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William Cobbett, Selections from Cobbett’s Political Works, vol. 3 [1835]

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William Cobbett, Selections from Cobbett’s Political Works: being a complete abridgement of the 100 volumes which comprise the writings of “Porcupine” and the “Weekly political register.” With notes, historical and explanatory. By John M. Cobbett and James P. Cobbett. (London, Ann Cobbett, 1835). Vol. 3.

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Volume 3 of a six volume collection. Vol. 3 contains writings from the Political Register 1809-11.

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Edition: current; Page: [i]
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

London: Printed by Mills and Son,

Gough-square, Fleet-street.

Edition: current; Page: [iii]


  • Members of Parliament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page. 1
  • Trading Anti-Jacobins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
  • Duke of York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
  • American States (Commerce) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
  • Hampshire Meeting. Mr. Wardle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
  • To the People of Hampshire. Letter I. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
  • —————————— Letter II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
  • —————————— Letter III. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
  • “Elements of Reform” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
  • To the People of Hampshire. Letter IV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
  • —————————— Letter V. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249
  • —————————— Letter VI. Pauper’s Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
  • Jacobin Guineas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
  • Jacobin Guineas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
  • Jacobin Guineas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
  • Jacobin Guineas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
  • To the King, Letter I., on the Maritime War against France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
  • To the same on the same, Letter II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
  • The Jubilee. To Richard Goodlad, Esq. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
  • The Jubilee. To William Bosville, Esq. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
  • Paper-Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346
  • Paper-Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
  • Paper-Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368
  • Local Militia and German Legion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
  • To the Reader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
  • To the Reader. Mr. Cobbett on his Imprisonment in Newgate . . . . . . . . . . 388
  • Plan for an Army . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 396
  • Commercial Relief.—Over-Trading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410 Edition: current; Page: [iv]
  • Commercial Relief.—Over-Trading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415
  • Consolidated Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424
  • Austrian Paper-Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426
  • King’s Illness.—The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 428
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 430
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 461
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 471
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 482
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 491
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 501
  • The Regency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510
Edition: current; Page: [1]

Selections from Cobbett’s Political Works


Note by the Editors.—The pledge spoken of below was put by Mr. Cobbett to the candidates for Hampshire at a county meeting held previously to the election, in 1808. It was as follows: “That he will never, either directly or indirectly, either by himself or by any person related to him or dependent upon him, receive a single shilling of the public money, in any shape whatever, so long as he shall live; and that he will use the utmost of his endeavours to obtain for this burdened people a redress of all their manifold grievances, and especially of that most crying grievance of having their money voted away by those amongst whom there are many who receive part of that money.”

Mr. Herbert This gentleman’s address to the electors of Hampshire, a copy of which will be found immediately below,* contains matter worthy of Edition: current; Page: [2] the notice, not of the people of Hampshire only, but of the whole nation. For the purpose of saving time, I have numbered the paragraphs. The First contains nothing of general interest. Not so the Second and Third, which may be looked upon, and evidently were intended, as an answer to the pledge demanded by me.

It is something, at any rate, to hear a candidate declare, that he never will accept of a pension or sinecure, and this declaration Mr. Herbert has distinctly made, in a manner the most likely to be remembered. I, therefore, conclude, that he means, under all possible circumstances, to adhere to this promise, and in that conclusion I have, I must confess, great pleasure. It is one step, at least, in the right path; and it is a step, which, with the sole exception of Lord Cochrane, no one, of late times, has, as far as I have observed, thought proper to take.

But, from place Mr. Herbert will not debar himself by any pledge. This he calls foregoing the prospects of fair ambition, and binding himself to take no share in the administration of public affairs.

The pledge, which I demanded, as the only terms upon which I would give my vote, had no such object in view. As will be seen by reference to it, all that I wished to accomplish was this, that persons, once chosen to be the guardians of the people’s money, never should, during their whole lives, pocket, either by themselves or their relations and dependents, any part of that money. I said nothing about prohibiting any one from becoming a minister, or filling any office, upon any future occasion; but, then, I clearly meant, that, supposing him to fill any office, he should do it without pay, which, in many cases, at least, a man qualified to be a member of parliament, may very well do.

But, I confess, that my wish would be, that men who are chosen members of parliament, should never become servants of the King. A man cannot serve two masters; and, it matters very little, whether he be nominally the servant of both at one and the same time; or whether he be the nominal servant of one of them, while he is paving his way for being taken into the service of the other.

But in his Third paragraph, Mr. Herbert lets us see, that he thinks it right, and even necessary for the public good, that members of parliament should, at the same time, be servants of the King; that they should, in Edition: current; Page: [3] one and the same hour, ask for money in the latter capacity, and vote it in the former. This opinion being so directly at variance with plain common sense, it is worth while to examine into the reasons upon which it is founded. He says, that, if members were to lose the right of questioning the ministers face to face, the debates would become unimportant; that the censures of the House would be little worth, and passed without a hearing; that evil counsellors, who must tremble at the awful moment when they are publicly called to account, would lull themselves in security, without the necessity and even without the means of justifying themselves to the nation; and, that the dread of meeting an able minority front to front, is, in these days, almost the only check upon the actions of ministers.

In these days” is an important phrase; for, it is precisely because the “days” are what they are, that I wish for a change. Mr. Herbert’s doctrine is in direct opposition to the Act of Settlement, which declares persons holding places of profit under the Crown to be incapable of serving as members of parliament. This act, till base and corrupt ministers found it troublesome, remained in force, and no inconvenience was experienced from it. Nay, when the act, as far as related to this important point, was repealed, the repealers, though most profligate men, had not the impudence to do it without an appearance of preserving the principle; and, therefore, they enacted, that, if a member accepted of a place of emolument after his election, his seat should, in consequence thereof, be vacated, in order to give the people who elected him when he had no place, an opportunity of rejecting him on account of his having a place. Now, will Mr. Herbert say, that the object of this law was, and is, really what it professes to be? Will he say, that the electors do really hereby obtain the opportunity stated above? I think, he will not; for it is impossible for him to produce me a single instance of a member of parliament having been prevented from again entering the walls of the House after having accepted of a place of profit under the Crown. It is notorious, that the vacating of the seat, upon such an occasion, is a mere matter of form. The Secretaries of State, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the rest of them, are appointed without any one entertaining the smallest doubt of their being again returned. Nay, when a change of ministry takes place, during a session of parliament, is it not notorious, that “the Opposition,” as it is called, the regular body upon the opposite benches, abstain from all warfare, till the enemies arrive; and do we not always hear it said, that such an one cannot come into the engagement till such a day, because, until that day his return cannot arrive? That this is the fact no one can deny. But, whether it be so, or not, Mr. Herbert is left in a dilemma, if he approve of the law as it now stands; for, suppose the people to obtain an opportunity of rejecting the member that becomes a placeman, and suppose them to reject him, of which the letter of the law implies the probability and even the propriety; suppose the electors of all the members, composing a new ministry, to reject them upon the score of place, and supposing there to be no good-natured, modest gentlemen to give up their seats and their constituents to them; in that case, we should lose the amazing benefit, which Mr. Herbert perceives in the having of the ministers in the House; and, on the other hand, if this be impossible, or, if there be not the smallest chance of this, the law with respect to re-election is . . . . . . . . ; and, those, who affect to see a security for the people in it, are . . . . . . what I need not describe, and what Edition: current; Page: [4] I will not describe in terms other than those, which they so richly deserve. I will not wrong my thoughts by the using of words, which would be an inadequate expression of them.

But, the debates, Mr. Herbert says, would become frivolous and unimportant, if the King’s counsellors and servants were not in the House. The debates! All is debate. Why, there is a standing order of the House against publishing any debate; and, moreover, any member may, whenever he pleases, cause the galleries to be cleared, and the doors to be locked against all spectators and hearers. It is, to be sure, a very valuable thing that we possess; a mighty thing for our liberties, that any one member, either of those for Old Sarum, without even a seconder, may, at any time, totally deprive us of.

But, Sir, why should the debates become of no importance; of no interest at all to us, if the ministers and other placemen were kept out of the House? They might, indeed, be of little interest to those, who are now seeking for place through the means of debates; but, to the people: is it possible, that you can think, that the discussions of men, who were the real representatives of the people; who could scarcely have any views towards gain of any sort; who would be under no temptation to vote this way or that way to serve themselves, or to serve a party: is it possible, that you can think, that the discussions of such men would be less interesting to the people, than the wranglings of two parties, always opposed to each other, taking opposite positions in the House as naturally as two hostile armies, and well known to be contending for the places and emoluments which the Crown has to bestow? No, it is not possible; I assert, that it is not possible for you to believe, that the discussions of an assembly where, upon all great occasions, it is known beforehand of which side each member will speak and vote; where it is known beforehand what the result will be: I assert it to be impossible for you to believe, that the debates of such an assembly, can be so interesting as the debates of an assembly, where there is no such foreknowledge, and where there is known to exist, generally speaking, nothing to bias the judgment of the members. You must have observed, Sir, the difference which, in point of interest, is excited by the speeches of Barristers and that of the Judge. The cause of this is, not the superior ability of the Judge, for such is not always the case; not the novelty of the matter, for that has been already amply detailed: but solely the persuasion, that what is said by the Judge proceeds from an unbiassed mind. And, Sir, for this same reason, the debates of an assembly, not divided into regular parties, would, in the same degree, excite an interest greater than that which is excited by the debates of the House of Commons, as that house is now filled.

As to the advantage of “questioning the ministers face to face,” they were so questioned, when they were excluded from parliament. They were sent to the House by the King, to bear his messages; to ask for money in his name; and to give such explanations, as the representatives of the people required at their hands. There is, surely, nothing difficult in this. It is the regular and natural course of proceeding; but, can any one pretend, that it is natural; can any one pretend, that it is not a monstrous absurdity, that ministers, that the servants of the King, or, indeed, that any body else in this world, should be called to account by themselves; that they should sit in judgment, and vote, and assist in the deciding, upon the merits, or demerits, of their own conduct; and especially when it is known beforehand, when it is acknowledged to be Edition: current; Page: [5] essential to the very system, that they have, and must have, a majority in their favour, it being, according to that system, impossible for them to hold their places any longer than they have that majority?

“Tremble at the awful moment of meeting an able minority!” You surprise me, Sir. What have they, as long as they can preserve their majority, to tremble at? When did you see a ministry tremble, except for the loss of their places? And why should they? But, if there were a House of Commons, without placemen or pensioners; consisting of men not capable of being placed or pensioned; if the race could not be for power and emolument; if the members could not, in the future, discover any motive for indulgence, and lenity with respect to the past; then, indeed, wicked or foolish counsellors would have good cause to “tremble at the awful moment of meeting,” not an “able minority,” but an honest majority, in parliament, who would not waste their time in making long lawyer-like speeches, in order to show their fitness for conducting wars and negotiations; but, who, having only their own good, as connected with that of the public, in view, would busy themselves in doing that which belonged to their office, as guardians of the public treasure and the public liberty.

If the House of Commons contained no placemen; if it were unmixed with the servants of the King; if it were composed of men who never could touch the public money, can it be believed, that the public money would not be better taken care of? Besides the incompatibility of the two situations, in this respect, is it not evident, that a man, who has, for one half of the year, to fight daily battles in the House of Commons for the preservation of his place, must neglect the duties of that place? Is it not evident, that, if a man be compelled to give his mind up to debate and the preparation for debate, the duties of his office must be left to underlings, or be wholly neglected? Nay, is it not evident, that, if the possession of the place is to depend upon debates in the House of Commons, he will fashion his measures and especially his appointments and other favours to that mould which is likely to ensure him the greatest number of friends in that House; which fashioning would be useless for his purpose, were the members and the relations of the members incapable of receiving emoluments from the public purse?

The King, too, would, if this were the case, be left free in his choice of servants. He would not be compelled to take into his council a whole pack together. He would not be compelled to consider who could make the best, or, rather, the longest, speeches, and who would carry with them the greatest number of votes. He would be free to select whomsoever he thought most able and most trust-worthy; while the Commons, on their side, could have no reason for undue bias or partiality, in this respect, at the same time, that, if the King had counsellors, whom they disapproved of, they would, at all times, have the power of censuring them, of impeaching them, or of causing their removal by following the old constitutional course of refusing money; which is now, all the world knows, a power that is never exercised, nor is it ever thought of being exercised.

Is there an evil we complain of, or feel, which cannot be traced to this source? Let Mr. Herbert review all the circumstances, which led to, and which have followed, the Cintra Convention; and, I am persuaded, that, whether in the appointments, the progress of the thing itself, or the proceedings consequent upon it, he will clearly discover the prime Edition: current; Page: [6] cause to be that very system of things, of which he professes himself to be an advocate. If the war-minister, or all the ministers together, had had no debatings and dividings to look to; if they had had nobody but their master to obey; no families or particular individuals to conciliate or gratify; they would have acted upon the evidence of their senses; and being men of common discernment at least, they could not have greatly erred. But hampered, perplexed, divided in their feelings, as they constantly are, with duty on one side, and powerful importunity, not to say menace, on the other, is it any wonder that they so frequently yield to the latter, and that, of that yielding, we have so frequently to suffer and to blush for the consequences?

Such are the reasons which induced me to propose the pledge, at Winchester; and, with me, at least, these reasons will continue to operate, until I hear something more forcible opposed to them, than what I have yet met with in any writing, ancient or modern.


I have long delayed the execution of justice, in a set and formal manner, upon this race of politicians.

I have often called them traders, regular traders, and the like; and have occasionally shown how dearly the people of England have paid for the “loyalty” of the said traders. I have said, many times, that they found Anti-Jacobinism a thriving trade; and that, therefore, they were unwilling to give it up. I have pointed out the many efforts, which, from time to time, they have made, to make the people believe, that there was still a jacobin conspiracy going on. Many, and, indeed, the greater part of the nation, have long been convinced, that there was no such thing as jacobinism existing in the country, and that the cry of jacobinism, set up against every man who complained of abuses or corruptions, was a mere lure, a mere contrivance, to deceive honest and uninformed men. But, it was not till Mr. Wardle came out with his exposures, that the whole nation saw clearly to the bottom of this villanous deception, It was not until his charges, which, in the hope of being able to cry him down, were answered with a charge of jacobin conspiracy, that the whole mass of the people began to see the detestable fraud, which had so long been practised upon them, and of which many men of great understanding had become the dupe.

Now they are completely undeceived. Now they see, that a Jacobin means a man, who endeavours to root out corruptions and to prevent public robbery; and that, as the word imports, an Anti-Jacobin means exactly the contrary. Still, however, it will be useful to expose the traffic of Anti-Jacobinism. Hitherto we have considered it as something of a sectarian, or political, nature; but, we are now to abstract our minds from all such associations of ideas, and to consider Anti-Jacobinism merely as a trade; a trade in the plain and common acceptation of the word; a mere money-making concern; a calling upon which men Edition: current; Page: [7] outer with no other views than those of Lloyd’s and the ’Change, and to which apprentices may be bound in the regular course of law, there being gradations in it from the master tradesman downward, through the foreman and journeyman, to the sweeper and sprinkler of the pavement before the shop.

In this case, as in all others, the best way is to proceed with the stating of facts; for, a few facts answer a better purpose, they produce a deeper and juster impression, than can be produced by any general description, from however able a pen it may proceed.

I have, at different times, noticed, and shall hereafter notice, several persons, who have followed, and still do follow, this once flourishing trade. But, if I were called upon to name the tradesman, who has obtained the greatest celebrity in his way, and who most deserves that celebrity; the man who is, in this trade, what Mr. Packwood is in that of razor-streps, truth would compel me to say it was MR. JOHN BOWLES. There are others, who have had great vogue, and have not been without their profits, such as Mr. Green, Mr. Redhead Yorke, and the co-partnership of the Rev. Messrs. Nares and Beloe (the latter of whom was, sometime since, in the British Museum, whereby hangs a tale yet to be told); there are several clergymen, each of whom has traded very thrivingly upon his own bottom, and there are some others who have carried on the trade, with many journeymen under them; there are Mr. Gentz and that pink of knighthood, Sir Francis D’Ivernois, amongst the foreign traders; but, at the head of the whole most assuredly stands Mr. John Bowles.

This gentleman was, as the phrase is, bred to the bar, but, to use the pun of Admiral Paine, the bar being. I suppose, bad bread to him, he changed his calling in or about the year 1792. He appears to have begun, about that time, his manufactory of Anti-Jacobinism, with a pamphlet against Tom Paine, which being quite to the taste of that minister, who lent, without law, 40,000l. of the public money, without interest, to two of his then majority in parliament, he made our hero a Commissioner of Bankrupts, worth, I believe, about 3 or 400l. a year.

As yet, however, the term Anti-Jacobin was not in use. The trade had begun; but there was not a suitable name for it. The traders called themselves friends to their King and Country, and the like; but, John Bull loves short appellations; he is everlastingly prone to abbreviate; it was, therefore, necessary to find out an appropriate term whereby to designate the persons engaged in this new and thriving trade; and, to the honour of the Church, be it known, the term Anti-Jacobin was, at last, discovered by a clergyman.

About the year 1796, the trade seemed to be somewhat at a stand, and therefore, the government, as in the case of other useful trades, such as that of printing bank notes &c., took it, in some sort, under its immediate protection; or rather, it showed an example to be imitated by others. I here allude to the establishment of the “Weekly Anti-Jacobin” newspaper. This was an era in the history of the trade. Messrs. Canning and Frere (John Hookham) and George Ellis were the principal Directors in this establishment. They were, too, the fabricators of the choice articles that went from this shop; but, in setting the thing on foot, they were unable to proceed without the experience of Mr. John Bowles, who, from what source the reader may easily judge, found the means of setting all the machines in motion. But, whether the three persons, before mentioned, thought that John’s weighty matter would be apt to be too Edition: current; Page: [8] heavy for the wire-drawn work in which they excelled, or whether they were afraid that he would, as senior tradesman, and projector of the establishment, aspire to be the head of the firm, they soon jostled him out of the concern, for which, it is said, John never cordially forgave them. Messrs. Canning & Co. being engaged in other branches of business at the same time, were, however, compelled to have assistance; and, not liking to take an additional partner into the House, they got a respectable journeyman to superintend the business for them, a Mr. William Gifford, who had written some good poetry and better prose; who was a very sensible, acute, and, I verily believe, a very honest man; who never ought to have been exposed to the necessity of becoming the journeyman of Canning and Co.; and who always appeared to me to be cursedly ashamed of the calling.

At the end of 26 Numbers the manufacture stopped, all of a sudden, to the great surprise of every body; but, the fact is, that the raw material was wanting. Messrs. Canning and Co. had expended their stock of epigrams and antitheses, and, in the latter Numbers, were reduced to downright punning. Their pride would not suffer them to resort to the stores of their journeyman; and so the thing went out, like the snuff of a candle.

Short, however, as was its duration, it produced a very powerful example. Mr. Wm. Gifford had first a patent place given to him; to that was added a double commissionership of the Lottery; to that another place in the Household, making, in total amount, about a thousand pounds a year for life. Pretty well, I think, for 26 weeks superintendence on the printing and publishing of the droppings of the brains of Mr. Canning, Mr. George Ellis, and Mr. John Hookham Frere, neither of whom ever knew him previous to that time!

Reader, stop here, a moment, and ask yourself if it be any wonder that the taxes are heavy. Ask yourself if it be any wonder that the landowners are little more than stewards and collectors for the government. Ask yourself if it be any wonder that family hospitality has ceased, and pauperism has reared its head where plenty, or, at least, comfortable independence, formerly presided.

Are we told by the traders, that these places must have been given to somebody, and that, therefore, it makes no difference to us, in point of expense? First, I deny the premises; for, such places should be abolished as fast, at least, as they become vacant. But, if we admit the premises the conclusion does not follow; for, if such places must be given to somebody, are there not enough disabled officers of the navy or army; are there not enough superannuated servants of the public; are there not enough and enough persons, who have done something for the country, and who are either pensioned, or starving; are there not enough of these to give such places to?

But, it is useless for us to swell and foam with indignation. Thus it has been, thus it is, thus it will be, and thus it must be, while seats in Parliament are to be obtained in the manner negotiated for by Mr. Reding and Lord Clancarty.

Now we come back to the great regular trader, Mr. John Bowles, who, though he had been jostled out of the firm of Canning & Co., though he was not allowed to take any, or but very little, share in what they sent forth against every man, be his rank what it would, who disapproved of any of the measures of Pitt, he continued to push on a very valuable concern of his own; and, as the booksellers well remember, to Edition: current; Page: [9] their cost, he absolutely inundated the town with his pamphlets. He used to publish pamphlets upon “The Political and Moral State of Society at the end of such and such a year,” in all which pamphlets, though containing some very good stuff, as a sort of passport to the rest, he failed not to introduce an abundance of sterling Anti-Jacobinism. In 1804, at the time of one of the Middlesex Elections, he made a grand effort to restore the trade to the flourishing state in which it was in 1797 and 1798; and, failing in that attempt did not discourage him from another in 1806, at another Middlesex Election, when he and his new associate, Redhead, did actually bring forward that very Mr. Mellish, who was, the other day, so justly treated by the freeholders of the county, met at Hackney.

“Well,” says the reader, “but, really, this must have been a very honest and zealous man. Say that his loyalty was purchased; still he had but 3 or 400l. a year, and for that he was obliged to perform the drudgery of a Commissioner of Bankrupts. His loyalty must have been unfeigned and have proceeded from principle; for this paltry sum could hardly keep soul and body together.”

Now, reader, we come to the point; now we come to the secrets of the trade, as carried on by this active and enterprising Anti-Jacobin, whose real great occupation was totally unknown to that public, upon whom he so frequently intruded his moral reflections.

In the year 1795, there was a Commission (a commission is a very convenient thing) appointed for the purpose of superintending the management of Dutch Property; that is to say, the cargoes of Dutch ships detained or brought in. These Commissioners were, by an Act of Parliament, authorized to take such ships and cargoes under their care, to manage, sell, and dispose of the same, according to instructions which they were to receive, from time to time, from the King in council. These Commissioners were five in number, and of the five, John Bowles was one. Let us have all their names, in the language of the Commission: “To our trusty and well-beloved James Craufurd, John Brickwood, Allen Chatfield, JOHN BOWLES, and Alexander Baxter.

It will seem odd to the public, that this Commission, which began to exist fourteen years ago, should have still an existence; but, when that public comes to see the pretty profits which it was, and still is, bringing in, and how much it was the interest of the Commissioners to protract its duration, it will not be at all surprised at that duration. The document which lets us into an authentic account of this Commission, is the Fourth Report of a Committee of the House of Commons, appointed to control the several branches of the Public Expenditure, which Report, as far as it relates to this matter, will be found inserted in number 16, vol. XV. of the Register.

It will be seen, from this Report, that no bargain was made, as to the compensation, which these gentry were to receive. They had the handling of property to the gross amount of nearly THREE MILLIONS sterling. They were seated at a rich feast, and having nobody to carve for them, they were, it appears, not such fools as to forbear from helping themselves, which, I dare say, was exactly what Pitt intended. They had too much modesty to remind the government, that no terms of compensation had been settled; they never, in the course of fourteen years, made any application upon the subject; but, they set to work very early to feathering their nest, by taking into their own pockets a commission of five Edition: current; Page: [10] per cent upon the gross proceeds of their sales, just as if they had been merchants, who had got into business through talents and labour and capital of their own, instead of being put into business by a stroke of Pitt’s pen. This would have been pretty well of itself; but, as the Report will show, they used the money besides; that, instead of paying the cash into the Bank of England, and letting it remain there, according to the terms of the Act of Parliament, they kept large balances in their hands, which they employed in various ways, each taking a share of it to his private banker’s, and that they, in some cases, discounted private bills with it. In short, their total of profits, according to what they acknowledge to, would be 133,198l., that is 26,639l. to each Anti-Jacobin.

There is a trade for you! A trade that requires no stock, other than that of impudence, and no tools but an inkhorn and a goose-quill.

The Report will show what are the opinions of the Committee of the House of Commons upon the exorbitancy of these charges, and upon the general conduct of the Anti-Jacobins, by whom they have been made. The Committee prove, that even according to the principles upon which the charge is made, it ought not to be half what the Anti-Jacobins have made it.

The reader will perceive by looking at the Report, which I do beseech him to read, that the charges upon the sales; that is to say, the porterage, cartage, warehouse room, &c. amounted to 631,239l. sterling, and this, he will see, is nearly one third of the amount of the net proceeds! Very pretty traders these! And, mind, they charge the country a commission of five per cent upon these charges too as well as upon the net proceeds!

It has been proved before the Committee, that these charges of commission would be unusual and unjust, even if we were to admit the Anti-Jacobins to take the footing of merchants; but, reader, is that for one moment to be admitted? What capital did they possess? What advances were they ever required to make, as all commission merchants are? What labour had they ever had to perform, in order to get into business?

Again: They charge for the expenses of their establishment 17,000l. exclusive of all the charges upon the sales. What do they mean by this? What did it consist of, but of a house of 200l. a year rent, perhaps; coals and candles; a woman to sweep out the place, and a couple of clerks: for, observe, they themselves were five in number? How were these things to cost 1,200l. a year for 14 years, especially as almost all their business was ended in 1799?

I shall here introduce an article, upon this subject, from the Times newspaper of the 18th instant, which paper, the reader will please to observe, was that in which John Bowles used to puff off his loyalty, and the proprietor of which has very laudably thus endeavoured to undeceive his numerous readers:—

“These Commissioners, it appears, entered upon their office without making any express agreement what they were to be paid; and they continued so to act for twelve years, without ever giving the slightest intimation to Government as to what they were taking in the way of remuneration, whilst they were during this time, on their own authority, withdrawing five per cent from all the gross proceeds of public money that went through their hands. This they have declared to be the usual mercantile commission; whereas it appears on examination that half that sum, viz. two and a half per cent, is the usual mercantile commission, which even they themselves paid to others.—And farther, Edition: current; Page: [11] it appears, that by the usual mercantile practices, an interest account is kept between merchants selling on commission and their employers; the former paying to the latter the interest of the average balance retained in their hands: whereas these Dutch commissioners retained an immense balance, some part of which they are discovered to have converted to personal gain, even by negotiating private bills of exchange with it; they admit that they never meant to place the whole of the interest actually received, to the national account; and still less that which might have been received from the more active employment of the money. But their intentions will be plain enough from these circumstances: that of the public money employed at interest they made no minute; no proof of such employment appears in their cash-book; and when required by the committee, to give an account of their fees and other emoluments, they directly stated that they had ‘no salary, fees, or emoluments,’ but that commission, which they denominated the usual one.—And, lastly, it has been seen, that pending these transactions, the country was so distressed, that Mr. Pitt, the Finance Minister, not knowing how to raise money for the public service, did actually apply to these very commissioners for assistance, which they, with an augmenting balance of 190,000l. in their hands, declined to afford him, concealing their possession of such a sum; and refusing the country’s money to supply the wants of the country. In what language are we to address such men?

  • “That pity they to England show’d,
  • That pity show to them.”

“Oh, John Bowles! John Bowles! little did we think when we were unwittingly inserting thy paragraphs against Jacobins and Levellers, how much thy loyalty was warmed by considerations like these: and even when thou saidst that thou wast no admirer of Lord St. Vincent, it hardly occurred to us that he who had driven away the miscreants that gnawed the vitals of the State in one department, might reasonably create terrors in those who were sucking the blood of another.

Oh, John Bowles! John Bowles!”

Now, reader, leaving this pious man to write his moral and political State of Society at the beginning of the year 1809; leaving him to his labours in the Society for the Suppression of Vice, of which he is one of the most zealous members; leaving him to put down bull-baits, village fairs, and twopenny hops, of which he is a mortal enemy, as the people of Peckham, Camberwell, and Dulwich can testify; leaving him to his actings as a Surrey and a Kentish and a Middlesex justice of the peace; leaving his godliness to dictate false assertions about the naked woman at Nottingham, and about the late Duke of Bedford’s breaking the Sabbath; leaving him to these occupations, let us proceed to notice one little point in the Report and documents, which, otherwise, may escape public attention. In a paper, laid before the committee, it is said, that the Commissioners trust, that the Committee “will not forget, that two of their number, have been under the necessity of relinquishing their professions, in order to attend to their duty as commissioners.” Now, I take it for granted, that John is one of these two; and, then, let the reader bear in mind, that John had actually become a Commissioner of Bankrupts, before he was a Dutch Commissioner! Would he have done this, if he had had much practice at the bar? I will bet him my right hand against his net proceeds, that he never had the pleading of a cause in his life, though he must have been thirty-five years old, at least, before he became a Dutch Commissioner. Besides, he has, during the time, if not the whole time, that he has been a Dutch Commissioner, been also a Commissioner of Bankrupts, and, if I am not much in mistake, he is actually a Commissioner of Bankrupts at this moment! Well, John, if we do not give full credit to thy professions now, the devil is in us.—The Edition: current; Page: [12] Committee do, indeed, say, that they cannot admit of this plea of compensation for loss of profession; but, why did they not ask, whether the said gentry held no other places under the government? I am persuaded they all do at this moment.

But, what a scandalous thing it is, that, when any creature, who calls itself a lawyer, is taken into government employ, he is not only to receive the pay of the post, but is to receive compensation for the loss, the imaginary loss, of his profession. Just as if he was pressed into the service; just as if he was taken and forced to come to the aid of the country. Thus it is, that the bar is enslaved; thus it is that no minister is afraid of legal talents; thus it is that the bar is the tool of the government. Men are bred to the law, not for the purpose of being lawyers, but for the purpose of qualifying for a post and a pension under the government. No wonder, that we see, amongst lawyers, what we have recently seen. In short, this is another of the many ways, in which we have been reduced to our present degraded state; from which state we must raise ourselves, or we deserve to perish as a people, and the means of doing which is only to be found in legal, and constitutional, and loyal applications for a reform in that assembly, where the laws originate; all other remedies having been tried, over and over again, and having been found unavailing.

John Bowles was amongst the loudest of those, who clamoured against Sir Francis Burdett for his phrase about the “accursed Red Book,” the leaves of which he wished to tear out. But, John took care not to tell the public, that his own name was in that book, in two places, at least. No; it suited John better to say, that Sir Francis wanted to tear out the name of “our good and pious old king;” and, thereupon, to call him a bloody-minded Jacobin. But, now let the reader say, who has done the most injury to the throne; who has brought most discredit upon the government, Sir Francis Burdett or the abusers of Sir Francis Burdett. The Jacobin Baronet, or the Anti-Jacobin friends and associates of the Duke of York and John Bowles?

John has had a longer race than most men like him; his hour is certainly come. During the late busy season, John had quite slipped out of my mind; and this morning, just as I was thinking about beginning an exposure of the affair of the correct Colonel’s improvements, at Chelsea, in dropped, from the mail-coach, the Case of John and his five per cent partners, every one of whom is not only a stanch Anti-Jacobin, but belongs also, I am told, to the Society for the Suppression of Vice; Anti-Jacobins, Anti-bull baiters, Anti-boxers, Anti-revellers, and Anti-dancers; Anti-every thing that is calculated to draw the people together, and to afford them a chance of communicating their ideas; Anti-every thing which does not tend to abject subjection.

Thus, reader, have you the grand Anti-Jacobin before you. He comes out at a fortunate time, and serves as an excellent elucidation of the doctrine of those, who set up the cry of Jacobinism against Mr. Wardle; thanks to whom, thanks to whom be for ever given, for having opened the eyes of this blinded nation to the character and conduct of these the very worst of its foes.

Edition: current; Page: [13]


Note by the Editors.—The affair of the Duke of York occupied all public men, and the attention of the whole public, during a large part of the year 1809, and it takes a large part of the Political Register for that year. In looking through all the speeches, examinations, and comments, as they are given in that work, we, at first, intended merely to give the latter; but, on reading these, we found it impossible to disjoin them from the facts with which they are interspersed, and, therefore, we have thought it necessary to give the whole as it now stands in the work from which we extract it. It seems, indeed, more just towards all the parties, that the whole case should stand with the comments on it, than that the comments should go forth without the case. The reader cannot fail to perceive the then-growing animosity against the popular part of the press, which this affair ripened; and he will be prepared to find, that Mr. Cobbett was prosecuted by the Attorney-General, Gibbs, before the end of the year, for an alleged seditious libel.

  • “’Tis all a libel, Paxton, Sir, will say.”
  • Pope.

Much as I wish to communicate to the public some information, some really authentic information, which I possess, respecting the disposition of the people of Spain, their behaviour towards our army, the manner in which the retreat was conducted, the superior bodily strength and the superior bravery of our troops; anxious as I am to communicate this information to the public, I must defer it for the present, the parliamentary discussion relative to our illustrious Commander-in-Chief imperiously demanding a preference to every thing else.

On last Friday, the 27th ult., Mr. Wardle, a member of the House of Commons, who came into the honourable house for the first time, I believe, in consequence of the dissolution in 1807, when his Majesty was last “most graciously pleased to appeal to the sense of his people,” and for which gracious act the public will do me the justice to say, that I, at the time, expressed my profound gratitude, though I could not then possibly foresee a thousandth part of the good which has resulted from the dissolution. Mr. Wardle, having before given due notice of his intention, did, on the day above-mentioned, after a speech of considerable length, make a motion “for the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the conduct of the Commander-in-Chief, with regard to Promotions and Exchanges in the Army, &c. &c.” This is truly high matter; and, as it is also matter of great “delicacy,” as will be seen in the sequel, it will demand, from reader as well as writer, more than an ordinary degree of attention, to say nothing about the reverence, which, upon such an occasion, will naturally take and keep possession of our minds. The honourable persons, who spoke on the side of the Duke, and who, from what appears in the report, seem to have known his wish upon the subject, declared, that that wish was decidedly for publicity; that every part of the inquiry, from the beginning to the end, should be made as public as possible. In this respect, the public do, I am certain, perfectly coincide in wishes with the royal chief; and, therefore, though, in general, it is not desirable that reports of debates should be inserted in this work, I shall insert here the whole of this most interesting debate, or, rather conversation, of the honourable house. Upon comparing the reports in Edition: current; Page: [14] the different newspapers, I find the best, that is to say, the fullest, to be in the Morning Chronicle, as is, indeed, usually the case. I find very little difference as to the substance, the accuracy with which the debates are, in general, taken and published, being really wonderful, and a circumstance eminently creditable to the talents of the gentlemen, by whom those debates are given to the public. But, upon this important occasion, I will, as I proceed with the insertion of the debate from the Morning Chronicle, subjoin, in notes, parts of the report as given in the Courier, wherever it appears that there has been any material omission in the report of the Morning Chronicle; and thus we shall have the best possible chance of letting nothing of consequence escape us.

Mr. Wardle’s speech, I find divided into distinct paragraphs. These I shall distinguish by numerical figures, which will facilitate the work of reference, a work which, in all human probability, we shall frequently have to perform, it being quite evident to me, that this is a matter, which is not only, at present, extremely interesting in itself, to the country in general, to all the payers of taxes, as well as to every man in the army; but, also a matter, the inquiries into which must, at a day more or less remote, produce important national consequences.

It may be thought, perhaps, by some, that it would be better for me to wait; to reserve my observations upon this debate, until it be seen whether Mr. Wardle be able to substantiate his charges; especially as that may, perhaps, be known before this sheet can possibly reach the press. I am of a different opinion; because, whatever the result may be, there is much in the report, which appears to me loudly to call for that observation, with which it is my intention to close this article; and because, from certain expressions therein contained, I think it may be reasonably supposed, that, if the observation is to go forth through the press, there is no time to be lost.

Having said this by way of preface, I shall proceed to insert the debate, just as I find it in the above-named newspapers, without the omission of a “hear,” or a “laugh.

Mr. Wardle rose, pursuant to his notice, and spoke to the following effect:—

I.—Fully aware, Sir, of the great importance of the subject I am about to submit to the consideration of the House, I most sincerely lament that my abilities are unequal to do it complete justice. But yet I trust that an ardent zeal for the welfare of my country, supported by facts strong and incontrovertible, will enable me to surmount every difficulty, and eventually to rescue the state from the baneful influence of a power which has long been exercised for the worst of purposes, and which, in fact, tends to endanger our ultimate security. To stand forward the public accuser of a man so high in rank and so strong in influence as the Commander-in-Chief, may very naturally be deemed no less a bold than an arduous undertaking. But, however bold, however arduous it may be, being determined that no consideration of that nature shall ever induce any hesitation or wavering in the performance of my duty, either upon this or upon any other occasion, my mind is fully made up for perseverance. In the resolution I have formed, it is but reasonable for me to calculate upon the concurrence and cooperation of this House and the country. For, at a crisis of peculiar peril, when the great, if not the only means of our safety may depend upon the judicious organization and able direction of our military force, every man in the community must feel a lively interest in the object which my motion has in view. I trust, therefore, that H. R. H. the Duke of York will this night find, that however exalted his rank, however powerful his influence, the voice of the people, through their representatives, will prevail over corruption, and justice will be done to the calls of a long-suffering and meritorious body, to the best, to the Edition: current; Page: [15] vital interests of the people. In the course which I am pursuing, I feel conscious of no motive but that of a desire to serve my country, and I am confident, that none other can be fairly ascribed to me. The conviction of my mind is and for some time has been, that unless the system of corruption that has so long prevailed in the military department be done away, this country may fall an easy prey to the enemy. Consistently, therefore, with any rational feeling of solicitude for my country, which involves my own connections and my family, it is impossible that I should sit silent, and allow the practices which have come to my knowledge, to be any longer concealed, from those who are so much interested in their character and tendency. It is upon these grounds, Sir, that I am urged to offer myself to your attention.

II.—The first point in the case which I have to state, relates to the Half-pay Fund, which is an establishment under the direction of the Commander-in-Chief. This fund arises out of the sale of commissions vacant by death; by the promotion of officers not allowed to sell; or by dismissions from the service. The power of the Commander-in-Chief over this fund was constituted, and intended, for the reward of merit, either by the appointment of meritorious officers to the commissions which so became vacant, or by selling them and applying the produce of such sales to the redemption of half-pay commissions, or to the Compassionate Fund. Here the power of the Commander-in-Chief over such produce ceases. If the commissions I have described are otherwise disposed of, the authority vested in the Commander-in-Chief is abused, and the objects of the Half-pay Fund are abandoned. Now, if I can show that those commissions are appropriated to very different purposes, it will of course appear that such abuse and abandonment do take place—that merit is not rewarded—that the Half-pay List is not reduced—that the Compassionate Fund is not assisted. For the purpose of showing this, it is absolutely necessary to call the attention of the House to another establishment of the Commander-in-Chief’s, which is quite of a different complexion to that I have just mentioned. This establishment, which consisted of a splendid house in Gloucester-place, a variety of carriages, and a long retinue of servants, commenced in the year 1803, and at the head of it was placed a lady of the name of Clarke. As this lady forms a principal party in several of the facts which I have to cite, I am under the necessity, however reluctantly, to mention her name, as well as that of others, in order to make out a fair parliamentary basis for my motion, and to satisfy the House that I have not brought it forward upon light grounds. In producing this satisfaction, I have no doubt of succeeding, and I assure the House, that I shall endeavour to avoid trespassing upon their time by the statement of more cases than appear to me necessary to the particular points which my motion embraces.

III.—The first case to which I have to call your attention is that of Captain Tonyn, whom I understand to be an officer of merit, and in alluding to him upon this occasion, I beg it to be understood that I mean no reflection whatever upon his character. This officer, who held his captaincy in the 48th regiment of foot, was promoted to a majority in the 31st regiment according to the Gazette, on the 2nd August 1804. For such promotion, to which no doubt Captain Tonyn’s professional merit entitled him to aspire, he was indebted to the influence of Mrs. Clarke; without which he might have long looked for promotion in vain. To Mrs. Clarke, Captain Tonyn was introduced by Captain Huxley Sandon, of the Royal Wagon Train; and the terms of agreement were, that Mrs. Clarke should be paid 500l. upon Captain Tonyn’s majority being gazetted. In order to secure this payment it was arranged, that the amount should be lodged in the hands of a third person, as agent to the parties, and this agent was a Mr. J. Donovan, a surgeon, of Charles-street, St. James’s-square. As I shall have frequent occasion to introduce this gentleman’s name to-night, and may be obliged to resort to him hereafter, it seems right that I should present the House with some information about him. It appears that Mr. Donovan was appointed a lieutenant in the 4th Royal Garrison Battalion in the year 1802, and that he was afterwards promoted to the 11th Battalion. What the cause of this appointment and promotion was I have endeavoured to ascertain, but without success. I have however found, that the services of Mr. Donovan could not have been of a military nature. In fact since the day of his appointment in 1802, he has never joined his regiment. But there seems to be some reason for granting him a perpetual leave of absence, so he has been on constant duty in London. This gentleman was a member of the medical department of our army in the American war. If he deserved protection, surely our medical staff is large enough to provide for him. What then Edition: current; Page: [16] could have taken him into the army? But to return to his pursuits in London.—The 500l. lodged with this gentleman was paid to Mrs. Clarke, by Captain Huxley Sandon, as soon as Major Tonyn was gazetted. Here it becomes necessary to observe to the House, that the regulated difference between a Company and a Majority is 1100l. which should have been appropriated as I before mentioned. But how does the affair stand? Mrs. Clarke gains 500l. and 1100l. are lost to the Half-pay Fund. This sum, however, of 500l. was paid by Mrs. Clarke to a Mr. Birket, a silversmith, in part payment for a service of plate for the establishment in Gloucester-place; the balance for which plate was afterwards paid by H. R. H. the Commander in Chief. The positions which I hold to be clearly deducible from this case are these—First, That Mrs. Clarke possessed the power of military promotion. Secondly, That she received pecuniary consideration for such promotion. And thirdly, That the Commander-in-Chief was a partaker in the benefit arising from such pecuniary consideration. To establish the truth of this case, I have the following witnesses;—Major Tonyn, Mrs. Clarke, Mr. Donovan, Captain Huxley Sandon, and Mr. Birket’s Executors.

IV.—The second case I have to adduce relates to the subject of exchanges. Upon the 25th of July 1805, an exchange was concluded between Lieut.-Colonel Brooke, of the 56th regiment of Infantry, and Lieut.-Colonel Knight, of the 5th Dragoon Guards, through the influence of Mrs. Clarke. The agent for negotiating this transaction was a Mr. Thynne, a medical gentleman. The circumstances of the application to the Duke of York were shortly these; Mrs. Clarke wanted some money to defray the expenses of an excursion in the country; she therefore urged the Commander-in-Chief to expedite the exchange, as she was to receive 200l. for it. This urgent request was made upon a Thursday, and its influence was such that the exchange was actually gazetted upon the Saturday following. Mrs. Clarke in consequence received 200l. from the agent. This case then serves to show—first, that, in addition to promotions, exchanges also were at the disposal of Mrs. Clarke; and secondly, that the purse of the Commander-in-Chief was saved by the supply which his mistress derived from such sources. The witnesses to this case are, Lieut.-Colonel Brooke, Lieut.-Colonel Knight, Mrs. Clarke, and Mr. Thynne.

V.—As a contrast to the preceding exchange, I shall take leave to state a case of peculiar hardship which occurred within the last year: two meritorious officers, Major Macdonald and Major Sinclair, both of the first regiment of infantry, and both indisposed, were anxious to make an exchange—the one desiring, for the recovery of his health, to remain in England; while the other, from a similar motive, desired to go to the West Indies. These gentlemen sought their object by every honourable means. The most urgent requests, and the most respectable recommendations were made in their favour, but in vain. No mistress was resorted to: no bribe of 200l. was offered; Major Macdonald was forced to go to the West Indies, and fell immediately a victim to the climate; Major Sinclair was forced to remain in England, and survived but a few months. Thus was the country deprived of two highly deserving officers.

VI.—The fourth case I have to adduce refers to Major John Shaw, of Colonel Champagne’s Ceylon regiment. Major Shaw was appointed Deputy Barrack Master of the Cape of Good Hope upon the 3rd of April, 1806, through the influence of Mrs. Clarke. It was known that this officer by no means enjoyed the favour of the Duke of York; that in fact his royal highness entertained some prejudices against him. But these obstacles Mrs. Clarke easily contrived to overcome: for it was agreed to pay her 1,000l. for the major’s appointment. The appointment was therefore made, and the major himself paid Mrs. Clarke 300l. Soon after, 200l. more were sent to Mrs. Clarke, by Major Shaw’s uncle, through Coutts’s bank, and the payment was made by one of Mr. Coutts’s clerks. The remaining 500l., however, was not paid; and when it was found not to be forthcoming, Mrs. Clarke was enraged, and threatened revenge. She actually complained to the Commander-in-Chief of Major Shaw’s breach of contract, and the consequence was that the major was soon after put on half-pay. I am in possession of several letters which passed upon this subject, from Major Shaw and Mrs. Shaw, threatening both the Commander-in-Chief and Mrs. Clark with public exposure &c. if their complaints were not redressed, but in vain. In consequence of this business, I have been induced to examine the half-pay list, in order to see whether any similar reduction to that of Major Shaw had taken place in the Barrack Department; but I have found no such thing. Such officers being, in fact, kept on full-pay, even on the home staff. This case of Major Shaw Edition: current; Page: [17] was indeed the only instance I could find of such an officer being reduced to half-pay. The case of this officer then demonstrates, first, that Mrs. Clarke’s influence extended to appointments on the staff of the army, as well as to promotions and exchanges in the army itself; secondly, That the Commander-in-Chief punished an individual by reducing him from full to half pay, for non-performance of a nefarious contract with his mistress; thirdly, That the Commander-in-Chief was a direct party to all this shameful transaction. The witnesses to this case are, Mrs. Clarke, Mr. Shaw, uncle to Major Shaw, Mr. Coutts’s clerk, and Mrs. Shaw.

VII.—I now come to the very novel case of Colonel French and his levy. This officer was, through the influence of Mrs. Clarke, appointed by the Commander-in-Chief to conduct a levy in the years 1804-5. The colonel was introduced to Mrs. Clarke by Captain Huxley Sandon, and the condition upon which he obtained his appointment was, that Mrs. C. should have one guinea out of the bounty of each man raised, together with the sale or patronage of a certain number of the commissions. The agreement being concluded, it was communicated to, and approved of, by the Commander-in-Chief. Colonel French was accordingly sent by Mrs. Clarke to the Horse Guards, and after many interviews, the levy was set on foot. As the levy proceeded, Mrs. Clarke received several sums of money from Colonel French, Captain Huxley Sandon, and a Mr. Corri. She also received 500l. from a Mr. Cockayne, who is a well-known solicitor in Lyon’s-inn, and a friend of Captain Huxley Sandon’s.

VIII.—But, to return for a moment to Mr. Donovan, the garrison-battalion lieutenant.—This gentleman, who was such a prominent agent in those transactions, was acquainted with an old officer, a Captain Tuck, whom he very strongly recommended to seek promotion; and to encourage him by a display of the facility with which it might be attained, he sent him a written scale of Mrs. Clarke’s prices, for different commissions, which, in stating, I beg leave to contrast with the regulated prices of the Army:

Mrs. Clarke’s Prices. Regulated Prices.
A Majority £900 £2600
A Company 700 1500
A Lieutenancy 400 550
An Ensigncy 200 400

From this scale it appears, that the funds I have before alluded to lost, in an enormous ratio to the gain of Mrs. Clarke, or any other individual acting upon the same system.

IX.—Here I am to take leave of Mrs. Clarke. Here the scene closes upon her military negotiations; and in what follows, the Commander-in-Chief alone is interested. It appears that his royal highness required a loan of 5000l. from Col. French, and Mr. Grant, of Barnard’s inn, promised to comply with the request in procuring the money, provided the Commander-in-Chief would use his influence and obtain payment to Col. French of a balance due to him by government on account of the levy. This was promised, but the Commander-in-Chief failing to fulfil his part of the condition, the loan he required was not advanced, and 3000l. still remain due from government to Col. French. The case of this levy shows, first, that Mrs. Clarke, in addition to promotions in the army, to exchanges, and appointments on the staff, possessed the power of augmenting the military force of the country; secondly, that in this case, as in all others, she was allowed to receive pecuniary consideration for the exercise of her influence; thirdly, that the Commander-in-Chief endeavoured to derive a pecuniary accommodation for himself independently of Mrs. Clarke’s advantages. The witnesses in this case are, Col. French, Capt. Huxley Sandon, Mrs. Clarke, Mr. Corri, Mr. Grant, Capt. Tuck, and Mr. J. Donovan.

X.—The last case with which I shall at present trouble the House is that of Capt. Maling. This gent. was appointed to an ensigncy in the 87th reg. on the 28th of Nov. 1805; to a lieutenancy in the same reg. on the 26th of Nov. 1806; and to a captaincy in the Royal African Corps, under the command of the Duke of York’s own secretary, Col. Gordon, on the 15th of Sept. 1808. I have every reason to believe Capt. Maling to be a very unexceptionable character, although I cannot help pronouncing the mode of his promotion as extremely exceptionable. But this promotion was effected through the influence of the favourite agent, Mr. Greenwood, in whose office Mr. Maling was a clerk, remaining at his desk while advanced in the army by such an extraordinary course,—by a course Edition: current; Page: [18] which interfered with the interests, which superseded the rights of many meritorious officers who had long served in the army,—who had fought and bled for their country. This Mr. Maling has also, I understand, had, while so promoted, some appointment of paymaster in Ireland. I would appeal to the candour of the House, to the common sense of any man or body of men, whether it be right, whether it be tolerable, that such an accumulation of favours should be conferred upon any individual without any claim of professional merit, but merely through the operation of undue influence, while so many hundreds of truly deserving men are slighted and overlooked? I would ask, whether it be possible that our army can prosper,—that its spirit can succeed, or its character be advanced, while such injustice is tolerated? But I will not dwell upon those points,—it is quite unnecessary.

XI.—The facts I have stated are such as must suggest such reflections to any man’s mind. The House must feel the propriety, the necessity of grounding some proceeding upon such facts. The proceeding I propose will, I have no doubt, be acceded to. I am sure I have stated quite enough to induce the House to give me what I ask,—I could state more if necessary. There is, indeed, one thing to which I cannot omit alluding. The House must be astonished indeed at the corruption of the times, when told that there is at this moment a public office in the City for the Sale of Commissions, at the same reduced scale as that of Mrs. Clarke, and that the persons who manage this office stated in my presence that they were the agents of the present favourite mistress, Mrs. Carey. Indeed, these agents declared further, that they were also enabled to dispose of places both in Church and State, and that they did not hesitate to say, that they were employed by two of the first officers in the administration. But these are points to which I may, on a future day, feel myself more enabled to speak at large. The hon. member concluded with moving for the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the conduct of the Commander-in-Chief, with regard to Promotions and Exchanges in the Army, &c. &c.

Sir Francis Burdett seconded the motion.

The Secretary at War said, that he did not rise to give any opposition to the motion. (Hear, hear, from the Treasury Bench.) If he did so, he would ill consult the wishes and worse consult the interests of the Commander-in-Chief.* The facts which the hon. gent. had brought forward were of the most serious nature, and well deserved the attention of the House. He hoped the House would go into the inquiry, but listen to no charge unless it was clearly and distinctly stated. Charges on these or any grounds distinctly stated his royal highness was ready to meet, and even desirous of going into the investigation. This, he believed, was all that was necessary for him to say in this stage of the business; but he requested the indulgence of the House while he made a few observations not foreign to the question. With regard to the private transactions stated by the hon. gent. he had never heard of them before, and therefore could not be prepared to give an answer. But he could contradict those that were stated to have occurred at the Horse Guards. The papers respecting the half-pay fund were before the House, and he had stated in his place, without being contradicted at the time, that his royal highness had given up a great part of his patronage for the benefit of that fund. It was needless to go into the facts, more particularly as a full inquiry would necessarily take place. He would only remark, that the thanks which the House had been conferring on the army reflected no small credit on the Commander-in-Chief. His gallant friend near him (Sir Arthur Wellesley) might perhaps state of what description the army was which the Commander-in-Chief had put into his hands. Could the army have achieved the great exploits, for which it had been distinguished, if it had been ill-managed for a series of years. It had been universally allowed, that to make courage available in the day of battle discipline was necessary; and it was well known how much the Commander-in-Chief had attended to that object, which had rendered the army so formidable to the enemy. Another fact, to which it was important to allude, was the extreme order and regularity Edition: current; Page: [19] which had been introduced into the office of the Commander-in-Chief, which the inquiry would prove.

Sir Arthur Wellesley rejoiced that the hon. gent. had at length brought forward facts, to which a specific inquiry might be directed,—and he rejoiced also, that the character of the Commander-in-Chief would not be the subject of that general sort of discussion, which sometimes took place in that House; but that every fact would be fully and fairly sifted. It had fallen to his lot to know how promotions were conducted in the office of the Commander-in-Chief, and he knew that it was regularly recorded in that office who recommended the promotion, and the documents would be found there, so that all these transactions might be completely traced. With regard to the produce of the half-pay fund, the mode in which the money came into the office, and the mode in which it was issued, were recorded. Under these circumstances, he rejoiced that a committee was to be appointed, and he hoped they would make a special report—so much with regard to the alleged facts; but he must observe, with respect to the removal of the Barrack-Master of the Cape of Good Hope, that such removals were circumstances of common occurrence. The instance in question related to the establishment at Ceylon; and in foreign establishments, though the facts stated by the hon. gent. should be true, it constituted no ground of charge, for it was in the ordinary course of the service. With respect to the exchange between an officer going to the West Indies and one remaining here, the Commander-in-Chief would be in a most extraordinary situation if it was to be made a ground of accusation, that he had not consented to an arrangement tending to the convenience, perhaps to the benefit of individuals. As to one of these gentlemen dying here, and the other in the West Indies, if these general charges were to be listened to, it would be impossible for a person in his royal highness’s illustrious station to conduct the business. The circumstances stated by the hon. gent. went to show, that his royal highness, with a view to put a little money in his own pocket, had encroached upon the half-pay fund. But the House would recollect, that this fund was established by his royal highness, and the money furnished from the produce of commissions, which he might have given away without any sale at all. But the Commander-in-Chief gave up his own patronage, and saved to the public an immense sum—and yet he was charged with an embezzlement of this sort! But he was glad that a full inquiry was to take place. There was still one topic on which he would be to blame, if he did not say a few words—he alluded to the state of the army under his command last summer. He must say, that never was there an army in a better state as far as depended on the Commander-in-Chief, and he must further say, that if the army had not performed the service for which it was destined, the blame would not have rested with the Commander-in-Chief, but with him.* (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Yorke observed, that he never listened to a charge more serious, and he had heard it with the greatest possible concern, both on account of the Commander-in-Chief, and the hon. gent. who had brought it forward (hear, hear), who took so heavy a responsibility upon himself. But he was glad that the House had come at last to some charges against H.R.H. the Commander-in-Chief in a tangible form. Publications which he would treat as libels (hear, hear), had lately appeared against the Commander-in-Chief, and these had been circulated with a pertinacity hitherto unexampled. He was glad, therefore, that something was now brought forward in a tangible form, and he hoped the House would do its duty to itself, to the country, and to the Royal House of Brunswick (Loud cries of hear, hear); that blame might rest where it ought to be fixed, and that if there was no ground for these accusations, justice might be done to the Commander-in-Chief. And he sincerely hoped, that if the latter Edition: current; Page: [20] should turn out to be the fact—the hon. gent. would be enabled to acquit himself, by showing at least, that there existed some probable reasons in support of the heavy charge which he had taken upon himself. For my own part, Mr. Yorke continued, I believe that there exists a CONSPIRACY of the most atrocious and diabolical kind against his royal highness (loud cries of hear, hear)—founded on the JACOBINICAL spirit which appeared at the commencement of the French revolution; for though this spirit did not show itself exactly in the same form as at first, when once raised it was not easily quelled, and it never could promote its views with better hopes of success than by TALKING down illustrious persons. (Hear, hear.) It was the object to write down his royal highness—it was no less so to write down all the establishments of the country. By means of the press, the liberty of which was so valuable, and the licentiousness of which was so pernicious, it appeared to be the design of the CONSPIRATORS to write down the military system through the Commander-in-Chief—the army through its generals, and other establishments through the persons most conspicuous in each—

[The remainder of the Debate will be found at p. 36.]

Now, as I said before, we need not wait for this discussion, in order to be able to form a judgment upon certain very important points, introduced into this debate; because those points are quite distinct from the main subject of the debate.

Upon the statement of Mr. Wardle no observation need be made. It consists of facts; not of declamation or loose assertion; but of specific facts, the truth or falsehood of which may be, and are to be, ascertained. I should, however, do great violence to my feelings, were I to suppress an expression of my admiration of the manly as well as the able manner, in which that statement was made. The speech was, at once, concise, plain, and impressive; the allegations were unequivocal, the motives undisguised, and the principles such as do honour to the heart of the speaker; such principles as a great majority of us entertain, but such as very few of us indeed have the courage to avow. There was no hypocrisy in the speech; no affected solicitude that the charges might prove false. The persuasion in the mind of the speaker evidently was, that he was stating truths; and, accordingly, he appeared to be afraid of nobody. The Morning Post newspaper calls it “a curious speech.” If by “curious,” he, the editor, means rare, I must confess that it was “curious” in the highest degree.

As to the reported and published speeches of the other speakers, the first thing that struck me was, that they should have contained any thing at all, except what might relate to the mode of inquiry. The charges were so clearly stated, that there seemed to be nothing to do but, at once, to fix upon the mode of inquiring into them. However, it appeared to be an occasion for many persons to express their opinions relating to the person accused, and, therefore, we will notice what they said, it being desirable that nothing should escape publicity that belongs to this important subject.

A direct denial of the facts does not appear to have been made by any one; but, the Secretary at War (General Sir James Pulteney, who marched against Ferrol, as the reader will remember) said, that, as a proof that the army had not been badly managed, as a proof that the Duke of York had not abused his powers, the excellent discipline of our army might be cited, and for the proof of the goodness of that discipline, he referred to Sir Arthur Wellesley. Sir Arthur, who appears to have been seated near Sir James, bore testimony to the excellence of this discipline; Edition: current; Page: [21] imputed, in part, to the Duke, that valour the consequence of which had recently been a subject of the thanks of the House; and concluded by saying, that, whatever enthusiasm the army had felt was the result of the example and discipline afforded by the illustrious person at the head of the army. Mr. Yorke said, that, at the time when the Duke took the army in hand, it was in such a state as scarcely to deserve the name of an army.

Now, whatever others may think of the matter, I do not believe, that any, even the smallest portion, of the strength or the bravery of my countrymen is to be ascribed to the Duke of York, to any branch of the government, or to any other cause than that which proceeds from nature. I look upon steady courage; upon a temper to resist or attack without trepidation; to bear up when they come to the pinch; I look upon these as qualities natural to the people of this kingdom; nor will I, upon any account, give my assent, express or tacit, to any assertion leading to a contrary conclusion. But, the ascribing of the enthusiasm of the English soldiers at Vimiera to discipline is what I cannot understand. Discipline consists of restraints, at least; generally it implies checks, pains and penalties. Discipline may, and does, produce prompt obedience, submission, and, of course, order and regularity; but, that it should fill the soul with enthusiasm is, to say the least of it, something wonderful. “Example,” indeed, may inspire an army with enthusiasm; and as to the probable effect of the Duke of York’s example; the example afforded by his battles; as to this, I am sure, it is quite unnecessary for me to say one word to any living creature in this kingdom.

After all, however, what has this to do with the main subject; the great subject now before the parliament and the public? Suppose we were to admit, that the men of the 50th regiment, when they were making that gallant charge at Vimiera, before which the French instantly ran like a flock of sheep; suppose we were to admit, that the brave private dragoon, who took General Lefebvre; suppose we were to admit, that our regiments before Corunna, who, when engaged against triple their force, in point of numbers, and who, at the end of a march that had left even the officers barefooted, stood like a wall before the enemy, and when they saw fresh numbers pouring down, gave three huzzas, rushed forward upon the gathering host, drove them up the hill, and by that act of almost unexampled bravery secured the safety of the embarkation: suppose we were to admit, that all these men were inspired solely by the “example” of the Duke of York. Nay, suppose we were to admit, to its full extent, the idea of Mr. Yorke; suppose we were to admit, that it was the Duke who alone had rendered the English soldiery worthy the name of an army; that he, and he alone, had poured courage into the breasts of Britons, and had given them strength of bone and of sinew. Suppose we were to admit all this, and, I think, it is hard if a broader admission could be demanded, or wished for, even by the most zealous Anti-jacobin in the country; suppose we were to admit all this, what would the admission make; of what weight would it be: how would it at all alter the case, when set against facts such as those stated by Mr. Wardle? The skill and the courage of the Duke of York are things which appear to me to have nothing at all to do with his mode of distributing promotion. Nothing at all to do with those bargains and sales mentioned by Mr. Wardle. Mr. Wardle plainly stated, that Mrs. Clarke, with the connivance of the Duke of York, had received so much Edition: current; Page: [22] a head upon a new levy. Is this to be answered by citing the military renown of the Duke of York? Mr. Wardle states, that a man was going through a long course of military promotion and pay, while he was actually a clerk in the agent, Greenwood’s, office. Is this to be answered by telling us, that our army fought well at Vimiera? No, no. Such facts are to be efficiently met by nothing short of flat denial; and, unless they can be so met, at once, it were much better to wait the want of proof on the part of those, from whom the accusation has proceeded.

There was another argument, made use of by Mr. Adam, which does not seem to me to be much more conclusive as to the main point. It was this: that he had, for 20 years past, had an intimate knowledge of the pecuniary concerns of the Duke of York; that he had been acquainted with all his embarrassments (of the cause of which, however, he did not speak); that, in all his transactions with the Duke, he had found him extremely unreserved, fair, and correct; that he never heard of any concerns with Mrs. Clarke, and the like; that he thought he must have heard something of them, if they had had any existence; and that, therefore, the accusation must be false. The report of Mr. Adam’s speech must, certainly, be incorrect; for, it is incredible, that a gentleman, who is so well able to reason, and who has so long been accustomed to weigh arguments with such nicety, should have drawn, either expressly or by inference, so illogical a conclusion; a conclusion destroyed, at once, if we perceive, that it proceeds solely upon premises, which are matter of opinion. All that Mr. Adam asserts positively, I, for my part, who have good reason to know and be grateful for his wisdom and integrity, implicitly believe; but, there may, without any impeachment of any of the excellent qualities of his head or heart, be great doubts with respect to the fact, whether, if an illicit commerce in commissions existed, he would necessarily hear of it; nay, it may be thought, that he would be amongst the last men in the world who would be made acquainted therewith.

The next point that presents itself is that of the “heavy responsibility,” to which it was said, that Mr. Wardle had subjected himself. Almost all the honourable members, who spoke in praise of the Duke of York, used some phrase or other expressive of their pleasure at what Mr. Wardle had done. The Secretary at War declared his great satisfaction at it; Sir Arthur Wellesley rejoiced three times and was glad once; Mr. Yorke was glad twice and once happy; and Mr. Canning congratulated the Duke of York upon the matter being brought forward. This cannot fail to give the country a high opinion of the independence and love of impartial justice in these gentlemen. Yet, somehow or other, they did, most of them, seem to be deeply impressed with a risk, of some sort, that Mr. Wardle ran, from having performed this pleasure-giving task. Mr. Yorke called it a “heavy responsibility;” and Mr. Canning said, that “infamy must attach, either upon the accused or the accuser.” If Mr. Canning meant, by the accuser, the informer, I agree with him; but, not so, if he meant Mr. Wardle; for, if that were to be admitted, what would become of the characters of Attorneys and Solicitors, high as well as low, who prefer accusations against men, who are acquitted? Will Mr. Canning say, that “infamy” attached to Sir John Scott (now Lord Eldon), because Mr. Horne Tooke was, upon a charge of treason preferred by Sir John, proved to be innocent of the charge, being acquitted by a jury, which acquittal corresponded with the charge of a most learned and upright judge? No. Mr. Canning will not say this. Edition: current; Page: [23] It must, however, not only be said, but proved, before it will be admitted, that “infamy” will attach to Mr. Wardle, though his charges against the Duke should, like those against Mr. Horne Tooke, finally appear, from the best possible evidence, to be false; except, indeed, it should be made appear, that the charges originated with Mr. Wardle; that he hatched the facts; that he has hired and bribed spies and informers; that, in short, he has formed a conspiracy to injure, by base means, the reputation of the accused person. Mr. Yorke qualified his phrase of “heavy responsibility” by afterwards saying, that he hoped Mr. Wardle had, at least, “probable grounds” for what he had done. This was right; and, giving to Mr. Canning’s words the application above pointed out, I agree with them; but, if “infamy” were to attach to a member, who failed to prove a case put into his hands, the House of Commons would be in a pretty situation. “The freedom of debate” would soon be reduced to a level with another sort of freedom, of which we shall speak by-and-by. Suppose a case of a different nature. Suppose a good, honest, well-meaning member of parliament to be informed, that there is, even at this late day, a plot against the life of the King, and for the purpose of overturning “the monarchy,” upsetting “regular government,” overthrowing “social order,” and blowing up “our holy religion,” and that the conspirators (names this and that) with all their books and papers, all their bloody and anti-christian implements, were at that moment hard at work in some garret in St. Giles’s. Suppose this; suppose the good man to inform the House of it; suppose the King’s messengers, the police magistrates, the horse-guards, dispatched to the scene of brooding destruction, with an order to bring to the bar every creature there found; and, suppose the conspirators to consist of a poor old woman and her cat. Would it be fair, would it be just, to say that infamy attached to the good hoaxed gentleman? No. He might be reasonably enough laughed at for his credulity; but, even the parties accused could not justly charge him with infamy. In this case of Mr. Wardle, as in all other cases of a similar nature, the blame, if any, must be in proportion to the want of grounds, not for the charges themselves, but for his belief of them; and, therefore, however the proof may turn out, if it appear, that Mr. Wardle did receive information of the facts, which he has stated; that the informants are persons whose oath would be taken in a court of justice, and be sufficient for the hanging of any one of their neighbours in common life; and especially if it should be proved, that, amongst these informants, there be one, or more, of character so respectable as to have lived in habits of intimacy with the person accused; if this should be made appear, the public will, I am of opinion, agree with me, that, so far from any blame attaching to Mr. Wardle, he would have been guilty of a scandalous neglect of his duty, if he had refused, or delayed, to do what he has done.

I now come to a part of the debate, to which I must beg leave earnestly to crave the reader’s most serious attention; after which allusion, he will readily conclude that I mean that part which relates to an existing CONSPIRACY in this country. Not an imaginary thing like the one above supposed; but a real conspiracy, for the purpose, as Mr. Yorke described it, of talking and writing down the Duke of York, and, through him, and the Generals of the army, the army itself; of talking and writing down all the establishments of the country; which description, Edition: current; Page: [24] with somewhat of limitation, appears to have been repeated by Mr. Canning and Lord Castlereagh.

Coming from such high and grave authority, the statement demands our attention. We have, indeed, seen publications in some of the newspapers, stating something about an existing design, in certain persons, to overthrow “social order;” to undermine, at the instigation of the devil, our happy constitution in church and state; and, we have lately seen, a stupid author, in a dirty pamphlet about Jacobinism, addressed to the Earl of Lonsdale, hammering his brains, to show, that the Edinburgh Reviewers have formed a plan, a regular system, for effecting this wicked purpose, by the means of their Review, which, to the regret of all those who admire excellent and most powerful writing, is published only four times a year, and which work, in only one single article upon the subject of the Methodistical doctrines, has done more good to the country, than all the writings of all the trading Anti-Jacobins, than all the hundreds and thousands of volumes, all the wagon-loads and ship-loads of printed trash, that have issued upon, and disgusted the world, from this, at once, vapid and polluted source. From this abundant, this overflowing tide, this Nile of venality, corruption, filth, falsehood, venom, and all uncharitableness, we have heard it asserted, that a Jacobinical conspiracy is in existence, and accordingly, to the assertion we have turned a deaf ear. But, now, when it is made in parliament; when it comes from such high authority, we must not only give it belief, but must accompany that belief with our regret, that the important, the awful, truth, was not sooner officially proclaimed, and that it should have been kept back until the moment, when distinct charges of corruption and profligacy, of the very worst sort, were, however unjust they may finally appear, made, by a member of parliament, against the person, at whose reputation the “CONSPIRATORS” are said to be levelling their most deadly shafts.

That the conspiracy does exist, and has for some months (I think, that’s it) existed, there can, however, be now no doubt; that it has an existence, not like the real presence in the wafer; not a legerdemain or metaphorical existence; nothing of priestcraft or law-fiction about it; but, that there is, in England (oh! poor England), amongst the dwellings of John Bull, at this very time, without any mental reservation, a Jacobinical Conspiracy; a conspiracy of corporeal beings, for the purpose, as Lord Castlereagh expressed it, “of overthrowing the monarchical branch of the Constitution.”

Mr. Yorke must understand these things better than we, in the country, do; but, to us, a talking conspiracy is something new, and calls to my mind Dennis’s admirable criticism upon the tragedy of Cato. “What, the Devil!” says he, “are your conspirators come here again, to hold, aloud, treasonable dialogues in Cato’s own hall?” The man, who, in one of Beaumont and Fletcher’s plays, is apprehended as a conspirator, when his real sin is mere gluttony, is accused upon the ground of his half-uttered sentences, while in eager search for a cod’s head instead of that of his sovereign. And, indeed, the great characteristic of conspirators heretofore has been that of cautiousness, and silence; but, as we are now assured, from such high authority, that there is actually a talking conspiracy on foot, it becomes us all to put a bridle in our mouths, that “we offend not with our tongue.”

As to the writing part of the conspiracy, I have, I must confess, observed things that appeared to me to lean this way; and upon reading Edition: current; Page: [25] the debate, above inserted, I looked over the Courier newspaper, from the eleventh to the twenty-sixth of this month, comprising a space of fifteen days, or half a month. The following are amongst the Jacobinical productions that I found, and I lay them before a public, that, I am sure, will participate in the abhorrence which I entertain of the mean and villanous miscreants, from whose pens they proceeded:—

One Hundred Pounds in a Banker’s hands ready to be advanced to any Lady or Gentleman who will procure the Advertiser a permanent situation in the Stamp-Office or Customs adequate. The greatest SECRECY may be relied upon. A line addressed, post-paid, to J. Smith, the Rose and Crown, Wimbledon, will meet due attention.”

“From Five Hundred to One Thousand Pounds, will be presented to any Gentleman or Lady, who can obtain or procure for the Advertiser, an adequate and permanent Situation or Place under Government, in Town, or a few Miles from it.—For Integrity and Trust, Testimonials of Character and Respectability can be had, &c. &c. Letters addressed to J. P. L., Peele’s Coffee-house, will meet due and secret attention.”

One Thousand Pounds will be given by a Gentleman to any Person having interest to procure him a respectable Situation under Government.—Direct to A. B., at Mr. West’s, Bookseller, No. 81, Great Portland-street, Mary-le-bone.”

Country Patronage. Any Gentleman enabled by Resignation or otherwise, to present the Advertiser with a permanent Situation, in the Country only, may be treated with, by addressing a Letter, post-paid, to L. P. C., Mr. Lauman, Tailor, St. James’s-street, London.”

Now, the manifest object of the persons making these publications, must be to cause it to be believed, that the places under government are to be bought and sold, pretty much in the same way as beef or mutton. There are about twelve daily papers in London; and if we reckon on the above standard, at eight, a month, for each paper, it will make 1,152 of these publications in a year; publications, each of which amounts to an assertion, that, at least, in the opinion of the writer, the offices under the government, the salaries of which ought to go to pay for services to the public, are sold, and the price put into the pockets of such women or men as can procure the bestowing of the places.

These, indeed, are writings that tend to the destruction of “the monarchical branch of the Constitution;” and, how it happens that they have never been noticed, I must leave the reader to find out.

Oh! the sad rogues! They would persuade us, that they can buy, actually deal for, cheapen, and buy, for a sum of money, to go into the pocket of some woman, those very salaries which we pay for the doing of the nation’s business! If this is not striking at “social order” and “regular government,” I should be glad to know what is.

Mr. Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, as will be seen by referring to the debate, that “it was not for him to tell the House, that, in this great capital, it might happen that foolish persons were frequently deceived by advertisements in the public papers, announcing the disposal of official patronage; and, perhaps, it has, occasionally, TURNED OUT, that the very persons, who were originally DECEIVED by these advertisements to make applications, did ultimately obtain the very appointments for which they had endeavoured to negotiate.

Eh? . . . . How’s that? . . . . Yes! I see it now; I see it now, as clear as daylight. Aye, aye; that is plain enough. It is just as Mr. Perceval said. Foolish people, seeing places advertised for sale, were deceived by them; but, it occasionally turned out, that these same Edition: current; Page: [26] foolish and deceived people did, in the end, get those very places, which the advertisements invited them to purchase.

This explanation cannot, I should hope, fail to produce a very salutary effect.

The last part of the debate, upon which I think it necessary, at present, to make any remark, is that which related to libels and the liberty of the press. I have so recently discussed this subject, that it is quite irksome to return to it; yet, what was said in the debate, especially by Mr. Yorke and Mr. Canning, strongly urges me to say something, though it be mere repetition.—Both these gentlemen said, that there had been a series of libels published against the Duke of York; which may be very true; and, if they mean falsehood as an essential ingredient to constitute a libel, no man in all the world can wish the libellers to be punished more sincerely than I do; though I cannot help repeating what I have a thousand times said, that I do not think, that an aspersion upon the character of any man, was ever wiped off by an appeal to the law. No man ever practised what he preached more strictly than I do this doctrine. I have been, for about thirteen years, and am at this very day (see the Morning Post of Monday last), the object of almost continual printed calumny. Not calumny conveyed in inuendoes, but in downright charges of the most infamous nature. I do not think, that there is a crime known to man, that I have not, either in America, or at home, been charged with. Knowing them to be false, those charges never gave me a moment’s uneasiness. Once in a while, I have given a contradiction to lies, and have exposed misrepresentations. Trusting to the force of truth, I have, for the most part, left falsehood and malice to work their way; and, I do not believe, that in the opinion of one single sensible man that ever even heard of me, I have suffered, in the smallest degree, by the publications that have been made against me; and, as for fools, it is no matter what are their opinions.—But, there were two positions, one from Mr. Yorke and the other from Mr. Canning, to which I am disposed to pay particular attention.—The first of these gentlemen said, that libels had, of late, been more abundant, against persons in authority, than at any former period, in this country, so fertile in libels; and the latter said, that, in publications, rank ought to be regarded like sex, and that, to assail persons of exalted rank, was an act of baseness and cowardice, equal to that of assaulting a defenceless woman.—Mr. Canning may have been misrepresented by the reporters; they may not have caught his meaning; but, if they did, that meaning is decidedly hostile to my sentiments upon the subject; nay, it is the very reverse of those sentiments. There was much said about the “blessings of a free press;” but, if it be to be regarded as an act of baseness to assail men of rank, I should be glad to know in what those “blessings” consist? The “freedom of the press” means, the freedom of examining and exposing the actions of public men; men who are entrusted with the nation’s affairs; and these are necessarily men of high rank. If the “freedom of the press” has not this meaning, it has no meaning at all, and all the talk about it is nonsense; and, therefore, according to this new doctrine, to use the freedom of the press at all, is an act of baseness and cowardice. Of all bad, or despicable, qualities, that of cowardice is the last that I should have expected to hear imputed to an unsupported individual, who assails men in power. Cowardice might, indeed, well be imputed to those, who, supported by the powerful, should send their publications forth like a mail-coach, under government protection. To those, Edition: current; Page: [27] who, thus backed, should assail individuals, pour out upon them all sorts of calumnies, having no dread of punishment, cowardice may well be imputed. Here the charge of cowardice is due; for, not only would the calumniator be pretty secure from the dangers to which the opponents of men in power are exposed; but, worst come to worst, he would be sure of a compensation for his pains and his losses.

I have never yet got any answer to this question: “What is freedom of the press?” I want an answer to this question from some one of those, who talk of the “licentiousness of the press.” It does not consist in publishing books upon planting, farriery, or fox-hunting. There is not a despot upon earth, who attempts to prevent such publications. In short, it is farcical to talk about freedom of the press, unless by it we mean the right, the acknowledged legal right, of freely expressing our opinions, be they what they may, respecting the character and conduct of men in power; and of stating any thing, no matter what, if we can prove the truth of the statement.

In this sense the freedom of the press is a great “blessing.” In this sense it is “a terror to evil-doers, and a reward to those who do well;” but, if the freedom of the press means, that we are not to assail men in power; that they are to be as sacred from the quill as women are from the sword; while, on the other hand, the press is to praise them as much as it pleases; then, the “freedom of the press” is the greatest curse that ever fell upon a nation. It is in the character and conduct of men in power that the public are interested. These are the very matters, upon which they want, and ought to receive information. The babble of the day is of no public utility. The particulars of who walks or rides out with the King; of where and when the Duke of York salutes his royal parents; of the breakfasts and dances of Frogmore; of Generals Cartwright and Fitzroy’s going to chapel and hearing a sermon; of the cabinet and other grand dinners: these may amuse some few gossipping people; but of what use are they to the nation? Of full as little use are dissertations containing merely general principles, without a direct application of them to men and things of the present day.

But, we are sometimes told, that we may discuss the characters and measures of men in power, taking care not to hurt their feelings; that is to say, taking care never to blame either the men or the measures; for, if blamed, it follows of course, that their feelings must be hurt. We have been talked to a great deal about decency in these discussions; and we are now told, that we, of this day, are abusive; indeed, censure, or even disapprobation, however expressed, is now-a-day always called abuse. We are charged, too, with being foul-mouthed; coarse; personal; and are accused of surpassing in libellousness the writers of all former times. These assertions have been often made; but now, at a moment when there are so many persons under government prosecution for libels; now, when all the venal writers seem to have formed a conspiracy against the character, and, perhaps, the lives of those prosecuted persons, by exciting in the mind of those who are to be their jurors, a prejudice against them; now it is absolutely necessary to inquire into the truth of such assertions.

The writers of former times; times when not a thousandth part of the present corruptions prevailed; the writers (from some of whose works I am forming a collection to be published hereafter) who, in those times of comparative purity, surpassed in boldness, the writers of the present Edition: current; Page: [28] day; the bare names of those writers would fill a volume. I will, however, content myself with some extracts from Pope, who was one of the greatest scholars, the most acute reasoners, the most independent and virtuous man, and, without exception, the brightest genius that England ever produced. When he wrote, in the last reign, and in the year 1738, the laws and constitution of England were as well understood as they now are, and loyalty was not less a virtue than it now is. Corruption (under the administration of Sir Robert Walpole) was only in its infancy. Now, then, let us hear how this accomplished scholar, this great genius, whose works are read with such admiration, and which make a part of the library of every man of sense who has the means of procuring books; let us hear how this all-accomplished writer expressed himself upon the subject of the then prevailing vice and corruption.

  • Lo; at the wheels of her triumphal car,
  • Old England’s Genius, rough with many a scar,
  • Dragg’d in the dust! his arms hang idly round,
  • His flag inverted trails along the ground!
  • Our youth, all liv’ry’d o’er with foreign gold,
  • Before her dance: behind her, crawl the old!
  • See thronging millions to the pagod run,
  • And offer country, parent, wife, or son!
  • Hear her black trumpet thro’ the land proclaim,
  • That not to be corrupted is the shame.
  • In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in pow’r,
  • ’Tis av’rice all, ambition is no more!
  • See, all our nobles begging to be slaves!
  • See, all our fools aspiring to be knaves!
  • The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore,
  • Are what ten thousand envy and adore:
  • All, all look up, with reverential awe,
  • At crimes that ’scape, or triumph o’er the Law;
  • While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry—
  • Nothing is sacred now but villany.
  • Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain)
  • Show there was one who held it in disdain.

This is only one instance. In many others he named the corrupt persons. But, Pope was called a “libeller;” and, in his preface to that part of his inestimable works, from which the above extract is made, he observes, that “there is not in the world a greater error, than that which fools are so apt to fall into, and knaves with good reason to encourage, the mistaking a satirist for a libeller.” He says, that the clamour raised on some of his former writings, induced him to bring before the public the writings of Horace and Dr. Donne. With a similar view I now appeal to him, who exceeded them both in genius, and yielded to neither in any estimable quality. Having shown the public with what freedom those authors wrote, he next gives us his own sentiments upon what was, by the venal tribe of his day, called libellous, gross, coarse, filthy, brutal, personal and seditious; and one cannot help being struck with the exact similarity in the clamours of that day and the clamours of this; though, indeed, there is nothing wonderful in it, seeing that profligacy and corruption, being always the same in nature, must always have the same antipathies, as surely as vipers of the Edition: current; Page: [29] present day inherit the fears as well as the poison of their progenitors of a century ago.

Here, in the following extracts, we have all the old grounds of clamour, together with the refutation and exposure. I beseech the public to abstract themselves from the poetry and the wit, and fix their attention wholly upon the reasoning. In it they will find an answer to all the cavilling and clamouring now in use by the conspirators against the real freedom of the press; and, I trust, they will join with me in sentiments of profound gratitude to the memory of the matchless author.

  • ’Tis all a libel, Paxton, Sir, will say.
  • Not yet, my friend! to-morrow, ’faith, it may;
  • And for that very cause I print to-day.
  • How should I fret to mangle ev’ry line,
  • In rev’rence to the sons of Thirty-nine!
  • Vice with such giant strides comes on amain,
  • Invention strives to be before in vain;
  • Feign what I will, and paint it e’er so strong,
  • Some rising genius sins up to my song.
  • Yet none but you by name the guilty lash;
  • Ev’n Guthry saves half Newgate by a dash.
  • Spare then the person, and expose the vice.
  • How, Sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice?
  • Come on then, Satire! gen’ral, unconfin’d,
  • Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind.
  • Ye statesmen, priests, of one religion all!
  • Ye tradesmen, vile, in army, court, or hall!
  • Ye rev’rend atheists.
  • Scandal! name them. Who?
  • Why that’s the thing you bid me not to do.
  • Who starved a sister, who forswore a debt,
  • I never nam’d; the town’s inquiring yet.
  • The pois’ning dame——
  • You mean——
  • I don’t.
  • You do.
  • See, now I keep the secret, and not you!
  • The bribing statesman——
  • Hold, too high you go.
  • The brib’d elector——
  • There you stoop too low.
  • I fain would please you, if I knew with what;
  • Tell me, which knave is lawful game, which not?
  • Must great offenders, once escap’d the crown,
  • Like royal harts, be never more run down?
  • Admit your law to spare the knight requires,
  • As beasts of nature may we hunt the squires?
  • Suppose I censure—you know what I mean—
  • To save a Bishop, may I name a Dean?
  • A Dean, Sir? no; his fortune is not made;
  • You hurt a man that’s rising in the trade.
  • If not the tradesman who set up to-day,
  • Much less the ’prentice who to-morrow may.
  • Down, down, proud Satire! tho’ a realm be spoil’d,
  • Edition: current; Page: [30]
  • Arraign no mightier thief than wretched Wild,
  • Or, if a court or country’s made a job,
  • Go drench a pickpocket, and join the mob.
  • But, Sir, I beg you, (for the love of vice!)
  • The matter’s weighty, pray consider twice;
  • Have you less pity for the needy cheat,
  • The poor and friendless villain, than the great?
  • Alas! the small discredit of a bribe
  • Scarce hurts the Lawyer, but undoes the Scribe.
  • Then better sure it Charity becomes
  • To tax Directors, who (thank God) have plums;
  • Still better, Ministers; or, if the thing
  • May pinch ev’n there—Why, lay it on a King.
  • Stop! stop!
  • Must Satire, then, nor rise nor fall?
  • Speak out, and bid me blame no rogues at all.
  • Yes, strike that Wild, I’ll justify the blow.
  • Strike? why the man was hang’d ten years ago:
  • * * * * * * * * *
  • The Priest, whose flattery be-dropt the crown,
  • How hurt he you? he only stain’d the gown.
  • And how did, pray, the florid youth offend,
  • Whose speech you took, and gave it to a friend?
  • Faith, it imports not much from whom it came;
  • Whoever borrow’d, could not be to blame,
  • Since the whole House did afterwards the same.
  • Let courtly wits to wits afford supply,
  • As hog to hog in huts of Westphaly;
  • If one, thro’ Nature’s bounty, or his Lord’s,
  • Has what the frugal, dirty soil affords,
  • From him the next receives it, thick or thin,
  • As pure a mess almost as it came in;
  • The blessed benefit, not there confin’d,
  • Drops to the third, who nuzzles close behind;
  • From tail to mouth, they feed, and they carouse.
  • The last full fairly gives it to the House.
  • This filthy simile, this beastly line
  • Quite turns my stomach—
  • So does Flatt’ry mine;
  • And all your courtly civet-cats can vent,
  • Perfume to you, to me is excrement.
  • But hear me farther—Japhet, ’tis agreed,
  • Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or read,
  • In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite;
  • But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write;
  • And must no egg in Japhet’s face be thrown,
  • Because the deed he forg’d was not my own?
  • Must never Patriot then declaim at gin,
  • Unless, good man! he has been fairly in?
  • No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse,
  • Without a staring reason on his brows?
  • And each blasphemer quite escape the rod,
  • Because the insult’s not on man, but God?
  • Edition: current; Page: [31]
  • Ask you what provocation I have had?
  • The strong antipathy of good to bad.
  • When Truth or Virtue an affront endures,
  • Th’ affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours.
  • Mine, as a foe profess’d to false pretence,
  • Who think a coxcomb’s honour like his sense;
  • Mine, as a friend to ev’ry worthy mind;
  • And mine as man, who feel for all mankind.
  • You’re strangely proud.
  • So proud, I am no slave:
  • So impudent, I own myself no knave;
  • So odd, my country’s ruin makes me grave.
  • Yes, I am proud: I must be proud to see
  • Men not afraid of God, afraid of me:
  • Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne,
  • Yet touch’d and sham’d by ridicule alone.
  • O sacred weapon! left for Truth’s defence,
  • Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence!
  • To all but Heav’n-directed hands deny’d,
  • The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide;
  • Rev’rent I touch thee! but with honest zeal,
  • To rouse the watchmen of the public weal,
  • To Virtue’s work provoke the tardy Hall,
  • And goad the prelate slumb’ring in his stall.
  • Ye tinsel insects! whom a court maintains,
  • That count your beauties only by your stains,
  • Spin all your cobwebs o’er the eye of day,
  • The Muse’s wing shall brush you all away:
  • All his Grace preaches, all his Lordship sings,
  • All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings.
  • All, all but Truth, drops dead-born from the Press,
  • Like the last Gazette, or the last Address.
  • * * * * * * * * *
  • Yes, the last pen for Freedom let me draw,
  • When Truth stands trembling on the edge of Law;
  • Here, last of Britons! let your names be read:
  • Are none, none living? let me praise the dead,
  • And for that cause which made your fathers shine,
  • Fall by the Votes of their degen’rate line.

Such were the sentiments of that writer, who, more than all the rest put together, has done honour to English literature. Such was the language of the friend and companion of Bolingbroke and Atterbury: of the man, whose writings were the admiration of his day, and the model for succeeding times; of the man, whose acquaintance and friendship were sought by all the statesmen of his time; of a man, whom a queen wished to visit, but whose scrupulous independence declined the intended honour.

Now, can any man show me in any periodical publication of the present day, language more completely divested of squeamishness than this? Does any political writer of this day presume to go beyond what is here exhibited; and what was practised by this accomplished gentleman? To our clamourers we may say as he did to his: “Speak out, and bid Edition: current; Page: [32] us blame no rogues at all; for that is the point, at which, it is evident, the venal writers are aiming. Pope was freely permitted to “strike that Wild,” the famous pick-pocket; but the clamourers wished to prevent him from soaring higher. Here, too, we see an exact similarity: we, too, may take a free range in attacking the poor shoe-less caitiffs, who are brought before the police magistrates, whom, before they are tried, we call rogues, villains, and what else we please, naming them at the same time. Here, against these miserable wretches, we have “freedom of the press enough;” but, if we so much as laugh at those, who “make saints of queens, and gods of kings,” we are branded as conspiring traitors, as men having formed a settled scheme for overturning the monarchical branch of the constitution. In another poem, and that, too, the most admirable of all his admirable works, he has these verses.

  • A nymph of quality admires our Knight:
  • He marries, bows at court, and grows polite;
  • Leaves the dull cits, and joins (to please the fair)
  • The well-bred cuckolds of St. James’s air;
  • First for his son a gay commission buys,
  • Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies:
  • His daughter flaunts a Viscount’s tawdry wife;
  • She bears a coronet and p—x for life.

If any of us were to publish, from our pens, a story like this, it would be produced as a certain proof of our intention, of our settled design, of our deliberate scheme, for overturning the privileged orders, and with them the whole of the establishments of the kingdom. Yet, in the days of Pope, that man would have been laughed to scorn, who should have attempted to set up such a clamour; though despotism was much less prevalent in that day, throughout the whole of Europe, than in the day in which we live. Here is “coarseness” for you! Yet is this poem published now, daily; and is to be sold, and is sold, at every bookseller’s shop in England. Why not suppress these publications? That they have their effect is evident, even from the use I am now making of them. And, a publication is still a publication, whether the book be of ancient or modern date. Why not put down all these publications, with which our printing-offices, and book-shops, and circulating-libraries teem? Why not put them down, and not expose us to the mortification of seeing, and the danger of being led to imitate, the boldness of our celebrated countrymen? Why not put down these works, which are read more in one day, than all the Anti-Jacobin writings that ever were published, or have ever been read; not excepting the Weekly Anti-Jacobin, with which the series began, the writers of which, by-the-bye, affected to imitate Pope, but whose poetry as well as whose prose, after having assisted to ruin the bookseller, have, long since, been consigned over to the trunk-maker; though not destitute of “personality,” or of “filthy” allusion? Why not put down the works of Pope, and Swift, and Gay, and Garth, and Akenside, and Churchill, and scores of others; nay, and of poor Johnson, too, though a dependant and a pensioner; and of Milton, and Locke, and Paley. The list is endless. Why not put them all down? Why not burn them all by the hands of the common hangman, and not expose us to the danger of imbibing, and acting upon, their principles, and, according to our abilities, imitating their writings?

Edition: current; Page: [33]

Of the constitution of England the liberty of the press constitutes an essential part. The power, lodged in the crown and its ministers, has been there lodged upon the presumption, upon the implied condition, that the exercise of it shall be open to public, free, and unrestrained, investigation, through the means of the press. It is in this sense, and this sense only, that the phrase “liberty of the press” has any comprehensible political meaning. To utter lies is always a moral offence; to utter them to any one’s injury is, and always has been, an offence punishable by law. If, therefore, the utterer cannot prove the truth of what he has uttered, and if it be proved that his lies have produced even a fair probable injury, he ought to suffer for the offence. But as to opinions; to make men liable to punishment for opinions, is, at once, to say, “Slave! you shall not utter your thoughts.” If the opinion be accompanied with reasons, these are the reasons to be examined; if good, the opinion will, and ought to, have weight with the reader; if bad, or if no reasons at all be given, the opinion is mere wind; it passes for nothing, and can have no effect.

It is an observation that can have escaped no man, that despotic governments have never tolerated free discussions on political matters. The reason is plain; that their deeds will not bear the display of reason and the light of truth. But, what has been the invariable consequence? The sudden final destruction of those governments. The flame of discontent is smothered, not extinguished; the embers are still alive, the materials drying, the combustibles engendering; some single accidental spark, from within or without, at last communicates the destructive principle, and down comes the pile, crumbling upon the heads of its possessors. Let free discussion take its course, and, as you proceed, abuses and corruptions are done away, redress from time to time is obtained; or, at the very least, the breast of the injured and indignant is unloaded. The Charleses and the Jameses had recourse, under the colour of law, to imprisoning, ear-cropping, and hanging; and what were the final consequences? James was the instigator to the beheading of Russel, and James, when, in the hour of distress he appealed to Russel’s father for support, received for answer: “I had once a son, who, if he had been now alive, might have been able to give you assistance.”

Had the Charleses and the Jameses, instead of listening to the counsel of parasites calling themselves “the loyal,” to the exclusion of others, permitted free discussion; had they allowed corruption to be checked in its course; had they, as it was manifestly their interest, suffered their people to obtain timely redress of their wrongs; their descendants would now have been upon the throne of this country, which they would have enjoyed, without any danger from plots and conspiracies. But, they arrayed power against truth, and in that conflict, they finally fell.

What is the reason, that all these reports about the Duke of York; all this “talking him down,” have so long prevailed, and have gone rolling on, till, at last, they have collected into that form, in which they have been exhibited to the parliament? The reason simply is, that the press has been timid. If this had not been the case, some one or other of the reports would, long ago, have been embodied into a plain statement, when it would, if false, have met with as plain a denial, and there would have ended the calumny; if true, the effect would have been, a stop to the reported practices in time; before any great degree of discontent had been engendered, and leaving only a trifling fault to be atoned for. Edition: current; Page: [34] But, punish men for writing plainly, and they will have recourse to metaphor or fable; punish them for that, and they will talk; punish them for that, and they will whisper; and, at every stage of restriction, they will, by their additional bitterness, show that to the feeling of public is added the feeling of personal injury, and also of personal resentment.

I hope, and trust, that these observations, and others of a similar tendency from abler hands, will have their due weight, and that the conspiracy against the remaining freedom of the press, as well as against the persons now under government prosecution, will not be persevered in; but, upon one thing I am resolved, be the consequences to myself what they may, and that is, to continue to exercise the freedom of writing and of speaking, as my forefathers were wont to exercise it, as long as I have my senses, and the power of doing either one or the other. As witness my hand,


DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

I last week expressed my regret, that any thing should have occurred to prevent me from giving an account of the campaign in Spain. That expression I now repeat; and, there are several other subjects, of great political importance, on which I am anxious to offer some remarks to the public; but, the subject of the Charges against the Duke of York, especially as these charges have been forced into connection with questions of general policy and liberty; this subject is not only of more interest than any other, but, it absolutely supersedes all other; discussion upon any other subject, is, in fact, useless, till this has been decided upon. An attempt has, through a connection with Mr. Wardle’s charges, been made to deprive us of the remains of our freedom. From the tone and manner of the venal herd of writers, it has long been manifest, that there was on foot a scheme for putting down all free discussion; and, upon the preferring of these charges, they have broke out afresh, and with more boldness than ever, in accusations, not only against the freedom of the press, but also against the freedom of the tongue. Their mode of reasoning is this: “These charges are false; such charges are the consequence of the licentiousness of writing and of speaking; such charges tend to overthrow the monarchical branch of the constitution; to overthrow the monarchical branch of the constitution would be to produce general confusion, distress, misery, and bloodshed; therefore, it is the interest of the nation in general, and particularly of all persons of property, to concur in putting a stop to this licentiousness of writing and of speaking.”

Such is the reasoning of the venal writers, in newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, and especially in the poor paltry Reviews, which are conducted by clergymen, by salaried magistrates, and by pensioners. To this sort Edition: current; Page: [35] of reasoning not a little countenance has now been given by persons in possession of great official power. One minister has said, that it is become matter of doubt with many good men, whether the benefit of a free press be not overbalanced by the licentiousness attending it; and another of the King’s ministers has said, that it is not perceived by every one, how difficult it is, in many cases, to convict a man of a libel, though the libel be obvious enough. Just at this very time, too, we see advertised, at an enormous expense, to be published by the Horse-Guards bookseller, Egerton, a pamphlet pointing out the present difficulties of producing conviction in cases of libel, which pamphlet is dedicated to the Duke of York and Albany. While this is going on, a Mr. Wharton, who, I am told, is the same that is Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means in the House of Commons, is publishing a pamphlet to inculcate the notion that Jacobinism is revived. This is, to be sure, an excessively stupid and dirty performance: it is so very low, so very shabby, so very despicable, that one cannot help laughing at it, especially when one considers it as opposed to the Edinburgh Review; but, it does, nevertheless, tend to prove the existence of a concert, premeditated or accidental, to persuade the public at large, that there is yet too much freedom of writing and speaking enjoyed.

Till this point, therefore, is settled, all other public matters are uninteresting. From freedom of speech and of the press, the next step is the safety of property and person. The war in Spain, or anywhere else; the success or failure of any military or naval enterprise; the additional conquests and increasing means of the Emperor Napoleon; all these are of no interest to us, if we be in a state of uncertainty as to what is to be the fate of our freedom at home. We are called upon daily for “sacrifices” in support of the war against the Emperor of France; and, upon what ground are these sacrifices demanded? Why, upon the ground, that the war is necessary to prevent our country from being finally conquered by Napoleon. And, why, wherefore, for what reason, are we called upon to make sacrifices to prevent our country from being conquered by Napoleon? The reason alleged is this: that, if he were to conquer our country, we should become slaves; that is to say, we, like the people in France, should be deprived of the liberty of uttering our complaints, whatever corrupt and profligate acts our rulers might be guilty of; and, that, we being thus deprived, should, in a short time, have no security for our property or our lives. It is to prevent this evil; this very evil that we are making daily such enormous pecuniary sacrifices, and that so many of our countrymen make a sacrifice of their lives. Viewing the struggle in any other light, there is no sense in it. In any light but this we cannot view the contest, without acknowledging ourselves to be almost upon a level with the brute creation. It is not for a name, for an empty sound, for any thing merely imaginary, that we are making all these unparalleled sacrifices. It is not for any thing theoretical; but for the substantial practical benefit of English freedom; the right the legal right, of freely making our complaints, and of demanding redress, when we think ourselves injured or insulted; which, as all the world must see, are the only means of ensuring safety to property and persons.

Till, therefore, we see the result of the pending proceedings, and the fate of the doctrines, now abroad, relative to the freedom of the people, all other public matters, not excepting those relating to our means of defence against the conquering Napoleon, are, comparatively at least, of Edition: current; Page: [36] very trifling importance. To busy ourselves about schemes of war or peace, or of political economy; thus to busy ourselves, while the present proceedings are unclosed and while these new doctrines are undecided upon, would be as foolish as for a man to be engaged in making repairs at one end of his house, while the other end was on fire.

This being my view of the matter, I shall, as far as my small power will go, keep the attention of the public closely nailed to the inquiries now going on, relative to the conduct of the Duke of York, who is not to be regarded merely as “a son of the crown,” as Mr. Fuller called him, nor merely as the person, to whose skill and courage the military defence of our country is committed; but also as a person who has the chief command of a department, which costs this nation 23 millions of pounds sterling a year; and who, under the King’s sole control, has the absolute power of promoting, or of cashiering, any one, or any number, of about twelve, or fifteen thousand commissioned and staff officers, connected by ties, more or less close, with almost all the families of any note in the kingdom. Merely as a son of the King, and a person receiving such large such large sums out of the public purse, we should have an interest, and a deep interest too, in the moral example of the Duke of York; what, then must be our interest in his wisdom and integrity, when we see committed to his hands a far greater degree of power than as, in this country, ever before been committed to the hands of any individual?

In my last [at page 20], I was obliged to break off the insertion of the first debate upon this all-important subject. The remainder of that debate I shall now first insert, and, when that is done, I shall come to the first Examination of witnesses, of which Examination I shall be careful to omit no essential part, and especially of what has a tendency in favour of the Duke of York; because, on every account, my wish is, that no conclusion against him should be drawn from doubtful premises.

Debate of the 27th January, continued from page 20.

—and of this plan the present was only a particular instance, (hear! hear!).—* Let blame fall where it ought; but the House ought to consider the illustrious object against whom the charge was directed; they ought to consider his high station in the country, and the eminent services which he had performed for the country, in the state to which he had brought the army—(hear!) What was the state of the army when he became Commander-in-Chief? It scarcely deserved the name of an army, and it was now found by experience to be, in proportion to its numbers, the best army that ever existed. The best mode to do justice to the sovereign—to do justice to the high character now impeached—and to do justice to the country, would, perhaps, be to appoint a Parliamentary Commission Edition: current; Page: [37] with power to examine each party on oath—(loud cries of hear! hear! from both sides of the House.) The gentleman might have circumstances in view to support these charges, which he believed to be founded in truth. He only spoke of this Commission with reference to his own argument. He had said that he believed a CONSPIRACY to exist, and if the House could go along him, and suppose that this was actually the case, he threw out for their consideration whether a Parliamentary Commission with power to examine on oath was not preferable to a Committee. He could not think he had done his duty if he had not thrown out this idea for consideration. The importance of the subject well deserved such a mode of proceeding. But at all events, he was happy that the matter would now be properly investigated.

Sir Francis Burdett considered the subject most important, and demanding the deepest and most accurate inquiry. He coincided with the right hon. gent. opposite (Mr. Yorke), that the House should maturely deliberate on the mode of proceeding best calculated to render effectual justice.

Mr. Adam stated, that for nearly the period of 20 years he had been, from professional avocations, very intimately connected not alone with the pecuniary concerns of the illustrious personage affected by the motion of the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle), but even with his embarrassments. In the attention which he had directed to those concerns, he was assisted by the most frank and candid communications from his royal highness. Every difficulty, and every particular was disclosed to him by his royal highness with a recollection the most retentive, an accuracy the most correct, and a fidelity the most unquestionable. If, therefore, any such irregularities or transactions took place, as the motion of that night went to convey, it was almost impossible but that in the course of his inquiries some feature of such a system would have appeared, whereas the direct contrary was the result of a long and minute application to the pecuniary transactions of his royal highness.* Having felt it his duty to make this statement, he had next to impress upon the House that both in justice to its own privileges, and to the dignified character of the illustrious personage, it ought not to surrender its inquisitorial powers, nor delegate to any Select or Secret Committee that inquiry, which, to be efficient, ought to be public, and for the publicity of which there was no person in the country more anxious than his royal highness the Duke of York—(Hear! hear!).

Mr. Wilberforce expressed his sense of the importance of the subject which was submitted to the consideration of the House. He was confident that the hon. mover was impressed with the great responsibility which attached to a charge brought, as it was, against such an elevated character in the country. He did by no means wish to convey that the extent of such responsibility ought at all to deter a member of that House from bringing before it an accusation, for which he had convincing testimony, although directed against one of the most considerable persons in the empire, both in rank and influence; but he did conceive that when high character was implicated, the most efficient and most satisfactory mode of investigation ought to be adopted. To enable the House to arrive at that desirable end, he fully agreed with his right hon. friend (Mr. Yorke) near him, that the investigation of the charges that night preferred ought to be committed to a Parliamentary Commission, specially delegated for that specific purpose. Such inquiry was not to be considered private or secret. It would afford the best species of communication, namely, publicity at the end, but not in the progress. Whoever had attended to the consequences of public Edition: current; Page: [38] examination at the bar of the House, could not be blind to the numerous and fatal inconveniences of such a mode of proceeding. The very object for which it was proposed was too often defeated by the means. By acquiescing to the appointment of a commission the witnesses would be examined upon oath, all party bias and personal altercation would be prevented, and, of course, a weight and confidence would be attached to the decision of those delegated, which it was impossible to expect from any public discussion or examination at the bar. It was for the House to bear strongly in its recollection, that in the present unexampled and critical state of the civilized world, all Europe looked with a vigilant and anxious attention to the deliberations of the British House of Commons. That House was now put on its trial before the scrutinizing tribunal of public opinion. It had to render justice, both to the illustrious personage, whose character he expected would come clear and unsullied from the ordeal, and to the country, who was equally interested in the result. The claims of the public demanded that the representatives of the people should look to substantial justice, however high the rank, eminent the services, or splendid the connections of the dignified personage against whom such charges were preferred.—That justice, he conceived, could be most satisfactorily obtained by an inquiry, private in its progress, but to be public in the result, particularly when he reflected on the description of persons likely to be examined and the importance of the interests affected by the accusation.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer coincided in the unanimous feelings of the House, that to the most solemn and serious accusation brought forward that night, the most solemn and serious inquiry ought to be afforded. The only difference that seemed to exist in the mind of gentlemen was, as to the manner of conducting that investigation, whether the ends, to which all looked with equal eagerness, were more likely to be acquired by a private and delegated examination, or by a full, prompt, and public discussion, arising from the testimony, which the hon. gent. who submitted those charges to parliamentary considerations may be enabled to produce at the bar of that House. When he contemplated the important interests which the country had, whether in acquitting the exalted personage, if, as he was convinced, the event would prove, such charges could not be substantiated, or in rendering justice to the dignity of the character of parliament, he was compelled by all and every consideration, to call upon that House not to abandon its legitimate judicial province, and by its first step to deprive itself of that freedom of conduct and action, that might eventually preclude it from adopting the course which it might be convinced was ultimately serviceable. There was no course that could prove satisfactory to the country but a public one—and whatever inconveniences may follow from its adoption, they were dissipated by the superior and paramount advantages. Independent of its general recommendation, some consideration ought to be extended to the wishes of his royal highness. That wish he could positively state was, that the investigation should be most complete and public. (Hear, hear, hear.) There was nothing that his royal highness so particularly deprecated as any secret or close discussion of those charges. Standing as that illustrious personage did on the fairness of his character, and the fulness of the evidence which he was enabled to produce in refutation of these charges, he was most peculiarly anxious to appear before the country; if acquitted, acquitted by the most accurate and severe inquiry, or if condemned, condemned by the most public and undeniable evidence. Were the present moment suitable for the statements, he believed he could enter into particulars which would convince the House, that it was impossible to bring those alleged charges home to his royal highness. The hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle) had in the course of his speech stated a circumstance which particularly involved the character of his Majesty’s government. He had mentioned that two members of the King’s cabinet were concerned in this agency for the disposal of government patronage. This was a topic on which he felt it due to himself to require the fullest information, and it was for the option of the hon. gent. to determine, whether he would afford it in a public manner in that House, or by a private communication to some of the responsible servants of the crown. (A cry ofName, name.”) When in possession of that information, he assured the House that by him no measure would be left undone to unravel and elucidate the truth or falsehood of that allegation. It was not for him to tell that House, that in this great capital it might happen that foolish persons were frequently deceived by advertisements in the Edition: current; Page: [39] public papers, announcing the disposal of official patronage. And perhaps it has occasionally turned out, that the very persons who were originally deceived by these advertisements to make applications, did ultimately obtain the very appointments for which they had endeavoured to negotiate; but he was convinced that as there was nothing so discreditable to government, so there was nothing more false in fact, than the idea, that money was paid to persons high in office for such transactions. For the distinct manner in which the hon. gent. submitted the question to the House, he conceived him entitled to its thanks. He had pledged himself to bring his charges home to H. R. H. the Duke of York. Upon that pledge the proposed inquiry was admitted; and both for the accuser and the accused, to guard against suppression and insufficiency of evidence, publicity was essentially necessary.

Mr. Wardle stated, that he was anxious to afford the fullest inquiry in his power to the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The office where this agency was transacted was in Threadneedle-street, under the firm of Pollman and Heylock. The persons conducting the business there did not deny the influence under which they were able to procure appointments. They had stated various situations purchased in the island of Jamaica, and that two members of the present Cabinet, for whom they acted in such negotiations, and to whom he alluded in his speech, were the Lord Chancellor and the Duke of Portland.

It was then carried nemine contradicente, that the conduct of his royal highness the Commander-in-Chief, in the appointment of Commissions, and filling up of Vacancies in the Army, be referred to a Committee.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer then moved, that it should be a Committee of the whole House.

Lord Folkestone considered the hon. mover entitled to the fullest credit, for the manner in which he brought the subject forward. He was of opinion that the ends of justice would be best answered by referring the inquiry to a Select Committee, from whose reports all the benefits of publicity would be derived. It was extraordinary to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer interfere with the mode of proceeding which the hon. mover had adopted, when the House recollected with what severe comment that gentleman (Mr. Perceval) remarked upon certain members at his side of the House, for the alleged indecorum of taking certain measures out of the hands of the original proposers.

Mr. Secretary Canning conceived that the surprise expressed by the noble lord in seeing his right hon. friend propose to the consideration of that House the most desirable mode of proceeding, would have been prevented if that noble lord had considered the nature of the improvement which was recommended. The interference of his right hon. friend was not to restrict, but to extend inquiry—it was not to narrow the means, but to enlarge the sphere of deliberation. It was an improvement suited to the importance of the accusation, and to that serious discussion which so many commanding inducements pressed it upon that House to afford. The House should recollect that if such charges were proved, the issue of its deliberation might lead to a proceeding affecting the most valuable privileges of Parliament, and the dearest interests of the elevated and illustrious personage affected by their decision. It was established by various precedents in parliamentary history. It was to a Committee of the whole House the case of the Duke of Marlborough was submitted, because such proceeding was considered correspondent with the gravity of its judicial character, and because it was a species of trial which united earliness with publicity. When, therefore, the noble lord complained that an attempt was made to take the subject out of the hands of the hon. gent. who originally brought it forward, the propriety of his reproach amounted to this, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proposed a motion calculated most effectually to promote the object, which the original mover professed to have solely in his view. Indeed the hon. mover himself did not feel any unjustifiable attempt at interference, nor did he evince any hostility to submit his charges to the House of Commons in its most extended capacity. That hon. gent. had declared to the House, that in calling its attention to this very solemn subject, he was solely actuated by the sense of public duty; that he was free from any hostile feeling to the elevated personage whose character his charges went so vitally to affect. For the impulse of public spirit and disinterested patriotism, he (Mr. Canning) was willing to give him Edition: current; Page: [40] credit, and surely that hon. gent. could not be dissatisfied with those who placed him upon the most commanding stage, to reap the benefit of his patriotic labours. (Hear, hear.) He surely must be aware, that having undertaken the responsible task of submitting to a British House of Commons such a serious accusation, that whatever may be the issue of its deliberation; in whatever view the House shall consider the transactions which he has disclosed, whether they be refuted or substantiated, infamy must attach somewhere—either upon the accused or the accuser. From the system which has been deliberately pursued for some time past, by the enemies of H. R. H. the Commander-in-Chief, he had to congratulate that illustrious personage, and at the same time to thank the hon. mover, for the opportunity of canvassing the subject upon charges preferred in a tangible shape. Whatever result may ensue from such accusations, it was not to be denied, that that royal personage had been subjected to the systematic calumnies of a set of unprincipled libellers; that in their vile and malignant publications he had been treated with a brutality of insult which almost made good men hesitate in deciding, whether the value of a free discussion was not considerably depreciated by the evils of its unbridled licentiousness. For the last six months scarce a day elapsed without some fresh attack upon his honour and his feelings. There was a cooperation of cowardice with falsehood, which far exceeded the calumnious profligacy of other times. A cowardice too of the basest kind, participating of the most depraved and odious qualities, deserving of that execration which the best feelings of humanity would pronounce on the base assailant of female weakness, because to direct unfounded attacks against those in high authority, was nearly similar to an attack on an undefended woman. It was, therefore, as sincerely interested in the honour and reputation of his royal highness, that he rejoiced to find that this question had taken a distinct shape, and that in the due and proper place, the period for inculpation, and he was sure of exculpation, had arrived. (Hear, hear.) It was for parliament to give the subject the fullest inquiry, but he trusted that the hon. mover would in the first instance, without any subsequent restriction, direct his proofs to the specific objects on which his charges of that night were founded.

Mr. Whitbread concurred heartily in the recommendation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the most public inquiry. It was due to the elevated rank of the illustrious personage accused, and to the great interests of the country, which were so implicated in the issue. The right hon. Secretary had assumed as a fact, that such a conspiracy as he described, existed, and upon that assumption he rested all his arguments. If such a conspiracy did exist, every man must lament, that such a character, elevated in rank and influence, should be exposed to unmerited calumny.—Still it was to be presumed and hoped, that a prince of the house of Hanover would prefer even suffering under such attacks, rather than risk the liberty of that press to which that family and the British empire owed so much. But why was this brutality of insult so long suffered to continue? Were the Attorney and Solicitor Generals asleep, and the other law officers of the crown asleep? How came it that they neglected their duty? He was ready to give them credit that the omission was not intentional. (A laugh.) There was one point in the speech of the right hon. Secretary from which he must dissent. It was assumed by him, that if the result should, as he trusted, acquit his royal highness, his hon. friend would be infamous for preferring the accusation. Such doctrine was not supported either by the spirit or usage of the constitution. If there were justifiable grounds for his charge, or if information of a strong kind was laid before him, it was his bounden duty, as an honest public servant, to act upon it in that House. In compliance with that sense of duty, his hon. friend did submit the subject to the House, and whatever might be the issue, he was convinced that not a particle of dishonour could attach to him (Mr. Wardle). There was one strong reason that it should go to a Committee of the House, which weighed particularly with him—namely, that it would be impossible to select any set of names that would satisfy this herd of libellers and calumniators, of which such mention had been made by the right honourable Secretary.

Lord Castlereagh supported the opinion, that such a CONSPIRACY did exist, with the determined object of running down the characters of the princes of the blood, and through them to destroy the monarchical branch of the constitution. Having failed in the attempt to injure it by open force, they now proceeded Edition: current; Page: [41] to sap and undermine it by the diffusion of seditious libels, converting the noble attributes of a free press to the most dangerous and detestable purposes. H. R. H. the Commander-in-Chief was the principal object of their rancorous invective. To his prejudice facts were falsified, and motives attributed to him of which his very nature was incapable. As to the observation of the hon. gent. that the crown lawyers had not done their duty in not prosecuting libellers, he had only to say, that it was not always easy to convict upon an obvious libel, as a very small portion of legal knowledge united with some ingennity, would be sufficient to defeat a prosecution. When forbearance was stretched to its utmost point, and prosecutions were commenced, the base libellers were found to have absconded. Scarce had the calumny of one of them proceeded from the press, when the calumniator was found to have withdrawn himself to America. (Hear, hear.) The motion of that night put the Duke of York and the public in a new situation. It gave the subject a distinct turn, and he knew that that elevated personage would deprecate any proceeding that did not rest upon steps taken in the face of day.

After a few observations from Mr. Wardle, it was resolved that the House should on Wednesday next resolve itself into that Committee.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer then proposed, that the honourable gentleman should give in a list of the names of those witnesses he intended to call to substantiate his charge, that such persons might be summoned to attend at the bar of the House on Wednesday next.

Mr. Wardle (after having gone to the table to make out his list of witnesses) returned to his seat, and said that he thought it would be attended with no inconvenience to defer mentioning the witnesses till Tuesday, when he should come down to the House prepared to furnish the House with the first part of the case he should proceed to prove, and a list of the witnesses whom it might be necessary to examine relative to that first charge.

On Wednesday, the 1st instant, Mr. Wardle, after an introductory speech, brought forward the charge, relating to an exchange of Major Brooke of the 56th foot to the 5th dragoons, the other party being Lieut.-Col. Knight.

The charge was this: that the application of these two gentlemen had been for some time before the Duke of York; that the exchange was not ordered to be permitted, till Mr. Robert Knight, brother of Lieut.-Col. Knight, had, through the negotiation of a Dr. Thynne (the medical attendant of Mrs. Clarke), got the thing effected by paying to Mrs. Clarke the sum of 200l.; that the Duke of York, before the exchange was ordered, knew that Mrs. Clarke was to receive some money in consequence of it; and that, after the exchange was ordered and the money received by Mrs. Clarke, he, the Duke, was informed by her of such receipt.

The first witness, in support of this charge, was Dr. Andrew Thynne, who stated, that, at the request of Mr. Knight, he made the overture to Mrs. Clarke; that he was authorized to offer her 200l. if she would cause the exchange to be expedited; that he expected her to be able to get the thing done through her influence with a certain great person; that this great person was the Commander-in-Chief; that, when the exchange was effected, Mrs. Clarke sent to the witness the Gazette, in which it was recorded, accompanied with a note from herself, saying, that, as she was going to the country, 200l. would be very convenient to her; that, when he made the offer to Mrs. Clarke, he gave her the names of the parties upon a slip of paper; that Mrs. Clarke talked about Edition: current; Page: [42] the necessity of secrecy, but the witness cannot tell from whom she was desirous to keep the thing a secret; that he never saw the Duke of York at Mrs. Clarke’s; that he, the witness, understood, from Mr. Knight, that the exchange would be carried through in the regular manner, but Mr. Knight wished, in consequence of the bad health of his brother, that the business should be expedited, and for that purpose application was made to Mrs. Clarke.

Mr. Robert Knight corroborated Dr. Thynne as to the motive of the application to Mrs. Clarke; he said further, that, when the exchange was effected, he sent Mrs. Clarke the 200l.; that his brother had before received, from the office of the Duke of York, a notification in the usual way, that when a proper successor presented, there would be no objection to the exchange; that he does not know of any positive promise made to his brother by the Duke, previous to the application to Mrs. Clarke. Upon being asked, “Why was the application made to Mrs. Clarke?” he answered, “There was a delay in the business; but the cause of it I do not know. I mentioned the circumstance to Mr. Thynne, who was then attending my family. He advised me to apply to a good friend of his, Mrs. Clarke.” He then repeated what he has said before about the offer of money.

Upon further questioning, he says, that Mrs. Clarke desired him to keep the whole transaction a secret, lest it should come to the ears of the Duke of York; and, that, recently, she has told him, that the Duke having used her extremely ill, leaving her in debt about 2,000l., she would, if she could bring him to no terms, expose him, whereupon the witness said, he hoped she would not expose him and his brother by mentioning their names, to which she answered, that God knew that was not her intention.

Mrs. Clarke was next examined by Mr. Wardle, and her examination, all through, I shall give just as I find it in the Morning Chronicle newspaper, where I find it given in the best manner. The whole of the Evidence, as reported to the House, will hereafter be published in the PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES; but, if, upon seeing it in that shape, which I soon shall, I should discover any material error in the newspaper report, I shall lose no time in publishing a correction of it. The evidence of this witness should all be before the public; we should have a fair view of every part of it; because she must necessarily be the principal witness as to the knowledge which the Duke had of these transactions with her; and because, of course, much, in our decision, must depend upon the credibility of her testimony, and that credibility must again depend upon the general complexion and character of that testimony.

Examination of Mrs. Clarke.

DID the witness, in the month of July 1805, reside in Gloucester-place? I did.—Under whose protection was she at that time living? Under that of his royal highness the Duke of York.—Did Dr. Thynne at that time attend the witness in his professional capacity? He did, and was for some years in the habit of doing so.—Was there any application made by Dr. Thynne to the witness, relative to an exchange between Lieut.-Col. Knight and Lieut.-Col. Brooke? There was, and Dr. Thynne urged strongly the necessity of great dispatch.—Was there any pecuniary compliment held out as an inducement to the witness to use her interest to promote the exchange? He promised on the part of Mr. Edition: current; Page: [43] Knight, that a compliment should be made me.—Was not the witness promised a consideration in money when the change would be effected; was she not promised a sum of 200l.? I was.—After Dr. Thynne’s application to the witness, did she speak to the Commander-in-Chief upon the subject of that application? I told him of it that day at dinner, and handed over to him the slip of paper Dr. Thynne had given to me, containing the names of the parties. I told him I did not know them, but had reason to believe they would make me a compliment. I did not then state to his royal highness the amount of the sum; but when the exchange was effected, and that appeared in the Gazette, I sent the Gazette with a note to Dr. Thynne.—Did the witness, after she had sent the Gazette to Dr. Thynne, receive any pecuniary consideration, from any person, on account of the exchange having been effected? I received afterwards 200l. in two Bank notes, under cover, with Dr. Thynne’s compliments.—Were the compliments sent verbally by the messenger, or written in the cover? I rather think written, but am not certain.—Did the witness make known to the Commander-in-Chief the having received this money upon this account? I mentioned it to his royal highness on that day.—Is the witness sure his royal highness must have been apprized of the amount of the notes? He must have been; because I showed him the note, and sent one of the servants to get it changed for me.—(Sir T. Turton.) Does the witness know Mr. Robert Knight? Yes: I met him in company with Mr. Biddulph.—Can the witness state, as near as possible, what conversation passed at this meeting? I cannot recollect. I had certainly a conversation with Mr. R. Knight relative to his brother’s exchange. That affair gave rise to our intimacy.—Did the witness ever desire Mr. Robert Knight to keep the transaction about which they were then conferring, a secret? I don’t recollect that I did; but it is likely that in such a case I might have given such a caution; perhaps I did; but I don’t recollect it.—Did the witness charge Mr. R. Knight to keep that transaction a secret from the Commander-in-Chief? Oh! no, no, never; certainly not; I’m quite sure of that.—(Mr. Lyttleton.) At the time the witness communicated to the Duke of York, the application made to her by Dr. Thynne on the part of Lieut.-Col. Knight to expedite his exchange, did his royal highness make any remark, and what? His royal highness said he knew the business very well; that there had been much application about it, but that he suspected that one of them was rather a bad subject. However, he would do it; it should be done.—When the witness showed to the Commander-in-Chief the bank-note she had received for her using her interest in this business, did his royal highness make any observation, and what? I don’t recollect that he made any.—(The Attorney-General.) What time was the application of Dr. Thynne made to the witness? I can’t say.—Was it more than three days before the exchange appeared in the Gazette? I don’t think it was more.—When did the witness first mention this business to Col. Wardle? I don’t know; it must have been very lately.—Why does the witness say that it must have been very lately? Because I speak from the fact.—Let the witness mention what fact? It was within the last month.—What, within the last month, did the witness communicate to Mr. Wardle? He asked me was it true? I told him it was; it was he attacked me upon the subject; for he had heard it from other quarters, and had asked me only if it was true.—What led the witness to a knowledge of Col. Wardle? Himself.—Was it within the last month that the witness came to know Col. Wardle? I knew him six months before he attacked me on this subject.—Did the witness mention it first to Col. Wardle, or in consequence of being first questioned by him? In consequence of his first questioning me: he had heard it from other quarters; upon his asking me was it true, I said it was. I did not then think I should have been brought here in consequence of having said so, or I would have concealed it.—Would the witness have willingly concealed it? I concealed it from the beginning: it was not my wish to make it public. I have sense enough to keep private that which ought to be kept private.—When the witness gave Col. Wardle an account of this transaction, did she give the same account she has now given? No, I did not.—Which was the true account? Both.—In what do both the true accounts differ? I don’t think they differ at all. I mean, I did not then go into the detail I have now; my account to Mr. Wardle was a much shorter one than I have given here.—Can the witness name the day either of the week or month on which Dr. Thynne applied to her? Neither.—The witness has said, that it was not more than three days before the Gazette; now the Gazette days were either Tuesdays or Saturdays; Edition: current; Page: [44] was it upon either of those days? I can’t be particular in so trifling a matter. I am not conversant in days or dates.—Has the witness told the House all she told Col. Wardle in her account to him of this transaction? Much more than I told Mr. Wardle.—What has the witness told the House she did not tell Col. Wardle? I did not, as I have said already, go so much into detail as I have done now. I did not tell Mr. Wardle about the showing the bank-note to his royal highness, nor the getting it changed, and other matters of detail which I have mentioned now.—If Col. Wardle had not questioned the witness upon this subject, would she have made any communication to him upon it? Perhaps I might, and perhaps I might not.—Had the witness no end to accomplish in making this transaction known? None whatever.—Did the witness never state any grounds of complaint against the Duke of York? All my friends knew that I complained of the conduct of his royal highness.—The witness was not asked as to the knowledge of her friends. Did she herself complain of the Duke of York, and threaten in certain circumstances to expose him? I never did. All I did was, I sent a letter to Mr. William Adam (he is present), and I said in that letter that if his royal highness did not pay me the annuity, which he, and Mr. Adam for him, promised should be paid punctually, I would publish his royal highness’s letters.—Was this the only letter in which the witness made use of those threats? Not threats; I solicited. I wrote two letters. Mr. Adam has them both.—Did the witness never state that she would expose the Duke of York if he did not agree to her terms? Never; the worst I did or said against his royal highness was in those letters, and I wrote them in anger. I did not then expect to be here, nor is it willing in me that I am here. I know of nothing more in the letters; but satisfy yourself; ask for the letters; read them; they can be produced, I suppose, as Mr. Adam is present. He has them.—Did the witness never state to any person whatever, that if the Duke of York did not satisfy her, she would expose him? Never.—Or to that effect? I never said any thing to that effect.—She was quite sure of that? Positive.—Did not she tell Mr. R. Knight something to a similar effect? No, I told him that I was a going to publish the Duke’s letters, in order to raise money to pay the creditors, whom his royal highness had refused to pay. His royal highness had insisted I should plead my marriage to avoid the debts; and if I did not, I must go to prison; there was nothing else for it. My lawyer sent me this communication.—Who is your lawyer? The gentleman who is now my lawyer was not then.—Who was at that time your lawyer? Mr. Stokes, of Golden-square. He made the communication to me.—And who made it to him? Somebody from Mr. Wm. Adam, who is himself a sort of a lawyer.—Did not the witness lately send for Mr. R. Knight to come to her? Since our acquaintance began, I have asked him often to call and see me.—Did not the witness write Mr. R. Knight a note, requesting him to call upon her, and was it not in consequence of that summons that he did call upon her? It was nothing more than a common note, such as I am in the habit of sending to many more gentlemen of my acquaintance.—Is the witness a married woman? You have no reason to doubt it.—Are you a married woman or not? I am married: Mr. William Adam there has my certificate.—When was the witness married, where, and to whom? I was married about 14 or 15 years ago at Pancras, to a Mr. Joseph Clark.—Is your husband now living? I don’t know.—Did not the witness swear herself a widow? No, I did not swear it; I’ll explain that: I had applied to the Duke of York for 1 or 200l.; he sent me back for answer, that if I dared to say or write any thing against him, he would put me in the pillory or the Bastile. His royal highness was alarmed at my having (as he thought) sworn myself a widow-woman, as then the debts could not be avoided; but I had not sworn myself a widow-woman; but as I was called upon at the Court-martial, I told the Advocate-General (who certainly treated my distressing situation with more delicacy than the gentleman who has been now examining me), that I thought it would be wrong for me, who was so well known to be living with the Duke of York, to call myself a married woman, and I did say to him, after I had left the Court (not while I was in the Court), that I was a widow. I said I was, but I did not swear I was, though it was erroneous entered in the minutes of the Court-martial.—Who brought this message from the Duke of York to the witness? One of his royal highness’s most particular and intimate friends.—Who is he? One Taylor, a shoemaker in Bond-street, very well known to Mr. Adam.—How did the witness make her application for this one or two hundred pounds to his Edition: current; Page: [45] royal highness? By my pen.—By whom did she send her letter? By this same ambassador of Morocco—Whom does the witness mean by the ambassador of Morocco? The shoemaker.—Was it Taylor, the shoemaker, who brought back the answer from his royal highness? Yes. He gave it as the Duke’s words. I have mentioned Taylor’s own language.—Mrs. Clarke was then asked whether she had not said that she was born at Berkhampstead, to which she answered, that if she had said so, it was in a laughing and jocular way.—Did you not make Mr. Adam believe that you was born there? I don’t know whether Mr. Adam believed it, or not.—Did the witness represent her husband as the nephew of Mr. Alderman Clarke? He told me that he was so.—Did the witness believe that he was the nephew of Mr. Alderman Clarke? Yes.—Did you ever see Mr. Alderman Clarke? I never saw any of my husband’s relations, except a brother and sister.—Do you now believe that he was the nephew of Mr. Alderman Clarke? I never asked him any thing concerning his connection. He is nothing at all to me, nor I to him. I have not seen him these three years, nor heard of him since he brought the action against the Duke.—What is your husband? I don’t know.—What is his business? He is in no business; his father was, he was a millwright.—Did you ever live in Tavistock place? Yes.—When? I don’t recollect the time exactly. I lived there under the protection of my brother.—How many years ago? I do not recollect.—When did you go to Park-lane? I do not recollect.—How long before you went to Park-lane did you live in Tavistock-place? I do not recollect.—Was you in any other place between the two periods? I might have been in another place.—How long did you live in Tavistock-place? I do not recollect.—Where did you live when you first knew the Duke of York? I beg to be excused answering that question.—Chairman. The witness must answer the question. I do not recollect.—Why then did you desire to be excused answering the question? Because I did not recollect.—Is that the only reason for the wish to be excused? Yes.—I desire positively to know whether the witness did not live in Tavistock-place before she knew the Duke of York? I do not think that is a fair question. I am a married woman with several children, and one daughter grown up.—I wish to know whether the witness lived in Tavistock-place, before she was under the protection of the Duke of York? I was then under his protection.—Was she under his protection when she first lived at Tavistock-place? No, under that of my brother.—Has not the witness said, that she was a widow? No, never, except on the occasion of the court-martial which she had mentioned. She then thought it was saving her family, and also the Duke of York, as he too was married.—Does she say she never lived in Tavistock-place, till under the protection of the Duke of York? I knew him previous to that, but did not live with him.—Did she not represent herself to the tradespeople there as a widow? Never, to any one.—I would ask, whether she has not threatened, that unless the Duke would come into her terms, and pay her what money she wanted, she would put his letters into the hands of persons who would pay her? No.—Did she not state, that she either had or would put on paper all the transactions of the last 14 or 15 years, and put the memorial into the hands of persons who would publish it, unless the Duke of York would pay her? No, she could not recollect that she ever said so, but she referred to the letter or letters she had written to Mr. Adam.—The witness had said that she had mentioned this business to others besides Mr. Wardle. Who were they? She did not recollect all her acquaintances with whom she might have conversed on the subject, but at any rate it must have been in a slight sort of way, and was of no consequence.—How long was it before she mentioned the business to Mr. Wardle? She did not exactly recollect, but it was since she wrote to Mr. Adam. She did not know Mr. Wardle at that time.—Who was present besides Mr. Wardle when she first mentioned this business? Some ladies, perhaps of her acquaintance, but nobody of any consequence.—To what man besides Mr. Wardle had she mentioned it? There were many acquaintances of hers to whom it might have been mentioned, but she could not recollect any particular persons.—Did the witness know Major Hogan? No, never. She had never seen him in her life. Mr. Greenwood had written to her to say that he was sorry to find she was acquainted with a Mr. Finnerty. She had about nine years ago seen a man of that name, at Margate, who was said to be connected with a newspaper, but had never seen him since.—(Examined by Mr. Croker.) Did the witness recollect any particulars of the conversation she had with Mr. R. Knight, lately, on this subject? Yes. He asked on what terms she was with Edition: current; Page: [46] the Duke of York? whether she had been paid her annuity? She said, no: that the tradespeople were clamorous for their money, and that she would publish the letters to pay them. Upon which he said, that he hoped she would spare his brother.—Whether any other notice had been taken of this business by Mr. Knight, except that she would spare his brother? No; certainly not.—Whether she had made any inquiries of Mr. Knight with regard to the business under discussion? She asked Mr. Knight what sort of a man the other was who had exchanged with his brother; and he said he was an Irishman.—Whether the witness said any thing more to Mr. Wardle on this subject than at the particular time she had before mentioned, and whether she still would abide by that answer? Yes, she did abide by it.—Whether she had any more than one conversation with Mr. Wardle upon this subject? No; and she hoped she would never hear of it any more.—Whether she was in the habit of seeing Mr. Wardle more frequently than when making inquiries relative to this business? Yes; she had seen him on other occasions.—Could the witness recollect when the conversation on this subject took place? She had answered that question before.—Had any conversation taken place on this subject within these three days? No.—Had any taken place since Friday last? No.—Did the witness see Mr. Wardle on Saturday last? She saw him at the Opera House.—Whether she saw him any where else than at the Opera House, on Saturday last; whether Mr. Wardle had intimated that he meant to call her as a witness, and when? Soon after she saw the newspaper which gave an account of the business having been brought forward in the House, he called, and she was angry, as he had made very free with the name of a friend of hers, a Mr. Donovan. Mr. Wardle had one morning taken away a parcel of letters of hers without her sanction, and she could never get them back again.—Whether it was not on Saturday that she saw the newspaper which gave the information? She did not recollect.—Whether she did not see Mr. Wardle on Sunday? She was in the habit of seeing him every other day. She could not exactly recollect.—Did she see him yesterday? She did not.—Whether she was certain of that? She believed she might speak positively.—Had she any conversation with him on the subject this day? Yes.—Whether she now still adhered to her former assertion, that she had no conversation with him on this subject since Friday last? This day something had passed between them about appearing to the summons; and about a week ago he had said that the House would commit her if she did not appear, and send her where they had sent some sheriffs before.—(Examined by Mr. Lyttleton.) The witness had stated that she had shown the note to the Commander-in-Chief; he wished to know whether she had shown it at any time except when she mentioned the business of exchange? No.—By whom had the message about Finnerty been sent? By Taylor. He told her that Mr. Greenwood had been reading Mr. Hogan’s pamphlet and others; and that he had been informed that she was intimate with Mr. Finnerty, which she then denied, as she did now.—(Examined by Sir A. Pigot.) The witness had stated, that Mr. Knight and Mr. Biddulph had paid her a visit together. Did Mr. R. Knight soon after call upon her alone? Many times.—Did she at any time say to him that she was desirous the business should be concealed from the Duke of York? Never in her life.—If any one had said so, then, it was false? Certainly; and she hoped before she left that place, that whoever had said so should be called in.—(Examined by Lord Folkestone.) The witness had said that she sent the Gazette with a note to Dr. Thynne. He wished to know whether she recollected what was in that note; what were the contents? She did not recollect exactly; but she believed it contained very little.—She had said that the 200l. had been sent her in a note with Dr. Thynne’s compliments. Was she quite certain of that? Yes, she was; as she recollected at the time having sent her maid to give the man a guinea.—Were the compliments written in the note, or verbally sent? She was certain that the 200l. came enclosed, but as to the compliments, she could not exactly recollect. She had paid very little attention to the matter, as she never expected to be called upon to give an account of the matter.—Did she recollect who brought the note to her house? No; but she understood it to be Dr. Thynne’s servant.—Did she recollect the time of the day? It was about the middle of the day.—The witness had said that the exchange took place two days after the application; he wished to know whether she alluded to the application of Dr. Thynne to her, or her application to the Duke of York? She spoke to the Duke of York about it the same day at dinner.—How soon after that did the Edition: current; Page: [47] exchange appear in the Gazette? Only a few days after.—Whether she had any reason to desire Mr. Knight to conceal his visits from the Duke of York, and did she desire him to conceal them? She never received his visits in a way that she wished to be concealed.—(Examined by Mr. Perceval.) The witness has said that Mr. Wardle had got her letters without her sanction or consent. He wished to know when that happened? She could not tell precisely; but he laughed the matter off, saying, that he would get possession of all her love-letters.—Was it before this inquiry was set ou foot? Yes.—How long before? She could not recollect.—Had she any conversation on the subject of the letters with Mr. Wardle before he took them? No.—How happened they to be lying in the way? Because she was leaving her house, and removing to her mother’s.—Did the witness mean seriously to say that Mr. Wardle took her letters without her authority? Yes; as he had got many other nonsensical little notes, which induced him to take these.—Were these the letters of his royal highness the Duke of York to the witness? There might be one or two of the letters of his royal highness intermixed with them.—Did the witness mean to say, that these were for the most part, letters of his royal highness? No.—Why then was it said, that these were the letters that led to this inquiry? Because Mr. Wardle had read them.—Did she recollect ever having been offered any money for delivering up the letters of his royal highness. Never.—Did she put them into the hands of any person, in order to forward any negotiation of her own? No; except to Mr. Adam, who was the confidential friend of his royal highness.—Had the witness never said, that she put the letters into the hands of any one, to facilitate a negotiation of her own? No; except to Mr. Adam. She had never written a note on the subject of the letters to any but Mr. Adam.—(By Lord Stanley.) Whether the Duke of York was in the room when the 200l. was brought her? No, he was not.—How soon after was it that she stated that Mr. Knight had fulfilled his promise? The same day.—Was it on the same day that she desired the note to be changed? Yes.—What was the name of the servant by whom the note had been changed?—She did not know; it was a very irregular thing to ask servants their names.

Now, before we proceed any further, let us take a view of the Evidence as it stands. First, it is proved, that Dr. Thynne, who had, for several years, attended in the house of Mrs. Clarke, pointed out to Mr. Knight an application to her as the effectual and speedy way of obtaining the Duke of York’s approbation of an exchange between two field officers of the army, which exchange had already been applied for in the regular way, and had, as yet, at least, not been obtained: Second, it is proved, that Dr. Thynne did make the application to Mrs. Clarke, and that he promised her 200l., in case the exchange should take place: Third, it is proved, that the exchange did, in a few days afterwards, take place: Fourth, it is proved, that Mrs. Clarke, in consequence of the exchange having taken place, did receive, from Mr. Knight, the said sum of 200l. All this is proved without any of the testimony of Mrs. Clarke. Mrs. Clarke, if the Duke had a knowledge of the bargain, must be looked upon as an accomplice; and, accomplices are not usually allowed to be sufficient witnesses to produce legal conviction; but, when their evidence is corroborated by strong circumstances, and especially, when, as in this case, they are in no danger themselves, such evidence is invariably taken to be good. She states, that she immediately applied to the Duke; that he said one of the parties was a bad subject, but that the thing should be done; and she further states, that when she had received the 200l., she told the Duke of it, and, in his presence, sent the note to be changed by one of his own servants, whose name she does not recollect. If we believe her here, the case is complete. But, as weighing against her evidence, the statement of Mr. Knight has been much dwelt upon. He, who, after the exchange, got acquainted with her, says, that she desired him to keep the matter a secret, and that she expressly gave as a reason Edition: current; Page: [48] for this, her fear of the consequences, if it should reach the Duke of York’s ears. This statement Mrs. Clarke positively denies. Which are we to believe? Mrs. Clarke, who took the bribe, or Mr. Knight, who gave the bribe, and who first tendered the bribe? Character, here, is quite out of the question. People may say what they will about Mr. Knight’s having been a member of the honourable House. So have many others that I could name. We here see Mr. Robert Knight as a briber; and, the parties being, in this respect, upon a level, we must decide between their opposite assertions upon the internal probabilities of the case.

Mr. Knight was asked, what part of the transaction Mrs. Clarke wished to have kept a secret; and, whether it was solely the money part of it; he answered, that the whole transaction might be concealed from the Duke. This question was put so often, and the reports in all the newspapers so exactly correspond with respect to the answer, that there is very little probability of its being incorrect.

Now, then, let it be remarked, that Mr. Knight went to thank Mrs. Clarke for the use of her influence in the case of his brother’s exchange, having before paid her 200l. for that influence; and, was it probable, that Mrs. Clarke should express to Mr. Knight a wish, calculated to make him believe, that she had not at all interfered in the matter with the Duke of York? Nay, Mr. Knight himself says, that he looked upon the thing as having been done by her influence, and further, that she took credit to herself for it; but, how could she, if she pretended that she had induced the Duke to do it; how could she, at that same time, have the folly to express a wish, that her having had any hand in the business might be kept from the knowledge of the Duke; kept from the knowledge of that very person, who, if her claim to Mr. Knight’s 200l. was not fraudulent as well as corrupt, must have known, that she was the cause of the exchange Will any one believe, that Mrs. Clarke would say, “It was I who prevailed upon the Duke to permit of your brother’s exchange; but, for God’s sake, don’t let the Duke know of it”? Why, there is a manifest absurdity in the supposition. It is a thing too preposterous to be believed. That she might, indeed, desire Knight not to blab; not to talk of the transaction for it to reach the Duke’s ears through third parties; this is likely enough, and this she herself admits may have been the case; but, to suppose, that she expressed a fear of the Duke’s knowing of her having been the instrument in the business: to suppose, that she expressed such a fear to the very man, with whom she was taking credit to herself for having obtained the grant from the Duke, is an absurdity too gross to be for one moment entertained by any man in his senses.

It appears, however, that Mrs. Clarke did tell Mr. Knight, that she would expose the Duke, unless she could bring him to terms; and, it is fair to presume, that she did so, because, not only does she admit something of this sort herself, but it appears, that, in two letters to Mr. Adam, she pushed the threat much further, or, at least, expressed herself more fully. To an enraged woman, fallen from her high estate, and left to be worried by creditors, who had crawled to her in the days of her affluence, a pretty large portion of vindictiveness is fairly imputable: and, this state of her mind the impartial reader of her evidence will not fail to keep constantly in view. Unsupported by strong corroborating circumstances I have no hesitation in saying, that her evidence against the Duke of York Edition: current; Page: [49] would not be worth much; and if the fact of the offer of 200l., the subsequent taking place of the exchange, and the actual payment of the 200l. immediately afterwards: if all these facts had not been proved, I should have paid very little attention to her testimony, relating to this transaction.

Still, however, the Duke’s actually knowing of her pocketting money on account of the exchange rests solely upon her evidence; and, we must now hear what was said by Mr. Adam, Col. Gordon, and the Duke’s Servant, which, apparently, has been regarded as throwing discredit, not only upon this part of her statement, but upon her general veracity.

We will take the whole of Mr. Adam’s statement of the 1st of February as given in the Morning Chronicle of the 2nd.

Mr. Adam said:—A great part of the evidence which I have now to state, I communicated upon a former night to the House. About the year 1789 I was requested by his royal highness the Duke of York to look into some of his concerns, and from that period to the present I have continued to examine those concerns with all the attention and accuracy in my power, without acting, as I before mentioned, professionally—without receiving any emolument, but giving my services quite gratuitously. In the year 1805 it came to my knowledge, that the husband of the person who has just gone from your bar, had threatened to bring an action for crim. con. against the Duke of York, and, in consequence of this information, it became necessary to inquire into the general conduct of that lady, which was found to be very incorrect. But in my intercourse with his royal highness, I observed, that he was exceedingly unwilling to believe the reports made to him, and he continued so indeed to the last. These reports, however, were of such a nature as to suggest the propriety of a further investigation, and the result was a confirmation of Mrs. Clarke’s incorrectness, which was such as tended much to prejudice the interests of the Duke of York, not upon military business, for nothing at all appeared of the description of that now before the Committee; but, with regard to money obtained by an improper use of the Duke of York’s name; this, I felt it my duty to state fully to his royal highness. For the purpose of having the investigation made, I applied to Mr. Lowton, of the Temple, and he employed Mr. Wilkinson to conduct it, who is generally engaged by that eminent solicitor to make preliminary arrangements upon business committed to his direction. The investigation was completed about the 8th of May, 1805, and I had the details of it laid before the Duke of York; the consequence was, that his royal highness came to the resolution of putting an end to his connection with Mrs. Clarke, and he requested me to communicate his resolution to her. The separation was a measure which I so much approved—which I felt to be so material to the interest and credit of the duke, that I was induced to overlook any consideration of unpleasantness, and to accede to his royal highness’s request. I saw such a disclosure of her character in the report, that I thought it totally inconsistent with his royal highness’s honour any longer to continue the connection.—It appeared, indeed, in this Report, that she pleaded her coverture, in defence to an action for goods which she had obtained by representing herself as a widow. Upon my interview with her, I discovered still further proofs of her incorrectness. Although it turned out that she was married at Pancras, she said that she had been married at Berkhampstead. At Berkhampstead also she stated that she had been born, that her mother’s name was Mackenzie, and her father’s name Parker. But although I had the register of Berkhampstead examined, for forty years back, no such name was to be found. I took occasion to put many questions to Mrs. Clarke in the course of this interview, and I came away from her with the impression that the facts mentioned in the Report I have alluded to were correct. She had stated that her husband was nephew to Mr. Alderman Clarke, the Chamberlain of London, which statement proved to be unfounded. In announcing to Mrs. Clarke the Duke of York’s resolution to separate from her altogether, I informed her, by his royal highness’s authority, that if her conduct should be correct, she would be allowed 400l. a year; but for this there was no bond or written obligation whatever. It was merely an annuity, which his royal highness should be at liberty to withdraw, if the conduct of this lady should not be correct. From the time of that communication I have not Edition: current; Page: [50] seen Mrs. Clarke until she appeared at the bar this night. I have stated, I think, all that relates to the transactions in which my name has been used. Upon recollection there are some other points—I received a letter in June 1808 from Mrs. Clarke, which is, no doubt, that to which she has alluded this night. That letter, I believe, still is in the custody of the gentleman who conducted the examination. Indeed, I endorsed the date and transmitted it to Mr. Wilkinson immediately after I received it. The knowledge I have of Mr. Wilkinson I have stated to the Committee; of the other person, Taylor, mentioned by Mrs. Clarke as an acquaintance of the Duke of York’s, I have no knowledge whatever. I hope I have explained myself satisfactorily to the Committee. If I have not spoken quite intelligibly, I shall be ready to give any further explanation in my power by answering any question that may be put to me. I think it proper to add that the threat of an action for crim. con. was made in 1805, that the inquiry immediately followed, and that the separation took place in 1806.—He did not know whether the annuity promised Mrs. Clarke had been paid her or not, as pensions or matters of that sort formed no part of the financial concerns of the Duke of York which were under his administration. Those concerns to which he had to attend elated to certain claims, for the discharge of which his royal highness had appropriated a proportion of his annual revenue, to manage which Mr. Coutts and he were appointed trustees. This proportion was originally but 12,000l., but it was now raised to between 26 and 30,000l. a year, out of which 4000l. were annually applied to the liquidation of debt due by his royal highness to the public, on account of the loan advanced to him under Mr. Pitt’s administration. To discharge this and other claims, his royal highness had, highly to his honour, set apart as much of his income as, consistently with necessary expenditure, could be possibly spared.

Colonel Gordon, who is the public military Secretary of the Duke of York, says in substance, this: that it is his duty to make to the Duke a report upon all applications for promotions, or exchanges; that he has no doubt that he made an inquiry upon the case of Knight and Brooke; that he fully believes, that the grant of the exchange was made in consequence of his report; that he kept no minute of the inquiry or report, and was not in the habit of doing so; that the delay in question took place on account of some doubts of the eligibility of Col. Brooke, and not on account of any objection to Col. Knight’s request; that he has not the smallest reason to suspect that any influence other than that of the general rules of the service produced the grant of leave to exchange; that the Duke’s approbation was given on the 23rd of July 1805, that the King’s signature was affixed to it on the 24th, and that the exchange was gazetted on the 30th.

Ludovick Armor, a footman of the Duke of York, said that he was a foreigner; that he had lived eighteen years with the Duke; that no other of the Duke’s servants ever went to Mrs. Clarke’s; that he used to go there at eight o’clock in the morning to take the Duke’s clothes; that he never saw Mrs. Clarke at her house but once, when he went to take a favourite dog for her to see; that the Duke was not then there; that he is quite certain that he never was sent by any one, from her house, to get any note changed. In his cross-examination, he repeated these assertions; he said, that no other servant of the Duke was permitted to go to Mrs. Clarke’s; he asserted of his own knowledge, that no other of the Duke’s servants ever went there. He said he had been asked (previous to his coming to the House of Commons) the same question about the note, by the Duke, by Mr. Adam, by Mr. Lowton, and by Mr. Wilkinson, and that he had given them the same answer.

I leave the evidence of Mr. Adam and Col. Gordon, as I find it. The character which Mr. Adam gives of the lady is very bad indeed; but one cannot help regretting that he should have been the instrument of offering Edition: current; Page: [51] to such a person an annuity of 400l. a year, on the part of the Duke, while the latter was accommodated with so large a loan out of the public money.

If what Ludovick Armor says be true; namely, that no other servant of the Duke ever went to Mrs. Clarke’s, and that he never took a note to change from that house, what Mrs. Clarke says about sending the note to change must be false. That is quite clear. But, bare justice to the fair annuitant compels us to observe, that this falsehood, if we set it down for one, must have been a mere freak of fancy; for, it would, I think, be impossible to assign, or conceive, any reason for her stating it. Of itself there was nothing in it, either good or bad. To have said, that she merely showed the Duke the money would have answered full as well for all the purposes of accusation and of crimination. It is quite impossible to guess at any end she could have in view by telling such a falsehood, except that of bringing forth Ludovick Armor; or of affording a chance of being exposed as a false witness. If, therefore, she be a false witness, a fabricator of false accusations, we must, I think, allow her to be as awkward an one as ever appeared at any bar in the world.

After the examination of Ludovick Armor, Mr. Wardle examined Mr. Adam, which examination led to a very novel scene, namely, the reading of an anonymous letter in the House.

Mr. Wardle asked Mr. Adam whether he had a son, and was answered in the affirmative, adding, that he was Lieut.-Colonel of the 21st regt. of foot. Being asked at what age he was made a Lieut.-Colonel,

Mr. Adam said, that he would answer that question; but the House, he hoped, would allow him to make some previous observations. General Sir Charles Stuart, the friend of his early life, asked him, whether any of his five sons had an inclination for the army. There was one of them fourteen or fifteen years of age, who he thought had a strong tendency that way. The general said, that by the rules of the service he was permitted to appoint him to an ensigncy. He was accordingly made ensign. His regiment was in Canada, and as he was so young he did not join immediately, but was first sent to Woolwich for education. As this question had been asked him, he hoped it would not be considered as unbecoming in him to say of so near a relation, that he distinguished himself extremely. A second commission was given him by Gen. Stuart, in a manner equally gratuitous. When the great Abercomby, likewise the friend of my early life, was sent to the Helder, he went under him at the age of sixteen, as a volunteer. The House would pardon him, as it was impossible for him not to feel strongly, he must state his merits. He landed in a hot fire, and conducted himself so as to command the applause and thanks of all who surrounded him. He was present in every active engagement during that expedition. He commanded a body of men of the number generally committed to a lieutenant. They were from the Supplemental Militia, and required a great deal of management, and it was universally allowed that he conducted them well. When he returned, he was, without any solicitation of his (Mr. Adam), so help him God, appointed to the Coldstream Guards. There he remained till he went to Egypt again under Abercromby, accompanied by his friend, who had made the same progress as himself (the son of Sir John Warren) who was killed by his side. He landed at the head of the guards, at the famous landing in Egypt, and distinguished himself equally well on that occasion. On his return, the Duke again appointed him to the rank of major, and at the age of twenty-one he rose to the situation of lieutenant-colonel of the second battalion of the 21st, and afterwards of the first battalion, he (Mr. Adam) having merely stated a circumstance in his favour, which he left entirely to the Duke’s consideration; and this regiment was as well commanded as any in the service; he might call upon the officers who were acquainted with the service to confirm his words; and Sir John Moore, if he had been alive, would have spoken of him.—Mr. Adam said, that he now would read a letter which he had received, and which appeared to have some reference to this question.

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He then read a letter which he had received, and of which the following is the report, as given in the Courier newspaper of the 4th of February:—

“Sir: Your character was once respected; that is now over. Your shifting in the House of Commons, and your interference in the Duke of York’s lechery concerns, would have dubbed any other man a pimp. This subserviency to royalty has made your son a Colonel at twenty years, and given your other boy a ship.”—(I wish, exclaimed, the hon gentleman, turning to Mr. Wardle, you would ask me a question respecting this son too, that I might have an opportunity of telling by what means he got his ship.)—“Bravo! Go on! Try if you can say you act for no profit when you get your sons thus provided for. Decide as you please, that the man who is paid for his services out of the public purse, because he is the second man in the kingdom, as you say, and a prince, forsooth, should not show a good example. Let the Commons decide as they will, the public will judge for themselves; and it is not a decision of the Bear Garden that will convince burdened millions that black is white. This rubric” (it was written in red ink) “is typical of my feelings. I blush for you, and wish you would change your principles to correspond with the colour of your hair, and live the latter part of your time in honour. Though the decision of the House will not go far with the public, yet all eyes are upon it, and the damnation or salvation of the Commons depends upon this decision.

There will be much for observation upon these matters hereafter; but, I cannot refrain from observing, that this audacious letter appeared to kindle somewhat of wrath in the breasts of the honourable House. Mr. Ellison said it was unworthy of the character of any individual to pay attention to anonymous letters. Mr. Adam said, that the letter was written to deter him from doing his duty, and to libel the House of Commons, both of which were beyond the power of any such attempts; that he had to protect his own and his family’s honour, and that he would do it without minding the opinion of any one.

Mr. Fuller defended the reading of the letter, and said the House ought to be whipped, if they did not offer 500l. or 1000l. for discovering the author. “If you are such poor creatures,” said he; but was stopped by a loud and general cry of order.

The public are much obliged to Mr. Adam for reading this letter, and to Mr. Wardle for taking care to have it inserted in the evidence. Yet, strange to say, the Morning Chronicle has suppressed it. That print states, that there was a very abusive and vulgar letter read; but, it does not insert it. This is not dealing fairly either with Mr. Adam, the honourable House, or the public.

Now, in the account which I have given of the evidence, as well as of the debates, or that I shall give of either, I am, of course, to be understood merely as re-stating what has been before stated in the newspapers, which original statements may, for aught I know, be incorrect; but, as I said before, if I find them to have been so, I will lose no time in correcting them, and communicating the correction to the public.

Publicity, and even speedy publicity, is what Mr. Canning stated to be desirable, and for that reason he preferred an examination at the bar of the House, in preference to an examination before a committee, upon oath. To assist, as far as my little sheet is capable, in this work of publicity, is my object, and shall be my constant endeavour, until the whole of the business is closed. My wish is, that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, should be known to, and believed by, every soul in the kingdom; and, if this be the case, great good must arise from this inquiry, while it is impossible that any harm can arise from it.

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If there be any one, who from report, has imbibed prejudices against the Duke of York, this is the time for him to dismiss those prejudices from his mind. He should resolve upon doing that; and by no means give way to the very prevalent and dangerous propensity of hailing open accusation as proof of guilt, merely because such accusations correspond with his pre-conceived opinions. Nothing is more common than to hear men exclaim, when an open accusation takes place, “Ah! I always said so, or I always thought so.” In this state of their minds, the accused stands but a poor chance. They wish him to be guilty; and it is but too true, that, what we wish, we frequently believe, with or without sufficient reason. Against the whisperings of this spirit of injustice I wish to guard the reader. I hope that all prejudices will be dismissed from the mind of the public; that we shall all look upon the Duke of York as being now accused for the first time; that we shall consider him as a person exposed to much ill-will and obloquy from the nature of his situation; and that we shall not condemn him without such proof as would be sufficient to produce the condemnation of any one of ourselves.

But, on the other hand justice to ourselves, justice to our country, and to the army, requires that we should not be carried away from rational and fair conclusions by any assertions, or insinuations, against the authors of the accusation or against any of the witnesses; by any outcry about a Jacobin Conspiracy, and the licentiousness of the press, and a design against the House of Brunswick. These, I trust, we shall regard as empty sounds. The utmost extent to which the press has gone, upon this subject, is, to have published, that Major Hogan told the Duke of York, that promotions were to be purchased of women at reduced prices; that the Major offered to prove this to the Duke, and that the Duke made no answer, and never called for the proof. This is the utmost extent of the “licentiousness of the press.” The statement may be false; Major Hogan did, perhaps, never say this to the Duke; but, observe, the Major does not accuse the Duke of receiving, either directly or indirectly, any part of the money; nor does he accuse him of knowing that any other person got money in such a way. Well, then, how has the press sinned? What has it done, in this case, to be so severely censured? What has it done to excite “a doubt whether the benefits of its freedom be not overbalanced by its licentiousness?” It has now been proved before the parliament itself, that, at the recommendation of the physician of Mrs. Clarke, money was offered to her to obtain from the Duke of York the grant of an exchange in the army; it has been proved, that the exchange soon afterwards took place; and it has been proved, that the money was paid to her according to the terms of the bargain. Must not the parties to this transaction have believed that Mrs. Clarke was the cause of the exchange? Must not they have believed this? Were they not liable to talk of it? If such like transactions were frequent, must not the knowledge of them have spread? And, if any public writer came to the knowledge of them, was it not his bounden duty to state them to the public? If not for such purposes, I should be glad to know for what purpose there is, or ever was, any thing, called “the freedom of the press.”

Mr. Sheridan told the House, that he had besought Mr. Wardle not to proceed with this business, a fact of which I have not the smallest doubt; but he added, that his “honourable friend” (for so he called him) had lent himself to the designs of “a foul conspiracy.” Foul conspiracy as Edition: current; Page: [54] long as he pleases; but that will not remove the effect of the evidence of Dr. Thynne, Mr. Knight, and Mr. Adam; the word conspiracy will have no weight against the proofs of the 200l. bargain with, and of the annuity to, Mrs. Clarke; nor will it have any weight at all against the evidence of Mrs. Clarke herself. Conspiracy, indeed! Who should conspire? Where is the conspiracy? Much has been said about the cowardice of general insinuations against the Duke, and about the advantage of, at last, getting at the accusations in a tangible shape. Why do we hear nothing specific about this conspiracy? A conspiracy generally implies conspirators. Where are they? At present, all the persons that have appeared are Dr. Thynne, Mr. Robert Knight, and Mrs. Clarke. Are these some of the conspirators? Is Mr. Adam one, who has told us all about the connection and the annuity? Who the devil are these conspirators then? Where is the place of their meeting? Why not place this conspiracy before us, in a “tangible shape?” These loose assertions about a conspiracy must operate to the injury of the Duke of York; for the people of this country are too much in the habit of deciding upon the merits of the case; of deciding upon actual evidence, not to suspect to be bad that cause, which has recourse to recrimination. It is so constantly the case to hear the guilty revile his accusers, that if the Duke had a real friend, that friend would not fail to avoid all such revilings, not fully justified by the proved turpitude or malice of the party reviled.

“Jacobinism!” Is it, then, to be a jacobin to complain, that bargains such as that between Mrs. Clarke and Mr. Knight were going on? Is it to be a jacobin to complain, that while the Duke of York was borrowing public money from the minister, he was, as his counsellor has informed us, settling an annuity of 400l. a year upon a person such as her whom this counsellor has described to us, and who has now, in the parliament, been called “an infamous woman?” Is this jacobinism? Is this to conspire against the illustrious House of Brunswick? Oh! no. It is not the House of Brunswick, but the house in Gloucester Place, and other such scenes of corruption and profligacy, if any exist, that the conspiracy is formed against; and, say the revilers of the press what they will, this is a conspiracy of which all the virtuous part of the nation approves, and in which it most cordially partakes. Is the man, who sees thus squandered part, at least, of the means which his incessant industry has collected, and which his paternal affection would fain devote to the comfort of his one-day fatherless family; is such a man, because he feels sore, because he expresses his indignation at seeing his earnings squandered in this way; is such a man for such a cause to be reviled as a jacobin and a conspirator, and to be held forth as worthy of the gibbet? If this be the case, away with all the talk about the sacrifices necessary for our defence against a conqueror; for if the devil himself were to become our master, he could not make our situation worse. But, I hope and trust, this is not to be the case; I trust we shall still have a country to fight for, and courage to defend it; that we shall still be truly free and truly loyal in spite of all the endeavours of all our enemies foreign and domestic; in spite of all their efforts to enslave us, or to goad us into disloyalty.

To Mr. Wardle, for his public spirit, his frankness, his candid and bold manner of bringing the matter forward, his steady perseverance, and all the admirable qualities he has displayed upon this occasion, the unanimous thanks of all the worthy part of the nation are due, and I will Edition: current; Page: [55] add, are justly rendered. I have not conversed with a single person upon the subject, who has not expressed admiration at this gentleman’s conduct. No, he did not consult with you, Mr. Sheridan, nor with any of the party; but, this, Sir, is that part of his conduct which we most approve of. He wanted no counsel but that of a sound head and an honest heart; no support from any thing but truth and justice. He wanted no “parliamentary experience.” None of what has been called “the tactic of the House.” He had a complaint to make in the name of the people, and he made it, without discovering fear either for himself or for his cause. He has neither obtained, nor asked for, any indulgence. In his arduous and most laborious task, he has received assistance from Sir Francis Burdett and Lord Folkestone; but, whether by declaimers or any thing else, he appears never to have been disconcerted; his own resources appear never to have failed him; and at every stage of the proceeding, he has risen in the esteem of the nation, the trading “anti-jacobins” excepted.

DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

To the People of England,

The attention of every person in this country is now, with more or less eagerness, directed towards what is going on in the House of Commons. By a sort of involuntary motion, all eyes have been turned that way. There is no man that now seems to think it of any consequence what is done in the way of war, or of negotiation. All of us seem to feel, that, until this affair be settled, it would be absurd to waste our thoughts upon any question connected with our interests, or our honour, as a nation.

So far the state of the public mind is what it ought to be. But, while all are exclaiming against the infamous corruptions, plunderings and robberies; the insulting profligacy, that have now been proved to exist; while all mouths are open upon these topics, there has appeared no attempt to draw the attention of the people to the effect which these abominations have upon them, in their individual and family capacity.

Be this my task, by way of introduction to such other matters and remarks as it appears to me necessary, at this time, to submit to those, who bear the burdens, which arise from the corruptions that have now been proved to exist.

To persons, not accustomed to go beneath the surface of things, it may possibly appear, that it makes little difference to the people, whether commissions and offices be sold or not, because, in whatever manner they be disposed of, the expense of them must still be the same. But, it requires but very little reflection to perceive, that this proposition is opposed to the truth; for, in the first place, it is evident, that the person who purchases a post, will seek for reimbursement, either in the positive Edition: current; Page: [56] profits of the post, or in a deduction from the time or the services, which ought to be spent or rendered in that post. In the case of Dowler, for instance, who paid, it appears, to Mrs. Clarke, large sums of money for his appointment as a Commissary, is it not clear that he would not fail, during the execution of his office, to keep in view the money which he had paid for that office? And is it not equally clear, that he would miss no opportunity of reimbursement? Indeed, it is impossible to believe, that a person, who has obtained his office by the means of a bribe, whatever the nature of that bribe may be, whether consisting of money or of a vote, will ever refrain from plundering, from any other motive than that of the fear of detection. In such a case, all the effects of morality, all the influence of sentiments of honour, are completely lost to the public. That which is “conceived in sin and brought forth in corruption,” must naturally be productive of wicked and mischievous deeds.

Now, then, the money which Dowler paid to Mrs. Clarke we must consider as coming, through the exercise of his office, out of our pockets, whence it has first been taken by the tax-gatherer. To this we must add the probable further sums, which a man who had obtained his office by a bribe would be likely to appropriate to himself; and, when we see to what extent this system of bribery has prevailed, we shall not be surprised at the immense amount of the sums which we are annually called upon to pay on account of the Commissaries’ department.

In the case of offices, which are merely military, the mode of our suffering is different; but, it is not less real than in cases more immediately connected with money transactions. If the office be obtained by money, when no money ought to be paid, then there will be, by leaves of absence, or other means, a deduction of services due to the public; and, if money ought to be paid to the public, which is paid to a kept mistress, then the public clearly loses the amount, which ought to go to its credit. But, the chief evil here is, that unworthy and base persons are preferred before persons of a different description; that the vile and corrupt vermin, who hang about the metropolis, step over the heads of veterans, who have passed their lives in toils and dangers; that boys become entrusted with commands, which ought never to be in any hands but those of men of experience; that the comfort, the happiness, the backs, and the lives, of our brave soldiers are committed to the power of such men as Captains Donovan and Sandon, and Colonel French; to the power of men, whose promotion to that power has been obtained by means such as those which have now been brought to light.

Hence desertions; hence the sufferings of the soldiers; hence blunders and failures without end; and hence the millions upon millions, which all these annually cost us. To be a good military officer requires, not only bravery, but wisdom, experience, and integrity; a good understanding and a just mind. And, can these be expected in men, who have gained their posts by bribes given to a kept mistress?

Besides these, there is a positive loss in money. We pay for more officers than we need pay for if this infamous system did not exist. We see, in the case of one of the Malings, that he became a captain without ever having been on military duty. We see that others have been officers, while at school. Well, then, less officers are necessary; or, if that be not the case, the service must suffer, and the public must lose, by the absence of so many of those whom it pays.

I cannot refrain here from mentioning the case of Mr. Adam’s son, Edition: current; Page: [57] who became the Lieut.-Colonel of a regiment at the age of twenty-one years. After he was appointed an Ensign, he was sent to school. His father tells us of his feats in Holland. A second commission, that of Lieutenant, was given him while at school. At the age of sixteen he went to Holland; and here his father says he distinguished himself in the command of a body of men usually committed to a Lieutenant. “They were from the Supplementary Militia, and required a great deal of management.” Did they so? Then, was it well to commit them to a boy of sixteen, just come from school? Should it not have been a man to have the command of such men? At twenty-one years of age no person in the world can be fit for a Lieutenant-Colonel. He has the absolute command of a thousand men. The comfort, the happiness, the morality, the backs of a thousand men depend upon his wisdom and integrity. A person to be intrusted with such a charge, ought to be sober, considerate, compassionate, and yet firm to execute justice. Where are these to be found united with the passions inseparable from youth? Besides, is it possible, that the other officers, captains old enough, perhaps, to be his father, and who have every fair claim to prior promotion, can cordially submit to the command, and, occasionally, to the reproof, of a boy of twenty-one? What would Mr. Adam say, if he had to plead before a judge of twenty-one years of age? Yet, the Lieut.-Colonel of a Regiment (for the Colonel never commands) has powers still greater than those of a judge. He has, in the course of a year, to decide upon the cases of, perhaps, two thousand offences. He has to judge of characters; to weigh the merits of candidates for promotion; his smile is encouragement, and his frown disgrace; it depends upon him, whether the soldier’s life be a pleasure or a curse. Is not all this too much for the age of twenty-one years?

Every desertion from the army is a loss of fifty pounds to the country; and, how many of these losses must arise from the want of wisdom and experience in commanding officers?

But, the cost, the bare cost, of officers who do not actually serve, is immense. The younger Sheridan, for instance, has, it is notorious, been living in and about town all his lifetime. Yet, he was, sometime ago, a captain in a regiment serving abroad, and will now, I believe, be found upon the half-pay list. A return of all the officers belonging to regiments abroad, not serving with those regiments, would give us a view of the extent of this intolerable abuse. If men give money, or render secret services, for their offices, to a kept mistress, how can it be expected, that any service should be performed by them to the public? They give their money, or render secret services, for the sake of getting the pay. When Colonel French gave his money to Mrs. Clarke, it was with a view of getting three or four times the sum out of the taxes that we pay. We were the payers for Mrs. Clarke’s service of plate; we paid for her landau; we paid for her trip to Worthing; we paid for her wine-glasses at a guinea a piece; we paid for her boxes at the Opera and the play-house; and French and Sandon and Dowler and Knight and the rest of the bribing crew were merely the channel through which the money passed from the taxed people to her.

Oh! how many hundreds, how many thousands of the people, have suffered for her; she has stated, and no one has attempted to disprove her statement; she has stated in answer to the very judicious questions of Lord Folkestone, that she received in money from her keeper only 1,000l. Edition: current; Page: [58] a year; and that this was barely sufficient to defray the expense of servants’ wages and liveries; but, that the Duke told her, if she was clever, she need never want money. Twenty thousand a year was, perhaps, not sufficient to defray the amount of all her expenses. Here is 20l. a year taken, in taxes, from each of a thousand families. It is the maintenance of 645 labourers’ families at 12s. a week, the common wages of the South of Hampshire. It is equal to the poor-rates of about 50 parishes of England and Wales, taking those parishes upon an average. It is equal to the poor-rates of 66 parishes like this of Botley. It is equal to all the direct taxes, of every sort, of 21 or 22 parishes like this. First, the farmer is deprived, by these means, of a part of his comforts and conveniences; his house contains less of goods and displays less of hospitality; from him the deprivation descends to the labourer, whose scanty and coarse food, and want of raiment and fuel, produce, besides the pinching of hunger and cold, the miseries of disease, and which disease, the never-failing effect of hunger and filth, is spreading far and wide its baleful and hereditary effects. How many widows and other females, whose incomes admit of no nominal augmentation, have suffered, and are still suffering from this accursed system? Every penny paid to Mrs. Clarke is just so much taken out of the pockets of the people. All her “four or five men servants;” all her dashing carriages, all her wines, her music; all her endless luxuries, have been taken from the comforts of this suffering nation, as clearly as if the tax-gatherers had taken the money and paid it in to her housekeeper or her tradesmen. That which has been devoured by her crowd of footmen, waitingwomen, pimps, and bawds, would, if the system of corruption and profligacy had not existed, been left to augment the hospitality of gentlemen, the conveniences of tradesmen and farmers, and the loaf of labourers and journeymen; while those, her footmen, waitingwomen, pimps and bawds, would have been compelled to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow.

Taxation, when excessive, must produce misery; and especially when the taxes are applied to the purposes of luxury. It is necessary, at this time, in particular, that the people should clearly perceive this truth. Suppose there to exist a community of a hundred persons, all of whom labour, in one way or another, usefully to the community. Let ten of them cease to labour, and let them live upon the labour of the other ninety; and the consequence must be, that the ninety must work one-tenth harder upon the same quantity of food, and raiment, and fuel, or that each will have one-tenth less than he used to have, of these necessaries of life. Hence a general decrease in productions, or a general increase of the miseries growing out of labour not sufficiently fed; hence the fall of some into utter inability to supply their wants; and hence the increase of the number of paupers in this country has kept an exact pace with the increase of the taxes, or, in other words, with the increase of the number of persons who are not engaged in productive labour.

The immense sums received by Mrs. Clarke were not devoured by her. She did not consume more food than before she was the Duke’s kept mistress. But, she was enabled to keep a crowd of persons, of various descriptions, who, had they not been so maintained, must have laboured for their bread.

This is a view of the subject of which the people should never, for one moment, lose sight. This is the way, in which they are directly affected by the hellish system, which has now been proved to exist. From this Edition: current; Page: [59] view of it, they will not, I trust, be diverted by any attempts to induce them to attach most importance to the meanness, or even the immorality, of the parties. These are quite sufficient to excite national disgust and hatred; but, the main thing is for the people to see the robberies, and to be able clearly to trace to these, and such like robberies, their own privations and miseries.

Now is the time for the people to ask the revilers of Sir Francis Burdett, whether he was so very much to blame, when he told the Electors of Westminster, that no good was to be expected, till we could “tear out the leaves of the accursed Red Book.” Col. French, and Col. Knight, and Capt. Donovan, and Capt. Sandon, and Mr. Dowler, and the rest of the numerous petticoat-patronized crew, are all to be found in that Red Book, the leaves of which he wished to tear out. His voice will, I trust, now be heard by those who were before misled; if, indeed, there could be any such. I trust that now, the venal declaimers about “Jacobinism” will no longer be able to blind the understanding of any man, however simple that man may be. The man, who now affects to believe, that a deep-rooted system of corruption does not prevail, must be an arrant knave; and, of course, none but an arrant knave will affect to believe, that a radical reform of that system, and a speedy one too, is not necessary to the preservation of the throne, as well as of the remaining liberties of the people.

But, in the mean time, and, indeed, as necessarily conducive to this reform, let the people bear in mind, that it is their money that has been sported with; that it was not Col. French’s money nor Mr. Dowler’s money that the Duke of York’s kept mistress took, and that was expended upon her footmen, chariots, musicians, singers, players, dancers, parasites, pimps, and bawds, but in the end, the money of the people. This is the important truth for them to keep in view. Let every father of a family consider how much less, from this cause, he will have to bequeath to his children. When those, who formerly lived in affluence from the rent of their estates, reflect how they have been obliged to dismiss servant after servant; sell horse after horse; abridge pot after pot of the ale that formerly gladdened the heart of the comer; aye, and to cut down tree after tree, and sell acre after acre; let all such persons, when, with aching heart, they so reflect, think of Mrs. Clarke and the services of plate and the wine-glasses at a guinea a piece and the rattling carriages and the laced-footmen and the musicians and the singing-boys and the players and the dancers and the pimps and the bawds in Gloucester-place; and let every mind in the kingdom be fixed upon the scene described by Miss Taylor, every tongue repeat, and every ear tingle at, the words, “how does French behave to Darling?” Darling! How many a widowed mother has had to pronounce that word over a child driven from beneath her roof by the penury produced by these and similar corruptions! Look into families, once respectable in point of fortune, and you find them consisting of a crowd of helpless females, unable to work and ashamed to beg, the sons all forced away, for want of the means possessed by their father, to seek a subsistence from patronage, to get back again some small portion of what their father has paid in taxes, and, in order to succeed, creeping to those whom that father would have despised; nay, perhaps, the last stake of the family is converted into a bribe for a whore, while a score of breasts are filled with anxiety lest the sum should not be sufficient. Thus has the nation been degraded; its Edition: current; Page: [60] spirit subdued; its heart broken; and its property rendered a prey to the infamous reptiles, who, at last, stand exposed to its execrations, and who, I trust, are at no great distance from the hour of feeling the effects of its vengeance. I mean not the vengeance of a mob, but the steady, sober, deliberate vengeance of the law.

I now would fain call the attention of the people to the altered language and tone of the House of Commons. It will not soon be forgotten, that, when Mr. Wardle first brought forward his charges, he was answered with the boldest defiance. From both sides of the House he heard of nothing but of joy, that, at last, the charges against the Commander-in-Chief could be met in a tangible shape. He was told, that a conspiracy had long existed against the illustrious House of Hanover, and that his hearers were delighted to find, that they should now have fair play against that conspiracy. He was told, that he had incurred “a heavy responsibility;” and that the result must be “infamy upon either the accused or the accuser.” Mr. Perceval said, that, “was the present moment suitable for the statements, he believed he could enter into particulars, which would convince the House, that it was impossible to bring these alleged charges home to his royal highness.” He said, in the name of the Duke, “that his wish was, that the investigation should be most complete and public; that there was nothing his royal highness so particularly deprecated as any secret or close discussion of these charges; that standing as that illustrious personage did, on the fairness of his character, and the fulness of the evidence he was enabled to produce in refutation of these charges, he was most particularly anxious to appear before the country, acquitted by the most accurate and severe inquiry.” All this bold language, this tone of menace, have been dropped for some days; and it seems to be almost forgotten, that Mr. Wardle ever was under any very “heavy responsibility.” Nay, Mr. Yorke, who spoke so roundly of the Jacobin Conspiracy against the illustrious House of Brunswick, seems to have begun to think, that all the “talking” was not without some foundation. Mr. Canning says not a word, neither does Lord Castlereagh; Mr. William Smith, the famous Whig-Club member, thinks it no longer necessary to disclaim Mr. Wardle, in the name of his party; Mr. Whitbread is no longer in a passion at being accused of a connection with the accusing member; and the elder Sheridan talks no more of his dissuasive messages to that gentleman.

But, what is more worthy of the attention of the people is this, that now, now, now, now, behold! the East-India Company people have moved for a committee up-stairs to inquire into the sale of Writerships and Cadetships, when it is notorious to all the world, that, for many, many years past, these offices have been advertised for sale as openly, and almost as frequently, as Packwood’s Razor-strops or Spilsbury’s pills. How comes it, that we never before heard of any Committee up-stairs, or down-stairs, or in any part of the house, to inquire into these matters? What has alarmed the honour of the Directors now? Why now, for the first time? Oh! it is very surprising, that now, all of a sudden, this horror for jobbing should have seized them! For eight years I have been a witness of these advertisements. Every one must be satisfied, that, during that time, the traffic has been going on; and yet, not a whince have we heard from the tender Directors till now.

Still more worthy of the people’s attention is what dropped from Mr. Edition: current; Page: [61] Perceval the other night, after the grand explosion, including the Church as well as the State. He said, he had, for some time past, had it in mind to bring in a bill to prevent this scandalous jobbing. We thought, that you and your colleagues, Sir, said, but the other day, that we were libellers; that we had formed a conspiracy for writing and talking down all that was great and noble in the country. Why pass a bill, if what we said was libellous? Aye, a bill, oh! a bill; by all means a bill! But it does come somewhat of the latest. Yes, certainly “a day after the fair.” If you had talked of a bill of this sort long ago, instead of charging the press with being libellous; instead of instituting a long list of government prosecutions against those who complained of jobbing; then, indeed, we should have received your notification with applause; but, now, Sir, we do not. My neighbours in the country, are even so irreverent as to laugh at it; and, though I caution them against the consequence of giving way to ridicule upon state affairs, they still persist in comparing it to maternal precautions when the girl’s shape convicts her of bastardy. These country people are slow to move. They are as obstinate in their credulity as they are in their want of faith. At last they see their situation plainly; and I venture to say, that nothing short of a fair, full, entire, radical reform of abuses and corruptions will now satisfy them. The farmers have read about Mr. Beazley, and Drs. Glasse and O’Meara. They did not like tithes before; and, be you assured, that they will not now like them any thing the better. They are a strange people; always judging of what they cannot get a sight of, by what they can get a sight of. If they see a full sack, for instance, and perceive wheat dropping out, through an accidental hole, in the sack, they conclude that the sack is filled with wheat. This logic they apply to clerical preferments, and look upon Mr. Beazley, the no-popery pamphlet writer, and Drs. Glasse and O’Meara, as the grains that have dropped out. “A bill” will never satisfy such people. They do not so easily perceive the virtues of such a bill. In short, they heard enough of bills to check the Treasurer of the Navy. They want something to make them see and feel, that they cannot again be robbed by infamous jobbers; and, until they have this, bills will be of no use. But, what is to become of all the past? Or is this bill to be by implication a bill of indemnity for the past? Is there no law to punish the jobbing rascals? Bless us! no law of any sort, by which they can be come at? Why not apply to them that most convenient and accommodating thing, called the law of libel? Give me a file of newspapers, or go to Peele’s Coffee-House, and I will engage you shall have some thousands of advertisements for the purchase and sale of offices under government. I have, several times, pointed out to the ministry these scandalous advertisements. I have, more than once, taken them for mottos, a sort of text, whereon to preach a political sermon to them. I have asked why the authors of those advertisements were not called upon. No notice has ever been taken of my representations. Nay, on the very day when Mr. Wardle’s charges were brought forward; so late as that day, and after the charges had been stated, Mr. Perceval seemed to think very lightly of the matter. He said, that, in this great metropolis, there were “foolish people” who were, by such advertisements induced to throw away their money; but, as to the actual sale of places, he scouted the idea. Not a word did he, even at that late day, say about a bill to prevent jobbing. He now tells the House, that he has, for some time, thought of this bill. It is not for a very long time, Edition: current; Page: [62] it seems. On the contrary, the whole of the language of himself and his colleagues was the language of defiance. Every thing they said was in opposition to the charges of Mr. Wardle; not a soul of them allowed, that corruption existed in any shape. No, the whole cry was, that a conspiracy was on foot “against every thing great and noble;” that Jacobinism was still alive, and that what the late Pitt said of its malignant qualities was now verified; in short, every thing that could be said was said to make us believe, that the charges had had their rise in the licentiousness of the press, and in a conspiracy against all the establishments of the country, not excepting the kingly office. Denial was the word; all was denial and defiance; and not a breath about a bill to prevent jobbing. Where have the 658 members of the House been living, that they, that no one of them, ever saw cause for such a bill before? It is strange, passing strange, that this talk about a bill, this plain acknowledgment that jobbing does exist, should never have been made before. Has it sprung up, all at once, under Mr. Perceval and Mr. Canning and Lord Castlereagh? Oh, no! It is a very deep-rooted plant. Aye, and a bill will not grub it up. Of that the whole nation is convinced.

It is of the greatest importance for the people, by which term I mean all those who are not in the receipt of the public money, or any part of it, to bear in mind what passed at the time when Mr. Wardle first brought his charges forward. I was aware of this; I knew that every word then uttered would become of more and more consequence as the investigation proceeded. For this reason I was induced to depart from my usual practice, and to insert the debate entire. As it cannot be too often read, I will now remind the public, that the first part will be found at page 13 the conclusion at page 36. To this debate, as to a standard, I shall constantly refer. It is by looking back, that we are enabled to judge of what we have to expect. We are too apt always to forget the past. When any thing of interest arises, we attach our attention solely to that; but this is wrong; for, in fact, we see but half the thing without taking into view what has gone before.

This being my opinion, I will now endeavour to lead the abused people back to the beginning of the formal, public complaints, made in behalf of the Duke of York against the press; and, this is the more necessary, because it seems to me that every public writer appears to have forgotten them.

For more than a year past there have been, occasionally, little dirty pamphlets, complaining of libels against the Duke of York; but, they were so insufferably stupid, that no man of sense thought it worth his while to notice them.

In the month of August, however, when there had been published some pretty bold paragraphs against the Duke’s being sent to Spain, there was published a pamphlet, entitled “A plain statement of the conduct of the ministry and the opposition towards his royal highness the Duke of York.” It was in this pamphlet, as the public will not soon forget, that it was stated, that there existed “a family council, a domestic cabinet,” to protect the King even against his ministers; that the Queen was at the head of this council, and the Duke of York a leading member of it.

The pamphlet states, in substance, that the late ministry wished, and even attempted, greatly to abridge the power of the Duke of York; and, observe it well, the writer adds, “that his royal highness deemed it necessary Edition: current; Page: [63] to throw himself upon the protection of his ROYAL FATHER; and that the proposed measure of the Grenville party was thus defeated by the immediate interposition, not to say the COMMAND of his Majesty.” It is of great importance; it is of incalculable importance, that we now look back to these publications. But, the part of this memorable pamphlet (the writer of which has never been prosecuted) adapted more immediately to our present purpose, is that which relates to the complaints made by this writer against both ministries for NOT INTERFERING WITH THE NEWSPAPERS, in order to prevent publications against the Duke. Every word of this part of the pamphlet is now to be reperused and treasured up in the memory. Here is the passage, and I do beseech the people of this kingdom to read it over and over again.

“These incessant attacks could not but very seriously affect his royal highness, and after having maintained a dignified reserve as long as human patience could support it, he at length found it necessary to demand an inquiry into his conduct. Nothing could be so ridiculous as the affected astonishment of the ministry upon this demand. Who has presumed to attack the interest or the reputation of your royal highness? There are laws in the country to which your royal highness may appeal. Why should there be a formal inquiry where there is no formal charge? Why should the ignorance or malignity of the daily papers be raised into the consequence and dignity of having called forth an official inquiry? If any thing has been said or written against your royal highness, of which all his Majesty’s ministers must solemnly disavow even any knowledge, the Attorney-General should be ordered forthwith to commence a prosecution; and if your royal highness be unwilling personally to give your instructions to that officer of the crown, they may be given to the Treasury, by your royal highness’s secretary. But his Majesty’s ministers would think themselves deficient in a due sense of what they owed to their own dignity as his Majesty’s counsellors, if they adopted a popular rumour as sufficient grounds for an official inquiry.”

Well, this was pretty well, I think. What more did this writer wish them to do? He will tell us directly, in speaking of what he says has been the conduct of the present ministry, upon a similar occasion.

“It may be urged, indeed, in reply to all that has been said above, that the attacks complained of, have not been made with the knowledge, and still less with the consent or concurrence, of his Majesty’s ministers: that they are all of them too honourable men to concur in such a system of anonymous attack: that such a system, moreover, could answer no conceivable purpose: that the ministry are too strong in public opinion and confidence, to require the assistance of such unworthy arts. In a word, that such a persecution, and so indirectly put into operation, can have no purpose, and therefore that it is a reasonable inference that it has no existence.

To this it must be answered, that when his royal highness made similar representations, under the late ministry, the answer was uniformly, that his Majesty’s ministers were totally ignorant of the very existence of the facts alleged; that the law was open to his royal highness, and that the Attorney-General might be instructed to prosecute; that they had no influence or authority over the free press; and that they advised his royal highness to hold all such libellous accusation in the contempt which it merited.

It is notorious, however, notwithstanding all this disavowal, that the free press as it is called, and as it should be, is almost equally divided between the two leading parties in the country, and that the ministers and the opposition have the same influence, NOT TO SAY AUTHORITY, over them as if they were THE ACTUAL EDITORS. Has any instance ever occurred, in which a billet from Downing-street has been refused admission, and if required, an ample confirmatory comment, through all the Treasury papers? And will any, either of the ministry or the opposition, declare, upon their honour as gentlemen, that they have no authority or weight with the public papers? Whence does it happen, that the honour of parties is not the same with that of individuals, and that a Edition: current; Page: [64] party will assert conjunctively, what every individual of that party knows to be false? Why is there not the same point of honour with a party as with an individual?

The indecent language in the daily papers, is certainly not from the mouth of the ministers. It is impossible that men of honourable stations should descend to such terms, and to such anonymous acrimony. We are persuaded that his royal highness most fully acquits his Majesty’s ministers of any immediate participation in such libels. But the encouragement, the countenance, the impunity, of these libellers, is the efficient cause of the whole. Would the Editors of the Daily Papers thus write, unless they were persuaded that they were advocating a cause generally pleasing to their patrons? As to a legal remedy for this torrent of libel and invective, though a jury of his countrymen would visit the libellers with merited punishment, his royal highness, we believe, will not be lightly persuaded to introduce a practice which he has never approved. There have been, perhaps, already too many government prosecutions, and a precedent may thus be constituted, which, much to the injury of the free press, may be hereafter acted upon. Add to this that there may be innumerable allusions, inuendoes, and even assertions, which may have substance enough to wound, and that most deeply, but are not palpable enough for the visitation of the law. The libellers of his royal highness have been too long practised in their school, to commit themselves to the hands of a jury. Let any man of honest feelings read some of the cold-blooded articles which have lately appeared in many of the daily papers, and then answer, if his indignation be not moved by their savage malignity—yet are these libels conceived in terms so studiously picked and culled, as to elude the just vengeance of the law.

How many subjects, moreover, are there which, however grossly offensive to all honourable feeling, cannot be produced to the publicity of a legal trial. Let any man put it to his own mind—how many slanderous reports are daily in circulation to the ruin of the peace and character of their unhappy object, but for which the sufferer is yet unwilling to make his appeals to the laws of his country. There is a necessary and indiscriminating publicity in law, from which a mind of any DELICACY cannot but avert. His royal highness has indeed suffered much, but he will suffer still more, we should think, before he can persuade himself to call on the laws of his country.

So, here we have an expression of this writer’s wishes. He seems to allow, that nothing has been said of the Duke that even our libel law can lay its fangs upon, or, at least, with a fair chance of success; and, therefore, as the newspapers are, as he says, as completely at the command of the two parties, as if the leaders of those parties were the actual editors; and as, with regard to the Treasury papers, “a billet from Downing-street is never refused admittance, accompanied, if required, by an ample confirmatory comment,” he would have had orders issued from Downing-street, to those papers, to insert certain billets, and to refuse others, relating to the Duke of York.

This writer must be an enemy of the Duke, under the mask of friendship; for is it possible to form an idea of any thing more low, more mean, more shabby, more scurvy, more dirty, more base, than going to a ministry, and asking them to obtain the publication or the suppression of paragraphs, respecting him, in prints, which he must regard as being edited by the most venal of mankind? As if he had said to himself: No; the law will not do; the law cannot find any hold in the publications against me, and beside, I do not like the publicity of law; I will, therefore, have recourse to corruption; I will, by the means of influence purchased with the public money, get a good word from those whom I despise. This is what this writer imputes to the Duke of York, and this he does under the mask of friendly compassion. This he does under the pretence of defending the royal chieftain against the attacks of his calumniators. I do not believe that any act more base was ever before imputed Edition: current; Page: [65] to any human being. What, go sneaking to the ministry to beg of them to speak a good word for him to the editors of the newspapers! Foh! it is so rank, it so stinks of meanness, that one’s bowels are disordered at the thought, especially when imputed to a modern “Coriolanus.” I am not for appeals to the law, respecting matters of this sort; but, something should certainly be done by the real friends of the Duke of York, to convince the world, that this part, at least, of the pamphleteer’s statements is false. I, for my part, shall anxiously wait for the contradiction, and shall hasten to give it to the world. What! (I cannot get it out of my mind) go to the ministry to supplicate their interference with the public papers! It is such an abominable story; such atrocious slander, that surely it will be speedily contradicted.

Such is the passage, and such were my remarks upon it at the time. To this the writer added, in a very positive and peremptory tone, that the ministry and opposition must, when parliament met, both DISAVOW the attacks of the press upon the Duke. How far this positive prediction, not to call it a threat, has been fulfilled, I leave the people to judge, when they have again carefully looked over the debate upon Mr. Wardle’s Charges, bearing in mind, at the same time, the disavowal of Mr. W. Smith, in the name of his party, the anger of Mr. Whitbread, at being suspected to have given encouragement to Mr. Wardle, and the declaration of Mr. Sheridan, relative to a foul “conspiracy.”

Here, then, People of England, you have seen the origin of all these complaints against the press; I mean the first formal published complaint. Since that publication, Major Hogan’s Pamphlet, edited by the able pen of Mr. Finnerty, has appeared. In consequence of that pamphlet, many prosecutions by the Attorney-General have been commenced. Major Hogan’s pamphlet boldly speaks of petticoat promotions; it states, that the Major, who is proved, by letters from most respectable superiors, to be a man of long and very meritorious services, told the Duke, that his long-sought promotion might have been obtained, at a reduced price, if he had, like others, chosen to disgrace himself by applying to petticoat influence; that the Major was ready to produce to the Duke proof that promotions were thus disposed of; that the Duke made no answer to him; and that he (Major Hogan) has never been called on for his proof. There could be no harm at all in the Major’s saying, that he stated this to the Duke; the harm consisted in his stating, that the Duke made him no answer, and never called for his proofs; and, if this statement was false, it was very wicked and richly deserving of punishment; because the direct and inevitable tendency of it was to cause it to be believed, that such villanous influence, influence so manifestly disgraceful and injurious to both the army and the public, was used with the knowledge and connivance of the Duke, than which a heavier charge could not have been preferred against mortal existing.

It must be confessed, that this pamphlet had a wonderfully great effect all over the country. I recommended it to the attention of my readers; because I foresaw, that, whether true or false, it must finally bring to an open discussion, that question, which had, for several years, been agitated in private, and of the importance of which question I from my correspondence, was better able to judge than the public in general.

Prosecutions were now resorted to, in which prosecutions Mr. Finnerty, and the printer and venders of Major Hogan’s pamphlet, are involved, and, of course, were so involved at the date of Mr. Wardle’s Edition: current; Page: [66] bringing forward his charges. But, in the meanwhile, many people appear to have been busy in their inquiries; and, at last, Mr. Wardle, who had been successful in his inquiries, comes before the parliament, and, without applying to any party for support, or assistance, boldly makes the complaint, and prefers the charges, in the name of a burdened, an injured, and insulted people.

Now, then, we come to the reception which those Charges met with upon their first appearance. They were stated with a degree of frankness unparalleled. The accuser not only explicitly stated the nature of the several cases; he gave the details; and he even named his witnesses; leaving to the accused every possible advantage, especially if we consider of what description those witnesses were, what was their situation in life, and what was their manifest interest as connected with the cases whereon they were to be called, it being almost impossible that scarcely any one of them should support the charges, without, in the same breath, proclaiming their own infamy, or, at best, their meanness.

This procedure, so frank, so honest, so manifestly free from all desire to take advantage, was met with observations on the “heavy responsibility” to which the accuser had exposed himself; with charges against unnamed “Jacobin conspirators,” who had formed a settled scheme for writing and talking down the Duke of York, the army, and all the establishments in the country; with the severest censure upon the press, the recent “licentiousness” of which was represented as surpassing that of all former times, and the benefits of the freedom of which were, in the opinions of very good men, overbalanced by the evils of its licentiousness; with representations of the difficulty of producing convictions for obvious libels. Nor must we fail to keep fresh in our minds, that, just before the parliament met, and while so many persons were under government prosecution for alleged libels upon the Duke of York, we saw daily advertised in all the newspapers, “thoughts on libels, on juries, and on the difficulties of producing conviction in the case of libel,” which Thoughts were “dedicated to the Duke of York and Albany,” and published by Egerton, the Horse-Guards bookseller. At the same time, just upon the eve of the meeting of parliament, a person of the name of Wharton, said to be the same who is Chairman of the Committee of the House of Commons, published a pamphlet, entitled, “Remarks on the Jacobinical tendency of the Edinburgh Review, in a letter to the Earl of Lonsdale;” in which stupid Letter the author talks of libels, and of settled schemes, on the part of the press, to overthrow the establishments of the country.

Whereunto these publications tended was evident enough. Their natural tendency, supposing them to have answered the purpose for which they were written, was, first to create in the public mind, an alarm for the internal peace and safety of the country; to cause it to be believed, that, somewhere or other, there was a conspiracy brooding against the government; that this conspiracy was aided, in its diabolical views, by the press; that, of course, it was the duty of juries to get over the difficulties which had heretofore been experienced in the producing of conviction in cases of libel; and if all this should fail, to prepare the minds of the public for new, and still more severe laws, with respect to the press, providing a complete security for every great offender in future.

That such was the tendency of these publications is quite clear, and, Edition: current; Page: [67] I think, there can be very little doubt of its having been their principal, if not their sole, object. This object has, by Mr. Wardle’s exertions, been, for the present, at least, defeated. The Lord Chancellor has declared, in his place, in the House of Lords, that the laws in existence, relative to the press, are a sufficient check upon it. And, well might he make the declaration! For, what further checks can be devised, what greater dangers a writer or publisher can be exposed to, without establishing, at once, an imprimatur, and the power of transportation without trial, such as they have at Calcutta, I am at a loss to discover. We cannot now plead the truth in justification of what we write and publish. It has now been proved, thanks to Mr. Wardle, that there has, for years and years, been carried on a regular trade in military commissions and in appointments of all sorts. But, if I had happened to know, that French and Sandon gave money to Mrs. Clarke for their letter of service, and that, in consequence of that bribe, they obtained their levy from the Duke of York; if I had happened to know this; if I had stated it; and if I had been prosecuted by the Attorney-General for the statement, I should not have been able, according to the present practice of the law, to produce, in my defence, the proof of the truth of my statement, nor would my accusers have been called upon for proof of their falsehood. All that would have been requisite to my conviction would have been the proof that I was the proprietor of the paper, and a thorough opinion, in the minds of the jury, that my statement was of a sort to hurt the reputation, or even the feelings, of either of the parties; and, thus, I might have been torn from my family, and shut up in Gloucester or Dorchester jail for years, as a sacrifice to the wounded feelings of a peculating pimp. And yet, there are men, who have the assurance te tell us, that the press is still too free; and that the difficulties in the way of conviction, in cases of libel, are still too great!

Had not this, such as I have described it, been the state of the press; had not the danger of publishing truth been so great; can any one believe, that the enormities, the atrocious deeds, that have now come to light, would have been carried on for so many years? Why, I have had hundreds of letters upon the subject; but, I had no taste for either Gloucester or Dorchester jail; and, therefore, the knowledge thus communicated to me, was confined to my own indignant breast, or, at most, extended a little by the means of conversation.

If truth had not been a libel, those injuries to the nation would have been stopped in time, or, rather, they never would have had an existence. They would have been prevented by the dread of exposure; but, the press being enslaved so far as not to dare to speak the truth; as not to dare to utter what might hurt the feelings of any one, whether guilty or not; this being so notoriously the case, there was no danger of exposure, and, of course, the corruption and profligacy went on increasing, until they arrived at the pitch in which they now appear before us.

There is one way, and that a most effectual one, of silencing the press; of silencing both writers and talkers; namely, by reforming; by taking from the people the grounds of complaint; by ceasing to wrong and to insult them. But, this is a way that never seems to have been thought of. It is all to be done by force; by the law, or by the bayonet. These may silence, but they never convince; they smother for awhile, but they do not extinguish the fire of discontent; as the fate of all the old corrupt governments of the Continent has clearly demonstrated.

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Conspiracy against the establishments, indeed! No, no! There is no jacobinical conspiracy: it is a conspiracy of such persons as the Reverend Drs. Glasse, and O’Meara, and the Reverend Mr. Beazley, who when they took priests’ orders, declared, that they were thereunto moved by the Holy Ghost. It is these persons, if what has been given in evidence be true; it is these, and such-like persons who are conspiring against the established church. It is impossible, that the people should believe, that these are the only instances of the kind that have existed; it is impossible, that the general opinion should not be, that many of the clergy have been preferred by the means, which were employed in behalf of these persons; and, as the people cannot know precisely where to fix, it will necessarily follow, that their suspicions will fall upon the clergy as a body; and, then, who can be surprised, if the churches should become quite instead of three-fourths, deserted? It is a very great hardship upon the worthy part of the clergy, that they should suffer in reputation from this cause; but, it is inevitable now, and the blame will not lie upon the people, but on those, who have carried on, who have winked at, and who have tolerated, these corruptions.

These observations apply to the army also, the general character of the officers of which must greatly suffer from what is now come to light. Who can tell which officer has, and which has not, obtained his promotion by bribing or pimping? Mr. Yorke said, there was a conspiracy to write down the army, through the Duke of York. What is the House of Commons at now? Is not it hard at work to pull down the reputation of the officers of the army? After this, is it possible, that the people should think, as they before thought, of rank in the military profession? Nay, is it possible, that the non-commissioned officers and soldiers should not have a quite new set of ideas respecting their officers? Is it not shocking, that the backs of hundreds of our brave countrymen should be committed to the power of a wretch, who has been base enough to purchase that power with a bribe to a kept-mistress? The case of good and honourable men, who hold offices in the army is very hard. At present it is impossible to know, who are the petticoat officers and who are not. The suspicions of the public and the soldiers must be divided amongst the whole body of officers; and the whole body must suffer accordingly. Was it not then, with good reason, that Sir Francis Burdett, in the last session of parliament, wished to provide some legal checks upon the power of the Commander-in-Chief?

The same reasoning will still apply to the royal family itself. It is not possible, that the people should look upon that family with the same eyes that they did before this explosion took place. First, the Duke of York is one of that family. Next, the question, how the rest of the family never came to hear of any of these corruptions, must, and will, pass through the mind of every man in the kingdom. I wish to guard my readers, and, as far as I am able, the people in general, from any hasty suspicions of this sort. A father and mother are, generally, the last who hear of the faults of their children. None of us would think it just to be suspected of participating in the vices of our sons and daughters. But, we may be reasonably allowed to ask, what the advisers of the King have been about all this time? Where they have lived, what society they have frequented, that they have never discovered the existence of any part of all that, which has now been brought to light? If there was such a writing and such a talking against the Duke of York, was it not Edition: current; Page: [69] their duty to have inquired into the matter? and, had they not all the means of coming at the truth? When they saw the statements of Major Hogan, ought they not to have sent for Major Hogan, and have examined him upon the subject? Did not their duty to the King, as his sworn advisers, demand this at their hands? The pamphlet entitled “A Plain Statement, &c.” says, indeed, that the late ministry made an attempt to abridge the power of the Duke, and that a stop was put to their project “by the immediate interference of the King;” but, their duty was, to go to the King with a full and fair representation of the reasons why they wished to abridge that power. To state painful truths is what a faithful counsellor is wanted for. There are always people enough about a court to flatter, and to tell what is pleasing to the ear of a king; and, how many kings have we seen come tumbling from their thrones, in only a few weeks after their flatterers had taught them to believe, that all was safety!

If the King had had wise and upright advisers, should we have ever seen two pensions for life, amounting together to 2,678l., granted to Lady Augusta Murray, lately called Duchess of Sussex? Such advisers would not have failed to perceive, and to point out to their master, the bad impression which such a grant of the public money, at a time like the present, must have upon the minds of his people. Such advisers would have reminded him, that the people could not fail to ask what services this lady (though a virtuous person, and whose case is a very hard one) had performed for them, or for the crown, to merit such an income out of the public purse, at a time when the Captains of the Navy are supplicating for a small addition to their pay. Such advisers would have pressed upon the King, who would, we must believe, have, at once, followed their advice, to abstain from all grants, either direct or indirect, to his own family, while his people were so heavily burdened, and while fresh sacrifices of their comforts, and even necessaries, were annually called for, upon the ground of their being wanted for the defence of the country against a foreign invader.

If the King had had wise and upright advisers, should we ever have seen the newspapers announcing, under the head of “court news,” the movements of Mrs. Jordan and her family, backward and forward, between Bushy Park and St. James’s Palace? If the King had had wise and upright advisers, should we ever have seen publications, like the following, circulated through all the newspapers of the kingdom!

“The Duke of Clarence’s birth-day was celebrated with much splendour in Bushy Park, on Thursday. The grand hall was entirely new fitted up, with bronze pilasters, and various marble imitations; the ceiling very correctly clouded, and the whole illuminated with some brilliant patent lamps, suspended from a beautiful eagle. The dining-room in the right wing was fitted up in a modern style, with new elegant lamps at the different entrances. The pleasure-ground was disposed for the occasion, and the servants had new liveries. In the morning the Dukes of York’s and Kent’s bands arrived in caravans; after dressing themselves and dining, they went into the pleasure-grounds, and played alternately some charming pieces. The Duke of Kent’s played some of the choruses and movements from Haydn’s Oratorio of the CREATION, arranged, by command of his royal highness, for a band of wind instruments. About five o’clock the Prince of Wales, the Dukes of York, Kent, Sussex, and Cambridge, Colonel Paget, &c. arrived from reviewing THE GERMAN LEGION. After they had dressed for dinner, they walked in the pleasure-grounds, accompanied by the Lord Chancellor, Earl and Countess of Athlone and daughter, Lord Leicester, Baron Hotham and Lady. Baron Eden, the Attorney-General, Colonels Paget and M‘Mahon, Sergeant Marshall, and a Edition: current; Page: [70] number of other persons. At seven o’clock the second bell announced the dinner, when THE PRINCE took MRS. JORDAN by the hand, led her into the dining-room, and seated her at the head of the table. The Prince took his seat at her right hand, and the Duke of York at her left; the Duke of Cambridge sat next to the Prince, the Duke of Kent next to the Duke of York, and the Lord Chancellor next to his royal highness. The DUKE OF CLARENCE sat at the foot of the table.

It is hardly necessary to say the table was sumptuously covered with every thing the season could afford. The bands played on the lawn, close to the dining-room window. The populace were permitted to enter the pleasure-grounds to behold the royal banquet, while the presence of Messrs. Townshend, Sayers, and Macmanus, preserved the most correct decorum. The Duke’s NUMEROUS FAMILY were introduced, and admired by the Prince, the Royal Dukes, and the whole company; an infant in arms, with a most beautiful white head of hair, was brought into the dining-room by the nursery-maid. After dinner the Prince gave ‘The Duke of Clarence,’ which was drunk with three times three. The Duke gave the ‘King,’ which was drunk in a similar manner. A discharge of cannon from the lawn followed. ‘The Queen and Princesses.’

—‘The Duke of York and the army.’ His royal highness’s band then struck up his celebrated march.

This article was contained in the Courier newspaper of the 3rd of August 1806; and, as the people will have observed, many such articles have appeared since, while not one of them has been contradicted. Now, if there was any truth in such statements, would not wise and upright counsellors have advised the King to put a stop to the grounds of such statements? Must not the people, upon reading such accounts, call to mind the King’s Proclamation for the suppression of Vice; and also, as if the laws were insufficient for keeping the common people in order, the erection of self-created societies for the purpose? And, will they not now ask of those pious societies, why, when they were pursuing the poor whores with their day-light lanterns, they never thought of a lantern for Gloucester Place? These godly gentlemen, no small part of whom, by-the-bye, derive their incomes from the public purse, appear to have eyes so constructed as to see vice only when she is accompanied with poverty. They fish with a net that will hold nothing but the small fry.

There is one of Mrs. Jordan’s sons in the navy, and another in the army. The latter has been described to me as a very little boy. A gentleman, who saw him in Spain, described him as not being much bigger than a son of mine who is only about ten years of age. He must, however, be older, and, it is probable, that he is fourteen years of age, or more. But, then, observe, he is a cornet in the tenth regiment of Lt. Dragoons, of which the Prince of Wales is Colonel; that he is even the second cornet upon the list; and that, according to the army-list now before me, he is senior to four other cornets. When in Spain, he was an aid-de-camp, and, a gentleman who frequently had occasion to see the quarters of the dragoons, saw his name upon a door, signifying that the apartment was his, a mark of distinction not used by common subaltern officers. Yet, this person could, by those subalterns, and by the officers in general, be looked upon as no other than the son of Mrs. Jordan; than the son of a play-actress; than the son of a person, whom, but a day or two, perhaps, before their departure from England, several of those officers had seen, in the character of Nell Jobson, pawing Bannister’s dirty face.

Aye, Mr. Yorke, say what you like, these, these are the things that create discontent and disgust; these are the things that gall; these are Edition: current; Page: [71] the things that sting the soul; and sting they will in spite of all that can be said or preached about jacobinical conspiracies. Oh, Sir! We, surely, are not all jacobins; we, surely, are not all conspirators; but, with the exception of those, who participate in corruptions, like those that have come to light, we all feel alike with respect to these things. No, Sir, the “illustrious House of Brunswick” is in no danger from conspiracies amongst the people, or any part of the people. Writers and talkers have no power to hurt any thing established, any thing settled by law, and defended by all the constables and judges and an army to boot, unless that establishment undermine itself. “Philosophy,” Sir Francis Burdett observed, in one of his early speeches, in answer to those who ascribed the fall of the old French government to the writings of an anti-christian philosophical conspiracy; “Philosophy has no such trophies to boast; the trophies are due solely to the corruption and profligacy of those, who have fallen a sacrifice to the vengeance of a people at first discontented, next indignant, next enraged, and at last infuriated, urged on by a mad and indiscriminating spirit of revenge.” From such a catastrophe, Sir, God preserve the Royal Family of England! But, Sir, let no part of that family disregard the feelings of the people. Let them bear in mind the words of Burke: “What a base and foolish thing it is for any consolidated body of authority to say, or to act as if it said: ‘I will put my trust, not in mine own virtue, but in your patience; I will indulge in effeminacy, in indolence, in corruption; I will give way to all my perverse and vicious humours; because you cannot punish me without ruining yourselves.’ ” These words, written in letters to be read at half a mile distance, should be seen upon the top of every public edifice. They should be imprinted on the hearts of princes, and of all persons in authority. Yet, in direct contradiction to the wise precept contained in them, we are continually asked, by the venal writers of the day: “how,” if we dislike this or that, of which we complain; “how we should like Buonaparte and his government?” Just as if it were necessary for us to have the one or the other; just as if we had no choice but that between Buonaparte and Mrs. Clarke! Of all the insults, which we have had to bear, this is the greatest. When we complain, that we are not as our forefathers were, these venal wretches do not attempt to deny the fact, but fall to giving us a description of the state of the people in France; and look upon their triumph as being complete, when they have asserted, that it is possible for us to be worse off than we are; that there is one nation in the world who have less liberty than we. When we complain of the weight of the taxes, the answer is, that Buonaparte would take all; and, in short, the tenour of the whole of the writings of these venal scribes is, to silence our complaints by saying, that we must submit to any thing, no matter what, or that Buonaparte shall come and put chains round our legs and necks.

And is it reasoning like this, or rather, these impudent and insulting assertions, that will induce us cheerfully to give up the necessaries of life, and shed our blood in the country’s defence? “The country,” says Burke, in the passage above quoted from; “The country, to be saved, must have warm advocates and passionate defenders, which heavy discontented acquiescence never can produce.” If this proposition did not carry in itself the evidence of its truth, that truth would now, one would think, have been forced by experience, the teacher even of fools, upon every mind. The map of Europe laid before us, where is the spot, Edition: current; Page: [72] which does not afford an awful lesson to those, who are still disposed “to put their trust in the patience of the people?” who are still disposed to say, or to act as if they said, “We will give way to all our perverse and vicious humours, because you cannot punish us without the hazard of ruining yourselves?” On how many a spot will that map enable us to lay our fingers, where the people, whose patience had been exhausted, who had long been yielding “a heavy and discontented acquiescence,” have been disposed to punish, aye, and have punished, their rulers at all hazards, and that, too, without appearing to care whether or not their own ruin would be the consequence! With these lessons before them, what must we think of those whose language tends to encourage such of the great as indulge in their vicious humours; instead of warning them of their danger? These are the real enemies of the King’s family and government; these are the real enemies of “the illustrious house of Brunswick;” these, who, when they should speak wholesome truths to them, pour in their ears the poison of flattery; these, who, when they should recommend to them conciliating language and conduct, urge them on to reproachful words and vindictive deeds; these, who, when they should show their gratitude for the timely, the gentle, the humble, admonitions of the press, fall to loading it with accusations, and turn against it every shaft in the quiver of the law.

What would have been the course of wise counsellors, even at the late hour, when Mr. Wardle preferred the accusations? They would have begged him to stay his public proceedings; they would have verified the truth with his assistance; they would then have made, in a message from the King himself, a candid statement, to the parliament and the people, of the whole of the circumstances, however painful to state; and then, as coming from the King, they would have proposed, and at once adopted, such measures, as to the past as well as the future, as would have drawn from the people an unanimous exclamation of “This is just.” How different would the effect of this course have been from the effect of the course which has been pursued! How very different with respect to the whole of the government and the establishments of the kingdom, and especially with respect to the person and family of the King? All that would then have been gained, would, by this nation, never wanting in forgiveness or in gratitude, have been received as a boon; all that is now gained will be looked upon as extorted. In the former case, the candour of the proceeding would have excited confidence for the future, and would even have called forth all the milder feelings in mitigation of the past; now, let the result be what it will, suspicion will lie brooding at bottom, and, in its own justification, will still preserve the past in all its hideous and hateful colours. This is consulting human nature; but, when did ministers and courtiers consult human nature, or any thing else but their own passions, or their own immediate interests? All the old governments of the continent have clung to their corruptions, till their hold has been cut, till it has been hacked off. They have never begun to reform till it was too late; never till compelled, and who is there that feels grateful for a compulsory compliance? Such a compliance never produces reconciliation: one party hates and the other suspects: the feelings only change bosoms: it is merely a suspension of open hostilities: the contest is soon again renewed; and the final consequence is sure to be the destruction of the government, or the complete absolute slavery of the people. Thus has it uniformly been in all the struggles between a Edition: current; Page: [73] government and a people; and I most anxiously hope, that, by turning the minds of all considerate men to thoughts on a radical and timely reform here, I may contribute, in some small degree, towards the salvation of our once happy and still beloved country.

DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

Anne, Baroness Grenville, wife of Lord Grenville, has, for life, a Pension of 1,500 pounds a year, to commence from the death of Lord Grenville.

Lady Louisa Paget, a daughter of the Earl of Uxbridge, has now a pension of 300 pounds a year, which pension she has had since the year 1801.

The Marchioness of Stafford had, until January 1807, a pension of 300 pounds a year. Whether it has since been resigned does not appear.

Charles Abbott, Esq., Speaker of the House of Commons, besides his salary and house, as speaker, the salary being 6,000 pounds a year, holds the sinecure place of Keeper of the Signet in Ireland, the annual value of which place is 1,500 pounds a year, and which place he has for life.

In the account of places and pensions, laid before parliament in June last, it is stated, that, in the year ending on the 8th of April, 1808, the sum of 4,271 pounds was paid to Servants of the late Queen Caroline, and the late Princess of Wales; that is to say, to servants of the present King’s grandmother and mother. In this sum is included 18l. 3s. 8d. annually paid, even last year, to an alms-house in Hanover.

The same account exhibits a charge of 200 pounds a year, paid to ministers at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and this is stated as actually paid up to 5th January, 1807, without any notification that the payment is to be discontinued.

  • “Let those think now, who never thought before,
  • And those who always thought, now think the more.”
  • Pope.

In my last, I stated very fully the reason why the people should, as to public matters, fix their attention solely upon what was going on in the House of Commons; and, I endeavoured to point out to them the way, in which they ought to apply the facts that came to light; the way, in which they ought to trace the corruptions to the injury of themselves and families.

It now becomes necessary to give an analysis of the examinations which have been published; for, though they have all been read, with great avidity, in the daily papers, which papers have discovered, upon this occasion, wonderful capacity, and a very laudable zeal for affording that “publicity,” which appeared to be so anxiously desired by the friends of the Duke of York; though the examinations have all been read, in that shape, day after day, the interesting facts contained in them must, in the mind of every reader, as they do in mine, lie in a confused state; because, it has necessarily happened, that the cases have not been kept distinct; evidence relating to one case has been brought out during the examination into another case; the cases have, in fact, run into one another, like the branches of plants too luxuriant for their space. To separate them, therefore, to draw to the stem of each its own branches, Edition: current; Page: [74] so that every individual case may stand clearly exposed to the view and inspection of the public, seems to me to be likely greatly to further the cause of truth; and, indeed, to be absolutely necessary to the forming of a right conclusion.

Considering the mass of evidence that lies before me, I am not unaware of the arduousness of this task, to be performed by one person, in a space of time necessarily so short; but, there are few things of this sort that any man of common capacity cannot accomplish, if he set resolutely about it; and, at any rate, seeing how large a portion of the public attention I have, for so long a time, enjoyed, it is a duty which I owe that public to make the attempt.

It is necessary further to premise, that this analysis will extend no further than the examinations of Friday, the 17th instant, inclusive, that being the period to which I am in possession of the evidence. It is possible, that, at a later date, fresh examinations may take place, touching cases, whereon it now appears the evidence is closed. If that should happen, and if any new facts, at all material, should transpire, I shall hereafter notice them, making at the same time, reference to the case, or cases, upon which they bear.

No desire was ever more clearly, or more strongly expressed, than the desire on the part of the Duke of York, that publicity should be given to all these proceedings; and so entirely do I agree in that wish, that, before I have done with the subject, my intention is, not only to communicate every fact of importance to the public, but also, to furnish a table of contents, and a complete index, to the whole; so that, with the least possible difficulty, the reader may, at any moment, refer to any part, whether of the evidence, the debates, or the comments. This is not a matter that ought to pass away like a summer’s cloud; it is not, and it ought not to be, the subject of a nine days’ wonder; it is an event, which, sooner or later, must lead to great consequences; it will, in short, form an epoch in the history of this nation; therefore, it ought to be put upon record with fidelity and clearness, in every publication wherein the mention of it shall find a place, and especially in a work professing to be a Political Register.

As to the manner of the Analysis, upon which I am about to enter, I shall endeavour to follow, as nearly as I am able, the example of an impartial judge, when he is what is commonly called summing up the evidence upon a trial; and, if I do strictly adhere to this most excellent example, neither party can possibly have reason to complain.

I shall not confine myself to such cases as are merely of a military nature; for, though Mr. Wardle’s charges were so confined, other matters have come out, and in all, the people are interested full as deeply as if they were matters solely connected with the office of the Commander-in-Chief. The first head, therefore, under which I shall enter upon this Analysis, is that of

The adulterous Intercourse.—The existence of this intercourse has not been attempted to be denied. Indeed, the whole proceeding is founded on the admission of it. But though those who have taken the part of the Duke of York; though both sides of the House of Commons seem to give up his moral character, as far, at least, as relates to his conjugal obligations, it will be right for us to draw to a point those parts of the evidence, which establish the fact of this adulterous intercourse.

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First, then, Mrs. Clarke states, that she lived in the house in Gloucester-place, under the protection of the Duke of York; that he took the house in order to keep her there; that he made her a pecuniary annual allowance; that he bought her furniture and jewels; that he ate, drank, and lived with her.

The Duke’s own servant, Ludovick, states that he was the person who attended his master at Mrs. Clarke’s; that his master was frequently there, and that it was part of his employment to carry his master’s clothes in the morning.

Three servants of Mrs. Clarke state, that they saw the Duke there constantly; that they saw him at table with their mistress; and, at last comes Mrs. Favourite, Mrs. Clarke’s housekeeper, who, in speaking of one particular transaction, states that she saw the Duke and Mrs. Clarke in bed together.

Mr. Adam states, that Mrs. Clarke was under the protection of the Duke; that a separation took place upon his advice; and, that upon this separation, he (Mr. Adam) was, upon that occasion authorized by the Duke to tell her that he thought it his duty to give her an annuity of 400l. a year, provided her conduct should be correct.

Lastly, we have the written evidence of the Duke himself, who in the following two letters, addressed to Mrs. Clarke, and which letters have been proved to be in his hand-writing, enables us to form an unerring judgment as to the nature of the connection which existed between him and Mrs. Clarke.

“August 4, 1805.—How can I sufficiently express to my sweetest, my darling love, the delight which her dear, her pretty letter gave me, or how much I feel all the kind things she says to me in it? Millions and millions of thanks for it, my angel! and be assured that my heart is fully sensible of your affection, and that upon it alone its whole happiness depends.—I am, however, quite hurt that my love did not go to the Lewes Races; how kind of her to think of me upon the occasion; but I trust that she knows me too well not to be convinced that I cannot bear the idea of adding to those sacrifices which I am but too sensible that she has made to me.—News, my angel cannot expect from me from hence; though the life led here, at least in the family I am in, is very hurrying, there is a sameness in it which affords little subject for a letter; except Lord Chesterfield’s family, there is not a single person except ourselves that I know. Last night we were at the play, which went off better than the first night.—Dr. O’Meara called upon me yesterday morning, and delivered me your letter; he wishes much to preach before royalty, and if I can put him in the way of it I will.—What a time it appears to me already, my darling, since we parted; how impatiently I look forward to next Wednesday se’nnight!—God bless you, my own dear, dear love! I shall miss the post if I add more; Oh, believe me ever, to my last hour, yours and yours alone.”

Addressed: “Mrs. Clarke, to be left at the Post-office, Worthing.”

“Sandgate, Aug. 24, 1804.—How can I sufficiently express to My Darling Love my thanks for her dear, dear letter, or the delight which the assurances of her love give me? Oh, My Angel! do me justice and be convinced that there never was a Woman adored as you are. Every day, every hour convinces me more and more, that my whole happiness depends upon you alone. What a time it appears to be since we parted, and with what impatience do I look forward to the day after to-morrow; there are still however two whole Nights before I shall clasp My Darling in my arms!—How happy am I to learn that you are better; I still however will not give up my hopes of the cause of your feeling uncomfortable. Clavering is mistaken, My Angel, in thinking that any new regiments are to be raised; it is not intended, only second Battalions to the existing Corps; you had better, therefore, tell him so, and that you were sure that there would be no use in applying for him.—Ten thousand thanks, My Love, for the handkerchiefs, which are delightful; and I need not, I trust, assure you of the pleasure I feel in wearing them, and thinking of the dear Edition: current; Page: [76] hands who made them for me.—Nothing could be more satisfactory than the tour I have made, and the state in which I have found every thing. The whole of the day before yesterday was employed in visiting the Works at Dover; reviewing the Troops there, and examining the Coast as far as this place. From Folkstone I had a very good view of those of the French Camp.—Yesterday I first reviewed the Camp here, and afterwards the 14th Light Dragoons, who are certainly in very fine order; and from thence proceeded to Branbourne Lees, to see four regiments of Militia; which, altogether, took me up near 13 hours. I am now setting off immediately to ride along the coast to Hastings, reviewing the different Corps as I pass, which will take me at least as long. Adieu, therefore, My Sweetest, Dearest Love, till the day after to-morrow, and be assured that to my last hour I shall ever remain Yours and Yours alone.”

Addressed: “George Farquhar, Esq., No. 18, Gloucester-place, Portman-square.”

All that it is necessary to add to this evidence is, a statement of the well known facts, that the Duchess of York is living, that she is in England, and that there never has been any legal separation between her and her husband.

The Annuity.—Contracts, with whomsoever made, are binding upon the parties. To break a promise is a breach of moral duty; and, therefore, it becomes us to ascertain, as nearly as we can, the truth with respect to the Annuity, which Mrs. Clarke was to receive, as the cast-off concubine of the Duke of York.

She herself has stated, that Mr. Adam, in the name of the Duke, promised her an Annuity of 400l. a year. In one instance she says, that Mr. Adam guaranteed the payment of this annuity. She complains, that for more than a year and a half it has not been paid; and, upon this non-payment we see that she grounds all her disclosures against the Duke of York. She states, besides, that she was left, upwards of two thousand pounds in debt to divers tradespeople; and that, having since sent a remonstrance to the Duke upon the subject, the Duke insisted that she should plead her marriage to avoid her debts, or that she might, if she liked, go to prison. She further states, that having sent the Duke a letter, not long since, by one Taylor, a shoemaker in Bond-street, requesting a few hundred pounds, he sent for answer, by the mouth of this same Taylor, that if she dared speak against him, or write against him, he would put her in the pillory or the Bastile. The reader will bear in mind, that this fact rests solely upon Mrs. Clarke’s evidence; but he will also bear in mind, that, if-false, it might have been easily disproved by Taylor, the bearer of the message, and that Taylor was not called to disprove it; and he will further bear in mind, that this threat, if he should conclude that it actually was made, was made against that very person, to whom the Duke had written the two letters above inserted.

But now, as to whether the annuity was actually promised, or, if upon conditions, whether the breach of those conditions justified the non-performance of the promise.

Mr. Adam’s words, as to the promise, are these: “I told her, that the Duke of York thought it his duty, if her conduct was correct, to give her an annuity of 400l. a year, to be paid quarterly; that he would enter into no obligation in writing, by bond or otherwise; that it must rest entirely upon his word, to be performed, or not, according to her behaviour.”

Her statement is, that 500l. arrears of the annuity were due in June Edition: current; Page: [77] last.—There seems to be no doubt of the promise having been made, and that, after a little while at first, it has not been fulfilled. It, therefore, remains for us to inquire, what were the conditions, if any, and whether these conditions have been observed by Mrs. Clarke.

The only condition stated by Mr. Adam to have been made by him, in the name of the Duke, was, that “her conduct should be correct.” This, if it can be called a condition, was, especially as coming from the lips of a lawyer, very vaguely expressed. The word correct, as applied to the conduct of a person, can hardly be said to have a meaning, and, when applied to the general conduct of a person, has absolutely no meaning at all. In short, as used in this case, it is one of those convenient terms, that admit of any construction; that may be made to mean whatever the person using it chooses it should mean; that may be twisted and turned to any purpose for which it may be wanted.

The reader, therefore, leaving Mr. Adam’s connection with the Duke out of the question, and leaving out of the question also Mr. Adam’s general character, will ask himself, whether the internal evidence of the case would lead him to think that a person like Mrs. Clarke would, even for a moment, have been satisfied with any promise, to which such a condition was attached?

But, next, in what way has Mrs. Clarke broken the contract? This has nowhere been shown. Indeed, no attempt has been made to prove that she has violated the contract. We have no occasion to ask what was meant by the word correct, because no proof has been produced, that there was any justifiable cause for the non-fulfilment of the promise. Mr. Adam says, in explanation of the meaning of this term, that, what he meant by it was, that she should not any longer contract debts by making use of the Duke’s name; and, no evidence has been produced, that she has done so.

That Mrs. Clarke understood, that she was to be paid 400l. a year quarterly, is evident enough; her complaints, made in letters to Mr. Adam himself, are strong presumptive proof of this; and, it is here to be observed, that Mr. Adam made no answer to these letters; that he did not repel the accusation against the Duke of having broken his promise; and that, in stating that he showed these letters to the Duke, he does not say, that any observation was made by the Duke as to the truth or falsehood of the contents of the letters. He merely says, that the Duke expressed no apprehension at the threats; but, does not say, that he expressed any indignation at the falsehood of the charge of having broken his promise; which, however, if the charge had been false, it was very natural for him to do, and particularly to Mr. Adam, who had been his agent in this negotiation with his concubine, and through whose lips the promise of the annuity had been made.

Upon the whole of this case, then, it is clear, that the promise was made, and that it has not been fulfilled; and, the question for the reader to settle in his mind is this: whether the non-fulfilment arose from a conscientious conviction, in the mind of the Duke of York, that Mrs. Clarke had violated her part of the compact; or, from a persuasion, in his mind, that his well-known power, joined to his positive threats of the pillory or the Bastile, would enable him, with impunity, to withhold the means of living from a female, on whose breast he had, for years, rioted in bliss, and to whom, but a few months before, he had vowed everlasting affection.

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If the former, the decision must be, that, in this respect, the Duke is not intentionally to blame; if the latter, that he is the most unfeeling as well as the most mean of mankind.

Establishment in Gloucester-place.—The expenses of this establishment form a very prominent and a very important branch of the inquiries, upon the sum of which, we are now endeavouring to arrive at a correct opinion; because, from a view of these expenses as compared with the pecuniary allowance, immediately out of the pocket of the Duke, an inference must be drawn as to the Duke’s knowing whether, or not, money must have been raised by Mrs. Clarke from sources other than his private purse.

The establishment, from the evidence of several servants, who formed part of it, appears to have consisted of a housekeeper and from three to four other females; of a butler, and, at the lowest, six other men-servants; of eight horses and of two carriages. It appears, from the same concurrent testimony, that a continual round of company was kept in Gloucester-place; that a great deal of wine was drunk; and that there were frequently employed two, and sometimes three, men-cooks. It appears, that concerts were frequent, or, at least, musical parties; that music-masters, singing-boys, drawing-masters, were frequently there, and that, in short, every thing was carried on in a style the most expensive that can be imagined.

Mrs. Clarke herself states, that the servants’ bare wages and their liveries cost her, at least, 1,000l. a-year. She says, that the Duke paid for some of her horses, but that, in one year, she laid out 900l. in horses only.

The allowance, made to her by the Duke, for the support of this establishment, she states at 1,000l. a-year, which sum, she says, she soon convinced the Duke, was hardly sufficient to defray the expenses of servants’ wages, and of their liveries. Upon further examination, she says, that the 1,000l. a-year was always very irregularly paid; that, sometimes, when she has been hard pressed by the tradespeople, she has got a hundred or two pounds from the Duke; but after much examination and cross-examination, she has, to the last, persisted in averring, that the whole which she got from the Duke, did not exceed in amount from 1,200l. to 1,500l. a-year. She says, that she got divers presents, in trinkets and jewels, from the Duke; but that these were frequently in pawn, to the knowledge of the Duke, whose draft the pawnbroker refused to take as a surety on a proposition for their emancipation. She allows that the Duke furnished the house in Gloucester-place, generally, at the outset; but that she herself paid for the glasses, which cost her 500l. She was allowed a house at Weybridge by the Duke; and she says, that, out of her own purse, she paid from 3 to 400l. for the repair and enlargement of the house and its buildings. She allows that the Duke paid her 500l. at the outset, exclusive of the 1,000l. a-year. She allows, that the Duke sent a large quantity of Port wine to Gloucester-place; but says, that she bought and paid for the Madeira and Claret, a great deal of which was drunk in the house. She states, and the fact appears not to have been questioned, that, when the Duke left her, she was, at least, 2,000l. in debt, debts contracted by her, while she was in his keeping, and that this sum was exclusive of the amount of the lease of the house (4,400l.) which the Duke gave her, and which she transferred to Edition: current; Page: [79] her lawyer in part payment of debts due to him. She says, that she has heard that the Duke should say, that she might sell her trinkets to pay the remainder of her debts, but she states that he knows very well what became of them.

Being questioned as to the circumstances of her pecuniary embarrassments, while in Gloucester-place, she says, that when the tradespeople could not get money from her, they pressed for places; and that, though they renewed their pressing for money, when they could not get places, they were always well pleased to trust her, because, in the end, they were sure to make her pay handsomely for it.—Being questioned as to the time when she began to be pressed for money, her answer is: “About half a year after my connection with his royal highness began. I never applied to him; till I found myself distressed; and, then he told me, that I had more interest than the Queen, and that I should use it.”—Being asked: “Was the Duke acquainted with any of your transactions, respecting the disposal of commissions, &c.?” Her answer is: “With the whole of them.

The reader, after having made an estimate of the expenses of an establishment, or rather, double establishment (including town and country) like that above described; after duly weighing in his mind the effect of charges made upon calculations of such manifest risk, as well from final probable loss as from almost certain long delay; after having well considered all the consequences of the observations of servants, respecting the manner in which their mistress got her money, as well as the consequences of a total want of check or control, whether as to quantity, quality, price, or diposal: after thus estimating and thus considering, the reader will be the better prepared for hearing the matter which Mr. Perceval brought forward, upon this part of the subject, on Friday the 17th instant, and which, according to the fullest report that I can find of his speech, was stated in the following words:—

“The Chancellor of the Exchequer, before proceeding to the letters brought up by the select committee, said, he had a few observations to offer in answer to a question which had been put to him a few nights since, by an hon. gentleman under the gallery (Mr. Cripps), with respect to the amount of the expense furnished by the Duke of York, for the establishment in Gloucester-place.—As far as he could obtain information, no accurate account of that expenditure could be got; but so far as he had been able to procure any items, he would now inform the House.—By the drafts in the House of the Duke of York’s banker, it appeared that 5,551l. had been paid to the person who was always employed by his royal highness, to receive the money intended for Mrs. Clarke. Beyond that (as his royal highness authorized him to state to the committee) his royal highness frequently gave her personally other and considerable sums, of which, however, he had kept no memorandum. Mrs. Clarke had stated at the bar, that her allowance of 1,000l. per annum, was paid in drafts. With regard to those drafts from the banker, if the House thought it necessary to have any proof, they might examine the servant, to whom they were uniformly paid at the banker’s. This servant then took the money to the Duke, who put it under a cover, sealed it, and sent it by the same person to Mrs. Clarke. Besides this, there were tradesmen for furniture, wine, jewels, and the plate (with which the House was already acquainted) to make the total amount of 16,760l. from Jan. 1804 to May 1806. Here the right hon. gentleman, if it was necessary, might be called to prove the facts he now stated, on the authority of his royal highness, at the bar of the House.”

Reader; impartial reader, does not this strike you as a very novel procedure? However Mr. Perceval, who came into office to protect “our holy religion,” may console himself with a statement of the Duke of York Edition: current; Page: [80] having expended 16,760l. upon a concubine, while, in addition to all his immense salaries and pensions, he was borrowing 54,000l. from the minister out of the taxes raised upon us; however consoling this may be to Mr. Perceval, does it not strike you, that the producing as evidence, facts stated upon the authority of the party accused, is something new, quite new, in English jurisprudence? Have you ever seen, or heard, of any thing like this before, either in parliament, or in any court of justice? Is this the way in which any of us are treated, when we are tried? If there happen to be more than one judge upon the bench, do we ever see any of them pulling papers out of his pocket, and, in contradiction to evidence given before the court, state so and so, upon the authority of the person under trial?

But, reader, why was this statement kept in petto, till the last moment? Why was not the bare word (for it is no more) of the Duke taken before, and opposed to the declarations of every witness, in every stage of the proceeding?

In short, why all this time taken up in inquiry? Why not have asked the Duke, at the beginning, whether there was any truth in Mr. Wardle’s charges, or not? and why not have produced a short note from him to satisfy us all, that the thing was false from beginning to end?

Nevertheless, the report (in the Courier newspaper of the 18th instant) says, that Mr. Canning said, that the “Chancellor of the Exchequer,” Mr. Perceval, “was enabled to prove, on the most unquestionable authority, that the Duke had furnished Mrs. Clarke with the 16,760l.” So that, after all this work, the Duke’s word is the best authority!

Mr. Fuller is reported to have spoken thus:—“What would the House, or the public, wish for more, than that 16,000l. should be spent in two years on such a baggage as this. For his part, he thought it might have been seen from the shuffling way in which she answered the first six questions put to her, that they ought not to have proceeded with this silly and foolish inquiry.”

In the last part of his observations, Mr. Fuller was right enough, if the Duke’s word is to be opposed to the evidence against him. Not only not more than six questions; but no question at all should have been put to Mrs. Clarke, if the Duke’s word is to be opposed to her evidence.

Mr. Beresford, however, is reported to have observed, upon this very novel procedure, that “it was needless to think, that, by shutting their own eyes, the House could also shut the eyes of the public;” and never did he make a truer observation in his life.

Mr. Perceval was then examined thus:—Question: “Do you know if his royal highness paid any, and what sums, towards keeping the house in Gloucester-place, besides 1,000l. a-year allowed to Mrs. Clarke?—Answer: I know nothing of the 1,000l. a-year but from the witness at the bar. From the paper I now hold in my hand, I see, that from the 11th of January, 1804, to the 18th of June, 1806, 5,551l. has been paid in drafts (as the certificate of the Duke of York at the bottom states) for the use of Mrs. Clarke. The payments to the tradesmen are also verified by the certificate, and to the best of my recollection and belief.”

Lord Folkestone objected to this hearsay evidence in favour of the accused, when it had uniformly been rejected, if attempted to be used against him.

They now desisted; and they still left it, as the reader will receive it, Edition: current; Page: [81] the bare word of the Duke of York against the evidence of Mrs. Clarke, corroborated by the magnitude of the establishments in Gloucester-place and at Weybridge.

Mr. Cripps, however, whose question appears as naturally as can be, to have produced that “diligent inquiry” from Mr. Perceval, that led to this curious procedure, was, it appears from the report of his speech, wonderfully well satisfied with the account of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“Mr. Cripps thanked the right honourable gentleman for the information he had given him. He would not have made the inquiry till the end of the present investigation, had he not been aware that very strong impressions had been made on the public mind, from the belief that Mrs. Clarke was supposed to support her expensive establishment on the allowance of 3000l. for three years. The answer was most satisfactory, and whatever might be the issue of this inquiry, it must be a great consolation to his Royal Highness to know, that without it, it never would have been known to the public in the manner unfolded by Colonel Gordon, in how excellent and regular a manner every thing was conducted in the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, so highly to his honour, and so productive of benefit to the British army.

Aye, aye, Sir! It was not necessary for you to state, that you were fully aware of the strong impression made on the public mind by Mrs. Clarke’s evidence, though, if I forget not, some one or more did say, that she shuffled in such a manner, that no one could possibly believe a word that she said. We can have no doubt, Sir, that you are satisfied, because you say so; but, it does not follow, that we should be satisfied by so easy a method.

And why, Sir, digress? why fly off from this soul-comforting statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and draw us after you, into observations upon the “excellent and regular manner,” in which Col. Gordon shows “every thing is conducted in the Office of the Commander-in-Chief?” What has he shown, Sir? That the dates of recommendations and of appointments and commissions are regularly entered, and that letters are neatly copied into books? Why, Sir, we know, that this office costs us, including the salaries and pensions of the Duke, hundreds of thousands a year; aye, hundreds of thousands; and, there is nothing there done, as far as appears from the evidence given to the House, that might not be done, and full as well too, by any four or five of the five hundred persons, who, by an advertisement in the newspapers, offering them 150l. a year a piece, would be induced to offer their services before next Saturday night. This is my sincere opinion, and, if it can be shown to be erroneous, let it be done.

But, be this as it may; what has the regular keeping of books in the Duke’s office to do with Mrs. Clarke’s sale of commissions? what has it to do with the establishment and the vile traffic in Gloucester Place? This “regularity” did not prevent the officering of Samuel Carter, the concubine’s foot-boy, as we shall see anon. Oh! this will never do. This is poor work. If Colonel Gordon can bring proof, from his books or his boxes, that all that has been proved has not been proved; why, then, this able Colonel may be said to have afforded “great consolation” to his royal employer; but, if he cannot do that, it is even to undervalue the sense of the Duke to suppose, that, from what the Colonel has done, or can do, he will derive any consolation.

Before we return to our case, a remark or two is, by this digression, justified, and even called for, with respect to the evidence of all the Edition: current; Page: [82] military officers, and indeed, almost all the witnesses that have been called.

In courts of justice, the evidence of a brother, a father, or a very close friend, is always received with some portion of allowance for partiality. Persons, known to be in any-wise dependent upon the parties, are heard and believed with similar caution. There is no doubt, that my neighbour, or a stranger, is a better evidence for me than my own servant. The officers of the army are not the servants of the Duke of York; but, it is perfectly well known, that they are much more dependent upon him than any servant, considered merely as such, can possibly be upon any master. The worst I can do to a servant is to turn him off; but, the Commander-in-Chief can, with the approbation of the King, at any moment, without reason assigned, not only turn any officer off, but, by that very act, strip him of his rank in life, and of the means of obtaining even bread to eat. My discarded servant can go to another master; but, there is no other master, no other service for the cashiered officer to go to. For this reason, amongst others, it doubtless was, that Sir Francis Burdett wished it to be enacted, that no officer should be discarded without being so sentenced by a court martial; a law the more necessary, because the office of Commander-in-Chief was held by a son of the King, by which means the advice as well as the power was concentrated in the throne.

I say not this with any wish to disparage the evidence of Colonels Gordon and Loraine, or of any other of the military officers; but, I say it, with a view to show to the public, that their evidence is not all to be taken for Gospel, merely on account of the rank they hold. Mr. French is a Colonel, and Mr. Clavering is a General.

Let it be remembered, too, in answer to what has been said about taking the Duke and his friends by surprise, that Mrs. Clarke’s letters to Mr. Adam have been in his possession from June last. They were there apprized of her intended exposure. So that they have had six times as much time as Mr. Wardle, who became acquainted with the facts but a month before he brought forward his charges.

Having thus cleared all the cases together of these unfair impressions scattered about amongst them, we will now return to that immediately under consideration.

The reader has had a view of the magnitude of the establishments in Gloucester-place and at Weybridge; he is pretty well able to judge of their annual expenses; he has Mrs. Clarke’s evidence that she never got from the pocket of the Duke, more than 1,200l., or, at most, more than 1,500l., a year wherewith to defray those expenses, when 1,000l. a year was scarcely enough to pay wages and purchase liveries; he has her evidence, that the Duke, when she complained of her pecuniary embarrassments, told her she had greater INTEREST than the Queen, and that she ought to use it; and, he has, in the Duke’s own handwriting, the proof, that she did interfere in promotions, and that he spoke to her of such things, as of things of course, witness the cases of General Clavering and Dr. O’Meara. Opposed to all this there is not one particle of evidence good or bad, unless the Duke’s bare word; unless the bare word of the accused, be admitted as evidence. If, however, the reader thinks that bare word sufficient to knock down such a body of evidence, he will, of course, have his doubts about the Duke’s knowing that his concubine’s establishments were partly supported by bribes given for commissions and the like; but, if the reader should be of a contrary Edition: current; Page: [83] opinion, his conclusion, without going into any of the particular cases of corruption, must be, that the Duke must have been all along fully aware, that the establishments were for the far greater part, supported by those corrupt and wicked means, and of course, that the expenses attending his profligate pleasures were, in that same degree, ultimately defrayed out of taxes raised from the fortunes and labour of the people.

Case of Knight and Brooke.—It is alleged, that, in July 1805, Col. or Lt.-Col. (no matter which) Knight wished to make an exchange of commissions with a Major, or a Lieut.-Col. Brooke; that the application of these two gentlemen had been, for some time, before the Duke of York; that it was not followed by the grant of the Duke to exchange; till, at last, Mr. Robert Knight, brother of Col. Knight, at the suggestion of Dr. Thynne (the medical attendant of Mrs. Clarke), offered to Mrs. Clarke, through Doctor Thynne, the sum of 200l. if she would get the exchange accomplished; that Mrs. Clarke undertook the job; that she told the Duke of York that she was to be paid for it; that the exchange, in a few days afterwards was ordered to take place and was actually gazetted; that, upon this, the fulfilment of the contract on her part, Mr. Knight paid her the 200l., and that she not only told the Duke that the money had been paid her, but actually showed him the note or notes.

Dr. Andrew Thynne stated, that at the request of Mr. Knight he made the overture to Mrs. Clarke; that he was authorized to offer her 200l. if she would cause the exchange to be expedited; that he expected her to be able to get the thing done through her influence with a certain great person; that this great person was the Commander-in-Chief; that, when the exchange was effected, Mrs. Clarke sent to the witness, the Gazette; in which it was recorded, accompanied with a note from herself, saying, that, as she was going to the country, 200l. would be very convenient to her; that, when he made the offer to Mrs. Clarke, he gave her the names of the parties upon a slip of paper; that Mrs. Clarke talked about the necessity of secrecy, but the witness cannot tell from whom she was desirous to keep the thing a secret; that he never saw the Duke of York at Mrs. Clarke’s; that he, the witness, understood, from Mr. Knight, that the exchange would be carried through in the regular manner, but Mr. Knight wished, in consequence of the bad health of his brother, that the business should be expedited, and for that purpose application was made to Mrs. Clarke.

Mr. Robert Knight corroborated Dr. Thynne as to the motive of the application to Mrs. Clarke; he said further, that, when the exchange was effected, he sent Mrs. Clarke the 200l.; that his brother had before received, from the office of the Duke of York, a notification in the usual way, that, when a proper successor presented, there would be no objection to the exchange; that he does not know of any positive promise made to his brother by the Duke, previous to the application to Mrs. Clarke. Upon being asked: “Why was the application made to Mrs. Clarke?” he answered, “There was a delay in the business; but the cause of it I do not know. I mentioned the circumstance to Mr. Thynne, who was then attending my family. He advised me to apply to a good friend of his, Mrs. Clarke.” He then repeated what he has said before about the offer of money.

Upon further questioning, he says, that Mrs. Clarke desired him to Edition: current; Page: [84] keep the whole transaction a secret, lest it should come to the ears of the Duke of York; and that, recently, she has told him, that the Duke having used her extremely ill, leaving her in debt about 2000l., she would, if she could bring him to no terms, expose him, whereupon the witness said, he hoped she would not expose him and his brother by mentioning their names, to which she answered, that God knew that was not her intention.

Mrs. Mary Anne Clarke states, that in, or about, July 1805, Dr. Thynne applied to her to obtain leave for an exchange between Knight and Brooke; that he made her an offer of a pecuniary compliment; that she thinks the sum mentioned was a couple of hundred of pounds; that Dr. Thynne told her, at the time, that Mr. Knight had long been endeavouring to get this leave, but had not yet succeeded; that, on the same day, in which the proposition was made to her, she mentioned it to the Duke of York, and gave him, while at dinner, the slip of paper which she had received from Dr. Thynne, containing the names of the parties; that the Duke asked her whether she knew the parties; that she answered that she did not know them at all, and that certainly they would make some sort of compliment, but that she is not certain that she mentioned the exact amount of the compliment; that, when the exchange appeared in the Gazette, she sent the Gazette to Dr. Thynne, together with a note from herself; that, in a day or two after that, she received the 200l., which came to her in a note, with Dr. Thynne’s compliments; that she thinks the compliments were written in the note; that she made this circumstance of the receipt of the money known to the Duke of York; that she did this on the day on which she received the money; that the Duke must have known the amount of the note, because she showed it him, and she thinks that she got one of his servants to get it exchanged for her, through his Royal Highness.

Upon her cross-examination, she says, that she thinks she can say positively that the note, with the money in it, came from Dr. Thynne, because she told her maid to go down and give the man who brought it a guinea; that the Duke got the note changed for her, because she could not get it done herself; that she did not know anything of the servant’s name who was sent to get the note changed.

Being asked, whether she desired Mr. Knight to keep the matter secret, she says, she should think that she did certainly, but does not recollect, but it is very likely she did. Being asked, whether she ever expressed a wish that it should be kept a secret from the Duke; she says, “O no, never;” and that she is quite positive that she never said any thing like it. Being asked, what the Duke said, when she first opened the business to him and told him she was to receive a compliment; she says: “He told me that he knew the business very well, that they had been trying at it some time, and that he thought one of them was rather a bad subject; but he would do it.” Being asked what time of the year the transaction took place, she says: “The Duke was going down to Weymouth on the night that I changed the note, which was the reason that I got the note changed; my servants could not get it changed, and his servant got it changed for me. Lord Chesterfield’s family was going down, and he was going to be godfather to Lord Chesterfield’s child: it was the end of July or the beginning of August.”

Colonel Gordon, who is the public military Secretary of the Duke of York, says, in substance, this: that it is his duty to make to the Duke a Edition: current; Page: [85] report upon all applications for promotions, or exchanges; that he has no doubt that he made an inquiry upon the case of Knight and Brooke; that he fully believes, that the grant of the exchange was made in consequence of his report; that he kept no minute of the inquiry or report, and was not in the habit of doing so; that the delay in question took place on account of some doubts of the eligibility of Col. Brooke, and not on account of any objection to Col. Knight’s request; that he has not the smallest reason to suspect that any influence other than that of the general rules of the service produced the grant of leave to exchange; that the Duke’s approbation was given on the 23rd of July, 1805, that the King’s signature was affixed to it on the 24th, and that the exchange was gazetted on the 30th.

In the course of his examination he produced an answer of his to a letter from Col. Knight (which answer was dated 21 June, 1805), requesting leave to exchange, the answer stating that the Duke had no objection to the exchange, and that, when an eligible successor could be recommended, the request would be taken into consideration.

Col. Gordon also produced the following document contained in a letter from Greenwood and Cox, the agents of some of the parties, which document bears date 1 July, 1805.

Cornet, 8 Dns. 29 June 93
Lieut. 83 F. 7 Oct. 93
Capt. Ind. Co. 14 Dec. 93
—— 96 25 Mar. 94
Maj. 13 Dec. 94
Placed on half pay Mar. 98
Bt. Lt.-Colonel 1 Jan. 1800
Maj. 48 24 May 1804
Cancelled 9 June 1804
Maj. 56 5 Jan. 1805
23 July, 1805

23 July, 1805. H. R. H. does now approve of this exchange.

C. L.

cannot be acceded to, H. R. H. does not approve of the exchange proposed.


By direction of General Norton, we have the honour to enclose a form, signed by Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Brooke of the 50th regiment, to exchange with Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Knight of the 5th Dragoon Guards, together with a copy of a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Knight, stating, that he is satisfied with the security given for payment of the regulated difference between the value of the two commissions; and being informed the counterpart of the exchange has been sent in through the Agents of the 5th Dragoon Guards, you will be pleased to submit the same to Field Marshal His Royal Highness the Duke of York.

We have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient humble Servants, Greenwood & Cox.

N.B.—Mark well, reader, the words in Italics, were, in the original produced, written in PENCIL!!!

Ludovick Orramin (who was called on a later day) a footman of the Duke of York, said, that he was a foreigner; that he had lived 18 years with the Duke; that no other of the Duke’s servants ever went to Mrs. Clarke’s; that he used to go there at eight o’clock in the morning to take the Duke’s clothes; that he never saw Mrs. Clarke at her house Edition: current; Page: [86] but once, when he went to take a favourite dog for her to see; that the Duke was not then there; that he is quite certain that he never was sent by any one, from her house, to get any note changed. In his cross-examination, he repeated these assertions; he said, that no other servant of the Duke was permitted to go to Mrs. Clarke’s; he asserted of his own knowledge, that no other of the Duke’s servants ever went there. He said he had been asked (previous to his coming to the House of Commons) the same question about the note, by the Duke, by Mr. Adam, by Mr. Lowten, and by Mr. Wilkinson, and that he had given them the same answer.

David Pierson (who was called on a day after Orramin had given his evidence) was butler to Mrs. Clarke in 1805, and is now butler to the Hon. Mr. Turner. He states, that he recollects in 1805, the Duke going to Weymouth and Mrs. Clarke to Worthing; that, about that time, which was in hot weather, he saw Mrs. Favourite (Mrs. Clarke’s housekeeper) bring down a bill, in the morning, and Ludovick going out and getting it changed, and coming back and giving it to Mrs. Favourite again, and she took it up stairs; that he does not know the amount of the note; that the Duke was up stairs at the time; that he is not certain whether the Duke was up or not; that this is the only note he ever recollects Ludovick’s getting changed.

Pierson, in a second examination, recollects, what he had forgotten before, that, on the night that the Duke of York went to Weymouth, about 11 o’clock at night, he himself was sent out to get a bill changed; that he went out and got it changed; that he brought the change to Mrs. Clarke, who said it was all right; that the Duke of York was present both when he got the bill from his mistress and when he brought the change; that he got the bill changed at Byfield Bridgeman’s; and that, to the best of his recollection, it was a bill of 100l.

Mr. Bridgeman states, that he recollects Pierson’s bringing a note to be changed, about July 1805, and that Pierson said it was a note of 100l., but that the note was not changed.

Mrs. Favourite, the housekeeper of Mrs. Clarke, is asked: “Did you ever give Ludovick a note to get changed?” Her answer is this: I did; but I cannot say what was the amount of the note. I gave it him; he went out and brought me the change. I brought up the change to the bed-chamber, where his royal highness and Mrs. Clarke were. In short, they were in bed.”

Such is the evidence upon this case, and now let us see what it amounts to; let us examine into the quality of the separate parts; see how those parts correspond with each other; and how far the criminatory evidence is contradicted by the exculpatory.

First (repeating, for a little, some former observations of mine), it is proved, that Dr. Thynne, who had, for several years, attended in the house of Mrs. Clarke, pointed out to Mr. Knight an application to her as the effectual and speedy way of obtaining the Duke of York’s approbation of an exchange between two field-officers of the army, which exchange had already been applied for in the regular way, and had, as yet, at least, not been obtained: Second, it is proved, that Dr. Thynne did make the application to Mrs. Clarke, and that he promised her 200l., in case the exchange should take place: Third, it is proved, that the exchange did, in a few days afterwards, take place: Fourth, it is proved, that Mrs. Clarke, in consequence of the exchange having taken place, Edition: current; Page: [87] did receive from Mr. Knight the said sum of 200l. All this is proved without any of the testimony of Mrs. Clarke. Mrs. Clarke, if the Duke had a knowledge of the bargain, must be looked upon as an accomplice; and, accomplices are not usually allowed to be sufficient witnesses to produce legal conviction; but, when their evidence is corroborated by strong circumstances, and especially, when, as in this case, they are in no danger themselves, such evidence is invariably taken to be good. She states, that she immediately applied to the Duke; that he said one of the parties was a bad subject, but that the thing should be done; and she further states, that when she had received the 200l., she told the Duke of it, and, in his presence, sent the note to be changed by one of his own servants, whose name she does not recollect. If we believe her here, the case is complete. But, we must now take a view of the opposing evidence, beginning with what has been said as to her general character. Mr. Adam represents her as a woman, who, upon former occasions, had told contradictory stories, and, in particular, relating to her being a widow, and to the place of her marriage. She had, it is asserted, stated herself to be a widow, had contracted debts under that character, and had afterwards, in a court of justice, got rid of the debts by pleading her marriage. Through the whole of the evidence there is no proof of her having herself represented that she was a widow, except in the case of a court-martial, where she had been called as a witness, and of this she gives the following explanation. Being asked: “Have you not sworn yourself to be a widow?” She answers: “His royal highness, a very short time since, when I sent to him to ask him to send me a few hundred pounds, sent me word, that if I dare speak against him, or write against him, he would put me into the pillory, or into the Bastile. He fancies that I swore myself to be a widow woman when I was examined at a Court-Martial. But the Deputy Judge-Advocate had more feeling than the gentleman who has examined me now; he told me I might say anything out of the Court which it might be unpleasant to me to swear to; I told him it would be very improper for me to say that I was a married woman, when I had been known to be living with the Duke of York. I did not swear that I was a widow; I said it out of Court, and it was put into the Court-Martial Minutes as if I had sworn to it, but it was not so. The Judge-Advocate, to whom I told it, is at the door, and I think he had better be called in; I know now what he is come for.”

This explanation of Mrs. Clarke is not at all contradicted by the evidence of the Deputy Judge-Advocate, Sutton, who was called in on a subsequent day. He was asked, what passed at the Court-Martial concerning Mrs. Clarke’s being considered a widow; and he answered thus: “Having been directed to summon Mrs. Clarke, he applied to the agent of Captain Thompson, who returned her as a widow, of Glouton Lodge, Essex. In consequence of such a description he administered the usual oath to Mrs. Clarke, who answered every question put to her, and upon that charge Captain Thompson was acquitted. Was sure he took the description from the Attorney, and that no interrogatory was put to her whether she was a widow or not.

Thus, then, she did not swear herself a widow, and that imputation against her falls to the ground.

There is one witness who says, that her servant did, indeed, represent her, upon one occasion, as a dashing, or gay, young widow; it appears, Edition: current; Page: [88] that she was trusted under the presumption of her being so; and, it is probable enough, that she wished to be so thought, for the purpose of obtaining credit, as well as for other purposes; but, there is no proof of her ever having represented herself as a widow, except in the case of the court-martial.

As to the charge relating to the place of her marriage, being asked: “Was it true or not, that you were married at Berkhampstead?” She answers: “I tell you I told it him laughing; and I told the Duke I was making a fool of him when I said that; for which his royal highness said he was very sorry, for that he was entirely in Mr. Adam’s clutches.

To say the truth, there is very little in these allegations against her as a witness in this case. She would, from the nature of her situation, naturally wish to keep from the world the real facts relating to her family connections. To own poor relations; to lead our acquaintance down into our origin, and to the low scenes whence we sprang, is not common; nor is it at all uncommon for people, even of unimpeachable veracity, to be weak enough to use all the arts of disguise in such cases.

During the examinations, it has been proved, I think, that she did pass, amongst some persons, for Mrs. Dowler. One witness says, that she called herself Mrs. Dowler; and she says, over and over again, that she never so represented herself, except in jest. There is little doubt of her having been looked upon, by some few people, as Mrs. Dowler; but, then, these two circumstances should be kept in view: first, that, with much pains to get at the fact, no one can be found to say, that, even when she was thought to be Mrs. Dowler, any letter ever came to her in that name; or in any other name than that of Mrs. Clarke; and, secondly, that this charge of calling herself Mrs. Dowler is manifestly at war with the other charge of calling herself a widow.

Much affected stress has been laid upon her having asserted, that she said she had seen Mr. Dowler twice since his return from Portugal, when it now appears, that, besides that twice, she had not only seen him, but slept with him, at Reid’s Hotel, in St. Martin’s Lane; and, as the twice had also been stated by Mr. Dowler, his general veracity, too, is impeached upon the same ground. But, I put it to any man, to any human being, whether, in such a case, the third time would not, by him, have been kept out of sight as long as possible? When asked how often they had seen one another, they said twice; so they had; the answer was true in words, but it was false in meaning, because the meaning was that they had seen one another no oftener than twice. There was deception in the answer; there was a moral offence in it; yet, is there one man or woman in the whole world, who would not, in such a case, have been strongly tempted to commit that offence? The fact clearly appears to be this: that Mr. Dowler, who seems to be a very clever man, has, for years, been her paramour; that, in his society, she has sought for a compensation for the drudgery and the disgust and loathing experienced in the society of the Duke; and that, accordingly, upon the very first night of his return from Portugal, she flew to his embraces; a circumstance which human nature, which the decency retained even by the lowest of prostitutes, bid her, as long as possible, abstain from stating to the world.

Another observation upon the general complexion of her testimony is this: that, in several instances, where her assertions have been contradicted Edition: current; Page: [89] by others; and particularly in the cases of Ludovick and General Clavering, proof has afterwards been brought of the truth of her evidence, and of the erroneousness, not to call it wilful falsehood, of theirs.

She has been called, “impudent baggage, infamous woman,” and the like; and it has been much dwelt upon, that she had threatened vengeance against the Duke of York. Now, as to general character, there can be no doubt, that a woman like Mrs. Clarke is not to be believed so soon as a woman of perfectly virtuous character. But, then, we must consider, that, whatever degree of turpitude we, on account of her way of life, attribute to her, must be shared by her keeper, by the person, whose society she so long dwelt in. If we conclude that her mind has been vitiated, her morals destroyed by such a course of life; bare justice bids us also conclude, that his mind and his morals have undergone the name degree of ruin; and, of course, that whatever we, on this account, take from her credibility, we must, on the other hand, add to the probability of his doing that which is vicious.

It appears, as I once before observed, that Mrs. Clarke did tell Mr. Robert Knight, that she would expose the Duke, unless she could bring him to terms; and, indeed, she does not deny this, nor could she possibly have any intention of denying it, because she knew, and said, that Mr. Adam had her letters to the same amount, which letters are inserted below,* Edition: current; Page: [90] and which letters, she must be quite sure, would not fail to be brought forth against any denial of her having threatened the Duke with an exposure. To an enraged woman (though, by-the-bye, to suppose her enraged we must suppose her ill-used); to an enraged woman, we may, as I before observed, allow a pretty large portion of vindictiveness; and, indeed, unsupported by other evidence, I should have no hesitation in saying, that she was not to be believed. Yet, I cannot help stating a case, bearing strongly upon this point, as to the principle of evidence, which case occurred at the last Quarter Sessions held at Winchester.

Three men were indicted and tried for breaking into a barn and stealing wheat out of it. The only witness, to speak to the fact itself, was a common prostitute, who, at midnight, had crept into a heap of straw, in the yard, to sleep. There were two women of her acquaintance, at the house of one of whom she had since resided, who gave evidence of some suspicious conduct of the prisoners, with respect to their tampering with the witness to get out of the way. But, there was, on the side of the prisoners, evidence going far towards proving an alibi with respect to one of them; another witness was brought, who said, that one of the prisoners having accused the girl of giving him the foul disease, she said, she would be up with him. It was proved, too, that when before the magistrate, she had said, that she would swear to but one of the three prisoners. Yet were they, upon the positive testimony of this one witness, and she a common prostitute, found guilty of the charge for which they had been indicted; and, I well remember, that the Chairman, Mr. Borough, a very clever man, and a lawyer of great experience, observed to the jury, that, though some allowance was to be made for the general character of the principal witness, yet her immoralities, of the sort alluded to, ought not to be considered as sufficient to cast any great degree of discredit upon her testimony, in a case where those immoralities could be supposed to have had little, or no, influence upon her conduct. Indeed, if evidence like this were rejected, how could crimes be punished? In, perhaps, four cases out of five, great guilt is established by the mouths of persons, in some degree, guilty. Vice punishes itself. If accomplices are not to be accusers; if their evidence is not to be taken, is it not manifest, that there is an end of that great check upon crimes; namely, the fear of being betrayed?

Submitting these more general observations to the consideration of the reader, I now return to the case immediately before us, bearing in mind, that the only question, which we have, in this case, to settle in our minds, is, whether the Duke of York did, or did not know, that Mrs. Clarke was concerned in, and took money for, the effecting of the exchange between Knight and Brooke.

We have her positive declaration, that he knew of all her proceedings in this way, which declaration is strongly corroborated by the Duke’s own letters, wherein he so familiarly speaks to her of the requests of General Edition: current; Page: [91] Clavering and Dr. O’Meara, bidding her tell the former that he is mistaken in the ground of his application; and we have her declaration as to his knowledge of her practices in this case in particular.

Now, opposed to this, we have the testimony of Mr. Robert Knight, upon whose evidence, as thus opposed, I have only to repeat my former observations.

Mr. Knight, who after the exchange got acquainted with Mrs. Clarke, says, that she desired him, to keep the matter a secret, and that she expressly gave as a reason for this, her fear of the consequences, if it should reach the Duke of York’s ears. This statement Mrs. Clarke positively denies. Which are we to believe? Mrs. Clarke, who took the bribe, or Mr. Knight who gave the bribe, and who first tendered the bribe? Character, here, is quite out of the question. People may say what they will about Mr. Knight’s having been a member of the honourable House. So have many others that I could name. We here see Mr. Robert Knight as a briber; and, the parties being, in this respect, upon a level, we must decide between their opposite assertions upon the internal probabilities of the case.

Mr. Knight was asked, what part of the transaction Mrs. Clarke wished to have kept a secret; and whether it was solely the money part of it; he answered that the whole transaction might be concealed from the Duke. This question was put so often, and the reports in all the newspapers so exactly correspond with respect to the answer, that there is very little probability of its being incorrect.

Now, then, let it be remarked, that Mr. Knight went to thank Mrs. Clarke for the use of her influence in the case of his brother’s exchange, having before paid her 200l. for that influence; and, was it probable, that Mrs. Clarke should express to Mr. Knight a wish, calculated to make him believe, that she had not at all interfered in the matter with the Duke of York? Nay, Mr. Knight himself says, that he looked upon the thing as having been done by her influence, and further, that she took credit to herself for it; but, how could she, if she pretended that she had induced the Duke to do it; how could she, at that same time, have the folly to express a wish, that her having had any hand in the business might be kept from the knowledge of the Duke; kept from the knowledge of that very person, who, if her claim to Mr. Knight’s 200l. was not fradulent as well as corrupt, must have known that she was the cause of the exchange? Will any one believe that Mrs. Clarke would say, “It was I who prevailed upon the Duke to permit of your brother’s exchange; but for God’s sake, don’t let the Duke know of it.” Why, there is a manifest absurdity in the supposition. It is a thing too preposterous to be believed. That she might, indeed, desire Knight not to blab; not to talk of the transaction for it to reach the Duke’s ears through third parties; this is likely enough, and this she herself admits may have been the case; but to suppose, that she expressed a fear of the Duke’s knowing of her having been the instrument in the business: to suppose, that she expressed such a fear to the very man with whom she was taking credit to herself for having obtained the grant from the Duke, is an absurdity too gross to be for one moment entertained by any man in his senses.

As to the evidence of Ludovick about the getting the note changed, I before made these observations:—If what Ludovick Armor says be true; namely, that no other servant of the Duke ever went to Mrs. Clarke’s, and that he never took a note to change from that house, what Mrs. Edition: current; Page: [92] Clarke says about sending the note to change must be false. That is quite clear. But, bare justice to the fair annuitant compels us to observe, that this falsehood, if we set it down for one, must have been a mere freak of fancy; for, it would, I think, be impossible to assign, or conceive, any reason for her stating it. Of itself there was nothing in it, either good or bad. To have said, that she merely showed the Duke the money would have answered full as well for all the purposes of accusation and of crimination. It is quite impossible to guess at any end she could have in view by telling such a falsehood, except that of bringing forth Ludovick Armor: or of affording a chance of being exposed as a false witness. If, therefore, she be a false witness, a fabricator of false accusations, we must, I think, allow her to be as awkward an one as ever appeared at any bar in the world.

These observations occurred to me before I had seen the examinations of Pierson and Mrs. Favourite; but, they have now put the matter beyond all doubt, that Ludovick’s memory, though refreshed by questions, before he came to the house, put to him by the Duke, by Mr. Adam (one of the judges in this case), by Mr. Lowten and by Mr. Wilkinson, did, upon this occasion, fail him.

Colonel Gordon’s evidence has in it nothing positive. It speaks, indeed, to the general regularity of conducting business in the office of the Commander-in-Chief; the Colonel firmly believes, that he made his report, as usual, to the Duke as to the fitness of the exchange, though he kept no minutes of the inquiry, upon which the report was founded; and he has not the smallest doubt, that the Duke acted solely upon that report, unbiassed by any other influence whatever. For the Colonel’s opinions we may have a very great respect, especially as he appears to have had so much to do with the illustrious personage, whose conduct was the subject of inquiry; but, with all due deference to the Colonel, opinions are not facts; nor will they, in the mind of any impartial man, weigh one grain against positive and corroborated testimony.

In his speech, stating the charges, Mr. Wardle, at the first opening of the business, stated the exchange of Knight and Brooke to have been concluded on the 25th of July. It now appears, that it was not gazetted till the 30th; and, observe, it has been attempted to be shown, that the thing was done without the aid of Mrs. Clarke, because Colonel Gordon has produced a document to show, that the Duke gave his sanction to the exchange on the 23rd of July, just as if Mr. Wardle had ever pretended to name the day when the application was made to Mrs. Clarke! He merely misstated the date of the Gazette, a misstatement which could not possibly be intentional, because there was the Gazette to refer to. But, what is this document? What is this written proof, that the Duke gave his sanction to the exchange on the 23rd of July? Why, it is a document, in which the material part, the only words that are material, are found written in PENCIL! The exchange was not gazetted, it appears, till seven days after it was approved of by the Duke, though there must have been one gazetting-day between; not till seven days after the Duke is, in pencil, stated to have approved of it. In pencil, reader, you will please to bear in mind; always keep in mind, that it was in pencil. I wonder what judges and juries would say of documents, of written evidence, partly in pencil?

Colonel Gordon states, however, positively, that the Duke of York went to Weymouth on the 31st of July; which is important, because Edition: current; Page: [93] the Gazette in which the exchange of Knight and Brooke appeared, was published on the 30th of July, and Mrs. Clarke says, that she received the 200l. before the Duke went to Weymouth. This brings the whole of the operations subsequent to the Gazette into a crowded space. She sent the Gazette to Dr. Thynne; Dr. Thynne sent it to Mr. Knight; Mr. Knight sent her the money; she showed the money to the Duke; and all this must, if true, have taken place, between some time in the day of the 30th, and some time in the night of the 31st, or in the morning of the 1st of August; that is to say, if Colonel Gordon be correct as to the day of the Duke’s setting off for Weymouth. Yet is there nothing, that I can perceive, at all incredible in this rapidity. If Mr. Knight got the Gazette on the 30th, he would not, after the pressing note from Mrs. Clarke to Dr. Thynne, fail to send her the money the next day; on that day the Duke, before his departure, would naturally go, as the witnesses stated he did go, to Mrs. Clarke’s; she would, if ever, then show him the money; and, of course, if she got the note, or notes, or one of them, changed through him, that was the very time when she would get it done. All the servants agree, that the Duke was there on the day, and in a part, at least, of the night previous to his departure for Weymouth, and Mrs. Favourite, perfectly corroborated by Pierson, says that she gave Ludovick a note to get changed; and she further says, that she took up the change and delivered it to the Duke and Mrs. Clarke in bed.

Now, reader, dismiss from your mind all prejudice; all bias; and ask yourself, whether it be possible for such a story as this is all through; so many concurrent circumstances, flowing from so many quarters, to unite by mere accident; or by any thing short of the power of one great and prevailing truth. Ask yourself, whether the evidence of Mr. Adam to character, and the evidence of Ludovick and Colonel Gordon to fact, is sufficient to weigh against all that has been laid before you in support of this charge.

Case of Captain Maling.—Mr. Wardle, when he brought forward his charges, stated, that there was a man, in the office of Greenwood, the Agent, who had risen to the rank of Captain in the army without having ever done one day’s military duty, and without having even joined any regiment. Upon the examination taking place, in the House, it appeared, that Mr. Wardle had made a mistake; not, however, as to the nature of the case, or the name of the person: but as to the office in which that person was, it appearing, that the person was a clerk in the office of the Duke of York and not in that of Greenwood.

And here we have an instance of the manner, in which Colonel Gordon gave information to the House. When first called in, he was asked: “What were the merits and services that obtained Capt. Maling his rapid promotion, and the gift of his three commissions?” His answer is; “I will state them to the House.” He then goes on to show, from documents in his possession, that he was recommended thus and thus, and that he had served thus and thus; and though the promotion was very rapid indeed, and seems not to be unaccounted for upon the score of service, it does appear that the person in question had been engaged in actual military service.

Upon this being made appear, Mr. Wardle was disposed to withdraw this charge: “No, no!” said the friends of the Duke. No. It shall not be withdrawn; it shall stand for us to decide upon it.

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The Colonel was then examined as to other matters; and, before he was ordered to withdraw, it occurred to some one, that a mistake, as to the office, had been made: and the Colonel was asked: “What were the services of Captain Maling’s brother, who is, I believe, a captain in the army, who is in the War-office?”

Now, mark the answer; mark this answer well. “There is a Captain Maling, an assistant of mine, in the office of the Commander-in-Chief; I take for granted that is the person referred to. What his services are as a Lieutenant I really do not know; I found him as a Lieutenant in the office of the Commander-in-Chief; and in consideration of his extraordinary good character, and more than common abilities, the promotions of the army going through his hands under mine, I did recommend him to his royal highness the Commander-in-Chief, to be placed upon the half-pay as a captain, upon which half-pay he most assuredly will be placed as soon as an opportunity offers; but the Commander-in-Chief has it not in his power.”

He is then asked: “Do you know whether, or not, that Captain Maling ever joined, or did duty with, any regiment?”—His answer is: “I do not know that he did; and I do not think that he did.”

Whence we may conclude with perfect safety, that he never did; so that the charge of Mr. Wardle is completely established, the circumstance of a mistake in the office being of no importance at all.

This is a case, which involves no direct pecuniary corruption; but it is worthy of as much attention as any one of the whole; for here, we see, that the offices of the army have been made sinecures, and, if this be tolerated, let the reader judge to what a length it may be, and, perhaps, already has been, carried, in an establishment consisting of from 12,000 to 15,000 commissioned and staff officers. I, in my last, observed upon the consequences of leaves of absence; I noticed the particular case of the younger Sheridan; but, what must we expect if the rank and pay, as military officers, are given to clerks in offices? If to clerks, why not to any who are not clerks? Why not to butlers and footmen? Why not to any body? There is no knowing where the terrible abuse will terminate.

This man never joined any regiment? Yet he must be a Captain of some company in some regiment, and, perhaps, in one of those regiments which were serving in Spain. Is not this pretty encouragement for officers who actually do serve? Is not this a shameful injury to that service, for which the people so dearly pay?

He has been thus promoted for his “extraordinary good character, and more than common abilities.” Abilities in what? In what; why, “the promotions of the army going through his hands under mine,” says the Colonel, with singular modesty. But, what have these abilities; this more than common abilities in copying letters, filling up blank commissions, and making memorandums, in pencil, in the margin of applications; what have these “more than common abilities” to do with military command, which demands not only abilities of quite a different description, but requires also the presence of the person with the army? Besides, has not Captain Maling his salary as a clerk? Aye, and a salary, too, quite adequate to his services. We pay him that salary, and he ought not to be suffered to step in and take military rank and pay from men, who venture their lives for their country. He lies snug at the Horse Guards, while the person, who is supplying his place in the regiment, the Edition: current; Page: [95] person who is doing that duty for which Captain Maling has rank and pay, has his head exposed to the sabre or the bayonet of the enemy. Can there be an instance, more complete than this, of crying injustice? Is it possible that the real officers of the army should be content under such a system of distributing the benefits of rank and pay? Is it possible, that an army, thus treated, should be what it ought to be? And, is it not impudence unparalleled, to praise the management of the army, while such a case as this stands recorded in evidence, at the bar of the House? Oh! Colonel Gordon! Colonel Gordon, you who require a man of “uncommon abilities” to manage the promotions “under you;” what do you think would be the answer of the Emperor Napoleon, if his war-minister were to say to him: “There is a man who is uncommonly clever at filling up blank-commissions and making memorandums and copying letters; and, therefore, I would recommend him to your Majesty as a mightily proper person to command a company of foot, letting him still remain a clerk in my office?” What do you think would be, in such a case, the answer of Napoleon?

It is not thus that triumphings are managed, Colonel Gordon.

But, observe, the curious account that the Colonel gives of what was intended to be done with this Captain Maling of “uncommon abilities.” He recommended him, he says, to the Commander-in-Chief, to be placed upon half-pay as a Captain. But, he is upon full-pay! The Duke, he tells us, has not the power to place him upon half-pay; but he has had the power to place him upon full-pay, where he now is! Oh! wonderously fine regulations! Oh! the “excellent regularity” of conducting things in the office of the Commander-in-Chief! I am delighted with this idea of “regularity.” It does form, as Mr. Cripps seemed to think, such a famous set-off against all the thumping charges relating to jobbing and corruption.

Case of French and Sandon.—This case opens to us a most extensive field of corruption and profligacy. In the evidence relating to this case, we have a view of the whole system; and, therefore, it is worthy of particular notice, not only in its substance, but in the whole of its detail.

It is proved by documentary evidence, that, on the 30th of April, 1804, Colonel French and Capt. Huxley Sandon obtained a Letter of Service, as it is quaintly called; or, in plain English, an authority, to raise 5,000 men for the army; and that this authority, and bargain, was granted and made through the power of the Commander-in-Chief, the transaction being one that originated in his office.

The proposition of a loan to the Duke comes out incidentally.

Capt. Huxley Sandon states, that a Mr. Cockayne, his attorney, having told him that if he wanted any thing done at the War-office, he knew a person who could do it, he was led to the transaction in question, in conjunction with Col. French; that there was an agent of Mrs. Clarke, a Mr. Corri, a music-master, who was to introduce them; that the original bargain was, that Mrs. Clarke was to receive 525l., and Mr. Corri 200l. for the introduction, the former sum to be increased, at his discretion, if they were successful in their levy, to 2,000l.

Mr. Corri states, that Sandon did apply to him, and commissioned him to offer Mrs. Clarke 2,000l. for her assistance; that he, in consequence, did apply to Mrs. Clarke; and that, in June, 1804, he received Edition: current; Page: [96] two hundred pounds for himself, from Sandon, which 200l. he gave to Mr. Cockayne, to whom he was in debt.

Mr. Dowler states, that he saw Col. French and Capt. Sandon at Mrs. Clarke’s; that, by desire of Mrs. Clarke, he spoke to them, several times, upon the subject of the levy; that Mrs. Clarke told him, that she was to receive 1,000 guineas, and a guinea a man, until the levy of 5,000 men should be completed. To this he adds: “I was also present when Colonel French or Captain Sandon, I don’t know which, gave Mrs. Clarke 500l. of it. I afterwards saw Colonel French at Mrs. Clarke’s, when he stated to her, that it was not possible to procure the number of men at the usual bounty, and begged that the number of boys should be increased in the levy, which, as I understand, was afterwards done.”—Upon being asked, what cause she assigned for doing such things? he says: “She said the Duke of York was so distressed for money that she could not bear to ask him for any, and that that was the only way by which she could support her establishment.

Mr. Grant (agent to Colonel French and Captain Sandon’s levy) states, that French and Sandon told him that they had got the levy through the influence of a friend, which friend he afterwards found to be Mrs. Clarke; that they told him this; that he understood she was to receive 500 guineas at first, and afterwards a guinea a man for every man raised; that he was told, by French and Sandon, that she actually received several sums from them; that he accepted a bill of 200l.; that they told him they had actually paid her 1,700l.; that he recollects that Colonel French applied to him about a loan of 5,000l. to the Duke of York, but that he took no steps upon it; that he recollects, that an observation was made, that it might be advanced, provided the arrears of the levy were paid up by government, but does not recollect, whether the observation came from himself, or from Colonel French.

It was now, when Mr. Grant’s examination was closed, nearly two o’clock in the morning of the 8th of February, and, upon the propriety of calling Mrs. Clarke, the following very interesting and memorable discussion took place in the House, as reported in the newspapers.

Lord Folkestone called the attention of gentlemen to the exhausted state of the hon. member who brought forward the motion, the state of the House, and the lateness of the hour, and proposed an adjournment. (A cry ofGo on! go on!”)—Mr. Perceval observed, that many members appeared to be impressed with the belief, that the purposes of justice required that Mrs. Clarke should be examined to-night, and in that sentiment he was much inclined to concur. As justice was the object of all, he hoped that Mrs. Clarke would be called in and examined. Without her evidence, the whole that had been said was nothing, as the Duke of York had not been implicated.—Mr. Wardle said, that the right hon. gentleman need not have so strongly urged upon him a regard to justice. If the Committee thought that justice required it, he was ready to proceed.—Mrs. Clarke was then ordered to be called.—Mr. Wharton (the Chairman) stated that Mrs. Clarke was so exhausted, that she begged to be indulged with a chair. [A chair was accordingly ordered.] He then said, that he found from the Sergeant at Arms, that he had misstated the message, which was a request from Mrs. Clarke that she might not be examined to-night. Mrs. Clarke, however, was called in. She stated that she had attended for eight hours, that her feelings had been excessively harassed during this examination, and that she was so excessively fatigued that she could not give her evidence to-night.—The Chairman told her, that the Committee, in consideration of her fatigue, had ordered a chair for her.—Mrs. Clarke.A chair will not relieve the fatigue of my mind.”— Edition: current; Page: [97] The witness was then ordered to withdraw.—Mr. Yorke adverted to the necessity, with a view to the purposes of justice, that the witness should be examined, lest some undue communication with the witnesses already examined should take place. He thought, therefore, that she ought to be examined, or kept in the custody of the Sergeant at Arms, and none of these witnesses admitted to her presence till the House met again. He did not know but there might be precedents for keeping witnesses in this way.

The Speaker said that there were certainly no such precedents in modern times, and the House ought to pause before they came to a decision upon a point in which the liberty of the subject was so much concerned.

Mr. Sheridan said that after what the witness had said under circumstances that certainly added weight to her assertion, it was impossible for the Committee to proceed to the examination. The idea on the other hand, of locking her up, was contrary to every principle of propriety. The only remaining course was to do neither; and this was an inconvenience incident to their proceedings. Gentlemen ought to recollect, that justice was concerned in her giving her testimony in a state in which she could give it properly; and unless the House took care that this should be done, they would be considered rather as Parties than as Judges.

Mr. Wardle read a note from Mrs. Clarke, requesting that he would come to her, as she was extremely indisposed.

Mr. Adam said, that in the dilemma to which they were reduced, there appeared no proper mode of acting but agreeing to postpone the examination, and to allow any communication with the other witnesses to go to her credit.

Mr. Canning agreed in what had been said by the last speaker, but added that she might learn in the interval what the other witnesses had said without any direct communication, and the only way to bring this to a question of credit, was to call her now, and ask her whether any such communication had taken place. To this point she could undoubtedly answer, however much exhausted.

Mr. Whitbread conceived that the House would best consult its dignity, by allowing the hon. member to pursue the course of proceeding which he had a right to act upon. But even though it was unwilling to accede to such a principle, he begged leave to ask the House, whether a female, in attendance for eight hours, and of course suffering much suspense, had not some claim upon the generous feelings of the House, without any reference to the immediate person to whom that feeling was extended. To speak under such circumstances of committing Mrs. Clarke, he trusted would not meet the support of any man in that House. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Canning deprecated any such severity (hear, hear), at the same time that he was alive to the necessity of putting certain questions to Mrs. Clarke, relative to any communication which she might have received from any of the witnesses examined that night. He still thought that a more preferable method might be pursued, to which on any side he could see no objection, namely, to call Mr. Dowler again to the bar, and examine him relative to any communication with that lady. (Hear, hear, from all sides.)

(Mr. Dowler was then called to the Bar) He stated that the only communication he had with Mrs. Clarke, since he had left the bar, was an acquiescence with her wish to procure for her some refreshment. He had abstained from any conversation, not from any advice communicated to him, but from a consciousness that it was the line of duty which he ought to pursue under such circumstances.

Mrs. Clarke (the proceedings being resumed) states, that French and Sandon did apply to her for the levy, but, though she has read the newspapers, she cannot perfectly call to her mind the sums she received from them; that they certainly promised her a pecuniary reward; that, in consequence of that promise, she applied, in their behalf, to the Duke; that she informed the Duke that she was to receive a pecuniary compensation; that the Duke, upon this, promised that the parties should have the levy; that she recollects one sum of 500l. that she received, which went in part payment of a service of plate for the house in Gloucester Edition: current; Page: [98] place; that the Duke told her he paid the remainder of the money for the plate; that the parties did apply to her for alterations in the conditions of the levy, and that she always gave their notes to the Duke, but did not always know what they meant; that French told her, that if the Duke would pass his accounts, which were correct, and expected to have been passed some time before, he and his agent would accommodate him with a loan of 5,000l., on proper security and at legal interest; that she spoke of this to the Commander-in-Chief; that the Duke said, that he could not demand money from the different officers, that besides, that it was a delicate business, as the thing might be known; that the loan was not made.

Miss Taylor was next called, and, as her evidence is of such very great importance, I shall give in the question and answer, as I find it reported in the Morning Chronicle.

Mr. Wardle. Were you in the habit of visiting at Gloucester-place when Mrs. Clarke was under the protection of the Duke of York?—Frequently.

Have you ever heard the Duke of York speak to Mrs. Clarke relative to Col. French’s levy?—Once.

Relate what passed at that time.—The Duke’s words were, as nearly as I can recollect, “I am continually wearied by Col. French about his levy. He is always wanting something more to be done in his favour. How does he behave to you, Darling?

Does the witness recollect any thing further passing than what she has stated?—Mrs. Clarke replied, “Middling; not very well.

Was that the whole of the conversation?—No.

Relate the rest.—The Duke said, “Master French must mind what he is about, else I will soon cut up him and his levy too.

By the Attorney-General. How long have you known Mrs. Clarke?—Ten years.

Not longer?—I cannot exactly recollect.

Where did you know her first?—At her house at Bayswater, near the Gravel Pits.

Where do you live yourself?—At Chelsea.

With whom did you live when you first knew Mrs. Clarke?—With my parents.

What was your father?—A gentleman.

Do you live with her now?—No.

Is he living?—Yes.

Is your mother living?—Yes.

Do you live with her?—No.

With whom do you live?—With my sister.

Is she married?—No; she is a single woman.

Where resident?—At Chelsea.

In a lodging or a house?—In a house.

In what line of life is she?—She keeps a boarding-school.

In what part of Bayswater did Mrs. Clarke live?—She lived in Craven-place.

Who lived with her?—Her husband.

Did he always live with her?—He did when I first knew her.

Did you know any other person to live with her?—Yes.

Whom?—His Royal Highness the Duke of York.

Do you not know that she has lived with other persons since?—Not to my knowledge.

Are you intimately acquainted with her?—Yes.

Not related to her?—My brother is married to her sister.

Did you know her at Tavistock-place?—Yes.

Did her husband live with her there?—I never saw him there. I understood that Mrs. Clarke lived in Tavistock-place with her mother.

What time elapsed between her leaving her husband and her living with the Duke of York?—I cannot recollect.

How long ago since she knew Mrs. Clarke at Bayswater?—About ten years.

Had her husband left her before she left Bayswater?—I do not know.

Are you prepared to stand by that?—Yes.

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What was her husband?—I always understood him to be a man of some fortune.

Do you not know that he had only 50l. annuity, and that paid weekly?—No.

Did you ever see her husband with her during the latter part of the period she lived at Bayswater?—No.

Where did she go to reside from Bayswater?—I do not recollect.

Does the witness recollect her living in Park-lane?—Mrs. Clarke called upon her one day and said she lived then in Park-lane?

Did you ever live with her in Tavistock-place?—I never lived with her at all.

Did you never sleep in the house?—Yes, frequently.

Do you know that any body lived with her, but her husband?—Yes.

You took her then for a modest decent woman?—She lived with her mother, and I knew nothing then to the contrary.

What is your father’s name?—The same name as mine.

His Christian name?—James.

Where does he live now?—I should rather be excused answering.

A Debate intervened here, of which I shall give the report, from the same paper.

Lord Folkestone said, that the whole of the learned gentleman’s examination appeared to be for the purpose of catching the witness tripping. As to any reference to the investigation, he could see none in the question which the witness expressed her unwillingness to answer.

The Attorney-General defended the propriety of his examination. A person was produced, of whom no person knew any thing, unless that she was the sister-in-law of a very questionable witness. In such a case, was not inquiry into the character and connections of such a witness necessary? Would not much of her character for credit, depend upon a knowledge of the situation of life in which herself and her connections moved? (No! no! Order! order!) He by no means insinuated, that poverty or humility of life was to be construed into objections against the validity of statements, where the persons making them had uniformly supported a good character; but he had still a right to contend, that when persons wholly unknown, except by the good accounts they gave of themselves, were brought forward upon serious inquiries, he or any other member had a right to inquire into every circumstance of their previous life, and of their connections.

Gen. Stewart begged to say one word, viz. that if there was one member who took up more of the time of the Committee by numerous questions, it was the Noble Lord (Folkestone) opposite.

Lord Folkestone. If he had taken up the time of the Committee unnecessarily, he would feel extreme regret. At the same time that he could not surrender his own opinion, that the Attorney-General’s examination did not at all bear upon the point. Indeed, from his own observations, it was obvious that the only thing he pretended to know about that witness, he could not know, namely, that she was the sister-in-law of Mrs. Clarke, as he asserted, but which she denied.

Sir G. Warrender supported the propriety of the questions put by his Noble Friend (Folkestone)—they were, in his opinion, of the most vital importance.

Mr. Sheridan trusted, that unless the Attorney-General felt the absolute necessity of the question, he would not trespass on the private feelings of the witness by continuing to press it.

The Attorney-General. I must repeat my question. Where is your father now? I do not know.

Mr. Perceval. Does the witness mean to rest her credit upon the veracity of that answer?

Mr. Brand. There may be circumstances of real and serious difficulties, where it would be inconsistent with the best feelings of the heart, and a violation of parental duty, not to deny the residence of a father. The question may be a legal one, but he trusted, other motives of equal urgency would operate on the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to press it.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer conceived, That honourable gentleman had assumed difficulties, which he had no right to do. He could only attribute the disinclination of the witness to state certain circumstances, to Edition: current; Page: [100] her anxiety to evade that discovery, which would be fatal to the credit of her testimony.

Mr. Wilberforce had a strong objection to the manner in which the question was put, it appeared like BROWBEATING THE WITNESS. He by no means attributed such an intention to his right hon. friend, although a system may be contracted from legal habits. He recommended that the answer of the witness should be left to the opinion which the Committee would subsequently pronounce.

Mr. Kenrick stated, that he had heard from another person, that the person to whom the question referred, had been arrested within a few hours.

Mr. Yorke justified the question, as put by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Every means should be exerted to ascertain the character of the persons produced in support of those accusations. If such vigilance was not exercised, street-walkers from off the Strand, would probably be introduced at the bar of that House to criminate the character of the Duke of York.

Examination resumed.—When did you see your father last? About a fortnight ago.

Where did he live last? At Chelsea.

In what street? I do beg to decline answering.

For what reason? I do not like to tell so large an assembly where I live.

What objection can you have to tell where yourself and sister live, representing yourselves, as you do, to keep a boarding-school? I stated my reasons before.

What fears have you from so large an assembly? They will find me to be poor, and will therefore doubt my veracity.

Mr. Perceval. Be assured your veracity will not be doubted on account of your poverty. I live at No. 8, Cheyne-row, Chelsea.

Do you and your sister keep a boarding-school? My sister and I do.

The Attorney-General. Did you often see Mrs. Clarke in company with the Duke of York? Yes.

How often? I cannot recollect; three weeks seldom passed but I did.

How long have you kept the boarding-school? Two years and a half, altogether, in Kentish-town and Chelsea.

When you were at Kentish-town, where did your father live? I have an objection to say any thing about my father.

Where did witness live at the time she heard his royal highness speak to Mrs. Clarke about Colonel French? Cannot positively say; but that it was before she went to live at Kentish-town.

Where did you live before that? At Islington, to which place we went from Bayswater.

What part of Islington? Dalby-terrace.

Do you know Mr. Wardle? Yes.

How long? Two or three months.

At whose request do you attend here to-night? At Mrs. Clarke’s.

Did you ever see Mr. Dowler at Gloucester-place? Yes.

Did you ever see him in company with the Duke of York? No.

Did you ever hear from Mrs. Clarke, that she introduced Mr. Dowler to the Duke of York as her brother? No.

Do you believe your father’s affairs to be in a state of embarrassment? Yes.

Mrs. Hovenden (who is proved to have been a regular trader in commissions and the like) being called on a subsequent day, respecting the affair of Col. Shaw, and being incidentally asked about Miss Taylor, states, that she saw her once with her brother Capt. Taylor; that of her own knowledge, she can say nothing of Miss Taylor’s reputation; that she did once say, that she should not return her visit, as she had heard something unpleasant. Being put to the test as to what this unpleasant thing was, she says: “Being hearsay, I believe, I should not tell what I hear. I know nothing of myself.” She was then asked: “Of your own knowledge of Miss Taylor, would you believe her evidence?” She answers: “I declare I do not see how I can answer such a question as Edition: current; Page: [101] that. It is mere matter of opinion. I cannot say.” Being asked how her delicacy permitted her to visit Mrs. Clarke, she answers, that she did not visit her; she went to her on business.

Mr. Whitbread observed here, that, from what he had seen of the two ladies, he should be inclined to ask Miss Taylor her opinion of Mrs. Hovenden.

Pierson, the butler, is asked, whether he recollects to have seen Miss Taylor at the house in Gloucester-place? He states that he saw her there very frequently, and that she dined there often; but, that he does not recollect her dining there when the Duke did.

Thomas Walker, late coachman to Mrs. Clarke, saw Miss Taylor frequently at Gloucester-place.

Mrs. Favourite, the housekeeper, states that Miss Taylor very frequently visited at Gloucester-place, and when the Duke of York was there.

There is no need at all of adding Mrs. Clarke’s testimony to that of this crowd of witnesses, as to the fact of Miss Taylor being upon terms of intimacy at Gloucester-place, and of her being frequently there at the same time with the Duke; but, as Miss Taylor’s evidence is of such vast weight; as it goes to the very vitals of this case, and, indeed, by corroboration, of all the cases, we must not omit a record of the following occurrence, which took place on the 17th instant:—

Mr. Wardle stated, that he had that morning received a letter from Miss Ann Taylor, complaining of the conduct of another witness, which he asked permission to read. The hon. gentleman then read the letter to the following effect:—“Sir, I understand that Mrs. Hovenden, on her examination at the bar of the House of Commons, stated that she had not returned me a visit I paid her, in consequence of some imputation upon my character. In contradiction to that, I have to state that she visited me twice; once at Bayswater, and again at Dalby-terrace. She also said, she would not intrust me with a child of hers, but yet she sent her niece, of 14 years of age, to visit me. I am, &c. Ann Taylor.

Mr. William Smith begged leave to recal the attention of the Committee to the letter produced by an honourable member, and signed “Ann Taylor.” If there was any proceeding in the course of this business, marked with peculiar and unmerited harshness, towards an individual, it was in the treatment this poor unprotected girl had met with. (Hear, hear, from several members.) There could be nothing more unjustifiable. The only shadow of disgrace that attached to this girl’s conduct, as far as fell within the knowledge of the Committee, was her knowing such a—

The Chancellor of the Exchequer rose to order. The hon. gent. was, in his opinion, pursuing a most disorderly course. He might, if he pleased, call the witness to the bar to disprove any evidence that had been given which she conceived to be inimical to her, but he could not enter into the discussion of the hardships she had undergone. If he had been inclined to do this, he ought to have done it at the time she was examined, when the impression was fresh in the minds of every one, and not at such a distance of time, when it was likely to provoke reply, and retard more material business. For if the hon. gent. was allowed to go into this argument, those who were accused of imposing the hardships complained of would have an equal right to defend themselves, and thus the time of the House would be consumed.

Mr. Smith contended that, the letter being read, he had taken the most proper time to ask if any proceedings were to follow upon it.

Why, Mr. Perceval, this was “material business;” it was by far more material than the inquiry about the alleged forgery! Aye, or the statement about the sums, which the Duke says he expended upon Mrs. Clarke’s establishment! Aye, a vast deal more material than either. Edition: current; Page: [102] Mrs. Hovenden, the regular trader, was called upon for her opinion of Miss Taylor’s credibility; if what Miss Taylor now states be true, that which Mrs. Hovenden stated even respecting her opinions of Miss Taylor, is false; and, Sir, the people are, I can assure you, all alive as to the credibility of Miss Taylor.

Having now stated the substance of the oral testimony, it only remains to be observed, that Colonel Gordon came again, with an abundance of documents, and most clearly proved, that with respect to the levy of French and Sandon, all was PERFECTLY REGULAR again in the books at the War-office, and in the office of the Commander-in-Chief. The reader is, indeed, told, by Sandon, one of the principals, that he made a bargain with Cockayne to give Corri 200l. for an introduction to Mrs. Clarke, and that a bargain was made with Mrs. Clarke to give her a sum in cash, and a guinea a man, for the letter of service; he is told by Corri that he got the 200l.; he is told by Dowler that he saw French and Sandon give Mrs. Clarke some of the money; he is told by Grant, the agent to the levy, that French and Sandon told him, that they paid her in all 1,700l.; he is told by Mrs. Clarke that the Duke granted the letter of service upon her telling him that she was to have money for it from French and Sandon; and, lastly, he is told by Miss Taylor, whose character and credibility remain unimpeached, that she heard the Duke say to Mrs. Clarke, that he was continually wearied by French about his levy, who was always wanting something more to be done in his favour! that she then heard the Duke ask Mrs. Clarke, how French behaved to her, and upon Mrs. Clarke’s replying, “Middling, not very well,” the Duke said: “Master French must mind what he is about, else I will soon cut up him and his levy too.” All this the reader is told by witnesses, for the far greater part, unwilling ones. If he regards the regularity of Colonel Gordon’s books as sufficient to destroy all this evidence, then he must acquit the Duke; but if he does not, he must conclude that the Duke is guilty.

With the above cases (enough, probably, for one week’s reading) I shall, for the present, content myself, especially as there appears to be fresh matter still coming forward, connected with some of the other cases.

In my next I shall continue the analysis, and never quit it till every case is fairly before my readers, and safely placed beyond the power of oblivion, or of misrepresentation.

There will also be to be performed another task of this sort, to wit, an analytical view of the conduct of the House of Commons, upon this important occasion. It will require much time and patience to go over the whole of the proceedings, draw together and to put upon record, the conduct and sentiments of the different members who have taken part in the discussions. Yet, this is absolutely necessary to be done.

In the meanwhile, there is one particular debate, which has arisen, incidentally, out of these proceedings, and which debate calls for immediate attention, as involving statements and principles of a general and very interesting nature. I would beseech the reader to bear in mind, that it is not merely the conduct of the Duke of York that is now before the public, but that system of corruption, of which the facts, now brought to light, now dragged out by the hair of the head, after having been discovered by accident; that system of corruption and of public robbery, of Edition: current; Page: [103] which these facts are but a mere specimen. This the reader should always bear in mind. He never should, for one moment, lose sight of this object. He should have it continually before his eyes.

The debate, to which I have alluded, and which I shall give as I find it reported in the newspapers, relates to the treatment received by Mr. Wardle from the House, at the outset of, and during the investigation.

On the 15th instant, at the opening of the day’s proceeding, Lord Folkestone said:—

“I do most sincerely hope, that this House will remember, and that the country will never forget, that my hon. friend (Mr. Wardle), and happy am I in calling him my friend, was not allowed the course of proceeding in this investigation which he had originally determined upon, but was forced into the line of conduct which was recommended by the personal friend, and professed adviser, of the accused. I believe, upon reference to any former parliamentary proceedings, or, indeed, upon a review of all the forms and precedents of any judicial inquiry, this case will be found the only one where the person originating the charges was denied to take the course he wished, particularly when that course was neither incompatible with the forms of the tribunal to which he appealed, or inconsistent with the justice that was required. Let the House also recollect, and the country never forget, that my hon. friend (Mr. Wardle) has been pressed, day after day, nay, hour after hour, to the prosecution of his charges, without intermission, or even time to prepare the necessary arrangements. Nor has he until within these few days, that I felt it my duty to offer to him my services, had the power of employing any agent to assist him in his arduous but honourable pursuit.—No, on himself alone has depended every exertion to meet the pressing desire on the other side of the House, of proceeding without the slightest relaxation. He has not been able to avail himself of the services of a Lowten or a Wilkinson to arrange his documents, and to marshal his witnesses. Let the House also recollect, and I hope the country will never forget, that my honourable friend has prosecuted this accusation under an express threat of infamy, contingently attaching to him, a threat virulently and acrimoniously urged, (hear, hear!) which has been repeated and re-echoed by more than one member in this House, and which, up to this moment, has never been withdrawn, never rejected, nor even modified. It is under these circumstances, first refused the course of proceeding which he desired, next pressed without intermission, and under the terror of a menace, that my hon. friend has followed up the charges which he has so manfully introduced. These general observations I have thought it necessary to premise, conceiving, as I do, that in the proceedings of this inquiry my hon. friend has not been fairly used.—[His lordship then came to the business of Kennet’s loan, and, in stating the difficulties, which he had met with in getting at the papers relating to it, he said that the person who had those papers was afraid of offending the government in bringing them forward. His lordship’s words were these.]—But the gist of his objection was, that as the defence of the Commander-in-Chief appeared to be taken up as a ministerial measure, he was apprehensive that he would incur their displeasure, and the displeasure of those immediately under them, which would probably operate to the ruin of himself and his family. I hear some murmurs of disapprobation from gentlemen in this House, but I do assure them that this is not the only case where similar apprehensions have prevented persons in possession of strong testimony from coming forward, particularly officers in the army, and where information was withheld, from the manner in which it was taken up by the King’s servants in that House.

Mr. Perceval said, the noble lord had been particularly strenuous in calling on the House and on the country, to hold the way in which the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle) had been treated in opening this business, and the way in which the noble lord himself had been treated yesterday, in everlasting remembrance. If so, he (Mr. Perceval) hoped it would also be held in correct remembrance. The noble lord was correct in saying, that it was the anxious wish of gentlemen on that side of the House, out of regard, not to their own feelings only, but to those of the royal Duke, that every thing should be as fair, open, and public as possible. But did it from thence follow, that the mode of proceeding, which had been followed, had been forced on the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle)? Except the noble lord himself there was not a dissentient voice in that House against the Edition: current; Page: [104] mode of proceeding which had been followed. The plan adopted, therefore, was not one pressed on the hon. mover (Mr. Wardle), or on the House, by his hon. friend (Mr. Adam), or himself, but was one on which there was not a contrary opinion, but in one or two instances, in the House. A gentleman behind him had opposed the mode adopted for the very reason, if he at all understood the opinions of the noble lord and the hon. mover of the Inquiry, that they would have supported it, namely, that it was too public a mode of investigation, not, as it was now insinuated, that it was calculated to obstruct public justice. If his memory, however, did not fail him, the-hon. gent. himself had not stated, that he wished for a Select Committee, but only for a Committee. The noble lord had indeed proposed a Select Committee; but no reluctance had been shown by the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle) to the mode of proceeding since adopted. It had not been pressed on him reluctantly, but had been acquiesced in by the unanimous and consentient voice of the House. Was it then fair conduct to be observed towards any member of that House? Was it fair towards the House of Commons itself—that they should be represented as guilty of harsh, improper, and unparalleled conduct towards the mover of the accusation—or should be held up to the public as impeding, what every one was more anxious than another, to investigate and bring to light? If they were to be tried for such an offence, it was only necessary for their acquittal, that their conduct should be fully known! There never was a case in which more fairness, or a greater desire to afford every assistance in the investigation of truth, manifested itself. It was no wonder, therefore, that his feelings were excited when he heard the conduct of their proceedings so arraigned. He could not forbear, however, referring to one proof of the approbation of the hon. gent. himself (Mr. Wardle) of the whole of the conduct of the cause. During the whole of the proceedings there had not been a single division. Not a single proposition had been insisted on by the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle), and in which he persevered, which had not been conceded to him, or in the negative to which he had not acquiesced, by waving a decision upon it. The noble lord would not take it amiss that he (Mr. Perceval) declared his conviction, if there was a member of that House who would not acquiesce in any thing of which he did not approve, without pressing the question to the only means by which its merits could be properly decided on, the noble lord was that person. In addition to the feeling which naturally attended an adherence to what a man thought right, the noble lord would here have had the peculiar pleasure of holding up his boasted minority, however small, to the applause and admiration of the country—a gratification of which he would not willingly have deprived himself, had a favourable opportunity presented itself. The noble lord had also complained that things were not allowed to take their natural course, but that the business had been pressed forward with unbecoming rapidity. He did not recollect any instance of this kind. It was but fair that in so momentous charges, no delay should take place, but the hon. gent. himself could not have forgotten that on one occasion, when one day seemed more convenient to the hon. mover than another, the more remote day, because the more convenient to him, was fixed on. As to the charge of infamy attaching to one party or another,—all that was meant, or had been said, was, not that infamy must attach either to the hon. gent. or to the royal personage; but that, if the accusations were false, and a conspiracy should be found to exist, infamy would attach to those who had been the cause of stigmatizing his royal highness; and if the gentlemen, who brought forward the accusations, should be found to have too easily lent themselves to an unprincipled conspiracy, that they would not, by their conduct, have added to their own credit. . . . . . . . [He afterwards spoke as follows, in answer to the last part, above-quoted, of Lord Folkestone’s speech.]

The noble lord, however, went too far in stating that there were various instances in which the investigation had been obstructed in this case. He (Mr. Perceval) should not put it to his everlasting recollection, but he put it to his candour, to say what impression such a statement was calculated to make in the public mind? What then would be said, not that there might be charges, which if gone into might implicate the character of the royal person alluded to; but that there was something which prevented the sifting the charges to the bottom, and that many others could be adduced if required. Would it not be equally fair and candid to suppose, as the hon. mover must have felt, that the investigation into some of the charges at least did not support him in his original statement, Edition: current; Page: [105] that those which remained unopened were of this description, and would be found equally defective? He submitted to the noble lord, if it would not be better before moving for a Select Committee, similar to that which had already been appointed, to try what the summons of the House would do, and if he himself could not in the mean time procure inspection of the papers. He was sorry to have delayed the House, but it was impossible for him to have remained silent after what had fallen from the noble lord.

Mr. Adam said, that it was customary in the House to give to the different members the character which belonged to them: to a baronet the appellation of “the worthy baronet”—to a member of the learned profession that of “the learned gent,” and to the unprofessional members of the House that of “the hon. gent.” It was most irregular and unjust to use any descriptive epithet but such as he had mentioned. He complained therefore, in the strongest manner, of the term “professed adviser of the Duke of York,” used towards himself by the noble lord. If the noble lord had said, that to the suggestion of “a learned gent.” the line of conduct adopted by the House was owing, he should have had no observation to make; but when it was to go forth to the public that he, a member of Parliament, acted in a parliamentary proceeding as the professed adviser of the Duke of York, he had reason to complain of such an expression, and endeavour if possible to counteract its tendency. He begged the House would excuse his calling their attention to a subject wholly personal; he owned he was actuated by the most serious feelings on this subject. He was anxious in the most solemn manner to repel the imputation which that appellation might cause.—He knew how unpleasant it was to the House to listen to personal observations, but it was important to him that he, whose life had been passed in the discharge of a variety of public duties, should endeavour to preserve the character which he trusted he had acquired without touch or stain. He was not aware that on any occasion he had failed in the discharge of the various obligations which had from time been imposed upon him; whether during his parliamentary life of above twenty-five years, or in the private concerns of his family, exposed as he had been to encreasing pressure, to the res angustæ domi; by which, however, he had never been tempted to deviate from the strict line of political or moral integrity. Although the hon. gent. by whom those charges were originated had intimated that the appointment of a Select Committee to investigate them would accord with his opinion, he had not thought proper to move for such a committee. An hon. gent. opposite had suggested proceeding by a parliamentary commission; with those two exceptions, he did not recollect a dissenting voice against the course ultimately adopted by the House. He appealed to the House whether there had been the least interruption to the most free and unrestrained inquiry. With respect to himself, he was in the judgment of the House, whether he had ever said or done any thing that gave a colour to the appellation of “protessed adviser of the Duke of York.” He hoped that the country would be satisfied that this matter which had been introduced publicly, had been conducted openly, and in a manner that was in the highest degree honourable to the House of Commons.

Mr. Calcraft blamed the noble lord for the censure which he had chosen to pass on the House, and for the assumption which he had chosen to make in stating that his hon. friend, in the charge which he had brought forward, had been supported by himself alone. Had that hon. gent. been so deserted as his noble friend described him to be, he should not have wanted his aid; but having on a former occasion, upon an inquiry into the conduct of the Medical Board, witnessed that hon. gent.’s ability, he should have thought it highly indelicate had he thrusted himself into his councils unasked, and uncalled for. That hon. gent. had evinced the utmost manliness and delicacy in standing on the ground on which he had chosen to stand, single and unsupported. He had rested his character on the event, and the event would justify him; but it was not becoming any member to arrogate to himself peculiar praise on this occasion. The noble lord ought to give credit to others for acting on principles similar to those on which he had himself acted. With respect to the noble lord’s panegyric, he thought he had read it in some publication; if not, perhaps he might yet do so. He could not however but be of opinion, that it would have proceeded with more propriety from any other lips than his own.”

This is a debate full of interest. We will go backwards in our remarks, Edition: current; Page: [106] because Mr. Calcraft’s charge against Lord Folkestone is of a sort to demand immediate comment. What arrogance did his lordship discover? How did he pronounce a panygeric on himself, in stating, that, until within a few days, Mr. Wardle had received no assistance from any member out of the 658, and that all he had now received, out of doors (for such was the manifest meaning), was what little he, Lord Folkestone, had been able to give him? Was it not the well-known truth, and was it not necessary to state that truth, in a manner that it might be imprinted upon the minds of the injured and insulted people? That it was out of doors that his lordship meant is certain, because he says, that Mr. Wardle has had no “agent” to assist him; and then he goes on to say, that Mr. Wardle has not had the assistance of “the services of a Lowten, or a Wilkinson, to arrange his documents, and to marshal his witnesses.”

It is true, notoriously true, and is universally seen and acknowledged, that, since Sir Francis Burdett was disabled by the gout from attending the House, Lord Folkestone has been the only man, who has actually appeared as an assistant of Mr. Wardle.

As to the panegyric that Mr. Calcraft has read, or expects to read, upon the noble lord, in some publication, he may be disappointed, for the conduct of his lordship needs none: nor is there any pen that can do justice to the subject. Mr. Calcraft was safe, here, in one respect; for there was no fear of retaliation on the part of his lordship.

One thing, respecting Lord Folkestone, however, I must state, and that is, when the late ministry (under whom Mr Calcraft had a fat post) came into power, they offered his lordship a place of fifteen hundred pounds a year, of which he declined to accept; though, it will be remembered by most men acquainted with politics, that he all along, except upon particular occasions, continued to support them. There is no man, who knows my Lord Folkestone; who is acquainted with that steady adherence to truth and to principle which is innate in him, and with that modesty which is so prominent a part of his character, with his fidelity to his word and to his friends; there is no man, who is at all acquainted with his character, who will ever believe, that he has, upon this occasion, acted from any other motive than that of a conviction that his duty required him to do what he has done.

Oh, oh! it seems, then, that there were many members ready and willing to assist Mr. Wardle from the first, had they not been convinced, that so great were his own individual powers, he wanted no assistance; and even Mr. Calcraft himielf, would have tendered the use of his abilities, had he not entertained this conviction. Come, this is some comfort. But, if I mistake not, at the first opening of the business, there was only Sir Francis Burdett (who seconded Mr. Wardle’s motion) and my Lord Folkestone, from whom Mr. Wardle received even the smallest degree of countenance. And when, at a later period, the charge about Captain Maling, owing to a mere error in words, appeared to have failed; at this period, if I mistake not, the party, to which Mr. Calcraft belongs, did, in a most formal and solemn manner, disclaim all connection with Mr. Wardle, with respect to these charges, and that one of that party did distinctly say, that he had sent a message to him not to bring forward the charges, adding, that he had been imposed upon by the actors in a foul conspiracy against the Duke. That this was the case the public well knows; and, therefore, this declaration, that there were many members Edition: current; Page: [107] ready and willing to assist him, had they not been convinced that his own abilities rendered their assistance unnecessary, comes a little too late in point of fact, and a little too soon in point of time; because the formal and solemn disclaimer is still fresh in the memory of every man, who is not an idiot.

Now, as to the phrase, which appears to have given so much offence to Mr. Adam, Lord Folkestone says, that he by no means meant it in the way of reproach; and, I must think, that the reader will agree with me, that, when Mr. Adam’s first speech upon the subject is recollected; when it is recollected, what he said about the 20 years that the pecuniary affairs of the Duke had been in his hands, and about the unreserved communication between them; when it is recollected, that he then took upon himself to say, that the charges would prove unfounded; when it is recollected, that he has since held (as he acknowledges) conferences and consultations with the Duke and Colonel Gordon and Mr. Perceval, relative to matters connected with the inquiry; that he has had a witness, if not witnesses, in favour of the Duke, sent to him, who put questions to them, previous to their coming to be examined by the House; that (as he acknowledges) he was apprized of similar previous examinations going on at Mr. Lowten’s office; and, finally, that he was consulted and did advise relative to the time and manner of producing the circumstance of the pretended forgery: when all this is recollected, was there any thing unjust, any thing harsh, any thing overstrained, in Lord Folkestone’s calling Mr. Adam the “professed adviser of the Duke of York?” Besides, observe the occasion on which the phrase was used. It was in reference to the mode of inquiry, and bore, upon the face of it, a proof, that it was not meant to convey to the world an idea, that Mr. Adam had, while a member of the House, while a judge in the case, acted, at the same time, as the advocate of the Duke. There was nothing in the words to convey such a meaning; and, therefore, it does seem strange to me, that Mr. Adam should have felt so sore upon the subject.

I shall, hereafter, endeavour to give a fair view of Mr. Adam’s case, who, at present, certainly does not stand so well with the public as I could most sincerely wish; and I cannot refrain from observing now, that, we must be involved with such people, by slow degrees, as Mr. Adam appears to have been; we must be exposed to the solicitations of the all powerful; we must experience their importunities and feel the weight of influence, pressing from so many quarters, before we can say, that we should not have acted as Mr. Adam has acted. All that he says, respecting his general character and conduct, is, I am convinced, perfectly true. It was integrity, and not sycophancy, that recommended Mr. Adam to the selection of the Duke of York, because the repair of dilapidated affairs wanted integrity; but, it does not follow, that, because I choose such a man to husband my means, on the one hand, I should not profligately waste them on the other; or, that I should be at all the more scrupulous in the way of providing for my pleasures.

But, it is now time to come to the complaint contained in Lord Folkestone’s speech.

And, is it not true, that the mode of proceeding, pointed out by Mr. Wardle, the maker of the charges, was not adopted? Is it not true, that this is quite novel in the history of parliament? Was not the mode Mr. Wardle proposed overruled? Did not the House refuse him that mode, which he wished to be adopted? Is not all this well known to the people, Edition: current; Page: [108] and ought not the people to hold it in everlasting remembrance? Mr. Wardle, we are told by Mr. Perceval, did not object to the setting aside of his proposed mode of inquiry; there was no division of the House upon the question. Very true; but, did not Mr. Wardle clearly see, what must have been the result of such an objection, or such a division? As it has happened, the mode which has been adopted is more advantageous to the public, than the mode proposed by Mr. Wardle would have been; and, I must confess, that, morally certain that what has come out, would come out, I was glad to see the examination at bar determined on. But, still, Mr. Wardle’s mode was overruled; and this being something, as Lord Folkestone says, unprecedented in the history of the parliament, it was, and is, just ground of complaint, on the part of Mr. Wardle, who, it cannot be denied, did meet, at the very outset, with a hostile reception. What other construction can possibly be put upon the outcry about “a jacobin conspiracy,” and “the libellousness of the press?” Mr. Wardle comes and says; “I accuse the Duke of York of this and of that.” What is the answer? why, that there has long existed a conspiracy, of which the public writers form a part, to write and talk down the Duke of York, the army, the church, and the monarchical branch of the constitution. This was the answer to Mr. Wardle, from the servants of the King and their supporters; and, from the other side, in a few days after, it was flatly stated, that Mr. Wardle had been imposed upon by a foul conspiracy. Was not this giving him a hostile reception?

Then, as to pushing him on; and leaving no time for search, or for reflection; is it not fresh in the recollection of the public; is it not written in the reports of the debates, that he was pushed on? And that, when Mr. Wardle complained of this, and wished for a day or two to look about him and to think, was it not represented as unjust, and was he not asked: “Is it to be endured, that charges like these shall hang, from day to day, suspended over the head of a son of the crown?” When Lord Folkestone, upon one occasion, stated the exhausted condition of Mr. Wardle himself, was he not silenced by the cry of “Go on, go on?” To say, as Mr. Perceval does, in answer to Lord Folkestone, that there have been no divisions in the House, upon any of these points; good Lord! what is it! what does that circumstance make against the fact?

The other complaint of Lord Folkestone is, that Mr. Wardle had proceeded with the threat of infamy contingently attached to him, and that this threat had neither been withdrawn nor modified up to the present moment.

In answer to this Mr. Perceval says, that: “All that was meant, or had been said, was, not that infamy must attach either to Mr. Wardle or the Duke; but that, if the accusation were false, and a conspiracy should be found to exist, infamy would attach to the conspirators, and that if the gentlemen who brought forward the accusations, should be found to have too easily lent themselves to an unprincipled conspiracy, they would not, by their conduct, have added to their own credit.

Oh, dear me! Lack-a-day! Here are an abundance of very nice qualifications, not one word of which was to be seen, in any one of the reports of the famous debate, the ever-memorable debate, the everlastingly-to-be-esteemed and preserved debate, of Friday the 27th day of January in the year 1809. In the report of that debate, there appeared these words, as uttered by Mr. Canning, the King’s secretary of state for foreign affairs: “The hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle) surely must be aware, Edition: current; Page: [109] that having undertaken the responsible task of submitting to a British House of Commons such a serious accusation, whatever may be the result of its deliberation; in whatever view the House shall consider the transactions which he has disclosed, whether they be refuted or substantiated, infamy must attach somewhere, either upon the ACCUSED or the ACCUSER.”

These were the words, and these words, Lord Folkestone now, in the face of the House, after Mr. Perceval’s speech, asserts to have been used, and no one contradicts him; therefore, we must conclude, that the reports of the several newspapers, which all agree as to these words in particular, were correct. That, by ACCUSER, Mr. Canning might mean the “conspiracy” is certain; but, taking in the former part, the “responsible” part of the sentence, there is room to believe that he might, and did, mean Mr. Wardle; and, by the ACCUSED, it is utterly impossible, that he could mean any other person than the Duke of York.

Mr. Perceval, when, in the close of this part of his speech, he complains of Lord Folkestone’s saying, that the inquiry had manifestly suffered from the fear of people capable of giving information, that their doing so might offend the government; when Mr. Perceval thus complains, and says, that such a statement is calculated to create unfounded suspicions in the country, he appears to have forgotten, that his lordship has spoken of a fact; that he had stated, that he himself had applied to a person to give up certain papers; that this person was unwilling to give them up; “that the jet of his objection was, that, as the defence of the Duke had been taken up as a ministerial measure, he was apprehensive that he would incur their displeasure, and the displeasure of those immediately under them, which would probably operate to the ruin of himself and family.” To this his lordship added: I do assure the House, that this is not the only instance where similar apprehensions have prevented persons in possession of strong testimony, from coming forward, particularly officers in the army, and where information was withheld from the manner in which the thing had been taken up by the King’s servants in that House.” And, is not this very natural? Was there any need of the positive fact, stated by Lord Folkestone, to make the country believe this? Is there one man amongst us, who would not have anticipated what Lord Folkestone expressed? When the ministers and their friends began, when they received the charges, with denouncing as conspirators all those who had wrote and talked against the Duke of York, was it not to be expected, that all those persons, who were, in any way, dependent upon the government, would, if they possessed information upon the subject, take special care not to let it be known? And would not this, in a particular manner, apply to officers in the army, whose sole means of preserving their rank in life, and even of obtaining bread, depended upon the ministry, including that very person against whom the charges were preferred? A conclusion so obvious could have escaped no man with unaddled brains in his head.

It is useless to endeavour to stop the spreading of this way of thinking. It has, long ago, reached every soul in the country. The mind of the country is completely settled as to this point; and, indeed, upon the whole of the proceeding; all that is now necessary to be done being to place the facts upon record, in a way that they may be with facility referred to.

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The diversions, in Spain and Portugal, will be of little avail. There is nobody that cares, or need care, a straw about them. The interesting scene is at home, where the taxes are laid and collected. To this scene the people’s eyes, after twenty-four years of blindness, are, at last, open; and, though it is possible, that they may be induced to wink for a while, all the arts in the world will never be able to blind them again.

This is good. It is a great thing done. It is a firm step gained in the way of national restoration; and, for this great good, we have to thank, and the whole of the uncorrupt part of the nation most heartily do thank, Mr. WARDLE.

DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

Before I proceed with my Analysis of the cases, I shall offer some observations upon the Letter with which the Duke of York has treated the House of Commons and the public; but, previous even to those observations I feel myself called upon to notice the re-examination of Miss Taylor, who, as the reader will recollect, was a principal witness in the case of French and Sandon’s levy, and whose testimony, he will also recollect, remained unshaken, up to that part inclusive, which was wrought into the analysis of the case, in my last number.

This re-examination appears to have arisen from a man of the name of Frederick Schmidt, or Smith, having given information to some one, that Miss Taylor’s father was, at one time, called Chance; and, from a discovery, which had been made, that she was not a legitimate child; that her father and mother were not married. I shall now give this re-examination as I find it reported, including the intervening observations of the several members who spoke upon it.

Mr. Bradshaw. Do you recollect your paternal grandfather?—I do not, he was dead before I was born.

Might not your father have taken the name of Chance without your knowledge, and from pecuniary embarrassments?—How then should I know it?

Mr. Perceval. Is your father alive?—He is.

Has not your mother been confined under an execution for debt in the Fleet prison?—[The witness, much agitated, drew back from the bar, with these expressions—“My mother’s misfortunes have nothing to do with the object of the present inquiry.”]

Has not your mother been in custody for debt?

Witness. I appeal to the protection of the Chair.

Mr. Wharton. “It is my duty to call upon you for an answer to the last question.”

After some moments the witness, in tears, replied—Yes.

How long was she confined?—Two years.

The witness was ordered to withdraw.

Mr. Perceval stated that gentlemen opposite, when ready to depreciate his mode of examination, appeared to forget that the witness had represented herself, Edition: current; Page: [111] in her former examination, as the legitimate daughter of married parents, although it was now clear, by the imprisonment of her mother, that she never was married to the father of Miss Taylor.

Mr. W. Smith did dislike the tenour of the examination which was followed by the opposite side. It had in the previous part a tendency to cast imputations upon the character of the witness herself; but, that having failed, her veracity was to be questioned, because she had the misfortune to be the offspring of an illicit connection. Her delicacy in endeavouring to conceal that circumstance, in his opinion, instead of weakening, strengthened her yet unshaken claims to credit.

Mr. Whitbread considered the question for the decision of the Committee was not, whether Miss Taylor’s birth was respectable, but whether her testimony was credible? Besides, he believed the Chancellor of the Exchequer had assumed more than the evidence would justify, when he asserted that Miss Taylor had represented herself to the Committee as the daughter of married parents.—[Her former evidence was then read, and it appeared that no such statement was made by her.]

Sir John Sebright declared, that the impression which the first answer of the witness, on her former examination, namely, that she was the daughter of a gentleman, made on his mind, was, that she was an illegitimate child.

Mr. W. Wynne said, it was not to be endured, that because, from an amiable reluctance, the explanation of the witness did not run before decorum and sensibility, that, therefore, a suspicion was to be entertained of her veracity.

Mr. Barham. Really this is an attempt to discredit a correct witness, not upon her own testimony, but upon the errors of her parents.

Frederick Schmidt, upon being examined and cross-examined, gave no testimony, that Miss Taylor ever knew that her father went, upon any occasion, by the name of Chance; so that, there was nothing now came out, which did not tend to confirm, rather than to weaken, her former claims to credibility. In her former evidence, she did not say that she was a legitimate child; she did not say, that her father and mother were married; but, suppose she had said so; good God! would that have impeached her general veracity? Because she, whose very bread depended so much upon the character of her connections; who had a sister keeping a boarding-school, in partnership with herself; who had two brothers in the naval, and three in the military service, all bearing commissions; was her general veracity to be impeached, because she did not state, because she disguised, a fact not at all connected with the matter upon which she was examined, and a fact, the proclaiming of which must, at once, greatly injure, not only herself, but her father, mother, sister, and brothers?

It is but justice to the House of Commons to say, that they do appear to have received, with great applause, the sentiments of Mr. Smith, Mr. Whitbread, Sir J. Sebright, Mr. Wynne, and Mr. Barham; and, in this respect, at least, the voice of the country is decidedly with that of the House. There is but one sentiment upon this subject. The treatment of Miss Taylor is in the mouth of every person, who talks upon matters connected with the inquiry. The press, with the sole exception, I believe, of the Nabobs’ Gazette, has been unanimous in endeavours to do her justice; and, I do hope, that, when the affair is all over, if she shall still be found to have adhered to the truth, the public will consider the ruin, to which she has been exposed, and will yield her other protection than that which is given by words; for, as far as I am able to judge, an object more worthy of compassion and of support never presented itself to the people of this kingdom, who, whatever faults they may have, do Edition: current; Page: [112] not number amongst them that of a want of compassion, or of justice towards the injured.

The Letter of the Duke of York, to the House of Commons, we must now insert. It is a document of a very curious nature, and the proceedings upon it must, and will, be, in the end, of the greatest consequence to the country.

February 23, 1809

To the Speaker of the House of Commons.


I have waited with the greatest anxiety until the Committee appointed by the House of Commons to inquire into my conduct, as Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty’s Army, had closed its examinations, and I now hope that it will not be deemed improper to address this letter, through you, to the House of Commons.

I observe with the deepest concern, that in the course of this inquiry, my name has been coupled with transactions the most criminal and disgraceful, and I must ever regret and lament, that a connection should ever have existed, which has thus exposed my character and honour to public animadversion.

With respect to my alleged offences, connected with the discharge of my official duties, I do, in the most solemn manner, upon my honour, as a prince, distinctly assert my innocence, not only by denying all corrupt participation in any of the infamous transactions which have appeared in evidence at the bar of the House of Commons, or any connivance at their existence, but also the slightest knowledge or suspicion that they existed at all.

My consciousness of innocence leads me confidently to hope, that the House of Commons will not, upon such evidence as they have heard, adopt any proceeding prejudicial to my honour and character; but if, on such testimony as has been adduced against me, the House of Commons can think my innocence questionable, I claim of their justice, that I shall not be condemned without trial, or be deprived of the benefit and protection which is afforded to every British subject, by those sanctions under which alone evidence is received in the ordinary administration of the law.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.,

Now, I will venture to assert, that, of the fourteen millions of people, of which this nation consists, there is not one, except those who are the advisers of the Duke of York, who would have expected, under such circumstances, such a letter from him. It really would appear, that he looks upon the evidence that has been given against him as being discredited, not only by the House, but by the country; and, that his simple denial, upon his “honour, as a prince,” is quite sufficient to do away the effect of all that has passed in the House of Commons, within the last interesting month. Here we have a most striking instance of the blinding effects of long-enjoyed power, and long-continued flattery. A person, so circumstanced, does not see with the eyes, or hear with the ears, of men whom no one has an interest in deceiving. Blessed advisers he must have, who, while such a mass of positive and corroborated and strongly presumptive evidence lay against him, took up his pen to give it a simple negation, upon his bare word; who, in the face of his two letters, wherein Clavering’s application is mentioned, and wherein, in consequence of a request of Mrs. Clarke, it is stated that he will endeavour to procure O’Meara an opportunity of preaching before royalty; who, in the face of these letters, tells the House of Commons, that he never had “the slightest knowledge or suspicion,” that these corruptions existed at all. Blessed advisers that man must have, especially after the Edition: current; Page: [113] inquiry into the origin of the short note respecting Tonyn’s promotion, and which note does, at last, set at defiance all the attempts to make it out “a forgery.” Blessed advisers, to say, in the face of all this, that he never had even a suspicion that such things existed; and to appear confident, that, in consequence of this bare assertion, upon “the honour of a prince,” the House of Commons should, with their month’s examinations of witnesses before them, stop short, in a moment; or, at least, that they should come to no decision, upon that evidence, prejudicial to his honour and character! Blessed advisers that man must have!

Why, upon reading this assertion, as opposed to the evidence taken at the bar of the House, the observation that starts from every mouth, is this: “Oh! then, why was there any inquiry at all? If the Duke’s assertion, upon his honour as a prince, be sufficient to knock down all this evidence, why not have appealed to that word, when Mr. Wardle brought forward his charges? And why not have brought the Duke’s denial; the Duke’s “distinct assertion,” to set against Mr. Wardle and his charges, and thereupon voted the charges to be false and malicious, and the work of a jacobinical conspiracy against the ‘illustrious House of Brunswick?’ ”

But, it has been contended, that there is nothing, in this letter, trenching upon the privileges of the House; no attempt to deter them from proceeding, in their own way, with respect to the charges and evidence against the Duke. Mr. Whitbread, on the day after the letter had been read to the House, spoke of it as an attack upon its privileges, and observed, that the Duke might as well have written a letter to the House before any proceedings had taken place, asserting his innocence, and suggesting, that they ought not to proceed.

Mr. Perceval denied this, and said, that the Duke merely asserted his innocence, and requested that, should that innocence still be doubted, he might be allowed to go to trial, without any further previous proceedings against him; and that he (Mr. Perceval) saw nothing unconstitutional or improper in this.

No? Well said, Mr. Perceval! It may be “constitutional,” for that is a very accommodating word; and, it may be “proper” too; but, if the letter has any meaning at all in it, it is this; that the House will do wrong, that they will be guilty of an act of injustice, if they take any step in the business, prejudicial to the Duke; and, that, at most, they ought to leave his conduct to be judged of by others than themselves. This, indeed, is admitted by Mr. Perceval; it cannot be denied; and, if this be not dictating to the House what they ought, or rather, what they ought not, to do, I know not the meaning of the word dictate. There may have been letters, sent, by accused persons, to the House of Commons; but, I defy Mr. Perceval to produce an instance of such a letter as this; a letter, expressing a “confident hope,” that the House, who have taken evidence upon the case, will not, to the prejudice of the accused, proceed to any step, grounded upon that evidence.

Then, observe, the whole of the evidence, taken by the House, and many parts of which great numbers of the members have expressly declared to be unshaken; the whole of this evidence, in a lump, not excepting even that contained in his own letters and note, is branded as false by the party accused. He presumes, before the summing up has taken place in the House, to tell them how they ought to decide upon Edition: current; Page: [114] the quality of the evidence; he, upon his bare word, and without pretending to possess the means of proving what he says, takes upon him to tell the House, that they ought to regard as a liar every person, who has given evidence against him.

Nay, he further presumes to say, that, if the House can believe the accusatory evidence; if they can think his innocence questionable; what then? What is then contingently pointed out to them? Why, to leave him to be tried elsewhere; and, in the meanwhile, not to adopt any proceeding, prejudicial to his honour and character. Now, it will be recollected, that, in other cases of impeachment, the House have, the moment they found cause for impeachment, addressed the King to remove the accused persons from his councils and presence, and especially from any places of trust, or command, that they possessed at the time; all, or any one, of which, the Duke has now the modesty to “confidently hope,” that they will not attempt to do, in this his particular case, notwithstanding all the evidence that they have before them; and this “confident hope” he expresses, too, at the same time, that he talks so fluently of the protection afforded to every other British subject.

That, upon this occasion, all possible delicacy towards the King should be shown, I am quite willing to allow. It is enough in all conscience for a father to know that such grounds of charge exist against his son, without being told any thing about them in a harsh manner. An address for removal from his presence for ever, or at all, would sound hard; but, from employment and councils, until a final decision take place, is what reason, is what the necessity of the case points out. Indeed, what must those advisers be, who would render even this necessary? Perhaps they will not. To lay the evidence before the King seems to be the first step; and then to wait to see, whether any further step be required.

One cannot, however, make these observations, without suffering to intrude the reflection of how dangerous it is to place members of the royal family in responsible situations. It is true, that, in the eye of the law, the Duke of York is no more than a subject of the King; but, let law, and even philosophy, say what they will, the practice will set their maxims and their principles at defiance.

Reader, has it not struck you as a question to be asked, How the Duke, who appears to be so full of that “conscious innocence,” of which the Nabobs’ Gazette speaks, came to think it necessary; how he, who so boldly asserts his innocence, and who seems to hold the evidence against him in such hearty contempt; how he came to think it at all necessary to tell the House, that he hoped they would not adopt any proceeding prejudicial to his honour? Why should he suppose they would? How came such a thought into that head of his? It seems to me, that if I had been in his place, and conscious of innocence and contemning the evidence against me, I should have let my judges alone to acquit me, in their own good time and manner. If, indeed, I have evidence on my side to produce; then, I say, “Wait; hear me too, before you decide;” but, the Duke has produced all his evidence. A whole levy, an army, of lawyers and attorneys have been at work for him, during the whole of the proceedings, which, at last, closed with the examination of General Officers (members of the House, too), as to his talents and industry in the disciplining of the army. He does not ask to be heard; he does not even pretend that he has any thing to produce in his defence; he merely brands all the evidence against him as falsehoods, and, as the Courier Edition: current; Page: [115] (which has acted a most manly part in these times) well observes, “desires complete acquittal, without producing any evidence other than mere assertion.”

Well, but how came he to think an expression of his “confident hope” necessary? It is not, I think, too much to presume, that the answer to this question must be to this amount, namely, that he thought it probable, at the least, that the House looked upon the evidence in a light different from that, in which he viewed it; for, unless he thus thought, it is evident, that he would not have written a letter, containing words expressive of such a hope; and, if this be our conclusion, it necessarily follows, that we must believe, that the letter was intended to induce the House to come over to his way of thinking, or to the opinion expressed by him, relative to that evidence. The main point for the reader to consider here, however, is, how far this running before his judges, in their decision upon the evidence, corresponds with that solemn assertion of “innocence,” contained in the letter. This is the point for the public to consider. The inquiry had been gone through. Every thing that could be produced, on the side of the accused, had been produced. There had been no want of advisers, or of assistants, of any sort, or of any size. The whole case was before the House, and, owing to the Duke’s friends, before the public also. It was, it appears to me, the part of “conscious innocence” to wait, with impatience, no doubt; but with confidence, for the decision; and not to run before the judges with a request, that they would come to no decision at all, or at least, to no other decision than that of an acquittal. This is not the part usually acted by “conscious innocence.”

Extraordinary as the whole of the letter is, the close has still so much of this quality in it, as to make it a conspicuous object even in such a group of extraordinary propositions. The Duke claims of the justice of the House, that he shall not be condemned without a trial, or be deprived of the benefit and protection which is [are he means] “afforded to every British subject, by those sanctions, under which alone, evidence is received in the ordinary administration of law.”

By “those sanctions,” he means oaths, I suppose; and then, the first observation to make is, that the evidence in his favour, as well as that against him, has not been taken upon oath.

The House of Commons is in the habit of taking evidence in this way, and in deciding upon it too; and, there appears to be no sound reason, why the Duke of York should be exempted from the effect of its power in this respect.

But, that which is most striking here, is, that the mode which has been adopted, in the inquiry, is the very mode pointed out by his friends, in opposition to the mode pointed out by Mr. Wardle, who, to his immortal honour, brought forward the charges, and who, after having preferred the charges, moved for the appointment of a committee to inquire into them, and, before a committee, so appointed, the witnesses would have been examined upon oath. Mr. Adam opposed this, and conjured the House not to appoint a committee of this sort, but to have the inquiry open at the bar. He said (see page 37 of this vol.) that, “in justice to its own privileges, and to the dignified character of the illustrious personage, the House ought not to surrender its inquisitorial powers, nor delegate to any Select or Secret Committee that inquiry, which, to be efficient, Edition: current; Page: [116] must be public, and for the publicity of which there was no person more anxious than the Duke of York.

Mr. Wilberforce wished for a committee, capable of examining the witnesses upon oath.

Mr. Perceval was for an inquiry at the bar of the House; and he said (see page 38), that “some consideration ought to be extended to the wish of his royal highness. That wish, he could positively state, was that the investigation should be the most complete and public. (Hear! hear! hear!) There was nothing that his royal highness so particularly deprecated as any secret or close discussion of those charges. Standing, as that illustrious personage did, on the fairness of his character, and the fulness of the evidence which he was enabled to produce, he was desirous of being acquitted by the most public investigation.”

Lord Folkestone wished for a select committee, seeing how difficult a matter it was to carry on a fair inquiry at the bar of the House.

Mr. Canning was for the examination at the bar; he said that the history of parliament was replete with precedents for it; and, he called it “a species of trial which united earliness with publicity.

Thus, was this mode of inquiry, upon the suggestion of Mr. Adam, the twenty years gratuitous adviser of the Duke, adopted, in opposition to the course pointed out and moved for by Mr. Wardle; and, the Chancellor of the Exchequer states positively, that it is this mode of inquiry, that the Duke of York wishes for.—Well, he has had his wish. The inquiry is over. It has taken place. It is closed. And, what does he now, in his own name, and under his own hand, tell this same House of Commons? Why, that he has, thus far, been “deprived;” aye, “deprived,” of what Mr. Wardle and Mr. Wilberforce and Lord Folkestone, contrary to his wishes, expressed by Mr. Perceval, wanted him to have; and, upon the ground of this deprivation, amongst other grounds, he desires the House not to adopt any proceeding prejudicial to his honour; though he appears to have no sort of objection to their acquitting him. This, I think, does very far surpass every thing of the sort that I ever heard of in all my life. I have seen many remarkable instances of the presumption of power; but any thing like this, or nearly approaching a resemblance to it, I never before witnessed.

The Duke’s wish, the wish of the accused, prevailed over that of the accuser. The accused has had the mode of trial which he chose; and now the trial is over, he seems to think it no trial at all, unless the decision shall be that of acquittal. Upon evidence, not taken upon oath, he is willing to be acquitted; but, he is not willing to be condemned without “a trial.” Why, Mr. Canning called this a species of trial; but it was not called a trial for acquittal only.—Let us look upon the thing on the other side. Suppose the House had found no evidence in support of the charges; would they not instantly have voted the charges false and groundless, and accused the accusers of infamous calumny? To be sure they would; and, are we to be told, that they ought not now to condemn, or censure; that they ought not now to adopt proceedings prejudicial to the honour of the accused, upon the evidence received in the same way? If they were now to acquit the Duke, and any one of us were to tell them that they had done wrong, would they not send us to Newgate for a gross breach of their privileges? Oh, God! it makes one’s flesh creep upon one’s bones.

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They may acquit, but they cannot condemn. A strange court, indeed, this! Mr. Canning talked of the House in its judicial capacity; but he certainly had no idea of this sort. Mr. Perceval talked of acquittal, or of condemnation; Mr. Canning again talked of infamy upon the head of the accused or the accuser, as the necessary result of the inquiry; but, if we adopt the doctrine of the Duke’s letter, the only person in danger of infamy was the accuser.

People of England, you who pay the taxes, and you who are to fight for your country, have your eyes steadily fixed upon what is now doing in the House of Commons.

Seeing that, at the present moment, the whole of the case, of the Duke of York, is fresh in the public mind, I think it will be best to defer a continuation of my analysis of the separate cases, till we have taken time to examine some very important matter, that presses forward for observation, connected with what appears to be, by some, regarded as a set-off to the charges and evidence.

During the examinations, Colonel Gordon was frequently asked questions touching the excellence of the Duke’s regulations as to promotions, and so forth; and as to the good effect, which they were calculated to have upon the discipline and efficiency of the army. The Colonel’s answers were, all through, calculated to produce a great idea of the good which had been done, owing to the Duke of York being Commander-in-Chief.

When the whole of the examinations, at all relating to the charges, had been gone through, recourse was had to the evidence of general officers, who were members of the House, in order to show how much benefit the army had derived from the chief-commandership of the Duke of York.

Now, before we enter upon this part of the interesting scene, let us ask, why this sort of evidence? why evidence as to the discipline and state of the army was called for, in a case, where the charges were of corruption? If a shepherd be tried for sheap-stealing, is evidence ever brought respecting the healthy and excellent state of the flock? The fact about the stealing is the only thing to be inquired into in such a case. It has always a bad look to see an accused person, or the advocates of an accused person, fly off from the point at issue. Meet that point first. Get a decision upon that; and then urge your claims upon other accounts. When you accuse any one of being a liar, and he answers, “I am no thief,” all the hearers know very well what to conclude as to the charge of his being a liar.

Now for this famous evidence, the task of bringing out which was undertaken by Mr. Charles Yorke. General Norton was asked, whether “the army had been improved, or not, since the Duke of York had had the chief command;” to which he answered, “I think the discipline was as good before the Duke of York had the command.” Being asked nearly the same question again, he answers: “I should suppose it may have improved. Still, I think, the troops were as good in General Wolfe’s time.”

Sir James Pulteney said, that “the condition of the army had improved; that the discipline had improved; that the facility of manœuvring had been greatly improved, since the Duke of York took the command.”

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Sir Arthur Wellesley corroborated the evidence of Sir James Pulteney, and added this very striking part of his statement: “I know that his royal highness has given general satisfaction in the promotion of officers, and I have never found that he departed from any rule laid down for a promotion in the army.

General Fitzpatrick said, that the good which the army had derived from the command of his royal highness was so great, as well as so notorious, that any appeal, upon the subject, to general officers, was unnecessary.

Now, first as to discipline, where have we, in the experience, any proof of such improvements? Discipline, like every thing else, ought to be estimated by the effects which we see it produce.

Dunkirk, the Helder, Ferrol, Buenos Ayres, Cintra, Gallicia, &c. &c.! Aye, very true! There may have been no fault in either case; but, still, the excellence of armies is proved by their victories, and by their victories only. Why have we so high an opinion of our fleet? Only because it is so constantly victorious. Read the account below of the actions of Lord Cochrane.* Do we hear of such things in our army? Not that I would cast a reflection upon the officers of the army, many of whom are, doubtless, made of as good stuff as Lord Cochrane, and had they had his naval education, would have been doing what he is doing; but, what I say is this, that we must judge of the excellence of an army as we do of the excellence of a fleet, and that is by its deeds. And this, I beg the reader to observe, was the principle, upon which Sir Arthur Wellesley first met the charges against the Duke. He then said, that the victory of Vimeira was owing to the excellent state of the army, and that the House in thanking him for that victory, was in fact, though indirectly, thanking the Duke of York also. Now, then, pray let the argument be as good on the one side as it is on the other. If the Duke is to be thanked for the victories, pray let him have his share of the blame for the defeats. Sir Arthur does not appear to have been aware, that he had got hold of a two-edged argument; but, it does not follow that no one else should perceive it.

Discipline, in the view of some people, seems to mean nothing more than the regulations respecting the movements upon parade, or at a field-day. The dressing to right and left; the quick and slow step; the locking-up and the opening of ranks; the wheeling and facing and the tossing of the firelock; the queuing of hair and the polishing of arms Edition: current; Page: [119] and accoutrements. Why, these are the science of drill-sergeants, hundreds of whom there are, who would beat even the Duke of York at any branch of these important affairs, which are all forgotten the moment an army takes the field, and which serve merely to fill up the leisure hours of officers and soldiers, when they have no real military duty to perform. They are most of them very proper; but, they have nothing to do with what, in a comprehensive mind, is viewed as the discipline of an army, which consists in great and general regulations, relating to obedience, to the administration of justice, to the talents and experience of commanders, to the distribution of duty and of power, all which require much experience as well as much reflection, much solidity of head as well as much integrity of heart. To hear Sir James Pulteney, upon a question of discipline, talk of the putting six regiments together to manœuvre, is truly astonishing. This has nothing to do with the discipline of an army, any more than with the house in Gloucester-place.

But, even, in point of look, of mere parade look, and movement, I put it to any man, who can bring his mind back to what the army was 20 years ago, to say whether it has, even in this respect, improved. In the year 1789 I remember seeing the sixth regiment of foot, in New Brunswick, and I have never seen such a regiment since that time. I saw the 12th regiment of foot about the year 1785; they had no Austrian caps on, no black leggings, and no short faceless coats. They had the old grenadier caps and the old battalion hats; except on duty, they wore any coloured stockings, and any sort of buckles; their coats had good warm skirts to them, and they were not much of the tight and truss-looking sort. They were commanded by old Major Picton, who had, I believe, been a private in the regiment, in which the present General Picton was then a lieutenant of grenadiers. But with all this old-fashioned work about them, they were the finest regiment I ever saw in my life; and, during about a year that I knew them, I do not believe, that there were above two men punished at the halberts. Will any man persuade me, then, that such a regiment as the 12th was then, would not have been as efficient in the field as if they had been screwed up in tight Austrian jerkins? It must be allowed, that the very great augmentation of its numbers has rendered it impossible to keep the army what it formerly was, either in point of morals, or of the size of the men. This I am willing to allow; but, really, when, on the one hand, I see the poor dirty-looking things that now wear, after the German fashion, sashes twisted round them every day in the week; and, on the other hand, look back to the sergeants of 20 years ago, I am astonished to hear any one say that the army has improved. Still, I do allow, that it is quite impossible to have so large an army what the army was, and what it might be again if reduced to 30,000 men. I do not blame the Duke of York, because the army is not now what it then was; nor do I blame him because 12 or 15,000 officers are not so select as 2,000 officers were; but, I greatly blame his friends for endeavouring to make us believe, that the army formerly was bad, compared to what it is now, which I say is not the fact, and which, from the nature of things, cannot be the fact.—But, something has been said about the Duke having bettered the condition of the soldier. I have no wish to deny him a disposition to render the soldier’s lot more comfortable, nor the merit of having taken a proper part in any measure of that sort; but, I believe, no one will deny, that the augmentation of pay was absolutely necessary to the bare existence of the Edition: current; Page: [120] men; the time when the augmentation took place must, too, not be forgotten; and, at any rate, the means came out of the pocket of the public and not of the Duke of York. Still, however, I do not wish to withhold from him any part of the praise due to this consideration for the then wretched state of the soldier; but, I must insist, and I am pretty sure, that the public will be of my opinion, that let who would have been the chief commander of the army, the pay, at the time referred to, must have been augmented, or that starvation, absolute starvation, would have driven the men from the ranks. Then, again, who will venture to assert, or to suppose, that what has been done for the comfort of the soldier, would not have been done under any other commander-in-chief? When the salaries of the Judges were augmented, did they receive the augmentation as a boon, as a gift from the minister of the day? No; but as an act of justice at the hands of the country; as something due to their services and their rank; as no more than a just compensation for the use of their great talents, and for their arduous and almost unremitted labours. It is not at all agreeable to my notions, nor, I hope, to the notions either of those who pay, or those who receive, to look upon what is given in the way of augmentation to the income of any servant of the public, as a gift on the part of those, be they who they may, that propose, or support, the making of that augmentation.

Now, we come to a part of this evidence, which has some slight bearing upon the charges before the House, namely, what Sir Arthur Wellesley says about that “great and general satisfaction which the Duke has given as to matters of promotion, and about his inflexible adherence to the rules laid down relating to promotions.” This is all very well, but the worst of it is, that we have the cases of Captain Maling and of Sammy Carter before us; not in hearsay, not in assertion, but in proof. Sammy we will leave till another time; but, there is a part of Colonel Gordon’s evidence which we must here take particular notice of, as it will, in a twinkling, give us a most correct idea of all this boasted regularity and inflexibility about promotions.

(Page 47.) Colonel Gordon says, I conceive it my particular duty to take care and report to the Commander-in-Chief, that any Officer whose name is submitted to his Royal Highness is a fit and proper person, duly qualified in all respects as to character, as to points of service, and as to his Majesty’s regulations for the service into which he is so recommended.

It is a regulation of the army, his Majesty’s regulation, that no Subaltern can be promoted to a company, either by purchase or without, under a service of two years.

(Page 49, he says), The regulations are briefly these: An officer must serve as a Subaltern two years before he can be a Captain, and he must have served six years before he can be a Field Officer. I never knew an instance of those rules being broken through, always, as in merchant’s accounts, saying errors excepted.

(Page 53, to Col. Gordon.) Has it ever come within your knowledge that any officer has been promoted without any service whatever? No, it has not.

(Page 55, to Col. Gordon.) What were the services of Captain Maling’s brother, who is, I believe, a Captain in the army, who is in the War-office? There is a Captain Maling, an assistant of mine in the office of the Commander-in-Chief; I take it for granted, that is the person Edition: current; Page: [121] referred to. What his services are as a Lieutenant, I really do not know; I found him as a lieutenant in the office of the Commander-in-Chief; and in consideration of his extraordinary good character, and more than common abilities, the promotions of the army going through his hands, under mine, I did recommend him to his royal highness the Commander-in-Chief to be placed upon the half-pay as a captain, upon which half-pay he most assuredly will be placed as soon as an opportunity offers; but the Commander-in-Chief has it not in his power.

(Page 56, to Colonel Gordon.) Do you know whether or not that Captain Maling ever joined and did duty with any regiment? I do not know that he did; and I do not think that he did.

“This case,” adds the Courier, “speaks so plainly for itself, that it requires no comment. Most surprising it is that Colonel Gordon has impressed many persons with an opinion of the great accuracy of his memory, and his rigid conformity to the rules of the service. Now, the Colonel’s memory, poor man, seems as fallible as that of any other person who has been examined. During an examination into the undue promotion of the brother of Captain Maling of the War-office, he does not know of any officer being promoted without any service whatever, though in a few minutes afterwards he owns he himself has lately recommended to be promoted to a Company, Maling’s brother, a gentleman daily employed under him, who never served in any Regiment whatever, or even joined one. How unlucky that the man he had the most concern with in the world (the Duke excepted), and whose brother’s case was under consideration at the moment, should thus have slipped altogether out of his memory, though he, the Colonel, had lately recommended him for promotion, for lately it must be. And how unlucky that the Colonel, so very nice in inquiring into the qualifications of Officers as to points of service before he submits their names to the Duke, should himself have recommended a gentleman who never served at all! But let this military paragon take the advantage of his ‘errors excepted.’ If he cannot justify himself in the field of Mars, he has fortunately put in a saving clause, which must secure his acquittal in ’Change-alley.”

This case alone gives us a pretty good view of the rigid adherence, the inflexible adherence, to the rules laid down about promotion; and, whatever Sir Arthur Wellesley may think of it, it will weigh most lumpingly against any general assertion, founded upon the observation of any General in the army.

But, let us take another case, containing a contrast; and though the facts may be dry in detail, they cannot fail to be useful. Frederick Adam (son of Mr. Wm. Adam) was an

Ensign in the 26th Reg. of Foot 1797 14
Lieut. in the same 1798 15
Lieut. with rank of Capt. Guards 1799 16
Major in the 5th Bat. Reserve 1803 20
Lieut.-Col. in the same 1804 21
Lieut.-Col. in 21st Foot 1805 22

Now, mark, reader; I beg you to mark it well; that Colonel Gordon says, that the rules of the service are, that an officer must serve six years before he can be a field-officer, that is to say, a Major, a Lieut.-Colonel or a Colonel; but, we here find, that Frederick Adam became a field-officer in four years after he entered the army; at the age of 20 years; and that of these four years, a part, at least, according to his father’s own statement, was spent, not in service, but at school.

No comment is necessary; but now let us see the contrast.

Anthony French, who was a Captain in the 21st Reg. of Foot, at the period when Frederick Adam entered the army, and Edition: current; Page: [122] was put to school at Woolwich, is still a Captain, and, in that same regiment, is of course under the command of Frederick Adam.

Frederick Jones, J. G. Forth, James Connolly, who were Lieutenants in the 26th Foot, in 1798, at the time when Frederick Adam was a Lieutenant in that Regiment, hold, at the present moment, the rank of Captain in that corps.

Montague Wynyard, Charles Philips, who were senior Lieutenants, in the Coldstream Guards, to Frederick Adam, when the latter was serving with them, are Lieutenants in that regiment still.

These facts have been stated to me, in a letter, in which I am referred to the army lists, published by authority. I have not those lists at hand; but if the statement be incorrect, the error can at once be rectified by a reference to those lists.

Now, then, what are we to think about the inflexible adherence to the rules of promotion? What are we to think about that “general satisfaction,” which we are told, that the Duke’s management of promotions has given?

I am of opinion, and so must, I think, every reasonable man, that a strict rule of promotion by seniority would be a very bad rule; that it would damp all emulation; and that little that is brilliant, daring, glorious, could be expected in such a service. But, then, seniority must be a rule, and a departure from it the exception; else all would be mere favour, caprice, and intrigue. That there ought to be the power of departing from the rule we all allow; reason says it should be so; but, then, reason, united with justice, say, that this power never should be exercised, except in cases where the good of the service demands such exercise; and, in cases, too, where that demand is so obvious that there can be no doubt upon the point. Length of service is, of itself, a military merit; such it has always been deemed; and it has been a rule to reward accordingly. When, therefore, there exists no particular, no special and obvious reason for preferring one man to another, the rule of seniority ought to be strictly adhered to. Now, in the case of Frederick Adam, to say nothing about his rank and promotion, while at school, there does not appear any such special and obvious reason for a preference. His father says, he behaved very bravely and skilfully in Holland at the age of 16 years; but, will he pretend to say, that there were not many other officers, his seniors, whose good conduct was not equal to his? No, no; it is not on account of an act of ordinary merit, that will warrant a departure from the rule of seniority. Had it, indeed, fallen to the lot of Frederick Adam to go, as we see Lord Cochrane has done (and which, had the occasion offered, I have no doubt he would), into the ditch of a rampart, and, amidst a shower of balls, bring up the flag of the fortress, and again set it flying defiance against the enemy; had a case of this sort occurred, the whole army would have seen the rule of seniority departed from, not only without pain, but with pleasure. But no such case appears to have existed; we never till now heard of any extraordinary merit in the son of Mr. Adam; most of us never heard of his name before; nay, for my own part, I am amongst those, who did not know that Mr. Adam had a son in the army. Besides, we see Frederick Adam, not only promoted over the heads of his seniors, at the outset, and in one regiment; but, we see him going from Edition: current; Page: [123] corps to corps, and we see his good fortune still follow him, wherever he goes; we see him still and still jumping over the heads of his seniors.

It must, I think, be manifest to every man, that such preferences cannot fail to be greatly injurious to the service. When officers see their juniors get the start of them, without any such claim as I have before described, it is impossible, decidedly impossible, that their zeal should not be damped; that they should not have a cold heart for the service; and that, in the end, they should not care to have any care beyond that of mere self. This is so obvious, and there are so many thoughts connected with it, which will at once, strike the reader, that I shall not longer dwell upon it.

I do not know whether it occurred to any body else, but to me it immediately did, upon reading General Fitzpatrick’s evidence, in praise of the Duke of York’s commandership, to express a wish to know, according to what “rule of promotion” it was, that the General, who had not been in any military service, I believe, for above twenty years, and who, I believe, had not actually served since he was a Captain in the Guards, came to have a regiment given to him, the moment Mr. Fox and his party came into place, in 1806. We see, that in the case of Major Brooke, a stoppage of the proposed exchange took place, the Major having been upon half-pay for six years. This circumstance required an inquiry, one of Colonel Gordon’s inquiries. The colonel does not (what a pity!) keep any minutes of his inquiries, or I should certainly be for asking him to oblige us with a copy of the inquiry, made with respect to General Fitzpatrick, who had, for so many years, I believe a full quarter of a century, been, not upon half-pay, but upon no pay at all, at least, I mean, as an officer in the army. Perhaps, if we were to search through the whole of the army list, we should not find a more complete instance of the excellent arrangements at the Commander-in-Chief’s office, than this instance of the promotion of General Fitzpatrick. It is notorious; it is a thing not to be denied by any one, that he had, for many years, been living in and about London, with not the smallest appearance of any thing military about him, with the sole exception of the rank prefixed to his name; nor have I ever heard, that he ever actually served, either abroad or at home, except in the Guards, as far as the rank of Captain. And, yet he not only came into the army all at once, as soon as Mr. Fox was in office, but had the Colonelcy and the profits of a regiment given to him. This is not for life, indeed; it is not so good as a patent place, which has been compared to a freehold estate; it is not so good as that, because, if the King pleases, he can, at any time, without reason assigned, take the regiment away. But, it is a good thing, as long as the general has it; and the reader will readily suppose, that, in the whole of our army, containing from 12 to 15 thousand officers, a person might have been found with as good claims to a regiment as General Fitzpatrick.

And yet, we are desired; in the face of all this, we are desired to believe, that nothing in the world can be better managed than the promotions of the army have been; that the rules of promotion are most religiously adhered to; and that the Duke’s conduct, as to promotions, in particular, has given “general satisfaction.” We are a believing nation. There is hardly any thing too much for us in this way. But, I really do think, that our belief is not quite equal to this.

After all, however, the conduct of the Duke of York, in the general management of the army, has, the reader will clearly see, nothing at all to do with the specific Charges against him. Those charges must stand, Edition: current; Page: [124] or fall, upon their own merits; and, unless the Duke can produce evidence to rebut the evidence brought against him, all the efforts of his supporters, in any other way, are perfectly useless.

We now come to a matter, which, though not relating to any of the charges against the Duke of York, is so nearly connected with them as never to be lost sight of when we are making observations, as to the effects of the transactions stated in those charges.

I allude to the general traffic for Offices and Places under Government, which, as the reader will remember, has before been a subject of observation with me upon many occasions. At page 25 of the present volume, are several advertisements relating to the sale of such offices and places, and, in the half-month’s papers, from which I collected them, I found one for a Writership, one for a Cadetship, and several relating to commissions in the Militia; but, as no money was spoken of in the latter case, I did not insert it, and really, as to the East India sovereigns’ offices, I thought they were always bought and sold; and how should I think otherwise, when I saw, in the course of every year, so many hundreds of advertisements like those here spoken of; nor was it without the most agreeable surprise, that, when Mr. Donovan’s disclosure came forth, I found that the East India Directors took the thing to heart, and called for “a committee, up-stairs,” to inquire into “so serious a matter.” This was a most agreeable surprise to me, who had seen their offices advertised for sale for so many years, without one word having ever been said against such advertisements, or such sale.

As to the offices and places under the government of this country, I had, more than once, and a long while ago, taken advertisements, relating to them, for mottos to my Register; and, in one Number, having such a motto, I appealed to Mr. Perceval, whether such things were proper; whether they were not calculated to disgust the country; and I asked him why the authors were not prosecuted.

This statement, intended to refresh the mind of the reader, is by way of preface to the very curious matter that came out in the House of Commons, from the lips of Mr. Perceval, on the 24th of February, relating to a prosecution of that sort, which was so long ago recommended by me.

“He,” the report of the proceedings says, “informed the House, that although he had taken the address of the house in Threadneedle-street from the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle), who alluded to it in opening his charge against the Duke of York, as if he (Mr. Perceval) had been a stranger to its existence, yet that he was perfectly aware of the cicumstance at that time. The reason of his pretending ignorance, on the subject, was owing to this:—A gentleman had written to him on the 12th January, stating that on reading an advertisement for the sale of an office under government, he had answered it to the persons who kept this office, and was then in treaty for it. He was sent to the Solicitor of the Treasury, who had instructions to furnish any sum of money necessary for a deposit, and to proceed in the business till the parties were entrapped beyond the possibility of escaping the law. The business was in this state at the time the hon. gentleman had brought forward his charges, and he thought it imprudent to appear as if at all acquainted with the subject. An indictment was now filed ayainst Messrs. Pullen and Haylock, and a lady of the name of Harvey, as well as against the Banker (Watson, it afterwards appeared) who received the deposit.—From what he had said, it would be seen that government had determined to inquire into and proceed against these abuses a considerable time before the hon. gentleman brought the subject of inquiry before the House.

Oh! no, no, no!—No, no! Not “a considerable time.” Mr. Wardle Edition: current; Page: [125] brought forward his charges on the 27th of January; but, he gave notice of his intention so to do about a week before that. Well, this leaves but eight days between Mr. Perceval’s receiving “the gentleman’s” letter, and the notice of Mr. Wardle, which notice, observe, must, in this case, be coupled with the threat of Mrs. Clarke, sent to Mr. Adam so long ago as the month of June last. Eight days is not what we mean by a “considerable time,” in such cases; nor must we allow Mr. Wardle thus to be deprived of this part of the effect of his exertions.

Besides, though Mr. Perceval got the “gentleman’s” letter (Mr. Wardle always mentioned names) on the 12th of January, it does not follow, that he set the Solicitor of the Treasury to work before Mr. Wardle gave notice of a motion. This does not follow; and, if I had been one of the House, I would have called for names, dates, and papers of all sorts.

The great object, in this most curious movement, evidently was, to cause the public to believe, that the government was, of itself, disposed to put a stop to these shameful transactions, and that it would have done it, if Mr. Wardle had never been born; and, the proof is, that it had actually set to work, even before his notice of any charges was given.

To believe this, we must also believe that there has been a very wonderful concurrence; a wonderful jumping of judgment. Yes, we must believe; it does not signify talking about “a gentleman’s” letter; we must believe it to be very strange indeed, that, just at this time, the government should have taken the first, the very first step, in the detection and punishment of those who buy and sell offices and places; and that an advertisement, too, should set them to work, though thousands of such advertisements have appeared, during the last 10 or 15 years. Very strange, indeed!

But, though Mr. Wardle did not give his notice till the 20th of January, or thereabouts, will Mr. Perceval say, that he did not hear of Mr. Wardle’s intention so to do, long before the 20th or even the famous 12th of January? Will he say, that he did not hear of this? I did. I heard of it in the first week of January, and, I believe, on the 2nd day of the month; and the intention, as being publicly rumoured, was mentioned to me in a letter, the day after my return home, which was on the 9th of January. Nay, must it not have been known to the ministers before the 12th of January? Must not this have been the case, from the inquiries of Mr. Wardle? He says, that he had been about a month at work to get at his facts; and, will any one believe, that the ministers were not well acquainted with all his movements? Aye, from the first or second day of them, at the latest. The moment Mr. Wardle began his inquiries, the whole gang of jobbers would, of course, be in alarm, and like a nest of hornets, disturbed by the intrusion of the spade, would begin to fly about, in all directions. Such a thing could not be kept secret for half an hour; and, are we, good souls as we are, to believe, that the ministers would be the last to hear of it?

Now, then, let us look back again at what this very Mr. Perceval said in the debate, the ever-memorable debate, of the 27th of January. Having read that passage, having recollected the “loud and general laugh,” which the House set up, when they heard Mr. Wardle’s description of the office in Threadneedle-street; and having also called to mind the scoffs, which, on account of this part of his statement, the ministerial Edition: current; Page: [126] papers, and particularly the Nabobs’ Gazette, uttered against Mr. Wardle; having thus refreshed his memory, the reader will be the better able to judge, whether the prosecution, now mentioned by Mr. Perceval, would ever have taken place had it not been for Mr. Wardle’s most admirable conduct.

Again. As Mr. Perceval was in possession of such facts, before Mr. Wardle brought forward his charges, how came Mr. Perceval to speak, generally, as to that gentleman’s charges, as he did? Might not one have reasonably expected to hear him, who was in possession of such facts, speak more on Mr. Wardle’s side, and not oppose him in his mode of inquiry, not hold the language of defiance, language calculated to throw discredit upon all that Mr. Wardle said?

It remains to be accounted for, too, why this acknowledgment of the ministers, as to the existence of the traffic, was kept back till after the inquiry was over, till after such damning proofs had been produced? This is a very important circumstance. Being in possession of such facts, one would have expected to hear Mr. Perceval taking the first opportunity to state them, and to acknowledge that Mr. Wardle had but too good grounds for his statement respecting the Threadneedle-street Office. But, on the contrary, Mr. Wardle had to go through the whole inquiry, with the denial, the flat denial, against him, that the ministers knew any thing of any such practices.—The concise view of the matter is this: That Advertisements, for the purchase and sale of offices and places under government, have appeared, in all the newspapers, for many years past, to the number of many hundreds in every year, with as much boldness as the advertisements for Mr. Packwood’s razor-strops, or Doctor Spilsbury’s drops; that more than a year ago, and more than once, I took such advertisements for my motto, and in an essay, or in essays, upon the subject, called upon Mr. Perceval himself, to know why such offences were not punished by law; that it now appears, that the government has always had the power of punishing such acts by law; that no such punishment, and that no prosecution for any such offence, has ever taken place, nor have we ever heard, that the government has ever made any inquiry into the matter; that in June, 1808, Mrs. Clarke sends letters to Mr. Adam, threatening an exposure of her practices under the Duke of York; that in December, or in the first days of January last, Mr. Wardle sets to work making inquiries, as to the practices of Mrs. Clarke, and as to the practices of other dealers in offices and places under government; that, on the 20th of January, Mr. Wardle gives notice of a motion respecting the Duke of York; that, on the 27th of January he brings forward his charges against the Duke, and states, at the same time, that there is an office in Threadneedle-street for the sale of offices and places under government; that Mr. Perceval (one of the King’s ministers) treats this statement in a manner whence it appears that he discredits the existence of such practices; that Mr. Wardle, between the 27th of January and the 23rd of February, pursues his charges against the Duke, and produces undeniable proof of the existence of such practices to a great extent; that, after all this, and on the 24th of February, out comes Mr. Perceval with information to the House, that he knew of such practices on the 12th of January, that the parties in one instance, are under prosecution by the government, that the preparation for this prosecution was going on before Mr. Wardle brought forward his charges, and that he Edition: current; Page: [127] (Mr. Perceval), on the 27th of January, “pretended ignorance” of such practices, only for the purpose of keeping from the parties any suspicion of the measures that were taken to entrap them.

From these propositions; this chain of undeniable facts, the reader will easily decide, whether the prosecution, now said to be undertaken, has proceeded purely from the disposition of the government to punish such infamous practices; or whether it has proceeded from a desire, on the part of the government, to save itself from the effects of a suspicion that it had participated in, or, at least, winked at, such practices, and that it never would have attempted to put a stop to them, had it not been for Mr. Wardle.

This question the reader will easily decide, and as he must be convinced, that it is a question of great importance, I trust the decision will remain deeply imprinted on his mind. It must be, I think, clear to every man of only common discernment, that what is now going on, must, sooner or later, lead to momentous events. To, I hope and trust, a great, a radical, and a salutary change; a change that shall destroy no branch of our excellently formed government, but that shall renovate them all. The great misfortune of other governments has been, that, while the higher classes have “indulged,” as Burke calls it, “in all their vicious humours,” the second class have been, by one tie or another, induced to remain in inactivity, and that at last, the work of reform has fallen to the hands of the lower class; and, then, need we wonder at the wild work they have made? That we now stand in need of reform, there is no man, not even a trading Anti-Jacobin, will attempt to deny. That a reform must and will come, is, I think, as evident; and, is it not, then, the duty of persons in the middling rank of life to act in such a manner as to prevent the danger of this work of reform falling into the hands of those, who cannot be supposed capable of managing it well? To talk of a love of country is as easy as to talk of any thing else. The country calls for deeds, not words. The excuses of her professed lovers are exactly those made by the Calf, to “the hare with many friends.

  • Older and abler pass you by;
  • How strong are those! How weak am I!
  • Should I presume to bear you hence,
  • Those friends of mine might take offence.
  • Excuse me, then,—you know my heart;
  • But dearest friends, alas! must part.
  • How shall we all lament! Adieu!
  • For, see, the hounds are just in view.”

But, to the coldness of the Calf’s friendship (to give it the mildest term) we, if we remain inert, add the grossest of folly; because in the fate of the country, our own fate is inextricably involved. Evils, when taken in time, are deprived of half their mischievous qualities. Yet, though this is so manifestly the time for the people to beseech the King to adopt such measures as shall effectually guard them, in future, against the effects of a system of corruption like that which now stands exposed before them, not a county, not a city, not a town, not a village, not a single man do we see bestir himself. The whole population of the kingdom seem to stand by as unconcerned spectators; or, at best, to discover little more than mere curiosity; and this, too, at a moment, when, by a constitutional exercise of their rights, their opinions, the opinions which Edition: current; Page: [128] they all entertain, respectfully but plainly expressed, might, and would, speedily produce a reform equally advantageous to their sovereign and themselves, and hurtful to none but the domestic and foreign foes of their happiness and of their country’s independence.

It was not thus that our forefathers acted towards us; and it is not thus that we ought to act towards our children.

DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

“That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.”

Micah, chapter vii. verse 3.

In all the books of the Holy Scriptures; amongst all the strong descriptions of prevalent corruption, contained in those writings, I know of none more impressive, more characteristic of a rotten state of things, than that which I have taken for my motto to this article. I have, however, not selected it under an idea, that it will be found at all applicable to the result of the proceedings, which have, for so many weeks past, wholly occupied the attention of the public; but, on the contrary, with the confident hope, that the reader will be able to draw a pleasing contrast between that result and the sort of actions, to which the prophet alludes, and at which he expresses the displeasure of the Almighty Ruler of the universe, “the God of truth and justice.

I trust the House of Commons, and every individual of that House, will dismiss all prejudice from their minds, whether it be against or for the Duke of York; and, I will go further, and say, that I do believe that now, whatever may have passed before, whatever symptoms of prejudice may have appeared, on the one side or the other, substantial justice will be done, without any regard to the feelings of either the high or the low.

Upon no occasion, perhaps, since the Revolution in 1688, has there existed, in this country, so great an interest, as to what would be the conduct of its government, as that which exists at the present moment. People, in all ranks of life, have, from the beginning of the late Inquiry, been alive, in an unusual degree, to all that was passing. The open statement of the Charges against his royal highness had been preceded by numerous rumours and reports, which, though, by the impartial and considerate, were looked upon as including, in many cases, at least, great exaggerations, had produced, as it was natural they should, a very great degree of latent discontent; and this discontent was, assuredly, not at all diminished, by the means that were taken to check the freedom of public discussion, with respect to the subjects of those rumours and reports. The charges were, too, received in a manner, well calculated to heighten the interest naturally attached to the intrinsic merits of the case. Instead of opposing them by a direct or implied negative, the friends of the Edition: current; Page: [129] illustrious personage resorted to recrimination, and dealt their charges about so roundly and so widely, and in a manner so little discriminating, that they compelled all those, who were connected with the press, to wish that the result might show the charged not to have originated in that traitorous conspiracy, which was asserted to exist, of which the press was alleged to have been the organ, and in the fate of which the fate of the press appeared to be completely involved. Hence the press has not failed to participate in the public feeling, nor to gratify the public impatience, in the doing of which, with the greatest possible effect, the form of proceeding, injudiciously chosen by the friends of the Duke of York, has afforded it perfect facility; so that, at this moment, even now, before the discussion upon the evidence has taken place, in the House of Commons, there is scarcely a single person in the whole kingdom, who has not weighed the several cases in his mind, with as much care as if they had come before him, he being in the capacity of a juror. Not only, therefore, are there, in this case, the circumstances of the accused party being the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, a Son of the King, and so near to the Crown as to have but two lives between him and the wearing of it himself; not only are there, in this case, these circumstances, of themselves sufficiently interesting, but there are the additional circumstances, mentioned above, rendering, all together, the sum of interest now excited far greater than what has ever been felt, in this kingdom, since the era of the Revolution.

The eyes of the nation are directed towards its rulers in general; towards the whole of its Government, King, Lords, and Commons. Many persons, accustomed to take little or no interest in public affairs, take interest in this affair. The whole mass of the national thought has been set in motion. What will be the conduct of the several branches of the government, is the question that now engrosses every mind; but, in a more direct and particular manner, are the eyes of the nation, for reasons too obvious to point out, fixed upon the House of Commons; and I am persuaded, that every man will agree with me, that, in almost whatever light it be considered, the result of the discussion of Wednesday next, will be the most important that this nation has witnessed for more than a hundred years past.

It must have struck every man, who has been long in the habit of contemplating political motives and actions, that the interest and the importance, which discussions in the House of Commons formerly owed to considerations of party, now exist but in a comparatively trifling degree. The death of the two great opposing leaders, under whom the people, as well as the members, ranged themselves, may have contributed towards this result; but, the fact is, that, long before the death of Pitt, the attachments of party had become greatly enfeebled, and are now dwindled almost to nothing. Indeed, there is now in existence nothing that resembles party but the name. There are men, who are in place, and others who, upon all occasions, whether right or wrong, censure the measures of ministers, with the sole view of supplanting them. But, in any other sense, the word party has now no more meaning than has the word Tory, which no man has any longer the impudence to use. Parties were formerly distinguished by some great and well-known principles of foreign or domestic policy. Now, there are no such distinguishing marks; and, as a natural consequence, the people have become quite indifferent as to all considerations connected with party. Whether, as a general Edition: current; Page: [130] proposition, this indifference be a good or an evil, I will not now attempt to discuss; but, I venture to state, not without confidence of its meeting with general assent, that this change in the mind of the nation has not been favourable to the House of Commons, both sides of which united have not now to boast that warmth of popular attachment which each side before possessed. Another consequence of this change, is, that the discontents of the nation do not now, as formerly, operate in a partial direction. It is not upon a part of the House; it is not upon this or that ministry, that the blame now falls; but upon the whole House, and upon all public men: a consideration of great moment, when we consider the crisis in which we now live, and as to the final event of which so much must depend upon the conduct, and, of course, upon the opinions of the people, supposing, which we must, in this case, suppose, that the people will still remain free. Formerly what was disliked by the nation was, by one half of the nation, imputed to one half of the parliament and one half of the public men. Hope was kept alive in the other half, and resentment was counterbalanced by hope. This is no longer the case. There are still persons wishing for a change of ministry, because there are always persons who wish to obtain possession of power and emolument; but, beyond that circle, which, though extensive, is nothing when compared to a whole nation, there are very few persons indeed to be found who have even a wish upon the subject, and absolutely none at all, who sincerely believe that such a change would be attended with any substantial national benefit.

It has long been the opinion of many, that the present state of the representation is such as to leave the people little or no check upon their rulers. Since the year 1780, when the late Pitt and the late Duke of Richmond were the partisans of reform of parliament, this subject has become very familiar to the public. Those who deny the necessity of reform have not, as far as I have observed, actually justified the public advertising of seats for sale; but, they have contended, that the House of Commons, constituted as it is, is quite sufficient for all the purposes for which the constitution intended such a House; and that, though it does happen, somehow or other, that every ministry, as long as they remain in place; that every set of men, who are the servants of the King, have a majority in that House, and do carry every question that they please to carry, if it be of any importance to them, or to the crown; though this be allowed, still it is contended, that, somehow or other, the representation is a sufficient check upon the power of the crown. In opposition to this doctrine of invisible influence, of effects without causes, and of causes without effects, various instances might be quoted, wherein the power of the crown has been suffered to bear down all before it. But there has been no occasion since the reign of James II., on which the personal interests of any part of the family of the King have been so directly brought within the scope of parliamentary power, as the interests of the Duke of York now are; and, therefore, now, more clearly than upon any former occasion, the people have had, and will have, an opportunity of ascertaining the degree of power which the House of Commons possesses independent of the Crown.

The long and expensive and bloody war, in which we are engaged, and to which no man can see the prospect of a termination, has caused an extension of the taxing system, almost beyond the compass of an ordinary mind’s conception. In answer to all our complaints on this Edition: current; Page: [131] score, we are told, that the burdens are necessary to preserve us against the inroads of the enemy. The argument, carried out to its full length, is this: If you do not give the King the means of keeping up an immense fleet and army, Napoleon will conquer the country and will make you more miserable than you now are. As to the words, loss of our constitution, and making us slaves, we will lay them aside for the present, as not being definite enough for any six men to come to an agreement about their meaning. By the necessity of sacrifices for our own good, we must understand it to be meant, that Napoleon, were he to become our master, would make our situation worse than it is under the sovereignty of the family of Brunswick; for, unless this be the case; unless this be the jet of the argument, there is no motive for our resistance, and, of course, none for the sacrifices which we make, and which, by law, we are compelled to make, in order to render that resistance efficient. For, as to loyalty, it is an empty sound, unconnected with the general good. Kings, like other individuals, have their personal friends; but personal friendship for a king forms no ingredient of loyalty, which means fidelity to the king as king; as the guardian of the nation’s interest, honour, and renown. Subjects in general know nothing of the King but through the laws, and every man, as long as he obeys those laws, is a loyal man, whatever may be his opinion or his feelings with regard to the person, or the family, of the King. Thus, then, it is, I think, evident, that the motive to resist Napoleon, and to make sacrifices for that purpose, will, at last, come to this: to save ourselves from being in a worse situation than we are in under the family of Brunswick. Amongst the means are, of course, the keeping of the family of Brunswick upon the throne; maintaining all the just prerogatives of the King, and the like; but the great end in view, is to prevent ourselves from being made worse off than we now are. Well then, this being the case, let us examine a little, how we should be worse off. And here it must be first observed, that “we,” thus used, does not apply to a few thousands of courtiers and placemen and pensioners, for, if it did, no examination would be necessary. It applies to the whole of fourteen millions of people. He would, it is said, take away our property; but, what would he do with it? He could not carry the land to France, nor the goods; nor could he take from the land its productive quality; nor could he unstring the arms of a labourer; nor would it be his interest so to do. No, it is not in this way that we should experience much of a change, the manifest interest of the conqueror being to leave the people in general, in the possession and enjoyment of all the property in land and in trade, that they now possess and enjoy. But without supposing a danger to property, there is quite a sufficient motive for resisting Napoleon, and for making any sacrifices that are really necessary for that purpose. There is no doubt, that, if he were to succeed in the conquest of England, he would treat us as a conquered people; he would take from us our laws, and give us his edicts in their stead; he would rule us as an absolute monarch; his soldiers would be our masters under him; and we should not dare to complain of any act of his, however oppressive, or however insolent. Yet, notwithstanding this powerful motive to resistance, it is necessary that the people of this country should be convinced; that they should see, daily, proofs, of the value of what they now possess; that they should be able to draw a triumphant contrast between what now is, and what would be in case they were conquered by Napoleon; that they should want no Edition: current; Page: [132] one to tell them, that their constitution is worth being defended with their last shilling, and the last drop of their blood; that they should feel this from the bottom of their hearts; that they should stand no more in need of being reminded of it, than they do of being reminded of the necessity of eating when they are hungry, or drinking when they are thirsty.

Now, connecting these more general observations with the subject immediately under contemplation, is it not, with a view to the stability of the throne as well as to the permanent internal peace and happiness of the country, a thing of vast importance, that the decision, upon the case of the Duke of York, should be such as to convince the whole nation, that they have now got; that they possess and enjoy, a system of government, the loss of which would be greatly injurious to them? Is it not of incalculable consequence, that every man should, by this decision, be induced to exclaim: “What would have been the proceedings and what the decision, if Napoleon had been our master, and if one of his relations had been thus accused!” The mere circumstance of their being a House of Commons now, and of its being possible that there would be none then, is nothing at all. It is the real effect which only is worthy of attention. Napoleon has his Corps Legislatif in France. It is the power which this body possesses, not in theory, but in practice, which we are to look to. It is not what it might do, but what it actually does do, that we are to consider. Men do not give their money, or lay down their lives, for a theory. When we are called upon to spend our last shilling, and to shed the last drop of our blood in defence of the constitution, it surely never is meant, that we should do this for something theoretical; for a thing that exists in name only! No, but a thing which is our shield against oppression; a thing that secures justice to us; a thing necessary, in short, to our safety and happiness; and, therefore, upon this occasion, where the constitution is to be put to the test, it is of the greatest consequence, with an eye to the future as well as the present, that it should stand that test; that it should give proofs of its excellence; that its practice, upon this great occasion, should give the lie to all its enemies. There is nothing which mankind in general dislike so much as partiality in the administration of justice; there is nothing so grating to the mind. As justice is the first attribute of power, so the abuse and perversion of its name and its forms are amongst the wickedest, if not the very wickedest, acts, of which a government can be guilty. When we would give instances of the badness of a government, we are sure to wind up the climax of its sins by saying, that it has one law for the rich and another law for the poor:

  • “Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law,”

forms the close of a long list of national evils, the cause of national degradation and ruin. Partiality even in the distribution of favours, when those favours are paid for by the public, is mischievous and hateful enough; but, not a millionth part so mischievous and so hateful, so detestable in the eyes of every just man, and of virtue, as partiality in the distribution of punishments. It is mortifying enough in all conscience to see the parasite pampered with the means of rewarding the meritorious; but, to see the great villain braving the laws, while the petty are hanged in chains, is what no man can bear without feeling a desire to see overturned, torn up from the foundation, utterly destroyed and scattered to the winds, the whole of the system and fabric of that government, where Edition: current; Page: [133] such partiality has proceeded. I state this as a general proposition; I say it merely by way of illustration, and not at all in allusion to the case of the Duke of York, or to any anticipated decision of the House of Commons; but, on the contrary, with a confident hope and reliance, that the decision of that House will be strictly just; and, that the House will now prove to the world, that it is not to be swayed, on the one side or the other, by any influence but that which fairly and obviously arises from the evidence taken at its bar.

I presume not to dictate to the House; I presume not to say, what ought to be the substance of its decision, or the mode of its proceedings, on this momentous case; and, indeed, what I am now writing cannot be read by the public till after the discussion and the decision have taken place; but, I cannot refrain from offering my opinion, as to the importance of the case. It is a thing not to be disguised, that the present situation of the throne, in this country, has in it circumstances very peculiar, to describe them by no epithet of more strong or distinct meaning. In the natural course of things it must require great wisdom at the head of affairs to prevent those circumstances from having an injurious operation towards the throne itself. It has been observed, that long and quiet reigns have, almost always, been followed by times of a different description. The reasons for this are obvious enough to the reflecting mind; and, when we consider the peculiar circumstances, above alluded to, taking into view the general degradation of royalty upon the continent, it is impossible not to be impressed with very serious thoughts with respect to our own prospects in this particular. From the first, I was of opinion, that wise counsellors would avoid every thing which was likely to give rise to a belief, that the King, or any part of the royal family, wished to use any endeavours whatever to obstruct the course of justice; because, if the people, who would not fail to be extremely jealous upon that score, once imbibed a suspicion of the sort, it would be very hard to remove it, and the consequence of its remaining in their minds is too manifest to need pointing out. Whether the King’s ministers have so acted, I must leave the public to judge; but, I am sure, that if all wisdom has not fled from their counsels, they will so act now, now when all the evidence is before the public, and when the only point, of any interest, that remains, is, to know how the ministers, how the advisers of the King and their friends in the House of Commons will act.

It is the habit of courtiers and men in power to regard as their enemy, and, what is more, as the enemy of the existing government altogether, every one who opposes any of their measures, or censures any part of their conduct. It is their creed, and that all those, who wish to gain or preserve their friendship, well know; and know it so well, that they are sure never to hear a painful truth from their lips. All those who praise them are friends, all who censure are enemies, of the government. Hence it is, that they never take warning in time; and hence the fall of so many governments and dynasties; a fall sudden to them, but long foreseen and foretold by others. With all the talk about “a conspiracy” in this country, not the smallest proof, not the most distant ramification, has been found during the whole of the long and rummaging inquiry, that has just taken place. But, if there be any such conspiracy; if there be any set of men in this kingdom, who wish to see the House of Commons held in universal contempt, trodden down, and spit upon, and along with it the kingly government and royal family; if there be any such Edition: current; Page: [134] men, the first wish of their hearts must be, that the conduct of the House of Commons should, on this trying occasion; on this occasion when every man in the country is in possession of all the merits of the case, and has his eyes first fixed upon the House, be marked with that base partiality, which, more than any thing else, excites the hatred and resentment of mankind, and of which, I trust, their conduct will not bear the smallest trace. Men, in possession of power, are too apt to rely wholly upon the means which that power affords them, for the preservation of the power itself. But, that which is not to be accomplished to-day, may be to-morrow. A thousand unexpected events take place in the course of a few years. Few important effects have been produced by one cause, and still fewer have immediately followed the first existence of its real cause or causes. The match is all that meets the eye; but, the match is not the great efficient cause of the explosion and destruction. A government to be suddenly destroyed, must have a people well prepared; amply charged with mortifications and heart-burnings. If, therefore, the King’s ministers are wise; if their love of their country, their regard for their master, and their desire to preserve the throne, be as great as they ought to be, they will not, in the approaching discussion and decision, make use of any influence, other than that of truth, fairly applied. They should bear in mind, they should never lose sight of the fact; that they are the servants of the King, with this additional and peculiar circumstance, that they came into power, that they were chosen by the King, for this reason openly avowed, that they would do, at his request, what his late ministers would not do. It becomes them, therefore, to be doubly cautious upon this particular occasion. Their conduct, whether good or bad, and I do not presume it will be the latter, will admit of, and will receive, a very wide construction and application; they will now, the day after to-morrow (this is Monday), do more good, or more harm, to the government of England, than all the ministers, for a century past, have had it in their power to do.

With what will be done on Wednesday I cannot become acquainted many hours before this sheet will be in the press; but, these observations I have thought it my duty to offer to my readers, and there is, perhaps, an advantage in their having been written while the event, to which they relate, was, as yet, unknown.

I shall now return to my Analysis of the Cases; and shall take those cases, which appear to me to be of the most importance, as connected with the conduct of the King’s servants in the House of Commons. I allude particularly to the cases of Sandon and Clavering, and shall begin with the former.

Captain Sandon’s Case.—I do not mean his case, or any of his cases, as a jobber, but solely as the possessor of the paper, which was attempted to be made out a forgery, which, of the whole of the very interesting proceedings, is certainly the most interesting of all, involving a greater number of persons, and making greater and more clear disclosures as to transactions and motives, which it appears to have been intended to keep from the world.

On the 16th of February, when all the cases had been gone through, as far as Mr. Wardle appears to have intended to go at that time, Mr. Perceval, the King’s principal servant in the House of Commons, Edition: current; Page: [135] stated to the House, with a most solemn and pompous introduction, that he was in possession of a fact, which he had known of for ten days, and which, he was sure, when it was heard, it would be the general opinion, that it ought to be made known. It was the wish of his royal highness, that it should be made known to the committee, the time being left to his (Mr. Perceval’s) discretion. The fact, the important fact, was this; that, in the case of Major Tonyn, a material point in the evidence had been suppressed.

Now, we must take the report of Mr. Perceval’s speech; and I do beseech the reader to pay attention to it; I do beseech him to weigh well every sentence, as he proceeds; for he will find, in the end, that this is the very pivot upon which no small part of the merits of the whole case turns.

“Mr. Perceval said, the fact to which he alluded was of the utmost importance; and though it had not yet been made known to the House generally, it was well known to many honourable gentlemen on both sides, not only among his friends, but among those who acted with the hon. gent. who brought forward this charge. He had been acquainted with it for ten days, but for the reasons he would hereafter assign, had thought it right not to bring it forward till after the evidence was closed. He was sure when it was heard, it would be the general opinion that it ought to be made known. It was the wish of his royal highness the Commander-in-Chief that it should be communicated to the committee; the proper time to do so being left to his (Mr. Perceval’s) discretion, so that if any blame was due for the delay, that blame was his. The fact to which he alluded was, the suppression of material evidence in one of the cases before the Committee (Major Tonyn’s), which as it now stood was as follows; (here the right hon. gent. stated the evidence of Mrs. Clarke, Mr. Donovan, and Capt. Sandon, in this case, particularly of the latter, which related to the interview he had with Major Tonyn, who wanted his money returned, when he persuaded him to let the matter rest for a short time, to see whether or not his promotion was gazetted.) He could not explain the matter he now wished to bring forward, better than by relating what had happened. On Saturday sennight, Col. Hamilton called upon him with a letter from Mr. Adam, saying he had business of importance to communicate. The communication was to this effect, that on their arrival from Spain (Col. Hamilton and Capt. Sandon were in the Wagon Train), Capt. Sandon had made him acquainted with circumstances which were very material to the investigation now before the House. When Capt. Sandon was called to the bar, he was desired to inform them of all he knew on the subject, which he had done with this exception—he had suppressed the fact that when Capt. Tonyn had pressed him for a return of his 500 guineas, he acquainted Mrs. Clarke with the circumstance, who told him to go back to Capt. Tonyn with a note, purporting to be written by the Duke of York, in these words: ‘I have received your note, and Tonyn’s business shall remain as it is.’ This note was shown to Capt. Tonyn, in order to convince him that Mrs. Clarke and Sandon possessed the influence they pretended to, and that the promotion would remain as it was, unless he suffered the money to remain to purchase their exertion. Another note, also purporting to be written by his royal highness, was sent on the day when Major Tonyn was gazetted, in these words—‘Tonyn will be gazetted to-night.’ When making this disclosure to Col. Hamilton, Sandon said he might destroy this paper, on which Col. Hamilton told him by no means to do that, but to go to the bar and tell the whole truth, pointing out at the same time, the danger he would incur in telling any falsehoods. The latter note had been delivered to Tonyn. Col. Hamilton, as advised by Mr. Adam, after giving him this information, went back to Capt. Sandon, repeated his injunctions as to the line of conduct he ought to pursue, and got a copy of the first note. Col. Hamilton also advised him not to attend either to Mr. Lowten, or Mrs. Clarke and Mr. Wardle, who had sent for him on his arrival in town, to undergo an examination previous to his being examined at the bar, but to keep aloof from all parties. After some consultation, it was resolved, that Mr. Adam should inform his royal highness of this Edition: current; Page: [136] circumstance, that we, as members of parliament and judges in this case, could not be made depositaries of it, but that it must be made public, and that Col. Hamilton should again visit Capt. Sandon, and discover whether, as a strong impression had been made on his mind, the note really was in the handwriting of the Duke of York. Mr. Adam had accordingly waited on his royal highness, who, on being told of the circumstance, expressed himself convinced, that the note must be a forgery, and wished extremely that the matter should be thoroughly examined into. As for the note respecting the gazetting, his royal highness could not positively say it might not be his, as he would have written such an answer to any letter making an inquiry on the subject. The next day (Sunday) Col. Hamilton saw Capt. Sandon, who said to him, ‘You will be very angry with me, for since you saw me. I have destroyed the Note.’ ‘Good God!’ exclaimed Col. H., ‘you have not surely done any thing so rash.’—‘It was not of so much consequence (returned Capt. Sandon), and besides they have forgot it.’ He had thus submitted to the House all he knew of this important affair. The destruction of the note rested on Capt. Sandon’s word. If it was still in existence, and could be proved a forgery, it would show how people had been imposed upon by Mrs. Clarke and her agents; while on the other hand, if proved to be the hand-writing of the Duke of York, it would be necessary to call on his royal highness to explain how it happened.—After some general concluding observations, he moved to call in Captain Sandon.”

After this Sandon was called to the bar. But, before we proceed any further, I ask the reader, the impartial man, whether it does not strike him as something singular, that Col. Hamilton should go to Mr. Adam? Perhaps not; but was it not odd, that Mr. Adam should send him (with a letter) to Mr. Perceval instead of to Mr. Wardle? Why, that may not be so very unaccountable. But, how can you account, reader, for Mr. Perceval’s keeping the matter, a matter so very important, from Mr. Wardle? From Mr. Wardle, and from the House in general? He told it to Mr. Whitbread and Lord Henry Petty and General Fitzpatrick; but he did not tell it to Mr. Wardle or to Lord Folkestone, though it related to evidence the most material that could possibly be conceived to exist.

Sandon was now called in, and being questioned about the existence of the note, prevaricated in so flagrant a manner, that he was committed to Newgate; but previous to that, the Sergeant-at-Arms was sent with him to his house, whence the original of the note, together with many other papers, were brought, and delivered to the House.

Mrs. Clarke having, in the absence of Sandon, been questioned as to the giving, or sending to Sandon, any note in the hand-writing of the Duke of York, says that she does not recollect the Duke’s writing any note to her upon the subject, and that none was necessary, because he saw her every day of his life at that time; and, she states, that she never either gave or sent any such note to Sandon, because she was so very careful not to let any of the Duke’s writing go out of her hands.—After Sandon came back with the note, he was examined again, and, in this examination, he said that Mrs. Clarke had given him the note to be shown to Tonyn, in order to pacify him, and to prevent him from withdrawing his money.

Then Mrs. Clarke (who, the reader will observe, had been kept from all knowledge of what was going forward) was called in again. The note, addressed to “George Farquhar, Esq.,” was shown her, in these words: “I have just received your note, and Tonyn’s business shall remain as it is.—God bless you.” She was then questioned as follows:

Do you recollect ever seeing that paper before?—I suppose I must have seen before, for it is his royal highness’s writing.

Edition: current; Page: [137]

What reason have you to suppose you have seen it before?—I do not know how it could have got into that man’s possession unless I gave it to him, and it was a direction I used very often to get from his royal highness, “George Farquhar. Esq.

Do you now recollect having given to Capt. Sandon a letter upon this subject?—No, I do not, nor do I recollect giving him that; but I think I must have given it to him, because it must have been in my possession first.

After this, she was questioned a good deal, as to whether she always wrote the same hand; whether she had never imitated other people’s hands; and the like; and her answers were, that she had, with other women, in laughing, imitated the hands of various persons; but that she never in her life wrote any thing to send out as another’s writing.

One Town, a Jew, who had been employed by her in the capacity of a painter on velvet, was brought, and said, that he had seen Mrs. Clarke imitate the Duke’s signature, but could not recollect, whether it was in the word Frederick, York, or Albany. He said, that Mrs. Clarke told him she could forge the Duke’s name, and had done it; and that when he told her it was a “serious affair,” she laughed. He said that he first mentioned this matter to Lady Haggerstone (a sister, I believe of Mrs. Fitzherbert), and that he supposes she mentioned it somewhere, and that, therefore, he was called up to give evidence.

From a subsequent examination of this man, on the 20th of Feb., he denied that an indictment for perjury, at the Middlesex Sessions, was hanging over his head; but, acknowledged that Mr. Alley had made use of strong language towards him; and that either his sister or his brother was now under some proceeding of the sort.

After this the note, the dear little “God-bless-you” billet was shown to Col. Gordon, who said, “it bore a very strong resemblance to the Duke’s writing, but whether it was so or not, he could not positively state.” Upon further questioning, he said, that, if he had received a note in that writing, he should, if it had the Duke’s signature, have acted upon it.

General Hope said, that it appeared to him like the hand-writing of the Duke; but whether it really was so or not, he could not undertake to say.

General Brownrigg did not think it very like the Duke’s writing.

Mr. Adam did think it like the Duke’s hand-writing, but could not speak more positively than that.

Five persons, from the Post-office and the Bank, whose profession it had been, for years, to compare hands writing, with a view of detecting frauds and forgeries, were examined, on the 20th of Feb.; and, let it be observed, that they were called in upon motion of one of the King’s servants, Mr. Perceval.

The first, Mr. Johnson, from the Post-office, upon being shown the two letters of the Duke, about O’Meara and Clavering, and also the note, and after having had time to examine and compare them well, was asked, whether he thought the note to be in the same hand-writing as the letters, to which he answered: “It resembles it so nearly that I should think it was.

Mr. Searle, from the same office, being asked the same question, answers, “I think they are the same hand-writing.

Mr. Nesbitt, from the Bank, was of opinion, “that they were not in the same hand-writing.

Mr. Bateman, from the Bank, says, “There is a marked similarity,Edition: current; Page: [138] and that, if two instruments had come before him, one in the character of the letters, and one in the character of the note, “he thinks he should have passed them as the same.

Mr. Bliss, from the Bank, first answered, that “he should suppose the hand-writing to be the same;” but afterwards said, that he had some doubts, owing to certain letters that he had since seen in the hand-writing of Mrs. Clarke, which varied a good deal from other letters of hers.

Now, we must go back, and beginning with the evidence of Col. Hamilton of the Wagon Train, trace this curious proceeding down to the moment, when Mr. Perceval drew out, and, as it were, discharged the important discovery upon the House.

Col. Hamilton says, that he had no idea of a forgery, for he thought the note to be in the hand-writing of the Duke of York; that he has frequently seen letters which he supposed, of course, to be the Duke’s writing; that he went to Mr. Adam, because he had long known him to be a very honourable man; that he did not go to Mr. Wardle, because he was not acquainted with him; that he took a copy of the note at the request of Mr. Adam; that, afterwards, when Sandon told him he had destroyed the note, he went and informed Mr. Adam of that too; that upon the 16th of Feb. some time in the afternoon of the day when Sandon was committed for prevarication, Sandon informed him, that he had not destroyed the note; that, upon finding this to be the case, he went and informed Messrs. Adam and Lowten and Harrison of the fact; that he is not quite certain that he did mention it to Mr. Adam, but that he certainly desired Mr. Harrison (the Horse-Guards lawyer) to mention it to Mr. Adam.

This brings us down to the evening of Sandon’s commitment, and to the conduct of the friends of the Duke on that memorable evening.

Mr. Harrison being called in, said, that he, who was employed as a lawyer, in military matters, at the office of the Duke of York, the War-office, and the Barrack-office, had been desired to attend and give his assistance with Mr. Lowten, during the inquiry; that Col. Hamilton told him, on the 16th, that the note was not destroyed; that immediately upon that, he came to the House, and, as he thinks, informed Mr. Huskisson of the fact; and that he gave this information before Mr. Perceval made his speech about the supposed forgery.

Mr. Huskisson (who was one of the persons in the original secret) says that he, upon receiving the information from Mr. Harrison, communicated it to Mr. Perceval.

But, now we must take the examinations of Messrs. Perceval and Adam from the Minutes, published by the House; for they are of a degree of importance, which leaves almost all the others far out of sight. But, we must first take their Evidence of Monday, the 20th of February, and then come to that of Wednesday, the 22nd of February.

Let the reader pay attention to every single word of it.

Examination of the 20th.

Mr. Adam. When did you first hear of the note in the possession of Capt. Sandon?—On Saturday morning, the 4th of this month, between ten and eleven o’clock.

From whom did you hear of it?—I heard of it from Col. Hamilton; Col. Hamilton came to my house on Saturday morning, between ten and eleven o’clock, before I was out of my bed.

State to the Committee what passed upon that occasion.—Col. Hamilton came Edition: current; Page: [139] to my house between ten and eleven o’clock on Saturday morning, and was shown up to me. He immediately mentioned to me that he had seen Capt. Sandon at Portsmouth; that Capt. Sandon had communicated with him upon the subject of this inquiry; he said, that Capt. Sandon had asked him how he should conduct himself; that he had told Capt. Sandon that there could be no rule for his conduct but one, which was to adhere strictly to truth, to tell every thing be knew; that it would not at all avail him to do otherwise, even if he should have an inclination, because he would be examined, I think he said, by the united ability of the country. He then told me, that Capt. Sandon told him that he had some letters upon the subject of his transactions with Mrs. Clarke, and that he had a note, which is the note in question, which he believed to be in the Duke of York’s hand-writing; that that note he had shown to Capt. Tonyn before he was made Major Tonyn, in order to induce him either to keep the deposit which he had made, or to replace the deposit which he had made, I cannot exactly recollect which; that deposit he had threatened to withdraw in consequence of the delay between the first interview he, Capt. Sandon, had with Capt. Tonyn, on the subject of his promotion, which he represented, I think, as being nearly two months; that there was likewise another note, which note had been delivered, as he stated, to Major Tonyn, which was a note saying he was to be gazetted to-night, or in words to that effect. Col. Hamilton told me he had given strict injunctions to Capt. Sandon to preserve the note which he represented as in the Duke of York’s hand-writing, and which I understand now to be the note about which there has been so much inquiry here, the original of which has been produced, and every paper. I said to Col. Hamilton, that nothing could be more correct than his instruction; that it still remained to be seen what the terms of the note were, and to be judged of whether it was the Duke of York’s hand-writing; I desired Col. Hamilton, therefore, to go to Capt. Sandon, and to desire to look at the note, and to take a copy of it, and to repeat his injunctions in the strongest manner, to preserve all the papers, and among the rest the note. Col. Hamilton returned to my house, I think it must have been considerably before one o’clock; it was after twelve or about twelve; he told me, that he had repeated those instructions, that he had taken a copy of the note, which he brought to me, which I perused, and found to be in the very terms of the note which has been since produced; and he added, that according to his opinion and belief, it was the Duke of York’s hand-writing. I then told him that such circumstances must be immediately communicated, and I wished him, therefore, to go to Mr. Perceval, with a note which I wrote, and that I would follow as soon as I could. Col. Hamilton went to Mr. Perceval which I know, because I found him there, and had told Mr. Perceval the story before I arrived. Mr. Perceval and myself deliberated upon the course to be taken, and having understood from Col. Hamilton’s representations (for I believe neither of us ever saw Capt. Sandon till he came to the Bar of this House) that Capt. Sandon had been applied to by Mrs. Clarke, and I think he said Mr. Wardle, but I will not be sure, and Mr. Lowten, to go to them, it was Mr. Perceval’s suggestions, and my own, I believe mutually almost, that the most advisable course for us to direct Col. Hamilton to take, was to instruct Capt. Sandon to hold no further communication with any person whatever till he appeared at the Bar of this House, and likewise to instruct him, to preserve the note and all the papers he had spoken of. Col. Hamilton received those instructions at Mr. Perceval’s house, and went, as I presume, to make the communication immediately to Capt. Sandon, which was to be done before two o’clock, because Sandon had promised, as we understood from Col. Hamilton, to give his answers, to the persons who had desired to see him, at that hour. After having given these directions to Col. Hamilton, it was agreed by Mr. Perceval and myself, that this matter ought to be communicated to the Duke of York; and it was further agreed by us, that the matter should be brought before the House of Commons by us, in case it did not make its appearance in the evidence of Capt. Sandon. I went in search of his royal highness, but it was the evening before I saw him; I communicated the matter to him, he expressed his surprise and astonishment, and declared the impossibility of his ever having made any such communication, and wished immediately to go to Mr. Perceval; we went to Mr. Perceval’s together, where he made a similar asseveration, and again at Col. Gordon’s. I did not see his royal highness again till between three and four on Sunday the 5th, and I did not see Col. Hamilton until Sunday at one o’clock, when I saw him for the purpose Edition: current; Page: [140] of learning whether he had executed the delivering the instructions to Capt. Sandon in the manner that Mr. Perceval and myself had required; Col. Hamilton told me that he had delivered them in the very terms; that Capt. Sandon had said, that he, Col. Hamilton, might depend upon his, Capt. Sandon’s, obeying his instructions; but that he would be extremely angry with him, or extremely enraged with him, I am not sure which was the expression, for be had already disobeyed one of his instructions, he had destroyed the note; upon which, according to Col. Hamilton’s representation, he said, Good God! have you destroyed the note? Of course, I expressed myself to a similar effect to Col. Hamilton when he made the communication to me respecting the destruction of the note. I went to Mr. Perceval, according to appointment made the day before, and communicated to him this fact, as stated by Col. Hamilton; this became again the subject of our deliberations, and we again determined that it was our duty, as Members of Parliament, to bring the matter forward, leaving it to ourselves to judge in some measure, with regard to the time of bringing it forward; and in order that there might not be a possibility of supposing that we brought it forward or kept it back according to circumstances, it was determined to make the communication to certain Members of this House. Accordingly the facts, as I have now stated them, were communicated to Lord Castlereagh, to Mr. Canning, to the Attorney and Solicitor-General, to Lord H. Petty, to Mr. Whitbread, and to Gen. Fitzpatrick. This brings the fact down to the transaction in this House.

When you stated the circumstance of this note to the Duke of York, did the Duke state that he never had written such a note with a view of influencing Capt. Tonyn, as it has been represented by Capt. Sandon, or that he had never written such a note at all to Mrs. Clarke?—The Duke of York stated, that he was perfectly sure that he had never written such a note; that he had not a recollection of it at all.

Did he state to you, that he had never written to Mrs. Clarke upon the subject of military affairs?—He always stated to me, that, to the best of his recollection, he had never written to Mrs. Clarke on the subject of military affairs, and that, if he had done it, it must have been very rarely.

Have you any objection to state what were the grounds of your withholding this communication from the House, till the period it was brought forward?—The ground that influenced my mind was, that I thought if the communication had been brought forward at an earlier period, it might have embarrassed the course of proceeding in the Inquiry, at the instance of the gentleman who had set it on foot, and that, in considering the whole circumstances of the case, justice would be better obtained, whatever the effect of that note might be, by keeping it back till the period when it was allowed to transpire. I can only say now what were my motives and reasons for that conduct; that was what influenced me in the opinion I gave in consultation with Mr. Perceval upon that subject. I mentioned that I did not see the Duke again till three or four o’clock on Sunday; at one o’clock on Sunday I was informed, by Colonel Hamilton, of Sandon’s having declared the note to be destroyed. Between three and four o’clock on Sunday I informed the Duke of York of that fact. I think it right to state that as a material fact in the case.

You have stated, that one motive which you had for keeping back the mention of this note to so late a period, was, lest you should embarrass the gentleman who brought forward this inquiry, by the premature disclosure of the note; explain to the Committee how that disclosure would have embarrassed him more than the cross-examinations which took place, when the Witnesses appeared at the Bar?—I considered this note, and the transaction respecting it, the disclosure respecting its destruction, to form one of the most extraordinary features that I had ever known of in any case. If I had been in the course of examining Witnesses much in this proceeding, I should have avoided cross-examining to that fact, thinking the mode that was adopted a more satisfactory means of bringing it forward; and I believe it will be found, that there was no cross-examination of Sandon to that fact, nor any thing that could lead to it; and therefore, answering to the motive, and not to the fact, I can only say it does not strike me that this stands upon the same footing as the ordinary cross-examination of Witnesses, according to my conception.

Why should its being an extraordinary feature prevent its being presented at an early period; is it usual for extraordinary features to be kept back in evidence Edition: current; Page: [141] in Courts of justice, when they relate to the evidence that witnessess examined in chief, are giving to the Court?—I conceive, that being possessed of a fact of this sort, which I found it my bounden duty, in conjunction with Mr. Perceval, to bring before the public, whatever its consequences might be, and which the Royal Duke, I believe, had expressed a desire to Mr. Perceval, should be brought before the public, that I had a right to exercise my discretion, in conjunction with Mr. Perceval, to bring it before the public at the time that, according to that discretion, we should think the best, meaning honestly and distinctly at all times, to bring it before the House.

You have stated, that you thought that the purposes of justice would be best answered by not bringing this fact before the House sooner than it was brought; will you explain how the purposes of justice were likely to be best answered by the delay in bringing forward the circumstances respecting this note?—I can only state how I think the purposes of justice would be best answered; I cannot be so presumptuous as to say that the purposes of justice were best answered, but in my opinion they were, because it brought this particular feature of the case distinctly, clearly, and unembarrassed, before the House; that if it had been mixed up in cross-examination, or brought forward in that shape, it neither would have appeared so distinct, nor have appeared so clearly the determination of the persons bringing it forward.

Mr. Perceval examined.

Have you heard the statement of the hon. gent. lately under examination, and do you wish to add any thing to that statement?—I am not quite certain that I heard the whole. If it is wished that I should state the motives that influenced my mind, not in keeping this back, but in not bringing it forward before, I conceived the case that was to be made against the Royal Duke was closed. When the communication was made to me, I thought at the first it was a very extraordinary circumstance; and when I found that the note was, as the Witness represented it, destroyed, coupled with the direct assertion of the Royal Duke, that this note was a forgery, I thought it to be a forgery, and I determined to act upon the supposition of its being such, and upon that impression, and with a view the better to detect it, if it were so, I thought it better that all the Witnesses that could in any degree have been concerned in that transaction, should have told their own tale to the Committee, before they were in any degree informed, by me at least, or by the course that we took, of our being in possession of any fact, or inclined to make use of the information we had of any fact; it might break in upon their own plan of narrating it to the Committee; if it had been a single case, instead of a variety of cases, that were brought before the Committee, I apprehend that there could be no question; that on the part of the defence to that charge, those who interested themselves in the defence, could not be called upon to produce any part of the evidence which they thought material, till they had the whole of the case that was to be brought against them laid before the Court; and considering how the whole of these cases are, by means of the name Witnesses, more or less, being brought forward upon them all; considering from that circumstance how they were all connected, I conceived it would be better that this information should not be given till it was closed.

Was the introduction of this evidence settled, upon the supposition that the note was actually destroyed?—Certainly my impression was, that the note was actually destroyed, and it was after that impression was conveyed to me, that the note was actually destroyed, that I concurred with my hon. and learned friend in thinking that it was equally necessary that fact should be brought before the Committee; and perhaps I might be permitted to add that, feeling there was a considerable degree of awkwardness in the appearance of being backward to bring forward at the earliest period a fact so important as this fact was, we did think that our own honour would hardly be safe, unless we made a communication not only of the fact, but of our determination to produce it in the manner in which we did.

This is very good, indeed. I beg every one to read it over twice, at least, every day for a month. If I had but a parrot, I would make her learn to say it over a thousand times a day.

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Mind, they thought the note was destroyed, before they told any soul of its existence, except the Lord Chancellor.

Now, let us hear what they said on the 22nd of February.

Examination of the 22nd.

Mr. Perceval. Would you wish to correct or alter any part of the evidence you gave on Monday, relative to this transaction?—I do not recollect any part of the evidence I gave on Monday that I would wish to correct or alter; if the noble lord, in consequence of the information he has now collected, would wish to ask any other question, I will give an answer.

When you made the statement to this Committee, of the destruction of this note, had you heard that the note was not destroyed?—When I made the statement to the Committee, I had received such a communication as my hon. friend has just mentioned, and I did, in the statement that I made to the Committee, if my recollection does not extremely fail me, state that I did by no means know whether the note was destroyed or not, and that statement I certainly did make in consequence of the information I had but recently received; for, except from that recent information, I had strongly impressed upon my mind that the note was destroyed.

State who the persons were to whom you had given information respecting this note?—I can state several, but I cannot undertake to be certain that I can state them all; I communicated it to the Solicitor-General, to the Attorney-General, to my Lord Castlereagh, to Mr. Canning, and I think I mentioned it to Mr. Yorke, and I am pretty confident that I mentioned it to others; I mentioned it likewise to the Lord Chancellor, I mentioned it to my Lord Liverpool, and I mentioned it to Mr. Huskisson and Mr. Long, and they concurred in the opinion that Mr. Adam should communicate it to some friends of his on the other side of the House; and I believe that to every one of the gentlemen whose names I have mentioned, I did state at the same time my opinion, that from the first moment that I had heard of the existence of this note, I felt it to be my clear duty not to be the depositary of such a secret; that I formed that opinion upon the first day that it was communicated to me, before I understood it to be destroyed, and that as soon as I did know that it was destroyed, which was the next day, I THEN communicated it to the different persons that I have mentioned, but I believe that no person did know of the existence of the note till I heard that it was destroyed, except I believe the Lord Chancellor, when I had reason to believe it was in existence. Before I heard that it had been destroyed, I determined to communicate the fact, so that the note, if it was not destroyed, should be extracted by the evidence at the bar; and when I heard that it was destroyed, I still continued to act upon that determination, and made that determination known. In the examination that I made of the witness (Sandon) at the bar I had in my mind, the whole time of that examination, the various points of fact which the witness had communicated to Col. Hamilton; and if the witness had not at last confessed that the note was not destroyed, I should, unquestionably, have asked him, whether he had not communicated to Colonel Hamilton, that very morning, that it was not destroyed.

Now, reader, you have the whole of the evidence, or, at least, all that is in any wise material, of this Case, fairly before you. It divides itself into two distinct branches; that which relates to the origin of the note, and that which relates to the conduct of those, who, being in early possession of the fact, kept it from the House until so late a period.

As to the first, there are only two persons, namely, Gen. Brownrigg and Mr. Nesbitt, who discover any dissimilarity at all, between the Duke’s acknowledged hand-writing, and the hand-writing of the Note. Other evidence against the authenticity of the Note there is none; and it cannot have escaped the observation of any reader, that the manner, in which Mrs. Clarke gives her evidence relative to the Note, is strongly indicative of conscious truth. As to what Town says, it amounts to Edition: current; Page: [143] nothing, even if there were no ground to doubt of his general veracity. It will be observed, too, that when a person forges, it is for some weighty purpose, and with a desire to make sure as to the effect. This Note, as evidence, is of great importance; but, as a thing intended for the purpose of pacifying Major Tonyn, it was very poor indeed. If Mrs. Clarke had thought it worth her while to forge, would she not have forged something more full and satisfactory? Would she not have put the Duke’s name; and, above all things, would she not have forged an address to herself, and not to “George Farquhar, Esq.?” How was Tonyn, the person to be imposed upon by the forgery, to know that this was the address, under which the Duke sent his letters to Gloucester-place?

Against the internal evidence of the hand-writing, evidence quite sufficient, of itself, for conviction in the ordinary course of law, and evidence unshaken by any of another sort that has been produced; against this evidence, we have, indeed, the positive assertion of the Duke of York, conveyed to the House through Mr. Adam, which Duke of York solemnly avers, that he never, in his life, wrote any such note.

The reader will duly weigh the one against the other, and I have not the smallest doubt, that he will not be long in coming to a just conclusion.

But, important as this Note is, as matter of evidence; important as it evidently is in settling the point, whether the Duke had the “slightest suspicion,” of jobbing for promotion being carried on by his mistress; still it is beyond all measure, more important, as having given rise to a series of actions, on the part of the King’s servants and others, such as that which have been brought to light in the examinations of Mr. Perceval and Mr. Adam.

The facts speak so plainly for themselves, that no commentary, or summary, is necessary; but, I cannot refrain from giving a short view of the case.

On the 4th of February, we see Col. Hamilton, of the Wagon Train; a person in the army, and in the receipt of a monstrous income from his office; in possession of the important fact, that Sandon has a note, in the hand-writing of the Duke (for such Hamilton says he thought it), relating to the promotion of Major Tonyn, and said by Sandon to have been shown to Tonyn, in order to prevent him from withdrawing money destined for Mrs. Clarke. This note was a thing of the very first importance; and Hamilton saying he so regarded it, went to communicate the knowledge of its existence to. . . . . . to whom? Not to Mr. Wardle; not to the gentleman who brought forward the charges; but, to Mr. Adam, the avowed, the gratuitous adviser, of the Duke of York.

Well, the fact, the important fact, is now in the breast of a member of parliament, of one of the judges in the case. And what does he do? Why, he sends Colonel Hamilton to. . . . . . to whom? Not to Mr. Wardle, not to the gentleman, who brought forward the charges, and who had the “heavy responsibility” of proving them hanging over his head; no, not to Mr. Wardle; but, to Mr. Perceval, one of the servants of the King.

Mr. Adam and Mr. Perceval (both members of parliament, both judges in the case) now hold a consultation, and what is the result of that consultation? Why, that Hamilton should advise Sandon to hold no communication Edition: current; Page: [144] with any other person till he came to the bar of the House; that the matter should be brought before the House of Commons; but, first of all, that it should be communicated to the Duke of York, to the party accused, by two of his judges, before it was communicated to the House, which was accordingly done.

Stop here, reader; pause a while; think well of this before you go any further. They thought it quite right to communicate this very important fact to the accused, though they tell you that they expressly advised that Sandon should keep it and every thing else from the accuser.

Oh! faith. I had like to have forgotten, that they charged Digby Hamilton, expressly charged Digby to tell Sandon to preserve the note; to be sure to preserve the note; not to fail to preserve the note, which Digby thought was in the Duke’s hand-writing. Digby was, indeed, to repeat all his own former salutary advice to Sandon, but was to be sure to tell him to preserve, that is to say, not to destroy, the note, which Digby Hamilton thought to be in the Duke’s hand-writing.

Alas! see how frail poor human nature is, and how unavailing, in certain cases, are all the precautions of wisdom! Digby comes to Mr. Adam, on the 5th of February, the very next day, with the sad tidings, that the note, the important note, is destroyed, and of his having exclaimed to Sandon—“Good God! have you destroyed the note?”

In to council again upon this. Away goes Mr. Adam to . . . . to Mr. Wardle? No. To the House? No. But to Mr. Perceval again. Again they deliberate, and again determine to bring the matter before the House; but reserving to themselves to judge of the proper time; but, in order that there may not be a possibility of supposing that they ever, in any case, meant to suppress it, they now determined to make the communication to certain members of the House. One of them made the communication to certain members of his side, and the other to certain members of his side; but, neither of them ever communicated it to any soul, except the Lord Chancellor, TILL AFTER THEY BELIEVED THE NOTE TO HAVE BEEN DESTROYED. Reader, write that fact up over your mantlepiece. Read it a hundred times a day.

Well, did they now communicate the important fact to Mr. Wardle? No. To Lord Folkestone? No, no; the accuser; the person with “heavy responsibility” hanging over his head; the member to whom “infamy” was to attach, if he failed to prove his charges, had not the fact communicated to him.

At last the hour arrives; the fulness of time arrives, and the great fact of the destroyed note, the suppressed evidence, the forgery, is to be poured out upon the devoted heads of Mr. Wardle and Mrs. Clarke, when (as if the father of lies himself had exhausted his skill in vain upon Sandon) Mr. Adam and Mr. Perceval, but a few minutes before the statement is made, learn, and, doubtless, to their inexpressible satisfaction, that the note is not destroyed.

  • “All ye gods, who rule the soul;
  • Styx, through hell whose waters roll,” &c.

Well, in plain prose, out came the note; aye, the very identical note; the dear little God-bless-you billet; the sequel of which production we have already seen.

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Now, then, I shall leave the reader to make up his mind upon this everlastingly-to-be-remembered transaction; and trouble him with only one observation, as to what would have been the consequence, if the Devil had insinuated into the mind of Sandon to destroy the note in reality. In that case, the flat denial of the Duke; his positive assertion; his solemn asseveration, that he had never written any such note, would have been placed, not in opposition to the hand-writing of the note itself, as it now is, but in opposition to the bare assertion of Mrs. Clarke, which assertion would have come discredited by the very suspicious circumstance of her associate Sandon having destroyed the note, and that, too, in direct opposition to the injunctions laid on him by the friends of the Duke, through Col. Hamilton.

Dr. O’Meara’s Case.—The case of General Clavering will require more room than I have, at present, to spare; for, on various accounts, it is a case of primary importance. I shall, therefore, take the case of the Doctor, which lies in a smaller compass.

Mrs. Clarke, in her evidence of the 9th of February, stated amongst other things, that she was applied to for a deanery and a bishoprick. Having so said, she was, as usual, pressed on, with the apparent prospect of detecting her in falsehood, till she came to state the name of Dr. O’Meara, who applied to her to get him made a bishop. At first, this fact rested upon her bare word; and while that was the case, many persons disbelieved, or affected, at least, to disbelieve her statement; but, as usual, this attempt to throw discredit upon her evidence only tended to put her upon her mettle; to set her to work to rummage out other testimony than her own.

She stated, on the 9th of February, that Dr. O’Meara, who wanted to be a bishop, applied to her; that she communicated the Doctor’s offer to the Duke of York, together with all the Doctor’s documents; that the answer of the Duke was, that the Doctor had preached before the King, and that the King did not like the great O in his name; that she does not recollect the precise sum that the Doctor offered, but that she might recollect, though not at this moment; that the Doctor’s application to her was made in 1805, the very night that the Duke was going to Weymouth; that the Doctor called upon her the moment the Duke had left the house, at midnight; that she thinks he must have watched the Duke out, as he had seen his horses waiting in Portman-square, and then, coming in just as she was upon the stairs, said it was a very good opportunity, for he was going to Weymouth immediately, and asked her to come down stairs again, and write him a letter of introduction to the Duke, which she did.

On the 13th of February, she brought to the bar a letter of the Duke of York, written to her from Weymouth, which letter tells her that Dr. O’Meara had applied to him (the Duke) in order to be allowed “to preach before royalty;” that he, the Duke, will put him in the way of it if he can; and that, as the ground of this, the Doctor has delivered to him her letter.—Not content with this proof of her influence as well as of the intercourse, she rummages out a stray document of Dr. O’Meara, which had accidentally remained in her hands, which document is no less than a testimonial in favour of Dr. O’Meara under the hand of the Archbishop of Tuam, which testimonial states, that the writer has received satisfactory assurances, that the Doctor is “a gentleman of most unexceptionable Edition: current; Page: [146] character, in every respect, of a respectable family, and independent fortune.”

Thus the proof, in the Doctor’s case, is quite complete, unless the reader should be of opinion, that the positive evidence, as to the fact of a tendered bribe, be not sufficiently corroborated by the letter of the Duke of York to Mrs. Clarke, and by the letter of the Archbishop of Tuam being found in her possession.

To the Doctor’s case there hangs a tail, and for the sight of which tail, at the present moment, the public are indebted to the Courier.

My readers will not blame me for having been sparing in dissertations upon puffs. I have, not less than a hundred times, had to point out the shameful, the scandalous, the infamous deception of the people through the means of the press. The most complete puff I ever heard of, one that far surpasses any thing that Mr. Sheridan had an idea of when he wrote the Critic, or, to go still farther, any thing that either he or his son has ever practised in reality, was a puff of a Lord, who is now no more, and whose name I will not mention. This lord, who had written a pamphlet about Ireland, under a feigned name, and who was very anxious to get some employment under government, was continually puffing himself off in the newspapers, and at last he got so completely the master of all inward shame, as to prepare, with his own hand, a paragraph in nearly these words: “While others of comparatively trifling merit, are eternally thrusting, themselves forward to public notice, and puffing off their petty pretensions to place and power, it is Lord ——’s lot, to do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.

Reader, do you not feel for the man? Can you conceive how a man could bear his existence, under the contemplation of such a paragraph, written with his own hand? Yet, I assure you, that the fact is as I have stated it.

From this we come to the famous puff of Dr. O’Meara, who did get in the way of “preaching before royalty,” at Weymouth, and who had no mind that the thing should remain unknown, as you will see when you have read the following article, inserted in the Morning Post, or Nabob’s Gazette, under the head of Weymouth, Oct. 3, 1805:

“The Rev. Dr. O’Meara preached on Sunday an excellent sermon (from Rom. ch. xii. v. 5.) on Universal Benevolence. He explained with great eloquence on the relation which the public and private affections bear to each other, and their use in the moral system.—He inveighed with peculiar energy against the savage philosophy of the French Deists, who propose to erect a system of universal philanthropy upon the ruins of the private affections which regard kindred, friends, benefactors, and the poor, thus inverting the eternal order of nature, by violently transferring all the lovely train of social affections from our relatives and friends to distant and unknown myriads. Whilst under these vague terms of attachment to, and of advancing the general good, the practice of every debasing vice finds a shelter, and the perpetration of every horrid crime a subterfuge.—We wish our young ecclesiastics would arouse themselves, and shake off that mental languor which oppresses them in the pulpit, and show themselves in earnest.—Sacred eloquence is certainly in this country feeble and unimpressive; no other excellence can supply the want of animation.—That sweet charm, that celestial unction, which Christian oratory demands, this gentleman possesses in an eminent degree. ‘His lips are touched with the live coal from off the altar.’—The King was very attentive, and stood for nearly the whole of the sermon (which we never observed before), and expressed his high approbation to the Earl of Uxbridge and others, whilst the Queen and Princesses, and the whole audience, were melted into tears.”—“Now,” says the Courier, “connecting the application of Mrs. Clarke to the Duke in favour of Dr. O’Meara, Edition: current; Page: [147] with the letter from the Duke, stating that he will endeavour to accomplish the Doctor’s wish of preaching before royalty, and the above sketch of the discourse which the Doctor did preach before royalty, Mrs. Clarke will have the credit of having been the cause of a sermon upon universal benevolence having been preached before the Royal Family, which produced a great effect upon the King, and melted the Queen and all the Princesses into tears.”

Amongst other things, which the Conspiracy, the Jacobin Conspiracy, wishes to accomplish, is, we are told, the overthrow of the Church, including of course Dr. O’Meara, who possesses the celestial unction, and whose “lips are touched with the live coal from off the altar;” aye, those very lips, through which had passed the offer to Mrs. Clarke. Why, John Bowles and Redhead Yorke may say what they please about “our holy religion” being in danger of a Jacobin plot; but, will they have the impudence to say, that transactions like these ought to be tolerated, let what will be the consequence of removing the means of their existing? Perhaps they will; but, they may be assured, that that impudence will only tend to hasten the cutting-up of the corruptions.

Dean Swift gives us a caution against your gentry with “the celestial unction;” and it is no small compliment to the discernment of the King, that he was not to be imposed upon in this case; for, though he might express his objection merely to the great O, yet there is no doubt, that he saw the whole drift of the preacher, and pretty fairly estimated his character as well as his talents.

It should further be observed here, that the Duke does not speak with any great confidence even of being able to get the Doctor the opportunity to preach before the King. When it came there, the way was full of difficulty. The matter was delicate. And this, in justice to the King, the people should bear in mind.

Miss Taylor’s Case.—And here I have to beseech the attention of the public, and the exercise of their best feelings, towards, and in behalf of, a person, who appears to me to merit not only their compassion, but their efficient protection.

The evidence, which she has given, is before them. They will have seen, that, from first to last, it was clear, precise, consistent, and bearing all the features of truth and honesty.

They will also have observed, that Mr. Wardle declared in the House, that, when he told her, he should want her evidence, she said, that, “if she told the truth, she knew it would be to the ruin of herself and her dearest connections, and that she hoped he would not force her forwards.”

After every effort that was made to find out grounds of imputation against her, it is notorious that not the smallest grounds were discovered, and that while she stood ornamented with truth and sensibility, the only fault of her life was her having lived upon terms of intimacy with Mrs. Clarke, with that Mrs. Clarke, with whom a prince was living, and with whom we find a countess in the closest habits of friendship.

What Miss Taylor foresaw, as the consequence of her evidence, has (I state it upon unquestionable authority) actually come to pass.

She and her sister, after much pains and difficulty, had succeeded in establishing a school, at Chelsea, by which they hoped to be able to support themselves. Since she appeared at the bar of the House, she has lost all her scholars, the number being twelve; her goods have been Edition: current; Page: [148] seized for rent and taxes due, and she is now actually in danger of a prison, though the whole of her debts do not exceed a hundred and fifty pounds.—It is true, that the rent and taxes and debts were due previous to the inquiry; but, the forcing of her before the House of Commons, caused the loss of her scholars; that is to say, the loss of the only means which she had, or could be supposed to have, of ever paying any of those demands. Viewing her in this state, not only of insolvency, but of irretrievable insolvency, her creditors would naturally fall upon her, and therefore, to the circumstance of her having been compelled to give evidence, and to make a full exposure of all her connections and acquaintance, and to that circumstance alone, she owes her ruin, and her present danger of actual imprisonment.

It is not for me to point out, nor is my local situation calculated for the carrying into execution, any precise plan for the relief of this unfortunate and hardly-treated young woman; but, I think it my duty to recommend her case to the public, who, I am sure, will not suffer her to sink into the lowest depths of misery. The payment of her debts is the first thing necessary; because upon that, perhaps, even her life may depend; and that, I think, ought to be followed by the raising of money sufficient to secure her a small annuity. There have been few appeals of this sort made to an English public in vain; and, as far as my recollection serves me, there never was one made with fairer or stronger claims upon public justice.

DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

Mr. Spencer Perceval, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, receives 2,600l. a year, in that capacity; for his office in the Treasury, 1,600l. a year; as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 4,525l. a year; as Surveyor of Meltings and Clerk of the Irons in the Mint, 126l. a year: besides which, he has the grant in reversion, after the death of his brother, Lord Arden, of sinecure offices, or offices executed by deputy, of the clear value, according to their own statement, of 12,562l. a year.—These facts, which are stated upon the authority of a Report, laid before the House of Commons, in the month of June last, show, that this gentleman receives now, 8,851 pounds a year of the public money, and that, if his brother were now to die, he would be in the receipt of 21,413l. a year of the public money.

The anxiously looked-for discussion of the Evidence, relative to the charges against the Duke of York, has, by this time (Tuesday), taken place; and, it will naturally be expected of me, that I offer some remarks upon that discussion. This I shall do; but, to go much into detail is impossible, and, indeed, would be useless. The general turn and complexion of the discussion, particularly noticing some characterizing features of it, is all that can be the subject of remark here; but, I think it necessary to state, that the whole of this important Debate, and also the whole of the Evidence and Documents produced by the Inquiry, will, Edition: current; Page: [149] in the fullest manner, be inserted in my Parliamentary Debates, where the several Speeches will be recorded, in my usual manner, with the most scrupulous impartiality; and, I take this opportunity to notify, that any member, on either side, who may have a wish to have his speech recorded with particular accuracy, shall find his communications punctually and readily attended to.

Before I enter upon my observations upon the debate, as it relates to the great merits of the case, I cannot refrain from noticing a passage, in the speech of Mr. Adam, relating to my own conduct. It will be remembered that, at page 57, in referring to the extraordinary rise of his son in the army, I pointed out the almost inevitable evils that must arise from the making of very young men commanding officers of regiments. In alluding to these remarks, Mr. Adam, in his speech of the 10th instant, “adverted to the pain, which some remarks, which had been made, in a weekly publication, upon his son’s promotion, had occasioned him, and regretted, that he had it not in his power to show the House, that the imputation founded upon what had been represented as a scandalous circumstance, ‘that the backs of a thousand men should be submitted to a youth, who had not yet attained the age of twenty-one years,’ so far from being justified in fact, was most illiberal and unfair, and that there was not a battalion in his Majesty’s service, in which fewer corporal punishments were inflicted, or in which better military regulations were established.”

Now, I need not tell the discerning reader, that, when men find it difficult to rebut what is said, they not unfrequently are led to attack what is not said; and, in the first place, with respect to this complaint of Mr. Adam, after a careful examination of the passage complained of, I do not find, that I have denominated the speedy promotion of Colonel Adam “a scandalous circumstance.” But, in the next place, I am quite sure, that my words will not, in any hands upon earth, admit of being strained to mean, that the regiment, under the command of that gentleman, was cruelly treated, or that it suffered, in any way, from the circumstance of his having the command of it. The words were these:—

“At twenty-one years of age no person in the world can be fit for a Lieutenant-Colonel. He has the absolute command of a thousand men. The comfort, the happiness, the morality, the backs of a thousand men depend upon his wisdom and integrity. A person to be intrusted with such a charge, ought to be sober, considerate, compassionate, and yet firm to execute justice. Where are these to be found united with the passions inseparable from youth? Besides, is it possible, that the other officers, captains old enough, perhaps, to be his father, and who have every fair claim to prior promotion, can cordially submit to the command, and, occasionally, to the reproof, of a boy of twenty-one? What would Mr. Adam say, if he had to plead before a judge of twenty-one years of age? Yet, the Lieutenant-Colonel of a Regiment (for the Colonel never commands) has powers still greater than those of a judge. He has, in the course of a year, to decide upon the cases of, perhaps, two thousand offences. He has to judge of characters; to weigh the merits of candidates for promotion; his smile is encouragement, and his frown disgrace; it depends upon him, whether the soldier’s life be a pleasure or a curse. Is not all this too much for the age of twenty-one years?”

Now, what “imputation” is there here upon Colonel Adam? Are not all the arguments general? And do they breathe sober common sense; dispassionate reason; or illiberality and unfairness? I am ready to allow, that there is a very great difference in young men; that the Edition: current; Page: [150] days of wisdom begin with some at an age when others ought still to be in leading-strings; and, I believe, judging from the character of the father; considering the sort of education, the early habits of sobriety, and of all the moral virtues, which Col. Adam would, in all likelihood, have derived from the example of so good a man and so kind a parent; considering these things, I believe, that Col. Adam may have been as fit for the command of a regiment at the age of twenty-one, as many others at a much more advanced age. But, then, it is the danger of the precedent; and, the small chance that a youth of twenty-one should be so endowed. Besides, the passions of youth who is to quench, or to qualify? That zeal for the service, which is so necessary to constitute a good officer, may become mischievous, and greatly mischievous, if unrestrained by wisdom, and this sort of wisdom is not to be obtained without experience, which experience must, again, be indebted for its existence to years, and many years, of actual service. I myself, by a combination of rare circumstances, became possessed of great power over the greater part of a regiment, at the age of nineteen, I think it was; and, though I always acted for what I deemed the good of the service, I did many things, which I would not now do, if possessed of similar power. Always sober, always in good health, always up long before the sun, with limbs that never felt weary, with a body of iron, and a mind wholly wrapped up in the military service, I made no allowances for the weaknesses, or lukewarmness, of others. That zeal which I felt, I was disappointed at not meeting with in every other breast. Not to run with pleasure at the call of the drum appeared to me as a sort of crime; when I should have considered, that the stimulus which I had, others had not, and that, therefore, to them should have been left other enjoyments. Greater application and zeal than I possessed; a more ardent and sincere desire to do good to the service, I defy Colonel Adam, or any man breathing, to possess; there was nothing that affected the credit of the regiment, which I did not feel more acutely than if it had affected myself. Yet, as I have grown in years; as I have experienced the feelings of husband and father, and as I have had occasion to contemplate the characters, the tempers, the causes of the vices and virtues of men, I have, many times, had to look back with sorrow at many of those acts, which proceeded from the best intentions; therefore, I am qualified to speak upon this matter, and think myself fully justified in the observations that I have made, not believing it to be at all likely, that, out of ten men of twenty-one years of age, the nation should afford one more sober, more vigilant, or less likely to have his mind improperly biassed, than I was.

I have thus gone into my own case as an illustration, because I would leave nothing undone to show, that I was not, in the remarks which appear to have given pain to Mr. Adam, actuated by any motive of “illiberality or unfairness,” but solely by my conviction of the injurious consequences, which must arise, almost necessarily, from the committing of regiments to the command of such very young men. The law, which, in such matters, contains the accumulated wisdom of ages, denies to persons the possession of their own property, till they be twenty-one years of age; it denies them the liberty of choosing for themselves husbands and wives, until that age, before they have arrived at which, it denominates them infants; and, be it observed, that Mr. Adam’s son was a Major, and, as such, was, of course, frequently the commanding officer Edition: current; Page: [151] of a regiment, at the age of twenty; for, it is notorious, that it seldom happens, that the Lieutenant-Colonel and the Major are both present at the same time.

I shall conclude with declaring my sorrow at having given Mr. Adam pain; and, I think, that the public must be convinced, that I have, as far as my duty would allow me, avoided so doing. He is a gentleman, of whom I have heard much good; of whom, from no party or person, I never heard a word of harm in my life; there are many circumstances in his progress through public life, which are highly honourable to him, and I myself am under great obligations to his wisdom, his talents, and his disinterestedness: but, if Mr. Adam will, for a moment, put himself in my place, I am sure he will say, that I could not have left unnoticed that which, with regard to him, I have noticed, and that my observations could not have been more lenient than they have been, without justly subjecting me to the charge of base partiality.

In entering upon the Debate, the first thing necessary is, to state, as correctly as it can now be done, the several propositions, that have been submitted for the adoption of the House. On the 8th of the month (Wednesday) Mr. Wardle, at the close of a speech, in which he most ably summed up the Evidence upon all the separate Cases, made a motion in the following words:

“That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, humbly stating to his Majesty, that information has been communicated to this House, and evidence produced to support it, of various corrupt practices and other abuses having prevailed for some years past, in the disposal of Commissions and Promotions in his Majesty’s Land Forces—that his Majesty’s faithful Commons, according to the duty by which they are bound to his Majesty and to their constituents, have carefully examined into the truth of sundry transactions which have been brought before them, in proof of such corrupt practices and abuses; and that it is with the utmost concern and astonishment his Majesty’s faithful Commons find themselves obliged, most humbly, to inform his Majesty, that the result of their diligent inquiries into the facts, by the examination of persons concerned, together with other witnesses, and a variety of documents, has been such as to satisfy his faithful Commons, that the existence of such corrupt practices and abuses is substantially true.

That his Majesty’s faithful Commons are restrained by motives of personal respect and attachment to his Majesty, from entering into a detail of these transactions, being convinced that they could not be stated without exciting the most painful sensations of grief and indignation in the breast of his Majesty: That the proceedings of his Majesty’s faithful Commons upon this important subject have been public, and the evidence brought before them is recorded in the proceedings of parliament; and that they trust his Majesty will give them credit, when they assure his Majesty, that in the execution of this painful duty they have proceeded with all due deliberation. That without entering into any other of the many obvious consequences which may be expected to follow, from the belief once generally established, of the prevalence of such abuses in the Military Department, there is one great and essential consideration inseparable from the present subject, which they humbly beg leave, in a more particular manner, to submit to his Majesty’s gracious consideration, namely, that if an opinion should prevail amongst his Majesty’s Land Forces, that promotion may be obtained by other means than by merit and service—by means at once unjust to the Army and disgraceful to the authority placed over it, the effect of such an opinion must necessarily be, to wound the feelings and abate the zeal of all ranks and descriptions of his Majesty’s Army.

That it is the opinion of this House, that the abuses which they have thus most humbly represented to his Majesty, could not have prevailed to the extent in which they had been proved to exist, without the knowledge of the Commander-in-Chief; and that even if, upon any principle of reason or probability, it could Edition: current; Page: [152] be presumed that abuses so various and so long-continued could, in fact have prevailed without his knowledge, such a presumption in his favour would not warrant the conclusion that the command of the Army could, with safety, or ought in prudence, to be continued in his hands.

That on these grounds and principles his Majesty’s faithful Commons most humbly submit their opinion to his Majesty’s gracious consideration, that his royal highness the Duke of York ought to be deprived of the Command of the Army.

Mr. Perceval, with the intervention only of Mr. Burton, followed Mr. Wardle, and proposed, in the way of amendment, to leave out the whole of Mr. Wardle’s motion, with the exception of the word “That,” and to substitute the following in its stead:—

“That an Address be presented to his Majesty, humbly representing, that in consequence of charges against his royal highness the Duke of York, his faithful Commons thought it their indispensable duty to inquire into the same, in the most solemn and public manner; and after the most diligent and attentive inquiry, his most faithful Commons, considering the lively interest his Majesty must feel in any inquiry respecting the conduct of his royal highness the Duke of York, thought it their duty to lay before his Majesty the following Resolutions:—

Resolved, That charges having been brought against his royal highness the Duke of York, imputing to him personal corruption and criminal connivance in the execution of his office; and this House having referred the said charges to a Committee, &c. feels it its duty to pronounce a distinct opinion upon the subject.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this House, after the fullest and most attentive examination of all the evidence adduced, that there is no ground for charging his Royal Highness with personal corruption or connivance at such practices, disclosed in the testimony heard at the bar.

And his Majesty’s faithful Commons think it their duty further to state to his Majesty, that while the House has seen the examplary regularity and method in which business is conducted in his Royal Highness’s office, and the salutary regulations introduced by him, some of which were intended to prevent the very abuses complained of, and which have been brought under review, they cannot but feel the greatest regret and concern that a connection should have existed which has thus exposed his Royal Highness’s character to public CALUMNY, and that frauds should have been carried on, with which his Royal Highness’s name has been coupled, of a most disgraceful and dangerous tendency; but it is, at the same time, a great consolation to the House to observe the deep concern his Royal Highness has expressed, that such a connection should ever have taken place; and on the expression of that regret the House is confident that his Royal Highness will keep in view the uniformly virtuous and exemplary conduct of his Majesty, since the commencement of his reign, and which has endeared his Majesty to all his subjects.”

On the 10th (Friday), after Messrs. Bragge and Whitbread and the Attorney-General had spoken, Mr. Bankes spoke, and concluded with saying,

“That he was decidedly of opinion, that the House would not do its duty, if it did not communicate to the King their opinion, that the Duke of York could no longer continue an useful servant of the public. The Address proposed by Mr. Perceval, was, he observed, a mere extract from a Letter recently presented to that House, in a very extraordinary, and, in his mind, in a very exceptionable manner. It was the custom to say, that the Address of the House to any Speech from the throne, was generally the echo of the Speech; but he never could suppose it possible to be said, that the Address of that House should be the echo of a letter. In this case, however, it might be said with justice; and he never could persuade himself to subscribe to such an echo. He hoped the House would manifest an equal unwillingness to do so. If the House could not only endure to receive a letter, which was itself an infringement on its privileges, but could submit to send an Address to his Majesty, in obedience to that letter, it must be contented to sink in its own estimation and that of the country. Let the proceeding Edition: current; Page: [153] of the House be guided by proper motives, and spring from a pure source, and the country would do justice to its conduct, while it must retain its own good opinion. Differing so decidedly as he did from his right honourable friend, in the conclusions to which his mind had come upon the evidence, he could admit nothing more than that it was barely possible his right honourable friend might be right. But that he was not so, that House would, he hoped, and trusted, for its own credit and character, prove by the decision it pronounced upon this important question.”

Mr. Bankes then proposed a further Amendment, in the following words:

“That information had been laid before the House, with respect to certain abuses and corruptions which were alleged to be prevalent in the disposal and purchase of commissions and promotions in his Majesty’s land forces. That the House had accordingly instituted the most diligent examination into the grounds of such charges; and that they felt the deepest concern that the result of that inquiry was such as to convince them that such corruptions and abuses had prevailed. That they had, at the same time, great satisfaction in being enabled to declare, that there appeared to them to be no ground for charging the Commander-in-Chief with personal corruption; but while they were glad to do this justice to his Royal Highness, and to acknowledge the good consequences that had resulted to the army from the regulations he had introduced, and the improvements he had adopted in advancing their discipline and conduct, still they felt themselves obliged to express their opinion, that such abuses could not have prevailed, to the extent they had done, without exciting at least the suspicion of the Commander-in-Chief; and that if such abuses had existed without the knowledge of his Royal Highness, that House had great reason to doubt whether the chief command of his Majesty’s forces could with propriety, or ought with prudence, remain in the hands of the Duke of York. That the House had discovered, with the deepest concern, that a connection had subsisted fraught with injurious consequences to the cause of religion and morals, and of a character the most opposite in its nature to the bright example of morality given, throughout a long reign, by his Majesty to his people.”

Of these three propositions we will first notice that of Mr. Perceval, which is, as Mr. Bankes described it, the mere echo of a letter, but with the addition of a declaration, that the Duke of York has been found free from personal corruption and from any connivance at such corruption.

There is nothing better calculated to bewilder and mislead the public, than an artful selection of terms. If the people had put to them this question: “Do you think that it is proved, that the Duke of York knew that his mistress took money for using her influence with him, regarding promotions, &c. and that he used his authority to further her views in getting such money?” If this question were put to the people, they would know how to answer at once, without a moment’s hesitation; but, by the invention of the term “personal corruption,” to which vast importance is attached, some people are puzzled; a distinction is erected; a doubt is excited, whether there be not one sort of corruption which is criminal, in the eye of the law, and another not criminal in the eye of the law.

But, what is corruption? The plain meaning of the word, as applied to persons in authority under the public, is this: the doing of any thing, in his public capacity, for money or money’s worth, or for a private consideration of any sort; or the procuring of any thing, from such consideration, unlawfully given, to be done by another person. The minister who should give a place, or a pension, to the son of a rascal (if any such rascal could be supposed to exist, and if any minister could be found to Edition: current; Page: [154] be so base), who, in consideration thereof, should vote for him, would be guilty of corruption, as well as the wretch who should, in that manner, sell his country and his soul; and the corruption would not be the less real because neither of the parties fingered any money, on account of the infamous contract.

Well, then, what is meant by “personal corruption;” why this, that the party must actually touch the cash, give or take the money himself; that it must go from him, or come into his pocket, literally into his pocket. But, reader, is there any thing solid in this distinction? Is there any thing in it, which reason says ought to have any weight in a decision upon a subject like that before us? If I stand by and see my neighbour robbed, and say nothing at all about the matter, am I not as criminal as the robber? How much more criminal must I be, then, if the goods stolen be applied to my use, and if I, by any means that I possess, enable the robber to commit the act, and encourage him to do it, especially if the party robbed be my employer? I do not, observe, state this as a case parallel with that of the Duke of York, upon whose guilt or innocence I have left, and shall leave, my readers to judge; but, I state it as a general proposition, in the way of illustration of my argument; and, I think, it will leave no doubt at all in the mind of the reader, that corruption may be as base, nay, a great deal more base, when the party does not actually touch the money, than when he does; and, it will readily occur to every man of reflection, that what is called “personal corruption,” by which is meant, I suppose, the plain downright direct giving and taking of bribes, is, as to its dangerous extent, nothing at all, when compared to corruption of a more roundabout and covert nature.

The truth is, that it is this latter sort of corruption, which is really dangerous to a state; and this is the sort of corruption, which now is eating away the heart of this country. Sir Francis Burdett, in his most admirable speech of the 13th instant, speaking of the case of Kennett, said, that from the evidence given in this case,

“It appeared that the Duke of York was actuated by a greedy desire of getting money almost by any means, and accordingly undertook to recommend a fraudulent bankrupt to an office under government for the sake of a loan. Here he could not help saying a few words on the subject of corruption. The right hon. gent. (Mr. Perceval) seemed to consider corruption as synonymous with the actual taking of money for improper purposes; and, with this idea in his mind, he said that corruption was not so prevalent in our days as in former times. He thought the golden age was returned; and that, with respect to corruption, our days might be considered as a ‘paradise regained.’ What did the hon. gent. think of the multitudes of offices at the disposal of ministers and their underlings; the colonial places; the situations created by the increase of the various establishments in the country, and the immense amount of the taxes? Of the taxes which had risen to such a height, that men looked up to government in order to get back a part of their own. By the reduction of their incomes, men were first driven to mendicity, and then bribed with their own money. True, these were not times when a member of parliament could take a bribe of 500l. in the lobby, nor when he dined with the Speaker could he expect to find a sum of money under the cover of his plate. We saw little in our times of the open and barefaced corruption of ruder ages. Corruption was now gilded with the name of Office, which was greedily snatched at by him who, as the right hon. gent. had observed, would be ashamed to take the value of ready money into his hand. The Duke of York certainly did not, when acting corruptly, take so many guineas in hand. This was too gross for the times, especially when corruption could be so easily gilded. Corruption had no necessary connection with money,—corruption consisted in the corrupt motive, in swaying the mind from truth and justice. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, therefore, Edition: current; Page: [155] might say, that there was less of open bribery in our days than in former times—but he seemed entirely to misconceive the meaning of the term, when he said there was less corruption.”

A bribe in hard cash upon the nail is not half so dangerous as a bribe in the way of office; the former is a transaction which has a speedy end, the latter binds the corrupted party for life, or for a considerable time, in all human probability.

Mrs. Clarke told the House, with her usual frankness, that she was desired to ask some of the persons, whom she patronized, to get members of parliament to vote thus and thus upon certain occasions; and she mentions one particular instance, wherein the Duke of York told her, that he had informed Mr. Long of her success in this way, who was much pleased at it. This passed, at first, for one of her sallies; nobody believed, or, at least, nobody, in the House, appeared to believe her; but, by-and-by, out comes a bundle of her sprightly and careless notes, which were in the hands of Sandon, and which the lawyers had, with their usual judgment, of themselves, of their own seeking, brought forth; and in these notes, she is found to talk as familiarly of getting votes for Pitt, as one talks of getting a hare or a brace of birds for a friend. In one of these notes, she says to Sandon, “Will you, my good Sir, drop me a line on Monday morning, saying if you have been able to influence any person who is with Pitt, to attend the House on Monday and give his vote.” The word vote is in italics. She knew what was the thing wanted.

In another note, to the same person, she says: “Do you think it possible to get me a vote on Monday for Pitt’s motion? It will, if carried, be of some consequence to us hereafter; try all you can.”

Now, are we to believe, that Mrs. Clarke would have written thus, if there had been no such thing as “getting votes” going on? Or, are we to believe, that this is a mere specimen, accidentally come to light; forced out, as it were, while the Devil was asleep, by the lawyers themselves, to prove to the world, the existence of a generally-pervading system of corruption?

I leave these questions to the reader, and beseech him, while yet there is time, to think of the remedy.

The money taken by Mrs. Clarke, and by others under her auspices, for promotions and the like, ought by no means to be considered as applied to her or to their use. The Duke kept her not for her pleasure, or for any purpose of hers; but solely for his pleasure and for his purposes. Therefore, whatever he gave her, he gave from a selfish motive; and, whatever she obtained, no matter in what manner, in consequence of her connection with him, arose from the gratification of his selfish feelings and pleasures. If I were, therefore, to leave out of sight all the evidence relating to his knowledge, that she trafficked in commissions, and that the net proceeds went towards the support of her establishment; if I were to blast, in a lump, all the evidence of Mrs. Clarke, Miss Taylor, the two Letters, and the Note, with all the scores of corroborations verbal and written, still I should say, that it was owing to the existence of the connection; that it was owing to the establishment in Gloucester-place; that it was owing to the adulterous intercourse; that, in short, it was for the gratification of the Duke of York’s lust, and for that purpose solely, that all the infamous acts, which have come to light, were committed.

As to the other parts of Mr. Perceval’s proposition, I will not stop to Edition: current; Page: [156] notice them. They are, as Mr. Bankes well observed, a mere echo of the Duke’s letter to the House. Any thing much more adulatory was never tendered to any of the Tudors.

Mr. Wardle’s proposition does, in my opinion, either not go far enough, or it goes too far. It is true, as Lord Folkestone observed, that the Charge upon the Journals does not contain an allegation of personal corruption, or of corruption of any sort or degree; but, I think, the Address should have contained an explicit opinion upon that point; or, that it should have contained no opinion at all. If the person accused had been any other than a near relation of the King, I should have been decidedly for a decision upon that point; but, he being a son of the King, I should have been for merely laying the evidence before the King; for, as to “throwing the odium” upon the King, by such a step, what do those mean, who talk of that? The “odium” of what do they talk of? The odium of dismissing his son from his office? The odium of doing that of himself, whatever it may be, which the House of Commons will, or would, advise him to do? The inquiry has taken place; the whole of the evidence is before the public; the people understand the whole matter. Every man in the kingdom understands it as well as it is possible for him to understand it. The King has the same means of judging laid before him. And, why should it be called “throwing the odium upon him,” to leave the decision to his sole breast? In short, to give any rational interpretation of these words, you must suppose, you must conclude beforehand, that the King’s decision would be unjust, or, at least, that so it would appear to the nation; and that, therefore, it is, for the sake of the King, necessary to keep from him the office of deciding. And here again is a dilemma; for, if you talk of “odium,” as the Nabob’s Gazette does, it must fall somewhere; and, where will it fall? where can it fall? Indeed, it is nonsense to talk of the odium attached to the decision, unless you presuppose, that the decision will be unjust, to justify which supposition I shall leave as a pleasing task for the trading, the regular trading, Anti-Jacobins, in town and country.

For these reasons, I would have simply moved to submit the evidence to the King, without being at all afraid, that his decision would have exposed him to public reproach. But, at any rate, if I had not done that, I would have brought before the House the direct question as to the corruption. There was, in my opinion, no medium to be adopted, consistent with the ends of justice, or with the character of the House.

If the latter had been rejected, and such a motion as that of Mr. Bankes, which is only one degree removed from that of Mr. Perceval, had been adopted, the original motion would have only shared the fate, which, in all probability, Mr. Wardle’s motion will now share; while he would have avoided the possibility of an imputation of having shrunk from the question. I am convinced, that he was actuated solely by the motive of sparing the feelings of the King, and this, indeed, is, by Lord Folkestone, stated to have been his motive; but, experience will teach Mr. Wardle, that, however well forbearance may be calculated to operate on the mind of the King, and there to produce a reciprocity of feeling, forbearance is not the way to obtain the concurrence of his servants, in the House of Commons, who are sure to advance upon you two steps for every one that you recoil. If Mr. Wardle was convinced, that the Duke of York had, knowingly, participated in the profits of the corruption, carried on under his name, he should have made that a distinct Edition: current; Page: [157] question; and, having brought the House to decide that, yea, or nay, he might, then, very consistently, have supported the next best proposition that should have been made, leaving the country to judge for itself between him and those who opposed him. This, or what I should still have, in this case, preferred, simply laying the evidence before the King, was, in my humble opinion, the path to pursue.

With regard to Mr. Bankes’s proposition, much need not be said. It has, though not quite so much of adulation as the proposition of Mr. Perceval, a great deal of the smooth and the sweet in it. It is a mixture of oil and vinegar and molasses; it is a compound certainly, but the pleasant ingredients are not only two to one in number, they predominate also in the quantity of each. There is, indeed, an expression relative to the dismission of the Duke, which, by-the-bye, appears, after all, to be the thing most dreaded by his friends, and against which all their efforts have been bent; but, this expression has in it so little of the positive, that, to disregard it could not well be looked upon, by those who use the expression, as a subject of very serious complaint. To me, I will frankly confess, that the dismission of the Duke appears to be an object of no very great importance. In fact, and to speak out plain, I do not care a straw about the matter, unless the dismission were accompanied with measures, which should effectually prevent similar corruptions in future; and, as no such measure appears to be in agitation, I think it of no consequence whatever to the nation, whether the Duke be dismissed, or whether he remain.

I cannot, however, agree in the opinion, now expressed by Mr. Bankes, and before expressed by several of the ministers, or their friends, “that this Inquiry will do no good.” On the contrary, I think, and I am convinced, that it already has done a great deal of good; and that it will continue, with other things, “to work together for good,” until the day of perfect purification shall arrive; until the whole of the system of corruption shall be rooted out; until all the vermin, who prey and who fatten upon the vitals of the nation, shall have been caught and made to regorge; and until the throne, as well as the people, shall have been secured from the consequences of their wide-spreading depredations. What! has this inquiry done “no good”? This inquiry, which has discovered to the East India Directors such an extensive traffic in their offices; and, since the commencement of which by Mr. Wardle, Mr. Perceval has set to work to prosecute the regular traders in offices and livings? Good God! not done any good?

While, however, this is contended for, on the one hand, in order to lessen, or to deny altogether, the merit of Mr. Wardle, it is as strenuously contended, on the other hand, that the Inquiry will do a wonderful deal of good, as to the future conduct of the Duke of York. The Attorney-General, on the 9th of the month, after stating, that he was for a decision that should fall short of making his royal highness retire, or be removed, concluded thus:—“Could any man, after this Inquiry, believe that things would grow worse? Did any man believe that the Duke of York was insensible to the perils and dangers with which he was surrounded, and that he would not profit by the lesson he had received? Did any man think he would not be sensible of his acquittal, and of the reproof accompanying it? Did any man believe that he would not be sensible of all these things, and careful to avoid a similar situation?”

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Well, then, whatever may be our opinion upon these points; whatever we may think of the disposition of the Duke, taking into view his letter to the House, and not forgetting the company he has been proved to delight in; whatever may be our opinion, your opinion is, that he will “profit from this lesson;” that he will be sensible of “the reproof,” which, it appears, that even you would now give him; and, that he will be in future, “careful to avoid such a situation.” Indeed! But, to whom, then, will he be indebted for this profitable lesson? Whom will he have to thank for this affecting reproof? Not you, nor any of those, who are to be numbered amongst his defenders and friends. No, for you, from the first, flattered him with complete acquittal; you scouted the charges against him; and, one of you, in the apparent confident reliance that those charges could not be supported; that the means would be found of hooting them down, asserted, that infamy would alight somewhere, upon the accuser or the accused. No, it is not by you, or any of you, or all of you together, that this great good, as you appear to esteem it, would have been done; but, by Mr. Wardle, and solely by Mr. Wardle; it is he (supposing your proposition to take effect) that will have produced all the good, which you anticipate from it; it is he, and he alone, that will have produced the lesson and the reproof. Let it be repeated by nobody, then, and particularly by you, that this inquiry has done no good, and that the author of it is not entitled to the highest marks of honour that the people can bestow upon him.

Upon the quality of the evidence, or any part of it, I shall not here offer any remark; but, there are two or three presumptions, which have been set up by the defenders of the Duke of York, and which I think it proper to point out to the attention of my readers; first observing, what, I dare say, they will all have observed before, that, though it is common enough for a judge to set aside presumptions when opposed to positive testimony, there never was a judge, an English judge, at least, who ventured to set aside positive testimony upon the ground of opposing presumptions.

The first of these presumptions is, that the Duke would not have given into these transactions for the sake of so paltry a sum as 2500l., which, it is asserted, was all that Mrs. Clarke gained and brought into the firm at Gloucester-place, by the corruptions in which she had a hand. But, as to the sum, is it not more likely to have been 50,000l. than 2500l.? Look at her Letters to Sandon; hear the evidence of Sandon and Donovan and Hovenden and Cowrie and others, and you find the trade of jobs and loans and bills continually going on. You hear of many transactions, which have not been at all explained. She forgets scores of people that she has had dealings with. After all that could be done, it remained unproved, that the Duke paid to Gloucester-place more than from twelve to fifteen hundred a year. Lord Folkestone, in a speech which he made on the 10th, and which makes good all the expectations of his greatest admirers, has said, that he kept house at the same time, and that he is clearly of opinion, that he, without any waste or extravagance, could not have maintained such an establishment for 10,000l. a year.

But, be the sum what it might, why, in the face of positive testimony, are we to presume, that the Duke would not, for a paltry sum, do what was wrong, when we find him, for the paltry sum of 400l. a year, breaking his promise, to the woman to whom he had written the two letters, but a few months before, the existence of which promise Mr. Adam has Edition: current; Page: [159] proved, and the condition upon which it was made, has not been proved to have been broken by her? After this proof has been laid before us, why are we to presume, that the smallness of any sum should be considered as an objection to his using means to obtain or withhold it?

If the Duke had gone as far as the evidence states him to have gone, it is said, why had he not gone farther? If he participated in, or connived at, the sale of some commissions, we are asked, why he did not do so with respect to more? Why did he not raise hundreds of thousands of pounds in this way?

A very good answer might be given; an answer quite sufficient for such a question, that we do not, and, as yet, cannot, know to what extent the traffic may have been carried; for, as Mr. Whitbread observed, the wonder is, not that so little, but that so much, has come to light, through that mass of obstructions, which every word of evidence against him, except the evidence of Mrs. Clarke, has had to work its way.

But, is not this the first time, that it ever has been attempted to prove, that a man has not done one thing, because he has not done another, the two being in no wise dependent upon, or connected with one another? Were your servant, upon positive testimony, accused of stealing your spoons, should you expect to hear a presumption urged against the testimony, upon the ground of his not having stolen your mugs and the rest of your plate? Why, if such presumptions were, in the usual course of justice, admitted to have weight, no man would be hanged for sheep-stealing, till he had got half the flock. Poor sheep! They would, under such law, stand but a bad chance in a hard winter.

The Crown lawyers have, in this case, as in many others, completely inverted the usual and settled course of arguing. That course is, to presume, that, when a man has one fact proved against him, there are others behind, which are not proved. Mr. Whitbread very finely observed here, that it was, with common culprits, always “the first time;” but, the Crown lawyers, in place of arguing thus, would have us believe, that, because there have been only four instances, relating to which positive testimony respecting corruption has been produced, while there has been fifteen or sixteen thousand promotions in the army, there has been no corruption at all. To continue my old illustration of the sheep-stealers, what would a Judge, sitting at Dorchester, say, if a lawyer were to argue, that because the testimony against his client related to only four sheep, stolen from a down where there were fifty thousand feeding every night, it therefore was to be presumed that he had stolen none at all? What would the Judge say? Why, he would say nothing; he would smile, and be looking over his notes; and, in his charge to the jury, would certainly think it unnecessary to allude to such an argument.

The second presumption that I shall notice is this: that the Duke, when informed of the charges, expressed his desire that the Inquiry should be public; that he would not have done this, and that he would not have before set Mrs. Clarke at defiance, unless he had been conscious of innocence.

As to the mode of inquiry, the choice was certainly a bad one; it was not favourable to him; but, it gave him much of support, which he could not have had elsewhere; much of legal and oratorical talent; and he had had opportunities of witnessing the result of such inquiries, as in the case of the ill-fated Mr. Paull against Mr. Sheridan. He was acquainted with the person of Mrs. Clarke, but he might be no judge of her character, Edition: current; Page: [160] or of how she would act in such a perilous case; a case so perilous, that Lord Folkestone tells us, that rumours of expulsion were, at one time, afloat with respect to Mr. Wardle himself.

As to the setting of Mrs. Clarke at defiance, he had so long been in the enjoyment of so much power; he must have presumed that nothing was to be done without the testimony of officers in the army; he could not reasonably have supposed, that she would be assisted so ably by the Lawyers; how was he to imagine, that they would goad her on to go and hunt out his letters, absolutely goad her till she did it; that Mr. Lowten, his own attorney, would be set to work to force Nicholls to bring a whole package of proofs in support of her, which she had ordered to be burnt; that accident had placed in her careless hands, and what is more, kept there, the letter of the Archbishop of Tuam: and that, at last, as it were for a grand coup de théatre, just before the curtain dropped, his friends, with the manifest expectation of proving a forgery upon her, should force from Sandon, should draw from him, as if it had been the last drop of his heart’s blood, that NOTE, which, of all things in the whole world, she must have wished to see produced against him, and, at the sight of which, according to the description of Mr. Whitbread, her eyes might well beam with joy?

How was the Duke to have expected all, or any part of this? Nobody could expect it. Mr. Wardle; nay, Mrs. Clarke herself, could not possibly have expected any such thing; and, does not the reader clearly perceive, that, if there had been none of these unexpected discoveries, her evidence, that very evidence which these discoveries have so fully corroborated, would have been set down as a tissue of falsehoods?

How long would her word have stood against Clavering’s, if Mr. Lowten had not kindly forced Nicholls to bring the General’s own letters, to give the lie direct to what he had said with a view of blasting the credit of her, who had so long and so disinterestedly been his benefactress?

Besides, it was, after Mr. Wardle brought forward his charges, a little too late to attempt to silence Mrs. Clarke. Any overture to her, at this period, for that purpose, ran the manifest risk of failing; and, if it failed, there was the proof of guilt at once. It was too late to recoil, though it was not too late to forbear goading her on to search for proofs of her veracity.

When a man is asked, “Is such a thing true, that they say of you?” he is very apt to say no, if he sees that yes would be injurious to him; and, when he has said no, it is not very easy to say yes to the same question. It is an old saying, that “one lie makes many.” When once a man gets into falsehood, he generally goes on. It is so difficult to retrace his steps; indeed it is impossible, without confessing that he has told a falsehood; and this is what few men are found able to bring their minds to. When they make the first denial, they do not see all, nor scarcely any part of the consequences, which are likely to follow; and hence it is, that we invariably see the guilty contribute, in this way, towards their own conviction and condemnation.

There appears, therefore, to be nothing solid in this presumption, founded on the Duke’s setling Mrs. Clarke at defiance.

The third presumption is of a nature still more strange than either of the others. It is this: that, if the Duke had had any knowledge of these corruptions, it is not to be believed, that he would, in so solemn a manner, have denied the fact.

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This is, in the tone of the Duke’s famous Letter, setting “the honour of a prince” in opposition to the evidence taken at the bar, and giving it the preference to all that body of evidence; and, as I observed before, in speaking of that letter, the short way of going to work, if this reasoning be allowed, would have been, to show Mr. Wardle’s charges to the Duke, and to pronounce an acquittal immediately upon his simple declaration that the charges were false. We are asked, with great emphasis: “Can any man believe, that a prince of the illustrious House of Brunswick would have denied these allegations, in so solemn a manner, if he had not been certain of their falsehood?”

Yes: many men, and I am one of the number. I can believe it, and thoroughly believe it too; and, my reasons for so believing are these. 1. Because the allegations are supported by a great body of evidence as good and much fuller than what the law requires for the taking away the life of a common malefactor; 2. Because it has been stated by Mr. Adam, that the Duke of York declared to him, that he never corresponded with Mrs. Clarke upon military matters, while, by a letter in the Duke’s own hand-writing, it is proved, that he did correspond with her on military matters; and, 3. Because Mr. Adam has stated, that the Duke of York declared, that he never wrote to Mrs. Clarke the note touching Tonyn’s promotion; while, by indubitable testimony, it is proved, that the note extracted from Sandon, was in the Duke’s hand-writing, which note was sent to Mrs. Clarke, and which note related to Tonyn’s promotion.

For these reasons, if there were no other, I should scout such a presumption as the one above described; which presumption, indeed, if it were, for one moment, admitted to have any weight, would go to establish a precedent the most dangerous in the world, namely, that the words, and, of course, the evidence of persons are to be estimated according to rank, birth, or wealth. Upon this subject Sir Francis Burdett asked:

“What had been the Duke of York’s conduct with regard to Mrs. Clarke? He separated from her, not certainly for having taken money for commissions. His excessive love for her was the only circumstance that could at all have extenuated his offence, and yet it appeared that she was shaken off like an old shoe, and threatened with infamy. This she had asserted, and her testimony stood unrebutted, although the means existed by calling the messenger. She begged for money to pay her debts, and on condition of receiving this she had offered to give up the claim to her annuity; but even this was refused. Where was ‘the honour of a Prince’ then? This was, surely, no great settlement, considering the terms on which she had lived with the Duke of York, and all the circumstances. He said, ‘You have no bond, no legal demand,’ and there was ‘the honour of a Prince.’ If this was honour, it was a sort of honour which scarcely included the ingredients of honesty and fair dealing, and which could not weigh a feather in opposition to the evidence before the House.”

Mr. Whitbread, upon the same subject, was still more impressive; and, indeed, the whole of his speech was one of the best that ever was heard from any man.

“Why,” said he, “has the Duke of York written such a letter to the House? I speak not now of its trenching upon our privileges; but, why did he reduce us to the melancholy situation of believing the evidence we have heard, even against ‘the honour of a Prince?’ The honour of a prince! Alas! we must all come to that fatal period, when death, which knows no distinction, will class the prince with the peasant; and yet, if we turn our eyes to that awful spectacle, shall we not find the wretch, with a rope about his neck, protesting that innocence which he knows he is not possessed of? Protestations, then, I never will heed: in this case I hear of them with horror.”

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Of that letter, that intolerable letter, enough will be to be said hereafter; but, in what it relates to the subject before us, it must be asked, what the Duke means by the distinction, which his words clearly convey. Does he mean that the honour of a prince is of superior quality to that of a man in private life, and entitled to the same degree of precedency as he himself would be in a public procession? If he would impress us with an idea, that his honour is of quality superior to that of an earl, or a gentleman, we must ask him where it was, what was its influence, when his declarations were made to Mr. Adam, relative to the not corresponding upon military matters, and to the writing of the note about Tonyn; that note; that note, which was thought to be destroyed, and which, good God! Mr. Perceval, in his speech, presumed to be a forgery by Mrs. Clarke; a crime, affecting the life of the woman, to whom the Duke had vowed everlasting love?

I have noticed these presumptions a little more fully (though not so well, perhaps) than I find them noticed in the reports of the speeches, not because there was any danger of their producing effect upon the public mind; but because they are all, absolutely all that has by the combined ingenuity of so many ingenious men, been found out to weigh against the evidence taken at the bar. Upon that evidence the public is well able to judge; and I have now laid before my readers all that I can discover, which has, taking it as a whole, been opposed to it. As to the nature of the evidence, and the characters and credibility of the witnesses, the public is in possession of all the means of judging; and, when they have attended to the presumptions, above noticed, they see all, aye all, that has been opposed to the great mass of evidence taken at the bar.

To those, who have read the speeches of Lord Folkestone and Sir Francis Burdett, not a word need be said upon the treatment which Mr. Wardle and his witnesses have received, nor upon the general and uniform conduct, through the whole of this affair, of the King’s servants in the House of Commons. Indeed, no man of common observation could stand in need of the remarks made, as to these matters, in those speeches; and, if there be any part of the conduct of Mr. Wardle at which I feel regret, it is his having stated, that he had received indulgence and assistance at the hands of the ministers and their friends; in which statement, if meant ironically, the irony is imperceptible to common discernment; and, if not so, does not well square with that character of sincerity and plain-dealing, which has distinguished Mr. Wardle from the outset, which at once gained him the hearts of the country, and which, in fact, it was that carried him safely through all the perils, with which he was encompassed. Complimenting, I never knew succeed in gaining over, or in softening, any ministry; while I never knew it fail to weaken, more or less, the confidence of the people, It is so much in the style, in the common cant, of professed fee’d advocates, that it never fails to excite some degree of suspicion as to the sincerity of those who use it. There is, honest nature tells every living soul, a fit antipathy of right to wrong; and, if we would be not only right, but thought to be so in sincerity and in earnestness, we must take care that the fashion of the times does not lead us into that sort of refinement, which must excite a doubt as to the existence of such antipathy. There is, on this account, a great drawback from the excellence of Mr. Whitbread’s speech, who sets out with almost fulsome compliments on that of Mr. Perceval, which he Edition: current; Page: [163] praises for qualities, not only which, it is evident, he perceives it did not possess, but of which he is prepared to show, and of which he actually does show, that it is completely destitute. This may, for aught I know, be refinement; it may suit the manners of the times; but, I shall, I hope, always continue to look upon such refinement as but a very bad exchange for simplicity and sincerity; and I am sure, that such refinement, though it may be considered ornamental in an orator, and may tend to smooth his intercourse in life, will never be compatible with earnest and efficient efforts to rescue the nation from the effects of corruption, which is a monster not to be dealt with courteously, not to be even smiled upon without the danger of contamination, or, at least, of suspicion of such contamination. There is no occasion for brutal manners, or rough language; and Mr. Wardle has gained much by his mildness and good-nature; but, these may exist in the highest possible degree, without any of that overstrained civility, that refinement, which is at war with sincerity, and, indeed, which is at war with truth. It is this very refinement, this fashionable refinement, this prevalent desire to keep smooth the intercourse in high life; it is this, and this alone, that has prevented these and similar corruptions from being blazoned forth long ago. There have not been wanting men, and men enough, of talents more than sufficient, and of integrity too, who have seen these things, and who have felt indignant at their existence; but, they have wanted courage, that sort of courage which is much more rare than the courage necessary to mount a breach bristled with bayonets, namely, the courage to overcome solicitations, to encounter the frowns of all the fashionable host, and to see the world of your acquaintance turn their backs upon you. This sort of courage Mr. Wardle has been found to possess, and, I trust, that nothing upon earth will induce him to deviate from the plain path, in which he set out.

Much has been said, in the debate, about the “clamour out of doors,” and about the people having been misled by “garbled statements.”

When the popular opinion is for any measure adopted by the government; when it is in approbation of the conduct of the King’s ministers, then it is termed the “voice of the people,” or the “sense of the nation;” but, when it runs in opposition to their wishes, then it is “popular clamour.” It could not fail to be observed, in the debate, in answer to this charge against the people, that those who now urge it, advised the King “to appeal to the sense of his people,” when they came into power, under the cry of no-popery. Then the people had sense, it seems, but now their wish is mere clamour, though it is pretty clear, I think, that they understand this subject full as well as they did that, to say the least of it. Why is this not called an “appeal to the sense of the people?” One of the advantages, which the Duke’s friends expected, and said they expected, from an examination at the bar, was publicity. What did they mean by publicity, if it was not the communication of the evidence to the people? and what end was that to answer, unless it was that the people should express their opinions upon the case? Their opinions, it would seem, from this charge of “clamour,” are pretty distinctly expressed against the Duke of York; but whose fault is that? They might have been expressed as loudly in his favour; and yet, in that case, I very much doubt, whether we should have heard a word about “popular clamour.”

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As to garbled statements, it is, as Lord Folkestone observed, quite wonderful to see the fulness and the accuracy, with which the evidence has, from day to day, been given in the newspapers. One must actually see it to believe the thing possible; to believe it to be within the compass of human ability; nor is the fact a little creditable to the literary talents of the country. Gentlemen of the House of Commons now complain of their fatigue of body and mind. This complaint is reasonable enough; but if their fatigue is great, their fatigue, who sit at their ease; who can walk out and return at their pleasure, and who can be absent for half the night or more; what must be the fatigue of the gentlemen, who report the proceedings; who are sometimes squeezed, from eight o’clock in the morning to three in the afternoon, into a close and hot passage, there compelled to stand all the while; who thence remove into a not less crowded gallery; who have no convenience for writing other than a book in their hand and an ink-bottle at their breast; who are obliged to attend to all that passes, the fingers moving, while the ear is constantly upon the stretch to catch the often inarticulate sounds that proceed from below, and amidst a buzz of whispering and noises of various sorts; and who have had to follow this, night after night, with little cessation, for six weeks past: what, I ask, must be the fatigue of these gentlemen, and how great ought our admiration to be at what they do actually perform?

But, as was observed, the garbling, if there has been any, has been reciprocal, at worst; and, I am sure, that every candid man will say, that, of all the London Daily papers, the only one guilty of flagrant and base partiality; nay, the only one which has pronounced judgment, has been the Morning Post, which has pronounced the acquittal of the Duke of York, and which has loaded all the witnesses against him with every term of reproach contained in our language.

I hope the reader will bear this in mind. No other paper; no other editor; no other public writer, that I know of, or that I have heard of, has attempted to anticipate the decision of the House of Commons; but, the editor of this paper has told them how they ought to decide; and, not only that, but has told them, that if they do not acquit the Duke, and consider all the evidence against him as lies, they will not do their duty.

Yet, do the friends of the Duke, and they alone, complain of partial and garbled statements!

No: never were the people, upon the whole, so amply and so faithfully informed, upon any subject, within my remembrance. To impose upon them would, indeed, have been very difficult; but, except in the case of the Morning Post, I have not seen an attempt so to do. There is, indeed, extreme anxiety prevailing; but, as Sir Francis Burdett observed in the closing part of his speech, the people ask for, and wish for nothing but justice.

“Many,” he said, “had been the warnings which the House had received against popular influence. It might be unparliamentary to say, that the House could be swayed by any undue influence—but of all influence that could possibly operate, that of the people he believed was the last to be feared. There were, indeed, other kinds of influence, which would weigh more with ordinary men, although they could not be supposed to have any effect on the minds of Members of Parliament. But the anxiety in the public mind was, that the decision should be just. The people of England had always been remarkable for their love of justice, and justice alone was what they required. If their Edition: current; Page: [165] minds were divested of the opinion of the prevalence of undue influence in that House, the decision would readily be received as just, whether for or against the Duke of York. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Gentlemen who held places under him would walk out, and leave the rest to decide, whatever might be the result the people would be satisfied.

This virtue, this love of justice, is so deeply rooted in the hearts of Englishmen, that nothing can extirpate it. Their enemy, be he who he may, the moment he is arraigned, loses, in their eyes, the character of enemy. If the whole nation could be impannelled, and had the Devil upon trial, they would, if left to themselves, use him fairly.

The plain truth is, that all this querulousness, on the part of the Duke of York’s defenders, arises, not from any thorough persuasion, that there is really what might properly be called a “popular clamour” against him; that the people have been misled by garbled statements; but, from a feeling of uneasiness and impatience to see, that the people, upon a clear understanding of the whole of the case, are steadily fixed in opposition to their views; and that, at last, they have been roused, beyond the power of all the soporifics in the world, to a sense of the existence of a system of corruption more extensive than they could, with reason, have supposed to exist.

Yet, I think, it is as clear as the noonday sun, that, if this nation is not to be conquered; if this government is not to be overthrown; if England is not to share the fate of Holland and Italy, as I trust she is not, she will owe her salvation to those, who have set about, and shall set about, and shall effect, the rooting out, while there is yet time, those corruptions, and all those abominations, which, more than the armies of Napoleon, have contributed towards the fall of the old governments upon the continent of Europe. Mr. Coke of Norfolk, in his speech of the 14th, which, to obviate the charge of garbling, I take from the Morning Post newspaper, is reported to have said—

“That, though the original Address may not be carried, yet in conscience he would say, from the evidence, that there was corruption in the extreme, personally attached to the Duke of York. Circumstantial evidence he built upon, and this he felt to be much stronger than positive evidence, at least it had carried more men to the gallows. Had any doubt remained on his mind in the matter, the speech of his hon. friend Mr. Whitbread would have removed it all. (Order! order!)—He (Mr. Coke) was determined to oppose corruption, whatever form it may assume; and its defence he would leave to those who were likely to thrive by it. (Order! order!)—If the country were to be saved, it could only be by opposing such corruption. When he looked to the situation of the hon. gentlemen on the other side, he would no longer pay any degree of attention to what they said on the subject. (Loud cries of order! order!)—The hon. gentleman concluded by returning his thanks to the hon. mover, Colonel Wardle.”

Yes, if this country is to be saved, it must be, as Mr. Coke says, by opposing corruption. The people must be brought to a conviction, that they are fairly dealt by; that the means collected from their earnings are honestly and judiciously, or, at least, honestly disposed of; and, surely, this conviction they ought to have, if it be possible to give it them, which it is, by letting them see that the parliament and the servants of the King are ready to co-operate cordially in bringing to light, and in punishing, all corrupt practices, let the guilty parties be who they may.

Mr. Plomer (the Solicitor-General) and some others, spoke of the pain, which a sentence against the Duke must give to him and to the King. Those gentlemen are not the only persons that feel this. Edition: current; Page: [166] The people in general feel it as they ought, and every one is anxiously desirous to spare the feelings of the King. But, it is here a question of justice, and that is to be done at all events. There is nothing vindictive in the feeling of the public. All they ask is, security for themselves; and this they are convinced they cannot have without justice being now done.

The “conspiracy” has again been mentioned, but, I observe with pleasure, in a feebler tone of voice; and Jacobinism, poor Jacobinism, has fallen into such disrepute, as no longer to be deemed worthy of assisting to swell out a period. Nobody will believe Mr. Coke to be a Jacobin and leveller, and yet, we see, that he has a very decided opinion upon the conduct of the Duke of York. His short speech is worth many a long one; worth whole volumes of some speeches, and will tell for more throughout the kingdom. These outcries about a conspiracy and Jacobinism did, at the first, indicate no confidence of the goodness of the cause of those who made use of them. Nor did they indicate much of that which the world calls wisdom. From that moment to the close of the Inquiry, they gave us proofs of no wisdom. Wise men would not have goaded Mrs. Clarke; wise men would not have done many other things, which were done, and every one, aye, to the very last, operated against themselves. But, in fact, there is nothing that is a match for Truth, if she has only a small portion of fair play.

In my next I shall, I doubt not, be able to record the result of this long and interesting inquiry and discussion. The public have, as I wished, fixed their attention wholly and exclusively upon it; they have thought and justly thought, that, until this question was decided, it was time wasted for them to attend to any other matters of a public nature; that, until this was decided, they knew not how to feel, what to wish for, or what to fear. The campaigns of the Continent; the views of courts! what were they, what could they be, to us, until this great question at home, at our very doors, was settled? This is the light, in which the people have viewed the matter; they have, at last, fixed their eyes upon that which is to them the only interesting object; having so done, there is little fear of their being deceived in future; and let all those who have lived upon corruption, who have thriven only because the people were blind, take warning in time.

DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

“That all who profess want of confidence in the chiefs of the people, or of the army, who make pasquinades, excite riots or disturbances, shall be immediately apprehended, and carried before the newly-appointed judge of the police, Don Santiago Penicela, who will pass judgment according to the times and critical circumstances of the country. Imposing the punishment of death he shall consult me.

Palafox’s Proclamation to the Arragonese.

Before I proceed with my commentary upon the published reports of the proceedings in the House of Commons, I cannot help directing the Edition: current; Page: [167] attention of the reader to the passage which I have taken for a motto. He will find in it the practice of what the venal herd of writers amongst us, are so strenuously inculcating in principle; and, he will not fail to recollect, that, every where, the French have been opposed by similar practices. Is it any wonder, then, that the French should have succeeded? If a want of confidence in the chiefs of the people, or of the army, was to be a crime; if to make pasquinades, that is to say, to ridicule those chiefs, was to be punished with death, perhaps; if such were the powers of Don Santiago Penicela, and Don Palafox, the poor people had quite enough to do to keep themselves out of their clutches. It was useless, entirely useless, to endeavour to scare them with descriptions of the character and conduct of the French; for, how were they to form an idea of any thing worse than what they had? King Joseph might be very ingenious in his inventions for keeping the people down; but, was it possible, that the people could conceive, that they could possibly fall lower than that state, in which to profess want of confidence in their chiefs was to subject them to a fair chance of the halter? And why; for what reason, should Palafox be afraid of the effect of pasquinades? It has always an ugly look, when men, in power, set that power to work to stifle remarks upon their characters and conduct. The Supreme Central Junta, that is to say, the general government of Spain, began their operations by a proclamation, or decree, against “the licentiousness of the press;” and, we see, that, notwithstanding this, Joseph Napoleon is on the throne of Spain. He may establish, all over the country, judges, armed with powers similar to those of Don Penicela; but it is not easy to conceive, that he will be able to surpass those powers.

This is not the way to fight the French; this is not the way to preserve countries from being conquered by Napoleon; this is not the way to engage the people in a hearty co-operation with the government; and, those, I think, must be blind indeed, who do not now see, that, without such co-operation, no government will be able to stand against the arms of a powerful invading enemy. There is no one so blind; every one sees this; but, there are, and will be, some, who will affect not to see it, and which affectation they will persevere in to the very last.

“Hate the French, or we will punish you.” “Oh, O! say you so,” answer the people in their minds, “Why, then, what have we to fear from the French more than from you?” Thus it has been all over the continent. Men do not like to be threatened with the dark cell, or the halter; and they will, because it is in nature that they should, not only run the risk of sacrifices, but will actually make great sacrifices, in order to obtain vengeance upon those, who keep such threats suspended over their heads.

In returning, now, to the discussion, relative to the Duke of York, I will first endeavour to give a clear statement of what has been done by the House of Commons, whose acts, in this respect, owing to the length of the debates, and the many motions that have been made, have been rendered confused.

First, Mr. Wardle proposed an address to the King (see it, page 151), which address expressed the opinion of the House that the Duke knew of the abuses, which had been proved to have existed, and that he ought to be deprived of the command of the army; for which motion, when it came to be put, there were 125, and against it 363. This, though not directly and explicitly, contained the charge of corruption, Edition: current; Page: [168] and for this one hundred and twenty-five members voted, not including Sir Francis Burdett, who was so ill as to be compelled to leave the House previous to the division. The names of the members, who voted for this motion, I here record, in the hope, that my work will hand them down to the knowledge of their and our children.

Adams, Charles Howard, Hon. William Peirse, Henry
Althorpe, Viscount Howard, Henry Pelham, Hon. C. Anderson
Antonie, W. Lee Howorth, Humphrey Pochin, Charles
Astell, Wm. Hughes, William Lewis Porcher, Josiah Dupre
Aubrey, Sir John, Bt. Hume, William Hoare Portman, E. B.
Bagenall, Walter Hurst, Robert Prittie, Hon. F. A.
Baillie, Evan Hussey, William Pym, Francis
Baring, Thomas Hutchinson, Hen. Chr. H. Ridley, Sir Matt. White
Baring, Alexander Jackson, J. Romilly, Sir Samuel
Bastard, John Pollexfen Jacob, William Scudamore, Rich. Philip
Bewicke, Calverley Kemp, Thomas Sebright, Sir John S.
Biddulph, Rt. Middleton Kensington, Lord Sharp, Richard
Bradshaw, Hon. Aug. C. King, Sir J. Dashwood Shelley, Henry
Brand, Hon. Thomas Knapp, George Shelley, Timothy
Brogden, James Lambton, Ralph John Shipley, William
Browne, Anthony Langton, William Gore Smith, Samuel
Byng, George Latouche, John Smith, John
Calcraft, John Latouche, Robert Smith, George
Coke, Thomas William Lefevre, Charles Shaw Staniforth, John
Colborne, N. White Ridley Lester, Garland Stanley, Lord
Combe, Harvey Christian Lloyd, James M. Symonds, Thos. Powell
Cooke, Bryan Lloyd, Sir Edward Pryce Talbot, R. Wogan
Craig, J. Longman, George Taylor, Charles William
Crevey, Thomas Lyttleton, Hon. W. H. Taylor, William
Curwen, John Christian Madocks, Wm. Alex. Thomas, George White
Cuthbert, Jas. Ramsey Mahon, Viscount Thompson, Thomas
Daly, Rt. Hon. Den. Bowes Markham, John Tighe, William
Dickenson, William Martin, Henry Townshend, Lord John
Fellows, Hon. Newton Maule, Hon. William Tracey, C. H.
Ferguson, R. C. Maxwell, William Turner, J. F.
Fitzgerald, Rt. Hon. M. Milbanke, Sir Ralph Vaughan, Hon. John
Foley, Hon. Andrew Mildmay, Sir Henry Walsh, Benjamin
Foley, Thomas Milner, Sir. Wm. Mord. Wardle, Gwillim Lloyd (Teller)
Folkestone, Visc. (Teller) Moore, Peter
Goddard, Thomas Morris, Robert Western, Charles Callis
Gordon, William Moseley, Sir Oswald Wharton, John
Grenfell, Pascoe Mostyn, Sir Thomas Whitbread, Samuel
Halsey, Joseph Neville, Hon. R. Wilkins, Walter
Hamilton, Lord Archibald Noel, Charles Noel Williams, Owen
Hibbert, George Ord, William Winnington, Sir T. E.
Honeywood, William Ossulston, Lord Wynn, Sir Wat. Williams
Horner, Francis Parnell, Henry Wynn, Ch. Wat. Williams
Horrocks, Samuel

In this list; this list, which is always to be kept in view by the country, there is one military officer, General Ferguson, and one naval officer, Admiral Markham. Sir Samuel Romilly, and Mr. C. W. Wynn, are the only lawyers, that I know of, in the list.—Mr. Wynn’s conduct has been very good indeed; and Sir Samuel Romilly has confirmed all the good opinion which all men entertained of him.

The next division, not the next in point of order, but in point of importance, was that upon the motion of Mr. Bankes, for which, at full length, see page 153 of this volume. Upon this motion, which expressed, that the Duke must have had a suspicion, at least, of the existence of the corrupt practices, and a doubt, whether the chief command Edition: current; Page: [169] of the army could with propriety, or ought with prudence to remain in his hands; upon this motion, there were 199 for, and 294 against; so that, here were 199 members of the House, who voted, that the Duke must have had a suspicion, at least, of the corruptions, and that it was neither proper nor prudent to leave the chief command of the army in his hands.

After this, the House adjourned until Friday, the 17th of March, when a motion by Mr. Perceval, in the form of a resolution, was decided upon.

Mr. Perceval, as will be seen by a reference to p. 152, proposed certain resolutions, to be followed by an address, which address will there be seen.

On the day to which we are now come, he new-moulded his resolutions, making one out of the two, and stating in that one, “That it was the opinion of the House, that there was no ground to charge his royal highness with personal corruption, or with any connivance at the corrupt and infamous practices disclosed in the evidence.” There was an amendment to this, proposed by Sir Thomas Turton, which being negatived, a division took place upon Mr. Perceval’s resolution, when there appeared ayes 278, and noes 196, leaving the King’s servants a majority of only 82. So that, to the proposition, that the Duke had NOT been guilty of personal corruption, or connivance at such corruption; to this proposition, to this acquittal of the direct criminal part of the charge, there are 196 members to say NO.

The next division to be recorded is that, which took place upon the motion of Mr. Beagge; but, before we come to that, it will be better to stop, and look a little at the discussion, which took place on the 17th of the month.

It was again, in this debate, urged, that the Duke, after the intended reproof, would reform; and, what sort of reproof Mr. Perceval had in view, the reader will have seen. As there is a most monstrous deal of cant in this, I wish to notice it somewhat particularly.

This idea of a hope of reformation does, indeed, harmonize perfectly with all the talk about the Duke’s being imposed upon; about his having fallen into the snares of an artful woman; about his being infatuated by her; and about his being blinded by the excess of his passion for her. The passion was not, however, so excessive as to prevent him from casting her off, aye, and that, too, without paying her the promised pension, without redeeming her body from imminent danger of a jail, in about seven months after he had vowed everlasting love to her; nor was it so excessive as to prevent Taylor from carrying a message to her (said to be from the Duke) threatening her with the pillory or the Bastile. But, how stand the facts, as to the probability of his being imposed upon by this artful woman? To read these speeches, expressing confident hopes of amendment; to read the whining, snivelling expression of sorrow for the existence of the connection, which had led to these disclosures; which had led to this exposure; which had led to this what Mr. Perceval, in his Address, calls calumny on the Duke; to read these, who, that was unacquainted with the real state of the case, would not suppose Mrs. Clarke to be another Millwood, and the Duke another Barnwell? Who would not suppose him to be a youth of 17 or 18 years of age? An infant-at-law? A mere chicken? Who would suppose him to be nearly forty-six years of age, and to have been a married man for about twenty Edition: current; Page: [170] years? The Duke is three years older than I am; and he is two years older than a brother of mine, who has been a grandfather these two or three years past; while Mrs. Clarke, the artful Mrs. Clarke, is now, I believe, little more than thirty years of age. It may be, that the race of royalty, like trees and plants of the superior kind, require more time to bring them to maturity; but, then, let it be observed, that the Duke has had the command of the army for 12 or 13 years past, and that the argument of superior kind cuts deeper against him than for him.

If I were, at my age, to set up a defence upon the ground of infatuation, of being blinded by the passion of love, would not the world laugh in my face? Would they not hoot me off? Would they not turn up their noses and the palms of their hands against me?

As to the confidence, which Mr. Perceval, in the close of his Address, expressed, “that his royal highness would keep in view the uniformly virtuous and exemplary conduct of his Majesty, since the commencement of his reign,” not knowing any thing personally of the conduct here spoken of, I do not pretend to offer any opinion with respect to the general power and tendency of that example, upon the efficacy of which Mr. Perceval seems to place so much reliance; but, taking it for granted, that the example is what Mr. Perceval describes it to be, it can have escaped no one, that the Duke has had this example before him for the last forty-six years; and, whether it is likely, that the example will now begin its operation upon him, is a question that I readily leave to the reader.

Before I quit this part of the subject, I cannot suppress the regret that I feel at perceiving, that, amongst many people, and those, too, who ought to know much better, the Duke is thought worse of for keeping a mistress than for any other part of the conduct imputed to him. This argues a most miserable, unmanly, pitiful way of thinking; it argues, that we are, as a correspondent expresses himself, “a dwarfed nation; that our virtues, as well as our vices, are all diminutive.” Not that I would justify, or excuse, or palliate, the conduct of an adulterer, and especially of an open adulterer, and one, too, whose example was likely to have so mischievous an effect; but this vice, great as it is, under any circumstances, and especially under such circumstances, sinks out of sight; it becomes not worthy of notice, when compared to the smallest of the acts of corruption, of low, villanous, dirty corruption, that have been, with what truth the reader will judge, imputed to the Duke of York. As to the former, there may, in some cases, exist causes that the world cannot know; but, there can exist no cause, other than that of sheer baseness of nature, for a man’s doing that which has been imputed to the Duke, with regard to the trafficking in commissions and the like.

In the debate of the 17th, Mr. Ellison is reported to have “declared his conviction, upon the whole of the evidence taken together, that the Duke had been privy to the whole of the transaction.” Now, if this was the conviction upon the mind of any man, of what consequence, compared to it, could be the circumstance of the adultery?

Amongst the speeches most admired by me, during the prior discussion, was that of Mr. Curwen. It was bold, and yet temperate. It led the way in good sentiments, and did the speaker infinite honour.

In the debate of the 17th, the public will not fail to have seen a proof of great public virtue as well as of excellent good sense, in the speech of General Ferguson, who is an officer of great merit; who, for his conduct Edition: current; Page: [171] at Vimeira, recently received the thanks of the House; and who plainly said, that, in his opinion, “it was not for the honour of the army, that the chief command should remain in the hands of the Duke of York.” This opinion; aye, this single opinion, will weigh down a thousand addresses from the “Military Club,” in London, and of which Club we shall see more by-and-by.

I wish to notice, in a most particular manner, the speech of Mr. Lyttleton, on the 17th; but, I must, in order to show the application of a very interesting part of it, first go back to Mr. Canning’s speech of the 15th, in which there are several things to notice.

“A noble lord (Folkestone) had, on a former night, spoken with some asperity on what had fallen from him on the outset of this inquiry. He DENIED that he had said that infamy must attach to the accused or the accuser, though he did say that it must rest somewhere; and it did rest with that confederacy, of which the Duke of York had been the dupe and the victim. As he had in one instance been misrepresented by addition, he had in another been misrepresented by curtailment. When he said that some men might be led to doubt whether the licentiousness of the press did not overbalance its benefits, he had added, that the evil was temporary, but the good permanent.

Now, whether the reporters did, or did not, misrepresent Mr. Canning as to these two points; these two very important points; I cannot take upon me to assert, because I was not present to hear the words uttered; but, in the newspapers, which I saw, there was a perfect agreement in the reports as to these points; and, the public will have observed, that, it is not once or twice, but many times, that the words, respecting the charge of infamy, have been repeated; have been thrown in the teeth of Mr. Canning; and that, until in this last speech, he has never denied them, or given any explanation of them. On the explanation now given Lord Folkestone said:

“With respect to the supposed assertion of the right hon. gent. of the charge of infamy attaching to the accuser or the accused—in what I said, I argued on the supposition that such an expression had escaped the right hon. gentleman. As however he has so pointedly disclaimed and disavowed the expression, my observation must naturally fall to the ground. I, however, beg leave to say, that it was not from any document that I founded the presumption of his having used the expression—but upon what I thought I had heard with my own ears; it however appears from the statement of the right hon. gentleman, that I must have been mistaken, and therefore I shall not notice the subject further at this time than to express my surprise and regret, that the right hon. gent. did not take the earliest opportunity of denying the use of the expression, especially as I have not been wanting in affording him such opportunities.

Indeed, his lordship had frequently called upon him; and once, in a more particular manner, as the reader will have observed, at the opening of Kennet, the loan-maker’s case, when he complained, that Mr. Wardle had proceeded with the threat of infamy hanging over his head, in case of failure, and that that threat remained unretracted up to that very hour. Again, in his speech in the debates, he repeated what he had said before. Sir Francis Burdett in his speech also noticed it, and that, too, in a manner to move a stone to speak. Yet, not a word of denial did we hear from the lips of Mr. Canning.—So! He said, it seems, that the infamy must rest “somewhere,” he did say that; and now it does rest, he says, “with the confederacy, of which the Duke of York had been the dupe and the victim.” Dupe! Oh, O! what, a commander-in-chief a “dupe!” A man a dupe, old enough to be a grand-papa! A dupe at 45 years of age! A gray-headed dupe! This must be another Edition: current; Page: [172] “misrepresentation,” to be sure, especially after all that we have heard of the great vigilance of the Duke of York, and of his surprising capacity for managing great affairs, and for discriminating characters.

Conspiracy is now become confederacy. A milder term; for a confederacy may exist for very wise and good purposes. But, really, it is somewhat sickening to hear, in this case, even of a confederacy, after not the smallest traces of any combination, of any sort, have been discovered to have existed against the Duke of York. Every exertion has been made to discover such traces, and all have failed. Not a single jacobin has been ferretted out, though all the old regular traders in anti-jacobinism have been put in motion. No, no, Mr. Canning, there is no confederacy. Mr. Whitbread gave you a true and very beautiful description of the cant of jacobinism. There lies the source of the danger, and you may be assured, that you will find no trace of it any where else. To have found out a club of politicians, with books and papers, would have been worth a Jew’s eye, just at this time; but, there is no such thing. There are not the means even of hatching a plot. The old, scrubbed, battered writers about anti-jacobinism cannot earn salt to the meat that is given them. Nobody will read their trash; and, in time, they must absolutely die of hunger. They have made many attempts to revive jacobinism; but they have all failed. They had found anti-jacobinism such a thriving trade, that they were loath to give it up. Buonaparte, when he put a crown upon his head, put an end to their calling. It was impossible, after that, to keep it up. They laboured hard to do it; but it was too disgusting, when all the world saw that the tide was turned into the current of military despotism.

As to the expressions about the Press, there might be a misrepresentation; but, then, we must allow, that the agreement of the reports was unfortunate here again; and, what is more material, that the expression was, if it was as it now stands explained, without any meaning; absolutely without common sense. “The evil was temporary, but the good permanent.” We say this of taking medicine; we say it sometimes of political commotions; the existence of which is temporary. But, the press is always in existence, and always liable to be “licentious.” Unless, therefore, Mr. Canning should be able to make it appear, that there are certain periodical returns of “licentiousness” in the press, his amended expression, or explained expression, has no meaning. He gets rid of the offensiveness of it; but he also gets rid of the sense.

As to the case of the Duke of York, as treated by Mr. Canning, if the several reports be correct, it received very little benefit indeed. The gentleman dealt most in the high strain of rank and prerogative. He approved of Mr. Perceval’s Address, because, he said:

“It was couched in language at once respectful to the dignity, and tender to the feelings of his Majesty. That alone was sufficient to recommend it. For on such an occasion, when the father as well as the sovereign was to be addressed, would not every loyal mind figure to itself the peculiar circumstances of the monarch on the throne? On submitting such a consideration to him, must they not be impressed by the idea of the advanced age; of the inseparable infirmities; of the exemplary life, and the many virtues of that illustrious personage, who, during the whole course of a long reign, had evinced towards the country such paternal feelings?

These are topics, upon which to touch with a tender hand; but, these words I find published, in print; upon these words I will comment; and, Edition: current; Page: [173] if they elicit any thing that may give pain, let the consequence be upon the head of the publisher. Mr. Tierney, when they were uttered, did, it seems, call to order, observing, that the King’s name was used, in order to influence the House; and, will not the same objection apply to the publishing of them?

Let me ask, then, how, in what manner, a King can evince paternal feelings towards the country? It is easy to talk of paternal feelings; to call a King the “father of his people;” and so on; but, let us come to the point of practice; let us come to the acts. Now, the only way, in which, as far as I am able to discover, for a King to evince such feelings, is, in sparing the purses of the people, and in most carefully watching, that they be not robbed and plundered by any of those, who are in authority under him. I do not, under this interpretation, contradict the article I have quoted above; I do not say, that the King has not, thus, evinced his “paternal feelings” towards the country; but, I do say, that, when the having evinced such feelings was advanced as an argument in discussion, when it was used as an argument in justification of one Address proposed to the House, I could have wished to see a statement of the premises.

As to age and infirmity; if these are to weigh in the decision of great and important matters before the House, uncertain and lamentable indeed is our situation! “The King never dies;” nor can the law know any thing about the King’s age and infirmities. The objectors to kingly government, when they dwell upon the dangers to be apprehended from age, infirmities, and illness, are answered, that they are to leave all these out of the question; for, that the constitution takes care, that no wrong shall arise from them, the King always having “responsible” ministers; but, here, we see, that these fine theories are cast aside, and the House is desired to look at the age and infirmities of the King. What would the people say, if you were to tell them, that they were under the rule of age and infirmities? What would be the sentence upon any one of us writers, if we were to tell the people, that their affairs were left to be directed by age and infirmities? We deny this. We say, that the constitution gives us a security against the effects of age and infirmity in the King; but, Mr. Canning, one of the King’s servants, bids the House of Commons look at the age and infirmities of the King, when they are about to pass a resolution relative to one of his own family; and, what is to be remarked is, that the measure he recommends, he does recommend upon the ground of its being calculated to please the King; that is to say, to please a person, whom he describes to be labouring under age and infirmities.

Towards the close of his speech, Mr. Canning is reported to have alluded to some anecdote relative to an ancestor of Lord Folkestone. The speech appears to have been much abridged; but the words, as I find them, are these:

“In the whole history of Addresses, such a one as this had never been framed by the heart of man, nor had the like ever before been presented to the House. It said no more nor less than this, ‘We believe him to be guilty, but if he should happen to be innocent, we will still punish him as if guilty.’ He hoped, however, such an Address of negatives would not be permitted to stand on the Journals of the House. The hon. gentleman who brought forward the charges had devised one of his own; but he had suffered others to interfere; and to inoculate or vaccinate it with matter of their producing; which had warped it from its natural purpose, and made it differ from itself. Some of those who Edition: current; Page: [174] had thus interfered, might have derived their presumption and pertinacity by an inheritance of the splendid vices of one of the mistresses of George II.

Upon this part of the speech, Lord Folkestone said:

“On the subject, Sir, of the insinuation which the right hon. gent. has made respecting transactions that took place before those from whom I derive my existence were born, it would be affectation in me to pretend that I do not understand the force and tendency of this allusion. The House showed, by the general laugh which followed, that it was generally understood. That allusion, sir, has been grounded not on any fact that has been proved, but on mere rumours, the truth of which those most interested and most desirous to discover the truth, have never yet been able to ascertain. He has thrown out these insinuations, either to influence my conduct or to attach some blame upon myself. If the motive be to influence my conduct, and that, too, by the allusion to transactions which took place before those to whom I am indebted for my existence were born, I beg leave to ask the House in what view my conduct ought to be influenced by transactions, in which I thus had, and could have, no concern? If the object be to attach blame to me, I will only say, that we are told, that the Almighty visits the sins of the fathers upon their children to the third and fourth generation, but that I did not expect, that even that right hon. gentleman would have arrogated to himself such a power. I will leave it to the House to judge, not only of the fairness, the candour, the liberality, of the right hon. gent., but even of the decency of—[Here the Speaker interfered, by stating, with great mildness, that he would put to the noble lord the propriety of desisting from the course of explanation he was pursuing, as it certainly had for its object direct personality against the right hon. gent.—Much tumult ensued, and the Speaker expressed his hope that the House would interpose in such a manner as to express its opinion.]—Lord Folkestone resumed. Sir, I will merely add, that I will put it to the judgment and moderation of this House to decide upon the fairness; the candour; the liberality; the decency; and the justice, of the personal allusions made by the right hon. gentleman.”

Thus this matter dropped for that time, and somebody, I forget who, complimented Mr. Canning upon the temper, which he had discovered in the debate. His speech, it was observed, had in itself, nothing very rich or rare, but the temper, with which it was delivered, was admirable.

On the 17th, however, the Honourable Mr. Lyttleton revived this topic.

“He adverted to some expressions which had fallen from the Secretary for foreign affairs the other evening respecting the origin of certain gentlemen in that House. The right hon. gent. had assailed them through the medium of old and obscure anecdotes respecting their ancestors. Mr. Lyttleton beseeched the right hon. gent. not to attack them by a species of warfare, in which they met him ON SUCH UNEQUAL TERMS (loud laughter), considering the PECULIAR SPLENDOUR of his own ancestry (a roar of laughter). He was really forced to guard himself against the attacks of the right hon. Secretary in this way, as, from what he said on a former night, he knew of what he was capable.”

What could Mr. Lyttleton mean? I cannot say, that Mr. Canning is any favourite of mine: but, really as to his birth, I must say, that, from what I have always heard, he is descended from persons, who filled very exalted stations, and who acted their several parts as well as most people. But, if, instead of being so descended, he had been the spurious offspring of some filthy blackguard amour, what would that tell against him; especially in the liberal minds of the House of Commons, who had appeared to think, that Samuel Carter’s being a natural child, was a circumstance that told greatly in favour of his promotion to the army from behind the chair of Mrs. Clarke, who, by so many of the members, has been called an “infamous woman?” I wish, therefore, that Mr. Lyttleton Edition: current; Page: [175] had explained himself a little more fully; or else the reporters have not done their duty; for, what was that “roar of laughter” for? What was the meaning of it? And, I must say, that Mr. Canning’s remarks of the propensity of the world to carp at high rank had but too much force in it. Kings and Dukes and Queens and Princesses, so many of whom he has, from his very infancy, been accustomed to see and to know, must be more justly estimated by him than by the low and vulgar herd. Hence, too, we may easily account for the uncommon zeal, which he has discovered in the cause of Spain, or, rather of Ferdinand VII. It is quite delightful to hear his sentiments against the usurpation of the upstarts, who have been endeavouring to enslave “the universal Spanish nation;” the ardent, I had almost said, the holy zeal, which he has displayed against the men of yesterday, who wished to overturn every thing ancient and noble. He appears to have been very properly impressed with the truth of the French proverb, “Il vaut mieux qu’ une cité périsse qu’ un gueux parvenu la gouverne;” which, indeed, contains little more than our own old saying: “Set a beggar on horseback, and he’ll ride to the devil.” He seems to have made just observation upon the cause as well as consequences of the ruling by upstarts, for which, indeed, the fate of Spain, under Godoy, has furnished him with an excellent opportunity; no wonder, therefore, that we are called upon to “spend our last shilling and shed the last drop of our blood,” in order to keep out the upstart Buonapartes, and their upstart generals, who were born nobody knows where, when, or of whom; those “children of many fathers;” those “spurious pledges, of beggars, littering under hedges;” creatures actually dropped and left, like the young of the cuckoo, to be nurtured by the compassion of others. There are few things that sting the soul more sharply than to be obliged to submit to the insolent sway of these “gueux parvenus;” and, there are few sacrifices that men of any spirit will not make to avoid, or get rid of, such degrading submission.

Mr. Lyttleton’s speech, except in the want of explicitness upon the above point, was very good indeed. He expressed his conviction,

“That these charges against the Duke of York were fully proved, if not according to the technical forms of the law, at least according to the plain sense of every unprejudiced man. The evidence, upon the whole, he considered as conclusive; and in opposition to that there was nothing on the other side but surmises and hypotheses, and the assertion of his royal highness. He could not but feel the weight of the testimony of his gallant friend behind him (General Ferguson), with respect to the improvements in the management of the army, effected by his royal highness the Duke of York; but he must observe, at the same time, that mere evidence to character could only be urged with effect in mitigation of punishment. He could not erase from his recollection the methods taken by the other side to counteract these accusations in raising the cry of Jacobinism, and in prejudging the question. This was suspicious; but it was not very judicious, and he doubted whether if that eloquent magician (Mr. Pitt) who first raised the phantom of Jacobinism, could again be equally successful. An attempt, let what would be done to explain it away, has been made to decry the liberty of the press. He allowed that the House was not to be actuated by popular clamour. But, at the same, it was very unreasonable in ministers to say, that those were influenced merely by popular opinion who did not concur with them. It would have had a better appearance if the ministers had not been quite so unanimous on this question. Our ancestors had a salutary distrust of persons in office; and in order to prove this, he read some resolutions passed in former times, to render members of parliament incapable, while acting in that capacity, of holding any other situation.—If it were in the power of the House to send down to posterity the character of the Edition: current; Page: [176] Duke of York unsullied, if their proceedings did not extend beyond their journals, he should be almost inclined to concur in the vote of acquittal, even in oppositiion to his sense of duty. But though the House should acquit his royal highness, the proofs would still remain, and the public opinion would be guided by them, and not by the decision of the House. It was in the power of the House to save its own character, but not that of the Commander-in-Chief. The character of the House depended essentially upon the result of this inquiry. If it was contrary to what the public conceived the justice of the case, they would be apt to lose all confidence in the members, they would imagine that the ministers had it in their power to carry every thing—that there was no security for them in the House of Commons against the arbitrary disposition of the servants of the crown—and perhaps they might be driven by other means to seek those ends of justice which their representatives had denied them. He however hoped better of the virtue and wisdom of the House, which he hoped would, like the fountain of justice, prove itself to be no respecter of persons.”

This speech was received with great applause, which I look upon as a good sign. Aye, the magician Pitt, would surely fail now, in any attempt to conjure up the phantom of jacobinism. That man of words would now find that the public mind is no longer so to be led. That the people of this country are no longer to be made believe, that every man is a traitor, who suspects that there is corruption on foot; that every man ought to die on a gallows, who does not cheerfully subscribe to the infallibility of the minister of the day. There is no want of the talents of Pitt; they are possessed by many of his followers, who can speak as long and full as well as he; but, there are wanted the materials to work upon. The nation has betaken itself to thinking; it has become a fashion, among the people, to be no longer amused by sounds; things, ideas, and not words, are now the object of their attention. Within these ten years, there has been a mental revolution in this country. I should like to see what Pitt would be able to do, with all his talk, now. Indeed, he tried the thing in the last years of his life, and he failed. Death snatched him from as complete discomfiture and mortification as ever man experienced. His budget had been all tried, over and over. There was not a trick left, that the people had not blown upon.

In this debate of the 17th, there is a published speech attributed to a Mr. Fuller, who is reported to have said, that if there was any one “who did not like England, damn him, let him leave it.” The mind of the person, who uttered, or who wrote, these words, appears not to have partaken in the revolution above spoken of. It seems to have remained stationary, like the sterile and unseeded clod, amidst the improvements, the beauties, and the delights of heaven-bestowed vegetation. He, though his body has increased in age, and has advanced towards the hour of dissolution, seems to be, in mind, still living in the days of Pitt, in the days when anti-jacobinism was a thriving trade, and he one of its best customers.

Aye, this was the old cry: “If you do not like the country, leave it.” But, the words must be explained: by the country they mean the government, and by the government they mean the ministry, and, in Pitt’s time, by the ministry, they meant Pitt; so that the sentiment should stand thus, fairly reduced to its true meaning, “If you do not like the ministry, quit the country.” No, Mr. Fuller, I will not leave the country, I will not leave England, upon any such principle as this. I like England very well; and, to say the least, I show full as much love for it as you do. But I do not like corruption; I do not like to see the Edition: current; Page: [177] offices under the government, and the seats in the House of Commons, openly advertised for purchase and sale. The corruptions, “damn them,” to borrow a phrase of your own; the corruptors and the corrupted, “damn them,” I hate them most cordially! But, I do not hate England; on the contrary, it is my love of England that makes me hate them. Why, Sir, what would you think of the logic of a gang of thieves, who should have got possession of a man’s house, and who, upon hearing him complain of their conduct, were to say, If you don’t like the house, “damn” you, leave it? Now, mind, I do not compare you, and those whom you support, to a gang of thieves; mind that; let me not be misunderstood; but, I use the illustration merely to show to what length this abusive argument, which the newspapers, with one accord, have attributed to you, would naturally, and necessarily go.

If, indeed, you could bring me a man, who should say, “I do not like England,” without any qualification of his meaning, I should then say, without the “damn him,” perhaps (though I will not be very positive about that), “let him leave it.” But, my opinion is, that you never heard an Englishman make use of this expression; and, give me leave to say, that the occasion, and the context, of this sentiment of yours, as published in the papers, lead me to conclude, that by England, you did not mean our country, as being the object of any one’s dislike.

I have noticed this speech, not on account of its intrinsic importance, but as affording an occasion of pointing out the intolerance, the injustice, and the insolence of the principle (first broached in the days of Pitt), that all those, who are discontented with the mode of managing public affairs, may leave the country; have the precious liberty, the glorious privilege, of seeking redress in voluntary transportation for life. I wonder what Hampden and his associates would have said, if the besotted Charles’s courtiers had answered their complaints by telling them that they might leave the country. Why, they would have said what was said to his bigot and profligate of a son. “No: England is ours and not yours: leave you England to us.” They were not so to be answered. They knew their rights, and had the courage to assert them.

This doctrine ascribed to Mr. Fuller, would, if generally applied, save a great deal of trouble to ministers; it would furnish a standing answer to all petitions, all remonstrances, all complaints of grievances of every sort. “Oh, you don’t like England, don’t you,” why then, “damn you, leave it.” It would be a complete stifler; a choker equal to a halter at least.

It appears to have been, through the whole of the debates, admitted, that the people of this country in general, if not quite without exception, thought the continuance of the Duke of York in the office of Commander-in-Chief of the army, a grievance. This, called by one side, popular clamour, appears to have been urged by some, and to be denied by none.

It is not impertinent, or unnecessary, to ask, why the people should have set up this clamour, if clamour it must be? What should have produced this unanimity of voice and of wish in the nation? For what reason a whole people should have thus combined against one man? Well, supposing there to have been no reason at all; supposing this whole nation to have been, and still to be, in this respect, under the influence of senseless caprice; still it must be, that this dislike to the Duke has arisen out of the Inquiry, or that it existed before: if the former, it shows what effect the evidence has produced upon the minds of the Edition: current; Page: [178] people; if the latter, that they never had any confidence in him. This dislike, too, might have no other foundation than senseless caprice; but, yet, if you allow it to have generally existed, it comes, at last, to the same thing, with regard to the application of Mr. Fuller’s argument, which would go to the bidding of them all, “damn them,” to leave the country.

Lord William Russell, in the debate of the 17th, regretted the loss of that laudable custom of our forefathers, who, before they voted money to the King, insisted upon a redress of grievances; but, upon the principle of Mr. Fuller’s speech, the King should have said to them, “If you don’t like England, damn you, leave it.” It is not long since another speech, published under the name of this Mr. Fuller, told us, “That the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proved, that the Duke of York had, during the space of two years and a half, spent sixteen thousand pounds upon a profligate baggage, and if that would not satisfy the House and the people, he did not know what would.” If this did not satisfy them, damn them,” they might leave the country, I suppose?

Mr. Fuller’s language, openly used at least, has something singular in it; but, I, by no means, believe, that he is singular in his opinions, or in his language, as used not before the public. There are, in my opinion, many who think what he says, and who, to one another, give utterance to their thoughts. But, I trust, the time is now come, when no one will be able to act with impunity upon such a principle; when no one will dare to spurn the people, when they make their complaints of grievances, and to tell them, either in acts or words, that, “damn them,” they may leave the country.

In the debate of the 17th, there came out, through Mr. Whitbread, a statement relative to a certain MILITARY CLUB, who were preparing an Address to the Duke of York. This being a matter of great importance to the public, as a practical illustration of the arguments that have been frequently used relative to the influence of so large a standing army, all the officers of which are not only appointed solely by the King, but any one of whom can, at any moment, and without cause assigned, be dismissed, deprived of his profession, and, perhaps, of his bread, by the sole will of the King, no minister whatever being held, even nominally, responsible for any act of this sort; this instance of the military club affording such practical illustration, I shall insert, in the fullest manner that I find it reported, what was said upon the subject in the House of Commons.

Mr. Whitbread said—

“There was a very strange circumstance had come to his ears, with which he felt it incumbent on him to acquaint the House, and that was, that within these few days a meeting had taken place of General Officers, at which meeting it was proposed to address the Duke of York, on the present occasion, and to assure his Royal Highness of their gratitude and attachment. To what could the proceedings of such a meeting lead? If a number of General Officers were allowed thus to hold meetings and deliberate, why might not common soldiers imitate their proceedings, and sit in deliberation also? Was this a circumstance to be overlooked by the House? Was it not one of the most dangerous tendency? Was it not an attempt to erect an imperium in imperio, to interfere in the deliberative proceedings of that House, and to answer its arguments by fixed bayonets? He trusted it would be sufficient thus to have warned the House of the existence of such a meeting. The hon. gentleman concluded by observing, that what had transpired in the course of the present investigation into the conduct of the Duke of York, furnished a new proof, if any additional Edition: current; Page: [179] proof were wanting, of the necessity of a temperate reform, a reform which would extend not only to the administration of the army, but to the Government in Church and State.

This last observation we must reserve for a future opportunity, with just observing now, that to this many men who never thought much of the matter before, have now made up their minds. They see, that without such a reform as was here spoken of by Mr. Whitbread, there can very little good arise from any inquiry; any partial detection, exposure, or even punishment of corruptions and peculations; that you may cut down a shoot here and there, and even the whole stem; but, that it will throw out again, and even with renovated vigour; and that nothing worth prizing is done, until you have laid the axe to the root.

In answer to what Mr. Whitbread said about the Military Club, the Secretary at War, Sir James Pulteney, said—

“That he thought himself called upon to say a few words respecting the meeting of General Officers to which the honourable gentleman had alluded. There was some foundation for the statement of the honourable gentleman, but it was only this, that there existed in this town a club of Military Gentlemen, of which he was an unworthy member. That club had lately met; and, at the meeting, some conversation had arisen, respecting the conduct of the Duke of York, as Commander-in-Chief. That conversation turned upon the services rendered by his Royal Highness to the army; and the members of the club thought themselves bound in gratitude to testify to his Royal Highness the high sense they entertained of the eminent advantages which the army had derived from his able administration of the military affairs of the country. These sentiments they had resolved to express to his Royal Highness in the form of an Address, but their proceedings in this respect, had no reference whatsoever to the circumstances of the present moment, or to what was now passing in that House.

No! “No reference whatsoever to the circumstances of the present moment!” This is very strange indeed; still stranger than the existence of an intention to send the address. Did the Club ever address him before? Did they ever think of this upon any former occasion? Oh! So the Club had lately happened to meet; and some conversation had arisen respecting the conduct of the Duke of York, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Yes, to be sure, all about soldiering, as the Volunteers call it; all about soldiering; and then the conversation, amongst these military men constituting a Club in London, turned, aye, it happened to turn, upon the services rendered by his Royal Highness to the army. That is all very good; very good, very “correct,” as the new phrase is. But, I cannot help stopping here; “I cannot help interrupting my argument,” as Lord Castlereagh sometimes facetiously observes, to notice that these military gentlemen are always talking about the Duke’s services to the army. What is meant by this? We should like to hear of services to the country, performed by means of the army. These men themselves make a part of the army, and a part, too, which was not out of the way when the services were shared, I will warrant you. Well; but, “to go on with my argument,” as Lord Castlereagh says; and so, the conversation happening to have turned upon the services rendered to the army, by the Duke of York, in his capacity of Commander-in-Chief, the Club, amongst whom were the Secretary-at-War, one of the ministry of the day, and a member of parliament, thought themselves bound in gratitude to present an address to the Duke; and, though this resolution of theirs was taken just at the time, that a question Edition: current; Page: [180] respecting the Duke’s removal was before the House of Commons, this proceeding of the Club had “no reference whatsoever to the circumstances of the present moment, or to what was now passing in the House;” and so, it was all very well, and the fighting gentry were doing very right, and certainly meant nothing at all, not the least in the world, in the way of dragooning.

This puts one in mind of Scut’s ex-parte examination of his client in the Village Lawyer. “And so, the sheep run after you, and would insist upon being killed. . . . Ye—s, yes, I see, I see. And did you carry away the sheep, or the sheep carry you?”

After all, however, it appears, that there is, in London, an establishment, called “the Military Club;” that the members of that club do meet and deliberate; and that, amongst their deliberations, there has been one, the result of which was, a resolution to present an Address to the Duke of York, expressive of their approbation of his conduct. Now, it will hardly be contended, that, if they have a right to do this, and it be proper for them to do this, the soldiers, in their several regiments, have not a similar right; and, as it would be too base to be tolerated for a moment, to contend that the right of expressing their sentiments, in this manner, to their superior officers, extended only as far as they went in the way of approbation, it follows, of course, that, unless this basest of base principles be avowed, that the soldiers have as good a right to meet, to deliberate, and to pass censure upon the commanding-officers of their several corps, as these men have to address the Duke of York, which men, observe, in presenting an address of approbation, tacitly assert their right to express their disapprobation, of the conduct of the same person. We have heard a great deal of the surprisingly excellent discipline, which the Duke of York has introduced into the army. The Secretary of War was himself one of the witnesses to character upon this score; and now, I think, he has obliged us with a practical instance of the truth of his statements.

In the debate of the 20th, Mr. Whitbread brought the subject forward again. This part of his speech, together with what was said by others, on the same subject, I shall now insert.

Mr. Whitbread said, “that he had a few words to state on the subject of a meeting of General Officers, to which he had referred on a former night. He said, that the idea of the resolution which he had understood to have been come to by that meeting, was not so entirely put down as had been stated, though indeed, he confessed, he had now no dread from it. He was now informed, that the proposal made at that meeting had been grounded on a letter from a Garrison Commander, and was drawn out in the hand-writing of Sir David Dundas. He was now even given to understand, that the proposition had been seconded by the right honourable general opposite (the Secretary at War), and that it was in consequence of the opposition of one General Officer present that it was withdrawn for the moment; not entirely set aside, but to be brought forward again on some future opportunity. The hon. gent. had been informed yesterday, by a very respectable person, a bookseller, who, he believed, was known to most of the gentlemen on the other side, that a clergyman had called on him, requesting that he would recommend to him a literary gentleman, to correct a letter to be addressed to his royal highness by the Club of General Officers, telling him that he would do wrong were he to resign his situation. The bookseller, however, very properly desired the reverend gentleman to take back the address to the General Officer from whom he had received it, assuring him that the publication of such a paper was the most foolish step that could possibly be adopted. He had been told that there could no harm result from such meetings. He dared to say the fact was so, and that, as Cæsar stopped his tumultuous legions, simply by using the word ‘Quirites,’ it would be only Edition: current; Page: [181] necessary to remind them that they were soldiers. The hon. gent. declared his opinion, that a national sentiment prevailed that the son of the King was not a fit person to be Commander-in-Chief. The present inquiry had demonstrated that it was not fit that the son of the King should hold that situation. The House had been engaged in this inquiry from the 1st of February to the 20th of March. We, of course, saw the ease with which the son of the King could be removed from his situation. When the charges were first brought forward, gentlemen on the other side had stepped forward, and challenging the hon. mover to the inquiry, had said, ‘Oh! now at length you have come in a tangible shape; and we thank you for giving us an opportunity of meeting the charges.’ When the hon. gent., however, had proved his charges, he was told he was to have no thanks at all. For these reasons he thought the son of the King was not a fit person to hold such a situation. There was a time when the favourite son of a King had not been so treated. In a former reign, when the Duke of Cumberland gave offence by concluding the convention of Closter Severn, he was at once removed and disgraced. Though he (Mr. Whitbread) was not prepared to say, that the hon. gent. who brought forward these charges ought to receive the thanks of the House, because in so doing he had only discharged his duty, he was satisfied that he had the thanks of the great majority of that House, and of 999 out of every 1000 individuals throughout the kingdom.

The Secretary at War said, he had only to repeat what he had said on a former night on the subject of the Club of General Officers. From the statement of the hon. member, that the proceeding was founded on a letter of a Garrison Commander, one would think that a formal address had been proposed; this, however, was not the case. It was merely the subject of conversation, whether it might be proper to pass a resolution of thanks to the Duke of York then, or at any other time. Nothing farther was done; so it was unnecessary for him to say that he did not second a proposition which had never been made. So far from it, no intimation of such a proposal was made till the cloth was removed from the table. It was then talked of, and it was agreed that at all events such a measure would not be advisable till the conclusion of the discussion now going on in the House of Commons. There were at the time only thirteen gentlemen present, and the proposition was not received with acclamations. As to any thing further on the subject, he was as ignorant of it as if he had not been present.

Mr. Whitbread said, he understood the paper, on which the proposition was founded, was in the hand-writing of Sir David Dundas. There were gentlemen now in the House who were present when the information was given to him, and they could state that this was the fact as he had received it. He begged to say one other word. He should be happy to hear from the Secretary at War, if the proposition was now abandoned?

The Secretary at War said, he had seen no paper in the hand-writing of Sir D. Dundas. As to the other question, he could not say if the proposition was abandoned or not.

Mr. Canning said, when he first heard of the circumstance alluded to by the hon. gent. (Mr. Whitbread), he stated, that it had his most decided disapprobation, as being one of the most improper steps which the army could adopt. If there did exist an attempt on the part of any Military Officers to protect the Duke of York against the Commons, a more culpable idea never entered into the heads of men. But, on the other hand, if it was only a simple conversation at a convivial meeting, he saw no occasion to swell it up into a matter of importance. If, however, the idea of making it a formal resolution of Military Officers as a deliberative body should at any time be entertained, the hon. gent. (Mr. Whitbread) should find him one of his most determined supporters in inquiring into the business.

Mr. Whitbread again stated, that he had been informed the paper had been read before dinner; and, if thought necessary, this fact might be inquired into.

Gen. Loftus, referring to the club of General Officers, stated that he himself was not present, but that he had inquired into the particulars of a friend who was present, and the information he received was, that there was no paper produced, that the subject was started in a moment without any formality, and was carried on and dropped like any other conversation.”

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This comes as nearly up, as it can well come, to one of those arts, described in the vulgar but most beautiful and forcible figure of drawing in the horns. One can almost see the head drooping, and the soft member, gently, and, as it were by stealth, retreating to its intrenchments, and coiling itself snugly up.

There is one thing, however, which I would wish the public to bear in mind, in connection with the existence of this Military Club; and that is, that a very considerable part of the army, officers as well as men, consists of foreigners; I say, consists of foreigners. Now, if these foreign officers compose, in part, this club, and if this club (held in London) is to deliberate in the way that has been described, I leave the public to say what is the nature of our situation. Had I been a member of parliament, I should certainly have called for the names of all those composing this association. Societies amongst the people of England, for deliberating upon public matters, are, I believe, forbidden by one of the laws, passed in the time of Pitt; and, are these officers of the army to meet, then, and deliberate? And deliberate, too, upon such important questions, as that which was then before the House of Commons? This Military Club should recollect, that they are paid by the nation for the purpose of obtaining from them military services; that the army costs this burdened people 23 millions of pounds sterling a year; and that it is, or ought to be, expected from its generals, that they will busy themselves about other matters than making addresses to the sons of the King.

Having now noticed such parts of the Debates, up to Friday, the 17th, inclusive, that appeared to me the most worthy of immediate attention, I shall come to the proceedings of the 20th, beginning with the statement of Mr. Perceval respecting the Duke of York’s having resigned the office of Commander-in-Chief. He said, that this took place on Saturday last, and that it was the Duke’s own “spontaneous motion,” founded upon the motives set forth in a paper, which Mr. Perceval then read to the House in the following words:—

“The House of Commons having, after a most attentive and laborious investigation of the merits of certain allegations preferred against him, passed a Resolution of his innocence, he might now approach his Majesty, and might venture to tender to him his Resignation of the Chief Command of his Majesty’s Army, as he could no longer be suspected of acting from any apprehension of the result, nor be accused of having shrunk from the extent of an inquiry which, painful as it had been, he trusted he should appear, even to those who had been disposed to condemn his conduct, to have met with the patience and firmness which could arise only from a conscious feeling of innocence.

The motive which influenced him arose from the truest sense of duty, and the warmest attachment to his Majesty, from which he had never departed, and which his Majesty had, if possible, confirmed, by the affectionate and paternal solicitude which he had shown for his son’s honour and welfare upon the present distressing occasion. To his Majesty, as a most kind and indulgent Father, as a most gracious Sovereign, he owed every thing; and the feeling of this alone would have prompted him to forego all considerations of personal interest in the determination which he had taken. It would not become him to say that he should not quit with sincere regret a situation in which his Majesty’s confidence and partiality had placed him, and the duties of which it had been his anxious study and his pride, during fourteen years, to discharge with integrity and fidelity. Whether he might be allowed to add, with advantage to his Majesty’s service, his Majesty was best able to decide.”

Mr. Perceval then suggested, that the motion of Mr. Bragge was become unnecessary. Mr. Bragge did not think so; but, before we go any further, let us take another look at this statement of motives.

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For my part, I have had no opportunity of witnessing the conduct of the Duke, during the Inquiry and discussion; I have seen nothing of him but in his Letter to the House, and in that I certainly discover neither patience nor firmness, though I discover enough of qualities of a very different sort.

But, “the House has,” it seems, in his view of the matter, “passed a resolution of his innocence. We have seen, in the former part of this article, p. 168, how many there were to say NO to the resolution alluded to, and the world is not ignorant of the circumstances under which the vote was given. But, was there ever, in all this world before, such a reason given for a man’s quitting his office? Certain charges are preferred against him, as Commander-in-Chief; “a resolution of his innocence” of those charges is passed, and, this having been done, this resolution having been passed, he resigns! Wonderful! Why, the world is turned upside-down.

If, indeed, the proceedings had been quite finished; then he might, with some show of plausibility, have said: “There; they have completely acquitted me; they have passed no vote for my removal, or having that object in view; and I will now let them see that it was not for my office, but for my honour, that I made a stand.” But, the fact was otherwise; the proceedings were not over; there was Mr. Bragge’s motion for Monday, and it was almost reduced to a certainty, that that motion, after the passing of which he could not have remained in office, without an open rupture between the advisers of the King and a majority of the House, would have been carried by a decided majority. These were the circumstances, then, under which he resigned.

So, the occasion has been a “distressing” one, has it? This does not correspond well with the bold language, assumed in his name, by Mr. Adam and Mr. Perceval, when the charges were first made. There was, then, a great show of hackle; there was nothing, amongst his partisans, but strutting and crowing. They were a main against one cock; but, they have turned tail, and that, too, upon their own dunghill. “Distressing occasion;” well, then, the Duke knows, at last, what it is to feel distress himself. “Distressing occasion!” One cannot help hanging upon the words. There was nothing of this in the letter to the House. Alas! I see very little of firmness here.

The expressions of attachment to the King have no harm in them, to be sure; but, I do not see the use of them, upon an occasion like this. No one had ever, that I know of, accused the Duke of a want of attachment to his father. It was of a want of attachment to the public good that he was (with what truth the reader may decide) accused; and, in this statement of reasons, one might, without being very unreasonable; without entertaining any wish to see a member of the royal family degrade himself in the eyes of the world, have expected to meet with some expression of gratitude towards that public. To his Majesty, both as father and sovereign, he says he owes every thing. I do not wish to strain this sentence to mean, that he owes the public nothing; but, when I recollect how much he owes to that public; that good-natured, that generous public, I cannot say but I think that the public should not, in a paper like this, have been wholly omitted.

Mr. Bragge, after a speech of some length, in which there was nothing worthy of our particular notice, made his motion in the following words:

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“That while this House acknowledges the beneficent effects of the regulations adopted and acted upon by his royal highness in the general discharge of his duties as Commander-in-Chief, it is observed with the deepest regret, that in consequence of a connection the most immoral and unbecoming, a communication on official subjects and an interference in the distribution of Military Appointments and Promotions has been allowed to exist, which could not but lead to discredit the official administration of his royal highness, and to give colour and effect, as they have actually done, to transactions the most criminal and disgraceful.

To this motion Lord Althorp moved an amendment, after a speech which is too good not to be inserted here as far as, at present, I am in possession of it. This conduct in Lord Althorp, Lord Milton, Mr. Lyttleton, Lord Folkestone, and several other young men of distinguished families, must give great hope to the country.—He said:

“That there were one or two positions advanced by the right hon. gent. who had just sat down, in which he could not entirely concur. With regard to the regret of the right hon. gent. for the resignation of the Duke of York, he admitted that it was a great loss to lose the services of those who had while in office efficiently discharged their duty, but the loss of the services of the Duke of York was considerably lessened, when they recollected in what manner it had been proved at the bar that Royal Duke discharged his duty. He differed also from that right hon. gent. as to the great use and importance he thought proper to attach to the elevated rank of that illustrious person. He (Lord Althorp) was rather disposed to think that such high rank and affinity to the throne were not the most recommendatory qualifications for the most responsible situation under the crown, and he appealed to those who heard him, if, in the course of the late proceedings, their debates were not, in some degree, influenced by considerations of delicacy, inseparable from any discussion, involving the character and honour of one so near his majesty; and therefore, it did appear to him to be of the greatest importance that no person should ever, for the future, be called to such high situations but such as could be completely responsible. Another assertion of the right hon. gent. went to the total acquittal of the Duke of York, as to corruption or connivance. It was not necessary now, perhaps, to go into this, but as it was mentioned, he would state, that he did think the Duke of York had been proved guilty of connivance at the corrupt practices which had taken place; and if his royal highness had continued in office, he thought that the House must have gone farther, and passed a sentence upon him that would have rendered his resignation unavoidable. With regard to their subsequent proceedings, he was of opinion, that the question stood in a state in which the House of Commons ought not to suffer it to remain. He wished to place it on the Journals, that the Duke of York had resigned. This notification would give consistency to the entire character of their proceedings, and bring it to its proper close, at the same time satisfactorily accounting why it was closed. Not, however, that he would be understood to say that he considered removal from office a constitutional punishment; but it would be in this case so far effective, as to preclude the possibility of that royal Duke being ever re-appointed to a situation he has proved himself so incompetent to fill. No man can, or ought to hold that important situation, who was not in full possession of the confidence of the country. The Duke of York has forfeited that confidence. He has lost the confidence of the country for ever, and by consequence he must abandon all hopes of ever again returning to that situation. This was a severe lesson, but it was as salutary as it was severe; it would prove to all who may succeed that royal Duke hereafter, that it is not within the power of any sovereign, however beloved or confided in, to protect his most favoured servant from the just consequences of the mal-administration of his public duty. The noble lord then concluded with moving, ‘That his royal highness the Duke of York having resigned the command of the army, that House did not now think it necessary to proceed any further in the consideration of the evidence before the Committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of his royal highness as far as that evidence related to his royal highness the Duke of York.’ ”

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The debate then went on. Mr. Perceval objected to the word now; and, after a debate of considerable length, the Resolution was passed, leaving out the word now, which, to me, does not appear of very great importance; because, the sense seems to be fully expressed in the previous words, which contain the reason why the House does not think it necessary to proceed any further. The Duke having resigned, &c. is quite sufficient. The sentence, in common language, says this, “We do not think it necessary to go on any further, because the Duke has resigned.” NOW could hardly be intended to mean, that it was meant to keep the thing in waiting, to see whether he again took the command. If it was, it was useless; because, proceedings can be adopted in such a case, and reference can be made to all the evidence, which has now been taken at the bar. Not that I, either, would be understood to insinuate, that loss of office is to be regarded as “constitutional punishment,” as the Nabob’s Gazette would fain make us believe it to be. This would be a pretty doctrine indeed; a pretty distinction between the service of the public and the service of an individual. The paper, which I have just mentioned, and which is, I believe, the only one in all England that has had the bare-faced profligacy to justify all the acts of the Duke of York, says he has been “severely punished;” forgetting, apparently, the other column of its dirty sheet, in which it contends, that the Duke’s resignation was perfectly voluntary, and that he had no desire to retain his office. A bad cause or a bad memory is, either of them, bad enough; but when they unite they are sure to make a most ridiculous figure.

Mr. Whitbread, during this debate, charged Mr. Perceval with having deserted the Duke; this the latter denied, asserting that the Duke’s resignation was his own “spontaneous motion.” But, let any one look at the Address, prepared by Mr. Perceval, and read to the House, in the first day’s debate; let him look at that address, which was little more than an echo of the Duke’s letter to the House, and then say if there has not been desertion. The public must have observed, that Mr. Perceval, Mr. Yorke, Mr. Canning, the Attorney-General, Mr. Plomer, Mr. Burton, Mr. Leycester, and, indeed, all the set ministerial members, who spoke in the debate, dwelt upon the great injury the country would sustain in losing the Duke of York, as Commander-in-Chief. “But, it was his own spontaneous motion.” He would not stay in. But, why did they not get him to remain, till they had negatived Mr. Bragge’s motion? They, surely, who had got him to wait so long, could have prevailed upon him to wait two days longer. The motion was to be made on Monday, and they could not get him to wait that time. Zounds, then! don’t let him boast so much of his patience. Why, he must have been as impatient to get out of office as most men are to get into office, and as he himself was, according to his pretty letter from Sandgate, to get into the arms of Mrs. Clarke, poor woman!

When the Duke sent his letter to the House, did any one suppose, that he would have made a spontaneous resignation of his office? Did that letter, either in its tone or matter, indicate the most distant idea of this sort? On the contrary, did it not, in every line, breathe defiance? Look again at Mr. Perceval’s proposed Address, which is an echo to that letter, and see whether its object, its chief object, be not to tell the King, that the House will go with him in keeping the Duke of York in his place. Again, look at the several speeches, on the ministerial side of the House, and see whether they did not labour principally to this point. Edition: current; Page: [186] Recollect the concluding words of the Attorney-General, who gave such strong reasons for believing, that the Duke would not abuse his powers for the future. The Solicitor-General said, that you might as well stab the Duke of York to the heart, as to pass a vote for his removal; and, though he explained this away a little afterwards, it is clear, from the remarks upon it, in the House, that so he was understood. It is, then, as clear as noon-day, that the settled purpose was to keep the Duke in his place; and, there can be no doubt, that this purpose was, at last, given up only when it was perceived, that there would have been a majority for the motion of Mr. Bragge, after passing which motion it would have been impossible for him to remain without producing an open war between a majority of the House and the King’s servants.

Well, be this as it may, whatever might be the motive, out he is, and, so far the public wish has been gratified. But, how much better would it have been, if he had resigned at an earlier period? How much better would it have been, if, at the outset, the servants of the King had acted in the manner which I formerly pointed out, and which was, indeed, pointed out by the nature of the case? If they had so acted, instead of fighting the charges, inch by inch; instead of causing a clear line of distinction to be drawn between them and those persons who were not hostile to the inquiry; if they had so acted, there would not, as there now is, be a guide to direct the public resentment whereon to fix itself. The public are pleased that the Duke of York is out of office; they are convinced that this is for their good; they are satisfied that this is a happy event. But, whom do they thank for it? Towards whom are their grateful feelings directed? Aye it is in this that the ministers have been highly blamable. It is their fault that the public gratitude is not directed, in part, at least, in that way, in which it was their first duty to have caused it to be directed, and to produce which cause they had it completely in their power, unless it be true, that, as Mr. Whitbread stated, they were not the efficient ministers of the King. What the public has now gained they thank themselves for, next after Mr. Wardle. They see that nothing has been conceded to them, without reluctance; and even in the motives stated by Mr. Perceval, for the Duke’s resignation, they find no expression, not a single word, which is calculated to awaken in them sentiments of a description, which wise ministers would have bent their whole minds to keep alive.

Jacobins, indeed! Those are the jacobins; those are the true destroyers of thrones, who omit nothing that may tend to irritate and disgust the people; who push them on to the utmost stretch of their patience.

It is useless to tell us, that the ministers had nothing to do with the Duke’s resignation. We should as soon believe, that Mr. Perceval had nothing to do with the keeping of the secret about the note in the hands of Sandon. In short, it is quite in vain to endeavour to palliate their conduct, which, towards the pople, has, from first to last, been any thing but gracious; and that the people most sensibly feel.

There was a part of the speech of Mr. Whitbread of the 20th, that did not at all square with my ideas upon the subject. It related to those great allowances, which we are to make for the failings of princes; and it did, to me, appear very much like courtly flattery, and, that, too, of the worst sort.

“An hon. gent. proposed to read the Duke of York a lecture on morality. Edition: current; Page: [187] He (Mr. W.) did not think this a very fit time for such a lecture. A sufficiently long and grave one had been read to his royal highness in the course of the examination. The situation of princes was a very difficult one. They were exposed to greater temptations than others, without the same means of resistance. They almost always wanted that valuable acquisition—an admonishing friend. Such a friend was with them so rare, that to speak the truth to a prince had been always considered as a characteristic of extreme boldness. ‘He is a bold man this,’ it had been said, ‘for he has spoken the truth even to the King.’ Some allowances in a moral point of view were due to persons in such a situation. Another strong reason why the House should not read the Duke of York a lecture on morality was, the situation in which the princes were placed, from the necessity of the case, of not being allowed to form those connections of the heart which were permitted to every other subject. He did not say that this was a case in point with respect to his royal highness. The observation was general; but he thought it was a reason why the House should not readily throw stones at princes on account of their improper connections. We had, he observed, one Royal Duke whose character for morality and correct conduct, stood as high as that of any man; and, considering the circumstances to which he had alluded, the greater temptations and the difficulties attached to the situation, it would not be an easy matter to prize such a character higher than it deserved.”

A nicer dish of flattery than this I do not recollect to have ever seen, even in a romance; it must, one would suppose, be relished even by him, who was so very delicate in his palate, that Mrs. Clarke found it frequently necessary to change her man-cooks, of which she had a brace at a time. “A difficult situation?” In what is the situation of one of our princes difficult? Do they want money? Do they want for any thing, which other men have? I can see nothing that they want for, which this world can afford. Instead of being exposed to greater temptations than others, they seem to me to be exposed to none of those temptations, which form the apology for the vices of men, in common life. They have not, he tells us, “the same means of resistance.” I wish he had attempted to show this; to give us reasons for what he asserted. For my part, unless we admit their impunity to be legalized, I can see no check upon the vices of other men, which does not exist with respect to them. Indeed, this doctrine of Mr. Whitbread would go much further than be appears to have perceived. If it be sound with respect to princes, it must, in due degree, be equally sound with regard to nobles; and, in short, rank and riches will become, in themselves, an apology, if not a justification, for vice. “From him to whom much is given, much shall be required,” says the Gospel, which, let it remain untortured by priestcraft, always speaks the voice of justice and of common sense; but, Mr. Whitbread would reverse this great maxim, and would have us believe, that, because much is given, little ought to be required. “Difficulty” indeed! What difficulty is there in a prince’s living a sober, a regular, and a decent life? In well-ordering his affairs; in choosing for his companions men of sense and of good character; in keeping his expenses within the bounds of moderation; in regularly and faithfully discharging all demands upon him; in keeping his word upon all occasions; in carrying himself towards the public in a manner at once gracious and dignified? What “difficulty” is there in this to a person, who has no care about providing the means of his present, or his future support, and whose income is as sure as his existence? So far is this from being difficult, that it appears to me to come to a man as naturally as his teeth or his nails; and, that, if we suppose his nature not to be radically bad, the difficulty must be in avoiding it.

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As “to the want of an admonishing friend,” whose fault must that be? His own. If, indeed, the princes of England were, like those of Barbary, shut out from the world, there might be some force in this observation; but here they mix in society; they are free to choose their companions; there is neither law nor custom to restrain them, and they have shown us, that they know how to exercise this freedom. If, then, their friends, or the persons that approach them, the persons in whose society they delight, and whose virtues, or vices, they will be apt to imitate, be not such as Mr. Whitbread could wish, the fault is with themselves, and with themselves alone.

I think the moral part of the apology equally deficient in sound reason. Shall they, because the law restrains them from marrying whom they please, urge that as an excuse for not observing the obligations of matrimony, when they have voluntarily entered into it? For, there is no law to compel them to marry; and, therefore, if they ever do marry without that affection of which Mr. Whitbread speaks, so much the greater their shame. At any rate, when once married, they have, leaving the solemnity of the vow out of the question, entered into a compact; and, to break that compact is an act of dishonour in itself, an act of injustice and of cruelty towards the weaker party to the compact, and an injury committed against the public, against every father and every mother, who have children liable to be led into vice and consequent misery by such an example. Mr. Canning has told us, in his usual high manner, that, the characters of princes are public property. Indeed, not only has this been said, in varying phrases, twenty times, during the debate; but, we constantly hear it, especially in cases of libel, from the Bench; and that, too, as applied to all men in high situations in the state. With reference to the latter use, which is made of this notion, one cannot refrain from observing, that that is a very odd sort of property, which the proprietors dare not touch, even so far as to ridicule it. But leaving this to remain along with the other consistencies of that curious law, let us see a little how the notion squares with the doctrine of Mr. Whitbread. The character of princes, being public property, ought, one would naturally suppose, to be the more carefully guarded. What is a man’s own, he may do what he pleases with; but that which is the property, wholly, or in part, of another, he is bound to manage according to certain rules of equity and propriety. Mr. Whitbread, however, seems to think, that this property, which is held in trust, is to be less attended to by the actual possesser; he thinks, that, though the immoralities, though the adulterous life of the Duke of York, stands proved, and, on all hands, confessed, the House should not “throw stones” at him; that is to say, should not give him “a lecture on morality.”

With respect to princes not married, and the temptations they may be exposed to, whatever apology may be found for their departure from the strict letter of the law, there can be none found, discovered, or invented, for their departure from the rules of decorum. Here passion can put in no plea. Their character, we are told, is to be specially protected by the law, because it is public property; what right have they, then, to set an example of dissoluteness of manners, injurious to the nation at large? I do not say, that they do this. Mr. Whitbread’s argument is general, and so is mine. There can be no “temptation,” other than the invitations of a really vicious heart, to outrage public decency. Nature, in her best form, dictates to us to draw a veil over the gratifications towards which Edition: current; Page: [189] she most strongly impels us. The manners of this country have been formed under this amiable and unerring guide; and, against those manners, he who commits an open outrage, is guilty of a very grave offence. He discovers not only a want of moral virtue in himself; but a want of respect for it in others. He reverses the qualities of the magistrate: he is an example to evil-doers, and a terror to those who do well.

True, the situation of unmarried princes has something peculiar in it, in regard to female connections; but, if we find a hardship here, do we find nothing of peculiar advantage to weigh against it? Celibacy, in the legal sense, may be their lot; but it is also their lot to enjoy, without any exertions or cares, on their part, almost every thing which men desire in this world; besides, let us not forget, that the law does not impose celibacy on them. They (like all other children, till 21 years of age) are left, in this respect, to the will and pleasure of their father. It is not the public, nor any law, on the part of the public, that prevents them from marrying. The matter is left wholly in the Royal Family.

I can see, therefore, but very little excuse to be got out of the peculiarity of their situation, for any departure from the strict letter of the law, which excuse would not apply to every other man; while, on the other hand, I can see abundance of reasons, why an open defiance of decency should be regarded as more criminal in them than in other men; why the restraint should be greater, and why the temptation should be less. While they have all the means of making the least disgraceful selection of their connections, they have also all the means of rendering the connection as little scandalous as possible. They have, in this respect, many advantages, which men in general cannot possess; and if, instead of profiting from these advantages; if, instead of drawing a veil over their connections of this sort; if, instead of keeping them in the back ground, any prince were to expose them to the public; were to intrude them upon the notice of the people; were to boast of his bastardizing deeds; were to exhibit, as it were in triumph, the pledges of prostitution; would Mr. Whitbread still say, that we should not “throw stones” at him? I will put it to Mr. Whitbread, as a husband and a father (in both which characters he is said to be eminently good), what he thinks must be the effect of such an example; and, whether he does not think, that, by the force of such an example of triumphant vice, the gray hairs of many a father would not fail to be brought with sorrow to the grave? The happiness of the people; the fidelity of husbands and wives, the innocence of children, and the comfort of parents; these, forming the great features of happiness, are full as much “public property” as are the characters of princes and men in high offices of state; nay, they are, in truth, a great deal more so; and, shall the public have no means of redress, when this inestimable property is assailed, and that, too, through the misuse of those means, which are furnished by the public themselves? Shall they, when they return from church, and from hearing “the King’s Proclamation against Vice and Immorality,” be drily told, that princes are under “great temptations?”

Of the endeavour to chip and shave and scrape and rub and polish down the charges against the Duke of York to a mere matter of crim. con., I think as Mr. Whitbread does; but, while, considering the Duke in his high public capacity, as Commander-in-Chief, I lose sight of this, when I am contemplating the Charges and the Evidence before the Edition: current; Page: [190] House; I cannot, when this is made a subject of separate discussion, think it a matter to be treated in the light manner, in which Mr. Whitbread attempted to treat it.

In the close of his speech, Mr. Whitbread did justice to the conduct of Mr. Wardle. In alluding to what Mr. Canning said, about a Vote of Thanks to that gentleman, and which vote, if brought forward, the latter declared himself ready to oppose; Mr. Whitbread observed, as the public will remember to have been the fact, that, when Mr. Wardle first brought forward his charges, the ministers, with one accord, expressed their joy, that the imputations against the Duke had, at last, assumed a “tangible shape.” The Courier newspaper, to which the public are infinitely indebted for its exertions upon this occasion, and particularly for its good, plain, thumping arguments, rallied them most delightfully upon this “tangible shape;” but, still they appeared insensible. They thanked Mr. Wardle too. Yes, they thanked, the “d—d good-natured friend,” as Sir Fretful does in the play, for having told the parliament what the wicked world said of the Duke. They might, indeed, grind the word between their teeth; but they really did say, one and all, that they thanked him. Well, now the affair is over; for a few days, at least (for Lord Folkestone has given notice of a motion about the Duke for the 17th of April, and his lordship is not given much to joking); Mr. Wardle’s Charges are now over; and, it seems but reasonable, since he has had so much labour, and has really done much more than could be expected of him or of any human being, that these Thanks of the ministers should be moulded into a “tangible shape,” and put upon the records of parliament; and the intention, as expressed by Mr. Canning, of opposing such vote, if proposed, does appear to me to be capable of no consistent explanation; unless, indeed, the ministers are prepared to assert, that, owing to their clever mode of proceeding, the Duke owes his fall to them, rather than to Mr. Wardle; and, that, therefore, in voting thanks to him, they should be loading him with their own trophies. Upon any other ground, I cannot see how they can have the face to oppose such a motion. Whatever they may do, the nation will thank him, and will esteem and love him as one of its very best friends and greatest benefactors; as one of the few men, who, in these times of corruption, have shown themselves uncontaminated.

The people will thank him. They have begun to thank him, some proofs of which I here insert.

A Just Tribute to Col. Wardle.—As a wish has been very generally expressed by the inhabitants of this city and its neighbourhood that Colonel G. L. WARDLE, M. P., should be publicly acknowledged, for his manly and disinterested conduct in his present arduous undertaking, an opportunity will be afforded them of doing so, by subscribing an Address to that independent member of the British Parliament, of which the tenor follows:—We, hereunto subscribing, Inhabitants of the city and suburbs of Glasgow, hereby testify our unbiassed and unprejudiced opinion,—‘That Colonel Wardle, by first stepping forward, and by his conduct throughout the whole of the Investigation now pending in the honourable the House of Commons relative to his Royal Highness the Duke of York, has proved himself to the world, to be one of the most Magnanimous, Patriotic, Firm, and Candid Men in his Majesty’s Dominions.

All those who wish to mark and distinguish the conduct of this intrepid and persevering Representative of the People, and who concur in the plain and obvious sentiment contained in the above Address, will have an opportunity of joining in expressing it, by signing subscription papers, which will be opened Edition: current; Page: [191] on Thursday first,—At the shop lately possessed by Mr. Steel, Shoemaker, No. 97, Trongate; D. Grieve’s Stocking-shop, No. 468, at the Cross; The Session-House, head of Havannah-street; both the Burgher Session-Houses, Campbell-street; Bridgetown Session-House; the House of John Low, Grocer, Cross-Loan-street, Calton; and at the Relief Session-House, Anderston.

The City of Canterbury has also, in the most formal manner, voted him their thanks, and the freedom of that City, as appears from a Letter, which I have this day received, enclosing a copy of their Resolution, in the following terms:—

City of Canterbury, and County of the same City.—At a Court of Burghmote, holden at the Guildhall of the said City, the twenty-first day of March, 1809,—Resolved: That this Court duly considering the very laudable and patriotic conduct of G. L. Wardle, Esq., M. P., in calling the attention of the House of Commons to the conduct of the Commander-in-Chief, do return him their grateful and sincere thanks; and in testimony of the high approbation this Court entertain of the able, manly, and spirited manner, in which he conducted the proceedings, that the Freedom of this ancient and loyal City be granted to him.—And it is ordered by this Court, that the City Seal be affixed to the above Resolution.

—By the Court, Hammond, Town-Clerk.

This, upon which, probably, Mr. Wardle will set as much value, as he would upon a vote of Thanks from Mr. Canning, is, I dare say, a mere beginning, in an official way, of giving utterance to an expression of what is felt by every impartial and independent man in the country.

I was surprised to hear Mr. Whitbread say, that he was not prepared for a vote of thanks. It would be curious to hear his reasons for this; and I do hope, that he will have an opportunity of stating them. I am certain his objection to such vote (if, indeed, he has one) has not arisen from any little motives of personal pique, or which would be still worse, envy: I fully acquit him of that. But, if he does oppose such a vote, I shall ascribe his opposition to those motives of party, which have so long been the bane of this country. The good, the very brightest gem, of this affair, is, that it has been unsullied by the smear, the ugly smear, of party. If it had been brought forward by a party, it would have failed. Mr. Sheridan did the cause, by his disclaiming it, a service never to be sufficiently praised; and, not less because it was the furthest thought from his heart to wish to render the cause such service. In him; in his closing acts, Mr. Wardle, and this nation, have an instance of what party leads to.

One would think, that those who call themselves the Opposition, must be blinded by infatuation equal to that ascribed to the Duke of York, not to see, that the nation cares not a straw for them, their motions, or their speeches; nay, that to cool the indignation of the people at any act of the ministers, the effectual way is for them to appear to participate in that indignation. Their blindness must surpass the blindness of moles, if it prevents their perceiving, that, into such disrepute have they fallen, that their acting in a body is sure to blast their individual exertions. Mr. Whitbread regretted that princes “wanted an admonishing friend;” and so do parties. The Opposition, like the Archbishop of Granada, do not seem to perceive the effects of the apoplexy; but, good Lord! is it possible, that such a man as Mr. Whitbread should not see the indifference that prevails; the total, the worse than death-like indifference, that Edition: current; Page: [192] prevails, with regard to all their motions and debates? Is there, in the whole kingdom, one town or city containing a dozen men, free from all views of gain, who would give the toss-up of a half-penny for their return to power and place? From my heart I believe there is not. The public mind has taken a new turn; the farce of Opposition no longer captivates or amuses. It is a stale trick. The mockery of patriotism is not calculated any longer to impose upon a public that pays fifty millions a year in taxes. The Morning Chronicle calls this a new era in the history of the parliament; but this is only the effect of a new era in the popular view of politics and politicians; and what has been done is but a mere beginning, a mere breaking of the ice, in that salutary and constitutional change, which, without destroying (as the Anti-Jacobins would fain have us believe it will) any part of the King’s just prerogatives, will be a great blessing to his people. The dismission of the Duke of York! I, who have taken openly, and who have inwardly felt, as much interest as any body in the proceedings, have never cared one farthing about it; that is to say, unless it was to be the forerunner of some general measure, some effectual check, some radical change of a great constitutional nature. I should hate myself, if I could have written so many papers, with such a pitiful object in view. I would as lief the Duke of York should now be at the Horse Guards as Sir David Dundas, if no effectual remedy be to follow; and, though I think Mr. Wardle entitled to the thanks of the nation, I should not be very eager to give him mine, if I thought it possible for him now to stop.

  • “Think nothing gained, he cries, till nought remain,”

must be the maxim of the man, who means now to render his country service. He must give corruption no rest, till he has destroyed her and the very spawn of her. And, are feats like these to be expected from a prating, pleader-like Opposition? A disciplined corps; a set of hunters after office; who like and dislike in a body? No, it never can be and never will be; and of this the country is as well assured, as I am of this pen’s being in my hand.

Mr. Whitbread seems satisfied; I am not, and never shall be, as long as I see an Apothecary-General, who meddles with no business whatever; who rides in his coach-and-four, deriving 12,000 pounds a year out of the taxes, and who (oh! indelible shame!) pockets ten shillings a day, as an officer upon the staff, and who declares this, at the same time that he declares that he never meddles with any business. This is upon record, in a Report before the House of Commons; no measure has been taken upon it; and, while this is the case, I am not satisfied, nor can I be satisfied. To those who merit pensions for real services to the public, or for real losses sustained for the sake of the public or the King, I grudge nothing. But, I do grudge every single farthing that goes in the way above described, or in any such manner; and if it was not that I hope to contribute towards the overthrow of such abuses, I never would write another line as long as I live.

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DUKE OF YORK.—Continued.

  • And now, perhaps, the glorious hour is come,
  • When, having no stake left, no pledge t’ endear
  • Her int’rests, or that gives her sacred cause
  • A moment’s operation on his love,
  • He burns with most intense and flagrant zeal
  • To serve his country. Ministerial grace
  • Deals him out money from the public chest;
  • Or, if that mine be shut, some private purse
  • Supplies his need with an usurious loan,
  • To be refunded duly when his vote,
  • Well manag’d, shall have earn’d its worthy price.
  • Oh innocent, compar’d with arts like these,
  • Crape, and cock’d pistol, and the whistling ball
  • Sent through the trav’ller’s temples! He that finds
  • One drop of heav’n’s sweet mercy in his cup,
  • Can dig, beg, rot, and perish with content,
  • So he may wrap himself in honest rags
  • At his last gasp; but could not for a world
  • Fish up his dirty and dependent bread
  • From pools and ditches of the commonwealth,
  • Sordid and sick’ning at his own success.
  • Cowper. The Task.

Under this head I shall continue to place all the statements and remarks, growing out of, or immediately connected with, the recent inquiry; and, this head will, for some months, I dare say, be continued; though we shall now have leisure to attend a little to other matters.

The affair of the Rev. Mr. Glasse, has not been cleared up. The public are in the dark with respect to it; and, as it is useful to the public to be rightly informed as to the matter, I will here communicate what information relative to it, I am in possession of.

First, the public will bear in mind, that the name of Dr. Glasse was confounded with that of his son, Mr. G. H. Glasse, Rector of Hanwell.

Next, that Donovan, whom Mrs. Clarke said made the application to her, said in his examination, that Mr. Glasse knew nothing of the application which he made to Mrs. Clarke in his favour.

To this is to be added, that Mr. Glasse has offered to make oath, that what Donovan has said, in this respect, is true, and, that an offer has been made, on the part of Donovan, to make an oath of the truth of what he, in this respect, declared during his examination.

There can be no doubt, therefore, that this is the real state of the case; and, that the charge against Mr. Glasse is fairly reduced to that of being an intimate acquaintance of Donovan, with the addition of the probability of his (Mr. Glasse’s) having known, that Donovan did intend to interest himself with some person or other, in favour of the views of Mr. Glasse.

Now, as to the former, Mr. Glasse, in a letter to me, says, that, for years, he “connected with the name of Mr. Donovan every thing that honour, principles, friendship, and gratitude could render amiable in an old soldier.” We can, therefore, only, in this case, accuse Mr. Glasse of a want of discernment; but, at the same time, I must say, that one cannot help believing, that he must have known something of Donovan’s Edition: current; Page: [194] intention to make interest for him somewhere; and, if that was the case (a point which I leave to the decision of the reader) he was very blamable indeed, however common the practice may be of obtaining church preferment by such means.

I have now to notice what it appears has been done against Mr. Glasse by some authority in the Church; and which will be best explained by inserting his letter, dated 16th March, “to the Committee of the Sons of the Clergy,” of which Society, or Charity, he was, it appears, the Secretary:

Gentlemen,—In the midst of my indignant surprise at the liberties which on a late public occasion had been taken with my name, I received a very intelligible hint, from a high quarter, that my voluntary resignation of the Secretaryship to your Charity would be an act decorous in itself, and possibly beneficial to the institution.

My reply was short and simple, and it was this:—‘That as I was not aware of any delinquency on my part, either actual or intentional, I would not be accessory to my own dishonour; or skulk meanly from an ostensible situation, under an implied consciousness of guilt.’

I wish it therefore to be distinctly and generally understood, that in consequence of an authoritative mandate, and of that only, I have this day placed your seal in the hands of my warm-hearted and unshaken friend, your honest, worthy Treasurer.—In times like these, when every wise man would covet and court retirement, it is in itself a matter of relief, rather than of regret, that I am no longer to be called by the duties of a laborious and expensive office, from a home most dear to me. The conviction of my mind, that my zealous exertions were in no small degree advantageous to your charity, was the only consideration that could have made me wish to continue in the exercise of those duties. I am now completely absolved from them. But I do nevertheless protest, before God and you, against the ‘armed doctrine,’ against the unjust and tyrannous principle, on which I am dismissed from your service—a principle, by the application of which to more important cases, an Englishman would cease to be the guardian of his own honour and character; and must be contented to hold his reputation, his liberty, perhaps his life, at the mercy of friends or of enemies without any act or participation of his own.”

This “authoritative mandate” proceeded from I know not whom. Why will not people give us names? There is not common sense in this species of delicacy. How are we to know who to blame here, if blame be due?

I will not stop to inquire into the utility of this Society (for it is a matter upon which there might be a good deal said); but, supposing it to be connected, in some sort, with the Church; supposing its reputation to be linked, in any way, with that of the Church, I cannot say, that I should disapprove of what Mr. Glasse complains of; because I hold it to have been very improper for him to have been so closely connected with a person like Donovan. The frequency of such connections, and of clergymen obtaining promotion through such channels, does not lessen the fault of Mr. Glasse. He has thus been censured; and I really do not think the censure too severe.

Neither can I find, in the measure, any thing contrary to sound principles of justice. All that the Society say to him is this: “We do not wish any longer to have your services.” Surely, they may act as they please, in an affair of this sort. There was no need of any trial, or investigation (if that be what Mr. Glasse alludes to); the close intimacy with Donovan having been stated, proclaimed, and acknowledged on the part of Mr. Glasse, there was no occasion for any thing further in the way of proof, especially in a case, where the dismissed party could sustain Edition: current; Page: [195] no injury, except in point of feeling. It is very true, that the proof of that intimacy was no proof of guilt, actual or intentional; but, when added to the fact of Donovan’s having made an application to Mrs. Clarke for the preferment of Mr. Glasse, it does fairly amount to a presumption injurious to his reputation, in point of discretion at least; and that being the case, I cannot agree with him as to the justice of his complaint against those, who have been the cause of his dismission, which I look upon as a sort of clerical censure, and as being the only censure of that kind which his superiors, probably his diocesan, had it in his power to inflict.

But, this being the case, where, according to the principle upon which Mr. Glasse has been dismissed and censured, shall we look for a defence of those, who have contended, that the Duke of York ought not to have been dismissed; and who were the cause of preventing his being formally censured? Where, upon the principle, on which the Bishop of London (for he, I take it, is meant) has acted, shall we look for a defence of those persons? If to be acquainted with a trafficker in commissions and preferment, and to have had an application made to Mrs. Clarke, without his consent or knowledge, be a ground sufficient for the censuring and dismissing of Mr. Glasse; where are we to look for a defence of those, who have defended the Duke of York? And, above all, where shall we look for a defence of those of the clergy, who have acted this part? The Duke of York is, I believe, older than Mr. Glasse, though some people would have us suppose, that he has not yet cut his wisdom teeth, and that Mr. Wardle has been merely lancing his gums. The Duke is too a Doctor, though the fact may not be generally known. When he was at Oxford, some years ago, the “Learned-language” men of St. John’s College, finding in him, I suppose, the requisite qualities, gave him a diploma of LL.D. And, I was told, that by mistake, they were within an ace of presenting it to one of his attendants, instead of himself. This, which was told me in 1806, while I was at Oxford, was one of the circumstances, which set me to estimating the value of the understanding and the principles, connected with the “learned languages.”

Well, then, he is a Doctor of Laws; and let us not be any longer told, by the base panders of power, that he was “imposed upon;” that he was “infatuated,” and the like. He is a Doctor, recollect, and Mr. Glasse is not; let their cases be taken and fairly compared, and let those who can, reconcile the proceedings against them respectively to any principle of impartiality. I do not find fault with the censure on Mr. Glasse; but, let me hear what those, who have censured him, or who have approved of that censure, will say of the Duke of York. Let me hear them. Do not tell me of their thoughts. Let me hear what they say. “How?” I shall be asked. In their sermons. They preach against Buonaparte; they preach against rebellion and sedition; and, there was a time, when one half of what they said was about jacobinism. If they will not talk about the Duke, let us hear, at least, what they have to say about corruption, which leads to every thing that is destructive of the liberty of the people, and of the existence of the throne; or, if they will remain mum, let them preach to the bare walls. Let us, “bold divines,” hear a little of the Church thunder upon this most abominable national sin. Are there no sermons upon it extant? Why, then, write some. Arouse all your pious indignation against this sin, ten thousand times more dangerous than that of stark-naked jacobinism. Come, come! Edition: current; Page: [196] None of your smoothing irons; none of your twisting and wriggling; none of your logic of evasion. Let us hear, in good plain English, what you have to say about what has now come to light. You often enough tell us of the denunciations of God against robbers, and you bid us not to steal. Now, then, when robbery of the public is joined to all the other vices; accompanied with all that is, at once, the most hateful and most contemptible; now let us hear what you have to say. When jacobinism was the order of the day, you were loud and distinct enough. Every newspaper teemed with sketches of your sermons, and every bookseller’s window was crammed up with the sermons themselves. Well, then, let us now hear you. Let me see one amongst you; even one; a solitary individual of you, print a sermon upon this all-important subject, coming, in so many ways, under your immediate province, Dr. O’Meara, too, the divine of the “celestial unction,” whose “lips were touched with the live coal from off the altar;” he, too, was ready to preach against the principles of the French Democrats; and, I would have my readers bear it in everlasting remembrance, that he preached this sermon before the King, under the patronage, cringingly sought for, of a kept mistress of the King’s son. This fact is, of itself, a pretty good commentary upon the sermons against jacobinism, and upon all that has been prated and printed about “social order” and our “holy religion,” by those who have been pensioned and preferred for their literary services.

That eleven thousand parishes should not afford many clergymen, who hold in abomination the corruptions, which have been brought to light, it were uncandid in the extreme to affect to doubt; and, indeed, I have the honour personally to know some, who do so hold them. But, let us hear their voices publicly. Let me witness some little matter of that zeal, which made the book-shops teem with sermons against jacobinism. Let me see them “in earnest,” as Dr. O’Meara says; let me see them in earnest upon this subject; or let them, for ever, seal up their lips, not only upon politics, but also upon breaches of the most important of our moral duties. Let us hear them a little upon “the desolation of abomination, standing in high places;” or, let them leave the low to a quiet indulgence in their comparatively trifling sins. Let us hear Dr. Rennell, who thundered out upon the poor Nuns; who seemed to be more afraid of a string of beads than a thief is of a halter; who was, it is said, so instrumental in bringing forward an act of parliament to prevent our daughters’ minds from being perverted by the said Nuns: let us hear what he has to say upon the present occasion. The Doctor has been noways bashful in his applications for the aid of the press. That press now presents him its best services; it sighs to become the vehicle of his eloquence, and, as a pledge of its friendship, beseeches him to forbear from his logical and polemic contests with Dr. Milner; the press loudly and earnestly invites the exertions of himself and his brethren, in the cause of political right and public morals, while, in that respect at least, it sets them an example.

“The Church in danger,” was, some time ago, the cry. With what sincerity that cry was set up I shall not now inquire; but, certain I am, that the way to preserve the Church from real danger is for it to prove itself the friend of the people; of impartial justice, and of public morals. I know, that there are those, who think, that to take part against corruption is, in fact, to take part against rank and property. So they have thought all over Europe. Still, in spite of this awful experience, there Edition: current; Page: [197] are many men, who so think, though they do not participate, or want to participate, in the profits of corruption. Fear, a fear arising from imbecility, has, thus, co-operated with corruption; and, amongst all timid men, none are so timid as the clergy. But, it is strange, very strange indeed, that they see nothing to fear, on the other side. It is strange, that their apprehensions never turn towards the consequences of their taking part against the people. It is strange that they appear totally to overlook that maxim of the Gospel, “He who is not for us, is against us;” and that they seem to forget, that this maxim is grounded in human nature.

Thus it is, however; and thus, it would seem, we are to go on, in spite of all admonition; in spite of all warning; in spite of all experience. Concession to the reasonable wishes of the people, timely reformation, conciliation sought by just and honourable means; these have uniformly been rejected by the old governments of the continent, who have relied upon their power for checking even the progress of the mind.

It is said: “If you go a step, in the way of concession, the people will make you go on, and will never be satisfied, till they have destroyed all.” What is there to warrant this assertion? Is there any man, who preaches such doctrine as this? Are those, who wish for reform, desperate adventurers? Have any of us, who write against abuses, any thing covert in our expressions? Do we meet and plot? Is there a man of us, who can possibly propose to himself any advantage, but that which he would participate with his neighbours? Besides; what do we wish for? We wish to destroy no establishment. We want nothing new-fangled. We want no innovation. All we ask for is, such a reform as would effectually secure us against the effects of corruptions, such as have now been brought to light, and of the existence of which we have long been assured. Is this too much to ask?

There is no danger from concession to the people; and where such a fear exists, it is the offspring of knavery begotten upon imbecility; imbecility matchless in quality as well as in degree. The House of Commons lay before the people evidence, proof, of the existence of a system of corruption, under the effects of which it is impossible for any nation long to exist independent. And, the knaves, who fatten upon that corruption, have the impudence to assert, that to put an end to the system is the way to produce the destruction of the establishments of the country, when it is so manifestly the interest of all those establishments to concur, and heartily to co-operate, in putting an end to that system.

I trust that another way of thinking will, ere long, be produced; that knavery will soon lose its power over honest credulity; and that we shall see all men of worth join, leaving the knaves like a boat adrift upon the strand.

General Clavering’s Case requires very little of statement now.

The chief facts, now, to be borne in mind, relate to the motives and manner of Clavering’s coming forward.

It will be remembered, that, after Mrs. Clarke had undergone two or three of those examinations, which gained her so much credit, and her cross-examiners so little, Clavering wrote a letter to the Attorney-General, stating that he had it in his power to prove, that she had given false testimony, and that he wished to be called to the bar for that purpose; that, after this letter had been read to the House, it was, upon motion of the friends of the Duke of York, resolved to call Clavering to the bar;——that, Edition: current; Page: [198] being so called, he denied the truth of what she had said, respecting certain communications with her, and, upon being cross-examined, did distinctly and positively assert, that “he did not know of any person, who had asked Mrs. Clarke to use her influence with the Duke as to Army promotions;”——that Mrs. Clarke, in order to show, that she had not been speaking falsehood with respect to Clavering, then produced a letter from the Duke of York to her, in answer to an application of hers in behalf of Clavering, in which letter the Duke desires her to tell Clavering, that his application, in the case in question, is useless;——that, in a few days afterwards, a bundle of Mrs. Clarke’s papers, which she had sent down to light fires with at Hampstead, but which had been preserved by Nicholls, the master of the House, and which papers had been hunted out by the Duke of York’s own Attorney, were brought to the bar, in the apparent hope of affording matter of discredit to Mrs. Clarke;——that, as the evil genius of General Clavering would have it, there were in this bundle of papers, five letters from the General to her, all beginning with the words “My dear Mrs. Clarke;”——that, in one of these letters, dated on the 5th of September, 1804, he explains the meaning of his former application, and says, “you mentioned that the Duke did not comprehend my proposal;”——that this letter bears date just eleven days after that of the Duke’s letter to Mrs. Clarke, wherein he says, “Clavering is mistaken, my Angel;”——that, in the fourth letter, dated the 11th of November, 1804, Clavering says: “The purport of this letter is to thank you for your attempt to serve me;”——that, some days after these letters had been published in the newspapers, Clavering again desired to be called to the bar;——that during this second examination, he acknowledged, that he had, upon one occasion, written a letter to her, “stating, that, in case she obtained him permission to raise a regiment, she should receive a thousand pounds.

There were much shuffling and twisting, and many self-contradictions; but here is the pith of the thing. Here we see him self-convicted of falsehood; of voluntary, wilful, deliberate, premeditated falsehood.

For, observe, he comes forward a volunteer, for the avowed purpose of blasting Mrs. Clarke’s testimony; of making her appear to be a liar; and, of course, of nullifying all that she had said, or should say against the Duke of York, who was at the head of that army, in which he was an officer. It appeared from the evidence, that he had been to Gordon, who sent him to Mr. Lowten; and, it was after this; after consulting with the Duke’s Attorney, that he asked to be called to the bar, and, as he says, at the desire of Mr. Lowten, or by his advice.

So we see him here, actually holding council upon the mode, in which he shall proceed to blast the credit of his patroness and benefactress. She says, and, I think, there can be no doubt of the fact, that she got him the command of a district; that she got him his Brigadiership; that, in short, she was his only friend in this way, and the real cause of his promotion. But, at any rate, we find him, under his own hand, thanking her for her endeavours to serve him; we find him making use of the most kind and complimentary expressions towards her; we find him asking her permission to wait on her in boots; and, this same man, when he thinks she was in a fair way of being crushed, voluntarily comes forward, under, as he thinks, the protection of irresistible power, and plots with her enemies for aiding in treading her into the dirt. Oh! how little did he think, that the same Mr. Lowten, with whom he was Edition: current; Page: [199] holding consultation, was, though unwittingly, hard at work; drawing forth all the resources of his ingenuity, for the purpose of bringing before the House of Commons, proof the most satisfactory, of her truth, of his falsehood! How little did he think, that, instead of securing himself in what he had obtained by her means, and of paving the way for future advancement, he was digging a pit for his destruction! How little did he think, that, instead of throwing discredit upon her by this act of base ingratitude, he was adding to the secret stings of conscience open and everlasting shame! He has, in the most complete manner that I recollect to have witnessed, verified the words of the Psalmist: “His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealings shall come down upon his own pate.” He has been committed to Newgate for prevarication; he is now in Newgate for falsehood, by an undivided vote of that Assembly, before whom he voluntarily came for the express purpose of fixing falsehood upon the character of his benefactress.

If ever man or woman was amply avenged; if ever vengeance was more than glutted; if ever the ever-craving human heart could say, “I am satisfied,” such must be the language of the heart of Mrs. Clarke. All; yea all and every one, who have practised, or attempted to practise, injustice or malignity against her, have been punished in a degree, exactly proportioned to the magnitude of their offences. Some have been held up to ridicule, others have been checked in their pecuniary and other prospects; others have been, or must be, compelled to disgorge and uncase; he who, as she says, threatened her with the pillory or the Bastile, is in a state that I need not describe; and he who came forward a volunteer to blast her credit, and cover her with infamy, is himself, upon his evidence from his own lips, and under his own hand, lodged in Newgate.

Mr. Charles Wynn, who made the motion against Clavering, who began with him, and who stuck to him to the last, is entitled to great praise on this account as well as being one of the 125, who voted for Mr. Wardle’s motion. There was no case so flagrant as that of this general, who, perhaps, was and is, a member of the famous “Military Club.” That should be ascertained. The thing is interesting. It is worth coming at. It would be curious enough if he had a hand in the attempted, the Ferrol-like expedition, that Mr. Whitbread brought under the cognizance of the House.

Mentioning this Club puts me in mind of another, introduced, the other day, to the notice of the public, in a newspaper paragraph, thus: “At the Highland Club, in Cockspur-street, held at the British Coffee-house, on Tuesday evening, a very numerous company assembled. The Marquis of Huntley was called to the chair, and the health of the Duke of York was drank with three times three.

This Marquis of Huntley, is, I believe, a son of the old Duchess of Gordon. I would recommend to this Highland Club, the next time they meet, to finish their projected devices in honour of the Highland corps, for taking that invincible standard, which was taken by Lutz, a native of France, and who had not the honour to serve in that corps, or any Highland corps. Let this Club give us their names, and let us see how many of them are upon the pension and sinecure lists, contained in Lord Cochrane’s political bible. Let us have their names. They, surely, must have names of some sort or other; and, if they stand in clans, let us have them numbered, as we do bales of goods. If it be worth while Edition: current; Page: [200] to publish their toasts, it is worth while to let us know the persons who drank the toasts. Will they not come out? Why, then, let them skulk, and let us laugh at their silly toasts and them too.

The excellent disposition, which has been excited and called forth by the disclosures, for which the public are indebted to Mr. Wardle, is manifesting itself in every part of the country; and this is the really valuable part of the thing. It is not the dismission of the Duke of York, or his resignation, call it what you will, that any sensible man cares much about. Of itself, that is of little public importance. It is the light, the blessed light that has been let in upon a long benighted nation, by the inquiry that has taken place. Many men, indeed, saw clearly before; but that light which before got in upon us through here and there a crevice, has now made a general burst, while all the plastering and patching and rags and clouts and lumps of clay have tumbled down about the ears of those who wished to keep us in darkness eternal. Even the provincial papers, so long the vehicles of dull repetition, of borrowed and insipid reflection; so long “the weed that rots in Lethe’s pool;” have now assumed animation and mind; have now begun to have the breath of life in their nostrils, and to indicate the possession of intelligent souls. Many of these papers have, within this month, been sent to me. Many that I never saw before in my life. The parts wished to be read have been pointed out with a mark of the pen: as, if they came to me and said—“See, we have, at last, opened our eyes, and no longer merit your reproaches.” Vanity may have suggested this idea to me; but, this is the light in which I view it.

There is one thing that gives me particular satisfaction; and that is, to see that the cry of Jacobinism, set up before the meeting of parliament by Richard Wharton,* who is, I believe, the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee with a salary of 1,200l. a year, and so loudly echoed since; it does give me particular, and inexpressible pleasure, to see that this cry is universally held in its merited contempt; and that, instead of having answered its intended purpose, it has had no small share in producing that conviction of the necessity of a reform, now held to be inseparable from national safety.

As an instance of the effect, which has thus been produced, and as a specimen of the good spirit which has gone forth, I shall here insert one extract from the Oxford Paper of the 25th of March:—

“The Duke of York has at last tendered his resignation of the office of Commander-in-Chief, to the King; and his Majesty has been graciously pleased to accept it. This resignation had at length become a matter of absolute necessity: to the last stage the Duke was defended with all the power and influence of administration; but although the servants of the crown could command a majority in the House of Commons, the voice of the people could not be suppressed by their authority; and if their representatives would not address the Sovereign for the removal of this great Officer of State, they would themselves, in their public assemblies throughout the kingdom, have petitioned the Throne for his dismission. To avert this general expression of public opinion, the Duke of York has resigned, but not before an important article of instruction has been given to those into whose hands the elective franchise is confided. We regret that Ministers have not come forward in an open and manly manner, and declared that they have no intention of reinstating his Royal Highness in his former situation. Till this is done, the people,—nine-tenths of the people of England,—who suspect that this will ere long take place, Edition: current; Page: [201] will continue to be highly dissatisfied with their conduct.—The Inquiry is now terminated by a decision, at which, when we compared it with certain parts of the printed evidence, and particularly with the letters written by his Royal Highness to Mrs. Clarke, we could not help expressing our astonishment. But the decision, however extraordinary and unaccountable it may appear to ourselves and others, is of little importance in comparison with the good effects which are likely to result from the previous most important investigation. A spirit of inquiry is gone forth, which we hope will scrutinize into every department of the state, and expose to view every hidden abuse. The people, at length recovered from their lethargy, will begin to inquire whether those men who have been so long accustomed to charge others, whose opinions were different from their own, with disloyalty, and to brand them with opprobrious epithets, did this from a consciousness of superior purity in themselves, or whether they acted thus to prevent any inquiry taking place, which they were sensible would be detrimental to their own individual and personal interests; whether these were not the very men who lived by abuses, and who battened on that corruption which, they very well knew, was sapping the basis of the English constitution. But, above all, this spirit of inquiry will be directed to the enormous profusion of the public money: actuated by this spirit, the people will ask their representatives, whether the product of the taxes be solely applied to objects which tend to contribute to the safety, happiness, and honour of the British Empire, or whether a great part be not applied to the payment of pensions, bestowed without previous and equivalent services, or of sinecure places; whether a great part be not expended on pensioners who have done nothing, and on placemen who have nothing to do? If such abuses do really exist, who but the interested will deny that they call loudly for a temperate, but a speedy and radical reform?

Yes, these are the sentiments to inculcate; and to be inculcated particularly by those, whose interest it is to prevent that which is called revolution. By timely reform the several governments of the continent of Europe might have saved themselves, and along with themselves their nobles and all their establishments. They universally resisted reform. Instead of disarming the philosophers and the demagogues by removing those well-known and undeniable abuses, which gave currency to their statements and their doctrines, what have we seen those governments do? Invariably add to those abuses, and calumniate and punish all those, within their reach, who complained of them. The consequences are before us; and, those who are proof against this 20 years’ lesson, will not be convinced, “though one were to rise from the dead.” There was, in Mr. Whitbread’s speech of the 10th of March, a very beautiful and impressive passage upon the lesson, given to the Duke of York, in the circumstance of his mistress having purchased the service of family plate of the Duc de Berri. But, have you, Sir, seen any prince discover any sensibility of this sort? Have they, any where, shown much feeling for one another? But, I do hope, that now, at any rate, the gentlemen of this country; that the nobility; that all men of rank and property will see, that the time is come for them to show, that they have a sense of the danger, to which corruption inevitably leads; and that, after a long season of apparent insensibility to their own consequence, as well as to the interests of others, they will heartily co-operate in producing that reform, which alone can save them and us and all from ruin and disgrace.

There are few things that have given me greater pleasure, than the seeing of the name of Sir Henry Mildmay in the list of those 125 members, who voted with Mr. Wardle; and, I trust, that the people of this county will neither forget that, nor that neither of the county members, Chute and Heathcote, is to be found in that list. Sir Henry Mildmay Edition: current; Page: [202] does not, apparently, admire the situation of a tool. He does not appear to be enamoured with the idea of being the under-strapper of an upstart. He does not seem to think it much of an honour to crawl under the canopy of a mushroom. To be sure, it is something so preposterous; it is something so unnatural; it is something so much against every good feeling of the heart, to see a man of fixed fortune and estate, of ancient family and of sound mind, become the dependant, the miserable echo, of an echo, and to seek for consequence in being thought to be intimate with those who are themselves miserable dependants; there is something so shockingly unnatural in this, that the very existence of a single instance of the sort is enough to blast the character of a nation. Yet, there are many instances of the sort; and, what it can be owing to, unless to the foolish, the cowardly fear of revolution, I cannot imagine; that fear, which, as I said before, the knaves, who fatten upon the public misery, are so industrious in cherishing, by all the means in their power. But, the timid fools do not perceive, that the knaves have an interest separate from theirs, and even opposed to it. A reform that would be salutary to the nation, would be destructive to them; and, when they talk of “overturning every thing,” that every thing means their plunder. To them it is no matter whether a reform take place, or whether the nation be conquered by the enemy. They must be ruined in either case. But, it is not so with a man like Sir Henry Mildmay. He would, in all probability, be ruined by the country’s being conquered; but he must, in common with the rest of the country, greatly gain by a salutary reform, especially as that reform would secure the internal peace and order of the country.

But, in all countries that I have ever heard of, the knaves, who live only upon abuses, have, to a great degree, at least, succeeded in persuading the fools, that, to stand by them, was the way to secure themselves and their property.

In like manner have they, but too often, succeeded in working up princes to be on their side, the latter seldom having had the discernment to perceive, that their interest was different from that of the knaves. This has been the fruitful cause of revolutions and dethronings; of princes reduced below the level of common men, and of nobles extinguished and forgotten in a month.

Let us hope, that knavery will not succeed here; that those who have the power, will also have the will, to resist it; and, if this be the case, we have nothing to fear from foes without or demagogues within.

What, but this working of knavery upon imbecility; what but this can have prevented so many princes, and so many bodies of nobles and rich men, from adopting, in time, measures calculated to regain the confidence and affections of the people, without which, as daily experience convinces us, there is no means of effectual national defence against such an enemy as we have now to contend with?

The press has, in general, done its duty in scouting the idea of “a conspiracy existing against the House of Brunswick;” but, there is one paper, the Morning Post, which has acted, and is acting, a very base as well as profligate part, and which, I am very glad to hear, has, in its regular decline, given a pretty good proof of the public sentiment. From this paper I shall here insert an extract, first begging the reader to bear in mind, that (as I stated upon a former occasion) during Mr. Paull’s contest for Westminster, he accused a Gentleman, of the name of Edition: current; Page: [203] Robinson, who lived then in Devonshire-place, and who had been in some high office in India, under Lord Wellesley, of causing paragraphs to be published against him in the Morning Post; that he charged this gentleman and other East India people of being proprietors of that paper; and that I saw and read a letter from this Mr. Robinson to Mr. Paull, in which letter the writer disclaimed all knowledge of the paragraph complained of, and in which he expressed his disapprobation of all such paragraphs, but in which letter he stated, that he was a part proprietor of the paper, and that it was owned by him and others, chiefly East Indians, and was possessed and carried on in the same way as the concern of any other commercial company.

This a fact always to be kept in view, when we are examining the politics of this paper. And now let us hear what this vehicle says upon the subject of jacobinism and of a conspiracy against the house of Brunswick, bearing in mind, that, for several years past, this paper has been, without a single exception, the defender and the eulogist, of every person, who has been accused of corruption, bribery, peculation, public profligacy, or any other offence against the interests or the morals of the country.

“When the fair domain of common sense and reason is devastating by a torrent, perhaps the wisest and certainly the least dangerous conduct, were self only considered, would be passively to suffer it to exhaust its fury, and to wait the return of the calm, before we attempted to divert its baneful course. But as Britons, as men attached to the glorious constitution of our country, as men dreading the horrors of anarchy and revolution, as participators in the liberty of the press, and in some measure called upon by our writings to maintain its legitimate rights, can we stand idly by nor make an effort to open the eyes of our deluded fellow citizens, to the turbid and impure source from whence this torrent flows, and the dreadful issue to which its progress tends?

What we have all along foreseen, and what, as well as a sense of justice, induced us to take the part we did, in the inquiry into the conduct of the Commander-in-Chief, is now rapidly fulfilling. The blow was not struck at the Duke of York, but at the House of Brunswick, and the Constitution of England,—it has been to a certain extent, well placed, and (to continue in the scientific language of pugilism) is now to be followed up. But those who aim the blow have no physical power in themselves; known, they are detested by all men, and it is only when they can delude the people to their side, that there is any strength in their arm.—Their art is to hide the cloven foot, and under an assumed form, take the advantage of a popular feeling, excited and fomented by their wild stratagems, and, by working on this fertile soil, turn to their own horrible purposes, passions which are perhaps founded in virtue, and directed to the reform of abuse, not to the overthrow of government. It is to guard against this specious delusion; it is to warn our countrymen against lending themselves, under the idea of correcting errors, to the views of those mercenary and villanous men who plot the destruction of all that is dear to us; it is to open their eyes to the dangers which surround them, that we dare, even contrary to their now ruling persuasion, to call on them for reflection and a short pause, before they plunge into the stream from which in its course there is little hope they will at any future period be able to extricate themselves.—It is with grief and concern we daily witness what twenty or thirty intriguing and Jacobinical spirits can compass with the British public. It is with deep shame and sorrow, that we see the noblest feelings of human nature made subservient to the basest purposes of a detested faction. It is with heartfelt anguish that we behold the real, patriot, and in-born love of liberty of the British people, turned by the cunning of those whose idea of liberty is licentiousness, and whose minds are intent on nothing but revelling on the plunder of a nation, overthrown to aid their projects and consummate their plans.—Such do we consider the addresses to Mr. Wardle, whose accusations the representatives of the people have pronounced to be unfounded; such do we consider the subscriptions to Miss Taylor, the associate of the most infamous prostitute of Edition: current; Page: [204] the age: such do we consider the instigations to hold public meetings; and such do we consider every act connected with or promoting these objects.—Let the public reflect for a moment who the wretches are that set these matters on foot. Can they imagine for a moment that a base notorious libeller, his associates, or his miserable satellites, are inspired by a love of their country or of virtue to engage so ardently in these schemes; or must they not rather instantly acknowledge that there is something ulterior in view yet hid from their sight, which is to be attained by these means? What is Mr. Wardle, or Miss Taylor, or Mrs. Clarke, or the Duke of York, to these designing men, but as so many objects by which they can promote their grand design against the government of the country?—Is their duty now so rarely performed by our public men—by our opposition virtue-mongers, as seldom as by our ministerial optimists, that Mr. Wardle must be demi-deified for having done his? That is, for having, from a suspicious connection with an infamous prostitute, been induced to bring forward charges again the member of the illustrious House of Brunswick, which, by a signal and triumphant majority of 241, have been declared to be unfounded.—Oh, fortune-favoured Napoleon! even the patriotism of Britain aids thee in the attainment of thy ambitious hopes. Every thing conspires to render thee invincible. The Chronicle of London fights thy battles against Austria. The patriots in the British Senate fight thy battles against established crowns and legal constitutions.”—After this the writer goes on to repeat what Mr. Windham said: “that there was no act of which the Duke of York was accused, of which he would not rather be found guilty than of having taking away, without her consent, and against her will, the letters taken from Mrs. Clarke by Mr. Wardle.”

Of all that was said, during the whole of the debates, nothing gave me any pain but this; and, I cannot help hoping, that, in spite of this repetition, there must have been some misrepresentation. To be sure, if Mr. Wardle had so acted from any view of advancing his own interest; if the affair, to which the letters had related, had been a private one; if it had been between man and man, and had been unconnected with the duty of Mr. Wardle as a member of parliament; if this had been the case, there might have been some doubt as to the propriety of his conduct, though, even then, the question must have turned wholly upon the circumstances of the case. For, suppose you to see, in the hands of any one, papers proving the commission of a murder, are you to let such papers escape you? No, perhaps, it will be said; but go and lay the information, leaving it to others to seize the papers. But, where is the difference between giving this information and seizing the papers yourself? So, then, for any thing that you care, the murderer is to escape; he is to be left with his sharpened knife in his hand, rather than you will be “guilty” of seizing the proofs of his guilt.

So much for this doctrine when applied to a private case; but, suppose you to see, in the possession of a friend; of a brother; nay of that nearest and dearest of all connections, a parent, or a child, papers containing proofs of treason, committed, or to be committed? Would you not seize these papers or give information (which is precisely the same thing) of their existence? I put this question home to you; and beg you to remember, that if you failed to do it, you would be liable to be hanged for the failure. And, shall the law tell us this; shall it thus act, in behalf of the King, and be applauded for so acting, while one of the makers of that law tells us, that it is an offence to act in behalf of the public, upon the principles of that law? We may differ in our estimate of the relative magnitude of robbery of the public and of conspiracy against the King; but, without entering into any argument upon that point, I think that few persons will be found to deny, that it is impossible to justify the law of misprision of treason, unless you allow, Edition: current; Page: [205] that it would have been a crime in Mr. Wardle not to have availed himself of the best means within his power of securing the proof of public robbery, of the existence of which he had obtained the knowledge.

The system of spies and informers is interwoven with our system of finance, and I do not recollect that Mr. Windham ever made opposition to any of those laws. No, all is good; all advantages are fair which operate in favour of those who rule; but if you take advantage of any circumstance in favour of the public, you are accused of acting a mean and dastardly part; as if the government was a thing so weak and so very defenceless!

This is like many of the clergy, who were amongst the first; who were, indeed, the very first, to encourage spies and informers against the jacobins and levellers, and to justify all the means, of whatever description, to come at proofs of their machinations. But, behold, when the bitter chalice was put to their own lips; when, in 1800, or thereabouts, qui lam informations were laid against them for having neglected their bounden and sacred duties, they could then set up a loud and general cry against informers, whom they represented as the most infamous of mankind; they could come to the parliament for a law to suspend the operation of these informations; aye, for an ex post facto law to protect them against informers; and, what is still better worthy of being remembered, they found a parliament to pass such a law.

I will not cram up my space and occupy the time of the reader with any commentary upon what I have extracted from the Morning Post. It is the mere echo of what we have heard elsewhere, and what already stands admirably exposed to public contempt. Yes, it is too late to tell us, that to bring to light, and to execrate corruption and public robbery, it is too late to tell the people, that this indicates a desire to overturn the House of Brunswick and the constitution of England; that this indicates a plot for the effecting of a bloody jacobinical revolution, and that those who voted with Mr. Wardle, fight the battles of Buonaparte against established crowns and legal constitutions. The people of England, as Mr. Lyttleton (who is one of the jacobins) said, are no longer to be duped; and, what is still more satisfactory to observe, a very great part of the nobility aud gentlemen of England, and that part, too, who are to live for an age to come, seem to have now imbibed the same contempt for the means that have been used for the purpose of deceiving them into a belief, that it was their interest to side against the great mass of the nation. Completely to eradicate this belief, the folly of which yields to that of no creed that imposture ever invented for the purposes of subjection and of plunder, is all that is wanted to bring about that general reform, of which Mr. Whitbread spoke the other day, and without which all but those, who fatten or wish to fatten, upon public plunder, are so anxious to see brought about.

It is not the “rabble,” who call for such a reform. The rabble, properly so called (and more or less of rabble there always will be), profit from abuses and corruptions. They are peculators and plunderers of another sort, and different look, to be sure; but still they are peculators and plunderers. No: it is not the rabble; it is those who suffer from the rabble, who know them well, and who are so anxious about nothing as to keep power out of their hands.

I cannot refrain from a remark or two upon the passage, relating to Miss Taylor, the only accusation that this base writer prefers against Edition: current; Page: [206] whom, is, that she was the associate of Mrs. Clarke, whom he denominates the “most infamous prostitute of the age;” forgetting, apparently, that she was so long the great patroness of the army; the Venus of our great and mighty Mars; the “darling” of his affections, the “angel” of his devotions, and his connection with whom this very writer has apologized for, not to say justified, in numerous essays. Oh! pander of incomparable impudence; to vilify the goddess while he extols the votary, and justifies the devotion!

Thanks to Mr. Wardle have, as will be seen below, been voted by the City of Westminster.

I perceive, that the Mayor of London has, at last, after much boggling, and many difficulties, called a Common Hall, at which his difficulties ought not to be forgotten.

The people of Glasgow have shown an admirable spirit, and set an example worthy of general imitation. They have sent, through Lord Folkestone, an address to Mr. Wardle (a copy of which was inserted at page 190) with upwards of four thousand NAMES at the bottom of it. This is what I like. That man can never be depended upon; he is not worth a straw, if he is not ready to put his name to the expression of his sentiments. In some cases it is inconvenient; in others nearly impossible; but, where practicable, it is always the best way.

This very great inconvenience the people of Glasgow have, I am informed, had forced upon them. Their intention, at first, was to call a public meeting; but, their requisition was refused by the Provost. The next step determined on was to advertise in the newspapers; but all their newspapers refused to publish their advertisements. They then posted bills, and distributed printed papers; and, in six days, these four thousand names were signed.

These are the sort of men; men, who see no difficulties too great to be overcome. These 4,000 men would, in the defence of their country, be worth ten millions of those balancing, timid, sheep-like creatures, who wait for a bellwether to lead the way. Scotland, I shall honour thee, as long as I live, for the sake of Glasgow! Where there are such men for a population, there is no danger to be apprehended from the undue influence of persons in authority, nor even from that base and servile press, which appears to exist in Scotland.

In this work of stifling in the birth, or rather, of preventing the existence, of thanks to Mr. Wardle, the Whigs (always excepting those who voted in the 125) are not at all inferior to their political opponents. They plainly see, that their doom is sealed; that the people care about their regular sham-fights no more than they do about the great fights upon Blackheath or Wimbledon-common; that they are fast sinking under the waves; and, seeing this, they are bursting with spleen and envy. Hence they are sulky; they preserve a sullen silence; or unlock their lips only for the purpose of emitting their drivel for the extinguishment of real public spirit. If this worn-out, this decrepit, this dotard, this dying party, had not seen enough before, to convince it, that the days of political quackery were past, it would, surely, see it now, if total loss of sight had not preceded its dissolution. This party, which had raised the greatest of expectations, deceived the people more than they ever were deceived before. They had got into favour by professions about reform and retrenchment: they obtained power: the first act of that power was to pass a law to make a great sinecure office tenable Edition: current; Page: [207] along with a place of 6,000l. a year, though the two offices were incompatible in their natures; their second act was to pass a law making an addition to the number of foreign troops in the country; and, their last act was, the withdrawing of a bill from before the House of Commons, in consequence of the King’s disapprobation of that bill; and this, too, for the evident and sole purpose of keeping their places. Can they be so infatuated as to suppose, that there is a single man in the country, out of a madhouse, who will ever confide in them again? They have dug a pit for themselves; their recent conduct has plunged them into it; the nation is now kicking the dirt in upon them; Dr. O’Meara may daub them over with his celestial unction; but, not a tear will be shed for their loss, except by the ministers, to whom the loss will, in time, be fatal.

Here follow the resolutions passed by a Meeting of ten thousand people in Westminster, on Wednesday, the 29th of March.

Resolved unanimously—

1st. That the inhabitants of this City, from the means of information which their local situation affords them, have long been aware of the existence of scandalous and corrupt practices in various departments of the State, and by the late investigation in the hon. the House of Commons, the fact has been made manifest to every part of the United Kingdom.

2nd. That Gwyllim Lloyd Wardle, Esq., by his singular intrepidity and integrity in instituting an Inquiry into the conduct of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, and by persevering in that Inquiry, in spite of the greatest difficulties and the most formidable discouragements, has rendered an important service to his country, and merits the grateful thanks and warmest approbation of this Meeting.

3rd. That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to our worthy Representative, Sir F. Burdett, Bart., for the independent manner in which, at a very important moment, and under very critical circumstances, he seconded the Motion for Inquiry; for the assistance which, as far as his health permitted, he afforded during its progress, and for the able and patriotic Speech which, under the pressure of great bodily pain, he delivered on the result of the Investigation: thus adding one more to the many proofs he has already given, that he is the faithful steward of that body, by whose free and spontaneous voice he was so honourably elected.

4th. That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to Lord Viscount Folkestone, for the active, judicious, and firm support he afforded to Col. Wardle during the Investigation; and for his manly, able, and perspicuous Speech on the Conduct of the Commander-in-Chief.

5th. That the Thanks of this Meeting are particularly due to Samuel Whitbread, Esq.; Sir Samuel Romilly, Knt.; Major-Gen. Ferguson; Henry Martin, Esq.; Sir Thomas Turton, Bart.; Thomas William Coke, Esq.; John Christian Curwen, Esq.; the Hon. Thomas Brand; the Hon. H. W. Lyttleton; Lord Viscount Milton; Lord Viscount Althorp; Chas. Watkin Williams Wynn, Esq.; Lord Stanley; and the Minority of 125, who divided in favour of Colonel Wardle’s Motion for an Address to the King, on the Conduct of the Duke of York; and the Minority of 137, who supported the Amendment proposed by Sir Thomas Turton, Bart.

6th. That the Thanks of this Meeting be also given to the Minority, on the Motion of Henry Bankes, Esq.; and also to the Minority who opposed the Motion of the Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and it is their unanimous opinion, that, after the concurring declaration of so many Independent Representatives of the People, whoever shall, at any future time, advise his Majesty to reinstate his Royal Highness the Duke of York in the situation of Commander-in-Chief, will, by such advice, prove himself an enemy to the country.

7th. That it is the opinion of this Meeting, that the discoveries made by this Inquiry, as well as the attention which has been paid in the House of Commons to the investigation of the Charges brought in this particular instance, Edition: current; Page: [208] ought to animate the people to prosecute Inquiry and Reform in all the departments of the State; and they recommend to every county, city, and borough of the United Kingdom, in which the present state of the Elective Franchise will admit it, to follow the example which it has been the duty and pride of the City of Westminster to set them, of returning, free of expense, honest and independent Representatives; who shall have no interest but that of restoring what is obviously wanted—integrity and economy, in the receipt and expenditure of the public money, and of preserving inviolate the rights and privileges of the people.

Arthur Morris, High-Bailiff.”

It was then also unanimously Resolved—

“That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to Arthur Morris, Esq., High-Bailiff, for the promptness with which he called this Meeting, and for his able and impartial conduct in the Chair.”

There is but one word that I dislike in these Resolutions, and that is the word Colonel. Not Colonel, but Mister. After what we have recently seen, let us, I pray you, have it plain Mr. Wardle.

These are good sentiments. It is useless to talk: they must prevail. There must be a salutary, constitutional, legal, loyal reformation; a radical reform, from Christ’s Hospital to St. Stephen’s Chapel, or this nation sinks into everlasting ruin.

Mr. Whitbread was, I hear, at this meeting, and took an active part. That is good. It shows, that he has broken through the cursed trammels of faction; that he is, at last, weary of an association with the Sheridans and Fitzpatricks. Foh! Oh! it was truly lamentable to see him so yoked.

Well, now, were these ten thousand jacobins? Tremble, then, Mr. Yorke, for the “conspiracy” is formidable indeed, though you can, I think, no longer complain, that it does not appear in a “tangible shape.” Is it not the best, and wisest, and safest way, for the government to set about a radical reform at once, to anticipate all these jacobins, and so spite the rogues? Perhaps you will tell me, that there are millions upon millions of good and solid reasons why this will not be. But, there are 126 men, even in the House of Commons, who demand a statement of these weighty reasons. They, who are almost all of them men of great property, do not seem to fear the consequences of a reform. Poor fools! what, I warrant they do not understand what is good for them half so well as Mr. Huskisson, and Mr. Canning, and Mr. Ward, and General Fitzpatrick, and Lord Castlereagh do? Poor silly young fellows! they are, as the Morning Post says, misled by “designing men;” or, as Mr. Perceval has it, by “cooler heads.” And so, they, however plain the thing may be, cannot see, that it does them good to take out of their estates immense salaries for Mr. Huskisson and Mr. Ward, and pretty decent pensions for their wives. They cannot see, country cubs that they are, how it is that they and their children are to be benefited by paying 300l. to Lady Louisa Paget, upon the English pension list, and another 300l. a year to the same identical person, under the name of Lady Louisa Erskine, upon the Scotch pension list. It is useless to enumerate any more cases; for if they are blind to the benefit here, so they would continue to the end of the chapter, which, by-the-bye, is a pretty long one.

To be serious, these 126 men show that a Reform must take place. Truth has triumphed, and the vile writers, the vile traders, the reptile Edition: current; Page: [209] and venomous traders in Anti-Jacobinism must be trodden under foot; a triumph, for which, amongst other things, we have to thank Mr. Wardle.

In speaking of the List of the Minority upon Mr. Wardle’s Motion, I observed, that there were only two lawyers in it. I did not know that Mr. Henry Martin was a lawyer, and I overlooked the name of Mr. Francis Horner. I beg these gentlemen to be assured, that the omission to mention them as gentlemen of the law was not intentional.

A correspondent points out an error in my statement respecting Mr. Adam’s son’s promotion. Any one must see that, supposing the thing to stand as my correspondent supposes, it was a mere error; because it is impossible, that it should have been intentional, as I myself furnished the means of detection.

Nor does it at all alter the merits of the case. But, the thing is even worse than I represented it; for, a Captain in the Guards ranks with a Major of other foot regiments, and a Lieutenant with Captains of other foot regiments; so that, in any Garrison, or Camp, Lieut. Adam, just warm from school, in 1799, at the age of sixteen, might have taken the command of other regiments as well as of his own company; for, how often does it happen, that the command of a regiment is left to a Captain-Lieutenant?


The debating gentlemen, who live across the Atlantic, have not, for some months, had much of my attention bestowed upon them. They have now, it seems, repealed their embargo, except with respect to England and France; that is to say, they have given their ships liberty to come out, under the shabby, the miserable, the despicable appearance of still showing their resentment against us. They know, that the cargoes will come to England; they know that they must come to England; they know that our sea orders, preventing them from going any where else, still exist. Aye, and they intend they shall come here too; only their silly, their empty pride, will not let them acknowledge it.

Did I not say, that if our ministers held firm, they would be compelled to repeal this embargo law? And did I not say, that they would sneak out of the thing in some way or other, which would, as they thought, hide their disgrace? No triumph can be more complete than that of the ministers, in this case. They have not moved an inch from their resolution. They have let the Americans do their worst; they have looked Edition: current; Page: [210] quietly on while America passed her avenging acts, which were to bring us upon our knees. We were fast forgetting her, when she herself, without any compromise, comes to.

I am not, perhaps, very disinterested in these praises of the ministers; for the truth is, that the measures towards America, were as much mine as they were theirs. I alone supported them, while they were assailed by pamphlets and paragraphs and speeches innumerable. That support lost me the friendship of that worthy fellow, the Independent Whig, who not only cut me upon the occasion, but ripped up all my old sins, and threw them in my face, which hurt me the more as I sincerely respected the writer and admired his writings, which I still do.

What are now become of all the predictions and alarms; all the threats of starvation and ruin; all the laborious calculations of Lords Grenville and Auckland? What talking, what debating there were, this time twelve-months, about the Orders in Council and about the corn, which, to poor starving England, would not come from America any longer! Lord Grenville spoke of the prospect of a rupture with America, with such manifest apprehensions in his mind, that I really felt pity for his lordship. Mr. Windham, upon whom it was incumbent to make a speech upon the subject, and whose mind is fertile in resource, left off without having distinctly asserted, or denied any thing.

It is always bad to proceed upon a supposition, that there is a natural, inherent deficiency of means of any sort in the country itself; and this was the supposition, upon which the opposition proceeded in the question relative to America. They might, indeed, well be led to act thus; for it was a favourite scheme of Pitt’s, who actually acquired and consolidated his power by persuading the nation, that it depended, for its existence, wholly upon something other than its people and its own resources. One time it was India, another time it was the funds, another time it was the opening of the Scheldt, another time it was our allies upon the Continent, and all through “England’s commercial greatness” swelled out the end of his noisy and empty speeches. Well, the Scheldt is shut, our allies upon the Continent are pretty nearly extinguished, and have long been lost to us, America has had her embargo, and Buonaparte has shut up all the ports of the Continent; and how do you feel yourself, my honest and duped John Bull? Are you starved yet? Do the oxen fat in Devonshire? Do the sheep breed in Dorsetshire? Do the hogs breed and fat in Hampshire, and the bees still collect honey there? Do you get wheat enough to make your loaf of? As to beer, the alarm of the barley-growers is, that they shall not know how to get rid of their corn.

This is the master humbug. Only persuade a nation, that it cannot exist upon its own internal resources, and that nation is your slave. The nation is much indebted to Mr. Spence for proving the contrary; and much indebted to the ministers for having given us a practical demonstration of the truth of his doctrine. Really the Spaniards, in worshipping dolls made for them by the heretics in Holland, are not much more foolish than were the Englishmen, who were cozened into a belief that they would all die if an end was put to Commerce and the Funds. They appeared, at one time, to believe that Pitt had the power of putting a stop to rains and snows; that it was he who made the grass grow and the corn ripen. But, some how or other, when he got out of place, he seemed to lose these divine powers. Mr. Addington came, and his partisans attempting to make the praises of Pitt apply to their patron, the Edition: current; Page: [211] thing became ridiculous, and actually the subject of a very smart copy of verses, of which, it was said, Mr. Canning was the author.

The nation is never to be so duped again. The time for that gross duplicity is past. We have now proof, that our own resources are quite sufficient for us, and of this valuable knowledge we shall, I trust, make a proper use.


On Saturday, the 8th instant, the following Requisition was carried to Mr. Blackburn, the High Sheriff, by Mr. Cobbett of Botley, and Mr. Houghton of Durley. On Wednesday the 12th, the Sheriff transmitted to them his notice for the meeting, as it will be seen at the bottom of the signatures.

John Blackburn
Blackburn, John
April 8th, 1809

To the High Sheriff of the County of Southampton.


We, the undersigned Freeholders and other Landholders of the County of Southampton, request that you will be pleased to call a Meeting of the Inhabitants of this County, to be holden at Winchester, on such a day as shall, at no great distance, be convenient to you, in order to afford us, and the Inhabitants of this County in general, an opportunity of publicly and formally giving our thanks to Gwyllym L. Wardle, Esq. M.P., for his upright and public-spirited conduct, during the recent inquiry before the House of Commons; and also of expressing our sentiments upon the subjects of that inquiry.

William Cobbett Botley.
John Hopkinson Eling.
Thomas Comley Rumsey.
Stephen Leach Rumsey.
Thomas King Eling.
John Comley Rumsey.
C. H. Longcroft Hamble.
Benjamin Goodeve Gosport.
James Sharp Rumsey.
Christopher Keele Broughton.
Samuel Phené Rumsey.
John Colson Southampton.
Joseph Jackson Rumsey.
John Black Rumsey.
Edward Toomer Southampton.
Charles Godfrey Rumsey.
Thomas Bernard Mitchesmarsh.
Thomas Nichols Southampton.
William Green Kimbridge.
Peter Knight Soberton.
Henry Parrott Droxford.
William Powlett Powlett
Thomas Hatch Soberton.
John Cotman Hambledon.
Francis Godrich Tichborne.
William Agate Ovington.
John Sayer Winchester.
H. Mulcock Kilmiston.
Joseph May Bramshaw.
Rev. Thomas May
John Stroud Timsbury.
James May Rumsey.
William Barnett Rumsey.
John Kellaway Fordingbridge.
W. W. Wright Sopley.
Peter Jewell Timsbury.
Rev. John Webster Bursledon.
Samuel Sharp Rumsey.
Moses Wilkins Braishfield.
Aaron Barking Rumsey.
Josiah George Rumsey.
Jacob Colson Braishfield.
Joshua Short Brockenhurst.
John Wilt Eling.
James Hayter Eling.
Thomas Sutton Southampton.
John Goldsmith Hambledon.
William Biles Eling.
Edward Houghton Durley.
William Metchard Eling.
Giles Barnes Tichborne.
John Saunders Eling.
William Twynam Soberton.
Francis Hoad Soberton.
John Skeats Lymmington.
Matthew Aldridge Throop.
George Aldridge Christchurch.
Thomas Gatrell Lymmington.
Ambrose Daw Wick.
George Benson Ringwood.
John Clay Portsmouth.
John Shoveller Portsmouth.
Alexander Carter Ringwood.
Samuel Blake Rumsey.
James Traver Rumsey.
Robert Moody Winchester.
Richard Mills Beworth.
James Baverstock Alton.
F. H. Grey Alton.

In compliance with the above Request, I hereby appoint a Meeting of the Inhabitants of the said County to be holden at the Castle of Winchester, on Tuesday, the 25th day of April instant, at twelve o’clock at noon.

(Signed) John Blackburn, Sheriff.
William Cobbett
Cobbett, William
13th April, 1809


The above Requisition is, as you will see, signed by none of those Noblemen or Baronets, who have been in the habit of putting their names to papers of that sort; and this circumstance, so far from being unpleasing, is, to me, and, I trust, it will be to you, a very pleasing one. Not that any of us can wish to see those persons hang back upon an occasion in which all the best public feelings urged every soul to step forward; but, because the Requisition, as it now stands, will convince them, and also the King’s ministers, who have so long dictated to this county, that there is yet remaining in Hampshire a spirit of independence not so very easily to be subdued. It will show to our countrymen in general, that, though the ministry of the day do cause to be elected whatever County Members they please, there is still a spirit in the people to feel indignant at the wrongs and the insults they endure. It will show to those parties, who have, for so many years, divided the county between them, and who have, by turns, profited from its credulity, that the county is no longer to be held in leading strings; that we have sense to think, and courage to act for ourselves.

What, let me ask, could be more degrading to us, than to see existing a practice of calling county meetings by ten or twelve persons, of each of the parties respectively, always nearly the same persons, just as if it was an office they held for that purpose, and just as if all the other Landholders, all the Farmers, all the Tradesmen, and, indeed, the whole of the population of the county, were so many mere puppets, or tools, in their hands, to be called together for the purpose of voting just what those settled and established leaders chose to write down upon a piece of paper, and read to them? What, let me again put it to you, could possibly be more degrading than this?

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I have heard, and you, I am sure, will hear it with pleasure, that some of the Noblemen and other persons of great property in the county, who have not signed the Requisition, do nevertheless highly approve of it, and do intend to be at the Meeting; and, perhaps, they may have thought, that, upon such an occasion, it was best to avoid every thing which should give to the origin of the proceeding a party complexion. If such was their motive, it is one with which we cannot find fault, provided they now show us, that they are disposed to lend their hand in putting down for ever that system of Corruption, which has been proved to have long existed, and by the means of which we have been so mercilessly plundered. For my own part, nothing would give me so much pleasure as to see the leaders of both parties come to the Meeting, and divide between them the honour of proposing to us such Resolutions as the occasion demands; never forgetting, however, that Mr. Wm. Powlett Powlett, who, unsolicited, came and put his name amongst ours, has, upon us, not only now, but upon all future occasions, a clear and indisputable claim to the precedence.

But, let who will be the proposer, we must take care that what we approve of be good and sound; we must take care, that our real sentiments be fully expressed, and not frittered away, until it be hard to distinguish our censure from our praise. Our feelings, upon this occasion, are strong; our opinions clear and fixed; and we shall act a very inconsistent part, indeed, unless our language corresponds with those opinions, and those feelings.

It must be manifest to every man in his senses, that, unless a stop be speedily put to the workings of corruption, one of two things will happen: the complete slavery of us all, or the overthrow of the government; and, it must be equally manifest, that this alternative is to be avoided by no other means than the legal and constitutional interference of the people themselves, and especially the people who are in the middling walks of life, who have property to preserve and who have judgment to direct their actions. It is a common excuse, that, “one man can do nothing.” Not much of himself, perhaps; but, without one man there would be no men in the world. Millions are made up of ones; and, if every man were to say, “What can I do?” there would, of course, be nothing done. There are few of us, who do not put ourselves to some inconvenience for the sake of our private advantage; or, rather, the labours and fatigues we undergo for that purpose, we think nothing of. And, shall we, then, not endure a little labour and fatigue for the public advantage, especially as it is impossible for the public to be benefited without each of us having his due share of that benefit? Besides, there is, in the present case, a motive far superior to all selfish considerations. We are now called upon to thank the man, who has risked every thing for us; we are called upon to do an act of justice, and if we do not answer the call, we have nothing of Englishmen left in us but the name.

We should always bear in mind, that the King’s ministers declared, that, if a Vote of Thanks to Mr. Wardle was moved, in the House of Commons, they would oppose it, and there is no doubt but they would have had a majority on their side. Well, if the House of Commons refuse him thanks for the inestimable good, which he has done for the people, there is so much the stronger call upon the people to thank him; and, for them to grudge any labour or pains to do it with effect would argue, in them, a want of common sense as well as of gratitude; for, we Edition: current; Page: [214] may be assured, that, unless Mr. Wardle be supported by the unequivocal voice of the people, no man will be much inclined to imitate him; and, it is hardly necessary to say, that, unless more and much more be done, that which has been done will be worth nothing at all, in the space of a few months.

For these reasons, all persons who are able to attend the Meeting ought to attend it, be the inconvenience what it may, nothing being a good excuse short of actual bodily infirmity.

I shall add a few words as to the part which I have acted in this proceeding. There are not wanting persons to hint, that I am actuated by ambitious motives, and to draw conclusions of this sort from my name standing at the head of the Requisition. Now, the facts are these. I, in the first place, inquired, whether the Lords and the Baronets intended to send a Requisition, and I found they did not. It was then proposed to me, by several persons, to join in a Requisition. When it was drawn up, I did not sign it, till many others had been asked to sign first; and, even then, a space was left above my name, in order that the names of any noblemen or gentlemen or yeomen might be placed before mine upon the list. Several gentlemen, amongst whom were Mr. Powlett Powlett and Mr. May, I believe, were particularly asked to place their names at the top of the list, which they declined, and in which they discovered minds superior to that false pride, which never yet was characteristic of a real gentleman. I do, I must confess, feel some pride at seeing my name at the head of such a list; but, not a single name was placed in that list at my request; I did not even ask any man to sign it; and the pride I feel arises, not from the vain and empty notion that I possess an influence over any man, but that my principles and views correspond with those of so many intelligent, public-spirited, and respectable Tradesmen and Yeomen, to be regarded as one of whom, is the utmost bounds of my ambition. I have no silly and stupid pursuit of popularity. I have seen too much of the vexations and the miseries of all such pursuits. I would not shake a knave by the hand, if his vote would make me not only a member for, but the owner of, the county; nor would I, if I could, even without asking for, be a member of parliament, or fill any post or employment whatever under, or in, the government. I have, though not yet very old, had quite enough both of censure and applause. Constant observation has convinced me, that happiness is seldom the companion of a pursuit after power; and my taste as well as my reason lead me to avoid all such pursuits. Indeed, I could be well content never to go out of the valley in which I live; but, the duty of a father and an Englishman, calls imperiously upon me not to stand with my arms folded and see my children and my country robbed, disgraced, and enslaved. Our forefathers wrote and strove and fought and bled for us; and, if we can tamely see those rights, which their talents, their courage, and their perseverance entailed on us, taken away, little by little, until there is nothing left as a protection for those to whom we have given life, we are not only amongst the most base, but we are the very basest of all mankind.

I have had too much opportunity of studying men and things to be led astray by any wild theories about liberty. I know, that there must be government, and that there must be law, without which there can be no such thing as property, nor any safety even for our persons. I want to see no innovation in England. All I wish and all I strive for, is The Constitution of England, undefiled by corruption. I am very willing to Edition: current; Page: [215] make even great allowances for the neglects and faults of men in power; because I see, that, even in our own private concerns, we are, the very best of us, frequently guilty of both. But, when I see a system of public corruption, of barefaced public robbery, brought to light, and hear those, who have had the virtue to make the exposure, termed enemies of the country; when I see my country thus pillaged and thus insulted, I should hate the very sound of my name, if I were not ready to affix it to a protest against such proceedings.

William Cobbett.


William Cobbett
Cobbett, William
May 2nd, 1809

Lord Castlereagh and Philip Hamlin.*


When, at our last County-meeting, an objection was made to our introducing into our Resolution the affair of Lord Clancarty and Lord Castlereagh, you had the good sense to overrule that objection, though made by Sir Henry Mildmay, whom you were ready to thank for having done his duty, but, by whom you were not to be induced to resign the exercise of your rights and the use of your reason. Nor, can I refrain from observing here, that we, who have no party or selfish purpose to serve, must, if we mean to profit from the victory we have obtained, be very cautious how we give way to any thing like thick-and-thin support of any body. Sir Henry Mildmay did well in voting for Mr. Wardle amongst the 125; but, that is only one act; it is merely a single act; and is by no means sufficient to induce us to continue our praise of that gentleman, unless we find him steady in his endeavours to serve the country, and especially in his endeavours to rescue the nation from the degraded state in which it has long been. I do not wish to excite any suspicions with respect to this gentleman; but merely to settle this point—namely, that, for the good he has done we have given him our thanks, in terms the most handsome; but, that, we are not, for this reason, at all bound to praise him in future, and are perfectly free to express our real sentiments, be they what they may, as to his future conduct, and, of course, to act upon those sentiments. No, Gentlemen, let us keep ourselves free from all thick-and-thin engagements and attachments; let each of us exercise his own judgment; let each of us for himself make due inquiry, and act upon the decision of his own mind; Edition: current; Page: [216] let us not be persuaded or coaxed to do that which our own reason tells us is not right; let us form and preserve an attachment to principles and not to men; above all, let us despise the watch-words of party; let us thus act, and you will soon see, that this county, in spite of all the dreadful influence of the Dockyards, the Barracks, and the Custom-house, will not only recover its independence, but will set an example to other counties. The reason why your voice has heretofore not been heard, is this; that you had no inclination to attend at county-meetings. The few who did attend saw that the object was merely a party one; that no good purpose was answered by an attendance; that a set of Resolutions, ready cut and dry, were passed without opposition; that the audience consisted, upon one occasion, of the slaves of men in power, and, upon the next occasion, of the slaves of men who wanted to get into power; that, in fact, you were only to give your voice for what one party or the other party sent down from London to be passed, and to be sent back again as being the decision of the county of Hants, when it was no more the decision of the real people of the county, than it was the decision of the inhabitants of the moon. No wonder that such meetings had fallen into contempt. The tradesmen and yeomen of the county despised the imposture; and it did not occur to them to take the trouble of exposing it. Recent events, quite sufficient for the purpose, indeed, have roused us. They have brought us together from all parts of the county; made us acquainted with one another; produced an interchange of friendship; and do very fairly promise to make us formidable to any man, or set of men, who shall dare attempt again to consider us as men of straw. Far be it from me to inculcate feelings of disrespect towards rank, family, or learned professions; but, one cannot shut one’s eyes to glaring truths, and, it was impossible for any one not to perceive, on the 25th of April last, that the “great men” of the county did not appear to be much better able than we were to conduct the business which had called us together; and, to say the plain truth, not quite so able. To myself I take no merit on account of that day’s proceedings; for, though I have been much more accustomed to writing than most of you have, and though I necessarily possess more knowledge, upon political subjects, than the greater part of you can have had leisure to acquire, still I am of opinion, that, out of the two thousand of you, who were present, there were at least one hundred full as able to state your rights to the meeting as I was. You, all of you, possess sufficient knowledge; and you want only the confidence to do it. This was the third county meeting that I had ever been at, and it was the sixth time that I ever attempted to speak to a public assembly. No one could do it with greater reluctance; but, it being the duty of some one to assert our rights, and I, seeing no other person disposed to get the better of that reluctance which was common to us all, resolved to do it myself, and in this respect to set you an example. I knew that the county had sense and spirit, and I was determined to give them a fair chance of displaying themselves; and, to your honour, display themselves they did.

Some of the hireling writers, in London, frantic at the result of our meeting, have abused me without measure, and have expressed their utter astonishment, that the “noblemen and gentlemen” of the county should suffer you to be led by a person like me. Now, in the first place, you were not led by me. You assembled without my asking a soul of you to attend. Forty-nine out of every fifty of you were perfect strangers to me; Edition: current; Page: [217] and, I am sincerely convinced, that not a man of you would have voted for the resolution that I proposed, if you had not approved of it in your own mind. And, in the next place, “the noblemen and gentlemen” of the county have no such power over you as these hireling London writers seem to suppose they have. You stand in no need of their support or assistance, or good offices, in any way whatever. They come, indeed, at every canvassing season, and give you a hypocritical smile, and a squeeze of the hand; but this they do to the vilest knave in the county, who has a freehold of forty shillings a year, and whose family, perhaps, you have to maintain out of the poor-rates, while he maintains himself in idleness and drink by depredations upon your property of various descriptions. Besides, there is this wide difference between me and those “noblemen and gentlemen,” of whom these writers speak: long experience has convinced you, that they have always some selfish object in view; that they wish you to give them your support, in order that they, by the use they make of the power you put in their hands, may get something for themselves or their families. This you know well; whereas, you are all convinced, that I have no such views; that I do not want, and will not have any thing from the public; and, therefore, you expect, and meet with, from me, plain dealing; that which is for the good of us all, without respect to persons or party. But, at any rate, our abusers are in a very pinching dilemma with respect to me and you; for, they must agree to one of two things; namely, either that I am a person of very great consequence in the county; or, that the Resolution which I proposed and you adopted contained the genuine expression of your minds. I know that the latter is the truth; but, let those who would fain vilify me and my principles, hitch themselves upon whichever horn of the dilemma they may feel to be the least galling.

I shall now address you, though it need not be at much length, upon the subject of Lord Castlereagh’s conduct, which subject made part of the Resolution passed at the meeting.

Sir Henry Mildmay requested us to stop, till that matter had received the decision of the House of Commons. But, as we had before us a copy of the whole of the evidence in the case, printed by order of the House of Commons itself, we thought it not at all necessary to wait for that decision, supposing ourselves to be full as able as that House to decide upon a plain matter of fact; especially as we simply declared what was contained in the evidence itself, and contrasted the conduct of this Lord with the principles of the constitution, as contained in the Bill of Rights, which is one of our great constitutional laws.

On the same day that we passed our Resolution, the House of Commons discussed, and decided upon, the conduct of Lord Castlereagh; and I beg leave to state to you what was done by the House upon that occasion.

The business was brought forward by Lord Archibald Hamilton, who concluded his speech with moving the following Resolutions:

I. That it appears to the House, from the evidence on the table, that Lord Viscount Castlereagh, in the year 1805, shortly after he had quitted the situation of President of the Board of Control, and being a Privy Councillor and Secretary of State, did place at the disposal of Lord Clancarty, a member of the same Board, the nomination to a writership, in order to facilitate his procuring a seat in parliament.

II. That it was owing to a disagreement among the subordinate parties, that this transaction did not take effect; and

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III. That by this conduct Lord Castlereagh had been guilty of a gross violation of his duty as a servant of the crown; an abuse of his patronage as President of the Board of Control: and an attack upon the purity of that House.”

In opposition to these Resolutions, a Lord Binning, one of the friends of the ministers, moved the Order of the Day; that is to say, to drop the matter, without any further inquiry or discussion; or, in other words, to decide, that it was a matter not of importance enough to occupy the attention of the House of Commons! Most of the members, however, did think that it was a little too bad; and that some little notice, some little censure ought to be pronounced.—The question was taken upon Lord Archibald Hamilton’s Resolutions, and it was negatived, there being 167 for it, and 216 against it. So, you see it was determined by the Honourable House, that this act on the part of one of its members, was not “an attack upon its PURITY;” in the justice of which determination I most heartily join.

Bravo! Well done, Honourable House! “If this does not satisfy the country,” as Mr. Fuller said, “I don’t know what the devil will satisfy it.”

Well, but what did the House agree to? Why to this:

“Resolved, That it is the duty of this House to maintain a jealous guard over the purity of election; but considering that the attempt of Lord Viscount Castlereagh to interfere in the election of a member has not been successful, this House does not consider it necessary to enter into any criminal proceedings against him.”

Englishmen, this, this, this was what the Honourable House agreed to. They came to a Resolution, that, because Lord Castlereagh’s attempt HAD NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL, it was unnecessary to enter into “any criminal proceedings against him.

Now, then, let us see what was done in the case of Philip Hamlin, the Tinman of Plymouth, who offered a bribe to Mr. Addington when the latter was minister.

The case was this: In the year 1802, Philip Hamlin, a Tinman of Plymouth, wrote a letter to Mr. Henry Addington, the first Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, offering him the sum of 2,000l. to give him, Hamlin, the place of Land-Surveyor of the Customs at Plymouth.

In consequence of this, a criminal information was filed, against the said Hamlin, by Mr. Spencer Perceval, who was then the King’s Attorney General, and who, in pleading against the offender, asserted the distinguished purity of persons in power, in the present day. From the Bench great stress was laid on the gravity of the offence of tendering a bribe; of the baneful tendency of such crimes, in a moral as well as in a political point of view. The Tinman was found guilty; he was sentenced to pay a fine of 100 pounds to the King, and to be imprisoned for three months. His business was ruined; and he himself died, in a few months after his release from prison.

Hamlin confessed his guilt; he stated, in his affidavit, “That he sincerely repented of his crime; that he was forty years of age; that his business was the sole means of supporting himself and family; that a severe judgment might be the total ruin of himself and that family; and that, therefore, he threw himself upon, and implored, the mercy of his prosecutors and of the Court.”

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In reference to this, Mr. Perceval, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, observe, said: “The circumstances which the defendant discloses, respecting his own situation in life and of his family, are all of them topics, very well adapted to affect the private feelings of individuals, and, as far as that consideration goes, nothing further need be said; but, there would have been no prosecution at all, in this case, upon the ground of personal feeling; it was set on foot upon grounds of a public nature, and the spirit in which the prosecution originated, still remains; it is, therefore, submitted to your lordships, not on a point of individual feeling, but of PUBLIC JUSTICE, in which case your lordships will consider how far the affidavits ought to operate in mitigation of punishment.”

The Judge, Mr. Justice Grose, in passing sentence upon this poor, petty, ignorant offender, said: “Such a practice, if permitted, would lead to mischief incalculable; for it might extend to every office in the appointment of the great ministers of the state, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, and would supersede men of ability and integrity, and place, in their stead, the ignorant and corrupt.

Now, people of Hampshire; now, Englishmen, who have been taught so highly to prize impartial justice, compare the decisions in these two cases; bear them in remembrance; and let them have a proper weight upon your conduct on all future occasions.

Hamlin’s attempt, observe, was not successful, any more than that of Lord Castlereagh!

There needs no more than to state these facts to you. Your own minds will furnish an appropriate commentary.

Justice as well as future utility require that we should have upon record the names of those who spoke for, and against Lord Archibald Hamilton’s motion. For it, the speakers were, Lord Archibald Hamilton, Mr. C. W. Wynn, Lord Milton, Mr. W. Smith, Mr. Grattan, Mr. Ponsonby, Sir Francis Burdett, Mr. Whitbread, and Mr. Tierney.

Against it, Lord Castlereagh himself, Lord Binning, Mr. Croker, MR. PERCEVAL (who prosecuted Hamlin), Mr. Bankes, Mr. George Johnstone, Mr. H. Lascelles, Mr. Windham, and Mr. Canning.

You will perceive, Gentlemen, that I mean to address a series of Letters to you; and the mode I intend to pursue is this. On every Friday, when I have a letter to you ready for publication in my paper of the next day, I shall send by post, copies of such letter, time enough for its insertion in the Salisbury Journal, the Portsmouth Telegraph, the Hampshire Chronicle, and the Reading Mercury, of that same week. If you set a value upon these letters, you will, of course, continue to have that paper which shall insert them regularly. I hope, and believe, that all the papers, which circulate in the county, will insert them, the editors appearing to me to be men of sound principles; but, if some of them should insert them, and some not, then those persons who set a value upon the Letters will, of course, take a paper that does insert them. If, contrary to my hopes and expectations, none of these provincial papers should insert them, then, I trust, that those amongst you, who take my Register, will lend it as widely as possible through their respective neighbourhoods. But, Gentlemen, if this could possibly be the case; if the influence of those, who are sucking away our very blood, could be so great as to obstruct the circulation of political truth in the Edition: current; Page: [220] county, through the accustomed channels; then we would show them, that we were not to be so baffled, and that we would soon have a provincial paper that should circulate such truths. All that I want to see circulated is truth. No falsehood; no calumny; nothing of personal spite. “Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” without respect to persons, or to selfish interests; but this truth we will have circulated amongst us, in defiance of all that can be done by force or by fraud.

The editors of the provincial papers must acknowledge, that my proceeding is very fair; I shall write these letters for their papers as well as for my own; they will appear, if those editors choose, in their papers on the Sunday, and, in mine, they cannot reach any part of the county before that day. Copies of this Letter, for instance, will reach them all on Friday next, leaving them plenty of time to prepare it for the press. So that, if they all should, by the enemies of the county and the kingdom, be prevailed upon to endeavour to keep these Letters from your sight, they will have no reason to complain in case we resort to the establishment of a paper, which must be injurious to them.

I am,
Your faithful friend,

P.S. Once more I beg leave in this particular manner, to request those gentlemen, who take the Register, and who approve of its contents, to lend it for the perusal of those of their neighbours who do not find it convenient to take it themselves. Every man, who reads useful truths, is a man made the better for that reading. The pulpit, which, some years ago, made the churches resound with politics, is now as silent as the grave upon political subjects. Smother! smother! smother! is the order of the day. To the Press we must now look; and to make the press really useful, those must now read, who did not read before.

Upon looking again over the Resolutions proposed by Mr. Powlett, I perceive, that, owing to an error in copying them, the three which stand first, should have stood last. This is very material; because, by the transposition, thanks to Mr. Wardle is made but a secondary and inferior object, and a deeper dye of party is given to the whole. In justice, therefore, to Mr. Powlett, who, on so many accounts, is entitled to the respect of the county, I lose no time in correcting this error.

I had nearly forgotten one very material fact. You remember, Gentlemen, when you called out, “Why is not Mr. Chute here to-day?” the answer was, that he was attending his duty in parliament.

Well, then, gentlemen, if he was in the House of Commons on that day, he voted for Lord Castlereagh; for his name is not in the list of the minority upon that question; neither is the name of his worthy colleague, Mr. HEATHCOTE, in that list; so that, either they were not attending their duty in parliament, or they were both voting in direct opposition to the opinions of the county, that day expressed.

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William Cobbett
Cobbett, William
16th May, 1809


Introductory Address.


At our last County-meeting, we resolved, with only eight or ten dissenting voices out of about two thousand of the most respectable men in this county, that it would be expedient for us to meet on a future day to consider of the propriety of a Petition to the King, praying his Majesty to be graciously pleased to afford us his royal countenance and support in obtaining a reformation in the Commons’ House of Parliament; and, as I look forward with confident hope, that that Meeting will take the matter seriously in hand, I think it may be useful, in the meanwhile, for me to submit to you my opinions upon that interesting and important subject.

This I propose to do in the present and future Letters; and, here, at the outset, I think it due to you and to this great cause of the country to declare, that I shall, at all times, be ready to insert whatever may be sent to me, in the way of answer to what I shall address to you; thus securing to truth the fairest possible chance of success, by giving, through the same channel in which my Letters will circulate, circulation to the opinions of those, who may differ from me. This has been the invariable practice of my political life. But, in order to confine the discussion within reasonable bounds, I must notify, that those who may be disposed to answer me must confine themselves to the subject; must state in the head of their performances, which of my letters they are answering, and must take the paragraphs regularly, one after another, as I shall arrange and number them; and must confine themselves, as to space, so as not to exceed, in any instance, double the length of that which they profess to answer. Those who may choose to enter this field of controversy, will, of course, keep copies of what they send to me; and, if I find any thing not connected with the subject, I will state it, whereupon they may make the necessary curtailments. I take these precautions, because I would not involve this interesting subject in confusion, which, to truth, is not much less an enemy than is falsehood itself.

We should enter upon this discussion with minds unheated by any thing that has recently transpired; and, above all things, we should subdue in us any thing like a spirit of revenge. I am ready, and I have conversed with no man who is not ready, to say—“What is done cannot be undone: let there be no thought of vengeance for the past: let all that has been done be forgotten for ever, and let no one meet with any punishment or reproach on account of it, provided we now have that which shall effectually prevent the recurrence of such things for the future.” And, indeed, if you consult history, you will find, that, Edition: current; Page: [222] amongst nations as well as amongst individuals, it is not the original and naked offence so much as a pertinacity in defending, or persevering in, it, that inspires the offended with that thirst for vengeance, which, though it may bring calamity upon the offended as well as the offender, does very seldom fail to prove destructive to the former.

Nor, if our deliberations should conclude with an unanimous decision in favour of Reform, should we, in my opinion, be too hasty in our expectations. All changes of great national importance require time. That which is done in great haste, is seldom well done. Improvement in all things generally proceeds by degrees; and, though we have here the book of the constitution for our guide, complete restoration, any more than creation, cannot be expected to be the work of a single effort. When we confront the practice with the theory of our government, which we have, at all times, a right to do, we must, of course, make a lumping appeal from the one to the other; but, when we set about the work of restoration, we must, if we mean to succeed, first remove that which we find to be most injurious and most hostile to the principles of the constitution; and thus pursue our course, till all the essential evils be removed.

A remark or two seem necessary here, in answer to the insinuation, and, indeed, the open accusation, against all those, who stand prominently forward in the cause of Reform: it is this, that they wish for confusion; for the annihilation of property; and for uproar and bloodshed.

This, gentlemen, has always been the charge against all those, who have had the courage to take the lead in endeavouring to root out corruption. From the nature of things, it is a charge that must be preferred against such men; because the corrupt will naturally seek to disarm those who attack them, and, it being impossible (or, at least, it has always appeared so till now) to say that corruption is right, there is no mode of attacking its assailants, other than that of representing them as wishing for confusion and uproar, by which representations, the uninformed are misled and the timid are frighted. By this mode, this nation has long been deceived, and alarmed. Posterity will, I hope, hardly believe; I hope, that our children will hardly credit the true history of the delusions and alarms of the last fifteen years, during several of which the Act of Habeas Corpus, or Personal Safety Act, stood repealed, and any man was liable to be sent to prison, and there to be kept for years, without a trial and without a hearing; nay, many men were so imprisoned. And what was all this for? Why was this suspension of that great law, without which, in fact, the English government is no better than the old government of France? Why, because the nation was alarmed; because it was persuaded that certain Clubs and Societies would destroy all property, when what those Clubs demanded, though they might do it indiscreetly, was, in truth, no more than what Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Richmond had themselves demanded, and had represented as necessary to the safety of the nation, many years before. The disgraceful days of alarm are, indeed, now passed; and, I think, it will be very difficult for the friends of corruption to cause their return; but, still they harp upon the dangers of change, though they cannot deny, that the change would be for the better; and still, though we ask only for the restoration of a part of the well-known and long-tried constitution of England, as relating to the House of Commons; still they accuse us Edition: current; Page: [223] of a wish to introduce confusion, uproar, and bloodshed. But, who are these accusers? Those who accused Mr. Wardle; those who denounced him to the nation as the tool of a Jacobin Conspiracy; those who have been detected in the misapplication of the public money, and in the worst sorts of corruption; these are the persons, who attribute to us a wish to destroy all property, and to introduce uproar and bloodshed. In short, if we would form a correct opinion of these efforts to excite new alarm; if we would form a correct opinion of the views of those, who raise these impudent calumnies against our cause, we have only to bear in mind, that John Bowles was the first who accused Englishmen of Jacobinism; that the Rev. Dr. O’Meara, from under the wing of Mrs. Clarke, preached before the King against Democracy; and that the Rev. Mr. Beazley, who tendered a bribe to the Duke of Portland to make him Dean of Salisbury, wrote a pamphlet upon the approaching dangers of Popery.

Such are the alarmists; and, if you bear this fact in mind, you will have very little difficulty in deciding as to what are now the real grounds of alarm.

Besides, who and what are the persons, who stand most prominently exposed to this accusation? Sir Francis Burdett, Mr. Madocks, Mr. Wardle, and Lord Cochrane. These are the only members of the House of Commons, who, as yet, have taken a decided and active part in the cause. And, are you to be made to believe, that these four gentlemen, or either of them, can wish ill to their country? That they, who have, all of them, such large portions of property, wish to see all property destroyed? Or, are you to be made to believe, that they, who have so much talent; so much knowledge, and so much of mind in every other respect, are, upon this subject, fools? The thing is not to be believed by any man in his senses.

With respect to myself, I should certainly not trouble you, were it not my opinion that it may be useful, in this Introductory Address, to give you an instance of the behaviour of my opponent writers.

Some of you will have heard, perhaps, that while I was in America, I wrote several pamphlets, some under a feigned name, and some under no name at all.

From one of these pamphlets, the London ministerial newspapers have extracted these words—“For my part, I am no friend of the English; I wish their island was sunk to the bottom of the sea.” Having taken this sentence, they tell their readers, that it is quite natural “such a person” should wish for a Reform that would lead to revolution.

Gentlemen, I do not recollect any thing so bad as this, ever done, or attempted to be done, by any writer in the world.

The pamphlet, from which the extract is made, was written for the purpose, and the sole purpose, of serving my King and country, and that, too, at a time and in a place, when and where no man but myself had the zeal to write a line for such a purpose. In order to give effect to what I was writing, it was necessary for me to say something to disguise the fact, that it proceeded from an Englishman’s pen; and, that this was the case, there needs no proof but this, that the government at home caused this pamphlet to be republished in England. Further, for having written this and other pamphlets in America, the government here made me offers of their support, which I never accepted of. Upon my return from America, those offers were renewed, but again rejected. Edition: current; Page: [224] I received marks of approbation, for these writings, from all the men then in power. I dined at Mr. Windham’s with Pitt, which I then thought a very great honour; and, really, when Mr. Canning looks back to the time, when I dined at his house at Putney, and when he paid me so many just compliments for my exertions in my country’s cause, I can hardly think, that he must not view with some degree of shame these attempts on the part of persons, who are publicly said to write under his particular patronage. As to Mr. Windham, he has declared, in open parliament, that, for my writings in America, I deserved a statue of gold.

Judge you, then, of the candour, the truth, the honesty, of the writers, who oppose Parliamentary Reform; and, as yet, I have seen it opposed by no writer, who is not of this description. Judge you of the motives of such men; judge you of the nature of that cause, in support of which such means are resorted to; judge you how strong my adversaries must think me in fact, in argument, and in character, when they are driven to the employment of means like these.

I have not troubled you with this statement by the way of complaint; for, indeed, such things cannot fail to have a good effect, with all sensible men, and to such only do I address myself. The man, who takes upon him to write on politics, necessarily exposes himself to misrepresentations and calumnies of all sorts; especially if his object be to spoil the trade of the corrupt and the venal. It is his inevitable lot; but, he has always this consoling and encouraging reflection; that his adversaries, with a strict regard to the rules of proportion, are sure to adapt the measure of their anger to the magnitude of his success, and of their consequent dread of his future exertions. The greatest compliment that can possibly be paid to any writer, is, to answer his argument by an attack upon his person; and, the next is, that of appealing to his opinions, formerly expressed, especially under a total change of circumstances, whether as to the things themselves, or the information relating to them. This last species of attack has been made most liberal use of against me. Just as if opinions formed and expressed, when I was not much more than half as old as I now am, and when I had, in fact, had no experience at all, were to invalidate, or have any weight, against the arguments that I now have to offer. Because I praised Mr. Pitt, when I was in America, or upon my return, does it follow that I was to continue to praise him, after being some years a near witness of his conduct, and after having seen it proved, that he lent, without interest, 40,000l. of the public money, to two members of the House of Commons, without any authority for so doing, and even without communicating the fact to his colleagues? When I saw this come to light, and when I saw him take a bill of indemnity (that is, a law to screen him from punishment) for this, as well as for other acts of his administration: when I saw this, was I still to praise him? Or, if I did not, was I to be accused of inconsistency?

This was the drift of Mr. Poulter’s personalities at Winchester, and of the handbills, which on that morning had been posted up in the inns and other places of the city, and all which you treated with that contempt which they so well merited.

Such attempts, when made upon men of sense, always fail of their intended effect, and are sure to recoil, with tenfold force, upon those who make use of them. Any attack upon me, if it come in a creditable shape, I am at all times ready to answer, and am certain that I shall beat my adversary; but, having thus exposed to your view the means by which Edition: current; Page: [225] the enemies of Parliamentary Reform have hitherto endeavoured to excite a prejudice against one of its principal literary advocates, I shall not, hereafter, suffer the discussion to be encumbered with any thing not immediately belonging to the subject; I shall not suffer myself to be lured from the important points at issue, by any thing whatever relating personally to me.

There is one more topic, upon which I think it may be necessary to say a few words in this introductory address, and even before I come to lay down the heads and the order of the discussion. I allude to the cry, with which every attempt to obtain a Reform of the Parliament is, upon all occasions, met by those who have so manifest an interest in preventing such Reform. The cry is this: “What, you want a REVOLUTION, do you?” and, then they fall to a description of the horrors of the FRENCH REVOLUTION.

Gentlemen, I do not think that you, or that any part, or any one, of my readers can be so weak as to be swayed by a fallacy so palpable as this; but, it may not, upon this occasion, be amiss to give it an exposure in detail, in order to see whether those, who make use of it, have in them any remains of shame.

There was a revolution in France, which produced great calamities and horrors, and, therefore, we are desired to believe, that all revolutions must produce calamities and horrors; and this doctrine, too, is preached to us from the very same lips whence proceed endless praises of the revolution in England, which placed the House of Brunswick upon the throne.

Supposing, however, all political revolutions to be very mischievous; supposing all changes in the succession to thrones, in the forms of governments, in the distribution of the powers in a nation; supposing all these to be, at all times, mischievous, the supposition, though a very wild one, would not bear against the cause of Reform in Parliament, because we, who wish for that Reform, neither propose, nor wish for, any thing new. We want nothing but the sincere profession and the faithful observance of what is already the constitution of England, as laid down, and clearly laid down in the books of our laws. To set up against us, therefore, the cry of revolution, can, I am confident, have, with men of sense, no other effect than that of adding one more to the numerous proofs, which we already possess, of the insincerity of the enemies of Reform.

But, let us patiently, if possible, inquire a little into the grounds of the monstrous supposition, that, because confusion and bloodshed took place in France some years ago, in consequence of the changes there made, the same must take place here if a reform in the House of Commons be adopted.

What similarity, let me first ask, is there in the two cases? In France the government was despotic; any man could, at any time, be sent to prison, and there kept for life, without trial and without hearing; the laws were in fact made by the King’s sole will, there were no juries to try causes of any sort; the feudal system was still in such vigour as to make it a crime, in many places, for people to grind their own corn or bake their own bread, being compelled to carry the materials to the mill and to the oven of the Lord of the Manor, paying him a heavy tax for the grinding or the baking. Endless would be the points of contrast; but, for our present purpose, it is quite sufficient to state merely this, Edition: current; Page: [226] that the French had no legislative assembly; no body of persons, who, as to the making of laws, had any share of authority. In France, what was proposed to be effected, was a total change in