their scheme, and _therefore_ they hate him. They do not
dislike him for his separation from his wife; they would not give his
wife a bit of bread to save her life, if she was a beggar instead of
being, as she is, well and liberally provided for; they would see her
drop from their door dead in the street, rather than tender her a
helping hand; but, to speak of the separation suits the turn of the
hypocrites; by having recourse to it, they can cast calumny on their foe
without letting their real motive appear. They would, if they dared,
tell him that he is a cruel savage for endeavouring to prevent them from
pocketing the public money; but this would not suit their purpose; and
they therefore resort to his separation from his wife.

Trusting now, Gentlemen, that you see clearly the motives of the two
factions, and that their main object is to get a share of the
public money, I shall not fear, that, at another election, you will
_resolutely_ endeavour to defeat that vile object. The whole mystery
lies here. It is the public money that the factions want to get at. They
are not attached to any particular set of men or of means. Whoever or
whatever will give them the best chance of getting at the public money
is the man or the thing for them; and Sir Samuel Romilly has been
brought forward upon the recent occasion, only because there were a set
of men, who found that they could not get so much of the public money as
they wanted under any of the other candidates. They found the old ground
too thickly settled for them; they therefore resolved to get new ground
of their own; and they chose Sir Samuel Romilly, because he was at
once likely to be a placeman, and was a man of a good deal of deserved
popularity. They, if he were elected, would say as Falstaff did of the
moon: "the _chaste_ Diana, under whose influence _we steal_." They mean
to make a passage of him through which to get at the people's earnings;
and, all this, too, under the guise of virtue and patriotism. With me
there wanted nothing to produce conviction of this fact before; and now,
I trust, that there is no man who will affect to doubt it; now when we
see them moving and signing resolutions, applauding the conduct of a
member of parliament who has become a sinecure placeman, and who is
notoriously a most decided enemy of reform of parliament.

With these facts before him, it is not to be believed, that any one
amongst you will give his vote for this hypocritical faction. If Sir
Samuel Romilly will declare openly for reform of parliament, you will do
well to vote for him and for Mr. Hunt; but, if he will not, it is your
duty not only not to vote for him, but to do all that lies in your power
to prevent his being elected; for, be you well assured, that, without a
reform of parliament, no man living can save this country or render it
any essential service. There is no national evil that we feel, be it
small or great, which may not be traced to the want of a parliamentary
reform, and such a reform, too, as shall cut up corruption by the roots.

It is with great pleasure that I perceive Mr. Hunt has promised you to
be a candidate at Bristol at every future election, as long as he has
life and health, unless he should be a member when a vacancy takes place
for your city. This promise ensures you _an election_; it secures you
against being sold like _dumb creatures_; it secures you the _exercise_
of your right of voting, and the right of now and then openly
reproaching and loading with just maledictions any of the wretches who
may betray you. To be a member for Bristol, in future, a man must stand
an _election_ of some days, at any rate; no one will be able to get in
by a mere day's parade; an election at Bristol will not in future be a
ceremony like that of choosing a churchwarden; your voices will be
heard, and, I hope, they will always carry terror to the hearts of the
corrupt. You have only to _persevere_. To keep steadily on. To suffer
nothing to turn you aside. Your enemies cannot kill you, nor can they do
you harm. If they collect and publish lists of _your names_; you will do
well to collect and publish lists of _theirs_, and then stand your
chance for the _final effect_. But, above all things, be upon your guard
against the fraudulent dealings of the Whigs, who are the worst faction
of the two, because they are the greatest hypocrites. They make use of
the name of Sir Samuel Romilly as the means of deceiving you, and of
getting a share of the public money into their own pockets; and of this
fact I beg you never to lose sight.

I am, Gentlemen, your friend,

WM. COBBETT. Botley, Tuesday, 11th August, 1812.

These three letters will give a clear view of the state of politics at
Bristol. I offered myself as a candidate for that city, not with the
expectation of being returned as one of the Members, but from a firm
conviction, and, indeed, a thorough knowledge, that it was one of the
most _corrupt cities_ in the universe; that the people had been kept
in total ignorance and darkness by the intrigues and cabals of the two
factions, the Whigs and Tories, in which glorious and praiseworthy work
those factions had been ably assisted by the local press of the city.
MATTHEW GUTCH, the Editor of _Felix Farley's Journal_, the Ministerial
or Tory hack editor, and JOHN MILLS, the Whig hack editor, two beings
equally unprincipled in politics, had contributed mainly to assist in
perpetuating the ignorance of the people; the whole of the patriotism
of the citizens consisting in being devoted tools either to the Whig or
Tory factions, blind supporters of the _high_ or the _low_ party. It
will be seen by these letters, that my great object was to rescue the
people of Bristol from this deplorable state of ignorance and darkness,
into which they had been plunged by the intrigues and unprincipled
compromise of these two factions. How far I was successful in this
attempt, may be best deduced from the unwarrantable and villainous abuse
that was poured out upon me by all the rascally editors of the public
press of that day. Gutch and Mills vied with each other which could be
most scurrilous, and which could tell the greatest number of the most
unprincipled and barefaced falsehoods. It will be seen also, from these
letters, that I was assailed by Mr. Charles Elton and Mr. Walker, both
supporters of Sir Samuel Romilly; the former the son of Sir Abraham
Elton, and the latter an attorney, who published a pamphlet at the time
on purpose to abuse one. When I say that these two gentlemen were the
most liberal minded men in the City of Bristol, you may form some idea
of the prejudice that was excited against me, and the pains that were
taken to put me down. As, however, Mr. Elton and Mr. Walker have made
some amends, by expressing themselves in a very different manner of
me since I have been here, I am by no means disposed to bear them any
ill-will; on the contrary, I think them two of the very best men amongst
the gentry of Bristol, and an exception to the sweeping character which,
in my last number, I gave of the Bristol gentlemen, although at the
period to which I allude they were two of the foremost to abuse and
belie me. If either of them should read this, I have not the least doubt
but they will lament the injustice they did me; the names of both of
them appear amongst those who have subscribed to remunerate me for some
of my expenses; and I am informed that they liberally promoted the
Bristol petition, that was presented to the House of Commons last week
by Mr. Bright, one of the Members for that city. This evidently shews
that, if they still remain my political enemies, they are at any rate
liberal and generous foes; but I would fain hope that they have by this
time convinced themselves from observation, that I am more deserving of
their support than their hatred and opposition. They will have seen
that I have, ever since they first saw me at Bristol, been the steady
persevering friend of Radical Reform; they will see that I have always
advocated the same principles; and they will acknowledge that the very
principles and sentiments that I promulgated, during the first election
for Bristol, are become almost universal now; that the very same
language which I made use of upon the pedestal, in the front of the
Exchange, has lately been made use of, and repeated almost verbatim, by
Noblemen and Members of Parliament, at county meetings; that the very
remedies which at Bristol I declared, in 1812, to be necessary, to
restore the country to freedom and happiness, are now almost universally
allowed to be the only remedies in 1822. These letters, which were
written by Mr. Cobbett, I do not publish for the sake of raking up any
old grievances; far from it but I do it for the purpose of maintaining
and proving my consistency, and also that, whatever I may have erred in,
my errors have sprung from the head and not from the heart.

The reader has seen in these letters, that I promised the electors of
Bristol that I would always be a candidate for Bristol, at all future
elections; but this, of course, was _conditional_. When the proper time
comes I shall, I think, give a very satisfactory reason why I did not
keep this promise, or at least why I was prevented from doing so;
although perhaps, it would, as it turned out, have been much better for
me, personally, if I had gone there again, under all the disadvantages
which I had to anticipate, rather than have destroyed my health
and wasted my property in opposing Sir Francis Burdett for the City of
Westminster. Still, however much I may have suffered upon that occasion,
I must persist in thinking that a great public good was effected by it.
These things, however, I shall at least honestly account for, whether
my explanation prove satisfactory or not, at the proper epoch of my
history.

The general election was to take place in October. The Bristol election
was fixed to commence on the 6th of that month. On the 5th I arrived
once more in Bristol, and I was received, if possible, with more
enthusiasm and greater demonstrations of respect than ever by the
people. A most dirty trick was played me by Mr. Protheroe, one of
the Whig candidates. He and his friends, by bribes and threats, got
possession of my inn, the Talbot, which I had occupied upon the former
occasion; and, as I had arranged to go there again, it created some
disappointment to my friends, for these cunning fellows had taken
possession of this inn only the day before I arrived in Bristol. My
friends, however, took me as usual to the Pedestal, at the Exchange,
where, in addressing the multitude, I informed them of this trick that
had been played me, which I had not been aware of till I came into the
city. But I soon convinced these gentry that I was not to be driven out
of the city by such means, although I had been informed that all the
inn-keepers had been threatened with the loss of their licenses, if they
admitted me into their houses. I declared my resolution to take up my
residence upon the Pedestal, where I then stood, if I could procure
no other accommodation. This sort of mean persecution to which I was
exposed, generally, however, brings with it its own remedy; and I soon
had a message from the mistress of the Swan-inn, in Maryport-street,
that she would furnish me with apartments. It appeared that her husband
was a partizan of the Whigs, and would fain have kept me out of his
house, but the lady was resolute, and she discovered a degree of spirit
and independence, in which the gentlemen of Bristol were lamentably
deficient, and I was consequently received into very good quiet
apartments, and received every accommodation and attention that I
required.

There were four candidates--Mr. Davis, the White Lion or Tory candidate,
Mr. Protheroe, and Sir Samuel Romilly, both of whom stood upon the Whig
interest, and myself, who contended upon true constitutional principles,
to maintain the right of the people to free election. The morning came,
and I proceeded to the Exchange, where, while I was addressing my
friends who had assembled in great numbers, intelligence was brought
to me, that the Sheriffs, with the other three candidates and their
friends, were gone to the Guildhall, which was filled almost to a state
bordering upon suffocation. Thus, by another trick, had these worthies
stolen a march upon me, by filling the hall with their friends before
the usual hour. As no time was to be lost, I proceeded thither with as
much speed as the density of the crowd would permit. I believe that no
man except myself would have been allowed to penetrate Broad-street; but
I was cheered by friends and even foes, all anxious to assist me to the
hustings. When I came to the hall-door, the steps were so jammed with
the people, that it was impossible to penetrate through the solid mass
of human bodies, upon which one man, at the top of the stairs, hailed
those at the bottom, as follows:--"Mount Mr. Hunt upon your shoulders,
my friends, and let him pass over us, as he cannot get through
the crowd." This plan was instantly adopted, and I marched along
deliberately stepping upon the shoulders of those assembled, every
individual endeavoring to assist me, as I passed amidst the cheers of the
whole multitude; but when I sprung upon the hustings, the shout was such
as made the old walls of the Guildhall shake, and it was actually so
deafening that it was some time before I could hear again. I found that
the greatest confusion and uproar prevailed, in consequence of the
Sheriffs having stopped up and barricadoed the _Two Galleries_ with
three-inch deal planks, lashed together with strong iron plates and
hoops. These galleries were the very best places for the people to see
the election, as they completely overlooked the hustings and the whole
court, which was calculated more than any other circumstance to secure
fair play. At any rate, every trick, quibble, and foul proceeding, every
fraud and underhanded transaction, that had been attempted at the former
election, by the agents of the factions who had combined against me, was
detected and exposed, and the detection was exceedingly facilitated by
my friends, and the friends of fair play and the freedom of election,
some of whom took care to place themselves in these galleries every day;
and they were sure to be so completely on the alert, that when any thing
escaped my observation, it was sure to be instantly detected by these
watchful lookers-on, who, from their peculiar situation, had the most
commanding power of seeing every transaction that passed. This was a
most galling circumstance to those who wished to carry on their old
pranks, as heretofore, unperceived and undetected.--Amongst this number
was the worthy perpetual Under Sheriff, Mr. Arthur Palmer. He appeared
to be dreadfully annoyed by being thus rigidly scrutinized; and
therefore, as deputy commanding officer over all the _minutiæ_ of
benches, tables, seats, &c. &c. he had, in conjunction with his friend
Jerry Osbourn, proposed and planned this notable scheme, to get rid
of what they considered as so intolerable a nuisance, by curtailing
one-fourth of the space of the hall, which before was infinitely too
small for the purpose of holding an election.

In consequence of this obstruction, the greatest uproar ensued, and a
scene of tumult followed, such as, in all my previous attendance at
public meetings, I had never witnessed before. The people were highly
exasperated at this wanton and daring encroachment upon their rights,
as freemen, to the freedom of election; and every now and then we could
discover a voice more powerful than the rest exclaiming, "open the
galleries! down with the planks!" &c. &c. The pressure of the crowd
towards the hustings now increased to such a degree, and the heat was so
intolerable, that the Sheriffs (the two young Mr. Hillhouses) appeared
greatly alarmed; all were grasping for breath, and I believe that some
would have suffered from suffocation, if the Sheriffs had not resorted
to the expedient of admitting a little fresh air, by dashing to pieces
the large Gothic window, or at least the glass of it, at the back of the
hustings, which they did with their swords. I sat quietly down, and with
my arms folded I calmly looked on in silence upon this tremendous scene
of uproar and confusion. Poor Sir Samuel Romilly! I shall never forget
his looks; he stood aghast, and I saw his eyes were frequently turned to
me, with a sort of imploring expression. The Sheriffs, after having _in
vain_ made repeated attempts to procure silence, appealed to me, and in
the most supplicating manner requested me to address the multitude to
obtain it. I, however, sat firm upon my seat, and resolutely refused to
interfere; saying, that I could have no influence, as the Sheriffs
had, by a trick, shut out all my friends, and packed the hall with the
friends of the other candidates. I therefore begged them to apply to
those candidates, to procure silence from their own partisans. The
Sheriffs did so; but Davis and Protheroe knew they should not be
attended to, and consequently they declined to make the attempt. At
length Sir Samuel Romilly stood forward, but without the least possible
chance of a single word that he uttered being heard: he retired, and
then joined his intreaties to those of the Sheriffs, to request me to
address the people to be silent while the Sheriffs read the writ for
commencing the election. For some time I declined to interfere; and
urged the knight of the gown and wig to try again, repeating what I had
before said, that I could not be expected to have any influence, as the
greatest part of my friends were, by a petty trick of the Sheriffs, shut
out and left upon the Exchange, while the hall was packed and crammed
full by the friends of the other three candidates. I observed that there
were a great majority wearing the colours of Sir Samuel Romilly, and I
entreated him to make another attempt to be heard; he did so, but it was
all in vain. They all now repeated their supplications to me, that I
would rise and endeavour to gain silence, but for, I suppose, nearly
half an hour, I remained immovable. I thought this a proper opportunity
to place the question of my popularity beyond all dispute. The corrupt
hirelings of the press, particularly the corrupt John Mills, the
proprietor of the _Bristol Gazette_, had denied that I was the popular
candidate, and claimed this honour for Sir Samuel Romilly; I was
therefore determined to put this question at rest at once. All the
corrupt knaves of attorneys, petty-foggers and all, looked to me in
the most humble and imploring manner, and they might have looked and
implored till this hour, before I would have stirred an inch, or have
uttered a word to have gratified them, had I not been loudly called
for from all parts of the hall, and the call of the people I instantly
obeyed.

The moment that I rose from my seat I was received with three cheers,
upon which I gave a slight wave of my hand, and immediately, as if by
magic, the most profound silence ensued. I began as follows: "In the
name of the insulted freemen of Bristol, I demand of the Sheriffs to be
publicly informed by whose authority it is that the galleries have been
barricadoed!" (_loud cheers_.) "I'll wait for an answer"!!! The Sheriff,
the elder Hillhouse, "_an unlicked cub_," both of them being mere boys,
totally incapable of performing the office of Sheriff with any degree of
credit to themselves, or honour to the City, drawled out in a faultering
voice, "that the galleries had been examined by the city _surveyor_,
and had been pronounced unsafe." I knew this was a shuffle, as it was
evident that the galleries were most substantial; for, being supported
by large upright solid pillars, they were capable of sustaining ten
times the weight required to fill them with people. I therefore demanded
if the surveyor was present to answer for himself? The answer was, no.
The name of the surveyor was demanded, but an abusive answer was
given by Mr. Perpetual. After a shower of hisses from the audience,
I deliberately declared it to be an infamous shuffle, a premeditated
insult to the citizens, and a step calculated to obstruct the freedom
of election, and to promote and screen bribery and corruption. I,
therefore, desired the people to remove the nuisance, by taking down the
planks and forcing an entrance into the galleries as usual, and I would
be answerable for the consequences. A sailor instantly scaled the
height, and in about twenty minutes the immense barricado was removed,
and the planks, iron and all, were handed over the people's heads into
the streets; and thus what had taken Mr. Arthur Palmer several days to
erect, was now removed in a few minutes. The galleries were soon filled
with several hundred people, and complete silence was restored. To
accomplish this might altogether have taken up two hours. Davis,
Protheroe, Romilly, and Hunt, were duly and regularly proposed and
seconded by their respective friends, and each having addressed the
electors, the show of hands was taken by the Sheriffs, and declared by
them "to have fallen upon _Mr. Hunt and Sir Samuel Romilly, by a very
large majority_;" upon which Davis and Protheroe demanded a poll; and
each candidate having polled a few electors, the election was adjourned
till the next morning.

My friend Davenport had kindly consented to accompany me to Bristol, and
I was surrounded and supported by all my former friends, who had given
me their support during the recent contest, with the exception of a Mr.
Webb, who did not appear amongst them. It was soon found that _he_ had
_openly_ joined the ranks of the enemy, as his secret intrigues and
infamous treachery, during the former election, had been detected by my
friends, who found out that every night, after he left my committee, he
had proceeded to a secret committee of Mr. Davis, and communicated to
them the whole of the plans of my supporters; and, in fact, through this
treacherous caitiff they every night knew what we had done, and what we
intended to do on the following day. Although this was a most diabolical
act on the part of Mr. Webb, and very unfair upon my committee, of whom
he made one, and generally the chairman, yet as I had no secrets, it did
not serve the purpose of my opponents much. To be sure, it in a small
degree enabled them to anticipate and frustrate the effect of the plans
of my committee; but, as I took a straight forward course, it did not
put me off my guard at all, and, besides, as I soon found that all the
projects of my committee were known to the enemy, and was, of course,
quite sure that we had a spy in our camp, I took good care to keep my
order of battle to myself till it was about to be put in force. I must,
however, own that this viper did completely deceive me; as I had not
the slightest suspicion of him till after the election, when he was
detected, in fact, not till I had it from one of the White Lion Club,
that Webb came every night to them, and frequently supped with them
after he left my committee; and even then I was incredulous, till he
related some particular facts, that put all doubt out of the question,
by proving the truth of his information in the most unequivocal manner.

In my address to the electors, I put it fairly to Sir Samuel Romilly, to
declare whether he would support a real Reform in Parliament or not; I
meant such a Reform as Sir Francis Burdett at that time advocated; and I
declared it to be my intention, in case he answered in the affirmative,
to give him every aid in my power. Sir Samuel candidly and honestly
declared that he would vote for a reform of abuses, and also that he
would always vote for a moderate Reform; but that he could not with
consistency favour the kind of Reform for which Sir Francis Burdett
was contending. This reply was received with cheers by his immediate
advocates, such as _Mister_ Mills, and Mr. Winter Harris, who had
declared to the citizens, upon their canvass, that the Knight was a
staunch friend of Reform. As, however, the Knight had never declared it
himself, I thought this the proper time to put the question; the answer
to which the great body of the people received, some with surprise
and some with disgust. I then stated my objections to a lawyer, and
especially my particular objection to a King's Counsel, being a Member
of Parliament for an independent and populous city; which objection was
this, that the moment a counsellor received a _silk gown_, he accepted a
retaining fee from the Crown, to plead at all times against the people.
This assertion was received with cheers from the people, and a burst of
indignation from the partizans of Sir Samuel Romilly. I repeated the
assertion, and added, that in case any one of Sir Samuel Romilly's
voters had an indictment preferred against him for a libel, for any
offence under the excise laws, for high treason, or, indeed for any
offence where the prosecution was in the name of the King, that the
worthy counsellor could not plead for his constituent the subject,
against his master the King, unless the subject would submit to the
juggle of taking out a _licence_, for which he must pay ten or twelve
pounds to the King, to enable the gentleman with the silk gown to plead
against the Crown. This caused a great sensation throughout the hall,
and the truth of it was most vociferously denied by the Romillites, many
of whom declared that it was a base and false assertion. John Mills,
always foremost at such times with his brazen face and stentorian lungs,
roared out that it was a lie. As this gentleman was remarkably deficient
in sense and talent, he endeavoured to make amends by bluster and
violence; this will sufficiently account for the vulgarity of his
language. An apology from him was, however, loudly insisted upon by his
indignant hearers. As soon as silence was restored, I turned round to
Sir Samuel Romilly, and called upon him to say honestly and fairly
whether I had not spoken the truth; and as I stated that I waited for
an answer, the Knight came forward amidst the cheers of his partizans.
Knowing what would be the result, I did not fail to cheer also. Sir
Samuel Romilly said he had no hesitation in admitting that what Mr. Hunt
bad stated was perfectly true, that a King's Counsel could not plead for
a subject in a criminal prosecution, without a licence from the Crown.
If Sir Samuel Romilly had not been present to admit the fact, these
amiable Bristolians would have lied and sworn out of it, but they were
now chop fallen, and I was allowed to proceed without any further
interruption.

During the whole election afterwards, no statement of mine was
contradicted. I said nothing against Sir Samuel; on the contrary, I gave
him full credit for being one of the very, best of the gown and wig
gentry; not one offensive personal expression was used by me towards him
throughout the whole election; neither did he throw out one insinuation
against me; on the contrary, it was the fashion for us to compliment
each other. In fact, he followed my example, and after the poll was
closed for the day, he every evening addressed the people upon the
Exchange from the window of his Committee-room. I always gave him the
precedence to address them, so that had he been disposed to join
his Committee, by endeavouring to practise delusion, I should have
immediately detected and exposed any such sophistry upon the spot. But I
will repeat now what I unequivocally stated at the time, that, had the
Committee and the friends of the Knight possessed half the liberality
and honesty that he did, and practised one-tenth of the fairness that
was shewn upon all occasions by Sir Samuel, I have no doubt but he would
have been elected with myself, instead of Mr. Davis and Mr. Protheroe.
But the Romillites in Bristol were not a rush better or more liberal
than the friends of Davis or Protheroe. There was as much corruption,
bribery, treating, intimidation, and undue influence, exercised on the
part of these hypocritical, professed friends of freedom, as there was
by the partizans of Davis, who was the avowed enemy of freedom, and the
determined, unprincipled champion of tyranny and despotism. By this
conduct the real friends of Reform were disgusted, and the enthusiasm
that was so visible during the former election was paralized: neither
myself nor any one of my friends ever canvassed for a single vote; the
electors had been all canvassed, over and over again, by the partizans
of Davis, Protheroe, and Romilly. I saw that the latter was most
heartily sick of being made the tool of the Whig faction, without any
chance of being elected. Sir Samuel frequently told the people that
they were indebted to Mr. Hunt for the little share of the freedom of
election which they had left them, and although he got behind upon the
poll every day, yet he solemnly declared that he would not resign as
long as there was a man left to poll for him. This declaration, however,
proved to be a bravado, for he resigned on the eighth day, when there
were a considerable number of voters left unpolled in the city, and one
half of the out-voters had not been polled. My friends, Williams, Pimm,
Cranidge, Brownjohn, and others, stood firmly and staunchly by me, and
Mr. Cossens, one of Sir Samuel Romilly's committee, I found also to be
a staunch friend; and I believe this was the only friend I had amongst
them: almost all the freemen that he brought up to the hustings polled
for Romilly and Hunt, but all those of Sir Samuel Romilly's voters, who
were under the influence of their masters, were ordered to give plumpers
for Sir Samuel Romilly, and all of them were canvassed to do so. Such,
however, as had the spirit to follow the dictates of his conscience,
voted for Hunt and Romilly; almost all the London voters did this,
although they were urged to vote for Romilly alone.

During this contest, if it may be called one, the notorious Captain
Gee was a very active partizan of Mr. Davis's; he headed a gang of
blackguards, a set of second-rate prize-fighters, amongst whom was the
notorious Bob Watson. This gang used to annoy the voters of Sir Samuel
Romilly most infamously. Watson used to come into the box, where ten or
twelve of Sir Samuel Romilly's voters were assembled waiting to poll,
and with the assistance of two or three more of his gang, backed on by
Captain Gee, he would hustle and drive them all out of the box, and
prevent them from giving their votes. At length, Sir Samuel was
induced to snake a serious remonstrance to the Sheriff against such an
unwarrantable violation of the freedom of election, and he called upon
the Sheriff to have Watson taken into custody, who had actually been
assaulting several of his voters in the presence of the Sheriff.
Although Mr. Sheriff had been an eyewitness of these proceedings several
times before, yet he felt that, now his attention was thus publicly
called to the subject, he could not connive at them any longer; and as
Watson had been laying about him in the most outrageous manner, in which
he had the audacity to persevere, although called upon by the Sheriff to
desist, Mr. Sheriff ordered his constables to take Watson into custody.
Two or three of these guardians of the peace made a faint attempt to
obey his orders, but Watson beat them all off, and set them at defiance.
Sir Samuel remonstrated again; the constables were called up, and they
informed the Sheriff that, notwithstanding there were fifty of them in
the Hall, yet they dared not seize Watson. Mr. Sheriff, turning to Sir
Samuel, said, "there you hear, Sir, what the constables say, what can I
do more than I have done?" This pusillanimous speech made Watson ten
times more violent than he was before. I confess that my blood
boiled at hearing such language from the Sheriff; and although I was
not personally concerned, as Watson had not touched one man that had my
colours in his hat, yet I felt disgusted and angered to see such partial
and indecisive conduct on the part of the Sheriff, who actually
turned round and appealed to me to know what he should do? I replied
indignantly, "why, commit the constables, and seize the daring violater
of the law yourself, to be sure; you cannot plead that you have not the
means to put a stop to this brutal insolence, when you have the power of
calling every man to aid and assist you." The Sheriff did not like this
advice, or at best he did not attempt to follow it; but made some paltry
excuse, saying that it would be very dangerous to interfere with such
desperate ruffians, and he could not do more than he had done.

All this time Watson was committing the most daring outrages upon every
one who came within reach of his fist. At length I said aloud to the
Sheriff, "Sir, as your constables have refused to obey your orders, will
you authorise _me_ to bring Watson before you?" "By all means, Mr. Hunt,
and I shall really be much obliged to you if you will aid and as
sist." I sprang from the hustings upon the table appropriated for the
inspectors, and from thence into the box where Watson was, and seized
the ruffian by the collar, and almost in the twinkling of an eye I threw
him out of the box upon the table. In the effort I had stripped his
coat, waistcoat and shirt, off his back, nearly down to his waist; there
he stood riveted in my grasp, with his brawney shoulders naked and
exposed to the whole assembly; and the Sheriff and Sir Samuel Romilly
appeared to be thunderstruck for the moment. The Sheriff ordered him
into the custody of half a score of constables, and directed that he
should be taken before the mayor, either to be committed or bound over
to keep the peace, and Sir Samuel Romilly undertook to go and prefer
the charges against him. The fellow was led away thus guarded, and I
received the warm thanks of Sir Samuel as well as the Sheriff; the
former was very sincere, but the latter was most jesuitical. Within five
minutes the news was brought, that Watson had no sooner got into the
street than he upset the ten constables, and made his escape. However,
my decisive conduct had the effect of keeping Mr. Watson out of the hall
for the remainder of the election, and the very brave Captain Gee became
much less troublesome afterwards. Those who saw this transaction will
never forget it.

Sir Samuel Romilly having resigned on the eighth day, the poll was
continued open on the ninth, and the electors continued to offer their
votes and poll, although but slowly; yet as it was expected that a
considerable number of out-voters from London and other places would
arrive on the following day, to vote for Sir Samuel Romilly, some of his
friends wished to keep open the poll; but the Sheriff ordered it to
be closed at four o'clock on the tenth day, at which time Messrs.
Davis and Protheroe, whose forces had been united by a coalition, were
declared to be duly elected. The numbers who voted were stated to
be, for Davis 2910--Protheroe 2435--Romilly 1685--Hunt 455. The only
remarkable thing in these numbers is, that so many should have voted for
_me_, who never spent a shilling, and who never canvassed a vote, and
whose friends never spent a penny. The fact was, that the city had been
canvassed by all parties but myself, and every species of bribery,
intimidation and corrupt practice had been resorted to by the partizans
of the three candidates, by whom an immense sum had been squandered
away. The White Lion candidate and the Club, of course, according to
their ancient and laudable custom, scattered their money profusely to
purchase votes; they had an interest in doing so; but Mr. Protheroe's
and Sir Samuel Romilly's appeared to be a bad speculation. Mr. Protheroe
and his friends could not have expended less than twenty thousand
pounds. It was, indeed, said to have cost the two successful candidates
and their friends as much as thirty thousand each; and, when all things
are taken into consideration, perhaps this is not over-rating it. The
expenses of Sir Samuel Romilly's election could not have been less
than twenty thousand pounds, it might have been more, for it will be
recollected that eight thousand were subscribed in one day at the
meeting held at the Crown and Anchor in London; so that for every vote
given to Sir S. Romilly it cost at least _ten pounds a man_; and for
every vote given to Davis and Protheroe, supposing the number to have
been 3,000 and the expenses of each 30,000_l_. every vote must have cost
_twenty pounds_ a man; while any whole expenses, thither and back, and
while I retrained there, did not exceed twenty-five pounds, about a
_shilling_ for each vote. Only look at the contrast, and no one will be
surprised at the apparent smallness of the number which voted for me.
I believe almost every man who voted for me voted also for Sir Samuel
Romilly; but his partizans evinced full as great an hostility to me as
the myrmidons of the White Lion Club did. Every vote was urged to poll
plumpers for Romilly; and, in fact, when they answered that they should
poll for Hunt and Romilly, they were frequently told that the friends
of Romilly would not accept their votes on any such terms, they would
rather lose the votes altogether than suffer them to vote for Hunt.
Between two and three thousand freedoms were taken up and paid for by
the friends of the candidates, and all those taken up by the partizans
of Romilly were paid for upon the express condition that they did not
vote for Hunt, but give plumpers for Romilly. It was this shameful
conduct that palsied all public feeling, and filled the real patriotic
friends of Liberty with disgust. Many hundreds would not come forward
at all, as they deemed it absolute folly to lay themselves open to the
vindictive revenge of the agents of Government, merely to support such
illiberal proceedings; and many hundreds, when they found what was the
language of those who canvassed for Sir Samuel Romilly, actually went
and voted for Davis and Protheroe, under the impression that, if they
must support such a corrupt system, they had much better do it where
they could do so with safety, and where they could benefit rather than
injure themselves. If the friends of Sir Samuel, or rather those who
wished to make a tool of him to serve their own grovelling interests,
had come forward manfully, and declared their readiness to support and
vote for Hunt as well as for him, against the coalition of Tories and
sham Whigs, the public enthusiasm would have been such that we should
undoubtedly have been both elected, instead of Davis and Protheroe,
in spite of all the money that the latter were spending to bribe the
voters. But the mean, selfish, temporising conduct of the friends of
Romilly, lost him the election. The fact was, that these hypocritical
Whigs would rather have sacrificed Romilly a hundred times, and have
elected the devil himself, than they would have voted for Hunt. "Take
any shape but that!" They knew that I should spoil their sport; they
knew that I would not connive at the corruption of the Whigs, any more
than I would at that of the Tories; and therefore I was no man for them;
and the result was, that Romilly lost his election solely through this
dastardly and corrupt feeling.

Sir Samuel took his departure for London immediately, and I went to a
friend's near Bath, whence I returned the next day, by appointment, to
dine with my friends in Bristol. The multitude that came out to receive
me, the unsuccessful candidate, surpassed all former precedent. I was
taken as usual to the Exchange, where I pledged myself, if supported
at all by the friends of Romilly, that I would present and prosecute a
petition to Parliament against the return of Davis and Protheroe. Upon
this, I received the assurance of many of Romilly's friends, that they
would support the petition, by a pecuniary subscription; although they,
snake-like, or rather _Bristol-men-like_, declined to be seen openly
supporting it. I own I did not rely much upon these promises, and it
was fortunate that I did not, for, if I had, I should have been most
wretchedly deceived.

I returned into the country, and as soon as the Parliament met, I
presented the following Petition to the Honourable House:--

"_To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland, in Parliament assembled_.

"The Petition of Henry Hunt, of Rowfant House, in the County of Sussex,
Esquire; William Pimm, of the City of Bristol, salesman; Thomas Pimm, of
the City of Bristol, currier; William Weetch, of the City of Bristol,
clothier; and Thomas Gamage, of the City of Bristol, cabinet-maker,

"HUMBLY SHEWETH,

"That your petitioners, William Pimm, Thomas Pimm, William Weetch, and
Thomas Gamage, now are, and at the time of the last election of two
Members to serve in the present Parliament for the City of Bristol, were
electors of the said City, and claim to have a right to vote, and did
vote, at the said election; and at the said election your petitioner
Henry Hunt, together with Richard Hart Davis, Esquire, Edward Protheroe,
Esquire, and Sir Samuel Romilly, Knight, were candidates to represent
the said City, as citizens of the same, in this present Parliament.

"That the said Richard Hart Davis, Esquire, and Edward Protheroe,
Esquire, by themselves, their agents, friends, managers, committees,
partizans, and others on his and their behalf, previous to and at
the said election, were guilty of gross and notorious bribery and
corruption; and at and during the said electron, and previous thereto,
the said Richard Hart Davis and the said Edward Protheroe, by
themselves, their agents, friends, managers, committees, partizans,
and others on their behalf, by gifts and rewards, and promises and
agreements, and securities for gifts and rewards, did corrupt and
procure divers persons, as well those who were qualified to vote, as
those who claimed or pretended to have a right to vote, at the said
election, to give their votes for them the said Richard Hart Davis and
Edward Protheroe, Esquires; and did also, by gifts and rewards, and
promises, agreements, and securities for gifts and rewards, corrupt
and procure divers other persons, being qualified to vote at the said
election, to refuse and forbear to give their votes at the same, for
your petitioner the said Henry Hunt, or the other candidate, contrary
to the laws and statutes enacted for the prevention of such corrupt
practices.

"That the said Richard Hart Davis and the said Edward Protheroe, by
themselves, their agents, friends, managers, committees, partizans, and
others on their behalf, were guilty of the most flagrant and notorious
acts of intimidation, thereby basely and unlawfully procuring by
threats, divers other persons, being qualified to vote at the said
election, through the fear of being persecuted, ruined, imprisoned, and
otherwise ill-used and punished, to forbear to give their votes to your
petitioner the said Henry Hunt, or the other candidate, in violation
of the rights of the electors, the privileges of Parliament, and the
freedom of election.

"That the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe, by themselves,
their agents, friends, managers, committees, partizans, and others on
their behalf, after the test of the writ for the said election, and
before the election of the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe
to serve in the Parliament for the said City of Bristol, did give,
present and allow to divers persons, who had votes, or claimed or
pretended to have a right to vote at such election, money, meat, drink,
entertainment and provision, and make presents, gifts, rewards and
entertainments, and make promises, agreements, obligations, to give
and allow money, meat, drink, provision, presents, rewards and
entertainments, to and for such persons having or claiming or pretending
to have a right to vote at the said election; and to and for the use,
advantage, benefit, emolument, profit and preferment of such person
and persons, in order to their the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward
Protheroe being elected, and to procure the said Richard Hart Davis and
Edward Protheroe to be returned to serve in the present Parliament
for the said City of Bristol, in violation of the standing orders and
regulations of your Honourable House, and in defiance of the laws
and statutes of the realm enacted for preventing charge and expense in
the election of Members to serve in Parliament.

"That a large body of military, consisting of the Middlesex militia,
were quartered within two miles of the said City, and many of whom were
actually stationed within the walls of the said City of Bristol; and
that Colonel Gore, commandant of the Bristol Volunteers, gave orders,
the day before the election commenced, to have two pieces of brass
ordnance, six pounders, removed from the Grove, where they had been kept
for the last two years, and had them placed upon the Exchange, where
they remained during the whole of the said election, to the terror of
the electors and peaceable inhabitants of the said City of Bristol,
regardless of the privileges of your Hon. House, and contrary to the
statute of the 8th of George the Second, chap. 30th, in that case made
and provided.

"That a great number of freemen were employed by the said Richard Hart
Davis and Edward Protheroe, or their agents, under the denomination of
bludgeon men, or pretended constables, and that various sums of money
were paid by the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe, or by
their agents, committees, friends, managers or others on their behalf,
to influence such of them as were entitled to vote, or pretend to have
a right to vote, at the said election, and to induce them to give their
votes for the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe, Esqrs.

"That the poll was closed by the Sheriffs, the returning officers, two
days sooner than by law directed, notwithstanding your petitioner, the
said Henry Hunt, openly protested against it; several freemen at the
time having offered to poll for the said Henry Hunt, which votes were
refused to be taken and entered on the poll, and notwithstanding the
Sheriffs were publicly informed that many other votes were on the road,
who were coming with the intent to poll at the said election.

"Your petitioners therefore humbly pray, that the Honourable House will
take the premises into their most serious consideration, and that the
election and return of the said Richard Hart Davis, Esquire, and Edward
Protheroe, Esquire, maybe declared to be null and void; and that such
further relief may be granted to your petitioners as the justice of the
case may require."
"HENRY HUNT.
"WILLIAM WEETCH.
"WILLIAM PIMM.
"THOMAS GAMAGE.
"THOMAS PIMM."

Having done this, I entered into the usual securities for the
prosecution of the inquiry before a Committee of the Honourable House,
which Committee was appointed to be ballotted for on the 24th of
February following.

A very extraordinary and unexpected change had in the mean time taken
place in Russia; namely, the defeat of the French army, the recovery of
Moscow by the Russians, and the rapid retreat of the French amidst a
Russian winter. When Napoleon entered Moscow, the Governor Rochtopchin
had, as we have before seen, caused great part of the capital to be
destroyed by fire; and as the Emperor saw that it was destruction to
attempt to remain there with his army during the winter, he resolved
upon a retreat; but he remained too long before he began it. He first
proposed an armistice, which was rejected, and he began his retreat on
the ninth of November. The frost sat in severely nearly a month earlier
than usual that year, and the ground was covered with a deep snow. The
Russian armies pursued the retiring invaders; and the sufferings of the
French and their allies were indescribable. The men and horses perished
from cold upon the road by hundreds, and their carriages and artillery
were broken to pieces and abandoned. Having accompanied the remains of
his army back to Poland, Napoleon set off to Paris, where the Senate
shewed him every mark of respect and attachment; but great discontent
was very evident amongst the people. The loss sustained by the French,
in men, and what is called the _materiel_ of the army, was immense and
incalculable. Thus was the finest, the bravest, the best disciplined,
and the best equipped army that in all probability ever took the
field--an army that, under such a leader, would have been victorious
against a world in arms, was overthrown, defeated, routed, and destroyed
by the horrid climate, by the artillery of a Russian winter.

Lord Liverpool had been appointed First Lord of the Treasury, and Mr.
Vansittart Chancellor of the Exchequer, before the dissolution of the
old Parliament. A number of naval actions took place, which answered no
other good purpose but to establish the bravery of our seamen, which was
and had been for a long time established beyond the possibility of a
doubt; so these expeditions only added to the waste of human blood, and
of the treasures of the country. The new Parliament met on the 24th of
November, but very little business was done before Christmas, except
granting a sum of 200,000_l_. of John Gull's money to the Russians, as a
compensation for the losses which they had suffered by the invasion of
the French!

Thus ended the year 1812; the supplies voted out of John Gull's pocket
being sixty-two millions, three hundred and seventy-six thousand, three
hundred and fifty-eight pounds. The average price of wheat, per quarter,
was six pounds four shillings and eight-pence, and of the quartern loaf,
one and sixpence. The return of the notes of the Bank of England in
circulation was _twenty-three millions_. By a return made to Parliament
it was ascertained that out of ten thousand two hundred and sixty-one
incumbents in England and Wales, only 4421 were residents: the remaining
5840 were of course non-residents; yet this precious priesthood of the
established Church is receiving yearly upwards of five millions of
pounds out of the earnings of John Gull! So much for politics, and so
much for religion!

All my time was now occupied in preparing my evidence, to prove the
allegations in my petition, the hearing of which was to come on in
February. I found it necessary to take lodgings in London, as I meant to
conduct the whole of the proceedings in person, on the part of myself
and the petitioners. I had to apply to the Speaker for his warrants, to
summon witnesses, and, amongst others, Mr. Perpetual Under Sheriff, to
produce the poll, and other witnesses to produce books, papers, &c. &c.

In all these applications I found no difficulty in procuring warrants to
make the parties produce whatever I applied for. At last it occurred to
me, that this would be an excellent opportunity to get hold of the books
of the Corporation, which were kept in the Chamberlain's office;
which office was held so sacred, and the books therein contained were
considered as such rare and valuable matter, that even the Members of
the Corporation themselves were excluded, and could not gain access to
the books, without a particular order from the Court of Aldermen. I
was, however, determined at least to make an attempt to get into
this _sanctum sanctorum_, by means of a Speaker's warrant. I never
communicated my intention to a living soul; but I at length decided upon
a copy of a warrant, that I thought would answer the purpose, which was
to be directed to the Mayor, the Town Clerk, and the Chamberlain of the
City, summoning them to appear before the Committee of the House of
Commons, ordering them to permit myself and the other petitioners to
have access to all the deeds, books, papers, and accounts, belonging to
the Corporation, whether in the Chamberlain's office or elsewhere, and
to allow us to take copies or extracts from such deeds, books, papers,
or accounts, and to produce before the Committee any part of the said
books and papers, that the said petitioners might require, on their
giving due notice of the same, &c. &c. &c.

Having settled all this in my mind, I went to the Speaker's clerk, and
desired him to draw me up a warrant to the above effect, and to get it
signed by the Speaker. When he read it over he stared, and observed that
it was a most sweeping warrant, and such a one as he had never before
known applied for or granted. I told him it was not possible for me to
complete my case before the Committee, unless I could produce some of
these books, and that it was much more rational to give me power to go
down and examine them upon the spot, than it would be to direct the
Chamberlain to bring up a waggon load of books, to lay before the
Committee, when, perhaps, three or four of them would be all that
I might require. He concurred in the propriety of this remark, and
appeared extremely ready to assist me in procuring the Speaker's
signature, and said he would lay it upon his table the moment he had
eaten his dinner. But, as it was very important for me to get this
document signed, I suggested to him the advantage that might arise from
his laying the warrant, with several others, before the Speaker just as
he was _going to sit down to dinner_, as in that case he might sign it
with the others, as a matter of course. This hint was made a proper
use of. At half-past seven, on the same evening, I received the
much-longed-for warrant from the Clerk of the Speaker, at his house in
Palace-yard; at half-past eight on the same evening, (Saturday) I was
safely seated in the Bristol Mail at the Gloucester Coffee-house; and,
on the Monday morning following, I contrived that the Mayor, the Town
Clerk, and the Chamberlain should be all served with the warrants at one
and the same time! I myself delivered that which was addressed to Mr.
Winter Harris, the Chamberlain.

The warrant was peremptory, but the Chamberlain required a short time
to consult his brother officers of the Corporation, which I readily
granted, and appointed to return at the end of two hours, to commence
my examinations. I attended with my friends, at the time appointed, and
found that the Mayor and the Chamberlain had got a good fire prepared
in the adjoining Council Chamber, with pens, ink, and stationary. This
room, they said, should be appropriated to our use, and we could have as
many of the books at a time from the Chamberlain's office, as I might
require. Both parties were very well satisfied with this arrangement,
and we immediately sat to work, and continued at it for seven or eight
hours in the day, till I had looked over all the books, papers, and
deeds, belonging to the said Corporation, and taken what copies and
extracts I thought proper. In this labour I was incessantly occupied for
several days; I think nearly a week. I took copies of some most curious
and valuable documents, many of which were published, by my old and
worthy friend Cranidge, in the year 1818, I having made him a present of
the manuscript for that purpose. I will here insert as specimens, two or
three items which I transcribed from the cash-book

  1793.
  Oct. 12.--Paid Lord Viscount Bateman, to reimburse
  him and the Officers and
  Men of the Herefordshire Militia,
  the extra expenses they have
  lately been put to, in providing
  accommodation for the said Militia
  at the time of the late Riots in
  this City, viz.--THE BRIDGE....     £105  0  0

This is an item worthy to be recorded in every publication relating
to the city of Bristol, Lord Bateman was Col. Commandant of the
Herefordshire Militia, at the time when they fired upon, and massacred
the citizens of Bristol, at the memorable slaughter at the Bridge, in
the year 1793. Was this hundred guineas the price of that slaughter?
This curious fact would never have been known, had it not been for our
famous all-powerful _Speaker's warrant_. I understand that many of the
Corporation were astonished, when this fact was published; they never
having heard of it, or dreamed that 105_l_. of the citizens own money
was paid to this Lord, for ordering his troops to fire upon them!

1793.                                  £. s. d.
  Oct.--Paid George Daubeny, Esq. for rais-
  ing Bristol volunteers...........  300  0  0
  1801.--Paid expenses during the Market
  Riots, &c. on account of the dear-
  ness of Provisions, in the month
  of April, 1801..................   117  7  4
  N. B. The Chamberlain's Salary was
  this year raised from 62_l_. 10s. per
  quarter, to 125_l_. per quarter,
  making the annual amount......     500  0  0
  1806.--Paid GEORGE WEBB HALL, at sun-
  dry times, towards passing the
  Bristol Paving Bill...........   1,000  0  0
  1810.--Paid commemorating the National
  Jubilee on the 25th October, 1809  337 11  4
  1811.--Paid John Noble, Esq. for Wine sent
  to the Lord High Steward, the
  Recorder, and the two Members
  of Parliament....................  315  0  0
  N. B. This is an annual gift from
  the freemen.
  1811.--Paid on account of the expenses of
  the invitation and the visit of

  Lord Grenville, to an entertainment    £.  s. d.
  given him by the Citizens,
  as High Steward, in May, 1811...     1,393 11  0

  1812.
  July 14.--Paid John H. Wilcocks, Mayor, the
  monies expended by him in entertaining
  the MILITARY, viz. (the
  East Middlesex Militia and Scots
  Greys) at the Mayoralty House;
  and for Beer for GUARDS MOUNTED
  IN THE CITY DURING THE
  ELECTION, VIZ....................      437  O  4
  1812.
  Sept.--Paid J. M. Gutch, for printing
  Advertisements for calling a
  Public Meeting of the Citizens
  to address the Prince Regent on
  the Death of the Right Hon.
  Spencer Perceval, Chancellor of
  the Exchequer.....................      52 18  0

Only let the reader cast his eye over the foregoing items, extracted
from amongst some thousands of a similar nature; few as they are, they
will serve as a specimen of the manner in which the Corporation of
the city of Bristol spend the monies of the citizens; for whom, be it
remembered, they only act as trustees. Lord Bateman was the Colonel of
the Herefordshire Militia, who fired upon the citizens, and slaughtered
a number of them; and his Lordship received one hundred guineas for
this valiant and humane feat!! The Chamberlain's salary is raised,
_is doubled_, in the year 1801, in consequence of the high price of
provisions. _Quere_, has it been lowered again, now that the price of
provisions is fallen? The item of July the 14th, 1812, is such as I do
not believe disgraces the books of any other Corporation in England;
between four and five hundred pounds _paid to the military_, by the
civil power, for services performed _during the election_, some of which
services I have before noticed. Four hundred and thirty-seven pounds
paid to the military, for preventing the election of HENRY HUNT for
the city of Bristol, in the year 1812. The item of 52_l_. 18_s_. for
advertising a public meeting of the citizens of Bristol, to address the
Prince Regent on the death of Spencer Perceval, is another precious
proof of shameful, or rather shameless, expenditure. Why, five pounds
would have been ample, to have informed every inhabitant of the city of
it. But here, however, is 52_l_. 18_s_. paid to one corrupt knave of an
editor, merely for calling a meeting! No wonder these caitiff editors
are such time-serving tools, when they can get so profusely paid for
their mercenary loyalty. This is a pretty bill of goggle-eyed Gutch, and
for a pretty purpose too. This shews the expense of getting up a loyal
meeting! During the whole time that I was taking the above extracts, and
all those which have been published by Mr. John Cranidge, not only the
Chamberlain, but the whole Corporation, were in a state of fever and
the greatest agitation. This, however, did not prevent my steadily
persevering in my purpose. These impudent fellows of Bristol city, who
were the greatest tyrants in Christendom over those whose fate it is to
be placed in their power, were quite tame, were civil, and even polite
for Bristol chaps! So it is always; a subdued tyrant is the most tame,
time-serving, abject slave in the world.

Perhaps there never before was such a mass of fraud and chicanery
discovered and exposed. There might be seen charities upon charities,
vast estates left for charitable purposes, producing a large annual
income, and which, if fairly let, would produce an enormous increase, at
least three times the sum; but one and all of these, with their immense
revenue and patronage, were misapplied and perverted to corrupt
electioneering purposes! In fact, whenever I could come at the truth,
there did not appear to be a single charity in the whole city, whether
vested in the Corporation or not, and great numbers there are, but
what was perverted to electioneering purposes. Hospitals, schools,
alms-houses, charities for apprenticeing freemen's sons--charities
for setting up young freemen in business--charities for lying-in
women--charities for widows--charities for orphans, in fact, all sorts
of charities, all were rendered subservient to the accursed purpose
of rivetting the fetters of the people, by being made instruments of
bribery. In the first place, the original property is in most instances
granted out upon long leases, or upon lives, for a mere nominal premium
and nominal rent, to the tools and dependents of the Corporation. In
truth, almost all the Corporation, all their dirty instruments, and the
major part of the parsons and lawyers, are tenants. Large sums of money
are lent by the Corporation, to the members of the Corporation, at mere
nominal interest. Almost all the merchants and tradesmen of the city
hold something under the Corporation, and at the time of the elections
are their abject tools;--but to give a full and faithful account of
these, would be to write the history of Bristol, and, as that is not my
purpose, I shall proceed to other matters, not, however, till I have
strongly recommended to every one, who is in any way connected with that
city, to read the book published by John Cranidge, A.M. in the year
1818, entitled, "A _Mirror_ for the Burgesses and Commonalty of the City
of Bristol; in which is exhibited to their view, a part of the great and
many interesting benefactions and endowments, of which the city has to
boast, and for which the CORPORATION are responsible, as the stewards
and trustees thereof: correctly transcribed from authentic documents, by
John Cranidge, A.M."

It is very true, as Mr. Cranidge asserts, that the Corporation are the
trustees for the freemen and burgesses, to whom they are, or rather
ought to be, responsible. Having made myself complete master of this
subject, I had resolved in my own mind, in case I had been elected the
member for the city of Bristol, to make these worthies, the Corporation,
_really_ and not nominally responsible; and, with the blessing of God,
I would have made them account for and refund those enormous sums
and immense funds which they had so disgracefully, so infamously,
misapplied. The charities are so numerous and so ample, that I firmly
believe, if the property belonging to them were fairly let and made
the most of, there would not be a citizen of Bristol that would not be
handsomely provided for out of these funds. No city in the world ever
produced more philanthropists, or more misanthropists, than the city
of Bristol. No city of its size in the world can boast more charitable
institutions--no city is more degraded by poverty and wretchedness
amongst its inhabitants, mainly created by the corrupt misapplication of
those very charities.

On the 24th or the 25th of February, 1813, the Committee was ballotted
for in the House of Commons; the petitioners and the sitting members
each striking out a certain number till they were reduced to thirteen,
which, together with the nominee for each party, made fifteen, as
follows----

  Michael Angelo Taylor, Esq. Member for Poole, Chairman.
  P. Grenfell, Esq. Great Marlow.
  Philip Gell, Esq. Penryn.
  Hon. R. Neville, Berkshire.
  H. Pierce, Esq. Northampton.
  Abel Smith. Esq. Wendover.
  Lord G. Russell, Bedford.
  C. Harvey, Esq. Norwich.
  T. Whitmore, Esq. Bridgenorth.
  G. Shiffner, Esq. Lewes.
  D.S. Dugdale, Esq. Warwick.
  J. Daley, Esq. Galway.
  B. Lester Lester, Esq. Poole.

  NOMINEES.

  Sir Francis Burdett, Bart. Westminster; for the Petitioners.
  Sir James Graham, Bart. Carlisle; for the Sitting Members.

  SITTING MEMBERS.

  Richard Hart Davis, Esq--Edward Protheroe, Esq.

  PETITIONERS.

  1st. Henry Hunt, Esq.--2nd. Wm. Pimm, T. Pimm,
  Wm. Weech, T. Gamage, Electors.

  Counsel for Mr. Davis, Mr. Warren and Mr. Harrison.
  Counsel for Mr. Protheroe, Mr. Adam & Mr. Randle Jackson.

  Mr. Hunt appeared in person for himself and other petitioners.

The parties were all called to the bar of the House, when the names
of the Committee were called over, and the 26th was appointed for
commencing the proceedings.

On the 26th of February, 1813, the Committee assembled at twelve
o'clock, and I opened the proceedings by an address of about two hours
in length, in which I laid before them my case; a case containing a
detail of the evidence by which I meant to substantiate the charges and
allegations contained in the petition. The hearing of this petition
lasted fourteen days, and it concluded by the Committee deciding "that
the Sitting Members were duly elected, but that the petition was not
frivolous or vexatious." So each party had the pleasure of paying his
own costs. My expenses I estimated at about _six hundred pounds_. The
whole of the mighty subscriptions which I was to have received from
the friends of Sir Samuel Romilly, amounted to the amazing sum of
TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS, and no more; which sum exactly paid one of my
witnesses, Mr. Alderman Vaughan. I have heard since that there was a
much larger sum subscribed; but, if it was so, _somebody else_ took care
of _that_. I can only say that was the whole amount that ever came to my
hands, or was ever appropriated to pay any part of the expenses that I
incurred, Many of my friends paid their own expenses to London and back,
as witnesses, and raised a subscription to pay the expenses of other
friendly witnesses; and I believe some of the petitioners were sued for
some expenses afterwards. It was calculated that the sum expended by
the sitting members in resisting the petition, was not less than four
thousand pounds. All that I can say is, I am quite confident that had
the Committee been chosen from a House of Commons fairly elected by the
people of England, or had they been the honest representatives of the
people of England, instead of being, as they were, the representatives
of corrupt and rotten boroughs, and corrupt and rotten influence, I
repeat, I am quite sure that I proved abundantly sufficient to have
rendered it a void election. But it must be borne in mind, that this
Committee was chosen from as corrupt and profligate a Boroughmongering
Parliament as ever disgraced the Parliamentary annals of once free and
happy England.

I now retired once more to my farm, at Rowfant, in Sussex; and although
pretty much minus in pocket, I had yet the gratification of being
conscious that I had done my duty to the people of Bristol, and had
effected a great national good, by the exposures which I had made of the
corrupt state of the representation, even in what was called a popular
representation of a populous and free city. So satisfied were the people
of Bristol with my exertions, that they invited me down to a public
dinner, as a testimony that, although I was unsuccessful, still the
Citizens of Bristol were not insensible of the services which I had
rendered them, by making an effort in their behalf, and fighting so
gallantly their battle and the battle of Reform. I was received with
every demonstration of respect; and indeed with increased enthusiasm and
attention by all classes of the citizens, except the corrupt factions
and their corrupt and time-serving dependants and tools. These
testimonials of respect and attachment to me, as the avowed champion of
Radical Reform, were excessively galling to the Corporation, and to the
corrupt knaves of attorneys, parsons, merchants, and pettyfoggers of all
sorts, who lived on the taxes, and battened on the distresses of the
people; those, in short, who were gorging upon the vitals of the poor,
rioting in luxury, and wallowing in wealth, wrung from the sweat of the
labourers' and mechanics' brows.

During these public exertions I had not been inattentive to the
management of my farm. As I had made up my mind not to remain at
Rowfant; first, because it was not a profitable farm to occupy; and,
second, because the situation of the country being low, and damp in
the winter, did not agree with me, and had caused me to suffer very
considerable ill health from rheumatism, I was induced to improve the
estate, more with an idea of disposing of the lease, than with the
intention of making any immediate profit from the cultivation of the
soil. In this object I completely succeeded. I so effectually on my own
principles drained a great part of arable, as well as of the pasture
land, that it paid me an hundred-fold; for, during the spring and summer
of 1813, no farm in the kingdom had a more flourishing appearance, or
bid fairer for better crops. Every thing was beautiful and luxuriant,
and put on such a face as would have done credit to the cultivation of
the very best land, much more to a poor, hungry, deceitful and barren
soil, which a great portion of this farm at Rowfant really was. I
advertised the lease to be sold, and very soon had some customers, with
one of whom I quickly struck a bargain, and disposed of my lease and
crops, the whole of which the purchaser undertook to take off my hands
at a valuation, as soon as it could be made. Some of my speculations
upon this estate completely failed. I had sunk a considerable sum in
endeavouring to keep a flock of sheep, for which the farm was by no
means congenial; added to this, my flock became infected with the foot
rot, having been contaminated by the few half Southdown half Merinos
which I had purchased of Mr. Dean, of Chard, of which unfortunate deal
I have before spoken. In calculating the loss which I sustained by
purchasing these sheep, which were unsound, and infected with that
incurable disorder (at least incurable upon a wet soil), I then placed
it as before, much below the mark; for I sincerely believe I
was ultimately two hundred pounds out of pocket by the bargain,
notwithstanding the infamous falsehoods of the infamous editor of the
_Taunton Courier_.

Another speculation, in which I was very unfortunate, was the making of
charcoal. I had a very fine lot of wood, which I could not dispose of,
and I was therefore advised to make it into charcoal, as other farmers
in that neighbourhood were accustomed to do. In fact, there did not
appear any other rational method of disposing of my wood, which I had
been obliged to take at a valuation when I took the estate. Well, I
hired a man to make this charcoal; so far the business succeeded, for
as it was very fine wood, so it produced a large quantity of very nice
charcoal, as good as ever was seen. But then the next thing was to
procure sacks to put it in, that it might be sent to the London market
for sale. It required _two-hundred and forty sacks_, of about two
bushels each, to make a load; these were ordered from a manufacturer
at East Grinstead. The charcoal was loaded and sent off to London,
altogether as good a set-out as ever passed over Blackfriars Bridge. A
customer was soon found, but I never touched the cash, nor ever saw
my 240 sacks again, so that the whole was a dead loss of about fifty
pounds. Thus ended my speculations in charcoal, as I was determined that
I would never cut any more wood as long as I kept the estate, but that I
would let it grow for the next person who should follow me, to try, if
he pleased, his hand at dealing in charcoal; it appeared to me to be
wise to put up with the first loss, and quit the concern.

I had, in the whole, expended six thousand pounds in the purchase of
what I took to when I entered upon this farm, and in the improvement
which I had made in cultivation, stock, &c. I sold my lease for two
thousand pounds, and the valuations were to the amount of six thousand
more; the whole sum being eight thousand pounds, which was paid me on
the nail, by Richard Crawshaw, Esq. the present proprietor; and I took
my leave of Rowfant, bearing away with me two thousand pounds more than
I carried thither. This was such an occurrence as had never been known,
in the memory of man, to have happened to any stranger that had come to
reside in the parish of Worth--that of leaving the parish richer than he
entered it.

On the same morning that I received this money, which was paid me in_
one thousand pounds'_ Bank notes, I called at the Bank of England, to
change one of the thousand pound notes. I was desired to present it to
the inspector, which I did, and he made his mark upon it as good, and
tore off at the lower corner the name of the person who had entered it.
He then desired me to carry it back to the clerk, to whom I had first
presented it for payment; I did so, and presented it again. The
gentleman inquired in what notes I should like to have the change? I
replied, one five hundred, and five of one hundred each. Drawing the
pen from behind his ear, and dipping it in the ink, he handed it to me,
together with the note, saying, "write your name and address on the
back of the note, I will give you the change immediately." I stared the
jockey full in the face for a short time, which stare he returned;
and then exclaimed, "come, Sir, write your name and address." "Not I,
indeed," was the answer. "What," said he, in a loud voice, "what, refuse
to sign your name?" "Yes," said I, "I do refuse to sign my name." This
was said in about two keys higher than Mr. Clerk's interrogatory. "Well,
then," said he, "I shall not give you the change, till you do sign your
name and address upon the back of the note." "What," said I, raising
my voice still higher, "back one of your notes for a thousand pounds?
Indeed, I shall do no such thing! I have not confidence enough in your
firm to back one of your one pound notes, and much less one of your
notes for a thousand pounds."

By this time I had a mob collected round me, some professing to be
astonished at my impudence, but others unequivocally expressing their
approbation of my conduct; adding, that they were very happy to hear me
take these impudent, all-sufficient gentlemen clerks to task a little.
The former set, who expressed their astonishment, seemed, from the
cut of their coats, and the turn of their phizzes, to be bankers' and
merchants' clerks; but many of the latter seemed to be gentlemen. I
continued boldly to demand any change, or my note. The latter was
instantly handed to me; but, as it was mutilated, and the name of the
person, by whom it had been entered, had been torn off by the inspector,
I declined to take it. Mr. Clerk as resolutely refused to give me the
change, saying, that they had positive orders not to take any notes of
that description, above 50_l_. from a stranger, without his name and
address were endorsed on the note. I demanded what law there was for
such a proceeding, but I could get no answer. I then demanded to see the
Governor; but I was told that he was engaged, and could not be spoken
with. I asked if it was not a good note? They replied "yes, it was
admitted to be so by the inspector." "Then," said I, "as you have
mutilated the note, and refuse to give me change; and as you also refuse
to admit me to the Governor, I will swear the debt of 1000_l_. against
the Governor and Company of the Bank of England; and if there is an
independent attorney in London, I will instantly strike a docket against
them. On hearing this they all started; all the clerks stood with their
pens behind their ears; all business was at an end; and, as I spoke
loud, every man in the Rotunda heard what I said. Two or three gentlemen
present gave me their cards of address, promising to come forward, to
prove that the clerk refused payment, and denied the Governor of the
Bank, which, as I said, was evidently an act of bankruptcy; and they
offered me numerous thanks for calling these impudent gentry to account,
and checking their usual insolence, which, many of them said, was
unpardonable. I repeated my declaration, and walked out of the Bank,
leaving my note in their hands, and all the clerks half petrified and
gazing on each other in utter astonishment.

I tried three or four attorneys, to induce them to strike a docket
against the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, and offered to
make an affidavit of the debt, the refusal of payment, and the denial of
the Governor. But I could not get _one of these worthies to move a
peg_ in the affair; so I left the note where it was, and went into the
country for three or four days.

Upon my return to my inn in London, Cooper's Hotel, in Bouverie-street,
I found a letter from Mr. Henry Hase, the cashier of the Bank of
England. It seems that, on my quitting the Bank, they sent some one to
dog me to the inn, and by these means they found out who I was. The
letter was couched in very civil language, requesting me to call for the
thousand pounds, or offering to send it to me to the inn, in any notes
I pleased. The next day I called at the Bank, with my son, who was then
about fourteen years of age, being determined, one way or another, to
set at rest this question of giving names. I gave to my son a five
hundred pound note, to put in his pocket, that he might, at a proper
time demand it to be _exchanged_; for it was a mockery to call it
_payment_, it being only exchanging one PROMISE TO PAY for another
PROMISE TO PAY. On my arrival at the Bank, I demanded to see Mr. Hase.
Business was at an end the moment that I entered the Rotunda, the clerks
all having their eyes fixed upon me. I was immediately introduced to
Mr. Hase, in his private room, and I expostulated with him against such
illegal conduct as I had experienced. I was introduced by him to the
Governor, who, together with Mr. Hase, admitted that there was no law to
compel any person to sign his name or give his address; but they said
it was, nevertheless, their invariable practice not to exchange a note
above fifty pounds for any stranger, without first obtaining his name
and address, and they pleaded the necessity of this, to enable them to
trace forgeries or robberies; and they proceeded to say, that they did
so for the benefit of the public. I contended, on the contrary, that it
was not only illegal, but an insult upon the public, and a particular
insult to the person presenting the note to be _exchanged_ (I always
calling it _exchanged_, they always calling it _payment_); for, after
their inspector had admitted the note to be a good one, they had no
legal or moral right to refuse to _exchange_ it for other notes. I
candidly told them that I had kept my promise, and that I had seriously
endeavoured to get a DOCKET struck against thein, for an act of
bankruptcy. The Governor smiled, but Mr. Hase looked very grave. They,
however, apologised for the trouble which I had experienced; Mr. Hase
adding, "it will not happen again, Mr. Hunt. As you are now so well
known to the clerks, they will not require your name in future. We
certainly ought, (continued he) to have known you, as we recollect that
you brought an action against Messrs. Hobhouse, Clutterbuck and Co.
bankers, of Bath, because they would not pay you their notes in cash;
you having refused to take Bank of England notes in exchange. We know
that you are an enemy to our paper system; but we recognise you as an
honourable and open enemy."

A good deal of such conversation passed between us, and it ended by a
polite offer, on the part of the Governor, to shew me and my son over
the establishment. As I was rather in a hurry, and had other business to
do, I declined on that account to accept the offer. Mr. Hase then said,
with a smile, that he would feel pleasure in taking another opportunity
to shew me over their whole establishment, when he had no doubt but he
should convince me of their solvency.

I now took my leave of the Governor, and Mr. Hase accompanied me out to
the clerk, and desired him to give Mr. Hunt change for his note, in any
sums which he might choose. He then made his bow, and quitted me. When
this was arranged, my son, whose name was unknown, produced his note for
five hundred pounds. It was, as usual, handed to the inspector, amidst
the inquiring eyes of all the clerks. It was marked as a _good one_, and
my son returned to the clerk, and demanded five hundred pound notes. Mr.
Clerk handed him the pen, and desired him to write his name and address;
to which he replied, that he should certainly do neither, but that he
insisted on the change. The clerk refused, saying it was as much as his
situation was worth to comply. I was, meanwhile, taking down notes with
a pencil in my pocket-book, without saying one word, except that I would
be a witness for him. The whole place was again in a state of uproar,
but my young friend was immovable, and acted his part like a hero. At
length Mr. Hase was called out again, and the clerk informed him that
the youth refused to give his name, and he wished to know if he must pay
him the five one hundred pound notes without it. For a moment Mr. Hase
lost his temper, and positively ordered the clerk not to pay it unless
the usual custom was complied with; and he began in a pettish manner
to question my son, and in a peremptory tone demanded his name. The
younker, however, as peremptorily and as sturdily refused to comply. Mr.
Hase was just going away in dudgeon, when he happened to cast his eye
upon me, and perceived that I was deliberately taking down all that
passed without saying a word; upon which, instantly recollecting
himself, he turned back, and laughing, said to the clerk, "pay him the
notes; as he is with Mr. Hunt we can call upon him to give us his name,
if ever it should be found necessary." Then, patting my son upon the
shoulder, he added, "recollect, young gentleman, that you are the first
who ever left the Bank with such a sum without giving his name." He then
turned to me, and said, "You have carried your point, Mr. Hunt; good
morning." I answered sarcastically, "good morning, Mr. Cashier." The
clerk having paid my son the notes, I bade him good morning, telling
him, at the same time, that I was very sorry he should have given
himself and his master so much unnecessary trouble. My son also
significantly nodding his head, and patting his pocket, added his "good
morning, Mr. Clerk;" and off we marched, amidst the cheers of a very
considerable multitude, who had collected and listened to this curious
dialogue. Amongst the number was one of the gentlemen who had given me
his address on the previous day, when I left my thousand pounds; and he
heartily thanked me for having brought these _Jacks-in-office_ for once
to their senses, and compelled them to act agreeably to the law, which
they had so long been in the habit of setting at defiance.

I now went to reside at Middleton Cottage, in Hampshire, situated on the
London-road, about three miles from Andover, which I rented of James
Widmore, Esq. together with the manor of Longparish, extending over a
very fine sporting country, of eight or ten thousand acres, well stocked
with game, particularly partridges and pheasants. As I found that
farming was become a very expensive amusement, and that in consequence
of the great increase of poor's rates and king's taxes, the profits
attending the best managed farm were very precarious, I had made up my
mind to remain out of business rather than run the risk of sinking
my capital without any corresponding chance of making it pay common
interest; and, therefore, for a while I lived at Middleton Cottage,
enjoying domestic happiness, combined with the sports of the field. I
soon, however, found that I was not formed for an idle life. Although I
took more exercise, in shooting and fishing, than most men in business
are in the habit of taking, yet some more serious occupation was
required to fill up the measure of my time. An opportunity having also
offered for me to resume my agricultural pursuits, by the lease of Cold
Hanly Farm, near the Borough of Whitchurch, being sold by auction, I
was induced, from the representations of my attorney (who I afterwards
discovered to have been interested in the sale of this lease), to
purchase it, and I entered upon the farm early in the year 1814. This
certainly was a bad speculation, as the lease had only three years to
run. I bought in the stock upon this farm at a very high price. Many
of my horses cost me upwards of fifty pounds each, and all the other
farming stock a proportionably high price. My principal inducement to
take this farm, which contained about four hundred acres of land, was my
wish to try the experiment of raising large crops of corn in the manner
recommended in Tull's Husbandry; which work I had been reading with
great pleasure, on the recommendation of Mr. Cobbett, who had begun
partially to adopt the system of drilling at wide intervals, as
practised by the late Mr. Jetheroe Tull, of Shalbourn, near Hungerford,
Berks. There is something very captivating in the language of Mr. Tull's
writings upon cultivation. It is so clear and so reasonable, that, when
combined with the facts which he lays before the reader, as to the
nature and the amount of the crops raised by him, every line almost
carries conviction with it. Unfortunately, both Mr. Cobbett and myself
placed too great reliance on the opinions and assertions of Mr. Tull. We
both suffered severely in pocket, by persevering too long in, and acting
too extensively upon, the plan of drilling wheat at wide intervals, as
laid down by Tull. I do not mean to insinuate that Mr. Tull ever stated
the amount of his crops to be better in quality, or more in quantity,
than they really were; but I have no hesitation in saying, that the
climate of England must have been very different in the time of Mr.
Tull from what it was in the days of Mr. Cobbett and Mr. Hunt, to have
produced either the quantity or the quality of wheat which Mr. Tull says
was produced per acre upon his farm, according to his system. When I
found the practice fail, and that wheat was blighted upon the high hills
and cold soil of Hampshire, I took a farm into my own hands at Upavon,
in Wiltshire, for the purpose of giving the system a fair trial. Nay,
so convinced was I of the truth of the principles laid down by Tull,
respecting the food of plants, and such reliance did I place upon the
truth of his assertions, that I persevered one or two years after Mr.
Cobbett had given the thing up as a hopeless and losing speculation. I
mean to be understood only as far as relates to the drilling of wheat
at four feet intervals, to plough between the rows; for the practice
certainly succeeds with turnips, to the full description of any thing
given by Tull. Mr. Cobbett, I see, has lately republished the work of
Tull, and I therefore caution such of my friends as may read that work,
not to be led away with the beautiful theory of Mr. Tull, so as to
adopt the plan of drilling wheat to any extent. In certain soils it may
succeed with barley; but in these times it is too expensive a system
for any one to pursue with advantage to any extent. Those who have good
light ploughing sandy, or sandy loam soils, will find it answer their
most sanguine expectations, in turnips of any sort, and particularly in
the cultivation of Swedish turnips. Of course, I only address myself
to those farmers who superintend the whole progress of drilling,
transplanting, hoeing and ploughing; for Tull's is not a system to
answer if trusted to servants. I can only say for myself, that I adhered
to the system so long, that I believe I was minus by it, first and last,
above a thousand pounds, and I believe Mr. Cobbett was a loser to an
equal degree.

We must now turn our attention again to politics. The immense losses
sustained by the French in their retreat from Moscow to the Russian
frontier, compelled them to continue their retreat, and from Wilna
Napoleon set off for Paris. The treacherous Prussians now betrayed him;
their General led the way by entering into a convention, and the King
followed by joining the coalition. Many places fell, and the victorious
Russians entered Warsaw, and advanced to the Elbe. Jaded and dispirited,
the French troops were defeated in almost every battle; in fact they had
never recovered the effect of the dreadful ravages committed upon their
ranks by the horrors of a Russian winter. Russia, Prussia, and Sweden
now all leagued together, and supported by the treasures of England, the
wealth of the British nation, wrung from the sweat of John Gull's brow,
was lavished to maintain the armies of the Northern hordes, which were
advancing against France. John Gull was stark mad with joy at the news
of the defeat of the French; and the general cry amongst the shopkeepers
and farmers was, "down with Buonaparte, cost what it will!" They not
only were willing to advance large sums in taxes, but the Parliament was
encouraged and hallooed on, by what are called the middle classes, to
borrow and spend without controul. O how drunk the farmers used to get
at every account that reached England of the ill success and the defeat
of the French! John would at this time not only have spent his last
shilling, but he was ready to pawn even his breeches off his rump, to
support the Ministers in their extravagance.

Upon Napoleon's return to Paris he laid the state of his affairs
candidly before the Senate, and they immediately voted him 350,000
men to repair his losses. Having accomplished this point, he was not
disposed, like some of his Royal enemies, to waste his time in the lap
of luxury and slothful, inglorious idleness; he therefore set off and
joined his army again at Mentz, on the 20th of April. He opened the
campaign by the battle of Leitzen, in which the French arms were once
more victorious. This was followed up by two successful battles at
Baultzen and Wiertzen, which compelled the Allies to repass the Oder.
Napoleon then proposed an armistice, which was accepted; but, as the
terms of peace could not be settled, the war re-commenced, and with
great disadvantage to the French. The Crown Prince of Sweden, who had
deserted his benefactor, and joined the Allies against him in the North
of Germany, now took the field with a formidable army. But the fatal
blow to Napoleon was the defection of Austria, which never joined the
coalition on the 12th of August. The Allies having united all their
forces, to the number of 180,000 men, the French army now took up a
position on the river Elbe, and attacked Napoleon in his position near
Dresden; but they were foiled, and compelled to retire into Bohemia by
the superiority of his military skill. This advantage was, however,
rendered of no avail by the loss of a division of 12,000 men under
Vandamme, who had imprudently entangled himself in the defiles of
Bohemia, where he was surrounded and compelled to surrender. Macdonald
was also defeated, with heavy loss, in Silesia; and Marshal Ney at
Dennewitz. Bavaria, which owed so much to Napoleon, now not only
abandoned him, but also united its forces with those of Austria, its
natural enemy. Napoleon had by this time taken up a position in the
neighbourhood of Leipsic, and to that spot the combined forces,
consisting of 330,000 men, advanced to give him battle. The French army
was not more than 175,000 strong. The battle, or rather succession of
battles, lasted from the 16th to the 19th of October, and was sanguinary
beyond example. The scale was, at length, decisively turned against the
French by the desertion of the Saxons, who went over to the Allies, and
turned their cannon against their recent comrades at the critical period
of the contest. The French were compelled to commence their retreat, and
by the destruction of a bridge their rear-guard was cut off, and made
prisoners. They fell back towards the Rhine, and found the Bavarian
army posted at Hanau to intercept them. The Bavarians were, however,
defeated, and the French army reached the Rhine.

Napoleon now hasted to Paris, and having assembled the Senate, he laid
before them the full particulars of his disastrous campaign, upon which
they immediately ordered out 300,000 conscripts. At this time the news
reached the French capital of the counter-revolution that had taken
place in Holland--that Dresden had surrendered to the enemy with 23,000
men--that Westphalia was lost, and that the Dalmatian coast was occupied
by the Austrians; in fact, that misfortune and defeat attended the
French arms in every quarter. The arms of England meanwhile were
victorious in Spain, and under Wellington gained a decisive victory
at Vittoria. Wellington having stormed St. Sebastian, entered France
without any interruption, and easily defeated the French at St. Jean de
Leu and on the Nive. As, by the advance of Wellington into France, they
had got rid of what were always considered by the Spanish people as
equally troublesome intruders, namely, both the French and English
armies, the Cortes began to act with some vigour; the Regency was
dimissed, and a new one formed. The extraordinary Cortes were dissolved,
and the ordinary Cortes summoned.

In America, Mr. Madison was elected President in the room of Mr.
Jefferson. The Congress assembled, and a paper was laid before them that
justified the war which they had entered into against England. One of
their armies made an attempt upon Niagara, but it was repulsed. Dearborn
was also obliged to retire from Lake Champlain. In the mean time the
ports were declared to be in a state of blockade by the English. The
Americans took York town, in Canada, and Mobille, in West Florida.
The Emperor of Russia offered himself as mediator, and the President
appointed three citizens to treat with England. On Lake Ontario the
British fleet was successful; but on Lake Erie the Americans defeated
the English fleet, and took the whole of her naval force in that
quarter.

When the Parliament met, the British Ministers also laid papers upon
the table to justify themselves from being in fault in making war upon
America. The great cause of this war with America, be it remembered, was
_this_: The English had always claimed a right to search all American
vessels, and even ships of war, for English seamen, which, if found
on board an American ship, were seized and forcibly removed on board
English ships of war. This had been always complained of by the
Americans as an unjust and arbitrary proceeding. But the English fleets
being always masters of the ocean, the British claimed and enforced
this right of search, which the Americans, not being able to resist,
reluctantly submitted to, no doubt with a determination to throw off
the galling yoke as soon as they thought themselves able to offer a
successful resistance. They now believed that time to be arrived, and
they resolved to make the attempt; and wherever they were strong enough
they resisted all attempts to search. On the part of the Americans I may
say that this was the only substantial cause of the war; all the other
aggressions and insults that were offered by the English, (and they were
many) might have been, and would, for some time at least, have been
endured without an open rupture; the right of search by the English was
therefore the grand matter in dispute.

Some debates took place in the House of Commons respecting the Princess
of Wales, but nothing definite was agreed upon. At length, however, her
conduct was inquired into, and as it was approved of, the public could
no longer be restrained, by the intrigues of petty and interested
politicians, from openly expressing their sentiments upon the subject
of her ill-treatment. A Common Hall was called, on the suggestion
of Alderman Wood, who got a requisition signed, and who moved the
Resolutions and an Address to her Royal Highness, all which were
strenuously opposed by Mr. Waithman, who was backed by the _"well
weighed opinion"_ of Mr. Sturch, of Westminster, so well known as having
taken a very active part in the election of Sir F. Burdett. This was the
_first_ and the _last_ time I ever knew Daddy Sturch, (as he is called
in Westminster) appear upon the hustings at Guildhall, to address
the Livery at a Common Hall. Nevertheless, in spite of the violent
opposition of Mr. Waithman, and "the well weighed opinion" of Mr.
Sturch, to which Mr. Waithman earnestly recommended the Livery
to attend, the Address was carried by an overwhelming majority.
Notwithstanding Mr. Waithman's objections to voting the Address, yet
he fell in with the stream, and went up in his carriage with the
procession, to present the Address to her Royal Highness, who then
resided at Kensington Palace, and he received with great _sang froid_
the _sarcastic thanks_ and polite attention of the Princess.

I do not know that the circumstances attending the _management_ of the
various parties, who took a lead in this affair, have ever been placed
in a clear light before the public, and possibly _some of them_ may
never be made known; but, as I am acquainted with many of the secret
springs by which the parties were worked upon and moved, I will relate
one of the intrigues of the City plotters, which delayed for a whole
year the expression of the public opinion. While Mr. Cobbett was in
Newgate, in the year 1812, Mr. Alderman Wood was very anxious to procure
a Common Hall, to address her Royal Highness, and I was present when a
requisition was drawn up, which he took away with him, for the purpose
of getting it signed by a number of the Livery, that it might be
presented to the Lord Mayor. On the next day, he came back, and said
that he had found it almost impossible to succeed; that when they became
acquainted with his object, the friends of Mr. Waithman had so actively
exerted themselves to prevent the calling a Common Hall, that he was
induced to decline proceeding at that time, he being fully convinced
that, even if he procured a meeting, there would be such an opposition
to the Address that it would be imprudent for him at this moment to
persevere. Thus it will be seen that the worthy Alderman was anxious to
exert himself in favour of an Address to her Royal Highness, a full year
before he could bring it to bear; and that the very same party in the
city who, by dint of intrigue, contrived at that period to prevent the
Common Hall, likewise strained every nerve to prevent the Address being
carried, when the worthy Alderman did at length get a Hall of the Livery
convened. Mr. Waithman, who found that there was a great public feeling
in favour of the Princess of Wales, brought forward Mr. Sturch, (who had
acquired a considerable degree of popularity in Westminster) to assist
him at the Common Hall inputting down and neutralizing that honest
feeling. He urged the Livery, if he had lost their confidence, and
they did not choose to rely upon his advice, at least to listen
with attention to the "well weighed opinion of his respectable and
intelligent friend, Mr. STURCH." But all would not do! The City Cock
was left in a contemptible minority, the honest efforts of the worthy
Alderman Wood were crowned with complete success, the Address was
carried by acclamation, and it was agreed that the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs,
and Livery, dressed in their gowns, should carry up their Address, and
present it to her Royal Highness at Kensington Palace; and, to crown the
whole, Mr. Waithman, who had so pertinaciously opposed the Address, was
one of the most conspicuous in the procession to carry it up to her
Royal Highness, to whom this fact of his opposition was well known!
There are _some other_ curious circumstances, connected with this
support of her Royal Highness at that epoch, which it may be necessary
at a future time to lay before the public; and although, after what we
have seen, they will not create any great surprise as to the conduct of
the party concerned, yet they will doubtless excite the indignation of
every honest man and woman in the country.

In consequence of this sort of conduct in Mr. Waithman, in his frequent
opposition to the honest, straight-forward proceedings of Mr. Alderman
Wood, I was induced to accept the invitation that had been often
given me by Mr. Samuel Millar, as well as by many others, to become a
Liveryman of the city, the expenses attending which, I was always told,
should be discharged for me as soon as I would give my assent. At length
I agreed to the proposal, solely with a view to endeavour to counteract
the tricks and intrigues of the Whig or Waithmanite faction in the
city, when assembled in Common Hall. Well, the time came, I obtained my
freedom, and I was sworn a Liveryman in the Lorimer's Company. This was
managed by Mr. Millar, through the instrumentality of Mr. Ireland, of
Holborn-bridge; but instead of having the expenses paid for me, I had to
pay the whole myself, which I believe were about fifty pounds. I shall
not easily forget, when I appeared for the first time upon the hustings
in Guildhall, what long faces were exhibited, and what surprise it
created. On my stepping forward to address that Livery, the Lord Mayor,
Scholey, jumped up out of his chair, and exclaimed, "is he a liveryman?"
Mr. Millar answered significantly, "YES;" and I proceeded. At this
period I found Mr. Millar, Mr. Thompson, the spirit-merchant, of
Holborn-hill, and Mr. Alexander Galloway, with a few others, decidedly
hostile to the measures of Mr. Waithman, but wanting the resolution and
the confidence to oppose him openly.

I have been frequently reminded of particular events of my life that I
have omitted in my Memoirs, many of which had for years been banished
from my memory, and if I were to record every little incident which
might occur to me I should extend my volumes to an unwieldy size. I have
therefore been compelled to pass over many occurrences which some might
think of importance, but I have been careful not to omit any part of
my political history which I could recollect. One circumstance I shall
notice, which has been recalled to my memory by the publication of a
virulent although impotent attack upon my public and private character,
by one of those mushroom politicians, of which class I have seen
hundreds, who spring up in a day and are gone in an hour, and we hear no
more of them. I have been reminded of the imprisonment of Mr. White,
the proprietor and editor of the _Independent Whig_, a London weekly
newspaper, which was published by him for many years with great public
spirit and patriotic talent. As a public writer, I consider Mr. White to
be a man of the most inflexible integrity, and although from the very
title of his paper it may easily be conceived that Mr. White and myself
were of opposite sentiments as to the course that ought to be followed
to recover our lost rights and violated liberties, yet we never were
at variance on that account. I always believed Mr. White to be a real
friend to Liberty, and I believe that he considered me to be the same;
consequently we never quarrelled about shades of difference in opinion
how that liberty was to be obtained and secured. The Editor of the
_Independent Whig_ was also a zealous guardian of the right conferred
by real, undisguised, and honest trial by jury. He was the lynx-eyed
scrutinizer of the conduct of the Judges; the honest censor of the
Courts of Justice; therefore, of all men he was the most likely to fall
under the displeasure of the dispensers of the laws. To criticise fairly
the conduct of the Judges, though it is one of the most necessary
and the most honourable of occupations, is likewise one of the most
dangerous. There is always plenty of room for severe animadversion, and
the harpies of the Courts are always upon the look-out, to pounce upon
and make victims of those who venture to animadvert on them. Having been
justly strong in his censures upon the arbitrary and corrupt conduct of
Lord Ellenborough, the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, who
was as violent and intemperate a political Judge that ever disgraced
the Bench, Mr. White was prosecuted by the Attorney-General for a libel,
and was sentenced to be imprisoned in Dorchester Gaol for three years.
Mr. Hart, the printer of the _Independent Whig_, was imprisoned in
Gloucester Gaol at the same time, for the same libel. I was not then
personally acquainted with either of them; but in some newspaper, (most
likely the _Independent Whig_) I read that Mr. Hart was subject to very
great privations in Gloucester Gaol, and, amongst other things, that
he was deprived of seeing his family and friends in private, he being
obliged, even with his wife, to converse in the presence and hearing of
a turnkey, through the iron bars of his dungeon door; and that he was
very much restricted for room to walk in to procure fresh air. I was
then living at Clifton, and had as yet entered but very little into
politics; but from my earliest age I had been taught to hate oppression
and practice humanity. I was told that the readers of the _Independent
Whig_ had met in Bristol, and in London also, I think, and passed some
strong resolutions, and made some excellent speeches, condemning such
inhuman and barbarous conduct; but still the restrictions remained the
same, and these worthy men might have met and passed resolutions till
the imprisonment of Mr. Hart had been at an end, without the slightest
chance of rendering him any real service. As mere pity and speech-making
could be of no use, I drove over in my curricle to Gloucester, a
distance of nearly forty miles, to see what could be done for the
aggrieved prisoner. I called at the prison, and asked to see Mr. Hart,
but I was too late in the evening. I slept at the Bell, and called again
the next morning, as soon as I could gain admittance, having employed
the intermediate time in endeavouring to obtain information relating to
the Gaol, the Visiting Magistrates, and other necessary particulars.
As, however, I was a perfect stranger at Gloucester, I made but little
progress; for every one I met appeared as shy of having any thing to say
about the gaol, as if he were himself afraid of becoming an inmate in
the horrid place. At length, I found a person of the name of Wittick,
a hair-dresser, the genuine Dickey Gossip of the city, who was exactly
what I wanted. Having told him my name and my business, he "_let loose
his tongue_," and gave me such a history of some of the revolting scenes
that occurred within the walls of their city bastile, as harrowed up my
soul with horror. The victims of oppression and tyranny, as Wittick had
described them, flitted before my imagination during the whole night,
and I rose in the morning but little refreshed with my night's rest.

On my repairing to the Gaol I was admitted to the door of Mr. Hart's
dungeon, and there I ascertained from his own mouth, and indeed from my
own observation, the truth of the statements which I had seen in the
paper. All that passed was in the presence of a turn-key, Mr. Hart
standing in the inside, and I on the outside, of a door composed of iron
bars. He said his wife was come from London, in hopes of being permitted
to administer to his comforts, and to alleviate the horrors of his
imprisonment; but she was nearly heart-broken, and was going to return
the next day, as she had been refused by the Visiting Magistrates
any further admission to him than to see him through the iron door; he
added also, that his health was impaired by the want of fresh air, as he
was only permitted to walk certain hours in the day, in a small court,
surrounded with high walls, which excluded a free circulation of air and
the genial influence of the sun. I told him who and what I was; and,
as I had come from Clifton on purpose to endeavour to render him some
assistance, I desired him to delay for a few days the departure of his
wife, while in the interval I would do my best to procure her admission
to him. As I was quite a stranger to the Magistrates, I could not answer
for my success, but I would at any rate make the attempt. He thanked
me, but with a deep sigh said, he feared my kindness would be in vain,
though his wife should certainly not leave the place till I had tried
the experiment.

I took leave of Mr. Hart, and repaired to the Visiting Magistrates; one
of them was from home; the second, a parson, I think, heard what I had
to say, was exceedingly civil and polite, but preached a good deal about
good order and the necessity of keeping up a strict prison discipline.
He, nevertheless, promised that he would do all that was in his power
at the next meeting of the Magistrates, which would take place in a
_fortnight_; but he emphatically observed, "you know I am but _one_,
Mr. Hunt." "_A fortnight_!" I exclaimed, "why, Sir, the poor woman will
leave Gloucester broken-hearted long before half that time arrives."
"Come, come, Sir," replied he, "these things cannot be accomplished so
easily as you imagine; and after all I must say, that although I promise
to do every thing that lies in my power to serve the unfortunate
prisoner, you must allow that his crime is a most heinous one. I cannot
give you any great encouragement to hope that I shall succeed with Sir
George Paull and the other Magistrates." This chap was a thorough Dr.
Colston in his heart, and I left him with a determination not to trust
my case in his hands. I next ordered my curricle and drove to Sir George
Paull's. I was introduced to him immediately, and I communicated the
object of my visit. He had received me very politely, but the moment
that I mentioned my business, he drew up, and began to hesitate and make
excuses. Before I left him, however, he admitted that Mr. Hart's case
was a very hard one, and he promised most faithfully that he would do
whatever was in his power to comply with my request, which was, that his
wife might have free access to him, and that he might have the liberty
of walking in a larger yard. But I found this could not be done under a
fortnight, and he politely assured me that he would write me the result
of the meeting of Magistrates.

Though in the manner of this gentleman, who I believe was chairman of
the quarter sessions, there was something much more honest and open
than in that of his brother justices, yet when I left him, to return to
Gloucester, I was not satisfied that I had done all that I could do, and
therefore I drove on to Bromsgrove, in Herefordshire, to call on Mr.
Honeywood Yate, of whom I had heard as an independent Magistrate, as
well as a friend of Reform. I soon enlisted him in the service; but he
was very much engaged with other business, which, after awhile, as Mr.
Yate was a very humane man, was made subservient to the cause of the
oppressed and persecuted captive. Mr. Yate went to Gloucester the next
day. Before I returned to Clifton I had the satisfaction of hearing that
there was an order made for Mrs. Hart to visit her husband in his room,
and for him to walk in the garden, I think, of the Governor. To the
kindness and humanity of Mr. Yate was Mr. Hart greatly indebted for this
indulgence. Without his assistance it might never have been granted; at
any rate it would have been protracted to a cruel distance.

Since that period I have never seen Mr. Hart except once, and that was
in London, after the term of his imprisonment had expired; and for the
trouble which I had taken in his behalf, I was amply rewarded by the
manner in which he expressed his sense of the accommodation that I had
been so instrumental in procuring for him. If he read this, it will
recall the whole to his recollection. Mr. White laboured under an
asthmatic complaint, and suffered greatly from his confinement; but I
understood that he was treated with proper respect and attention by the
Magistrates. Pittman, who was then the head turnkey of Dorchester Gaol,
called upon me the other day, and almost the first words he uttered
were, that the apartments allotted to Mr. White and his family, in
Dorchester Gaol, were quite a palace compared to the room in which he
found me. He said that Mr. White had two airy rooms over the Chapel,
which commanded a view of the circumjacent country, and that he had the
liberty of walking round the large open area of the Gaol, which was
composed of a beautiful gravel walk; that his was, in short, altogether
a very comfortable situation compared to that which I occupy in
Ilchester Bastile. He was here before the walls were lowered, and
consequently, he saw the place in all its native wretchedness.

Before I proceed with my narrative, I must mention a few circumstances,
which it will not be improper to record. At the latter end of this year,
1813, there was a most remarkable fog, which extended fifty or sixty
miles round London, accompanied by a severe frost, which lasted six
weeks without intermission. The average price of wheat this year was one
hundred and seven shillings and ten-pence halfpenny, and the quartern
loaf was one shilling and five-pence: these were glorious times for the
farmers, whose antipathy to jacobins and levellers, or rather reformers,
increased in proportion to the high price of corn and bread. To be sure
John Gull was taxed pretty handsomely, but the farmers, at least such of
them as looked only to self, always contrived to squeeze their taxes out
of the earnings of the labourer. Those, on the contrary, who thought
that the labourer had a right to something more than what would barely
keep life and soul together, could not cultivate the soil to the same
advantage. The supplies voted this year were SEVENTY-SEVEN MILLIONS,
FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SEVEN THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE
POUNDS.

While the British arms were crowned with complete success in Spain,
the Government was carrying on, both by sea and land, a ruinous and
disastrous war in America. The American frigate Chesapeake was taken by
the Shannon; but, in return, the Americans captured the Java frigate.
The British troops were compelled to evacuate Fort Erie and Fort George,
which were taken possession of by the Americans, and ultimately the
American fleet took, burnt, sunk, or destroyed the whole of the English
fleet on Lake Erie. Every real lover of liberty in England deprecated
this war with our brethren of America; but the enemies of liberty now
began to boast that they would put down and destroy the principles of
Republicanism throughout the world. I always considered the war with
America to be a most unjust war; and, although I lamented to hear of
the destruction of human lives, and the spilling of human blood, and
particularly that of my own countrymen, yet I always wished success to
the Americans, who were fighting for their rights and liberties against
an invader, who would gladly have reduced them to that state of slavery
from which they had emancipated themselves by a glorious and successful
struggle. The late harvest was very fine, and the crops were good; corn,
therefore, began to fall, and of course the landed interest caught the
alarm, and set about sounding the tocsin for a corn bill, to keep up the
price of the grain. In consequence of this, the subject was frequently
discussed in Parliament. The Ministers professed to disclaim the
proposition, but they set their friends, the Country Gentlemen, forward
to propose the measure. It was at length settled, that corn should not
be imported unless the price of wheat was above eighty shillings per
quarter. Although a farmer myself, I always exclaimed against this
measure, notwithstanding it did not appear likely that the country would
be immediately affected by it, as there was no probability of the price
of wheat being much below eighty shillings a quarter during that season.

At this period I was fully occupied in a most laborious and uprofitable
speculation. I had taken a farm of nearly four hundred acres. This farm
had been occupied by a Major Andrews, a retired militia officer, who had
commenced farmer, a business of which he was totally ignorant, and in
the pursuit of which he sunk a good fortune; yet when he quitted this
farm, or rather when his property and stock were seized and sold under
an execution, perhaps the county of Hants could not have produced its
equal for foulness and bad condition. I had occupied three thousand
acres of land in Wiltshire, and I will venture to say, that there was
not half the quantity of couch grass upon the whole of it that I now
found upon the cleanest acre on Cold Henly Farm. Couch grass is the most
injurious of all weeds, and, in some parts of Wiltshire, it is very
appropriately called "the farmer's devil." This farm of Cold Henly was
about seven miles from my residence at Middleton Cottage, and therefore
I had ample exercise in riding to and fro, and attending all day to the
cleaning of the land. The proprietor of the farm was a clergyman, and,
as he professed to be very friendly with me, and gave me to understand
that he should be happy to continue me as a tenant after my lease was
out, I spared neither pains nor expense in cultivating the land, in
hopes of hereafter reaping a reward for my labour. In fact, it was
absolutely necessary to have the soil perfectly clean and free from all
sorts of weeds and grass, to be enabled to cultivate it upon the drill
system, as laid down by Tull. I believe that in the course of the first
summer I burned forty thousand cart loads of couch, which made as many
bushels of ashes for manure. Almost all the land required to be ploughed
five or six times, by means of which, and of innumerable draggings and
harrowings, and incessant and persevering labour, the farm became, in
my hands, altogether as _clean_ as it was _foul_ and overrun with every
description of weeds and grass, before I came to it. I was induced to
expend a large sum of money in improving this farm, from the promises of
the cunning, artful, and deceitful old clergyman, who was the proprietor
of it. The buildings, which were very extensive, and miserably
dilapidated, I put into complete repair; and, perhaps, altogether
I expended on the land and offices three times as much as a common
rack-renting farmer would have done. Being fully satisfied that I was
greatly benefiting his estate, the parson not only gave his consent to
any alteration that I thought proper in the course of husbandry, which
the old tenant was bound in his lease to pursue, but he took all
occasions to encourage me to do so; and, as my proceedings were so
extremely beneficial to his farm, which he never failed to acknowledge,
I did not once dream that he would hereafter, for the sake of
litigation, pretend to object to it. As this farm was a manor of itself,
and was well stocked with game, I had plenty of shooting of all sorts
upon it, as well as over the manor of Longparish, over which I also held
the deputation.

This year, 1814, was one of the most eventful periods in the history
of the world. The first week in January, Dantzic was occupied by the
allies, whose grand army passed the Rhine, and occupied Coblentz. The
treacherous and dastardly Murat, King of Naples, basely betrayed and
deserted his patron, his friend, his benefactor, and his relation,
Napoleon, by concluding a treaty with England; and on the 17th he openly
joined the allies against France. Of all the despicable, base, and
treacherous conduct of the base and dastardly crowned heads, during the
whole war, this desertion of Napoleon, by his brother-in-law, Murat, was
the most base and dastardly. To be sure, during the whole of this long
and bloody war, carried on by the despots and tyrants of the earth,
their conduct was one continued exhibition of treachery, falsehood,
selfishness, and deception. This abandoned race of Sovereigns, Kings and
Emperors, who assume a _divine origin_, and set up a claim of _divine
rights_, have, by their acts, unequivocally proclaimed to the whole
world that no reliance can be placed in their words, their bonds, or
their oaths. They have all of them broken the most solemn treaties, and
violated the most sacred and binding obligations, without the least
regard to truth, to honour, or to honesty. At the very time that the
Governments of the different states of Europe have, in high-sounding
language, been preaching about national faith, national honour, and
national credit; the favoured Ministers of each of them, in conjunction
with their masters, have, wherever it suited their interested and
corrupt purposes, without the least regard to precept or principle,
unblushingly violated and abandoned all national credit, honour, and
faith; and have rendered _faith, honour_, and _credit_, mere bye-words
among nations. If a man in common life were to act in the same
unprincipled and dastardly manner as these Sovereign Princes have done,
he would be shunned and spurned out of all society. If one of the "lower
orders" were to conduct himself in a similar manner, he would be kicked
out of the company of the most abandoned frequenters of the lowest
brothels and tap-rooms; no man would employ him or have any transaction
with him; he would be driven from amongst even the lowest of mankind,
and deservedly left to starve, to perish, and to rot upon a dunghill.

The moment that the fortune of war turned against Napoleon, all the
royal, mean, cringing, timid, time-serving, contemptible wretches, who
had filled up the measure of his glory, and almost worshipped him when
he was victorious; those who had partaken of his bounty, and whose whole
existence had depended on his smiles; all those that he had elevated to
power, and who had reigned by his sufferance, now joined the tide and
swelled the torrent that was collected to overwhelm him. Sweden and
Denmark having, like others, been bribed by English gold, drawn from the
sweat of John Gull's brows, had now joined the allies against France,
and the first action upon the territory of Old France took place on the
24th of January, when Mortier was defeated; and on the 27th the army
commanded by Napoleon in person, at St. Dizier, in Champagne, was
overpowered by numbers, and repulsed with considerable loss. The tyrants
of Russia, Austria, and Prussia met at Basil, and soon after all their
armies advanced. Blucher and Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden, crossed
the Rhine with their numerous hordes, and the armies of France gave way.
Nancy, Troyes, Vitry, and Chalons were taken by the allies. But Napoleon
having rallied his divisions, defeated first the Russians, and then
Blucher, who led his army on to attack Marmont, but he was defeated a
second time. Prince Schwartzenburg advanced with the troops under his
command direct for Paris, but Napoleon attacked him with an inferior
force, beat him, and obliged him to retreat. The battles were now so
numerous, and the success was so equally balanced, that it would require
a history of itself to recount them. With an army which was never one
third as strong as that of the invaders, Napoleon contested every inch
of the ground, and fought so bravely and so skilfully, that the issue
was for some time doubtful. At length the numerous hordes of the
confederated nations of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Germany, Denmark,
Sweden, and Bavaria, flushed with their success, pushed on to Paris, to
defend which Marshals Marmont and Mortier had but very inadequate means.
The assailants, two hundred thousand in number, reached the northern
side of Paris on the 29th of March, and on the following day a desperate
battle took place. It was not till they had sacrificed fifteen thousand
men that the allies could make themselves masters of the posts which the
French held in the neighbourhood of Paris. Not disposed to run the risk
of another engagement, and especially of the arrival of Napoleon, who
was hastening back by forced marches, the coalesced despots were glad
to obtain the surrender of the capital, by granting honourable terms
to Marmont, who accordingly withdrew with his troops from Paris, which
Maria Louisa had already quitted. On the 1st of April all the allied
Sovereigns entered that city as conquerors. The Emperors of Russia and
Austria, and the King of Prussia, all of whom had been so repeatedly
conquered by Napoleon, who had generously, although foolishly, restored
two of them, after having conquered them and taken their capitals, now,
in return for his generous conduct to them, had the meanness and
the cowardice to declare that Napoleon was the only obstacle to the
establishment of a peace; upon which he magnanimously, to save the
effusion of human blood, did not hesitate to offer his resignation.
This was accepted; the French Senate met, and agreed to a provisional
Government, till a Constitution could be formed, and they passed a
decree on the 2d of April, declaring Napoleon Buonaparte and his family
to have forfeited the Imperial Crown. It was agreed to by all the allied
Sovereigns that Napoleon should retire to the Isle of Elba, which he was
to possess in _full sovereignty_--that he and Maria Louisa should, _for
life_, retain the titles of Emperor and Empress--that a large revenue
should be granted to both of them, and to the Empress the Duchies of
Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla, which were to descend to her son. The
treaty being thus arranged, on the 4th day of April, 1814, the brave
Napoleon signed his abdication of the Crowns of France and Italy. On
the 13th the treaty between the allied Powers and Napoleon received
the signatures of the contracting parties, and on the 28th of April he
embarked at Frejus, in Provence, for the Isle of Elba, in the British
frigate the Undaunted.

In the meantime the English army under Lord Wellington had advanced from
Spain, invested Bayonne, and passed the Odour. A division under Marshal
Beresford entered Bourdeaux. At Toulouse Wellington had a battle, and
the dispirited skeleton of an army under Soult was defeated about the
time that the news arrived of a cessation of arms.

Although Napoleon had retired, it yet required very considerable address
to replace on the Throne of France the Bourbons--a race that was
deservedly despised and execrated by the whole French nation, with the
exception of the lazy, indolent, rapacious, and profligate priesthood,
and a few of the old bigotted nobility. The provisional Government
presented to the Conservative Senate a CONSTITUTION, and proposed that
Louis, the brother of Louis the Sixteenth, should, on the acceptance of
that constitution, be declared King of France. It is time now to turn
our eyes towards England, from the affairs of which the reader will
remember that I broke off at the period when the Parliament had settled
that corn should not be imported, unless the price was above eighty
shillings a quarter. Motions were now made to address the Prince Regent,
to seize the favourable opportunity to procure from the allied Powers
some salutary regulations respecting the slave trade. The country, both
in and out of Parliament, was mad drunk with GLORY. The House manifested
its intoxication by a profligate and extravagant grant of the public
money to Wellington, who was also created a Duke. While this was going
on within the walls of Parliament, the farmers were drunk and mad
without, and were amusing themselves by burning and hanging Napoleon in
effigy. Deputies had already arrived in England, to invite Louis the
Eighteenth to return to France. He entered London on the 20th of April,
with great pomp and state; he came from his retreat at Hartwell,
attended by the Life Guards and many of the King's carriages, and
accompanied by our magnanimous conqueror, the Prince Regent. He took up
his residence at Grillon's hotel, in Albemarle-street, where be held
his Court, and was congratulated by the Lord Mayor (Sir William
Domville), and the citizens of London, and also by many of the nobility,
all of whom would no doubt have as readily paid their devoirs to a
mastiff dog, if he had been called a King. Louis left London in great
state, to embark for France, on the 23d of April, and he set sail from
Dover on the 24th, in the Royal yacht, and landed at Calais in four
hours. His public entry into Paris took place on the 3d of May, and
on the 14th of the same month a grand farce, or funeral service, was
performed in France for the Kings Louis the Sixteenth and Seventeenth,
the Queen and the Princess Elizabeth. Louis was no sooner in possession
of power, than he discovered that the Constitution which had been
framed, and on his presumed acceptance of which he had been restored,
was NOT PRACTICABLE, and that the people of France must submit to
receive as a boon, one of his own manufacture. "Put not your trust in
Princes." The Marshals had been brought over one by one, and peace was
at length settled upon the terms which the Allies dictated. By this
treaty France was to keep her ancient boundary, with some additions; the
navigation of the Rhine was to be free; the territory of Holland and the
Netherlands were to be incorporated and governed by the Stadtholder;
Germany was to form a federal Government; and Switzerland to be
independent.

While these things were going on in France, the Ministers were not
inactive in England. They caused Lord Cochrane, and Colonel Cochrane
Johnson, his uncle, to be expelled the House of Commons, for what was
called a conspiracy to defraud the Stock Exchange. To punish men for
defrauding, or rather playing off a hoax upon a set of swindlers and
gamblers in the stocks, was curious enough! The Emperor of Russia and
King of Prussia arrived in London on the 7th of June, and the town was
illuminated. The Emperor of Russia took up his residence at the Imperial
Hotel, in Piccadilly, and the King of Prussia in St. James's Palace.
They were received in state at Court, which was held at Carlton House,
and the Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia were invested with the
Order of the Garter. All the Tom and Molly fools in the country were
flocking to London, to see these mighty Sovereigns; they spent their
money, and most of them returned disappointed, the fools having expected
to see something more than man in a King and an Emperor, and something
more than a brute in the dirty old animal Blucher. Nothing else but our
new visitors was talked of in town or country. Whatever company you went
into, the first question was, "Well, what do you think of the Emperor
Alexander? what do you think of Blucher? What! not seen the Emperor, and
not seen Marshal Blucher's whiskers?" To hear the females of England, my
fair countrywomen, talk of shaking hands with this filthy old beast, and
some of them even boasted of his having kissed them, not only disgusted
but quite sickened me; and I must own that the scenes I have heard
described, which took place at Portsmouth, when they were all there at
the great naval fete, made such an unfavourable impression upon my
mind, that I have always thought with the utmost contempt of those who
participated in these disgusting, revolting orgies. It was all very
natural that the time-serving, corrupt, vain, purse-proud Aldermen of
London should act as they did; it was very natural that they and their
wives and daughters should disgrace themselves as they did; but that my
good, handsome, wholesome country-women, should have suffered such
a disgusting monster as old Blucher to have slobbered them over and
mouselled them with his dirty, stinking whiskers and mustachios, is
something so extraordinary and so abhorrent to the character of English
women, or, in fact, of any modest woman, that I, as an Englishman, was
horror-struck every time I heard the filthy accounts of it. Thank God,
none of my family or connections ever disgraced themselves, even by
going to see any of these German, Russian, Prussian, or Cossack animals.
I had business in London, but I put it off, nay neglected it, because
I would not make one of the throng of fools who flocked to grace the
triumph of these tyrants, who had been so long waging war against the
liberties of mankind, and who had caused the shedding of oceans of human
blood, for the sole purpose of gratifying their own malignant desire, to
destroy every vestige of liberty and rational freedom upon the face of
the globe. During the whole time that these fiends in human form, these
enemies and destroyers of the human race, remained in England, I stayed
at home; I never spoke of them but with abhorrence and disgust; and as
my family felt towards them as I did, they were seldom mentioned at all.
I even, as much as possible, avoided having any company at my house,
that their blood-stained names might never be introduced. I shall,
perhaps, be told by some who read this, that I am inconsistent to
express such a horror at blood-stained tyrants, and yet take every
opportunity of extolling Napoleon, who was as great a tyrant as any of
those whom I condemn. To the unthinking, an explanation is certainly
necessary from me; for I fully concur in the opinion that CONSISTENCY is
absolutely necessary to form the character of a useful and honourable
public man; that amongst the dangerous failings in a public character,
_inconsistency_ is the most dangerous. A _vacillating, weathercock,
changeable being_, in the common pursuits, in any pursuits of life, is,
to say the least of him, a contemptible creature, one who is generally
despised by all classes; but a weathercock in politics, which is the
same as a weathercock in principle, is a being not only despicable but
most mischievous. To blow hot and to blow cold, in the same breath, or
to maintain one opinion to-day and another opinion tomorrow, and the
next day to revert to the former opinion, is not so much a proof of
a weak head, as a sure proof of a profligate, an abandoned, and a
dishonest heart. I do not mean to say that a man cannot alter his
opinion without being dishonest; far from it; to maintain this
proposition would be to deny the possibility of improvement in the
human understanding. But that man is to be dreaded and avoided, who can
change his principles, or desert his public duty, from private pique,
or selfish, interested motives; such a man would sacrifice not only his
principles, but he would sacrifice his dearest friends, nay, a whole
nation, to gratify his malignant and selfish passion for revenge; such
a passion springs wholly from cowardice; and as a coward is always the
most cruel of mortals, such a man, from mere cowardice, is always the
most revengeful and remorseless; and he would wade up to his knees in
human blood to accomplish his private and selfish ends. Therefore, of
all the deadly sins with which public men are accused, oh! save me and
protect me, from the misfortune, from the indelible disgrace, of being
deservedly pronounced AN INCONSISTENT CHARACTER! I have never praised
Napoleon, or at least I have never intended to eulogise him, as a friend
of freedom. I have characterised him as a brave and noble-minded man;
and the reason why I have been led away sometimes, perhaps, to be too
general in my praises and admiration of the man is, not because he was
not a tyrant himself, but because I always found him more disposed to
tyrannize over _mighty tyrants_ than he was to crush the weak and the
unprotected. Possibly all mankind are by nature tyrannical. Take, for
instance, the most humane, the most generous, the most sincere lover of
liberty, and one who has been the most steady practiser of it--to such a
man even as this only give an unlimited, uncontrouled, and unrestricted
sway over his fellow-creatures, and ten to one but he becomes an
arbitrary tyrant; when, on the other hand, if he had been restrained
within due bounds, by means of the proper checks and guards prescribed
by a free constitution, he would have been one of freedom's brightest
ornaments, one of liberty's safest, staunchest, guardians and
protectors. So it was with Napoleon. If the tyrants of Europe had
suffered him to remain First Consul of France, surrounded by such men as
Carnot, to guard the liberties and rights of Frenchmen, and to controul
their ruler's actions, Napoleon possessed all the qualifications for
making a mild, liberal, and patriotic, as well as a brave and brilliant
ruler. But the despots and tyrants of Europe dreaded such an example;
they dreaded the example of freedom which the then constitution
conferred upon the people of France. It was not Napoleon's political
influence, great as it was, that excited their hatred, but they dreaded
the little remaining liberty that the French people possessed, and it
was their combined efforts, supported, maintained, and cherished, by the
wealth of the people of England, that drove the French nation to submit
to the hard and cruel necessity of placing unlimited authority in his
hands, and consequently preparing the way for a great tyranny, and
compelling him to be a tyrant. My sincere and unchangeable opinion is,
that few men ever lived, who, if they had been masters of the same
boundless power that Napoleon was, would not have made much more cruel
and more arbitrary tyrants than he ever did, and have exercised it more
vindictively against the liberties of mankind than he did. My admiration
of Napoleon has, therefore, been always by comparison, as contrasted
with the sanguinary and remorseless tyrants who were opposed to him; men
who had sworn eternal abhorrence of liberty, eternal war against it;
men, who, at the time that they professed a hatred of the tyranny of
Napoleon, were themselves the greatest tyrants in the universe, and
whose sole aim in destroying Napoleon's power was to rivet the chains of
slavery upon the inhabitants of the whole civilized world, and who
have since sworn upon the altar of the Holy Alliance to maintain an
indissoluble union, for the purpose of extinguishing every spark of
freedom, wherever it may arise. Napoleon was the enemy, the successful
enemy of these tyrants; and under his sway, despotic as it might
apparently be, and governed by the excellent code of laws that bears
the name of its author, the people of France enjoyed a tenfold
greater portion of liberty than any of the people who lived under the
protection, or rather who groaned under the pretended forms of law and
justice exercised by the hypocritical tyrants who were opposed to him.
All these tyrants had made war upon France, because the French had the
spirit to overthrow the most execrable tyranny that ever cursed mankind;
they made war against French liberty and French principles, before
Napoleon was known; he was the child of fortune, who sprung up during
the Revolution, and his talent and bravery pointed him out to the people
of France as the most likely man successfully to oppose her enemies. He
was elevated to unlimited power through the rancour and the malice of
those who had sworn in their hearts to restore the hated Bourbons, the
Pope, the Devil, and the Inquisition. While he exercised that power he
subdued all those who resisted him, and his greatest fault, his greatest
crime, was his generosity to the Austrian, Russian, and Prussian
despots: having had those enemies to liberty and humanity in his power,
it was a crime, an offence, in the eye of God and man, not to annihilate
them, and thus secure the human race from the continuance of their
arbitrary and brutal domination. Napoleon having conquered them all,
restored them all to power, and when they got him into their clutches,
the return whichthey made him was, to banish him, to linger out the
remainder of his life upon a barren rock, in a noxious and pestilential
climate, cut off from the society even of his wife and son. Peace to his
manes, for he beat, he humbled, and he subdued, the greatest of tyrants,
and he was the author of the Napoleon code, which restrained the power
of infamous Judges, and established a real, instead of a mock trial
by jury. These are the traits of Napoleon's character, which, as an
Englishman, I admire; had I been a Frenchman, I should have adored him.
He is dead and gone, and John Gull is beginning to reap the bitter
fruits that were sown to procure Napoleon's destruction. John is now
grumbling, because he is called upon by the despots to pay the bill, to
discharge the expenses which they incurred in dethroning and destroying
NAPOLEON, and restoring Louis to the throne of France. I hope and I
believe these is not a man in the world who hates and detests tyrants
and tyranny more than I do; yet I trust that I may, nevertheless, be
permitted to admire certain traits in the character of the brave and
murdered Napoleon, without being justly accused of inconsistency. If I
am asked whether I should like to live under such a tyrant and such
a tyranny as existed in France, during the latter days of Napoleon's
reign, I answer NO. But if I _must_ submit to a tyrant, let it be to one
that I can look up to, and whose superior qualities I can admire, rather
than to a despicable wretch, who has not one noble quality, but, on the
contrary, is deserving of contempt, derision, and execration. I have
been led into this digression by the recollection of hearing a very
pretty little girl say, that she had been kissed by the filthy old beast
Blucher, at Portsmouth, where the sceptered tyrants and their whole
train had been to view the English fleet and the naval arsenal. This
young lady, who was really a very pretty delicate girl, I had always
before considered as also a very amiable and a very modest girl; but,
after hearing her boast of having been kissed by that dirty old animal,
I could never look upon her but with pity, mingled with disgust.

On the 20th of June, peace was proclaimed in London. The country was
still intoxicated, or rather insane, with the idea of the GLORY that had
been obtained by the downfall of one man, against whom all the despots
in Europe had been united, and all the wealth of nations had been
squandered during fourteen years. On the 25th, there was a naval review
at Portsmouth, to amuse the Royal tyrants; and on the 27th they all
departed for Dover, where they embarked on the 28th. On the 7th of July,
a mockery or thanksgiving for peace was offered up in these churches,
where the tocsin of war had for so many years been sounded by the pious
preachers of the Gospel, the servants of the meek and lowly Jesus. On
this occasion the Prince Regent went in state to St. Paul's. On the 21st
he gave a superb fete to two thousand five hundred persons, and on the
1st of August there was a pompous celebration, on account of the peace,
held in Hyde and St. James's Parks, in the latter of which there was a
grand display of fireworks; while, still further to amuse the _John_ and
_Jenny Gulls_ of the cities of London and Westminster, there was a sham
naval engagement got up on the Serpentine River, representing a battle
between the British and American fleets. Of course the British fleet was
victorious, and the Americans struck their colours, amidst the huzzas
and shouts of the family of the Gulls, who, having for nearly a quarter
of a century been gulled out of their money to pay the expenses of a
sanguinary war, were now gulled out of an additional sum of their money
to pay the expenses of a mock naval engagement with the Americans, who
were in reality beating the British navy out of their lakes and seas.
This was the way in which the peace was celebrated, and at the same time
the jubilee to commemorate the accession of the House of Brunswick.
It was a considerable drawback upon the pleasure to some of the Royal
party, that, at the drawing-room which was held at Court, to receive the
Royal visitors, the PRINCESS OF WALES WAS EXCLUDED; and as soon as the
rejoicings were concluded, her Royal Highness quitted England, and
embarked from Worthing for the Continent.

All this time the old King was confined at Windsor Castle, in some
apartments which were padded six feet high; in these, blind and mad, he
was suffered to wander about, a melancholy and disgusting object. It is
confidently affirmed, however, that he had frequent intervals of reason,
in which he was perfectly sensible of his forlorn and wretched fate.
During one of these lucid intervals it is said that one of the domestics
about his person informed him of the abdication of Napoleon; upon which
he put himself in a great passion, and swore "_it was a lie_." This
wretched old man was reduced from the highest pinnacle of grandeur to
the most pitiable condition; none of his subjects were admitted to
see him for many years; even his children were excluded, except upon
particular occasions, and then they were admitted only in the presence
of certain individuals. The old Queen had the care of his person, and it
is currently reported that she governed his gracious Majesty (it being
of course necessary to do so) with considerable harshness.

When one reflects upon the bloody reign of George the Third, and calls
to mind the rivers of human gore that were shed during that reign; when
one looks back to the period of the American war, which was generally
understood to be a war of the King's, more than of his Ministers; when
one calls to recollection the commencement of the French war, which, it
has been asserted, was waged at his Majesty's particular instance, in
opposition to the private opinion of Mr. Pitt; when one looks back on
the numerous sanguinary penal statutes that were passed during this
King's reign, and the thousands of victims that fell a sacrifice to
them; when one contemplates the myriads upon myriads of brave Britons
whose lives were offered up as a sacrifice to these Moloch wars, it
may well and truly be called the UNFORTUNATE REIGN of King George the
Third--which reign was concluded by the King himself being locked up,
for many years, in his own castle, a solitary captive, suffering under
the complicated and melancholy visitation of _blindness_ and _madness_:
and when one thinks of all this, one may, without being very
superstitious, consider the catastrophe as an awful instance of the
Divine vengeance levelled at the ruler of a sinful nation.

The story goes that a mouse had contracted a sort of friendly sympathy
for the hoary-headed, sightless Royal maniac, and paid him such frequent
visits, during his long captivity, that it was at length become quite
tame, and would submit to be handled by the unfortunate shadow of a
great monarch. The King was very much delighted with this friendly
little visitant, and its little antics and gambols assisted him to pass
away many a wearisome, sorrowful hour. Unfortunately, the Queen came
into the room one day, before the little trembling animal had time to
escape to its hiding place. The Queen eyed it before it had yet left
the King's hand, and when she quitted the apartment she ordered the
attendant to take care and kill that "_nausty mose_," before she came
again. The attendant ventured to state that the poor old King was so
exceedingly partial to the mouse, and appeared so much entertained with
it, that he was fearful his Majesty would miss it very much, and that
the loss of it might make him unhappy. The answer was "_kill the nausty
mose_ before I come again!" It was as much as the servant's situation
was worth to disobey, and the poor little tame animal, too confident
of its former protection, was easily caught and killed! The King, of
course, soon missed the little solitary companion of his adversity,
and for along time inquired the cause of its absence with the greatest
earnestness; and when he found that it never came again, he grieved
incessantly, more so than he did for any thing that happened to him
during his long and cruel captivity.

So goes the tale, and I, for one, believe it. What a subject this for
reflection, what a picture of misery, what an awful monument of fallen
greatness! If the King had those lucid intervals of reason which it is
said he had, his situation must have been, if possible, infinitely more
deplorable than that of the captive of St. Helena; it must have been
a thousand times more hopeless than that of the latter; shut up and
confined for life in his own palace, by his own family, he must have
soon lost all hope: while Napoleon, till he found that his dissolution
was approaching, must have always been cheered by the hope, arising from
ten thousand chances which could not fail to present themselves to his
mind, of his being at length relieved from his iron bondage.

George the Third was the only King I ever saw, and I never wish to see
another King. The last time I saw him was when he was getting out of his
carriage at the Star, at Andover, on his return from Weymouth; which
place he never after visited. His eyesight was then nearly gone, and his
attendants were obliged to guide his feet, and to lead him like a child
into the Inn. I had known him in his prime, and had frequently hunted
with him. At the time when I saw him at Andover, he had indeed sadly
fallen off, and his signature to all documents was effected by a stamp,
some one directing his hand. All Acts of Parliament, all Commissions,
all Death-warrants, and all Pardons, were for a long time signed in this
manner. He who had signed more death-warrants than any mortal that ever
breathed, and who could spare or kill human beings by the mere dash of
his pen; alas! alas! he, once so powerful, could not now even save the
life of a poor mouse. He who, as a mere matter of course, and perhaps
without giving the subject a thought, had put his fiat on the black
scrolls which ordered hundreds upon hundreds of his fellow creatures to
be sent to their long homes, and executed in cold blood; he now grieved
and lamented, and cried like a child, at the death of a mouse. I would
have had the Emperor Alexander, the King of Prussia, and all the Royal
Visitors, go down to Windsor, to be eye-witnesses of the "ills that
(_Royal_) flesh is heir to:" they should have been reminded, by a
personal interview with this poor old maniac, to what a wretched state
it was possible even for the greatest monarch to be reduced, by the hand
of Providence. That all-wise and just Providence, the same Power that
permitted the Emperor NAPOLEON to be sent a prisoner to St. Helena; the
same Power that permitted HENRY HUNT to remain a captive in Ilchester
Bastile, for TWO YEARS AND SIX MONTHS, commanded also that GEORGE THE
THIRD should, after having LOST HIS SIGHT, and been DEPRIVED OF HIS
REASON, be confined as a solitary prisoner in his own palace, for many
of the latter years of his existence. The Lord's will be done!

During the whole time that these ridiculous freaks were going on in
London, and that John Gull and his family were running stark mad with
joy and glory, each bellowing out, whenever or wherever you met him,
have you not seen the Emperor? have you not seen the King? have you not
seen Blucher with his whiskers? surely you have seen the Don Cossack?
&c. &c. &c.; during this time I remained quietly and snugly at Middleton
Cottage, occupied in fishing or looking after my farm, and most
sincerely lamenting the folly of my countrymen and countrywomen; and
whenever I had an opportunity, I did not fail to remonstrate with them
on their ridiculous and preposterous conduct, and to assure them that
the hour would come when they would be heartily ashamed of it, and would
have cause and leisure for bitter repentance. With many this time has
arrived, with others it is fast approaching. So far was I from ever
making one of the number of fools who ran after these sceptred despots,
that, when some of them were travelling post by the house where I was
staying, I retired into a _back room_, in order to avoid the possibility
of seeing them; always saying, when the question was put to me, that "I
thanked God I had seen _one King_, and was so well satisfied, that I
never wished to see another." A single sample was quite enough for me.
One of my great political friends had expressed the same sort of disgust
at the idea of running after these foreign Sovereigns, and he swore most
roundly and lustily, that none of his family should stir an inch to see
them. It turned out, however, that he did not keep his word--but whether
his breach of it arose from "the grey mare being the better horse," or
from his being himself overcome by a childish curiosity, I cannot tell;
perhaps a little of both prevailed; at any rate I heard that my _friend_
and all his family went to Portsmouth, to see the Royal sight, and get
a squint at Blucher's whiskers and mustachios. My friend and his family
swelled the number of those who _suffered_ at Portsmouth--"ninny nanny,
one fool makes many!" It was now all glory, all joy, and all seeming
prosperity with John Gull, every thing was military! As a proof that
it could not well be otherwise, let us look to a return, which was
presented to the House of Commons, of the number of officers in the
British army in the pay of John, which return was as follows: Field
Marshals, 5--Generals, 81--Lieutenant Generals, 157--Major Generals,
221--Colonels, 152--Lieutenant-Colonels, 618--Majors, 612--Captains,
2960--Lieutenants, 4725--Ensigns, 2522--amounting in the whole to the
enormous number of TWELVE THOUSAND AND FIFTY-FOUR officers! What think
you of this, John Gull? Here is a larger army of officers than the whole
number of military that was thought sufficient by our ancestors to be
kept up during the time of peace. Yes, the officers alone, at the time
to which I allude, actually out-numbered the whole of what our peace
establishment used to be.

One of the precious effects of the downfall of Napoleon was the
restoration of the bigotted, despicable tyrant, Ferdinand the Seventh,
to the throne of Spain; and one of his first acts was to restore the
hellish Inquisition, with all its horrors, which had been abolished
during the sway of the French, and which had also been suppressed by the
Cortes. The amiable Pope Pius the Seventh being restored to the see of
Rome, he performed his part in the scene of mummery and tyranny, by
issuing a Bull for the restoration of the order of the Jesuits. So
it will be clearly seen that the canting Boroughmongering Protestant
Parliament of England, while it pertinaciously refused to grant
emancipation to the Catholics in Ireland, contrived to restore the Pope,
Popery, the Inquisition, the Jesuits, and every species of superstition
and intolerance upon the Continent!

About this time two fanatics, of the names of Johanna Southcote and
Hannah More, were much followed in the West of England. Somersetshire
could boast of possessing two female saints, _Mrs. Hannah More_ and
_Mrs. Johanna Southcote_, at the same time; which of the two was the
greatest imposter it would be very difficult to decide, although the
former appears to have borne off the palm of successful fraud and
imposition. Miss Hannah, who, in her younger days, had been a very
frolicsome lass, became all at once converted into a saint, and set up
for a severe and rigid moralist; and she had the merit of establishing
the gang generally known by the title of the SAINTS, amongst our
politicians. In her train she had the Sidmouths, the Wilberforces,
the Babingtons, the Dickensons, and others of that puritannical cast;
although it has been whispered, but that, of course, must be a calumny,
that, from the well-known character of some of these gentry, who were
very frequent in their visits, the buxom dame (who had now assumed the
title of Mrs.) contrived, like the friars of old, to indulge in the
gratification of those passions to which it is said real saints are not
prone. Some of her neighbours were in consequence so ill-natured as to
say, that her conversion was not sincere, but that it was a mere cloak
to cover certain practices. But my readers are aware that we must not
believe _all_ that the world says. Mrs. Johanna was an illiterate woman,
whose fanaticism was carried to full as high a pitch as that of Mrs.
More; but as her doctrine did not suit "the powers that be" quite so
well as the doctrine of the other did, she could not boast of having
Ministers of State and many of the Nobility as her disciples, although
amongst her numerous followers she did not want for men of talent and
education. Dr. Ash, under whose care the VERY VENERABLE JUDGE BEST
received his education, was a staunch disciple of Johanna's, and it
is said the _venerable Judge_ himself at times discovered a little
hankering after the prophetess; but whether his attachment was to her
person or her principles, is not clearly decided.

During this period the British troops were carrying on a marauding,
petty warfare in America, and on the 24th of August they burnt the
newly-built, half-finished city of Washington, and magnanimously
destroyed the city printing-press, and threw the types into the streets,
that they might be trampled under the horses feet. England being at
peace with all the rest of the world, the Government had nothing else to
do but to direct its whole force against the Americans, both by sea and
land, and I believe it was Mr. Charles Yorke, the First Lord of the
Admiralty, who put forth a speech in his place in Parliament, to the
following effect:--"That now Napoleon was deposed there was another
example of democratic revolution, and it was necessary to depose James
Madison, the President of the United States of America." This speech was
hailed and cheered by a great number of the Members of the Honourable
House, many of whom seemed to think that it was no very difficult matter
to carry it into effect. But they reckoned without their host; for the
news having arrived of the total defeat of the British fleet, on Lake
Champlain, matters began to wear a different aspect, and the boasters
were compelled to draw in their horns a little. Sir James Yeo had the
command of the English fleet upon the Lakes, and Commodore Downie, in
the Confiance, of 38 guns, had the command of the British squadron upon
Lake Champlain, supported by Captain Pring, in the Linnet, of 16 guns;
Lieutenant M'Ghee, in the Chub, of 11 guns; and Lieutenant Hix, in
the Finch, of 11 guns. Lieutenant Raynham and Lieutenant Dual had the
command of twelve gun-boats. The American squadron was commanded by
Commodore M'Donough, in the Saratoga, of 26 guns; Captain Harley, in the
Eagle, of 22 guns; and Captain----, in the Ticonderoga, of 18 guns,
with 1 sloop, and 10 gun-boats. The English fleet had 90 guns and 12
gun-boats; the American fleet had 83 guns and 10 gun-boats--so that the
British fleet had the superiority in number of guns and weight of metal.
The American fleet was anchored opposite an American battery, commanded
by General M'Coomb, at the head of 800 men. The British troops, under
the command of Sir George Prevost, amounting to thirteen thousand men,
were all drawn up on shore ready to take the battery, if the English
fleet had succeeded in beating the Americans. It was communicated to Sir
George Prevost that the English fleet would attack the Americans that
day. Commodore Downie called all his officers on board, and communicated
to each the order of battle, and his last words were, "Lieutenant M'Ghee
will lead into action; let it be close quarters, MUZZLE to MUZZLE." He
doubled a point of the American coast with a fair wind, and came in full
view of the enemy lying at anchor; the signal was then given to bear up,
and commence the action. Mr. M'Ghee carried in the Chub, of 11 guns, and
placed her gallantly close alongside of the Eagle, of 22 guns, agreeable
to orders, having sustained the fire of the gun-boats as he passed; he
blazed away at the enemy and received their fire in return, till he
himself was wounded in three places, and every man out of his complement
of sixty was either killed or wounded, with the exception of six. In
fact, the Chub was made into a cullender, and completely disabled,
before he struck her colours. The same fate attended the Confiance, the
Linnet, and the Finch, the latter of which grounded on a reef of rocks
about the middle of the engagement. The gun-boats appear absolutely to
have run away. Thus was the British fleet captured by an inferior
fleet of the Americans. Commodore Downie was killed by a ball from the
American gun-boats very early in the contest, and the Confiance is said
to have struck her colours without coming fairly into action; the result
was, the British fleet was lost, and the officers were tried by a Court
Martial. All the others were promoted, and the gallant Lieutenant M'Ghee
was reprimanded for taking his ship prematurely into action. This is
a pretty specimen of British justice in the naval department, and a
melancholy example of the reward bestowed upon the gallant officers and
men who fought our battles and maintained the British character.

On the 1st of November was opened the Congress at Vienna, where Lord
Castlereagh, as the representative of the King of England, attended,
and where it is generally believed he played second fiddle to Prince
Metternich.

In consequence of the peace, and the Bank of England having drawn in
a considerable quantity of its paper, preparatory to the payment in
specie, which, as the law stood, they were compelled to at the end of
six months after the peace had been proclaimed; in consequence of this,
and there having been a good crop of wheat and a fair harvest, the
average price of wheat during the year was seventy-four shillings per
quarter, and the price of the quartern loaf was reduced to one shilling.
Notwithstanding this, many riots took place in Nottinghamshire and
Leicestershire, by the Luddites, who continued to set the laws at
defiance, and to break the frames in the most lawless and unwarrantable
manner. Their hostility was directed against all sorts of machinery, but
particularly against the looms and frames used for weaving and knitting
in the stocking trade.

The supplies voted this year amounted to seventy-five millions six
hundred and twenty-four thousand five hundred and seventy-two pounds.
By a return, it appeared that the amount of Bank of England notes in
circulation was between twenty-eight and twenty-nine millions, and that
the number of private banks was seven hundred and twenty-four.

The Parliament had met late in the fall of 1814, but little was done
of importance, except passing the address, and a Bill called "the
Preservation of Peace Bill," to put down by force the disturbances in
Ireland. The state of Ireland had become very alarming, as the poor
Irish were suffering the greatest privations from bad government and
severe laws; which laws were exercised with the greatest severity,
to support an infamous tithe system and a national church, the most
profligate, the most expensive and rapacious that ever existed; a
church in every respect hostile to the religion of four-fifths of the
inhabitants, and a priesthood proud, overbearing, and intolerant.

In the higher circles it was now confidently given out that the Princess
Charlotte, the heir apparent to the throne of England, was to be married
to the hereditary Prince of Orange; but the disposition of her Royal
Highness had been greatly soured by the infamous treatment of her poor
mother, and, conceiving that this said young Dutch upstart had not paid
her mother proper respect and attention, but that he was more disposed
to fawn and cringe to the will of her father, it is said that she
dismissed him from her presence, and peremptorily refused to marry him.
This drove her Royal Papa into a great passion, and our magnanimous
Prince Regent went suddenly to Warwick House, the residence of his
daughter, and discharged all her servants. She, however, proved herself
a legitimate Guelph, in obstinacy, at any rate; for she refused to see
the young Orange afterwards. This young lady had secured the affections
of every honourable and unprejudiced person in the kingdom, by her
undeviating attachment to her mother, and she gained the hearts of
thousands by her firm and undaunted opposition to the arbitrary mandates
of her father, with respect to that mother.

The Parliament met very early after the adjournment, and the first Act
they passed was to renew _the restriction of cash payments by the Bank
of England;_ another violation of a positive pledge of the Honourable
House, another gross breach of faith committed upon the people by a
corrupt Parliament, which had solemnly declared by an act that the Bank
should be compelled to pay their notes in specie at the end of six
months after peace was made.

Accounts were now brought to England that Napoleon was reigning in full
sovereignty at Elba, and all the corrupt writers in the Ministerial and
daily press were sneering at the idea of his fancied sovereignty. But by
the solemn treaty of Paris, Napoleon was as much an Emperor as he ever
had been as much a Sovereign as the Emperor of Russia; and, by the law
of nations, quite as much entitled to make war or peace with other
powers as was the King of England, the King of France, or any other
Sovereign. But these writers, as I have before said, were daily
ridiculing his sovereignty, and holding his power in derision. But it
will be seen hereafter, that it is a very dangerous thing to treat with
contempt the hostility of an enemy, however weak that enemy may be. In
the meantime Louis the Desired, the contemptible King of France, decreed
that the property of the Buonaparte family should be sequestred; the old
Bourbon tyranny was making the most rapid strides; the press was much
more enslaved than under the reign of Napoleon; disturbances had broken
out in many parts of France; yet such was the dreadful, enthralled state
of the press, that no one dared to mention them, nor were they ever
known but by the proclamations of the King, to restrain and repress
them. The finances of France were, nevertheless, in a flourishing state;
their trade was fast reviving, and every means that ingenuity could
devise were resorted to, to induce the people to feel for royalty; and,
amongst other things, a solemn funeral for the late King and Queen of
France took place, which was conducted with great pomp and ceremony.

In America, the English were routed at New Orleans, by General Jackson,
who, with an undisciplined militia, and very inferior numbers, caused
great slaughter amongst the British troops; in fact, the number killed
in the English ranks amounted to more than the whole number of the
American troops, so expert were the riflemen, and so superior were the
abilities of the American General Jackson. This was a death-blow to the
hopes of the English, for the bravery of the Americans appeared to be
invincible; they were in truth fighting for Liberty, for themselves and
their country, and not for any despot or any despotism. This fine spirit
gained them a peace, which it may fairly be said they fought for, bled
for, and ultimately obtained by conquest; and James Madison remained,
in spite of all the threats of deposing him, President of the only free
people upon the habitable globe. Thus, as I hope and trust, have they
secured and placed upon an imperishable basis, the liberties and just
rights of their people. They had a right to be proud of their success.
England, at peace with all the rest of the world, carried on a war with
America; yet the latter, single-handed, not only met and contended with,
but repelled the mighty power of her adversary, and by the equity of her
cause, and the bravery of her citizens, she conquered a peace, in spite
of the threats of England's haughty, bullying, ignorant, and intolerant
Ministers, who had declared that _the right of search_ was a _sine qua
non_ which must form the basis of any negotiation. Ultimately, however,
these very Ministers were glad to make peace with the Americans, by
saying nothing about the _sine qua non_, the _right of search_, for
which they had gone to war. England went to war almost solely to
maintain the _right of search_; the Americans went to war to resist that
right; and England having made peace, and suffered the right of search
to be passed over in silence, the Americans have gained their object,
and the English have lost the point which was the cause of the war.

On the 17th of January in this year, 1815, a Catholic meeting was held
in Dublin, at which it was determined to petition Parliament for an
unqualified emancipation.

The price of wheat and all sorts of grain having been reduced, the
great landholders had been for some time raising a cry, that the landed
interest was in danger, and that the farmers would be ruined unless some
law was made to keep up the price of grain to the war standard, which,
on an average, was from twelve to fifteen shillings a bushel. The
Ministers had been pressed hard by the great landholders, in both Houses
of Parliament, to bring forward such a measure; but, knowing and feeling
the unpopularity to which it would expose them, they had, from time
to time, put them off, and they appeared to discountenance any such
proposition, whenever it was mentioned in the House. At length, however,
the Ministers gave way to the urgent demands of the landholders,
although apparently with great reluctance and considerable doubts. In
several districts the landholders urged the farmers and their tenants
to petition the House for a Corn Bill. Amongst the number of these
landholders, the most active and the most forward to promote such
petitions in Wiltshire and the West of England, was Mr. John Benett,
of Pyt-House, near Shaftesbury, the present Member for that county.
Committees of both Houses of Parliament were appointed to inquire into
the state of agriculture, for the purpose of ascertaining what measures
it were necessary to take, or what Act to pass to keep up the price of
corn, or rather to keep up the price of the quartern loaf to the war
standard. Mr. John Benett was one of the witnesses who volunteered to be
examined at great length before both of these Committees, that of the
House of Lords as well as that of the House of Commons.

As soon as the evidence given before these Committees was published, I
rode over to Botley, to my friend Cobbett, to urge him to take a _more
decided part_ against the measure; for I thought I discovered in his
Register a leaning towards a Corn Bill, or rather the doctrine was
maintained that it was necessary to protect the farmer as well as the
merchants and other trades. When I arrived, I found him endeavouring, by
arguments the most powerful, to shew the injustice of leaving the farmer
open to the competition of foreign growers, who could raise the grain at
half the expense which must be incurred by the native growers. Perhaps
this was said to ascertain my sentiments upon the subject, which I
immediately, and in the most unequivocal manner, stated to be in direct
opposition to the measure. I argued against the injustice of making
the mechanic and the labourer pay a war price for his bread in time
of peace, and I maintained that it was the duty of the farmer and the
landholder to petition for a reduction of taxation, so as to enable
him to compete with the foreign farmer, instead of petitioning for a
monopoly by his exclusion. In five minutes my friend Cobbett was either
convinced of the propriety and justice of my remarks, or at any rate he
professed to be so; and he concurred with me in the necessity of calling
upon the public to come forward to oppose so injurious and ruinous a
measure as that which was contemplated. I pointed out to him the fallacy
and the hypocrisy of those who pretended to be anxious for the good of
the farmer, and we both very soon came to this conclusion, that a Corn
Bill would be ultimately injurious to the farmer, and that the only
result of it would be, to raise the price of the _staff of life_, and to
grind the face of the poor, to enable the farmer to continue to pay high
taxes, for the support of an unconstitutional large standing army in
the time of peace, and to enable the lazy sinecurist and the unmerited
pensioner to wallow in wealth and riot in luxury, drawn from the sweat
of the poor man's labour. From this time forward Mr. Cobbett took the
most decisive part in opposition to every movement of the Corn Bill
gentry.

Sir Henry Parnell, an Irish Member, ONE OF THE OPPOSITION, brought
forward the measure in the House of Commons, and I believe he was
Chairman of the Committee. I will now put upon record a few questions
and answers, extracted from the evidence of the aforesaid John Benett,
Esq. of Pyt-House, voluntarily given before the Committee of the House
of Lords, in favour of a Corn Bill, which evidence was printed by order
of the Right Honourable House:



_The Evidence of_ JOHN BENETT, _Esq. of Pyt-House_, voluntarily _given
lefore the Committee of the House of Lords, in favour of the Corn Bill._


You hold a considerable quantity of land in your own hands?--I do.

What number of acres?--I believe upwards of 2000 acres, in various
parishes in the western part of Wiltshire, about twelve miles from
Warminster.--My residence is Pyt-House, in Wiltshire.

Have you any general information about the state of that quarter of the
country, or can you speak only to the particular district in which you
reside?--I can speak to the county of Wilts; for I am in the habit of
riding through it very often, and am in the habit of meeting with the
farmers in the county, from having been for some years a farmer, and am
now President of the Agricultural Society of that county. Can you give
the Committee any account of the increase and alterations that have
taken place in the value and prices of the different articles of produce
from land, and the expenses of cultivation, and from what period?--I
can speak to nearly twenty years. The price of wheat has varied so
very materially, it is more easily ascertained from the returns of the
markets than from recollection.

In the present state of the improved cultivation of those parts of the
county of Wilts with which you are acquainted, can you state the various
prices which it will be necessary for the farmer to receive for the
different species of grain he rears, in order to remunerate him for
his expenses?--Taking the taxes, the price of labour, and all outgoing
expenses of the farmer as they now stand, and the rents at which land
has lately been let, I do not conceive the farmer can possibly raise
wheat, and remunerate himself with ten per cent. interest upon his
capital, under 12_s_. a bushel, or 96_s_. per quarter.

If the farmer was to receive only 75_s_. per quarter, would he be
capable of paying any rent at all?--No, he certainly would not be able
to pay his rent, and get his ten per cent. upon his capital.

Is land generally let in Wiltshire upon the supposition that wheat will
stand at 96_s_. and barley at half the price of wheat?--I believe that
lands have been let even at a higher calculation than that; I am in the
habit of valuing estates of my own as well as of others, and of giving
opinions to my friends; and I have always calculated upon 12_s_. a
bushel, and I believe surveyors do the same; many of the estates let by
survey let at a much greater calculation, or rather, I believe, without
any.

Do you believe there is any surveyor who practises the surveying of
estates for the purpose of fixing rents, who proceeds on the calculation
of wheat being at a higher price than 12_s_. per bushel, or 96_s_.
a quarter?--I believe no estates have been let in Wiltshire, by our
first-rate surveyors, on a calculation of more than 12_s_. per bushel,
or 96_s_. per quarter, for the last eight years, since the high price of
corn and the competition for estates.

If wheat should be at 80_s_. and other grains at a proportionate price,
do you believe the farmers would continue in the cultivation of their
land at the expense of the present mode of culture?--Certainly not; I
think less wheat would be sown, and less money would be expended in
the cultivation of land. From your knowledge of the general ideas of
farmers, do you believe that the same opinion you have expressed to the
Committee upon this subject is generally entertained?--With respect to
renting farmers I believe the same opinion prevails with those who have
leases they cannot get rid of; but where they have not leases, or their
landlords will permit them to surrender them, they are not under the
same alarm, because they will quit their farms altogether, unless they
can get a reduction in their rent in proportion to the price of corn;
but no reduction of rent will answer as it stands now, it will exhaust
the whole rent.

Do you know of any farmers who have actually withdrawn their capital
from agriculture?--No, I do not; but a tenant of my own surrendered a
beneficial agreement, of which there were seven years to come. I gave my
tenants notice that I would not promise to sink their rents, but that
they might surrender their leases altogether.

At what value of wheat did you compute the rent which the tenant
paid you under the lease, of which only one year has run?--I made no
particular computation for that; I have been in the habit of making
valuations of my own farms; I have generally taken it at 12_s_.; I could
have got more for this estate, it being a particularly valuable farm; I
made no particular calculation as to this farm. I have another tenant,
whose term of seven years only has expired; I expected to have raised
his rent nearly 400_l_. per annum, upon a rent of 870_l_.; I have not
raised him a farthing; I dare not propose to raise him; I think he would
quit me if I should attempt it; and I doubt my power of letting it, if
he should quit me. I directed my surveyor to look over his farm, and let
me know the price he thought I might put upon it, and if he thought
it would bear raising, to let me know; and I have not heard from him,
though he looked over it about two months ago.

How long had he possessed it at the rent of 870_l_.?--Only seven years.

At what rate did you calculate the value of wheat at that time?--At
12_s_. a bushel.

At what would you have calculated the price of wheat if you had raised
it?--It is proper I should explain that; I did not in fact fix the rent;
I agreed he should take it at the Commissioners' valuation, it being
then just laid in under the act of inclosure.

Do you know whether the Commissioners fixed the rent, calculating wheat
at 12_s_. a bushel?--I do not; but I told him at the time I considered
the Commissioners' valuation would be a certain price; that if the
valuation was lower than the price, he should have it at the lower rate;
the Commissioners' valuation exceeded my price, therefore he has it at
the price named by me, though I thought it too little.

Is it a farm which requires the application of much capital to render it
productive?--Yes, it does.

When you had in your own mind settled that you would get an advanced
rent of 400_l_. a year, what did you take the price of wheat at in
forming that calculation?--I conceived wheat was higher than 12_s_.
a bushel, not more than 13_s_. a bushel. I have not valued this farm
particularly at 400_l_. a year more, but I felt that the farm was worth
400_l_. a year more than I had let it at.

You have said that at the time the Commissioners valued it, you believe
they proceeded on the idea that wheat was worth 12_s_. a bushel?--No,
I do not know what calculation the Commissioners made; they were three
eminent surveyors.

When it passed in your mind that you would get 400_l_. a year more, was
not that in consequence of your having an opinion that the Commissioners
had fixed the land at a lower rent than if wheat were calculated at
12_s_. a bushel?--Certainly it was.

And your idea of getting 1270_l_. was in consequence of what passed
in your mind as to wheats being fairly to be valued at 12_s_. a
bushel?--Certainly it was.

Having stated your knowledge to be general over the county of Wilts, and
having stated your calculation of wheat to be at 12_s_. for the last
seven years, do you apply that to the farms within your own immediate
knowledge, or over the county of Wilts generally?--I believe that
generally over the county of Wilts, 12_s_. is the lowest calculation
which has been made by surveyors in letting land.

If a free importation should take place, how many rents do you think the
farmer will be able to make then?--It depends entirely upon what effect
the free importation may have upon the price of corn; taking wheat at
8_s_. a bushel, and taking all agricultural expenses to stand as they
now do, I conceive the farmer with an average crop; cannot pay any
rent at all. You conceive a proprietor farming his own estate, with a
competent share of skill and capital, would be a loser if the price of
wheat was 8_s_. a bushel?--Yes, I do.

Has any proportion of the value of daily labour been made up to the
labourers out of the poor's rates?--Yes, it has; the weekly income of
every family is made up to the gallon loaf and three-pence per head.
Supposing the father to earn 9_s_. one of the children 3_s_. another
2_s_. and another 1_s. od_. the magistrate conceiving they are able to
earn that, or the overseer being willing to give them the money for
their labour, whatever the deficiency is, is made up to the amount I
have stated. I must explain, that I give this evidence as a magistrate
more than as a farmer; for I act for a very large district, and am in
the habit of making this order. The gallon loaf per head per week is
what we suppose sufficient for the maintenance of every person in the
family for the week; and the 3_d_. is for clothes; and if the parish
think proper to find clothes, the 3_d_. is deducted. This practice goes
through all the western parts of Wiltshire, and I believe throughout the
county.

Have you, from your situation as a Magistrate, any connexion and
knowledge of the condition of the lower class of manufacturers?--I have;
I live within nine miles of a great number of them, and act for several
manufacturing parishes as a Magistrate.

Can you state the average consumption of a family?--The manufacturers
live better than the farming labourers, but they need not live better;
when they come to the parishes they have only the same allowance from us
as paupers of every class.

Do you expect the labouring manufacturers will consume a greater
proportion of farm produce than they have hitherto done?--I conceive
greater waste will be made of farm produce when it is at a low price
than when it is at a high price, and, in fact, they must consume
more: _they live upon wheat instead of barley; they lived upon barley
formerly, and now they live upon wheat, and eat fewer potatoes
probably_.

Do you think it would be possible for landlords to reduce their rents so
as to enable the tenant to make a fair profit, according to the present
price of corn?--No; I do not think it is in the power of landlords, it
must depend upon the riches of the landlord; but if he reduces the whole
rent upon some farms, it would not be sufficient according to the
present price of corn; taking the present price of wheat at eight
shillings a bushel, and all other grain following the same scale.

The price is high abroad at present?--It is.

The case of a peace with America, and of our receiving corn from
thence, do not you conceive, in case of a great influx of corn from the
continent, the price must fall considerably?--Certainly, as the price
falls upon the continent, it will fall here, if free importation is
permitted; but I would wish to be understood here as to the price of
corn, it must very much depend upon the crop of the year, because I do
not believe it possible to import sufficient to feed the people of Great
Britain, and very much must depend upon the quantity of corn grown; and
my own belief is, that the price of corn will be very high indeed in
three years, higher than it has probably been known for the last ten
years. I think the importation is an uncertain sort of supply; there may
be a bad crop upon the continent, or a thousand interruptions may stop
the importation.

On what is your opinion founded, that it will be at a high
price?--_Because a great deal less wheat will be sown in consequence of
the low prices; I believe the defalcation in the number of acres sown
will be very great indeed_.

Do you think that the present rents are the cause of the tenants not
being able to obtain a fair profit, corn being at eight shillings a
bushel; or does it arise from the price of labour, the amount of poors'
rates, taxes, and other expenses?--_I do not myself think the rents are
too high, taking them at a general average; in fact, I do not think the
gentlemen of landed property can now live at the present rents with the
same comforts their forefathers have done on the same estates; that if
the rents are to be lowered, the gentlemen of landed property must be
sunk in their scale in society_.

Do you conceive that the existing rents bear a greater proportion to the
produce than formerly?--No; not so great by a great deal; I conceive
that rents have not risen in the same proportion that all the articles
of life, which we are compelled to have as country gentlemen, have
risen.

The following requisition was published in the Salisbury and Winchester
Journal, on the 2d of January, 1815, calling a public meeting of
the landholders and farmers of the county of Wilts, to be held at
Warminster, on the 6th day of January following:--



WE, the undersigned Land-Owners and Occupiers of Land, in the county of
Wilts, conceiving it to be impossible that the British farmers should
ever contend on fair or equal terms with foreign growers of corn, even
in British markets, as long as the former shall have to bear such heavy
charges of rates, taxes, assessments, and other expenses attendant
on their cultivation, of which the latter know nothing: Being also
convinced that the farmers of this kingdom have already suffered
severely, even to the ruin of many of those who have had small capitals;
and also that the evil is fast approaching to the land-owners; and must
(if no relief be given to the agriculturists) evidently fall on the
country at large: Feeling it also to be a duty incumbent on as many
of us as are landlords, to exert ourselves for the protection of our
tenants, and on us all jointly to exert ourselves, for our mutual
protection:--Do hereby give Notice, That we intend to meet at the Lord's
Arms Inn, at Warminster, in the county of Wilts, on Friday the 6th day
of January next, at 12 o'clock at noon, for the purpose of considering
of the propriety of preparing Petitions to the two Houses of Parliament,
on behalf of ourselves and others; and we invite all Land-Owners, and
Occupiers of Land, in the county of Wilts, who may wish to unite with us
in forwarding this our object, to meet us on that day, and to co-operate
with us, in adopting such measures as may then and there be thought
necessary, for our mutual relief and preservation.

_Dated this 30th of December, 1814._ (Signed.)

  Thomas Grove.    John Benett.        James Everard Arundel.
  George South.    J.H. Penruddocke.   Alexander Powell.
  H. Linton.       T. Davis, Jun.      S. Card.
  John Davis.      J.E. Strickland.    G.J. Kneller.
  John Gordon.     H. Biggs.           J. Slade.
  William Smith.   Robert Smith.       Richard Rickword.
  Henry Hubbard.   Robert Candy.       John Neat.
  John Pearce.     George Young.       James Burges.
  Richard Pocock.  James Pearce.       William Glass.
  Robert Payne.    J. Howel.           John Folliott.
  William Marsh.   Thomas Chandler.    Thomas Burfitt.
  John Barter.     John Phillips.      Henry Phillips.
  Thomas Burge.    John Mitchell.      J.C. Burbidge.
  John Willis.     Robert Rumsey.      James Chaiman.
  E.F. Seagram.    James Goddard.      John Goddard.

This was short notice, as many people of the county of Wilts did not get
the Salisbury paper till the 3d or 4th of January. In fact, I myself, who
was living in Hampshire, did not get it till the 4th in the evening, nor
should I have seen it at all, if a friend had not sent it to me. As
I had a small freehold in the county of Wilts, and also occupied a
considerable farm at Upavon, in that county, I made up my mind, within
five minutes after I saw the above advertisement, that, although I was
living at a distance of nearly forty miles from the scene of action, I
would make one at this intended snug meeting. I mounted my gig the next
day (the 5th), and drove as far as Deptford Inn. I had heard of a
Mr. Gourley, who lived at Deptford, upon an estate of the Duke of
Somerset's; and, as he had acquired the character of being at least an
eccentric, if not an independent man, I called at his house with the
intent to have some conversation with him upon the proposed meeting.
Fortunately, however, he was from home, or I might have been hampered
with a very troublesome and a very disagreeable companion; for I
afterwards found that Mr. Gourley, though perhaps a very well-meaning
person, was so flighty, so confused, and so opinionated in his wild and
visionary notions, that he was a very dangerous man to have any thing to
do with; at any rate, he was a person that it was impossible to go hand
in hand with. I slept at Deptford Inn, and proceeded through Heytesbury
to Warminster in the morning, calling upon my old friend Cousens in my
way thither; I knew that he was staunch to the back-bone, and that,
in case he was at home, I should be sure of his support to second any
amendment that I might find it necessary to propose. When I drove up to
his door at Heytesbury, I was surprised to find all the window-shutters
closed, although it was nearly ten o'clock. Upon hailing him, he popped
his head out of the chamber window with a night-cap on, in one of the
severest hoar frosty mornings I ever beheld. I told him where I was
going, and he promised to follow me instantly, without fail; and he kept
his word, for he overtook me upon his grey poney before I reached the
town.

When I drove into Warminster, the town was as still and as quiet as
possible, without any of those bustling indications which I had been
accustomed to witness at a public meeting. While I was taking my
breakfast at the Lord's Arms Inn, some of the requisitionists made
their appearance, and they were soon followed by the remainder, and a
considerable number of the landholders of the county, amongst whom, as I
sat at an up-stair window, I recognised Mr. Wyndham, of Dinton, the High
Sheriff; Paul Methuen, Esq. one of the Members for the county; and the
said John Benett, surrounded by a few of the requisitionists. I sat
very quiet while my friend Cousens reconnoitred their forces, and
communicated their arrival. At length we saw them all proceed to the
Town-hall, perhaps twenty-five or thirty of them at the outside--as
pretty a little snug cabal as ever was mustered upon any occasion. They
passed my window and went smirking along, little dreaming that they
should meet with the slightest interruption or opposition to their
measures, which were all ready cut and dry, and safely deposited in the
pocket of the celebrated attorney, Mr. Charles Bowles, of Shaftesbury.
As the train passed up the street, the town's-people took little other
notice of them than by now and then _eyeing them askance_ with a jealous
look. I had remained the whole time snug in my room, without one soul of
them knowing or suspecting that I was in Warminster; but, as soon as I
saw them all safely housed, out I bolted into the street, and made my
way after them. As we walked up the street, my friend Cousens intimated
to two or three of the shopkeepers who I was, and the news flew like
wildfire round the town, that Mr. Hunt was arrived, and gone up to the
Hall. As, therefore, something like fair discussion was likely to take
place, the said meeting, which, ten minutes before, excited no interest
whatever amongst the town's-people, was, in a very short space of time,
crowded by the shopkeepers, and attended by almost every respectable man
in the town. When I entered the Hall it was very evident that I was not
a very welcome guest, and that I had not been expected by any one. As,
however, I was a landholder of the county, and one of those who were
invited, it was impossible to make any objection, as I was as much
entitled to be present as any man in the room. Mr. Grove, whose name
stood at the head of the requisition, was called to the chair. This
gentleman, who is descended from one of the most ancient families in
the county, having shortly stated the object of the meeting, Mr. Benett
arose, and, after some wriggling and twisting, addressed them. As the
following report, which was published in Keene's Bath Journal, on the
Sunday following, contains a brief outline and an impartial account of
the proceedings, I will insert it verbatim, as it was afterwards copied
into almost every newspaper in the kingdom:

  On the 6th of January a Meeting of "Landholders and
  Occupiers of Land," was held at the Town-Hall, Warminster,
  convened by public advertisement, signed by
  John Benett, Esq. of Pyt-House, (the gentleman who
  gave such long and strong evidence before the Committees
  of both Houses of Parliament in favour of the Corn Bill),
  and several other respectable land-owners and farmers of
  the county of Wilts, to take into consideration the propriety
  of presenting Petitions to both Houses of Parliament,
  on behalf of the proprietors and occupiers of land.
  Thomas Grove, Esq. of Fern, one of the gentlemen who
  called the meeting, having taken the chair, Mr. Benett addressed
  them at a very considerable length in favour of a
  petition that he submitted for their adoption, expressive of
  the serious injury already sustained by the farmer, and the
  probable result likely to fall on the landholder, arising
  from the reduced and low price of corn, owing particularly
  to the importations from France, &c. The Petition further
  stated, that as the agricultural interest was blended
  with that of the tradesman and mechanic, the latter were invited
  to join in its support, and add their signatures thereto.
  Mr. Benett insisted that, as the evidence given before the
  Corn Committees had never been contradicted, the legislature
  were bound to afford the agricultural interest their
  protection; and, enforcing the necessity of Parliamentary
  interposition in favour of the landed interest, he said, that
  unless some measure were devised to enable the farmer
  to pay his present rent and taxes, the landholders would
  be completely ruined; and he solemnly declared, that,
  unless this desirable object was carried into immediate
  execution, he for one would be under the absolute necessity,
  before that day twelvemonth, of _leaving the country_
  with his family, to reside where provisions and all the necessaries
  of life were to be obtained at a rate within the
  reach of his fortune.

  [Footnote: Quere.--If this solemn asseveration of Mr. Benett's be
  correct, (who, by the bye, is a Land-owner to the amount of 10,000_l_.
  a year,) what will be the fate of those who are left behind, without
  the means of flying from the evil?]

  The motion was briefly seconded by Mr. BOWLES.--Mr. HUNT began by
  stating his objection to the meeting altogether, asserting, that if
  the meeting was not illegal, it was highly improper for a few
  individuals of a particular class to call a meeting to petition
  Parliament in favour of _tradesmen and mechanics_, without giving them
  an opportunity of attending to decide upon its propriety. This was a
  close meeting of landholders and farmers; many respectable tradesmen,
  inhabitants of the town, would have attended, but they were told they
  had no business there, not being landholders or farmers.  This
  meeting, therefore, bore a resemblance to a "Conclave of Cardinals
  with closed doors."--Instead of calling a meeting like this, why not
  call a public county meeting, and meet the question manfully and
  openly? One reason against this was, that at an open county meeting,
  even Mr. John Benett would not be so hardy as to bring forward a
  petition, the sole object of which was the keeping up the price of
  corn, under the cloak of its being a petition in favour of the
  tradesman and the mechanic.--

  In fact, this was a petition especially to benefit the landholder;
  even the farmer was of secondary consideration,
  and it was decidedly hostile to the interest of every other
  class of society; and if acted upon would prove ruinous to
  the little tradesman, the mechanic, and the labourer. The
  landlord had met with no reverse since the commencement
  of the war; his rents had progressively increased,
  in proportion as the rest of the community had suffered
  privations; the nearer the mechanic and the labourer
  had approached to starvation and beggary, the higher
  were the profits and the more efficient the means of the
  landholder.  This was no theoretical proposition, hastily
  introduced, it was a practical truism, the result of careful
  and recent inquiry.  He would read to the meeting an
  account of the population of the parish of Enford, a large
  parish in the centre of the county of Wilts, with the comparative
  statement of the rise in the price of labour, the
  price of bread, and the price of land, within the last 30
  years. The number of houses were 143, population 656,
  farmers, &c. 250, labourers 406, labourers (not paupers)
  201, labourers (paupers) 205. About 30 years back, the
  labourers in this parish received 6_s_. per week; at this time
  they received 8_s_. per week--30 years back, the quartern
  loaf averaged about 5_d_. at this time it is 10-1/2_d_.--30 years
  back, the labourer could purchase with his week's pay, 6_s_.
  fourteen quartern loaves; now he can only purchase with
  his week's pay, 8_s_. nine quartern loaves--about 30 years
  back, the principal farm in this parish, then belonging to
  the late Mr. Benett, of Pyt-house, in this county, was let
  for 400_l_. a-year; at the present time this farm, the property
  of Mr. John Benett, of Pyt-house, is let for 1,260_l_. a-year.
  Thus it clearly appears in this parish, within the last 30
  years, labour has risen from 6_s_. to 8_s_. per week, 33 per
  cent., the quartern loaf from 5_d_. to 10-1/2_d_., 105 per cent.,
  the rent of land from 400_l_. to 1,260_l_., 212 per cent. This
  proves that bread has risen within this period more
  than three times as much as labour, and land more than
  twice as much as bread, and more than six times as much
  as labour.  At the present price of land, corn, bread, and
  labour, the landlord is benefited three times as much as
  the farmer, and six times as much as the labourer.
  Mr. Benett said, that he had, since the period mentioned
  by Mr. Hunt, purchased the tithes, and added
  them to the farm, which was included in the present
  rent.  Mr. Hunt replied, that he was perfectly aware of
  this circumstance, as well as of another circumstance
  equally important, which was this, that Mr. Benett bad
  taken a considerable portion of the best land from his
  farm, and added it to another, which produced a greater
  rent than the value of the tithes, therefore the balance
  was more in favour of the landlord than be had
  stated.  He had mentioned this particular farm, as it belonged
  to Mr. Benett, the proposer of the present measure;
  but from his own knowledge (having an estate
  himself in the same parish) he could state, that the land
  had risen in the same, and, in some instances, in a higher
  proportion. He, therefore, particularly enjoined the
  farmers to pause before they gave their sanction to a measure,
  which had only for its object the benefit and aggrandizement
  of a few rapacious landholders, whilst it
  was calculated to shift the odium of a dear loaf off their
  own shoulders, and fix it upon the back of the farmer.
  Let the odium rest where it was due, upon those who
  were the supporters of the war, upon those who have fattened
  upon the miseries of the people.--Mr. Bleeck followed
  on the same side with Mr. Hunt, exposing the fallacy
  of attempting to palm upon the meeting a petition,
  professing to have for its object the welfare of the tradesman
  and the mechanic, whilst the operation of it would
  tend to perpetuate the misery they had so long endured;
  he called to the recollection of many of the meeting, the
  scenes which they had been in the habit of witnessing in
  that hall, the walls of which had so often resounded with
  the professions of those gentlemen who were now complaining
  of the present times, the effect of that war, to
  support which, they had so often solemnly pledged, not
  only their last guinea, but their last drop of blood. He
  called upon the Chairman not to blink the question, because
  the majority of the meeting appeared against the
  petition, but let it fairly meet its fate.--Paul Methuen,
  Esq., one of the representatives for the county, said, that
  seeing a meeting called, signed by a number of respectable
  individuals, he felt it his duty to attend it; but if he
  had known that it was to have been a close meeting with
  closed doors, he certainly would not have come near the
  place. If the meeting decided upon petitioning the
  House of Commons, whatever that petition may be, he
  should feel it his duty to present it; although he would
  not pledge himself to support the landed interest, to the
  injury of the tradesman and the mechanic.  The Chairman
  having hinted that it was going a little too far, to say
  that this petition was in favour of the tradesman and mechanic,
  and as they would not have an opportunity of
  voting upon the subject, he thought they had better be
  left out of the petition.  The whole meeting appeared to
  concur in this, and Mr. Benett proposed to draw the pen
  through the words "tradesman and mechanic;" which
  being done the Chairman desired all those who were for
  the petition to hold up their hats. The Chairman declared
  a decided majority kept their hats on; which was followed
  by a symptom of approbation, whereupon the Chairman
  asserted, that the meeting was so _tumultuous_, he would
  not take the sense of it against the petition.  Upon this,
  the Chairman, with Mr. Benett and a few of his friends,
  retired to a private room at the inn, but whether to sign
  this petition in secret, which they could not carry in
  public, or to abandon it altogether, we do not know.--
  A statement of the fate of the petition was announced to
  the inhabitants of the town by the bellman, amidst the
  becoming cheers of the populace.

I have no hesitation to say, that the publication of this report in
_all_ the London newspapers, and in almost every country newspaper in
the three kingdoms, first roused a general feeling aginst the proposed
Corn Bill. Meetings were afterwards called in London and in Westminster,
and petitions were presented against the measure from almost every town
and district throughout the country. Sir Francis Burdett attended the
meeting of his constituents in Palace-yard, where they passed strong
resolutions, and sent a petition to the House against the measure; but
Sir Francis took a different view of the question, and appeared to think
it was necessary that the English farmer should be protected, and I
believe he said that he cared not whether the Bill was passed or not,
and that it would make no difference to him personally whichever way
it was decided. This certainly was not viewing the question with that
liberality and sound judgment with which the Baronet was accustomed
to act. For the moment, his speech threw a considerable damp upon the
ardour of a great many persons, who had before been very sanguine
against the adoption of the said Corn Bill, and so completely were the
affections of the people riveted to the opinions of Sir Francis Burdett,
that his constituents cheered him, and drew him home in his carriage
afterwards, amidst the acclamations of the populace.

This was the first instance that I recollect, for many years, in which I
acted in opposition to the opinions of Sir F. Burdett; but, as I was
thoroughly convinced of the mischievous intention of the supporters
of the measure, as well as of the fatal result that must follow its
adoption, I persevered in my opposition to it with all my power. I was
not contented with having attended the Common Hall, as a Liveryman of
the city of London, to protest against the Bill; I was not satisfied
with having blown up the cabal at Warminster, and compelled the parties
to sneak off with their resolutions and petitions, to pass them and
get them signed in holes and corners; but I personally procured a
requisition to be signed by the freeholders of the county of Wilts, and
presented it to the High Sheriff for the county, my old school-fellow,
William Wyndham, Esq. of Dinton, who was then residing at Marshwood,
near that place, while his house was building at Dinton. The Sheriff was
just upon the point of going out of office, and said the day was fixed
for him to meet the new Sheriff, at Salisbury, for the purpose of the
latter being sworn in. He, however, undertook to transmit my requisition
to him, and recommended that he should give notice of the meeting in
the first Salisbury paper after he had entered into his Sheriffalty.
I ascertained that a Mr. GEORGE EYRE, the _King's printer_, of the
house of _Strahan and Eyre_, printers in London, was to be the new
Sheriff, and, not choosing to trust to this mushroom gentleman, I
appointed to meet Mr. Wyndham at Salisbury, with the requisition, that
I might see the old and new Sheriff together; telling him, at the
same time, that I was determined not to be shuffled out of the county
meeting, for, in case the new Sheriff did not choose to call it, I
should go to the expense of calling it myself; and in the propriety
of doing so Mr. Wyndham concurred with me. (My elder readers will
recollect, and it is necessary to inform my young friends, that there
was no law at that period to prevent my calling the county together, to
consult upon the propriety of petitioning the Parliament; at least as
many of them as chose to assemble for that purpose.)

I had drawn up a requisition, and procured a number of respectable
signatures, and if the Sheriff, by refusing to call the meeting, had
dared to neglect his duty and abuse the high trust reposed in him by his
office, it was only necessary to advertise the requisition, and call the
meeting in the name of the requisitionists. When the day arrived I was
punctual to my appointment, and met the two Sheriffs at the office of
their Deputy, Mr. Attorney Tinney, who would as soon have seen the
devil as me; but, as he knew that I was not to be put off with any
of his usual quibbling tricks, upon demanding an interview with his
principals, I was admitted forthwith. I found this Mr. George Eyre just
such a Jack-in-office as I should have expected a King's printer, or a
King's lacquey, or a King's hairdresser to be; as unlike Mr. Wyndham,
both in appearance and manner, as a sneaking upstart could be unlike a
respectable country gentleman. The latter was unassuming, free, easy,
and gentleman-like, willing and anxious to do his duty in such a way
as was at once consistent with the character of his high office, and
accommodating to the requisitionists; whilst the former was jealous of
his authority, and appeared only to consider how he could get over the
_task_ which he had neither the courage to decline, nor the address to
manage with common urbanity. The day, however, was at length fixed, but
at the greatest possible distance of time, evidently for the purpose of
frustrating the object of those who signed the requisition, as in all
probability the Bill would be passed the House of Commons before the day
of meeting, or at least before the petition could be presented. In fact,
both the Sheriff and his hopeful Deputy declared with a sneer, that the
necessity of holding the meeting might possibly be set aside, by the
House of Commons passing the Bill. Old birds, however, are not to be
caught with chaff, and therefore the requisition was drawn too general
to allow of practising a trick of this sort; it said not a word about
the House of Commons; it merely requested that a county meeting might be
called, to consider the propriety of petitioning PARLIAMENT against the
proposed Corn Bill; and I sarcastically observed to these wiseacres,
that it depended upon the feeling of the meeting, when we were
assembled, which branch of the Parliament we should petition, whether
King, Lords, or Commons, and it would be quite time enough to consider
that point when we _were_ assembled. It always required considerable
address and presence of mind to keep the upper hand of these legal
quirk-dealers, these impudent under-strappers, whose whole trade
consists in trick and chicane; but I do not recollect ever having been
outwitted by any one of them as to the proceedings of a public meeting.

In the interval between the presenting of the requisition and the coming
together of the meeting, there were great riots in London, each night
that the measure was discussed in the House of Commons; great multitudes
had assembled about the House in a menacing manner; the military were
called in, and the Bill was passed while the House was guarded with an
armed military force with bayonets fixed. Many of the Members of the
Honourable House were hooted and hustled as they passed into the doors;
and Mr. Garrow, the then Attorney-General, had rather a narrow escape.
It is said that he was surrounded, and the mob were just upon the point
of claping a halter round his neck, supposing him to be one of the
obnoxious individuals who had been pressing the Bill through the House
with the most indecent haste, when some one in the crowd sung out with
a loud voice that it was Garrow, the Attorney-General, who had not
prosecuted any one for a political libel since he had been in office;
upon which they gave him three cheers and let him pass.

The day for the meeting at length came. When we arrived at Salisbury,
where the meeting was called, the news was brought down that the Bill
had passed the House of Commons the night before; but we were not thrown
off our guard by this event, as we had in some measure anticipated it.
It was, however, necessary to draw up fresh resolutions, and a petition
to the Lords instead of the Commons, which Mr. Cobbett and myself
had scarcely time to half accomplish before a messenger entered out of
breath, to say that the Sheriff and his party were gone to the Hall,
whither they had proceeded the moment the clock struck twelve, instead
of waiting, as usual, till it was _one_; the county meetings having
always been called at twelve, under an understanding that _one_ was the
hour at which business was to be commenced. In another minute or two a
second messenger hurried to us, to say that the Sheriff had opened the
proceedings, and the meeting would be instantly closed if we did not
proceed to the spot with all possible expedition. In consequence of
this, Mr. Cobbett and myself packed up our half-finished resolutions and
hastened to the scene of action, yet still conceiving it impossible that
any thing assuming the character of a gentleman could be guilty of such
a mean, pitiful, and underhanded trick as that which we were told would
be played. Scarcely, however, had we reached the door of the Hall, when
we met Mr. Sheriff, Mr. Deputy, and a pretty little knot of sycophants
and dependants, coming out; and Tinney informed us, that, as no one had
come forward when the requisition was read, the Sheriff had dissolved
the meeting. We expostulated against such an ungentlemanly like trick,
but our expostulations would have been in vain if the tricksters had
happened to have got without the door of the Hall; but, fortunately,
we got into the entrance passage, and met them face to face, where our
arguments were supported by such an overwhelming power in the rear, that
they were quite irresistible. The fact was, there happened to be _no
back door_, and with a _little gentle force_ we conveyed, or rather
wriggled, these worthy men in office back again, step by step, and inch
by inch, till the worthy Sheriff once more took the chair, amidst the
deafening shouts of the largest county meeting that I ever witnessed. To
tell the truth, they found it impossible to get out of the Hall, and at
length, after having made as many shifts and feints and shuffles as an
old fox would to avoid the well-trained, true-bred pack, and finding
that we neither yielded to coaxing, bullying, nor wheedling, they
ultimately made a virtue of necessity, and the high-bred High Sheriff
turned-to very kindly, and once more opened the proceedings of the
meeting, by reading the requisition. I then moved an adjournment into
the open air, and two carpenters' benches (the very best temporary
hustings) being at hand, the business went on and passed off in a most
regular and satisfactory manner. After I had moved and Mr. Cobbett had
seconded the resolutions, and a petition to the House of Lords, praying
that they would protect us from the rapacity of the Commons, and not
pass the Corn Bill, and after an amendment had been proposed by the
Reverend Mr. Hill, supported by Mr. Gourley, our resolutions and
petition, which also prayed for a Reform of the House of Commons, a
reduction of all useless places, and an abolition of all unmerited
pensions and sinecure places, were carried unanimously, or at least with
only a few, very few dissenting voices. Sheets of parchment and pens and
ink were provided, and the people began to sign their names instantly.
Mr. Cobbett returned to his home, while I sent messengers or went myself
into every town in the county, and collected signatures, which amounted,
at the end of four days, to TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND, and were forwarded with
the petition to Lord Stanhope, who presented it on the second reading of
the Bill in the House of Lords. I reckoned that it cost me upwards of
fifty pounds, out of my own pocket, to accomplish this county meeting
and petition; no one soul but myself having contributed a single
sixpence towards the expense.

About the time that the populace in London were committing great
excesses, by breaking the windows of those Members of Parliament who
took a prominent part in favour of the Corn Bill, Lord Cochrane, who was
confined in the King's Bench prison, in consequence of a verdict given,
or at least _procured_, against him, for the part it was pretended he
had in the Stock Exchange hoax, made his escape from that prison, a
circumstance which caused a very considerable sensation throughout the
metropolis and the country; for it was rumoured that his Lordship had
made his escape with the intention of placing him self at the head of
the London rioters, who had by this time increased in numbers and daring
resistance to the authorities. In descending by a rope from the top of
the wall, his Lordship fell from a very considerable height, and injured
himself severely, so much so, that he was for a great length of
time unable to raise himself from the earth. His Lordship remained
undiscovered for some weeks, and then appeared in his place in
Parliament, where he was discovered sitting upon one of the benches of
the House of Commons, and from thence he was taken by the civil power,
and delivered once more into the custody of the Marshal of the King's
Bench prison. Let the reader bear in mind what I have already mentioned,
that the Parliament of England was obliged to be aided by the military;
that Westminster Hall and both Houses of Parliament were encircled by
troops, and all the avenues leading thereto were guarded by soldiers
with their bayonets fixed, and that thus this law, this infamous Corn
Bill, to enhance and keep up the price of bread, the staff of life, was
passed under the protection of a military force, in defiance of the
prayers, the petitions, and the remonstrances of a great majority of the
people of England; a fact which clearly demonstrated that the House
of Commons, where the Bill originated, were so far from being the
representatives of the people, that they acted in direct hostility to
them, and had no feeling in common with them, but were more like a band
of venal, corrupt, profligate, dishonest, and merciless oppressors.

The landed gentry in other parts had now began to shew a disposition
to shake off the income tax, called the property tax, which was an
arbitrary and inquisitorial war tax, and ought to have been abolished as
soon as peace was proclaimed. As, however, the Ministers were evidently
not in the least disposed to give up fourteen millions a-year, which
this horrid imposition produced, many meetings were held and petitions
agreed to, praying for its being abolished. Amongst the number a
requisition was signed and presented to the Sheriff of Somerset, George
Edward Allen, Esq. of Bathhampton, requesting him to call a public
meeting to take the subject into consideration, and he immediately
advertised a meeting of the freeholders and inhabitants of the county,
to be held at Wells. At the head of this requisition was Mr. Hanning,
of Dillington. I saw the advertisement in the public papers, and as it
appeared that the parties calling the meeting only intended to petition
for a partial repeal of the tax, as far as it affected themselves, while
they left the most odious and obnoxious half of it untouched, I mean
that part which affected the small annuitant and fundholder, the widow
and the orphan, whose income was under one hundred pounds a-year, I
directly made up my mind to attend the meeting. As a preliminary step,
therefore, I wrote a letter to the freeholders and inhabitants of the
county, calling upon them to come to the meeting, and to support me in
the endeavour to frustrate such a partial proceeding. In case of their
being disposed to petition the Parliament, I urged them to support me in
petitioning for an absolute repeal of the _whole tax_. This letter was
published in one or two of the county newspapers, and I also printed and
caused to be circulated five hundred copies of it in hand-bills.

When the day came, I had to drive from Middleton Cottage in the morning,
a distance of fifty miles, and I reached Wells a little after one
o'clock, the meeting having been advertised to commence at that hour.
The news flew through the city like wildfire, and as I drove through the
streets in my tandem I was hailed by the acclamations of the people. I
had not been five minutes in the inn, before I received a polite message
from the High Sheriff, Mr. Allen, to say that he had delayed opening the
meeting till my arrival, and he would not go to the hustings till I
was ready to attend. Here was a contrast to the conduct of the paltry
upstart of the county of Wilts! As soon as the clock struck one Mr.
Allen was urged, by Mr. Perpetual Under-Sheriff and his associates, some
of the attending Magistrates, to proceed to the hustings, and to
open the proceedings forthwith. With this suggestion he, however,
peremptorily refused to comply, saying, "as Mr. Hunt has published
a letter in the public newspapers, to say that he should attend the
meeting, and propose some amendment to the petition which is meant to be
submitted to the meeting by those who signed the requisition, I have
not the slightest doubt but he will keep his word; and as he lives at a
great distance, I should not be doing my duty conscientiously if I did
not wait half an hour, to make allowance for the difference of clocks,
or any accidental delay that may have arisen in so long a journey."

As he had anticipated, I arrived within ten minutes of the time; and in
answer to his polite message I returned another, thanking him for
his attention, and promising not to detain him five minutes. In the
meanwhile I had a message from Mr. Hanning and the other gentlemen
who signed the requisition, to say that, previous to our going to the
hustings, they wished to consult with me upon the propriety of the
resolutions, &c. that they meant to submit to the meeting. My answer
was, "give my compliments to the gentlemen, and say that I am at the
Swan, where I shall be happy to confer with them if they wish it." In
three minutes, before I could scarcely wash my hands and face after my
journey, they entered my room. They began by saying that they had seen
my letter in the public papers, and as they by no means wished to act
hostilely to me, or to create any division at the meeting, they had no
objection to adopt my resolutions and petition, which prayed for the
total repeal of the Property Tax, instead of those which they had drawn
up, which only went to the partial repeal of it. I saw by this that they
had fully ascertained what was the real public feeling, and that they
were not willing to brave it at the meeting. I begged to see their
resolutions and petition, adding, that I by no means wished to take it
out of their hands; and to skew them that I wished to meet them upon
liberal terms, I proposed the embodying one of my resolutions among
theirs, and a corresponding clause in their petion. As these additions
fully recognised the principle for which I contended, I was desirous to
skew the requisitionists that I did not wish to take any advantage of
the popularity that I possessed, and I therefore agreed that Mr. Hanning
should propose his resolutions and petition, thus altered and amended,
and that I would then give him my hearty concurrence and support.

My proposition being readily accepted, and hailed as an emblem of union,
we proceeded to the hustings together, and every thing went off with
the greatest unanimity and cordiality amongst all the parties, with the
exception of a discussion that took place upon a bye resolution, which I
proposed, of a vote of thanks to the Ministers, for having concluded a
"peace with the Americans, the only remaining free Government in the
universe." I meant this resolution to answer a double purpose; first, by
thanking the Ministers, I gave the Whigs a kick; and second, it was
a compliment due to the Americans, for having bravely repelled a
tyrannical invader. It was a Whig meeting, at least it was called by the
Whigs, and therefore every exertion was made to prevent the passing of
this resolution. Old Sir John Cox Hippisley palavered, and whined, and
begged and prayed, for an hour, and endeavoured to wheedle and coax
me to withdraw my motion for the sake of unanimity. Upon all public
matters, however, I was ever inflexible, and I was therefore prepared at
all times to do my duty without looking to the right or to the left, and
I consequently insisted upon having the motion put to the meeting. On a
division it was lost by only a very small majority.

In the month of January, 1815, a treaty was concluded between the Allied
Powers at Vienna, to maintain the treaty of Paris. In the Congress,
by which this treaty was settled, the Ministers of some of the Allied
Powers seriously proposed to seize Napoleon at Elba, to carry him off by
force from that island, and to convey him to St. Helena; and this base
scheme was to be executed in violation of the solemn compact entered
into with him; a compact granting to him the island of Elba in full
sovereignty! But it is quite clear that there are no treaties, however
solemn; no engagements, however binding; no obligations, however sacred,
that tyrants will not violate, and laugh to scorn, when it suits their
purpose so to do.

The treaty of Vienna was entered into upon the 25th of January, and it
is supposed, and I believe pretty well understood, that this diabolical
plot against the life and liberty of Napoleon was privately communicated
to him, by some friend that he had amongst the diplomatists of the
Allied Sovereigns. Napoleon, therefore, took the resolution of leaving
Elba as soon as possible, and returning to France, to endeavour to
reconquer that crown which had been forced from him by the very same
despots whom he had more than once restored to liberty and power after
he had subdued them.

Having deliberately made up his mind to risk the attempt, Napoleon
promptly carried it into execution. He set sail from Elba on the 26th of
February, with about one thousand brave followers, in four vessels. An
English frigate pretended to chase them, but he landed his little force
at Frejus, in France, on the 1_st of March_, 1815, and he was soon
joined by various bodies of the army, who flew to the ranks of their old
commander, who had bravely led them into a thousand battles, and with
whom they had participated in a thousand victories over the enemies
of their country. Though at the outset his force was not more than a
thousand strong, he marched boldly forward in a direct line for Paris,
and his numbers continued to swell as he advanced. France was in a state
of the greatest agitation, and of hopes and fears for his safety and his
success. He arrived at Gasson the 5th, the next day he crossed the Upper
Alps, passed on through Grenoble, reached Burgoin on the 10th, and on
the 11th he entered the City of Lyons, the second city of the French
empire, where he was received with every demonstration of respect and
attachment. The army and the people vied with each other which should
evince the greatest enthusiasm; from Lyons he issued a Proclamation,
annulling all that had been done in his absence. On the following day he
marched on, and reached Autun; on the 16th he entered Auxerre; on the
17th he halted at Fontainbleau; and made his entrance into Paris in
triumph on the TWENTIETH OF MARCH. There he was hailed with enthusiastic
delight; and, amidst the deafening acclamations of the Parisians, he
entered the Palace of the Thuilleries, from whence Louis the Desired had
fled but a few hours before, with the utmost precipitation and dismay.
Napoleon could have arrested his flight, and brought him back as a
prisoner without the least difficulty, but he was too brave even to
tread upon so fallen a creature. At a subsequent period the Duke
d'Angouleme also fell into the hands of one of his Generals, but the
moment Napoleon heard of it, he ordered him to be set at liberty to go
where he pleased. But, as it turned out afterwards, this proved a fatal
lenity. On the day that Napoleon entered Paris, the following notices
were placarded by the people on the walls of the Thuilleries and the
neighbourhood. "A Palace to be let well furnished, except kitchen
utensils, which have been carried away by the late proprietor." "A large
fat hog to be sold for one Napoleon," &c. &c. These things evidently
shewed with what feelings of utter contempt the Bourbons were regarded
by the Parisians. Napoleon, as I have already stated, was informed that
Louis had only quitted Paris a few hours previously, and that it would
be very easy to overtake him and his cavalcade, and bring them back
prisoners to Paris; but this he positively forbade, adding, that he had
no wish to touch a hair of his head. Thus was Napoleon placed upon the
throne of France, restored to all his former power of sovereignty in
that country without one life being lost, one single shot being fired.
If ever there was a legitimate monarch, Napoleon was now that man; for
he was voluntarily elected and placed upon the throne by the united
voice of the whole people. The cause of the Bourbons became so
desperate, that not the slightest hope remained for them, except what
could arise from resorting to the aid of foreign arms to restore
the King to the throne from which he had fled with the greatest
precipitancy, without having made the slightest resistance. In fact the
whole people were by this time completely sick of the Bourbons. The
Despots of Europe, meanwhile, were in the greatest alarm, but they soon
entered into a league to make war upon France to restore the old tyranny
of the Bourbons, and they instantly began to prepare to carry their
project into effect. Buonaparte offered peace to the combination of
Sovereigns, but he did not neglect to prepare his troops for any
emergency that might happen.

When the news arrived in England that Napoleon had quitted Elba, and
landed at Provence, in France, it was with the greatest difficulty that
John Gull could be made to believe that it was true, till the daily
accounts arrived of his steady march towards Paris. As he approached
that capital the most intense interest was excited, not only in France
and England, but all over the civilised world. In England nothing else
was talked of or thought of. I own I never before felt so much anxiety;
and the desire to see the newspapers, which furnished an account of the
daily progress which he made, became every hour more and more acute. At
length, the official intelligence arrived, that Napoleon had entered
Paris, and that he was peaceably restored to the throne amidst the
shouts and applause of the whole French nation. I had been from home
upon business the whole day, and I had heard of this happy event, and
when I returned in the evening I was much gratified to find that my
family had anticipated my wishes, had procured candles, and were
preparing to ILLUMINATE MY HOUSE. I had said, in the beginning of March,
when the information reached England, that Napoleon had landed in
France, that I would illuminate my house if ever he reached Paris alive.
Although some doubts were expressed at the time by my family, as to the
prudence of such a course, yet, as I declared my determination to do so
when the time arrived, there was no hesitating, no desire to baulk
my intentions, or to disappoint my wishes, which, having been once
seriously expressed, were quite sure to be accomplished in my family; so
that, if I had not returned home that night, my house would nevertheless
have been illuminated. The candles were all fixed, and every pane of
glass could boast a light. The moment it was dark, MIDDLETON COTTAGE WAS
ILLUMINATED from top to bottom. This was the only occasion, this was the
first time in my life, that ever any house of mine had been illuminated.

Middleton Cottage is situated on the south side of the great Western
Road, leading from London to Exeter, sixty-one miles from London, and
three miles from Andover. The Exeter and the Auxiliary Mail, and three
or four other coaches, pass towards London between seven o'clock in the
evening and twelve o'clock at night. Every one of the coachmen pulled
up their horses, and stopped to inquire the occasion of this blaze of
light. The passengers in the first coach also inquired of the coachman
whose house it was, and what was the cause of this splendid display?
Some one said, he supposed it was in consequence of peace with America,
which had just been announced.--"No, no;" said the coachman, "it is
on account of the restoration of Buonaparte." "O, a vile Jacobin!"
exclaimed a nondescript with a whistling, piping voice, "I wish somebody
would break all his windows." The coachman cracked his whip, and can
they passed; but as there was the mail, and four other coaches to pass,
I sent my servant out to stand at the gate, to inform those that might
inquire, that my house was illuminated in consequence of the safe
restoration of Napoleon to the throne of France. The next coach that
came was the mail; it was going very fast, being rather down the hill;
and, as the glare came suddenly upon them, the coachman had some
difficulty in pulling up his horses till they got rather beyond the
front of the cottage. I was just coming out of the garden, and as it
was dark, I heard, unseen, but very distinctly, the following dialogue:
"Aye, aye, coachman, stop, by G-d! tell me whose house this is?"--"It
is Middleton Cottage, Sir, the residence of Mr. Hunt." "I suppose it is
illuminated for the return of Napoleon?"--"Yes, Sir," said my servant,
apparently to save farther trouble of inquiry, "my master illuminates
his house for the first time in his life, because Buonaparte has
ascended the throne, and reconquered the crown of France, without
bloodshed." With some tremendous oath, two of them (who it turned out
were gemmen of the army) swore that they would get out and smash every
one of the windows, and they immediately began to open the door of the
coach, to put their threat into execution. Upon hearing this, I lost
not a moment's time, but darted in doors, and having seized a faithful
cudgel, I sallied out, with the determination of taking prisoner the
first man that threw a stone, and, at all hazards, conducting him into
my parlour, where he should have drank long life and success to Napoleon
upon his knees, before he should have been liberated. This was the
resolution I formed while I was hastening after my cudgel, and having
once formed that resolution, I would have carried it into effect at the
risk of my life. When I got out the coast was clear, and the mail was
got nearly out of hearing. My servant informed me, that as soon as the
guard saw what was going on, he jumped down from his seat, and warmly
expostulated with the military heroes upon their folly and rashness;
but when he saw that they persevered, he swore that the coachman should
drive on and leave them behind if they got out; and he added, that he
had no doubt but Mr. Hunt would blow both their brains out with his
double-barrelled gun, if they offered to touch one pane of his windows.
To this the coachman assented, exclaiming, at the same time, "By G--d
it would serve them right for their pains." This being the case, the
doughty heroes thought proper to sit still, but muttered out, "d----d
jacobin," as the coachman drove off. These worthies, I have no doubt,
communicated this circumstance at head-quarters, and some of my worthy
neighbours, of the rotten-borough of Andover, kindly conveyed the fact
to several editors of the London newspapers. The editors, however, took
good care not to mention a word of it in their papers, but it was very
currently talked of in the coffee-houses of Paris. I know thousands of
Englishmen that rejoiced at the escape of Napoleon from Elba, and at his
return to the French capital, but I know of no one except myself who had
the courage to testify his joy by any open demonstration.

As soon as the news of Buonaparte's landing in France arrived in
England, the Prince Regent sent a message to both Houses of Parliament,
declaring his intention to join the Allies, and corresponding addresses
were voted accordingly. A public meeting was called by the electors of
Westminster, to take into consideration a petition to be presented
to Parliament, against renewing the war for the purpose of forcing a
ruler upon the people of France. I was in London when this meeting was
held in Palace-yard; I attended it, and I spoke there, for the first
time, in support of this petition. What I said was so favourably
received by the people, that they passed an unanimous vote of thanks to
me, and drew me in my carriage to my inn, the British Coffee-house, they
having spontaneously taken off the horses. When I got there I mounted
the roof of the carriage, briefly thanked the multitude, and requested
them to retire peaceably, which they did without delay. The petition was
presented by Sir Francis Burdett, and, I think, on the same evening. It
was a strong remonstrance against plunging once more into a war with the
French, merely to restore the Bourbons to that throne which they had not
the talent or the virtue to fill, either with honour to themselves or
with advantage to the people.

The Parliament now, almost by acclamation, voted that the property
tax should be continued for one year. The treaties made with Holland,
Russia, and Sweden, were laid before both the Houses of Parliament, and
approved of. The Minister likewise proposed new taxes, to the amount of
3,728,000_l_. per annum.

While the British legislators were thus honourably employed, the allied
despots collected their forces in two great bodies, under Marshal
Blucher and Wellington, the latter of whom had been created a Duke.
Napoleon on his side was busily engaged, both in civil and military
affairs. He laid before the Senate of France a new constitution, which
was accepted, and a meeting, called the "_Champ de Mai_," was held at
Paris, on the 1st of May, to swear to that constitution. On the 1st of
June there was a revolution at Martinico, in favour of Napoleon, but it
was soon suppressed by the British troops. On the 8th, a confederation,
or rather a conspiracy of tyrants and their agents, was signed at
Vienna, called the "_Holy Alliance_." On the 12th, Napoleon left Paris,
to join his army on the Belgian frontier. The Prussian army, under
Blucher, was attacked at Ligny, and totally defeated by Napoleon on the
15th, and on the following day he attacked the Dutch and the English
under Wellington, and compelled them to fall back from Quatre Bas, at
which place they were posted. The combined English, Dutch, Belgian, and
Hanoverian forces were concentrated, on the 17th, under Wellington, at
Waterloo. On the _eighteenth_, Napoleon, with sixty-eight thousand men,
attacked the combined army commanded by Wellington, consisting of ninety
thousand troops. A dreadful slaughter ensued, and Wellington was hardly
pressed by his illustrious opponent. This success on the side of
Napoleon continued till four o'clock, at which time he considered the
battle as won, when two Prussian corps, one of thirty thousand and the
other of forty thousand, under Bulow and Blucher, unexpectedly arrived
and turned the right wing of the French. The whole army was thrown into
confusion from this unexpected reinforcement to their enemies, and at
half-past nine they fled in all directions. The arrival of these two
corps was occasioned by some strange misconduct, or something worse, on
the part of Marshal Grouchy, who was dispatched by Napoleon to attack
these corps with a division of the French army, but by some strange
fatality he suffered them to approach the right wing of Napoleon's army
unmolested. This and this alone caused the defeat of Napoleon, as these
corps of themselves were more numerous than the whole of the troops
under his command, harassed and fatigued too as they were at the latter
end of a dreadful battle. "Never did the French army fight better than
it did upon this occasion; it performed prodigies of valour; and the
superiority of the troops, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, over the
enemy opposed to them, was such, that had not Blucher arrived with his
second corps of Prussians, the victory over the Anglo-Belgian army under
Wellington would have been complete, though aided by Bulow's thirty
thousand troops; that is to say, it would have been gained by sixty-nine
thousand men opposed to nearly double their number; for the troops in
the field commanded by Wellington, before Blucher's arrival, amounted to
one hundred and twenty thousand men." The Allies, by their own account,
lost sixty thousand men, viz. eleven thousand three hundred English,
three thousand five hundred Hanoverians, eight thousand Belgians, and
thirty-eight thousand Prussians. This makes a general total of _sixty
thousand eight hundred men_. The losses of the French, including those
sustained during the rout, and till their arrival at the gates of Paris,
was _forty-one thousand men_. Out of twenty-four English Generals,
twelve were killed or badly wounded. The mind quite sickens at the
recital of such a horrid slaughter of human beings, for the sole purpose
of gratifying the malignant passions of a few tyrants, who had sworn to
annihilate the very spirit as well as the substance of liberty. To
destroy NAPOLEON, and to raise up Louis, ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND
lives were sacrificed upon this occasion!

Napoleon repaired to Paris, where he found that traitors of the vilest
cast had been at work. The Chambers were in a state of insurrection,
and on the 22d of June, 1815, Napoleon resigned the government to a
provisional Council. On the 3d of July a suspension of hostilities was
signed at St. Cloud, and on the same day Buonaparte arrived at Rochfort,
while Paris was evacuated by the French troops and occupied by the
allied army. By the articles of capitulation, on which Paris was
surrendered, a complete _indemnity_ was secured to _all_ persons. We
shall soon see how they were fulfilled. On the 5th, the troops under
General Oudinot declared for Louis; and on the 8th, Louis the Desired
returned once more to Paris, and resumed the government under the
protection of a foreign army. On the 15th, Napoleon took the fatal
resolution of throwing himself upon the protection of the British
Government. Relying upon the honour of the English character, he
surrendered himself to Captain Maitland, of the Bellerophon; on the 24th
he arrived in that ship at Torbay, and on the twenty-sixth he sailed to
Plymouth, to which port tens of thousands of persons crowded from all
parts of England to obtain a sight of him. He was not allowed to land,
but on the seventh of August he was removed on board the Northumberland,
Captain Cockburn, which sailed on the following day for St. Helena.
Napoleon is now dead and gone, but his name will live for ever. It makes
my heart ache to think that such a man should have been so deceived and
deluded as to the character of the English Government, so much so, as to
flatter himself for a moment that he would ever receive justice or mercy
at their hands! Noble, generous, forgiving, and possessing all the
attributes of a truly brave man himself, he little dreamt of the
fate that awaited him; he had heard of the generosity of the English
character, he knew the English to be brave, he had always found them so,
but he was deceived as to their power and influence over the Government;
he was grossly ignorant of the state and character of the British
Parliament; he had read De Lolme and other popular writers upon the
British Constitution, and he fell into the fatal, the irretrievable
error, of believing that the practice of that constitution was the same
thing as the theory described by these writers; and thus he was betrayed
into a gulf from whence he was never to be extricated. I have before
observed, that at the Congress of Vienna it was proposed and seriously
urged to seize Napoleon at Elba, and to convey him to St. Helena; and
those who proposed this measure had taken care to have all things in
readiness to carry their project into execution, in case it had been
agreed to. No time was, therefore, now lost in acting upon this plan.
The English Ministers knew the sentiments of the Allied Despots upon the
subject, and the brave Napoleon, the fallen Emperor, was shipped off to
linger, pine, and rot upon a barren rock, in a distant and pestilential
climate, in the same way that we would send out a wretch convicted of
the highest crimes, as a transport for life. He who had spared Emperors,
Kings, and Princes--he who had restored them to their thrones after
having bravely conquered them, was now treated like a common convict
transport! Disgraceful, damnable, imperishable blot in the escutcheon of
England's character!!!

The Assembly of France now met, and passed such laws as might naturally
be expected in a country filled with foreign troops. Treaties were
entered into by the restored Monarch, to settle the terms of peace, and
were signed on the twentieth of July. By these treaties France lost all
the conquered territory which she had been allowed to retain in 1814,
and was placed nearly in the same geographical situation as before the
revolution. One hundred and fifty thousand troops of the five Allied
Powers were to remain in France for five years; France was to maintain
them, and pay a large pecuniary indemnity, in which a provision was made
for the claims of British subjects; and all other matters, good, bad,
and indifferent, were to be settled by a convention, to be held at
Vienna. The expenditure of this year, drawn out of the pockets of John
Gull, amounted to no less a sum than EIGHTY ONE MILLIONS, of which
TWENTY-SEVEN MILLIONS were borrowed by loan. The Honourable House of
Commons voted TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS as an additional remuneration
to the Duke of Wellington. In the meantime, the wretchedness of the
people of Ireland had driven them to a state of desperation; the
resistance to the collection of the TITHES became general in many
counties, and a large army of regulars and militia was employed to put
down the poor, starved, distressed, and plundered people. Many lives
were lost, and a special commission was appointed, by which great
numbers were found guilty, and transported to Botany Bay, and all this
arose from the most horrid system of rapine and plunder that ever
disgraced any nation on the face of the earth.

At the latter end of July, 1815, I was one night taken suddenly ill; I
had gone to bed in high robust health, but about three o'clock in the
morning I was awoke by a most violent attack in my head, which caused
a sensation like the ringing of a church bell in my ear. The fact was,
that a sudden pressure of blood upon the brain had taken place. The
effect was such that I was almost blind and speechless. My surgeon, Mr.
Davis, of Andover, was instantly sent for; but, before he could arrive,
I had fainted away four or five times, and he found me in such a state,
without any pulse, that he at first hesitated to bleed me; however, upon
my urging him to do so, he complied, and the horrid noise which was
caused in my head by the blood rushing through my brain with accelerated
velocity, somewhat abated, and in the course of the day it wore off, and
became like the singing of a tea-kettle. This attack was so violent, and
left such a weakness, that I was incapable of rising from my bed, and it
was several days before I could walk across the room without assistance.
As soon as I was able, which was in four or five days, I drove to Bath,
for the advice of Dr. Parry, one of the most eminent physicians of the
day, and under whose care one of my family had recovered from the very
point of death. Dr. Parry and myself had been upon very friendly and
intimate terms, during the time I had lived in Bath, and he had always
attended my family while I was there.

When I had described to him the way in which I was taken, and the
extraordinary sensation and noise which I had in my head, which still
continued like the singing of a teakettle, he said, "You have had a
narrow escape, Sir; and had you not been a very temperate man, you would
have never spoken again; you have had a violent pressure of blood upon
the brain, and you are wholly indebted for your safety to your temperate
manner of living; if, however, you will put yourself under my care, and
strictly follow my advice, I am confident that I can effect a radical
cure, so that you will be no longer liable to a return of your
complaint. The means I propose will be slow and tedious, but they will
be certain. If you return into the country, and follow the course
usually pursued in similar cases, you will, in all probability, be
apparently recovered, and as well as ever in a month; but they take my
word for it, you will be very liable to a repetition of the same sort
of attack, which will very likely prove fatal." I told him that I would
most certainly place myself in his hands, and scrupulously follow his
directions. "Well, then," said he, "I shall have you bled twice before
you leave Bath, and my directions are, that you abstain from all
fermented liquors; eat very sparingly of animal food, take regular
strong exercise, and lose a pound of blood at least once a month, for
a twelvemonth." I certainly looked at him with some degree of
astonishment, but when I saw that he was serious and in earnest, I
replied, "If you say that all this is absolutely necessary for the
recovery of may health, it shall be done; but so excessively weak and
languid am I at present, that I do not think I shall be able to take
what you call strong exercise. I drove my tandem down here yesterday to
see you, and I was so excessively exhausted, that I was obliged to be
carried out of the carriage into the inn where I arrived." "O," said
he, "driving fifty miles in a tandem may be very good exercise for your
horses; but it is not sufficient exercise for you; you must take regular
walking and riding exercise. To keep a man in good health, it is always
necessary that he should take sufficient exercise to make it a labour;
it is indispensible for the health of man that he should labour--and it
will be absolutely necessary to your recovery, that you labour daily. I
assure you, my good friend," added he, "there is not one in a thousand
that ever recover from such an attack as you have had. I never knew a
patient who had the resolution to follow the advice which I have given
you; I rely, however, upon your good sense, to concur with me in the
absolute necessity of reducing your system very low, by abstaining from
fermented liquors and animal food--by laborious exercise--and by
a constant and regular succession of copious bleeding; and I have
confidence in your courage and perseverance in carrying my plan into
execution, by which I mean to effect a permanent and radical cure; that
is to say, I mean that you shall be rendered as perfectly free from any
future attack of the sort, as you were when you were born. I know the
precise nature of your complaint well, and I am confident of the remedy,
although I have no particular precedent, because I never knew any one
act up to the rules I have laid down for you. I know that you have had a
violent pressure of blood upon the brain; I know, also, that this attack
was not produced by excess or intemperance, but that it arose from your
having naturally too great a disposition of blood to the head. I know
that your system has received a violent shock, that the blood-vessels
upon your brain have been distended, and thereby rendered liable to
another and a more fatal attack, unless it can be guarded against by a
total alteration of your whole system, which can alone be accomplished
by the means that I have suggested." Here he made a short pause, and
then earnestly demanded if I was prepared to give him my word that I
would act up to his directions; "because," added he, significantly, "I
know if you once make up your mind to it, and give me your word that you
will do it, that our object will be attained."

Thus it is, that a clever and intelligent physician, by flattering his
patient, prevails upon him to encounter what would otherwise appear to
be insurmountable difficulties; and thus it is, that human nature is
able to bear so much. I promised strictly to abide by his prescription,
both as to regimen, exercise, and bleeding. He then sent for Mr. George
Norman, the surgeon, and I was bled immediately. This being done,
the doctor said that he would call again in the morning, and see the
bleeding repeated, and then I should have nothing to do but to return to
my home in the country, and follow the plan that he laid down for me.
He did so; and, although I was in a state of great weakness, I reached
Middleton Cottage the same evening, having driven my tandem fifty miles
in the afternoon.

A circumstance that occurred at this time made such a lasting impression
upon my memory, that I shall record it for the benefit of future
generations. Although it is of a private and pecuniary nature, yet I
suspect that it will not be altogether devoid of interest, as it makes
part of my history. When I left Rowfant, in Sussex, my stock, crops,
underwood, and furniture, produced a very considerable sum, amounting to
eight thousand pounds; and, after paying off all pecuniary demands upon
me, I purchased five thousand pounds in Exchequer Bills, which I took
with me to Middleton Cottage, and opened an account with Messrs. Heaths,
the bankers, of Andover. In their hands I deposited several hundred
pounds, and the Exchequer Bills, taking all their notes, and drawing
upon them for what sums I required to furnish my house, stock my farm,
&c. &c., they turning the Exchequer Bills into cash as often as I wanted
money. I took care never, for any length of time, to have less than five
hundred pounds in cash in their hands, generally several hundreds more,
and sometimes as much as fifteen hundred pounds balance of cash in my
favour, which they had the use of, as well as the advantage of my taking
their notes, and circulating them round the country, besides what I kept
in my house. I stocked my farms, both in Hampshire and Wiltshire, at
a most expensive time, giving as high as fifty guineas each for my
cart-horses; and as I had made great alterations and improvements, at
a heavy expense, the money flew pretty fast. When I was taken so
dangerously ill, the news spread over the country with considerable
rapidity, and, amongst others, it seems it reached the ears of my
bankers, who, for the _first time_, the next morning sent in my account
by the post, saying, that as I had _overdrawn_ it a few pounds, they
would thank me to remit the balance. This was the latter end of July,
and immediately at the point of harvest. Thus situated, I wrote an
answer, or rather dictated an answer, stating my situation; and, as I
expected I should be prevented from getting out to collect any money to
meet the expenses of the harvest, I requested that they would allow me
to draw for one hundred pounds for a few weeks, when the balance should
be repaid, and my account should be replenished with a fresh advance. To
my great surprise, however, I received a reply, saying, that they were
much in want of cash, and not only declining to comply with my request,
but re-urging the payment of the small balance due to them. I certainly
felt extremely mortified at such illiberal, ungenerous, ungrateful, and,
I might add, brutal conduct; because it was generally believed at
the time that I was in a most perilous situation, and my surgeon had
pronounced it as his opinion, that it was absolutely necessary to keep
me quiet, and my mind perfectly easy, or the most fatal result might be
expected from a relapse; and I have good reason to know that my worthy
friend, Mr. WILLIAM HEATH, the Quaker Banker, had been informed of this
fact, previous to his sending in my accounts. This treatment, however,
operated very differently upon me from what might have been expected,
and probably exactly the reverse of what might have been anticipated
by _Friend William_. I had experienced a sudden and violent attack
of illness, which had deprived me of the use of my limbs, and almost
deprived me of my sight and my speech; I was unable to leave my bed, and
it was not expected that I should be able to leave my room for several
weeks; and in the weak and very languid state in which I felt myself, I
have often thought, and I believe now, that if I had not been roused by
the base and unfeeling conduct of _Friend William_, I should have given
way to extreme lassitude; I should have had a relapse, and probably
should never have left my room alive, although I was attended by Mr.
Davis, who is at the same time one of the most skilful, experienced, and
attentive surgeons in the kingdom, and in whose ability and judgment
I placed the greatest reliance; but the moment I received this second
letter from the Quaker (which was in the evening of the third day of my
illness), I got out of bed, and with the assistance of my family I put
my clothes on, and with great difficulty I was taken down stairs. I
ordered my servant to get my horses ready, as I was determined to go to
Bath the next day, to have the advice of Dr. Parry; but the real fact
was, that I was much more anxious to see my tenants there, to receive
some rent that was due to me, that I might be prepared to pay my harvest
people, and get out of the hands of _neighbour Heath_, the Quaker
Banker. On the next day I accordingly drove to Bath, as I have before
described, and succeeded in both the objects of my journey, by obtaining
the advice of Dr. Parry, and receiving my rent.

On my return home I wrote an answer to _Friend William_, to say, that I
was sorry to hear that he was so pressed for money, the truth of which,
I told him, I did not doubt, and, as that was the case, I would pay him
the small balance which was due; but that, at the same time, I should
certainly decline placing any more money in his hands, and I should also
take good care not to keep any of his _notes_ by me any longer than I
could help; and from that time to this I have kept my word, as the day
may not be far distant when a sovereign may be worth a hundred pounds'
worth of them.

I am bound in justice to say, that I do not believe that Messrs. Charles
and Thomas Heath were in any way privy to this transaction. On the
contrary, I am convinced, that they are totally incapable of such dirty
conduct; there is no improbability in their being ignorant of the
matter; _Squire Quaker Williams_ having the sole management of the
Banking concern, while the two elder brothers, Charles and Thomas,
managed the Brewing and Wine Trade. The secret of this dirty conduct of
_Mister William Heath_ soon afterwards came out. It seems that he was at
the time bargaining to _quit the Beaver_, and to give up THEE and THOU
for a seat in the Corporation of the rotten-borough of Andover; and I
have no doubt but that he acted in this unworthy manner in hopes of
currying favour with the rotten managers of that rotten, corrupt,
and contemptible Corporation; as he very soon afterwards doffed the
straight-cut coat without a collar, sunk the broad-brimmed hat, mounted
a dandy-cut coat and puppy hat, went to church, married the Parson's
sister, and became a right worthy member of that truly worthy body, the
Corporators of Andover. Of course he had gone through the ceremony of
being _read out of the meeting_, which is similar to that of being
_drummed out of a regiment_. Alas! alas! what would his poor old father
say, if he could peep out of his grave and take a squint at his lisping,
darling, baby boy Billy! The old man was a very worthy, respectable,
staunch Quaker, and I believe the two elder brothers are very worthy
honest men; but _Master Billy_ has just that sort of cast with his eye,
that my father always used to caution me against. He always used to say,
beware how you trust any fellow that has such a twist in his eye; and I
have generally found this observation correct.

Master Billy Heath is also the nominal possessor of a toft of land,
or a pig-sty, at Ludgershal, and being a toft man of that wretched
Borough, of course he is one of the electors, and he has been
instrumental in sending to Parliament some of the most corrupt members
that ever entered that Honourable House. This amiable worthy has had a
finger in the national pie; he has been one of those who has voted for
those that created the national debt; he is, therefore, one of those
whom I hold responsible for the payment of it, as long as he has a
shilling left to pay with. We hear of a great deal of horror expressed
about the breach of national faith, when persons have talked about a
reduction of the national debt; and it would indeed be a breach of
national faith to reduce the interest of the widow and the orphan, who
have their money in the funds, while one of the ramifications of the
boroughmongers has got any thing left to pay it with; let all those who
supported the system of extravagance, which created the debt, by all
means pay the interest of it, as far as they are able; but the great
breach of national faith has been, to compel others who have had no
finger in the pie, to pay towards making it. Only think of those
impudent imposters who supported the infamous breach of national faith
in the year 1797, by passing a law to protect the Bank of England from
paying their notes; only think of those barefaced swindlers now whining
and canting about national faith; only think of the impudence of those
who, at the very moment that they are blustering about national faith,
and pretending to be shocked at the bare mention of reducing what they
call the national debt; only think of their passing an Act of Parliament
to reduce the interest of a particular portion of that debt, by lowering
the 5 per cent. stocks to 4 per cent.; thus, in the most partial manner,
reducing the income of those persons who had their money in the 5 per
cents. from one hundred pounds a-year to eighty, while all the holders
of other stock continue to receive their full interest!! And yet these
are the men that pretend they are so much shocked at the idea of being
guilty of any breach of national faith!

But to return to my narrative.--On the sixteenth of _August_, 1815, a
most sanguinary murder was committed by the French Government, in direct
violation of the treaty of Paris, which guaranteed the safety of all who
had taken part against the Bourbons. _Marshal Ney was executed_; and
this was done under the sanction of the high Allied Powers. Amiable
alliance! what a disgrace to the character of Wellington! Ney was a
brave soldier, and to execute such a man, under such circumstances, was
the height of treachery and baseness. Talk of keeping faith, indeed!
This is another proof that tyrants never keep their faith with God or
man, any longer than they think it their interest to do so. My opinion
is, that Ney deserted and betrayed Napoleon, after the battle of
Waterloo, by not doing his duty when he returned to the French capital;
but that was no excuse for the gross and cowardly violation of the terms
of the capitulation of Paris. There could, in fact, be no justification
for such an unfeeling breach of faith, and there certainly was no other
excuse for such an act, but that of a base desire to be revenged in cold
blood, upon a brave general, whom they could never subdue in honourable
warfare.

On the third of October following, the brave patriot Spanish General,
Porlier, met a similar fate, and was executed at Corunna, by the order
of the execrable and treacherous tyrant Ferdinand. To shew their
detestation of such a murder, a considerable number of the British
inhabitants of Corunna appeared in mourning for the death of the brave,
though unfortunate patriot; upon which, Ferdinand immediately laid an
extraordinary contribution upon them. Let the present patriots of Spain
never forget this fact, and let them remember that the cause of rational
Liberty in that country will never be safe while such a treacherous
tyrant has any power left. It is cruelty of the very worst description
to suffer such a monster to endanger the freedom and happiness of a
whole people. In Italy the despots also enjoyed a triumph. Murat, having
been defeated by the Austrian troops, fled, and was assassinated in the
kingdom of Naples on the thirteenth of October.

About this time there were serious riots in the North, and particularly
amongst the seamen at Sunderland, Newcastle, and Shields, which were
ultimately settled by giving them the increase of wages which they
demanded. On the fifth of November a treaty was entered into between
Russia and Great Britain; by which treaty the Greek Islands, called the
Ionian Islands, were placed under the protection of the latter power;
and on the twentieth, treaties of general peace were signed at Paris.
On the twenty-first of December, Lavalette, condemned at Paris for high
treason, escaped from prison in the clothes of Madame Lavalette.
Sir Robert Wilson, and Messrs. Bruce and Hutchinson, were mainly
instrumental in procuring the escape of this destined martyr to the
Bourbon tyrants, by assisting Madame Lavalette in this holy enterprise,
for which they were afterwards tried, found guilty, and sentenced to
three months' imprisonment in Paris. Sir Robert, as well as Messrs.
Bruce and Hutchinson, one of whom was an Irishman, the other a
Scotchman, secured to themselves immortal honour, in addition to the
sweet satisfaction of having rescued a victim from the remorseless hands
of a cruel tyrant.

On the same day, Lord Cochrane was sentenced to a hundred pounds fine
for escaping from the King's Bench Prison; but such was the enthusiasm
in favour of his Lordship, that the money was raised in a few days by a
penny subscription. The House of Commons having honoured his Lordship
by expelling him, when he was found guilty of being privy to the Stock
Exchange Hoax, a dead set was made by the Westminster Rump to get Mr.
Brougham elected in his place; and many private meetings were held at
the Crown and Anchor for that purpose. These intrigues having been
communicated to me by Mr. Samuel Miller, I wrote to him a letter, which
I begged him to shew to the Members of the Rump, and say, that it was
my opinion the Electors of Westminster would disgrace themselves if
they did not unanimously give the Honourable House a kick, by returning
Lord Cochrane again, and that if they did not choose to elect Lord
Cochrane again, if they proposed to bring in any other person, except
Major Cartwright, I would come to town and oppose him for at least the
space of fifteen days. This letter was shewn by Mr. Miller to some of
the leaders of the junto, and Mr. Miller informed me that it had the
effect of making them at once come to the resolution of returning Lord
Cochrane again, or at least of not making any opposition to him, by
bringing forward any other person. I believe that on this occasion Sir
Francis Burdett stood neuter, but it nevertheless was thought that he
was favourable to the return of Mr. Brougham. Whether this was so or
not, I cannot say, but it was very natural to conclude so, because those
very persons who were his most devoted supporters, appeared to wish
it. There had, in fact, been an attempt made, a short time before, to
prepare the way for Mr. Brougham and the Whigs to have a share in the
rotten Borough of Westminster. It was made at a public meeting, held
on some occasion, I forget what, in Palace-yard. At that meeting I
attended, having heard that a resolution was to be moved, which had been
agreed to at a previous private meeting, held the night before at the
Crown and Anchor, and at which meeting some of the said Whig members
attended. This said resolution was drawn up by Lawyer Brougham himself,
and it was in effect a vote of thanks to the Whigs, for their patriotic
exertions in Parliament. Well, after a considerable portion of the
business of the day had passed off, as a matter of course, it was
announced to the gaping, astonished crowd, by old Wishart, that some
patriotic Members of Parliament were in attendance, and that they wished
to address the people, they having just arrived upon the hustings for
that purpose. The old Tobacconist, Wishart, acting as a sort of master
of the ceremonies, introduced them in form as they came to the front of
the hustings: as, "This is Mr. Brougham, Gentlemen: this is Mr. Lambton
this is Mr. Madocks, (upon which a few voices in the crowd cheered):
this is Mr. Grey Bennet: this is Mr. ----, Member for Hertfordshire,"
I forget his name, which is not of much consequence, as he has since
_changed_ it, by taking a _Peerage_. There might have been several
others, but I forget; they were, however, all exhibited to the wondering
multitude by Mr. Wishart, and very much in the tone, voice, and manner
that a showman exhibits the wild beasts at a country fair--" This is the
royal tiger from Bengal," &c.

While all this was going on, I stood snug at one corner in the front of
the hustings, and I must own, that I was considering in my mind which
would be the best way to expose this intended hoax upon the people
of Westminster. I saw there was no feeling of enthusiasm amongst the
people; they looked first at the exhibited M. P. and then cast an
inquiring suspicious look at the dealer in pigtail and rappee, who
introduced them. I contrived to keep my muscles so unconcerned that no
one could imagine what was passing in my mind, yet I saw and felt that I
had a difficult card to play, and that it would seem very invidious to
oppose a mere vote of thanks to any one of the individuals, or, in fact,
to oppose a general vote of thanks to those Members of Parliament, for
their opposition to the measures of a corrupt administration. On the
other hand, it forcibly struck me that it would look very much like an
act of cowardice, to stand silent and hear a vote of thanks passed to
the Whigs, whose measures and whose conduct I had so often beheld behind
their backs, and, in conjunction with Sir Francis Burdett, reprobated
and exposed in the strongest language. I therefore determined at all
risks to stand forward, and give my reasons for my opposition. At
any rate I was determined to support my _consistency_; although I felt
some doubt about the success of my apparently difficult undertaking.
Thanks, however, to Mr. Wishart, who, at the best of times, was but a
blundering politician, and who had no other influence over the minds
of the people than that which he had acquired from being a wealthy
shopkeeper, and by putting himself forward at the Westminster elections
and dinners, as the advocate of Sir Francis Burdett, I was soon relieved
from the unpleasant situation in which I was placed. By the speech
which he made, preparatory to the moving this resolution, he likewise
completely removed all doubts which I had previously entertained
upon the question; for he began with a pompous eulogium upon the
political conduct of the Whigs generally, and on that of Mr. Fox in
particular. I took care to observe the manner in which the multitude
received this eulogium; and I plainly saw, that it only required the
boldness to refute his arguments, to be able to carry the proposition
in the negative. I saw, too, that there was every now and then a hint
given, by one of the Rump understrappers upon the hustings, to get the
people to cheer the sentiments which were delivered by Mr. Wishart,
but it would not do; a few of the powdered-headed gentry in the crowd
certainly responded these hints, by a solitary cheer or two, while the
great mass of the people listened more with astonishment than with
indifference, and continually cast their eyes towards me with an
inquiring look, as much as to say, "Hunt, will you tolerate all this
humbug? Surely you will come forward and blow it into the air; we
will support you." Mr. Wishart concluded his speech by reading the
resolution, and saying, that he confidently expected that it would be
carried unanimously. "Stop a bit," said a man in the crowd, "Softly,
Sir! let us first hear what Mr. Hunt has to say to it."

Mr. Brougham had been standing, smirking, and bowing, and smiling, all
the time that Mr. Wishart had been larding them over with praises, and
he was only waiting to have the resolution put and carried, as a matter
of course, and was absolutely making ready, and seemed even to be
clearing his throat, to thank the enlightened and patriotic Electors of
Westminster, for the great honour which they had conferred upon him, and
his honourable friends. Some person, I forget who, but it was one of
the junto, seconded the motion. I shall never forget the old Major's
supplicating look at me; as plain as looks could speak, he seemed to
say, "Pray do, Mr. Hunt, let the vote pass; if you do not oppose it no
one else will, and I shall have these gentry at any rate entangled in
the meshes of my political net." But when the paper was put into the
hands of Mr. Arthur Morris, the High Bailiff, I coolly pulled off my
hat, and before I could say a word, I was greeted with a shout that
might have been heard at the Palace, and at Brooks's. This reception was
a deathblow to the Whigs, who began to stare at each other in the most
pitiable manner. They knew me well, and they knew that I would not fail
to denounce and expose to their faces, the hypocrisy of the Whigs, as I
had so often done behind their backs. I began, and the first sentence
was received with a loud cheer, and "Bravo, Hunt! give it them; they
richly deserve it," resounded from the crowd. "I shall," said I,
"without being personal, endeavour to shew you the fallacy, the
absurdity, and the inconsistency, of all that Mr. Wishart has
said."--(_Cheers_.) I then went through the history of the Whig measures
during the administration of Mr. Fox, and this I did in the way of
questions to Mr. Wishart, asking him if he meant _that_ Mr. Fox
who brought a Bill into the House of Commons, and got it passed by
Ministerial majorities, to enable Lord Grenville to hold, at the same
time, the two incompatible offices of First Lord of the Treasury, and
Auditor of the Exchequer?--"Bravo! answer that, Wishart." Whether, when
he was speaking of the purity of mind, and disinterestedness of soul of
Mr. Fox, whether he meant _that_ Mr. Fox who brought in the said Bill,
to enable Lord Grenville to receive _six thousand_ a-year, as First Lord
of the Treasury, and at the same time _four thousand_ a-year more, to
audit his own accounts ?--_(tremendous cheers.)_--I then went on in the
same strain, to ask him, if he meant _that_ Mr. Fox, and those Whigs,
who, in defiance of all former precedents, when they were in power,
in the year 1807, introduced into the Cabinet, Lord Ellenborough, a
corrupt, political Judge, so that he might sit one day as a member of
the Cabinet, and advise the prosecution of a man for sedition, or high
treason, and the next day might sit in judgment upon him? Whether he
meant _that_ Mr. Fox, and those Whigs, who raised the allowances of
all the younger branches of the Royal Family, from twelve thousand to
eighteen thousand a-year? Whether he meant _that_ Mr. Fox, and those
Whigs, who had so violently opposed the passing of the income tax by
Mr. Pitt, declaring, in the House of Commons, that it was so unjust, so
unconstitutional, and so inquisitorial a measure, that the people of
England would be justified in taking up arms to resist the collection of
it; yet, when they came into place and authority themselves, immediately
raised the same income-tax, from six and a quarter to ten per cent.;
while, to curry favour with the Crown, they exempted the King's private
property in the funds, amounting to several millions, from the operation
of the act, though, with an infamous want of humanity, they left the
widow and the orphan of fifty pounds a-year, subject to all its demands?
Whether he meant _that_ Mr. Fox, and those Whigs, who brought a Bill
into the House to subject to the operation of the Excise Laws, all
private families who brewed their own beer; a Bill, which, if passed,
would have increased the number of Excise officers from ten to twenty
thousand, giving them power at all hours to enter the house of every
private family in the kingdom who brewed their own beer? I went on in
this way, through the whole history of the Whigs, during the time that
they were in power, one year, one month, one week, and one day, in
1806 and 1807; and, before I could get to the end of any one of the
questions, the people, who anticipated what was coming, for the subject
had been rendered familiar to the mind of every one, gave several almost
unanimous and tremendous cheers.

It will be seen that I never spoke one disrespectful word of Mr. Fox, or
ever mentioned the names of one of the Whig Members of Parliament who
were upon the hustings, or even alluded to them; but just as I was about
to wind up my string of questions, by noticing their dismissal from
office, I observed a great bustle amongst the populace, who soon burst
forth into exclamations of "Look there! they are running away! Why do
you not stay and answer the questions?" I did not at first understand
what this meant, till a gentleman exclaimed with a loud voice, "Look
round, Mr. Hunt; all the Whig gentry are run away!" I turned round, and
sure enough they were all flown, having escaped from the back part of
the hustings through the King's Arms Inn. As soon as they were gone, the
people gave three cheers, and roared out lustily, "Hunt for ever!" I
proceeded with my harangue, and lamented that the gentlemen had not
remained to assist Mr. Wishart in answering my questions; and I put it
to the good sense of Mr. Wishart, whether, unless he could answer them
satisfactorily, it would not be more prudent to withdraw the resolution
of a vote of thanks to the Whigs, especially as none of them remained to
return thanks, even supposing it possible that the resolution should
be carried. (This was received with a loud laugh, and a cry to put the
question.) Mr. Wishart, however, as if for the purpose of exposing his
friends, and totally defeating his own object, persisted in having the
resolution submitted to the meeting. The result was, that perhaps forty
or fifty hands were held up for it, and a forest of ten thousand hands
were raised against it. The High Bailiff, of course, declared that the
resolution was lost by a very large majority. This was received with
loud peals of applause, and the usual votes of thanks having been
passed to the members and the High Bailiff, the meeting was dissolved,
reiterating the warm expressions of their approbation of my blowing
up such a bubble as was intended to have been palmed upon them by the
gentlemen of the Rump Committee.

The _Courier, Morning Post_, and other Ministerial papers, were
unpardonably witty, both in prose and verse, at the expense of the
poor Whigs, while the _Morning Chronicle_, and other Whig papers, were
equally severe upon me, and the editors did not fail to be very lavish
in their vulgar abuse. That the Whigs were irritated at me is not very
wonderful; it was quite clear that they set their hearts upon this
meeting; in fact, it was got up by the Rump on purpose to gratify them,
the other measures which were brought forward being a mere secondary
consideration; and, after all, their labour was worse than thrown away;
such a complete defeat never having been before sustained by any party
at a public meeting. Yet I will take upon myself to say that, had I
not been there, the vote of thanks would have been passed without the
slightest opposition, and Messrs. Lawyer Brougham and Co. would have
figured away in great stile, and would have sworn that the meeting was
not only the most respectable and the most numerous that they ever
witnessed, but was composed of much the most intelligent, enlightened,
and patriotic citizens in the world; now, forsooth, they were a
despicable rabble, deluded and led away by that abominable demagogue,
Hunt! The fact is, that the multitude are often taken by surprise, and
an English political assemblage is not only the most peaceable, but
the best natured body in the world. They often are misled for want
of thought, and, in the warmth of their hearts, and for want of
explanation, hold up their hands for measures which, upon reflection,
they regret. But if the matter is fairly discussed, and they are clearly
made to understand the question, they always decide right; and they are
not only the most disinterested, but the most honest and upright judges
in the world.

Lord Cochrane, as I have before mentioned, having been sentenced to be
imprisoned and fined 100_l_. for escaping from the King's Bench prison,
it was proposed to pay this fine by subscriptions of one penny from each
person; and the very same Rump Committee, who had been intriguing to
bring in Mr. Brougham for Westminster instead of his Lordship, never
choosing to let a good thing slip through their fingers, and always
looking out to catch the public opinion, and to turn it to their own
advantage, now stood forward to promote this subscription. Boxes were
placed up at Brooks's, in the Strand, the standing treasurer of the Rump
Committee, as well as at many other places in London and Westminster,
and subscriptions, more or less, were sent in from every part of the
kingdom; and, what is very extraordinary, the whole sum was subscribed
to a penny; not one penny was there more or less than one hundred
pounds; at all events, I never heard of any _overplus_, and I am sure if
there had been any _deficiency_ we should have heard enough of it. When
the time came for his Lordship's liberation, it was proposed to tender
the whole in copper-pence, as it had been subscribed; and I believe it
was proposed or suggested by me, that there should be a public meeting
called in Palace-yard, on the same day, and that I would announce to the
people assembled, that we were going down to the King's-Bench, to pay in
pence, Lord Cochrane's fine of one hundred pounds, which would be taken
down in a cart; and I added, that I would give the hint, that those who
wished to accompany us might see his Lordship walk out of the front
door of the prison, instead of escaping over the walls. By this plan I
proposed to bring Lord Cochrane out of prison, and to have him drawn
in triumph through the streets of the metropolis, to his house in
Bryanstone-street, Bryanstone-square, attended by twenty or thirty
thousand people. Mr. Cobbett, who had taken a very active part in his
Lordship's favour, was in London at the time, and he fully concurred
in the propriety of carrying my plan into effect. The original plan of
paying the fine in pence, I believe, was his own: my plan of procuring
the meeting in Palace-yard, and proceeding from thence in a body, being
an after-thought.

As the period approached, there appeared to be a great deal of shuffling
by the Rump, about calling the meeting, and I was on the point of making
some stir in the affair, but Mr. Cobbett said _they_ had considered of
it, and they thought it would be better for me not to have any thing to
do with the meeting, but to let the Westminster people do it themselves.
A hint of this sort was never lost upon me, and I immediately said that
I concurred in the opinion, that it would be much better for the whole
to be done by his Lordship's constituents; but I added, "I am fearful
that some cursed _hitch_ may prevent the thing altogether, and that his
Lordship will at last be left to walk out of the prison by him self."
"Oh!" said Mr. Cobbett, "Peter Walker and the Major will take care of
that." I saw that my services were not wanted, and therefore I retired
the next day into the country, where my business demanded my presence,
and where my inclination at all times called me. Before I left Town,
however, I said in a very emphatic manner, "take my word for it,
Cobbett, there will be no meeting." Mr. Cobbett replied, "By G--, Hunt,
you are a little too bad! You would make one believe that nothing can be
done, unless it is done by you." To this sally I merely answered, "We
shall see."

I went into the country, and, as I had anticipated, there was no meeting
called. The worthy members of the Rump knew very well how to manage to a
nicety a thing of that sort, and they parried the importunities of Mr.
Walker from time to time, till at length they boldly declared that it
was too late to call a meeting. Ultimately the fine was paid, and Lord
Cochrane left the prison quietly, without his constituents knowing
any thing of the matter; whereas, if it had been made public, tens
of thousands would have paid him the compliment to have attended his
liberation, and would have conducted him home, as he ought to have been,
in triumph through the streets of the metropolis.

I forgot to mention that Lord Cochrane's original sentence, for the
Stock Exchange hoax, was, that he should be imprisoned and stand in the
PILLORY. The latter part of this sentence was remitted, not out of any
kindness, but because the more prudent part of the Cabinet considered
the experiment of placing his Lordship in the pillory, to be one upon
which it would be a little too hazardous to venture. It was currently
reported, that, when Sir Francis Burdett heard of this infamous Star
Chamber sentence, he at once declared that he would accompany his
colleague, and stand by his side during the time of his undergoing that
which was intended to be a disgraceful exposure. However, as I said
before, this part of the sentence was remitted, for reasons the most
obvious; since, instead of being a disgrace to his Lordship, it would
have redounded to his immortal honour. The intention of placing men in
the pillory is, to hold them up to the hatred, contempt, and execration
of their fellow-citizens; but it was well known to his Lordship's
persecutors, that their making the attempt, in this instance, would have
had a directly opposite effect: for if they had proceeded to place his
Lordship in the pillory, he would have been greeted with the applause
and affection of the whole population of the metropolis. This exhibition
was, however, dispensed with; but no thanks to the cruel, vindictive,
and remorseless _Ellenborough;_ no thanks to the amiable and the mild
_Judge Bayley_, who passed the sentence; no thanks to the Ministers, who
were only restrained from carrying it into effect by their fears, and by
their fears alone. Those Ministers had already received a lesson on this
subject. When Daniel Isaac Eaton was put in the pillory, for publishing
some work which was pronounced to be blasphemous by the Judges, he was
cheered by the people during the whole of the time that be stood there;
every one endeavouring to console him by kindness and attention. The
cunning Ministers did not want a second exhibition of this sort;
what had passed was calculated to bring the punishment of the pillory
into disrepute with the minions of despotism. The public were become too
enlightened to contribute to the corrupt views of such a tool to the
Government as Ellenborough, and therefore it was that one of the
precious minions of the Whigs was selected to bring a Bill into
Parliament, to abolish the punishment of the pillory, unless upon a
conviction for perjury, and some other particular offence. This Bill
passed through both Houses of Parliament without any opposition, and
without any discussion. The punishment of the pillory surely is as good
a punishment for misdemeanours as it was in the days of Prynne, who had
his nose slit, his ears cut off, and stood in the pillory, by a sentence
of the corrupt Judges of that day, but who lived to see his persecutors
brought to condign punishment. Placing a man in the pillory is an appeal
to public opinion; and therefore no punishment on earth can be inflicted
which leaves greater disgrace upon the character of the sufferer, where
public opinion coincides with and supports the sentence of the Court:
but, where public opinion does not coincide with the sentence, where, on
the contrary, the sufferer is caressed and applauded by the public, it
inflicts no disgrace whatever, but may rather be considered an honour.
It inflicted no disgrace upon Daniel Isaac Eaton, because not one single
soul in the metropolis concurred in the justice of the sentence; the
whole populace applauded him, and protected him, so that if one of the
myrmidons of lawless power had dared to insult him, or to pelt him, that
caitiff would have suffered on the spot for his temerity and villainy.
Had Lord Cochrane been placed in the pillory (and I wish the corrupt
knaves of the day had carried their design into execution), it would not
have been the slightest disgrace to his Lordship; it would have only
shewn that his malignant persecutors thought they had the power to carry
their revengeful sentence into execution. As it was, they had the shame
of having wished to do what they did not dare to do. At all events, the
sentence, the being expelled from the navy and the House of Commons, and
the kicking of his Lordship's knight's banner out of Westminster Abbey,
was quite enough to show what they would have done, could they but have
"screwed their courage to the sticking place."

When this prosecution was commenced, his Lordship was on board a ship of
war, upon the point of sailing to cruise against the Americans, and to
fight against the only free people in the universe. He was at that time
not half a real Reformer, though he had certainly incurred the hatred of
the Boroughmongers, by exposing the villainy of the Prize Courts of the
Admiralty. He had even gone further; he had done that for which he will
never be forgotten or forgiven by them. He had procured a return to be
made to the House, of all the _places, pensions_, and _sinecures_, held
under the Crown. His Lordship took the House rather unawares, he caught
its members in a _complying mood_, and, like a man of war, he pressed on
to conquest, and induced them to grant that which they can never recall;
and for granting which they have scarcely forgiven themselves, and will
certainly never forgive him as long as he lives. It was for THIS that he
was prosecuted; it was for THIS that he was sentenced to stand in the
pillory; it was for THIS that he was expelled the navy; it was for THIS
that he was expelled the House of Commons; it was for THIS that his
knight's banner was kicked out of King Henry's chapel: had it not been
for THIS, he would never have been prosecuted at all; but if these
things had never happened, I believe his Lordship would have never been
a _real Radical_ which now I hope and believe that he is; had it not
been for this, I believe he would have still continued the ornament of
the British Navy, and would never have joined to assist, by his talents
and his consummate naval skill, to emancipate the South Americans from
the slavery of Old Spain, the mother country, as it is foolishly called.

There were great emigrations to America, this year, 1815, both from
England and Ireland, in consequence of the distressed state of the
farmers, who gave up their leases, owing to the decreased prices of all
sorts of agricultural productions. The average price of wheat, during
the year, was sixty-four shillings and fourpence a quarter, about eight
shillings a bushel; the quartern loaf was sevenpence. The supplies voted
this year were EIGHTY-NINE MILLIONS eight hundred and ninety-three
thousand nine hundred pounds, for England, and NINE MILLIONS Seven
hundred and fifty thousand pounds for Ireland, making 99,643,900_l_.
This, together with the expenses of collection, (say five millions) and
ten millions paid for poor rates, makes the round sum of 114,643,900_l_.
collected in direct taxes this year from the pockets of JOHN GULL,
besides tithes and other _et ceteras_. O, brave John! thou art at any
rate a hard-headed and empty-pated fellow; and all in good time thy
pockets will be as empty as thy hard pate now is!

As might have been expected, France and Spain were ruled with a rod
of superstition, wielded by the flinty hearts and iron hands of the
Bourbons, Louis the Eighteenth of France, and Ferdinand of Spain, a
precious pair of English _proteges_. In spite of all the pledges
and securities which had been given, executions, banishments, and
proscriptions were the order of the day, both in France and Spain. In
France, Labedoyere and Marshal Ney fell the victims of Bourbon revenge
and cowardice. A law of pretended amnesty was indeed afterwards passed,
but all the relatives of Napoleon were excluded from residing in the
French territory. In the unhappy kingdom of Spain the execrable and
impotent Ferdinand, impotent in all but cruelty, exercised the most
unlimited powers of tyranny and oppression; a sad contrast to the
comparatively mild and liberal Government of Joseph Buonaparte. In
Spain, almost every man who had assisted Wellington to drive out the
French, in fact, every avowed friend of civil and religious Liberty,
were either executed, banished, or imprisoned by the execrable and
despicable bigoted tyrant Ferdinand, the beloved Ferdinand! May the
vengeance of Heaven pursue him! The Parliament of England met on the
first of February, when Castlereagh moved that a national monument
should be erected, to commemorate the late victories; which proposition
was unanimously agreed to by the "collective wisdom" of the nation. Mr.
Brougham moved for a copy of the treaty signed at Paris, by the allied
despots, commonly called the HOLY ALLIANCE. This was negatived by the
"collective wisdom," who also refused a copy of the treaty of Vienna.
John Gull had to pay for all, but John was not worthy of being trusted
with such mighty secrets.

The Ministers now attempted to continue the property tax; but this
caused such a ferment through the country, that public meetings were
called, and petitions were presented from every part of the kingdom: the
Livery of London set the example, and sounded the alarm, which flew like
lightning throughout the country. Seeing that the public were alive
and anxious to oppose this tax, the Whigs once more made an attempt to
rally; in fact, all the landed proprietors were against it; and the
leading Whigs therefore called county meetings all over the kingdom; we
had a county meeting in Hampshire. It was held at Winchester, and was
called by the Whigs, the leader of whom was Mr. Portal, of Trifolk,
whose father had amassed a large fortune, by making all the paper for
the Bank of England notes. Mr. Cobbett and myself attended, and we
completely frustrated the intention of the Whigs. The Whigs, as we
expected, endeavoured to make a party question of it, and all their
anger was directed against the Ministers, or rather against the Prince
Regent, because he would not turn those Ministers out of place, and put
_them_ in. Mr. Portal called the tax a HIGHWAYMAN'S TAX. Mr. Cobbett and
myself thoroughly exposed those hypocritical Whigs, and proved to the
satisfaction of our hearers, that, if it were a highwayman's tax, the
Whigs had taken to the road in 1807, and robbed the people quite as much
as their more fortunate opponents. I recollect that I took occasion to
remind the worthy descendant of the Bank of England paper-maker, that I
agreed with him fully in the designation that he had given to the tax,
and to assure him that I considered those who collected it as nothing
better than highwaymen; but I begged that he, as well as those that
heard me, would at the same time not fail to remember that I considered
him (Mr. Portal) an accomplice; for he aided and abetted them in their
robbery, by acting as a Commissioner of the Property Tax, and did it
with so much heart and soul, that he sanctioned not only the assessor
and the collector, but likewise scarcely ever failed to confirm every
infamous surcharge that the rascally inspector chose to make.
This caused a burst of laughter, at the expense of the said Whig
Commissioner, who looked extremely foolish. Mr. Cobbett and myself
approved of their petition, as far as it went, but we moved a rider,
which prayed for the reduction of the war malt tax, the reduction of the
standing army, the abolition of useless pensions and sinecure places,
and also for a Reform of the Parliament. The Parsons, the Whigs, and the
Tories, all united and voted against us, and maintained the propriety of
continuing these burdens; and we were consequently left in a minority
upon a division, as always was the case at every public county meeting
that I attended at Winchester, with the exception of the county meeting
held upon the subject of the Duke of York and Mrs. Mary Anne Clark,
of notorious memory. Upon that occasion the public feeling was so
unanimous, that Mr. Cobbett's motion, for a vote of thanks to Colonel
Wardle, was carried by a very large majority. Between the Parsons, the
placemen and their dependants, they have always contrived, at all other
times, to carry every thing before them; when I say _they_, I mean an
union of the Whigs and Tories against the people. I also attended the
meeting at the Common Hall of the Livery of London, to petition against
the renewal of the Property Tax. Although the petitions were by no means
so numerous, nor so numerously signed, as they were against the Corn
Bill, yet as a great body of the Members of the Honourable House were
_personally interested_ in abolishing the Income Tax, they, good souls,
kindly condescended to listen, or at least they pretended to listen, to
the prayers of the people, and on the eighteenth of March this infamous
tax was repealed.

On the nineteenth of April a Bill was passed for detaining the Emperor
Napoleon Buonaparte a prisoner at St. Helena. This Bill will ever remain
a hateful and foul blot upon the statute book of England. Whigs and
Tories joined in passing this disgraceful Bill; an act that will be
handed down to posterity as a stigma not only upon the legislature of
the country, but also upon the character of the age in which such an
unjust and tyrannical proceeding could be permitted. Napoleon was not
the prisoner of England. The moment that peace was signed he was as
free to come to England as any other man in the world, and the English
Government had no more right to seize him, and carry him prisoner to
St. Helena, than the French had a right to seize the Prince Regent of
England, and chain him to a barren rock for life. It was arbitrary,
cruel, unjust, and most cowardly. The protest which Napoleon made
against being sent to St. Helena was as follows: "I hereby solemnly
protest, in the face of God and man, against the violation of my most
sacred rights, in forcibly disposing of my person and my liberty. I came
voluntarily on board the Bellerophon, I am not the _prisoner_ but the
_guest_ of England. As soon as I was seated on board the Bellerophon, I
was upon the hearths of the British people." Alas, poor Napoleon! you
ought to have known that there was then no British people; that the
British people, who formerly held an influence over the mind and actions
of the Government, were no more; that the people of England were become
a set of abject, grovelling slaves, ready to bow the knee and bend the
neck to their taskmasters! The conduct of the Ministers, in transporting
Napoleon forcibly to St. Helena, and afterwards sending out such a
gaoler as Sir Hudson Lowe to worry him to death, was well becoming their
upstart character; for none but the basest cowards will be found to
insult a fallen foe. Mr. Brougham could not hold his tongue upon
the occasion, but must disgrace himself, not only as a man but as a
legislator, by declaring in Parliament, when this shameful measure
was brought before the House, "that the law of nations justified the
detention of Napoleon at St. Helena." Mr. Brougham did not condescend to
tell us what law of nations; but of course he meant to say that the law
of nations would justify any thing that a Government had the power to
effect; this is the only standard by which modern statesmen estimate the
law of nations. On the same principle, or, more correctly speaking, want
of principle, an Act was passed, to restrict the Bank of England once
more from paying their notes in cash; or, in other words, to protect
them from the just demands of their creditors. The Act, however,
explicitly declared that this protection should cease on the 5th of
April 1818, when the Bank should positively pay their debts which they
owed, and which they had so repeatedly promised to pay to the public.
The Parliament was, in this case, like the shepherd boy, who so often
cried "wolf," for fun to alarm the people, that when the wolf really
came and attacked his flock, nobody either believed or heeded his cries.
Thus it was with the Parliament; they had so repeatedly promised the
people that they would make the Bank of England pay their notes, and
they had so frequently broken this promise, that the people firmly
believed that payments in cash would never be made. All those, too, who
read the writings of Mr. Cobbett were persuaded that it was impossible
for it even to be attempted, and therefore those who had any faith in
his predictions were of course totally unprepared for it, on the time
arriving for its being carried into effect.

On the 24th of April, 1816, Major-General Sir Robert Wilson, Michael
Bruce, Esq. and Captain J. H. Hutchinson, were convicted, in Paris, of
assisting the escape of the Count de Lavalette, who was condemned for
high treason, and they were sentenced to three months' imprisonment. A
well-written article has appeared in the _Times_ newspaper, contrasting
the mild sentence inflicted upon these gentlemen, with that which has
been inflicted upon me, of two years and six months' incarceration in
this Bastile.

Some time in the spring of this year, a public meeting was called of the
freeholders of the county of Somerset, and it was advertised to be held
at Bridgwater, John Goodford, Esq. of Yeovil, High Sheriff. I forget now
what was the precise object of the signers of the requisition, but I
believe that it was to congratulate the Regent upon the marriage, or the
intended marriage, of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, to the Prince of
Saxe Cobourg. This I know, however, that the meeting was called by that
faction in the county, at the head of which stood the Rev. Sir Abraham
Elton, Bart. By accident I saw, in a London paper, the advertisement for
this meeting, and though I was then residing in town, I made up my mind
to attend it.

When I arrived at Bridgwater, I put my horses up at the Globe, and
during the time that I was changing my dress, I saw the country people
and farmers ride into the town in droves, but I did not see a single
soul whom I knew; and being a perfect stranger in the town of
Bridgwater, I had to make my way up to the hustings alone. As, however,
I passed up the street, Mr. Tynte, the present Member for that town,
accosted me, saying, "Well, Mr. Hunt, what are _you_ come here? I really
believe that the meeting was called in this town because you were not
known here, and therefore it was expected, or rather hoped, that you
would not come. At Wells they knew you would carry any proposition that
you might choose to bring forward, and I really believe it will be the
same here." After this salutation from him I passed on; he took one
side of the street, and I the other; for as he was a magistrate of the
county, and one of the gang, it would not have been at all in character
to have seen him walking at the same side of the street with me.

I reached the hustings just in time, and up I went with the rest. Little
Squire Goodford opened the proceedings, and had the requisition read,
after which he called upon the people to hear all parties that might
choose to address them, &c. &c. &c. Sir Abraham Elton next came forward,
and addressed the meeting in one of the most bombastical and ridiculous
speeches that I ever heard. He expatiated upon the GLORY that we had
acquired by the war, and the overthrow of Buonaparte, and predicted that
peace, plenty, and their concomitant train of blessings, would strew the
path of John Bull. Of the virtues of the Prince of Saxe Coburg, he
spoke in high-sounding terms; and he drew the conclusion that the union
between him and our Princess Charlotte would contribute greatly to the
happiness, and even safety, of the British people. Some one of the same
kidney followed him, and seconded his motion in a similar strain of
sublime humbug and nonsense.

While this farce was performing by the Rev. Baronet and his band, and
while the people of Somerset, who were assembled to the amount of six
or eight thousand persons, were gaping and swallowing all the stuff and
trash dealt out to them by these worthies, a Mr. Trip, a gentleman of
the lower part of the county, a barrister, addressed himself to me,
requesting to know if I meant to propose any amendment. I told him I had
some resolutions of a very different nature, which I certainly meant to
move as an amendment. He then shewed me some resolutions which he had
drawn up, and which he had intended to propose as an amendment, if no
others were offered. Upon reading them over, I found that they embraced
all the material points contained in those which I had framed; and as
they went most decidedly to object to the whole that was proposed by
Sir Abraham, it was settled between us that he should move, and that I
should second them. He accordingly moved them, after a very able and
violent speech, which certainly contained a great deal of good matter,
though it was evidently clouded every now and then by ebullitions of
party spirit, which at county meetings generally shews itself. He was,
nevertheless, heard with attention, and received considerable applause.
The moment that I came forward to second the resolutions, a murmur ran
through the crowd to know who I was; and, on my name being announced,
I was instantly honoured with three cheers. In seconding Mr. Trip's
resolutions, I certainly took rather different ground upon which to
found my arguments. I ridiculed, in indignant language, the idea of
granting sixty thousand a-year to a young German adventurer, merely for
marrying our Princess, and of giving them _fifty thousand_ pounds as
an outfit. But the most monstrous and most infamous proposition of the
whole, I considered that of settling _fifty thousand_ a-year upon him
for life, in case of the decease of his wife. It was, I said, a premium
upon her death.

I was going on amidst the laughter and cheers of the whole multitude,
when little Mr. Goodford, the Sheriff, interfered to call me to order;
adding, that as he stood there as the representative of the King, and
as a loyal man, he could never suffer the Royal Family of England to be
spoken of in the way in which I had spoken of it, and he _insisted_ that
I should not go on so in his presence. This interruption was received
with evident marks of disapprobation. Never at a loss upon such an
occasion, I replied, that I considered myself quite as loyal a man as
Mr. Goodford, both to the King and the people, and that, as the meeting
appeared almost unanimously disposed to hear me, Mr. Goodford, as
chairman, had nothing to do but to take the sense of the meeting, which,
if he did not choose to act up to, it was only for him to vacate the
chair, and we would place some one in it that would. The little Sheriff
did not relish the idea of vacating the chair, and therefore the
question was put whether the meeting would hear what I had to say or
not. The show of hands in favour of my continuing in the same strain was
nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand; there being only
three hats, that I saw, held up against it. These three persons
consisted of a little knot of placemen, led on by a notorious
Custom-house scamp of that town; a tall, lanky fellow, whose head was
nearly half a foot above the rest of the crowd. From the visage of this
worthy projected a cocked nose of a very peculiar kind, the nostrils of
which appeared to be two round holes passing horizontally, instead of
perpendicularly, into his head. Upon this delicious proboscis (which was
a sort of mixture between the pug-dog and a Chinese pig), was mounted
a pair of silver barnicles, apparently placed there for the purpose of
hiding a brace of things more resembling coddled gooseberries than human
eyes. That feature which, in men, made as they ought to be, is called a
mouth, was in him not entitled to the name; it being a vulgar gash, with
a pair of very thick lips, extending across two dumpling cheeks, and
nearly uniting a brace of tremendous asinine ears. These altogether
formed something like a half-decayed turnip stuck upon a mop-stick. Let
the reader only imagine to himself a figure of this sort, constantly
opening the slit that I have above described, and vomiting forth at
once, from a fetid carcase, the most disgusting sound and stench, and
then he will have some faint idea of the scene exhibited by this animal
of a Customhouse officer. After being admonished twice to be peaceable,
and not attending to it, he and his satellites were handed out of the
crowd, and banished from the scene of action, amidst the cheers of the
multitude. This operation being performed upon the Customhouse ass and
his two supporters, I proceeded to address the meeting, for the purpose
of winding up the subject upon which I had been dilating, when Squire
Goodford spoke to order. I certainly handled, with very little ceremony,
the trash which Sir Abraham had been sporting, and, after having
admonished my hearers to exercise their own judgment like Englishmen,
and not be led by the nose like slaves, I concluded by seconding the
resolutions which had been moved by Mr. Trip, which, of course, included
a resolution declaring the necessity of a Reform in Parliament.

What followed was more curious than all the rest. Sir John Acland, the
Chairman of the county quarter sessions, now came forward, and, like a
cunning old fox, who saw which way the wind blew, he turned short round
upon those whom he meant before to support, and declared that the
resolutions moved as an amendment by Mr. Trip, and seconded by Mr. Hunt,
had his full concurrence. Sir John saw which was the strongest side, and
which way the current of popular opinion was rolling, and therefore he
was determined to come in for his share of merit, by joining in the cry
and running with the stream. Upon a shew of hands our amendment was
carried by a majority of one hundred to one, at least. I never saw a man
so delighted as Mr. Counsellor Trip was, I thought he would have jumped
over the hustings for joy. It was evident to me that this success came
upon him unawares, and that, although he had made up his mind to move an
amendment, yet he had not the slightest idea that it would be carried. I
was more accustomed to these things, and took it more coolly; in fact, I
felt it necessary to admonish him to bear his victory with more becoming
joy, and not to exult so outrageously. A vote of thanks was passed to
little Squire Goodford, the nominal High Sheriff; I say _nominal_, for,
_in fact_, all the Sheriffs of this county, for many, many years,
have been called _pauper Sheriffs_, and have been merely nominal High
Sheriffs; Messrs. _Perpetual_, or rather Messrs. _Alternate_ Sheriffs,
that is to say, Messrs. Mellior and Broderip, being the real or _bona
fide_ Sheriffs, their masters having been their mere puppets or nominal
Sheriffs.

When the meeting was dissolved, almost the whole assembly followed, or
rather attended me to my inn, where I was obliged to address them from
the window, before they could be prevailed upon to depart. Every one
appeared delighted with the result of the meeting, except poor Sir
Abraham, the Sheriff, and a little knot of Whigs, who had meant to
curry favour with the Prince Regent, by presenting to him an abject,
time-serving address from the county of Somerset; but who had been
foiled, and, in a great measure, by my exertions. Sir Abraham, and his
friend the Sheriff, looked most wretchedly; no Frenchman ever shrugged
his shoulders with a more emphatic expression of disaster, than the Rev.
Baronet did; and he really reminded me of the knight with the rueful
countenance. Will any man who reads this believe that the _worthy_
Judges of the Court of King's Bench had not the effect of this meeting
in their mind, when they sentenced me to be confined TWO YEARS AND SIX
MONTHS in Ilchester Bastile, where they well knew the Rev. Baronet and
the worthy Squire were two of the VISITING MAGISTRATES? Will any one who
reads this have the least doubt, that those who have persecuted me here
have been actuated by the cowardly feeling of wishing to be revenged
upon me, now that they have me in their power, because I defeated their
ridiculous and time-serving projects, and exposed their folly at the
said county meeting at Bridgwater? Can any one doubt that the Ministers
ordered their tools to send me here, that their underlings might exert
their petty tyranny, in order to annoy me?

On the twelfth of May, in this year, the Prince of Saxe Coburg was
married to the Princess Charlotte of Wales. The Parliament, as I have
before observed, gave them for an outfit _fifty thousand pounds_ of John
Gull's money, and settled _sixty thousand pounds_ a-year of the said
John's money, and also settled upon him as a dower, for his life, _fifty
thousand pounds a-year_, in case of her death: so that this hopeful
German now receives annually out of the pockets of the distressed
people of England _fifty thousand pounds a-year_, while the President of
the United States of America only receives _six thousand_ pounds a-year;
so that _Saxe Coburg_ does us the honour to drain the people of England
of a sum more than _eight times_ as much as the President of the
United States of America receives from the people of that country, for
attending to all their affairs, and presiding as the Chief Magistrate of
a vast and free country, containing ten millions of people.

In the middle of May there were disturbances at Bideford, from the poor
endeavouring to prevent the exportation of potatoes. There was also a
riot and great disturbances at Bury, by the unemployed, to destroy a
spinning-jenny. On the 24th, a great body of farmers and labourers
assembled in a very riotous manner at Ely, and committed many
depredations. They were at length suppressed, after some blood had been
spilt. On the 28th, there were great disturbances, amongst the pitmen
and others, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. On the same day a serious tumult
occurred at Halstead, in Essex, to liberate some persons who had been
taken up for destroying threshing-machines. On the 2d of July, the
Prince Regent prorogued the Parliament, after a new Alien Bill, and
a Bill to regulate the Civil List, had passed. On the 12th of July,
1816, there was a public funeral of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Esq.
certainly the most brilliant and accomplished orator of the age. In my
opinion, he far surpassed either Pitt or Fox in real eloquence, and, in
the midst of all his changings and vacillations, he was always, without
one exception, the steady and zealous friend of the liberty of the
press. Poor Sheridan was always in pecuniary difficulties, and
overwhelmed with debt; and he at last became quite a swindler in order
to evade his creditors, and he died at a time when he could not obtain
credit for a pot of porter. On the 22d, the Duke of Gloucester, who was
called by the Royal Family _Silly Billy_, was married to one of his
cousins, the Princess Mary. Fortunately for the public, they have, I
believe, no children for John Gull to keep. On the 2d of August, a riot
took place in the Calton, one of the suburbs of Glasgow, on account of
the soup-kitchens, which was not suppressed till some blood was spilt.
On the 8th of the same month, a mortar of uncommon size, left by Marshal
Soult on his retreat from Cadiz, was fixed in St. James's Park, opposite
the Horse Guards. This piece of ordnance is commonly known by the name
of the Prince Regent's bomb. On the 27th, Algiers was bombarded, and the
batteries destroyed by the English fleet, commanded by Lord Exmouth--a
treaty was entered into afterwards, by the Dey of Algiers and Lord
Exmouth, in which Christian slavery was abolished. On the 16th of
September a riot and great disturbance took place at Preston, in
Lancashire, by the distressed and unemployed workmen. There was also a
riot at Frome, in consequence of a sudden rise of one-third in the price
of potatoes, in which riot the Yeomanry Cavalry sustained a defeat, and
were driven from the field of action by the stones, potatoes, and rotten
eggs that were hurled at them by the multitude, several of whom were
taken into custody. One of that anomalous hermaphrodite race called
Parson-justices, a person of the name of Sainsbury, read the Riot
Act, and called out the cavalry. But, by the judicious conduct of Mr.
Champness, of Orchardleigh, the disturbances were quelled, and peace
was restored. A Mr. Thornhill, who was a paid agent and adjutant of the
Somerset Yeomanry Cavalry, who came over from Bath on the following day,
after all was peace and quietness, wrote a letter to the Editor of the
_Courier_ newspaper, giving a most ridiculous and false account of the
whole transaction. In order to ascertain the truth, as to what really
took place, I drove over from Bath, with Mr. Allen of Bath, and having
detailed the circumstances to Mr. Cobbett, he handled the brave
blustering Captain in a masterly stile, and fixed upon him the name
of Captain Bobadil, which will last him as long as he lives. Captain
Bobadil and the battle of Frome will not readily be forgotten in the
west of England, nor, indeed, in any place where Mr. Cobbett's Register
was read, which was now published at TWO-PENCE a number, and in
consequence had increased ten-fold in its circulation. There were also
great riots at Nottingham, by persons calling themselves Luddites; these
consisted of unemployed workmen, who went about in the most lawless
manner, destroying the frames by which the stocking manufactory was
carried on. There were riots, too, at Myrthir-Tydvil, in Glamorganshire,
by the workmen employed in the iron-manufactories, on a reduction of
wages; and at Walsall, in Staffordshire, amongst the distressed and
unemployed workmen.

In fact, great distress and dissatisfaction prevailed, not only in
England, Ireland and Scotland, but all over Europe, which was in a
calamitous state, produced by the reaction of the war, the fatal effects
of which now began to be felt most severely. The distress amongst
the farmers was very great, and the agricultural gentry began to cry out
most unmercifully. The fools now began to find out that what I had told
them was true, namely, that the Corn Bill would not ultimately serve
them, that it was never intended by its promoters for any other purpose
than to enable the Government, by means of keeping up the price of corn,
to continue to extract from the farmers high rents and high taxes. In
many parts the manufacturers likewise suffered greatly, particularly in
Staffordshire, South Wales, and the Metropolis, and especially amongst
the poor weavers in Spitalfields. The truth was, that the Bank of
England had curtailed the issue of their notes, in order to meet the
demands of their creditors, which they expected they should be compelled
to pay in cash, instead of being longer protected by a pretended
restriction, designed to prevent them from being called upon to pay any
thing more than "I promise to pay," in exchange for "I promise to
pay." This restriction was nothing more nor less than a _Government
protection_ against the demands of their creditors, which enabled them
to refuse to pay their just debts with impunity, and according to Act of
Parliament. Distress and discontent therefore prevailed from one end of
the land to the other, but in no place more than the metropolis, which
was full of discharged seamen, who had been dismissed from the British
Navy, which was now dismantled almost universally. These poor fellows,
who had fancied that they had been fighting the battles of their
country, who had suffered all the hardships of a sailor's life, during a
long and bloody war, and who had been successful against every power for
such a length of time, had become exceedingly disheartened by the
checks and defeats they had experienced in the naval warfare with the
Americans, who, if I may use a familiar phrase, had completely taken
the _shine_ out of the British seamen, a race proverbial for being very
superstitious. They had always boasted that an English sailor was a
match for two Frenchmen, or any other seamen; but Jack found in the
American sailor not only his equal in bravery and skill; but more than
his match. Thus dispirited and almost broken hearted, and the British
Navy being laid up, our sailors were discharged and treated worse than
dogs; they were put on shore at any port, and they had to march to
London, barefooted and pennyless, to receive the little pay and prize
money that was due to them. Hundreds and hundreds did I relieve, as
they passed by Middleton Cottage; broken down in body and in spirit,
they were made to feel that they had been fighting for despotism instead
of Liberty. Soup Committees were established, and subscriptions raised
all over the kingdom, to supply the starving poor with soup; but to the
offer of it they replied, that they did not want charity, they wanted
work, and they would much rather live upon a scanty meal, the fruit of
their own labour, than be feasted by charity.

Some time in the early part of September, I received a letter from
London, signed A. Thistlewood, requesting me, when I came to town, to do
him the favour of a call, as he had to communicate to me matters of the
highest importance, connected with the welfare and happiness of the
people, to promote whose interest he had always observed that I was most
ready and active, &c. &c. As Mr. Thistlewood was a perfect stranger to
me, and as I was a stranger even to his name, I wrote to a Mr. Bryant, a
quondam attorney, and Clerk of the Papers at the King's Bench; a man who
was said to know every body and every thing that was going on in London,
both in high and low life;--I wrote to this gentleman, and requested him
to inquire at such a number for Mr. Thistlewood, and let me know who and
what he was, as I had received rather a mysterious letter from him, and
I wished to know something of him before I gave him any answer. The
answer which I received from Mr. Bryant was such that I never replied to
the letter of Mr. Thistlewood, or took any further notice of it.

Some time, however, in the beginning of November, I received a letter
from London, signed Thomas Preston, Secretary, to say that a public
meeting of the distressed inhabitants of the metropolis was advertised
to be held in Spafields, on Monday, the 15th of November, and that he
was instructed by the Committee to solicit my attendance. This letter
was dated from Greystoke-place, and the writer requested an answer,
which I gave him by return of post, desiring to be informed what was the
object of the meeting. I received a reply, stating, that the object
was to agree to a memorial to the Prince Regent, setting forth their
grievances, and praying for relief. I instantly wrote, to say that I
accepted their invitation, and I would attend the meeting at the time
appointed.

On the next day I rode over to my friend Cobbett, at Botley, to consult
with him what was best to be done. When I mentioned the circumstance to
him, he looked very grave, and said it was a dangerous experiment, and
he scarcely knew how to advise me, whether to go or not. "Oh," said I,
"make your mind quite easy upon _that_ point; there is no difficulty in
it, I have accepted the invitation, and I mean to attend the meeting.
The moment that I ascertained that it was for a legal purpose, that of
addressing the Prince Regent upon the distressed state of the people,
and praying for redress, I no longer hesitated, but accepted the
invitation, and promised to be there in time. All that I want you to
do, therefore, is, to assist me in drawing up some resolutions, and
preparing a proper address to be presented to his Royal Highness upon
the occasion." "That," said he, "I will do with great pleasure." After
due consideration the resolutions and the address were agreed upon, and
drawn up by him. Mr. Cobbett never mentioned one word to me that he had
been invited by the same party to attend this said meeting; but he said
he should be at his lodgings in London at the time.

I arrived in London the Saturday before the intended meeting, and called
at Graystockplace, to inquire for Mr. Thomas Preston. I found no one
there but two or three dirtily dressed, miserable, poor children,
who told me that I should find their father at some house in
Southampton-buildings, Chancery-lane. Thither I repaired, meditating
as I went along on the wretched emblem of the distresses of the times,
which I had just witnessed in the family of Mr. Thomas Preston. When I
reached Southampton-buildings, I knocked at the door, and inquired for
Mr. Preston. The servant said there was no such person there, but she
would go and inquire of Mr. Thistlewood and the Doctor. She then desired
me to walk in, and I was shewn into a very neat and well-furnished
dining-room. I could not avoid observing to myself the contrast between
the elegant apartment I was now in and that which I had just quitted in
Graystock-place; the name of Thistlewood was still tinkling upon the
drum of my ear, I having quite forgotten where I had heard it before.

In a few minutes two gentlemen walked in; the one dressed in a handsome
dressing-gown and morocco slippers, the other in a shabby-genteel black.
The former addressed me very familiarly by name, saying, that he was Mr.
Thistlewood, and he begged to introduce his friend Dr. Watson. They at
once informed me that they were part of the Committee, for whom Mr.
Preston acted as Secretary; that they had called the meeting, and
directed their Secretary to invite me to attend it, and that they had
also written to invite Sir Francis Burdett, Major Cartwright, Mr.
Waithman, Mr. Cobbett, and several other political characters. I then
inquired what was the nature of the memorial or address which they meant
to submit to the Prince Regent? They answered, that they had it not then
by them, but that, if _I wished it_, they would procure me a sight of it
before I went to the meeting. To this I replied, that I certainly did
not wish merely for a sight of it, but for something more; as, if I
attended the meeting to take any part in it, I should choose to have
time to peruse the memorial very minutely before I undertook to give it
my support. This they promised I should have an opportunity of doing,
and the Doctor appeared anxious to have my opinion upon it. I could,
however, see that Mr. Thistlewood had set his heart upon this memorial
as it stood, and he slightly intimated that the Committee had made up
their minds on the subject, and that it was finally settled that
the memorial was to be submitted to the meeting. I inquired who the
Committee were composed of, and I soon found that Mr. Thistlewood and
Dr. Watson, the two gentlemen before me, were in reality the Committee;
young Watson, Preston, Hooper, _Castles_, and one or two others, who
formed the remainder of the Committee, being merely nominal members. I
informed them that I was staying at Cooper's Hotel, in Bouverie-street,
which makes part of the Black Lion Inn, in Water-lane, where they
promised to wait upon me in the evening with the memorial, that I might
look it over.

Mr. Thistlewood and the Doctor came at the appointed hour, and brought
the document with them. It was very long, and filled several pages
closely written upon foolscap paper. As soon as I had read the first
resolution, I was satisfied in my own mind as to how I ought to act
with respect to this voluminous production; but when I had read to the
bottom of the first page I closed the book, and very seriously informed
my visitors that it evidently contained treasonable matter, and that
nothing more than the overt act of holding the meeting, to carry the
scheme into execution, was required to make all that were concerned in
it liable at least to be indicted for high treason. I certainly should
not, I told them, countenance any such measures as were proposed even in
the first page, and the project of marching in a body to Carlton House,
to demand and enforce an audience of the Prince Regent (which formed a
part of their design), was quite preposterous, as well as unjust and
unreasonable. As a private gentleman, I myself would not submit to be
intruded upon in such a manner, and it was very unreasonable to expect
that it could be endured by the Chief Magistrate of the country.
I found, in fact, that the whole affair was made up of Spencean
principles, relating to the holding of all the land in the kingdom as
one great farm belonging to the people, or something of that sort. I
told them my ideas upon the subject, which were, that the first thing
the people had to do, in order to recover their rights, was to obtain a
Reform of the Commons' House of Parliament. When once the people were
fairly and equally represented in that House, such propositions as were
contained in their memorial might then be discussed, but for one set of
people to dictate to any other what should be the law, I maintained to
be arbitrary and unjust. The Doctor very readily concurred with me, and
he asked my advice as to what was best to be done. I replied, that the
only course to be pursued was, to pass certain resolutions, pointing
out the distressed state of the country, and the absolute necessity of
Reform, to save the wreck of the constitution, and declaring that the
only Reform that would be of any avail must be upon the principles of
Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot. They
both at once agreed to the propriety of my suggestions, and requested
that I would prepare some resolutions, and an address to his Royal
Highness, which they also begged me to propose to the meeting, and they
would support them. I asked them if they did not expect the attendance
of any other of the public characters to whom they had written? To
this they replied, that I was the only person who had accepted the
invitation. The Doctor and Mr. Thistlewood promised to take care about
the hustings being erected in Spa-fields, and the former was to call on
me on Monday morning, to prepare and transcribe the resolutions and the
petition which were to be submitted to the meeting.

The Doctor came at the time appointed, and he copied the resolutions and
the petition which I had drawn up, which, with some few alterations and
additions, were the same as were agreed upon by Mr. Cobbett and myself
at Botley. Before we had finished these, a messenger arrived, to say
that an immense number of persons were assembled in the front of the
Merlin's Cave public-house, in Spa-fields, and that they were
impatient for our arrival. Upon this, the Doctor and myself got into a
hackney-coach, and drove immediately to the spot, which was covered
by much the largest concourse of people I had ever seen together in my
life. We were hailed with the most deafening shouts, and, with some
considerable difficulty, we were driven to the summit of the hill,
surrounded by the multitude. Upon inquiry where the hustings were, I
found that nothing had been done or thought of towards the erecting of
them. In this dilemma I mounted upon the top of the hackney-coach, and
was immediately followed by the Doctor and another person, which person,
without further ceremony, hoisted a tricoloured flag, _red, white,_
and _green!_ The bearer of this flag was no less a personage than the
notorious Mr. JOHN CASTLES, a gemman that I had never seen before. I
soon found that it was impossible to address such an immense multitude
from such a situation as that of the top of a coach, and as the wind
blew very sharp, our birth was a very disagreeable one. While we were
looking round for a better situation, we were hailed by some gentlemen
from the window of a house in the neighbouring row, and a young person,
whom I afterwards found to be Mr. William Clark, having made his way to
the coach, invited me to enter the house opposite, and to address the
multitude from the window; and, as the party who were assembled in
that room still kept beckoning me to join them, I readily assented. We
dismounted and followed Mr. Clark, who led us up stairs into the front
room of the Merlin's Cave public-house, which I afterwards found had
been taken by, and was partly occupied by, the Magistrates, accompanied
by a number of the officers of the police and the reporters of the
public press. The sashes were immediately removed from the window, and I
presented myself to the assembled multitude amidst universal shouts of
applause. I found myself surrounded by strangers, there being scarcely a
man in the room I had ever before seen, with the exception of Mr. Clark
and some of the reporters of the public press. I proposed that Mr. Clark
should take the chair, which proposal was seconded, and carried by
acclamation. I was the only person present who was known to the
multitude as a public man. I had often appeared before the people at
Palace-yard, and at the Guildhall of the city of London, and I was
instantly recognized by them. In fact, I believe that it had been
publicly placarded and advertised that I had accepted the invitation
to attend, which had been sent to me by the Committee, and I was,
therefore, expected. The Chairman having, in an appropriate speech,
briefly opened the meeting, I stood forward to move the resolutions,
which I prefaced by a speech of about an hour in length. I pointed out
the enormous sums paid by the public for what is called the Civil List,
amounting in the last year to 1,038,000£; and in the same year, on
account of deficiencies of the said Civil List, 584,713£ more; and for
the Civil List for Scotland, 126,613£ additional, making in the
whole, for the Civil List of that year, ONE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED AND
FORTY-NINE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX POUNDS. I showed
that the expense of keeping up the army, including the ordnance, was
26,736,017£; that the additional allowance to the Royal Family that year
was 366,660£; that the secret service money was 153,443£; and that the
sum voted for the poor clergy of the Church of England was 100,000£.
I also read a list of some of the most profligate sinecurists and
pensioners, male and female, in which I included a sufficient sprinkling
of ladies and gentlemen belonging to both the great factions of Whigs
and Tories, taking as nearly as I could an equal number from each of
them. Among those whom I specified were the Marquis of Buckingham and
Lord Camden, the two Tellers of the Exchequer, whose sinecures at that
time were about thirty-five thousand a-year each; Lord Arden, the elder
brother of Perceval, thirty-eight thousand a-year; Lords Grenville and
Erskine, &c. &c. &c. Amongst the number of lady pensioners I noticed
Lady Auckland, Lady Louisa Paget, Mrs. Hunn, the mother of Mr. Canning,
&c. &c. I represented these persons as contributing to the distresses of
the country, by taking such large sums out of the taxes, without doing
any thing for it. I contended that the enormous weight of taxation alone
produced the misery under which the people were groaning, and that the
sole cause of such heavy impositions being placed upon the people, arose
from the corrupt state of the representation in the Commons' or people's
House of Parliament; and I laboured strenuously to convince them that
the high price of bread and meat did not originate with the bakers
and butchers, as was falsely asserted to be the case by the corrupt
conductors of the daily press. I demonstrated to them the folly of
wreaking their vengeance upon unoffending tradesmen, who were suffering
from the weight of taxes nearly as much as themselves; and I endeavoured
to convince them of the _superiority of mental over physical force_;
contending that it would be an act of injustice, as well as folly, to
resort to the latter while we had the power of exercising the former.
Above all things, I took the greatest pains to promote peace and good
order, as the only means by which they were likely to obtain any redress
for their grievances, or any alleviation of their miseries, and to
convince them that to commit acts of violence was to prove themselves
unworthy of relief. I concluded by reading and recommending to their
adoption the four following resolutions. These resolutions were received
with long continued shouts of approbation:

  Resolved 1st, That the country is in a state of fearful
  and unparalleled distress and misery; and that the principal
  immediate cause of this calamity, which has fallen
  upon all classes of persons, except that class which derive
  their incomes from the Taxes, is, that enormous load
  of taxation, which has taken, and which still takes, from
  the Farmer, the Manufacturer, and the Tradesman, the
  means of maintaining their families, and paying their
  debts, and of affording, in the shape of wages, a sufficiency
  to employ and support their Labourers and Journeymen.

  Resolved 2d, That the causes of this intolerable burden,
  are, 1st, the amount of a Debt contracted by Boroughmongers
  for the purposes of carrying on a _long, unnecessary,
  and unjust War_, the main objects of which
  now appear to have been to _stifle_ Civil, Political, and Religious
  Liberty, and to restore Despotism and Persecution;
  2d, The maintenance of an Army in France, in order to
  uphold the restored Despots and Priests in opposition to
  the express wishes of the whole French Nation; 3d, The
  keeping up of an enormous Standing Army in these Kingdoms,
  with a view of overawing the People, and compelling
  them to submit to War Taxes in time of Peace;
  4th, A lavish and profligate expenditure of the Public
  Money on innumerable men and women, who are the
  holders of Sinecures, Pensions, Grants, and Emoluments
  of various descriptions, without having ever performed
  the smallest service to their Country.

  Resolved 3d, That the _sole cause_ of these desolating
  measures and practices, _is the want of the People being represented
  in the Commons' House of Parliament_, and the
  return of Members to that House by those base and corrupt
  means, which were by the Members themselves
  shamelessly confessed to be "as notorious as the sun at
  noon-day."

  Resolved 4th, That a Petition be presented to the
  Prince Regent, beseeching him to take into his gracious
  consideration the sufferings of this industrious, patient, and
  starving People, praying that he will be pleased immediately
  to cause the Parliament to be assembled, and to recommend
  to them, in the most urgent manner, to reduce
  the Army, to abolish all Sinecures and all Pensions, Grants,
  and Emoluments not merited by Public Services; and to
  apply the same to feed the "HUNGRY AND CLOTHE THE
  NAKED," so that the unhappy and starving People may
  be saved from desperation; and above all, to listen, before
  it be _too late_, to those repeated prayers of the People, for
  being restored to their undoubted right of enjoying the
  benefit of Annual Parliaments chosen freely by the People.

Dr. Watson seconded these resolutions, and they were carried
unanimously, amidst the cheers of the multitude, without one dissenting
voice. I then read the following petition, which, after having been
seconded by the Doctor, was unanimously adopted by the greatest
concourse of people that had ever, within the memory of man, been known
to assemble for any political purpose.

  _"To his Royal Highness the Prince Regent of the United
  Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland._

  "The Petition of the distressed Inhabitants of the Metropolis,
  held in Spa-fields, the 15th day of November, 1816,

  "HUMBLY SHOWETH--That this kingdom is in a state
  of unparalleled distress and misery, and that the principal
  immediate cause of this calamity, which has fallen upon
  all classes of persons (except that class which derive their
  incomes from the taxes), is that enormous load of taxation
  which has taken, and which still takes, from the
  farmer, the manufacturer, and the tradesman, the means
  of maintaining their families, and of paying their debts,
  and of affording, in the shape of wages, a sufficiency to employ
  and support their labourers and journeymen.

  "That the causes of this intolerable burden are--First,
  The amount of a debt, contracted by Borough-mongers
  and their agents, for the purpose of carrying on a long,
  unnecessary, and unjust war, the object of which now appears
  to have been to stifle civil, political, and religious
  liberty, and to restore despotism and persecution. Second,
  The maintenance of an English Protestant Army in France,
  in order to uphold the restored Despots and Priesthood,
  whom we have been taught to hold in abhorrence. Third,
  The keeping up in these kingdoms of an enormous Standing
  Army, with all its _colleges, barracks_, and _arsenals_,
  with a view of overawing the people, and compelling
  them to submit to War Taxes in time of Peace. Fourth,
  A lavish and profligate expenditure of the public money
  on innumerable men and women, who are holders of _sinecures,
  pensions, grants_, and _emoluments_ of various descriptions,
  without having ever performed the smallest
  service to the country.

  "That the _sole cause_ of these desolating measures and
  practices is, _the want of the people being represented in
  their own House of Parliament_, and the return of Members
  to that House by those base and corrupt means,
  which means were, by the Members themselves, shamelessly
  confessed 'to be as notorious as the sun at noonday.'

  "Upon the ground of these facts, the existence of which
  must be familiar to the mind, and painful to the heart of your
  Royal Highness, we earnestly beseech your Royal Highness
  to take into your gracious consideration the sufferings of this
  _industrious, patient, and starving people_; and we earnestly
  pray,

  "That your Royal Highness will be pleased to cause
  the Parliament to be assembled immediately, and, as the
  friend of your Royal Father's people, to urge the two
  Houses to reduce the Army, to remove those barracks,
  military colleges, and all those menacing parades so hateful
  to our eyes and so hostile to that Constitution which
  your Royal House were placed on the Throne to defend;
  to abolish all sinecures and all _pensions, grants,_ and _emoluments_
  not merited by public services, and to apply the
  amount of the same to _feed the hungry and clothe the
  naked;_ and, above all, to listen, before it be TOO LATE,
  to those repeated prayers of the people for being restored
  to their undoubted right of annually choosing their own
  Representatives. In the mean time we implore your
  Royal Highness to appropriate a _few hundred thousands_
  of the enormous Civil List for the immediate relief of the
  _numerous suffering, starving,_ and _dying_ people.

  "And we shall ever pray, &c. &c."

  The following resolutions were then proposed and carried
  unanimously:Resolved 5th, That Sir Francis Burdett, Bart.
  be requested to wait on the Prince Regent, and deliver this
  Petition into his hands as soon as possible.

  Resolved 6th, That Henry Hunt, Esq. be requested to
  accompany Sir F. Burdett.

  Resolved 7th, That Sir Francis Burdett, Bart. assisted
  by Major Cartwright, be requested to prepare and bring
  into Parliament, as soon as they meet, a Bill for a Reform
  thereof, agreeable to the Constitution.

  Resolved 8th, That this Meeting do adjourn to Monday
  fortnight, then to assemble to hear the answer of
  the Prince Regent, in Spa-fields, at One o'Clock precisely.

  Resolved 9th, That this Meeting do re-assemble the
  first day after the meeting of Parliament, in Palace-yard,
  Westminster, at One o'clock, to petition Parliament for
  a Reform thereof, agreeable to the Constitution.

  Resolved 10th, That our fellow-countrymen of Bristol,
  Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester,
  Glasgow, Paisley, and of every City, Town, and
  populous place in the United Kingdom, are hereby invited,
  and requested by this Meeting to assemble and meet on
  the _same day_, at the same hour, and for the SAME PURPOSE.

  Resolved 11th, That the Thanks of the Meeting be given
  to H. Hunt, Esq.

  Resolved 12th, That the Thanks of the Meeting be given
  to Mr. Dyall and Mr. Preston, and those Gentlemen who
  called the Meeting.

  Resolved 13th, That the Thanks of the Meeting be given
  to the Chairman, William Clark, Esq.


The parties thanked having briefly returned the compliment, the meeting
was dissolved by the Chairman, who accompanied me into a coach, which
the multitude immediately took possession of, and drew amidst the most
unanimous cheers, to my inn, the Black Lion, Water-lane, where I had
appointed to meet a friend to dine. As soon as they had safely conveyed
us, they dispersed to their several homes, in the most peaceable manner.

Just as we were sitting down to dinner, four of us, Mr. Bryant, his son,
Mr. Clark, and myself, to our great surprise in marched Messrs. Watson,
Thistlewood, and three or four strangers, whom they introduced as Mr.
Watson, jun. Mr. Castles, Mr. Hooper, &c. who had followed us from the
meeting, with an intention, as they said, of dining with me. I was very
much disconcerted by this intrusion, and told them that I had private
business to settle, that I had no idea of dining in public, and that
dinner was only ordered for four. As, however, they did not appear to
take the hint (although it was a pretty broad one), Mr. Bryant ordered
more fish and some chops to be added to our dinner, and the table being
lengthened, down we all sat together. Mr. Bryant took the chair, at my
request.

Dinner being ended, Mr. Bryant drank the health of the King, which toast
passed round till it came to Mr. Castles, who, having filled a bumper,
substituted the following vulgar and sanguinary toast for that of the
King--"_May the last of Kings be strangled with the guts of the last
priest_;" a piece of brutality which had not even the miserable merit of
being original, he having copied it from one of the French anarchists.
This was a pretty specimen of the company that had intruded upon us! I
remonstrated against such blackguardism, and declared that I would not
remain in the room if there was any repetition of it. Mr. Castles,
nevertheless, soon began again in a similar strain, and having put forth
some most outrageous speech, as vulgar as it was seditious, both myself
and Mr. Bryant insisted upon the worthy gentleman leaving the room, or
holding his peace. He promised to do the latter, and he soon dropped
off, or appeared to drop off, into a very sound sleep. This was a
circumstance which struck me as being very suspicious, and therefore I
was particularly guarded in what I said, and in what was said by others.
At length two of the party, young Watson and Hooper, made a move to
retire, and I insisted upon it that they should take their friend
Castles with them; but he shammed so sound a sleep that it was with
difficulty he was got out of the room, and it was only effected by my
pulling the chair from under him; upon which he was in an instant as
wide awake as any man in the room. This convinced me that his sleep was
all a mere pretence. Soon after this the rest of the party left us, and
Mr. Bryant and myself remained to talk over the curious adventures of
the evening. We were both convinced that Castles was at any rate a great
villain, and I was determined in future not to be in a room where he
was.

On the next morning, Dr. Watson and Mr. Thistlewood came to apologise
for the ill-behaviour of their friend Castles, who they assured me was
at heart a very good fellow, but that he was overcome with liquor on
the preceding evening, and that he now wished very much to have an
opportunity of making an apology in person, for which purpose he was
waiting hard by. I, however, positively refused to see him, saying, that
I believed him to be a great scoundrel, and that I would on no account
suffer him to come into my room again; and I not only cautioned the
Doctor against him, but I believe I told him to take care, or Castles
would bring him to the gallows. In fact, I made up my mind that as long
as the Doctor and Mr. Thistlewood kept company with such a fellow, I
would have nothing to do with them in private, nor would ever see them
alone. The Doctor will recollect that, when they called on me in the
evening afterwards, to make some inquiry about the proceedings which
were to be adopted on the following meeting, intended to be held on the
2d of December, I declined to enter into any particulars, and did not
even ask them to take a seat, although Mr. Mitchell, a liveryman of the
city, was with me. I felt that I had been in very dangerous company,
and, though I would not neglect my public duty, I was determined that
I would not place myself in the power of such a man as Mr. Castles
appeared to me to be.

On the day of the meeting of the 15th of November, the _Courier_
newspaper roundly stated that HUNT had arrived at the meeting about
one o'clock, and, after having addressed the multitude in a most
inflammatory speech, had submitted to them a memorial to be presented to
the Prince Regent, full of _treasonable matter_; and the corrupt knave,
who conducts that paper, actually inserted one of the resolutions of the
memorial which Dr. Watson and Mr. Thistlewood had submitted to me, and
which I had rejected. The truth was, that the Government had previously
procured a copy of the said memorial, from a person of the name of
Dyall, one of the party who had called the meeting, and as this memorial
had been unanimously agreed to by the Committee, my Lord Sidmouth, the
Secretary of State, and his agents, made so certain that I should fall
into this _trap_, and propose it to the meeting, that their principal
organ, the editor of the _Courier_ newspaper, actually inserted a copy
of it in the paper, as having been proposed by me at the meeting. But
they soon found, to their sorrow, that old birds were not to be caught
with chaff; for that I had blasted their fondest hopes of bloodshed,
by proposing a petition to the Prince Regent, of a nature totally the
reverse of the said memorial; which petition was universally adopted
by the meeting; and that I had undertaken to present it to his Royal
Highness the Prince Regent, and had also promised to report the answer,
if I received any, at the next meeting, which was appointed to be held
on Monday, the 2d of December.

On the following day, not only the _Courier_ and the _Morning Post_,
but every paper published in the metropolis (with the exception of the
_Statesman,_ which was then conducted by Mr. Lovell), joined in pouring
forth a torrent of falsehood, misrepresentation, and abuse of me. I do
not know that I can give a more correct account of what took place in
London, more fairly represent the conduct of the public press upon this
occasion, than by giving an extract from Mr. Cobbett's Register, which
was published the ensuing week, as follows, headed "SPA-FIELDS MEETING:"

  "Since my long acquaintance with the press, I do not
  think that I have ever witnessed so much baseness of conduct
  as this Meeting has given rise to. If Mr. Hunt had
  been the most notorious pick-pocket; if he had been a
  raggamuffin covered with a coat hired for the day; if he
  had been a fellow who took up his lodgings in the brick-kilns
  or in the niches on Westminster Bridge; and if he
  had actually proposed to the Meeting to go directly and
  plunder the silversmiths' shops and cut the throats of all
  those who opposed them; if he had drank off a glass of
  human blood by way of moistening his throat: monstrous
  as this is, it is a real fact, that, if he had been and had
  done all this, the London press could not have treated
  him in a worse manner than it has. The _Statesman_ newspaper
  is an exception; but, I believe, that it is almost
  the only exception. Talk of _violence_ indeed! Was there
  ever violence _like this_ heard of in this world before?
  And, what is the monstrous _crime_ which has emboldened
  these literary ruffians to make this savage assault, and
  which induces them to suppose that they shall finally escape
  with impunity? They, the vile wretches, are the
  _real mob_. They attack in body; they know that _defence
  is impossible_; they know, that a hundred times the fortune
  of Mr. Hunt would not purchase enough of their columns
  to contain an answer to their falsehoods. Is this
  _manly_, is this _fairness_, is this _discussion_, is this _liberty of
  the press_? Infamous cowards! They merit to be dragged
  by a halter fastened round their necks, and whipped
  through the streets. They talk of _decency_ and _decorum_
  indeed! _They_ call people _blackguards_ and ruffians!
  _They_ pretend to complain of _misrepresentation_ and _exaggeration_!
  They! who set up one common howl of foul
  abuse and viperous calumny.

  "But, what is the act which has awakened all those
  filthy curs, and put them in motion?  Some persons, no
  matter who, but, I believe, some suffering tradesmen, in
  London, agreed to call a meeting of _distressed_ people in
  Spa-fields, in order to present a petition on the subject of
  their sufferings: one of the Committee, who had called
  this Meeting, wrote to Mr. Hunt to come and assist at it.
  This he did. Being there, he proposed a Petition, which
  was agreed to. This Petition has appeared in the _Statesman_
  newspaper, to which I refer the reader; and when
  he has looked at it, he will be convinced, that, if the language
  of _moderation_ be desirable, the language of this
  petition is much _more moderate_ than that of almost any
  petition, which has recently appeared in print. Upon
  what _ground_, then, is this outrageous abuse founded? The
  Meeting separated very quietly; never did any Meeting
  partake less of riotous behaviour. In the evening of the
  same day, a mob of boys and others attacked some _bakers'_
  and _butchers'_ shops.  But, whose fault was this?  Was
  it Mr. Hunt's, who seems to have spent a quarter of an
  hour in endeavouring to convince his hearers, _that to commit
  such acts was to prove themselves unworthy of relief_;
  or, was it the fault of those pestiferous vehicles of falsehood,
  the _Courier_ and the _Times_, who are incessantly
  _inveighing against the avarice of bakers and butchers_?

  "It is clear, that these proceedings of the evening had
  no connection with the Meeting, but, on the contrary,
  that every thing which was said at the Meeting had a
  natural tendency to prevent them. As to the _attack on
  the office of the Morning Chronicle_, that might possibly
  arise out of what Mr. Hunt said at the Meeting. And,
  what then? Was he to endure the calumnies, the unprovoked
  calumnies, of that paper _for years_, and never reply
  a word? It would have _cost him hundreds of pounds_ to
  cause to be published in that paper _answers_ to a hundredth
  part of the base attacks upon him contained in that
  same paper. And, was he never to answer in any way?
  Was he, when he had a hundred thousand men within his
  hearing, to abstain from expressing his indignation at the
  conduct of that paper, lest, by possibility, the indignation
  might be catching? _The Morning Chronicle_, _The Courier_,
  and _Times_, make no scruple to endeavour _to cause
  him to be knocked in the head_; they point him out for
  either hanging or murdering; they are ready beforehand
  with an apology for any one who may take his life. And
  is he, who can find no entrance into their columns, without
  covering his paragraph with gold, to abstain from uttering
  a word against them when he comes before a public
  meeting, lest the people should espouse his cause and
  demolish their windows? Whence have _they_ derived this
  privilege of assaulting him with impunity?  He has no
  newspaper in his hands. He has no means of answering
  them through the press. They assail him, sitting snugly
  in their offices. They assail him daily. And, is he never
  to open his lips at any time, or at any place?

  "Where, then, is the ground of all this infamous abuse?
  After accusing Mr. Hunt of having raised a mob for _treasonable_
  purposes, some of the papers have, in the most
  _serious_ manner, asserted that he was _insane_, and that he
  had been to a _madhouse_!  Is not this a pretty stretch of
  calumny? Is a man bound to endure this in _silence_?  'He
  has his redress _at law_.'  Oh! the base cowards! Their
  answer is worse than their crime.

  "Was it any _fault_ in an Englishman, living in the country,
  to come to London to take part at a _Meeting of Englishmen
  in distress_? Was this any _fault_? No one can
  say that it was.--The Meeting had been advertised many
  days before any knowledge of it reached Mr. Hunt; he
  was requested to come up; and who can blame him for
  coming? However, it is not a question of blame or no
  blame; he had _a right_ to come, and he chose to exercise
  his right. If, indeed, the invitation had been from persons
  in _prosperity_, he might have easily declined; but, I
  do not see how he was to resist the call of people in distress.

  "But his speech, that was '_inflammatory_.'  Good God!
  what is _not_ inflammatory now-a-days?  But, though the
  speech might, and, I dare say, did contain matter much
  stronger than that which I have read in the report of it,
  I am very sure that it could not surpass what I have read in
  the _Morning Chronicle_ within this month; and that it
  could not surpass (for nothing can surpass) the inflammatory
  matter in the _Times_ and the _Courier_ on the subject
  of their alleged extortions of the Bakers and Butchers.
  Besides, as to the printed reports of the speech, Mr. Hunt
  was wholly _at the mercy of the Reporters_.  They have
  made him say just what they pleased, and he has no redress;
  no means of correction; no chance of being heard
  in explanation. They impute to him the having asserted,
  that _Lady Oxford_ is on the _pension list_.  This was false,
  as he has since proved to me by the list which he read.
  It has been asserted, that he went to the Meeting with a
  tri-coloured flag. This is also false, he never having
  known of the existence of any flag until his arrival on the
  spot; and, was he to go away merely because some whimsical
  persons had _hoisted a flag and a cap of Liberty?_ Besides,
  are there not flags enough at contested elections?
  Do not freemasons and others parade about with flags?
  Why was this meeting not to have a flag, if it chose it?
  Call the thing _nonsensical_ if you please, and I shall not
  dissent.  But, where was the _harm?_  Where was the
  justification for all this vile, this atrocious abuse?

  "It is said, that Mr. Hunt urged the people to use _physical
  force_ if their petition was not granted. This also is
  false; or, at least, he assures me that it is; and I believe
  him, because it was too foolish for him to think of. But,
  how often have we heard of _resistance_ being recommended?
  Mr. Fox once recommended it, and he never was
  calumniated in this outrageous manner. I have no doubt
  that many things escaped Mr. Hunt during his speech,
  that he himself wished he had uttered in more select
  phrases; but, who is there who is so very choice upon
  such occasions? If any one say, that he would do better
  to remain in Hampshire or Wiltshire, and take care of his
  farms, the answer is, that _he_ is seemingly of a different
  opinion. He _chooses_ to take a part in public matters.
  He prefers this bustle to the tranquillity of a country life.
  The boisterous hallooing of multitudes is more pleasing to
  his ears than the chinkling of the plough traces, the bleating
  of lambs, or the song of the nightingale.  His taste
  may be bad; but, a'God's name, do not cover him with
  all sorts of infamous names and imputations, on account of
  his want of taste. Besides, if this sort of objection were
  made to leaders at Public Meetings, we should, I imagine,
  have very few meetings. One might be told to keep to
  his snuff shop, another to his haberdashery, and so on.
  Indeed, the tools of Corruption are so very nice upon this
  head, that I have never yet heard of any one trade, or
  calling, which they did not despise, if a man who came
  forward against abuses happened to be of that trade or
  calling; and, on the other hand, there is nothing too low
  or vile for them, if it be put forward in Corruption's defence,
  or employed as one of her agents.

  "We shall see in the end how this most calumniated
  gentleman conducts himself. He has engaged to carry
  the Prince's answer to the Spa-fields Meeting next Monday
  week.  Now, if, in the conducting of this business, he
  shall be found to have acted the part of a stupid country
  jolterhead, or of a head-strong insolent ass, let him be
  left to the public contempt; but, if he shall be found to
  have carried the matter through with due respect towards
  the Prince and his Ministers, and at the same time, with
  the spirit and resolution of an independent man, let him
  have the praise that will be his due.

  "In the meanwhile it must be not a little mortifying
  to the _Morning Chronicle_ in particular to see, that _votes of
  thanks to Mr. Hunt_ have been passed at many of those
  meetings, in different parts of the kingdom, the proceedings
  at which meetings Mr. Perry has very highly and
  very justly _praised!_  How will this calumniator of Mr.
  Hunt account for this?  And how will he account for
  the speech of Mr. Hunt, at the late Westminster Meeting,
  having been re-published in _Norfolk_, and widely circulated
  in that county? There can have been no _trick_
  made use of by Mr. Hunt to produce these effects.  He
  has no acquaintances and cronies about the country.  Ten
  times his fortune would not have purchased him these
  marks of popularity.  And, why should the people of Spa-fields
  be abused for having chosen to ask the assistance of
  him, who has received votes of thanks from those very
  meetings, both in England and Scotland, the proceedings
  of which meetings Mr. Perry of the _Chronicle_ has _praised_
  to the skies?  Surely, the people in Scotland, in Norfolk,
  in Lancashire, cannot have had their judgment _unduly
  biassed_ in his _favour!_  They have heard the former outrageous
  _abuse_ of Mr. Hunt; never have heard, except by
  mere accident, a word in his defence; and, yet they have
  most solemnly decided, that his efforts are worthy of their
  praise and of their specific thanks.

  "Were I, who am acquainted with Mr. Hunt, to say to
  him, 'why do you not stay quietly at home and attend
  to your country affairs, and pursue the foxes, and hares,
  and pheasants, when you find yourself in need of recreation?
  You will be much happier in so doing, than in getting
  into all this turmoil of politics, and exposing yourself
  to so much calumny, and, indeed, to the hatred of
  those, whose hatred is full of danger to you.'  If I were
  to say this to him, would he not be fully justified in asking
  me, why _I did not myself_ act upon the principle of
  my own advice?  _Times_ and _circumstances_ create _men;_
  or, at least, they call men forth, who would otherwise
  have remained unknown to the end of their days; and the
  present are times when it is impossible for such men as
  Mr. Hunt to remain dormant.

  "Since writing the former part of this article, I have
  discovered, that the report of Mr. Hunt's speech in the
  _Statesman_ was taken, word for word, or nearly so, from
  the _Chronicle_.  The evening papers have, I find, _no
  reporters_.  So that _no true_ account has gone forth; and
  thus has the misrepresentation circulated without the
  _possibility_ of defence! There is a gentleman in Wiltshire,
  whose name is Benett, whose speech, at an agricultural
  meeting, about the Corn Bill, was published in all the
  London papers, and which speech, as published, drew
  down on him the _execrations_ of those same papers, and,
  indeed, of the public in general. He said, that he never
  uttered such words; that he bad been very grossly
  misrepresented. He wrote to some of these same papers a
  _contradiction_ of the statement; a _defence of himself_. But,
  in order to get in a short paragraph, he was called upon
  to pay to one paper _nineteen guineas!_ and, though he
  has a fortune of, probably, 10,000_l_. a year, he declared
  that his fortune would have been insufficient to obtain the
  means of defending himself through the same channels
  which had attacked him.  A hundred such fortunes would
  not have obtained the means of such defence; for, the
  moment he had paid for inserting a defence against one
  calumny, he would have found another to defend himself
  against.  What, then, is a calumniated man to do?  The
  _law!_ The reptiles know how to evade that; and, besides,
  where is the fortune sufficient for _law?_  Therefore,
  the calumnies must go and take their course.  If men
  cannot hear up against them, they must hold their peace,
  and retire from before the public.  Whether Mr. Hunt is
  to be driven off by these means remains to be seen.

  "WM. COBBETT."



The reader, who is old enough to recollect this circumstance, will
never forget the infamous conduct of the public press at that time. Mr.
Cobbett's description of it, in the above extract, is by no means an
exaggeration. The younger branch of my readers may thus form some faint
idea of what a bold and straight-forward friend of the people had to
encounter in the year 1816. While this cry was yet at its height, I
wrote to Sir Francis Burdett, who was then staying at Brighton, with
General Halse, the Aid-de-Camp of the Prince Regent, and I informed him
of the resolution which had been passed, requesting him, at the same
time, to present the petition to the Prince Regent, a copy of which and
of the resolutions, I enclosed to him as they were published in the
_Statesman_ newspaper. I likewise begged that he would favour me with
an answer, to say when he would please to present it, as I wished to
accompany him, agreeable to the instructions of the meeting. I received
a very laconic answer from the Baronet, saying, that "_he did not choose
to be made a cat's-paw of, neither would he insult the Prince Regent_."
As I had for many years been upon terms of intimacy with Sir Francis
Burdett, and had always acted in strict conformity with his political
principles, I own that I considered that answer to me as a direct
insult, and, in the heat of the moment, I was disposed at once to resent
it as such. From this, however, I was dissuaded by Mr. Cobbett and Major
Cartwright, who were extremely anxious not to do any thing to risk the
loss of Sir Francis Burdett's support to the numerous petitions which
had been agreed to, and were preparing to be sent up to the Parliament,
from all parts of the kingdom.

Mr. Cobbett had addressed several of his Registers to Sir Francis,
pointing out what sort of Reform it was necessary and just the people
should have. In these letters he contended for Annual Parliaments, and
that all direct tax-payers should have a vote, but no others. In his
Register, No. 16, of Volume 31, published on the 19th of October, after
having in a very elaborate manner maintained this doctrine, he says,
"All, therefore, that the Reformers have now to do, is to adhere to the
above-stated main points. _Every man who pays a direct tax to have a
vote; and Parliaments to be elected annually_." The test to ascertain
whether a man should have a vote or not, is laid down by Mr. Cobbett as
follows:--"When a man comes to vote, the Church-wardens who have the
charge of the ballot-box ask his name; the Overseers look into their
rate-book, to see whether he be a TAX-PAYER; finding his name there,
they bid him put in his ballot, which done, home he goes to his
business. _If the Overseers do not find him to be a tax-payer, he, of
course, does not vote_." This was the sort of Reform which, on the
19th of October, 1816, Mr. Cobbett proposed as competent to work our
salvation.

Mr. Cobbett, very properly, attributed a great portion of the evils
which the people endured to the corrupt state of the public press, which
he denominated "_blind guides_." "They are," said he (in speaking of the
provincial papers), "some of them tools of corruption, and some of them
_dumb dogs_, that have not the courage to take the part either of right
or wrong; they are neither one thing nor the other; they are quite
vapid, and, therefore, will the public 'spew them out of their mouths.'
Not, indeed, such papers as the _Nottingham Review_, the _Stamford
News_, the LIVERPOOL MERCURY, and some others, the proprietors of which
do honour to the press, and the pages of which will always be read with
pleasure and advantage." This is the way in which he spoke and wrote of
Mr. Egerton Smith, the proprietor of the _Liverpool Mercury_, in the
year 1816.

After the great public meeting, which had been held in Spa-fields,
on the 15th of November, Mr. Cobbett, in the very next Number of his
Register, published on the 23d of that month, came round all at once to
_Universal Suffrage_; and he says, "In Nos. 16 and 18 I gave my reasons
for _excluding_ from the vote all persons who did not pay direct taxes."
He then very clearly demonstrates the justice of _every one_ having a
vote, and adds, "But, it appeared to me, when I wrote Nos. 16 and 18, to
be too difficult to put this right in motion all at once; and therefore
I recommended the confining of the right of voting _to the payers of
direct taxes_, until there should be time for a reformed Parliament _to
change the mode of taxing_. Since, however, I have come to London, I
have had an opportunity of consulting MAJOR CARTWRIGHT upon the subject;
and the result is, my THOROUGH CONVICTION that nothing short Of
UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE would be just, and that such a system is perfectly
practicable." This was published on the 23d of November, 1816. The
reader will have to recollect these things when I come to detail what
took place at the meeting of delegates, in London, on the following
January. _Now_, Mr. Cobbett says that "there are three things for which
I contend--_Universal Suffrage, Annual Parliaments_, and _Vote by
Ballot_."

As soon as I received Sir Francis Burdett's letter, declining to present
the petition of the distressed people to the Prince Regent, I took the
earliest opportunity of proceeding to Carlton House by myself. When I
arrived there, I was informed that Colonel McMahon, his Royal Highness's
secretary, had left town, and would not return till two o'clock the next
day. I informed the under secretary, who was in waiting, who I was,
and what was my business, and I made an appointment to wait on Colonel
McMahon at two o'clock on the following day. I took care to knock at the
gate at Carlton House at the appointed time, and the moment that the
gate was open, the porter took off his hat, and, ringing a bell,
accosted me by _name_, and requested me to walk forward to the front
door, which I had scarcely reached before the large folding doors of
Carlton House were thrown open, and I was politely requested by the
attendants to walk in, as Colonel McMahon was ready to receive me. I
was ushered into his apartments in great state, and was immediately
introduced to him by name. I was most graciously received by the
Secretary, to whom I stated that I was deputed to present to his Royal
Highness a petition, agreed to at a meeting of nearly one hundred
thousand of his distressed subjects of the metropolis, assembled in
Spafields on the 15th, and that I wished to know when I could have an
audience for that purpose. The Colonel then took his book, and informed
me that the next levee would take place in about three weeks, which was
the first opportunity that I could have of being introduced to his Royal
Highness the Prince Regent. I told him that would be too distant a date,
and I begged to know if there were no means of presenting the petition
earlier, as I had promised to deliver the Prince's answer to the people
on the second of December, when they would assemble again to hear what
the answer was. To this he replied, that the only other means was
to forward the paper through the Secretary of State for the Home
Department, who, he had no doubt, would deliver it to his Royal Master
immediately, as he knew it was considered by the Ministers as a matter
of very considerable importance. I thanked him for his polite attention
and obliging information, and I then retired with the same form as I
entered, the Colonel attending me to the doors, which were thrown wide
open as before.

I immediately wrote a letter to Lord Sidmouth, to appoint a time when
I could have an audience, for the purpose of delivering to him the
petition to be presented to the Prince Regent, and I carried this letter
myself direct to the office of the Secretary of State, and sent it up to
his Lordship, saying, that I would wait in the ante-room for an answer.
In a very few minutes the servant in waiting returned, attended by an
under secretary, who said that Lord Sidmouth would give me an audience
immediately, and he desired that I would follow him. I did so, and was
forthwith introduced into the audience room, where his Lordship received
me with all that parade of overstrained politeness which belongs to a
finished courtier. He was surrounded by some half-dozen lordlings, who,
from the manner in which he ordered them out of the room, appeared to be
hungry expectants, seeking and supplicating some place, office, or boon.
They vanished in a twinkling, and his Lordship could not hear a word for
the world, till I did him the honour to take a seat, which he politely
drew for me. My letter had explained the object of my visit, and, after
having briefly apologised for intruding at a time when he was surrounded
by others, I expressed my wish to have the petition of 100,000 of the
distressed inhabitants of the metropolis, who had assembled in Spafields
the preceding Monday, presented to the Prince Regent; and I then put
into his hands the petition: he read it over attentively, and having
finished the perusal of it, he said that it was a most important paper,
and was couched in such proper language, that he should feel it his duty
to lay it before his Royal Master the very first thing on the following
morning, and he had not the least doubt but every attention would be
paid to the prayer of it. I begged to know if I might expect any reply
from his Royal Highness. He answered, certainly not; it being the
practice never to give any answer to petitions; but, if it was thought
advisable to attend to the prayer of it, his Royal Highness's Ministers
would immediately act upon it, and indeed he had no doubt that it would
receive due attention. He then entered into familiar conversation as to
the nature and extent of the meeting; and I embraced the opportunity
of pointing out, in glowing terms, the great and severe distress under
which the mass of the people were labouring, and expressing my earnest
hopes that some relief would be granted to them. He next introduced
the subject of the _Memorial_, a copy of which, he informed me, he had
received several days before the meeting was held; and he declared, that
if any attempt at going in a body to Carlton House had been made, it
would have been resisted by the military, and that bloodshed would have
been the consequence. He was perfectly aware that I had been the cause
of setting aside the Memorial, and substituting the petition in its
stead; and he emphatically added, "his Majesty's Ministers are greatly
indebted to you, and they are fully sensible that you have been the
cause of preventing a great public calamity; you have prevented the
spilling of human blood." I told him that I had promised to attend
another meeting, in the same place, on the Second of December, to
acquaint them with the result of my application, and I promised him that
I would represent it fairly. With this he appeared perfectly satisfied,
and he repeated the assurance, that he would lay the petition before his
Royal Highness the moment he could gain access to him in the morning,
and that he had no doubt it would receive due attention.

In the evening paper, the _Courier_, of the next day, it was announced
that the Spafields petition bad been presented to the Prince Regent,
who had graciously ordered FOUR THOUSAND POUNDS to be paid to the
Spitalfields soup committee; which sum was to be taken from the Droits
of the Admiralty. In consequence of this grant from his Royal Highness,
the soup committee met, and called a public meeting in the city, for the
purpose of promoting the subscriptions, and devising the best means of
relieving the distress which now was admitted universally to prevail
amongst the labouring classes in the metropolis; so that it was quite
evident that our Spafields meeting had produced infinite good, that
in all probability it had been the means of saving the lives of
thousands, and relieving the distresses of tens of thousands. Mr.
Fowell Buxton attended this meeting, and, after having described the
unparalleled distress and misery of the people, he made a most animated
and feeling appeal to the humanity of the public, to come forward to
relieve them. This and all the other meetings that followed, and all
the subscriptions that were raised, may very justly be ascribed to the
meeting at Spafields; for till that meeting took place, the general
overwhelming distress was little known, and less regarded, by the
opulent and powerful, who alone had the means of relieving it.
Notwithstanding this was undeniably the fact, yet the whole public press
of the metropolis, with very few exceptions, was daily employed in
spreading the most atrocious falsehoods and calumnies against me, for
having attended that meeting. I was represented as a traitor, and one
who wished to overturn the sacred institutions of the country, and
to produce revolution, confusion, and bloodshed. The _Times_, the
_Chronicle_, the _Morning Post_, and the _Courier_, held me up to public
execration, and even pointed me out for destruction. The editor of the
_Times_, who was then the notorious Dr. Slop, alias Dr. Stoddart,
the present proprietor of the _New Times_, urged my assassination
over and over again. As, however, no one would kill me in reality, he
determined at least to kill me in print. Accordingly along article was
inserted in the paper, announcing, in the gravest manner, the death of
Hunt. It stated that I bad got drunk, at Mr. Thompson's gin-shop on
Holborn-hill, and had fallen into one of the areas of the new buildings
at Waterloo-place, opposite Carlton-House, where I was found dead. A few
days afterwards, it was declared that they were misinformed as to my
death, but that I was taken in a melancholy state of insanity to Bedlam;
and the writer gave an account of the incoherent conversation which I
had held with Major Cartwright, Mr. Cobbett, and Sir Francis Burdett,
who had been to visit me. These accounts were given in such a serious
manner, the details were so minute, and they had altogether so much
the appearance of truth, that many of my friends and relations in the
country were exceedingly alarmed, not having any idea that the editor
of a respectable newspaper would have the impudence to put forth such
barefaced falsehoods. There was also generally one scoundrel or other
who gratified his malignity by writing to my family some dreadful
story of my death, or of some serious injury which I had received.

On the Saturday previous to the 2d of December I drove again to London,
and as I was sitting, in the evening of that day, in the room at the
Black Lion, Water Lane, Dr. Watson and Mr. Thistlewood called to consult
me upon what I meant to propose on the following Monday. I declined,
however, to have any conversation with them upon the subject. I should,
I told them, be there at the time appointed (one o'clock), on the
ensuing Monday; but that I was going out of town on the next morning,
and should return on the following day in time for the meeting. On
Sunday morning I left London with my servant, and drove to a friend's,
at Wanstead, in Essex, where I passed the day and slept, on purpose to
be out of the way of the party which I had before met at Spafields; as,
after what I had seen and heard when Mr. Castles was present, I was
determined to avoid having any communication with any of them, unless it
was in public.

About twelve o'clock I started from Wanstead in my tandem, and, as I
was driving down Cheapside at a pretty smart pace, I met a considerable
crowd going towards the Mansion-House; and, just after I passed Bow-
Church, I saw Mr. John Castles amongst those who appeared to be going
in a contrary direction from that which led to Spafields. He beckoned
me, and I drew up to the pavement to inquire the cause of what appeared
to me rather extraordinary. Before, however, I could put the question
to Mr. Castles, he inquired where I was going? to which I replied, "to
Spafields, to be sure." "Oh," said he, "the meeting has been broken up
these two hours nearly; young Watson has got possession of the Tower,
and we are all going thither; turn your horses' heads and come with us."
I gave him a look that appeared to strike him dumb, and laying my whip
upon my wheel-horse, I passed rapidly on, exclaiming "what a ------
scoundrel!" I looked at the clock of Bow-Church, and saw that it
wanted a quarter of an hour to one. I drove on at a smart pace towards
Spafields, and observed to my servant, that I had no doubt in my own
mind that Castles, the villain whom we had met, was an agent of the
Government, a spy; and the suspicions which I entertained of him when I
first met him, were now fully confirmed.

When we reached Spafields, the throng was very great, much larger than
even at the first meeting of the 15th of November. By the kindness of
the multitude I was enabled to drive up to the door of the Merlin's
Cave, in the front of which the people were assembled. My servant
returned with my tandem, with orders to have my horse Bob, which I drove
as leader, ready in the evening with a saddle and bridle on, that I
might ride him home to my Inn from the meeting. The cheers of the
congregated tens of thousands were almost insupportable; I never heard
such before. I made my way into the Merlin's Cave with difficulty, as it
was again taken possession of by the police. When I entered the room,
I found very few persons there except the newspaper reporters, and the
police magistrates with their officers, and none of those that had taken
any part at the previous meeting but Mr. William Clark, who was again
appointed to take the chair. Watson, Thistlewood, Preston, and all that
party were absent, but I had no knowledge of the cause, any farther
than the intimation which I had received from the very worthy Mr. John
Castles, not one word of which did I believe to be true.

After having addressed the people, I moved a string of resolutions,
the first of which inculcated the necessity of peaceable conduct, and
denounced as the greatest enemies of Reform all those who should commit
any act of violence, or any breach whatever of the peace. Another
resolution was, to agree to petition the House of Commons for a Reform
in the representation of the people, upon the principle of universal
suffrage, annual parliaments, and vote by ballot. The resolutions being
seconded by Mr. Haydon of Welbeck-street, were all passed, and the
petition which I proposed was unanimously agreed to, and was, as will
hereafter be seen, signed by _twenty-four thousand_ of the suffering
unrepresented people, and which was presented to the Honourable House by
Lord Cochrane.

Towards the latter end of the meeting information was brought to me
that, in the course of the day, there had been some serious riots in the
city; I therefore immediately cautioned all those who had attended our
meeting to avoid mixing themselves up in any way with those illegal and
foolish proceedings. I told them that I should ride home to my hotel
upon my favourite horse BOB, and, as I knew they would attend me, I
earnestly entreated them that, as soon as they had protected me to my
abode, they would each of them peaceably and quietly return home, and
not give the enemies of Reform an opportunity of attributing disorderly
conduct to any part of the meeting. This advice they promised me they
would attend to. I then mounted my horse, and almost the whole assembly
accompanied me to my inn. As we passed in the front of the House of
Correction, in Cold Bath Fields, I observed great numbers of constables
and police officers assembled, armed with their staves of office, &c.
&c., as if for the purpose of protecting that building from the fury of
the populace. But there was not the slightest occasion for this, as the
people did not evince the least disposition to do any harm to any one;
and, notwithstanding the immense pressure of the crowd, I do not believe
that there was a single pane of glass broken.

When we arrived at the Black Lion in Water-lane, I stood up in my
stirrups, and demanded of the people if they would grant me _one
favour?_ A thousand voices exclaimed "Yes, Sir, any thing that you
wish." I then requested them to disperse immediately, and return to
their homes. They answered, "We will, we will!" I alighted and went into
my inn, and in a very few minutes afterwards the whole of this immense
multitude had dispersed, and were on their way homeward, without doing
any mischief.

It was now for the first time that I heard any thing of the riots which
had taken place in the city. A second edition of the _Courier_ gave a
most exaggerated account of them, misrepresenting every thing, and
heading the statements "_Spafelds Meeting_;" when the truth was, that so
far from any of the persons who attended the Spafields meeting having
had any hand in the riots, they actually knew nothing of the matter,
till they heard it from their neighbours, after they had returned home
from the meeting. The fact was this: Watson and Thistlewood found that
I would not have any thing to do with their wild schemes, whatever they
might be; they therefore assembled in Spafields about eleven o'clock in
the morning, more than an hour before the persons who meant to attend
the meeting began to meet together; they mounted the waggon, and
addressed the few individuals that surrounded them, perhaps at the
time two or three hundred; the elder Watson harangued them upon the
advantages of the Spencean plan, and young Watson, urged on by Castles,
having briefly addressed them, jumped from the waggon, and called upon
those who wished to be led on to victory to follow him; the villain
Castles taking care to leave a few bullets, wrapped up in an old
stocking, so exposed in the waggon, that those who remained could not
avoid seeing them. The whole of what occurred was reported by Mr.
Spectacle Dowling, a confidential reporter of the Sunday _Observer_,
who swore to the particulars afterwards with an astonishing degree of
minuteness, although other reporters who were present declared, that not
one-tenth of what was said could be heard.

About forty persons followed young Watson, accompanied by his friend
Castles; and Mr. Dowling the reporter followed this little squad of
desperadoes, no doubt for the purpose of giving a faithful detail of
what passed, although he was sent by Mr. Clement, of the _Observer_, to
report the proceedings of the meeting to be held in Spafields at one
o'clock. It appears that having been reinforced by a party of distressed
sailors and others, who were returning from the Old-Bailey, where they
had been to witness the hanging of some criminals, these gentry
attacked and began to plunder the shop of Mr. Beckwith, a gun-smith, in
Skinner-street. It is said that young Watson was seized there by a man
of the name of Platt, and that, in order to save himself, he fired a
pistol loaded with powder and wadding only, which wounded the said Platt
in the groin. Young Watson was, however, seized and taken up stairs
into a back room, and the front doors of the shop and the windows were
closed. During the confusion Platt escaped over a back wall of the
premises, and as young Watson was left in the house a prisoner at large,
he walked into a front room, opened a window that looked into the
street, and waved his handkerchief to the multitude, to make an effort
to relieve him. This they immediately attended to: a sailor volunteered
his services, and being hoisted up by the people, he threw himself
through the fan-light over the front door, which he soon opened, and
Watson was released without any resistance. They then seized some of the
guns, and pushed forward towards the Exchange, firing in the air as they
passed along Newgate-street and Cheapside. They entered the Exchange;
upon which the doors were closed upon them, and Alderman Wood, who was a
second time Lord Mayor, and Sir James Shaw, seized a sailor or two, one
of whom proved to be Cashman, who was then bearing the tricoloured flag.
The rest of the party, headed by Watson, marched off to the Tower,
where, as it was afterwards sworn, Thistlewood demanded of the soldiers
upon duty on the parapets to surrender the Tower to them. Some of the
party broke into a gunsmith's shop in the Minories, and carried off
several of his guns, some finished and others not finished. By this
time, however, a half-dozen of horse soldiers made their appearance upon
Tower-hill, upon which the authors of this mighty insurrection all fled
with the greatest precipitancy, helter skelter, the devil take the
hindermost, without the soldiers having made a charge, raised an arm, or
even approached near to them.

So much for this disgraceful and contemptible riot, during the whole of
which not one life was lost, and, with the exception of Platt, not one
person was even wounded or hurt. While these things were going on, it
has been seen that Castles had contrived to way-lay me, in Cheapside, on
my road from Wanstead towards Spafields; and, as I have before observed,
kindly invited me to accompany him to the Tower, which he said young
Watson had got possession of for more than an hour before.

In the evening the elder Watson and Thistlewood were taken near
Paddington or Islington, as they were endeavouring to make their escape
into the country. The worthy Mr. John Castles no doubt surrendered
himself, and soon after Preston and Hooper were apprehended, and they
were all five committed to prison. I believe a reward of 750_l_. was
offered for the apprehension of the chief conspirator, young Watson.
The next day the London papers were crammed full of the most wonderful
accounts of this most wonderful plot and insurrection; attributing
the whole of it to ME, and to the Spaflelds meeting. The London press
had raised such an outcry as never was heard of before; and if ten
thousand of the inhabitants of the city had been massacred, there could
not have been greater consternation produced throughout the whole
country; which consternation was sedulously kept up by the most
abominable falsehoods promulgated by almost the whole of the country
provincial newspapers. As a faithful account of the whole transaction
was published at the time by Mr. Cobbett, in his Register of the 13th of
December, in a letter which he addressed to me on the subject, and as it
contains matter worthy to be recorded in my Memoirs, I shall insert it
verbatim.

"_A Letter to Henry Hunt, Esq. of Middleton Cottage, near Andover, on
the London Plots._

"London, 13th Dec. 1816.

"Sir--The summer before last, when you came over to Botley and found
me transplanting Swedish turnips amidst dust, and under a sun which
scorched the leaves till they resembled fried parsley, you remember how
I was fretting and stewing; how many times in an hour I was looking out
for a south-western cloud; how I watched the mercury in the glass, and
rapped the glass with my knuckles to try to move it in my favour. But
great as my anxiety then was, and ludicrous as were my movements, ten
thousand times greater has been that of Corruption's Press for the
coming of a PLOT, and ten thousand times more ludicrous its movements in
order to hasten the accomplish ment of its wishes! You remember how my
wife laughed at me, when, in the evening, some boys having thrown a
handful or two of sand over the wall, that made a sort of dropping on
the leaves of the laurels, I took it for the beginning of a _shower_,
and pulled off my hat and held up my hand to see whether more was not
coming, though there was nothing to be seen in the sky but the stars
shining as bright as silver. Just such has been the conduct of
Corruption's sons upon hearing of the _discovery_ of Mr. Watson's and
Mr. Preston's _papers_.' They sigh for a PLOT. Oh, how they sigh! They
are working and slaving and fretting and stewing; they are sweating all
over; they are absolutely pining and dying for a Plot!

"In these their wishes it is hard to say which character is most
prominent, the _fool_ or the _knave;_ for, if by any means, they were
to make out the real existence of a Plot for the destruction of the
Government, would such proof tend to the _credit_ of that Government
in the eyes of the world at large, or in those of the people of this
kingdom? Would it tend to make the world believe that the Government is
good, and is beloved by the people? Would it tend to lessen the mass of
misery that is now in existence? Would it tend to enable the Landlords
and Farmers to pay the interest of the Debt? And, if it would have
no such tendency, what good could arise to the Government from the
producing of even undeniable proof of the existence of a Plot of any
sort, however extensive?

"But, as clearly appears from all their publications, the main hope of
Corruption's sons has been to trace a Plot to YOU! In order to effect
this, they have stuck at no thing that villainy could suggest. They have
asserted _as admitted facts_ hundreds of falsehoods. As a specimen
of these, the _Times, Sun, Courier_, and others have stated '_on
authority_,' that you and I were in _close consultation_, on the Sunday
before the riots, _with Lord Cochrane, in the King's Bench Prison_. You
know that you were at _Wanstead, in Essex_, all that day; and I know
that I was at _Peckham, in Surrey_, never having seen you on that day,
and not until the succeeding Tuesday. The wretched man who conducts
the Sun newspaper asserted, that I came up for the express purpose of
organizing the Plot; and that, having prepared every thing, I _set of to
Botley_ the night before it broke out.--_Here_ I have been in London,
however, without having stirred out of it one minute from that time
to this. I could mention a hundred other falsehoods which the sons of
Corruption have sent forth with equal boldness, with equal impudence,
and with equal baseness. But, the _Times_ newspaper, always preeminent
in infamy, asserted, that '_Young Cobbett_' was one of the persons who
_spent the evening_ with you after your return from the Spa-fields
Meeting on the Monday. The object of this falsehood was to alarm his
_mother_ and _sisters_ for his safety, seeing that that statement was
accompanied with other falsehoods calculated to excite a fear that all
who were with you that evening would be _implicated in some state
crime!_ It is for the Courier, the Sun, the Post, and some others to be
guilty of premeditated falsehoods, but it is only, I believe, for
Walter, the Proprietor of the Times, and the instigator to the killing
of the brave Marshal Ney, to be guilty of such baseness as _this_.

"However, even these falsehoods will tend to good. There are yet many
very worthy people, who have believed in the statement of these sons of
Corruption; who, judging too much from their own hearts and minds, have
not been able to work themselves into a belief, that other men could
be so totally void of all sense of moral feeling as coolly to put upon
paper, in the most serious and solid manner, and to send forth as
acknowledged truths, that which they know to be utterly false. To such
worthy persons it seems to be a libel on human nature to suppose, that
such black-hearted villainy can be in existence. They cannot conceive
how a man can dare walk the streets, or how he can look even his
acquaintances or his own family in the face, after being guilty of such
shameful conduct. They now see, however, that this really is the case;
and, though there are some who will still, from corrupt motives,
_affect_ to believe in the statements of these corrupt men, there will,
I hope, be found a great many to say, that they have been deceived, and
that they will be deceived no longer.

"The unfortunate men, whom want and ruin have driven to deeds of
desperation, are not, with all their temptations, more desperate in
their way than are the sons of Corruption in theirs, without any
temptation at all. The numerous and ponderous facts, the clear and
forcible arguments, by which they have been assailed, leave them no
means of _defence_.--They have been driven to the wall, beaten, subdued.
They dare not show themselves, in the field of dispute. They, therefore,
resort to false accusations; and, unable to find any thing upon which to
put a false construction, they have, at last, thrown aside all attempts
to discover the means of misrepresentation, and have had recourse to
open, unblushing, to sheer _invented falsehoods_. That love of _fair
play_, for which all orders of Englishmen in all ages have been so
famed, finds no place in the bosoms of these degenerate men.--They enter
the ring with seeming bravery, but being, round after round, knocked
down and crippled, they use, like a Dutchman, their remaining strength
to draw out a _snigarsnee_ to run into our bowels. Let us, however, by a
steady and cool perseverance in the cause of our country's freedom
and happiness, endeavour to break the arm that wields this hateful
instrument of malignity and cowardice.

"You, conscious of your honourable motives, and listening only to your
courage, have always been deaf to the intreaties of those who cautioned
you against the danger of spies and false-witnesses. But, do you think
that the wretches who could be base enough to publish falsehoods such as
I have enumerated above: who could coolly represent you as having been
sent first to gaol and then to Bedlam; and who, in order to deter me
from my duty, could exhibit my son as being in danger of his life, and
thereby cause alarm in his mother and sisters: do you think that men
so lost to all sense of shame, and so devoted to every thing that is
corrupt; do you think they would hesitate one moment to bribe villains
to swear falsely against you or against me or against any man, whom they
thought it their interest to destroy? Nay, do you think that they would
hesitate one single half moment to be guilty, for such a purpose, of the
blackest perjury themselves? Be you assured, that there is nothing of
which such men are not capable; intimidation, promises, bribes, perjury,
any thing such men are capable of recommending to others, or of doing
themselves. Your country life, your sober habits, your dislike of
feastings and carousings; these are great securities; but, while you
follow the impulses of your public-spirit and your valour, I hope you
will always bear in mind, that there are such things as _false-swearing_
in the world, and that a defeated coward has never been known to be
otherwise than inexorably cruel. The proprietor of the Morning Post, in
his paper of last Monday, says, that Cobbett and Hunt ought at least to
lose their lives; and the author of the Antigallican has, I am told,
put the drawing of a gallows in his Paper, with a _rope_ ready for use,
having _my name_ on it, or very near it.--And, you may be well assured,
that, if the _false oaths_ of these men could do the job, those oaths
would be very much at our service. Therefore, though I am quite sure,
that these menaces will not deter you from doing any thing, which you
would have done if the menaces had never been made; yet, as being proofs
of the shameless, the remorseless, the desperate villainy of these
tools, their present conduct ought to impress on your mind the necessity
of being on your guard, so far, at least, as not _unnecessarily_ to
expose yourself to the consequences of _false-swearing_. These men and
their associates call the younger Mr. Watson (whom they, without proof,
charge with shooting Mr. Platt) an _assassin_, though they themselves
state, that the shot arose from the seizure of Watson by Platt, and that
the former, like a wild enthusiast as he appears to have been, expressed
his sorrow on the instant, and actually went to work to save the life of
the wounded man. Nobody justifies, or attempts to justify, the shooter;
but, if he were an _assassin_, what are these men who, while they keep
their _names hidden_, are endeavouring to produce persecution and ruin
and death in every direction? The man who shot Mr. Platt, though highly
criminal, is not a thousandth part so criminal as these men, who to
premeditated bloody-mindedness add a degree of cowardice such as was
never before heard of.

"Let me now, before I proceed to other topics, hastily trace the
_progress of the developement of the Plot_, as given to us through the
channel of these same Papers. When Mr. Watson the elder was taken, the
sons of Corruption promised the public a series of grand discoveries.
His answers to the questions put to him, appear, however, to have been
perfectly open and frank. All that was really found out from him was,
that he was a surgeon who had lived in great esteem, and had a family
who had been rendered so miserable by want, that 'a lovely daughter of
his had died for the want of the things, such as wine, &c. necessary to
her recovery.' His story, of the truth of which there appears to be
no doubt, would have softened any hearts but those of the sons of
Corruption, who, instead of expressing compassion for his calamities,
are as loudly vociferating for his blood, as they did for the blood of
Marshal Ney. They tell us, that he attributed all the sufferings of
himself and others 'to the _Oligarchy_;' but, not a word does he seem to
have said, that can justify these detestable writers in imputing to him
any share in any Plot or in any Riot.

"The lodgings of himself and his son have been searched, and all
their papers seized, amongst the rest, we are told, _a Letter from
you_ to the younger Watson. Oh! what _a prize!_ How the eye must have
glistened upon the sight of your name at the bottom of a letter to the
'Chief Conspirator,' as they call him! With what eager haste were the
contents run over! With what trembling, what slavering expectation must
those contents have been perused! Alas! how the head must have turned
slowly away and the Letter have fallen gently upon the table, when those
contents became intelligible to the fluttering senses, now returned to a
state of coolness!

"Corruption's darlings confess, that there was nothing in '_this_'
letter that showed you to have bad any criminal hand in '_the
conspiracy_.' How came these newspaper writers to _know_ the contents of
your letter? _Who_ was it that _authorized them_ to publish this account
of your letter? Either they know its contents, or they do not: if the
latter, they have published what they do not know to be true; if the
former, why do they not publish the _whole_ of those contents? The
reason is this: the contents of your letter would convince every man
who should see them, that you were not only ignorant of any Plot or
Conspiracy; but that, if your correspondent _really had_ any such views
(which I do not believe) your letter was calculated to _check_ any hope
that he might have entertained of having your co-operation. This is
what, I venture to say, the contents of your letter would have proved to
the satisfaction of every well-wisher to the peace and happiness of the
country; and _because_ they would have proved _this,_ these base writers
have carefully kept them out of their columns!

"But, Mr. Preston, they tell us, boldly _avows_ the intended
'_insurrection_,' and _confesses_ all that can be wished, except,
indeed, the main thing, which is, that _you_ had a hand in the said
'_insurrection_.' However, this is _all a falsehood;_ and, if the
_proof_ of its falsehood be not made clearly appear before this day
month, I will be content to pass for an ideot for the rest of my life.
The account of Mr. Preston's '_confessions_,' as the sons of Corruption
call them, you shall have in their own words. The Lord Mayor, it seems,
went to Mr. Preston's home, and having examined him and his papers,
found no grounds for detaining him; but, since that he has been, it
appears, taken up and kept in custody, and the following is the account
which Corruption's Press gives of his examination: "'The next person of
importance who has been apprehended is Thomas Preston, who is called the
Secretary to the Spa-fields Committee. This poor wretch lives with his
two daughters in a small room in Greystoke-place, Fetter-lane. He
has undergone two or three examinations, in all which be has been as
communicative as the most zealous could have wished.--The substance of
all he related is accurately thus--that a plan of _insurrection_ was
formed--that it was as _general_ as it was _good_, but that precipitancy
had injured its progress, though it had not defeated its object. The
plan, he asserted, must still be carried into effect--it was too
powerful to be resisted when properly undertaken; and the only resource
left to the Government, in order to its being averted, was, by the
Prince Regent answering the petition of the people, and the immediate
adoption of Parliamentary Reform. 'The soldiers,' he added, 'were not
firm;' their friends were starving, but _they_ having a provision,
forgot their pledge and duty. He acknowledged his connection to the
fullest extent with the Spa-fields Meetings, to which he was joint
Secretary. He knew the two Watsons, and had frequently acted with them
upon the Committees, and various other occasions. He denied having taken
the slightest part in the riotous proceedings of Monday, and _deprecated
in the strongest manner the horrid system of taking away the life of
a fellow-creature_. He frequently repeated, that the plan was
_constitutional_, and delivered the whole of his account in the most
undisguised and enthusiastic manner.' In another examination he is
stated to have said, that 'the PLOT had been going on for EIGHT YEARS,
and that he himself HAD WRITTEN TO THE LATE MR. PERCEVAL ON THE SUBJECT,
urging him to ADOPT it, as the only means of SAVING THE NATION!'

"Now, when your laughing fit is over, let me ask you, whether you ever
heard of a _Plot_ and _Insurrection_ like this before? What! an eight
years' Plot! a _good_ Insurrection! Dennis, in his criticism upon
Addison's silly play of _Cato_, ridicules the idea of the conspirators
against Cato's life picking out _Cato's own hall_ for the scene of their
consultations; but these modern Plotters beat Syphax and his associates
hollow; for they, in order to further their view of destroying the
government, communicate their Plot to the Prime Minister himself!

"What must the people _in the country_ think of all this? What a mass
of absurdities and contradictions! What madness it all appears to be!
_Good_ insurrections; _constitutional_ attacks on the government!
_Plots_ which the prime Minister has been urged to adopt in order to
save the nation! What _can_ the people at large make out of such a
strange medley? The sons of Corruption it is who have made the medley.
They wanted a _Plot_. The mad riots in the city afforded them a pretext,
and they have put the words PLOT and INSURRECTION _into Mr. Preston's
mouth_ in order to favour their views. Now, let us see how a plain tale
will put them down and expose their malice to the world.

"About sixteen years ago, a Mr. SPENCE, a schoolmaster in Yorkshire,
conceived what he called a PLAN for making the nation happy, by taking
all the lands into the hands of a just government, and appropriating all
the produce or profit to the support of the people, so that there
would be no one in want, and all would live in a sort of _Christian
Brotherhood_. This plan, accompanied with some political remarks, he
published in 1800, for which he was pursued by a Criminal Information
Ex-Officio, by the present Chief Justice, who was then Attorney-General.
When brought up for trial I was present in the Court of King's Bench. He
had no counsel, but defended himself, and insisted that his views were
_pure_ and _benevolent_, in proof of which, in spite of all exhortations
to the contrary, he read his pamphlet through. He was found _guilty_
and sentenced to be imprisoned for I forget how long. He was a plain,
unaffected, inoffensive looking creature. He did not seem at all afraid
of any punishment, and appeared much more anxious about the success of
his _plan_ than about the preservation of his life. After he came out of
prison, he pursued the inculcation of his _plan_, appearing to have no
other care; and this he did, I am assured, to the day of his death,
always having been a most virtuous and inoffensive man, and always very
much beloved by those who knew him.

"We have all seen, for years past, _written on the walls_, in and near
London, these words, "SPENCE'S PLAN:" and I never knew what it meant,
until, a little while ago, I received a pamphlet from Mr. Evans,
Newcastle-street, Strand, detailing the _Plan_ very fully. This Mr.
Evans, I understand to be a very worthy man, and his pamphlet, though I
do not agree with it in opinion as to many of its propositions, contains
some interesting observations, and breathes a spirit of benevolence
throughout the whole.

"Mr. Preston and the Watsons appear to have been followers of Mr.
Spence; and the '_plan_' of which Mr. Preston is said to have
'_confessed_' the existence, is, as you will see, '_Spence's Plan_,' and
nothing more; and nothing more, no, not a hair more, will Corruption's
sons, with all their torturing and twisting, with all their falsehoods
and affected alarms, be able to make of it! Thus, you will clearly
perceive, that the 'confessions,' as they are called, of your
correspondent, Mr. Preston, are no confessions at all. You will clearly
see, that Corruption's Press has foisted in the words _insurrection_
and _plot_; for, unless you see this, what sense is there in the words
_good_ and _constitutional?_ What absurdity to believe, that a man, and
a _guilty_ man, too, would talk about a _good_ insurrection and about
a plot that was _constitutional_, and which plot had been going on for
_eight years_, and had been _communicated to Mr. Perceval_ as the only
means of saving the nation! But, strip these lying accounts of the words
_insurrection_ and _plot_, and leave the word _plan_, and then the
whole, however wild in itself, becomes perfectly consistent; and such,
you may depend on it, and no other, has been the 'confession' of Mr.
Preston.

"The Courier of Monday last, in pursuance of its endeavours to keep the
scent of a _plot_ from cooling, has these remarks: 'Whether the _plan_
of the _rioters_ was to commence in the morning or at night, is not
ascertained; but from the declaration of Preston, who charges young
Watson with _precipitancy_, it appears _that the operations were not to
commence till dark_. Preston still maintains a high and indignant tone;
he talks more _enthusiastically_ than before of the _extent of the
plot_, and adds, that not less than three hundred thousand persons _were
enrolled in the cause_. Hooper, who states Preston to be the instigator
and great mechanist of the _conspiracy_, has declared that the two
Watsons, himself, and Preston, were in concert together in Spa-fields on
the morning of Monday.'--Now, I dare say, that it will finally turn out,
that Hooper has said no such thing as is here stated. But here again you
see, that the words _plot_ and _conspiracy_ are used instead of the word
_plan_, and this is manifestly for the base and diabolical purpose
of causing the people to believe, that there has been a _conspiracy_
against the government, and that _all the Reformers_ are enrolled in
this conspiracy! But be you well assured, that these eager efforts to
excite alarm will fail of their purpose, and that the workers in them
and their abettors will come out of the attempt covered with infamy,
though nothing can produce in them any feeling of shame.

"In the meanwhile the Spenceonians are posting up, all about, the
prospectus of this plan, and as if for the express purpose of preparing
the way for their own everlasting disgrace, the owners of the Corrupt
Press are publishing this very document, which I insert here as taken
from the Courier of Monday.

"'The following hand-bill, it is stated, was circulated through the
Metropolis yesterday, and _excited much apprehension:_--

  'SPENCE'S PLAN
  For Parochial Partnerships in the Land,
  Is the only effectual Remedy for the Distresses and Oppressions of
  the People.
  The Landholders are not Proprietors in Chief; they are but the
  _Stewards_ of the Public;
  For the LAND is the PEOPLE'S FARM.
  The Expenses of the Government do not cause the Misery that
  surrounds us, but the enormous exactions of these
  '_Unjust Stewards._'
  Landed Monopoly is indeed equally contrary to the benign Spirit of
  Christianity, and destructive of
  The Independence and Morality of all Mankind.
  'The Profit of the Earth is for all;'
  Yet how deplorably destitute are the great Mass of the People?
  Nor is it possible for their situations to be radically amended, but by
  the establishment of a system,
  Founded on the immutable basis of Nature and Justice.
  Experience demonstrates its necessity; and the rights of mankind
  require it for their preservation.

  To obtain this important object, by extending the knowledge of the
  above system, the Society of Spencean Philanthropists has been
  instituted. Further information of its principles may be obtained by
  attending any of its Sectional Meetings, where subjects are discussed
  calculated to enlighten the human understanding, and where also the
  regulations of the Society may be procured, containing a complete
  developement of the Spencean system.--Every individual is admitted,
  free of expense, who will conduct himself with decorum.

  The Meetings of this Society begin at a quarter past eight in the
  evening, as under:

  First Section, every Wednesday, at the Cock, Grafton-street, Soho.
  Second ............ Thursday, Mulberry Tree, Mulberry-court,
                      Wilson-street,Moorfields.
  Third ............. Monday, Nag's Head, Carnaby-market.
  Fourth ............ Tuesday, No. 8, Lumber-street, Mint, Borough.'

"_This_ is the _Plan_! This is the plan, the plot, the conspiracy, and
the insurrection scheme! And, what an impudent, what an incorrigible,
what a hardened impostor, must this writer be, who can tell the public,
that this hand-bill _excited much apprehension_! Apprehension, I
believe, indeed, _in him_ and his associates and encouragers; for it
furnishes the clue to unravel all their falsehoods and to expose them
to scorn and to detestation; but, it is calculated to excite
_'apprehension'_ in nobody else. The public indignation is fast
collecting and winding up to a high pitch; and it only waits the result
of the present examinations to pour down upon the heads of these corrupt
instigators to fury and bloodshed. A gang of spies and informers, in
one of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays, who, after long and wearisome
contrivances to discover a plot and to get the reward, just at the
moment when they are expecting to see their victim swing and to pocket
the blood-money, are sent away abashed and confounded by the discovery
that it was a _Cod's Head_ and not that of the _Sovereign_, against
which he had been _plotting_. Not less complete would be the confusion
of these corrupt writers, if it were not that they are destitute of
every feeling that can lead to shame or remorse.

"Monstrous, however, as are the baseness and malice and cruelty of these
men, they are, I think, still exceeded by their folly. The main object
of all their endeavours, is, very clearly, to render you odious and to
put you down; and, if they had been created for the express purpose of
exalting you, it would have been impossible for them to labour to that
end with more zeal or more effect. Your manner of conducting the second
meeting, the way in which you carried on your communications with
the government, the punctuality and decorum of your proceedings, the
language and matter of your Resolutions and Petition, and the _effect_
of these, very justly entitled you to a large share of public applause;
but, the blows which these ferocious writers have aimed at your _life_
have excited an interest in your favour such as no human being could
have thought possible, and in the tide of which are completely drowned
all your momentary errors and indiscretions, which, besides, having
arisen from an excess of zeal, were not calculated to be long held in
remembrance. Some very good, but very weak and timid people talked of
your _violence_, while they seemed to overlook the _violent_ thing which
you attacked; but in the minds of all good men there is an inherent
abhorrence of baseness like that which has aimed its murderous sting
against your life, and, in the present case, this abhorrence has
overpowered all the alarms of the good and timid people in whose breasts
what is called your violence had excited such alarms. "The vipers
have the mortification to perceive this, and their rage is increased
accordingly. They see your _portrait_, from three different hands,
setting them at defiance in the print-shop windows. They hear your
_speech_ and _resolutions_ cried through the streets, and sold out
of shops in several separate editions. They hear the taverns and
public-houses filled with talk about you. They have contrived by their
endeavours to implicate you in a '_treasonable conspiracy_,' to excite
a strong feeling of some sort or other respecting you in every human
breast. And this is _their_ way of _putting a man down!_ They have, even
by the use of their own columns, made your _name familiar_ to the very
water's edge of these islands. They have made you _the only one of your
kind;_ there is now but one Mr. Hunt in the world. Your ambition must
be a cormorant indeed, if this does not satisfy it. No longer ago than
Monday, they very seriously announced, that 'Hunt was SEEN, _in his
Tandem,_ going towards his home on _Thursday last_!' They seem to think
that the public is much more interested in your movements than in those
of the Prince Regent or of the Queen. I should not wonder if they were
to have a '_Court News Writer_' to give an account of all the movements
of your body; and, after what I have seen within these ten days, I do
not despair of seeing them announce, that 'on Monday, Mr. Hunt took the
diversion of shooting till three o'clock. On Tuesday, Mr. Hunt went
to inspect his barns, and was graciously pleased to express his high
approbation of the ingenious mode of laying the crab-stick on upon
the sheaves of wheat. On Wednesday, Mr. Hunt gave audience to several
tax-gatherers, to whose importunities he did not listen with an
overstock of complacency.' And so on, day after day. Why should I
despair of this, after what I have seen? Your _Tandem_ is become far
more renowned than the _Bulletproof coach_, and your horse _Bob_, is far
more famous already than the charger of old Blucher.

"Oh! the fools! Could not the settled reputation of being the most
consummate of _knaves_ content them? Was it necessary, in order to
satisfy their ambition, to stand unrivalled through the world for folly
as well as for knavery?

"Gratified, however, as you must be by these demonstrations of the
impotent malice of such men, I hope, and indeed, I am sure, that a more
gratifying consideration with you will be, as it ought to be, that these
vile men have added to your power of serving your country, and which you
will now be the better able to serve, because, having given such ample
proofs of earnestness and resolution, you may safely _moderate your
zeal_ without risking any imputation of a want of that super-excellent
quality. That quality, in which so many men are deficient, you possess
to a redundance. Guard against this excess in future: take in a little
sail, and add a little to your ballast: exchange a little of the courage
of the lion for a little of the wisdom of the serpent: give up a little,
and only a very little, of the stubbornness of the oak, for a little,
and only a very little, of the pliancy of the reed: do this, and trust
to the folly and knavery of these stupid and malignant wretches to make
you a _great man_.

"The situation of the country is becoming day after day more and more
perilous, and there can be no relief without a radical cure. The Prince
in his answer to the City of London (which I shall fully notice by and
by) confesses, as he well may, the existence of national _distress_ and
_difficulty_. These are important words, and especially the last. This
is a great change produced since the beginning of last session of
Parliament, when the wondrous _prosperity_ of the country was a
prominent theme of the Speech, and when your Wiltshire County Member,
Mr. Paul Methuen, congratulated the House, that this country bad become
the pillar of legitimacy all over Europe! Alas! how soon things have
changed! Misery is a greater teacher than Messrs. Lancaster and Bell
both put together.

"The Spitalfields subscription swells at a great rate, and, as a means
of _immediate_ relief, I am glad it does, though I shall always contend,
that whatever degree of _good_ may thereby be done, is due to _you_
more than to any other person, and more than to all other persons put
together; for, it is impossible that the misery should not have _existed
before_ the first Meeting in Spa-fields; and why, then, was it not
_before_ relieved? Mr. Buxton must have long _known_ the facts which
he so eloquently and so affectingly described; and why did he not then
describe them _sooner_? The miserable sailors have long been perishing
about the streets with hunger and cold; and why, then, has no measure of
relief for them been adopted until _now_? I do not pretend to say,
nor do I believe, that the greater part of those who now so freely
subscribe, did not before feel for the unhappy sufferers; but, this I am
quite sure of, that it was your first meeting and your petition which
roused their feelings into immediate action; I do not say, nor do I
believe, that the greater part of the subscribers had no real charity in
them; but I defy any one to say, that their charity, which before lay
dormant, was not quickened by your exertions. One of your flags, or
rather of the flags of the Meeting, which had on it 'FEED THE HUNGRY,'
'CLOTHE THE NAKED,' was called by the _Courier_ 'a standard of
_rebellion_;' but, it is a standard under which the subscribers have
hastened to range themselves; for they are serving out _soup_ and _old
clothes_ in all directions! But, this very _Courier_, after the first
Meeting, expressly stated, that the people in and near London, _were not
in want_. He said, that, though work had fallen off and wages had been
lowered _in the country_, it was _not so_ in London; and he called the
poor starving multitudes _mutinous, lazy_, and _rebellious_. He
charged them with designs to _overset the Government_, and plainly and
distinctly asserted, that they _stood in no need of relief!_ How quickly
he changed his tone! And how clear is that change to be traced to _you!_

"But, in the general subscription for the poor creatures of
Spital-fields, you see only a small part of the effects of your labours.
There have been meetings in almost all the parishes of the metropolis
for similar purposes. Large subscriptions are going on in every
direction. Just as if the poverty and misery were not as great a month
ago as they are now! Great indeed they are, and they are producing
symptoms so horrible that one sickens but to think of them. Amongst
others, take the facts described in a _placard_ now sticking against the
walls. 'PUBLIC NOTICE.--United Parishes of Saint Andrew, Holborn, above
Bar, and St. George the Martyr, Queen's Square. At a meeting of the
overseers held this day in consequence of MANY PERSONS DESERTING THEIR
FAMILIES,--It was _resolved_, That, in future, all persons, who desert
their families, whereby they become chargeable to these parishes, or
when the reputed parents of an illegitimate child abscond, _such persons
shall be advertised in the public papers_, or in _posting bills_, with
a full description of their persons, residence, and calling, and other
particulars, and a reward offered for their apprehension. And all
inhabitants harbouring persons for the night, for the like purpose, will
be _prosecuted_ accordingly.'

"To what are we come at last! And this is the age of our _glory_, is it?
This is the situation we are in, when immense sums are voted for the
erection of monuments to commemorate the deeds of the last 25 years!
This is the state which not to be _proud_ of, Mr. Vansittart said was
proof of baseness in an Englishman! It is in this situation of the
country, that Pitt Clubs have the insolence to hold their triumphal
carousals!--Shall we _never_ see these men in sackcloth? These insolent
men, while wallowing in wealth, do not reflect on the pangs which must
wring the poor man's heart before he can so far subdue the feelings of
the husband and the father as to make him "_desert his family_;" or, if
they do reflect on them, they must be more cruel than the storms and the
waves. The labouring men in England, generally speaking, are the kindest
and most indulgent of husbands and of parents. It has often been
observed by me, that they are generally so to a fault. If a boy or girl
belonging to them behave ill towards their employers, their father and
mother are very hard to be convinced of the fact.--I have often to
remonstrate with them upon this subject, and to remind them of how much
more indulgent they are to their children than I am to mine. 'Aye, Sir,'
said a very good woman to me a little while ago, 'but your children have
their belly full of victuals.' The answer was a _silencer_. And this is
the true cause of their indulgence, and of their excessive affection
too. They see their children in want; they grow up in continual
suffering; they are incessantly objects of compassion over and above the
love which nature has implanted in the parent's breast. Their obstinate
perseverance in justifying the conduct of their children upon all
occasions is a fault; but it arises from the most amiable of human
weaknesses; and though it may, and often is, injurious in its effects,
it is the least censurable of all the frailties of the heart.

"If I have here, as I am sure I have, given the true character of the
English labourer, as a parent and a husband, what must that state of
things be, which has rendered the _desertion of family_ so frequent an
offence as to call forth a hand-bill and _placard_ such as that which I
have quoted above? And, in a state of things like this, are men to be
called _promoters of sedition_, because they endeavour to point out the
real cause of this horrible evil, and also endeavour to point out the
remedy? Aye, but in doing this we point at the same time, to the _weight
of taxes_; and we cite Mr. Preston in support of our doctrine, who says,
that every poor man, who earns _eighteen pounds_ in a year, pays away
_ten pounds of it in taxes._ Mr. Preston's words are these:--'Every
family, even of the poorest labourer, consisting of five persons, may be
considered as paying, in _indirect taxes,_ at least _ten pounds a-year,_
or more than half his wages at seven shillings a week?' And, in another
place he says: 'It should _always be remembered,_ that every _eighteen
pounds_ a-year paid to any _placeman_ or _pensioner,_ withdraws from the
public the means of giving active employment to one individual at
the head of a family; _thus depriving five persons_ of the means of
sustenance from the fruits of _honest industry_ and active labour, and
rendering them paupers!

"What! is this _rebellious_ on the part of Mr. Preston? He is a lawyer
of great eminence. A Member of Parliament. A man of great landed estate.
Could he write and publish this from _rebellious,_ from _treasonable_
motives? What he says is certainly true; and is he not to say it,
because the saying it may be disagreeable to those who live upon the
taxes thus collected? Is it not clear, that, if the money, which the
labourer and journeyman now pay in taxes, were to be suffered to
remain in their pockets, they would not stand in need of _parish_ or
_subscription_ relief? And, if this be _not true,_ why does not some one
of the numerous tax-eating tribe attempt to prove it to be false? Have
not they their full share of the press at their command? Aye, and more
than their share. The sons of corruption are spreading about answers
to me at a penny each, and some of them are given away. There must be
money, somewhere, found for this. The sums necessary to do it must be
very large too. Are they not content with this superiority? I have no
means of _giving papers away._ They say that my writing is trash; they
call the _Letter to the Luddites_ seditious trash; they say that I am an
ignorant fellow, a shallow man, and so forth. Why, then, are they in a
passion? Why not laugh at me and my trash? Why name me at all? Why break
silence after so long a period? They are continually vowing that they
will never notice my trash again; but their hatred, like the love of the
swain, returns the next hour with more ardour than ever, and scatters
their vows to the winds. The most furious amongst them is a _Sinecure
Placeman,_ who writes in the _Times_ newspaper, and upon whom the
droppings of my pen seem to have the same effect as the crumbling of
blue-stone or lump-sugar on the proud flesh of a galled jade. He winces
and dances, and kicks and flings about at a fine rate. Amidst his
ravings he swears that he will cause me to be hanged; and if he should
not succeed, he would, I am sure, if he had any decency, finish his
career by tucking up himself, and that too in his ribbon of the order of
St. Lewis.

"The truth is, that these men and their assistants and encouragers see
their certain doom in _the enlightening of the people_. They see clearly
enough, that conviction must follow facts and arguments like mine
rendered familiar. They see that I am uniting the _mind_ with the
_muscle_ of the country; and, above all things, they see, and they
tremble at, my incessant, and I hope, successful efforts, to convince
the labourers and the journeymen, that they are men who have _rights_,
and that the way to obtain those rights is to pursue a _peaceable_ and
orderly conduct. They hate every one who dwells upon the _miseries_ of
the country; for, _to them_, it is confusion to acknowledge that misery
exists. The _Courier_ asserted, only the other day, that there was no
suffering in or near London, and abused the people for complaining!
Such men would kill you or me or any man who talks of the people's
sufferings. They call the complaints of hunger _sedition_. These writers
are like the wretch, who, unable to force his poor worn-out and starved
horse to drag his load along any further, took out his knife and cut his
throat. And, I have not the least doubt, those men would see one half
of the people's throats cut in order to reduce the rest to silent
submission. The following case, taken from their own accounts of
Wednesday last, will serve as a specimen of what is going on in London.
This is _dying quietly_, according to the recommendation of Mr. Jabet's
_Old Townsman_, who gave such just offence to the people of Birmingham.
'Between twelve and one o'clock on yesterday morning, a poor fellow was
found in a passage in High-street, Bloomsbury, by Sullivan and Hogan,
the watchmen of that district; he had taken shelter for the night. They
requested him to walk on to his lodgings; he did not answer, but walked
towards Monmouth-street, and they walked the contrary road. Between two
and three o'clock they again found him _lying upon a step_ in the same
street; they asked him if he had no lodgings _he tried to answer_, but
could only move his lips, which gave no utterance. They raised him upon
his feet to assist him to the watch-house; he walked a few yards, and
_from weakness fell upon his knees._ They got him upon their shoulders
to carry him to the watch-house, but before they arrived with him _he
appeared to be dead._ The watchman took him to the workhouse, and called
up the house surgeon, who examined the body, and said it was useless to
bleed him, or use any method to restore him, as _he was quite dead._ The
deceased is apparently _about fifty years of age,_ the most _complete
picture of human misery,_ having _no linen upon his back,_ and _his
bones almost through his skin._ By his dress he appears to be a
workman out of employ. He has not been OWNED.'--Look at this, ye vile
miscreants, and then say, whether it was _a crime_ to call _a meeting
of the distressed_ to petition for relief! Hundreds must perish in this
way. Only five days ago I saw more than twenty sailors on Westminster
Bridge, neither of whom had any linen on, and some neither _shoes,
stockings,_ nor _hat._ But, the numbers who have perished and who are
perishing from the _diseases_ occasioned by want are not to be counted.
And yet, it was a crime in you, and the sanguinary sons of corruption
called for your instant execution, because you obeyed the call of the
_distressed_ to hold a meeting of them in Spafields! Not to have obeyed
that call would indeed have been a crime; but, it was a crime of which
your nature was incapable.

"I now come to the _City Petition_ and the _answer of the Prince
Regent._ This is a very important matter, and, therefore, I shall insert
the documents themselves previous to making any remarks on them.


"'ADDRESS AND PETITION.

"'May it please your Royal Highness,

"'We, his Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lord Mayor,
Aldermen, and Commons of the City of London, in Common Council
assembled, humbly approach your Royal Highness, to represent our
national sufferings and grievances, and respectfully to suggest the
adoption of measures which we conceive to be indispensably necessary for
the safety, the quiet and prosperity of the Realm.

"'We forbear to enter into details of the afflicting scenes of
privations and sufferings that every where exist; the distress and
misery which for so many years has been progressively accumulating, has
at length become insupportable--it is no longer partially felt, nor
limited to one portion of the empire--the commercial, the manufacturing,
and the agricultural interests are equally sinking under its
irresistible pressure; and it has become impossible to find employment
for a large mass of the population, much less to bear up against our
present enormous burdens.

"'We beg to impress upon your Royal Highness, that our present
complicated evils have not arisen from a mere transition from war to
peace, nor from any sudden or accidental causes--neither can they be
removed by any partial or temporary expedients.

"'Our grievances are the natural effect of rash and ruinous wars,
unjustly commenced and pertinaciously persisted in, when no rational
object was to be obtained--of immense subsidies to foreign powers to
defend their own territories, or to commit aggressions on those of their
neighbours--of a delusive paper currency--of an unconstitutional and
unprecedented military force in time of peace--of the unexampled and
increasing magnitude of the Civil List--of the enormous sums paid for
unmerited pensions and sinecures--and of a long course of the most
lavish and improvident expenditure of the public money throughout every
branch of the Government, all arising from the corrupt and inadequate
state of the representation of the people in Parliament, whereby all
constitutional controul over the servants of the Crown has been lost,
and Parliaments have become subservient to the will of Ministers.

"'We cannot forbear expressing our grief and disappointment, that,
notwithstanding your Royal Highness's gracious recommendation of economy
at the opening of the last Session of Parliament, your Ministers should
have been found opposing every proposition for lessening the national
expenditure; and that they should have been able to obtain majorities to
support and sanction their conduct, in defiance of your Royal Highness's
recommendation and the declared sense of the nation--affording another
melancholy proof of the corrupt state of the representation, in addition
to those facts so often stated, and offered to be proved at the bar of
the House of Commons, in a petition presented in 1793, by the Honourable
Charles, now Lord Grey, whereby it appeared that the great body of the
people were excluded from all share in the election of Members, and that
the majority of the Honourable House were returned by the proprietors
of rotten boroughs, the influence of the Treasury, and a few powerful
families.

"'We can, Sir, no longer support out of our dilapidated resources,
an overwhelming load of taxation; and we humbly submit to your Royal
Highness, that nothing but a reformation of these abuses, and restoring
to the people their just and constitutional right in the election
of Members of Parliament, can afford a security against their
recurrence--calm the apprehensions of the people--allay their irritated
feelings, and prevent those misfortunes in which the nation must
inevitably be involved, by an obstinate and infatuated adherence to the
present system of corruption and extravagance.

"'We therefore humbly pray your Royal Highness to assemble Parliament as
early as possible; and that you will be graciously pleased to recommend
to their immediate consideration these important matters, and the
adoption of measures for abolishing all useless places, pensions,
and sinecures; for the reduction of our present enormous military
establishment; for making every practicable reduction in the Public
Expenditure, and restoring to the people their just share and weight in
the Legislature.

"'Signed by order of the Court.

"'HENRY WOODTHORPE.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

"'PRINCE'S ANSWER.

"'It is with strong feelings of _surprise_ and _regret_, that I receive
this Address and Petition of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of
the City of London, in Common Council assembled.

"'Deeply as I deplore the prevailing _distress_ and _difficulties_ of
the country, I derive consolation from the persuasion, that _the great
body_ of his Majesty's subjects, notwithstanding the various attempts
which have been made to _irritate_ and _mislead_ them, are well
convinced, that the severe trials which they sustain with such exemplary
patience and fortitude, are chiefly to be attributed to _unavoidable
causes_, and I contemplate with the most cordial satisfaction the
efforts of that enlightened benevolence which is so usefully and
laudably exerting itself throughout the kingdom.

"'I shall resort with the utmost confidence to the TRIED _wisdom_ of
Parliament, at the time, which upon the fullest consideration, I have
thought most advisable, under the present circumstances of the country;
and I entertain a perfect conviction, that a firm and temperate
administration of the Government, assisted and supported by the good
sense, public spirit, and loyalty of the nation, will effectually
_counteract those proceedings_, which, from whatever motives they may
originate, are _calculated to render_ TEMPORARY _difficulties the means
of producing_ PERMANENT _and irreparable calamity_.'

"The _surprise_ and _regret_, and the _broad hints_ that came after,
have nettled the citizens a little. Whether they will shew any _bottom_,
remains to be seen; but, as to the _distress_ and _difficulties_ being
TEMPORARY, and as to their having arisen from UNAVOIDABLE _causes_,
I differ with his Royal Highness, or, rather with his Ministers who
advised this answer. The distress has been visibly proceeding in a
regular increase of severity for more than two years; it becomes every
day greater and greater; it is deep rooted; it is _destroying the means
of resuscitation_; it is ripping up the goose and taking out the golden
eggs; in suspending the operations of labour, it is cutting off the
possibility of a speedy return of employment. But, what say the
Correspondents of the Board of Agriculture? Not one single man of them,
except a parson or two, pretends that the _distress_ is of a temporary
nature; on the contrary, 205 of them, out of 322, attribute the ruin _to
the weight of taxes_! And, therefore, to make the distress temporary,
the weight of taxes must be temporary; and this is one of the main
objects of the prayer of the Citizens of London.

"Oh, no! the distress and difficulties have not arisen from
_unavoidable_ causes; for the weight of taxes might have been avoided.
However, let me ask the Ministers a few questions here. I will not ask
them whether it was unavoidable for the Bank to stop payment in cash in
1797; whether it was unavoidable to renew the war in 1813; whether it
was unavoidable to persevere in the war with America after the war in
England ceased, and, at last, to make peace without attaining any object
of war; whether it was unavoidable to renew the war in 1815 for the
purpose of compelling the French people to give up Napoleon and submit
to the Bourbons; whether it was unavoidable to keep up an army to
maintain the Bourbons on the throne of France, at a time when thousands
of the Protestants of the country were butchered or burnt by those who
called themselves the _loyal._ I will not put any of these questions to
the Ministers; but with the official accounts before me, I will ask them
a few questions applicable to the present moment. I ask them, then,

Was it _unavoidable_ to keep up an army at the expense, including the
Ordnance, of 26,736,067 pounds?

Was it _unavoidable_ that the expense of the Civil List should, in last
year, amount to 1,928,000 pounds?

Was it _unavoidable_ for as to pay in the same year, on account of the
_deficiencies_ of the Civil List 584,713 pounds?

Was it _unavoidable_ that the other additional allowances to the Royal
Family, in that year, should amount to 366,660 pounds?

Was it _unavoidable_ that the Civil List for Scotland should amount to
126,613 pounds?

Was it _unavoidable_ to give for the _relief of suffering_ French and
Dutch Emigrants, in that year, after, the _Bourbons_ and the _'Orange
Boven'_ had been restored, the sum of 79,591 pounds?

Was it _unavoidable_ to expend in that year (including) an arrear of the
former year, in SECRET SERVICE Money, the sum of 153,446 pounds?

Was it _unavoidable_ to pay _last year_, out of the taxes for the relief
of the _Poor_ Clergy of the Church of England, the sum of 100,000
pounds?

"I could ask them a great many more questions of a similar nature and
tendency; but here are enough for the present; and, if the Citizens
of London should happen to be satisfied, that all these expenses were
_unavoidable_, all the taxes, of course, are unavoidable, and then it is
clear, that the present distress and difficulty of the country are to
be attributed to unavoidable causes. But, if the citizens should think,
that a very large part, nine-tenths, for instance, of these expenses
might have been _avoided_, then they will come to the opposite
conclusion, and, if they be not beaten at a single blow, they will not
fail to _communicate_ that conclusion to his Royal Highness.

"As to the hint about _irritating_ and _misleading_ the people, the
charge can apply only to the enemies of Parliamentary Reform; for
we deal in soothing language, in the inspiring of hope, and in the
promulgation of useful political truth, and, therefore, the charge
cannot apply to us. But, when the Prince is advised to talk of the TRIED
_wisdom_ of the _Parliament_, he compels us to fix our eyes on those
'_distresses and difficulties_,' of which he is graciously pleased
to speak at the same time, and which, at any rate, have grown into being
under the existence of that 'TRIED _wisdom_.'

"I have just received from America the most authentic accounts of the
happy state of the people there. _English goods_ were selling at auction
for a _fourth_ of their _prime cost_; and the Americans say, that
they are, in this way, _getting back_ what they lost by our Orders in
Council, under which their ships were seized and condemned. The _ruin_,
in America, is wholly confined to the _agents_ and _merchants_ connected
with _England_. The country at large is in the most flourishing state;
no beggars, no paupers, no distress, and their newspapers are filled
with true accounts of _our_ distresses. Still, let us cling to the _Old
Ship_, and let us try, in spite of all opposition, to make our own
country as happy as America. But, here is another mark of our distresses
not being of a _temporary_ nature. The market of America is gone _for
ever_ as to most articles of manufacture. I shall, however, treat more
fully of this another time.

"I am, with the greatest respect,

"Sir, "Your most obedient and most humble Servant,

"WM. COBBETT."


When the reader has perused this letter, he will be able to form a
pretty correct opinion of the state of the public mind in the metropolis
upon this occasion; and, as it was written at the time when Mr. Cobbett
was divested, of prejudice, it will be read with considerable interest
at this period.

The plot that had been laid for the purpose Of SPILLING MY BLOOD, had
been completely frustrated. I returned to the country, where I received
invitations to attend public meetings for Reform, which the inhabitants
of Bath and Bristol wished to hold. I went to spend a fortnight with a
friend at Newton, near Bath, and, as I was a freeholder of both those
cities, I drew up requisitions and signed them first, to be presented to
the Mayors, requesting them to call meetings, to petition for Reform.
They both refused to comply with the request of their fellow-citizens,
and we, the requisitionists, therefore advertised and called them
ourselves.

The Bristol meeting was advertised to be held upon Brandon-hill, on the
26th of December, the Mayor having refused us the use of the Guildhall.
I started from Newton about 11 o'clock, on one of the wetest days that I
ever remember. On the road I passed several troops of the Lancers, who
had been ordered up from Weymouth, to watch this meeting. When I reached
Bristol I met, at Temple-gate, my worthy friend Mr. John Cossens, with
Mr. Pimm and a few others. They informed me, that they had been deterred
by the corporation from erecting any hustings upon Brandon-hill, and
that the City was invested by a regiment of North Somersetsbire Yeomanry
Cavalry, which had been arriving from all parts for several hours. Some
of my friends strongly urged the propriety of my returning to Bath, and
postponing the meeting to some future time, in consequence of the
extreme wetness of the day. I had never promised to attend any public
meeting of the people and then disappointed them, and I felt extreme
reluctance at the base thought of doing so upon this occasion;
particularly as such a body of the military were assembled from
all quarters, since, to decline holding the meeting under such
circumstances, would carry the idea that, because the corrupt knaves of
Bristol had called out the military, we were fearful of performing, and
that, too, in a perfectly legal and constitutional manner, an imperative
public duty. That, however, in order to deter us, some persons, who were
not gifted with strong nerves, should hesitate, is not to be wondered
at, when we look at the following statement, which was published in
the London _Courier_, of the 25th of December, the day previous to the
meeting being held: "that the regular soldiers are assembling; that the
North Somerset regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry are ready to march to the
aid of the Mayor; that a vestry in one parish has been held to collect
persons to march to the Mayor's to be sworn in as special constables;
that the parties signed a resolution at the said vestry, that they will
not distribute any Christmas gifts on Thursday, in order to keep the
watchmen to their duty on that day; and that they will _dismiss from
their employ all persons who do not work on the day of the meeting_."

This was all true; the streets were lined with troops, drenched in rain:
I never saw such drowned rats in my life! they looked wretched indeed!
nevertheless, on I drove, through the City up to Brandon-hill. When I
got there not ten persons were present, but as the rain held up, and the
day became fine, in less than ten minutes there were as many thousands
assembled. I sent my servant with the leader of my tandem to the inn,
and I made _my gig the hustings_. A chairman was appointed, and the
resolutions and a petition to Parliament were proposed by me, and
seconded by Mr. Cossens, and were unanimously adopted by the meeting.
The petition, which was for Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and
Vote by Ballot, was left for signatures in the City, and in a very short
time it received TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND names. These resolutions and this
petition were carried by a meeting of unarmed citizens, assembled upon
Brandon-hill, which was surrounded by armed troops, drawn up within
sight, and some of them within hearing, of what was said and done by
myself and others who took part in the said meeting. The Bath troops
were commanded on that day by a person of the name of King, a marble
mason of that city. The men were mounted before day-light, when the rain
commenced; and this very gallant officer and profound soldier objected
to the men wearing their _cloaks_. As they were going upon such a
magnanimous errand, such an heroic exploit, he said "he hoped they would
not disgrace themselves by wearing their cloaks." The consequence was,
that these _feather-bed soldiers_ suffered most wretchedly, as they were
soaked to the skin before they had got two miles on the road to Bristol.
Their being kept in this woeful plight all day caused the death of two
or three of them; _Robert Ansty_, a butcher, and _Wilton_, who kept the
Bear inn at Holloway, never recovered from the effects of their trip to
Bristol. There was, in truth, no more call for soldiers at Bristol on
that day than there was for them in the Guildhall at Bath, where there
was no meeting to be held. The Mayor of Bristol and other Magistrates
had sworn in 800 special constables upon the occasion; in fact, the
appearance of the City was more like a besieged fortress than any
thing else. But all this parade was intended only for the purpose of
intimidating the minds of the weak and silly portion of the people and
creating a panic throughout the country. I will venture to say, that the
business of the meeting would have been carried on as quietly, and as
much without any breach of the peace, and without one window having
been broken, had there not been one soldier, or one constable or peace
officer present at the time.

Mr. Thomas Cossens, of Castle-street, manfully stood forward to support
me, and courageously braved the anger of the corrupt knaves of Bristol.
He rode through the city with me to the extremity of it, cheered all the
way by the people, unless it was in passing the new reading room, in
Clare-street, where a few of those who had been sworn in as special
constables were assembled; a little contemptible group of the abject,
dependant tools of the corporation, who, as I suppose, from the
appearance of their lips, attempted to raise a hiss, but their voices
were instantly drowned by the cheers of the multitude; and thus the
meeting passed off as peaceably as if there had not been any bustle made
by the corporation and police of the city, in order to create a riot.

A few days after this, I got a requisition signed by thirty respectable
inhabitants of the City of Bath, the exact number of the corporation
who return the members. Having placed my name at the head of them, I
waited upon the Mayor, a Mr. Anderton, an apothecary, I believe; he was
better known amongst the citizens by the name of Pump-handle. When I
laid the requisition before him, he was presiding at the justice-room at
the Guildhall. He read it over, while I kept my eyes fixed upon him, and
when he had finished the perusal of it, he hemmed and hawed, and began
to make all sorts of excuses, saying that the City of Bath had never
been troubled with a public meeting, and he could not see why there
should be any meeting there now. I told him that there would certainly
be a meeting, whether he called it or not; that we the requisitionists
merely wished to pay him the compliment of giving him, as the chief
magistrate of the city, an opportunity of convening it; but that, if he
felt the least difficulty upon the subject, we would quite as soon
call it ourselves. He replied by some foolish observation, which I now
forget, but the purport of which was, to leave it doubtful whether he
would or would not comply with our wishes. This, however, did not suit
me, and I pressed him for a definite answer. At length be gave such a
one as, before I waited on him, I was thoroughly convinced that he would
give, namely, that he could not think of complying with the request of
his fellow-citizens. So thoroughly convinced indeed had I been that he
would not call the meeting, that, previous to my waiting on him, I had
sent the copy of the placard, calling the meeting ourselves, to the
printer's to be set up, only leaving room for the answer of the Mayor;
so that, within one hour after he had refused, large broadsides were
placarded all over the city, calling the meeting on the following
Monday, in the name of myself and the other persons who signed the
requisition. The meeting was appointed to be held at 12 o'clock, on my
premises, a large yard in Walcot-street, formerly belonging to a brewer,
so that we were totally free from any interruption that might have been
intended to have been given us.

The circumstances attending the calling of this meeting were rather
curious, and deserve notice, to shew how necessary it is upon these
occasions to act with promptness and decision. The calling of this
meeting had been in contemplation for some time. I had drawn up a
requisition, signed it with my own name, and sent it to Mr. John Allen,
who, together with Dr. Oliver and Mr. Binns, had undertaken to get it
signed. Some names, I knew, had been procured, but the business had been
driven off from time to time, and a number of difficulties had been
started; but now that I was come into the neighbourhood of Bath the
thing was to have been done out of hand. I had, meanwhile, procured and
held the meeting at Bristol, and now that it was over I was determined
to see after that of Bath, without further delay. I therefore drove
over, and found matters quite at a stand, and all sorts of difficulties
and impediments appeared to have quite overcome Messrs. Allen, Oliver,
and Co. I saw that it was their determination not to call the meeting;
as they said it was impossible to carry resolutions and a petition for
Reform in a city which was under such a corrupt influence. I requested
to have the requisition handed over to me, and I would get it signed
myself; but, after a great deal of searching the shop of Mr. Binns,
and hunting a long time for the said requisition, IT WAS LOST. To be
humbugged in this sort of way did not suit me; I called for pen, ink and
paper, instantly drew up another requisition, signed it myself, and
sent little Young, my tenant in Walcot-street, and little Hickman, the
assistant at Binns' shop, round with the requisition, to get it signed
by thirty tradesmen who were housekeepers, which I predicted they would
accomplish in half an hour. In the meantime I drew up the copy of a
placard, to be posted on the walls, calling the meeting on the following
Monday, in the name of the requisitionists; I being, as I have already
stated, perfectly convinced that the Mayor would not call the meeting.
As I had anticipated, Hickman and Young returned, in less than an hour,
with the requisition signed by thirty very respectable tradesmen, and
Young and myself carried it instantly and presented it to the Mayor, so
that in less than _three hours_ after I put my shoulder to the wheel,
the requisition was drawn up, signed, presented to the Mayor, and his
answer was printed on large placards, which placards were posted all
over the city, appointing the meeting to be held on the following
Monday. All this was accomplished in less than three hours, though the
little clan of pretended Reformers, Messrs. Allen and Co. had been
humdrumming about it for three weeks, without even getting the
requisition signed. I wish I had a list of the brave men's names who
so promptly signed this requisition; I would certainly record them. I
remember that Mr. Crisp, the hatter, and Mr. Rolf, the shoemaker, and my
tenant, Mr. Young, the builder, in Walcot-street, were three of them;
Mr. Hickman, not being a householder, did not sign it. The day came, and
a hustings was erected in my yard, and when I arrived, not only was the
place full from top to bottom, but all the roofs of the buildings were
covered with people. This also I had anticipated, and provided for. I
had got two carpenters' benches already loaded in a cart, which, upon a
signal being given, were to be taken to the Abbey Grove, to which spot
it was my intention to move that the meeting should adjourn. Accordingly
as soon as I got upon the hustings, I moved that the meeting should
forthwith adjourn to the Abbey-Grove. This was seconded, and, although
it came very unexpectedly, yet it was carried by acclamation. The cart
with the carpenters' benches reached the Abbey-Grove before we did, and
they were placed under the wall of the Abbey-Church. Thither I and
my friends walked, the immense multitude, of from twelve to fifteen
thousand persons, following us through the Marketplace, where many
of the military were drawn up; for, in spite of the example of
peaceableness which, in the week before, the people of Bristol had
exhibited, the worthy Mayor of Bath had ordered out all the troops,
Lancers and Somersetshire Yeomanry; and he had likewise been occupied
the whole of the previous days in swearing in a large body of the
gentlemen and tradesmen of the city, to act as special constables.
These, of course, being present at the meeting, swelled our numbers very
considerably. When we mounted the hustings, the Abbey-Grove was at least
one-third of it crammed full, so that, on a moderate calculation, there
were from twelve to fifteen thousand persons present. A public meeting
of the people for any political purpose had never before been held in
Bath, and therefore it attracted greater attention than is usual in
other cities.

Resolutions were now proposed and passed, which exposed the glaring
injustice of paying away enormous sums of the public money to sinecure
placemen and unworthy pensioners, &c. The Marquis of CAMDEN, who held
the office of one of the Tellers of the Exchequer, a sinecure of
thirty-five thousand a year, being the Recorder of the city of Bath,
gave us a fine opportunity of expatiating on the profligate waste of the
public money upon that corrupt and knavish corporation. Our resolutions
were extremely strong and pointed upon this subject of _our Recorder's_
enormous sinecure; and these resolutions were embodied in our petition,
which was passed almost unanimously, amidst the cheers of the citizens
of Bath. In this petition we forcibly remonstrated against such a wanton
and unfeeling waste of the public money, and urged the necessity of the
immediate abolition of the Marquis of Camden's sinecure. I wish I had
a copy of the resolutions and petition by me, that I might insert them
here, as I conceive this to have been the most momentous petition that
was ever presented to the House of Commons; and the effect which it
produced was more important than that of any other petition that was
ever passed at any public meeting, not excepting that which was passed
at Spafields. At this, as well as at all the public meetings that
I attended, the petition prayed for Annual Parliaments, Universal
Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot; but, as it was the first and only petition
that ever came from a public meeting of the citizens of Bath, we laid
very great stress upon the Marquis of Camden's sinecure, he being the
Recorder of the City.

After this petition had been passed unanimously, it was left for
signatures in several places in the city, but the rendezvous was at Mr.
Young's, who occupied my house and premises in Walcot-street, so that
he was totally independent of the corporation. The meeting was held and
conducted in the most peaceable and orderly manner, and as soon as it
was concluded the people retired to their homes in the same regular and
satisfactory way, each individual being conscious of having done his
duty to himself, his family, and his country. It is necessary to
observe, that Mr. John Allen, a builder, of Bath, who had offered
himself as the popular representative for that city in 1812, altogether
abstained from taking any part in any of the proceedings of this
meeting. He being a mushroom reformer, raised his head for a short
season, and was cut off and disappeared from the political world almost
as quick as a mushroom disappears after a nipping frost. The effect
produced by this meeting did indeed rouse him again for a moment; but it
was only that he might fall still lower, and be totally buried in the
lap of corruption, mingling with its basest tools and dependants. The
petition was signed by upwards of twenty thousand persons, in a few
days.

There had, in the meanwhile been meetings held, for the purpose of
petitioning for Reform, all over the kingdom, particularly in the
North of England and Scotland; which meetings emanated from the first
Spafields meeting; and at almost all of these Meetings resolutions
and petitions of a similar tendency were passed; Annual Parliaments,
Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot, being very generally prayed
for. Hampden Clubs had been formed all over the North of England, by
Major Cartwright, who had sent an agent round the country for that
purpose. The Major had also supplied a copy of a petition for Reform,
to be transmitted to the members of these bodies, which prayed for the
suffrage, or right of voting, to be extended only to all payers of
direct taxes. These petitions being printed upon large paper, were very
generally adopted, as this saved the trouble of drawing up others. A
circular letter had also been sent round the country, signed by Sir
F. Burdett, or rather with the Baronet's fac-simile, which he had
authorised the Major to use, for the purpose of inviting the Hampden
Clubs, and all other petitioning bodies, to send up delegates or
deputies to London, to meet a deputation of the Hampden Club, to decide
upon what sort of Reform the reformers would unanimously agree to
petition for. Great numbers had followed the example set them at
Spafields, Bristol, and Bath; others, who had signed the Major's printed
petitions, only prayed for all payers of direct taxation to be admitted
to the right of voting.

On the 20th of January, 1817, five persons were tried at the Old Bailey,
for rioting in the City of London, on the day of the second Spafields
meeting. Cashman, the sailor, was found guilty, and sentenced to be
executed in the front of Mr. Beckwith's, the gun-smith's shop, in
Skinner-street.

The Parliament was to meet on the 28th of January. About the 24th of
that month, the delegates, or deputies, from the Hampden Clubs, and
other petitioning bodies, from various parts of the kingdom, arrived
in London; and a day was appointed for them to meet at the Crown and
Anchor. I was delegated from Bristol, to accompany Mr. Cossens, who
brought the petition from that city, signed by twenty-four thousand
persons. I was also delegated from Bath, together with Mr. John Allen,
who, seeing the spirit displayed by his townsmen, volunteered once more
to act the part of a Reformer, and he brought up the Bath petition,
containing upwards of 20,000 signatures. The Reformers of Bath and
Bristol gave positive instructions to their delegates that they should
support Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot. Mr.
Allen brought up the written instructions from Bath which he delivered
to me, and he accepted the delegation upon the express condition that he
would support and vote for Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and
Vote by Ballot. I met Mr. Hulme from Bolton, Mr. E. Taylor from Norwich,
Mr. Warburton from Leicester, and several other delegates from England
and Scotland, at Mr. Cobbett's house in Catherine street, in the Strand,
which was the general rendezvous; and there I first saw Mr. Fitton and
Mr. Kaye of Royton, Mr. Bamford from Middleton, Mr. Benbow and Mr.
Mitchell from Manchester, and many others. Major Cartwright had, in the
meantime, been down to Brighton, personally to ascertain Sir Francis
Burdett's opinion upon the subject; and from him the Major learned that
he would not support any petitions that prayed for _Universal Suffrage_;
that he would support Householder Suffrage and the payers of direct
taxes, but nothing farther. When the Major returned he communicated this
to Mr. Cobbett, who was requested to use all his influence to prevail
upon me to give up Universal Suffrage, and to adopt the plan of Sir
Francis Burdett. I had consulted with Mr. Hulme, whom I found an honest
and staunch friend of Liberty, and he had agreed to support me in
the motion which I had resolved to make at the delegate meeting, for
Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot. The Major, as well as Mr.
Cobbett, had already done every thing to prevail upon us to give it
up for the householder plan, but we were inflexible. This being the
situation of affairs, on the day before the meeting was to take place,
the Major was very anxious for Mr. Cobbett to attend as a delegate; but
to accomplish this was not quite an easy matter, as Mr. Cobbett had not
been elected a delegate by either of the petitioning bodies. The Major,
however, was never at a loss for a scheme, and his agent or writer, whom
he employed at the time, an Irishman, of the name of Cleary, was set to
work privately to assemble some members of the _Union_, which had been
formed in London by the Major, previous to the formation of the Hampden
Club; in fact, the latter sprung out of the former, which was too
democratical for the aristocracy, and they consequently set on foot a
select club amongst themselves, called the Hampden Club; although I
believe, with the exception of the Major and Mr. Northmore, there was
not a member amongst them who was at all disposed to follow the example
of John Hampden. But, be this as it may, Cleary was ordered to get
together, at the Crown and Anchor, the night before the intended
delegate meeting, a chosen number of the members of the _Union_,
expressly for the purpose of appointing two delegates for the
metropolis. Although we were both members of the _Union_, Cleary was
strictly enjoined not to communicate either to me or to Mr. Hulme any
intention of holding this conclave, which was to have been a snug junto
of Westminster men, nothing more nor less than the Rump Committee, who
were to assemble at the request of the Major, to appoint Mr. Cobbett a
delegate, that he might attend the meeting the next day, purposely to
oppose my motion for _Universal Suffrage_, and to move in its stead,
that we, the delegates, should adopt the recommendation of the Hampden
Club, and support the _householder suffrage_ only.

This good piece of generalship could not, however, be carried completely
into effect, as one of the invited party communicated it in confidence
to Mr. Hulme and myself. We laughed heartily at the intrigue of the old
Major and Mr. Cobbett, and agreed that, being members of the Union, we
would unexpectedly attend the meeting at seven o'clock, without saying
a word to any one. We both dined with Mr. Cobbett, and a little before
seven we made an excuse for leaving his table, saying, that we had a
particular engagement for an hour or two, after which we would return
again. Mr. Cobbett strongly opposed our leaving him; but whether he had
any suspicion that we were up to the tricks of the Major and himself, I
never ascertained. However, off Mr. Hulme and I started together, and we
soon arrived at the Crown and Anchor, and desired to be shown into the
room where the members of the _Union_ were assembled. At first the
waiters did not appear to understand us; at length they asked me if we
meant Mr. Brooks and Mr. Cleary's room. We replied, "exactly so," and
in we marched, to the great consternation of Mr. Brooks, who sat at the
head of the table, with Cleary at his right, and surrounded by some half
score of as pretty a picked junto for dishing up a little under-plot
of the sort, as could have been selected for the purpose in the whole
kingdom.

Our unexpected visit, without any invitation, appeared to create very
considerable uneasiness, and even dismay. I informed them that, as we
were both old members of the _Union_, and had accidentally heard that
there was to be a meeting, we did ourselves the pleasure of attending
it, although (no doubt from mistake) we were not summoned. This did not
at all relieve them from the dilemma in which they were placed. After
looking at each other for some time, they cautiously developed the
object of the meeting, and with great timidity and doubt Mr. Brooks
proposed Mr. Cobbett as "a proper man to be a delegate to represent
the Union, at the delegate meeting to be holden the next day." Instead
of throwing any obstacle in the way, which they had expected would be
the case, I instantly arose and seconded the motion; adding, that I
believed Mr. Cobbett to be one of the most proper men in the kingdom
to attend such a meeting, and that I proposed Mr. Brooks as a proper
colleague for him; and I moved that those two gentlemen should be
appointed as the delegates of the Union Society, to maintain their
rights at the approaching meeting. Mr. Hulme seconded the motion, and it
was carried unanimously; upon which we returned to Mr. Cobbett's, and
were the first to communicate the result of that select assembly which
was got up privately, and from which it was intended that we should have
been totally excluded. He appeared astonished, but carried it off with a
laugh.

After this, many, many hours were employed by Mr. Cobbett, in
endeavouring to prevail upon us to give up the plan of supporting
_Universal Suffrage_. He should, he said, propose to the delegates
to agree to the _householder plan_; especially as Sir F. Burdett had
declared that he would not support the former. I lamented differing
from him, but I declared that I would support Universal Suffrage from
principle, in spite of all the policy in the world, and in spite of the
opinion or whim of all the baronets in the world.

With this determination we left him, and met at the appointed hour, at
the Crown and Anchor, on the next day. Major Cartwright and Mr. Jones
Burdett were the deputation from the Hampden Club; and there were, in
the whole, about sixty delegates from different parts of the kingdom
of England and Scotland; but, with the exception of those from Bath,
Bristol, and London, they all came from the North.

Major Cartwright was unanimously called to the chair, and he opened
the proceedings by informing us, that the Hampden Club had come to the
determination of supporting the _Householder Suffrage_; which plan he
strongly recommended to the delegates to adopt, particularly as _Sir
Francis Burdett had declared that he would not support any petition
that prayed for a more extended right of voting._ In truth, the Major,
instead of performing the part of chairman, actually became the
strenuous and eloquent advocate of the Hampden Club, and their notable
scheme of restricting the right of voting to householders and payers of
direct taxes to Church and King; and I must in justice say, that I never
saw an advocate labour harder than the Major did to carry this point,
which I believe he confidently relied upon accomplishlng, as he knew
that he would have the support of Mr. Cobbett's great talent and weight
of influence amongst the assembled delegates.

Mr. Cobbett then rose, and, in a luminous and artful speech, endeavoured
to convince the delegates, or rather to bring them over to the same way
of thinking. He, as well as the Major, were heard with great attention,
but it was with such silent attention as rendered it very evident to
me that their doctrine of _exclusion_ was listened to by the delegates
without any conviction of its truth. It may easily be supposed that I
took good care narrowly to watch the contrivances of those who, by their
votes, were to decide the great question; many of whom Mr. Cobbett had
previously had an opportunity of communicating with, and using his
influence upon, in private. After a most ingenious speech, he concluded
by moving, that the present meeting was of opinion, that the right
of voting for Members of Parliament could be safely and practicably
extended only to _householders paying direct taxes_ to Church and State,
and that it should be recommended to the Reformers throughout the
country to petition for a Reform of the Commons' House of Parliament,
upon the plan of householder suffrage. If not the words, this was the
substance and meaning of the motion.

The moment that Mr. Cobbett sat down, (sat down with perfect silence
round him), to my great astonishment up started John Allen, my
brother-delegate from Bath, and _seconded the motion_ for the EXCLUSION
from the right of voting of all persons _except householders and payers
of direct taxes_; that is, except they were payers of church and poor
rates, and King's taxes. This was the conduct of the volunteer delegate
from Bath, although he had received written instructions, from the
committee of Reformers of that city, to support _Universal Suffrage_.

As soon as Mr. Allen was seated, I rose to move an amendment to my
friend Cobbett's motion, and, in my address to the delegates, I
combatted and successfully controverted the _doctrine of exclusion_
which had been so forcibly urged by the chairman, and so ingeniously
supported by Mr. Cobbett. I modestly and with great deference called to
their recollection the language, the irresistible arguments, in favour
of Universal Suffrage, which, in his Register, Mr. Cobbett himself
had published, within one short fortnight of the time in which I was
addressing them. Almost every sentence that I uttered in favour of
Universal Suffrage was hailed by the enthusiastic cheers of the great
body of the delegates. Mr. Cobbett rose to order, and protested in
strong language against my quoting his own words, or any thing he had
previously published, in order to controvert his present proposition.
I therefore forbore to do so again; not from any conviction of its
impropriety or unfairness, but because I wished to conciliate, and
because I was quite clear that my amendment would be carried. I
concluded by asserting the right of every freeman to be represented in
the Commons' House of Parliament, which could only be done by Universal
Suffrage; and on this ground I moved that the word _universal_ should be
substituted for _householder_.

Mr. Hulme seconded the motion, and Mr. Bamford was about to support him,
by refuting Mr. Cobbett's arguments with respect to Universal Suffrage
being impracticable; but before he had concluded his sentence, Mr.
Cobbett rose and said, that what Mr. Bamford had stated had convinced
him of the practicability of Universal Suffrage, and consequently he
should withdraw his motion, and support Mr. Hunt's amendment. The fact
was, that Cobbett plainly saw that his motion would be lost by a
large majority, and he had the policy not to press it to a division. I,
however, insisted upon having the question put, and it was carried
in favour of Universal Suffrage by a majority of twenty to one. The
question of Annual Parliaments was also carried unanimously. Mr.
Mitchell then moved, that votes should be taken by ballot; this was
opposed also by Mr. Cobbett and others, but on a division it was carried
by a majority of more than two to one. When I held my hand up for it,
Mr. Cobbett turned to me and said very earnestly, "What! do you support
the ballot too?" I answered "Yes, most certainly, to its fullest
extent."

These points being decided, and some minor resolutions being passed,
the meeting was adjourned; but, as I afterwards found, only to assemble
again the next day, where the Major was at his post in the chair,
passing various resolutions, which of course I expected would be finally
settled that evening. We were, however, surprised to find that the
meeting was adjourned to the King's Arms, Palace Yard, opposite
Westminster Hall, where it was expected they (the delegates) would
assemble from day to day till the Parliament met. This was thought
by Mr. Cobbett, as well as by myself, to be not only a useless but a
dangerous proceeding; useless, because the main question upon which the
delegates met was settled; and dangerous, because it would be taken
advantage of by the Government, which would construe such meetings,
so continued, into an attempt to overawe the Parliament. Mr. Cobbett
declared he would not go near them again; in fact, he had not attended
the second day; and he added, that they would all be apprehended, for
holding their meetings for an illegal purpose. He and I and Mr.
Hulme all agreed, therefore, that as we had arranged those points to
deliberate upon which we had been assembled, it was very desirable to
dissolve the meeting, but to stir a single step to accomplish this end,
Mr. Cobbett positively refused. Mr. Hulme and myself, however, attended,
and after the Major had got some of his resolutions passed, I moved that
the meeting should be dissolved, and urged my reasons for the measure.
Mr. Hulme seconded my motion, and a warm debate ensued, which was
maintained with great spirit on both sides, for the dissolution was
strongly opposed. However, when the question was put, my motion
was carried by a very considerable majority, and the far-famed
delegate-meeting was dissolved. It is a curious fact that Mr. Cobbett
never noticed these proceedings in his Register.

In the evenings of these meetings, many of the delegates assembled
at the Cock, in Grafton-street, by invitation, to meet Dr. Watson,
Pendrill, and others of the Spenceans. It appears that they were taken
there by ONE CLEARY, an Irishman, who had been an attorney's clerk in
Dublin, and who had contrived to be employed as the secretary of the
Hampden Club, and who, as private secretary of Major Cartwright,
attended the delegate meetings. These private meetings, at the Cock in
Grafton-street, took place unknown to me, and were afterwards made a
pretence for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act; and, strange to relate,
warrants were issued out, by the Secretary of State, against every one
of the persons who attended those meetings, _except_ the said _Cleary_.

The delegates, as we have already seen, were in town; they had brought
up with them petitions, signed by half a million of men, and they were
anxious to place them in the hands of some Member of Parliament, who
would present them and support the prayer of their petitions. But such
a man was not easily to be found. Sir Francis Burdett had promised the
Major to come to town in time to present these petitions, or at least
some of them, as soon as Parliament met; but when he found that the
delegates who had been assembled in his name had declared for Universal
Suffrage, and that the petitions in London likewise mostly prayed for
Reform upon the principle of Universal Suffrage, he declared that he
would not support the prayer of them, neither had he arrived in town on
the day previous to the meeting of Parliament.

On the failure of Sir Francis to come forward, Lord Cochrane had been
applied to by the Major and Mr. Cobbett, to present these petitions;
but he had declined to act in opposition to his colleague, Sir Francis
Burdett; every effort had been tried to induce him to do so, but they
had been tried in vain. At length I hit upon a plan, which I proposed
to Mr. Cobbett. It was this--that on the day when the Parliament met,
I would collect ten or twenty thousand people in the front of Lord
Cochrane's house, which was in Old Palace Yard, and thus cut off his
Lordship's access to the House, unless he would take in some of the
petitions. I shall never forget Cobbett's look. "What!" said he, "would
you besiege the man in his own house?" I answered, that desperate cases
required desperate remedies. "Aye! aye!" said he, "that is very pretty
talking, it is like belling the cat. Suppose such a thing likely to
succeed with his Lordship, how the devil would you contrive to collect
such a number of people there, without his knowing it, so as to avoid
them, if he pleased?" I replied, "leave that to me. If you will go to
his Lordship's house about one o'clock, and detain him at home, by
endeavouring to persuade him to present the petitions, I will undertake
to bring ten thousand people to the front of his house by two
o'clock,"--the House of Commons being to assemble at three. In fact,
there appeared no other alternative; for on the next day the Parliament
was to meet, and we had not yet one single Member of Parliament who
would present our petitions, all being unwilling, because they prayed
for _Universal Suffrage_. After making a hundred excuses, Lord Cochrane
had absolutely refused to present them; at least he refused to
support the prayer of the petitioners. There being no other chance of
accomplishing our purpose, Mr. Cobbett at length adopted my plan, and
agreed to make the attempt as a sort of forlorn hope, and accordingly he
promised to be at his Lordship's house at the time appointed.

I knew that great numbers of people would be collected, in and about
Parliament-street, at that time, to see the Prince Regent go down to
the House, to open the Session of Parliament. I therefore made
an arrangement with all the delegates in town, to meet me at the
Golden-Cross, Charing-Cross, a quarter before two o'clock, and requested
that each man would bring with him his rolls of parchment, containing
the petitions. This they all complied with, and met me at the time
appointed, in number about twenty; it might be more or less. I informed
them that I wished them to march, two and two, down Parliament-street,
into Palace-yard, to the door of Lord Cochrane's house, who I had reason
to hope would present their petitions, and I begged them to follow me.
I then requested my friend Cossens to unroll a few yards of the Bristol
petition, which I took in my hand, and proceeded down Parliament-street,
at the head of the delegates. The people stared at such an exhibition;
and I announced that the delegates were going down to Palace-yard, to
get Lord Cochrane to present their petitions. This information was
received with huzzas, and the people ran forward to communicate the
intelligence to others, so that before we had got opposite the Horse
Guards, we were attended by several thousand people, cheering us as they
went along. When we arrived at the front of Lord Cochrane's house, there
was the largest assembly that I ever saw in Palace-yard, all believing
that his Lordship had undertaken to present our petitions.

I knocked at the door, and gained immediate access to his Lordship, with
whom, as I expected, I found Mr. Cobbett. He asked what was the matter?
I told him that the people had accompanied the delegates, to request
his Lordship to present their petitions; to which he replied, "that Mr.
Cobbett had been using every argument in his power to prevail upon him
to do it, but he could not take such a step without consulting his
colleague, Sir Francis Burdett." A great deal was now urged by us to
induce him to comply, in which we were most heartily joined by his lady,
but all was to little purpose. At length, I led him to the window, and
requested him to address twenty thousand of his fellow-countrymen, and
tell them himself that he refused to present their petitions; for that I
certainly would never inform them of any such thing. Our appearance at
the window drew forth some tremendous cheers. "There," said I, "my Lord,
refuse their request, if you please; but if you do, I am sure that you
will regret it as long as you live. Besides," added I, "I deny the
possibility of your getting from your house, without your previously
consenting to present their petitions." At length we carried our point,
and his Lordship agreed that he would take in the Bristol petition,
which was the largest, the roll of parchment being neatly the size of a
sack of wheat, and containing twenty-five thousand signatures. It was
rolled upon a _bundle of sticks_, tightly bound together, as an emblem
of the strength of an united people. His Lordship also now agreed to
move an amendment to the address, which had been previously drawn up,
in hopes that he might be prevailed on to do so. The moment that his
Lordship yielded to our entreaties, I flew down stairs to the door, and
announced the intelligence to the assembled multitude, who received it
with loud and long continued acclamations, which made Old Palace-yard
and Westminster-Hall ring again. I then proposed that the delegates
should carry his Lordship in a chair, from his house to the door of
Westminster-Hall, if the people would make a passage to allow him to
proceed thither in that way. This suggestion was instantly adopted; an
arm chair was provided and placed at the door, in which his Lordship was
seated, with the Bristol petition and the bundle of sticks rolled up in
it. In this manner he was carried by the delegates across Palace-yard,
myself leading the way; and he was set down at the door of the House,
amidst the deafening cheers of the people, who, at my request,
immediately dispersed in peace and quietness to their homes.

As the Prince Regent returned from opening the Session of Parliament,
some gravel or a potatoe was thrown at his carriage, the window of which
was cracked. This the _Courier_ and the venal press made a great noise
about the next day; and Lord James Murray, who was in the carriage with
the Prince Regent, attended in his seat in the House of Commons, in the
evening, and stated that the Prince Regent had been fired at, on his way
from the House; and the ball had passed through the window of his
coach. This caused a great sensation in the House, and the outrage was
attributed to the Reformers, not one of whom do I believe was present;
at any rate not one of the delegates was there. This greatly assisted
the Ministers to carry their intended measures through both Houses; that
of suspending the Habeas-Corpus Act, and that of passing the Seditious
Meetings Bill.

Lord Cochrane presented the Bristol petition, and moved the following
amendment to the address, which, as a vindication of the conduct of the
Reformers, I will here record.

 "That this House has taken a view of the public proceedings
  throughout the country, by those persons who
  have met to petition for a Reform of this House, and that,
  in justice to those persons, as well as to the people at
  large, and for the purpose of convincing the people that
  this House wishes to entertain and encourage no misrepresentation
  of their honest intentions, this House, with
  great humility, beg leave to assure his Royal Highness,
  that they have not been able to discover one single instance,
  in which meetings to petition for Parliamentary
  Reform have been accompanied with any attempt to disturb
  the public tranquillity; and this House further beg
  leave to assure his Royal Highness, that in order to prevent
  the necessity of those rigorous measures, which are
  contemplated in the latter part of the speech of his Royal
  Highness, this House will take into their early consideration
  the propriety of abolishing sinecures and unmerited
  pensions and grants, the reduction of the civil list, and of all
  salaries which are now disproportionate to the services,
  and especially, that they will take into their consideration
  the Reform of this House, agreeably to the laws and
  constitution of the land, this House being decidedly of
  opinion that justice and humanity, as well as policy, call
  at this time of universal distress, for measures of conciliation,
  and not of rigour, towards a people who have made
  so many and such great sacrifices, and who are now suffering,
  in consequence of those sacrifices, all the calamities
  with which a nation can be afflicted."

It is a melancholy subject for reflection, that there was not ONE man to
be found in the House that would even SECOND this amendment, which was
neither more nor less than a true account of the proceedings of the
Reformers throughout the country; and in consequence of this, the motion
fell to the ground without a division. Lord Cochrane continued night
after night to present these petitions, brought up by the delegates; and
the most remarkable event of these times was, that the very night that
Lord Cochrane presented the petition from Bath, which especially pointed
out the enormous sums annually received by their Recorder, Lord Camden,
and which prayed for the abolition of his enormous sinecures; that very
night a message was brought down to the House, and it was announced
by one of the Ministers _that Lord Camden had actually resigned his
enormous sinecure of Teller of the Exchequer_, which did not amount to
less than thirty-five thousand pounds a year. No one will doubt that
this act of his Lordship was occasioned solely by the resolutions and
the petition passed at the Bath meeting. He well knew that Lord Cochrane
had presented the Bristol petition, and had stated in the House that he
had several other petitions to present; and amongst the number that
from Bath, signed by upwards of twenty thousand persons. To prevent,
therefore, the discussion which was likely to arise from the
presentation of this petition, he anticipated the prayer of it, by
resigning his sinecure of Teller of the Exchequer. How often have we
been asked by the tools of corruption, what good was there in holding
public meetings! We have been everlastingly told that these great public
meetings, and the violent petitions passed at them, did a great deal of
harm, but that they never produced any good. What these knaves mean by
this is, that the House of Commons never attended to the prayers
and petitions of the people, and that therefore it was of no use to
persevere in petitioning. This, as far as it goes, is very true; the
House of Commons never did attend to the petitions of the people for
Reform; but yet I boldly answer, that petitioning _has_ done some good;
that the petition of the first Spafields meeting obtained _four thousand
pounds_ from the droits of the Admiralty, for the suffering poor of
Spital-fields and the metropolis. This was some good. Again, I say, that
the petition and the resolutions passed at the Bath meeting, caused Lord
Camden to surrender thirty-five thousand a year to the public. This
alone was some good. Nor must we stop here. Almost all the petitions in
which I was ever concerned, petitioned for the abolition of all sinecure
and useless places, and unmerited pensions; and I always particularly
denounced the sinecures of the late Marquis of Buckingham, the other
Teller of the Exchequer, and prayed and petitioned for its abolition. At
the death of the old Marquis _it was abolished_. Does any man of sense
and candour believe, for a moment, that this would have ever been
done to this hour, if it had not been for the prayers, petitions, and
remonstrances of the people? Here, then, is another saving of upwards of
thirty thousand pounds a year.--Therefore, I say, that the great public
meetings _have_ done a great deal of good; and those who promoted them
have rendered very considerable service to the country, although
they have themselves been the victims of that system of tyranny and
oppression, which, in these two instances alone, has had its plunder
curtailed in more than _sixty thousand pounds a year_. Add to all this,
that the Prince Regent surrendered fifty thousand pounds per annum to
the public exigencies. Will any man say that the Regent would have done
this, had it not been for the great public meetings held in Spafields
and other places? and was this nothing? Again, Mr. Ponsonby resigned his
Chancellor's pension of _four thousand pounds a year_. Is this nothing?
Here I have shown that, within _three months_ of the great meeting first
held in Spafields, and between the second and third meeting which
was advertised, no less a sum than NINETY THOUSAND POUNDS A YEAR was
surrendered for the public exigencies; and was this doing nothing? To be
sure, five persons had been found guilty of rioting on the day of the
second Spafields meeting, and Cashman was sentenced to death; but this
had nothing to do with the meeting itself, which met only for the
purpose of petitioning Parliament, and peaceably separated, after
agreeing to a petition, which was signed by _twenty-four thousand
persons_, praying for Reform, and the abolition of all sinecures, and a
reduction of the public expenditure; which petition had been presented,
and received by the House of Commons, before these _surrenders_ and
resignations of these large sums were made. To be sure, Lord Sidmouth
had delivered in the House of Lords a message from the Prince Regent,
laying before Parliament the famous green bag, full of precious
documents, got up to prove that sedition, conspiracy, and rebellion were
close at hand; and that treasonable practices existed in London, and in
various parts of the kingdom: upon which a committee was appointed by
the Ministers, in both Houses of Parliament, to examine and report upon
the contents of the said bag. The result of this was, that Mr. Evans, of
Newcastle-street, the Spencean, and his son, were arrested on a charge
of high treason!

About this time I received a letter from the Reformers of Portsmouth,
requesting me to attend and preside at a public meeting, which they
wished to hold in or near that town, to petition for Reform. I showed
this letter to Mr. Cobbett, who said, "I know these people; I will
answer that letter for you, and arrange with them all about their
meeting. As you are so much engaged in other matters at this time, I
will take this trouble off your hands, and you will have nothing to
do but to attend the meeting when the day is appointed." This offer I
cheerfully accepted, and I thought no more of the business till I saw it
publicly announced that a meeting would be held on Portsdown-Hill, on
the 10th day of February, _the very day that was fixed for holding the
third Spafields meeting_; and that was done without consulting or saying
a word to me upon the subject, although I was the only person written
to by the people of Portsmouth. It did certainly strike me at the time,
that there appeared to be a good deal of trickery and management made
use of to keep me from this meeting. As, however, I was never jealous of
any one myself, I had no suspicion that my friends were jealous of me,
and I took no notice of it, though I was sorry to find that to the
people who met on Portsdown, _no apology or explanation_ was made for my
absence, or at least for the meeting being held on the day that
I was at Spafields; and I have reason to think that the people of
Portsmouth, who first invited me, were very much disappointed at my not
being present, and that they felt themselves slighted by me, which,
I assure them, was the farthest thing in the world from my wish or
intention.

While my _friends_ were acting in this manner, my enemies were not idle,
and the agents of Government, in order to injure me in the opinion of
the public, not only vilified and abused and libelled me from day to
day, in the public newspapers, but they actually caused a placard to be
printed and posted all over the metropolis, which was headed "_Mr. Hunt
hissed out of the City of Bristol_," and contained all sorts of infamous
falsehoods and scurrilous abuse. It appeared from the newspapers that a
boy, of the name of Thomas Dugood, had been committed to prison, by a
Police Magistrate, for having pulled down one of these posting-bills. I
immediately set about an inquiry, to find out the poor boy, to endeavour
to relieve him from his imprisonment, and to gain him some redress for
the persecution which he had suffered. To discover where the boy was, I
went to the Police Office, and, after a great deal of shuffling, I was
directed to Coldbath-fields Prison, which, as I subsequently found, was
the wrong gaol, the boy having been committed to the New Prison. In the
mean time, however, finding that I was resolved to go to the bottom of
the business, they had released the boy. At length I found him out at
his lodgings, and learned from him that he had been confined for several
days among the vilest felons. I took him to the Police Office, to
identify the Magistrate that committed him, and there I caused the
police officer, Limbrick, to be placed at the bar, for robbing the boy
of his books and money at the time he was apprehended. The inquiry ended
in the said police officer returning the boy his books and money, and
confessing that he was ordered to attend the posting of the said bills,
and to protect them from being pulled down after they were posted. The
bills were printed at the office of the Hue and Cry, near Temple-bar,
and an agent of the Government paid the bill-sticker a large sum for the
posting of them in the night. Finding that I could get no redress for
the boy at the Police Office, I took him into the Court of King's Bench,
and appealed to the Judges. But Lord Ellenborough could do nothing
for him. By the stir which I made, however, the case got into all the
papers, and the conduct of the Government was completely exposed. I
then caused a petition from Dugood to be presented to the House by Lord
Folkestone, and another petition of my own, by Lord Cochrane. The Under
Secretary of State, Mr. Hiley Addington, promised that the conduct of
the Police Magistrate should be inquired into; but ultimately it
was ascertained that Lord Sidmouth had no power to interfere. The
Magistrate, Mr. Sellon, who had committed the boy, was not a Police
Magistrate, but a Magistrate of the county of Middlesex; therefore his
Lordship could not interfere, and the boy must, forsooth, proceed _at
law_ against the Magistrate. I shall here insert the petitions that were
presented to the House, which will place this transaction in a clear
point of view before my readers, and will show them to what meanness the
Government submitted, in order to injure my character with the public,
and to destroy the influence which they discovered that I had over the
people. This transaction will speak for itself without any further
comment of mine. "To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled.

"The Petition of Thomas Dugood, of the Parish of St. Paul,
Covent-Garden, in the City of Westminster,

"HUMBLY SHEWETH,

"That your petitioner is a parentless and friendless boy, seventeen
years of age, who, until lately seized by two Police Officers and sent
to prison by the police, obtained the honest means of living by the sale
of Religious and Moral Tracts, which he used to purchase of Mr. Collins,
of Paternoster-row.

"That your petitioner has, for more than four months last past, lodged,
and he still lodges, at the house of Keeran Shields, who lives at No.
13, Gee's-court, Oxford-street, and who is a carter to Mr. White, of
Mortimer-street, and who is also a watchman in Marybone parish.

"That your petitioner has never in his life lived as a vagrant, but has
always had a settled home, has always pursued an honest and visible
means of getting his living, has always been, and is ready to prove
that he always has been an industrious, a peaceable, sober, honest, and
orderly person.

"That, on the 10th of January, 1817, your petitioner, for having pulled
down a posting bill, entitled, "_Mr. Hunt hissed out of the City
of Bristol_," was committed by Mr. Sellon to the New Prison,
Clerkenwell, where he was kept on bread and water and compelled to lie on
the bare boards until the twenty-second of the same month, when he was
tied, with about fifty others, to a long rope, or cable, and marched to
Hicks's Hall, and there let loose.

"That your petitioner has often heard it said, that the law affords
protection to the poor as well as to the rich, and that, if unable to
obtain redress any where else, every subject of his Majesty has the road
of petition open to him; therefore your petitioner, being unable to
obtain redress in any other manner for the grievous wrongs done him by
the Magistrate of the police, most humbly implores your Honourable House
to afford him protection and redress, and to that end he prays your
Honourable House to permit him to prove at the bar of your Honourable
House all and several the allegations contained in this his most humble
petition.

"And your petitioner will ever pray.

  "THOMAS DUGOOD.""To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom
  of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled.

  "The Petition of Henry Hunt, of Middleton Cottage,
  in the County of Southampton,

  "HUMBLY SHEWETH,

  "That your petitioner, being ready to prove at the
  bar of your Honourable House, that there has been carried
  on a conspiracy against his character, and eventually
  aimed at his life, by certain persons, receiving salaries out
  of the public money, and acting in their public capacity,
  and expending for this vile purpose a portion of the taxes;
  and there being, as appears to him, no mode of his obtaining
  a chance of security, other than those which may
  be afforded him by Parliament, he humbly sues to your
  Honourable House to yield him your protection.

  "That your petitioner has always been a loyal and
  faithful subject, and a sincere and zealous friend of his
  country. That, at a time, during the first war against
  France, when there were great apprehensions of invasion,
  and when circular letters were sent round to farmers and
  others to ascertain what sort and degree of aid each
  would be willing to afford to the Government in case of
  such emergency, your petitioner, who was then a farmer
  in Wiltshire, did not, as others did, make an offer of a
  small part of his moveable property, but that, really believing
  his country to be in danger, he, in a letter to the
  Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Pembroke, freely offered his
  all, consisting of several thousands of sheep, a large stock
  of horned cattle, upwards of twenty horses, seven or
  eight waggons and carts with able and active drivers, several
  hundreds of quarters of corn and grain, and his
  own person besides, all to be at the entire disposal of
  the Lord Lieutenant; and this your petitioner did without
  any reserved claim to compensation, it being a principle
  deeply rooted in his heart, that all property, and even
  life itself, ought to be considered as nothing, when put in
  competition with the safety and honour of our country.
  And your petitioner further begs leave to state to your
  Honourable House, that, at a subsequent period, namely,
  in the year 1803, when an invasion of the country was
  again apprehended, and when it was proposed to call out
  volunteers to serve within certain limits of their houses,
  your petitioner called around him the people of the village
  of Enford, in which he lived, and that all the men in
  that parish (with the exception of three) capable of bearing
  arms, amounting to more than two hundred in number,
  immediately enrolled themselves, and offered to serve,
  not only within the district, but in any part of the kingdom
  where the enemy might land, or be expected to land,
  and this offer was by your petitioner transmitted to Lord
  Pembroke, who expressed to your petitioner his great satisfaction
  at the said offer, and informed him, that he,
  would make a point of communicating the same to his
  Majesty's Ministers.

  "That your petitioner, still actuated by a sincere desire
  to see his country free and happy, and holding a high
  character in the world, has lately been using his humble
  endeavours to assist peaceably and legally in promoting
  applications to Parliament for a Reform in your Honourable
  House, that measure appearing to your petitioner to
  be the only effectual remedy for the great and notorious
  evils under which the country now groans, and for which
  evils, as no one attempts to deny their existence, so no
  one, as far as your petitioner has heard, has attempted to
  suggest any _other_ remedy.

  "That your petitioner, in pursuit of this constitutional,
  and, as he hopes and believes, laudable object (an object
  for which, if need be, he is resolved to risk his life against
  unlawful violence) lately took part in a public meeting of
  the City of Bristol, of which he is a freeholder; and that
  though a large body of regular troops and of yeomanry
  cavalry were placed in a menacing attitude near the place
  of our meeting, the meeting was conducted and concluded
  in the most peaceable and orderly manner, and the result
  of it was a petition to your Honourable House, voluntarily
  signed by upwards of twenty thousand men, which
  petition has been presented to, and received by, your Honourable
  House.

  "That your petitioner, who had met with every demonstration
  of public good-will and approbation in the
  said city, was surprised to see in the public newspapers
  an account of a boy having been sent to gaol by certain
  Police Officers and Justices, for having pulled down a
  posting-bill, which alleged your petitioner to have been
  hissed out of the City of Bristol, and containing other
  gross falsehoods and infamous calumnies on the character
  of your petitioner, calculated to excite great hatred against
  your petitioner, and to prepare the way for his ruin and
  destruction.

  "That your petitioner, who trusts that he has himself
  always acted an open and manly part, and who has never
  been so base as to make an attack upon any one, who had
  not the fair means of defence, feeling indignant at this act
  of partiality and oppression, came to London with a view
  of investigating the matter, and this investigation having
  taken place, he now alleges to your Honourable House,
  that the aforesaid posting-bills, containing the infamous
  calumnies aforesaid, were printed by _J. Downes_, who is
  the printer to the Police; that the bill-sticker received
  the bills from the said Downes, who paid him for sticking
  them up; that the bill-sticker was told by the said
  _Downes_, that there would be somebody _to watch him_ to
  see that he stuck them up; that Police Officers were set
  to watch to prevent the said bills from being pulled down;
  that some of these Bills were carried to the Police-office at
  Hatton Garden, and there kept by the officers, to be produced
  in proof against persons who should be taken up for
  pulling them down; that Thomas Dugood was seized,
  sent to gaol, kept on bread and water, and made to lie
  on the bare boards from the tenth to the twenty-second
  of January, 1817, when he was taken out with about fifty
  other persons, tied to a long rope or cable, and marched
  to Hicks's Hall, where he was let loose, and that his
  only offence was pulling down one of those bills; that
  a copy of Dugood's commitment was refused to your petitioner;
  that your petitioner was intentionally directed
  to a wrong prison to see the boy Dugood; that the Magistrate,
  William Marmaduke Sellon, who had committed
  Dugood, denied repeatedly that he knew any thing of the
  matter, and positively asserted that Dugood had been committed
  by another Magistrate, a Mr. Turton, who Mr.
  Sellon said, was at his house very ill, and not likely to
  come to the office for some time.

  "That your Honourable House is besought by your
  petitioner, to bear in mind the recently exposed atrocious
  conspiracies carried on by officers of the Police against
  the lives of innocent men, and your petitioner is confident
  that your Honourable House will, in these transactions,
  see the clear proofs of a foul conspiracy against the
  character and life of your petitioner, carried on by persons
  in the public employ, appointed by the Crown, and removable
  at its pleasure, and that this conspiracy has been
  also carried on by means of public money.

  "And, therefore, as the only mode of doing justice to
  the petitioner and to the public in a case of such singular
  atrocity, your petitioner prays your Honourable House
  that he may be permitted to prove (as he is ready to do)
  all and singular the aforesaid allegations at the Bar of
  your Honourable House, and that if your Honourable
  House shall find the allegations to be true, you will be
  pleased to address his Royal Highness to cause the aforesaid
  Magistrate to be dismissed from his office.

  "And your petitioner shall ever pray.

  "H. HUNT."

The day of the third Spafields meeting arrived, and I drove to town in
my tandem, and put up at the British Coffee-house livery-stables, in
Cockspur-street, where I had for several years before gone with my
horses. My trunk was, as usual, taken into a bedroom, where I meant to
change my dress previously to my going to the meeting. I had first to
walk into Fleet-street on business, and when I got there, I saw _nine
pieces of artillery_ drawn over Blackfriars-bridge, which proceeded
up Fleet-market towards Spafields, attended by a regular company of
artillery men from Woolwich. I had called on Major Cartwright as I drove
into town, and he informed me that he had heard, from good authority,
that a Cabinet Council had been held on Saturday, and that LORD
CASTLEREAGH _had proposed to disperse the intended meeting by military
force_, but that the other Cabinet Ministers had opposed this measure,
and that at length CASTLEREAGH retired, muttering vengeance, and adding
that he would take the responsibility upon himself. The Major spoke with
great earnestness and feeling, while, if I recollect right, I treated
his information rather lightly, saying, that if they killed me I hoped
the Major would write my epitaph. When, however, I saw the artillery
pass up Fleet-market, in a direction for Spafields, the place of
meeting, I began to think more seriously of the matter; but, as I was
about to do that which my conscience approved of, and as I knew that I
should not violate any law, I returned towards my inn, certainly in a
serious mood, yet determined to do my duty. Not one man that I knew in
the whole metropolis would or did accompany me. I called at Cobbett's
lodgings, in Catherine-street, and asked the young ones, rather
sarcastically, if they meant to attend the meeting? to which they
answered, that their father had left positive orders that they should
not go over the threshhold of the door that day. When I got to my inn,
in Cockspur-street, I ordered my servant to get my horses ready, and I
went to my bedroom to put on a clean shirt, but I was surprised to find
that my trunk had been removed. I rung the bell several times before any
one came; at length the _Boots_ appeared, instead of the chambermaid,
and I demanded the reason of my trunk being removed. He either knew or
pretended to know nothing of the matter, but said he would inquire.
After he had been absent for some time, I rung again, upon which a
stranger appeared, a person whom I had never seen before. He said he was
the master of the house, and he had ordered my trunk to be removed; to
which he added, that I should not sleep in his house, as it would drive
away his best customers. I told him I had slept there occasionally for
many years, and was always treated with civility; and drawing out my
purse, I said that as he was a stranger I would immediately pay him
whatever he might demand for the use of the room. He still, however,
persisted that I should leave his house. I demanded my trunk, and
declared I would dress there first; he swore I should not, and made an
effort to hustle me out of the room. I then told him to keep his hands
off, or I would thrash him; upon which he put himself into a boxing
attitude, and offered to fight me. He was a little insignificant
creature, and I was just upon the point of kicking him out of the room,
when I saw a fellow peeping round the corner of the door. It immediately
struck me that this was a trap to get me into a scrape, and I paused and
drew back in consequence. I told the little gentleman, who said his name
was Morley, that I would meet him and talk over the matter at any
other time; but, as I was at present engaged, I asked him as a _favour_
to let me have my trunk to dress, and I would leave his house in ten
minutes. It was agreed that we should meet at Mr. Jackson's rooms, some
day in the following week. Thither I went at the time appointed, with
perhaps the worst second in the world, Mr. Cobbett. When I got there
each told his story, and Jackson proposed that we should go into the
fields to settle the dispute, but this was not assented to by either Mr.
Morley or myself, and Mr. Cobbett was vehement against my having any
thing to do with my antagonist. The affair, therefore, terminated with
some smart words, without either of us offering to fight. This affair
was, however, blazoned forth in all the morning papers, which, in utter
defiance of truth, asserted that I had behaved ill to a man of the name
of Morley, who kept the British Coffee-house in Cockspur-street; that
we had met by appointment at Jackson's, and that I had refused to
fight him. Supposing that I had done so, I should, under all the
circumstances, have been perfectly justified; but it was no such thing,
the fellow never offered to fight me at any other time but in his own
house, where, if I had struck him, I am thoroughly convinced that a
police-officer was in attendance, to take me into custody for assaulting
a man in his own house; consequently, I should have been detained till
the time of the meeting in Spafields had passed; and it would have been
made a pretty handle of in the papers the next day, when the public
would have been told that, instead of my attending the meeting in
Spafields, I had been taken to Bow-street, and detained in custody, for
assaulting the landlord of the inn at which I had put up. All that I
shall add upon the subject is, that on no occasion in my life did I ever
turn my back upon _two_ such men as Mr. Morley.

At the time appointed I arrived at the meeting, which was much larger
than either of the former meetings. Resolutions were passed, and a
petition was unanimously agreed to, praying for Reform, &c. which
petition was placed the same evening in the hands of Lord Folkestone,
by Mr. Clarke, who had been for the third time our chairman; and which
petition was presented to the House of Commons the same night, by his
Lordship. I was accompanied by the people to Hyde-Park Corner, where I
took my leave of them, and returned to my house at Middleton Cottage;
the whole of these three meetings in Spafields having been held in the
most peaceable and orderly manner, without the least disturbance, or
one single breach of the peace having been committed by any person that
attended it, notwithstanding all the infamous falsehoods that were
published in the newspapers to the contrary. The truth is, that I
have seen ten times more disturbance, disorder, and tumult, at one
Common-Hall, in the city of London, where the Lord Mayor presided, than
there was at all these meetings put together.

While these things were going peaceably on out of doors, and petitions
were daily and numerously pouring in from all parts of the kingdom,
particularly from the North of England, and from Scotland, the two
Houses of Parliament were in their way not inactive. The committees that
were appointed made their report, and bills were immediately brought in
to suspend the Habeas-Corpus Act, and to prevent seditious meetings;
which bills were, with very faint opposition, agreed to. It ought not to
be forgotten, that on this occasion the Whigs took a most prominent part
against the people, and that they were quite as loud and as violent
against the Reformers as the Ministers were. To be sure the people had
committed one inexpiable crime. They had by their steady, peaceable, and
persevering conduct, frightened the Whig leader, Mr. Ponsonby, out
of his sinecure of 4,000_l_. per annum, which he held in consequence
of his having been Lord Chancellor of Ireland, during the Whig
administration, in the year 1807. The cunning Scotchman, Erskine, who
had been for the same short period Lord Chancellor of England, was also
pressed very hard to follow the example of his Irish friend; but Sawney
was of a more tenaciously grasping nature, and he _stuck to the ship_,
determined to partake of the plunder as long as she would swim. It was
for this that the Whigs wreaked their malice upon the Reformers, and
that Mr. Brougham and his confederates appeared to run a race every
night which should most abuse and calumniate them.

The plot being ripe, Watson, Thistlewood, Preston, and Hooper, were
committed to the Tower for high treason. On the other hand, meetings
were held in Westminster, and in the city of London, to petition against
the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. The following petition of mine
was also presented to the House of Lords, by Lord Holland. I was below
the bar at the time his Lordship presented it, immediately before Lord
Sidmouth rose to move the passing of the Seditious Meetings Bill, and I
shall never forget the look that his Lordship, the Secretary of State,
gave me; for I stood right in front of the bar, and within a few yards
of him.

  "To the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United
  Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament
  assembled.

  "The Petition of Henry Hunt, of Middleton Cottage,
  in the County of Southampton,
  "HUMBLY SHEWETH,

  "That your petitioner, who had the honour to be the
  mover of the petitions at the recent meetings held in Spafields,
  one of which petitions has been received by his
  Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and two of which
  petitions have been presented to, and received by, the
  Honourable the House of Commons, has read, in the public
  prints, a paper entitled a Report of the Secret Committee
  of your Right Honourable House, and which Report
  appears to your petitioner, as far as his humble
  powers of disentanglement have enabled him to analyse
  the same, to submit to your Right Honourable House, as
  solemn truths, the following assertions; to wit:

  "That the first public meeting in Spafields, which had
  for its ostensible object a petition for relief and Reform,
  was closely connected with, and formed part of, a
  Conspiracy to produce an insurrection for the purpose
  of overthrowing the Government.

  "2. That Spafields was fixed upon as the place of assembling,
  on account of its vicinity to the Bank and the
  Tower; and that, for this same reason, _'care was taken_
  to adjourn the meeting to the 2d of December, by
  which time it was hoped that preparations for the surrection
  would be fully matured.'

  "3. That, at this second meeting, flags, banners, and all
  the ensigns of insurrection, were displayed, and that,
  finally, an insurrection was begun by _persons collected_
  _in the Spafields_, and that notwithstanding the ultimate
  object was then frustrated, _the same designs still continue
  to be prosecuted with sanguine hopes of success_.

  "4. That a large quantity of Pike-heads had been ordered
  of one individual, and that 250 had actually been
  made and paid for.
  "5. That _Delegates from Hampden Clubs in the Country_
  have met in London, and that they are _expected_ to
  meet again in March.

  "That, as to the FIRST of these assertions, as your
  petitioner possesses no means of ascertaining the secret
  thoughts of men, he cannot pretend to assert, that none of
  the persons, with whom the calling of the first Spafields
  meeting originated, had no views of a riotous or revolutionary
  kind; but he humbly conceives, that a simple
  narrative of facts will be more than sufficient to satisfy
  your Right Honourable House, that no such dangerous
  projects ever entered the minds of those who constituted
  almost the entire mass of that most numerous meeting.
  Therefore, in the hope of producing this conviction in the
  mind of your Right Honourable House, your petitioner
  begs leave to proceed to state: that he, who was then at
  his house in the country, received, a short time before the
  16th of November last, a letter from Thomas Preston,
  Secretary of a Committee, requesting your petitioner to
  attend a public meeting of the distressed inhabitants of
  the metropolis, intended to be held in Spafields on the
  day just mentioned; that your petitioner thereupon wrote
  to Thomas Preston to know what was the object of the
  intended meeting; that he received, in the way of answer,
  a newspaper called the Independent Whig, of November
  10th, 1816, containing an advertisement in these
  words; to wit: 'At a meeting held at the Carlisle,
  Shoreditch, on Thursday evening, it was determined to
  call a meeting of the distressed Manufacturers, Mariners,
  Artizans, and others of the Cities of London and Westminster,
  the Borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent, in
  Spafields, on Friday, the 15th instant, precisely at 12
  o'clock, to take into consideration the propriety of petitioning
  the Prince Regent and Legislature, to adopt immediately
  such measures as will relieve the sufferers from
  the misery which now overwhelms them. (_Signed_)
  JOHN DYALL, Chairman, THOMAS PRESTON, Secretary.'
  That your petitioner, upon seeing this advertisement, hesitated
  not to accept of the invitation; that he attended
  at the said meeting; that he there found, ready prepared,
  a paper, called, to the best of his recollection, a _memorial_,
  which some persons, then utter strangers to him, proposed
  to move for the adoption of the meeting; that
  your petitioner, perceiving in this paper, propositions of
  a nature which he did not approve of, and especially a
  proposition for the meeting going in a body to Carlton
  House, declared that he would have nothing to do with
  the said memorial; that your petitioner then brought forward
  an humble petition to the Prince Regent, which
  petition was passed by the meeting unanimously, and
  which petition, having been by your petitioner delivered
  to Lord Sidmouth, that Noble Lord has, by letter, informed
  your petitioner was immediately laid before his Royal
  Highness the Prince Regent. And your petitioner here
  begs leave further to state, upon the subject of the aforementioned
  memorial, that _John Dyall_, whose name, as
  _Chairman_ of the Committee who called the meeting (and
  of which Committee Thomas Preston was Secretary),
  having, _before the meeting took place_, been called before
  Mr. Gifford, one of the Police Magistrates, had _furnished
  Mr. Gifford with a copy of the said memorial_, and that
  that copy was _in the hands of Lord Sidmouth at the moment
  when the meeting was about to assemble_, though
  (from an oversight, no doubt) neither the Police Magistrates
  nor any other person whatever gave your petitioner
  the smallest intimation of the dangerous tendency
  or even of the existence of such memorial, or of any improper
  views being entertained by any of the parties
  calling the meeting, though it now appears, that the
  written placards, entitled "_Britons to Arms_," are imputed
  to those same parties, though it is notorious that
  that paper appeared in all the _public prints_ so far back as
  the month of _October_, and though, when your petitioner
  waited on Lord Sidmouth with the petition of the Prince
  Regent, that Noble Lord himself informed your petitioner,
  that the Government were fully apprized before-hand of
  the propositions _intended_ to be brought forward at the
  meeting.  So that your petitioner humbly begs leave to
  express his confidence that your Honourable House will
  clearly perceive, that if any insurrection had taken place
  on the day of the first Spafields meeting, it would have
  been entirely owing to the neglect, if not connivance, of
  those persons who possessed a previous knowledge of the
  principles and views of the parties with whom that meeting
  originated.

  "With regard to the SECOND assertion, namely, that
  '_care_ was taken to adjourn the meeting to the 2d of December,'
  your petitioner begs leave to state, that it will
  appear upon the face of the proceedings of that day, that
  there was nothing like previous _concert_ or _care_ in this
  matter; for, that a resolution first proposed to adjourn
  the meeting to the day of the meeting of Parliament, and
  then to meet in _Palace-yard_, of course _not so much in the
  vicinity of the Bank and the Tower_; and that when this
  resolution was awarded so as to provide for a meeting on
  the 2d of December on the same spot, it was merely
  grounded on the _uncertainty_ as to the time when the
  Parliament might meet. Your petitioner further begs
  leave to state here, as being, in a most interested manner,
  connected with this adjournment of the meeting, that,
  when your petitioner waited on Lord Sidmouth with the
  petition to the Prince Regent, _he informed his Lordship
  that the meeting was to re-assemble on the 2d of December_,
  when your petitioner had engaged to carry his Lordship's
  answer and deliver it to the adjourned meeting, and that
  his Lordship, so far from advising your petitioner not to
  go to the said meeting, so far from saying any thing to
  discourage the said meeting, distinctly told your petitioner,
  that your petitioner's presence and conduct appeared
  to his Lordship to have prevented great possible
  mischief. Whence your petitioner humbly conceives,
  that he is warranted in concluding, that there did, at the
  time here referred to, exist in his Lordship no desire to
  prevent the said meeting from taking place.

  "Your petitioner, in adverting humbly to the THIRD
  assertion of your Secret Committee, begs to be permitted
  to state, that the persons who went from Spafields to
  engage in riot on the 2d of December, formed no part of
  the meeting called for that day; that these persons came
  into the fields full two hours before the time of meeting;
  that they left the fields full an hour before that time; that
  they did not consist, at the time of leaving the fields, of
  more than forty or fifty individuals; that they were joined
  by sailors and others, persons going from witnessing
  the execution of four men in the Old Bailey; that your
  petitioner, who had come up from Essex in the morning,
  met the rioters in Cheapside; that he proceeded directly
  to the meeting, which he found to be very numerous; that
  there a resolution was immediately proposed by your petitioner,
  strongly condemning all rioting and violence,
  which resolution passed with the most unanimous acclamations;
  that a petition, which has since been signed by
  upwards of 24 thousand names, and received by the House
  of Commons, was then passed; and that the meeting,
  though immense as to numbers, finally separated, without
  the commission of any single act of riot, outrage, or violence.
  And here your petitioner humbly begs leave to
  beseech the attention of your Right Hon. House to the
  very important fact of a _third_ meeting having taken place
  on the 10th instant, on the same spot, more numerously
  attended than either of the former; and that, after having
  agreed to a petition, which has since been received by
  your Hon. House, the said meeting separated in the most
  peaceable and orderly manner, which your petitioner trusts
  is quite sufficient to convince your Honourable House that
  if, as your Secret Committee reported, _designs of riot do
  still continue to be prosecuted with sanguine hopes of success_,
  these designs can have no connection whatever with
  the meetings for retrenchment, relief, and Reform, held in
  Spafields.

  "That as to the _pike-heads_, your petitioner begs leave
  to state to your Right Honourable House, that while he
  was at the last Spafields meeting, an anonymous letter
  was put into the hands of your petitioner's servant, who
  afterwards gave it to your petitioner; that this letter
  stated that one Bentley, a smith, of Hart-street, Covent-Garden,
  had been employed by a man, in the dress of a
  _game-keeper_, to make some spikes to put round a fish-pond;
  that the game-keeper came and took a parcel
  away and paid for them; that he came soon afterwards
  and said the things answered very well, and ordered more
  to be made; that, in a little while after this, the said Bentley
  was _sent for to the Bow-street Office_, and, after a private
  examination, was desired to make a pike, or spike,
  of the same sort, and to carry it to the office, which he
  did. That your petitioner perceives that the information
  which it contains may possibly be of the utmost importance
  in giving a clue to the strict investigation, which he
  humbly presumes to hope will be instituted by your Honourable
  House into this very interesting matter.

  "That as to the FIFTH assertion, that _Delegates_ have
  assembled in London, from _Hampden Clubs_ in the country,
  your petitioner has first to observe, that these persons
  never called _themselves_ Delegates, and were not called
  _Delegates_ by any body connected with them; that
  they were called, and were, '_Deputies from Petitioning
  Bodies_' for Parliamentary Reform; that your petitioner
  was one of them, having been deputed by the petitioners
  at Bristol and Bath; that these Deputies met three times,
  and always in an open room, to which newspaper reporters
  were admitted ; that an account of all their proceedings
  was published; that they separated at the end
  of three days, _not_ upon a motion of _adjournment_, but of
  absolute _dissolution_, which motion was made by your petitioner,
  who is ready to prove that your Committee has
  been imposed upon as to the tact that these Delegates, or
  Deputies, are expected to meet again in March.

  "That your petitioner is ready to prove at the Bar of
  your Right Honourable House, all the facts and allegations
  contained in this petition, and that he humbly prays so to
  be permitted there to prove them accordingly.

  "And your petitioner will ever pray.

  "HENRY HUNT."


As soon as this petition was read, Lord Sidmouth rose, apparently very
much disconcerted, another petition having been presented previously
from Cleary, the secretary of the Hampden Club, denying, and _offering
to prove the falsehood_ of, many of the statements in the Report of
the Committee. His Lordship made a long and violent speech against the
measures and views of the Reformers, and called upon the House to put
them down, or the Constitution and Government of the country would be
soon overthrown. He never attempted to controvert or deny one word that
was contained in my petition, just presented; but he said, that the
Government of this country had often to contend with discontented and
turbulent men; "_but those who took the lead in these meetings, although
their steps were directed with caution, yet_ (turning round and looking
me full in the face) THEY WERE MEN OF MOST EXTRAORDINARY ENERGY, and
PURSUED THEIR COURSE WITH AN INFLEXIBLE PERSEVERANCE AND COURAGE _that
was worthy a better cause_." This was said in the most lofty tone, and
so evidently directed to me, that it drew all the eyes in the House upon
me; and it was with considerable difficulty that I could resist the
inclination I felt to declare, that it was impossible there could be
a _better cause_ than that of contending for the freedom of the whole
people. His Lordship, in alluding to cheap seditious publications, such
as _Cobbett's_ and _Sherwin's Registers_, and _Wooler's Dwarf_, which at
this time were published at twopence each, in great numbers, lamented
that the law officers of the Crown could find nothing in them that they
could prosecute with any chance of success. _Cobbett's Register_ alone,
at this period, attained a sale of fifty thousand copies a week. The
Bill was passed, with very little opposition, to prevent any public
meeting being held to petition for Reform, or any alteration in the
government or constitution of the country, without its being called with
the concurrence of the magistrates, &c. &c.; which was nothing more or
less than prohibiting all public meetings, except such as the corrupt
tools of Government chose to sanction. While the Acts were in progress,
a public county meeting was called by the Sheriff of Hampshire, upon
a requisition, signed by the Marquis of Winchester, the Marquis of
Buckingham, old George Rose, Lord Palmerston, Mr. Sturges Bourne, Lord
Malmsbury, Lord Fitzharris, and all the great Tory leaders of the
county, "to consider of an address to his Royal Highness the Prince
Regent, on the outrageous and treasonable attack made upon his Royal
Highness, on his return from opening the session of Parliament." The
meeting was held on the 11th of March. Sir Charles Ogle moved an
address, which was seconded by Mr. Asheton Smith; both did this in dumb
show, for not one word that they said could be heard. Lord Cochrane
moved an amendment, which was opposed by Mr. Lockhart; and as the
Sheriff refused to put his Lordship's amendment, declaring it to be
irregular, Mr. Cobbett addressed the assembled thousands, and moved an
amendment, which I seconded. This amendment merely proposed to add,
after the word _Constitution_, in the original address, "as established
by Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, and the Act of Habeas Corpus, for
which our forefathers fought and bled." This amendment Mr. Lockhart and
his gang declared to be most seditious and wicked, and the Sheriff,
a little whipper-snapper fellow, of the name of Fleming, absolutely
refused to put it to the meeting. A show of hands took place upon the
original ministerial address, and, as far as my judgment went, it was
lost by a considerable majority. The Sheriff, however, decided that the
address was carried by _three to one_; but when a division was called
for, the Sheriff retired in haste from the meeting, amidst the yells and
groans of the multitude, and the Under-Sheriff actually threatened to
take Lord Cochrane and myself into custody, if we offered to address the
meeting any more.

The Seditious Meeting Act had not yet received the Royal Assent, but
these worthies knew the clauses which it contained, and the perpetual
Under-Sheriff, a Mr. Hollis, appeared determined to act upon it by
anticipation. Perhaps there never was such a disgraceful scene before
exhibited at a public meeting in England. The most foul, the most
unfair, the most outrageous, and most blackguard conduct was resorted to
by the ministerial tools and dependants of the county, amongst whom were
all the parsons, all the half-pay officers, and all the dependants of
the corrupt corporations of Andover and Winchester. A person of the
name of Loscomb, and another, Feston, of Andover, the former one of the
Andover corporation, the latter a half-pay lieutenant, were eminently
conspicuous as the brazen tools of those who called the meeting. Such a
scene of riot, confusion, and uproar had never, I believe, disgraced
a county meeting. These ministerial dependants appeared determined
to carry every thing with a high hand, now that they found laws were
passing to justify and protect arbitrary and corrupt power.

On the 12th of this month, the sailor Cashman was executed at the front
of Beckwith's, the gunmaker's, shop, on Snow-hill. Nothing will show the
distressed situation of the poor and friendless better than the answer
which Cashman made to the Judge, after he was found guilty, upon being
asked "why sentence of death should not be passed upon him." His
memorable words were:--

  "My Lord--I hope you will excuse a poor friendless
  sailor for occupying your time. Had I died fighting the
  battles of my country I should have gloried in it: but I
  confess that it grieves me to think of suffering like a robber,
  when I can call God to witness that _I have passed
  days together without even a morsel of bread rather than
  violate the laws_. I have served my King for many years,
  and often fought for my country. I have received _nine
  wounds in the service_, and never before have been charged
  with any offence. I have been at sea _all my life_, and
  my _father was killed on board the Diana frigate_. I came
  to London, my Lord, _to endeavour to recover my pay and
  prize-money_, but being _unsuccessful_, I was reduced to the
  greatest distress, and being poor and pennyless, I have not
  been able to bring forward witnesses to prove my innocence,
  nor even to acquaint my brave officers, or I am sure
  they would all have come forward in my behalf. The
  gentlemen who have sworn against me must have mistook
  me for some other person (there being _many sailors
  in the mob_); but I freely forgive them, and I hope God
  will also forgive them, for I solemnly declare that I committed
  no act of violence whatever."

Cashman, who had been accustomed to witness scenes of death, met his
fate with determined courage, exclaiming, "Huzza, my boys, I'll die like
a man!" Calling to the executioner, he said, "Come, Jack, let go the
jib-boom." "Now, my lads, give me three cheers when I trip." The few
remaining seconds of his existence he employed in similar addresses, and
at the instant when the fatal board fell from beneath his feet, he
was cheering. This exhibition was calculated to harden the distressed
inhabitants of the metropolis who witnessed his execution, and thousands
felt and exclaimed that it was much better and easier to encounter death
in such a way than to endure the lingering torture of being starved
to death. The multitude did not fail to shower down their deepest
execrations against all those who were concerned in this affair, and the
public were so exasperated at what was justly called the murder of this
man, that, had the poor fellow shewn any disposition to avoid that death
which he appeared rather to court, there is little doubt but he would
have been rescued, in spite of the host of constables and police
officers that attended the execution.

A system of terror was now the order of the day. The reader will bear in
mind that a Bill had passed both Houses of Parliament, and only waited
for the Royal Assent, to make it death to attend any seditious meeting;
at least to make it death not to disperse when ordered by any Magistrate
or public officer. It was under such auspices that a public county
meeting for Wiltshire was called, and appointed to be held at Devizes.
This meeting was called, as in Hampshire, by the great aristocratical
leaders of both the Whig and Tory factions. It will be remembered that
I had given Mr. Cobbett a freehold, to enable him to take part in the
Wiltshire county meetings, all of which, that had been subsequently
held, he had attended with me, and at all these Wiltshire county
meetings the resolutions and petitions proposed by myself and Mr.
Cobbett had been invariably carried. The meeting now in question was to
be convened the latter end of March, or the beginning of April. On my
leaving London, Mr. Cobbett had promised to meet me at Devizes, on the
day appointed. I went to Devizes, with my friend Mr. William Akerman, of
Potney, at whose house I had slept the preceding night. When we arrived
at the Castle Inn, the place of rendezvous, I was surprised to find
that, though it was rather late, my friend Cobbett had not arrived; yet,
so thoroughly convinced was I that he would not disappoint me, that
I was determined to wait at the inn for him, and not to go to the
Town-hall, the place of meeting, till he joined me. As I wished to know
what time the business was to commence, Mr. Akerman, at my request, went
down to the Bear Inn, where the Sheriff and my Lord Pembroke, with all
those who had called this meeting to address the Prince Regent upon his
miraculous escape from the potatoe (which I had now ascertained was
thrown by Mr. JOHN CASTLES), had assembled. He very soon came back,
almost out of breath, to inform me, that the party, with the Sheriff at
their head, were just proceeding to the Hall; and with a loud laugh he
informed me that the _Courier_ newspaper, which had just arrived in the
coffee-room of the Bear Inn, had an article in it which stated that
"COBBETT WAS ARRIVED AT LIVERPOOL, AND HAD TAKEN HIS PASSAGE FOR
AMERICA" "I at once," said he, "declared this to be an infamous lie, and
I offered to bet any of the party 50_l._, which I put on the table, that
Mr. Cobbett would be in Devizes, and attend the meeting, within one hour
from that time." Fortunately for my friend Akerman, not one of the gang
assembled had confidence enough in the rascally _Courier_ to induce them
to take the bet; had they done so, my friend would have lost his 50_l_.
note.

_I was thunderstruck_ for a moment, as Mr. Cobbett had never given me
the slightest intimation of his intention, and till I saw the _Courier_
I could not believe it possible that any man could act so treacherously
towards one for whom he had expressed, not only in public but in
private, the most unbounded confidence. For the first time it now
occurred to me, that there was something _mysterious_ in Mr. Cobbett's
conduct when I last saw him, which was a few days before in London. It
was, however, of no use to ponder or to despair, and therefore, I jumped
up out of my chair, in which I had been almost riveted by the unexpected
intelligence, and earnestly inquired of Mr. Akerman if he had actually
made the bet. He replied, "no one would accept it, or I should most
willingly have made it." "Well," said I, "I am glad that none of the
villains had confidence in the rascally Editor of the _Courier_, but
whether it be true or false, I will go to the meeting." It is much more
easy for the reader to imagine what were the sensations which I felt
as I walked to the meeting, than it is for me to describe them. I had
for many years acted in strict union with Mr. Cobbett, both in Wiltshire
and Hampshire, at all the public meetings that had been held in these
counties; I had placed implicit and unbounded confidence in him, and
I thought that on his part such feelings had been reciprocal; but a
thousand occurrences which hitherto had made no impression on me now
rushed upon my mind, and half convinced me that I had been deceived.

We reached the Town-hall soon after the business of the day was begun;
it was crammed to suffocation, and a great many persons who could not
gain admission, were standing at the outside. By the assistance of my
friend Akerman, I contrived to get near enough to the entrance of the
hall, to expostulate with the Sheriff, for attempting to hold a county
meeting in such a confined situation; adding, that a great number of
people were totally excluded, and amongst that number was Mr. Richard
Long, one of the Members for the county. Upon this, Mr. Long replied,
that he was very well off, and that he did not wish to gain admittance.
This, to be sure, caused a great laugh, but I persevered by moving an
adjournment, and after a great deal of noise and squabbling, the Sheriff
agreed to adjourn the meeting to the Market-place, whither we proceeded,
and Mr. Sheriff Penruddock took his station upon the steps of the
Market-cross, where he was surrounded by such a gang of desperadoes as
never disgraced a meeting of highwaymen and pickpockets in the purlieus
of St. Giles's. This gang was headed by the notorious John Benett, of
Pyt-House, from whom they took the word of command, when to be silent
and when to bellow, hoot, hallow, and make all sorts of discordant
vulgar noises, such as would have degraded and lowered the character of
a horde of drunken prostitutes and pickpockets, in the most abandoned
brothel in the universe.--The plan of operations had been previously
arranged, and a set of wretches had hired themselves, to play the most
disgraceful and disgusting part. Lord Pembroke, the Lord Lieutenant of
the county, had ordered and commanded all his tenantry, and even his
tradesmen, to attend the meeting to oppose HUNT. A butcher at Wilton,
who served his Lordship's family with meat, pleaded his previous
engagements on business of importance, as an excuse for his
non-attendance; but he was informed by his Lordship's agent, that if he
did not appear at Devizes, to oppose any proposition that was made by
_Hunt_, he should never serve the family at Wilton-house with another
joint of meat. The gang thus raked together was led on by regular
leaders; Black Jack, alias the Devil's Knitting Needle, was commander in
chief; Bob Reynolds, a scamping currier of Devizes, who was a sort
of lickspittle to Old Salmon, the attorney, was bully major; and a
jolter-headed farmer, of the name of Chandler, who lived on the Green,
was captain of a gang of little dirty toad-eaters of the corporation; in
fact, every scamp who lived upon the taxes--every scrub who had an eye
to a place--and every lickspittle of the corrupt knaves of the
corrupt and vile rotten-borough of Devizes, took a part in these
un-Englishman-like, partial, cowardly, and disgraceful proceedings.
Every expectant underling, every dirty, petty-fogging scoundrel showed
his teeth, opened his vulgar mouth, and sent forth the most nauseous and
disgusting ribaldry. A time-serving, place-hunting, fawning address to
the Prince Regent was moved by some person. It was stuffed with all
sorts of falsehoods, and was supported by John Benett, of Pyt-House,
in an address to the people, which contained nothing but a violent,
dastardly, and unmanly attack upon me, attributing to me all the
disturbances that had taken place in London, and roundly asserting
that I was the cause of Cashman's being brought to the gallows. By the
independent portion of the meeting, this harangue was listened to
with considerable impatience; but he had, nevertheless, every sort of
fair-play shown him, from their natural conviction, that, as I was
present, I should have an opportunity of replying to these infamous
charges: it was this conviction alone that procured him a hearing, and
gave him an opportunity of uttering such diabolical and premeditated
falsehoods. But the fellow knew that he was safe, and that he could lie
and abuse with impunity. He knew that his dirty hirelings would protect
him against a reply from me, and he, therefore, gave a-loose to a most
malignant spirit. The moment that I attempted to speak, the yell began.
About fifty or sixty, or perhaps one hundred, out of two or three
thousand persons assembled, commenced a bellowing and braying like so
many of their four-legged brethren, and they were so well marshalled,
and acted so well in concert, that it was impossible for the great
majority of the people to gain me a hearing. At length the Sheriff,
Hungerford Penruddock, Esq. who looked ready to faint with shame at what
he was about to do, dissolved the meeting, and ordered the Riot Act to
be read, which, I believe, little whiffling Mr. Salmon made a sort of
dumb-show or pretence to do, and then immediately gave orders to have me
taken into custody. Now began such a contest as was seldom if ever seen;
the descendants of a _petty-fogging attorney_, a _bankrupt tailor_,
a _usurious splitfig_, &c. &c. &c. _William H----s, William S----n,
Stephen N----t & Co._ who were members of the corporation, and now
become _great men_, (good Lord, what would their forefathers have
said to have heard this?) aided by Reynolds, Chandler, and Co. made a
desperate effort to seize me, but all their attempts were in vain; the
gallant, brave, and kind-hearted people of Wiltshire surrounded me with
an impenetrable phalanx; they formed an irresistible bulwark with their
persons, which proved an impregnable barrier against all the assaults
of the constables, bullies, and blackguards, that were urged on by the
Mayor and his myrmidons--a "_matchless crew_." I was hoisted upon the
shoulders of those who stood in the centre of this brave phalanx, and
had a perfect view of all their operations. The gang repeatedly returned
to the charge upon the people, with staves and clubs, but the people
stood as firm as rocks, upon whom they never made the slightest
impression, the people all the while acting solely on the defensive. At
length, two ruffians, Reynolds and Chandler, seized my brother by the
collar, one on each side; he was standing as a spectator, taking no part
but that of looking on. My brother smiled at first, but finding them in
earnest, and being surrounded by the whole gang, who began to drag him
off, he let fly right and left, and, as if they had been shot, the two
bullies fell like slaughtered calves upon the ground, and before the
people could get to his assistance, the whole cowardly gang had taken
flight. This all occurred in the Market-place, in the front of the
Bear-inn, where the Sheriff and the notable founders and supporters of
the infamous time-serving petition were assembled, and from the windows
of which they had the mortification of witnessing the defeat, the
disgrace, and the complete routing of their hirelings, and the victory
of the people, who, instead of taking advantage of their success;
instead of inflicting summary vengance upon those who had assaulted them
in such a cowardly manner; instead of chastising those who had conducted
themselves in such a partial, corrupt, unmanly, and disgraceful way;
they peaceably bore me off to my inn. The pot-valiant Jack-in-office,
Mr. Mayor, soon after followed us, with a fresh posse of constables, and
repeated the reading of the Riot Act under my window, amidst the jeers,
the scoffs, the hootings, and the execrations of the people, who had
committed no act of riot, or breach of the peace, to justify such a
measure. From the window of the Castle-inn, where I was dining with some
friends, I addressed the people, and they peaceably dispersed, although
they kept a good look-out to see that there was no attempt made to annoy
or interrupt me. Had any attempt of that sort been made, I believe, from
what I have since heard, that the consequences might have proved very
serious to those who had been concerned in it.

One circumstance that occurred in the evening afterwards is worth
recording. One of my tenants, Mr. George Jones, who keeps the George
Inn, in Walcot-street, Bath, had driven his niece up to Devizes in the
morning, for the purpose of seeing me on some business, and also to
attend the meeting. As an Englishman, he of course wished for a fair
hearing of both parties, and standing near the bullies Bob Reynolds
and his brother, at the time they were conducting themselves so foully
towards me, he admonished them in a way which they did not appear to
relish. Mr. Jones drove home in his gig, in the evening, with his
niece, and just as they were entering Melksham, they passed Reynolds's
brother, who resided there at the time, in the capacity of a paid
serjeant of the Melksham troop of yeomanry. As soon as Mr. Jones had
passed him, Reynolds rode up to the back of the gig, and, without giving
him any notice, coward and assassin like, he struck him a heavy blow on
the back of his head, with a thick bludgeon. Fortunately Mr. Jones wore
a high-crowned stout beaver, which saved his head, but the crown of the
hat was severed in two by the blow. Jones no sooner recovered himself,
than he turned-to, and with his gig whip he gave a sound flogging to
the dastardly ruffian, who sued in vain for mercy, till the whip was
completely demolished. Some gentlemen, who happened to be passing at the
time, and saw the whole transaction, offered to give Mr. Jones their
address, and recommended him to take legal proceedings against the
villain, they vollunteering their services as witnesses. But Mr. Jones
very coolly replied, "I have taken summary redress, and paid the fellow
in his own coin; therefore it will be only necessary to give such a
scoundrel '_rope enough and he will hang himself_.'" Mr. Jones's
observation was not only very just, but most prophetic. _The loyal and
the worthy Mr. Reynolds, a few months afterwards, to save Jack Ketch
the trouble, put an end to his own existence, by hanging himself in a
malt-house._ If what I hear of another of them be true, it is not very
improbable that he may soon follow his example.

As I drove home in the evening from this meeting, I could not avoid
seriously reflecting upon the critical situation in which I was placed
by my friend Mr. Cobbett having deserted me, and stolen away to America.
I had been constantly and faithfully acting with him for many years, up
to the very hour of his flight, for I had now no doubt in my mind that
the report in the _Courier_ was true. I felt indignant and mortified
in the extreme, at this desertion on the part of my friend, at such a
moment, and without his ever having given me the slightest reason to
suspect him of any such intention. My first resolve was this:--let what
will come I will never fly my country, never desert my countrymen in
the hour of peril. The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, the Seditious
Meetings Bill had been passed and received the Royal Assent. Many of the
brave Reformers of Lancashire had, in consequence, been arrested and
thrown into dungeons, particularly those who had attended in London at
the delegate meeting; therefore I expected to share the same fate, but
still I made up my mind to this, that I would never run from the danger;
and, as I never secreted myself, but was always to be met with any day,
and every day, I was also resolved that no one should with impunity
treat me in the way in which Messrs. Knight, Bamford, Healy, and others
had been treated. They had not merely been arrested, but their houses
had been broken into, and they had been dragged out of their beds in
the dead of the night, and hurried away in irons to the dungeons of the
Boroughmongers.

When I reached home I informed my family of what it was possible might
happen, and this I did, not to alarm them, but to put them upon their
guard, that they might not lose presence of mind in case of any
nocturnal assault being made upon my house. In my own mind I had firmly
settled how to act: if any messenger from the Secretary of State's
office came to apprehend me in the _day time_, I should attend him very
quietly and peaceably; but if any nocturnal visit was intended me by the
officers of the ministers, I was determined to resist and to defend
my house to the last moment; because by so doing they would leave
themselves without the shadow of an excuse, as they always knew when and
where I was to be found in the face of day. Desperate as this plan may
appear in the eyes of many, it was that on which I was determined to
act. I took with me every night into my bed-room a brace of loaded
pistols, that never missed fire, and my double-barrelled gun, charged
and fresh primed; and any number of men less than four would not have
gained admittance alive into my house in the _night time_. I had
violated no law, I had committed no breach of the peace, and I was
resolved that I would maintain the right of an Englishman's house being
his own castle, in spite of Seditious Meeting Bills, or the suspension
of the Habeas Corpus Act. Fortunately, my coolness and determination
were never put to the test. I, however, never went to bed for many weeks
without expecting the enemy, and cautioning my family not to be alarmed
in case of any nocturnal visit being paid me.

Mr. Cobbett's leave-taking address was published, in which he pretty
clearly intimated what would be the fate of every man that remained in
the country, who had been an active leader of the people in promoting
petitions for Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Vote by
Ballot; and he avowed the dread of a dungeon to be the cause of his
leaving the country! As he had never communicated the slightest hint to
me of his intention, so he never made the slightest allusion to me
in his leave-taking address, any more than as if he never had such a
friend. This, at the moment, I considered as most unkind, unfeeling, and
treacherous. But, upon reflection, I esteem it the highest compliment
that he could have paid me; for it clearly proves that he knew the
honesty of my nature too well, to expect that I should have ever
sanctioned so dastardly, so thoroughly unmanly a proceeding as that of
flying from my country, and abandoning the Reformers to the uncontrolled
malice of their enemies, and that, too, at such a moment of difficulty
and danger.

Yet, doubly wounded as I was by the conduct of Mr. Cobbett, wounded
both personally and as a friend of the people, I, nevertheless, soon
endeavoured to find at least some excuse for him, and I made up my mind
not to act the same part towards him which he had done towards me. Real
friendship is not easily alienated from its object. On the very first
opportunity, therefore, I rode over to Botley, to make inquiries about
his circumstances, and, if possible, to serve my friend, notwithstanding
his desertion of me. I found that Mr. Tunno, the mortgagee, had taken
possession of his estate, and that the landlord of the farm which he
occupied, and of the house in which he had lived, had seized for rent;
and, as might naturally be expected under such circumstances, every
thing was going, or rather gone, to rack; all his family had abandoned
the place, and were in London. I called upon the only person in Botley
that used to be intimate with him, from whom I received such an account
as made me form a worse opinion of mankind than I had ever before
entertained. He spoke in opprobrious terms of his former acquaintance,
saying that he, Cobbett, had run away in every one's debt, and, with an
oath, (most brutally, as I felt it) he declared "hanging was too good
for him." I never spoke to this man afterwards; neither was I deterred
by his language from proceeding in my endeavours to serve my absent
friend. I therefore rode on to Mr. Hinxman's, of Chilling, near
Titchfield, who had been for some time a friend of Mr. Cobbett's; and
when I got there I was much delighted to find him as zealous for him as
he had been. He was not merely a professing friend, but he wished to
show his friendship by deeds as well as words, and he had been devising
the best means of showing his friendship. As the result of his
reflections, he put into my hands an address, which he had drawn up, to
the people of England, proposing a subscription of one shilling each
person, to pay off the debts of Mr. Cobbett, and thus to enable him to
return to his country, free from pecuniary embarrassments. This address
was penned in a masterly style, and in every sentiment which it
contained, I fully concurred. I promised to do every thing that lay in
my power to promote its object, and to attend a public meeting,
which was to be called at the Crown and Anchor, for the purpose of
promulgating it; and I agreed to take the chair upon the occasion,
provided that Major Cartwright and Lord Folkestone declined the offer of
it, which was, in the first instance, to be made to them. With the firm
impression on my mind that this plan would be carried into full effect,
I left Mr. Hinxman, perfectly satisfied with the result of my journey of
three days to serve my friend. Mr. Hinxman sent his address to London,
as proposed; but the parties applied to immediately put a negative on
the proposition, assigning as a reason, that it would be establishing a
very bad precedent, to raise a subscription amongst the Reformers to pay
the debts of a man who had deserted the cause of the people, by flying
from the country at a moment of peril and difficulty; and thus at once
was a stop put to the laudable intentions of Mr. Hinxman. There was,
indeed, no possibility of giving any satisfactory answer to such a
reason, and the project was in consequence altogether abandoned. By this
time upwards of SIX HUNDRED PETITIONS had been presented to the House of
Commons, praying for retrenchment, a reduction of the army, and for a
RADICAL REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. These petitions were signed by nearly a
million and a half of people. The only answer that was given to them
was, as the reader has already seen, passing the Seditious Meetings
Bill, and the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. These petitions were
suffered silently to be laid upon the table of the House; nothing that
they prayed for was ever granted, and so far from the Honourable House,
or any of its members, ever answering the allegations contained in them,
they never even condescended to discuss any of the matters contained in
them.

Although Mr. Cobbett, the great literary champion of the Radical
Reformers, had deserted and fled to America, yet others sprung up. About
this period Mr. Wooler began to publish his Black Dwarf, and Mr.
Sherwin published his Weekly Register. These were two bold and powerful
advocates of Reform, and Mr. Wooler, as well as Mr. White, of the
Independent Whig, lasbed Mr. Cobbett most unmercifully for his cowardice
in flying his country, and abandoning the Reformers at such a critical
moment. Mr. Wooler was excessively severe, and he laid it on with an
unsparing hand. I lost no opportunity to vindicate the character of my
absent friend, and in doing this I attacked Mr. Wooler as violently as
he attacked Mr. Cobbett, for which Mr. Wooler denounced me as a spy of
the Government!

Some time in May, 1817, a Count Maubrueil was tried at Paris for robbing
the Queen of Westphalia, when it came out that he had been hired by an
accredited agent to assassinate the Emperor Napoleon, on his journey
to Elba. Maubrueil afterwards published in London the details of this
transaction. On the 17th of May, Messrs. Watson, Thistlewood, Hooper,
and Preston, were brought into the Court of King's Bench, to plead to
charges of high treason. Mr. Hone also appeared, and complained of the
illegality of his arrest on Lord Ellenborough's warrant. On the 30th
of May, the Right Honourable Charles Abbott resigned the situation of
Speaker of the House of Commons, and Mr. Manners Sutton was chosen in
his place. On the 6th of June, Mr. Wooler was tried for a libel on
Ministers; he was acquitted in consequence of doubts having arisen
respecting the validity of the verdict of guilty delivered in by the
foreman of the jury, although some of them were not agreed in the
verdict.

On the 9th of June, Messrs. Watson, Thistlewood, Preston, and Hooper,
were conveyed from the Tower, where they had been confined, to the Court
of King's Bench to be tried for high treason. Watson was tried first.
His trial lasted _seven days_, at the end of which he was acquitted. The
Attorney-General then gave up the prosecution against the others. The
principal witness called by the Crown was the famous Mr. _John Castles_,
the worthy gentleman who feigned asleep in my room at the Black Lion,
Waterlane, on the evening after the first Spafields meeting, and the
same worthy who met me in Cheapside, as I was driving to the second
meeting on the second of December, and who kindly invited me to go to
the Tower with him, which he assured me was in the possession of young
Watson. What follows is curious and worthy of notice. It was publicly
known that _Castles_ was to be the principal witness against his former
associates. I therefore sent a gentleman, to inform the attorney for
the prisoners, that I had become acquainted with certain circumstances,
relating to this Mr. Castles, which would be of infinite service to his
clients. This message was sent a fortnight before the time fixed upon
for their trial; but the 9th of June approached without my having
received any answer. I sent a second message, by another person; but,
as no notice was taken of it, I sent a third person, on the 8th, to say
that I was in town, and unless it was intended to hang the prisoners,
I expected that I should be subpoened, and that I was come to town on
purpose to give my evidence. In fact, this third message rather conveyed
a demand than a request, and I was next morning subpoened.

Another very extraordinary circumstance made up part of this
transaction. Mr. Brougham had been applied to, and I understood had
positively refused to become counsel for the prisoners, and Mr.
Wetherell and Mr. Copley were retained; the former a most decided
rank thick and thin supporter of the Ministers; the latter, as I was
informed, not only a decided opponent of the Ministers, but an avowed
Republican in principle. Mr. Samuel Shepherd was Attorney, and Mr.
Gifford Solicitor-General; and they of course were counsel for the
prosecution. When I saw Mr. Wetherell at his chambers, which was in the
evening of the 9th, after the first day's proceedings were over, and
stated to him what I knew of Castles, he at once declared that my
testimony would be most important, and would most likely save the lives
of the prisoners; and he expressed great astonishment that this had
never been communicated to him before. From what I stated to him, he was
enabled to draw out of Mr. Castles' own mouth, in cross-examination, the
full proof of his own infamy, which he never could have done without it.
After I had given my testimony in court, I saw plainly that the jury had
made up their minds to acquit the doctor, who was the first and only one
put upon his trial. At the end of seven days, the time Watson's
trial lasted, the jury returned a verdict of _not guilty_, and the
Attorney-General then gave up the prosecution against the other three
prisoners. It is very curious that it was never communicated to the
prisoners that I was in attendance to give evidence on their behalf; but
when they saw me in court, they actually thought that I was subpoened as
an evidence for the Crown against them.

Lord Sidmouth now brought in a Bill for the further suspension of the
Habeas-Corpus Act. In the House of Commons, Sir Francis Burdett called
the attention of its Members to the conduct of _Oliver, the spy_, and
of others who had been employed by Government, and who had excited
distressed persons to riot in the North. The county of Middlesex
petitioned in vain against the renewal of the Habeas-Corpus Act. The
Bill passed, and Parliament was prorogued by the Prince Regent on the
12th of July.

On the 31st of July, a public dinner was given at the Crown and Anchor,
to celebrate the acquittal of Watson, Thistlewood, Preston and Hooper,
at which dinner I was in the chair, and upwards of a hundred persons sat
down to it. Hooper very shortly after died; he fell a victim to a cold
which he caught in prison.

Such was the increasing distress of the people in the metropolis,
that the Old Bailey Calendar contained above 400 prisoners for trial;
forty-five more than were ever before known. In this year, 1817, the
Bank of England prosecuted _one hundred and twenty-four_ persons for
forgery, or uttering forged notes. This speaks for itself, and shews the
state of society produced by the Pitt system. On the 22d of September
the Bank of England announced their intention of paying in cash all
their small notes issued before the first of January 1817. This was a
beginning of calling in one pound Bank of England notes.

In this year the Common Hall of the City of London had petitioned
against the passing of the suspension of the Habeas-Corpus Act, and they
had instructed their members to support the prayer of their petitions,
by opposing the measure. As usual, their members set the prayers of the
Livery at defiance, and supported the Bill; at least Curtis and Atkins
did; and as for Alderman Combe, the Whig Member, he was not in the House
during any of the debates. When the Common Hall assembled the next time,
the Waithmanite faction intended to move a vote of censure against
Curtis and Atkins, for not attending to the instructions of their
constituents; and of course they contrived to procure from Alderman
Combe a letter to be read in the Hall, apologising for his
non-attendance in his place in the House of Commons, in consequence of
very ill health, which had prevented his attendance there ever since he
had been last elected, and which, in all probability, would prevent his
attending there any more. This game had been carried on for a long time
by the Waithmanites, and I had made up my mind, whenever an occasion
should offer, to enter my protest against the City of London being
represented by a person who never attended the House, and who was
rendered incapable of doing so from ill health. I had several times
carried some resolutions in my pocket, to the meetings of the Livery,
but no opportunity had offered for me to bring the subject forward
before. As soon as this letter was read from Alderman Combe, which
stated his inability to attend in his place, &c. &c., I told Sir Richard
Phillips, who was standing near me upon the hustings, that, as soon as
the usual vote of thanks was moved to Alderman Combe, I should move some
short resolutions, which I shewed him, as an amendment: "1st, thanking
the Alderman for his past honourable services: 2nd, sympathizing with
him on his illness, and lamenting the cause of his incapacity to attend
the House of Commons: and 3rd, respectfully calling upon him to resign
his seat, to give the Livery an opportunity of electing an efficient
Member of Parliament as their representative, in his stead." I asked Sir
Richard if he would second these resolutions; he replied no, he could
not, but he would ask Mr. Waithman to do it; and away he went in the
honesty of his heart, and told Mr. Waithman that I was going to move
such resolutions as an amendment to the usual vote of thanks to Alderman
Combe, and he very innocently asked him if he would second them? I shall
never forget the city hero's look; be turned round as if he would have
bit Sir Richard's nose off, and in a _whisper_ that I could hear all
across the hustings, replied, "NO _it is meant to cut my throat_."
Sir Richard, surprised and mortified at the mistake which he had
unintentionally made, returned me the resolutions, without saying a
word, as he saw that I had heard Waithman's answer, which I was laughing
at most heartily. I knew that Mr. Waithman would not have joined me in
any measure, even if it had been to save the City of London from an
earthquake, or its citizens from the greatest of all calamities, a
famine; but at the first view of the thing, I did not perceive how this
amendment was calculated to injure or cut the throat of Mr. Waithman.
The dread of this mighty sacrifice did not, however, deter me from doing
my duty. The vote of thanks having been moved to Alderman Combe, I
stepped forward and proposed my resolutions as an amendment; this I did
in the most respectful and handsome manner towards the Alderman, giving
him much greater credit for his past exertions, as our City Member, than
he in fact ever merited.

I had never consulted one single individual as to the propriety or the
policy of this measure, and it was by mere accident that I mentioned it
upon the hustings to Sir Richard Phillips; therefore, I was not prepared
with any one to second my proposition, but it was, nevertheless,
received by the Livery with strong marks of approbation. Never were
resolutions more appropriate, or that came more pat to suit the
occasion. I saw that this was a happy opportunity to appeal to the
honest sentiments of the Livery, and I seized it, as an act of justice
to them and to the public, without the slightest intention to annoy or
injure Mr. Waithman, and without the slightest intention of gratifying
the factious views of any party. It certainly struck me, and it had all
along struck me, that if Mr. Alderman Combe could be prevailed upon to
resign during the second mayoralty of my worthy friend Alderman Wood,
the latter would be selected by the citizens of London as his successor,
without the chance of a successful opposition against him; but I had
never given him the most remote hint of my thoughts or designs, neither
did I expect that the friends of Waithman, amongst the Livery, would be
prevailed upon to do any thing that was likely to promote the election
of Alderman Wood. All that under such circumstances I ever considered
was, how best to perform my duty, when I was before the public, either
at a meeting of the people in Spafields, or in Palace-yard, or at a
meeting of my fellow Liverymen in the Guildhall. I never personally
cared whether my motions were carried, or whether they were rejected, my
main object, being to perform my duty boldly and conscientiously. This I
did on the occasion to which I have alluded, without knowing whether any
one would second my proposition or not.

Before, however, any one could came forward as my supporter, Mr.
Waithman presented himself to the Livery, and endeavoured, by every art
that he was master of, to prevail upon the citizens not to countenance
my proposition. His own little gang attempted to get him cheered, but
all their efforts proved fruitless. He coaxed, he wheedled, he begged,
and he prayed; when that did not take, he blustered, bullied, and
threatened them, but all would not do; he bullied one moment, and
cringed the next, with equal ill success. He and his friends began to
feel for once that the force of truth was likely to prevail over fraud,
trickery, and cunning. At last, when he found that none of these had
a chance of prevailing, he turned about and resorted to tactics. He
declared that the proposition was irrelevent, that the Livery were taken
by surprise, that they were not assembled for any such purpose, and
that another Common-Hall ought to be convened, on purpose to take my
resolutions into consideration; and he boldly called upon the Lord
Mayor, Wood, to prohibit the resolutions being put to the Livery. I
never saw Mr. Waithman labour so hard in my life; if his existence had
been at stake, he could not have shown more anxiety.

The Lord Mayor now came forward, and in the most unequivocal manner
declared that the resolutions were not only perfectly in order, but that
he considered them most proper to be submitted to the consideration of
the committee upon that occasion. I thought Waithman would have bursted
a blood-vessel with rage and mortification at this decision of the
Lord Mayor, who was not to be bullied out of doing his duty honestly,
particularly when he saw that it received the sanction of so great a
portion of his fellow-citizens. The question was at length put, and the
resolutions were carried by a very large majority, amidst such a round
of cheers as I seldom ever heard in the Common-Hall. I then moved that
the Lord Mayor be requested to convey the resolutions of the Livery to
Mr. Alderman Combe, as soon as he could conveniently do so, and also
to call another Common-Hall, to communicate the answer of the worthy
Alderman to his constituents. This likewise was carried, with a faint
opposition from the puny faction that surrounded the mortified and
discomfited great little man. The Lord Mayor then stepped forward, and
promised that the wishes of the Livery should be promptly executed; and,
after he had given this promise, the meeting broke up.

The Lord Mayor kept his word, and waited upon Mr. Alderman Combe with
the resolutions, the same night, before the faction had time to plan any
scheme to frustrate the wishes of the Livery. The result was, that the
Alderman was glad of an opportunity of sending in his resignation of
an office which he was totally incompetent to fill, and, in the most
honourable and patriotic manner, he wrote his formal compliance with the
wishes of his constituents, and delivered it into the hands of the Lord
Mayor, who immediately offered his services to his fellow-citizens,
to supply the vacancy. They estimated correctly the value of those
services, and, in spite of the most pitiful arts, the most diabolical
misrepresentations, and the most unblushing falsehoods of the
Waithmanite faction to prevent it, the worthy Alderman Wood was
unanimously elected, during his second Mayoralty, one of the
Representatives in Parliament for the City of London. I must own that
I gloried more in this successful single-handed effort of mine,
spontaneously made, and so honourably carried into execution, than I
ever did in any public act of my life. When the Alderman was elected,
I addressed my brother Liverymen, and I boldly predicted that he was
elected for life; that his conduct in the House of Commons would be such
as would secure him a seat for the City of London, as long as human
nature would enable him to attend his duty in Parliament. This was more
than five years ago, and I believe that the prediction has not only been
made good up to this time, but that it is more likely to be confirmed
than ever it was. Such, however, was the prejudice of a certain party in
the city against Radicals, and particularly against me, that the worthy
Alderman never dared to thank me publicly for what I had done to serve
him. In truth I never looked for any such thing; I only did my duty; and
I had full confidence, whenever the worthy Alderman was called upon, he
would not fail to do his duty. My confidence was not misplaced, as has
been fully proved by the conduct of the Alderman, in the case of the
persecuted Caroline, the injured Queen of England. Nor has the worthy
Alderman ever flinched from his duty during the persecutions of the
"Captive of Ilchester."

In consequence of the diabolical machinations of the villain Oliver, the
spy, who was imprudently introduced to the Reformers in the North by Mr.
Mitchell, one of the delegates who had attended the Major's meetings in
London--in consequence of this infamous fellow's hellish plots, a
number of the distressed inhabitants of Derbyshire and Nottingham were
instigated to acts of violence and riot, which, although of a most
contemptible nature, were magnified by the Government into acts of
treason and rebellion. In pursuance of what had been planned by the
villain Oliver and his employers, these deluded men were immediately
made prisoners, and committed to Derby Gaol; upon a charge of high
treason. Unfortunately, one Jeremiah Brandreth, who was at the head of
those rioters, very wantonly fired a shot at random through the back
window of a farm-house, where the inmates had refused to admit them, or
to deliver them any arms, which the rioters, scarcely one hundred in
number, had demanded. It so happened that a boy was killed by this
random shot, which gave a colouring to the proceedings of the Ministers,
and created a great prejudice against these deluded men; and therefore,
instead of indicting some of them for a foolish and contemptible riot,
and prosecuting Brandreth for murder or manslaughter, the Government
proceeded against them for high treason. This petty riot, which was put
down without any military force, was consequently blazoned forth and
proclaimed through the country as an insurrection and open rebellion,
and great preparations were making to bring the prisoners to trial for
high treason, and a special commission was appointed to be held at Derby
to try them. The Ministers had failed in their attempt, in London, to
spill the blood of Watson, Thistlewood, & Co. whose lives were saved
by the honesty of a Middlesex Jury. The despicable riot in London,
ridiculous and contemptible as it was, yet it was ten times more like
a premeditated insurrection than the Derbyshire riot; yet an honest
Middlesex Jury, with Mr. Richardson, of the Lottery-office, as their
foreman, refused to find the instigators of it guilty of high treason.
This having been the case, the Ministers were determined to try their
hands at a trial for high treason in the country. It was, in fact,
necessary to bring forward at least some shadow of a pretext for the
infamous measures which had been passed by the Parliament, and for the
still worse conduct of the Secretary of State, who had thrown such
a number of the Reformers into dungeons, the secret dungeons of the
Boroughmongers, where they were lingering under the suspension of the
Habeas-Corpus Act, without any charge being brought against them, and
without being brought to trial, there being nothing to prove against
them. I repeat, that it was necessary to make a show, a pretence, a sort
of justification, for these proceedings; and the riot which had taken
place at Pentridge, in Derbyshire, was the thing fixed upon for that
purpose, as they could not trump up a better.

Brandreth, Turner, Ludlam, and thirty-five or six others, were
accordingly thrown into prison, and indicted for high treason. These
poor fellows, thus assailed and immured in a gaol, were without a friend
to protect them, and to see that they had a fair trial, and in fact were
without the means of paying counsel and witnesses, to enable them to
stand any chance of having a fair trial. In this forlorn and wretched
situation, their attention, as a _dernier resort_, was directed to _me_.
I was a perfect stranger to every one of them, but they had heard of
my exertions in the cause of the people, and they prevailed upon their
attorney, Mr. Wragg, of Belper, to write to me, and inform me of their
deplorable and forlorn situation, and to request that I would endeavour
to raise a public subscription, to enable them to fee counsel, and to
pay for bringing their witnesses to the trial, which Mr. Wragg assured
me they were totally incompetent to do, they being all poor men, without
any money or friends to help them.

I received this letter at Middleton Cottage, where I had been for some
time peaceably enjoying the sports of the field. I showed it to a
friend, who was visiting me at the time, and he at once pronounced it to
be a trap, to inveigle me into a participation of their crimes. At any
rate, he thought my only prudent course would be, either to take no
notice of the letter, or to reply that I knew nothing of the parties,
and would have nothing to do with them. I put the letter into my pocket,
and said no more to him upon the subject, as his cold, calculating,
prudent advice did not correspond with the feelings of my heart. My
visitors and my family had retired to rest, when I deliberately sat
down, and answered the letter of Mr. Wragg by the return of post. Those
who are of the same opinion with my prudent friend will ask, why did
you do so? I will tell them _why_. I said to myself, here are some
fellow-creatures in distress, they have not a living soul to aid them;
the whole power and weight of the Government are mustered against them;
and although they are totally unknown to me, and although I cannot
countenance or approve of their foolish and wanton proceedings; yet,
as the law of England presumes every man to be innocent till he is
convicted of guilt, and as they have appealed to ME in their distressing
situation, as the only man to whom they can look up for assistance;
shall I, because there appears to be personal danger and difficulty in
the undertaking, shall I refuse or neglect to do my best to enable them
to obtain a fair trial? shall I abandon them, and refuse to obey the
call of humanity, and, because they are poor and defenceless, turn a
deaf ear to the prayer of those that are in trouble and in prison? I
asked myself these questions, and without a moment's pause, my tongue
obeyed the impulse of my heart, and I exclaimed "forbid it, Heaven,
rather let me perish this instant, than harbour a thought so base,
so unfeeling, and so opposite to every act of my life!" I therefore
acknowledged Mr. Wragg's letter, and told him that, although he was a
perfect stranger to me, and although the prisoners were all strangers to
me, yet my heart would not allow me to entertain any unworthy suspicions
of him; and as the lives of our fellow-creatures were at stake, I would
do every thing in my power to enable them to obtain a fair trial. With
this view I would, by the same post, write to London, and endeavour to
procure a public meeting, for the purpose of raising a subscription to
assist them, lamenting, at the same time, my own want of the means to
assist them.

Before I went to bed I wrote to Mr. Cleary, who was secretary to Major
Cartwright and the Hampden Club, and also a sort of general secretary to
the Westminster committee. I desired him to lay a copy of Mr. Wragg's
letter before some of the patriotic friends of liberty, justice, and
humanity, in London, and to get them to call a public meeting, at the
Crown and Anchor, on the following Monday, to raise a subscription, to
enable the prisoners to fee counsel before their trial, which was to
take place at Derby, in the following week. I added, "if there should be
any _hitch_ or difficulty, still by all means to call the meeting, and I
will pay for the room and the advertisements, and take the chair myself,
if no other person more eligible offers." I wrote also to Mr. West, the
wire-worker, in Wych-street, to the same effect, and to inform him of
what I had written to Cleary. Mr. West was the person who had taken
a very decisive, active, and manly part in assisting Dr. Watson and
Thistlewood, in getting up their defence, when they were imprisoned
under a similar charge; therefore, I thought him the most likely man I
knew in London or Westminster to promote such a measure.

The reader will bear in mind that I did not get Mr. Wragg's letter,
urging me to come forward in behalf of these poor fellows, till five
o'clock in the afternoon, when I returned home to dinner from shooting;
that before I went to bed, I wrote an answer to the attorney of the
prisoners, unhesitatingly promising to do all that lay in my power to
serve them; and that I also wrote to Mr. Cleary and Mr. West, to procure
a public meeting, and, without any reservation on my part, to call it in
_my name_, in the metropolis; and the reader will not fail to recollect,
that the HABEAS CORPUS ACT was still suspended, and that the Seditious
Meeting Act was in full force.

I received an answer from Mr. Cleary, to say that he had seen the
friends of liberty in Westminster, and that the meeting would be
appointed, to be held at the Crown and Anchor, as I wished it, on the
following Monday, and he would take care to have it advertised, &c. I
also received a letter from Mr. West, who said he had seen Cleary, and
that the meeting would take place, according to my request, on the
Monday. I wrote by return of post, to Mr. Wragg, to inform the prisoners
what I had done, and how far I had succeeded and I promised to be at the
meeting, and to proceed to Derby in the mail, as soon as the result was
known.

On the Sunday, just as I was preparing to set off to London to attend
this meeting, I received a letter from Mr. Cleary, to say that he had
consulted the friends of liberty in Westminster, who were unanimously of
opinion, that it would be highly impolitic to call a public meeting upon
such an occasion, in which opinion he fully concurred; and that the
worthy Major Cartwright also thought it extremely improper for the
Reformers to identify themselves with HOUSE-BREAKERS AND MURDERERS. Mr.
Cleary also added, that the Derby rioters had by their conduct done the
greatest injury to the cause of Reform, and that he felt so indignant
at them, that, instead of assisting there by a subscription, he could
almost GO DOWN AND HANG THEM HIMSELF. I have not the letter at hand, but
this was the substance of it. I must do Mr. West the justice to say,
that he did every thing in his power to procure a meeting, and if he had
not, as well as myself, been _tricked_ into the idea that the meeting
would be held, he would have called it himself.

I was extremely mortified at being thus defeated in my plan, at being
thus swindled out of the meeting. Cleary's first letter was evidently
written with a view to prevent my going to London, and personally
convening the meeting; because he saw, from the manner of my first
letter, that I was in earnest, therefore it was necessary to deceive me
into a belief that what I was desirous of would be done, as, otherwise,
he knew that I would be instantly on the spot to carry it myself into
execution. Well, it was too late now to think of going to London to get
a meeting, and, as I had been thus disappointed, it might by most people
have been thought sufficient for me to have written a letter to Mr.
Wragg, to inform him of the circumstance, and there would have been at
once an end to all trouble or expense on my part. Now I beg the reader
to mark what was my conduct. Instead of abandoning these poor fellows
to their fate, and merely writing a letter to say how I had been
disappointed by the Westminster patriots, or rather pretended patriots,
I ordered my servant to get my horses and gig ready immediately, and I
started off the same evening across the country to Newbury, on my road
through Abingdon and Oxford, towards Derby. I arrived at Leicester on
the Tuesday evening, previous to the trials commencing on the Thursday
following; and what was very curious, Judge Dallas and myself were shown
into the same room, at Bishop's, at the Three Crowns. Although we did
not appear to know each other, great marks of civility were mutually
exchanged, and if I had not been otherwise engaged, it is possible we
might have spent the evening together; and I have often thought how very
curious the conversation might have proved, if we had compared notes. We
were both going the next day to Derby, both going to attend the trials
of Brandreth and Co.; but how widely different would it have been found
was the object of our journey. He, a judge, going to hang the prisoners;
I, an humble individual, going to do all that lay in my power to save
their lives, by procuring for them a fair trial. We, however, did not
remain in company; the fact was, it soon got wind at Leicester who I
was; one of the waiters knew me, and to my surprise, as I was sitting
with Mr. Thompson, of the _Chronicle_ office, and Mr. Warburton, who had
been one of the delegates at the London meeting, a deputation waited
upon me, to request that I would spend the evening with a number of
gentlemen of Leicester, who had assembled in a public room in the inn,
to receive me. This invitation I accepted, and, accompanied by my two
friends, I spent a few hours very pleasantly, amongst an assemblage
composed of the most respectable men belonging to all parties in
Leicester.

On the following day I reached Derby, where I found out Messrs. Wragg,
of Belper, and Bond, of Leicester, the attorneys for the prisoners,
and communicated my ill success as to collecting any subscriptions in
London, by means of the public meeting which was proposed. I, however,
offered my services in any way in which they might think that I could be
useful; but I soon learnt from them that it was a hopeless case, that
the men had been led into a disgraceful riot, urged on by the villain
Oliver, and his accomplices; that they were worthy, poor men; Brandreth,
their captain, a mere helpless pauper, and that there was no chance of
saving them. Those who had a little property, had sold their _little
all_, even to their beds, as had also their relations, to raise money
enough to pay for the expenses, of the witnesses, who had been subpoened
on their behalf; but the whole did not amount to enough to include the
fees of counsel. For the fees, however, we calculated that might
be raised at some future time, as it was hoped that, under such
circumstances, the gentlemen of the long robe would not press for their
immediate payment.

I saw some of the witnesses, and amongst others one who had been acting
in concert with Oliver, a regular hired spy, who described to us what
passed between them and Lord Sidmouth, when he and Oliver presented
their bill of expenses, after they had performed their job. It appeared
that his Lordship abused Oliver for a great fool, for being detected
by the people in his communications with Sir John Byng, who had the
military command of the district. O, it was a horrible plot, to entrap a
few distressed, poor creatures to commit some acts of violence and riot,
in order that the Government might hang a few of them for high treason!
The projectors of it had been frustrated in London, by a Middlesex Jury,
who had refused to find Dr. Watson guilty of high treason, although what
was proved against him was ten thousand times more like high treason
than that which was proved against these poor deluded men. But it was
thought necessary to sanction the suspension of the Habeas-Corpus
Act, and the other infamous encroachments that had been made upon
the liberties of the people, by the sacrifice of some lives for high
treason, and the Government paid the freeholders of the county of Derby,
the disgraceful compliment of selecting that county as the scene of
their diabolical operations; and, as it will be hereafter seen, they
were correct in their calculations.

The next morning I waited upon the attorneys, previous to their going
into Court, when I found them in rather an awkward dilemma. Mr.
COUNSELLOR CROSS, who, by some unaccountable means or other, had been
sent for from Manchester, to take the _lead_ of _Mr. Denman_, who was
the other counsel employed, had just sent to the attorneys to demand ONE
HUNDRED POUNDS as his fee, before he went into Court, declaring, that he
would not stir a peg till he received it. I knew nothing of this fellow
at the time, and as the attorneys, particularly Mr. Bond, appeared to
place great confidence in him, _Mister Cross_ had the one hundred pounds
paid into his hands immediately. Thus, by the cupidity of Mr. Cross,
were these poor fellows deprived at once of those means which ought
to have been spent in procuring them witnesses for their defence. I
immediately waited upon Mr. Denman at his lodgings, and sent up my name,
to say that I had some particular information to communicate that might
be of service to the prisoners; but I could gain no access to Mr.
Denman. I had this information from the brother of Turner, who was
afterwards executed. I returned to the attorneys, and I soon found that
my interference was considered officious. They refused to take me into
Court with them, or at least they pretended that it was against the
rules for attorneys to take any person with them into the Court. I was,
therefore, obliged to find another mode of admittance; and I ultimately,
by dint of perseverance, got in with considerable difficulty, after
having been violently assaulted and grossly insulted by the officers of
the Court, under the direction of a Jack-in-office, who acted as Under
Sheriff, the real Under Sheriff having resigned, _pro tempore_, on
purpose to become Solicitor for the Crown, in the prosecution against
the prisoners. I, however, at length succeeded in getting a seat in the
front of the body of the Court, and I heard the whole of the trial of
Brandreth. The whole of the evidence merely went to establish the fact,
that one of the most contemptible riots took place that ever deserved
the name of a riot, whether with respect to the numbers engaged, or the
total want of influence of those who took a lead in it. As for poor
Brandreth, who was called the Captain of the Insurrection, he was
nothing more nor less than a contemptible pauper, without power, or
talent, or courage; and it was distinctly sworn that the whole gang
_fled_ upon the appearance of _one_ soldier!

The means taken to procure tractable juries were the most barefaced and
abominable, and as the jurors were mostly selected from amongst the
tenantry of the Duke of Devonshire, the prisoners had not the slightest
chance of escape, even if Mr. Cross had done his duty; but, so far was
he from doing it, that he actually confessed the guilt of his clients,
and urged as a palliation, that they were led into the insurrection by
reading the writings of Cobbett. The principal witnesses, in my opinion,
for the prisoners, were never examined; and, although Mr. Denman made
an eloquent appeal to the jury, yet he could not remove the impression
which had been left upon the minds of the jurors and of the whole Court
by the _precious pleadings_ of Mr. Cross. Brandreth and four others
were found guilty of high treason. Brandreth, Turner, and Ludlam, were
executed shortly afterwards, and Mr. Cross was speedily promoted to a
silk gown, as a King's Sergeant at Law.

The avenging hand of Providence, however, caused the announcement of the
_execution of these men_, and _the Death of the_ PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF
SAXE-COBURG AND HER INFANT SON, to appear in the newspapers of the day
at one and the same time. The death of this Princess was so mysterious,
and attended with such singular circumstances, that I dare not trust
myself to write upon the subject. The whole nation appeared to mourn her
loss, much more, I believe, in consequence of her having always espoused
the cause of her unhappy and persecuted mother, than from any conviction
or well-grounded hope that any public good would ever be derived from
her being our future Queen. A certain party at Court could not disguise
the satisfaction which they felt at being released from a most
persevering and troublesome advocate of the Princess of Wales, her
mother. But the nation had this delightful comfort, that the gallant
PRINCE OF SAXE-COBURG bore his loss with great fortitude, and was likely
to survive his wife for many, many years, to enjoy the spending of
FIFTY-THOUSAND POUNDS A-YEAR, which had been settled upon him for life,
in case the Princess should _pop off_.

I have omitted one circumstance which occurred in the spring of the
year, and which I shall now briefly notice. Mr. Sergeant BEST, who was
one of the Members for Bridport, was appointed Chief Justice of Chester,
a post which he had been long seeking for in vain. His client, Colonel
Despard, had been executed for nearly fifteen years, yet Mr. Sergeant
had only been promoted to a silk gown; and in spite of every effort
to become a Judge, he had been frustrated, it is understood, by the
objections raised by the Lord Chancellor. He, therefore, procured a seat
in Parliament, and became a violent oppositionist to the Government. At
length, the Prince Regent, it is said, demanded his promotion, and he
was appointed to the Chief Justiceship of Chester, which is the stepping
stone to the Bench. He vacated his seat for Bridport, as a matter of
course; and, as it was expected he would be returned again for that
borough without any opposition, I thought it would be a good opportunity
to remind him of the fate of Despard, and of his own apostacy, in
quitting his pretended opposition as soon as he was offered a place of
profit under the Crown. Without further ceremony, therefore, I drove to
Bridport, about three days before the election commenced, and announced
my intention of opposing the election of the Welch Judge, and former
counsel for Despard. Though I was not known to a single person in
the town of Bridport, yet I was received with great kindness by a
considerable portion of the electors, and was at once promised the
support of some of the most respectable of them. The Welch Judge,
however, did not make his appearance; but in his stead came a young
'Squire Sturt, the son of BEST'S former patron. As I had avowedly
attended only for the purpose of opposing and exposing the Chief Justice
of Chester, I now, at the request of some of those whose support against
Best I chiefly relied upon, declined to offer myself in opposition to
the young 'Squire, who possessed a majority of the houses in which the
small voters lived, and whose father had always been a great favourite
in the borough. I gained great credit for the manner in which I did
this, in an address to the electors from the hustings, declaring that my
only object was to expose the delinquency of their former Member, the
new Welch Judge. The reader will observe that I had no acquaintance with
Mr. Sergeant Best, nor had even in the remotest degree ever had any
connection with him, or come in contact with him, either in the way
of his profession or otherwise. I was solely actuated by public duty,
without the slightest cause for personal dislike to the lawyer. Perhaps
those who have read what I have written since I came here, will not now
be at a loss to account for the vindictive hostility of the venerable
Judge towards me, when I was brought up for judgment, and since I have
been here. They may now account for that Judge's voting for my having
SIX YEARS imprisonment, and for his having afterwards come the western
circuit, and signed an order, drawn up by the junto of Somersetshire
Magistrates, for placing and keeping me in solitary confinement for the
last _ten months_ of my incarceration.

The people of Bridport will never forget my visit, particularly _Mr.
Denzelo_, the printer, who refused to print my address to the electors,
after having taken the copy, and given his promise to do it, and a _Mr.
Nicholets_, an attorney. I shall forbear to relate the circumstances,
and the ridiculous figure which they cut, especially the latter, upon
being detected and exposed before his own townsmen in their public hall.
This exposure was ample punishment for such men, without my placing the
particulars of their disgrace upon record. I was invited to remain in
Bridport after the election, which invitation I accepted, and before I
left the town I waited upon every voter to thank him for his civility;
and, with only one or two exceptions, I received the most polite
attention and kind welcome; nearly two-thirds of the electors
voluntarily promised to give me their votes at the next election,
whenever it might happen. If I had gone there again I should have
certainly had a considerable majority of votes, without making any
promise whatever; but, as I learnt that it was expected that an
after-bribe would be given, I declined the honour of deceiving them and
disgracing myself.

One curious fact which occurred I cannot avoid relating. I have since
ascertained, that the person whom I took from Salisbury with me to
Bridport, treacherously communicated all my plans and movements to my
opponents, every night before he went to bed; and, what is still more
curious, I have learnt that he was actually in correspondence with my
LORD CASTLEREAGH. I very soon afterwards obtained the knowledge of this
latter fact, and of course as soon declined the honour of any farther
connection with a person who had such high acquaintance.

On the 18th of December, Mr. Hone, the bookseller, was tried in the
Court of King's Bench, before Mr. Justice Abbott (who sat for the Chief
Justice Ellenborough) and a London special jury. The offence which he
was charged with was that of publishing a parody. After an animated and
eloquent defence, made by Mr. Hone in person, which lasted seven
hours, the jury returned a verdict of acquittal. The Chief Justice
Ellenborough, who was ill at the time, was so enraged at this verdict,
that be came into Court the next morning, and presided when Mr. Hone was
tried for a second parody. His Lordship did every thing to intimidate,
to interrupt, and to browbeat Mr. Hone, who, however, proved himself
much the bravest as well as the most able man, and after a defence,
similar to that of the day previous, which lasted eight hours, another
jury of the city of London acquitted him. On the day following, the 20th
of December, he was tried before the Chief Justice and another special
jury of the city of London, for a third parody, and after another
defence, which lasted nine hours, he was a third time acquitted. What
enhances the merit of Mr. Hone's courageous defence is, that during the
whole of the time he was labouring under indisposition. There is not
the least doubt but these verdicts of acquittal, added to that of the
acquittal of Dr. Watson, were the cause of Lord Ellenborough's death;
at any rate, his decease was greatly hastened by the irritation arising
from such repeated disappointments; for in all these cases his Lordship
strongly charged the jury for a verdict of guilty, and no agent of the
Government ever worked harder to obtain a verdict than his Lordship did.
Ultimately this great lawyer became an ideot, and I have understood from
pretty good authority, that for some time before his death he was in the
constant habit of repeating the names of _Watson_ and _Hone_, with the
most evident symptoms of horror and dismay, which he continued to do
till the very last, as long, at least, as he was capable of utterance.

Thus ended the year 1817, one of the most eventful of British history.
The prospect was most gloomy: the poor were greatly distressed for want
of employment: provisions were dear, the quartern loaf averaged about
thirteen pence, and there was a general depression of trade. At the
same time, every honest man in the kingdom considered himself as being
injured and insulted by the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and,
indeed, a general feeling of disgust prevailed as to the proceedings
adopted by the Government. As for the moral state of the country, and
the wretchedness of the people, it is only necessary to record three
or four facts: at Manchester, in the year 1797, the poor-rates were
16,941_l_., but this year, 1817, they amounted to 65,212_l_. The number
of forged notes stopped by the Bank of England, since the year 1814,
that is, during the space of two years, amounted to 113,361_l_., and in
the year 1817, the Bank prosecuted ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-TWO PERSONS
_for forgery, or uttering forged notes_; and to support such a system as
this, the peace establishment of the standing army, the land forces,
for this year, amounted to ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE THOUSAND FIVE
HUNDRED AND THIRTY-NINE MEN! Bravo, John Gull!

I never heard of more than one public meeting being held by the people,
under the provisions of the Seditious Meetings Bill, and that was
advertised to be held in Palace Yard, on the 7th of September, 1817.
This advertisement was signed by seven householders, and a copy of
it was delivered to the Clerk of the Peace, and the neighbouring
Magistrates, agreeable to the Act. I was invited to preside at the
meeting, which invitation I accepted, and attended accordingly. The
Seditious Meeting Act being still in force, and the Habeas Corpus Act
being still suspended, it was thought a very daring and hazardous
proceeding, but I took care that the laws, rigid as they were, should
not be violated, and all the provisions of the Act were strictly
complied with. This meeting was held within hearing, and almost in sight
of the Secretary of State's office. But, as we acted according to law,
not the slightest interruption was offered to the proceedings, or to
those who attended the meeting. The persons who signed the requisition
or advertisement, which was delivered to the Clerk of the Peace, were
friends of Dr. Watson; he it was, in fact, that got up the meeting. The
doctor proposed the resolutions, which were seconded by Mr. Gast, and
carried unanimously: they protested in strong terms against petitioning
the House of Commons any more for Reform, as being proved to be useless
by the total disregard which that body had manifested to the prayers and
the petitions of the people during the previous session of Parliament,
when upwards of six hundred petitions, praying for Reform, had
been presented to the Honourable House. A strong declaration and
remonstrance, addressed to the Prince Regent, was read and unanimously
agreed to at the meeting; which remonstrance I carried and delivered
to Lord Sidmouth, at the Secretary of State's office, the moment the
meeting was dissolved; and I was attended to the doors of the office by
five or six thousand of the multitude who had composed a part of the
meeting. When I entered the office, which I did alone, I was instantly
conducted to his Lordship, amidst the deafening cheers of the throng
without. I gave the declaration to him, and requested he would lay it
before his Royal Master, as early as it was convenient. He promised me
that he would read it carefully over, and if there was nothing improper,
that he would present it the next day to the Prince Regent, and that he
would write to apprize me of the result.

This was the first time, if I recollect right, that a public
remonstrance to the throne was ever agreed to by the people; and, as
might naturally have been expected, his Lordship found much in it
that he thought objectionable, as well as the manner in which it
was conveyed; it being in the shape of a firm though respectful
remonstrance, instead of a creeping, cringing petition. I have not
a copy of this document by me, but as it was agreed to at the great
meeting held at Manchester, as well as at the Smithfield meeting, I
will, if I can procure it, publish it hereafter; but I recollect, that,
after having recited a mass of atrocities committed upon the rights and
liberties, and lives of the people, by the Ministers of the Crown, it
demanded that they the said Ministers, of whom his Lordship was one,
should be surrendered up to justice, and brought to condign punishment.
It is, therefore, almost needless to say that my Lord Sidmouth not
only discovered very improper matter in the remonstrance, but that he
consequently declined to communicate it to his Royal Master.

The year 1818 commenced with a great public dinner at the City of London
Tavern, to celebrate the third centenary of the Reformation, at which
dinner one thousand five hundred persons attended. On the 27th of
January the Parliament was opened by commission, and the usual speech
was made, and its echo, the address, was voted without any opposition: a
bill was now brought into the House to restore the Habeas Corpus Act. A
great meeting took place at the City of London Tavern, Alderman Waithman
in the chair, where a subscription was opened for Mr. Hone, which
ultimately amounted to more than three thousand pounds. Than this
measure, nothing can more clearly show the character of the city
patriot, and those who took a lead in political matters in the
metropolis. While Mr. Hone was under persecution, and even up to the
day of his trial, he was totally neglected and deserted; neither Mr.
Waithman, nor any of those who afterwards came forwards to assist him in
such a liberal way, gave him then the slightest countenance or support;
nay, they even shunned and abandoned him, and he actually went into
court almost alone, and probably without the means of hiring counsel,
which was, in fact, a most fortunate circumstance for him, as, had he
placed his case in the hands of counsel, I will warrant that he would
have been found guilty upon each of the charges preferred against him;
however, as soon as Mr. Hone had obtained a verdict of _not guilty_,
these fair-weather patriots began to flock round him in order to share
the honour and popularity which they now saw he was likely to obtain.
This is too much the way of the world; and if Mr. Hone's jury had said
guilty, instead of not guilty, if he had been tried by a country instead
of a London special jury, he might have gone quickly to gaol, abandoned
and ruined, before any of the above gentry would have stirred one inch
to have saved him from rotting there.

A bill of indemnity was now brought in, to protect the Ministers against
the legal consequences of their horrid abuses of power, during the
suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. Most of those who had been
incarcerated were now released upon their own recognizance; but Mr.
Benbow, of Manchester, bravely refused to enter into any recognizance,
and he was liberated without it. The Messrs. Evans followed his example,
and were also liberated without bail.

While the indemnity bill was pending, the Livery of the city of London
met in Common Hall, and passed some strong resolutions, and petitioned
the House of Commons not to indemnify the Ministers against prosecutions
at law for their illegal and cruel conduct during the suspension of the
Habeas Corpus Act. This petition was presented by Alderman Wood, our
worthy representative, but without producing any effect, for, on the
10th of March, the bill was carried through both Houses by large
majorities. In the Commons, Sir Samuel Romilly made a brilliant effort
to resist the passing of this Act, but there was, nevertheless, a
majority of 190 for it, and only 64 against it. In the Lords it was
sanctioned by 93 for it, while there were only 27 against it; but
10 Peers entered a firm and spirited protest against the iniquitous
measure. On the 23d of March, a meeting of the inhabitants of
Westminster was held in Palace Yard, when a petition to the House of
Commons was adopted, praying for a Reform of Parliament. About this
period, the case of appeal of murder, _Ashford_ against _Thornton_,
excited considerable interest all over the country. The case was argued
in the Court of King's Bench, which decided that the law gave to the
defendant a right to his wager of battle; but the appellant, the brother
of Mary Ashford, the young woman who had been murdered, not choosing to
risk his life by accepting the challenge, Thornton was discharged.

On the first of May, the Monthly Magazine, a work of great celebrity,
for the talent displayed in its pages, as well as for the philanthropic
character of the gentleman who has so ably and successfully conducted
it for so many years, published some interesting facts relative to the
cruel and illiberal treatment of Napoleon, and his brave and faithful
adherents at St. Helena. The same number contained a most interesting
analysis of the progress of crime during the last seven years, by which
it appears that 56,308 persons had in that time been committed to the
gaols of England and Wales, for criminal offences; that 4,952 had
received sentence of death; 6,512 had been sentenced to transportation;
and 23,795 had been subjected to minor punishments, while no bills were
found against 9,287. In the same period 584 had been executed, _and
every number was tripled in the last year_. Let the philanthropist
read this--let the friends of humanity read this--and then say whether
we do not want a Reform in every department of the State, particularly
in the House of Commons, where the system has been so long acted upon,
which has brought England to such a degraded state.

On the second of June, Sir Francis Burdett moved resolutions in the
House of Commons, for Universal Suffrage and Annual Parliaments. They
were negatived by a majority of 106 to 2; the minority being Sir Francis
Burdett and Lord Cochrane, the two Members for Westminster. When, during
the preceding session of Parliament, that of 1817, there were petitions,
signed by a million and a half of names, praying for Universal Suffrage,
Sir Francis Burdett unfortunately refused to support Universal Suffrage;
but now that the people had declined to appeal to the House, and
consequently there was not a single petition lying upon the table, to
support the Hon. Baronet's motion, it was negatived, as I have stated
above, by an overwhelming majority.

On the tenth of June, the most infamous and servile Parliament that ever
sat in England, after having passed a Bill to continue the restriction
upon cash payments at the Bank; after having passed a Bill for building
New Churches, and appropriating one million of the public money to carry
it into effect; after having passed a Bill to add 6,000_1_. a year to
the incomes of the Royal Dukes, who had been married; after having
passed a Bill to continue the Alien Act; after having done all this, and
far more, this servile, corrupt Parliament was DISSOLVED.

I will mention one curious fact, with respect to this precious
Parliament. My friend, Mr. William Akerman, of Patney, in Wiltshire, was
upon a visit to me in London, and, as he was very anxious to go and have
a peep at the proceedings of the House of Commons, I was prevailed
upon to accompany him thither one evening, although I went rather
reluctantly, as all the interest which I had formerly felt in hearing
the debates had long since been banished from my breast. However, I went
thither to gratify the curiosity of my friend, little thinking that I
should hear or see any thing to amuse or gratify myself. The Hon. House
was exceedingly thin, there not being more than about a score of our
honourable representatives present: these careful trustees had voted
away, as a matter of course, some hundreds of thousands of the public
money. The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved the last reading of the
Bill for building the New Churches. The Bill was passed, and _one
million_ of the money raised in taxes from the sweat of the brow of John
Gull was voted away, by the Members of the Honourable House, with as
little ceremony as an old washerwoman would toss off a glass of gin,
or take a pinch of snuff; there being no debate, no more present than
THIRTEEN of the Honourable Members of the Honourable House. But the best
joke was what followed: a bungling, hacking, and stammering gentleman
got up, on the Ministerial side of the House--(for, if I recollect
right, among the honourable guardians of our lives, our liberties,
and our property, there were none present belonging to the Whig or
Opposition side of the House)--and after a considerable deal of beating
about the bush, which I saw made the Chancellor of the Exchequer rather
uneasy in his seat, I discovered that the prosing gentleman, whose name
was Littleton or Thornton, was prattling about the _Savings' Banks,_
into which it appeared that he had been inquiring rather more
inquisitively than the little Chancellor approved of. The result of his
inquiry, he stated to be a discovery, that _three-fourths_ of the money
placed in the banks belonged to persons of property, who placed it there
for the sake of obtaining better interest than they could get elsewhere;
and that the poor, such as servants and persons of small income, whose
property it was intended by the legislature should be invested in these
Savings Banks, scarcely made up a quarter of the number, and not a tenth
of the amount. The gentleman was going on, when Mr. Vansittart jumped
up, and in an under-tone pretty plainly intimated to him, that although
the benches on the opposite side were empty, yet there might probably
be some of the reporters left in the House, and if what had been stated
should get abroad, it would do incalculable mischief, by exposing the
humbug. These were not the words of the Honourable Chancellor, but I
have described their import. Whether the gentlemen reporters were all
absent, as well as the Whig Members, or whether they took the hint of
the worthy Chancellor, or whether they did not hear what he said, I do
not know; but the next morning I looked in vain in the newspapers for
what had transpired, which appeared to me so curious, and which had
appeared to the Chancellor a matter of so much importance; not a word of
the sort was, however, to be found in any of the papers.

Perhaps it was not observed by my readers, but it is a fact, that my
friend, Mr. Cobbett, who had continued to write his Register, and had
sent it home from America to be published in England, seemed to have
almost entirely forgotten that there was such a person as myself in
existence; for more than five months, from the 8th of May, the date
of his first Register written in America, till that dated the 10th of
October, he scarcely ever mentioned the name of _his friend_, even
accidentally. However, in the Register of the 10th of October, 1817, it
appears that he had at length discovered that I was neither literally
nor politically dead; for in a letter to Mr. Hallett, of Denford, in
Berkshire, dated Long Island, 10th of October, 1817, my name was again
brought fully upon the carpet, relative to my opinion of Sir Francis
Burdett, as it has been frequently expressed by me in confidence to
him. Very soon afterwards I received a private letter from him, full of
professions of friendship, which correspondence was continued up to
the period of his return from America. He also addressed to me, in the
Register, twelve public letters, beginning with "My dear Hunt," and
ending with "_your faithful friend_," occasionally complimenting my
zeal, courage, and fidelity in the cause of Reform, and declaring that
he was "in no fear as to the rectitude of my conduct, but always in
anxiety for my health!" How faithful his friendship is, he has admirably
proved! About the second or third letter which I had from him, he
strongly urged me to oppose Sir Francis Burdett, for the city of
Westminster; at any rate to offer myself as a candidate for that city,
which would give me an opportunity of exposing the Baronet's desertion
of the cause of Reform. I wrote for answer, that I dreaded the expense
of the hustings; and the exorbitant charges of the High Bailiff, &c.
These difficulties, however, he made light of, and assured me that, if
it was not done before, he would take care to have me remunerated by a
public subscription, as soon as he returned from America.

With this assurance, and from a conviction in my own mind that Sir
Francis had deserted, or at least neglected, the cause of Radical
Reform, I sent an advertisement to be inserted in the London papers,
offering myself as a candidate for the representation of the city of
Westminster. A meeting was called by my friends, in the great room of
the Crown and Anchor, when my name was put in nomination, as a proper
person to be one of the representatives of that city; it having been
publicly announced that Lord Cochrane, who was preparing to sail to the
assistance of the Patriots in South America, certainly meant to resign
all pretension to sit again as the Member for Westminster. At this
meeting a very large majority voted that I was a proper person to
represent that city. I believe it was nearly a fortnight before
any other person was put in nomination by any of the electors of
Westminster, and it was thought by many of my friends that Sir Francis
Burdett and myself would be returned, without any opposition. I firmly
believe that this would have, indeed, been the case, had not the friends
of Sir Francis Burdett, the Rump, proposed Mr. Douglas Kinnaird as his
colleague. Major Cartwright was then put in nomination by some of his
friends. The Whigs and Tories of Westminster perceiving that there
was likely to be a great division amongst the Reformers, and that Mr.
Douglas Kinnaird and Major Cartwright had been both started as it were
in opposition to me, Sir Samuel Romilly was proposed as a candidate by
the Whigs, and Sir Murray Maxwell by the Ministerial interest. There was
a little band of very worthy and independent men, who stood forward as
my supporters, namely, Mr. West, Mr. Dolby, and Mr. Giles, who were
electors, and Mr. Carlile, Mr. Gale Jones, and Mr. Sherwin, who were not
electors. Although at the outset I saw that, under such circumstances,
there was no chance of my success, yet I was determined to keep open
the poll to the last moment allowed by law, which is fifteen days. At
a public dinner that was held at the Crown and Anchor, my colours were
produced, and consisted of a scarlet flag, with UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE as a
motto, surmounted by a Cap of Liberty, surrounded with the inscription
of Hunt and Liberty. This flag was provided by Mr. Carlile; and I had
the honour of being the first and only man who ever offered himself as
a candidate for a seat in Parliament upon the avowed principles of
Universal Suffrage, Annual Parliaments, and Vote by Ballot.

The day at length arrived for the commencement of the election in
Covent-Garden. I had proclaimed that I would not, either by myself or by
any of my friends, canvass or solicit a single vote--that I should go
to the hustings, and act upon the constitutional principle of neither
soliciting votes nor going to any expense. The High Bailiff opened
the proceedings, and the following candidates were proposed by their
separate friends:--Sir Francis Burdett, Sir Murray Maxwell, Sir Samuel
Romilly, Major Cartwright, Mr. Douglas Kinnaird, and myself. Upon the
show of hands being taken, the High Bailiff declared it to be in favour
of Henry Hunt, Esq. and Sir Samuel Romilly. Sir Francis Burdett's
friends appeared dissatisfied with this decision of the High Bailiff,
and urged that a greater number had held up their hands for Sir Francis
than for Sir Samuel; but no one disputed my having had a majority, of
at least ten to one, in my favour. The reader will see that this speaks
volumes as to the opinion of the people. Though the people assembled
could hold up their hands, yet when it came to the vote, the result
clearly showed that the people had no share in electing those who were
chosen as their representatives.

During this contest I was baited like a bull; it was very different from
any election that ever took place before, for I tore the mask from
all parties, and all factions; in doing which I exposed myself to a
combination of the whole press of England, all the managers of which
were leagued together to abuse, to misrepresent, and belie me. The
_Tory, the Whig, and the Burdettite_ press attacked me not only without
mercy, but also without the slightest regard to truth or fair play; and
that portion of the press which was either under the influence or in the
pay of these three parties consisted of more than nineteen twentieths of
the press of the whole kingdom!

After the election had proceeded for a few days, it was found that upon
the poll Sir Francis Burdett was left considerably behind Sir Samuel
Romilly and Sir Murray Maxwell. Major Cartwright's and Mr. Douglas
Kinnaird's names were, therefore, withdrawn from the contest, and
the friends of both those gentlemen joined to support Sir Francis's
election, which appeared to be in great danger. As, however, I had no
such views as they had, my exertions being daily and solely directed to
open the eyes of the electors of Westminster to what I conceived to be
the gross negligence of Sir Francis Burdett with respect to the cause of
the people, it was determined to stand out the contest, especially as I
had made an affidavit, before the Lord Mayor of London, previous to the
commencement of the election, binding myself to keep the poll open to
the last hour allowed by law. Notwithstanding this affidavit, which had
been printed, and posted all over London, a little impudent Irishman, of
the name of Cleary, whom I have mentioned before, as a sort of writer
or clerk, hired as such by Major Cartwright, came forward upon the
hustings, and in a broad Irish brogue called upon me to tender my
resignation, and to render all the assistance in my power to promote the
election of Sir Francis Burdett, and took the liberty of insinuating
that I could be no friend of the people if I did not do so. Nothing
could equal the impudence of this upstart, paid secretary, this hireling
of the Major's; he was no elector of Westminster, and had no legal
business whatever upon the hustings in Westminster. However, I treated
this proposition with the silent contempt that it merited; and this drew
down the malevolence of the Rump, of which this Cleary now formed a
part. They denounced me as a _spy of the Government_, and every thing
that was base; and they put no bounds to their abuse. In the evening,
as I was addressing the electors, and defending myself against these
assassin-like attacks from the Rump, I stated the circumstance of their
having prevented the holding of a public meeting in the metropolis,
which meeting I had proposed for the purpose of raising a subscription,
to enable Brandreth, Turner, Ludlam, and others, who had been indicted
for high treason at Derby, to fee counsel, and pay the expenses of their
witnesses, so as to obtain a fair trial; and I of course alluded to the
dirty trick which had been played me, in order to prevent the meeting,
by writing me a letter, in the first instance, to say that a meeting
would be called, and then putting it off when it was too late for me to
come to London to call the meeting myself. I did this in general terms,
without mentioning any names; upon which Cleary came forward, and
unblushingly declared that what I had said was false, and that there
was no letter whatever of the sort written to me. On this, there was a
general call "produce the letter, name, name." In reply I asserted, that
not only was such a letter written, but Cleary himself was the writer,
and that he had gone so far as to say, in the letter, that he was so
offended with the prisoners who were charged with high treason, _that
he could almost find it in his heart to go down and hang them himself._
Cleary again presented himself, and, in the most solemn manner, called
God to witness, that what I had said was totally devoid of truth. The
clamour of the party of the Rump committee, now became excessive, they
one and all bawled out, "produce the letter!--you cannot, Hunt!--it is
all false!" At length I vociferated that I would produce it the next
day. I thought I had the said letter amongst some others in my trunk,
but, upon looking them over, I found that it was left at Middleton
Cottage, with my other papers. I therefore dispatched one of my family
into the country, a distance of sixty-one miles, to enable me to perform
my promise, and the demand of the party. The next day I was obliged to
state the fact, that the letter was in the country, but that I had sent
an express for it, and it should be produced as soon as that messenger
returned. Upon this the whole gang burst out into a forced horse laugh,
swearing that it was all false, that I had no such letter, and that I
never could produce it.

On the following day, which was Sunday, I received the letter from the
country. In the meantime all the London papers had misrepresented this
affair in the most scandalous and unprincipled manner, and every one of
them agreeing that I had made a groundless charge against Cleary, and
intimating that the story of the letter was a fabrication. The gang had,
in reality, contrived to raise a general outcry against me. Monday,
however, came, too soon for _them_, and on the hustings I then produced
the letter, and offered to read it; but the tumult raised by the party,
totally prevented it from being heard. This being the case, I promised
to have it printed the next day. I kept my word, and one thousand copies
were circulated; upon which Cleary produced a letter from Mr. Cobbett,
said to have been addressed to a person of the name of Wright. In this
letter, written, I believe, ten years previous to this epoch, Mr.
Cobbett grossly abused me, and represented me as a _sad_ fellow, and
recommended to the _Westminster committee_ to have nothing to do with
me. As on the face of it this epistle appeared to have been written some
years before I knew Mr. Cobbett, I felt no anger or resentment against
him; although it certainly showed that he possessed a bad heart, to be
capable of writing such gross and palpable falsehoods and malignant
calumny against a man whom he knew only by report; which man, report
must at the same time have convinced him, was a zealous and persevering
friend of Liberty. The former cry was now dropped, and in its place was
substituted another. It was impudently pretended that I had behaved very
unhandsomely, in producing and publishing a private letter of Cleary's;
though the fact was, that it was a _public_ letter written upon public
business, by a man who was a sort of public general secretary for all
public matters debated on and meetings held in Westminster, and who was
also the paid secretary to Major Cartwright and the Hampden Club! To
bring forward a charge of this kind against me, was stretching impudence
and falsehood as far as they could possibly go.

The next morning a note was put into my hands, which had been delivered
open at my lodgings, on the preceding night, after I had retired to bed.
This detestable composition contained a challenge from Mister Cleary,
together with a great deal of vulgar Billingsgate abuse. I inquired who
delivered it, and I was informed that between twelve and one o'clock,
about two hours after I was in bed and asleep, some one knocked at the
door, which was opened by my female servant, upon which three fellows
rushed into the passage, and demanded to see me. The servant, however,
informed them that I was gone to bed, and could not be disturbed. After
behaving in a very boisterous and bullying manner, they gave her a
letter, and informed her that it was a challenge for her master to fight
a duel, and they desired, or rather ordered her to give it me as soon as
I rose in the morning. All three of them refused to leave their names.
When I rose, rather late in the morning, I found that this famous
challenge had not only been read by all the females of my family, but
that all the people in Norfolk-street, in which I lodged, had been
informed of it, and the intelligence had also been communicated to
the Magistrates at Bow-street. Two Bow-street officers were likewise
observed parading the street, apparently to watch me out. Now, I will
candidly appeal to my readers, and ask if ever they heard of a challenge
to fight a duel having been delivered in such a way before? A challenge,
avowed as such, and delivered _unsealed,_ to a female, by three drunken
Irishmen (for such my servant described them), between twelve and one
o'clock at night, after the person challenged bad been in bed and asleep
for hours, and not one of the party consenting to leave his name! To
suppose that this poor creature meant to fight, or that those who
brought his challenge, and gave it _open_ to my female servant, ever
intended that he should fight a duel, would be the height of credulity.
Yet, to crown the joke, this very fellow, Cleary, was put forward upon
the hustings, the next day, and actually _read_ a copy of his blackguard
challenge, which he said he had sent to me the night before. This was
done in the presence and bearing of Mr. the present Sir Richard Birnie,
and other police magistrates. Was ever the like of this performed before
in England, or any other country? The reader will perceive that this
was a trick, and a very clumsy one, to endeavour to get me taken into
custody, and bound over to keep the peace. Yet the venal hireling press
blazoned it forth to the world, that I had injured and behaved very
unhandsomely to Mr. Cleary, by publishing his letter, and that I had
refused to give him the satisfaction of a gentleman, when he demanded
it!! Everyone knows this was done to create effect. If Cleary had ever
meant to fight me, he would have taken a very different course; he would
have sent some confidential friend to communicate with me in private.

This stratagem, however, clumsy as it was, had the desired effect, and
such was the beastly and scandalous misrepresentation of the whole
London press, that many very worthy and honourable men think to this day
that I ill used Mr. Cleary. They say it was _unhandsome_ to produce his
letter. It is difficult to conceive on what moral ground they come to
such a conclusion. Now, let us see what others, who were impartial,
disinterested eye-witnesses of the affair, let us hear what they say
upon the subject; for no one, perhaps, can be a thoroughly fair judge of
the question who was not present. I will here insert an extract from a
letter, signed "Leonidas," and published in _Sherwin's Register_, on the
26th of December, 1818. After stating that the only apology which was
ever offered by any of the Rump for Cleary's conduct was, that I had
behaved _unhandsomely_ in divulging Cleary's letter about the prisoners
at Derby, he says----

  "But this unhandsomeness, what was it?  The present
  writer was near the hustings on that occasion, and a plain
  tale, uninfluenced except by principle, will put the whole
  thing down.

  "Mr. Hunt, whose elocution, though bad, is not attended
  with any embarrassment, a token either of a clouded
  intellect, or of conscious finesse, spoke, in order to set himself
  and those who so nearly and furiously persecuted him
  in a clear point of view before the people assembled at
  the hustings, which he had a right to do, of the prisoners
  at Derby, of his own conduct towards them, which was
  most courageous and humane, and of the conduct of _the
  party_ at Westminster on the same occasion, which was
  assuredly supine to a frightful degree, to speak in no
  stronger language. In the midst of the most horrid yelling
  of the _party_, from whom he was continually obliged
  to appeal to the _mob_ below, as Mr. Kinnaird, unused to
  his new nomenclature, called them, Mr. Hunt mentioned
  that _the party_ in Westminster had done less than nothing
  to save the lives of the Derby prisoners.  So far from
  aiding them, _one_ had written to him that _nothing could be
  done_, and the writer had declared his own indignation
  against the unhappy men for disgracing the cause to
  be such, that he _could almost go down and hang them
  himself_.

  "This was all fair, quite unobjectionable.  Whether it
  was judicious to introduce this topic, is quite another question.
  While Mr. Hunt was speaking in half sentences, on
  account of the clamour from the hustings, and from the
  stages in front of them, where _the party_ usually took their
  station, there was an evident feeling of uneasiness prevailing,
  a consciousness that Mr. Hunt had more to say
  than it was pleasant to hear; and this feeling broke out
  in one burst of foolish interruption when he arrived at
  this point, and a din was raised of '_name, name_; it is all
  a lie, the scoundrel, the villain, _name, name_.'  Mr. Hunt
  seemed to pause. The present writer had not the least
  suspicion of _whom_ he had to _name_. When the demand
  was often repeated, and the noise had somewhat abated,
  he came forward, and, with evident reluctance, pronounced,
  'It was Mr. ----,' who by this time had placed himself
  in front of the hustings, and with writhing contortions
  uttered some most passionate exclamations.

  "Well, this was not sufficient.  The cry now was,
  'produce the letter, produce the letter; you cannot, you
  blackguard; it is a lie,' &c. &c.  Mr. Hunt could not, at
  the instant, produce the letter; but said it should be forthcoming
  the next day.  It was not produced the next day,
  when the grossest abuse was poured on him from the
  usual quarter.  The party would not hear his explanation,
  that it was left in the country, and scarcely could this assurance
  reach the ears of the more indifferent spectators.
  An express was sent for it, who could not return without
  some delay.  In the interval, Mr. Hunt was assailed with
  every opprobrious epithet of _liar, scoundrel, base slanderer,_
  and exclamations, 'He cannot produce it, it is all
  a fabrication,' &c. &c.  At last, the letter came, and an
  attempt was made to read it, without effect.  Mr. Hunt
  was obliged to say, 'Well, you shall have it printed
  to-morrow.'

  "I am not conscious that I misrepresent a tittle of this
  most abominable scene, such as I hope never to witness
  again among human beings. This was the unhandsome
  way that is said to justify the production of a private letter
  of Mr. Cobbett, even if it had been written by him; a
  letter now however _proved_ to be a forgery, and of the
  genuineness of which no evidence was sought even at the
  time, except that it was furnished by Mr. Place, the
  tailor.

  "Now, nothing could be more justifiable than Mr.
  Hunt's conduct.  It was absolutely forced on him.  He
  could not avoid producing the letter.  Those who complain
  of _unhandsomeness_ themselves laid on him the disagreeable
  necessity.  What did they say of his not having
  the letter ready to produce?  Why, that it was a proof of
  his being a _liar, and a scoundrel._ Of what _was_ it a
  proof?  Simply that Mr. Hunt had no previous intention
  to disclose that letter, that he was forcibly obliged to produce
  it to satisfy the clamour of the complaining party.
  If, after he had alluded to it, which might not be discreet,
  but which was not at all criminal because it was not on
  private, but _public_ business--if after alluding to the letter,
  he had refused to produce it, let any man judge what
  would have been his treatment from the _party_.  Their
  character demonstrates, to a certainty, that they would
  not have allowed the existence of such a letter, though
  fully conscious of it, and would have suffered Mr. Hunt to
  the end of time to be considered, what they called him, _a
  liar, a Scoundrel, and a slanderer_.

  "This subject, which I had not anticipated when my
  last letter was written, and did not mean, before the appearance
  of the confused and timid letter in Cobbett's
  _Register_, to advert to, has occupied too much time to
  permit me to comprehend, in this communication, all the
  remarks which I announced. It must be granted me, who
  am of no party but that of truth, to pursue my way, at
  leisure, and as free as possible from the mere forms of
  detail.  Meaning to resume my pen, I am, for the present,
  Sir, &c.

  "LEONIDAS."



The reader will observe, that this letter was written in December, six
months after the election; and I beg here to observe, that I never knew
or spoke to the writer till some time after this letter was written; but
I am proud to say, when I was introduced to him, that this fair advocate
of truth, proved to be a gentleman and a man of the strictest honour,
bred up and associating with the higher ranks of society, and who was a
doctor (of divinity, I believe). He was altogether just such a man as I
should have selected as an arbitrator to decide any dispute, a man of
strict veracity and unimpeachable character. I have said thus much upon
this affair, in order to clear myself from the imputation of unhandsome
conduct, and the charge of cowardice which was so lavishly bestowed upon
me by the whole of the corrupt, hireling, partial London press, the
falsehoods vomited forth by which were re-echoed from shore to shore, by
all the dastardly local press of the kingdom. This virulence arose from
the following fact. In consequence of my exposure of the conduct of Sir
Francis Burdett, not more than 500 hands were held up for him out of
20,000 persons present, when his name was put in nomination; and now, on
the eighth or ninth day of the election, Sir Francis stood THIRD upon
the poll, and ultimately he was returned only SECOND upon it--Sir Samuel
Romilly standing several hundreds (three hundred) above him, and Sir
Murray Maxwell only about four hundred below him. In fact, nothing but
the foul play shown towards Sir Murray and his friends, together with
the very bad management of his committee, prevented his being returned
with Sir Samuel Romilly, and Sir Francis being rejected and thrown out
altogether. This was what made the party so outrageously clamorous
and vindictive against me. Independent of the wound which their pride
suffered, from the dread of being defeated, they had another reason to
abominate me. They were compelled to make no trifling sacrifices of a
certain kind. About the eighth or ninth day of the election, a
dreadful effort was made by the _party_, and _money_ flew about in all
directions; poor electors had their taxes paid up, others were paid for
voting, public-houses were opened, and all the sources of corruption and
bribery were resorted to, by the friends and supporters of Sir Francis
Burdett, which were employed by the Ministerial faction for Sir Murray
Maxwell. By these means there was at length an apparent spirit of
enthusiasm revived for the Baronet. Hundreds, who had viewed his conduct
in a similar light to that in which I had viewed it, and who had
condemned him, and given him up, and who had actually stood neuter
hitherto, not meaning to vote at all at the election, as their votes
could not have rendered me any service, now came forward and voted for
_him_, under the impression that it would be better to return him, bad
and indolent as he was, than to return the rank Ministerial tool, Sir
Murray Maxwell.

At the end of the election, the numbers were declared by the High
Bailiff to be as follow:-Romilly 5,538, Burdett 5,239, Maxwell 4,808,
Hunt 84. Upon the show of hands at the nomination by the High Bailiff,
when the election commenced, Sir Francis stood _third_, below myself and
Sir Samuel; at the end of the election Sir Francis stood _second_ upon
the poll, 300 _below_ Sir Samuel Romilly. This was a sad blow to the
Baronet's popularity, and a still more severe blow to the upstart gentry
who formed the Rump Committee. When Lord Cochrane resigned his seat, at
the dissolution of the Parliament, and I publicly offered myself as a
candidate, if Sir Francis and the Committee had stood neuter, even I
should have been returned with him without any opposition; but this did
not suit him, or the Committee; they opposed me, and no one doubted
their power to prevent my being elected, though, at the same time, they
little dreamt that I had the power to endanger the election of their
idol, Sir Francis, and by my exertions to cause the Whig candidate,
Romilly, to be placed at the head of the poll 300 above him. Even all
that, however, was easier to be borne than to have me in Parliament.
Whether I acted right, or whether I acted wrong, in thus opposing and
bringing down that man, who had but a few years before been returned
at the head of the poll for Westminster (2,000 above all the other
candidates), is a matter of great doubt with a number of good men; I can
only say, if I erred, I erred from public and not from private motives.
Sir Francis Burdett has, since I have been here, acted the most noble
part towards me, and I have no doubt but he is convinced that I was
actuated in my opposition to him solely by public views; and if I was
then deceived and mistaken as to his public conduct, he has shown that
he has the nobleness of soul that knows how to forgive my hostility
to him, because he believes that I was his opponent, not to serve any
selfish end, but from a sense of public duty.

A few days after I had been so grossly misrepresented by the press, with
respect to Cleary's affair, another circumstance occurred. One of
the gents belonging to the _Observer_ newspaper, was a Mr. Spectacle
Dowling, who appears to have written so many falsehoods upon the
subject, that he actually believed at last that what he had written was
true. I had, in one of my speeches, alluded to the evidence which this
person had given, on behalf of the Crown, upon the trial of Watson. The
next morning, when I entered the hustings, a person at the door spoke to
me, and while I was looking back to answer him, I felt the stroke of a
small whip upon my hat, and, on turning hastily round to see what it
meant, there was Mr. Spectacle Dowling flourishing a small jockey whip
in a violent manner. I dashed up to him, and had just reached him a
slight blow in the chin, when I was seized by the constables; but in his
flight he received a blow in the mouth from my brother, and another
from my son Henry, a lad of eighteen. We were all three held by the
constables, who were all prepared to favour his escape.

Mr. Dowling immediately summoned my brother before Sir Richard, then
Mr. Birnie, for the assault. I attended to give bail for him, and I
certainly never saw a person who more resembled "raw head and bloody
bones" than Mr. Dowling did, for he was bleeding at every pore; the
marks of the three blows he had received were very evident upon his
forehead, his mouth, and his chin. It appeared that Mr. Dowling's object
was, not so much to get my brother held to bail, as it was to get
_himself_ bound over to keep the peace towards me; and Mr. Birnie, who
had learned that Mr. Dowling was the first aggressor, urged me to prefer
the complaint, and he would hold him to bail for the assault, as Dowling
bravely protested before the Magistrates that he should have given me a
_good horsewhipping_ if the constables had not interfered. I, however,
positively declined to make any charge against the gentleman, as I had
resolved that the first time I met him I would give him an opportunity
of taking a belly-full. I own that I walked the streets many an hour
afterwards, in hopes of meeting him, and I carried a good cane in my
hand, in order to lay it smartly about his shoulders. It was, however,
many months before I met the gentleman. At length, one day, I was
standing in Mr. Clement's shop, talking with Mr. Egan, the gentleman
who at that time was the fashionable slang reporter of all the pitched
battles and prize fights of the day, and who has since produced from his
pen those characters which have made such a noise at the Adelphi and
other theatres, namely, _Tom and Jerry._ While I was conversing with Mr.
Egan, Mr. Dowling opened the door and walked in. I immediately addressed
him, and said, "The last time I had the honour to meet you, Mr. Dowling,
I believe was at Bow-street, when you stated to Mr. Birnie that you had
struck me upon the Westminster hustings with a whip, and if you had
not been prevented by the constables you would have given me a good
horsewhipping." "Sir, (said he) I do not wish to have anything to say to
you." "But, (replied I) there is a little account to settle between us;
you struck me a blow with a whip, and I gave you a slap on the chin, so
far we were equal; but you informed the Magistrates, that, if you had
not been prevented by the constables, you would have given me a good
thrashing; now, Sir, there are no constables present to interfere, and I
will give you an opportunity to carry your threat into execution." "Sir,
(he again repeated) I do not wish to have any thing to say to you;" and
he was making out of the shop as fast as he could shuffle; but as soon
as he opened the door, and stepped upon the pavement, I said, "Protect
yourself," and at the same time I gave him a slight blow in the face
with my _flat hand_, which knocked off his spectacles. The gallant
reporter picked them up very coolly, and putting both hands before his
face, he sued for mercy, saying, that if I persisted he should take
the law of me. He kept his word, and I was indicted at the Middlesex
sessions, and fined five pounds.

So ended the horse-whipping affair and the Westminster election, with
the exception of a _trifling_ after-clap or two, such as the High
Bailiff sending me in a bill for my third share of the hustings,
amounting to upwards of two hundred and fifty pounds (I think that was
the sum). I refused the payment of it, and he commenced an action for
the amount, and obtained a verdict for a great part of his charge. This
brought me for the first time in contact with Mr. Counsellor Scarlett,
he having been employed by the High Bailiff against me. I at once
discovered, that this worthy Barrister, although a very clever fellow,
was cursed with a very irritable, waspish disposition, of which I always
took advantage afterwards, as often as we met in the Courts, which,
unfortunately for me, was much too frequently for my pocket.

About this time an action had been brought against me, in the name of
my landlord, Parson Williams, of Whitchurch, of whom I had rented Cold
Henly Farm for three years, at a loss of about two thousand pounds,
which I sunk in cleaning and improving the estate. When Mr Cobbett fled
from England to go to America, in 1817, some of the Winchester attorneys
and parsons openly said that they "had driven Cobbett out of the
country, and they would try hard to make me follow him." They were as
good as their words, for they tried all sorts of ways to injure my
credit, and not succeeding to their wishes, an action was commenced
against me, by a man who is clerk to the Magistrates, a Mr. Woodham, an
attorney at Winchester, in the name of Mr. Williams, for breaches of
covenants while I occupied Cold Henly Farm. I called on Mr. Williams,
who denied having ever given any orders to Woodham to commence the
action; he said that Woodham had urged him to do it, but that he refused
to do so, and he wished every thing to be settled amicably. I relied
upon the word of the old parson, who said he would write and stop any
further proceedings; but my confidence was very soon betrayed, as I had
notice that I had suffered judgment to pass by default, and a writ of
inquiry was to be held at the next assizes to assess the damages. The
writ of inquiry was executed at Winchester, and a verdict was obtained
against me for, I believe, 250_l_. The breaches of covenant were easily
proved, although they had been assented to by the parson, which assent I
had carelessly and confidingly neglected to obtain from him, either in
writing or before witnesses. Mr. ABRAHAM MORE, an eminent barrister upon
the Western Circuit, was employed, and conducted the inquiry for Mr.
Attorney Woodham. Mr. More was esteemed the best special pleader, and,
after Mr. Sergeant Pell, he was certainly the best advocate upon the
Western Circuit. But I take leave to ask, what is become of Mr. More?
Mr. More has quitted the circuit and the bar, and fled from his country,
since I came to this Bastile. I believe Mr. More was the Recorder of
Lord Grosvenor's rotten borough of Shaftesbury, and he was, I am
told, his lordship's steward, and suddenly left England under such
circumstances as would have been blazoned forth in every newspaper in
England, if he had been a poor Radical. I bear no personal hostility to
Mr. More, therefore I shall not say any thing to wound the feelings of
those of his relatives and friends who are left behind. But it is
a remarkable fact, that the learned barrister, the Recorder of
Shaftesbury, and the once learned and honest attorney, Mr. Richard
Messiter, of Shaftesbury, should have left their country, and both have
fled to America, under such _peculiar circumstances_.

On the 22d of July the son of Napoleon was created Duke of Reichstadt
by his grandfather, the Emperor of Austria. On the 15th of August,
very considerable disturbances took place at Manchester, amongst the
manufacturing poor, who were suffering great privations and misery, in
consequence of the high price of provisions, and the ruinous low prices
given for manufacturing labour. On the 29th of September, the Emperors
of Russia and Austria, and the King of Prussia, held a congress at
Aix-la-Chapelle, assisted by ministers from England and France. On the
2d of October, the convention of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed. At the
same period it was publicly announced by the Americans, that their navy
consisted of six ships of the line, eleven frigates, and twenty-two
sloops. On the 21st, Lord Ellenborough resigned the office of Chief
Justice of the Court of King's Bench.

On the 2d of November, Sir Samuel Romilly put an end to his existence,
by cutting his own throat with a razor. This event excited a very
considerable sensation throughout the whole kingdom. Sir Samuel Romilly,
although a lawyer, was very generally beloved and respected. By his
death, a vacancy occurred for the representation of the city of
Westminster, and, within ten minutes after I heard of the deed which had
been committed by Sir Samuel, I determined upon an opposition against
whoever might be nominated by Sir Francis and the Westminster Committee.
I did not, indeed, myself, choose to encounter a repetition of the
expenses which I had recently incurred, by standing a contested election
for Westminster, but I was, nevertheless, determined to have some one
put in nomination, to prevent, as far as lay in my power, the great and
powerful city of Westminster from being made a rotten borough, under the
influence of Sir Francis Burdett. But I found all the little staunch
phalanx who had supported me during my own contest, now declined
supporting an opposition in favour of Mr. Cobbett, whom I proposed
to put in nomination. In fact, I could not get a single elector of
Westminster either to propose or second the measure.

I ought to have noticed before, that, at the former contest, I was
manfully and ably supported by Mr. John Gale Jones, who never deserted
me, and who stood boldly by me to the very last day of the election. I
ought also to have noticed, that my colours, surmounted by the Cap of
Liberty, with the mottos of "_Universal Suffrage_" on one side, and
"_Hunt and Liberty_" on the other, were every day, during the first
general election in this year, carried to the hustings, and there nailed
to the same, where they remained proudly floating in the air the whole
day, till they were taken down, when the polling was closed, to proceed
with my carriage every night into Norfolk street. I beg the reader,
young or old, not to forget this fact, that at the general election in
June 1818, for the _first_ time in England, a gentleman offered himself
as a candidate, upon the avowed principles of "_Annual Parliaments,
Universal Suffrage,_ and _Vote by Ballot;_" that at this election, which
lasted fifteen days, the Cap of Liberty, surmounting the colours with
that motto, was hoisted and carried through the streets morning and
evening, preceding my carriage to and from the hustings in the city of
Westminster; and that these were the only colours that were suffered
by the people to remain upon the hustings, all other colours that were
hoisted being torn down and trampled under the feet of the multitude,
while the Cap of Liberty and the flag with Universal Suffrage remained
all day, and every day, for fifteen days, fixed to the hustings, without
the slightest insult or molestation being offered to it by any one. The
cap and flag were frequently left for several hours together, without
any one of my committee or myself being present; and I never heard
that it was even hinted to offer to remove them, except once, on which
occasion the following curious circumstance took place. One day, one of
the constables, observing that myself and all my immediate friends
were absent from the hustings, proposed in a low voice to some of his
companions, to remove Hunt's flag and Cap of Liberty; but, softly as he
had spoken, the proposal reached the quick ears of the multitude, and a
loud and general cry was raised, "Protect Hunt's flag, my lads; touch
it, if you dare!" This was accompanied by a rush towards that part of
the hustings where it was fixed. The constable gentry slinked off, and
never mentioned it afterwards, or attempted any thing of the sort.

One or two more instances of the devotion of the people towards me, I
have forgotten to record. On the day when Mr. Dowling affected to strike
me with a horse-whip, within the hustings, some one upon the hustings,
Dr. Watson, I believe, communicated to the people without, that the
constables were ill-using me; he seeing that the constables had seized
me by the arms. With the quickness of lightning the boards which formed
the lower end of the hustings were demolished, and the brave and
generous people rushed in to my assistance, declaring that they were
ready to lose their lives in my defence. I will give but another
instance of their honest devotion to the man who they thought was
advocating their rights. One evening, as I was leaving the hustings to
pass to my carriage, there was, as usual, a great crowd at the door
awaiting to salute me, and, amidst the pressure it so happened, that,
without my being aware of any thing of the sort, a pickpocket neatly
drew my watch from my pocket. But, although the act was unobserved by
me, it did not escape the vigilance of my friends, who surrounded the
door from purer motives. I passed on through the crowd to my carriage,
which stood at a distance of twenty yards, the coachman not being able
to bring it nearer up to the hustings, and, after I had got into the
carriage, a man who was standing close to the door of the hustings
hailed me, and holding up my watch and seals in his hand, passed it over
the heads of the crowd, till it was handed into the carriage-window to
me. The fact was, that some of the people saw the fellow take my watch
and pass it to another of his gang, and he did the same to a third, but
they were pursued, and the watch was rescued from the gang, who got a
sound drubbing for their pains, and the watch was restored to me in the
way which I have stated. Amongst the number who acted in this gallant
and handsome way to me, I did not recognise any one that I knew by name.
Mr. Gale Jones was with me in the carriage, and was an eyewitness of
this affair, so honourable to the people of Westminster, who attended
the hustings during the election.

On the 17th of November, Queen Charlotte died at Kew, in her 75th year.
The Lord have mercy on her! although I never heard that, during the very
long period that she was Queen of England, she ever attempted to use
her influence with her husband, George the Third, to save the life of a
single fellow-creature, with the exception of _Dr. Dodd, a parson_, who
was hanged for forgery! but may the Lord have mercy upon her!

On the same day, I think it was, there was a meeting called at the Crown
and Anchor, to nominate someone, as a proper person to be elected for
Westminster, in the room of Sir Samuel Romilly. I attended that meeting,
and by accident was seated next to Sir Charles Wolseley, with whom I
then, for the first time, became personally acquainted. The chair was
taken by Sir Francis Burdett, who briefly stated the purpose for which
the electors had met. A Mr. Bruce, the young man of that name who was
imprisoned in France, for assisting in the escape of Lavalette from
prison, proposed John Cam Hobhouse, Esq. as a fit and proper person for
the choice of the electors of Westminster as their representative. One
of the Westminster committee seconded this nomination, and Mr. Hobhouse,
a very young man, mounted the table, and addressed his auditory in a
good set speech, which appeared to have been prepared for the occasion,
as it consisted of nothing definite, but was merely made up of general
professions of his being friendly to Liberty and Reform. After he
had done he left the room, amidst a pretty general expression of
approbation. Some time now elapsed, during which there was a pause, as
every one was in expectation of Mr. Wooler, or some friend of Major
Cartwright, putting that gentleman in nomination; but, as no one came
forward, I mounted the table. After some time I obtained a hearing, and
I began by inquiring who and what Mr. Hobhouse was? I demanded if he was
any relation to the Under Secretary of State, or if he were any relation
of that Sir Benjamin Hobhouse house who had formerly professed in that
very room the same sort of general principles of Liberty which were
now professed by the youth whom we had just heard? whether he was any
relation to that same Sir Benjamin Hobhouse, who afterwards accepted a
place in the Addington administration, and who had for so many years
annually received 2,000_l_ of the public money, for doing nothing, as a
commissioner to inquire into the state of the Nabob of Arcot's debts.
The truth was, that I thought this young gentleman was a brother of the
then Under Secretary of State, and that he was a nephew of Sir Benjamin
Hobhouse, and not his son. I followed up these questions, which were
well received, and made a considerable impression upon the meeting; and
at length I proposed my friend, Mr. Cobbett, as a fit and proper person
to represent the enlightened citizens of Westminster, and I put him in
nomination accordingly. There was a pretty general cry of no! no! and
a loud laugh from the gentlemen of the Rump Committee; however, some
persons in the crowd seconded my nomination. Mr. Wooler was then called
for, as it was understood that he was to propose Major Cartwright. After
a short parley, Sir Francis Burdett stated, that Mr. Wooler was not an
elector of Westminster, and that he had nothing to say. But, though Mr.
Wooler had nothing to say, it appeared that Mr. Gale Jones had something
to say. But Mr. Jones was not permitted to express his sentiments; for,
as usual, the impartial gentlemen of the committee cried him down with
the most horrible yell, howling out that he was no elector. I believe
Mr. Bruce, who proposed Mr. Hobhouse, was no elector. I was no elector,
who proposed Mr. Cobbett.--This I stated; but the answer was, "we did
not know but you were going to propose yourself, which you had a right
to do." "Well," said I, "hear Mr. Jones. How do you know that _he_ is
not going to propose himself?" But all that I could urge was fruitless.
No man, who has not been an ear-witness, knows, nor can any man imagine,
what sort of a thing is the howl which is set up by the party who attend
those meetings, it would disgrace a conclave of fiends. I have always
seen Mr. Jones hooted down by these worthies, and I never knew them give
him a single fair hearing in my life. However, Mr. Jones had taken ample
revenge upon them at the late election; during that fortnight he paid
them off in full, for all the dastardly foul-play that they had shown
towards him for many years, and now, when they got him upon their own
dunghill, they retaliated, not by answering him, or controverting what
he had to say, but by refusing to hear him at all. Mr. Gale Jones, who
is one of the most eloquent and powerful speakers that I ever heard, was
always too independent in spirit for these gentlemen; he could neither
be purchased nor wheedled out of his opinion. Every art had been tried
to seduce him from the path of honour, but the humble walk of life in
which he has always moved is the best proof of his sincerity, and that
his noble mind stands far above the reach of all corruption's dazzling
temptations. A man, who possesses his eminent talent and very superior
eloquence, might in this venal age have been elevated to wealth and
power, if he would have condescended to speak a language foreign to his
heart, and become the slave and tool of the Government, or of one of the
factions. I believe Mr. Jones to be one of the most amiable, virtuous,
and truly humane men in the kingdom. Those who have been envious and
jealous of his talents, are the only persons who speak ill of him.
In his profession of a surgeon, he is skilful and assiduous, but his
modesty has always prevented him from pushing his practice to any
extent, so as to render it lucrative. How many unfeeling, stupid
block-heads are there in London, who ride in their carriages, and keep
elegant establishments, clearing thousands a-year as surgeons, who do
not possess a tenth part of the talent and skill of Mr. Gale Jones! It
may be asked, why then is he not rich, like other men in his profession?
This question is very easily answered by me. Alas! his humanity and his
modesty have been the cause of his poverty. Some people will laugh at
the idea of the retiring modesty of a man who could stand forward upon
the hustings, and address twenty thousand of his fellow-creatures, with
so much ease, and with so little embarrassment; but my assertion is,
nevertheless, not only perfectly true, but also perfectly consistent; he
is a _lion_ in the cause of Freedom and Humanity, but a _lamb_ in all
other cases. He is bold and fearless when contending for public Liberty;
but he is no less modest, meek, and humble, in private life. This has
assisted to keep Mr. Jones poor, but his poverty has principally arisen
from his great benevolence. I have known Mr. Jones run a mile,
and gratuitously devote hours, to assist a poor and friendless
fellow-creature; I have known him to do this, and share the shilling in
his pocket with the sufferer, and return weary and pennyless to his
wife and family, when he might have obtained a rich patient in the next
street, and a guinea fee, with a twentieth part of the trouble and time
he had gratuitously bestowed upon the poor and helpless.

I have said thus much of Mr. Gale Jones, as a matter of common justice;
and, as a public duty, I call the attention of my readers in the
metropolis to the situation of this worthy man, this real friend of
Liberty, who has been neglected and insulted by that venal band of
mercenary and time serving politicians, those flippant summer flies of
the metropolis, those fair-weather patriots, which, when compared with
the steady, sound, and inflexible patriotism of Mr. Jones, are like the
dross of the vilest metal put in competition with the purest gold.
In doing this justice to Mr. Jones's character (and it is but bare
justice), I do not, however, mean to say that all the members composing
the Westminster Committee are quite the reverse of what he is; on the
contrary, I know many of them to be very worthy and most respectable
men in private life, and perhaps they have very unintentionally been
instrumental in making Westminster a rotten borough, in the hands of
a particular circle. Probably there did not live a more honourable,
upright man, in private life, than the late Mr. Samuel Brooks; and, as
to his public exertions, I believe that his intentions were equally
honourable, although he was frequently made the instrument to promote
injustice, partiality, and foul play, by some of the designing and
unprincipled knaves who surrounded him, some of whom had great influence
over him, and frequently urged him on to do that which in his heart I
know he very much disapproved.

But I must now return to my narrative, from which I was led by the foul,
unmanly, un-Englishman-like conduct of the Westminster party, in hooting
and howling down Mr. Jones at the public meeting at the Crown and
Anchor, which meeting was called expressly to discuss a subject of great
national importance, and to decide upon who was the most proper man to
represent the great, the enlightened, the opulent city of Westminster.
Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. Cobbett were, as I have already stated, put in
nomination, and the chairman took the sense of the meeting, which,
certainly, was very evidently in favour of Mr. Hobhouse; those who held
up their hands in his favour being more than ten to one. Upon this
occasion I produced a letter, which I received from my friend Mr.
Cobbett, from America, and likewise a New York newspaper, wherein was
inserted a letter, which he had written to the editor of that paper.
In his letter to me, as well as his letter in the New York paper, he
solemnly declared that the letter which was read by Cleary upon the
hustings, at the late Westminster election, which Cleary stated to be
written by Cobbett, was a FORGERY, and, of course, was never written by
him. Upon this Cleary went to Brooks's and produced the letter, which,
when it was shown to me, still appeared to be forged, as it was written
in a much stronger hand than Mr. Cobbett usually wrote; and I also
observed the post-mark was different from that of the office where I
knew he always sent his letters when at Botley. These circumstances, and
my having implicit reliance upon the word of my friend, who in the most
solemn manner declared it to be a forgery, made me have no hesitation in
pronouncing it as my belief that it was such.

As the show of hands was so decidedly in favour of Mr. Hobhouse, and as
I could not get a single Westminster man to join me, it was in vain to
persist in forcing Mr. Cobbett's claims upon the electors; but I was
nevertheless determined to look out for some other cock to fight, so
satisfied was I that it was necessary to oppose the schemes of that
party who appeared determined to make Westminster a rotten borough, it
being very evident that Mr. Hobhouse was the mere nominee of Sir Frances
Burdett. There was plenty of time to look about for a candidate, but I
felt quite sure that no one would oppose him if I did not bring forward
that candidate. The Whigs had no chance whatever, unless some popular
character stood forward to oppose the Westminster faction; and as for
the Ministers, they had no relish to start another man, after the
failure of Sir Murray Maxwell. Nothing could, indeed, have more forcibly
shown their conscious weakness, and the thorough detestation in which
they were held by the public, than that they did not even dare to start
a candidate in the very hot-bed of corruption, the very citadal of Court
influence.

The election was not to take place till the spring; in the mean time I
did not fail to sound all the men that I thought likely to assist me,
but I did this quite privately, while every possible exertion was made
by Mr. Hobhouse and his friends, aided by the powerful influence, and
still more powerful purse, of Sir Francis. The Westminster Committee now
found it necessary to exert their utmost, and to strain every nerve.
Canvassing committees were formed in every parish, and meetings were
called, at which Mr. Hobhouse attended in person, to solicit the favour
of the electors. The reports of these meetings I watched very narrowly,
and in all the speeches of Mr. Hobhouse, I never could discover any
one pledge given by him, to show that he was a friend to a real
constitutional and efficient Reform. He dealt in general terms, such as
his father Sir Benjamin, or Burke, or any other apostate from the cause
of Liberty, might have used with perfect safety. There, nevertheless,
appeared great enthusiasm amongst the party, and a general committee was
formed, consisting, as it was said, of three hundred electors, selected
from the different parishes. Those who were not in the secret, were
astonished to hear of such extraordinary exertions, such seemingly
overwhelming preparation; and the general opinion was, that the election
of Hobhouse was placed far above the chance of a failure. In fact, he
did not appear to have any opponent; no one had offered himself--no
one had been proposed but Mr. Cobbett, who was named by me under such
circumstances as made any opposition from such a quarter worse than
futile, absolutely ridiculous. Apparently there was but one person who
even insinuated any opposition to Mr. Hobhouse, but that one person was
Hunt. The Rump knew me too well to treat my opposition lightly. They had
so very recently experienced my power, that they saw with dismay that I
had been the sole cause of endangering the election of Sir Francis, and
that, by my exertions alone, he, their IDOL, _Westminster's pride and
England's hope_, had been placed SECOND upon the poll, having received
three hundred votes less than Sir Samuel Romilly. The Rump Committee and
Sir Francis knew all this perfectly well: they knew that if it had been
a contest between Romilly and Burdett, without any interference of mine,
that Burdett would have had a thousand or fifteen hundred votes more
than Romilly. Hence all the preparations and exertions that were now
made.

Seeing all this, I was obliged to act with great caution. I had applied,
over and over again, to those that I thought the staunchest friends of
Major Cartwright, but I found them wavering and insincere; desponding,
and exclaiming "it is all no use! it is impossible to return the Major!"
I had taken care to get a friend to sound the Major, and I found that
the old veteran was exceedingly pleased at the thought of being once
more nominated for Westminster, for which city he certainly ought to
have been the member long before. _This_ was the _Old Game Cock_, then,
that I had determined to set up against the young _Bantam_, although I
found that I should have great difficulty in bringing his seconds, or
rather his proposers, up to the mark. I had therefore solemnly made
up my mind as a dernier resort, that if my effort to have the Major
proposed should ultimately fail, I would once more offer myself,
and stand the contest in person, so convinced was I of the absolute
necessity of exposing the conduct of the electors of Westminster, who
constituted what was called the Rump Committee. They had treated me
at the late election in the most foul and unhandsome way, such as was
totally unbecoming the character of the very lowest of those who set up
any pretension to honour or honesty. I had made them feel the weight
of my opposition, and I was determined that they should a second time
experience the effect of my single-handed hostility. I well knew that
Major Cartwright was by no means popular amongst the Westminster
electors, and that he would not stand the slightest chance of being
elected; but I was alse thoroughly assured, that, as soon as the
Whigs were quite certain that I had determined to stand forward against
the Burdettite faction, they also would start a candidate. This was the
state of parties in Westminster at the close of the year 1818.

By a report of a Committee, appointed by the House of Commons, it
appeared that _four millions of pounds weight of sloe, liquorice, and
ash-tree leaves,_ are every year mixed with Chinese teas in England,
besides the adulterations that take place in China, before the teas sent
to England leave that country! The new Parliament met on the 14th of
January, 1819, and was opened by commission. The Queen's death was
noticed in the speech, and a Bill was brought in, and passed, to give
the custody of the old insane King's person to the Duke of York, instead
of the Queen, with an allowance of TEN THOUSAND POUNDS per annum! This
is about _four thousand pounds a year_ more than the salary of the
President of the United States of America. The guardians of John Gull's
purse vote the King's son _four thousand pounds_ a year more, for having
the custody of his father's person, who was confined as a lunatic in
Windsor Castle, than the Americans pay to their Chief Magistrate, for
managing all the business of the American nation! In settling the
election petitions, _three boroughs_ were declared by the committees and
by the House of Commons to have been carried by _bribery_, and an order
was given to the Attorney-General to prosecute the parties. Another bill
was passed to prevent the Bank of England from paying their notes in
gold. What a hoax! A bill was likewise passed, to prevent the subjects
of England from inlisting into the service of any foreign state at war
with another, which bill was intended to apply to the colonies of Spain.

The middle of February was fixed for the Westminster election, and not a
breath had been heard about any opposition to Mr. Hobhouse. I, however,
put an advertisement into the _Sunday Observer_, I think it was, signed
with my name, assuring the electors that an independent, real friend of
Reform would be nominated at the hustings on the day of election. Before
this letter appeared in the paper alluded to, the Westminster committee
were so satisfied in their own minds that, by their great and
overwhelming show of preparations and canvassings, they had deterred
any one from offering any opposition, and that their candidate would
be returned on the same day, without going to the poll, that the high
bailiff had not taken the usual precaution of erecting a hustings, a
temporary scaffold being thought quite sufficient. Nay, so thoroughly
convinced of this was the Rump, that they actually ordered the CAR, and
got it prepared for chairing their candidate, Mr. Hobhouse, and every
necessary preparation was made for this ceremony being performed on the
first day of the election: but, as soon as my letter appeared in the
papers, it was all consternation and confusion amongst them, and the
party were running about from one to the other like so many wild men! In
the mean time, Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Northmore had been written
to, and had arrived in London. A meeting was called, at the Russell
Coffee-house, under the Piazzas, over night; Sir Charles and Mr.
Northmore subscribed 50_l_. each, and a few other subscriptions were
entered into, making in the whole about 120_l_., which was placed in
the hands of Mr. Birt, of Little Russell Street, who was appointed
treasurer; and with this sum I undertook to conduct the election of the
Major for _fifteen days_, if the arrangements were left to me. This was
agreed to, and a placard was issued, and posted immediately, merely
stating "_that the gallant Major was in the field._"

A friend of mine that evening communicated to the Whigs, who were
assembled at Brooks's, in St. James's Street, what had been done, and
what was decided upon, and that I pledged my life for a fifteen days
opposition to Sir Francis's nominee, Mr. Hobhouse. This intelligence was
not communicated to the Whigs till late in the evening preceding the day
on which the election was to be held; but they instantly assembled a
council of war, to decide upon what steps ought to be taken. At length
it was agreed upon by them to start Mr. George Lambe, the son of Lord
Melbourne. He was instantly sought for, and, as I was credibly informed,
he was called out of bed, to hear the news, so late as one o'clock in
the morning; the election being to commence at eleven the same day. I
immediately agreed for a Committee Room, at the Russell Coffee-house,
where, as I have said, we had a previous meeting of some half dozen the
evening before, to settle who was to propose and second the nomination
of the Major in the morning. The only two electors of Westminster who
attended, besides Mr. Birt, were Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Bowie. These
gentlemen hesitated about performing this office, and we separated
without any thing being decided upon as a certainty. However, I knew
that Mr. Birt was to be depended upon as a man of strict honour and
integrity; and looking forward to the probability of the other two
gentlemen failing to attend, I had taken care to provide against any
contingency of that sort. It was necessary to take every precaution, for
I was aware that I had to contend with the greatest tricksters of the
age; I knew Mr. Morris, the High Bailiff, to be one of the Rump faction;
and I knew Master Smedley, the deputy of the High Bailiff, to be a
cunning, sly, intriguing fellow; and it was therefore certain that I
should have to watch their motions narrowly, being quite sure in my own
mind that they would take advantage of any little informality to
close the election--a step, or their part, which I was determined, if
possible, to frustrate.

The morning arrived, and I attended the committee room early; but I
found no one there except Mr. Birt and Dr. Watson, from whom I learned
that Messrs. Bowie and Nicholson, the professed friends of the Major,
had appointed to meet, to breakfast, at a Coffee-room, at the top of
Catherine Street, in the Strand. Thither I repaired, and found them
still wavering and undecided. When, however, I gave them to understand
that it did not depend upon them _alone_, whether the Major should be
proposed or not, as I had procured two electors, who were ready to
propose and second the nomination of the Major if they failed to do so,
their doubts and hesitation vanished, and they immediately agreed to go
upon the hustings, and perform the task.

At this moment I received a message from the Major, who wished to see me
at Probat's hotel, in King Street, Covent Garden, where he was waiting.
I found the Major very anxious to know how matters were going on, he
having heard of the difficulties which had been started; I assured him
that all was going on well, but I strongly remonstrated against his
taking any part in the election, and censured his coming so near the
hustings as Probat's hotel, as I knew that the Rump would have been
delighted to have saddled the Major with a heavy share of the expenses
of the hustings, &c. The Major agreed to return home, and not interfere
any further, and he also assured me that he had positively prohibited
the little upstart Irishman, Cleary, from going near the committee room,
or interfering at all in the election on his account, as he knew that I
had an objection to place myself in the power of such a fellow, by being
even in the same room with him. Cleary, who, upon such occasions,
was always a very busy, officious, meddling Marplot, felt very much
mortified at this prohibition, so much so, that I am informed he
immediately offered his services to the Rump, to act in opposition to
his patron and friend, the Major. But, however basely the Rump might
have acted in other respects, they acted very properly in this instance;
for they declined to accept this treacherous offer, and poor Mister
Cleary sunk into his original nothingness.

When I returned from visiting the Major, I found that the High Bailiff
had proceeded to Covent Garden, mounted the scaffold, and with unusual
haste had proceeded to have the writ read, and to open the proceedings
of the election. I got as near as possible to the hustings, upon which I
observed that Mr. Bowie and Mr. Nicholson had taken their stations;
and with considerable difficulty I also contrived to mount them. Mr.
Hobhouse was proposed, Mr. Lambe was proposed, and the Major also was
proposed and seconded in due form; and the High Bailiff, upon a show of
hands, declared the election to have fallen upon John Cam Hobhouse,
Esq. by a very large majority, which was evidently the case, in the
proportion of eight or ten to one.

As soon as this ceremony was over, I found Mr. Lambe and his friends,
Lambton, Macdonald, and Co. hastening off the hustings, apparently to
prepare for the polling, without ever taking any steps _to demand a
poll_. Now was the moment to exert myself, and, as no time was to be
lost, I made my way through the dense crowd upon the scaffold up to
Messrs. Nicholson and Bowie, and requested them immediately to _demand
a poll_, as I saw that the High Bailiff was preparing to declare Mr.
Hobhouse duly elected. When thus brought to the test, they both began to
shuffle, and finally replied that they would not undertake to do this,
as it would make them liable to the expenses. It was in vain that I
denied this, and requested them to tender their votes for the Major;
they were not to be moved, and as every thing would be lost by a single
instant of indecision, I rushed back again through the crowd, to that
part of the scaffolding where I had seen Mr. Lambe and his friends
retreating, and in my way I nearly overturned several of the Rump. I
assured the High Bailiff that a poll would be demanded, and with great
difficulty I was just in time to seize the tail of Mr. Lambe's coat,
as he was walking down the ladder of the scaffold. In doing this I was
obliged to jostle Mr. Lambton, who appeared excessively indignant at the
_shake_ which he received from me. I, however, kept fast hold of Mr.
Lambe's coat, and earnestly requested him to return that instant and
demand a poll, as otherwise the election would be closed in favour of
Hobhouse. Both he and Mr. Macdonald, although they had been bred to the
bar, appeared to know nothing of the matter, and seemed to doubt the
accuracy of my assertion. I again emphatically assured them that, unless
they returned and instantly in writing _demanded a poll_, the law would
justify the High Bailiff in declaring Hobhouse to be duly elected.
My earnestness induced them to return and do so, and if they had not
complied with my suggestions, the election of Hobhouse would have been
_irrevocably declared_ in less than one minute after.

Thus by my presence of mind were the High Bailiff and the Rump
frustrated in their schemes; for, had it not been prevented by my
prompt, bold, and decisive interposition, Hobhouse would have been at
once chaired as one of the Representatives of the city of Westminster.
In consequence of the want of such decision and presence of mind, this
trick has been a hundred times successfully played off at elections,
and would most certainly and most effectually have succeeded here; for,
after the show of hands is taken, unless one of the candidates or two of
the electors immediately present to the returning officer a written
demand of a poll, he is justified by law in declaring that person _duly
elected_ for whom the show of hands has been given.

It was, I repeat it, my interference, and my single exertions upon this
occasion, that prevented Mr. Hobhouse from being at once returned as the
colleague of Sir F. Burdett; and yet some persons are so foolish as to
inquire, "what can be the reason of such men as Tailor Place, Currier
Adams, &c. &c. and the rest of the Rump, persisting with such vindictive
and rancorous hostility against Mr. Hunt?" The fact which I have stated
is of itself a sufficient reason for their malice; but there are other
reasons for the display of the malignant feelings of Mr. Tailor Place
and Co. The reader should recollect, that I have often called the public
attention to the conduct of this said professed Jacobin Tailor; for
instance, when Sir Francis Burdett left the Tower, and the procession
was got up for him, Tailor Place undertook to attend, and to take the
management of those who were on horseback; but when the time arrived,
the Tailor _forgot to attend_, although he was one of the most violent
against the Baronet, for going over the water and deceiving the
people. Again, when the _famous Inquest_ was held upon the body of the
murdered SELLIS, in the Duke of Cumberland's apartments in the Palace,
_who,_ in Heaven's name, should be selected for the _foreman_ of that
jury which sat on the inquest, who but _Tailor Place, of Charing Cross!_
The verdict was _felo de se,_ and the body of poor Sellis was buried in
a cross road! Tailor Place was considered by some as having been a very
_lucky_ fellow, to be _selected_ as the _foreman_ of the said jury, by
the Coroner for the Palace. I know, and I beg to remind the public, that
the conduct of the said tailor was so very suspicious, that Colonel
Wardle and Sir F. Burdett did not fail to speak very plainly upon the
subject; and I know also that for many years Sir Francis Burdett would
not trust himself in the same room with the said tailor, and that when
he spoke of him he did it in the most unequivocal terms of suspicion
and distrust--and more-over, that for many years the late Samuel Brooks
never would have any communication with the said tailor. These things,
with many others, came to my knowledge, and I never failed to speak of
them in the language which they merited, both to the face of the said
tailor and behind his back: my friends will therefore at any rate not be
surprised at the malignant and cowardly hostility of this part of the
Rump, in order to be revenged upon me. The exposures that I have
made, the hundred times that I have frustrated the dirty plots of this
gang, have entitled me to, and secured to me, the honour of their
everlasting hatred, and a high honour I assure them I esteem it.

After the poll had been demanded by Mr. Lamb, the High Bailiff adjourned
the election till the next morning, to give time for the workmen to
erect a proper hustings. The polling commenced under the most vindictive
and malignant feelings towards me on the part of the Rump; in
consequence of the disappointment and the defeat which they had
sustained, in not carrying the election of Mr. Hobhouse without
opposition; which opposition they very justly attributed to me alone.
I stood upon the hustings the avowed advocate of the Major, but at the
same time the openly avowed opponent of Mr. Hobhouse, because he was the
nominee of Sir Francis Burdett, whom I was determined to convince that
he was nothing without the support of the people, that people which I
contended he had deserted in 1816, when he refused to present their
Address and Petition to the Prince Regent, and when he declared himself
hostile to Universal Suffrage. The Baronet felt his situation to be such
that he must either retire for ever from politics, or make a desperate
effort to carry his point; he had set the die upon the election of Mr.
Hobhouse, and his failing to carry that election would be a death blow
to his popularity throughout England, and to his future influence in
Westminster. I thought the Baronet had deserted his post, by refusing
his aid and protection to the suffering people, in the years 1816 and
1817, and upon _public_ grounds alone was I determined publicly to bring
him to a sense of the relative situation in which he stood with the
people. Whether I was right, or whether I was wrong, is not the
question. I believed that he had neglected his public duty, and I took
this public occasion, even as it might be said upon his own dunghill, to
convince him of his error. I solemnly declare that I was actuated solely
by a sense of what I owed to the public, and that I never in my life
felt any private enmity towards Sir Francis; on the contrary, I always
entertained a personal regard for him. But no influence on earth could
induce me to abandon what I thought a public duty, to gratify any
private or personal considerations. I now met Sir Francis Burdett openly
upon his own ground, where he had been always idolized, in the midst of
his friends, and surrounded by his constituents. I did not go behind his
back to attack him, I met him face to face, and I boldly charged him
with having deserted the cause of the people. I was indeed urged on to
do this in a less courteous manner than I should otherwise have done, by
the cowardly and blackguard attacks which I was daily experiencing from
the dirty members of the Rump, by whom I was assailed with all the
malice, filth, and falsehood which that august body could rake together,
and fabricate against me. In fact, when I began to speak, I was baited
like a bull, by a set of as cowardly caitiffs as ever disgraced, by
their presence, the face of the earth; and, in addition to these,
towards the latter end of the election, ruffians and assassins were
regularly hired to attack me in a body.

The Baronet attended daily on the hustings, and he went round and
visited the committees, and addressed them at night; his purse-strings
were thrown open, and, in truth, if the Baronet's life had depended upon
the event, he could not have laboured harder or have done more to have
saved it, than he did to secure the election of Mr. Hobhouse;--but all
would not do! The gang composing the Rump also attended every evening,
with their hired myrmidons. As my only object was to expose them and
their corrupt system, so their only apparent object now appeared to be
to vilify and abuse me, and when, at length, the election of Mr. Lamb
seemed to be almost certain, they became desperate. I was not only
hissed and hooted, but I was pelted with sticks and stones by their
hired agents, and although the people appeared excessively indignant at
these outrages, they could not altogether prevent them. A little gang of
desperadoes was always placed to open on me as soon as I began to speak,
to endeavour to drown my voice in the most vulgar, brutal, and beastly
manner. Amongst this gang generally some of the reporters to the
Burdettite newspapers took up their station, and in such beastly abuse,
as I have alluded to, much too coarse and horrid to mention in print,
these worthies freely indulged. The commencement of their attack was,
"Hunt, where's your wife?" And then followed a volley of such beastly
and disgusting ribaldry as would have disgraced the most abandoned
inmates of the lowest brothel in the metropolis.

It had been frequently suggested to me that none but wretches of the
most profligate character could be guilty of such atrocious conduct, in
which opinion I fully concurred. One day, when I was about to address
the people at the close of the poll, this gang began their accustomed
attack, and vociferated the most revolting, obscene, and truly horrid
observations, relating to my wife; upon which I turned round and asked,
if it were possible for such language to proceed from the mouth of any
one who possessed the character of a man? And I added, that it did
appear to me more than probable, that no one would resort to such
cowardly, base, and horrid language, but some monster who was connected
with a gang like that of Vere-street notoriety. This silenced the
scoundrels for a moment, but at length some fellow among them took
this to _himself_, and demanded if I meant to accuse him of unnatural
propensities? I replied that I did not allude to any one individual,
but that it did seem clear to me that none but monsters of the worst
description could be guilty of such conduct as had been exhibited daily
before the hustings when I addressed the people.

This circumstance, which occurred exactly as I have stated it, was,
nevertheless, grossly perverted in a great number of the newspapers the
next day; they falsely asserting that I had accused a person of being
guilty of an unnatural crime, and pointed him out to the vengeance of
the multitude before the hustings; and this has frequently been repeated
and harped upon since by some scoundrels, who know the utter falsehood
of the accusation. It is, however, a very curious fact, which would
require but little trouble to prove, that one of the very men who
suffered last week at the Old Bailey, for this detestable crime, was a
constant attendant at the aforesaid Westminster election, amongst that
part of the crowd from whence the horrid insinuations with respect to my
wife were daily vociferated. So much for the dreadful cry out that
was made against me by the daily press, for having, as they falsely
asserted, accused a person wrongfully. I remember at the time of the
general election, in 1812, when Mr. Cobbett offered himself a candidate
for the county of Hants, a drunken, vulgar blackguard was abusing him in
a most beastly and insufferable manner, whereupon Mr. Cobbett seriously
informed the people that he was a maniac, and that his opponents had
suffered him to escape for the purpose of abusing him; and he made a
most feeling appeal to the people, and expostulated, in the most grave
and serious manner, upon the baseness and cruelty of suffering the poor
maniac to come amongst the crowd to expose himself without his keeper.
This appeal had the desired effect, for the drunken ruffian was led away
out of the crowd perforce, under the impression that he was actually
a madman, who had just escaped from his keeper; yet no one thought of
abusing Mr. Cobbett for this trick to get rid of an intoxicated beast,
who was unwarrantably abusing him.

I attended the hustings daily till the last day but one, when the
success of Mr. Lamb, and the defeat of the Baronet and Mr. Hobhouse,
were certain. Mr. Lamb was declared duly elected at the end of the
fifteenth day, to the great mortification of Sir Francis Burdett, and
the total discomfiture of the Rump; and the CAR which had been provided
for the chairing of Sir Francis's disciple, was laid by for another
occasion.

For this defeat of the Rump they have solely to thank me. I made them a
second time feel the power of courage, honesty and truth, when opposed
to fraud, trickery, and pretended patriotism; and this great lesson was
read to Sir Francis Burdett, that he was nothing without the support of
the people; that all his immense wealth, that all his great and profound
talent, and all his influence, were nothing in the scale of political
power without the people. The Baronet is, I believe, truly sensible that
my exertions have taught him this useful lesson, and, like a truly
great and good man, he bears me no malice for performing this painful
duty--for I have no hesitation in saying, that it was the most painful,
the most trying public duty that I ever performed in the whole course of
my life.

The numbers polled at this election were, for Lamb 4465, for Hobhouse
3861, for Major Cartwright 38:--so that Mr. Lamb polled 604 more
electors than Mr. Hobhouse. As for Major Cartwright, he had not the
slightest chance from the beginning. No real Reformer, no friend of
Universal Suffrage, can have the slightest chance to be returned for
Westminster, while that rotten borough continues in the hands of a
particular family, or while any considerable portion of the electors
suffer themselves to be led by the nose by a gang of the most
contemptible, as well as most corrupt, men under the face of the sun. As
a body of men, the electors of Westminster are, perhaps, as enlightened
and intelligent as any body of men in the universe; but the little
faction called the Rump, are as contemptible and as corrupt as their
brother electors are free and impartial. The great mass of the electors
do not take any trouble to inquire about these matters; they are
industrious tradesmen, every one of them having business of importance
of his own to attend to, and consequently when an election comes they
suffer themselves to be led by the nose by a little junto, who have no
more pretensions to patriotism than they have to talent and integrity,
of which it is plain that they are totally destitute. When I stood the
contest for Westminster, at the general election, and only obtained
eighty-four votes, it was urged against me how few friends and
supporters I had amongst the real electors of Westminster; it was
said that I had disgusted and displeased all parties; and Counsellor
Scarlett, one of the licenced libellers of the Court of King's Bench,
had the impudence to state this fact in the Court, as a proof in what
little estimation my character was held; and he added this unblushing,
bare-faced falsehood, that "wherever Sir Samuel Romilly offered himself,
there I went to oppose him, merely because he was a good man;" while,
on the contrary, he well knew that, had not Sir Francis Burdett and his
nominee been opposed by _me,_ Sir Samuel Romilly, far from being elected
for Westminster, would never have been even nominated for that city. But
what answer will these trading politicians give to the fact, that Major
Cartwright obtained only thirty-eight votes during a contested election
of fifteen days? I had made thousands of personal enemies, yet I
obtained eighty-four votes; while the Major, who never in his life made
a personal enemy, could only obtain thirty-eight votes, not half the
number that polled for me, although he was amongst all his friends,
where he had resided for many years, and where he was universally and
justly respected, both for his private and his public virtues. The fact
is, that of the Major's politics, as of mine, the honesty and sincerity
are hated and dreaded by the whole of the Rump faction, who would soon
be reduced to their native nothingness, if once a really independent man
were to be chosen for Westminster; I mean a man independent, as well of
Sir Francis Burdett, as of the Ministry and the Whigs. Till that time
arrives, the representation of Westminster will be upon a level with the
rottenest of rotten boroughs. We know Sir F. Burdett to be a profound
politician, a real and steady friend of Liberty, and a truly great man,
yet in the House of Commons he carries no more weight from his being the
Representative of the great city of Westminster, than he would do if he
were only the Representative of Old Sarum, or any other rotten borough.
Such is the abject state to which, by their dirty intrigues, the Rump
have reduced this once great and high-minded city, by the exertions of
which the whole kingdom was wont to be agitated! Mr. Hobhouse is an
active member of the Honourable House, but he dares not quit the
leading-strings of the worthy Baronet; and let me ask the honest part
of mankind to point out any one great political question which he has
brought before the House? What has he done for the people, or for
the cause of Liberty, since he has been elected? I am not speaking
personally; for I personally feel that Mr. Hobhouse did his best to
serve me, when I was in bondage in Ilchester gaol, for which I shall
always feel personally grateful; but still, looking at the question on
public grounds, I must ask what has he ever done in the House, such as
we might and should have formerly expected from one of the independent
Members of the city of Westminster? We know that he always votes with
the Whigs against the Ministers; but how is it, if he is in earnest,
that he has never created any great sensation throughout the country, by
some grand exposure of those Ministers, and of that system of which
his father, Sir Benjamin, forms so prominent a part? It has often
been asked, what can _one man_ do in the House? I think I can give a
silencing answer to such a time-serving question: What could _not one
man_ do in the way of exposure, if he were honestly disposed to do it? I
think, after the exposure that I made while I was locked up in a gaol, I
am entitled most triumphantly to make this answer.

In consequence of the death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, the
Dukes of Clarence, Kent, Cumberland, and Cambridge disposed of their
mistresses, and got married, in order, as it would seem, to secure a
heir from the precious stock of the Guelps, to fill the British throne;
to accomplish which desirable purpose there appears to have been a hard
race, for on the 26th of March, in this year, 1819, the Duchess of
Cambridge brought forth a son--on the 27th the Duchess of Clarence was
delivered of a daughter--on the 24th of May the Duchess of Kent
was delivered of a daughter--and on the 5th of June the Duchess of
Cumberland was delivered of a son. So that this worthy family presented
John Gull with an increase to their burdens in one year of _four great
pauper babes_, to be rocked in the national cradle, and to be bred up
at the national expense. Oh, rare John! what a wonderfully happy fellow
thou must be! On the 29th of March, the conscientious guardians of our
rights and liberties, the faithful stewards of public property, the
worthy Members of the Honourable House of Commons, voted an allowance
of TEN THOUSAND POUNDS A YEAR to the Duke of York--for taking care
of his poor old mad father's person; and it is a very extraordinary fact
that, on the 12th of April, on one of his early visits to Windsor, to
enable him to _earn_ this large sum of money from John Gull, his Royal
Highness fell in one of the rooms of Windsor Palace, and BROKE HIS ARM.
All the old women in the nation, and many of the young ones also, swore
that this was a judgment upon him, for extorting such a sum from John
Gull's pocket, for such a purpose! On the 17th, Johnston, Bagguley,
and Drummond were tried, and, as a matter of course, found guilty of
sedition at the Chester assizes. On the 26th of May the House of Commons
passed a vote of thanks to Marquis Camden, for giving up the profits
of his sinecure place of _Teller of the Exchequer._ This was another
precious hoax upon John Gull; the fellow having been actually frightened
out of it in 1817, in consequence of the resolutions which were passed
at the great public meeting where I had the honour to preside; which
meeting was held in the city of Bath, where the Noble Marquis was
recorder. On the 1st of June there was a serious riot at Carlisle, by
the weavers out of employment. On the 19th there was a very numerous
public meeting held at Huntslet Moor, near Leeds; and about the same
time, and in the following weeks, very numerous meetings were held at
Glasgow, in Scotland, and other places all over the North of England,
petitioning for Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Vote by
Ballot. On the 12th of July a great meeting was held at Newhall Hill,
near Birmingham, for Parliamentary Reform, at which Major Cartwright and
Mr. Wooler were present. It was said upwards of sixty thousand
persons attended, and unanimously elected Sir Charles Wolseley their
legislatorial attorney, and representative for Birmingham, with
directions that he should apply to the Speaker to take his seat. On the
13th twenty thousand Spanish troops at Cadiz, destined by Ferdinand
to fight against the cause of Liberty in South America, _mutinied and
deserted_. On the 15th Bills of Indictment were found, at Chester,
against Sir Charles Wolseley and the Rev. Joseph Harrison, for political
speeches made at a great public meeting for Reform, at Stockport; and
on the 31st the Gazette contained a proclamation against seditious
meetings, particularly denouncing the election of representatives or
legislatorial attorneys as illegal.

On the 21st a Reform meeting was held in Smithfield. This meeting was
called by some of the inhabitants of the Metropolis, and I was invited
to attend and take the chair. Dr. Watson and his friends were
particularly active in procuring this meeting, and when the committee
invited me to take the chair, I did not hesitate a moment to accept it,
though, at the same time, I made up my mind to be particularly careful
as to what resolutions were passed, &c. and by no means to be led into
the scheme of electing any legislatorial attorney, as they had done at
Birmingham, especially as this scheme had been denounced as illegal by
the proclamation in the Gazette the week before. When I came to London,
the night before the meeting, I was met by Dr. Watson and the committee,
and I desired to see what resolutions they had prepared to be submitted
to the meeting the next day. I found, however, that they had only a few
very vague and imperfect resolutions drawn up; but the Doctor produced a
letter from Joseph Johnson, the brush-maker, at Manchester, saying, that
it was the wish of the people of Manchester, that I should, at the
Smithfield Meeting, be elected the representative and legislatorial
attorney for the unrepresented people of the Metropolis, &c. He also
alluded to the great public meeting, which was to be held at Manchester
in the beginning of August, and stated, that it was the intention of the
people on that day to follow the example of the people of Birmingham and
the Metropolis. It was very easy to discover that the motive of Mr.
Johnson for advising the people of the Metropolis to elect me their
legislatorial attorney, was, that he might be elected for Manchester at
the ensuing meeting. On this proposition I at once put a negative, by
referring to the Gazette, and to the proclamation, adding, that it would
be worse than folly to run our heads against such a post; and I further
declared, that I saw no good that was to be derived from such a measure.
In this the committee at once concurred, and it was agreed, that every
intention of that sort should be abandoned, that other resolutions
should be drawn up, and that the same DECLARATION which had been passed
at the Meeting held in Palace-Yard, and at the Manchester Meeting, at
which I presided in the early part of that year, should be proposed to
the Smithfield Meeting. It was also decided, that certain conciliatory
resolutions, and an address to the Catholics of Ireland, should be
submitted to the meeting. Of these resolutions I highly approved.

The next morning, just before the time fixed for the meeting, Mr.
James Mills, late of Bristol, called at my lodgings with a string of
resolutions, which he wished to be submitted to the meeting. Dr. Watson,
I think, was present. These resolutions were read over in a hasty
manner, and as hastily adopted, to be made part of the proceedings of
the day. I own that this was acting very differently from my usual
cautious manner; but, as Mills gave us to understand that they had been
laid before Major Cartwright, and I believe he said had been approved
of by him, and as he led us also to believe that he would attend at the
meeting to move them, they were accordingly sent off to the _Observer_
office, to get slips set up, that they might be given to the different
reporters who attended the meeting.

Great military preparations were on this occasion made, under the
pretence of quelling some tremendous riot, or some apprehended
insurrection. The then Lord Mayor, John Atkins, was a corrupt and
devoted tool of the Government, and he made himself particularly
officious in this affair. Six thousand constables were sworn in the day
before, and in the city all was hurry and bustle; and all this was done
in order to work upon the fears of the timid and foolish part of the
community, to create a prejudice in their minds against the Radicals.
When the hour of meeting arrived, an immense multitude was collected,
which was computed to consist of not less than seventy or eighty
thousand persons. The Rev. Joseph Harrison, from Stockport, attended,
and either moved or seconded some of the resolutions; but Mr. Mills,
the author of them, never came near the place; or at any rate he never
showed himself upon the hustings. A warrant had been issued against
Harrison, by the Magistrates of Cheshire, with which the officers had
followed him up to town, and, having got it backed by the Lord Mayor,
he was apprehended upon the hustings by the city officers. This was
evidently done with the view to work upon the feelings of the multitude,
and to create an appearance of tumult, that the military might be called
in and let loose upon the people, with some apparent show of necessity.
Had not care been taken to frustrate it, this plot of the worthy John
Atkins would have succeeded; for some one cried out a rescue, and the
multitude was spontaneously pressing towards the officers for that
purpose; but here my natural presence of mind in emergencies was
exercised promptly and with full success. I came forward, and stated to
the people what had occurred, and I cautioned them not to be led away by
any such plot, to excite them to a breach of the peace; and I demanded
of them, in case of a warrant having been issued against me, that they
would let me go with the peace-officers quietly, for nothing would
delight our enemies so much as to work up the people to tumult and
disorder, that they might have a pretence for bloodshed. This had the
desired effect. Harrison was taken away peaceably, and the business of
the meeting proceeded with the greatest regularity, as if nothing had
occurred of a nature to disturb it. This was certainly one of the most
cold-blooded attempts to excite a riot that was ever made in this or
in any other country. But fortunately I had influence enough over the
people to frustrate this plot. The resolutions were passed, and the
declaration was carried unanimously, as well as the address to the
Catholics; the meeting was dissolved, and the people retired to their
homes in the most peaceable manner, after having conducted me, their
chairman, to my lodgings.

The slips, which had been printed at the _Observer_ office, had been
sent to me while I was on the hustings, and I delivered them to the
different reporters, who applied for them. Mr. Fitzpatrick, the reporter
of the _New Times_. was the only one who had the baseness treacherously
to betray this confidence, by voluntarily coming forward in the Court,
at York, to swear to the fact of my having furnished him with them upon
the hustings. Thus ended the great Smithfield Meeting, held on the 21st
of July, 1819.

On the 26th of the same month, at a Common Hall, the Livery of the City
of London passed a strong vote of censure upon their Lord Mayor, John
Atkins, "for his officious and intemperate conduct on the day of the
Smithfield Meeting."

I forgot to mention, in the proper place, that I had been invited to
attend and preside at a great public meeting, held at Manchester, in the
early part of this year; if I recollect right it was in January. This
meeting had been convened by public advertisement. I slept at Stockport
the night before, and was accompanied from that town to the place of
meeting by thousands of the people. When I arrived there, none of the
parties who had invited me to Manchester, Messrs. Johnson, Whitworth,
and Co. accompanied me upon the hustings; but they attended a public
dinner, which, in the evening, after the meeting, was provided at the
Spread Eagle Inn, Hanging Ditch, at which upwards of two hundred persons
sat down. I found a number of good men at Manchester, and amongst that
number I esteem my worthy friend Mr. Thomas Chapman, of Fannel-street,
one of the very best men and most honest advocates of Liberty in the
kingdom. I have ever found him the same man in principle, sincere and
bold in public, and kind, generous, and open-hearted in private. To know
during one's political life, and to possess the friendship of, two or
three such men as Mr. Chapman, is more than sufficient recompence for
the treachery, cowardice, and baseness of hundreds that one must as a
matter of course become acquainted with. Here I first saw Johnson, the
brush-maker; he had not the courage to accompany me upon the hustings,
although he was one of the most officious to invite me to preside at the
meeting. John Knight and Saxton were the men who attended me upon the
hustings, and addressed the people, &c. &c. I had never seen either of
them before. Mr. Wroe and Mr. Fitton, of Royton, also were upon the
hustings. I had seen the latter, as a delegate from Royton, at the
meeting of delegates called by Major Cartwright and the Hampden Club, in
the name of Sir Francis Burdett, in the year 1817.

As this meeting passed off without any difficulty or danger, Johnson
the brush-maker, who was very young in the ranks of Reform, professed
a determination to take a more active part at a future opportunity.
In conformity with this resolution, he wrote to invite me to attend a
public meeting, to be held at Manchester on the 9th of August, which
invitation I accepted. The intended meeting being publicly announced in
all the London papers, excited a very considerable sensation throughout
the country, and particularly through the North of England. As I
strongly suspected that my letters to Manchester, about this time, were
opened at the post-office, I sent them by other conveyances than by the
post. My family appeared to dread my second visit to Manchester, and to
forebode some fatal accident, and they endeavoured to persuade me not to
attend; but, although I did not anticipate a very pleasant journey, yet
I had given my word, and that was quite enough to insure my attendance.

On my road, I stopped to bait my horse at Wolseley Bridge. As soon as I
arrived, the landlord of the inn addressed me, and begged to know if my
name was Hunt. I answered in the affirmative; upon which he delivered an
invitation from Sir Charles Wolseley, requesting me to call on him. He
lived only about a hundred yards from the inn. The fact was, I had slept
at Coventry the night before, where I met Messrs. Goodman, Lewis, and
Flavel, and one of them had written to Sir Charles Wolseley, to say that
I should pass Wolseley Bridge in the morning, and this induced him to
leave the message which I have mentioned. I accepted his invitation, and
this was the first time that I ever met the worthy Baronet in private.
I spent a few hours very pleasantly with Sir Charles, who had also, I
understood, been invited to attend the meeting at Manchester; but some
family reasons prevented him from complying. When I arrived at Bullock
Smithey, near Stockport, I heard that the meeting was put off, and that
another meeting was advertised to be held on the 16th of August, the
following Monday. The cause of this was, that Mr. Johnson and those
concerned in calling the meeting had, in their advertisements, stated
one of the objects to be, that of electing a representative or
legislatorial attorney for Manchester. This foolish proposition,
directly in the face of the late proclamation, was seized on by the
Magistrates of Manchester, and they issued hand-bills, and had placards
posted all over the town, denouncing the intended meeting as illegal,
and cautioning all persons "_to abstain at their peril from attending
it_." Upon this, Mr. Saxton had taken a journey to Liverpool, to obtain
the advice of some barrister, of the name of Raincock, who gave it as
his opinion that the meeting was advertised for an illegal purpose, and
that the Magistrates would be justified in preventing it, or dispersing
the people when they were assembled. The parties concerned immediately,
therefore, advertised, and placarded the town, to say that the meeting
would not take place on the 9th of August; but that another meeting
would be convened on Monday the 16th of August, "_to take into
consideration the best and most legal means of obtaining a Reform in the
Commons' House of Parliament_." A requisition in these words was
immediately drawn up, signed by upwards of seven hundred of the
inhabitants, and addressed to the Boroughreeve of Manchester, requesting
him to call the meeting. It was presented to the Boroughreeve, who
haughtily refused to call the meeting, whereupon it was immediately
called in the name of those who signed the requisition, and was
appointed by them to be held on the _sixteenth_. All this had taken
place; the original meeting of the _ninth_, to which I had been invited,
had been abandoned, the new requisition had been signed, and the meeting
of the 16th had been appointed, without my having in any way received
the slightest intimation of what had been going on. I had arrived on the
eighth at Bullock Smithey, which is within ten miles of Manchester, and
within three miles of Stockport, where I had appointed to sleep on
Sunday, the day previous to the intended meeting, and I had not yet
heard one word of its being put off. I had travelled two hundred miles
in my gig for the purpose of presiding, and when I learned that I had
been made such a fool of, I expressed considerable indignation, and
declared my intention of returning into Hampshire immediately. I was,
however, at length prevailed upon to proceed to Stockport to sleep that
night, as I understood that Mr. Moorhouse had provided a bed for me, and
a stall for my horse. On my road to Stockport I was met by Johnson, the
brush-maker, and Mr. Saxton, who explained to me the whole of the
circumstances, and at the same time expressed a great desire that I
should remain in Manchester, to be present at the 16th, as they had,
without my knowledge, advertised my name as chairman of the intended
meeting. At first I positively refused to comply with their wish, and I
assigned more reasons than one for my refusal. At length, it was agreed
that I should proceed through Manchester the next day, Monday the 9th,
to dine with Mr. Johnson at Smedley Cottage, to meet some friends whom
he had invited to join me there.

I slept at the house of Mr. Moorhouse that night, and received from him
every polite and kind attention. When I arose in the morning, I was
agreeably surprised by a note being brought to me from Sir Charles
Wolseley, to say that, soon after I had left Wolseley Park, he had
followed me; that he was at the inn, and would accompany me to
Manchester, if I would let him know the time at which I meant to start
for that place. I immediately waited upon him at the inn, and, after
breakfast, we proceeded together in my gig to Manchester, attended by
many thousands of the Stockport people. Johnson, the brush-maker, and
others, from Manchester, had come to meet us, and they followed in a
chaise, and Mr. Moorhouse followed, with a party, in his coach. We were
greeted with the utmost enthusiasm by the people of Manchester. In one
of the open spaces I addressed them briefly, and explained to them
the reason of my then appearing amongst them. I told them that I had
travelled two hundred miles to keep my appointment, and that it was not
till the day before, when I had arrived within a few miles of their
town, that information was given to me of the meeting having been
postponed.

We dined at Smedley Cottage; and, after having, for a length of time,
resisted the most urgent intreaties, I was at last, though still very
much against my inclination, and quite in opposition to my own judgment,
prevailed upon to yield to the pleadings of Mr. Johnson and his friends,
to remain with him till the following Monday, in order that I might take
the chair at the intended meeting. Had Johnson's life depended upon the
result, he could not have been more anxious to detain me. He begged,
he prayed, he implored me to stay; urging that without my presence the
people would not be satisfied; and, in fact, foreboding the most fatal
consequences if I departed before the meeting took place. I solemnly
declare that I never before consented with so much reluctance to any
measure of the sort. I had important engagements of my own to attend to,
which I had put off to enable me to take the chair on the 9th, and to
remain from home another week would cause me the greatest personal and
private inconvenience. I was, nevertheless, ultimately prevailed upon to
stay, from a conviction that my presence would promote tranquillity
and good order, and under the assurance that, if I did quit the place,
confusion and bloodshed would, in all probability, be the inevitable
consequence. The manner in which those in authority had treated them,
had irritated to the highest degree the people in and near Manchester,
and they had also been excited to acts of desperation and violence, by
some of those who professed to be their leaders. As for Johnson, the
brush-maker, he was a composition of vanity, emptiness, and conceit,
such as I never before saw concentrated in one person. It was the most
ridiculous thing in the world to see him assuming the most pompous and
lofty tone, while every one about him did not fail openly to express
contempt for his insignificance and folly. In truth, even amidst all his
pomposity, of which he had so enormous a share, this poor creature
could not conceal the fact from any one, that he had not the slightest
confidence in himself; he expressed the greatest terror at the idea of
my leaving to him the management of the intended meeting, and swore
that he would run away from it altogether if I did not stay. In this he
involuntarily did himself justice; for, in reality, every one appeared
to dread the thoughts of the thing being left in his hands. Every thing,
therefore, conspired to impress on my mind the conviction that I alone
had the power of conducting this great meeting in a peaceable, quiet,
and Constitutional manner. I knew and felt, indeed, that it would be a
task of great difficulty, danger, and responsibility. Yet as I had
never turned my back upon the people because difficulties and dangers
presented themselves, so I made up my mind not to desert them upon this
trying occasion, when I knew they were surrounded by the most base and
blood-thirsty opponents, who were laying in ambush, and only waiting for
a pretext to take every unmanly and cowardly advantage of any accidental
disturbance or disorder that might occur. I repeat again, that I
consented most reluctantly to accept Johnson's pressing invitation to
remain at his house during the intervening week prior to the 16th of
August; and I can, with great truth, affirm that this was one of
the most disagreeable seven days that I ever passed in my life, not
excepting the period of my solitary imprisonment in the Manchester New
Bailey and Ilchester Bastile. However, most fortunately for me, Johnson
was from home a considerable portion of this time, attending to his
brush-making and other business; this alone rendered the visit to
Smedley tolerable: he frequently invited me to visit, with him, the
surrounding neighbourhood, from the inhabitants of which places
I had received pressing invitations; but all these I declined from
prudential motives, and it was fortunate I did so, or my prosecutors
would have found some pretence for the charge of conspiracy, of which,
as it was, they could never bring the slightest shadow of proof.

During this week I was waited upon by many very respectable inhabitants
of Manchester and the surrounding country, and on the Friday Mr. Edward
Grundy and a friend from Bury called, and informed me that there was a
report in circulation in Manchester, that it was the intention of the
Magistrates to have me apprehended, under the plea of having committed
some political offence, in order to interrupt the proceedings of the
meeting; but these gentlemen assured me that they would become my bail
to any amount, if it should be so. However, this did not satisfy me,
and on Saturday, morning I drove down to the New Bailey, where the
Magistrates were sitting, and applied to know if there was any charge
against me?--if there was, I begged to know what was the nature of it,
as I was then ready to surrender myself and to meet it. Mr. Wright, who
was present, appeared surprised at my application, and said he had not
heard of any such thing, and he called Nadin, and asked him, if he
had heard of any charge having been made against Mr. Hunt? Nadin, who
appeared to be surprised at the question, replied, "none whatever." I
then informed them that I understood the report to come from the police
office, which induced me to attend for the purpose of ascertaining the
fact. I was, I told them, then ready, and should at all times be ready,
to meet any charge that had been or might be preferred against me;
and, consequently, there could be no necessity to issue any warrant or
summons whatever, as the slightest intimation of my conduct being called
in question would always insure my attendance. Mr. Wright, as well as
Nadin, professed they were perfectly satisfied of this, and appeared to
shew to me all the polite attention that they were capable of showing. I
left the Court House with the full assurance from them that there was no
charge against me, nor, as far as they knew of, any person who designed
to bring a charge against me. Although I was fully impressed with the
treacherous and blood-thirsty characters of those with whom I had to
deal; and, of course, was not wholly satisfied of the sincerity of their
language, yet I was conscious of having in this instance performed an
important duty to the public, by depriving the authorities of every
fair pretence for interfering with the proceedings of the intended
meeting. I therefore returned to Smedley Cottage, with the conviction
upon my mind that I had done all that a man could do, or ought to do,
upon such an occasion.

On Sunday morning intimation was brought to me that one Murry, a sort of
spy of the police, had, early in the morning, been very much beaten
and ill-used, for interrupting some persons, who had assembled on a
neighbouring Moor, to practice the method in which they should come into
Manchester, to join the meeting on the following day; their wish being
to enter the town with that sort of regularity which should give the
least possible room for complaint to the authorities. I was sorry to
hear of this breach of the peace, as I foresaw that an advantage would
be taken of the circumstance, to inflame the minds of those who were
perhaps as yet only half bent upon the diabolical plot against the
liberties of the people, and that it would be used as a plausible
pretext to alarm the more timid part of those who are called the
respectables of Manchester. I, therefore, passed the Sunday with that
degree of anxiety which every person not wholly devoid of sensibility
must have naturally felt for the result of the coming day.

Monday arrived, and a beautiful morning it was. From my bed-room I
beheld the people, men, women, and children, accompanied by flags and
bands of music, cheerfully passing along towards the place of meeting.
Their appearance and manner altogether indicated that they were going to
perform an important, a sacred duty to themselves and their country, by
offering up a joint and sincere prayer to the Legislature to relieve the
poor and needy, by rescuing them from the hands of the agents of the
rich and powerful, who had oppressed and persecuted them. In fact, the
conduct of the people, in every instance, was such, that none but devils
in human form could ever have premeditated to do them any injury.

About twelve o'clock an open barouche was drawn up to the door of
Smedley Cottage, to convey to the meeting myself and those who were
assembled at Mr. Johnson's. It was settled that I should take the chair,
that Johnson should move the Resolutions and the Remonstrance, and that
John Knight should second them. It was not anticipated that any other
person would address the Meeting. We entered the barouche soon after
twelve o'clock on the morning of the 16th of August 1819, and proceeded
immediately towards St. Peter's Plain, on which spot the Meeting was to
be held. We were attended by an immense multitude, preceeded by a
band of music, and we very soon met the Manchester Committee of Female
Reformers, headed by Mrs. Fildes, who bore in her hand a small white
silk flag. These females were all handsomely dressed in white, and they
proposed to lead the procession to the field, walking two and two, but
as, in consequence of the crowd, this was found to be impossible, they
fell into the rear of the barouche, which position they maintained, with
some difficulty, during the whole way till we arrived at the Hustings.
Mrs. Fildes, who carried the flag, was taken up at my suggestion, and
rode by the side of the coachman, bearing her colours in a most gallant
stile. As, though rather small, she was a remarkably good figure, and
well dressed, it was very justly considered that she added much to the
beauty of the scene; and, as she was a married woman of good character,
her appearance in such a situation by no means diminished the
respectability of the procession, the whole of which was conducted with
the greatest regularity and good order.

When I entered the field or plain, where the people were assembled, I
saw such a sight as I had never before beheld. A space containing, as
I am informed, nearly five acres of ground, was literally covered with
people, a great portion of whom were crammed together as thick as they
could stand. Great bodies of people had assembled and marched to the
spot in regular order, each striving with the other which should
contribute most to the respectability of the meeting by peaceable
conduct; every one appeared to be animated with the greatest enthusiasm
and devotion to the cause for which they had come together; that cause
being solely either to petition, to address, or to remonstrate with, the
throne, for a redress of insupportable grievances. Every one appeared to
me to be actuated by a similar feeling to that by which I felt that I
was prompted in attending the meeting--namely, the performance of an
important, a sacred, and a solemn duty to ourselves and our country. Let
the reader who was not present picture to his imagination an assemblage
of from 180 to 200 thousand English men and women, congregated together
to exercise the great constitutional right of laying their complaints
and grievances before the throne, and when he has done this, he may form
an idea of the scene which met my view.

The moment that I entered the field, ten or twelve bands struck up the
same tune, "See the conquering hero comes;" eighteen or twenty flags,
most of them surmounted by a Cap of Liberty, were unfurled, and from the
multitude burst forth such a shout of welcome as never before hailed the
ears of an individual, possessed of no other power, no other influence
over the minds of the people, except that which he had gained by an
honest, straight-forward discharge of public duty. With some difficulty,
and by slow degrees, the carriage was drawn up within a few yards of the
Hustings, where the crowd was so dense as to forbid the approach of the
carriage any nearer. We alighted, and, an avenue being made for us, we
ascended the Hustings. The ladies composing the Committee of Female
Reformers had followed close to the carriage up to this point, and
therefore it was absolutely necessary to dispose of them in some place
of safety, to prevent their being trampled under foot. Some part of them
were placed in the carriage, which we had left, and the remainder were
assisted upon the Hustings.

Another shout now filled the air, as a compliment to me, and I took off
my hat, to endeavour to address this immense multitude, with a full
conviction that the very orderly conduct of the people would deprive
their enemies of all pretence whatever to interrupt their proceedings. I
had scarcely uttered two sentences, urging them to persevere in the same
line of conduct, when the Manchester Troop of Yeomanry came galloping
into the field, and formed in front of a house occupied by a Mr. Buxton,
where it was said the Magistrates had assembled for the purpose of
keeping the peace. As soon as the military appeared, the people, (as is
always the case under such circumstance) began to disperse and fly from
the outskirts. To prevent the confusion likely to arise from such a
circumstance, I caused three cheers to be given, which had the desired
effect of restoring the confidence of the people, who did not, indeed,
suspect it to be possible that the devil himself would have authorised
the Yeomanry to commit any violence upon them, as there was not the
slightest symptom amongst them that could have created any real fear in
the mind of the most timid. Before, however, the cheering was
sufficiently ended to enable me to raise my voice again, the word was
given, and from the left flank of the troop, the trumpeter leading the
way, they charged amongst the people, sabring right and left, in all
directions, sparing neither _age, sex_, nor _rank_. In this manner they
cut their way up to the Hustings, riding over and sabring all that could
not get out of their way. In this magnanimous exploit _several fell
dead, and hundreds were wounded; and this was done in cold blood,
with the most savage ferocity, without the slightest provocation having
been given by the people, and without one act of resistance, without_
ONE STONE, ONE STICK, _or_ ONE FINGER _having been raised even to
resist, much less to provoke, such a bloodthirsty, such a cowardly,
wanton, cruel, and murderous act_. At length it turned out that these
diabolical deeds were committed in order, as it was pretended, to
execute a warrant, to apprehend myself and others who were upon the
Hustings with me. Now I most solemnly declare, that this warrant could
have been executed with the greatest possible ease, by any single
constable, without the aid of the military, or any breach of the peace
whatever; and I have not the slightest doubt in my own mind, that the
magistrates were fully sensible of this fact at the time when they
ordered the ferocious Yeomanry to charge and cut down the people. The
object was to strike terror into the minds of the assembled multitude,
and to pull down reform by the sword, regardless of the blood that would
be spilt in the enterprise. That my life was meant to be a sacrifice no
reflecting man can for a moment entertain a doubt. We were now seized
and taken, by Nadin and his runners, to the house where the worthy
projectors of the plot were sitting in solemn conclave. While we were
passing to the house, amidst the screams of the flying, and the piercing
cries and groans of the dying people, two ruffian Yeoman made several
efforts to cut me down, but each time I guarded myself, by placing Nadin
between myself and them as they renewed their charge upon me. Nadin
endeavoured to escape, and to leave me to their mercy, but, with the aid
of providence, I held him fast, and used him as a shield to ward off the
deadly blows of these blood-thirsty cowards. Nadin was so alarmed that
he at length yielded like a child to the direction of my arm, and
quietly suffered himself to be placed before me as they came up,
hallowing lustily for them to desist, and using his staff for his
protection. They, however, charged, and cut at me several times, and I
received three cuts from them, a slight one on the back of my hand, and
two others in my head, which cuts penetrated through my hat. As I
entered into Buxton's house, pinioned between two constables, Nadin and
another, a ruffian came behind me and levelled a blow at my head with a
heavy bludgeon, which would have felled me to the earth, had I not been
supported by the constables, who had hold of my arms. One fellow very
deliberately took off my hat, that the other coward might have a fairer
blow at me, which he instantly repeated, and had I not at the moment
fortunately slipped my head on one side, my scull must have been
fractured. Nadin cried shame at this, and replaced the hat upon my head,
saying it was too bad! By this means Nadin saved my life, as it was
evidently the intention of the ruffian to have taken it. The fellow who
acted such a cowardly and diabolical part, was a general in the English
army, of the name of C---y, who was then on half-pay, and living at
Pendleton. The following extract from a letter, written to Mr. Sheriff
Parkins by his brother, who was an eye-witness of the transaction,
speaks for itself; it was given to me by Mr. Parkins to make what use of
it I pleased, and I shall therefore insert it verbatim:


  "79, _Water-Street, Manchester_,

  "I take up my pen to relate to you one of the most daring,
  cruel outrages that ever was committed on a defenceless
  people. I was within ten yards of the Hustings, when the
  cavalry surrounded the stage on which Mr. Hunt, Mr. Johnson,
  Mr. Knight, and many other gentlemen, whom I personally
  knew, were standing, with several ladies. At this
  time the main body of the Cavalry made a charge on the
  people who were assembled, and cut down all before them;
  and if I had had a pistol, I would have levelled that villain
  C----y, who used Mr. Hunt in such an outrageous manner,
  that if I had gone into eternity that moment, I would have
  shot him; but I had nothing but a small walking-stick in
  my hand, with which I parried off several blows that were
  aimed at me, and thank God I received no material injury.
  I never saw a man behave with more fortitude than Mr.
  Hunt did on that most trying occasion.

  "Instead of reading the Riot-Act, and ordering the people
  to disperse, the military came on without any notice
  whatever. Mr. Hunt was committed to the New Bailey
  Prison, and what will be the result of all this the Almighty
  only knows.  If you will do a praiseworthy action, come
  down and back Mr. Hunt, and your name will then be
  handed down to posterity with the blessing of thousands of
  your suffering countrymen."

When I came before the worthy Magistrates, I saw that they were
dreadfully alarmed at their own deeds. Hulton and Hay took the lead, and
we were marched off to the New Bailey, to which we were committed upon a
charge of High Treason; it being necessary to make some highly sounding
charge, in order to take off the attention of the public as much as
possible from the foul deeds that had been perpetrated by the drunken
infuriate Yeomanry. I think there were twelve in all committed, and
amongst the number was Mr. John Tyas, who attended as a reporter for
the Times Newspaper. This circumstance I shall ever consider as a most
fortunate. Mr. Tyas is a gentleman of a most respectable family and
connections, and it is unnecessary to expatiate on his character and
talents, it being, as far as regards these, quite enough to say, that he
has long occupied the station of a reporter to the Times Newspaper, a
lucrative and responsible situation, which none but a man of character
and talent could fill for any length of time. Mr. Tyas was not only
present during the procession from Smedley to the Hustings, but he was
upon the Hustings, he was apprehended there, taken before the worthy
Magistrates, and sent to the New Bailey, where he had the honour to pass
twenty-four hours in a solitary cell. He was an eye-witness of the whole
affair, and, as he was totally unconnected with any of those who called
the meeting, he was capable of giving, and he did give, the most
unprejudiced evidence upon the subject, and I hope he will yet live to
give his evidence upon an inquiry into this atrocious affair, either at
the Bar or before a Committee of the House of Commons; for if ever I get
into that House, I pledge myself never to cease my exertions to procure
an investigation, a _national investigation_, into the whole affair. If
I should become a member of the House of Commons, I will leave no stone
unturned, at whatever hazard to myself, to cause such investigation to
take place. We were detained in separate cells, in solitary confinement,
for eleven days. I was _once_ brought _privately_ before the worthies,
and questioned, but as _it would not do_, as they could make nothing of
me, they gave it up, and we were at last brought up in open Court, and
ordered to be held to bail, for a CONSPIRACY to overturn the Government,
by frightening out of their seven senses all the old women in breeches
who resided at Manchester. It was not so with Johnson. I believe the
worthy Magistrates tried us all round, and found us all too staunch to
be tampered with; all but Johnson; he, it appears by his own confession,
was brought before them, and had several PRIVATE examinations, during
which, he offered to give up all the letters which I had written to him,
and he at length wrote a letter to his wife, with an order for her to
deliver them to the messenger. Fortunately they had been placed by Mrs.
Johnson in the hands of his attorney, who had too much honour to obey
such disgraceful, such unprincipled instructions from his client. Not
that I was afraid of any thing that I had written to any one. But as I
had written in the greatest confidence to him, and had sent my letters
by coach, via Oxford and Birmingham, because they should not be opened
at the Post Office, it would have been a breach of every principle
of honesty, honour, and fair dealing, to have given them up to the
Magistrates, while I was in their custody under a charge of High
Treason. In my political connexions, I have met with some very base and
unprincipled fellows, but amongst them all, I do not believe that I
ever knew any one, except Johnson, the Brush-maker, who would have
voluntarily become such a shameless pander, such a thorough-paced time
server, as to have given up my private letters to save his own worthless
carcase from the chance of a Trial for High Treason. I repeat that,
amongst all the political apostates I have ever known, and they are
many, and some of them very vile indeed, I never knew one that I believe
would have been so poor and mean a creature as this Johnson.

When we were brought up for final examination, the charge was shifted
from that of High Treason to a Seditions Conspiracy to overturn the
Government. I was to give bail in £1000 myself, and two sureties in £500
each, which Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Chapman were ready to enter
into for me; but, as I was very hot and fatigued with the examination, I
returned to my apartment to change my shirt before bail was given. I
had not been in my room more than ten minutes before the goaler came to
inform me that I must prepare to set off for Lancaster Castle in five
minutes, as the magistrates had left the Court, and had ordered that we
should be conveyed there immediately, for want of bail. I replied that
Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Chapman were prepared to give bail for me,
and that they were gone, or going, with Mr. C. Pearson, my attorney, to
Mr. Norris's house to do so. The gaoler, a very civil little personage,
lamented that he had no discretion, that his orders were peremptory,
that a stage-coach, which had been hired for the purpose, was ready, and
we must depart in less than five minutes, as a Military Dragoon Guard
was in attendance, ready to conduct us thither. I answered _that I would
be ready in half the time_, and I began to change my shirt and pack up
my trunk before he left the room. The fact was, that the parties had
made up their minds, (as is generally the case), before they came into
Court; they had resolved upon a committal on the charge of High Treason,
and they had given previous orders to prepare a coach and the Military
Guard. A messenger had also been dispatched to Bolton, Blackburn, and
Preston, to order the troops stationed in those towns to be ready to
relieve the guards as they arrived, and to proceed forward. These relays
were to have been ready as early as two o'clock in the day, the worthy
Magistrates not having calculated upon the turn the question took in the
Court, in consequence of my cross-examination of the witnesses produced
to substantiate the charge. This cross-examination, which lasted several
hours, during which I caused all the witnesses to be removed out of
Court except the one under examination, by which means I contrived to
make them, not only equivocate and contradict each other, but actually
contradict themselves on every material point. This unexpected
circumstance caused the worthy Bench of Magistrates to pause a little;
they retired to consult, and held a private conferrence with Mr. Maule,
the solicitor to the Crown, who was sent down to conduct the prosecution
for the Attorney General. The result of this conferrence was, that the
charge of High Treason was abandoned, and we were to be held to bail for
a misdemeanor only.

After I had retired, Johnson and Moorhouse procured bail in Court, and
they were liberated immediately. Johnson, I understood, was carried to
his home on the shoulders of the populace, but he was totally regardless
of what became of his _friend_, who was a stranger in the town. I
stepped into the coach, and was followed by John Knight and Dr. Healy;
Saxton, Bamford, and three others, wholly unknown to me, were placed
on the top of the coach, each attended by one of the police, and with
pistols and blunderbusses, &c. Mr. Nadin did us the honour to ride in
the coach with us, whilst his runners took their stations aloft; a troop
of horse, with swords drawn, surrounded the coach, and off we went
for Lancaster, a distance of fifty miles, without my having had an
opportunity of seeing or writing to my attorney or friends to apprise
them of our departure. As I sat in the coach I wrote three lines with a
pencil to Sir Charles Wolseley, merely stating the fact; and I handed it
out open, requesting that it might be conveyed to him; but I saw that
it was instantly seized by one of our amiable attendants, who took care
that it should never reach its destination. We were paraded in this way
to Bolton, from which place a fresh troop conducted us to Blackburn;
another troop forwarded us to Preston, and a third attended us to
Lancaster. At Preston we halted and took some refreshment, for which I
offered to pay. Mr. Nadin, however, insisted upon it that I should not
do so, as he had _already_ given an order upon the treasurer of the
county to pay all expenses. Thus, for the first and only time in my
life, I was compelled to take a meal at the public expense.

Previous to our arrival at Preston we were nearly overturned, and the
pole of the coach was broken short off. We were consequently obliged to
dismount and walk to the next village, to get it repaired. Nadin, who
had hitherto conducted himself with great moderation, now burst out into
such a strain as would have made a Lethbridgeite's hair stand on end
upon his head; he poured forth a volley of oaths, which for atrocity and
vulgarity exceeded all I had ever heard before or since, except in the
instance of Bridle, the Ilchester Gaoler; he swore that he should lose
all his prisoners, &c. &c. and that he would blow out the brains of
the coachman and all his runners. I sat perfectly quiet during this
disgusting scene, and heard with horror his beastly epithets and
dreadful imprecations. At length, having exhausted his rage, he appealed
to me in the utmost confusion to know what should be done. I told him we
would walk to the next village, where he could get the pole mended; and,
as I found that he was preparing to handcuff them together, I assured
him that I would be answerable for the safety of all the prisoners. With
this assurance he was satisfied, and we proceeded to a small inn upon
the road. The news soon spread, the house was very quickly surrounded,
and a rescue was boldly and openly offered. This kindness I of course
declined, and Mr. Nadin's fears were soon dispelled.

During our stay at Preston, almost all the gentlemen of the town came
to see us, as we were at supper. Amongst the number were some sincere
friends, although total strangers, who shook me cordially by the hand,
in token of their sincerity. We arrived at Lancaster Castle about three
o'clock on the Saturday morning, where we found the gaoler, young
Higgins, ready to receive us; he having, of course, been previously
apprised of the intention of the worthy Magistrates to send us thither,
right or wrong. At the door I thanked the officer of the Dragoons for
his polite attention, lamenting sarcastically, as I had done to each of
the others, that he should have had so much trouble on my account. We
then entered the walls of Lancaster Gaol, and were conducted into a
spacious dirty room, from which some other prisoners had been removed to
make way for us. In an adjoining close room we were all to sleep, and
beds were ordered for us. I expostulated against this arrangement, of
our all sleeping in the same room; upon which Mr. Higgins replied,
that I should be accommodated with a cell. Soon after this we were all
removed into a much better and cleaner apartment, adjoining to one of
the new round towers, where we spent the day, Saturday, in procuring
materials for cooking, &c. &c. At Lancaster Castle nothing was provided
for political prisoners, not even a trough to wash their hands in. My
companions, not having anticipated such a journey when they attended the
meeting on the 16th of August, could only muster a few shillings amongst
them, but as I had a few pounds in my pocket, every thing necessary was
soon provided, such as it was.

The fools, the mad-headed fools, who sent us to make a parade through
their county, little dreamt of the feeling which it would create; I own
I felt very indignant at the selfish conduct of Johnson, who had
invited me to Manchester, although I never expressed this to my fellow
prisoners. I was, however, quite sure that the moment Sir Charles
Wolseley, Mr. Chapman, and Mr. Pearson were made acquainted with
the dirty trick of the Magistrates, that they would lose no time in
procuring bail, and forwarding it for my release.

When seven o'clock came, we were ordered into our cells in the Round
Tower, and most infamously close they were. I thought that I should
have been suffocated for some time after I entered it. I, however, laid
myself down, and soon fell into a sound sleep, from which I was roused
about nine o'clock, by the turnkey, who came to inform me that a
gentleman was arrived with bail for me and John Knight. I soon dressed
myself, and having taken leave of Saxton and Bamford in the adjoining
cells, we proceeded to the Lodge, where I found my worthy friend
Chapman, who had come over from Manchester, as soon as he could get Mr.
Norris to take the bail of himself and Sir Charles Wolseley, which the
Magistrate had contrived to avoid on Friday night, under a pretence that
he was engaged. Mr. Chapman had procured two Magistrates of the town of
Lancaster, one of them of the name of Salusbury, who came down to the
Gaol to take our recognizance, notwithstanding it was an excessively wet
night, and which might have afforded them something like an excuse
to have kept us in the Castle till Monday morning. But they proved
themselves the very reverse of the Manchester Magistrates, at whose
conduct they appeared to feel ashamed and disgusted, and they did all
that honourable men and gentlemen could do to wipe their hands of all
connection with them.

We bid adieu to the Castle, and slept at the inn in Lancaster that
night. In the morning we proceeded on our return to Manchester, where
Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Pearson were waiting to receive me. We
stopped and took some refreshment at Preston, where some of the worthy
Electors of that town introduced themselves to us, and there and then it
was that I received and accepted an invitation to become a Candidate for
the Representation of that Borough, at the approaching general election.
In the evening we reached Bolton, at which town we slept, and there I
became acquainted with some of the very best men in the kingdom. In
fact, to have been introduced to the worthy men of Preston and of Bolton
was worth more than all the inconvenience I suffered from being dragged
through the county under a military escort. The enthusiasm manifested by
the people of Bolton, of all ranks and degrees, surpassed every thing I
had ever before witnessed, and it impressed my mind with a respect and
attachment for that town, which will never be eradicated from my breast
till the heart which it contains ceases to beat.

My reception in Manchester, the next day, which place we entered about
three o'clock, surpassed all description. Sir Charles Wolseley and
Mr. Pearson came to meet us about a mile beyond Pendleton, and the
spontaneous expressions of the whole population, which appeared to have
turned out to receive and welcome me, it is utterly impossible for my
pen to describe. From my worthy friend Chapman, during our journey from
Lancaster, I learnt the history of the bloody proceedings of the 16th
of August, and my soul was struck with horror and indignation by the
recital.

I returned to Johnson's house at Smedley, although Mr. Chapman had
informed me of the report of his cowardly and base conduct, while he was
confined in the New Bailey, of his having offered and actually written
to his wife to give up all my confidential correspondence to the
Magistrates, to enable them to make out a charge of _High Treason_
against me, upon condition that he should be admitted what is called
KING'S EVIDENCE. Notwithstanding Mr. Chapman assured me that he believed
this report to be true, and produced to me almost incontrovertible proof
of the fact, still I could not possibly bring my mind to believe that
any one could be guilty of such incomparable baseness, and much less
that Mr. Johnson, with all his devotion, with all his professions of
friendship and regard, could be such a mean, dirty, cowardly dog; and I
never should have credited it to its full extent if the wretched slave
had not confessed it with his own lips.

While I was confined in the New Bailey, not a soul was allowed to have
any access to me but the officers of the Gaol, and latterly my servant,
in the presence of the gaoler. I had written to Mr. Charles Pearson, to
request his professional assistance, which of course was the greatest
proof I could give of the high estimation I entertained of his honour,
talent, and political integrity. It is true that I was only slightly
acquainted with him at the time, but the result proved that I was
perfectly justified in the choice which I made, and the confidence which
I placed in him. To have been cursed with either a fool or a knave,
under such circumstances, would have been worse than death itself; but
I found him to be, what I expected, a man of brilliant talent, and of
inflexible political honesty, yet possessed, at the same time, of an
intimate knowledge of all the quirks, quibbles, tricks, and shuffles of
both the bar and the bench, as well as of all the intermediate ranks
between the lowest catchpoll and the highest elevated judge upon the
bench. Though he has since been unfortunate in his pursuits, and though
he was sometimes inattentive and careless, and though I have heard
others complain of him, yet, in the midst of all his foibles and
follies, for follies and foibles he has as well as other men, I can
safely say that up to this hour, when put to the test, in all his
dealings, relations and connections with me, I have found him actuated
by the strictest notions of honour, honesty, and conscientious
integrity. In a matter of importance, in a case of life and death, such
a case as I was then concerned in, I would rather have the professional
assistance of Mr. Pearson, even under his present circumstances, if he
would devote himself to it, than that of any other man I ever met with
in his profession.

While I was imprisoned in Manchester, Mr. Wooler called a Public
Meeting, at the Crown and Anchor, and some spirited resolutions were
entered into; and a subscription was set on foot for the relief of those
who had suffered at Manchester, and to bring to justice the perpetrators
of the horrid murders and cruelties committed on the 16th of August.
Major Cartwright was appointed the Treasurer. Sir Francis Burdett
likewise addressed an excellent letter to his Constituents, to call
a meeting upon the subject. This letter was calculated to rouse into
action every man in the kingdom who had a heart in his body, and I
verily believe that in any country in the world, except England, such a
letter, written to the people by a man of Sir Francis's rank, would have
caused the whole people to rise in arms to avenge the horrid murders
which had been committed upon their helpless, unoffending countrymen.
Meetings were, however, called all over the kingdom, to petition the
King and the Parliament to investigate the affair, and to bring to
justice the authors of such a dreadful outrage upon the lives and
liberties of the people.

In the mean time the subscription set on foot by Mr. Wooler began to
fill apace---a circumstance which was calculated to have the very best
effect. It, nevertheless, excited the envy and jealousy of the worthies
who composed the Westminster, the Borough, and the City of London Rump
Committees, and they lost no time in devising the means of getting
the management out of the honest hands of those who had taken up the
measure. These gentry, who understand how to manage their matters so
well, soon wormed themselves and their agents into the Committee, in
sufficient numbers to form a majority; and this being accomplished, the
next step was to propose to elect four of the Westminster or Burdettite
Rump; four of the City, or Waithmanite Rump; and four of the Borough, or
Wilson Rump, and these twelve worthies were to form what they themselves
were pleased to denominate the Metropolitan Committee, to manage the
Subscriptions, and the affairs of the Manchester Sufferers. Major
Cartwright and Mr. Wooler were disgusted with the proceedings, and the
Major immediately resigned his office of Treasurer, upon which they
appointed their own Treasurer, and, in the most unblushing manner,
proposed to send Mr. Harmer, a relation of one of the leaders of the
party, down to Lancaster, to prefer Bills of Indictment against the
Yeomanry, and to assist in defending myself and others who had been
prosecuted by the Government. It was, however, suggested by some one of
them, that it was too bare-faced a job to send Mr. Harmer down, who had
written for, and had already got Mr. Pearson down to assist us, and
therefore it was agreed upon, to appoint Mr. Harmer and Mr. Pearson to
act jointly in this affair. Mr. Harmer was consequently sent off post to
Manchester, to do that which Mr. Pearson, who was on the spot, was so
fully competent to have done.

The moment that I heard of these proceedings, I foretold, to Mr. Pearson
and Sir Charles Wolseley, every thing that would happen, and how the
subscriptions would be misapplied; all of which predictions have been
verified to the very letter. Mr. Harmer did not arrive till after we
had undergone the final hearing before the Magistrates, till they had
abandoned the charge of High Treason, till we had been sentenced to
Lancaster Castle, after having undergone an imprisonment of eleven days'
solitary confinement; he did not arrive till all this had taken place,
and we had been bailed and returned from Lancaster; all this had
occurred, and we might have all been committed to Lancaster Castle
for High Treason, several days before Mr. Harmer, the Attorney of the
Trinitarian Rump Committee, reached Manchester, if it had not been for
the assistance of Mr. Pearson and my own personal exertions.

Bills of Indictment were preferred before the Grand Jury at Lancaster,
against Owen, Platt, and Derbyshire, for perjury. The first was found a
true bill, although bills against the two others were ignored upon the
very same evidence. Bills were also preferred against several of the
Yeomanry Cavalry, for cutting and maiming men, women, and children, in
the most wanton, cruel, and murderous way, on the 16th of August, not
only at the meeting on St. Peter's Plain, but likewise in various parts
of Manchester; and, in one or two instances, for cutting and maiming
those who had never been at the meeting at all, and who were merely
standing at their own doors, looking at the military, who were hunting,
driving, cutting and slaying in all directions, regardless of age or
sex. All the bills, notwithstanding they were supported by the most
unquestionable testimony, and all the parties were identified, ALL, ALL
of them were ignored and thrown out by a Lancashire Grand Jury, the
foreman of which was Lord Stanley, the great Whig Member for that
County. Lord Stanley is the eldest son of Lord Derby, who is a regular
supporter of the Whigs in the House of Lords, and Lord Stanley is a
regular supporter of all Whig measures in the House of Commons.
This Whig, Lord Stanley, was also one of the most violent against a
parliamentary inquiry into the transaction, when the question was
brought before the House of Commons.--The Lord deliver us from the
tender mercies of the Whigs, I say!

The bill that was preferred by the Crown, against myself and others, for
attending the Manchester meeting, was found immediately, and bail to a
heavy amount was required for the appearance of all the parties at the
Assizes; which bail could never have been obtained for many of the
party, who were very poor men, had it not been for the magnanimous and
truly generous conduct of Sir Charles Wolseley. He not only, in the
first instance, came to Manchester to bail me, but he remained at
Manchester, assisting in causing the bloody Yeomanry to be indicted, and
he went to Lancaster, and attended the whole time, and at length became
the voluntary bail for every one that could not procure it otherwise.
This was really acting a true, noble, manly, and patriotic part! Sir
Charles actually saved several of those who were indicted with me from
remaining in prison from September to the following March. By
his magnanimous behaviour he proved himself to be in reality, an
independent, upright Radical, a real friend to justice and humanity. In
this affair, Sir Charles Wolseley did more to serve the cause of Liberty
and the People, than was done by all the Aristocracy and all the Country
Gentlemen in England put together.

Sixteen persons had been murdered, and upwards of Six Hundred had been
badly wounded, on the Sixteenth of August. Coroners' Inquests had been
held, without effect, upon several of the bodies! "They all died a
Natural Death!" till, at last, an Inquest was held at Oldham, on the
body of John Lees. This Inquest was attended by Mr. Harmer, and, at the
end of the third or fourth day, the evidence was so conclusive, that the
Jury were prepared to have returned their verdict of Wilful Murder! but,
by some extraordinary fatality, by some unaccountable cause, Mr. Harmer
kept calling fresh witnesses, and the Inquest was adjourned from day
to day, and from place to place, for a month, and after the last
adjournment, they never met again. As the Petition of Robert Lees, the
father of the murdered man, speaks fully for itself, and will explain
this very curious circumstance better than any thing that I can say, I
shall conclude the subject by inserting it at full length, as follows:--

  "TO TO THE HONOURABLE THE COMMONS OF THE UNITED
  KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, IN PARLIAMENT
  ASSEMBLED.

  The HUMBLE PETITION of ROBERT LEES,
  Of OLDHAM, in the County Palatine of LANCASTER,
  Cotton-spinner,

  SHEWETH, That your Petitioner's son, John Lees, a
  youth twenty-two years of age, having attended the
  meeting held at Manchester on the 16th of August last,
  was, as your Petitioner is led to believe, without any just
  cause or provocation, most inhumanly attacked and cut by
  Yeomanry Cavalry, and afterwards most unmercifully
  beaten with the clubs or batons of Police and Special Constables,
  and also trampled upon by the horses of the Cavalry,
  whereby he was so much injured, that he was, from
  that time, incapable of attending to his ordinary employment,
  and lingered in pain and debility until the night of
  the 6th of September following, when he died.

  That the Surgeon who attended your Petitioner's
  son having certified that his death was occasioned by violence,
  several householders in Oldham and the neighbouring
  townships were served, late in the evening of the
  7th of September, with summonses from the Coroner of
  the district, to attend the next morning at half-past ten
  o'clock, to serve as Jurors on an inquest to be held on the
  body of your said Petitioner's son. At the time appointed
  the said Jurors assembled, and were met by a person
  named BATTYE, who attended as Deputy for the said Coroner,
  for the purpose of inquiring into the cause of the
  death of your Petitioner's son; and, having sworn the
  Jury, he went with them to take a view of the body. But,
  finding that several witnesses had arrived from Manchester,
  to give evidence upon the said inquiry, he refused to proceed
  in the inquest; and having adjourned the same for
  three hours, he, at the expiration of that time, further
  adjourned until the 10th day of the same month, when the
  said BATTYE promised, that either Mr. FERRAND, his employer,
  or Mr. MILNE, a neighbouring Coroner, should
  certainly attend and proceed in the investigation.

  "That, on the next day, a Surgeon attended, by the direction
  of the said Mr. BATTYE, to open and examine the
  body of your Petitioner's son; and he was then allowed
  to be interred.

  "That, on the 10th day of September, the Jury again
  assembled; but, although Mr. MILNE attended, he refused
  to interfere in the business, as he said it did not belong to his
  district; and the inquest was further adjourned until the 25th
  day of the same month. And, during this interval, some of
  the Manchester newspapers inserted the vilest falsehoods,
  to depreciate the reputation of the deceased, with a view,
  as your Petitioner believes, to extinguish every feeling of
  sympathy for his fate.

  "That, on the said 25th day of September, Mr. FERRAND
  attended; and, after swearing the Jury, and ascertaining
  from them that they had all seen the body, he proceeded to
  examine witnesses; but, in the course of the investigation,
  he adjourned several times for days together, without any
  reasonable or probable cause, and merely, as your Petitioner
  believes, to harass and tire out the witnesses, who
  came day after day a considerable distance to give
  testimony.

  "That, in detailing his complaint to your Honourable
  House, your Petitioner exceedingly regrets he should be
  Please note

  All known copies of volume 3 are "imperfect" and are "wanting
  after page 640".

  It is possible that these pages were suppressed as they were
  "written by himself in H'.M's Jail at Ilchester".





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