Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

I am,

now

QUIRY.-Tenth: That, in the year, tion; but, those of you, who may think 1802, this same Mr. Perceval, being with me, that the present state of the rethen Attorney General, prosecuted Philip presentation is not consonant with those adHAMLIN, a Tinman of Plymouth, for mirable principles, will, I trust, be disposhaving committed the crime of offer- ed to follow ine in my next Let'er, into ing Mr. Addington £2,000, to give him an inquiry respecting what sort of R form a place in the Custom House ; that, upon it would be just and prudent to adopt, this occasion, Mr. Perceval demanded judgment upon the said Hamlin, for the

Your friend, sake of public justice; and that the Julge,

WM. COBBETT. after expatiating upon the “ incalculable Botley, 24 May, 1809. “mischief,” to which such crimes must naturally lead, sentenced the said Hamlin « ELEMENTS OF REFORM." to pay a fine of a hundred pounds to the There has been published, in London, king, and to be imprisoned for three ca- a pamphlet under this title, and under the lendar months.--Eleventh: That in name of “Mr. William Corbett,” as the year 1805, Evidence was taken before the author. It consists of passages from a Committee of the Ilouse of Commons, my writings, against Reform and against and was laid before that House, proving Reformers; and, the object of it is, to that the late minister, Pitt, had lent, counteract, by the publication of these without the consent or knowledge of Pars passages, the effect of what I am liament, and without the consent or know- writing in fuvour of Reform.-That the ledge of any council of the king, £ 10,000 compilers of such a work should include of the public money (without any interest those passages from the different parts of paid to the public) to two members of the then my works, wherein I bave candidly conHouse of Commons; and that, when this fessed the error, under which I wrote what matter was brought before the House, in they have selected for publication; that 1805, no censure whatever was passed on such persons should do this is not to be the said minister, but he was, by a bill of expected; nor is it to be expected from indemnity, secured from any punishment them to make even fair extracts as far as for having in such way employed the they go. They have, as might be reasonmoney of the public. --Twelfth : That, ably expected, garbled every thing that it appears from a Report, laid before the they have touched.-But, while I ain House of Commons, in the month of June very certain, that their publication will last, in consequence of a motion made by wholly fail of its object; while I am cerLord Cochrane, that there then were, in tain, that no one will inink me bound to that House, seventy-eight Placemen and praise John Bowles nure, because I praised Pensioners, who, though part of what they him in 1800, when I must almost necesreceive is not stated, are, in the said Re- sarily be, and when I really was, totally port, stated to receive 178,994 pounds a ignorant of what I bave since learnt reyear out of the public money.

specting the subject of his writings, as Now, Gentemen, to these facts, and to well as respecting his too evident momany, many others (others too numerous tives; while I am certain, that no one, to state, even in the most brief manner), who has a grain of sense, will think me which might be added to them, I shall bound now to censure Sir Francis Burdett, not subjoin a single word by way of com because I did severely censure him at a ment. I wish to avoid every thing like time when I acted under a total misreprehigh colouring; every thing like declama- sentation of his principles and his charaction ; every thing calculated to rouse any ter; while I am certain, that no man of angry passion in your breasts : I wish to common sense, or common honesty, will avoid even persuasion ; I wish to lay the think me bound to deprecate a Refor:n of state of the case fairly and clearly before Parliament now, because I did deprecate it you, and to leave the decision to the in- at a time when I had never known that telligence and the rectitude of your own seats were advertised for sale, and when I minds. Those of you, who, notwithstand had never seen, or dreamt of the possibiing what has been here stated, may be of lity of, any thing like what has now come opinion, that the present state of the re to light and has been proved respecting presentation in parliament is consonant the House of Commons; while I am cerwith the principles of the Constitution of tain that the nation, who, with far better England, will of course, see no justifiable opportunities of knowing the truth, were cause for any reform in that representa- full as much deceived as I was, and whose

[ocr errors]

change of opinion has kept pace with the change of opinion in others. All mine, will not think me now bound to ap we want is, as Major Cartwright has said, plaud a system of politics, war, and fi- discussion ; discussion is what these gennance, of which it was terrified into an tlemen are assisting with all their might; approbation ten years ago, and all the ani!, if they have but a moderate share of mischiefs of which we have since seen ex discerument, I should think that the great posed; while I am certain, that none but sale, which their pamphlet is said to have, very weak persons indeed will think any must leave upon the minds the mortifyman bound to praise any thing after he ing conviction of the popularity of the has discovered it to be unworihy of the Elmenis of Reform, by Mr. Wm. Coblett;" praise that he once bestowed on it; while for, from this title, it is not a work against, I am certain of all this, I carmot refrain but in furour of Reform, that the public from obs rving hour facourabka symptom this think they are buying. They think it is a new publication is to the cause of Reform; how work; a work containing what I have writstrong an indication it is of the fear, which ten at the present time'; and by adopting such the friends of corruption entertain, of the a title and taking my name, the publisheffects of that discussion, ipon which they ers themselves con'ess, that that matter perceive me to have seriously entered and that name stand high in the public In America, my opponents, who were estimation. The publishers are very cauvery numirous, and who had far greater tious, in their advertisements, to let fall talents than the persons, with whom I nothing hostile 10 me; because they know, have now to contend, were driven to a that by so doing they would injure their somewhat similar expedient. The public, sale; and, it is truly curious to see the after having been surfeited with their Counter and even the MORNING Post pamphlets against me, would read no trumpeting forth the praises of a Work more; when, what did these opponents on Reform, by Mr. Wm. Cobbett,the do? Why, what has now been done bere: effect of which must be this; that all they published pamphlets under my name, those, who do not read the panxhlet, will and then, for a time at least, they found | look upon those papers as having become thein sell. There were several booksellers converts to my doctrine; while on the at a time living upon my naine; actually other hand, the pamphlet will have no buying breail and cheese with it. I used effect at all upon those who do read it, to urge the injustice of their not giving because they have already read my cadme a share ; and, really, I think, thut the fession of the errors, which it contains gentlemen here are liable to the sune -The doctrine of consistency, as now in charge; for, not one of them has offered / vogue, is the most absurd that ever was me the smallest acknowledgment. If the broached. It teaches, that, if you once public will not read bookís unless they think well of any person or thing, you have my name to tiem, I think it is but must always think well of that person or just, that I should have some sınall part in thing, whatever changes may take place the gains. I shall be content with less cither in them, or in the state of

your than a Dutch-Comniissioner's profit; but formation respecting them. For instance, something I certainly ought to have. if you praise a man to-day, and, to-morThat those, with whom this pamphlet row, receive proof of his having long been originales, wish, by the publication, to in a thief, you must still continue to praise jure the cause of Reformn there can be little him. Where is the man, who has net doubt; and, I think, that there can he as changed bis opinions of men as well as little, that they are, in this cfiört, counter- of things? Those who write every dar; acting their own wish. For, in the first or every week, must express what they place, their flying to my former opinions think at the time; but, if new sources of as affording a contrast to those which I information open to them, they must ex: now entertain, upon this subject, is a press what they then think, and not withi pret:y good proof that they have nei her any regard to what they have given as fact nor argument, whereon to meet their opinion before. But, how wouli

upon tlie merits of the case. In this doctrine suit my opponents, if I were the next place, the errors, which they to attempt to hold them to.

If I am to expose, and which have, long ago, been say, to some of the friends of corruption, distinctly confessed by me, only serve you used to pra se me, and why do you to show, in the strongest possible not praise me now?” They would, light, how completely I was deceived, doubtless, answer : « Oh! but, you and, thereby, to form apology for

" then wrote to please us ; and now you

in

“ do not : Owing to your ignorance of us rity, prerogatives, or family! When have " and our views, we then were objects of I, as these painphlet compilers would in“your ar tause, and now we are objects sinuate, expressed any opinion which “ of your insure. To be sure, nothing could justity the inference, that I wished could be no "e reasunable than this. There for the predominance of a mob, or the is nothing at all inconsistent in it; but, then, degradation of royalty or aristocracy? the argument is j't t as good for me as it The truth is, that I have been constantly is for them.---The iruth is, that, as to labouring to prevent the degradation of opinions, no man is to be blamed for a both; and, if either has been degraded, it change, except there be strong reason to is because my labours have, with respect coniude that the cluange has proceeded to them, been unavailing. If I ever did froin a bad motive ; or, rather, that it is merit the honour of being, by the king himnot a real, but a pretended chance, for self, calleu his friend, I now merit that honor the purpose of something veiti h or wicked. more than at any former period ; because This is the case, when we see men change I have now told him truths, which nobody their opinion; upon exchan, ing no offices, else would tell him and to know which truths for othices under the crown; when they is of far more importance to him than the have one set of principles for out of place, support of all the iribe, who have the insoanii another set of principles for in pluce. lence to give themselves the exclusive apNow, noibing of this sort can possibly be pellation of King's Friends; and who, in an imputed to me ; and, in short, it is quite hour of danger to his person or his throne, impossible to make any m in of sense be- would, as all the sycophants of the Contilieve, that the change in my opinions has neni have done, desert him, while, I trust, proceeded from a ny other cause than that I should be found ready to huzard my of a sincere conviction, that, in my for- | life in his defence. There is no inan, in mer opinions, I was wrong.--I am not this country, who shall read what I am very anxious to make an apology for the now writing, that will not acknowledge, errors of my former opinions ; but, sure that he has a thousand times heard it obly, without attributing to myself any very served, that " there is no knowing, what extraordinary want of discernment, those may huppen," upon an event, which we errors, when my then peculiar situation all hope may be distant, but, which we be considered, stand in need of nothing by are all sure, must, in the course of naway of excuse. When John Bowles said: | ture, take place. I put it to the Reader,

My attachment to the British Monar hy, whether this be not a subject of general anziery? “ and to the reigning family, is rooted in Whether he be acquainted with one con.“ my heart's core; my anxiety for the siderute man, who does not partake in this “ British throne, pending the dangers to anxiety? Is it not, there ore, for those, “ which, in common with every other who really wish for the stability of the " throne, it has lately been exposed, has kingly government, and for the unim-. "embittered my choicest comforts; and I paired authority of the king and his suc. most solemnly vow, before Almighty cessors, to use iheir best endeavours to see “ God, to devote myself, to the end of my things settled upon a solid foundation,

days, to the maintenance of that throne.before the event, alluded 10, takes place? It When John Bowles said this, I praised surely is; and, as I am one of those, who. John Bowles'; but, must I praise him now ? think that the only means of obtaining

I have been told, that the King, that solidity is to give the people confiwhen he visited Cuffiells in 1804, (and dence in their Representatives, and thereby which, in my opinion, he ought not to reconcile them to their sacrifices, I wish have been advised to visit) said, the for a Reform of the Commons' llouse of moment he entered the house, where Parliament. Nothing, to me, at least, " is MY FRIEND Cobbett's Paper ? can be more evident than this: that, to This was told to me, not long ago, by one, insure the stability of the throne, a Rewho, I thought, appeared to think it ne forin in the House of Commons is absocessary to remind me of my duty to the lutely necessary. The people, if fairly king. But, in what instance have I ever and fully represented,would grudge nothing shown a want of a due sense of that duty ? to the king, or to his family; and, indeed, When have I ever hinted, that the royal that which has recently given so much office and authority were not essential to anxiety and pain to the royal family, may the happiness and even to the liberty of | be clearlytraced to the same source, whence the people? When have I expressed a all the other heart-burnings may be traced. wish hostile to the king's person, autho- | Those, who have dealt in parliamentary

seats, always make common cause with , nient to represent all that the people disthe king; always drag him into the party like as proceeding from the royal will, and, with them, by accusing their opponents of course, to cause it to be believed, that, of being his enemies ; when the fact mani- in order to get rid of such grants as that festly is, that the king's legitimate autho to Mrs. For, and such concerns as those rity, his dignity and his just prerogatives, of the Dutch Commissioners, we must first sulter by such dealings as much as the get rid of the king, which they know the rights and liberties of the people suffer by people would think of with borror. The them. There is something in the heart borough influence they never wish us to look of every man, which impels him to desire, at; but, can any man believe that, if it that the person, whom he acknowledges had not been for that influence, the present as his sovereign, should be clothed with king would not have driven from his predignity; and, does it not naturally follow, sence the man, who had such a disregard for that it must be mortifying to a sensible the feelings of both king and people as to and honourable people, to see the autho- propose the grant to Mrs. Fox? -Now, rity of the king cramped and thwarted by by way of itlustration, suppose the king the owners of Boroughs ? If, agreeably had spurned at this proposition. The conto the principles of the constitution, the sequence would have been the going out people were represented ; if they had of the ministry, who, upon such a nothing to complain of upon this score ; point, would, in all probability, have never would they wish to interfere with retained their majority in the House. the prerogatives of the king. They love But, upon the supposition that the free kingly government; and they grudge the voice of his people had been appealed to, king and his family nothing in the way of would not they, by their choice of memsplendour. It is notorious, that royal | bers, have expressed their gratitude to him æconomy is no favourite virtue with them. for his care of their interest and their hoBut they love their own rights and liber nour?

-That man, therefore, is the real ties, without which nothing will make friend of the king, of his family, his office them heartily contented.- -Look at the and dignity, who would free them, forever, Pension and Sinecure Lists, those lists which from all influence of this sort ; who would create so much well-grounded complaint. leave the king unencumbered with any inLook at the persons, upon whom the fluence, other than that of the advice of public money is heaped.' This, observe, his constitutional counsellors, to make is all done in the name of the king: Is this such appointments and grant such favours doing justice to the king? Is it doing jus- as he himself should choose ; and, I am tice to his present Majesty to hold him persuaded, that if what I am now writing forth to his people as having, for instance, should ever reach the ear of his Majesty, bestowed one thousand five hundred pounds a he will, upon a due consideration of the year of their money upon Mrs. Fox? Will matter, still call me, as he is said to have any man deny, that it would be an act the done at Cuffnells, his " friend Cobbett.” most friendly to the king to set him free from that, the existence of which, and of There are several subjects, which press which alone, could have induced him to forward for observation ; but, nothing apput his royal signature to such a grant ?peared to me of, comparatively, any inIs there a man in the whole kingdom, portance, at this particular moment, but who can believe, that the king cheerfully ihe subject of Parliamentary Reform. put his signature to that grant? Yet, he what they are doing in Austria, or in is held forth to his people as having been Spain, is of little consequence to us, unless the author of it; as having made such a it be really true, that, in the latter country, grant, in the virtue of a power given the Cortez, or representatives of the people

, him by the constitution for the purpose are, at last, to be assembled. If this be of supporting the honour and dignity of the case, though late, there may be some his throne! - It is worthy of remark that hope.

-The new loan and new tares each party, when out of power, complain would be worthy of remark; but, really, of the influence of the CROWN;" of the people are wearied of discussion, where vast sums of money, and the great number discussion can be of no avail. of ofiices, which is the CROWN” has in its gift. This is a very convenient notion

WESTMINSTER ELECTION, 1897. to be inculcated by those, who can dispose of seats, and who can force ministers Report of the Committee who conducted upon the king. To them it is very conve the Election, to their Constituents, as.

mons

28 10 1

1808

11 17 0

sembled on the 23rd May, 1809, to Expences of Chairing, Proces. celebrate the second Anniversary of

sion, and presenting the Car the Return of Sir Francis Burdett.

to Sir F. Burdett ...

507 19 2

of Fees and GratuiYour Committee have observed with

ties at the House of Com

6 2 6 much satisfaction, that the conduct you

514 1 8 adopted at the Election, the result of

- of Printing an " Exposition of which you are now met to celebrate, has the Conduct of the Cimmittee" during been imperceptibly forcing itself upon the

the Election consideration of all thinking men.

- attending the celebration of the In many parts of the Country a disposi

First Anniversary

31 16 0 tion to follow that example has been pub

of Verdict, Costs, and Execulicly manifested; and in some you have tion levied in an Action brought by the been awarded public thanks for the noble High Bailiff against Sir F. Burdett 321 08

1809 stand you made in support of principles,

incurred in defence of three without which our boasted Constitution is

Actions brought by Smith (a pauper) bat an empty form.

against the Counmittee

68 7 3 Your Committee call to your recollec

of collecting Subscriptions and tion, that, previous to the first Anniversary,

Meetings of the Committee the High Bailiff of Westminster had ob

£.1,756 70 tained a verdict against your Representa. Amount of Subscriptions received by tive, sir Francis Burdeti, for a share of the Treasurer to the 7th Aug.

1807... certain expences attending the election of

....1,215 14 3 Members of Parliament, under pretence Ditto, to the 23d May, 1809 456 19 0

1,672 13 3 that he was a Candidate, which he was not, and had had the use of the hustings; Leaving a balance due to the Treasurer of 83 13 9 and also that your Committee had endea- which your Committee cannot doubt your youred to obtain the reconsideration of readiness to make good. that verdict, by applying for a new trial, This debt has been incurred in carrying which had been refused by the Court of into effect the Resolution of the 4.h May, King's Bench. The consequence of these 1807, “ to return sir Francis Burdett to proceedings has been an expence of up- Parliament, free from every expence to wards of 3201. which the contributions of himself.” individual electors, and the liberality of Your Committee are not insensible to other friends to the purity of election, has the effect which this great and glorious enabled your Committee in great part to example is calculated to produce on the discharge. Since that period actions people of England, and it will be your have been brought by an individual duty to persevere and follow up that exagainst three of your Committee, under ample which yourse ves have set ; but pretence of expences said to be authorised they cannot conceal that the elective franby one or other of them on account of chise does not permit that example to be the election. It did not appear on the so followed as to produce any important trial that any such expenditure had been numerical eflect in the House of Commons, directed by them, or that the disbursement though they may justly hope that it will had actually been made by the plaintiff : even there be viewed with respect. and, in point of fact, no order for such Your Committee would willingly hope expenditure was given, it being contrary to that the sense of the people, peaceably exthe principle and_uniform practice of pressed, and supported by a few honest your Commitee. The plaintiil, who sued and real Representatives, who shall faithas a pauper, was non-suited; but your fully persevere in exposing corruption Committee were put to the expence of (however attempted to be excused by that about 701. for costs, in the defence of general prevalence which increases its these actions, which they have no hope of enormity), will ultimately succeed in renrecovering. These are the principal items dering it so disgraceful, that those most of charge since the last Anniversary, and interested will be compelled by shame to your Committee now lay before you the abandon its defence. In the mean time, present state of your accounts :-

you will, however, have the heart-felt sa

tisfaction of having done your duty, and ACCOUNT OF DISBURSEMENTS AND RECEIPTS.

the honour of holding up to public imita1807

£. $. d. Expences of the Election to the final

tion, even in times when corruption is officlose of the Poll

........ 750 14 4 | cially acknowledged and defended, ono

...

« PreviousContinue »