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ART. III.-PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A RADICAL By SAMUEL BAMFORD. Third Edition. Printed for the Author. (Heywood.)

THESE memoirs extend over a period of six years, commencing with the end of the year 1815, and concluding with the termi nation of the author's imprisonment in Lincoln Castle (the sixth place of his confinement for political offences) in the year 1821. The prospects of the friends of political and religious freedom were never, perhaps, more gloomy than during this period ;-The public burdens consequent upon the lavish expenditure during the war were at their height;-The generous devotion with which Catholic blood had been poured forth in that protracted struggle had purchased from an ungrateful and bigotted administration no relaxation of Catholic disabilities;-The dissenters groaned under the Test and Corporation acts ;-The Spy system (the most demoralizing engine ever employed by an unpopular government to prop the fabric of its power) was in full vigour; Reynolds," of infamous memory," had received the wages of his treacherous atrocities in successive appointments, in Portugal, in the Post-office in Dublin, and lastly, in a pension and a consul-generalship, leaving his character to the protection of Lord Castlereagh, once Colonel Robert Stewart, of the Irish volunteers, whose own political tergiversation had not been unaccompanied by personal treachery, whilst the foul mantle which cloaked his iniquity descended upon the shoulders of Castle and Oliver, who, with their inferior agents Dewhurst, alias Michael Hall, Waddington, Lomax, Edwards, and a host of subordinates, returned convicts, deserters, and passers of forged. notes, were extending the ramifications of their detestable conspiracy into the most remote corner of the land. The betrayer

* See Madden's United Irishman.

Reynolds died at Paris in the year 1837. He passed the last three years of his life in close communication with, and professing the opinions of, those who arrogate to themselves the sole possession of Evangelical Truth, by whom he was declared to be " a precious proof of the unspeakable love of God." Whatever we may think of this, we are not disposed to dispute the correctness in his case of the description of "man's alienation from the life of God, the enmity of his mind by wicked works, the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of his heart, the fruitful source of every thing. that defileth;" which his panegyrist has applied to human nature in general. A more correct summary of the character of Thomas Reynolds could not well be framed.

A masterly sketch of the character of Reynolds appeared in the Morning Chronicle soon after his decease, which his biographer has reprinted, in order to make it the groundwork of an attack as impotent as it is virulent upon the character of a worthy man, a consistent and upright politician, an accomplished scholar, and an eloquent and logical writer, who has been connected with that journal for the greater part of the present century. See the Life of Thomas Reynolds, by his Son, vol. ii. pp. 499–505.

generally appeared in the character of a fugitive claiming the protection and hospitality of his intended dupe. The generous, the ardent, and the unsuspicious, those least likely to originate plots and conspiracies, were his readiest victims. Round the board which was spread with unaccustomed profusion to welcome him, expressions of indignant feeling, excited by his own story, were dropped, which enabled him to give a seditious, or even treasonable character to the meeting, and his unsuspecting entertainers found themselves in a few days in custody, under warrants which had the effect of lettres de cachet. The government had need of terrorism, and a plentiful crop of conspiracies, insurrections and executions was the fruit of the industry of their agents.-On the 9th of June 1817, Watson, Thistlewood, Preston, and Hooper, were arraigned for high treason. The principal witness against them was John Castle, the spy and approver. Such was the detail of crimes committed by this man, (he had twice before turned king's evidence, and his fellow criminals had been hanged and transported on his testimony,) and such the vicious and degraded course of his life, extracted from him on cross-examination by Mr. Wetherell, that the jury unhesitatingly found Watson not guilty, and the charges against the other prisoners were withdrawn. On this occasion, Watson was defended by Mr. Serjeant Copley, with an ability which ensured his rise to the highest station in his profession. Within two years the radical reformer of the Midland Circuit was appointed to the office of Solicitor-General under a Tory Government.-Successively Attorney-General, Master of the Rolls, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and now for a second time Lord High Chancellor of England, he must look back upon his long career of almost uninterrupted success with feelings far different from those with which the associate and rival of his early career must contemplate the consistent and honourable course which, though it often seemed to shut him out from all prospect of advancement, has led him to the highest judicial eminence on the Common Law Bench. On the 25th of October following, Brandreth, Turner, and Ludlam, who had fallen into the toils of Oliver, were tried, convicted, and executed at Derby. Thistlewood (untaught by his former escape) was again tried with Ings, Brunt, Tidd, and Davidson, for a plot, the atrocity of which was only equalled by its monstrous impracticability; but Sir John Copley, the Solicitor-General of 1820 had learnt a valuable lesson from Serjeant Copley of 1817. Edwards, "the sole promoter and instigator of the conspiracy," was not exposed to share the fate of Castle, he was not put into the * Motion respecting George Edwards, Par. Deb., vol. i. p. 291.

witness-box, and the prisoners were found guilty. With the exception of Davidson they paid the forfeit of their lives, with a constancy which would have done honour to martyrs. A strong and well-founded suspicion that they fell victims to men who tempted to treason that they might afterwards reap the rewards of treachery, became prevalent in the public mind, and pity for the victims overpowered the detestation which was due to the maniacal ferocity of the purposed crime. Castle had overacted his part and had failed, he was therefore thrown overboard. Reynolds and Oliver found appropriate champions; Lord Castlereagh declared of the former, that he had" only one stain on his character that he knew of, his having been an Irish rebel, and that stain he had wiped off by giving up his confederates." Whilst Mr. Anthony Leigh Keck said, that "as to Oliver, his character stood higher than that of the class of men to whom he was described as belonging. He knew of no imputation against his moral character." All this might reasonably be expected, but subsequent events have made it worthy of especial note, that we find Henry Brougham, on the night of the 2nd of May 1820, declaring in the House of Commons, that "he by no means blamed Government for employing Edwards as a spy, for acting on his information, for withholding him as a witness upon the trials, or for abstaining from prosecuting him."* The confession of so singular an obliquity of moral vision might have prepared the admirers of that extraordinary individual for the tortuous course he has since pursued. The system which was too foul for Caligula and Domitian, was employed by Sidmouth and Castlereagh, defended by Canning, and palliated by Brougham.

The Habeas Corpus was suspended;-The personal liberty of the subject was at the mercy of a minister, a justice, or an informer. The press was fettered;-The constitutional right of meeting to petition was clipped and curtailed;-The privilege of each man to possess and bear arms for the protection of his person and property was restricted and interfered with. The middle classes were suffering from the pressure of extensive commercial embarrassment, whilst the wages of large masses of the labouring population were as low as eight or nine, and even four or five shillings per week.† The price of corn varied from sixty-five to ninety-five shillings a quarter, and importation was prohibited until the averages reached eighty shillings, an amount indicative of a considerably higher market price for a quarter of good wheat.

*Par. Deb., vol. i. p. 61.

+ Speech of the Marquis of Lansdowne, Parl. Deb., vol. i. p. 422.

Such was the condition of England during the period comprised in Mr. Bamford's Memoirs, a period recalled with horror by those whose memory extends over it, darkly and painfully shadowed forth amongst the events of childhood, in the recollection of many who are now in the maturity of life, and concealed from still more by the curtain of the past, which history has not yet raised; occupying a middle ground, its facts are to be collected only from tradition, or from an examination of the wide spread materials from which future historians will construct their narratives.

His breeches pocket is the most sensitive part of an Englishman's anatomy, and the first effort of the people, after the termination of the war, was to throw off the Income Tax. Petitions unprecedented in the number of their signatures loaded the table of the House; the demand was too strong and unanimous to be resisted, and the hated impost, after being brought forward as part of the Government budget, was abandoned. Motions followed for committing to the flames all returns connected with the tax, so that no memorial might remain of its detested existence.

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It is curious to compare these proceedings with what took place, on the attempt of Henry the Eighth to impose a similar tax, about the year 1526. In the city of London the tax was resisted by the Common Council; and, after repeated attempts to enforce it, was abandoned, and a Benevolence attempted in its stead. In other parts of the kingdom, persuasion and threats were equally unsuccessful, whilst in Suffolk, where by "gentle handlyng," the Duke of Suffolk had caused the "riche clothiers" to assent to the tax, "they called together the artificers which were wont to be set a woorke, and have their livyinges by cloth makyng, and saied, sirs, we be not able to set you a woorke, our goodes be taken from us, therefore trust to yourselfes and not to us, for otherwise it wille not be.' Then began women to wepe, and young folkes to crie, and men that had no woorke began to rage and assemble themselfes in compaignies." The Duke adopted the same mode of pacifying the enraged populace which occurred to Lord Castlereagh: he commanded "that every mannes harnes should be taken from them;" but this measure was not attended with success, for " the rumour waxed more greater," and the people thinking they would use their "harnes" whilst they had it, "rebelled foure thousand menne, and put themselfes in harnes, and rang the belles alarme, and began to gather still moore." The Duke of Norfolk with a considerable force being sent to put down this insurrection, demanded to speak with

their captain, when an old man, one of the insurgents, addressed him thus: "My lord, sayed this manne, whose name was John Grene, sithe you aske who is our Capitaine, forsooth his name is Pouvertie, for he and his cosyn Necessitie hath brought us to this dooying." "Then," says the Chronicler,* "the demande of money ceased in all the realm, for it was perceived that the Commons would none paie." It was a similar perception that wrung an abandonment of the Income tax from the Government of 1816, and that will, if we are not much mistaken, before many years have passed, produce a like result on the tax which we have seen imposed in the present day.

"Pouvertie and his cosyn Necessitie" commanded large bodies in the period of which we are writing. Mr. Parker, a magistrate of Sheffield, wrote to Lord Sidmouth that "the men had arms to work without being able to find any, and that in such a situation they would catch at straws." +

One of the straws they caught at was Henry Hunt.

Voluble without being eloquent, sufficiently bold to face danger, and with readiness and presence of mind enough to acquit himself well to the eye of the world, whilst that danger was imminent and his audience were around him, but without fortitude to bear manfully the consequences of his conduct; vain, greedy of applause, egotistical and selfish, though not without generous sympathies and emotions, Hunt became the pet demagogue of the day. The people, unhappily mistrustful, as we have seen them in our own day, of leaders who did not bid high enough for popularity, looked to Hunt with an admiration approaching to idolatry. Mr. Bamford's first meeting with him was in the year 1817, during his stay in London, as a delegate from the Middleton Club.

"On the day when parliament was opened, a number of the delegates met Hunt at the Golden Cross, Charing Cross; and from thence went with him in procession to the residence of Lord Cochrane, in Palace Yard, where a large petition from Bristol, and most of those from the north of England, were placed in his lordship's hands. There had been some tumult in the morning; the Prince Regent had been insulted on his way to the house, and this part of the town was still in a degree of excitement. We were crowded around, and accompanied by a great multitude, which at intervals rent the air with shouts. Now it was that I beheld Hunt in his element. He unrolled the petition, which was many yards in length, and it was carried on the heads of the crowd, -perfectly unharmed. He seemed to know almost every man of them, and his confidence in, and entire mastery over them, made him quite at A louder huzza than common was music to him; and when the questions were asked eagerly, Who is he?' 'What are they about?' • Hall, p. 699, 700. Par. Deb., vol. xxxvii. p. 845.

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