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much below childishness ; it is so degrading to human intellect; that I could not, though pressed to it by some worthy friends in Norfolk, consent to notice it in print, feeling that it would be like the using of a sabre against a fly or a maggot. But, things, which may be wholly beneath notice in themselves, may be forced upon one's attention by their being associated with things of real importance, as the garter once dropped at a ball from the knee of a favourite of one of our kings has become the ensign of an honour which the greatest of statesmen have been proud of. And, though a very different fate certainly awaits the Order of Brunswick, still that Order having now been associated in print with the name, officially given, of the Secretary of State, this circumstance has rendered the whole thing of sufficient importance to be laid before the public, especially as some very essential political principles have, in this form, challenged discussion.
The Knights have, it appears, transmitted an account of their establish. ment and of their installation and principles to Lord Viscount SidMOUTH, and, of this transmission and of his Lordship's determination thereon, they have published the following account, printed by one Ball, of Norwich, in the following words :
“ Published by order of Knights Members of the Brunswick Club, at a Special “ General Meeting, held at the Rampant Horse Inn, Norwich, Dec. 31st, 1816, “ Copy of a Letter addressed to 'Arnall Thomas FAYERMAN, Esq., Surgeon, “ Norwich ;' President of the Brunswick Association, from J. Beckett, Esq., Under “ Secretary of State, in reply to a Letter transmitted to Lord Viscount Sidmouth, “ enclosing six copies of the second edition of the Declaration of the sentiments “ of this Assemblage.
“ Whitchall, Dec. 30, 1816. “SIR,–1 am directed by Lord Sidmouth, to acknowledge the receipt of “ your Letter of the 26th inst. and to express the satisfaction offorded him by the “ Public Spirit, and Constitutional Principles which have led to the establishment “ of the Brunswick Club in the City of Norwich ; I am at the same time to add, “ that Lord Sidmouth's opinion is in general unfavourable to Political Clubs of any “ description ; although there may undoubtedly be circumstances under which such “ Institutions may not only be justifiable but highly useful; whether or not this “ is the case of Norwich at this time, it is impossible for him to judge, but his Lord. “ ship cannot hesitate to applaud the principles of your Association and the mo. " tives which have occasioned it. “I am, Sir, your most obedient and humble Servant,
“ J. BECKETT," " To Arnall Thomas Fayerman, Esq.,
“ Surgeon, Norwich." Upon the receipt of this Letter, the Knights came to the following resolution :“ Resolved unanimously,—That the respectful thanks of this Association be trans. “mitted to Lord Viscount Sidmouth, his Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home “ Department, evincing at the same time our grateful feelings for the very hand“ some approral of our views and principles which he has been pleased to express, “ through the means of an Official Letter from J. Beckett, Esq., addressed to the “ President; and that all the Knights Members be required to sign the said Letter “ of thanks. By Order of the Association.-WILLIAM RACKHAM, Secretary.'
Now, my friends of Norwich, where Reformers have met with the Mayor of your City at their head, and where that Mayor stands so honour. ably distinguished from those, who, instead of complying with the reasonable requisitions of their townsmen, have called meetings of special con stables and of troops; my friends of that ancient and always patriotic city, let us now, for a moment, forget the despicable and ridiculous character of these self-created Knights, and even while we are commenting on those principles and motives, which Lord Sidmouth is here said to have
approved of, let us not take it for granted, that his Lordship has not been taken unaware upon this occasion; and let us, at any rate, by no means imbibe any disrespect towards the name of Brunswick, the use of which has here, as upon so many former occasions, been dishonoured by those, who, under that name, have endeavoured to find shelter from that contempt or indignation which belonged only to their own folly or infamy.
You all remember, that, when the exposures, relative to the Duke of York and Mrs. Clarke took place, the friends, or rather the pretended friends, of the Duke, instead of candidly acknowledging, that the facts, which could not be refuted, were true; and as sensible men would have done, appealing to the generosity of the nation, by observing, that boundless patronage happening to fall under the influence of boundless passion, the temptation had been too great to preserve the Duke from errors, into which many other men, and with no essentially wicked intentions, might have fallen; instead of taking this line, and instead of advising the Duke to throw himself manfully upon the naturally indulgent feelings of the country, which would have caused the whole matter to have been forgotten in a month, the pretended friends and supporters of His Royal Highness met the first opening of the charges against him by outcries and accusations of disloyalty against the author of the charges, and against all those of similar politics, who were accused of hostility to the House of Brunswick, of being Jacobins and Levellers, and they were threatened with everlasting infamy if they failed to make their charges good. Thus accused, thus menaced, a very great majority of the nation took part against these unjust and foolish threateners ; general politics became mixed up with the question ; discovery after discovery was made, and, at last, the Duke had to bear the whole burden, brought on him not only by his own errors and frailties, but also the much greater burden created by the injustice and insolence of his pretended friends. Many men, who felt disposed, at first, to think but litile of the matters charged against him, and were inclined rather to laugh than to censure, had their risible propensity turned into scorn and indignation, when they heard charges of selling commissions by a kept mistress and the promotion of a foot-boy from behind her chair to a command in the army, ascribed to a traiturous design against the House of Brunswick!
This feeling of scorn and indignation was perfectly natural ; but, it unfortunately fell upon the wrong object; for, instead of the Duke, it ought to have alighted upon the heads of those who pretended to be his friends, and who, in fact, while they affected to be defending him, were engaged in the defence of their own corrupt actions, as was afterwards most amply proved. Just such is the case now; and, you may be well assured, that, when you hear men bawling so loudly against what they have the impudence to call our disloyal endeavours, they have only in view to retain or to obtain profit to themselves out of the public purse; and, it very unfortunately happens, that they appear to succeed but too well in persuading those whose pretended friends they are, that they are their friends in reality, and that the people who pay the taxes are their foes.
If this be excusable in the Royal Family, who have so small a portion of communication with the people, it is not so easily excused in my Lord SIDMOUTH, who ought to know a great deal of the real state of the public mind, and who, of course, ought to know, that those who are labouring to bring about a Reform of the Parliament, have not only not intimated, but ihat they do not entertain, the smallest desire, to trench, in any way
whatever, on the rights of either the nobles or the king; and, therefore, it does seem very extraordinary, that his Lordship should have given countenance to, or, that he should have taken the smallest notice of the contemptible Knights of the Order of Brunswick, and still more extraordinary, that he should have expressed his applause of their principles, considering that these, as far as they are divested of downright absurdity, are hostile to all those principles which placed the House of Brunswick upon the throne of England.
It would be a waste of time to endeavour to come at a comprehension of all the parts of that confused mass of nonsense, which the Brunswick Knights transmitted to Lord Sidmouth under the title of a Declaration; but I will just take their leading principle, which will be found in the following passage :
“ Politically speaking, we cannot but view with extreme pain and dread, the "active endeavours of violent party men to sow discord and discontent in the "minds of the lower orders, by the extensive association of clubs, professing the “ principles of John HAMPDEN. It should never be forgotten, that whatever " injuries, real or supposed, this idol of the people sustained from the Govern"ment of Charles I., that no extenuation of the crime of fighting against the " Kiny and dying in the field as a traitor can be found in the laws of either God " or man ; therefore, to mislead the people, by artful and specious praises of his "pretended patriotic conduct in resisting, by force of arms, what he considered " to be an infringement of his rights and privileges, is to teach the people to tread "in his footsteps, and to compel the State (regardless of the dreadful consequences " that might result) to an immediate submission to all they demand."
Now, in the first place, there are no such things as Humpden Clubs in the kingdom ; or, at least, they are of so trifling amount as hardly to be worthy of notice, if we except a Club of that name in London, and which Club consists in reality of Sir FranCIS BURDETT and Major CartWRIGHT. So that, this is altogether a false pretence; and, as, I dare say if the truth were known, these gallant Knights had money in view, when they appealed to Lord Sidmouth, they are, I think, fairly indictable for an a:tempt at fraud and to obtain money under fulse pretences. "For what other purpose should these men have applied to Lord Sidmouth? They could hardly expect that he would send troops to their aid ; and as to writers against us, they seem to have become extinct, or, at least, so lazy or so dull as no longer to be of any use. What, then, could these Knights apply to Lord Sidmouth for? When writers or loyal club-mongers communicate their schemes to the Government, be assured that they seek money as naturally as a fly does food when it approaches a honey-pot.
It is also a very scandalous falsehood to say, that the Hampden CLUB, or any of the Reformers, endeavoured to urge the people to compel the State (the Parliament, is meant, I suppose) by force of arms, to an immediate submission to their demands. We have uniformly, and, hitherto, most successfully, exhorted the people to adhere to a peaceable and orderly conduct. Such a falsehood as this, therefore, merits public exe. cration, though the promulgation of it cannot fail to do good in the end, because it cannot fail to show the badness of the cause of our enemies, who, unless their cause were desperate, would not resort to any falsehood at all.
But to pass over all the rest of the impudence and folly of these men, let us come to their grand principle; namely, that, “ whatever injuries “ HAMPDEN sustained from the Government of Charles the First, no era "tenuation of the crime of fighting against the king can be found in the laws of either God or man.
Now, my good friends of Norwich, if this be so, the present royal family, and George the First, and George the Second, and Queen Anne, and King William the Third, and Lord Sidmouth, and you and I, and all the people in this nation were and are traitors against the house of Stuart and their heirs in the direct line of succession. My firm belief is, that LORD SIDMouth never read the declaration of these chandler-shop knights; and, I hope, that this will be a caution to him, not to permit any one to use his name in future in applauding any thing without first knowing what the thing is.
It signifies nothing, in this case, what were the injuries sustained by Hampden, because it is here declared, that be they what they might, he had no right to resist by force of arms. Hence it would follow, that, if a king were to dissolve the Parliament and levy taxes by his sole will, or were even to order his army to beat the people in the streets, or to poke out their eyes, the people must stand still and bear it all, without any attempt to resist, because to resist would be to fight against the king ! Oh no! Lord Sidmouth never could have read the paper of these Brunswick knights. The history of John Hampden is, however, too in. teresting to be wholly omitted here.- Charles the First, who was beset by evil counsellors, and who had the misfortune to be married to a Bourbon wife, wished to rule the people of England in an arbitrary way. The Parliaments (which were newly chosen then always when they were called together) opposed his views. He wanted money, and he issued a proclamation to raise taxes, suspecting that the Parliament would not grant him the money. This was contrary to the laws of England. Mr. Hampden, who was a gentleman of Buckinghamshire, would not pay the taxes imposed on him. He was sued before the judges in the King's Courts, who, being subservient to the king, decided against Mr. HampDin. The king's necessities, however, at last compelled him to call a Parliament; and, after long disputes between the king and them, an open civil war broke out, and, in that war, Mr. Hampden lost his life in the field. The king, at last, would have gladly yielded up much more than his people asked for at first. But his yielding disposition came too late. He lost his life, as we all know, upon a scaffold, upon the charge of treason against the English people ; and herein he tasted of that injustice and cruelty which his own ministers and judges had, in innumerable instances, practised on his suffering subjects in his name.
One would have thought, that an example so awful ought to have operated on his sons ; but, so far from it, the second of those sons, James the Second, aided by the bloody Judge Jefferies, was guilty of acts of tyranny without end. The nation, resolved no longer to endure his ill-treatment, invited William, Prince of Orange, from Holland, who had married one of the king's daughters, to come and take the Government upon him. William came, with an army, who had some fighting with the king's troops, but the king, finding that the whole nation were deserting him, fled to France. William and his wife were made king and queen, and a law was passed to make every man a traitor who adhered to King James. When William and his wife were dead, another daughter of James became queen, by Act of Parliament, and that was Queen Anne. Now, observe, James had sons alive all this while; but, they were called Prelenders, and the Parliament actually compelled QUEEN
Anne to offer, by proclamation, a reward for the head of one of these her brothers. When Queen Anne died, an Act of Parliament had provided for the accession of the present royal family, which was descended from a daughter of James the First, who was the father of Charles the First, and the grandfather of James the Second; and, by the same Acts of Parliament, the family of Stuart was set aside for ever,
These were pretty stiff proceedings, and may serve as a record upon the file of the Chapter of the Knights at Norwich. But, as you perceive, there was not only resistance to King James, but there was fighting against bim by foreign soldiers brought over from Holland for the purpose! And yet your knights tell us, that Mr. HAMPDEN was a traitor for fighting against the king, whatever injuries he might have sustained. There were men to preach the same doctrine at the time when James the Second was revelling in the blood of the people shed by Judge Jefferies ; but, our forefathers were not so base and so foolish as to listen to those corrupt slaves ; they rose against the stupid tyrant; they drove him from the throne ; they afterwards set aside his despotic family for ever ; and they bappily succeeded in exalting and supporting the present royal family in their stead. This is what we mean by the " GLORIOUS REVOLUTION,” and it is well worthy of note, that, in the PROCLAMATion, issued in 1792, against the writings of your famous countryman, Paine, he was accused of having attacked the principles of the “Glorious Revolution !”
The ignorance of the chandler-shop knights is equal to their impudence. Not only since the Revolution of 1688, above noticed ; but, in all times, have the people of England claimed the right of resistance to oppression. I cannot quote the very words of Judge Blackstone from memory (and I have not my books near me), but, I know that he, though a very courtly writer, maintains this right as an inherent right of every people, and observes, that the common sense of mankind will not suffer itself to be insulted by the contrary doctrine. And how was MAGNA CHARTA obtained ? Why, by the barons making open war upon the king, and compelling him to sign it. This charter, which was a mere recognition of the then ancient laws of England, was actually forced from the king; and yet these impudent brawlers, these pot-valiant knights tell you, that, let Hampder's injuries be what they might, it was treason in him to resist the king, and that his conduct was not to be justified by the laws either of God or man! The laws of man, as we have seen, clearly justify this resistance; and, as to the laws of God, if we are to take for his laws what we find recorded in the Scriptures (and I know not where else to look for them), how numerous are the instances in which oppressors were punished, ministers, kings, and 'queens! An instance of each may serve. Haman was hanged on a lofty gibbet for his oppressions on Mordecai and the Jews. But the case in point is that of Ahab and Jezebel. King Ahab had taken a liking to the vineyard of Naboth, which the latter refused to sell him, it having descended to him from his forefathers. Jezebel, in order to put her husband in possession of the wished-for plat of ground, contrived to have Naboth seized upon a false charge of blasphemy, and to have him stoned to death. AHAB was, by the command of God, killed in battle for this act, and, bis son, Ahaziah, having succeeded him with the curse still sticking to his family, JEłu, who was an officer in the service of Ahaziah, took a chosen band with him, slew the king his master, and afterward the queen-mother,