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money encountered his scrutinizing eye and merciless figurings. With no more eloquence than the multiplication table, he as rarely made mistakes in his calculations. And whenever Mr. Vansittart, the foggy-headed Chancellor of the Exchequer, appeared on the floor with his money bills, his tormentor was sure to pin him to the wall by his skillful use of the nine digits, which he followed up by crushing that unfortunate gentleman between huge columns of statistics.

Parliamentary Reform, the enginery by which the people of England must work out a bloodless revolution, was repeatedly agitated, and with various results. Stormy debates, followed

divisions and defeats, did not discourage Grey, Mackintosh, Brougham, Lambton, and Russell, within doors, nor Tooke, Cartwright, Cobbett, Hunt, and a host of other good, bad, and indifferent men without, from seeking enlarged suffrage and equal representation. Nor did laws enacted to stop the circulation amongst the working classes of cheap publications, by laying a tax on them; and to put down reformatory societies, under the pretext of prohibiting seditious meetings; and to seize arms found in the hands of the lower orders, so that their assemblies might be dispersed at the bayonet's point without fear of retaliation; nor the occasional searching of a library and demolishing a press, and sending a writer or lecturer to Botany Bay, deter the masses from demanding that “the People's House should be open to the People's Representatives," Passing by many noteworthy occurrences, we find Birmingham, in 1819, without a representative for its teeming thousands, while rotten Grampound, with scarce an inhabitant, had two, adopting the bold measure of electing “a Legislatorial Attorney” to represent it in the House of Commons! The next year, a large and peaceable meeting of reformers at Manchester is dispersed by cavalry, with loss of much precious blood. The common people throughout the kingdom are deeply moved at this spectacle-riots follow-troops shed more blood -Ministers denounce the agitators Burdett defends them

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Brougham defies Ministers, and Lord John Russell numbers the days of Grampound. The next session he moves to disfranchise that rotten borough, which had been convicted of bribery, and transfer its members to Leeds. He fails. The next session, Lambton (Earl Durham) brings in a bill for a radical reform, and is defeated by a scurvy trick of Ministers. Lord John renews, the conflict with another bill—the People's petitions press the tables of the House Ministers begin to give way-Grampound is disfranchised, and its members transferred to York county, and the first nail is driven! In 1823, Lord John leads on the attack by explaining a well-digested scheme of reform in a luminous speech. Canning makes a conciliatory reply, and, in his brilliant peroration, tells Russell he will get succeed, but on his head be the responsibility. Russell is beaten, but the minority is swelled by the accession for the first time of several young members of the ancient nobility. The same year, Castlereagh cuts his throat, and falls into a grave which Englishmen will execrate till the crack of doom. The radicals” (a name which the reformers received when Birmingham elected her attorney) take courage--Lord John beats ministers on an incidental question_Old Sarum trembles for her ancient privileges—the French monarchy is temporarily overthrown, and Earl Grey rises to power.

In this summary, which sets chronological order and historical symmetry at defiance, I have only aimed to show that, from 1793 to 1830, the fires on Freedom's Altar were kept burning by a band of worshipers, many of whose names find few parallels in English history, whether we consider the vigor of their understandings, the extent of their knowledge, the splendor of their genius, the luster of their services, and the fidelity and courage with which they followed the fortunes of the liberal cause through thirty-seven years of opposition to Court favor and Ministerial patronage.

A more particular notice of these events and persons will be pursued in future chapters.


Treason Trials of 1794-Societies for Reform-Constructive Treason

-Horne Tooke-Mr. Erskine.

The first conflict between Englishmen and their rulers, to which I will now more particularly refer, is the sedition and treason trials, near the close of the last century ; more especially alluding to the trials of JOHN HORNE TOOKE, HARDY, ThelwALL, and their associates, in 1794, for high treason. The victories then achieved heralded those subsequent reforms in Church and State which have so blessed the common people of England. It was the crisis of British freedom. Though failure then would not have uprooted the goodly tree, it would have blasted much of its sweet fruit, and retarded its luxuriant growth. Maj. Cartwright, (“that old heart of sedition,” as Canning called him,) one of England's early reformers, in a letter written at the time, said : " Had these trials ended otherwise than they have, the system of proscription and terror, which has for some time been growing in this country, would have been completed and written in blood.dicts of “not guilty" not only pronounced the acquittal of the prisoners, but proclaimed the right of individuals and associations to examine and reprobate the acts of their King and Parliament; to discuss the foundations of government, and declare the rights of man and the wrongs of princes ; and to arouse public opinion to demand such changes in the laws as would secure the liberties of the people. The crime charged against Tooke and his associates was, endeavoring to excite a

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rebellion, overthrow the monarchy, wage war on the king, and compass his death. Their real offense was, belonging to " the London Corresponding Society” and “the Society for Constitutional Information,” better known as societies for Parliamentary reform, in which they canvassed the nature of government, the rights of the people, and the acts of their rulers, and specially advocated a reform in the Parliamentary representation and the electoral suffrage.

This was no new movement. Similar associations had existed for twenty years. The Society of “the Friends of the People” numbered among its members the imposing names of the Duke of Richmond, Pitt, Sheridan, Whitbread, Grey, and other men of rank. They had held meetings, published pamphlets, and petitioned Parliament. Discussions had taken place in both Houses. In 1770, the great Chatham advocated a moderate reform in the representation in the lower House, In 1776, Wilkes, the favorite of the London populace, made an able speech on moving for leave to bring in a radical bill to the same end. In 1783, Pitt, yielding to the generous impulses of his youth, moved for a committee to inquire into the same subject, and supported his motion in two eloquent speeches. In 1790, Flood, the celebrated Irishman, spoke with fervor on moving for a more equal representation in the Commons, and was replied to by Wyndham and Pitt, (who had become frightened by the French revolution,) and powerfully supported by Fox, then in the zenith of his fame, and by Grey, just giving earnest of those talents which, forty years after, carried the reform bill through the Lords. The discussion of kindred topics in Parliament during the same periods stimulated the popular party. The expulsion of Wilkes, the idol of the London mob, from the Commons; the seizure of his papers and the imprisonment of his person in the Tower for a seditious libel against the Tory Government ; his repeated reëlection by his Middlesex constituency, and the votes of the House declaring his seat still vacant; the consequent debates


in both Houses during the years 1768~70 excited the populace to the verge of rebellion, and challenged inquiry into the relative rights of the people and their Parliament. The debates on the stamp act, the taxation of the colonies, and the American war, covering fifteen years, enlisted the best powers of Chatham, Burke, Fox, and Barre, and elicited from those high sources radical declarations of the rights of man. The denunciations of the test acts and of the Catholic penal code by Fox and his followers, from 1786 to 1790, as subversive of the rights of conscience, added fuel to the popular fame.

All these agitations within the walls of Parliament were but the remoter pulsations of the great heart beating without the faint shadows of that genius of reform, which, till recently, has numbered its representatives by units and its constituency by hundreds of thousands.

The political sea, ruffled by these winds, was soon to be tossed by violent storms. The French revolution produced a profound sensation in all classes of Englishmen. The fulminations of its third estate against monarchy, and the democratic doctrines of Paine's Rights of Man, (republished in England from the Parisian edition, and scattered far and wide,) found a response in thousands of British hearts.

The people felt their grievances to be more intolerable than ever, and the example of France emboldened them to demand redress in firmer tones. The London Society for Constitutional Information, which had grown languid, suddenly felt a revival of more than its original spirit, and kindred associations sprang into existence all over the kingdom. Their orators declaimed upon the rights of man, painted his wrongs, extolled the merits of the people, and denounced the vices of bishops and nobles. The oppressions of the middle and lower classes, (of both which the societies were mainly composed,) by the privileged orders, afforded ample materials for these appeals to the best and worst passions of human nature.

The Government was alarmed. The events of France in

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