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Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 2 by Henry Hunt

Part 3 out of 6

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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

_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

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

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

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

"_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

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

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

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

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

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