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inquiry and information. In answer to the eager questions about Sir Francis, we held out a confident reliance upon his coming in time to carry down the petitions, and to give his notice to move for leave to bring in a Bill. The Major really expected this, and though I did not, I thought it my duty to hold out hope to the last possible moment. In the meanwhile the depulies, called together by a paper, signed by Sir Francis himself, met, came to certain resolutions as to what sort of a Bill it ought to be ; but, at the same time, resolving, that they had so entire a confidence in the integrity and wisdom of Sir Francis, that they were willing to leave the details of the Bill to him.
Day after day passed, and no news from Leicestershire! The eve of the Parliament's Meeting brought no Sir Francis! Nay, the morning brought no comfort; nothing to cheer the half-distracted crowds of bearers of petitions, who had come up in full expectation of being re. ceived by him with open arms, and who longed even for a sight of him. In this state of things, and at about ten o'clock in the morning of the day of opening, I went to Major Cartwright's, who had about a dozen of the bearers of petitions in the room with him, and who had told them, that he had received a letter from Sir Francis saying, that he would be with him that morning, and that he, the Major, expected him to arrive every minute. “Sir," said I, “ I will not disguise from these gentle. " men my real opinion. I have, for some weeks suspected, and I have “ told you my suspicions, that Sir Francis Burdett will not give notice of “ a Bill, and that he will make no great and bold effort in our cause. “And I do not now believe, that he will call upon you to-day; I do not " believe, that he will carry down any petitions to dav; I do not believe, « that he will make any stand for us in the House; and I advise these " gentlemen to carry their petitions to LORD COCHRANE, who, I have " authority to say, will give notice of a Bill, if Sir Francis does not.”
The audience were astounded at my words. Many of them had received positive instructions to deliver their petitions into the hands of sir Francis Burdett alone. They were at a loss wbat to do. But, at last, as many of them as could be found, assembled at Charing.cross, in the manner described in my last letter to you, and proceeded with their petitions to the house of LORD COCHRANE, who, as I have there described, was carried into Westminster Hall with the Bristol Petition in his arms, and with the resolution in his mind to give notice of a Bill, if Sir Francis Burdett did not.
Here I should observe, that his Lordship, who is timid only when there is no real danger, and bold only wlient there is real danger, for a long time resisted our importunities to give notice of a Bill, chiefly upon the ground that it would be done with so much more and so much better effect by his colleague. But, answered we, your Lordship is convinced that it ought to be done; that our only chance of success, at this time, depends upon this one act, done in a bold manner; and will you suffer the cause of the people to be deprived of this chance, rather than not do the thing yourself; that people, who have shown so much zeal in your cause ; who have resented so boldly all your wrongs; who have been ever ready to stand by you to the last ? Does your lordship think it just, that the cause should wait the good pleasure, ibe leisure hours, or the whim of any man living? Do you think, that the thousands of men, any one of whom would do the thing, were they in Parliament, as ably as Sir Franeis Burdete, will be satisfied with your declining to do it, merely out of deference to him ? Do you think, that the l’eople of Westminster, who have placed it in your power to do so much for the country, will be satisfied with your doing nothing, because your colleague will do nothing?
His lordship was convinced, that it was his duty to do it; and, how he came not to do it remains to be explained, and forms the most curious part of this most curious history. When my Lord Cochrane arrived in the House, Sir Francis was there, and had GIVEN A NOTICE, but, of what sort Lord Cochrane could not, probably, distinctly learn. Sir Francis, who, as I had predicted, had not called upon Major Cartwright, had taken also such special care not to come in contact with any Reformer, that he actually came in a straight line from Leicestershire to the door of the Honourable House in a post-chaise, and passed by the end of New Palace Yard just at the time when the thousands of people were carrying Lord Cochrane to the other door of that House! He would naturally expect, from this indication, that his lordship had been chosen to occupy his place as to the Bill, about which we were so anxious; and, before his lordship, who, on account of the crowd, moved slowly, could arrive and take his place, he, Sir Francis, had given his Notice for a Committee; that is to say, for what the French call a parler pour parler, and what we call a tulk for talk sake; or, in this case, for a giving the thing the go-by! When, therefore, Lord Cochrane, agreeably to his promise, asked Sir Francis whether he was about to give his notice, the latter answered, that he had given it. After this for Lord Cochrane to give any Notice upon the same subject, would have been at once to proclaim a division between them; and, therefore, he did not do it.
I am loth to call this acting the part of the dog in the manger ; and I beg of you, my good friends, who have been as great admirers of Sir Francis Burdett as any in the kingdom, to give to this act the most mild association of epithets and terms that your justice will permit you to employ. But, willing as I should be to stop short of direct censure, it is impossible for me, without first divesting myself of all feeling for the suffering nation and its cause, to speak in any terms short of direct cen. sure of the greater part of Sir Francis's conduct subsequent to this epoch,
We have seen, in former letters, that the Prince's Speech had, for its main object, to reprobate the Reformers and to produce iew laws to put them down, or, at least to reduce them to silence. The following words, at the close of the speech, could leave no doubt of this in the mind of any man living. I have quoted these words before, but they must find a place here, in order to a clear understanding of what is to follow :
" In considering our internal situation, you will, I doubt not, feel a just indig. nation at the attempts which have been made to take adrantage of the distresses of the country, for the purpose of exciting a spirit of sedition and violence-1 am too well convinced of the loyalty and good sense of the great body of his Majesty's subjects, to believe them capable of being perverted by the arts which are employed to seduce them; but I am determined to omit no precautions for preserving the public peace, and for counteracting the designs of the disaffected : and I rely with the attoost confidence on your cordial support and co-operition in upholding a system of law and government, from which we have derived inestimable advantages, which has enabled us to conclude, with unexampled glory, a contest whereon depended the best interests of mankind, and which has been hitherto felt by ourselves, as it is acknowledged by other nations, to be the most perfect that has ever fallen to the lot of any people."
Was it not of the very first importance, that these assertions and these
propositions, should be instantly met with flat contradiction and with decided reprobation? Did not all the world see, the moment they saw this speech, what the Ministers were driving at? Could Sir Francis Burdett, then, have any doubt upon this subject ? Must he not have been certain, that Gagging Bills were intended in order to silence those, whom he had for many years been reproaching for their silence upon this very subject ? And yet he suffered a two-day's debate upon this speech to pass over, without erer saying one single word in disapprobation of any part of it! Though, as every man must have seen, this was the time, and the only time to meet and rebut these unfounded charges against the Reformers, and to give the alarm as to the measures about to be hatched and brought forth. During this long debate there was no species of abuse that was not heaped upon the Reformers; their meetings, their petitions, their speeches, their publications. All these were called venomous, seditious, blasphemous, rebellious. And, all this be heard without uttering one single word in our defence! Nay, what is, if possible, worse, he declined, or rather, refused, to say one word in our defence, when a proposition to do so was offered to be brought forward, and actually was brought forward by another!
During the debate on the Speech, Lord COCHRANE, seeing no one willing to make a stand, or even to utter a word, in our defence, and knowing, as every man must have known, what the close of the Speech aimed at, moved the following amendment to the Address :-" That this “ House has taken a view of the public proceedings, throughout the “country, by those persons, who have met to petition for a Reform of “this House, and that, in justice to those persons as well as to the “ people at large, and for the purpose of convincing the people that this “ House wishes to entertain and encourage no misrepresentation of their “ honest intentions, this House with great humility, beg leave to assure “his Royal Highness, that they have not been able to discover one single “ instance, in which meetings to petition for Parliamentary Reform have “ been accompanied with any attempt to disturb the public tranquillity; " and this House further beg leave to assure his Royal Highness, that, in “ order to prevent the necessity of those rigorous measures, which are “ contemplated in the latter part of the Speech of his Royal Highness, “this House will take into their early consideration the propriety of “abolishing sinecures and unmerited pensions and grants, the reduction “ of the civil list, and of all salaries which are now disproportionate to “the services, and especially, that they will take into their consideration "the Reform of this House, agreeably to the laws and constitution of the « land, this House being decidedly of opinion that justice and humanity, " as well as policy, call, at this time of universal distress, for measures “of conciliation, and not of rigour, towards a people who have made so “ many and such great sacrifices, and who are now suffering, in conse" quence of those sacrifices, all the calamities with which a nation can be " afflicted.”
Now, though it is very well known that this amendment would not have been carried, it is also well known, that a debate would have growa out of it, in which debate would have come naturally under review all the conduct of the Reformers, all their Petitions and Publications, and that here might have been fought a glorious battle against the intended measures. In short, if this battle had been fought by Sir Francis Burdett with resolution and boldness, the Ministers would have been checked at
the outset. The People would have been encouraged; they would have petitioned against the measures that followed upon the heels of the Speech; and, I verily believe, that the State Dungeons would now have been empty, and that I should not have been in exile. But, instead of fighting a battle upon these grounds so fair and so advantageous, Sir Francis Burdert did not even second the motion, so that it dropped dead without ever being put from the chair! And what was his excuse for not having seconded this motion, upon which, perbaps, the liberties of the country hung? Why, that he was out in the gallery when it was put, and was going home. This he told you, People of Westminster, in PalaceYard; but, he did not tell you, that he had seen the motion before, and that he knew it was going to be made! True he was absent when the motion was made; but WHY was he absent ?
This is not the way, in which Sir Francis Burdett has been treated by the PEOPLE. He has been put into Parliament by a subscription, not of the Russells and others, of whose acquaintance and support he now boasts, but of the Reformers all over England! Did the people treat him thus, when he stood for Middlesex ? Did they treat him thus, when he was sent to the 'Tower; or when he came out of the Tower? Klave they ever abandoned him for one single moment ? Have they ever drawn off from him, when his enemies have called hiin violent and seditious ? And, as to the publications of the Reformers which he tacitly suffered to be loaded with every species of abuse, has he ever been abandoned by those publications? Have those publications ever been silent when he was an object of calumny? Yet he could sit out two whole debates silent as a mouse in a cheese, while these publications were represented as "venom," and while their authors were marked out as fit objects for the dungeon! Let us hope, if we can, that his future conduct may be such as to cause this to be forgiven; but I frankly avow, that, by me, it can never be forgotten. I refrain from imputing this silence, upon such an occasion, to ingratitude, because that is the blackest of crimes; but to what am I to impute it? To talk of “indolence;' to talk of "' sluggishness;” to talk of “ inadvertence;' to talk of any of these, in such a case, is to insult common sense in the manner the most gross. The poor creatures in the Black Hole of Calcutta were obliged to submit to suffo. cation, because the Vizier was asleep, and no one dared to disturb his repose ! But, was it thus, that the People of England were to suffer, because Sir Francis Burdett, who owed them so much, was not disposed to open his mouth? When charged with this neglect of duty, at a subsequent Meeting in Palace-Yard, he said, that he had often leard of Members being blamed for what they had done; but that he never before heard of any Member being censured for what he had not done. No: but, surely, he must ofien have heard of men being not only blamed, but punished, for not having done certain things; and he will find, I believe. that not to denounce a treason, of which we have knowledge, is a crime punishable with death by the law of the land. So that this was an attempt to parry the charge by a mere turn of expression. What! in the catalogue of offences against our country, does no such thing as a neglect of duty find a place ? And, when Sir Francis Burdett was elected for Westminster, did not the patriotic people of that City expect him to do something for them ? Yes, they expected him to be the great champion of the cause of liberty, and more especially of the cause of Reform. Was not this the case ?' Will any man deny, that this was the ground of all our exertions, our votes and subscriptions ? And, was he not bound, then, to act agreeably to this clearly understood compact ; or, to resign his seat? He cannot give us a Reform of the Parliament. I know that very well. Our plan of Reform, though standing upon the very principles, which he has so long inculcated, he might not now approve of. But, could he not have opened his lips in defence of our conduct, when that conduct was so perfectly legal, that the Law Officers of the Crown, with their two pair of sharp eyes, could find nothing in that conduct to prosecute ? Well ! but suppose us Reformers to have become too violent for his more sober years. Was the personal freedom of all the rest of the nation of consequence not sufficient to call forth a word from him? He did oppose the Bills afterwards; and so did Lord Milton, who was one of the Green-Bag Committee, and who voted for new laws in that Com. mittee. Oh, no! It was not subsequent harangues that were wanted. It was a gallant fight at the outset; and, besides, never, from first to last, though such numerous opportunities were offered, did he utter one single syllable in our defence; but, on the contrary, by dealing in vague generalities, seemed to allow, that our conduct was not to be defended. Let us hope, my good friends in England, that we shall live to see the day, when we shall not stand in need of him for a defender! If he did not toss us down to be worried by the Ministers, he, at any rate, stood and looked on as an uninterested spectator.
Doubtless, there would have been Bills of some sort passed, in spite of all that he could have done. But, is it likely, that, if he had fought our battle, in the manner that it might have been fought, and that he was so well able to fight it ; is it likely, that if this had been done, the same measures would have been proposed ? At any rate, he was in a place where he dared. speak out; where he ran no risk in describing those measures in their true colours; where he could have proposed Resolutions, which he was sure would be seconded ; and where he could have placed upon indelible record the infamous conduct of our enemies. And, was it not a neglect of an imperious duty not to do this? There were hundreds of those men, whom he thus abandoned to the rage of the Boroughmongers, who would have done all this, and more than all this, and who would have done it well too. This he knows; and sorry I am to say, that I believe, that this knowledge led him to see without any great regret, if not with inward satisfaction, any measures adopted that were calculated to keep those men from being his competitors for popularity and for renown.
Other motives have been ascribed; but we shall find, I believe, upon a fair examination of his conduct, that all the indications of those other motives resolve themselves into so many concurrent presumptive proofs of this all-devouring and destructive motive. It was, indeed, subject of wonder and of astonishment, when his only son became an officer in that very standing army, against the practices in which, and against the very existence of which, the father had, all his life long, been so loudly inveighing. For my part, when I first heard of the fact, I treated it as one of the lies of the day, intended for twenty-four hours, to injure the character of Sir Francis. What, then, was my astonishment; what was my sorrow, when I not only found that his son was in the Standing Army, but, that he was in the Prince's own Regiment, and serving under one of those very German Officers, to employ whom in such a capacity is notoriously a daring violation of the law ! Had the son, led away by the