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Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 3 by Henry Hunt

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MEMOIRS

OF

HENRY HUNT, ESQ.

Written by Himself,

IN HIS MAJESTY'S JAIL AT ILCHESTER,

_IN THE COUNTY OF SOMERSET._

Volume 3

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

MEMOIRS OF HENRY HUNT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORS OF BRISTOL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If, however, this were confined to the friends of Bragge Bathurst, to
those who profess his principles, all would be in its place, all would
be natural enough. But, you will bear in mind, Gentlemen, that the two
factions have united here, and these resolutions, extolling to the skies
a sinecure placeman, a Pittite, and a known and decided enemy of reform

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