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against the tyranny, and calling upon them also to chop off the head of Castlereagh, and to destroy the kingly government. These handbills were so perfectly ridiculous, considered with regard to any real design of a revolutionary sort, that it was impossible to believe them to have proceeded from real conspirators against the State ; but, when we saw them blazoned forth in the Courier and the Times, it was very evident to me, that they had originated with the Boroughmongers and with their immediate agents. The desperateness of the Boroughmongering crew may be easily gathered from their resorting to this expedient; but, soon after this, the first Meeting in Spa-fields came fortunately to their assistance. This was a Meeting, called by Dr. Watson, Mr. Preston and others, of the distressed persons in and about London, and the professed object of the Meeting, to petition the Prince Regent for a redress of grievances, and for relief. The advertisement, calling this Meeting, was signed by DYALL, as Chairman of a Committee. It was now that Mr. Hunt came upon the stage; and of the causes of his so coming I will here state the particulars. Mr. Preston, who was the Secretary to the Committee, wrote a letter to Mr. HUNT, calling upon him to come to the assistance of his distressed countrymen, and to be present at the intended Meeting in Spa-fields. Upon receiving this letter, Mr. Hunt went over to Botley to me, to ask me what I thought he had better do. My answer was, that, seeing that it was a body of his countrymen in distress that called upon him, it was useless for me to say, that he ought to go, for that I knew he would go. But, I observed to him, that it was necessary for him to bear in mind, how desperate the Boroughmongers were becoming, and that it behoved him, for the sake of the cause of Reform as well as for the sake of his own life, to be constantly on his guard against spies and informers; for that I was certain, that a trap would be laid to destroy him. He was of my opinion, and, as the invitation came from those persons who were called “ Spenceans," I observed, that it would be his duty to take great care, not to suffer, in his person, or by the means of his concurrence, the cause of Reform to be mixed up with what was called the Spencean project, and which project, by a little twisting and misrepresentation, might be made to mean a general confiscation of real property, though it really meant no such thing, as was evident from Mr. Evans's pamphlet, which I then had lying upon the table. Mr. Hunt saw the danger of his appearing and giving his countenance to any petition proceeding upon the Spencean principles ; and he, therefore, resolved not to juin, directly or indirectly, in any such petition. The Meeting took place, A Memorial, as it was called, had been prepared by the Watsons and others to be moved at the Meeting. But, it is one thing to draw up a paper in a room, and another to have the ability to cause it to be received and passed by a Meeting of numerous persons promiscuously met. When, therefore, they came to the field, Mr. Hunt found little difficulty in setting aside the Memorial, and in proposing and causing to be passed a Petition to the Prince, respectfully worded, on the subject of Reform and of the sufferings of the people.
While this was going on in Spa-fields the Boroughmonger press was actually at work, preparing the way to take the life of Mr. Hunt. The Courier, which is published about noon, stated that its reporter had just left the Meeting, 'and had just heard Hunt move a Memorial of a very treasonable nature, of which it then actually inserted a passage! This fact is proof positive of a dark and infamous plot against Mr. Hunt's life. But, how came the Courier to say this, when the wretched proprietor, when the corrupt, sanguinary proprietor of that paper, must have known that he would have been contradicted in a few hours ? No; he did'nt know it! And how this agent of the plotting came to be deceived, you shall now hear the interesting account.
DYALL, the man who had signed the advertisement for the Meeting, had, long before the Meeting took place, been sent for by John Gifford, the Police Magistrate, and had shown the Memorial to Gifford, who had immediately transmitted a copy of it to Lord Sidmouth. Who furnished the infamous slanderer, the Courier, with a copy of it, I leave you to guess. But, a copy of it he had; and, therefore, he stated in his paper, which was printed about the middle of the day, that Mr. Hunt had just moved the Memorial, and that it contained the treasonable passage which he inserted!
Look, now, at the series of facts. First the advertisement appears ; next it is stated in the newspapers that Mr. Hunt is coming to the Meeting ; next Dyall is sent for, and “the treasonable Memorial” is copied and the copy lodged with the Secretary of State ; next the Secretary of State keeps the copy quietly in his possession, and never apprizes Mr. Hunt that he is going to be led to commit treason ; next, the Courier stands ready with a copy in his possession; next, about the hour that he supposes that Mr. Hunt has fallen completely into the trap, the COURIER, the agent of the corrupt and bloody-minded Boroughmongers, puts into print and sends off all over the country, what he calls a treasonable passage, of the Memorial ; states that this has just been moved by Mr. Hunt, and thus paves the way for the arrest and the probable death of that gentleman. How the blood-hounds must have hung their tails, when they found that they were disappointed ! Can you conceive any thing more base than the whole of this transaction ? If one could believe it possible, that the agents in this dark piece of villany are to escape unpunished ; if one could believe this possible, the light of day would become hateful to one's sight,
I beg you to remark, that it is treason in any one not to prevent the commission of a treason, if he has the power of doing it; and yet no effort was made to prevent Mr. HUNT from committing what was called treason, and what would have been endeavoured to be måde treason, too, if he had not been too discreet to commit it. Remark, also, that what was treason, when it was thought to have come from his lips, was no treuson in Dyall, who had it in his possession in a written document. No ; it was not Dyall, whose blood was wanted by the Courier and the Boroughmongers : it was Mr. Hunt whom they wanted to sacrifice. They knew very well all about the Spenceans long before. They had read their project in Mr. Evans's pamphlet, which had been sent to every Minister, and to every well-known public character years before ; and this project of “a common partnership in the land” was now conjured up to be bitched on upon the cause of Reform, in order that both might be destroyed together. It was false to accuse the Spenceans, even the Spenceans, with a project of confiscution. They entitled their scheme “ Christian Policy ;' and they proceeded upon the principle, which the Apostle laid down for the guidance of the primitive Christians in their temporal affairs. They told their disciples, as the Apostle told his disciples, that they ought to enjoy “all things in common.” But, look at the pamphlet of Mr. Evans, who was the great apostle of the
sect; and, if you find one single word in that pamphlet, which would lead you to believe that Mr. Evans wished for confiscation of any sort ; or that he wished to destroy any of the establishments of the country, then I give you leave to regard me as being upon a level with such a man as Shepherd, the Attorney-General. Therefore, even the Spenceans have been grossly and basely calumniated. But, when we know that their project has been on foot for so many years ; when we know that the publication of their project has been struggling for public attention in all sorts of ways; when we know that the well-meaning, though wild. thinking leaders of the sect have actually been urging every Minister for years past to adopt their plan ; when we know that it was formally proposed, too, and treated only with ridicule by that vixen, PERCEVAL, who was ready to bite at every thing that came within the reach of his power ;
when we know that the plan has been advertised by writings upon the walls of London and ten miles round London, for, at least, seven or eight years pasl; when we know all this, who can be fool enough not to perceive, that the only reason for conjuring the thing up at this time, was, to couple it with the cause of Reform, and, by that means, to impute to the latter views of confiscation and revolution The Spenceans had not changed their plan. Their plan continued :o be what it was ten years before; and, therefore, it is clear that it was now conjured up by the Boroughmongers, in order to vilify that cause of the country, which had been maintained by argunjents, which neither those Boroughmongers nor their tools had been able to answer.
The sequel of the first Spa fields Meeting was conducted by Mr. Hunt with the utmost prudence and propriety. Sir Francis Burdett declined to comply with the request of the Meeting, which was, that he should present their Petition to the Regent; but, there was this added to it, that he should be accompanied by Mr. Hunt. He refused to present the Petition, though I will venture to assert that lie has engaged to present many Petitions much more strong in point of language, and far more offensive in point of sentiment, than ihis Petition ; and I will further venture to assert, that he never in his whole life-time presented a Perition, either to the Parliament or to the Throne couched in more correct, more dignified and more respectful language than this Petition. Nay, I will venture to assert, that this Petition was a better-drawn Petition ; more correct in iis statements; more consequent in its reason. ings; more judicious in its topics ; and more logical and more forcible in its conclusions, than any Petition he ever presented in his life. Where, then, are we to look for the real cause of his refusal to prestat this Petition? Why, where we are to seck for the cause of his never having, even to this day, presented the Petition to the Prince from his own Constituents, which he was to have presented according to their resolu: tion, "uccompanied by Lord Cochrane.” This Petition had been agreed to at a very numerous Meeting in Palace-Yard ; its main subject was the corruption of the House of Coinmons; it had been agreed to many months before I left England; and though many, many Levees had been held before that time, he had never been there to present that Petition, though he had been there for other purposes or for no purposes
Mr. Hunt may probably think it his duty to make public the groms of Sir Francis's refusal upon the occasion a'love spoken of. For my purt, I must content myself with the facts ard with the conclusions to which those facts naturally lead. At the Meeting in Spa-fields, Mr.
Waddingtoni observed, in speaking of the absence of Sir Francis Burdett, that “this was not a time for a man like Sir Francis to be nursing a boy that had tumbled out of a gig.” But, no countenance was given to this by Mr. Hunt; and there appeared to the public, at any rate, no good reason whatever for declining to present this petition.
This refusal, however, had very considerable weight in producing the subsegüent events. The Boroughmonger newspapers, who knew rery well what interpretation to give to this refusal, took special care to avail themselves of the occurrence. They took care to inform the public. that his son was so far recovered as to be able to ride out; that Sir Francis had gone to Hastings, where he was living in a house of General HULSE (a known creature of the Court); and that Sir Francis himself, though he could not leave his son to come to the Meeting at Spa fields; could leave him to go out a fox-hunting. In short, this refusal greatly encouraged the Boroughmongers; because they regarded it, and very justly, as a symptom that the Reformers would, when the pinch came, be abandoned by the man whom they regarded as their chiet, if not their only supporter in Parliament.
Nevertheless, undaunted by this refusa!, Mr. Hunt proceeded to present the Perition liimself. And proceeded, according to the very letter of his promise, to Carlton-house. He was there received with the greatest atiention and respect, but was referred to the Secretary of State, as being the proper channel. By Lord Sidmouth he was received in a similar manner, who told him that he would present the Petition to the Prince, and he further told him, that he disbelieved the calumnies published against him in the newspapers, and that he was convinced that Mr. Hunt's presence at the Meeting had prevented a great deal of mis. chief. His Lordship kept his promise in presenting the Perition without loss of time, and the moment he had so done, he informed Mr. Hunt of it by letter, in order, that Mr. Hunt mighe multe his report accordingly to the next Meeting.
It was impossible for any gentleman in England to have conducted this matter with greater decorum than it was conducted by Mr. Hunt. But, now, observe, that it was clear from all these circumstances, that the Ministers must have had it completely in their power to prevent any thing resembling à commotivn on ihe 2nd of December, when the next Meeting was held. They were perfectly well informed, even by Mr. Hunt himself, of the silly, inflammatory stuff, that was working in the minds of the Spencean enthusiasts. They had, besides, the proof of all this in Dyaul's memorial. Was it, then, an act becoming a gentleman ; was it an act becoming a friend of peace; was it an acı becoming a Minister of the Crown, to keep silence as Lord Sidniouth did upon this occasion, and not to atitr one word to Mr. Hunt in order to put him upon his guard ; but, rather, to encourage him to hold the second Meet. ing. without puting him upon his guard at all ?
All these facts were explicitly alleged in the Petition of Mr. Hunt to both Houses of Parliament, and, low completely did that petition upset the main conclusion of the Reports from the Secret Committees ! Though Sir Francis Burde:t thoryht proper to sit in silence, while this petition lay on the table of the House of Commons, my Lord Holland. who presented it in the House of Lorus, made that use of it, which be. • came a sincere and honourable man “Here,” said his Lorilship, "is à " petitioner, who offers to prove at your Lordships' bar that the Secretary
“ of State was duly apprized of all the circumstances which led to the “insurrection of the second of December, and that he used no endea“ vours whatever to prevent that Meeting, but rather encouraged it.” And, then he challenged Lord Sidmouth to contradict the statements of the petition if he could, and not a word did Lord Sidmouth say in answer to this charge. What could be more cogent than this ? Ought not the House to have hesitated ? Not one moment did they hesitate; but, on the contrary, they hurried on the more to pass the Bills, and to put every man's person within the reach of their fangs.
If the Ministers had been desirous to prevent a commotion being produced by the wild and enthusiastic men, whom they acknowledged Mr. Hunt to have prevented from working up a thoughtless multitude to desperate deeds; if they had been really desirous of preventing such a result of the Meeting of the second of December, would it have been too great a condescension in my Lord Sidmouth to have advised Mr. Hunt to be cautious, and to have warned him of the danger ? His Lordship can, it seems, condescend to hold conferences with infamous spies; this is not beneath his Lordship. Therefore, it was not any sense of dignity (it would have been false dignity, I allow), that prevented him from free communication with Mr. Hunt, who, he must have been very sure, could wish for nothing so earnestly as to cause peace and tranquillity to prevail, while he was engaged in the prosecution of his object of Reform, and while he was also engaged, as without any crime he might, in advancing his own popularity. But, instead of this line of conduct ; instead of putting Mr. Hunt upon his guard against those schemes of a set of wild men, which were well known to the Home-Office, the Home-Office set itself to work to get in readiness Magistrates and Police-officers to surround Mr. Hunt at the Meeting, and a short-hand writer to take down his words. This last is a very material circumstance indeed. VINCENT GEORGE DOWLING, who was brought forward upon the trial with his notes, confessed that he was engaged by Mr. Gurney's clerk, who was there as a short-hand writer, also, to assist him in taking a note of the speeches in the field ; and he further confessed that when he had transscribed his note of what passed, he gave it to Mr. Beckett, one of the Under-Secretaries of State. The cross-examination of this man was stopped by the Judges, so as to prevent him from disclosing what passed between this witness and the officers of the Government. However, he disclosed enough, for he confessed that he had said that he expected to be paid by the Government, not only for his notes as a short-hand writer, but for other trouble he had had in the business. And SAMUEL STEER swore upon the trial, that Dowling had told him that this introduction to the Home-Office“ was likely to lead to employment for himself and his brothers, which might amount to three hundred pounds a-year." This was a disclosure that answered all purposes ; for, it completely proved that the anxiety of the Ministers was not to prevent seditious words and actions, and riotous proceedings, but that their object was to obtain colourable grounds for bringing accusations against the Reformers in general; and against Mr. Hunt in particular. So that, if the Committee of the House of Lords had said in their Report, not that the con
spirators in Spa-fields had been defeated in their object in November, .but were prepared for success on the second of December; if they had
nột said this, and had said that the Boroughmongers, having missed their mark in November, had made preparations for hitting it on the