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Title: Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. — Volume 2
Author: Hunt, Henry
Language: English
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MEMOIRS

OF

HENRY HUNT, ESQ.

AS WRITTEN BY HIMSELF,

IN HIS MAJESTY'S JAIL AT ILCHESTER,

IN THE COUNTY OF SOMERSET,


Volume 2

  "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.

Hunting, shooting, and fishing by day, and mixing in the thoughtless,
gay, and giddy throng by night, soon, however, dispelled any unpleasant
impression which this circumstance had made upon my mind. I every day
became acquainted with new and more fashionable society than I had
before associated with, and as my son was about to be christened, we
were determined to give a sumptuous feast and a ball, at which upwards
of forty friends sat down to dinner. When I recal to mind all those
expensive and thoughtless proceedings, I can reflect with great
satisfaction upon one circumstance; which is, that I never forgot the
poor. I always attended to their complaints, and ministered to their
wants, when I could scarcely find time for any thing else. I never
gave a feast that the poor did not partake of. Whether it were the
celebration of a birth-day, or at a christening, they always came in for
a share. I forgot to mention, that, when my son was born, I kept up the
good ancient custom, which had been exercised with so much old English
hospitality at my birth, by my father. Not only were toast and ale
given to all my friends and neighbours, but my servants also had such a
junketing as they will never forget. My birth-day, the 6th of November,
I continued to celebrate as my father had done before his death; and I
will here take leave to relate in what way I celebrated that event.
I always had a party of private friends; but, while we were enjoying
ourselves with every delicacy which the season afforded, the dinner
generally consisting of different sorts of game of my own killing,
dressed in various shapes--whilst me and my neighbouring friends and
visitors were regaling ourselves, I was never unmindful of my poorer
neighbours. Enford was a very extensive parish, containing a population
of nearly seven hundred inhabitants. Amongst them there were a
considerable number of old persons, for whom, after my father's death,
I had successfully exerted myself, to procure them an increase of their
miserable pittance of parish pay; which pay I had, as the reader will
remember, raised from half-a-crown to three shillings and sixpence each
per week. All these old people of the parish, of the age of sixty-three
and upwards, I invited annually, without any distinction, to come and
partake of the feast on the sixth of November. The servants' hall was
appropriated to their use on that day; and as there were seldom less
than twenty above this age, we always had as large a party as the house
would well contain. There were about equal numbers of men and women, but
several of the latter were the oldest, some of them being nearly ninety
years of age, and many of them above eighty. As this parish consisted of
eight hamlets, some parts of it, where the old persons resided, were at
a distance of nearly two miles; and as, from their extreme old age,
some of the poor creatures were unable to walk so far and back again, I
always sent a cart and horse round to bring them. They had an excellent
dinner of substantial meat and pudding, besides the dainties that went
from my table, after which they regaled themselves with good old October
or cyder. The day and night were always passed with the greatest
hilarity, and I was never completely satisfied, unless I was an
eye-witness that there was as much mirth and jollity amongst my old
friends in the hall, as there was amongst my other friends in the dining
and drawing rooms. To bring these poor old creatures together, and to
make them once a year happy in each other's company, was to me a source
of inexpressible delight. The very first year I assembled them after my
father's death, several of them had never seen each other for eight or
ten years, in consequence of their inability to leave their homes. They
were overjoyed at meeting each other again, as it was a pleasure which
they had long since banished from their hopes. One or two of them, who
had never been a hundred yards from their own humble sheds for years
before, and who had resigned all thoughts of ever going so far from
their homes again, till they were carried to their last long home in the
church-yard, were now inspired with new hopes, and appeared to enjoy new
life; and they actually met their old workfellows and acquaintances, and
spent a pleasant day with them on the 6th of November, in the hall at
Chisenbury House, for eight or ten years afterwards, where they never
failed to recount all the events of their youthful days. They were
all full of the tales of former times, and of the anecdotes of my
forefathers, of which they had been eye-witnesses. One gave a narrative
of a feast of which he had partaken, another had danced at my
grandfather's wedding, a third had nursed my father, and all of them
were past their prime when I was born. To listen to their garrulity, and
to witness the pleasure they felt in describing and recalling to each
other's recollection, the scenes of years long gone by, and their
opinion respecting the alteration in the times, was to me a source of
indescribable delight. An old man and woman, who were each of them above
eighty years of age, always sung with great glee a particular duet,
which they had sung together, at my grandfather's home-harvest, upwards
of sixty years before. Two women and a man, all above eighty, regularly
danced a reel. Each individual sung a song, or told a story, and, to
finish the evening, a tremendous milk-pail, full of humming _toast and
ale_, wound up the annual feast, which set the old boys' and girls'
heads singing again. Then, each heart being made full glad, care was
taken that no accident or inconvenience should happen to such old and
infirm people, by their being obliged to hobble home in the dark. A
steady carter, Thomas Cannings, and an able assistant, loaded them all
up in a waggon, in which they were drawn to their respective homes, and
deposited there in perfect safety, where they enjoyed a second pleasure
in recounting to their neighbours the merry scenes that passed on the
squire's birthday. It will easily be believed by the reader, that
they looked forward to the Christmas treat, of the same sort, and from
thence to the next birth-day, with as much anxiety as the country lads
and lasses look forward to the annual wake or fair.

The oldest woman in the parish had, all the year round, an invitation to
a Sunday's dinner; and, what is very remarkable, Hannah Rumbold, who
was the first Sunday's pensioner of mine, commenced it at the age of
_seventy-four_, and regularly continued it till she was eighty-three;
scarcely ever missing a dinner, from accident or illness, the whole
time, and never from illness, without the dinner being sent to her own
home. This, by some, may be called ostentation--be it so; it was the way
in which I discovered my pride; and I trust, at all events, that it
was equally laudable with the generous boon of our reverend doctor and
justice, of the "_Old Alderney Cow_." What a history have I heard of
this beneficent, generous, humane, _chaste_, and _pious_ parson, in
consequence of the story of the Old Cow; but, as some of the anecdotes
require confirmation, without which they are almost incredible, I must
pause till the next Number, before I hand them down, together with the
doctor and the old cow, to posterity. I had now made an engagement to go
with some brother sportsmen to Wales, on a grouse shooting party. Our
dogs and guns having been sent on before with our servants, we started,
two of us, in my curricle, and the third person met us at the New
Passage, near Bristol. Unfortunately, we arrived there too late for
the tide; there was only one more boat could pass over the Severn that
night, and that boat was already hired, and waiting to take over the old
Marquis of Lansdown. This was a heavy disappointment to us, as our dogs
were on this side of the water, and would, the next day, have between
twenty and thirty miles to travel, to Pontypool, where we were going
to shoot. The twelfth of August, which was the first day for
grouse-shooting, was on the following day, and therefore our dogs ought
to have gone on some part of the way that very evening, that they might
be fit for the field, or rather the hills, as soon as the shooting
commenced. What was to be done? There was no contending against the
tide. At last I made up my mind to ask the old Marquis to allow the dogs
and a servant to pass over with him. My companions declined joining
in the application, as they were fearful that he would take it as an
insult; and, at all events, there was little chance of his compliance,
as the boat was but a small one, and he had his servants and a
considerable portion of luggage to carry, the whole being nearly enough
to fill the boat. I, however, wrote a note and requested an audience,
which was instantly granted: the noble Marquis, on my entering the room,
politely asking me whether there was any thing he could do to oblige
me? I related to him our unfortunate case, which I represented as most
forlorn; and which, by the bye, none but sportsmen can comprehend. On
his perceiving my anxiety, he laughed heartily, and said, "Make yourself
easy, Mr. Hunt; I will with great pleasure take you and your dogs over
with me in my boat, and I shall be most happy to have your company." I
thanked him warmly, but hinted that I had two companions, which would
be too many for the boat. "Come, come," said he, "we will talk to the
boatman. It certainly will not do to overload; but if he should think
there will be too many, I will, nevertheless, so manage as to set you at
ease upon the subject; for I shall feel great pleasure in having it in
my power to facilitate your sport. As my immediately crossing the river
is of little consequence to me, I will remain on this side till the
morning, and you shall go in the boat, upon condition that, you and your
friends will occupy the beds and eat the supper that I have bespoken at
the Black Rock, on the other side. I expressed my grateful sense of his
polite attention; but, as the boatman had now arrived, and assured him
that he could take us all in his boat with great safety, it was arranged
that we should go together.

The Marquis having finished his tea, we all embarked. He had his
housekeeper and his valet, and we had myself and two friends, with our
servant, and two brace of pointers. The old Marquis of Lansdown, the
father of the present Marquis, was not only one of the most accomplished
gentlemen and profound statesmen of the age, but his liberality and
hospitality were truly characteristic of the old English nobility. He
knew who and what I was, perfectly well, although we were never before
personally acquainted; and he remarked, that my situation in life
rendered me one of the most independent men in the kingdom. He dwelt
upon the talents of Lord Henry Petty, who was his second and favourite
son; and he prognosticated, that he would be an eminent politician, and
that some day he would shine at the head of the English Government. He,
however, emphatically said, that, after all, his son's situation would
never be so independent as mine was, because he would always be bound in
the trammels of party. He invited me to Bow-wood, upon his return, for
which I politely thanked him, informing him, at the same time, that as I
had some friends out of Berkshire staying at my house, I meant, with his
permission, to take them some day to see the house, gardens, and park,
at Bow-wood. To this he replied, that he hoped he should be at home when
we came; that he should feel the greatest pleasure in shewing it to us
himself; but that, go whenever we would, he should be very happy for his
people to shew it me and my friends, although they did not in general
make a practice of doing it. "You will find it," said he, "Mr. Hunt,
a comfortable residence for a country gentleman. It is small, but
comfortable."

I had two or three days good sport, in grouse shooting, though my
friends, who were too delicate sportsmen to encounter, with success,
the difficulties and dangers of the Welsh mountains, returned, without
having killed a single bird. It was, however, altogether, a pleasant
excursion, and as we returned we spent a day or two at the Fish-ponds,
near Bristol, with Dr. Fox, who had recently paid me a visit at
Chisenbury, as a friend of one of the shooting party. As we were on
our way home, the Marquis of Lansdown's polite and gentlemanly conduct
became the subject of conversation; and as one of my friends, who came
out of Berkshire, expressed a wish, as we passed by Bow-wood, the seat
of the Marquis, to see the place, before he went home, we fixed a day,
and made a party, determined to accept the offer of the Noble Marquis,
to visit his seat, and see the beautiful pleasure-grounds, park, and
cascade, which surround the mansion, and likewise view the fine
paintings which it contained. I fell in with this plan the more readily,
because my Berkshire friend rather hoaxed me, for professing to believe
that the Marquis was sincere. He said he was a fine old courtier, and it
cost him nothing to be polite; but, with regard to what he said about
the pleasure he would feel at skewing us Bow-wood, they were mere words
of course, and he would think no more of them afterwards; and if we went
to see it, we should be treated the same as we were when we went to see
Blenheim, the seat of the Duke of Marlborough, which was, we had to pay
about _thirty shillings_ to the different servants that showed us over
the house, gardens, and grounds, at which, considering it was built for
the great Duke of Marlborough, at the _public expense_, I had expressed
my disapprobation. I contended, that we should be treated in a
different manner, and that the old Marquis would not allow his servants
to behave so shabbily. I was, however, laughed at, for expecting that a
Nobleman would take the pains to write home from Wales, to his servants,
to give them any directions about the matter. The day was, nevertheless,
fixed for the 24th of August, 1801.

I shall relate the circumstances of our visit, to shew what sort of a
character the first Marquis of Lansdown was. We appointed to meet at
Devizes, and the party proceeded together to Bow-wood, which is about
six miles from that town. We were six in number, three ladies and three
gentlemen; myself and Mrs. Hunt in our curricle, and our friends two in
a chariot, and two in a gig; each of us attended by a servant. It was a
lovely day, and when we entered the lodge, as we drove down the park,
a distance of about a mile before we came to the house, we drew up and
looked around us. The picturesque views were enchanting, and the sublime
grandeur of the beautiful oaks was most striking. We had been travelling
in Wales, where we had been delighted with the most romantic scenery;
but this park at Bow-wood possessed a richness and a luxuriance such as
we all declared we had never seen before; and the gravel road, the whole
of the mile through the park, was more like the neatest gravel walk in a
garden than a public carriage road. There was not a pebble the size of a
marble, not a leaf, a straw, or a blade of grass, the whole way; every
thing was kept up in the neatest and most perfect style that I ever saw.
We remarked to each other, as we passed along, that the Marquis must
have returned, as no servants would take such pains with a place in a
master's absence.

At length we drove up to the door, and upon inquiring of the porter
whether the Marquis was at home, he answered, "No;" that he was gone
into Wales, and not expected back for a month. We asked if we could see
the house? The answer was, that it was never shown to any one but
the Marquis's friends. My Berkshire friend smiled, and looking very
significantly said, "Well, Hunt, we have had a very pleasant drive, but
I told you how it would be; we may, therefore, as well turn round and
drive back again." I was about to put some other question to the porter,
when the housekeeper approached; an elegant, handsomely dressed matron,
who inquired, "Pray, Sir, is your name Hunt?" I, of course, answered her
in the affirmative; upon which she begged we would alight. She then rang
a bell, and desired the porter and another servant to take the carriages
round the yard, and put the horses in the stable, and take care of them.
She then informed us, that the Marquis had written home, to desire
that, if I came with my friends, we should be shewn the house, gardens,
grounds, cascade, and every thing at Bow-wood.

Having led us into a large room, the walls of which were hung with
paintings, the good lady politely requested that we would amuse
ourselves for a few minutes, while she made some preparations, and she
would return and shew us the whole of the house. As soon as she had
retired, my friend admitted that he had done the Noble Marquis great
injustice, and he was now full of praises for his true nobility of
character. The housekeeper now returned, and, after pointing out some
beauties in the paintings, and the particular views from the windows,
she led us into an adjoining room, in the centre of which stood a table,
covered with wines of various sorts, and the most superb desert of fruit
I ever beheld, consisting of pines, hot-house grapes, and various other
fruits, in the greatest perfection, as well as profusion. We looked at
each other with some surprise, when she invited the ladies to be seated,
and the gentlemen to assist them to refreshments, before we proceeded
any further; and, addressing herself to me, she said, this is a letter I
received on the fourteenth of August. It was written by the Marquis,
on the twelfth, from the Black Rock Inn, on the other side of the New
Passage. It commences as follows:--"I expect Mr. Hunt, of Chisenbury
House, to visit Bow-wood, to see the house and gardens, with his
friends. If they should arrive before my return, you will take care
that they receive that attention which I always wish to be shewn to my
friends, when they do me the honour to visit Bow-wood." "Now," continued
the housekeeper, "I understand the wish of the Marquis well. I know
nothing will afford him greater pleasure than to hear that you, Sir, and
your friends, make yourselves as welcome as he would have made you, had
he been at home." She had, she said, orders to dress us a dinner, which
she should do, while we were walking round the gardens and pleasure
grounds, and viewing the cascade. She had sent a servant, she told us,
to get some fish out of the store, and there was a haunch of venison
just fit to dress; and she would have dinner ready for us at any hour we
would fix. As we had a previous engagement, we declined the invitation
to dinner, but we did ample justice to the pines and grapes. We were
then shewn over the house, and afterwards we went round the gardens,
consisting of five acres of the highest cultivated soil, and the walls
clothed with the choicest fruit trees in full bearing. One fact worth
recording the gardener told me, which was, that the Marquis, being
particularly fond of pears, they were cultivated in this garden to the
highest perfection, and he had a different plate of pears to be put upon
the table for every day in the year. The pleasure grounds and every
thing at Bow-wood bespoke the residence of one who was a nobleman by
nature as well as by title.

After having spent a most agreeable morning, and had a second edition of
the desert and wine, we prepared to depart, all much delighted with what
we had seen, and more gratified with the polite and handsome conduct of
the noble owner. Just as I was about to offer a present, the housekeeper
called me aside. She took the liberty, she said, to request that I would
not offer any of the servants any money. As the servants of the Marquis
had all of them most liberal wages, he never suffered them to take any
vails of his friends who visited him.

In addition to the attention which had been shewn to us, our servants
had also been handsomely regaled, and the horses well taken care of
in the stables; and, as we contemplated the munificent treatment we
experienced at Bow-wood, we could not refrain from drawing a most
unfavourable contrast of the treatment we had experienced about a month
before, when we had made a party to visit Blenheim, the seat of the Duke
of Marlborough, at Woodstock, near Oxford. There we were turned over
from one servant to another, each having his department, and demanding
a certain sum before we were handed into the custody of his companion.
Thus is this splendid testimony of national gratitude to the Great Duke
of Marlborough made a show of for the emolument of the servants of the
establishment; each of them demanding his fee as regularly as a showman
of wild beasts at a fair demands a shilling at the entrance. This is
considered by foreigners as a disgrace to the British character, and it
is justly considered so.

We must now return to politics.--Lord Nelson bombarded the French
flotilla at Boulogne, disabled ten vessels, and sunk five; but upon his
making another attempt on it, he was repulsed with great loss. I cannot
describe this eventful period better than it is described in the
"_Chronology of Public Events, within the last fifty years;_" a most
useful and entertaining work published by Sir Richard Phillips, Bride
Court, Bridge Street. The passage is as follows, under the head of
"_Great Britain_." "This year, 1801, commenced by exhibiting the effects
of eight years war; the national debt had been doubled, and internal
distress had become general; the poor were in a state bordering on
starvation, and commerce had the prospect of having every foreign port
shut against it. The people busied themselves to meet the threatened
French invasion; and after a long watch for encroachment, the English
themselves became assailants, by an attack upon Boulogne, which did
little injury, and a second attack took place, under Lord Nelson, which
failed with loss." This certainly is a correct description of the state
of the country, in the ninth year of the war against French liberty,
waged to prevent a Reform of the Parliament at home.

I shall now state how I was employed upon this occasion. Pitt's
alarmists still disseminated throughout the country, a general terror of
invasion. The various Lords Lieutenants of counties were kept actively
at work, to support the delusion; for nothing but the immediate dread of
invasion could have induced the people to pay the immense drains that
were made upon their pockets by taxation; nothing less than the dread of
having their property annihilated, their wives and daughters violated,
and their children bayoneted before their faces, could have made them
submit to the burthens which they bore.

Our Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Lord Pembroke, had caused circular
letters to be written to the clergymen, churchwardens and overseers of
every parish, to return an account of all the moveable property, live
and dead stock, that there was in their several parishes; and also to
require every farmer to give in a list of his stock of grain, horses,
waggons and cattle; and at the end of it to state what he would
voluntarily place at the disposal of the government, in case of an
actual invasion; he was also to declare whether he was employed in any
volunteer corps, and if not, whether he would place himself under the
Lord Lieutenant and act as pioneer, driver, &c. In the parish of Enford,
a public meeting was called, which was held at the Inn. Being much the
largest farmer in the parish, I was called to the chair. Having opened
the business of the day by reading the circular of the Lord Lieutenant,
and explained as well as I could the object of the meeting, I urged
those who were present, which was every farmer of the parish, by all
the power of eloquence that I possessed, to come forward manfully and
devotedly, to resist the common enemy with their property and their
lives, in case they should dare to set a foot upon English ground. As it
was then my practice, and which it has ever continued to be to this day,
I told them that I should feel myself a disgrace to human nature, if I
could be capable of urging or exciting my fellow countrymen to any
act, in the danger of which I would not stand forward personally to
participate. I would, therefore, in the first instance, write down
fairly and honestly a true account of all the stock, live and dead, that
I possessed, and conceal nothing whatever. It was as follows: Wheat,
sixteen hundred sacks--barley, fifteen hundred quarters--oats, four
hundred quarters--hay, two hundred and fifty ton--cart horses, thirty,
value from thirty to seventy guineas each--draught oxen, ten--cows,
twenty--sheep, four thousand two hundred--pigs, fifty--two broad-wheel
and eight narrow-wheel waggons, eight carts, &c. &c. &c. all in
excellent condition, and fit for active service. Each farmer in
succession followed my example, in giving a full and faithful account of
the whole of his stock; I having urged the necessity, nay, the policy,
of this; because, in case the enemy were to land, and the cattle
and stock were to be driven off, no one could afterwards claim
compensation for more than he had actually entered. This being done, the
next thing required was, for each person to enter in a column set apart
for that purpose, how many quarters of grain, how many waggons and
horses, how many oxen, sheep, &c. he would furnish gratuitously to the
government in the event of an actual invasion; and, if he were not
serving in any volunteer corps, whether he would become a pioneer or
driver, or place himself at the disposal of the Lord Lieutenant. I took
the pen and wrote as follows:--"I, Henry Hunt, of Chisenbury House, in
the county of Wilts, have given a true and faithful account of all the
live and dead stock, cattle and grain, that I possessed; and I do
hereby voluntarily tender the whole of it, without any reserve, to the
government, to be at their disposal in case of an actual invasion and
landing by the enemy. I also engage to find, at my own expence, able,
careful, active and willing drivers for the teams, and shepherds to
attend the cattle and flocks, to conduct them wherever they may be
required. As for my own personal services, I having lately been
dismissed from the Wiltshire yeomanry by Lord Bruce, the colonel, and
having no confidence either in the courage or skill of the colonel
or any of the officers belonging to that regiment, but having, by
considerable pains and perseverance, obtained a pretty correct knowledge
of military tactics, I hereby engage to enter myself and three servants,
completely equipped, and mounted upon valuable hunters, as volunteers
into the regiment of horse that shall make the first charge upon the
enemy; unless the Lord Lieutenant should think that an active and
zealous friend to his country, well mounted, and ready to perform any
service, however desperate, accompanied by three servants, also well
mounted, can serve the cause of his country better by placing himself at
the disposal of the Lord Lieutenant of the county."

My neighbours stared, and I believe some of them thought me mad with
enthusiasm. And as well as I can recollect, so far were they from
following my example, that they all contented themselves with offering
some a waggon and four horses, some a cart and two horses, some a few
quarters of corn; but no one went further than offering a waggon and
four horses and a few quarters of oats. In fact, when the returns came
to be examined, the offer that I had made exceeded that of all the
farmers of the whole district, for many miles round. As soon as the
meeting was concluded, not satisfied with writing my name down in
the circular, and leaving it to find its way amongst others to head
quarters, I sat down and wrote a letter, which I sent by my servant,
to Lord Pembroke, explicitly stating the extent of the offer, and my
readiness to carry it into execution. I received the following answer,
which I have now before me.

"WILTON HOUSE, August 20th, 1801.

"SIR,

"I have been so overwhelmed for some days with business, resulting from
the necessity of calling upon a part of this county to put itself in a
state of military preparation, that it has not been in my power to send
a more immediate answer to your letter of the sixteenth. As the part
above alluded to does not extend to your residence, I conceive you will
not be called upon to make any movement, except in the event of actual
invasion, or of immediate threatening upon the coast; in which case the
_offers_ you make would be of _infinite service_; in which case also, as
you ask my opinion, I think various lines of service might be pointed
out, in which your _personal services_, attended by your servants, would
be of much greater avail, and far more beneficial to the country, than
as a volunteer in any regular regiment of cavalry, should those corps be
permitted to receive volunteers.

  "I am, Sir,
  "Your very obedient servant,
  "PEMBROKE.
  "To Henry Hunt, Esq.
  "Chisenbury House, Wilts."

Now let the thinking reader look at this circumstance attentively, and
having done so, and marked down the dates, what a field for reflection
does this fact, this letter disclose!--It appears, by the date of this
letter and its contents, that, on the SIXTEENTH OF AUGUST, _in the year
1801, I was acting as CHAIRMAN of a public parish meeting_, held at the
Swan Inn, in the parish of Enford, in the county of Wilts, assembled in
consequence of a circular letter, written by Earl Pembroke, the Lord
Lieutenant of the county, in order to take into consideration and
to adopt the most effectual means of affording assistance to the
government, to resist and repel the invasion of a _foreign foe_.
The very FIRST time in my life that I was ever called upon by my
fellow-countrymen to _preside_ at a public meeting, was on the SIXTEENTH
OF AUGUST, 1801; and, for my zeal and devotion for the welfare and
safety of my country on that day, I received the approbation of Lord
Pembroke, the Lord Lieutenant of the county of Wilts. On the SIXTEENTH
OF AUGUST, 1819, that day eighteen years afterwards, my readers all
well know, and they will never forget it, that I was presiding at as
peaceable, as laudable, and as constitutional a public meeting, held at
Manchester, for the purpose of taking into consideration the best and
_most legal_ means of obtaining "a reform in the peoples' or Com- mons'
House of Parliament." But, instead of then receiving the thanks of the
Lord Lieutenant of the county, I was assaulted by a military force,
imprisoned, sentenced to be incarcerated in the worst, the most
unwholesome, and the most infamous county gaol in the kingdom, for
TWO YEARS and SIX MONTHS; while the butchers who murdered fifteen or
sixteen, and maimed upwards of six hundred of their peaceable and
unresisting fellow creatures, received the thanks of the King for their
services.

This is a very extraordinary coincidence of circumstances, that the
_first_ and the _last_ public meeting at which I ever presided, should
have been on the SIXTEENTH OF AUGUST; and that they should have been
attended by such different results is equally worthy of notice. I am
quite sure, that I was actuated by the very same feeling, the same love
of country, the same anxiety for the well being of my fellow countrymen,
and the same self-devotion, at both these meetings; my great leading
object being to promote, as far as my humble means would permit, the
welfare, the freedom and the happiness of my fellow countrymen.

It will not, I think, be uninteresting to my friends, who honour me
by reading these memoirs, to state how I came by this letter of Lord
Pembroke's, written nearly twenty years ago. It would seem as if I had
been a very wary person to preserve my papers so carefully. But this
is not the fact; I have been quite the reverse; thousands of papers,
letters from public men, which would have been most valuable to me now,
and documents, have I incautiously and thoughtlessly burnt. I will,
however, state how I came by _this_ letter, which I have now here in
this gaol. Soon after I came to Ilchester, I wrote home to my family, to
collect from amongst my papers, all letters and papers containing votes
of thanks that had been passed at public meetings all over the country,
and sent to me from various places, from almost every part of the
kingdom; particularly in the years 1816, 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1820. When
these papers came to me here, in looking them over I discovered three
from Lord Pembroke; and I was rather surprised at their being amongst
the number sent, as I had quite forgotten what subjects they were upon.
But, on opening them, I found that they all contained expressions of
approbation and thanks, for various offers that I had made during the
first French war, while an invasion was threatened. As soon as I had
examined them, I put them by, and never thought of them again, till I
came to write the account of my first offer. I was then going to state
the substance of the Lord Lieutenant's answer, as far as my memory would
serve me, but at that moment recollecting that I had some letters from
Lord Pembroke, I looked for them, and the very first upon which I laid
my hand was that which I have inserted above. Now, let the life and
fortune men produce, if they can, one such instance amongst them, of
patriotic and disinterested self-devotion as that which I evinced at
that time. It will be seen that I was just the same sort of man on the
16th of August, 1801, as I was on the 16th of August, 1819; just the
same sort of man that I am at this moment. In the first instance my
country was in danger; she was threatened by the invasion of a foreign
foe--that was enough; what was my conduct? I hurried to her assistance,
and I made a voluntary tender of _all_ I possessed--_corn, hay, horses,
cows, oxen, sheep, pigs, waggons, carts, &c._ to the value of at least
_twenty thousand pounds_, together with my own personal services, to
perform any duty, however hazardous. I had suffered once for my zeal.
I had been insulted by the colonel of the Wilts yeomanry, and for
resisting it, I had been fined and imprisoned; but this did not
extinguish, nor did it even slacken my zeal for what I conceived to be
the safety and the liberty of any country. The liberal and patriotic
offer which I had made was talked of all over the county by the rich and
by the poor.

At this period I was living in what was called great style; my mansion
being generally full of company. But in the midst of this profligate
course of life, for so it might, with great truth, be called, I was
not unmindful of the wants and the privations of the poor, and I never
failed to do every thing in my power to relieve their distresses, and at
the same time protect them from oppression. Hunting and shooting were my
great delight; but, fond as I was of these sports, I never neglected the
call of a poor man or a poor woman, to attend on his or her behalf, at
a justice meeting, to advocate their cause, and defend them against the
arbitrary and cruel attacks of any little dirty tyrant, who might have
premeditated to oppress them. For this conduct I was branded, behind my
back, by the _quorum_, and all the _jacks_ in office under them, as a
_busy, meddling, officious fellow;_ but this never deterred me from
doing that which I believe to be, and which I had been taught to be, the
duty of a good Christian, namely, my duty towards my neighbour. If the
petty despots of the neighbourhood levelled their sneers at me behind
my back, I was more than repaid, I was most amply rewarded, for this
indignity, by a self-approving conscience, and by the grateful thanks
and blessings of the poor, whenever I came in contact with them. They
were not only civil and respectful towards me and my family, but they
were always ready to fly to do me any act of kindness within their
power. Whenever any particular exertion was required in my farming
business, it was only for me to hint my wish, and it was not only set
about without expostulation or grumbling, but it was sure to be executed
and accomplished with alacrity and cheerfulness; for they never had any
doubt of my punctuality in repaying them with an equitable and a
liberal hand. This was a delightful state of society; each we would act
otherwise than we did, is the weakness of folly; for if we were placed
in the very same situation, at the same age, with the same inexperience,
and impelled by the same impetuous youthful passions; under similar
circumstances, depend upon it we should commit the self-same errors that
we have now to regret. As for myself, instead of indulging in this
sort of weakness, I look back upon my past errors with a sort of awful
reverence for the benignity of the divine will of my Maker; and, when I
prostrate myself before God, and offer up a silent, although an ardent
thanksgiving for all his goodness to me, an insignificant human being, I
never forget to pour out my most grateful and unbounded acknowledgments
to him for his having permitted me to pass through life hitherto _so
well as I have done_, without having committed any premeditated or
deadly sin, such as would bear down and oppress my soul with conscious
guilt, and place me in that deplorable situation which is so beautifully
expressed by a sublime author: "of all mortals, those are the most
exquisitely miserable, who groan beneath the pressure of a melancholy
mind, or labour under the stings of a guilty conscience; a slave
confined to the gallies, or an exile to punish--living and labouring
for the mutual benefit and happiness of the whole.

Many of my readers will be surprised, and will exclaim, "how was it
possible that Mr. Hunt, surrounded with so many blessings, and appearing
so much to enjoy such a rational, desirable, delightful occupation,
should have been led away, should have been betrayed into the guilt of
dissipation?" Ah, my friends! how easy is it, in looking back upon past
events, upon lost time, how easy is it for us to say, and what a common
expression it is, in the mouth of almost every reflecting person, "_If
my time were to come over again, how very differently would I act!_" But
this sort of reasoning is very fallacious, it is unworthy a philosopher.
When a person reflects upon particular events of his life, where his
objects had failed for want of foresight, or for want of prudence, it
may be excusable in him to express a wish, nay, it is almost impossible
for any one to suppress an inward wish, that he had acted with more
caution, discretion or prudence; but even a hankering wish of this sort
is a weakness, although it may be an amiable and an excusable weakness.
To wish at all for an impossibility, such as the recalling of time that
is irretrievably gone by, must be a weakness. But, even if we could
recall it, to assert that [--illegible--] is in perfect paradise
compared with these."

The reader will be careful to recollect, that I am not endeavoring to
screen those sins that I know I have committed. As I feel that they will
come under the denomination of _venial_, and not deadly sins, I shall
not shrink from the task which I have imposed upon myself, of recording
them as often as they occur at the different periods of my history. I am
not insensible of my errors, faults, or frailties; I know that we are
all poor frail mortals; but, as my poor father said upon his death bed,
"I have not the least shadow of doubt upon my mind, that a wise, just,
and beneficent Creator and Father of all, will pardon my errors." With
the same sort of hope, and with a similar impression upon my mind,
I pass my numerous hours of solitude here in the most delightful
reflections. Calm, composed and perfectly free from the slightest
impatience under the idea of my lengthened imprisonment, I have nothing
about me of pining or fretting; and when I nightly lay my head down on
my pillow, I invariably enjoy sweet, sound, and uninterrupted repose. I
rise early, refreshed, vigorous and cheerful, always occupied, always
looking forward with new and renovated hopes, of living to see the
enemies of my country and the persecutors of my suffering countrymen
brought to justice. Though I am a determined and unpromising enemy of
those who tyrannize over and oppress my fellow creatures, yet I feel
that I am always ready to forgive my personal injuries, and I am never
in better humor with myself, and never have a higher opinion of my own
character, than when I find my heart divested of all vindictive feelings
against the petty tyrants by whom I am surrounded. For their cruel
persecution of myself and my unoffending family, I will, if I live and
have the power, deliberately and perseveringly bring them to justice;
but I will not do it to gratify a vindictive spirit--I will do it for
the sake of justice itself; not to gratify my own revenge, but for the
protection of those who may come hereafter.

To return to my narrative: the letter which, in answer to my unlimited
offers, I received from Lord Pembroke, I communicated to the
neighbouring farmers, at a meeting held for that purpose. This quieted
their fears, and the account of Lord Nelson's attack upon the flotilla
contributed, in a great measure, to dissipate the general apprehension
which pervaded the whole country, that an immediate invasion was
actually likely to take place. The French Government understood this
thing well; they knew that it kept the country in a continual state of
ferment and apprehension; and therefore they persisted in keeping the
army of observation and the flotilla at Boulogne, in order to harrass
the British Ministry, who, however, contrived to turn this to their own
advantage, as it enabled them to frighten the people out of their
money, by an enormous levy of taxes; the supplies voted this year being
forty-two millions, and the loan which took place being twenty-five
millions. By this means the taxes this year were increased one million
seven hundred and ninety-four thousand pounds. I believe that nothing
but the dread of invasion would have induced the people of England to
submit to such enormous drains upon their pockets. This bugbear, then,
was cherished with the greatest care by the Ministers; a striking
example of which is, the state of ferment we were placed in at Enford,
the centre of the county of Wilts, at least fifty miles distant from any
part of the coast, and a great deal further from any part of it where a
landing was likely to be attempted. We all, however, in consequence of
Lord Pembroke's letter, now went very steadily about our business again.

The patriotic and truly illustrious Washington's Presidency expired
in America this year, and he retired into private life, amidst the
grateful benedictions of his country, which, under his wise, virtuous,
and cheap administration, had, in spite of numerous difficulties, risen
to such a magnitude, that its friendship was courted by all the old
Governments. It appeared that the public debt was 78 millions of
dollars, not more than 16 millions sterling, which sum was yearly
diminishing, and that the annual expenditure of the chief officer of the
state was only nine thousand five hundred pounds, not above half the
amount of the sinecure of the Marquis of Buckingham or Marquis of
Camden, as Tellers of the Exchequer. What a contrast was exhibited
between the expences of Great Britain and those of America!

In England the average price of wheat, throughout the year, was a
hundred and twenty shillings a quarter, or fifteen shillings a bushel.
It was estimated, that nine millions of acres of corn were grown in
England this year, and the price which the produce sold for may be
fairly averaged at twelve pounds per acre; therefore, in the one
year, one hundred and eight millions of pounds were pocketed by the
land-holders and farmers in the price of their corn only. I had grown
most excellent crops, and of course had come in for my share. In fact,
my corn averaged above four pounds per sack for the wheat, and four
pounds per quarter for the barley; so that merely the corn with which I
offered, in case of an invasion, to supply the Government, gratuitously,
was not worth less than fifteen thousand pounds. I repeat it once more,
let the exclusively loyal gentry--let the life and fortune men--let the
hole-and-corner addressers come forward, and point me out one instance
amongst their whole hordes, of a man who ever volunteered to serve
his country to such an extent. What I this day told Dr. Colston, the
Visiting Magistrate, is quite applicable on this subject. When he was
professing every disposition to serve me, I replied, looking him firmly
in the face, "Doctor, doctor! shew me an _act_ and I will believe you.
_One act is worth ten thousand professions._ I ask for nothing but what
is reasonable, and consistent with common sense and common humanity;
and nothing but what is consistent with your strict duty as a man, a
clergyman, and a christian. _Let me see my family at reasonable hours
in the day time, so long as they conduct themselves with decorum
and propriety, and violate none of the rules of the gaol, and I am
content._"

The reader will see, that this is the burthen of my song, "Let me see
my family." This one simple, this one reasonable request, is all I have
asked, is all I do ask, and it is all I shall ask. But, while you deny
me this, talk not to me of conciliation. All your little, petty, dirty,
mean tricks to annoy me I can and do laugh at; I should despise myself,
if I could not despise and disregard them. But, like expert butchers,
who, when they are about to cut the throat of their innocent victim, the
bleating lamb, know well where to apply the knife, so do you know where
to inflict a deadly wound in the most vital part. There is, to be sure,
this distinction between you and the butcher; it is his business, it
is his profession, by which he gets his daily bread; and, indeed, the
sooner he kills his victim the more merciful he is: but as for you, your
conduct is ten thousand times more brutal than that of the butcher,
inasmuch as you inflict torture upon a human being, merely for the
pleasure of inflicting torture. And do you really believe, are you so
besotted as to flatter yourselves, that you will escape? Do you really
believe, that "Where vice and cruelty go before, vengeance will not
follow after?" Vain and delusive hope!!! Justice is slow, very slow, in
reaching the minions of power; but she is certain to prevail at last.
This digression I am sure will be excused, and I will now proceed.
This period (1801 and 1802) may be said to have been the zenith of the
farmers' glory. If a farm was to be let, scores were riding and driving
over each other, ready to break their necks to take it, to rent it
at any price. Not only farmers, but tailors, tinkers, grocers,
linen-drapers, and all sorts of tradesmen and shopkeepers, were running,
_helter shelter_, to be farmers; men connected with the press, and
cunning attorneys were joining in the chase; men of all professions,
indeed, were now eager to become gentlemen farmers. My father used
to class the whole of these under the general denomination of APRON
FARMERS. Never was there a more significant and intelligible term
applied to any set of men. In every parish you now saw one or two of
these _apron farmers_, gentlemen who knew very well how to handle a
yard, so as to make short measure in selling a piece of cloth; men who
could acquit themselves well at a pestle and mortar, who could tie up a
paper parcel, or "split a fig;" who could drive a goose-quill, or ogle
the ladies from behind a counter, very decently; but who knew no more
about the management of a farm than they did about algebra, or the most
intricate problems of Euclid. A pretty mess these gentry made of it!
every one who had saved four or five thousand pounds by his trade must
now become a farmer! They all knew what profits the farmer was making,
and they not only envied him, but they made a desperate plunge to become
participators with him in the booty. There was scarcely an attorney
in the whole country that did not carry on the double trade of
quill-driving and clod-hopping. Most of them purchased land, even if
they borrowed the money to pay for it; and many, many of them, after
having farmed and farmed, till they had not a shilling in their pockets
to support their families, have been compelled to give up their estates
to the mortgagee. As an illustration of this fact, I could point out
numerous instances of this sort of mad folly. I remember an Irish
Barrister, who had married a lady of fortune at Bath, came and purchased
an estate in Sussex, adjoining one that I occupied; and this, as
he expressed himself, he did, that he might have the benefit of my
experience to assist him in the cultivation of it. He was to take the
timber at a valuation, and it is a sufficient proof of his ignorance
of these matters, that he really did not know the difference between a
hazel bush and an oak tree; for, although he was a very clever and an
ingenious man in his way, yet he actually applied to me, to know how
they would measure such _small timber_ as that which he pointed out to
me, which was nothing more than a _hazel bush!_ Such was his ignorance
of country affairs, that he did not know barley and wheat from grass,
nor beans from oats, when growing; and he seriously proposed, as the
best method of hatching young ducks, to set them under the rooks who had
made their nests in the lofty trees that surrounded his house; and yet
this gentleman must be a farmer, forsooth! But I am anticipating my
history. These facts must, however, convince every rational mind, that
this was such an unnatural state of things as could not exist for any
lengthened period. It did, nevertheless, drag on to the end of the war,
when all these _apron farmers_ were brushed off their farms, as one
would brush from off one's leg a fly that was stinging it. These
gentry long since quitted the turmoil and difficulty of _agricultural
pursuits_. Those that purchased have given up their land to the
mortgagee; and those that rented have had their stocks sold to pay
their creditors; and many of them, cursing the evil hour when they
were induced to become farmers, have crept quietly back to occupy the
situation behind the counter, as servants, where only a few years before
they had reigned as masters. These were some of the evils naturally
attendant upon the bad policy as well as wickedness of one nation going
to war to put down and destroy the liberty of another!

I used regularly to attend Devizes market, seldom, if ever, missing a
market-day. After my father's death I was elected, or rather promoted to
his seat, which was that of chairman at the head of the table, at the
principal dining room of the farmers, at the Bear Inn, the best Inn of
the town. I have already described some of the scenes that used to occur
upon those occasions, as to the way in which the bottle was passed about
after dinner; but there is one other important point, connected with
these weekly meetings of farmers, which I deem most worthy of recording.
Those parties were composed chiefly of farmers; but there were
intermingled several large millers, brewers, maltsters, and corn
jobbers from Bath and the surrounding country; and every now and then a
gentleman _bag-man_, or traveller, would join us, which he was sure to
do if there was any one in the town. After dinner the home news of the
day having been talked over, foreign news and politics were generally
introduced; for, since I had been in the King's Bench, my opinion was
considered as some authority, and very earnest and warm debates used
frequently to take place. For some years before this period all
political discussion had been put down with a high hand, by the impudent
and boisterous conduct and assertions of one or two of these Bath corn
jobbers, who denounced any one as a Jacobin who ever dared to utter a
word contrary to the plans of the despots of Europe, or hostile to
the measures of Pitt. As far back as 1794 and 1795, if any one boldly
delivered his sentiments, and reprobated the war as the measures of the
ministers, he was not only denounced as a Jacobin, but he was generally
turned out of the company, and his arguments, instead of being answered,
were silenced by _brute force_. However, my father possessed too much
manhood and liberality to suffer such a course as that to be taken while
he presided.

At our meetings there was an impudent, unblushing, self-conceited fellow
of the name of Perry, a miller and corn-dealer of Bath, who was always
sure to contradict and insult any one who dared advance a liberal
opinion; in which outrageous conduct he never failed to receive the
support of those gentlemen _bag-men_, when any of them happened to be
present; so that every young man, whatever were his pretensions to
talent, was compelled to keep silence, unless he concurred with the
ignorant and slavish doctrines of this hectoring jobber in grain, and
the still more consequential knights of the bag. Having been informed,
by a gentleman of Bath, one day, when I was speaking of this Perry's
insolent conduct, that he was one of Mr. Pitt's agents, paid to
promulgate his doctrines, and to put down the arguments of his
opponents, I took occasion, when I was in the King's Bench, to make
inquiries upon this subject, and any friend Clifford ascertained, from
the most unquestionable sources, that it was one of Mr. Pitt's plans, to
employ and pay, out of the secret service money, almost all the
travellers in the kingdom, at least all those who possessed either a
sufficient stock of impudence or a talent of speaking or arguing in
company, for the express purpose of putting down public opinion, and
enforcing and propagating the measures of the ministers, as the most
wise and politic; and that these worthies were paid in proportion to
their boisterous powers, and their impudence; and the reader will easily
conceive that they soon acquired a sufficient stock of the latter, when
they knew under what powerful auspices they were acting. He also
ascertained that, in addition to these itinerant propagators and
champions of tyrannical and despotic measures, they had from one to
three stationary auxiliaries in every principal town in the kingdom, who
frequented all places of public resort, and were always ready to
denounce any man as a Jacobin and an enemy to his country, who dared to
give utterance to an honest, candid thought. These fellows were so
backed on by the local authorities, that the general feeling being also
pretty much in their favour, their insolence was in many cases almost
insufferable. Few men chose to enter the lists with them, because they
had no chance of fair play, nor any probability of arguing the question
with any degree of candour or liberality; and as a man must have either
put up with flat ignorant contradiction, and open premeditated insult,
or have got into a quarrel with them, conversation on political subjects
was for many years effectually banished from almost every public
company. However, since I had returned from my travels (which is the
slang term of going to prison), I had acquired a considerable degree of
confidence, and, accordingly, the very first time that I found this Mr.
Perry pouncing upon one of the company with one of his rude knock-down
arguments, I, without ceremony, took up the cudgels, and announced that,
as long as I continued to be the chairman of that company, it was my
intention to maintain the freedom of conversation, and I called upon the
company to support me in my determination. If they would do this, every
man would, I said, be at liberty to deliver his sentiments upon public
matters with perfect freedom, as long as he abstained from offering any
personal rudeness or insult to any one present, which should not be
tolerated from any quarter whatever. With one or two exceptions, my
proposal met with general approbation. This said, Mr. Perry made a long
speech, calling upon the company to sustain their character for loyalty,
and to declare themselves church and king men; and he urged them not to
tolerate any thing like republican or free principles. He was heard very
coolly, and even met with some disapprobation, upon which, getting warm,
he declared that no man should utter any jacobinical expressions while
he was present. This very naturally caused a laugh, and Mr. Upstart sat
down, vowing vengeance against all Jacobins. I replied, and informed him
that his notions about jacobinism were thoroughly ridiculous, and that
if he ever heard any sentiments delivered of which he disapproved, and,
in answer to which he could not find arguments, stated in decent
language, the only way for him to act was, to walk out of the room; for
he might depend upon it, if he ever insulted any one of the company in
future, by giving them the lie, or calling them Jacobins and enemies to
their country, if the party would support their chairman, I would put
him out of the room. This was indeed turning the tables upon the loyal
gentlemen, and it shews the alteration of opinions of that same company,
who, a very few years before, had joined in forcing a very worthy man to
quit the same room, merely because he disapproved of the war with
France. This room ever afterwards was notorious for the liberality of
sentiment that pervaded the company; and, as long as I remained the
chairman thereof, the freedom of rational discussion was preserved
unimpaired.

The reader will perceive that I have of late very seldom mentioned the
name of Mrs. Hunt. The fact is, that I did not at this period enjoy that
domestic felicity, of which I had heretofore partaken. I was, as I have
more than once stated, gay, thoughtless, and dissipated. I seldom ever
spent a retired, quiet evening at home, enjoying the rational amusements
of my own domestic fireside. We bad always company at home, or I was one
of a party abroad; myself and Mrs. Hunt were living a true fashionable
life, and we entered into all its levities and follies. This course of
life had drawn us into more fashionable, more accomplished society; and
I own that to me polished manners were a great attraction, and that
those who possessed them, possessed superior powers to fascinate.
Amongst this number I frequently met a lady, who had been bred up and
educated in the highest and most fashionable circles; she was tall,
fair, and graceful, and, as far as my judgment went, every charm and
accomplishment, both corporeal and mental, that could adorn an elegant
and beautiful female, appeared to be centered in her. At first sight I
was struck with her superior air and graceful form, but I soon began
to admire the beauties of her mind more than I had at first sight been
captivated by her person. We were, as if by accident, frequently thrown
into each other's society--a circumstance with which I was very much
delighted; and, as it never occurred to me that there could, by any
possibility, be any harm in admiring and paying respectful attention to
a lovely, elegant, and accomplished female, I never concealed in the
smallest degree the pleasure which I felt in her society. Though for
upwards of twelve months, which was ever since we had become first
acquainted, my attentions had been very marked, yet they had not
attracted any particular notice. I thought, alas! and I professed what I
thought, that I felt the most pure platonic affection for this lady, and
that I was blessed with her friendship in return. My wife had watched
the progress of this attachment with anxiety and pain; she mentioned her
fears, and expostulated in becoming terms against the imprudence of my
conduct, which might give occasion to the world for ill-natured remarks;
and she represented to me that, although my attentions were open and
undisguised, they were very pointed and visible to every one, and that
people would and did talk about it. I professed to set at defiance the
malignant opinions of the envious and the ill-natured, and, as I was
conscious of the purity and honour of my intentions, I was the last man
living that would be likely to forego any pleasure, merely because the
censorious world chose to make their remarks upon it. I saw that my wife
had not the slightest suspicion of any thing criminal, neither was
there the least reason for any such suspicion; but I saw also, that she
dreaded the consequence of such incessant--such devoted attention on my
part, which, although it was received with politeness, and the strictest
propriety, she nevertheless perceived to be not at all disagreeable.
Though this attachment was as pure and disinterested as platonic
affection could possibly be, and although I should quite as soon have
indulged an improper thought towards my own sister, yet the society of
this lady was now become absolutely necessary to my comfort; we were,
therefore, frequently together, and I was miserable if three or four
days passed without our meeting--a circumstance which seldom happened,
notwithstanding we lived at a distance of ten miles from each other.

It will be asked, what said the husband of the lady? for she was a
married woman. It would ill-become me to say more than is absolutely
necessary upon that subject; but, unfortunately he was careless and
inattentive, and knew not how to prize the treasure that he possessed;
and besides, as he never entertained, nor ever had any reason to
entertain, a shadow of doubt respecting his wife, we were constantly
left together. This intimacy had now continued nearly two years, and as
the lady was going to stay with her family in a distant county, I was
invited (almost of course) to pay her a visit while she was there. I
scarcely need say, that the invitation was accepted. Instead of staying
a week or ten days, I remained a month. During the whole of the time, my
attention was incessant; I could not join in any scheme of pleasure or
amusement, unless she was one of the party. Unluckily, too, there was no
one to controul us. Her word was a law, which I resolutely carried into
effect. At length the gentleman getting quite tired of my visit, which
was never intended or professed by me to be to him, but to the lady, he
left us, and went to London. Whenever he was asked by his friends or
acquaintance, if I would not make one of a party to walk, to ride, to
drive, or any other amusement, he invariably answered, "you must ask my
wife, by G--; Hunt is no visitor of mine he is Mrs. ------'s visitor;"
and I, without any ceremony, admitted this, by saying it was perfectly
true, if the lady chose to go I should accompany her, and if she chose
to remain at home, I should remain with her; and this determination I
invariably followed.

Business, however, called me home, a few days after the gentleman left
us, and I went into Wiltshire, about the middle of May, having made
a promise to return in July, to attend the races at Brighton. This was
the longest and most tedious six weeks of my life. I thought of nothing
but my intended visit to Brighton races; and such was the anxiety of my
mind, that it brought on a serious, and, indeed, alarming fever. In
the fits of delirium I raved for the lady who was the object of my
solicitude, and at one period the paroxysms were so violent, that Mrs.
Hunt actually thought that I should have been bereaved of my senses; and
to calm me, she seriously proposed to send an express for the lady. In
a few days the strength of my constitution overcame the disease, and
I recovered. But I found my life was quite a blank; my very soul was
absorbed in thinking and longing for the society of one dear object. I
took not the least interest in the political occurrences of the day;
and, for the first time in my life, I grew careless, and totally
neglected my business. Peace had been proclaimed: such an event, at any
other time, I should have considered a matter of the highest importance,
but that event scarcely excited my attention. Buonaparte was made
first consul for life, and the Legion of Honour was established; this
occasioned a great sensation throughout the country, but the discussion
of these matters created no lively emotions in _my_ breast; my mind was
totally absorbed in contemplating another object. I now began to feel
the fatal effects of indulging such a passion as that of platonic
affection. Though there had never been the slightest variation from the
strict line of virtuous friendship, yet, such was its power over me,
that I found it irresistible. I struggled to break the spell, but I
found it impossible; every effort that I made, only served to wind it
more closely round my heart. I confessed my weakness to Mrs. Hunt; and,
indeed, it was already too visible to her to require any confession on
my part. At length the time arrived for my departure, and the manner of
taking leave between myself and Mrs. Hunt, was very different from what
it had ever been before; it was distressing to both, and appeared to be
clouded with an ominous aspect.

Without dwelling any longer upon this painful subject, suffice it to
say, that notwithstanding it was the very eve of harvest, I proceeded on
my journey. I drove my old friend Robert Clare, in my curricle, and our
servants followed us on horseback. We arrived in the neighborhood of
Brighton, where we were received with great politeness. Clare went to
visit the gentleman, I, the lady. We remained a few days before we
departed for Brighton, where we had taken lodgings for the race-week.
Instead of being diminished, my attentions to the lady increased every
day, and as they became more pointed, and excited the notice of every
one, the husband remonstrated, and threatened to take the lady home.
In fact, he was urged on to do this by some of the lady's family. I
expostulated, but never relaxed my assiduities, and he was indecisive. A
storm was, however, gathering round us, which threatened to burst every
moment; and dreading that separation which appeared worse than death,
at the thoughts of which I was almost frantic, we took the desperate
resolution to put it out of the power of any one to part us. Brighton
was a dangerous place for persons in our situation; there was the Prince
of Wales, our present King, living with Mrs. Fitzherbert, in the most
open and public manner; this was an example too likely to have a baneful
effect upon two persons so doatingly fond of each other, that the very
idea of being parted, produced almost a momentary madness. Such was the
result of platonic affection. Without ever having made the slightest
approach to any thing criminal, our attachment was so riveted, that to
cease to exist would have been ten thousand times preferable to such a
separation, as would have finally deprived us of the power of enjoying
each other's society. The die was cast--my curricle was brought to the
door about one o'clock in the middle of the day; and I prevailed on
her to take a seat, which she did almost in a lifeless state, without
knowing where I was going to drive her. This did not excite the
particular observation of our friends who were of the party, as I was
in the habit of driving her out almost every day. As soon as we were
seated, I drove off to Lewes. Upon the road we met the Prince, Mrs.
Fitzherbert, and Sir John and Lady Lade, in a barouche, returning from
the races. The moment that we arrived at Lewes, I ordered four horses
to a post-chaise, and having written a short letter back to my friend
Clare, to explain the cause of our absence, we proceeded to London with
all possible speed. The friends of the lady followed her the next day,
and every offer was made to induce her to return; but the fatal step
being once taken, there was no retreating, and all entreaties were in
vain, though every inducement was offered and repeated for six or eight
months. I shall only add, that though there can be no justification
for such a rash step, yet if ever there was a female that had received
cause, which greatly palliated, almost to justification, she was that
person. The circumstances were so peculiar and so distressing, that no
legal proceedings were ever taken either against her or myself; but, on
the contrary, amicable arrangements were made.

Perhaps, and no doubt, it will be said by some, that I am an unfeeling,
barefaced offender, thus publicly to blazon forth my own errors. But I
claim the indulgence of my readers to recollect that I have undertaken
to write my own history, and, as I have promised to do it faithfully, no
consideration upon earth shall induce me to conceal from the public my
faults. They, and particularly the Reformers, shall, if I live, know
my character such as it is. It is a duty I owe to them as well as to
myself, and though this is a most painful duty, yet I am determined not
to shrink from the task of performing it with a rigid fidelity. Millions
of the most amiable and the most virtuous, if they cannot altogether
pardon, will know how to make a generous and liberal allowance for the
frailties of human nature. I have a much more difficult labour yet to
accomplish, in narrating the separation that took place between myself
and my wife, in consequence of this fatal step. But as I am quite sure
nothing I ever did in my life can make me appear half so bad as I have
been represented to be, by the venal public press of the country, I
shall proceed deliberately and resolutely to disclose the whole.

The circumstance of our departure from so public a place as Brighton
soon got into all the newspapers, and the intelligence had reached my
home at Chisenbury, long before I got there, whither I was obliged to
return, as it was just in the middle of harvest. I had written to a
friend to meet me there, and to prepare Mrs. Hunt for the interview.
Our meeting I will not attempt to describe; it was most painful for all
parties; I concealed nothing from my wife, and, when she knew the extent
of the evil, with a becoming spirit, she declared her determination not
to share a divided heart. Without going into a detail here, it will be
sufficient to say, that a separation was mutually agreed on, and her
relations were appointed to meet my attorney, to make the necessary
arrangements for carrying it into effect. I disclosed to my attorney my
circumstances as to property, and intrusted him to accede to the most
liberal settlement.

How many times, when I have come before the public, have I been taunted
by the hireling press, and its still baser agents, that I had turned my
wife out of doors to starve! How incessantly was this falsehood bawled
out, repeated, and reiterated, by the dirty hireling agents of the
contemptible Westminster Junto, so properly denominated by Mr. Cobbett
the Rump Committee! How often was this lie vomited forth upon the
hustings, by the _paid tools_ of the opposing candidates at the Bristol
and Westminster elections! Whenever I have argued for the right of every
Englishman to be free, for Universal Suffrage, or have pleaded the cause
of the poor, instead of answering my arguments, or controverting my
principles of justice and humanity, the answer has been, "you have
turned _your wife out of doors, to starve, Hunt, therefore we will not
listen to your doctrine_." This has been particularly the language of
that hypocritical faction the Whigs, or Burdettites; those pretended
sham friends of liberty, who, within the last seven years, have done
more to palsy public opinion, than all the Tories that ever lived
could have done. This Rump, this fag-end of a committee of Westminster
electors, that was once formed to support the freedom of election in
that city, but the members of which have, since the management of it got
into their hands, converted the power that they have assumed into an
engine of the basest corruption, and have proved themselves the most
tyrannical suppressors of public opinion, as well as the most determined
brutal destroyers of every thing like fair discussion; who, at all their
public meetings, whether held in Palace Yard or the Crown and Anchor,
have systematically put down, and forcibly prevented from delivering his
sentiments, every person that was not one of their own gang; who, with
coarse, vulgar, beastly hootings and yellings, have driven every honest
public man from their bacchanalian carousals at the Crown and Anchor;
this set of dirty underlings I have most narrowly watched, year after
year, during a long period; and, as I know all their tricks and
shufflings, I will faithfully lay them before the public, as I proceed
in my Memoirs. The ramifications of the mischief they have done, have
spread far and near. They have kept up a correspondence with some of
the most patriotic individuals in every principal town and city in the
kingdom; by which means they have frequently exercised the power which
they thus acquire, of stifling those sparks of popular fervour, that
would have long since kindled into an irrepressible blaze of patriotism,
had it not been for the sinister exertions of this foul extinguisher of
every particle of generous public liberty, that did not tend to promote
their own base and selfish ends; always acting, as they have done, under
the direction and immediate influence of their Grand Lama, or principal
juggler, Sir Francis Burdett, in whose pay they have most of them
been, directly or indirectly, for many years past. Unable to answer my
arguments, and dreading the exposure of their hero's trickery, this
gang, with a broad faced, impudent individual, of the name of Adams, a
currier, in Drury Lane, at their head, whenever I offered to address
them in public, have been always foremost in the cry of, "Hunt, you
turned your wife out of doors to starve;" and not satisfied with this,
these despicable wretches have worn the heels of their shoes off, in
running from door to door, and from pot-house to pot-house, to vilify me
behind my back, propagating the most bare-faced falsehoods, all of their
own fabrication. I will, by-and-bye, give the reader a specimen of one
of the stories invented by this Adams, and related to Mr. Cobbett by
the man himself, when he was confined in Newgate, in the year 1812; all
their lies ending with the usual burthen of the song, that "I had turned
my wife out of doors to starve." This man, Adams, was a witness in the
trial of Wright _v_. Cobbett, in the Court of King's Bench, some time
since, for a libel; and if he swore that which was attributed to him,
Mr. Cobbett neither did justice to himself nor to the public, by
declining to prosecute him for perjury.

But I will now proceed to detail the particulars of the settlement which
I made upon my wife at the time of our separation; and I have no doubt
that any statement, at the same time that it gives the lie direct to
the base assertions of the foregoing scoundrels, will convince every
unprejudiced, as well as every liberal and rational person in the
country, of the dastardly conduct of mine and my country's greatest
enemies, the hypocritical false friends of liberty. It will be
recollected by those who have done me the honour to read my Memoirs,
that when I married I received one thousand pounds as a fortune with my
wife; five hundred of which I lent immediately to one of her brothers,
without ever having taken it out of the house of my wife's father; which
five hundred pounds still remained, and continued to remain in his
hands, for several years after my being parted from his sister. I
mention this fact, here, to shew in what light her brothers and family
considered this separation. They looked upon it as a misfortune which
all lamented; but it is evident, from this circumstance, that they did
not look upon it in a criminal light; for, if they had done so, they
would not have continued a moment under such a pecuniary 61

HENRY HUNT.

obligation to me, which by them could have been so easily removed, as
they were all by this time in very good circumstances; and the brother,
James, who held this sum, was now in partnership with his elder brother,
John, the banker at Marlborough. My wife's fortune was, as I have said
before, one thousand pounds. The consideration then was, what sum I
should secure annually to Mrs. Hunt. I had given my attorney authority
to consent to, nay, to propose, the most liberal allowance; having made
him fully acquainted with my property and income, which I authorised
him to lay before her brother, who was acting in her behalf. After a
conference, my attorney informed me that he had proposed to allow Mrs.
Hunt an annuity of two hundred pounds, and secure it as a rent charge
upon my freehold and leasehold estates in Wiltshire and Somersetshire,
which he had no doubt would be accepted if I approved of it. My answer
was, "although this may be considered a liberal and handsome annuity to
my wife, when compared with the fortune I received with her, and as
a fair allowance, when taking all my property and prospects into
consideration, yet, as I am the _aggressor,/I>, I will, as far as I
have the power, make at least a pecuniary compensation. I shall not be
satisfied with what might be considered as fair; but I will make her a
liberal and generous allowance. I have now the means, and while I have
the means and the will to do her justice, I will put it out of my own
power to act otherwise. Go, and settle the annuity, draw up the deed,
and insert therein _three hundred pounds a year_, and I will sign it
immediately, for fear of any accident."

This was done as I directed, and it was also agreed that Mrs. Hunt
should have the care of our daughter, and I of our two sons, but that we
should both have free access to them whenever we pleased. All this being
arranged amicably, and in a manner perfectly satisfactory to Mrs. Hunt
and her relations, at least as far as pecuniary affairs went, and
as this annuity was regularly paid for nine years before another
arrangement was proposed by the trustee, her brother, which I shall
faithfully detail when I approach that period of my history, I would
fain hope that the calumnious cowards who have so often assailed me,
as having turned my wife out of doors to starve, will, at any rate, in
future, abstain from propagating such a bare-faced falsehood. When I
think of these things, perhaps I ought to thank them for urging me on to
this disclosure of my domestic arrangements; which, as I believe they
will not tell to my disadvantage, as to liberality, so I am quite sure
that nothing but such overwhelming and persevering calumnies would have
ever induced me to disclose them.

It was proposed that Mrs. Hunt should go and live with her relations;
but, as I thought three hundred pounds a year was quite sufficient to
make her independent of any one, and quite enough to enable her to keep
a small and respectable establishment of her own, I recommended that
she should take a house, and have her family to herself. She urged that
there would be the expence of purchasing furniture, &c. and that she
would rather, on that account, take furnished lodgings. I soon contrived
to overcome this difficulty; I was living in a large mansion, Chisenbury
House, containing four or five sitting rooms, and ten or twelve bed
rooms, amply and expensively furnished with plate, linen, china, and
every requisite for a large family, keeping a great deal of company. I,
therefore, without the least hesitation, followed up the liberality of
the original deed, by immediately offering a moiety of my household
furniture, plate, linen, china, books, &c. &c. which was more than
enough to furnish any moderately-sized house. This offer was no sooner
made than accepted this is another proof of the malignant falsehood
of the base editors of the venal press, and of the hireling tools of
"England's hope and Westminster's pride," the despicable Rump! "Well,
how did you manage to divide these things?" it will be asked! Why, in a
manner totally beyond the comprehension of these political _split-figs,
tailors, glass-cutters, leather- dressers, and curriers_ of the
Westminster Rump. Instead of doing as these fellows would have done
under such circumstances, instead of sending for a broker or an
appraiser, I acted as follows: I desired her to send for a cabinet maker
and his man, and make them pack up a half of every thing, which I should
leave entirely to her own choice; and as I was going from home, which I
did for the purpose of leaving the whole arrangement to herself, I left
an order for my bailiff to place any number of waggons and horses at her
disposal, to convey whatever she might choose to have packed up, to
her house at Marlborough, and before I left home I placed one hundred
pounds, exclusive of the annuity, in her hands, adding, that if she did
not pack up the best half of every thing, it was her own fault. Look at
this, ye venal, calumniating crew, and hide your diminished heads. Ye
paltry tools of the Baronet, ye _Places, Adamses, Clearys, Brookses, and
Richters_, belonging to the Rump of Westminster! You have dragged this
statement forth, you have given me an opportunity of doing justice to
myself, in this particular.

I understand there has been a great desire amongst this crew, to see how
I should get over this part of my domestic history. The base vermin,
some of them, I know, expected that I should follow the example of
_higher authority_ and traduce my wife, as a justification for my own
errors and frailties. Gracious God!--traduce my wife!--calumniate the
mother of my children! Rather than have been guilty of such baseness,
rather than have done this, even if she had been exactly the reverse of
what she is, instead of being all truth, purity and goodness, if she had
been guilty of some errors and indiscretions, even then I would rather
have plucked my tongue from my mouth, and have cast it into the fire,
much rather than have uttered a breath of slander against my wife, or
have whispered a calumny against the mother of my children.

Mrs. Hunt did as I requested her, and the first time I paid her a
visit, at her new residence, at Marlborough, which was about a month
afterwards, I found that she had not only got furniture enough to
furnish a comfortable house, but that she had a room-full over what was
necessary. Some of my readers will stare to hear me talk of visiting
my wife, under such circumstances, and after such a formal separation.
But so it was; and I can say further, though we have had the misfortune
to be divided, I do not believe that any human being ever heard either
of us cast any reflection, or throw out any the slightest imputation
against the other. I have always treated her and spoken of her as the
amiable mother of my children, and she, I believe, has spoken of me at
all times as the affectionate, though in this respect the unfortunate
father, of her children.

Thus have I, without the slightest disguise, given a faithful and
unvarnished detail of this melancholy and distressing event. This has
been the only drawback, the only thing that my enemies could ever bring
fairly against me, that I was separated from my wife--an assertion which
was too true to admit of dispute; but all the other calumnies against
one are as false and as groundless, as that _of having turned my wife
out of doors to starve_. Having said thus much, I am sure that the
reader will not expect that I shall be constantly wounding the feelings
of an amiable and extensive family, by dwelling upon and publishing
every little anecdote of my private domes tic concerns. It is enough
to say here, that it is now nearly nineteen years since this event
occurred, and I will briefly add, that, placing this unfortunate family
affliction out of the question, no man living ever enjoyed nineteen
years of such uninterrupted domestic felicity with less alloy than I
have done. No man's home was ever more agreeable than mine was at all
times to me; and I sincerely believe, that this alone has enabled me
to support and to survive the great public exertions that I have been
constantly making for so many years past.

To all those who may exclaim against my errors, I can only say, in the
language of the greatest Reformer that ever came upon the earth,
"_let him or her that is without sin cast the first stone." How many
profligate and abandoned scoundrels will read this, and casting their
hypocritical eyes up, "like a duck in thunder," will exclaim and rave
against my failings! How many profligate, debauched rakes, when sneaking
home to their wives and families from stews and brothels, will, to
disguise their own debauchery, profess to rail still at me! How many
abandoned, though slyly intriguing city dames, will cast their arms
around their husbands' necks, as a proof of their own virtue, or rather
to disguise their own frailties, and exclaim aloud against me! None but
the truly virtuous know how to make a liberal allowance for the
failings of others. My father used to observe, and he set it down as
an invariable rule, that the most abandoned and profligate secretly
intriguing females, were always the most unforgiving, unrelenting
persecutors of any one of their own sex, who had committed an error, or
fallen into a misfortune of this sort. A lady, of the parish of Enford,
who having been railing in an unmerciful manner against a servant girl
who had the misfortune to have an illegitimate child, my father remarked
privately to me, that it was a sure proof to him, that she was no better
than she should be. A few weeks afterwards, this very same dame was
detected in an intrigue with the _house thresher_!

I trust the reader will not think that I am endeavoring to justify the
crime of incontinency, seduction or debauchery; quite the reverse; there
is a very broad distinction between justifying a crime, and making a
liberal and humane allowance for the frailties of poor human nature.
Those females who are really chaste, and who practice rather than
profess virtue, are always tender and sparing of their censure of
the misfortunes and errors of others of their own sex: so it is with
honourable and virtuous men; although they would by no means encourage
vice, yet they take a very different course to eradicate it, than that
of declaiming publicly against those who have not been so successful as
themselves in resisting temptation.

How many living instances could I point out, as illustrations of this
self-evident proposition. It was but yesterday I had before me a glaring
specimen of the sort of canting hypocrisy which is the object of my
censure. It was a reverend and dignified pillar of the church, as demure
as a saint, turning up his eyes, and professing and preaching morality,
which I had more than once or twice before heard him do, while, with
a sanctified leer, he expressed great horror at my breach of conjugal
chastity, or violation of the marriage vow. The reader will easily
imagine the manner in which I eyed him, while he was uttering these
truly religious and moral doctrines, when I inform him that, only a few
hours before, an old neighbouring farmer had been relating to me and
my friends, a little of the private history of this chaste and pious
parson. It seems, by this old gentleman's account, that this now worthy
and dignified clergyman of the Church of England, who was originally a
mere clerical adventurer, the better to enable himself to perform that
duty which he had recently sworn that he was called by the Holy Ghost to
execute, took to himself an antiquated damsel for a wife; but what she
was deficient in beauty and youth, she made up in the scale by the
weight of her purse; and my informant observed that, during the life
time of the "first madam," not a servant girl could live in his house,
without giving evident proofs that the rosy-gilled priest was not quite
purified from the sinful lust of the flesh, notwithstanding the call he
had received from the Holy Ghost, and the all-powerful ordination of the
Holy Bishop of the diocese to boot.

I could not only, fill this number, but I could fill a volume, with
instances of this sort in this very neighbourhood. Let me only take half
a score of clergyman, and half a score of magistrates, of this part
of the county of Somerset; and in merely detailing the scenes of
_debauchery, seduction and desertion_ of which they have been
notoriously guilty, I could fill a book that would excite the horror and
detestation of every rational mind. Let it be observed that I do not
by any means class the whole, nor any considerable portion, of the
magistracy or clergy in this list; God forbid I should, because I
believe there are many, and I know there are some, very excellent and
truly good men amongst them. "Well," it may be said, "and what of all
this, because some Justices and Parsons are profligate, debauched, and
abandoned, would you infer that to be any justification or palliation
for your errors?" Not in the least. I do not wish to assume any such
ridiculous proposition. All I mean to say is, it brings me to this
conclusion, that as we are by our very nature liable to err, and that as
it is quite clear that those who are the most forward to condemn
others are not always totally free from the frailties of human nature
themselves; it therefore behoves us, while we have "the _beam_ in our
own eye," not to be too officious in exposing the "_mote_ in the eye
of another." But, after all, I will boldly and fearlessly rest my own
character upon the following issue. If any one of those who have been
railing against me, will come forward; _if any person_, male or female,
will come forward and establish _one act of seduction_ against me, even
from the earliest period of my life, up to this hour; if they will
produce one illegitimate offspring of mine, or prove that there ever
has been such, even by common report; I hereby solemnly promise not to
write, or have published, one more line as long as I remain in this
prison. And further; if any one will come forward and prove, that I have
ever been the inmate of a brothel, or been ever seen within the walls
of a house of ill-fame, since the day I was married, _twenty-five years
ago;_ or that I ever, in the whole course of my life, seduced, and
afterwards deserted, a female; I do hereby solemnly declare, that upon
such proof being established, I will, within one month from the time I
leave this gaol, voluntarily banish myself from this country; and so far
from ever appearing again in public, I will never again set foot upon
British ground. I make no protestations of being more virtuous than
other men; but after having made this voluntary offer, if no one accept
it, if no one come forward, then in common charity, for the sake of the
national character, let these my calumniators for ever afterwards hold
their peace. It may be said this is nobody's business; but this answer
will not do; it has been every venal knave's business; it has been the
business of the corrupt scoundrels of Bristol; it was the daily and
hourly business of the debauched editors of the public newspapers of
that city, when I offered myself as a candidate there at two contested
elections. It has also been the business of the corrupt and profligate
editors of almost all the London daily, and most of the London Sunday
newspapers, to abuse and calumniate my private character, whenever
I have come before the public, at the call of my distressed
fellow-countrymen; whether it was at a public meeting, or at a contested
election, they made it their business to vomit forth every species of
unmanly abuse against me. It has, even in a still greater degree, been
the business of those hirelings composing the Westminster Rump; it has
been the particular business of the Whigs, the Burdettites, and the
Tories; all equally hostile to real liberty; it has been their business
openly and covertly to slander and vilify me, for the last twelve or
fourteen years. I now, therefore, call upon every one of these
corrupt and despicable knaves to come forward, either individually or
collectively, and substantiate _some one_ of those charges which they
have so long, so repeatedly, and so unblushingly preferred against me.
Upon all occasions, they have unequivocally and unanimously denounced
me as an enemy to social order, an enemy to the Whigs, an enemy to the
Tories, and an enemy, as they say, to the country.

Now, then, is their time to silence me, if they have it in their power
to establish one of the crimes with which they have charged me; but
if they remain silent, and cannot establish any one of their charges
against me, what a race of cowardly, profligate beings they must feel
themselves to be! But the fact is, that all

these vermin _know_ that they were propagating the most barefaced and
wanton falsehoods against me. And who are these men that have been the
foremost to accuse me? Some of the most degraded, swinish, and abandoned
of the human race. And what has been the cause of all their hostility to
me? Why, merely because I have been the undisguised and uncompromising
advocate of the people's rights and liberties; because I have publicly
and unequivocally, upon all occasions, maintained the right of annual
parliaments, universal suffrage, and vote by ballot: in this I have been
joined by the great mass of the people of England. and Scotland. For
my public exertions in 1816 and 1817, to promote this great cause, I
received the most cordial testimony of the regard and esteem of my
fellow-countrymen--I received repeated votes of thanks from almost every
town and city of consequence in the kingdom, and particularly from the
North, and from Scotland. I believe I had the approbation of _nine
tenths_ of the industrious and most valuable classes of the community,
because I fearlessly advocated the right--the constitutional right of
all these useful and industrious classes to partake--practically to
partake, of that constitution which compelled them to risk their lives
and property, if called upon by the government, in its defence. This
I did, regardless of all, of every faction, whether _Whig, Tory_, or
_Burdettite_; for at this period there was a considerable faction,
composed principally of _petty shop-keepers_, and _little tradesmen_,
who, under the denomination of _tax-paying housekeepers_, enlisted
themselves under the banners of Sir Francis Burdett, in order to set
themselves up as a sort of privileged class, above the _operative_
manufacturer, the artizan, the mechanic, and the labourer. Thus, at the
very time that all these classes of operative manufacturers, artizans,
mechanics, and labourers, consisting of three-fourths of the population
of the kingdom; at the very time, in 1816, when almost the whole of
these persons had become united in one object, and had held meetings all
over the kingdom, and upwards of a million and a half of them had signed
petitions to be presented to Parliament, demanding universal suffrage;
at this very juncture, which was immediately after the first meeting
held in Spa-fields, lo and behold, Sir Francis Burdett, _hitherto our
great leader_ in the cause of public liberty, DECLARED OFF and deserted
us, by avowing himself the enemy of universal suffrage, and declaring
that he would not support any reform that had for its object to extend
the suffrage beyond _house__ holders_; thus, at one sweeping blow,
blasting the hopes, and driving out of the pale of the constitution, at
least two-thirds of the population; and that part, too, the most useful
and most industrious, and therefore the most beneficial to the nation!
The Baronet declared that he would support the _householder suffrage_
--that those who occupied a house, and paid King's and Parish taxes
directly to the tax-gatherer, should have a vote for members of the
Commons' or People's House of Parliament; but that all the junior
branches of families, all lodgers, every person who was not the master
of a house, should be excluded altogether from any share in electing
those who make the laws, by which EVERY ONE'S liberty, life, and
property is to be disposed of.

Up to this time, the Baronet had stood so high in the public estimation,
and was so much looked up to and respected, not only by me, but by all
those who took a lead in the general cause of public liberty, that his
word had hitherto been A LAW in these matters; in fact, he had not only
gone with us, but he had run before us, and all our difficulty was, to
keep up to his mark, for he was always complaining of the apathy of the
people, and declaring that they did not deserve liberty, unless they
would exert themselves, and join him in demanding it; and he was
everlastingly urging us, who laboured under him for the cause (Major
Cartwright, Mr. Cobbett, myself, and others), to excite and rouse the
people into action, to support his exertions in the House. But when, in
1816, Mr. Cobbett and Major Cartwright had, by their writings, and I and
others had by our speeches and resolutions, passed at public meetings,
roused the people into a sense of their public duty, to petition the
Parliament for their individual, collective, and _universal_ rights,
behold the Baronet stopped short, and turning sharp round, declared that
he would not go with us; and that he would only support the right of
liberty for householders, leaving all the rest of the community in a
state of abject slavery and bondage! Up to this period--till this
fatal decision, with the exception of one or two little obliquities of
conduct, Sir F. Burdett had enjoyed the confidence, and received the
support of every wise, good, and disinterested man in the nation;
because every one believed that he was sincere in his protestations for
the universal freedom of mankind. But, now, for the first time,
his supporters dwindled into a faction of _shopkeepers_ and
_housekeepers_--a little selfish crew, who were anxious to enjoy liberty
themselves, and who were elated at the thoughts of becoming a sort of
privileged class, above and distinct from the great body of the
people. From this cause arose a new faction, under the denomination of
BURDETTITES.

It will be recollected, that, at this period, not one of the Whigs came
up to this mark even of _householders_. A few of the most liberal of the
Whigs, viewing with alarm the rising spirit of the people, thought they
must do something--that they must make some show of approach towards
a more liberal system; they, therefore, joined the city cock, Mr.
Waithman, and held a meeting at the Free- Masons' Tavern, where they
manfully declared their readiness to support a Reform, upon the
principle of _triennial_, instead of _septennial_ Parliaments; but not
one word of any alteration in the suffrage;--not one of this faction was
then bold or honest enough to support the Burdettite faction, even in
their humbug of householder suffrage; and the consequence was, that the
Burdettites, or little shopkeeper faction, made a great parade about
how much further they were disposed to go than the Waithmanite, or Whig
faction.

At a great meeting of delegates, from all parts of the kingdom, and
particularly from the North, and from Scotland, held at the Crown and
Anchor, to settle the sort of Reform that should be adopted by the
people, Major Cartwright and Mr. Cobbett proposed _to limit the suffrage
to householders_, for two reasons-- first, upon the plea now exploded,
of the _impracticability_ of every man enjoying freedom or universal
suffrage; and secondly, for the purpose of joining and still clinging
to Sir Francis Burdett, without whose name and co-operation, it was
contended that no plan of reform could be carried into effect. I,
however, stood boldly up for the great and just principle of universal
suffrage, and moved, as an amendment to the motion made by Mr. Cobbett,
that instead of _householder suffrage_, universal suffrage should be
substituted. After a long and animated debate, my amendment was carried
by a vote of sixty; three hands only being held up against it. For
this uncompromising, for this determined support of the principles of
universal suffrage, in opposition to the _householder_ plan of Sir
Francis Burdett, I have ever since been pursued by the vindictive
hostility, both openly and covertly, not only of the Baronet's Rump
Committee, but of the whole of the Burdett faction, who have, in
conjunction with the base and hypocritical Whig faction, been ten times
more virulent against me, than even the Tory or Government faction. It
may be said, that this is a singular and long digression, and that I am
forestalling my history. It is very true; but I deem it necessary to
repeat and reiterate the foregoing circumstances, so that a great number
of honest and truly excellent Reformers may be able clearly to
account for some part of my conduct, which may hitherto have appeared
inexplicable. Thousands of very worthy friends of liberty, must have
been puzzled and staggered by the violent attacks and calumnies that
have been levelled at me, in those public prints that have been
generally understood to be the staunch supporters of the principles
of freedom; but if they will look back, and narrowly examine into the
objects and views of these public prints, they will find that they have
been merely the vehicles, by which the Burdettite faction have directed
their envenomed shafts against me. Thousands of very sincere and honest
friends of liberty have been and are puzzled, to understand how it is,
that I have met with such cowardly and unmanly opposition at the _Rump
Westminster Dinners_, at the Crown and Anchor; and thousands of equally
worthy and honourable men, are disposed to question my pretensions to
public favour, upon the ground of the beastly and factious opposition
which I have some time experienced from the Whig Waithmanites, at the
Common Halls, in the City of London. But as I go along, I will undertake
to show the cause of that opposition, and expose the motives of that
little city faction, as clear as day-light. Nothing can, indeed, be more
plain than this fact, which is, that these factions, one and all, are
opposed to the principles of universal Liberty. They have all of them
their little, petty, selfish objects to obtain, and in the pursuit of
them, they know their greatest obstacle to be, that they cannot any
longer make the people their dupes and tools; and they know too, that no
man has been so zealously and so perseveringly instrumental as I have
been, to keep the people steady in one common pursuit--that of obtaining
something for themselves--that of struggling for the interest of the
whole community; and they know and feel that nothing could ever warp
me from my duty to the public; that I could never be bamboozled nor
muzzled, nor silenced, nor bribed, by any one of these factions; and
this, this it is that has roused against me their rage and their
hostility; and in proportion as I have exposed their sophistry so has
their malignity increased. Finding that they could neither answer nor
controvert my principles, nor put me down, they have been base enough
to resort to slander, and to the most wanton and barefaced falsehoods,
which they have trumped up to blacken me. The separation from my wife
was a subject that they never failed to urge against me, after having
tortured it into a thousand aggravated shapes; not one of which
was true. If, however, I would but have joined any one of these
factions--would have followed the example of Sir Francis Burdett, and
deserted the great mass of the people, by going over to, and joining
even the _shopkeeper_ or _householder_ faction, I might have deserted
my wife, and left her to starve, with impunity. I might have been as
profligate as any of my calumniators--might have been as debauched as
a Prince, or as abandoned as some of these Justice Parsons, and yet I
might have passed for one of the most pious and virtuous characters in
the kingdom, particularly if I had put on a little demure sanctified
hypocrisy. I believe there is no other man in the world, besides myself,
but who would have been overwhelmed and driven from the field of
politics, by the incessant attacks--by the premeditated and infamous
slanders that have been poured out against me. And it is certainly a
fact--it is quite true, that nothing on earth could have enabled me to
keep my ground, but the purity of my intentions, and the conviction of
my heart, that the holy cause for which I have been contending, is just
and equitable; nor would any thing on earth induce me to persevere, but
the solemn conviction that it is the law of God and Nature, that man
should enjoy civil and religious freedom, and that no law of God or
Nature ever condemned a human being to be either a religious or a
political slave.

But now to return to my narrative. After this great change in my
domestic affairs, I made full as great a change in my course of life. I
immediately abolished all the accustomed carousals and feasts that I had
been in the habit of giving at Chisenbury-house. I continued the society
of a few select friends, but I cast off the busy, fluttering, flattering
throng--the fawning, cringing crew--that had been used to crowd my
table. I took a house in Bath, and spent the following winter in
comparative retirement, in which I was blessed with the society of two
or three rational and intelligent friends.

This being a period of peace, there was very little political news
afloat. The circumstance that most excited public attention at this
time, was the visit of Mr. Fox to Paris, where he was received by the
First Consul with every mark of regard and respect. Gracious God! that
Mr. Fox could but have lived to have known that this illustrious man
should first become Emperor of France, and now be imprisoned on a barren
rock, that the English Government should be his gaoler, and that they
should cut him off from all communication with the world, and prohibit
him from the society of his wife and child! If Mr. Fox could but have
lived to have known this, or could have anticipated any such event, he
would with his manly eloquence have roused the dastard apathy of the
people of England into a just sense of this disgrace, and the national
dishonour, as becoming parties to so cowardly and unjust a measure.

The hireling ministerial press of the metropolis was now using the
most inflammatory language against the First Consul of France, for
the purpose, if possible, of creating a new war; and they were daily
spreading the most monstrous and barefaced falsehoods against him, to
stimulate the fears and the prejudices of John Bull, by representing him
as a tyrant and a monster, who had been, and who would be, guilty of all
sorts of cruelties and atrocities, and whose aim it still was, to subdue
and conquer England, that he might make us all _slaves_ and beasts of
burden. Thus were the credulous people of England duped by the paid
ministerial agents of government, while Napoleon was most anxious to
remain at peace, and particularly at peace with England, that he might
consolidate his own power upon the Continent, and protect the people of
France against the inroads and tyranny of the despots that surrounded
them. The infamous and dastardly conduct of the English ministerial
writers drew down the execration of the whole civilized world, and the
Moniteur, the official newspaper of the French government, announced the
indignation and resentment of the First Consul at the conduct of the
Court of London, for encouraging and sanctioning such brutal libels. It
declared that "every line printed by the English ministerial journalists
_is a line of blood_." The reader, who does not recollect the infamous
conduct of the ministerial scribes of that day, will find but little
difficulty in believing this assertion to be true, when they reflect
upon the atrocious and cowardly language of the ministerial hirelings
of the present day, and read the obscure balderdash and blood-thirsty
principles published in the _Dull Post_, the _Mock Times_, and the
_Lying Courier_.

Before I go any further, it is proper for me to remind the reader that
it ought never to be forgotten, by the people of England, that Napoleon
had been acknowledged by the English government, as the legitimate ruler
of France, that very Napoleon whom they now keep a prisoner upon a
barren rock at Saint Helena, contrary to every principle of justice and
humanity, and in violation of all law, and particularly in violation of
the law of nations, notwithstanding Mr. Brougham's priggish assertions
to the contrary.

Notwithstanding the jealousy of the English government, and the cowardly
slanders of the English ministerial writers, Napoleon assumed great
power in France, which the French people were induced to concede to him,
that he might be the better able to contend against the intrigues and
treachery of the British ministers: he placed himself at the head of
the christian church; he caused a new constitution to be adopted in
Switzerland; he compelled the Barbary powers to make peace; he
was courted by Prussia; he entered into an agreement, called the
_Concordat_, with the Pope; he granted an amnesty to the emigrants,
which created him a host of friends; and ultimately, in the course of
this year, the French government appointed him Consul for life, and the
new constitution which he had proposed was approved throughout France.
Ambassadors were exchanged between the two powers, England and France,
but the administration of England was jealous, suspicious, and in fact
never cordially cemented the peace, into which they had been compelled,
from circumstances, to enter. On their part, as it will be seen
hereafter, it was nothing more or less _than a hollow deceitful truce_.

On the nineteenth of November, this year, (1802), Colonel Despard and
nine other persons were apprehended, on a charge of high treason; and,
after many examinations before the privy council, they were ultimately
committed to prison, on the twenty-ninth of the same month, to take
their trials for high treason. This plot, as it was called, caused a
very considerable sensation throughout the country. It was stated to
have been entered into not only to dethrone, but to kill the King, as he
was going from his Palace to the Parliament House, through the Park, by
blowing him and his attendants to atoms, by firing the long piece of
ordnance at them when they came near the Horse Guards; and it was
asserted that Colonel Despard had formed and entered into this
conspiracy, to shoot the King and overturn the government, with the said
piece of ordnance, in consequence of the ministers refusing to attend
to, and liquidate, some claims that he had upon the government. The
ministers contrived to create a considerable alarm throughout the whole
empire, amongst the credulous, and such as were easily terrified by the
explosion of this ridiculous _pop-gun plot_.

The ministers, however, were obliged to repeal the income tax, as a
bribe to the landed interest, upon whom it was considered to fall
particularly heavy, although the removal of it was looked upon as a
boon to every one who paid it. This was a _peace_ offering, such as
our present ministers appear determined not to bestow upon us,
notwithstanding we are now in the sixth year of peace. This year there
was a loan of twenty-three millions raised. The taxes were enormous,
that of the poor rates alone having amounted to five millions. The
average price of the quartern loaf, during the twelve months, was one
shilling. The prime minister was the Right Honourable Harry Addington,
now Lord Sidmouth; Mr. Perceval was Attorney, and Mr. Manners Sutton was
the Solicitor-general; the Chief Justice Lord Kenyon, having received
his sentence, and been condemned to be banished to another world, by the
Judge of judges, Mr. Law was created Lord Ellenborough, and appointed
Chief Justice of the King's Bench.

On the third of January, 1803, a special commission was issued under the
Great Seal, to inquire of certain high treasons committed within the
county of Surrey; and on the twenty-first of January, it was opened
at the Sessions House at Newington--present on the bench, Lord
Ellenborough, Sir Alexander Thompson, Sir Simon Le Blanc, and Sir Alan
Chambre. The grand jury were sworn, composed of Lord Leslie, foreman,
Lord William Russel, Sir Thomas Turton, and others, and after a long
speech from the newly made Chief Justice, which, by the bye, was quite
unnecessary, the said grand jury returned a true bill against Edward
Marcus Despard and twelve others; throwing out the bills that were
preferred against SOME OTHERS who were known to have been deeply
implicated with Colonel Despard. The Court then adjourned to the fifth
of February, after having, at the request of the prisoner Despard,
assigned Mr. SERGEANT BEST and Mr. GURNEY as his counsel.

On Saturday, the fifth of February, 1803, the court met, pursuant
to adjournment, at the Sessions House at Newington, the same Judges
presiding as before. Edward Marcus Despard and twelve others were placed
at the bar, and severally pleaded not guilty. On Monday, the seventh of
February, the Court met again at nine o'clock in the morning--present,
Ellenborough, Thompson, Le Blanc, and Chambre, as before. There were
nine counsel employed by the crown, as follow: Attorney and Solicitor
General, Perceval and Manners Sutton, Sergeant Shepherd, Plumer, Garrow,
Common Sergeant, Wood, Fielding, and Abbott. Counsel for Colonel
Despard, Mr. SERGEANT BEST and Mr. GURNEY. The prisoner being placed
at the bar, the following jury were sworn, _Grant Allan, William Dent,
William Davidson, Gabriel Copland, William Coxson, John Farmer, John
Collinson, James Webber, Gilbert Handyside, John Hamer, Peter Dubree,_
and _John Field_. I am sure the reader will agree with me, that nothing
can be more desirable than to record the names of all the parties
concerned in such melancholy and bloody transactions, that they may
be handed down to posterity for the use and information of the rising
generation, that they may be enabled the better to judge of the motives
and management of the prosecutors, and the degree of guilt or innocence
of the accused. What a subject for the reflecting mind, to watch the
rise and progress of those concerned in the various transactions of
this sort, which have occurred during our own time, and within our own
memory. As my opinion is, that Colonel Despard fell a sacrifice to the
intrigues and the spy plots of the ministers of that day, and their
detestable agents, that the verdict was obtained against him by perjury,
and that he was in no degree guilty of the charges that were preferred
against him, it will be most interesting to watch the progress of those
concerned in his prosecution and trial, and to mark their end.

Upon the trial of Colonel Despard a number of witnesses swore the most
outrageous things against him, but the two principal witnesses were
two soldiers; one of these men, it is said, left England immediately
afterwards, and was never again heard of by any one in this country; the
other, as I was informed by Mr. Clifford, confessed upon his death bed,
that he had been bribed to swear against the Colonel, that what he had
sworn was false, and that he had been instructed what to say, and he
did so, for doing which he received a considerable sum. These were
two fellows of the most abandoned character, as came out upon their
cross-examination, (SUCH AS IT WAS), but the evidence for the
prosecution was so inconsistent, and so ridiculously improbable, that
one is astounded at the thought, how it was possible for any twelve
men in the kingdom, indiscriminately and fairly chosen, to have said
_guilty_ upon such testimony, and that principally upon the testimony of
accomplices. But, what was more extraordinary than all the rest, was,
that, although there was a ROOM FULL of witnesses for the prisoner, many
of them most respectable, who were ready and willing to disprove a great
deal that the witnesses for the prosecution had sworn, and to prove that
several of the principal witnesses were not worthy to be believed upon
their oath, yet, to the astonishment of the Court, to the grief and
sorrow of the prisoner's friends and relations, to the wonder of the
whole country, _the counsel for the prisoner never called one of these
witnesses._ Gracious God! the bare recollection of this circumstance
freezes one's blood with horror! I have received a letter from a friend
of the colonel, to say, that when they found the counsel were only
calling a few witnesses to character, they, the colonel's friends and
relations, wrote him a note, imploring him to demand that these most
important witnesses should be called and examined. But he returned this
fatal answer, "I have trusted my case in the hands of my counsel, and in
them I place implicit confidence; I shall therefore not interfere with
them." Oh fatal confidence!

It is not for me to accuse the counsel of having betrayed and sold their
client; but it is my firm and unalterable opinion, that, had these
witnesses who were in attendance been called for the prisoner, no jury
would ever have pronounced the word--guilty. Thank God! I made up my
mind long, long ago, never to trust my life or my liberty in the hands
of a counsel! I have not the least doubt, not the shadow of a doubt upon
my mind, that, if the government could have been sure that I would
have trusted my defence in the hands of a counsel, if they could have
indulged in a well-grounded hope, that I would have committed my case
to the keeping of the worthy _Counsellor Scarlett_, but that they
would have tried and convicted me and my friends of high treason, for
attending the peaceable meeting at Manchester; for which, as it was,
they could not even get me convicted of a conspiracy, though they had
packed a tractable Yorkshire Whig jury. But if they could have got me
to place a brief in the hands of the worthy and able WHIG SCARLETT, I
should have been tried for high treason, and the evidence of _Hulton,
Entwistle_, and _Andrew_, would have been so beautifully managed, that
I am quite sure a packed Yorkshire Whig jury, with the Halls, the
Chaytors, the Hultons, the Chadwicks, and the Oddys, at their head,
would, under the dexterous management of the worthy hermaphrodite
politician, Mr. Scarlett, have, and upon the self-same evidence, found
me guilty either of high treason, or of sheep stealing, whichever
might have best suited the purpose of the prosecutors. Under such
circumstances, had I left my life in the hands of Mr. Scarlett,
notwithstanding I should have subpoenaed, and had in attendance, _one
hundred and fifty witnesses_, to contradict all the perjury sworn by
the aforesaid _trio_, I should not have been surprised if Mr. Scarlett,
instead of calling them, had contented himself with calling, perhaps,
Parson Hay and Mr. Nadin to my character, under the pretence that,
twenty years before, they had known me a very loyal man in the Everly or
Marlborough troop of yeomanry cavalry.

The only witnesses called for poor Colonel Despard, were three complete
Government men; Lord Nelson, Sir Alured Clark, and Sir Evan Nepean,
Bart. Gracious God! only look at this! The counsel for the prisoner well
knew that these evidence to character were not worth a straw; for they
had not known any thing of Colonel Despard for many years past, and yet
these men were called, and others of the most vital importance were not
called. Gracious God! as Mr.---- now Sir Thomas Lethbridge, would say,
it almost makes my hair stand an end upon my head! Two out of three,
viz. _Clark_ and _Nepean_, upon their cross-examination, evidently gave
such testimony as told much more against him than for him. But Lord
Nelson spoke of him as follows:-- " We went on the Spanish Main
together; we slept many nights together under the same blanket, in our
clothes, upon the ground; we have measured the height of the enemy's
walls together. In all that period of time, no man could have shown more
zealous attachment to his Sovereign and his country than Colonel Despard
did. I formed the highest opinion of him at that time, as a man and an
officer; seeing him so willing in the service of his Sovereign. Having
lost sight of him for the last twenty years, if I had been asked my
opinion of him, I should certainly have said--if he be alive, he is
certainly one of the brightest ornaments of the British army." This was
certainly a just and true description of Colonel Despard's character;
but let us see how Lord Nelson finished his cross-examination, by the
Attorney General. What your Lordship has been stating, was in the
year 1780?-- "Yes." Have you had much intercourse with him since that
time?--"I have never seen him since the 29th of April, 1780." Then as
to his loyalty for the last twenty-three years of his life, you know
nothing?--"NOTHING." Gracious God! and THERE Mr. SERGEANT BEST left his
examination. Let the reader only look back at the trial, and read
the mawkish cross-examination of the villain Windsor, by the learned
Sergeant, and he will make up his mind to two things the very moment
he has finished it:--the first is, never to feel surprise again at the
verdict against Colonel Despard; and the second is, that he will never
trust his own life in the hands of an aspiring place-hunting lawyer.

After a very short speech from Mr.SERGEANT BEST and Mr. Gurney, wherein
they both apologized to the jury for its _length_, and a very long and
able reply from the Solicitor-General, and a very long summing up by
Lord Ellenborough, the jury withdrew for about twenty-five minutes, and
a little before three o'clock on the Tuesday morning, they returned a
verdict Of GUILTY. The foreman added, "MY LORD, WE DO MOST EARNESTLY
RECOMMEND THE PRISONER TO MERCY, ON ACCOUNT OF THE HIGH TESTIMONIALS OF
HIS FORMER GOOD CHARACTER, AND EMINENT SERVICES TO HIS COUNTRY." The
Judge said not a word. But where is the man of the present day, who
has read of the verdict of wilful murder given by the jury, at
Horsham Assizes, against the person upon the preventive service, who
deliberately shot a man, and who has since read of the pardon that has
bean granted to that person, but would have expected that the very
strong and emphatic recommendation of the jury, for the extension of
mercy to Colonel Despard, would have received some attention. No! no!
Colonel Despard had _opposed_ and _exposed_ the Government, and he was
hanged in the front of the county gaol at Horsemonger Lane, and after
having been suspended about twelve minutes and a half, his head was
taken off, (_the King having most graciously remitted the execution of
the remainder of the sentence_.) Thus died Colonel Despard, who, though
he was not a man of great talent, yet he was, in the language, the words
of Lord Nelson, "as brave as Caesar." But, as the vulgar saying goes,
"the death of the horse is the life of the "dog," and "it is an ill-wind
that blows nobody good." The learned Sergeant BEST displayed such
_extraordinary_ talents upon this trial, that he was rewarded with a
silk gown within one month afterwards. It has been confidently asserted
that when the Prince Regent had incessantly, but in vain, urged the Lord
Chancellor to promote a certain Welsh Judge, this venerable Peer once
answered, "I "cannot conscientiously recommend venality "to the English
Bench." "_Ellenborough, Thompson, Le Blanc_, and _Chambre_, the four
Judges, have long, long ago gone to stand at the bar of a special
commission to receive the sentence of the Judge of judges; but it is
doubtful whether they carried with them so strong a recommendation
to mercy as that which was urged, in vain, for poor Despard. We all
recollect how the then Attorney-General, Spencer Perceval, went out of
the world headlong by a shot, from the unerring aim of Bellingham. The
junior counsel for the exown, ABBOTT, and the senior counsel for the
prisoner, BEST, are both now placed in the same seat in the Court of
King's Bench. It also is a fact worth recording, that the _most violent_
of all Colonel Despard's associates had _no Bill_ found against him,
although _two_ were preferred, one in Surrey and one in Middlesex.
It came out in evidence, that this person was more violent and more
determined than any other, and made use of the most outrageous
denunciations against the Government, and against any of his comrades
who might betray them, or refuse to go the lengths that he did. The
Government had this evidence, and it came out, upon the examination of
Thomas Blades, that this person threatened that he would blow any one's
brains out that showed any symptoms of cowardice, and that he would
plant a dagger in the breast of any one who should divulge their secret.
And yet, the same Grand Jury that found the Bills against Colonel
Despard and others, threw out the Bills against this said violent and
courageous gentleman. This is exactly the same game that was played by
Edwards and Castles; these two scoundrels were the most violent, and
urged on their unfortunate victims to deeds of desperation, yet they
escaped not only punishment but even indictment. What a lesson for
all Reformers, to avoid the snares of the most violent men, who are
generally the agents of Government! All these worthies contrived to get
into my company, _Castles_ ONCE, _Edwards_ ONCE, and this said person
who played such an active part in Colonel Despard's affair ONCE, and
_only once_ each; _once_ was quite enough for me. It has often been
said, by my friends, that Providence interfered to prevent my falling
into the trap of these villains. It is very true; but Providence
interfered in this way, Providence gave me resolution never to attend
any private meetings, never to be concerned in any private cabal, never
to get drunk, or associate with persons who frequented public houses; in
fact, Providence has filled my heart with a desire to promote the
welfare and happiness of my fellow-creatures, by a bold, straight
forward, public, open course. In private life, I have relaxed into all
the delightful enjoyments of domestic happiness, where I have very
seldom suffered politics and her boisterous train to interfere with
my rural felicity; but whenever I have come before the public, I have
always, with an inflexible resolution, cast all selfish considerations
behind me, and given a loose to that "_amor patria_" with which my bosom
ever glows, when I am in the presence of my fellow-countrymen. I have
always said bolder things, and used more of what is called violent
language, in public, than I ever allowed to escape from my lips in my
happy privacy. In that privacy I have been in the habit of associating
with friends holding different political sentiments from my own, without
ever quarrelling with them, or thinking the worse of them, on that
account. My safety has, I repeat, arisen from my political honesty. I
have never joined in any intrigue, any cabal, any faction; I have openly
and boldly contended for the natural and legitimate right of every man
to enjoy political freedom; and I pray God that I may breathe my last
before I alter my opinion upon this subject.

I had now resided in Bath nearly a year, occasionally visiting my farm
at Chisenbury and Littlecot. During my residence at Bath a circumstance
occurred of some importance to me and my family. A brewer, of the name
of Racey, had, as I have before hinted, borrowed upwards of seven
thousand pounds of my father, without any other security than his own
bond, in which sum he was indebted to him at his death. As he had not
paid his interest up regularly, I was induced to look a little more
minutely into his concerns; especially as I found that he was living a
very debauched life. My uncle, William Powell, of Nurstead, a quaker,
who was left joint trustee and executor with myself to my father's will,
and had taken the most active part in the management of my father's
affairs, appeared to place full as much reliance in the credit of this
said brewer as my father had done, and he had several times resisted my
importunities, to demand jointly with me better security for this money
than the brewer's own bond. I argued, that my father had a perfect right
to exercise his own judgment, and give what credit he pleased, as it was
his own property; but that my uncle and myself, acting as trustees for
my brothers and sisters, were not justified in suffering so considerable
a sum of money to remain in this man's hands without better security.
He, however, still persisted that the brewer had a good stock, and a
good trade; that he regularly examined his stock every half year, and he
found that it was in a flourishing state. My answer was, the man lives a
very debauched life, and therefore his affairs must be in a precarious
state; but the quaker was inflexible, and nothing was done in the
matter. The brewer continued his debauched course, and neglected
and quarrelled with his family, and my uncle Powell continued his
confidence. At length, the old man carried his excesses so far, that he
not only quarrelled with his eldest son, but he actually turned him out
of doors. This young man was a great intimate of mine, with whom I
had contracted a sort of school-boy friendship; he, therefore, fled
immediately to me for protection, when he was driven from his father's
house. I laboured with great zeal and perseverance to promote a
reconciliation between the father and the son, but I found the former
implacable, and rancorously vindictive against his son, who had been
interfering about some of his father's debaucheries; and he was
consequently not to be forgiven. The young man saw that his father's
affairs were going fast to ruin, and knowing the large sum that he was
indebted to me and my family, he communicated to me the real situation
of his father, and advised me to take some measures to secure the
property that he was indebted to us as executors under my father's will.
I went to my uncle once more, and represented the matter to him, but
he was as obstinate as ever: he answered, that I had taken a prejudice
against the old man, in consequence of his quarrelling with his son; and
that he should decline taking any hostile measures against him; and that
he had a large stock of good beer, for he had lately examined it. I
informed him that he was imposed upon, that the old brewer had filled
up all his large casks, amounting to between two and three thousand
barrels, with _small beer_, in order to deceive him, and make him
believe that it was strong beer. At this he stared a very incredulous
stare, and said that he would look into it, but he delayed it so long
that, when he did join me in taking decisive measures, the whole
property sold for about two thousand pounds, so that we were minus about
five thousand pounds; and every shilling of this loss I attribute to
my quaker uncle's obstinacy--a failing, notwithstanding all their good
qualities, to which this sect is very subject.

I had contracted a great predilection for the son, with whom I had
had an intimacy for some years; and, notwithstanding the loss I had
sustained by his father, he prevailed upon me to join him in a brewing
concern at Clifton, near Bristol: as he had not a shilling of his own, I
was to find the cash, and he judgment. I did this mainly to set him
up in business, although I was not without expectations that it might
ultimately become a profitable concern. I therefore engaged to find a
capital of six or eight thousand pounds; from two to three of which
was to be sunk in building a brewery, the erection of which I was to
superintend, and complete the fabric after my own plan. As soon as this
was done, I was only to find the money, and my young friend was to
manage and conduct the brewing concern. I agreed to all this upon one
condition only, which was, that there should be nothing brewed in our
brewery but genuine beer and porter, made of malt and hops alone. After
some parley upon this point it was at length assented to.

The brewery was built upon the site of an old distillery, at the rising
of a spring called Jacob's Well, at the foot of Brandon Hill, and
immediately below Belleview, at Clifton. The whole was soon completed
under my own eye, and finished entirely on my own plan. I took advantage
of the declivity of the hill, on the side of which the premises were
situated, to have it so constructed that the whole process of brewing
was conducted, from the grinding of the malt, which fell from the mill
into the mash-tun, without any lifting or pumping; with the exception of
pumping the water, called _liquor_ by brewers, first into the reservoir,
which composed the roof of the building. By turning a cock, this liquor
filled the steam boiler, from thence it flowed into the mash-tun; the
wort had only once to be pumped, once from the under back into the
boiler, from thence it emptied itself, by turning the cock, into the
coolers; it then flowed into the working vats and riving casks, and from
the stillions, which were immediately above the store casks into which
it flowed, only by turning a cock. These store casks were mounted on
stands or horses, high enough to set a butt upright, and fill it out of
the lower cock; and then the butts and barrels were rolled to the door,
and upon the drays, without one ounce of lifting from the commencement
of the process to the end. This was a great saving of labour. I left the
concern in the hands of my young friend, with every prospect of success,
and I then returned to my farm at Chisenbury; having, as I was taught
to believe, laid the foundation of a lucrative concern, from which I
expected to derive a liberal interest for the money I had advanced,
which was about eight thousand pounds, and at the same time afford a
handsome income for my young friend. But such is the uncertainty and
precarious state of all speculative concerns of this nature, and such
the inconstancy of friendship, that, instead of ever receiving one
shilling from this concern, I found it still continue to be a drain upon
my purse. Bills were coming due, I was told, and they must be provided
for, or the credit of the firm would be blasted. Duty, to a large
amount, was to be paid every six weeks, and as often I was called upon
to assist in making up the sum. I now began, although much too late, to
curse the hour that I became connected with trade. I, however, did not
despair. I met all the demands, till, having called in a considerable
sum of money, which I had lent to a friend, an attorney, upon his note
of hand, he gave me bills, payable at _one, two_, and _three_ months,
for the amount. These were all absorbed at the brewery, and paid away
in the course of trade, for malt, hops, &c. but the first, second, and
third, all the said bills, were as _regularly dishonoured_ as they
became due. So much for friendly attorneys! and though I had a
sufficient sum in my bankers' hands, Stuckey and Co. to meet the
deficiency, with some exertion of my own, _yet_, such a ticklish thing
is _credit_, and particularly in the illiberal city of Bristol, that I
found my bankers always looked shy at any bills that were carried to
them afterwards. My friend, the attorney, renewed the bills, with a
solemn promise that they should be regularly paid when they became due;
but the word and honour of an attorney, at least of this attorney, was
good for nothing. Fortunately, I only paid one of them away in the
trade; for that and the others were as _regularly dishonoured as
before_.

To meet and overcome such treachery, I was obliged to reside a great
portion of my time at Clifton; and I soon found that, instead of my
receiving regular interest for the money which I had advanced, I was in
a fair way of being drained of every shilling I possessed, if I did not
make a stand. My old friend, Waddington, came to visit me; he was a man
of business and of the world, and I begged of him to look into the
books and advise me. He did so, and at the end of a couple of hours
he returned, and informed me that I had been egregiously deceived,
plundered, and robbed, and that he had not the slightest hesitation in
declaring, that my young friend, in whom I had placed such unlimited and
implicit confidence, was a _great villain!_ I was thunderstruck, and
inquired how he meant to substantiate his charge; his answer was, invite
him to dine with us to-day, and after dinner send for the books, and
I will make him confess his villainy before your face. I followed his
advice, invited him to dine, and after dinner I sent for the books,
under the pretence of explaining something to Mr. Waddington. The books
came; Mr. Waddington turned to a particular account, which he had
investigated in the morning, pointed it out to him, and begged to know
how he could account for such and such entries. My gentleman turned pale
and equivocated. Mr. Waddington turned to another and another, upon
which my protégé stood confessedly a most complete hypocrite; and having
thrown himself on my mercy, he at once obtained my forgiveness, upon a
solemn promise of never being guilty of a similar offence again. Mr.
Waddington expressed his astonishment at my forbearance in not having
him committed, and ridiculed my folly in continuing to place any
confidence in him; adding, "I hanged one clerk and transported two more,
for much less offences than he has been guilty of, and in which I have
clearly detected him."

The young man shewed the greatest contrition, and after he had vowed
reparation in the most solemn terms, he took his leave. The moment his
back was turned, Mr. Waddington declared, that he had not the least
doubt in his own mind that, notwithstanding all the protestations which
I had heard, he was gone away determined to commit some more desperate
act of fraud; and, to convince me of the correctness of his judgment, he
got up at four o'clock the next morning, and stole down to my brewery,
and there he detected him in the fact of practising upon me a fraud
similar to that of which he had been previously convicted by his own
confession. Mr. Waddington came back to breakfast, and informed me of
the fact, and urged my taking immediate criminal proceedings against the
offender. I, however, preferred giving him an opportunity to escape, and
having ordered my curricle I called at the brewery, to say that I was
going to Chisenbury for a few days. He inquired as follows--"_Pray,
Sir, what day shall we have the pleasure of seeing you back again?_" I
replied that it would be in about a week. These were the last words I
ever heard from him. When I returned I found, as I expected, that he had
sailed for America, bag and baggage, two days: after I left Bristol.

I discovered that the concern was in a most wretched state; the debts
had been collected to a shilling, where they were good for any thing.
The cellars were filled with bad beer, although he had had the unlimited
control of the best malt and hops. I had sent my own best barley down
from Chisenbury, and had made fifty quarters of malt a week, for two
whole seasons, for which I had no return, and the amount of my losses
in this concern is incalculable. When he first began brewing I made him
make oath, before the Mayor of Bristol, that he would use only malt and
hops in the brewing of the beer and porter at the Jacob's Well Brewery.
Some time after this, I had some ground of suspicion that the brewer
purchased some small quantity of copperas, to assist his faults in
brewing. I, therefore, ever afterwards made the brewer, as well as his
master, take the oath before the Mayor, that they would use nothing but
malt and hops in brewing.

When the act was passed, making it a penalty of two hundred pounds to
use any _drug, ingredient_, or _material_, except malt and hops, in
the brewing of beer, Alderman Wood obtained a patent for making of
colouring, to heighten the colour of porter. This colouring was made of
scorched or burnt malt, and it was mashed the same as common malt, which
produced a colouring of the consistency of treacle, and having nearly
its appearance. As this patent was very much approved of, almost every
porter brewer in England used it in the colouring their porter; and
amongst that number I was not only a customer of the worthy alderman for
colouring, but I was also a considerable purchaser of hops from the firm
of Wood, Wiggan & Co. in Falcon Square. I had just got down a fresh
cask of this colouring, and it was standing at the entrance door of the
brewery, where it had been rolled off the dray, when news was brought me
that the new exciseman had seized the cask of colouring, and had taken
it down to the excise office. I immediately wrote to Wood, Wiggan & Co.
to inform them of the circumstance; upon which they immediately applied
to the board of excise in London, and by the return of post I received
a letter from Messrs. Wood, to say, that an order was gone off, by the
same post, to direct the officers of excise in Bristol to restore the
cask of colouring without delay; and almost as soon as this letter had
come to hand, and before I could place it upon the file, one of the
exciseman came quite out of breath to say that an order had arrived from
the board of excise in London, to restore the cask of colouring, and it
was quite at my service, whenever I pleased to send for it. I wrote back
a letter by the fellow, to say, that as the exciseman had seized and
carried away from my brewery a cask of colouring, which was allowed by
the board of excise to be perfectly legal to use, as it was made of malt
and hops only, unless, within two hours of that time, they caused it to
be restored to the very spot from whence it was illegally removed, I
would direct an action to be commenced against them. In less than an
hour the cask of colouring was returned, and the same exciseman who had
seized it came to make an apology for his error. His pardon was at once
granted, and so ended this mighty affair; and I continued to use the
said colouring, as well as did all the porter brewers in Bristol,
without further molestation, as long as I continued the brewery; never
having had any other seizure while I was concerned in the brewery.

Now, let the reader look at this circumstance, and compare it with the
account, the malignant account, given of it in the Mock Times, which, I
think, was given to the public while I was in solitary confinement in
the New Bailey, at Manchester, upon a charge of high treason. That was
the time chosen by the cowardly scoundrel, the editor of the Mock Times,
to state "that I had formerly been a brewer at Bristol, and, that I had
made oath that my beer was genuine, and brewed solely from malt and
hops; but that, in turning to the excise books, they found that, at such
a period (mentioning the term) Henry Hunt was exchequered, for using
deleterious drugs in the making the said genuine beer." This was the
time chosen to propagate this infamous, this cowardly, this barefaced
falsehood; the very time when I was locked up in solitary confinement,
in a dungeon, under a charge of high treason; and this is the hypocrite
who pretends never to attack private character. This fellow, Slop, I
never yet saw to know him; but I hope I shall live to look the coward
scoundrel in the face.

In the latter end of the year 1803, an insurrection broke out in
Ireland, and the Habeas Corpus Act was in consequence suspended. Lord
Kilwarden, Chief Justice of the King's Bench in Ireland, was put to
death by the insurgents in Dublin. War had also commenced once more
between England and France. The English proceeded to seize all the
French ships they could find at sea; making the people on board
prisoners of war. In retaliation for this act of aggression, Buonaparte
seized upon the persons of all the English in France, and treated them
as prisoners. This was blazoned forth as a tyrannical act of injustice,
in all the public newspapers, the venal editors of which contrived to
keep out of sight the provocation which France had received, and that
she only seized the English, and made them prisoners in retaliation.
Addington's peace was now, indeed, proved to be what Mr. Fox had
anticipated, in his speech upon the occasion in parliament, "a hollow
truce;" for, to use the minister's own expression, "he had entered into
the treaty of Amiens _merely as an experiment_." A bill called the
Defence Bill was passed; an army of reserve was raised; volunteer corps
were again established all over the country; and every measure was
used to repel the threatened invasion of the enemy. This defence bill
compelled every parish or district to raise a certain number of men, as
volunteers, or pay a fine if it failed to do so. Having endeavoured in
vain to raise their quota, many parishes paid the fine (which by the bye
was not unacceptable to the Government).

Amongst the number of defaulters on this occasion was the parish of
Enford, the farmers of which had used every means to raise the men;
being, in the first place, loth to part with their money, and in the
next, not relishing the disgrace of not having influence enough with
their labourers to induce them to volunteer. They had already held two
meetings, at which officers were appointed, but no men came forward to
put down their names, although they were earnestly exhorted to do so by
the vicar of the parish, the Reverend John Prince, who was generally
liked by his parishioners. One of my servants, my bailiff, I believe,
wrote to me at Clifton, to inform me of the state of the politics of the
parish, which was, that the men were willing enough, but they did not
like their officers, and that they wished me as an officer. My bailiff
added, that if I would come to the meeting, on the following Sunday,
which was the last intended to be held, and give in my name as their
captain, the number, which was to be sixty, would be volunteered in an
hour. Agreeable to this suggestion I drove to Enford on the following
Sunday, and, as I was late I drove up to the church door in my curricle.
I was welcomed as usual by the kind and friendly salutations of my old
neighbours; but when I came to the church-yard all was solemn silence,
and as still as death itself; not one of the parishioners appeared as
usual upon such occasions. I supposed that the meeting was over, and
was about to return, when one of the farmers came out of the church
and invited me into the vestry, where all the heads of the parish were
assembled, as he informed me, with the vicar in the chair. I followed
him into the vestry room, where I found them all in solemn, sober,
deliberation, brooding over their disappointment, in not having obtained
the names of any of the labourers of the parish. One of them shortly
addressed me, inveighing against this disloyalty and disaffection, and
he informed me, that they had just came to an unanimous resolution to
pay the fine, and not trouble themselves any farther about it, unless
I could suggest some plan to avoid the disgrace and the expence to the
parish. I submitted the propriety of making a proper appeal to those
whom they wished to come forward. They replied by producing a hand-bill,
to which they said they had added their personal entreaties; but all
in vain, as not one man had come forward, although three persons had
volunteered as officers. I hinted that that was beginning at the wrong
end; that the men should have been first enrolled, and then allowed to
choose their own officers.

At this moment the sexton came in, to say that the church-yard was full
of men; women and children; that the whole parish had assembled when
they saw Mr. Hunt drive up to the church; and that the men all said, "if
Squire Hunt would be their captain they would enroll their names, and
would follow him to any part of the world." It was proposed that we
should go out to them, and hear what they had got to say. As soon as
we reached the door, the cry was raised of Captain Hunt for ever!
accompanied with three cheers. This was a most gratifying spectacle to
me; I was surrounded by all those with whom I had been bred up, those
amongst whom I had been born, and with whom, and under whose eye, I had
passed my whole life, with the exception of the time which I had spent
at school. I could do no less than address them, and accordingly I
mounted on a tombstone (an excellent rostrum)--I spoke to them in a
language that they well understood, the language of truth and not of
flattery. I kindly thanked them for the honour they intended me, and the
unqualified confidence they appeared disposed to place in me; I recalled
to their recollections the happy days that we had spent together in
the alternate and rational enjoyment of useful labour and cheerful
recreation; we had worked, we had toiled together in the field; we had
mingled together in the innocent gay delights of the country wake; I had
been present, and had never failed to patronise their manly sports, at
the annual festivals of Easter and Whitsuntide; I had contended with
them, while yet a boy, in the foot race, at the cricket match, or at the
fives court; I had entered the ring with the more athletic, struggled
foot to foot for the fall, and had borne off many a wrestling prize for
the day, which I had never failed to give to some less powerful or
less fortunate candidate for the honour: I had always mingled with and
encouraged their innocent sports, but I had never countenanced any
drunken revelry. In fact, I was so well known amongst the young and the
old, that they all with one accord exclaimed, if Mr. Hunt will be our
captain we will follow where he leads, if it be to the farthermost parts
of the earth. At the same time that I thanked them for, and was highly
delighted with this predilection, I endeavoured to prevail upon them to
accept those who had offered themselves as their officers; and I pointed
out to them the distance at which I should be from them, and the
inconvenience it would be to me to attend to instruct them in their
duty. But all would not do; not one man would put his name to the paper;
not one female urged her relation on to volunteer. I must own that I
felt a conscious pride in their partiality, and particularly upon this
occasion, because a few envious persons had hinted that my family
misfortunes, and my separation from my wife, had in a great measure
weaned the affections of some of my neighbours from me.

At length, after having tried their sincerity fairly, and found it
invincible, I yielded to their wishes, and in an impassioned tone,
I announced _that I would be their captain_; this I did amidst the
enthusiastic shouts of the whole assembled multitude, men, women, and
children; every man pressing forward to sign his name as a volunteer.
But, having obtained silence, I seriously admonished them as
follows:--"My kind-hearted, generous, zealous, neighbours and friends,
recollect what you are about to do, and pause a little before you sign
your names; for I solemnly declare, before God and my country, that I
have no other object in becoming your captain, but a sincere desire to
serve my country; and, as I should be ashamed to become a volunteer, if
I were not ready to lay down my life in defending her shores against the
invasion of a foreign enemy, I shall, therefore, not tender my services,
or accept of yours, upon any other terms than these: _That we volunteer
our services to Government, to be ready at a moment's notice, to march
to any part of the united kingdom, whenever we may be called upon,
and wherever we may be wanted_. Upon these terms, and these alone, I
consent to become your captain."

This was again answered by three more cheers, and a general cry of
"_wherever you, our captain, choose to lead we will be ready to
follow!_" The first men who pressed forward, and placed their names at
the head of the list, were those very men whom, a few years before, I
had caused to be prosecuted for a riot and rescue, at Netheravan. I
never witnessed a more gratifying flattering scene than the village
church-yard of Enford exhibited. Old women were encouraging their sons,
others their husbands, young maidens were smiling their willing assent
to their sweethearts and brothers, and although there was not a single
instance where the men required any of these to urge them on to do their
duty in the defence of their country, yet the approbation and smiles of
the females gave such a zest to the act, and stamped such a sanction
upon the whole undertaking, that one and all burned with the most lively
enthusiasm to become willing agents to stem the threatened irruption
of the invader, and to repel his aggressions even at the risk of their
life's dearest blood. With the exception of two individuals, who had
taken some pique, every man in the parish capable of bearing arms
enrolled himself on that day or the following morning; upon the
completion of which I wrote the following letter to Earl Pembroke, the
Lord Lieutenant of the County :----

_Chisenbury House, August_ 15, 1803.

MY LORD,

Having observed, with infinite regret, in the public newspapers, that
when a general meeting of the various parishes in this neighbourhood
took place, the inhabitants exhibited great apathy with regard to
the situation of the country, and that only a small portion of the
inhabitants of the parish of Enford had signed their names to act as
volunteers in defence of their country in case of an invasion, I was
induced, yesterday, from a sense of public duty, to come amongst them;
and, at their particular and unanimous request, I accepted the offer to
command them, agreeable to the provisions of the late act of parliament.
I have the pleasure now to inform you, that all the men in this parish
capable of bearing arms, with the exception of two, have voluntarily
enrolled their names to act as a company of volunteers, to be at the
command of the Government, to march at a moment's notice to any part
of the united kingdom, where our services may be required. I also beg
leave, in addition to the foregoing, to renew the offer which I made
through your Lordship two years back, of my life and fortune, without
any reservation, to oppose the daring views of our enterprising enemy.
Sir John Poore, your Deputy Lieutenant, has expressed himself much
pleased with the zeal and the alacrity with which the people of Enford
have come forward, and I have to solicit your Lordship's early attention
to this corps (in case our services should be accepted), as I feel
particularly anxious to render their services available as speedily as
possible.

I am, my Lord,

Your Lordship's obedient Servant,

H. HUNT.

_To the Earl, of Pembroke._



Having dispatched my servant off with this letter, enclosing a list of
the names of the volunteers, I appointed to meet them at my house at
Chisenbury on the following Sunday, by which time I expected I should
be able to give them the answer of the Lord Lieutenant; and in the mean
time I returned to look after my brewing concern at Clifton. In a few
days after, I received a palavering letter from my Lord Pembroke, as
follows:---- _Lower Brook Street, Aug_. 18, 1803.

SIR,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 15th, enclosing a
list of persons who have volunteered in the parish of Enford. The offer
is most liberal and handsome on your part, as well as on the part of
those who have joined you in tendering such unlimited service, which,
although it far exceeds the limits of the Defence Bill, yet I shall feel
it my duty to lay it before the Secretary of State, that it may receive
that attention which your patriotic offers merit. There will be a
meeting of Deputy Lieutenants in a few days, when your offer shall be
taken into consideration, and receive my early attention.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

PEMBROKE.

_To Henry Hunt, Esq_.

_Chisenbury House_.



I could easily see that there was a shuffle meant here; and I
anticipated that our services were much too zealous and disinterested
to meet with the sanction of his Lordship, and so it proved; for when
I reached Chisenbury House, on the following Sunday, I found a letter,
written by Lord Pembroke to Sir John Melburn Poore, Bart, left for my
perusal, as underneath:----

_Margate, August_, 1803.

SIR,

I find that it will not be in my power to forward the offer from
Enford, in your division, which was communicated to me by Mr. Hunt,
of Chisenbury House. I must beg that you will state to him, for the
information of the members of the proposed company, that I am sorry they
cannot be included in the county quota, in consequence of there having
been a sufficient number already volunteered from that district; but
that, in justice to their marked zeal and loyalty, I shall think it my
duty to state the offer that they have made, to the Secretary of State,
and I shall point it out as an instance of great devotion to the
service, to the notice of his Majesty's ministers, &c. &c. &c.

I am, Sir,

Your very obedient Servant,

PEMBROKE.

_Sir J. M. Poore, Bart._



When I drove into my front court, at Chisenbury House, I found these
brave and zealous fellows drawn up in as good line as I ever in my life
saw in a company of regulars, and they instantly saluted me with three
cheers. They had employed a drill serjeant, and had met to perform their
exercise two or three evenings during the week, and they could already
march and wheel with considerable facility and address. However, as soon
as I had read the letter which had been forwarded by Sir John Poore,
from the Lord Lieutenant, I did not keep them a moment in suspence. I
formed them into a hollow square, and having briefly addressed them,
I next proceeded to read the letter aloud, which appeared to excite
mingled feelings of regret and indignation; every one seemed to feel
that zeal and devotedness were not the qualities that were sought for by
the Lord Lieutenant. We had, however, the great consolation of knowing
that our promptitude and patriotism, not only saved the parish of Enford
from the fine which had been threatened, but also saved the whole
district from the fines that would no doubt have been levied to a
shilling: for the Lord Lieutenant having said that he declined to
forward our offer in consequence of a _sufficient number_ of men in our
district having already volunteered their services, they could not after
that, with common decency, fine any parish in our district for not
offering to volunteer.

I now caused a hogshead of good old strong beer to be rolled out upon
the lawn, and, although our services were not accepted in defence of our
country, yet that did not prevent us from drinking to her success, and
prosperity to her people. My neighbours, when they had finished their
old stingo, were about to depart in peace; but, as is frequently the
case, when men have made free with the glass, reason and liberality
forsake them, so it was here, for some of them wished to proceed
immediately to the house of the miller, who, with his servant, in
consequence of some pique against me, had declined to place their names
in our list of volunteers. Elated with liquor, they proposed to inflict
summary punishment upon these persons, by giving them a sound ducking
in their own mill pond; but this course of proceeding I immediately put
down, by justifying the men in their conduct, and contending that they
had an equal right to withhold their services as we had to volunteer
ours; and thus they escaped the threatened unjustifiable punishment. The
men, however, one and all, renewed their offers to me, that they would
be ready and willing at all times to come forward, to undertake any
service that I might propose to them; and they added the assurance of
their belief, that I would never propose any thing to them that I would
not join them in accomplishing. Thus ended our meeting, and at all
events we had the satisfaction of having done our duty to ourselves and
our country.

Some time after this, I was informed of a very curious circumstance,
relating to this affair. As soon as I sent in this offer to the Lord
Lieutenant, he called a meeting of his Deputy Lieutenants, and laid it
before them; pointing out the unlimited and extensive nature of the
tender of our services, and expressing a doubt whether he should be
justified in accepting it under the provision of the Defence Bill,
without some reduction in the numbers, and modification as to the
extension of the service tendered. This, I understood, caused a very
long discussion; all of them disapproving of the example set by offering
such extensive service; none of the other corps having volunteered to go
farther than their military district, Wilts, Hants, and Dorset. One
of these wiseacres exclaimed, in very boisterous language, against
accepting the offer, and for this sapient reason--"because," as he said,
"two hundred men out of one parish had volunteered to march to any part
of the kingdom to hazard their lives in the defence of their country,
provided they were commanded by an officer of their own choice; _ergo_,
it was highly improper to trust arms in the hands of such a body of
men." Though this was very properly laughed at by some of the more
rational members of this divan, yet they came to an unanimous resolution
to exempt the whole district of Enford from their quotas rather than run
such a desperate risk. Well! I had all the credit of the offer, without
any of the trouble and expence of putting it into execution. I have
detailed these facts as another proof of my enthusiasm. I never acted
from any cold calculating notions of self-interest. If I thought it
right to perform an act of public or private duty, having once made up
my mind, I never suffered any selfish considerations to interpose to
prevent my carrying it into effect.

After all, the troops of Napoleon never landed, and consequently
the mighty heroes of the volunteer corps escaped with whole skins.
Buonaparte, nevertheless, persisted in playing off the bugbear of the
French flotilla at Boulogne, by which John Gull was kept in a complete
state of agitation and ferment. Addington's majorities fell off every
day, in the House of Commons; and by Pitt's intrigues and management he
was at length left in a minority; and, as it was considered much too
disgraceful a thing even by Addington to hold his place after he had
been left in the minority, he resigned, and William Pitt once more
wielded the destinies of England, he being appointed prime minister
on the twelfth of May, 1804. The British navy was unsuccessful in its
attempts to destroy the French flotilla at Boulogne; and three trials to
set fire to the shipping at Havre also proved abortive.

On the eighteenth of May, Buonaparte was declared Emperor of France,
under the title of Napoleon the First. This act was in fact hastened, if
not produced, by the discovery and detection of a real diabolical
plot against the life and government of Buonaparte; in which Moreau,
Pichegru, Georges, and others, were implicated, and were in consequence
arrested. Moreau was tried, found guilty, pardoned, and exiled. The
Duke D'Enghien, grandson of the Prince of Condé, was known to be on the
frontier, connected with these men, and some English agents, who were
concerned in the conspiracy. D'Enghien was urging them on, and zealously
endeavoring to raise a rebellion in the French territories. This he did
in a very conspicuous way, relying upon his own security, he being at
the time in Baden, a neutral territory; but Buonaparte, setting the Duke
of Baden at defiance, entered his territory, and caused the conspirator
to be seized and tried, and being found guilty, he was shot. The despots
of the north, Russia and Sweden, remonstrated against this violation of
neutral territory; but all the other powers of Europe displayed a more
tame and forbearing policy. As the trial and execution of this sprig of
the Bourbons, who was detected in a conspiracy to assassinate Napoleon,
and to produce the overthrow of his Government in France, caused a
universal howling of all the hireling editors of all the newspapers
in this country, against what they called the murder of this Duke
D'Enghien, I shall shortly state the charges on which he was unanimously
found guilty by the Military Court, which was appointed to try him; the
President being Citizen Hulin, General of Brigade. The FIRST charge was
"That of having carried arms against the French Republic."--SECOND, "Of
having offered his services to the English Government, the enemy of the
French people."--THIRD, "Of receiving and having, with accredited agents
of that Government, procured means of obtaining intelligence in France,
and conspiring against the internal and external security of the
state."--FOURTH, "That he was at the head of a body of French emigrants,
paid by England, formed on the frontiers of France, in the districts of
Friburg and Baden."--FIFTH, "Of having attempted to foment intrigues
at Strasburg, with a view of producing a rising in the adjacent
departments, for the purpose of operating a diversion favourable to
England."--SIXTH, "That be was one of those concerned in the conspiracy
planned by England for the _assassination of the First Consul_, and
intending, in case of the success of that plot, to return to France."
The court, composed of military officers, after a patient hearing,
unanimously found the prisoner _guilty_ of all the six charges. The
president of the court then pronounced the sentence as follows:--"The
Special Military Commission condemns unanimously to death, Louis Antoine
Henry de Bourbon, Duke D'Enghien, on the ground of his being guilty of
acting as a spy, of corresponding with the enemies of the Republic, and
conspiring against the external and internal security of the Republic."
However this young man might be pitied, however much we may have
lamented his end, yet he was tried and condemned by the known
and written law of France, which was expressed in the following
terms:--Article 2nd, 11th January, year 5--"Every individual, whatever
be his state, quality, or profession, convicted of _acting as a spy for
the enemy, shall be sentenced to the punishment of death_." Article 1st,
every one engaged in a plot or conspiracy against the Republic, shall
on conviction be punished with _death_. Article 3rd, 6th October,
1791.--Every one connected with a plot or conspiracy tending to disturb
the tranquillity of the state, by civil war, by arming one class of
citizens against the other, or against the exercise of legitimate
authority, shall be punished with _death_. Signed and sealed the same
day, month and year aforesaid. Guiton, Bazancourt, Revier, Barrois,
Rabbe, D'Autancourt, Captain Reporter; Molin, Captain Register; and
Hulin president.

After all the howling, and all that has been said, about this trial and
execution, this Duke D'Enghien had as fair a trial, a much fairer jury,
with an unanimous verdict of guilty upon _all_ the charges, and a much
more equitable, and ten times more just sentence, than I received from
the immaculate Court of King's Bench. _Hulin_ was much more justified,
by the law of France, in passing this sentence upon D'Enghien, than
_Bailey_ was in passing a sentence upon me of _Two Years and Six Months_
incarceration in this infamous jail. It is very true that _Bailey_ was
only the mouth-piece of the court, and I am ready to admit that, though
he passed the sentence upon me, yet, he was so far from concurring in
it, that he actually wrote down "not one hour," as the whole of his
share of the punishment that he thought I ought to receive. There was,
however, the _pure_ and _venerable judge_----, as he was denominated
by the amiable _Castlereagh_ alias _Londonderry_, when my Petition was
rejected by the Honourable House on the 15th instant, May, 1821, the
day when Sir Francis Burdett brought forward his long-promised,
long-delayed, frequently put-off motion, upon the Manchester massacre.
Oh! the _venerable Judge!_ I thank you kindly for that, my Lord--I will
always follow so good and worthy an example as that of your Lordship;
in future he shall always be designated by me as the _venerable Judge!
Jeffries_ was indeed also a _venerable Judge_, and Jeffries came to an
end the most appropriate for such a _venerable Judge_. Talk of _Hulin_
indeed! he was a paragon of justice, humanity and mercy, compared with
my Lord _Shift-names' venerable emblem of purity_. I think it was Mr.
Horne Tooke that used to say, that it was as difficult to know who and
what our nobility were, as it was to know a pickpocket or a highwayman,
the former changed their names as frequently as the latter; and really
the remark is a perfectly correct one! The famous Mr. Drake, the
notorious English plenipotentiary at the court of Munich, was at
the head of this conspiracy, while holding the situation of English
Ambassador to the Elector of Bavaria. Ten of his original letters were
seized by the police of the Republic, and in the report of Regnier, the
Chief Justice, the following extracts from Mr. Drake's letters were
introduced. In addressing one of his correspondents, an active
conspirator, as he thought, who had undertaken to assassinate the First
Consul, but who was nothing more or less than an agent of the French
Police, he writes with a brutal fury worthy of the part he plays. The
letter is dated Munich, December 9, 1803. "It is," says he, "of very
little consequence _by whom the Beast is brought to the ground_; it is
sufficient that you are all ready to join in the chace." There was also
another of these precious diplomatic agents of the British Government,
a person of the name of _Spencer Smith_, Minister from England at
Stutgard, acting as a conspirator against the person of the First Consul
and the Republic of France, who was wise enough to employ a Frenchman,
named Pericaud, as his confidential secretary. In one of his letters
Drake uses the following language: "_You should_," says he, "_offer the
soldiers a small increase of pay beyond what they receive of the present
Government_." In the report of the Grand Judge, he speaks of Mr. Drake
as follows:--"an English Minister such as Mr. Drake, cannot be punished
by obloquy--this can only mortify men who feel the price of virtue, and
know that of honour." He adds, "Men who preach up assassination and
foment domestic troubles, the agents of corruption, the missionaries
of revolt against all established governments, are the enemies of all
states and all governments. The law of nations does not exist for
them." In the second interview of Mr. Rosey with Mr. Drake, when he was
devising the plan for destroying Buonaparte, Mr. Rosey says, he, Drake,
spoke as follows, when speaking of the fall of Napoleon: "Profit, when
the occasion shall offer, by the trouble in which the rest of his
partizans will be plunged. _Destroy them without pity; pity is not the
virtue of a politician_." In fact it appears very evident, that the plan
was to assassinate the First Consul, and thereby to produce a fresh
revolution in France.

Soon after this, Captain Wright, who landed Georges, Pichegru, and their
accomplices, on the coast at Dieppe, was taken in a corvette by
the French gun-boats, and was sent off to Paris in the diligence,
accompanied by the Gendarmerie. This Captain Wright, after very urgent
negociations through the Spanish Minister at Paris, was ordered to be
given up to the English by Talleyrand; the French Government having
refused to exchange him as a prisoner of war on any terms. Having been
engaged in this plot to assassinate Buonaparte, he was treated as a spy,
and might have been tried by the law of France and executed as such. The
French Government, however, thought it a sufficient disgrace to him as a
man of honour, to refuse to exchange him, but to give him up as a boon
to the Spanish Ambassador. Wright, it is said by his keepers, cut his
throat in the prison; but the English hireling newspaper editors made a
great clamour against Buonaparte, to persuade John Gull that he had been
murdered in prison; though it would be difficult to find any good reason
for this, when he might have been tried and executed by the law of
France, upon the same principle that D'Enghien was convicted.

Mr. Cobbett, who had now become celebrated for his political works,
particularly his Weekly Political Register, had about this time began to
write very freely in the cause of Liberty. Being a most powerful writer,
he had attacked with great success the tyrannical measures of the Irish
Government, and he was, therefore, prosecuted for a libel upon the Earl
of Hardwicke, Lord Redesdale, Mr. Justice Osbourn, and Mr. Marsden. The
trial came on before Lord Ellenborough and a Middlesex special jury,
and he was found guilty, of course. He also had an action for damages
brought against him by Mr. Plunkett, Solicitor-General of Ireland; and
this action being also tried by a Middlesex special jury, he had, of
course, a verdict against him, with £500 damages.

Mr. Pitt was now again in power, and he endeavoured to make the public
believe that he had assented to the wishes of the nation, by an union
with Mr. Fox, whom he professed to have recommended to his Majesty
to appoint one of the cabinet. This was one of Mr. Pitt's artful and
hypocritical shuffles; he contrived that the King should object to the
admission of Mr. Fox; while at the same time he managed so as to make
the nation think that he studied their wishes by recommending Mr. Fox to
the King; and thus he fixed upon his Majesty the odium of disregarding
the prayers of the people, and objecting to Mr. Fox from merely personal
motives.

I was living at Clifton at this period, and during the summer I visited
Cheltenham with my family. At the latter place I frequently met Mr. Fox,
who was drinking the celebrated waters, for his health, which had become
greatly impaired in consequence of his attending so incessantly to his
parliamentary duties. He was accompanied by Mrs. Armstead, the lady whom
he afterwards married, and to which lady the people of England have had
the honour to pay twelve hundred pounds a-year, ever since the death of
Mr. Fox. Mrs. Armstead appeared to be a very delightful woman, with whom
this great statesman and senator evidently lived in a state of the most
perfect domestic harmony. They were almost always together, seldom if
ever were they seen separate--at the pump-room in the morning; at the
library and reading-room at noon, when the papers came in; at the
theatre, or at private parties, in the evening; Mr. Fox and Mrs.
Armstead were always to be seen together. The Duke of Bedford was then
recently married to his present Duchess. Mr. Fox and his lady were
frequently of the Duke's party; in fact, they were as one family.
Cheltenham was then very full of gay company; amongst whom a great deal
of dissipation and intrigue were going on. It was frequently made a
subject of remark, that Mr. Fox and Mr. Hunt appeared to enjoy more real
happiness, more domestic felicity, than any of the married persons at
Cheltenham, with the exception of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, who
lived a retired domestic life at that time; and, from what I have heard,
have continued to do so ever since.

I remember sitting in the library with Mr. Fox, on the morning when
the news arrived by the post, that Sir Francis Burdett was elected the
representative for the county of Middlesex, by a majority of ONE. Mr.
Fox was greatly elated with this momentary success of the Baronet; but
he expressed his doubts upon the final issue of an inquiry before a
Committee of the House of Commons. This famous contest for Middlesex had
caused considerable anxiety throughout the country, and a party of us,
amongst whom was Mr. Fox, used to assemble daily on the arrival of the
post at the library, to hear the state of the poll. This election had
been carried on fifteen days with unabating enthusiasm. Sir Francis
Burdett was backed by all the men and women of the county possessing
liberal principles; he had besides an immensely long purse, the contents
of which were lavished upon his partizans with an unsparing hand.
_Ninety-four thousand pounds_ was the price of the two elections, which
came out of his own pocket; besides all the gratuitous assistance that
he received from his friends and partizans. Mr. Mainwaring was the
treasurer of the county; his father was the chairman of the County
Quarter Sessions. The father had been rendered by a committee of the
House incapable of sitting in that Parliament, he having been convicted
of treating during the previous election. The son, therefore, a mere
clerk to the magistrates, was set up against Sir Francis; this son being
a man without the slightest pretensions to a seat in Parliament for a
rotten borough, and much less for the county of Middlesex, either as a
man of fortune, a man of rank, or a man of talent. In fact, it was a
ministerial contest against Sir Francis Burdett; most of the partizans
of Mr. Mainwaring declaring, at the time, that they voted _against Sir
Francis_, and not for Mainwaring. I was one of those who thought that
this was a great triumph in the cause of liberty, and I was therefore
excessively rejoiced that Sir Francis Burdett should have been
successful against all the magistracy, and all the ministerial
aristocracy of the metropolitan county. But now, when I look back, and
read the speeches of the Honourable Baronet, I only feel surprised that
I could have been such a dupe as to expect that any real benefit would
ever arise to the people from his exertions. All his promises,
all his protestations, I now perceive to have been general; there was
nothing in them specific and tangible. The great cry raised against Sir
F. Burdett's principles at that time was, that he had been the associate
of the traitors _Despard_ and _O'Connor_. This was most infamous, and
was resented by every upright and honest freeholder in the county. The
Baronet was evidently the most popular candidate; but what gave the
greatest _eclat_ to his election was the lavish expenditure of his cash
to bribe the electors. Henry Clifford was his counsel, and he himself
was a host.

The newspapers of the next day, however, brought us an account which
blasted all the sanguine hopes that we had entertained the day before.
At the final end of the scrutiny the Sheriff declared the numbers on the
poll to be the same as they were the day before, at three o'clock, and
these were the numbers by which he ought to decide the election. They
were as follow: for Mr. Mainwaring, 2828--for Sir Francis Burdett,
2823--and Mr. Mainwaring was of course declared duly elected by a
majority of five votes. Thus ended this great political contest,
in which so much money was spent, and of which _drunkenness, riot,
bribery_, and _perjury_, were the most prominent characteristics. On the
29th of October, one of the most atrocious acts of tyranny, robbery, and
lawless plunder, took place, which ever disgraced the character of any
nation, namely, the British navy captured three Spanish frigates, with
upwards of _three millions_ of dollars on board. This unparalleled act
of aggression was committed upon the property of Spain, a nation with
whom England was at peace, and this plunder was what is called _Droits
of the Admiralty_, which is claimed by the crown; so that, when the
crown chooses to become a robber upon the high seas, and plunders a
state to enrich itself, the people of England are called upon to spill
their best blood in defending an act which, if committed in common life,
would entitle the robber to a halter.

Soon after this, by way of retaliation, Buonaparte caused Sir George
Rumbold, a British Minister, to be seized at Hamburgh, by a detachment
of French soldiers, who carried him off to France. The law of nations
was, in fact, set at naught by all the Belligerent Powers; in most cases
the weakest went to the wall. The English Ministers violated every known
and heretofore received principle of the law of nations. Buonaparte
always took care to retaliate in the most prompt and decisive manner;
and thus the subjects of both powers were at once rendered the sport
and the victims of their tyrannical rulers. There was no safety in
neutral territories, nor any safeguard in the hitherto acknowledged
law of nations. The conspiracy formed by the English Ministers to
assassinate Napoleon was detected, and all their agents, who were
concerned in so hellish a plot, were exposed and denounced by every
civilized state in Europe. Moreau was banished to America; Pichegru
strangled himself in prison; Georges and D'Enghien were executed; Drake
had a narrow escape with his life; Captain Wright cut his own throat
in a French prison; and thus the whole conspiracy was as completely
frustrated, and its agents as completely punished, as were the agents
of the Cato-street conspiracy: both of them were got up by the same
parties, and the only difference was, that the former was ten times more
atrocious than the latter.

The King and the Prince of Wales, who had been long at variance, had a
meeting on the 12th of November, 1804, when a reconciliation took place
between them. Every body now expected to hear that the Prince's Debts
were soon to be paid off. About this time there were great discussions
relative to who had the legal care and education of the Princess
Charlotte of Wales; and while in London the English Ministers and the
Opposition were squabbling about this mighty concern, the coronation of
Napoleon by the Pope, took place in Paris, where he was crowned Emperor
of France.

I trust that my introducing these events, as they occurred, will not be
deemed superfluous by the reader. I do it, because it is my intention,
as it has been all along, to give a brief history of the political
occurrences of my own time, and within my own recollection. It is, I
think, not unadvisable to put upon record some of the transactions of
the English Ministers for the last twenty years, and dispassionately
place them in their true light. At the period when these things were
done the public mind was in a state of heat and effervescence --it
was in such a fever of political delusion and delirium, that what was
written and published at the time, particularly by the diurnal press of
the day, instead of enlightening, was calculated only to mislead and
deceive the people. Far from recording fairly what was passing in the
world of politics, the principal object of the great mass of public
writers, and more especially of the conductors of public newspapers, was
to _disguise and conceal the truth_; they were all in the pay, or under
the influence, of the two great political factions, the Ins and the
Outs, the Tories and the Whigs, both interested in keeping the people
in the dark. They were both struggling for nothing but place and
power; their great end and aim were the same. The watch-word which,
notwithstanding their ostensible difference in principles, was common to
them, was this--"keep the people in ignorance, or neither of our parties
will be able to plunder them." Therefore, though to the superficial
observer, they appeared inveterately hostile to each other, yet I
repeat, that they had the same object in view, and this was proved
beyond all the possibility of doubt when the Whigs came into power. For
twenty long years had Mr. Fox and his party been inveighing against the
measures of Mr. Pitt; yet, the moment Mr. Fox and his friends came into
place, they not only adopted all the measures of Mr. Pitt, but they even
followed up the most obnoxious of those measures towards the people with
an unfeeling and arbitrary severity. This being the case, I shall take
leave, as I go along, to represent public events in their true colours,
in such as they must strike every rational, dispassionate, and
unprejudiced mind.

At this period invasion was still the general topic; it was in every
person's mouth, and nothing else was either thought of or talked of. It
was the subject of every one's almost hourly inquiry, both in London and
the country, even in the most remote parts. Mr. Cobbett well described
it at the time, "a state malady; appearing by fits and starts; sometimes
assuming one character, and sometimes another. At last, however, it
seems to have settled into a sort of hemorrhage, the patients in
Downing-street expectorating pale or red, according to the state of
their disease. For some weeks past it has been remarkably vivid; whether
proceeding from the heat of the dog-days, or from the quarrellings and
fightings, and riotings amongst their volunteers, it would be hard to
say, but certain it is, that the symptoms have been of a very alarming
complexion for nearly a month."

Notwithstanding all the terror which was felt, the fact is, that
Buonaparte never seriously intended to invade England; but he knew that
the gun-boats at Boulogne kept this country in a continual state of
tremor, and put it to an enormous expense; it was evidently the policy
of France to let us alone, provided that she could keep us in a state
of agitation and ferment. It is very curious to observe how well this
answered the purpose of Pitt as well as of Napoleon. Mr. Pitt had, in
the first instance, to raise the spirit of the country, or rather to
delude John Gull, created a false and unfounded alarm of invasion by
Buonaparte, long before the latter ever dreamed of it, and the trick
succeeded to a miracle. Pitt knew that he could not get such immense
sums from the pockets of the people, unless he could work upon their
fears; and this gave rise to the bugbear of invasion. John, as was
expected, took fright, and the whole country was in consequence thrown
into a violent ferment. Volunteer corps and voluntary subscriptions were
every where the order of the day; John opened his purse-strings widely,
and patiently suffered the rapacious and cunning Minister to dip his
griping fist into the treasure as deeply as he thought proper. Napoleon,
who had some of the most intelligent men in the world about him,
soon discovered the state malady of poor John Gull, and he and his
councillors lost not a moment to set about prescribing a dose, which
they were sure would increase the nervous fever that had taken
possession of the whole country. Their prescription was a very simple
one, it merely consisted in ordering gun-boats at Boulogne. Napoleon
played Pitt's own game off to such a tune as he did not expect. Pitt
created the alarm to raise taxes; Napoleon fell into the scheme, in
order to continue the call for taxes upon the pockets of Gull, and to
exhaust the resources, and waste the wealth of the country, which at
that time appeared to some people to be absolutely inexhaustible. This
Boulogne flotilla was therefore a mere playing upon the fears of the
people of England, but it was a most ruinous war upon the national
finances.

This was the time when the people of England were made drunk, and indeed
mad, by the deleterious potions that were administered by Pitt and his
colleagues, in the shape of Acts of Parliament, for raising volunteer
corps, catamaran schemes, car projects for conveying troops, &c. &c.
with every other species of folly and profligacy. The taxes raised this
year were little short of SIXTY MILLIONS.--In February the quartern loaf
was _eight-pence_; by December it had risen to _one shilling and four
pence halfpenny_. Those were rare times for the farmers and the
yeomanry; and they did not forget to make their poor neighbours feel
their power. This rise in the price of corn was caused by the CORN BILL,
which was carried through the House of Commons for the purpose; but its
operation was arrested in the House of Lords, till the 15th of November.
Mr. Cobbett was still one of the great advocates for war, and he wrote
some very able but very mischievous papers, to prove that war did not
operate to raise the price of bread, and that for the last fifty years
bread had been cheaper in war than in peace. This he did for the purpose
of discountenancing and reprobating the cry that had been raised of
"_Peace and a large loaf_." Mr. Cobbett's Register at this time became a
very popular work, and the great talent displayed by the author caused
it to be universally read. I, for one, became one of his constant
readers and zealous admirers, although I did not agree with many of his
doctrines. Notwithstanding the great talent he displayed, and the
knowledge in matters of political economy which it was very evident that
he possessed, I could never be convinced that war in any way either
promoted the freedom or happiness of the people, much less that it ever
produced cheap bread, or contributed to the comfort of the poor. I must,
however, do Mr. Cobbett the justice to say, that he condemned the Corn
Bill, and, in glowing language, boldly and ably pointed out the folly as
well as the injustice of Corn Bills, to raise the price of grain. I did
not know Mr. Cobbett at that time, but I own that I longed to become
acquainted with so celebrated a public writer, who had afforded me so
much pleasure in the perusal of his literary works. It will be but doing
common justice to him, as well as to myself, to observe here, that I
have never failed to read it from that day up to the present hour; and
that I have received more pleasure in reading his works, and have
derived more information from him, ten times ten-fold, in subjects of
political economy, than I ever derived from all the other authors I ever
read besides. Mr. Cobbett, at that time, censured in strong terms the
volunteer system, and ridiculed their pranks and squabbles with the most
cutting irony; for he was at that time the mighty champion of a standing
army. Mr. Cobbett had been a soldier, and a zealous, active, and
intelligent soldier; therefore, as such, it was not only excusable in
him to be an advocate for that system, with which he was so well
acquainted, and whose power he so well knew, but his predilection was
quite natural. He, however, then little thought what a monster he was
nourishing, in the shape of a standing army. Sir Robert Wilson also was
bred a soldier; and he also published a pamphlet, addressed to Mr. Pitt,
under the title of "An Inquiry into the present State of the Military
Force of the British Empire, with a view to its re-organization." This
pamphlet was in favour of a regular army, in preference to the
volunteers. In fact, the whole nation was mad; and as drunk with fear
now, as they had been in the commencement of the war with France with
folly and boasting. We long since began to feel the baneful effects of
that war, and we are now tasting its bitter fruits, with all their
appalling evils. We have now a standing army in good earnest; and now
that army is kept up, in the sixth year of peace, to compel John Gull to
pull out of his pocket the last shilling, to pay the interest of that
debt, which, in his drunken, insane folly, he suffered his rulers, to
borrow, in order, as they first told him, to humble the power of the
French Jacobins; a debt which was greatly enhanced to humble Napoleon;
and, lastly, it was brought to its climax to restore the Bourbons. The
people of England were drunk, wickedly drunk, when they went to war to
destroy the principles of liberty in France; for, be it remembered, to
their shame, that the people sanctioned this war--they were duped and
deceived, it is true, but it was certainly a popular war with the great
mass of the people of England.

Being now arrived at the summit of power, Napoleon became more than
usually anxious to secure that power. It was his interest, as it had
long been his object, to be at peace with England; and in order to
secure this desirable object, he wrote a letter to the king of England,
with his own hand, offering the fairest terms, and expressing a sincere
desire to put an end to the spilling of human blood, and to see the two
nations at peace with each other. Common courtesy, and the rules of good
breeding, entitled him to an answer. But, instead of this, the Secretary
of State merely informed the French Minister, that the King, by treaty,
was obliged to act in concert with his allies. As soon as this slight
was offered to the Emperor of France, preparations were immediately
renewed for invading England. Mr. Pitt finds that his difficulties have
increased since his former administration; he therefore makes an effort
to strengthen the Government by an union with the Addingtons, and the
late Prime Minister is raised to the peerage, by the title of Viscount
Sidmouth.

On the 24th of January, 1805, war was declared by England against Spain.
In fact, it was absolutely necessary to declare war against Spain, or
restore the three frigates and the three million dollars of which we had
robbed them; and not choosing to be honest, and do an act of justice to
that nation, war was inevitable. I have this moment found a copy of
the letter addressed by Napoleon to the King of England, which I will
insert, that the rising generation may be able to judge for themselves
of the characters and dispositions of the two monarchs, George the Third
and Napoleon the First. The letter is as follows:--

"SIR AND BROTHER, _January_ 2, 1805.

"Called to the throne of France by Providence, and by the suffrages of
the senate, the people, and the army, my first sentiment is a wish for
peace. France and England abuse their prosperity. They may contend for
ages; but do their Governments well fulfil the most sacred of their
duties, and will not so _much blood, shed uselessly_, and without a view
to any end, condemn them in their own consciences? I consider it as no
disgrace to make the first step. I have, I hope, sufficiently proved to
the world that I fear none of the chances of war; it besides presents
nothing that I need to fear; peace is the wish of my heart, but war has
never been inconsistent with my glory. I conjure your Majesty not to
deny yourself the happiness of giving peace to the world, nor to leave
that sweet satisfaction to your children: for certainly there never
was a more favourable opportunity, nor a moment more favourable to
silence all passions, and listen only to the sentiments of humanity and
reason. This moment once lost what end can be assigned to a war which
all my efforts will not be able to terminate. Your Majesty has gained
more within ten years, both in territory and riches, than the whole
extent of Europe. Your nation is at the highest point of prosperity;
what can it hope from war? To form a coalition with some powers of the
Continent? The Continent will remain tranquil; a coalition can only
increase the preponderance and continental greatness of France. To renew
intestine troubles? The times are no longer the same. To destroy our
finances? Finances founded on a flourishing agriculture can never be
destroyed. To take from France her colonies? The colonies are to France
only a secondary object; and does not your Majesty already possess more
than you know how to preserve? If your Majesty would but reflect, you
must perceive that the war is without an object, without any presumable
result to yourself. Alas! what a melancholy prospect to cause two
nations to fight merely for the sake of fighting. The world is
sufficiently large for our two nations to live in it, and reason is
sufficiently powerful to discover means of reconciling every thing,
when the wish for reconciliation exists on both sides. I have, however,
fulfilled a sacred duty, and one which is precious to my heart. I trust
your Majesty will believe in the sincerity of my sentiments, and my wish
to give you every proof of it, &c.

"NAPOLEON."

Instead of his Majesty, George the Third, writing an answer to this
pacific letter from the Emperor Napoleon, a letter was written by Lord
Mulgrave, addressed to M. Talleyrand, the French Minister, couched
in equivocal terms, and which concluded by saying that his Britannic
Majesty had no power to act for himself, and that he could do nothing
without consulting with his allies upon the Continent. After this
conciliatory epistle from the Emperor of France, and the answer, or
rather the failure of an answer, from his Britannic Majesty, no one
that reads this letter of the Emperor Napoleon and the answer of Lord
Mulgrave will ever believe or say that Napoleon was the cause of the
continuance of the war. What oceans of blood might have been spared if
the King of England, if George the Third, had accepted this liberal
and candid offer of peace and reconciliation from Napoleon!

The reign of George the Third may, with the greatest propriety, be
called the bloodiest reign in the annals of history. If his Majesty felt
that he, having the power, neglected such an opportunity, that he
threw away the delightful pleasure of sparing the lives of his fellow
creatures, of stopping the effusion of human blood, if he felt this, I
for one do not wonder at his Majesty's illness--the bare reflection was
more than enough to drive any man out of his senses, to have distracted
the strongest brain. Oh God! what a reflection! The pages of British
history from that hour, that fatal hour, when the answer was written by
Lord Mulgrave, dictated by the hand of a cold-blooded policy, from that
hour, I say, the pages of history have been tarnished; blood having been
shed, which, by a more humane policy, might have been prevented.

Let us now return to our domestic politics. At length a Committee of the
House of Commons declared that George Bolton Mainwaring was not
duly elected, and ought not to have been returned for the county of
Middlesex; but that Sir Francis Burdett was duly elected, and ought to
have been returned. This was a sad blow for the saints, who were the
principal supporters of Mr. Mainwaring. Sir Francis Burdett now took his
seat, out of which he had been unjustly kept at the beginning of the
Sessions by the temporising and partial conduct of the sheriffs of the
county of Middlesex.

At this time, in March, 1805, the tenth report of the commissioners
of naval inquiry was laid before the House of Commons, which report
implicated _Lord Melville_ and _Mr. Trotter_ in the crime of defrauding
the public of the monies entrusted to them, intended to discharge those
accounts as connected with the office of Treasurer of the Navy, an
office held by my Lord Melville. Trotter, Lord Melville's deputy, who
had a salary of no more than 800_l_. a year, was found to have increased
his funded property since 1791, a period of fourteen years, to _eleven
thousand three hundred and eight pounds one shilling_ PER ANNUM!!--Lord
Melville, on his examination before the commissioners, being asked,
_upon his oath_, "whether Mr. Trotter had ever applied any of the naval
money for his (Lord Melville's) benefit or advantage?"--_he refused to
answer_, for fear of _criminating himself_. What came out upon this
inquiry before the _Commissioners_ of _Naval Inquiry_, now absorbed
the whole of the public attention, and caused an universal sensation
throughout the country. This said Lord Viscount Melville was that
Henry Dundas, Esq. who was formerly a Lawyer in Edinburgh, became Lord
Advocate of Scotland during the American war, and a strong supporter of
Lord North's administration; was then made Treasurer of the Navy at the
same epoch that Mr. Pitt first became Chancellor of the Exchequer, in
Lord Shelburn's administration; again became Treasurer of the Navy in
the administration of Mr. Pitt, in 1784; then became President of the
Board of Controul for India affairs, and afterwards Secretary of State
for the War Department, retaining all the _three offices_ in his own
person till the year 1800, when he gave up the Treasurership of the
Navy, still keeping fast hold of the other two offices till he resigned,
together with Mr. Pitt and the rest of that Ministry, in the month of
March, 1801. This same Henry Dundas, who was again brought into place by
Mr. Pitt, and put in greater power than ever, was, on the 8th of April,
1805, degraded by a censure of the House of Commons, inflicted by a
solemn vote, on the motion of Mr. Whitbread, who brought the affair
before them with great manliness, ability, and perseverance. The
eleventh resolution moved by Mr. Whitbread, and carried by a majority of
the House against all the influence and exertions of Mr. Pitt, was as
follows--"That the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Melville, having been
privy to, and connived at, the withdrawing from the Bank of England,
for purposes of private interest or emolument, sums issued to him as
Treasurer of the Navy, and placed to his account in the Bank, according
to the provisions of the 25th of Geo. III. chap. 31, has been guilty of
a gross violation of the law, and a high breach of duty."

Public meetings were on this occasion held all over the kingdom, calling
for a rigid inquiry into the conduct of Lord Melville, and petitions
were presented by the electors of Westminster, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen
and Citizens of London, the electors of Southwark, from Salisbury, from
the county of Surrey, city of York, the counties of Norfolk, Hants,
Hereford, Bedford, Berks, Northumberland, Cornwall, Essex, &c. &c.
against Lord Melville.

A county meeting was called for Wilts, at Devizes. I had myself written
to the old Marquis of Lansdown, proposing to sign a requisition to the
Sheriff, which his Lordship immediately complied with; but our High
Sheriff, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, took _that opportunity_ to take a trip
into Wales, or some part of the West, without leaving any orders at home
where his public or private letters were to be forwarded to him. In
consequence of this circumstance, our county meeting was delayed three
weeks or a month, and before it could be held, articles of impeachment
were exhibited and agreed to by the House of Commons against Lord
Melville. The meeting, however, having been at length advertised by the
High Sheriff, to be held at the Town Hall at Devizes, a great number of
freeholders assembled, and amongst that number were myself, Mr. Hussey
and Lord Folkstone, the two members for Salisbury. In consequence of the
decision of the House of Commons, to impeach Lord Melville, Mr. Hussey
and Lord Folkstone recommended, that there should not be any petition
sent up from the county of Wilts, because it would be prejudging the
question before the House. Finding that no petition was to be submitted
to the meeting, I sat down and drew up some resolutions, expressive of
the indignation of the freeholders at the conduct of Lord Melville,
and their approval of that of Mr. Whitbread. Amongst the number was a
censure upon the High Sheriff, for his delay in calling the meeting,
and his gross negligence in being absent from the county at such an
important period. It was here that, for the first time, I addressed my
brother freeholders at a county meeting. Mr. Collins, of Salisbury,
seconded my resolutions, and they were carried by acclamation; but in
consequence of the earnest entreaties of the venerable Mr. Hussey, who
was the father of the House of Commons at that time, backed by those
of his colleague, I, being young in politics, was prevailed upon to
withdraw my vote of censure upon the conduct of the Sheriff, after
having heard from him an explanation and an apology.

This was my first public entry into political life. I had always borne
the character of an independent country gentleman; but I had never taken
any decisive part publicly in politics till this occasion. I was very
successful in my maiden speech, as it might so be called, for which I
was highly complimented by Mr. Hussey and by Lord Folkestone. But, as I
said before, by compliments and by flattery they wheedled me out of the
main jet of my resolutions. The fact was, that my resolutions were
too sweeping, as they cut at the Whigs as well as the Ministers. They
contained a general condemnation of all peculations and peculators; and
Mr. Hussey, as well as Lord Folkestone, who was a very young man and a
very poor orator at that time, were neither more nor less than Whigs:
it was therefore necessary, by a _ruse de guerre_, to get rid of my
resolutions, which they found I was sure to carry, by a large majority
of the meeting. The public spirit evinced by the Wiltshire freeholders
was, however, an earnest of their future patriotic disposition to take
the liberal side of the question in public matters, whenever they might
again be brought upon the carpet.

On the 25th of May, three men, who had falsely sworn themselves
freeholders of Middlesex, to vote for the popular candidate, were, upon
conviction, sentenced to seven years' transportation each. On the 26th
of May the Emperor Napoleon was crowned King of Italy at Milan.

On the 13th June, 1805, a resolution was passed by the House of Commons,
and that the fullest House that ever was known, for ordering the
Attorney-General to commence, in the Court of King's Bench, a criminal
prosecution against Lord Melville, for having used the public money for
private purposes. This resolution of the Honourable House gave universal
satisfaction to the people throughout the country. The examination of
Mr. Pitt before the committee excited general interest, and nothing
else was talked of or thought of in the political world. His shuffling,
equivocating testimony, so much resembles what has been going on,
during the last ten weeks, within these walls, that I will here insert
some of his answers before the committee. It will be recollected that
Mr. Pitt was a man who, whenever it suited his purpose, did, with a most
surprising power of memory, revert to all the arguments and opinions of
his adversaries, for a space of time, comprising his whole political
life; not with _doubt, hesitation, or embarrassment_, but with the most
direct, unqualified, and positive assertion. The following were his
answers before the committee.

Answers. Times.

He _thinks_, &c............... 6

He _rather thinks_........... 2

He _thinks to that effect_... 1

He _thinks he understood_. 1

He _conceives_ ............... 7

He _believes_ .................. 8

He _rather believes_ ......... 1

He _believes he heard_ ...... 1

He _understood_ ............ 3

He _understood it generally_ ..................... 2

He _was satisfied_ ......... 1

He _was not able to ascertain_ ........................ 1

He _can only state the substance_ ...................... 1

He _did not recollect_ (Non mi ricordo!) ............. 9

He _really did not recollect_ 1


Answers. Times.

He had _no recollection_... . 1

Did _not know_ from _his own knowledge_ ............... 3

Did _not know_ that it _occurred to him_ ........... 1

Was not in his _contemplation_ ........................ 1

Did not _occur to his mind_ 1

No _impression was _left on his mind_ ................. 1

He could _not say_ ......... 2

He could not _undertake to say_....................... 2

He could not _speak with certainty_ ................. 1

He could not _speak positively_ ...................... 1

He could not state the _substance very generally_.. 1


  ANSWERS.                                              TIMES.

  He did not at _present recollect_ .................. 2
  He could not _recollect with precision_ ............ 2
  He could not _recollect at this distance of time_ .. 1
  He could not _recollect with certainty_ ............ 1
  His _recollection did not enable him_ .............. 1
  To the _best of his recollection_ .................. 4
  As _well as he could recollect_ .................... 2
  Could not _pretend to recollect_ ................... 1
  Not able to _recollect at this distance of time_ ... 1
  He had a _general recollection_ .................... 4
  He could _not state with accuracy_ ................. 3
  He could not state _precisely_ ..................... 3
  He could assign _no specific reason_ ............... 1
  He did not _know_ .................................. 2
  Not that he _knew of_ .............................. 2
  He had no means of _forming a judgment_ ............ 1
  He did not _think_ ................................. 1
  He had no _knowledge_ .............................. 2
  He could not _judge_ ............................... 1
  _Probably_ ......................................... 1
  He was _led to suppose_ ............................ 1
  He was _led to believe_ ............................ 1
  He was _persuaded_ ................................. 1
  He _learnt_ ........................................ 1
  He _heard surmises_ to that effect ................. 1


ABSTRACT.

  He thinks, rather thinks, or thinks he understood ............... 10
  He conceives ....................................................  7
  He believes, rather believes, &c. ............................... 10
  He understood, was satisfied, &c. ...............................  6
  Not able to ascertain, could only state the substance ...........  2
  Did not recollect, to the best of his recollection, &c. ......... 31
  He could not say, speak with certainty, &c. .....................  6
  Did not occur to his mind, &c. ..................................  7
  He could not state with accuracy, precision, &c. ................  7
  He had no knowledge, not led to believe, to suppose, &c. ........ 16
  I am _perfectly convinced_ ......................................  1
  No, I believe it impossible .....................................  1
  ___
  104


Now it is almost impossible to imagine that a witness could have made
such answers to 104 questions, unless he deliberately and pertinaciously
meant to conceal and withhold the truth by equivocating.

Mr. Pitt's memory, be it observed, was equally bad and treacherous upon
the trial of poor old Hardy, the shoemaker, and Mr. Horne Tooke. He
_then_ could not recollect any thing that was likely to tell in favour
of the prisoners: when their exculpation was likely to be the result of
a plain honest answer, "_Non mi ricordo_" was his reply. That Mr. Pitt
had connived at the peculations of Lord Melville, was clearly proved;
and also that he had lent _Boyd and Benfield_, two ministerial Members
of the Honourable House of Commons, 40,000_l_. of the public money,
without interest. These transactions being made known by means of Mr.
Whitbread's exertions in Parliament, the public mind was in a violent
ferment. Petitions were poured in from all parts of the country against
the conduct of Lord Melville, and the people were delighted at the
resolution passed by the House, ordering the Attorney-General to
commence criminal proceedings against him in the Court of King's Bench.
But they were very much mortified at the notice of the motion given by
Mr. Leicester, on the 25th, for the rescinding the resolution passed
on the 13th of June, and thus to do away with the vote of the House on
that night, in order to substitute an impeachment of Lord Melville,
instead of the criminal prosecution.

On the twenty-sixth of June, an impeachment was ordered by a vote of the
House, instead of a criminal prosecution. This was considered, by every
honest man in the country, to be a measure adopted for the purpose of
screening the newly made _noble delinquent_. Mr. Cobbett took up the
discussion of these proceedings, with his accustomed zeal and ability;
and his Weekly Political Register was universally read, not only in
the metropolis, but all over the kingdom. His clear, perspicuous, and
forcible reasoning upon this transaction, convinced every one who read
the Register; he proved to demonstration that Mr. Pitt had been privy to
and connived at his friend Lord Melville's delinquency, and it was made
evident, to the meanest understanding, that the public money had been
constantly used for private purposes, and to aggrandize the Minister's
tools and dependants.

This was a mortal blow to Mr. Pitt, and it is with great truth said that
this was the primary cause of his death. His friends had always cried up
his integrity and disinterestedness, and his total disregard of wealth.
This was very true as to himself; but he aggrandized all his friends and
supporters; every tool of his ambition grew rich and fattened upon the
public money; and having carried on this trade for so many years, and
to be caught out in this barefaced fraud at last, I believe went far
towards breaking his heart; I am sure he never well recovered it. To
be detected in lending _Boyd and Benfield_, two Members of Parliament,
40,000_l_. of the public money, without interest, was bad enough: but
for that he had impudence enough to offer something like an excuse; and
lame as that excuse was, yet he obtained a bill of indemnity for his
violation of his duty. But to have connived at Sawney's tricks, and to
be detected in it, was too much for his proud spirit to bear! He was,
however, determined at all hazards to screen and protect him from
punishment; and hence the House was surprised into a vote, to rescind
the solemn decision of the House for Lord Melville to be criminally
prosecuted by the Attorney-General, little Master Perceval. Oh! what
shuffling and cutting there was amongst the Minister's tools in the
Honourable House; but Mr. Whitbread was made of too stubborn stuff to be
driven from his purpose!

In the meanwhile, the whole country was alive to the transaction, and
watched with a scrutinizing eye every step that was taken by the wily
Minister, who was beset in every quarter. Mr. Cobbett contributed more
than any other individual to bring this nefarious affair fully before
the public eye. As I had taken a conspicuous part at the Wiltshire
County Meeting, I called on Mr. Cobbett the first time that I went to
London after it had occurred, as I was desirous to obtain a personal
interview with a man who had afforded me so much pleasure by his
writings, and who had given me weekly so much useful information as to
politics and political economy. He lived in Duke-Street, Westminster,
where, on my arrival, I sent in my name. I was shown into a room
unfurnished, and, as far as I recollect, without a chair in it. After
waiting sometime, the great political writer appeared; a tall robust
man, with a florid face, his hair cut quite close to his head, and
himself dressed in a blue coat and scarlet cloth waistcoat; and as it
was then very hot weather, in the middle of the summer, his apparel had
to me a very singular appearance. I introduced myself as a gentleman
from Wiltshire, who had taken a lead at the county meeting, the
particulars of which I had forwarded to him. He addressed me very
_briefly_, and very _bluntly_, saying that "we must persevere, and
we should bring all the scoundrels to justice." He never asked me to
_sit down_; but that might have arisen from there being no other seat in
the room except the floor.

I departed not at all pleased with the interview. I had made up my mind
for a very different sort of man; and, to tell the truth, I was very
much disappointed by his appearance and manners, and mortified at the
cool reception which he gave me. As I walked up Parliament-Street,
I mused upon the sort of being I had just left, and I own that my
calculations did not in the slightest degree lead me to suppose that
we should ever be upon such friendly terms, and indeed upon such an
intimate footing, as we actually were for a number of years afterwards.
It appeared to me, that at our first meeting we were mutually disgusted
with each other; and I left his house with a determination in my own
mind never to seek a second interview with him. I thought that of all
the men I ever saw, he was the least likely for me to become enamoured
of his society. The result was, nevertheless, quite the reverse;
we lived and acted together for many years with the most perfect
cordiality; and I believe that two men never lived that more _sincerely,
honestly_, and _zealously_, advocated public liberty than we did,
hand in hand, for eight or ten years. Although, perhaps, it would be
impossible to pick out two men more different, in many respects, than
we are to each other; yet, in pursuing public duty for so many years
together, there never were two men who went on so well together, and
with such trifling difference of opinion, as occurred between Mr.
Cobbett and myself. It was, however, some years after this, before we
became intimate. I constantly read his Political Register with unabated
admiration and delight, for even at this time he far surpassed every
other political writer, in my opinion.

At this period, 1805, many volunteers having refused to pay their
fines for not attending their drills, under an idea that it was not
compulsory, the magistrates decided that they were legally liable, and
compelled them to pay their arrears.

On the 31st of August, the old humbug of invasion having been again
played off by Buonaparte, Sir Sidney Smith attacked the flotilla off
Boulogne, by means of catamarans, but with very trifling success, he
having done but very little mischief to the enemy.

On the 8th of September, hostilities commenced once more between Austria
and France; and, on the 2d of October, the success of the French arms
began, by the defeat of the Austrians at Guntzburgh, and was followed
up by the action of Wirtingen on the 6th. On the 7th, the French army
defeated the Austrians on the Danube; and on the 14th, Memmingen
surrendered to the French. On the 16th, six thousand Austrians
surrendered to Soult; and, on the 17th, Ulm was surrendered to the
French by the Austrian General Mack. On the 19th, the Austrian army was
again defeated near Ulm by the French; on the same day the Battle of
Elchingen was fought, where the Austrians were again routed; and on the
20th, the French forces in Italy passed the Adige. Werneck surrendered
with 15,000 men to Murat.

As a counterbalance to the wonderful uninterrupted success of the French
arms on the continent, Lord Nelson defeated the French and Spanish
fleets, off Trafalgar, on the 21st of October. In this matchless
naval engagement, the English sailors under Nelson took and destroyed
twenty-four ships of the enemy; in which action the brave Admiral fell.
This splendid victory of Lord Nelson's roused for a time the drooping
spirits of the English Ministers, who had before been almost overwhelmed
by the news of the repeated and uninterrupted success of the French
troops over the Austrians; and as the Russian army had now joined them,
the enemies of the French boasted that the campaign would end in favour
of the allied armies of Austria and Russia. On the 31st of October,
however, the French defeated the Austrians once more on the Adige.
Sweden now joined the Austrians and Russians, and declared war against
France. On the 10th of November, the Austrians were again defeated
by the French at _Moelk_. On the 11th, Marshal Mortier defeated the
Russians; and on the 13th, the French army entered VIENNA. On the 16th,
the French defeated the Russians at Gunstersdorff; and on the 2d of
December, the memorable and decisive battle of _Austerlitz_ was fought,
where the combined armies of Austria and Russia were signally defeated,
and routed with immense loss. On the 6th of the same month, Austria
sued for an armistice, which was granted by Napoleon; and on the 26th,
Napoleon compelled her to sign a treaty of peace at Presburg; upon which
occasion he bestowed the title of King upon the Electors of Bavaria and
Wirtemburgh, the latter of whom was the husband of the Princess Royal of
England, and elevated her to the rank of Queen of Wirtemburgh. Thus did
our most powerful enemy raise one of the Royal Family of England from
the rank of a petty Electress to the rank of Queen; and, under all the
circumstances, this was a very remarkable event. On the 27th of the same
month Buonaparte caused his brother Joseph to be crowned King of Naples.
This wonderful man now had at his command all the crowned heads of
Europe. He made Kings and Queens with as much ease, and with as little
concern, as ginger bread dolls are made for a country fair. The proud,
haughty tyrant, the Emperor of Germany, was at his feet, and Alexander
trembled and obeyed his nod. The fortune of war was, during the
campaign, most propitious to Napoleon; he beat the enemy in every
quarter, and success attended every movement of his armies: to be sure,
his different corps were commanded by the most intelligent, brave, and
renowned generals in the universe; such as never before adorned any age
or country.

The death of Nelson, at the battle of Trafalgar, although it did not
detract from the brilliancy of the victory, was, nevertheless, a great
drawback upon the pleasure that the news would have otherwise afforded
to the country; for every individual laid aside, on this occasion, all
feelings of political hostility, forgot his errors and his crimes as a
politician and a man, and lamented the loss of the hero. No one will
ever dispute Nelson's cool, determined presence of mind, in the
midst of danger and the greatest difficulties; he possessed this
admirable quality in a super-eminent degree. His presence of mind, which
never deserted him in the midst of danger, is the sure indication of
real courage; and this merit will be freely conceded to Nelson, even by
those who abhorred his political subserviency.

Mr. Pitt severely felt the loss of the gallant admiral; and what with
the detection and exposure which was made by the 10th Report of the
Naval Commissioners, and the disgrace that was consequently brought not
only upon himself and his bosom friend Lord Melville, but upon the whole
of his administration; and what with the repeated and signal success of
Napoleon and the French armies in Germany, the health of the Heaven-born
Minister was so affected that he was obliged to go to Bath for his
recovery. I shall never forget my seeing him leave York House, with his
friend, about 10 o'clock in the morning on the very day that he received
the dispatches of the news of the battle of Austerlitz. He walked down
Melsom-street smiling and laughing with his friend, on their way to the
Pump-room. In the mean time the dispatches arrived express, and were
delivered to him there, as I learned afterwards. I met him again,
walking down Argyll-street, in his way home to his lodgings, in
Laura-place. I observed the alteration in his countenance, and remarked
to my friend, with whom I was walking, _"that some bad tidings had
arrived; that Mr. Pitt looked as if he had received his DEATH-BLOW."_ If
he had been shot through the body, the alteration in his countenance and
manner could not have been more evident; he could scarcely _reel along_
as he leaned upon the arm of his friend; his head hung down upon his
chest, and he looked more dead than alive. In ten minutes after this I
arrived at the Library. The mail had brought the papers, which confirmed
the news of the complete overthrow of the combined Russian and Austrian
armies at the battle of Austerlitz. Mr. Pitt returned to town, and I
believe that he never left his house afterwards. Such an accumulation of
difficulties and disasters was too much for his already shaken mind to
support, and his death, I believe, was caused thereby. He never held his
head fully up after the vote of the House, which declared his friend
Lord Melville to have been guilty of _"a gross violation of the law, and
a high breach of duty."_ He made every personal effort in his power, and
used his all-powerful interest to prevail upon a majority of his tools
in the House to agree to the amendment which he proposed to substitute,
in the stead of the above important and convincing declaration; namely,
he moved to leave out the words "_gross violation of the law, and a high
breach of duty_," and insert in lieu of them, the words "_contrary
to the "intention of the law_." But the Ministerial Members of that
Honourable House, corrupt as Pitt had made them, scouted his motion; his
own tools voted against him, and he and his friend Melville were left
in a minority upon his own dunghill. This was too much for his haughty,
stubborn spirit to bear. To be handed down to posterity, so deservedly
covered with the infamous charge of having connived at peculation; for
the _Heaven-born Minister_ to have been defeated, and convicted _of
having winked at the plundering of the people_, and betraying his
sovereign, who had confided to his hands the guardianship of their
treasure, was too much even for his impudent, overbearing spirit to
support; and he lingered out the remainder of his existence, and
descended to the grave a wretched example of bloated pride, and detected
mal-administration.

The public were greatly indebted to Mr. Whitbread for his exposure of
these delinquencies in Parliament; but they were much more indebted
to Mr. Cobbett, for his unwearied exertions, his able, clear, and
perspicuous expositions of the whole of the transactions, which
were published in his Weekly Political Register; which Register was
universally read, with the greatest avidity, from one end of the kingdom
to the other.

The Parliament was prorogued to the 21st of January, 1806, and meanwhile
no exertions were spared by the Opposition, or Whigs, to keep the public
feeling alive, as to the delinquency of Lord Melville, and to prepare
them for his impeachment at the next meeting of the Parliament. The
people of England had never thought for themselves, but had been
hitherto made the puppets of the two great contending factions of the
state, the Whigs and the Tories, alternately taking part sometimes with
one and sometimes with the other; and the great object of these factions
appeared to be always to join in keeping the people in a state of
ignorance, and that faction that could best dupe and deceive _John Gull_
was sure to be in place and power. The Pitt faction had succeeded in
this their amiable occupation for a great length of time. In the
years 1793 and 1794, they had so contrived to addle the brains of the
multitude that their heads had been wool-gathering ever since; their
vision had been then so mystified, and their brains had been so confused
by the mountebank tricks of Pitt and his associates, that nothing but
the pen of a Cobbett could bring them to their right senses again.

I was a constant reader of Cobbett's Register, and although, as I have
said, I had been rather disgusted with the man at my first interview
with him, yet I was quite enraptured with the beautiful productions
of his pen, dictated by his powerful mind. I was become a professed
politician; I had imbibed the sentiments of Lord Bolingbroke, that
"the Constitution of England is the business of every Englishman." I
therefore made politics my study, and I looked for Cobbett's Register
with as much anxiety as I had heretofore looked to the day and hour that
the fox-hounds were to meet; and if by any accident the post did not
bring the Weekly Register, I was just as much disappointed, and felt
as much mortified, as I had previously felt at being disappointed or
deprived of a good fox-chase. I beg it to be understood, however, that I
by no means had given up the sports of the field, which I enjoyed with
as great a zest as I ever did; but when I returned from the pleasures of
the chase, or retired from the field with my dogs and my gun, instead
of spending the remainder of my time in routs, balls, and plays, in
drinking or carousing with bacchanalian parties, I devoted my leisure
hours to reading and studying the history of my country, and the
characters of its former heroes and legislators, as compared with those
of that day. No man enjoyed more domestic happiness than I did; my home
was always rendered delightful by its inmates studying to make each
other comfortable; and thus, instead of its being a scene of strife and
quarrelling, as the homes of some of my friends were, it was quite
the reverse; let me be occupied abroad how or where I would, I always
returned to my home with pleasure; and the certainty of being received
with open arms and a sincere and gratifying welcome, always made me long
for that delight whenever I was absent.

The poor had felt considerable relief by the fall in the price of bread,
since the commencement of the year, when the quartern loaf was as high
as one shilling and four-pence half-penny; but it had now fallen to
ten-pence. The misery that had been entailed upon the poor during the
winter of 1804-5, in consequence of the enormous price of all sorts of
provisions, was most heart-rending and revolting to the feelings of
every one possessing a particle of humanity. I did every thing that
lay in my power to relieve the wants and sooth the sorrows of my poor
neighbours in the parish of Enford; I took care that my own servants
should not want any of the common necessaries of life, but numerous
little comforts, and hitherto esteemed necessaries, were, however
reluctantly, obliged to be dispensed with.

I saw with pain a sad falling off in the character of the labouring
poor; they were for the most part become paupers, while those who
still had the spirit, and the pride to keep from the parish book were
suffering the most cutting penury, and the greatest privations. I have
often witnessed the contending struggles of a poor but high-spirited
labourer, and seen him submitting to the most pinching want before his
honourable feelings would allow him to apply for parish relief;
himself, his wife and children, almost driven to a state bordering upon
starvation, before he could bring his mind to admit the degrading idea
of asking for parochial alms. Many and many is the half-crown that I
have slipped unobserved into the hand of such a man, to enable him the
better to overcome the hardships of winter; with the fond, but
futile hope, that the next harvest might enable him to surmount his
difficulties, and with the fruit of his honest labour procure bread to
stop the mouths of his half-starved wife and children. My means had
been greatly curtailed by the cursed brewery at Clifton, which was a
perpetual drain upon my purse; for all that I acquired by the good
management of my farms was devoured by the calls made from the brewery.
This rendered me less able to assist my poorer neighbours; but I have
the consolation to reflect, that I did my best.

A Bill, which has been lately before the House of Commons, to protect
dumb animals from the brutal treatment of more brutal man, reminds me of
an occurrence or two that happened to myself, and which, in justice to
my character, ought not to be omitted. As I was riding to my farm at
Widdington, one summer's day, with the Reverend William White, the
present Rector of Teffont, in Wiltshire, who was on a visit at my house
at Chisenbury, we perceived a brute, in the shape of a man, belabouring
with a large stick a poor ass, who had sunk down under the weight of his
load, a large heavy bag of ruddle. Exhausted by the heat of a meridian
sun, the poor beast lay prostrate upon the ground, totally deprived of
the power of rising with his burden upon his back. I sharply rode
up, and warmly remonstrated with the huge two-legged brute upon his
inhumanity, and offered to assist him in unloading the beast, to enable
him to rise, and to help him to reload the animal after he had risen.
This was rudely refused, and with an oath I was desired to mind my own
business; while the fellow continued, in a most unmerciful manner, to
beat the wretched unresisting beast upon a raw place on the upper end of
his tail. Exasperated at the fellow's brutality, I rode up to him, and
having seized his bludgeon, as he was brandishing it in the air about to
apply it once more to the already lacerated rump of the poor ass, with
an effort of strength I wrenched the bludgeon from the inhuman monster's
hand, and threw it with great violence sixty or seventy yards over the
hedge, into an adjoining corn-field. Gnashing his teeth with rage
at being deprived of his implement of torture, and determined to be
revenged for my interference, the ruffian immediately drew out a large
clasp knife from his pocket, and seizing the ass by the tail, and
exclaiming, "I will show you that I have a right to do what I please
with my own beast," he instantly cut off his tail within two inches of
his rump, and with savage ferocity he began kicking the wounded part
with all his might, with a pair of thick-topped shoes. This was too much
for me to witness, without making an effort to relieve the wretched
animal, and punish its brutal master. I sprung from my saddle, and
having consigned my horse to the care of my acquaintance, the parson, I
flew to rescue the poor beast from its inhuman tormentor. The ruffian
instantly turned to meet me, and having raised the clasp knife in a
menacing attitude, he swore, with the most blasphemous imprecations,
that he would plunge it into my heart, if I approached him another inch.
My friend, the parson, urged me to forbear; but, keeping my eye steadily
fixed upon that of the monster, while his hand was still raised with the
bloody knife suspended, I gave him, as quick as lightning, a blow from
my fist, which took the villain under the left ear, levelled him with
the earth, and made him bite the dust. The knife fell from his hand, and
I instantly seized it, and before the two-legged brute, who lay stunned
upon the ground, could rise, I cut the girth which bound the load upon
the back of the ass, and relieved him from his burden. The cowardly
ruffian still lay sprawling, fearing to rise, because he dreaded a
repetition of my chastisement, which I was most anxious to have given
him if he had stood upon his legs; but which I declined to do while he
was prostrate. The fellow now began to beg for mercy, and pretended to
be very sorry for his conduct. The parson now proposed to give him a
severe hiding for his villainous treatment of the poor beast; but as the
coward would not get off his breech, but remained seated upon the earth,
and declared that he would not get upon his legs while I remained, he
saved himself from a severe and well-merited drubbing. He very coolly
offered to sell me the mutilated beast, which I instantly purchased for
five shillings, to save him from again falling into the hands of his
cruel master. I had it sent home, and the greatest care possible was
taken of it. But with all my care and attention, the poor thing never
recovered from its ill-treatment; it lingered for four or five months
and died. This was the only ass I ever was master of in my life; in
fact, I always objected to the keeping of an ass, because I could not
bear to see the ill-treatment to which they are generally subject.

I could relate several similar instances, wherein I have placed myself
in the most imminent peril, urged on by an impetuous abhorrence of
tyranny, even when that tyranny is exercised towards a beast. One other
instance will, perhaps, induce the reader to think that my detestation
of cruelty has often led me not only into acts of indiscretion, but that
my rashness upon such occasions has been almost bordering upon criminal
enthusiasm. Coming down Newgate Street, one Monday afternoon, I saw a
considerable crowd of people surrounding a drover, who held a butcher's
knife in his hand, brandishing it in the air, and threatening any one
that might approach him. I inquired the cause of the fellow's conduct,
and his being thus surrounded by the enraged multitude. A beautiful
ox was pointed out to me on the other side of the street, which stood
trembling ready to drop down. To save himself trouble in driving the
beast, the ruffian, who had undertaken to conduct it to Whitechapel for
a butcher, had severed the _tendon Achilles_ with his sharp knife; a
practice which, I am informed, frequently occurs in London and which is
called hamstringing. The populace, men and women, appeared very much
enraged against this monster of a drover, and two constables, with their
staves, stood ready to seize him; but he kept them and the whole crowd
at bay, with the violent brandishing of his knife, and threatening
destruction to any one who attempted to meddle with him. Several efforts
were made to seize him, which he dexterously avoided. At length, I
rushed up to him, and felled him to the earth, with a tremendous and
well-directed blow with my fist under the ear. He was immediately seized
by the constables, and the knife was taken from him. But I was not to
get off quite so easy with him as I did with the ass-driver. The fellow,
being disarmed, instantly stripped in buff, and offered to fight the
man who had knocked him down. All eyes were fixed upon me, a perfect
stranger, and the general exclamation was,--"Have nothing to do with
him, Sir;" but, as the constables appeared to doubt whether they had
the power to hold him in custody, there being no law against a drover
maiming his beast, unless his master disapproved of it; and as I saw
the fellow was likely to escape without further punishment, I instantly
accepted his offer, and volunteered to punish him myself, urged on by
the pitiable appearance of the poor ox, a beautiful animal which had not
moved one inch the whole of this time. I therefore imprudently stripped,
and having consigned my clothes into the hands of a bye-stander, I set
to, and in _three rounds_ I beat my man blind; and having a fourth time
knocked him down, without receiving any injury myself, he declined to
meet me again. My clothes and watch were honestly returned; and, having
replaced them on my back, I departed, receiving the hearty thanks of the
surrounding multitude, without being recognised by any one. In fact, I
was not at all known in London at that time. I laughed heartily, as an
account of it was read the next morning, in the newspapers, while I was
at breakfast in the coffee-room, at the Black Lion, Water Lane; the
whole party joining in the praises of the man who had chastised the
brutal ruffian.

One more circumstance of this sort will, I should think, be quite enough
to convince the reader that I was always a determined foe to baseness
and cruelty. As I was sitting with some ladies on a hot summer's day, in
a front room of the Fountain Inn, at Portsmouth, with the window open,
looking into the High-Street, observing the passing crowd, it being a
fair day, we discovered an ill-looking fellow pilfering some articles
from the stall of a poor woman opposite. This transaction was also
observed by Admiral Montague, the Port Admiral, who was sitting in the
adjoining room of the inn, with a friend, amusing himself with observing
the passing scene. We hailed the poor woman, who detected the fellow
in the fact; but, having dropped the articles on the pavement, he
vociferously declared that he had never touched them. A crowd soon
collected, particularly of women, and demanded that he should be taken
into custody. He drew his knife, (always the ready resort of a coward)
and placing his back in a corner against the wall, he set them all at
defiance, and for a considerable length of time successfully resisted
every attempt to secure him. At last he was, to all appearance, getting
the better of his assailants, and by loudly asserting that she had most
wrongfully and maliciously accused him, he was absolutely endeavoring
to turn the tide of popular indignation against the poor woman who had
detected him. The fact was, that the terror excited by his violence
overcame the zeal of his accusers; and if it had not been kept up by
three or four women, he would not only have escaped with impunity,
but he would have turned the tables upon the poor woman whom he had
endeavoured to rob. These women, however, kept up an unceasing battery
with their tongues, which he at length began to put down by violence,
pushing them away with one hand, and threatening them with the upraised
knife in the other. This scene lasted nearly a quarter of an hour, and
although my fingers itched to punish the ruffian, yet I was restrained
by the entreaties of the ladies who were with me. At last he struck one
of the women a violent blow, and knocked her down. This drew upon him
the execration of the enraged multitude; but no one attempted either to
disarm or to seize him. A second blow, inflicted upon a decent looking
female, roused my indignation at the cowardice of the bye-standers,
and I hastily left the room, crossed the street, and having walked
deliberately up to him, pretending to inquire what was the matter,
before he was at all aware of my intentions, and just as he was about to
relate his story, I, with a well-directed blow, with my fist under the
ear, laid him sprawling upon the pavement; his knife was seized, and I
left him _unarmed to the care of the Portsmouth ladies_ that surrounded
him, who did not fail to punish him with their talons.

As I was passing over the street, on my return to the inn, Admiral
Montague, who had witnessed the whole affair, looked out of his window
and warmly gave me his personal thanks, for the summary justice which
I had inflicted upon the ruffian thief, who had kept the street in
an uproar for nearly half an hour. I went back to my party very well
satisfied with the exploit I had performed; although I felt so very
sensible of the danger I had incurred, that I promised my friends
faithfully that I would never again volunteer in such dangerous service.
About two hours afterwards, I very unexpectedly received a warrant from
Sir John Carter, the Mayor, to attend immediately at his office, to
appear to a charge of a violent assault, committed in the public street,
&c. &c. I took my hat and attended the Mayor's officer instantly,
without the slightest hesitation; but as the Admiral had left the inn I
had no witness with me. I, however, sent the waiter to bring the woman
who had been robbed, and one of those who had been assaulted by the
ruffian, to follow me to the house of the Mayor; but, almost as soon
as I had arrived there, and before the fellow had finished making his
charge, in walked the Port Admiral Montague, who having heard the
circumstance, came immediately to give evidence of the facts to which he
had been an eye-witness from the window of the inn. The gallant Admiral
related the circumstances, and passed a high eulogium upon my courage
and public spirit, in which he was cordially joined by his friend Sir
John Carter; and the fellow, who was a _pot-house_ keeper, from Ryde, in
the Isle of Wight, escaped with a very severe reprimand, the poor woman
having declined to prosecute him.

If I were not fearful of tiring the reader, I could continue a long
chain of _rencontres_ of a similar nature, which occurred to me in
my youthful days; but as I have, I think, given quite sufficient to
delineate the decisive character of the author at that period, I
shall proceed, with other matters; only just observing by the way, that
a frequent recurrence of such events obtained for me the name of a _very
violent_ young man, though, nineteen times out of twenty my violence was
exercised in the cause of humanity; or in protecting and defending the
weak and helpless, against the aggressions of the rich and powerful.

Returning from London, in the Ba--- mail, on a very severe frosty
moonlight night, as we were passing Cranford-bridge, the coachman got
one of the hind wheels firmly locked and entangled in that of a heavy
brewer's dray, which gave us a most violent shock and nearly overturned
the coach. A plentiful share of the slang abuse, usually arising upon
such occasions, passed between the coachman and guard of the mail and
the driver and attendant of the dray. The wheel of the coach appeared
to be so firmly entangled in that of the dray, that it required a
considerable exertion to release it; and the guard was entreating the
passengers to assist him. But an Irish officer of dragoons, who was
sitting by my side, very coolly answered, that as coachee had got into
the scrape he might get out of it again and be d--d. For once in my life
I was determined to follow such a selfish example; but, just as I had
made up my mind to sit still and enjoy my own ease and comfort, the
Irishman, who was looking out of one of the windows of the coach on the
opposite side to that where the dray stood, exclaimed "by Jasus there is
a fellow fallen from off his horse into the water, and is drowning." The
moon shone almost as bright as day, and, as this happened within half a
dozen yards of the coach window, it was perfectly visible to the Irish
officer, who still sat perfectly cool, and as unconcerned as possible;
observing, as he leant back in the coach, "the fellow is actually gone
to the bottom, and I saw the last of him as he sunk." Till now I really
thought the gentleman had merely witnessed the ducking of some one who
had fallen into the pond; but this last observation induced me to
call loudly to the guard to open the door; and, quite forgetting my
determination to follow the officer's doctrine and example, "to take
things coolly and let every one look to himself," I sprang out of the
coach to the edge of the water, where a hat floating thereon was the
only visible proof that any one was in the water. The Irishman, however,
who still sat snug in the coach, and who never budged an inch, affirmed
with an oath that the man had sunk exactly under where the hat was
floating. The life of a fellow creature being at stake, cold,
calculating prudence was instantly banished from my ardent mind; and,
without waiting another moment, I plunged into the water, which I found
was beyond my depth, and having swam to the spot, which was only a few
yards, I came instantly in contact with the body, which I seized and
dragged to the water edge, and, with some difficulty, assisted by the
guard, he was hoisted out of the pond. The Irishman had lustily, but
perhaps very prudently, ordered the coachman, at his peril, not to leave
his horses, although a passenger on the box had the reins in his hand.
By this time assistance came from the inn (I think the Crown), kept at
that time by a person of the name of Goddard. Amongst the number of
those who flocked to witness this distressing scene was a young man, who
exclaimed, in a frantic agony of voice and gesture, "_it is my father!_"
and he instantly seized the apparently drowned man by the heels, and
held him upright, with his head upon the ground, his feet in the air,
as he said, to let _the water run out of him_; an old, vulgar, and long
exploded practice, which has proved in almost every instance fatal. I
expostulated, but in vain; I pitied the agonised feelings of the youth,
while I struggled to release his father by force from the fatal posture
in which he had, although with the best intention, unguardedly and
obstinately placed him. He, however, resisted my efforts with personal
violence, in spite of the expostulations of the guard. Seeing that I
was likely to have my humane intentions frustrated by the young man's
obstinacy, and, as no time was to be lost, I resorted to my usual
_knock-down argument_, and levelled the _son_ with the earth, to save
the life of the _father_. This I did so effectually that he was totally
incapable of resistance; and, with the aid of the guard, I bore off the
drowned man upon my shoulders to the inn, about a hundred yards distant.
Dripping wet, and covered with mud, I assisted to strip him before the
kitchen fire, and instantly proceeded to use the means recommended by
the Humane Society, (and by which means I had once restored to animation
a female who had attempted to drown herself). By chafing the body with
warm cloths, rubbing in brandy about the heart, applying bottles
filled with hot water to his feet, &c. in which the guard manfully and
zealously assisted the whole time, declaring that the coach should wait
as long for me as I liked, in a very few minutes my labour and exertion
was rewarded with symptoms of returning animation, by the twitching
of one leg; upon which a fresh hot bottle was applied to his foot; we
redoubled our exertion, and in another minute he opened his eyes and
became sick. I now left him to the care of his son, the guard, and
others, to continue the rubbing, while I went with the landlord and
changed my clothes, having remained twenty minutes in the same state in
which I had left the water, which being very muddy, I had spoiled at
least ten pounds worth of wearing apparel. The landlord, however,
furnished me with what I had not got in my trunk.

When I returned down stairs, I perceived my patient, who I was informed
was an old post-boy, sitting in the settle of the tap-room, quite
recovered; and when I was pointed out to him by his master, as his
deliverer from a watery grave, the fellow attacked me in the most
violent and abusive manner, and called down horrid imprecations upon
my head for having saved him from that end which I now found he had
courted, by throwing himself off the horse's back, with the intention of
destroying himself. I was so exasperated with the fellow's ingratitude
that it was with difficulty the landlord and the guard restrained me
from inflicting upon him summary chastisement for his insolence; but the
conviction of his insanity soon weighed still more powerfully with
me to ensure my forbearance than any thing the landlord or the guard
could have urged for his protection. At this moment my fellow passenger,
who had never before appeared, but who had taken the advantage of this
delay to get a comfortable cup of coffee, in a warm parlour, walked in,
and began to moralize with me upon the folly "of _troubling myself with
other people's business_;" and, as he did this with a very grave face,
it had the desired effect, and I really began to meditate and to
calculate which of the two, he or I, was the most extraordinary being;
and I was almost disposed to concede to him the palm of being the most
rational, a fact of which he appeared thoroughly to be convinced, and in
which opinion he was strongly confirmed, after I got into the mail, and
related to him the adventure of my having nearly lost my life, a few
years before, in saving a female from being drowned in a deep river, on
a Monday, who contrived to put an end to her existence and find a
watery grave on the following Thursday, in a ditch which contained only
eighteen inches of water. We travelled as far as Marlborough together,
where we parted; he proceeded to Bath in the mail, and I to my home at
Chisenbury, in my curricle. Parliament met on the 21st of January, and
on the TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF JANUARY,1806, the Heaven-born Minister,
WILLIAM PITT, DIED, at his house at Putney. This man had, for nearly a
quarter of a century, reigned triumphant over the people of England with
the most despotic and arbitrary sway, by the means of a corrupt majority
of a set of boroughmongers, who called themselves and their agents the
House of Commons; thus pretending to be the representatives of the
people of England, while, in fact, they might as well have been said to
represent the people of Algiers as the people of England, a majority of
them being returned by _one hundred and fifty-four_ individuals. I may,
I believe, venture to give my opinion of the House of Commons, such as
it was constituted in the days and reign of Pitt. The banishment act
would, of course, preclude me from speaking of the present House of
Commons with the same sincerity and freedom; therefore, whether there be
any resemblance in the present House of Commons to that of the House
as it was constituted in the reign of Pitt, I must leave for the
determination of those who have paid attention to their proceedings.

On the death of Mr. Pitt, the then House of Commons immediately voted
that his debts should be paid by JOHN GULL, and that he should have a
public funeral, at JOHN'S expense! This was all perfectly in character,
for it was voted before the _Talents_ or _Whigs_ came into place and
power. A ministry, a new ministry, was now made up of most heterogeneous
materials; it consisted of men differing as widely from each other as
any of the factions could differ; _Fox_ and _Grenville united_, and, to
crown the whole, Lord _Sidmouth_ made one of the cabinet. Mr. Fox, who
had been the determined opponent, the violent contemner, of all the
measures of Mr. Pitt, formed an union with Lord Grenville, who had been
the constant supporter of the very worst measures of Mr. Pitt! As for
Lord Sidmouth, all the Addingtons appeared determined to have a "finger
in the pie!" let who would be in office, the Addingtons appeared
determined to have a share of the plunder, by joining them. Such
opposite characters, such vinegar and oil politicians, were not likely
to amalgamate so as to produce any good for the people; they might,
indeed, combine to share the profits of place, but they were sure never
to agree in any measure that was likely to promote the freedom
and happiness of the people. This, however, was called a Whig
administration; and it will not be unuseful to record the names of those
personages who composed this Whig administration. They were as follow,
which I beg my readers to peruse attentively:--

  Right Rev. Dr. C. Manners Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury.
  Thomas Lord Erskine,                   Lord High Chancellor.
  Dr. William Markham,                   Archbishop of York.
  Earl Fitzwilliam,                            Lord President of the Council.
  Viscount Sidmouth,                      Lord Privy Seal.
  William Lord Grenville,                  First Lord of the Treasury.
  Lord Henry Petty,                          Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  Earl Spencer, Viscount Howick,
  and Right Honorable William
  Windham,                                   Secretaries of State.
  Right Hon. Thomas Grenville,       First Lord of the Admiralty.
  Sir David Dundas,                         Commander in Chief.
  Right Hon. Charles Abbot,            Speaker of the House of Commons.
  Right Hon. Sir William Grant,        Master of the Rolls.
  Edward Lord Ellenborough,          Chief Justice of the Court of King's
  Bench.
  Sir Arthur Pigott,                          Attorney General.
  Sir Samuel Romilly,                       Solicitor General.
  Right Hon. Sir William Scott,         Judge of the Admiralty.
  Right Hon. Richard Brindley
  Sheridan,                                   Treasurer of the Navy.
  Earl Temple and Lord John
  Townsend,                                 Paymasters of the Army.
  Francis Earl of Moira,                    Master General of the Ordnance.
  Right Hon. Richard Fitzpatrick,     Secretary at War.
  John Duke of Bedford,                  Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Here, my friends, you have a pretty correct list of the Whig
administration, or "All the Talents," as they were facetiously and
ironically called, or rather nicknamed, who were called to office upon
the death of Mr. PITT, a man of brilliant talents, and irresistible
eloquence; but a man who turned these great gifts of the Supreme
Being to the destruction of human liberty, and who directed his powerful
genius, and the great facilities that were given him by his having the
direction of the resources of this laborious and enterprising nation at
his command, to the very worst of purposes, to the annihilation of the
rights and liberties of his countrymen. Some of the poisonous effects
of the Pitt system the nation has long been tasting, but the cup of
bitterness and misery that it has produced is now filled to the brim,
and its baleful contents are beginning to act fully on this once
prosperous nation, and to blast and wither in the bud the very prospects
of its once happy people. Mr. Pitt, in his younger days, before his
ambition got the better of his principles, had been a reformer; but when
he once got into place and power, he became the greatest apostate that
ever existed; and, true apostate like, he endeavoured to hang his former
associates and companions in that cause which he had so basely abandoned
and betrayed. If there ever lived one man more deserving the execration
of the whole human race than another, _Mr. Pitt was that man_. He
corrupted the very source of justice, by bribing and packing the
pretended representatives of the people; but it required the Whigs, the
base Whigs, to put a stamp upon the system which Pitt created, to make
it a perpetual bar and an everlasting curse to the nation.

The Whigs were at this time become popular with the nation at large, and
possessed the confidence of the thinking and honourable portion of the
people. The friends of rational liberty looked to them with, what was
believed to be, a well-grounded hope, for some relief--some relaxation
from the horrors of that accursed system which Mr. Fox and his friends
had so ably and so zealously opposed for nearly twenty years; that
system which they had invariably condemned and exposed, as the greatest
curse that could befal a nation; and for having persisted in which
infamous, impolitic, and ruinous course so long, they had predicted the
downfall of this country.

I own that I was one of Mr. Fox's most enthusiastic admirers. I was
too young and inexperienced a politician, to doubt for a moment the
sincerity of his professions; I had for many many years watched his
ardent and eloquent opposition to the measures of Mr. Pitt, and my whole
heart and soul had gone hand in hand with him. I own I indulged the most
confident hope that he would now realize all his former professions.
Now that he was in place, and had a large majority of those who called
themselves the representatives of the people at his command; _now that
he had the power to do good_, I, for one, expected that he would tread
in the "stern path of duty," and set about restoring those rights and
liberties of the people, the loss of which he had so pathetically, and
for so many years, expatiated on, and deplored. But, alas! my fond
hopes were soon blasted; the expectations of the whole nation were soon
disappointed. The very FIRST act of the Whig ministry was a death-blow
to the fondly-cherished hopes of every patriotic mind in the kingdom.
Lord Grenville held the sinecure office of Auditor of the Exchequer,
with a salary of _four thousand pounds a year_; but being appointed
_First Lord of the Treasury_, with a salary of _six thousand pounds
a year_, it was expected, of course, on every account, that he would
resign his former office of Auditor of the Exchequer, it appearing
too great a farce to give a man 4,000_l._ a year to audit his _own
accounts_; and, besides the barefaced absurdity of the thing, it was
evidently illegal. In spite of this, these new ministers, dead to every
sense and feeling of shame, brought in a bill, and it was passed a law,
solely for the purpose of enabling Lord Grenville to hold, at one and
the same time, these two offices, which were so palpably incompatible
with each other; namely, _First Lord of the Treasury_, and _Auditor of
the Exchequer_. This shook the faith of every honest man in the country.
I own that I was thunder-struck, particularly as Mr. Fox brought the
bill into the House of Commons himself, and maintained it with his usual
ability, and appeared quite as much in earnest and as eloquent in a _bad
cause_ as he had heretofore been in a _good one_. A vote, as I have
already mentioned, had passed the House to pay Mr. Pitt's debts, before
these ministers had actually taken their places; and now another vote
was passed by them, to erect, at the public expense, a monument to his
memory, upon the score of his _public services_! and this vote was
passed, recollect, by the very same men who had declared, for the last
twenty years, that the measures of Mr. Pitt were destructive to the
nation, burthensome and oppressive to the people, and subversive of
their dearest rights and liberties. But Mr. Fox _was now in place_! the
case was now completely altered!!

Mr. Fox's friends now began to doubt his sincerity, and recalled to
their recollection the former professions of Mr. Pitt. In a speech,
delivered in his place, in the House of Commons, on the 26th of May,
1797, Mr. Fox had, in the following words, reminded Mr. Pitt of his
former professions: " My opinion (said Mr. Fox) is, that the best plan
of representation is that which shall bring into activity the greatest
number of independent voters. That Government alone is strong that has
the hearts of the people; and will any man contend, that we should not
be more likely to add strength to the state if we were to extend the
basis of popular representation? In 1785, the Right Honourable Gentleman
(Mr. Pitt) pronounced the awful prophecy, _'without a parliamentary
reform the nation will be plunged into new wars; without a parliamentary
reform you cannot be safe against bad ministers, nor can even good
ministers be of use to you.'_ Such was his prediction, and it has
come upon us. Good God! what a fate is that of the Right Honourable
Gentleman, and in what a state of whimsical contradiction does he now
stand!" This was the sarcastical language of Mr. Fox, in 1797, when
speaking of the apostacy of Mr. Pitt; but which might have been very
fairly retorted upon himself in 1806.

At the moment when I am writing this, at half past one o'clock on
Thursday, the nineteenth day of July, 1821, I hear about thirty of the
poor half-starved populace of Northover giving _three cheers_ in honour
of His Majesty's Coronation, or rather in honour of a dinner and some
beer, which, I understand, is given to them by Mr. Tuson, the attorney
of the place. The system that has made him _rich_ has made his
neighbours _poor_, and he very properly spews his generosity and his
loyalty, by giving his poor neighbours a dinner upon this occasion.
Poor, deluded, debased wretches! I envy not your feelings; a few months
since you were amongst the first voluntarily to address the Queen upon
her escape from the fangs of her persecutors, and you voluntarily
illuminated your houses upon the occasion. But now your pinching wants,
the cravings of your half-starved carcases, give a sort of involuntary
action to your lungs, and, in spite of yourselves, your _bellies_ cry
"_God save King George the Fourth_;" and the sound issues from your
mouths, in hopes of having the space which the wind occupies in your
stomachs replaced with _beef_, _pudding_, and _beer_. But this is one of
the dog-days!--God save King George the Fourth, they cry; huzza, again,
again, and again! All that I chuse to say is, that it is two years ago,
the twenty-first of next month, that Lord Sidmouth addressed a letter to
the Manchester Magistrates, which expressed, by command of His Majesty,
"THE GREAT SATISFACTION HIS MAJESTY _derived from their prompt,
decisive and efficient measures for the preservation of the public
tranquillity_." God preserve His Majesty from having any occasion to
thank the magistrates again _for the perpetration of such horrid crime_.

I trust the occasion will be an excuse for this digression. Let us now
return to the period of 1806. The new ministry began to act so decided
a part, that they no longer kept the nation in any suspence as to what
course they would pursue. They not only trod in Mr. Pitt's steps, by
adopting all his measures, but they greatly outdid him in insulting
the feelings of the people. As their THIRD act, they appointed _Lord
Ellenborough_ the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, (a political Judge)
"one of the cabinet." This was a most unconstitutional measure, and
calculated to render the ministry justly unpopular. The FOURTH step they
took was to raise the INCOME TAX from _six-and-a-quarter_ to _ten per
cent_. The FIFTH thing they did was, to exempt all the _King's funded
property_ from the operation of that tax, while they left that of the
_widow_ and _orphan_, even down to the miserable pittance of _fifty
pounds_ a year, subject to all its inquisitorial powers. Their SIXTH
measure was, to raise the incomes of all the younger branches of the
Royal Family, from _twelve_ to _eighteen thousand_ a year. Their SEVENTH
measure was, to bring a bill into the House, to make all _private
breweries liable to the excise laws_; thus daringly meditating the
violation of an Englishman's boast, _"that his house is his castle."_
But, most fortunately for the country, the Whig ministry were, in this
one instance, left in a disgraceful minority by their own tools, the
mock representatives of the people. Their EIGHTH measure was, to
continue the French war, expressly for Hanover; Mr. Fox unblushingly
declaring, that "Hanover ought to be as dear to us as Hampshire;"
although the act of settlement expressly declares it to be a breach of
the compact between the king and the people, to go to war on account of
any of the king's foreign possessions. Their NINTH measure was, to draw
up a bill, which they left in their office, making it, in Ireland,
transportation for any person or persons to be seen out of their houses,
in any of the prescribed districts, between sun-set in the evening and
sun-rise in the morning; and this was to be carried into effect without
the sanction of a jury, and merely by the fiat of two magistrates!
TENTH, and lastly, they abandoned the cause of the Catholics, in order
to save and keep their places, when they found that the King made that
abandonment a _sine qua non_: they had always, for many many years, when
in opposition, supported the Catholic claims for emancipation, and had
pledged themselves that, whenever they had the power, they would carry
that measure into effect; and, as soon as they thought that they were
firmly seated in the saddle of state, and their feet well fixed in the
stirrups, they brought that measure forward in Parliament, having first
gained the execration of every independent man in the united kingdom,
for having acted in the way which I have above described.

_The ten preceding political acts_ of the Whig ministry, of "_All the
Talents_," as they impudently called themselves, had rendered them
sufficiently odious throughout the whole country; and it only required
this last act of theirs to render them as despicable as they were
detested. As soon as they gave notice of their intention to bring
forward the Catholic claims, the _old leaven_, the refuse of the Pitt
faction, who had only wanted a plausible opportunity, began to bellow
aloud for the safety of Mother Church, and the Protestant Ascendancy;
declaring that the church, the established religion, was in danger. They
had always their intriguers about the person of the old bigotted King
George the Third, who immediately took the alarm, or rather took
this opportunity of getting rid of a ministry that he never liked, and
with whom he had never acted cordially, although they had, in the most
subservient manner, complied with all his whims and prejudices. Now was
the time then for the remains of the Pitt faction to make an effort to
dislodge their enemies from their strong hold of _place_ and _power_!
Alas! alas!! the despicable Whigs now began to cry for help from _the
people_; from that people whom they had so infamously deceived. They,
however, called in vain for the protecting hand of that people whom they
had so basely betrayed; they called in vain for the helping hand of that
people whom they had insulted and oppressed, and whose voice they had
treated with contempt and derision, when basking in the sunshine of
power. The people had been enlightened; the people had read Cobbett, and
they were no longer to be deluded, and made the tools of a despicable,
a hypocritical, and a tyrannical faction, such as the Whigs had proved
themselves during their administration. The King was well advised of
this by the old PITT creatures; he therefore treated the Whig ministers
with very little ceremony; he made a very serious affair of their
intention to make him violate his coronation oath; he demanded that they
should abandon the Catholics, or abandon their places. The _place-loving
Whigs_ made no parley even with the King, but instantly and
unconditionally agreed to comply with his demand; thus deserting the
Catholics and their own principles together, to save their places. The
King was astonished and disappointed; he had no idea that they would
have acted so basely, and Lords Liverpool, Eldon, and Castlereagh were
foiled for a moment, in their attempt to dislodge them; but their best
ally was the hatred and the indignation which the people evinced towards
the Whigs. Taking advantage of this, the Outs urged the King on to
insult his then ministers, by demanding a written pledge from them, that
they would never bring forward the measure any more in Parliament; thus
openly evincing that His Majesty would not take their words. The paltry
Whigs did all they could to save their places; they bore kicking with
wonderful patience; they were as subservient as spaniels; they promised
every thing, and they prayed lustily; but the King was determined, and
persisted in demanding a _written pledge_. This was such a premeditated,
barefaced insult, that they could not submit to it. They would bear
kicking privately, but it was too much to be kicked and cuffed so
publicly, and to be asked to sign their names to their own condemnation;
this was too much for the most degraded of men to bear with any degree
of temper. They now remonstrated, but their remonstrances were in vain;
the King despised them for their meanness as much as he had before
detested them for their insolence, and, without any further ceremony,
he gave them one more kick, and kicked them headlong out of place and
power.

_Thus fell the bass Whig faction, never to rise more!_ deservedly
execrated by all honest men, lamented by none but those who profited
by their being in office, by their hangers-on, and by such men as Mr.
Waithman, the city patriot, who was looking out for a place with as much
eagerness and anxiety as a cat would watch to pounce upon a mouse: a few
such men as these were mortified and hurt at the fall of those to whom
they were looking up for situations of profit, and for pensions, which
were to be extorted from the pockets of the people; but the nation at
large rejoiced at the downfal of these upstart, hypocritical pretenders
to patriotism. The people knew that they should not gain any thing by
the change; they knew that the Pittites were open and avowed enemies to
the liberties of the people; and, therefore, they did not expect any
good from them. But the Whigs had professed every thing, and performed
nothing; they had grossly deceived the people, and, in revenge for their
treachery, everyone rejoiced at their fall. How many a good and staunch
friend to Liberty did I know, at this time, who became for ever
neutralized, in consequence of having been deceived in Fox; they now
made up their minds never again to place any confidence in any political
professions, from whomsoever they might come.

Mr. Pitt was interred, with great funeral pomp, on the 22nd day of
February. On the 29th of April, the Commons impeached Lord Melville;
and, after being _convicted_ by the unanimous verdict of the _whole
nation_, he was acquitted by a majority of his _brother peers_. On the
12th of June, peace was signed between the Emperor of France and our
magnanimous ally the Emperor of Russia: on the 20th of July, and on the
6th of August, the sanctified Emperor of Austria abdicated the throne of
Germany, and declared himself the hereditary Emperor of Austria.

On the 13th of September, Mr. Fox died at Chiswick. Oh! what an injury
has the character of human nature sustained by his not having died one
year before! If Mr. Fox had been taken from this world at the time when
Mr. Pitt died, his name would have been immortalized, and he would
have been handed down to posterity as one of the brightest and purest
instances of political patriotism. But, alas! he unfortunately lived to
make one of the Whig ministry, one of the "Talents" in 1806, and his
deeds are recorded in the TEN acts of the Whigs, as I have enumerated
them above.

About this period the conduct of the Princess of Wales was investigated
by a committee of the privy council. This affair, which was called the
"Delicate Investigation," lasted some time, and caused a considerable
sensation throughout the country. It created great anxiety amongst
politicians to ascertain what was the nature and extent of the inquiry;
but it was studiously kept a profound secret, very much to the injury of
the Princess, because, amongst the Prince of Wales's friends, there were
not wanting friends, aspersers of character, to whisper away her fair
fame.

Lord Lauderdale went to Paris on an embassy, to negotiate peace, but
soon returned without any successful termination of his mission. Mr. Fox
was buried by a public funeral, in Westminster Abbey, on the 10th of
October, and was attended by his numerous friends, which composed
a great portion of the men of talent belonging to both Houses of
Parliament. One act of the Whig ministry deserves to be recorded with
the highest praise; and this is a proof that few men are so worthless
but they possess some good qualities. If the Whig ministers had, in
other respects, conducted themselves with even a small portion of
becoming decency towards the nation; and, if they had not perpetuated
a system of white slavery at home, which they certainly did in almost
every measure that they proposed to and carried through Parliament, they
would have been immortalised by the abolition of the black slave trade
abroad. But, in this measure of abolishing the slave trade, the canting
_Saints_, with Wilberforce at their head, joined them with as great
an avidity as they supported every measure to curtail the rights and
liberties of the people at home. Lord Henry Petty stamped his character
as a statesman, by becoming a humble imitator of Mr. Pitt, even so far
as to eulogise the greatest of all frauds and humbugs, the 11 Sinking
Fund." But this was always a subject which tickled John Gull's _ear_, at
the same time that it puzzled his _brains_, and emptied his _pockets_.

The Parliament was dissolved, and a general election took place in
November, 1806. The Whigs thought that, at all popular places, they
should bring in their friends with a high hand. They, however, were very
much deceived;--they were warmly opposed every where, and, instead of
being, as they had heretofore been, the popular candidates, they were
in all quarters unpopular, and nothing but ministerial influence gained
them their seats. In several places they were thrown out. The electors
for the borough of Southwark rejected Mr. Tierney, and he was obliged to
come in for a ministerial rotten borough. Mr. Sheridan was opposed
by Mr. Paul, for Westminster, where he was evidently far from being
popular. The Whigs being in place and power, exercised the most
unconstitutional means to carry their elections; they proved themselves
much more barefaced in exercising their corrupt influence than the
Pittites ever had, and they unblushingly set the opinion of the people
at complete defiance. In Hampshire, Lord Temple behaved in the most
arbitrary manner, and attempted to dictate in the most overbearing way;
but, in doing so to Sir William Heathcote, he behaved so insolently,
that the old Pittite of a baronet exposed him to his party, which caused
the greatest indignation in the breast of every independent freeholder
throughout the county and the kingdom.

One of our members for Wiltshire, Ambrose Goddard, of Swindon, being old
and superannuated, resigned, and one of an old family, RICHARD LONG, of
Rood Ashton, was to be foisted upon the county by an arrangement made
between two clubs, without consulting the wishes of the freeholders. Mr.
Goddard had resigned in consequence of some questions that I had put to
him at a former election, as to his neglect of duty; which neglect he
confessed arose from ill health and inability to attend in his place, in
consequence of his age; and this rendered it too ridiculous for him to
offer himself again. Mr. Richard Long, of Rood Ashton, was a fox-hunting
country squire, without any other qualification to be a Member of
Parliament than that of belonging to an ancient family of the county; in
fact, he was proverbially a man of very inferior knowledge, remarkable
only for being a stupid country squire, who, although a sportsman,
scarcely knew how to address his tenants on his health being drank on a
rent-day.

At a former election for the county, I attended on the day of
nomination, at the townhall at Devizes, and, after Ambrose Goddard and
Henry Penruddock Wyndham, Esgrs., had, in the usual form, been proposed
and seconded, when the sheriff was about to put it to the vote, I
stepped forward, and desired that, before the show of hands was taken, I
might ask a question or two of the candidates who were the late members.
This produced a murmur amongst the old electioneering stagers of
the county; and Mr. Salmon, an attorney, who, from his overbearing
disposition in the borough of Devizes, had acquired the name of "King
Salmon," cried, _order! order!_ and begged that the sheriff would
proceed to the regular business of the day. I was young and bashful, but
in so good a cause I was not to be put down so easily, although I had
never attended at an election meeting before; I therefore respectfully,
but firmly, addressed the High Sheriff, and demanded to exercise the
right of a freeholder, by asking some questions of the candidates as
to their former conduct in Parliament, of which questions I expected a
specific answer, before I gave them my suffrage again. I was once more
called to order by some of the ministerial sycophants; but, I added,
that, unless I was permitted to put these questions, and received a
satisfactory answer, I should feel it my duty to propose some other
candidate.

The High Sheriff, _Hungerford Penruddock_, Esq., who, by the bye, had an
eye himself to the future representation of the county, now interposed,
and decided that as a respectable freeholder of Wilts Mr. _Hunt_ had an
undoubted right to put any questions which he might think proper to the
candidates, before he proceeded to take the show of hands. Poor old Mr.
Goddard mumbled out that he had represented the county for forty years,
and had never before had any question put to him. A profound silence now
pervaded the hall, and I proceeded as follows:--" Mr. Goddard, I wish to
ascertain how you gave your vote in the House of Commons when the bill
was brought in imposing a duty of TWO SHILLINGS PER BUSHEL upon malt?
Wiltshire is a very considerable barley county, and many of your
constituents are large barley growers, whose interests are seriously
affected by this measure, which will take a very great sum of money
annually out of their pockets. How did you give your vote upon that
occasion?" Mr. Goddard hesitated, and stammered out, in a very feeble
voice, "_I have been incapacitated by old age and ill-health from
attending my duty in Parliament, for the_ LAST TWO YEARS. _I have never
been in the House during that time, and, I fear I shall never be able to
attend again_."

I next turned round and addressed Mr. Wyndham, the other candidate, as
follows:-- "Well, Mr. Wyndham, as your colleague was '_incapacitated_'
by old age from attending at all in the House, how did you vote upon
this important measure, which so materially affects the interests of
your constituents?" Mr. Wyndham, placing his _finger_ upon his right
temple, as if to recollect himself, _pertly and affectedly_ replied,
"'Pon my honour, Mr. Hunt, I cannot charge my memory whether I was in
the House or not upon that occasion_." Upon this, I addressed him, at
considerable length, shewing how many acres of barley were grown in the
county of Wilts, and what an enormous sum of money would be taken out of
the pockets of his constituents; and I proved that this was a tax that
affected them a great deal more than the income tax, about which there
had very properly been so much said. I added, that, in this additional
duty upon malt and beer, one brewer in the town of Devizes would pay
more than the whole inhabitants of the town, amounting to a population
of six or seven thousand persons, would pay by the income tax; I
urged, that the members for all the other barley counties in the
kingdom--Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Hampshire, &c. had
opposed the measure with all their power and influence; therefore, I
wished to know what measures he had taken to oppose and resist the
passing of it? But all the answer that I could get from our worthy and
efficient Member of Parliament, Mr. Wyndham, was, "'_Pon his honour he
could not recollect, could not charge his memory whether he was in the
House or not when this measure was discussed and passed_!"

My efforts on this occasion were, however, in vain, I had no one to
second my exertions and inquiries, and the independent electors of
Wiltshire proceeded to the business of the day, and once more returned
the above two _worthy, capable_, and _efficient_ representatives, to
watch over their rights and liberties, to be the guardians and trustees
of their property, and to assist in making those laws which have brought
the country to its present state. I warned them, I began to warn them,
thus early; and I continued to warn them against such apathy, such
dereliction of principle, as long as I remained amongst them in that
county. My having dared to ask a question and to expose the two
venerable representatives of the county in such a public manner was an
offence not to be forgiven; and accordingly I was set down as a jacobin
and leveller, and was looked upon with an evil eye by the cunning
supporters of the system, the parsons, lawyers, and attorneys. I
received the thanks of many of the freeholders privately; but the poor
sycophants did not dare to shew their, approbation publicly. How
many of them are there who, when they read this, will recollect the
circumstance with shame, and feel a pang of remorse that they did not
stand forward at the time to obey the dictates of their conscience.

We will now return to the dissolution of the Parliament in 1806. On that
occasion I made one more effort to rouse my brother freeholders of the
county into a sense of their political rights. In order to stimulate
them to the exercise of those rights, I called upon them in a public
address, which I sent to be inserted in the Salisbury and Winchester
Journal; and, taking care that there should be no pretence for refusing
it, I sent the money to pay for it as an advertisement; but the
time-serving proprietors of that paper refused to insert it in the
columns of their Journal; I therefore had it printed and published in
numerous handbills, which I caused to be pretty generally circulated.
It also obtained admission into one of the Bath newspapers, and Mr.
Cobbett, to whom I sent one of the bills, gave it a place in his
Political Register. It will be impossible for me, in these Memoirs, to
give all the public documents of this sort which I have sent forth to
warn my fellow-countrymen of their danger, and to exhort them to stand
up to maintain and defend their rights and liberties; but I will
insert this, my first printed address, as I find it in the tenth volume
of Cobbett's Political Register, published in November, 1806; and it
will shew that I have always been consistent in my public conduct, and
always maintained the same independent principles from that time to
this.

  "_Mr. Hunt's Address to the independent Freeholders of
  the County of Wilts_.

  "GENTLEMEN, I flatter myself that a few lines addressed
  to you by a brother freeholder, (one who has ever
  lived among you, and has ever been most sincerely devoted
  to the liberty and independence of the county,) will not, at
  this critical period, be deemed obtrusive, nor wholly unworthy
  of your serious consideration.

  "Considering, with many of the best disposed characters
  in the kingdom, that the fate of this country will be in a
  great measure decided by the approaching election, I
  think it highly important, that every freeholder should be
  exhorted to think and act for himself on this occasion. Let
  every man remember, that by bartering his liberty at this
  awful period, he may speedily endanger the very existence
  of his country. If you duly reflect on the present situation
  of the Prussians, and every other power on the Continent
  that are opposed to our powerful enemy, I think
  you will agree with me that this moment is the most awful
  in the history of Europe.  Old England, our country, is
  not yet subdued; let us hope that she never will; but, it
  is by every thinking man confessed to be in a very perilous
  situation--in such a situation that it cannot possibly
  much longer support its independence, without the extraordinary
  sacrifices and exertions of the people. Therefore,
  it behoves you, my brother freeholders of this county, at
  this moment in particular, and let me conjure you, as
  the greatest boon you can bestow on your country 'diligently
  and impartially to inquire whether all the evils
  we endure, and all the dangers that threaten us, are
  not to be ascribed to the folly and the baseness of those
  who have so shamefully abused their privilege of choosing
  Members of Parliament.' The dangers I allude to will
  (I fear) be increased by every post we receive from the
  Continent; the evils are a system of taxation, which must
  be felt by us all (to say the least of it) to have trebled the
  paupers of this county, within the last twenty years.  No
  country is willing to attribute its ruin to its own baseness,
  but if you tamely submit to have a man thrust down your
  throats, to be a representative for this county, by the Beckhampton
  or the Deptford Club, or any other party of men
  whatever, without your considering whether he be a proper
  independent character, and capable of executing such an
  important trust, at this eventful period; if you basely and
  tamely submit to this worst of degradation--whether it be
  from indolence, or whether it be from the worst of all human
  dependence, the fear of offending Mr. Long or Mr.
  Short--you will be a disgrace to your country, and be
  curst by your posterity for your pusillanimous surrender of
  those liberties and just rights that were so gloriously secured
  to you by your forefathers.  I beseech you, let no
  man deceive himself; if he act in this manner, I am persuaded
  that he may live to be convinced that he has, by
  losing this opportunity, been in a great degree instrumental
  in his country's ruin.--Is there a man among you so insensible
  as not to feel the weight of the present taxes, and
  yet so hardened as to go to the hustings and give his vote
  to a mere cypher:--to a man from whom he has not the
  least reason to expect any thing but a tame acquiescence
  in the measures of any one who happens to be the minister
  of the day! The man who is now looked out to be our new
  representative, his very best friends do not speak of any
  qualification that he possesses, to make him worthy of that
  honourable situation; they only tell us of his uncle's long
  purse! therefore, in good truth, we may as well be repre-
  sented by his uncle's old three-corner'd hat. And as for
  the other member, even in his youthful days he was no
  better in the House of Commons than an old woman.  Is
  there no honourable and independent man to be found in
  the county of Wilts, capable of sustaining such a charge?
  I, myself, have no doubt but there are many; but it is that
  cursed long purse, and an idea that the freeholders of this
  county will never exert themselves for their independence,
  that deter many from stepping forward that would do
  honour to the trust reposed in them.  There are a number
  of freeholders in this county that are independent, if they
  would for one moment think themselves so.  Then let us
  say we will have a man of our own choosing, as free of
  expense to himself as we would wish him to be honest and
  true to the confidence reposed in him.  But if you let this
  present opportunity slip, I, for one, will never despair; I
  shall look on you with feelings of contempt and indignation;
  I shall wait patiently for the day when we shall be
  enabled to exert ourselves effectually for the preservation
  of those just rights and liberties that are the bulwarks of
  our glorious and blessed Constitution.

  I am, Gentlemen, with great respect,
  Your obedient humble servant,
  "H. HUNT."

  "Chisenbury House,
  Oct. 30th., 1806."

This appeal to the freeholders of Wilts gave great umbrage to the
numerous friends of Mr. LONG, or rather to the whole of the friends of
the Pitt system, which evidently included Whigs as well as Tories;
but it produced no beneficial effect upon the senseless and inanimate
freeholders of the county of Wilts. I was considered a very impudent
fellow for my pains, though the almost universal whisper amongst the
freeholders was, "what Mr. Hunt says is true enough, but what use is
it?" The election took place, and Mr. Wyndham and Mr. Long were chosen
without any opposition. The Whig ministry, or, ironically speaking, "All
the Talents," were discarded in the Spring of 1807. Lord Eldon took
the seals of office, and, to the astonisbment of the whole nation, Mr.
Perceval was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the whole gang
of Pitt's underlings came into place; and the Ministry was consequently
composed of Castlereagh, Canning, Liverpool, the Roses and Longs; while,
to crown the whole, Sir Vicary Gibbs was appointed Attorney General. As
soon as the new Ministers were firmly seated in the saddle and settled
in their places, they caused the Parliament to be once more dissolved.

During the last election, the people of Westminster, in consequence
of the exertions of Mr. Paull and the able friends by whom he was
surrounded, had made such a rapid progress in political knowledge,
that they were quite prepared to break the trammels in which they had
hitherto been bound by the two political factions of _Ins_ and _Outs_,
nicknamed Whigs and Tories. This change was brought about by the
strenuous personal efforts of Mr. Cobbett, and by the excellent, clear,
patriotic, and convincing addresses which he weekly published in his
Political Register, seconded by the assistance of some very intelligent,
public spirited men, amongst which number was a very worthy young
friend of Liberty, Mr. ABRAHAM HEWLINGS, and the famous Mr. POWELL, the
attorney, who lately cut such a conspicuous figure in the character of
attorney for the prosecution of the Bill of Pains and Penalties against
the Queen. By these persons the spirit of the electors of Westminster
appeared to be roused to a proper sense of the power which they
possessed, to return their own members in spite of the intrigues of the
two factions.

Mr. Paull had become very popular by the exertions which he had-' made
to bring the Marquis Wellesley's conduct in India before the public, by
an impeachment; and it was pretty generally believed that he would
come in for Westminster at the head of the poll. The moment that the
Parliament was dissolved, he and his friends in Westminster were upon
the alert, and a meeting was called at the Crown and Anchor, to consult
upon the best means of securing his return, which was doubted by no
one; however, the cursed bane of all political liberty, _jealousy_
interposed. Sir F. Burdett and Mr. Paull had been upon the most intimate
terms, and the Baronet had strained every nerve to promote and secure
the return of Mr. Paull for Westminster; and if he could have secured
the return of that gentleman by _his own_ interest and popularity, Mr.
Paull would have been returned; but the misfortune was, that _Mr. Paull_
had himself become very popular, deservedly popular, sufficiently so,
indeed, to have secured his seat by his own exertions, if Sir Francis
Burdett had stood neuter. But Mr. Paull had no wish of this sort; he by
no means desired to push himself above Sir Francis Burdett in the scale
of political popularity; neither, on the other hand, was he quite
prepared to act as the tool and puppet of Sir Francis Burdett.

Mr. Paull not having the slightest idea of the working of the green-eyed
monster, jealousy, in the Baronet's breast, a dinner meeting of Mr.
Paull's friends was advertised for the next day, at the Crown and
Anchor, _Sir Francis Burdett_ in the chair. The time arrived, the party
assembled, but Sir Francis Burdett did not appear; a circumstance which
threw a damp upon the meeting. Mr. Jones Burdett, however, attended, and
read a letter from his brother, Sir Francis, addressed to the meeting,
censuring in strong language the use that, without his consent, had been
made of his name, and reflecting upon Mr. Paull. This caused a very
unpleasant sensation in the meeting, and an elucidation of the business
was demanded by some of the party. It appeared that Mr. Paull and his
friends had announced the name of Sir Francis to be in the chair, as
they had frequently done on a former occasion, without previously
consulting the Baronet. Following the generous and undisguised impulse
of his heart, and acting upon the principle of "do as you would be done
unto;" Mr. Paull had used the Baronet's name, under the firm conviction
that his friend Sir Francis would hurry to his post at a moment's notice
to assist him, as he, Mr. Paull, would have done, at any hour of the day
or night, to have served Sir Francis. But Mr. Paull was deceived; and
some of his friends, who knew Sir F. Burdett better than he did, saw
that the apple of discord had been thrown down by the implacable fiend
_jealousy_, they anticipated what would follow, and they retired from
the contest in disgust.

Mr. Paull, having had such a gross insult offered to him by a man whom
he had hitherto esteemed his friend, and being wounded at such a moment
in the most sensitive part, called upon Sir Francis Burdett for an
explanation; and this being refused, he demanded satisfaction in the
field, as a dernier resort, when he found that no terms of conciliation
were likely to be acceded to by the Baronet. They met, and on the first
fire both were wounded. Sir Francis Burdett received his antagonist's
ball in his thigh, and Mr. Paull had the top of his shin bone shot away.
They were both severely wounded. This caused a great sensation, not only
throughout the metropolis but also throughout the kingdom. The public
press, which was hostile to both the parties, made the worst of the
affair; but they leaned to the Baronet, and affected to pity him, as
having been stung by a viper of his own fostering. The truth was, that
the press upon this occasion, as upon all others, had a leaning to
the Aristocracy, and Sir Francis Burdett was no mean part of the
Aristocracy. He was an old Baronet, with very large landed property,
although he was supposed to have spent nearly a hundred thousand pounds,
_four years of his income_, in his contests for the county of Middlesex.
Sir Francis Burdett had besides endeared himself to the friends of
Liberty all over the kingdom, by his public spirited exertions in and
out of Parliament; and no man was a more warm and zealous admirer of
the Baronet than I was. Like the great majority of his friends, I was
enraged with Mr. Paull, and condemned his hasty, and, as I considered
it, ungrateful attack upon the life of his patron, Sir Francis. This
feeling was propagated with great assiduity by that part of the public
press which was called liberal; and, taking advantage of this feeling,
together with the pity excited by the severe and dangerous wound he was
supposed to have received, the friends of the Baronet immediately came
to a determination to propose him as a candidate for Westminster. Mr.
Clayton Jennings, a barrister, took the lead, and during the contest
appeared every day on the hustings as the Baronet's "_locum tenens_."
However, few, if any of those who assembled as a Committee, were
electors, and it was with the greatest difficulty that they could get
the promise of two householders, to propose and second the nomination of
Sir Francis Burdett. The great fear was, that the proposer and seconder
would make themselves liable for the expenses of the hustings; and, as
they had no reliance on the Baronet to indemnify them, this difficulty
increased almost up to the hour appointed for the nomination. At
length a Mr. GLOSSOP, a tallow-chandler, volunteered to propose the
Baronet, if any one would second him; which, after a great deal of
persuasion, one ADAMS, a currier and leather-dresser in Drury-lane,
agreed to do. But, such was the dread of the expense, and so little
acquainted was this person with the rights and duty of an elector, that,
when it came to the pinch, as I am credibly informed, _he actually run
from his agreement, and refused to do it_; so that the Baronet, when
proposed, would have been left without a seconder, had not a young man,
of the name of COWLAM, stepped forward and performed the office. I have
heard poor COWLAM laugh most heartily at the timidity and meanness of
this ADAMS, who, when the danger was over, claimed the merit of having
seconded the Baronet at the nomination; which claim he has repeated ever
since, and, on the merit of this he bravely swaggers and struts about at
all the Rump dinners, he being one of the most conspicuous and notorious
members of that August body. COWLAM, who was much too honest and sincere
a lover of liberty to remain long either a dupe or a tool of this gang,
let me into almost all the _intrigues, tricks_, and _gambols_ of the
junta of Westminster patriots, which I shall expose and lay bare to
public view, as I proceed with my Memoirs.

The public mind was very much agitated by the duel of Sir Francis
Burdett and Mr. Paull, but the newspaper editors all appeared to throw
the blame upon the latter; and even those who at the former election had
warmly supported him, with very few exceptions, abandoned him. The cry
was raised against him, and he was basely deserted by those who, even at
the risk of their lives, ought to have supported him. In justice to a
much lamented deceased individual, the late _Abraham Hewlings_, Esq., I
must state that _he_ stood firmly and honestly by his friend Paull, to
the last moment; but the cry was for Burdett, and his friends gathered
those laurels which poor Paull had so deservedly won at the former
election. If Sir F. Burdett had only stood neuter, nothing could have
prevented the return of Mr. Paull; but with the support of Sir F.
Burdett, similar to what he had received from him at the former contest,
his election would have been sure.

The friends of the Baronet carried his election with a high hand, and
he was returned at the head of the poll, by an immense majority; there
having been polled for him 5,134 electors. Lord Cochrane polled 3,708;
so that Sir Francis bad a majority of 1,426 votes above Lord Cochrane,
the other successful candidate; Mr. Sheridan polled only 2,615, so that
the votes of Sir Francis nearly doubled those of Mr. Sheridan, the late
member; Mr. Paull polled no more than 269 votes.

The friends of freedom, throughout the whole country, were delighted
with the success of Sir Francis and Lord Cochrane; or rather with the
triumph of the electors of Westminster, in having thus rescued the
representation of their city out of the hands of the two great factions
of the country, which had always divided the representation of that city
between them; the Whigs and Tories having each returned a member. This
was, therefore, considered as a great triumph for the friends of reform;
for neither Sir F. Burdett nor Lord Cochrane was considered as being a
Whig or a Tory, but as a friend to the liberties of the people. Lord
Cochrane was certainly an officer of his Majesty's navy, but he had on
various occasions, during the last Parliament, expressed himself as a
friend to an inquiry into the abuses of Government, and particularly
into the abuses of the navy, with which he was intimately acquainted,
and to expose which he had proved himself to be both able and willing.
To some of the electors of Westminster he had likewise pledged
himself to support the cause of Reform in the House of Commons. He was
consequently considered a more eligible member for the electors of
Westminster than the brilliant Mr. Sheridan; and he was accordingly
elected with Sir F. Burdett.

I was at this time residing in Belle Vue, at Clifton, winding up the
brewing concern, in which I had unfortunately embarked. I had returned
home out of Wiltshire, late at night, and had lain longer in bed than
usual, when the servant came to my room, and informed me that an
opposition was anticipated for the election at the city of Bristol, as
a new candidate had offered. This new candidate was Sir John Jarvis,
an Irishman, who was the Commander of the Bristol Rifle Corps of
Volunteers. I knew something of the politics of Bristol, but I could not
fathom the drift of this opposition, as I could not make out what
claim Sir John Jarvis had to be a more popular character than the
late members, Colonel Baillie and Mr. Bragge Bathurst. To be sure Mr.
Bathurst was a ministerial man, a brother-in-law of the Addingtons, and
therefore very unpopular; but as Sir John Jarvis was also a ministerial
man, there appeared something mysterious in the business. However, the
servant informed me that the populace were drawing him round the city
in his carriage, and that he was evidently the popular candidate. After
all, it ought to be no great wonder that any one should have been
popular that was opposed to Mr. Bragge Bathurst.

On hearing this intelligence I put on my clothes, and having taken
a hasty breakfast, I proceeded towards Bristol, determined to be an
eye-witness of the proceedings of the election. When I got upon the
Exchange all was confusion, Sir John Jarvis was addressing the people in
an incoherent, unintelligible speech, in which, however, he professed
great patriotism, and vowed that he would oppose Mr. Bathurst to the
last moment, and keep the poll open as long as there was a freeman
unpolled. He then alighted from his carriage, and retired into the large
room in the Bush tavern, where he was followed by a great number of
the electors, and others; and amongst that number I made one. He was
attended by a noisy blustering person, who I found was an attorney, of
the name of Cornish, who also was professing what he would do, and how
he would support his friend Sir John Jarvis. Hundreds of freemen pressed
forward, and offered their copies of their freedom, as an earnest that
they would voluntarily give him their votes; but it struck me that all
was talk, and no one appeared to take any efficient steps to promote or
secure the election of Sir John Jarvis, who himself appeared to be all
bluster, and to be acting without the least system or arrangement,
calculated to secure even the first requisites to commence an election.

I now took the liberty to ask the candidate whether he was prepared with
any one to propose and second his nomination; to which he gave me a
vague and unmeaning answer, apparently as if he did not understand what
I meant by a person to propose and second him. I then appealed to Mr.
Cornish, the worthy attorney, who answered me in a similar manner; and
he evidently appeared not to be in the secret any more than myself. I
next addressed the multitude, to inquire which of them was prepared to
propose Sir John Jarvis, and which to second the proposition? All said
they were ready to _powl_ for Sir John, but no one was engaged to
perform the necessary part of the ceremony to which I had alluded, and
it likewise seemed very plain that neither Sir John nor his attorney
took any pains to secure any one to do this. At this critical moment
intimation was given, that the Sheriffs were proceeding with the other
Candidates to the Guildhall, to commence the election. Sir John and his
agent were about to move very deliberately towards the scene of action,
when I addressed him as follows:--"I see that you are either unaware of
the forms to be observed, or you are unprepared, Sir John. If, however,
when it comes to the proper time, no one else proposes you, I will:
though I am no freeman of Bristol, yet I will undertake to do this, as
it will give your friends an opportunity of coming forward, and it will
prevent the Sheriffs from hastily closing the election, which they are
very likely to do if you are not prepared with some friends to propose
and second your nomination." He answered, as we went along together,
"Very well, Sir." In this way we proceeded to, and entered, the
Guildhall, and mounted the hustings together. The usual proclamation
being read by the Under-Sheriff, an old mumbling fellow, of the name of
Palmer, some one proposed Colonel Baillie, the late member, as a fit and
proper person to represent the city again. Colonel Baillie was a
Whig member, and Colonel of the Bristol Volunteers, being a Whig, or
_Low-party-man_, as they called him. This proposition was received with
very general cheers and approbation. The next person proposed was Mr.
Bragge Batburst. He being a ministerial man, the speaker was repeatedly
interrupted with loud shouts of disapprobation, which continued without
intermission till the conclusion of the speeches of those who proposed
and seconded him. The Sheriffs were now about to proclaim these two
candidates duly elected. There stood Sir John, looking as wild as a
newly taken Irishman, fresh from the bogs of that country; and there
stood the electors, bawling _Sir John Jarvis for ever!_ while the
Sheriff was very deliberately proceeding to declare the proposed
candidates duly elected. As I had narrowly watched their motions, I now
stepped forward, and addressed the electors in at least an animated
speech, in which I proposed Sir John Jarvis as the most eligible person
to represent them in Parliament. During the time that I was thus
addressing them, the most dinning uproar arose. I was loudly and
enthusiastically applauded by the multitude, the great body of the
electors; and as loudly and earnestly opposed and hooted by the
well-dressed rabble upon the hustings and its vicinity, consisting of
the whole of the Corporation, the Clergy, the Attorneys, and their
myrmidons; but I persisted and delivered some wholesome truths as to the
state of thraldom in which the electors had hitherto been bound and
held by the two factions of Whigs and Tories, who had always in Bristol
divided the representation and the loaves and fishes between them,
leaving the electors nothing but the empty name of freemen. The people
were in an ecstacy of joy to hear this language, which so completely
corresponded with their feelings, which was so very different from
that which they had been accustomed to hear from the candidates of the
contending factions, and which language of truth also enraged the agents
of those factions almost to a state of madness. The violence and threats
of those despicable agents were open and undisguised, and exceeded all
bounds; nay, some of them actually proceeded to personal violence, and
began to lay hands upon me, to pull me down. As, however, I was no
chicken, I easily repelled those who ventured too near, and threatened
them, if they did not keep at a distance, that I would call in the aid
of those who would soon make a clearance of the hustings, if they were
disposed to try their hands at an experiment of that sort. The people
immediately took the hint, and rushed forward to support me, and to
punish those who had assailed me; but I told them there was then no
occasion for their interference, as the gentry were peaceable.

I proceeded with my haranguing, and those who were not in the secret
actually began to be alarmed, for fear there should be a contested
election, which they had by no means expected. I eulogised Sir John
Jarvis, cried his patriotic virtues up to the skies, and descanted upon
his talent, his resolution, and his invincible love of religious
and civil liberty. I saw that those around me were astonished at my
language, and, what was rather surprising to me, I perceived that Sir
John looked as much astonished as any of my hearers; and the reader will
also be astonished when I inform him, that I had never seen Sir John
Jarvis before in my life, to speak to him, and in fact that I knew
nothing about him. I only spoke of him that which my imagination
suggested to me an honest candidate ought to be; and, what is more
extraordinary, as I was a stranger in Bristol, so the people were
strangers to me, for I saw scarcely a single person amongst the whole
assemblage whom I could call by name. I recollect there was one old
Alderman, of the name of Bengough, who was almost frantic during my
speech, and some of his friends were obliged to hold him down by mere
force. The cry was, who is he? What is his name? Is he a freeman or a
freeholder of the county? At the intervals when the multitude gained
silence for me, by overwhelming and drowning the clamour of my opponents
with their shouts of hear him! he shall be heard!! Bravo, Bravo!!! &c. I
went on with my speech. The Right Honourable Bragge Bathurst, the White
Lion, or Ministerial Candidate, stood near me in great agony, which I
did not fail to heighten, by giving him a well-merited castigation for
his time-serving devotion to the Ministers, his never-failing vote for
war, and for every tax which was proposed to be laid upon the people.
I urged the absolute necessity of the Electors of Bristol returning a
member the exact reverse of Mr. Bragge, which I described Sir John to
be. But these compliments to the popular Candidate, appeared to be
received by no one less graciously than by Sir John himself; and instead
of his giving me, by nods or gestures of assent, any encouragement to
pursue my theme when I met his eye, which at first I frequently sought,
I received the most chilling frowns and discouraging shakes of the head.
Though I had no doubt now but I had _mistaken my man_, I, nevertheless,
concluded by proposing him as a Candidate to represent the city of
Bristol in the ensuing Parliament which proposition was received by nine
distinct and tremendous cheers.

Silence being restored, the Sheriff demanded, in a very respectful tone,
if I was either a freeman or a freeholder? I replied that I was a
stranger in Bristol, I was neither as yet; but that I hoped soon to
become both. This caused immense clamour, and Alderman Bengough and his
supporters, some of the well-dressed rabble of the city of Bristol,
roared out lustily, "turn him out, turn him out." My friends, however,
or rather supporters, who were as to numbers and physical strength more
than twenty to one, reiterated, "touch him if you dare!" I contended
that it was not at all necessary for a Candidate to be proposed either
by a freeman or a freeholder; that Sir John was entitled to offer
himself without any such formality, and that if one man polled for him
that made him a legal Candidate; and I urged him to do so, but he stood
mute and shuffled from the point. Now, for the first time, I began to
discover that it was all a hoax, and that the patriotic Irishman was
nothing more nor less than a scape-goat, a mere tool in the hands of the
White Lion club, or ministerial faction; a mere scarecrow, whom they had
set up to deter any other person from offering himself, or rather to
prevent the freemen from seeking another Candidate; and it must be
confessed that their plan succeeded to a miracle. In the midst of this
squabbling the Sheriffs very coolly declared that Colonel Baillie and
the Right Honourable Bragge Bathurst were duly elected, without any
opposition, and the return was made accordingly.

I was at that time a complete novice in electioneering matters, neither
had I the least idea of offering myself, or indeed any ambition to be a
Member of Parliament. I was, however, so completely disgusted with the
conduct of the Sheriff, the factions, and their tool, Sir John Jarvis,
that I addressed the enraged multitude, who felt that they had been
cheated and tricked out of an election, and I promised them that,
whenever there was another vacancy or a dissolution of Parliament,
I would pledge myself to come forward as a Candidate, or bring some
independent person, who would stand a contest for the representation of
their city. The people were excessively indignant at the treatment which
they had received, and they hooted, hallooed, and even pelted Mr. Bragge
and his partizans out of the Hall, and with considerable difficulty the
latter reached the White Lion, where a gaudy gilded car was provided,
as usual, in which the Candidate was to be chaired. I left the scene in
disgust, and returned to my house at Clifton. Before, however, I had
taken half my dinner, which was waiting for me when I reached home, a
messenger arrived, either a Mayor's or Sheriff's officer, to inform me
that the populace had hurled Mr. Bragge Bathurst out of his car, and
that he had escaped with great difficulty into a house, which the mob
were pulling down, and had nearly demolished; and that Mr. Bragge's life
would certainly be sacrificed if I did not come down to Bristol and save
it, by interfering with the populace to spare him.

The event which occasioned me to be called back to Bristol was not
wholly unexpected; for when I left the Guildhall I had overheard some
of those who appeared to take the lead, and to have influence over the
populace, solemnly declare their determination to have an election, even
if it were at the expense of the life of Mr. Bathurst, against whom they
vowed vengeance in such a tone and manner that I thought it proper to
warn his friends; and, accordingly, before I left the town, I penetrated
on horseback through the crowd in Broad-street, and with considerable
pains and risk gained access to the White Lion, amidst the conflicts
of the populace and the constables, or, more correctly speaking,
bludgeon-men, employed by the White Lion club. The blood was streaming
from their broken pates, and amongst the number of the wounded Mr. Peter
Clisshold, the attorney, stood conspicuous, with his head laid
open, his skull bare, and the blood flowing in streams down upon the
pavement, as he stood under the archway of the White Lion gate. (He
will recollect it if he should read this.) I desired to see some of the
Committee, who came to me immediately. I communicated to them what I had
overheard, and I strongly recommended, on the score of policy, that they
should not attempt to chair their friend Mr. Bathurst, for, if they did,
it was my decided opinion that some serious mischief would happen. They,
however, informed me that they had determined at all hazards to have Mr.
Bathurst chaired immediately; and, I shall never forget the exulting
manner in which Mr. Clisshold declared that they had five hundred
bludgeon-men sworn in as constables, and, as they would act in concert
and in a body, they were more than a match for five thousand of the mob.
I replied that I had done my duty, in communicating that which came
accidentally to my knowledge, and if they had not prudence enough to
benefit by the information, it was their business and not mine. I then
retired through the immense multitude, mounted on my beautiful grey
horse, Model, the populace making way for and cheering me as I passed.
As I have before stated, I no sooner arrived at home, and was seated at
my dinner, than a message was brought, requesting my interference with
the populace, who were demolishing the house into which Mr. Bragge
Bathurst had retreated, after he had been handled so unceremoniously by
the enraged people. If I had done by them as I know they would have done
by me, I should have taken my dinner very quietly, and left the fury of
the multitude to be quelled by those who had created it. But, actuated
by the sublime precept, "do as you would that others should do unto
you," I ordered my horse to be instantly re-saddled and brought to the
door; and having mounted him I was in High-street, the scene of action,
in a few minutes. There I found the people assembled, in immense
numbers. Having broken in the windows and window frames of the house in
which the hapless member, Mr. Bathurst, had concealed himself, they only
waited for a cessation of throwing brick-bats and stones to rush into
the house; which, if they had once done, his forfeited life would have
been the inevitable price of the temerity of his friends.

The moment I galloped up there was a partial suspension of hostilities,
and the multitude received me with three cheers. No time was to be lost;
one moment's indecision would have been the death-signal of the Right
Honourable Bragge Bathurst. I did not hesitate an instant; but, taking
off my hat, I addressed them in a tone of expostulation, condemning
their folly; and I then declared that I had a measure of much greater
importance to communicate to them than that of wreaking their vengeance
upon Mr. Bathurst, and if they would follow me, I would instantly, upon
reaching Brandon Hill, communicate it to them. This was said by me with
so much confidence, that they instantly assented to my proposition by
three cheers. "Come, follow me, then, my Lads," I firmly rejoined, as
I wheeled my horse round, and the whole crowd, consisting of many
thousands, instantly began to move after me up High-street, down
Clare-street, over the draw-bridge, through College Green, and upon
Brandon Hill, over the high gate of which I leaped my horse. As soon as
I got upon the center of the gravel walk that leads across the hill, I
halted and began to address them. My only object was, to draw them
from the victim of their intended vengeance. But having, by a bold and
decisive effort, effected this purpose, I had now a painful and rather a
dangerous duty to perform, that of satisfying the enraged multitude
that I had not duped them. I therefore boldly censured their hasty and
indiscreet conduct, in proceeding to such a violent measure as that of
seeking the life of one who was merely the agent of a corrupt system.
This was received with partial murmurs; but I, nevertheless, continued
successfully to combat the indiscreet violence of the most sanguine,
and, I soon found that, by dint of reason and argument, I had prevailed
upon the great majority to agree with me. I then took occasion to dilate
upon the consequences that must have followed the taking the life of
a fellow creature, without the intervention of judge or jury. I was
instantly answered, that their opponents had _taken the lives of a great
many_, without judge or jury, some years before, when the Herefordshire
militia, with Lord Bateman as their Colonel, had fired upon the
inhabitants during the disturbances on Bristol bridge. I was obliged
to admit the truth of this, and urge the folly of following so bad and
murderous an example. I then informed them who I was, and told them that
I would pledge myself to come forward, on the very next election, and
give those who had votes an opportunity of exercising their franchises
for a Candidate who would not betray and desert them, as Sir John Jarvis
had that day done. This proposition was received with cheers. I also
told them I would immediately form some plan, to enable the freemen
to take up their freedom, by means of a voluntary weekly subscription
amongst themselves; which plan should be carried into execution without
delay. And as they had done me the kindness of patiently listening to,
and acting upon, my recommendation to give up the desperate project
which they had formed, I begged to offer them a drink of my genuine
beer, not as a bribe, but as an earnest of my intention to carry my
promise into execution.

Pointing now to my brewery at Jacob's Well, at the bottom of the hill, I
said, once more, with confidence, "follow me, my Lads!" Till this time
I was not even known by name to one in twenty of the multitude. This
proposition was received with applause, and they followed me to the door
of my brewery, where I ordered three hogsheads of strong beer to be
rolled out and divided amongst them. This, together with my promise of
future attention to their rights of election, restored them to good
humor; and, upon my addressing them again, they promised to return to
their homes as soon as they had finished their beer, which they did,
almost to a man, without even the slightest disturbance taking place
afterwards that night. I had no sooner drawn the people from the house
in which Mr. Bathurst was concealed, than he took the opportunity of
escaping out of the city, in a return post-chaise, to Bath. Thus did
I save the life of a man whose partizans would have put me to death,
without the slightest remorse, if they had had it in their power.
Many liberal-minded persons, of all parties, applauded my conduct and
presence of mind; but I was informed that one of the leaders of the
White Lion club said, when he was told of the means that I had used to
draw the people from their premeditated victim, that he only wished the
mob had broken into my cellar, and turned into the streets all my beer,
amounting at that time nearly to three thousand barrels; and this was
the only thanks I ever received from any of the faction, from that day
to this. As for Mr. Bathurst, he never had the manliness nor the
candour to acknowledge the service in any way. But the Right Honourable
Gentleman possibly may have thought of the circumstance when he was
sitting as one of the Privy Council, who advised the thanks that
were given, in the name of the King, to the Manchester Yeomanry and
Magistrates! What must have been the feelings of this Right Honourable
Privy Councillor when, as one of that immaculate body, he advised the
prosecution against me for attending the Manchester meeting; and advised
it, that a sort of blind might be obtained for the deeds that had been
committed by the military bravoes on that day! What must have been the
feelings of this gentleman, if the recollection that I had saved his
life came across his mind, at the time when in all probability he was
one of the same Cabinet who _advised_ the _length_ of the _imprisonment_
that the Judges of the Court of King's Bench should impose upon me! Ah,
Mr. Bragge Bathurst! what will be your feelings when you read this?
When your life was in jeopardy, the power of saving that life was
accidentally placed in my hands; I hesitated not to save that life, at
the imminent risk of my own; and how grateful has been the return! But,
Mr. Bathurst, I am a million times happier a man in my dungeon than you
are in a palace. It was reserved for Mr. Bragge Bathurst, as Chancellor
of the Duchy of Lancaster, to reward _Parson Hay_ for his deeds on the
16th of August 1819, at Manchester; to reward him with the living of
Rochdale, with, it is said, _two thousand five hundred pounds a year!_
But I am a much happier man in my dungeon than Parson Hay, or his
relation, Mr. Bragge Bathurst, is; though the one is the Rector of
Rochdale, and the other Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with all
its revenue and patronage.

The news soon after this reached Bristol, that Sir Francis Burdett
had been returned at the head of the poll for Westminster, by a large
majority. This gave new life and spirits to the friends of liberty all
over the kingdom, and no one participated more warmly than I did in the
general joy which this news created, for I was one of the Baronet's
most enthusiastic admirers. I immediately proposed a public dinner in
Bristol, to celebrate the joyful event; but I could get no one to join
me. There were several who said that if the dinner took place they
would attend it, but they would not take upon themselves any of the
responsibility of ordering such a dinner, nor of the risk and expense
attending the getting of it up. There was, for one, a Mr. Lee, a
surgeon, who was very ready to join in the dinner to commemorate the
Westminster victory, but he shrank from bearing any part of the onus
of setting it on foot, either in purse or in person. But, having once
proposed a measure, I was not to be foiled in that way. I therefore,
after some considerable difficulty in finding any one to take the
order for a dinner for such a purpose, took the whole expense and
responsibility upon myself, by ordering dinner for a hundred persons, at
the large room in the Trout Tavern, Stokes' Croft.

The dinner was now advertised and placarded, myself to be in the chair.
In the mean time, every effort was used to run down the dinner, and to
intimidate persons from attending it; and on the morning of the day that
was appointed for our meeting, the walls of the city were placarded with
the following _notice_, from authority--"DANGER to be apprehended from
the proposed dinner to be held this day at the Trout Tavern," &c. &c.
The word DANGER was printed in letters six inches long. The soldiers
were ordered to be upon duty, and every species of threat and
intimidation was resorted to, in order to deter people from attending
the much-dreaded dinner. Nevertheless, in spite of all this, a hundred
persons sat down together, not ten of whom had ever seen each other's
faces before. I took the head of the principal table, and Mr. Lee that
of the other. We spent a most gratifying day, in the greatest harmony,
and parted with the same good humor; every one being pleased with his
entertainment, which had proved "the feast of reason and the flow of
soul;" in the fullest sense of that phrase. The authorities used every
laudable endeavour to make a disturbance, and create that danger which
they pretended to apprehend; and the time-serving despicable editors of
the Bristol Newspapers joined in the cry. Nay, some of them bellowed
aloud and declared that this dinner meeting, to celebrate the triumph of
the electors of Westminster over the two corrupt factions, the Whigs and
Tories, was the forerunner of a revolution; and they insinuated that I,
who was the promoter of this dinner, was the instigator of the riots
which occurred on the day of the election, and that the fellows who met
to dine were the very same who assembled and threatened the life of
their amiable and patriotic member, Mr. Bragge Bathurst.

These falsehoods did not, however, either prevent or disturb our dinner.
The infamous hand-bill did indeed produce what its manufacturers called
a mob, for the people assembled in the street, opposite the Trout
Tavern, in great numbers: but upon their being addressed by me, and
cautioned not to suffer themselves to be caught in the trap laid for
them by their enemies, but to retire peaceably to their homes, they gave
us three cheers and dispersed immediately. It was very fortunate that
they did so, for it was ascertained that the tender-hearted authorities
were so excessively anxious to preserve the peace which they had
sworn to keep, that they had called out the military, in order to
disperse, at the point of the bayonet, that multitude which they had
themselves collected together by their ridiculous and evil-disposed
hand-bill of "Danger, &c." My timely advice and admonition to the people
had, however, deprived them of their prey, and thus the sacrifice of
human blood was prevented; for when the troops marched by, with bayonets
fixed, there were not ten persons more than usual in the streets.
This was a great disappointment to those who had got up the precious
hand-bill of "Danger to be apprehended;" and, because I had the prudence
to foresee and to frustrate this brutal and sanguinary scheme of the
authorities, I was set down as a most dangerous fellow, and an enemy to
the Government.

I might now, in fact, be considered to have fairly entered the field of
politics; for I was completely identified with this meeting and dinner,
at which we passed several spirited resolutions, approving the conduct
of the electors of Westminster, and strongly urging the freemen of
Bristol to follow their example. Votes of thanks were passed to Joseph
Clayton Jennings, Esq., and to the Westminster Committee, and a
congratulatory address was voted to Sir Francis Burdett, which I, as
chairman of the meeting, was desired to communicate to him. This I
did immediately, which, for the first time, gave me an opportunity of
opening a correspondence with the Baronet. The votes and resolutions, as
well as the toasts drank, and the speeches delivered, were published; I
forget now whether by Mr. Lee or myself, but I rather think by him, as
he had been in the habit of publishing a great deal before on the local
politics of Bristol.

I received a very polite answer from Sir Francis Burdett, who professed
to be highly flattered with the compliment we had paid him at Bristol. I
likewise received an answer from Mr. Jennings, and the chairman of the
Westminster Committee, expressing great pleasure at this mark of
the union of sentiment existing between the people of Bristol and
Westminster. On the other hand, I sent copies of our proceedings to Mr.
Cobbett, who lived at that time at Botley, expressing a wish, if he
approved of them, that he would insert them in his Political Register;
he, however, neither inserted them nor gave me any answer, but, as it
since appears, he wrote the famous letter to his friend Wright, who was
a sort of hanger-on at the Westminster committee, which letter, at the
last general election for Westminster, was read upon the hustings by
one Cleary, an attorney's clerk, or rather a pettyfogging writer to an
attorney in Dublin, who had left his native country for the same cause
that had prompted many others of his countrymen to leave it before him.
This person was hired by the committee of Sir Francis Burdett to do this
dirty office, to shew that Mr. Cobbett entertained a different
opinion of me in the year 1808, before he knew me, from that which he
entertained of me in the year 1818, after he had known me and had acted
with me for so many years.

What induced Mr. Cobbett to write this letter, or what were his motives,
are best known to himself. But, the contents of the letter were as
false, as the stile and language were gross, and the sentiments it
contained illiberal and unmanly. Mr. Cobbett had at that time spoken to
me but once; and as I was never in the habit of flattering any one, or
disguising my opinions, I can easily conceive that he had, from this
first interview, formed personally as unfavourable an opinion of me as
I had of him. But he knew nothing of me or my connections. All that he
could have known of me was, that I was a zealous advocate of that
cause which he then professed to espouse. Therefore, what were his
motives for writing this letter must remain with himself. However, Mr.
Jennings, and the gentlemen who then composed the Westminster committee,
treated his advice with that contempt which such a malignant and unmanly
act deserved; for they opened a communication with me immediately. As
to the letter, however, it was of such a nature, that they thought it
advisable to lay it by, to be produced upon some future occasion, and
that occasion was the one which I have named. Now I must intreat
the reader to give me credit when I say, that I never suffered the
production of this letter to operate upon me, so as to shake the private
friendship I had with Mr. Cobbett. What he wrote of me, or whatever
opinion he entertained of me, ten years back, and previously to his
knowing any thing of me, however unjust that opinion might have been,
however coarsely or illiberally that opinion might have been expressed,
and however basely that circumstance might, after a lapse of ten or
eleven years, have been used by a contemptible hired agent of Sir
Francis Burdett, upon the public hustings at an election, I never
suffered it for one moment to have the slightest influence upon my
public or private conduct towards Mr. Cobbett. But what I was grieved
and hurt at, was, that Mr. Cobbett should have made me his dupe, by
writing home to me from America, to assure me, that the letter read by
Cleary upon the hustings at Westminster was a _forgery_; and not only
sending me a copy of the New York paper, wherein he had declared this
letter to be a forgery, but _authorizing_ ME, nay, _urging_ ME to
pronounce it to be a forgery, which, _upon the faith of his word_, I
did, at a meeting at the Crown and Anchor, where Cleary produced the
letter. At this treatment I was hurt; I had good reason to be offended;
but I never complained of it. The shyness and the dispute which has
arisen between Mr. Cobbett and myself has arisen from a very different
cause. But, for my own part, I am happy that this shyness did not happen
while Mr. Cobbett was in prison, but while Henry Hunt is incarcerated
in his dungeon. Although I cannot accuse myself of having ever done any
thing to merit this conduct from Mr. Cobbett, yet I shall never cease
to lament it, as an injury to that cause in which we had so long drawn
together. But, as is generally the case in such differences between
friends, there may be faults on both sides; and I am not so presumptuous
as to believe that I am exempt from error. It is a lamentable truth,
however, that the strongest mind is not always proof against the
insinuations of _false friends, of go-betweens,_ and the _eternal
workings, and worryings, and sly malignant hints, of the low pride and
cunning of those who are always at a person's elbow._ The reader must
excuse this digression; it is, in fact, no more than I owed to the
subject, and an early explanation which is due to those who honour me by
reading these Memoirs.

The infamous conduct of the authorities at Bristol did not deter me from
keeping the promise which I made to the people on the day of election.
I immediately formed a society, and arranged a plan of weekly
subscriptions, to enable those who were entitled to their freedoms to
pay their fee to the chamberlain of the city, without being, as they had
always hitherto been, dependent upon the bounty of the candidates when.
the election was about to begin. Each entitled freeman, who enrolled his
name, and paid a subscription of 3_d._ per week, had, in his turn, his
freedom taken up, and his fees, amounting to about 2_l_. 8_s_. paid out
of the fund.

One would have thought this a most legitimate and praiseworthy
association. What could be more proper than a subscription, weekly,
amongst the entitled freemen, to raise a sum to take up their freedoms;
to accumulate that sum by a weekly subscription which they could not
at once command out of their own pockets, and the want of which had
heretofore in a great measure placed them in the power of those who
would only advance the money for them to obtain a promise of their votes
at the election? To assist in accomplishing so desirable an object as
this, any one who did not understand the principles upon which those
elections are carried on by corporations, would have thought a most
praiseworthy act. But in Bristol it was esteemed a great crime; and
all sorts of threats and intimidations were offered to those who stood
forward as the friends of constitutional liberty, and who attempted to
aid the young freemen in procuring their copies to become entitled to
exercise their franchises at the elections. Our society was denounced
as seditious, revolutionary, and treasonable, by the corrupt
newspapermongers of that city; at the head of whom stood a man of the
name of GUTCH, who was the editor of the paper called Felix Farley's
Bristol Journal. This was as corrupt and time-serving a political knave
as ever lived. This gentleman belonged to the White Lion club; and for
hire he weekly vomited forth all sorts of lies and calumnies against
those who met weekly at the _Lamb and Lark_, in Thomas Street, under the
pretence, as this loyal Government scribe said, of subscribing to take
up freedoms; but whose real object this hireling declared to be, to
overturn the Government, by subverting the constitution of the country.
This was the organ, the trumpeter of the White Lion club; the Pitt
faction; the thick and thin supporters of the ministers. Then there
was another corrupt political knave, of the name of John Mills, who
published a paper, which, if I recollect right, was called the Bristol
Gazette. He was equally a thick and thin supporter of the other faction,
the Whigs; he was their time-serving dirty tool; no falsehood, no
absurdity, however palpable, so that it served his masters, the Whig
faction, was too gross for his depraved appetite. This _gentleman_,
also, was equally lavish of his abuse against me, for having dared
to interfere with a privilege which exclusively belonged to the two
factions; any innovation upon which was considered as high treason of
the greatest magnitude.

At this time a gentleman of the name of LEE, a surgeon, and a very
clever fellow, lashed the cheats of both factions by frequent cheap
publications; the severity of which made the rogues twist and writhe as
snails and grubs do, when quick lime is sprinkled upon them. With this
Mr. Lee I of course became acquainted, from the time of the Trout Tavern
dinner. For some time we went on very well together but, by-and-bye, we
quarrelled and came to an open rupture. This quarrel was excited
and fermented by talebearers and go-betweens; and at length Mr. Lee
commenced a paper war, directing all his talent against my views and
objects. I replied: and a most vindictive political warfare raged for
a while, in which we were both most magnanimously bespattered with the
filth of our own creating. I was very young at this time, and where I
failed in argument, I of course made up for it in abuse. In reality,
there was very little argument on either side; and in default of it,
downright abuse was resorted to, to the great amusement of the two
contending factions. He at length retired from politics altogether, and
very soon afterwards left Bristol, to reside in London, and kept his
terms, I believe, in the Temple, where he now practises as a barrister.
But I, however, stood my ground, and continued to support and cultivate
an union, by subscribing to and attending the meetings at the _Lamb and
Lark_. In fact, I took a lease of that house for the purpose; several
publicans having been threatened with the loss of their licences, if
they gave us the accommodation of a room, once a week, in the way of
their business. The moral Magistrates of Bristol, some of whom were
brewers and distillers, encouraged every species of drunkenness, and
connived at every species of debauchery, so that their pockets were
filled, and the customs and the excise were benefited; but they were
alarmed and shocked at the monstrous crime of the freemen meeting once a
week to subscribe their pence, to procure their freedoms, independent of
every political faction.

I now resided at Clifton, in lodgings, during the winter, and attended
to the collecting together of the scattered remains of my wreck of a
brewery. The reader may easily conceive that, if I had been disposed to
carry on the concern (which, by-the-bye, I was not), I should have had
very little chance at Bristol, amongst a set of the most illiberal and
selfish tradesmen and merchants in the universe. But, the truth was
this, I brewed my beer from malt and hops only; I had fairly tried the
experiment, and the result was, that no one could brew with malt and
hops for sale, _without being a loser_; and as I was determined not to
use any drugs or substitute, I made up my mind to get out of the concern
as soon as possible. No man could have had a fairer opportunity of
trying the experiment than I had; I grew my own barley, which was of the
very best sample; I made my own malt, and I bought my hops at the best
hand, for ready money. If any one could have brewed beer from malt and
hops, to have made a profit from it, I could have done it. I brewed
excellent beer, _but I lost money_ by every brewing. I therefore take
leave to caution my friends against being poisoned by genuine beer
brewers; the worst sort of quacks and impostors. Mark what I say--a
brewer may brew, and sell genuine beer, made from malt and hops; but, if
he does not become a bankrupt in three years, or if he contrives to sell
_genuine beer_, and grows rich, or pretends to grow rich, let me advise
you not to drink any of his genuine beer. No! no! my friends, if you
must drink beer and porter, drink that brewed by the common brewer,
who does not profess to be any honester than his neighbours. Drink the
porter of Messrs. Barclay, or of Messrs. Whitbread, and take your
chance with the common herd of beer and porter drinkers. When I see an
advertisement of any gentleman "Bung" having made an affidavit before
the Lord Mayor, that his beer is brewed only with malt and hops, I look
regularly for his name in the Gazette, and if I do not soon find it,
there, or hear that he has cut and run, I set him down for a successful
impostor.

I now enjoyed the society of a few select friends, who visited in my
family, when I was living at Chisenbury House, in Wiltshire, or at
Clifton; and I had nearly got rid of all my old pot-companions. Those
who now visited me, did so for the purposes of friendship and rational
society; as I had now completely put an end to all drinking carousals
in my family, neither did I mix with them in others. When I was in
the country, I used to enjoy the pleasures of the field, both as a
fox-hunter and an expert shot. As a shot, I fancied myself at that time
a match for any man in the kingdom, having challenged to shoot with any
gentleman sportsman in the united kingdom, five mornings, at game,
for fifty guineas a morning; which challenge I sent to the Sporting
Magazine, but whether it was published or not, I do not recollect.

One circumstance I forgot to notice, relative to the general election
which took place in the beginning of this year; which was, that Major
Cartwright offered himself, and stood a contested election, for the
borough of Boston, in Lincolnshire. The Major offered himself upon the
pure principles of representation, without spending any money. The Major
only polled _eight votes_!--This shews the state of the representation
of Boston at that time. Mr. Maddox was elected, having polled 196 votes.
But the Major stood upon real constitutional principles, and therefore
only polled eight votes.

On the 29th of June, Sir Francis Burdett was chaired through the streets
of Westminster, and such a multitude was scarcely ever before seen
together. All the streets through which the procession had to pass were
thronged to excess, and every window was full of admiring and applauding
spectators. This certainly was the triumph of Westminster, by purity
of election. At five o'clock the procession arrived at the Crown and
Anchor, where it is said nearly two thousand persons gained admittance
to dinner. This must have been a fine harvest for the landlord, and
those who had the management of the twelve shilling tickets. After
dinner, the following toasts were drank:--

  1. The King, the Constitution, the whole Constitution,
  and nothing but the Constitution.
  2. The People.
  3. Purity of Election, and may the Electors of the whole
  kingdom take a lesson from the Westminster School.
  4. The Health of that Honest and Incorruptible Representative
  of the People, Sir Francis Burdett.
  5. The Electors of Westminster.
  6. The 5134 Electors who so nobly stood forward to assert their own
  Rights, and to excite the People of England to assert theirs.
  7. Those Electors of _Bristol_ who, on the 2nd of June, with MR. H. HUNT
  at their head, assembled to celebrate the return of Sir Francis Burdett.
  8. May the ineffective of the Regiment be speedily disbanded, and the
  Red Book reduced to its proper dimensions.
  9. Mr. Jennings, our worthy Chairman.
 10. The Election Committee.

This chairing and dinner-meeting excited the attention not only of
the metropolis but the whole kingdom. It was the real triumph of
Westminster, and Sir Francis Burdett was that day in sober earnestness,
and in the honest sincerity of their hearts, the pride of the people. It
was no fiction, it was no joke; but, in fact and in truth, Sir Francis
Burdett was on that day "_Westminster's Pride, and England's Glory._"
All was peace and good order, every face beamed with good humor, and
upon every brow sat a sort of conscious pride, as if each person felt
that he had performed a duty, by offering a tribute of devotion to the
Honourable Baronet. This being the case, one would have thought that
there was no occasion for the interference of the military; but, as the
troops had been called out at Bristol, in consequence of our _dinner
of one hundred_, to celebrate the election of Sir Francis, of course
the myrmidons of power in the metropolis did not, or pretended they
did not, think themselves safe without the aid of the military. The
different guards about the palace, and also about the offices at
Whitehall, were doubled, and supplied with ball cartridges. The several
regiments were drawn out in the morning and kept under arms, and a
great body of the horse artillery corps was kept ready harnessed in
St. James's Park, to draw the cannons to the scene of action, if
necessary!--The volunteer corps were also summoned to muster, and the
police were put in motion; in fact, the Government appeared determined
to be ready with a military force to act promptly upon an emergency, if
one should arise, as some persons, perhaps, hoped would be the case.
All this, however, proved to be totally unnecessary. The fear of the
Ministers arose solely from the sense of their own unworthiness; a
conviction in their own breasts that they merited the hatred and the
execration of the people. Every thing passed off quietly, and the dinner
party broke up in peace, after having passed the day in the greatest
hilarity and unanimity. Such a dinner-meeting was never before witnessed
in the metropolis; hundreds were contented to take a scanty meal
standing, and no one grumbled at his fare.

The reader will see that, at this dinner, the _only_ toast drank,
unconnected with the election of Westminster, was the seventh, "The
Electors of Bristol with MR. H. HUNT at their head," &c. Indeed the only
names mentioned in the toasts, which had been drawn up with great care
by the Committee, were Sir F. Burdett, Mr. H. Hunt, and Mr. Jennings,
the chairman; so that, with the exception of the chairman and Sir
Francis Burdett, I was the _only man in England_ whose name was honoured
by being publicly drank by this the largest dinner-meeting ever
assembled in England. I was not at that time known to Sir Francis
Burdett; I was not known to Mr. Jennings, or to any of the Committee,
yet my exertions in the cause of Liberty at Bristol had attracted the
attention of its real friends in Westminster, and my health was toasted
accordingly.

The first time, however, that I came to London after this, I was
introduced to Mr. Jennings, and all the Westminster heroes, by my worthy
friend Henry Clifford. They all received me very cordially, and I was
invited to a public meeting at the Crown and Anchor, that was held about
that time, I forget upon what occasion, Mr. Jennings in the chair,
myself having a seat appropriated for me by the Committee next to him,
on his left hand, Clifford being seated at his right. My health was
drank with great applause, and I returned thanks in a manner that met
the approbation of the whole meeting.

Thus was I, in the year 1807, fairly drawn into the vortex of politics.
My worthy friend Clifford publicly claimed me as his disciple, and
ventured to predict that I would some day become one of the most able
champions of the cause of Liberty. Sir Francis Burdett was not in town,
therefore I was not introduced to him, which both Jennings and Clifford
were anxious to do.

I do not recollect that Lord Cochrane's name was ever mentioned at
either of these meetings. His health was not even drank at the great
meeting for Westminster, on the 29th of June, to celebrate the purity
of election, although he was one of the Members for Westminster, was
returned as the colleague of Sir Francis Burdett, and polled above a
thousand votes more than Mr. Sheridan. Nay, I do not think that he even
attended this dinner of his constituents. Indeed, had he attended, his
health would have been drank of course, as one of the Members. Lord
Cochrane was a bold, enterprising, and successful officer; but, as
to politics, I believe the real state of the case to be, that he was
suspected, at that period, not to have made up his mind upon them.

This fact is worthy to be recorded, that, when the electors of
Westminster held their great public dinner to celebrate the triumph and
purity of election in their city, though Lord Cochrane had been elected
one of their representatives, yet so little faith had Sir F. Burdett or
his friends in the sincerity of Lord Cochrane's principles, that they
never drank his health, or even mentioned his name. _Let this be marked
down as a curious fact._ Lord Cochrane had not been kicked into a
thorough patriot by the Government, which, at this time, looked upon
him as still being one of their regiment, and they rather rejoiced than
otherwise at his being elected for Westminster; it being very clear
that, during the election, he received considerable support from the
friends of the ministers.

Now I call the circumstance to my recollection, I believe that,
immediately after the election, Lord Cochrane went to sea as the
commander of the Imperieuse. At all events it is certain that his health
was not drank. The fact is indisputable, that at a dinner-meeting of the
electors of Westminster, one of the Member's health not drank, and that
Member LORD COCHRANE, who had been in the House before, as a Member for
Honiton; and let it be recollected, to his honour, that when he was
elected for Honiton, he gave a pledge in the face of the nation, that he
never would, as long as he lived, accept of any sinecure or emolument,
either for himself or any relation or dependent; and that he never would
touch the public money in any way, but that of his profession as a naval
officer. He had also made a motion in the House, respecting places,
pensions, and emoluments, held or received by Members of the House of
Commons, or by his relations. This motion was of the greatest public
importance, and of much more real service to the cause of public
liberty, and the purity of the Members of the House of Commons, than
any motion that Sir Francis Burdett had ever made in the House; and one
would have thought that this alone would have been a sufficient earnest
of his future honesty, at any rate would have entitled him to have had
his health drank at a public dinner-meeting of his constituents, the
electors of Westminster! --It is a very curious and remarkable fact that
_my_ health _was_ drank at this meeting, and that Lord Cochrane's health
was not; and what makes it the more extraordinary was, that I was a
perfect stranger to the electors of Westminster, and Lord Cochrane was
one of their representatives.

As for poor Paull, although he was laying wounded, on a bed of sickness,
his name was never mentioned. I always thought, and I always said,
though I did not know Mr. Paull, that Sir Francis Burdett would have
appeared more amiable in my eyes if he had condescended to notice with
marks of kindness his vanquished adversary, or at least his antagonist,
who had been defeated upon the hustings, although not in the field. But,
alas! poor Mr. Paull, who had contributed, largely contributed to rouse
a proper spirit of independence amongst the electors of Westminster,
and who was a very _Idol_ amongst them at a former election, was now so
deserted, neglected, and despised, as at this meeting never to have been
noticed in any way whatever, merely because he had quarrelled with Sir
Francis Burdett, or rather because Sir Francis had quarrelled with him.
But Sir Francis Burdett was now become the great political Idol, a
political God; and I was one of his most enthusiastic worshippers, one
who would have risked my life at any moment to have saved his, although
I was at the time personally unknown to him. On the 10th of July, a
numerous and respectable meeting of the freemen, freeholders, and
inhabitants of the city of Bristol, was held in the large room at the
Lamb and Lark, in Thomas Street, for the express purpose of inquiring
into the state of the elective franchise, Henry Hunt, Esq. in the chair.
It was unanimously resolved, "1st. That the elective franchise is an
object of the highest importance, as it is the basis of our laws and
liberties. That in the free and unbiassed exercise of this great and yet
undisputed privilege, depends our best interests and dearest rights as
free- born Englishmen. 2nd. That if any club or party of men whatever,
arrogate to themselves the power of returning a representative for this
city, whether designated by the title of the White Lion Club, or the
Loyal and Constitutional Club; if they threaten, persecute, and oppress
a voter, for the free exercise of his judgment in the disposal of
his suffrage, they are enemies to their country, by acting in direct
opposition to the sound principles of the British Constitution. 3rd.
That we view with painful anxiety the contracted and enthraled state
of the elective rights of this city, and we are fully convinced of
the existence of such unconstitutional clubs as are mentioned in the
foregoing resolution; that their evil effects have reduced this great
city to a level with the rottenest of rotten boroughs; therefore we are
determined, by every legal exertion in our power, to interpose, and
adopt such constitutional and effective measures as may appear most
conducive to the recovery and firm establishment of the freedom of
election in this city. 4th. That the following declarations of the
Westminster Committee, contain the great constitutional principles on
which we ought to act, namely,--'That as to our principles, they are
those of the constitution of England, and none other; that, it is
declared by the Bill of Rights, that one of the crimes of the tyrant
James, was that of interfering, by his Ministers, in the election
of Members of Parliament; that, by the same great standard of our
liberties, it is declared that the election of Members of Parliament
ought to be free! That by the act which transferred the crown of this
kingdom from the heads of the House of Stuart, to the heads of the House
of Brunswick, it is provided, that, for the better securing of the
liberties of the subject, no person holding a place or pension under
the Crown, shall be a Member of the House of Commons; that these
are constitutional principles; and as we are convinced that all the
notorious peculations, that all the prodigal waste of public money, that
all the intolerable burdens and vexations therefrom arising; that all
the oppression from within, and all the danger from without, proceed
from a total abandonment of these great constitutional principles; we
hold it to be our bounden duty, to use all the legal means in our power
to restore those principles to practice. That though we are fully
convinced, that, as the natural consequences of the measures pursued for
the last sixteen years, our country is threatened with imminent danger
from the foe which Englishmen once despised, and, though we trust there
is not a man of us who would not freely lay down his life, to preserve
the independence of his country, and to protect it from a sanguinary and
merciless invader; yet we hesitate not to declare, that the danger we
should consider of the next importance, the scourge next to be dreaded,
would be a packed and corrupt House of Commons, whose votes, not less
merciless, and more insulting, than a conqueror's edicts, would bereave
us of all that renders country dear, and life worth preserving, and that
too, under the names and forms of Law and Justice; under those very
names and those very forms which yielded security to the persons and,
property of our forefathers.' 5th. That, in following the glorious
example of the citizens of Westminster, by choosing men of corresponding
sentiments and undeviating public virtue, we shall, as far as rests with
us, restore the blessings of our Constitution, and the just rights
and liberties of the people. 6th. That the freeholders, freemen,
and entitled freemen and inhabitants of this city, who have united
themselves, for the laudable purpose of supporting each other in the
free and unbiassed exercise of their judgment in the choice of their
representatives, merit the approbation and applause of all their
fellow-citizens; and that we do now form ourselves into a body, to
be called the "Bristol Patriotic and Constitutional Association," to
co-operate with them, in counteracting that unwarrantable influence,
manoeuvre, and deception, which have reduced the electors of this city
to mere political cyphers, to passive spectators of the general wreck,
freemen with no other appendage of freedom but the empty name; we
therefore pledge ourselves, individually and collectively, to assist and
protect them in the recovery of our just and constitutional liberties.
7th. That a public subscription be immediately opened, to raise a fund
for the purpose above mentioned, for defraying the expenses of a room
for the association, printing, &c. and that a list of the subscribers
and subscriptions be regularly kept, and that proper books be provided
for that purpose. 8th. That these resolutions be signed by the chairman,
and that they be published. Signed HENRY HUNT, Chairman."

These resolutions were published in the Bristol and London newspapers;
and also, in Cobbett's Political Register, the 8th of August, 1807,
(page 211, vol. 11th.) The reader will see the political ground which I
took, and the stand which I made, almost single-handed, in the city of
Bristol, against the corrupt and barefaced influence exercised by
both the contending factions of Whigs and Tories, over the freemen of
Bristol. I have inserted these resolutions for a twofold purpose; first,
that of shewing that I have never shifted my ground, that I have never
deviated from the straight path of publicly and boldly advocating the
rights and liberties of the people against the corrupt influence of all
factions; and second, to prove that Mr. Cobbett was so well pleased with
my exertions, and so well satisfied that those exertions were calculated
to serve the cause of public liberty, that he voluntarily gave them a
place in his Register, and thus early held me up to notice, as worthy
of public confidence and public support; and this he did, recollect,
although I was not personally known to him, and had never seen him, with
the exception of the slight call which I made on him in Duke Street,
which I have before mentioned.

Mr. Cobbett had already published in his Register my address, of the
18th of October, 1806, to the freeholders of Wiltshire; he had published
an account of my health being drank, at the largest public dinner ever
held in England, on the 29th June, 1807; and on the 8th of August, in
the same year, he published the foregoing resolutions, with my name to
them, as the chairman, and which resolutions he knew were drawn up by
_me_; therefore, I must seriously ask the reader how I am to account for
the scurrilous letter being written by Mr. Cobbett to Wright, cautioning
the committee of the electors of Westminster to _beware of me_? If this
letter be not a forgery, Mr. Cobbett was _openly_ recommending me to
the notice of the public, in his Political Register, while he was
_privately_ vilifying me by letter, and recommending the Westminster
committee to beware of me, as I was a sad fellow. For the honour of
human nature I should yet hope that this letter was a forgery, either of
Wright's or Cleary's.

Let it, however, be whichever it may, it had not the desired effect.
These exertions of mine in the city of Bristol, and my boldly avowing
the principles acted upon by the Westminster committee, and professed by
Sir Francis Burdett, met with the approbation and sanction of both, and
a correspondence was kept up between us. The baronet professed to be
greatly delighted with what I had done, and urged me to persevere in so
laudable an undertaking as that of putting myself at the head of the
independent electors of Bristol, to prepare them for following the
example so nobly set by the electors of Westminster. I have preserved
all the Honourable Baronet's letters, with the exception of three or
four, that he ever wrote to me during our political connection, which
may now be said to have commenced. Though as yet we had never had a
personal interview, he, nevertheless, corresponded with me with great
frankness and confidence; which _confidence_, I beg him to make himself
perfectly satisfied, shall never be basely betrayed by me, even if he
should behave to me worse than he already has done; even if he should
employ his hopeful paid agent Cleary to read upon the hustings a private
letter a day, for the remainder of his life. I will, at a proper period,
state my reason for destroying two or three of his letters, in the
spring of 1817. But he may rest assured that I will not betray any of
his private communications to me; I will not follow his example by
basely exposing a _private letter;_ even should he again hire James
Mills to propagate a report, which he, Burdett, as well as his agent,
knew to be a falsehood totally without foundation; namely, that I had
a government protection in my pocket when I attended the great public
meeting at Manchester, on the 16th of August, 1819. Even if the baronet
should hire a fellow to propagate another such a cowardly and infamous
fabrication as that, yet I will not publish any of his private letters
to me about ----.

But I beg the reader not to misunderstand me; most of the baronet's
letters to me were of a _public nature_, and those that were private,
were not about my business, but his own. Thank God! he has no letters
from _me_, about any _money transactions_; for I hereby most distinctly
state, that the only money transaction we ever had, the only money that
ever passed between us, was, that I, at his request, once purchased for
him a galloway, for twenty-five pounds, which money he paid me; and I
bought of him a horse for forty-five guineas, which I paid him for at
the time. The horse turned out not worth forty-five shillings. I believe
the Baronet knew that he was good for nothing when he favoured me with
him; but he never offered to make me any allowance, neither did I ever
expect it, or apply for it. I never blamed him for this--it was not his
fault, it was my own; he had the horse to sell, and I purchased it and
paid for it, and when I found him out, I disposed of him as well as I
could to a horse-dealer; I certainly did not oblige a friend with him.
After all the Baronet may have thought him a very good horse; he may
have been deceived, or may have been a bad judge of a horse. I was the
fool for believing that he wished to part with a _very good_ horse.

I mention this circumstance, not as any thing against the Baronet,
because it was my business not to have taken any one's word, not to have
bought a "pig in a poke;" but I mention it, merely to show the reader
that, although I was, for many years, intimately and closely connected
with Sir Francis Burdett, this is the only money transaction we ever
had, with the exception of his having given me cash for a country
banker's draft on his banker in London, made payable to my order,
at seven or fourteen days, I forget which it was. Although I was
comparatively a poor man, and he a most wealthy one, I was never
indebted to him a guinea in my life, nor ever solicited the loan of a
guinea from him.

I have said that I will never publish any of his private letters, but I
hereby authorize him to publish any one or every letter he ever received
from me in his life; and if he does not choose to do this, yet wishes it
to be done, and will send them to me, I will publish verbatim, in the
Memoirs, any or every letter I ever wrote to him. During the history
of the next ten years of my life, I shall have frequently to record
circumstances that have occurred between the Baronet and myself; it is,
therefore, but justice to myself, as well as to the reader, to make the
above declaration, as a prelude to that part of my Memoirs, as it may
save the Rump the trouble of circulating a great number of falsehoods,
of which they will ultimately, with many other base transactions, stand
convicted. When I say I was never indebted to or solicited any loan from
the Baronet, I mean to include all his family and connections, _Rump and
all_.

I have before mentioned, that I was invited to, and attended, a public
dinner, held at the Crown and Anchor, Mr. Jennings in the chair. At this
dinner I was introduced to the worthy, the venerable and patriotic Major
Cartwright, who invited me to his lodgings, to take some coffee after
the meeting was over, whither I accompanied him, either with Clifford,
or some other friend. There the worthy old Major produced for my
inspection, the _pike_ which he had invented, and recommended in his
"England's Aegis," to be used for the national defence. It was of a very
curious and ingenious construction, with a sort of double shaft, to
protect the hands of him who used it from the blows of a sabre, &c. The
Major was in high spirits, and exhibited to us all the various purposes
of attack and defence for which it was calculated. I was highly
delighted with the old Major, at this first introduction and interview,
and this exhibition added very much to the gratification which I felt
in being known to a man of whom I had so often heard and read, as the
steady and inflexible friend of reform, and public freedom. I returned
home to my inn exceedingly gratified, the old Major having created
a very favourable opinion in my breast of his patriotism and public
virtue.

During this year, a considerable sensation was created, by the military
inquiry which was going forward. Many nefarious peculations, and many
scandalous abuses, were detected and exposed; but, as is generally the
case in these parliamentary inquiries, the expenses of the commissions
are ministerial jobs, that cost the country more than the sums which are
saved by these detections.

The bill for the abolition of the slave trade was brought into the House
of Lords, by Lord Grenville, and after warm debates passed both Houses;
this, to the immortal honour of the Whigs, was effected by them, and
must be recorded as one good act passed during their administration.
The old saying is, that "Charity covereth a multitude of sins;" so, the
passing of this act by the Whigs has, with many, covered a multitude of
_their_ sins.

In July, General Whitelock was sent to attack Buenos Ayres; but he was
disgracefully repulsed, with great loss. His conduct and defeat became
the subject of public investigation, and the General was disgraced
in the eyes of the whole world. The Americans issued a proclamation
prohibiting British armed vessels from entering the ports of the United
States, which was followed by the English laying an embargo on their
ports in return. In the month of August, of this year, the first
introduction of gas lights into the streets took place, in Golden-lane,
in the city of London; and in October, the King of France, Louis the
Eighteenth, landed at Yarmouth, and, under the title of the Count de
Lille, took up his residence at Gosfield Hall, in Essex. It was
also in this month that the philanthropic Sir Richard Phillips, the new
Sheriff of London, made a strict inquiry into the prison abuses of the
metropolis. He and his colleague, Mr. Smith, employed themselves with
incessant application in visiting and inspecting every part of every
prison in the metropolis. I always admired Sir Richard Phillips, for his
humane and persevering endeavours to correct the innumerable abuses that
were found to exist in these sinks of filth, misery, and immorality;
but I never fully knew the value of his praiseworthy endeavours, till
I began to employ myself in a similar undertaking, in this infamous
Bastile. I now know how to appreciate the value of his labours for the
benefit of the prisoners and the country. He rectified innumerable
abuses, and caused the whole of the gaols to be cleansed and improved;
he also made it his business to investigate the extortions practised in
those receptacles of misery and misfortune, the lock-up houses;
which places he put under the strictest regulations, to protect the
unfortunate persons who are placed in them from the infamous rapacity of
those who keep them. These things come immediately under the cognizance
of the Sheriffs, whose peculiar duty it is to protect from extortion
and torture those unfortunate persons whom the law has placed in their
custody, either as criminals or as debtors. Sir Richard Phillips
performed the duty of Sheriff of London with great honour to himself,
and to the great advantage of the whole community. I have no hesitation
in saying, that he performed more good acts, while he held the office
of Sheriff of London and Middlesex, than have been performed by all the
Sheriffs that have held it ever since. In fact, his whole life has
been devoted to acts of benevolence and kindness towards his
fellow-creatures; but the great services which he rendered to the cause
of humanity and justice, while he had the power, while he filled the
office of Sheriff of London and Middlesex, entitle him to the gratitude
of this country; and, at some future day, his merits will be, I trust,
recorded on a monument, by the side of the benevolent Howard, in St.
Paul's. Sir Richard Phillips is a modest, unostentatious man; he makes
but little skew and parade; but the hand of oppression seldom bears
heavily upon a fellow-citizen, that Sir Richard is not found, in some
way or other, endeavoring to alleviate his distress. I speak feelingly,
for my persecutions brought me acquainted with the real character of
this worthy citizen of London. To speak of Sir Richard Phillips, so
as to do him justice, requires a more able pen than mine, and it is
absolutely necessary to read a very interesting and valuable work,
written by him, and printed by T. Gillet, Crown Court, in 1805. It is a
letter, which he addressed to his constituents, the _Livery of London_,
relative to his views in executing the office of Sheriff of London and
Middlesex; and, as I know of no better method to delineate his character
for humanity and public spirit, I will give an extract from this work
in his own words. "I am now," says he, "about to treat of that subject
which is not only of the greatest importance in connection with the
office of Sheriff, but which is that department of the Sheriff's duty
about which the feelings of my own heart were the most deeply interested
when I entered into the office. I had long viewed these places,
particularly the crowded prisons of the metropolis, as mansions of
misery, in which were often united in the same person the whole
dismal catalogue of human woes. The deprivation of liberty alone is a
heart-rending punishment to every human being, however luxuriously he
might be provided for in his prison, and however little may be the
effect of that imprisonment upon his dearest connections. But in the
prisons of the metropolis, there are superadded to the overwhelming idea
of personal restraint, the loathsomeness of the place, the immediate
contact of kindred miseries; want of food and every other necessary;
loss of character; dread of future consequences; wives, children, and
frequently aged parents involved in one common ruin, and plunged in
shame and wretchedness; the prisoner suffering at the same instant the
complicated tortures of despair, remorse, and unavailing repentance!
How inglorious and how cowardly, to add to such a load of misery, by
unnecessary privations and reproaches! How interesting the task of
lightening it, by attentions, by charities, by administering pity, and
by infusing hope!

"Such were the impressions and the feelings under which I entered into
the office of Sheriff, and by which I am still influenced, after twelve
months intercourse with the prisons, notwithstanding the cabals and
misrepresentations of which I have found myself the object."

The reader will perceive by this, that, in the performance of these
praiseworthy, honourable, and humane duties, the worthy Sheriff had
to contend against cabals and misrepresentations; in fact, every
obstruction was thrown in his way by those whose duty it was to have
assisted him, and to have rewarded him for his labours; he was opposed
and misrepresented by the whole gang of miscreants, who had heretofore
made a market of the misfortunes of their fellow creatures, and swelled
their infamous hoards by plundering and robbing all those who came
within the vortex of their rapacity. He was also sneered at and
thwarted, by those creatures in office, those caitiffs "dressed in a
little brief authority," who luxuriate in the misery of the captive,
and whose greatest bliss appears to be derived from persecuting and
inflicting torture upon those whose misfortune it is to be placed in
their power. But his reward is the approbation of the wise, the virtuous
and humane; and, what is still more valuable, the delightful sensations
of an approving conscience.

Sir Richard Phillips likewise made many excellent regulations as to the
choosing and summoning of Juries, and pointed out those defects, and
that unconstitutional management in packing of Juries, that have led to
the recent inquiries and alterations in the Jury lists of the city of
London, which render it possible that a fair and honest unpacked Jury
may now be obtained in that city, in spite of the arts and tricks of
those who have made it their business to convert them into every thing
that is corrupt and partial. Without having read the address of Sir
Richard Phillips to the Livery of London, which address he published as
soon as he was out of office, it is absolutely impossible for any person
to be aware of the good done, and the still greater good attempted to be
accomplished by Sir Richard during his sheriffalty. This work should
be read by all future Sheriffs, as offering to them an example highly
worthy their best attention. In fact, the office of Sheriff of the city
of London and Middlesex is a most important office, it gives a man the
power of doing an infinity of good, of rendering the most essential
service to the cause of liberty, justice, and humanity, as was clearly
demonstrated by Sir Richard Phillips.

Before I have done with this subject of Sheriffs, I will relate an
anecdote of one of the late Sheriffs. I believe I have mentioned, in
this work, that the Sheriff of London and Middlesex, Robert Albion Cox,
Esq., was committed to Newgate, by the House of Commons, for partiality
to Sir Francis Burdett at the Middlesex election, in 1802. This was the
present Alderman Cox, who was at that time a zealous friend of reform,
and whose great zeal and anxiety to promote that cause was supposed to
have made him overstep the bounds of prudence, so far as to prevent him,
in his capacity of Sheriff, from being able to conceal his ardent desire
to serve his friend, Sir Francis Burdett. He was accused, by the House
of Commons, of having, in the warmth of his friendship, been guilty of
partiality to his friend, in the admission of votes at the hustings. For
this the House committed him to Newgate. I recollect that, at the time,
the friends of reform in the country, although they could not justify
the proceeding on the part of the worthy Sheriff, yet they felt a great
sympathy towards him, and were much more disposed to condemn a corrupt
majority of the House of Commons, for dealing harshly with him, than
they were to censure the Sheriff; who, if he had committed an error, had
done so from the best of intentions--the desire to serve the cause of
reform. I well remember, that we all in the country said, that the
worthy Sheriff's imprisonment would be a mere nominal punishment; that
he would be surrounded by his friends; and we had no doubt but Sir
Francis Burdett and his party would take care that his time should pass
lightly away, by their gratefully attending to his every wish, while he
remained in prison.

But the truth shall now be told. Alderman Cox paid me a visit here, some
time back, and upon my joking him, on his having deserted the cause of
reform, and gone over to the enemy, he frankly told me the whole story
of his secession from our ranks. He was, he declared, as sincere a
friend of reform and rational liberty as he ever was; but, during the
time of his imprisonment, he found those with whom he had acted during
his youthful ardour, so treacherous and so ungrateful, that the moment
he was at liberty he resolved to have nothing more to do with them; and
he, therefore, quitted city politics altogether, and went to reside in
Dorsetshire, out of the reach of all their turmoil and unprofitable
labour. "When," said he, "I was committed to Newgate by the House
of Commons, I certainly did expect that I should have received the
attention and kindness of those whom I had endeavoured to serve, and
of those who professed to be the friends of that party in the city
of London, where I was imprisoned; and especially, I expected every
attention from Sir Francis Burdett; which attention, indeed, I conceived
I was entitled to from him, not merely for my having run such a risk,
and got myself imprisoned, by striving to do him a service, but from
the double tie of friendship and politics--a friendship which we had
contracted while at school together." Having experienced the nature of the
Baronet's friendship, I anticipated what was coming. "Will you believe
me," said he, "Mr. Hunt, during the whole time that I was in Newgate _he
never wrote to me, never called upon me, nor ever once sent to inquire
about me_. I was in prison, yet all the city party with whom I had
acted, kept away from me, and not one came near me. At length I sent for
Waithman, who came at my request. I complained to him of the ingratitude
of Sir Francis Burdett, and he appeared to concur with me, and to regret
that I should be so treated; but he added, that he had no power to
compel the Baronet to do his duty. He was full of professions, and said
he would do any thing to serve me; that I had been treated cursedly ill,
and that something ought to be done for me. Upon this I urged him to
call a Common Hall, and take the sense of the Livery upon the harsh
proceedings of the House of Commons; and if he could get a vote of
thanks for me (which I knew he had only to propose to carry), that would
be some consolation to me in my imprisonment. He hemmed and har'd, and
at length declined this measure, for fear it might not be carried, for
fear he might be outvoted. Well then, said I, will you get a piece of
plate voted to me, by a few of our friends, whom you can easily call
together at a private meeting? The answer was, that he had no objection
to doing so, but that all our friends were so very poor, that he doubted
whether he should be able to raise a sum sufficient to purchase a piece
of plate worth my acceptance. I replied, that the value of the piece of
plate was of no consequence, as _that_ was not the object; but, to set
that question quite at rest, and to make his mind quite easy upon it, I
desired him to get the piece of plate voted, and I would take care to
send him the money myself to pay for it. He went away, saying he
would see what could be done; and I never heard from him, or saw him
afterwards, until I left Newgate: upon which I washed my hands of the
whole of the ungrateful set, and I have never had any thing to do with
them since." This fact speaks for itself, and is a fair specimen of the
conduct of the worthy politicians of that day.

At the latter end of this year, 1807, our magnanimous ally, the Emperor
of Russia, suddenly broke off all communication with Great Britain; and,
on the 1st of November, declared war against us. War was also declared,
at the same time, between England and Denmark. In the mean time, our
ally, the King of Portugal, was so alarmed at the hostile movements of
Napoleon, that he embarked with all his Court on board a fleet, which
was joined by an English squadron, under Sir Sidney Smith, and sailed
for the Brazils, immediately afterwards. The day after this, the French
army, commanded by General Junot, entered Lisbon. At the same time
Jerome Buonaparte was proclaimed King of Westphalia, and Napoleon was
formally acknowledged King of Naples.

Napoleon having now actually subdued and made peace with all his enemies
upon the Continent, he had nothing to do but to turn his attention to
the suppression of English trade; which he did by issuing decrees,
declaring England in a state of blockade; which were answered by England
issuing Orders in Council, for blockading all the ports of France and
her allies. This was the state of England at the end of the year
1807. The average price of the quartern loaf had been ten-pence
three-farthings through the year.

The year 1808 began with Napoleon making an offer to treat for peace
with England. This offer was, as usual, rejected; upon which he, and
the Emperor Alexander, strove with all their united might to embarrass
England in all her continental connections. The secret articles
signed between these two Emperors, at Tilsit, plainly indicated their
intentions to aggrandise themselves at the expense of England and her
allies; Russia in the north, and France in the south. The throne of
Naples was now transferred to Murat, the brother-in-law of Napoleon. The
Papal dominions were completely subjected to France, and the Pope was
placed in confinement.

The state of Spain at that time is worthy of notice. The Spaniards were
in a deplorable situation. They were governed by, or rather had at the
head of the government, an imbecile monarch, Charles the Fourth, a
profligate Queen, notoriously intriguing with and led by Godoy, Prince
of the Peace, prime minister; while, on the other hand, Ferdinand, the
heir to the Crown, who was plotting and intriguing against his father,
was weak in understanding, destitute of every noble quality, and totally
incapable of governing a people who were emerging from the gloom of
superstition, and becoming enlightened with the age. Ferdinand having
joined in a conspiracy, headed an insurrection against his father, whom
he compelled to abdicate the throne in his favour. This disgraceful
conduct on the part of a son to his parent, speedily met with its due
reward; for he was compelled to surrender up his pretension to the
throne, and resigned the crown into the hands of his father, who once
more resumed the reins of government, while the beloved Ferdinand
retired, loaded with ignominy.

Charles the Fourth, however, very soon again abdicated his throne, not
to his son Ferdinand, but in favour of his friend and ally, the Emperor
of France; and the beloved Ferdinand and his brothers issued a solemn
proclamation, renouncing all right and claim to the Spanish throne. But
the Spaniards were not disposed to be transferred thus, like cattle,
without being consulted on the subject. A formidable insurrection broke
out, at Madrid, on the second of May. The inhabitants fought with a
bravery and perseverance which did them infinite honour; but, after a
desperate and sanguinary struggle, they were overpowered by the numerous
French army which was under the command of the governor, General Murat.
Nothing daunted by this failure at Madrid, the people of the Asturias,
Andalusia, and other provinces of Spain, hurried to arms, and resolved
to expel the invaders, or perish in the attempt. Juntas were formed, to
direct the popular efforts, eloquent and animating proclamations were
issued, and every thing that the time and circumstances would permit,
was done to prepare for the approaching tremendous contest.

The British Government had appeared to be panic struck by the
intelligence that Napoleon had seized on Spain. It, however, in some
measure, recovered its spirits, on the arrival of two Spanish noblemen,
with the news that the people of Spain were determined to resist to the
last; and it instantly promised the most effectual assistance to those
welcome allies. All the Spanish prisoners of war were released and sent
back to Spain in English ships, and a treaty of peace and alliance was
made with the Spanish patriots. The merchants of London gave the Spanish
deputies a grand dinner at the London Tavern, and every lover of Liberty
wished the cause of the Patriots complete success.

In England, meanwhile, considerable dissatisfaction prevailed. The Lord
Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of the city of London, petitioned both
Houses of Parliament for reform, and the abolition of sinecure places
and pensions. The foreman of the grand jury of the county of Middlesex,
in conjunction with Sir Richard Phillips, the Sheriff, petitioned the
House of Commons, against the conduct of the officers of the house of
correction in Cold Bath Fields, and the treatment of the prisoners
confined therein. In compliance with the petition of the citizens of
London, a bill passed the House of Commons to prevent the granting of
places in reversion; but it was opposed and thrown out by the Lords.
Petitions for the restoration of peace were likewise presented from
numerous towns in the manufacturing districts of the north, which were
laid upon the tables of the Houses; but no further notice was taken of
them.

The disaffection which distress and misgovernment had already excited in
those districts was naturally increased by this contemptuous neglect
of their petitions. At Manchester there were some serious riots. At
Rochdale there had been some disturbances, and some of the rioters were
seized and thrown into prison; but the people rose in great force,
burned down the prison, and released their associates. These misguided
men had not then been taught to look for redress by obtaining a reform
in the representation. Those who had urged the people on to commit
depredations upon the friends of Liberty, during the early part of the
French revolution, the aiders and abettors of Church and King mobs,
now began to taste the bitter fruits of their dastardly and cowardly
conduct. The time was not yet come, though it was rapidly advancing,
when the people were to see their error, and to recover from the
dreadful state of political ignorance and delusion in which they had
been intentionally kept by the authorities; and the consequence was,
that those who had kept them in such ignorance, and trained them to
violence, found their own weapons turned against them, and reaped the
reward of their own folly and baseness. The weavers at Manchester and
the neighbourhood created great disturbances, on account of their wages;
they endeavoured to accomplish that by force, which could only be
legally obtained by an alteration of those laws, and that system, which
had brought them into the dilemma. During the period of Church and King
mobs, they had been taught to carry into effect the wishes of their
employers by force, and they at length thought it time to set up for
themselves in that trade which they had been taught by their masters and
employers. Having had no one to instruct them in political economy; or
advise them how to obtain, by legal means, their political rights, was
it wonderful that they should resort to acts of riot to obtain their
domestic rights--a rise in the price of their wages, in proportion to
the rise in the price of provisions, and all the necessaries of life,
which had been caused by the excessive increase in taxation?

Let it be observed here, that the maxim will always hold good, that
those who are careless of their political rights will always be sure
to suffer and be imposed upon in their domestic rights. Those who have
robbed the people of their political liberty, will not fail to rob them
of that proportion of their earnings, to enjoy which, can alone make
life worth preserving. The people who do not endeavour to possess and
enforce the power of appointing those who are to make the laws, by which
they are to be governed, have but little right to complain, if laws are
made to enrich the few at the expense of the many. They must not be
surprised at combination acts, corn laws, and banishment acts. They must
not be surprised, if a _select few_ have the privilege of choosing
those who are to make laws; and if the laws that are made by persons so
appointed tend to benefit those select few to the injury of the whole
community. The mechanics and artizans, if they have no voice in electing
Members of Parliament, must not be surprised if, under the title of
combination laws, they see laws made to prevent them from obtaining the
fair market price for their labour, while their masters are permitted,
nay, encouraged, to combine and conspire together to keep down the price
of their wages. Again let me impress on the mind of the reader, that a
people who are careless and negligent of their political rights, are
always sure of being plundered of a great portion of what they earn by
the sweat of their brows; they imperceptibly become slaves of the
basest cast; and, like slaves, when they become infuriated with their
oppressions, they commit the most wanton and brutal acts of cruelty, in
their fits of desperation.

Britain had, as I have already stated, made peace with the Spanish
Patriots, whose devotion to the cause of their country excited the most
lively interest in the bosom of every friend of freedom throughout the
civilised world; and the people of England, as well as the English
Government, felt a sincere desire to render them every assistance in
their power. I am induced to notice the affairs of Spain particularly,
because it is delightful to behold a bigotted and enslaved people
struggling to free themselves from the galling yoke of religious as well
as political slavery. In pursuance of the resolution of the Government
to give vigorous assistance, an army was sent by England, to attack the
French in Portugal. This army was placed under the command of Sir Hugh
Dalrymple. On the 21st of August 1808, the French troops under General
Junot were routed by the English, at the battle of _Vimiera_. So
complete was this victory that it was expected the French general must
have surrendered the remains of his army as prisoners of war; but, while
the people of England were looking with anxiety for this event, their
hopes were suddenly blasted, with the news of the _Convention of
Cintra_; by which Junot had prevailed upon the English Commander, Sir
Arthur Wellesley, who negociated the terms of the Convention, not only
to permit the French troops to retire from Portugal with all the honours
of war, but actually to engage to provide a passage for them in _English
ships_. This news caused a universal expression of disapprobation of the
conduct of the English Commander, and meetings were held to petition the
King, for an inquiry into this disgraceful transaction.

The disgrace of General Whitlocke, which had been inflicted upon him so
recently, by the following sentence, it was hoped would have so operated
upon British military officers as to have prevented the recurrence of
such infamous conduct. His sentence was delivered on the 18th of March,
in the following terms: "The Court adjudge that the said Lieutenant
General Whitlocke be cashiered, and declared totally unfit and unworthy
to serve his Majesty in any military capacity whatever." The principle
upon which the law inflicts punishments is an example to deter others
from committing the same offences. But it is a melancholy fact, that
even capital punishments will not deter the hardened thief. As it is
frequently the case that pickpockets are detected in the act of robbing
at the very moment that one of their own fraternity is being launched
into eternity, at the Old Bailey; so it appears that the punishment
of General Whitlocke had very little effect upon the conduct of these
heroes of Cintra.

The Lord Mayor and Common Council met and petitioned the King for an
immediate and rigid inquiry into the conduct of those who made what was
generally considered a disgraceful treaty; a compromise of the honour
and character of the country. The King returned an equivocal answer. A
public county meeting of the freeholders of Hampshire was also held, at
Winchester, called by the High Sheriff, in consequence of a requisition
signed by the aristocratical Whigs of that county, to address the King,
upon the same subject. Mr. Cobbett, who had bought an estate and lived
at Botley, attended this meeting, and in an address, replete with good
sense, sound argument, and correct principles, moved an amendment to the
resolutions proposed by Lord Northesk, and seconded by Mr. Portal, of
Frifolk, two of the old Whig faction. The address to the King, which Mr.
Cobbett moved, was seconded by the _Reverend Mr. Baker_, (quere, is this
the Parson Baker of Botley?) A Parson Poulter, one of the Winchester
"_cormorants_," moved an adjournment; arguing that the address was not
necessary, as the King had given an answer to the Corporation of London.
This amendment was scouted by an immense majority, not above ten hands
being held up in its support. Upon a show of hands upon Mr. Cobbett's
amendment to Lord Northesk's resolution, the Sheriff declared it to be
so equally balanced that he could not decide which had the majority,
and a shuffle was resorted to; Mr. Cobbett, being a young hand at these
meetings, was not aware of the tricks of the Whigs. The Sheriff proposed
that all parties should proceed into the open Hall _for a division_;
but, as soon as a considerable number of those who had voted for Mr.
Cobbett's amendment had retired into the open Hall, the cunning Sheriff
caused another division in the Court, and declared the question to be
carried by a majority in favour of Lord Northesk's address, which was
accordingly presented to the King. This appears to have been the first
effort of Mr. Cobbett at a public county meeting, and a very successful
effort it was, as far as it consisted in ascertaining the real opinion
of the freeholders of the county of Hants. At this meeting Mr. Cobbett
proved that he was not only a good writer, but that he was also a very
eloquent speaker; and a great majority of those who listened to him were
evidently in favour of his address, which was much more to the purpose
than that proposed by Lord Northesk. I had read the Weekly Political
Register from its commencement with great pleasure, but the account of
this meeting caused me to feel an increased desire to become better
acquainted with the author. No occasion, however, of that sort offered
for some time to come.

Previously to this period I had been living alternately at Bath and Sans
Souci Cottage, in Wiltshire. When I was at the latter place I enjoyed
incessantly the sports of the field. When at Bath, I frequently met and
encouraged the young freemen of Bristol, to take up their freedom by
means of weekly subscriptions, a considerable number having already
procured their copies as certificates, in this way. The authorities, as
they are called, or, in more intelligible terms, the leaders of both
factions in the Corporation, the Whigs and the Tories, had their eye
constantly upon me. I was regarded as a very suspicious personage, for
meddling at all in their affairs; but I kept quite clear of both sides,
and only mixed occasionally with the people; for I had promised the
young freemen that, whenever there was a dissolution of Parliament, or a
vacancy, I would offer myself as a Candidate for the representation of
their city, unless some more eligible person could be found, who would
honestly oppose the intrigues of both the juggling parties--the White
Lion and Talbot clubs, the former of which supported the ministerial,
and the latter the opposition faction.

Some time in the month of September the Emperors Napoleon and Alexander
met at Erfurth, where they jointly offered to treat for peace with
England; but these pacific overtures were, as usual, rejected by the
British ministers. The whole force of Great Britain appeared to be
directed to assist the Spaniards for the purpose of driving the French
troops out of Spain, to accomplish which object a British army, under
Generals Moore and Baird, was sent to that country, which now began to
be devastated by a war between the partizans of England and France.
On one side, that of the English, were ranged the pride of the old
grandees, the arts and prejudices of a cunning and intelligent
priesthood, and the intolerable stupid superstition of the most ignorant
and priest-ridden part of the people. On the other side, there was
a small party of the more liberal minded, who supported the French,
because they had abolished the Inquisition, and all the old monastic
humbug with which the country had been cursed for so many ages. Joseph
Buonaparte, who had been made King of Spain, but who had been obliged to
retreat from Madrid, was now restored by Napoleon, who entered Spain at
the head of the French army, defeated the Spaniards in many engagements,
and finally became once more master of the Spanish capital, where
he reinstated his brother Joseph as Sovereign, that monarch having
transferred to Murat, his brother-in-law, the throne of Naples. The
Parliament of England had voted an army of 200,000 men for the land
service, besides 30,000 for the marine; and _fifty-four millions_ were
voted out of John Bull's pocket for the supplies; and a subscription to
the amount of 50,000_1_. to assist the Spaniards, was raised in London,
in addition to the formidable regular force. The militia consisted of
upwards of 100,000 men.

In the midst of this mad career and profligate expenditure, trade
continued to decline, and the manufacturers were in the greatest
distress. To appease the enraged nation, a sham court of inquiry was
ordered by the King to assemble at Chelsea, under the pretence of an
investigation into the Convention of Cintra; but this was so barefaced a
job that it deceived nobody.

I have given a brief outline of the political state of the country, in
the year 1808, before I enter more immediately upon my own domestic
history, which, at this period, was become considerably mingled with
politics and public affairs. I had quitted the large farm which I
occupied at Chisenbury, and had built myself a sporting cottage upon my
own estate at Littlecot, in the parish of Enford, which I called _Sans
Souci Cottage_, from its situation resembling the description given of
_Sans Souci_, the retreat of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. Here,
as I have already hinted, I devoted the summer and autumn to the sports
of the field, particularly shooting, of which I was passionately fond,
and which this country afforded in the greatest perfection. Having a
house at Bath, which was occupied, I furnished it from the house which
I had quitted at Clifton, and at Bath I spent the winter months. The
liberal principles which I at all times evinced, were by this time too
notorious to escape the attention and hatred of the Tory gentlemen of
that part of the county of Wilts in which I resided. There had, in fact,
always been amongst them a conspiracy against me, ever since I had
quitted the Wiltshire regiment of yeomanry cavalry, and challenged Lord
Bruce, the Colonel. But my calling on the county members to explain
their parliamentary conduct; and my doing this publicly, when, on
the dissolution of Parliament, they offered themselves for the
representation, had greatly added to the antipathy which the Tories had
before evinced against me; and it was determined that I should be _put
down,_ by the lords of the soil, who surrounded my property at Enford.

My old friend Astley, of Everly, was at the head of this worthy band,
and he was the first to commence operations, by bringing an action of
trespass against me in the name of one of his tenants. This was, in
truth, his second trick of the kind; he having, soon after I quitted his
troop, brought a similar action against me, in the name of one of his
tenants, who keeps the Crown Inn at Everly, and who rented a farm of
him. I defended that action, and pleaded in justification a _licence_;
meaning, that I had leave of his tenant to sport over his land; but his
attorney, who was a _flat_, carried this suit into Court, under the
idea, that I justified upon the ground of having taken out a game
licence. The fact was, that this was a _quibbling plea_, suggested by my
attorney, and it succeeded; the bait took. When we came into Court they
easily proved the trespass; and when they had gravely done this, I
called two witnesses, who proved that the tenant had not only given me
leave to go over his land, but had even invited me to do so, as his
adjoining neighbour. Upon this the plaintiff, my worthy neighbour
Astley, was nonsuited. I believe that I employed Mr. Pell, the present
Mr. Sergeant Pell, and I believe, too, this was the first single brief
he ever had upon the western circuit.

To beat my rich and powerful neighbour Astley, in a court of justice,
although he had got a rare packed jury for the occasion, I considered as
a great victory. On the next occasion, however, his attorney took care
to be safe; for he brought the action in the name of one of the squire's
mere vassals, a farmer of the name of Simpkins, who at that time was
obliged to say or do any thing and every thing that he was ordered. I
suffered judgment to go by default, and a writ of inquiry was executed
at Warminster, to assess the damages. One witness was called, merely to
prove the trespass; and he swore that I had been six yards off my own
open down land, upon that of his master, Simpkins, which adjoined it.

When the writ of inquiry was executed, I attended at Warminster in
person, and this I did in consequence of having discovered, that there
was a conspiracy against me amongst the neighbouring aristocrats, who,
as I had ascertained, had made a _common stock purse_, in order to
defray whatever expenses might be incurred in carrying on actions or
prosecutions against me. I became acquainted with this fact in a very
curious way. This junto of conspirators against the quiet and fortune of
an individual had given a general retainer to Mr. Burrough, the
counsel, the present Judge Burrough, who had, _over the bottle_, to an
acquaintance of mine, who had been dining with him, slipped out this
curious secret, intimating that his clients were so rich that they were
sure to ruin me with expenses, even if I gained two out of three of
the causes against me. My acquaintance having communicated to me this
detestable plot, I made a solemn resolution to become my own advocate,
let whatever actions might be brought against me. And now, for the first
time in my life, I began to cross-examine a witness. That witness was
Simpkins's shepherd, the only witness called by Astley's attorney. Upon
his being asked by me, whether there was any boundary between Simpkins's
down and mine? he answered, _no;_ that there might be some old
_bound-balls_ at the distance of half a mile apart, bound-balls that
might have been thrown up many hundred years back. He admitted that, at
the time when the trespass to which he swore was committed by me, from
two to three hundred of his master's sheep were grazing over the mark
upon _my down;_ that this was frequently the case either way between
neighbours' sheep on the open downs in Wiltshire, and that it could not
be well avoided. Upon my asking him what damage I had committed upon his
master's land, the fellow grinned, and replied, "damage, Sir! why, none
at all, to be sure:" being still further examined, he said that I had
not done sixpenny worth of damage, that I had not done a farthing's
worth, nor the _thousandth part of a farthing's worth_ of damage, for it
was impossible to do any damage if I had walked there for a month.
This the fellow stuck to in his re-examination; and he being the only
witness, and that witness called by the plaintiff, it struck me that it
would be impossible for honest jurymen to give _any damage_, they being
bound upon their oaths to assess the damages agreeable to the evidence.
It was an intelligent jury, and in my address to them, I appealed to
their honour, as men of character, whether they could conscientiously
give a verdict of any damage, when the only witness called swore that
there was not a _thousandth part_ of a farthing damage done? I told
them, that I believed a verdict of _no damages_ would bring an
additional expense upon me, as the Courts might set it aside; yet I
would on no account wish them to violate their oaths to save me an
expense; and I called upon them to discharge their duty conscientiously
and manfully, let the expense fall on whom it would. The Under Sheriff,
before whom the inquest was held, did every thing that man could do
to prevail upon the jury to return a verdict of a _farthing damages_,
contending that they must return a verdict of some damage. The foreman
very sensibly remarked, "if you have called a witness who has sworn that
there was not the _smallest particle_ of damage done, how can we, upon
our oath, say there was some damage?" The jury retired for half an hour,
and returned a special verdict of "_no damages_."

This verdict I considered as another victory over the leader of the
stock purse subscription. A motion was, however, made in the Court of
King's Bench, for a rule to shew cause why this verdict should not be
set aside, and a new writ of inquiry held to assess the damages. This
rule was instantly granted by Lord Ellenborough. Upon my receiving
notice to shew cause, as it was a mere point of law to be argued, I
gave instructions to my attorney to employ my friend Henry Clifford,
to oppose the rule. The motion came on in the Court, and Mr. Clifford
argued that unless they had violated their oath, the jurors could not
possibly come to any other conclusion. As they were sworn to assess the
damages agreeable to the evidence, and as the only witness called had
sworn that there was not the _thousandth part of a farthing_ damage
done, how could a conscientious jury give any damage? It was merely
contended, on the other side, that I had admitted the trespass, by
suffering judgment to go by default; and therefore the jury were bound
to give some damage. In this wise and just doctrine Lord Ellenborough,
and his brethren upon the bench, fully and unequivocally concurred; and
his lordship was quite severe upon Mr. Clifford, and wondered how, as
a lawyer, he could have the face to argue to the contrary. The Court
consequently ruled, that a new writ of inquiry should be issued to
assess the damages; the plaintiff first paying the costs of the former
writ of inquiry, and this application to the Court.

I was now served with a notice, that the writ would be executed at
Devizes, at seven o'clock in the evening, on the third day of the
sessions, and that counsel would attend. I merely said to the attorney,
who served me with the notice, "well! if the Court of King's Bench has
so ruled it, so it must be." The sessions arrived; the third day came;
and, as I did not appear in the town, it was generally understood,
amongst the barristers and attorneys, that there would be no sport, as I
should make no attempt to obtain another verdict, in opposition to the
opinion of the Court of King's Bench.

The magistrates, counsel, and attornies had all taken their dinner and
were sitting very snugly enjoying their wine, when the Under-Sheriff,
with an attorney of the name of Tinney, of Salisbury, whom he had
employed to preside for him, retired to the Court, to hold the inquiry,
intimating at the same time to their guzzling companions, whom they left
enjoying their good cheer, that they should very soon rejoin them, as
they should dispatch the affair in about half an hour. They sent word
to Mr. Casberd, their counsel, that they would send for him as soon as
their jury were sworn; Mr. Tinney informing him that his attendance
would be required only for a few minutes, as it would be a matter of
form, merely to prove the fact, and direct the jury to give a shilling
nominal damages.

This was the Michaelmas sessions, 1807. I was residing at Bath at that
period, and having taken an early dinner I got into my carriage, at
half past four o'clock, with my son, then about seven years of age, and
desired the post boy to drive to Devizes. When he came to the turnpike,
at the entrance of the town, he inquired if he should drive to the Bear?
I told him to drive me to the Town Hall. When I reached that building, I
stepped out of the carriage, and, with my son in my hand, I walked into
the Court, to the great astonishment of as snug a little band as ever
assembled to perform such a little job, to assess damages upon a writ of
inquiry. The Sheriffs deputy's deputy, Mr. Tinney, had taken his seat
upon the bench; the jury were in the box, and the last man of the jury
was just about to kiss the book, when I begged the officer to repeat the
oath once more, deliberately, before the juryman was sworn. He did so,
as follows--"You shall well and truly try, &c. &c. and a true verdict
give _according to the evidence_." Mr. Casberd, the counsel, had arrived
in the interim, and was adjusting his wig. These, together with the
plaintiff's attorney, and about a score of the inhabitants who lived in
the immediate vicinity of the Hall, formed as pretty a select party for
such a job, as ever was assembled upon any occasion.

The execution of this new writ of inquiry had created a considerable
sensation in the town, and the rehearing of the famous cause, which had
produced a discussion in the Court above, had excited a considerable
interest amongst the gentry of the profession; but as it was understood
that I should not attend, and that it would go off, as a matter of
course, undefended, or at least unresisted by me, the interest that it
had at first excited had completely subsided, and if I had not come it
would have been, as Mr. Tinney had anticipated, over in ten minutes. But
the news of my arrival spread like wildfire, and the bench was instantly
crowded with magistrates, the green table with counsel and attorneys,
and the whole Court was crammed as full as it could hold.

Instead of the usual course being followed, by the counsel for the
plaintiff opening his case, the Jury and the Court were favoured with an
address from the chair, by Mr. Tinney, who acted as sheriff. In the most
unfair and unjustifiable manner he informed them, that the same writ
of inquiry had been executed once before, and that the defendant had
prevailed upon the jury to give a verdict which was not warranted by
law; that the Court of King's Bench had set that verdict aside, and Lord
Ellenborough had ruled, that, as the defendant had suffered judgment to
go by default, he had admitted the trespass, and therefore the jury were
bound to give some damage; and he cautioned them not to listen to any
thing I might say to the contrary, and told them that when they had
heard Mr. Casberd, they would give nominal damages.

I listened to this pretty prelude with great unconcern, and without
offering the least interruption to the speaker. Mr. Casberd now began to
address them, and very properly said, that the sheriff had _left him but
little to do,_ as he had explained to them the nature of the duty they
had to perform. He, however, went over the same ground, and strongly
urged them not to be warped from their duty, by any thing I might say.
At this period I strongly suspected I should have no defence to make,
that they had been advised not to call any witnesses, that they meant to
rely upon my having suffered judgment to pass by default, and, on that
ground, to call on the jury to give merely nominal damages. But my
suspicions were soon removed by the learned counsel saying, that he
should call one witness, merely to prove the fact of the trespass, and
that he should then claim a verdict of some damages from their hands,
as it had been ruled by the Court above, that the jury must give some
damages, the defendant having suffered judgment to go by default, and by
so doing admitted the trespass.

My old friend, the shepherd, was now called, and sworn; and having
deposed to the fact, that on such a day of the month, he saw me six
yards upon the down of his master, Mr. Simpkins, he was told that he
might withdraw. This he was hastily doing, when I hailed him, and
desired him to honour us with his company a few minutes longer, as I
wished just to ask him a question or two. The impartial judge, Mr.
Tinney, said he should protect the witness from answering any improper
questions. In reply to this very acute remark, I observed, that it would
be quite in good time to do that when any improper question was put.
After a great deal of squabbling with the worthy judge upon this
occasion, I got the worthy witness, although he had been well drilled,
to admit that he had sworn at Warminster, that there was not the
_thousandth part of a farthing damage_ done by me in walking six yards
over his master's down. This, he at length admitted to be the fact, and
that no damage whatever was done.

In a speech, which took up about an hour, I now addressed the jury, all
the individuals of which were perfect strangers to me; and I strongly
urged them to give a conscientious verdict, agreeable to the oath they
had taken, and to assess the damages _according to the evidence which
they had heard_. During this address, I was repeatedly interrupted by
Mr. Tinney, who presided; but when I concluded, after having made a
forcible appeal to their honour as men and as Englishmen, there was,
on my sitting down, an universal burst of applause, upon which, Mr.
Deputy's deputy ordered the officers to take all the offenders into
custody. This impotent threat caused an universal laugh, and the enraged
and mortified judge proceeded to sum up, as he called it, in a fruitless
and weak, though laboured attempt, to refute what I had said in my
address In fact, he acted as a zealous advocate for the plaintiff, or
rather as a stickler for the absurd rule of court, to make the jury give
a verdict of damages, notwithstanding the only witness produced, swore,
that there was not the thousandth part of a farthing damage done.

The jury turned round, and were about to consider their verdict, but Mr.
Deputy's deputy peremptorily ordered them to withdraw, to consider their
verdict. I expostulated against this; and while the discussion was going
on, the foreman of the jury said, they were unanimous in their verdict,
which was that of "NO DAMAGES." This enraged Mr. Deputy to such a
degree, that he exposed himself to the ridicule of the whole Court; he
insisted upon their withdrawing to reconsider their verdict, said that
he would not accept any such verdict, neither would he record it, and
he peremptorily ordered the officer to take them out, that they might
reconsider it. Several of the jury had got out of the door, and all of
them were removing but one old gentleman, who sat very firmly upon the
front seat, and never offered to rise. The officer with his white wand
tapped him several times upon the shoulder, and desired him to withdraw.
The old man, whose name was DAVID WADWORTH, a baker of the town of
Devizes, answered each tap with "I sha'nt." Mr. Deputy's deputy now
rose, and with an affected solemnity, ordered the old man to withdraw,
and reconsider his verdict. He replied, "I sha'nt reconsider my verdict!
I have given one verdict, and I sha'nt give any other!" _Deputy_.--"You
have given a verdict of NO DAMAGES, which is contrary to law, and which
I will not receive; therefore go and reconsider your verdict, for I
insist upon your giving some damage." The reader will easily conceive
that I did not hear this in silence; I exclaimed, "For shame! what a
mockery of justice!" Mr. Deputy threatened; I smiled a look of contempt
and defiance. Mr. Deputy turned round to the officer, and peremptorily
ordered him to turn the old man out; and he began to follow his
instructions, by taking him by the collar. The old gentleman, however,
was not to be trifled with, for he sent the officer with his elbow to
the other end of the jury-box, and exclaimed, "I won't go out; I won't
reconsider my verdict." _Deputy_.--"I _will_ have some damage, if it be
ever so small." Old man.--"I won't give any damage. Why, did not the
shepherd swear there wa'n't a mite of grass for a sheep to gnaw? Then
how could there be any damage? T'other'em may do what they like, but I
won't stir a peg, nor alter my verdict. I won't break my oath for you,
nor Squire Astley; nor all the Squires in the kingdom."

This speech caused a burst of laughter and universal approbation. Mr.
Deputy's deputy now ordered him into custody, and said he would commit
him. Against this I loudly protested, declaring it false and arbitrary
imprisonment. "False imprisonment" resounded through the Court, and
great confusion arose; the candles were put out by the audience, and
such indignation was levelled at the mock judge, this jack-in-office,
that Mr. Deputy and his companions took the prudent course of making a
precipitate retreat, proving to a demonstration that a light pair of
heels, upon such an emergency, is a very valuable appendage even to a
deputy's deputy. The cry was to chair me to the Inn; I with a stentorian
voice exclaimed "_NO!_" chair David Wadworth to his home; and taking
advantage of the general confusion, I and my son stepped into my
carriage, which I had ordered to be in waiting, and we arrived at my
own door, in Bath, just as the clock struck twelve. On the first day
of Term, the sixth day of November, Mr. Casberd, after stating a most
pitiful case to the Court of King's Bench, moved for a rule to shew
cause why this second verdict of "_no Damages_" should not be set aside,
and a new writ executed. This rule was instantly granted; but the
plaintiff was ordered to pay the costs of the inquiry held at Devizes,
and of the present motion, as a punishment, I suppose, for not having
managed matters better. As soon as I received the notice, I repaired
to London, to consult Mr. Clifford upon opposing the motion; and, as I
thought, with additional grounds of success. But, upon hearing the case,
my friend Clifford absolutely refused to shew cause against the rule;
declaring that it was useless, and that he would not a second time
encounter, upon the same subject, the sarcasms of Lord Ellenborough.
"Well then!" said I, "I will myself attend and shew cause against the
rule." I shall never forget poor Clifford! I shall never forget his look
of astonishment. He seemed to be absolutely struck speechless. After a
considerable pause, however, he exclaimed. What! will you go into the
Court of King's Bench, to argue a point of law with the four Judges,
against their own decision? "Yes," said I, "I will, even should there
be four hundred judges; and I will state that I have done so, in
consequence of your refusing to do it." "By G--d," said he, "if you do
so, they will commit you." I smiled, and told him I thought he knew
me better than to suppose that I should be deterred from doing what I
conceived to be my duty, by the dread of being committed, or of having
any other punishment inflicted upon me. "Well," said he, "you may do as
you please, but, by G--d, Lord Ellenborough will surely commit you." I
replied, that I supposed he would not eat me; and even if I thought he
would attempt it, I would go and see if he would not choke himself.
Clifford then asked if I had studied the law upon the subject; upon
which I begged him to turn to some act of parliament, to shew that a
jury were bound to give a verdict directly in the teeth of the evidence.
Clifford admitted that there was no law upon the point; but argued, in
the language of Lord Ellenborough, that it was a rule of court, and that
the Judges would not listen to me for a moment.

The day arrived, I attended the Court; at length it carne to Mr.
Casberd's turn, to say, (in answer to the inquiry of the Chief Justice,
whether he had any motion to make,) "My Lord, I move for the rule to be
made absolute, which I obtained the other day, in the case of Simpkins
and Hunt; and I call upon the defendant's counsel, my learned friend,
Mr. Clifford, to shew cause why the second verdict, 'No Damages," should
not be set aside, and why a fresh writ of inquiry should not be executed
before a judge at the assizes for the county of Wilts.

Mr. Clifford now got up, and said, that he had no instructions; but
that the defendant himself was in Court, and, as he understood, meant
personally to offer something for their Lordships' consideration. When
he had concluded, I rose immediately; my Lord Ellenborough, and his
brothers upon the bench, darted their eyes at me, as if they meant at
once to abash and deter me from saying any thing. I, however, was not to
be put down in this manner; and I began, in my homely strain, to address
them. But, before five words were out of my mouth, Lord Ellenborough
interrupted me, and in one of his stern tones, demanded, if I came there
to argue a point of law, upon which they had already decided? I answered
firmly, "I am summoned here to shew cause why a second verdict, given
in my favour, in the cause of Simpkins against Hunt, should not be set
aside, and why a third writ of inquiry, in the same cause, should not be
executed; and if your Lordships choose to hear me I will do so to the
best of my ability." "Well, go on," was the answer, in a very rough
uncouth voice, and with a frown, and a roll upon the bench, which set
all the learned friends in a titter.

I was proceeding to say something, and, I suppose, in rather an awkward
and confused manner, when with a sneer on his face, the bear of a judge
bellowed out, "Mr. Casberd told us, that the jury at Devizes were
influenced by your _persuasive eloquence_! I see nothing of it here!"
This insult roused me; I began now to speak as loud as his lordship,
and demanded to be heard without interruption. The amiable judge next
inquired, whether I had any affidavits in answer to those filed against
me on the part of the plaintiff? I answered "Yes, I had many; but I
wished to proceed in my own way." But this was refused to me. The judge
demanded to see the affidavits, and I consequently produced one made by
myself, as well as one from nearly every one of the jurors who had sat
upon the two former writs of inquiry. These affidavits, one and all,
declared, that the jurymen had given a verdict agreeable to the
oath which they had taken, and to the only evidence produced by the
plaintiff; and they added, that they could not conscientiously give any
other verdict. The jurors who sat upon both the inquests hearing of the
rule that was obtained to set aside the second verdict, had voluntarily
sent me up these affidavits in the most handsome manner. I had, however,
no sooner read one of them half through, than Lord Ellenborough, who had
been whispering with one of his worthy brothers, endeavoured to stop
me, notwithstanding which I proceeded, till he jumped up in a violent
passion, and in a stentorian voice declared, that I should not read
those affidavits; that they were not admissible, and he would not hear
them. I began coolly to argue the point with him, and contended that
they were not only applicable but material to the justice of the case;
and without the Court would hear them it would be deciding in the dark.
The affidavits were, I said, couched in respectful and even humble
language, and I maintained that the Court was bound in justice to listen
to them. I had by this time overcome the awkward feeling which I first
experienced at being placed in such a situation as that of the floor of
the King's Bench, which is, as it were, between a cross fire of gowns
and wigs; and I said this in a firm and deliberate manner.

Stung by my coolness and perseverance, Ellenborough jumped up once more,
and, with the most furious language and gestures, began to browbeat me,
actually foaming with rage, some of his spittle literally falling on
Masters Lushington and another, who sat under him. I own that I could
scarcely forbear laughing in his face, to see a Judge, a Chief Justice,
in such a ridiculous passion. In a broad north country accent, he
exclaimed, "Sir, are you come here to teach us our duty?" He was about
to proceed, when I stopped him short, and in a tone of voice, a note or
two higher than his own, I replied, "No, my Lord, I am not come here
with any such purpose or hope; but, as an Englishman, I come here, into
the King's Court, to claim justice of his Judges; and I _demand_ a
hearing; therefore, sit down, my Lord, and shew me that you understand
your duty, by giving me your patient attention." I said this in such a
determined way, that he instantly sat down, and folding his arms, he
threw himself back in his seat, where, for a considerable time, he sat
sulkily listening to what I had to say; in fact, till I had almost
finished.

I now went on to argue that there was no law to compel a jury to give a
verdict contrary to evidence, and I dared them to find twelve honest men
in the county of Wilts who would do so. "Nay," said I, "if there be but
one honest man upon the jury, I will pledge my life that that jury will
give a similar verdict--your lordships may decide what the verdict shall
be, and what damages I ought to pay; but you will never get a jury, if
there be but only one honest man upon it, who will give any damages. If
you have hampered yourselves by a ridiculous rule of your own Court, the
sooner you do away with such a rule the better for the character of the
Court. I will abide by any decision that you will please to give;
but, for God's sake, never grant a rule, never make a rule absolute,
expressly for the purpose of trying the experiment, whether you cannot
compel twelve honest men to perjure themselves, merely to comply with an
absurd rule of Court."

The Chief Justice had been biting his lips during the whole of my
address; but this was too much, it was the truth in plain language; and
accordingly he rose up once more, and having recovered himself, he, in
rather a more dignified tone, called upon me to forbear, and not insult
the Court, or he should be obliged to stop me, which he was unwilling to
do, he being anxious to promote the ends of justice, and hear what I had
to say. Thus, after having, for nearly an hour, done every thing in his
power to browbeat me, to put me down, and to prevent my being heard at
all, _now,_ forsooth, _now_ that he found I was not to be intimidated,
he was anxious to promote the cause of justice, and to hear what I had
to say! After going over the tender ground again and again, I declared,
in conclusion, that if they did make the rule absolute and send it
before a judge and another jury, that I should feel it incumbent on me
to attend, and exhort that jury to do their duty, and not to perjure
themselves. They might, I told them, send it down to the assizes, but,
as they could not have a _special jury_, I would pledge my life that
they could not pick out twelve common jurymen in the whole county, who
would give a verdict which would in effect say that the twenty-four of
their countrymen, who composed the two former juries, had been guilty
of perjury. I implored the judges to settle the verdict themselves,
in which case I would abide by it; but not to try the experiment upon
another jury, who would be sure to give a similar verdict of "No
Damages."

Lord Ellenborough made a long palavering speech, urging the necessity of
not departing from their former practice, and he expressed his opinion
that the rule ought to be made absolute, in which, as a matter of
course, his three brethren upon the bench agreed. The rule was therefore
made absolute, and a new writ of inquiry ordered to be executed, before
the judge of assize for the county of Wilts; the plaintiff first paying
the expense of the former writ of inquiry, and of this application to
the Court.

My argument and the decision were published in all the newspapers, and
created a considerable sensation throughout the country, amongst the
practitioners of the law; and although there were a variety of opinions
held as to the legality of the verdict, it was the universal opinion in
the county of Wilts, that if I attended, and took the same ground as I
did upon the two former occasions, any other jury would give the same
verdict. As I did not disguise my intention of attending for that
purpose, a question arose amongst the attorneys, the friends of the
plaintiff, whether it was not possible to prevent my being present when
the writ was executed; but, as I was determined, this was considered
to be impracticable; and I own, whenever I heard such a proposition
discussed, I treated it with contempt, being convinced that such a plan
could never be executed. I knew, indeed, that all sorts of schemes were
openly canvassed at the time, but I paid no attention to them, little
dreaming of any plot being formed for carrying them into effect. It
will, however, be seen hereafter, that I was much too confident, and
that I was ultimately defeated, by means of a most infamous conspiracy.
Relying upon my own straight-forward and upright conduct, I was
totally neglectful of the machinations against me of the _stock purse_
conspirators, who, I have since learned, never let an opportunity slip
to draw me into a scrape; and, as they spared no pains or expense, and
as they employed a host of emissaries, it was not at all surprising if
they succeeded in some of their attempts, as I was a sanguine sportsman,
and devoted to the pleasures of the chace, and was likewise an excellent
shot; and it was in my zeal in following these field sports that they
placed their greatest reliance of catching me upon the hop, they being
ever on the watch to take the meanest advantage of the slightest
trespass or other occurrence, upon which they could find an action,
regardless whether it was tenable or not.

I was riding out one morning, shooting with a friend, and as we were
passing along a lane, a public high road, I suddenly felt a smart blow
on the side, and at the same moment some one seized me by the flap of
my shooting jacket, and nearly pulled me off my horse. When I recovered
myself, and turned round, my friend, the late Mr. John Oakes, of Bath,
who had seen the attack made upon me, was demanding of a ruffian the
reason for such outrageous conduct. This ruffian was a fellow of the
name of Stone, a game-keeper to Mr. John Benett, of Pyt-House, of
Corn-Bill notoriety, one of the present members for the county of Wilts.
Stone stood grinning defiance, with a double-barrelled gun, cocked, in
his hand. Indignant at the atrocity of the assault which, without the
slightest provocation, had been committed upon me, I sprung from my
horse, and laid down my own gun on the bank, and walking deliberately
up to the scoundrel, I first seized his gun with one hand, and with the
other I struck him three or four blows; upon which he let go the gun
and fell. This fellow was a notorious fighter, and, as he has since
confessed, was hired to commit this assault upon me, with the
expectation that I should resent it, which would afford him an
opportunity to give me a severe drubbing. His goodly scheme was,
however, frustrated; for my first blow, after I came in contact with
him, was planted so effectually, and followed up so rapidly, that the
hireling bruiser was defeated, before he could make any successful
attempt to retaliate.

Having discharged his gun, I returned it to him, and the gentleman
walked off, or rather sneaked away, not only having himself received a
sound hiding, such as he had intended and undertaken to give to me, but
apparently perfectly ashamed and sensible of his folly. It appears,
however, that after he had gone home, about a quarter of a mile, and
washed himself and taken his dinner, he, on the same afternoon, walked
to Pyt-House, a distance of thirty miles, to inform his master of the
awkward and unexpected result of the experiment which he had been
making. After due deliberation, he was advised to return, and to prefer
at the sessions a bill of indictment against me for the assault. If he
could procure any witness to confirm his story, so much the better; but,
as no other person was present but myself and my friend, this was no
easy matter to be accomplished. The bill was, however, found at the
quarter sessions, and the indictment was removed by _certiorari_ into
the Court of King's Bench, to be tried at the assizes.

This was considered as a great point gained by my enemies; and the
members of the stockpurse association were greatly rejoiced, that they
had got me into what was considered by some of them as being a serious
scrape. Others openly expressed themselves in this way, "That they would
much rather have paid their money to Stone, if he had given me a good
thrashing, than to have me punished by legal proceedings." And one of
them, a parson prig, had the insolence and the folly to tell me,
that they would get a _better man_ for me next time, for that they
were determined to bring down one of the _prize-fighters_ to give me a
drubbing. This fellow was then, and still is, an insufferable cockscomb,
and I remember very well my answer to him. I told him, that I knew all
the prize-fighters of any note, and they knew me; and that, with the
exception of GULLEY and CRIBB, who I was certain would not undertake
any such office, I was sure that if any one of them made the attempt, I
should serve him in the same way that I had served Stone.

Another of the stock-purse gang, MICHAEL HICKS BEACH, of Netheravon,
one of the M. P.'s for Cirencester, had brought an action of trespass
against me, which was also to be tried at the same assizes; so that,
with this, and the writ of inquiry in the case of Simpkins and Hunt,
which was for the third time to be executed before one of the judges, my
hands were pretty full of law business. This circumstance, however, did
not deter me from doing my duty to the public, when occasion offered. I
was very well aware that I had drawn down the indignation and the hatred
of the aristocratical upholders of a corrupt system of government, by
the open and avowed hostility that I had always expressed, in public
and in private, against the supporters and abettors of the system; and
I will now proceed to shew the reader, which, perhaps, I ought to have
done before, the main cause of this inveterate hostility against me, and
of the stock-purse conspiracy being formed, for the declared purpose of
putting me down, and, if possible, driving me out of the county.

It will be recollected that I stood forward publicly at the county
meeting, that was held relative to Lord Melville's peculations, and that
I had afterwards called the county members to account for their conduct,
in not opposing the two shillings a bushel additional duty that was
imposed upon malt. These were mighty offences, not easily to be
forgiven; but the grand offence, that which was so unpardonable, that
it was never to be expiated, was, that I had caused a requisition to be
signed, and procured a county meeting, in order to censure the Duke of
York, and to send up a vote of thanks to Colonel Wardle, for his having
detected and exposed the infamous transactions practised by the famous
Mrs. Mary Anne Clarke, and the Commander in Chief, with regard to
promotions and exchanges in the army.

The Parliament of Great Britain assembled on the 19th January this year,
1809. The King's speech, which was delivered by commission, announced
the offer of peace made by the Emperors of France and Russia, and the
reason for rejecting it, which was, that his Majesty had entered into
a treaty of friendship with the Spanish government. In this speech he
relies on his faithful Commons to grant him the supplies for pursuing
the war with vigour, congratulates them upon the complete success of the
plan for establishing a local militia, and urges them to take steps for
maintaining the war in Spain, by increasing the regular army as much as
possible, without weakening the means of defence at home. The ministers
carried every measure with a high hand, and the _faithful Commons_,
by very large majorities, granted the supplies for 120,000 seamen
and 400,000 soldiers. Thus the ministers, aided by the faithful
representatives of the people, were plucking John Gull, and emptying
his pockets, by almost turning them inside outwards, while they were
tickling John's brains with promises of glory, and a number of other
fine things.

Charges were now made, and supported by authentic reports, as to the
misconduct and peculation of the commissioners of Dutch property. These
charges were brought forward by the regular marshalled opposition, the
Whigs, as well as various other charges, as to the abuses existing in
the military and naval departments; but, as these were mere regular
opposition sham fights, the ministers put them down, by a negative to
all their motions, and they even caused a bill to pass, to allow the
army to recruit from the militia.

While, however, they were going on in this way _ding dong_, a real
opponent to their measures started up in the House, a man who was not
one of the regular gang of the Whig opposition. On the 27th January,
Colonel WARDLE, in pursuance of a notice which he had given, rose up in
the House, and, after having in a clear and straight-forward speech,
detailed a series of the most nefarious and disgraceful practices,
between the Duke of York, the Commander in Chief, and his mistress, Mrs.
Mary Anne Clarke, as to the disposal of patronage in the army, by Mrs.
Clarke, for large pecuniary douceurs, which she received while living
with his Royal Highness, &c. &c. he concluded by moving for the
appointment of a Committee, to inquire into the conduct of the Commander
in Chief, with regard to promotions and exchanges in the army, and other
points. Sir Francis Burdett seconded the motion. The Ministers, as well
as the regular old stagers of the opposition, appeared to be in the
greatest consternation; yet they all professed to be rejoiced that his
Royal Highness would now have an opportunity of clearing away these
insinuations, which had been so basely levelled at him, for some time
past, by the jacobinical part of the public press; which attacks Mr.
York, Mr. Canning, and Lord Castlereagh asserted to be the effect of a
_conspiracy_ against the Royal Family.

The Ministers argued strenuously for the appointment of a parliamentary
commission, in which they were joined by the artful and cunning
suggestions and canting palaver of Mr. Wilberforce. The cry of a
jacobinical conspiracy was loudly raised, and Colonel Wardle was
reviled, taunted, and menacingly reminded of the great responsibility
which he incurred, by making such charges against the illustrious
Commander in Chief. The cunning, hypocritical Whigs all joined in this
cry, and disclaimed any connection with the brave and manly Colonel
Wardle. Mr. Sheridan went so far as to declare in the House, that, as
soon as Colonel Wardle had given notice of this motion, he had sent
to him, and urged him not to persevere in so dangerous a course!--The
famous Mr. Charles Yorke, after threatening the honourable mover
with the _heavy responsibility_ that he had brought upon himself,
congratulated the House that they had at last got some charges made
against his Royal Highness, the Commander in Chief, in a _tangible
form_; and he hoped the House would do its duty to itself, the country,
and the Royal House of Brunswick. Mr. Yorke declared that he believed
there existed a _conspiracy_, of the most atrocious and diabolical kind
against his Royal Highness, (loud cries of _hear! hear! hear!_) founded
on the _jacobinical_ spirit which appeared at the commencement of the
French revolution. Mr. Canning, in a flaming speech, declared, that
_infamy_ must attach either upon the _accuser_ or the _accused_. The
whole of the ministerial side of the House attacked the brave Colonel,
and most of the sly Whigs joined in the clamour. Little Perceval, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Sir Vicary Gibbs, the Attorney General,
flew at the honourable member like two terriers at a badger; but Colonel
Wardle never shifted his ground. Nothing daunted in a good and honest
cause, he relied upon his own courage and integrity, and coolly set all
their threats at defiance. Sir Francis Burdett certainly seconded his
motion, but he said but little, very, very little, upon the occasion.
The only one who, in the first instance, appeared at all to stand
honestly and boldly by the honourable member, was Lord Folkestone. In
answer to Mr. Perceval's threats and insinuations, the Colonel very
deliberately made fresh charges, instead of retracting any of those that
he had preferred; in addition to these charges against the Duke, he
stated, that there was a regular office in the city, held under the
firm of Pollman and Heylock, in Threadneedle-street, for effecting
transactions of a similar nature, and these were effected by Mrs. Carey,
the present favourite mistress of the Duke of York; and that two of
the members of the cabinet, the Lord Chancellor Eldon, and the Duke of
Portland, were implicated in such negociations.

This motion created in the public mind such a sensation as an earthquake
would have created; and the country rung with it from one end of the
land to the other, from north to south, and from east to west. This is
an ample demonstration, as we shall by and by see, of what can be done
by _one_ member in that House, however corrupt it may be, provided
that the member possess _courage, industry,_ and _perseverance._ The
Honourable House was now fairly fixed, and it was compelled to come to a
vote, that the whole inquiry should be had in public, and the witnesses
should be examined at the bar, before the whole House. Bravo, Honourable
House! Bravo, Colonel Wardle! Mrs. Clarke was called to give her
testimony at the bar of the Honourable House, and her evidence, which
exhibited such a scene as was never before brought before the public,
was inserted in every newspaper in the two islands; it was published and
read in every village, in every pot-house, and, in fact, in every house
in the united kingdom, from the palace to the shepherd's hut. And yet
Sir Francis Burdett is constantly asking, "what can _one man_ do in the
Honourable House." I ask, "What is there that one honest, courageous,
and persevering man could not do in the House of Commons?" Colonel
Wardle, it is true, had at the outset the support of but very few
members of the Honourable House, perhaps, honestly and fairly, of not
one, except Lord Folkestone; for, very soon after this inquiry began,
Sir Francis Burdett was laid up with the _gout_. Whether it was a
_political gout_ or not, the honourable Baronet is alone able to say;
nor is it here worth my while to inquire. Colonel Wardle, however, found
that he could do without even his support, upon which he certainly
calculated when he commenced the inquiry. But if Sir Francis Burdett
had the gout, the whole nation had not; Colonel Wardle found himself
supported and backed by the whole nation, and this support carried him
through with his task, as it always will any man and every man who takes
the same honest, upright, straight-forward cause that he did.

It came out in evidence that this said Mrs. Mary Anne Clarke lived in
the most luxurious and extravagant manner, during the time that she was
what is called "kept" by the Duke; she said that she had never received
more than a thousand a year from his Royal Highness, which was barely
sufficient to pay servants' wages and liveries, but that the Duke told
her,--"if she _was clever_, she need never want money." Twenty thousand
a year was not more than enough to defray all the expenses of this
extravagant lady, and of the Gloucester-place establishment where she
lived.

The whole of this sum must have been obtained in the way described by
the evidence produced; that is to say, must have been got by her from
persons who procured promotion in the army, through her influence over
the Commander in Chief. As an instance of her extravagance, it was
proved, that her wine glasses, out of which she and the Duke drank, cost
a guinea a piece!

After all, as might have been expected, a majority of the House of
Commons acquitted the Duke of York, upon the following motion of Colonel
Wardle, for an address to the King, which address expressed the opinion
of the House, "_That the Duke of York knew of the abuses, which had been
proved to have existed, and that he ought to be deprived of the command
of the army_." A hundred and twenty-five members voted for this motion,
and three hundred and sixty-three against it; Colonel Wardle and Lord
Folkestone were the tellers. Sir Francis Burdett, being ill in the gout,
was not present, and therefore did not vote at all. Upon Mr. Bankes's
motion, which stated _that the Duke of York must at least have had a
suspicion of the existence of the corrupt practices, and a doubt whether
the chief command of the army could with propriety, or ought with
prudence to remain in his hands_; upon this motion there were a hundred
and ninety-nine for, and two hundred and ninety-four against it. On
the 17th March, Mr. Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, brought
forward a motion, "_That it was the opinion of the House, that there was
no ground to charge his Royal Highness with personal corruption, or with
any connivance at the corrupt and infamous practices disclosed in the
evidence_." For this, the minister's motion, there were two hundred and
seventy-eight ayes, and a hundred and ninety-six noes; giving to the
King's servants a majority of eighty-two, out of nearly five hundred
members who were present.

With this decision the country was not at all satisfied, and public
meetings were called all over the kingdom, for the purpose of voting
thanks to Colonel Wardle, and expressing their opinion upon the
foregoing proceedings of the honourable and faithful representatives
of the people. Such was the unequivocal and unanimous manifestation of
public feeling upon this extraordinary decision of the Honourable House,
and such was its effect, that, on the 20th of March, the said Mr.
Perceval informed the House,--_"That the Duke of York had that morning
waited on his Majesty, and resigned the office of Commander in Chief."_

Thus did the united voice of the nation produce the dismissal, or,
in other words, cause the resignation of the Duke of York from the
situation of Commander in Chief, in spite of a corrupt ministerial
majority in the House of Commons. The Ministers advised this measure, in
the hope of silencing the public clamour against their barefaced corrupt
proceedings in the House; but this rather confirmed the public in the
opinion as to the necessity of the people's meeting to express their
opinions. I sincerely believe that Mr. Cobbett, by his able and luminous
weekly publication, the Political Register, which was now very generally
read, did more than all the public writers in the kingdom to keep this
feeling alive, and to draw the attention of the public to just and
proper conclusions, as to the evidence, as well as to the views
and objects of those who cut a prominent figure in conducting the
proceedings in the House; and he most successfully and most triumphantly
defended Colonel Wardle, Lord Folkestone, and Sir Francis Burdett, from
all the malignant attacks that were made upon them by the venal and
hireling press of the metropolis; his ability, industry, and zeal in
this affair, were above all praise; and, next to Colonel Wardle, he
merited the thanks of his countrymen. By these irresistible productions
of his pen, however, he drew down upon himself the implacable hatred and
mortal enmity of the Ministers and the Government; and I have no doubt
that Sir Vicary Gibbs, the Attorney-General, received instructions to
keep a most vigilant look-out after him, as the Ministers had marked him
for the victim of their vengeance.

It is worthy of notice that Lord Stanley and Samuel Horrocks, Esq., the
members for Preston, voted for the motion of Colonel Wardle, and they
were the only members from the county of Lancaster who voted on that
side of the question. There were only two or three lawyers who voted
in the minority, namely, Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. C. W. Wynne, and Mr.
Horner; one military officer, General Fergusson; and one naval officer,
Admiral Markham.

I have been thus particular in describing this transaction, because
many of my young readers must have but a very faint recollection of the
circumstance; a circumstance that created full as powerful a sensation
in the country, at that day, in 1809, as did the persecutions of Queen
Caroline, in 1820. Every friend of justice, every lover of freedom, and
every man and woman of spirit in the country, wished to render a tribute
of praise to Colonel Wardle, for his manly and patriotic exertions in
the House. It was not to be expected that the House of Commons, which
was composed of such faithful representatives of the people, who voted,
by a considerable majority, against Colonel Wardle's motion, would agree
to a vote of thanks to him, although it was talked of by some of the
honourable members. Mr. Canning, as the organ of the ministers, put a
negative upon such a measure, by saying that, if it were proposed, he
should feel it his duty to resist it; in which opposition Mr. Whitbread,
the organ of the Whigs, concurred. But the people were actuated by a
more honest and more generous feeling, and the brave men of GLASGOW and
its vicinity set the noble example. The authorities there refused to
comply with an application to call a public meeting; the friends of
liberty then proposed an address to be signed; but the venal editors
of the newspapers refused to advertise it. This, nevertheless, did
not deter those who wished to promote so praiseworthy a measure; they
printed hand-bills, and posted them, announcing "a just tribute to
Colonel Wardle," and calling upon the inhabitants to come forward and
sign an address to the honourable member, as follows:

"That Colonel Wardle, by first stepping forward, and by his conduct
throughout the whole of the investigation now pending in the honourable
the House of Commons, relative to his Royal Highness the Duke of York,
has proved himself to the world, to be one of the most magnanimous,
patriotic, firm, and candid men in his Majesty's dominions."

These placards were posted on the 14th of March, and at the end of four
days the address was forwarded to Colonel Wardle, with four thousand
signatures. The city of Canterbury followed the example by a public
meeting, at which they passed a vote of thanks, and presented him with
the freedom of their city. London, Westminster, and ten or fifteen other
cities did the same; Middlesex and ten other counties also met, and
unanimously passed the highest tributes of praise to Col. Wardle. A
requisition was signed and sent to the sheriff of the county of Hants,
at the head of which was the name of Mr. Cobbett, who addressed a letter
to the independent people of that county, calling upon them to attend
the meeting, and emulate the example set them by the people of Middlesex
and other counties.

The meeting was held at Winchester, by the appointment of the High
Sheriff, on the 25th of April; John Blackburn, Esq. sheriff, in the
chair. Before the meeting commenced, Mr. Cobbett made an unsuccessful
effort to unite with the Whigs, that their proceedings might be carried
unanimously. But Lord Northesk and Mr. Poulett would not agree to
support his resolutions. The publicity which, in Mr. Cobbett's Register,
as well as in the London and country papers, was given to the holding of
this meeting at Winchester, excited a considerable sensation and great
interest all over that part of the kingdom. As I had made up my mind
to get a requisition signed in the county of Wilts, I made a point of
attending the meeting at Winchester; first, because it was the adjoining
county; second, because I wished to make myself well acquainted with the
form of proceedings for holding a county meeting; and, third, because I
was anxious to become better acquainted with the celebrated Mr. Cobbett,
who I expected would be the hero of the day. I was then residing at
Bath; but I took my horse on the evening before, and went to Sans Souci
Cottage, a distance of thirty miles; and the next morning I rode on to
Winchester, thirty miles further, and got there in time to attend the
opening of the meeting. As, at that period, I had no property in the
county of Hants, I did not go upon the hustings, or rather into the
grand-jury-room, out of the windows of which the speakers addressed the
multitude, who stood in the large area below; amongst whom I took a
convenient position, to hear what passed.

A soon as the sheriff had opened the meeting, Mr. Poulett Poulett
addressed the assembly, and proposed a string of resolutions, which were
seconded by the Honourable William Herbert, brother of Lord Carnarvon.
These two gentlemen were known to be supporters of the regular Whig
faction, and, although their resolutions breathed a more liberal spirit
than usual, yet the _cloven foot_ of the party peeped out, as they
contained more of an attack upon the ministers than an abhorrence of the
system. Mr. Cobbett then came forward, and, in a speech at once clear,
argumentative, and eloquent, which was received with raptures of
applause, and appeared to carry conviction to the breast of every one
present, with the exception of two or three parsons, who were in the
crowd, and who sometimes expressed a sort of disapprobation, by talking
and endeavoring to interrupt the business of the day; moved a series
of resolutions, as an amendment to those proposed by Mr. Poulett. These
resolutions were seconded by Mr. Chamberlayne, of Weston, and supported
by Mr. Jones, of Sway. Such speaking as this I had never before heard,
and I sincerely believe that the speech of Mr. Chamberlayne was never
surpassed by Pitt, Fox, Sheridan, or Burke; it was truly beautiful, and
was received from beginning to end with the most unbounded applause.

While these speeches were making it was very evident which side would
have the majority. During the whole of the time the three parson prigs
continued their interruptions at intervals; although they had been
repeatedly admonished to conduct themselves in a more decent manner, one
of them a little short squat fellow, in boots and leather breeches, made
himself particularly obnoxious by his noise. At length I made my way
through the dense crowd, and got alongside of them, and by a very
determined remonstrance I kept the others quiet, while, by dint of
placing my elbow in the little reverend's side, when he began to open
his mouth, the pressure of which made his ribs bend again; I at the same
time exclaiming, "for shame, Sir, be quiet," he was ultimately reduced
to silence, and made to conduct himself something like a rational being;
although I could see that he gnashed his teeth with rage every time of
the application of my elbow to his ribs; a discipline which, in spite
of his remonstrance, I never failed to inflict upon him, whenever he
offered any interruption to the proceedings. I had the repeated thanks
of those around me for thus keeping this little buck in order; but
whenever he had an opportunity he was disposed to be scurrilous.

A division being called for, in which those who were in favour of Mr.
Cobbett's amendment were to hold up their hats, the three black-coated
gentry were the only persons who kept their hats on in that part of the
meeting where we were standing. The thought now struck me, that I would
punish the little chattering hero; and having my own hat in my left
hand, I whipped his off with my right, and continued to hold it so high,
that with all his efforts he could not reach it to pull it down. He was
in a most outrageous passion, which he exhibited to the great amusement
of all those who surrounded him. Mr. Cobbett's amendment was carried
almost unanimously, at least two thousand hats being held up for it, and
not twenty against it.

This was a great victory obtained over the Whigs of that county, who
retired to their inn in great dudgeon, while the successful party, the
friends of Mr. Cobbett, flocked in great multitudes to his inn, where a
dinner had been provided, and I should think about a hundred and fifty
persons sat down to one table in the great room. This party I joined,
and once more came in contact with Mr. Cobbett. Though it was a public
meeting, yet I contrived to have some private conversation with him;
during which I informed him, that I intended to get a requisition signed
for a public meeting, in the county of Wilts, and I requested him to
attend it, to assist me in arranging the proceedings. Of my procuring
the meeting, he very much approved, but he declined to give his
attendance, or to interfere; his reason was, that he was neither a
freeholder nor a resident in the county. He concluded by saying, "I will
publish your proceedings, and if I were a freeholder I would cheerfully
come forward; but, as I am not, you must not expect me."

The day was passed with great conviviality, and the bottle went so
freely round, that I was mortified and shocked to hear some of those
who, in the morning, had delivered the most eloquent, the most brilliant
speeches, now, in attempting to speak, utter such trash and balderdash,
as would almost have disgraced an idiot: it made such an impression upon
me as will never be eradicated. I had formerly been in the habit of
taking my glass occasionally (although not to excess), but this specimen
which I had before my eyes, sunk so deep into my heart, that from
that time forward I resolved within myself to refrain from taking any
intoxicating, deleterious liquors. I cannot, even at this distant
moment, banish the recollection of the scene from my mind. To behold and
to contemplate the dreadful ravages that wine had made upon the most
brilliant and enlightened human intellect, was sickening to the very
soul. I had then a relation living at Winchester, and I remained there
till the next day. In the morning I became acquainted with one of the
most staunch and steady friends of Liberty that I ever knew--Mr. Budd,
of Newbury, an attorney, and, I believe, clerk of the peace for the
county of Berks. He is a freeholder of the county of Hants, and in
consequence attended the meeting at Winchester. I returned to Salisbury
that evening, drew up a requisition to the sheriff of the county of
Wilts, and, having signed it myself, I got it signed, before I went
to-bed, by upwards of twenty freeholders; at the head of whom was that
excellent, honest, and public-spirited gentleman, William Collins, Esq.
I started the next morning, and took Warminster in my road, and, ere I
reached Bath, I had got a hundred signatures to the requisition. From
Bath I wrote to Sir Charles Ware Malet, the sheriff of the county, who
lived at Wilbury-House, near Amesbury; stating that such a requisition
was signed, and requesting that he would appoint a day on which he would
be at home, that I might wait upon him with it, to know his pleasure
as to when and where he would call the meeting. By return of post I
received a public answer, which fixed an early day; and on that
day, accompanied by a friend, I attended with the requisition at
Wilbury-House.

Sir Charles Malet had lived for many years in India, and had returned
with a princely fortune; he lived like a nabob, in a beautiful place at
Wilbury, and he received us in the most polite manner possible. Having
briefly premised the object of our visit, I handed him the requisition,
which he read over; and then, casting his eye over the number of
signatures, he said, "Really, Mr. Hunt, I know of no other course to
pursue but to comply with the request of yourself and your brother
freeholders, who have signed the requisition. Without pledging myself
to any opinion upon the subject, I consider it my duty to attend to the
legitimate request, made by such a respectable number of freeholders of
the county of which I am the sheriff. But," added he, "before we consult
together where will be the most convenient place, and what will be the
most convenient time, to hold the meeting, both for you and me, I have
one request to make to you; which is, that after your ride you and your
friend will take some refreshment, which I have ordered to be laid for
you in the next room. If you will follow me, I shall be happy to partake
of it with you, and we will then talk the matter over." He now led us
into a magnificent saloon, where there was a cold collation spread
before us, fit for a prince and his suite. It consisted of every
delicacy of the season, and some most beautiful fruit, the production of
his extensive hot-houses. The butler drew the corks of some sparkling
Champaigne and fine old hock; but my friend, who was a worthy farmer,
requested a draught of ale, in preference to these delicious wines,
neither of which did he relish equal to some home-brewed old stingo.
This was instantly produced, and in it the Baronet heartily pledged my
companion. When we had regaled ourselves, he proposed that we should
take a walk round his domain and gardens, and return to an early dinner,
so that we might get home in good time in the evening. The first part of
the invitation we accepted; but as we had already fared so sumptuously,
I declined the invitation to dinner. After he had shown us round the
gardens and park of Wilbury, we agreed that Salisbury would be the most
proper place to hold the meeting; and, at my request, he fixed the day
for Wednesday, the 17th of May; a distance of time which would allow the
notice of the meeting to be advertised twice in the Salisbury Journal.
Thus, to a perfect stranger, did Sir Charles Malet conduct himself;
seeking only to do his duty openly, honestly, and conscientiously,
without being guided or warped by party feelings, or factious views or
motives. There was no high-sounding title among the requisitionists, but
they were men, and they were freeholders; and, as he justly observed, it
was not his business to inquire whether they were Lords or Commoners,
his only study was to do his duty; which he would endeavour to perform
conscientiously.

The next day I sent for my attorney, and instructed him to prepare a
conveyance, a deed of gift of a freehold tenement and garden, which I
wished to be delivered immediately to Mr. Cobbett; which he promised to
do at Salisbury, on the morning of the 17th of May, if Mr. Cobbett would
meet him there. I directed him to write to that gentleman, to request
him to meet us there for that purpose, and I also wrote to him to say,
that I begged his acceptance of a freehold in the county of Wilts, that
he might no longer have the same excuse for not attending our county
meeting, which he gave to me when I met him at Winchester, and invited
him to meet me on the appointed day. I received an answer from him, to
say, that he would attend; and, in consequence of this, before we went
into the Hall in the morning, I met him at the Antelope, where my
attorney was waiting with the deeds, which I signed, and made a present
of to Mr. Cobbett; thus conferring upon him, for his patriotism, a
freehold estate, which, although a small one, made him, nevertheless,
a freeholder of the county, and entitled him not only to be present as
such at our meetings, but also to a vote for the members of the county.

I had prepared the resolutions, which were similar in effect to those
which were passed at the Hampshire meeting; but Mr. Madocks having, in
the intermediate time, on the 11th of May, made his famous motion in the
House of Commons, distinctly charging Mr. Perceval and Lord Castlereagh
with having actually sold a seat in Parliament to Mr. Quinten Dick, and
with having endeavoured to prevail upon Mr. Dick to vote against Colonel
Wardle's motion, in the case of the Duke of York; and the Honourable
House having declined to inquire into it, Mr. Cobbett proposed to notice
this circumstance in the resolutions. This was immediately done, and
we proceeded to the Council-House, where Sir Charles Malet opened the
business, in the most crowded assembly that was ever witnessed in that
city. As soon as he had done this, I addressed the meeting, which
address was received in the most flattering manner, and I closed it by
proposing the following resolutions. They were seconded, in an able
speech, by the late William Collins, Esq. of Salisbury, and supported by
Mr. Bleek, of Warminster, and were carried by an immense majority, many
thousand hats being held up for them, and not above a dozen against
them. They were inserted in the 15th volume of Cobbett's Register, page
855; but it may be necessary, perhaps, to insert them here, as all my
readers may not have access to that work.

  "COUNTY OF WILTS.

  "At a meeting of the Freeholders, Landholders, and
  other Inhabitants of the County of Wilts, convened by
  the High Sheriff, and holden in the Council-Chamber
  in the City of New Sarum, on Wednesday, the 17th
  of May, 1809, Sir Charles Warre Malet, in the chair;

  "It was Resolved,

  "That the thanks of this meeting be given to Gwillim
  Lloyd Wardle, Esq. for having instituted the recent inquiry
  in the House of Commons, relative to the conduct
  of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, as Commander
  in Chief: for having, unconnected with, and unsupported
  by, any party or faction, prosecuted that laudable undertaking
  with unexampled magnanimity, talent, zeal, temper,
  and perseverance; and especially for having had the
  resolution to discharge his duty, in defiance of threats
  and prejudices excited against him by the King's Ministers,
  and many of the leaders of the opposite party.

  "That the thanks of this meeting be given to Sir F.
  Burdett, Bart. who seconded Mr. Wardle's motion; and
  also to Lord Viscount Folkestone, for the active and able
  assistance he afforded to Mr. Wardle during the whole of
  the inquiry.

  "That the thanks of this meeting be given to Lords
  Viscount Milton and Althorpe, Lord Stanley, the Hon.
  T. Brand, Sir Samuel Romilly, Knight, Major-General
  Fergusson, S. Whitbread, T. Curwen, T. W. Coke, H.
  Martin, T. Calcraft, and C. W. Wynne, Esqrs. who, during
  such inquiry, stood forward the advocates of impartial
  justice; and also to the whole of the minority of 125,
  who divided in favour of Mr. Wardle's motion; amongst
  whom, we, as Wiltshire men, observe with pleasure the
  name of that venerable and truly independent senator,
  William Hussey, Esq. who, for nine successive Parliaments,
  has represented the city of New Sarum with ability
  and perseverance, and with undeviating integrity
  and independence: of Thomas Goddard, Esq. Member
  for Cricklade; and of Benjamin Walsh, Esq. Member for
  Wootton Basset, in this county: while we observe with
  indignation and regret, that the name of neither of the
  Members for this county does appear in that honourable
  list: and we also lament that, with the exception of
  Lord Folkestone, William Hussey, Thomas Goddard, and
  Benjamin Walsh, Esquires, we do not recognise in that
  list the names of any of the THIRTY-FOUR Members who
  are sent to Parliament by the various boroughs in this
  county.

  "That, in reverting to the cause of the disgraceful
  acts revealed and demonstrated during this inquiry, this
  meeting cannot help observing, that in the Act of Parliament, commonly called the Act of Settlement, in virtue
  of which Act only His Majesty's family were raised to the
  throne of this kingdom, it is declared, 'That no person
  who has an office or place of profit under the King, or
  receives a pension from the Crown, shall be capable of
  serving as a Member of the Commons' House of Parliament:
  but that, notwithstanding the wise precautions of
  this Act, which is one of our great constitutional laws,
  and which, as its preamble expresses, was made for the
  further limitation of the Crown, and better securing the
  rights and liberties of the subject, it appears from a
  report laid before the House of Commons, in the month
  of June last; in consequence of a motion made by Lord
  Cochrane, that there are in that House EIGHTEEN placemen
  and pensioners, who, though part of what they
  receive was not stated, are in the said report stated to
  receive 178,994_l._ a year, out of the taxes paid by the
  people, and out of that money, to watch over the expenditure
  of which they themselves are appointed.

  "That we observe the names of all those Placemen and
  Pensioners voting against Mr. Wardle's motion.

  "That, in the Act called the Bill of Rights, it is declared,
  'That the election of Members of Parliament
  ought to be free:' and in the same Act it is declared,
  'That the violating the freedom of election of Members
  to serve in Parliament, was one of the crimes of King
  James the Second, and one of the grounds upon which
  he was driven from the throne of this kingdom;' but that,
  notwithstanding that law, this meeting have observed,
  that on the 14th instant, Mr. Madocks did distinctly charge
  Mr. Perceval and Lord Castlereagh with having sold a
  seat in Parliament to Mr. Dick, and with having endeavoured
  to prevail upon the said Mr. Dick to vote against
  Mr. Wardle on the case of the Duke of York; and that
  Mr. Madocks having made a motion for an inquiry into
  the said transactions, the House, by a very large majority,
  decided that there should be no such inquiry.
  "That, from these facts, as well as numerous others,
  notorious to us and the whole nation, this meeting have
  a firm conviction, that in the House of Commons, as
  at present constituted, exists the great and efficient cause
  of all such scandalous abuses, in various departments of
  the state, as have in other countries alienated the subject
  from the sovereign, and ultimately proved the downfall of
  the state.

  "That, therefore, this meeting, anxious alike for the
  preservation of His Majesty's throne and legitimate authority;
  for the restoration of the rights and liberties
  bequeathed them by the wisdom, the fortitude, and the
  valour of their forefathers, hold it a duty which they owe
  to their sovereign and his successors, to themselves and
  to their children, and to the safety, happiness, and renown
  of their country, to declare their decided opinion
  and conviction, that no change for the better can be
  reasonably expected without such a Reform in the Commons'
  House of Parliament, as shall make that house in reality,
  as well as in name, the representative of the people, and
  not an instrument in the hands of a minister. And we
  further declare, that, from the proof we have always had
  of His Majesty's love for his people, we have full confidence
  in his Royal support and protection in our constitutional
  efforts against a faction, not less hostile to the
  true dignity and just prerogatives of His Majesty's throne,
  than they are to the interest and feelings of his faithful,
  suffering, and insulted people.

  "That Henry Penruddock Wyndham and Richard Long,
  Esquires, the representatives of this county, have, by
  their late conduct in Parliament, proved themselves undeserving
  the confidence of their constituents, and of the
  future support of this county.

  "Resolved unanimously, That the thanks of this meeting
  be given to the High Sheriff, for calling the same,
  and for his impartial conduct in the chair."


This being the first public meeting which, within the memory of man, was
ever held in this county for any other purpose but that of an election;
and this meeting being called by a requisition of the yeomanry of the
county, without the names or influence of either of the factions of
Whigs or Tories; and these resolutions being also proposed by me, and
carried most triumphantly, by an immense majority, I have thought proper
to record them, at full length, in the pages of my Memoirs. Mr. Cobbett,
who attended the meeting, expressed himself in language of very high
approbation, as to the manner in which the proceedings were conducted.
This might truly be called the triumph of the people over faction, and
we celebrated it by dining together at the Three Swans Inn. An excellent
short-hand writer, of the name of Willett, attended our meeting, and he
also had attended all the county meetings held at that time, upon this
very important question, an account of which proceedings was given
exclusively in the Statesman newspaper, of which he was the proprietor,
and by whose means that paper was established.

From this period I may date the commencement of my political intimacy
with Mr. Cobbett, who, in his next Register, spoke in very exulting
terms of the respectability and good order of our meeting, and the great
unanimity with which the Resolutions were passed. This was on the 17th
May, 1809--eleven years after, on the 17th May, 1820, I passed by
Salisbury on my road to this Bastile. I had long been a staunch advocate
for a Reform in the representation of the Commons' House of Parliament;
but the infamous practices which had been developed by Mr. Madocks, and
the rejection, by a large majority, of his motion for an inquiry into
those disgraceful practices, so thoroughly rooted in me a conviction of
the absolute necessity of such a Reform, that I came to a determination
within myself, never to cease from my endeavours to obtain it; being
perfectly satisfied that, without an effectual and Radical Reform in the
House of Commons, the boasted Constitution of England would soon become
a mere mockery, and the scoff instead of the envy and admiration of
surrounding States.

For the same reason that I insert the foregoing Resolutions, passed at
the County Meeting for Wiltshire, I will now insert the charge made by
Mr. Madocks, in the Honourable House, on the 11th of May, 1809. Mr.
Cobbett observed, in his Register of the 20th of May following, that "It
ought to be printed "in all shapes and sizes; and be perpetuated in all
the ways in which any act can be perpetuated. A concise statement of the
_charge_ and the _decision_ should have a place in all the Almanacks;
all the printed Memorandum Books; in Court Calendars; Books of Roads;
and I see no harm in its having a place upon a spare leaf in the Books
of Common Prayer. It should be framed and glazed; and hung up in Inns,
Town Halls, Courts of Justice, Market Places, and, in short, the eye of
every human creature should be, if possible, constantly fixed upon it."
I will, therefore, as far as I have the means, hand down the charge and
the decision, by recording it in my Memoirs, for the benefit of my young
readers, who are not old enough to remember the sensation which it
excited at the time, as well as for the information of those who shall
come hereafter. The charge, in Mr. Madocks's own words, was this: "I
affirm that Mr. Dick purchased a seat in the House of Commons, for the
Borough of Cashel, through the agency of the Honourable Henry Wellesley,
who acted for and on behalf of the Treasury; that, upon a recent
question, of the last importance, when Mr. Dick had determined to vote
according to his conscience, the Noble "LORD CASTLEREAGH did intimate to
that Gentleman, the necessity of _his either voting with the Government,
or resigning his seat in that House;_ and that Mr. Dick, sooner than
vote against principle, did make choice of the latter alternative, and
vacate his seat accordingly. To this transaction I charge the Right
Honourable Gentleman, MR. PERCEVAL, _as being privy, and having connived
at it._ THIS I WILL ENGAGE TO PROVE BY WITNESSES AT YOUR BAR, if the
House will give me leave to call them." The Honourable Member, after
making an eloquent and forcible appeal to the House, _moved for an
inquiry._ The Chancellor of the Exchequer, (Mr. Perceval) addressed the
House, and humbly declared that, "whether at _such a time,_ it would be
well to warrant such a species of charges, as merely introductory to the
agitation of the great question of Reform, he left to the House to
determine:" he then made his bow and retired. Lord Castlereagh did the
same. Mr. Madocks then explicitly moved, that the said charge against
the Right Honourable Spencer Perceval, and Lord Viscount Castlereagh,
should be heard at the bar on Monday next. LORD MILTON said, "he would
oppose the motion, if he thought it would tend to promote the question
of Parliamentary Reform. But, although he would vote for the motion in
part, still in whatever way it was decided, _he would not think one jot
the worse of either of the Right Honourable Gentlemen accused, or that
they were in any degree more criminal than all former Governments."_ Sir
FRANCIS BURDETT, in supporting the motion, said, "if the House refused
to inquire into the transaction, or if any Gentleman within its walls
contended these practices formed part of the Constitution, then he must
say that Buonaparte had a "better ally within their walls than he had
any where else." MR. TIERNEY opposed the motion, and said, _"it would be
great injustice to render a few individuals the victims of a system
which did not commence with them."_ MR. WHITBREAD manfully supported the
motion, and said, _"if such a case as this were overlooked, the House
might as well, in his opinion, expunge its Journals, burn its Statutes,
and blot out the Constitution."_  MR. PONSONBY, in opposing the motion,
said, _"he would appeal to all who heard him, whether many seats were
not sold, and that being NOTORIOUS, he never could persuade himself to
take advantage of such a circumstance in a political adversary, for the
purpose of running him down."_ LORD FOLKESTONE warmly supported the
motion, and said, _"that resisting inquiry only served to strengthen the
influence and extend the limits of suspicion, by comprehending all those
who connected themselves with such resistance."_ MR. WINDHAM Opposed the
motion, and in the following words impudently justified the practice. He
affirmed that _"these things were, in fact, so interwoven with the
Constitution, and that Constitution itself was such a complicated
system, that no wise statesman would venture to tear them out, lest he
should take out something very valuable along with them."_ MR. CANNING
called upon the House _"to make a stand THAT NIGHT, against the
encroachments of the factious. To-night it was summoned to make an
immolation of TWO upon his side of the House, and perhaps, if successful
now, it would on the morrow be summoned to sacrifice two stately victims
from the other side."_ Sing Tantararara, Rogues all!!! The House
divided, and the question was taken upon Mr. Madocks's motion FOR AN
INQUIRY into the matter, when EIGHTY-FIVE members voted for the motion,
and THREE HUNDRED AND TEN members voted against all inquiry--Majority
against inquiry, TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE. Such was the _charge,_ and
such was the _result._

After having read the above, will any honest man say, that a Reform in
the House of Commons is not necessary? It was this memorable transaction
to which I alluded, in the resolutions that I proposed, and which were
unanimously adopted at the County Meeting at Salisbury; and, by being
the principal, or, I may say, the sole cause of such meeting being
called, I rendered myself so completely obnoxious to the Government,
that every means were put in practice by their agents and underlings, to
annoy, perplex, and harrass me; amongst which number the _stock purse_
combination took the most prominent part.

At the Michaelmas Sessions 1809, as I have before stated, a Bill of
Indictment was found against me, for an assault upon Stone, the ruffian
gamekeeper of John Benett, Esq. of Pyt House, which indictment was moved
by a writ of _Certiorari,_ into the Court of King's Bench. Michael Hicks
Beach had also commenced an action against me, in the name of Mr.
Jenner, one of his tenants, for a trespass, in following Colonel
Thornton's stag hounds over a portion of his property, after I had
received a notice, warning me off. Both the indictment and the action
were to be tried at the ensuing Spring Assizes, to be holden at
Salisbury, in March, 1810.

The Attorney-General had, in the mean time, moved for, and obtained a
Criminal Information against Mr. Cobbett, for an article which he
inserted in his Register, on the 1st of July, 1809, upon the subject of
flogging the Local Militia in the Isle of Ely. The account of this
flogging was published in the Courier newspaper, on the 24th of June,
which account, as follows, was taken by Mr. Cobbett as his motto: "The
mutiny amongst the LOCAL MILITIA, which broke out at Ely, was
fortunately suppressed on Wednesday, by the arrival of four squadrons of
the GERMAN LEGION CAVALRY from Bury, under the command of General
Auckland.  Five of the ring-leaders were tried by a Court Martial, and
sentenced to receive five hundred lashes each; part of which punishment
they received on Wednesday, and a part was remitted. A stoppage for
their knapsacks was the ground of complaint which excited the mutinous
spirit, which occasioned the men to surround their officers and demand
what they deem their arrears.  The first division of the German Legion
halted yesterday at Newmarket, on their return to Bury." This
transaction of German soldiers superintending the flogging of English
Local Militia-men, who were scarcely to be called soldiers, and who
were, indeed, only one remove from the volunteers, caused a considerable
sensation throughout the country, and Mr. Cobbett wrote a spirited
article in his Register, in which he indignantly expressed the natural
feeling of an Englishman, upon hearing that German troops were employed
for such a purpose. This publication was seized with avidity by the
Attorney-General, Sir Vicary Gibbs, who not only moved for a Criminal
Information against Mr. Cobbett, the author, but also against his
printer and publisher.

To make the young reader completely acquainted with the subject, it is
necessary here to observe, that some time previous to this, a large body
of German troops, called the German Legion, had been introduced into the
country, by a vote of the faithful guardians of the people's rights and
liberties, contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and in
direct violation of the Act of Settlement. The admitting of these German
troops excited strong suspicions in the breast of every friend to
freedom, and every lover of the Constitution; and their being employed
in such a service as that of superintending the flogging of Englishmen,
was a most disgusting and revolting sight, which was contemplated with
feelings of the utmost abhorrence by every man who had the least regard
for the honour of his country or the character of his countrymen.

The fact was, that the Government had placed arms in the hands of so
many volunteers and local militia-men, that they became alarmed at the
power which they had themselves created; and these whiskered German
troops were, therefore, called in for the purpose of keeping them in
subjection. So that the Ministers took care to have plenty of German
troops, who, in conjunction with the Irish regiments of militia, were to
watch over the movements of the English, particularly those newly raised
volunteers and local militia, who, in many instances, manifested rather
a turbulent disposition, and an impatience of being bilked in the same
manner as some of the regulars were, by their officers. An instance of
this I witnessed in Bath, where the Somerset local militia were
quartered. Great dissatisfaction had for a day or two been strongly
expressed by the men, in consequence of a stoppage of some portion of
their pay having been made for gaiters. What was the sum stopped, I
forget; but I recollect that as I was walking of which the prison stood.
I hastened to the spot with a friend, and we got there just in time to
see the soldiers come out of the prison with their comrade, whom they
had rescued, mounted upon their shoulders; and in this manner they bore
him in triumph to his quarters. Some of the officers arrived, and one of
them drew his sword; but he was instantly disarmed, and pelted with mud,
so that, while he escaped with some difficulty, he looked more like a
person just released from the pillory than like an officer who had the
command of troops. During the whole evening the streets swarmed with
crowds of people, and the injustice of the extortion for the men's
gaiters was the universal topic of converse amongst them. As almost
every one was expressing his indignation at the conduct of the officers,
and swearing that the men should not be punished, affairs bore such an
alarming appearance, that dispatches were sent off, in all directions,
for more troops to come to the assistance of the officers. Very
prudently, there was no attempt made that night to take into custody the
man who had been rescued, or those who had rescued him. As all the men
concerned in the transaction were known, it was reported that they would
be brought to a drum-head court-martial ear up the street, I heard
some of the men inquiring at a shop the price of a pair of gaiters,
which they were told by the tradesman was about half as much as had been
stopped out of each man's pay. The men had complained loudly to the non-
commissioned officers, without obtaining any redress. The next day they
made a stand upon parade, which was called a mutiny. The ring-leader was
seized, and conveyed immediately, under a military escort, to the town
prison.  This circumstance ran like wildfire all over the city, and when
the troops were dismissed from the parade, which was incautiously done
soon after, the militia-men proceeded in a body to the gaol, and
demanded their comrade; and compliance with the demand being refused,
they seized a long piece of timber that lay in the street, near the
prison, and this they used as a battering-ram against the door of the
gaol, which they soon forced off its hinges. I was sitting in the back
dining-room at my house, No. 1, Lady Mead, and I witnessed the
transaction myself. About the third effort with the battering-ram, each
of which was cheered by the populace, I saw the prison doors fly open,
and the soldiers enter.  By this time an immense multitude, consisting
of many thousand persons, had assembled in Grove-street, at the bottom,
early the next morning, and punished. Orders were given for their being
upon the parade the next morning at four o'clock; and all attended,
together with about four or five thousand of the Bath populace,
resolutely swearing that the man should not be punished. There was no
_German Legion_ at Bath, or blood would have been spilt. Happily the
whole passed off without any bad consequences. After the offenders had
been admonished, one of the officers informed the populace that they
were forgiven, upon which they peaceably departed to their homes. I
believe that a proper abatement was made in the price of the gaiters,
and thus this affair was settled before the arrival of any other troops,
many of which (Somersetshire Yeomanry) came galloping into the city in
the course of the day. This year, the arms of Great Britain were, to say
the least of it, very unsuccessful.  The army in Spain, under Sir John
Moore, made a very inglorious retreat, or rather flight, before the
French troops, which, after being continued for two hundred and fifty
miles, ended in the battle of Corunna.  In that battle the English
Commander fell, and the remains of the army, after having sustained
immense loss, were compelled to embark on board their fleet; not less
than six thousand troops having been sacrificed upon the occasion. On
the 27th of January, the French entered Ferrol, and took seven sail of
the line; Saragossa also surrendered to their arms. In May there was a
revolution in Sweden, and Gustavus the Fourth, one of the legitimate
race of old kings, was deposed. War was again declared by Austria
against France. In April, the English fleet, under Lord Cochrane,
destroyed four sail of the line in Basque Roads. On the 13th of May, the
French entered Vienna. Russia also declared war against Austria.
Buonaparte beat the Austrians in various battles, and effected the
passage of the Danube in July, and finished the campaign by a total
defeat of the Austrian army at the battle of Wagram; upon which the
Emperor Francis was obliged to sue for an armistice. It was granted by
Napoleon, although the prostrate legitimate was, with his whole
dominions, completely in the power of the French Emperor. Thus did
Napoleon show him that mercy which the deadly Austrian had not the
magnanimity or the honour to return when Napoleon had fallen into
misfortune. This was one of Napoleon's greatest faults; he appeared to
delight in conquering and subduing tyrants, and then reinstating them on
their thrones, that he might conquer them again. This is one of the
greatest stains upon his character. He had it in his power to
exterminate the tyrants of Austria, Russia, and Prussia, and by that
means to bring the English Government to a sense of its duty to the
people of England. This he failed to do, and his reward was perpetual
imprisonment, lingering torture, and a premature death, inflicted upon
him by the very same sovereigns that he had spared from annihilation.
The old proverb, of "Save a thief from the gallows and he will cut your
throat," was never more truly verified than in this instance.

On the 27th of July, the Battle of Talavera was fought between the
English and the French, in which Sir Arthur Wellesley pompously claimed
a victory, although he and his whole army retreated before day-break the
next morning, _leaving the whole of the sick and wounded behind them_.
Such was the rapidity of this retreat, that they scarcely ever stopped
to refresh themselves, till they had passed the boundaries of the
Spanish dominions, and entered into Portugal.--Notwithstanding all this,
it was trumpeted forth in all the ministerial papers that Sir Arthur
Wellesley had gained a GREAT VICTORY; and, to complete the humbug, the
Ministers carried the hoax so far as to create the said Sir Arthur
Wellesley either Baron or Viscount TALAVERA! This was the way in which
the English Ministry gulled John Bull; and as John swallowed this title
so readily, from that time I have designated, and I shall always
designate him, by the title of JOHN GULL, instead of John Bull; GULL
being a most appropriate title, with a very significant and truly
characteristic meaning.

Blake's army from Valentia was also at this period completely dispersed.
The English Ministry likewise sent out two expeditions this year, both
of which ended in defeat and disgrace. One was dispatched from Sicily to
the South of Italy, and the other was the memorable and fatal expedition
to Walcheren, commanded by the renowned Lord Chatham, the elder brother
of Pitt, who, from his fondness for lying in bed, had obtained the nick
name of the _late_ Lord Chatham. This was a most calamitous undertaking,
and reflected the highest disgrace upon the characters of those who
planned it, as well as of those who were selected to carry it into
execution. I recollect that at the time it was confidently asserted that
the redoubtable Commander, Lord Chatham, spent three parts of his time
in bed; at all events, he proved to be a most unsuccessful, if not a
sleepy commander.  The famous city-gormandizer, Sir William Curtis,
accompanied this expedition, thus making one, as it were, of a party of
pleasure, while, from exhaustion and disease, the troops were perishing
in the pestilential swamps of the country. In fact, this proved a mere
wanton sacrifice of British treasure and British blood.

In consequence of these disasters, there arose such great dissentions
and heart-burnings in the British Cabinet, that at length it produced a
duel between two of its most conspicuous members, Lord Castlereagh and
Mr. Canning, in which Mr. Canning was badly wounded. In better times,
the dispute possibly would perhaps have been settled much more
conformably with the principles of justice, by both of them being
impeached for their mal-administration, and their wanton and lavish
waste of the best blood and treasure of their country.

In September the new theatre at Covent-Garden was opened; and, in
consequence of the managers having increased the prices, a riot
commenced, which continued night after night for nearly three months. It
was universally known by the name of "the O. P. row;" that was, a
contention for _old prices_, by the audience, and a determined struggle
on the part of the managers, to enforce and continue the new and
increased prices. I may be asked by some, "what has this to do with your
Memoirs, or with the political history of the times"? I answer, it has
nothing to do with my Memoirs, as I was not in London during the whole
of the row; but I shall by and by show, that it had a great deal more to
do with political matters, or rather with a _political party,_ than was
at the time imagined, or than is even now suspected.  I believe that, in
the first instance, the spontaneous expression of public opinion was the
cause of the row which took place; but I _know_ that it was afterwards
taken under the special protection of that August body, the WESTMINSTER
RUMP, by whom the regular, well-organised plan for the interruption of
the performance, was framed and constantly kept up. It will be
remembered that my worthy friend, Henry Clifford, took an active and
conspicuous part in these proceedings. Mr. Clifford was a warm partizan
of Sir Francis Burdett, and, although he possessed too noble a soul to
belong regularly to such an illiberal faction as that of the Rump, yet,
as they had not then discovered the _cloven-foot_ so unblushingly as
they have since done, he was one of the number who frequently joined in
their deliberations. This may, in some measure, account for their
endeavoring to keep up the semblance of impartiality and fair-play,
while he had any thing to do with them. Those who can recollect the
circumstances, will also recollect, that Mr. Cowlam took a very
prominent part in the row; and poor Sam Miller, the shoemaker, in
Skinner-street, was another staunch attend ant at all the O. P.
deliberations.  Cowlam was the man who seconded the nomination of Sir
Francis Burdett, when the baronet was first proposed for Westminster; at
the time that Currier Adams, of Drury-lane, slunk from the office of
seconder, after having previously pledged himself to undertake it. Like
Falstaff, however, in this point, though not in wit, Adams has, ever
since poor Cowlam's death, had the meanness to claim the honour which
belongs to another.  Cowlam also rode the white horse, as the 11 emblem
of purity," at the epoch of the first chairing; which unlucky animal
_Mister Cleary_ has since mounted! These, together with others of the
Rump, held their meetings regularly every day, as well as every night
after the performance was over. At length, when their resources were
nearly exhausted (which, by the bye, I understood were furnished by a
certain Baronet), and they were upon the point of retiring from the
contest, poor Miller hit upon the expedient of the O.P. dinner, which
was held at the Crown and Anchor; at which dinner Mr. John Kemble
attended, and an arrangement and compromise was made between him and
Henry Clifford; the one on the part of the theatre, and the other on the
part of the public. Thus ended this mighty struggle, which, at times,
bore a very alarming appearance, and was the subject of universal
interest throughout the country. I have no doubt but that, under the
rose, the managers of the theatre encouraged the proceeding, as it
filled their coffers, there being a bumper, that is to say, a full
house, almost every night. The cockneys enjoyed the fun, and every
stranger who came to London must go to Covent-Garden, one night at
least, to "see the row," and to carry an account of it into the country.

On the 25th of October a Jubilee was held, to celebrate His Majesty's
entering the fiftieth year of his reign. Upon this occasion a pardon was
issued to all deserters, and a great number of Crown debtors were
discharged from prison.

The year 1810 commenced, by the Citizens of London, in Common-Hall
assembled, having voted a petition to be presented to the King. The
Sheriffs and City Remembrancer had waited upon the Secretary of State
(Marquis Wellesley), to ascertain when it would be His Majesty's
pleasure to receive it. Upon which the Noble Secretary informed them,
that he would take His Majesty's pleasure upon the subject; and at the
following levee he let them know, that it was His Majesty's pleasure
that it should be presented through the Secretary of State.

Since the BRUNSWICKS came to the throne of England, this was the first
instance of a petition agreed to at a Common-Hall being refused to be
received in person by the King.

Alderman Wood, who was one of the Sheriffs, requested that he might be
admitted to a private audience of the King. This was refused; and the
Sheriffs having called another Common-Hall, they laid the report of the
affair before the assembled livery, who passed a series of spirited
resolutions, asserting their right to deliver their petitions to the
King on the throne, and instructing their representatives to move an
address in Parliament, to be presented to the King, to inquire into the
violation of the right of petitioning. Mr. Sheriff Wood received an
unanimous vote of thanks from the Common-Hall; while the conduct of his
colleague, Atkins, evinced his character, and was a pretty faithful
index of his future subserviency to the "powers that be." Petitions were
now presented to the King, not only from the city of London, but from
Berkshire, and other parts, calling for an inquiry into the disgraceful
Walcheren expedition. When Parliament met, the war in Spain and the
expedition to Flushing were warmly canvassed; but, of course, the
Ministers carried every question with a high hand and large majorities,
and the business ended in a vote approving of the conduct of Ministers,
in planning and executing that disgraceful and costly expedition.

Mr. Perceval, an insignificant lawyer, now suddenly became First Lord of
the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the astonishment of
the whole nation. During the Walcheren inquiry the debates ran very high
in the House of Commons, and a member, Mr. Charles Yorke, cleared the
gallery of the strangers. This act being discussed in a debating
society, Mr. John Gale Jones, who was acting as the president, was
committed to Newgate, by a Speaker's warrant, for having been guilty of
a breach of privilege. This proceeding drew from Sir Francis Burdett an
address to his constituents, which was a very able and spirited
composition. It was also voted to be a breach of privilege, and a
libel upon the House, and the Speaker's warrant was issued for the
apprehension and committal of the Honourable Baronet to the Tower. Great
riots took place in London, which lasted two days, in consequence of Sir
Francis Burdett resisting the execution of this warrant, and barricading
the doors and windows of his house in Piccadilly. At length, however, he
was taken to the Tower under military escort: on their return from the
Tower the military were hissed and pelted, upon which they fired on the
people, and three men were killed. The coroner's inquest sat upon the
bodies, and in two of the cases brought in a verdict of wilful murder,
and in the third, a verdict of _justifiable homicide_. As in a late
instance, however, the murderers were allowed to remain not only
unpunished but untried.

Sir Francis Burdett was at this time the most popular man in England,
and he was idolized by every lover of freedom in the united kingdom. In
his resistance to the illegal warrant, he had barricadoed his house,
into which the Serjeant at Arms had made several unsuccessful attempts
to gain admission; and it was expected that the latter would attempt a
forcible entry, as he had received positive orders from the House to
execute his warrant by force. I shall here relate an anecdote on the
subject, which came to my knowledge soon afterwards. A Noble Lord, a
gallant naval officer, and M.P. called upon the Baronet one morning,
attended by a friend, in a coach, out of which a cask was handed into
the Baronet's house; and, as a friend, he was admitted of course by old
John, the porter. Upon his Lordship's entering the Baronet's room, he
communicated his plan for the defence of the castle, in case any attempt
should be made to effect a violent entry.  He very deliberately proposed
to undermine the foundation of the front wall, and deposit there a cask
of gun-powder, which he had brought with him for the purpose, so that he
might blow the invaders to the devil, in case they should attempt
anything like a forcible entry. At this proposal, which was made with
every appearance of sincerity, Sir Francis Burdett started, and answered
that he had not any intention of resistance any farther than trying the
question, to see whether they would break open the house or not. The
gallant tar then retired, apparently very much disconcerted, and he was
particularly requested to take away with him the cask of gun-powder,
which he did immediately. The next morning the Serjeant at Arms and his
attendants broke open a window-shutter in the front area, entered
without the least resistance, and conveyed their prisoner to the Tower.
While these things were going on in London, I had been busily engaged in
the country, defending myself in the Courts of Law at the assizes for
the county of Wilts, which were held at Salisbury. As the indictment
preferred against me by John Benett, Esq. on the part of his gamekeeper,
Stone, was intended to be made a serious charge against me, I was
prevailed upon to confide the conducting of my defence to counsel. Much
against my own inclination and judgment, did I give up this point, to
oblige my friends, who were most earnest in their solicitations upon the
subject. Mr. Burroughs (the present Judge) and Mr. Casberd, were
employed for the prosecution; and I at length suffered my attorney to
give a brief to Mr. Sergeant Pell. The cause was called on, and Stone
positively swore to the assault, which he declared had deprived him of
his senses, and that he had not been well since. Another person, who
never saw one atom of the transaction, and who was never near the place
till it was all over, swore to the same facts, and confirmed Stone's
evidence; and although I knew this fellow was swearing falsely, and
though I pointed the fact out to Sergeant Pell, that the witness was not
near the place, yet he was so alarmed, or pretended to be so alarmed at
the case, that I could not prevail upon him to cross-examine the
witness. The next witness who was called swore that he was a surgeon,
that he lived at Amesbury, the adjoining town; that he had attended
Stone, whose life had been in danger; that Stone had been greatly and
seriously injured in his health; and that, in his opinion, he would
never recover it. This appeared to stagger and confound my counsel more
than ever, and I could not get him to ask the man a single question;
although it struck me that this witness was grossly perjured. Well! Mr.
Sergeant Pell made what he called a speech, which, in my opinion,
admitted a great deal more than was necessary. My friend, Mr. John Oaks,
was then called, who positively swore that the ruffian, Stone, had
assaulted me first, by striking me and nearly pulling me off my horse,
without any provocation whatever. My friend, however, who had never
given evidence in a court of justice before, was a very awkward,
hesitating witness, and he received a very severe cross-examination from
Mr. Burroughs. Baron Graham summed up, and charged the Jury that I had,
by my own showing, been guilty of an assault. He had, he said, no doubt
but the man Stone had struck me first, as sworn by Mr. Oaks; but he
thought that I had given the man more than a sufficient quantum of
beating in retaliation, as I had struck him three times: if it had been
proved that I had only struck him once, in return for the blow he gave
me, he should have charged the Jury to acquit me; but, as it was, they
must find me guilty of the assault. He, however, totally acquitted me of
that with which I was charged by the counsel against me, namely, of
having acted with inhumanity and cruelty. The Jury, of course, gave a
verdict of guilty; and the Baron took my word that I would attend in the
Court of King's Bench, in the next term, to receive judgment.

The next day was fixed for trying the action which Michael Hicks Beach
had commenced against me, for a trespass. A similar attempt was made, by
my attorney and my friends, to induce me to leave the conducting of any
cause to counsel. Little Frederick Williams, the barrister, was
employed, or he volunteered his services, to prevail upon my family to
persuade me to leave my defence to Mr. Sergeant Pell. I heard all that
they had to say, but I resolutely resisted all their intreaties; and
declared that I would not only defend myself, but that, as long as I
lived, I would never employ a counsel.  I would, I told them, endeavour
to manage my own affairs in the Courts, let what would happen.  To this
resolution I have ever since most inflexibly adhered; and I am sure that
I shall continue to do so as long as I have strength and power of
utterance. I believe that Mr. Erskine once observed, that "a man who
pleaded his own cause, had a fool for an advocate." This was reported to
me; and my answer was, "that it might be very true, but I had a great
consolation in knowing that I had not a rogue for a counsel."

The cause was at length called on; and as it was known that I intended
to plead my own cause, it excited great interest, and the Court was
crowded to excess. Mr. Burroughs opened the case against me, in a very
vindictive speech, in which he travelled widely out of the course to
find matter to attack me. The Judge ought, in strictness, to have
stopped him; but I believe the worthy Baron (Graham) who presided, gave
me credit for being quite a match for Mr. Counsellor Burroughs, and
therefore it was that he suffered him to proceed. After having proved
that notice not to go upon the lands of the said Hicks Beach had been
served upon me, Burroughs called as his first witness a fox-hunting
parson, of the name of Williams, who was the Curate of Netheravon, and
dubbed chaplain to the squire. The clerical witness proved the trespass,
that I had, in following Colonel Thornton's fox-hounds, in company with
the rest of the sportsmen who were out, ridden over a part of the land
belonging to Beach, and in the occupation of Farmer Jenner; which land I
had received notice not to trespass upon. This toad-eating parson I knew
well, and I was well acquainted with his occupation; which was literally
that of whipper-in to the squire's hounds.  He was as much at the
squire's beck and command as one of his menial servants in fact, I had
often seen him obey such orders as no servant would have obeyed. I have
heard Mr. Beach, when a hound skirted, halloo out, "d--- my blood,
Williams, don't you see that bound! flog him in, or cut his liver out,"
&c. &c.  Then his reverence would ride like the very devil; and this was
such a common thing, that I have heard the huntsman order him about in
the same way. I have heard the latter say, "d--- it, Sir, why do you not
ride and head the hounds?" and he has frequently observed to me, and
other sportsmen, "By G-d, that d----d Parson stuffs himself so at
master's table, that he is got as lazy as a cur." I therefore did not
fail to give this reverend sporting witness a pretty severe cross-
examination, although the Baron tried hard to protect him.  I made him
confess, upon oath, that he was the time-serving tool which I have above
described; and all that I wanted I drew out of _him_, in order to save
myself the inconvenience of calling any witness of my own; by which
means I prevented any rejoinder to my reply to the famous speech of
Counsellor Burroughs. He, the witness, admitted, that the hind that was
named "Mrs. Clark," was turned out several miles from the land of Mr.
Beach, and that she accidentally ran that way; that Mr. Beach himself
was one of the horsemen who joined in the chace; that he never
complained of my riding over his tenant's farm; and that, during the
chace, the said Squire Beach had actually _rode nearly a mile over one
of my farms_, without any interruption from me.

Upon these facts I grounded my defence, and in a speech which occupied
about an hour, to which great attention was paid by the Judge, I urged
the Jury to consider their oath, and acquit me of any wilful trespass.
In the course of this speech I replied to the observations which fell
from the learned counsel, and took occasion to retort upon him with some
severity, with respect to those points which he had so unfairly
introduced in his speech. He rose and claimed the protection of the
Court, and trusted that his Lordship would not sit there and hear him
attacked in such a way. Baron Graham smiled, and very coolly replied,
"Brother Burroughs, I am very sorry that _you_ travelled so much out of
the record; although I was loath to interrupt you, yet I assure you it
was very painful for me to hear it; but, as _you_ did so, I should ill
perform my duty if I were to attempt to prevent the gentleman who is the
defendant from repelling those assertions which you made, of which you
offered no proof, and for which, by the shewing of your own witness,
there was no foundation; therefore, Brother Burroughs, I must beg that
you will not interrupt Mr. Hunt, but suffer him to proceed--Go on, Mr.
Hunt."  Mr. Burroughs jumped up in a passion, and said, in a peevish,
angry tone, "Well, my Lord, if you do not choose to protect me, you will
not, at any rate, compel me to stay in Court to hear myself abused;" and
then, tucking his gown under his arm, he made a hasty retreat out of the
Court, foaming and muttering all the way to his lodgings.

The worthy Baron summed up strongly for a verdict for the defendant,
broadly stating that there was no pretension to say that it was a wilful
trespass; and adding, after having recapitulated most of the arguments
which I had urged in my speech, that he was much more inclined to
believe it to be a malicious and frivolous action, than he was to say
that it was a wilful trespass. I gave the said Michael Hicks Beach a
pretty sound dressing, which the Baron not only recapitulated and
concurred in, but he also gave him some very wholesome advice, and a
very severe admonition.

It was an "especial jury" of brother magistrates and brother game-
preservers; and it is, therefore, not wonderful that they returned a
verdict for the plaintiff, with a shilling damages; which, in a wilful
trespass, was always held to carry costs, provided the Judge would
_certify_. Mr. Sergeant Lens now rose, and informed the Judge, that his
Brother Burroughs, before he left the Court, had requested him to apply
to his Lordship to "certify." The Baron pretended not to hear him; the
Sergeant repeated the application in a louder voice; and Baron Graham
then replied, "it is not necessary for me to certify in Court, I
believe, Brother Lens?" "Yes, my Lord," said Lens, "I never knew a Judge
refuse to do so, upon a verdict of trespass after notice." "Brother
Lens! Brother Lens!" retorted the Baron, "I do not feel justified in my
own mind to certify, upon my oath, that this was a wilful trespass,
although the Jury have returned a verdict, upon their oath, that it is
so; at all events I shall not certify in Court; I shall take time to
consider of it."

Baron Graham never certified to this hour, and my vindictive opponent
had to pay his own costs, which, I understand, amounted to upwards of
eighty pounds. This is an instance of the upright inflexible honesty of
Baron Graham; and this is the Judge, I understand, who, together with
Baron Wood, are about to be laid upon the shelf--and a precious pair of
tools we shall have in their place, I'll warrant you!

On the next day, I enclosed a shilling in a letter to Squire Beach,
admonishing him, in the language of the worthy Judge, and advising him
to prepare for war, for I was determined upon retaliation. Unfortunately
for me, my attorney was a most artful, plausible, cunning fellow; and at
the same time that he openly professed to advise me not to go to law, he
insidiously held out the most luring baits to draw me into the meshes of
his net, in which he was too successful. I was a rare pidgeon, and he
never failed to pluck me well.

I kept my word with Mr. Beach, and in a few days I had an information
laid against his whipper-in Parson, and one of his tenants, Thomas
Horne, for sporting, they not being qualified; and as soon as they were
convicted in the penalties, I followed it up by commencing an action
against each of them for a similar offence. I also served in the same
way another fellow, who was a friend of Beach's, one Edmond Stegg, of
Chisenbury; in all of which suits I got a verdict; and, to be even with
him, I brought his second son, William Beach, before a bench of
Magistrates, to make him prove his qualification; which he at length
did, with considerable difficulty and expense. The famous Richard
Messiter, an attorney, of Wincanton, came all the way from that place in
a chaise as a witness; and John Ward, an attorney, of Marlborough,
attended as another witness; so that this chap got out of the scrape at
an expense to his father of about fifty pounds. Messiter, who was called
at that time _honest Dick Messiter_, swore that he had advised his
father to make a conveyance of an estate to him, to qualify him, the
deed of which was executed only the day before the action was commenced
against him. The Squire was also obliged to qualify his whipper-in
Parson, which he did by procuring for him a living; so that it is an ill
wind that blows no one any good.  But all this while my cunning
attorney was the bird that was feathering his nest charmingly. He took
care to fleece all that came within his grasp. What voracious sharks are
these attorneys! I was successful in all these actions, yet, every now
and then, I had a long bill to pay to my attorney. I do not say that
this limb of the law was any worse than the rest of his profession
(always admitting that there are _some_ most honourable exceptions); but
I must say that this worthy had the address to manage his matters
better, and to cast his net with more cunning and adroitness than any
one of the fraternity that I ever met with. I was a thousand times
forewarned of him, by some of his _old friends_; but I was over
confident, and I met my reward, as my eyes were not opened till I had
suffered to the amount of many thousands of pounds by my credulity.

At the latter end of May, I was called up to the Court of King's Bench
for judgment, for the assault upon Stone the gamekeeper. I did not
employ counsel, but offered in person what I had to urge in mitigation.
I put in affidavits, to prove that the witnesses who gave evidence upon
the trial were perjured; and that the doctor, who attended and swore
that he lived at Amesbury, was an impostor; that no such person had ever
lived there, or had ever been heard of before or since. The sentence
was, that I should be committed to the custody of the Marshal of the
King's Bench for three months. During the time that Mr. Justice Grose
was passing sentence, Ellenborough leant back in his seat, and said to
Le Blanc, loud enough for me to hear him, "He will not go down to
Salisbury to attend the writ of inquiry, and get another verdict of _no
damages_ this time."

I had forgotten to mention, that the writ of inquiry was not executed at
the Spring Assizes, it having been put off by the parties, to see
whether I should not be caged during the Summer Assizes, when they might
have an opportunity of bringing it on in my absence. As soon as I was
sent to the King's Bench, I received notice, from Astley's attorney,
that the writ of inquiry would be executed before the Judge of the
Summer Assizes, to be held at Salisbury. I immediately employed Henry
Clifford to move the Court to delay the inquiry till the following
Spring Assizes; as it was necessary to the due administration of justice
that I should be present. This application was refused. I then got Mr.
Clifford to move for a writ of _Habeas Corpus_, that I might be taken
down to Salisbury, at _my own expense_, to attend the inquiry. This
application the upright Court also refused!  At the Assizes the writ
was therefore executed before the Judge. The witness, the shepherd, the
same witness, was called, and proved the fact, that I was upon the
plaintiff's down, and as the case was totally undefended, the Judge
directed the Jury to give a shilling damages. The Jury hesitated; every
man amongst them well knew the facts; they retired, and, after an hour's
deliberation, they returned a "_farthing damages_." If I had been
present to ask the witness one question, the Jury would have inevitably
returned a verdict of "_no damages_;" the same as the two former Juries
had done. In fact, one of them told me, that they gave in the verdict of
one farthing very reluctantly; and, as they knew the case, they very
much regretted that they had not themselves put the question to the
witness, as, if he had once sworn that there was no damage done, nothing
on earth should have induced them to have given any damage.

Thus ended the struggle for the _right of English Juries_ to give their
verdict agreeable to the evidence, as they were bound by their oaths to
do, in spite of the equivocal rules of Courts, or the arbitrary dicta of
Political Judges. I have no doubt that the conspiracy against me by the
stock-purse gang, in the instance of Stone's assault and indictment
against me, was got up for the sole purpose of getting rid of this
question, as to the rights of a British Jury to give a verdict agreeable
to the evidence, in spite of a ridiculous and illegal rule of Court,
made at the arbitrary will of corrupt Judges. The truth is, that Stone
confessed that he was hired and well paid to assault me, for the purpose
of procuring an indictment against me; and by that means I was to be got
out of the way, that this dirty job might be executed in a court of
justice in my absence. Stone being discharged from his situation,
offered to hire himself as my game-keeper, and to divulge the whole
plot, and appear as a witness against his former employers. I, however,
rather chose to put up with the loss which I had already sustained, than
to employ such a treacherous villain, and to encounter fresh law
expenses, which I now began to feel were most ruinous, notwithstanding I
conducted my own business in the courts. I had, besides, ascertained
that the stock-purse gang were always delighted when they found they had
entrapped me into a law suit, although my late successes had caused a
heavy drain upon the subscribers, some of whom began to grumble at the
expense, and to declare off.

As soon as I was conducted to the King's Bench, I began to look out for
apartments; I having made up my mind to remain the three months within
the walls, as I did not feel justified in making the indispensable
sacrifice (the usual fee to the Marshal) for residing without the walls.
Several prisoners, who were in distressed circumstances, offered to give
up their rooms at various prices, in proportion to their eligibility;
but, as the prison was excessively crowded, none of them struck my fancy
or suited my taste. I therefore applied to Davey, who kept the coffee-
house, and immediately agreed with him, at a reasonable price per week,
for a bed and the sitting-room over the coffee-room. This is the very
apartment that Colonel Bailey, the uncle of the Marquis of Anglesea,
lately inhabited, whose application to the Court of King's Bench was
argued the other day, on his complaint of the conduct of Mr. Jones, the
Marshal, and Poole, the coffee-house keeper, and of various
interruptions and insults which he received from the prisoners who
frequented the coffee-room; by which means, Poole (who, by the bye, was
the person who attended me here) lost his situation. Nothing could
exceed Poole's civility to _me_, and I have always heard that he was a
very civil, well-behaved, obliging fellow. I can only say, that the
whole time that I lodged in these apartments, which was six weeks, I
never received the slightest interruption from any one, or the slightest
incivility or insult from any one of the prisoners.

The Marshal was not at home when I arrived, but as soon as he came to
his office in the morning, I received a polite message from him,
requesting to see me, and being disengaged, I immediately waited upon
him. When I came to his room he accosted me in a very kind manner,
expressing regret for my sentence, but he added, that he should feel
great pleasure in rendering my imprisonment as little irksome as
possible, and that he should be happy in doing any thing for my
accommodation. I own that I did not, at the first view, give this worthy
man the full measure of credit that was due to him; for I could not help
feeling a strong suspicion that he had an eye to his usual fee for
indulgence. In consequence I addressed him as follows:--"I am much
obliged to you, Mr. Jones, for your kind and friendly offers of
accommodation; but, to tell you the truth, Sir, this is the case--When I
was last committed to your custody, which is now nearly ten years ago, I
had more money than wit; and I paid you very cheerfully for the
accommodations that you afforded me, for which I was very grateful; but
the case is altered, I have now more wit than money, little as the
former may be. To speak without metaphor, since I was last your
prisoner, I have had many a hard tug at any purse in my endeavours to
support my independence: prudence, therefore, compels me to remain
within the walls, and to forego (however reluctantly) your proffered
kindness." Mr. Jones took me by the hand, and looking me steadily in the
face, he replied, "Mr. Hunt, you have misunderstood me. I am fully aware
of the truth of your observations. I am not altogether ignorant of what
has occurred, but it would ill become me, in the situation I am placed,
to give any opinion upon your case. This, however, I know, that while
you were under my care you conducted yourself like a gentleman, and
acted towards me with the strictest honour, and in return I can only
say, you are welcome to reside without the walls, but I will not accept
a penny of your money, neither will I put you to the slightest expense
of giving any security. Your word, as a man of honour, to be forthcoming
when called upon, is perfectly satisfactory to me, and you are at
liberty to go out whenever you please. The only thing I will accept is,
(I know you are a sportsman) when you return into the country, send me a
basket of game, and I shall be perfectly satisfied." I thanked him
sincerely for his handsome behaviour, but I told him that I had procured
very comfortable lodgings at his old coachman's, Davey's, over the
coffee-room; and as I did not expect my family in town for a month or
six weeks, I would remain where I was till that time, when I would
accept his offer. "Very well," said he, "please yourself;" and ringing
the bell he called the Deputy Marshal, and said, "Recollect, Sir, to see
that Mr. Hunt is properly accommodated at Davey's, whilst he remains
here, and in the meantime, till his family comes to town, take care that
he has the run of the key." That is, to pass out and into the prison
whenever I pleased. The Deputy Marshal left the room, and after some
time spent in conversation upon the occurrences of the day, I bid him
good morning and took my leave; the door was opened, and I walked into
the street, whence I returned into the prison.

This was the treatment which I received from the Marshal of the King's
Bench Prison. I did not forget to send him a handsome basket of game,
not only that season, but many following; and I regret that I ever had
the negligence to omit doing so. However, if this should meet the eye of
any of my numerous sporting friends, which I know it will, he that sends
in my name a basket of game directed to William Jones, Esq. Marshal of
the King's Bench Prison, London, will confer a lasting obligation upon,
and afford great pleasure to, the "Captive of Ilchester," particularly
if he will drop me a line to say that he has done so.

Sir Francis Burdett was now a prisoner in the Tower, and I was a
prisoner in the custody of the Marshal; but as I had the run of the key,
and as the Baronet had not, a very few mornings elapsed before I paid
him a visit, entering my name at the lodge of the Tower, as Mr. Hunt of
the King's Bench--this might be said to be impudent enough. When I was
committed to the King's Bench in 1800, I paid a visit to poor Despard in
the Tower; while I was there in 1810, I frequently visited Sir Francis
Burdett in the same place.

At this time there were a great many young men of fashion within the
walls of the King's Bench for debt, with some of whom I frequently
associated, and joined in the game of fives. The Hon. Tom Coventry was
an expert player, as he had been an inmate several years. Young
Goulbourn, the brother of the Under Secretary of State, was also there.
I was invited, and frequently made one of their parties. Goulbourn and I
were generally pitted as opponents, both in politics and at rackets; he
was a clever young man, and the author of the Bluviad, a satirical poem,
which he had written upon his brother officers of the regiment of Blues,
for which he was either indicted or had an action brought against him
for a libel, I forget which. This young buck, of whom I recollect many
an anecdote, the last time I was in London I saw stuck up upon the
benches of the Court of King's Bench, with a large wig upon his head,
amongst the junior counsel behind the bar. I do not recollect ever
seeing his name mentioned, as being employed in any cause; neither do I
remember ever seeing him with a brief while I was in the Court. As,
however, his brother is now appointed Secretary to Marquis Wellesley,
the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, I dare say that this Gentleman will
have some employment found for him, better, or at least where he can
earn his money more easily, than drudging at the bar.

The feeling excited all over the kingdom, by the arbitrary proceedings
of the House of Commons, in committing Sir Francis Burdett to the Tower,
had, instead of diminishing, increased in a ten-fold degree, and might
be said to be now at its height. The City of London, or at least the
Livery, went in grand procession, preceded by Mr. Sheriff Wood, to
present an address to Sir Francis Burdett in the Tower. Resolutions,
petitions, and remonstrances, were also passed at many other places; for
instance, at Southwark, Coventry, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, &c.

While this was going on in London, Napoleon divorced the Empress
Josephine, and married the young Archduchess Maria Louisa, and the
nuptials were celebrated in Paris with a degree of splendour and
magnificence surpassing any thing of the sort ever before witnessed.
Many of Napoleon's best friends and warm admirers highly blamed him for
this match with the House of Austria, the deadly enemy to every thing
that bore the slightest resemblance to liberty. Others blamed him for
divorcing the Empress Josephine--but to those it maybe replied, he
openly avowed his purpose to be that he might have a family, and leave a
heir to the throne of France.  Instead of following the example of other
Monarchs, who had gone before him, and who, when they had wished to
gratify their caprices or their lusts, did not hesitate to rid
themselves of their wives by accusing them of some crime, and procuring
perjured villains to swear against them, by which means the unfortunate
females were divorced or had their heads taken off. Napoleon boldly
avowed his love for Josephine, and acquitted her of all suspicion of
blame; instead of becoming the dastardly assassin of her character, that
he might aim a blow at her life, he continued to cherish and to protect
her to the last.

Mr. Cobbett was tried and found guilty of a libel in the Court of King's
Bench, and was ordered up for judgment on the 5th of July; when, after a
hearing of the Attorney-General, Sir Vicary Gibbs, he was remanded to
the King's Bench, to be brought up again on the 9th, and he was
unexpectedly brought down thither while I was sitting writing a letter.
I heard that he was in the Marshal's house, endeavoring to make some
arrangement for his accommodation. I instantly hastened to my friend,
and desired him to make himself quite easy upon that subject, as I had
possession of the best apartments with-in the walls, which I would give
up immediately for the accommodation of himself and family, and I would
shift for myself in the best way that I could.  This he accepted without
ceremony, and what was very satisfactory to me, was, that he made no
annoying apology for the inconvenience which, in the mean time, I might
be put to, in finding a situation for myself. There was one great
pleasure in obliging such a friend, as he never put me to the blush by
making any scruples about accepting one's offer, or by using any
unmeaning palaver, about being afraid of his friend's putting himself to
an inconvenience on his account. I must give Mr. Cobbett the credit for
being totally free from any squeamish fears or apprehensions of this
sort; and I beg to declare that, on this very account, I always felt a
great additional pleasure in obliging him. Some persons may be ill-
natured enough to miscall this selfishness, and I know those that have
been illiberal enough to do so; but, as for myself, I could never be
induced to view it in that light, as I always thought him a man of
superior mind and great talent; it was not at all surprising that he
felt his own superiority; and, to accommodate such a man, his friends
never thought any sacrifice too great; at least I never did.  At all
events, I felt great pleasure that I had it in my power to contribute to
the convenience of himself and his family; and I was perfectly satisfied
to put up with a very small bed-room, in which I could scarcely stand
upright, for the four days that he remained there.

While Mr. Cobbett was in the King's Bench, he was violently attacked by
some of the writers belonging to the public press, and accused of having
offered to compromise with the Government, by giving up his Register,
and undertaking to write no more upon politics. Amongst this number was
Mr. Leigh Hunt, of the _Examiner_.  No man felt more indignant at this
attack upon my friend than I did; and as I was made to believe that
there was not the slightest foundation for the calumny, I lost no
opportunity to condemn, in the most unqualified terms, all those who had
been guilty of such base conduct as that of falsely accusing a man, at
such a moment, of that which I held to be a political crime of the
deepest die. "Love me, love my dog," was a maxim that was firmly
implanted in my breast. He, therefore, that injured my friend, made me
his enemy; nay, I was much more ready to resent an insult offered to my
friend, than I was to resent injury done to myself. It seems I was yet
very young in the ways of the world; so, instead of leaving Mr. Cobbett
(who was so very capable) to defend himself, I became his champion, and
assailed all those who had attacked him. I considered the conduct of Mr.
Leigh Hunt as most unworthy, he being a writer in the cause of Liberty,
and espousing those principles of good government for which Mr. Cobbett,
as well as myself, had been so earnestly contending. I charged him with
wishing to raise his fame and his fortune upon my friend's downfall; and
this was so strongly impressed upon my mind, that I believed it to be
the sole cause of his propagating what I considered the foulest and most
wanton calumny. I consequently spared him not, and so far was my friend
from checking my imprudent zeal, that he encouraged it; and what made me
the more earnest was, that he held it to be more dignified that he
himself should treat such preposterous slander with silent contempt. I
laid on most unmercifully also upon the editor of the _Times,_ on the
same account, both publicly and privately; by which indiscreet warmth
for my friend, I rendered two of the most powerful public writers of the
day, and who had the most extensive means of disseminating their
opinions, my most implacable enemies.  For many years the columns of the
_Examiner_ poured forth, upon every occasion, the most bitter sarcasms,
and the most unjust and wanton attacks upon my character, both private
and public, and this, too, at a time when I had not the slightest means
of defence, as I had not the least possible power or influence over the
smallest portion of the public press. To be sure, I have no one to blame
but myself, as, at the time, many good friends warned me of my folly.
Their argument was, "what have you to do with Cobbett's quarrels--is he
not capable of defending himself?" But although I daily suffered the
most severe attacks from the public papers, I still had the hardihood to
persevere in his behalf; and I never for a moment doubted the
correctness of my assertions till one day, that, as I was passing under
Temple-Bar, I chanced to meet Mr. Peter Finnerty. At some public
meeting, on the preceding day, I had been attacking some of the editors
of the public press, for their cowardly falsehoods and calumnies against
my friend Cobbett. Drawing me aside, and taking hold of the button of my
coat, Mr. Finnerty began to reason with me in the most friendly and
convincing language. He pointed out the folly of my attacking the
editors of the _Examiner,_ the _Morning Chronicle,_ and the _Times,_ in
defence of Mr. Cobbett's conduct, when I had no means of repelling the
attacks of those writers upon my own character. "Even," said he, "had
you proof of the truth of your assertions, that Cobbett never offered to
compromise with the Government, even then it would be great folly in you
to take up the cudgels for him; you who have not, in any portion of the
press, the slightest means of vindicating your own intentions. _You_
have drawn down a nest of hornets upon your own head; it is quite a
different thing with Cobbett, he has all the means of defence, he has a
great command of the press; and, besides, it sells his Register into the
bargain. Follow the advice which I give you as a friend, take care of
yourself; you will have quite enough to do to answer for yourself, and
do leave Cobbett to do the same."

This exhortation was delivered in so earnest a manner, that I sometimes
began to think that I might by possibility _have been wrong._ I was
certainly more guarded in future, but all the mischief was done; I had
excited the most inveterate hatred of the _Examiner_ and the _Times,_
neither of which papers ever let slip an opportunity to abuse, vilify,
and misrepresent me. They certainly have had more than ample revenge
upon me for my folly and credulity. They have both occasionally made the
_amende honorable;_ and I believe that the editor of the _Examiner_ has
been long since convinced, that I was actuated by the most honourable
feeling in resenting his attack upon Mr. Cobbett. It is, however, an
acknowledgment due from me to him, to say, that I was never wholly
convinced of my error till the trial of "Wright _versus_ Cobbett," which
took place in the Court of King's Bench, since I have been here.
Notwithstanding all the violent abuse and unjust assertions that have
been published in the _Examiner_ against me, I am bound in common
honesty to acknowledge my error, and to apologise to the editor of that
paper, for having been the first aggressor; and at the same time to
assure him, that I was impelled to commit this error from a firm
conviction, and the most unqualified assurance, that the assertions made
in the _Examiner_ were not only false in the main, but were even without
the slightest foundation in fact. As for the editor of the _Times,_ it
is not necessary for me to offer any apology to him. That paper has so
often, when edited by Dr. Slop, alias Stoddart, and even up to this very
time, given insertions to the most wanton and barefaced lies about me,
which the editor himself knew to be false when he wrote or admitted
them, that I hold the principles of its conductor in the greatest
contempt. Money is his god, and he would abuse the most perfect
character in the universe, or praise the most abandoned, if he thought
it would sell his paper. The study of the editor is to follow public
opinion, whatever it may be, he never attempts to lead it. I have a
gentleman now sitting with me, who assures me that he has heard one of
the persons most intimately connected with that paper say, that the
proprietors and managers of the _Times_ were well disposed towards Mr.
Hunt, and that they had the highest opinion of his talent and integrity;
but that they abused him for the purpose of pleasing some of their
readers, and selling their paper.

On the ninth of July, 1810, Mr. Cobbett was brought up for judgment, for
the libel of which he had been convicted by a _special_ jury. The
sentence was, two years imprisonment in Newgate, and a fine of 1000_l_.
to the King, and to find security for his good behaviour for seven
years. The boroughmongers had now got _myself_ in the King's Bench, and
_Mr. Cobbett_ in Newgate. Almost at the same time Sir Francis Burdett
was liberated from the Tower. His release took place on the 21st of
June, and, previous to it, the electors of Westminster resolved to meet
him at the Tower Gate, and to bring him in grand procession to his house
in Piccadilly. A splendid car was provided for the occasion, and
arrangements were made on a magnificent scale. I myself had
opportunities of communicating to him the progress of these
preparations, for many days previous to the day of his liberation, as I
visited the Baronet often while he was in the Tower. I was a prisoner in
the King's Bench, when Despard was in the Tower, and, as I have already
stated, I visited _him_ with Henry Clifford; I was also a prisoner in
the custody of the Marshal, while Sir F. Burdett was a prisoner in the
Tower, and I frequently visited _him_; and I also very frequently
visited Mr. Cobbett in Newgate. I mention this to show what sort of
imprisonment it is, being in the King's Bench. In fact, it is no
imprisonment at all. I was in the custody of the Marshal, and he knew
that I should not attempt an escape, and, therefore, I went where I
pleased.

When the day arrived on which Sir Francis Burdett was to quit the Tower,
immense multitudes flocked to Tower-Hill, and various parties of
citizens of London and Westminster attended to join the procession.
Major Cartwright and Alderman Wood attended, to head separate parties.
Mr. Place, of Charing-Cross, the political tailor, had undertaken to
head the horsemen; Mr. Samuel Miller, the shoemaker, of Skinner-street,
Snow-hill, also headed a large party of the citizens of London.
Innumerable parties came from all parts of the country, and, as it was a
fine day, the spectacle was expected to be very brilliant. I certainly
meant to witness it, although, being a prisoner, I did not intend to
take any conspicuous part in the procession.

I slept within the walls, and when I got up in the morning, the doors of
the King's Bench were closed for the day, and no one, except the
officers, was allowed to pass out or in; and, in consequence of the
strong public feeling that was created, the prison was surrounded by a
regiment of soldiers. Though I could not obtain egress, I raised a
subscription amongst some of my acquaintance in the prison, and we had a
butt of porter hoisted out of the cellar, and gave it away amongst the
poorer prisoners, to drink the health of Sir Francis Burdett. Towards
the evening we were told, by some of the officers of the prison, that
Sir Francis had disappointed his friends and the people, and had escaped
over the water in a boat, and fled privately to Wimbledon. This we would
not believe; and we, of course, set it down as a hoax of the officers,
particularly as all other means of information were cut off for that day
in the prison. So far were we, who were friends to the Baronet, from
giving credit to this story, that we actually caused the whole of the
interior of the prison to be illuminated; and such was the universal
feeling, that every window was lighted up.

The next morning, when the doors were opened, we learned that it was a
fact, that the hero of the day had actually sneaked out at the back-
door, or rather out of a trap-door, and escaped unobserved over the
water, without giving any one of his friends the slightest hint of his
intention. At last, after waiting till their patience became nearly
exhausted, the parties were informed of the trick that he had played
them; upon which they retraced their steps in the procession, with the
empty car, amidst the jeers and scoffs of all those who were inimical to
the politics professed by Sir Francis Burdett, who was by them
universally designated "Sir Francis _Sly-go."_

The Westminster Electors were not only disappointed, but they were very
indignant at the slight which they had received at the hands of their
Representative; and some of them went so far as openly to brand the
Baronet with the charge of cowardice. Amongst the latter was Francis
Place, the Charing-Cross tailor, who, in the most coarse and offensive
manner, accused the Baronet of being a d----d coward and a paltroon.
Hearing of Mr. Place's violence, I endeavoured to ascertain the cause of
his vindictive expressions, and my astonishment was very great, when Mr.
Miller informed me, that the said Francis Place had undertaken to head
one part of the procession, but that, when the day came, the said tailor
neither kept his appointment nor sent any excuse for his absence.

The reader will not fail to draw his own conclusions with respect to
this conduct of the political Westminster tailor, this leading cock of
the Rump, particularly when they couple this transaction with that of
the said tailor having been selected to act as _foreman_ upon the famous
inquest which was held upon the body of _Sellis,_ the late valet of the
Duke of Cumberland, who had been found in his bed with his throat cut,
in the apartments of the Duke of Cumberland, at a time when the said
Duke was understood to have had his _hand_ and other parts of his body
wounded with some sharp instrument. If Francis Place abused the Baronet,
the Baronet, on his side, did not fail to return the compliment, and to
describe the said tailor as a suspicious character. At all events, it
was a very extraordinary occurrence, that the most violent, professed
Republican, should have been selected to act as foreman to an inquest
which sat upon the body of a person found dead, under the most
suspicious circumstances, in a Royal Palace. It is said that, since that
period, Mr. Place has been a very _rich man;_ but that, before that
time, he was a _poor, very poor Democrat._ The way in which I have heard
Sir Francis and the present associates of this man speak of him, is
enough to excite the surprise of any one who is acquainted with their
present intimacy. Colonel Wardle always entertained the same opinion of
this man that Sir Francis Burdett did, and he always advised me to avoid
him. I did not fail to follow his advice. The fact is, that I was never
upon intimate terms with any of this Rump, and only knew them enough to
be able to keep an eye upon their motions.

A few days after this, my family came to town, and we resided in
lodgings which I had taken in the London-road. To these lodgings Sir
Francis Burdett one day came unexpectedly to take a family dinner with
me. He informed me that it was the first visit which he had paid to any
one since he left the Tower; and he appeared very anxious to know what I
thought of his manner of leaving the Tower, and also to ascertain what
were the sentiments of the public upon the subject; as he had not, he
said, had an opportunity of hearing any honest opinion upon it, he
having read only the comments of the newspapers. I told him my opinion
very honestly, that I very much disapproved of the step which he had
taken, and so did all the persons with whom I had conversed upon it; but
I added, I was too warm a partizan of his to say this to others, or
suffer them to say so, without expressing my belief that he had some
good and substantial reason for following such a course, and I pressed
him hard to tell me that reason. All, however, that I could get out of
him was, that Lord Moira, the Governor of the Tower, had persuaded him
to do so. From that moment Sir Francis Burdett lost the confidence of
the people; he had deceived them, and they never placed implicit faith
in him again.  No man but Sir Francis Burdett could have served the
people such a scurvy trick, and have preserved even the smallest portion
of popularity afterwards; but he had gained great hold of their
affections by his public exertions, although those exertions were much
more of a general than a specific nature.

While I remained in London, I constantly visited Mr. Cobbett in Newgate;
and, after I returned into the country, I occasionally went to London
for the purpose of passing a few days with him in his prison; and this I
continually repeated till the time that he left Newgate altogether.

When I returned to Sans Souci Cottage, I enjoyed the sports of the field
with quite as much glee as ever, and with a zest not in the slightest
degree abated by my sentence of three months' imprisonment. At the end
of the season I made the hares' _scuts_ which I had preserved, amounting
to two hundred and fifty, into a handsome pillow, which I had covered
with satin, and sent it to my opponent, Michael Hicks Beach, as a mark
of the contempt in which I held him, and as a trophy of the sport which
I had enjoyed during the season. This was taken, as I meant it should
be, in great dudgeon, and he complained of it very bitterly to some of
my friends. My sporting was now confined to my gun. I had, in a great
measure, given up hunting, for two reasons; first, because I had gone
into Leicestershire, and resided at Melton Mowbray one season, for the
purpose of enjoying fox-hunting in the highest perfection, by
alternately joining the Duke of Rutland's and the Quarndon pack of fox-
hounds. Those hounds were hunted in such a masterly style, and the whole
business was conducted in such a superior manner, that I never
afterwards could bring myself to relish fox-hunting in Hampshire or
Wiltshire. In truth, it was not like the same sort of sport, fox-hunting
in Leicestershire being so very superior. I really saw more fine runs in
one week, with the Duke of Rutland's pack, and the Quarndon pack, which
latter pack was then kept by Lord Foley, than I ever saw with a West-
country pack in one year. The next reason for my giving up hunting was,
that, in consequence of my weight, it was become too expensive, as it
required a horse of from two to three hundred pounds value to carry me
up to the head of the hounds, where I always rode as long as I followed
hunting.

I still resided in Bath in the winter, and at Sans Souci Cottage, in
Wiltshire, in the summer and autumn. One evening, Mr. Fisher, who had
the management of the White Lion Inn, at Bath, which he conducted for
Mr. George Arnold, called at my house, and sent in a message, to say
that he wished to speak to me in private. I desired him to walk in, as I
did not wish to be entrusted with any secrets but what might be known to
my family, who were sitting with me. At length he informed me, that the
French General, Lefebvre, who had been a prisoner in England, had been
staying some days at the White Lion, waiting for a remittance from
London, to take him thither on his road to France, to which country he
was returning, either by an exchange of prisoners, or on account of some
arrangement between the two Governments; that he had been disappointed
of his expected remittance, and that he had not enough cash to pay his
bill and his coach hire to London, whither he was most anxious to go;
and, therefore, he had proposed to leave a beautiful miniature of
Napoleon, for which that distinguished character had sat, and of which
he had made a present to the General, after some battle in which he had
fought bravely under the eye of the Emperor. Fisher had declined to take
the miniature in lieu of, or at least in pawn for, the bill; and the
General, in the greatest distress, and anxious to return to France, in
obedience to the call of the Emperor, urged him to try and raise a sum
upon it. Mr. Fisher told him that he did not know any one in Bath who
would give any thing for it, unless Mr. Hunt would, who was an avowed
admirer of Napoleon, although he believed him to be no connoisseur in
paintings. At the pressing request of the General, Mr. Fisher said he
had brought the miniature to shew me, and out he pulled it from his
pocket. It was contained in a small morocco case, about four inches by
three; but when it was opened it presented to the eye one of the most
beautiful specimens of miniature painting 1 ever saw. I asked Fisher
what was the amount of the bill? He replied, some shillings under ten
pounds. I desired him to return, and say, that if the General would part
with the miniature for that sum, I would advance the money; but that
I would purchase it if I had any thing to do with it, and not make an
advance upon it as a loan to be repaid. Mr. Fisher soon returned to say,
that, although the General lamented very much to part with the
miniature, which was the gift of his sovereign, yet, that necessity had
no law, and that I might have it by paying the bill; which I immediately
did, and received the miniature.

Some months afterwards, Madame Lucien Buonaparte arrived at Bath, in her
road to the residence of Lucien Buonaparte, at Ludlow, in Shropshire,
and she stopped at the White Lion for the night. In making her inquiries
of Mr. Fisher about General Lefebvre, when he was in Bath, the
circumstance of his having been obliged to part with the miniature of
Napoleon was mentioned. She instantly said, that she recollected the
circumstance of her brother having sat for the miniature, and presenting
it to Lefebvre, with a lock of his hair; and, mentioning the name of the
artist, expressed a great desire to obtain a sight of the picture, if
the gentleman was in Bath.  A polite note was accordingly written to the
lady to whom, at the time when I purchased the miniature, Mr. Fisher had
seen me present it; and she was requested to permit Madame Buonaparte to
see it. The lady immediately sent it to the inn by her maid, who was
introduced into the room to Madame Lucien, who instantly exclaimed, that
it was one of the very best likenesses of Napoleon that was ever
painted, and that it recalled him to her recollection more than any
thing she had ever seen since she had left Paris. This likeness was
taken immediately after he was made First Consul, and it is admitted by
all the Frenchmen that it was ever shewn to, to be a very beautiful and
correct likeness of him, as he was at that time. She wished the servant
to ascertain whether the lady would put a price upon it, but she was
promptly answered, that her mistress had instructed her to say, that no
price should purchase it. After having caressed and shed tears over it,
Madame Lucien returned it to the servant, begging the lady to accept her
grateful thanks for having allowed her to see it. I shall have hereafter
to relate what passed at an interview which I had with the General, who
came to England at the time of the peace, to endeavour to reclaim the
picture.

About this time a fire broke out at Auxonne, in France, in which town
twenty-one English prisoners of war were confined, who exerted
themselves vigorously to extinguish the flames. On this coming to the
ear of Napoleon, he instantly ordered them to be paid six months
pay, and gave them passports to return home to England. I mention this
circumstance as a proof of the liberal and noble mind of the brave and
persecuted Napoleon; particularly when contrasted with the mean and
dastardly conduct of those in power in this country. On a similar
occasion, when the fire took place in this gaol, the other day,
[Footnote: Alluding to the partial conflagration of Ilchester Gaol,
Thursday, November 15th, 1821.] twenty-five of the prisoners, with
myself, exerted ourselves, as was represented by the keeper to the
Magistrates, in the most exemplary and praiseworthy manner; but _our_
rulers do not know how to perform a generous and liberal act, they do
not possess a particle of that noble and magnanimous character, which
animated the gallant Napoleon.

The latter end of the year 1810 was remarkable for the greatest failures
in commercial speculation. Many Gazettes contained the names of fifty
bankrupts, and for many weeks following no Gazette appeared with less
than thirty, which was four times the average of former periods. The
cause of so much misery, mischief, and distress, was very fairly and
justly attributed to the impediments which the laws presented to
arrangements between debtors and creditors, impediments evidently
intended to benefit the harpies of the law. It is a remarkable fact that
there were just TWO THOUSAND bankrupts this year; supposing the Lord
Chancellor's fees to amount only to the moderate average of _twenty
pounds_ upon each bankruptcy, he must have cleared that year FORTY
THOUSAND POUNDS from bankrupts; which money must have come out of the
pockets of the poor creditors. A further blow was given to commerce by
an order, which, on the 27th of October, was promulgated in France, for
burning all British goods found in that country; which was rigidly
carried into effect.

On account of the King's illness, the Lord Mayor of London was requested
to continue in office another year. The coffin of the bloody-minded
villain, Judge Jeffries, was discovered in a vault, in the church of St.
Mary, Aldermanbury. On the 27th of November nineteen journeymen printers
of the _Times_ newspaper were sentenced to be imprisoned for a
conspiracy to raise their wages.

The average price of wheat this year was ninety-five shillings per
quarter, and the price of the quartern loaf averaged at ONE SHILLING and
FIVEPENCE.

I now became tired of living an inactive life out of business, and
therefore took a large estate at Rowfont, near East Grinstead, in
Sussex, consisting of a good mansion, a thousand acres of land, and the
manorial rights of the whole parish of Worth, extending over upwards of
twenty thousand acres; upon which I was to enter at Lady-day, 1811. This
year, when the Parliament met, the Regency question was discussed with
great warmth in both Houses. In hopes of the King's recovery several
adjournments took place; but all these expectations proved futile, and,
at length, Mr. Perceval brought in a bill, by which the Prince had the
same restrictions imposed upon him as in 1789; and the person of the
King was to be entrusted to the Queen, with a council.

These proposals were accepted by the Prince and by the Queen. As soon as
the act passed, the Prince acted as Regent, and the Parliament was
formally opened by a commission under the Great Seal. To the surprise
and astonishment of every body, and to the great mortification and
disappointment of the Whigs, the same ministers remained in office. The
fact was, that when the Whigs were last in office they fell into
complete disrepute with the people, and the public feeling was so much
against them, that the Prince Regent found that he should not be backed
by the people in making any change in favour of the junto faction. He,
therefore, had the prudence and the policy to continue the old set,
notwithstanding that set had always treated him with great suspicion,
and never let slip an opportunity of offering him the greatest
indignities and insults.

The city of London now petitioned the House of Commons for Reform. I was
frequently in London to visit my friend Mr. Cobbett, in Newgate; and the
party which I used to meet there was Sir Francis Burdett, Col. Wardle,
Major Cartwright, and Mr. Worthington; we used to spend the evening and
remain in the prison, or rather in Mr. Newman's, the keeper's house,
till ten o'clock. The great question of Parliamentary Reform was, on
these occasions, fully and freely discussed; and it was lamented by Sir
Francis Burdett that there were not some county meetings called, for the
purpose of petitioning the House for Reform. I suggested that it was in
vain to petition the corrupt knaves in the House to reform themselves,
but that, as the Prince Regent was entering upon his regal office, I
thought it would be a good opportunity to address him on that subject,
and to call upon him for the abolition of all useless sinecures and
unmerited pensions.  Sir Francis very much approved of the idea, and
asked if it were not possible to get a county meeting in Somersetshire,
where I was then residing, and where I had an estate, as had also his
brother, Jones Burdett. I replied, that if it were set about in earnest,
there was not a doubt but a meeting might be procured; and I agreed to
get this done immediately upon my return to Bath; Sir Francis at the
same time promising that his brother should attend the meeting, if I
could get the Sheriff to call one.

As soon as I got back to Bath, I put an advertisement into one of the
papers, requesting the freeholders to attend a preliminary meeting, to
sign a requisition to the Sheriff, for the purpose of calling a county
meeting, to address the Prince Regent, upon his accepting that office. A
considerable number of freeholders who were in Bath attended, and signed
the requisition that I had drawn up, and at the head of which I had set
my name. About twenty or thirty names were subscribed, and the next
morning I waited upon Mr. Gore Langton, one of the then Members for the
county, to ask his opinion, and to give him an opportunity of signing
his name, if he chose; I candidly and explicitly informed him, that the
purpose was to take, as the ground-work of the address, a Reform in
Parliament, and the abolition of useless sinecures and unmerited
pensions. He politely thanked me for the call, said that it would be
indiscreet in him, as the Member for the county, to sign his name to the
requisition, but added, that he perfectly approved of the object of the
meeting, and in case the Sheriff should call it, he would make a point
of attending it, and of supporting the address to the Regent, which it
was my intention to propose; the heads of which I read to him, and which
he highly approved.  I told him that I designed to drive round to the
principal towns of the county, to procure signatures from all parts,
that the Sheriff might not have any opportunity of refusing to call the
meeting.  Of this plan he also very much approved.

I took a friend with me in my tandem, and drove to Bristol, where we
procured only one name. From thence we went to Wells, Glastonbury,
Bridgwater, Taunton, Wellington, and returned by Chard, Yeovil,
Ilchester, Shepton Mallet, and Frome, to Bath. We were out, I think,
five days, and obtained the signatures of upwards of four hundred
freeholders, men of all parties, as the requisition was drawn in very
general terms, to take the sense of a county meeting upon the propriety
of presenting a dutiful and loyal address to His Royal Highness the
Prince of Wales, upon his accepting the high office of Regent of the
United Kingdom, &c. On my arriving at Ilchester, I called first upon Mr.
Tuson, the attorney, as the most respectable person in the town; and
upon reading over the requisition, he immediately signed it, and
requested that, if I went to Yeovil, I would call on Mr. Goodford, which
I promised to do. I obtained a number of names amongst the freeholders
of Ilchester, many of whom, I found, were clients of the worthy
attorney.  My having obtained such a name as his, was a sure passport to
success amongst his neighbours. The fact was, that the attorneys pretty
generally took the bait; to promote the presenting a dutiful and loyal
address to the new Regent, met with their general concurrence.

We went on to Yeovil, and called on Squire Goodford, as Mr. Tuson had
requested. The Squire was a young man, and upon seeing Mr. Tuson's name,
he gave us his without hesitation; and having got the Squire's name, of
course we got the name of almost every free holder in the town upon whom
we called.  At some places we certainly received a rebuff; but,
generally speaking, we were received with great politeness, attention,
and civility. At Taunton we met with a very hearty welcome, and got a
great number of signatures. Dr. Blake, Mr. Buncomb, and Mr. Dummet, will
not fail to recollect it, and that they promised to attend the county
meeting and support an address for Reform.

Whether the word Reform was in the requisition, I forget; but I well
know that, to all those who inquired or wished to be informed of the
object of the meeting, I never disguised my intention of making that a
leading feature of the address. Indeed, it spoke for itself. It was a
requisition to the Sheriff to call a meeting of the freeholders and
inhabitants of the county, to take into consideration the propriety of
addressing his Royal Highness the Prince Regent. Nothing could be
clearer or fairer. First, it was to call a meeting; second, when the
meeting was assembled, it was to take into its consideration the
propriety of presenting a dutiful and loyal address to the individual
who was just invested with the office of Chief Magistrate; and third, if
that proposition should be agreed to, why then to discuss and to settle
what should be the nature of that address. We invited all parties to
sign it, without distinction or exception; and, as almost every man in
the county was a stranger to us, we met with some very curious
adventures, of which the two following may be taken as a specimen. In
the small manufacturing town of Chard, we called first upon an attorney,
I think of the name of Clark, who, upon reading over the requisition,
signed it, and without making any comment.  He then drew out his purse,
and placed a guinea upon the paper, saying that he begged to accompany
his name with that subscription towards defraying the unavoidable
expense.  I politely declined to take it, declaring that we only
solicited signatures, but did not require any subscription. He, however,
would not be denied, adding, that our travelling round the country must
be attended with considerable expense, and, as it ought not to fall upon
one or two individuals, he should feel hurt if we did not suffer him to
pay his share of it.  I was about to expostulate, when my companion gave
me a smart twitch by the elbow, and taking up the guinea, he observed
that the gentleman was quite right, and he was much obliged to him.
This gentleman, although a perfect stranger, offered us refreshment, &c.
and pointed out to us where to call upon other freeholders.  As soon as
we got into the street, my companion began to expostulate with me,
telling me that it was the height of folly not to make every one who
signed his name subscribe something, as Mr. Clark had done, towards
defraying our expenses. I replied, that I would not suffer him to ask
for any thing from any one; that if any offered to subscribe, well and
good; but if it were known or suspected that we were calling for money,
we should not only lose many signatures, but should in many instances be
considered as very unwelcome visitors, and probably even be treated as
downright intruders My companion, who was a narrow-minded politician,
and of a penurious disposition, followed me in, grumbling, to the next
house that we called at, which was a tradesman's, who, I recollect, sold
salt.  I accosted this tradesman in the usual way, by informing him of
our business, requesting him to read the requisition, and desiring to
know if he had any objection to sign it. "Sir," said he, "I do not wish
to read the requisition; I have no objection to sign it, if you are
quite sure that it will not cost me any thing.  You are very welcome to
my name as a freeholder, to assist in calling a county meeting. God
knows _we want something done badly enough_; but, if it is ever to cost
me a sixpence, I will not touch it."  Giving my friend, who was staring
with his mouth open, a very significant look, I assured the gentleman
that it would never cost him a farthing; upon receiving which assurance
be very deliberately took his pen from the desk, and as deliberately
dipped it in the ink, and then, having taken the paper in his left hand,
and laid it upon the counter, he looked me once more full in the face,
and demanded, "are you quite sure, Sir, if I sign my name, that I shall
not be obliged to attend the county meeting, when it is called?" I told
him that we should be happy with his company if he chose to come to the
meeting, but that it would be left entirely to his own option, whether
he would do so or not. "Sir," said he, "I do not think you would deceive
me," and he then signed his name.

To give an account of the various incidents which occurred, in this
perambulation of the county of Somerset, would be an interesting and
diverting history of itself. I had, indeed, told my companion, at
starting, that, if he kept his eyes and his ears open, our journey would
afford him an opportunity of studying human nature, and witnessing its
various shades and colours, possibly in much greater perfection than he
had ever before experienced, and my prediction was verified. I suppose
that we did not call upon less than five hundred freeholders; in fact,
we procured nearly that number of signatures, and to me this was a most
interesting and entertaining expedition. I had no self-interested object
in view; I was, or at least I believed I was, performing an important
public duty, and my only aim was to procure a county meeting--and for
what, it will be asked? My answer is, for the sole purpose of inducing
my brother freeholders and fellow-countrymen of Somersetshire to look
into their own affairs, instead of trusting to those persons who were
duping and plundering them.

In the neighbourhood of Chard we called upon Mr. Dean, a large
manufacturer of woollen-cloth, who had been a customer of mine to a very
large amount, he having purchased of me at one deal between eight and
nine thousand fleeces of valuable South-down wool, at half-a-crown a
pound; which, I recollect, averaged about six shillings a fleece; so
that the whole sum was about two thousand five hundred pounds. The wool
was to have been paid for, as is usual, upon delivery. But when Mr.
Forsey, who was the partner of Mr. Dean, came to weigh the wool, he
unexpectedly requested, on the part of Mr. Dean, with whom I had had
previous dealings, that I would give them two or three months' credit,
by taking their bills, at that date, for the amount.  As in former
transactions I had found Mr. Dean a very honourable man, I readily
consented to grant the favour, though, as a farmer, the custom was
always to be paid for every thing in ready money. The reader must excuse
this apparent digression, or rather this descending to minute
particulars in this transaction with Mr. Dean, which will be hereafter
accounted for. I find it, indeed, necessary to be very particular in
explaining my transactions with Mr. Dean, in consequence of an infamous
calumny, which, subsequently to my leaving the country, and going to
reside in Sussex, was published in the _Taunton Courier_, relative to
what took place when I was, upon this occasion, at Mr. Dean's.  I shall
prove the editor of this contemptible paper to be an unprincipled, cold-
blooded libeller, destitute of every manly and honourable feeling; a
wretch, who, from the basest and most mercenary motives, to raise his
obscure paper into notice, and to promote its sale, could disgrace the
name of man, by propagating the most notorious and unfounded falsehood
against the private character of a public man.

When we arrived at Mr. Dean's, we were received with the most hearty
welcome. He lived in very great stile, and he did every thing to shew
his sense of my liberal and generous conduct towards him.  The fact of
the case was, that a request was made for more time to pay for the wool;
and, as I was not in want of the money, the further time was given; and
when, at the end of six months, I did receive the debt, I declined to
charge any interest for it. Mr. Dean and his family appeared to feel
great pleasure in paying me every attention, in return for what he
openly declared to be most handsome and liberal conduct on any part. He
admitted that mine was the finest and best lot of English wool that he
had ever purchased; that it turned out remarkably well, and fully
answered the sample. When I sold off my valuable stock of sheep at
Chisenbury farm, Mr. Dean sent up and purchased twenty lambs, that he
might possess some of my stock of pure South-downs; and he afterwards
much regretted that he had been prevailed upon to cross them with the
Spanish Merino breed, which, he said, had entirely defeated his original
object. He took me into his field, to show me the sort which the cross
had produced, and said, that he very much wished to dispose of them, as
they were more plague than profit to him: in fact, he offered to make me
a present of them; which offer I declined to accept; but I told him, as
I had now taken a farm in Sussex, if he would send them half way, I
would purchase them at their value. I believe there were about twenty-
six ewes and an old Spanish ram; and, as far as I can recollect, I was
to give him thirty shillings each for them, which was a fair price, as
times went, they being only small two-teeth ewes.

The requisition being signed by upwards of four hundred freeholders, I
wrote to the Sheriff, Mr. Horner, of Wells, to know when I should wait
upon him with it. He replied, that, as he was just going out of office,
and as the new Sheriff, Mr. Smith Leigh, would be sworn in at Bath, on a
day named in his letter, he begged that I would attend there on that
day, that it might be presented to the new Sheriff, when I could know
his pleasure upon the subject. At the appointed time I accordingly
attended, and the Sheriff, Mr. Leigh, named Monday, the -- day of
March, for the county meeting to be held at Wells.

Although I had taken an estate in Sussex, I had not yet given up my
house in Bath, where I was then residing. On the Sunday previous to the
day fixed upon for the meeting, Mr. Jones Burdett dined with me at Bath,
and while we were at dinner, Mr. Power, an eminent reporter of the
Morning Chronicle, came in. He travelled down, as I understood, at the
request of Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Cobbett, to report the
proceedings of the meeting. After dinner, the resolutions and the
address being agreed upon, we started for Wells, where we slept that
night, to be in time for the meeting, which was to be held at twelve
o'clock on the following day. We now learned that there had been a very
great stir made in the county, by the gentry and magistrates, of both
the Whig and Tory faction. Many of them had canvassed their tenants and
the freeholders of their neighbourhood, to attend the meeting, to vote
against the proposition of Mr. Hunt, without knowing themselves, or
attempting to explain to others, what Mr. Hunt was going to propose.
Sir John Cox Hippisley, an old Whig Member of Parliament, was very
active; and he employed one James Mills, who was a sort of a steward or
understrapper to Lady Waldegrave, to canvas all their tenants and the
surrounding neighbourhood, for the purpose of bringing in farmers and
others to hold up their hands against "HUNT."  Many, who inquired what
they were to oppose, were told by this worthy, that they were to hiss,
hoot, and make a noise, when Hunt spoke, and to hold up their hands
against any thing that he brought forward.  I recollect Mr. Power
coming, in the morning, to the door of my bed-room, to inform me of the
character and disposition of the farmers and yeomanry who were
assembled, many of whom he had heard express themselves in a very
indignant manner against this Mr. Hunt, who was going to do something
which the squires had ordered them to prevent.

There was a fine meeting, of not less than four or five thousand
persons; and, as soon as the Sheriff had opened the proceedings, by
having the requisition read, signed, as he said, by Henry Hunt, and four
or five hundred other persons, I stepped forward and began to address
the meeting. _A howl was set up directly_, before they heard one word
that I had to say, by the said Mills, and a gang of slaves whom he had
collected off the Mendip Hills; a set of fellows as ignorant of all
political matters as they were illiterate and besotted. The parsons
joined the howl; and of the black cormorants there was a plentiful
sprinkling, as a number of them herd together at Wells, in consequence
of there being a cathedral, and the residence of a bishop, in that city.
At that time, however, I had a most powerful voice, and in spite of the
beastly howling of these mongrel curs, I made myself heard. I told them,
that the time would come, when they would wish that they had patiently
listened to my advice, and followed my recommendation. I told them then,
that the only remedy to escape _ruin_ and distress would be, for the
landlords to lower their rents, the parsons to reduce their tithes, and
then resolutely join the people in demanding a Reform of the Commons'
House of Parliament, which alone would produce a real diminution of
taxation. O, how the brutish farmers, who had come into Wells that day
at the command of their landlords, did bellow and roar to put me down,
and endeavour to prevent my being heard! O, how many of them have come
to me since I have been in this Bastile, to confess their folly and
lament that they had not taken my advice: how many scores of them have
been sent to this gaol for debt, since that time, ruined by the very
system of taxation that they bellowed for that day! After I had
concluded my address, which was delivered amidst continued contention
and uproar, a great majority wishing to hear me, and occasionally the
bellowers attempted to listen, and for a moment ceased their senseless
clamour: having heard one sentence, they appeared very anxious to hear
what was to follow; but the agent of old Sir John Cox Hippisley, James
Mills, the steward of Lady Waldegrave, under whom they appeared to act,
and whose voice or signal they obeyed as regularly as a pack of well-
trained hounds obey the voice of the huntsman; this worthy, backed by
some half-score of parsons, kept their curs in constant full cry to the
end; when I proposed an address to the Prince Regent, expressive of the
state of the country, and calling his Royal Highness's attention to that
devastating system which would ultimately bring the farmer and the
tradesman to that _ruin_ and distress which had already fallen upon the
industrious labourer and mechanic; praying for an abolition of all
useless and expensive sinecure places and unmerited pensions, a
reduction of the army, economy in the public expenditure, and a reform
in the notorious abuses which were openly practised in the election of
the Members of the Commons' House of Parliament. This address, which was
pretty well heard, was received with applause by a considerable majority
of the meeting; and it was seconded by Mr. Jones Burdett, in a very good
speech, which he delivered upon the occasion. Mr. Horner, the late high
sheriff, and a staunch ministerialist, came forward to propose an
amendment, which, after some little hacking and hammering, he read. It
was a mere time-serving piece of fulsome adulation to the Prince Regent,
totally unworthy the character of a meeting of freemen, and such as
no sensible Englishman would have offered to the Prince, without
expecting to be kicked by his Royal Highness, for its time-serving,
barefaced, unmeaning flattery. Sir John Cox Hippisley, who had not then
_ratted_, a regular Whig, seconded this amendment, in a speech which I
am sure many of those who were present will never forget; it was full of
sophistry end cant; and the old cunning fox whined and coaxed his
hearers in the most supplicating manner, to support the old magistrates
of the county, who, he said, had always been the best friends the
farmers ever had, or ever would have; and a great deal more of such
trash. He implored them not to listen to the advice of strangers, who
wished to withdraw them from that steady loyalty for which the yeomanry
of the county of Somerset had so long been remarkable: he assured them,
that the good old times would come round again, and that, if they would
only wait with patience, all the difficulties and distresses which were
partially felt in the country would be removed, and plenty and
prosperity would be restored. He admitted that a Reform in Parliament
was necessary, but he contended that _that_ was not a _proper time_ to
obtain it, neither was Mr. Hunt a proper person to obtain it for them.--
Sir John Cox Hippisley, who was a needy briefless lawyer, had married a
widow lady of the name of Cox, who was possessed of a good fat dower,
consisting of some very fine estates, which were left her by her late
husband, a gentleman of character and fortune, one of the old
aristocratical families of this county, and who, I believe, had been one
of its representatives in Parliament. Her present lucky husband, Sir
John, prospered much better as a country magistrate, and a Member of
Parliament for the borough of Sudbury, than he did at the bar.  The
worthy baronet will be long remembered in Parliament for the _endless
speeches_ which he made there, and the _thin benches_ which, as a
natural consequence, he always produced. I have been told by some of the
members, that when Sir John Cox Hippisley rose in the House, it was a
signal for the other members to retire to take their dinners, or to
converse upon other subjects; for, if they remained in the House, the
baronet's voice was so melodious, that it was sure to send them all to
sleep.

At the meeting of which I am now giving an account, the worthy baronet
_chattered_ for nearly an hour; and when he had concluded, Sir Thomas
Acland came forward with a very confident air. As Sir Thomas had been
taking notes all the time that I was speaking, and had frequently made
what he intended for very significant gestures, we all expected that be
would attempt something like an answer to my arguments, to show that the
address which I had proposed was either improper or unnecessary.  He
began with, "Gentlemen"--but Sir Thomas, being a very young man, _could
never get out_ that which it appeared he wished to say; and, after
repeating "Gentlemen," and hesitating for some time, he, in a most
ludicrously affected manner, exclaimed, _"England, with all thy faults,
I love thee still!"_ and with this quotation he was so exceedingly
delighted, or was so unable to find any thing else to say, that after
having, cuckoo-like, to the great amusement of his audience, repeated it
at least half a dozen times, he retired without uttering another
sentence. We have heard since, that Sir Thomas is become an _orator_, he
having made several brilliant speeches in Parliament.  It may be so; but
his _debut_ at Wells was most laughable. Mr. Goodford, one of the
Ilchester Bastile Visiting Magistrates, next came forward, to disclaim
any participation in calling the meeting: he had, he said, certainly
signed the requisition, but he did not know the object of it. He was
succeeded by a Mr. Stephen, a clergyman, a brother to the Master in
Chancery, who also supported the amendment, and declaimed against Mr.
Waithman and all the Reformers; but particularly, by insinuation,
against myself, who had agitated the peaceable county of Somerset. This
gentleman certainly spoke very eloquently, but he proved himself to be a
determined supporter of the most profligate system, or (to use the
proper phrase) a true thick and thin Government man. Mr. Power, the
gentleman who came to report, now stepped forward, and, in a short but
animated reply to the parson's attack upon Mr. Waithman, who was absent,
most successfully repelled his insinuations against the reformers.

When I went round the county to get the requisition signed, I met with
hundreds of not merely Reformers, but absolute heroes in the cause, who
promised to come to the meeting, and to support my address. But, alas!
when the day of battle came, these blustering blades were all vanished;
in fact, I saw but two or three of those who had so strongly pledged
themselves to attend, and they looked as shy as possible; and instead of
coming upon the hustings to support me, they were afraid of being seen
to speak to me--so subservient and so toad-eating were they to the
Magistracy, when they came into contact with them. Upon the right of the
hustings, where I stood, there were only about half a dozen, and five of
them came with me. Mr. Waddington attempted to address the meeting; but,
as he was seen coming to the hustings in company with me, the
jolterheads would not hear him; and the other person who had attended me
round the county being very illiterate, so much so, indeed, as to be
incapable of speaking three words of English, or uttering a sentence
without betraying his ignorance, we did not think it proper to expose
him.  I, therefore, shortly replied to the artful addresses of Sir John
Cox Hippisley, and Parson Stephen. When the Sheriff put it to the vote,
by a show of hats, whether the amendment should be adopted or not, it
was most evident to me, and I believe to all who were upon the hustings,
that the majority was against the amendment. The Sheriff, however,
declared the show of hats to be so equal, that he could not decide which
party had the majority; upon which the _old fox_ suggested to the
Sheriff, to divide the meeting to the right and to the left. This was no
sooner said than, as if by previous consent, about forty constables made
a wide passage down the middle, which they cleared with their staves,
while the Magistrates and Parsons, with the most scrutinising eyes,
marked all those that passed over from their side to support my address.
This very unfair conduct produced the desired effect; hundreds, who had
held up their hats in the crowd for my motion, were so intimidated by
this movement, that they did not venture to expose themselves to the
rancour of the Magistrates and Parsons; and the majority was now
evidently for the amendment, although, in spite of the stratagem which
had been used, the majority was so small, that our opponents clearly, by
their looks, betrayed their conviction that they had sustained a defeat.

I should be doing a great injustice to my own feelings if I were to omit
to mention one gentleman, of the county of Somerset, who came forward in
the most manly and independent manner, to give me his support, although
he had neither signed the requisition, nor promised to support me; but
it was very evident that he acted from principle, and from the purest
motives of patriotism and love of country. This was Mr. JOHN PRANKERD,
an attorney, of Langport. He came manfully upon the hustings, and,
without any disguise, he had the courage and the honesty to act like an
Englishman and a freeman, by following the conscientious dictates of a
noble heart, and speaking his mind, in spite of Magisterial dictation
and overbearing tyranny. To the honour of the county of Somerset be it
told, that there was one gentleman in it who, by joining our little
party upon the hustings, had the honesty and the courage openly to brave
the fury of the tyrannical junto of Magistrates and Parsons, who had
assembled upon this occasion; but to its shame be it said, he was the
only man who did so.  There were thousands who mixed in the crowd, a
majority who held up their hats to support my address, they had sense
and honesty enough to think right, but, when a division and a scouting
took place, they had not the courage to face the eye of their
oppressors. I never saw Mr. Prankerd but once afterwards (and then I met
him by accident in London), till I came to this Bastile. But I had no
sooner become a captive in that county which I had ten years before
roused into holding a public county meeting, than Mr. Prankerd hastened
to my prison-house, and tendered to me his aid, his friendship, and his
generous and patriotic assistance; fortunately, he only lives about ten
miles from this place, and he was the second friend who called to cheer
and to alleviate the horrors of my captivity, by the kindest assurances
that he would do every thing in his power to make me comfortable while I
remained here. It is with the most unqualified gratitude that I now bear
witness that he has fulfilled his promise to the very letter.  Nothing
could have surpassed his active friendship for me upon all occasions.
It is one of the many obligations which I owe to him, that he introduced
to me his amiable relatives at Milbourn Port, Mr. and Mrs. Parsons, and
Miss Newton, who have also, by their unremitting kindness, greatly
contributed to my comfort and happiness. In fact, the generous
attentions of Mr. Prankerd, and these his worthy kindred, have been
unceasing since I came here; and they have eminently contributed to
lighten the pressure of that burden with which the Boroughmongers vainly
hoped to overwhelm me.

I must also do justice to the conduct of Mr. Jones Burdett at this
meeting. I know that every art was employed, every exertion was made by
his neighbours, the magistrates, to seduce him over to join the Whigs
against me; and when these artful knaves found they could not succeed in
this, they then endeavoured to get him to stand neuter, and at all
events not to support my address.  But Mr. Jones Burdett had given his
promise, and all their arts could not succeed to make him break that
promise.  It would have been very base in him if he had done so; but I
have been acquainted with thousands who would have yielded to such
entreaties.

When we left the hustings, I returned to my inn, the Swan, where a large
party of freeholders was to dine. The multitude accompanied me thither,
testifying their approbation with the loudest shouts; while the gentry,
composed of both factions, who had opposed me, sneaked off to their
homes ashamed to look at each other.

The next day I wrote the following address to the freeholders, which was
published in a county paper, as well as in the nineteenth volume of
Cobbett's Register:

  TO THE INDEPENDENT FREEHOLDERS AND
  INHABITANTS OF SOMERSETSHIRE.

  GENTLEMEN--I cannot refrain from offering you my
  congratulation on the effect of the first public meeting
  ever called in this county. Notwithstanding our opponents
  obtained a small majority against the address which
  I had the honour to propose to you on that day, yet I am
  clearly convinced that you gained a more complete victory
  (in the full admission of the truth of all the leading
  parts of that address by every one of those gentlemen who
  spoke against its adoption), than you would have gained
  by a mere majority of numbers without this unqualified
  admission of those facts.  The address pointed out, clearly
  and explicitly, the distressing situation of the country;
  and it stated that the cause of all these distresses arose
  from a want of a fair and free representation of the people
  in Parliament. These facts were explicitly acknowledged
  by Sir John Cox Hippisley, who appeared to be the principal
  orator of both the parties, that united against the
  people on that day, who said he was sorry to bear witness
  to the truth of my statement; that "there was at this time
  a million and a half of paupers in England, subsisting on
  parish allowance, which was two pounds of bread per
  head per week less than the allowance to felons confined
  in our gaols."  His only answer (if it might be called an
  answer) was, that there were 30 millions of paupers in
  France! He admitted that the cause of all the afflictions
  and misfortunes of this once free and happy nation, arose
  from the state of the representation, and said, that he lead
  always voted for that Reform which was the object of our
  address; but that he found this to be an improper time to
  accomplish it. On his being asked to name the proper
  time, he declined to make any answer. Now, as all
  the gentlemen who spoke upon this subject completely
  agreed with Sir John, I contend it was a great victory obtained
  over the enemies of Reform; for had we produced
  such an address, and supported it in the same language of
  truth, three years back, instead of having all our points
  admitted to be true, only that it was an improper time to
  enforce them; instead of this, all the facts would have
  been impudently denied, and the mildest appellations we
  should have been branded with would have been jacobins
  and levellers.  These three facts were clearly ascertained
  and allowed by all parties, on that day; first, that it was
  proper the freeholders and inhabitants of the county of
  Somerset should assemble in county meeting, for they all
  congratulated you upon your meeting; second, that the
  country was in an awful and distressing situation; third,
  that it was highly necessary there should be a Parliamentary
  Reform, only this was not the proper time for it;
  and that you, the freeholders and inhabitants of the county,
  were not the proper men to effect it.  Pray, who are
  the proper men to effect it?  Are Sir John Cox Hippisley,
  Sir Thomas Acland, Colonel Horner, the Rev. Mr.
  Trevillian, and Justice Goodford, likely men to bring
  about a Parliamentary Reform? Do you believe, Gentlemen,
  that they will ever call you together and tell you
  _now_ is the time for Reform?  You saw and heard them all
  on Monday last; and if, after this, you still believe that
  they are the sort of men likely to procure you an equal
  and fair representation in Parliament; if you wait for
  these leading men, as they have been called, in your county,
  to bring about a Reform, you deserve not even the
  chance of ever obtaining it.  What could you discover in
  these Gentlemen to make you believe that they will ever
  attempt to tender you any relief from the load of taxes
  under which you groan?  Did they promise you any such
  thing?  Did they give you any reason to believe that they
  wish to have your opinion again?  Although they have
  been called your leading men, did they ever assemble you
  in county meeting?  Will they ever do it?  No, believe
  me, never. They heard too much of your sentiments
  that day ever to wish to try the experiment again.  That
  day the united influence of all the leading men, of all the
  Magistrates, of all the men of large landed property, the
  coalition of both parties, the Ins and the Outs, and all their
  mighty influence actively exerted for the last three weeks
  against you; and what has been the result?  Why truth,
  unaccompanied by any influence, prevailed. Although
  you divided in a minority, in the proportion of three to
  two, yet truth prevailed; and be assured there is now a
  firm foundation laid for establishing the future independence
  of the county of Somerset.

  I am, Gentlemen,

  Your sincere humble servant,

  HENRY HUNT.

  _Bath., March 6th_, 1811.

To this letter Mr. Horner replied, which gave Mr. Cobbett an opportunity
of criticising the proceedings of the meeting, and of giving Sir
John Cox Hippisley a severe and well-merited castigation, for the
inconsistent and hypocritical conduct of the Whigs in uniting with the
Tories against the people. These _two factions_, Whigs and Tories, had
been for many years accusing each other of ruining the country; but, as
soon as the people began to think and act for themselves, and to take
measures for correcting the evil, they both joined, and exclaimed, "We
are a very happy people! We are very well off! Look at France! Look at
other countries!" This was the language of Sir John Cox Hippisley.

One unequivocally good effect was produced by this meeting. The mask
was torn from the faces of a hypocritical tribe. The Whigs had never so
openly exposed themselves before. All county meetings had, indeed, been
heretofore called; but they had been called by one or other of the two
factions; generally by the faction out of place, who wanted to make use
of the people to enable them to get into place, by turning out their
opponents. Therefore, though they were always pitted against each other,
yet both factions were equally anxious to impose upon, and keep the
people in the darkest ignorance. I considered it as a great victory to
have compelled these two factions to unite, and show themselves in their
true colours in the face of the whole country. From that moment these
factions were so well understood that they have not been able to
deceive any body. The _Courier_ said, that the Reformers had received a
"_Rebuke_" in Somersetshire; upon which Mr. Cobbett expressed himself as
follows: "_Rebuke_, indeed! as if it was a defeat, as if it was not a
complete victory to have compelled the two factions to unite, to exert
all their influence, of a public as well as of a private nature, and to
come barefacedly forward against the people, against Reform, against
every thing that menaced Corruption! As if this was doing nothing! As
if this was a defeat! All the magistrates, all the hierarchy, all the
_squirarchy_ of the county were assembled, with some few exceptions.
There were, perhaps, not less than two hundred constables. Why all
this? Was it doing nothing to get all the people together? Was it doing
nothing to compel them to expose their union to the people? Was it doing
nothing to make them exhibit themselves thus, and to knock up for ever
all the humbug of party in the county?" Mr. Cobbett thought this a
victory of sufficient importance to fill eight pages of his Register
with these sort of comments upon the good effects likely to be produced
by it.

I have been the more diffuse in detailing the particulars of this
meeting; because, when the reader shall have perused an account of two
subsequent public meetings, which I attended in this county (at both of
which the propositions that I supported were _carried_ by overwhelming
majorities); when he shall have coupled them with the great public
meeting that I was instrumental in calling at Bath, in the year 1816,
at which meeting I presided, and at which those resolutions and that
petition were adopted, and signed by 20,000 names, which was the
cause of Lord Camden resigning his _sinecure place_ of Teller to the
Exchequer; when he shall have reflected upon all these things, the
reader will, perhaps, discover the _reason_ why the corrupt tools of the
Boroughmongers sent me to be imprisoned in the Bastile of _this_ county.
There had never been a public meeting of the inhabitants at Bath in the
memory of the oldest person residing in that city; and it is possible
there never would have been a public meeting held in it, if it had not
been for my exertions. There had never been a public county meeting
in Somersetshire before, at least not any thing worthy to be called a
county meeting, till I procured one; and my readers may be well assured
that these things were the cause of the Government selecting this Gaol
for the place of my incarceration. Another thing was, that the Judges
knew it to be one of the worst, the most confined, and most unwholesome
Gaols in the kingdom. At these public meetings that spirit was
engendered, which blazed forth with so much splendour at the late county
election for Coroner, at which the little freeholders spurned the
arbitrary dictation of the Magistracy of the county, and elected a
Coroner of their own choice, in spite of the overbearing threats held
out by those who had so long been in the habit of ruling them with a rod
of iron.

I have before mentioned that I was a member of, or rather an annual
subscriber to, what is called the Bath and West of England Agricultural
Society; and, as a farmer, possessing, perhaps, the very best and
largest stock of Southdown sheep, having my extensive farms cultivated
under my own eye in such a manner, as to be more like a garden than like
a large arable farm, that farm, of course, producing its produce in the
market at all times of a superior quality; I had been often asked, why I
did not exhibit some of my stock, and claim some of the numerous prizes
for good husbandry, which were annually given by the society? My answer
was this, "I pay my guinea a year, that I may have an opportunity
to watch the motions of those gentry who have the management of the
_concern_, and to see how the _pegs and wires_ work." When I first
became a member, my father warned me against being made the dupe of the
artful and designing knaves, who were the leading parties concerned in
it; and he always declared that the society was composed of _three_
classes of persons, namely, "RAPACIOUS LANDLORDS; CUNNING, GRASPING,
LONG-HEADED PARSONS; AND SHALLOW, VAIN, JOLTER-HEADED FARMERS;" the
object of the two former being to suck the brains of the latter, for the
purpose of ascertaining the utmost value of their _lands and tithes_,
that they might screw up the _rents_ of _both_ to the highest possible
pitch: in fact, he always set them down for a set of unprincipled
gamblers and swindlers, whose sole design was to benefit themselves
at the expense of a starving community, by increasing the price of the
necessaries of life, through the means of every possible chicanery,
trick, and delusion. He used to say, that one half of them ought to be
sent to Botany Bay for swindling, and the other half of them deserved to
be whipped at the cart's tail for their folly end vanity. "But," said
he to me, in the most solemn and impressive manner, "whatever you do,
never, on any account, become a candidate for any of their premiums or
prizes, because _there_, 'kissing _ goes entirely by favour_,' and,
therefore, unless you will submit to become one of their unprincipled
gang, by assisting them to dupe and plunder others, be you assured that
they will dupe and plunder you; and, let your merit be what it will,
take my word for it, you will _never obtain a prize_." I always followed
my father's advice; and, by the most strict and impartial observation,
I have satisfied myself beyond the possibility of doubt that he was
correct in his conclusions. They are, however, not only eminent in
knavery, but that their folly keeps full pace with their ignorance and
stupidity; the following are splendid proofs. One of their members, Mr.
Thomas Crook, of Futherington, actually exhibited a _fat sheep, as a
pig_. He made a bet with a friend, that he would prove the members
of the Bath Agricultural Society to be such a set of contemptible
pretenders and impostors, that they did not know a _sheep_ from a _pig_.
There was to be a premium, as usual, for the best _fat pig_, with the
_greatest_ quantity of fat with the _least_ bone. Mr. Crook ordered a
very fat sheep to be killed; the wool was then burnt off with straw, the
inside taken out, and the carcase dressed after the manner of a bacon
hog, and as it was a horned sheep, he had the head cut off, as well as
the legs. Mr. Crook was so confident of their want of knowledge, that he
actually had his PIG hung up at the entrance of the sapient society's
room; so that every one who passed must of necessity see it as they went
in or out. Mr. Crook's pig was the admiration of the whole society, and
it was declared by the judges far to surpass all the others that were
exhibited. Unbounded encomiums were passed upon Mr. Crook, and his most
excellent breed of pigs, every one being anxious to possess some of this
valuable sort of swine. The prize was, of course, awarded to Mr. Crook;
but, as he was a plain, honest, strong-headed farmer, who had always
held this society in the highest contempt, he, after dinner, treated
them with a suitable lecture upon their profound ignorance, and a
well-merited satire upon their false pretensions; and then openly
declared, that the PIG which they had, _one and all_ (several hundreds
of them), so much admired, was nothing more nor less than a SHEEP! How
the jolterheaded ideots could ever look each other in the face again,
and have the audacity to prate about their proficiency in agriculture,
must surprise all those who are unacquainted with their brazen-faced,
hardened impudence.

Another of these worthies, a few years afterwards, played off a similar
trick upon these sapient agricultural asses. He exhibited an ox for the
prize. When it was killed, he and the butcher placed the fat of two oxen
in the inside of it. The beast was wonderfully admired by all who saw
it, and the judges awarded the prize and the premium to Mr. Kemp, who
was the owner of the ox, thus crammed with the fat of another ox in
addition to its own. Mr. Kemp was, it seems, very well satisfied with
playing off this trick upon these _tricksters_; and it never would have
been known, if the butcher had not, some time afterwards, divulged the
secret. Mr. Kemp knew that the whole thing was trick and imposition
from beginning to end; and, therefore, he thought them fair game. While
collectively the gang constantly imposes upon the public, its members
constantly dupe and impose upon each other; and yet this is the most
respectable society of agricultural asses in the kingdom! As a body they
may be described as a set of the greatest impostors I ever met with in
my life. There are, of course, many honourable exceptions, but they are,
for the most part, the dupes of their more designing associates. A
great number of them never paid up their subscriptions, and even
_Vice-presidents_ were eight or ten years in arrears. When they were
seven years in arrear, there was a mark of _degradation_ placed against
their names, which were annually published, and many bore this disgrace
with surprising fortitude, though some of them were Members of
Parliament, with upwards of ten thousand a year income.

One year, while I resided at Bath, the society were by some means
deprived of their show-yard; the place in which they used to exhibit
their live stock, &c. &c. The late secretary, Mr. Mathews, a very worthy
man, applied to me for the loan of my premises in Walcot-street,
which, being very roomy and spacious, were deemed peculiarly eligible,
particularly as at that time the society could not procure any other
place, and consequently Mr. Mathews offered me any price that I chose to
name for the use of them. As some part of these premises was unoccupied
at the time, I felt great pleasure in having it in my power to oblige
this worthy man; and I told him the society should be very welcome to
the use of my premises upon that emergency, but that I should not think
of making any charge for the use of them. The premises were, therefore,
occupied with the cattle that were brought from all parts of the country
to be shown, and, as this very liberal society always made those persons
who wished to see their show-cattle pay for peeping, each person who
entered was obliged to pay a _shilling_, and when I passed in at my own
gate-way, their keeper actually demanded _my shilling_, which I readily
paid, although my stables and garden led through the same. This was
allowed by all persons to be much the best place the society ever had
wherein to exhibit their cattle, &c. and the secretary offered me, I
think it was, thirty pounds a year, to continue the show there. This I
declined to accept, as it would have been a bar to the letting of the
whole premises, which were worth nearer two hundred a year than thirty.
The next season the society hired some very confined and inconvenient
premises, at a rental of twenty-five or thirty-five pounds a year, I
forget which; and the secretary informed me that the committee had come
to a determination that, as I would not accept any thing for the use of
my premises, they would write my subscriptions _paid_ in their books for
a number of years, equivalent to the value which they had been saved
thereby. Of course, I expected that they would, at the very least, have
written _paid_ for _twenty-five_ years, the amount of what they annually
paid for premises which were not one-fifth so convenient as those which
they had occupied of mine. However, I received a formal intimation that
the committee had ordered the secretary to write me off _five years
subscription_, which was _five guineas_. When the secretary, Mathews,
informed me of this, the society had left Bath, or I really believe that
I should have thrown the five guineas at the head of the chairman, so
indignant did I feel at their meanness. But Mr. Mathews was a Quaker,
and a peace-maker, and to oblige him I took no notice of it; although he
admitted that it was very shabby conduct of the committee, as they had
offered _forty pounds_ for a place very inferior to that with which
they had been accommodated by me. I should not have mentioned this
circumstance here, had it not been for the disgraceful and dastardly
conduct of the society to me a few years afterwards; when, without
giving me any previous notice, they came to a vote to exclude me from
among them, because my subscriptions were THREE YEARS in arrear, while
at the time scores of their members were upwards of SEVEN YEARS in
arrear; and the _only rule_ about the subject was, that "no member
should be eligible to _vote_ in the society who was three years in
arrear." Be it remembered, too, that when they HONOURED me by this vote,
the society was fairly indebted to me fifteen or twenty pounds, out of
which they have, as I consider it, actually swindled me. But the very
last time I attended their meeting they were guilty of a transaction
still more mean and more dastardly than the one I have above described,
and which I shall record in its proper place, when that period of my
history arrives. I think, however, that what I have stated above will
give my readers a pretty fair specimen of the character of that society,
and it will be a warning to the public how they place any reliance upon
their proceedings.

In the early part of the spring of 1811, I went to reside with my family
at Rowfant House, in the county of Sussex, near East Grinstead, about
thirty miles from London. This gave me an opportunity of frequently
visiting my friend Mr. Cobbett, in Newgate. While he was in the King's
Bench, and before he was called up for judgment, he expected that he
should be sentenced to some distant county gaol, and in case it had been
so, I had promised him that, wherever it was, I would come and take
lodgings in the town, and visit him for a week or a fortnight at a time,
several times during his imprisonment. This, however, was rendered
unnecessary, by his imprisonment being in London. Nothing could have
been more convenient for his business, as a public writer, than his
being in London; and I have no hesitation in saying, that the punishment
of six months' imprisonment in this Bastile is a much greater punishment
than that of two years in Newgate. In fact, it was not more than it
would have been to have sentenced him to be imprisoned in any house in
Ludgate-hill. All persons had free access to him, from eight o'clock in
the morning till ten at night, and he had as good apartments as he could
have had in any house in London, and quite as good accommodation as he
could have had at any private lodgings. Still it was imprisonment; but,
when compared with my situation, it was no imprisonment at all. He had
his family staying with him night and day, the very same as he would
have had at a private lodging. Indeed, I have paid _five guineas_ a week
for lodgings in London which were worse in every respect. There was
nothing about his residence that had the appearance of a prison but the
name. Mr. Newman was a worthy and a benevolent man, quite the reverse
of what prison keepers are in general, and every thing was done for Mr.
Cobbett's accommodation and for that of his family and friends.

In February, Mr. Peter Finnerty received the judgment of the Court of
King's Bench, for a libel upon Lord Castlereagh. There never was a man
who stood upon the floor of the Court for judgment who made a more able
or a more brave defence than he did; he did not retract one sentence,
one syllable of the original publication, but, on the contrary, he
produced affidavits to prove the truth of every word that he had
published about Lord Castlereagh's cruelty to the people of Ireland,
when he was in power, at the Castle of Dublin. The Attorney-General, Sir
Vicary Gibbs, as well as Lord Ellenborough, were almost frantic with
rage at the boldness and the perseverance with which he proclaimed the
truth of his statements, as to the conduct of Lord Castlereagh. He was
sentenced, by old Judge Grose, to be imprisoned in his Majesty's gaol
of Lincoln for eighteen calendar months, and to give security for his
keeping the peace far five years from that time. When he first went to
Lincoln he was treated very harshly; upon which he caused a petition to
be presented to the House of Commons, complaining of the treatment which
he received from _the Gaoler and some of the Visiting Magistrates_. This
brought the High Sheriff to the gaol, and Mr. Finnerty was partially
relieved from the privations of which he had complained. He, however,
afterwards caused a petition of one of the debtors to be presented to
the House, by Sir Samuel Romilly, which ultimately led to a COMMISSION
being sent down, to inquire into the truth of the matters contained in
these petitions. As these proceedings were very similar to those which
have recently taken place in this gaol, I will, at the proper time, give
a more ample detail of them; particularly as Mr. Drakard, the editor of
the _Stamford News_, was at this time also a prisoner in Lincoln Castle.
He was confined thereby a sentence of the Court of King's Bench, for a
libel upon the army, he having been tried and found guilty at the Spring
Assizes at Lincoln, in consequence of an article on the _fogging of
soldiers_, which article appeared in his excellent paper. On the 25th of
May, he was brought up to receive judgment, and was sentenced to
be imprisoned in his Majesty's gaol of Lincoln, and to pay a fine of
200_l_. As there were two such men of talent as Mr. Finnerty and Mr.
Drakard confined in Lincoln Castle at the time that a commission was
sent down to inquire into its abuses, and the misconduct of the Gaoler
Merewether, and the Parson Justice _Doctor Illingworth_, the public of
course expected that some important exposures would be made, and that
very important benefits would result from the inquiry; but we shall see,
by and by, that, from some cause or other, although Mr. Finnerty and
Mr. Drakard were much better treated, yet that the commission and the
inquiry ended together in mere _smoke_.

On the nineteenth of March, dollars were made current at five shillings
and sixpence each; and on the twentieth of March in this year, 1811,
the Empress Maria Louisa of France was brought to bed of a son, who was
immediately created King of Rome. On the ninth of May, the first stone
of Vauxhall Bridge was laid; and on the eleventh of October, the first
stone of the Strand bridge was laid: this last is the bridge which is
now foolishly called by some silly people, Waterloo bridge. A similar
circumstance occurred when Blackfriars bridge was built; some foolish
people wished to change its name to Chatham bridge, as a compliment
to Lord Chatham; and it was so called by many silly people for some
time: but at length good sense overcame vanity, and it reverted back
to its original and proper name of Blackfriars bridge, in spite of
Chatham-place, &c. &c. So, I have no doubt, the good sense of the
people will ultimately overcome their folly, and that it will be again
universally denominated by its original and proper name, the STRAND
BRIDGE.

On the fourth of June, the King's birth-day, the usual public rejoicings
were suspended, in consequence of his severe illness, although our
most gracious Regent, soon after he attained that dignity, had given a
_fete_ in February, at Carlton-House, where at least two thousand
persons were present. On the ninth of June, Christophe, a man of
_colour_, was proclaimed and crowned King of St. Domingo, or Hayti. At
the time, it was supposed to bring the kingly office into some degree of
ridicule, to have a black man solemnly going through the mockery of a
coronation; although it is a fact, that it was a very splendid, as well
as a very popular coronation.

It was in this year, that Mr. now Sir Charles Wolseley, first publicly
declared his sentiments as to political matters; at least, it was the
first time I ever noticed them. In a letter which he addressed to the
Freeholders of the county of Stafford, he makes this honest, open, and
manly declaration: "The principles upon which a person ought to be sent
to serve in Parliament, are, to keep the prerogatives of the crown
unimpaired; to secure the liberties of the people; to oppose in every
shape the system of Pitt's administration; and to obtain a RADICAL
REFORM in the representation of the people in Parliament. These are my
principles." These principles has Sir Charles Wolseley honestly acted
up to ever since; and to this may be attributed the reason that we
have never had the benefit of the worthy Baronet's patriotic and able
exertions in the senate as a Member of Parliament. He has always been
a staunch Radical Reformer, and he never disguised his sentiments;
therefore it is, that he has never been taken by the hand and placed
in the House by any of the great Borough Lords of either of the two
factions of Whigs and Tories; and from principle he has alike declined
to become a slave and a tool to the Boroughmongers, or to purchase one
of their seats.

In consequence of the failure of a Bank at Salisbury, of the firm of
_Bowles, Ogden, and _Wyndham_, immense distress was caused throughout
the county of Wilts; almost all the country people having a great
portion of their property in the notes of this Bank. It was on this
occasion that Mr. Cobbett wrote those famous letters, which he called
"Paper against Gold," addressed to the tradesmen and farmers in and near
Salisbury, being an examination of the report of the Bullion Committee.
These celebrated letters formed a clear and comprehensive exposition of
the Paper System; they developed the whole juggle of Stock Jobbing, the
Sinking Fund, and the National Debt, and the operation of taxes upon
the industry and happiness of the people. These letters, which are now
published in a small volume, prove, beyond all doubt, the clear and
comprehensive mind of this inimitable writer, and the work will live in
after-ages as a monument of his superior talent and knowledge in these
heretofore intricate and mysterious matters, which were rendered still
more intricate and incomprehensible by the very means which such men as
Mr. Horner, the chairman of the Bullion Committee, used to elucidate
them. Had Mr. Cobbett never written another line but what is contained
in this work, his name, as an author, in matters of English finance,
would have gone down to posterity hand-in-hand with that of our immortal
countryman, Mr. Paine. Perhaps Mr. Cobbett would never have written
this valuable work, if he had not been imprisoned in Newgate by the
tyrannical proceedings of the Boroughmongers, assisted by a packed
special jury, always the best ally of tyranny and tyrants, because it
enables them to carry on a most nefarious despotism, and inflict death,
loss of liberty, and torture upon its victims, under the assumed forms
of law and justice; the very worst species of tyranny, and the most
horrible of all despotisms.

Sir Samuel Romilly brought some Bills into the House of Commons, which
were passed, respecting the criminal laws. Lord Holland, in the House
of Lords, and Lord Folkestone, in the House of Commons, made motions to
restrain _ex-officio_ informations, which were at this time extended to
a most alarming pitch by Attorney-General Vicary Gibbs; but ministerial
influence prevailed, and the laudable endeavours of the two peers were
rendered of no avail, as the motions were lost in both Houses. These
proceedings excited universal interest, and the constant _ex-officio_
informations filed by Sir Vicary Gibbs against almost every liberal
writer of the day, drew down upon him almost universal execration. A
Bill was now passed to allow the Ministers to make an interchange of the
militia between England and Ireland. The Prince Regent also restored the
Duke of York to the office of Commander in Chief. This excited general
dissatisfaction, and a debate upon the subject arose in the House of
Commons; but upon a division the Ministers carried it with a very high
hand, and an overwhelming majority, there being only _forty-seven_ of
the faithful and disinterested Representatives of the people who voted
against the measure. Motions were likewise made in both Houses, to
discountenance the doctrine of assassination which had been lately
preached up by various righteous Ministerial Members, aiming at the life
of Napoleon; but these motions also were lost, as Ministers declined to
give them their support. Lord Stanhope about this time brought in a Bill
to make Bank-notes be received as equal in value with coin, under a
penalty; and after a long debate in both Houses, this profound Bill
passed.

The Catholics in Ireland manifested symptoms of great discontent and
dissatisfaction at their claims being so long neglected. The fact was,
that the wretched peasantry of Ireland were in the most abject state
of want, and as they had been kept in the most complete ignorance, and
deprived of all the common forms of law and justice, they were gradually
sinking into a state of barbarism; the consequence of which was, that
we frequently heard of instances of aggravated ferocity, such as seldom
disgrace any people but the most uncultivated savages. Deprive civilized
man of the protection of the law--only once suffer a body of people to
be convinced that there is neither law nor justice within their reach,
and you drive them to desperation; in which state they throw off all
controul over their passions, and they become remorseless, cruel, and
vindictive. I am quite sure that it is this state of feeling amongst the
lower Irish that has created White Boys, Peep-of-day Boys, Ribbon Men,
and all the various classes of incendiaries and desperadoes of which we
hear so much from Ireland. I do not believe, nor did I ever believe,
that Catholic emancipation would restore the people of Ireland either
to happiness or prosperity: no, the same malady that reigns in England
reigns in a two-fold degree in Ireland--they are overwhelmed with
taxation, oppression, and injustice; these dreadful evils have goaded
them into madness, and till they are removed and the people are treated
with kindness and humanity, and above all, till justice is fairly
administered amongst them, the Government of England will in vain
endeavour to subdue the spirit of insubordination either by the bayonet
or the halter. The only remedy there as well as in England consists
in giving the people free and equal means of choosing their own
representatives, to make wise, just, and liberal laws for them in
Parliament.

I lament to find that the poor of England are fast approaching to the
same frightful state as the natives of unhappy Ireland. The poor and the
oppressed come to me here from all quarters, within a circle of twenty
miles, and when they have told me their pitiable tales, and I advise
them to go and repeat it to a "_Magistrate_," alas! almost without an
exception, they exclaim, "_there is no justice for the poor!_" If they
could have obtained any redress from a Magistrate, I should not have
been consulted. In fact, most of their complaints arise from their
inability to get any justice done them by the Magistrates. I would hold
out a friendly warning to these Magistrates, to beware how they strain
that cord too tight; for, if it should once break, if the people should
in general, or any great portion of them, should come to the conclusion,
that there is not justice for the poor, that they exist at the arbitrary
will of their task-masters, that, in short, they are not under the
protection of the laws, melancholy would be the consequences; such
indeed as cannot be contemplated without horror. Who is there that can
say what an awful retribution might be exacted! When once such a spirit
breaks forth, no one can calculate upon the time at which it will be
appeased. I frequently shudder at the terrific consequences which must
and would ensue. It was this absence of justice which drove the French
to a revolution. It was a similar contempt of justice that caused the
Americans to revolt, and most happily rescued that fine country from
the worst of despotism. The taxing of the industry, the skill, and the
talent of a people, without allowing them to have any share in the
election of those who impose those taxes--in a word, taxation without
representation is the very acme of tyranny and despotism. It was this
species of tyranny that produced the glorious revolutions of South
America, of Spain, and of Portugal, and which has emancipated the
inhabitants of those beautiful countries from slavery both of body and
mind.

At Lady-day I quitted my residence at Bath, and went with my family to
reside at Rowfant House, in Sussex, which, as I have before said, is
situated thirty miles from London, half way between the two roads
leading from the metropolis to Lewes and Brighton, and about the same
distance from those two places. It is at the eastern extremity of what
is called the Weald of Sussex. Nothing can be more delightful than this
country is in the spring, summer, and autumn; it is then luxuriant and
picturesque in the extreme; nothing can then surpass the beauty of the
surrounding scenery, and the richness of the foliage which clothe the
majestic oak and beech-trees; of the latter there are many, very many,
of the largest and finest in the kingdom. The mansion is situated in the
centre of a park, or park-like pastures, and has two fronts, one to the
south and the other to the west, each looking over the most beautiful,
picturesque, and romantic country that I ever saw, alternately
presenting to the eye wood, water, and pasture fields, interspersed with
the majestic oak, the lofty beech, the trembling birch, the lime, the
ash, and every other species of beautiful forest tree. There were nearly
five hundred acres of woodland upon this estate, and it was well stocked
with game and fish of every description; but the whole country was
congenial for the breed of pheasants. On some parts of the manor there
was black game, and in the season woodcocks, snipes, and other wild
fowl; in fact, all these frequently breed in that part of the country.

This part of Sussex, although it is only thirty miles from London, is as
completely out of the world as the most remote mountains of Wales, or
the Highlands of Scotland, and the inhabitants were quite as uninformed
and in as perfect a state of nature as the natives in the wilds of
America. I had no idea that any portion of the people of England could
be so completely buried in ignorance, and display such a total absence
of all knowledge, with the exception of hedging, ditching, cutting wood,
converting it into charcoal, making and eating hard dumplings, and
smuggling brandy, Hollands, tea, tobacco, French manufactures of all
sorts and descriptions.

This estate had for ages been in the possession of the family of the
Bethunes, and the farmers had also been so long in the occupation of
their farms, for little or no rent, that they very justly considered
themselves as having a much greater interest in the soil than the
proprietor had. This place had been put up to the hammer, and sold
to the trustees of a lunatic. I had taken it on a lease; the manor,
mansion, farms, lands, and the manorial rights. Mr. James, the
land-agent, in Old Boswell-court, bad the letting of it, under the
direction of John Foster, Esq. the head of the firm of Foster, Cooke,
and Frere, of Lincoln's Inn, who was the acting trustee for the lunatic.
On application to Mr. James, I soon found that he must have a _certain
price_ for the estate, which, if I would consent to give, _I might make
my own terms_. Of course, I took care to insert such clauses in the
lease, as would convey the property entirely to my custody, upon the
payment of a certain rent. I introduced one clause which I was ashamed
to carry into execution, when I found that it would injure the property
to an enormous extent, without affording to myself a corresponding
benefit. I stipulated to be at liberty to grub up and to cultivate all
the hedge-rows, and about three hundred acres of wood and coppice land.
This the parties readily covenanted to allow me to do; but when I came
to examine these woods, I found that, in availing myself of my right, I
should destroy not less than _sixty thousand beautiful and thriving oak
trees and saplings_. As the whole of the land on which these trees grew
was a light sandy loom on the top, and a deep strata of yellow clay
under, which was a soil by no means advantageous to cultivate, but
peculiarly congenial to the growth of oak timber, I made my calculations
of what _I_ might gain, and what would be the loss to the proprietors
of the estate, by grubbing up the woods, and destroying sixty thousand
thriving oak trees and saplings. My gains would have been but small, but
the injury to the estate would have been incalculable. This I candidly
laid before the trustees of the property, and at once proposed to forego
any advantage that I might have derived, and to suffer the woods
to remain, with the timber growing thereon, for the benefit of the
proprietor, provided the parties would make me a corresponding deduction
in the rent. My proposition was so reasonable, that I had not the
slightest doubt but it would be eagerly accepted. Mr. Foster, who was a
very keen, sensible, clever, intelligent man, I saw at once, perceived
the destruction that it would be to the estate; but yet it was evident
that the object in granting one such a lease was to make up a certain
annual rent, equivalent to the interest of the money which had been
expended in the purchase of the estates. He saw the dilemma in which
they were placed, and I plainly perceived that the idea of reducing the
rent upon which they had calculated was out of the question, that it was
not to be entertained by the trustees for a moment.

This being the case, I returned from London, and proceeded in the
cultivation of the farm. I very early made up my mind not hastily to do
such a serious and irretrievable injury as I was authorized to do to the
estate, and I therefore directed my attention to other objects. I had
sent off a servant to meet half way the little drove of sheep which I
had purchased of Mr. Dean; the whole distance being one hundred and
fifty miles. He had been gone ten days, and I impatiently waited his
arrival, but I had as yet heard no tidings of him, although he ought
to have been back several days before. At length, when twelve days had
elapsed, information was brought me that he had arrived with the sheep
upon Copthorn Common, but that he could not get them any further, in
consequence of their being all very lame and unable to walk. I took my
horse and rode to the spot, about the distance of two miles from my
house. When I came there, I found every sheep of them dead lame, with
the most confirmed and inveterate FOOT ROT. The poor fellow, ADAMS, who
had been so long delayed upon the road, was completely exhausted with
the labour, fatigue, and harassing exertion which he had endured in
accomplishing his task. I think he had actually left three or four of
them thirty or forty miles behind, and many of the others he declared
that he had carried, one at a time, more than half the way upon his
shoulders. Upon my expostulating with him, as to his having consented to
receive them in such a state; he replied, that the drover, who brought
them from Mr. Dean, declared that he would not drive them back to have
them; that he left them in the care of my servant the moment that they
met, and then, without the least ceremony, took French leave, apparently
delighted to get quit of his troublesome charge. When I saw the
deplorable state in which they were (for upon closer examination I found
that many of their hoofs were rotted off their feet), I demanded with
some warmth of my servant, why he had not left them with some farmer
upon the road, till they could have been recovered or cured. "Lord bless
you, Sir," replied the man, "I tried at more than fifty places, but
nobody would take them in at any price, as they all said they would not
have them at a gift, and that they should not tread a hoof upon any of
their lands on any account, as the _foot rot_ was highly _infectious_."

This was another serious evil, for I had purchased two hundred more
sheep, and if they went upon the same land, I was sure of infecting my
whole flock. However, on the next day when they could be got home, I
placed them in some of my best meadows, and set about attempting a cure.
In the meantime, I wrote to Mr. Dean, to inform him of the deplorable
state in which they had arrived. In his reply he candidly acknowledged
that they had suffered from this disease, but he declared he thought
they had been quite free from it before he sent them off; adding that,
if he had had the slightest idea of the state in which they were at the
time his servant left them, they should not, on any account, have been
forwarded to me. He begged that I would not return them, but that I
would employ some one to endeavour to cure them; and, if that could not
be accomplished, I must, he said, kill them, and give them to the dogs,
or do any thing with them I pleased. In fact, I did employ a person, who
pretended he could cure them, to come and dress them, which he did once
a week for nearly a twelve-month, and at length he gave them up as
incurable.

Instead of my ever making one halfpenny of these sheep, the plague, the
trouble, and the loss that I sustained by them was not so little as
sixty pounds; besides, their having given the disease to my flock of two
hundred, the remainder of which, after losing sixty of them, I sold at
seven shillings per head less than I gave for them. So that by this
untoward affair I was, on the whole, at least one hundred pounds out
of pocket, to say nothing of all my trouble and anxiety. If I had been
served so by any one but a friend, such as Mr. Dean; I should certainly
have commenced an action against him for serious damages. Far from
Mr. Dean ever applying to me to pay him any thing for the sheep, he
frequently expressed his sorrow that I should have been so harassed and
perplexed with them as I had been. I had devoted one of my best fields
to their use, and at the end of two years, when I left the farm, there
were seven of them remaining still in the same state, as they never were
or ever could be cured. At length, some time after the decease of Mr.
Dean, I received, from the executors of Mr. Dean, an application for
the payment of these sheep. I replied, that Mr. Dean had long since
cancelled that debt, but, on the other hand, there was a very
considerable balance due to me, if I chose to persist in it, from the
circumstances above stated.

I heard no more of this affair from them; but, after a considerable
lapse of time, a statement was made in the _Taunton Courier_, that, when
I had gone round the country to collect names for a requisition to call
a county meeting, Mr. Dean had taken me in and treated me with the
greatest hospitality, and that I had rewarded him by swindling him out
of a _flock of fine sheep_, for which I had never paid him. When the
reader reflects upon this wanton and atrocious slander, which was
malignantly propagated by the venal and corrupt editor of a country
paper, I am sure, although the vehicle through which the slander was
conveyed, was in itself obscure and contemptible, I shall be excused
for giving the particulars of this transaction; however tedious and
uninteresting it may appear to those at a distance, where the venom was
never propagated, it is, in truth, due to myself and to my friends in
this county, who read the calumny, to have the matter clearly explained;
although, to every man of common sense, it must have been very evident,
when the scandal was first promulgated, that it was a gross and palpable
falsehood; because, if I had owed Mr. Dean's executors, or any other
person, a sum of money amounting to forty or fifty pounds, it was the
most easy thing upon earth to have compelled me to pay it. O, it was a
wicked, a mean and a malignant falsehood, which would never have been
put afloat, or believed by any body, against any other man but myself,
who at that time was the universal topic of abuse in the whole of the
venal ministerial and opposition press of the country, in consequence
of my having resisted oppression and tyranny, and roused the spirit of
liberal feeling and patriotic exertion among some of the electors of
Bristol, where I had maintained, single-handed, two contested elections
for that city, in opposition to all the contending factions. The
newspaper editors of each faction had disseminated the vilest calumnies
against me, in revenge for those struggles which I had made to oppose
the rotten borough system in that city; and this venal, dirty,
contemptible, hireling knave of the _Taunton Courier_, selected this
as a proper time to add his lie to the million of lies that were then
circulated against me.

But I shall now speak more fully of the circumstances which led to my
being a candidate for Bristol, in June, 1812. Ever since the previous
general election, when the electors had been humbugged by Sir John
Jervis, and had attempted to wreak their vengeance upon Mr. Bragge
Bathurst, I had, at various times, publicly declared my intention
to offer myself as a candidate for that city. On that occasion, Mr.
Bathurst experienced such an unfavourable reception, that it was
generally understood he did not mean to offer himself as a candidate for
the city, at the approaching general election; and as Colonel Baillie,
the Whig Member, did not relish the idea of standing such a contest
as it was generally expected I should create, he also intimated his
intention to resign; Mr. Edward Protheroe, therefore, offered himself as
a Whig Member, in his place. The Whigs were very well satisfied with the
pretensions of Mr. Protheroe, as being a citizen of Bristol; and he, as
the Whig Member, and Mr. Richard Hart Davis, as the Tory Member,
would have been returned, without any opposition whatever, by the two
factions, had it not been for the threatened interference of myself, who
was avowedly a candidate that would excite a great popular feeling.

This consideration induced some of what is called the liberal or Foxite
Whigs to think of looking out for a more popular Whig Candidate than Mr.
Protheroe, for the purpose of taking away the votes from _me_. After
several meetings had been held upon the subject, it was determined upon,
by a little faction, to invite Sir Samuel Romilly to become a candidate.
I am quite confident, in my own mind, that if it had not been for the
opposition which it was certain would be made by me, there would not
have been any opposition at all. Mr. Bragge Bathurst and Colonel
Baillie, or Mr. Protheroe, would have been returned without the
slightest effort to prevent it. My avowed intention of being a
candidate, however, first made the White Lion Cock, Bragge Bathurst,
turn tail and declare off, and next induced Colonel Baillie to decline.
The one of these was the Tory and the other the Whig candidate for
the representation of the city of Bristol, which, in consequence of a
compromise entered into by the two factions, had always been divided
between them; and therefore one Whig and one Tory Member had always been
returned; and so it would have continued without any change, had it not
been for me. Mr. Davis and Mr. Protheroe would have been returned as
quiet as mice, without a word being said by any body against it. But, as
I had become a candidate, a little gang of intriguers at length made up
their minds to put Sir Samuel Romilly forward; not, I believe, with the
slightest expectation that they could carry his election, but under the
firm conviction that he would very largely divide the popularity with
me.

Thus it was that Sir Samuel Romilly was made the cat's-paw of this
faction, for the purpose of destroying all chances of my becoming the
Representative of Bristol. As soon as they had announced their intention
to support Sir Samuel Romilly, they, the Whigs, took the greatest pains
to circulate the report and create the impression that I was offering
myself as a candidate for Bristol merely to oppose the "_amiable Sir
Samuel Romilly;_" these corrupt, factious knaves, always taking care to
keep out of view, that this gentleman was already a Member of Parliament
for the Duke of Norfolk's rotten-borough of Arundel, which seat he was
sure to retain as long as he lived, if he chose to do so. But it was
necessary, for their sinister purposes, to bring upon the scene this
gentleman, who bore an excellent character, and who, amongst the Whigs,
was considered as a prodigy of perfection.

Notwithstanding that Sir Samuel Romilly was set up against me, instead
of my being set up against him, I having constantly, for four years
before Sir Samuel's name was ever mentioned, avowed my intention of
becoming a candidate, yet, as soon as a meeting had been called at the
Crown and Anchor, in London, and a sum of eight thousand pounds had been
subscribed by the Whigs to support him, I publicly offered to resign my
pretensions, and to give my whole support to the knight of the gown and
wig, if he would only pledge himself to espouse the cause of Reform in
the House of Commons. This offer was, however, declined, or at least
treated with silent neglect; but the venal press did not cease railing
against me for opposing Sir Samuel Romilly.

A day was appointed for Sir Samuel to make his public entry into
Bristol, and a public dinner was got up on the occasion, to which he
was invited. The day fixed on was the second of April, 1812, which was
considered to be a period immediately preceding the expected general
election. Great preparations were made to receive the lawyer in grand
stile, and every thing was attempted to create effect. A number of
persons went out to meet him on horseback, and I made a point of being
present, to see how the thing went off, and to hear what would be said
by Mr. Tierney, who, it was reported, was to introduce Sir Samuel to the
citizens of Bristol. It was given out that he would alight at the Bush
Tavern, opposite the Exchange, and that he would address the people from
the window of his committee-room, facing which window I placed myself,
to see and to hear all that could be heard or seen. At length, after he
had been waited for, for about an hour (which, by-the-bye, is considered
genteel), the worthy lawyer arrived, seated in an open barouche, with
Mr. Michael Castle on one side, and _Alderman Noble_ on the other! It
was but a sorry cavalcade; and although there was some cheering amongst
his partizans, yet he met altogether with a very cold reception. But
when Sir Samuel was led up to the window, and it was discovered that it
was Alderman Noble who accompanied him, there was one general burst of
disapprobation--groans, hissing, and hooting, and cries of "No Noble! no
six and eightpence! no bloody bridge! no murderers!" &c. &c. Poor Sir
Samuel was astonished; he had been made to believe that he would be
received with the greatest applause and indeed enthusiasm; but these
discordant sounds quite disconcerted him, and when he began to speak,
instead of his being listened to, the cries and the groans were
redoubled. Alderman Noble put forth his hand to command silence; this
was received with the most violent and indignant execrations and
hootings, mingled with cries of "No Noble! no six and eightpence! no
bloody bridge!" Nothing could have been so unfortunate for Sir Samuel
Romilly, as to be accompanied by Alderman Noble, who, a few years
before, had rendered himself deservedly detested, by his having ordered
the military, the Herefordshire Militia, with Lord Bateman as their
Colonel, to fire upon the people, at a riot which took place relative
to the tolls of Bristol Bridge; upon which occasion eleven or twelve
persons were killed. So obnoxious was this man, that he had been obliged
to quit Bristol for some years, and he took this opportunity to return
under the wing of Sir Samuel Romilly; but his appearance roused the
most angry feeling amongst the people, and this feeling was so
preponderating, that Sir Samuel attempted to address the multitude for
about twenty minutes, without one word being distinguishable.

I have already mentioned the report that Sir Samuel would be introduced
by Mr. Tierney, the late popular Member for the borough of Southwark,
but, subsequently to his holding a place under the Whigs, the Member for
the rotten-boroughs of Appleby, in Westmoreland, and Bandon-bridge, in
Ireland. Even this would have done Sir Samuel no service. Before the
Whigs had been in place, and Mr. Tierney, like the rest of them, had
been tried and found wanting, it might have answered very well for him
to have introduced a popular candidate to the city of Bristol; for at
that period he professed himself to be not only the champion, but the
child of Liberty. At the time when he branded with so much spirit
and eloquence the income-tax of Pitt, and declared in his place
in Parliament that this income-tax was such an odious and such an
unconstitutional measure "that the people of England would be justified
in taking up arms to resist the collection of it;" at that time, when
Mr. Tierney so strenuously and brilliantly opposed all the ruinous
measures of Pitt; at that time, if he had proposed to go to Bristol, he
might have been received with approbation by the people, and his name
might have added to the popularity of any man. But, since Mr. Tierney
had been in office with the Whigs, since he had become a splendid
pensioned apostate from his former opinions, since he had been kicked
out of the borough of Southwark for his apostacy, since he had, while
in the Whig Administration, advocated and supported an additional
income-tax, and voted for almost all those measures, when in place,
which he had opposed when out of place; since these things had occurred,
the name of Mr. Tierney was calculated to injure the popularity of any
man to whom he linked himself. This of itself, this announcement that
Mr. Tierney was to attend Sir Samuel Romilly, was enough to damn his
popularity with every real friend of Liberty in that city. But, when he
appeared side by side with Alderman Noble, all hopes of his ever being
popular in Bristol were at an end! I never in my life, on any public
occasion, saw a man received worse by the populace than Sir Samuel
Romilly was.

It was asserted, and the assertion has been often repeated, that I was
instrumental to this unfavourable reception of Sir Samuel Romilly; but
this is totally false; none of my friends knew of my being, or of my
intending to be, at Bristol on that day. I had gone into the city
privately, and had walked up to the Exchange from my inn, the Talbot,
without exciting the attention of any one; and, to tell the truth, no
man was more sorry than I was, that such a man should have been treated
so unfairly as he was by his party; that he should, in the first place,
have been so ill advised, as to have had his name coupled with that
of Mr. Tierney, and then, that he should be accompanied by the most
unpopular and most odious man in the whole city, and one who, since
he had been driven from the city, had become a placeman under the
Government. These were the sole causes of Sir Samuel Romilly being
received with such demonstrations of disgust and disapprobation. To be
sure, all the friends of Liberty in the city of Bristol, who had any
pretensions to a knowledge of what was going on, must have very clearly
seen that Sir Samuel Romilly had been invited to attend, and to become a
candidate for Bristol, mainly for the purpose of dividing the popularity
with me; and my friends were, doubtless, prepared to scrutinise his
speech with rather a sceptical feeling; but not one of my friends would
on this account have interrupted him, or have done any thing to prevent
him from being heard; on the contrary, there was a general disposition
amongst my friends to support him in conjunction with myself.

Those Whigs who supported Sir Samuel Romilly appeared to be
thunderstruck at his reception, and for a long time they did not appear
to be aware of the cause of it. As there was not one of them who had any
influence over the minds of the people, there was no attempt made to
rescue Sir Samuel from this very unpleasant situation, and at length
he retired from the window sadly disconcerted, and his party were
dreadfully chagrined. Sir Samuel had literally been hissed, hooted, and
groaned from the window, at a time when I expected every one would
have been anxious to hear him, and to listen to him with the greatest
attention. I am sure, for myself, that I was greatly disappointed. There
might have been ten thousand persons present, which was no very great
number for such an occasion;. but I think I may safely say, that
there was not one in a hundred that knew or expected that I would be
there.

As there was now a pause, and as no one from Sir Samuel Romilly's room
attempted to come forward, I mounted upon one of the copper pedestals
which stands in the front of the Exchange, and I was instantly hailed
with shouts from all those who knew me, which, at that time, could
not have been more than half the persons present. My name was rapidly
communicated from one to the other, and before I could begin to address
them, they gave three cheers for Mr. Hunt, which was proposed by some
one present. The moment I began to speak, the most profound silence
reigned around; and in a speech of an hour and forty minutes I was
interrupted only by the applause of my hearers, and by the anxiety
which they expressed that I should put on my hat, as it rained. This
inconvenience was soon obviated, by a gentleman being elevated with an
umbrella, which he held over my head till I had concluded. During this
address I avowed myself the warm advocate for Radical Reform, and
declared myself the staunch friend of Sir Francis Burdett, and the
principles which he professed. I went through a history of the
proceedings of the Whig Administration, and recounted the sinecures,
pensions, and unmerited places held by the Grenvilles, and other
Boroughmongers of that faction; but when I came to speak of the conduct
of the Law Officers of the Crown under that administration, during the
continuance of which Sir Samuel Romilly was one of those officers, when
I touched on their having drawn up the famous Acts of Parliament passed
by the Whig Ministry, during the reign of _one year, one month, one
week,_ and _one day;_ when I came to speak of _this_, the windows of
the room in which Sir Samuel Romilly and his friends were, in the Bush
Tavern, opposite where I stood, were pettishly shut down by some one.
The moment that the people saw this, they exclaimed, "Look! look! they
are ashamed to hear the truth, and they have shut the windows to prevent
its coming amongst them." This shutting the windows the populace took
as an insult offered to them, and they vociferously demanded that they
should be re-opened; and their demand was made in such an unequivocal
and peremptory manner, that the gentry, after some slight hesitation,
complied with the wishes of the multitude. I continued to address the
people for nearly an hour after this time, although at the outskirts of
the crowd in Clarestreet there was a waiter with Sir Samuel Romilly's
colours in his hat, who announced that the dinner was waiting; in
consequence of which, several attempts were made in vain by some persons
in the Bush, to force their way out of that house through the dense
crowd, that not only occupied the whole of the front of the tavern, but
extended for a very considerable distance above and below, even up
to Broad-street and down to Small-street, so that it was absolutely
impossible for any one to pass while I was addressing the people.
This was most galling to Sir Samuel Romilly's friends, who, from this
circumstance, were actually prisoners in the Bush nearly an hour and
a half after the dinner had been ready at the Assembly Rooms in
King-street, where the party were going to dine; but, if their lives had
been at stake not a man of them could have got out till I had finished
my speech; for the crowd had considerably increased since I had begun.
After having exhausted my strength, I retired amidst the most deafening
shouts of approbation; the whole of the immense populace accompanied me
to my inn, and left Sir Samuel and his friends a clear course to proceed
to their dinner.

I never said any thing against the gown and wig knight. On the contrary,
I thought him a much better man for a Member of Parliament than
Mr. Protheroe, who had declared himself a candidate also in the Whig
interest, to represent the city, in the place of Colonel Baillie, who
intended to resign at the general election. I had, ever since the former
election, offered myself as a candidate, whenever there should be a
vacancy, without any reference to either of the factions; but Mr.
Protheroe and Sir Samuel Romilly came forward avowedly to fill the seat
of Colonel Baillie; neither of these gentlemen professing any desire
to interfere with the White Lion candidate, Mr. Bragge Bathurst, the
factions being too civil to each other to interfere with their separate
interests. If I had not offered myself as a candidate, Mr. Bragge
Bathurst would have been elected by the White Lion interest, without any
opposition.

The Whigs were excessively annoyed by the inauspicious manner in which
Sir Samuel was greeted, and not less so by the exposure which I made of
their politics and principles. The editor of the _Morning Chronicle_,
and other papers in London, gave, however, a flaming account of the
public entry of Sir Samuel Romilly into Bristol: they said that he was
hailed with the greatest enthusiasm, and they published a speech which
he had delivered to the people at the Bush Tavern window, and which they
unblushingly affirmed to have been received with the greatest applause;
but they forgot to say one word about a speech of nearly two hours,
which I delivered. They published the account of a speech of a quarter
of an hour, not one word of which was heard, while the speech that was
heard and attentively listened to, they never noticed at all! This was
so glaringly unfair and partial, that Mr. Cobbett wrote a very long and
able paper upon the subject, exposing and chastising the Whigs for their
duplicity and deception, and, at the same time, he did not fail to
represent the conduct of Mr. Perry in its true colours.

A dissolution of Parliament had been anticipated for some time; but an
occurrence now took place that caused a sudden and unexpected vacancy
for the city of Bristol. Mr. Bragge Bathurst was appointed to the
lucrative office of _Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster_, one of the
most valuable places in the gift of the Sovereign, or rather of his
Ministers. It was announced that he had accepted this office, that he
had in consequence vacated his seat, and that a new writ was issued for
the election of a Member for the city of Bristol; to which was added,
that Mr. Hart Davis, the then Member for Colchester, had accepted the
stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, for the purpose of becoming a
candidate upon the White Lion, or Blue Club, alias the Ministerial
interest in Bristol. This was all promulgated in the same paper, and it
stated that the election would be held forthwith, as Mr. Davis would be
elected without any opposition, the friends of Sir Samuel Romilly and
Mr. Protheroe having no intention to interfere with the election of that
gentleman.

The writ for electing a Member for Bristol, in the room of Bragge
Bathurst, was moved for in the House of Commons, on Tuesday evening,
the 24th of June: and at the same time a writ for electing a Member for
Colchester, in the room of Richard Hart Davis, was moved for. I never
heard a word of this till Thursday afternoon at four o'clock, when the
postman brought me my Wednesday's paper, just as I was sitting down to
dinner at Rowfant, in Sussex. After dinner I read the account, and I
made up my mind to start for that city the next morning. I rode to town
on Friday, took my place in the Bath mail, and reached Bath at ten
o'clock on Saturday morning. Some of the people of Bristol had arrived
in Bath in expectation of meeting me, and one of them immediately
returned to Bristol to announce my intention of being in that city the
same evening. At the appointed hour, which was five o'clock, I arrived
at Totterdown, where I was met by an immense multitude, who took my
horses from the carriage, and drew me into the city and through the
principal streets, till they arrived at the front of the Exchange, which
they had fixed upon as the theatre of my public orations, in consequence
of my having accidentally mounted one of the pedestals on the memorable
day of Sir Samuel Romilly's public entry into Bristol. I left the
carriage, remounted the pedestal, and addressed at least twenty thousand
of the inhabitants, who had accompanied me thither with the most
deafening shouts. I never had seen such enthusiasm in my life. I briefly
animadverted upon the trick which was intended to have been played off
upon them by the worthy leaders of both the factions in that city, who
had united for the purpose of stealing a march upon the electors, a
trick which I had no doubt my opportune arrival would frustrate; and
pledged myself to be at the Guildhall in due time on Monday morning, on
which day the election was fixed to be held.

Mr. Davis, who was a banker, of Bristol, had made his public entry
in the morning of the same day, attended by his friends, amidst very
evident marks of disapprobation from the assembled multitude. So sure,
however, was this gentleman of his success, and so little had his
friends anticipated any opposition, that they had actually got every
thing prepared for _chairing_ him, and had ordered the dinner, which was
to celebrate the event, to be ready immediately after the election had
closed on Monday; as they calculated that the election would be nothing
more than a mere matter of form, which would occupy them for only a very
few hours. But my arrival, and the enthusiastic reception which I had
received, made some of his partizans begin to fear that the victory
would not be so easily gained, or the contest so speedily terminated,
as they had at first sanguinely hoped. Still the old electioneering
managers calculated upon carrying their point by one of their _old
tricks_, or by a "_ruse de guerre;_" but in this, as the sequel will
shew, they _reckoned without their host_. Before I got into the mail in
London, I purchased _Disney's_ Abridgment of Election Law, a part of
which I read before it grew dark, and the remainder I finished in the
morning before we arrived in Bath. Although this publication is the
least to be relied upon of any, yet it furnished me with sufficient law
upon the subject, not only to set completely their intended projects at
defiance, but also to enable me to keep open the poll for fifteen days,
the whole time that the law allows.

The White Lion Club, in the meanwhile, lost no time in preparing to open
the campaign on Monday; and, seeing the disposition of the people, and
knowing how deservedly unpopular the Ministerial faction, to which Mr.
Davis belonged, had rendered themselves, they resolved to carry the
election by force. Before Monday morning, they had sworn in upwards of
four hundred mock constables, or bludgeon-men, every one of whom was
supplied with a short bludgeon, painted sky _blue_, that being the
colour of Mr. Davis's party. These bludgeons were composed of ash, and
were made of prong staves sawn off in lengths, about two feet long.
These were put into the hands of the greatest ruffians that the city of
Bristol, and the neighbourhood of Cock-road and Kingswood, could furnish
at so short a notice. The few staunch friends who came round me, most of
whom were strangers, anticipated nothing less than that the White Lion
gentry would carry their point, and, either by trick or by violence,
would close the election on the first day. I promised them, however,
that if they would only stand steadily by me, I would defeat the object
of their enemies, and that they might rely upon an election, and a
protracted poll.

Monday came, and at an early hour the bludgeon-men of Mr. Davis had
got possession of Broad-street, where the Guildhall is situated; which
street, by the bye, has no right to the name that it bears, it being
among the narrowest streets in Bristol. I sallied forth from my inn,
the Talbot; and having addressed a few words to the multitude upon the
Exchange, I proceeded down Broad-street with some of my friends, and
reached the Hall door before it was opened. I immediately placed my back
against it, and proclaimed to the surrounding throng, that I would be
the first to enter that Hall, and that I would be the last that
would leave it, while there was a freeman of the city unpolled.
Notwithstanding I was now in the midst of the enemy, this declaration
was received with a burst of applause, which made the old walls of this
_scene of iniquity_ ring again. At length the Sheriffs, _Brice_ and
_Bickley_, arrived, attended by all the paraphernalia of office, in
company with Mr. Richard Hart Davis, whom I now eyed for the first time.
All persons were pompously commanded to stand back from the door; but I
had a sturdy set of friends now to support me, and they stood as firm
as a rock, and almost as immovable. For some time the Jacks in office
attempted in vain to approach the door, till at length I requested that
those who were near it would fall back, and make way for the Sheriffs;
which request was instantly complied with. The moment the door was open,
I was the first man who entered after the Sheriffs, and the rush was
tremendous. I was also one of the first that reached the hustings in the
Guildhall, and, being once there, I had not the least doubt but I should
by and by make a due impression upon the persons there assembled.

During this rush to get into the Guildhall, (a place altogether unfit
for the election, and incapable of containing a twentieth part of the
electors of Bristol,) Davis's four hundred bludgeon ruffians made a
desperate and brutal assault upon the people, and most grossly ill used
those who appeared to be my friends and supporters, who were at last
driven to a successful resistance. Many of the hired gang were disarmed
by the populace, and the rest were either driven from the scene of
action, or awed into respectful behaviour by their determined conduct.

Mr. Davis was proposed and seconded by two members of the White Lion
Club, who were also members of the Corporation. I was proposed and
seconded by two freemen in the humble walks of life, journeymen, I
believe, of the names of Pimm and Lydiard; men who, although they did
not move in an elevated sphere, yet for native talent and honourable
feelings, as far excelled the proposers of Mr. Davis as the sun excels
in splendour the twinkling of the smallest star. Both the candidates
addressed the crowded assemblage. I avowed myself to be the staunch
friend of Radical Reform, and the enemy of oppression, and I tendered an
oath to the Mayor, that I would never receive one sixpence of the public
money, drawn from the pockets of an impoverished and starving people;
and that if elected I would move for the immediate reduction of all
extravagant salaries, and the total abolition of all sinecures and
unmerited pensions, &c. &c. The Sheriff, little Mister Brice, put it to
the vote, in the usual way, by a skew of hands, which of us the freemen
would have for their member. The shew of hands was in my favour by an
immense majority. Mr. Davis then demanded a poll, and, after a vote or
two had been taken for each party, the Sheriffs adjourned the poll till
the next morning at nine o'clock. This was of course done to give the
unpopular candidate time to collect his forces, and to put in motion
the whole machinery of corrupt influence; and, where that failed, the
stronger means of unconstitutional dictation and arbitrary power. On our
retiring from the hustings, Mr. Davis had to endure every species of
popular execration, while I was saluted by the overwhelming applause of
the whole multitude, with the exception of the agents of authority and
wealth, and the whole of the Corporation and its tools. If the people of
Bristol had possessed the privilege of giving their votes by ballot, I
believe that I should have had on my side eight out of every ten of the
population of the city. It was evidently a contest between the rich and
the poor; the whole of the former were openly for Davis, the whole of
the latter, with the exception of those who were hired by the other
party, were every man, woman, and child, for Hunt; and even of those who
were hired, there were numbers who could not conceal their good wishes
for me, and their abhorrence of the party for whom they were acting.

In the evening great contests and bloody battles took place in the
streets. The bludgeon men of Davis had been increased to eight hundred;
each bludgeon being heavy enough to knock down an ox, they being, as I
have before stated, six feet prong staves sawn off in three lengths,
about two feet each. In the front of the White Lion, in Broadstreet,
the bearers of these weapons attacked the populace, whom they beat and
bruised most unmercifully for some time; who, in return, at length, beat
and drove them to all quarters, and in their fury they demolished the
windows of the White Lion Inn, and gutted the house. Bleeding and
smarting with their wounds, they then hurried to Clifton, to the house
of Mr. Davis, whom they considered as the author of all their wrongs,
and of the assaults which had been committed upon them by the hireling
ruffians of bludgeon-men, who all wore Davis's colours, and acted under
regular disciplined leaders, trained and commanded by the notorious
Jemmy Lockley, a boxer and Sheriff's officer. While that party of the
populace, which had directed its course to Clifton, demolished the whole
of the windows of Mr. Davis's house, and pulled up all the shrubs in
his front lawn, another party demolished the doors and windows of the
Council House.

When I went to the Hall the next morning, I never witnessed such a scene
of devastation as the White Lion exhibited; every window and window
frame was destroyed, and there remained only so many holes in the walls.
However, as I mean to give a faithful history of this election, I cannot
do better than to republish three letters addressed at the time to the
Electors of Bristol, by Mr. Cobbett, and also to state the various
accounts that were given of these transactions by the _Times_, the
_Courier_, and the _Morning Chronicle_ papers. I will begin with the
following letter, published in the first page of the 12th volume of
_Cobbett's Register_, July 4th, 1812:--

TO THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORS OF BRISTOL.

  GENTLEMEN,--Your city, the third in England in point
  of population, and for the bravery and public spirit of its
  inhabitants the first in the world, is now become, with
  all those who take an interest in the public welfare, an
  object of anxious attention. You, as the Electors of
  Westminster were, have long been the sport of the two
  artful factions, who have divided between them the profits
  arising from the obtaining of your votes, One of each
  faction has always been elected; and as one of them always
  belonged to the faction _out of place_, you, whose
  intentions and views were honest, consoled yourselves
  with the reflection, that if one of your members was in
  place, or belonged to the IN party, your other member,
  who belonged to the OUT party, was always in the House
  to watch him.  But now, I think, experience must have
  convinced you that the OUT as well as the IN member
  was always seeking his own gain at your expense, and
  that of the nation, and that the two factions, though
  openly hostile to each other, have always been perfectly
  well agreed as to the main point, namely, the perpetuating
  of those sinecure places and all those other means
  by which the public money is put into the pockets of individuals.

  With this conviction in your minds, it is not to be wondered
  at that you are now beginning to make a stand for
  the remnant of your liberties; and, as I am firmly persuaded,
  that your success would be of infinite benefit to
  the cause of freedom in general, and of course to our
  country, now groaning under a compilation of calamities,
  I cannot longer withold a public expression of the sentiments
  which I entertain respecting the struggle in which
  you are engaged; and especially respecting the _election
  now going on_, the proceedings of _a recent meeting in
  London, and the pretensions of Mr. Hunt_, compared with
  those of Sir Samuel Romilly.

  As to the first, you will bear in mind, gentlemen, how
  often we, who wish for a Reform of the Parliament, have
  contended that no Member of the House of Commons
  ought to be a placeman or a pensioner. We have said,
  and we have shown, that in that Act of Parliament by
  virtue of which the present family was exalted to the
  throne of this kingdom; we have shown, that by that
  Act it was provided that _no man having a pension or place
  of emolument under the Crown, should be capable of being
  a Member of the House of Commons_.  It is indeed true,
  that this provision has since been _repealed_; but it having
  been enacted, and that too on so important an occasion,
  shows clearly how jealous our ancestors were upon the
  subject.  When we ask for a revival of this law, we are
  told that it cannot be wanted, because, if a man be a
  placeman or a pensioner _before_ he be chosen at all, those
  who choose him know it; and if they like a placeman or
  a pensioner, who else has any thing to do with the matter?
  And, if a man be made a placeman or pensioner _after_
  he be chosen, he must _vacate his seat_, and return to his
  constituents to be re-elected before he can sit again; if
  they reject him he cannot sit, and if they re-choose him,
  who else has any thing to do with the matter?

  To be sure it is pretty impudent for these people to talk
  to us about _choice_, and about _re-choosing_ and about _rejecting_,
  and the like, when they know that we are all
  well informed of the nature of choosings and re-choosings
  at Old Sarum, at Gatton, at Queenborough, at Bodmin,
  at Penryn, at Honiton, at Oakhampton, and at more
  than a hundred other places; it is pretty impudent to talk
  to us about members _going back to their constituents_ at
  such places as those here mentioned; but what will even
  the impudence of these people find to say in the case of
  those members who, upon having grasped places or pensions,
  do go back to their constituents, and upon being
  rejected by them, go to some borough where the people
  have no voice; or who, not relishing the prospect, do not
  go to face their former constituents, but go at once to
  some borough, and there take a seat, which, by cogent
  arguments, no doubt, some one has been prevailed on to
  go out of to make way for them? What will even the
  impudence of the most prostituted knaves of hired writers
  find to say in cases like these?

  Of the former, Mr. GEORGE TIERNEY presents a memorable
  instance. He was formerly a member for Southwark,
  chosen on account of his professions in favour of
  freedom, by a numerous body of independent electors.
  But having taken a fancy to a place which put some thousands
  a year of the public money into his own individual
  pocket, having had the assurance to go back to his constituents,
  and having been by them _rejected_ with scorn,
  be was immediately _chosen_ by some borough where a seat
  bad been emptied in order to receive him, and now he is
  representative of the people of a place called _Bandon
  Bridge_, in _Ireland_, a place which, in all probability, he
  never saw, and the inhabitants of which are, I dare say,
  wholly unconscious of having the honour to be represented
  by so famous a person. Your late representative,
  Mr. BRAGGE BATHURST, has acted a more modest, or at
  least a more prudent part. He has got a fat place; a
  place, the profits of which would find some hundreds of
  Englishmen's families in provisions all the year round;
  be has been made what is called _Chancellor of the Duchy
  of Lancaster_, which will give him immense patronage,
  and of course afford him ample means of enriching his family,
  friends, and dependents, besides his having held
  places of great salary for many years before.  Thus loaded
  with riches arising from the public means, he does not, I
  perceive, intend to _face you_; he cannot, it seems, screw
  himself up to that pitch.  We shall in all likelihood see
  in a few days what borough opens its chaste arms to receive
  him; but, as a matter of much greater consequence,
  I now beg to offer you some remarks upon the measures
  that have been taken to supply his place.

  It was announced to his supporters at Bristol, about
  three months ago, that he did not mean to offer himself
  for that city again, and Mr. RICHARD HART DAVIS, of
  whom you will hear enough, came forward as his successor;
  openly avowing all his principles, and expressly
  saying, that he would tread in his steps. What those
  steps are, you have seen; and what those principles are,
  the miserable people of England feel in the effects of war
  and taxation. But, I beg your attention to some circumstances
  connected with the election, which ought to be
  known and long borne in mind.  The WRIT for electing
  a member for Bristol, in the room of Bragge Bathurst, was
  moved for in the House of Commons; on Tuesday evening,
  June 23, and at the same moment a writ for electing a
  member for Colchester, in the room of Richard Hart Davis,
  was moved for.  So you see they both vacate at the
  same instant; your man not liking to go down to Bristol,
  the other vacates a seat for another place, in order to go
  down to face you in his stead.  Observe too with what
  _quickness_ the thing is managed.  Nobody knows, or at
  least none of you know, that Bragge is going to vacate
  his seat.  Davis apparently knew it, because we see him
  _vacating at the same moment_.  The WRIT is sent off the
  same night; it gets to Bristol on Wednesday morning the
  24th; the law requires _four days notice_ on the part of the
  Sheriffs; they give it; and the election comes on the
  next Monday.  So you see if Mr. HUNT had been living
  in Ireland or Scotland, or even in the northern counties
  of England, or in some parts of Cornwall, the election
  might have been over before there would have been a
  POSSIBILITY of his getting to Bristol.  And though his
  place of residence was within thirty miles of London, he
  who was at home on his farm, had but just time to reach
  you soon enough to give you an opportunity of exercising
  your rights upon this occasion. Mr. Hunt _could_ not know
  that the writ was moved for till Wednesday evening,
  living, as he does, at a distance from a post town; and,
  as it happened, he did not know of it, I believe, till
  Thursday night; so that it was next to impossible for
  him to come to London (which I suppose was necessary)
  and to reach Bristol before Saturday. While, on the other
  hand, Mr. Davis had chosen his time, and of course had
  made all his preparations.

  Such, Gentlemen, have been the means used preparatory
  to the election. Let us now see what a scene your
  city exhibits at this moment; first, however, taking a
  look at the _under-plot going on in London_, in favour of
  Sir SAMUEL ROMILLY.

  It is stated in the London newspapers, and particularly
  in _The Times_ of Saturday last, that there was a meeting
  on Friday at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand, the
  object of which was "to _raise money_" by subscription
  for "_supporting the election of Sir Samuel Romilly at
  Bristol;_" and it is added, that a large sum was accordingly
  raised. This meeting appears to me to have for
  its object the deceiving of the electors of Bristol; an object,
  however, which I am satisfied will not be accomplished
  to any great extent. I do not mean to say that
  Sir Samuel Romilly would use deceit; but I am quite
  sure that there are those who would use it upon this
  occasion. The truth is, that the raising of these large
  sums of money (amounting already, they say, to 8,000_l_.)
  proves that Sir Samuel Romilly does not put his trust in
  the FREE VOICE of the people of Bristol.  At this meeting
  Mr. BARING, one of the persons _who makes the loans
  to the Government_, was in the chair.  This alone is a circumstance
  sufficient to enable you to judge not only of the
  _character_ of the meeting, but also of what sort of conduct
  is _expected_ from Sir Samuel Romilly, if he were placed in
  Parliament by the means of this subscription.  Mr. WHITBREAD
  was also at the meeting, and spoke in favour of
  the subscription.  But we must not be carried away by
  _names_.  Mr. Whitbread does many good things; but Mr.
  Whitbread is not always right. Mr. Whitbread _subscribed
  to bring Mr. Sheridan in for Westminster_, and was, indeed,
  the man who caused him to obtain the appearance
  of a majority; Mr. Whitbread supported that same Sheridan
  afterwards against Lord COCHRANE; and though Mr.
  Whitbread is so ready to subscribe now, _he refused to
  subscribe to the election of Sir Francis Burdett_, notwithstanding
  the election was in a city of which he was an inhabitant
  and an elector.  These, Gentlemen, are facts, of
  which you should be apprised; otherwise _names_ might
  deceive you.

  I beg to observe also, that at this meeting there was
  nothing said about a _Parliamentary Reform_, without
  which you must be satisfied no good of any consequence
  can be done. There was indeed a Mr. MILLS, who said
  he came from Bristol, who observed that "the great majority
  of the inhabitants of Bristol _felt_ perfectly convinced
  of the necessity of SOMETHING LIKE Reform."  And
  is this all? Does your conviction go no farther than this?
  I remember that, when a little boy, I was crying to my
  mother for a bit of bread and cheese, and that a journeyman
  carpenter, who was at work hard by, compassionately
  offered _to chalk me out a big piece upon a board_. I
  forget the way in which I vented my rage against him;
  but the offer has never quitted my memory. Yet really
  this seems to come up to the notion of Mr. Mills; the carpenter offered me SOMETHING LIKE a big piece of
  bread and cheese. Oh! no, Gentlemen, it is not this _something
  like_ that you want; you want _the thing itself;_ and
  if Sir Samuel Romilly meant that you should have it, do
  you believe that neither he, nor any one for him, would
  have made any specific promise upon the subject? Even
  after Mr. Mills had said that you wanted _something like_
  Reform, there was nobody who ventured to say that Sir
  Samuel Romilly would endeavour to procure even that
  for you.  His friends were told, that if he would distinctly
  pledge himself to Reform, whether _in place or out of
  place_, Mr. Hunt, who only wished to see that measure accomplished,
  would himself assist in his election; but
  this Sir Samuel Romilly has not done, and therefore he is
  not the man whom you ought to choose, though he is beyond
  all comparison better than hundreds of other public
  men, and though he is, in many respects, a most excellent
  Member of Parliament.  Gentlemen, these friends of Sir
  Samuel Romilly call upon you to choose him, because he
  is, they tell you, a decided enemy of the measures of the
  present ministers.  Now they must very well know, that
  _all those measures have had the decided support of the
  parliament_.  Well, then, do these friends allow, that the
  parliament are the real representatives of the people,
  and that they speak the people's voice? If Sir Samuel's
  friends do allow this, then they do, in fact, say, that he is
  an enemy to all those measures which the people's voice
  approves of; and, if they do not allow this, if they say
  that the parliament do _not_ speak the people's voice, and
  are _not_ their real representatives, hove can they hope that
  any man will do you any good who is not decidedly for _a
  reform of that parliament?_ Let the meeting at the Crown
  and Anchor answer these questions, or, in the name of
  decency, I conjure them to hold their tongues, and to put
  their subscriptions back again into their pockets.

  To say the truth (and this is not a time to disguise it
  from you) this subscription is a subscription _against_, and
  not _for_, the freedom of election. If Sir Samuel Romilly's
  friends were willing to put their trust in the free good-will
  of the people of Bristol, why raise money in such large
  quantities, and especially why resort to _party men_ and to
  _loan makers_ for this purpose? They will say, perhaps,
  that the money is intended for the purpose of carrying
  down the _London voters_, and for that of fetching voters
  from elsewhere; but, why are they afraid to put their
  trust in the _resident_ voters of Bristol? The object of this
  subscription is very far indeed from resembling the object
  of that which was set on foot in Westminster, which was
  not to gain votes by dint of money, but merely to pay the
  expenses of printing, of clerks, and other little matters
  inseparable from an election at Westminster; and the
  whole of which did not amount to more than about _eight
  hundred pounds;_ whereas as many thousands are stated
  to be already subscribed for procuring the election of Sir
  Samuel Romilly. In short, this attempt of the friends of
  Sir Samuel Romilly is like many others that have been
  made before.  It is _purse against purse_.  Mr. PROTHERO
  has shaken his purse at Sir Samuel; and, as the latter
  does not choose to engage with his own purse, his friends,
  with _a loan maker at their head_, came forward to make
  up a purse for him; and the free and unbought voice of
  the electors of Bristol is evidently intended by neither
  party to have any weight at all in the decision.

  Let us now return and take a view of the political
  picture which Bristol at this moment presents. And
  here, the first observation that strikes one is, that neither
  the friends of Sir Samuel Romilly nor the friends of Mr.
  Prothero say one word in opposition to Mr. Hart Davis,
  though he avowedly stands upon the principles of Mr.
  Bragge and the present Ministers; though he quitted his
  canvass about ten weeks ago, to come express to London
  to vote in favour of the Orders in Council; and though
  he now says, that he will tread in the steps of Mr. Bragge.
  Though they have all this before their eyes, not one single
  syllable does any one of them utter against the pretensions
  or movements of Mr. Davis; and, though the meeting
  at the Crown and Anchor took place several days
  after the Bristol and Colchester writs were moved for,
  and though the parties at the meeting must necessarily
  have been well acquainted with all that I have above
  stated to you upon the subject of those writs, not one
  word did they utter against the pretensions of Mr. Davis,
  nor did they (according to the printed report of their
  proceedings) even mention his name, or take the smallest
  notice of the circumstance, that an election, a little, snug,
  rotten-borough-like election, was, at that moment, getting
  up in that very city, for the _interest_ and _honour_ of which
  they were affecting so much concern! And can you, then,
  believe them sincere? Can you believe, that they have
  any other view than merely that of securing _a seat for
  the party_ in Bristol? Can you doubt that the contest, on
  their part, is not for the _principle_, but for the _seat?_

  Having pointed out this circumstance to your attention,
  it is hardly necessary for me to advert to the conduct of
  Mr. Hunt, which, in this case in particular, forms a contrast
  with that of the other parties too striking not to
  have produced a lasting impression upon your minds. He
  does not content himself with _talking_ about defending
  your liberties. He _acts_ as well as _talks_. He hears that
  the enemy is at your camp, and he flies to rescue you
  from his grasp.  He does not waste his time in a tavern in
  London, drawing up flourishing resolutions about "_public
  spirit_."  He hastens among you; he _looks your and
  his adversary in the face:_ he shows you that you may
  _depend upon him in the hour of trial_.  These, Gentlemen,
  are marks of such a character in a representative as
  the times demand. Sir Samuel Romilly is a very worthy
  gentleman; an honest man; a humane man; a man that
  could not, in my opinion, be by any means tempted to do
  a cruel or dishonest act; and he is, too, a man of great
  talents. But, I have no scruple to say, that I should prefer,
  and greatly prefer, Mr. Hunt to Sir Samuel Romilly,
  as a Member of Parliament; for, while I do not know,
  and do not believe, that the latter excels the former in
  honesty or humanity, I am convinced that his talents,
  though superior, perhaps, _in their kind_, are not equal, _in
  value to the public_, to the talents possessed by Mr. Hunt,
  who is at this moment giving you a specimen of the effect
  of those talents.

  Gentlemen, the predominance of _Lawyers_, in this country,
  has produced amongst us a very erroneous way of
  thinking with respect to the talents of public men; and,
  contrary to the notions of the world in general, we are
  apt to think a man great in mind in proportion to the glibness
  of his tongue. With us, to be a _great talker_ is to be
  a _great man;_ but perhaps a falser rule of judging never
  was adopted.  It is so far from being true as a general
  maxim, that it is generally the contrary of the truth; and,
  if you look back through the list of our own public men,
  you will find that, in general, they have been shallow
  and mischievous in proportion to their gift of talking. We
  have been brought to our present miserable state by a
  lawyer-like policy, defended in lawyer-like debates.
  Plain good sense has been brow-beaten out of countenance;
  has been talked down, by the politicians from the
  bar; haranguing and special pleading and quibbling have
  usurped the place of frank and explicit statement and unsophisticated
  reasoning. In Mr. Hunt you have no lawyer,
  but you have a man who is not to be brow-beaten
  into silence.  You have a man not to be intimidated by
  the frowns or the threats of wealth or of rank; a man
  not to be induced to abandon his duty towards you from
  any consideration of danger to himself; and, I venture to
  foretell (begging that my words may be remembered)
  that, if you elect him, the whole country will soon acknowledge
  the benefit conferred on it by the city of Bristol.

  Gentlemen, this letter will, in all likelihood, find you
  engaged in the bustle of an election. With all the advantages
  on the side of your adversary, you may not, perhaps,
  upon the _present_ occasion, be able to defeat him.
  But you will have a chance; you will have an opportunity
  of trying; you will have _an election_; and this you
  would not have had if it had not been for Mr. Hunt,
  for the whole affair would have been over before you had
  scarcely _heard_ of it. At the very least you will have
  _some days of liberty to speak your minds_; to tell Mr.
  Davis what you think of him and of his predecessor; to
  declare aloud your grievances and your indignation; and
  even for _this_ liberty you will be indebted to Mr. Hunt,
  and _solely_ to Mr. Hunt. You are told of the _zeal_ of Mr.
  Prothero and Sir Samuel Romilly in your service; you are
  told of their desire to promote your _interest_ and your _honour_;
  but where are they _now_? Where are they when
  the enemy is in your city, when you were to have been
  handed over from Mr. Bragge Bathurst to Hart Davis as
  quietly as if you had been a cargo of tallow or of corn?
  It is now, it is in this moment of real need, that Mr. Hunt
  comes to your aid; and, if he fail in defeating, he will,
  at the least, harass your enemy, make his victory over
  you cost him dear, and by exposing the sources and
  means of his success, lay the foundation of his future defeat
  and disgrace.--I am, your friend,

  WM. COBBETT.

  _State Prison, Nerogate, Monday, 29th June_, 1812.


Such of my readers as are not old enough to remember the events, or to
have read Mr. Cobbett's Register at that time, will acquire from this
letter a pretty cleat insight into the state of the case at this period
of the proceedings. It has already been seen, that, on the first
morning, I made my way to the hustings, and, under every disadvantage,
maintained the right of election in the City of Bristol. I had no allies
but the people; of _them_, indeed, I had the great mass with me; but,
though I had well-wishers in all the richer classes, there was scarcely
a single man beyond the rank of a journeyman, who had the courage openly
to give me any countenance or support. The Whigs and Tories united with
all their accumulated force against me. I had, therefore, to contend,
single-handed, against all _the power, wealth and influence_ of
all parties and factions in the city. All the corporation, all the
merchants, all the tradesmen, all the clergy and priests, whether of the
church of England or of the numberless sects of dissenters, all these,
and all whom they could array under their banners, were volunteers to
uphold the most corrupt and profligate system of election that ever
disgraced the rottenest of rotten boroughs. Then came the hireling
legion, consisting of a swarm of more foul and noxious vermin than
Moses inflicted upon the land of Egypt. It was made up of all the
attorneys, and pettifoggers, with their clerks, scamps, and runners;
every man, or rather every reptile, of them, being profusely fed to
bark, to snarl, to cavil, and to bully; and all of them more ravenous
and ferocious than sharks or wolves. It is, indeed, almost a libel upon
the sharks and wolves to compare them with such creatures. I cannot,
perhaps, give a better idea of them than in the forcible, though rather
coarse language of a mechanic, who declared that, "if hell were raked
with a small tooth-comb, it would not be possible to collect another
such a gang." In the evening, I requested my Committee to procure me a
list of these worthy limbs of the law; and, if I recollect right, the
number was forty-one. I know that it was one under or one over forty,
but I do not know which. There they were, Whigs and Tories, bitter
haters of each other on all other occasions, but now jumbled together
like pigs in a stye, or like hungry curs of all sorts of mis-begotten
and degenerate breeds. I believe that the famous Mr. WEBB HALL, who was
then a practising attorney in Bristol (of the firm of Jarman and Hall);
I believe that this profound agricultural quack of 1821, was, in 1812,
one of the formidable phalanx which was drawn up against me.

O, how this blessed band did roar and bluster, and pretend to be shocked
and horrified at my "matchless impudence," in thinking to oppose "the
amiable" and mighty candidate of the White Lion Club! The reader will
bear in mind that there never had been a real contested election in
Bristol since that of 1774, when Mr. Burke and Mr. Cruger were elected,
upon the opposition or Whig interest, to the exclusion of Earl Nugent
and Mr. Brickdale. At the election in 1780, the ministerial faction
returned both members. "From that period till 1812," says Mr. Oldfield,
in his History of the Boroughs, "the city of Bristol has been governed
by two party clubs, and each club has nominated a member, who were
quietly returned without any opposition." The people of Bristol, I
found, distinguished their two factions by the designation of the _high_
and the _low_ party: the Whigs deriving their principal support from the
lower class of tradesmen and journeymen.

The hungry, grasping, quirking attorneys thought they were all the time
pretending to be shocked at my opposition to "the worthy Mr. Davis,"
were, in fact, frightened out of their senses, every moment of the first
day, lest I should make a slip, so as to enable their worthy _leader_,
Mr. Arthur Palmer, the perpetual Under Sheriff, to take an advantage of
it and close the election. These mercenaries were all _hired at five
guineas a day_ each, as long as the election lasted; and of course the
cunning old trickster, Palmer, was always upon the look out to spoil
their sport, by closing the election. This Squire Palmer, this perpetual
tormentor of the poor distressed debtors of the City, was a cavilling,
quibbling, empty-headed, testy, old womanish chap, scarcely worthy to be
designated by the title of a man. He was eternally yelping, like a cur,
without any rhyme or reason; and the reader may estimate the pack by the
description that I have given of this, the foremost hound. There was
another of this gang who put himself very forward, and who was very
insolent to some of my friends. Such a looking creature I had scarcely
ever seen in human form; he had coal-black, straight hair, hanging down
a sallow-looking face, that had met with very rough usage from the
ravages of the small-pox. In fact, his face resembled a piece of cold,
dirty, honey combed tripe, and had very little more expression in it;
and the whole was completed by two heavy, dark eyes, which looked like
leaden bullets stuck in clay. This worthy had been going on for some
time in an impertinent way, on which I was about to admonish him; and,
as a preliminary, I asked him, with great coolness, "pray, Sir, is not
your naive Leach?" "Yes," said he, "it is _Leech_, and I should like to
suck thy blood!" This was esteemed a brilliant sally of wit, and was
received with noisy approbation by his surrounding friends. Well! I
thought to myself, I am amongst a precious set of cannibals, indeed, and
it will require all my temper to manage with such a tribe. There, too,
sat the Sheriffs. The one of them, Mr. Sheriff Brice, a sugar-baker,
was as upstart, whipper-snapper, waspish a little gentleman as ever
disgraced the seat of office. I soon discovered that I was not to expect
from him an atom of liberality or fair play. Mr. Sheriff Benjamin
Bickley, the other Sheriff, appeared to be an easy, good sort of man,
that wished to take it all very coolly and unconcernedly--to wit, "you
may settle it just as you please, gentlemen," or some such answer as
that, when he was appealed to. However, there was, altogether, a spirit
of fairness about him, which, when it came to the push, he had too much
honesty to disguise; so that, when he could be moved to interfere,
it was generally with impartiality. These were our two Sheriffs and
returning officers. But, as they thought it quite beneath them to
understand any thing about the law of election, they had their assessor,
a barrister, to settle all the law points with me; this assessor was
Edmond Griffith, Esq. who is now one of the police magistrates in the
metropolis, but at which office I forget. The points of law I carried
nineteen times out of twenty, for I had _Disney's Abridgement_ at
my fingers ends, and that author's volume we made the umpire in all
contested points. Before I proceed any farther, I must say, that, during
the whole of this tremendous contest, Mr. Griffith conducted himself in
every respect like a gentleman and a man of honour; and when I have said
this of Mr. Chancellor Griffith, and Mr. Sheriff Bickley, I shall
not belie any person in the city of Bristol by paying him a similar
compliment. With these two exceptions, I can safely affirm, that I never
received an act of civility, liberality or fair play, from any of that
class that call themselves gentlemen, in Bristol, during the whole
fifteen days that the election lasted. But, to make amends for this, I
received numerous acts of kindness from many worthy tradesmen, and such
proofs of devoted attachment from almost the whole of the population,
male and female, with the exception of the hirelings and dependents of
the gentry, as I have never seen surpassed to this day.

Between the time of adjourning the poll to that of meeting again the
next morning, I received no less than half a score anonymous letters,
threatening my life, if I appeared at the Hall the next day. This had,
of course, no weight with me; but it shows by what a gang of desperadoes
I was surrounded. I had not the least doubt of their good will to put
this threat into effect; it was the fear of a _dreadful retribution that
alone_ deterred them from hiring some of the numerous assassins, who, it
was said, had volunteered for a good round sum to become my butchers.
All sorts of schemes and plans were devised to get rid of me; but
nothing was thought likely to answer. At length it was proposed, by
certain members of the White Lion Club, to bribe me with the offer of a
sum sufficient to purchase a seat from one of the Boroughmongers, if I
wished to be in Parliament. This was believed to be the only plan, and
every one appeared to think that it would be much better to give me
5000_l_. to withdraw, than it would be for them to pay 20,000_l_., which
was the least the contest would be likely to cost, besides all the
trouble to boot. But just as this was apparently unanimously agreed
upon, one of the sapient attorneys, who happened to know me a little
personally, put this very natural question, "Pray, Gentlemen, who is the
man that is to offer Mr. Hunt this bribe?" This, as I was informed, put
an end at once to the scheme; there being no one who would undertake to
be the messenger to bear such a proposition to me. The task would indeed
have been an absurd as well as a hazardous one; for I offered myself to
the people of Bristol upon the Constitutional principle that I would not
spend one shilling, neither would I canvass the electors; and I further
tendered an affidavit, which I offered to swear before the Mayor, that
I never would accept of a place of profit or a pension under the Crown,
either directly or indirectly, either for myself or any one of my
family. It was, therefore, not very likely that I would consent to creep
into Parliament by corrupt means.

Well, the election was fairly begun, two candidates were regularly
proposed, it had been put to the vote, the shew of hands had been
declared by the Sheriffs to be in my favour, a poll had been demanded by
Mr. Davis, the poll was open and votes on each side had been taken, and
the poll been adjourned till nine o'clock the next morning. One thing
was made obvious, on the first day, to my opponents. It was clearly
ascertained that I could not be put off my guard; and that in the midst
of this terrible struggle and hurlyburly, I was perhaps the calmest
and most collected man in the whole assemblage. All hopes of putting an
end to the election were consequently quite banished from the mind even
of the arch-trickster, Mr. Arthur Palmer, and there was nothing left for
them but to endure the fifteen days contest, or try to bring it by force
to a sudden conclusion. It was then, as I have before stated, that
the bludgeon-men were let loose to accomplish the plan, and glut the
vengeance of their enraged and mortified employers; and, after I was
retired to bed at my inn, to recruit my strength, that I might be able,
on the next day, to commence single-handed, the task of keeping in order
these said forty limbs of the law, and dreadful was the struggle. Mr.
Davis had all the power of authority and wealth thrown into his scale;
and finding that I had all the popularity, his supporters set to work
the engines of intimidation, corrupt influence, and bribery. All day
long my voters had to submit to insults and assaults, committed upon
them by the bludgeon-men, who had increased their numbers to eight
hundred. These fellows, together with the whole of the City police,
conducted themselves in the most outrageous manner, by maltreating the
people. Their gangs had absolutely blocked up the whole of Broad-street,
and every avenue leading to the hustings. Information was frequently
brought to me, that these ruffians were assaulting and beating back my
votes; and I frequently left the hustings and went into the streets to
rescue those who were so unmercifully attacked, which I always effected
whenever I went forth.

When the evening came, and the poll was adjourned to the next day, I
retired, mounted my horse, which was waiting for me at the Hall door,
and rode to the Exchange, to give the multitude a history of the
proceedings of the day in the Guildhall. After giving them a correct
detail of the business of the day, and the state of the poll, I urged
every man to get as well armed as he could, and by all means resist the
illegal violence of the hired bludgeon-men; but on no account to strike
first. It behoved them, I said, to stand up manfully for their rights,
and not be driven off the field, particularly out of their own city, by
hired ruffians. I told them that, after I had been home to my inn and
taken my dinner, it was my intention to ride round the city for a little
fresh air, and that I should, if they wished it, have no objection to
my friends accompanying me, to make a sort of general canvass. This
communication was received with universal approbation, all declaring
that they would attend me; and I promised to start from my inn, the
Talbot, precisely at seven o'clock, to ride an hour or an hour and a
half.

At the appointed time they were all as good as their words, and the
Talbot was surrounded by perhaps not less than from ten to fifteen
thousand people. I also was as good as my word, for as soon as the clock
struck seven I mounted my horse, and rode out of the inn yard amongst
them. I was of course hailed with such shouts as made the whole city
ring again. Unaccompanied by any human being whom I knew, I threw myself
amongst them, and made my way through a passage that was opened, over
the bridge and down by the quay, gently following the course of the
river from Bristol-bridge even till I came round by the Broad-quay to
the draw-bridge. The whole of this quay is covered with all sorts
of timber, wood, poles, faggot piles, and other rough merchandise,
principally brought. from Wales. The people eyed these faggot piles very
wishfully; at length one drew out a stick, another followed, till, as
we passed along, the whole male part of the multitude became armed with
bludgeons and sticks as well as Mr. Davis's bludgeon-men. Though I could
have wished that the weapons had been otherwise obtained, yet I must
confess that I was not very sorry to see what had happened, as the White
Lion hirelings had become so outrageously brutal that it was absolutely
necessary to put them down, or the next day we should not have been
enabled to bring up a single vote. Eight hundred ruffians, collected
from the collieries at Kingswood and from Cock-road, the haunt of every
species of desperadoes; such a gang as this, well paid and well filled
with ale, and knowing that, do what they would, they should be protected
by the authorities, was a sort of force that was not to be trifled with.
I therefore gave the word, let none of my friends strike first, but let
no one upon such an occasion as that for which we are contending, which
is for the freedom of election, let no one be insulted or assaulted with
impunity by the hired bludgeon-men. If they once begin to knock down the
people, let them without ceremony be driven out of the city.

Such a body of men as were with me, armed each of them with a good
thick stick, made rather a formidable appearance, and I saw that the
countenances of the citizens, shopkeepers, and merchants, as I passed,
evidently betrayed the greatest alarm. As soon as they had attended me
to my inn, and given me three cheers at parting, the cry was, "_to
Broad-street! to Broad-street!_" which was the rendezvous for Davis's
bludgeon-men, who had got complete possession of that street, and
remained opposite the White Lion the whole of the day, stopping up all
access to the Guildhall, which is in the same street. Every one who was
not of the Blue party, and who had attempted to pass, had been not only
insulted but assaulted, and sometimes knocked down and half murdered.
One man had been killed the night before. Every one now affected to
dread Hunt's mob; but I replied "depend upon it they only want their
rights, and their rights they shall have, as far as maintaining the
freedom of election, or they shall fight for it." In less than a quarter
of an hour after they quitted the Talbot, and before I had finished my
tea, I heard a tremendous shouting, and upon inquiring the cause, I
found that the bludgeon-men had all fled at the approach of my men. On
the evening before, when the people had no weapons, the bludgeon gentry
had received a specimen of what they could do in resisting unjust and
usurped power; and now that the people had bludgeons as well as their
enemies, the hirelings took to their heels, and the volunteers were
victorious, without striking scarcely a blow. The timid and cowardly
race that had employed these bludgeon-men, in whom they placed great
confidence to save them from Hunt's mob, began to quake for fear; but
their fears were groundless. Having by their victory gained that to
which they were entitled, a free and unmolested passage through the
streets of their city, they were content; and, instead of acting in the
same way, that, under similar circumstances, their dastardly oppressors
would have done, instead of committing the slightest depredations upon
any body or any thing, they returned to communicate their triumph to me,
which they announced by three cheers, and then quietly and peaceably
dispersed, and retired each man to his home, without even having broken
a single pane of glass, that ever came to my knowledge. The very idea of
having a free election was, however, quite out of the question with my
opponents. They sent off for the military, as it was reported, without
further delay, though there did not exist the least riot, or probability
of one; in fact, all rioting and bloodshed had been put an end to by
driving the hireling bludgeon-men to quarters, and clearing the streets
of them.

By this time I had received a considerable accession to my forces at the
inn. My committee, or rather the committee of the free men, mustered
very strong. Mr. Williams, a very respectable shoemaker, together with
Mr. Cranidge, a schoolmaster, had now joined the standard of Liberty,
and added their names to my committee. Every one who entered the
committee subscribed his name to act as a volunteer, without the
slightest pecuniary remuneration. There were the two Pimms, Lyddiard,
Mr. Bright, in the Old Market, Mr. Brownjohn, Mr. Wright, the famous
pedestrian, who has lately accomplished such feats in Yorkshire, such
as no one but a real Radical could perform; a Mr. Webb, a sort of an
attorney, a very active man, who was generally in the chair at most of
the committee meetings, and who used to be very particular that
every one who joined the committee should pledge himself to act as a
volunteer, &c. without fee or reward. There was also a Mr. Hornbrook,
who, together with Webb, took a very prominent part in the _talking
department_. There were several more, but these determined Radicals
managed every thing, and carried all my plans into effect. I seldom saw
any thing of the committee in a body, except that every evening I paid
them a mere visit of form for a few minutes. It was real purity of
election; not one shilling was to be spent or given away, every one was
to do his best, and to pay his own share of any little expense they were
at; and so well understood was it, that it was an election of principle,
that scarcely ten persons ever asked for any thing; not even so much
as a draught of porter was ever given away to a voter or any one else.
There was a daily subscription for printing, and that was all the money
that was ever required, and printing was the only thing on which money
was spent. Yet even this was a heavy expense. I have since learned that
there was a rich Quaker, and two or three rich men, that, under the
rose, furnished my committee, or at least some of the members of it,
with liberal sums. There was also a lady at Clifton who did the same;
and, in truth, I have reason to think that money to a considerable
amount was subscribed in this way, which never came to my knowledge, or
to the knowledge of the great body of the committee.

I have, I dare say, missed the names of some who made up this committee.
Indeed, I at this moment remember some additional names. There was Mr.
Thomas, and Mr. Lutherel, a sort of a journeyman attorney, and a Mr.
W. Weech, of all the men in the world one that I ought not to have
forgotten, he was a most worthy elector of Bristol, who, together with
Brownjohn, never flinched for a moment. There were also Mr. Haines
and Mr. Farr, and a brave and worthy elector of the name of Stokes,
a shoemaker. In fact, they were altogether as brave and as staunch
a little band of patriots as ever met to struggle for the rights of
Englishmen--and this was indeed a mighty struggle, the force, the power,
the wealth, and the corrupt influence that we had to contend with, being
beyond all description.

I very soon discovered that there was not the slightest chance of
carrying the election; there being a complete coalition between the
Whigs and the Tories. The whole enormous influence of both the factions
was thrown into the scale against me. The most violent menaces were used
by them to deter my friends from coming forward in my favour. Hundreds
upon hundreds came to say, that they were anxious to vote for me, but if
they did do so they would lose their bread, and they and their families
would be ruined. All the merchants, tradesmen, and masters of every
denomination, openly vowed vengeance against all their dependants and
connexions, if they voted for me. I believe there was never any thing
equal to the threats and intimidation that took place in that city
during that election. As, therefore, there was no chance of contending
against all this with any prospect of success, the only course which was
left for me to pursue, was to make the enemy purchase his victory as
dearly as possible; and, with this view, all my efforts were directed
to impress on the minds of my Committee the necessity of husbanding our
resources, by keeping back all the staunch votes, so as to protract the
poll to the very last hour which was allowed by law. We _did_ accomplish
this; yet how, under such adverse circumstances, we contrived to carry
on the contest for fifteen days, has often been a matter of astonishment
to me.

I had been two days now without any friend to assist me, and whether it
was on the third or whether it was on the fourth day, I am not quite
clear; but, to my great joy, a gentleman from London, whom I had only
met once or twice before, came down, as he said, when he introduced
himself upon the hustings, expressly to assist me in the glorious
struggle. My pleasure was equal to my surprise, when Mr. Davenport, a
gentleman well known in the literary world, walked up on the hustings
and shook me by the hand, at the time that he communicated this
gratifying intelligence. Mr. Davenport was just the very man of whom I
stood in need. If I had taken the choice of the whole world, knowing
him, as I now do, I would have selected Mr. Davenport. He is rather a
little man, but he is as brave as a lion, with an eye as quick as
a hawk's, decisive and rapid in executing any thing that was to be
undertaken, and with wit and talent as brilliant as the sun at noon-day.
I had all along felt myself more than a match for the forty attorneys
and all their myrmidons; but with such a man as Mr. Davenport by my
side, I held them cheap indeed. This was such an accession to my forces
as I had not at all calculated upon. To Mr. Cobbett and to Sir Francis
Burdett was I indebted for the able assistance of such a man. Before
he arrived, I had not a friend that I could communicate with; all the
Bristol men were tradesmen, and they had to attend to their business,
when they were not at work either in the Committee-room or in the field;
but in Mr. Davenport I found at once a delightful companion, and an
indefatigable, able, assistant. When he sees this it will recal to his
recollection many and many a hearty laugh which we had together, in
talking over the blunders and stupidities that had been committed by
the Bristolians during the labours and fatigues o£ the day, and how
we enjoyed the mischief that we were making amongst the agents of The
Boroughmongers. It was calculated that Mr. Davis and his friends did not
spend less than two thousand pounds a day, while we fared sumptuously,
and partook of every delicacy of the season, at an expense not exceeding
twenty-five shillings a day between us; this being the extent of my
expenses, when I came to pay my bill at the end of the sixteen days that
I was at the Talbot. I shall never forget how he used to laugh and enjoy
the fun; and it almost makes me laugh now, even in my solitary dungeon,
when I recollect the way in which _Snuffy Jerry_ tuned up the first song
that Mr. Davenport wrote, beginning--"Tallow Dick! Tallow Dick! you are
cursedly sick of being baited at Bristol election." Tallow Dick, be it
observed, was the name by which the Tory champion was known. After being
_eighteen days and nights in solitary confinement_, in my gloomy, dark,
damp, dungeon, without having been once cheered by the voice of a
friend, I can smile at the recollection of these scenes that afforded
us so much mirth. Ah! my dear and much respected friend, when you read
this, and think of my situation, I know that the tear will for a moment
glisten in your eye, your whole soul will sympathise with your friend.
But again, when you think of the cruel sufferings and persecutions of
those that I love more than my life, I can almost see you jump out of
your seat, and, as you brush the tear indignantly from your eye, I can
fancy I hear you shower down maledictions upon the unnatural monsters
who can thus delight to inflict wanton misery upon a captive and his
unoffending family.

The next morning very early, one of my friends came to my bed-room door
to inform me that a regiment of soldiers had been marched into the city
during the night, and that some of them had actually taken up their
quarters and slept in the Guildhall, the very seat of the election. I
immediately rose, and while I was dressing myself, I ordered my horse,
being determined to go and witness this novel scene, of a regiment of
soldiers taking possession of the Guildhall and the hustings, during
the time of an election; still, however, expecting that as soon as the
authorities were in motion in the morning, they would remove them at
least from the immediate neighbourhood where the election was going
on; but I afterwards found that my haste was unnecessary. I mounted my
horse, and accompanied by a few friends, I rode down to the door of the
Guildhall, which was surrounded by soldiers with bayonets fixed. Upon
hearing that I was coming, for my approach was always announced by the
people, those who had slept in the Hall come flocking down the steps, to
have a peep at this tremendous candidate who had created such a
popular feeling that the election could not be carried on without the
intervention of the military, both horse and foot--two troops of the
Scots Greys and the West Middlesex Militia. Upon one of the officers
coming to the spot, I addressed them as I sat on my horse. But, as
what I said was published at the time, in an account given of the
transactions as they occurred, as well as in the details which were put
forth by the London press, and collected by Mr. Cobbett, who reprinted
them in the 22d volume of the _Register_, I shall insert his account of
it, as follows:--

BRISTOL ELECTION.

From the letter, at the head of this sheet, [Footnote: See page 519.]
the reader will find a pretty good preface to the history of this
election, which is quite another sort of thing than what the friends of
Sir Samuel Romilly appear to have taken an election at Bristol to be.

The intelligence which I have from that City comes down to Wednesday
last, the 1st instant. I may, and, I dare say, I shall, have it to a
later date before this number goes to the press; but, I shall now give
the history down to that day.

Sir Samuel Romilly's friends, at their meeting at the Crown and Anchor,
talked of Mr. PROTHEROE as an opponent; but, not a word did they say of
Mr. HUNT. A _farmer_, was, I suppose, thought beneath their notice. We
shall, however, see that farmer doing more at Bristol, I imagine, than
they and their subscription will ever be able to do. In the letter,
before inserted, I have shown how Mr. Hunt, whose residence is in
Sussex, was taken by surprise. He was wholly ignorant of the vacancy,
'till _Thursday evening_, the 25th of June, when his newspaper of
Wednesday informed him that the writ, in the room of Mr. Bragge
Bathurst, had been moved for on Tuesday.

He came to London on Friday, set off that night for Bath, and got into
Bristol on _Saturday evening_, where he was received by the people with
a pleasure proportioned to their surprise at seeing him come.

Hart Davis had made his entry in an earlier part of the day, preceded by
the carriages of bankers, excise and custom-House people, and, in short,
all that description of persons who are every where found in opposition
to the liberties of Englishmen.

As it was settled amongst the parties, that Davis was to meet with no
opposition from either MR. PROTHEROE or SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY, he expected
a _chairing_ on the Monday, amidst the shouts of some score or two
of hired voices. How great was his surprise, then, and how great the
consternation of his party, when they saw it announced that Mr. Hunt was
about to make his appearance!

_Sunday_ (the 28th of June) passed, of course, without any _business_
being done, but not without "_dreadful note of preparation._"

On Monday morning, the day appointed by the Sheriffs for holding the
election, the Guildhall, the place for holding the election, became a
scene of great interest: an injured and insulted people resolved to
assert their rights against the intrigues and the violences of a set of
men who were attempting to rob them of those rights.

After the _nominations_ had taken place, the Sheriffs adjourned their
court till the next day.

In the evening great strife and fighting and violence took place; the
_White Lion Inn_, whence the _Club_ who put in Mr. Bragge, and who are
now at work for Davis, takes its name; this Inn was assailed by the
_people's party_, and, it is said, pretty nearly demolished. Mr. Davis's
house at Clifton is said to have shared the same fate; and, this and
similar work, with terrible battles in the streets, having continued
till Tuesday night (the 30th of June), the SOLDIERS WERE CALLED IN, AND,
IT IS SAID, ACTUALLY MARCHED INTO THE GUILDHALL!

Pause, here, reader. Look at this spectacle. But, how came this to be
_necessary!_ It is said, that it was _necessary_, in order to _preserve
property_. But, _how came it to be so?_ Who _began_ the violences? That
is the question.

And I have no hesitation in stating my firm belief, that they were
begun, not by the PEOPLE, but by their enemies.

I state, upon the authority of Mr. JOHN ALLEN, of Bath, whom I know to
be a man of honour, of strict veracity, and (if that be any additional
praise) of great property: upon the authority of this gentleman, who
requests me to use his name, and who was an eye-witness of what he
relates, I state, that, there were about 400 men, who had been _made
special constables for the purpose_, who where planted near the place of
election; that these men, who ought to have been for one side as much as
for the other, were armed with _staves_ or _clubs_, painted BLUE, which,
the reader will observe, is the colour of the White Lion, or Bragge and
Davis, party; and, of course, the PEOPLE, who were for Mr. Hunt, looked
upon these 400 men as brought for the purpose of overawing them and
preventing them by force from exercising their rights. These men
committed, during the 29th, many acts of violence against the people.
But, at last, the people, _after great numbers of them had been
wounded_, armed themselves _with clubs too_; attacked the Blues, and
drove them into the White Lion.

Here the mischief would have ended; but the Blues, ascending to the
_upper rooms_ and _the roof_, had the baseness to throw down _stones,
brick-bats, tiles, glass bottles_, and other things, upon the heads
of the people. This produced an attack upon the house, which was soon
broken in, and I believe, gutted.

These facts I state upon the authority of Mr. Allen; and I state them
with a perfect conviction of their truth.

The reader will observe, that the great point is, WHO BEGAN THE FIGHT?
We have heard Mr. Allen; now let us hear what the other parties say. In
the TIMES newspaper of the 2d July, it is said by a writer of a letter
from Bristol, who abuses Mr. Hunt, that when the nomination was about to
take place, "Mr. Davis and his party made their appearance. The friends
of Mr. Davis _wore blue cockades_, and they were accompanied by _some
hundreds of persons bearing short_ BLUE STAVES, who had been sworn in as
_special constables_." This is enough. Here is a full acknowledgment of
the main circumstance stated by Mr. Allen: namely, that hundreds of men,
sworn in as Constables, were armed with _staves_ of the colour of one
of the candidates, and that they accompanied that candidate to the
Hustings.--In the COURIER of the 1st July, the same fact, in other
words, comes out. The writer (of another letter from Bristol), in
speaking of the precautions intended to be taken, says: "Our Chief
Magistrate has summoned his brother officers together, and _as_ the
constables _assembled by Mr. Davis's friends_ are to be all dismissed
at the close of the poll, and _their colours taken out of their hats_,
there will be _no provocation on his part_ to Mr. Hunt's party."--This,
coming from the enemy, clearly shews _on which side the aggression had
commenced_.--Therefore, for all that followed, the party of Davis are
responsible.-- We shall know, by-and-by, perhaps, who it was that
_permitted_ these hundreds of Constables to hoist the colours of one of
the candidates, which was, in fact, "a _declaration of war_ against
the people," and as such the letter in the TIMES says it was
regarded.--Well, but the SOLDIERS ARE CALLED IN; and, as I am informed,
the Soldiers were, on Wednesday morning, between _five_ and _six_
o'clock, addressed by Mr. Hunt in nearly the following words:
"Gentlemen; Soldiers; Fellow-citizens and Countrymen, I have to ask a
favour of you, and that is, that you will discover _no hostility to each
other_ on account of your being dressed in different coloured coats. You
are all equally interested in this election. You are all Englishmen; you
must all love freedom; and, therefore, act towards each other as brother
towards brother." It is added by my informant, that Mr. Hunt was greatly
applauded by the _whole_ of his audience.--He expressed his conviction,
that the soldiers would not voluntarily shoot their countrymen; "but,"
added he, "if military force is to carry the election, the "sooner the
shooting begins, the better; and here am I," said he, laying bare his
breast, "ready to receive the first ball."--Let us now see how the
_factious_ view this matter.--The COURIER abuses Mr. Hunt in the style
to be expected. The TIMES speaks of him in this way: "The poll commenced
at ten o'clock. In this _farce_ Mr. Hunt plays many parts: he unites
in himself the various characters of _Candidate_, _Counsel_, and
_Committee_, as he has _not one human being to assist him_ in either of
those capacities." Well, and what then? What does he want more than a
good cause and the support of the people? These are all that ought to be
necessary to any candidate. What business have _lawyers_ with elections?
And, ought the people to want any committee, to tell them their duty?
The _Morning Chronicle_ takes a more sanctimonious tone. It says on the
2d of July, (in the form of a letter from Bristol): "It is much to be
regretted, that the _regularity_ and _peaceable_ demeanour with which
our elections were _formerly conducted_, are now totally disregarded.
Notwithstanding _the exertions of Mr. Davis's, Mr. Protheroe's, and Sir
S. Romilly's friends_, to prevent a recurrence of the outrages which
endangered Mr. Bathurst's life at a late election, the procession on
Saturday _was assailed by vollies of mud, stones, dead cats, &c. Mr.
Davis fortunately escaped unhurt, except from one stone which struck
his arm._" Here are two things to be observed: first, that _Davis,
Protheroe,_ and _Sir Samuel Romilly's_ friends, the friends of all of
them, are here spoken of as co-operating. Aye, to be sure! League with
the devil against the rights of the people! This is a true _Whig trait_.
But, the _mud, stones, and dead cats!_ Who in all the world could have
thrown them at "the amiable Mr. Davis?" It must have been some _Bristol
people_ certainly; and that of their own accord too, _for Mr. Hunt was
not there at the time_.--Mark how these prints discover each other's
falsehoods. The Courier of the 1st July gave us an account of Mr.
Davis's gracious reception. It told us, that "RICHARD HART DAVIS, Esq.
the late Member for Colchester, and the professed candidate of the
_White Lion party_ in this city, was met at Clifton on Saturday by
_an immense body of freeholders and freemen_, consisting of the most
respectble and opulent inhabitants of the city, and was preceded to
the Exchange by a cavalcade of upwards of one hundred carriages, and a
numerous body of his friends on horseback and on foot." But, not a word
about the _mud, stones, and dead cats_, with which he was saluted.
Yet these were flung at him; and flung at him, too, by the people of
Bristol; by hands unbought; for Mr. Hunt spends not a farthing. They
were a _voluntary offering_ on the part of those men of Bristol who were
not to be corrupted.

The COURIER of Thursday, 2d July, states, that both _horse and foot
soldiers_ had been marched into Bristol.

SIR FRANCIS BURDETT mentioned this circumstance in the House of Commons
on Thursday evening. The Secretary at War said he did not know of the
troops being brought _into_ the city. But this will be found to have
been the case.

WM. COBBETT.

_State Prison, Newgate,_

_Friday, 3rd July, 1812._

After having reviewed the red coat gentry of the West Middlesex Militia,
I returned to my inn and took my breakfast, and at nine o'clock I
proceeded on horseback to the Guildhall, accompanied as usual by a great
number of my friends, the unhired, the unbought, people of Bristol. When
I arrived at the top of Broad-street, I found, to my surprise, that I
had to pass the whole of the way down that street to the Guildhall,
between double lines of the military, drawn up on each side of the
street, with arms supported and bayonets fixed. This was not only a
novel scene, it was such a one as had never before been exhibited at an
election in England. As I passed the first rank and file I halted, and
taking off my hat, said, "Come, my lads, let us give our friends, the
soldiers, three cheers." This was instantly complied with, and as I went
on, each soldier exclaimed, "Hunt for ever;" and this was kept up by the
whole line till I reached the Hall-door, when three more cheers were
given, in which many of the soldiers heartily joined. Unconstitutional
and illegal as was the measure of bringing the military to superintend,
or rather to overawe, an election, it must be owned that the soldiers
were at least much less dangerous than the brutal bludgeon-men. This,
however, had the desired effect of deterring almost all the electors
from coming to the poll, except those who came for Mr. Davis, and knew
that they were protected by the authorities. The very idea of
introducing military at any time into the streets of Bristol, had a very
disagreeable and alarming appearance, and called to the recollection of
the citizens the horrors which had occurred at the massacre of Bristol
Bridge, some few years before, when the people were fired upon by the
Herefordshire Militia, and I think as many as ten or twelve were killed,
and a great many wounded. The introduction, therefore, of troops into
the city, in the midst of an election, naturally excited a great panic
amongst the timid and the weak, and those who prided themselves for
prudence took care to keep from the spot.

The moment that I got upon the hustings I protested against such a
violation of the constitution, such an outrage upon the rights of
freedom of election, and pledged myself that I would present and
prosecute a petition against the return which might be made under such
circumstances. The Sheriffs declared they knew nothing about it; that
the military were introduced by the Mayor to preserve the peace of the
city. The soldiers, nevertheless, continued to occupy the whole of
Broad-street, and kept guard over the door to the hustings, during the
whole of that day.

Seeing the state of intimidation in which the people of Bristol were
placed, and learning the threats and the violence which had been used to
prevent the voters from coming up to poll for one, it now became my care
to husband those few independent votes upon whom I could depend, and to
avoid bringing up those whose bread was dependent upon my opponents. Of
the latter there were some as brave as lions, who, defying danger, set
all consequences at defiance. I recollect some instances of peculiar
devotion and heroism. There was a smith in Balance-street, of the name
of Pollard, a freeman, who possessed a soul that nothing could shake;
there was also a young freeman, named Milsom, and several others, who
attended the hustings every day, but held back their votes to the very
last, and bravely came up to the bar when called upon. It required
nerves, courage, and virtue, of no common cast, to do this, in defiance
of all the authorities, as vindictive and virulent a gang of petty
tyrants as ever disgraced the robes of office. In this manner the
election proceeded from day to day, without any chance ever having been
given by me to enable the Sheriffs to close it.

In the evening, after this exhibition of the military, I heard that they
were quartered all over the city; but the next morning they did not
appear to keep guard over the hustings. Great bodies of them were,
however, stationed at the Mansion House, and other public offices. A
circumstance meanwhile occurred, which, at the time, I communicated only
to a few confidential friends, and have seldom mentioned since, for fear
that there might be a remote possibility of placing in jeopardy the
parties concerned. The knowledge of the Middlesex Militia having been
marched into the city of Bristol, to overawe the electors in the free
exercise of their franchise, was rapidly spread far and wide. About
eleven o'clock, just before I was going to bed, a message was brought to
me to say that there were three men, strangers, who wished to see me in
private, upon business which they said was of importance. I had a friend
sitting with me, who was about to depart; but I detained him,
and desired that the gentlemen might be told to walk up. Three
decent-looking young men were introduced, and one of them, who acted
as spokesman, addressing himself to me, said, "We wish to communicate
something of consequence to you in private, if you please, Sir." My
answer was, "As you are strangers to me, I ought to see you only one at
a time; but as there can be no secret that I would wish to hear from you
that I would not intrust my friend with, I beg you will proceed." "Can
you rely upon your friend, Sir," said the speaker, "as our communication
will place our lives in your power?" I replied that I would trust my
own life in the hands of my friend; but I saw no reason why they should
commit themselves either to me or to him." The reply was, "It concerns
you, Sir, as well as us." "Well, then," said I, "proceed, for I will be
answerable for my friend, that he will never betray you." "I, Sir, am a
corporal in the ---- regiment ----; these are two privates, my comrades;
we are quartered at ----. Yesterday one of our men was sent over by an
officer to vote for Mr. Davis; he had a conversation with a serjeant
of the Middlesex Militia, who told him, in confidence, that they had
private orders, in case of any row or riot, to shoot you, Sir; which the
serjeant told him would be certainly put in execution in case there was
the slightest disturbance to give a colour for such a measure. This
he related to us upon his return last night. The circumstance has been
communicated in confidence to every man in our division, except the
officers and one non-commissioned officer, and we have, one and all,
sworn to come to your relief, and, by driving these bloody Middlesex men
out of the city, protect you from the violent death which is intended
for you. We were chosen by lot to come over to you with this offer. Your
life is in danger, and we are, one and all, ready to sacrifice our lives
to protect you. We do not expect, as you do not know us, that you will
openly accept our offer; but only give us a nod of assent, and we will
march into the city of Bristol at any hour to-morrow night that you may
think proper. We shall have no commissioned officers, but we shall have
all the non-commissioned officers, except one, and him we did not choose
to trust. Our lives are in your power, and we pledge them upon the
accomplishment of what we offer; we are ready to lay them down to save
you. It was first proposed to come off this night, in which case the
whole of our four companies would have been here by this time, but it
was at length resolved to make you acquainted with our design, lest
you might be sacrificed in the onset, before you were aware of our
intentions. The lot having fallen upon us to communicate this to you,
Sir, we put on coloured clothes, and started before it was scarcely
dark, and here we are, in your power, or at your command." The two
privates testified to the truth of the corporal's statement, and gave
their names.

During this harangue, I had time to collect myself, and I deliberately
replied--"If you are spies, sent to entrap me, your own guilty
consciences will be your punishment; but as you appear to have placed
yourselves in my power, and claimed my confidence, I will not betray
you. If you are honest, you have my thanks for your indiscreet zeal, in
running such a great risk to preserve my life. The motive is laudable,
but the means are most dangerous, and I fear you have not well weighed
the consequences. Should the sword be once drawn in such a cause, there
is no middle course to pursue; the scabberd must be thrown away. The
period is not yet come for such a movement; neither will the occasion
warrant it. I must trust to the laws for my protection, or rather to
the fears of my enemies; as their dread of a terrible and summary
retribution, I have no doubt, will prove my greatest shield of safety. I
must recommend you to return immediately to your comrades, and tell
them they are not wanted; and rely upon it, as you have placed such
confidence in me, I will never betray it." They all replied they had not
the slightest fear of that, and they declared that if any accident or
foul play happened to me, that they would take an ample and an awful
retribution.

This was a very serious occurrence, and it made a deep impression upon
my mind. I was grateful for their zealous attachment to me; but I
trembled when I thought of the result. Yet, had I at last found that no
other resource remained to save me from being basely murdered, I might,
perhaps, have been tempted to accept their offer, and to make one grand
effort to preserve my life and the liberties of my country, and either
have accomplished my purpose, or have gloriously fallen in the struggle.
I never doubted the truth of the corporal's account respecting the
private orders which were delivered to the non-commissioned officers of
the West Middlesex militia; and I have never had any occasion to doubt
the sincerity of these men. If the event had taken place six years
later, I should at once have been of opinion that it was a plot to
_entrap me_; but I am thoroughly convinced, from what came to my
knowledge afterwards, that this was a most sincere and devoted offer;
and, further, that if I had been killed during that election, rivers of
blood would have flowed in Bristol. The friend who was present will read
this, and will perceive the correctness with which I have related the
circumstance. In fact, it made such an impression upon both of us, that
we shall never forget it.

The military were still retained in Bristol, and one or two troops of
the Scots Greys were kept, during the whole election, at Clifton, within
a hundred yards of the bounds of the city. The election was still
continued, but very few were polled on either side, although those who
polled for Davis, more than trebled in number those who polled for me.

One day, when I came from the hustings, I announced that I should take a
ride in the evening, down the Hot-well-road, and round by Clifton. This
was hailed with that sort of applause which was an earnest that my
numerous friends would attend me. The plan was, however, thought by some
to be a hazardous one, as we had over and over again been threatened,
that if we went out of the bounds of the City, the military should
assuredly be called into action to disperse us. My answer was, "my
friends are always very well behaved; they never commit any breach of
the peace; and I shall certainly ride where I please; besides, I wish to
see the example that was made of Mr. Davis's house, in consequence of
the outrageous assaults committed on the people by the bludgeon-men."

The hour of six came. I mounted my horse, and was accompanied by Mr.
Williams, of Clare-street, on one side, and Mr. Hornbrock on the other,
both mounted, and Mr. Cranidge walked in front, exhorting the people to
be firm and peaceable. When our setting out was announced, we could hear
the bugle sounding to arms, and see the horse soldiers galloping in all
directions towards the parade upon Durdham-down. This bore a resemblance
to the state of things when a town is about to be attacked by an
invading army. My friends were not less than five or six thousand,
but they were known to be peaceably inclined, and without the least
disposition to commit any act of violence or riot; they merely testified
their approbation of a popular candidate at an election, with the usual
demonstrations of cheering, &c. We had passed down the Hot-well-road,
and had turned up the hill towards Clifton, with the intention of
passing over Durdham-down, by Brandon-hill, and returning to the city
down Park-street. This was the route which I had marked out for what I
called my evening general canvass. 1t must be recollected that I never
solicited or canvassed one individual for his vote; it was, on my part,
a specimen of real purity and freedom of election; whilst on the other
side every thing corrupt, every means of bribery, cajolery, fraud,
perjury, intimidation by threats, and even violence, was resorted to for
the purpose of bringing up votes, many hundreds of whom came to the poll
in all appearance as reluctantly and as much against their will as a man
goes to the gallows.

Before we had reached half the summit of the hill, some respectably
dressed females came running down to meet us. They were received with
cheers, but they no sooner approached than they addressed me in the most
fervent and supplicating manner to return, as the Scots Greys were drawn
out with their carbines loaded, and they had heard the magistrates and
gentlemen give orders to fire upon the people, and Mr. Goldney, the
magistrate, had read the Riot Act. Some of the women fell upon their
knees to implore me to return, if I had the least regard for my life, as
they had heard the officers and gentlemen give orders by all means
to shoot me. I thanked these ladies for their kind wishes and good
intentions, and then turning to any attendants and friends, I addressed
them, urging every one that feared death to go back, as it appeared very
evident that murder was premeditated; as to myself, I told them, that,
as I had promised to pay my friends a visit that evening at Clifton, I
should proceed, if I went alone. Having promised to go, go I would, for
I would much rather be punctured like a cullender, by a thousand balls,
than live in such a state as not to travel peaceably in any part that I
might choose, and particularly during an election. If I went back, and
failed to perform my promise through fear, I should justly deserve to be
execrated as a contemptible coward as long as I lived; and whatever they
might think of me, I would much rather be out of the world than have
such a despicable opinion of myself. I therefore intreated those who
meant to proceed with me to be firm and peaceable, but those who had the
least doubt upon their minds to return. The exact language that I used,
I, of course, cannot recollect; but I shall never forget the effect
which it had upon my hearers. The eye of my worthy old friend Cranidge,
the school-master, (who fifty years before had been in the army)
sparkled like fire. I believe he was the first to pull off his hat, and
the air resounded with one tremendous shout, which was repeated three
times. Even the ladies, who had so earnestly intreated me to return,
joined in the cheers, and every soul passed steady and cheerfully on;
not one person returned. Thus we proceeded, receiving and returning the
friendly salutations of those whom we met, and of those that hailed us
from the windows and houses, by the waving of handkerchiefs, colours,
&c.

Just as we were turning off the Down, to go back to Bristol, through
Rodney Place, all at once a troop of the Scots Greys wheeled in full
gallop from behind some houses and plantations, and formed in line
across the road; so that our progress was apparently stopped. At the
same time we discovered Mr. Goldney, the Magistrate, accompanied by half
a dozen of Mr. Davis's friends, running with a book in his hand, to meet
us. He came up between us and his troops as _pale as ashes_, and in a
trembling hurried accent, he exclaimed, "Stop, Sir! and hear the Riot
Act read." I knew the gentleman well whom I had to deal with, and
therefore pushing my horse steadily forward, I deliberately said, "Stand
out of the King's highway, Sir, and suffer me to pass, or I shall be
under the necessity of riding over you; it appears _you_ want to commit
a riot, by interrupting the progress of those who are peaceably passing
on the King's highway, but we shall not indulge you in your amiable
plot; Stand aside!" He and his friends now exclaimed, TURN BACK, which
caused a great laugh; while we proceeded forward, to within twenty paces
of the more formidable interruption of the horse-soldiers, drawn up
across the whole road, to cut off, as it were, our return to Bristol. We
gave the heroes three friendly cheers, and proceeded deliberately on, up
almost to the noses of their horses, upon which _the officer_ gave the
word to the _left wheel, march!_ and they instantly wheeled out of the
road, left us a clear passage, and resumed their former position behind
the plantation and houses. I took off my hat, bowed to the officer, and
politely thanked him, adding that it was a beautiful manoeuvre, well
planned and most adroitly executed; this was said in such an ironical
manner, that the officer burst into a loud laugh, in which he was
heartily joined by his men.

Be it recollected, that all this time we had never halted for a moment,
but had proceeded calmly on, as we had a right to do, without once
pulling our horses up out of a walk; and, in the mean time, poor Mr.
Goldney and his friends excited the greatest merriment, for they were
shuffling after, roaring out, "_Stop, and hear the Riot Act read!_"
there being no more symptom or likelihood of a riot, than as if the
party had met in a church or chapel to join in Divine Service.

We passed on gaily by the _remains_ of Mr. Davis's house, without any
other interruption or accident, with the exception of one disgraceful
transaction, which I shall record as a specimen of the character of our
opponents, who professed themselves to be so anxious to preserve the
peace, by endeavoring to create a riot, that they might massacre
the people, under the pretence of quelling it. A fine, handsome,
decently-dressed female, about fifteen years of age, who had remained a
little behind our party to speak with a friend, was stopped, seized, and
brutally assaulted by some of the ruffians, who attempted to take the
most indecent liberties with her person. Those attempts she successfully
resisted, and made them feel the effects of her virtuous resentment,
by stamping coward, ruffian, and lawless brute upon their faces; which
punishment she inflicted with her teeth and her nails. Stung with shame
and fury at their disgraceful defeat, one of the ruffians levelled her
to the ground by a violent blow upon the head with a bludgeon, and then
retreated.

END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.





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