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

Part 4 out of 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

"It was Resolved,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I kept my word with Mr. Beach, and in a few days I had an information
laid against his whipper-in Parson, and one of his tenants, Thomas
Horne, for sporting, they not being qualified; and as soon as they were
convicted in the penalties, I followed it up by commencing an action
against each of them for a similar offence. I also served in the same
way another fellow, who was a friend of Beach's, one Edmond Stegg, of
Chisenbury; in all of which suits I got a verdict; and, to be even with
him, I brought his second son, William Beach, before a bench of
Magistrates, to make him prove his qualification; which he at length
did, with considerable difficulty and expense. The famous Richard
Messiter, an attorney, of Wincanton, came all the way from that place in
a chaise as a witness; and John Ward, an attorney, of Marlborough,
attended as another witness; so that this chap got out of the scrape at
an expense to his father of about fifty pounds. Messiter, who was called
at that time _honest Dick Messiter_, swore that he had advised his
father to make a conveyance of an estate to him, to qualify him, the
deed of which was executed only the day before the action was commenced
against him. The Squire was also obliged to qualify his whipper-in
Parson, which he did by procuring for him a living; so that it is an ill

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