Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 3
Henry Hunt

Part 3 out of 8

Maria Louisa had already quitted. On the 1st of April all the allied
Sovereigns entered that city as conquerors. The Emperors of Russia and
Austria, and the King of Prussia, all of whom had been so repeatedly
conquered by Napoleon, who had generously, although foolishly, restored
two of them, after having conquered them and taken their capitals, now,
in return for his generous conduct to them, had the meanness and
the cowardice to declare that Napoleon was the only obstacle to the
establishment of a peace; upon which he magnanimously, to save the
effusion of human blood, did not hesitate to offer his resignation.
This was accepted; the French Senate met, and agreed to a provisional
Government, till a Constitution could be formed, and they passed a
decree on the 2d of April, declaring Napoleon Buonaparte and his family
to have forfeited the Imperial Crown. It was agreed to by all the allied
Sovereigns that Napoleon should retire to the Isle of Elba, which he was
to possess in _full sovereignty_--that he and Maria Louisa should, _for
life_, retain the titles of Emperor and Empress--that a large revenue
should be granted to both of them, and to the Empress the Duchies of
Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla, which were to descend to her son. The
treaty being thus arranged, on the 4th day of April, 1814, the brave
Napoleon signed his abdication of the Crowns of France and Italy. On
the 13th the treaty between the allied Powers and Napoleon received
the signatures of the contracting parties, and on the 28th of April he
embarked at Frejus, in Provence, for the Isle of Elba, in the British
frigate the Undaunted.

In the meantime the English army under Lord Wellington had advanced from
Spain, invested Bayonne, and passed the Odour. A division under Marshal
Beresford entered Bourdeaux. At Toulouse Wellington had a battle, and
the dispirited skeleton of an army under Soult was defeated about the
time that the news arrived of a cessation of arms.

Although Napoleon had retired, it yet required very considerable address
to replace on the Throne of France the Bourbons--a race that was
deservedly despised and execrated by the whole French nation, with the
exception of the lazy, indolent, rapacious, and profligate priesthood,
and a few of the old bigotted nobility. The provisional Government
presented to the Conservative Senate a CONSTITUTION, and proposed that
Louis, the brother of Louis the Sixteenth, should, on the acceptance of
that constitution, be declared King of France. It is time now to turn
our eyes towards England, from the affairs of which the reader will
remember that I broke off at the period when the Parliament had settled
that corn should not be imported, unless the price was above eighty
shillings a quarter. Motions were now made to address the Prince Regent,
to seize the favourable opportunity to procure from the allied Powers
some salutary regulations respecting the slave trade. The country, both
in and out of Parliament, was mad drunk with GLORY. The House manifested
its intoxication by a profligate and extravagant grant of the public
money to Wellington, who was also created a Duke. While this was going
on within the walls of Parliament, the farmers were drunk and mad
without, and were amusing themselves by burning and hanging Napoleon in
effigy. Deputies had already arrived in England, to invite Louis the
Eighteenth to return to France. He entered London on the 20th of April,
with great pomp and state; he came from his retreat at Hartwell,
attended by the Life Guards and many of the King's carriages, and
accompanied by our magnanimous conqueror, the Prince Regent. He took up
his residence at Grillon's hotel, in Albemarle-street, where be held
his Court, and was congratulated by the Lord Mayor (Sir William
Domville), and the citizens of London, and also by many of the nobility,
all of whom would no doubt have as readily paid their devoirs to a
mastiff dog, if he had been called a King. Louis left London in great
state, to embark for France, on the 23d of April, and he set sail from
Dover on the 24th, in the Royal yacht, and landed at Calais in four
hours. His public entry into Paris took place on the 3d of May, and
on the 14th of the same month a grand farce, or funeral service, was
performed in France for the Kings Louis the Sixteenth and Seventeenth,
the Queen and the Princess Elizabeth. Louis was no sooner in possession
of power, than he discovered that the Constitution which had been
framed, and on his presumed acceptance of which he had been restored,
was NOT PRACTICABLE, and that the people of France must submit to
receive as a boon, one of his own manufacture. "Put not your trust in
Princes." The Marshals had been brought over one by one, and peace was
at length settled upon the terms which the Allies dictated. By this
treaty France was to keep her ancient boundary, with some additions; the
navigation of the Rhine was to be free; the territory of Holland and the
Netherlands were to be incorporated and governed by the Stadtholder;
Germany was to form a federal Government; and Switzerland to be

While these things were going on in France, the Ministers were not
inactive in England. They caused Lord Cochrane, and Colonel Cochrane
Johnson, his uncle, to be expelled the House of Commons, for what was
called a conspiracy to defraud the Stock Exchange. To punish men for
defrauding, or rather playing off a hoax upon a set of swindlers and
gamblers in the stocks, was curious enough! The Emperor of Russia and
King of Prussia arrived in London on the 7th of June, and the town was
illuminated. The Emperor of Russia took up his residence at the Imperial
Hotel, in Piccadilly, and the King of Prussia in St. James's Palace.
They were received in state at Court, which was held at Carlton House,
and the Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia were invested with the
Order of the Garter. All the Tom and Molly fools in the country were
flocking to London, to see these mighty Sovereigns; they spent their
money, and most of them returned disappointed, the fools having expected
to see something more than man in a King and an Emperor, and something
more than a brute in the dirty old animal Blucher. Nothing else but our
new visitors was talked of in town or country. Whatever company you went
into, the first question was, "Well, what do you think of the Emperor
Alexander? what do you think of Blucher? What! not seen the Emperor, and
not seen Marshal Blucher's whiskers?" To hear the females of England, my
fair countrywomen, talk of shaking hands with this filthy old beast, and
some of them even boasted of his having kissed them, not only disgusted
but quite sickened me; and I must own that the scenes I have heard
described, which took place at Portsmouth, when they were all there at
the great naval fete, made such an unfavourable impression upon my
mind, that I have always thought with the utmost contempt of those who
participated in these disgusting, revolting orgies. It was all very
natural that the time-serving, corrupt, vain, purse-proud Aldermen of
London should act as they did; it was very natural that they and their
wives and daughters should disgrace themselves as they did; but that my
good, handsome, wholesome country-women, should have suffered such
a disgusting monster as old Blucher to have slobbered them over and
mouselled them with his dirty, stinking whiskers and mustachios, is
something so extraordinary and so abhorrent to the character of English
women, or, in fact, of any modest woman, that I, as an Englishman, was
horror-struck every time I heard the filthy accounts of it. Thank God,
none of my family or connections ever disgraced themselves, even by
going to see any of these German, Russian, Prussian, or Cossack animals.
I had business in London, but I put it off, nay neglected it, because
I would not make one of the throng of fools who flocked to grace the
triumph of these tyrants, who had been so long waging war against the
liberties of mankind, and who had caused the shedding of oceans of human
blood, for the sole purpose of gratifying their own malignant desire, to
destroy every vestige of liberty and rational freedom upon the face of
the globe. During the whole time that these fiends in human form, these
enemies and destroyers of the human race, remained in England, I stayed
at home; I never spoke of them but with abhorrence and disgust; and as
my family felt towards them as I did, they were seldom mentioned at all.
I even, as much as possible, avoided having any company at my house,
that their blood-stained names might never be introduced. I shall,
perhaps, be told by some who read this, that I am inconsistent to
express such a horror at blood-stained tyrants, and yet take every
opportunity of extolling Napoleon, who was as great a tyrant as any of
those whom I condemn. To the unthinking, an explanation is certainly
necessary from me; for I fully concur in the opinion that CONSISTENCY is
absolutely necessary to form the character of a useful and honourable
public man; that amongst the dangerous failings in a public character,
_inconsistency_ is the most dangerous. A _vacillating, weathercock,
changeable being_, in the common pursuits, in any pursuits of life, is,
to say the least of him, a contemptible creature, one who is generally
despised by all classes; but a weathercock in politics, which is the
same as a weathercock in principle, is a being not only despicable but
most mischievous. To blow hot and to blow cold, in the same breath, or
to maintain one opinion to-day and another opinion tomorrow, and the
next day to revert to the former opinion, is not so much a proof of
a weak head, as a sure proof of a profligate, an abandoned, and a
dishonest heart. I do not mean to say that a man cannot alter his
opinion without being dishonest; far from it; to maintain this
proposition would be to deny the possibility of improvement in the
human understanding. But that man is to be dreaded and avoided, who can
change his principles, or desert his public duty, from private pique,
or selfish, interested motives; such a man would sacrifice not only his
principles, but he would sacrifice his dearest friends, nay, a whole
nation, to gratify his malignant and selfish passion for revenge; such
a passion springs wholly from cowardice; and as a coward is always the
most cruel of mortals, such a man, from mere cowardice, is always the
most revengeful and remorseless; and he would wade up to his knees in
human blood to accomplish his private and selfish ends. Therefore, of
all the deadly sins with which public men are accused, oh! save me and
protect me, from the misfortune, from the indelible disgrace, of being
deservedly pronounced AN INCONSISTENT CHARACTER! I have never praised
Napoleon, or at least I have never intended to eulogise him, as a friend
of freedom. I have characterised him as a brave and noble-minded man;
and the reason why I have been led away sometimes, perhaps, to be too
general in my praises and admiration of the man is, not because he was
not a tyrant himself, but because I always found him more disposed to
tyrannize over _mighty tyrants_ than he was to crush the weak and the
unprotected. Possibly all mankind are by nature tyrannical. Take, for
instance, the most humane, the most generous, the most sincere lover of
liberty, and one who has been the most steady practiser of it--to such a
man even as this only give an unlimited, uncontrouled, and unrestricted
sway over his fellow-creatures, and ten to one but he becomes an
arbitrary tyrant; when, on the other hand, if he had been restrained
within due bounds, by means of the proper checks and guards prescribed
by a free constitution, he would have been one of freedom's brightest
ornaments, one of liberty's safest, staunchest, guardians and
protectors. So it was with Napoleon. If the tyrants of Europe had
suffered him to remain First Consul of France, surrounded by such men as
Carnot, to guard the liberties and rights of Frenchmen, and to controul
their ruler's actions, Napoleon possessed all the qualifications for
making a mild, liberal, and patriotic, as well as a brave and brilliant
ruler. But the despots and tyrants of Europe dreaded such an example;
they dreaded the example of freedom which the then constitution
conferred upon the people of France. It was not Napoleon's political
influence, great as it was, that excited their hatred, but they dreaded
the little remaining liberty that the French people possessed, and it
was their combined efforts, supported, maintained, and cherished, by the
wealth of the people of England, that drove the French nation to submit
to the hard and cruel necessity of placing unlimited authority in his
hands, and consequently preparing the way for a great tyranny, and
compelling him to be a tyrant. My sincere and unchangeable opinion is,
that few men ever lived, who, if they had been masters of the same
boundless power that Napoleon was, would not have made much more cruel
and more arbitrary tyrants than he ever did, and have exercised it more
vindictively against the liberties of mankind than he did. My admiration
of Napoleon has, therefore, been always by comparison, as contrasted
with the sanguinary and remorseless tyrants who were opposed to him; men
who had sworn eternal abhorrence of liberty, eternal war against it;
men, who, at the time that they professed a hatred of the tyranny of
Napoleon, were themselves the greatest tyrants in the universe, and
whose sole aim in destroying Napoleon's power was to rivet the chains of
slavery upon the inhabitants of the whole civilized world, and who
have since sworn upon the altar of the Holy Alliance to maintain an
indissoluble union, for the purpose of extinguishing every spark of
freedom, wherever it may arise. Napoleon was the enemy, the successful
enemy of these tyrants; and under his sway, despotic as it might
apparently be, and governed by the excellent code of laws that bears
the name of its author, the people of France enjoyed a tenfold
greater portion of liberty than any of the people who lived under the
protection, or rather who groaned under the pretended forms of law and
justice exercised by the hypocritical tyrants who were opposed to him.
All these tyrants had made war upon France, because the French had the
spirit to overthrow the most execrable tyranny that ever cursed mankind;
they made war against French liberty and French principles, before
Napoleon was known; he was the child of fortune, who sprung up during
the Revolution, and his talent and bravery pointed him out to the people
of France as the most likely man successfully to oppose her enemies. He
was elevated to unlimited power through the rancour and the malice of
those who had sworn in their hearts to restore the hated Bourbons, the
Pope, the Devil, and the Inquisition. While he exercised that power he
subdued all those who resisted him, and his greatest fault, his greatest
crime, was his generosity to the Austrian, Russian, and Prussian
despots: having had those enemies to liberty and humanity in his power,
it was a crime, an offence, in the eye of God and man, not to annihilate
them, and thus secure the human race from the continuance of their
arbitrary and brutal domination. Napoleon having conquered them all,
restored them all to power, and when they got him into their clutches,
the return whichthey made him was, to banish him, to linger out the
remainder of his life upon a barren rock, in a noxious and pestilential
climate, cut off from the society even of his wife and son. Peace to his
manes, for he beat, he humbled, and he subdued, the greatest of tyrants,
and he was the author of the Napoleon code, which restrained the power
of infamous Judges, and established a real, instead of a mock trial
by jury. These are the traits of Napoleon's character, which, as an
Englishman, I admire; had I been a Frenchman, I should have adored him.
He is dead and gone, and John Gull is beginning to reap the bitter
fruits that were sown to procure Napoleon's destruction. John is now
grumbling, because he is called upon by the despots to pay the bill, to
discharge the expenses which they incurred in dethroning and destroying
NAPOLEON, and restoring Louis to the throne of France. I hope and I
believe these is not a man in the world who hates and detests tyrants
and tyranny more than I do; yet I trust that I may, nevertheless, be
permitted to admire certain traits in the character of the brave and
murdered Napoleon, without being justly accused of inconsistency. If I
am asked whether I should like to live under such a tyrant and such
a tyranny as existed in France, during the latter days of Napoleon's
reign, I answer NO. But if I _must_ submit to a tyrant, let it be to one
that I can look up to, and whose superior qualities I can admire, rather
than to a despicable wretch, who has not one noble quality, but, on the
contrary, is deserving of contempt, derision, and execration. I have
been led into this digression by the recollection of hearing a very
pretty little girl say, that she had been kissed by the filthy old beast
Blucher, at Portsmouth, where the sceptered tyrants and their whole
train had been to view the English fleet and the naval arsenal. This
young lady, who was really a very pretty delicate girl, I had always
before considered as also a very amiable and a very modest girl; but,
after hearing her boast of having been kissed by that dirty old animal,
I could never look upon her but with pity, mingled with disgust.

On the 20th of June, peace was proclaimed in London. The country was
still intoxicated, or rather insane, with the idea of the GLORY that had
been obtained by the downfall of one man, against whom all the despots
in Europe had been united, and all the wealth of nations had been
squandered during fourteen years. On the 25th, there was a naval review
at Portsmouth, to amuse the Royal tyrants; and on the 27th they all
departed for Dover, where they embarked on the 28th. On the 7th of July,
a mockery or thanksgiving for peace was offered up in these churches,
where the tocsin of war had for so many years been sounded by the pious
preachers of the Gospel, the servants of the meek and lowly Jesus. On
this occasion the Prince Regent went in state to St. Paul's. On the 21st
he gave a superb fete to two thousand five hundred persons, and on the
1st of August there was a pompous celebration, on account of the peace,
held in Hyde and St. James's Parks, in the latter of which there was a
grand display of fireworks; while, still further to amuse the _John_ and
_Jenny Gulls_ of the cities of London and Westminster, there was a sham
naval engagement got up on the Serpentine River, representing a battle
between the British and American fleets. Of course the British fleet was
victorious, and the Americans struck their colours, amidst the huzzas
and shouts of the family of the Gulls, who, having for nearly a quarter
of a century been gulled out of their money to pay the expenses of a
sanguinary war, were now gulled out of an additional sum of their money
to pay the expenses of a mock naval engagement with the Americans, who
were in reality beating the British navy out of their lakes and seas.
This was the way in which the peace was celebrated, and at the same time
the jubilee to commemorate the accession of the House of Brunswick.
It was a considerable drawback upon the pleasure to some of the Royal
party, that, at the drawing-room which was held at Court, to receive the
Royal visitors, the PRINCESS OF WALES WAS EXCLUDED; and as soon as the
rejoicings were concluded, her Royal Highness quitted England, and
embarked from Worthing for the Continent.

All this time the old King was confined at Windsor Castle, in some
apartments which were padded six feet high; in these, blind and mad, he
was suffered to wander about, a melancholy and disgusting object. It is
confidently affirmed, however, that he had frequent intervals of reason,
in which he was perfectly sensible of his forlorn and wretched fate.
During one of these lucid intervals it is said that one of the domestics
about his person informed him of the abdication of Napoleon; upon which
he put himself in a great passion, and swore "_it was a lie_." This
wretched old man was reduced from the highest pinnacle of grandeur to
the most pitiable condition; none of his subjects were admitted to
see him for many years; even his children were excluded, except upon
particular occasions, and then they were admitted only in the presence
of certain individuals. The old Queen had the care of his person, and it
is currently reported that she governed his gracious Majesty (it being
of course necessary to do so) with considerable harshness.

When one reflects upon the bloody reign of George the Third, and calls
to mind the rivers of human gore that were shed during that reign; when
one looks back to the period of the American war, which was generally
understood to be a war of the King's, more than of his Ministers; when
one calls to recollection the commencement of the French war, which, it
has been asserted, was waged at his Majesty's particular instance, in
opposition to the private opinion of Mr. Pitt; when one looks back on
the numerous sanguinary penal statutes that were passed during this
King's reign, and the thousands of victims that fell a sacrifice to
them; when one contemplates the myriads upon myriads of brave Britons
whose lives were offered up as a sacrifice to these Moloch wars, it
may well and truly be called the UNFORTUNATE REIGN of King George the
Third--which reign was concluded by the King himself being locked up,
for many years, in his own castle, a solitary captive, suffering under
the complicated and melancholy visitation of _blindness_ and _madness_:
and when one thinks of all this, one may, without being very
superstitious, consider the catastrophe as an awful instance of the
Divine vengeance levelled at the ruler of a sinful nation.

The story goes that a mouse had contracted a sort of friendly sympathy
for the hoary-headed, sightless Royal maniac, and paid him such frequent
visits, during his long captivity, that it was at length become quite
tame, and would submit to be handled by the unfortunate shadow of a
great monarch. The King was very much delighted with this friendly
little visitant, and its little antics and gambols assisted him to pass
away many a wearisome, sorrowful hour. Unfortunately, the Queen came
into the room one day, before the little trembling animal had time to
escape to its hiding place. The Queen eyed it before it had yet left
the King's hand, and when she quitted the apartment she ordered the
attendant to take care and kill that "_nausty mose_," before she came
again. The attendant ventured to state that the poor old King was so
exceedingly partial to the mouse, and appeared so much entertained with
it, that he was fearful his Majesty would miss it very much, and that
the loss of it might make him unhappy. The answer was "_kill the nausty
mose_ before I come again!" It was as much as the servant's situation
was worth to disobey, and the poor little tame animal, too confident
of its former protection, was easily caught and killed! The King, of
course, soon missed the little solitary companion of his adversity,
and for along time inquired the cause of its absence with the greatest
earnestness; and when he found that it never came again, he grieved
incessantly, more so than he did for any thing that happened to him
during his long and cruel captivity.

So goes the tale, and I, for one, believe it. What a subject this for
reflection, what a picture of misery, what an awful monument of fallen
greatness! If the King had those lucid intervals of reason which it is
said he had, his situation must have been, if possible, infinitely more
deplorable than that of the captive of St. Helena; it must have been
a thousand times more hopeless than that of the latter; shut up and
confined for life in his own palace, by his own family, he must have
soon lost all hope: while Napoleon, till he found that his dissolution
was approaching, must have always been cheered by the hope, arising from
ten thousand chances which could not fail to present themselves to his
mind, of his being at length relieved from his iron bondage.

George the Third was the only King I ever saw, and I never wish to see
another King. The last time I saw him was when he was getting out of his
carriage at the Star, at Andover, on his return from Weymouth; which
place he never after visited. His eyesight was then nearly gone, and his
attendants were obliged to guide his feet, and to lead him like a child
into the Inn. I had known him in his prime, and had frequently hunted
with him. At the time when I saw him at Andover, he had indeed sadly
fallen off, and his signature to all documents was effected by a stamp,
some one directing his hand. All Acts of Parliament, all Commissions,
all Death-warrants, and all Pardons, were for a long time signed in this
manner. He who had signed more death-warrants than any mortal that ever
breathed, and who could spare or kill human beings by the mere dash of
his pen; alas! alas! he, once so powerful, could not now even save the
life of a poor mouse. He who, as a mere matter of course, and perhaps
without giving the subject a thought, had put his fiat on the black
scrolls which ordered hundreds upon hundreds of his fellow creatures to
be sent to their long homes, and executed in cold blood; he now grieved
and lamented, and cried like a child, at the death of a mouse. I would
have had the Emperor Alexander, the King of Prussia, and all the Royal
Visitors, go down to Windsor, to be eye-witnesses of the "ills that
(_Royal_) flesh is heir to:" they should have been reminded, by a
personal interview with this poor old maniac, to what a wretched state
it was possible even for the greatest monarch to be reduced, by the hand
of Providence. That all-wise and just Providence, the same Power that
permitted the Emperor NAPOLEON to be sent a prisoner to St. Helena; the
same Power that permitted HENRY HUNT to remain a captive in Ilchester
Bastile, for TWO YEARS AND SIX MONTHS, commanded also that GEORGE THE
THIRD should, after having LOST HIS SIGHT, and been DEPRIVED OF HIS
REASON, be confined as a solitary prisoner in his own palace, for many
of the latter years of his existence. The Lord's will be done!

During the whole time that these ridiculous freaks were going on in
London, and that John Gull and his family were running stark mad with
joy and glory, each bellowing out, whenever or wherever you met him,
have you not seen the Emperor? have you not seen the King? have you not
seen Blucher with his whiskers? surely you have seen the Don Cossack?
&c. &c. &c.; during this time I remained quietly and snugly at Middleton
Cottage, occupied in fishing or looking after my farm, and most
sincerely lamenting the folly of my countrymen and countrywomen; and
whenever I had an opportunity, I did not fail to remonstrate with them
on their ridiculous and preposterous conduct, and to assure them that
the hour would come when they would be heartily ashamed of it, and would
have cause and leisure for bitter repentance. With many this time has
arrived, with others it is fast approaching. So far was I from ever
making one of the number of fools who ran after these sceptred despots,
that, when some of them were travelling post by the house where I was
staying, I retired into a _back room_, in order to avoid the possibility
of seeing them; always saying, when the question was put to me, that "I
thanked God I had seen _one King_, and was so well satisfied, that I
never wished to see another." A single sample was quite enough for me.
One of my great political friends had expressed the same sort of disgust
at the idea of running after these foreign Sovereigns, and he swore most
roundly and lustily, that none of his family should stir an inch to see
them. It turned out, however, that he did not keep his word--but whether
his breach of it arose from "the grey mare being the better horse," or
from his being himself overcome by a childish curiosity, I cannot tell;
perhaps a little of both prevailed; at any rate I heard that my _friend_
and all his family went to Portsmouth, to see the Royal sight, and get
a squint at Blucher's whiskers and mustachios. My friend and his family
swelled the number of those who _suffered_ at Portsmouth--"ninny nanny,
one fool makes many!" It was now all glory, all joy, and all seeming
prosperity with John Gull, every thing was military! As a proof that
it could not well be otherwise, let us look to a return, which was
presented to the House of Commons, of the number of officers in the
British army in the pay of John, which return was as follows: Field
Marshals, 5--Generals, 81--Lieutenant Generals, 157--Major Generals,
221--Colonels, 152--Lieutenant-Colonels, 618--Majors, 612--Captains,
2960--Lieutenants, 4725--Ensigns, 2522--amounting in the whole to the
enormous number of TWELVE THOUSAND AND FIFTY-FOUR officers! What think
you of this, John Gull? Here is a larger army of officers than the whole
number of military that was thought sufficient by our ancestors to be
kept up during the time of peace. Yes, the officers alone, at the time
to which I allude, actually out-numbered the whole of what our peace
establishment used to be.

One of the precious effects of the downfall of Napoleon was the
restoration of the bigotted, despicable tyrant, Ferdinand the Seventh,
to the throne of Spain; and one of his first acts was to restore the
hellish Inquisition, with all its horrors, which had been abolished
during the sway of the French, and which had also been suppressed by the
Cortes. The amiable Pope Pius the Seventh being restored to the see of
Rome, he performed his part in the scene of mummery and tyranny, by
issuing a Bull for the restoration of the order of the Jesuits. So
it will be clearly seen that the canting Boroughmongering Protestant
Parliament of England, while it pertinaciously refused to grant
emancipation to the Catholics in Ireland, contrived to restore the Pope,
Popery, the Inquisition, the Jesuits, and every species of superstition
and intolerance upon the Continent!

About this time two fanatics, of the names of Johanna Southcote and
Hannah More, were much followed in the West of England. Somersetshire
could boast of possessing two female saints, _Mrs. Hannah More_ and
_Mrs. Johanna Southcote_, at the same time; which of the two was the
greatest imposter it would be very difficult to decide, although the
former appears to have borne off the palm of successful fraud and
imposition. Miss Hannah, who, in her younger days, had been a very
frolicsome lass, became all at once converted into a saint, and set up
for a severe and rigid moralist; and she had the merit of establishing
the gang generally known by the title of the SAINTS, amongst our
politicians. In her train she had the Sidmouths, the Wilberforces,
the Babingtons, the Dickensons, and others of that puritannical cast;
although it has been whispered, but that, of course, must be a calumny,
that, from the well-known character of some of these gentry, who were
very frequent in their visits, the buxom dame (who had now assumed the
title of Mrs.) contrived, like the friars of old, to indulge in the
gratification of those passions to which it is said real saints are not
prone. Some of her neighbours were in consequence so ill-natured as to
say, that her conversion was not sincere, but that it was a mere cloak
to cover certain practices. But my readers are aware that we must not
believe _all_ that the world says. Mrs. Johanna was an illiterate woman,
whose fanaticism was carried to full as high a pitch as that of Mrs.
More; but as her doctrine did not suit "the powers that be" quite so
well as the doctrine of the other did, she could not boast of having
Ministers of State and many of the Nobility as her disciples, although
amongst her numerous followers she did not want for men of talent and
education. Dr. Ash, under whose care the VERY VENERABLE JUDGE BEST
received his education, was a staunch disciple of Johanna's, and it
is said the _venerable Judge_ himself at times discovered a little
hankering after the prophetess; but whether his attachment was to her
person or her principles, is not clearly decided.

During this period the British troops were carrying on a marauding,
petty warfare in America, and on the 24th of August they burnt the
newly-built, half-finished city of Washington, and magnanimously
destroyed the city printing-press, and threw the types into the streets,
that they might be trampled under the horses feet. England being at
peace with all the rest of the world, the Government had nothing else to
do but to direct its whole force against the Americans, both by sea and
land, and I believe it was Mr. Charles Yorke, the First Lord of the
Admiralty, who put forth a speech in his place in Parliament, to the
following effect:--"That now Napoleon was deposed there was another
example of democratic revolution, and it was necessary to depose James
Madison, the President of the United States of America." This speech was
hailed and cheered by a great number of the Members of the Honourable
House, many of whom seemed to think that it was no very difficult matter
to carry it into effect. But they reckoned without their host; for the
news having arrived of the total defeat of the British fleet, on Lake
Champlain, matters began to wear a different aspect, and the boasters
were compelled to draw in their horns a little. Sir James Yeo had the
command of the English fleet upon the Lakes, and Commodore Downie, in
the Confiance, of 38 guns, had the command of the British squadron upon
Lake Champlain, supported by Captain Pring, in the Linnet, of 16 guns;
Lieutenant M'Ghee, in the Chub, of 11 guns; and Lieutenant Hix, in
the Finch, of 11 guns. Lieutenant Raynham and Lieutenant Dual had the
command of twelve gun-boats. The American squadron was commanded by
Commodore M'Donough, in the Saratoga, of 26 guns; Captain Harley, in the
Eagle, of 22 guns; and Captain----, in the Ticonderoga, of 18 guns,
with 1 sloop, and 10 gun-boats. The English fleet had 90 guns and 12
gun-boats; the American fleet had 83 guns and 10 gun-boats--so that the
British fleet had the superiority in number of guns and weight of metal.
The American fleet was anchored opposite an American battery, commanded
by General M'Coomb, at the head of 800 men. The British troops, under
the command of Sir George Prevost, amounting to thirteen thousand men,
were all drawn up on shore ready to take the battery, if the English
fleet had succeeded in beating the Americans. It was communicated to Sir
George Prevost that the English fleet would attack the Americans that
day. Commodore Downie called all his officers on board, and communicated
to each the order of battle, and his last words were, "Lieutenant M'Ghee
will lead into action; let it be close quarters, MUZZLE to MUZZLE." He
doubled a point of the American coast with a fair wind, and came in full
view of the enemy lying at anchor; the signal was then given to bear up,
and commence the action. Mr. M'Ghee carried in the Chub, of 11 guns, and
placed her gallantly close alongside of the Eagle, of 22 guns, agreeable
to orders, having sustained the fire of the gun-boats as he passed; he
blazed away at the enemy and received their fire in return, till he
himself was wounded in three places, and every man out of his complement
of sixty was either killed or wounded, with the exception of six. In
fact, the Chub was made into a cullender, and completely disabled,
before he struck her colours. The same fate attended the Confiance, the
Linnet, and the Finch, the latter of which grounded on a reef of rocks
about the middle of the engagement. The gun-boats appear absolutely to
have run away. Thus was the British fleet captured by an inferior
fleet of the Americans. Commodore Downie was killed by a ball from the
American gun-boats very early in the contest, and the Confiance is said
to have struck her colours without coming fairly into action; the result
was, the British fleet was lost, and the officers were tried by a Court
Martial. All the others were promoted, and the gallant Lieutenant M'Ghee
was reprimanded for taking his ship prematurely into action. This is
a pretty specimen of British justice in the naval department, and a
melancholy example of the reward bestowed upon the gallant officers and
men who fought our battles and maintained the British character.

On the 1st of November was opened the Congress at Vienna, where Lord
Castlereagh, as the representative of the King of England, attended,
and where it is generally believed he played second fiddle to Prince

In consequence of the peace, and the Bank of England having drawn in
a considerable quantity of its paper, preparatory to the payment in
specie, which, as the law stood, they were compelled to at the end of
six months after the peace had been proclaimed; in consequence of this,
and there having been a good crop of wheat and a fair harvest, the
average price of wheat during the year was seventy-four shillings per
quarter, and the price of the quartern loaf was reduced to one shilling.
Notwithstanding this, many riots took place in Nottinghamshire and
Leicestershire, by the Luddites, who continued to set the laws at
defiance, and to break the frames in the most lawless and unwarrantable
manner. Their hostility was directed against all sorts of machinery, but
particularly against the looms and frames used for weaving and knitting
in the stocking trade.

The supplies voted this year amounted to seventy-five millions six
hundred and twenty-four thousand five hundred and seventy-two pounds.
By a return, it appeared that the amount of Bank of England notes in
circulation was between twenty-eight and twenty-nine millions, and that
the number of private banks was seven hundred and twenty-four.

The Parliament had met late in the fall of 1814, but little was done
of importance, except passing the address, and a Bill called "the
Preservation of Peace Bill," to put down by force the disturbances in
Ireland. The state of Ireland had become very alarming, as the poor
Irish were suffering the greatest privations from bad government and
severe laws; which laws were exercised with the greatest severity,
to support an infamous tithe system and a national church, the most
profligate, the most expensive and rapacious that ever existed; a
church in every respect hostile to the religion of four-fifths of the
inhabitants, and a priesthood proud, overbearing, and intolerant.

In the higher circles it was now confidently given out that the Princess
Charlotte, the heir apparent to the throne of England, was to be married
to the hereditary Prince of Orange; but the disposition of her Royal
Highness had been greatly soured by the infamous treatment of her poor
mother, and, conceiving that this said young Dutch upstart had not paid
her mother proper respect and attention, but that he was more disposed
to fawn and cringe to the will of her father, it is said that she
dismissed him from her presence, and peremptorily refused to marry him.
This drove her Royal Papa into a great passion, and our magnanimous
Prince Regent went suddenly to Warwick House, the residence of his
daughter, and discharged all her servants. She, however, proved herself
a legitimate Guelph, in obstinacy, at any rate; for she refused to see
the young Orange afterwards. This young lady had secured the affections
of every honourable and unprejudiced person in the kingdom, by her
undeviating attachment to her mother, and she gained the hearts of
thousands by her firm and undaunted opposition to the arbitrary mandates
of her father, with respect to that mother.

The Parliament met very early after the adjournment, and the first Act
they passed was to renew _the restriction of cash payments by the Bank
of England;_ another violation of a positive pledge of the Honourable
House, another gross breach of faith committed upon the people by a
corrupt Parliament, which had solemnly declared by an act that the Bank
should be compelled to pay their notes in specie at the end of six
months after peace was made.

Accounts were now brought to England that Napoleon was reigning in full
sovereignty at Elba, and all the corrupt writers in the Ministerial and
daily press were sneering at the idea of his fancied sovereignty. But by
the solemn treaty of Paris, Napoleon was as much an Emperor as he ever
had been as much a Sovereign as the Emperor of Russia; and, by the law
of nations, quite as much entitled to make war or peace with other
powers as was the King of England, the King of France, or any other
Sovereign. But these writers, as I have before said, were daily
ridiculing his sovereignty, and holding his power in derision. But it
will be seen hereafter, that it is a very dangerous thing to treat with
contempt the hostility of an enemy, however weak that enemy may be. In
the meantime Louis the Desired, the contemptible King of France, decreed
that the property of the Buonaparte family should be sequestred; the old
Bourbon tyranny was making the most rapid strides; the press was much
more enslaved than under the reign of Napoleon; disturbances had broken
out in many parts of France; yet such was the dreadful, enthralled state
of the press, that no one dared to mention them, nor were they ever
known but by the proclamations of the King, to restrain and repress
them. The finances of France were, nevertheless, in a flourishing state;
their trade was fast reviving, and every means that ingenuity could
devise were resorted to, to induce the people to feel for royalty; and,
amongst other things, a solemn funeral for the late King and Queen of
France took place, which was conducted with great pomp and ceremony.

In America, the English were routed at New Orleans, by General Jackson,
who, with an undisciplined militia, and very inferior numbers, caused
great slaughter amongst the British troops; in fact, the number killed
in the English ranks amounted to more than the whole number of the
American troops, so expert were the riflemen, and so superior were the
abilities of the American General Jackson. This was a death-blow to the
hopes of the English, for the bravery of the Americans appeared to be
invincible; they were in truth fighting for Liberty, for themselves and
their country, and not for any despot or any despotism. This fine spirit
gained them a peace, which it may fairly be said they fought for, bled
for, and ultimately obtained by conquest; and James Madison remained,
in spite of all the threats of deposing him, President of the only free
people upon the habitable globe. Thus, as I hope and trust, have they
secured and placed upon an imperishable basis, the liberties and just
rights of their people. They had a right to be proud of their success.
England, at peace with all the rest of the world, carried on a war with
America; yet the latter, single-handed, not only met and contended with,
but repelled the mighty power of her adversary, and by the equity of her
cause, and the bravery of her citizens, she conquered a peace, in spite
of the threats of England's haughty, bullying, ignorant, and intolerant
Ministers, who had declared that _the right of search_ was a _sine qua
non_ which must form the basis of any negotiation. Ultimately, however,
these very Ministers were glad to make peace with the Americans, by
saying nothing about the _sine qua non_, the _right of search_, for
which they had gone to war. England went to war almost solely to
maintain the _right of search_; the Americans went to war to resist that
right; and England having made peace, and suffered the right of search
to be passed over in silence, the Americans have gained their object,
and the English have lost the point which was the cause of the war.

On the 17th of January in this year, 1815, a Catholic meeting was held
in Dublin, at which it was determined to petition Parliament for an
unqualified emancipation.

The price of wheat and all sorts of grain having been reduced, the
great landholders had been for some time raising a cry, that the landed
interest was in danger, and that the farmers would be ruined unless some
law was made to keep up the price of grain to the war standard, which,
on an average, was from twelve to fifteen shillings a bushel. The
Ministers had been pressed hard by the great landholders, in both Houses
of Parliament, to bring forward such a measure; but, knowing and feeling
the unpopularity to which it would expose them, they had, from time
to time, put them off, and they appeared to discountenance any such
proposition, whenever it was mentioned in the House. At length, however,
the Ministers gave way to the urgent demands of the landholders,
although apparently with great reluctance and considerable doubts. In
several districts the landholders urged the farmers and their tenants
to petition the House for a Corn Bill. Amongst the number of these
landholders, the most active and the most forward to promote such
petitions in Wiltshire and the West of England, was Mr. John Benett,
of Pyt-House, near Shaftesbury, the present Member for that county.
Committees of both Houses of Parliament were appointed to inquire into
the state of agriculture, for the purpose of ascertaining what measures
it were necessary to take, or what Act to pass to keep up the price of
corn, or rather to keep up the price of the quartern loaf to the war
standard. Mr. John Benett was one of the witnesses who volunteered to be
examined at great length before both of these Committees, that of the
House of Lords as well as that of the House of Commons.

As soon as the evidence given before these Committees was published, I
rode over to Botley, to my friend Cobbett, to urge him to take a _more
decided part_ against the measure; for I thought I discovered in his
Register a leaning towards a Corn Bill, or rather the doctrine was
maintained that it was necessary to protect the farmer as well as the
merchants and other trades. When I arrived, I found him endeavouring, by
arguments the most powerful, to shew the injustice of leaving the farmer
open to the competition of foreign growers, who could raise the grain at
half the expense which must be incurred by the native growers. Perhaps
this was said to ascertain my sentiments upon the subject, which I
immediately, and in the most unequivocal manner, stated to be in direct
opposition to the measure. I argued against the injustice of making
the mechanic and the labourer pay a war price for his bread in time
of peace, and I maintained that it was the duty of the farmer and the
landholder to petition for a reduction of taxation, so as to enable
him to compete with the foreign farmer, instead of petitioning for a
monopoly by his exclusion. In five minutes my friend Cobbett was either
convinced of the propriety and justice of my remarks, or at any rate he
professed to be so; and he concurred with me in the necessity of calling
upon the public to come forward to oppose so injurious and ruinous a
measure as that which was contemplated. I pointed out to him the fallacy
and the hypocrisy of those who pretended to be anxious for the good of
the farmer, and we both very soon came to this conclusion, that a Corn
Bill would be ultimately injurious to the farmer, and that the only
result of it would be, to raise the price of the _staff of life_, and to
grind the face of the poor, to enable the farmer to continue to pay high
taxes, for the support of an unconstitutional large standing army in
the time of peace, and to enable the lazy sinecurist and the unmerited
pensioner to wallow in wealth and riot in luxury, drawn from the sweat
of the poor man's labour. From this time forward Mr. Cobbett took the
most decisive part in opposition to every movement of the Corn Bill

Sir Henry Parnell, an Irish Member, ONE OF THE OPPOSITION, brought
forward the measure in the House of Commons, and I believe he was
Chairman of the Committee. I will now put upon record a few questions
and answers, extracted from the evidence of the aforesaid John Benett,
Esq. of Pyt-House, voluntarily given before the Committee of the House
of Lords, in favour of a Corn Bill, which evidence was printed by order
of the Right Honourable House:

_The Evidence of_ JOHN BENETT, _Esq. of Pyt-House_, voluntarily _given
lefore the Committee of the House of Lords, in favour of the Corn Bill._

You hold a considerable quantity of land in your own hands?--I do.

What number of acres?--I believe upwards of 2000 acres, in various
parishes in the western part of Wiltshire, about twelve miles from
Warminster.--My residence is Pyt-House, in Wiltshire.

Have you any general information about the state of that quarter of the
country, or can you speak only to the particular district in which you
reside?--I can speak to the county of Wilts; for I am in the habit of
riding through it very often, and am in the habit of meeting with the
farmers in the county, from having been for some years a farmer, and am
now President of the Agricultural Society of that county. Can you give
the Committee any account of the increase and alterations that have
taken place in the value and prices of the different articles of produce
from land, and the expenses of cultivation, and from what period?--I
can speak to nearly twenty years. The price of wheat has varied so
very materially, it is more easily ascertained from the returns of the
markets than from recollection.

In the present state of the improved cultivation of those parts of the
county of Wilts with which you are acquainted, can you state the various
prices which it will be necessary for the farmer to receive for the
different species of grain he rears, in order to remunerate him for
his expenses?--Taking the taxes, the price of labour, and all outgoing
expenses of the farmer as they now stand, and the rents at which land
has lately been let, I do not conceive the farmer can possibly raise
wheat, and remunerate himself with ten per cent. interest upon his
capital, under 12_s_. a bushel, or 96_s_. per quarter.

If the farmer was to receive only 75_s_. per quarter, would he be
capable of paying any rent at all?--No, he certainly would not be able
to pay his rent, and get his ten per cent. upon his capital.

Is land generally let in Wiltshire upon the supposition that wheat will
stand at 96_s_. and barley at half the price of wheat?--I believe that
lands have been let even at a higher calculation than that; I am in the
habit of valuing estates of my own as well as of others, and of giving
opinions to my friends; and I have always calculated upon 12_s_. a
bushel, and I believe surveyors do the same; many of the estates let by
survey let at a much greater calculation, or rather, I believe, without

Do you believe there is any surveyor who practises the surveying of
estates for the purpose of fixing rents, who proceeds on the calculation
of wheat being at a higher price than 12_s_. per bushel, or 96_s_.
a quarter?--I believe no estates have been let in Wiltshire, by our
first-rate surveyors, on a calculation of more than 12_s_. per bushel,
or 96_s_. per quarter, for the last eight years, since the high price of
corn and the competition for estates.

If wheat should be at 80_s_. and other grains at a proportionate price,
do you believe the farmers would continue in the cultivation of their
land at the expense of the present mode of culture?--Certainly not; I
think less wheat would be sown, and less money would be expended in
the cultivation of land. From your knowledge of the general ideas of
farmers, do you believe that the same opinion you have expressed to the
Committee upon this subject is generally entertained?--With respect to
renting farmers I believe the same opinion prevails with those who have
leases they cannot get rid of; but where they have not leases, or their
landlords will permit them to surrender them, they are not under the
same alarm, because they will quit their farms altogether, unless they
can get a reduction in their rent in proportion to the price of corn;
but no reduction of rent will answer as it stands now, it will exhaust
the whole rent.

Do you know of any farmers who have actually withdrawn their capital
from agriculture?--No, I do not; but a tenant of my own surrendered a
beneficial agreement, of which there were seven years to come. I gave my
tenants notice that I would not promise to sink their rents, but that
they might surrender their leases altogether.

At what value of wheat did you compute the rent which the tenant
paid you under the lease, of which only one year has run?--I made no
particular computation for that; I have been in the habit of making
valuations of my own farms; I have generally taken it at 12_s_.; I could
have got more for this estate, it being a particularly valuable farm; I
made no particular calculation as to this farm. I have another tenant,
whose term of seven years only has expired; I expected to have raised
his rent nearly 400_l_. per annum, upon a rent of 870_l_.; I have not
raised him a farthing; I dare not propose to raise him; I think he would
quit me if I should attempt it; and I doubt my power of letting it, if
he should quit me. I directed my surveyor to look over his farm, and let
me know the price he thought I might put upon it, and if he thought
it would bear raising, to let me know; and I have not heard from him,
though he looked over it about two months ago.

How long had he possessed it at the rent of 870_l_.?--Only seven years.

At what rate did you calculate the value of wheat at that time?--At
12_s_. a bushel.

At what would you have calculated the price of wheat if you had raised
it?--It is proper I should explain that; I did not in fact fix the rent;
I agreed he should take it at the Commissioners' valuation, it being
then just laid in under the act of inclosure.

Do you know whether the Commissioners fixed the rent, calculating wheat
at 12_s_. a bushel?--I do not; but I told him at the time I considered
the Commissioners' valuation would be a certain price; that if the
valuation was lower than the price, he should have it at the lower rate;
the Commissioners' valuation exceeded my price, therefore he has it at
the price named by me, though I thought it too little.

Is it a farm which requires the application of much capital to render it
productive?--Yes, it does.

When you had in your own mind settled that you would get an advanced
rent of 400_l_. a year, what did you take the price of wheat at in
forming that calculation?--I conceived wheat was higher than 12_s_.
a bushel, not more than 13_s_. a bushel. I have not valued this farm
particularly at 400_l_. a year more, but I felt that the farm was worth
400_l_. a year more than I had let it at.

You have said that at the time the Commissioners valued it, you believe
they proceeded on the idea that wheat was worth 12_s_. a bushel?--No,
I do not know what calculation the Commissioners made; they were three
eminent surveyors.

When it passed in your mind that you would get 400_l_. a year more, was
not that in consequence of your having an opinion that the Commissioners
had fixed the land at a lower rent than if wheat were calculated at
12_s_. a bushel?--Certainly it was.

And your idea of getting 1270_l_. was in consequence of what passed
in your mind as to wheats being fairly to be valued at 12_s_. a
bushel?--Certainly it was.

Having stated your knowledge to be general over the county of Wilts, and
having stated your calculation of wheat to be at 12_s_. for the last
seven years, do you apply that to the farms within your own immediate
knowledge, or over the county of Wilts generally?--I believe that
generally over the county of Wilts, 12_s_. is the lowest calculation
which has been made by surveyors in letting land.

If a free importation should take place, how many rents do you think the
farmer will be able to make then?--It depends entirely upon what effect
the free importation may have upon the price of corn; taking wheat at
8_s_. a bushel, and taking all agricultural expenses to stand as they
now do, I conceive the farmer with an average crop; cannot pay any
rent at all. You conceive a proprietor farming his own estate, with a
competent share of skill and capital, would be a loser if the price of
wheat was 8_s_. a bushel?--Yes, I do.

Has any proportion of the value of daily labour been made up to the
labourers out of the poor's rates?--Yes, it has; the weekly income of
every family is made up to the gallon loaf and three-pence per head.
Supposing the father to earn 9_s_. one of the children 3_s_. another
2_s_. and another 1_s. od_. the magistrate conceiving they are able to
earn that, or the overseer being willing to give them the money for
their labour, whatever the deficiency is, is made up to the amount I
have stated. I must explain, that I give this evidence as a magistrate
more than as a farmer; for I act for a very large district, and am in
the habit of making this order. The gallon loaf per head per week is
what we suppose sufficient for the maintenance of every person in the
family for the week; and the 3_d_. is for clothes; and if the parish
think proper to find clothes, the 3_d_. is deducted. This practice goes
through all the western parts of Wiltshire, and I believe throughout the

Have you, from your situation as a Magistrate, any connexion and
knowledge of the condition of the lower class of manufacturers?--I have;
I live within nine miles of a great number of them, and act for several
manufacturing parishes as a Magistrate.

Can you state the average consumption of a family?--The manufacturers
live better than the farming labourers, but they need not live better;
when they come to the parishes they have only the same allowance from us
as paupers of every class.

Do you expect the labouring manufacturers will consume a greater
proportion of farm produce than they have hitherto done?--I conceive
greater waste will be made of farm produce when it is at a low price
than when it is at a high price, and, in fact, they must consume
more: _they live upon wheat instead of barley; they lived upon barley
formerly, and now they live upon wheat, and eat fewer potatoes

Do you think it would be possible for landlords to reduce their rents so
as to enable the tenant to make a fair profit, according to the present
price of corn?--No; I do not think it is in the power of landlords, it
must depend upon the riches of the landlord; but if he reduces the whole
rent upon some farms, it would not be sufficient according to the
present price of corn; taking the present price of wheat at eight
shillings a bushel, and all other grain following the same scale.

The price is high abroad at present?--It is.

The case of a peace with America, and of our receiving corn from
thence, do not you conceive, in case of a great influx of corn from the
continent, the price must fall considerably?--Certainly, as the price
falls upon the continent, it will fall here, if free importation is
permitted; but I would wish to be understood here as to the price of
corn, it must very much depend upon the crop of the year, because I do
not believe it possible to import sufficient to feed the people of Great
Britain, and very much must depend upon the quantity of corn grown; and
my own belief is, that the price of corn will be very high indeed in
three years, higher than it has probably been known for the last ten
years. I think the importation is an uncertain sort of supply; there may
be a bad crop upon the continent, or a thousand interruptions may stop
the importation.

On what is your opinion founded, that it will be at a high
price?--_Because a great deal less wheat will be sown in consequence of
the low prices; I believe the defalcation in the number of acres sown
will be very great indeed_.

Do you think that the present rents are the cause of the tenants not
being able to obtain a fair profit, corn being at eight shillings a
bushel; or does it arise from the price of labour, the amount of poors'
rates, taxes, and other expenses?--_I do not myself think the rents are
too high, taking them at a general average; in fact, I do not think the
gentlemen of landed property can now live at the present rents with the
same comforts their forefathers have done on the same estates; that if
the rents are to be lowered, the gentlemen of landed property must be
sunk in their scale in society_.

Do you conceive that the existing rents bear a greater proportion to the
produce than formerly?--No; not so great by a great deal; I conceive
that rents have not risen in the same proportion that all the articles
of life, which we are compelled to have as country gentlemen, have

The following requisition was published in the Salisbury and Winchester
Journal, on the 2d of January, 1815, calling a public meeting of
the landholders and farmers of the county of Wilts, to be held at
Warminster, on the 6th day of January following:--

WE, the undersigned Land-Owners and Occupiers of Land, in the county of
Wilts, conceiving it to be impossible that the British farmers should
ever contend on fair or equal terms with foreign growers of corn, even
in British markets, as long as the former shall have to bear such heavy
charges of rates, taxes, assessments, and other expenses attendant
on their cultivation, of which the latter know nothing: Being also
convinced that the farmers of this kingdom have already suffered
severely, even to the ruin of many of those who have had small capitals;
and also that the evil is fast approaching to the land-owners; and must
(if no relief be given to the agriculturists) evidently fall on the
country at large: Feeling it also to be a duty incumbent on as many
of us as are landlords, to exert ourselves for the protection of our
tenants, and on us all jointly to exert ourselves, for our mutual
protection:--Do hereby give Notice, That we intend to meet at the Lord's
Arms Inn, at Warminster, in the county of Wilts, on Friday the 6th day
of January next, at 12 o'clock at noon, for the purpose of considering
of the propriety of preparing Petitions to the two Houses of Parliament,
on behalf of ourselves and others; and we invite all Land-Owners, and
Occupiers of Land, in the county of Wilts, who may wish to unite with us
in forwarding this our object, to meet us on that day, and to co-operate
with us, in adopting such measures as may then and there be thought
necessary, for our mutual relief and preservation.

_Dated this 30th of December, 1814._ (Signed.)

Thomas Grove. John Benett. James Everard Arundel.
George South. J.H. Penruddocke. Alexander Powell.
H. Linton. T. Davis, Jun. S. Card.
John Davis. J.E. Strickland. G.J. Kneller.
John Gordon. H. Biggs. J. Slade.
William Smith. Robert Smith. Richard Rickword.
Henry Hubbard. Robert Candy. John Neat.
John Pearce. George Young. James Burges.
Richard Pocock. James Pearce. William Glass.
Robert Payne. J. Howel. John Folliott.
William Marsh. Thomas Chandler. Thomas Burfitt.
John Barter. John Phillips. Henry Phillips.
Thomas Burge. John Mitchell. J.C. Burbidge.
John Willis. Robert Rumsey. James Chaiman.
E.F. Seagram. James Goddard. John Goddard.

This was short notice, as many people of the county of Wilts did not get
the Salisbury paper till the 3d or 4th of January. In fact, I myself, who
was living in Hampshire, did not get it till the 4th in the evening, nor
should I have seen it at all, if a friend had not sent it to me. As
I had a small freehold in the county of Wilts, and also occupied a
considerable farm at Upavon, in that county, I made up my mind, within
five minutes after I saw the above advertisement, that, although I was
living at a distance of nearly forty miles from the scene of action, I
would make one at this intended snug meeting. I mounted my gig the next
day (the 5th), and drove as far as Deptford Inn. I had heard of a
Mr. Gourley, who lived at Deptford, upon an estate of the Duke of
Somerset's; and, as he had acquired the character of being at least an
eccentric, if not an independent man, I called at his house with the
intent to have some conversation with him upon the proposed meeting.
Fortunately, however, he was from home, or I might have been hampered
with a very troublesome and a very disagreeable companion; for I
afterwards found that Mr. Gourley, though perhaps a very well-meaning
person, was so flighty, so confused, and so opinionated in his wild and
visionary notions, that he was a very dangerous man to have any thing to
do with; at any rate, he was a person that it was impossible to go hand
in hand with. I slept at Deptford Inn, and proceeded through Heytesbury
to Warminster in the morning, calling upon my old friend Cousens in my
way thither; I knew that he was staunch to the back-bone, and that,
in case he was at home, I should be sure of his support to second any
amendment that I might find it necessary to propose. When I drove up to
his door at Heytesbury, I was surprised to find all the window-shutters
closed, although it was nearly ten o'clock. Upon hailing him, he popped
his head out of the chamber window with a night-cap on, in one of the
severest hoar frosty mornings I ever beheld. I told him where I was
going, and he promised to follow me instantly, without fail; and he kept
his word, for he overtook me upon his grey poney before I reached the

When I drove into Warminster, the town was as still and as quiet as
possible, without any of those bustling indications which I had been
accustomed to witness at a public meeting. While I was taking my
breakfast at the Lord's Arms Inn, some of the requisitionists made
their appearance, and they were soon followed by the remainder, and a
considerable number of the landholders of the county, amongst whom, as I
sat at an up-stair window, I recognised Mr. Wyndham, of Dinton, the High
Sheriff; Paul Methuen, Esq. one of the Members for the county; and the
said John Benett, surrounded by a few of the requisitionists. I sat
very quiet while my friend Cousens reconnoitred their forces, and
communicated their arrival. At length we saw them all proceed to the
Town-hall, perhaps twenty-five or thirty of them at the outside--as
pretty a little snug cabal as ever was mustered upon any occasion. They
passed my window and went smirking along, little dreaming that they
should meet with the slightest interruption or opposition to their
measures, which were all ready cut and dry, and safely deposited in the
pocket of the celebrated attorney, Mr. Charles Bowles, of Shaftesbury.
As the train passed up the street, the town's-people took little other
notice of them than by now and then _eyeing them askance_ with a jealous
look. I had remained the whole time snug in my room, without one soul of
them knowing or suspecting that I was in Warminster; but, as soon as I
saw them all safely housed, out I bolted into the street, and made my
way after them. As we walked up the street, my friend Cousens intimated
to two or three of the shopkeepers who I was, and the news flew like
wildfire round the town, that Mr. Hunt was arrived, and gone up to the
Hall. As, therefore, something like fair discussion was likely to take
place, the said meeting, which, ten minutes before, excited no interest
whatever amongst the town's-people, was, in a very short space of time,
crowded by the shopkeepers, and attended by almost every respectable man
in the town. When I entered the Hall it was very evident that I was not
a very welcome guest, and that I had not been expected by any one. As,
however, I was a landholder of the county, and one of those who were
invited, it was impossible to make any objection, as I was as much
entitled to be present as any man in the room. Mr. Grove, whose name
stood at the head of the requisition, was called to the chair. This
gentleman, who is descended from one of the most ancient families in
the county, having shortly stated the object of the meeting, Mr. Benett
arose, and, after some wriggling and twisting, addressed them. As the
following report, which was published in Keene's Bath Journal, on the
Sunday following, contains a brief outline and an impartial account of
the proceedings, I will insert it verbatim, as it was afterwards copied
into almost every newspaper in the kingdom:

On the 6th of January a Meeting of "Landholders and
Occupiers of Land," was held at the Town-Hall, Warminster,
convened by public advertisement, signed by
John Benett, Esq. of Pyt-House, (the gentleman who
gave such long and strong evidence before the Committees
of both Houses of Parliament in favour of the Corn Bill),
and several other respectable land-owners and farmers of
the county of Wilts, to take into consideration the propriety
of presenting Petitions to both Houses of Parliament,
on behalf of the proprietors and occupiers of land.
Thomas Grove, Esq. of Fern, one of the gentlemen who
called the meeting, having taken the chair, Mr. Benett addressed
them at a very considerable length in favour of a
petition that he submitted for their adoption, expressive of
the serious injury already sustained by the farmer, and the
probable result likely to fall on the landholder, arising
from the reduced and low price of corn, owing particularly
to the importations from France, &c. The Petition further
stated, that as the agricultural interest was blended
with that of the tradesman and mechanic, the latter were invited
to join in its support, and add their signatures thereto.
Mr. Benett insisted that, as the evidence given before the
Corn Committees had never been contradicted, the legislature
were bound to afford the agricultural interest their
protection; and, enforcing the necessity of Parliamentary
interposition in favour of the landed interest, he said, that
unless some measure were devised to enable the farmer
to pay his present rent and taxes, the landholders would
be completely ruined; and he solemnly declared, that,
unless this desirable object was carried into immediate
execution, he for one would be under the absolute necessity,
before that day twelvemonth, of _leaving the country_
with his family, to reside where provisions and all the necessaries
of life were to be obtained at a rate within the
reach of his fortune.

[Footnote: Quere.--If this solemn asseveration of Mr. Benett's be
correct, (who, by the bye, is a Land-owner to the amount of 10,000_l_.
a year,) what will be the fate of those who are left behind, without
the means of flying from the evil?]

The motion was briefly seconded by Mr. BOWLES.--Mr. HUNT began by
stating his objection to the meeting altogether, asserting, that if
the meeting was not illegal, it was highly improper for a few
individuals of a particular class to call a meeting to petition
Parliament in favour of _tradesmen and mechanics_, without giving them
an opportunity of attending to decide upon its propriety. This was a
close meeting of landholders and farmers; many respectable tradesmen,
inhabitants of the town, would have attended, but they were told they
had no business there, not being landholders or farmers. This
meeting, therefore, bore a resemblance to a "Conclave of Cardinals
with closed doors."--Instead of calling a meeting like this, why not
call a public county meeting, and meet the question manfully and
openly? One reason against this was, that at an open county meeting,
even Mr. John Benett would not be so hardy as to bring forward a
petition, the sole object of which was the keeping up the price of
corn, under the cloak of its being a petition in favour of the
tradesman and the mechanic.--

In fact, this was a petition especially to benefit the landholder;
even the farmer was of secondary consideration,
and it was decidedly hostile to the interest of every other
class of society; and if acted upon would prove ruinous to
the little tradesman, the mechanic, and the labourer. The
landlord had met with no reverse since the commencement
of the war; his rents had progressively increased,
in proportion as the rest of the community had suffered
privations; the nearer the mechanic and the labourer
had approached to starvation and beggary, the higher
were the profits and the more efficient the means of the
landholder. This was no theoretical proposition, hastily
introduced, it was a practical truism, the result of careful
and recent inquiry. He would read to the meeting an
account of the population of the parish of Enford, a large
parish in the centre of the county of Wilts, with the comparative
statement of the rise in the price of labour, the
price of bread, and the price of land, within the last 30
years. The number of houses were 143, population 656,
farmers, &c. 250, labourers 406, labourers (not paupers)
201, labourers (paupers) 205. About 30 years back, the
labourers in this parish received 6_s_. per week; at this time
they received 8_s_. per week--30 years back, the quartern
loaf averaged about 5_d_. at this time it is 10-1/2_d_.--30 years
back, the labourer could purchase with his week's pay, 6_s_.
fourteen quartern loaves; now he can only purchase with
his week's pay, 8_s_. nine quartern loaves--about 30 years
back, the principal farm in this parish, then belonging to
the late Mr. Benett, of Pyt-house, in this county, was let
for 400_l_. a-year; at the present time this farm, the property
of Mr. John Benett, of Pyt-house, is let for 1,260_l_. a-year.
Thus it clearly appears in this parish, within the last 30
years, labour has risen from 6_s_. to 8_s_. per week, 33 per
cent., the quartern loaf from 5_d_. to 10-1/2_d_., 105 per cent.,
the rent of land from 400_l_. to 1,260_l_., 212 per cent. This
proves that bread has risen within this period more
than three times as much as labour, and land more than
twice as much as bread, and more than six times as much
as labour. At the present price of land, corn, bread, and
labour, the landlord is benefited three times as much as
the farmer, and six times as much as the labourer.
Mr. Benett said, that he had, since the period mentioned
by Mr. Hunt, purchased the tithes, and added
them to the farm, which was included in the present
rent. Mr. Hunt replied, that he was perfectly aware of
this circumstance, as well as of another circumstance
equally important, which was this, that Mr. Benett bad
taken a considerable portion of the best land from his
farm, and added it to another, which produced a greater
rent than the value of the tithes, therefore the balance
was more in favour of the landlord than be had
stated. He had mentioned this particular farm, as it belonged
to Mr. Benett, the proposer of the present measure;
but from his own knowledge (having an estate
himself in the same parish) he could state, that the land
had risen in the same, and, in some instances, in a higher
proportion. He, therefore, particularly enjoined the
farmers to pause before they gave their sanction to a measure,
which had only for its object the benefit and aggrandizement
of a few rapacious landholders, whilst it
was calculated to shift the odium of a dear loaf off their
own shoulders, and fix it upon the back of the farmer.
Let the odium rest where it was due, upon those who
were the supporters of the war, upon those who have fattened
upon the miseries of the people.--Mr. Bleeck followed
on the same side with Mr. Hunt, exposing the fallacy
of attempting to palm upon the meeting a petition,
professing to have for its object the welfare of the tradesman
and the mechanic, whilst the operation of it would
tend to perpetuate the misery they had so long endured;
he called to the recollection of many of the meeting, the
scenes which they had been in the habit of witnessing in
that hall, the walls of which had so often resounded with
the professions of those gentlemen who were now complaining
of the present times, the effect of that war, to
support which, they had so often solemnly pledged, not
only their last guinea, but their last drop of blood. He
called upon the Chairman not to blink the question, because
the majority of the meeting appeared against the
petition, but let it fairly meet its fate.--Paul Methuen,
Esq., one of the representatives for the county, said, that
seeing a meeting called, signed by a number of respectable
individuals, he felt it his duty to attend it; but if he
had known that it was to have been a close meeting with
closed doors, he certainly would not have come near the
place. If the meeting decided upon petitioning the
House of Commons, whatever that petition may be, he
should feel it his duty to present it; although he would
not pledge himself to support the landed interest, to the
injury of the tradesman and the mechanic. The Chairman
having hinted that it was going a little too far, to say
that this petition was in favour of the tradesman and mechanic,
and as they would not have an opportunity of
voting upon the subject, he thought they had better be
left out of the petition. The whole meeting appeared to
concur in this, and Mr. Benett proposed to draw the pen
through the words "tradesman and mechanic;" which
being done the Chairman desired all those who were for
the petition to hold up their hats. The Chairman declared
a decided majority kept their hats on; which was followed
by a symptom of approbation, whereupon the Chairman
asserted, that the meeting was so _tumultuous_, he would
not take the sense of it against the petition. Upon this,
the Chairman, with Mr. Benett and a few of his friends,
retired to a private room at the inn, but whether to sign
this petition in secret, which they could not carry in
public, or to abandon it altogether, we do not know.--
A statement of the fate of the petition was announced to
the inhabitants of the town by the bellman, amidst the
becoming cheers of the populace.

I have no hesitation to say, that the publication of this report in
_all_ the London newspapers, and in almost every country newspaper in
the three kingdoms, first roused a general feeling aginst the proposed
Corn Bill. Meetings were afterwards called in London and in Westminster,
and petitions were presented against the measure from almost every town
and district throughout the country. Sir Francis Burdett attended the
meeting of his constituents in Palace-yard, where they passed strong
resolutions, and sent a petition to the House against the measure; but
Sir Francis took a different view of the question, and appeared to think
it was necessary that the English farmer should be protected, and I
believe he said that he cared not whether the Bill was passed or not,
and that it would make no difference to him personally whichever way
it was decided. This certainly was not viewing the question with that
liberality and sound judgment with which the Baronet was accustomed
to act. For the moment, his speech threw a considerable damp upon the
ardour of a great many persons, who had before been very sanguine
against the adoption of the said Corn Bill, and so completely were the
affections of the people riveted to the opinions of Sir Francis Burdett,
that his constituents cheered him, and drew him home in his carriage
afterwards, amidst the acclamations of the populace.

This was the first instance that I recollect, for many years, in which I
acted in opposition to the opinions of Sir F. Burdett; but, as I was
thoroughly convinced of the mischievous intention of the supporters
of the measure, as well as of the fatal result that must follow its
adoption, I persevered in my opposition to it with all my power. I was
not contented with having attended the Common Hall, as a Liveryman of
the city of London, to protest against the Bill; I was not satisfied
with having blown up the cabal at Warminster, and compelled the parties
to sneak off with their resolutions and petitions, to pass them and
get them signed in holes and corners; but I personally procured a
requisition to be signed by the freeholders of the county of Wilts, and
presented it to the High Sheriff for the county, my old school-fellow,
William Wyndham, Esq. of Dinton, who was then residing at Marshwood,
near that place, while his house was building at Dinton. The Sheriff was
just upon the point of going out of office, and said the day was fixed
for him to meet the new Sheriff, at Salisbury, for the purpose of the
latter being sworn in. He, however, undertook to transmit my requisition
to him, and recommended that he should give notice of the meeting in
the first Salisbury paper after he had entered into his Sheriffalty.
I ascertained that a Mr. GEORGE EYRE, the _King's printer_, of the
house of _Strahan and Eyre_, printers in London, was to be the new
Sheriff, and, not choosing to trust to this mushroom gentleman, I
appointed to meet Mr. Wyndham at Salisbury, with the requisition, that
I might see the old and new Sheriff together; telling him, at the
same time, that I was determined not to be shuffled out of the county
meeting, for, in case the new Sheriff did not choose to call it, I
should go to the expense of calling it myself; and in the propriety
of doing so Mr. Wyndham concurred with me. (My elder readers will
recollect, and it is necessary to inform my young friends, that there
was no law at that period to prevent my calling the county together, to
consult upon the propriety of petitioning the Parliament; at least as
many of them as chose to assemble for that purpose.)

I had drawn up a requisition, and procured a number of respectable
signatures, and if the Sheriff, by refusing to call the meeting, had
dared to neglect his duty and abuse the high trust reposed in him by his
office, it was only necessary to advertise the requisition, and call the
meeting in the name of the requisitionists. When the day arrived I was
punctual to my appointment, and met the two Sheriffs at the office of
their Deputy, Mr. Attorney Tinney, who would as soon have seen the
devil as me; but, as he knew that I was not to be put off with any
of his usual quibbling tricks, upon demanding an interview with his
principals, I was admitted forthwith. I found this Mr. George Eyre just
such a Jack-in-office as I should have expected a King's printer, or a
King's lacquey, or a King's hairdresser to be; as unlike Mr. Wyndham,
both in appearance and manner, as a sneaking upstart could be unlike a
respectable country gentleman. The latter was unassuming, free, easy,
and gentleman-like, willing and anxious to do his duty in such a way
as was at once consistent with the character of his high office, and
accommodating to the requisitionists; whilst the former was jealous of
his authority, and appeared only to consider how he could get over the
_task_ which he had neither the courage to decline, nor the address to
manage with common urbanity. The day, however, was at length fixed, but
at the greatest possible distance of time, evidently for the purpose of
frustrating the object of those who signed the requisition, as in all
probability the Bill would be passed the House of Commons before the day
of meeting, or at least before the petition could be presented. In fact,
both the Sheriff and his hopeful Deputy declared with a sneer, that the
necessity of holding the meeting might possibly be set aside, by the
House of Commons passing the Bill. Old birds, however, are not to be
caught with chaff, and therefore the requisition was drawn too general
to allow of practising a trick of this sort; it said not a word about
the House of Commons; it merely requested that a county meeting might be
called, to consider the propriety of petitioning PARLIAMENT against the
proposed Corn Bill; and I sarcastically observed to these wiseacres,
that it depended upon the feeling of the meeting, when we were
assembled, which branch of the Parliament we should petition, whether
King, Lords, or Commons, and it would be quite time enough to consider
that point when we _were_ assembled. It always required considerable
address and presence of mind to keep the upper hand of these legal
quirk-dealers, these impudent under-strappers, whose whole trade
consists in trick and chicane; but I do not recollect ever having been
outwitted by any one of them as to the proceedings of a public meeting.

In the interval between the presenting of the requisition and the coming
together of the meeting, there were great riots in London, each night
that the measure was discussed in the House of Commons; great multitudes
had assembled about the House in a menacing manner; the military were
called in, and the Bill was passed while the House was guarded with an
armed military force with bayonets fixed. Many of the Members of the
Honourable House were hooted and hustled as they passed into the doors;
and Mr. Garrow, the then Attorney-General, had rather a narrow escape.
It is said that he was surrounded, and the mob were just upon the point
of claping a halter round his neck, supposing him to be one of the
obnoxious individuals who had been pressing the Bill through the House
with the most indecent haste, when some one in the crowd sung out with
a loud voice that it was Garrow, the Attorney-General, who had not
prosecuted any one for a political libel since he had been in office;
upon which they gave him three cheers and let him pass.

The day for the meeting at length came. When we arrived at Salisbury,
where the meeting was called, the news was brought down that the Bill
had passed the House of Commons the night before; but we were not thrown
off our guard by this event, as we had in some measure anticipated it.
It was, however, necessary to draw up fresh resolutions, and a petition
to the Lords instead of the Commons, which Mr. Cobbett and myself
had scarcely time to half accomplish before a messenger entered out of
breath, to say that the Sheriff and his party were gone to the Hall,
whither they had proceeded the moment the clock struck twelve, instead
of waiting, as usual, till it was _one_; the county meetings having
always been called at twelve, under an understanding that _one_ was the
hour at which business was to be commenced. In another minute or two a
second messenger hurried to us, to say that the Sheriff had opened the
proceedings, and the meeting would be instantly closed if we did not
proceed to the spot with all possible expedition. In consequence of
this, Mr. Cobbett and myself packed up our half-finished resolutions and
hastened to the scene of action, yet still conceiving it impossible that
any thing assuming the character of a gentleman could be guilty of such
a mean, pitiful, and underhanded trick as that which we were told would
be played. Scarcely, however, had we reached the door of the Hall, when
we met Mr. Sheriff, Mr. Deputy, and a pretty little knot of sycophants
and dependants, coming out; and Tinney informed us, that, as no one had
come forward when the requisition was read, the Sheriff had dissolved
the meeting. We expostulated against such an ungentlemanly like trick,
but our expostulations would have been in vain if the tricksters had
happened to have got without the door of the Hall; but, fortunately,
we got into the entrance passage, and met them face to face, where our
arguments were supported by such an overwhelming power in the rear, that
they were quite irresistible. The fact was, there happened to be _no
back door_, and with a _little gentle force_ we conveyed, or rather
wriggled, these worthy men in office back again, step by step, and inch
by inch, till the worthy Sheriff once more took the chair, amidst the
deafening shouts of the largest county meeting that I ever witnessed. To
tell the truth, they found it impossible to get out of the Hall, and at
length, after having made as many shifts and feints and shuffles as an
old fox would to avoid the well-trained, true-bred pack, and finding
that we neither yielded to coaxing, bullying, nor wheedling, they
ultimately made a virtue of necessity, and the high-bred High Sheriff
turned-to very kindly, and once more opened the proceedings of the
meeting, by reading the requisition. I then moved an adjournment into
the open air, and two carpenters' benches (the very best temporary
hustings) being at hand, the business went on and passed off in a most
regular and satisfactory manner. After I had moved and Mr. Cobbett had
seconded the resolutions, and a petition to the House of Lords, praying
that they would protect us from the rapacity of the Commons, and not
pass the Corn Bill, and after an amendment had been proposed by the
Reverend Mr. Hill, supported by Mr. Gourley, our resolutions and
petition, which also prayed for a Reform of the House of Commons, a
reduction of all useless places, and an abolition of all unmerited
pensions and sinecure places, were carried unanimously, or at least with
only a few, very few dissenting voices. Sheets of parchment and pens and
ink were provided, and the people began to sign their names instantly.
Mr. Cobbett returned to his home, while I sent messengers or went myself
into every town in the county, and collected signatures, which amounted,
at the end of four days, to TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND, and were forwarded with
the petition to Lord Stanhope, who presented it on the second reading of
the Bill in the House of Lords. I reckoned that it cost me upwards of
fifty pounds, out of my own pocket, to accomplish this county meeting
and petition; no one soul but myself having contributed a single
sixpence towards the expense.

About the time that the populace in London were committing great
excesses, by breaking the windows of those Members of Parliament who
took a prominent part in favour of the Corn Bill, Lord Cochrane, who was
confined in the King's Bench prison, in consequence of a verdict given,
or at least _procured_, against him, for the part it was pretended he
had in the Stock Exchange hoax, made his escape from that prison, a
circumstance which caused a very considerable sensation throughout the
metropolis and the country; for it was rumoured that his Lordship had
made his escape with the intention of placing him self at the head of
the London rioters, who had by this time increased in numbers and daring
resistance to the authorities. In descending by a rope from the top of
the wall, his Lordship fell from a very considerable height, and injured
himself severely, so much so, that he was for a great length of
time unable to raise himself from the earth. His Lordship remained
undiscovered for some weeks, and then appeared in his place in
Parliament, where he was discovered sitting upon one of the benches of
the House of Commons, and from thence he was taken by the civil power,
and delivered once more into the custody of the Marshal of the King's
Bench prison. Let the reader bear in mind what I have already mentioned,
that the Parliament of England was obliged to be aided by the military;
that Westminster Hall and both Houses of Parliament were encircled by
troops, and all the avenues leading thereto were guarded by soldiers
with their bayonets fixed, and that thus this law, this infamous Corn
Bill, to enhance and keep up the price of bread, the staff of life, was
passed under the protection of a military force, in defiance of the
prayers, the petitions, and the remonstrances of a great majority of the
people of England; a fact which clearly demonstrated that the House
of Commons, where the Bill originated, were so far from being the
representatives of the people, that they acted in direct hostility to
them, and had no feeling in common with them, but were more like a band
of venal, corrupt, profligate, dishonest, and merciless oppressors.

The landed gentry in other parts had now began to shew a disposition
to shake off the income tax, called the property tax, which was an
arbitrary and inquisitorial war tax, and ought to have been abolished as
soon as peace was proclaimed. As, however, the Ministers were evidently
not in the least disposed to give up fourteen millions a-year, which
this horrid imposition produced, many meetings were held and petitions
agreed to, praying for its being abolished. Amongst the number a
requisition was signed and presented to the Sheriff of Somerset, George
Edward Allen, Esq. of Bathhampton, requesting him to call a public
meeting to take the subject into consideration, and he immediately
advertised a meeting of the freeholders and inhabitants of the county,
to be held at Wells. At the head of this requisition was Mr. Hanning,
of Dillington. I saw the advertisement in the public papers, and as it
appeared that the parties calling the meeting only intended to petition
for a partial repeal of the tax, as far as it affected themselves, while
they left the most odious and obnoxious half of it untouched, I mean
that part which affected the small annuitant and fundholder, the widow
and the orphan, whose income was under one hundred pounds a-year, I
directly made up my mind to attend the meeting. As a preliminary step,
therefore, I wrote a letter to the freeholders and inhabitants of the
county, calling upon them to come to the meeting, and to support me in
the endeavour to frustrate such a partial proceeding. In case of their
being disposed to petition the Parliament, I urged them to support me in
petitioning for an absolute repeal of the _whole tax_. This letter was
published in one or two of the county newspapers, and I also printed and
caused to be circulated five hundred copies of it in hand-bills.

When the day came, I had to drive from Middleton Cottage in the morning,
a distance of fifty miles, and I reached Wells a little after one
o'clock, the meeting having been advertised to commence at that hour.
The news flew through the city like wildfire, and as I drove through the
streets in my tandem I was hailed by the acclamations of the people. I
had not been five minutes in the inn, before I received a polite message
from the High Sheriff, Mr. Allen, to say that he had delayed opening the
meeting till my arrival, and he would not go to the hustings till I
was ready to attend. Here was a contrast to the conduct of the paltry
upstart of the county of Wilts! As soon as the clock struck one Mr.
Allen was urged, by Mr. Perpetual Under-Sheriff and his associates, some
of the attending Magistrates, to proceed to the hustings, and to
open the proceedings forthwith. With this suggestion he, however,
peremptorily refused to comply, saying, "as Mr. Hunt has published
a letter in the public newspapers, to say that he should attend the
meeting, and propose some amendment to the petition which is meant to be
submitted to the meeting by those who signed the requisition, I have
not the slightest doubt but he will keep his word; and as he lives at a
great distance, I should not be doing my duty conscientiously if I did
not wait half an hour, to make allowance for the difference of clocks,
or any accidental delay that may have arisen in so long a journey."

As he had anticipated, I arrived within ten minutes of the time; and in
answer to his polite message I returned another, thanking him for
his attention, and promising not to detain him five minutes. In the
meanwhile I had a message from Mr. Hanning and the other gentlemen
who signed the requisition, to say that, previous to our going to the
hustings, they wished to consult with me upon the propriety of the
resolutions, &c. that they meant to submit to the meeting. My answer
was, "give my compliments to the gentlemen, and say that I am at the
Swan, where I shall be happy to confer with them if they wish it." In
three minutes, before I could scarcely wash my hands and face after my
journey, they entered my room. They began by saying that they had seen
my letter in the public papers, and as they by no means wished to act
hostilely to me, or to create any division at the meeting, they had no
objection to adopt my resolutions and petition, which prayed for the
total repeal of the Property Tax, instead of those which they had drawn
up, which only went to the partial repeal of it. I saw by this that they
had fully ascertained what was the real public feeling, and that they
were not willing to brave it at the meeting. I begged to see their
resolutions and petition, adding, that I by no means wished to take it
out of their hands; and to skew them that I wished to meet them upon
liberal terms, I proposed the embodying one of my resolutions among
theirs, and a corresponding clause in their petion. As these additions
fully recognised the principle for which I contended, I was desirous to
skew the requisitionists that I did not wish to take any advantage of
the popularity that I possessed, and I therefore agreed that Mr. Hanning
should propose his resolutions and petition, thus altered and amended,
and that I would then give him my hearty concurrence and support.

My proposition being readily accepted, and hailed as an emblem of union,
we proceeded to the hustings together, and every thing went off with
the greatest unanimity and cordiality amongst all the parties, with the
exception of a discussion that took place upon a bye resolution, which I
proposed, of a vote of thanks to the Ministers, for having concluded a
"peace with the Americans, the only remaining free Government in the
universe." I meant this resolution to answer a double purpose; first, by
thanking the Ministers, I gave the Whigs a kick; and second, it was
a compliment due to the Americans, for having bravely repelled a
tyrannical invader. It was a Whig meeting, at least it was called by the
Whigs, and therefore every exertion was made to prevent the passing of
this resolution. Old Sir John Cox Hippisley palavered, and whined, and
begged and prayed, for an hour, and endeavoured to wheedle and coax
me to withdraw my motion for the sake of unanimity. Upon all public
matters, however, I was ever inflexible, and I was therefore prepared at
all times to do my duty without looking to the right or to the left, and
I consequently insisted upon having the motion put to the meeting. On a
division it was lost by only a very small majority.

In the month of January, 1815, a treaty was concluded between the Allied
Powers at Vienna, to maintain the treaty of Paris. In the Congress,
by which this treaty was settled, the Ministers of some of the Allied
Powers seriously proposed to seize Napoleon at Elba, to carry him off by
force from that island, and to convey him to St. Helena; and this base
scheme was to be executed in violation of the solemn compact entered
into with him; a compact granting to him the island of Elba in full
sovereignty! But it is quite clear that there are no treaties, however
solemn; no engagements, however binding; no obligations, however sacred,
that tyrants will not violate, and laugh to scorn, when it suits their
purpose so to do.

The treaty of Vienna was entered into upon the 25th of January, and it
is supposed, and I believe pretty well understood, that this diabolical
plot against the life and liberty of Napoleon was privately communicated
to him, by some friend that he had amongst the diplomatists of the
Allied Sovereigns. Napoleon, therefore, took the resolution of leaving
Elba as soon as possible, and returning to France, to endeavour to
reconquer that crown which had been forced from him by the very same
despots whom he had more than once restored to liberty and power after
he had subdued them.

Having deliberately made up his mind to risk the attempt, Napoleon
promptly carried it into execution. He set sail from Elba on the 26th of
February, with about one thousand brave followers, in four vessels. An
English frigate pretended to chase them, but he landed his little force
at Frejus, in France, on the 1_st of March_, 1815, and he was soon
joined by various bodies of the army, who flew to the ranks of their old
commander, who had bravely led them into a thousand battles, and with
whom they had participated in a thousand victories over the enemies
of their country. Though at the outset his force was not more than a
thousand strong, he marched boldly forward in a direct line for Paris,
and his numbers continued to swell as he advanced. France was in a state
of the greatest agitation, and of hopes and fears for his safety and his
success. He arrived at Gasson the 5th, the next day he crossed the Upper
Alps, passed on through Grenoble, reached Burgoin on the 10th, and on
the 11th he entered the City of Lyons, the second city of the French
empire, where he was received with every demonstration of respect and
attachment. The army and the people vied with each other which should
evince the greatest enthusiasm; from Lyons he issued a Proclamation,
annulling all that had been done in his absence. On the following day he
marched on, and reached Autun; on the 16th he entered Auxerre; on the
17th he halted at Fontainbleau; and made his entrance into Paris in
triumph on the TWENTIETH OF MARCH. There he was hailed with enthusiastic
delight; and, amidst the deafening acclamations of the Parisians, he
entered the Palace of the Thuilleries, from whence Louis the Desired had
fled but a few hours before, with the utmost precipitation and dismay.
Napoleon could have arrested his flight, and brought him back as a
prisoner without the least difficulty, but he was too brave even to
tread upon so fallen a creature. At a subsequent period the Duke
d'Angouleme also fell into the hands of one of his Generals, but the
moment Napoleon heard of it, he ordered him to be set at liberty to go
where he pleased. But, as it turned out afterwards, this proved a fatal
lenity. On the day that Napoleon entered Paris, the following notices
were placarded by the people on the walls of the Thuilleries and the
neighbourhood. "A Palace to be let well furnished, except kitchen
utensils, which have been carried away by the late proprietor." "A large
fat hog to be sold for one Napoleon," &c. &c. These things evidently
shewed with what feelings of utter contempt the Bourbons were regarded
by the Parisians. Napoleon, as I have already stated, was informed that
Louis had only quitted Paris a few hours previously, and that it would
be very easy to overtake him and his cavalcade, and bring them back
prisoners to Paris; but this he positively forbade, adding, that he had
no wish to touch a hair of his head. Thus was Napoleon placed upon the
throne of France, restored to all his former power of sovereignty in
that country without one life being lost, one single shot being fired.
If ever there was a legitimate monarch, Napoleon was now that man; for
he was voluntarily elected and placed upon the throne by the united
voice of the whole people. The cause of the Bourbons became so
desperate, that not the slightest hope remained for them, except what
could arise from resorting to the aid of foreign arms to restore
the King to the throne from which he had fled with the greatest
precipitancy, without having made the slightest resistance. In fact the
whole people were by this time completely sick of the Bourbons. The
Despots of Europe, meanwhile, were in the greatest alarm, but they soon
entered into a league to make war upon France to restore the old tyranny
of the Bourbons, and they instantly began to prepare to carry their
project into effect. Buonaparte offered peace to the combination of
Sovereigns, but he did not neglect to prepare his troops for any
emergency that might happen.

When the news arrived in England that Napoleon had quitted Elba, and
landed at Provence, in France, it was with the greatest difficulty that
John Gull could be made to believe that it was true, till the daily
accounts arrived of his steady march towards Paris. As he approached
that capital the most intense interest was excited, not only in France
and England, but all over the civilised world. In England nothing else
was talked of or thought of. I own I never before felt so much anxiety;
and the desire to see the newspapers, which furnished an account of the
daily progress which he made, became every hour more and more acute. At
length, the official intelligence arrived, that Napoleon had entered
Paris, and that he was peaceably restored to the throne amidst the
shouts and applause of the whole French nation. I had been from home
upon business the whole day, and I had heard of this happy event, and
when I returned in the evening I was much gratified to find that my
family had anticipated my wishes, had procured candles, and were
preparing to ILLUMINATE MY HOUSE. I had said, in the beginning of March,
when the information reached England, that Napoleon had landed in
France, that I would illuminate my house if ever he reached Paris alive.
Although some doubts were expressed at the time by my family, as to the
prudence of such a course, yet, as I declared my determination to do so
when the time arrived, there was no hesitating, no desire to baulk
my intentions, or to disappoint my wishes, which, having been once
seriously expressed, were quite sure to be accomplished in my family; so
that, if I had not returned home that night, my house would nevertheless
have been illuminated. The candles were all fixed, and every pane of
glass could boast a light. The moment it was dark, MIDDLETON COTTAGE WAS
ILLUMINATED from top to bottom. This was the only occasion, this was the
first time in my life, that ever any house of mine had been illuminated.

Middleton Cottage is situated on the south side of the great Western
Road, leading from London to Exeter, sixty-one miles from London, and
three miles from Andover. The Exeter and the Auxiliary Mail, and three
or four other coaches, pass towards London between seven o'clock in the
evening and twelve o'clock at night. Every one of the coachmen pulled
up their horses, and stopped to inquire the occasion of this blaze of
light. The passengers in the first coach also inquired of the coachman
whose house it was, and what was the cause of this splendid display?
Some one said, he supposed it was in consequence of peace with America,
which had just been announced.--"No, no;" said the coachman, "it is
on account of the restoration of Buonaparte." "O, a vile Jacobin!"
exclaimed a nondescript with a whistling, piping voice, "I wish somebody
would break all his windows." The coachman cracked his whip, and can
they passed; but as there was the mail, and four other coaches to pass,
I sent my servant out to stand at the gate, to inform those that might
inquire, that my house was illuminated in consequence of the safe
restoration of Napoleon to the throne of France. The next coach that
came was the mail; it was going very fast, being rather down the hill;
and, as the glare came suddenly upon them, the coachman had some
difficulty in pulling up his horses till they got rather beyond the
front of the cottage. I was just coming out of the garden, and as it
was dark, I heard, unseen, but very distinctly, the following dialogue:
"Aye, aye, coachman, stop, by G-d! tell me whose house this is?"--"It
is Middleton Cottage, Sir, the residence of Mr. Hunt." "I suppose it is
illuminated for the return of Napoleon?"--"Yes, Sir," said my servant,
apparently to save farther trouble of inquiry, "my master illuminates
his house for the first time in his life, because Buonaparte has
ascended the throne, and reconquered the crown of France, without
bloodshed." With some tremendous oath, two of them (who it turned out
were gemmen of the army) swore that they would get out and smash every
one of the windows, and they immediately began to open the door of the
coach, to put their threat into execution. Upon hearing this, I lost
not a moment's time, but darted in doors, and having seized a faithful
cudgel, I sallied out, with the determination of taking prisoner the
first man that threw a stone, and, at all hazards, conducting him into
my parlour, where he should have drank long life and success to Napoleon
upon his knees, before he should have been liberated. This was the
resolution I formed while I was hastening after my cudgel, and having
once formed that resolution, I would have carried it into effect at the
risk of my life. When I got out the coast was clear, and the mail was
got nearly out of hearing. My servant informed me, that as soon as the
guard saw what was going on, he jumped down from his seat, and warmly
expostulated with the military heroes upon their folly and rashness;
but when he saw that they persevered, he swore that the coachman should
drive on and leave them behind if they got out; and he added, that he
had no doubt but Mr. Hunt would blow both their brains out with his
double-barrelled gun, if they offered to touch one pane of his windows.
To this the coachman assented, exclaiming, at the same time, "By G--d
it would serve them right for their pains." This being the case, the
doughty heroes thought proper to sit still, but muttered out, "d----d
jacobin," as the coachman drove off. These worthies, I have no doubt,
communicated this circumstance at head-quarters, and some of my worthy
neighbours, of the rotten-borough of Andover, kindly conveyed the fact
to several editors of the London newspapers. The editors, however, took
good care not to mention a word of it in their papers, but it was very
currently talked of in the coffee-houses of Paris. I know thousands of
Englishmen that rejoiced at the escape of Napoleon from Elba, and at his
return to the French capital, but I know of no one except myself who had
the courage to testify his joy by any open demonstration.

As soon as the news of Buonaparte's landing in France arrived in
England, the Prince Regent sent a message to both Houses of Parliament,
declaring his intention to join the Allies, and corresponding addresses
were voted accordingly. A public meeting was called by the electors of
Westminster, to take into consideration a petition to be presented
to Parliament, against renewing the war for the purpose of forcing a
ruler upon the people of France. I was in London when this meeting was
held in Palace-yard; I attended it, and I spoke there, for the first
time, in support of this petition. What I said was so favourably
received by the people, that they passed an unanimous vote of thanks to
me, and drew me in my carriage to my inn, the British Coffee-house, they
having spontaneously taken off the horses. When I got there I mounted
the roof of the carriage, briefly thanked the multitude, and requested
them to retire peaceably, which they did without delay. The petition was
presented by Sir Francis Burdett, and, I think, on the same evening. It
was a strong remonstrance against plunging once more into a war with the
French, merely to restore the Bourbons to that throne which they had not
the talent or the virtue to fill, either with honour to themselves or
with advantage to the people.

The Parliament now, almost by acclamation, voted that the property
tax should be continued for one year. The treaties made with Holland,
Russia, and Sweden, were laid before both the Houses of Parliament, and
approved of. The Minister likewise proposed new taxes, to the amount of
3,728,000_l_. per annum.

While the British legislators were thus honourably employed, the allied
despots collected their forces in two great bodies, under Marshal
Blucher and Wellington, the latter of whom had been created a Duke.
Napoleon on his side was busily engaged, both in civil and military
affairs. He laid before the Senate of France a new constitution, which
was accepted, and a meeting, called the "_Champ de Mai_," was held at
Paris, on the 1st of May, to swear to that constitution. On the 1st of
June there was a revolution at Martinico, in favour of Napoleon, but it
was soon suppressed by the British troops. On the 8th, a confederation,
or rather a conspiracy of tyrants and their agents, was signed at
Vienna, called the "_Holy Alliance_." On the 12th, Napoleon left Paris,
to join his army on the Belgian frontier. The Prussian army, under
Blucher, was attacked at Ligny, and totally defeated by Napoleon on the
15th, and on the following day he attacked the Dutch and the English
under Wellington, and compelled them to fall back from Quatre Bas, at
which place they were posted. The combined English, Dutch, Belgian, and
Hanoverian forces were concentrated, on the 17th, under Wellington, at
Waterloo. On the _eighteenth_, Napoleon, with sixty-eight thousand men,
attacked the combined army commanded by Wellington, consisting of ninety
thousand troops. A dreadful slaughter ensued, and Wellington was hardly
pressed by his illustrious opponent. This success on the side of
Napoleon continued till four o'clock, at which time he considered the
battle as won, when two Prussian corps, one of thirty thousand and the
other of forty thousand, under Bulow and Blucher, unexpectedly arrived
and turned the right wing of the French. The whole army was thrown into
confusion from this unexpected reinforcement to their enemies, and at
half-past nine they fled in all directions. The arrival of these two
corps was occasioned by some strange misconduct, or something worse, on
the part of Marshal Grouchy, who was dispatched by Napoleon to attack
these corps with a division of the French army, but by some strange
fatality he suffered them to approach the right wing of Napoleon's army
unmolested. This and this alone caused the defeat of Napoleon, as these
corps of themselves were more numerous than the whole of the troops
under his command, harassed and fatigued too as they were at the latter
end of a dreadful battle. "Never did the French army fight better than
it did upon this occasion; it performed prodigies of valour; and the
superiority of the troops, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, over the
enemy opposed to them, was such, that had not Blucher arrived with his
second corps of Prussians, the victory over the Anglo-Belgian army under
Wellington would have been complete, though aided by Bulow's thirty
thousand troops; that is to say, it would have been gained by sixty-nine
thousand men opposed to nearly double their number; for the troops in
the field commanded by Wellington, before Blucher's arrival, amounted to
one hundred and twenty thousand men." The Allies, by their own account,
lost sixty thousand men, viz. eleven thousand three hundred English,
three thousand five hundred Hanoverians, eight thousand Belgians, and
thirty-eight thousand Prussians. This makes a general total of _sixty
thousand eight hundred men_. The losses of the French, including those
sustained during the rout, and till their arrival at the gates of Paris,
was _forty-one thousand men_. Out of twenty-four English Generals,
twelve were killed or badly wounded. The mind quite sickens at the
recital of such a horrid slaughter of human beings, for the sole purpose
of gratifying the malignant passions of a few tyrants, who had sworn to
annihilate the very spirit as well as the substance of liberty. To
destroy NAPOLEON, and to raise up Louis, ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND
lives were sacrificed upon this occasion!

Napoleon repaired to Paris, where he found that traitors of the vilest
cast had been at work. The Chambers were in a state of insurrection,
and on the 22d of June, 1815, Napoleon resigned the government to a
provisional Council. On the 3d of July a suspension of hostilities was
signed at St. Cloud, and on the same day Buonaparte arrived at Rochfort,
while Paris was evacuated by the French troops and occupied by the
allied army. By the articles of capitulation, on which Paris was
surrendered, a complete _indemnity_ was secured to _all_ persons. We
shall soon see how they were fulfilled. On the 5th, the troops under
General Oudinot declared for Louis; and on the 8th, Louis the Desired
returned once more to Paris, and resumed the government under the
protection of a foreign army. On the 15th, Napoleon took the fatal
resolution of throwing himself upon the protection of the British
Government. Relying upon the honour of the English character, he
surrendered himself to Captain Maitland, of the Bellerophon; on the 24th
he arrived in that ship at Torbay, and on the twenty-sixth he sailed to
Plymouth, to which port tens of thousands of persons crowded from all
parts of England to obtain a sight of him. He was not allowed to land,
but on the seventh of August he was removed on board the Northumberland,
Captain Cockburn, which sailed on the following day for St. Helena.
Napoleon is now dead and gone, but his name will live for ever. It makes
my heart ache to think that such a man should have been so deceived and
deluded as to the character of the English Government, so much so, as to
flatter himself for a moment that he would ever receive justice or mercy
at their hands! Noble, generous, forgiving, and possessing all the
attributes of a truly brave man himself, he little dreamt of the
fate that awaited him; he had heard of the generosity of the English
character, he knew the English to be brave, he had always found them so,
but he was deceived as to their power and influence over the Government;
he was grossly ignorant of the state and character of the British
Parliament; he had read De Lolme and other popular writers upon the
British Constitution, and he fell into the fatal, the irretrievable
error, of believing that the practice of that constitution was the same
thing as the theory described by these writers; and thus he was betrayed
into a gulf from whence he was never to be extricated. I have before
observed, that at the Congress of Vienna it was proposed and seriously
urged to seize Napoleon at Elba, and to convey him to St. Helena; and
those who proposed this measure had taken care to have all things in
readiness to carry their project into execution, in case it had been
agreed to. No time was, therefore, now lost in acting upon this plan.
The English Ministers knew the sentiments of the Allied Despots upon the
subject, and the brave Napoleon, the fallen Emperor, was shipped off to
linger, pine, and rot upon a barren rock, in a distant and pestilential
climate, in the same way that we would send out a wretch convicted of
the highest crimes, as a transport for life. He who had spared Emperors,
Kings, and Princes--he who had restored them to their thrones after
having bravely conquered them, was now treated like a common convict
transport! Disgraceful, damnable, imperishable blot in the escutcheon of
England's character!!!

The Assembly of France now met, and passed such laws as might naturally
be expected in a country filled with foreign troops. Treaties were
entered into by the restored Monarch, to settle the terms of peace, and
were signed on the twentieth of July. By these treaties France lost all
the conquered territory which she had been allowed to retain in 1814,
and was placed nearly in the same geographical situation as before the
revolution. One hundred and fifty thousand troops of the five Allied
Powers were to remain in France for five years; France was to maintain
them, and pay a large pecuniary indemnity, in which a provision was made
for the claims of British subjects; and all other matters, good, bad,
and indifferent, were to be settled by a convention, to be held at
Vienna. The expenditure of this year, drawn out of the pockets of John
Gull, amounted to no less a sum than EIGHTY ONE MILLIONS, of which
TWENTY-SEVEN MILLIONS were borrowed by loan. The Honourable House of
Commons voted TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS as an additional remuneration
to the Duke of Wellington. In the meantime, the wretchedness of the
people of Ireland had driven them to a state of desperation; the
resistance to the collection of the TITHES became general in many
counties, and a large army of regulars and militia was employed to put
down the poor, starved, distressed, and plundered people. Many lives
were lost, and a special commission was appointed, by which great
numbers were found guilty, and transported to Botany Bay, and all this
arose from the most horrid system of rapine and plunder that ever
disgraced any nation on the face of the earth.

At the latter end of July, 1815, I was one night taken suddenly ill; I
had gone to bed in high robust health, but about three o'clock in the
morning I was awoke by a most violent attack in my head, which caused
a sensation like the ringing of a church bell in my ear. The fact was,
that a sudden pressure of blood upon the brain had taken place. The
effect was such that I was almost blind and speechless. My surgeon, Mr.
Davis, of Andover, was instantly sent for; but, before he could arrive,
I had fainted away four or five times, and he found me in such a state,
without any pulse, that he at first hesitated to bleed me; however, upon
my urging him to do so, he complied, and the horrid noise which was
caused in my head by the blood rushing through my brain with accelerated
velocity, somewhat abated, and in the course of the day it wore off, and
became like the singing of a tea-kettle. This attack was so violent, and
left such a weakness, that I was incapable of rising from my bed, and it
was several days before I could walk across the room without assistance.
As soon as I was able, which was in four or five days, I drove to Bath,
for the advice of Dr. Parry, one of the most eminent physicians of the
day, and under whose care one of my family had recovered from the very
point of death. Dr. Parry and myself had been upon very friendly and
intimate terms, during the time I had lived in Bath, and he had always
attended my family while I was there.

When I had described to him the way in which I was taken, and the
extraordinary sensation and noise which I had in my head, which still
continued like the singing of a teakettle, he said, "You have had a
narrow escape, Sir; and had you not been a very temperate man, you would
have never spoken again; you have had a violent pressure of blood upon
the brain, and you are wholly indebted for your safety to your temperate
manner of living; if, however, you will put yourself under my care, and
strictly follow my advice, I am confident that I can effect a radical
cure, so that you will be no longer liable to a return of your
complaint. The means I propose will be slow and tedious, but they will
be certain. If you return into the country, and follow the course
usually pursued in similar cases, you will, in all probability, be
apparently recovered, and as well as ever in a month; but they take my
word for it, you will be very liable to a repetition of the same sort
of attack, which will very likely prove fatal." I told him that I would
most certainly place myself in his hands, and scrupulously follow his
directions. "Well, then," said he, "I shall have you bled twice before
you leave Bath, and my directions are, that you abstain from all
fermented liquors; eat very sparingly of animal food, take regular
strong exercise, and lose a pound of blood at least once a month, for
a twelvemonth." I certainly looked at him with some degree of
astonishment, but when I saw that he was serious and in earnest, I
replied, "If you say that all this is absolutely necessary for the
recovery of may health, it shall be done; but so excessively weak and
languid am I at present, that I do not think I shall be able to take
what you call strong exercise. I drove my tandem down here yesterday to
see you, and I was so excessively exhausted, that I was obliged to be
carried out of the carriage into the inn where I arrived." "O," said
he, "driving fifty miles in a tandem may be very good exercise for your
horses; but it is not sufficient exercise for you; you must take regular
walking and riding exercise. To keep a man in good health, it is always
necessary that he should take sufficient exercise to make it a labour;
it is indispensible for the health of man that he should labour--and it
will be absolutely necessary to your recovery, that you labour daily. I
assure you, my good friend," added he, "there is not one in a thousand
that ever recover from such an attack as you have had. I never knew a
patient who had the resolution to follow the advice which I have given
you; I rely, however, upon your good sense, to concur with me in the
absolute necessity of reducing your system very low, by abstaining from
fermented liquors and animal food--by laborious exercise--and by
a constant and regular succession of copious bleeding; and I have
confidence in your courage and perseverance in carrying my plan into
execution, by which I mean to effect a permanent and radical cure; that
is to say, I mean that you shall be rendered as perfectly free from any
future attack of the sort, as you were when you were born. I know the
precise nature of your complaint well, and I am confident of the remedy,
although I have no particular precedent, because I never knew any one
act up to the rules I have laid down for you. I know that you have had a
violent pressure of blood upon the brain; I know, also, that this attack
was not produced by excess or intemperance, but that it arose from your
having naturally too great a disposition of blood to the head. I know
that your system has received a violent shock, that the blood-vessels
upon your brain have been distended, and thereby rendered liable to
another and a more fatal attack, unless it can be guarded against by a
total alteration of your whole system, which can alone be accomplished
by the means that I have suggested." Here he made a short pause, and
then earnestly demanded if I was prepared to give him my word that I
would act up to his directions; "because," added he, significantly, "I
know if you once make up your mind to it, and give me your word that you
will do it, that our object will be attained."

Thus it is, that a clever and intelligent physician, by flattering his
patient, prevails upon him to encounter what would otherwise appear to
be insurmountable difficulties; and thus it is, that human nature is
able to bear so much. I promised strictly to abide by his prescription,
both as to regimen, exercise, and bleeding. He then sent for Mr. George
Norman, the surgeon, and I was bled immediately. This being done,
the doctor said that he would call again in the morning, and see the
bleeding repeated, and then I should have nothing to do but to return to
my home in the country, and follow the plan that he laid down for me.
He did so; and, although I was in a state of great weakness, I reached
Middleton Cottage the same evening, having driven my tandem fifty miles
in the afternoon.

A circumstance that occurred at this time made such a lasting impression
upon my memory, that I shall record it for the benefit of future
generations. Although it is of a private and pecuniary nature, yet I
suspect that it will not be altogether devoid of interest, as it makes
part of my history. When I left Rowfant, in Sussex, my stock, crops,
underwood, and furniture, produced a very considerable sum, amounting to
eight thousand pounds; and, after paying off all pecuniary demands upon
me, I purchased five thousand pounds in Exchequer Bills, which I took
with me to Middleton Cottage, and opened an account with Messrs. Heaths,
the bankers, of Andover. In their hands I deposited several hundred
pounds, and the Exchequer Bills, taking all their notes, and drawing
upon them for what sums I required to furnish my house, stock my farm,
&c. &c., they turning the Exchequer Bills into cash as often as I wanted
money. I took care never, for any length of time, to have less than five
hundred pounds in cash in their hands, generally several hundreds more,
and sometimes as much as fifteen hundred pounds balance of cash in my
favour, which they had the use of, as well as the advantage of my taking
their notes, and circulating them round the country, besides what I kept
in my house. I stocked my farms, both in Hampshire and Wiltshire, at
a most expensive time, giving as high as fifty guineas each for my
cart-horses; and as I had made great alterations and improvements, at
a heavy expense, the money flew pretty fast. When I was taken so
dangerously ill, the news spread over the country with considerable
rapidity, and, amongst others, it seems it reached the ears of my
bankers, who, for the _first time_, the next morning sent in my account
by the post, saying, that as I had _overdrawn_ it a few pounds, they


Back to Full Books