Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 3
Henry Hunt

Part 2 out of 8

of parliament; you will bear in mind that these resolutions were _moved_
by Mr. MICHAEL CASTLE, the very man who introduced Sir Samuel Romilly
into your city; the very man in whose carriage Sir Samuel Romilly
entered your city; the very man who filled the chair at Sir Samuel
Romilly's dinner. This was the man selected to MOVE resolutions
expressive of the gratitude of the people of Bristol for the conduct of
Bragge Bathurst, the sinecure placeman, the supporter of Pitt and the
war, and the decided and distinguished enemy of parliamentary reform.
This was the man, this Mr. Michael Castle, to tell the world in the most
solemn manner, that the friends of Sir Samuel Romilly approved of the
conduct of the very man, whom they, when canvassing you for your votes,
represented as unfit to be your member.

Gentlemen, can you want any further proof of the political hypocrisy
of such men as Mr. Charles Elton, and Mr. Mills, and Mr. Castle? Can you
be made to believe that they are sincere when they tell you that they
wish for a reform of any sort? The truth is, they wish to put in a
member of their own, that they may enjoy the benefit of his patronage;
but, in doing this, they must take care not to do any thing hostile to
_the system_, for without the existence of that all their prospects are
blasted. You see, that they have in these resolutions, no scruple to
declare the vile and abominable principle upon which they act. They here
most explicitly avow, that they are grateful to Bragge Bathurst for the
zeal he has shown in the _individual concerns_ of his constituents. That
is to say, in getting _them places under the government_; or, in other
words, in enabling them to live upon the taxes; that is to say, upon the
fruit of the people's labour. I told you, in my first letter, that they
had no other object than this in view; that one part of them only wanted
to put in Sir Samuel Romilly that he might give them more of the taxes
than thev had been able to get from Bragge Bathurst. Mr. Hunt had told
you this before; and now you see the fact openly avowed. The jobbers on
both sides plainly tell whoever is to be their candidate, that he must
take care of their _individual concerns_.

This, Gentlemen, is the real cause of the hatred, the rancour, the
poisonous malice, of both factions towards Mr. Hunt, who makes open war
upon the tax-eaters. This is the reason why they hate him. There are
other reasons, but this is the great reason of all; and you may be well
assured, that you will see both the factions always unite against any
man, be he who he may, who is opposed to the system of places and
pensions. But, what, then, must be the extent of the hypocrisy of the
friends of Sir Samuel Romilly! They pretend that they wish for a reform
of parliament, when they must well know, that such a reform would
totally destroy the very root whence spring those _individual_ benefits
for which they express their gratitude to Bragge Bathurst. Sir Samuel
Romilly, as I had before the honour to observe to you, has never
told you that he is for a reform of the parliament; and, after the
publication of these Resolutions, moved by the man who introduced him
into your city, there are very few amongst you, I trust, who will not
be convinced, that his partisans are well convinced that he will not
support such a reform as shall give us a chance of destroying that
corruption which is now eating out the very vitals of the country.

Clear as it is, then, that both the factions are your enemies, I hope
that you will stand firmly by each other in opposition to so detestable
an union. Both factions are hateful; but of the two the Whigs are the
worst; because they disguise their hostility to the cause of freedom.
Take, however, only a little time to reflect, and you will not be
deceived by the cant of Mr. Charles Elton and Mr. Mills, both of whom,
I would venture my life, have bespoke places for themselves in case of
success to their candidate. They well know that the success of Mr. Hunt
would defeat their scheme, and _therefore_ they hate him. They do not
dislike him for his separation from his wife; they would not give his
wife a bit of bread to save her life, if she was a beggar instead of
being, as she is, well and liberally provided for; they would see her
drop from their door dead in the street, rather than tender her a
helping hand; but, to speak of the separation suits the turn of the
hypocrites; by having recourse to it, they can cast calumny on their foe
without letting their real motive appear. They would, if they dared,
tell him that he is a cruel savage for endeavouring to prevent them from
pocketing the public money; but this would not suit their purpose; and
they therefore resort to his separation from his wife.

Trusting now, Gentlemen, that you see clearly the motives of the two
factions, and that their main object is to get a share of the
public money, I shall not fear, that, at another election, you will
_resolutely_ endeavour to defeat that vile object. The whole mystery
lies here. It is the public money that the factions want to get at. They
are not attached to any particular set of men or of means. Whoever or
whatever will give them the best chance of getting at the public money
is the man or the thing for them; and Sir Samuel Romilly has been
brought forward upon the recent occasion, only because there were a set
of men, who found that they could not get so much of the public money as
they wanted under any of the other candidates. They found the old ground
too thickly settled for them; they therefore resolved to get new ground
of their own; and they chose Sir Samuel Romilly, because he was at
once likely to be a placeman, and was a man of a good deal of deserved
popularity. They, if he were elected, would say as Falstaff did of the
moon: "the _chaste_ Diana, under whose influence _we steal_." They mean
to make a passage of him through which to get at the people's earnings;
and, all this, too, under the guise of virtue and patriotism. With me
there wanted nothing to produce conviction of this fact before; and now,
I trust, that there is no man who will affect to doubt it; now when we
see them moving and signing resolutions, applauding the conduct of a
member of parliament who has become a sinecure placeman, and who is
notoriously a most decided enemy of reform of parliament.

With these facts before him, it is not to be believed, that any one
amongst you will give his vote for this hypocritical faction. If Sir
Samuel Romilly will declare openly for reform of parliament, you will do
well to vote for him and for Mr. Hunt; but, if he will not, it is your
duty not only not to vote for him, but to do all that lies in your power
to prevent his being elected; for, be you well assured, that, without a
reform of parliament, no man living can save this country or render it
any essential service. There is no national evil that we feel, be it
small or great, which may not be traced to the want of a parliamentary
reform, and such a reform, too, as shall cut up corruption by the roots.

It is with great pleasure that I perceive Mr. Hunt has promised you to
be a candidate at Bristol at every future election, as long as he has
life and health, unless he should be a member when a vacancy takes place
for your city. This promise ensures you _an election_; it secures you
against being sold like _dumb creatures_; it secures you the _exercise_
of your right of voting, and the right of now and then openly
reproaching and loading with just maledictions any of the wretches who
may betray you. To be a member for Bristol, in future, a man must stand
an _election_ of some days, at any rate; no one will be able to get in
by a mere day's parade; an election at Bristol will not in future be a
ceremony like that of choosing a churchwarden; your voices will be
heard, and, I hope, they will always carry terror to the hearts of the
corrupt. You have only to _persevere_. To keep steadily on. To suffer
nothing to turn you aside. Your enemies cannot kill you, nor can they do
you harm. If they collect and publish lists of _your names_; you will do
well to collect and publish lists of _theirs_, and then stand your
chance for the _final effect_. But, above all things, be upon your guard
against the fraudulent dealings of the Whigs, who are the worst faction
of the two, because they are the greatest hypocrites. They make use of
the name of Sir Samuel Romilly as the means of deceiving you, and of
getting a share of the public money into their own pockets; and of this
fact I beg you never to lose sight.

I am, Gentlemen, your friend,

WM. COBBETT. Botley, Tuesday, 11th August, 1812.

These three letters will give a clear view of the state of politics at
Bristol. I offered myself as a candidate for that city, not with the
expectation of being returned as one of the Members, but from a firm
conviction, and, indeed, a thorough knowledge, that it was one of the
most _corrupt cities_ in the universe; that the people had been kept
in total ignorance and darkness by the intrigues and cabals of the two
factions, the Whigs and Tories, in which glorious and praiseworthy work
those factions had been ably assisted by the local press of the city.
MATTHEW GUTCH, the Editor of _Felix Farley's Journal_, the Ministerial
or Tory hack editor, and JOHN MILLS, the Whig hack editor, two beings
equally unprincipled in politics, had contributed mainly to assist in
perpetuating the ignorance of the people; the whole of the patriotism
of the citizens consisting in being devoted tools either to the Whig or
Tory factions, blind supporters of the _high_ or the _low_ party. It
will be seen by these letters, that my great object was to rescue the
people of Bristol from this deplorable state of ignorance and darkness,
into which they had been plunged by the intrigues and unprincipled
compromise of these two factions. How far I was successful in this
attempt, may be best deduced from the unwarrantable and villainous abuse
that was poured out upon me by all the rascally editors of the public
press of that day. Gutch and Mills vied with each other which could be
most scurrilous, and which could tell the greatest number of the most
unprincipled and barefaced falsehoods. It will be seen also, from these
letters, that I was assailed by Mr. Charles Elton and Mr. Walker, both
supporters of Sir Samuel Romilly; the former the son of Sir Abraham
Elton, and the latter an attorney, who published a pamphlet at the time
on purpose to abuse one. When I say that these two gentlemen were the
most liberal minded men in the City of Bristol, you may form some idea
of the prejudice that was excited against me, and the pains that were
taken to put me down. As, however, Mr. Elton and Mr. Walker have made
some amends, by expressing themselves in a very different manner of
me since I have been here, I am by no means disposed to bear them any
ill-will; on the contrary, I think them two of the very best men amongst
the gentry of Bristol, and an exception to the sweeping character which,
in my last number, I gave of the Bristol gentlemen, although at the
period to which I allude they were two of the foremost to abuse and
belie me. If either of them should read this, I have not the least doubt
but they will lament the injustice they did me; the names of both of
them appear amongst those who have subscribed to remunerate me for some
of my expenses; and I am informed that they liberally promoted the
Bristol petition, that was presented to the House of Commons last week
by Mr. Bright, one of the Members for that city. This evidently shews
that, if they still remain my political enemies, they are at any rate
liberal and generous foes; but I would fain hope that they have by this
time convinced themselves from observation, that I am more deserving of
their support than their hatred and opposition. They will have seen
that I have, ever since they first saw me at Bristol, been the steady
persevering friend of Radical Reform; they will see that I have always
advocated the same principles; and they will acknowledge that the very
principles and sentiments that I promulgated, during the first election
for Bristol, are become almost universal now; that the very same
language which I made use of upon the pedestal, in the front of the
Exchange, has lately been made use of, and repeated almost verbatim, by
Noblemen and Members of Parliament, at county meetings; that the very
remedies which at Bristol I declared, in 1812, to be necessary, to
restore the country to freedom and happiness, are now almost universally
allowed to be the only remedies in 1822. These letters, which were
written by Mr. Cobbett, I do not publish for the sake of raking up any
old grievances; far from it but I do it for the purpose of maintaining
and proving my consistency, and also that, whatever I may have erred in,
my errors have sprung from the head and not from the heart.

The reader has seen in these letters, that I promised the electors of
Bristol that I would always be a candidate for Bristol, at all future
elections; but this, of course, was _conditional_. When the proper time
comes I shall, I think, give a very satisfactory reason why I did not
keep this promise, or at least why I was prevented from doing so;
although perhaps, it would, as it turned out, have been much better for
me, personally, if I had gone there again, under all the disadvantages
which I had to anticipate, rather than have destroyed my health
and wasted my property in opposing Sir Francis Burdett for the City of
Westminster. Still, however much I may have suffered upon that occasion,
I must persist in thinking that a great public good was effected by it.
These things, however, I shall at least honestly account for, whether
my explanation prove satisfactory or not, at the proper epoch of my

The general election was to take place in October. The Bristol election
was fixed to commence on the 6th of that month. On the 5th I arrived
once more in Bristol, and I was received, if possible, with more
enthusiasm and greater demonstrations of respect than ever by the
people. A most dirty trick was played me by Mr. Protheroe, one of
the Whig candidates. He and his friends, by bribes and threats, got
possession of my inn, the Talbot, which I had occupied upon the former
occasion; and, as I had arranged to go there again, it created some
disappointment to my friends, for these cunning fellows had taken
possession of this inn only the day before I arrived in Bristol. My
friends, however, took me as usual to the Pedestal, at the Exchange,
where, in addressing the multitude, I informed them of this trick that
had been played me, which I had not been aware of till I came into the
city. But I soon convinced these gentry that I was not to be driven out
of the city by such means, although I had been informed that all the
inn-keepers had been threatened with the loss of their licenses, if they
admitted me into their houses. I declared my resolution to take up my
residence upon the Pedestal, where I then stood, if I could procure
no other accommodation. This sort of mean persecution to which I was
exposed, generally, however, brings with it its own remedy; and I soon
had a message from the mistress of the Swan-inn, in Maryport-street,
that she would furnish me with apartments. It appeared that her husband
was a partizan of the Whigs, and would fain have kept me out of his
house, but the lady was resolute, and she discovered a degree of spirit
and independence, in which the gentlemen of Bristol were lamentably
deficient, and I was consequently received into very good quiet
apartments, and received every accommodation and attention that I

There were four candidates--Mr. Davis, the White Lion or Tory candidate,
Mr. Protheroe, and Sir Samuel Romilly, both of whom stood upon the Whig
interest, and myself, who contended upon true constitutional principles,
to maintain the right of the people to free election. The morning came,
and I proceeded to the Exchange, where, while I was addressing my
friends who had assembled in great numbers, intelligence was brought
to me, that the Sheriffs, with the other three candidates and their
friends, were gone to the Guildhall, which was filled almost to a state
bordering upon suffocation. Thus, by another trick, had these worthies
stolen a march upon me, by filling the hall with their friends before
the usual hour. As no time was to be lost, I proceeded thither with as
much speed as the density of the crowd would permit. I believe that no
man except myself would have been allowed to penetrate Broad-street; but
I was cheered by friends and even foes, all anxious to assist me to the
hustings. When I came to the hall-door, the steps were so jammed with
the people, that it was impossible to penetrate through the solid mass
of human bodies, upon which one man, at the top of the stairs, hailed
those at the bottom, as follows:--"Mount Mr. Hunt upon your shoulders,
my friends, and let him pass over us, as he cannot get through
the crowd." This plan was instantly adopted, and I marched along
deliberately stepping upon the shoulders of those assembled, every
individual endeavoring to assist me, as I passed amidst the cheers of the
whole multitude; but when I sprung upon the hustings, the shout was such
as made the old walls of the Guildhall shake, and it was actually so
deafening that it was some time before I could hear again. I found that
the greatest confusion and uproar prevailed, in consequence of the
Sheriffs having stopped up and barricadoed the _Two Galleries_ with
three-inch deal planks, lashed together with strong iron plates and
hoops. These galleries were the very best places for the people to see
the election, as they completely overlooked the hustings and the whole
court, which was calculated more than any other circumstance to secure
fair play. At any rate, every trick, quibble, and foul proceeding, every
fraud and underhanded transaction, that had been attempted at the former
election, by the agents of the factions who had combined against me, was
detected and exposed, and the detection was exceedingly facilitated by
my friends, and the friends of fair play and the freedom of election,
some of whom took care to place themselves in these galleries every day;
and they were sure to be so completely on the alert, that when any thing
escaped my observation, it was sure to be instantly detected by these
watchful lookers-on, who, from their peculiar situation, had the most
commanding power of seeing every transaction that passed. This was a
most galling circumstance to those who wished to carry on their old
pranks, as heretofore, unperceived and undetected.--Amongst this number
was the worthy perpetual Under Sheriff, Mr. Arthur Palmer. He appeared
to be dreadfully annoyed by being thus rigidly scrutinized; and
therefore, as deputy commanding officer over all the _minutiae_ of
benches, tables, seats, &c. &c. he had, in conjunction with his friend
Jerry Osbourn, proposed and planned this notable scheme, to get rid
of what they considered as so intolerable a nuisance, by curtailing
one-fourth of the space of the hall, which before was infinitely too
small for the purpose of holding an election.

In consequence of this obstruction, the greatest uproar ensued, and a
scene of tumult followed, such as, in all my previous attendance at
public meetings, I had never witnessed before. The people were highly
exasperated at this wanton and daring encroachment upon their rights,
as freemen, to the freedom of election; and every now and then we could
discover a voice more powerful than the rest exclaiming, "open the
galleries! down with the planks!" &c. &c. The pressure of the crowd
towards the hustings now increased to such a degree, and the heat was so
intolerable, that the Sheriffs (the two young Mr. Hillhouses) appeared
greatly alarmed; all were grasping for breath, and I believe that some
would have suffered from suffocation, if the Sheriffs had not resorted
to the expedient of admitting a little fresh air, by dashing to pieces
the large Gothic window, or at least the glass of it, at the back of the
hustings, which they did with their swords. I sat quietly down, and with
my arms folded I calmly looked on in silence upon this tremendous scene
of uproar and confusion. Poor Sir Samuel Romilly! I shall never forget
his looks; he stood aghast, and I saw his eyes were frequently turned to
me, with a sort of imploring expression. The Sheriffs, after having _in
vain_ made repeated attempts to procure silence, appealed to me, and in
the most supplicating manner requested me to address the multitude to
obtain it. I, however, sat firm upon my seat, and resolutely refused to
interfere; saying, that I could have no influence, as the Sheriffs
had, by a trick, shut out all my friends, and packed the hall with the
friends of the other candidates. I therefore begged them to apply to
those candidates, to procure silence from their own partisans. The
Sheriffs did so; but Davis and Protheroe knew they should not be
attended to, and consequently they declined to make the attempt. At
length Sir Samuel Romilly stood forward, but without the least possible
chance of a single word that he uttered being heard: he retired, and
then joined his intreaties to those of the Sheriffs, to request me to
address the people to be silent while the Sheriffs read the writ for
commencing the election. For some time I declined to interfere; and
urged the knight of the gown and wig to try again, repeating what I had
before said, that I could not be expected to have any influence, as the
greatest part of my friends were, by a petty trick of the Sheriffs, shut
out and left upon the Exchange, while the hall was packed and crammed
full by the friends of the other three candidates. I observed that there
were a great majority wearing the colours of Sir Samuel Romilly, and I
entreated him to make another attempt to be heard; he did so, but it was
all in vain. They all now repeated their supplications to me, that I
would rise and endeavour to gain silence, but for, I suppose, nearly
half an hour, I remained immovable. I thought this a proper opportunity
to place the question of my popularity beyond all dispute. The corrupt
hirelings of the press, particularly the corrupt John Mills, the
proprietor of the _Bristol Gazette_, had denied that I was the popular
candidate, and claimed this honour for Sir Samuel Romilly; I was
therefore determined to put this question at rest at once. All the
corrupt knaves of attorneys, petty-foggers and all, looked to me in
the most humble and imploring manner, and they might have looked and
implored till this hour, before I would have stirred an inch, or have
uttered a word to have gratified them, had I not been loudly called
for from all parts of the hall, and the call of the people I instantly

The moment that I rose from my seat I was received with three cheers,
upon which I gave a slight wave of my hand, and immediately, as if by
magic, the most profound silence ensued. I began as follows: "In the
name of the insulted freemen of Bristol, I demand of the Sheriffs to be
publicly informed by whose authority it is that the galleries have been
barricadoed!" (_loud cheers_.) "I'll wait for an answer"!!! The Sheriff,
the elder Hillhouse, "_an unlicked cub_," both of them being mere boys,
totally incapable of performing the office of Sheriff with any degree of
credit to themselves, or honour to the City, drawled out in a faultering
voice, "that the galleries had been examined by the city _surveyor_,
and had been pronounced unsafe." I knew this was a shuffle, as it was
evident that the galleries were most substantial; for, being supported
by large upright solid pillars, they were capable of sustaining ten
times the weight required to fill them with people. I therefore demanded
if the surveyor was present to answer for himself? The answer was, no.
The name of the surveyor was demanded, but an abusive answer was
given by Mr. Perpetual. After a shower of hisses from the audience,
I deliberately declared it to be an infamous shuffle, a premeditated
insult to the citizens, and a step calculated to obstruct the freedom
of election, and to promote and screen bribery and corruption. I,
therefore, desired the people to remove the nuisance, by taking down the
planks and forcing an entrance into the galleries as usual, and I would
be answerable for the consequences. A sailor instantly scaled the
height, and in about twenty minutes the immense barricado was removed,
and the planks, iron and all, were handed over the people's heads into
the streets; and thus what had taken Mr. Arthur Palmer several days to
erect, was now removed in a few minutes. The galleries were soon filled
with several hundred people, and complete silence was restored. To
accomplish this might altogether have taken up two hours. Davis,
Protheroe, Romilly, and Hunt, were duly and regularly proposed and
seconded by their respective friends, and each having addressed the
electors, the show of hands was taken by the Sheriffs, and declared by
them "to have fallen upon _Mr. Hunt and Sir Samuel Romilly, by a very
large majority_;" upon which Davis and Protheroe demanded a poll; and
each candidate having polled a few electors, the election was adjourned
till the next morning.

My friend Davenport had kindly consented to accompany me to Bristol, and
I was surrounded and supported by all my former friends, who had given
me their support during the recent contest, with the exception of a Mr.
Webb, who did not appear amongst them. It was soon found that _he_ had
_openly_ joined the ranks of the enemy, as his secret intrigues and
infamous treachery, during the former election, had been detected by my
friends, who found out that every night, after he left my committee, he
had proceeded to a secret committee of Mr. Davis, and communicated to
them the whole of the plans of my supporters; and, in fact, through this
treacherous caitiff they every night knew what we had done, and what we
intended to do on the following day. Although this was a most diabolical
act on the part of Mr. Webb, and very unfair upon my committee, of whom
he made one, and generally the chairman, yet as I had no secrets, it did
not serve the purpose of my opponents much. To be sure, it in a small
degree enabled them to anticipate and frustrate the effect of the plans
of my committee; but, as I took a straight forward course, it did not
put me off my guard at all, and, besides, as I soon found that all the
projects of my committee were known to the enemy, and was, of course,
quite sure that we had a spy in our camp, I took good care to keep my
order of battle to myself till it was about to be put in force. I must,
however, own that this viper did completely deceive me; as I had not
the slightest suspicion of him till after the election, when he was
detected, in fact, not till I had it from one of the White Lion Club,
that Webb came every night to them, and frequently supped with them
after he left my committee; and even then I was incredulous, till he
related some particular facts, that put all doubt out of the question,
by proving the truth of his information in the most unequivocal manner.

In my address to the electors, I put it fairly to Sir Samuel Romilly, to
declare whether he would support a real Reform in Parliament or not; I
meant such a Reform as Sir Francis Burdett at that time advocated; and I
declared it to be my intention, in case he answered in the affirmative,
to give him every aid in my power. Sir Samuel candidly and honestly
declared that he would vote for a reform of abuses, and also that he
would always vote for a moderate Reform; but that he could not with
consistency favour the kind of Reform for which Sir Francis Burdett
was contending. This reply was received with cheers by his immediate
advocates, such as _Mister_ Mills, and Mr. Winter Harris, who had
declared to the citizens, upon their canvass, that the Knight was a
staunch friend of Reform. As, however, the Knight had never declared it
himself, I thought this the proper time to put the question; the answer
to which the great body of the people received, some with surprise
and some with disgust. I then stated my objections to a lawyer, and
especially my particular objection to a King's Counsel, being a Member
of Parliament for an independent and populous city; which objection was
this, that the moment a counsellor received a _silk gown_, he accepted a
retaining fee from the Crown, to plead at all times against the people.
This assertion was received with cheers from the people, and a burst of
indignation from the partizans of Sir Samuel Romilly. I repeated the
assertion, and added, that in case any one of Sir Samuel Romilly's
voters had an indictment preferred against him for a libel, for any
offence under the excise laws, for high treason, or, indeed for any
offence where the prosecution was in the name of the King, that the
worthy counsellor could not plead for his constituent the subject,
against his master the King, unless the subject would submit to the
juggle of taking out a _licence_, for which he must pay ten or twelve
pounds to the King, to enable the gentleman with the silk gown to plead
against the Crown. This caused a great sensation throughout the hall,
and the truth of it was most vociferously denied by the Romillites, many
of whom declared that it was a base and false assertion. John Mills,
always foremost at such times with his brazen face and stentorian lungs,
roared out that it was a lie. As this gentleman was remarkably deficient
in sense and talent, he endeavoured to make amends by bluster and
violence; this will sufficiently account for the vulgarity of his
language. An apology from him was, however, loudly insisted upon by his
indignant hearers. As soon as silence was restored, I turned round to
Sir Samuel Romilly, and called upon him to say honestly and fairly
whether I had not spoken the truth; and as I stated that I waited for
an answer, the Knight came forward amidst the cheers of his partizans.
Knowing what would be the result, I did not fail to cheer also. Sir
Samuel Romilly said he had no hesitation in admitting that what Mr. Hunt
bad stated was perfectly true, that a King's Counsel could not plead for
a subject in a criminal prosecution, without a licence from the Crown.
If Sir Samuel Romilly had not been present to admit the fact, these
amiable Bristolians would have lied and sworn out of it, but they were
now chop fallen, and I was allowed to proceed without any further

During the whole election afterwards, no statement of mine was
contradicted. I said nothing against Sir Samuel; on the contrary, I gave
him full credit for being one of the very, best of the gown and wig
gentry; not one offensive personal expression was used by me towards him
throughout the whole election; neither did he throw out one insinuation
against me; on the contrary, it was the fashion for us to compliment
each other. In fact, he followed my example, and after the poll was
closed for the day, he every evening addressed the people upon the
Exchange from the window of his Committee-room. I always gave him the
precedence to address them, so that had he been disposed to join
his Committee, by endeavouring to practise delusion, I should have
immediately detected and exposed any such sophistry upon the spot. But I
will repeat now what I unequivocally stated at the time, that, had the
Committee and the friends of the Knight possessed half the liberality
and honesty that he did, and practised one-tenth of the fairness that
was shewn upon all occasions by Sir Samuel, I have no doubt but he would
have been elected with myself, instead of Mr. Davis and Mr. Protheroe.
But the Romillites in Bristol were not a rush better or more liberal
than the friends of Davis or Protheroe. There was as much corruption,
bribery, treating, intimidation, and undue influence, exercised on the
part of these hypocritical, professed friends of freedom, as there was
by the partizans of Davis, who was the avowed enemy of freedom, and the
determined, unprincipled champion of tyranny and despotism. By this
conduct the real friends of Reform were disgusted, and the enthusiasm
that was so visible during the former election was paralized: neither
myself nor any one of my friends ever canvassed for a single vote; the
electors had been all canvassed, over and over again, by the partizans
of Davis, Protheroe, and Romilly. I saw that the latter was most
heartily sick of being made the tool of the Whig faction, without any
chance of being elected. Sir Samuel frequently told the people that
they were indebted to Mr. Hunt for the little share of the freedom of
election which they had left them, and although he got behind upon the
poll every day, yet he solemnly declared that he would not resign as
long as there was a man left to poll for him. This declaration, however,
proved to be a bravado, for he resigned on the eighth day, when there
were a considerable number of voters left unpolled in the city, and one
half of the out-voters had not been polled. My friends, Williams, Pimm,
Cranidge, Brownjohn, and others, stood firmly and staunchly by me, and
Mr. Cossens, one of Sir Samuel Romilly's committee, I found also to be
a staunch friend; and I believe this was the only friend I had amongst
them: almost all the freemen that he brought up to the hustings polled
for Romilly and Hunt, but all those of Sir Samuel Romilly's voters, who
were under the influence of their masters, were ordered to give plumpers
for Sir Samuel Romilly, and all of them were canvassed to do so. Such,
however, as had the spirit to follow the dictates of his conscience,
voted for Hunt and Romilly; almost all the London voters did this,
although they were urged to vote for Romilly alone.

During this contest, if it may be called one, the notorious Captain
Gee was a very active partizan of Mr. Davis's; he headed a gang of
blackguards, a set of second-rate prize-fighters, amongst whom was the
notorious Bob Watson. This gang used to annoy the voters of Sir Samuel
Romilly most infamously. Watson used to come into the box, where ten or
twelve of Sir Samuel Romilly's voters were assembled waiting to poll,
and with the assistance of two or three more of his gang, backed on by
Captain Gee, he would hustle and drive them all out of the box, and
prevent them from giving their votes. At length, Sir Samuel was
induced to snake a serious remonstrance to the Sheriff against such an
unwarrantable violation of the freedom of election, and he called upon
the Sheriff to have Watson taken into custody, who had actually been
assaulting several of his voters in the presence of the Sheriff.
Although Mr. Sheriff had been an eyewitness of these proceedings several
times before, yet he felt that, now his attention was thus publicly
called to the subject, he could not connive at them any longer; and as
Watson had been laying about him in the most outrageous manner, in which
he had the audacity to persevere, although called upon by the Sheriff to
desist, Mr. Sheriff ordered his constables to take Watson into custody.
Two or three of these guardians of the peace made a faint attempt to
obey his orders, but Watson beat them all off, and set them at defiance.
Sir Samuel remonstrated again; the constables were called up, and they
informed the Sheriff that, notwithstanding there were fifty of them in
the Hall, yet they dared not seize Watson. Mr. Sheriff, turning to Sir
Samuel, said, "there you hear, Sir, what the constables say, what can I
do more than I have done?" This pusillanimous speech made Watson ten
times more violent than he was before. I confess that my blood
boiled at hearing such language from the Sheriff; and although I was
not personally concerned, as Watson had not touched one man that had my
colours in his hat, yet I felt disgusted and angered to see such partial
and indecisive conduct on the part of the Sheriff, who actually
turned round and appealed to me to know what he should do? I replied
indignantly, "why, commit the constables, and seize the daring violater
of the law yourself, to be sure; you cannot plead that you have not the
means to put a stop to this brutal insolence, when you have the power of
calling every man to aid and assist you." The Sheriff did not like this
advice, or at best he did not attempt to follow it; but made some paltry
excuse, saying that it would be very dangerous to interfere with such
desperate ruffians, and he could not do more than he had done.

All this time Watson was committing the most daring outrages upon every
one who came within reach of his fist. At length I said aloud to the
Sheriff, "Sir, as your constables have refused to obey your orders, will
you authorise _me_ to bring Watson before you?" "By all means, Mr. Hunt,
and I shall really be much obliged to you if you will aid and as
sist." I sprang from the hustings upon the table appropriated for the
inspectors, and from thence into the box where Watson was, and seized
the ruffian by the collar, and almost in the twinkling of an eye I threw
him out of the box upon the table. In the effort I had stripped his
coat, waistcoat and shirt, off his back, nearly down to his waist; there
he stood riveted in my grasp, with his brawney shoulders naked and
exposed to the whole assembly; and the Sheriff and Sir Samuel Romilly
appeared to be thunderstruck for the moment. The Sheriff ordered him
into the custody of half a score of constables, and directed that he
should be taken before the mayor, either to be committed or bound over
to keep the peace, and Sir Samuel Romilly undertook to go and prefer
the charges against him. The fellow was led away thus guarded, and I
received the warm thanks of Sir Samuel as well as the Sheriff; the
former was very sincere, but the latter was most jesuitical. Within five
minutes the news was brought, that Watson had no sooner got into the
street than he upset the ten constables, and made his escape. However,
my decisive conduct had the effect of keeping Mr. Watson out of the hall
for the remainder of the election, and the very brave Captain Gee became
much less troublesome afterwards. Those who saw this transaction will
never forget it.

Sir Samuel Romilly having resigned on the eighth day, the poll was
continued open on the ninth, and the electors continued to offer their
votes and poll, although but slowly; yet as it was expected that a
considerable number of out-voters from London and other places would
arrive on the following day, to vote for Sir Samuel Romilly, some of his
friends wished to keep open the poll; but the Sheriff ordered it to
be closed at four o'clock on the tenth day, at which time Messrs.
Davis and Protheroe, whose forces had been united by a coalition, were
declared to be duly elected. The numbers who voted were stated to
be, for Davis 2910--Protheroe 2435--Romilly 1685--Hunt 455. The only
remarkable thing in these numbers is, that so many should have voted for
_me_, who never spent a shilling, and who never canvassed a vote, and
whose friends never spent a penny. The fact was, that the city had been
canvassed by all parties but myself, and every species of bribery,
intimidation and corrupt practice had been resorted to by the partizans
of the three candidates, by whom an immense sum had been squandered
away. The White Lion candidate and the Club, of course, according to
their ancient and laudable custom, scattered their money profusely to
purchase votes; they had an interest in doing so; but Mr. Protheroe's
and Sir Samuel Romilly's appeared to be a bad speculation. Mr. Protheroe
and his friends could not have expended less than twenty thousand
pounds. It was, indeed, said to have cost the two successful candidates
and their friends as much as thirty thousand each; and, when all things
are taken into consideration, perhaps this is not over-rating it. The
expenses of Sir Samuel Romilly's election could not have been less
than twenty thousand pounds, it might have been more, for it will be
recollected that eight thousand were subscribed in one day at the
meeting held at the Crown and Anchor in London; so that for every vote
given to Sir S. Romilly it cost at least _ten pounds a man_; and for
every vote given to Davis and Protheroe, supposing the number to have
been 3,000 and the expenses of each 30,000_l_. every vote must have cost
_twenty pounds_ a man; while any whole expenses, thither and back, and
while I retrained there, did not exceed twenty-five pounds, about a
_shilling_ for each vote. Only look at the contrast, and no one will be
surprised at the apparent smallness of the number which voted for me.
I believe almost every man who voted for me voted also for Sir Samuel
Romilly; but his partizans evinced full as great an hostility to me as
the myrmidons of the White Lion Club did. Every vote was urged to poll
plumpers for Romilly; and, in fact, when they answered that they should
poll for Hunt and Romilly, they were frequently told that the friends
of Romilly would not accept their votes on any such terms, they would
rather lose the votes altogether than suffer them to vote for Hunt.
Between two and three thousand freedoms were taken up and paid for by
the friends of the candidates, and all those taken up by the partizans
of Romilly were paid for upon the express condition that they did not
vote for Hunt, but give plumpers for Romilly. It was this shameful
conduct that palsied all public feeling, and filled the real patriotic
friends of Liberty with disgust. Many hundreds would not come forward
at all, as they deemed it absolute folly to lay themselves open to the
vindictive revenge of the agents of Government, merely to support such
illiberal proceedings; and many hundreds, when they found what was the
language of those who canvassed for Sir Samuel Romilly, actually went
and voted for Davis and Protheroe, under the impression that, if they
must support such a corrupt system, they had much better do it where
they could do so with safety, and where they could benefit rather than
injure themselves. If the friends of Sir Samuel, or rather those who
wished to make a tool of him to serve their own grovelling interests,
had come forward manfully, and declared their readiness to support and
vote for Hunt as well as for him, against the coalition of Tories and
sham Whigs, the public enthusiasm would have been such that we should
undoubtedly have been both elected, instead of Davis and Protheroe,
in spite of all the money that the latter were spending to bribe the
voters. But the mean, selfish, temporising conduct of the friends of
Romilly, lost him the election. The fact was, that these hypocritical
Whigs would rather have sacrificed Romilly a hundred times, and have
elected the devil himself, than they would have voted for Hunt. "Take
any shape but that!" They knew that I should spoil their sport; they
knew that I would not connive at the corruption of the Whigs, any more
than I would at that of the Tories; and therefore I was no man for them;
and the result was, that Romilly lost his election solely through this
dastardly and corrupt feeling.

Sir Samuel took his departure for London immediately, and I went to a
friend's near Bath, whence I returned the next day, by appointment, to
dine with my friends in Bristol. The multitude that came out to receive
me, the unsuccessful candidate, surpassed all former precedent. I was
taken as usual to the Exchange, where I pledged myself, if supported
at all by the friends of Romilly, that I would present and prosecute a
petition to Parliament against the return of Davis and Protheroe. Upon
this, I received the assurance of many of Romilly's friends, that they
would support the petition, by a pecuniary subscription; although they,
snake-like, or rather _Bristol-men-like_, declined to be seen openly
supporting it. I own I did not rely much upon these promises, and it
was fortunate that I did not, for, if I had, I should have been most
wretchedly deceived.

I returned into the country, and as soon as the Parliament met, I
presented the following Petition to the Honourable House:--

"_To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland, in Parliament assembled_.

"The Petition of Henry Hunt, of Rowfant House, in the County of Sussex,
Esquire; William Pimm, of the City of Bristol, salesman; Thomas Pimm, of
the City of Bristol, currier; William Weetch, of the City of Bristol,
clothier; and Thomas Gamage, of the City of Bristol, cabinet-maker,


"That your petitioners, William Pimm, Thomas Pimm, William Weetch, and
Thomas Gamage, now are, and at the time of the last election of two
Members to serve in the present Parliament for the City of Bristol, were
electors of the said City, and claim to have a right to vote, and did
vote, at the said election; and at the said election your petitioner
Henry Hunt, together with Richard Hart Davis, Esquire, Edward Protheroe,
Esquire, and Sir Samuel Romilly, Knight, were candidates to represent
the said City, as citizens of the same, in this present Parliament.

"That the said Richard Hart Davis, Esquire, and Edward Protheroe,
Esquire, by themselves, their agents, friends, managers, committees,
partizans, and others on his and their behalf, previous to and at
the said election, were guilty of gross and notorious bribery and
corruption; and at and during the said electron, and previous thereto,
the said Richard Hart Davis and the said Edward Protheroe, by
themselves, their agents, friends, managers, committees, partizans,
and others on their behalf, by gifts and rewards, and promises and
agreements, and securities for gifts and rewards, did corrupt and
procure divers persons, as well those who were qualified to vote, as
those who claimed or pretended to have a right to vote, at the said
election, to give their votes for them the said Richard Hart Davis and
Edward Protheroe, Esquires; and did also, by gifts and rewards, and
promises, agreements, and securities for gifts and rewards, corrupt
and procure divers other persons, being qualified to vote at the said
election, to refuse and forbear to give their votes at the same, for
your petitioner the said Henry Hunt, or the other candidate, contrary
to the laws and statutes enacted for the prevention of such corrupt

"That the said Richard Hart Davis and the said Edward Protheroe, by
themselves, their agents, friends, managers, committees, partizans, and
others on their behalf, were guilty of the most flagrant and notorious
acts of intimidation, thereby basely and unlawfully procuring by
threats, divers other persons, being qualified to vote at the said
election, through the fear of being persecuted, ruined, imprisoned, and
otherwise ill-used and punished, to forbear to give their votes to your
petitioner the said Henry Hunt, or the other candidate, in violation
of the rights of the electors, the privileges of Parliament, and the
freedom of election.

"That the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe, by themselves,
their agents, friends, managers, committees, partizans, and others on
their behalf, after the test of the writ for the said election, and
before the election of the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe
to serve in the Parliament for the said City of Bristol, did give,
present and allow to divers persons, who had votes, or claimed or
pretended to have a right to vote at such election, money, meat, drink,
entertainment and provision, and make presents, gifts, rewards and
entertainments, and make promises, agreements, obligations, to give
and allow money, meat, drink, provision, presents, rewards and
entertainments, to and for such persons having or claiming or pretending
to have a right to vote at the said election; and to and for the use,
advantage, benefit, emolument, profit and preferment of such person
and persons, in order to their the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward
Protheroe being elected, and to procure the said Richard Hart Davis and
Edward Protheroe to be returned to serve in the present Parliament
for the said City of Bristol, in violation of the standing orders and
regulations of your Honourable House, and in defiance of the laws
and statutes of the realm enacted for preventing charge and expense in
the election of Members to serve in Parliament.

"That a large body of military, consisting of the Middlesex militia,
were quartered within two miles of the said City, and many of whom were
actually stationed within the walls of the said City of Bristol; and
that Colonel Gore, commandant of the Bristol Volunteers, gave orders,
the day before the election commenced, to have two pieces of brass
ordnance, six pounders, removed from the Grove, where they had been kept
for the last two years, and had them placed upon the Exchange, where
they remained during the whole of the said election, to the terror of
the electors and peaceable inhabitants of the said City of Bristol,
regardless of the privileges of your Hon. House, and contrary to the
statute of the 8th of George the Second, chap. 30th, in that case made
and provided.

"That a great number of freemen were employed by the said Richard Hart
Davis and Edward Protheroe, or their agents, under the denomination of
bludgeon men, or pretended constables, and that various sums of money
were paid by the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe, or by
their agents, committees, friends, managers or others on their behalf,
to influence such of them as were entitled to vote, or pretend to have
a right to vote, at the said election, and to induce them to give their
votes for the said Richard Hart Davis and Edward Protheroe, Esqrs.

"That the poll was closed by the Sheriffs, the returning officers, two
days sooner than by law directed, notwithstanding your petitioner, the
said Henry Hunt, openly protested against it; several freemen at the
time having offered to poll for the said Henry Hunt, which votes were
refused to be taken and entered on the poll, and notwithstanding the
Sheriffs were publicly informed that many other votes were on the road,
who were coming with the intent to poll at the said election.

"Your petitioners therefore humbly pray, that the Honourable House will
take the premises into their most serious consideration, and that the
election and return of the said Richard Hart Davis, Esquire, and Edward
Protheroe, Esquire, maybe declared to be null and void; and that such
further relief may be granted to your petitioners as the justice of the
case may require."

Having done this, I entered into the usual securities for the
prosecution of the inquiry before a Committee of the Honourable House,
which Committee was appointed to be ballotted for on the 24th of
February following.

A very extraordinary and unexpected change had in the mean time taken
place in Russia; namely, the defeat of the French army, the recovery of
Moscow by the Russians, and the rapid retreat of the French amidst a
Russian winter. When Napoleon entered Moscow, the Governor Rochtopchin
had, as we have before seen, caused great part of the capital to be
destroyed by fire; and as the Emperor saw that it was destruction to
attempt to remain there with his army during the winter, he resolved
upon a retreat; but he remained too long before he began it. He first
proposed an armistice, which was rejected, and he began his retreat on
the ninth of November. The frost sat in severely nearly a month earlier
than usual that year, and the ground was covered with a deep snow. The
Russian armies pursued the retiring invaders; and the sufferings of the
French and their allies were indescribable. The men and horses perished
from cold upon the road by hundreds, and their carriages and artillery
were broken to pieces and abandoned. Having accompanied the remains of
his army back to Poland, Napoleon set off to Paris, where the Senate
shewed him every mark of respect and attachment; but great discontent
was very evident amongst the people. The loss sustained by the French,
in men, and what is called the _materiel_ of the army, was immense and
incalculable. Thus was the finest, the bravest, the best disciplined,
and the best equipped army that in all probability ever took the
field--an army that, under such a leader, would have been victorious
against a world in arms, was overthrown, defeated, routed, and destroyed
by the horrid climate, by the artillery of a Russian winter.

Lord Liverpool had been appointed First Lord of the Treasury, and Mr.
Vansittart Chancellor of the Exchequer, before the dissolution of the
old Parliament. A number of naval actions took place, which answered no
other good purpose but to establish the bravery of our seamen, which was
and had been for a long time established beyond the possibility of a
doubt; so these expeditions only added to the waste of human blood, and
of the treasures of the country. The new Parliament met on the 24th of
November, but very little business was done before Christmas, except
granting a sum of 200,000_l_. of John Gull's money to the Russians, as a
compensation for the losses which they had suffered by the invasion of
the French!

Thus ended the year 1812; the supplies voted out of John Gull's pocket
being sixty-two millions, three hundred and seventy-six thousand, three
hundred and fifty-eight pounds. The average price of wheat, per quarter,
was six pounds four shillings and eight-pence, and of the quartern loaf,
one and sixpence. The return of the notes of the Bank of England in
circulation was _twenty-three millions_. By a return made to Parliament
it was ascertained that out of ten thousand two hundred and sixty-one
incumbents in England and Wales, only 4421 were residents: the remaining
5840 were of course non-residents; yet this precious priesthood of the
established Church is receiving yearly upwards of five millions of
pounds out of the earnings of John Gull! So much for politics, and so
much for religion!

All my time was now occupied in preparing my evidence, to prove the
allegations in my petition, the hearing of which was to come on in
February. I found it necessary to take lodgings in London, as I meant to
conduct the whole of the proceedings in person, on the part of myself
and the petitioners. I had to apply to the Speaker for his warrants, to
summon witnesses, and, amongst others, Mr. Perpetual Under Sheriff, to
produce the poll, and other witnesses to produce books, papers, &c. &c.

In all these applications I found no difficulty in procuring warrants to
make the parties produce whatever I applied for. At last it occurred to
me, that this would be an excellent opportunity to get hold of the books
of the Corporation, which were kept in the Chamberlain's office;
which office was held so sacred, and the books therein contained were
considered as such rare and valuable matter, that even the Members of
the Corporation themselves were excluded, and could not gain access to
the books, without a particular order from the Court of Aldermen. I
was, however, determined at least to make an attempt to get into
this _sanctum sanctorum_, by means of a Speaker's warrant. I never
communicated my intention to a living soul; but I at length decided upon
a copy of a warrant, that I thought would answer the purpose, which was
to be directed to the Mayor, the Town Clerk, and the Chamberlain of the
City, summoning them to appear before the Committee of the House of
Commons, ordering them to permit myself and the other petitioners to
have access to all the deeds, books, papers, and accounts, belonging to
the Corporation, whether in the Chamberlain's office or elsewhere, and
to allow us to take copies or extracts from such deeds, books, papers,
or accounts, and to produce before the Committee any part of the said
books and papers, that the said petitioners might require, on their
giving due notice of the same, &c. &c. &c.

Having settled all this in my mind, I went to the Speaker's clerk, and
desired him to draw me up a warrant to the above effect, and to get it
signed by the Speaker. When he read it over he stared, and observed that
it was a most sweeping warrant, and such a one as he had never before
known applied for or granted. I told him it was not possible for me to
complete my case before the Committee, unless I could produce some of
these books, and that it was much more rational to give me power to go
down and examine them upon the spot, than it would be to direct the
Chamberlain to bring up a waggon load of books, to lay before the
Committee, when, perhaps, three or four of them would be all that
I might require. He concurred in the propriety of this remark, and
appeared extremely ready to assist me in procuring the Speaker's
signature, and said he would lay it upon his table the moment he had
eaten his dinner. But, as it was very important for me to get this
document signed, I suggested to him the advantage that might arise from
his laying the warrant, with several others, before the Speaker just as
he was _going to sit down to dinner_, as in that case he might sign it
with the others, as a matter of course. This hint was made a proper
use of. At half-past seven, on the same evening, I received the
much-longed-for warrant from the Clerk of the Speaker, at his house in
Palace-yard; at half-past eight on the same evening, (Saturday) I was
safely seated in the Bristol Mail at the Gloucester Coffee-house; and,
on the Monday morning following, I contrived that the Mayor, the Town
Clerk, and the Chamberlain should be all served with the warrants at one
and the same time! I myself delivered that which was addressed to Mr.
Winter Harris, the Chamberlain.

The warrant was peremptory, but the Chamberlain required a short time
to consult his brother officers of the Corporation, which I readily
granted, and appointed to return at the end of two hours, to commence
my examinations. I attended with my friends, at the time appointed, and
found that the Mayor and the Chamberlain had got a good fire prepared
in the adjoining Council Chamber, with pens, ink, and stationary. This
room, they said, should be appropriated to our use, and we could have as
many of the books at a time from the Chamberlain's office, as I might
require. Both parties were very well satisfied with this arrangement,
and we immediately sat to work, and continued at it for seven or eight
hours in the day, till I had looked over all the books, papers, and
deeds, belonging to the said Corporation, and taken what copies and
extracts I thought proper. In this labour I was incessantly occupied for
several days; I think nearly a week. I took copies of some most curious
and valuable documents, many of which were published, by my old and
worthy friend Cranidge, in the year 1818, I having made him a present of
the manuscript for that purpose. I will here insert as specimens, two or
three items which I transcribed from the cash-book

Oct. 12.--Paid Lord Viscount Bateman, to reimburse
him and the Officers and
Men of the Herefordshire Militia,
the extra expenses they have
lately been put to, in providing
accommodation for the said Militia
at the time of the late Riots in
this City, viz.--THE BRIDGE.... L105 0 0

This is an item worthy to be recorded in every publication relating
to the city of Bristol, Lord Bateman was Col. Commandant of the
Herefordshire Militia, at the time when they fired upon, and massacred
the citizens of Bristol, at the memorable slaughter at the Bridge, in
the year 1793. Was this hundred guineas the price of that slaughter?
This curious fact would never have been known, had it not been for our
famous all-powerful _Speaker's warrant_. I understand that many of the
Corporation were astonished, when this fact was published; they never
having heard of it, or dreamed that 105_l_. of the citizens own money
was paid to this Lord, for ordering his troops to fire upon them!

1793. L. s. d.
Oct.--Paid George Daubeny, Esq. for rais-
ing Bristol volunteers........... 300 0 0
1801.--Paid expenses during the Market
Riots, &c. on account of the dear-
ness of Provisions, in the month
of April, 1801.................. 117 7 4
N. B. The Chamberlain's Salary was
this year raised from 62_l_. 10s. per
quarter, to 125_l_. per quarter,
making the annual amount...... 500 0 0
1806.--Paid GEORGE WEBB HALL, at sun-
dry times, towards passing the
Bristol Paving Bill........... 1,000 0 0
1810.--Paid commemorating the National
Jubilee on the 25th October, 1809 337 11 4
1811.--Paid John Noble, Esq. for Wine sent
to the Lord High Steward, the
Recorder, and the two Members
of Parliament.................... 315 0 0
N. B. This is an annual gift from
the freemen.
1811.--Paid on account of the expenses of
the invitation and the visit of

Lord Grenville, to an entertainment L. s. d.
given him by the Citizens,
as High Steward, in May, 1811... 1,393 11 0

July 14.--Paid John H. Wilcocks, Mayor, the
monies expended by him in entertaining
the MILITARY, viz. (the
East Middlesex Militia and Scots
Greys) at the Mayoralty House;
and for Beer for GUARDS MOUNTED
ELECTION, VIZ.................... 437 O 4
Sept.--Paid J. M. Gutch, for printing
Advertisements for calling a
Public Meeting of the Citizens
to address the Prince Regent on
the Death of the Right Hon.
Spencer Perceval, Chancellor of
the Exchequer..................... 52 18 0

Only let the reader cast his eye over the foregoing items, extracted
from amongst some thousands of a similar nature; few as they are, they
will serve as a specimen of the manner in which the Corporation of
the city of Bristol spend the monies of the citizens; for whom, be it
remembered, they only act as trustees. Lord Bateman was the Colonel of
the Herefordshire Militia, who fired upon the citizens, and slaughtered
a number of them; and his Lordship received one hundred guineas for
this valiant and humane feat!! The Chamberlain's salary is raised,
_is doubled_, in the year 1801, in consequence of the high price of
provisions. _Quere_, has it been lowered again, now that the price of
provisions is fallen? The item of July the 14th, 1812, is such as I do
not believe disgraces the books of any other Corporation in England;
between four and five hundred pounds _paid to the military_, by the
civil power, for services performed _during the election_, some of which
services I have before noticed. Four hundred and thirty-seven pounds
paid to the military, for preventing the election of HENRY HUNT for
the city of Bristol, in the year 1812. The item of 52_l_. 18_s_. for
advertising a public meeting of the citizens of Bristol, to address the
Prince Regent on the death of Spencer Perceval, is another precious
proof of shameful, or rather shameless, expenditure. Why, five pounds
would have been ample, to have informed every inhabitant of the city of
it. But here, however, is 52_l_. 18_s_. paid to one corrupt knave of an
editor, merely for calling a meeting! No wonder these caitiff editors
are such time-serving tools, when they can get so profusely paid for
their mercenary loyalty. This is a pretty bill of goggle-eyed Gutch, and
for a pretty purpose too. This shews the expense of getting up a loyal
meeting! During the whole time that I was taking the above extracts, and
all those which have been published by Mr. John Cranidge, not only the
Chamberlain, but the whole Corporation, were in a state of fever and
the greatest agitation. This, however, did not prevent my steadily
persevering in my purpose. These impudent fellows of Bristol city, who
were the greatest tyrants in Christendom over those whose fate it is to
be placed in their power, were quite tame, were civil, and even polite
for Bristol chaps! So it is always; a subdued tyrant is the most tame,
time-serving, abject slave in the world.

Perhaps there never before was such a mass of fraud and chicanery
discovered and exposed. There might be seen charities upon charities,
vast estates left for charitable purposes, producing a large annual
income, and which, if fairly let, would produce an enormous increase, at
least three times the sum; but one and all of these, with their immense
revenue and patronage, were misapplied and perverted to corrupt
electioneering purposes! In fact, whenever I could come at the truth,
there did not appear to be a single charity in the whole city, whether
vested in the Corporation or not, and great numbers there are, but
what was perverted to electioneering purposes. Hospitals, schools,
alms-houses, charities for apprenticeing freemen's sons--charities
for setting up young freemen in business--charities for lying-in
women--charities for widows--charities for orphans, in fact, all sorts
of charities, all were rendered subservient to the accursed purpose
of rivetting the fetters of the people, by being made instruments of
bribery. In the first place, the original property is in most instances
granted out upon long leases, or upon lives, for a mere nominal premium
and nominal rent, to the tools and dependents of the Corporation. In
truth, almost all the Corporation, all their dirty instruments, and the
major part of the parsons and lawyers, are tenants. Large sums of money
are lent by the Corporation, to the members of the Corporation, at mere
nominal interest. Almost all the merchants and tradesmen of the city
hold something under the Corporation, and at the time of the elections
are their abject tools;--but to give a full and faithful account of
these, would be to write the history of Bristol, and, as that is not my
purpose, I shall proceed to other matters, not, however, till I have
strongly recommended to every one, who is in any way connected with that
city, to read the book published by John Cranidge, A.M. in the year
1818, entitled, "A _Mirror_ for the Burgesses and Commonalty of the City
of Bristol; in which is exhibited to their view, a part of the great and
many interesting benefactions and endowments, of which the city has to
boast, and for which the CORPORATION are responsible, as the stewards
and trustees thereof: correctly transcribed from authentic documents, by
John Cranidge, A.M."

It is very true, as Mr. Cranidge asserts, that the Corporation are the
trustees for the freemen and burgesses, to whom they are, or rather
ought to be, responsible. Having made myself complete master of this
subject, I had resolved in my own mind, in case I had been elected the
member for the city of Bristol, to make these worthies, the Corporation,
_really_ and not nominally responsible; and, with the blessing of God,
I would have made them account for and refund those enormous sums
and immense funds which they had so disgracefully, so infamously,
misapplied. The charities are so numerous and so ample, that I firmly
believe, if the property belonging to them were fairly let and made
the most of, there would not be a citizen of Bristol that would not be
handsomely provided for out of these funds. No city in the world ever
produced more philanthropists, or more misanthropists, than the city
of Bristol. No city of its size in the world can boast more charitable
institutions--no city is more degraded by poverty and wretchedness
amongst its inhabitants, mainly created by the corrupt misapplication of
those very charities.

On the 24th or the 25th of February, 1813, the Committee was ballotted
for in the House of Commons; the petitioners and the sitting members
each striking out a certain number till they were reduced to thirteen,
which, together with the nominee for each party, made fifteen, as

Michael Angelo Taylor, Esq. Member for Poole, Chairman.
P. Grenfell, Esq. Great Marlow.
Philip Gell, Esq. Penryn.
Hon. R. Neville, Berkshire.
H. Pierce, Esq. Northampton.
Abel Smith. Esq. Wendover.
Lord G. Russell, Bedford.
C. Harvey, Esq. Norwich.
T. Whitmore, Esq. Bridgenorth.
G. Shiffner, Esq. Lewes.
D.S. Dugdale, Esq. Warwick.
J. Daley, Esq. Galway.
B. Lester Lester, Esq. Poole.


Sir Francis Burdett, Bart. Westminster; for the Petitioners.
Sir James Graham, Bart. Carlisle; for the Sitting Members.


Richard Hart Davis, Esq--Edward Protheroe, Esq.


1st. Henry Hunt, Esq.--2nd. Wm. Pimm, T. Pimm,
Wm. Weech, T. Gamage, Electors.

Counsel for Mr. Davis, Mr. Warren and Mr. Harrison.
Counsel for Mr. Protheroe, Mr. Adam & Mr. Randle Jackson.

Mr. Hunt appeared in person for himself and other petitioners.

The parties were all called to the bar of the House, when the names
of the Committee were called over, and the 26th was appointed for
commencing the proceedings.

On the 26th of February, 1813, the Committee assembled at twelve
o'clock, and I opened the proceedings by an address of about two hours
in length, in which I laid before them my case; a case containing a
detail of the evidence by which I meant to substantiate the charges and
allegations contained in the petition. The hearing of this petition
lasted fourteen days, and it concluded by the Committee deciding "that
the Sitting Members were duly elected, but that the petition was not
frivolous or vexatious." So each party had the pleasure of paying his
own costs. My expenses I estimated at about _six hundred pounds_. The
whole of the mighty subscriptions which I was to have received from
the friends of Sir Samuel Romilly, amounted to the amazing sum of
TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS, and no more; which sum exactly paid one of my
witnesses, Mr. Alderman Vaughan. I have heard since that there was a
much larger sum subscribed; but, if it was so, _somebody else_ took care
of _that_. I can only say that was the whole amount that ever came to my
hands, or was ever appropriated to pay any part of the expenses that I
incurred, Many of my friends paid their own expenses to London and back,
as witnesses, and raised a subscription to pay the expenses of other
friendly witnesses; and I believe some of the petitioners were sued for
some expenses afterwards. It was calculated that the sum expended by
the sitting members in resisting the petition, was not less than four
thousand pounds. All that I can say is, I am quite confident that had
the Committee been chosen from a House of Commons fairly elected by the
people of England, or had they been the honest representatives of the
people of England, instead of being, as they were, the representatives
of corrupt and rotten boroughs, and corrupt and rotten influence, I
repeat, I am quite sure that I proved abundantly sufficient to have
rendered it a void election. But it must be borne in mind, that this
Committee was chosen from as corrupt and profligate a Boroughmongering
Parliament as ever disgraced the Parliamentary annals of once free and
happy England.

I now retired once more to my farm, at Rowfant, in Sussex; and although
pretty much minus in pocket, I had yet the gratification of being
conscious that I had done my duty to the people of Bristol, and had
effected a great national good, by the exposures which I had made of the
corrupt state of the representation, even in what was called a popular
representation of a populous and free city. So satisfied were the people
of Bristol with my exertions, that they invited me down to a public
dinner, as a testimony that, although I was unsuccessful, still the
Citizens of Bristol were not insensible of the services which I had
rendered them, by making an effort in their behalf, and fighting so
gallantly their battle and the battle of Reform. I was received with
every demonstration of respect; and indeed with increased enthusiasm and
attention by all classes of the citizens, except the corrupt factions
and their corrupt and time-serving dependants and tools. These
testimonials of respect and attachment to me, as the avowed champion of
Radical Reform, were excessively galling to the Corporation, and to the
corrupt knaves of attorneys, parsons, merchants, and pettyfoggers of all
sorts, who lived on the taxes, and battened on the distresses of the
people; those, in short, who were gorging upon the vitals of the poor,
rioting in luxury, and wallowing in wealth, wrung from the sweat of the
labourers' and mechanics' brows.

During these public exertions I had not been inattentive to the
management of my farm. As I had made up my mind not to remain at
Rowfant; first, because it was not a profitable farm to occupy; and,
second, because the situation of the country being low, and damp in
the winter, did not agree with me, and had caused me to suffer very
considerable ill health from rheumatism, I was induced to improve the
estate, more with an idea of disposing of the lease, than with the
intention of making any immediate profit from the cultivation of the
soil. In this object I completely succeeded. I so effectually on my own
principles drained a great part of arable, as well as of the pasture
land, that it paid me an hundred-fold; for, during the spring and summer
of 1813, no farm in the kingdom had a more flourishing appearance, or
bid fairer for better crops. Every thing was beautiful and luxuriant,
and put on such a face as would have done credit to the cultivation of
the very best land, much more to a poor, hungry, deceitful and barren
soil, which a great portion of this farm at Rowfant really was. I
advertised the lease to be sold, and very soon had some customers, with
one of whom I quickly struck a bargain, and disposed of my lease and
crops, the whole of which the purchaser undertook to take off my hands
at a valuation, as soon as it could be made. Some of my speculations
upon this estate completely failed. I had sunk a considerable sum in
endeavouring to keep a flock of sheep, for which the farm was by no
means congenial; added to this, my flock became infected with the foot
rot, having been contaminated by the few half Southdown half Merinos
which I had purchased of Mr. Dean, of Chard, of which unfortunate deal
I have before spoken. In calculating the loss which I sustained by
purchasing these sheep, which were unsound, and infected with that
incurable disorder (at least incurable upon a wet soil), I then placed
it as before, much below the mark; for I sincerely believe I
was ultimately two hundred pounds out of pocket by the bargain,
notwithstanding the infamous falsehoods of the infamous editor of the
_Taunton Courier_.

Another speculation, in which I was very unfortunate, was the making of
charcoal. I had a very fine lot of wood, which I could not dispose of,
and I was therefore advised to make it into charcoal, as other farmers
in that neighbourhood were accustomed to do. In fact, there did not
appear any other rational method of disposing of my wood, which I had
been obliged to take at a valuation when I took the estate. Well, I
hired a man to make this charcoal; so far the business succeeded, for
as it was very fine wood, so it produced a large quantity of very nice
charcoal, as good as ever was seen. But then the next thing was to
procure sacks to put it in, that it might be sent to the London market
for sale. It required _two-hundred and forty sacks_, of about two
bushels each, to make a load; these were ordered from a manufacturer
at East Grinstead. The charcoal was loaded and sent off to London,
altogether as good a set-out as ever passed over Blackfriars Bridge. A
customer was soon found, but I never touched the cash, nor ever saw
my 240 sacks again, so that the whole was a dead loss of about fifty
pounds. Thus ended my speculations in charcoal, as I was determined that
I would never cut any more wood as long as I kept the estate, but that I
would let it grow for the next person who should follow me, to try, if
he pleased, his hand at dealing in charcoal; it appeared to me to be
wise to put up with the first loss, and quit the concern.

I had, in the whole, expended six thousand pounds in the purchase of
what I took to when I entered upon this farm, and in the improvement
which I had made in cultivation, stock, &c. I sold my lease for two
thousand pounds, and the valuations were to the amount of six thousand
more; the whole sum being eight thousand pounds, which was paid me on
the nail, by Richard Crawshaw, Esq. the present proprietor; and I took
my leave of Rowfant, bearing away with me two thousand pounds more than
I carried thither. This was such an occurrence as had never been known,
in the memory of man, to have happened to any stranger that had come to
reside in the parish of Worth--that of leaving the parish richer than he
entered it.

On the same morning that I received this money, which was paid me in_
one thousand pounds'_ Bank notes, I called at the Bank of England, to
change one of the thousand pound notes. I was desired to present it to
the inspector, which I did, and he made his mark upon it as good, and
tore off at the lower corner the name of the person who had entered it.
He then desired me to carry it back to the clerk, to whom I had first
presented it for payment; I did so, and presented it again. The
gentleman inquired in what notes I should like to have the change? I
replied, one five hundred, and five of one hundred each. Drawing the
pen from behind his ear, and dipping it in the ink, he handed it to me,
together with the note, saying, "write your name and address on the
back of the note, I will give you the change immediately." I stared the
jockey full in the face for a short time, which stare he returned;
and then exclaimed, "come, Sir, write your name and address." "Not I,
indeed," was the answer. "What," said he, in a loud voice, "what, refuse
to sign your name?" "Yes," said I, "I do refuse to sign my name." This
was said in about two keys higher than Mr. Clerk's interrogatory. "Well,
then," said he, "I shall not give you the change, till you do sign your
name and address upon the back of the note." "What," said I, raising
my voice still higher, "back one of your notes for a thousand pounds?
Indeed, I shall do no such thing! I have not confidence enough in your
firm to back one of your one pound notes, and much less one of your
notes for a thousand pounds."

By this time I had a mob collected round me, some professing to be
astonished at my impudence, but others unequivocally expressing their
approbation of my conduct; adding, that they were very happy to hear me
take these impudent, all-sufficient gentlemen clerks to task a little.
The former set, who expressed their astonishment, seemed, from the
cut of their coats, and the turn of their phizzes, to be bankers' and
merchants' clerks; but many of the latter seemed to be gentlemen. I
continued boldly to demand any change, or my note. The latter was
instantly handed to me; but, as it was mutilated, and the name of the
person, by whom it had been entered, had been torn off by the inspector,
I declined to take it. Mr. Clerk as resolutely refused to give me the
change, saying, that they had positive orders not to take any notes of
that description, above 50_l_. from a stranger, without his name and
address were endorsed on the note. I demanded what law there was for
such a proceeding, but I could get no answer. I then demanded to see the
Governor; but I was told that he was engaged, and could not be spoken
with. I asked if it was not a good note? They replied "yes, it was
admitted to be so by the inspector." "Then," said I, "as you have
mutilated the note, and refuse to give me change; and as you also refuse
to admit me to the Governor, I will swear the debt of 1000_l_. against
the Governor and Company of the Bank of England; and if there is an
independent attorney in London, I will instantly strike a docket against
them. On hearing this they all started; all the clerks stood with their
pens behind their ears; all business was at an end; and, as I spoke
loud, every man in the Rotunda heard what I said. Two or three gentlemen
present gave me their cards of address, promising to come forward, to
prove that the clerk refused payment, and denied the Governor of the
Bank, which, as I said, was evidently an act of bankruptcy; and they
offered me numerous thanks for calling these impudent gentry to account,
and checking their usual insolence, which, many of them said, was
unpardonable. I repeated my declaration, and walked out of the Bank,
leaving my note in their hands, and all the clerks half petrified and
gazing on each other in utter astonishment.

I tried three or four attorneys, to induce them to strike a docket
against the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, and offered to
make an affidavit of the debt, the refusal of payment, and the denial of
the Governor. But I could not get _one of these worthies to move a
peg_ in the affair; so I left the note where it was, and went into the
country for three or four days.

Upon my return to my inn in London, Cooper's Hotel, in Bouverie-street,
I found a letter from Mr. Henry Hase, the cashier of the Bank of
England. It seems that, on my quitting the Bank, they sent some one to
dog me to the inn, and by these means they found out who I was. The
letter was couched in very civil language, requesting me to call for the
thousand pounds, or offering to send it to me to the inn, in any notes
I pleased. The next day I called at the Bank, with my son, who was then
about fourteen years of age, being determined, one way or another, to
set at rest this question of giving names. I gave to my son a five
hundred pound note, to put in his pocket, that he might, at a proper
time demand it to be _exchanged_; for it was a mockery to call it
_payment_, it being only exchanging one PROMISE TO PAY for another
PROMISE TO PAY. On my arrival at the Bank, I demanded to see Mr. Hase.
Business was at an end the moment that I entered the Rotunda, the clerks
all having their eyes fixed upon me. I was immediately introduced to
Mr. Hase, in his private room, and I expostulated with him against such
illegal conduct as I had experienced. I was introduced by him to the
Governor, who, together with Mr. Hase, admitted that there was no law to
compel any person to sign his name or give his address; but they said
it was, nevertheless, their invariable practice not to exchange a note
above fifty pounds for any stranger, without first obtaining his name
and address, and they pleaded the necessity of this, to enable them to
trace forgeries or robberies; and they proceeded to say, that they did
so for the benefit of the public. I contended, on the contrary, that it
was not only illegal, but an insult upon the public, and a particular
insult to the person presenting the note to be _exchanged_ (I always
calling it _exchanged_, they always calling it _payment_); for, after
their inspector had admitted the note to be a good one, they had no
legal or moral right to refuse to _exchange_ it for other notes. I
candidly told them that I had kept my promise, and that I had seriously
endeavoured to get a DOCKET struck against thein, for an act of
bankruptcy. The Governor smiled, but Mr. Hase looked very grave. They,
however, apologised for the trouble which I had experienced; Mr. Hase
adding, "it will not happen again, Mr. Hunt. As you are now so well
known to the clerks, they will not require your name in future. We
certainly ought, (continued he) to have known you, as we recollect that
you brought an action against Messrs. Hobhouse, Clutterbuck and Co.
bankers, of Bath, because they would not pay you their notes in cash;
you having refused to take Bank of England notes in exchange. We know
that you are an enemy to our paper system; but we recognise you as an
honourable and open enemy."

A good deal of such conversation passed between us, and it ended by a
polite offer, on the part of the Governor, to shew me and my son over
the establishment. As I was rather in a hurry, and had other business to
do, I declined on that account to accept the offer. Mr. Hase then said,
with a smile, that he would feel pleasure in taking another opportunity
to shew me over their whole establishment, when he had no doubt but he
should convince me of their solvency.

I now took my leave of the Governor, and Mr. Hase accompanied me out to
the clerk, and desired him to give Mr. Hunt change for his note, in any
sums which he might choose. He then made his bow, and quitted me. When
this was arranged, my son, whose name was unknown, produced his note for
five hundred pounds. It was, as usual, handed to the inspector, amidst
the inquiring eyes of all the clerks. It was marked as a _good one_, and
my son returned to the clerk, and demanded five hundred pound notes. Mr.
Clerk handed him the pen, and desired him to write his name and address;
to which he replied, that he should certainly do neither, but that he
insisted on the change. The clerk refused, saying it was as much as his
situation was worth to comply. I was, meanwhile, taking down notes with
a pencil in my pocket-book, without saying one word, except that I would
be a witness for him. The whole place was again in a state of uproar,
but my young friend was immovable, and acted his part like a hero. At
length Mr. Hase was called out again, and the clerk informed him that
the youth refused to give his name, and he wished to know if he must pay
him the five one hundred pound notes without it. For a moment Mr. Hase
lost his temper, and positively ordered the clerk not to pay it unless
the usual custom was complied with; and he began in a pettish manner
to question my son, and in a peremptory tone demanded his name. The
younker, however, as peremptorily and as sturdily refused to comply. Mr.
Hase was just going away in dudgeon, when he happened to cast his eye
upon me, and perceived that I was deliberately taking down all that
passed without saying a word; upon which, instantly recollecting
himself, he turned back, and laughing, said to the clerk, "pay him the
notes; as he is with Mr. Hunt we can call upon him to give us his name,
if ever it should be found necessary." Then, patting my son upon the
shoulder, he added, "recollect, young gentleman, that you are the first
who ever left the Bank with such a sum without giving his name." He then
turned to me, and said, "You have carried your point, Mr. Hunt; good
morning." I answered sarcastically, "good morning, Mr. Cashier." The
clerk having paid my son the notes, I bade him good morning, telling
him, at the same time, that I was very sorry he should have given
himself and his master so much unnecessary trouble. My son also
significantly nodding his head, and patting his pocket, added his "good
morning, Mr. Clerk;" and off we marched, amidst the cheers of a very
considerable multitude, who had collected and listened to this curious
dialogue. Amongst the number was one of the gentlemen who had given me
his address on the previous day, when I left my thousand pounds; and he
heartily thanked me for having brought these _Jacks-in-office_ for once
to their senses, and compelled them to act agreeably to the law, which
they had so long been in the habit of setting at defiance.

I now went to reside at Middleton Cottage, in Hampshire, situated on the
London-road, about three miles from Andover, which I rented of James
Widmore, Esq. together with the manor of Longparish, extending over a
very fine sporting country, of eight or ten thousand acres, well stocked
with game, particularly partridges and pheasants. As I found that
farming was become a very expensive amusement, and that in consequence
of the great increase of poor's rates and king's taxes, the profits
attending the best managed farm were very precarious, I had made up my
mind to remain out of business rather than run the risk of sinking
my capital without any corresponding chance of making it pay common
interest; and, therefore, for a while I lived at Middleton Cottage,
enjoying domestic happiness, combined with the sports of the field. I
soon, however, found that I was not formed for an idle life. Although I
took more exercise, in shooting and fishing, than most men in business
are in the habit of taking, yet some more serious occupation was
required to fill up the measure of my time. An opportunity having also
offered for me to resume my agricultural pursuits, by the lease of Cold
Hanly Farm, near the Borough of Whitchurch, being sold by auction, I
was induced, from the representations of my attorney (who I afterwards
discovered to have been interested in the sale of this lease), to
purchase it, and I entered upon the farm early in the year 1814. This
certainly was a bad speculation, as the lease had only three years to
run. I bought in the stock upon this farm at a very high price. Many
of my horses cost me upwards of fifty pounds each, and all the other
farming stock a proportionably high price. My principal inducement to
take this farm, which contained about four hundred acres of land, was my
wish to try the experiment of raising large crops of corn in the manner
recommended in Tull's Husbandry; which work I had been reading with
great pleasure, on the recommendation of Mr. Cobbett, who had begun
partially to adopt the system of drilling at wide intervals, as
practised by the late Mr. Jetheroe Tull, of Shalbourn, near Hungerford,
Berks. There is something very captivating in the language of Mr. Tull's
writings upon cultivation. It is so clear and so reasonable, that, when
combined with the facts which he lays before the reader, as to the
nature and the amount of the crops raised by him, every line almost
carries conviction with it. Unfortunately, both Mr. Cobbett and myself
placed too great reliance on the opinions and assertions of Mr. Tull. We
both suffered severely in pocket, by persevering too long in, and acting
too extensively upon, the plan of drilling wheat at wide intervals, as
laid down by Tull. I do not mean to insinuate that Mr. Tull ever stated
the amount of his crops to be better in quality, or more in quantity,
than they really were; but I have no hesitation in saying, that the
climate of England must have been very different in the time of Mr.
Tull from what it was in the days of Mr. Cobbett and Mr. Hunt, to have
produced either the quantity or the quality of wheat which Mr. Tull says
was produced per acre upon his farm, according to his system. When I
found the practice fail, and that wheat was blighted upon the high hills
and cold soil of Hampshire, I took a farm into my own hands at Upavon,
in Wiltshire, for the purpose of giving the system a fair trial. Nay,
so convinced was I of the truth of the principles laid down by Tull,
respecting the food of plants, and such reliance did I place upon the
truth of his assertions, that I persevered one or two years after Mr.
Cobbett had given the thing up as a hopeless and losing speculation. I
mean to be understood only as far as relates to the drilling of wheat
at four feet intervals, to plough between the rows; for the practice
certainly succeeds with turnips, to the full description of any thing
given by Tull. Mr. Cobbett, I see, has lately republished the work of
Tull, and I therefore caution such of my friends as may read that work,
not to be led away with the beautiful theory of Mr. Tull, so as to
adopt the plan of drilling wheat to any extent. In certain soils it may
succeed with barley; but in these times it is too expensive a system
for any one to pursue with advantage to any extent. Those who have good
light ploughing sandy, or sandy loam soils, will find it answer their
most sanguine expectations, in turnips of any sort, and particularly in
the cultivation of Swedish turnips. Of course, I only address myself
to those farmers who superintend the whole progress of drilling,
transplanting, hoeing and ploughing; for Tull's is not a system to
answer if trusted to servants. I can only say for myself, that I adhered
to the system so long, that I believe I was minus by it, first and last,
above a thousand pounds, and I believe Mr. Cobbett was a loser to an
equal degree.

We must now turn our attention again to politics. The immense losses
sustained by the French in their retreat from Moscow to the Russian
frontier, compelled them to continue their retreat, and from Wilna
Napoleon set off for Paris. The treacherous Prussians now betrayed him;
their General led the way by entering into a convention, and the King
followed by joining the coalition. Many places fell, and the victorious
Russians entered Warsaw, and advanced to the Elbe. Jaded and dispirited,
the French troops were defeated in almost every battle; in fact they had
never recovered the effect of the dreadful ravages committed upon their
ranks by the horrors of a Russian winter. Russia, Prussia, and Sweden
now all leagued together, and supported by the treasures of England, the
wealth of the British nation, wrung from the sweat of John Gull's brow,
was lavished to maintain the armies of the Northern hordes, which were
advancing against France. John Gull was stark mad with joy at the news
of the defeat of the French; and the general cry amongst the shopkeepers
and farmers was, "down with Buonaparte, cost what it will!" They not
only were willing to advance large sums in taxes, but the Parliament was
encouraged and hallooed on, by what are called the middle classes, to
borrow and spend without controul. O how drunk the farmers used to get
at every account that reached England of the ill success and the defeat
of the French! John would at this time not only have spent his last
shilling, but he was ready to pawn even his breeches off his rump, to
support the Ministers in their extravagance.

Upon Napoleon's return to Paris he laid the state of his affairs
candidly before the Senate, and they immediately voted him 350,000
men to repair his losses. Having accomplished this point, he was not
disposed, like some of his Royal enemies, to waste his time in the lap
of luxury and slothful, inglorious idleness; he therefore set off and
joined his army again at Mentz, on the 20th of April. He opened the
campaign by the battle of Leitzen, in which the French arms were once
more victorious. This was followed up by two successful battles at
Baultzen and Wiertzen, which compelled the Allies to repass the Oder.
Napoleon then proposed an armistice, which was accepted; but, as the
terms of peace could not be settled, the war re-commenced, and with
great disadvantage to the French. The Crown Prince of Sweden, who had
deserted his benefactor, and joined the Allies against him in the North
of Germany, now took the field with a formidable army. But the fatal
blow to Napoleon was the defection of Austria, which never joined the
coalition on the 12th of August. The Allies having united all their
forces, to the number of 180,000 men, the French army now took up a
position on the river Elbe, and attacked Napoleon in his position near
Dresden; but they were foiled, and compelled to retire into Bohemia by
the superiority of his military skill. This advantage was, however,
rendered of no avail by the loss of a division of 12,000 men under
Vandamme, who had imprudently entangled himself in the defiles of
Bohemia, where he was surrounded and compelled to surrender. Macdonald
was also defeated, with heavy loss, in Silesia; and Marshal Ney at
Dennewitz. Bavaria, which owed so much to Napoleon, now not only
abandoned him, but also united its forces with those of Austria, its
natural enemy. Napoleon had by this time taken up a position in the
neighbourhood of Leipsic, and to that spot the combined forces,
consisting of 330,000 men, advanced to give him battle. The French army
was not more than 175,000 strong. The battle, or rather succession of
battles, lasted from the 16th to the 19th of October, and was sanguinary
beyond example. The scale was, at length, decisively turned against the
French by the desertion of the Saxons, who went over to the Allies, and
turned their cannon against their recent comrades at the critical period
of the contest. The French were compelled to commence their retreat, and
by the destruction of a bridge their rear-guard was cut off, and made
prisoners. They fell back towards the Rhine, and found the Bavarian
army posted at Hanau to intercept them. The Bavarians were, however,
defeated, and the French army reached the Rhine.

Napoleon now hasted to Paris, and having assembled the Senate, he laid
before them the full particulars of his disastrous campaign, upon which
they immediately ordered out 300,000 conscripts. At this time the news
reached the French capital of the counter-revolution that had taken
place in Holland--that Dresden had surrendered to the enemy with 23,000
men--that Westphalia was lost, and that the Dalmatian coast was occupied
by the Austrians; in fact, that misfortune and defeat attended the
French arms in every quarter. The arms of England meanwhile were
victorious in Spain, and under Wellington gained a decisive victory
at Vittoria. Wellington having stormed St. Sebastian, entered France
without any interruption, and easily defeated the French at St. Jean de
Leu and on the Nive. As, by the advance of Wellington into France, they
had got rid of what were always considered by the Spanish people as
equally troublesome intruders, namely, both the French and English
armies, the Cortes began to act with some vigour; the Regency was
dimissed, and a new one formed. The extraordinary Cortes were dissolved,
and the ordinary Cortes summoned.

In America, Mr. Madison was elected President in the room of Mr.
Jefferson. The Congress assembled, and a paper was laid before them that
justified the war which they had entered into against England. One of
their armies made an attempt upon Niagara, but it was repulsed. Dearborn
was also obliged to retire from Lake Champlain. In the mean time the
ports were declared to be in a state of blockade by the English. The
Americans took York town, in Canada, and Mobille, in West Florida.
The Emperor of Russia offered himself as mediator, and the President
appointed three citizens to treat with England. On Lake Ontario the
British fleet was successful; but on Lake Erie the Americans defeated
the English fleet, and took the whole of her naval force in that

When the Parliament met, the British Ministers also laid papers upon
the table to justify themselves from being in fault in making war upon
America. The great cause of this war with America, be it remembered, was
_this_: The English had always claimed a right to search all American
vessels, and even ships of war, for English seamen, which, if found
on board an American ship, were seized and forcibly removed on board
English ships of war. This had been always complained of by the
Americans as an unjust and arbitrary proceeding. But the English fleets
being always masters of the ocean, the British claimed and enforced
this right of search, which the Americans, not being able to resist,
reluctantly submitted to, no doubt with a determination to throw off
the galling yoke as soon as they thought themselves able to offer a
successful resistance. They now believed that time to be arrived, and
they resolved to make the attempt; and wherever they were strong enough
they resisted all attempts to search. On the part of the Americans I may
say that this was the only substantial cause of the war; all the other
aggressions and insults that were offered by the English, (and they were
many) might have been, and would, for some time at least, have been
endured without an open rupture; the right of search by the English was
therefore the grand matter in dispute.

Some debates took place in the House of Commons respecting the Princess
of Wales, but nothing definite was agreed upon. At length, however, her
conduct was inquired into, and as it was approved of, the public could
no longer be restrained, by the intrigues of petty and interested
politicians, from openly expressing their sentiments upon the subject
of her ill-treatment. A Common Hall was called, on the suggestion
of Alderman Wood, who got a requisition signed, and who moved the
Resolutions and an Address to her Royal Highness, all which were
strenuously opposed by Mr. Waithman, who was backed by the _"well
weighed opinion"_ of Mr. Sturch, of Westminster, so well known as having
taken a very active part in the election of Sir F. Burdett. This was the
_first_ and the _last_ time I ever knew Daddy Sturch, (as he is called
in Westminster) appear upon the hustings at Guildhall, to address
the Livery at a Common Hall. Nevertheless, in spite of the violent
opposition of Mr. Waithman, and "the well weighed opinion" of Mr.
Sturch, to which Mr. Waithman earnestly recommended the Livery
to attend, the Address was carried by an overwhelming majority.
Notwithstanding Mr. Waithman's objections to voting the Address, yet
he fell in with the stream, and went up in his carriage with the
procession, to present the Address to her Royal Highness, who then
resided at Kensington Palace, and he received with great _sang froid_
the _sarcastic thanks_ and polite attention of the Princess.

I do not know that the circumstances attending the _management_ of the
various parties, who took a lead in this affair, have ever been placed
in a clear light before the public, and possibly _some of them_ may
never be made known; but, as I am acquainted with many of the secret
springs by which the parties were worked upon and moved, I will relate
one of the intrigues of the City plotters, which delayed for a whole
year the expression of the public opinion. While Mr. Cobbett was in
Newgate, in the year 1812, Mr. Alderman Wood was very anxious to procure
a Common Hall, to address her Royal Highness, and I was present when a
requisition was drawn up, which he took away with him, for the purpose
of getting it signed by a number of the Livery, that it might be
presented to the Lord Mayor. On the next day, he came back, and said
that he had found it almost impossible to succeed; that when they became
acquainted with his object, the friends of Mr. Waithman had so actively
exerted themselves to prevent the calling a Common Hall, that he was
induced to decline proceeding at that time, he being fully convinced
that, even if he procured a meeting, there would be such an opposition
to the Address that it would be imprudent for him at this moment to
persevere. Thus it will be seen that the worthy Alderman was anxious to
exert himself in favour of an Address to her Royal Highness, a full year
before he could bring it to bear; and that the very same party in the
city who, by dint of intrigue, contrived at that period to prevent the
Common Hall, likewise strained every nerve to prevent the Address being
carried, when the worthy Alderman did at length get a Hall of the Livery
convened. Mr. Waithman, who found that there was a great public feeling
in favour of the Princess of Wales, brought forward Mr. Sturch, (who had
acquired a considerable degree of popularity in Westminster) to assist
him at the Common Hall inputting down and neutralizing that honest
feeling. He urged the Livery, if he had lost their confidence, and
they did not choose to rely upon his advice, at least to listen
with attention to the "well weighed opinion of his respectable and
intelligent friend, Mr. STURCH." But all would not do! The City Cock
was left in a contemptible minority, the honest efforts of the worthy
Alderman Wood were crowned with complete success, the Address was
carried by acclamation, and it was agreed that the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs,
and Livery, dressed in their gowns, should carry up their Address, and
present it to her Royal Highness at Kensington Palace; and, to crown the
whole, Mr. Waithman, who had so pertinaciously opposed the Address, was
one of the most conspicuous in the procession to carry it up to her
Royal Highness, to whom this fact of his opposition was well known!
There are _some other_ curious circumstances, connected with this
support of her Royal Highness at that epoch, which it may be necessary
at a future time to lay before the public; and although, after what we
have seen, they will not create any great surprise as to the conduct of
the party concerned, yet they will doubtless excite the indignation of
every honest man and woman in the country.

In consequence of this sort of conduct in Mr. Waithman, in his frequent
opposition to the honest, straight-forward proceedings of Mr. Alderman
Wood, I was induced to accept the invitation that had been often
given me by Mr. Samuel Millar, as well as by many others, to become a
Liveryman of the city, the expenses attending which, I was always told,
should be discharged for me as soon as I would give my assent. At length
I agreed to the proposal, solely with a view to endeavour to counteract
the tricks and intrigues of the Whig or Waithmanite faction in the
city, when assembled in Common Hall. Well, the time came, I obtained my
freedom, and I was sworn a Liveryman in the Lorimer's Company. This was
managed by Mr. Millar, through the instrumentality of Mr. Ireland, of
Holborn-bridge; but instead of having the expenses paid for me, I had to
pay the whole myself, which I believe were about fifty pounds. I shall
not easily forget, when I appeared for the first time upon the hustings
in Guildhall, what long faces were exhibited, and what surprise it
created. On my stepping forward to address that Livery, the Lord Mayor,
Scholey, jumped up out of his chair, and exclaimed, "is he a liveryman?"
Mr. Millar answered significantly, "YES;" and I proceeded. At this
period I found Mr. Millar, Mr. Thompson, the spirit-merchant, of
Holborn-hill, and Mr. Alexander Galloway, with a few others, decidedly
hostile to the measures of Mr. Waithman, but wanting the resolution and
the confidence to oppose him openly.

I have been frequently reminded of particular events of my life that I
have omitted in my Memoirs, many of which had for years been banished
from my memory, and if I were to record every little incident which
might occur to me I should extend my volumes to an unwieldy size. I have
therefore been compelled to pass over many occurrences which some might
think of importance, but I have been careful not to omit any part of
my political history which I could recollect. One circumstance I shall
notice, which has been recalled to my memory by the publication of a
virulent although impotent attack upon my public and private character,
by one of those mushroom politicians, of which class I have seen
hundreds, who spring up in a day and are gone in an hour, and we hear no
more of them. I have been reminded of the imprisonment of Mr. White,
the proprietor and editor of the _Independent Whig_, a London weekly
newspaper, which was published by him for many years with great public
spirit and patriotic talent. As a public writer, I consider Mr. White to
be a man of the most inflexible integrity, and although from the very
title of his paper it may easily be conceived that Mr. White and myself
were of opposite sentiments as to the course that ought to be followed
to recover our lost rights and violated liberties, yet we never were
at variance on that account. I always believed Mr. White to be a real
friend to Liberty, and I believe that he considered me to be the same;
consequently we never quarrelled about shades of difference in opinion
how that liberty was to be obtained and secured. The Editor of the
_Independent Whig_ was also a zealous guardian of the right conferred
by real, undisguised, and honest trial by jury. He was the lynx-eyed
scrutinizer of the conduct of the Judges; the honest censor of the
Courts of Justice; therefore, of all men he was the most likely to fall
under the displeasure of the dispensers of the laws. To criticise fairly
the conduct of the Judges, though it is one of the most necessary
and the most honourable of occupations, is likewise one of the most
dangerous. There is always plenty of room for severe animadversion, and
the harpies of the Courts are always upon the look-out, to pounce upon
and make victims of those who venture to animadvert on them. Having been
justly strong in his censures upon the arbitrary and corrupt conduct of
Lord Ellenborough, the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, who
was as violent and intemperate a political Judge that ever disgraced
the Bench, Mr. White was prosecuted by the Attorney-General for a libel,
and was sentenced to be imprisoned in Dorchester Gaol for three years.
Mr. Hart, the printer of the _Independent Whig_, was imprisoned in
Gloucester Gaol at the same time, for the same libel. I was not then
personally acquainted with either of them; but in some newspaper, (most
likely the _Independent Whig_) I read that Mr. Hart was subject to very
great privations in Gloucester Gaol, and, amongst other things, that
he was deprived of seeing his family and friends in private, he being
obliged, even with his wife, to converse in the presence and hearing of
a turnkey, through the iron bars of his dungeon door; and that he was
very much restricted for room to walk in to procure fresh air. I was
then living at Clifton, and had as yet entered but very little into
politics; but from my earliest age I had been taught to hate oppression
and practice humanity. I was told that the readers of the _Independent
Whig_ had met in Bristol, and in London also, I think, and passed some
strong resolutions, and made some excellent speeches, condemning such
inhuman and barbarous conduct; but still the restrictions remained the
same, and these worthy men might have met and passed resolutions till
the imprisonment of Mr. Hart had been at an end, without the slightest
chance of rendering him any real service. As mere pity and speech-making
could be of no use, I drove over in my curricle to Gloucester, a
distance of nearly forty miles, to see what could be done for the
aggrieved prisoner. I called at the prison, and asked to see Mr. Hart,
but I was too late in the evening. I slept at the Bell, and called again
the next morning, as soon as I could gain admittance, having employed
the intermediate time in endeavouring to obtain information relating to
the Gaol, the Visiting Magistrates, and other necessary particulars.
As, however, I was a perfect stranger at Gloucester, I made but little
progress; for every one I met appeared as shy of having any thing to say
about the gaol, as if he were himself afraid of becoming an inmate in
the horrid place. At length, I found a person of the name of Wittick,
a hair-dresser, the genuine Dickey Gossip of the city, who was exactly
what I wanted. Having told him my name and my business, he "_let loose
his tongue_," and gave me such a history of some of the revolting scenes
that occurred within the walls of their city bastile, as harrowed up my
soul with horror. The victims of oppression and tyranny, as Wittick had
described them, flitted before my imagination during the whole night,
and I rose in the morning but little refreshed with my night's rest.

On my repairing to the Gaol I was admitted to the door of Mr. Hart's
dungeon, and there I ascertained from his own mouth, and indeed from my
own observation, the truth of the statements which I had seen in the
paper. All that passed was in the presence of a turn-key, Mr. Hart
standing in the inside, and I on the outside, of a door composed of iron
bars. He said his wife was come from London, in hopes of being permitted
to administer to his comforts, and to alleviate the horrors of his
imprisonment; but she was nearly heart-broken, and was going to return
the next day, as she had been refused by the Visiting Magistrates
any further admission to him than to see him through the iron door; he
added also, that his health was impaired by the want of fresh air, as he
was only permitted to walk certain hours in the day, in a small court,
surrounded with high walls, which excluded a free circulation of air and
the genial influence of the sun. I told him who and what I was; and,
as I had come from Clifton on purpose to endeavour to render him some
assistance, I desired him to delay for a few days the departure of his
wife, while in the interval I would do my best to procure her admission
to him. As I was quite a stranger to the Magistrates, I could not answer
for my success, but I would at any rate make the attempt. He thanked
me, but with a deep sigh said, he feared my kindness would be in vain,
though his wife should certainly not leave the place till I had tried
the experiment.

I took leave of Mr. Hart, and repaired to the Visiting Magistrates; one
of them was from home; the second, a parson, I think, heard what I had
to say, was exceedingly civil and polite, but preached a good deal about
good order and the necessity of keeping up a strict prison discipline.
He, nevertheless, promised that he would do all that was in his power
at the next meeting of the Magistrates, which would take place in a
_fortnight_; but he emphatically observed, "you know I am but _one_,
Mr. Hunt." "_A fortnight_!" I exclaimed, "why, Sir, the poor woman will
leave Gloucester broken-hearted long before half that time arrives."
"Come, come, Sir," replied he, "these things cannot be accomplished so
easily as you imagine; and after all I must say, that although I promise
to do every thing that lies in my power to serve the unfortunate
prisoner, you must allow that his crime is a most heinous one. I cannot
give you any great encouragement to hope that I shall succeed with Sir
George Paull and the other Magistrates." This chap was a thorough Dr.
Colston in his heart, and I left him with a determination not to trust
my case in his hands. I next ordered my curricle and drove to Sir George
Paull's. I was introduced to him immediately, and I communicated the
object of my visit. He had received me very politely, but the moment
that I mentioned my business, he drew up, and began to hesitate and make
excuses. Before I left him, however, he admitted that Mr. Hart's case
was a very hard one, and he promised most faithfully that he would do
whatever was in his power to comply with my request, which was, that his
wife might have free access to him, and that he might have the liberty
of walking in a larger yard. But I found this could not be done under a
fortnight, and he politely assured me that he would write me the result
of the meeting of Magistrates.

Though in the manner of this gentleman, who I believe was chairman of
the quarter sessions, there was something much more honest and open
than in that of his brother justices, yet when I left him, to return to
Gloucester, I was not satisfied that I had done all that I could do, and
therefore I drove on to Bromsgrove, in Herefordshire, to call on Mr.
Honeywood Yate, of whom I had heard as an independent Magistrate, as
well as a friend of Reform. I soon enlisted him in the service; but he
was very much engaged with other business, which, after awhile, as Mr.
Yate was a very humane man, was made subservient to the cause of the
oppressed and persecuted captive. Mr. Yate went to Gloucester the next
day. Before I returned to Clifton I had the satisfaction of hearing that
there was an order made for Mrs. Hart to visit her husband in his room,
and for him to walk in the garden, I think, of the Governor. To the
kindness and humanity of Mr. Yate was Mr. Hart greatly indebted for this
indulgence. Without his assistance it might never have been granted; at
any rate it would have been protracted to a cruel distance.

Since that period I have never seen Mr. Hart except once, and that was
in London, after the term of his imprisonment had expired; and for the
trouble which I had taken in his behalf, I was amply rewarded by the
manner in which he expressed his sense of the accommodation that I had
been so instrumental in procuring for him. If he read this, it will
recall the whole to his recollection. Mr. White laboured under an
asthmatic complaint, and suffered greatly from his confinement; but I
understood that he was treated with proper respect and attention by the
Magistrates. Pittman, who was then the head turnkey of Dorchester Gaol,
called upon me the other day, and almost the first words he uttered
were, that the apartments allotted to Mr. White and his family, in
Dorchester Gaol, were quite a palace compared to the room in which he
found me. He said that Mr. White had two airy rooms over the Chapel,
which commanded a view of the circumjacent country, and that he had the
liberty of walking round the large open area of the Gaol, which was
composed of a beautiful gravel walk; that his was, in short, altogether
a very comfortable situation compared to that which I occupy in
Ilchester Bastile. He was here before the walls were lowered, and
consequently, he saw the place in all its native wretchedness.

Before I proceed with my narrative, I must mention a few circumstances,
which it will not be improper to record. At the latter end of this year,
1813, there was a most remarkable fog, which extended fifty or sixty
miles round London, accompanied by a severe frost, which lasted six
weeks without intermission. The average price of wheat this year was one
hundred and seven shillings and ten-pence halfpenny, and the quartern
loaf was one shilling and five-pence: these were glorious times for the
farmers, whose antipathy to jacobins and levellers, or rather reformers,
increased in proportion to the high price of corn and bread. To be sure
John Gull was taxed pretty handsomely, but the farmers, at least such of
them as looked only to self, always contrived to squeeze their taxes out
of the earnings of the labourer. Those, on the contrary, who thought
that the labourer had a right to something more than what would barely
keep life and soul together, could not cultivate the soil to the same
advantage. The supplies voted this year were SEVENTY-SEVEN MILLIONS,

While the British arms were crowned with complete success in Spain,
the Government was carrying on, both by sea and land, a ruinous and
disastrous war in America. The American frigate Chesapeake was taken by
the Shannon; but, in return, the Americans captured the Java frigate.
The British troops were compelled to evacuate Fort Erie and Fort George,
which were taken possession of by the Americans, and ultimately the
American fleet took, burnt, sunk, or destroyed the whole of the English
fleet on Lake Erie. Every real lover of liberty in England deprecated
this war with our brethren of America; but the enemies of liberty now
began to boast that they would put down and destroy the principles of
Republicanism throughout the world. I always considered the war with
America to be a most unjust war; and, although I lamented to hear of
the destruction of human lives, and the spilling of human blood, and
particularly that of my own countrymen, yet I always wished success to
the Americans, who were fighting for their rights and liberties against
an invader, who would gladly have reduced them to that state of slavery
from which they had emancipated themselves by a glorious and successful
struggle. The late harvest was very fine, and the crops were good; corn,
therefore, began to fall, and of course the landed interest caught the
alarm, and set about sounding the tocsin for a corn bill, to keep up the
price of the grain. In consequence of this, the subject was frequently
discussed in Parliament. The Ministers professed to disclaim the
proposition, but they set their friends, the Country Gentlemen, forward
to propose the measure. It was at length settled, that corn should not
be imported unless the price of wheat was above eighty shillings per
quarter. Although a farmer myself, I always exclaimed against this
measure, notwithstanding it did not appear likely that the country would
be immediately affected by it, as there was no probability of the price
of wheat being much below eighty shillings a quarter during that season.

At this period I was fully occupied in a most laborious and uprofitable
speculation. I had taken a farm of nearly four hundred acres. This farm
had been occupied by a Major Andrews, a retired militia officer, who had
commenced farmer, a business of which he was totally ignorant, and in
the pursuit of which he sunk a good fortune; yet when he quitted this
farm, or rather when his property and stock were seized and sold under
an execution, perhaps the county of Hants could not have produced its
equal for foulness and bad condition. I had occupied three thousand
acres of land in Wiltshire, and I will venture to say, that there was
not half the quantity of couch grass upon the whole of it that I now
found upon the cleanest acre on Cold Henly Farm. Couch grass is the most
injurious of all weeds, and, in some parts of Wiltshire, it is very
appropriately called "the farmer's devil." This farm of Cold Henly was
about seven miles from my residence at Middleton Cottage, and therefore
I had ample exercise in riding to and fro, and attending all day to the
cleaning of the land. The proprietor of the farm was a clergyman, and,
as he professed to be very friendly with me, and gave me to understand
that he should be happy to continue me as a tenant after my lease was
out, I spared neither pains nor expense in cultivating the land, in
hopes of hereafter reaping a reward for my labour. In fact, it was
absolutely necessary to have the soil perfectly clean and free from all
sorts of weeds and grass, to be enabled to cultivate it upon the drill
system, as laid down by Tull. I believe that in the course of the first
summer I burned forty thousand cart loads of couch, which made as many
bushels of ashes for manure. Almost all the land required to be ploughed
five or six times, by means of which, and of innumerable draggings and
harrowings, and incessant and persevering labour, the farm became, in
my hands, altogether as _clean_ as it was _foul_ and overrun with every
description of weeds and grass, before I came to it. I was induced to
expend a large sum of money in improving this farm, from the promises of
the cunning, artful, and deceitful old clergyman, who was the proprietor
of it. The buildings, which were very extensive, and miserably
dilapidated, I put into complete repair; and, perhaps, altogether
I expended on the land and offices three times as much as a common
rack-renting farmer would have done. Being fully satisfied that I was
greatly benefiting his estate, the parson not only gave his consent to
any alteration that I thought proper in the course of husbandry, which
the old tenant was bound in his lease to pursue, but he took all
occasions to encourage me to do so; and, as my proceedings were so
extremely beneficial to his farm, which he never failed to acknowledge,
I did not once dream that he would hereafter, for the sake of
litigation, pretend to object to it. As this farm was a manor of itself,
and was well stocked with game, I had plenty of shooting of all sorts
upon it, as well as over the manor of Longparish, over which I also held
the deputation.

This year, 1814, was one of the most eventful periods in the history
of the world. The first week in January, Dantzic was occupied by the
allies, whose grand army passed the Rhine, and occupied Coblentz. The
treacherous and dastardly Murat, King of Naples, basely betrayed and
deserted his patron, his friend, his benefactor, and his relation,
Napoleon, by concluding a treaty with England; and on the 17th he openly
joined the allies against France. Of all the despicable, base, and
treacherous conduct of the base and dastardly crowned heads, during the
whole war, this desertion of Napoleon, by his brother-in-law, Murat, was
the most base and dastardly. To be sure, during the whole of this long
and bloody war, carried on by the despots and tyrants of the earth,
their conduct was one continued exhibition of treachery, falsehood,
selfishness, and deception. This abandoned race of Sovereigns, Kings and
Emperors, who assume a _divine origin_, and set up a claim of _divine
rights_, have, by their acts, unequivocally proclaimed to the whole
world that no reliance can be placed in their words, their bonds, or
their oaths. They have all of them broken the most solemn treaties, and
violated the most sacred and binding obligations, without the least
regard to truth, to honour, or to honesty. At the very time that the
Governments of the different states of Europe have, in high-sounding
language, been preaching about national faith, national honour, and
national credit; the favoured Ministers of each of them, in conjunction
with their masters, have, wherever it suited their interested and
corrupt purposes, without the least regard to precept or principle,
unblushingly violated and abandoned all national credit, honour, and
faith; and have rendered _faith, honour_, and _credit_, mere bye-words
among nations. If a man in common life were to act in the same
unprincipled and dastardly manner as these Sovereign Princes have done,
he would be shunned and spurned out of all society. If one of the "lower
orders" were to conduct himself in a similar manner, he would be kicked
out of the company of the most abandoned frequenters of the lowest
brothels and tap-rooms; no man would employ him or have any transaction
with him; he would be driven from amongst even the lowest of mankind,
and deservedly left to starve, to perish, and to rot upon a dunghill.

The moment that the fortune of war turned against Napoleon, all the
royal, mean, cringing, timid, time-serving, contemptible wretches, who
had filled up the measure of his glory, and almost worshipped him when
he was victorious; those who had partaken of his bounty, and whose whole
existence had depended on his smiles; all those that he had elevated to
power, and who had reigned by his sufferance, now joined the tide and
swelled the torrent that was collected to overwhelm him. Sweden and
Denmark having, like others, been bribed by English gold, drawn from the
sweat of John Gull's brows, had now joined the allies against France,
and the first action upon the territory of Old France took place on the
24th of January, when Mortier was defeated; and on the 27th the army
commanded by Napoleon in person, at St. Dizier, in Champagne, was
overpowered by numbers, and repulsed with considerable loss. The tyrants
of Russia, Austria, and Prussia met at Basil, and soon after all their
armies advanced. Blucher and Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden, crossed
the Rhine with their numerous hordes, and the armies of France gave way.
Nancy, Troyes, Vitry, and Chalons were taken by the allies. But Napoleon
having rallied his divisions, defeated first the Russians, and then
Blucher, who led his army on to attack Marmont, but he was defeated a
second time. Prince Schwartzenburg advanced with the troops under his
command direct for Paris, but Napoleon attacked him with an inferior
force, beat him, and obliged him to retreat. The battles were now so
numerous, and the success was so equally balanced, that it would require
a history of itself to recount them. With an army which was never one
third as strong as that of the invaders, Napoleon contested every inch
of the ground, and fought so bravely and so skilfully, that the issue
was for some time doubtful. At length the numerous hordes of the
confederated nations of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Germany, Denmark,
Sweden, and Bavaria, flushed with their success, pushed on to Paris, to
defend which Marshals Marmont and Mortier had but very inadequate means.
The assailants, two hundred thousand in number, reached the northern
side of Paris on the 29th of March, and on the following day a desperate
battle took place. It was not till they had sacrificed fifteen thousand
men that the allies could make themselves masters of the posts which the
French held in the neighbourhood of Paris. Not disposed to run the risk
of another engagement, and especially of the arrival of Napoleon, who
was hastening back by forced marches, the coalesced despots were glad
to obtain the surrender of the capital, by granting honourable terms
to Marmont, who accordingly withdrew with his troops from Paris, which


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