Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

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

Part 7 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"79, _Water-Street, Manchester_,

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

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

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

When we were brought up for final examination, the charge was shifted
from that of High Treason to a Seditions Conspiracy to overturn the
Government. I was to give bail in L1000 myself, and two sureties in L500
each, which Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Chapman were ready to enter
into for me; but, as I was very hot and fatigued with the examination, I
returned to my apartment to change my shirt before bail was given. I
had not been in my room more than ten minutes before the goaler came to
inform me that I must prepare to set off for Lancaster Castle in five
minutes, as the magistrates had left the Court, and had ordered that we
should be conveyed there immediately, for want of bail. I replied that
Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Chapman were prepared to give bail for me,
and that they were gone, or going, with Mr. C. Pearson, my attorney, to
Mr. Norris's house to do so. The gaoler, a very civil little personage,
lamented that he had no discretion, that his orders were peremptory,
that a stage-coach, which had been hired for the purpose, was ready, and
we must depart in less than five minutes, as a Military Dragoon Guard
was in attendance, ready to conduct us thither. I answered _that I would
be ready in half the time_, and I began to change my shirt and pack up
my trunk before he left the room. The fact was, that the parties had
made up their minds, (as is generally the case), before they came into
Court; they had resolved upon a committal on the charge of High Treason,
and they had given previous orders to prepare a coach and the Military
Guard. A messenger had also been dispatched to Bolton, Blackburn, and
Preston, to order the troops stationed in those towns to be ready to
relieve the guards as they arrived, and to proceed forward. These relays
were to have been ready as early as two o'clock in the day, the worthy
Magistrates not having calculated upon the turn the question took in the
Court, in consequence of my cross-examination of the witnesses produced
to substantiate the charge. This cross-examination, which lasted several
hours, during which I caused all the witnesses to be removed out of
Court except the one under examination, by which means I contrived to
make them, not only equivocate and contradict each other, but actually
contradict themselves on every material point. This unexpected
circumstance caused the worthy Bench of Magistrates to pause a little;
they retired to consult, and held a private conferrence with Mr. Maule,
the solicitor to the Crown, who was sent down to conduct the prosecution
for the Attorney General. The result of this conferrence was, that the
charge of High Treason was abandoned, and we were to be held to bail for
a misdemeanor only.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The moment that I heard of these proceedings, I foretold, to Mr. Pearson
and Sir Charles Wolseley, every thing that would happen, and how the

Book of the day: