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Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1 by Henry Hunt

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after they had dined and taken a sufficient quantity of good old stingo,
and once more tried in vain to persuade me to bear them company, they
sallied forth again, for the evening's sport; the best time of the day for
pheasant shooting. About eight o'clock they came back, but they had only
killed another pheasant, notwithstanding they assured me that they had
actually seen above one hundred. Thus had these two sportsmen only killed
three pheasants in the whole day, having had between them upwards of
_fifty shots;_ while I had killed ten brace at twenty shots, in about
three hours. Of course I laughed at them heartily; in which I was joined
most sincerely by Mrs. Vezey. I am quite certain that if I had continued
in the field, and followed up the sport as my friends did, I should have
killed _fifty_ pheasants instead of _twenty;_ and that too without having
made them appear much thinned, so plentiful was the game in that country.
After spending a very pleasant evening, we returned to Marlborough, where
I slept with my friend Hancock, and shot my way home the next day; having,
previously to my setting out, _equally divided the game_ between the
_three_, which was always the case in those friendly parties where I made
one of the number.

This account has, I dare say, appeared to the reader to be a digression
upon a trivial subject, but I shall now show him that the seemingly
trifling circumstance which I have been narrating, led to a very important
event of my life. About four or five days after this, I received a letter
from Lord BRUCE, merely saying, "that my services were no longer required
in the Marlborough Troop of Yeomanry, and he, therefore, requested that I
would return my _sword and pistols_ by the bearer." I wrote a brief
answer, to say that I was astonished at his communication, but that I
should attend on the next field-day, for an explanation, and that I should
not fail to bring my arms with me. I own that I was at a loss to
conjecture the cause of this unceremonious and laconic epistle of his
lordship, and I conjured up a hundred imaginary reasons for this abrupt
dismissal of me from his Troop of Yeomanry. I had been in it for many
months; I had never been once _fined_, or received the slightest reprimand
from his lordship or either of the other officers; nor could I recollect
any one instance in which I had either failed to perform or neglected my
duty as a soldier. But, though I could not recollect this, I now
recollected the last sad foreboding words of my dying father--_"I only
wish I could have lived to see you well out of the Yeomanry Cavalry!"_

On the following day came a letter from my friend, Hancock, the banker,
which unriddled the mystery. He informed me that he also had received a
similar communication from our colonel, Lord Bruce; that he knew of the
dismissal which had been sent to me, and that it was a current report
amongst the tools of Lord Aylesbury, at Marlborough, that we were
dismissed from the troop, because we had shot so many pheasants on the
first of October, upon one of his lordship's manors: what I meant to do on
the subject, he was, he said, desirous to know, as he should like to go
hand in hand with me; at the same time vowing vengeance against our
colonel. I sent him a copy of the answer which I had written to his
lordship, and apprised him that I would be at his house early on the
morning of the next field-day, in my uniform, as usual, to accompany him
to the place of exercise.

The day arrived, and we rode together to the field where we used to
perform our evolutions. It was upon one of the plains in Savernake Forest,
about half a mile from his lordship's house, but within full view of it.
When we reached the ground the troop was assembling, and _we_ fell into
the ranks as formerly, to the utter astonishment of his lordship's
vassals, who composed a great portion of the troop, and who had heard of
our being discharged or dismissed, or, in plainer terms, turned out of the
troop by the colonel.

After we had remained a little time, one of his lordship's _toad-eaters_
came to reconnoitre; and, as soon as he discovered us in the ranks, he
retreated to carry the astounding intelligence to his patron. Messages now
passed backwards and forwards, from the troop to his lordship's house, for
nearly an hour before he made his appearance; a delay which had never
before occurred. The cause was not only anticipated by Hancock and myself,
but by all the members of the troop, and just as I was proposing to march
to his lordship, since he did not appear disposed to come to us, he at
last made his appearance, riding on his charger with slow and solemn pace.

I have since understood that, during this delay, several messages passed
between his lordship's house, Savernake Lodge, and Tottenham Park, the
seat of his father, the Earl of Aylesbury. Before I proceed, it may not,
perhaps, be amiss to make the reader acquainted with the origin of this
business. It turned out that Lord Bruce had been induced to write the
aforesaid letters to me and Mr. Hancock at the earnest suggestion of his
father, Lord Aylesbury, who had prevailed upon him, much against his own
inclination and better judgment, to turn us out of the troop; though he
had no other complaint to make against me but that I was too good a shot
at his father's pheasants, and consequently a very unfit person to oppose
the French in case of an invasion. His lordship saw and felt the
difficulty of his situation, and for a long time he held out against the
entreaties of his father; but the old earl was inexorable, and I am told
that his mandate was at length delivered in such a _tone_ and such a
manner, that his son did not feel it prudent to resist any longer. The
particulars I subsequently learned from one of the keepers, who was
present at the interview when the earl came down from London; which I
understand he did on purpose. Some envious and cringing tool of his
lordship's having heard of our successful day's sport at Grove, on the
first of October, wrote up to him an exaggerated account of it, stating
that I, in company with Mr. Hancock, had killed an immense number of
pheasants upon his lordship's manors; but at the same time this worthy
intelligencer took care not to state where, and upon what manor we had
been sporting. The old earl, who was the most tenacious, perhaps, about
his game of any man in England, no sooner got the letter than he came post
from town, in a great passion; and when he arrived at Tottenham, he
immediately summoned all his keepers, to demand an account of their
conduct for suffering his game to be destroyed in such a way. It was in
vain that they all declared that we had not been into or near any of his
preserves; that we had only been shooting upon a distant manor, where his
lordship did not even appoint a keeper; and which manor he had expressly
appropriated for the sport of the people of _his Borough_ of Marlborough,
and their friends. This was all to no purpose; he would hear no excuse;
and as soon as he found that we were in his son's troop of Yeomanry, he
dispatched a messenger for him. In the mean time he threw himself into the
most violent fits of passion with the keepers; so much so, that he was
frequently obliged to retire and recruit himself, by reclining upon a
sofa, and when he had recovered his strength a little, he returned to the
charge again with redoubled violence. The keeper, who was my informant,
assured me that several times they were fearful, or, more correctly
speaking, expected that he would break a blood vessel, by giving himself
up to such unbounded fury. It seems the family at Tottenham did not know
of the precaution that is used upon such occasions, by a testy old baronet
of this county, who does not live a hundred miles from Stoneaston, which I
am credibly informed is as follows--whenever the baronet has one of these
sudden and violent paroxysms of passion, which is not very unfrequently,
her ladyship prevails upon him to sit down while she pours copious
libations of cold water over his head, as the only means of cooling his
blood, and saving him from the rupture of a blood vessel upon the brain.
At length his lordship's son, Lord Bruce, arrived, and the same scene was
repeated; and it is said, that nothing but a promise from the gallant
Colonel of the Wiltshire Regiment of Yeomanry, that he would immediately
write to me and Mr. Hancock, and dismiss us from his troop, would pacify
the old earl. This promise was performed in the way which I have
described, by his lordship writing to each of us, to say "that he had no
further occasion for our services." But now to return to the troop, which
we left drawn up on the field of exercise: our colonel having at length
arrived in the front of the ranks, he continued to direct his eyes quite
to the opposite flank to that in which I was, and I could never catch his
eye directed even askance towards me. After a considerable delay, the
serjeant pulled out the roll-call, with which he proceeded till he came to
the number filled by my name; he passed it over, and began to utter the
name of the next man; but the name was scarcely half out of his lips, when
I put spurs to my charger, and brushed up so furiously to him, that he
reined back several paces ere he stopped; which he had scarcely done, with
my horse's head almost in his lap, before I sternly demanded by whose
authority he had passed over my name? In a tremulous voice he stammered
out, that "it was done by order of Lord Bruce." I wheeled my horse
suddenly round, and his head coming across the serjeant's breast nearly
unhorsed him. I then rode briskly up to Lord Bruce, who reined his charger
back also. I saluted him as my officer, and firmly demanded by what
authority, or for what cause, he had given orders to have my name struck
out of the muster-roll? Conscious of being about to persist in a
dishonourable and unworthy act, after hesitating a little, he said, "Pray,
Sir, did you not receive a letter from me?" I hastily answered, "Yes, and
I am here to demand in person an explanation, and to know what charge you
have to make against me, either as a soldier or a gentleman." He now
seemed still more confused, and he looked everywhere except in my face. He
then cast his eyes towards the troop, as much as to say, will you not
protect me? will you not assist to get me out of this dilemma? but all was
as silent as the grave, and every eye was fixed upon him. At length he
mustered courage to say, _"I make no charge against you; neither do I feel
myself called upon to give you any reason for my conduct. I--I, as
commanding officer of this regiment, have a right to receive any man into
it, or to dismiss any man from it, without assigning any reason for my so

This was a critical moment of my life. It is in vain now to lament my want
of discretion. I was young--I was devoted to the service of my country--I
was a soldier--I was insulted without the shadow of a pretext to justify
the insult--I was wounded in the most tender part--my patriotic zeal! At
such a moment I could take no counsel of cold, calculating prudence. I
sternly replied, "then, my lord, you are no longer my officer--you have
offered me a deliberate insult, which it seems you are not prepared to
explain or apologise for; I therefore demand that satisfaction which is
due from one gentleman to another; and mark me well, unless you give me
that satisfaction I will post you as a coward:" upon which I took my
pistols from the holsters, and was taking my sword from the belt, in order
to cast them with defiance at his horse's feet, these arms being the only
thing that I possessed belonging to the government. Expecting, perhaps,
that I was going to make use of them in a different way, his lordship
wheeled suddenly round, and clapping spurs to his charger, he was, without
once looking behind him, soon out of sight; he having wheeled into the
gateway of Savernake Lodge, his lordship's residence.

While this was passing, I had hurled the sword and the brace of pistols
upon the ground, and my friend Hancock had moved out of the ranks and come
up to me. As long as our gallant commander was visible I kept my eyes
fixed upon him; and when, on his disappearance, I looked round, I found
the whole troop staring with astonishment, which, when they had recovered
from a little, was followed by a general laugh. My friend Hancock was
talking loud and in rather a coarse way, which I checked; and then riding
up to the centre, in the front of the troop, I addressed my comrades,
something in the following strain:--"Gentlemen, you have lost your
commander, You have seen and heard the cause. As, however, a troop without
a commander is like a ship without a sail or a rudder, I, for once, will
give the word. To the right wheel--dismiss--every man to his quarters."
Upon this, every man made the best of his way home, and I returned to
Marlborough to dine and spend the evening with my friend Hancock.

If I had paid more regard to prudence, and not acted with such
precipitation, I should have put this lord so much in the wrong, that he
would have had no small difficulty in satisfactorily accounting for his
unwarrantable conduct; for, without much vanity, I may say, that there was
not a better soldier in the regiment, a man more devoted to the service of
his country, and very few indeed, if any, who would have so "greatly
dared," in opposing its enemies with his fortune and his life. The affair,
as it was quite natural that it should, soon got wind throughout the
county, and particularly amongst the members of the various corps, the ten
troops of Yeomanry. His lordship, however, did not choose to meet me, but
rather preferred to settle the point in the courts of law.

In the following term a criminal information was filed against me, for
challenging the noble lord and gallant colonel to fight a duel. As I could
not deny the fact, I suffered judgment to go by default, rather than try
the question in the Court at Salisbury; my counsel, Mr. Garrow and Mr.
Burrough (the present Judges), having informed me, that it was useless to
defend it, as I could not plead the provocation, however great, with any
chance of obtaining a verdict. But they were of opinion that, when the
affidavits on both sides came to be read, the Court would never call me up
for judgment.

In this conclusion they were incorrect; but it is not wonderful that such
a conclusion should have been drawn by them; for the late Lord Kenyon
expressed a very great unwillingness to proceed, and, term after term, he
intimated to my counsel that he hoped I had seen my error, and that I
would make an apology to his lordship, which would save the Court the
trouble of taking any further steps in the affair. My counsel answered,
that they were not instructed to say whether I would do this or not. His
lordship then stated, that in case I did so before the next term, he
understood that the other party would not press for judgment; and Mr.
Erskine and Mr. Vicary Gibbs, who were employed against me, added, that so
far from wishing to degrade me, they did not even wish that I should make
any personal apology to his lordship. If my counsel would say for me, that
I admitted the offence against the law, and regretted the uneasiness that
I had given to his lordship, there should be an end to the business.

This offer Lord Kenyon strongly urged my counsel to accept. Mr. Burrough,
who was junior counsel, said, that he knew my feelings upon the subject so
well, that he would undertake, although in my absence, to say, that I was
perfectly sensible that I had been provoked to offend the laws of my
country, and that he was ready to make the most ample apology to those
offended laws; but that, as I considered Lord Bruce to be the aggressor,
he could not, on my part, undertake to make any apology to him, and he was
fearful that I should never be persuaded to do it, though he would
communicate the wish of his lordship and the court upon the subject.

This affair had now been before the Court four or five terms, and had been
as often put off by Lord Kenyon. In the mean time, the affair created a
considerable sensation amongst all the Yeomanry Corps in the kingdom, and
in none more than in the different troops of the Wiltshire Yeomanry; and
the conduct of their Colonel was canvassed very freely. Every gentleman in
the regiment, and, in fact, every member of the whole of the volunteer
force of the country, felt that it was a common cause, as he might be
placed in a similar situation, and, consequently, if I were punished, he
himself might be liable to arbitrary and unjust dismissal by a superior
officer. The Court felt and knew this. Many, very many, members of the
Wilts regiments, declared that they would immediately resign if I were
sentenced to any fine or imprisonment; and several of my particular
friends and acquaintances never failed to, _what they called_, keep up my
spirits, by volunteering this declaration as often as I met them. Mr. Wm.
Tinker, of Lavington, with whom I was particularly intimate, and my
friend, Mr. Wm. Butcher, of Erchfont, both unequivocally declared that
they would not remain in the regiment another moment after I had received
any sentence.

The next term came, and when my counsel were again called upon to know
whether they were instructed to make the necessary apology, the answer
was, that I was sorry for having violated the laws of my country, but that
the illegal and unjustifiable provocation given by Lord Bruce was such,
that I had declined to make any submission whatever to his lordship. Lord
Kenyon begged Mr. Garrow to do his duty by his client, and make it for me;
and Mr., now Lord, Erskine also begged his friend Garrow to do it,
declaring he would accept the slightest acknowledgment made in his, Mr.
Garrow's, own way; that he felt for me, and did by no means wish to
degrade me in the slightest degree.

Mr. Garrow rose, and in a spirited manner said, "that he thought I had
offered quite a sufficient apology to the offended laws of my country; and
that he, for one, did not feel that, under all the circumstances, Lord
Bruce was entitled to any apology whatever. If Mr. Hunt had felt disposed,
of his own accord, to suffer him to say that he was sorry for having
challenged his lordship, he would have done it with all his heart, without
believing that the slightest stigma would have been fixed upon that
gentleman's character, either as a soldier or a gentleman. But Mr. Hunt
had a right to have his own feelings upon the subject, and he could not
blame him; and so far from making any apology for Mr. Hunt, in his
absence, without his consent, he, as his counsel, with all the respect
which he entertained for the court, yet would not take upon himself to
advise him to do it against his inclination."

Mr. Erskine appeared to assent to this; but Mr. Vicary Gibbs jumped up,
and with great petulance said, "Well, then, my lord, we demand that he may
be brought up. We pray the judgment of the court." Lord Kenyon said, it
must be so, then; and he fixed a day in the following Michaelmas Term, for
me to attend to receive judgment.

As this will bring me to a very important epoch in my life, I shall pass
over briefly several minor occurrences, that would have been considered as
great events in the history of many persons who have written an account of
their own lives. I shall, however, slightly touch upon one or two
circumstances which, within the last month, have been brought to my
recollection in the following rather extraordinary way. A lady, travelling
from London to Bath, in her road to Ilchester, accompanied by the gaoler
of that place, was questioned by a fellow passenger, a gentleman, how far
they were travelling westward? The gaoler, naturally enough wishing to
disguise his name and occupation, answered, "I am going to Bath, sir; and
that lady is going on to Ilchester." The word Ilchester was no sooner
pronounced than his hearer turned to the lady, and said, "Ah! that is
where Mr. Hunt is confined, and treated with so much severity. Perhaps you
will see him, madam?" She replied that it was possible, as she had some
slight knowledge of me, and in return she wished to be informed if he knew
me. He replied that he knew me very well, and had known me ever since I
was a boy, and that he also knew my father and all my relations, as well
as Mrs. Hunt and her relations. This naturally enough excited the
curiosity of the lady, who knew me personally only, and who was sure to
see me, as she was coming to visit a gentleman at the gaol; and as for the
gaoler, any information that he could get about my private affairs and my
family would be a great treat, he having no knowledge of me except as a
public character. His curiosity was, consequently, whetted to a very keen
edge; and my readers will not have much difficulty in believing, that,
during the remainder of the journey, Mr. Hunt was a subject of
conversation; and I have no doubt that all the actions of my life were
canvassed with great freedom and some earnestness.

This, to them, unknown gentleman was Charles Gordon Grey, Esq. of Tracey
Park, near Bath, who was as communicative as our passengers could wish;
and the lady's, as well as the gaoler's, curiosity was gratified almost to
satiety. The lady has, however, candidly confessed to me, that, although
Mr. Grey was a great political opponent of mine, yet, altogether, his
account of me had prejudiced her in my favour; and she has related to me
many anecdotes of my life, that had totally escaped my recollection. One
of them was as follows, of which, I believe, Mr. Grey was an eye-witness,
and, therefore, could speak to it with perfect accuracy. I was, as I have
already informed my readers, always an enthusiast in any thing I
undertook, and in nothing more so than as a hunter. One day, at the end of
a very severe stag-chace, after a run of nearly thirty miles, the hounds
pressed the beautiful animal so close, that they caught him as he was
swimming over a deep part of the river Avon, between Salisbury and
Stratford. Myself, with the master of the hounds, Michael Hicks Beach,
Esq. of Netheravon, and two or three gentlemen, amongst whom was, perhaps,
Mr. Gordon Grey, were up with the hounds at the time; and we were all very
much distressed to see the noble animal, which was a large red deer, and
which had afforded us so much sport, becoming a prey to the hounds,
without it being possible for us to save him. Mr. Beach at first urged the
whipper-in to attempt it, but he declined, adding, that as he could not
swim well enough to encounter so many difficulties as he should meet with,
the hounds would certainly drown him, as well as the stag, if he were once
to venture into the deep water. While every one was lamenting in vain the
sad fate of the poor animal, which appeared nearly exhausted, as the
hounds had repeatedly pulled him under the water, I had slipped on one
side, hitched my horse's bridle to a stake in the hedge, and stripped in
_buff_, before the rest of the sportsmen had perceived what I was doing. I
sprang to the river's brink, plunged at once off the high bank into the
midst of the foaming stream, and swam to the assistance of the almost
expiring stag. The moment that I dashed head foremost into the stream, the
remainder of the pack, which had not before ventured into the watery
element, but had kept yelping and baying upon the banks, now to a dog
leaped in after me. None but those who were eye-witnesses of this scene
can have any idea of the danger in which I appeared to be placed. Many of
the hounds, that had been worrying the stag, seeing a naked man rise as it
were from out of the deep, for I had been obliged to dive several yards to
break my fall from off the steep bank, instantly quitted the hold they had
on the stag, and swam towards me, as if to seize upon more tempting prey.
My fellow sportsmen, who had scarcely recovered from their astonishment at
seeing me unexpectedly plunge into the water, and who now apprehended my
inevitable destruction by the hounds seizing upon me, gave all at once an
involuntary scream, and implored me to retreat as quickly as possible;
but, having once made up my mind to accomplish an object, the word
_retreat_ was not in my vocabulary. Nothing daunted, I swam boldly up, and
faced the approaching pack, calling each hound by his name, which I
fortunately knew, and, which was still more fortunate, my voice was as
well known to them. I swam and fought my way through them, cheering and
hallooing to them, as if in the chace. They all turned, and continued to
swim with me again up to the poor stag, with the exception of one old
hound, _Old Trojan_, who, unperceived, seized fast hold of me by the thumb
of the right hand, which at once checked my progress and gave me great
pain. I called him by his name, but it was in vain, for he held fast; upon
which, with considerable effort, I dragged him under water, and seizing
him by the throat with the other hand, I held him there till he let go his
hold. During this struggle we both disappeared under the water together,
to the great consternation of the anxious beholders. Up we came together
again, but I continued to grasp him firmly with my left hand by the
throat, and I, for a short time, exhibited the caitiff in this state, with
his mouth open and his tongue out; to shew how completely I had subdued
him, I gave him one more ducking under water and let him go: I then
continued my course without further interruption towards the stag, who
had, meanwhile, drifted twenty or thirty yards down with the current,
which was very rapid, surrounded by every hound in the pack (twenty-two
couple), with the exception of poor Old Trojan, who now kept at a very
respectful distance behind us.

We soon came up to the stag; but now the most difficult part of the task
commenced; now "the tug of war" began, for I had no sooner laid my hand
upon the poor animal than the whole pack began their attack upon him with
redoubled vigour. One of the gentlemen threw me his whip, which I applied
to the backs of the dogs with one hand, while I held the stag with the
other. This, however, had little or no effect; they were too much
accustomed to the lash to be driven from their game in this way. One of my
friends, therefore, called out to me to take the other end, which I did,
and laid on about their heads and ears lustily. Still I found that they
would not let go their holds without I almost beat out their brains; and I
was consequently obliged to take another course, which was this--the first
hound that I came near to I grasped by the throat till he let go; and in
this state, with his mouth still open, I held him a short time under
water. This mode of proceeding had the desired effect, and I continued it
with every hound till I set the poor animal perfectly free. By this time I
was almost exhausted myself, for I had been in the water at least twenty
minutes; and that too at the end of a very severe chace, in a cold day in
February. My friends on the bank kept giving their advice, and amongst the
number was Tom, the whipper-in, who had refused to venture into the water;
and, as a punishment for his cowardice, I requested my friends either to
make him hold his tongue, or throw him in and give him a ducking. In the
midst of all this I recollect to have hailed the huntsman, and desired him
to take my clothes off the wet meadow, and to lead my favourite mare about
to keep her from taking cold. Some of my readers will wonder how I could
be so much at my ease under such circumstances, and particularly as I have
said I was nearly exhausted. This I shall easily explain. The hounds being
all checked off, the stag, poor fellow, lay most patiently floating upon
the stream; and, as I had now taken him round his velvet-skinned neck, I
supported myself with great ease, and gained strength to swim with one
hand while I held him with the other, till I arrived at the opposite bank,
where my brother sportsmen were waiting, with the greatest anxiety, to
assist in taking him out of the water. But, as the water was nearly ten
feet deep, I of course could gain no footing; and as the bank was four
feet above the river, those on the outside could not reach him. I
contrived, however, to fasten the thongs of their whips round different
parts of his body, so that they were enabled at length, with great
difficulty, to drag him safe on shore, without the poor stag having
received any material injury. As soon as this was accomplished, and not
before, was I dragged out in the same way, with the thongs of my fellow
sportsmen's whips. I was certainly so exhausted that I could not stand
without holding, while they rubbed me dry with their pocket handkerchiefs;
but I soon recovered, and having put on my clothes, I mounted my favourite
chesnut mare, Mountebank, and rode with my friends, who all accompanied me
to the [22]Inn, the _only house in the borough_ of Old Sarum, where this
story is frequently related to this day.

Such is one of the anecdotes that Mr. Gordon Grey related of me, and which
circumstance, with a hundred others of a similar nature, had entirely
escaped my memory, and would never have been related here, had it not been
for the journey in the Bath stage coach; although the mark, which Old
Trojan's tooth made on the thumb of my right hand, is always present to my
view, particularly when I am writing, and which mark, I observed at the
time, would always bring the event to my recollection, as I should carry
it with me to the grave. That I shall carry it there is certain, for it is
still perfectly visible, though it was inflicted twenty-eight years ago.

Such was the man whom Lord Bruce dismissed from the Marlborough troop of
yeomanry, as unworthy to rank amongst those who had volunteered their
services to repel the invasion of a powerful, menacing foreign foe! Such
was the man and such was his zeal and enthusiasm--such his devoted
patriotism, that, had it been practicable to lay a mine of gunpowder under
the Boulogne flotilla, he would, with the same alacrity as he now rescued
the stag, have dashed into the sea with a lighted torch in one hand while
he swam with the other! Such was the man who would have fearlessly applied
the torch to the train, and freely have blown them and himself together
into the air, to have saved his country! And this was the sort of man that
Lord Bruce _knew_ me to be when, to gratify the rage of his father, he
undertook to dismiss me from the Wiltshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry,
because I had, forsooth, killed ten brace of pheasants at twenty shots!

Well, the day at length arrived for my attending the Court of King's
Bench, to stand, for the _first time,_ upon its floor to receive judgment.
Mr. Justice Garrow and Mr. Justice Burrough were my counsel; and the
former made an eloquent appeal to the court, declaring that he would much
rather be placed in my situation than that of the noble lord; and winding
up his speech with a high eulogium upon my character, he said, that if he
lived in my neighbourhood, I should be the first man that he would seek
for as a friend, &c. &c. The present Lord Erskine and the late Sir Vickery
Gibbs were employed to pray for the judgment of the court against me; but
his lordship conducted himself with the greatest moderation and even
kindness towards me, and never uttered one single offensive or unkind
sentence in the whole of his eloquent harangue. But the little, waspish,
black-hearted viper, Gibbs, whose malignant, vicious, and ill-looking
countenance was always the index of his little mind, made a most virulent,
vindictive, and cowardly attack upon me, which was so morose and
unfeeling, and so uncalled for by the circumstances, that, if I had not
been held back by any attorney, I should certainly have inflicted a
summary and a just chastisement upon him upon the spot, by dashing back
his lies, together with his teeth, down his throat. I was, however,
restrained, and sentence was passed by old mumbling Grose, that I should
pay ONE HUNDRED POUNDS to the King, and be committed to the custody of the
Marshal of the court for SIX WEEKS. There sat, squatting upon the bench,
KENYON, Chief Justice, GROSE, LAWRENCE, and LE BLANC; all four of them
gone, long, long ago, to receive their sentence from the Judge of another
and a higher court, the JUDGE of JUDGES; and the _Lord have mercy on them!
say I._ I paid the fine immediately, and two friends, who were in court,
entered into recognizances in five hundred pounds each, and myself in one
thousand pounds, to keep the peace towards this gallant lord for three

I was handed over to a tipstaff, who very civilly conducted me and my
friends in a coach to the King's Bench, which place I had the evening
before been to reconnoitre with my friend Mr. Wm. Butcher, who had come to
town with me, and had voluntarily become one of my bail. My friends
anticipated that I should be committed to the King's Bench, as I had made
up my mind not to offer any apology to Lord Bruce.

At this time Mr. Waddington was a prisoner in the King's Bench, for
forestalling hops; and as he had conducted his defence before the court
with great energy and considerable talent; and, as he was convicted upon
an old obsolete statute, he was not esteemed guilty of any moral crime. I
had imbibed a notion that the debtors in the prison were generally a set
of swindlers, and I was, therefore, anxious to avoid their society, or
having anything to do with them; which feeling, however erroneous,
increased my desire to become acquainted with Mr. Waddington. The chief
temptation, however, undoubtedly was his being a man who had become
celebrated for the spirit which he had several times evinced before the
court, in defending himself against what was generally considered as a
mere political prosecution. I made several inquiries about him, but I only
learned that he was not within the walls, and that he had apartments over
the lobby, without the gates. I was, as yet, too great a novice to
comprehend what was meant by imprisonment without being in prison.

I arrived at the prison about two o'clock, and was conducted into the
coffee room, kept by Mr. Davey, the Marshal's coachman, where we were soon
accommodated with a very good dinner. In the mean time I had made the
necessary inquiry for an apartment, but the prison was represented to be
very full; and I was shewn one or two rooms, where the parties occupying
them had no objection to turn out, to accommodate me, for a certain
stipulated sum. Amongst the number I was shewn up into a very good room,
which was occupied by a lady, who, it was said, would give up her room for
ten pounds. When we entered the room she was singing very divinely, she
being no less a personage than Mrs. Wells, the celebrated public singer.
With great freedom she inquired which was the gentleman, me or my
attorney, who accompanied me; and upon being informed that I was the
prisoner, she eyed me over from head to toe, and then, with that art of
which she was so much a mistress, she simpering said, that "she was loath
to part with her room at any price, but that, as I appeared a nice
wholesome country gentleman, I should be welcome to half of it without
paying any thing." As I was not prepared to enter into a contract of that
sort, I hastily retired, and left my attorney to settle the quantum of
pecuniary remuneration with her.

We dined very pleasantly, I think six of us; and, before the cloth was
removed, I had a visit from my friend, the Rev. John Prince, the chaplain
of the Magdalen, and vicar of the parish of Enford, whose churchwarden I
was. I stated to him the difficulty I had in procuring a suitable
apartment; which he no sooner heard than he volunteered his services to go
immediately to his friend and neighbour, the Marshal, with whom he had no
doubt he should readily arrange that matter for me to my satisfaction. I
was much pleased to have such an advocate as Mr. Prince, a man so well
known, and so much esteemed for his piety and goodness of heart. But he
soon returned, looking very grave, and said, that he could do nothing with
the Marshal, who would not enter into any conversation with him upon the
subject; but told him, that if Mr. Hunt wanted any thing, he was ready to
do whatever lay in his power to serve him, but that his attorney was the
proper person to transact such business, and that it was quite out of the
worthy parson's line.

My attorney, Mr. Bird, immediately waited upon the Marshal; and, while he
was gone, Mr. Prince informed me, that his old friend Jones had behaved
quite rudely to him, and expressed himself very much surprised that a man
of his calling should think of interfering in such matters. Poor Prince
was, therefore, fully impressed with an idea that Mr. Jones would do
nothing to accommodate me, as he had quite huffed him. In ten minutes,
however, Mr. Bird returned, with the news that he had settled every thing
with the Marshal; that I should have an apartment over the lobby, but that
I must go with him to the Marshal, and enter into security not to escape,
&c. &c. I immediately complied; and, as we went along, he informed me,
that I was to give a bond for five thousand pounds not to escape; and that
it would not be necessary for me to return again within the walls. This I
readily agreed to, and the matter was settled in ten minutes. I was to
have the room over the front lobby, and the run of the key.

I returned to my friends elated with the prospect of my being so
comfortable, as I had been very much disgusted with the scenes of
profligacy and drunkenness that I had already witnessed within the walls.
Mrs. Filewood, the principal turnkey's wife, who kept the lobby, was to
prepare my bed, and get every thing ready for me in my room by ten
o'clock, the time at which my friends were to leave the prison. When the
hour arrived, I was shown into a very spacious room, nicely furnished,
with a neat bureau bedstead, standing in one corner. My hostess, who was a
pretty, modest-looking woman, was very communicative, and so attentive
that I really felt quite as comfortable as if I had been at an inn. It
was, in fact, much better than the apartments I had been in at the inn, in
London, the Black Lion, Water Lane. There was a good fire in the room, and
every thing bore the air of cleanliness and comfort, and I went to bed and
slept till day-light, as sound and as well as I ever slept in my life.

As I lay in my bed, thinking of the new situation in which I was placed, I
lamented that I had not overnight made some inquiries about Mr.
Waddington, as I still felt very anxious to become acquainted with him;
and I was devising all sorts of schemes how I could gain an introduction
to him, when my hostess knocked at my door, to say that Mr. Waddington,
the gentleman who lodged in the room over me, sent his compliments, and
wished that I would favour him with my company to breakfast, which he
would have ready in half an hour's time. This was to me a most gratifying
invitation, which I cheerfully accepted with as little ceremony as it was

Having dressed myself I was shown into his room, which was immediately
over mine; I being on the first and he on the second story. Having read a
great deal about him in the papers, I had formed to myself an idea of Mr.
Waddington; but instead of meeting, as I expected, a tall, stout, athletic
person, I found him rather a short, thin gentleman, who approached me
quite with the air and address of a foreigner. He, however, received me
very politely, and having shaken each other by the hand, we had a hearty
laugh at the expense of our prosecutors, and the ridiculous situation in
which we were placed. From that moment all reserve was laid aside between
us, and before we had finished our breakfast, we agreed to mess together
during the six weeks which I had to remain: he being sentenced for six
months. It was arranged that my room should be the dining and his the
drawing-room, and, whoever might visit us, that he should pay the expenses
of the first day, and I of the next, and so on alternately. We had our
meals provided by Mr. Davey, at the coffee room, and sent to us, and we
settled our bill of the preceding day every morning at breakfast. Without
once having deviated from this plan, we passed our time, for the six
weeks, in the most profound harmony and good humour with each other, never
having had the slightest disagreement during the whole of the period that
we were together.

I soon discovered that my new acquaintance was a great politician, and
that he was a decided opposition man, or rather a democrat, a sort of
being which I had hitherto been taught to look upon, if not with an evil,
at least with a suspicious eye. I was a professed loyal man; but, before
we had been together four and twenty hours, he pronounced me to be a real
democrat, without my being aware of it myself. I found him a cheerful
companion, who, whatever I might think of his political feelings and
information, was at any rate possessed of a great share of mercantile
knowledge. His opinions upon political matters were many of them new to
me; and his arguments, though there was much ingenuity in them, were not
altogether calculated to carry conviction to the mind. His conversation,
however, gave me an insight into many matters that I had never before had
an opportunity of investigating or of hearing discussed.

On the second day, I was for the first time introduced to Henry Clifford,
the barrister, who was one of Mr. Waddington's counsel, and who came to
dine with us. I was very much pleased with him, and though he advocated
the same principles that were professed by his client, yet he did it in
such a way, and in such plain intelligible language, that every word,
every sentence, carried conviction with it. He conversed of rational
liberty, of freedom as the natural rights of man, and as the law of God
and nature. He put the matter clearly and distinctly, undisguised by
sophistry; and, as far as I could discover by his discourse, I had already
an inherent love of that liberty of which he spoke: I was naturally an
enthusiastic admirer of freedom, and an implacable foe to tyranny and
oppression; and this I admitted to him, at the same time that I disclaimed
any participation in those principles which were designated as
jacobinical, and professed myself a loyal man, and a friend to my king and

With the greatest good-nature, Mr. Clifford smiled at my folly; "but,"
said he, "my worthy young friend, and I am proud to call you so, I see
that you have in reality imbibed the best, the most honourable of
principles; the seeds of genuine patriotism are implanted in your heart,
it only requires a little time to rear them into maturity, and, I have not
the least doubt but they will, ere long, produce good and useful fruit. I
believe you are a really loyal man, a sincere friend to your king and
country; and if I thought you were not, our acquaintance, I assure you,
should be very short, but, as you are one, I hope our friendship will only
cease with our lives." I shall take leave to say that this wish was
accomplished to the very letter, as I ever afterwards lived in the most
friendly habits of intimacy with him till the time of his decease.

Our discourse now became more general. Mr. Waddington had listened with
great attention to his friend Clifford's clear and undisguised manner of
initiating, as he called it, the young countryman into the science of
politics; and he appeared much delighted to find that "the bait took so
well." Clifford reproved his expression, and added, that the young
countryman, as he was pleased to term me, required nothing more than a
little practical knowledge of corruption, to make him shake off all his
natural prejudices, and become as good and sincere a defender of liberty
as either of them.

By this time, our friend Clifford, who was then a _two-bottle man,_ had
taken his glass too freely to make himself intelligible any longer, and I
resisted the proposition of Mr. Waddington to uncork another bottle, as I
was very much shocked to see one of the most intelligent and truly able
men in the country, reduced to a mere idiot by the effect of wine. Mr.
Waddington, who was naturally an abstemious man, agreed with me, and, as
we had previously given a general invitation to Clifford to dine with us
twice a week, we now came also to a resolution, that, in future, we would
not be deprived in such a way of his instructive and agreeable society. To
accomplish our purpose, we agreed, therefore, that we would limit the
quantity of wine to be drank when he was at our table, and that, as soon
as the quantity was gone, coffee or tea should invariably be introduced.

Our friend and guest literally reeled down stairs when he took leave of
us, and I could not help observing, what a misfortune it was for such a
brilliant man to drown his senses and obscure his intellect with wine.
Though I had for some years, at least since I was married, kept that sort
of company which led me to take my glass freely, yet I seldom took it to
excess, and never to inebriate myself. This melancholy example of Mr.
Clifford had a very great effect upon me. To see a man of the most
brilliant talent, of the most profound erudition, so far forget himself as
to become an object of pity and contempt, imbecile, and even beastly, was
a sight which made a deep and lasting impression upon my mind, and I began
to think that my own partial indulgence in the practice of drinking so
freely after dinner was an act of great weakness and folly, which, if not
checked, was likely to degenerate into one of the worst of crimes.

In these sentiments my friend Waddington agreed with me, and he readily
joined in a determination never to suffer any thing of the sort to take
place at our table again while we remained together. This resolution we
managed to keep, though we had a difficult task to perform when Mr.
Clifford and the Rev. Dr. Gabriel dined with us, which was regularly twice
a week. The reverend doctor, in particular, we found it incumbent upon us
to keep within strict bounds; for, when he had got a little too much wine,
though he was an old man, and a dignitary of the church, it was with great
difficulty we could restrain him from indulging in obscene conversation,
with which my friend and myself were equally disgusted. The doctor was a
wit and a scholar, but, as Mrs. Waddington and her family, as well as
other amiable females both of her and my friends, frequently visited us,
his language was not to be tolerated, and, consequently, I undertook one
morning to remonstrate with the doctor upon the subject. He freely
acknowledged his error, but attributed it to a foolish habit that he had
acquired at college, of which he could never afterwards wholly break
himself. At the same time, he pleaded that he never forgot himself so far
as to disgrace his profession, unless he had taken too much wine--which,
by the bye, was every day when he could get it. I made known to the doctor
our resolution to limit him to a bottle, and that his visits were to be
continued upon that understanding. To this he readily assented, and
thenceforth we found him to be a well-informed and entertaining companion,
on the two days in the week that he was invited to dine with us. The
doctor was reduced in circumstances, and was living within the rules. It
was he who built the octagon chapel at Bath, of which he was the
proprietor, and where he preached for many years. He was a man of letters,
and, when sober, a perfect gentleman; but, when ever so little elevated,
he betrayed, even to us comparative strangers, that he was a complete free
thinker. Many of my readers will recollect the literary controversy which
took place between him and, I believe, Doctor Gardiner, of Bath. I forget
what were his politics, but I believe he was a Whig. One thing I perfectly
recollect, which was, that when he was going to relate an obscene story or
anecdote, he always gave us a preliminary intimation of it by _sneezing_.
He was, on the whole, one of the most extraordinary of the numerous
extraordinary characters that I became acquainted with while I remained at
the King's Bench, during my first visit there of six weeks, in the years
1800 and 1801.

This was a very distressing season for the poor; and Mr. Waddington and
myself gave a ton of potatoes to the poor prisoners in the King's Bench
every week; nor, during the time that I was there, did we ever fail to
relieve not only every applicant, and they were numerous, but also to seek
privately for objects of distress within the walls; and wherever we found
an unfortunate object, we did our best to alleviate his misery. Some we
found almost naked, without clothes or even bedding; some who were pining,
in secret, silent want, who were ashamed to make their wretchedness known.
These we never failed to succour. The Marshal likewise assisted us in
these acts of charity, and did every thing that humanity and kindness
could suggest, to ameliorate the condition of the unhappy prisoners in his

It being now the season when those who toil for us naturally expect some
proof of our friendship and gratitude, to enable them to enjoy their long
anticipated merriment, I sent home directions to Mrs. Hunt to have my
usual Christmas present given to each of my servants. It consisted of a
good piece of beef, some potatoes, and faggots to dress it with, the
quantity given being in proportion to the size of the family. This good
custom I learned from my father, and I regularly continued it every year;
but it was always done, I hope, with a becoming spirit, without any
ostentation. I never, as many did, caused my little charitable acts to be
blazoned forth in the public newspapers. I will venture to say, that,
while we were in the King's Bench, Mr. Waddington and myself gave away,
privately, a larger sum, in comparison with our incomes, than, any of the
publicly blazoned forth charitable men in the city of London, who were
lauded up to the sky for their benevolent disposition. Every Christmas,
each servant, who had worked for me during the year, received a present of
beef enough to keep each person a week, which was never noticed in any of
the public newspapers, though they constantly teemed with pompous accounts
of the _generosity, benevolence_, and _charity_ of my more opulent
neighbours, who never gave half so much; in fact, who never gave a
twentieth part so much as myself, in proportion to their means.

A circumstance of this sort, which happened not a hundred miles from this
place, and the description of which was given to me by a farmer, has
caused me a hearty laugh. It was lately paragraphed in all the country as
well as the London papers, and spread far and near, that a worthy and
reverend magistrate, in this neighbourhood, had, with great liberality,
given away an ox to his parishioners; some, in their great bounty, added
eight or ten sheep to the boon. I was one day speaking with due praise of
this act before a farmer of the neighbourhood, who had called to visit me;
upon which he burst into a loud horse laugh, and exclaimed, "Oh, the old
cow!" The fact was, as he informed me, that the worthy magistrate had an
old Norman cow, that had done breeding, and consequently gave no more
milk; and as every farmer in the country well knows that the Devil himself
could not graze an old cow of this sort to make her fit for the butcher,
the worthy parson very properly gave her away amongst his parishioners;
and the praises of this mighty gift were hawked about in almost every
newspaper in the kingdom!

I do not give any name, neither do I, in the remotest degree, bring
forward the circumstance by way of taunt or ridicule. There was nothing
improper in it, but the contrary; and, of course, the old cow afforded
many a hearty meal, and many a porridge-pot full of good wholesome broth
to those amongst whom she was divided, who, no doubt, were very thankful
to the worthy justice for the present. I only mention it to shew that it
"is not all gold that glitters," and how such a thing is trumpeted forth
when it is once set a going. I know it is the practice of many persons to
give a trifle at this time of the year, and then get one of their
dependents to send, and not unfrequently they themselves send, an account
of it to the county paper. Away goes the news, and a person's name is
blazoned forth all over the kingdom, as a most charitable man or woman,
when it often happens that a great deal of misery, poverty, wretchedness
and want presents itself to their view all the year round, without their
ever once extending that aid which, to bestow in private, would afford
them ten times as much heart-felt pleasure, and real satisfaction, as they
can gain from their ostentatious annual newspaper fraud. I have given away
four times the value of this said cow, every Christmas, for ten or fifteen
years together, without having ever once had, or wishing to have, my name
held up in a public newspaper, as an example of charity and liberality to
the poor. Yet, twenty years ago, before I was known as a reformer, when,
for instance, I was in the King's Bench, a pound note, a fifth part of
what Mr. Waddington and I gave away privately, besides the ton of
potatoes, would have caused my name to cut a pompous figure in all the
vehicles of news, both in town and country. I may, without boasting,
declare, that scarcely a month in my life ever passed without my having
given away more than the value of the said old cow, to relieve and assist
my fellow creatures in distress; and yet the public well know how my name
has been bandied about in every newspaper in England, Ireland, and
Scotland, and, of late years, in almost every paper in Europe, as the
greatest enemy of the poor, as their deceiver, their deluder, their
plunderer! I have been held up, for political purposes, by the venal
press, as a sort of ferocious monster, who longed to gorge upon the
life-blood of my fellow countrymen! It will be asked by some, how comes it
that _all_ the public press has been induced to represent you as a monster
of this description? The answer is easy. For this plain reason: because
all those who belong to the _public press,_ the _liberal press_, have been
the agents or the, tools of one or the other of the two great political
factions, nick-named Whigs and Tories; because throughout the whole of my
political life, I have honestly opposed the peculations, the plunderings,
and frauds of the borough-mongers of both those two factions upon the
people, upon the earnings of the poor; because I have never in any way
been, nor ever would be, linked on to either of those factions; because I
have fairly, manfully, and openly stood up for the political rights of my
_poorer fellow countrymen,_ and never for one moment of my life have
compromised those rights, in order to secure or promote my own interest.

I repeat again, that I have not introduced the subject of the old cow with
any invidious motive. As far as the thing went it was a praiseworthy and
charitable act. I have myself many times done the same thing; have fatted
an old cow, and given the beef away to the poor, which has been worth, to
them, from ten to fifteen pounds; very excellent meat to eat, and I have
partaken of some of it in my own family; though it would have scarcely
fetched any thing to have been sold to a butcher. And if this should meet
the eye of the worthy justice, he will take it as it is meant, and not as
any sarcasm at him, though the said justice is one of the number who was
induced to sign the infamous order to exclude my female friends from
visiting me; which I would fain hope he did against his own judgment, and
I am sure, from the personal kindness I before received of him here, he
did it much against his inclination. Some may say that my statement, of
what I have done, is an egotistical digression; that I am sounding my own
trumpet; and that to do so is no proof of a truly charitable disposition;
but let them recollect that I am compelled to this digression, in order to
do justice to my own calumniated character; let them recollect that I am
writing my own history, and that, as _all the press_ of Europe has been
sedulously and malignantly employed to prejudice the public against me, I
owe it to myself, to my children and family, to the myriads of my fellow
countrymen who have honoured me with their confidence; I owe it to them,
to show, past all contradiction, that my accusers are slanderers; that my
conduct deserves to be otherwise spoken of than it has been; and this duty
I can perform only by speaking candidly and boldly of such facts as may
tell in my favour; facts, be it remembered, which admit of being proved or
disproved by thousands of living witnesses. I make no assertions which are
morally or physically incapable of being refuted; I appeal to evidence,
which is still in existence; and if my enemies can convict one of having,
in my defence, gone beyond the limits of truth, I will be content, ever
after, to listen in silence to their calumnies.

But it is now time to change the scene again to the King's Bench. I was
there every day in the society of men who had not merely mixed in the busy
scenes of the metropolis, but of whom I found that many had been connected
with the government; many had borne a part in all the dirty tricks,
frauds, perjuries, and bribery practised at elections. Of such
abominations as I did not think it possible ever to have occurred, the
reality was clearly proved to me, by those who had been eye witnesses of
them, and who had participated in the plunder. _Circumstances_ brought me
into strange company, and here I saw men of all persuasions in religion,
and of all parties in politics.

The year 1800 was a very busy year, and the price of provisions was at its
height, in consequence of which, there were many riots both in London and
the country. The parliamentary remedy for this evil was, an act, passed on
the 12th of February, forbidding the sale of bread till four and twenty
hours after it had been baked.

Towards the close of 1799, Buonaparte became the first consul of France,
and he immediately wrote a letter himself to the King of England, offering
to treat for peace. The British ministers, however, treated the offer with
contempt, and they were sanctioned in their conduct by the legislative
bodies. Oh, fatal policy! if this offer had been accepted, millions of
lives might have been spared--oceans of blood and hundreds of millions of
money might have been saved to the nation. Mr. Fox and Mr. Whitbread
opposed the address in the House of Commons, but it was carried by 265
against 64. High debates and strong divisions took place in the Irish
House of Commons, upon the Union, when Lord Castlereagh began to make a
figure by his intrigues; British gold prevailed over Irish patriotism, and
the majorities were in favour of the Union. Mr. Waithman now first began
to figure upon the stage of politics in London, and a motion which he
made, in favour of peace, was carried unanimously at a Common Hall. The
House of Commons, on the motion of Mr. Tierney, divided 44 for peace and
143 for war; this was on the twenty-sixth of February, and on the eleventh
of May, at a field-day in Hyde Park, a shot wounded a young gentleman, who
stood near the King, for whom no doubt it was intended. The same evening
his Majesty was at Drury Lane theatre, when a man in the pit, whose name
was Hatfield, standing up on one of the benches, fired a pistol at him;
but he was pronounced to be deranged in his intellects, and he was
confined accordingly.

All our magnanimous allies had by this time deserted us, with the
exception of the Emperor of Germany, whose friendship was purchased by
another loan of two millions of money, to be raised in taxes upon John
Bull; or, to apply a more appropriate name, _John Gull_--for, so zealous
were his faithful representatives in the Commons, that they voted away
forty-eight millions for the service of the year; and to prevent, or
rather silence any grumbling, the Habeas Corpus suspension act was passed.

On the fourteenth of June, the great battle of Marengo was fought, between
the French, who were commanded by _Buonaparte_, and the Austrians under
Melas, whose army he completely defeated, killing six thousand of them,
and taking twelve thousand prisoners, and forty-five pieces of cannon. In
this battle Napoleon proved himself not only the bravest, but the best
general of the age. Immediately after this battle an armistice followed,
and peace was ultimately concluded between France and Austria.

On the eighteenth of this month, July 1800, the atrocities of Governor
Aris, and his abettors, in Cold Bath Field's prison, were exposed in the
House of Commons, by Sir Francis Burdett; and on the fourteenth of August
following, the indignant populace assembled to pull down this prison,
which they very properly called the English Bastile. The conduct of Aris
was such that he was driven in disgrace from his situation, and another
more humane governor was appointed in his place, in order to tranquillize
the people, who were justly enraged almost to desperation against this
monster. What a disgrace, not only to the administration of the country,
but to the character of the age to suffer a malignant fiend to have the
control over the liberties of persons sentenced to be confined in a
prison! How much have those magistrates and sheriffs to answer for who
suffer these devils in human shape to tyrannize over and torture the
victims consigned to their custody! How necessary is it for sheriffs (high
sheriffs I mean), to visit their prisons in person, and see in what manner
their prisoners are treated! I do not mean a _formal visit_, when the
gaoler has notice of his coming, that he may be prepared to deceive him.
But I say it is the duty of a sheriff to go unawares, at times when he is
not expected, and then to visit the prisoners _by himself_, taking care
that those jacks in office, the turnkeys, do not go before him, to prepare
the prisoners, and to caution them not to make any complaints. What a
farce is kept up by the parade of visiting magistrates, who pass through a
gaol, for instance, once a month, "like a cat over a harpsichord;"
inquiring, most likely, in the _presence_ of the gaoler or turnkey, if any
of the prisoners have any complaint to make to the magistrates! Oh what a
horrible farce is this. A planter in the West Indies may just as well
expect to hear the truth if he were to enquire of the negroes, in the
presence of their _drivers_, whether any of them have a complaint to make
against any of the said negro-drivers!

When I first came to this gaol, one of the poor prisoners, who was
assisting to repair my dungeon, was telling me of an act of cruel
injustice and torture that had been inflicted upon him by one of the
turnkeys. Upon which I said to the man, "Did you not make a complaint to
the magistrates? I am sure they would not suffer a prisoner to be treated
in such a way with impunity." The poor fellow looked at me very
steadfastly, for some time, to see if I were in earnest; at length he
replied, "Lord, Sir! you will know better after you have been here a
little while. I have been here nearly two years, and I never knew any
prisoner make a complaint even to the gaoler, and much less to the
magistrate, without being punished for it. I never knew a man make a
complaint who was not locked up, in solitary confinement, within a week
afterwards, for _something_ or _other_. A prisoner is sure never to get
any redress, for the turnkeys will say any thing, and what one says
another will swear; and the gaoler always believes them, or pretends to
believe them, in preference to the prisoners; so do what they will with us
we never complain."

I am sorry to say that I have found that there was too much truth in this
assertion. I know it is the practice of some lords of manors, never to
hire a gamekeeper unless he will engage _always to swear_ that which,
right or wrong, will convict a poacher: and I now believe that it is also
a requisite qualification for a turnkey to swear that which will please
the gaoler. I am quite sure it is the case in _some_ gaols, in which,
unless a turnkey will do this, he will never get promotion, or a rise in
his salary, nor have his rent paid, &c. &c. The principal object of these
fraternities appears to be deception; and particularly if a magistrate or
a sheriff should be a conscientious, humane man, their study, their
occupation is to deceive him, in which they are very likely to succeed;
for a clever gaoler, surrounded by such pliant helpmates, will deceive the
very devil, if he be not aware of their tricks; and how easily then may
they cheat an honest, unsuspecting country justice! I have been led into
this excusable digression from the recollection of Aris's exposure in the
House of Commons; and what a tale shall I have by and by to unfold, of the
scenes that are perpetrated with impunity in this gaol. Some of the most
atrocious acts are here made a merit of, and the gaoler even boasts of
them in the public-houses, amongst his pot-companions.

To return to my narrative. On the 3d of October, the Common Hall, on the
motion of Mr. Waithman, resolved to present an address to the King upon
the throne, for peace; but, for the first time, the King refused to
receive it, except at _the levee_. Thus were the livery of London deprived
of their right, their ancient right, of approaching their sovereign to
present their petitions to the throne. Thus were all future Common Halls
reduced to the level of any common assembly by George the Third. Thus did
those who took the lead in city politics concede the rights of their
fellow-citizens, and surrender their proudest privileges, without a
struggle. From that day to this, the Livery of London have never exercised
their constitutional privilege of addressing or petitioning the throne.
Mr. Waithman and Mr. Favel have persuaded the livery not to petition the
throne, because they were not permitted to present it to the throne:
unlike Beckford, they had neither the courage to demand the right, nor the
sincerity to give it up. By such temporising means they have altogether
compromised the rights of their fellow citizens. I made one effort to
rouse the livery into a sense of their duty, and moved for the appointment
of a committee to search for precedents; but the Whig cabal frustrated my
intentions, though I was supported by Mr. White, of the Independent Whig,
and many other patriotic members of that body. By and by, I shall lay open
to public view the despicable intrigues of this faction in the city of
London. The mass of the livery are honest, honourable and patriotic, and
real lovers of fair play; but the tricks and intrigues of the factions,
who have strutted upon the boards of the Common Hall for the last twenty
years, are without parallel; and, when I come to that epoch of my history
at which I became a liveryman, it shall be my business to unmask many a
hypocrite, and to exhibit these mock reformers in their true colours. In
performing this duty I shall divest myself of every personal
consideration; and in drawing the true characters of the great rivals,
Wood and Waithman, I will, if possible, divest myself of prejudice, and do
them both justice. The result of the last general election for the city
not only speaks the sense of the livery, but it is a pretty fair criterion
by which the public may estimate the value of each of these characters.
The inestimable conduct of Mr. Alderman Wood, with regard to the affairs
of the Queen, has placed him upon that eminence to which his honesty and
public spirit so eminently entitle him.

On the third of November, the Emperor Paul of Russia laid an embargo on
three hundred British ships, and sequestered all British property in the
ports of Russia. Thus he who, at the commencement of the year, was our
most vigorous and magnanimous ally, became, at the latter end of it, one
of our most powerful and inveterate foes. British gold and British
influence could, however, now command the use of the bow-string in Russia,
as it had heretofore directed the use of the guillotine in France; for, on
the 23d of March, he was found murdered in his chamber, and his _amiable_
and _ingenuous_ son, Alexander, the present tyrant, succeeded him, he
being understood to be better disposed to listen to the proposals of the
Cabinet of St. James's.

On the last day of this year, the Union was completed between England and
Ireland, and the degradation of that brave and high spirited people was
celebrated in London, on the first day of the nineteenth century, by
hoisting a standard upon the Tower, and an imperial ensign was displayed
by the foot guards. A new great seal was also used on account of the
Union. The Imperial Parliament also met on the first day of the year, and
commenced its first session.

The commencement of the new century had been celebrated the year before,
on the first day of the year 1800; but it was now discovered, by the
wisdom of John Gull, that the new century did not commence till the old
one was finished, and therefore millions, who had before celebrated it,
now performed the ceremony over again. I was then, as I now am, in a gaol,
but I was in a very different gaol from this. When St. Paul's clock struck
twelve, all the bells in the metropolis struck up a merry peal. I had sat
up later than it was my custom, on purpose to welcome in the new year; and
as Mr. Waddington was retired to rest, I had called up Filewood, the
turnkey of the lobby of the King's Bench, and had treated him with a glass
of grog and a pipe. Twenty years ago, at this very hour of twelve, I was
smoking my pipe in a gaol. Gracious God! the scenes that I have since
witnessed, how they crowd upon my memory! The recollection of that night
is as familiar to my imagination as if it were yesterday. I was in a
prison to be sure, but I had every accommodation that was necessary; all
my friends had free access to me, from daylight till ten o'clock at night;
and my family might have remained with me the whole time, day and night,
if I had chosen that they should do so. I was never locked into my room,
and I could at all times pass into the yard, and was within call of the
turnkey and his family; and the communication to my friend Mr.
Waddington's apartments was always open. In fact, it would have been truly
ridiculous had it been otherwise. The same apartments which I inhabited
had been previously occupied by Mr. Horne Tooke, Lord Thanet, and many
other eminent political men who had fallen into the clutches of the
harpies of the bar and the bench; and never did the slightest
inconvenience arise to the marshal, or any of his officers, in consequence
of treating such prisoners committed to his custody with that sort of
consideration which made them easy and contented under unpleasant
circumstances. Such liberal treatment always produced a corresponding
feeling and action in the prisoners, and I never heard of any instance of
disagreement between them. I know that, in our case, so far from any
complaint being made on either side, Mr. Waddington, myself, and the
marshal always continued, and we parted, upon the best terms, mutually
satisfied with each other. But what a contrast was that to my present
situation in _this_ gaol, one of the most confined, unhealthy, and
inconvenient gaols in the kingdom! Since the high sheriff came to my
relief, my confinement is considerably softened, particularly by the
admission of the female branches of my family: but the contrast is yet
such as to beggar description. In the first place, I am shut up in a
complete dungeon; it is true, I have a window, but that is rendered almost
useless by its opening into a small yard, of about ten yards square,
surrounded entirely by a dark wall, nearly twenty feet high. This being
situated on the north side of a very high building, both light and air are
excluded. I have not caught a glimpse of the sun from this yard or room,
since October. In the next place, no friend or any other person is
admitted till nine in the morning, and not after four in the afternoon; so
that my family, who, in consequence of Sir Charles Bampfylde's
interference, are now permitted to see me, are yet compelled to submit to
the inconvenience and expense of passing _seventeen hours_ out of the four
and twenty at the inn, to be enabled to see me for the remaining _seven_.
At six o'clock in the afternoon I am locked up in solitary confinement, in
my room, (some time back it was at _five_); all the outward doors
surrounding my burying vault of a yard are also closed for the night; and,
as my dungeon is situated in a remote part of the gaol, I never hear the
sound of a human voice till the door of my cage is opened, at seven
o'clock in the morning; so that, for thirteen hours, I have no possibility
of making any one hear, let what might happen, either from illness or
accident; a month back it was fifteen hours, from _five_ till eight. To
remove this unpleasant and brutal inconvenience, a worthy and considerate
visiting magistrate, Aaron Moody, Esq. of Kingston, very properly ordered,
amongst many other necessary improvements of my den, that a bell should be
hung, to enable me to call one of the officers of the gaol, when I might
want any thing; but I am now deprived of this common and necessary
accommodation by the order of Mr. Gaoler, who forsooth has caused the bell
to be muffled, and the wire pegged, so as to render it totally useless.
The reader must find it difficult to discover the motives for this and a
hundred other daily acts of petty tyranny that are practised upon me here;
and, to render this conduct the more pointed, unjust, and odious, the
_bell_ which was hung at the same time, and for the same purpose, in the
room of my fellow-prisoner, Mr. Kinnear, remains untouched, for his
constant use and convenience. And yet I understand my gentleman gaoler
complains of what he calls my attacks upon him, although he cannot deny
the truth of one of my statements.

From the comparison which I have drawn, the reader will perceive, that
_one month's_ imprisonment in this bastile, is worse than _a year's_
imprisonment in the King's Bench. In the King's Bench I enjoyed the
rational society of all my friends, and I was particularly pleased with
the society of Mr. Clifford. I have since suffered many great
inconveniences and disappointments, which I might have avoided, if I had
given credit to some of his statements, which, at the time, I thought
totally impossible to be correct, but which I have since, by experience,
and to my cost and sorrow, found to be true to the very letter. I was
induced by him to believe many of the infamous acts attributed to the
ministers and their agents, and the cruelties practised by their tools and
myrmidons; but it was not possible for me to give full credence to many of
the stories and anecdotes which he recounted of the _Judges_ upon the
bench, in connivance with the _gentlemen_ at the bar. It was difficult to
make me comprehend and credit, the infamous and disgraceful practice of
the masters of the crown office, in procuring and packing a special jury,
which he assured me was constantly and invariably done in every political
cause, where the crown was the prosecutor; but he brought me so many
proofs, that, at length, it was worse than self-deception to doubt it. But
that the _Judges_ upon the Bench, in violation of their solemn oaths,
would lend themselves to _delay_, to _deny_, or _sell_ justice, was a
crime which I could not be persuaded to imagine was within the verge of
possibility, though he solemnly assured me that all this was not only
done, but that it was the every day practice, particularly in political
matters. To think that, upon the ex-parte statement of one of the counsel,
a Judge would submit to make himself acquainted with the case before he
came into court; to think that a Judge could be _spoken with_ privately,
upon a cause that he was going to try openly in public court, that he
would be influenced by unworthy motives, or take a _bribe_, was so
abhorrent to every notion of justice that I had imbibed, it was to me so
horrible, that I could scarcely listen with any degree of temper to his
recital of numerous instances of the kind, which, he assured us, had come
within his own knowledge.

If I could have had the wisdom to have listened and have improved from the
excellent information that I gained from Mr. Clifford, how many painful
and useless exertions I might have saved myself, how many difficulties
might I have avoided! But it was not in my nature to believe such things,
or to think mankind, and particularly the Judges of the land, such
hypocrites, or such base tools as he represented them to be. And such is
the natural feeling and habits of an Englishman, that he imbibes the
notion of reverence for the Judges of the land at a very early period. We
are taught this almost as early as we are taught the Lord's prayer, and it
is nearly as easy to eradicate the one, as the other, such is the effect
of early impressions. Poor Clifford! how often have I heard him exclaim,
"of all tyrannies, that which is carried on under the _forms_ of law and
justice is the worst." How well he understood the practice of the courts,
and the trickery of the Judges; every word he ever communicated to me upon
this subject I now believe to be true, my own experience has since
confirmed it. He gave us the history, a full account, of the treatment of
those persons who were confined in dungeons for political purposes under
the suspension of the Habeas Corpus act; and amongst others he described
the cruel and unnatural treatment of poor Colonel Despard, who was then
confined in the Tower, and who had been imprisoned at that time for five
or six years. Mr. Clifford was employed by Colonel Despard, and offered to
convince me that his description of his treatment was correct, by
introducing me to him any morning that I would accompany him to the Tower;
which I promised to do the first opportunity, and a day was fixed
accordingly for the interview.

I received frequent communications from home to say that all my large
farming concerns were going on well, in fact those were glorious times for
farmers; the price of corn and all sorts of agricultural produce was
enormous, and as I had grown most excellent crops that season, my profits
were very ample. My bailiff wrote me word, that he continued to obtain the
highest price in Devizes market for my corn, both for wheat and barley,
and one week he sold wheat for five guineas a sack, and barley for five
pounds a quarter. This was once thrown in my face by an upstart of the
name of Captain Gee, when I was standing a contested election at Bristol.
The gentleman put the question to me upon the hustings, whether I had not,
or whether my father had not, sold his wheat for fifty pounds a load in
Marlborough market? I was saved the trouble of an answer by the
observation of a sensible, shrewd mechanic, a freeman of that city; who
said, "Well, and suppose he did, what has that to do with the merit or
demerit of a representative who is contending for our rights and
liberties? Was Mr. Hunt not justified in selling his corn for the best
price that he could obtain for it? It is only a proof that he had a good
article to get a good price for it. Suppose that he had sold his wheat for
five pounds a load, while other people were selling it at fifty pounds a
load, do you mean to tell us, that _we here in Bristol_, should have got
our flour or our bread any the cheaper for it?" The captain was silent,
and my apologist continued, "Do you believe, sir, if Mr. Hunt had given
away his corn, that the millers or the bakers would have sold it to us any
the cheaper? then let us have no more of your nonsense; what would you
have said if your old uncle, the tobacconist, had sold his tobacco for one
shilling a pound while other people were selling it at three shillings a
pound?" As his scheme did not answer, the captain slunk away and asked no
more questions. I always felt great pride in obtaining the highest price
for my _corn; because_ it was a sure proof, that I carried the best corn
to the market, and the farmer who grows the greatest quantity of, and the
finest, corn, not only benefits himself, but, instead of being an enemy to
the poor, he is their best friend, as he contributes the largest share to
the common stock of provisions for their support.

My family meanwhile remained at home, it not being deemed advisable, under
such circumstances, to remove them to London, for so short a time as six
weeks. Mrs. Hunt had to take care of an infant son, now about four months
old, and, besides, I had no one but her to depend upon, to manage the
domestic concerns of so large an establishment as I then kept up, and
which was absolutely necessary for so large a farming business as I
carried on. Every thing, however, went on smoothly and prosperously; and I
had no lack of visitors, who were very numerous, both from London and the
country, and perhaps no nobleman in London was better supplied with game
than I was. I received daily presents from all quarters, particularly from
the members of the yeomanry cavalry, not only of the county of Wilts, but
from various other counties.

Though the whole body of the yeomanry considered themselves insulted in my
person, yet the boasted resolution of those members of the Wiltshire
yeomanry, who had declared that they would resign if I had any punishment
inflicted upon me, was never carried into effect, with one solitary
exception, which was that of my friend Mr. Wm. Butcher, who wrote from
London, the day after my sentence, and sent in his resignation, assigning
openly as the cause, that he would not continue in a service in which he
was liable to be insulted with impunity, by the caprice of a superior
officer, or liable to be prosecuted, if he resented a wanton insult with
the spirit of a man of honour and a gentleman. But Wm. Tinker of
Lavington, who had so often volunteered to resent what he called an insult
offered to every man in the regiment, never resigned, or mentioned the
subject afterward; and he, amongst all my numerous friends, was the only
one who failed to send me some game, though he was a great sportsman, and
did me the favour to hunt and shoot over my farms in my absence.

Unlike some other gaolers, the marshal of the King's Bench was not above
his business; he never for a moment neglected his duty to the prisoners.
He did not act, as if he felt it to be his only business to tyrannize
over, to harrass, to oppress, to punish, and to torture those unfortunate
persons who were committed to his custody. On the contrary, he took
especial care to protect his prisoners from insult, imposition, or
cruelty. Instead of employing his time to devise means of annoyance
against those who were placed in his custody, he occupied it in a very
different manner. He knew that it was his duty (and he acted up to the
letter and spirit of it) to take every means in his power to make each
prisoner as comfortable as his situation would admit, and, above all, to
shield him from any insult or ill treatment from the officers of the
prison; and to take care that the prisoners were not imposed upon by those
who served them with provisions and necessaries. He made a point of going
frequently into the prison during market time, and if he found any bad
meat, butter, or other provisions, brought into the prison, he would, for
example sake, have it seized and destroyed; and he frequently, without
previous notice, went round with his officers to examine the weights and
measures, so that his prisoners were completely guarded from imposition
and extortion; and a man in the King's Bench prison could lay out the
little money he had to spend, to as much advantage as he could in any
market in the kingdom. In fact, Mr. Jones, the marshal, was a humane as
well as a charitable man, and he encouraged the prisoners to make
excellent and just regulations for their own government; but the
refractory, those who would not be governed by the rules of well regulated
society, and who violated all moral obligations, were made to feel the
weight of his power. He was a magistrate of the county of Surrey, it,
therefore, was not necessary for him to perform the farce of sending for a
_visiting magistrate_. Any ungovernable delinquent was brought before him,
and after a fair hearing, if it appeared upon oath that he merited it, he
was committed for a month to Horsemonger Lane prison, or sentenced to be
confined in the refractory room. I do not remember a single instance of
any one being punished by him unjustly. When it was necessary for the
marshal to use severity against any man, it generally had the sanction of
an immense majority of that man's fellow-prisoners. The only one that was
punished, during the six weeks that I was there, was a drunken captain,
who, in one of his paroxysms, had smashed all the chapel windows, and
committed several other depredations upon the property of his fellow
prisoners. He was put into the strong room till the next day, when he was
brought up, and after an open and patient hearing, it being found that he
had nothing to urge in his defence except drunkenness, he was sent to
Horsemonger Lane for a month. No secret inflictions, no acts of torture
were permitted in this gaol. Punishment, when requisite, was given openly,
and fairly, and consistently with the true principles of justice, and
every one knew what measure of it was meted out to the offender. As there
are frequently a great number of profligate characters within the walls,
it was highly necessary to have some good rules and regulations, _some
local laws_, to protect the well-disposed, the innocent, and the
unfortunate, (of whom there was always a great number) from the insults
and depredations of such abandoned persons. These _local laws_, though
they were administered with strict justice by Mr. Jones, yet, as far as my
own observation enabled me to judge, they were invariably tempered with
mercy. There were frequently six or seven, and sometimes eight hundred
prisoners within the walls, and the marshal had a great responsibility
upon his hands, yet every thing was conducted with liberality. He had
extensive power, yet I never saw any man exercise power with more
discretion and moderation than he did.

The reader will recollect that this is my opinion now, my confirmed
opinion at this period, after having been three times committed to his
custody by the _Honourable_ Court of King's Bench. A second time, for
having given a good thrashing to a ruffian who was hired to assault me as
I was riding along the high road, and who was proved to have actually
assaulted me first. The Judge, Baron Graham, upon the trial at Salisbury,
instructed the jury to find me guilty of an assault, though he admitted it
to be clearly proved that the fellow had committed the first assault. His
argument, if so it may be called, was, that I had given him more than an
equivalent beating in return: had I, he said, only struck him once, I
should have been justified; but, as I had struck him three times with my
fist, it was an assault; and for this I was sentenced to _three months_ to
the custody of the marshal. But it will be recollected that I was then
become a political character, and had been the means of calling two
meetings for the county of Wilts. The third time was preparatory to my
visit here--but more of these things at the proper period.

While I was in the King's Bench, many anecdotes came to my knowledge,
relating to certain political characters, which it would be neither just
nor prudent to mention here, and indeed it might justly be considered a
breach of confidence. I must, therefore, withhold the publication of them
till I have the permission of those who communicated them to me. There
were also numerous most important matters, communicated to me by Mr. Henry
Clifford, with whom, as the reader has already been told, I soon became
closely intimate, which I do not feel justified in promulgating, as they
are of an extraordinary character, and would be scarcely credited, the
parties not being alive either to contradict or to confirm them.

Henry Clifford was a most intelligent man, and Doctor Gabriel was likewise
an intelligent man; and these two individuals gave me a clear insight into
the practice of the persons who were concerned in the courts of law, and
the church. I was not more astonished at the trickery, deception, and
complete delusion of the former profession, than I was at the cant and
hypocrisy of the latter. I soon became a disciple of Clifford's, yet so
astonished was I with his account of the mummery of the courts, and the
farcical deception of what was called the administration of justice,
particularly in all political matters, that I really looked with such
astonishment, and sometimes with such a suspicious and unbelieving eye,
that he frequently thought it necessary to bring me living proof, and
incontrovertible demonstration, of the truth of his assertions; nor was it
till he had done so, that he could bring me to acknowledge that I was
convinced of their correctness. To the doctrine so unequivocally
maintained by the worthy dignitary of the church, Dr. Gabriel, I became a
convert with even still more tardiness.

Mr. Waddington was an intelligent man, and he had seen a great deal of the
world. As a citizen of London, he had called a public meeting, at the
Paul's Head Tavern, to _petition for peace_; and this public-spirited and
truly constitutional act was at that period quite sufficient to draw down
the vengeance of Pitt and his myrmidons. His ruin was decided upon by
them, and he was handed over to the care of the minister's pliant,
powerful and dangerous tools, the Judges of the then Court of King's
Bench, the chief performer being Lloyd Lord Kenyon. Mr. Clifford assured
me, that which was afterwards proved in the same court, that there was
neither law nor justice in Mr. Waddington's persecution; but that the
minister had determined to destroy him for his decisive opposition to his
measures in the city; and he had not the least doubt but they would
accomplish the ruin of his fortune, though he was then worth one hundred
and twenty thousand pounds. It will be shewn hereafter how completely this
prediction was verified.

One morning, while we were at breakfast, Mr. Filewood came in, and told us
that two very elegant ladies were brought into the prison for debt, and
that they were in the greatest distress, as they appeared to be deserted
by all their friends, and had scarcely money sufficient to procure the
common necessaries of life. This was quite sufficient to induce Mr.
Waddington and myself to interest ourselves in their behalf, and we made
the necessary inquiries, in which we were assisted with great alacrity by
the officers of the gaol, and we learned that the parties were, a
gentlewoman and her daughter; the mother being arrested for a considerable
sum, and being sent into the gaol, the daughter had accompanied her. A
polite letter, tendering our humble aid, was sent to the ladies,
accompanied with an invitation to dinner. This invitation was accepted,
but a difficulty arose, as we were without the walls, and the ladies were
within, which appeared at first view to be an insurmountable obstacle to
their visiting us; for, although we could pass into the prison, yet no
prisoner within the walls could pass out, unless by a day-rule in term
time, or the special permission of the marshal, which no one expected to
obtain without giving sufficient security. I, nevertheless, determined to
apply to the marshal, as we were not to be driven, without an effort, from
the pleasure of doing a kind action after we had once made up our minds to
it. We knew the character of the marshal to be that of a gentleman, and as
I felt no dread at the idea of placing myself under an obligation to such
a man, I, without further ceremony, waited upon him, and communicated the
circumstances and our wishes upon the subject. Without the slightest
hesitation he granted my request, and having called his deputy, he
demanded the reason why he had not been made acquainted with the situation
of the ladies who had been brought in the night before, and he called for
the books to know who the lady was, and what sum she was in for. It was
found that her name was M----e, and that she was detained for three
hundred pounds. I immediately offered to the marshal to become security
for the sum, if he had any difficulty about it. His only answer was, "Your
word, Mr. Hunt, is quite sufficient;" and turning to the officer, he said,
"Recollect, sir, that Mrs. M----e and her daughter have free access to Mr.
Hunt's and Mr. Waddington's apartments, to dine, drink tea, and spend the
evening whenever they please to invite them; and take care also that they
have a good room provided for them, if they have not already got such
within the walls." Thus it was at all times with this worthy man. I never
knew him interpose to prevent an act of kindness or of charity to a
prisoner; but, on the contrary, he was always ready to promote their
comfort, and willing to assist in relieving the distresses of those who
were in affliction.

Mrs. M---- and her daughter arrived at the hour appointed. She was a tall,
elegant figure, apparently upwards of fifty, and her face, though clouded
by misfortune, bore evident traces of no common beauty. Her manners and
address were at once graceful, dignified, and unembarrassed. Her daughter
was a pretty little interesting girl of eighteen, and, though she was very
accomplished, yet it was easy to discover that she had not received that
highly refined education, nor enjoyed those advantages which can only be
acquired by associating with persons who have moved in the first circles
of fashionable society; all which advantages her mother evidently
possessed in a very eminent degree. Mrs. M---- appeared to be well
acquainted with Mr. Pitt, Mr. Dundas, and some of the royal family; but as
the conversation turned upon general subjects, we did not enter into any
further particulars on the first visit. We confined ourselves to making
arrangements for the future comfort of the ladies, while they remained
within the walls, and this object, Mr. Waddington and myself, with the
cheerful cooperation of the marshal, easily contrived to promote.

After a visit or two I became enthusiastically interested in the fate of
Mrs. M----. I discovered that she had moved a great deal in the higher
circles, and was particularly well acquainted with the ministers of the
crown, and a certain great personage. As she saw that she had excited, if
not an interest, at least a great curiosity in my breast, she told me that
she was the natural daughter of the late, the great, Marquis of G----, and
that, as her's had been a most eventful life, she would relate to me some
very extraordinary incidents in it, if I would favour her with an
interview some morning. This was readily assented to, and our meeting was
fixed for the following day. Her history was briefly as follows:--she had
been brought up by the Marquis of G----, and educated by him, with great
care and tenderness. She married young, and was an early widow. After the
death of her husband, she fell a victim to the seductive powers of old
Harry D----s, and became his mistress, which she continued to be for many
years. During that time she had an opportunity of seeing a great deal of
Mr. Pitt, of whom and his associates she told me a vast number of
anecdotes, which will not do to mention here. Her old paramour at length
became tired of her, and a very extraordinary event led to an opportunity
of shifting her off his hands, without the inconvenience of making her a
settlement. A certain great personage was at that time labouring under a
distressing malady. The physicians in attendance came to the conclusion,
that it was necessary that their patient should have a female attendant
during the night; and the finding of a proper person for the occasion was
the only obstacle which interposed to prevent their carrying their wish
into effect. Old Harry D----s proposed to obviate this difficulty, by
making a sacrifice, as he pretended, of his favourite mistress, upon
condition that an annuity of four hundred pounds should be settled upon
her. This proposal was immediately accepted, and the terms were acceded to
by the family of the afflicted personage. Though the wary old Scotchman
was delighted to get rid of his mistress upon such advantageous terms for
himself, or rather to drive such an excellent bargain, yet he all the time
professed that he was making the greatest sacrifice in the world, and
doing the greatest violence to his feelings, by parting with a beloved
object; a sacrifice which he was induced to make solely from the love and
veneration which he bore to his afflicted master. She assured us of her
belief that, by these means, he obtained the greatest favours and the most
splendid reward, while she, for the sum of four hundred a year, consented
to submit to the embraces of a madman.

The patient recovered, and she was turned adrift, without her salary being
regularly paid. She had contracted a debt of three hundred pounds, for
which she was sent to the King's Bench prison, though she convinced me, by
documents that she produced, that she had at the time seven quarters of
her salary, seven hundred pounds, due to her from the said great
personage; less than half of which would have saved her from a gaol.

This circumstance, however extraordinary it may appear, was not only
confirmed by very credible witnesses, but also by most indisputable
documentary proof; and, as a confirmation of its correctness, Mr. Dundas,
who was subsequently Lord Melville, a few days afterwards came in person
to bail her into the rules, which I sincerely believe that he never would
have done, if he had not heard of the _company_ that she had fallen into.
Mrs. M---- and her daughter were at dinner with Mr. Waddington and myself,
when Mr. Dundas sent for her out; but we made him wait till she had
finished her dinner, declaring that we would be her bail, rather than she
should submit to receive a favour from such an unnatural being. This lady
gave me a history of the then court, and she was familiar with
extraordinary anecdotes relating to most of the persons connected with the
ministers as well as the royal family. The recital of so much infamy and
intrigue, when coupled with what I had heard from Mr. Clifford, of the
practices of the law and the courts of justice, and from Dr. Gabriel, with
respect to the debaucheries of the most dignified members of the church,
and the hypocrisy of many of its puritanical preachers, really made me
almost believe that I was got into a new world, and that the men and women
of which it was composed were a different species from those with whom I
had been in the habit of associating; in fact it opened to my view such
scenes of villainy, fraud, hypocrisy, and injustice, practised upon
mankind by those who contrived to govern them by what is called religion
and law, that I involuntarily re-echoed, with an exclamation, the
sentiments of Mr. Clifford, and pronounced aloud, "That there is no
tyranny so infamous as that which is carried on under the _forms_ of law
and justice."

I had here an opportunity of meeting men of talent and men of experience,
and particularly some eminent men of the law, who, although they were not
public characters, like Mr. Clifford, and therefore did not promulgate
their sentiments so publicly as he did, yet all admitted the truth of his
description of the state of the courts of law; and my Lord Kenyon was
spoken of with great freedom, and his decisions were canvassed with very
little ceremony.

I have already mentioned, that Colonel Despard was confined in the Tower,
by the Secretary of State, Lord Hobart, in virtue of the suspension of the
Habeas Corpus act, and that Mr. Clifford had promised that he would take
me to the Tower, and introduce me to the colonel. The day having at length
arrived for the performance of his promise, Clifford called on me, and we
walked together to London Bridge, where we took a boat to Tower stairs.

After entering our names in the book, which has been invariably the
practice at the Tower, we were admitted to the apartment of Colonel
Despard. He was a mild gentleman-like man.

Mr. Clifford introduced me by name, as a country friend of his, and the
colonel received me with great courtesy and politeness. During our stay he
inveighed with some warmth against the injustice of his treatment, and the
protracted length of his imprisonment, which he said, I think, was then
nearly six years. Two beef-eaters were always in the room with him, when
any person was admitted, and they never left the room, even when his wife
came to see him; but, as far as was in their power, consistent with the
orders which they had received, and were obliged to obey, they conducted
themselves with great propriety and civility toward the colonel and his
friends. He laughed heartily at the idea of a visit from me, who was at
the time a prisoner in the King's Bench, and Clifford surprised him when
he said, that I had entered my name "Mr. Henry Hunt, King's Bench," which
I had done.

To shew me the stile in which the procession accompanied the prisoner, Mr.
Clifford proposed a walk upon the terrace. He had described this ceremony
to me, and it appeared so preposterous, that he saw I looked doubtful as
to whether I should believe him to be serious. When he observed that I
looked suspicious, he always took uncommon pains to convince me by some
unequivocal proof, and this was his motive for proposing a walk. A guard
of soldiers was called, and the procession was as follows:--One of the
beef-eaters walked first, with his sword drawn; then followed two
soldiers, carrying arms, with their bayonets fixed; then came Colonel
Despard, with Mr. Clifford and myself, one on each side of him;
immediately behind us marched two more soldiers, carrying arms, with fixed
bayonets; and another beef-eater, with a drawn sword, brought up the rear.
In this manner we walked the parade or terrace for about half an hour,
taking care to speak loud, so that the whole of our conversation was heard
by the beef-eaters. After our walk we sat with him a short time, and then
took our leave.

Anxious to hear something more of the particulars relating to the
confinement of the colonel, I called a coach, and ordered the coachman to
put us down at the King's Bench, where Mr. Clifford had engaged to dine
with us. As we rode along, I began to ply my companion, to inform me what
desperate offence Colonel Despard had committed, which called for such
rigorous treatment. His answer was this--"He served the government
faithfully and zealously, as a soldier; he advanced money for them upon
some foreign station; but the government was ungrateful and ungenerous to
him, and in consequence of some quibble, they have refused to repay him
what he advanced on their account. He complained and remonstrated, he
became importunate for justice, he was considered troublesome, and for
complaining they have sent him to prison, under the suspension of the
Habeas Corpus act, as the only effectual means of answering his just
complaints." "And can it be possible," I asked, "that justice will not in
the end be done to this unfortunate gentleman?" "Depend upon it," replied
Clifford, "he is too honest ever to gain redress. If he would crouch and
truckle to his persecutors, he might not only be set at liberty, but all
that they have robbed him of would be returned. This, however, he never
will do. He, poor fellow! expects that when the operation of the Habeas
Corpus act is restored, he will be able to bring his cruel persecutors to
justice; but he will be deceived! He is marked out for one of that
monster, Pitt's, victims. When he comes out, which will be when the
suspension act expires, and not before, I know that he will demand to be
put upon his trial. But the ministers, who have always a corrupt majority
at their beck, will easily procure an act of indemnity; and as they have
nothing to charge him with, they will refuse to give him a trial, and they
will laugh at him. And this is the boasted freedom of the people of
England! This is the way in which the ministers serve those who oppose
them! These are the methods they take, first to punish, and then to drive
their opponents into violence and into acts of desperation!!! I know that
he will complain, and that he has just cause of complaint, and I dread the
consequence, because I know full well their arts, and the power which they
have to carry their diabolical plans into execution. If he be troublesome,
they will stick at nothing, and I should not be the least surprised if
they were ultimately to have some of their spies to swear away his life!"

Gracious God! I little thought how prophetic these words were. Was this
really the case, Mr. _Justice Best_? you were his counsel upon his trial;
you must know if this were really the case!!! But more of this hereafter.
After the death of poor Despard, Clifford and myself never met that I did
not recall to his recollection, the prophetic conversation that took place
in the coach, as we passed over London Bridge, and up the Borough, on our
return from the Tower.

All the particulars of the trial and the execution of Colonel Despard are
fresh in my memory; but I shall be much obliged to some friend, who may
chance to read this, to send me the _Trial_ itself, through my publisher,
Mr. Dolby. I shall also be much pleased, if some one will furnish me with
the names of those persons who were waiting in readiness to come forward
and prove that the witnesses, who swore to the facts against the colonel,
were persons of the most infamous character, and not worthy to believed
upon their oaths; which persons were neglected to be called by Mr.
Sergeant Best. Clifford told me their names often, but they do not occur
to me now; therefore I shall be obliged to some one to furnish me with the

When we got back to the King's Bench, we were informed, by Mr. Waddington,
that there had been a great inquiry for me in my absence, as some friends
out of the country had been to visit me, and had, foolishly enough, made
much stir in the King's Bench in their endeavour to find me. Mr.
Waddington, however, having learned what was going on, satisfied their
inquiries so far as to induce them to be quiet, and promise to call the
next day. Some of my readers will be surprised that a prisoner should have
been from home! But the fact was, that I was committed to the _custody of
the Marshal of the Court_ for six weeks, and I had given him ample
security for being at all times ready to appear, in case he should be
called upon to produce his prisoner. They were not then so particular as
they now are.

The visit to the Tower made a lasting impression upon my mind, and, after
what I had witnessed, I was easily persuaded by Mr. Clifford that the
account which he gave me of the treatment of other prisoners confined
under the suspension of the Habeas Corpus act, was perfectly true. These
horrible facts created in my breast a deep-rooted never-ceasing antipathy
to that tyranny which is perpetrated under the disguise, under the false
colour, the mere forms of law and justice, and sanctioned by the
hypocritical mummeries of superstition, instead of real religion. After
dinner, Clifford described to us a scene of which he had been a spectator
in the Tower, the week before, when he went there with Mrs. Despard to
consult with the colonel, and to make his will; the colonel being then,
and having long been labouring under a serious complaint, which had been
brought on by the length of his confinement, and which was considered as
dangerous by his physician. During the whole of that time the beef-eaters
remained in the room so that even the sacred obligation of making his last
will could not be performed, unless it was done in the presence and in the
hearing of the officers of the Tower; and they actually became the
subscribing witnesses to his will.

I had now become acquainted with many political characters, and I was
frequently invited by Mr. Clifford to go down to Wimbledon with him, on a
Sunday, to join the public parties of Mr. Horne Tooke, from whom he
promised to insure me a hearty welcome. Deep-rooted vulgar prejudice
against this extraordinary and highly gifted man had, however, got such
possession of my feelings, that I continually made some excuse; for I had
imbibed a notion that he was an artful intriguing person, of an
insinuating address, who frequently led young politicians into scrapes and
difficulties. My idea of him in politics was, that he was a violent
Jacobin, and an enemy to his King and country; and this was quite enough
to make me avoid his company. The real fact was, that I was afraid to
trust myself in his society. I had no wish to become a politician, and as
I found that the principles of liberty, which Mr. Clifford inculcated, had
made a considerable impression upon my mind, I was afraid to encourage too
far my natural propensity to resist injustice, oppression, and tyranny. I
did not wish to fan the flame which Mr. Clifford's eloquence and
convincing arguments had lighted in my breast. Another reason for my
refusing to make one of the Wimbledon parties was, the probability that I
should there meet with Sir Francis Burdett, whom I was induced to look
upon almost as a political madman, a dangerous firebrand in the hands of
Mr. Tooke, who appeared to me to be nothing less than a designing
incendiary. Mr. Clifford took some pains to persuade me out of my
ridiculous notions; yet, in the account which he gave me of Mr. Tooke's
character, he in some measure confirmed me in the opinion that I had
previously formed, as Mr. Tooke certainly made Sir F. Burdett a puppet to
carry on his hostility against those ministers who had persecuted him, and
aimed a deadly blow at his life.

Mr. Tooke was a man of profound talent, a persevering friend of liberty,
and an implacable foe to the measures of Mr. Pitt. But he only supported
partial, not general liberty: he was no friend of universal suffrage; he
supported the householder, or rather the direct tax paying suffrage. To
those who contended for universal suffrage, namely, the Duke of Richmond,
Major Cartwright, and others, he made this comprehensive, intelligible
reply, "You may go all the way to Windsor, if you please, but I shall stop
short at Hounslow;" thus implying, that he was not prepared to give
political freedom to more than one half of the people, that he would not
go farther than Hounslow, which is not half way to Windsor. Sir Francis
Burdett gloried in being thought a disciple of Mr. Tooke.

The Sunday parties at Wimbledon were composed of the disaffected persons
in London and Westminster. Amongst the number stood pre-eminent the noted
Charing-Cross tailor, Frank Place, who was always an avowed republican _by
profession;_ poor Samuel Miller, the shoemaker, in Skinner-street,
Snow-hill; poor old Thomas Hardy, and many others, with whom I did not
become acquainted till some time after this period, though I collected
their characters from my friend Clifford. Mr. Thelwall had cut the
concern, and set up in another line, that of a fashionable teacher of

At this period my taste leaned more to the sports of the field, to
hunting, shooting, and fishing, than to any thing else; and as these
amusements were more congenial to my habits and my large farming concerns
in the country, I never, while I was the first time in prison, sought much
for political information, though I necessarily heard a great deal of
politics from my friends Waddington and Clifford, as well as from numerous
political characters with whom I became acquainted, in consequence of
their coming to visit the former gentleman. Indeed, seldom a day passed
without seeing some half dozen or half score of them. Mr. Waddington's
friends were almost all opposition men in politics; but his relations were
one and all backbone loyalists, or rather royalists.

My young friend, William Butcher, was delighted with the society of Mr.
Clifford. Butcher was a disciple of Thomas Paine; he had been bred up in a
country village, where the clergyman, Mr. Evans, of Little Bedwin, who was
his associate, had instilled into his mind all the principles of Paine,
both political and theological, and consequently Butcher was delighted
with the society that he had met with at our table. Butcher was a famous
great arm-chair politician; over the bottle he would be as valiant as any
man, yet he would never _act_. The reason he used to assign for never
meddling in active politics was, that, except in a republic, no private
citizen could ever attain the eminence of being the first man in the
country; and no man, he thought, could have a proper stimulus, unless he
could hope to be placed at the head of the government. Washington was his
idol, and the American constitution was his creed in politics. He was
enraptured to hear me listen with so much earnestness and attention to the
political dogmas of Clifford, as he was pleased to call them; for Mr.
Clifford never professed to wish for a republican government; he always
contended that the English constitution, if it were administered in its
purity, was quite good enough for Englishmen. In this opinion I then
concurred with him, and from this opinion I have never once in my life
swerved, up to this hour. A government of King, Lords, and Commons, so
that the latter are fairly chosen by all the commons, would secure to us
the full enjoyment of rational liberty. I am for that liberty which is
secured and protected by the government of the laws, and not by the
government of the sword. But those laws must be such as are made by the
_whole_ commons, the whole people of England, and not the arbitrary laws
that are made by the few for the government of the whole; not the laws
that are made by the few, for the partial and unjust benefit of the few,
at the expence and cost of the whole.

Mr. Clifford was the brother-in-law of Sir Charles Wolseley, the worthy
Baronet's first lady being Mr. Clifford's sister. My good and excellent
friend, and true radical, Sir Charles Wolseley, baronet, is, as well as
myself, the political disciple of the honest Counsellor Clifford. If
Clifford, poor fellow! were now alive, how he would laugh to see two of
his staunchest and most disinterested political disciples caught in the
toils of the boroughmongers! But he would also laugh to see the melancholy
state to which the said boroughmongers are reduced! Now they have caught
us they do not know what to do with us.

Through Mr. Clifford I learned how they managed matters in the courts, and
Mr. Waddington, who by this time had had considerable experience, was most
violent against the injustice of the persecution which he had experienced.
At this period he possessed a large quantity of hops, perhaps half the
hops in the kingdom, which he had purchased upon a speculation, that there
would be a very bad crop. His calculations turned out to be correct, and
the hops that he had purchased at ten pounds a hundred were now worth
twenty-two and twenty-three pounds. They were all in the Borough, and he
was selling them off, at this advance in price, when the conspiracy was
formed against him, at the head of which was Mr. Timothy Brown, of the
firm of Whitbread and Brown. Mr. Pitt, in order to punish Mr. Waddington,
for calling the meeting at the Paul's Head Tavern, in the City, to
petition the King for peace, and the removal of ministers, lent himself
and his agents to further the objects of this conspiracy of brewers
against Mr. Waddington; and as Kenyon, the chief justice, was a devoted
instrument of the minister's, Mr. Waddington was not only fined and
sentenced to six months imprisonment, for forestalling hops, but acts of
parliament were passed to permit the brewers to use foreign hops, quassia,
or any other drug, or ingredient, as a substitute. By these unjustifiable
and partial proceedings, the very same hops that were worth, and had been
selling at, twenty-three pounds a hundred, were reduced down to five
pounds, and even to three pounds a hundred.

Mr. Timothy Brown was at the head of those brewers who acted as the tools
of the minister, to persecute Mr. Waddington, not for forestalling hops,
but actually for standing up to do his duty in the city of London, as a
liveryman, to oppose the ruinous system of ministers; and it is the best
proof that can be given of his earnestness and sincerity, that they never
relaxed in their persecutions against him till they had ruined him. He was
a merchant, a banker at Maidstone, and a trader, and, of course, he was
largely concerned in money transactions. Now the government can always
silence any man in this situation, or ruin him and his credit, if he
becomes really sincere in his opposition to them; and this is one good
reason why we radicals have nothing to expect from merchants, bankers, and
traders. The ministers have no objection to those persons who carry on a
_regular whig opposition_, because that is all in the way of business.
They are all in the regiment, and although they are upon what is called
half-pay, yet they belong to the regiment, and are always in the
expectancy of being called into active service again. The ministers
generally employ some of these expectants to do their dirty work for them;
and any measure that is prosecuted by the Whigs is, _at least was_, at the
time of which I am speaking, thought by a great number of well-meaning but
ignorant people, to be perfectly justifiable. As I pass along I shall be
able to prove to the reader, how well the _factions_ manage these matters,
how skilfully they always play into each other's hands, against the
rights, the property, and the liberties of the people. For instance, if
the ministers want any obnoxious measure brought into parliament, such an
one as, if it were to be suggested by themselves, would create a great
public feeling, alarm, and hostility to it, throughout the country--to
wit, if they want to carry a corn bill, to raise or keep up the price of
corn three or four shillings a bushel, the effect of which is, to lay a
tax of twenty or thirty millions a year upon the people who consume it,
they are cunning enough to put forward one of those _shoy-hoy_ Whigs. _Sir
Henry Parnell_, an Irish Whig baronet, must, forsooth, be the ostensible
parent of the measure, while the ministers are professing openly to be
doubtful of its expediency and policy. When all this has been done to
sound the people, they, at length, with a seeming reluctance, yield to the
suggestions of the landed interest, and the urgency of the state; and
should the people begin to be importunate, and remonstrate against the
measure, why then it is only necessary to bring upon the scene their
principal _shoy-hoy, Westminster's pride,_ to wit; and if he will but just
say at a Westminster meeting, "_that the measure is of little consequence
either to him or his constituents_;" and if, when he is called upon in the
House, by my Lord Castlereagh, to speak honestly his sentiments respecting
the measure, he will get up and merely tell the Noble Lord "_that he
deserves to be impeached; but that as to the corn bill it will be all the
same to him whether it is passed or not, that he is as much for it as
against it, but that he does not care which way it goes;_" why then the
juggle is rendered complete. Oh, what a farce! What a delusion! but the
ministers having got this hero on their side, the measure passes, and the
people are duped and deceived. As I proceed in my history, I shall be able
to shew to the public how necessary these _shoy-hoys_ are to the
ministers, and how often they have successfully played them off against
the people. So it was in this case. The Judges knew that there was no law
against Mr. Waddington. It was, therefore, necessary to make a shew of
great feeling and interest for the welfare of the people; and this Mr.
Timothy Brown, who was a Whig, and a partner of Whitbread, was selected as
the instrument upon this occasion. He was so selected because he bore Mr.
Waddington a personal hatred, and was glad to pursue him with vindictive
hostility, for a harmless joke which Mr. Waddington had played upon him.
Nor did he cease his attacks upon him till he actually ruined him.

I will now explain the cause of his hatred and hostility. Mr. Waddington,
who was an active, intelligent, persevering man of business, and who,
besides being a banker at Maidstone, in the heart of East Kent[23], was
also engaged in the hop trade, as a hop merchant in the Borough; was a
great speculator in this speculating business, which always was considered
as a business of chance rather than of judgment. As, however, games of
chance are greatly governed by the penetration of those who play them, Mr.
Waddington payed that attention to the growth of hops, that he made it
rather a game of certainty than of hazard. In the spring and summer of
1800, this gentleman thought that he discovered a considerable stagnation
in the growth of the vine, as well as such a degree of disease generally,
in the crop of hops near Maidstone, that he was determined to make a
peregrination on foot through the gardens in all the hop districts in Kent
and Sussex. He carried his determination into effect; and having made such
observations as led to the conclusion, that it would be a very short crop,
he made large purchases of the growers, to be delivered at a certain price
when picked: this was called fore-hand bargains, and was the invariable
custom of transacting business between the farmers and the factors. Mr.
Waddington then started into Worcestershire, and having made a similar
survey of the growing crops in that county, and having come to a similar
conclusion, he made large purchases also upon the same terms as he had
done in Kent. As he returned through London he called upon his friend, Tim
Brown, and, in the true spirit of friendship, he communicated to him the
result of his travels, and his inspection of the hop gardens, both in Kent
and Worcestershire; and, as a proof of his conviction that there would be
a short crop, he informed him of the large purchases which he had made;
and added, that he should still increase his stock as the season
approached; advising, at the same time, his friend Brown, by all means, to
lay in a good stock of old hops, and purchase early and largely of new
ones.--Mr. Brown affected to hold Mr. Waddington's information very cheap,
and in fact treated his advice rather with ridicule than attention.

At length picking time came, and Mr. Waddington's predictions were
realised to the very letter; there being not more than a quarter of a crop
grown that year. Mr. Brown had not only failed to follow his friend's
advice, but, relying upon some other information, had actually neglected
to lay in the usual stock for the house of Whitbread & Co. Mr. Waddington,
rather piqued at the slight put upon his judgment by his friend Brown, and
elated with his own success, sent Mr. Timothy Brown a GOOSE, as a quiz
upon him for his want of discernment, and lack of faith in his
representations. This innocent joke, which, I understand, was at that time
frequently practised by speculating men in the city, so enraged Mr. Brown,
that he vowed revenge; and smarting under the loss of not having had the
foresight to purchase his hops earlier, before they had risen a hundred
per cent. which they had now done, he became one of the remorseless
persecutors of, one of the conspirators to prosecute, Mr. Waddington upon
an obsolete law, for _forestalling_.

A verdict having been obtained against Mr. Waddington, for forestalling in
Herefordshire, and being about to be tried in Kent, [24]the prosecutors
moved, the Court of King's Bench to remove the _venue_ out of Kent, upon
the ground, that the farmers were prejudiced so much in favour of Mr.
Waddington, that they could not obtain a fair jury. Mr. Law, who was
afterwards Lord Ellenborough, was his leading counsel; and upon his
argument, and the authorities which he cited, although they were strongly
opposed by the counsel on the other side, yet, as the prejudice was
proved, Lord Kenyon, upon the principle that the administration ought "not
only to be pure, but that it should be above suspicion," made the rule
absolute, and the cause was tried in Westminster Hall, by a Middlesex
jury. It was mainly upon this case that I rested my application, for the
court to remove the cause of the King against Hunt and nine others, for a
conspiracy, out of Lancashire into Yorkshire. The Middlesex jury was,
however as tractable as that in the country, and he had a second verdict
against him, for which he was sentenced to the custody of the Marshal of
the King's Bench.

It was while he was undergoing his sentence, that, as I have already
mentioned, I became acquainted with him, and I passed my six weeks as
pleasantly as I ever passed any six weeks of my life. To be sure it put me
to a great expense, and a considerable loss, in taking me from my family,
home, and business; but I gained more real information, more knowledge of
the world, and of men and manners; more insight into mercantile,
political, and theological affairs than I should have gained in so many
years, if I had continued in the country, employing my time in farming,
shooting, fox hunting, and attending to the exercise of the yeomanry
cavalry. It is more than probable that I should never have taken the lead,
(such a lead!) in the political affairs of my country, if I had not thus
early been placed in such a situation, and in such company, by the
sentence of the Court of King's Bench. Before that period I had, it is
true, a natural and an inherent abhorrence of tyranny and oppression, and
my excellent parent had instilled into my breast a pure love of justice,
and an invincible attachment for fair play; and, therefore, it is not
likely that I should ever have been a tool of arbitrary power. Yet, if it
had not been for this circumstance, I should never have been such an
enthusiast for equal rights, and such a determined enemy to a corrupt, a
sham representation.

Mr. Clifford found in me a willing, a zealous proselyte to the cause of
rational liberty, and a warm admirer of the principles of universal
political freedom. He recommended to my notice the political works of
Paine, particularly his _Rights of Man_, and applauded my determination
never to mingle religious with political discussions, and never to risk
the cause of liberty by doing any thing which could excite religious
prejudices. Mr. Clifford was a _Catholic_, a _rigid Catholic_,
notwithstanding which, there never lived a more sincere friend of
religious as well as of civil toleration. Some of our party were
frequently introducing theological discussions; and _some_, who ought from
their profession to have known better, denounced all religion as relics of
superstition. Mr. Clifford, as well as myself and Mr. Waddington,
discountenanced, and ultimately prohibited, those subjects. We each
professed our faith, and we did not choose to be dictated to, any more
than we wished to dictate to others, in matters of conscience.

On my return into the country, I was met at Marlborough by my friend
Hancock, who accompanied me to Devizes, where we were joined by a large
party of friends, at a dinner, which was provided for the occasion, at the
Bear Inn. Some of my more rustic neighbours expressed great surprise to
see me look so well, after coming out of a prison; their idea of which had
led them to expect to see me look _thin, pale_, and _emaciated_. On the
contrary, they found that I had lost none of my usual ruddy and florid
appearance, and, instead of looking as if I had been fed upon bread and
water, I had grown stout and fleshy, although I had taken regular
exercise, and, compared with my usual habits in the country, had lived
moderately, and in fact abstemiously. Yet, with all my precaution, I had
so much increased in bulk, that it was very visible to all my friends who
had not called on me in London.

I found my wife and children in perfect health, and they warmly greeted my
return. In fact, my absence was nothing more than passing six or seven
weeks in London. I found all my business going on with great regularity,
my stock in good order, and my hunters in excellent condition; and as I
longed to taste again the sports of the field, and to mingle in the
pleasures of the chase, my favourite mare was ordered to be ready on the
following morning, at the usual hour, that I might ride to join the
hounds, which threw off for the occasion within three miles of my house,
as the sportsmen were to meet upon the down of my farm at Widdington.

Here I met my old brother sportsmen, who appeared rejoiced to see me once
more amongst them; but they one and all declared, that my scarlet coat was
grown too small for me. Some said, that I was grown a stone heavier;
others, that I was increased two stone; and some bets were made,
corresponding with these contending opinions; all, however, agreed, that I
was increased very considerably in weight. Like a true sportsman, I knew
my weight to an ounce before I went to London. It was twelve stone five
pounds. In the midst of this conversation, as we were riding along I
espied a hare sitting at a considerable distance; she was started, and off
we went, to the music of the many pack of harriers, supported by
subscription, but kept by Mr. Tinker, of Lavington.

I was more than commonly elated, and enjoyed the sport with great
pleasure; in fact, I entered into the spirit of the chace with the
greatest enthusiasm. My beautiful high bred hunter was in admirable
condition and spirits, and appeared to participate with the rider in the
full zest of the sport; she almost fled with me across the downs, keeping
pace with the fleetest of the pack. The hills and vallies upon that part
of Salisbury Plain very much resemble those of Sussex, in the
neighbourhood of Brighton race-course. Persons unused to such countries
would consider them as almost precipices. Our horses, however, as well as
their riders, being accustomed to them, mounted them with apparent ease,
and generally descended them at full speed. I had been spanking across the
downs for nearly an hour, with the highest glee, and was going with great
speed down the well known steep hill which leads into Waterdean Bottom,
pressing on my mare, so that she might be enabled to ascend half way up
the opposite hill by the force of the increased velocity that she had
acquired in descending the other, which is the common practice of all good
sportsmen and bold riders in such a country. In passing with great speed
over some rather uneven rutty ground, at the bottom of the hill, I
received a violent and sudden shock, by my poor beast coming all at once
to a stand still. I jumped off without her falling, though she was nearly
down. She stood trembling, and I was shocked to find that she had _broken
both of her fore legs_: the right short off above the knee, and the other
below the fetlock joint. This was a most distressing accident, and the
miracle was, that she had not fallen, and I, her rider, been smashed in
the fall. But her wonderful courage saved me from almost inevitable
destruction, for we were going at the time with the velocity of an arrow
shot out of a bow.

The other horsemen had gone on, and were soon out of sight, and I was left
in this situation upon the open down, a distance of two miles from my
home. Seeing the deplorable state of my poor horse, and knowing, from the
nature of the injury she had sustained, that it would be impossible to
recover her, I determined to proceed on foot to my home, that I might send
some proper person to release her from her misery; and I had gone some
little distance on my road, when, on looking round, I found the poor
creature hobbling after me, indicating, that it was her wish not to be
left alone and abandoned in such a pitiable state. My heart bled for my
faithful and noble beast, and I instantly attended to her apparent call
upon my humanity. I took the rein, and she followed me home, nearly as
fast as I could walk. When we[25] reached there, she was instantly
relieved from her pain by the last sad resource, the fatal unerring ball,
which, when directed by a skilful hand, produces instantaneous death,
without a groan, or scarcely a convulsive struggle. I dropped a tear when
she had breathed her last; consoled only by the reflection, that my life
had been spared by a merciful and beneficent Creator; for had the poor
animal fallen, at the swift pace she was going, my destruction must have
been inevitable. What is very remarkable, I never before or since ever
knew a horse break its legs, when going at full speed, without falling.
But this noble animal, in the struggle, in the amazing effort to save
herself from falling, when the bone of her right leg snapped, actually
fractured the other. I had the fractured bones of both legs preserved, for
the inspection of the curious, for many years afterwards.

This sad accident was a great drawback to the pleasure that I had promised
myself in the chase during the spring of the year, subsequent to my return
from the King's Bench; and to add to my mortification and disappointment,
the first time I mounted my next greatest favourite hunter, I found that
it was brokenwinded. I had lent her, during my _residence in town_, (for
it is a farce to call it imprisonment) to a gentleman of the name of

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