Selected Political Writings of John Thelwall: Journalism and Selected Writings on Elocution and Oratory, 1797-1809 9781851969289, 9780429349713

John Thelwall was London Corresponding Society's most prominent orators and was tried for high treason along with T

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Selected Political Writings of John Thelwall: Journalism and Selected Writings on Elocution and Oratory, 1797-1809
 9781851969289, 9780429349713

Table of contents :
Cover
Volume 1
Cover
Half Title
Title
Copyright
Contents
Acknowledgements
General Introduction
Bibliography
Chronology
Ode to Science. Recited at the Anniversary Meeting of the Philomathian Society (1791)
An Essay towards a Definition of Animal Vitality (1793)
King Chaunticlere; or, the Fate of Tyranny (1793)
Political Lectures (1794)
Fraternity and Unanimity (1795)
John Gilpin's Ghost (1795)
Prospectus of a Course of Lectures (1796)
An Appeal to Popular Opinion (1796)
Editorial Notes
Volume 2
Cover
Half Title
Title
Copyright
Contents
Tribune, volume 1 (1795)
‘Examination of Mr. Pitt’s Statement of the flourishing State of our Commerce – From the Lecture on the BUDGET’
‘On the Probable Consequences of Continuing the Present System of Ambition and Hostility – From the First Lecture on the Nature and Calamities of War’
‘No War Just but a War of Self Defence’
‘Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messenger, &c. on the Seizure of J. Thelwall’s Paper; with his Examination before the Privy Council; Treatment at the Messengers, &c’
‘Tax on Hair Powder. From the Lecture on the Budget’
‘Historical Strictures on Whigs and Tories – From the First Lecture on the Distinction between Party Spirit and Public Principle’
‘Lecture on the System of Terror and Persecution Adopted by the Present Ministry; with Animadversions on the Treatment of Joseph Gerrald’
‘On Prosecutions for Pretended Treason’ (conclusion)
‘The Address of J. Thelwall to the Audience at Closing his Lectures for the Season’
‘Continuation of the Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messengers, &c’
Tribune, volume 2 (1796)
‘On Allies and Alliances; with Strictures on the Faith of Regular Governments’
‘On the comparative Estimate of the Slave Trade, the Practice of Crimping,and Mr Pitt’s Partial Requisition Bill’
‘On the Importance of Avoiding Personal Factions and Divisions Among the Friends of Reform’
‘On the Causes of the Late Disturbance’
Tribune, volume 3 (1796)
‘The Connection between the Calamities of the Present Reign, and the System of Borough-Mongering Corruption’
‘A Further Enquiry into the Calamities Produced by the System and Usurpation and Corruption (Fourth Lecture)’
‘A Further Enquiry into the Calamities Produced by the System of Corruption (Fifth Lecture)’
‘Godwin’s Pamphlet’
‘A Further Enquiry into the Calamities Produced by the System of Usurpation and Corruption (Eighth Lecture)’
‘On the Revolution in 1688’
‘Civic Oration on the Anniversary of the Acquittal of the Lecturer’
‘The First Lecture on the Political Prostitution of our Public Theatres’
‘Farewel Address’
Editorial Notes
Volume 3
Cover
Half Title
Title
Copyright
Contents
'The Phenomena of the Wye, During the Winter of 1797-8', Monthly Magazine (1798)
'A Pedestrian Excursion through Several Parts of England and Wales during the Summer of 1797', Monthly Magazine (1799-1801)
'Prefatory Memoir', Monthly Magazine (1802)
Elocution and Oratory: General Plan and Outline of Mr. Thelwall's Course of Lectures (1803)
'A Letter to Francis Jeffray [sic], Esq., on Certain Calumnies and Misrepreservations', The Edinburgh Review (1804)
Mr Thelwall's Reply (1804)
Editorial Notes
Volume 4
Cover
Half Title
Title
Copyright
Contents
A Letter to Henry Cline, Esq. (1810)
The Vestibule of Eloquence (1810)
Results of Experience in Treatment of Cases of Defective Utterance (1814)
Selected Writings from the Champion (1819–20)
Panoramic Miscellany (1826)
‘Funeral of the late Thomas Hardy’ (1832)
Editorial Notes
Index

Citation preview

THE PICKERING MASTERS SELECTED POLITICAL WRITINGS OF JOHN THELWALL

CONTENTS OF THE EDITION

VOLUME 1 General Introduction Early Political Pamphlets and Lectures, 1793-1796 VOLUME2

Selections from the Tribune, 1795-1796 VOLUME3

Journalism and Selected Writings on Elocution and Oratory, 1797-1809 VOLUME4

Late Journalism and Writing on Elocution and Oratory, 1810-1832 Index

SELECTED POLITICAL WRITINGS OF JOHN THELWALL

Edited by

Robert Lamb and Corinna Wagner

Volume 1 Early Political Pamphlets and Lectures, 1793-1796

I~ ~?io~;~;n~~~up LONDON AND NEW YORK

First published 2009 by Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Published 2016 2 Park

Limited

by Routledge

Square, Milton Park, Abingdon,

Oxon OX14 4RN

711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa busines Copyright © Taylor & Francis Copyright ©

2009

Editorial material Robert Lamb and Corinna Wagner 2009

All

rights reserved, including those of translation into foreign languages. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Notice: Product are

corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe.

or

used

BRITISH LIBRARY CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION DATA

Thelwall, John, 1764-1834 Selected political writings ofJohn Thelwall.

(The

Pickering masters)

1. Thelwall, John, 1764-1834 2. Political science England Early works to 1800 3. Elocution 4. Oratory 5. Radicalism England Early works to 1800 6. Great Britain

Politics and government 1789-1820 II. Lamb, Robert III. Wagner, Corinna 320.9'41'09033 I. Title

ISBN-13: 978-1-85196-928-9 (set) DOI: 10.4324/9780429349713

Typeset by Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Limited

CONTENTS

Acknowledgements General Introduction Bibliography Chronology

vii ix xxv xxxiii

Ode to Science. Recited at the Anniversary Meeting ofthe Philomathian Society (1791) An Essay towards a Definition ofAnimal Vitality (1793) King Chaunticlere; or, the Fate ofTyranny (1793) PoliticalLectures (1794) Fraternity and Unanimity (1795) John Gilpin's Ghost (1795) Prospectus ofa Course ofLectures (1796) An Appeal to Popular Opinion (1796)

1 9 31 37 97 101 113 133

Editorial Notes

173

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We are very graceful co a committed and enthusiastic group of fellow Thelwall scholars: in particular Greg Claeys, Penny Corfield, Judy Duchan, Ken Johnson, Jon Mee, Steve Poole, Michael Scrivener, Jasmine Solomonescu and Judith Thompson, from whom we have learnt much. At Pickering and Chatto, Michael Middeke,Julie Wilson and Paul Lee made the process much easier than it might have been through their professionalism and their indulgent patience, as various submission deadlines clashed with our other commitments. For speedy assistance with some of the typesetting and for discussions about materialism we are indebted to Darren Wagner. For help in obtaining some of the texts with the minimum of fuss we thank the staff at the British Library and the University of Glasgow. Special thanks to John Barrell and Iain Hampsher-Monk for their support, guidance and willingness to assist with various last-minute queries. We dedicate these volumes to chem as a small return for their mentorship.

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INTRODUCTION: THE MANY LIVES OF JOHN THELWALL

I. Thelwall's Lives In the autumn of 1795, John Thelwall almost killed the King. On 29 October, the opening day of the British parliament, crowds had gathered to witness the royal procession as it made its way through St James's Park and down Parliament Street to the House ofLords. George Ill's state coach was met with shouts protesting the policies ofWilliam Pitt's Tory government, the ongoing war with France and the hugely inflated price of bread. Suddenly, as the coach drew out of the gates of the Park, at the end of Great George Street, a missile - likely a stone or a marble but thought by many (including George himself) to be a bullet - shot through the carriage window. The report that this was an attempted assassination gained further currency when later that day the carriage, this time sans monarch, was nearly smashed to pieces by another violent mob. 1 It may be that the government had been awaiting such an event. An outburst ofviolence from the people justified the introduction of the 'Two Acts' or what came to be known as the 'Gagging Acts; two pieces of draconian legislation - The Treasonable Practices Act and Seditious Meetings Bill - intended to vanquish the reform movement by restricting political meetings out ofexistence and conceptualizing treason as a thought crime. 2 But what was the root cause of these extreme measures, perceived at the time to be a flagrant violation ofthe history of British liberty traceable back to the Magna Carta, and has since seemed to be an embarrassing constitutional aberration (at least until the first years of the twenty-first century)? For historians now, this question cannot be adequately answered without attention to the broader context that frames the events of 29 October 1795 and the subsequent state response: to the seismic force still being felt from the French Revolution and the 'Jacobin' reform movement it then inspired in Britain. Yet for many in the 1790s, the answer was far simpler. The chief architect of the failed assassination and chiefvictim of the proposed legislation was one person: John Thelwall. For the loyalist newspaper the True Briton it was plain that

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'the authors ofevery outrage committed by the mob' were 'constant frequenters of Mr. THELWALL'S Lectures' 3 After all, only three days earlier Thelwall had addressed an enormous crowd of, by all accounts, between one- and three-hundred thousand people at Copenhagen Fields. There, it was rumoured, pamphlets had been distributed that called openly for regicide. When the legislation was debated in Parliament, Thelwall's name was mentioned directly and he regarded himself as the target of it. It seems that at this time he was the most dangerous person in the country. But late 1795 is just one of a number offlashpoints in an extraordinarily polymathic career. Indeed, Thelwall's life (1764-1834) - or perhaps 'lives' - reads like a series ofthrilling narratives and the events recorded in his autobiographical writing, his poetry and his journalism are so remarkable and often so tempestuous that he seems the hero-narrator of, at different times, an eighteenth-century novel of sensibility, a work of nineteenth-century social realism or even a twentieth-century espionage film. As a youth, Thelwall had been drawn to the lure of the arts but familial obligation and financial difficulty forced him into the daily grind of the workaday world. A succession of apprenticeships was ended when, as a legal clerk, he was sent to serve a warrant at the house of an honest but debt-ridden family, an event he later claimed was the catalyst to his taking up the cause of political reform. Although burdened with asthma and a speech impediment, he became renowned as a public orator, captivating audiences at mass outdoor meetings with a vivid rhetorical style, memorably described by William Hazlitt as that of 'a volcano vomiting out lava'. 4 As one of the most visible and voluble opponents ofgovernment, he became a target ofPitt's Tory administration, which did everything in its power to make his life miserable - something they succeeded in doing, even if they failed in their apparent quest to end it. In 1794 Thelwall was charged with high treason and dragged off to jail to spend arduous months of imprisonment in the Tower and at Newgate, his home was ransacked and his books and personal effects confiscated. After fighting a hard-won battle in court and press he was eventually acquitted by a jury ofhis peers. On the day ofhis release he was jubilantly carried through the streets of London as a hero of the people. Still drawn to the call ofpolitical action, but continually pursued by loyalists and spies, he continued to lecture at his rooms in Beaufort Buildings, London. Although constrained by the government's newly implemented gagging laws, prohibiting political association, he refused to give up advocating democratic principles at his assemblies. Instead, he cleverly buttressed ostensibly politically neutral subjects like ancient history with lessons on republicanism. He also took to carrying a gun for protection.

Introduction

xi

Exhausted, harassed, and motivated by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's letters recounting the glorious 'simple life' he was then living at Nether Stowey in Somerset, Thelwall sought a more retired existence. Following a walking tour of the Southwest and Wales, farming, family and poetry in the Welsh countryside. However, three years of the simple life - with its droughts, suspicious neighbours, financial difficulties and finally the death of his beloved eldest daughter - became enough to drive him from his rural retreat back to urban life. Largely in response to the distinctly anti-revolutionary public mood of the late 1790s, Thelwall refashioned himself yet again. The turn of the century marked the beginning of another phase ofhis life: in 1801, he stepped up to the public lectern as a self-described Professor of Elocution. He became an advocate for speech-impaired individuals, gave lectures on elocution and oratory and after 1808, opened the doors to his Institution for the Cure of Impediments of

Speech, Instruction ofForeigners, Cultivation ofOratory, English Composition and Polite Literature, and the Preparation of Youth for the More Liberal Departments ofActive Life. Never one to leave his politics far behind, however, he argued that through proper treatment, individuals previously written off as hopelessly nonfunctioning 'idiots' could become useful, active citizens. Through all these episodes in Thelwall's life - if we can indulge the literary analogy just a little further - he appears to us as a Renaissance man, a polymath who was as comfortable trading poetry with such literary luminaries as Coleridge and Wordsworth as he was addressing the Physical Society at Guy's Hospital, London. He also has the air ofthe Romantic hero about him: much ofhis poetry reflects the personal tragedy and despair that mark portions of his life. He has much in common, too, with those working-class heroes ofpage, stage and screen - those figures who refuse to give up the good fight or to sacrifice principles in their struggles against arbitrary authority and public indifference. Perhaps above all, Thelwall appears as the model of the self-made hero: largely self-educated, he spent his career fashioning and re-fashioning himself This, it must be emphasized, is not to say that he was politically inconsistent. Unlike most of the early supporters of the French Revolution who abandoned the cause of reform in the mid- l 790s, he did not become politically disaffected, even in the face ofintense government opposition and anti-revolutionary sentiment. Rather, he adapted to a tumultuous and hostile political climate in ways that allowed him to maintain not only an unwavering commitment to his political causes but to find increasingly subtle ways ofkeeping them always before the public eye. Yet for all this, John Thelwall is today practically unknown.

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IL Political Theorist Indeed, to say that his legacy has been one marked by scholarly neglect would be a gargantuan understatement. This neglect is especially striking in relation to his late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century peers. In comparison to the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, the politics of Paine, Godwin and Wollstonecraft; the social criticism of Hazlitt and Lamb; and the demotic campaigning of Cobbett and Hunt, which has been consistently republished and reinterpreted in historical, literary and political studies, Thelwall has been virtually ignored.5 There are doubtless several reasons for this, many of them related to wholly contingent matters of academic interest. But one possible explanation concerns the very nature of Thelwall as a writer. Whereas it is possible (with varying degrees of imprecision) to reduce the political philosophies of the other most influential thinkers of the 1790s to substantive ideological positions, it is not so with Thelwall. If describing the thought of Paine as 'liberal', of Godwin as 'anarchist', ofWollstonecraft as 'feminist' is at all plausible, Thelwall's writing simply resists such categorization. The collation and publication of the material that comprises this collection should provide compelling evidence of this as well as an illustration of the sheer range and suppleness of his political arguments. The title of the collection is in one sense misleading in that it contains more than what would typically be described as his 'political' writings, where political is understood narrowly, to include issues of only juridical or legislative significance. But it should quickly become apparent that if the term 'political' is understood more capaciously, to incorporate all areas of enquiry in which relations of power and domination are contested, the title befits the contents perfectly. There is more ofi:en than not a political aspect to Thelwall's writings, not only when the subject is the economic oppression of the labouring poor or the rights that individuals hold against governmental authority, but also when he engages in debates about ostensibly purely scientific matters or when he catalogues his observations about rural life. Thelwall's political writing shows his immersion in a number of different philosophical traditions, including that of civic humanism, natural rights and utilitarianism. The commitment to civic humanism - and corresponding belief that a political community requires virtuous citizens - is manifest most vividly in Thelwall's disdain for luxuries and the corruption they create and perpetuate. Luxuries have a dual function in his political analysis: on the one hand their very existence as commodities provides indisputable evidence of the moral debilitation of an inegalitarian polity and on the other the fact that individuals regard them as objects ofdesire is an obstacle in the way ofpolitical reform. This concern is personified in the figure of 'Timms' - one of the 'messengers' who

Introduction

xiii

detained Thelwall on his arrest - who is described as in fact a member of the lower orders (the 'discarded valet of one of our nobility'), who nevertheless furnishes his house with all the 'ornamental luxuries' he is able to acquire. The effect of such debased tastes is to render him 'a bigot in religion, and a slave in principles'.6This concern with luxury also poses Thelwall with a dilemma when faced with the prospect of a tax on hair powder: how to react to a measure that will have the effect ofpenalizing those who indulge their vanity so brazenly, while at the same time providing the government with further economic resources for their illegitimate war with Revolutionary France.7 Thelwall's political writing also reveals a clear commitment to the natural rights tradition. Much political argument in Britain in the 1790s centred on the issue of 1688 and what it meant: what the 'Glorious Revolution' entailed in terms ofthe relationship between sovereign and subject. 8 Part ofBurke's project in Reflections on the Revolution in France is to undermine Richard Price's contention that 1688 established the rights of the people to 'choose' and, if necessary, 'cashier' their sovereign. But several prominent writers - most notably Thomas Paine in Rights ofMan - were not prepared to prize this (or any) historical event as a measure of the validity of theoretical claims. Paine was extremely blunt in his declaration that nothing that happened in 1688 had any authority over subsequent generations and that the reason for this was the existence of inviolable individual rights held by every living human. 9 The assertion ofan ahistorical universal moral standard vitiated any political theory that tried to appeal to the past as authoritative. Paine's position is wholeheartedly endorsed by Thelwall when he discusses the issue. 10 Thelwall also defends an 'equality of rights' and notes that, like Paine, an individual's mere existence is enough to secure their rightful possession. These writings show that he is committed to universal rights, entitlements that guarantee equality of treatment for labourers, though not, as he is consistently keen to stress, any 'levelling' ofproperty. Interestingly, as well as grounding several ofhis claims in assumptions ofnatural rights, Thelwall also shows a markedly Godwinian, utilitarian commitment to justifying his arguments on the basis of nothing but human happiness and welfare. The writings herein reveal Thelwall's striking intellectual debt to William Godwin on a variety ofissues. The two were friends and Godwin had played an important role (albeit one difficult to measure) in the treason trials of 1794 with the publication ofhis 'Cursory Strictures', which attempted to comprehensively undermine the charges against the accused. The intellectual relationship between them has been noted before, yet is occasionally played down by those straining to restate caricatured and oppositional representations oftheir thought based on their different political activities or personal conducts. Among the most striking Godwinian themes in Thelwall's political writings are a commitment to human progress and perfectibility and an emphasis on human welfare

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and happiness as the measure of moral and political right. Thus, for example, he argues that democratic enfranchisement should be extended on the basis that it will result in the 'permanent happiness of the country' 11 and describes instances of war as justifiable only insofar as they are 'politic', which he in turn defines as 'productive of the happiness of the people'. 12 Thelwall's writings - though never presented as a single political philosophy - fuse these different theoretical traditions in interesting and innovative ways.

III. Journalist and Orator The lectures contained in the second volume were composed during one of the most tumultuous years in Thelwall's life; what one commentator has termed his 'great moment in history'. 13 After his dramatic acquittal and corresponding rise in fame and notoriety, he quickly seized the political initiative and began lecturing twice a week from his base at Beaufort Buildings on the Strand from February 1795. The lectures were taken down in shorthand and then revised by Thelwall for republication in his weekly twenty-four page periodical the Tribune. From its inception in March 1795 it allowed him a forum to express his indignation - and to rouse the indignation of his audience - about a variety ofpolitical issues. Though it did occasionally include political poems, songs or anecdotes, the majority ofspace was devoted to reproducing his orations on topics of the day. In the early lectures that took place in the spring of 1795 (in Volume 1 of the Tribune), the recurring theme is the war with Revolutionary France, which was proving an increasingly expensive enterprise for the British government, partly because of the financial costs of engaging the support of the fickle states of central Europe. What made the matter of raising revenue for a controversial war - the justification for which had failed to convince many and that had lasted longer than its advocates had anticipated - especially tricky for Pitt was the way in which the economic impact had been felt by the population at large. Britain had borne witness to nationwide riots in protest at rising food prices caused by food shortages and the additional costs of maintaining war makes it difficult to imagine a situation in which John Bull would be more likely to crave the 'rights ofman' if those rights were to include cheap bread. 14 In light of this Thelwall is at his most confident and most theoretically and rhetorically dexterous as he doggedly chips away at the case for war, suggesting by turns that: the only justifiable wars are those fought in self-defence and thus, ipso facto, that this one is unjustifiable; that the war has suddenly depopulated the nation and subjected its forces of defence to numerous 'horrors' and thousands of deaths; and not only that public money is being wasted, but that the waste of money is equivalent to

Introduction

xv

'despotism' and that recent events in France show that despotism leads eventually to Revolution. But Thelwall uses the Tribune not only as a platform to monitor and criticize the policies of Pitt's government and the impotent opposition of the flailing Whigs, but also to discredit it by recalling, indeed, re-enacting, the events of the last year. Seeking to maintain the spectacle of the acquittal of Thelwall and the other members of the London Corresponding Society (LCS) in the public mind, he describes in painstaking detail the treatment he received when arrested on suspicion oftreason the previous May. His interrogation by the Privy Council is restaged for full dramatic effect: his captors are goons, government stooges who treat him with contempt, offer him no food, deny him the visits of his wife and young child and even object to his use of the term 'Citizen' as a mode of address; Pitt is petulant and irritable in his questioning, characterized by his continued failure to hear what Thelwall says to him and his demands that it be repeated, indicative of his deafness when faced with the voice of the people; Thelwall, by contrast, is fearless and bold, marked by his disinterestedness, fortitude and good humour, the combination of which is revealed in his jibe that were he to have the Secretary ofState in his custody, he would at least provide his guest with something to eat. He reminds his audience that the government that claim to be so keen to preserve property actually confiscated his belongings and never returned them and contrasts their professed desire to defend liberty with the manner in which they incarcerated him for months in Newgate, with only a 'daily sprinkling ofvinegar'. There is a sharp break between the lectures that comprise the first volume of the Tribune, published in 1795 and those of the second the following year, marked by his retirement to the Isle ofWight for the summer to convalesce from health problems that he traced to the appalling conditions ofhis imprisonment. The summer of 1795 proved a difficult one for the reform movement with internal divisions and by the time Thelwall had rejoined the LCS (from which he had withdrawn because he had felt moved to choose between it and his lectures), it was the movement itself that was the subject of his lectures, with the 'friends of liberty' solemnly warned about the dangers offaction. The nature ofaforementioned intellectual relationship between Godwin and Thelwall makes the spat between the two in late 1795 (documented in the second and third volumes of the Tribune) particularly fascinating. The traditional characterization of their disagreement - which centred on Godwin's criticisms ofboth Thelwall personally and the LCS politically in his pamphlet on the 'Two Acts' ofwhich he was also critical - is one that juxtaposes armchair philosopher against firebrand activist; the former either betraying the radical tenets of his work or revealing its bedrock conservatism and the latter sacrificing reasoned argument and careful thought for political ends. Such a characterization is

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unsatisfactorily simplistic. Indeed, what Thelwall's writing in response to Godwin reveals is not only his concern to refute some of the less measured, gaudier claims advanced against him but also his conscious attempt to intellectually wrestle with the arguments of his friend and take care to offer a justification for his political involvement and the utility of his oratorical campaigning both in terms of its content and form. The sense of spontaneity and impulse is retained in the published versions of the lectures, with Thelwall glorying in both the applause and the hisses his arguments provoked. He openly calls on the 'spies and hirelings' 15 in his midst to come forward and challenge him in public during what must have been mesmerizing political oratory and theatre - though, as he put it 'a theatre ofinstruction; not a theatre of mischievous inflammation'. His oratorical style which as mentioned above, was described by Hazlitt as a 'volcano vomiting out lava' and by the Norwich lawyer Thomas Amyot as akin to the ravings of 'a mad Methodist Parson' 16 - must have electrified the regular audience of five hundred that paid the sixpence admission fee. Afi:er 1795, Thelwall's journalism has less volcanism and more quiet introspection. His series of articles for the Monthly Magazine, which recall his peripatetic wanderings from London to Wales, are however no less penetrating than the journalism ofthe Tribune. In fact, Thelwall's dexterity is perhaps most impressive in these short, little-known writings. In terms ofrhetorical style, he employs everything from the subtlest innuendo to outright speechifying. In terms ofcontent, the astuteness ofhis sociological analysis, his descriptions ofagrarian culture and representation ofnational consciousness anticipate Cobbett's much-loved Rural Rides (1821-32). And as is the case with Cobbett's travels through the English countryside, Thelwall's pedestrian excursions are distinctly political: his observations about village life, architecture, gardening, amusements, house paint and food and drink are also commentaries about political economy, property ownership, agricultural decline, education, religious tolerance and the politics of aesthetics. When he encounters a convent ofyoung English Catholic novitiates in Salisbury, for example, he demonstrates his technique of weaving travel narrative with political polemic. Sandwiched between more typical descriptions of the gothic exterior of the convent and the paintings he discovers inside the chapel, are penetrating remarks about religious intolerance, education and the possibilities and limits of free choice. 'Far be it from me to be the advocate of intolerance', he writes, but toleration should not allow individuals 'to enchain the consciences' of youth 'with oaths that prohibit the progress of inquiry, and institutions that annihilate the free agency of reason'. 17

Introduction

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IV. Scientist One is struck, upon reading Thelwall's medical and scientific writing, at how confidently he enters into debates on subjects that would seem to be outside his sphere of expertise and extraneous to his rather consuming political interests. This rhetorical confidence should remind us not only of the breadth of Tuelwall's pursuits - many of which have been overlooked - and also of the way in which those pursuits overlapped. Of course, the dividing lines between disciplines were not as firmly drawn in the late eighteenth century as they are now, and politics and science were two closely and complexly interconnected spheres of enquiry. Like some of the surgeons whose lectures he attended in the early 1790s at Guy's Hospital in the Southwark area of London, Thelwall's interest in the more unorthodox ideas in the fields of medicine, anatomy and natural philosophy was closely allied to his democratic inclinations. 18 In his published lecture An Essay, Towards the Definition ofAnimal Vitality

... in which Several ofthe Opinions ofthe Celebrated john Hunter are Examined and Controverted ( 1793), he strides bravely into a controversy that galvanized

and polarized the most notable scientists and physicians ofthe day. The question of the 'vital principle; or the source of human life, divided the medical world. Although this was not always a clear-cut divide (the perspectives on the question of the source of human life were varied and overlapping), scientists tended to fall into two camps: that of the more conventional, conservative vitalises or the rather more radical materialists. Vitalises argued that the vital force could not be reduced to biological processes; instead, they identified a transcendent mind separate from the brain, and an immaterial soul separate from the material body. Thelwall aligned himself with the opposing view of materialists who located thought and feeling in physical bodies, elements or processes. Thelwall's essay challenges the idea, as forwarded by the renowned vitalise John Hunter, that blood was the source ofvitality. Thelwall instead proposed that scientists would discover that a biological material such as an electrical fluid is what animates matter, bringing it to life. In this respect, Thelwall has much in common with the eighteenth-century associationism of David Hartley19 and the materialism ofJoseph Priestley. 20 Thelwall's Essay also anticipated early nineteenth-century debates that centred around the vitalise John Abernethy (a student of John Hunter), who argued that since dead and living bodies displayed the same 'organization' or structure, life had to be 'superadded' to the body, and the more materialist-minded William Lawrence, who argued that life depended as much on the organization and physical functions of the body.21 Although Thelwall's 1793 Essay was positively received by the Physical society, increasingly, the type of materialism advocated in his early scientific forays was perceived as politically threatening. Just how threatening is indicated by the

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fact that Thelwall's second lecture, on 'The Origin of Sensation', which sought to explain the 'phenomena of mind' as originating from 'principles purely Physical, was shouted down. 22 The kind of threat materialism posed is indicated by the title of the 1820 pamphlet, The Radical Triumvarite; or, Infidel Paine, Lord

Byron, and Surgeon Lawrence, colleaguing with the Patriotic Radicals to emancipate mankindfrom all laws, human and divine. Materialism is here aligned with

atheism, debauchery and the type of democracy that had brought France to her knees (tellingly, the vitalist Abernethy was vocal in the campaign against the 'pernicious tendency' of 'French anatomists'). 23 That the source of human life could be the same as for other living creatures was seen as much of a levelling force as republicanism was. Materialism toppled the hierarchy implicit in the eighteenth-century model of the cosmos as a chain of being, so famously articulated in Alexander Pope's Essay on Man, thus rendering the entire social and political status quo as equally susceptible to such collapse. If human life - secure and untouchable in its category as divinely created - had become the proper material for the microscope's lens, then the very structure of society was at least as susceptible co such probing analysis. Some years following his experiences at Guy's Hospital, Thelwall wrote these words: 1his is no place to speak of the difficulties that obstructed the early progress of my design: the prejudices I had to encounter; the hostilities I had to defeat. One unmanly and disgraceful conspiracy, it became necessary to expose to public indignation: for it left me no alternative - bur the bitterness of a personal controversy, or the total abandonment of my project. I was obliged, indeed, to fight my enemies upon their own ground: - an embattled and organized host! - myself a solitary stranger. I did fight, however: What could I less? My Family and my Science were at stake. I fought, and I triumphed: and I will have the charity to believe - that, by this time, my antagonists, themselves, are more ashamed of their contest, than of their defeat. 24

One would assume that this language, which describes conspiracies, controversies, battles, antagonisms and contests, would have been uttered during Thelwall's earlier incarnation as a political polemicist. This passage reads like the rousing oratory of an outdoor rally; it sounds like the angry discourse of the unjustly imprisoned patriot or the indignant response of a lecturer threatened by loyalist mobs under the influence of more than their loyalty. However, these words were not written in the heat of political battle in the 1790s, but appeared in an 1810 treatise on the causes and treatments of speech impediments. The 'Science' he refers to here, which seems far-removed from the dangerous materialism of his former days, is elocution - which he defines as the science and art of communicating thoughts as well as 'the feelings, imaginations and the passions' that attend them. 25

Introduction

xix

So what became of Thelwall's political radicalism when he re-entered the public sphere as a Professor of Elocution? We have described how Thelwall fashioned himself into various incarnations - as political activist, lecturer, farmer, poet and scientist, among others. This practice of 'self-fashioning' as scholars have noted is crucial to Thelwall's project. Andrew McCann uses the term to refer to the disciplinary, corrective aims ofThelwall's elocutionary practice. McCann argues that Thelwall's project was a disciplinary one, as it endeavoured to fashion individuals into modern subjects according to 'the norms ofpublic conduct [and] communication'. 26 In some sense, this is true: Thelwall's post-1800 writing on elocution is noticeably moralizing, with words like 'restraint', 'regulation' and 'decorum' appearing often. We should be aware of how part of Thelwall's transformation into an elocutionist is a way of distancing himself from his radical politics: his series of lectures on elocution emphasize the 'civilizing influence' of refined and cultivated speech and at least part of the purpose ofhis lessons on oratory is to foster politeness in his patients and students. Yet we should not underestimate the degree to which Thelwall's interest in elocution is motivated by his radical politics. There is great continuity between his early political thought and his later theorizing about speech and language. Thelwall's elocutionary pursuits are never ideologically neutral. After 1800, Thelwall may make statements about having resigned his role as politician, but these statements should be seen as obligatory in an intensely reactionary climate, particularly ifone is seeking a public hearing on any subject. 27 We should not fail to see how Thelwall's recognition of the 'performative' qualities oflanguage (to borrow the twentieth-century linguist J. L. Austin's term) was deeply buttressed by a certain kind ofpolitical worldview. 28 Speech might communicate thought, but it was as much an action for Thelwall as a vehicle for conveying information. His texts reveal a profound awareness of the degree to which everyday practices of identification, medical classification and diagnoses determined the life prospects of the individual. He argued against the widespread practice of labelling any kind of speech impediment as a 'constitutional deject: a term, which, at once, with great convenience, covers ignorance, and excuses neglect' and, he writes, consigns individuals to lives of 'effortless despair' and 'to consequent vacancy and imbecility of mind'. 29 For Thelwall, language has the potential to be democratizing in numerous ways. He vehemently rejects, for example, the view of excellence as hereditary or bestowed by nature, and argues that excellence is a result of education and opportunity whilst debility often arises from prejudice and a resulting lack of resources. 30 One of the most significant features about his elocutionary theory and practice is his insistence on considering both the physiological and the cultural, psychological reasons for speech difficulties. His diagnoses were often

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startlingly pioneering. He rejects what we would now term nativism or biological determinism: in place of diagnoses which simply viewed (dis)abilities as native or innate, he proposed that we identify much more bodily and intellectual phenomena as acquired. There is clear continuity, then, between his views of people as largely 'creatures of surrounding circumstances' - a statement made in the 1790s - and the principles that grounded his elocutionary project. 31 The politics of the earlier Thelwall can be seen even more clearly in an 1803 outline of a course oflectures on elocution and oratory: the listed topics, as might be expected, include enunciation, accent and gesticulation, but there are also lectures on how elocutionary training must be an integral part of a woman's education. He echoes Mary Wollstonecraft's argument, made some eleven years earlier, that the practice of enfeebling women's minds through false refinement was detrimental to all ofsociety. If a woman was allowed access to education and conversation, instead of rendered into a 'fashion-mongering' creature fit only for 'pickling and preserving; she would then become man's 'Intellectual Partner' - thereby increasing the 'Prospects of the rising generation'. 32

V. Historian Thelwall was not overly nostalgic for the past nor was he interested in trying to recoup the nation's 'authentic' history. He condemned blind adherence to the prejudices and precedents of'barbarous antiquity' and was glad to leave behind 'the night of gothic ignorance'. 33 He condemns those who subscribed to what he calls the 'retrospective system' that is, those who remain bound by the institutions and customs of the past. 34 Yet his interest in and his knowledge ofclassical, medieval and early modern history is more than noteworthy. Not only did he give public lectures on these subjects, he also set his Arthurian romance 'Ihe Fairy ofthe Lake and his budding historical epic 'Ihe Hope ofAlbion; or, Edwin ofNorthumbria, in the Anglo-Saxon world. Yet this was not an indulgent, escapist, utopic or wistful excursion into the past. He clearly rejected a Burkean view of history as contiguous with the present. The past should not be used to subjugate succeeding generations or to constrain their liberties by making them obedient to the prejudices of their long-dead forebears. Instead, he saw in history a transformative potential: it could be said that he made the past answer to the ideological demands of the present. Many of his texts strategically re-enact the past in order to make statements about contemporary political questions. Thelwall's democratic politics were intimately connected to his ideas about language; in turn his politics and language were intricately bound up with his view ofhistory, and specifically his views about England's Saxon past. Part ofhis historical project was to trace the etymology ofcommon English words that car-

Introduction

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ried great political weight. In one ofhis Tribune lectures, for instance, he informs his audience that: King, then, is an old Saxon word, or rather a contraction of an old Saxon word. It is derived from the word konning, which was sometimes pronounced kenning, and sometimes cunning - and from cunning or kenning - ken and King. Thus, then, in reality, King means the cunning man'.

In such a way, Thelwall appropriates and redefines the term 'king' by defamiliarizing it; that is, by removing this seemingly simple term from its familiar, everyday context. He thus urges his audience to view the term with fresh eyes and to reconsider the relation between the word's origin and its modern meanings. Like other 1790s radicals, he applies similar treatment to words like 'community', 'liberry: 'national identity', 'justice' and 'equality': part of the process of deconstructing, redefining and appropriating these terms for the cause ofreform includes tracing their evolving meanings from their origins. As he was to say about his elocutionary project, 'the knowledge of words leads to the knowledge of things'.35 Language, then, lay at the heart ofhis politics. By demonstrating that words are not static, he suggested that by extension, neither were the customs, conventions and institutions they upheld. Language and politics were equally susceptible to foundational change. Another ofThelwall's historical strategies was to close the distance between past and present events, so as to reveal for his audience the ideological trajectory ofpolitical struggle through the ages. Thus on the legitimacy of hereditary monarchy, he observed that the plain and simple fact is, chat Kings, according to our ancient Saxon constitution, and according to the original meaning of the word, were persons ofeminence, chosen to fill the office of first magistrate, on account of their superior wisdom - real or supposed ... I will venture to affirm that, legally speaking, the crown ofthis country never was hereditary, till the revolution inl 688. 36

This type of historical mapping raises such questions about the relationship between past and present. If hereditary monarchy had only become established as recently as 1688, would it be possible to re-establish a non-hereditary or elected monarchy? Was the 1688 expansion of monarchical power a usurpation ofconstitutional law? Moreover, Tuelwall's historical reading implicitly prompts even wider questions: What other checks on arbitrary power had since been lost? Which other incursions on the people's constitutional rights had been made? Were there other legal protections that Britons were in danger oflosing? What other examples from the past could guide current attempts to reform Britain's political institutions and to circumscribe governmental authority?

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As was mentioned above, the government's 'Two Acts' of 1795 rendered verbal and written words open to the charge of inciting treason and forbade political meetings of more than fifi:y people. 37 This legislation, specifically targeted at figures like Thelwall, presented him with two choices: either to give up political lecturing or to lecture on subjects outside the realm of contemporary politics. He chose neither option. Instead, as his 1796 Prospectus ofa Course of Lectures, to Be Delivered Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, in Strict Conformity with the Restrictions ofMr. Pitt's Convention Act outlines, he embarked on a course oflectures on the subject of classical history. The chronological and geographical distance between ancient Rome and modern Europe allowed him to address urgent political questions through the tissue ofhistorical remoteness. Thus he lectured on the overthrow of royalty, but he spoke of the ancient Tarquin kings (and certainly not the house of Hanover). He could lecture on how the rapacity of the Roman aristocracy inspired a discontented public to demand popular representation, yet never mention how disaffected Britons were likewise disgruntled with their debauched and dissipated social 'betters'. He could compare, too, the democracies of ancient Athens and Sparta with those of the modern world - but he was careful to refer to American and France only, and not Britain. The worlds ofAnglo-Saxon England and classical Rome and Greece were both familiar and unfamiliar. As a result, Thelwall could apply his methods of fashioning and re-fashioning to history. In such a way he invoked the past to serve the present. History should not be consulted 'for precedents', he wrote, but rather mined for material to inspire our 'speculations' and to provide 'landmarks to direct our course'. 38

Notes 1.

2. 3.

4.

5. 6. 7.

For a rich and riveting account of this and similar events involving British monarchs and their troublesome subjects, see S. Poole, The Politics ofRegicide in England 1760-1850: Troublesome Subjects (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000). State Trials, XXIV, 36 Geo.III.c.7&8. True Briton (3 November 1795). For a comprehensive discussion of the loyalist and government reaction to the events of29 October, see J. Barrell, Imagining the King's Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 551-603. W Hazlitt, 'Essay XXIV, On the Difference between Writing and Speaking', Plain Speaker in P. P. Howe (ed.) Complete Works of William Hazlitt, 21 vols. (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1930-4), vol. 12, pp. 264-5. There are, ofcourse, exceptions. See the list of further reading. Thdwall, 'Continuation of the Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messengers, &c', Volume 2, p. 93. For a discussion ofthe broader politics ofhair, see J. Barrell, The Spirit ofDespotism: Invasions ofPrivacy in the 1790s (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 145-209.

Introduction

8.

9.

10. 11 . 12. 13. 14.

15. 16.

17. 18.

19.

20.

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For a discussion of how the 1790s reform movement was theoretically stymied by the centrality of 1688, see I. Hampsher-Monk, 'On Not Inventing the English Revolution: the Radical Failure of the 1790s as Linguistic Non-Performance' in G. Burgess and M . Festenstein (eds) English Radicalism, 1550-1850 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). As Paine puts it 'every age and generation must be as free co act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generations which preceded it', 'Rights of Man' in P. Forrer (ed.) The Complete Works ofThomas Paine Volume 1 (New York, 1969), vol. 1, p. 251. Thelwall, 'The Lecture on the Revolution of 1688', Volume 2, p . 225. Thelwall, 'On the probable Consequences ofcontinuing the present System ofAmbition and Hostility: Volume 2, p. 15. Thelwall, 'No War Just but a War of Self-Defence', Volume 2, p. 26. M. Scrivener, Seditious Allegories: john Thelwall andJacobin Writing (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2001), p. 182. For a sketch of the nature of the riots and their place within wider eighteenth-century protests, see J. Stevenson, Popular Disturbances in England, 1700-1832 (Harlow: Longman, 1992), pp. 114-43. 'Godwin's Pamphlet: see Volume 2, p. 239. P. J. Corfield and C. Evans (eds), Youth and Revolution in the 1790s: Letters of WilliamPattisson, Thomas Amyot and Henry Crabb Robinson (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1996), p.138. See Volume 3 of this set, p. 35. A concrete instance of the connection between science and politics can be seen in the lives of the two physicians who influenced Thelwall, Drs Astley Cooper and Henry Cline. Both supporters of the French Revolution, Cline testified in Thelwall's defence at the 1794 Treason Trials and held a yearly dinner celebrating the acquittal for treason of reformer Horne Tooke; Cooper stayed in Paris in 1792. For more on the interrelation of poetry, medicine and politics in Thelwall's writing, see J. R. Allard, "'Great Vital Organs''.· Thelwall's The Peripatetic, Radical Materialism and the Body Politic'. in Romanticism, Medicine, and the Poet's Body, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 63-85 David Hartley (bapt. 1705, d. 1757), philosopher, physician; author of Observations on Man, in which he refuted mind-body duality and the idea of free will. Hartley applied Newtonian science to his explication of the functioning of the human body and the process by which ideas are formed. He rook up Locke's notion of the mind as a 'tabula rasa'. Borrowing Locke's phrase, he argued for the 'association of ideas' - not that ideas are pre-existing, but that through neurological processes, ideas are formed when such things as sensory stimuli and emotional impressions are fused into new and increasingly complex compounds (which Hartley terms 'decomplex' actions) . In other words, the mind was mechanistic, and could not act independently of the brain and other biological elements. This fusing of the intellectual with the biological would seem to cast Hartley as a determinist, and in large part this is true, but he also emphasized human choice in the performance of'decomplex' acts. Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), scientist, political reformer, theologian and natural philosopher. Priestley was philosophically and scientifically aligned with Hartley. His Doctrine ofPhilosophical Necessity ( 1777) and Free Discussion of the Doctrines ofMaterialism and Philosophical Necessity (l 778) proposed a type of mechanistic determinism. Priestley worked simultaneously on theological and political studies whilst carrying on

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21.

22. 23.

24. 25.

26. 27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

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scientific experiments, which resulted in the discovery of ammonia gas, nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and, most importantly, oxygen. The extent of Lawrence's materialism is much debated, and critics have often pointed to his identification of 'vital properties; which he defines as 'sensibility and irritability' as indicative of his vitalism. On this debate, see S. Ruston, Shelley and Vitality (Houndmills, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 'Introduction' and ch. l. Alier this event, Thelwall withdrew from the Physical Society. J. Abernethy, Physiological Lectures, Exhibiting a General View ofMr Hunter's Physiology, and ofhis researches in Comparative Anatomy, delviered before the Royal College of Surgeons, in the year 1817 (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1817), p. 52. See Volume 4, p. 12. See Volume 4, p. 33; for more on Thelwall's elocutionary practice, see J. F. Duchan, 'The Conceptual Underpinnings ofJohn Thelwall's Elocutionary Practices' in S. Poole (ed.), Radical Romantic and Acquitted Felon: Essays on john Thelwall, 1764-1834 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009). A. McCann, 'Romantic Self-Fashioning: John Thelwall and the Science of Elocution; Studies in Romanticism, 40 (Summer 2001), pp. 215-32, p. 217. In the 'Memoir' that proceeded his Poems Written Chiefly in Retirement, Thelwall writes that 'The Man, and not The Politician' now stood before the public and that 'The Lecturer and Leader of Popular Societies is now no more' (p. ii) . He insists that 'the politician should be forgotten' and that the public consider him 'only as a candidate for poetical and moral reputation' (p. ii). He absolutely refuses, he writes, 'to vindicate [his] public conduct' from any 'misrepresentations, for political discussion would ill accord' with his role as family man-farmer-poet (pp. ii, xlviii). He claims that though he remained 'unchanged in his opinions; he refuses to address political issues as he fears for himself, 'his unoffending family' and for the general state 'of the public mind' (pp. xxxiv, xxxv). For more on this and the politics ofThelwall's self-presentation in general, see C. Wagner, 'Domestic Invasions: John Thelwall and the Exploitation of Privacy; in S. Poole (ed.), Radical Romantic and Acquitted Felon: Essays on john Thelwall, 1764-1834 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2009). J. L.Austin, How to do Things with Words, 2nd edn, ed.J. Urmson and M. Sbisa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975). See Volume 4, p. 65 SeeVolume4,p. 169. Seep. 63. See M. Wollstonecraft, A Vindication ofthe Rights of Woman (1792; Oxford: Oxford University Press 1999); see also Volume 3 of this set. See Volume 1, p. 124. See Volume 2, p. 52. SeeVolume4,p.119. See Volume 2, p. 255. State Trials, XXIV, 36 Geo.Ill.c.7&8. Thelwall, 'The Rights ofNature' in Claeys (ed.), The Politics ofEnglishjacobinism: Writings ofjohn Thelwall, p. 463.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Works by Thelwall Orlando andAlmeyda: a Legendary Tale (London: 1787). Poems on T-arious Subjects, 2 vols (London: John Denis, 1787). Ode to Science. Recited at the Anniversary Meeting ofthe Philomathian Society, June 20, 1791 (London: Samuells & Richie, 1791 ). The Rock efModrec; or the Legend efSir Eltram (London: W. Bent, 1792).

An Essay towards a Definition efAnimal Vitality in which Several efthe Opinions ofjohn Hunter are Examined and Controverted. Read at the Theatre ofGuy's Hospital January 26, 1793 (London: T. Rickaby et al, 1793).

The Peripatetic, or Sketches efthe Heart ofNature and Society in a Series ofPoliticoSentimentalJournals, 3 vols (Southwark: Printed and sold by author, 1793)

Political Lectures, Containing the Lecture on Spies and Informers and the First Lecture on Prosecutionsfor Political Opinions, to Which is Prefixed a narrative offacts relative to the recent attempts to wrestfrom the people the palladium ef their naturaland constitutional rights, Liberty ofSpeech, vol. 1 (London: D.I. Eaton, 1794). PoliticalLectures, No. 1, On the Moral Tendency ofa System ofSpies and Informers and the Conduct to be Observed by the Friends ofLiberty and the Conduct to be Observed During the Continuance efSuch a System (London: for the author, 1794).

Political Lectures No. 2, Sketches ofthe History efProsecutions for Political Opinion: with Strictures on the Late Proceedings efthe Court efjusticiary in Scotland (London: for the author, 1794). Poems Written in Close Confinement in the Tower and Newgate, Under a Charge ofHigh Treason (London:]. Ridgway et al, 1795)

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john Gilpin's Ghost: Or the T¾zrning Voice ofKing Chanticleer: An Historical Ballad: Written Before the Late Trials and Dedicated to the Treason-hunters of Oakham (London: T. Smith, 1795). The Natural and Constitutional Rights ofBritons to Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Freedom ofAssociation (London: J. Symonds, 1795). PeacefulDiscussion and not Tumultuary Violence the Means ofRedressingNational Grievance. The Speech ofjohn The/wall at the GeneralMeeting ofThe Friends of Parliamentary Reform called by the London Corresponding Society and Held in the Neighborhood ofCopenhagen House (London: Printed for J. Thelwall, 1795).

The Speech ofjohn The/wall at the Second Meeting ofthe London Corresponding Society at Copenhagen House. November 12, 1795 (London, 1795). The Tribune, a periodical, 3 vols (14 March 1795-25 April 1796). The Rights ofNature Against the Ursurpations ofEstablishments, being Letters to the People ofBritain in Answer to the RecentEffusions to the RightHonourable E. Burke (London: H. D. Symonds&]. March, 1796). Sober Reflections on the Seditious and Inflammatory Letter ofthe Right Honourable E. Burke to a Noble Lord (London: H. D. Symonds, 1796). An Appeal to Popular Opinion, against Kidnapping andMurder including the late Atrocious Proceedings at Yarmouth, 2nd edition, Including apostscript containing a particular account ofthe outrages at Lynn and Wisbeach (London: F.S. Jordon, 1796).

Prospectus ofa Course ofLectures to be Delivered every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday during the Ensuing Lent, in Strict Conformity with the Restrictions ofMr. Pitt's Convention Act (London: H. D. Symond's, 1796). An Address to the Inhabitants ofYarmouth, on the Violent Outrage Lately Committed in Their Town (Yarmouth: F. Bush, 1796). 'The Phenomena of the Wye, During the Winter of 1797-8', Monthly Magazine, 5 (March 1798), pp. 343-6. 'The Phenomena of the Wye, During the Winter of 1797-8', Monthly Magazine, 6 (May 1798), pp. 20-1. 1798-1800: Various short articles in the Monthly Magazine: Vol. 5 (March 1798),pp.177-9 Vol. 5 (May 1798), pp. 343-6 Vol. 5 (June 1798), pp. 418-21 Vol. 6 (July 1798), pp. 20-1 Vol. 6 (November 1798), pp. 323-4 Vol. 6 (December 1798), p. 409

Select Bibliography

xxvii

Vol. 9 (July 1800), pp. 529-34 Vol. 10 (September 1800), pp. 127-30 'A Pedestrian Excursion Through Several Pares of England and Wales During the Summer of 1797', Monthly Magazine, 8 (August 1799, pp. 532-3; September 1799, pp. 616-19; November, 1799, pp. 783-5;January 1800, pp. 966-7). 'A Pedestrian Excursion Through Several Pares of England and Wales During the Summer of 1797', Monthly Magazine, 9 (April 1800), pp. 228-231. 'A Pedestrian Excursion Through Several Parts of England and Wales During the Summer of 1797', Monthly Magazine, 11 (March 1801), pp. 123-5. A Pedestrian Excursion Through Several Pares of England and Wales During the Summer of 1797', Monthly Magazine, 12 (September 1801, pp. 103-6; October 1801, pp. 198-200; November 1801, pp. 305-8).

Poems Chief/,y Written in Retirement (Hereford: W.H. Parker, 1801).

The Daughter ofAdoption: A Tale ofModern Times, 4 vols (London: R. Phillips, 1801).

Selections and original articles, read and recited in illustration ofMr. The/wall's lectures on the science andpractice ofelocution (York: A. Bartholoman; Wakefield: Printed by Rowland Hurst, 1802)

Poems Chief/,y Written in Retirement. The Fairy ofthe Lake, a Dramatic Romance; Effusions ofRelative and Social Feeling: and Specimens ofthe Hope ofAlbion; or, Edwin ofNorthumbria: An Epic Poem (Hereford: W.H. Parker, 1802). The Black Bowl; or the Tears ofEboracum, Feb. 3, 1208 (York: A. Bartholoman, 1802).

'J. Thelwall's justification', Monthly Magazine, 13 (1802), pp. 344-7.

General Plan and Outline ofMr. The/wall's Course ofLectures on the Science and Practice ofElocution Delivered and About to be Delivered (Birmingham: J. Belcher, 1802).

Element in the Science ofElocution. Volume 12, Part 2 ofRees, Abraham The New Cyclopaedia: or, Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Formed Upon a More Enlarged Plan of Arrangement than the Dictionary of Mr. Chambers, Comprehending the Vt,,rious Articles of That Work, with Additions and Improvements, Together with the New Subjects ofBiography, Geography, and History, and Adapted to the present State ofLiterature and Science (Philadelphia: R. Carr and]. Conrad, 1802).

Elocution and Oratory: generalplan and outline ofMr. The/wall's course oflectures, on the science and practice ofelocution; delivered and about to be delivered, in

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the principal cities and towns ofEngland, Scotland, etc (Manchester: R. & W. Dean, 1803) 'Mr. Thelwall and Mr. Gough on the voice', Monthly Magazine, 17 (1804), pp. 9-11. 'Case ofa child blind and speechless, apparently from the operation ofthe inoculated small-pox',Monthly Magazine, 17 (1804), pp. 516-19.

A Letter to FrancisJeffrey, Esq., on Certain Calumnies and Misrepresentations in the Edinburgh Review; the Conduct ofCertain Individuals on the Night ofMr. The/wall's Probationary Lecture at Bernard's Rooms Edinburgh and the Ignorance ofthe New Critical]unto ofthe SimplestElements ofEnglish Composition and English Grammar, with an Appendix, Containing Outlines ofa Course of Lectures on the Science and Practice ofElocution (Glasgow: printed for the author by John Turnbull, 1804). Mr. The/wall's Reply to the Calumnies, Misrepresentations, and Literary Forgeries, Contained in the Anonymous Observations on his Letter to the Editor ofthe Edinburgh Review: With a Further Exposition ofthe Ungrammatical Ignorance ofthe Writers and Vindicators ofthat Defamatoryjournal (Glasgow: W. Lang, 1804). 'On Cutting the Bridle of the Tongue', The Medical and Physical journal, 14 (1805), pp. 256-9.

Mr. The/wall's Introductory Discourse on the Nature and Objects ofElocutionary Science; and the Studies and Accomplishments Connected with the Cultivation ofthe Faculty ofOral Expression: with Outlines ofa Course ofLectures on the Science and Practice ofElocution (London: Ponterfact, 1805). 'Letter to the editor', Medical and Physicaljournal, 13 (1805), pp. 450-5.

The Trident ofAlbion, an Epic Effusion; and an Oration on the Influence ofElocution on MartialEnthusiasm; with an Address to the Shade ofNelson, Delivered at the Lyceum, Liverpool on Occasion ofthe Late Glorious Naval Victory. To Which is Prefixed an Introductory Discourse on the Nature and Objects ofElocutionary Science (Liverpool: G. F. Harris, 1805). 'On difficulty ofspeech: Medical and Physicaljournal, 15 (1806), pp. 172-5.

Selections and Original Articles, far Mr. The/wall's Lectures on the Science and Practice ofElocution; Together with the Introductory Discourse and Outlines (Birmingham: J. Belcher & Son, 1806) A Monody, Occasioned by the Death ofthe Right Honorable Charles James Fox (London: Printed for the author, 1806). 'On the Musical Properties of English Syllables', Monthly Magazine, 23 (1807), pp. 28-31.

Select Bibliography

xxix

'Correction of Mistakes in Relation to Abbe de l'Eppe', Monthly Magazine, 24 (1807), pp. 442-5. 'Further Particulars of the Public Exhibition of Pupils at Mr. Thelwall's Institution for the Cure of Impediments ofSpeech',MonthlyMagazine, 24 (1807), pp.41-2.

Mr The/wall's Plan and Terms ofTuition, etc.: Institution for the Cure ofImpediments of Speech, Instruction of Foreigners, Cultivation of Oratory, English Composition and Polite Literature, and the Preparation ofYouth for the more LiberalDepartments ofActive Life (London, 1808). 'On the Treatment of Impediments and of the Deafand Dumb', Monthly Magazine, 25 (1808), pp. 202-5. 'Historical and Oratorical Society at Mr. Thelwall's Institution', Monthly Magazine, 28 (1809), pp.152-7.

A Letter to Henry Cline, Esq. on Imperfect Development ofthe Faculties Mental and Moral as well as Constitutional and Organic and on the Treatment of Impediments ofSpeech (London: Richard Taylor & Co, 1810). The Vestibule ofEloquence ... Original Articles, Oratorical and Poetical Intended as Exercises in Recitation, etc. (London: J. McCreery, 1810). 'On the Application of the Principles ofMusical Proportion in the Treatment of Impediments ofSpeech', Monthly Magazine, 30 (1810), pp. 104-8. 'Mr. Thelwall's reply to Mr. Smart',Monthly Magazine, 30 (1810), pp. 301-3.

Selectionsfor the Illustration ofa Course ofInstructions on the Rhythmus and Utterance ofthe English Language: with an Introductory Essay on the Application of Rhythmical Science to the Treatment ofImpediments, and the Improvement of our National Aratory; and an Elementary Analysis ofthe Science and Practice ofElocution, Composition, etc (London: J. McCreery, 1812). 'Defence of Mr. Thelwall on the Criticisms Against his Three Publications in the Monthly Review: New Review, 1 (1813), pp. 689-93.

Results ofExperience in the Treatment ofCases ofDefective Utterance,.from Deficiencies in the Roofofthe Mouth and Other Mal-conformations ofthe Organs ofSpeech, with Observations on Cases ofAmentia and Tardy and Imperfect Developments ofthe Faculties (London: J. McCreery). The Poetical Recreations of The Champion, Literary and Critical which have Appeared in The Champion Newspaper (London: Champion Press, 1822). 'Mr Thelwall's lecture on the enunicative organs and formation of the literal elements', Monthly Magazine, 60 (1825), pp. 113-17. 'Critique ofErasmus Darwin', Monthly Magazine, 60 (1825), pp. 5-8.

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Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

'Mr. Thelwall's Lecture. On the harmonic qualities of the literal elements, and their classification according to their musical and other inherent properties', Panoramic Miscellany, 1 (1826),pp. 41-7, 193-8, 347-54, 635-42, 796. We have not included short pamphlets of excerpted material from The Tribune here, nor the many articles, impossible to list here, that Thelwall wrote for the The Biographical and Imperial Magazine (London, ed. Thelwall, 178992) and The Champion (London, ed. Thelwall, 1819-1821). We have also listed only lifetime publications, rather than modern editions ofhis work.

Works on Thelwall Allard, J., Romanticism, Medicine, and the Poet's Body (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). Allard, J., John Thelwall and the politics of medicine', European Romantic Review 15: 1 (2004), pp. 73-87.

Allen, S. B., 'William Godwin's Infuence upon John Thelwall', Publications ifthe ModernLanguageAssociation, 37 (1922),pp. 662-82. Anon., 'John Thelwall: Obituary Notice' The Times (19 February 1834), p. 5.

Cestre, C.,john The/wall. A Pioneer ifDemocracy and Social Reform in England during the French Revolution (London: Sonnenschein & Co., 1906). Claeys, G. (ed.), The Politics if English jacobinism: Writings ofjohn The/wall (State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995).

Cone, C ., The EnglishJaco bins (New York: Scribners, 1968) Gallop, G., 'Ideology and the English Jacobins: The case of John Thelwall', Enlightenment and Dissent, 5 (1986), pp. 3-20. Gibbs, W., 'John Thelwall and the Panoramic Miscellany', Notes and Queries (1928), pp. 386-92. Gibbs, W., 'Unpublished Letter from John Thelwall to S. T. Coleridge', Modern Language Review, 25 (1930), pp. 85-90. Grumbling, V. 0., 'John Thelwall: Romantick and Revolutionist' (unpublished dissertation, UniversityofNew Hampshire, 1977). Haberman, F., 'John Thelwall: His Life, His School, and his Theory ofElocution', in R. Howes (ed.), Historical Studies ofRhetoric and Rhetoricians (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1961), pp. 189-97. Hampsher-Monk, I.John The/wall and the Eighteenth-Century RadicalResponse to PoliticalEconomy, Historical Journal, 34 (1991), pp. 1-20. Jeffrey, F., 'Thelwall's Poems',Edinburgh Review, 2 (1803), pp. 197-202.

Select Bibliography

xxxi

Jeffrey, F., 'Observations on Mr. Thelwall's Letter to the Editor of the Edinburgh Review' (Edinburgh: D. Willison, 1804). Johnston, K., The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel Spy (New York: Norton, 1998). McCann, A., 'Politico-Sentimentality: John Thelwall, Literary Production and Critique of Capital in the 1790s', Romanticism, 3 (1997), pp. 35-52. McCann, A., Cultural Politics in the 1790s: Literature, Radicalism and the Public Sphere (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999).

J., Romanticism, Enthusiasm and Regulation: Poetics and the Policing of Culture in the Romantic Period (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Mee,

Murphy, M., 'John Thelwall, Coleridge, and the Ancient Mariner' Romanticism, 8 (2002), pp. 62-75.

Newton, J., The Trial at Large ofJohn The/wallfor High Treason (London: H. D. Symonds, 1795). Osterheld, H., 'John Thelwall's Polyvocal Politics', Eighteenth-Century Studies, 36:1 (2002), pp. 122-05. Pollin, B. R., 'John Thelwall's Marginalia in a copy of Coleridge's Bibliographia Literaria', Bulletin ofthe New York Public Library, 74 (1970), pp. 73-94. Poole, S. (ed.),john Thelwall:Radical Romantic and Acquitted Felon (London: Pickering& Chatto, 2009). Rockey, D., 'The Logopaedic Thought ofJohn Thelwall, 1764-1834: First British Speech Therapist', British journal of Disorders ofSpeech, 12 (1977), pp. 83-95. Rockey, D., 'John Thelwall and the Origins of British Speech Therapy', Medical History 23, (1979), pp. 156-175. Roe, N., 'Who was Spy Nozy?' Wordsworth Circle, 15 (1984) pp. 46-50. Roe, N., Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988). Roe, N., 'Coleridge and John Thelwall: The Road to Nether Stowey' in Gravil, R. and M. Lefebure (eds) The Coleridge Connection (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990), pp. 60-80. Roe, N., 'Atmospheric Air Itself: Medical Science, Politics and Poetry in Thelwall, Coleridge and Wordsworth' in R. Cronin (ed.) 1798: The year of the LyricalBallads (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998), pp. 185-202. Roe, N. The Politics ofNature: William Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries, 2nd ed. (Houndsmills: Palgrave, 2002).

xxxii

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

Scrivener, M., 'John Thelwall and the Press' in S. Behrendt (ed.) Romanticism, Radicalism and the Press, (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1997), pp. 120-136. Scrivener, M., 'John Thelwall's Political Ambivalence: Reform and Revolution' in M. Davis (ed.) Radicalism and Revolution in Britain, 1775-1848 (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2000), pp. 69-83. Scrivener, M., 'John Thelwall and popular Jacobin allegory, 1793-95', ELH 67:4 (2000),pp. 951-71. Scrivener, M., Seditious allegories.-john The/wall andJacobin writing (State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001). Scrivener, M., 'John Thelwall and the Revolution of 1649' in T. Morton and N. Smith (eds) Radicalism in British Literary Culture, 1650-1830 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 119-32. Shaw,}., 'John Thelwall and the Revolution of 1749' in Morton, T. and N. Smith (eds) Radicalism in British Literary Culture, 1650-1830: From Revolution to Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). Smith, E., The Story ofthe EnglishJacobins: Being an Account ofthe Persons Implicated in the Charges ofHigh Treason, 1794 (London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin &Co, 1881). Thelwall, C. B., The life ofjohn The/wall (London: J. Macrone, 1837).

Thelwall, R., 'The Phonetic Theory ofJohn Thelwall' in Asher, R. E., and E. J. A. Henderson (eds) Towards a history ofphonetics (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981), pp. 186-203.

Thompson, E. P., 'Hunting the Jacobin Fox' Past and Present, 142 (1994), pp. 94-140. Thompson,}., 'An autumnal blast, a killing frost: Coleridge's poetic conversation with John Thelwall', Studies in Romanticism 36: 3 (1977), pp. 427-56. Thompson,}., 'John Thelwall and the Politics ofGenre, 1793-1993' Wordsworth Circle 25:1 (1994), pp. 21-4. Thompson, J., "'A Voice in the Representation": John Thelwall and the Enfranchisement of Literature' in Wright, J., and T. Rajan (eds) Romanticism, History and the Possibilities of Genre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 122-48.

CHRONOLOGY

1764 1773 1777

Thelwall is born in Covent Garden, London (27 July). His father Joseph Thelwall dies. He takes his first job as a shopkeeper (aged fourteen), in the family business. 1780 He is apprenticed to a tailor. 1782 He contacts the artist Benjamin West, seeking an apprenticeship with an artist, but due to his family's decreasing finances, he begins a threeand-a-halfyear apprenticeship to attorney John Impey. Publishes Poems on Vtzrious Subjects. 1787 Thelwall enters politics as a poll clerk; begins affiliation with the radi1788 cal Westminster MP John Horne Tooke. 1789-91 Edits Biographical and Imperial Magazine. Marries Susan (Stella) Vellum (27 July). 1791 Attends lectures at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital. 1791 Delivers lecture 'Toward the Definition of Animal Vitality' to the 1793 Physical Society at Guy's Hospital. Publishes the autobiographical, philosophical travelogue, The Peripa1793 tetic (April), joins the London Corresponding Society (October). Daughter Maria Thelwall is born. 1793 Along with twelve other reformers, he is charged with treason; begins 1794 a nine-month stay in Newgate prison and The Tower. Treason trials; all defendants are acquitted (December). 1794 Publishes Poems Written in Close Confinement While in the Tower. 1795 Son Sidney Algernon is born. 1795 Lectures at London Corresponding Society outdoor meetings, one of 1795 which is captured in James Gillray's cartoon 'Copenhagen Fields'. 1796 Publishes The Rights ofNature. 1796 or 1797 Second son, Hampden is born. 1796-7 Tours England on a classical history lecture series.

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xxxiv

1797 1798 1798-9 1799 1801

1801 1801 1810 1816 1818 1818

1825-6 1834

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

Thelwall walks from London to visit Samuel Taylor Coleridge at Nether Stowey, Somerset and William Wordsworth in Alfoxden, Somerset (July); publishes his journey in the Monthly Magazine. Retires to a small rented farm at Llyswen, in the Wye Valley, Wales. Widespread crop failure. Six-year-old daughter Maria dies. Publishes Poems Chiefly Written in Retirement and Daughter ofAdoption ( as John Beaufort). Begins his career as elocutionist. Embarks on lecture tour on elocution and oratory, spending time in northern England and Scotland. Publishes A Letter to Henry Cline, a treatise on elocution. Susan (Stella) Vellum dies. Thelwall marries Cecil Boyle, an actress thirty years his junior. Takes over editorship of The Champion (until 1821). Edits Monthly Magazine and Panoramic Miscellany, literary and political journals. Thelwall dies of apparent heart failure in his sleep at Bath, England, while on a lecture tour and is buried there (February).

ODE TO SCIENCE

Ode to Science. Recited at the Anniversary Meeting ofthe Philomathian Society; June 20, 1791 (London: Samuells & Richie, 1791). As the tide page indicates, Ode to Science was written for the anniversary of the Philomathian Society, 20 June 1791. When it was published

meeting pamphlet,

it

was

with 'The

as a

the Song, Sung Same Occasion' (not included in this edition). This is one of the earliest of Thelwall's overtly political compositions: he had only officially entered the political realm the year before, when he supported John Home Tooke in the Westminster election of 1790. Although the Ode is perhaps not dazzling in terms of poetic achievement, it is an important document as it testifies to Thelwall's early slim

partnered

by Brother Webb,

on

interest relationship politics in the

between

The Philomathian met

and science.

debating clubs that fortnightly to discuss political and philosophical issues. Although relatively Society

was one

of several London

little is known about this society, in his Recollections, John Binns, the Irish radical and one-time member of the London of his time

as a

twenty-one in number and that, in 1793, members included but the philosopher William Godwin and the writer Thomas himself,

strictly limited not

only

Philomath in the

Corresponding Society recalls something 1790s. 1 He records that club membership was

to

Holcroft. Binns

humorously recalls how, when Godwin and Holcroft gained a

reputation for being among the most diffuse and tiresome of speakers', the adopted a rule that no speaker could have the floor for more than fifteen

society minutes. To enforce this minute

hourglasses.

rule, a

From the

committee

scant

was

evidence

formed

we

have,

to

purchase two fifteen-

we can

also surmise that

the

Society was at least somewhat mixed in terms of social background. Godwin's Prospectus for a 'Select Club' he planned to form in the mid-1790s indicates his

preference for a more eminent group of debaters, which would include lawyers, medical men and key Whig parliamentarians. Yet, the fact that Binns was a plumber and that Thelwall was not yet established in his political career in 1791 points to a wider membership in the Philomathian Society.

intellectuals,

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2

Although he only joined the society in 1793, Godwin's journal furnishes us with a sense of the topics of debate. As William St Clair helpfully summarizes, the themes included: original depravity versus political institution, crime, legislative power, bloodshed, treaties, a God, prostitutes versus parsons, theatres, utility of religion, fame (several times), love, marriage (several times), capital punishment, free will (many times), gratitude, suicide, self love, property, ballot, means of reform, connection of free states and despots, tribunes, soldier versus priest, Church and State, Caesar. 2

We can add two more topics to this list: the diarist and lawyer Henry Crabb Robinson recorded how, on two of the occasions he attended the Philomathian Society in 1796, the members debated whether 'the actions of men form a part ofthe plan ofprovidence' and what was 'the analogy between natural and moral diseases' 3 It is easy to imagine how such issues - no doubt very similar to those that would have been debated when Thelwall attended - would have galvanized him, provided an arena for him to hone his fiery oratorical style and provided superb training for his days as a political lecturer.

Notes 1.

2.

3.

J. Binns, Recollections of the Life ofJohn Binns:

Twenty-nine Years in Europe and FiftyThree in the United States, (Philadelphia: by the Author, 1854), p. 45. 'Prospectus for a Select Club; MSS Oxford, Bodleian Library:AbingerDeposit, C 606/2; see also William St. Clair, The Godwins and the Shelleys, p. 92 (St. Clair records the Pro-

spectus as located at 532/4). H . C. Robinson to his brother, 12 December 1796, MS Dr Williams Library, University of London.; transcribed in St. Clair, The Godwins and the Shelleys, p. 92.

ODE TO

SCIENCE. RECITED AT THE ANNIVERSARY MEETING OF THE

PHILOMATHIAN SOCIETY, JUNE 20, 1791. TOGETHER WITH THE

SONG, SUNG BY

BROTHER WEBB, ON THE SAME OCCASION. BY BROTHER THELWALL. At ne quis modici transiliat munera Liberi, Centaurea monet cum Lapithis rixa super mero Debellata: monet Sithoniis non levis Evius, Quum fas atque nefas, exiguo fine, libidinum Discernunt avidi. HOR. - That none may surpass The freedom and mirth of a temperate glass, Let us chink on the Lapith~'s quarrels so dire, And the Thracians, whom wine can to madness inspire: lnsatiate ofliquor when glow their full veins, No distinction ofvice or ofvirtue remains. FRANCIS.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR THE USE OF THE MEMBERS, BY SAMMELLS AND RITCHIE, ALBION-BUILDINGS, BARTHOLOMEW-CLOSE.

MDCCXCI. -3-

4

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

ODE FOR THE

ANN IVE RS ARY OFTHE

PHILOMATHIAN SOCIETY,1 I. I. IF, Inspiration, from the radiant sphere, Where, at the threshold of the immortal throne, Thou pourest the high instructive theme, Warbling in seraphic ear Those sacred truths revealed to thee alone; W hile, from thy laurell'd brows, effulgent, beam The glories wh ich thy state transcendant prove First of the hii:rarch train ! chiefheir of H eavenly love ! I. 2.

I£ Inspiration, from this radiant d ime,

Thou e'er, attentive to sublunar strain, Wert by the bard enamour'd woo'd H is raptur'd fancy to sublime, And teach his feeble pinion to attain The awful height of thy beatitude, Now, Inspiration, now, my bosom fire, While Science's hallow'd praise reverberates from my lyre.

1.3 Yes, star-crown'd Science, awful Maid! (Lov'd sister of the genuine Muse, My theme invokes) who in the shade Where philosophic Thought retires, And, as the sombre scene inspires, The moral due intent pursues, To trace what laws great nature's plan controul, And heav'n-ward lift the all-admiring soul: Yes, star-crown'd Science, awful Maid! Who, or within this hallow'd shade Were first conceiv'd, or on the hoary height Of some stupendous rock, sublime, W here C ontemplation loves to climb, And, through the still domain of n ight,

Ode to Science 'Eye the blue vault; and moveless pole,2 (Round which the stars apparent roll) With daring thought, intent ro solve What worlds round blazing worlds revolve; What systems beyond systems dwell, More than numeric arcs can tell! Which angel eyes, perhaps, behold In boundless vision circling roll'd: Systems round systems infinite appear, And in the never-ending circle join To form the great eternal year: Yes, hallowed Science, awful, and divine! Thine is my votive theme; the praise, the triumph chine. ILL 'Twas thou, 0 Science! from barbaric Night That roused of old man's wretched race, And heaven-ward rear'd the grov'ling soul To claim its sov'reign right; That bad'st his savage solitude give place To social Joys, and Reason's calm controul. Thou giv'st the virtuous mind, and, Science, thou The god-like form erect, and soul-illumin'd brow. IL 2. Each comfort too chat soothes the social state; Refinement's arts, and all the joys oflife, To thee, benignant pow'r! we owe. You wrest the shafts of angry fate; Subdue the raging billows hostile strife, And ward the angry bolts avenging Tempests throw: Thine is the healing balm, the naval tower, And thine the temper'd rod's conducting power. IL 3. Tho' Traffic, proud of sordid ore, Ungraceful to a parent's fame, Pretend to scorn thy hallow'd Lore; Yet, wrapt in dulness while she lies, Or plung'd in avaricious joys, The fauchful Muse shall loud proclaim To thee, all-bounteous Science! thee, alone, She owes whace'er supports her boastful throne. Who planned the oar? the masted ship, That wafu her o'er the subject deep? Who caught to mark the pilot stat? The compass whose, chat guides her course afar? 'Twas Science plann'd the oar, the ship,

5

6

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 That wafts her o'er rhe subject deep. 'Twas Science mark'd the pilot star: Science the compass form'd that guides her course afar. Thus Science every realm explores, Thus Science weds rhe hostile shores; From clime to clime, from strand to strand, Wafu every boon ofevery land; Gives freely to rhe frozen Isle The bounties of the fervid soil; E'en Nature's stern decree controuls, And joins, at will, rhe distant poles; And, bounding o'er rhe barrier main, Blends distant worlds in Traffic's chain. Hence e'en the genial board proclaims her praise; Hence on rhis day our Goblets brighter shine, And Joy smiles forth wirh brighter rays. Then, hallowed power! benignant, and divine! Thine be rhe votive theme; rhe triumph, Science, thine.

Ill. I. Such, Philomathians, such rhe bounteous power To whom we consecrate our humble shrine; To whom our humble vows are paid: To whom awhile the genial hour To dedicate, in friendly Mirrh we join: Yet, e'en in festive Mirth, her sacred aid Invoke, ro bid our festive transports rise Above rhe sordid herd, profane, ofvulgar Joys.

Ill. 2. Hail Philomarhians ! then; and may the name (As wirh prophetic joy my soul foresees) Thro' distant ages hallow'd shine. Hail Candidates for guiltless fame! Who Learning's bloodless palm aspire to seize, Whose triumphs make no widow'd heart repine, But trophies leave to rouse succeeding yourh To deeds by Wisdom priz'd, by Virtue, Honour, Trurh.

Ill. 3. Nor on this day should be forgot What names your former triumphs grac'd: Ah! snatch'd by too severe a lot, (By heedless Pleasure snatch'd away Who quench'd the bright etherial ray.) Their race curtail'd, their Fame effac'd, Design'd rhro' distant ages ro proclaim The Glories of rhe Philomathian name.

Ode to Science 0 WYNNE! 3 0 POLLARD !4 form'd to move Our admiration - pity- love! That, skill'd to please with sterling sense; This, pour the rapt'rous stream ofwinning Eloquence. O! suffer one unknown to fame, (Who kindles at each honour'd name) To weep your faults - proclaim your praise, Ere yet the Memory ofyour Worth decays: 0 suffer o'er your grassy bier To shed a younger Brother's tear; Oblivion's shades awhile controul, And vindicate each 'lumin'd soul; And seize the hour, in act, to own A rival's merits, as his own, Can to the Muse's son appear As sacred, and his rights as dear. Yes, let the blazon'd monument of rhyme (0 that the Trophy might endure!) atone For cruel Fate's malignant crime, That to your ashes grants no honoured stone, To make your mental stores, your promis'd glories known. IV. I. But other Worthies - other Hopes arise, To spread our Institution's lasting praise, And dignify the rising age. These, rul'd by more indulgent skies, Shall live to grasp fair Learning's hallow'd bays, And stemming hostile Envy's serpent rage, Shall Admiration's grateful voice engage. These, taught by past examples, shall descry The covert rocks, and Pleasure's syren lure defy. IV. 2. The Bar, for manly Eloquence renown'd, Its rising Glory's nurt'ring School shall bless, And spread our Institution's fame; The while our Worthies, civic-crown'd, Shall forward to its proudest Honours press. Nor less from us the polish'd Arts shall claim. 0 that the partial Muse, with sacred flame! Might thro' this panting breast as certain glow, And twine with laureate Bays your bard's aspiring Brow! IV. 3. Then, hail! ye Philomathians, hail! Who, in your Academic shade, With social Friendship's genial gale

7

8

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 Would fan the latent sparks of Worth, And call the fires of Genius forth; Of Genius never doom'd to fade! Oh! may the Triumphs of this festive day, While Mirth and Friendship wafi: each care away Still firmer knit the cordial tie, And still an added spring supply To virtuous Emulation, and the aim Which animates, with force confest, Each genuine Philomathian's breast, To win, or merit, wreaths ofvirtuous fame. Meanwhile, let Mirth and Pleasure flow; Unbend awhile the mental bow. Let Wine, and Wit, and Jest, and Song, Wing swifi: the rosy hours along; Let Fancy blithe, her pinions plume, And Humour grace the jocund dome, But chieflet Friendship, void ofguile, Appear, with heart-expressive smile; 'Till, inmate ofeach worthy breast, Gay Transport reigns, a blameless guest, And (guided still by Reason's mild controul) This truth by Philomathians may be shewn, That even Pleasure's mantling bowl, 'Mong Learning's friends, a higher zest can own Than e'er was yet received from Sensual draughts alone.

AN ESSAY, TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF ANIMAL VITALITY

An Essay, Towards a Definition

ofAnimal Vitality in which Several ofthe Opinions of of Guy's Hospital Rickaby et al, 1793).

Hunter are Examined and Controverted. Read at the Theatre

John January 26, 1793 (London: T.

Throughout his life, Thelwall had an abiding interest in anatomy and physiology. He became a member of the Physical Society in the autumn of 1791 and attended meetings from then until 1793 at Guy's Hospital School in Southwark, London. One could easily imagine that he would relish the spirit of debate and progressive thought that characterized the society in those years. His Essay, Towards a ofAnimal Vitality is the printed lecture he gave at the society's monthly

Definition

meeting on 26 January 1793. His intellectual and oratorical abilities had earned him an invitation to give this address, and by all accounts he was impressive: the paper

allegedly inspired

animated debate for weeks and

garnered

Thelwall

an

appreciative letter of thanks from the Society's secretary.

Throughout the

text, Thelwall refers to the lectures of the

highly influential

surgeon and anatomist John Hunter (these lectures would later be published A Treatise on the Blood, Inflammation, and Gun-Shot Wounds). As Thelwall

as

indicates footnote, himself, in

the a

he did

a

of

not

later

gain

a

fame

condition from Thelwall's

as

but referred

attend Hunter's lectures

friend'. This friend is

very ingenious fellow reformer and member of the London notes

most

to

likely James Parkinson,

Corresponding Society (he would

the surgeon who identified Parkinson's disease

as a

distinct

palsy).

Essay

is

a

rather defiant and

daring critique

of the idea,

as

expounded by Hunter, that the vital principle the source of human life was located in the blood. 1 For the materialist Thelwall, life could not be located in the blood itself, nor could it be super-added to the body through the blood. Rather, life was inherent in the biological organs, that is, the material or

matter of the body. Thelwall's challenge directed specific medical was

alone, but

not

at

the

tenets

and as he puts it rationality and reform

importantly, dogma, superstition, 'overzealousness' supported emphasis more

that

to

such

tenets.

His

on

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Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

10

within the scientific realm reveals how Thelwall's challenge to the medical establishment mirrored his challenge to the political status quo. The connection between politics and science was made, too, by the more conservative members of the medical establishment. In the increasingly reactionary political climate of the mid-l 790s, Thelwall's fate as a speaker on topics of physiology and anatomy was brought to an abrupt end. A second paper he gave in 1793 on 'The Origin of Sensation' met with a much less glorious reception.2 His attempt to account for the 'phenomena of mind ... upon principles purely Physical' was construed as a politically and ethically dangerous act. His biography gives a revealing description of the sensation he caused: One of the physicians, and several other leading men of the hospitals, who never before showed their heads in the Society, came down in a body to interrupt the discussion; and from the language and vehemence exerted upon the occasion, one would have thought, that the existence of all theological and political institutions, had depended upon the agitation of a question ofphysics 3

There is something distinctly ironic about this statement: the security of theological and political institutions was unquestionably threatened by the materialist philosophy Thelwall promoted - that was, in fact, precisely the point of his paper. As might be imagined, the members at Guy's were keen to protect those institutions: they eventually voted Thelwall's paper down. Consequently, Thelwall withdrew from the Physical Society and did not produce an explicitly medical text for another nine years.

Notes 1. 2. 3.

For more on Hunter and this debate, see the section on 'Science' in the 'Introduction' to chis volume. 'Memoir' to Poems Chiefly Written in Retirement. C. Thdwall, Life oJThelwall, 2 vols (London: J. Macrone, 1837), p. 106.

AN

ESSAY, TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF

ANIMAL VITALITY; READ AT THE

THEATRE, GUY'S HOSPITAL, January 26, 1793; IN WHICH

SEVERAL OF THE OPINIONS OF

THE CELEBRATED JOHN HUNTER ARE EXAMINED AND CONTROVERTED.

ByJOHN THELU/ALL, MEMBER OF THE PHYSICAL SOCIETY, &C. FELIX, QUI POTUIT RERUM COGNOSCERE CAUSAS. VIRGIL.

LONDON: PRINTED BY T. RICKABY; AND SOLD BY G. G.J. ROBINSONS, PATERNOSTER-ROW; DEBRETT, PICCADILLY; AND COX, ST. THOMAS'S STREET, BOROUGH. 1793. [Entered at Stationer's Hall.]

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AN ESSAY, &c. READ TO

THE PHYSICAL SOCIETY. INTRODUCTION. Mr. PRESIDENT, AS my sole motive for becoming a member of this society was the pleasure I always derived from the enlightened conversation of gentlemen of the Medical Profession, and as I have hitherto attended to the science only as a matter of entertaining curiosity, and not as a pursuit to which I have any present intention of devoting myself, I might, perhaps, without encountering the censure of the candid and considerate, have endeavoured to excuse myself from the execution ofa task to which the nature of my pursuits must necessarily render me so inadequate. But, as I am no friend to privileges, and would have every member of society endure his proportion of the public burrhens; and as, above all, I would wish to exclude the idle drone from the hive of science, I felt myself called upon to perform the part allotted by our institutions, and to give every gentleman that opportunity of canvassing and controverting my opinions, which, with respect to theirs, I have occasionally exercised mysel£ I have discarded, therefore, as far as possible, the timidity naturally attendant upon the many disadvantages under which I labour, and launching into a new and untried region, have brought my little tribute of physical knowledge, or rather speculation, to the general fund; confident only in the hope, that the smallness of its value will in some degree be compensated by the cheerfulness with which it is contributed. My Theory will no doubt be found, in many respects, defective, from the want of more general information in the sciences of Anatomy and Physiology; and may, perhaps, be erroneous in others, from the misapprehension of scattered facts, imperfectly collected, without the concatenation of circumstances by which they might be elucidated and explained. But such as it is, I am sure the society would pardon its imperfections, if they knew the numerous avocations among which it has been digested, and the small proportion of time I have been enabled to devote to its composition.

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I make these observations, not to abate the ardour ofcontroversy, or restrain the keenness of investigation. It is from that ardour, from that keenness, and not from any vague conjectures in this essay, that edification is to be expected by the society; and so far am I from wishing to shelter my hypothesis behind the screen ofany personal consideration, that I should neither be displeased at being convinced that I am wrong, nor backward in acknowledging my conviction. Reputation is not to be expected from so transient an attention as I have been enabled to pay to this subject; nor can there be any disgrace in the failure of an attempt, which is the result rather ofnecessity than of choice. In short, candour ofjudgment, and not indulgence in investigation, is what I solicit from the society; and for that I shall not solicit in vain. It is necessary, however, before I proceed to my subject, to premise one remark. I do not here profess to delineate a perfect system. I have entitled my paper an Essay, and as such only I wish it to be considered. I shall not therefore be expected to demonstrate every proposition, or to draw out every part of my theory with amplitude and perspicuity. This, I believe, is what has never yet been done; nor, from the limits of our present knowledge, can it rationally be expected of any hypothesis upon this subject. The Anatomical Physiologist himself is frequently lefi: to wander in the regions of conjecture. The functions of almost every organ may be traced farther than the existence of such organs can be detected by the minutest enquiry: Analogy, therefore, is ofi:en called upon to supply the place of Demonstration; or the more easy expedient is appealed to, of passing over in silence what cannot be readily accounted for. Many of the conjectures, it is true, which the imperfection of the senses, or the deficiency of observation, has rendered necessary to professors, have gathered confidence from the great authorities by which they have been sanctioned: yet let it not be forgotten, that it is not in the nature of authorities to change conjectures into proofs. Let us remember also, that reason is the greatest authority ofall; and that when systems clash, and demonstrations are not to be had, we ought not to consider who is the author of this, or who of that opinion, but which it is that involves the fewest absurdities, or is best supported by analogy, and the correspondence of the general laws of Nature.

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ESSAY, TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF ANIMAL VITALITY IT is an apparent paradox, but it is not therefore the less true, that those ideas, or phenomena, that are most familiar to us, should frequently be the most difficult to explain. This is particularly the case with the subject of the present Essay. Life is a tenn so constantly recurring, and, indeed, as one would at first suppose, an image so perpetually presenting itself to our senses - and the difference is so striking, between the pale insensate corpse, and a living being, with all the expressions, actions, and attributes with which, in the higher scale of animals, he generally offers himself to our eyes, or our imaginations, that a vulgar observer would sneer at the philosopher who should suggest the difficulty of ascertaining in what vitality consists: yet where is the student, who, upon serious examination, has found himself satisfied with any thing that has been said upon the subject? Does not the greatest anatomical philosopher, even of the present enlightened age, tacitly confess the confusion of his ideas in this respect, when he declares that, 'From an examination and survey of animal matter when dead, only we gain an idea of living animal matter'; and that 'as from life only we gain an idea of death, so from death only we gain an idea of life?' 1 Before we can possibly derive any sort of information from this antithesis, it is necessary that we should be instructed how life and death may be accurately discriminated; for how are we to make comparisons between objects which we are unable to separate from each other? But even this has never successfully been attempted; for though there are certain signs (as putrefaction, &c.) by which the death of the animal may be demonstrated; yet, as it is not even pretended that putrefaction is the act ofvital dissolution, - or, in other words, that the body which is not putrid is necessarily alive - death must have taken place, independently of any such change; and we are, therefore, just as much in the dark as ever with respect to the ultimate test by which the presence oflife may be ascertained. Treatise afi:er treatise has been written on the Vital Principle; theory has pulled down theory without end; and the gross contradictions which have marked the opinions of the greatest characters upon the subject, might induce one to think that, even with respect to the general idea, we are still entirely at a loss; that we are seeking for an imaginary something - a phantom of the brain, which, perhaps, has no real existence: and, indeed, if the tenn is to be literally understood- if this Vital Principle is to be considered as a distinct or independent essence, separable from the effects and actions by which the state ofvitality is

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to be ascertained, I am not sure that this conclusion will be found to involve as much absurdity as is included in the contrary opinion. I am well aware that there are some, who, from the first blush of this observation, may be inclined to smile, and consider it as the ne plus ultra of scepticism: but the philosopher will do well to keep the distinction between a vitalprinciple, and the state of vitality, constantly in his mind: the former properly meaning a living CAUSE - the latter simply a modification or effect, to which the name of life is given, and which may be the result ofa co-operation ofother causes, neither of which need, in themselves, ofnecessity be alive. - In other words, to contend for the existence ofa Vital Principle, is to contend that there is superadded to organized matter a distinct something, in itself alive, by which the vital functions are carried on; while, on the other hand, the State of Vitality need not of necessity be construed, as meaning any thing more than the condition of the animal body during the continuance of those functions. Now - that there is a state of animal existence, that may properly be called the State ofLife, and be put in direct contradistinction to that ofDeath, and that upon the previous induction of this state depend all the higher functions of the sensitive being, are certainly among the most self-evident of all simple propositions. Nor is it less certain, that there must be an exact and precise moment (nay, fraction, or, ifI may so express myself, mathematicalpoint ofa moment), in which this state oflife ceases, and that ofdeath begins; though whether that moment can ever be ascertained by any sensible and positive mark of discrimination, is matter ofconsiderable doubt: but if this Vitality is to be considered, abe origine, as a Principle, (by which, physically or philosophically speaking, I conceive is always to be understood, a simple, elementary, andfirst natural cause), and not, as itself, an effect ofthe co-operation ofother principles, or natural and pre-existing causes, I own, for my own part, I must be rather slow in yielding my assent; and, while I bow with respect to superior judgments, must claim the prerogative ofexercising myown. Egypt, Greece and Rome are, it is true, against me: - the ancients and the moderns - Aristotle and Plato, Plutarch, Moses, and John Hunter; and yet against this host of Giants I presume to lift my pigmy lance, and brave the unequal combat. 2 The most ancient of the opinions transmitted to us upon this subject, I believe, is that of the Egyptians, which considers the Soul (or living Principle) as a kind of shadow, or aerial substance, diffused through every part of the body, animating every limb, and partaking of all its proportions. Man, according to them, consists of three pans - a gross perishable body - an intellectualprinciple, or intelligent mind, by which he is elevated above the brute creation - and an image, or soul, exactly resembling the body in shape, in magnitude and feature, upon which animation, and all the functions of the animal

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frame depend; and in which, also, they conceive the intellectual principle to be enshrined. That these were considered, in the proper meaning of the word, as distinct principles, is evident, since they are treated as being capable of independent existence - the soul, or vital principle, continuing many of its functions afi:er its separation from the body; and the mind, or intellectualpower, afi:er the final separation, being sometimes consigned to a different residence from the soul. This opinion (which still, with some slight variations, continues to be popular among Divines and Moralists, and has been mangled and metamorphosed even by our philosophers themselves) was adopted by the Greeks, was infused into the subtile and intricate philosophy ofAristotle, dilated upon by the divine genius ofPlato, beautified by the sublime invention of that most ancient of their poets and philosophers, the immortal Homer; and, at length, was taught by Plutarch to the Roman World, in the following manner: 'Man', says he, 'is a compound subject, but not of two parts, as is commonly believed, because the understanding is generally accounted a part of the soul; whereas it as far exceeds the soul, as the soul is diviner than the body. Now the soul, when compounded with the understanding, makes REASON, and, when compounded with the body, makes PASSION; whereofone is the source or principle of pleasure or pain - the other of vice or virtue. Man, therefore, properly dies two deaths; the first makes him two of three, and the second makes him one of two'. 3 This hypothesis has certainly beauty and ingenuity to recommend it to our imaginations; and is also, to my conceptions at least, somewhat more comprehensible than those systems which refer the operations of gross matter to immaterial agency. It is, however, like all the speculations of the ancients upon these subjects, unfounded in experimental enquiry, and unsupported by facts or observation: yet St. Paul, (who derived much of his inspiration from the ancient poets and philosophers) has given it the sanction ofhis authority, by dividing, in distinct terms, the triune man into Body, Soul, and Spirit.4 This being the case, it is not at all surprising that modern philosophy should have been more anxious to frame such systems as were reconcileable with this tripartite division, than such as might be consistent with known facts, or maintainable on the grounds ofreason; and that we should accordingly find this theory so stoutly defended to the present hour, with the slight alteration only of transposing the soul into the place of mind or spirit, and substituting Vital Principle in the place of soul. Some philosophers, however, by considering the immaterial essence as the animating principle, and others, by considering the animating principle as the only medium of intelligence, have reduced human existence to a two-fold nature: I, for my part, shall simplify the subject still farther - and, regarding man as differing from other animals rather in the extent than in the

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nature of his powers, shall consider him, together with the inferior tenants of creation, in an individual point ofview only; as consisting of a simple organized frame, from the susceptibility and presence, or the non-susceptibility, or absence ofstimuli in which arises the whole distinction between the living body and the dead. Wherever there is a perfect organization of the animal substance, there, I conceive, we have the susceptibility (or, as it may, perhaps not improperly, be called, the PRE-DISPOSING CAUSE) of Life: whatever may be that specific stimulus, by which such susceptibility may be disposed to be excited, that, I conceive, must be admitted to be the REMOTE CAUSE, or agent by which Life is to be produced: from the intimate combination of these results, that meliorated or altered state of the organized frame, which may be considered as the PROXIMATE CAUSE; and the Vital Action, as it may properly be called, or the power by which the vital functions are performed, being the ultimate effect of these cooperating causes, is, in reality, as I humbly presume, to be considered as that Life, or Animal Vitality, for which, under so many denominations and imaginary forms, the Philosopher and the Medical Professor have so long been seeking. Such is the general idea, which, upon the simple principles of materialism, I have formed oflife; and so to define this idea as to account for the phenomena, without appealing to the fanciful creations of the visionary brain, or abstruse and unmeaning terms ofpretended science, is the task I have undertaken. But before I enter more particularly into the subject, it will be necessary to bestow some consideration on another theory that has lately very much amused, and, according to my judgment, misled the scientific world - The theory, I mean, of the Vital Principle being resident in the blood. This doctrine, in all probability, had its origin in the remotest antiquity; since the fatal consequences that result to the animal frame, from the spilling of this important fluid, must have been frequently observed, especially in the ages ofbarbarism and violence, long before the faculties ofman were sufficiently improved for refined speculations, or philosophical researches into nature: but the prejudices ofignorance have sometimes been ascertained, and morefrequently adopted, by the luminaries of science and the world; and this hasty opinion (for such to me at least it appears) has not wanted supporters among those who will long continue to claim the applause and admiration of mankind. And first, I must particularize, that this doctrine has received the direct sanction ofthe great Jewish Law-giver (or whoever was the author of the Five Books of Sacred History generally ascribed to him) in the following, among a variety of texts of a similar nature - 'For it is the life ofallflesh; the blood ofit is the life

thereof: therefore I said unto the children ofIsrael Ye shall eat of the blood of no manner offlesh:for the life ofallflesh is the blood thereof; whosoever eateth it shall be cutoff.5

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I am very well aware, that the sublime language of Revelation is not always to be interpreted with philosophical precision - the enthusiasm of divine inspiration frequently elevating the style of the holy penman to a degree of poetical hyperbole, which would be perfectly unintelligible to the cold perceptions of reason and enquiry, if it were not for the friendly appeals of the commentator to mystical allegory, and metaphorical elucidation: but as the doctrine here quoted is merely illustrative of the simple mandate, that the Jews should not eat of the blood of animals slain for their sustenance, there can be no doubt of its being intended to be literally understood as the opinion of Moses, that the blood is absolutely the Vital Principle. For this opinion, I am very much inclined to suspect, that no better foundation will be discovered than the acknowledged fact, that when the blood, or any very considerable portion of it, is drawn away, the vital functions of the animal will cease: but, unfortunately for this theory, these functions will also cease, without the proportion of this fluid being at all diminished: and as there are also several other parts entering into the composition of the animal, which, if subtracted, even in part, resign the body to inevitable destruction, we might as well say, that the stomach thereof, or the kidneys, or the liver thereof, is the life thereof, as that the blood is to be so considered. Nay, from what we are now acquainted with concerning the nervous system, there would be much better reason to suppose, with some later philosophers, that the life of the animal is in the brain, rather than in the blood, since so much of the latter may be lost without essential injury, while the former cannot receive the slightest wound without bringing on immediate dissolution; and though, upon serious reflection, there is every reason to believe, that the fatal catastrophe is produced as much, at least, by the consequent extravasation of the blood, as by any immediate susceptibility of injury in the substance of the brain; yet this does not weaken the argument, since it is evident, that it is not the loss ofblood from the vessels which is the real cause of the mischief (for much larger quantities may be drawn from the same part by mere external wounds, without any alarming consequences); but that the injury produced by the extravasation results from the consequent oppression on the organ, by which its active energy is restrained and benumbed, and, ofcourse, its vital functions will be stopped. From this, and a variety ofother considerations, it is evident that the brain is, at least, more vital than the blood, since the compression of the former is more dangerous than even a very considerable deduction of the latter. But it might, perhaps, be objected to the whole of this reasoning, that many animals have life, which have neither brain, nor kidneys, nor liver, nor, strictly speaking, even stomachs; for I know not how the simple cavities of the leech or polipus can, in strict propriety, be considered as stomachs.

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This objection being founded in truth, it is necessary that we should give it its utmost force, and admit it as a demonstration, that animal life neither consists in, nor is absolutely dependant upon any one of these particular organs: but as it will be admitted, that though they have not these, they have some other organs, which, as far as is necessary for the performance of their functions, supply the place of these, the cases will still be found to be in some degree parallel - for, strictly speaking, many of the most imperfect animals have no blood (at least, according to the general idea which is given of it in the descriptions of anatomists), there being, perhaps, as much difference between the ichor, which supplies its place in several classes ofinsects and reptiles, and the compound fluid, which, in the more perfect animals, we call by the name ofblood, as between this ichor and the sap ofvegetables, and a variety of other simple juices of animal or vegetable substances. If, therefore, the Vital Principle is to be sought in the circulating fluids, we ought rather to say, that the SERUM thereofis the life thereof, than the BLOOD. But as I am informed, that the immortal Harvey6 upheld a doctrine similar to that I am combating; and as so great an authority as John Hunter has thought proper, in some degree, to sanction the opinion, it is necessary to treat it more at large, and to abandon the cursory observation of the Jewish Law-giver, for the more elaborate and practical researches of the British Anatomical Philosopher. I have said, that John Hunter's Theory sanctions, in some degree, the opinion of Moses; for I think it very doubtful, whether he means to carry it to the full extent, and to assert, that the Vital Principle is peculiarly, or originally, in the blood. The Editors of the Encyc. Brit. it is true, (title BLOOD, vol. iii. p. 313), evidently understood him in this manner, as will appear from the following quotation: 'The uses of this fluid are so various, and of such an important nature, that some have not scrupled to affirm the blood to be actually possessed of a living principle, and that the LIFE ofthe whole body is derived.from IT. This opinion wasfirst broached by the celebrated Harvey', (this I have already shewn to be a mistake*), 'the discoverer of the circulation: but in this he was never much followed; and the hypothesis itself, indeed, has been pretty much laid aside and neglected, till oflate that it was revived by Mr. J Hunter'. After which are quoted the six arguments, (which I shall presently endeavour to examine) as advanced by that great professor, to support this broad and unqualified opinion: but, in the manuscript copy of his Lectures, which I have principally made use of, he begins the subject with the simple assertion only, that the blood 'is endowed with a principle oflife, in itself, equally with the solidparts'.7 *

Vide p. 13. ofthis Essay, where it is shewn to have been the opinion of Moses, &c.

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Now, whether all or any, either of the particular fluid or solid pares,* possess

in themselves (chat is co say, either separately, or absolutely) a principle oflife, I do

not at present enquire, because it seems to involve the general question, (which must be referred to its proper place in my Essay); namely - Whether life itself is to be considered as a distinct and positive essence, or, simply, as the result of a particular harmony and correspondence of the whole, or aggregate combination, preserved and acted upon by a particular stimulus? On chis subject, indeed, it is sufficiently evident chat I have the misfortune to differ from the illustrious authority before me; but as I am now examining the doctrine only of the Vitality of the Blood, it is but necessary for me just to observe, chat as nothing more is directly asserted in the proposition, than chat the blood of the living body is equally alive with the bones and ligaments, and muscular fibres, &c. of which such living body is composed, it does not seem to lie considerably in the way of my theory; because, if in other respects I can but substantiate my opinion, the difference will not be very great, whether we admit the blood as participating in the Vitality, produced as I shall endeavour to shew, or consider it as nothing more than a specific fluid, giving nourishment to the various substances, and conveying co the different organized pares the necessary stimuli, by which Life or the Vital Action is to be produced or sustained. Nay, when he afterwards proceeds co assert, chat 'Blood is not only alive itself, but also, by circulation through every part of the body, becomes the means of, and carries Life to, the ocher pares'; I do not yet perceive the absolute necessity of entering the lists upon chis part of the subject, because he does not palpably assert, chat the Life co be conveyed is, suigeneris, or originally in the blood; but only chat chis fluid is the agent by which the Vitality is communicated to the respective parts; and it is my intention to admit chat the blood, in the more peefect, and the serous fluid, substituted in its place, in the less peefect animals, is the appropriate medium, by which alone the stimuli necessary for the production and sustainment of Life can be absorbed and properly diffused through the organized frame: and, indeed, several passages might be produced to countenance the suspicion, chat chis justly admired Lecturer so far agrees with the Theory I mean to enforce, as to admit chat the Vital Principle is, at least, sustained and reinvigorated (if not absolutely generated), not independently by the blood itself, but from something imbibed in its passage through the lungs; for he acknowledges, chat 'Before blood is capable ofgi,ving life', (in other words, according to his own theory, before it is alive), 'it must have circulated through the lungs, where it undergoes some essential change. Perhaps: continues he, 'it is then in its second state, or vivification'. 8 • I treat the word parts here, not as alluding to limbs or proportions, but as referring to the separate and different species of substance ofwhich the body is constituted - as bone in contradistinction to muscle, muscle in contradistinction to nerve, nerve to membrane, and the like.

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It is obvious to remark, that if the blood is not 'in its state ofvivification' till it has passed through the lungs, Vitality cannot be the property of the blood itself, but only a consequence of some action, or superaddition, acquired in its passage through that organ; and, consequently, that the Vital Principle (to use the language of those philosophers who consider Life as a separate essence) is to be sought, not in the blood, but in that subtile element, or whatever it is, which is imbibed by means of the respitory system. But (if it is not presumption for me to say so) there seems to be some degree of obscurity - perhaps, if I were speaking of any man but John Hunter, I should venture to say contradiction, in the doctrines of the Lecturer, upon this subject; for he immediately afterwards denies that the blood derives its Vitality from its passage through the lungs, in the following words: 'Perhaps it might be thought that Life is given to the Blood in the Lungs in consequence of the heat applied there, as heat is supposed to act upon the Egg; but it must be remembered, that Life is notgiven to the Egg by heat, only action produced by it: By which it should seem that he means to be understood as considering the Vital Principle to be a property efthe blood itself(so long as it continues in its perfect state) independent of respiration; and that this action of the Lungs is only necessary for the purposes of circulation, and the production of action in the other parts of the frame, by the distribution of this principle. And yet, if the Egg be alive (which, let it be remembered, I do not positively admit), how can this be? since (previous to the alteration taking place, from the application of heat, during the period of incubation), it contains no blood whatever; and, consequently, if the Vital Principle be in the blood, must be alive without the principle of life - a paradox, which, perhaps, it would be a little entertaining to hear the advocates of this doctrine explain. Not, however, to dwell upon so ambiguous a passage, there are, in the Lectures of this truly great man, sufficient foundations for the opinion apparently entertained by the Editors of the work above quoted, as well as by several of his pupils and admirers - namely, That he means to represent Vitality, or, according to his own expression, the Vital Principle, as residing originally, and in an emphatic sense, in the blood, and derived from it to the other parts ofthe system. He even, in the clearest manner, affirms its superior vivification over the nerves in particular: for while these, according to one of his aphorisms on the Vitality ofthe Blood, are not concerned in 'conveying life to parts, but only direct the motions of the parts: the blood is explicitly affirmed not only to 'convey life to the other parrs: but to be absolutely 'the living support of the nerves themselves': by which it is evident, that we must understand not only that the nourishment of these sensitive organs, but even their Vitality, is derived, not from their organization and the stimuli (of which they are, perhaps, the important repositories, or reservoirs), but from the Vital Principle peculiarly resident in the blood, and

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deposited there for the purpose of being communicated and diffused to other parts. These other pans then being dependant (according to this theory) upon the blood, not only for their support and enlargement, but, also, in an immediate view, for their Vitality, it is clear that if the system of the Lecturer does not go the whole length with Moses, of saying that the blood of the animal is the life thereof, at least that he supposes Life, ofitself, and independent of any particular action or stimulus to belong to, or be a property of, the blood; while to the rest of the animal substance, it only belongs in a secondary signification, as being imparted by the blood. And this, perhaps, we are the more bound to consider as his real meaning, as he maintains the doctrine of its vitality even after coagulation; and even delivers it as his opinion that this phenomenon 'is owing to an action of self-preservation in the blood, or to an effort for its continuance'.9 So that, according to this position, and the arguments that follow upon the circumstance of coagula becoming vascular under particular circumstances, we are not to consider the vitality of the blood as the consequence of its state, condition, and harmony, with the otherparts*of the body, but to look upon it as a principle inherent in it, and equally a property of it, whether in one state and situation, or another - whether in its vessels, or in a state of extravasation - whether in a fluid or a solid form - a circumstance attributed to no other of the component parts ofthe animal frame: these being considered as having no other principle of life, but what they immediately derive either from the blood, or from their harmony with the system in general; whose resources must cease before any material change in their nature and substance can take place. And yet, if this argument is properly sifted, I question whether it will make much for the Vitality of the blood, in any point ofview whatever. For as no similar change in any other fluid was ever brought forward as an evidence of a Vital Principle in such fluid, I cannot see that any phenomena, that would not be considered as a proofofVitality, or of an effort of selfpreservation, in any other instance, should have such stress laid upon it, for such purposes in the case before us. With respect to the generality, probably to all, of the fluids capable of congelation, it might, perhaps, be objected, that they afford no parallel example of permanent change of structure; as they are capable of resolution to their original form, which blood is not. But petrified substances, in which the change is permanent and entire, might at least be said, in this respect, to have as good a claim to the attributes of a vital principle and action of self-preservation, as the blood, which is here said to metamorphose itselfinto something else, in order to continue its existence. Besides, if the coagulation of the blood be an action of its Vitality, and an effort ofits Vital Principle for its preservation, how comes it that •

Vide Note, page I9.

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it will coagulate afi:er having been frozen; for John Hunter admits, that what he calls the Vital Principle of the Egg, is destroyed by freezing; and, indeed, nothing is more injurious to vitality of every kind, than the frigorific process: and yet Mr. Hewson 10 informs us, that blood may be completely frozen, and preserved in that condition (as other dead animal substances may) for a considerable time; and yet, afi:er it is again reduced, by an increase of temperature, to its fluid form, it will coagulate just as usual. Having thus examined the general state of the question, I shall proceed to review the six arguments brought forward upon the authority of the lecturer, in the Encyclopedia, in support of the opinion previously quoted - (vide page 18 ofthis Essay.) For the more ample statement of these, however, (not to swell my Essay to an unnecessary length; by quotations from a book, which is in the hands ofevery body) I shall refer to the work itself With respect to the first of these, derived from 'the power which the blood possesses, ofuniting living parts', it is to be remembered, that this is only the case in those instances where blood is immediately supplied by the parts to be united, and where, consequently, from its temperature, its assimilitude to the parts with which it is to enter into combination, its glutinous texture, and a variety ofobvious reasons, it may naturally be supposed to form the best cementing medium; and the healing ofwounds, by other applications, which have evidently no Vital Principle, appears to me sufficient to shew, that this is no proof of Vitality. All that is requisite, in either instance, being to keep the living parts in contact, and exclude the air, and other injurious, extraneous particles, till Nature has a sufficient opportunity ofexerting her restoring powers. The blood, yet warm, and fluid from the wound, may naturally enough be expected to enter intimately into the different portions of the severed parts; and all further injuries being thus prevented, it is neither singular nor strange, that the separated vessels should again unite, from the attraction of similar particles so frequently observed, when circumstances are favourable to the experiment; and that the stream of blood, driving towards its usual course, should at last find its way again through the coagulum formed by the blood thus bound up with the injured parts, and complete their restoration. - 2 and 6. Exactly upon the same principle I account for the phenomenon from which the second argument is drawn; namely - That 'coagula of extravasated blood will become vascular': for this, I believe, is never the case, except when the coagula come in contact, or nearly in contact, with arteries previously formed. This, therefore, seems to prove nothing more than that coagulated blood, when preserving a proper degree of temperature, from its situation, is the proper medium, or soil, into which the arteries may strike and ramify - all living pans, perhaps, having a tendency to grow and enlarge, so long as sufficient stimuli are supplied, and the proper medium is presented. For my own part, I cannot but observe, that all

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the preparations I have seen, intended to support this argument, have only suggested a process similar to that observable in vegetation, where the moist earth, in contact with the roots of plants or trees, supplies the proper medium into which the fibres are stimulated to extend their growth. And hence it is, that I find no difficulty in accounting for the junction of the testicle of the cock, to the liver of the hen, into whose abdomen it had been introduced, as mentioned in illustration of the first argument; 11 or, for the vascular appearance of the coagulum, found between the separated parts ofthe fractured os humeri, 12 upon which the sixth, or rather the reiteration of the second argument, is founded. - 3. As for the third argument, drawn from the power of the blood, to preserve an equal degree oftemperature in the living body, during the prevalence of different temperatures of the atmosphere - I shall at present make no other answer to this, than by observing, that if the Theory I am about to suggest is well founded, that will be sufficient to account for this phenomenon, without appeal to any other hypothesis: for if the air may be admitted to be sufficiently impregnated with the same specific stimuli in the coldest, as well as in the hottest day, there can be no reason why the blood should be expected to have a lower degree of temperature on the former than on the latter - whether it be admitted to be possessed of a Vital Principle independent of such stimuli, or not. - 4. As for the 'Blood being capable of being acted upon by a stimulus', - this is saying no more than may be proved of a variety of things that have confessedly no pretensions to life whatever: and as the only particular effect which is instanced as produced by the stimulating influence on the blood, (namely coagulation), would never be admitted as a proof of life in any fluid whatever, it cannot, as far as I am able to discover, be made any use of in illustration of the point in question. 5. The fifi:h argument, that 'the blood preserves life in different parts of the body; is equally applicable to the Theory of the Lecturer, and to my own; for, whether it be considered as retaining in itself the Vital Principle, or being the sole medium through which Vitality can be produced, we must equally admit its importance, not only in preserving, but in diffusing life: I shall therefore only observe, that the collateral part of the argument, which asserts, that 'when the nerves, going to a part, are tied, the part becomes paralytic; is, I believe, overthrown by later experiments; and that sensation only, and not the power of acting the muscles, is interrupted by the ligature of nerves. Upon this, however, (as I certainly do not mean to rob the blood ofits vital honours, to bestow them on the Brain and Nerves), I shall not at present enlarge; but shall conclude what I have to say upon this subject, by observing that, perhaps, the whole doctrine of the Vitality of the Blood (in whatever point ofview it may be taken) originated in the mind of the Lecturer, from observing the important offices it performs in the sustainment and reproduction of parts confessedly and palpably alive. Now, that the nerves (for example), as well as every other part of the animal body, are nourished by

An Essay, Towards a Definition ofAnimal Vitality

25

the blood, is sufficiently evident, and that, but for such nourishment, these parts must, by exhaustion, lose their Vitality, is equally obvious; but that the fluid, nourishing and sustaining a living part, must of necessity be itself alive, is what I cannot readily admit, because it seems to contradict the known laws and phenomena of nature. Air and water are the proper and necessary nourishment of plants, without which vegetation must quickly be exhausted and expire; but no one will, therefore, contend, that air and water are alive: nor will the difficulty be removed, by objecting, that air and water are only the food ofplants, and that the nourishment ofthe vegetable is immediately derived from the circulating sap, as that of the animal from the blood; for as no digestive process can be assigned to the plant, air and water must be the immediate nourishers of the sap; and, consequently, the conclusion must either be, that the living sap is nourished by air and water, which are not alive, or that the sap, which is not alive, nourishes the living plant; which, with respect to the argument before us, is just the same: in short, it might as well be maintained, that whatever supports a sensitive part must itselfbe sensitive; or that nothing but nerve should nourish a nerve, or muscle but muscle, &c. which would drive us back to the obsolete opinion of those philosophers, who maintained, that all things contain the component parts of all things; and, in short, would even compel us to appeal to the doctrine of an ancient sect ofAtheists, who, to get rid of the necessity of a Deity, insisted upon the original and eternal Vitality of matter, and accounted for the growth and nourishment of living things, by arguing, that the particles that nourished them were themselves possessed ofa living principle. If, however, we abide by the mode of reasoning suggested by the known phenomena ofnature, a much more simple theory will present itself, in the evident tendency of small accumulations ofmatter (when placed under favourable circumstances) to assimilate, and even identify themselves with the larger masses to which they adhere, or with which they enter into combination; which will sufficiently account for the nourishment and growth of the living body, without attributing Vitality to the blood, by which it is sustained. Having thus taken as briefa survey as the nature of the subject would permit, of some of the principal opinions, that have, at different times, commanded the attention of the scientific world, I shall proceed to the professed object of my Essay; namely - to consider of the Definition. Of this undertaking the difficulty must be readily admitted; or, should pride or petulance be inclined to deny it, the subterfuges to which the most ingenious ornaments of medical science have been driven, would furnish a sufficient reply. Some have given it up entirely, and satisfied themselves with a negative test, instead of a positive definition; asserting, that the only criterion of its absence is putrefaction: but these cautious maxims, though they may be adopted, for security, by the practitioner employed in the benevolent labour of snatching from premature dissolution the pale victims

26

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

of accident or despair, will not satisfy the spirit of the philosophical enquirer: he, indeed, may frequently be compelled to wander in the gloom of doubt and negation; but his active mind will scorn such sullen darkness, and pant for the glorious prospects oftruth and certitude; to which, however, I have not the arrogance to profess that I shall conduct him. By some it has been contended, that life consists in action, or excited irritability; by others, simply in organization: but both of these would admit a variety of instances, that can lay no claim to any sort of Vitality, much less to that sort of Vitality which is the subject of the present paper: with respect to the former, I need only instance, that parchment, leather, thread, &c. may be excited to considerable action by either heat or moisture, as may also a variety oflight bodies, by the application of electricity: and, as for organization, this I consider to be no other than that arrangement ofdissimilarparts, by which a harmony and com-

munication ofthe whole is produced, so as to enable it to preserve itselfin a given state, and resist its own dissolution. This, therefore, is very inadequate to our idea

of life; for matter will continue to be organized when LIFE has ceased; as it also, I conceive, must be organized before LIFE begins; in illustration ofwhich, I should rather be inclined to quote the instance of the Egg, which (with all the deference due to the high authority ofJohn Hunter) appears to me to be organized, though not alive, previous to incubation: I conceive also, that many bodies may be considered as organized, that were never intended to live at all. To those, however, who wish to consider life as entirely dependant on Organization, I submit the following Definition: That perfect harmony oforganizedparts,

by which the animalfame is rendered soJar susceptible oftile proper stimuli, as to have itsfunctions, or any ofthem, induced upon such stimuli beingapplied: and this

the Society will be kind enough to keep in their minds, as what I mean, when I come hereafter to speak of Specific Organization. - Others have considered Animal Life as consisting in the performance of the Animal functions: but this definition would exclude, from all pretensions to Vitality, many beings, which common sense must admit to be alive; for an animal may certainly live, when it neither does, nor can perform, all its functions; and, as for ascertaining which may be dispensed with, and which may not, this, I believe, has never been successfully attempted. The definition ofJohn Hunter appears to me particularly vague and unsatisfactory. 'Life; says he 'does not consist in any modification ofmatter: it either is something superadded to matter, or else it consists in a peculiar arrangement of certain fine particles ofmatter, which, being thus disposed, acquire the properties of Life'. The Disciples of this justly celebrated man must pardon me, if I am inclined to smile at this definition, or rather indefinite description of Life, and to declare, that I never in my life met with any thing more completely incomprehensible. 'Life does not consist in any modification ofmatter'; and yet,

An Essay, Towards a Definition ofAnimal Vitality

27

perhaps, 'it consists in apeculiar arrangement of certain.fineparticles ofmatter, which, being thus disposed, acquire the properties of Life!' What is the.fineness ofthese particles ofmatter, but a modification ofmatter? - What is the peculiar arrangement - what the disposition of these particles, but a modification of matter? In short, is not this telling us, in other words, that Life positively is not a modification ofmatter, but that yet, perhaps, it is a modification ofmatter? As for the other position, that Life consists in something superadded to matter, I had once occasion to controvert this incomprehensible axiom at the Lyceum, when, all of a sudden, a sneer went round the Theatre, and a hundred mouths were filled with fury against me, as though I had stood up, in the presence of the Pope and his Cardinals, to deny the doctrine of the Trinity. I shall venture, however, once more to assert, that the spiritual allusions of this sentence are too fine for the gross conceptions of my material organs. According to my dull comprehensions, matter and vacuum stand precisely in the same degrees of contradistinction as something and nothing; and, in the former case, as in the latter, it is impossible for me to admit the negation ofthe one, without, at the same time, acknowledging the affirmation of the other. - Where there is not matter, there there is vacuum; - where vacuum is not, there there must be matter. Those effects, which are not produced by the operations of some modification of matter, or, in other words, of something, must of course be produced by some modification ofvacuum, or, in other words, ofnothing; and how vacuum, or nothing, can be so modified as to produce Life, I leave to the consideration ofthe Metaphysicians. It is evident, however, that this is not what the Lecturer means; because, though he denies the modification of matter, he admits the superaddition of something. - But what is this something that is not matter? - Is it Spirit? I certainly do not think it the part of a philosopher absolutely to deny the existence of every thing that he cannot demonstrate; but, as contradictions are not to be admitted, I must, for my own part, maintain, that if there is any such thing entering into the animal composition (though our senses have never yet been capable of taking cognizance of it) as Spirit, having an existence separate and distinct from organization, and that gross perishable kind of substance we call body, that such Spirit, however subtile, however refined, must still be material: and then, indeed, the absurdity vanishes - because that more subtile matter can act upon that which is more gross and inert, we have sufficient evidence in the action of air, and of the electric fluid. And that this (a fine and subtile, or aeriform essence) is the real and genuine meaning of the term Spirit, about which divines and philosophers have so long been contending, is, I conceive, sufficiently demonstrable, not only from its etymology, but also from the common application of the word in the other senses in which it is still retained: as, for example, - by the spirit of any distilled or fermented fluid, we always mean to express that more subtile and volatile principle (the alkohol of

28

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

the chemists) mixed with, and diffused through such fluid, and whose materiality (notwithstanding its superior subtility) is no more to be questioned that that of the grosser parts of the fluid with which it enters into combination. In short, it will perhaps be found, that all Nouns, immediately or arbitrarily derived from Verbs,* whether of the same, or any other language, still retain, in a considerable degree, their paternal signification; and spirit must, perhaps, be admitted to bear no other meaning than the Latin spiro (to breathe), from which it is confessedly taken: or, ifwe must needs make a distinct living existence ofit, then can it possibly mean no other than a vital aeriform substance, diffused though the frame, and giving animation to the respective parts. So that, at any rate, this something superadded to matter, can only be a more refined species of matter added to that which is more gross; and, of course, it constitutes that very modification which the Lecturer denies. - It has been stated, in defence of this passage, that by some thing superadded, no more is meant than some quality; but this would by no means mend the matter, since nothing can be added but what has a previous and separate existence. Two things brought together may, it is true, occasion the existence of a third, different from both; but this third is not added, but produced. Now qualities have no separate existence, nor can they even be conceived in the imagination, otherwise than as connected with the things ofwhich they describe the shades or attributes: they are, in fact, solely and purely, modifications of matter, and, consequently, this interpretation involves all the absurdity and contradiction ofwhich I have before complained. But it is much more easy to find fault with the definitions of others, than to frame such as are not faulty: I shall proceed, therefore, to my task with caution; and, beginning with a general, proceed to a particular definition. - Life then, in the animal, we will say, is that state ofaction, by which thefunctions, or any ofthe functions, efthe animal are carried on. This definition, it is true, neither points out how the action is supposed to be induced, nor the state of the animal previous to the induction: I proceed, therefore, to add, that, previous to the existence eflife, the body must have attained a SPECIFIC ORGANIZATION; and that Life, or, in other terms, the Vital Action, is induced by the application efproper stimuli: thus, then, life in the animal is that state ef action (induced by specific stimuli upon matter specifically organized), by which the animalfunctions, or any efthem, are carried on. To the whole of this, I know, may be objected, the assertion of that great man, whom, with such repeated arrogance, I have ventured to * The natural mode of derivation seems to be of the Verb from the Noun; this being evidently likely to proceed in the first rude attempts atlanguage: but there are many words now in use, which must have come to us in the contrary direction - as Heaven, for example, which still retains, simply and absolutely, the meaning (that which is heaved or lifted up), which it brought from the parent verb, to heave.

An Essay, Towards a Definition ofAnimal Vitality

29

oppose: namely - That Life may exist without matter, being in 'a state of action, and the property of self-preservation may alone be present, Life being at the same time present in its full force'. To the solitary instance, however, brought in support of this assertion, I must reply, that the life of the Egg is by no means obvious to my understanding; for, although the Egg be so far organized as to be endowed with the principle of self-preservation; so, also, are various fruits, &c. whose Vitality, I suppose, after they are plucked, will not be contended for.* In short, it does not appear to have any one property or attribute, which, in any other substance, would be deemed a sufficient test of Vitality, till the stimulus ofheat, being properly applied, so meliorates the arrangement ofparticles, as to induce the specific organization essential to the susceptibility and production of Vital Action. - By this, then, it will appear, that I consider the preliminary principles oflife to be a specific organization and a specific stimulus; the perfect contact ofthese to be the immediate cause, and life itself to be the state ofaction produced

by this union.

It will now be expected, that I should give an opinion upon the nature of the stimulus required. But, in order to do this, I must first premise, that I consider the Blood, independent of its nutritive power, as the specific medium by which the stimuli must be conveyed to the different parts of the organized frame, so as to produce the Vital Action. This Blood, then, in its passage through the Lungs, collects a something, which generates a specific heat (for it is evident, that heat, unless thus generated, will not answer the purpose), which it diffuses through the whole vascular system, and then (exhausted of its vivifying power) returns again to the lungs, to exhale whatever noxious particles it may have collected, and to inhale a fresh portion of the same vivifying principle. But what is this something - this vivifying principle? - Is it atmospheric air itself? - Certainly not. The coats of the arteries, and the membranous linings of the cells of the lungs, forbid the access of such an element; besides, it has been proved by experiment, that in the arteries of the living body there is no air. Something, however, it must be, that is contained in the atmosphere, and something ofa powerful and exquisitely subtile nature. If, then, we look upon the component parts ofour atmosphere, what can we discover so competent to the task - so subtile, so powerful, so nearly approaching to that idea of an ethereal medium, which some philosophers have supposed necessary to complete the chain of connection between the divine immortal essence, and the dull inertion of created matter, as the electrical fluid? - that principle, whose presence, under such a variety offorms, is constantly presenting itself to the researches of the philosopher! - whose agency, in so many phe• Some, perhaps, will contend for the life of the kernels, seeds, &c. I, however, should content myself with contending for their specific organization; by which, upon the application of proper stimuli, they are rendered susceptible of Life.

30

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

nomena of Nature, we are daily detecting! and which, perhaps, will one time be discovered to be the real principle by which all heat and action are originally generated and maintained!

FINIS.

KING CHAUNTICLERE

'King Chaunticlere; (November 1793).

or,

the Fate of Tyranny', Politics for the People,

Hog's Wash,

8

inflammatory oral anecdote, narrated by speech Capel Debating Society in November of 1793. Later that month, the radical publisher and pamphleteer Daniel Isaac Eaton subsequently published the anecdote in the eighth number of his Politicsfor the People, or Hog's Wash (the subtitle of which is a clever play on Edmund Burke's description of plebeian Britons as 'the swinish multitude'). For

King

Chaunticlere made its debut

or

Thelwall in

a

to

the

as an

Court

periodical his trouble, Eaton was arrested and held in coming to trial on the charge of publishing

Newgate a

for three months before

supposed libel.

The

prosecution

claimed that

King Chaunticlere, which recounts the death of a tyrannical a was rooster, thinly veiled imagining of the death of George III. Eaton was admirably defended by the lawyer John Gurney, who claimed it was actually the

barnyard prosecutorial satire

on

party who

were

fantasizing

certainly, if this was a eventually acquitted by a jury occasion, he changed the name

sedition. For,

anyone, it must be Louis XVI. Eaton

was

of his peers on 24 February 1794; to mark the of his shop to "Ihe Cock and Swine.' For his part, Thelwall commemorated this

victory with the this volume).

Although

1795

publication ofJohn Gilpin's

Ghost

(which appears later in

the claim would later be made that Eaton embellished

or

exaggerated

the story of King Ghaunticlere, the text likely captures the substance of Thelwall's anecdote. The allegory of the barnyard tyrant draws loosely on the chanticleer figure found in Chaucer's 'Nun's Priest's Tale' and Caxton's

'Reynard suggested, it may also be derived from a 1793 fable that cast France as a gamecock, which appeared in the Morning Chronicle. On the night of its delivery, the Capel Court Society was debating whether it was life, liberty or love that inspired humans to action. Thelwall's anecdote was a claim that humans are most motivated by life. to an debater's response opposing In support of his claim, the debater (who was later described as having a Jerry Sneak kind of deportment') had conveyed the story of a slave who, although in the process of being tortured to death, still raised his arms to protect himself the Fox.' As

John

Barrell has

1

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349713-3

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

32

against the empathetic blow of an ally who wished to shorten his misery. 2 This, the debater had claimed, provided clear evidence that humans desired life over all else. In rebuttal, Thelwall drew on his ideas about physiology (as articulated in the two previous texts in this volume) in order to differentiate between voluntary (or conscious) action and involuntary (or habitual) action. Once again fusing politics and science, Thelwall gives a double-edged explanation for the slave's reaction. On one hand, his body was simply performing an 'action of the nervous system';3 on the other, he was spontaneously performing a habitual act. For certain, he was in no way making an informed, conscious decision. The same effect could be seen, Thelwall explained, in the case of the barnyard tyrant, King Chaunticlere. Even when his head had been cut off, he continued to strut and swagger. Like the slave, he was a product ofconditioning - only in his case, he had been conditioned to be arrogant and dictatorial. The people who he terrorized had also become habituated to certain forms ofbehaviour, except that they bowed, they cringed and they cowered at the feet of the dictator. Still there was room for rebellion here, for as powerful as such cultural conditioning might be - to the point that behaviours appeared instinctual - humans could choose to resurrect their love ofliberty. How such a message was received that night at the Capel Court Debating Society we can never know for certain, but according to the account given in Thelwall's biography, the analogy drawn between 'brute' and 'human' tyrants 'was told with such an irresistible spirit of humour, that it at once put an end to the argument, and was received with shouts oflaughter and applause'. 4

Notes 1.

2. 3. 4.

'The Grand Alliance; Morning Chronicle (13 August, 1793); see Barrell, Imagining the King's Death, p. 106. C. Thdwall, Life oJThelwall (London:]. Macrone, 1837), p. 108. Ibid., p. 108. Ibid., p. llO.

KING CHAUNTICLERE; OR,

THE FATE OF TYRANNY: An Anecdote, related by Citizen The/wall, at the Capel Court Society, during the discussion ofa Question, relative to the comparative Influence of the Love ofLife, ofLiberty, and oftheFair Sex, on the Actions ofMankind.'

WE have been told, Citizen Chairman! by a learned orator, who seems very fond of life, and who has drawn so depraved and contemptible a picture of human nature, that one must almost be ashamed of having lived to witness it, that the love of life must certainly have the strongest influence on the actions of mankind. And to prove this, he tells us a cock and bull story ofCaractacus, 2 at Rome; who, when he had lost his liberty, thought it was better to have life and love, with a prospect ofregaining his liberty, than to die, and have no prospect at all. He has told also another melancholy tale ofa poor tortured slave in the West Indies; not remembering, that ifthis love oflife, or rather, thefear ofdeath, for the distinction is evident, which he is such an advocate for, did not rather restrain than influence the actions ofmankind, they would soon, by becoming acquainted with the real nature of that principle I am supporting, learn to strike unanimously for liberty, and slavery and torture would be no more. This poor kidnapped negro, we are told, (for there are pressgangs to make men slaves oflabour as well as slaves of war) having had his hands and feet chopped off, by order of his tyrant masters, on account of some seditious attempt to regain his freedom, was afterwards put into a large frying pan over the fire, that he might expiate, by his tortures, that impious love of liberty which he had the audacity to entertain. In the midst of his torments, we are told, that one ofhis companions, more compassionate than the rest, rushed towards him, and, aiming a blow with his cudgel, would have dashed out his brains, had not the poor mutilated wretch conceived (such, is the curious reasoning that is offered to us by the tame advocates oflife without liberty) that the tortures of the frying pan were preferable to instant death, and therefore lifi:ed his poor bleeding stumps, with sudden terror, and broke the force of the blow. Now, if this magnanimous advocate for the .fryingpan ofdespotism, had happened to have reflected a little on the physical laws of the animal frame, he would have known that this motion of the arms was merely involuntary, and -33-

34

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

that neither love, nor fear, nor liberty, nor any other preference of the judgment, had any thing at all to do with it - it being natural to all animals, after they had been long used to perform certain actions in consequence of any particular stimulus, applied either to the sight or any other of the senses, to continue those actions, by mere mechanical impulse, whenever the usual objects are presented, without ever reflecting what it is they are doing; just as men, of base and abject minds, who have been long used to cringe and tremble at the names ofkings and lords, for fear they should be clapped up in bastiles, or turned out of their shops, continue to cringe and tremble, when neither shops nor bastiles happen to be present to their imaginations. But in order to set this difference between mental and muscular action,3 in a clearer point ofview before you, I will tell you, Citizen President, alittle anecdote concerning a youthful exploit of my own, - You must know then, that I used, together with a variety of youthful attachments, to be very fond of birds and poultry; and among other things of this kind, I had a very fine majestic kind of animal, a game cock: a haughty, sanguinary tyrant, nursed in blood and slaughter from his infancy- fond offoreign wars and domestic rebellions, into which he would sometimes drive his subjects, by his oppressive obstinacy, in hopes that he might increase his power and glory by their suppression. Now this haughty old tyrant would never let my farmyard be quiet; for, not content with devouring by far the greater part of the grain that was scattered for the morning and evening repast, and snatching at every little treasure that the toil of more industrious birds might happen to scratch out of the bowels of the earth, the restless despot must be always picking and cuffing at the poor doves and pullets, and little defenceless chickens, so that they could never eat the scanty remnant, which his inordinate taxation lefi: them, in peace and quietness. Now, though there were some aristocratic prejudices hanging about me, from my education, so that I could not help looking with considerable reverence, upon the majestic decorations of the person ofking Chaunticlere - such as his ermine spotted breast, the fine gold trappings about his neck and shoulders, the flowing robe of plumage tucked up at his rump, and, above all, that fine ornamented thing upon his head there - (his crown, or coxcomb, I believe you call it - however the distinction is not very important) yet I had even, at that time, some lurking principles of aversion to barefaced despotism struggling at my heart, which would sometimes whisper to me, that the best thing one could do, either for cocks and hens, or men and women, was to rid the world of tyrants, whose shrill martial clarions (the provocatives to fame and murder) disturbed the repose and destroyed the happiness of their respective communities. So I believe, if guillotines had been in fashion, I should have certainly guillotined him: being desirous to be merciful, even in the stroke of death, and knowing, that the instant the brain is separated from the heart, (which, with this instrument, is done in a moment,)

King Chaunticlere

35

pain and consciousness are at end - while the lingering torture of the rope may procrastinate the pang for half an hour. However, I managed the business very well; for I caught Mr. Tyrant by the head, and dragging him immediately to the block, with a heavy knife in my hand, separated his neck at a blow: and what will surprise you very much, when his fine trappings were stripped off, I found he was no better than a common tame scratch-dunghill pullet: no, nor half so good, for he was tough, and oily, and rank with the pollutions of his luxurious vices. But that which it is particularly my duty to dwell upon, as applicable to the story of the poor mutilated negro, is the continuance of the habitual muscular motion after (by means of the loss of his head) he was no longer capable of knowing what he was about. In short, having been long in the habit of flying up, and striking with his spurs, and cuffing about with his arms - or his wings, ifyou please (for anatomists can tell you, that arms are only wings without feathers, and wings are nothing but feathered arms) he still continued the same hostile kind of action, bouncing, and flapping, and spurring, and scuffling about, till the muscular energy (as they call it) was exhausted; so that if the gentleman had been there, with his club stick, attempting to knock the mutilated tyrant down, he might have concluded, every time that he flapped up his wings against the stick, that this effort of King Chaunticlere proceeded from the conviction that life was worth preserving even after he had lost his head: which, in my opinion, would be just about as rational as supposing that it can be worth preserving to that man who is writhing about in thefrying pan ofdespotism. This story was received with almost unanimous applause, as was also the whole speech, till Citizen Thelwall, alluding to the wonderful exertions, which Liberty was stimulating the French to make against the whole united force of Europe, he was interrupted by some of the members of the committee; and though, upon appeal to a shew ofhands, five or six to one appeared in his favour, the chairman refused to hear him; declared the society adjourned, and quitted the chair. This produced considerable confusion; and, on the part of the committee, much insolent abuse; and even an attempt from one individual to do personal violence to the speaker, by coming behind him, and attempting to fling him down. Notwithstanding which he continued to harangue the people; and was at last conducted away with shouts of triumph by the greater part of the company. On the evening of the next debate the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to. - 1. That the free discussion of political opinions, in public assemblies, is an invaluable and constitutional right of Britons, which must be defended with the most jealous caution, and transmitted inviolate to our posterity. 2. That in every public Debating Society it is the undoubted right of every individual, paying for his admission, to deliver his sentiments freely; and that it is the duty of every chairman to support such speaker, as much as if he were

36

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

a member of the committee of this society. 3. That this right was invaded, and this duty violated on the evening of the last debate, both by the chairman and committee of this society. 4. That the charges and insinuations in the posting bill, distributed by the said committee, relative to that debate, are partly false, partly impertinent, and altogether unprincipled, and calculated to promote disturbance, and prevent the public exercise of the right of free and impartial discussion. S. That the chairman be called upon to make an apology, in the name ofthe committee, for the indecent violation ofthe duties oftheir station, and the respect due from them to the public. The chairman was accordingly compelled to beg pardon publicly of the society before the debate was permitted to proceed. These circumstances are important to be generally known; since they prove, that notwithstanding the false appearances which have been artfully assumed by intriguing and interested individuals, pretending to more authority than they have, there is no power in this country that can openly and legally interfere to prevent the freedom ofpolitical discussion, ifindividuals will have spirit enough to assert it.

POLITICAL LECTURES

Political Lectures, No. 1, On the Moral Tendency ofa System ofSpies and Informers and the Conduct to he Observed by the Friends ofLiberty and the Conduct to be Observed During the Continuance ofSuch a System (London: for the author, 1794). Political Lectures No. 2, Sketches ofthe History ofProsecutions for Political Opinion: with Strictures on the Late Proceedings ofthe Court ofJusticiary in Scotland (London: for the author, 1794).

truly unfortunate that we can never experience the

It is

drama of Thelwall's

lecturing rooms.

of Thelwall's

Even if there

writing

as

were

substance

to

William Hazlitt's characterization

'tame and trite and tedious' and

distinctly lacking

in

anything like Edmund Burke's rhetorical mastery or Tom Paine's forthrightness, Hazlitt was forced to admit (somewhat reluctantly, one suspects) that Thelwall's was

'electrical' and

1

The Two Lectures is among those texts that convey this type of energy, as well as the danger, that could be involved in attending the lectures in the mid-1790s. These documents are crucial to our

speech

'powerful'.

understanding of Thelwall's career in the year of his treason trial, for they impart a sense of his oratorical style, provide a glimpse into the culture of debate, and also impart something of the antagonism he faced from loyalists, spies and

government officials. These lectures also give of how determined he us a sense

find

strategies to cope

with government

The Two Lectures have

a

was

to

repression.

slightly more complicated publishing history than

many of his other writings. They were first published separately and according 2 to Thelwall, sales were extraordinarily rapid and extensive.' The first lecture, On the Moral Tendency ofa System

and

fourth

ofSpies Informers, through edition published together pamphlet and

was

went

a

with the third edition of the

as one

second Lecture on the Sketches ofthe History ofProsecutions for Political Opinion. As is the

policy of Pickering Masters editions, we include the

first edition of the

first lecture here. This first edition is, as Thelwall himself observed, in tone, which may

partially explain why

it

'gave

so

much

more

umbrage

to

strident

the

ministers' lecture, who declared it 'to be full of violence'. 3 In the

however,

we

have chosen

to

case

of the second

include the third edition here

as

it

was

published

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349713-4

38

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

after Thelwall's acquittal and contains 'A Dedication to the Two Independent Grand Juries'. At any rate, most of the changes Thelwall made between the editions were relatively minor, particularly in regard to the second Lecture. Generally, he tidied the text, spliced longer paragraphs, and removed a few ofwhat he referred to as 'intemperate expressions'. In the case of the first Lecture, a few substantial amendments were made between the first and fourth editions: where these have occurred, we have noted the changes in the endnotes. The first Lecture demonstrates Thelwall's knowledge of the law and his ability to 'work' within its bounds: it performs the role of establishing the legality of his meetings. In this text Thelwall also casts himself and the radicals known as the Edinburgh Five - Joseph Gerald, Maurice Margarot, William Skirving, Thomas Muir and Thomas Palmer - as following in the tradition of political martyrdom. He aligns their struggle to establish and protect civil liberties with the efforts of such diverse historical (and persecuted) heroes as Voltaire and Boethius. He continues something of the same tactic in the second Lecture, Sketches ofthe History ofProsecutionsfor Political Opinion. This text is worthy of particular notice for its engagement with the past. Throughout his career, Tuelwall's wide reading of British history- from the age ofAnglo-Saxon democracy to the era of Cromwell, from the Restoration to the Glorious Revolution of 1688-9 - provided a platform from which to speak of contemporary politics. He used historical precedents to agitate for constitutional reform, to illustrate his opinions on revolution, and to provide models of civic humanist virtue. He quotes at great length from the first volume ofA Complete Collection ofState Tri-

als and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors from the Earliest Period to the Year 1783, in order to draw analogies between England's

earliest martyrs for liberty and the friends of liberty currently being prosecuted by William Pitt's government. The State Trials also allow him to demonstrate how the history of political corruption and power mongering is closely bound up with the history of religious persecution and intolerance. He argues that the exercise of the same type of arbitrary power that produced the trials of Protestant reformers of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was acting in the trials of late eighteenth-century reformers.

Notes 1.

2.

3.

W Hazlitt, 'Essay XXIV, On the Difference between Writing and Speaking'. The Plain Speaker in P.P. Howe (ed.) Complete Works ofWilliam Hazlitt, 21 vols (London: J M Dent & Sons, 1930-34), vol. 12, pp. 264-65. (Ofcourse, we disagree with Hazlitt's view of1helwall's writing). in C. Thelwall, Life ofThelwall (London: J. Macarone) p. 125. Ibid. p. 125.

POLITICAL LECTURES (No. 1)

ON THE

MORAL TENDENCY OF A SYSTEM OF

SPIES AND INFORMERS, AND THE

CONDUCT TO BE OBSERVED BY THE FRIENDS OF LIBERTY DURING THE CONTINUANCE OF SUCH A SYSTEM. BY]. THELWALL' Every Ministring Spy That will accuse and swear is Lord of you, Of me, of all, our Fortunes and our Lives. Ben Jonson's Sejanus. 2

LONDON: PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR, AND SOLD AT THE LECTURE-ROOM; AND BYD. I. EATON, NO. 74, NEWGATE STREET, 1794. -39-

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INTRODUCTORY NARRATIVE3 LECTURES upon political or miscellaneous topics are so much a novelty to the town, and the attempts which have been made to prevent their delivery, as well as the public countenance they have met with, have been so flattering, that though the size of the present pamphlet will scarcely justify the formality of a preface, I have thought it necessary to introduce it with a few observations on the circumstances which induced me to adopt the present plan of public amusement and instruction. This I believe I cannot commence in a more proper manner than by a briefhistory ofan event which took place about sixteen months ago, but which has never to this hour been fairly and impartially stated: I mean the suppression (or undermining) of the Society for free Debate, just at the time of issuing the famous Proclamation of Nov. 1792.4 Ofthis Society I was one ofthe acting members, that is to say, one ofthose who were accountable for the rent and disbursements, who received the profits, and who took upon themselves the responsibility for the questions brought forward. The Society had, at different places, been in existence for near half a century; and during that time, though a variety of political topics, both of a temporary and general nature, had been discussed with the utmost freedom, the legality of its meetings had never been called in question, nor (except in an individual instance, during the discussion of the Regency Bill when the Lord Mayor for the time being sent his marshalman to suspend the question, and which suspension the audience rejected with becoming indignation) had the least interruption to the debates been attempted by civil magistrates, till about the close of the season which terminated in April 1792; when the dancing master, from whom we hired the use of Coach-Makers Hall, after repeated indications of terror and alarm, informed us, that, on account of the threats which had been directed against him by certain persons in authority, he could not venture to renew his agreement with us, unless we would covenant not to bring forward any questions of a political nature. As the committee were not much inclined to be dictated to by a dancing master in the selection of their questions, and as for my own part I had formerly withdrawn from the society on account of the frivolous subjects with which it had disgraced itself, and had only rejoined it upon an implied condition that none but political questions should be debated, we instantly rejected the disgraceful conditions, and withdrew to the King's Arms in Cornhill, where the debates of the ensuing season were held. At the commencement of that season I was not indeed present, being on an excursion in Kent, for the restoration of my health, and having, during that excursion, occasioned a public meeting to be called, and a debate to take place in Canterbury, a few days before the entrance of Mr. Pitt into that city; and upon which occasion the decision of four or five

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to one 'that, in the then situation of France, a Republican government ought to be preferred to a limited monarchy', gave such serious alarm to the aristocrates, that I am told whole troops of soldiers were poured into the place as soon as I had turned my back upon it; and dreadful denunciations of vengeance were thundered against me by the assembled corporation as soon as I was known to be out oftheir power. When I returned to London, however, I found the public mind was all awake. The fate of the great criminal ofFrance was in agitation, and, together with the barbarous manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick,5 furnished eternal topics of conversation and debate; and the discussions of the society in which I resumed my place, partook of all the animation which from the state of politics was to be expected. In the midst of all this animation, however, I appeal to the frequenters of those debates, whether the utmost good order was not generally observed, and whether, though expressions ofpopular disapprobation were sometimes called forth by the illiberal violence and personal abuse of the aristocratic party (for it is curious that this party constantly so loud in their charges of violence, should always be the foremost to practice it,) whether the utmost impartiality was not conspicuous in the conduct of the chairman, and usual speakers of the society. The abilities and the decisions, it is true, were almost uniformly on the democratic side, and the doom of the institution was therefore sealed; threats and denunciations, in the names ofpersons in authority, were spread abroad against it; and private intimations were conveyed to me of the consultations held upon the subject. Affairs were in this posture when, on the discussion ofthe last question, 'Whether the neutrality ofthe maritime powers ofEurope was to be attributed to their approbation ofthe French Revolution, or their dread of introducing similar consequences among themselves?' an individual, too much in the habit of disturbing public societies, surrounded with a clamorous party of associates, tried the patience of the audience to such a degree with a torrent ofscurrility and personal abuse (such as calling us, and particularly myself, by name,Jacobins, agitators, assassins, traitors, and villains) that, in spite of all the efforts of the chairman and the committee to protect him, an attempt was made to turn him out. A scuffie and considerable confusion ensued; so that no further discussion could take place upon that evening, and the question was accordingly adjourned. I mention this circumstance, because some have attributed to this accidental or premeditated riot,6 for I do not pretend to determine which it was, the subsequent suppression of the society: the fact, however, is, that the scheme had been long in agitation; and as it took place just at the same time that the proclamation ofalarm was published, it appears as though it were a member of the general plan - one of the ways and means for exciting terror and apprehension throughout the country, disappointing the hopes ofparliamentary reform, and hurrying the affrighted people into a war with France. Be this as it will, meetings and City councils were assembled, and the wise heads of the cor-

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poration were laid together to concert our immediate dispersion; and as these cabals were not unknown to me, and as I was conscious of the legality of the meeting, and resolute in the pursuit of my object, I went on the ensuing Thursday evening with a strong expectation of being obliged to contend against the magistracy ofLondon for the right ofpolitical discussion, in such a manner as to bring the question to an issue in a court ofjustice. Sir James Saunderson,7 however, had taken his measures more craftily: he had sent for the dancing master of whom we hired this room, had tampered either with his fears or his venality, and induced him to stick up a bill in the forenoon, declaring the society adjourned till further notice, and to refuse admittance to us and our company, upon condition that, the meeting being thus disappointed, a guard of constables should be granted to preserve him and his premises from popular indignation. It is curious to observe that notwithstanding the underhanded manner in which this adventure was atchieved, SirJames had the address to procure himselfto be thanked by the Common Council, as ifhe had suppressed the Debating Society by his open authority: though nothing could be further from the truth: and so confident was I that he had no such authority to exert, that I strained every nerve of diligence and invention to procure another room in the city where the debates might be continued: conscious that the liberty of speech, and of the press, are the vital organs of all that is valuable in our Constitution; and without the exercise of which Freedom can in no country in the world, especially in a mixed monarchy, maintain its ground against the encroachments of power and prerogative. My attempts were however fruitless; and though I offered, at several places, to the amount even of Twenty Guineasfor a single Night, yet some had been threatened with the loss of their licences, others that their houses should be pulled down, and all refused. The next expedient was to assert in as public a manner as possible the right of political investigation, and to shew the public that this right had never openly been called in question by persons in authority; and it was with this view, more than from any hope of obtaining a room, that I caused the following advertisement to be printed on a large posting-bill, and ordered it to be stuck up about the metropolis.

'VINDICATION ofthe LIBERTY ofSPEECH Whereas an illegal and oppressive combination ofdivers persons, yet unknown, has taken place, to annihilate the greatpalladium ofthe British constitution, the liberty ofspeech; And whereas, by means ofthis illegal and oppressive combination, the owners ofcertain rooms have been over-awed or seduced, by some secret means, to refuse the letting oftheir rooms to persons intending to exercise the constitutional right of.free debate: - this is to give notice, that having taken the advice ofseveral consellearned in the laws, upon the question; and beingsufficiently satisfied by them

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ofthe legality and constitutionalfoundation of the right ofpolitical discussion, I am resolutely determined to assert and vindicate this invaluable right of.freeborn Britons, in whateverplace the opportunity can begained; and I do hereby advertise allpersons having rooms within the city ofLondon, capable ofholding.from two to five or six hundredpersons, that (taking all legal andpecuniary responsibility upon myself) I am willing to give the sum oftwenty guineas, (to be paid before entrance on the premises)for the use ofany such roomfor one night, upon application to me, JOHN THELWALL. No. 6, Weston-street, Southwark'. The men, however, who undertook to post this advertisement, were treated with so much insult and personal violence, by persons evidently set to watch the streets for such occasions, that they were obliged to desist and bring the bills back again to me, after very few of them had been distributed. In the mean time I had written to Sir James Saunderson the following letter, and caused it to be delivered at the Mansion-house.

Sir,

'To SirJames Saunderson, Knt. Lord Mayor ofthe City ofLondon.

I take the liberty of writing to you upon a subject which, as it must necessarily become the theme ofpublic investigation, ought certainly to beproperly understood: and I have delayed my enquiries till my mind has become cool under the impression ofthe injury and insult I have received, in order that I might address you with the calmness due to your official character, in how equivocal a light soeveryourpersonal conduct may, in this respect, appear. I am one of the members ofthe committee by which a society (sanctioned, in every respect, by the letter and spirit ofthe British constitution, and established in its rights by long continued usage) is conducted; and who, at the beginning ofthis season, agreed with Mr. Bourke, upon the payment of certain legal and valuable considerations, for the use ofhis room in Cornhill, on night in the week, for the purposes ofthat society, during the winter. This being the case, I considered that, by the laws ofthis land, I was joint tenant ofthe room so hired, for the weekly night agreed upon; and that every tenement being, in the language ofour boasted constitution, the CASTLE ofits tenants or occupiers, those tenants must have an undoubted constitutional right to.free, peaceable ingress and regress to and.from that castle, together with such lawful persons as they shall choose to introduce or invite. What then was my surprise, when going, on Monday last, to meet the company whom, in concert with my colleagues, I had lawfully invited to the room we had so hired, I found the doors of our castle closed against us, and guarded by a mob ofconstables, armed with the staff of that very man's authority who, a few years ago, as Chairman of the Quintuple Alliance,8

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signed many ofthe boldest resolutions which that association adopted, and by his frequent attendance and strenuous support, gave his sanction to publications much more likely to be offensive to persons in the respective branches of Government, than any thing that every came from the society he was thus endeavouring illegally to suppress. But I am unwilling, notwithstanding thefallacious representations in the resolutions ofthe Common Council to bring an accusation against any gentleman till I am thoroughly acquainted with thefoundation upon which it stands; and I should be much more happy in an opportunity to defend, than a necessity to reprobate, the conduct of one who once pretended, at least, to be the friend ofLiberty. I expect, therefore, ifnot in candour to us, at least, injustice to yourself, thatyou will explain to me, and to the society, the circumstances ofthis affair, that we may know how much ofthis violation ofpublic andprivate rights is attributable to the ChiefMagistrate ofthe City ofLondon, and how much to the timidity ofMr. Bourke. I am, Sir, An Englishman by birth and spirit, JOHN THELT½1.LL. No. 6, Weston-street, Southwark, 1st Dec. 1792'. To this letter, ofcourse, I received no answer. And as from the first I had been deserted by all my associates; who had by this time been, one by one, to the great man at the Mansion-house, and made their peace, I found myself incompetent to encounter, single-handed, all the expence and trouble of the further prosecution of the question for the present. However, still penetrated with the importance of the right, so jesuitically invaded, I determined to seize the first opportunity ofreviving the exercise of that right; and ofvindicating the insulted claims of Reason. In the course of that winter another Debating Society was opened, at the Globe tavern, in Fleet-street, by some young students of the law who by a dishonourable compromise, relative to the questions that should be brought forward, and the sentiments that should be permitted to be delivered, (they called it, however, a Society for free and impartial debate) obtained permission from the Lord Mayor to open their mouths for other purposes than those of eating. To this society I went three orfour times, and as often disdained the servile shackles with which this base compromise endeavoured to restrain the faculties of Britons. Every time I was opposed, and personally abused by the timid members of this prqfessional committee; and every time I was supported by the sense and spirit of the people; who, notwithstanding the timidity and alarm which appeared to be so generally diffused, still loved the man who would venture to tell them bold truths, and would not suffer him to be insulted.

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From this time the question of the right of political discussion appeared to sleep, till about the beginning of November last, when a question concerning the love oflife, the love ofliberty, and the love of the fair sex being agitated at Capel-court, I went, for the first time, to that society, and delivered the speech, for publishing an extract from which (the story of King Chantecleer) Citizen Eaton was confined three months in Newgate;9 being unable to find bail to the enormous sum of two thousand pounds; and which was, after all, by the good sense ofan independent jury, found to be no libel. 10 Shortly afi:er the delivery of this speech, being then on the committee of the London Corresponding Society, and it being necessary to provide for the support of our delegates; I offered for the two fold purpose of instruction and encreasing the requisite subscriptions, to give a course ofpolitical lectures every Wednesday and Friday, admitting the members (who are mostly men in a humble situation oflife) at a low price, leaving it open, at the same time, to strangers, and appropriating the whole receipts to the support of the said delegation. This plan was accordingly pursued for two or three months, and with such success that, without any advertisement, or public intimation whatever, sixty or seventy persons ofboth sexes, frequently assembled together and honoured the lectures with the most flattering applause. This had not gone on long, before I received intimation that a trap was laid to ensnare me: that in the room adjoining that in which I delivered my lecture, a party of Mr. Reeves's associators, and their fit companions, the Bow-street runners,1 1 were to be concealed; from whence, like so many cats upon the poor harmless mouse of a lecturer, they were to bounce forth on the first expression, which they, in their omnipotent wisdom, should deem seditious, and drag him in merciless indignation to Newgate. Some of my friends endeavoured to persuade me not to go at all; some advised me to take Blackstone's commentaries for my lecture; and some to read a chapter from the bible: nay some learned authorities endeavoured to persuade me that it was high treason to attempt to instruct his majesty's liege subjects, and that I should certainly be hanged. My own mind, however, was presently made up; and I composed for that evening, and delivered in the presence of some of Mr. Reeves's honourable associators, who were in reality present, the lecture 'On the moral tendency of a system of Spies and Informers: which, with some additions and alterations, is here presented to the public. The success of this experiment induced me to wish for a proper place where the lectures could be more publicly delivered; and being informed that I might have the use of the long room at the Three Kings in the Minories, I immediately bargained with the landlord, and billed the town with my advertisements. The worthy successor ofthe worthy Sir James Saunderson, who had promised 'to walk in his steps, to fear God, and honour the king, 12 was immediately alarmed; mar-

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shalmen and constables were dispatched all over the metropolis to tear down the bills, and an embassy was sent to the Three Kings to forbid the meeting; the landlord was, however, persuaded, when the time arrived, to stick to his agreement, for that night only; and notwithstanding the pains that had been taken to prevent the meeting, the lecture was attended by near two hundred people, and was received with unbounded applause. As, in the mean time, I had been offered the use of the room at the Park Tavern, in the Borough, either for the purposes of POLITICAL DEBATE or LECTURES, I posted the town with another bill, announcing a debate on the following question for the ensuing Monday - 'Which was to be considered as the more destructive in its principles and conduct, the present, or the American War?' The alarm of our sapient magistrates was now greater than ever. The bills were pulled down as fast as they were put up: and violent threats were denounced, which were carefully conveyed to me on Sunday morning, that if I dared to hold the meeting, I should most assuredly be taken into custody: to this I replied by sending advertisements to the papers to supply the loss of my posting bills. The landlord was next threatened with the loss of his licence; but with as little effect. A numerous company assembled: and among the rest a banditti of about twenty profligate and disorderly wretches (officers of the police) from Union Hall, together with a reverend magistrate wrapped and muffied up in his great coat to direct their operations. In the face of these I took the chair; avowed myself to be the sole responsible cause ofcalling the meeting, gave a narrative ofthe circumstances contained in the former part of this introduction and called the attention of the company to the question. Upon this the captain of the banditti (I do not mean the magistrate - He like a prudent general kept aloof from the affray, and dispersed his orders by his aide de camps) the captain of the banditti made a curious speech, of about three lines, in praise ofkings, and concluded with 'wishing destruction to all the world'. The keepers ofthe peace thought it thus a proper signal for them to begin their part, and they accordingly with one tumultuous roar bellowed forth 'God save George our king', &c. which they regularly resumed every time that any body attempted to speak to the question: filling up the pauses with all the insult that vulgarity could devise. The indignation of the company rose at this behaviour; and the experiment might have proved a fatal one, ifI had not had influence enough to keep the insulted friends ofliberty in order, and prevent them from attempting to turn the rioters out. In the midst ofall the turbulence and insult of this banditti I kept my chair and my temper till the usual hour of ten; when I declared the meeting and the question adjourned to such future time and place as hereafter might be found convenient; observing that the legality of the meeting was established beyond dispute, since the banditti of police officers and cutthroats who attended, and who had sufficiently displayed the hostility of their wishes, had not dared to exert even the

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shadow of authority against either the meeting or myself The ruffians seeing the meeting thus in danger of dispersing without their having been able to produce a riot, began to proceed to personal violence; attempted to overturn the elevation upon which my desk and chair were placed; and extinguished the lights. It was then that a gentleman who was present went in quest of a magistrate who was sitting all the while below; and, asking him if he meant to sit there while murder was committed by his runners, insisted upon his interference to restrain the riotous insolence of those wretches; to which he replied, with considerable agitation, 'that he had sent the constables up stairs' (the very desperadoes who made the disturbance!) - 'what could he do more?' Finding however that he had to deal with a man who was not to be trifled with, he was coming up stairs, just as I had closed the meeting, and, surrounded by my friends, who had thrust the peace officers out ofthe way, that they might preserve the peace, was retiring from the scene ofconfusion. I then demanded ofthe landlord a private room in which myself and my friends might regale ourselves, till the strangers had dispersed; lest by our departing all together a riot might ensue. This however the magistrate would not permit him to grant; but he informed me that he would order the constables to attend me and keep the peace ifI thought it necessary. To which I replied that his constables were the only riotous persons in the meeting, and that - ifhe suffered any of that banditti to come after me, he must answerfor the consequences; for J would not. The company however took that care of the peace which the magistrate refused to take: for, blocking up the staircase in a mass, they kept the wild beasts raging in confinement in the room, till they thought we had time enough to disperse to our own homes. Such is the conduct of the peace officers of the Borough; and such the deportment of the magistrates of that paltry sinkhole of meanness and timidity! It happened that before this the landlord ofthe Three Kings had sent requesting me to give my lecture again at his room: being in fact very well pleased with the custom it brought to his house. The lecture was accordingly delivered there again, on the Wednesday following, to a very genteel and overflowing auditory; and was again received with very considerable applause. On the evening of the former lecture a council of corporation had been held at a silversmith's in the neighbourhood: on the present occasion a grand consultation was called at the Mansion House, at which I am informed Sir James Saunderson attended, to assist the divan and his councils. Violent measures, I am told, were proposed; and the whole assembly were disposed for war; till two ofthem, a little more sagacious than the rest, observed that as the law was on my side, they might perhaps burn their fingers if they interfered. It was accordingly unanimously determined, - 'That the city marshal with the whole posse of city constables should repair at eleven o'clock to the Three Kings, and prevent the

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landlord from drawing any more beer and serving any more punch to such of the company as had staid to supper'. They did not, however, stop there. Licensing day was approaching, and a message was sent to the landlord, in the name of the Lord Mayor, and certain Alderman, informing him that if he dared to permit my diabolical Jacobin lectures against Spies and Informers, and such like worthy personages, to be delivered any more in his house, his licence should infallibly be taken away. The landlord promised submission; and sent a messenger to me informing me of the circumstance; and my lecture was accordingly advertised in the public papers to be held at No. 3, New Compton Street, Soho. When lo! Lifi: up your voices, - 0 ye citizens ofLondon; and applaud the prudent valour ofyour chiefmagistrate! - the great Paul Le Mesurier 13 seized the opportunity when the enemy was not upon the field to display his prowess and authority. The whole train ofconstables and marshal men were summoned to a man, and at the head of this formidable body, afi:er having suffered two successive meetings to be held without venturing to interfere, forth issued the high and mighty potentate to rout the company from a place where it was notorious that it would not assemble. With what kind of feelings must every being of common sense reflect upon this mummery ofwould-be-thought authority? The fact is, that the legality of political discussion cannot be controverted in this country; and time-serving magistrates, however they may bounce and bluster, know that it cannot, and therefore wish to intimidate where they cannot controul. But in this they will also be disappointed; and the time is close at hand when not only political lectures, but political debates also, will be established on a foundation which will set the mock importance of these meddlers at defiance.14

POLITICAL LECTURES, &c. CITIZENS! THE subject of the present discourse is not perhaps one of those that promises the most ample entertainment; and ifl had called you together merely to amuse you, I ought rather to have selected some of the most striking passages from 'Hudibras: or 'Don Quixote', or Mr. Burke's sentimental romance of'Antoinetta, the falling star of chivalry; or Priests and Pensioners in the Suds, at the News of the French REVOLUTION'. But this is no season for indulging the idle sallies of imagination: the hour is full ofperil and dismay; the womb of Time is labouring with great events; and now, ifever, every good citizen, every real friend to the peace, the prosperity, and above all the permanent happiness of mankind, is called upon to found the sol-

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emn alarum that rouses the noble energies of the soul, that shakes off the sullen lethargy of indolence, and, chacing the idle phantoms of pastime and frivolity, calls up that serious, awful train of contemplation, without which it is utterly impossible that we should acquire the sedateness of character, the improvement in knowledge and true wisdom, and the advancement towards the perfection of truth and fortitude, which all ofus, ere long, may have reason enough to wish we had attained. In short, this is a season for enquiry and instruction, not for pastime and jocularity; and it is therefore that I assemble you together in this public manner, to stimulate you to enquire into the nature ofyour rights as Britons and as men; and to investigate the nature and causes of that unhappiness which we cannot but feel too sensibly, however ignorant we may be of the sources from whence it is derived. 15 Penetrated with the truth of this representation, and aware of the precipice upon which we stand, and to the very verge ofwhich the persecuting violence of an overbearing and desperate faction is endeavouring, so precipitately, to urge a half-awakened nation, I have renounced myselfthose pursuits of taste and literature to which, from my boyish days, I have been so fondly devoted, as to sacrifice to them the flattering prospects of affiuence and worldly ambition, which a lucrative profession presented before me; and have devoted myself, whole and entire, to the service of the public; a sense ofwhose injuries is the only stimulus of my conduct, and whose happiness alone I look forward to, as my dearest, and my ultimate reward. Sportive lyre! whose artless strings, Brush'd by young Affection's wings, Playful Fancy hov'ring round, Whisper'd ofi: the varied sound Sportive lyre! from hence adieu: Nobler thoughts my soul employ: Nobler objects rise in view, TRUTH and glorious LIBERTY. Rous'd by these, my glowing soul, Pants a nobler height to gain; Pants for glory's PATRIOT goal, Where the daring Virtues reign; Pants to hear the graver muse Wake the loud enthusiast shell, Whose notes heroic pride infuse, And bid the soul with ardour swell. Nobler ardour! virtuous zeal! Parent ofeach generous deed! Guardian of the public weal, For which the valiant joy to bleed! Thoughts like these, from hence alone, Shall this glowing bosom own;

so

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 Thoughts that lift the soul on high, To make its own eternity; And with Meonian rapture swell The chords ofFame'.s immortal shell.

It is, however, a fortunate circumstance in the constitution of man, that, flattering as those pursuits may at first appear which are to be considered merely as amusive, the more serious objects of mental exertion furnish, in reality, a fund ofmore lasting and genuine satisfaction; and that happiness is never so perfectly attained as when, careless of the mere impressions of pleasure, we pursue, with ardour and perseverance, the path of duty, and seek for Wisdom, where, wedded with eternal Truth, she sheds her mingled radiance through the regions of the intellectual paradise. 16 It is mind alone, the bold and active exertion of the rational faculty, that opens the living fountains of genuine and lasting happiness, and pours the continuous tide offelicity through the heart ofman. To trace these fountains to their sources, to shew their immediate connection with wisdom and virtue, and diffuse (as far as I have the power) their fertilizing streams through the little paddock of every man's private feelings and capacities, and thus nourish the neglected blossoms of social kindness and universal benevolence (the natural productions of a genuine system of enlightened politics) is a task, I believe, not ignoble in its nature; and which, if properly executed, will have a tendency to render you better members, not of the community only of which you constitute a part, but of the world at large, which it is your duty also to love and benefit, whatever State Hypocrites may preach to you, from selfish motives, about hostile interests, patriotism, and natural enmity. 17 - Natural enmity! - natural enmity! - As if the great law of nature, the arrangements and revolutions of seasons and elements, from which the bounties of the earth proceed, and all the delights and gratifications of which our senses are susceptible, should render TWO FAMILIES OF FELLOW CREATURES, whose powers, whose capacities, and the ends and objects of whose existence are the same, the necessary and implacable enemies of each other, merely because a fancied line upon a map, or a little dirty pool oftroubled water separates them from each other. - Natural enmity! - Ye statejugglers! ye sanguinary hypocrites! Ye far-clad priests ef Chaos and Devastation! who abuse our intellects, and inflame our passions, by your unintelligible jargon! can ye not perceive the absurdity of your doctrines? 18 ls it not conspicuous that all enmity between man and man is in itselfunnatural?- a direct violation of the great precept of Nature - 'that man should seek his own felicity by labouringfar the happiness ofall mankind?' - Yes, ye do perceive it. Half stupefied as ye are by the opiate drugs of hoary-headed PRECENDENT! and an indolent veneration for the saws and prejudices ef a BARBAROUS ANTIQUITY, still through the fogs and mists of your political dotage, the half-opened eye ofPride and Ambition cannot but see this TRUTH:

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- that if there are descriptions of beings who can be considered as the natural enemies of any country, they must be those who, though bred within its bosom, have been fostered in the scorpion nest ofvicious and irrational distinction; and who, nurtured with passions and sentiments inimical to the FREEDOM and true EQUALITY of man, usurp an unjustifiable dominion over it, and endeavour to destroy its liberties, and monopolize its blessings. This they cannot, one would think, but see as plainly as we do; and happy would it be for them, and for the universe, if their eyes were still further opened, and encountering, with the steady and penetrating glance of unprejudiced enquiry, the objects of their unfounded terrors, they had discovered (as, ifthey would calmly investigate, they certainly would discover) this additional truth, that even their own real interests (I mean their HAPPINESS) would be ultimately advanced by yielding to the just wishes ofthe Friends ojLIBERTY and MAN. But this is a degree ofpolitical illumination too strong at present for their weak optics, and instead offortifying themselves with resolution to meet the full ray of reason, they choose to turn with pretended blindness from the truth already discovered, and to expose the cowardice and imbecility of their minds, by a vain endeavour to trample out the light of political enquiry, lest the holy flame should guide mankind at large to the discovery of their real interests, and urge them, with one united effort to annihilate that most profitable of all the various branches of the nefarious trade of courts - WAR! - that European slave-trade! - that detestable traffic in the blood and anguish of our fellow-creatures! But hold - Caution is the subject of my story; and it is necessary that I should, by my example, as well as my precept, endeavour to convince you of the deep sense I have of the necessity ofprudence, in this age of spies and informers, treachery and cabal - 'When', as Ben Johnson expresses it, 'Laws are made to serve the placeman's will; When sleeping they can save, and, waking, kill; When Public Justice borrows all her powers From private chambers; that in fact create Laws, judges, counsellors, yea prince and state'. 19

When every coffee-house 20 is filled with party hirelings and venal associators, the pimps and lacqueys ofcourtiers and court expectants; - when anonymous letters are sufficient to blast the peace and destroy the personal security of the best and worthiest members of the community; - when even your own house and your own table furnish no longer a sanctuary and an altar where it is safe to offer up the free incense of friendly communication - when the very domestic who eats your bread stands open-mouthed, perhaps, behind your chair, to catch and to betray the idle conversation ofyour unguarded moments;2 1 - when every skreen conceals some myrmidon of oppression, lurking, like a beast of prey, and whet-

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ting his hungry rage in savage silence, till the unguarded moment in which he may rush on his devoted victim; - in short, when every key-hole is an informer, and every cupboard ought to be searched, before you unbosom the painful story ofyour wrongs, lest you should be brought unhappily within the iron fangs of - LAW I think they call it, not for what you may have uttered only, but for what the perjured hirelings, by whom we are so frequently surrounded, may think fit to lay, upon the slightest suggestion, to your charge. - Hirelings, who 22 - - - - - - - - - - - - - 'can lie, 'Flatter, and swear, forswear, deprave, inform, Smile and betray; make guilty men; then beg The forfeit lives, to get the livings; cut Men's throats with whisp'rings; sell to gaping suitors The empty smoke that flies about the palace; Laugh when their patron laughs; sweats when he sweats Be hot or cold with him; change every mood, Habit and garb as often as he varies', 23

And fell their fellow-creatures and their friends, to buy his empty favour. At such a time as this, the most guarded caution is evidently necessary, both in our conduct and expressions; and that this caution on the one hand may not degenerate into tameness and inactivity, nor be frustrated, on the other, by the nets and snares of wicked and designing men, it becomes more than ever requisite, for ourselves, and for society, that we should cultivate, with tenfold diligence, every species of political and constitutional knowledge; because it is by such means alone that a fund of intelligence and copiousness of idea can be obtained, that may enable us to utter our complaints with sufficient perspicuity, without at the same time trespassing on the boundaries of legal propriety, and exposing ourselves to the malice of the harpies that are hovering aloof, ready on the first opportunity to devour us. It will be seen by the tone and substance of this Caution, that I am far from wishing to intimidate you. If a season can be imagined, when it is peculiarly necessary to increase rather than diminish the ardour and fortitude of the human mind, it must undoubtedly be a period like the present, when INQUISITORIAL ASSOCIATIONS and every species of ILLEGAL CONSPIRACY and Cabal, (wrapped in the flimsy veil of pretended veneration for monopolized property and obsolete institutions, but revealing, through the thin disguise, the clenched hand and thirsting dagger of POLITICAL ASSASSINATION) are plotting the destruction of Truth and Virtue, and mediating the annihilation of our remaining liberties. At such a period, I should ill deserve the attention and confidence evinced by your attendance here, should I endeavour to check your virtuous zeal in the cause of liberty, or damp the ardour with which I have the

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happiness to observe so many of my fellow citizens engaged in the cultivation of their minds, and in the grand enquiry into the rights and duties of mankind, which it is the business of this course oflectures to promote. 'We that know the evil, Should hunt the palace rats, or give them bane; Fright hence these worse than ravens, that devour The quick, while they but prey upon the dead'.24

I am conscious, Fellow Citizens, that it is by the privilege of speech alone, and the consequent communication of idea from man to man, that we are distinguished above the brute creation, and rather than relinquish the free exertions of this noble attribute, I would fly to the woods and wilderness of Africa, live on the precarious bounties of Nature, and climb the giant tree of the forest, in quest ofits wild productions. 25 Come then from your lurking corners, ye tools of perjured treachery - ye spies, ye dark assassins, ye venal associators for the most detestable purposes - come forth, I say, if in your dark retreats the voice ofmanly indignation can reach your ears - come forth. Bring all the terrors of your chains and dungeons, and all the malice of your inquisitorial inventions: ye shall not daunt the soul that virtue fortifies, nor prevent me from uttering the truths which conscience tells me are important for man to know. - If we have RIGHTS - (for it seems in the present day this must be made a question) - If we have RIGHTS, it is necessary we should know in what those rights consist, that we may guard and protect them with the most jealous caution. -Ifwe have NONE, (the popular sentiment with certain pretended admirers of our GLORIOUS Constitution) it is important that we should know that also; that we may sit ourselves down in patient resignation, and prepare to hug whatever chains our masters may at any future period, in their most gracious mercy, be inclined to throw upon us. - At any rate then, as we would wish to be peaceable and virtuous members of the community, it is necessary above all things that we inform our minds by diligent cultivation: that we enquire into the nature and obligations of our own existence - dive, as far as our intellects will permit, into the discoverable laws of the universe, compare the different parts of the whole system, and endeavour to discover what link in this vast chain is filled by man - what are his duties, his powers, his capacities, how far he is improvable by knowledge and exertion, and what are the proper pursuits, in which, as the result of these premises, he is bound most sedulously to engage. These are the proper, the fundamental enquiries, in which it is the duty of human intellects to be engaged; and without some attention to these, blundering instinct may sometimes stumble upon rectitude - but VIRTUE! - the rational, the sublime principle of VIRTUE! - the sole prerogative of man, and

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without which he were nothing but an upright brute, can never, by any possible contingency, be acquired. Nor are these enquiries the most important of our duties only; they are also the most delightful of our pleasures. Employed in the pursuit of these, man feels and enjoys the noble superiority of his nature - his faculties expand, his heart dilates, his fine senses acquire a keener sensibility- he looks abroad on the universe, and every part of it expands and brightens; while a crowd of splendid wonders rush upon his imagination, to which the mental eye oflgnorance is for ever closed. - He looks in the face of his fellow creature; and he feels indeed a brother - or a part rather of his own existence; another self - He contemplates in every individual the faculties of sufferance and of enjoyment, and feels one nerve of sympathy connecting him with the whole intellectual universe, and giving him an intimate share in all the blessings which he hopes, by his exertions, to impart to the human race. PARTY distinctions and PARTY cavils - I mean the nominal distinctions of PERSONAL FACTIONS: for differences of opinion relative to fundamental principles, and objects really essential to human happiness, deserve more serious and respectful mention. - Party distinctions, and party cavils, the offspring of ignorance, prejudice and servility, vanish before his expanding intellect; and National Animosity itself appears with all its native absurdity and vice before him. Peculiarity of feature is no longer a stimulus to malignity and injustice, nor does peculiarity of opinion excite his horror: the native of Gallia and the professor of Mahometanism are regarded with the same benevolence as the man ofhis own sect and country; and the sooty African need lift his fettered hands no more to remind him that he is A MAN AND A BROTHER! - He enfolds the universe in one large embrace, and the sphere ofhis enjoyments being thus expanded, he finds an eternal source of rational gratification in contemplating the felicity, or labouring to mitigate the calamities of his fellow creatures. Such are the delights ofintellect, and the.free communication ofidea between man and man, and such are the beneficent effects which this freedom of communication cannot fail of ultimately producing, wherever it shall be sufficiently indulged: for selfishness and enmity are but two of the innumerable forms of error - and error itselfis the consequence only of that ignorance, which nothing but the free and fearless intercourse of mind with mind can ever by expected to remove. What then must be the ignorance or the interested depravity of those beings, who, by a system ofinquisitorial persecution, would annihilate this intercourse, so fraught with benignant and delightful tendencies? Are they afraid that, by bursting the narrow boundaries within which the pride offamily partiality, and the egotism of national prejudice, have so long confined our affections and our benevolence, we should trample down the enclosures that secure their monopolised advantages; and that the soil of exclusive privilege, manured no longer by the blood of our contentions, and watered no longer with our tears,

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should cease to bring forth its abundance ofhonours, pensions and emoluments, upon which they so long have fattened, while we have starved? - Or has that piety- that deep and lively sense of RELIGION - that fervour of devotion, for which the Courts ofEurope have so long been famous, stimulated their conduct in this particular - and are we to suppose that (fearful lest that paradise of felicity into which the unrestrained improvement of human intellect might in time convert this hitherto contentious globe, should withdraw our meditations from that better world which is promised unto him that sojourneth in sorrow and afBiction) they have therefore, in kind anxiety for our future salvation, devised this method of checking our temporal improvement, and perpetuating the ignorance, the misery, and asperity of the world? Whatever be the object, the end is to us, in this world at least, calamitous to the last degree, as our starving manufacturers, and the widows and orphans ofour countrymen slaughtered in a ridiculous crusade to restore the lost despotism ofFrance, too well can testify. But whatever efforts spies, inquisitions, and informers, may make to deprive us of the intellectual intercourse which it is so natural for the heart ofman to yearn for, let us keep the glowing prospect ofits probable consequences constantly before our eyes, and endeavour to realise a picture not less estimable to reason than delightful to the imagination. For my own part, so barren a wilderness would this world appear, if deprived of those delights which intellectual intercourse and the free communication of idea can alone impart, that ere I would endure existence in this condition of that mute shell-fish, gasping on the shore, to which some late associations have endeavoured to reduce us, with my own right arm I would rid myself from the incumbrance, and rather sink into non-entity than remember that I once was man. It is not the free communication of sentiment, then, that I wish to restrain - it is the imprudent, the unguarded, the intemperate manner ofexpression, into which indignation sometimes betrays the best intentioned individuals. 26 Let us enquire into the nature ofour rights, but let us enquire with deliberate firmness. Let us be anxious to learn and to discharge our duties, but let us remember that of those duties, violence or intemperance is by no means to be accounted one. Let us remember that as PEACE is better than the SWORD OF SLAUGHTER - This, also, is one of the self-evident propositions which the sagacious luminaries of a certain honourable assembly have thought fit, in their rage for paradox, to call in question; and who, therefore, when tranquility might have been preserved by candid negotiation, preferred the bullying haughtiness which could not but terminate in war: - But we are a Swinish Multitude, 27 who can neither participate in their motives, nor understand their logic: - All that we know about it is, that our troughs are empty, while the purses of our OWNERS appear to be swelling every day with the price of those of our diminished herd who already have been sold and butchered. - Let us not forget, then, that as PEACE is better

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than the SWORD OF SLAUGHTER, so reason is better than turbulence and invective; and that though an honest indignation may be permitted now and then to indulge itself, it ought always to be so restrained by the curb ofprudence, as to be able to look Law and Justice steadily in the face, and say, Behold, I have not trespassed upon your commands. 28 'We must abide our opportunity, And practice what is fit as what is needful'. 29

There is also another - better motive than that ofprudence, to prompt us to this moderation in our deportment - Benevolence! - the kind and candid feelings of the heart! without which a pure and enlightened freedom never can be enjoyed, never can be understood. Anarchy may rage where asperity of soul triumphs in all its bitterness, but where personal hatred, and the burning desire ofvengeance usurp dominion over the hearts of men, genuine liberty, and the tranquil happiness which liberty ought to secure to us, never can be hoped. Reason and the pure spirit ofphilosophy, are essential requisites to this state of social independence, and these will teach us to consider, that every action, however hostile to the sacred cause we are pursuing, is the unhappy consequence of errors resulting from the circumstances by which the actor has been surrounded; and that consequently, instead of stirring up the gloomy passions of the soul, we ought to pity the instrument while we redress the evil. But to return to the subject of personal precaution. To guard, in all possible instances, against illegal oppression, is perhaps more than an active citizen can be assured of: but if the friends ofliberty must suffer for their exertions, let them keep at least the law and constitution, ifpossible, upon their side; and the eyes of mankind, at last, will open to the oppression, and the nation will do them justice. Let us not advisedly, give such a triumph to our enemies, as to suffer the reasoning part of mankind to side against us. Let the peaceable diffusion of knowledge be our serious object; and truth and reason be our only weapons; for, depend upon it, that as it is the business ofthe friends ofdespotism (and such Jam afraid we have among us) to create disturbances, that they may have pretences for their oppressions, it is the part ofthe advocates ofliberty to preserve tranquility and order, that the justness oftheir cause may be discovered. Truth and Liberty love the light - the clear and uninterrupted light of reason - for why should they be afraid to be seen? But Falsehood and Tyranny wish for darkness and confusion: the turbulence of a rumbling chaos: because their deeds are too evil for impartial investigation. Let me not, however, while I am thus recommending prudence, be thought an advocate, or even an apologist for a species of ingratitude which is at present but too prevalent among us. Whatever regulations we may lay down for the direction of our own conduct, let us remember that with respect to others we are to judge them only on the principle of their intentions; and if a friend of

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liberty, transported by his zeal for the public cause, should trespass sometimes upon the boundaries of prudence, and betray himself into the power of some officious coffee-house keeper, 30 or association spy, let us not forget, that if we have reason to believe his intentions towards the public happiness were good, we ought to love him, for his zeal and intrepidity at least, how little soever we may applaud his discretion; and, instead ofmeanly abandoning him in the hour ofhis misfortune, and joining in the cry ofhis accusers, we ought to console him under his sufferings, by every soothing act of friendship, and blunt as much as possible the shaft of hostile revenge. Others may be inclined to venture more than we, or may not see the danger with so keen an eye - or they may think the public cause in want of stronger exertions than we see the necessity 0£ Is it their vice, if they become the victims of these mistakes? or are we the proper censors that should award an increase ofpunishments? Let us be just, Fellow Citizens! while we live; let us be grateful, whenever justice will permit, and let us remember that scarcely any thing has a greater tendency to decrease our reverence for T/irtue, than blindly confounding together, in one common censure, the errors of indiscretion, and the malignity ofvicious principle. There is also another reason why we should be sparing in our censures in cases ofthis description - namely, the foundation there may be to doubt whether the victims of state prosecution, which the present system of spies and informers (unparalleled in the former annals of this or any ftee country) has doomed to languish in gaols and dungeons, have all of them, in reality, been guilty even ofthe charges that have been exhibited against them. 'Every ministering spy, That will accuse and swear, is lord ofyou, Of me, of all our fortunes and our lives. Our looks are called in question, and our words, How innocent soever, are made crimes; We shall not shortly dare to tell our DREAMS, Or rhink, bur 'twill be treason'. 31

With respect to our thoughts, indeed the ATTORNEY-GENERAL, I am told, has admitted, upon a late occasion, that a man is at liberty (glorious liberty, indeed!) to think what he pleases, provided he does not communicate his thoughts to others; (this is British, constitutional liberty, I suppose!) and as Swift and other Tory writers32 have upheld the same liberal doctrine for this century past, perhaps our wise and virtuous governors will be graciously pleased to condescend so far as to afford us the same kind ofmental toleration - so long at least

as they shall be in possession ofno secret by which they can learn our thoughts previous to their communication. Something of this sort was indeed attempted, about fifteen months ago, by several members of a certain immaculate assembly: our

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looks being in reality called in question, and a seditious meaning being applied even to our very smiles; so that, in the midst ofour other ALARMS, with which the nation was harassed at that period, I am informed that certain lovers of wit and pleasantry were in horrible apprehension lest it should be made CAPITAL to laugh withoutpermission ofhis MAJESTY'S MINISTERS!! Upon the subject of dreams, the sapient conquerors of venison and turtle - the huge bellied NESTORS to the west of Temple-Bar carried the point, as I am informed, to still more serious extremities; and a man was absolutely taken up and carried before their worships for the crime of dreaming sedition!33 The case is singular enough; but it deserves attention, on account of the knotty points involved in the discussion; and I shall therefore report it at large, not doubting that the learned Judges of a future century will regard it with equal veneration, and refer to it as of equal authority with any thing contained in Blackstone,34 Strange, 35 or Plowden! 36 or even that great oracle oflegal science, 'Coke upon Littleton' itself.37 The fact is, that much about the time when the genial warmth of ministerial patronage quickened into existence, a new race of reptiles, called FIFTY POUND MEN, (a swarm oflocusts oflate but too familiar to us) a certain publican, living at no great distance from Snow-hill, and keeping a house not very unlike the sign of the Three Butts, being suspected of having read Tom Paine without the worshipful permission of the Lord Mayor, or Court of Aldermen; one of these said FIFTY POUND MEN began to imagine that by watching with sufficient assiduity, he might be able to seize a lucky opportunity of shewing that he was not distinguished by the beams of courtly patronage in vain, but that he was burning with the sacred thirst of atchieving something that might perpetuate his name so long as SPIES, EAVES-DROPPERS and INFORMERS should demand the love and gratitude of mankind. He accordingly took a lodging in the house ofhonest' Tankard; and as Fate, propitious to his wishes, would have it - where should his bed-room be, but immediately adjoining to that of his suspected host. I shall not dwell particularly upon the intermediate cares and anxieties of this virtuous moucharde; such as the pains he took to place the head of his bed immediately against the thin partition, so that not a whisper might be lost, - the tedious hours of expectation, which, night after night, he spent in wakeful diligence; and the pains he took to drill holes through the wainscot in convenient places, so that he might be enabled to see the dark conspirators, whoever they should be, that polluted, as he doubted not, with their nocturnal visits, the privacy of his den of treason. Suffice it that we pass to the particular incident so deservedly memorable among the glorious events recorded by MR. REEVES's ASSOCIATION. It happened one night, that our redoubted FIFTY POUND MAN having heard, among a select little company (to the key-hole of whose room he had

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been applying his loyal ear) something dropped in conversation about FREEDOM and REFORM, and being confident therefore that some dreadful plot must be forming against our happy constitution, he stole up slily to his bed, as the company was dispersing, and began to meditate on his expected REWARD. Unfortunately however for his diligence, he had that day been receiving his quarterly payment (remember I do not say at the TREASURY); and indulging the careless hilarity ofa soul conscious of its own virtue, had made rather more free than usual with honest Tankard's punch and porter; so that in the midst of all his pleasing meditations, he fell asleep before either the conspirators or the host came up stairs. He had not slept long, however, before he was awakened with the expected exclamations of treason and sedition. He roused himself from his bed, and put his eye to the accustomed hole - but all was dark: his ear was, however, applied with more success, and he heard distinctly uttered, 'Away with him to the guillotine; take offhis head at once; don't let any ofthose rascally aristocrates escape'. This was enough - The fifty-pound man thought himselfcertain ofpreferment, and keeping the secret close till he had an opportunity of disposing of it to advantage, he slipped out in the morning, procured a warrant, and dragged the affiighted Tankard to the seat ofjustice. Well, the grave Divan was assembled; the great armed chairs were seated, and the great bellies of the aldermen demanded the admiration of the meagre multitude: - for, you must know, that whereas in Westminster-hall the most conspicuous objects are frequently the large wigs that are elevated above the bench; so, at Guildhall, the most striking features in the picture, are the big bellies that fill with so much magisterial dignity the great armed chairs. - And to deal plainly with you, I do not know why a belly as big as a tun should not be as much revered and trembled at as a wig of the dimensions of a bushel. Well, the portly bellies were assembled, over which the useless excressences, called heads, just made their diminutive appearance: the culprit was put to the bar, and the charge was made; a party of loyal associators was assembled to express their indignation; and the sentence was already more than half manufactured in Mr. Reeve's mint; when lo honest Tankard being put upon his defence, it turned out to be nothing but a dream. He had gone to sleep with the newspaper in his hand which contained the account of those wicked sans cullottes having taught the new French bow38 to the innocent, upright and unequivocating Louis; and his busy imagination presenting the scene before him, he had uttered in his sleep the ejaculations which caused the alarm. Luckily for Tankard he was a married man; and, his good woman being sent for, and agreeing in her narrative with that of her husband (for she also had been awakened by the strange exclamation), and the candle burnt down into the socket, and the newspaper, which was found by the bedside, confirming the whole account, some of the great bellies were for dismissing the affair immediately. One of Mr. Reeves's associators, however (a

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young barrister, very desirous of preferment!) affirmed chat there was evidently malice propense in the circumstances of the dream; and chat as the malice propense in every case constituted guile, he could not chink their worships justified in dismissing the affair so lightly; nor did he doubt but chat if the books were searched with sufficient diligence, some act, or case, or opinion, would be found, especially if they looked back to the happy and ever to be regretted reign of the Stewarts, which, by a liberal construction, would extend to the CRIME OF DREAMING SEDITION. The case appeared entirely new; the whole divan was in confusion; some scratched their heads and hummed 'God save the King', in articulate whispers; others sunk into a brown study; and others hemm'd and ha'd, and stared in each other's faces; while the clerks, busy as so many bees, and anxious to shew their attachment to King and Constitution, tumbled over the four and twenty folios of acts of parliament, and thrice four and twenty folios more of indexes, reports, cases, and abridgements; but, wonderful to say! upon the subject ofdreaming all was silent - though there seems to be no subject wich which the authors ofthese books, judging from their soporific qualities, might be supposed co be more perfectly acquainted. In short, after spending three-fourths of the day in hunting for rules and precedents relative to seditious dreams, after twisting and straining every thing chat came in their way, and caking the learned opinions of all the great law officers of the court and city, it was unanimously decided, chat there being no case in point, it would not be prudent to punish the seditious dreamer for the first offence; and honest Tankard was dismissed, upon a solemn promise, chat he would never dream sedition any more. But co return from the levity of chis digression, and resume the more serious tone of moral reprobation to which the subject is so well entitled. It is one of the curses of the infernal system of these associators, chat it has a direct tendency to debauch the morals of the community, and destroy every principle of honour, honesty, and truth, chat ought to link man with man, and secure the happiness and advantages of the social union; and consequently to introduce every species of moral depredation - false accusation, perjury, and subornation of perjury; and, in short, every abominable vice which treachery can devise, and malignity carry into execution. Nor let it be suspected, chat chis assertion is founded in prejudice, and the aversion which difference of political sentiment is but too apt to breed in the bosoms ofmankind. The facts upon which it is to be supported are to be traced with too much certainty, in the records of chose despotic countries in which the system has, in former periods, been established; (and in none but despotic countries, let it be remembered, was it ever before attempted to be introduced); and the circumstance itselfof chis depravity is to be accounted for with sufficient facility, ifwe are all acquainted with the principles of the human character, and the seeps and gradations with which vice treads upon the heels of vice, blacken-

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ing in its progress till it sinks, by imperceptible degrees, into the lowest abysses of infamy and degradation. For vice no more than virtue is the offspring of an individual effort; and it is only by progressive steps that any considerable distinction, either in one or the other, is to be produced. The distance, however, between the SPY or INFORMER, and the PERJURER, is not very great. The necessity of confidence in our communications and transactions with each other, and especially in that intercourse offriendship and discourse which is the source of all the comforts and improvements of the social union, is obvious even to the most ordinary intellect; and, accordingly we find, that the sacred principle resulting from this necessity is one of the first that is adopted by the rude beginnings of society; and even savages and barbarians themselves would look with horror upon the wretch who, in violation of the first law of society, should lay traps to betray his countryman or associate into unguarded conversation, with a view ofrepeatingit to his disadvantage; or should betray in any manner whatever the sentiments he had overheard, or which had been directed to him, in the confidence ofsocial communion. What then, in the present state of social improvement, when the moral feelings of mankind may naturally be expected to have attained a keener sensibility, and, consequently, when efforts of such greater profligacy must be requisite to suppress these feelings - what must be the depravity of that wretch, who, submitting himself to an office ofwhich savages themselves would be ashamed, should prowl from place to place, from lurking hole to lurking hole, and from circle to circle, to overhear and betray the conversation in which the honest and unsuspecting part of his fellow-creatures may occasionally indulge their feelings; and can we wonder, when hardened to this degree of depravity, by the vicious encouragement held out by one part ofsociety, for the ruin and destruction of another, ifthey should advance one step further in the path ofvice and infamy, and, to gratify an inveterate malice, or encrease the wages of their iniquity, bring forward accusations destitute efallfoundation in truth, and sacrifice on the alter oftheir infernal idols, all whom personal resentment or party rancour may have rendered obnoxious to their machinations. That such has been the conduct of informers in other ages and countries cannot be denied: the page ofhistory affirms it. And that it has, in more instances than one, been the case with respect to the victims now confined in our Bastilles, I have, for my own part, no sort of doubt whatever. And how should it be otherwise? From an informer to a perjurer is but a single gradation; and who that had already advanced three pans of the way to the devil, would refuse to take another step to make himselfmore secure of the reward?3 9 I do not mean directly to charge with the crime of designedly encouraging perjury and false accusation, the persons who have set on foot this detestable system - though men who are anxiously engaged in the pursuit of their own private interests or ambition, are seldom very nice in the means of their attainment

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- and many of chem, like the SEJANUS ofBEN JONSON, might not perhaps blush co whisper in the ear of a trusty confidant, 'Tell the words You brought me, th' other day, of Silius:

Addsomething to them'. 40

But whether such instructions were ever communicated or not by Mr. Reeves and his associators, or by the treacherous and insolent SEJANUS ofchis country, before whose nigh-expiring dignity they bend their minds in such dishonourable servitude, is not the question to society. We must look to the consequences of measures, not to the nice shades and discriminations ofprogressive turpitude in the characters, of men: and it was their duty, as the grand movers of the infernal engine thus set to work, for the accomplishment of a purpose in itselfdiabolical, - (the annihilation of political truth - the restraint of the benign progress of intellectual improvement) to consider, before the experiment was adopted, what were the mischiefs to the morals and happiness ofsociety, which were likely to be effected by its operations? Had chis subject been fully and fairly considered; had all the consequences been duly reflected upon, of tearing asunder the ties and moral obligations between man and man, violating every bond and principle of confidence, and setting neighbour against neighbour, and.friend against.friend, co way-lay and ensnare his confidence, and violate his privacy, for purposes of political treachery; I am scarcely inclined co believe, chat a being so profligate could have been found (even among the governors of chis degraded country) as co have been the author of so monstrous an innovation: an innovation worse than every thing which the authors of it pretend to dread - which introduces, wherever it is adopted, a system of ANARCHY of the most deplorable nature - an ANARCHY OF MORALS! ten thousand times more destructive - more devastating than the most absolute POLITICAL ANARCHY chat ever existed: - The fact being, chat political anarchy is no further in reality an evil, than as the moralsystem is vitiated and imperfect; while, on the other hand, if the principles ef morality are once overthrown, nothing like political security and peace can possibly be expected in any state. But, alas! the dog-star of alarm rages in our political hemisphere; and our intellects, already impaired by the vices ofluxury and dissipation, are unable to resist the infectious mania: and behold to what a deplorable state ofdegradation we are already subjugated; 'We that (within these fourscore years) were born Free, equal, lords of the triumphed world, And knew no masters, bur affections, To which betraying first our liberties, We since became the slaves to one man's pride And now to many'.41

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I shall not at present enter into the enquiry concerning the proper deserts of those by whom a system of this description may be introduced or supported: - It would be a painful task. I am more desirous of informing than of irritating your minds: more anxious to impart the wisdom that softens to benevolence, than to inflame the passions that urge to coercion and revenge. My system of philosophy leads me to consider men, in a considerable degree at least, as the creatures of surrounding circumstances; and consequently to attribute less of criminality or guilt to their actuating motives, than the generality of those who are mere spectators of their actions - or perhaps sufferers by them, are inclined to suppose. I am a stickler for PRINCIPLES; not the advocate of MEN and PARTIES: - an opposer ofvice and TYRANNY; not the personal enemy even of the OPPRESSORS. - If others, judging from the warmth of my expressions, or, perhaps, from the narrowness oftheir own souls, cannot believe these professions, I pity them; I am not angry with them: I look into my own heart, and I believe I know my motives! 42 Putting therefore, the deserts of individuals entirely out of the question, I shall observe that since we have the misfortune to live in an age and country in which profligate associations have introduced such a system among us, we have the better reason for deporting ourselves with peculiar caution; that we may battle, if possible, those detestable machinations by which every friend of liberty and mankind is hemmed and environed round about. In the midst of our caution, however, let us not mistake cowardice for prudence. The fact is, if we love liberty, and would pursue it, Rashness itself is not so far removed from Prudence as are panic and timidity. Had we never fled from our post during the alarm spread by a certain proclamation; had we, with peaceable, but steady resolution, opposed our sentiments to the inquisitorial associations ofparish officers and sordid merchants and moneyjobbers - the present calamitous war had been avoided; and the hopes of parliamentary reform had not been frustrated. We excuse ourselves, it is true, and hide our timidity, by talking about the times; and thus countenance, in some degree, the pretences of the ministerial faction, by supposing that there can be times in which the discharge ofour duties to society can be improper. But all times are in reality the same, if we have the virtue to make them so. 'Times? - The men, The men are not the same; 'tis we are base, Poor, and degenerate from th' exalted strain Ofour great fathers. Where is now the soul Ofgodlike Cato? he, that durst be good, When Caesar durst be evil; and had power, As not to live his slave, to die his master? Or where the constant Brutus, that (being proof

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This picture, although the resemblance is but too near, is not, however, entirely applicable to the present posture of affairs. Our race of heroes is not intirely extinct; the last ofBritons is not yet mouldering in the grave. Still we have a GERRALD44 and a SINCLAIR,45 who, unawed by the persecuting hand of power, have bravely repaired to the unrelenting tribunal ofScotland, to receive - not the dubious issue of an impartial trial, but the certain severity ofcruel sentence; and still we have a MARGAROT, - 'a SECOND SYDNEY! ' 46 bravely suffering - (if suffering that can be called which is endured with such heroic cheerfulness) the accumulated ignominy of dungeons, fetters, and invective calumny; and with a patriotic firmness, that puts to shame the boasts of ancient virtue, encountering the full malignity of an UNCONSTITUTIONAL SENTENCE, which is to banish him for fourteen years, among felons and malefactors, to the distant and inhospitable shores of New Holland, for proposing; under the common name of Britain, a more intimate union between the southern and northern portions of the empire. And I hope and trust that, in so glorious a cause, there are hundreds - thousands who will step forward, whenever opportunity shall permit, and expose themselves to equal danger, in a cause of so much virtue, utility, and glory. Yes - glorious and enlightened patriot! whose voice has ever been uplifted, whose interests have been so generously neglected, and whose personal liberty, and loved endearments of thy native home, have so cheerfully been sacrificed for that sacred cause which shall flourish by thy persecution, and triumph by thy martyrdom! - Yes - glorious patriot! there shall be found - and the tyrants of the earth shall see it and shall tremble! - there shall be found (the hour is at hand that shall verify the prediction) thousands - and tens ofthousands ofenlightened citizens, who, warmed to generous enthusiasm by thy virtues, and emulous of thy distinguished, they unsullied fame, shall avow to the very teeth of thy oppressors, the incontrovertible truths - the generous and magnanimous principles, which have pulled down upon thy undaunted head the hatred and the inflexible vengeance of an insolent, treacherous, and unprincipled faction - a faction, once the pretended advocates of those very doctrines which they now denounce and per-

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secute with such unblushing impudence, - such sanguinary and insatiate fury! The voice ofgeneral indignation already begins to articulate, in tones indeed 'not loud, but deep'; - tones that express the internal agitation of the soul, and are prophetic of the audible murmur that must soon awaken the attention of those who at present pretend to regard our reasonings, and our remonstrances with contempt - FALSE ALARMS, and INQUISITORIAL ASSOCIATIONS, may appal awhile a wondering and deluded nation: but, 'O BRAVE BRITAIN! there is life in't yet!' - the spirit of a people so enlightened, and once so full of the generous pride ofliberty, as the inhabitants of this country, cannot be long suppressed; the genuine voice of the nation must soon be heard - I need not tell you within the walls of what assembly it is NOT to be expected to resound. - The real voice ofthe nation must soon be heard; and the promoters of UNCONSTITUTIONAL OPPRESSION must tremble at the shout. Then shall thy manly virtue, illustrious Margarot! meet with the applause it merits, and thy return to this insulted country shall be as glorious to thyself, and as triumphant to thy friends (I mean the friends of Liberty- for they can be no friends to that sacred cause who are not friends to thee!) as thy departure is in reality disgraceful to those short-sighted enemies who now exult in thy persecution. CITIZENS! This is not the rant of inconsiderate enthusiasm, but the result of some acquaintance with the generous feelings of the hearts of Britons; some absolute knowledge of the progress of popular sentiment, - and of the existing state of opinion among a people whom some would guide and direct (I ought to say drive and harass) without any other acquaintance with their dispositions than such as may be imparted by SPIES and EAVESDROPPERS: a set of wretches who have an interest to deceive, because their salaries depend upon keeping their employers in good humour. (Who ever pays a lackey for unwelcome tidings?) Neither is it the cant offaction - the purchased fable ofsome venal tool of Party. I am a SANS CULOTTE! - one of those who think the happiness of millions of more consequence than the aggrandizement of any party junto! or, in other words, an advocate for the rights and happiness of those who are languishing in want and nakedness! (for this is my interpretation of a sans culotte: - the thing in REALITY which Whigs PRETEND to be!) All factions therefore do me the honour to hold me in equal detestation; and would be as far from trusting me, as I from being the tool of their ambition. - Neither is it the ebullition of private partiality. Between this GLORIOUS MARTYR and myself there have existed no private bonds ofgratitude and attachment - no other tie or connection than that which has been created by the consciousness that both were pressing forward with disinterested zeal, in different departments, but in the same common cause ofpublic happiness and virtue. Even a political intercourse has scarcely subsisted

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between us - my name having scarcely been enrolled in the lists of the society of whole confidence he has shewn himselfso truly, and so eminently worthy, before the eventful epocha ofhis mission to the Convention at Edinburgh. But the events of the last four or five months have drawn forth the exertions ofthe friends ofliberty, and shewn the characters ofmen, both the MOCK Patriots and the REAL, in their proper colours. It is within that space of time, that my attachment for the SYDNEY OF THE BRITISH CONVENTION has blossomed, grown, and ripened. The intercourse between us has been no other than that which the world has witnessed; and the private communion, even ofepistolary correspondence, has never subsisted between us - both having been too busily employed to find time for soliciting and cementing individual attachments. 47 I speak of him, then, only as I have seen him in his actions; and I have seen his actions through no other medium of partiality than that which is natural to two men, pursuing, by correspondent means, the same important object, in which they are mutually convinced the happiness and virtue of mankind is intimately involved. Contemplating him through this medium of his public conduct, and adding to these considerations, the heroic cheeifulness, the manly serenity of deportment, which I saw him so consistently and so unaffectedly display, I own I cannot hear the name of Margarot, or call his image to my remembrance, without feeling a glow of enthusiasm, which convinces me that there is no true patriot who really knows his worth, but who would cheerfully share with him the fate which he is going to encounter. For myself, I hope I see the path that honor and virtue have chalked out before me; and that my mind is fortified with sufficient resolution to pursue whatever conduct the future combinations of events may dictate as most essential to the public service: but, if ever the time of despondency should come (though I confess at present I discover no symptoms of its approach) when the sinews ofpatriotic exertion may relax without criminality, and leave the hopeless cause of British Liberty to the blind dominion of Chance; rather - ten thousand times rather, would I go a voluntary, a self-willed victim to a similar transportation, and enjoy, amidst the inhospitable regions of New Holland, the society of a MARGAROT and a SKIRVING, a MUIR, a PALMER, a GERRALD, and a SINCLAIR,48 than remain, in the midst even ofprosperity and luxury, an inhabitant ofa country, which, without some strong, some marked and general expression ofdisapprobation and resentment, could submit to their unmerited exile. In the mean time every individual may do something in the service of the cause for which these glorious martyrs are suffering. We have Virtue and Reason on our side; and these, if their friends are at once active, vigilant, and prudent, cannot fail of ultimate triumph over the arts offalsehood and corruption. Let us speak truth, then, with boldness, and cultivate it with incessant diligence; but let us speak with all the caution we are masters of; that as our views are

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peaceable and honest, our conduct may, ifpossible, escape calumny and misrepresentation, and may shun the fangs ofthe harpies that would devour us; and this not because we shrink from oppression and persecution (for to suffer injustice in a good cause is, in fact, a glorious distinction) but because whenever ignorance and misery are so prevalent as we now behold them in this unhappy country, the real friend of mankind has duties of an active nature calling incessantly for his benevolent exertions, which cannot be duly attended to and discharged within the gloomy confines ofa prison. Not that I mean to insinuate, that even in a dungeon a philosophical and enlightened patriot need be entirely useless to society. Mind! mind! - that almost omnipotent faculty of man! superior to the malice ofpersecution - defies the chains and dungeons of the oppressor; and while the body still languishes in confinement, makes to itselfwings, and, scaling the walls and barriers that vainly endeavour to enslave it, scatters its emanations far and wide. The resources, the consolations, the functions of this divine principle, are so innumerable, that it is scarcely possible to devise a situation where life can be supported, in which, if we do not find some means to benefit mankind, and to enjoy ourselves, it must not be attributed to ourselves: to our want of fortitude, of activity, or of virtue. Voltaire, in the solitary dungeons of the Bastille, from which he never expected to be released, wrote his celebrated poem the Henriade;49 Boethius, in a confinement equally cruel, and in constant apprehension of the executioner, composed his Consolations ofPhilosophy; 50 Epictetus, the philosopher,51 and the fabulist /Esop, 52 in the condition of personal slavery, kept their minds still in freedom, and produced the immortal works, which, to the end of time, shall continue to benefit the world. In short, there is no condition, but a state efindolence and luxurious dissipation, that may not be rendered useful: - no situation so abject, or so hopeless, in which the philosophical mind may not create to itself resources: and though no man would wish to be driven to these expedients, yet, rather than stalk about in useless inanity, meet my fellowcreatures, and look them fearfully in the face, without daring to exchange with them the sentiments of my heart, I would court the chains and dungeons of my oppressors, where, to my fellow prisoners, or to my solitary walls, I could communicate my thoughts with freedom. For it is better, according to my judgment, - ten times better, to be immured oneself in a Bastille, than to have the Bastille put into one's mouth to lock up one's tongue from all intercourse and communication with one's heart. But there is, perhaps, in the generality of instances, a guarded and cautious mode of delivery, which frequently (by expressing no more than what is really meant, and directing our indignation against the oppression, rather than petulantly singling forth particular individuals whom we may suspect of being the oppressors) has more desireable effect in removing the prejudices, and allaying the apprehensions, of our antagonists, than all that 'sound and fury', frequently

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'signifying nothing'; but which is apt to lay us open to the snares of the enemy, and disappoint the important objects we have in view. This maxim, however, I beg to be understood, as intended to restrain our passions, and correct our intemperance only, and not as curbing in any respect the free spirit ofreason and inquiry, which it was ONCE the boast of the BRITISH CONSTITUTION to patronize and encourage; and, without the ample indulgence ofwhich it is impossible that any human effort should conduct us to the sublime principles of truth and virtue, from which, and from which alone, those blessings and that wisdom are to be expected, which smooth the asperities ofthis world offoibles and imperfections, and which may perhaps conduct us, in the end, to a height ofintelligent perfection, peace, and universal love, ofwhich hitherto (thwarted as we are in the best exercise ofour capacities) we have never been enabled to form even the most distant idea. 53 Then, perhaps, shall the party cabals, the hostile views, and national enmities which have hitherto destroyed the tranquility, interrupted the communications, and thinned the population of the habitable globe, be removed and annihilated for ever. Glory shall alone be placed in intellect and virtue; and the only strife between man and man shall be who shall best deserved the love and admiration of his fellow creatures - or, in other words, who shall diffuse the blessings of his exertions through the widest circle, and be- not the greatest DESTROYER, but the greatest BENEFACTOR ofthe world. Nor let us regard as visionary this glowing picture of the future advantages of cultivated intellect: for if, as no one can doubt who is at all acquainted with the history of the world and the discoveries of modern navigators, man was originally a savage, little better than the brute creation, and, if under all the disadvantages of restraints and prejudices which confined the spirit of enquiry to a few individuals, and a few objects only, he has arrived, by the mere force of associated intellect, to his present state ofimprovement and civilization; what but cowardice and irrational bigotry can lead us to suppose that he may not still go on to further improvements and meliorations of his condition, and that a spirit ofenquiry, still bolder and more unrestrained, may not be productive of effects still more visible and important to the human race. Come then, divine and eternal principle of TRUTH and JUSTICE, animate the bosom of thy votary with the enthusiastic love of thy essence, which may prompt him, through every danger, and every intricacy, to pursue and to discover they immutable decrees! Guided by thy sacred light, let me seek with diligence the happiness ofmy fellow-creatures, and labour incessantly to disperse those mists of error and superstition, from which their vices and their miseries have hitherto proceeded - Bring with thee, 0 thou first and chiefest object of my adoration! bring with thee, as thy handmaid, not as thy dictator, the guardian principle of PRUDENCE, to protect me in my researches, that ye may preside

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together over my future conduct, and bless me with your united favour: - but if, indeed, one ofyou must sometimes be dismissed, let Prudence be the victim, and, whatever be the effect to me, let TRUTH be my tutelary divinity for ever! 54

FINIS.

POLITICAL LECTURES, (NO.II)

SKETCHES OF THE

History of Prosecutions FOR

POLITICAL OPINION; WITH

STRICTURES ON THE

LATE PROCEEDINGS OF THE

Court ofJusticiary in Scotland. THE SECOND EDITION. To which is now added,

ADEDICATION TO THE TWO INDEPENDENT GRAND JURIES who rejected the malicious Attempts of Persecution for the Suppression of these Lectures. BY J. THELWALL

Alas, poor England! what will become of time, if thou look not the sooner into thine own Privileges, and maintain not thine own lawful Liberty? PRYNN'S Harangue from the Pillory. STATE TRIALS.

LONDON:

2, 74, NEWGATE-

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR; AND SOLD AT THE LECTURE-ROOM, NO. BEAUFORT-BUILDINGS, STRAND; AND BYD. I. EATON, NO. STREET. MDCCXCIV.

[Price Six Pence.] -71 -

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TOTHE TWO RESPECTABLE GRAND JURIES OF THE MANOR AND LIBERTY OF THE SAVOY, Who, by their spirited Adherence to Truth andJustice, and their Determination to be directed by the Evidence of their own Senses, baffied the insidious Machinations of the Tools of a STATE INQUISITOR, and rescued the Author from the disappointed Gripe of Persecution, this Second Edition of a Lecture upon a Subject, at least eminently interesting and important, is dedicated, by their grateful Fellow-Citizen, Thursday, May 8, 1794 JOHN THELWALL.

It may not be amiss briefly to state to the public the occasion of this Dedication.1 At the Court-Leet of this district, held on Thursday, the first of this month, an officious informer, in the neighbourhood of the Lecture-room, presented a copy of the former edition of this Lecture to the Grand Jury, and wished them to make it the foundation of a prosecution for libel. The Jury, however, refused to be make the tools of so malignant a design, and observed, with becoming dignity and independence, that they were not, in matters of such importance, to be taken by surprise; and that the book, ifit did contain any libellous matter, ought

to be repeatedly read, and maturely deliberated upon by the jury, before they pronounceda censure upon it that mightsubject the author to such serious consequences.

This attempt was accordingly unsuccessful. Mr. Reeves, however, the worshipful Steward of the district, 2 did not suffer the matter to drop; and a new grand jury, for the ensuing year, being sworn in, his charge, as I am informed, consisted almost entirely of animadversions upon 'the seditious Lectures in Beaufort-buildings; which, he said, must not be permitted to go unnoticed; they being in reality much more dangerous than all the tumbling-houses* in the metropolis. They were calculated', he affirmed, 'to inflame the public mind against every thing great and glorious in the British Constitution'; (such as Spies, Informers, sinecure Placemen, Pensioners, unnecessary wars, inordinate taxation, and the like!!) 'and that I had even agitated the passions of my auditory to such a degree, that they jumped upon the benches, and cried out, with one voice, No King - no Parliament, and no Laws!' But the business was over done. The dose was too strong. The good sense of the jury, nauseated at the very scent of the absurdity; and the charge ofnuisance •

Some representations of nuisances of this sort had been made .

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being brought by the same loyalgentleman, as had presented the pamphlet, and being supported by the voluntary testimony of a Mr. Scott, a brandy merchant in the Buildings, the jury determined, this being an affair upon which every one might have an opportunity offorming his own judgment, that they ought themselves to be witnesses to the fact, before they pretended to decide. The court being, therefore, held over, by adjournment, to this day, (Thursday, May 8,) the foreman and other jurors attended at the Lecture-room during the two intervening nights, to make their observations. The result was, that being perfectly satisfied of the legality of the meeting, and the good order with which it was conducted, they returned the following answer - 'On hearing and duly considering the complaint of several of the inhabitants of Beaufort-buildings, respecting the Lectures delivered by Mr. Thelwall, the Jury are ofopinion, that they cannot present the meeting at the said Mr. Thelwall's Lectures as a public nuisance'. This was a very unexpected stroke to certain honourable protectors of the LIBERTY and PROPERTY of placemen and pensioners; for infinite pains had been taken, by canvassing from house to house, to collect a heap of complaints together; and Mr. Steward Reeves, after an awefulpause, that excited the tender feelings ofthe assembly, began, with some hesitation, to remonstrate that sixteen respectable GENTLEMEN in the neighbourhood had complained of nuisance, upon oath; but the foreman replied, in his former language, that the Jury had maturely considered the whole of the circumstances, and that THEY FOUND NO NUISANCE. It is worth while, perhaps, to observe, that the foundations, or rather pretences for the charge of nuisance were, that upon the lecture nights, four or five hundred people went up and down my stairs; and that a number ofpersons collected about the door, who behaved in a rude and improper manner, and that therefore there might be a riot. The good sense of the Jury could not but observe the tendency ofthis might-be evidence: since ifa man is to be indicted, because it is possible a riot may hereafter happen at his door; he may by and by, by a similar mode ofcalculation, come to be hanged, because there is a possibility that murder may be committed by some desperado under his window. That persons of both sexes have assembled round my door, and behaved ill enough, I readily admit. But I appeal to these alarmists - these pretended lovers of peace and order, who made this the foundation of their complaints, whether they do not know that these were their own servants, who, ifnot sent for the purpose, were, at least, permitted by them to stand, for three hours together, in the street, insulting every body that came in and out, with all the malice ofvulgar ridicule. But these Gentlemen may now, perhaps, find time to look to the affairs of their own houses and families, and keep their loquacious lacqueys at home; and if they do not, the vigilance and impartiality of a respectable grand jury may teach

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them, that every man's castle is to be alike defended; and that chastisement is to fall not upon the insulted, but upon the offendingparty.

POLITICAL LECTURES, &c, Prosecutionsfor Political Opinions. CITIZENS! THE art of drawing indictments, and contriving innuendoes, and so manufacturing libels', says Mr. Gurney, in his manly and eloquent defence of Citizen Eaton,3 'is indeed a curious art'; and, as it has lately flourished in a very extraordinary degree, it may be worth while to enquire into the history of its rise and progress, and the means by which it has attained its present celebrity. Did the plan of this course of lectures, and the necessary attention to variety permit, I should be desirous of doing this in a very ample manner, so as to lay the whole mass of iniquity before the public eye in one collected view; being thoroughly persuaded that the complete prospect of the folly and wickedness of prosecutions for opinion and popular investigation, and the consequent misery in which they must of necessity involve so many of the most virtuous of mankind, would convince every candid mind, of the immediate necessity of putting a period to a system which never did, nor ever can be rationally expected to answer the purposes of those by whom it is adopted. But this is a task much too elaborate to be attempted on the present occasion. The records contained in so many immense folios of state trials, the historical facts with which those records are connected, and the innumerable trials which propagate the seditions, and will perpetuate the memory ofthe persecutions ofthe present reign, are not to be compressed into a single lecture, or even into the small course oflectures into which it is my purpose to divide this subject. The slightest sketch, however, if I should be fortunate enough to be at all judicious in my selection, or pertinent in my remarks, cannot fail ofbeing eminently useful; especially as it will tend to illustrate, in a considerable degree, what is the real difference (if any) with respect to POLITICAL LIBERTY, between the present situation of this country, and that in which our ancestors were placed in the disgraceful and tyrannic reigns of the Stewarts. It will shew us, also, in some degree, what were the boasted advantages of the REVOLUTION in 1688; and what provisions, necessary to the enjoyment of a RATIONAL FREEDOM, were neglected at that memorable period. In looking over the records of these events, the first circumstance which must strike even the most superficial observer, is the vast disproportion

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between the political prosecutions of ancient and modern times. Reign after reign, and year after year, teems with increasing fruitfulness of persecution. The evil is constantly extending: - spreading itself (if such a transition of metaphor may be admitted) like an inverted pyramid, and threatening, if the progress should continue in a similar ratio, to eclipse entirely the light of rational enquiry, and leave to the ignorant and affrighted crowd beneath nothing but the gloomy shadow of an ill concerted structure, ready every instant to crush them with its enormous weight. From the commencement of the reign of Richard I, to the death of Mary, a period of one hundred and eighty years, the State Trials present us with but five instances of political prosecutions; and the first of these is against the ministers of a weak and obstinate prince, for sequestrating the royal revenues, and turning to their own personal interest, and that of their relations and dependants, those public treasures which ought to have been devoted to the protection and happiness of the people: a crime not always enquired into with the keenest avidity, nor chastised with the sincerest indignation. In short there is reason to believe that if offences of this nature had always been scrutinised with the same severity which we have known to be exercised against seditious allegories and libels against game cocks,4 the records of political prosecutions might have been swelled to thrice their present bulk, and the decrees ofvindictive justice might have sent to Botany Bay or to the scaffold some of the most arrogant ministers that ever commanded the implicit confidence of a venal House of Commons. The reign ofElizabeth alone, a period ofonly five and forty years, exhibits a black collection of eleven important trials; among which we have some as disgraceful to the English character as any that stand upon record - some recent examples oflawless persecution alone excepted. Among the shining transactions of this reign, so eminently extolled by the zeal of Protestant writers, we may particularly mention the trials of Mary, Queen of Scots (whose greatest crime against her cousin Queen, at least, was that of really excelling in all those graceful accomplishments of mind and person to which the coarse and arrogant Elizabeth so ridiculously pretended) and the persecution and capital condemnation ofJohn Udall,5 a Puritan minister, for feloniously publishing his opinion (for libel was not then in fashion, and felony was the denomination of crime he was charged with) concerning the religious establishment of the times. James I. who commenced his career of tyranny with procuring the illegal condemnation of that great ornament of letters and his country, Sir Walter Raleigh, whom, several years after, he dispatched by a legalized murder, did not fail to improve upon the example which his cousin queen had set him. Nor did baby Charles, as his father used so accurately to call him (for his character

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never attained the steady consistency of manhood) resign the dear prerogative of political prosecution: so chat we find the Scace Trials in thirty-five years, co the 14th of Charles the First, swelled to more than double the extent of all which had preceded during the space of two hundred and twenty-four years, reckoning chose for libel and sedition only: for I exclude chose of a less political nature, though they arose, also, as in reality all crimes and prosecutions do, from the particular vices of the existing government. Soon afi:er chis (in the year 1640) prosecutions began to change sides; and from thence to the unhappy RESTORATION in 1660, Mr. Gurney would have found no occasion to complain chat political prosecutions were alone directed against chose who 'reflected, or were supposed to reflect upon the regal or aristocratical branch of the constitution'; and chat 'if a man would but exalt these, at the expence of the democratical part, he might libel the constitution with impunity'. 'THE MAJESTY OF THE PUBLIC', had for once its jealous guardians and avengers. 'The sacred rights of the people' could no longer 'be insulted, degraded, and vilified' with impunity, while for every 'sarcasm chat fell on the power and authority of kings or nobles', the thunder of 'ministerial vengeance was instantly hurled at the head of the unfortunate offender'. 6 Democracy triumphed for a while over the tyranny of courts; ministers experienced the day of retribution; and the ermined robes, and sanctimonious trappings ofJudges and ambitious prelates, could no longer protect chem from the punishments to which their official libels against public liberty so justly entitled chem.7 It is co be observed, however, co the honour of these times, chat actual offences against the order and happiness of the people, were the only objects of state prosecution; and chat no inquisitorial divan searched for innuendos, and concealed libels, in every little tale and pamphlet. The magnanimity of Cromwell in chis particular, might put to shame (if their cheeks were liable to blush) the petty jealousy of hereditary princes. 'If my government is made to stand', says he, returning to Harrington his Oceana, a work written in vindication of chose Republican principles which the usurpations of Cromwell had overthrown, 'it will never be shaken with paper bullets'. 8 Cromwell was a man of sense, and had some foundation for chis manly confidence. Though a usurper and a hypocrite, who, afi:er bringing the tyrant to the block, had the art and management to frustrate the virtuous designs of the brave Republicans of chat era, yet his reign was unsullied by any act of folly and oppression. Public justice was never administered with greater purity, nor public happiness better protected, than under his administration. He had therefore but little to fear from libels and seditious pasquinades, which must always have truth upon their side, ifwe expect chem to cake effect. 'In no time', says Burnet, who is no very partial witness, 'the Highlands were kept in better order than dur-

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ing the usurpation'. He might have said the same of the whole empire. 'There was good justice done, and vice suppressed and punished; so that we always reckon those eight years of usurpation, a time of great peace and prosperity'. 9 The true reason this why the State Trails exhibit, during the protectorate, no single instance ofprosecution for libel or seditious conversation. The cavaliers, indeed, agitated the country with repeated struggles, to restore the golden calf of their idolatry; and the common crime of all governments, I mean the infliction of a violent death, fell upon the necks of some few whose inveteracy to the system then established, would be satisfied with no medium between the block and the final overthrow of the power against which they attempted to rise in arms: but, in other respects, the administration of Cromwell was not only equitable, but honourable and happy. In short - It is no libel, I hope, against our happy government, though it is certainly a truth - that, whatever monarchists and divine-rights men may inculcate to the contrary, in plays, romance books, and mock histories, even usurpations (I speak not of usurpations effected by foreign mercenaries) are generally more favourable to the spirit ofliberty, and the happiness of the bulk of the people, that the regular succession of hereditary monarchy. The usurper is generally promoted by some personal merit; the consciousness ofwhich elevates his soul above the mean and paltry jealousies, from which so many acts of tyranny and oppression will be found to originate. Besides, being unfortified by any of the superstitious prejudices which rivet the attachment of a people to their hereditary sovereigns, they are obliged to court that popularity, by the wisdom and generosity of their proceedings, which the others lay claim to, by virtue of their royal begetting; and to supply, by attention to the public welfare, the deficiency of legal title. Add to this, that a considerable part, at least, of the people, must have given their consent and assistance to the elevation ofthe usurper, while the hereditary DOLT may take possession of the seat ofpower, in open contempt of the whole; and may fortify the superstition that upholds his divine authority with the wealth extorted by his rapacity from the labour of those whom he oppresses. - Let me not, however, be mistaken, as an advocate for usurpation. The price is always greater than the change is worth; and of all the different kinds of regal government, I own it to be my opinion that hereditary monarchy is the best. From the restoration of Charles IL the evil I am investigating flourished with increasing malignity. He promised, indeed, a general indemnity; but no sooner was he fixed in the seat of power, than he began to employ all the engines of despotism for the destruction of the friends of liberty, and to glut his kingly appetite for vengeance; so that many of the very persons who had been most instrumental in his re-establishment, soon began to repent them of the evil they had brought upon the country. 'When the Earl of Southamp-

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ton', says Dr. Burnet, 'came to see what he was like to prove, he said once in great wrath to Chancellor Hyde' (who had been one of the chief instruments towards the King's being restored without treaty or restrictions) 'it was to him they owed all they either felt or feared; for, if he had not possessed them in all his letters with such an opinion of the King, they would have taken care to have put it out of his power either to do himself or them any mischief, which was like to be the effect of trusting him so entirely'. Burnet's Own Times. 10 From this time we must drop all pretence of individual enumeration, and count the political prosecutions of the times, not by the numbers who suffered by them, but by the unwieldy volumes that record them. Party waged war against party, and faction was glutted with the blood of faction, and two huge folios of a thousand pages imperfectly record the persecuting tyranny of the House ofStewart. Yet even in the times of these lawless tyrants I have met with no single instance of transportation to the antipodes for fourteen years for writing or for speaking in favour of political reform. To these William III. 'upon whom: says Gerrald, 'as upon a mendicant our ancestors bestowed the crown of these realms' 11 added another of these enormous volumes; and the same spirit of faction and persecution still continuing, we find the close of the reign of George I. marked by the completion of the sixth of these stupendous monuments ofpolitical tolerance and proscription of human reason. I make this calculation from the edition of the State Trials only which was laying before me at the time I was preparing this lecture. But upon comparing them with the page of history, and the notes and references I thought it necessary to appeal to, I find it to be far from a perfect collection; and that, ifI had time and opportunity to make a more correct statement, the growing enormity would be still more glaring. But were we to extend the calculations to the present time, what would then appear the magnitude of the evil? Were we to enumerate only the prosecutions for political opinion - for libel and sedition, during the last four and thirty years - nay, were we only to bring in one collected mass the proscriptions and prosecutions, the trials, fines and punishments, the discord and ruin among families, the distress and misery, nay in some instances, death - the worst of all deaths, the murderous diseases of a goal - which have been inflicted upon individuals during the last eighteenth months, the tale would I am sure be too monstrous to be borne in silence; and the reflection of the nation would be awakened to the pursuit of some adequate remedy to so enormous an evil. The latter part of this task appears to me, I own, to be of such considerable importance that I cannot but seriously recommend it to the attention of some person who has leisure and opportunity to collect the necessary materials; and I will be bold to say that such a catalogue of political and moral depravity as these proceedings would present, has never yet been exhibited in any

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period of British History; nor could a publication be produced that would so deeply affect the public mind as the inquisitorial history of Britain, from the first proclamation against the writings of PAINE to the condemnation of JOSEPH GERRALD. 12 To return more immediately to my subject: it is natural to the human mind, upon observing this disproportion of events at different periods, to enquire into the causes of such disproportion; and the question naturally resulting from the preceding statement, or delineation of the general outlines of this history is, how it should happen, that, in proportion as the world has grown civilized and refined, the malignity of persecution for opinion should have apparently increased, and Government should have held out increasing terrors to retard the benign progress of human intellect. I am aware, Citizens, and I wish to take no undue advantages, that there is some delusion in these appearances - that the records of earlier times are not so well preserved as of those that are more recent; that military executions, at former periods, frequently prevented the necessity oflegal condemnations; and the sword was frequently drawn to decide those differences of political opinion, which now vent themselves in a libel, and terminate in a sentence to Newgate, or Botany Bay. Attached by no prejudices to the manners and institutions of antiquity, and uninfluenced by any desire to impose upon you by the cant of old-fashioned moralists, about the degeneracy of a world, which, in reality, I believe has been constantly in a state of progression and improvement, I am ready to admit the force of these arguments, and to concede, that when men are too ignorant to communicate their thoughts, and improve their intellects by political investigation, they resign themselves to the sole dominion of their passions, and bearing oppression with an abject spirit till human sufferance can endure no longer, they speak no sedition but with the pike or battle-axe in their hands, and publish no libels but what are written in the blood of their oppressors. When this is the state of society I grant that prosecutions for libels must of necessity be rare; but tumult and rebellion must be proportionately frequent. And as privation and negation are essentially the same, and may tend but too naturally to the same lamentable consequences, I would make this an additional argument for exhorting those who are in power to relinquish their mad project of suppressing the progress of free enquiry, did I not know that such a project must of necessity prove abortive, and that 'the press is, in reality, an engine sufficiently subtile to elude the malice of the most vigilant police'. 13 But the argument concerning the turbulent ignorance of the times can apply only to the first of those periods into which I have divided my statement. The age of feudal violence and personal slavery had terminated before the ascent of Elizabeth to the throne, and the thick clouds of ignorance were

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beginning co disperse from the minds of a considerable portion of the people. A new complexion of affairs begins to display itself co the historian in the reign of Henry VIL a faint dawning of which had made its appearance in the times of Henry IV. and Henry V. but had been inveloped again by the storms of civil war chat raged between the houses of York and Lancaster. This, as it gave a different turn to the pursuits and prospects of the subject, called forth a different sort of exertion in chose to whose exclusive privileges and enjoyments chis expansion of intellect threatened to be hostile. 'About chis period', says Hume, at the beginning ofhis history ofthe succeeding reign, 'the minds of men, throughout all Europe, but especially in England, seem to have undergone a general, but insensible revolution. Though letters have been revived in the preceding age, they seem to have been chiefly cultivated by men of sedentary profession; not had they, till now, begun to spread themselves in any degree, among men in the world. Arts both mechanical and liberal were every day receiving great improvements. Navigation had extended itselfover the whole globe. Travelling was secure; and the general system ofpolitics in Europe was become more enlarged and comprehensive. In consequence of chis universal fermentation, the ideas of men enlarged themselves on all sides. In England the love offreedom, which, unless checked, flourishes extremely in all liberal natures, acquired new force, and was regulated by more enlarged views, suitable to chat cultivated understanding, which became every day more common among men of birch and education. A familiar acquaintance with the precious remains of antiquity, excited in every generous breast a passion for a limited constitution, and begac an emulation of chose manly virtues which the Greek and Roman authors, by such animating examples, as well as pathetic expressions, recommend to us'.14 Then it was chat the altered and improved condition of human intellect, induced chose state jugglers whose oppressive privileges were likely to be shaken by the growth and exercise of these new faculties, to invent a new species of crime, and declare it an offence against society for rational beings to exercise chat understanding which God or Nature bestowed upon chem as their distinguishing characteristic. Then it was, to adopt the masterly and accurate language of Mr. Gurney, 'when the invention of printing had introduced political discussion, and when seditious publications (chat is to say publications exposing the corruptions and abuses ofgovernment, and the profligacy of ministers) made their appearance', chat the first systematic attempt was made to circumscribe the progress of the human mind. 'The controul of the press was placed in admirable hands, a licenser, the king's Attorney General, and a court of inquisition called the Star Chamber. The licenser was to stifle in its birch every thing obnoxious to the ministers. Bue if anything happened to escape his hands, then the Attorney General, by his information ex officio, carried the

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unfortunate author or publisher' (frequently author, publisher, and printer altogether) 'before the board of inquisitors, who never failed to administer a sentence, adapted by its severity', (as they weakly imagined) 'to deter others from similar efforts to enlighten the people. It was in that infernal inquisition, that the purity of the law oflibel was debauched': for 'the ancient law oflibel', as Mr. Gurney had before observed, and as in the progress of this examination I shall prove, 'did not differ from other criminal law. It was there that the monstrous maxim was first broached that truth could be a false, scandalous, and seditious libel!!!' 15 The iniquity however, in a considerable degree defeated itself For not only does the human mind, when not debauched and enervated by long continued luxury, revolt with forceful indignation from the oppressions that would chain its faculties - not only does the natural elasticity of the human character generally rise with an energy proportioned to the attempts that are made to depress it, but the violent and bare-faced injustice of the Star Chamber roused the general indignation of the people, and 'the intolerable oppression of this inquisition brought on its violent', I cannot say untimely 'death'. 16 And notwithstanding the sanction which has been given by a large majority in the House of Commons to certain late proceedings, such, ere it is long, I have but little doubt, will be in some measure, the fate of the court of justiciary. From all ranks of people the murmur of indignation begins already to be heard; and the more the point is investigated the greater will be the detestation: for never yet have I met with an individual, nor heard of one (out of the House of Commons) how full soever of the bitterness of invective againstjacobins and levellers, who would libel his understanding by advancing an argument in favour of these unprecedented sentences. Public opinion is in fact the pillar of every species and department of government; and a court of judicature (I will not call it a court of justice) regarded with such sentiments as these sentences have inspired cannot long continue a court ofjudicature to any effective purpose. When judges, in an enlightened age like this, depart from the moderation, the temper and humanity so essential to their station, farewell to the respect and veneration without which their office is but a vacuum, and themselves are non entities. Deprived of these, the ermined robe and ensigns of authority are converted into the trappings of a buffoon, and all that was intended to command our reverence provokes our ridicule and contempt. On the other hand, the characters and conduct of the sufferers cannot fail of making an impression upon the public mind eminently favourable to the cause for which they suffer, and ultimately disgraceful to those who are the authors of their condemnation. The eloquent pleadings of MUIR, the gentle manners and unblemished life of PALMER; the honest simplicity ofSKIRVING, the cheerful fortitude and inflexible perseverance of MARGAROT, and the

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torrent ofmanly and persuasive eloquence which roused all the noble and generous feelings of an admiring audience at the trial of GERRALD 17 cannot fail of inspiring the sensations that are due not only to the individuals who have submitted so cheerfully to this martyrdom, but to the juries also that could shut their ears against conviction, and the judges who could declare from the bench that 'the purity oftheir principles was an aggravation oftheir guilt'. 18 The firm and disinterested manner in which the latter of these virtuous and gallant Citizens, together with that estimable young man Citizen SINCLAIR, with the fate of the other four before their eyes, and without the shadow of an expectation of escaping the same inhuman sentence, went back again from London to encounter the malice of their persecutors, will also have its weight with every generous mind; and will assist with ten-fold energy to secure the ultimate triumph of liberty, and of these her proven champions: for in defiance of all the rancour of political prejudice, it is impossible to behold such conspicuous magnanimity of principle and conduct without feeling the heart attracted towards the individuals and the cause in which such magnanimity has been displayed. Citizens!

You will pardon me, I know, for the length of this digression, and rather applaud than censure me for seizing every opportunity of doing justice to the characters of those whose persons are destined to endure so much injustice; and who in the midst of sufferings which would sink the guilty authors of their oppression into feminine weakness and despair, have displayed to every individual who has beheld them that manly fortitude - that heroic cheerfulness which impresses the sublime conviction that it is guilt and weakness alone that can in reality be punished; and that to suffer in the cause ofliberty is not sufferance, but TRIUMPHANT GLORY! It will be the business, Citizens, of the comparative statement in this course oflectures to shew you that the abolition of the Star Chamber did not effectually remedy the evil. That 'unfortunately some ofits practices survived it'. That the whole of the mischiefdoes not consist in 'the Attorney General's being still allowed to carry his information ex officio into the court of king's bench'; that 'the doctrines of the Star Chamber', though somewhat palliated and disguised, never were compleatly laid aside; - that within the last four and thirty years the whole destructive force of them has been revived, to the great vexation of every advocate of freedom; and that the late libel bill, so violently opposed by the law lords and judges, and so extolled by a parliamentary party, though certainly a step in the progress of improvement, is far from being a complete antidote to the oppression, or from 'assuring and confirming to every Englishman' a full, fair, and impartial trial 'by a jury of his equals, when accused

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of having written or published a libel'. 19 The line of investigation I mean to pursue will also I believe convince you that the rousing of the human faculties from the long lethargy of the middle ages was the real cause why government was first stimulated to invent the crimes of libel and verbal sedition; that the prosecutions for these supposed crimes have increased in a direct ratio with the improvements of human intellect, and the wider diffusion of political truth; and that consequently, the enormous growth of prosecutions for political opinion within these very few years is a convincing argument that the principles ofliberty are more generally diffused, and more perfectly understood than in any former period of history. At first a few favoured sons of science and philosophy, only- 'men of genius and ofenlarged minds, adopted the principles ofliberty, which were as yet, pretty much unknown to the generality of people. Sir 'Matthew Hales', says Hume, in his history of James II. 'had published a remonstrance against the king's conduct towards the parliament during this year. (1604.) The remonstrance is drawn with great force of reasoning and spirit ofliberty; and was the production ofSir Francis Bacon and Sir Edwin Sandys, two men of the greatest parts and knowledge in England. It is drawn in the name ofparliament; but as there is no hint of it in the journals, we must conclude either that the authors, sensible that the strain of that piece was much beyond the principles of the age, had not ventured to present it to the house, or that it had been rejected by them'. 20 And remonstrances were not rejected in that reign by the purchased majority of a minister. In the reign of Charles I. the light had diffused itself somewhat further; and a great majority of virtuous and intelligent gentlemen in the House of Commons were animated by a strong desire of liberty. By the weight of their property and interest, as well as by the popular arts which they cultivated, they urged on the people to designs they were not competent to comprehend, and principles by which they were not prepared to be regulated. Of the persecutions of this reign which helpedforward their designs, I shall speak at large hereafi:er; suffice it to say at present, that though Cromwell's usurpation checked in some degree, the progress of political illumination, these principles ofliberty still continued to extend themselves through a wider and a wider circle; and though increasing prosecutions continued, from the restoration, to mark this progress, yet so long as the effect continued to be circumscribed to a particular class, the gentler arts of corruption were relied upon, as of greater efficacy. But now the great mass of the people is quickened into mental existence: the sparks that have successively been struck off in the different struggles and contests for the emoluments of this corruption have flown throughout the whole circle of society; and though the degrees of warmth are dissimilar, there is scarcely an individual, especially in towns and cities, where men are pressed together so that minds can come into contact,

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that is not in some degree animated with the desire of political enquiry. To enquire, Citizens, is to know that 'LIBERTY is preferable to SLAVERY' ;21 and that every being is in reality a slave who is doomed to incessant toil without the privileges of a man: without a voice in those regulations of the country by which his life and industry are to be disposed of: without equality of rights and importance in the political scale. When this shall be generally understood, (and the violent persecutions of the times may convince us that there are some who apprehend we are advancing rapidly to that period) then will the nation, politically speaking, be incorruptible (for who shall be able to corrupt a whole people?). - Liberty shall triumph throughout the country, and the despotism of courts and ministers shall be no more.

Citizens! You need not be told that the present persecutions that are directed against us are meant to avert this glorious and happy period. But let us be undaunted, be active, and vigilant. - Let us seize upon the occasions as they present themselves, and we shall turn these very persecutions to our advantage; and the measures that were intended to prevent, shall hasten the triumphs of Truth and Reason. In support of this opinion I appeal to the experience of history; and if an impartial statement of facts should demonstrate that the opinions against which the persecutions ofpower have been directed have ultimately prevailed - and that the persecutors themselves have been frequently the victims of their own intolerant malignity, though private friendship may regret the sacrifices that must be made, public virtue will have but little to fear for the event of a struggle in which the cause of liberty may be involved; and the friends of tyranny and aristocracy but little foundation to exult in the severities inflicted upon their opponents. 22 The first attempts made in this country for the purpose of stopping the progress of inquiry, were those which, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, were instituted against the Lollards, 23 or Protestant reformers of the times. And though these were of the nature of religious persecution, and my lecture professes only to treat of prosecutions for political opinion, yet I choose to begin with these, not only because, equally an enemy to tyranny in every shape - to the despotism of the pulpit or the despotism of the throne, I am unwilling to neglect any opportunity of exposing the intolerance of either, but because I consider religious persecution as a part only of the system of state craft and oppression: every established system of religion, from the beginning of history to the present time, being nothing more than a species of political imposture ; - a system of artifice to restrain the faculties of the people, and keep them in obedience by bugbears which their rulers have almost uniformly

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despised. For proof of this assertion it is not necessary to digress so far as to appeal to ancient history, and to remind you how strictly the philosophers and statesmen of Greece and Rome conformed to the external worship of their respective countries, and how completely they despised them in their hearts. The records of modern times are sufficient for my purpose: and we need but look back to that very age of the Stewarts, into the infamy of whose government it is my professed intention to enquire. Several curious facts illustrating the truth ofthese observations, with respect to the continental princes of those days, are recorded by Burnet, under the title of 'Some passages of the Religion of some Princes'. - 'I will here', says he, 'tell some particulars with relation to Germany, that Fabricius, the wisest divine I knew among them, told me he had from Charles Lewis, the Elector Palantine's own mouth'. He said, 'Frederick II. who first reformed the Palatinate, whose life is so curiously writ by Thomas Hubert of Leige, revolved to shake off Popery, and to set up Lutheranism, in his countrey: but a counsellour ofhis said to him, that the Lutherans would allways depend chiefly on the House ofSaxony; so it would not become him, who was the first Elector, to be only the second in the party: it was more for his dignity to become a Calvinist; he would be the head of that party; it would give him a great interest in Switzerland, and make the Hugonots of France, and in the Netherlands, depend on him. He was, by that determined to declare for the Helvetian confession. But, upon the ruin of his family, the Duke of Newburgh had an interview with the Elector ofBrandenburgh about their concerns inJuliers and Cleves: and he persuaded that Elector to turn Calvinist; for since their family was fallen, nothing would more contribute to raise the other than the espousing that side, which would naturally come under his protection: but, he added, that, for himself, he had turned Papist, since his little principality lay so near both Austria and Bavaria. This that Elector told with a sort of pleasure, when he made it appear that other Princes had no more sense of religion than he himselfhad'. 24 And that the same political considerations mingled themselves at least with the religion of James, is evident from the following passages in Hume, (Hist. Eng. vol. v. p. 520 and 523). 'The more he knew the puritanical clergy, the less favour he bore them. He had remarked in their Scots brethren a violent turn towards republicanism, and a zealous attachment to civil liberty; principles nearly allied to that religious enthusiasm with which they were actuated. He had found, that the same lofty pretensions which attended them in their familiar address to their Maker, of whom they believed themselves the peculiar favourites, induced them to use the utmost freedoms with their earthly sovereign. It had frequently been the practice ofpuritanical clergymen to form together certain assemblies, which they called Prophesyings; where alternately, as moved by the Spirit, they displayed their pious zeal in prayers and exhorta-

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tions, and raised their own enthusiasm as that of their audience, to the highest pitch, from that social contagion which has so mighty an influence on holy fervours, and from the mutual emulation which arose in those trials of religious eloquence. Such dangerous societies had been suppressed by Elizabeth; and the ministers in this conference moved the King for their revival; but James sharply replied, - If you aim at a Scottish Presbytery, it agrees as well with monarchy as God and the Devil. There Jack and Tom, and Will and Dick, shall meet and censure me and my council. Therefore I reiterate my former speech: Le Roi S'avisera. Stay, I pray, for one seven years before you demand, and then ifyou find me grow pursie and fat, I may perchance hearken unto you; for that government will keep me in breath, and give me work enough'. 25 It was therefore that both this monarch and his unfortunate successor were so bigotedly attached to the hierarchy. Bishops are convenient tools to mould mankind to subordination and monarchic government - necessary steps in the ladder of despotism; while Presbytery has a greater tendency to inspire ideas of liberty and equality.* It is, therefore, also, that succeeding monarchs have always displayed so favourable a disposition to extend the principles of toleration to the Roman Catholics, whose religion prepares them for slavery and implicit obedience, and have regarded with so jealous an eye the encroachments of the dissenters, the very foundations of whose faith have a tendency to provoke enquiry. If the dissenters therefore understood their own interest, they would relinquish all appeals about religious differences to the government, from which they have nothing to hope, and apply themselves solely and strenuously to the reformation of political abuses; conscious that when the rational principles of liberty are once established, no man will be pestered with religious tests, or branded with exclusions on account of the articles of his faith.

* Burnet has thus characterised the Presbyterians and Independents of James the Second's time. ' The Presbyterians', says he, 'liked the civil government, and limited monarchy. But, as the Independents were for a commonwealth in the state, so they put all the power ofthe church in the people, and thought that their choice was an ordination. Both were enemies to this high prerogative that the King was assuming'. Of all religious sects the Independents are the firmest friends of political liberty. Fanatics and Enthusiasts are impatient enough, it is true, of that despotism, which refrains their own particular opinions; but they are generally too much blinded with religious (or political) bigotry to cherish the true republican principles of toleration, equality, and impartial freedom of sentiment and enquiry. Among the distinguished actors in the Revolution, that brought Charles to the block, the only true republicans were the Independents and the Deists. The Presbyterians were for fettering and restoring royalty; and the fanatics were the willing tools of Cromwell's usurpation. And thus in France, if fanaticism and superstition should revive (and I own, to me, there appears but too much probability of it) Monarchy may indeed by effectually abolished; but tyranny, under some new shape, will still continue to ravage that devoted country.

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The persecutions then, Citizens, ofthe Lollards and Reformers, with which the war between opinion and authority commenced in this country, ought not to be passed over in entire silence; the more especially as the investigations, provoked by these early champions for individual judgment, may be considered as the seeds and germs of those more liberal enquiries which have since shot forth and blossomed. - Begin but to enquire, (no matter how ridiculous the subject) and the human mind (especially if it has the good fortune to meet with a little persecution) will never fail to make such exertions in the pursuit as will ultimately direct it to the proper point. For many centuries, from the final overthrow of the Roman empire, Europe had been sunk in the most profound ignorance. What little learning and science yet remained in the world, had retired to Constantinople and Alexandria; and had left this fairest portion of the globe to the dominion offeudal tyrants, who disdained all knowledge but of the destructive arts of hunting and ofwar, and priests, who were incapable of interpreting the jargon which they read: the blasphemous absurdities of which were dignified with the name of Religion. But when the morning star of literature, that harbinger of the light of reason, began once more to make its appearance in the western horizon, mankind began to awake and look about them; and the people of this island, who (since their subjection to the Norman robber and his banditti) seem to have been sunk almost below the common standard of mental degradation, began, as well as their neighbours, to perceive the innumerable abuses with which they were surrounded and incumbered. At the dawn of enquiry, it is not at all surprising, that the attention should have been directed, in the first instance, to the subject of religion; - that the first struggles, ifI may so express myself, of infant liberty, should be to burst the swaithing bands of superstition that confined its limbs, and, incumbered with which, it would have been impossible to have grappled with the monsters of tyranny and despotic arrogance that were hovering over the cradle to devour it. In short, religious tyranny was at that time so extensive in its operations, and mingled itself so much with every concern and function of civil life, that it was impossible but this should be the earliest object of reformation. As Sir John Brute says of marriage - Priestcraft 'had debauched their five senses. Every thing they saw, every thing they heard, every thing they felt, every thing they smelt, and every thing they tasted, had priest in it'. 26 John Wickliffe and his followers, the first of the English reformers, were also the first objects of legal persecution for opinion. They began to flourish towards the end of the fourteenth century; and so early as the eighth of Henry IV. 1407 ofthe vulgar :£ra, we have a prosecution upon record among the State Trials, against master William Thorpe, a priest, for attempting to break a way through the thick clouds of ceremonies, prejudices, and popish superstitions,

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and let in the light of human reason (as far at least as he understood it) upon the deluded faculties of his countrymen. The offence he was charged with, was of a very heinous nature; almost as bad as asserting, in these days, that Kings are not always patterns of divine perfection; that 'tyrants, who destroy the peace and happiness of the world', ought to be sent to the guillotine; or that (if reason is appealed to, in preference to superstitious prejudice) some things may be found, even in the British Constitution, which it is possible to alter for the better. The accusation was, that 'The thirde Sonday after Easter, the yere of our Lorde MCCCC. and Seuen, William Thorpe came vnto the Towne of Shrewsbury, and thorow leaue graunted unto him to preache: He said openly in Synt Chaddis Chirche in his sermone, that the sacrament ofthe altare after the consecration was material brede'. - That is to say, that it was not converted into the real body ofJesus Christ: - or in other words, to borrow an illustration from the Tale of a Tub, that a piece of brown crust is not a fine shoulder ofmutton. 'And that ymages shulde in no wise be worshiped. - And that men should notgo on pilgremages. - And that priestes have not title to tythes. - And that it is not lefullfor to swere in any wise. - And that when the Archebishop had red thus his rolle, he rolled it up agein, and said to me', (for we have the trial from his own pen) 'Ys this holsome learninge to be among the people ?' 27 - for 'hinc ill£ lacrymt£!' as Gurney so properly exclaimed, in answer to Mr. Fielding's lamentation, that political truths should be sold in twopenny pamphlets.28 - This is the cause of lamentation with the state hypocrites of every age and profession, that information should be disseminated among the people. Men whose elevated situations render them too wise to practise what they know, may improve themselves in political science; and bishops and cardinals may be as great infidels and atheists as they please; but that truth should be disseminated upon political and theological subjects among those who have an interest in emancipating themselves from priestcraft and state jugglers - this is the crime! - this is the abomination! and dungeons, fetters, and transportation must be prepared for those who venture upon the audacious experiment. That Thorpe, who was himself a priest, should preach against the lawfulness of tythes, was a proof of purity and disinterestedness of principle, which, to a being ofthe smallest candour and liberality, must have rendered him an object of esteem. But the archbishop of Canterbury and his brother inquisitors (like Judge Jefferies upon the trial ofSidney, and the judges of the court ofJusticiary in a more recent transaction) 29 could discover that the integrity of his principle was an additional provocation of his crime, since the man who is actuated only be a selfish ambition may be bought over as soon as he is dangerous, but he who is prompted by a virtuous conviction will be found to persevere to the end.

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Thorpe, who appears to have been a man of considerable eloquence, for his time, defended himselfwith a great deal offorti rude; and appears from the following, among other passages, to have had a due contempt for those trappings of vanity and ostentation which establishments, either religious or political, are so apt to substitute in place ofprinciple and sound morality. 'But I said, Sir, lusty men and worldly louers delyte and couete, and trauelle to haue all their wittes quickened and sharpened with diuerse sensible solace: but all the faithful louers and folowers of Christe haue all their delyte to heare Godde's worde, and to understond it truely, and to worke therafter faithfully and continually'. 30 He was, however, consigned to the custody of the inferior inquisitors, 'was led forth, and brought into a foul unhonest prison', where he languished and in all probability died; for he was never heard of any more. 31 The priestly politicians or politic priests (for all political persecution is priestcraft and superstition, and all priestcraft and superstition is political tyranny) having once dipped themselves in the guilt of inquisitorial vengeance, were not easily appeased. Like the young tyger, having once tasted of blood, their raging appetite was never to be satisfied with the inhuman banquet. Six years afterwards ( 1413) the very commencement of the reign of that ferocious butcher of the human race, the boasted Henry V. was stained by the inveterate persecution of the virtuous Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham; 32 a persecution the guilt of which lays fairly at the door of this idolized assassin,* since it was commenced and carried on under the auspices of his express consent and approbation. The bishops accused, and the King remonstrated; but Oldcastle had the seditious and rebellious firmness to assert his opinions even in the presence of Majesty. Henry knew that priestcraft was the necessary crutch of royalty, and that the rebel who dared to question his theological infallibility might in time have the blasphemous presumption to question also his political omnipotency: for when enquiry is once begun who shall determine its boundaries? He gave him up therefore at once to the inquisitorial fury of Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the rest of the loyal associators for the protection of the LIBERTY and PROPERTY ofthe church: - for churchmen as well as placemen and pensioners have their exclusive liberties and properties to defend against the innovating doctrines of reason and reformation. On the 25 th Sept. in this first year of Henry V. Cobhan was condemned to excommunication and the Tower, for refusing, among other things of a like description, to declare 'that after the sacramental wordes be ones spoken by a priest in his masse, the material bread, that was before bread, is turned' (hocus pocus!) 'into Christes very body; and the materyall Wyne, is turned into * See, at the battle ofAgincourr, his inhuman order for cutting the throats of all the prisoners. But necessity sanctifies massacre, when practised by the Lord's anointed. The imminent danger of a whole people cannot justify it in a republic, though practised against notorious traitors.

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Chrystes very bloud; and so there remayneth in the sacrament of the aulter, from thensforth, no materyall breade, nor material! wyne, which were there before the sacramentall wordes were spoken'. St. Tri. vol. 1. P. 41. 33 Cobham, however, with that independent spirit which is the fruit of disinterested conviction, appealed to the people in a PLACARD, which he procured to be posted about the town; and which had considerable effect upon the public. The ASSOCIATORS endeavoured to combat this with forged confessions34 and other pious frauds, so consistent with the general spirit of the bigoted upholders of establishments and ancient abuses. 'And when they perceyued that polycye wolde not helpe, but made more and more against them, than sought they out another false practyse'. (Mark, Citizens, I pray you, this great prototype of modern politics! this strong coincidence between the popery ofthe conclave and ofthe cabinet!) 'They went vnto the king with a most greuouse complaint lyke as they did afore in his father's tyme, that in euery quarter of the realme, by reason ofWickleues opinions, and the said lord Cobham, were wonderful contentions, rumours, TUMULTES, UPROURS,

confederations, dissencions, diuisions, differences, discordes, harmes, slaunders, scismes, sectes, SEDICIONS, perturbacions, parels, UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLIES, variaunces, strifes, syghtinges, REBELLIOUSE RUFFELINGS, and dayly INSURRECTIONS!!!!' St. Tr. vol. 1.p. 48. 35

Behold, Citizens, the sources of the enlightened politics of ministers at the close of the eighteenth century! Admire no longer the inventive faculties of your heaven born Minister! This is the original: the proclamation of Nov. 1792, was but the translation! Wonder no longer where Sir James Saunderson, and his patron found their plots, their treasons, and their insurrections. They found them not it is true in our streets or villages, in our commercial cities, or our provincial towns, but they found them in the records of former persecutions, among the lying inventions ofthe ENGLISH INQUISITION at the

commencement ofthefifteenth century.

One of these pretended insurrections, according to loyal report, took place in St. Giles's fields. - 'The complaint was made vnto the King of them, that they made a greate assemble in Sainct Gylkes Felde at London, purposing the destruction ofthe land, and the subuercyon ofthe commonwelth. 36 As the King was thus informed, he erected a banner (saith Walden) with a crosse thereupon, as the Pope doth comonly by his legate, whan he pretendeth to warre against the Turke; and with a great nombre of men entered the same felde, where as hefound no such company'. (Like the dreadful insurgents that were to have planted the tree of liberty on Kennington-common, or the more recent rebels ofBlackheath, they had put on the cloke of darkness, and become invisible; and the loyal heroes who, armed cap-a-pee, had issued forth to scour the infected country of heretical sedition, after turning over every stone, and

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searching under every dock-leaf for the lurking incendiaries, returned with no other advantage than the appetite they had gained by their excursion in the fresh air.) 'Yet was the complaint judged true, because the byshoppes had spoken it, at the information of their priestes'. lb. p. 49. 37 But the parallel is not completed; and I shall continue the quotation, that I may shew you the antiquity of the marriage - or rather concubinage between church and state: a concubinage which has been subject indeed to some occasional incontinences - (the State, for its own convenience, changing its holy mistress upon particular emergencies!) but which has been uniform in its principle - the mutual pillage and oppression of the people! - 'The church (they said) was hated; the diocesanes were not obeyed; the ordinaries were not regarded'; &c. 'the lawes and liberties of holy church' - for when was there a tyrant or persecutor to be found who could not talk of constitutions, laws and liberties, at the very time when he was trampling all liberty under foot, by his lawless authority? 'The lawes and liberties of holy church', (the laws that declared bread and wine to be flesh and blood - and the liberty ofpersecuting every body who dissented from the opinion) 'were troden vndre fote' (not of the swinish multitude, that epithet was reserved for a more enlightened age!) 'the Chrysten fayth was ruinously decayed'; (they had their cry of Atheism too!) 'God's service was laught too scorne; the spiritual jurisdictyon, authorite, honour, power, polycy, lawes, rytes, ceremonies, curses, keyes, censures, and canonical sanctions ofthe church were had in vttre contempt. - This would be (they sayd) a destruction to the commonwelth, a subuercion to the land, and un utter decay of the Kinges estate ryall, if remedy were not sought in tyme. - And this' (continues the writer of the trial) 'was their policy, to couple the Kinges authorite wyth that they had done in theyr former councell of craft, and so to make it thereby the stronger'. 38 And what do you suppose, Citizens! this remedy was that was to be sought in time? - The King called a parliament together in a great hurry, at Leicester; and the people were plunged into a mad and unjustifiable war against France, whose avowed object (for the cabinet of Henry the Fifth had courage and sincerity enough to avow its object in the first instance) was to impose a monarch upon that country whom the people neither desired nor would accept. And thus we see that the project of stopping the progress of political enquiry, by plunging into scenes of unjustifiable carnage, and depopulating the towns and villages, and wasting the treasures of the country, in order to disappoint the seditious views of reformers, and advocates for the rights of man, has the recommendation of considerable antiquity, and is by no means attributable to the sublime invention of the present cabinet. 39 War, however, was not to be confided in alone. Persecution for opinion was renewed with increased avidity. An act of parliament was passed, prohibiting by sanguinary penalties the reading of the scriptures in the mother tongue,

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(that is to say, the diffusion of information, such as it was, among the people) and declaring all such seditious persons as should so read 'heretykes to God, enemies to the crowne, and most errant traitors to the lande'. 40 Besides this, it was enacted, that no sanctuary, nor privileged ground should shelter them, though they were permitted to thieves and murderers; but that if they persevered in these rebellious practices, they should first be hanged for treason against the king, and then be burned for heresy against God. CITIZENS! I could mention to you, also, another reign in which murderers have not only been pardoned, but pensioned, while even justice could not be obtained in behalf of those who had been found guilty of enlightening the people. Cobham had offended beyond all hope of mercy. He had carried his sedition to the most extravagant extent: for he had not only exposed the corruptions of the clergy, but had been twice the occaison (once in the days of Rich. IL anno 1365, and again in those of Hen. IV. 1410) of a bill being brought into parliament to reform some of the abuses which their wasteful pride and extravagance had introduced. This bill had been introduced again in the parliament of Leicester, and was pressed with considerable firmness; - for parliaments were not always so complaisant as the present; and the fury of the establishment was encreased by the danger that threatened these profitable corruptions. Persecution raged in every part of the country; false alarms were disseminated, and armies led into the fields to disperse seditious meetings that never had any existence but in the inventive brains of state jugglers; innumerable victims were immolated; and emigration was appealed to by crowds, who disdained submission to the prevailing tyranny, and preferred abandoning their country to relinquishing their principles. In the mean time Cobham escaped out of the Tower of London in the night, and fled into Wales; where he remained four years, shifting from place to place, till he was betrayed by the pretended friendship and affection of lord Powys. This noble Judas, seduced by lordly gifi:s and promises, sent his friend and guest a prisoner to London, where on the 14th of Dec. 1418, he was convicted of heresy and treason; for which, on the 25 th of the same month, he was burned alive. CITIZENS! The noble constancy of this martyr deserves perpetual admiration; and though I hope mankind are now too far advanced in the pursuits of reason and philosophy to throw away their lives, or even their breath, upon theological disputes and subtleties, yet as even the creed of lord Cobham was TRUTH, compared with the monstrous and tyrannous absurdities of the existing establishment, it may shew us the impotency even of the most inhuman tortures to suppress the progress of human reason, or subdue the manly and heroic spirit that pants for the goal of mental or political liberty.

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The cruel preparations for his torments could make no impression of terror upon him, nor shock his illustrious constancy; and unawed by the approach of death, he continued to exhort the multitude, at the place of execution, to persevere in that pursuit of truth for which he suffered. 'In him', says the record, 'were seen united the fearless spirit of a soldier, and the holy resignation of a true Christian'. 41 Such, CITIZENS, was the unconquerable ardour with which Britons, even in ages comparatively barbarous, contended and suffered for those partial truths which in the dawn of enquiry they had discovered. Shall we then, when the full meridian rays of truth and philosophy are bursting upon us, be less animated by the invigorating warmth? Could not the utmost malice of the inquisition - the gibbet and the consuming fire check the progress of enquiry into the meaning and interpretation of a few obscure texts of scripture? and shall fines, pillories, and imprisonments, - the dungeons of Newgate and the inhospitable regions of Botany Bay intimidate those who are contending, not for a text or a fragment of a particular book, which may have been a thousand times interpolated and altered, and whose origin, no individual can accurately trace, but about the sense and context of the whole authentic and indisputable volume of nature? - Not whether this shall be called bread and that be looked upon as wine; but whether MAN or BRUTE shall be written in the title page of that book which is to record the history and decide the happiness or misery of countless myriads of our fellow creatures. The doctrines of Wickliffe, and the sentiments of these brave reformers triumphed in the end over the fury of their opposers. And though the progress was slow, it was only so in proportion as the means of diffusing information were few and feeble! The engines of truth are now encreased an hundred fold, and the advancement of human mind is proportionately rapid. 'If we do not silence the press', said cardinal Wolsey, 'the press will silence us'. Fortunately for mankind the press cannot be silenced. Placemen and pensioners may associate for ever; inquisitions may be established, and the Nilus of corruption may pour forth its monster broods of spies and informers; but wherever the press has once been established on a broad foundation, liberty must ultimately triumph. It is easier to sweep the whole human race from the surface of the earth than to stop the torrent of information and political improvement, when the art ofprinting has attained its present height. Already has tyranny been driven by this powerful engine from many of his strongest holds. The infallibility of the priesthood - the divine right ofkings - the doctrine of non-resistance - the unqualified veneration for birth and title - the bulwarks of religious intolerance - all these once supposed impregnable fortresses have either yielded in their turn to the irresistable artillary of reason, or continue at present to make the feeble resistance. Press forward then, Citizens,

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with zeal and ardour, and be assured of approaching victory. Examine boldly the fortifications that are thrown up against you, and you will find them still more unstable in their foundations and more untenable than those you have already passed. Formerly religious enquiry was to be the exclusive mystery of a few interested traders: the priests and jugglers initiated in the sacred calling. Our spiritual salvation was to be wrought we knew not how; by prayers and masses which we could not comprehend; by the hocus pocus of the priest behind the curtain: and he who presumed to diffuse theological information among the people was a disturber and an enemy to society. Now it is admitted that in matters of religion, so as he have but some, every man may enquire and think for himself; may take care of his soul in his own private way, and read what opinions he things fit. But though the veil of the sanctuary is rent in twain, the curtain of the cabinet must be kept entire; and the political popes and conclaves must remain undisturbed and unquestioned in their sanctum sanctorum. As for your souls, indeed, the higher powers have found that they must leave those to your own management, but the welfare ofyour bodies and temporal concerns are to be resigned implicitly to the care of cardinals Pitt and Richmond, 42 to whom (for the sake of the trinity) Loughborough has of late been added. Placemen and pensioners are the priests and confessors of the time, to whose eye alone the volume of political revelation is to be unfolded; and he who has the seditious presumption to expound a single text to the multitude, of teach to the great body of the people the elements of that science in which the happiness and prosperity of the great body of the people are involved, must expect the storms of ministerial vengeance and the thunders of the royal vatican. But shall these intimidate and stop us in the glorious career of truth and virtue? - No citizens! the champions for the rights and happiness of mankind shall vanquish these as they have vanquished former difficulties; but as truth and liberty have acquired additional energy in their course, they shall be surmounted with greater celerity. The names of Gerrald and Margarot, ofSkirving, Muir and Palmer43 shall resound continually in our ears; and, fired by their illustrious example, we will press forward till our brows are crowned with the wreaths of victory; and our memory shall be embalmed with theirs, by the gratitude and admiration of mankind. FINIS.

FRATERNITY AND UNANIMITY

Citizen The/wall, Fraternity and Unanimity to the Friends of Freedom (London

1795)

Fraternity and Unanimity was published as a four-page pamphlet in 1795, but it first appeared in one of Thelwall's Tribune lectures. It is transcribed from the last lecture of the season, Saturday 20 June 1795, and subsequently published in number fifteen of the Tribune as The Address ofJ Thelwall to the Audience at Closing his Lectures for the Season.' That this small extract from the Tribune was published separately testifies to its momentousness. This is an official public notice ofThelwall's decision to withdraw from popular political associations and to embark on an independent career as a lecturer. On one level, this pamphlet betrays the intense pressure he experienced in the aftermath of the 1794 Treason Trials and the degree to which debilitating health problems caused by his incarceration lingered and threatened the continuance of his public appearances. There is something worth remarking on in the way Thelwall informs the public of his decision. In Fraternity and Unanimity, but even more explicitly in the larger Address, he essentially asks his audience not only for support of his decision, but also their approval of his motives. This is in line with the philosophical and political principles he promoted in his lectures: political virtue required sincerity and transparency, as well as correction and self-sacrifice. That he makes clear that one of his reasons for leaving off the London Corresponding Society is to protect his family from further hardship as a result of his public role is also revealing. Throughout his career, he would emphasize his domestic virtues as part ofhis advocacy of a republican model ofcivic virtue.

Notes I.

See the entire address in Volume 2 of chis edition.

-95-

&

Fraternity and Unanimity CITIZEN THELWALL, 1 FRATERNITY AND UNANIMITY To the Friends of Freedom. A VARIETY of but

misrepresentations having

taken

place,

some

perhaps

from

from mistaken motives, of the circumstance of CITIZEN malignant, the THELWALL'S withdrawing himself from the Popular Societies; more

following explanation particular, of the

reasons

for his conduct in this

delivered on the

last Lecture Night of the former Season, and published in the 15th number of the

re-printed and distributed in the present form, for the purpose of still extended circulation, and is recommended to the candid consideration of

Tribune, is more

ALL GOOD CITIZENS. Of his sentiments of respect and admiration for the Societies, many instances might be extracted from the same Work. Extract from the

Pages

TRIBUNE, No. 15.

332, 333, and 334.

CITIZENS, one of the first reflections that suggested itself to my mind from the late trials, and which was also confirmed by the judgment of all those on whose

opinions I two

objects

When

that it was necessary to make my choice between the Tribune, and political Associations. consider the arts and machinations that were made use of to

could rely, was this we

connect which had of reality together upon the late trials, in

circumstances

connection whatever

that

endeavoured

no sort

2

for sentiments

they hang Hardy charged with delivering, in my lectures, and private correspondence, and to hang me for the transactions of Hardy at a time when I had no sort of connection with him or his society, it appeared to be important, both to my own safety and that of others, that I should give no crown lawyers an opportunity of involving, by legal sophistry, any political Association in the guilt, if guilt it may be called, of the sentiments that may be delivered from this place: I could not be ignorant that the more popular my exertions in the public cause might happen

which I

to

make

the

was

me

public

the

desirous those, who wish to suppress all truth and chain ignorance would be for my destruction.

more

mind in

I know that

and

to

unconnected with any projects or associations, of truth, I stand upon a rock which they cannot shake;

standing here,

adhering to the cause

and that all their attempts against it must only render it the more firm. The laws of my country are clearly and decidedly in my favor; and honest juries shew an

enlightened determination not to be misled by the sophistry of crown lawyers, nor the inflammatory abuse of treasury scribblers and the garbled Reports of DOI: 10.4324/9780429349713-5

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interested alarmists. They will not violate those laws which they are impannelled to defend, to court the favour or shun the defamatory insults of a minister. I balanced therefore between the two pursuits. I found a necessity either of relinquishing the popular societies, or of relinquishing this Tribune; and, upon serious examination, I thought I perceived that my individual exertions could be more important to the cause ofliberty in this place than in any society whatever. I therefore quitted the societies, not from any desertion of the cause, not from any change of principle, not from any opinion that political societies are dishonourable or unlawful - I am convinced they are legal; I am convinced they are just; I am convinced that they are important; and that in many postures of society they are the only things that can save a nation from inevitable slavery and destruction. But considering the necessity ofputting aperiod to all their pretences for making ridiculous charges of High Treason, and conspiracy, and hashing up mock traitors, by the dozen in a dish, some of whom, as in the late cases, had never seen each others' faces or heard of each other before, I found it necessary to cut the thread of connection between the Tribune and the popular Associations. I therefore withdrew myself from them, and chose this as my only field of exertion in the cause ofliberty: convinced that a bold, decided, and active mind, determined to pursue the cause of virtue (and by virtue I mean the happiness and welfare ofthe human race) a [mi]nd trusting only to itself, and independent of the humours and sentiments ofothers, may in some circumstances of society, do more service to the cause ofliberty and justice, than can possibly be done by the same individual, when mixed with other persons whose wayward passions may sometimes thwart his activity, and by whose imprudences he may perhaps, by means of such complicated charges as have lately been brought forward, be sacrificed at the sanguinary altar ofministerial ambition. I will honestly confess to you, Citizens, that there is also a motive which has had some influence in determining my choice: for I ought to have no motive which I am ashamed to state to the public. Ifit is an honest motive, I despise the ridicule which dishonest knaves may throw upon it. If it is an improper motive, let it be known, that its impropriety may be detected; and that I may be benefited by the animadversions of my fellow citizens. I have a family to support; a family that perhaps may be growing continually upon me: one that I believe would have been larger by two individuals at this time, if the cruel persecutions of the present Administration had not bowed down an aged mother to her grave, and murdered the infant in the womb. It was necessary then for me either to abandon, in a considerable degree, the public cause, or to seek some way by which my personal interests could be united to the interest of the public. Such an union I believe is not dishonourable; and if I know my own heart (which I will not be too sure that I do - for it is certainly

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frequently too true 'that the heart is deceitful to itself above all things') - but if I know my own heart, there is no motive can compel me to sacrifice the general to the particular feeling.

FINIS.

JOHN

John Gilpin's Ghost:

Or the

GILPIN'S GHOST

Warning Voice ofKing Chanticleer: An Historical Ballad:

Written Before the Late Trials and Dedicated to the Treason-hunters ofOakham

(London: Smith, 1795). T.

Like many satirical texts, John Gilpin's Ghost is a work of paradoxes. It is a treatment of distinctly frightening events. It was written before Thelwall's

comical arrest

It is

for treason, yet somehow escaped being seized with the rest of his papers. expression of Thelwall's irrepressible humour, his fearlessness and

an

pluckiness, fact, picture but it also reveals the fears of a hounded

of Thelwall from the radical

John

Binns

man.

provides

a

the

we

revealing backdrop

to

In

get the

'hauntingness' of this poem: John Thelwail was one of the boldest political writers, speakers, and lecturers of his time. In his lecture-room, in a debating or political society, or at his desk, he was yet, in private, he was one of the most timid alarmists I ever associated with. If he

fearless;

or an a-la-mode beef-shop, he would conceit that one-half had Government spies in them, whose especial business it was to watch and report, as far as possible, all he did. Going home at night, he would prefer to walk in the middle of the street, and took special care never to go down dark

went

into

an

oyster-house,

of the boxes in the

or narrow

Of course, be

at

least

room

1 streets, for fear of assassins'

we can never some

know how

truth here:

accurate

someone as

this

harassed

description is, yet, there must Thelwall could hardly avoid

as

feelings of paranoia. Hie sense of being watched, pursued and haunted

even

into the most

private John Gilpin's and domestic of spaces

Ghost, the

underwrites this text in many ways. In

hypocritical loyalists live

in

Oakham, the

town

where Thelwall and

Stella

were married in 1791. His private correspondence to his brother-in-law (who resided in Oakham) is intercepted and opened. The characters', too, are an amalgam of fiction and reality: they are Thelwall's real-life enemies (the loyalist hack writer William Combes (or Combe) and Lord Winchelsea, a virulent anti-

Thelwallian who evicted poem in which the

politics. The ghost

some

of Thelwall's relatives from their farm. 2 This is

of private life is

a

security by the spectre of deeply the of King Chaunticleer is, however, greatest incarnation of threatened

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Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

102

suspicion and fear in the poem, but it is the loyalist Oakhamites he haunts. He is the dead king who sounds a warning to the enemies ofliberty, to other kings, to tyrants in any form, and to the Attorney General specifically. He is the return of the headless King Chaunticleer ofThelwall's earlier tale, but here he has thrown off his habitual behaviour to recite a republican message, not unlike Thelwall's own.

Notes

1. 2.

J. Binns, Reminiscences, p. 44.

G. Claeys (ed.), The Politics ofEnglish jacobinism: Writings ofjohn Thelwall p. xx.

JOHN GILPIN's GHOST; 1 OR,

THE WARNING VOICE OF

KING CHANTICLEER: AN

HISTORICAL BALLAD: WRITTEN BEFORE THE LATE TRIALS, AND DEDICATED TO THE

TREASON-HUNTERS OF OAKHAM. BY]. THELWALL

Risum teneatis amid?

HOR.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR And published by T. SMITH, at the Sign of the POP-GUN, Corner of Porrsmourh-Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. 1795. [PRICE SIX-PENCE]. -103-

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PREFACE GOOD wine, says the proverb, requires no bush; and good poetry, it is said by the critics, should require no notes. But when a tavern is opened in a new situation, it may be necessary to hang out a sign; and when poetry is written upon a local subject, it may not be amiss to say a few explanatory words by way of preface. This little Ballad will not, however, require much introduction; especially to those who are acquainted with the inquisitorial proceedings of the last two or three years. The occasion ofit is simply as follows - An extract from a speech delivered by me at a debating society, having been printed by Eaton, in his Politics for the People, under the title of King Chanticleer, or the Fate ofTyranny, that intrepid bookseller was, in consequence, a third time indicted for sedition, and, as the public well knows, was a third time acquitted. 2 Shortly after which, I took an opportunity ofsending, by a passenger in the Stamford stage, a small packet of books to a brother-in-law who resides in Oakham, the county-town of Rutland,3 containing, among other articles, some copies of this ludicrous story, and of the still more ludicrous indictment to which it had given birth. But a conspiracy to intercept my papers had been formed by the great men of Oakham (particularly "Mr.john Combes, attorney at law, 4 and agent to Lord Winchelsea; 5 the Rev. Mr. Williams, who afterwards displayed the critical accuracy ofhis optics by swearing to my T's and h's, in consequence ofhaving seen me sign my name to the register of my marriage, and Mr. Apothecary Berry, who swore he would sell his whole estate but he would hang me!) and these books, by some accident or other (being left at Biggleswade, 6 the place where the passengers stop to change coaches) fell into Combes's hand. The Oakhamites were in consequence all in a flame. Nightly meetings were held at 'the Crown: which is the principal inn at Oakham; the house of my brother-in-law was broke open, and rifled of papers, books, letters, &c. and lawyer Combes was posted to London to acquaint the GREAT MAN in DOWNING-STREET with the wonderful discovery. These particulars gave rise to the following ballad, which was written before the late arrests for High Treason. The copy being in the pocket of an old waistcoat, escaped the general pillage; and has therefore the fortune, good or bad, which I must never expect for any other of the manuscripts written before that time, of coming before the public. It may perhaps excite an innocent laugh at the expence of those who have laboured so ridiculously hard - to make me and my connections, according to the old adage, 'laugh on the wrong side of our mouths: With respect to the fiction of Gilpin's Ghost, introducing for the sake of machinery, it is perhaps an act ofjustice due even to an enemy to declare, that it means no reflection upon the birth or family of Combes, about which I neither

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105

know nor care any thing whatever. Add to which, that I despise birth and family too much to make any circumstance of that kind an object of satire. I know no difference between legitimate and illegitimate - noble or simple - the republic ofletters acknowledges no distinctions but between vice and virtue, wisdom and stupidity. But the conceit aboutjohn Gilpin having struck my imagination, the fabulous anecdote about Fetter-Lane became indispensible, to connect the machinery with the historical pares of the ballad.

Beaufort-Buildings, 28 th Sept. 1795.

JOHN GILPIN's GHOST; OR, THE

WARNING VOICE OF

KING CHANTICLEER. PART I. YE men of Oakham, one and all, So valiant and so witty, Oflate for treason all agog, Attend unto my ditty: A ditty which the bard I ween In pillory may rue; For it a libel must be deem'd Since ev'ry word is true.

I'll shew how johnny Gilpin's ghost

His dearest son awoke; And how that son thto' darkling air, A wond'rous journey took; And how the Lords ofOakham's town, All men of high degree, Apothecaries, men oflaw, And those that 'squires be! How these, and such like gallant men Assembled at the Crown, Lest Sans-Cullotes, with pop-guns arm'd, 7 Should beat the Sign-post down.

106

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 That Sign-post which so long h as stood, The wonder ofeach lour, T ill with seditious p aper balls, Tom Paine kick'd up a rout. (Since when, ah woe ! ah well-a-day! Howfoolscap has abounded!) And crowns, and mitres eke to boot, And sign-post Dukes confounded. Then wonder not, ye Oakham men, Nor scratch your heads to know Why rhose who gaudy sign-posts love Should with such fury glow. Bur listen to the tale I tell, Nor let a word be lost, How Lawyer Combes was lately wak'd ByJohnny Gilpin's ghost. 'Twas at rhe solemn hour of night, W hen all lay still in bed ; Except rhe Swin ish Multitude, W h o grunt for want of bread For bellies full, as Berry knows, Dispose us men to sleep, W hile gnawin g hunger oft is found The eyes agog to keep. 'Twas at rhat h our, when doctors grave, And keen attornies too, Their ruin'd clients, in rheir dreams, And murder'd patients view, When Gilpin, in his winding sheet, At Combes's feet did stand: 'Awake; he said, 'rhou man oflaw!' And wav'd his shadowy hand. 'Ah!' who art rhou?' the lawyer cried, All as the spectre pale; 'Some client, sure, who gain'd his suit, 'But died for costs in jail! 'Or some poor famish'd wretch I ween, 'Compell'd the town to flee, 'Because he could not stand a suit 'Against my Lord and me. 'And must I issue, join, so soon, 'Before the courts above,

john Gilpin's Ghost 'From which no writ of error I 'Can ever hope to move?' 'Not so, my son; with solemn voice The spectre made reply; 'No tipstaff stern, from heav'n dispatch'd 'With special capias I, 'Not yet, I ween, for thee array'd 'The winged jurors stand, 'Nor God Almighty's Clerk in Court 'Yet bids "hold up thy hantl'. 'But here thy loving father stands, 'Thy father all so kind, 'Who rode so fast through Edmonton 'And left his wig behind. 'That father who, one night in cups, 'To loving spouse untrue, 'Was led astray up Fetter-lane, 'And bless'd the world with you. 'From Mistress Gilpin's jealous eye 'I kept thee close conceal'd; 'And, pleas'd to see the thriving hopes 'Thy early youth reveal'd, 'I put thee to a man oflaw, 'In hopes to make thee great; 'And since, alike alive or dead, 'Have watch'd thy growing state. 'And now a tale I come to tell, 'If ghosts can read aright, 'Shall make thee dear to Billy Pitt, 'And great asjoey White:8 'That Billy Pitt, and joey White, 'The people's joint salvation! 'Who all the cash, and all the spies, 'Command throughout the nation. 'For, know, from London's wicked town, 'To mar your bless'd condition, 'A dreadful lot is on the road 'OfTREASON and SEDITION!!!

'All from a wicked wight it comes, 'Who gives in London Lectures, 'And fills the heads of common folks 'With strange and new conjectures.

107

108

Selected Political Writings ofJ ohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 'H e tells them, commonfolks are men, 'And should like men be treated; 'Nor, like a swinish multitude, 'By wealthy knaves be cheated. 'H e tells them, too, 'tis very hard 'On them and all their neighbors, 'That Lords, and Dukes, and Kings, should eat 'The profit oftheir labors:

'Or that they should be tax'd and tax'd '(Which he to prove is willing) 'Tillfor two-pennyworth ofbread 'They're.forc'd to pay a shilling! 'Ye priests and lawyers, how your pride 'Must soon come tumbling down 'Should e'er these new French principles 'Arrive in Oakham town! 'Then h aste, my son; arise, with me 'To Biggleswade, rep air, 'Ere yet my sh adowy essence melt 'Before the morning air.' H e said, and seiz'd h im in h is arms, Nor for an answer stopp'd ; And Lawyer Combes, by Gilpin's ghost, At Biggleswade was dropp'd. The morning breaks, the coach arrives, The lawyer p ricks his ears, Ransacks the basket, boot, and seats, But not a book appears. Then did he rave and stamp, and forth A special capias draw; And swear against his father's ghost He'd bring a suit at law. While thus despairing, round he star'd, And search'd on every side, Beneath an old dame's petticoats He something strange espied. "Tis here, 'tis here; I have is fast; With eager joy he cried "Tis here, 'tis here; the echoing walls Of Biggleswade replied. The p romis'd prize, with trembling hand, H e drew from its retreat ;

john Gilpin's Ghost Then back return'd to Oakham town Upon a courser fleet. And all the while as he did ride, He counted on the gains, Which Oakham's sapient Gothamites Would give him for his pains. And to himselfhe thus did say 'I'll next to court, I vow, 'And to the mighty Billy Pitt 'Will make my humble bow. 'Who knows bur, when this feat is told, 'Great Pitt may deign to smile; 'And with a little sinecure 'Reward my faithful toil. 'Or, should the Inquisition want 'Another helping hand, 'Why should not Combes's humble name 'With White's aspire to stand?'

END OF PART FIRST.

JOHN GILPIN's GHOST &c. PART II. NOW to the Crown with one consent All Oakham's heroes fly, Resolv'd the Sign-post to defend, Or in the conflict die: For Fame, upon market cross, Did tell the wond'rous tale Of Lawyer Combes and Gilpin's ghost, All as the ashes pale. First, blustering Berry came, renown'd For bolus, draught, and blister, And from sedition vow'd to purge All Oakham with a clyster. Next, Williams, trembling for his tithes, His royal zeal display'd.

109

I IO

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 H e rose; he flew; nor even stopp'd To kiss his buxom maid. No more he pants to greenland sh ade And bushy brake to run, And at his fav'rite Woodcock there To point his carnal gun That Woodcock as a partridge plump Tho' sland'rous laymen clatter, What priest might not at such a bird Permit his mouth to water? But now at other game he flies, With loyal zeal so warm, With maudling Haley by his side, And flagelation Orme. This goodly trinity ofpriests (Three persons, one in mind! ) Ran to the Crown, in pious h ope A Mitre there to find. And there full many a loyal wight, With motives just as p ure, They also met, resolv'd to make Their loaves and fishes sure. Says Williams, 'In the book 'tis said, 'As all divines agree,

' TheSwinish Multitude must crouch 'Before the pow'rs that be. 'These pow'rs that be, ifl right I read, 'Are King, Lord, Placeman, Priest, 'Who by this rule are privileg'd 'On others' toil to feast. 'And right it is; for, should the herd 'Have all their labour brings, 'They'd live as well as priests themselves, 'And grow as wise as kings. 'Then Church and State, in wedlock join'd, 'Should awe the world no more; 'N or crowns nor mitres longer swing 'At every ale-h ouse door.'

john Gilpin's Ghost He spoke; with awe the prostrate crowd Their oracle rever'd; And once, at least, in all his life, His congregation heard; For Balaam's stick was hung aloft, As once in days ofyore, And open forc'd that mumbling mouth, Which never op'd before. And now, from Biggleswade remrn'd, Came lawyer Combes in haste, And all before their haggard eyes The fearful packet plac'd. 'Tis op'd with many a mutter'd spell To bless the Crown from harm, And keep them all (Godspeed the pray'r!) From vile Sedition's charm. When lo! a feather'd hero bounc'd, A mangled sight, ro view, And stretch'd his headless neck and cried

'Cock - cock-a-doodle-doo!'

And still he spurn'd and flapp'd his wings, And shook his spurs ofsteel, While trembling joints and haggard looks, The council's fears reveal. For thus prophetic flow'd the strain That pierc'd each wond'ring ear, While priests o'er tythe-pigs, fees and dues, Bequeathe'd the parting tear.

'Ah, well, ye servile crew, may ye

'My clarion shrill bewail, 'Whose scream ill-omen'd but forebodes 'A more disastrous tale. 'My crowing speaks the envious light 'That soon must clear the sky; 'For kingcraft's, priestcraft's night is past, 'And Reason's dawn is nigh.

'In me behold the fate ro which

'All tyranny must bow, 'And those who've long oppress'd the poor 'Shall be as I am now.'

111

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Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 He spoke - they would have stopp'd his voice, And kept him close confin'd; But ah! he 'scap'd their anxious care, As flits impassive wind. And still he stalks abroad, the fate Of tyrants to display;

Nor can the Attorney General's self The headless spectre lay.

PROSPECTUS OF A COURSE OF LECTURES

Prospectus ofa

Course ofLectures to be Delivered every Monday,

Wednesday and

Saturday during Ensuing Conformity of the

Convention Act

It is

with the Restrictions

Lent, in Strict

Mr. Pitt's

(London: H. D. Symond's, 1796).

significant that

the title page

to

the

Prospectus ofa

and Friday,

delivered every Monday,

Course ofLectures,

to

be

during the ensuing Lent, in Strict

Wednesday, Conformity with the Restrictions ofMr. Pitt's Convention Act contains, unusually, an exact date of publication: 2 February 1796. This date signals the end of one of Thelwall's phase lecturing career and the onset of another. By Pitt's Act, Thelwall is referring to the notorious two acts which are mentioned consistently throughout these volumes that outlawed political association and free speech. Forced to give up the Tribune lectures, Thelwall embarked upon a 1796-7 lecture series on classical history. But this Prospectus also announces it else: is one of his declarations of an intention, to use Michael something Scrivener's apt phrase, 'to satisfy the letter but defy the spirit of the Two Acts'. 1 Part of his pragmatic plan of defying the spirit of the law is demonstrated by the handbill we have included here. The Life ofThelwa recalls how a war of bills of the of his was routine lectures: on one occasion he recalls, the part advertising Mayor sent constables and marshalmen all over the metropolis' to tear down

Convention

...

2

his bills. On another occasion,

as

recorded in the Tribune lectures,

paste up Thelwall's handbills was arrested for his trouble unable to read the content of the bills. to

Part of Thelwall's defiance is embodied

clearly in

even

a man

hired

though he was

the subtext of the

Prospec-

he quotes at length and in verbatim from the statute prohibiting political meetings in order to reveal the absurdity of legal rhetoric. In doing so, he tus:

demonstrates

his conversance with the law and his ability to strategically operate within its confines. Thelwall goes on to outline his plans to shift the subjects of his political lectures from figures like John Locke and James Harrington to Socrates and Plato. As he intimates in the text, it may be almost High Treason to consult' modern-day reformers like Joel Barlowe and Tom Paine, but he can

expatiate

over

histories of the classical world, as recorded by Livy and Tacitus high in the cause of Liberty, and Tyranny and Corruption

'till every heart beats

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349713-7

Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1

114

stand revealed in all their horrors'. Thelwall also dispels any notion that he is spouting hot air in defiance of the law, for not only does he end the Prospectus with a list of lecture subjects, he addresses such practical details as the cost of those lectures.

Notes 1. 2.

M. Scrivener, 'John Thelwall and the Revolution of 1649'. p. 120. C. Thelwall, Life ofThelwall, p. 130.

Prospectus OfA Course OfLectures

Every Evening dun·ng the Difcufii011. of

Lord Grenville's Bill,

At the Political Lecture- Room, BeJufortBuildings, Strand,

JohnThel,vall

,vill exercife that expiri11g Pri,.rilege of once_frce and valiant Britons, the LIBERTY OF SPEECH, b,~ animad-

verting on the Occurrences, ProjectsandCo'!ffiiraciesofthe prefent MOAIENTO US ~

CRISIS.

Doon open at 7 o'Clock. Begin at 8 pre ci fely. Admittance 6d.

. The Speech delivered at.Copenhagen-Houfe; the Tribune (pubIHhed weekly); the \'indication of the ~atural and ConfiitJl~al Rights of Britons; Political Lectures, VoL I. Part I. and otller Publications of the LeS,Qter,. may ~e had· of all .Jht patriotic Bookfdlers, aad at the .U&re-R001Q..; . . Bltl'tONS, who with for Information, be expeditious; for a Fodliight bertec u, inay be High Treafon to felL a

l'oliuul Painp\let,

115

PROSPECTUS OFA

COURSE OF LECTURES, TO BE DELIVERED EVERY

MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND FRIDAY, DURING THE ENSUING LENT.

IN STRICT CONFORMITY WITH THE RESTRICTIONS OF Mr. PITT'S CONVENTION ACT. By JOHN THELWALL

It is not the part of a good Citizen to violate, from individual caprice the provisions ofageneral Law; but it is his duty to embrace

every opportunity which the Legislature has not prohibited, of promoting principles conducive to the happiness ofmankind.

LONDON: Feb. 2, 1796. Sold at the Lecture Room, Beaufort-Buildings; at SYMONDS'S, Paternoster-Row; EATON'S, Newgate-Street; and SMITH'S, Portsmouth-Street. [PRICE SIXPENCE.]

-117-

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THOUGH I have given this little pamphlet the title of a Prospectus, it is not my intention, neither is it at this instant in my power, to present the reader with an analysis of the subjects to be treated, and the arrangement to be pursued. If my lectures were to be delivered to a small and select class of students this might, perhaps, be both proper and requisite; but to be enabled so to proceed would require more elaborate preparation than is, I believe, consistent with the attempt to deliver a popular course oflectures. There are persons, I am aware, who are of a different opinion; and who suppose that the correct phraseology, and measured harmony ofperiod, which it is perhaps impossible uniformly to combine in extempore eloquence, give a decided preference to the written over the spontaneous oration. But the arguments on the other side appear to me to have superior weight; and this speculative opinion has been equally confirmed, not only by general observation, but by the specimens produced by its opponents, and my own individual experience. It may perhaps be true, (though of this I am far from being convinced) that when correctness and animation are combined, that which is most delightful in the closet will also be most satisfactory 'in theatres and halls of assembly'. But where is the man who can give to the delivery ofwritten eloquence the ease, the fire, and the variety of extempore effusion? and where the English audience (cold and phlegmatic as we are said to be) which would deem the most classical precision, and the utmost elegance of language, sufficient compensations for the absence of these attractive qualities? Allured by the variety of the characters, the splendor of the embellishments, the interest of the narrative, and the strong emotions of passion which dramatic representations so frequently inspire, we flock, it is true, to the theatre, and listen again and again, with increasing rapture, to the sentiments of our immortal bard. But how comes it that, with all these advantages, we cannot endure, upon the stage, even a speech of forty lines? that many of the most beautiful passages of Shakespeare have been of necessity curtailed? and that, notwithstanding all the embellishments of the most harmonious rhyme, and the varied sweetness of versification, the fine odes in Mason's E{frida 1 tire the ear? The truth is, that, in speeches of any length, it is impossible for the reciter to avoid that measured cadence, that formal coldness and monotony, which is the consequence of speaking from the head, instead ofyielding to the impulse ofthe heart. Add to which, that the grand charm oforal eloquence consists not only in the correspondence of the tone ofvoice with the subject matter, but in that powerful harmony of feature and gesticulation - that electric animation ofthe eye, which, varying its expression with every transition of rising passion, prepares the minds of the audience for the sentiments about to be delivered, and anticipates the impressions those sentiments are intended to inspire. But in the recital ofa long speech this effect is never, I believe, produced to any emi-

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nent degree; on the contrary, even in most successful experiments that I have witnessed, the eye is every now and then turned inward, as it were, to search the memory for some epithet or expression which has partially escaped. The gesticulation and utterance become accordingly embarrassed; and the consequence is, that, although the auditors in general may not discover the cause of their disgust, attention flags, and the vivid impressions inspired by genuine animation fail to be produced. Nay, so complete, in my judgment, appear the advantages of spontaneous delivery, that if, after having agreed upon the plot and fable, and delineated a correct outline of the business of each respective scene, it were possible to collect a sufficient number of actors of real genius, to enter into the different passions, and sustain a characteristic and unwritten dialogue, I cannot but suspect that the impressions produced, even from the stage itself, would be so much more vivid and delightful, that the written drama would go out of fashion, and Shakespeare himself be transferred from the stage to the closet. But whether this conjecture be extravagant or no with respect to the drama, I can have no sort of doubt as to the superiority of spontaneous delivery in those cases, where the orator is to appear in his own character, to give utterance to the genuine sentiments of his own mind, and the real passions of his soul. I have tried various experiments: and I dwell the more particularly upon this subject, because, if my experience, in this respect, is of any value, I wish others, who may tread in the same path, to be benefited by it. I have read from printed books, and commented as I went on, I have written my lectures, and read them. I have got them by heart, as it is called, and recited them . I have sometimes drawn out my materials into an elaborate syllabus; and sometimes merely devoted the last quarter of an hour or twenty minutes before I ascended the tribune, to the arrangement of such ideas as I had collected together by previous contemplation and research. Nay, some ofmy most popular, and, what was less to have been expected, some ofmy most methodical lectures, (where the subject from frequent meditation had become familiar to my mind,) have been delivered without so much as a single note, or any kind offormal preparation. This last, however, is an experiment rather to be apologized for than recommended. It is trusting too much to the animal spirits and accidents of the moment. It exposes the orator to the greatest of all dangers - that of being too easily satisfied with his own exertions; and if he does not use the precaution of having his speeches taken down, that he may contemplate his defects at leisure, the frequent repetition of this practice will infallibly prevent him from attaining any considerable degree of excellence. The plan I propose, and that which, during the last season, in particular, from finding it most successful, I have principally followed, is to sketch the

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lecture the day before, or on the day in which it is co be delivered; and co be copious or sparing in the preparatory notes, according to the nature of the subject. When the argument principally turns upon calculations and historical facts, chat require minute accuracy of statement, or chronological order, the skeleton cannot well be too elaborately made; in other words, the subject cannot be too methodically arranged, nor the references too strongly marked. But, when general principles are to be discussed, provided they have been previously well digested by the lecturer, and the mind is well stored with the necessary ideas, the outline indeed should be so far sketched as to secure a regular connection to the discourse, but the shortest and least elaborate preparation is always the best. In both cases the clothing and embellishments ought to be left to the time ofdelivery: for chat language will always be most emphatic, which the warmth of the moment supplies (provided the orator habituate himself to correct, and occasionally elaborate, composition in his closet); and chose tropes and metaphors will always be most fascinating, which, springing spontaneously from the collision of passion and fancy, are sketched, perhaps with a rude, but with a strong outline, and exhibit, in glowing colors, the heat and rapidity of their conception. Such being the plan I intend to pursue in the delivery of these Lectures, it is evident chat chis prospectus cannot go much into detail with respect to the subjects co be created on the respective nights: neither do I believe chat it is desireable, in any point of view, chat chis should be done, any farther than is necessary to remove the apprehensions of the public as to the penalties of a lace Act of Parliament, entitled 'An Act for the more effectually preventing Seditious Meetings and Assemblies'.2 Certain clauses of chat Act having threatened the infliction of severe penalties, not only upon any person who shall deliver, but upon chose, also, who, under certain circumstances, shall attend the delivery of Lectures ofa particular description, therein specified, it becomes necessary, if I would avoid the mortification of talking to the empty benches, chat I should clearly demonstrate to the public, chat the Lectures I am about to deliver do not come within the description ofthe Act ofParliament, and that consequently, both the Lecturer and the Auditors will in this respect, be precisely in the same situation as though no such Act had ever been adopted by the Legislature. In order to place chis in the clearest point of view, I shall, in the first place, quote so much of the Act of Parliament as relates to the subject ofpublic Lecturing and Debating; and afterwards, by contrasting together what it is chat is prohibited, and what it is chat I am about to do, shall prove beyond all question, chat although I cannot, under the restrictions of chis law, deliver again the Lectures which I have already delivered, I can, nevertheless, securely, pru-

Prospectus OfA Course OfLectures

121

dently, and legally, deliver those which I am about to propose; and that the Auditors will be in no more danger of fine or prosecution for attending them, than the pupils at a course of chemical lectures, or the frequenters of a parish church or methodist chapel. The part of the statute which relates to the present subject begins at the bottom of the seventh page of the copy PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE HOUSE, 4 th Dec. 1795; and in page 25 of Symond's Abstracts.* The subject thus begins at the twelfth clause. 'And whereas certain houses, rooms, or places, within the cities of London and Wesrminster, and in the neighbourhood thereof, and in other places, have of late been frequently used for the purpose of delivering lectures and discourses on and concerning supposed public grievances, and matters relating to the laws, constitution, and government and policy ef THESE KINGDOMS, and treating and debating on and concerning the same; and under pretence thereof lectures or discourses have been delivered, and debates held, tending to stir up hatred and contempt ofhis Majesty's royal person, and ofthe government and constitution ef this realm, as by law established: Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every house, room, field, or other place where lectures or discourses shall be delivered, or public debates shall be held, on or concerning any supposed public grievance, or any matters relating to the laws, constitution, government, or policy efTHESE KINGDOMS, for the purpose of raising or collecting money, or any other valuable thing, from the persons admitted, whether such' house, room, field, or place where lectures or discourses shall be delivered, or public debates shall be held, on or concerning any supposed public grievance, or any matters relating to the laws, constitution, government, or policy ofTHESE KINGDOMS, for the purpose of raising or collecting money, or any other valuable thing, from the persons admitted, whether such' house, room, field, or place, shall be opened or used for any such purpose alone, or for any such purpose together with any other purpose, or under whatever pretence the same• shall be opened or used, to which any person shall be admitted by the payment ofmoney, or by tickets sold for money, or in consequence ofhis paying or giving, or having paid or given, or agreeing thereafter to pay or give, in any manner, any money or other thing for or in respect of his admission into such' house, room, field, or place, unless the opening or using of such• house, room, field, or place, shall have been previously licensed in manner herein-after mentioned, shall be deemed a disorderly house or place, and the person by whom such' house, room, field, or place shall be opened or used for the purpose aforesaid, shall forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds for every day or time that such• house, room, field, or place, shall be opened or used as aforesaid, ro such person as will sue for the same, and be otherwise punished as the law directs in cases of disorderly houses; and every person managing or conducting the proceedings, or acting as moderaror, president, or chairman, at such house, room, field, or place, or therein debating, or delivering • Symond's Abstracts ofthe Two Bills, &c. To which are added, The Bill ofRights, the Coronation Oath, and Magna Charta. The very associations in this pamphlet cannot fail of recommending it to general attention.

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any discourse or lecture for the purpose aforesaid, and also every person who shall pay, give, collect , or receive, or agree to pay, give, collect, or receive, any money or other thing, for or in respect of the admission of any person into any such• house, room, field, or place, or shall deliver out, distribute, or receive, any such ticket or tickets as aforesaid, knowing such house, room, field, or place, to be opened or used for such purpose, shall for every such offence forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds to such person as will sue for the same. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That any person who shall at any time hereafter appear, act, or behave him or herself as master or mistress, or as the person having the command, government, or management, of any such' house, room, field, or place as aforesaid, shall be deemed and taken to be a person by whom the same is opened or used as aforesaid, and shall be liable to be sued or prosecuted, and punished as such, notwithstanding he or she be not, in fact, the real owner or occupier thereof. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be lawful for any justice orjustices of the peace, or chiefmagistrate respectively, of any county, city, borough, or place, who shall, by information upon oath, have reason to suspect that any house, room, field, or place, or any parts or part thereof, are or is opened or used for the purpose ofdelivering lectures or discourses, orfor public debate, CONTRARY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, to go to such house, room or place, and demand to be admitted therein ; and in case such justice or justices, or other magistrate, shall be refused admitt ance to such house, room, field, or place, or any part thereof, the same shall be deemed a disorderly house or place, within the intent and meaning of this act ; and all and every the provisions herein-before contained respecting any house, room, field, or place, herein-before declared to be a disorderly house or place, shall be applied to such house, room, field, or place, where such admittance shall have been refused as aforesaid, and every person refusing such admittance shallforfeit the sum ofone hundred pounds to any person who shall sue for the same. Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that it shall be lawful for any justice or justices of the peace, or chief magistrate respectively, of any county, city, borough, or place, where any such' house, room, or other building shall be licensed as aforesaid, to go to such' house, room, or building so licensed, at the time of delivering any such lecture or discourse therein as aforesaid, or at the time appointed for delivering any such lecture or discourse, and demand to be admitted therein; and in case such justice or justices, or other magistrate, shall be refused admittance to such' house, room, or building, the same shall be deemed, notwithstanding any such licence as aforesaid, a disorderly house or place, within the meaning of this act; and all and every the provisions herein-before contained respecting any house, room, field, or place, herein-before declared to be a disorderly house or place, shall be applied to such house, room, or building, so licensed as aforesaid, where such admittance shall have been refused as aforesaid; and every person refusing such admittance shall forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds to any person who will sue for the same. Provided nevertheless, that it shall be lawful for two or more justices of the peace of the county, city, town, or place, where any house, room, or other building shall be, which any person shall be desirous to open for any ofthe purposes aforesaid,

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by writing under their hands and seals, at their general quarter session of the peace, or at any special session to be held for that particular purpose, to grant a licence to any person or persons desiring the same, to open such house, room, or other building, for the purpose of delivering for money any such lectures or discourses as aforesaid, on any ofthe subjects aforesaid, the same being clearly expressed in such licence, for which licence a fee of one shilling, and no more, shall be paid, and the same shall be in force for the space ofone year, and on longer, or for any less space of time, therein to be specified; and which licence it shall be lawful for the justices of the same county, city, town, or place, at any general quarter session of the peace, to revoke and declare void and no longer in force by any order of such justices, a copy whereofshall be delivered to or served upon the person to whom the said licence so revoked shall have been granted, or shall be left at the house, room or building, for which such licence shall have been granted, and thereupon such licence shall cease and determine, and be henceforth utterly void and of no effect'.

The above clauses, together with one relating merely to the manner in which the informer is to sue for the penalty, and some provisions in behalf of the Universities and public schools, contain all that relates to the subject of Lectures and Debating Societies. The provisions relative to numbers, requisitions to magistrates, power of dispersion, and the like, in the earlier parts of the act, relate purely and simply to meetings 'holden for the purpose, or on the pretext, of CONSIDERING OF, OR PREPARING ANY PETITION, COMPLAINT, REMONSTRANCE, OR DECLARATION, OR OTHER ADDRESS, TO THE KING OR TO BOTH HOUSES, OR EITHER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, FOR ALTERATION OF MATTERS ESTABLISHED BY CHURCH AND STATE:' as will be evident to every one who discharges the duty he owes to himself and his country by an attentive perusal of this very extraordinary statute. With respect to Lectures and Debates, it is matter of no consequence whether they are attended by ten people, or ten thousand; and what would be illegal in the latter case would be equally so in the former. It is essential, however, to mark with some degree of accuracy what it is, and what it is not, that is forbidden by this act: for although it is not the part of a good citizen to violate, from the dictates of individual caprice, the provisions of a general law, (whatever may be his opinion of the government by which it was made) it is certainly the duty ofevery friend of Liberty to neglect no opportunity which the Legislature has not prohibited of promoting those principles which he believes to be conducive to the general happiness of mankind. In short, nothing (except intemperate violence) can be so injurious to the public cause, as that cringing timidity with which we so frequently meet Oppression, as it were, halfway; and when a part ofour rights is violently taken from us, forbear, with what is miscalled prudential caution, to exercise even

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those that remain. This is, in reality, courting slavery. It is saying to the Minister, You have over-rated the courage, spirit, and intelligence of the nation. Your invasions of public liberty are too tame and cautious. You were fearful lest the present burthen should be intolerable; but our necks are formed for a heavier yoke; and though there are bounds to your presumption, there shall be none to our servility: take, therefore, as our gift, the little liberty you had left us, and let us become ENTIRELY THE THING YOU WISH US, though you had not the courage to attempt to make us so. If this should be the conduct of my countrymen, with respect to these Bills, at least they shall not have to reproach me for the example. I will not, in my present disposition at least, violate the Law; but I will continue to obey the dictates of my own conscience, and promote the important cause ofpopular discussion in such ways as the Law has not yetforbidden; and perhaps it will be found upon serious consideration, that the field is yet ample, and the harvest promising. It will be seen, at first sight, and indeed it was observed during the discussion of the subject in Parliament, that even such lectures as I have formerly delivered might be repeated under this act, provided the auditors were neither admitted by the payment of money, or by purchased tickets: and, ifI were so disposed, I believe it would be no difficult matter to evade this part of the Act. But I will submit to no subterfuge. That which I do, I will do openly. I have not been educated in that school where men learn to reject with disdain the salary to which they are entitled from their employers, and compensate themselves for this sacrifice to their independence by the wholesale plunder of their country. But though I am too little enamoured of the character of a swindler to imitate the practice of obtaining money under false pretences, it is, on the other hand, undoubtedly my intention, in an open and manly way, to reap an emolument from my exertions. And this, I believe, is nothing more than justice: for although in occasional sacrifices to the public cause, when the exigencies of the times demand them, I hope I shall never be backward, yet I confess that my patriotism is not pure enough to comprehend the disinterested logic of the Attorney General and Chancellor of the Exchequer, that 'it is disgraceful and immoral to receive emolument from our public labours'. 3 He who would deliver a course of lectures worthy of the public attention, must direct his whole time and faculties to the subject. And as it is neither in my power nor my inclination to devote myself to so arduous an undertaking without the prospect of remuneration, the subjects of my lectures must be so selected as not to fall within the description of the act. Nor will this create much difficulty: for whether the framers of this Bill found it impossible to invent pretences for totally abolishing all discussion on the principles of government and the important facts of history, or whether they were startled at the idea of restoring entirely the night of gothic ignorance, certain it is, that

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though much is prohibited, there is much of considerable importance which can still be legally done. If the reader will be kind enough to return to the foregoing quotation, and attend to the passages printed in Italics, he will find that the things complained of in this act, are 'Lectures and Discourses on and concerning supposed public grievances, and matters relating to the laws, constitution, and government and policy of these kingdoms'; that the 'houses, rooms, fields, or other places', thereby subjected to licence, or metamorphosed into 'disorderly houses or places', are those in which such lectures or discourses are delivered; and that the persons threatened thereby with fine and penalty are those (and those only) who deliver such discourses, or pay for, or are assistant to, the delivery of such lectures, discourses, or debates, 'on or concerning such supposed grievances, or matters relating to the laws, constitution, government or policy of these kingdoms'. And though to persons unused to the tedious formality of legal composition, (one ofwhose characteristic attributes it is to fatigue attention with verbose tautologies, till the disgusted mind can no longer pursue the meaning) the expression 'or under whatever pretence the same shall be opened or used', may, at first blush, appear somewhat more general and comprehensive, yet, upon the slightest examination, it will be found that the words such and the same, marked in the quotation with asterisks, (*) uniformly refer to the previous description - that is to say, to 'houses, &c. where lectures shall be given on supposed public grievances, or matters relating to the laws, &c. of THESE KINGDOMS'. It follows therefore of course that, with respect to all other subjects, the right of public lecturing, and the freedom of popular discussion, stand precisely where they did before Mr. Pitt's Sedition Bill passed into a Law. 4 All therefore, that the lecturer or the debater is enjoined by this Act ofParliament, is to avoid mention of this country, its grievances, its laws, constitution, government, and policy; and provided he does this (which most assuredly I shall) he may discuss the principles ofLiberty and Justice, and expose all the vices and horrors of Tyranny and Usurpation. The corruption of Rotten Boroughmongers he must no longer expose; nor may he argue upon the necessity of parliamentary reform. But the treasures of antiquity still lay open before him. Still may he expatiate on the energies of Grecian freedom, dwell with glowing rapture on the wisdom and virtue of the Republics of elder times, and trace, with instructive eloquence, the causes of the growing majesty ofancient Rome, and the degeneracy, luxury, and venality, which destroyed its liberties, and undermined its empire. Locke, Sydney, and Harrington 5 are put to silence and Barlowe, Paine, and Callendal' it may be almost High Treason to consult: but Socrates and Plato, Tully and Demosthenes, may be eloquent in the same cause. A sentence from Rapin7 might condemn the orator to a penalty of one hundredpounds; but he

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may expatiate with impunity on faces recorded by Xenophon and Thucydides, and may dwell upon the histories of Livy and Polybius, of Sallust, Tacitus, and Suetonius, 8 till every heart beats high in the cause of Liberty, and Tyranny and Corruption stand revealed in all their horrors. Nay, ifmodern story invite him with more attractive charms, the orator is still at liberty to discuss even the subject of the French Revolution, and expatiate on the advantages and the errors of chat memorable event. Such being the ample range which is still indulged to the faculties of Britons, it is evident chat the difficulty is not so much how to find a subject for the exercise of their eloquence, as how to choose from such a wide variety. If popular attraction were alone to be considered, the election would immediately be made. There can be no doubt chat, at chis time, the very name of the French Revolution would inspire the most general interest. But I have reason to believe chat there are other subjects which will be more instructive; and though I shall occasionally illustrate my discourses with all such facts and references as are not forbidden by chis act, chat is to say, with whatever does not 'relate co the laws, constitution, government or policy of these kingdoms', I have determined, for a variety of reasons, to cake for the foundation of my lectures, the important events of Roman History. The classical scholar will immediately perceive, and, if I am able to do any thing like justice to my theme, the public will soon be convinced, what a magnificent variety of the most interesting subjects chis plan lays open to investigation. Perhaps there is hardly an individual topic, important for the cause of Liberty, which might not be embraced in such a course of lectures; and with chis advantage, chat it is impossible for calumny and party malice to represent such disquisitions as inflammatory or seditious; since rightly to understand the history of the ancient world, and to elucidate the principles of Grecian and Roman policy, has ever been regarded, not only as admissible, but as praise-worthy, by all the regular governments of Europe. Even the old despotism of France, never discouraged investigations of chis kind; and VERTOT, MONTESQUIEU, 9 and several of the most distinguished writers who flourished under the tyranny of the BOURBONS, derived a considerable portion not only of their reputation with the people, but of countenance and patronage among the great, by enquiries of a similar description. In short, it is scarcely possible to conceive, among nations in any degree enlightened, a despotism so jealous and ferocious as to prohibit the study of general history, or the investigation of the facts and principles connected with the government of the ancient world. Certain it is, chat chis act of parliament proceeds to no such despotic lengths, and chat the subjects I have chosen can be created with the same freedom as before the recent alterations had taken place in the constitutional law

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of the land. The only operation of the bill in this respect will be, that the magistrates of the district will have a right to receive a little insight into the facts and principles of ancient history, without paying for their admittance: a clause of which my old friend REEVES, and my kind neighbour EDWARDS, 10 will not, I hope, neglect to take advantage! The power of the magistrates in this respect will, however, be no greater over my lecture-room, than it is, at this moment, over every room, house, or tenement throughout the nation; for the reader will perceive, by turning to the third of the before recited clauses, (p.10.) that 'any justice of the peace, &c. who shall, by information upon oath, have reason to suspect that any house, &c. is used for the purpose of delivering lectures, &c. contrary to the provisions ofthis act', is authorized to go to such house, an demand admittance; and in case such justice, &c. shall be refused admittance', the house is to 'be deemed a disorderly house', and every person refusing such admittance is to forfeit one hundred pounds. Among the novelties of this Bill, certainly not the least remarkable is this of suspicion upon oath. It is in reality arming the magistrate with an arbitrary right of harrassing whomsoever he pleases with all the vexatious tyranny of domiciliary visits. Do you wish to perplex your virtuous neighbour, to gratify private animosity, or indulge your political rancour - do you wish to disturb his peaceful slumbers, to terrify a pregnant wife into convulsions, or to alarm with perhaps mortal fears a sister or daughter, languishing on the painful bed ofdisease? -you have nothing to do but to hasten to some litigious magistrate, and (secure in the self-evident proposition that AFFIDAVIT OF SUSPICION IS LIABLE TO NO PROSECUTION FOR PERJURY) swear that you suspect, or swear something that will authorise him to suspect (and who shall answer upon what grounds a Ii tigious magistrate, and such there are, may choose to suspect) that a company are assembled to hear lectures or discourses, 'contrary to the provisions of this act', and such magistrate is authorized to proceed immediately to the house, without further ceremony, demand admittance, ransack the premises, and fill every apartment with dismay: - be the hour of day or night whatever it will - no matter - his suspicion is his warrant ofauthority; and ifhe is refused admittance, every person so refusing him is to be fined 1001. and subjected to all the disgraceful penalties incurred by keeping a disorderly house. But this clause, so tremendously formidable to the security of domestic peace, is of no sort of consequence with respect to my lectures. In a private family the very circumstance of the abrupt appearance of a magistrate is of the most alarming nature; and terrors and apprehensions are, with respect to the female part of such family, the almost inevitable consequence. But in a room open to all comers, where a crowded audience are assembled, either for

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instruction or entertainment, a magistrate is a guest no more formidable than any other person; especially when, as in this case, he is vested with no other authority than to sit down silently, and listen to what goes forward. And that this is the case there needs no further evidence than the perusal of the clauses previously quoted; and of this specific cause in particular. He may listen to the lecture, indeed, without paying for it; and if it were of the description prohibited by the act of parliament, he might, like any other informer, bring his action for the 1001. penalty. But he has, in this case, no discretionary power of dispersion or interruption. Having thus shewn that the Lectures I am about to deliver, namely,

LECTURES ON CLASSICAL HISTORY, do not come within the descriptions of the Act of Parliament, and consequently that they will neither require a licence, be open to legal interruption, nor subject either the lecturer or the audience to fines and penalties, it only remains to say a few words relative to their purposed duration and the terms of admission. With respect to the former of these, repeated experiments have convinced me that incessant exertions of this kind, periodically continued through a whole winter, are more than a constitution like mine can bear. My first course oflectures, begun in November 1793, and continued without interruption for more than five months, reduced me to a feeble skeleton, and might perhaps have terminated in a decline, if the minister, anxious to preserve me from such a catastrophe, had not provided for the restoration of my health, by a country lodging, in the Tower. 11 My second commenced on the 6 th of February, 1795, and closed on the 12 th of June: 12 and such was the emaciation and injury to my lungs, in particular, which the exertions of this course produced, that a retirement ofbetween two and three months, in the most delightful, and most salubrious part of the country, was inadequate to my perfect restoration. In the midst of sickness, and the calls of other duties, of the most importance, I believe, to the public cause, I have since delivered a still more elaborate course, which kept the mind perpetually at full stretch till the passing of the two bills cut the string, and relaxed for a while the almost broken bow. From these reiterated shocks my constitution is yet but imperfectly restored; and for the deductions which a repetition of such efforts must occasion, both from the enjoyments and the duration of life, no degree ofprivate emolument can atone. Nothing, therefore, but the pressure ofthe most extraordinary public duties can call upon an individual for such incessant labour; and I have accordingly determined that my seasons for lecturing shall from henceforth be shorter, and my vacations longer. The present course will consist ofno

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more than twenty lectures, which, commencing on the I 0th of February, and being continued every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, till the 25 th of March, including the whole season of Lent, will be comprised within the space of seven weeks: after which it is not my intention to lecture any more till autumn, when, in all probability, a course of similar duration will be delivered. This alteration of my plan subjects me to the necessity of another; which (though with the candid part of mankind it will require no apology) I shall briefly explain, to obviate the cavils of those who seem to suppose that they have a right to dictate the price at which others shall dispose of their talents and exertions. The fact is, that, at the time of my emancipation from Newgate, those friends who reflected upon what I had suffered, and were conscious of the incumbrances which persecution must have heaped upon me, almost unanimously advised me to advance the price of admission to my lectures : a circumstance which, if there were no other reason, would be justified on the single foundation of that enormous increase in the price of every article of comfort and necessity, which makes it the duty of every individual (whether he labour with his head or his hands) to demand a proportionate encrease in the wages ofhis industry! My attachment to the laborious classes of society, and my desire ofnot precluding them from the means of political information, disposed me to reject this advice. Experience, however, has convinced me that I was wrong. The frequenters of my lectures, with very few exceptions, have been generally of that description to whom it can be matter oflittle consequence whether they pay a sixpence or a shillingfor their evening's entertainment. But the most important circumstance is, that the price of admission furnished the minister with one of his strongest arguments for suppressing the lectures; for although HE, who never opens his mouth, without swallowing thousands of the public money, treated it as part of my crime that I made a livelihood of my politics (or, as he was pleased to call it, of my sedition), yet the argument most acceptable to the prejudices of those in whole hands all power of legislation rests, was, that the lecture-room was frequented only by the lowest orders of society, and the lectures (of course) were mere faragoes of inflammation and sedition, which none but what they contemptuously call the most ignorant and dangerous of mankind could be expected to attend: an argument which, though, even upon their own ideas, destitute of all foundation, in point of fact, derived plausibility from mere external evidence. But I have another reason for increasing the price of admittance, which must have been decisive of itself - namely, that the whole receipts of two such short courses as those to which I find it necessary to confine my annual exertions, would, at the former price of admission, scarcely pay the enormous rent ofmy premises, and the very heavy expences which inevitably attend these lee-

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tures. I have formerly stated these expences at four hundred a year. Upon more accurate calculation I find them to have exceeded that sum. And though my two last courses have freed me from embarrassments, and, what is of considerable consequence to a studious man, have in some degree enlarged my library; yet, upon winding up my accounts, I find that I very considerably overshot the mark when I said, in my last lecture, that I should retire with 130 or 1401. in my pocket. Casual observers first exaggerate the receipts, and then set down all for profit. They will be surprised to hear that my carpenter's bill for enlarging and fitting up my lecture-room amounted to above ninety pounds; and that the little improvements, &c. which I have thought necessary for the ensuing season, and the many expensive books indispensibly requisite for such a course as I am about to give, together with advertisements and other expences, will have cost me between fifty and sixty guineas before my doors are thrown open to admit an auditor. I have said thus much to preclude the cavils of those who, when they can find no other ground of condemnation, would fain accuse me of getting too much money by my labours. I do not mean, however, to relinquish the principle, which it would not be very consistent in any advocate ofLiberty to deny, that, where the purchase is optional, every man has an inherent right to fix a price upon his own exertions.

Thefollowing will be among the earliest Subjects treated in this Course. l . INTRODUCTORY LECTURE - The importance of the study of History in general; and of the Roman history in particular. 2. GENERAL STATEMENT OF THE SUBJECT OF THE ENSUING LECTURES - A brief review of the rise, progress, and decline of Roman grandeur - its obscure beginnings, unprecedented triumphs, and unparalleled degeneracy. 3. The Mixed Government, or (in modern language) the Limited Monarchy, of ancient Rome. 4. The abuses of kingly power, and the arbitrary usurpations that led to the overthrow of Royalty. S. The arrogance, rapacity, and usurpations of the Roman Aristocracy; and consequent depression and misery of the People. 6. The sedition of the sacred Mount, and the appointment of the tribunes of the people - or introduction of popular representation into the Roman Government. 7. The defects of the Tribunitian institution, or popular representation in Rome; its abuses, corruptions, and decline; with strictures on the dis-

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tinctions between the Democracies of the ancient and modern world - illustrated by the examples ofAthens and Sparta - of Rome - ofAmerica and France.

FINIS.

AN APPEAL TO POPULAR OPINION

Appeal to Popular Opinion, against Kidnapping & Murder; including Narrative of The Late Atrocious Proceedings, at Yarmouth. Second Eition: With A Postscript; containing Particular Account of The Outrages, At Lynn and Wisheach (London: J. S.

An

Jorndan, 1796). The last

pamphlet that brings two separate texts An Appeal to Popular Opinion, against Kidnapping and Murder and A Narrative of the late Atrocious Proceedings, at Yarmouth together with a postscript entitled A ParticularAccount ofthe Late Outrages atLynn & Wisbeach. Although our policy has been to include the first edition of texts where possible, we have chosen this combined edition for the reason that Thelwall made no changes between the editions, but added the important postscript (entitled simply 'narrative' in this edition). Like the Two Lectures which appear earlier in this volume, An Appeal, A Narrative andA Particular Account provide a fascinating glimpse into the roughand-tumble world of provincial lecturing in towns gripped by fear and suspicion and presided over by a loyalist majority. One marked difference, though, is that there is very little political, philosophical or historical argument here: these texts are documents of a struggle simply to speak in a public space. More than that, these are testaments of how radicals and reformers had not only the government to fear but regular citizens who were willing to cause them physical harm. text

in this volume is

a

reads these texts, it is difficult not to think of William Godwin's characterization of Thelwa's lectures as rabble-rousing and disruptive. 1 Yet, it As

one

equally hard not to think, too, of the irrational violence of state-sanctioned Church-and-King mobs. (That mob violence could so easily be triggered was seen in the 1791 Birmingham riots, which resulted in the burning of the homes of the scientist and dissenter Joseph Priestley and other members of the scientific Lunar Society). As Thelwall points out, there is an expectation that the lecture hall be protected from both criminal intrusion and from government (as any other private space would be entitled to), as long as it abides within recognized law. 'I understand it to be an established principle of British is

interference

jurisprudence, magistracy that the

is bound to protect the citizens in the exercise of every function which the legislature has not prohibited,' Thelwall writes in this

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349713-8

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pamphlet, and yet the violent disruptions of his lectures by government hirelings and Church-and-King mobs demonstrated chat 'anarchy' was 'sanctioned by magistracy itself' so chat the individual had 'no security.' Indeed, his descriptions of quite vicious physical attacks both on himself and his audience reveal how, in some ways, his dream of a free exchange of ideas had become impossible in the reactionary environment of mid- l 790s Britain. It is also worth noting, though, chat one of the stops on Thelwall's tour was Norwich, known for its tradition of liberalism, rational dissent and intellectual enlightenment. According to Thelwall, he received a warm welcome there, but his visit to such a place must have only emphasized the uncertain future of radicalism. As scholars have detailed, many of the political activists and correspondents of Norwich were themselves grappling with the choice between the intellectual, philosophical enlightenment of a William Godwin and the persistently activist, popular politics of Thelwall. For all the congeniality of his allies, the trouble chat accompanied his tour to Norfolk must have also drawn attention to the fact chat other individuals were choosing a complete retreat from radical policies alcogecher. 2

Notes 1.

2.

W Godwin, Considerations on Lord Grenville's andMr. Pitt's Bills (London: J. Johnson, 1795). See P. Corfield and C. Evans, Youth and Revolution in the 1790s.

AN APPEAL TO

POPULAR OPINION, AGAINST

KIDNAPPING & MURDER; INCLUDING

A NARRATIVE OF THE LATE Atrocious Proceedings, at Yarmouth. BYJOHN THELWALL.

SECOND EDITION: WITH

A POSTSCRIPT; CONTAINING

A PARTICULARACCOUNT OF

The Outrages, At Lynn and Wisbeach.

London:

Printedfor J S. Jordan, No. 166, Fleet-Street,

And Sold by the Booksellers of Norwich, Yarmouth and Lynn. 1796. PRICE, ONE SHILLING AND SIX-PENCE.

-135-

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ANAPPEAL &c. Introduction There is, perhaps, no single point of view, in which the affairs of Britain can, at this time, be regarded, which does not exhibit a prospect, more melancholy and alarming, than has ever existed since the aera of the Revolution. A mad and profligate system of continental politics has exhausted the resources of the nation, has drained it ofits population and energy, and, what is still worse, has 'slain the mind' of the country - has destroyed the proud zeal of boasted liberty, which once elevated the character of the people; and by associating them with the slaves of tyrants, and in the cause of tyranny, has rendered them degraded in their own eyes, and contemptible in those of Europe. The vaunted superiority of British valour is no more: Britain has lost her liberty; and it has been proved, that nations are only valiant in proportion as they are free. France, once the object of our scorn, has become our terror. She slept in slavery, and we scoffed at her weakness. She felt the Promethian torch of Liberty, and she has shown her giant might. She burst her chains, and Europe confederated in arms to bind them on again: a fourth part of her own children proved rebellious to the holy cause of Freedom, and another fourth were necessarily employed to keep the rebels in check; and yet, with the remaining half, renovated France has vanquished the whole continent; and Britain, whose profligate ministers brewed the infernal storm, stands upon the brink ofher yet unravaged shores, pondering, with anxious expectation, over the fate in which she may be involved by the next explosion. Yes; the storm thickens; cloud gathers to cloud; combustion to combustion. The interior of France is no more distracted. The banditti of La Vendi are no more in our alliance. The bayonets of Britany are turned against us. The pikes of the Chouans, and the scythes of the no-longer deluded peasants point, with threatening impatience, towards our shores; and a swarm ofprofligate and desperate emigrants are waiting, perhaps, for an opportunity to make their peace with their country, by plunging the sword into the bosom that fostered them. In the mean time, the irritated Republic encloses us with a moon-like battery; a narrow sea is all that separates this enervated, dispirited, and exhausted nation from the legions which have broken in pieces the disciplined phalanx of Germany, and trampled in the dust the military glory of centuries; and on this precarious element the navies of France, Spain and Holland combine for our humiliation. At home the sinews of power are torn asunder. - Our population is exhausted, our manufactures are palsied, our commerce is threatened with annihilation, our public credit is shaken to its foundations, our specie is vanishing, paper circulation maintains its standard wi th difficulty, our loan contractors are reduced to every shuffiing

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expedient to fulfil, or to postpone, their engagements with Government, and the funds themselves, if not 'in the gulph', are, at least, 'on the very verge of bankruptcy'; while the public creditors behold with terror, that, if they should dare to associate or meet for the purpose of devising means for the security of their property, the ministers and their myrmidons are armed with authority to disperse them by proclamation, or pay off their demands by military execution. At the same time, the state is diseased in every pore. Order and government exist no longer to any beneficial purpose. Taxes, it is true, are levied, malcontents are dragooned, highwaymen are hanged, and magistrates are protected by troops of guards, and carriages made bullet proof; but the peace of society is not preserved; nor is the life, the property, or the privilege of the Citizen protected from fraud or savage depredation. The police is organized into a complete system Espionage, and spies and informers are marshalled and stationed in every district: but while opinions are fettered, crimes go free; and in every class and situation of society are to be found daring banditti who act, in the broad face of day, upon the maxim promulgated from the treasury bench, and, confiding in the connivance or the impotence of magistracy, 'exert an authority beyond the law'. To what insults and depredations is not the country subjected? And what can be the source of this horrible depravity? We talk of civilization; but the most dreadful barbarism prevails. Twenty four millions of money are annually paid for government; and a most enormous debt is contracted by our legislators and rulers; the prisons are crammed, and gibbets are incessantly groaning; and yet Westminster Justices are filling huge octavoes with catalogues ofincorrigible offences; and provincial mayors behold, by the long hour, banditti of plunderers and armed assassins committing every attrocious depredation upon promiscuous multitudes of men, women and children, and suffer them at last, to retire, uninterrupted in martial array, chaunting the songs of victory, and bearing the trophies of their premeditated violence, in triumph to their ships. 'There is something rotten in the state ofDenmark' 1 - some vital disease in the very bowels of the system, when such things can be acted: something I fear which nothing less than complete renovation can eradicate. The renovation, however, may come even from the inveterate obstinacy of the malady itsel£ In the mean time, palliatives may be sought, but I fear they will be sought in vain. In the instance ofthe particular symptom which gives rise to this pamphlet, I understand a partial remedy of this kind will be attempted. A court of law will be applied to for redress, by some of the injured parties. I am glad it will be so; because such application will at least give publicity to the facts, and place an authenticated statement of the affair upon record. But further than this, I

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feely confess, chat I despair of justice in such a case. If justice were administered with an even hand, such events never could cake place. And where they can cake place, what is the meaning ofgovernment and civilized society? To talk of compensation in a court oflaw, is mockery and insult. There is no compensation for broken limbs, for kidnapping and murder. And if there were, how is it to be sought? Several of the persons, injured in chis wicked outrage, are fortunately men of considerable property: but would they have been less entitled to redress if they had been labourers and mechanics? And yet how would such men have been able to advance their hundreds - perhaps thousands, for the prosecution ofpublic depredators, or conniving magistrates? For my own part I confess, I must leave to others, who can afford to purchase it, the costly luxury oflegal justice, while I, with democratical frugality, appeal to the more accessible tribunal ofpublic opinion.

NARRATIVE The nation is, I cruse, by chis time aware, and the advisers of chose measures are evidently not ignorant, chat the lace Aces, by which our constitutional liberties have been so alarmingly invaded, are totally inadequate to the suppression of chose principles of Truth and Political Justice, which animate the soul and direct the labours of the sincere Reformer. Political Associations are, in reality, rather organized than prohibited. More than forty-nine persons muse not, it is true, meet together for the discussion of grievances in church and state, or to petition for the repeal of any obnoxious laws, without the controlling censorship of a Magistrate: but every village, town, and street, may have its society of forty-nine; and these may legally confederate together, by deputations, committees, and sub-committees; and if the delegations are but so organized and divided, chat more than the specific number do not meet together, there is no legal impediment to prevent the whole nation from being combined in one grand political Association, or Corresponding Society, from the Orkneys to the Thames, from the Cliffs ofDover to the Land's End, in Cornwall. Whether the exigencies, or the spirit of the nation, will produce so grand an affiliation, time must reveal; but I will venture to pronounce, chat it would not be the less powerful for being divided into sections of forty-nine. In the mean time it behoves us, in all states of society, and especially in the present, to consider what are the means of public instruction; and if much is taken away from us, to make a diligent application of whatever may still remain. In chis respect, also, we shall find chat some very valuable provinces of political information still lay open before us; and chat if the minds of our fellow Citizens do not continue to be improved in the principles of Legislation, and a knowledge of the arcs and corruptions of Governments, it muse be from

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the want of courage on the one hand, and curiosity on the other, and not from any moral impracticability or legal prevention. Reason may be said, it is true, to be curbed and restricted in her career; but the speed of the generous coarser is rather urged than impeded by the bitt; and perhaps the philosopher would rather rejoice than repine at being compelled to abandon personality for principle, local prejudices for universal philanthropy, and temporary feelings for the steady and immutable dictates of Nature: and such is, in some degree, the case with the moral and political instructor, who prohibited from speculating on the events and practices of his own time and country, is necessitated to pursue his principle through the regions of ancient and foreign history. The question is then no longer of Pitt or Fox, of Paine or Brunswick; 2 but of right or wrong, just or unjust, wise or unwise. Partialities and Resentments lose their force; the mists of passion are dissipated, and the temple of truth is seen through a clearer atmosphere. Such are the circumstances under which we are placed by the new Acts, 3 with respect to oral investigation. Every man who will take the trouble to make himself acquainted with ancient or foreign history, may discuss, with the utmost freedom, every political principle, and every question connected with the good government and permanent happiness of the human race. He must not apply his arguments, it is true, to this particular country, nor illustrate them by the flying reports and occurrences of the day; but ancient history will abundantly furnish him with illustrations, much more interesting to the strong and noble feelings of the heart; and if the Orator is at all adroit in the management of his subject, he will find reason to exult in the many and grand advantages for the display of genuine and impassioned eloquence, which historical discussion possesses over the local topics to which our public speakers have hitherto confined their attention. In conformity with these reflections, the bills had no sooner passed, than I determined to resume my station in the tribune, and having, in my 'Prospectus of a Course of Lectures', &c. shown the legality of such an expedient, to illustrate by example, the doctrine I had laid down, and once more to break through the charm of timid silence, which the wizard arm ofministerial terror had imposed upon the nation. To me, indeed, if I may be allowed to say so, this experiment particularly belonged. In the great struggle of Freedom against power, every man should chuse his particular province, and fight his particular battle: and, though he should at all times be ready to render assistance wherever it may be required, he should take especial care that his own post is not undefended. The province in which my tastes, my habits, and the circumstances under which I have been placed, seem to have enabled me to be most usefully employed, is the vindication of the sacred LIBERTY OF SPEECH: and if I am disposed to indulge the proud boast of having twice, with unas-

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sisted effort, recovered this important station, when apparently subjected and destroyed by municipal intrigue, and ministerial usurpation, it may abate the edge ofenvy to recollect the dangers, the difficulties, and the heart-aches with which my laurels have been reaped, and still must be maintained. There was another reason, also, which particularly called upon me on this occasion. It was evident from the tenor of the Bills alluded to, and from the gross and slanderous misrepresentations of my conduct and sentiments reiterated during the discussion, from the treasury bench, and by the treasury scribblers, that a principal object with the first advisers of these measures was to stop my tongue entirely, and consign me to ignominious silence, with a load ofobloquy upon my offending head. It was my duty, therefore, as much as possible, to prevent the liberties of my country from being wounded through my sides; and, ifI must, indeed, be silenced, to drive those men who are afraid of the truths I utter, to avow at once their object and their fears, by enacting, in direct terms, 'that John Thelwall shall open his mouth in public no more'. Till they have been thus explicit, I trust I shall find means to propagate my principles: for I feel an honest confidence, that my principles are such, as not even the present administration would venture at once fairly to state and openly to condemn. They are principles, indeed, which corruption must, of necessity dread, but which corruption does not dare to publish to the world, in prohibitory Laws and Parliamentary Debates: for such is the moral beauty of truth, that she need but be seen in her native simplicity, to be admired by all but those who have an interest in upholding deformity, vice, and imposture. Such is the reason why the apparently unbounded power of the ruling faction has so frequently been impotent in its resentments: for what they wished to destroy, it was impossible to condemn; and being obliged to depend upon the bugbears of misrepresentation, they have been bewildered among the monsters themselves created; and, striking at their own pageants, what wonder if their blows have not reached their intended victims. The nature of the Course of Lectures I determined to deliver under this new arrangement, was sufficiently explained in the 'Prospectus' before referred to, and its legality was so evident that, though I never dissembled that my object was to instruct my hearers in the principles of Government, and the nature of political institution, the Magistrates, the Crown Lawyers, and the Government Reporters acquiesced, and left me to the uninterrupted pursuit of my plan; and, if report says true, the great Divan itself, after solemn deliberation, admitted that my Law was found, and my interpretation of the statute incontrovertible. Having established my point in London, I was persuaded to turn my eyes towards the provinces, and accepted an invitation to the city of Norwich, 4 where a course of two and twenty lectures has been delivered to an audience,

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composed of all the different classes of society, and, with a degree of impression, surpassing any thing I have ever witnessed before, in any place, or upon any occasion. My stay in this City was also endeared by the intercourse of a most agreeable and intelligent circle of society, and the flattering conviction that the prejudices so artfully excited against me, were regularly diminished in proportion as my real sentiments and feelings became more generally known. In the mean time I was not indifferent to the general interests of liberty, and the importance ofpolitical associations in particular, in the surrounding neighbourhoods; and I neglected no opportunity that offered of meeting any legal number of the friends of freedom, for the purpose of explaining the restrictions and provisions of the late acts, and pointing out to them under what circumstances they might still associate, and what means were still left for the promotion of the great work of Parliamentary Reform. With a view to this object I paid a short visit to Yarmouth, where two parties were formed, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, for the purpose ofmeeting me; each of them consisting of less thanfifty persons. At the latter of these some people were present, who have been generally ranked with what is called the moderate party: nor were these the characters least pleased with the sentiments I endeavoured to enforce. In short, they were men of real moderation; and the circumstance is not, therefore, surprising: for there is not a term in the English language which has been more wickedly abused than this. Moderation of temper is certainly a most excellent quality, and no man can be a friend to human liberty, who does not preserve it with benevolent solicitude; but moderation of principle is sheer nonsense: or, more properly speaking, rank hypocrisy. In plain fact, every principle is either right or wrong; and between right and wrong there is no mid-way, no moderation! But what is most remarkable is that the moderes in principle are, in general, most sanguinary in their sentiments, as to the means of attaining their object. This is not extraordinary, for men, not measures, are their concern; and those who wish only for a change of parties, may make their way through the blood of a rival faction; but the man of principle knows, that destroying the oppressor does not remove the oppression; and that revenge is not reform. Add to which, that the man who is well-grounded in a consistent principle, feels a necessary confidence in the omnipotency of reason, and has nothing to wish but that argument should have full scope. The mere word moderation has, however, an inseparable charm, and the epithet 'violent' so frequently, though unjustly, applied to the thorough-paced reformer, has, undoubtedly, alienated many a sincere and worthy man from the party of truth. In proportion as we come to be better understood, these delusions will be dissipated, and it will be found who are the true friends of moderation - the genuine advocates of peace, good order, and humanity. In consequence of the impression produced by this

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visit, I received a second invitation to Yarmouth, and had now the satisfaction to meet several persons, who had not before mingled in our conversations; and who, from their characters, connections, and influence in the town, were looked up to with respect by the inhabitants in general. Two or three evenings having been spent in this private manner, a mingled feeling of esteem and indignation, as in several other instances that I might mention, was excited by the contrast exhibired between the sentiments and feelings evinced in my conversation, and those which a base and interested misrepresentation has usually ascribed to persons of our way of thinking, and to myself in particular; and a desire was pretty generally expressed that my sentiments should be more publicly delivered. I accordingly consented to change my subject, from English to Roman history, and to illustrate my principles to any number of persons that should chuse to assemble; the persons above alluded to being of opinion, that there was no probability of any attempt towards disturbance, among the people ofthe town; and who could suspect that in a place, protected by two regiments of soldiers, a corporation of grave magistrates, and a regular police, a body of sailors could have deputed from on board the ships of war in the roads for the purposes of tumult and outrage? It will be naturally supposed, that I was in some degree gratified to find that curiosity was rather inflamed, than satiated by this compliance; and that I readily assented to the proposition with which it was followed, that I should shortly return to the town, and deliver a Course ofLectures on Classical History there: especially when this invitation was accompanied with the offer of a warehouse belonging to one of the principal merchants in the place, and a liberal subscription to fit it up for my accommodation. To have refused such an invitation, would have been inconsistent with the zeal I have always professed for the spread ofinformation. Several ofmy friends at Norwich, it is true, were apprehensive that some personal violence would be attempted by the rancourous aristocrats, who it was suspected, might find in the vessels laying in the roads, fit instruments of their diabolical vengeance. I was, however, disposed to believe, that such attempts surpassed the profligacy of the British character; and, taking only the precaution of being constantly armed, I obeyed the summons ofduty, and repaired to a place, where every circumstance had convinced me, that if there was some danger to be encountered, there was much good to be done. The state of society in Yarmouth is indeed one, in which great advantage to the cause ofliberty is to be expected from any undertaking that may tend to provoke discussion. There is, indeed, as might be expected, a great deal of torpor and lethargy among the people; but there is at the same time less vulgarity and brutal licentiousness than I have ever seen before in any sea-port town. (It is to be remarked, however, that it is but very lately that ships of war have

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been in the habit oflaying in the roads.) There is, also, a sort of comparative equality in the condition of the inhabitants. The links of the progressive chain of society are not yet broken. There are no towering and gigantic fortunes on the one hand, and but little want and abject wretchedness on the other; and there is a good body of decent substantial families filling up the intermediate space between the merchants and the mechanics. Into such a state of society, particular circumstances may occasion it to be long before a knowledge ofjust and liberal principles finds its way; but when such principles are once adopted, through a society so constituted they must of course be rapidly diffused. The only circumstance unfavourable to the cultivation of just notions of liberty, is the influence of the corporation. This institution is, of course, an aristocratic confederacy of alarmers and alarmists: and, what is still worse, from the character and situation of its members, it is of necessity dependent upon the faction in power, and has, therefore, a two -fold interest in terrifying the people from the pursuit of knowledge by the cabalistic yell of 'Innovation and Anarchy!'* Their influence is, however, confined to the artificial advantages of their corporate character. As individuals, they have little of that sway or interest which arises either from capacity, education, personal attachment, or even property; and the families most beloved for their good qualities, most esteemed for their understandings, and most powerful by the extent of their commerce and connections, are in actual opposition to this constituted club, and obnoxious to them on account of the more liberal system of politics, to which they have uniformly leaned. In short, such is the state of society in Yarmouth, that the principles of liberty need only to be understood, and they must be immediately adopted: for they are in perfect unison with the interests ofalmost every individual in the town, their reverences of the church, and their worships of the corporation alone excepted. Such was the view ofthe subject which occasioned me to accept with eagerness the invitation, and even to give Yarmouth the preference over some other more populous places to which I had been also invited; especially, as at that time, it being the height of the watering season, and the town full of company, from a variety of different quarters, I thought it probable that the principles I was anxious to promulgate might spread through a wider circle from such a centre, than even in a place where a larger audience might be expected: a calculation, in which the attendance of the three first evenings proved I was not erroneous. To Yarmouth, accordingly, I again repaired; and my Lectures were announced by the publication of the following bill, which was posted in the most conspicuous parts of Town, and distributed among the inhabitants; *

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Selected Political Writings ofJohn Thelwa/l Volume 1 'Lectures on Classical History, illustrative ofthe Principles ofLegislation andPractices of Governments; in strict conformity with Mr. Pitt's Convention Act. 'At the Lecture Room, on the Tf'alls, in the Southend, Yarmouth, on Monday, August 15, 1796, john Thelwall will commence a Course ofsix Lectures on the History, PoliticalInstitutions, and Revolutions ofRome. 'The Lectures will be delivered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.' - &c.

That considerable animosity was excited in the breasts of the high-toned aristocratic party, by the publication of this bill I have no doubt: for I have been too deeply injured by the oppressors, ever to expect to be forgiven; and the tools of corruption need but half an eye to discover that it is impossible to descant with freedom upon any subject of history, or of morals, without unveiling the system of fraud and usurpation, and, consequently, endangering their trade. But whatever might be their animosity, it is evident that their party in the town was very small; for I walked about the streets in the most public manner, without the least insult, both before and afi:er the Lectures were commenced; and even afi:er the outrage at the Lecture Room had been committed. In short, it was evident that among the town's-people there was not the least disposition to tumult; and that ifwe could have procured a Room in the center, or the inland part of the Town, it would have been impossible for all the priests and excisemen in the place to have occasioned any disturbance or interruption. But our situation towards the sea, subjected us to many inconveniences and insults; and at last to most atrocious outrage. A plot ofmost unparalleled atrocity was formed, against which it was impossible for us to be guarded; because it was impossible for us to suspect, on the one hand, that a project of such mad and diabolical wickedness could have entered into the heads of any set of men; or, on the other, that the police of any civilized town could have suffered it to be carried into execution. Where, or with whom, the plan first originated, or to what extent of wickedness it was intended to be carried, is not yet accurately known. That it was intended to carry me offis certain: but whether I was to have been murdered, or only transported to Siberia, further investigation must ascertain. To the Commander of one of the Ships ofWar, in the Roads, the plot is already traced; and it is now known that he had it in agitation for several days; that he invited some military Officers to join in the undertaking; and that upon their refusal, he determined to execute it himself. This ruffian, Captain Roberts, of L'Espiegle, (whom I have since seen, and who had the audacity, in the hearing of some persons in company with me, to threaten a repetition of the outrage) stands positively charged with making a formal harangue to his crew, issuing his orders for the attack, sending offhis men in the ship's boats, to the number offive or six and thirty, (who were joined by others on the shore; the whole gang consisting, as has been ascertained, of about ninety persons) giving them directions with

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respect to furnishing themselves with bludgeons and other weapons for the purpose, and sending some of the inferior officers to command them. The banditti, thus armed, thus authorised, and thus marshalled (after having had each as much brandy as he would drink,) set forward upon this honourable expedition, chasing and chopping at every person in their way. One man in particular, who was standing near the door, narrowly escaped with his life: for one of the officers chopped at his throat with a cutlass, and cut through the knots and folds ofa silk handkerchiefwhich was tied about his neck. They then attacked the door in a body, knocked down the door keepers, and rushed into the room. The scene that ensued has been very accurately described in the Courier ofthe ensuing Monday; and as I shall have occasion hereafter to refer to that narrative, I shall here insert it entire.

From the Courier, Monday, August, 22, 1796 Yarmouth. - 'On Friday evening last was exhibited at this place, a scene of tumult and sanguinary wickedness, the most daring and atrocious which has ever disgraced even the present ;rra of ferocity and terror, without excepting even the riots of Birmingham and Manchester. Hitherto the utmost fury of a Church and King mob had never gone further than the demolition of a few houses, and a threat against the life of some obnoxious individual. To attempt the indiscriminate massacre of a peaceful assembly ofupwards of two hundred people, men, women and children, who were violating no law, and disturbing no man's comforts or possessions, would have called a blush upon the cheek even of the Septembrizers of France. 5 If there is any such thing as justice left in the country, this affair must be made a subject of public inquiry; and if the assassins and conspirators are not brought to condign punishment, to talk any more of the laws and liberties of Britons, will be adding insult to oppression. 'The history of the transaction is as follows: Thelwall, who has been for some time delivering a Course of Lectures on Classical History, and particularly on the Laws and Revolutions of Rome, at Norwich, received a strong invitation from several of the principal inhabitants of Yarmouth, to repeat a part ofthem, at least, in that town. Mr. Hurry, one of the first merchants in the place, having lent one of his warehouses for the purpose, and several gentlemen having entered into a subscription to fit it up in a proper way, Thelwall accepted the invitation. 'On the first and second nights, which were on Monday and Wednesday last, a party was formed, consisting of two or three Clergymen, some Officers of the Militia (most of them disguised in coloured clothes,) a fellow employed to look after the Emigrants, and a hanger-on or two (place expectants) of Government, who attempted to breed disturbance in the Lecture Room, while a parcel of boys without, instigated by a Naval Officer, who offered them five

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guineas if they would pull down the house, co-operated with the detachment within, by all the noise and uproar they were capable of making. The disturbers, however, were put to complete confusion, by the firmness, general concord, and discreet good-humour of the company, and were, at the same time, made the objects ofso much ridicule and pastime, chat they were obliged to abandon chis mode of attack: and at the same time, a new entrance being made through an adjacent building, the noise of the people without was effectually excluded. The third night arrived, and a tremendous night it was. Upwards of200 auditors, of both sexes, and of all ages, mostly very genteel people, assembled, and the Lecture proceeded for some time with the utmost tranquility. 'Of all who had been remarked for their interruptions and expressions of disapprobation on the former evening, Cammon Money6 was the only person present; who, when the lecture had been going on for about a quarter of an hour, took out his watch to observe the time, and immediately departed, not without some rude expressions of insult and contempt to the person who kept the door. About five minutes afi:er chis a great disturbance was heard at the door, and in rushed a desperate bandied of about ninety sailors, as their numbers stand ascertained by regular depositions. These desperadoes, drafi:ed from the different ships of war in the roads, and armed with bludgeons and cutlasses, afi:er having cue and knocked down the persons who guarded the door, and even the mere gazers who happened co be loitering about, poured in among the audience with the most wild ferocity, dealing their blows indiscriminately upon man, woman and child, who, totally unprepared for resistance, were knocked down across the benches with terrible wounds and bruises; and a scene of fashion, gaiety, and pleasure was instantly metamorphosed into one of carnage and horror, of fractured heads, and garments covered over with blood. A general massacre seemed to be inevitable; no means either of defence or escape presented themselves; and the ruffians, not satisfied with knocking people down, reiterated their blows as they lay prostrate at their feet. 'In the midst of chis scuffie, the lights were knocked out by some of the desperadoes; and darkness and horror, shrieks and groans, clashing ofweapons and resounding blows filled the room. 'Ac length some people without, tore open a pair of large folding doors, which had been formerly the only entrance to the room, but which had been fastened up chat night, for the reasons before-mentioned, and the people began to rush out through the bludgeons of the murderers, some of whom pursued chem to the walls, scattering and knocking chem down; while others, recollecting at last, the principal object of their fury, began to cry out, 'Where's the parson? damn him, where's the parson?' The Lecturer, however, had taken the opportunity of the bustle at the great door, which opened cowards the sea, co rush out at the small door, by which the ruffians had entered. Bue the danger

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was not yet over. Six or seven of the ruffians were keeping watch at the door, and by these he was immediately seized, but it is remarkable, that the only violence they shewed towards their prisoner, was that ofgrappling very hard to prevent his escape, to effect which he struggled very resolutely. 'Two ofthe fellows, it seems, immediately went round to their companions, to inform them that the victim was seized; but in the mean time some of the town's-people collecting, and recognizing him, exclaimed, "It is Thelwall, - let us rescue him!" and immediately rushing forward, knocked down the fellow who was on the right hand, and grappled with those who were on the other side, endeavouring to drag him towards the sea. At the same time, T. clapping a pistol to the head of the most resolute of them, and exclaiming, "Offer the least violence, and you're a dead man!" the banditti let go their hold, and he escaped to the house of Mr. Norton.' [Among the persons to whom I am indebted for this rescue, I am happy to particularize Mr. T. Hurry Jun. and two of the younger Mr. Palmers; and it is but a tribute of justice to say, that I never saw any thing more gallantly executed in my life. The ruffians had all of them formidable bludgeons; the persons who rescued me, few in number, were most of them entirely unarmed, and none of them provided with any thing more than a small walking stick; yet my name was no sooner pronounced, than they rushed forward, with one mind, and with an enthusiasm truly admirable, and grappling with the desperadoes, disentangled me from their gripe.] 'At length, the company being completely dispersed, the ruffians procured a light, and roaring out "God save the king", with great ardour and exultation, proceeded to plunder and destroy; and hats, shawls and great coats in abundance, were carried on board the frigates from which they had been detached, together with general articles of value, which lay stowed up in a detached part of the warehouse. As for the books from which the lecture was delivered, and which consisted of the "Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnassus", "Plutarch's Lives", and Moyle's Treatise on "the Lacedemonian Government";7 they were torn into a thousand pieces by these new inquisitors of literature and public instruction. 'The first persons who escaped from this long conflict, applied immediately to the mayor, then at the assembly, for assistance to suppress the riot; but, instead of being attended to, one of them was threatened himself with commitment, and one of the persons in company with this chief magistrate indecently exclaimed, and met with no rebuke, that "it served the people right; and as for the damned lecturer, he hoped they would beat him to pieces". At length the mayor slightly answered to one of the applications that was made - "Well, lord Spencer8 may send the soldiers if he pleases". But as it is well

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known, chat the military cannot act without the presence of the magistrate, lord Spencer was obliged co decline making use of chis verbal permission. 'At length, the rioters having effectually gratified their vengeance against the Lecture Room, began to mark out private houses for destruction, and their shouts announced the very house in which the Lecturer had sought for refuge as the next object of destruction. Their threats, however, were not put into immediate execution; and at half past nine o'clock, (an hour and a half later than usual) the signal guns, which call all hands on board, relieved the town from the agitation in which it had been kept for near two hours. 'It is believed chat in the darkness and confusion, the ruffians actually murdered one of their own gang, and carried him just expiring on board. Bue except chis be true, no actual murder was committed, though one fine youth of about fourteen, an only child of one of the inhabitants, has received contusions on the head, of which, from all present symptoms, it is concluded he must certainly die. [This is a mistake, I believe; he is not the son of an inhabitant; but a visitor in the town. In ocher respects the statement is but too accurate; and so alarming are the symptoms, chat I understand, the physician who attends him has declared, chat he will not pronounce him out of danger these six weeks.] 'Forty-one persons (I believe it ought to have been between thirty and forty) were very materially wounded; among whom are Christopher Atkinson, Esq., M. P- Hollocks, Esq. of Cambridge, one of the officers of the militia, and the collector of the customs at chis place; many ochers, both men and women, have received lighter injuries. Bue, notwithstanding the explicit depositions which have been made against some of the rioters, the mayor has refused to grant warrants against chem. 'The inhabitants have had several meetings. It is resolved to continue and countenance the Lectures, which will be repeated chis evening. We may therefore expect to hear more from Yarmouth; but we hope for intelligence of a more peaceable kind.' This account is so far from being exaggerated, chat it has been more than substantiated by the particular depositions of many credible witnesses: but as the family of the Hurrys and other respectable inhabitants of the town, have taken up the affair with great spirit, and determine to make it a subject oflegal enquiry, I forbear, in delicacy to the parties, to enter further into the minutiae, till the Courts ofLaw have done their office. The affair, however, was, as might be expected, made the subject of a sort ofpaper war. The truth, as is generally the case, was too disgraceful to the aristocratic party to be endured; and the most slanderous falshoods were invented to cover a part of the infamy; and chat the reader may be the better enabled co form an impartial judgment, I shall insert these accounts in my pamphlet

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also; referring him for further confirmation of the preceding statement, to the Cambridge Intelligencer, and the Bury and Norwich Post. The editor ofwhich latter paper was himself a spectator of the whole transaction. It is, however, necessary for me first to observe, that it was immediately resolved by the persons who had particularly countenanced the lectures, not to abandon them in consequence of this outrage. They had observed nothing in the sentiments I delivered, or the subjects I investigated, hostile to the peace or morals ofsociety; and they justly decided, that to be driven by bludgeons and cutlasses from enquiries, which neither the laws of society nor those of virtue prohibited, would be to surrender even the little liberty which is left us, and advertise to the world, that our oppressors have nothing to do but to cudgel us, and we shall of course submit. We therefore determined to go on; and one of the inhabitants of the town (a man whose virtues and intrepidity, I will venture to prophecy, will rescue his name from oblivion, and one day confer essential benefits upon society) published the following address. 'TO THE INHABITANTS OF YARMOUTH, 'FELLOW-TOWNSMEN, 'While force is used for argument, and brutality for reason, despotism may dictate, and tyrants may exult: but when passion is exhausted, and prejudice put away, the still, small voice of conscience will be heard, and atrocity be regarded with the horror it deserves. The outrage against justice, against law, society, and humanity, lately perpetrated, at THELWALL'S LECTURE, against our peaceable and well-disposed Fellow-Town's-men, against their unoffending wives, sisters, and children, will be told with execration, and long remembered with abhorrence; and its authors (all ofwhom the unveiling hand oftime will exhibit to public odium) will be classed amongst the most despicable and cowardly assassins of the eighteenth century. While posterity read the account, they will marvel, that some human beings should be so immersed in wickedness, as to attempt to vindicate, much less applaud the transaction. Yet, Fellow-Town's-men, strange, inconsistent, and brutal as it may appear, there are persons, even in this town, who applaud an action, which Robespierre 9 himself would have blushed to have planned! A band of ruffians, armed with cutlasses, bludgeons, pipestaves, and other destroying weapons, knocked down the door-keeper, and burst into a room, in which were two hundred persons peaceably and legally assembled, and cut, beat down, and maimed men, women, and children promiscuously, having, on their entrance, extinguished the lights, that neither the softness of sex, the feebleness of age, nor the innocence of childhood might check their ferocity: and only the bursting of the great doors prevented that assassination in the dark, which their employers and instigators even now contemplate with malignant satisfaction. Happy do I feel myself to

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announce, chat afi:er the strictest enquiry, I find not one of the company was murdered; though many are so much injured, as to render their recovery a work of time. It will, doubtless, afford satisfaction to many, to let chem know the affair is in a train oflegal investigation. Look up, then, with confidence, to a period, not very distant, when ignorance and villainy shall cease to triumph over legality and innocence; and "when the Wicked shall go away into Punishment, but the stedfast in Heart shall be made glad". A TOWNSMAN. 'August 22, 1796. 'THELWALL'S friends have requested him to go on with his Lectures: in consequence of which, he will begin at half-past five o'clock chis evening, and continue chem on Wednesday and Friday next, at the same hour. It is wished the frequenters of the lectures may attend early, chat by uniting firmness and discretion, the triumph ofpeaceful reason over brutal violence may be effectually established'. The reader may, indeed, well be surprised to hear, chat any human being should applaud such a transaction; but his wonder will increase when he hears, chat some of these applauders were to be found among the members of the corporation themselves, and chat ochers were sanctified with the holy fables of religion - the meek preachers of the gospel of peace, forbearance and mild morality. Nay, what is most curious, one gentleman of the former description cook upon himself co be loud in reprobation of one of the town's people, for "having dared (for the preservation of his own life) twice to present a pistol at a king's officer", whose cutlass was uplifted for his destruction! So chat according to these loyal gentlemen, if the men who are hired with the people's money to defend the country, chuse to turn their swords like murderous assassins, against the breasts of chose who feed chem, and the magistrates do not choose to interfere for our preservation, we are to submit without resistance to our fate - to stretch forth our unresisting necks, and exclaim, with loyal humility, "Cut our throats, good sirs, we pray you, if it suits your pleasure; for you are King's Officers, and licensed therefore to murder us poor subjects when you choose". The bill I have above quoted produced the following answer: which, if report says true, was produced by the inventive genius of a reverend divine of Norwich. I shall only observe, chat the whole of the narrative is such a monstrous string of falshoods, as nobody but a priest could have put together: and the reader will observe, chat the narrator himself confesses (so accurate, so certain is his intelligence) chat he does not know whether the sailor, whom he has conjured up, called out for a loyal song, or indulged himself in hissing.

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'TO THE INHABITANTS OF GREAT YARMOUTH. 'FELLOW-SUBJECTS, A virulent hand-bill having just made its appearance, in which the voice ofpassion seems to prevail over the dictates of reason, permit one of your sincere friends, though not one of your Fellow-Town's-men, to warn you against the injurious informations which it contains. Were you to listen to the flourishes of oratory, and the ravings of declamation, you would be taught to believe that a horrid plot had been formed to assassinate two hundred of the inhabitants of this town, who were legally and peaceably assembled in attendance on an innocent lecture. How far any assemblies can properly be termed legal and peaceable, where, as it is well known, in defiance, or in evasion of the laws of the realm, such doctrines are disseminated as have a manifest tendency to undermine the established government, and consequently to unsheath the sword of domestic discord, I leave it to the consciences of those who attend them to determine. That these doctrines may be concealed under the mask ofhypocrisy, is so far from diminishing, that it aggravates their criminality, and every loyal subject sees with sorrow and indignation, that those pernicious opinions on Politics and Religion, which have ruined a neighbouring kingdom, carried fire and slaughter through the world, and produced a train of evils, from the recital of which humanity recoils with abhorrence, are still preached in this happy country, not indeed with the manly hardiness ofopen effrontery, but under the specious veil of classical allusion - a veil, by which folly and ignorance alone can be deceived. Such is the light in which Mr. THELWALL and his Lectures are generally considered by the many loyal inhabitants of this place. A person, whose conduct has rendered him so notorious, and whose encomiums on the present government of France, have led some people to suppose him a pensioner of that country, makes his appearance in this peaceable and loyal town, and advertises his Lectures on "The Practices of Governments." What is the natural result of such a proceeding? A glow of loyal and virtuous indignation is excited. At one ofhis Lectures, a sailor calls out for "God save the King!" or hisses what he conceives to be seditious language. He is insulted and threatened to be turned out. He makes his retreat in the best manner he is able, and moved, perhaps, partly by personal and partly by public motives, he returns to his comrades, and forms a party for the purpose, I believe, ofseizing the Orator, and conveying him aboard a Man of T¼r. The party is formed, and at his next Lecture, they rush into the room, and make their way towards the Preacher. False to the heroism he inculcates, he immediately sinks down from his pulpit, and himself extinguishes the only lights in the room, thus saving his own person, and exposing those of his audience. A tumult then ensues, in which several people are wounded, and the accommodations of the Lecture-Room overturned. Many

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people have since regretted, that instead ofattacking the audience, the crew had not succeeded in theirfirst design ofsecuring the Lecturer, and pressing him, for a time at least, into the service of his king. This account, I have reason to believe, is more accurate than any that has yet been given of a transaction, which has been represented (perhaps by one of the sufferers) in so atrocious a light. 'Now, God forbid! That any man should attempt to justify an outrage against the laws of his country, or to rejoice in the sufferings of innocence.

[Compare this with the regret expressed above. - Phaugh! How I scent the holyfox in this unsavory odour ofhypocrisy!]

Such a conduct would, indeed, be but too similar to those French models, which Democracy has held up to our imitation. But it is not inconsistent with reason or charity to maintain, that whatever riots take place at Lectures, the general spirit of which is so well understood, the Lecturer himself, and those who sanction his harangues, are to be considered as their primary cause. They draw down that vengeance on their heads, to which, however unjustifiable in its mode, a more loyal conduct could not possibly have exposed them.

[Precious sophist! He who dares to exercise his rights, contrary to the inclinations ofhis oppressors, is accountablefor all the wickedness which those oppressors, in the rancour oftheir hearts, may thinkfit to perpetrate against him!] 'This, my friends, is an important period. It is a time, in which no good subject ought to disguise the real sentiments of his heart. Let him avow them openly and firmly, but with that charity which true religion inspires. While the audacious enemy threatens without, let him guard against the insidious foe within; and let him mark those who walk contrary to the spirit of the British constitution, that he may avoid their example. Let him not, however, be alarmed. The great majority of the people of this country, are attached to their religion and their king. Democracy raises its voice among us, and endeavours to gain converts to its cause, but its proselytes are comparatively few. Would to God they were all re-converted by reason and religion, that they might express their gratitude to heaven, for the blessings they enjoy under the British monarchy, and join hand and heart in its defence against the encroachments of the common enemy. If "England to herself will prove but true", she may defy the world in arms, and preserve her constitution inviolate to the end of time. 'One advantage, my friends, may perhaps be derived from Mr. THELWALL'S visit to this town. He may be considered as the touchstone ofpolitical opinions. He draws the line between loyalty and disaffection; for I defy any of his adherents, in whom the madness of democracy has not stifled the voice of conscience, to lay their hands upon their hearts, and say, that they are the real friends to their king, and the constitution of their country.

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'With a perfect conviction of the general loyalty and good sense of this town, and with a sincere attachment to its inhabitants, I beg leave to subscribe myself,

'The determined Enemy ofSedition, 'A.nd theirfaithful Friend and Fellow-Subject.' 'A.ugust 23d, 1796. 'God save the King.'

An abridgement of this bill was inserted in the Norfolk Chronicle and the Norwich Mercury. The latter, however, had the candour readily to insert the following answer in their ensuing paper. 'TO THE EDITOR OF THE NORWICH MERCURY. SIR, It is evidently the duty of a newspaper to be a vehicle of information, and as it is the business of the conductor to state Facts as they are, according to the evidence he can collect, I take it for granted, that you will disdain to make yourself a party to defamation: and that having been betrayed into a statement in which my name is coupled with several direct falshoods, you will be eager to do me justice, by inserting my reply. With respect to the narrative in general, I shall only observe, that it is abundantly disproved by the oaths ofcredible witnesses; but with respect to that part which relates to the putting out of the lights, I think myself called upon to say, not only that I did not put them out myself, but that, if the writer of the article had ever been in the Lecture Room, he must have known, that it was impossible for me to put them out, as part of them were not only at a great distance from me, but also considerably out of arm's reach, in point of height; add to which, that the ruffian who committed this part of the outrage, has been identified by a servant ofone of the Mr. Hurrys, who has deposed that he saw him knock out the candles with his bludgeon; and that afterwards, when the great doors were burst open, (by which alone the whole company was preserved from massacre) he saw the fame fellow dealing his blows upon the women who were shrieking and endavouring to escape. JOHN THELWALL. Aug. 31, 1796. As the Norfolk Chronicle inserted both the accounts, and lefi: the reader to judge for himself between them, I did not think it necessary to take any notice of the circumstance in that paper. All that is to be required of a public print is, that it should be open to both sides of the question, in as much as relates to facts at least. But ifthe reader is fond of audacious fiction, he may find in the Star, an

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account still farther removed from truth than chat of his 'faithfulfellow subject' above inserted. Their calumnies and misrepresentations did not, however, turn me from my course. I knew chat it was my duty to persevere; and chat if I did not finish the course I had promised to deliver, I must show myself unworthy to be a champion of the cause I had espoused, and must expect to be attacked in the same brutal manner wherever I might afterwards attempt to lecture. I therefore sent a formal notice to the mayor, and continued my course to the end of the time proposed. This letter, which the reader will find inserted in the address to the people of Yarmouth, produced the following curious hand-bill. 'TO MR. JOHN THELWALL. SIR, Were you a man of the least humanity or feeling, had you really the welfare ofyour country or the good of chis town, in particular, at heart, your conduct, in the present state of affairs, would have been widely different from what it is. In preference to a continuance of your Lectures, you would, for the sake of the peace and quietness of the place, have retired with a consciousness of having acted the part of a wise and considerate man, whose eagerness to prevent tumult and disorder was far superior to the false ambition of highest applause as a public orator. Bue how do you ace on chis crying occasion? Instead of caking steps chat would have reflected honour on your understanding and sen sibility, you write a most insolent and menacing letter to the Chief Magistrate of the town, publish hand-bills, by no means calculated to appease the passions, or convince the reasons of your opponents, and rather than give up your favourite theme, savagely declare your determination of supporting your Lectures by force of arms. Humane resolution! to risk the plunging of both your country and countrymen in all horrors of bloodshed and murder. If such be the principles of a Roman orator in defence of French democracy, I thank my God, I am a poor, but loyal, ENGLISHMAN.' Yarmouth, 24th August, 1796. How far my readers will acquiesce in the reasoning ofchis 'Englishman'; and how far the conduct he recommends would have furnished matter of triumphant exultation to the loyal advocates of anarchy and massacre, I must leave chem to determine. I shall only observe, chat against me, the charge of publishing handbills was just as true as the accusation chat I put out the lights, or, as the assertion chat my letter to Sir Edmund Lacon 10 was 'insolent and menacing.' The hand-bill, signed 'a Town's-man: was neither written by me, nor by my desire. I am not a

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town's-man ofYarmouth; and I am not in the habit of assuming characters which do not belong to me. If I had written it, I should certainly have signed it with my own name; for it would have done honour to any head or heart by which it might have been dictated. But it appeared to me to be most consistent with decorum, to take no public notice of the affair till my Lectures were concluded, when, of course, I should be better able to decide as to the terms, in which it was proper for me to address the public. In conformity with this resolution, my Lectures were closed on Friday, 26 th • I quitted Yarmouth the next day, and returned to the friendly, the intelligent, the beloved society ofNorwich; whence, on the Monday following, I wrote the following Address, which has been printed and circulated in the town, where this unprecedented outrage was committed.

llnbabitant.s of !Jarmoutb!

Hitherto I have forborn to address you on the subject of the late brutal Outrage; thinking it proper to reserve my animadversions till all possibility of a repetition was passed away. - I therefore took no other notice ofthe insult which your town, your police, your persons, and the very character ofthe nation at large have received, than merely to apprize your Mayor of the contempt with which his authority had been treated by a lawless banditti, and formally to announce the continuance of my Lectures: that, if illegal, he might interrupt them by official interference; or, iflegal, be prepared to protect me and my auditors against future depredations. This intimation could not, however, escape the aspersions ofcalumny: and an anonymous writer, who slanders the nation, by assuming the signature of 'Englishman; accuses me of'writing a most insolent and menacing letter to the chief magistrage', and 'savagely declaring my determination ofsupporting my Lectures by force ofarms.' But as of this letter I have, fortunately, preserved a copy, properly attested, I shall here introduce it; that the public may not only judge how far it displays a disposition 'to plunge both my country and countrymen into all the horrors of bloodshed and murder'; but, by comparing, in this instance, the accusation with the demonstrable fact, may be enabled to determine upon the degree ofcredit due to the narratives published on the other side ofthe question. The letter is literally as follows:

'SIR, I understand it to be an established principle of British jurisprudence, that the magistracy is bound to protect the citizens in the exercise ofevery function which the legislature has not prohibited. "That which the law does not forbid, the law authorizes", is a maxim familiar to every constitutional lawyer: and that the magistrate should protect every man in the enjoyment of his lawful privileges, is evident from the very nature and institution of magistracy. Nay more, as, in civilized society, no unauthorized individual, or set of individu-

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als, is to be permitted to take the law into his own hands, you must be aware, that it is the duty of the magistrate to protect even the supposed violator of the laws from tumultuous attack and murderous violence. It cannot, however, at the time, be a secret to you, that on Friday night last a peaceful assembly of two hundred people (men, women, and children) was attacked in my Lecture Room, by a desperate banditti of about ninety persons, habited like sailors, and armed with bludgeons and cutlasses; who continued their depredations, uncontrouled, for considerably more than an hour, to the great danger of the lives of all, to the actual injury of the limbs of many, and to the considerable loss ofpersonal property. 'I think it, therefore, my duty, formally to apprize you, that, conscious of the legality of my conduct, and considering the FUTURE diligence ofthe civil power, I shall, this evening, at half past five o'clock, continue my Lectures; a prospectus of which, for your more complete satisfaction, I take the liberty of presenting to you. You will perceive, Sir, by the act ofparliament, quoted in this prospectus, that the law has made sufficient provision to secure the admission of magistrates into any place where they may suspect that any thing illegal is going on. In Westminster and in Norwich these hints have not been neglected. In both those places, the Lectures, I am here repeating, have been probed with the most scrutinizing observation: and, in both those places, their admitted legality has secured their protection. 'Trusting that, for the future, the same consequence will follow in this place, I am, Sir, your's, in due respect to the peace and good order of society, 'JOHN THELWALL', Aug. 22, 1796.

'To the right worshipful the Mayor

OfGreat Yarmouth.'

Unprincipled effrontery may call this letter insolent and menacing; and accuse me of a determination 'to plunge into the horrors of bloodshed and murder', because I did not flee from the town as soon as the arm ofviolence was upreared against me: but I trust, that the line of conduct I pursued, has proved at once my eagerness to prevent commotion, and my determination not to be scared, by kidnappers and assassins, from the exercise of those rights, of which it has not yet pleased a corrupt and tyrannical administration to deprive us. At the same time, I have lefi: the Lectures to speak for themselves, to the end, without inflammation on one hand, or concession on the other, that those who had the curiosity, the justice, or the courage to enquire or judge for themselves, might perceive how far the sentiments I promulgated, justified, in any moral sense, a

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line of conduct in my antagonists which the outraged laws ofthe country must condemn and punish. Yes, fellow-citizens, the laws must punish! I speak not in the spirit of revenge: 'vengeance is not mine'; it constitutes no part of my morality: nor shall I, for my individual part, appeal to any tribunal but that of public opinion. But if those to whom the guardianship ofthe laws is entrusted, do not make the offenders responsible for this outrage, - law, and civil justice, and government are no more; anarchy is sanctioned by magistracy itself; pillage and assassination become the order of the day; our houses are no sanctuaries; our persons have no security; every man is warned that the dagger is at his throat, and that he must be prepared, as in times of most savage barbarism, by personal force to defend himself against personal violence. Think not this language too strong for the occasion: the confessions of the vindicators of this outrage justify it to its utmost syllable. For my own part, I affirm, that the account, inserted in the Courier of Monday last, is correct and faithful; and I believe no man of credit or respectability will sign his name to a contradiction of any circumstance there affirmed - unless, indeed, upon accurate examination, the persons, seriously hurt, should prove to be rather more or less than the precise number specified. But suppose, for a moment, that the handbill, published August the 23d, - signed 'The determined Enemy of Sedition', &c. an abridgement of which has since found its way into the Norwich Mercury - instead of being, as it is, an impudent farrago of designing and atrocious falsehoods, were true from beginning to end, what is the result? Why, that 'Lectures on Classical History' are illegal, because the crimes of Greek and Roman tyrants (according to this curious vindicator of things as they are) bear so strong a resemblance to the virtues of our present government, that to expose the former, is a libel ('under the specious veil of classical allusion') upon the latter; and therefore it is to be 'regretted, that the crew' (a banditti of ninety armed ruffians!) 'had not succeeded in their first design of securing the lecturer, and pressing him, for a time at least, into the service of his king!' And how does this 'faithful subject', as he calls himself, know what was the 'first design' of this banditti? Is he principal, accomplice, or confidential counsellor in this desperate project to kidnap, transport, perhaps murder, an individual, who, if he had violated any law, might easily have been brought to justice, without making the captain of a pressgang attorney-general against him, and empanelling eighty or ninety sailors for his jury? If this advocate for kidnapping, this instigator to the repetition of atrocities, hitherto unparalleled, really feels a confidence in the facts and arguments he has advanced, let him stand forward, by name, and avow them; instead ofmuffiing himself from view, in the sable cloak of secrecy, and striking, like the ruffians he vindicates,

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in the dark. Such an avowal might lead, perhaps, to further discoveries relative to the project - so much boasted of by persons who pretend to be as well acquainted with the intentions of the banditti as himself - of impressing me, not into the service of his majesty, but of his majesty's good ally, the empress - of carrying me on board a Russian ship, and transporting me, perhaps, to Siberia 0 madness of profligate malice! - And are these the extenuations upon which our enemies have the impudence to rest their cause? They did not intend, it seems, 'to murder two hundred of the inhabitants of the town:' - they only meant, they say, to kidnap the man who had the audacity (or, as they sometimes call it, the 'hypocrisy!') to illustrate, by acts of ancient history, 'The Principles ofLegislation, and the Practices of Governments'; to drag him, with merciless violence, from every endearing tie of relative connection, bury him in a floating hell, or transport him to the inhospitable extremities of a barbarous empire; there, far from the tears of a helpless wife, and the cries of his little infants, to ponder, at leisure, upon the equalprotection, and equaljustice, ofthe boasted laws ofBritain! Germs of my love! sweet nurslings of my care! know ye the unequal destiny ye are born to? - Laws are decreed, and halters are prepared to punish you for the least offence which penury, or intemperate passion, might provoke; but your father may be seized by the rude hand of violence, and your helpless infancy be deprived of its sole support, while ye, poor little orphans! stretch forth your hands in vain, and the shameless assassins glory in their guilt - secure in the audacious plea, that they meant to murder no man but myself But no, poor innocents! ye may yet sport in happy ignorance; and when the light ofknowledge beams on your riper years, ye shall reap the harvest ofyour father's toil, and enjoy the protection of just and equal laws! In the mean time, let Britons reflect upon their situation: for not over me alone, but over the nation, the bludgeon of massacre is reared. If I could be kidnapped, or destroyed in this manner, with impunity, what individual is secure? - The cruel system of press warrants has long been decried by every humane and rational man; but, if they can thus be made instruments ofpolitical oppression and revenge, lettres de cachet, 11 and all the detestable appendages of that old despotism we have been so long labouring to restore in France, were mild, humane and moderate. - I am obnoxious to the present administration. - Nature, I thank thee that thou hast made me so! - and while they act upon their present principles, may the blood flow back to my recreant heart, may mankind loathe, and all animal existence shun me, when I cease to be obnoxious to them! - for their ambition has fallen like a pestilence on man and beast, has undone my country, has desolated Europe; and the four quarters of the globe have groaned under their domination! - But who can answer that

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he may not, ere long, become obnoxious also to the same, or to some other administration, and be dragged by their myrmidons on board an English or a Russian man of war? To assail the life of the king is only hanging, drawing, and quartering; but, according to these loyal anarchists, to fall under suspicion of satirizing the minister by historic fact or 'classical allusion', is to be instant transportation and death. To the petty falsehoods in this farrago of profligacy and folly, I shall not deign a distinct answer. Some of them contradict themselves; and others have been already contradicted by the oaths ofcredible witnesses; whose testimony, I understand, will be shortly published in a court oflaw. The stuff about my putting out the lights myselfis so contemptible, that I might rest satisfied with observing, that my crime has always been, not the extinction, but the diffusion oflight. The fact is, every individual who has ever been at the lectures knows, that it would have been impossible for me to have put out the lights, had I been so disposed; some of them being considerably out of arm's reach in point of height, and nearly at the opposite end of the room. It is the misfortune of these gentlemen not only to be destitute of all regard to truth, but of that discretion also, which might prompt them to print only such falsehoods as are not easily detected. I leave them, however, to their inventions; while I enjoy the proud confidence of having discharged my duty with firmness and sincerity. When the minister and his party thought fit, by an act of the legislature, to prohibit me from lecturing any longer 'on the laws, constitution, government, and policy of these realms', I determined to lecture for the future on the laws, constitution, government, and policy of other realms; conscious that the principles of truth may be as well illustrated by the facts of one history, as of another: nor do I see any more 'hypocrisy', or want of 'manly hardiness', in this, than there would be in continuing to wear one's shirt and breeches, when government had stripped one of one's coat and waistcoat. Unawed by the threats ofpower, unabashed by the fears or prejudices ofmy fellow citizens, I have persevered in this new path, and have proved that the empire of reason, though invaded, is not destroyed: and when, in the last paroxysm of despair, tyrannical Faction appealed to brutal Violence, disdaining alike to imitate, or yield to, the turbulence of my opponents, I have continued my course to the period I had proposed; and am now, in obedience to the calls of duty, and the invitations of friendship, preparing to repeat, in other circles, the important truths which oppressors may dread, but nations will rejoice to hear. Inhabitants of Yarmouth! lay these things to heart, and awake to the true interests of humanity! - Let those among you who attended my lectures, bear testimony to the doctrines I have delivered. The tools of corruption and the supporters ofpriestcrafi: will naturally be averse to the exposition of such facts as I have felt it my duty to select; and some persons, even of independent and

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ingenuous minds, may not be prepared to assent to all my principles; for, in the wide ocean of political inquiry, how few can steer exactly in the same track! - but the most prejudiced of my hearers cannot deny, that I have diligently inculcated the doctrines of peace, of public and private virtue, of humanity, justice, and benevolence. Liberty, I confess, is the deity of my constant adoration; because, I am convinced, that it is by Liberty alone that these principles can be promoted. Feeling this conviction, it is not the imputation of jacobinism, nor the terror of bludgeons and cutlasses, that shall drive me from my course. For defence from the latter, I must trust, as heretofore, to my presence of mind, my courage, the zeal of my friends, and my own good fortune; and as for the former, I can only repeat the sentiment, lately delivered among you, in my digression on the fate of Poland, - 'If, by Jacobinism be meant the system of blood and terror, established under the dominion ofRoberspierre, 12 there is no aristocrat in the nation, who detests Jacobinism with half the ardour which I feel and cherish: - but, if by Jacobinsm, be intended an attachment to the principles of Liberty - 0 that I had been a Pole to have died for Jacobinism, and have manured my country with my blood, when I had no longer any other means to do it service!'

JOHN THELWALL.

Norwich, Aug. 29, 1796. Such are the circumstances ofthis outrage, as far as they have yet come to light, on the one hand, or as, on the other, the legal enquiry, at this time pending, renders it proper to descend into particulars. A great body of evidence is collected, bringing home many of the facts to some of the actors, and involving others in very strong suspicion: but this I leave to its proper place, and dwell only upon such circumstances as are necessary to give the public a general idea ofthe atrocity of the attack, and to clear my own character from the aspersions of ruffians, who, having been twice disappointed in their attempts to murder myself, in the desperation of their malice, endeavour to assassinate my fame. I trust, however, that both my life and my reputation will weather the storm of their persecutions; but certainly, the latter shall never be sullied, nor the former preserved, by a base desertion of the principles I have espoused, or the voluntary neglect of any opportunity of tearing off the mask of state hypocrisy, and exposing the horrors of tyranny and corruption. And O ! that I could rouse the whole intellect of the country to join with me in this important labour! There is no other way to meliorate the condition of mankind. Misery is diffused through too large a circle - it is too various - too universal to be any longer relieved by the petty detail of private benevolence, or the insolent ostentation of public charities. Such palliatives belong to ages of compara-

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tive happiness: the evil must now be relieved en masse. And how is this to be effected, but by the general diffusion of information? The fabrics of oppression will fall. The cement is exhausted; and already do the disjointed stones begin to totter. Be calm - be watchful and you shall see them fall - fall by their own weight. They want not a single hand to push them down. But if mankind be not informed - if a body of just principles be not widely diffused, what scenes of desolation may arise out of the ruins. Not he then who prevents, but he who promotes, discussion, is the friend of peace and good order. It is the business ofthe philanthropist at all times, but in such times as these in particular, to instruct, because to instruct is to humanise mankind. Let us seize, then, every opportunity which new laws, and new constructions of the law, have yet lefi: open to imbue the minds of our fellow citizens with the principles of justice, social order and legislation; and, though attorney generals may impeach, and gangs of hired ruffians may assail, let us not be afraid to wield the keen sword of truth, and advance the strong shield of reason. Thus armed, we shall be superior to the malice of our enemies; and death or life be alike the assurance of victory. The worst that can befall us in the struggle is better than the best we can enjoy without it. Once only we can die: and that once is certain. But glorious shall it be for that man, and happy for his posterity, who falls, however early, in the brave struggle ofliberty, rather than prolong a wretched existence in slavery and dishonour, and wait the consuming tortures ofdisease. In this struggle of reason against oppression, I repeat it - if we discharge our duty, the victory is certain: the price with which it must be purchased, alone is doubtful. If, in the late descent ofBritish Pirates upon the British coast, I had been kidnapped or murdered, as the ruffians designed, tyranny and corruption would not have had an enemy the less. My name and my suffering, my ashes, or my empty tomb, would have been loud and eloquent in the condemnation of the present system: the tears of my widowed wife, and the cries of my little orphans, would have done more than lectures on classical history can hope to do; and outraged humanity would have shrieked through our streets for vengeance. But blood-gorged oppression, drunk with its own ambition, and stung to madness by reiterated disappointments, rushes headlong to destruction! The transaction I have narrated surpasses, it is true, in point of daring wickedness, any thing that has yet been attempted by the tools of aristocratic Anarchy; but in its principle there is nothing new. 'God save the king', it is true, has been made the war-hoop of tumult and civil commotion; but Birmingham and Manchester, and the theatres of Edinburgh and Lynn, are not yet forgotten. The hired protectors of the country have assailed the people with brutal violence, and replied to peaceful argument with the sabre and the bludgeon, while the magistrates have looked on with indifference, unwilling, or unable, to enforce the laws of order and protection. But has not Mr. Windham, 13

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from the Treasury Bench, publicly upheld the anarchic doctrine of exerting an authority beyond the law?* Our coasts have been ravaged by his Majesty's sailors, and the plunder has been carried on board his Majesty's ships, co be divided, in triumph, among the domestic invaders; But have not our houses been previously plundered by his Majesty's messengers of books, prints, and manuscripts of all descriptions from the novel and the love sonnet to the physiological dissertation? And have not the privy council refused to restore the plunder to its rightful owners ?t Oh! Justice! Justice! thy sword, it seems, is yet keen enough, when greatness would have thee strike! Bue what is become of thy boasted equal ballance! But we Reformers ought not to be protected. Laws were not made far us - but against us! We 'have nothing to do with the laws but to obey chem!' We reasoners - we members of corresponding societies, and lecturers on classical history - we are turbulent, dangerous men! - commotionists and incendiaries! - promoters of tumult! - foes to the public peace! - patience! patience! when will daring falsehood learn to blush? Have we not met in our thousands, and our tens of thousands? Yee when did we ever make the lease disturbance? Did we not meet in immense crowds at Chalk Farm, 14 and did any tumult ensue? - on the contrary, did not the minister prosecute us for high treason, for quoting passages from the state trials, and constitutional maxims from the very statute books of the realm? And was it not proved by the witnesses for the crown, themselves, chat we were advocates for peace and reason? Did we not meet again, in countless multitudes, in Sc. George's fields, at Copenhagen House, and in Mary-la-bonne fields? 15 And did we not reason like men, resolve like Britons, and depart again co our respective homes, without even the slightest commotion or disturbance? Bue when - when I say, has a church and king-mob been assembled without perpetrating crimes and atrocities? When have the tools, the hirelings, the dupes of aristocratic corruption met, * This is not the only instance, in which the language and deportment of the War Secretary have been such, as might easily be misconstrued into a commendation of anarchic violence, as the debates of the three last sessions, and the facts, recorded in Holcroft's 'Letter', &c. sufficiently prove. I will add one instance more, on the authority of two witnesses, whose testimony, in this respect, it is difficult to discredit. During the Election at Norwich, I was assaulted in an outrageous manner, in the Hall, in the presence of several magistrates, (when no persons but the corporation, and their immediate dependents were present) by a dignitary of the Church, several ruffian peace officers, and some butchers, apparently brought up stairs for the purpose. These loyal Windhamites, after knocking me twice down, despoiled me of my hat, in the scuflle, which was preserved as a precious trophy, and hung up in the Hall, like the Spolia Opima in the Temple ofJupiter Feretrius, Mr. Windham, conversing upon the affair the next day, and speaking of me with great bitterness, is said to have fixed his eye upon the hat, and pointing to the tenterhooks on which it was stretched, to have exclaimed, with great emphasis. - 'There's a Part!!!' Much has been said of Mr. W's. talents, his capacity, and his attainments: but if this anecdote be true, his mind is degraded, as his politics are detestable. Shylock, wetting his knife, presents not an image of more sanguinary depravity. t See Correspondence with the Privy Council, at the end of the first vol. of the Tribune.

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in a tenth, a hundredth part ofthe numbers above alluded to, without marking their progress with pillage, brutal violence, bloodshed, and desolation? Britons, awake to truth and reason! Learn to distinguish between the real, and pretended friends of peace and good order. Rulers of the land, awake to timely reflection! Abandon the system of terror and persecution. Let justice by more steadily administered; and no longer, by sheltering the perpetrators of loyal outrages, (for so is the word abused!) 'teach bloody instructions, which being taught, return to plague the inventors.' Bawsey, near Lynn, Sept. 7, 1796.

POSTSCRIPT Since the publication of the first edition of this pamphlet, other outrages have occurred, the disgraceful circumstances of which bear too strong an affinity to the Yarmouth Invasion. Some particulars relative to these have already been inserted in 'the Morning Post' of Tuesday, Sept. 20, and 'Cambridge Intelligencer' of Saturday, Oct. I. I think it, however, my duty, to lay before the public a more regular and detailed account of these very extraordinary events; since every thing connected with the administration of justice and preservation of the peace is certainly of some consequence to a country, which pays so dearly for the advantages ofRegular Government. The reader will judge for himself; but, for my own part, when I put together the whole history of these outrages, I cannot but imagine that I discover the connecting links of the series - I cannot but conclude that the brutal conspiracy which has degraded the character of our seamen below the level of Buccaneers and Algerine pirates, originated with higher authorities than the commanders of two or three frigates and sloops of war. The system of terror is still to be supported. Proclamations of alarm have been tried and tried, till they are as uninteresting 'as a thrice told tale'; Spies and Informers, though by no means disbanded, have lost much of their formidable importance, since the friends of liberty, by the progress of valuable information, have become more temperate and more prudent. An instrument was wanting, less hackneyed and more formidable, against which no temperance could guard, and no prudence protect: for reason is a crime which Corruption must suppress, or Corruption cannot long exist! What was to be done? Reevite associations 16 were to be succeeded by associations of bludgeon men; tumult and anarchy were to be organised in their districts; and soldiers and sailors, who ought to defend us from foreign enemies, were to be selected as instruments of internal commotion. The man who dared to investigate the principles of government, and expose the horrors of tyranny, was thus to be hunted down by two legged

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bloodhounds, and the bludgeon was to silence what no jury could be expected to condemn, nor crown lawyer could venture to impeach. Hitherto, however, the logic ofviolence has been as unsuccessful as the logic of the Scots and Mitfords;17 and as far as relates to me, at least, will rather serve to stimulate than prevent investigation: for, though I am of opinion that the friends of freedom ought neither to appeal to violence, nor wittingly to provoke it; yet if, as soon as the bludgeon is upreared, we shrink from our duty, and forego our rights, we are lost indeed; and all that remains for us, is to call upon the mountains of oppression to cover us, at once, and hide us from the perils we dare not face. The reader will perceive, that the former part of this pamphlet was written at Norwich. There under the hospitable roof of an intelligent and valuable friend (an ornament to the most liberal of the learned professions) 18 I spent a few days in happy relaxation from the fatigues and dangers of my political warfare. But every faculty of reason is now held upon too precarious a tenure, and the necessity for diffusing its influence is too pressing to suffer the sincere advocate of reform to indulge his personal feelings in long intervals of retirement, however pleasurable. Before my last excursion to Yarmouth, I had received a strong invitation to Lynn, which was repeated, during my residence there, in such terms as the man who stands pledged to the diffusion of an important principle is scarcely at liberty to neglect. The state of society was described (very truly I believe) as one in which politics were much discussed, the minds of men much balanced, and the principles of many undecided. It is in such circles that most advantage is to be expected from discussion. Let but curiosity be awake - let but the disposition to enquiry exist, and the missioner convinced of the truth of his principle, will be more eager to exert himself to an audience in which there are many unbelievers, than to a throng of zealots of his own persuasion: inasmuch as to spread conviction is ofmore importance than to be assured of applause. Under these impressions, I accepted the invitation, and once more ventured myself in a sea-port town. On Thursday, Sept. 8, I, accordingly, began a course of four lectures of Roman history, at the Globe Inn, Tuesday-Market. The admission, as in London, was a shilling; tickets being issued also, at six-pence, for the accommodation of the poorer classes. Ofthese, however, there was but comparatively a small attendance. In Lynn and its environs, the spirit ofliberty is principally confined to the middling ranks. In formation has been but sparingly diffused. The principle ofassociation has not yet been cherished among the mass; and consequently there exists among them but Ii ttle ofthat noble enthusiasm which blends together the love of order, and the contempt ofservile submission. 'The meeting was, however, both numerous and respectable; and, saving the pres-

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ence of a clerical spy, there was not a single exception to unqualified applause.'* Among the auditors were several professional men: and it is but justice to observe that the general deportment even of the clergy, was widely different from that of their brethren at Yarmouth; that they displayed not the slightest disposition to excite disturbance; and, though priests, did not forget that they were citizens: that is to say, men bound to conform to the rules of civilization and humanity. The first Lecture went off with the utmost tranquillity, both within and without. But on the second night, when an audience still more numerous and respectable was assembled, a gang of ruffians, composed in a great measure of sailorsfrom on board the merchant ships, with the press-gang at their head, created a great disturbance without; while about half a dozen ruffians belonging to the gang, broke forcibly into the room. 'A person of the name of Taylor, one of the Lynn associated loyalists', took this opportunity of calling aloud for the song of 'God save the King', and was strenuously seconded by these bravos; who, at the same time, exhibited every disposition to tumult and outrage. The most turbulent of them were therefore forced out of the room again, and driven down stairs by a part of the audience. The disturbers without now became more outrageous than ever. The windows were broken, and brickbats and large stones were thrown in volleys at the audience, who were, however, preserved from actual mischief by letting down the curtains. I was that night engaged to sup at the Globe, with a party of inhabitants of the borough, and farmers of the surrounding villages. This was communicated to the mob by a military surgeon, who had been a principal ringleader in the disturbance; and the supper room was also attacked, not with stones only, but with fire-arms also; but fortunately without any other mischief than the breaking of a few panes of glass. We did not suffer these outrages to spoil out conviviality, or to alter our conduct; and afi:er the business and the enjoyment of the evening were concluded, I returned to Bawsey, accompanied by a firm and respectable band of that independent yeomanry, which will still, I hope, prove the defence and the deliverance of Britain. Conscious of the legality of my lectures - conscious also, that if they had not been legal, the law, not the bludgeon, ought to have been employed against them, I determined, before I gave my next lecture, to write to the magistrates, give them an account of the outrages which had been committed, and demand their protection. Just as I was about to execute this resolution, I received a letter from a most valuable and reputable inhabitant, which, as the reader will perceive, rendered such application still more necessary. The chief magistrate himself was out of town. I therefore wrote the following letter. * See the account in Cambridge Intelligencer, signed W.C. and written by a respectable inhabitant of that place.

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'To the Worshipful the Deputy Mayor ofLynn Regis. 'SIR, 'I HAVE just received some very serious information, which in the absence of the Mayor, I think it my duty to lay immediately before you. 'A gentleman of great respectability in this town writes me word, "That he has this moment heard Mr. Robson, at Mr. Bagge's, declare that he knows of the crews of two ships who are determined to attend at my lecture this evening, for the express purpose of rioting". Such a declaration coming from a person whom I understand to be in the service oftwo ofthe magistrates ofyour corporation, you will, I dare say, conclude demands some notice; and I trust that you will immediately cause Mr. Robson to be interrogated as to the authority he has for making it, that, ifbaseless, the apprehensions ofthe town may be immediately dissipated; and, ifwell founded, proper means may be taken to prevent such outrage. 'I trust, Sir, (and the country at large will, I dare say, give the same credit to your loyalty) that, if there had been any thing illegal in the meetings I have called, you would have discharged, without delay, the duties of your office, and suppressed them, by the peaceful interference ofthe civilpower with which you are invested: and to the authorized interference ofmagistracy I should certainly have been docile and obedient; for loyalty (properly defined, i.e. obedience to the law) is a maxim I have always supported. I rest assured, therefore, that the same solicitude will be displayed by you in the impartial determination to suppress, or (as in the present instance must be easy) to prevent, any tumult or violence, from whatever quarter it may be mediated, and under the colour of what pretence soever it may be disguised; and that, as the meetings at my Lecture Room, at the Globe Inn, are strictly legal (as, indeed, your own conduct has tacitly confessed them to be) you will, thus warned, protect both me and my audience from ruffians and assassins, and exercise that strict and equal reciprocation of justice and protection, for which alone Government was instituted, and without which what is called Government would, indeed, be only authorized anarchy. 'Before I received the above intimation, I had determined to write to you, Sir, upon the subject of the outrages perpetrated on Saturday night; when a gang ofdisturbers surrounded the house for several hours; broke the windows of the Lecture Room, and threw large fragments of brickbats among the audience, to the hazard of their lives; and afterwards, while my friends and my selfwere at supper, in another apartment, broke the windows of that also, and even (as we had reason to believe, from the noise of the report) endeavoured to fire a gun, or horse-pistol, or some such engine of destruction, through the casements. I am sorry to add on the credit of several respectable witnesses, that these lawless rioters were instigated and encouraged by a surgeon belonging to one of the fencible corps, a body of men raised, as we are told, for the express purpose of preserving the peace, and suppressing all attempts at riot or com-

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motion. But I rely with confidence on the future diligence of the magistracy ofLynn; and trust that it is perfectly unnecessary for me to use any arguments upon the horrid consequences that may result, if the practice is once sanctioned ofletting loose armed banditti of sailors and depredators to hunt down what are called obnoxious men, like wild beasts; and thus introducing, in fact, that very system of blood and anarchy, which, detestable as it was during the revolutionary struggles of a neighbouring country, would be still more horrid, and less pardonable, in a nation, where regular, constituted authorities exist, in the plenitude of power, and in which upwards of twenty millions of taxes are annually paid for the protection and advantaged of settled government. 'Hoping that some immediate notice will be taken of this application, I remain, Sir, 'Yours, 'In equal respect for the Rights of the People, and 'The Security of the Public Peace, 'JOHN THELWALL.' 'P.S. That the temper and spirit ofmy principles may be the better understood, I take the liberty of accompanying this with a copy of my address to the inhabitants of Great Yarmouth. 'Sept. 12, 1796.' This letter was delivered by a friend into the hand of the deputy Mayor; and it is reported that a council was called upon the subject. Be that as it may, no evident precautions were taken on the part of the Corporation, for the preservation of the peace. The sailors, with their gang, were again there. It should be observed, however, that the mob seemed to have been tutored, from some quarter or other, to be more prudent in their mode of attack; for their proceedings bore much more than the appearance ofsettled conspiracy, looking out for its victim, but keeping itself out of the way of danger. That is to say, they fired no guns, flung no bricks nor paving stones, neither did they attempt to break into the room. They satisfied themselves, during the Lecture, with making a most turbulent noise without; and when the company was dispersing, they thronged round the door, examined every body that passed, and hustled some whole countenances they took it into their heads to dislike. In the mean time I retired through another door, between two of my female auditors, crossed the marker-place, and arrived in safety at the house of my friend. But the affair did not terminate here. The depredators were rather encouraged than depressed. It was notorious that the magistrates had been apprized of the intended outrage; and it was notorious, also, that they had taken no precautions to prevent it. What was the necessary conclusion in the minds of the

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rioters? That the magistrates were not unwilling that such outrages should be perpetrated, or (in the language of the writer in the Camb. Intel/.) that they regarded them as 'just and necessary riots', and that therefore the disturbers might proceed with impunity to whatever lengths they pleased. Accordingly on the last night a still more desperate attempt was made. The pressgang, with a reinforcement of sailors, several of whom were disguised in smock frocks, and a train of disorderly persons, to the amount of about two hundred, again assembled. About twenty of the most desperate of these rushed upstairs, knocked down the door-keepers, and were forcing their way into the room, thinking no doubt to emulate the exploits of their brethren at Yarmouth. But the audience manfully repelled them, and drove them down stairs again; but not till they had seized the door-keeper, whom they dragged into the street, plundered and threatened to murder: a threat which, perhaps, they would have executed if he had not, with great difficulty, escaped again into the house, and hid himselfin a closet. During the remainder of the Lecture, which was near an hour, the uproar without continued with a degree if turbulence which one would have thought impossible, in any place where the name of magistracy had been ever heard. When the Lecture was over, I requested the audience to keep together; and pledged myself, if they would submit to my advice, for the general safety. I informed them that the Magistrates had been already applied to by the landlord of the house,* and had promised to come if they were sent for; that I would accordingly send and demand their protection; and if this protection was not granted, we would put the female citizens under a guard of safety in the house, and march out in a body, prepared to defend ourselves; and see who would dare to attack us. This was unanimously approved; and a proper messenger was dispatched. In the mean time one of the auditors having been down to reconnoitre the rioters, returned into the room, and inconsiderately called out that there was no danger, and that the company might disperse in perfect safety. The circumstances which induced this premature confidence, he had himself detailed in the account so ofi:en alluded to, in the Cambridge paper. It seems that, on his appearance in the street, some ofthe rioters had attempted to hustle him; but he, behaving with great intrepidity, and not being the man they particularly wanted, they made a faint ofdispersing till he had returned into the house. The audience, relying on his report, immediately descended the stairs, while I was depositing my books and papers in a place of security, and taking the precautions necessary for my health, before I quitted the Lecture-Room for the open air. Seeing the Mayor's beadle in the passage, and hearing that the Deputy Mayor, the Mayor elect, and the officiating Town Clerk were in the house, any further precaution was deemed unnecessary, and the company dispersed. The same circumstances • They had been also applied to in a very spirited way by the author of the account in the Camb. Intel/.

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imposing the same delusion upon me, I went out, also, in company with only three friends; expecting, of course, to find a proper guard of constables around the door, to keep off the rioters, and preserve the peace. But that which ought to have been my safety was the real source of my danger. These conservators of the public peace, had brought with them not a single constable; nor did they even desire the mob to disperse; but marching into a private room, they began to amuse themselves with the terrors of the poor door-keeper, who was brought forth to them from his retreat; after which they sat themselves down in magisterial state, arranged the pens, ink, and paper before them, and gravely observed that if any body had any depositions to make, they were ready to take them. In the mean time, at the door of the room in which this farce was acting, the beadle ofthese most excellentMagistrates, was in close conversation with one of the rioters, to whom he pointed me out as I passed, crying out 'that is the man'; while the chiefclerk of Mr. Bagge, the Mayor elect (the person whose threat about the sailors is mentioned in the letter to the deputy Mayor) stood at the corner of the inn, and by his hisses pointed me out afresh to the banditti. The ruffians, thus sanctioned, pursued me and the friends between whom I walked, (in the very hearing, and under the very nose ofmagistracy) with the most outrageous turbulency, till they came to a pile ofpaving stones, which they began to shower upon us, with dreadful imprecations, and threats of murder; while at the same time, a band offifty chosen ruffians, armed for the occasion, who had waylaid me, at the corner of a lane* I had to pass, rushed from their lurking place to conclude the * With the particulars of this last-mentioned circumstance I have been made acquainted, while this sheet was at the press. I shall, in this note, present them to my readers, in the words of my correspondent, 'It appears, that on the last night of your lecturing at Lynn there certainly was an intention of assassinating you. I have heard from several persons of credit (and indeed it is the general report) that a gang of 50 fellows, armed with clubs, &c. laid wait for us in ButcherLane, which communicates with the south-east corner of the Tuesday-Market-Place; and that, as we turned the corner of the Market-Place into High-Street (being then opposite to the end of the Butcher-Lane) this gang of desperados rushed out, and joined the mob which followed us; I believe the ruffians who pressed so close behind us were a part of that despicable clan. 'Many of the Lynn aristocrats cannot forbear expressing their resentment at -, -, and myself, for accompanying you from the Lecture-Room that evening; as they intimate, that but for our being with you, the design would probably have been carried into execution. Nay; some of the most violent have not scrupled to say, that the above-mentioned friends and myself ought to be hanged for our conduct that evening:' that is to say, for one having taken me by the right arm, and another by the lefr, while the third walked behind me, to protect me from murderous violence!!! This is aristocratic moderation! This is love of order, and abhorrence ofJacobinical violence!!! And who and what were these moderate gentlemen, to whom I am indebted for these humane notion of justice and good order? W.C . in the Cam. Intel . has well described them. 'All the petty instruments of power', says he, 'were in active motion . Were it necessary, I could mention twenty corrupt expectants of ministerial bounty, who publicly wished Mr. T. to be torn to pieces: I cannot blame them. They have reason to hate me. I have treated with silent contempt an invitation to join their corps; and I have done, and am doing, all that lies within my power to destroy the system which dooms thousands to perish that they may wallow in idle luxury. The people are to be blamed; who destitute of all generous attachment to those who endeavour

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mediated tragedy. The shops were almost uniformly shut up; the night was dark, and the streets ofLynn are neither watched nor lighted; so that a banditti of two hundred ruffians, armed with bludgeons, and supplied with these missile weapons, might easily have executed their threats; and without doubt would have executed them, if one of my friends, just as the storm was at its height, had not perceived a shop-door standing open, and dragged me in. From hence we retired by a back door, into a distant street, and got home without further molestation. The blood hounds, disappointed of their prey, assailed the house where I had taken refuge. 'The door was attempted to be forced. Many of the windows were demolished; and the most horrible oaths were openly denounced by these friends of blood against the friends of reason. While the rioters were attempting to break into the shop, the master of the house came home, and although he most positively assured the ruffians that the object of the search was flown, they continued in tumult and outrage - till they were called off by those miscreants who spurred them on. While this horde of assassins were thus committing devastation on the doors and windows - a tradesman waited on the magistrates before-mentioned, with a recital of the atrocious deeds that were then transacting . - Upon which Mr. Alderman Bagge said 'that he was not compelled to be tied to Mr. Thelwall's arm'; and Mr. Alderman Freeman (the Deputy Mayor) assented to the proposition.* Another tradesman meeting them, as they were returning home from the Globe, and informing them what was going on, one of them decently replied, 'Good God, Sir, do you suppose we are to be traversing the streets all night.' 0 rare police! 0 excellent corporations!!! The next morning I set off, according to appointment, for Wisbeach, where, as I had a few friends, from some ofwhom I had received pressing invitations, I purposed stopping one night; after which it was my intention to pass a day or two, among some relations, in Lincolnshire, and then to proceed to Sheffield. t The report of this intended visit had made a great stir at Wisbeach. On one side the friends of discussion had endeavoured to hire the theatre, that they might induce me to lecture; and on the other side, the Corporationists stuck up the following Bill: to serve them, crouch at the footstool of oppression, and forget a gallant ancestry that bled for freedom. If the nation were not more than half emasculated, these filth-born reptiles, spawned in the stagnant lake of corruption, would not dare to uplift their viperous crests, and spit their poisonous venom in our way. * Cambridge Intelligencer. t At Sheffield, my engagements in London did not permit me to stay more than a few days; and as no proper room could in that time be procured, I did not lecture there. But as soon as a fit place can be provided, I shall shew both Colonel Justice Aythorpe and Mister Michael Angelo Taylor, that I neither want their licence nor aurhority to lecture on Classical History whenever, and wherever I chuse.

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'KING AND CONSTITUTION. 'Inhabitants ofWISBEACH, - A certain Preacher ofSedition is coming among you. - Beware of his doctrine - let not curiosity tempt you to be a seeming approver ofwhat every true Englishman must heartily despise. 'O Lord our God arise, scatter our Enemies, 'And make them fall; 'Confound their politics, frustrate their knavish tricks. 'On thee our hopes we fix, 'God save us all.' One of the great men of the place, also, having publicly said that he would give five guineas to any persons who would make the same disturbance there as had been made at Yarmouth, it was thought important that the friends of reason should not appear to be deterred by threats; and I accordingly consented to stay a night longer than I intended, that a Lecture might be given: and as no convenient room of sufficient size could be procured, a bowling green in the neighbourhood, the landlord of which had been deprived of his licence, was hired, and the lecture was to have been delivered early in the afternoon. The corporationists, however, tampered with the landlord, promised him a renewal of his licence, and persuaded him to refuse his premises. Great eagerness to resist this species of oppression was displayed by several of the principal inhabitants of the town; and after a variety of expedients had been devised, and found impracticable, the present resident and proprietor of the Castle (a noble mansion, built by Thurlow, the secretary of Oliver Cromwell) where I was hospitably entertained, during my residence in Wisbeach, sent a private invitation, at about four o'clock, to a few friends, and among the rest to the magistrates; and by about six, near a hundred persons were collected in the drawing room. Nearly twice as many more, pressing for admittance, were obliged to be refused, for want of room. The castle is surrounded with walls, at a considerable distance, and no hired mob could therefore actually annoy us. Just as the company were dispersing, however, a mob collected, led on by a detachment of the military with drums and fifes (bellowing out 'God save great', &c.) who insulted some of the people as they departed, and continued to alarm the town with noise and tumult and outrage till one or two o'clock in the morning; at which time they began to break windows and levy contributions on the inhabitants; calling out to them to throw down money on the drum head, and terrifying them into compliance with imprecations and the clashing of drawn swords. The magistrates were applied to at the commencement of this business, but did not interfere. The officers, however, were not equally inactive. They plied

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the riotous soldiery with drink; as did, also, the loyal gentleman who had been so forward with the offer of his five guineas. It is worthy of remark, that these outrages were evidently perpetrated entirely by hired and instigated ruffians; for both in Lynn and Wisbeach, I walked the streets in the day-time, both alone and in company, in the most public manner, receiving many marks of attention from the populace, but not one single insult. To this may be added the circumstance of the strange coalition (at Lynn) between the sailors of the merchantmen and the pressgang. At any other time, the former of these would not have dared to appear on shore, lest the latter should take them in hold: nor is it likely they would then have ventured into such company, unless authorized by some persons, whose sanction they were aware would be a sufficient protection.* Foolish men! desperate conspirators for your own destruction! when ye, who should prevent such outrages, and set examples of reverence for the laws ofpeace and order, shall have instructed these blind instruments of vengeance in the anarchic system of murderous depredation, how soon may ye (by some sudden turn of fortune, or unforeseen political disaster) become the victims of the very ruffians ye have trained! But the voice ofprophetic council is ofno avail. Rulers and people appear to be deaf alike to complaint and to exhortation. The former hurried onward by a desolating and imperious ambition, rush with insensate fury into projects and systems that lead to their own destruction; and the latter lost, in fatal lethargy, relinquish enquiry, and forego the post of duty: instead of asserting the genuine principles of political justice, and preparing their minds to profit by the ruin with which the fabrics of tyranny are threatened by the hands of their own pretended supporters, they seem disposed supinely to abandon every thing to blind fatality, and rest their hopes upon unsought changes, which though, perhaps, inevitable, can only lead, while such dispositions prevail, through woes and trials unutterable, not to genuine liberty, but to varied oppression. Where - where - if this mad violence on the one hand, and this criminal supineness on the other, continue - where is manly reason to cast the anchor of sustaining hope? - or, rather, whither to spread the sail for consolatory refuge.

Beaufort Buildings, Oct. 19'\ I796.

FINIS. * The writer of the article in the Cambridge Intelligencer, adds the following P.S. to his: 'Since writing the above, I have unquestionable evidence that Woolley, the master of the pressgang before mentioned, gave permission on the day of the riot, for many sailors to be on shore, who for fear of being pressed, kept on board their ships:

VOLUME I

Ode to Science 1.

2.

3.

4.

Anniversary of the Philomathian Society: Thelwall composed this ode in 1791 for the London Philomathian Society, a debating club that, according to the radical John Binns, allegedly allowed only twenty-one members to convene at its meetings to discuss philosophical and political issues. Besides Thelwall and Binns, its members included the philosopher William Godwin and the playwright Thomas Holcroft. See J. Binns, Recollections ofthe Life ofJohn Binns: Twenty-Nine Years in Europe and Fifty-Three in the United States, (Philadelphia, PA: John Binns, 1854), p. 45. 'Eye the blue vault': These lines are from Book VIII of Alexander Pope's translation of Homer'sllliad. The lines are as follows: As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night, O'er heaven's pure azure spreads her sacred light, When not a breath disturbs the deep serene, And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene, Around her throne the vivid planets roll, And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole, O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed, And tip with silver every mountain's head: Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise, A flood ofglory bursts from all the skies: The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight, Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light. john Huddlestone Hynne (bapt. 1742, d. 1788), writer, historian and pugnacious participant in debating societies. He was notorious for his irascibility and heated debating style. On one occasion, he roused such opposition at a debating society meeting that an ensuing physical altercation resulted in lasting damage to his tear ducts. Although hampered by a permanent leg injury (as a result of being run over by a hackney coach), in later life he would painfully make his way from his modest garret lodgings to the debating hall to the offices of his editors in Paternoster Row. Pollard: unknown, assumed to be a member of the Philomathians.

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Notes topages 13- 23

A n Essay Towards a Definition ofAnimal Vitality 1.

'From an examination andsurvey .. .living animal matter': The scope and longevity ofthis debate and to the controversies inspired by John Hunter's views, here is the observation of an anonymous reviewer for the Edinburgh R eview, made some years later in 1814: Those who are not much conversant in physiological studies, will probably be surprised to learn, that physiologists are not yet agreed as to the precise grounds even of that most familiar of all classifications - the arrangement of Bodies into Living and D ead; and that, in the whole science of vital economy, (if so we may venture to call it), there is not, at this moment, a term which is used with grater ambiguity than the term Life (p. 384). For more on this debate in subsequent decades, see the introduction and chapter one of Sharon Ruston, Shelley and Vitality (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). 2. Aristotle and Plato, Plutarch, Moses, andjohn Hunter: Thelwall links John Hunter with ancients who believed that a divine, or vital, spark animated the human body. 3. a compound subj ect ... two: Quoted from Plutarch's 'On the Face in the Moon; inMoralia 943A; see the Leob Classical Library edition, Plutarch's Moralia, vol. 12, trans H. Cherniss and W . C. Hembold (Cambridge, MA : Harvard, 1957), pp. 197-9. 4 . yet St. Paul .. . the triune: l Corinthians 15:45-6. 5. For it is the life ofall.flesh: Leviticus, 17:14. 6. H arvey: W illiam H arvey (1578-1 657), det ailed the circulation of the blood in h is 1628 Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (An Anatomical Exercise on the Motion of the H eart and Blood in An imals). 7. blood ... solid p arts: Hunter's A Treatise on the Blood, Ieflammation, and Gun-Shot J#unds states that blood 'would seem to be the most simple body we know of, endowed with the principle of life. That the blood has life, is an opin ion I h ave st arted for above thirty years...: J. Hunter, A Treatise on the B lood, Inflammation, and Gun-Shot J#unds (London : p rinted by John Richardson, for George Nicol, 17 94, p. 77. 8. it is then in its second state, or vivification : Thelwall refers to Hunter's contention that 'the body dies without the motion of the blood upon it' and his suggestion that the lungs imbue the blood with 'the living principle' (Hunter, A Treatise on the Blood pp. 86, 91 ). 9. 'is owing to an action ofself-preservation in the blood': this is from Parkinson's shorthand note from Hunter's lecture on 'Blood; which reads: 'This disposition to coagulate is a sign of the existence of the living principle in the greatest degree and greatest power'. Parkinson (ed. ), Hunterian Reminiscences, p. 6. See note 7 above. 10. M r. H ewson: William Hewson (1739-74), anatomist, physiologist and surgeon, often referred to as 'the father ofhaematology, isolated 'fibrin; the key component in the process of blood coagulation. l I. thej unction ofthe testicle ... to the liver ofthe hen: The passage from 'Blood' in the Encyclopedia B ritannica describes how 'having taken off the testicle from a living cock, he introduced it into the belly of a living hen. Many weeks afterwards, upon injecting the liver of the hen, he injected the testicle of the cock; which had come in contact with the liver, and adhered to it.' See 'Blood' in the 'New Edition' of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, 18 vols, (1787) . 12. os humeri: the sh oulder bone. Sir Astley Cooper is credited with the first medical description ofa posterior shoulder dislocation (1822).

Notes to pages 33-9

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King Chaunticlere 1.

2.

3.

An Anecdote ... at the Capel Court Society: this tale, which Thelwall gave in a speech co the debating society, was recorded by Daniel Isaac Eaton. Although Thelwall's widow Cecil claims chat Eaton embellished or exaggerated che story, it likely captures the substance of his meaning. The protagonist of this allegory, Chaunticlere, also makes a subsequent appearance in Thelwall's 1795 'Gilpin's Ghost' (seep. 103, below) . The allegory of Chaunticlere draws loosely on the chanticleer figure found in Chaucer's 'Nun's Priest's Tale' and Caxton's 'Reynard the Fox' and perhaps a 1793 fable in the Morning Chronicle that case France as a gamecock ('The Grand Alliance', Morning Chronicle, 13 August 1793, see J. Barrell, Imagining the King's Death), p. 106. The radical publisher Daniel Isaac Eaton published 'King Chaunticlere' in the eighth number ofhis periodical Politicsfar the People, or Hog's Wash, in November 1793, for which he was subsequently indicted. After being admirably defended by John Gurney (see below) and acquitted by the jury, he changed the name ofhis shop co 'The Cock and Swine' and hung a new sign, which portrayed a cock crowing over a crowd ofpigs, co match. For more on chis see D.

I. The Trial ofDaniel Isaac Eaton,far Publishing a Supposed Libel, Intituled Politicsfar the People or, Hog's Wash (London 1794); Barrel, Imagining the King's Death and Scrivener, Seditious Allegories. Caractacus: also known as or Caractatus (c. AD IO - after AD 50), was a historical Brit-

ish chieftain. Legend has it that he led the British resistance against the Romans, was captured and imprisoned in Rome, and was then released when the Romans recognized his virtues. Many narratives circulate around chis figure, for example, the Welsh antiquarian, poet and forger Iolo Morganwgwrites of how Caractatus (whom he calls Caradog) introduced Christianity co Britain. this difference between mental and muscular action: such statements are clearly grounded in Thelwall's interest in science and physiology and specifically his materialise views. The automatic, purely physical reaction of the tortured man - the product of a long history of social conditioning - parallels the human tendency co remain passively complicit in the face of their domination.

Political Lectures I I.

POLITICAL LECTURES ... SPIES AND INFORMERS: this lecture was reprinted

2.

four times, the lase ofwhich was published together with the third edition of the second lecture on the History ofProsecutionsfar Political Opinion. Most of the changes Thelwall made were minor: generally, he tidied the text slightly, spliced longer paragraphs, and removed a few of what he referred co as intemperate expressions. There were very few substantial amendments, but where they do occur they have been noted in the footnotes below. BenJonson's Sejanus: This quote is taken from Sejanus His Fall (1603), one of Ben Jonson's two tragedies. For this play,Jonson had to answer to charges of sedition (of which he was acquitted), as authorities identified an allegorical representation ofJames I in the play's portrayal of an immoral monarch and his vice-ridden court. The play recounts the rise and fall of Lucius Aelius Seianus, the one-time favourite of, and second-in-command co, the Roman emperor Tiberius, under whose tyrannical rule the court became deeply corrupt.

176 3.

Notes to page 40

INTRODUCTORYNARRATIVE: this narrative was preceded by rhe following advertisement in rhe fourrh edition: ADVERTISEMENT.

I SEND into the world a fourrh edition ofmy First, and a rhird ofmy Second Lecture,

4.

rhat it may be judged how far rhe character given of rhem in the Report of the Secret Committee ofrhe House ofCommons is consistent wirh truth. If my persecutors had not added to the injustice of detaining me seven monrhs in close confinement, upon a groundless charge of High Treason, that of wirhholding my manuscripts, and other property, now I am acquitted, I might have added to them some orhers that have never yet been published: for it is a curious fact rhat they were in possession, mostly in my own hand writing, of all the notes of all rhe Lectures I ever delivered, rhough it was not thought fit to bring one of these notes in evidence against me: A tolerably strong presumption that rhey did not themselves believe the monstrous absurdities which their perjured spies were to swear against me. For rhough rhese notes, generally, contained only the sketch and outline, yet if rhe Lectures had really been so treasonable a nature as was represented, it is something extraordinary rhat no marks of this treason should be found among rhe memorandums. Wirh respect to rhe Lectures now republished, it may perhaps be objected, by rhose who are more enclined to cavil than examine, rhat the present edition does not exactly correspond to the former. Those, however, who take the trouble to compare rhem, will find rhe variations consist principally in corrections of rhe stile (which, in rhe former editions of rhe first Lecture, was certainly very defective) and not at all in rhe political sentiments, or any rhing that relates to the innocence or criminality of rhe compositions. There are undoubtedly some few expressions of intemperance, and some of levity, which my cooler judgement does not approve. Those I have reprinted verbatim: because I wish my country not only to have an opportunity of judging how far I am innocent or guilty, but how far my persecutors had any foundation for that charge of guilt upon which they fought for my life. But wherever rhe impartial examination of this question is not concerned, I do not think myself called upon to perpetuate bombast, or to withhold the pruning knife from exuberances which were the consequences of hasty composition. The corrections will be found principally in the first Lecture, and those who give rhemselves the trouble to compare it wirh the small edition, which is still in print, will find rhem to be of the nature I have described. Upon the subject of Political Prosecutions four Lectures have been delivered; but wherher rhe other three will ever make their appearance depends upon the decision of rhe previous question-Whether a man who has unjustly prosecuted for High Treason, forfeits thereby all claim to his own property? Beaufort Buildings, Dec. 27th, 1794. Proclamation of 1792: this could actually refer to several proclamations, for on 19 November, France declared an Edict of Fraternity wirh revolutionary movements in orher nations; on 13 November, the government declared its support for the United Provinces (of the Netherlands) against French invasion; on 20 November, rhe newspapers proclaimed rhat rhe founding ofJohn Reeves's Association for Preserving Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers.

Notes to pages 41- 5

177

the barbarous manifesto of the Duke ofBrunswick: The Brunswick Manifesto, which was issued in Paris on 25 July 1792, warned the French people not to resist the invasion of the Duke's Prussian army. The manifesto declared the Duke's intention 'to put an end to the anarchy in the interior of France, to check the attacks upon the throne and the altar, to reestablish the legal power, to restore to the king the security and the liberty ofwhich he is now deprived and to place him in a position to exercise once more the legitimate authority which belongs to him.' Since Louis XVI had the Manifesto published, it was construed as evidence of his siding with the enemies of the French nation, a fact that further infuriated the Assembly and resulted in panic and mob violence in Paris. 6. premeditated riot: in the fourth edition, Thelwall added this footnote: It is now past a doubt that this riot was premeditated; since, on the night ofmy arrest, J¼lsh, the well known itinerant confidant of Gentlemen high in office, told me, in the course ofconversation, that the person who occasioned the disturbance at the King's Arms was taken there by him. 7. SirJames Saunderson: Lord Mayor of London. He prevented the 26 November meeting of the Society for Free Debate happening on the pretext that a disturbance had occurred at the previous meeting of 19 November. According to government documentation, that disturbance was actually caused by the government spy James Walsh and his associates. As Mary Thale notes, this was part of a wider programme of repression initiated by Pitt and his government. Through Saunderson's actions, a debating society that had held peaceable meetings for almost fifi:y years, ceased to exist. See M. Thale, 'London Debating Societies in the l 790s: The Historicaljournal, 32:1 (1989), pp. 57-86. 8. Chairman ofthe QytintupleAlliance: this label refers to Prime Minister William Pitt who, in the 1780s, had been one of twenty-two reform-minded MPs from London, Westminster, Southwark, Middlesex and Surrey that formed an association, which had as one ofits goals, the implementation of more representative government by ending borough-mongering. The reformers of the 1790s liked to remind Pitt of his earlier liberality and later apostasy. Horne Tooke, for instance, made much of this in his state trial for treason. 9. the story ofKingChantecleer: seep. 33 in this volume. 10. no libel: the fourth edition contains the following footnote to this section: It was made part of the charge of [text damaged] against me, [text damaged] of the prosecution, and of the incongruity and absolutefalsehood ofthe innuendoes: for the story is a literal fact. It was told to illustrate the difference between muscular, and what is called voluntary action; and the embellishments, without intending to fix the similitude upon any individual in particular, were introduced to shew the striking resemblance between all tyrants, whether of brute or human species and to point out, as Mr. Gurney, upon the trial, affirmed, that "The sooner they were got rid of the better; for they are generally too bad to be mended." Whether there is not a better way of disposing even of these pests ofsociety than by holding up the example ofpublic murder (for every execution in fact is such) I will not now enquire: but certain it is, that if it be treason to declare that tyrants ought to be put to death, the great majority of the friends offreedom [which I should hope is the majority ofpeople of this country] are traitors to all intents and purposes. As for the affirmation that tyrant and king are synonymous terms, and that it is impossible to mention a tyrant, even though it be tyrant game Cock, without alluding to our own mostgracious Sovereign-these are libels so gross, that none but a state prosecutor could have the audacity to publish them. 1 1. the Bow-street runners: considered to be London's first professional police force, they were attached to the magistrate's office and were financially supported by government.

5.

178

Notes to pages 45-8

They were founded in 1749 by the author Henry Fielding, originally numbered just eight and were based around Bow Street, bur extended ro several other areas by an Act of Parliament in l 792. 12. The worthy successor: In 1793, Paul le Mesurier replaced Sanderson as Lord Mayor of London. 13. Paul le Mesurier: see previous note. 14. The fourth edition of this pamphlet contains the following 'POSTSCRIPT to the Fourth Edition' (Thelwall's own copy in the British Library also contains appended handwritten notes relating to his arrest): AS I am now about to send a fourth edition of this Lecture, together with a third of the second, into the world, it may not be amiss to continue the narrative of the opposition which has been made to the establishment of this important right-the public investigation ofpolitical subjects: a right ofwhich, during the period of inquisition and alarm, I have been the individual asserter, at the repeated peril of my life; and which I pledged myself to establish, or to fall a victim in the attempt. The right is established, debating societies are again conducted without interruption at each end of the town; and it may therefore be amusing to some to trace the whole history of the contest. While my Lectures were continued in Compton-Street, several attempts were made to intimidate and interrupt me. The former was, however, impracticable, and all attempts at the latter, within the Lecture-room, were frustrated by my care to calm the irritation, and prevent the resentment of the audience. It was therefore resolved to make an attempt, from without, of the most atrocious nature. Bur the agents were not sufficiently secret, and it was disappointed. The landlord of a public house in the neighbourhood having told some of his customers, that a young gentleman of the name ofJenkinson, "(To whom related now avails us not, From whom descended, or by whom begot)" had hired a room in his house for the entertainment of fifty bludgeon-men who were to disperse the people at my lecture-room, the conspiracy got wind, and means were taken to frustrate it. For my own part, my only precaution was to render my hat crown cudgel proo£ and to carry in my hand a short tuck stick to defend myself in case of extremity. Several friends, however, unsolicited by me, posted themselves in different parts of the neighbourhood, and sent out their scouts to observe what passed. At about nine o'clock, the ruffians began to assemble in a very tumultuous manner at the door; when my friends suddenly making their appearance from all parts, they took to their heels in great terror; revenging themselves for their disappointment upon such straggling individuals as, to use their own language, they suspected of being Thelwallites. One of this banditti was taken into custody by a respectable shopkeeper in the neighbourhood, whom they had treated with brutality. I need not add, that the magistrates took care he should not suffer too severely for his frolic. This was not the first time that bludgeons had been provided for the purpose of confuting my arguments. Shortly after the affair in the Borough, one of the police ruffians who had been the most active on that occasion, was boasting about it to that respectable magistrate Sir••**; and, upon being asked if they did not some of them get kicked down stairs, replied that they had sixty or seventy good fellows, armed

Notes to page 48

179

with bludgeons, ready to do the business of the d-d Jacobine rascals if they had resented. I understand that the worthy magistrate declared himself ready to prove this circumstance on the late trials ifit had been thought important. Shortly after the affair in Compton-street, I opened the lecture-room in Beaufort Buildings, where I was attended by avery respectable audience, encreasingevery night in number, till the room, spacious as it is, became too small for their accommodation. The subject with which I opened was "the impossibility of attaining either public or private virtue, without the full indulgence of the liberty ofspeech and ofthe press." A subject, as chose who were present will remember, in the discussion of which I dwelt very copiously upon the importance of Ben\evolence, and all the virtues of private life; and the inseparability union between these, and a genuine system ofpolitical liberty. Yet chis lecture, which even persons who do not agree with my general politics, have applauded for its candour and morality, was one ofthose upon pretended quotations from which the charge ofhigh treason was attempted to be supported. Lectures in favour of Liberty, in the neighbourhood of Mr. Reeves, and upon the estate of the Attorney General, it may easily be supposed were a species ofheresy not to be endured. Accordingly at the Court-Leet of the Dutchy of Savoy, held on Thursday, the first of May, an officious informer, in the neighbourhood of the Lecture-room, presented a copy of the second Lecture to the Grand Jury, and wished chem to make it the foundation of a prosecution for libel. The Jury refused to be made the tools of so malignant a design, and observed, with becoming independence, chat they were not, in matters ofsuch importance, to be taken by surprise; and that the book, if it did contain any libellous matter, ought to be repeatedly read, and maturely deliberated upon by the jury, before they pronounced a censure upon it that might subject the author to such serious consequences. This attempt was accordingly unsuccessful. Mr. Reeves, however, the worshipful Steward of the district, did not suffer the matter to drop. A new Grand Jury for the ensuing year being sworn in his charge, as I am informed, consisted almost entirely of a declaration upon "the seditious Lectures in Beaufort-buildings; which, he said, must not be permitted to go unnoticed; they being in reality more dangerous than all the tumbling-houses' in the metropolis. They were calculated;' he affirmed, "to inflame the public mind against every thing great and glorious in the British Constitution;" (such as Spies, sinecure Placemen, Pensioners, unnecessary wars, inordinate taxation, and the like!!) "and chat I had even agitated the passions of my auditory to such a degree, chat they jumped upon the benches, and cried out, with one voice, No King-no Parliament, and no Laws!" But the dose was too strong. The good sense of the Jury, nauseated at the absurdity; and the charge of nuisance being brought by the same loyal gentleman, who presented the pamphlet, and being supported by the voluntary testimony of a Mr. Scott, a brandy merchant in the buildings, the Jury determined, this being an affair upon which every one might have an opportunity offorming his own judgment, that they ought to be witnesses of the fact, before they pretended to decide. The Court being, therefore, held over, by adjournment, to Thursday, May 8, the foreman and other jurors attended at the Lecture-room during the two intervening nights, to make their observations. The result was, that being perfectly satisfied of the legality of the meeting, and the good order with which it was conducted, they returned the following answer-"On hearing and duly considering the complaints of several of the

180

Notes to pages 48-50

inhabitants of Beaufort-buildings, respecting the Lectures delivered by Mr. Thelwall, the Jury are ofopinion, chat they cannot present the meeting at the said Mr. Thelwall's Lectures as a public nuisance." This was a very unexpected stroke ro certain honourable protectors of the LIBERTY and PROPERTY ofplacemen andpensioners; for infinite pains had been taken, by canvassing from house co house, co collect a heap of complain[an]cs together; and Mr. Steward Reeves, after an aweful pause, chat excited the tenderfeelings of the assembly, began, with some hesitation, co remonstrate chat sixteen respectable GENTLEMEN in the neighbourhood had complained of nuisance, upon oath; but the foreman replied, in his former language, chat the Jury had maturely considered the whole ofche circumstances, and chat THEY FOUND NO NUISANCE.['] le is worth while, perhaps, co observe, chat the foundations, or rather pretences for the charge ofnuisance were, chat upon the lecture nights, four or five hundred people went up and down my stairs; and chat a number of persons collected about the door, who behaved in a rude and improper manner, and therefore there might be a riot. The good sense of the Jury could not observe the tendency of chis might be evidence: since if a man is co be indicted, because it is possible a riot may hereafter happen at his door, he may, by a similar mode ofcalculation, be hanged, because there is a possibility chat murder may be committed be some desperado under his window. Thus frustrated on every hand, the enemies ofpolitical investigation had recourse again co their old expedient-an attempt co produce a riot. A swarm of police officers attended the ensuing night, together with two coal-heavers, who interrupted the Lecture, by beginning co roar out the good old Song. I had the good fortune, however, not only effectually co restrain the indignation ofthe audience, and over-awe the rioters, but even co make zealous converts ofthe two deluded labourers; who, after having joined very loudly in the applause chat was given co the Lecture, departed with many imprecations against their employers for having "misrepresented the good sort ofgentlemen so, and misled chem into such a "business." On the Tuesday after chis I was apprehended on a charge of treasonable practices: and it is a little curious chat the Lectures which many thousand people have attended, which the magistrates, by conniving at attempts of violence and practicing underhanded intrigues, instead of exerting their open authority, have tacitly confessed co be legal; and which Grand Juries have refused co present either as libels or nuisances, should be made pare of a charge of high treason upon the single testimony of a perjured spy, of the most notorious and profligate character. The wickedness ofchis attempt, however, has secured the triumph of Reason. The eyes of Britons are opening. They see they have rights, which, if they have courage they may vindicate; and the popular prerogative, if I may so express mysel£ of free investigation, will not I trust be shortly again disputed. No. 2, Beaufort Buildings, Dec. 27th, 1794. • Some representations of nuisances ofchis sore had been made. 15. derived: In the fourth edition, Thelwall deleted the text from the end of chis sentence co the beginning of the next paragraph, which begins 'le is, however, a fortunate circumstance' (he also deleted the poem). 16. the path ofduty ...paradise: in the fourth edition, chis pare of the sentence reads: 'the path of duty, and seek for Wisdom, where, wedded with eternal Truth, she sheds her mingled radiance through the regions of the intellectual paradise.'

Notes to pages 50- 5

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17. It is mind alone ... natural enmity: Thelwall substantially alters this passage in the fourth edition, by deleting much of the text and in its place writing: To illustrate this by a course ofPolitical Lectures, is a task, which, ifproperly execured, could not fail to render you better members, not ofthe community only to which you belong, but of the world at large, which it is our duty to love and benefit, whatever State Hypocrites may preach about hostile interests, patriotism, and natural enmity. 18. Natural enmity .. .your doctrines: in the fourth edition, Thelwall tempers the stridency of this passage by shortening it to: 'Natural enmity!-How long are our intellects to be abused by this unintelligible jargon?' 19. 'When; as Ben Johnson expresses it ... prince and state: Thelwall misspells Jonson's name here and either misquotes or quotes from a faulty edition ofJonson's 'A Panegyre, on the Happy Entrance of James, Our Sovereign, to His First High Session of Parliament in This Kingdom, the 19 of March, 1603'. Lines 99-106 of the text read: Where laws were made to serve the tyran' will; Where sleeping they could save, and waking kill; Where acts gave licence to impetuous lust To bury Churches, in forgotten dust, And with their mines raise the panders bowers: When, publique justice borrow'd all her powers From private chambers; that could then create Laws, Judges, Consellors, yea Prince, and State. 20. When every coffee-house: in the fourth edition, this paragraph begins with an extra sentence: 'From these private chambers proceeds a system ofinquisitorial tyranny never equaled but in the degenerate days ofRoman slavery, under the administration of Sej anus and Rufinus.' 21. unguarded moments: in the fourth edition, Thelwall adds the following footnote: 'See the case of Mr. Muir.' 22. Hirelings who: in the fourth edition, this phrase is replaced with the longer passage: 'Citizens! The boasted freedom of Britons is no more; and every man ofintellect and virtue lies at the mercy of the pimps and lacqueys of courtiers and court expectants. Wretches that-' 23. 'Hirelings ... as he varies': from the opening discourse of Act 1 of Ben Jonson's Sejanus. See note 20, above on Thelwall's political interest in this particular play. 24. 'We that know ... the dead': from Act 1 of Ben Jonson's Sejanus. See previous note and note 20, above. 25. Rather than renlinquish...productions: in the fourth edition, Thelwall replaces the reference to Africa, with one to Newgate, as follows: 'Rather than relinquish, therefore, the free exercise ofchis noble attribute; lee us brave the dungeons of Newgace and the inhospitable regions of New Holland; for better are these with fortitude and virtue than palaces and luxuries with a base and abject spirit.' 26. best intentioned individuals: the fourth edition contains the following footnote to this passage: I insert the following note written in the margin of a former edition by a philosophical friend, because reflection has convinced me that the doctrine is partly true: "No. You recommend caution, but it is not wanted. You tell us to look before and behind

182

27. 28. 29.

30. 31.

32.

33.

34.

Notes to pages 55-8

for spies before we speak, bur we need only look to ourselves. In telling the truth it is scarcely possible there should be danger; bur we express sarcasm, resentment, contempt and vengeance: these are not truth, bur falsehood. Our danger almost wholly lies in our vice. Boldness, and not caution, would remove it, the boldness that excited us to conquer our own mistakes. Here lies the radical falsehood ofyour lecture." Swinish Multitude: also see note 6, to Tribune, vol. 1, in Volume 2 of this set. commands: the fourth edition ends this paragraph with an additional sentence: 'Nor must all the warmth of the heart be at all times uttered.' 'We ... what is needful': Ben Jonson, Sejanus, Act 1. The full passage is ripe with political meaning: We must abide our opportunity: And practise what is fit, as what is needful. It is not safe t' enforce a Soveraigns Ear: Princes hear well, if they at all will hear. coffee-house keeper: the fourth edition contains the following footnote: 'Case of Pigot and Hodgson.' 'Every ministering spy ... treason': from Ben Jonson, Sejanus, Act 1. The full passage has much to say about political tyranny, corruption, the loss ofliberty and the practical definition of treason and crime under a deceitful government: Well, all is worthy of us, were it more, Who with our Riots, Pride, and civil Hate, Have so provok'd the Justice of the Gods. We, that (within these fourscore Years) were born Free, equal Lords of the triumphed world, And knew no Masters, bur Affections; To which betraying first our Liberties, We since became the slaves to one Man's Lusts; And now to many: every ministring Spy That will accuse, and swear, is Lord ofyou, Of me, ofall our Fortunes, and our Lives. Our looks are call'd to question, and our words, How innocent soever, are made Crimes; We shall not shortly dare to tell our Dreams, Or think, bur 'twill be Treason. Swijt:Jonathan Swifi: (1667-1745), satirist, essayist and political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs and then for the Tories); famous for sharply incisive and politically astute writing on government, as found in such works as Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, The Battle ofthe Books and A Tale ofa Tub. the crime of dreaming sedition: Thelwall is mocking the fact that according to British law, it was high treason to 'imagine' the king's death - a legal idiosyncrasy that allowed the government to see potential regicides everywhere. See Barrell, Imagining the King's Death. Blackstone:William Blackstone (1723-80), legal writer and judge, he established English law as an academic discipline at Oxford and became the foundation Vinerian professor ofcommon law. He published the greatly influential, widely-acclaimed 2000-page Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols (Oxford: Clarendon, 1766-9). This work of legal scholarship - arguably the most important ever published in the nation's history - depicted England's constitution and laws as part of the natural order of things as well

Notes to pages 58-64

35.

36.

37.

38.

39.

40. 41.

42. 43. 44.

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as produces of national history, like 'an old Gochie castle, erected in the days of chivalry, buc fined up for a modern inhabitant' (Blackstone, Commentaries, 3.268). Strange: Sir John Strange (bapt. l 696 d. 1754), judge, longstanding MP for Tomes, Devon, appointed master ofche rolls in 1750. The compilation ofhis Reports ofAdjudged Cases In the Courts ofChancery, King's Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer, which was published at his death, was an important legal work. Plowden: Francis Peter Plowden (1749-1829), lawyer, historian, legal and political writer, author of chejura Anglorum: the Rights ofEnglishmen (c. 1793) and che Historical Review ofthe State ofIreland ( 1803) and several anti-Pict pamphlets. He was called co che bar at the Middle Temple in 1796 when che restriction disallowing Roman Catholics from pleading cases was repealed. 'Coke upon Littleton': Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), lawyer, legal writer, colonial entrepreneur and politician, whose writings on the English common law were definitive for three centuries. As attorney-general he prosecuted several trials for treason, including chat of Sir Walter Ralegh. As chiefjustice ofche king's bench he exercised great political and legal influence. In 1628 Coke published che Commentarie upon Littleton (thereafter referred co simply as Coke on Littleton) which addresses property law as well as ocher topics oflaw. Among Coke's more positive legacies is his defence of Magna Carta against unchecked monarchical power, and his advocacy of individual liberty and judicial independence. French bow: the following footnote is added here in the fourth edition: The levity ofchis expression muse be admitted co be perfectly inexcusable. Whatever may be the crimes of the individual; the privation oflife is no proper subject for a jest; it is a cruel and dire necessity: and ifJustice muse have its victim, Humanity ought co shed the tear. Bue I republish these lectures co shew the foundations of the charge brought against chem; and am not therefore at liberty co strike out the exceptionable passages. reward?: Thelwall inserts the following footnote here in the fourth edition: This reasoning was exemplified upon my Trial, by Taylor, alias Roberts, whose whole testimony was a tissue of barefaced forgeries and misrepresentations, the greater part of which could have been confuted by persons who were in court when he gave his testimony. One of the things nearest co truth chat he uttered was chat which predicted the approaching dissolution ofdespotism throughout Europe: yet, the passage co which chis referred had been taken down by Ramsey, the shore hand writer, who happened co be present when the Lecture was delivered; and he has declared chat it was essentially different from what chis worthy confidant of gentlemen high in office represenced.-My Council, however, were of opinion, chat, having proved two distinct perjuries against him, co enter into a confutation of particulars, which, if true, would have amounted only co sedition, and therefore had nothing to do with a charge ofHigh Treason, would have been an insult co the understanding ofche Jury. 'Tell the words ... to them': Ibid. ' 1fe that ... to many': Ibid. Jfothers...my motives!: Thelwall removed chis sentence in the fourth edition. 'Times? ... ofall that race': Ibid. Gerrald: Throughout chis section, Thelwall apostrophizes che members of the 'Edinburgh Five' or 'Scottish Martyrs' and their associate Charles Sinclair. Joseph Gerrald (176396), attorney and LCS member, was arrested in December 1793 for participation in the Convention in Edinburgh. He was known for his role as a delegate at the Edinburgh Con-

184

45.

46.

47. 48.

Notes to pages 64-6 vention and for his feisty style. He was skilled in the use of historical precedent to argue for contemporary reform. He used his knowledge of Anglo-Saxon law to argue for the modern necessity of public conventions and in his three-hour speech at his trial, to urge legal reforms. He was sentenced to transportation in March 1794, which eventually took place in May 1795. He developed tuberculosis and was an invalid from his arrival in Australia in November 1795 until his death the following March in 1796. Sinclair: Charles Sinclair, an Edinburgh Convention delegate from the Glasgow Societies, was instrumental in instituting new convention procedures, including adopting the title 'Citizen' and using the name 'British' convention (Goodwin 299). He was indicted, but the case against him was dropped. Margarot- a 'second Sydney': Maurice Margarot (1745-1815), wine merchant, founding member and chairman ofthe LCS and member ofthe 'National Convention' held in Edinburgh, which led to his trial and conviction for treason. Another member ofthe Edinburgh Five, Margarot was sentenced to fourteen years in Botany Bay, but in reality spent sixteen years in exile, likely due to his protests against corruption in the colony and his agitations for prison reform. At any rate, he was the sole martyr to return to England. Upon his return, he immediately campaigned the Home Office for the return of funds he had entrusted to Thomas Hardy (but which had been impounded when Hardy was himself arrested for treason in 1794). Whilst this demand was successful, his claim for compensation for the additional two years he served was not. Margarot was known for his eloquence, pugnacity, intelligence and the colourful figure he cur in court, dressed in his 'French fashion'. 'Second Sidney' is a reference to Algernon Sidney (1623-83), politician, critic of absolure monarchy and author ofDiscourses Concerning Government who was convicted and execured for treason. (Thelwall also named his son Algernon Sidney). Interestingly, Kenneth Johnston refers not to Margarot, bur to Gerrald as fancying himself a 'second Sidney: in 'The First and Last British Convention: Romanticism, 13:2 (2007), pp. 99-132, p. 128. The intercourse... attachments: Thelwall removed this sentence in the fourth edition. Skirving ... Muir ... Palmer: William Skirving (d. 1796), political reformer, farmer. Skirving was involved with the Association for the Abolition ofPatronage and a Repeal of the Test and Corporation Statutes before becoming a founding member and secretary ofthe (Scottish) Society of the Friends of the People ( 1792). He was a delegate to the movement's Scottish conventions, at the first of which he proposed that the Scottish radicals should join with English reformers. He was indicted for sedition together with Margarot, Gerrald, Sinclair and another reformer, Alexander Scott. Acting in his own defence, he was found guilty in January 1794 and sentenced to fourteen years' transportation. He died from dysentery in Port Jackson on 16 March 1796. Thomas Muir (1765-99), political reformer, advocate, founding member and vicepresident of the Association of the Friends of the People in Edinburgh. At the 1792 Edinburgh convention, he read out a printed address from the United Irishmen, a circumstance that led to his arrest on a charge of sedition on 2 January 1793. He was eventually sentenced to fourteen years' transportation on 31 August 1793. In 1796, he escaped Australia on an American ship, whereupon he began an almost unbelievable series ofadventures. He crossed the Pacific via Hawaii to Nootka Sound, Canada, where, afrer a skirmish with British ships, he was captured by coastal aboriginals. He was rescued by a Spanish ship, taken down the coast to southern California, where he crossed Mexico and took another Spanish ship to Havana. He then embarked to Cadiz on a Spanish frigate on 25 March 1797 bur before he could reach land the ship was attacked by two Royal Navy warships on 26 April. He was horribly wounded in the melee and lost his left eye

Notes to pages 67-76

49.

50.

51. 52.

53. 54.

185

and part of his cheek. He was so disfigured that the British could not identify him until an old school-friend recognized his Bible. He was then sent on shore with the wounded Spanish enemy. The Spanish then identified him as the English enemy and imprisoned him. The French finally intervened and after several months, he was released and arrived to a hero's welcome at Bordeaux in late November 1797 and then as the feted guest ofthe Directory in Paris. His wound had become infected by this time, however, and at the end ofJanuary 1799, he was found dead. Thomas Fyshe Palmer (1747-1 802), a privileged, educated, Anglo-Scots, Unitarian minister and theologian, his order of the printing of a thousand copies of a 'Friends of the People' address led to his arrest, trial and sentencing to seven years transportation at Botany Bay. Neither public demonstrations nor the intervention of friends like Charles Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Lord Lauderdale and Lord Stanhope could overturn or lessen Palmer's conviction and he was shipped our in February 1794. After serving his sentence, he set off on the return voyage to Britain, bur died ofdysentery on the way, in Guam. Voltaire ... Henriade: Frarn;ois-Marie Arouet (1694 - 1778), pen name Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher; hugely influential figure for revolutionists, used satire to criticize religious dogma and political corruption and to advocate civil liberties. The Henriadeis a long Virgilian epic poem. Boethius ... in his Consolations of Philosophy: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (AD 480-524/ 5), Roman Christian philosopher, was executed on suspicion of conspiring with the Byzantine Empire. Whilst in prison awaiting execution, Boethius composed what is largely a Socratic dialogue, Consolation ofPhilosophy, which elevates the spirit of philosophy as a force more powerful than political adversity and personal hardship. Epictetus: (c. AD 55-135), a Greek Stoic philosopher, who taught that by determining between that which we can and cannot control or have power over, we could have greater mastery over our own existence. the fabulist ~sop : John Barrell and Jon Mee make the point that in the eighteenth century, ~sop's Fables were ofi:en put to political use, including in this decade, by such radicals as lhelwall, D. l. Eaton and Thomas Spence. See Barrell and Mee, Trialsfor Treason and Sedition, 1792-1 794, 8 vols (London: Pickering and Chatto), vol. 1, p. 300 and especially editorial notes 353-4. to a height of intelligent perfection: in this section and in adjoining sections, lhelwall's debt to Godwin is striking; in this case, he articulates Godwin's ideas about human perfectionism. Come then.. for ever!: This final paragraph is absent in the fourth edition.

Political Lectures II l.

2.

3.

the occasion ofthis Dedication: this section is missing from the third edition. M r Reeves: John Reeves, (1752-1829), barrister, writer, founder and chairman of the Association for Preserving Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers at the Crown and Anchor tavern in the Strand, on 20 November 1792. Branches of this association sprang up across Britain in 1792-3, and their popularity and anti-revolutionary fervour earned Reeves the Savoy Manor Stewardship (1794-1 802). Mr Gurney ... defence of Eaton: Sir John Gurney (1768-1 845), judge, successfully defended the bookseller Daniel Isaac Eaton in an action for libel (see headnote to King Chaunticlere above). He was also defence counsel in the state trials oflhelwall, Thomas Hardy and John Horne Tooke that same year and in the treason trials of Robert Thomas

186

Notes to pages 77-8

Crossfield (who was charged in rhe popgun plot of 1796) and Arthur O'Connor (in 4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

1798).

libels againstgame cocks: see King Chaunticlere in this volume. John Udall: (c. 1560-92/3), religious polemicist, for a work heavily critical ofecclesiastical practices, he was indicted for writing 'a wicked, scandalous libel' (rhe statute of 23 Elizaberh). Although many associates petitioned the queen to lower his dearh sentence to banishment, she refused to sign the pardon and Udall died in prison. reflected ... unfortunate ojfender: from John Gurney's speech, see Barrell and Mee, Trials for Treason and Sedition, pp. 49-50; reprinted in J. Barrell and J. Mee (eds), Trials for Treason and Sedition, vol. 1, pp. 309-10. See note 3 above. condemned them.. .It is to be observed: between the end of his paragraph and the beginning of rhe next, Thelwall inserted rhe following substantial section in rhe rhird edition, wirh a furrher footnote, as indicated: It must be admitted that the prevailing party did not enjoy their triumph wirh rhe most uniform moderation. - I pass without censure rhe punishment of rhe Judges and ministers of Charles; nor can I perceive how any man can be an advocate for any degree ofLiberty whatever, or even a friend to the present family on the Throne, who condemns the execution of Charles himself; whatever he may rhink of rhe manner of conducting the trial. For what is to prevent that Monarch from becoming absolute whom neither the aggregate nor representative body of rhe people can control or punish? and by what tide does rhe house of Brunswick hold the British Sceptre, if it had not been forfeited by the tyranny of rhe Stewarts. [Here Thelwall inserts rhe following footnote: 'I shall treat these subjects at greater lengrh when I deliver (as I intend shortly) rhe Course of Lectures prepared during my confinement in the Tower.'] But the succeeding prosecutions were not all of them equally justifiable. Liberality will condemn the treatment and execution of Hamilton; and it is impossible to peruse the Trial ofJohn Lilburne, without admiration of the virtue and energy of the man, abhorrence for rhe extravagant (rhough by no means singular) profligacy of the Judges, and contempt for the usurping and intolerant spirit of the existing Government. The erection (afi:er rhis acquittal) of a Revolutionary Tribunal, to try political offenders, without the intervention of a Jury, it is impossible to reflect upon wirh patience. It is sufficiently characteristic of that Coercive Liberty which the usurping fragment of a House of Commons, then remaining, was desirous of imposing upon rhe Country. In short-the fact is incontrovertible, that the Government then established had not rhe approbation of rhe majority ofthe people; and when that is rhe case, legalized murders, and illegalprosecutions must be the consequences. Opinion is rhe sole prop of all Governments; and when rhe sentiment of approbation fails, rhe sentiment of terror must be inspired-or farewell to the tottering fabric. Add to rhis rhat the intolerance of religious sects, and the visions of Fanaticism had poisoned the judgment and imbittered the spirit of the Republicans (as they called rhemselves) of rhe day, and we shall wonder no longer at rhe imperfections oftheir rheory, or rhe deformities of rheir practice.] 'If my government ... paper bullets': James Harrington (1611-77), political rheorist, wrote the anti-Hobbes treatise The Commonwealth of Oceana, which promoted classical republican ideas and proposed a model commonwealrh that, although hierarchical,

Notes to pages 79-86

9.

IO. 11.

12.

13. 14. I 5.

I 6. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21.

187

emphasized equality and popular sovereignty: in Harrington's commonwealth, authority depended on consent. Whilst Oceana was being published, Oliver Cromwell ordered it to be confiscated, but then restored the work to Harrington, who added a dedication to Cromwell in 1656. 1n no time ... prosperity': Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715), Bishop ofSalisbury, historian and author of a history of his times, from which Thelwall quotes loosely: G. Burnet, Bishop Burnet's History ofH is Own Time: with notes by the Earls ofDartmouth and Hardwicke, Speaker Onslow and Deans Swift, 2nd edn enlarged, 6 vols (Oxford, 1833), vol. 1, p . 112. 'When the Earl...entirely': from Burnet, Bishop Burnet's History, vol. 1, p. 163. William III ... upon a mendicant': this passage is quoted from J. Gerrald, A Convention the Only Means ofSaving Us from Ruin, in a Letter Addressed to the People of Great Britain, 3rd edn (London: D. I. Eaton, 1794), p. 9. from thefirst proclamation: Largely in response to the popularity ofPaine's Rights ofMan and the popular political associations that proliferated as a result, the government issued a royal proclamation against seditious writings on 21 May 1792. In the same month, Paine's publisher J. S. Jordan was arrested, and after some months of a fierce government propaganda campaign against 'Mad Tom; Paine was himself tried and found guilty in absentia. 'the press ... vigilantpolice': not traced. About this period, says Hume: this long quote is from volume five of David Hume's 6 volume The History ofEnglandfrom the Invasion ofJulius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688. Then it was ... 'seditious libel!!!': The Stuarts are being condemned here for the great number of unconstitutional cases it brought before the Star Chamber. In this section, Thelwall quotes from (but adds his own italics and exclamation marks) Eaton, The Trial ofDanielIsaac Eaton, p. 45-6; reprinted in Barrell and Mee, Trialsfar Treason and Sedition, vol. 1, pp. 305-6. the intolerable oppression ... death: Thelwall quotes from Eaton, The Trial ofDaniel Isaac Eaton, p. 46; reprinted in Barrell and Mee, Trialsfar Treason and Sedition, p. 306. Muir ... Gerrald: On the Edinburgh Five, see note 46, to Political Lectures above. thejudges who: in the third edition, Thelwall expands the sentence slightly to read: '... and the judge who, like another JEFFERIES, could declare.. .'. assuring and confirming to every Englishman ... a libel: quoted from Gurney, The Trial of Danielisaac Eaton, p. 46; reprinted in Barrell and Mee, Trialsfar Treason and Sedition, p. 306. Matthew Hales ... rejected by them: from vol. 5, note C of Hume, The History of England. LIBERTY is preferable to SLAVERY: The famous and much-debated passage from Hume's Whether the British Government Inclines More to Absolute Monarchy, or to a Republic, is worth quoting at length here: It is well known, that every government must come to a period, and that death is unavoidable to the political as well as to the animal body. But, as one kind of death may be preferable to another, it may be enquired, whether it be more desirable for the BRITISH constitution to terminate in a popular government, or in absolute monarchy? Here I would frankly declare, that, though liberty be preferable to slavery, in almost every case; yet I should rather wish to see an absolute monarch than a republic in this island. For, let us consider, what kind of republic we have reason to expect. The question is not concerning any fine imaginary republic, of which a

as

188

22.

23.

24. 25. 26.

27.

28.

29.

Notes to pages 86-90

man may form a plan in his closet. There is no doubt, bur a popular government may be imagined more perfect than absolute monarchy, or even than our present constitution. Bur what reason have we to expect that any such government will ever be established in GREAT BRITAIN, upon the dissolution of our monarchy? If any single person acquire power enough to take our constitution to pieces, and put it up a-new, he is really an absolute monarch; and we have already had an instance of this kind, sufficient to convince us, that such a person will never resign his power, or establish any free government. [Hume refers to Cromwell here] Matters, therefore, must be trusted to their natural progress and operation; and the house of commons, according to its present constitution, must be the only legislature in such a popular government.... If the house of commons, in such a case, ever dissolve itsel£ which is not to be expected, we may look for a civil war every election. If it continue itsel£ we shall suffer all the tyranny of a faction, subdivided into new factions. And, as such a violent government cannot long subsist, we shall, at last, after many convulsions, and civil wars, find repose in absolute monarchy, which it would have been happier for us to have established peaceably from the beginning. Absolute monarchy, therefore, is the easiest death, the true Euthanasia of the BRITISH constitution. opponents: the third edition includes this footnote: The matter of this discourse was originally delivered in one lecture; but after it was drawn our in its present form, it was delivered as two; and the second began with the persecution of the Lollards. the Lo/lards: A group of religious and political reformers who, from the mid-fourteenth century to the English Reformation, demanded the reform of the Roman Catholic Church, believing that piety should be emphasized over church hierarchy, and Scriptural authority over the authority ofpriests. Somepassages ... he himselfhad, from Burnet, Bishop Burnet's History, vol. l pp. 25-6. See note 9 above. The more he knew ...enough: Hume, History ofEngland, vol. 5. As SirJohn Brute says ofmarriage: Thelwall is referring to a character from J. Vanbrugh, The Provok'd Wife: A Comedy (London: Printed for J. Brindley et. al., l 753). The passage, from Li, p.7, is as follows: 'What cloying meat is love, when matrimony's the sauce to it! Two years' marriage has debauched my five senses! Everything I see, everything I hear, everything I feel, everything I smell, and everything I taste, methinks has wife in't.' tyrants ... people: from T. B. Howell (ed.), A Complete Collection ofState Trials and Proceedingsfor High Treason and Other Crimes andMisdemeanorsfrom the Earliest Period to the Year 1783, with notes and illustrations, 21 vols (London: T. C. Hansard et. al, 1816) vol. l,pp. 175-220,p.186. hinc illlacraymae: 'hence those tears' (Latin). Thelwall is emphasizing Gurney's argument that the government was most concerned with the cheapness of the pamphlet, believing that accessibility was part of Eaton's crime. See Eaton, The Trial ofDaniel Isaac Eaton, p. 35, Barrell and Mee, Trialsfor Treason and Sedition, p. 295 and n. 353. Judge Jefferies upon the trial of Sidney: George Jeffreys, first Baron Jeffreys (1645-89), judge, ChiefJustice of the King's Bench, 1683-5; presided over the treason trial ofAlgernon Sidney, the most renowned ofthe Rye House plotters (for more on Sidney, see note 46, to Political Lectures). During the trial Sidney challenged Jeffrey's rather shaky legal knowledge, particularly over the necessity of having two witnesses to treason (there was only one). Bur, according to Jeffreys, who famously pronounced 'scribere est agree', or 'to write is to act' (see State Trials, 9.889), Sidney's unpublished 'Discourses' were effectively

Notes to pages 91- 7

30.

31. 32.

33. 34.

35. 36.

37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

189

a second witness. In less than half an hour, the jury found Sidney guilty and Jeffreys pronounced the sentence ofdeath. continually: in the third edition, this sentence is followed by one that does not appear in earlier editions: 'This very defence, however, was blasphemy ro the m itred apostles of the time.' But I said ... anymore: quoted from Howell, A Complete Collection ofState Trials, vol. 1, pp. 175-220, p. 220. Sirjohn O/dcastle Lord Cobham: (d. 1417), soldier, knight and a Lollard who was found guilty ofheresy (and thus treason), for which he was executed. He was the first layperson of prominence to be publicly accused ofheresy. that after ... were spoken: quoted from A Complete Collection of State Trials, vol. 1. pp. 225-68, pp. 242-3. confessions: Thelwall inserts the following footnote here, in the third edition: 'N.B. As this was first published more than eight months ago, it could have no possible allusion to the Confession of Watt the spie! !!' 'And when ... INSURRECTIONS: Ibid., p. 251. commonwealth: Thelwall includes the following footnote in the third edition: It is remarkable that among the modern advocates, as they call themselves, for our ancient Constitution, Republicanism, or attachment to the Commonwealth, should be considered as High Treason, though all the ancient writers uniformly agree in calling England a Commonwelath, and regard the King only as the Chief Magistrate of that Commonwealth; not as the proprietor ofan Imperial Crown-a jargon unheard of till the unfortunate period of the Restoration! 'The complaint ... priests': Ibid., p. 252. 'And this ... stronger': Ibid., p. 251. cabinet: in the third edition, 'cabinet' is replaced with 'minister.' 'hereticks ... lana: Ibid., p. 252. 'In him ... Christian': Ibid., p. 255. Richmond: in the third edition, Thelwall replaces 'Richmond' with 'Hawkesbury'. Gerraldand Margarot, ofSkirving, Muir andPalmer: on the Edinburgh Five, see note 46 to PoliticalLectures, above.

Fraternity and Unanimity l.

2.

Thelwall includes the following postscript to the third edition: P.S.As the notes ofmy Lectures {and indeed all my manuscripts - the labours ofmy life) are stillin the hands ofgovernment; and as I have twice applied, withoutgetting any sort ofanswer, far their restoration, I cannot promise the immediate publication ofthe three discourses that ought tofallow this. But as it is a subject ofgrowing importance, it is not my intention that its continuance should depend on the uncertain recovery ofmy papers. The seven months ofleisure and retirement with which it has lately pleased the Minister to indulge me, has enabled me to render myseifstillfurther acquainted with the essential facts; andas soon as the completion ofmy promised Narrative permits me to return to the subject, it shall be resumed - perhaps with advantagefrom the delay. H ardy: Thomas Hardy (1752-1832), shoemaker, radical and a founder of the London Corresponding Society. The Bow Street Runners arrested him on 12 May 1794, the first in a line ofsuch arrests (including Thelwall's) and after questioning he was remanded to the Tower ofLondon on the charge ofhigh treason. Whilst imprisoned, his house was attacked

190

Notes to pages 103-24 during a cdebration ofLord Howe's naval victory over the French and his heavily pregnant wife had to be pulled through a back window by neighbours. As a result ofher injuries, she died on 27 August whilst giving birth to a stillborn baby. At the end of October Hardy was taken to Newgate and formally arraigned on treason charges, to which he pled not guilty. He was expertly defended by Thomas Erskine and the jury found him not guilty. On his rdease, his coach was drawn through the streets by crowds ofcelebrating supporters.

john Gilpin's Ghost 1. 2. 3.

4.

5.

6. 7.

8.

John Gilpin: the character is a comical linen-draper in William Cowper's 'The Diverting

H istory ofJohn Gilpin.' King Chanticleer, or the Fate ofTyranny: reprinted in this volume. On Eaton's acquittal for publishing it, see the headnote to that text. Oakham: Thelwall's mail to his brother-in-law (which contained King Chanticlere and details of Eaton's indictment) was intercepted in Oakham, the town where he and his wife Stella were married in 179 1. While rhis satirical ballad was published after his trial for treason in 1795, it was written before it and somehow escaped being seized with the rest ofhis papers. great men of Oakham: Among Thelwall's list of Oakhamites is the loyalist William Combes (or Combe, 1742-1823), satirist, historian and hack writer. For at least the early 1790s, Combes was on the Treasury payroll, earning £200 per year from Pitt for such pro-ministerial writings during the Regency crisis and in the aftermath of the French Revolution as his Letterfrom a Country Gentleman to aMember ofParliament on the Present State ofPublic Affairs ( 1789), History of the Late Important Period; from the Beginning ofhis Majesty's Illness (1789), and Word in Season to the Traders andManufacturers ofGreat Britain (1792) . Lord Winchelsea: virulently anti-Thelwallian and, according to Greg Claeys, had some of Thelwall's family evicted from their farm for reading Thelwall's writings, G. Claeys, The Politics ofEnglishJacobinism: Writings ofJohn The/wall (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995) p. xx. Biggleswade: a market town in Bedfordshire. pop-guns: this is a mocking reference to the 'popgun plot' of late September 1794. This was aplan, allegedly hatched by members ofthe LCS, to assassinate King George III with an airgun that would fire a poisoned arrow at the king whilst he was pottering around the grounds at Windsor or sat in his box at Covent Garden Theatre. The details and subsequent arrests for this plot immediately preceded the October treason trials, a fact that was not lost on the opposition, some members of whom suggested the government had manufactured some of this plot. See Barrell, Imagining the King's Death, ch. 14, 'The Pop-Gun Plot: A Tragicomedy by Thomas Upton'. Joey White: Joseph White, the Treasury Solicitor, was instrumental in extorting and publicizing incriminating information against Thelwall at his trial.

Prospectus ofa Course ofLectures 1. 2. 3.

Mason's Elfrida: William Mason (1724-97), poet of the 1752 historical tragedy Elfr-

ida. An Act ... Assemblies: one of the infamous Two Acts'; see 'Introduction'. Attorney General and Chancellor ofthe Exchequer: John Scott, first Earl of Eldon (17511838), Lord High Chancellor, presided overthe treason trials; William Pitt (1759-1806)

Notes to pages 125-39

191

simultaneously held office as Prime Minister and as Chancellor of the Exchequer, from 1783 to 1801 and then from 1804 until his death. 4 . Mr. Pitt's Sedition Bill: commonly referred to as The Two Acts, see 'Introduction' in this volume. 5. Locke, Sydney, and Harrington: On Locke, see note 19 to the Introduction of this volume; on James Harrington (1611-77), political theorist, author of the anti-Hobbes Oceana, see note 46 above. 6. Barlowe, Paine, and Callendar: Joel Barlow (I 754-1812), American poet, radical pamphleteer and diplomatist, member of the London Society for Constitutional Information, author of Advice to the Privileged Orders ( I792 and 1793). For Paine, see note 12 to the second Political Lecture, above; James Thomson Callender (1758-1803), political writer, journalist and radical; member of the Edinburgh Friends of the People, author of the antiwar, anti-imperialist The Political Progress ofBritain and friend of Thomas Muir. In the mid- l 790s, he fled to America, where he put his vitriolic pen to work on such political figures such as Washington and Alexander Hamilton, as well as other journalists, including the expatriate William Cobbett. 7. Rapin: Paul de Rapin de Thoyras (1661-1725), army officer and historian; author of Dissertation sur les Whigs et les Torys ( 1717), praised the mixed system of government (parliamentary and constitutional) of the Saxons and describes how, since then, English history has struggled to achieve liberty by establishing the correct balance between the 'prerogatives' of the crown and the 'privileges' of the people. 8. Socrates ... Suetonius: Thelwall's point here, in listing these classical philosophers, historians and political writers, is that although they were critics ofwar and corrupt government, the distance of time makes them all 'safe' subjects for lecturing. 9. VERTOT, MONTESQUIEU: Rene-Aubert Vertot (1655-1735), French historian. Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu, baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu (16891755), French Enlightenment figure, political philosopher, author of The Spirit of the Laws, in which he outlined his theory of the separation ofgovernment powers; interestingly, there are some points in common between Montesquieu's ideas and that of the classical historian Tacitus, whom Thelwall lists above as one of the 'safe' writers under Pitt's (on climate and national identity for instance). 10. REEVES ... EDWARDS: see notes 4 and 14, to Political Lectures, above. 11. country lodging-. on Thelwall's 'lodging' in the Tower whilst awaiting his trial for treason, see note 45, to Political Lectures, above. 12. My second commenced: Thelwall was moved from the Tower to Newgate.

I. 2.

An Appeal to Popular Opinion, Against Kidnapping & Murder There is something rotten in the state ofDenmark: oft-quoted phrase from Shakespeare's

Hamlet. Pitt or Fox, ofPaine or Brunswick: Thelwall makes the point, as he does elsewhere, that politics must be a question of principle, not political faction or party. In other words, politics should not be about supporting either the Tory Prime Minister Pitt or the Whig Leader of the Opposition Charles James Fox; nor should the question be about choosing the popular hero, Tom Paine, or supporting the notorious defender of monarchy, the Duke of Brunswick (see note 5, to Political Lectures, above). It is possible, too, that 'Brunswick' may refer to the royal family in general.

l 92 3. 4.

5.

6. 7.

8.

9.

Notes to pages 140-9 the new Acts: on the 'Two Acts; see 'Introduction; and headnote ro Prospectus ofa Course ofLectures, above. the city ofNorwich: in the 1790s, Norwich was a centre of radicalism and dissent. Norwich was the Many reform-minded families and acquaintances met, corresponded and contributed to the Norwich's radical journal the Cabinet, including members of the Pattison and Amyot families, William Enfield, William Dalrymple and Henry Crabb Robinson. See P. J. Corfield and C. Evans (eds), Youth and Revolution in the 1790s: Letters ofWilliam Pattisson, Thomas Amyot and Henry Crabb Robinson (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1996). Septembrizers ofFrance: refers to the waves offear and violence the surged through Paris in late summer 1792. The September Massacres, as they quickly became called, were initiated by several things: political confusion, the failure of the Constitution of 1791, the storming of the Tuileries, the weakness of the Legislative Assembly, the growing extremism and power of the newly-formed Paris commune, the Brunswick Manifesto and news of the Prussian Army moving toward Paris (see note 5, to Political Lectures, above). Among the acts of violence were the brutal slaying of a group of priests being moved to the L'Abbaye prison; mob attacks ofprisons in which prisoners - male and female, adult and child - were slaughtered; and the rape and mutilation of the Princesse de Lamballe (friend of Marie Antoinette and sister-in-law to the Due d'Orleans). Cammon Money: may refer to John Money (1739/40-1817), a balloonist and military theorist. the books.from which the lecture was delivered: these tides give us a sense of how Tuelwall could discourse on contemporary political subjects by lecturing on classical history. 'Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnassus; Dionysius of Halicarnassus (60 Be-after 7 BC), Greek historian and rhetorician; the methodology of his early Roman history, Roman Antiquities, would have attracted Thelwall: Dionysius used historic examples to illustrate philosophic principles; similarly, 'Plutarch's Lives' or Parallel Lives, the great work of Greek historian Plutarch (46 AD-120 AD) uses biographies of famous Greeks and Romans to illustrate human virtue and vice; in An Essay on Lacaedemonian Government (1698), the radical Whig Walter Moyle (1672-1721) gave a positive portrayal ofLycurgus's Sparta, a nation that owed its stability and liberties to the checks and balances built into its ancient constitution. lord Spencer: George John Spencer, second Earl Spencer (1758-1834), politician and first lord of the Admiralty to the office ofprivy seal. Although Spencer had been a Whig and supporter of the opposition leader Charles James Fox, the course of the French Revolution impelled him to join William Pitt's Tories in 1794. That same year he unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Austrians to increase their campaign in the war against France. By December, he had taken over the office of the privy seal, where he demanded navy officers recognize the civilian authority of his office. Robespierre: Maximilien Frarn;ois Marie Isidore de Robespierre (1758-94), a key figure of the French Revolution. He was one of the most popular orators in the Convention and his carefully prepared speeches often made a deep impression. His panegyrics on revolutionary government and his praise of virtue demonstrate his belief that the Terror was necessary, laudable and inevitable. It was Robespierre's belief that the Republic and virtue were of necessity inseparable. He reasoned that the Republic could only be saved by the virtue of its citizens, and that the Terror was virtuous because it attempted to maintain the Revolution and the Republic. However, he took his principles to extremes and became a powerful force in the Terror of the mid-l 790s, which saw immense numbers of French citizens sent to the guillotine

Notes to pages 154-64

193

10. Sir EdmundLacon: Sir Edmund Knowles Lacon, (1780-1839), second Baronet ofGreat Yarmouth, Norfolk. At the time ofThelwall's visit, Lacon would have been High Sheriff ofNorfolk. 11 . lettres de cachet: to many observers, these were the definitive symbol of the entwined nature of political tyranny and familial degradation under the Old Regime in France. Through these legal orders - which bore the king's signature - individuals could have family members and acquaintances arrested and jailed for an indeterminate period of time. Lettres de cachet demonstrated how, under the authority of corrupt laws and the sanction of a distant father-king who cared little for his subjects, family members were entitled, even encouraged, to persecute their own flesh and blood. As one pro-revolutionary British pamphleteer wrote, 'It was not uncommon, to see sons or daughters, actuated by the unnatural ambition of appropriating to themselves a fortune .. . to confine [their parents] for life, on the false pretence of insanity.' By the same means, 'a troublesome husband or an unpleasant wife' or 'an inhuman mother, jealous of the growing beauty of her daughter' could rid themselves of inconvenient family members. M. du Fresnoy, An

Address to the National Assembly ofFrance; Containing Strictures on Mr. Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (Cambridge: J. Archdeacon, 1792) in Claeys, vol. 2, pp.

30-58, p. 40. 12. Robberspiere: a perhaps purposeful misspelling of Robespierre, see note 123, above. 13. Mr.Windham: William Wyndham Grenville, Baron Grenville (1759-1834), prime minister (1806-7), cousin of William Pitt, friend of Edmund Burke. During his reign as leader of the House of Lords and Foreign Secretary (1791-1801), he became satirized for not only his anti-Jacobinism, his part in Britain's questionable war policies against France and the Treason Trials, but also for his dumpy appearance, his sizeable head and even more sizeable backside, which earned him the moniker 'Bogey'. Wyndham famously called Thelwall 'an acquitted felon'. 14. Chalk Farm: The famous open-air meeting at Chalk Farm, north Camden in April 1794, organized by the LCS, attracted 2000 petitioners for parliamentary reform. This meeting preceded the May arrests ofThelwall, Horne Tooke and others as well as Pitt's 'Two Acts.' Also see 'Introduction' to chis volume. 15. St. George's fields ... Mary-la-bonne fields: Ocher LCS rallies were held in St. George's Fields, Southwark in June 1795 and an allegedly 150,000-200,000-strong meeting at Copenhagen House, Islington in November 1795 and at Marylebone Fields in 1795. The Copenhagen House meeting is represented in James Gillray's 1795 caricature 'Copenhagen house; which portrays Thelwall delivering a fiery oration from the platform. The reformers John Gale Jones, Joseph Priestley and William Hodgson are also represented. 16. Reevite associations: See note 4 to Political Lectures, above. 17. Scots and Mitfards: possibly this refers to the Mitford family, an ancient family of Scotland, who had their land unfairly confiscated and after generations of agitation, finally had their land returned to chem. 18. an intelligent and valuablefriend: possibly William Alderson of the Alderson-Opie family.

THE PICKERING MASTER S

SELECTED POLITICAL WRITINGS OF JOHN THELWALL

CONTENTS OF THE EDITION

volume 1 General Introduction Early Political Pamphlets and Lectures, 1793–1796 volume 2 Selections from the Tribune, 1795–1796 volume 3 Journalism and Selected Writings on Elocution and Oratory, 1797–1809 volume 4 Late Journalism and Writing on Elocution and Oratory, 1810–1832 Index

SELECTED POLITICAL WRITINGS OF JOHN THELWALL

Edited by Robert Lamb and Corinna Wagner

Volume 2 Selections from the Tribune, 1795–1796

First published 2009 by Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Limited Published 2016 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business 2009 Copyright © Taylor & Francis2200 Copyright © Editorial material Robert Lamb and Corinna Wagner 2009 All rights reserved, including those of translation into foreign languages. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. british library cataloguing in publication data Telwall, John, 1764–1834 Selected political writings of John Telwall. – (Te Pickering masters) 1. Telwall, John, 1764–1834 2. Political science – England – Early works to 1800 3. Elocution 4. Oratory 5. Radicalism – England – Early works to 1800 6. Great Britain – Politics and government – 1789–1820 I. Title II. Lamb, Robert III. Wagner, Corinna 320.9’41’09033

ISBN-13: 978-1-85196-928-9 (set) DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720

Typeset by Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Limited

CONTENTS

Tribune, volume 1 (1795) ‘Examination of Mr. Pitt’s Statement of the fourishing State of our Commerce – From the Lecture on the BUDGET’ ‘On the Probable Consequences of Continuing the Present System of Ambition and Hostility – From the First Lecture on the Nature and Calamities of War’ ‘No War Just but a War of Self Defence’ ‘Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messenger, &c. on the Seizure of J. Telwall’s Paper; with his Examination before the Privy Council; Treatment at the Messengers, &c’ ‘Tax on Hair Powder. From the Lecture on the Budget’ ‘Historical Strictures on Whigs and Tories – From the First Lecture on the Distinction between Party Spirit and Public Principle’ ‘Lecture on the System of Terror and Persecution Adopted by the Present Ministry; with Animadversions on the Treatment of Joseph Gerrald’ ‘On Prosecutions for Pretended Treason’ (conclusion) ‘Te Address of J. Telwall to the Audience at Closing his Lectures for the Season’ ‘Continuation of the Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messengers, &c’ Tribune, volume 2 (1796) ‘On Allies and Alliances; with Strictures on the Faith of Regular Governments’ ‘On the comparative Estimate of the Slave Trade, the Practice of Crimping, and Mr Pitt’s Partial Requisition Bill’ ‘On the Importance of Avoiding Personal Factions and Divisions Among the Friends of Reform’ ‘On the Causes of the Late Disturbance’ Tribune, volume 3 (1796) ‘Te Connection between the Calamities of the Present Reign, and the System of Borough-Mongering Corruption’

1 7

15 26

27 36 41 51 71 85 93 115 129 147 163 177 191 197

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Selected Political Writings of John Telwall, Volume 2

‘A Further Enquiry into the Calamities Produced by the System and Usurpation and Corruption (Fourth Lecture)’ ‘A Further Enquiry into the Calamities Produced by the System of Corruption (Fifh Lecture)’ ‘Godwin’s Pamphlet’ ‘A Further Enquiry into the Calamities Produced by the System of Usurpation and Corruption (Eighth Lecture)’ ‘On the Revolution in 1688’ ‘Civic Oration on the Anniversary of the Acquittal of the Lecturer’ ‘Te First Lecture on the Political Prostitution of our Public Teatres’ ‘Farewel Address’ Editorial Notes

211 227 239 243 255 271 291 309 317

TRIBUNE, VOLUME 1 (1795)

‘Examination of Mr. Pitt’s Statement of the fourishing State of our Commerce – From the Lecture on the BUDGET’, Tribune, 1:2. ‘On the Probable Consequences of Continuing the Present System of Ambition and Hostility – From the First Lecture on the Nature and Calamities of War’, Tribune, 1:3. ‘No War Just but a War of Self-Defence’, Tribune, 1:3. ‘Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messenger, &c. on the Seizure of J. Telwall’s Paper; with his Examination before the Privy Council; Treatment at the Messengers, &c’, Tribune, 1:4. ‘Tax on Hair Powder. From the Lecture on the Budget’, Tribune, 1:4. ‘Historical Strictures on Whigs and Tories – From the First Lecture on the Distinction between Party Spirit and Public Principle’, Tribune, 1:8. ‘Lecture on the System of Terror and Persecution Adopted by the Present Ministry; with Animadversions on the Treatment of Joseph Gerrald’, Tribune, 1:12. ‘On Prosecutions for Pretended Treason’, Tribune, 1:12. ‘On Prosecutions for Pretended Treason’ (conclusion), Tribune, 1:13. ‘Te Address of J. Telwall to the Audience at Closing his Lectures for the Season’, Tribune, 1:15. ‘Continuation of the Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messengers, &c’, Tribune, 1:14.

Te lectures included below come from the three collected volumes of the Tribune, Telwall’s weekly periodical that was frst published in March 1795 and remained in regular circulation until it became a victim of government censure in April 1796. By some accounts, between fve- and seven-hundred people paid sixpence each to pack into the Beaufort Buildings twice a week to hear Telwall basking in the glory of his increased popularity and notoriety following his acquittal at the treason trials. Tese lectures, delivered throughout 1795 to an audience that had increasingly broadened out to include the middling classes, are characterized by stinging, passionate indictments of Pitt’s government: chas–1–

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tising it for pursuing the war with France, accusing it of violating the liberties of British ‘citizens’ and blaming it for the rise in prices and poverty. He was suffciently committed to his oratorical performances to remove himself from the London Corresponding Society fearing that his continuing involvement would compromise that activity. Te Tribune became the perfect vehicle for Telwall to consolidate the success of his lectures and also reach out to an audience that were unable to attend them: 1,000 copies were printed weekly and sold for three pence, reaching out to those who could not aford to buy a ticket for Beaufort Buildings. Tey were taken down by a shorthand writer – the lack of which is the reason for the absence of the opening lecture of 6 February on the ‘liberty of speech and the press’ – and then revised by Telwall for publication. In an advertisement, he explained that achieving and maintaining a high circulation was his objective and though doing so would ensure that the expenses of the printer and shorthand writer would be satisfed, any signifcant proft remained unlikely and was in any case irrelevant to his enterprise. Tat said, a ‘fne edition’ of the periodical was also sold for sixpence for those willing and able to pay more. Te frst collected volume contained lectures from 14 March to the closing of the season on 20 June 1795 as well as Telwall’s letters to government authorities regarding the seizure of many of his belongings at the time of his arrest – possessions that included not only manuscripts and books but also numerous portraits, none of which were ever returned to him. It was sold for four shillings and sixpence in ‘common’ form and seven shillings and sixpence for the luxury version. Since the lectures that comprise the frst collected volume took place mostly in the spring and early summer of 1795, it is unsurprising that the main themes addressed concern Britain’s war with Revolutionary France and the unwelcome efect its continuation was having on the domestic economy. Among other things, the budget announced by Pitt in February, committed the government to loan £4.6 million to Austria in return for military support against France. Telwall relentlessly lambastes the Prime Minister for misleading the public over the state of the economy and expresses grave concerns about the debt under which the country ‘groans’ and the alarming number of bankruptcies announced weekly in the press. When tackling the war, Telwall’s case against it is made on several grounds, focusing on the human cost apparent – the depopulation by ‘sword’ and ‘disease’ – as well as the fnancial cost and includes an ominous observation that the waging of illegitimate wars that pay no heed to the public interest exemplify the kind of despotic behaviour associated with the ancien regime. For him, the only just war is one of ‘self-defence’ and his prophetic critique is intended to warn the government and incite the indignation of his listeners and readers. Te legitimacy of the Tory administration is further called into question by Telwall’s determination to recount in vivid detail the circumstances of his arrest the previous

Te Tribune, Volume 1

3

year, including his examination before the Privy Council. With clear relish he recollects his interrogation, keen to emphasize the twitchiness of Pitt and the lamentable combination of incompetence, cruelty and disregard for due process on the part of the state authorities. At the end of the frst volume, Telwall provides further evidence of the injustice he sufered at the hands of the government: his letters to frst the Secretary of State and then the Privy Council are included as documentary proof of his attempt to recover his property. Te Tribune thus aforded Telwall an excellent opportunity to preserve the image of the ‘acquitted felon’ in the public mind, highlighting the failure and mistakes of the government. So, on the anniversary of the arrest, he lectures on the concept of treason and its recent history and boldly asserts that because the defnition of treason is the act of betrayal, the real traitors are ‘found in that class of men who are themselves the prosecutors for treason’ because they have betrayed the trust of the people.1 Towards the end of the volume, he includes the lecture that closed his season in June. Te closure was motivated by his desire to recuperate in the summer months and to fulfl important familial obligations and the lecture concludes by restating two themes that run throughout the volume: the connection between happiness and liberty and the refusal to embrace political moderation, as such moderation will likely mean a ‘midway path between vice and virtue’.2 Te selections from the three collected editions of the Tribune we have included below comprises less than a third of the whole. Having such a limit makes the choice of what material to include and what to omit a frustrating and, to some extent, an arbitrary one. Tis situation was eased only very slightly by our decision not to publish lectures that had already been included in Gregory Claeys’s Te Politics of English Jacobinism: Writings of John Telwall. In compiling these lectures we were conscious of trying to present at least three diferent aspects of Telwall’s writing: his response to immediate political events, such as the war on France and the Treasonable Practices Act; his more abstract theorizing about the nature of liberty and justice and thoughts on the purpose of political associations; and, fnally, the lectures that were most performative, which provide both a glimpse of his distinct oratorical style and demonstrate how he used theatrical politics to his rhetorical advantage. We certainly hope that readers are not fully satisfed with this portion of Telwall’s journalism of the mid-1790s but that their considerably whetted appetite will encourage them to investigate in its entirety.

Notes 1. 2.

See below, p. 68. See below, p. 91.

THE

T R I B U N E, A PERIODICAL PUBLICATION consisting chiefly of the POLITICAL LECTURES of J. THELWALL

taken in short-hand by w. ramsey, and revised by the lecturer.

VOL. I. To paint the voice, and fx the feeting sound. HAYLEY.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR, AND SOLD BY THE FOLLOWING BOOKSELLERS: D.I. EATON, Newgate-Street; SMITH, Portsmouth-Street, Lincoln’s InnFields; and BURKS, Crispin-Street, Spitalfelds 1795. –5–

THE TRIBUNE, NO. II.

Saturday, 21st March, 1795. … ‘Examination of Mr. Pitt’s Statement of the fourishing State of our Commerce.’ – From the Lecture on the BUDGET.1

CITIZENS, It is very well known that among those persons, who call themselves politicians, the frst object of calculation is revenue, by which their war and their projects may be carried on. It is very well known, that the lives of individuals are considered only in a secondary point of view: that they only calculate how long they can get money enough to procure men to be slaughtered at their command; and consider but little the groans, the anguish, the miseries, of those poor wretches who are devoted to destruction, and whose families they leave to still worse destruction behind them. If this is the case it is of some importance to state what situation they stand in, even with respect to their own system; to shew them how near they are towards exhausting those resources which are to them of the utmost importance. For if they should chuse to argue thus, ‘It is true the population of the country is considerably thinned; it is true that the sword has wasted many, that pestilence and disease in foreign climates has wasted more, that many have perished through the hardships and calamities to which they were exposed in this country, and that thousands and tens of thousands yearly fy from these shores to America, to avoid their portion of the inconveniences of the present ruinous system; but still we can raise Revenue, still we can bring money into the public Exchequer, by which we can hire men to cut throats at our bidding; and so long as we are served it is a matter of very little consequence in what country the individuals are born who are murdered for our pastime and aggrandisement.’ If, I say, they should argue in this way, it is of some importance to remind them in reply how long those pecuniary resources, so much dearer than the lives of human beings, may last. Remember the state of the public revenue, and know that however afuent, however powerful, however magnifcent in resources a country may be, however willing the inhabitants of that country to spend their –7–

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Selected Political Writings of John Telwall, Volume 2

last guinea, their last shilling, still the last guinea and the last shilling is all that you can have, and when they have spent the whole you can have no possible means of obtaining more. It will be of importance, then, to shew the very rapid accumulation of that public debt under which we groan.2 I say, under which we groan, for it is my intention to prove in the course of this lecture that Revenue is supported by the groans of those who are doomed, in consequence of the ruinous system we pursue, to labour without end, and procure no comfort to themselves and family by that labour. Citizens, I shall not now expatiate upon the cruel system of war in general; I shall not attempt to paint to you all those horrors which belong to a system of this kind: neither shall I attempt to bring before you, on the present occasion, all the peculiar aggravations with which the present war is attended; the infamy, the false and shufing pretences with which it has been accompanied; the precipitancy and pride with which it was rushed into; the vain boasting with which it has long been bolstered up; and the failure of every project by which those boasts have been supported. Neither shall I dwell, in particular, upon the depravity and wickedness of one country interfering with the internal concerns of another, and endeavouring to prevent any set of people from forming for themselves such a constitution a they themselves think ft. Neither shall I at present call your attention to the inconsistency of those who support this measure. I might, it is true, if I were so inclined, by animadverting on the constitution of Corsica,3 and the manner in which that constitution is said to have been formed, and comparing it with the doctrines and principles held up by those who have occasioned that constitution to be adopted, shew how themselves practically deny the very principal they have laid down; and afrm in the most open way every doctrine which those who have maintained the cause of liberty have endeavoured to uphold; that they have ratifed the universal right of the great body of the people to form their own government, to enfranchise themselves from one, and set up another; and that they have laid down that right as resting upon the system of universal sufrage: that is, the right every individual has of forming a representative government in which he himself has collaterally a voice equal with that of any other individual in the country. Citizens, Te ravages and depopulation produced by this war, as I have already observed are not the main object of this lecture, my present intention is to consider the waste of Public Revenue, the rapid manner in which, by exertion afer exertion foolishly directed and still more foolishly conducted, we are exhausting the power of the country, and drawing rapidly towards that situation in which the expences and the corruption of the system under which they live can no longer be supported.

Te Tribune, Volume 1

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Citizens, It is very true that the Honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer upholds a doctrine in the House of Commons, totally inconsistent with that sort of conclusion which it is my purpose to draw. But you are to remember what have been the doctrines and what have been the sentiments of that being during the last two or three years in particular. You are also to call to your recollection what sort of proof they have endured when they have been put to the test of experiment; and if you fnd that in every individual instance, when he has tried the experiment, the result has been diametrically opposite to the theory he has laid down, I shall then have a right to conclude, that you have no great reason to place any confdence in his professions and plausable stories, however able he may be to dress them up in the semblance of truth; however prompt to support them with bold assertions. If he set out with telling you that the English army would march to the gates of Paris, and is now almost in a paroxysm of despair lest the French army should be at the gates of London: If he promised you, at the very outset of the war, that in all probability that war would be terminated in the frst campaign, and if we are now at the beginning of the third, and he is telling you (truly) that fve times the resources are necessary now that were requisite when he frst commenced: If at the outset of the war he also promised you the wealth, the advantages, the exclusive possession of the whole West India settlements; and if it should appear to you that the result of the experiment has been that Sir Charles Grey4 and Admiral Jervis5 and two or three other individuals have in reality procured considerable and ample fortunes for themselves, but that the mass of their followers reaped no other harvest than the yellow plague, which, with great difculty, was prevented from being imported into this country, and raging with infectious pestilence among us also: If it should appear to you that in the present prospect of afairs (and I refer you to the ministerial papers) the strong probability is, not only that the islands we have captured, but our own islands also, will be ultimately seized upon by that people whom we threatened to strip of every thing; but who, if we prosecute this mad crusade any longer, are likely to strip us of every thing: – even of the independency of our own country. If all this be true, there is very little foundation for trusting to the boastful confdence of this man, when he tells you that the resources of the country are still equal to the protection of this war; that the purse of the nation, like the widow’s cruise in sacred writ, is inexhaustible; and the more you drain from it the more will be found at the bottom. He tells you it is true that the commerce of the country is in a very fourishing situation. But if this be true, how come the manufacturers of the country, upon which that commerce depends, to be in a situation so deplorable? How is it that notwithstanding all the depopulation that has taken place by the sword, notwithstanding all the depopulation that has taken place by diseases springing from the inclement season and the miserable

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condition of those who had not wherewithall to repel the inclemency of that season – neither comfortable food, proper clothing for their limbs, coals for their grates, nor glass to their windows to shut out the bleak and bitter winds; – how is it, that notwithstanding this depopulation, the most fortunate of those manufacturers who still remain can scarcely ever procure full work; and when they do, generally receive but two thirds of the pay they used to receive? – how comes in that so many hundreds and thousands of families in Spital-felds, in Norwich, and other manufacturing towns are totally deprived of all employment – are crying in vain for bread; and that you are obliged to raise large contributions in every corner of the kingdom – to do what? To protect the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb? No – but to aford half a meal to those individuals who still possess the power and the disposition to work; and who would, if the country had been wisely governed, have been able to have earned a plentiful subsistence for themselves and families: to have received much better pay, while at the same time every individual of the higher classes might have received encreased instead of diminished profts, from their labours. Tat manufacturers should decline and yet commerce increase appears almost as reasonable as that the whole surface of the earth should be buried under the ocean, add yet every species of vegetation be produced in greater abundance than before. But he tells you, that you are not to listen to arguments, you are not to listen to the sophistical declamations of men who persuade you that you ought to be discontented; that you are unhappy: for I tell you, says he, that you are happy; and I will prove it you. And how will I prove it to you? By shewing the quantity of enjoyment which you at this time possess? by shewing you that you and your families are well clothed and fed? by shewing you that you can keep comfortable houses over your heads, and that there is no danger of being turned out like vagabonds because you cannot pay the rent? – No; I cannot give you these demonstrations but I can give you better: I can set down so many fgures upon a piece of paper; and then, if you will not be convinced by the sacred truths of arithmetic, in opposition to all your feelings and sensations, then you are a grumbling, factious, Jacobinical set of people – a swinish herd – you ought to be muzzled with proclamations; you ought to be prosecuted for sedition; – you ought to be hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason. Now for the proof of the fourishing state of your commerce, says this profound expositor of Cocker’s Arithmetic, look at the situation of your export trade; and you will fnd that at this time it is in as fourishing a situation as it was, even in the best periods, previous to the war. For in 1792 the commerce in British Manufacturers amounted to £18,342,000. In 1794 the exports amounted to £16,301,000. Te Foreign Merchandize in 1792 amounted to £6,563,000. and in 1794 it amounted to £8,868,000. So that the total of the exports in 1792

Te Tribune, Volume 1

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was only £24,905,000; while in 1724 the total of the exports was £25,169,000. Tus, then, according to his mode of argument, though the demand for British Manufacturers has avowedly declined upwards of two millions, the state of the commerce in this country is more fourishing than it was before you entered into the war; and therefore men are nothing at all, and money is every thing, you ought to continue the war to all eternity, because, though you lose your population, you increase your wealth. But, Citizens, if you will permit me to argue precisely in the same manner that the Right Honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer chuses to argue without your permission, there is no absurdity upon the face of the earth that I will not demonstrate. I am content, as he is content, to select nothing but facts from which I draw my arguments; but permit me to select such facts only as I please; and boldly assert that these are the whole of the facts, and there is no conclusion, however contradictory to common sense, that I could not prove. Especially if I had at my back so large and dead a majority of your representative, as they are called, as that gentlemen possesses, to cry – Hear! Hear! Hear! – are very bold assertion which fatters their prejudices and supports their interests. Grant me these advantages and I will prove to you that the blackest Raven is whiter than the driven snow, and that Pitt is an intelligent and upright minister. But, Citizens, suppose we investigate a little the delusions of this statement. I am not prepared to afrm whether, in this account of the exports are included the articles exported for the accomodation of the armies of Europe – the armies of Britain – the armies of our good and faithful Allies of Prussia, and of Austria – of the DISINTERESTED King of Sardinia – of the cordial Duke of Tuscany – and all the humane Princes and pious Prince-Bishops of the Germanic Continent – and ultimately, indeed, for those of France itself. – If, among the boasted exports, these are to be taken into the calculation, (and be it remembered that these are most assuredly entered as exports, in the books of the Custom House) we shall fnd a very easy way of accounting for a very considerable part of this extraordinary exportation. For, certain it is, that the quantities of commerce and manufacturers of a particular description, which have been sent out of this country, is such as so exceed all belief in those who have not had the good fortune (as I had during a part of last summer) to be, in some degree, spectators of it. But this, be it remembered, is an exportation that brings no return; and, consequently, is so many millions added to the losses and calamities, not to the resources and profts of the nation – so much to be deducted, not so much to be added in the calculation of our capacity to continue the present war. Tese things, however, are wrapped up in the veil of political mystery. Tey are not meant for the eye of the swinish multitude.6 And therefore, it is that the account is stated in the gross; and you are lef to rout out the particulars if you can – if your appetites are keen enough and your snouts are competent to

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the task. Te minister knows well enough – (It is the most important part of his trade; and if he had not been in the secret, it is impossible he should have kept his shop open so long) – He knows when to be perplexingly explanatory, and when impenetrably concise – when to throw down your lumps you cannot digest, and when to fritter it into wafers which you have not time to pick up, or beat into whip-syllabubs to amuse your eyes. And, therefore, it is that in the present instance, when speaking of your exports he carefully avoids particular enumeration. He gives you a lumping pennyworth at once, and then shines away about your happiness and his generosity to prevent you from investigating the materials of which it is composed. But, Citizens, to put this entirely out of the question – Let us remember another thing, namely, that the advantages of commerce do not depend entirely on the export trade. He should not only have told us what was sent out of the country; but he ought to have given us some hint (and I think he would have done so if it had suited his purpose) of what had been sent into the country in return. But here is the diference – If he had stated the import commerce, he could have stated only the amount of those cargoes which arrived safe in port; and the endless catalogue of raptures must have been deducted. But in stating the exports only, he was at liberty to calculate upon the gross amount of all the cargoes shipped by our merchant, whether they arrived in safety at the place of their destination, or were conducted under the tricoloured banner, to the ports of Toulon or Brest. If then we have been sending abroad every thing which the industry of former years has produced (and I have already shown you that it could not be the production of the last year that was thus exported) if that which has been sent out during the last year has not been returned by some equivalent, then the greater the exportation the greater the calamity; the greater the misery, the scarcity, the want, the desperation of the country. And why, let me ask – if the commerce of the country was so fourishing – Why has there been such a multitude of bankruptcies weekly recorded in the Gazettes? Why but because neither the specie of the country which is sent so liberally to continental despots, nor the exports of which so pompous a display is made, are repaid either by the gratitude of those despots, or by the returns of foreign commerce, so as to support even the ordinary circumstances of internal trafc. And how should they be returned? Te former is swallowed up in the insatiable vortex of German pride and tyranny; and the profts of the latter, from the superior energy of the republican marine, have found their way to the treasury of the convention. Let me observe then, Citizens, that unless those who boast of the fourishing situation of the country can state to us the returns that have been made for the commerce that has been exported, but little triumph will attach to them in consequence of the large exports partly occasioned by the frequent captures of

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the enemy, which reduce the merchants of this fourishing and happy country, though they are to be paid but once, to execute their orders twice, in consequence of which the double exports are entered upon the book: a circumstance which while it aggravates our calamities, has furnished the minister with the means of boasting of our prosperity and resources. And let it be remembered, that the vaunts which have been made by ministers of French Convention, that they should march to London in apparel procured by English merchants, victualled with provisions supplied by the English Government, and armed with the cannons, bayonets, and muskets, which the English themselves had forged, was not in all respects an empty boast. I shall not dwell upon the innumerable stores which have been captured in the struggle upon the continent. But let us remember that frequent statements have been made to the public, the authenticity of which may be established by searching the books at Lloyds, that more than twice the number of vessels captured from the French by the English, have been captured from the English by the French. Such is the excellent manner in which our commerce is protected, such the glorious fruits which the monied interest reaps for its blind attachment to the present minister! Nay, I state the diference too coldly. Te loss is not to be estimated by this numerical diference. Te vessels we have thus lost in predatory warfare, have been mostly capital merchantmen, fraught with valuable cargoes; while those which we have captured, in return, were principally small craf of little value; the important parts of the French commerce sailing generally in large feets, with strong convoys, under the wing of their whole naval power, and thus arriving safe in their ports in defance of our boasted empire of the ocean. While our invaluable merchandise – the treasure of our fouls! – But the contrast is too degrading. I forbear to conclude the picture. It might be too painful to the sensibility of our wealthy merchants: a set of men for whose wisdom and humanity I have certainly the most profound respect.

THE TRIBUNE, NO. III.

Saturday, 28th March, 1795. On the probable Consequences of continuing the present System of Ambition and Hostility. From the First Lecture on the Nature and Calamities of War.7

I Know very well that, even in the most superfcial manner in which this subject can be treated, there are many persons without these walls, and perhaps some few within, who may think this a very improper enquiry for an individual like myself to enter into. For it cannot but be known to you, that it is held out, by those who are the advocates of a system of corruption and delusion, that ‘those who pay ought not to enquire into the reason of the expenditure; and that those who bleed should never investigate the nature of that quarrel in consequence of which their blood is shed.’ But the friends of reason and of justice will hold a diferent opinion. Tey will be ready to agree with me, that it is, at all times, not the right only, but the duty8 of every individual to enquire into the nature of those transactions he is called upon to support; and that every individual, before he expends his property, ought to have some view of the application that is to be made of that property; and, before he rushes into scenes of slaughter and desolation, ought to be well assured that the principle for which he is contending is such that the happiness to society and to result from it, will more than amply repay all the desolation and all the scenes of horror which are to be produced. I am aware that to maintain doctrines of this kind – to afrm that man has rights, and that it is his duty to enquire into the nature of those rights; – to afrm that man is a moral agent; and that, therefore, it is his duty to enquire into the manner in which this agency is to be employed, are principles and doctrines which, in the present day, are stigmatized by the name of jacobinism. However, Citizens, though I never was particularly inclined to idolize that name, yet, if the distinction is to be drawn, if, as Montgaillard9 has afrmed; – there are to be but two parties, and every one who is not a friend to the ancient despotism and tyranny of France, is to be branded as a Jacobine: – if we either must wish for the restoration of the tyranny, and the establishment of something like it among ourselves, or we must be called Anarchists and Jacobins, I will put up with the insult: I will – 15 –

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720-3

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be called an Anarchist or a Jacobine; for I know very well they are not names but principles that constitute the real value of the human character; and I never can uphold as a principle ‘the enormous faith of millions made for one.’ If, then, it ever was the duty, if it ever was the interest of the people to investigate the operations and proceedings of the government under which they live: – if it was ever right to enquire which is to be preferred, the peaceful reign of reason, arts and sciences, or the desolating dominion of war and slaughter, surely it is a ten-fold duty, it is a ten-fold interest, at this time, when we refect under what a weight and accumulation of burdens we groan; and how many calamities and disasters have blasted, at once, the prosperity and the same of Britain. Let us then make some little enquiry into that ruinous system of war and desolation under which we, at this time live; if life, indeed, it can be called, to that mass of people, so large a portion of which are shivering in want and wretchedness, and are doomed to untimely graves; not absolutely, it is true, by the griping fangs of famine, but by those debilitating diseases which are the consequences of the want of proper sustenance. We have long been amused with egotistical tales of British glory, national grandeur, and commercial prosperity. Tese pompous words, like the maxims and oracles of an ancient superstition, have been uttered from behind the sacred curtains of the cabinet: they have been dealt abroad by the high-priests of the house of representatives, and have been echoed again by the artizans drooping under their labour, and the peasants pining for want in the midst of that plenty they produced. From nation to nation, from shore to shore, these pompous egotisms have been re-echoed. National vanity has not been the peculiar property of any people; and the arrogance of Britain has been equalled, at least, if not surpassed, by the adulating vanity of the old despotism of France. Hence suspicious envy and rival animosities – Hence have two nations, two courts, I ought to say, and their deluded followers, been precipitated into mutual hatred, and scenes of cruel carnage, to gratify that vanity which had so insidiously been inspired. Hence comes the monstrous doctrines of natural enmity, and the supposition that every country which approximates towards another must necessarily be the enemy of that country; because its grandeur and prosperity (by which little more is meant than the splendour of courts and the power of ministers) might rival the grandeur and prosperity its neighbour. What has been the blessed consequence? Te old despotism of France depopulated her regions in a vain struggle for the universal sovereignty of the continent. Britain also has depopulated her country by an equally ambitious and ridiculous attempt at the exclusive empire of the ocean. And thus these two great boasters (the general disturbers of mankind!) would grasp the sovereignty of the universe: the one by her myriads of marshalled slaves, the other by her empire of the ocean. What has been the result? Look, in the frst instance, to the country whose ambition we have so

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long blamed, while we have been so fatally blind to our own. Look what were the fruits to the Gallic monarchy of this monstrous scene of war and slaughter, with which is so long embroiled and depopulated Europe. See the sinews of the state exhausted; see that grinding oppression which fell upon the lower orders of society; see that embarrassment of fnances which resulted from this continued struggle; and behold, at last, between its accumulated burdens, its vices, and follies, this fabric of gigantic despotism falls crumbling into the dust, amidst groans and carnage, and all the miseries that arise from disorganized society: – miseries, however, not to be considered, in general, as the crimes of those who immediately produced them, but of those whose monstrous vices – whose barbarous ambition – whose system of war and oppression rendered convulsion necessary as the only means of national salvation. Te people, when driven to desperation, will act from the dictates of despair. Revenues, when exhausted, must be productive of explosions fatal to those who have exhausted them. While absolute ignorance reigns, it is true, a spunge may be applied; and we have seen that France has in this manner, more than once retrieved herself. But when information and enquiry are afoat, a government that means to perpetuate itself, must cultivate frugality; frugality can alone be supported by a system of peace; and a system of real peace cannot be continued but by consulting the happiness and welfare of the people, and regarding the prosperity even of the lowest orders of society. Te old despotism of France, either unhappily or happily for mankind – But why do I doubt? why do I speak with sceptical difdence upon such a question? Why not afrm at once that the old despotism of France, unhappily for itself indeed, but happily for mankind, was blind to these great and important truths. A little more moderation in the rulers of the last half-century might have kept France in slavery to this day; might have prevented those explosions, it is true, and those calamities under which the nation has lately groaned; but it might have procrastinated, generation afer generation, and century afer century, a degree of subjection on the one hand, and tyranny on the other, to which I shall not scruple to say, no being possessed of moral and intellectual faculties ought ever to submit: and from which (be it sedition, or be it high treason) I cannot but rejoice to see mankind emancipated. With respect to England let us see what is the harvest which it has reaped from manuring the feld of glory with its blood, and sowing it with its treasures: from pursuing with mad infatuation the ‘bubble of sanguinary reputation:’ a bubble, it is true, which monarchs and courtiers may enjoy amidst the plaudits of a theatre, or the adulation of a palace, but which the peasant, and the artizan must ‘seek in the cannon’s mouth;’ and which when he has obtained, enables him to leave to his widow and orphans, no other legacy than beggary

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and wretchedness; no other dowry than the bitter fragments of charity that fall from the proud man’s table. Much has been said by historians of the triumphs of British arms, her glories in continental wars, and her magnifcent exploits by sea. We have not, it is true, heard many of those plaudits during the present war; but in former exploits of this kind, our ears have been tickled, our imagination infated, with pompous details of myriads slain in the feld of battle, and thousands, and tens of thousands of our fellow beings blown in mangled fragments through the air, or strewed like wrecks over the surface of the ocean. But what have been the fruits of those triumphs? what have been the profts of those glorious exploits, which humanity so much exults in? Look to your heaths and villages, your manufacturing towns and trading cities. See in every populous street, obscure hamlet, and solitary cottage, what happiness, what triumphs on every countenance. Behold the aged and infrm solacing themselves in ease and plenty; and the young and vigorous banqueting on all the harmless luxuries of the earth; enjoying every delight and every comfort which glory and honour and such big sounding words, if they mean any thing, must certainly include. Alas, alas! Wherever you turn, behold the sad reverse! – behold the melancholy efects of these victories written in other characters. If you will compare the condition of the lower orders of society, by considering what, in former times, was the degree of proportion between the prices of labour and the prices of provisions, you will see that all these triumphs have to the great body of the people brought nothing but a plenteous harvest of wretchedness, and misery. To the mass of the people, I say, (and facts will bear me out) no other fruits have been produced from these sanguinary labours, but misery and dejection; but ignorance and want. Tey, therefore, have but little reason for glorying in these mighty triumphs, or for hazarding their lives in support of this depopulating system. Would not this view of society lead one to suspect, either that there has been a great deal of vain boasting in those reports of triumphs and successful achievements, with which the page of former history has so infated the breasts of Britons? or else, that this glory is in reality nothing but a bubble, – a painted vapour, which, like the rainbow in the fable, tempts the deluded shepherd to fy from hill to hill in quest of an imaginary treasure, while the wolves of power seize upon his little fock, as the proper reward of his infatuation? Perhaps both these statements are in reality just. At any rate it is evident that, whatever may be the pompous language that is held out to us, this system of war and glory, instead of a project of national advantage (and by national advantage, I mean advantage to the great body of the inhabitants of the nation) is an evil of most enormous extent, to remedy the efects of which calls for all our energy, and all our unanimity. I say, Citizens, it is our duty to take this subject into considera-

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tion. And I also say, that if we consider what the state of Britain is at this time, and what was the state of France previous to that explosion which destroyed the monarchy and aristocracy of that country, we should fnd that aristocrats and royalists, if they could see their own interest instead of irritating the public mind by persecution, instead of aggravating the burthens and calamities of the people by an obstinate perseverance in this ruinous war, would ardently join in the endeavour to avert a similar catastrophe from the government of this country, by the only means by which it can be averted, – by restoring the country to peace, and immediately throwing a large portion of the burthens already contracted from the shoulders of the common people to the shoulders of those placemen, pensioners, and contractors who have been so long enriching themselves by this horrid trafc. For we must admit that similar causes will produce similar efects. If, therefore, the despotic Constitution of France was overthrown – and I am glad it was overthrown – [Tis sentiment was interrupted by a burst of enthusiastic applause.] Yes, Citizens, I avow that such is my abhorrence and detestation for despotism, that I rejoice in its overthrow in France. And there are some other despotic governments (I mean the superstitious tyranny of Turkey, the barbarous despotism of Morocco, the capricious cruelties of the Japanese) – which I should rejoice to see involved in the same fate. Nor would it grieve me much if the pious, orderly, and regular government of Russia, and the other conscientious Partitioners of devoted Poland, were on the verge of a similar catastrophe. I should be happy indeed if this overthrow in other countries were attended with less violence and fewer crimes than it has been in France: and I should hope that it would be so; because the example of the errors of France will be an awful warning to other parts of the universe; and when they shall choose to struggle for their liberty, they will have less of the illiberal spirit of suspicion, less intrigue, less disposition to slaughter and violence; more philosophy, more information, more experience, and, therefore, more temperance, more benevolence, and a more thorough conviction that principles and not men are the objects of attention. For men are but machines performing,10 under the inevitable laws of necessity, precisely the part which under circumstances exactly similar any other individual must inevitably have performed. And if men are not voluntary criminals – if their crimes are only the inevitable consequences of the systems under which they have acted, what justice – what necessity can there be to stain a holy cause with cruel vengeance, and infict a wanton punishment upon individuals, when the system is no more that produced their crimes. If, I say, then the despotism of France was overthrown on account of the abject misery into which the mass of the people were plunged by the profigate expenditure of the public money in foreign exploits and crusades, and the eventual embarrassments of the revenues of that country, it is the duty of ministers

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to take care that the orderly, benevolent and just government of England is not overthrown by a system of war and taxation inevitably tending to reduce the people and the revenues to the same calamitous situation. And yet, Citizens, much as this duty and this prudence should press upon the heart of every refecting man, what is the conduct of those in power? Consider how frequently shock afer shock, paroxysm of this frantic mania, this lust of war and glory has followed during the last century, and how debilitated the frame of this country has become in consequence. And yet the paroxysm of the disease is again upon us; and there seems not to be one political professor of the healing science inclined to examine how many more attacks of this voluntary disease the fbres and stamina of the country will endure without being shaken to dissolution. Citizens, when I frst began to deliver political lectures to a smaller circle than I have now the happiness to address, this subject occupied a considerable part of my attention; and I fnd (by looking over one of the few fragments which escaped general pillage of the 12th and 13th of May last)11 that I then endeavoured to state what the circumstances were under which we at frst engaged in this ridiculous crusade. I fnd I then stated that we commenced a war of the most alarming complexion with a debt of between 260 and 270 millions already upon our shoulders; with an annual taxation of near seventeen millions, and with a population which, though it appeared too large, considering the monstrous waste and consumption of those monopolists, who for destroying the liberties of the country are rewarded by its luxuries, yet scanty indeed considering what the country, properly cultivated, is capable of supporting if sheltered by the laws of liberty, truth, and equality: – I mean equality of rights, equality of opportunities for turning the faculties of the individual to advantage. If, Citizens, these arguments deserved any weight at that period, let us refect a little how considerably this weight is now increased. Let us remember the gigantic strides which these evils have made during the two short years in which we have been engaged in the present war. Let me recall to your minds some of those facts which in the course of the present season in have submitted to you. Let us remember, that during the last summer 80,000 individuals emigrated from England, Scotland and Ireland to the more happy and inviting shores of America; and that therefore the decrease of population, during these two years, by emigration alone, in all human probability, (particularly if we consider how during the last three months, accumulation of difculty has been heaped upon accumulation, how distress has been added to distress, and insult ofered in aggravation to insult,) we cannot calculate the whole depopulation from this source, at less than 160,000 useful inhabitants. Let us add to this the depopulation of famine and the sword. If you consider the immense armies that have been sustained on the continent; if you consider the expeditions to the West Indies, glorious and

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proftable to this country indeed! if you consider that even aristocrats allow that 247 ofcers lost their lives in that expedition, and calculate the general ratio with respect to the men; if you consider how small a portion this armament bears to the whole, and if you call to mind that the present number of troops on the continent bears a very small proportion indeed to the numbers that were sent at the very opening of the frst campaign, notwithstanding that month afer month, and week afer week, the youth of this country have been drained in hundreds and in thousands to recruit our armies, I think that my calculation of the depopulation by military and naval expeditions cannot be extravagant if I estimate it at 250,000 individuals. I know this calculation will appear very large, and I know very well that the human mind must be so flled with horror at the aggregate idea of 250,000 massacres – (for I can give the murders of an unnecessary war no better name) that your minds will be but little disposed to admit so large a calculation: but I believe I have not rated it too high. Consider then, that this depopulation is of the most serious kind; that our armies are mostly composed of men from that age when youth begin to increase the species to that period when they cease to be useful to the country in this respect; that you are therefore taking away the heart and sinews of the country; and that the men you slaughter in your ridiculous crusades might have doubled the population of the succeeding ages – as well as the present quantity of the necessaries of life. When you take all these circumstances into consideration you will palsied with terror and apprehension at the probable consequence. For consider, putting together the emigrations and the slaughters, you have an amount of 410,000, four-ffhs, (that is to say, 328,000) of which, at least, must have been the most efective members of the state, either for productive labour or necessary defence. Now you will consider, that the population has never been reckoned higher than twelve million. I take the three countries into consideration. Ten you will consider that of this population you are only to reckon one million and a half as efective men: that is to say, men capable of bearing arms for the repulsion of foreign interference. You have, therefore, a positive diminution in two years of nearly one fourth of the efective population of the country; and full one fourth of those individuals upon whose manual exertions we can depend for the necessaries and comforts of life: for the calculation of efective men is taken in all the ranks and classes of society; but some of these ranks and classes are employed only in destroying, not in producing the necessaries and comforts of life. I stated to you also, Citizens, on the last evening, that from 264 millions and an half our national debt was increased to 334 millions and an half. I gave you then the documents by which the fact was proved. I have stated also to you, from documents equally authentic, that the annual burthen was increased from something less than seven million to almost thirty-two millions and an half. Such then are the burdens under which we at present uphold the doctrine, that war is

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to be continued and depopulation to go on; that, though beaten at every point, though disappointed in every undertaking (not from the want of energy in the people, but from the want of virtue, justice and wisdom in those by whom the people have been deluded!) though disappointed in every expectation, though disgraced in every efort, though obliged to appeal to bribery and corruption, instead of the open and manly exertions in which this country used to pride itself, mixing, with Machiavelian art, in all the intrigues and vices of Italian politics; – notwithstanding all this, still we are told we are to go on; the government of France is not to be treated with; we are to carry sword and fre to the gates of Paris. Mark, Citizens, how these political mountebanks out-herod Herod. Laugh no more at the pompous boasts of Katterfelto,12 or the project of the Bottle Conjurer. Te Conquest of France has been advertised by the chief juggler of the day; and the credulous world has thronged to the exhibition; but when the seat was to be performed, the conjurer, as usual, escaped at the back door. ‘Te conquest of France!!! – O! calumniated crusaders, how rational and moderate were your objects! – O! much injured Louis XIV. upon what slight grounds have you been accused of restless and immoderate ambition! – O tame and feeble Cervantes, with what a timid pencil and faint colours have you painted the portrait of a disordered imagination!’ Such was the exclamation of the great oracle of Oppostion – the Demosthenes of the British senate,13 in his letter to his constituents of Westminster. Prophetic exclamation! How completely confrmed by every subsequent event! Yet still we are to persist; and though like a crab we have been travelling backwards for two whole years, we are still to keep our eyes upon the gates of Paris! and still in imagination to rout the Convention and destroy the myriads of armies they are pouring into the feld. But it is not only this accumulated weight upon our shoulders that impedes us; we are palsied, also, upon another side – look at the diferent situation of our allies: think of Holland for whose sake we are told we undertook this war – Look at the Scheldt. Will the Brabanters and the Dutch quarrel now whether the Scheldt shall be navigated? Will one side of the river co-operate with us while we are defending the other? Alas, the two banks are equally hostile; and to the right and the lef, those whom you called your fiends and treated like the worst of enemies; those whom you fought for, and those whom you fought against, are combined against you; and perhaps the navy of Holland, which sunk into such contempt under the torpid reign of the Stadtholder, may recover its wonted energy under a republic; and joining the navy of its new ally, may show the world that Batavians are the same people they formerly were; that it was the government alone that had become lethargic; and that freedom restored them to their wonted valour. And if for so many years, in former periods, they alone kept the navy of this country at bay, refect a minute whether by your haughty deport-

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ment, refusing to treat because it is the people and not the Stadtholder that sends the ambassador – refect, I say, what may be the consequences – if the navy of Holland unites with the navy of France; the nautical skill of the Dutch with the republican enthusiasm of the Gauls! should their united thunders be directed against the shores of this country. I own I do not look with that bold confdence upon the event which your rulers would pretend, while inwardly they shake with coward palsies. Holland detached from your side! Brabant, then wavering, now confrmed the friend of France! Tuscany, whom you plunged into war, whether he would or no, extricating himself by an honourable peace, granted with magnifcent generosity by that enemy whom we pretend to say is so treacherous that we cannot treat with them! Russia still slumbering over her promises and her treatises; fattened and satiated with the massacres of Warsaw; and exhibiting without a mask that regular and orderly government of which she is the consecrated head! Prussia receiving your money, but never furnishing the stipulated troops! accepting your subsidies with one hand, and with the other signing the preliminary articles of negociation with your enemy! Such is the picture of Europe! Such are the allies who are still to be treated with, and trusted afer repeated acts of the most fagitious treachery; while another country, from which you have not, in its present form of government, experienced any treachery whatever, you are told it is not to be treated with at all, because if it happens to break a peace forsooth, it will not be broken in that regular and orderly manner of which the diplomatic faith and consistent virtues of the old established governments have given you so many curious specimens. But still we have one hope. One wooden leg afer another with which we have attempted to prop up our decrepid cause, has, it is true, been broken and thrown away: but still we have a crutch on one side. We can lean upon Austria: and though we do pay a little dear for the support, yet it is better than to sufer an entire overthrow – Of what? Of our territories? No. Tey are only endangered by continuing the war. Of our prosperity? No. Te minister takes care that nobody shall share with him the honour of destroying that. It is the windmill of cabinet infuence whose overthrow is dreaded; the vanity and wild projects of our heaven-born minister! Yes, Citizens, we stand, it is true, upon the fckle hope of German faith. Te Empire, the Emperor – Hear the sounding name, ye crowds! adore the wonderful charm! Remember that even breach of faith ceases to be treachery when gilt by this pompous title! Remember that though repeated experience has shewn you the faithlessness of those who wear it, and though all the facts of history shew you the open sincerity of republican government – yet such is the magic power of this word emperor – and indeed of every other word that implies but royalty, that the very breach of faith proves you ought still to trust; while experi-

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ence itself can furnish no reason to conclude that you ought ever to confde in a country branded with so atheistical a title as Republic, Te Emperor’s promises, such as they are (though he seems to have modesty enough not to be extremely explicit in them) are still to be relied upon; and thus, crippled in your alliances, weighed down by debt, weakened by depopulation, we are to repeat our crusade; to rush once more into the feld of slaughter; and sacrifce at the altar of this infernal Moloch the husbandman and the manufacturer, whose labours might administer to the comforts and felicities of life. And all for what? To sooth the vanity and superstition of the monks and cowardly aristocrats of France, who monopolize the confdence of our minister and pour into the ears of our rulers that poison of despotic treachery which has already brought to the scafold their own unfortunate sovereign, who was weak enough to imbibe its infuence. For these, and their visionary prospects, we are to pursue the most expensive, hopeless, and ridiculous war ever undertaken in Europe: not excepting the crusade that lef so indelible a stain upon the intellects of the 14th century. If however one grain of refection still remains in Britain; if we are not entirely intoxicated by the mania of alarm, let us pause a little and survey the precipice upon which we stand. Still thy rude voice a while thou brazen trumpet, ere again thou provoke mankind to deeds of cruelty and wickedness! Silence awhile the dreadful thunders of the all devouring cannon; and let Reason uplif her powerful voice. For what purpose are we thus going to bathe our falchions in the blood of our fellow-men? For what reason are we to expose our bosoms to their destroying swords? Suppose you could succeed, my Countrymen! would your taxes be lessened? Would the commodities of life be procured at a cheaper rate? Would you – I put aside for the present the calamities and miseries you sufer during the struggle: Would you fnd yourselves in a situation more comfortable and happy? Would the wants of nature be better supplied? Would the innocent luxuries of life be enjoyed in greater abundance? Would your minds be more unshackled? Enquiry be more free? Would science – and above all, the science of political amelioration raise up its head with greater triumph than it did before? Alas! Alas! these are circumstances I fear never entered into the calculation of those who have plunged us into the present undertaking. Tese are calculations for metaphysical Jacobins and those who are mad enough to suppose that man has unalienable rights, and that one human being has as just a title to improve his faculties for the happiness of himself and family as another. – Such visionaries as these may enter into calculations of human happiness and human knowledge; but the enlightened statesman soars above them. His eye, sublimed above the clouds of common life, rolls in golden and beatifc visions; and dwells upon the sublimities of places and pensions; upon the heaven of power and emolument. Tere he bathes his luxurious fancy; wantons in the prospects of coronets, titles, stars, and coloured ribbons; and leaves to such insignifcant beings who think

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about their fellow creatures, the idle speculation of what is good or what is ill for man. But, Citizens, though placemen and pensioners may not think ft to enter into such calculations, it is worth your while to do so: and you ought to do it for yourselves. For if you will not enquire into your own rights, how can you expect that others will be so superfuous as to enquire them for you. If you do not value your own prosperity, why should others? If you do not think it worth while to make calculations upon your own happiness, why should others who have no connection, no common interest with you, trouble their heads about it? Tey can be more happily employed in counting their places, their Chancellors, their Tellerships, their Lord-Wardenships, their Treasuryships, their sinecures, and their patronages. And, therefore, if you will not enquire into your own rights, why blame others for not enquiring into them for you? How can you expect, that which you will not do for yourselves should be done for you by placemen, pensioners, and proprietors of rotten boroughs. To stimulate to this enquiry is the object for which I call you together in this place. Remember it is not from listening to lectures, it is not from frequenting now and then a debating society, it is not from turning over the leaves of a book, that you are to expect improvement and wisdom. Your minds must labour if you expect them to be benefted. Your minds must labour if you wish to discover that truth which, assisted by benevolence, may redress the wrongs of your fellow citizens and yourselves. If you will idly listen with implicit confdence to any man, it matters not who he is – whether priest, prime minister, or political lecturer. You may listen, it is true, to the doctrines of another; but if you make not use of your own reason to enquire and investigate whether they are true or false, you may be afected indeed with warmth and petulance, but will never attain the true philosophical light of truth and benevolence.14 Scrutinize every thing you hear from every one; and most of all, every thing you hear from me. I am a man, subject to all the passions and delusions of human nature; all the frailties of passion are upon me; all the ignorance which the prejudices early inculcated in the present system have a tendency to produce: and I have had many disadvantages in the pursuit of knowledge, under which many of you, perhaps, have not laboured. Tink not, therefore, that I wish you to take for granted every thing I tell you. You must have your knowledge not as the parrot has his by rote; but from the labours of your own minds; from the feelings and conviction of your own hearts. Tese will, I believe, conduct you to this conclusion, that war is equally a calamity to the nation that makes it, and the nation against whom it is directed; that the system of war has plunged this country into innumerable calamities; and that the overthrow of that system, the return of reason, and the permanent happiness of the country, can only be secured by a full, fair, and equal representation of the people in the Commons House of Parliament.

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NO WAR JUST but a War of SELF DEFENCE. From the Same. CITIZENS, A war of absolute defence is the only war that can be justifed: What criminality then must attach to those who are engaged in a war of a directly opposite nature. ‘If the life of one man is not to be taken away but on a principle of self defence, or on the previous conviction of his guilt by a calm and sober appeal to reason, how much more does it become us scrupulously to weigh in the balance of the sanctuary the causes for which we embark in a complicated war, in which the kindred blood of thousands of our fellow creatures is poured out like water by the unfeeling arm of a mercenary soldier?’ – Gerrald.15 Citizens – I do not mean to confne my animadversions to the war in which we are at present engaged. Principles and not men should be the objects of attention – the general system, not the individual instance. It matters little that you should put a period to the present war, if you are not convinced of the madness and turpitude of war in general, and determined to difuse those benevolent and generous principles of peace and amity which may prevent fresh calamities of this description, from falling again immediately upon your heads. No war can be just that is not politic; and by politic I mean productive of the happiness of the people; for how can that be good which does not secure the general happiness of mankind. No war can be politic but that which is engaged in for the real and actual defence of the Parent State; because, though it is good and right to exert all the energies with which we are endued, for the preservation of the individual, or the community, all wars for frivolous pretences (and I call all the ambitious schemes of courts and cabinets frivolous) however successful or triumphant, must cost more than they are worth; and the sole glory and triumph that you obtain is to see so many mutilated beings stalking through your streets, or flling your hospitals, and reminding you of the thousands of your fellow men, who have been slain in battle, but who might have been increasing the prosperity and real wealth of the state, if they had been employed in producing the comforts of life, instead of destroying each other in a ridiculous contest.

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THE TRIBUNE

Saturday 4th April, 1795. Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messenger,16 &c. on Te Seizure of J. Telwall’s paper; with his EXAMINATION before the PRIVY COUNCIL; Treatment at the Messengers, &c.

EARLY in the morning of Monday the 12th of May last Citizen Hardy17 was apprehended and his papers seized by warrant from the principal Secretary of State for the Home Department. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the circumstances of his arrest, they having been already published and disseminated. At the same time Daniel Adams, Secretary of the Constitutional Society, was also taken into custody, together with his papers, upon the same authority. Tese circumstances, of which I was informed three or four hours afer they had taken place, did not very much surprise me; as I had received very positive information on the Friday preceding that eight warrants for High Treason were made out, and that the names of Hardy, Richter, Lovett, and myself, were among those against whom they were directed. Afer such a confrmation of the truth of my intelligence, it was not easy to doubt of its correctness; and I was seriously advised to destroy my papers at least, if not to conceal myself. I had, however, some little knowledge of the Law of Treason; and I was clear in my mind upon two points, – First, Tat I had never been engaged in any transaction that came within the pale of that ofence; and Secondly, Tat prerogative, in England, was admitted not to extend to the seizure of papers upon any charge of a less serious nature. I took, therefore, the proper means for summoning an extraordinary meeting of the delegates of the London Corresponding Society for the ensuing evening; and then, without troubling my head about my papers, spent the day, with my family, at home, and went in the evening to the play. On the day following I spent the morning as usual in study, dined with a party of friends, with whom I was previously engaged; and returned home time enough to meet the Committee, at which the attendance was unusually thronged. To this meeting I read, and expounded, to the best of my ability, the Law of Treason, as laid down in Blackstone’s Commentaries; and compared this with the – 27 –

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conduct and case (so far as we could be acquainted with it) of Citizen Hardy. Afer which some resolutions were moved by me, and afer some unanimously adopted. – Tese Resolutions were in substance as follows: – 1st. Tat it appears to this Committee, that no person can be legally apprehended and his papers seized, in this country, but upon a SPECIFIC charge of High Treason. 2d. Tat as far as this Committee is acquainted with the conduct and deportment of Citizen Hardy, there does not appear the slightest foundation for charging him with that crime. 3d. Tat as far as the conduct of Citizen Hardy shall be found to be, as this Committee believes it entirely to have been, legal and constitutional, we will support him to the utmost of our ability. 4th. Tat this Committee proceed in the most solemn manner to such of the divisions of the London Corresponding Society as are now ftting to communicate to them the preceeding resolutions, and conjure them not to discouraged or alarmed by the violent proceedings of government, but to pursue, with unabated ardour, the object of their institution. In pursuance of this last resolution we rose in a body, at a little afer eleven o’clock, to visit such of the divisions as were then ftting expecting the result of our deliberations. Te members of the Committee, &c. went out before me; while I looked into the parlour to inform my family where I was going. I was then following to join my comrades; but before I got out of the buildings, I was met near the door by Walsh, an itinerant spy, and fve or six other persons, several of whom were wrapped up in great coats, &c. Wa. Mr. Telwall, I believe [ofering his hand.] T. Te same. Upon which the rest (among whom were Tims and Schaw the Messengers, King, Secretary to Dundas,18 and Carpmeal, one of the Bow-Street Runners)19 came up. Tims. Ten, Sir, you are my prisoner [Tapping me on the shoulder.] T. Very well, Sir, You will permit me, I suppose, to go home and tell my wife and family where I am going: and at the same time let me see your Warrant. Tims. O yes; you may go home, Sir. We accordingly turned back, Harry Eaton let us in, and Burks, one of the Members of the Committee, and now Secretary of the Society, entered with us; and was a very diligent observer of all that passed. It was, however, with some diffculty that I could get permission to enter the parlour, where Mrs. T. my mother, and a friend, were sitting. Having got in, I again demanded sight of the Warrant, which, afer much shufing and delay, was brought by Schaw. Tims put it into my hand; and I read it aloud, observing, that I never had the pleasure of feeling one of those pretty things before. It purported to authorize the Messengers, taking

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with them a Constable, &c. to apprehend Mr. Telwall, of Beaufort Buildings, for treasonable practices, &c. T. Mr. blank Telwall! – How do I know this is meant for me. Tere is another Mr. Telwall. Te warrant ought to specify the name. [I might also have objected to the competency of the charge; the law being explicit that the specifc Treason must be charged in the warrant. Tims. You are Mr. Telwall of Beaufort Buildings, I suppose. – Tere is no other Mr. Telwall of Beaufort Buildings, is there? – Now, Sir, give me your Keys; for I must have all your papers: T. I have no keys – [which was true.] Tims. Ten, Sir, I must break open your drawers. T. You must execute your warrant. But take care you do not exceed it; nor do any wanton injury to my furniture I tell you truly I have no keys – I make use of none. Tey then rummaged all my pockets – Tims took my pocket-book; and Carpmeal took my penknife. About the indignity of this personal search I remonstrated; but in vain. Upon my person nothing was found but a few memorandums of a private nature, which Tims put in his pocket. He then began to rummage the drawers in the parlour, where he found two or three printed letters, some lecture tickets, and some impressions of the portrait of Margarot20, which he put into his pocket. Tey were then, (some of them) going to other parts of the house. T. Wherever you go, I insist that I may go with you, to see what you take; and that you do not exceed your Warrant. With this they at frst made a shew of compliance, taking me all over the front house; where nothing was found; there being, in reality, nothing to fnd. As they went up to the back house there was a great knocking; they refusing to permit the door to be opened. We supposed, as was the case, that it was the wife of the friend who happened to be in the house with my family; and I desired that she might be informed from the window the reason why she could not be let in. Tims, upon this, immediately insisted that a coach should be called, and that I should be carried away. – A coach was called accordingly, and Tims, Carpmeal and Walsh took me of: Tims having frst informed my wife that she and the child might come and see me, but not a soul besides. H. Eaton. Shall I let Citizen Bonney21 know where you are? T. Certainly. Te word Citizen put the Messenger in a rage; and I was hurried into the coach. Te window was down, and Baxter and two or three more came up to the side of the coach. Baxter. God bless you, my dear fellow. [putting up his hand.]

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T. And you, my good fellow. [shaking hands.] Do not be intimidated, for I assure you I am not. Baxter. Where are you going? T. To Tims, the Messenger’s in Crown-street, Westminster. By this time the messenger, &c. had got into the coach; and with great ill humour and alarm, pulled up the windows, and ordered the coachman to drive of. Tims talked about political occurrences; and I requested him to drop the subject; saying, that situated as we were, it was improper; that we might fnd plenty of topics to amuse ourselves with; and spend our time pleasantly together; but politics I must beg leave to decline. To the propriety of this he readily assented. – I forget whether this was in the coach, or at the Secretary of State’s ofce. Five or six people (positively not more) running afer the coach, the messenger pretended to be afraid to go home; so they took me to the Secretary of State’s ofce, in Downing-street, where I was detained a couple of hours at least, and given to understand that I should stay all night. During this time, a tall thinnish man, a little pock-fretten, I think, and rather sallow in his complexion, who was treated by all present with great submission, and who I since understand to have been a very great man in the diplomatic world, came into the back ofce where I was. Lord – . What he is here, is he? Tims. Tis is Mr. Telwall, Sir, I was obliged to bring him here, for there were so many people running afer him that I did not dare to carry him to my own house. Lord – . Aye, aye, this is a proper place for men who have a parcel of people at their heels. T. [turning round and looking up at him, without uncovering]. Pray, Sir, what is your name – may I ask? Lord – . My name is a matter of no consequence. T. Certainly! Only I wish to know who I am indebted to for this very obliging remark. Lord – . I only mean to say, that men who have a heap of people running afer them are best in a place of security. T. It is a crime, then, to be popular. His Lordship stalked away: and I turned on my heel, repeating ‘Te man resolved and frmly just Adheres unshaken to his trust. To’ storms and tempests round him roll, Unmov’d will stand his dauntless soul, Not would the wreck his mind appal, Should the whole world to swif destruction fall.’

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One of the Attendants. Aye, aye, that may be said in a great many diferent cases. T. True: and happy is he who can apply it justly. Pray who was that gentleman? Tims. We cannot answer that question. Tat is a person of very great consequence. T. So I perceive. It was now between twelve and one o’clock. I had made no supper, and began to be very hungry. T. Pray am I to be kept here all night without any supper? – If I had the Secretary of State in my custody, I would give him something to eat, at least. Apologies were made for the delay; and, afer waiting about an hour longer, a proper guard having been provided to allay the fears of the messenger, (who seemed very uneasy at having such a wild beast as a Jacobine to take care of ) I was, at last conducted down stone staircases, and along endless passages into Crown-street, and immediately to the place of my temporary destination. Some of the persons present seem to have been very expeditious in giving an imperfect account of the conversation with the ‘person of very great consequence;’ for the next day it was reported in one of the papers, that, being taken before the Secretary of State, I treated him en Cavalier, and kept my hat on, as denying his authority.

SECT II. Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messenger and his Attendants, relative to the Seizure of Papers, &c. Tims, having thus, in spite of my remonstrance, taken me away before my papers were seized, the house was lef to the dominion of Schaw, the other messenger, King, private secretary to Dundas, and some Bow-street Runners, their coadjutors. Here they remained till four or fve o’clock the next morning. Nor was ever a more indiscriminate pillage committed under colour of legal authority (if legal it could be called) than that to which my house was subjected. Tey did not, indeed, absolutely take the furniture of my rooms: tho cumbrous, old fashioned lumber which satisfes the wishes, because it administers to the necessary accommodation of a Democrat, would hardly have rewarded them for the trouble of procuring wagons to carry it away: but every manuscript was seized, upon whatever subject – Poems, Novels, Dramas, Literary and Philosophical Dissertations, all the unpublished labours of ten years’ application – Successful or abortive it matters not – they were the fruits – Te creations of my own industry, and therefore were more absolutely my property than the estate of the landed gentleman or the stock in trade of the manufacturer. Whether they are worth six-pence, or six thousand pounds is of no importance. If such plunder is

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to be countenanced by the mandates of a Secretary of State, what intellect will be active? what property can be secure? It is difcult to conceive how the members of any government can have the assurance to talk about the protection of property, and yet refuse to restore the plunder thus impudently seized by their own ofcers, and under the colour of their authority. But they did not stop at manuscripts. Some hundred copies of my publications were also seized – some of which were on subjects the most distant from politics: and from no one of which did they think ft to quote a single passage incrimination of me. And thus, at a time when my family could receive no support whatever from my exertions, were they deprived of the only resource that could any way supply the defciency – the sale of my former labours. But if the indiscriminate plunder of manuscripts and publications appear a wanton stretch of authority, what shall we say to their seizing upon a considerable part of my library. As even the catalogue of my books has been stolen by these executioners of the mandates of the Privy Council it is impossible for me to state the whole of my loss: but among the books of considerable value which I have thus lost, are Godwin’s Political Justice, and Darwin’s elegant Poem the Botanic Garden. Two books, to replace which alone, the reader will recollect, will cost me near four pounds. To this catalogue of robberies I must add a very large collection of Copperplates – consisting of three volumes of book prints – portraits, historical pictures, and landscapes; together with several loose prints of diferent value, and a fne proof impression of Sharpe’s folio portrait of Tomas Paine. Tese efects were taken away in three or four coaches; and that they might preserve them entire for their new proprietors, they made free also with a trunk, and several green cloths that covered my tables, to pack them up in. Te pictures were in the study in my back house, all but some portraits of Margarot, which were in my front parlour. I had reason to know where the others were; for I had, on the very day of my arrest, bought some new plates and added them to the collection. Te print of Tomas Paine was between the leaves of Johnson’s folio Dictionary; where also Mr. Schaw, or his coadjutors, must have found the unsent, unfnished letter to Allum of America, which Tims, who was not present when it was found, swore upon my trial that he found in the pocket of Richter.

SECT. III. EXAMINATION before the PRIVY COUNCIL, &c. Te next day I was brought before the Privy Council; and while I was waiting in the anti-chamber, I saw Tims take a parcel of loose papers out of his pocket, from which he selected my pocket book, and a few other articles, with which he went

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into one of the adjoining ofces, and shortly returned with them tied up with a piece of tape or string, I forget which; and with a pen in his mouth. – In the course of this narrative I shall relate some other circumstances of the careful and orderly conduct of this being, upon whose oath it was thought ft that the lives of Britons should depend. When I frst went into the Privy Council it appears, that my conductor had not been cautious enough in waiting for his cue. Te actors, indeed, were all assembled, but the machinery was not ready; and, afer much bustle and confusion, I was ordered to withdraw awhile. In about a quarter of an hour I was called in again, and beheld the whole Dramatis Personae intrenched chin deep in Lectures and manuscript, some mine and some not; all scattered about in the utmost confusion. Te Chancellor was sitting at the far end of the room, Dundas near the door; and Pitt was standing at the far side of the table, behind the persons who were seated there. As there was more stage efect than dialogue in this scene, I shall endeavour to preserve the spirit of it, by marking in italics the passions and gesticulations of the actors. Attorney General. [Piano]. Mr. Telwall, what is your Christian name? T. [Somewhat sullenly]. John. Att. Gen. [Piano still]. How do you spell your name? With two l’s at the end or with one? T. With two – But it does not signify – Att. Gen. [Interrupting] With two, do you say? T. With two – But it does not signify. [Carelessly, but rather sullen, or so]. You need not give yourself any trouble. I do not mean to answer any questions. Pitt. What does he say? [Darting round, very fercely, fom the other side of the room, and seating himself by the side of the Chancellor]. Lord Chancellor. [With silver sofness, almost melting to a whisper]. He does not mean to answer any questions. Pitt. What is it? – What is it? – What? [fercely]. Att. Gen. He says he does not mean to answer any questions. Pitt. [Afer a pause, abruptly]. He had better consider of it. – He had better take time and consider of it. – Give him a little time. Att. Gen. [Mildly]. Mr. Telwall, you had better consider. T. I have considered, and I shall answer no questions. You need not give yourselves any trouble. I shall not answer. Att. Gen. [With great assumed politeness and humility]. It is no trouble, Mr. Telwall; it is my duty to ask you. You live in Beaufort Buildings, I think? I made no answer, but kept my eye upon the CHANCELLOR and PITT. Lord Chancellor [in a half whisper in the ear of Pitt]. He won’t answer.

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Pitt. [Afer a pause, with a mixture of petulance and embarrassment]. He don’t know what’s against him. – Better let him see what’s against him. Here, [reaching across the table] here let him see this paper. Shew him this paper. [Vide the Second Rep. Sec. Com. H. of Commons. Debrett’s edit. p. 24 and 25.] – Now, Mr. Telwall, do you know you are apprehended for treasonable practices, and that this paper was found upon you? I made no answer. It was a paper rejected by myself and all the Committee to whom it was referred; but I did not chuse to fx it upon the person it originated with. Att. Gen. Do you know any thing of that paper, Mr. Telwall? I made no answer. Pitt. [Very petulantly]. Read it to him. Let it be read. [It was read accordingly; Pitt keeping his eye upon me, with great ferceness of deportment.] Now, Mr. Telwall, it behoves you to account how that paper came to be in your possession. I was not of the same opinion, and therefore, made no answer. Att. Gen. Mr. Telwall, can you tell how you came by that paper? T. I am bold in the consciousness of innocence; but I shall answer no questions. Pitt. What’s that? – What’s that? [to the Chancellor.] Chancellor [half whispering in Pitt’s ear]. He says he is bold in the consciousness of innocence; but he will answer no questions. Pitt [fdgetting about upon his seat. His lip quivering, and his whole countenance convulsed with rage]. A strange reason that, for answering no questions, Mr. Telwall. – A strange reason, being bold in conscious innocence. – A strange reason for not answering. T. If I answer this, you will expect me to answer other questions; and it is no part of the law or constitution of this country to answer interrogatories to a Privy Council. Lord Chancellor [very gravely]. You do not come here to answer to the laws and constitution of your country, Mr. Telwall. [I ought to have asked what a Briton should answer to but the laws and Constitution of his country; but the fact is I was a little sulky, and did not think of it.] Pitt. What was that? – What was that? Lord Chancellor [with his usual sofness]. He says it is no part of the law or constitution of this country to answer to interrogatories. – I tell him he does not come here to answer to the laws and constitution of his country. Att. Gen. Were you at Chalk Farm, Mr. Telwall? [I made him no reply, but shook my head, and laid my fnger on my lips.] Att. Gen. Were you at the meeting at Chalk Farm?

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I made no answer. Te question was put to me again, and I turned round, and began to contemplate a drawing in water-colours, of a ship, that hangs over the fre place. Att. Gen. He won’t answer. Lord Chancellor [as usual, in Pitt’s ear]. No: its of no use: he won’t answer. Pitt. Don’t ask him any more questions then: – Don’t ask him any more. Its only putting him on his guard. Mr. Telwall you may withdraw. Exit T. cetera desunt Te scene was now shifed again to the Lobby – What passed, therefore, among the great actors behind the curtain, I cannot say. A great deal, however, appeared to be transacting around me, in dumb shew; and among the rest I observed, that King, the secretary of Dundas, took my keeper Tims aside, and appeared to give him some instructions with great emphasis of gesticulation. From the deportment of the Privy Council towards me, in which certainty, I had observed very little that, according to my judgement, was confdent either with good manners or humanity; and from the manner in which I had treated their questions, which certainly was not very likely to conciliate them, it immediately occurred to me, that the dirty, vexatious spirit of revenge, by which little minds in great situations are generally directed, had prompted them to order that my wife and infant should be permitted to visit me no more. – Tis suspicion was shortly confrmed. – Mrs. T. brought my little babe to see me the next day; but was turned from the door with the heart-rending intelligence that neither of them could be permitted to enter. Te same day (14th May) Henry Eaton (who had lived with me ever since I had been in Beaufort Buildings) was taken before the Privy Council; and examined. Te spirit and shrewdness of this boy were highly credible both to his heart and understanding; and I should be wanting in justice if I omitted this opportunity of acknowledging the fdelity of a youth whose unrewarded services, during the whole time he lived with me, had no other stimulus than zeal and disinterested attachment. On the present occasion, this zeal and attachment, assisted by a courage and presence of mind uncommon at his years, were particularly useful: for, in spite of philosophy, the husband and the father still cling to my heart; and to be debarred entirely the conversation of one with whom afection (not the laws) was the bond of union, and to be forbidden the sight of the little innocent which, almost from its birth, had been regularly the frst object to which I turned my waking eyes, was far more painful than all the rigour of a jealous imprisonment. An account of this boy’s examination, as far as his memory could retain it, was printed the next, or succeeding day, in the Morning Post: a paper which,

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from the frst of our prosecution to the last, had the spirit and virtue to vindicate our cause in the most direct manner. …

TAX on HAIR POWDER. From the Lecture on the Budget.22 THERE is one tax proposed by our enlightened Premiere that gives me great pleasure. I mean the tax upon that luxury with which people choose to furnish the outside of their upper stores: a fashion which originated, we are told, with two dull and miserable mountebanks, at a public fair in France; and who having racked their stupid imaginations in vain to excite the laughter of their gaping auditor, at last frizzled up their hair in a phantastic manner, and plaistered it over with four and grease. Te conceit pleased, and Fashion, ever fond of absurdities, carried the fooleries of a brace of low bufoons into the court of a great monarch. Tere is a particular reason why I approve of this tax. I think it is the most democratic thing that has been thought of for a long time; so mush so that it almost leads one to think there is some truth in the assertion, that the measures of the present minister are in reality intended to promote that spirit of democracy which he pretends to be so anxious to suppress. At any rate it is one of those taxes which I think every real friend to the happiness and welfare of mankind will refect a little before he pays: and I will tell you why. Much as I am attached to that manly simplicity which the worthies of the ancient world displayed; superior as I think the Roman or the Grecian head, superior as I think the simple habits of antiquity to the phantastical absurdities of modern dress, simplicity is not the only object of consideration. What is this superfuous ornament? What is it produced from? Would not that which you suppose decorates, but which I think most ridiculously disguises you, contribute towards the support of those who fnd it so difcult to procure subsistence at this period? Are you not wasting, at any rate, in unnecessary ornament, that which might feed the hungry and sustain the weary. Suppose, for example, every individual wearing this superfuous ornament, instead of wearing it, were to distribute its real value, in bread to the hungry poor, and put the superfuous price which he pays for the spoiling of this four into his pocket; let me ask if he might not fnd plenty of indigent individuals, by relieving whom he could purchase for himself a more noble satisfaction than this paltry superfuity can aford? Ten, Citizens, there is another point of view in which it is to be considered. Every guinea paid for this tax goes to prolong the present war. Te less productive the taxes, the sooner you must have peace; for if the speculations with respect to fnance fail, the sinews of the war are gone. Well then will you pay your guineas towards the abolition of freedom in France. – Do not be frightened, Citizens! I think I may venture to promise you that the ghost of French DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720-6

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Freedom will never haunt your pillows. You may try to do it if you will; but, if I have any portion of that divine inspiration which Mr. Brothers23 possesses in such miraculous abundance, I will venture to prophecy that so desirable a thing as the restoration of the old despotism in France never will be efected, either by English arms or English gold. Te question, therefore, is not whether you will abolish the freedom of France, but whether you will prolong the groans and sufferings of your own country. If you believe that the prolongation of this war is only a prolongation of the calamities of Britain, then I think it is fair and honest for every man, by every mean that has no connection with hostility, no violence, no turbulence, to throw every impediment he can in the way of the prosecution of the war, which he believes to be unjust, cruel, and destructive. Well then, suppose I should tell you a way by which you may dispose of your guinea better, and be four or fve guineas a year richer, in consequence of this tax. Te generality of those who have their hair dressed pay, I believe, about fve or six guineas a year for dressing it: I am putting the aristocrats out of the question, who pay half a guinea a time. I say nothing to them; because I know they will not pay attention to my argument. – Well then, Citizens, there are at this time languishing in cells and dungeons, upon charges of High Treason (and such charges of High Treason!) Citizen John Martin;24 for he is still in confnement, without any provision whatever, where he has not even an apartment allowed him, nor coals to keep him warm, but what he procures by that charity, which the tears of his wife may obtain from the casual humanity of strangers. Tere is also poor Smith.25 I pretend not to prejudge whether he is guilty or innocent. I tell you only the fact. I have my opinion, and always had from the frst – but Citizens, there is this man also lying in an unwholesome dungeon in Newgate, where he is, I believe, at this time expiring of the disease he has there contracted, and he has a numerous family without any means of support; – his own support is taken from him in consequence of his confnement; and the sale of a few little penny and halfpenny pamphlets in a little shop, the corner of Portsmouth-street, is the only resource of his wife and family. He has twice applied to men, too great for me to name, for medical assistance in his disease; and has procured no answer. – [He has since been removed to an apartment less miserable and had medical advice.] Tere is a Citizen Le Maitre,26 (whose spirited and sensible examination appeared, some months ago, in the Morning Post) locked up in a place by some called the Bastille: and as bastille means nothing but a place of solitary confnement, I shall not quarrel with the name. – Tere is also a Citizen Higgins,27 in confnement upon the same sort of charge. And there are other patriots in confnement under charges of sedition: though neither the lawyers themselves, nor the devil, their great coadjutor, could ever tell what sedition meant. Tere they lie languishing without the necessaries of life.

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Now suppose every patriotic individual who intended to pay a guinea for dressing his hair was to leave of that superfuity and pay the guinea in some generous subscription, not for their relief; that would be something like High Treason perhaps; but for the relief of their wives and families. You will then have done an act of benevolence which, I believe, your hearts would refect upon with pleasure, and be four or fve guineas a year in pocket into the bargain. Te following Speeches in the Debate upon the Powder Tax, contain information of so important a nature, that every individual appears to be called upon to disseminate them as widely as possible: Unless, indeed, we admit the doctrine of the Chancellor or the Exchequer, that the people ought to be kept in ignorance of their own situation. As the Speeches are copied from that violent Ministerial Paper (Te Times) there can be no room to suspect exaggeration in the statement. Mr. Dent said, that instead of exempting the army from the Powder Tax, he had hoped the Honourable Gentleman would have prohibited them the use of powder, or rather four; for as powder was 15d. per pound and four but 3d. they would consequently use four. Te army of Great Britain at this time was 150,000 men, and allowing a pound a week each man, made 22,800,000 pounds annually. Te consumption of the best wheat, also, in starch, from which powder is made, amounted to 17,500 quarters; if his information was correct. A great quantity was consumed in the heads of servants; as he believed most of their powder came from the drudger boxes in their master’s kitchens. At this time the country was not abundant in wheat; the crops had failed; and the prospect of the next harvest was not very cheering. From the late rains and bad weather, much mischief was to be apprehended, and at the same time we could not gain any stores from Poland; which heretofore had been used to supply us with wheat. Add to this, that the French were our competitors in other markets, and consequently lessened the import into this country. He had also been informed (probably the Chancellor of the Exchequer knew it also), that there was not sufcient corn in this country to last beyond July, at which time 60,000 quarters were expected from Canada. Te situation of the poor was at this time to be deplored; they paid nine-pence for a quartern loaf, which a short time back cost only six-pence; and this, perhaps, from wages of a shilling per day. Meat they never could get at its present price, and even scarcely a sufciency of bread alone. With all these circumstances under his eyes, he had hoped the Honourable Gentleman would have prohibited the use of four in the dress of the army for at least a year.

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Mr. Pitt objected to the irregularity of this conversation. He thought it dangerous in the extreme, and would tend to excite commotions, if those statements were to be disseminated. He denied any knowledge of such a scarcity of corn prevailing. Te following little article, copied from the Telegraph, as the calculations are more particular, will place the propriety of wearing Hair Powder in a still clearer point of view: and as the facts are unquestionable, it is hoped that no friend to the oppressed and indigent orders of society will longer disguise himself with that ridiculous ornament. ‘Te military force of Great Britain, including foot, horse, militias, fencibles, &c. in England, Scotland, Ireland, and elsewhere, amounts to about 250,000 men, each of whom is supposed to waste upon his head a pound of four per week: 250,000lbs. a week make no less than 6,500 tons weight a year – a quantity of four sufcient to make three millions, ffy-nine thousand, three hundred and ffy-three quartern loaves, and to supply 50,000 people with bread for twelve months. ‘Tis calculation proves what a good efect the total abolition of the use of Hair Powder might have upon the price of bread; but when you add to the above a calculation of the four which will be used by persons privileged under the new tax, whose numbers cannot be fewer than 500,000, it will then be found, that there are 750,000lbd. of four used per week for the hair, which would make in a year 19,500 tons, or nine millions, four hundred and eighteen thousand and ffynine quartern loaves; a quantity of bread sufcient for the use of one hundred and ffy thousand men, women, and children. ‘From the above statement we are authorised to say, that it would be more for the honour of our legislature, and the beneft of the nation, to prohibit the use of four, or powder for the hair, altogether, than to lay a partial tax upon those who use it, for the purpose of prolonging a war which has been too long continued, and the efects of which the people of this country so severely feel.’ Who afer reading these facts, can do otherwise than admire that honest and respectable member of the House of Commons, John Martin, who with every grain of powder combed out of his head, stood up, and afer vindicating the dignifed simplicity of the human form, in opposition to the ridiculous foppery of fashion, declared, that ‘though as a measure intended to support the war he reprobated the tax; yet as a means of preventing the unnecessary consumption of four, at a time of such alarming scarcity, it has his hearty concurrence and support.’

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Tere is another circumstance relative to this interesting subject, which deserves some enquiry. It is reported, upon pretty good authority, that an American merchant waited upon a certain great Oeconomist and Calculator, and informed him that he could supply him with a large quantity of corn at a given price. But he was answered with great hauteur, that no corn was wanted in the country; that rumours of scarcity had been artfully spread abroad for the purpose of enabling merchants to be extravagant in their demands; but that the country was in reality very well supplied. Tis, however, was nothing more than one of those commercial tricks, very common between traders, when they wish to bear one another down in their prices, and which the Calculator had learned from having been for the last twelve or thirteen years chief managing clerk in a very great counting-house; for shortly afer he sent a message to the merchant, that he should be glad to have the corn on the terms proposed. But ‘If you will not when you may, When you would you must have nay.’

Te corn was already disposed of to the agent of a foreign country; and in all probability may ultimately fnd its way into the ports of France. No person surely will blame an agent for making as good a bargain as he can for his employers; but while so large a portion of the public revenue is swallowed up by placemen and pensioners – and when the wicked and ridiculous project of starving the people of France, has brought our own nation to the very brink of famine, ought the subsistence of millions of people to be thus coquetted with, that a self-opinionated arithmetician – an ofcial adept in the rule of three – may have a chance of boasting that he can outwit the Jews of ’Change Alley at a bargain!

THE TRIBUNE, NO. VIII

Saturday, 2d May, 1795. Historical Strictures on WHIGS and TORIES. – From the FIRST LECTURE On the Distinction between PARTY SPIRIT and PUBLIC PRINCIPLE.

AMONG the innumerable evils which have been entailed upon mankind by party names, there is one which deserves particular attention; namely, that they have a tendency to perpetuate divisions between one body of individual and another, long afer all the principles which were in agitation between them have dies away; and thus by creating the appearance of distinction where, in reality, it does not exist, delude the public mind, lead it from the investigation of general principles to the contests of individuals, and make them, instead of virtue, the objects of adoration. I do not mean, Citizens, to contend with you, that while governments continue to be constituted as most governments at this time are, that society can be expected to exist without such distinctions. I am very well aware, that while corruption shall domineer, and tyranny overwhelm, there will necessarily be lines of distinction between the great body of the people and their rulers. One part of the nation will be advocated for the rights of the people, and the other sycophants to the power that can reward their adulation. I am sure, that while this system lasts we must always have some who will idolize authority and be advocates for the prerogatives of rulers; while others, I hope, we shall always have who will stand forward as champions for the imprescriptible rights of man, and maintain, with frmness and ardour, the duty of government to promote the general happiness and welfare of the human race. ‘Tere is no city,’ says Machiavel, ‘but is divided into two factions; because the nobles always seek to command and oppress the people, and the people to save themselves fom obedience and oppression.’28 And the most revered of ancient historians, by shewing us that the same character prevailed in the aristocracy of ancient Rome, as Machiavel ascribes to that of modern Italy, lead us to conclude that the vice is in the institution and not in the particular individuals. ‘Avarice and insolence,’ says Tacitus, ‘are the common vices of the great.’ ‘Pride and arrogance,’ – 41 –

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720-7

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says Patercullus,29 ‘are natural to nobility.’ And Montesquieu, though himself a member of the aristocracy, fnishes the picture by describing ‘ignorance, indolence, and contempt of civil government’ as the ‘natural characteristics of the nobles.’30 It is evident, therefore, that while society is so organized, parties, in one sense, that is to say, contentions of opposing interests must continue. While such systems exist it is in vain to look for that unanimity which proceeds from languor and indiference on the one hand, or from a universal spirit of liberty on the other. It is only when governments are so constituted either that nothing but despotism and doctrines of despotism can be promulgated, or that the interests of the governors and governed are united together that such unanimity can prevail. I will not pretend to say under what particular forms of government the latter may be expected, for the future, best to fourish; but certain it is, that, if we regard the history of mankind, we shall fnd that those which have been farthest removed from the government of an individual, and have tended most to the republican system, have been those in which this virtuous concord has most prevailed; and in which the most glorious efects have consequently been produced to mankind. It is not my duty, however, to point out modes and forms of government. It will be more instructive, perhaps, to keep the eye fxed upon that state of society, which, in theory, we ought to enjoy in this country, to compare how far this theory and the practice agree together, and what are the pernicious excrescences which have grown out of the government to the detriment of this theory. As long as this country has been distinguished by any spirit of enquiry or liberty, it has been divided regularly and uniformly into two parties. At frst we had no other division than that which resulted from one party supporting the individual authority of the sovereign, and the other maintaining the power and the equal prerogatives of the aristocracy. Te contentions of the aristocrats of former periods, who were the only persons who had power or light enough to contend, have been marked with great approbation in the pages of history; in some instances perhaps with more than they deserve, compared with the present state of political illumination, but certainly not more than they merited, considering the state of society in which those exertions were made. I refer you particularly to those contentions which took place during the reigns of John and Henry III. – contentions which, though really in support of aristocratical privileges, with very few exceptions, produced what has been considered as the foundation or ground work of the British Constitution. I shall not enter into the merits of the Magna Charta. It is a melancholy task to investigate the merits of departed friends! I shall not, therefore, enter into the merits or defects of that great instrument, as it is called, of our liberties. It

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is enough to observe that it formed a barrier between two great parties in the nation; one of which was sometimes prevalent, and sometimes the other. We fnd, however, that they agreed uniformly in one principle, namely, to keep no faith while they had the power in their hands to break it. Sovereigns and nobles vied with each other in the arts of treachery and perjury, and all the powers of the priesthood assembled to give countenance to their proceedings. Tey stood with lighted tapers in their hands, and swore to observe the provisions of the Great Charter and Charta de Foresta, they threw down their candles, and with solemn imprecations wished that the souls of those who should violate them might so expire and stink in hell (such was the elegant language of the times) as the tapers stunk and expired upon the earth. But no sooner was the sword hid in the scabbard, no sooner was the armour hung in idle trophies in the halls of the respective Barons, than the Charters were violated, the provisions of liberty, such as they were, repealed; and the sovereigns, once again, such is the infatuated thirst of power which particular ofcers create, aimed at arbitrary dominion and attempted to support it by mercenary troops and alliances with foreign despots like themselves. Te barons, not more nice, when they had got the king entirely in their power (as sometimes happened) continued to rule, in his name it is true – for ministers, you know, can make use of the name of the sovereign when they have usurped all the power to themselves! – Tey continued to make use of the name of the sovereign, but grasped to themselves the power; and oppressed at once both the prerogatives of the crown, and the rights and liberties of the people. Tese parties difered, in some degree, from the factions of the present day. It was not a mere struggle who should be in place and who should be out. One party contended to support an absolute despotism over the whole, and the other struggled for the emancipation of a class. Tey had one thing, however, in common with modern parties. Tey had no frst principles, no great lights of truth and virtue to guide and direct them; and they were therefore totally indiferent about the interests of the great mass of the people, any further than as it was necessary to hold out to them some shew of favour and advantage to persuade them to be subservient to their views. In later periods other struggles have arisen. Te accession of the family of the Stuarts, happened at a period when mankind were considerably enlightened. Enquiry had gone abroad; and there were some persons who could read and write, aye, and understand what they read into the bargain, who were neither priests nor nobles. Enquiry getting thus abroad, the mass of the people began to feel a disposition to attain a degree of liberty for themselves, and we soon had the appearance of parties formed upon something more like principle than any thing evident in the former parts of our annals.

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I shall not dwell upon passages of history so well known. It will be necessary only to call your attention to the names, the description, and the nature of the parties which existed at that period. We shall fnd that in the distinctions of Whig and Tory, whatever may now be the case, there was, originally, an actuating motive in one diferent from that which prompted the other; and that they were not, in the frst instance, merely nick-names for two factions mutually struggling for the attainment of the same object. Citizens, we shall fnd that Whig and Tory, originally meant, in this country, precisely the same as Aristocrat and Sans Culotte now mean in France. I know very well, Citizens, that I have been tried for High Treason for calling myself a Sans Culotte, and that some who are called Whigs are not very well pleased at the term. To such Whigs I may be expected to make some apology, before I endeavour to prove that, if they mean any thing when they talk of Whiggism, they have no right to fnd fault with those who boast of their Sans Culottism. But apology is not the language of the advocates of truth, and if I can convince them that the thing is as I state, it is not for me to enquire, whether they will be pleased or displeased with the conviction. Bishop Burnet informs us, that the origin of this title of Whig, is to be traced to Scotland. He tells us, that the South West countries of Scotland, not containing a sufcient quantity of corn for the consumption of the inhabitants, and the Northern portions of the country producing a larger quantity than was necessary for their consumption, a great fair was held at Leith, to which the inhabitants of the Northern part used to convey their grain, where the Whiggamors of the South, that is to say, the drivers of Whiggams, or wagons, used to come to purchase the corn wanted in their respective towns and villages. Now it happened, that some how or other, these Whiggamors, coming to Leith, happened to pick up something besides the grain which they came to buy. Tey happened to pick up some degree of intelligence, relative to the oppression of their country, (feeling enough of it themselves) and the causes of that oppression, and to contract thereby a desire for redress. Afer the defeat of the Duke of Hamilton’s army, the ministers, I mean the preachers of that part of the country, animated the people to seek a redress of their grievances; and they accordingly went to the amount of 60,000 to Edinburgh, where they were headed by the Marquis of Argyle. Tis was aferwards called the Whiggamore insurrection; and by way of abreviation, the insurrection of the Whigs. And the Aristocrats, by way of fxing an odium upon the advocates of liberty, called them all, in terms of contempt, Whigs, or persons so poor and wretched, that they were obliged to drive their own teams to market. Tus the title at frst fxed upon the common people of Scotland, became aferwards to be applied to all persons, of whatever rank or condition, who were advocates for those people. From Scotland it travelled in time to England, and eventually

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supplanted the name of Roundheads, by which the partisans of the Parliament were at frst distinguished. Tus, then, by Whigs, is meant nothing more than the common people, or advocates for the common people. Now let us see what is the meaning of Sans Cullotte. Te wretchedness of the common people of France under the old despotic government is well known. It was very common in the streets of Paris to see numbers of poor half naked beings shivering in want and wretchedness. Hence they came to be called Sans Cullottes: that is to say, people so wretched as not to possess a pair of inexpressibles to conceal their nakedness. Precisely in this sense was the term Sans Cullottes made use of at the beginning of the present revolution. Te enlightened friends of mankind, however, soon began to refect that there was no great crime in being poor, and therefore thought it no shame to be considered Sans Cullottes themselves. Warmed with generous feelings they disdained to see these poor beings trampled on earth; and then treated with ignominy and insult because they were so trampled. Tey felt a common interest with their oppressed fellow Citizens, and claimed fellowship with them. We are Sans Cullottes also, said they; we uphold the principle that the multitude was not made for one or two individuals; but that government was instituted for the beneft of the multitude; and that, therefore, the Sans Cullottes ought to be so provided for and protected by the constitution of their country that distinctions so odious and contemptible might be wiped away. Tus terms of reproach became converted into expressions of public virtue and principle; and men were found in all ranks and departments of society, who were not ashamed to acknowledge that the human being shivering in want and nakedness was still one of his brethren: and that it was his duty to labour for his emancipation from such misery. Citizens, Another defnition of the term Whig, which some historians have insisted upon, is somewhat diferent. It will bring you, however, to the same point, and shew you that the principle of defending the rights of the lower orders of society was all that was meant by this name. Tere was a particular sort of butter milk in Scotland, the general food of the lower orders of society, which was called Whig, whence Whig-eaters and Whigs – a name equally descriptive of the lower orders of society, who were guilty of the abominable crime of being only able to obtain four butter-milk for their food and sustenance. Now, Citizens, having shewn that by Whig, or Sans Cullottes, or Swinish Multitude, nothing more is meant than the common, that is, the great mass of the people, let us see what is the origin of the word Tory. We shall fnd, I believe, that it resembles pretty much the idea that most people at this day begin to entertain of Aristocrats: – I do not mean by Aristocrats those men who, from never having considered the subject, and not understanding, in reality, what the principles of either party are, have been led by the visionary ravings of Burke and Wynd-

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ham, to suppose that Sans Cullottism means cutting throats, and that Aristocracy means preserving property. Such infatuated dupes deserve our pity, but are not entitled to our reproach. Tories, then, was a name given in the time of the Stewarts to the party at frst distinguished by the title of Cavaliers, – supporters of royal prerogative, supporters of the absolute dominion of a few over the great multitude. Te word Tory was a name originally belonging to an Irish banditti; a set of robbers who infested the mountains of that country, and committed all sorts of depredation upon the property of those who happened to fall within their power. Tat is to say, whenever they could get an opportunity, they levied taxes upon the people without waiting for their consent, or that of their representatives. Tese Aristocrats of the woods and caves becoming so powerful as to foment an insurrection and rebellion in Ireland, and the kind and his court being suspected of conniving at that insurrection, and being, by his agents the Cavalier Party, the prime mover of it, the name of Tory, by way of retaliation for the name of Whig was given to all the supporters of arbitrary authority, who believed they had a right to take the money out of the people’s pockets without the sanction of genuine representation. Tus Whig originally meant a poor man, or an advocate of the rights of the poor; Tory meant a plunderer, a robber; one who thought that a few have a right to commit indiscriminate spoil upon the great mass of mankind. Tus, Citizens, these names are in reality as ancient as the frst struggles between the people and their governors upon principles of liberty in this country. And you may see that they did originally convey some sort of meaning. For a considerable time, however, the old distinctions of Cavalier and Roundhead continued to be more familiar in England. Te time when the names of Whig and Tory were pretty universally admitted on this side the Tweed is supposed, by Rapin, to be at the period of the unfortunate restoration of Charles the Second. I say unfortunate restoration. It has frequently been called the happy restoration, and glorious restoration; but let us not be abused by terms and epithets. Unhappy indeed must it be for any country which, afer a long and unavailing struggle for liberty, has a monarch restored to absolute despotism, uncurbed by any of those restrictions which the friends of virtue and humanity would wish to prescribe. Te intrigues of Hyde, aferward Lord Chancellor, and Monk, Earl of Albermarle, whose name has been so sounded and idolized, together with a few partizans, occasioned Charles II. to be restored without compact or conditions. So that afer so many years of struggle and commotion, the country was tricked and cheated by a few individuals into the relinquishment of every advantage which those struggles and commotions ought to have secured. What the con-

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sequence was, we know full well. Te country had aferwards that to do again which it had done better before; and afer struggling, year afer year, with the imperious despotism of Charles was obliged to drive James II. and his posterity out of the country for ever. At the time when the party names I have been speaking of, were generally and universally adopted I am afraid a very considerable diference had taken place relative to the real meaning of the distinction. Te Tories, it is true, still continued to resemble those great and worthy characters of Ireland, from whom they had taken their name. Tey still continued to plunder the people in so remorseless and shameless a manner, that were it not for the recollection of recent examples, we should not be able to persuade ourselves that ministers could be found with profigate impudence enough to attempt, or people who were so tame as to endure it. I am afraid, however, that those who continued to call themselves Whigs, did not preserve their principles in the same vigour. I cannot say that during the struggles with Charles and James, there does to my eye appear much of that disinterested virtue which had bloomed forth in the character of Hampden who sealed his principles in blood, or those great and immortal colleagues whose struggle in the holy cause of liberty will command the admiration of mankind, so long as history shall remain and curiosity explore its page. Afer the fall of Sidney, at least, the names of Whig and Tory began to be little more than distinctions of two parties who were mutually struggling for the attainment of the same objects – places of emolument and distinction. Te characters of these two parties have been so ably sketched by the pen of Rapin31 that I shall take the liberty of quoting his own words, ‘Were you to rely on what is said by both, nothing is more just, more equitable than the motives by which they are actuated, namely, the glory of God, the honour of the king, the public good and the welfare of the nation. For my part, if I speak my mind, it is my belief that, as they are all men, interest is the main spring of all their actions. Since the two parties were formed each has earnestly laboured to gain the superiority over the other because this superiority is attended with posts, honours, and dignities, which are conferred on their own members, by the prevailing, in exclusion of the contrary party. Tis made King William say,’ – for the Dutchman had some penetration. He understood pretty well, that as it was better to have a Crown than a Stradtholderate, so also it was better to have a place under that Crown than to have no place at all. ‘Tis made King William say, that if he had places enough to bestow he could soon reconcile the two parties.’ Indeed, Citizens, when we consider the very constitution and organization, if I may so express myself, of parties, it is impossible such distinctions can have any permanent meaning connected with principle. For mark their language. Tory families! Whig families! as if principles, as well as estates, could be entailed by a piece of parchment, or man could take the inheritance of virtue as he takes a fam-

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ily name! How can it be supposed that any house, as it is called, generation afer generation, century afer century, should be more inclined to favour the rights and liberties of mankind merely because the ancestors of that House maintained those principles of old? – as if virtue were only an exhalation of putrid efuvia from ‘dead men’s bones, and dust of rotten ancestry.’ Citizens, men of penetration have long seen through this mask of faction. Tey have long seen that Whiggism and Toryism were, in reality, nothing but stalking horses of aristocratical ambition. Whig and Tory had become so notoriously mere words of empty import, so early as the year 1711, that Dean Swif, though himself an adherent, in some sense, to the Tory faction, observes, ‘By this time all disputes about those principles which used originally to divide Whig and Tory in justice to have been so too; provided we could have found out more convenient names whereby to distinguish lovers of peace from lovers of war.’32 I shall not pretend to support in this place the insinuation of Swif, that the Tories are friends to peace and Whigs to war: but I will say that if we are to have party distinctions, I could wish for such as have some meaning. Lovers of peace and lovers of war are certainly of this description. I hope, however, if this rational distinction does take place, I will be founded upon principle, and not upon family compact. I hope also, as the eyes of the people seem to be opening, that we shall soon fnd none in the party of the friends of war but the Ministerial Cabal, their Commissaries and Contractors, who are fattened by the general ruin and desolation. But, Citizens, it cannot be concealed, that all parties have supported the system of general carnage; nor can it be otherwise so long as things are constituted as at present. So long as war can create a wide and extensive patronage; and one man, by means of corruption, perverting that which is called a House of Representatives, into a mere ‘expensive chamber for registering the edicts of a Minister,’ can grasp that patronage in his individual hand, so long will every man who shall be frmly fxed in the seat of power, wish to plunge nations and continents into war, that he may reap the harvest of wealth and power which war creates. Accordingly we fnd, that the Whigs had no sooner placed their idol, William III. upon the throne, than this nation was plunged into a crusade almost as mad as the one in which we are now engaged. Two partition treatise were signed between this Royal Republican, this Stadtholder metamorphosed into a King, by the summer sun of Britain, like a grub into a butterfy in the month of May! – Two partition treatises were signed by this Dutch Saviour of Britain, and other Sovereigns of Europe, to divide the kingdom of Spain; to fx the succession of a country to which they had no right; and to force Kings and Constitutions down the throats of the people of that country. Tis ambitious project sowed the seeds of incessant war; and the swords of the contracting parties were alternately

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turned against each other’s bosoms, as seems likely to be the case among the still more frantic crusaders of the present day. In the reign of Queen Ann too, we fnd our famous Whigs, our lovers of the rights and liberties of the people, obstinately persevering in the war of the Grand Alliance, till the exhausted treasures, and miseries of the country roused a general indignation against the very name of Whiggism, and rendered popular, for awhile, the monstrous doctrines of Toryism. – Hence the wretch Sacheverell became popular by blaspheming common sense, and publicly upholding ‘divine right’ and ‘passive obedience:’33 And when doomed to punishment by the sentence of the law, (for this is an argument which Whigs can use as well as Tories: – they also can answer by prosecution, and refuse by punishment!) we fnd this very Sacheverell, by doctrines so preposterous, swelled into dangerous importance, and made the idol of the giddy populace. But the triumph of Toryism was of short duration. Te Whigs returned to power, and maintained a general ascendancy till the present Sovereign happily came to the throne. It must be admitted, Citizens, that the Whigs certainly had done important services to the House of Brunswick; that it was by means of these Whigs that the settlement in their favour was made, and the present illustrious family were seated on the throne. It has, however, happened, from wise and benevolent motives I make no doubt, that during the present reign the Whigs have enjoyed but little power or confdence. Te Whigs have, therefore, been enemies to the system of war, which procured them no places, no pensions, and no patronage. But, Citizens, it is evident, that the pacifc principle does not really belong to a particular set of men. I have never found any frst principles or elementary doctrines laid down by one party in direct contradiction to the doctrines of the other. I have found them opposing particular measures, and contending with all the warmth of interested zeal, that the party in power abuses the administration and government of the country in a way in which they would not abuse it if they had the happiness to be in the same situation. But to what principle have they pledged themselves? What object have you seen them stedfastly pursue? Has not party afer party amused you with hopes of reform, and when they came into power, have they not totally abandoned every project upon which they had built their popularity. Party enthusiasm, however, has continued to be nourished; and many individuals even of considerable intelligence, have mistaken this party enthusiasm for attachment to liberty. Hence the names of Wilkes and Liberty and Fox and Liberty, have been echoed from mouth to mouth, as if the men were the chief objects of our veneration, and liberty nothing but the domestic waiting in their train. Te conduct, however, of persons formerly members of what is called the Whig Party, has, I believe, in a considerable degree, opened the eyes of the nation. We have seen Burke, so indignant against the wicked attempt to curb the spirit

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of American liberty, the frst to raise the war-whoop of Faction, and enforce the necessity of plunging all Europe into war, to destroy the same virtuous principles in France. Yes, we have seen this individual once so loud in behalf of liberty and the Rights of Man, brandishing his dagger in political phrenzy,34 and out ranting the maddest hero that ever strutted in a barn, in execration of the very name of Freedom, while Wyndham, Elliot, Portland, Spencer, joined in the chorus of apostacy, and applauded his ravings. What principle did Whiggism ever uphold which the leaders of Whiggism have not abandoned and reprobated? Consult the furious declamations of this Burke; consult the metaphysical phrenzies of Wyndham; and the childish longings of Portland for a bit of ribbon.35 Consult, if you please, the conduct of Fitzwilliam36 – popular as a particular circumstance may have made him in the sister kingdom! – See this temporary idol of an infatuated nation coalesce, for the short lived dignity of mock royalty, with a man whom he held in the utmost indignation, and at the very time when the conduct of that man was more suspicious than ever, and then lament if you can that the dreams of his ambition should end so soon in degradation and insult from a being who seems to have entered into a conspiracy to degrade the aristocratic character below even what the advocates of democracy would represent it. Citizens, if you could have any doubt that places, emoluments, and distinctions are the only objects for which those parties have been contending, this must convince you – As soon as all hope of getting into power by other means has vanished, what do they do? Why, at the very time when these men whose strides to arbitrary power they have so frequently denounced, are taking a stride more gigantic than ever entered the imagination of any minister, for above a century, you fnd them making compacts and agreements with these men, and accepting the very scraps and fragments of places – the very ofal from the full banquet of ministerial insolence; grasping at any thing they can get, and on any terms; and consenting to seal the compact of their copartnership in the blood of patriots and reformers. In short – What has been the conduct of all parties? Have they not uniformly succeeded one to the other, and pursued the same measures when in place which they reprobated when out? Has any administration, for half a century back, nay, for a century, granted any one advantage to the people, but what has been extorted by hard and determined struggles, and usurped back again as soon as the public mind is quieted? Leave them then and their unintelligible squabbles to themselves; and fx your eyes upon nobler objects. Principles alone and not particular measures ought to occupy your attention. Tere can be no good practice which does not spring out of good principle, for principles are the stamina of society, and individual actions are only the smaller ramifcations produced from their commanding energy.

THE TRIBUNE, NO. XII

Saturday, 30th May, 1795. Lecture on the system of terror and persecution adopted by the present ministry; with animadversions on the treatment of Joseph Gerrald.37

CITIZENS, every person who has made use of the least refection must admit that there is in the human mind a considerable tendency to progressive improvement: that the individual always commences feeble and ignorant, and gathers strength of mind, as well as limbs, in proportion to his exercise and experience. It is true that, afer a given period, even the mind, much earlier with respect to the body, is observed to go backwards again towards decay. Old age and debility creep frst over the limbs and then invade the intellect, and bring us, in the last stage of our lives, to a second degree of childhood. Tis is not, however, the case with society. Te aggregate of human existence has no decay, no old age; and the tendency of the human mind, considered in the aggregate, is to perpetual improvement. We may observe that human institutions, indeed, are subject to decay; because human institutions growing, at the time when they are frst founded, out of the necessities of society, cease to be necessary when the state of society is diferent, and when the progress of human intellect has made considerable advances. Just as the go-cart is necessary for the child, but no person would think of compelling the full-grown man to follow the go-cart all the days of his life. Tere is another reason why these human institutions are liable to decay. Te improved intellect of society is sometimes, though not always, shared in common by the rulers and by the governed. When this happens to be the case, all is well. But when the agents of the institutions become wiser than the institutions themselves, and the body of the people are kept in ignorance, these agents fnd out means of making that which was originally intended for the public good a mere matter of advantage to themselves; and thus, preserving an exterior semblance, when they have destroyed all the virtual excellence of those institutions, they bring on the absolute necessity of overthrow: if timely reform does not remove that dire necessity. – 51 –

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720-8

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But though these circumstances afect human institutions, the human mind, as you will see, is not under the same predicament. Tere is an eternal renovation of youth, of ardour, of activity; and, consequently, there is a universal tendency towards perpetual improvement. I grant that the whole of this reasoning does not appear practically to apply. If we observe superfcially the events of history, we shall fnd that though, in theory, the human mind is heir to the improvements of the former generation; and though every advancement in the state of society, though it was the mountain to which former ages travelled, forms the level plain from which the succeeding generation is to start, to attain a higher goal of intellectual improvement; yet we cannot deny that history presents us with many instances of a retrograde motion in the political and intellectual revolutions of nations. Tis, however, will be found to arise principally, if not always, from some one of the following causes – Either, frst, from eruptions of barbarians, overthrowing the establishments of civilized societies; or secondly, from those disasters to which the general system of nature at times is subject, such as plagues, famines, inundations, and convulsions of the physical elements; or, thirdly, from the usurpations of tyranny. – Tis last is by much the most frequent cause of the retrograde motions of society; and is sometimes efected by individuals grasping at thrones and dominions to which they had no pretence of legal right, but much more frequently by those who are upon those thrones grasping at a power and authority to which those thrones are not by the proper institutions of society entitled. Tese are, as I have observed, the usurpations that are by far more common than the former; and in the preface to a work written by the late King of Prussia,38 (who was certainly, in these respects, a very tolerable judge) I mean the Anti-Machiavel, we fnd some very pertinent refections upon this head; which, as I have royal authority for the publication, I suppose it can be no treason to quote. ‘As the temptations,’ says he, ‘to which a King is liable are very powerful, it requires a more than ordinary degree of virtue to resist them;’ and he very well observes, that ‘inundations which ravage countries, thunder and lightning that reduce cities to ashes, the pestilence which lays the whole provinces waste, are less fatal to the world than the vicious morals and unbridled passions of Princes. Te plagues of Heaven continue but for a time; they only ravage some countries; and these losses, however grievous, are nevertheless repaired; whereas the crimes of Kings entail a lasting misery upon whole nations.’ – ‘How deplorable,’ continues the royal author, whose conduct was aferwards so excellent a comment upon his text. – ‘How deplorable,’ says he, ‘is the condition of that people who have every thing to fear from the abuse of majesty! whose properties are a prey to the avarice of their Prince, their liberty to his caprice, their repose to his ambition, their safety to his perfdiousness, and their lives to his cruelty!’. With

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respect to the perfdiousness, he lef the comment upon that to be written by his successor! Such then are the causes of the retrograde movements of society. But, barring these, we must be blind indeed if we do not see a perpetual tendency to progressive improvement in the intellect, and, I believe, in the virtues of mankind. Every new discovery, every fresh event, is a source of extensive improvement: slow, indeed, in its operation at frst; but aferwards rapid and important. Te institutions of society, thus, by the improvement of intellect, will every now and then be growing unft for the state and condition to which the mind of man has arrived. In the frst instance we fnd, as I have observed before, that those institutions grow out of the necessities of society. But nothing can be more pernicious to the happiness and welfare both of the individuals who attempt it, and mankind at large, than to endeavour to perpetuate those institutions, when, on account of the altered condition of man, they become, instead of necessary, injurious. Tus it is that the enlightened part of the community are always looking forward to an amelioration of their political circumstances: and if the enlightened intellect of man were lef to its free progress – if calumny and persecution did not attempt to arrest its steps, peaceful and happy would be the advances which men would make; and each succeeding generation would look back with admiration upon the liberality of that which preceeded it, while it felt an honest exultation at having towered to greater heights of virtue and perfection. Benevolence and wisdom would not only yield to this improvement, but would stretch forth the hand of government to help it forward. But self-interest and rapacity stimulate too ofen those who happen to be vested with power, to a directly opposite conduct. An inclination to tyrannize, a disposition to monopolize the advantages of corruption, too frequently leads the statesman, instead of enlarging the boundaries of freedom in proportion to the improved intellect of man, to resist that improvement by contracting them within narrower spaces. Tus the stream of popular sentiment and improvement, the strong current of increasing liberty, in proportion as the waves are swollen, is dammed up with fresh restrictions, and embanked within a narrower channel, till at last, impatient of restraint, it bursts its boundaries, and spreading, like an inundation, sweeps before it at once the tyrannous restrictions that have been erected, and the deluded beings who erected them. Perfectly consonant with this observation is the experience which is to be derived from all the former facts of history. Persecution is no new invention. It has been tried again and again: and has ofen been fatal, indeed, to the virtuous reformers who frst propped the persecuted cause; but has never failed, ultimately, to secure the triumph of the principles thus ridiculously opposed;

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and has frequently brought down a terrible vengeance upon the heads of those who have wielded the intolerant sword. Let us look back upon all that history unfolds. What was the frst reception of Christianity in the world? And if we look to the page which records the merits of that institution (whatever particular opinions individuals may have, they are always to do justice to the cause of which they are speaking!) – if we look back to that institution, we certainly must admit it to be one of those that had, to a considerable degree, the happiness and welfare of mankind at heart: the amelioration of the general condition of man; and particularly the uplifing of the trampled plebeian from the dust, and restoring him to that independence which belongs to the genuine system of liberty and equality. In vain, therefore, did the cruelties and calumnies of the imperial despots or Rome, and their servile coadjutors, persecute the dawning spirit of Christianity. It had too much political truth in it, not to make impressions upon the hearts of mankind; and these impressions, instead of being efaced, were rendered infnitely more powerful in their operation in consequence of the persecutions directed against it. Many an excellent and worthy creature, struggling for the advancement of what he believed to be truth, fell a victim to tyranny and persecution. And though lying monks have since disgraced their tales, by fabling allegories, and by ridiculous visions, I cannot but think that I discover in the fall of many of these martyrs, strong symptoms of that virtuous spirit which prompts the present exertions of the advocates for the principles of liberty and the freedom of human intellect. Tey fell: but Christianity triumphed. I shall not trace the abuses that soon crept into an institution which, virtuous in poverty, became corrupted by being taken under the wing of power. Tat would be a digression. But I shall observe, that the same instructive lesson is to be drawn from afer records, as from those early ones to which I have now referred. Look back to the progress of the reformation. When human liberty frst burst forth from that torpor in which it had lain so long, the frst struggles were against priestly tyranny; by which every faculty of mind and body was enslaved. Priestly tyranny had its pretended liberties and properties to defend; and the sword of persecution was wielded by the feshy arm of those who ought to have been all spirit, purity, and tolerance, and to have remembered that they were paid for fghting battles in the other world and not for wetting the daggers of assassination in this. Tirty years of war deluged the continent of Europe, in this struggle between rousing intellect and the depressing tyranny of priestcraf. In proportion, however, to the persecution, the energy of the advocates for reformation increased; and the blood of the martyrs was again the seed of the church, as it is called; but I shall say the seed of human liberty. Priestly tyranny fell: nor could it be propped,

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nor could the course of free enquiry be restrained, in this country, by the persecuting fury of a Bonner, or by the perpetual fames of Smithfeld, any more than by an age of tyrannous warfare among the despots on the continent. Tus then we see, that, with respect to what is considered as connected with religious questions, persecution was never capable of ultimately disappointing those views into which liberal and energetic minds had entered. If we look to the civil history of mankind, we shall fnd the same moral written. I shall not travel for these examples beyond the boundaries of my own country. It cannot be new to any person who listens to me, and, therefore, it need not be particularly animadverted upon, that once in this country the absurd doctrines of the divine right of Kings, passive obedience, and non-resistance, were fulminated from the pulpit, and thundered from the cabinet of the country, in order to support those doctrines against the innovating fury of those who began to discover that man had rights; and that government was instituted, not for the beneft of an individual, but for the beneft of society at large. Persecution again drew the sword from the scabbard, where political and religious institutions have seldom sufered it to sleep for any considerable time; and we fnd fctitious treasons, pretended plots and conspiracies, Courts of Star Chamber, and every species of persecution and illegal inquisition was adopted to crush the daring spirit of truth, and annihilate the growing reason of Britons. What was the efect? Te struggle was long. Te struggle, in many respects, was melancholy. Sometimes one party prevailed; at other times another. But the persecuted party never lost its energy by persecution; on the contrary, the energy increased. Charles the First fell; Charles the Second was restored, it is true, and the doctrines of divine right were attempted to be extended to a still greater degree than ever. Till this time the usual language with philosophers, lawyers and historians wont to be the Commonwealth of England. It is the constant language of all our old constitutional writers, who considered the King as no other than a president with regal powers; the frst magistrate of the republic of England. Tis language was now, however, thrown aside; and judges were found (for, if you refer to the State Trials, you will fnd that there have been some judges in this country who could make most curious speeches, and lay down most curious doctrines, whenever it would suit the purposes of the court who employed them – I say Judges were found – Chief Justices of the Common Pleas, and Chief Barons of the Exchequer, to broach new fangled doctrines about the imperial crown of Britain, and the unquestionable authority of the King. Not, say they, that we mean to set up an absolute despotism. Te king is to govern according to the laws, though he is not amenable to them: nobody has a right to fnd fault with him: he is to govern according to the law; but if he chooses to violate that law, nobody has a right to call him to account: a doctrine, by the way, which these judges had not

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the merit of inventing; for it was invented by James the First, who said that ‘every good King was bound of conscience to administer justice according to the laws of the land, but, at the same time, it was nothing less than blasphemy in a subject to question his omnipotent power; for he had no bond, no restriction but the conscience that inhabited his royal bosom.’ Te doctrines of divine right were revived, enforced, and aggravated, at the close of the reign of Charles the Second; and during the reign of James the Second attempts were made to subjugate this country entirely: And as they had not then learned the secret of buying Parliaments, they attempted to do without them. Yet, in defance of their Court of perverted law, in defance of their inquisitions, in defance of the pillory, the halter, and the gibbet, the friends of man persevered and conquered. Russel39 fell, and Sidney40 fell, and a many a glorious patriot fell besides: but the cause for which they bled triumphed at last. Passive obedience and non-resistance, and the divine right of Kings, were laid together in the grave: nor do I believe that all the howlings of Burke, the metaphysical ravings of Windham,41 no nor the plausible verbosity of Pitt, will ever arise them from their graves again, or obtain them to be acknowledged once more in this country. But to tell the truth no wish is entertained at this time to revive these exploded doctrines. Tere is another doctrine, new and curious indeed in its nature, which ministers think more to their interest and advantage; and consequently more to the glory and happiness of the nation, to maintain ‘by fre and sword and desolation:’ namely the infallibility of ministers, the divine right of 162 oligarchic proprietors of the rights and sufrage of the nation. Tese are the sovereigns of the day; and to speak one word against the rotten boroughs of East Grinstead and Old Sarum, is the highest of high treasons, and is to be punished with fnes, imprisonment, transportation, and death. But, Citizens, the usurpations and despotism of ministers will no more triumph than the despotism of the Church of Rome triumphed, than the prosecuting spirit of the Roman Emperors triumphed, or than the doctrines of divine right and passive obedience triumphed, in the wise and virtuous times of the lamented Stuarts. Ministers indeed may bring forward, as they please, their new inquisitions; but the enlightened spirit of the people will not be suppressed. Te improved intellect of man calls for an improvement, not for an increased corruption of the systems of government. Men who are wiser must be governed by more wisdom and moderation, not pressed and trampled down with an increase of burdens and usurpations. Almost the whole country begins to perceive that the boasted check which the Commons House of Parliament was intended to have upon the other branches of the constitution is done away. Tey know very well, that it is a farce to talk of the representation of the Commons House of Parliament, when 162

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rich landholders, nobles and others, can return a decided majority in that House which calls itself the Representatives of the People. And it is, therefore, that for thirty years back considerable agitation has occasionally taken place in the public mind upon the subject of Parliamentary Reform. Tis, however, has uniformly been resisted by the Ministers who happened to be in place. Te party out of place has now and then lent it some little assistance while they found there were no other means of acquiring popularity; but as soon as they either got into place, or were likely to get into place, they have always abandoned it; and the wishes of the people never have been complied with. But what has been the consequence? Why, an increase in the demands of the people: not a diminution. And whereas in former times a small reform would have been accepted as sufcient, I have no doubt that almost every individual begins to look forwards to annual parliaments, to universal sufrage: because continued discussion has convinced them that every man has rights to defend, and, therefore, ought to have the means of defence; that pure representation is the only defence these rights can depend upon; and that a representation for the whole ought to be a representation of the whole. Tey discover also, that, according to the theory of our constitution, they have an absolute right to those annual parliaments and to that universal sufrage, the former of which has been particularly proved as to the reign of Edward III. as you will see in my ‘Vindication of the Natural and Constitutional Rights of Britons.’ Tey elected their members for every session of parliament; and if two sessions of parliament were held in one year, then they elected their representatives twice during that year; and sent them, with their instructions in their pockets, dictating to them how they should vote. In other words they were guilty of the high Treason of over awing their own servants and representatives. But, Citizens, the present administration have not been satisfed with merely resisting the wishes of the people, they have adopted persecution against those individuals who have had the boldness to speak for their rights. And mark the steps by which they have advanced. First, they began with prosecuting for libel and sedition, though both of them are things which no law has defned; of which no act has fxed the limits; which are not to be found in the best constitutional authorities. Libel, in reality, means nothing more than little book. And why a man should be prosecuted for publishing a little book, any more than a large book, I can fnd but one reason: namely, that large books give but little information, and that little books frequently give a great deal. As to sedition, the lawyers themselves are not agreed even upon the defnition of it. Tey freely confess they do not know the meaning of the word. And one of the judges of Scotland – Oh, excellent and virtuous judges of the Court of Judiciary! how shall I mention you without pouring forth, in gratitude, your

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praises! But, however, my esteem for your virtues is not greater than my admiration for your wisdom; and, indeed, I think such virtues and such wisdom ought always to go hand in hand! – One of these judges then, being asked by one of the seditious panels at the bar, what was the meaning of sedition? replied, ‘Why, my lords, does not the panel know that sedition is a very great crime in all the countries of the world? – It is a monstrous crime – it includes all other crimes, my lords. It is – it is – it is – it is – in short, it is sedition.’ Citizens, upon the strength of this very eloquent illustration, we know that they proceeded to transportation for seven and for fourteen years, against characters upon whose conduct, public or private, not one imputation of scandal can be laid: men whose talents were an ornament to their country; whose virtue, whose independence, and disinterestedness, were even still more conspicuous than their talents. But this was not enough. Transportation for fourteen years did not suppress the rising spirit of enquiry. Men have discovered that they have rights; and feeling a deep conviction of this, they feel also that without the enjoyment of those rights, neither their country nor their lives are worth their care. Te next step, therefore, was to prosecute several individuals for high treason, for opposing the projects of ministers, and disputing the divine right of the holders of rotten boroughs. An attack upon these rotten boroughs was called an attack upon property; just as if human intellect could be property; as if the sufrages of mankind could be property; as if any individual can possibly have a right of voting for millions without, at the same time, possessing the power of crushing and destroying those millions – loading them with what burdens, oppressive taxations, and impositions, he thinks ft, and, in fact, treating them in every other respect like beasts of burden. By these prosecutions, however, (though they have been too successful in their attempts with respect to sedition) they were able to efect nothing more than to destroy their own spies. – Perhaps some of these poor deluded Gentlemen, those confdants of Gentlemen high in ofce, may be here at this time. But let them take warning by the fate of Watt and Jackson, and remember how perilous a thing it is to enjoy the confdence of the present administration! Citizens, in a ministerial paper which gives an account of the trial of Jackson, there is a paragraph which justifes this classifcation. Te reporter says that on the trial of Jackson ‘Mr. Cockayne’ – if there are any Gentlemen of the law here they know that man pretty well, I dare say. I was once in the profession myself; and I remember what sort of reputation he then bore. However that is neither here nor there, you know. When we want facts we must take them from the best authority we can get; and when ministers want high Treason and can get no respectable evidence of its existence, they must hang up their men upon such testimony as they can procure. – ‘Mr. Cockayne, an Attorney of London, deposed

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that he had been for a series of years the law agent and intimate friend of Mr. Jackson, who a few years since went to France, as the witness understood, to transact some private business for Mr. Pitt, where he resided for a considerable time. Soon afer his return, Mr. Cockayne said he called on him, and told him in confdence that he had formed a design of going to Ireland, to sound the people for the purpose of procuring a supply of provisions, &c. from them, for the French, and requested him (the witness) to accompany him. Having accepted the invitation, he immediately waited on Mr. Pitt, and discovered to him the whole of Mr. Jackson’s plans. Te Minister thanked him for the information, and hinted that, as the matter was to become a subject of legal investigation, it would be necessary for him to substantiate the allegations; but this Mr. Cockayne wished to decline on the principle’ – You fnd principle is here made use of in the true ministerial sense – with whom principle and interest are controvertible terms – ‘on the principle that, if the prisoner should be convicted of high Treason, he should lose by it £300.’ – He should lose £300!!! – Why you know, Citizens, it would not have been very modest to say, Mr. Pitt, you must give me 300l, or I will not hang this man. Perhaps neither Mr. Pitt nor Mr. Cockayne had the brass to stand the brunt of such a proposal: ‘he should lose by it 300l. in which sum he was then indebted to him. Tis objection was soon removed, by Mr. Pitt agreeing to pay him the money, provided he would prosecute to conviction; and the witness accompanied Mr. Jackson to Ireland, for the purpose of making himself acquainted with his proceedings.’ Citizens, I tremble for myself – I tremble for you. What security is there for the life of any man, if a villainous spy chuses thus to fx a price upon his head, and say to a Minister, ‘Such a man owes me 300l. Pay me that sum, and I will hang him for High Treason!’ – Who knows how soon you or I may be in debt to Mr. Cockayne, at this rate? I dwell upon this subject a little copiously, to oblige the ministerial scribblers, who wish to be furnished with a few hints; as it appears: for, in another very respectable paper, of this day, called Te Times, I am invited not to pass over the afair in silence. And, as I have a high respect for the writers of that print, who have earned their bread, for years, by diurnal slander and assassination, I will not fail to indulge their wishes. But I should do them injustice, if I were not to quotes the words of their invitation. – ‘Some of our modern Lecturers’ say the editors of this respectable print, ‘might make some atonement for their past political lectures, if they would give the public an oration on the causes of Parson Jackson’s suicide; and point out the bad efects of insidious attempts to subvert the constitution. Tey might also make a few comments on the treasonable conduct of Hamilton Rowan, and the republican sentiments of the united Irishmen; shewing to what purposes their views tended. And if they gave a sketch of the character of Napper Tandy, another

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seditionist, who fed to America, it would serve to strengthen the family piece, and warn the public of the danger of following the principles of such men.’ Tis challenge I accept, as far as relates to the person tried: every man, who professes the least respect for the laws of his country, might have the decency to be silent as to the others, against whom there is no legal evidence whatever. With respect to Jackson, I admit, in the frst instance, that if the charge (standing at present upon the individual testimony of a man who says he is not bribed, but that he was to secure to himself the payment of £300 by the conviction of the culprit) be true, that it called for the severest animadversion of the law. He who introduces a foreign foe into the country, destroys the liberty and independence he pretends to promote, and damns the good cause in which he pretends to be embarked. I shall not animadvert particularly upon the character of the witness; I shall only observe, that it is the general fate of those who boast of ‘the confdence of gentlemen high in ofce,’ that no person who is not high in ofce would condescend to be seen in their company. I shall add, however, that I have always thought that in Ireland, as well as in England, the life of an individual was held so sacred, that it was not a single oath that would take it away, however respectable the deponent might be. Surely existence is but a frail tenure, indeed, in an age of spies and informers, like the present, if one man’s life is not worth two men’s oaths, however pure in moral character, however free from the taint of suspicion! But as these famous Times writers, or time-servers, or whatever you please to call them, talk about suicide, would it not be worth while to enquire frst of all whether it was a suicide or not. Did Jackson poison himself? Let reason speak: for we have no facts or documents. Would not a man, who meant to destroy himself, have waited frst the issue of the motion that was making, upon such strong grounds, to arrest the judgement, and reverse the verdict? Would the man who afer all stood under the recommendation of the jury for mercy (a recommendation not very ofen neglected) would such a man (for they say he was a man of considerable intellect) have laid the destroying hand upon himself till he had seen the certainty that there was no other means of escaping an ignominious execution? But there are persons in these countries who have studied Machiavel with other views than to confute him. Tere are persons whose whole conduct shows us that they have treasured the wicked system in their hearts: and one of the things recommended by Machiavel is to put a man privately out of the way whom it might be dangerous to expose to public execution. I charge no particular individuals. I know not who has had access to, or who the care of Jackson. I know not by what accidents, particular catastrophes may sometime take place; but this I know, that in the decline of the Roman empire,

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when spies and informers were publicly patronized, poisoning and assassination were also exceedingly common. Dead men tell no tales: but some men have been found who, in their last moments, have revealed fatal secrets; and considering what multifarious transactions Jackson has been concerned in – considering that he has sometimes been editor of a newspaper, and sometimes a writer of scandalous and scurrilous controversy, – considering that he was a very useful servant to a great Dutchess – considering that he was engaged in a variety of services, some of which were not very honourable, there might have been some of his employers unwilling that he should tell all he knew. At least it would have become the writers of ‘Te Times’ to have ascertained facts, before they had dared to broach the insinuations which have appeared in diferent papers under that name. But the wretch who, pending the preparation for the trial of twelve men – trials in which, perhaps, the lives of thousands were involved, could publish in his newspaper that scandalous and profigate libel called ‘Te New Times,’ in which the individuals to be tried were represented perpetrating, in convention, the most detestable transactions – in which the individual now speaking to you was represented as giving orders for rapes and massacres, for burning villages, and plundering towns, and thus attempt to poison the minds of the Juries that were to decide upon their lives – the wretched prostituted editor of such a paper, must be capable of any thing; nor can we ever be surprised at any thing he does or says, or ever expect him to blush, ‘– unless, in spreading Vice’s snares, He blunders on some Virtue unawares.’

But I will suppose that Jackson did destroy himself and that he was really guilty of all he was charged with: what, then, is the conclusion to be drawn? In the frst place we are to conclude, that there is a wide diference between the frm and manly conduct of a man sufering for principle, and the wretch who takes bribes from both parties; and conducts himself according to the expediences of the moment, as he supposes most favourable to his individual interest. It would teach us also, that the being who has once prostituted himself so much to be a spy and agent of Pitt, has no alternative, no hope, no dilemma, but either to be hanged like Watt, or swallow poison like the unfortunate Jackson. Te halter and suicide are the only resources of these poor spies; and yet such is the miserable condition into which the burdens of the country and the luxury of the times have brought us, that heaps of poor beings, with this dreadful alternative before them, march upon this forlorn hope, under the command of the great general Reeves, and with so excellent a pay master as the present Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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But though, spies and informers have met the shaf of death, freedom and virtue have had their scars: On the manly breast of patriotism the would is still rankling; and the tear of humanity is called, not only for the poor wretch who falls a victim to the crimes into which poverty and ignorance have led him, but for virtue, genius, and transcendent talents, and a fortitude of independence, of which few instances are to be found in the annals of the human race. Te mild, the meek, the humane and benevolent Palmer, has been followed into exile by the eloquent, the manly, the enlightened Muir. Te simplicity of Skirving, and his untainted honesty could not preserve him; and Margarot, whose mind, frm as our rocks, and upright as our masts, – daring in virtue, and vigorous in intellect, opposed the growing corruption of the times – is gone to the inhospitable shores of New Holland, amidst felons and caitifs of the worst description, to lose, in worse than solitude, those talents which might have enlightened thousands and benefted successive generations. But this is not all. Te cup is not yet drained to the dregs. More of bitterness must be tasted. Gerrald, too, whose transcendent mind, and virtues equal to his intellect, challenge the love and admiration of all who know him; he whose vast stores of genius and science command reverence from the frst sages of the time – who is revered by all who know what merit and learning are, and esteemed by all who have a nerve for exalted friendship. – Gerrald, whose unblemished life – unblemished I say: for what are the little extravagancies of a young man of genius, born, not for the narrow circle of a family, but for the universe – and who, dissipating only what was his own, lays no burthens on society to replace it? – Gerrald, this great, this enlightened character, who, in the 35th year of his age, has attained a degree of mental excellence that very few, even of those who stand recorded for their talents, have attained at the maturest periods – Gerrald, also, is sent, not to Botany Bay, to enjoy the converse of those godlike patriots sent before him – this were something like humanity! – no, but to that solitary speck of earth, Norfolk Island, where his only companions must be wretches cast out from society for the meanest and most despicable of crimes, or savages whose untutored minds and ferocious manners exclude all the comforts and alleviations of human intercourse. Citizens, it is difcult to do justice to such a character as Gerrald’s. When we speak of superior excellence, our minds toil with anxiety to reach its merits, and frequently swell into bombast, for want of remembering that we cannot do complete justice to the talents of another, unless our own are of equal magnitude. I shall not, therefore, attempt to toil through the paths of panegyric; but shall read to you a faint and feeble, yet, in some degree, a just sketch of the talents of this martyr, printed this day in the Morning Chronicle. ‘His mind,’ says the writer, ‘grasped various branches of science, and digested them all. Te best scholars, the profoundest metaphysicians, and the ablest pro-

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fessors of politics and the law of nations, will be the frst to confess the soundness of his classical knowledge, the acuteness and extent of his reasonings, and the accuracy of his information. His eloquence had equally the power to charm and astonish; terrors of his invective. With all this, his temper is not less entitled to our praise. He was placable and generous to an extreme. Te magnanimity of his spirit, and the purity of his sense of honour, could only be completely understood by those who had made them the subject of personal observation. His defence, delivered before the Court of Justiciary, at Edinburgh,’ – which, Citizens, I recommend you all to read with the greatest attention. It will shew you the diference between the intellects of this champion of liberty and of those who sat in judgement upon him. It will enlarge your minds with the fruits of profound research, into the genuine principles of that liberty which glows in his breast, and which I am sure will for ever continue to glow there, though it must glow where not a breast can receive beneft from its warmth, nor an eye be cheered with its light. ‘His defence, delivered before the Court of Justiciary, at Edinburgh, is a master-piece in acuteness of reasoning, purity of composition, and dignity of sentiment. I am aware that the various excellence I ascribe to him would seem like a romance, if Gerrald had been a man unknown to the world. But almost every eminent scholar and statesman in Britain knew his merits, and know that I say less than the truth; because I do not know how to tell the truth in its full extent. ‘Having fnished his education and his travels, he came to England, the country which seemed best adapted to the display of his talents. Alas! those talents are crushed, perhaps, for ever, by the fagitious act of men who were incapable of understanding them, or understood only to hate them.’ Such is the man who is now sent to ignominious exile. But it was not hatred only that stimulated the men who sent him. Tey were goaded, also, by fear. Alas! what is the condition of a country in which talents, united with intrepid virtue, a power of discovering truth, and a determination to abide by its decisions, can be dreaded by those who grasp the helm of power. But, Citizens, this man is not only transported, like a felon, he has been treated with aggravated cruelty. Why, for thirteen or fourteen long months, was such a man to be kept stretched on the severish rack of apprehension? Why, if the door of mercy, as it is called – I should call it justice – was for ever to have been shut against him, why was he not sent, together with those companions, who were not gone from the coast of Britain when his sentence was pronounced? Why was he to be moved from dungeon to dungeon, from the Tolbooth to Newgate, and from Newgate to the New Compter? Why was he for ever to be racked with promises that his sentence was never to be carried into execution? Did they expect that the proud virtue of Gerrald could have been shaken? Had they hopes that he would disgrace the cause of Liberty by

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mean concessions? If such were their hopes, I glory in his transportation; for rather would I see, – much as I love, much as I esteem him, greatly as I adore his virtues and intellects, much rather would I see him thus sent to inhospitable regions, than have seen him exposed to the still more cruel ignominy of submitting to crouch beneath the footstool of a Pitt or a Dundas, and accept of mercy, upon dishonourable conditions, from the hands of men who are not worthy to unloose the latchet of his shoes. But it has been said that there was another motive: it has been said that if the prosecutors, in the late trials for High Treason, had been successful, they were to have tried him over again, in England. Tat they thought transportation not enough; and that he was to have been one of the innumerable victims that were to have made the streets of this city fow with blood, to complete the parallel between Pitt and Robespierre. Whatever might be the reasons for which he was kept so long, the manner of his removal, at last, deserves some notice. It is not many weeks since I went to visit him, in consequence of hearing it whispered about, that he was to be sent of immediately. I found him unconscious of such rumour, but apparently almost in the last stage of a disease, that, if not relieved in time, must have swept him of in a few days. I found this great man, this light of the universe, unattended, uncomforted, unsuccoured. No hand to administer to his disease, but the person employed, by government, to attend the prison. I do not even know the name of that gentleman, and therefore can mean no disrespect to him; but I would not leave such a man in the power of any person employed by the present Ministry. I procured him other assistance; and I had the pleasure, in some degree, to see him out of the jaws of absolute danger, but in that state of health which made his friends think proper to apply to Mr. Dundas to know whether he was to go or not, that proper preparations might be made for his accommodation. It was on the 6th of April last, I understand, that this precaution was taken, and the answer of Mr. Dundas was (they state the fact in the Chronicle of to-day, which agrees partly with the account I had from Gerrald himself ) that there was no intention of sending him at present; and, if it depended upon him, he would not be sent at all. Yet so short a time afer comes the mandate of authority. Gerrald goes down upon the summons, and is immediately double-ironed, like the vilest felon, and dragged away without even permission to go back again to his room, and kiss the little lips of his sweet babe, that kept him company in prison. He was scarcely permitted to speak through the grate to a fellow prisoner, and give him some directions as to the things he lef behind him. Away he was hurried, and the frst notices his friends had of it was from its being announced on the Monday in the public newspapers.

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Such is the man whom the humane, the virtuous, the pious – for they talk of religion, as men generally do when they are disposed to do such actions! – Such is the man whom these virtuous Ministers have treated in this ignominious manner. For what? For opposing the Sovereign on the throne? For disturbing the peace of society, and exciting rebellions and insurrections? For committing depredations upon public virtue and justice? No; but for doing that which no law forbids, no statute proscribes, no previously adjudged case (if adjudged cases were in reality any authority!) had warned him to shun; and for doing it with an eloquence which is persecutors could not rival, and with a power of reason and facts to which they could not reply. …

Te LECTURE ‘On Prosecutions for Pretended Treason.’ Delivered on Wednesday the 13th of May, 1795, the ANNIVERSARY of the ARREST of the PATRIOTS. CITIZENS, this being the anniversary of the arrest of the Patriots, who some time since were implicated in a factitious and ridiculous charge of high treason, it appeared to me that some sort of notice should be taken of the return of a day so important, in the event, to the progress of liberty, but once so threatening, to the existence even of the very shadow of British freedom. I therefore chose for the subject of this evening, ‘Prosecutions for Pretended Treason.’ It was my intention to have gone pretty largely into the history of these prosecutions in this country, particularly during the reigns of the Stuarts; reigns which some persons, dignifed with ofcial situations in this country, seem to have studied with minute attention, drawing, as it were, all their precedents from those reigns, and the ill counsels given by the ministers of that unfortunate family. I meant to have laid before you a great variety of interesting and entertaining particulars: as the subject is, indeed, of a very curious nature, and well worth our serious attention; and as, during my confnement in the Tower,42 I was naturally let to the consideration of facts of this description. While I was in that confnement, therefore, I made very copious notes and extracts from history, and from the State Trials, that they might furnish me with matter for a course of Lectures in this place, upon this branch of our political history. But to those notes I have had no time to refer. Eminent as my duties are in this situation, I have been called upon by a duty of a superior nature, to the discharge of which neither my conscience nor my feelings would permit me to be inattentive.

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You will remember, that on the last Lecture-night I took the liberty of proposing to you a subscription for our beloved and persecuted fellow-citizen, Joseph Gerrald. I did not then think ft to announce my intention of setting of the next morning to see that virtuous and persecuted Patriot, whose amiable manners have won the hearts of his fellow-citizens, as his talents have commanded the admiration of mankind. I did think proper to mention it at that time, because I did not know what jealousies might continue to haunt him; and therefore went as private as possible, lest I should be deprived of the solitary satisfaction which was lef me, of seeing once more that beloved and respected patriot, who is going to distant and inhospitable regions, for exerting those virtues and talents which illumine his heart, for the beneft of mankind; and because he would not prostitute his understanding to aristocratic usurpation and ministerial corruption. I have the pleasure to inform you, that that collection, with which I set of without delay, amounted to 16 guineas; the receipt for which I now have in my hand, and which is ready for the inspection of any Citizen who wishes to be satisfed upon that point. I had another reason also for my journey. I wished that some memorial of that great man should be lef behind him, for the instruction of his country. I wished to procure the means of decorating these walls with the bust of that revered patriot; that, fxing my eye frequently upon the image of his countenance, I might be inspired with similar virtues, and endeavour to imitate those talents which he so transcendently possesses. For these reasons I have been to Portsmouth, from whence I am but this instant returned. I have but just had time to wipe the dust from my weary brow, that I might take my place in this situation, and submit my thoughts to you upon this important subject, with such arrangements as could be made during my journey. But, there is one circumstance relative to this visit, which I shall not do justice to you and to society if I pass over in entire silence: though it is something like digression. Of the deportment of Citizen Gerrald I shall give you some idea at the conclusion of my Lecture; but when I am speaking of my journey, I ought to observe that I have been deceived, and am now agreeably undeceived, relative to the state of the public mind in that part of the country I have visited. In order that no barrier might be thrown in my way, to prevent my seeing the Citizen, I have hinted that I thought it necessary, at first, to keep my journey as private as possible. I found, however, that these precautions were not as necessary as I supposed. I found that in Portsmouth there are upright, enlightened, and virtuous magistrates, who will not suffer the peace to be distributed by any factious set of beings, who may choose to bawl out

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‘Church and King,’ for the purposes of inflammation and tumult, and to destroy the peace and property of those who happen to differ from them in political or religious opinion. I found, also, that the seeds of liberty are not only sown, but have spread to a considerable degree, in that aristocratic town; the centre, as it is, of so considerable a portion of patronage, and, consequently, of dependence. Instead of meeting in every house jealousy and animosity, I found a great number of persons anxious for an opportunity of shewing their affection and attachment to those principles which have been lately so much persecuted; and for that cause in particular which occasioned my visit to that place; so that while many strangers found it difficult to obtain accommodations at any price, my friend and myself, on account of our principles and the object of our embassy, were cheared and welcomed by persons of all descriptions, from those of the learned professions down to the simple mechanic and labourer: and were received and entertained with a hospitality that bore more resemblance to the welcome of old and intimate friends, than the greetings and civilities of strangers. I do not mean to represent these as the unanimous sentiments of the place; but they are sufciently so to procure protection to any individual whose good intentions may carry him to that part of the country; and I own it gave me great pleasure to perceive that the gall of animosity in the opposite party is either transmuted into the milk of human kindness, or else is kept in awe by the shame which never fails to result when Malice is checked in her career, and sanguinary Cruelty is disappointed and unmasked. Such having been the manner in which I have been employed, since I last met you, I hope to experience your candour, for any defciencies in the lecture of this evening; as the only preparation I have had, was made by quitting the coach at a time when others were taking their refreshment, and indulging myself in a solitary walk; that I might collect a few of the ideas that foated in my imagination. To proceed, then, to my subject: Prosecutions for high Treason, as is well observed by the author of the preface to State Trials, have, in all ages, been the fatal engines so ofen employed by corrupt and wicked ministers against the noblest and bravest Patriots. It is a little important, therefore, in order that none of us may be made the tools of such nefarious designs, that we consider a little the meaning of the word Treason. Many of you may, in the diferent periods of your lives, have to decide upon the existence of your fellow Citizens, perhaps upon the liberty and salvation of the country; let me therefore, invoke you seriously to consider the proper meaning that ought to be attached to those terms that sound so dreadfully in our ears; that you may not be in danger of being abused by mere words, when it

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is the spirit, the soul, the motives and the consequences of action upon which the juror ought to decide. Treason then, Citizens, as the derivation points out, is the act of betraying. Tis is, it is true, a very general defnition. And, perhaps, in the frst instance, it is best to begin with general defnitions; and aferwards proceed to the particular. Treason, then is, the act of betraying; and accordingly we talk in private conversation of traitor to his fiend, traitor to his trust, treachery to a mistress – a benefactor – an employer; in short, in all the situations in life, in which confdence can be reposed, we talk of treason and treachery. Tis defnition, however, it is my present duty to apply to the system of politics; and then we shall fnd that Treason, politically speaking, means betraying the trust reposed in the individual by the country, or betraying that country to the injury and destruction fom which it is the duty of the individuals to preserve it. Now when you consider this defnition, which I believe must universally be admitted to be just, one refection must present itself to your minds: namely, that, generally speaking, the traitors are to be found in that class of men who are themselves the prosecutors for treason. Tey are the men in whom trust and confdence is placed; they are the men who have the power of betraying, ruining, and destroying the country: they are the men who, if you consult the history of every country in the world, have been continually and perpetually undermining and destroying those constitutions, and those countries, which, with hypocritical plausibility, they pretended to uphold and to revere. Tis is treachery indeed. It is betraying a trust; it is deceiving the minds of the public; it is, in fact, inficting the basest, the deepest, and the most detestable would that the arm of the assassin can possibly aim. Te petty murderer, who meets his merited reward at the gibbet, has destroyed an individual, has overthrown the peace of one family: but the minister who, for his selfsh ambition, to gratify the rapacity of his dependants and relations, and to monopolize all places, power, and trusts into his hands, betrays the interest and happiness of his country, murders by wholesale; and the millions that strew the plains of foreign countries, with whose concerns he had no right to interfere, constitute the smallest part of the guilt that stains his polluted conscience! Citizens, this crime which, in England, is called Treason, has been variously denominated and described by diferent countries in the world. It is not necessary for me to make an ostentatious display of that sort of learning which any man may acquire by half an hour’s consultation with his dictionary; and, therefore, I shall not run through a list of these various names; but I shall just simply instance the descriptive and energetic name which has been given of it by the French republic: observing, at the same time, that, among the many advantages resulting from some of the transactions and proceedings of the French revolution, (for I never gave an unqualifed approbation of the whole)

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we may particularly notice a renewed energy of soul and expression, by which that country has shewn us the power which liberty gives not only to the arms, but to the language of people: enabling the one to mow down ranks of those who have less interest in the struggle, and the other to compress the meanings of volumes into a single word. Tey have called this crime of Treason Patricide! – or murdering the Country. Now citizens, this is, I believe, giving, in one word, a description more copious and more energetic than will be found in all our treaties of the law of treason put together. It is striking at the vital existence and happiness of the country: not that which ministers call the existence of the country, – the continuance of power in the hands of a few individuals who have erected themselves into an arbitrary Oligarchy. No: but the continuance of freedom, happiness, and the possibility of maintaining the great body of the people in equal rights, equal laws, and the distribution of equal justice. This is the existence which the real traitor aims to destroy. And what treason, what crime can be so monstrous, as the crime of that individual who mediates so detestable an assassination? That this was the original meaning of the word Treason in this country might be proved by a variety of documents, if I had time to refer to them. I shall notice, however, only the first in the collection of ‘State Trials;’ and which took place in the reign of Richard the Second, when Tresillian and other Ministers and Judges were tried for High Treason, for monopolizing to themselves the wealth and power of the country; employing it to the maintenance of mercenary forces, to coerce the people; and dissipating those revenues which ought to have provided for the security, happiness and abundance of the nation. Citizens, I know of few things more important, than that we accurately defne to ourselves the limits and bounds of the terms we make use of; and the train of reasoning into which I have fallen, seems to make it necessary that I should chalk out to you a distinction very important, though hitherto not very particularly attended to; I mean the distinction between Treason and Rebellion: a distinction which exists in nature, and which is of the most important kind: for treason can only be practiced against the happiness, safety, and security of the country; but rebellion may be practiced against an usurper who is destroying that country, but who, as he grasps the power, may consider himself as having the right to destroy those who would restrain the arbitrary exercise of his authority. Te rebel is not of necessity a traitor, nor of necessity is the traitor a rebel. Tey are frequently united together; but I think a recurrence to a few historical facts will shew you a very material diference. When Harmodius and Aristogeiton slew the tyrant Pisistratus, did the Athenians consider those heroes as traitors to their country, because they were

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rebels to the usurper, who called himself their prince? On the contrary, we fnd that their fame was celebrated in odes and poems; and Mr. Pye,43 the present poet laureate, has thought ft to translate one of the odes, which was written upon that occasion, by the Grecian poet Symonides: and he does it, he tells you, for this express reason, that such compositions ought not to be lost, as they keep alive the spirit and love of liberty; the writing and signing of that ode having caused the Athenians aferwards to follow up the example, and get rid of other usurping tyrants in the same manner. Citizens, if I recollect rightly, for it is some years since I read the poems of Mr. Pye, that poem begins and ends with the following stanza: ‘Eternal honor’s deathless meed, Shall, lov’d Harmodius, crown thy deed, And brave Aristogeiton’s sword – Because the tyrant’s breast ye gor’d.’ [To be concluded in our next.]

THE TRIBUNE, NO. XIII.

Saturday, 6th June, 1795 Te LECTURE ‘On Prosecutions for Pretended Treason.’ Delivered on Wednesday the 13th of May, 1795, the ANNIVERSARY of the ARREST of the PATRIOTS.

[Concluded fom our last Number.] THUS, we fnd, then, that neither the Athenians of old, nor Mr. Pye, our most loyal poet laureate, considered it any act of Treason to destroy the traitor who usurped authority to which he was not entitled: though certainly it was rebellion, according to every construction which can possibly be given the word. When the thirty tyrants usurped dominion over Athens, was it treason to remove those tyrants, and restore the purity of the Athenian constitution? It was rebellion indeed: for to rise in arms against the ruling power must always be rebellion. I shall show you by and by that ministers, in the present day, think it is rebellion and treason too, to rise, not in arms, but in words, against them, or any of their measures! If from Greece we travel to Rome, we shall fnd other examples, not less important, as to the distinction which I am laying down. – (I shall take care by and by not to be misunderstood, relative to the object and meaning of these arguments.) – Citizens, when Tarquin, the limited sovereign of Rome, became the ravisher of the virtuous Lucretia, when he usurped prerogatives that did not belong to him, and when oppression and tyranny ravaged the country, it was rebellion, indeed, in Brutus, when he stirred up the people to resist the tyranny, and ‘drove the Tarquins from the gates of Rome.’ But was it treason to restore the country from the gulph of tyranny and perdition into which it was fallen? Tere is not a man, who has one spark of British ardour lef in his bosom, who will pronounce such blasphemy against reason and liberty? It was rebellion to resist the usurping decemvirs – that oligarchy that trampled on the rights of Rome! – but, instead of being treason, it was virtue. And when Caesar lorded it over the senate, and, with a venal pack of senators, who ought to have stood up for the liberties of – 71 –

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the people, but who were his creatures, his tools, his hirelings, and dependants – when, by their assistance, he laid the liberties of Rome prostrate at his feet, did the second Brutus, did Cassius, that ‘last of Romans,’ who rose in rebellion against the usurper Cesar, act the part of traitors, or of virtuous citizens? I believe, we shall admit that they were not traitors, who restored, or attempted to restore the purity of Roman liberty; but that, in reality, the men destroyed in this, and all the other instances I have mentioned, were themselves the traitors: that tyrants and usurpers are the worst of traitors; and that, if it is virtue to obey virtuous rulers, if it is just and right to obey legal and constitutional mandates, then must it be always virtue, right, and justice, to resist and oppose those tyrants and usurpers whose sanguinary violence depopulates the country, or whose projects of selfsh ambition deprive the nation of its support and freedom. Akenside,44 in his Poem on ‘Te Pleasures of Imagination,’ supposes, falsely I believe, that the most sublime image that can possibly be presented to the mind is that Brutus rising from the stroke that laid the tyrant prostrate at his feet. ‘Look then abroad through Nature, to the range Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres, Wheeling unshaken through the void immense, And speak, O Man! does this capacious scene With half that kindling majesty dilate Ty strong conception, as when Brutus rose Refulgent from the stroke of Caesar’s fate Amid the crowd of patriots, and his arm Alof extending, like eternal Jove, When guilt brings down the thunder, call’d aloud On Tully’s name, and shook his crimson steel, And bad the father of his country Hail! For lo! the tyrant prostrate on the dust! And Rome again is free?’

Citizens, I do not approve, though the laureat Pye, and the whig Akenside have done so, passages that have such a tendency to excite a sanguinary disposition. I would have the powers of genius and reason employed to increase the kindness, nor the bitterness of the heart; – to allay the furious passions and resentments of mankind, not to stimulate to violence and slaughter. I have not therefore quoted either the translation of Pye or the poem of Akenside, because they meet with my entire approbation; but because they shew you that it never has yet been thought, by men who think at all, that those two terms, so frequently confounded together, were one and the same; but, on the contrary, that they have regarded resistance of oppression as a virtue of the frst class, and thought that every thing ought to be encouraged and disseminated that would dispose man-

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kind to such resistance. I also maintain, that resistance of oppression is the frst of virtues; but I would resist it, not by the dagger, but by reason: I would go slowly to work from circle to circle: I would disseminate the light of truth and benevolence; and I am sure that, when mankind can be persuaded to lay aside their artfully excited terrors, and to enter calmly into investigation, Liberty will want no poignard to enforce her doctrines, nor no buckler to guard her bosom against those furious foes who at present detest her, only because the artifces of a few individuals have prevented them from contemplating her features! I think myself, however, entitled, from the observations I have just brought forward, to conclude that, as the men who were destroyed were usurpers and tyrants, the rebellion of those who destroyed them was not Treason. But, Citizens, I will tell you (for that is the more important part of my subject) how I suppose a man may be guilty of treason, without falling into rebellion: a thing which is much more common. And here permit me to observe, that my object in marking this distinction is to dissuade mankind from committing treason, not to persuade them to commit rebellion; for rebellion, though another crime, is, generally speaking, a crime of monstrous magnitude; because it involves the peace and tranquillity of society, and gives a few upstart leaders, whose minds are infated with a desire of power, too frequent an opportunity of making tools and instruments of those whose situation in society renders them the stepping stones and ladders of the ambition of deluding hypocrites. I do not therefore wish to persuade you to commit rebellion; but I wish to persuade other persons to cease to commit the greater crime of Treason. I will tell you then, and I will illustrate as I go on by historical instances, how I conceive that men (if Ministers and Courtiers may be considered as men) may commit the crime of treason without being rebels, – I consider, when Caesar gifed to himself a power to which he was not entitled, and thus attempted to enslave his country, that he, though not guilty of rebellion, was guilty of Treason of the highest kind. I men to say also, that when Agrippa, Maecenas, and others, advised Augustus to seize the sovereign power, and thereby to annihilate entirely all hopes of Roman freedom, that these advisers, though they did not rise in rebellion, were guilty of High Treason also; and that their treason was not a wit the less detestable because they advised him to preserve all the forms of the Roman constitution, while he destroyed the whole of its spirit and excellency. I mean also to say (proceeding to events of a more recent date that, in France, for example, the destruction of the Bastille was certainly an act of rebellion; that the opposition made by the people to the interference of foreign mercenaries, employed by the then existing government for their destruction, was, also, an act of rebellion: but I mean to say, at the same time, that neither the one nor the other of these was an act of treason; but on the contrary, considering the situation of France at that time, that they were acts of salvation, to which France owes

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what she yet possesses of liberty, and the means which are at this time almost completely in her hand) of obtaining a degree of liberty more happy and glorious than any thing that has yet been conceived or thought of. Broglio with his mercenary troops at the beck of that power which was then undoubtedly possessed of the supreme authority, was marching to Paris, to crush the friends of liberty, and annihilate the States-General. Te Parisians heard of it, and were frantic with apprehensions for their dawning liberty: they ran to the Arsenal to provide themselves with arms, never thinking at frst of taking the Bastille, or suspecting that they were capable of so doing; but the cruel behaviour and treachery of the governor urged their fury, even beyond its frst intention, and, happily for the universe, the Bastille was laid a smoking ruin upon the earth. If I were standing up as an advocate for these men, defending them by legal quibbles against the charge of rebellion, I know I must be tongue tied – I should have nothing to say. But if I were pleading for them upon the charge of reason, I should say, Bring as many such traitors as you will before a just tribunal, charged with such actions, under such circumstances, and, instead of fetters for their legs, they must be furnished with crowns of laurel. Tey were the saviours, not the betrayers of their country: and if a foreign mercenary force can ever be permitted, at the nod and beck of any Minister, or any Monarch, to be brought into any capital, to enforce the commands of despotism, farewell to every thing like liberty, – farewell to every thing like humanity, – farewell to civilization! – Tis world is a wilderness, where one great elephant may stalk from place to place, and, with his huge proboscis, mow down every thing that might administer to the comfort and felicity of mankind. But if this was Rebellion without being Treason, let us see, in the next instance, what was Treason in France, though not Rebellion. – It was Treason in those detestable sycophants who stood behind the curtain (and there is but too frequently some whispering fend, behind the curtain, disturbing the repose of nations, and poisoning the ears of princes) – when they advised the King to give a hypocritical sanction to decrees which they meant aferwards to advise him to violate; when they advised the King, afer having most solemnly sworn to support those decrees, to add perjury to treachery, and shameless efrontery to both, and declare himself destitute of every principle of faith and honesty. – Tose men were traitors both to their Country and their King! and calamities enough they have brought upon both, which sophists may endeavour to lay upon other shoulders, but which are chargeable, in the frst instance, to them, and them alone. Tose men however, and that woman, who advised the fight of the unfortunate Louis XVI. were not guilty of rebellion, but they were traitors of the worst description; and if it were possible for me, in any situation, to applaud the severity with which crimes are sometimes pursued, I should be

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almost inclined to say – that they deserved the fate which they eventually met. – [A hiss.] I am much obliged to the Citizen who has thus interrupted me! But, as I am sure the sentiment is unexceptionable. I perceive that I must have made some mistake in the expression. I will repeat, therefore, the idea I meant to convey. – I mean to say, that those evil counsellors of Louis XVI. who advised him to ratify decrees which he did not mean to fulfl; who advised him to swear to the constitution which he meant to violate; who advised him aferwards to violate that constitution, and leave the paper upon his table in which he declared himself to be a hypocrite and a perjurer; who advised him to fy to foreign nations, in hopes of leading foreign armies against his country, – that these counsellors, these vipers let me call them, though they were not rebels, were traitors of the worst description. – Tis is my meaning. Tis is what I meant to express before. Tis, I believe, I have expressed tolerably accurately now: and if any scribes of the Treasury think they can make any thing of it, I will endeavour, as nearly as possible, to repeat it again to those – I was going to say Citizen Spies, but – Gentlemen Spies, I mean. Far be it from me, Citizens, to infame your minds against any individual; but, as I know that every night there are gentlemen of that description, I wish to tell them fairly and openly, that if any persons whatever wish to take down any part of my words, if they will signify their design, either in the manner just now signifed, or any other way, I will repeat the idea to them. And I will do more: I will shew them the diference between the honor of a plain common man, the simple descendant of a London tradesman and the daughter of a poor country farmer, and the tinsel honor which belongs to persons who were trumpery titles and trumpery decorations. I will shew them that instead of hiring, like a person of the last description, 50 bludgeon-men to knock out the brains of a man hostile to my sentiments, I will protect even his rude, intemperate, and ungentlemanlike conduct, from the indignation which some might think it merits. No man, however improper his conduct, shall meet with an improper return of it here. His person shall be protected; the freedom of his sentiments shall be protected. If he is a deluded individual, I will endeavour to remove his delusion by candour: if a designing individual, I will shew him how superior the smallest of the friends of liberty is to the malice of such designs. Citizens, I shall now proceed in my task of making these distinctions, and shewing you that there may be treason without rebellion, and that this Treason is most frequently committed by those individuals who are so ready to charge others with being traitors. I shall proceed to illustrate this by facts from the history of our own country. You will remember that Charles the First not being wise enough to know how to buy parliaments, and the parliament under Charles the First being disposed to support the rights of the people, there consequently arose what is called

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a rebellion in this country. (Remember I am not going to justify the last act of the Rebels, as they are called. I do not justify sanguinary punishments in any instance whatever!) But, in consequence of the disposition on the part of the ill advisors of Charles the First, to usurp arbitrary power, and the disposition on the part of the Parliament to support the liberties of the people, what is called a rebellion took place in this country. Now, in this instance, I think we shall fnd that the Treason did not lie in the people and parliament of England, though they are called rebels for defending themselves against the armed force which Charles, by the advice of his ministers, assembled in order to make himself absolute; but that the Treason was in the Ministers, who advised him to abdicate his rightful crown, by attempting to usurp a tyranny and authority to which he had no claim. I say that the principle traitor was the apostate Wentworth, who, while he was in opposition, pretended to be faming patriot, a friend to the liberties of the people, and an advocate for a reformation of corruptions and abuses; but who, as soon as he became minister, became one of the most violent persecutors of every thing that looked like liberty; and though I do not commend nor excuse the trial of Lord Straford (the title with which his prostitution was purchased) yet I contend, that those who advise a King to exercise a power which the laws of the land do not vest in him, are traitors to the kind and to the country, and do thereby advise him to abdicate the throne on which the constitution has place him;--do actually advise him to un king himself, and renounce those privileges and prerogatives which, but for his unjust usurpation, he might still have continued to enjoy. I mean to say, also, that the advisers of Charles the Second and James the Second, who as they were also ignorant of the art of efectually buying parliaments, took it into their heads to persuade them to do without any parliaments at all (which is pretty nearly the same thing you know!) though they did not rise in rebellion against the royal authority, were also traitors to their country, and to those two unfortunate monarchs. – I say two unfortunate monarchs: for though the frst of them (as some say) died a natural death, yet his reign was one continued source of vexation and misfortune; and might hold up a striking lesson to all monarchs – that when they attempt to grasp more power than they are entitled to, they grasp at thorns whose sharp and unpoisoned mail will rankle in the hand that attempts to grasp them. I shall now just observe, in a brief manner, that these natural distinctions have been too frequently confounded by the arts of courtiers and sycophants. In the frst place, it has been common, by the assistance of metaphor and fattery to represent the person of an individual and the happiness and existence of a whole country to be one and the same thing. I admit, I afrm that the safety, the security, and tranquillity of the individual or individuals who constitute the chief magistracy of a country, are incorporated with the happiness of society; and that

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he who invades the life of such magistrate or magistrates, whatever be the form of the constitution, commits an ofence of a very heinous description against the peace and happiness of society. I think it necessary to make this observation that my intentions may not be misrepresented. I wish you to understand accurately the nature of crimes and ofences. I do not mean to persuade you that any thing that is criminal is virtuous; or, which is frequently attempted in another place that, things really virtuous and just are criminal. But I mean to say, that though it is a high crime to assail the magistracy of a country, that the magistrate and the country are not one and the same thing: and that on one life ever yet was, or ever can be, as estimable as the life of twenty-four millions, or seventeen millions, or seven millions of individuals of which the population of any particular country may consist. Tis is a sort of fattery paid by sycophant writers to increase their own importance in the eyes of those they fatter. But this is not all. Did the encroachment and metaphor stop here I would not have troubled you with so many animadversions upon the subject. But, having, in the frst instance, identifed, by a fgure of speech, the whole nation in the person of the Prince, they next confound the minister of the Prince with the Prince himself; and then call it high Treason to oppose the measures, designs, nay the contemplations of that courtier who, by arts the most hypocritical, may happen to have seized upon the helm of power. Mr. Gibbon,45 in his ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ – a work which, though perhaps not entitled to so unqualifed an approbation as has sometimes been given, must be admitted to be full of profound research, and useful refection, particularly alludes to this last species of treason – an attempt to identify the person of the minister or favourite with the person of the Prince, and to punish the opposition made to such minister as an ofence against the sovereign; and very justly considers it as the last stage of despotism. – (You will remember, Citizens, that at the time Mr. Gibbon wrote this refection, the late accusations for high Treason had not been brought forward – nor had it ever been whispered in Britain that a disposition to oppose measures that had been hinted by a minister, could be considered as Treason in this country. You will please to observe that, in this country, this last species of Treason has been very jealously guarded against; and it was for this reason that the 25th Edward III. was made; for so many things had been charged to be Treason, that bore no resemblance to that crime, that an act was thought necessary in that Parliament, to defne the two principal species of Treason to be compassing and imagining the death of the king; and actually levying war against the king. Having laid down this in so clear and distinct a manner, our ancestors weakly thought that they had done sufcient. But it was not long before attempts were successfully made to extend the limits of the law of Treason. Tose limits the good sense of the people has occasioned them to refer to again and again; and the same

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limits have been again and again declared to be the boundaries of the crime of Treason; and again and again (whenever artful, hypocritical, and alarming ministers got possession of the seat of power) under frivolous pretences, have been extended to a most exorbitant degree. Queen Mary, on account of her religion and intolerance, has spoken of with a degree of severity which is certainly as much as she is entitled to; she had one merit, however, which ought not to be forgotten; she expressed, by public act, her detestation of making words Treason; repealed all the encroaching statutes that had been made; and again fxed the limits of Treason by the 25th Edward III. Tose limits, however, since that time have been occasionally extended and again restored: and we have, at this time, to lament two statutes, fabrications of the present minister, (the Alien Act, and the Traitorous Correspondence Act) by which those sacred boundaries are once more violated. But this is not all. It is to be observed, that since the revolution, ministers not thinking ft to alter the law of Treason as ofen as they wished to extend the limits, have induced their judges to appeal to fctions and evasions; by which they have efectually done that which they did not openly dare to avow. Accordingly we fnd that though the 25th Edw. III. expressly says, that to compass and imagine the death of the King shall be high Treason, and that to levy war against the King shall also be high Treason; making them, thereby, two distinct species of Treason, and clearly evincing thereby that merely conspiring, or imagining, to levy war, was no Treason; yet they have procured many judges to declare, and to pass sentences upon that declaration, that though to attempt to levy war is not Treason under the head of levying war, yet that it is still Treason under another distinct species: namely, that of compassing the death of the King – just as if our frugal ancestors, whose acts were seldom longer than this bit of paper, would have spent their time and words in declaring, that to levy war should be high Treason, if they had meant and understood that even the very idea of such a thing would be an act of high Treason, of the description which they had already previously declared; namely, the compassing and imagining the death of the King. – But let us now return to the times of Charles he Second, by whom it is notorious that an attempt was made to establish an absolute despotism. If we wanted proof of this, we need only appeal to the alliances formed by the cabal, and other ministers of Charles II. their constant hostility to every country that attempted to gain or to preserve its freedom; and their connections with the despot of France, and every other despot on the continent, who would oppose the principles they wished to eradicate. Now, Citizens, there is a curious circumstance relative to the history of Charles II. namely, that every six or twelve months produced a conspiracy, which, being begotten in the imagination of ministers, was propagated in Parliament, while there was any Parliament, and aferwards in the Privy Council (when Privy

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Councils became every thing and Parliaments nothing), was aferwards disseminated through the country by infammatory hand-bills and proclamations. In consequence of these, imaginary traitors, never hearing of such plots and conspiracies till they were indicted and brought to the bar to be tried for them, were time afer time dragged, at the peril of their lives, before judges who knew them to be innocent, to hear the scandalous harangues of Serjeants and Attorney-Generals, who knew that the men they were arraigning were innocent and virtuous, and that they themselves, and their employers, were the persons who ought to have stood at the bar and been tried. If any one doubts whether I have given a faithful account of these plots and conspiracies, let him turn over the pages of Rapin’s History. Tese facts, which stand recorded upon unquestionable authority, (otherwise they could not have been believed by those who live under the present administration) mark, beyond the possibility of mistake, the designs and objects of the ministers by which these plots and fctitious conspiracies were fabricated: and woe to the nation that shall witness their repetition. Yes, Citizens, in this reign of Charles II. in which these false conspiracies were hatched, there were also many real conspiracies; but they were conspiracies among those persons that were endeavouring to destroy the pretended conspirators. False plots, and false conspiracies, are necessary things for those who have real plots and conspiracies of their own to conceal/ I would not wish to press the subject too closely; but have we not also had false plots and conspiracies in the present day? Has not the present immaculate minister disseminated his alarms, like electric shocks, from one end of the country to another, to every individual who imagined he had a stake in the country? – as if every man that has life and exertion had not a stake, or ought not to have a stake in the country! – Has not the present minister, by those excellent conductors, warrants for high Treason, proclamations, and reports of secret committees, conveyed his electric shocks of alarm through the country, till the whole deluded mass of the people shook with convulsions before him? much to the amusement, no doubt, of the manager of the machine, though little to the health and beneft of those upon whom he operated. Nay, it is said, that there have been individuals who have had the audacity to attempt to keep up the reputation of their quackery, by charging the juries of this country with being conspirators, also, against the laws and constitution they were called to defend, because they would not hang the men whom they thought ft to accuse. Yes, if we are not strangely abused, indeed – if our credulity is not most terribly tricked, by those retailers of intelligence, the reporters for the diurnal prints, persons have stood up in public assemblies, and declared that the acquittal of the felons, as they call them, was a proof of the extent to which the conspiracy had spread.

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Tese words are detailed to us as the words of men whose professions of attachment to the Constitution ought to have prevented them from insulting that part of the Constitution, which, I make no scruple of saying, is worth ten thousand times more than all the rest of the Constitution put together: I mean the great and invaluable right of TRIAL BY JURY! But, Citizens, in the midst of these false plots we have, also, had real plots and conspiracies. I remember, a few evenings ago, having the pleasure, or imagining that I had the pleasure, of seeing, in this room, the high and mighty inquisitor, Mr. Reeves. – Te sight of this being inspired me with some inclination to let him know that his inquisitorial presence did not daunt the friends of liberty. I, therefore, took the liberty of announcing, at that time, that I should, on a future occasion, lay before this audience an exposition of the plots and conspiracies of Mr. Reeves and his associators.46 And, if ever I should see a tall, gawky, shufing fellow, who has been idolized very much in this country, and whose principal claim to that idolatry seems to be his talent of shufing and apostacy! – if I should have ever the happiness to be in company where that right honourable maypole happens to stalk in, I will greet him with the promise of an equally just dissection. At present it is my duty to proceed with my exposition of the plots and conspiracies of Reeves. – I speak his name without disguise, that his followers and retainers may be at no loss in their report. I shall not dwell particularly upon the character of the honourable institution of which he is the founder; nor the baseness, when it was frst opened, of signing the name of a person, as secretary, who never had been within the walls of the meeting. I will mention, however, a little anecdote to which this circumstance gave birth. Te gentleman went to complain to Reeves of the insult put upon his name by introducing it into such company, and found the whole society, consisting of four or fve actual members, assembled. Tey immediately apologised; and said, as they were very much in want of a secretary, they would be very much obliged to him recommend them one. to which he is reported to have answered immediately, ‘Why, here is Mr. Reeves, who is a bustling active man, he will do very well, I should think, for a secretary; and then, perhaps, you may chance to get a respectable man in the chair.’ But, sof: I ought to speak of Mr. Reeves with fear and trembling; for he is chief magistrate of the district, and I have not yet forgot the maxim of Homer: – ‘Tough we deem the short-liv’d fury past ’Tis sure the mighty will revenge at last.’

Tis chief magistrate (the man who was to be the judge) about thirteen months ago, when I frst began to lecture here, went from house to house, begging of persons to come and complain to him of my house as a nuisance. Having

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so done, Reeves, with ffeen or sixteen persons, attended at his courtleet – some to complain of nuisance, and others to declare it was no nuisance at all. Mr. High Steward Reeves took his chair, authoritatively, and swore in the witnesses to be examined against me; when, seeing that these and the jury had withdrawn together, I put the following question: ‘Pray, Mr. Chairman Reeves, am I not to be at liberty to call witnesses also?’ ‘No, Sir, you cannot. – Who are you, Sir?’ ‘My name is Telwall. I am the person complained against.’ ‘No, Sir. I shall take care that justice is done. But you cannot call any witnesses.’ ‘Pray, Sir, am I to be permitted to be heard in my own defence?’ ‘Not by Counsel, Sir, Afer the verdict you may say what you please to me yourself. But I shall not hear you at any considerable length.’ So you see, the man who is to sit as judge, frst of all goes and begs people to come and accuse. Afer having got persons to accuse, he tells the accused he shall not be at liberty to call any witnesses in his defence. Tat he shall not be at liberty to say any thing in his defence, till afer the verdict; and then he may be permitted humbly to beg and pray in mitigation of fne; but not to speak at any considerable length, lest (I suppose) his defence should happen to become sedition. I should think this enough to convince you of the situation of the magistracy of this country. But this is not all. Mr. Reeves charged every individual of the ofcers under him to take me into custody, when I came into Court; to commit me (without any warrant whatever) to be the round-house. Afer which, perhaps, I was to be sent on board a ship – being an able-bodied man for a sailor! – or sent of to some of the solitary isles of Scotland, as many persons have been – as Lady Grange, for instance, was. All this, had the frst step succeeded, might have taken place with ease. For, if he had power to take the frst step, he might have had power to take the rest; and who should have said him nay? What then preserved me? – Why there was not a beadle or parish constable throughout the district, who had the hardiness to execute such an order; and they told Mr. Reeves that they would not execute it. Tese are the men who associate to protect liberty and property; and who, under such pretences, enter into conspiracies to seize the person of an individual without legal authority, though under the mask of magistracy – for magistracy is one thing, law another. If this is protecting liberty, make me a galley-slave at once! If this is protecting order and civilized society, strip me naked, and turn me into the wilderness with savages, for I am sick of such order and civilization! Citizens, when this would not do, within less than ten days a charge of high Treason was trumped up. I was dragged from my house; my premises were plundered; not only my manuscripts, the whole labours of my life, but my books, my

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collections of prints, and the very cloths from my tables were seized, to pack the pillage up in. Application afer application has been made to the Privy Council; evasive answer afer evasive answer has been given; and my efects are not returned. (Tis is protecting liberty and property!) At last I am referred to Mr. Joseph White, the honourable Solicitor of the honourable treasury; and Mr. Joseph White says, ‘You may tell Mr. Telwall I have nothing of his, and nothing shall he have of me.’ Tis is protecting property! my books, my manuscripts of all descriptions, in prose and in verse! – whether there is a syllable of politics in them or not; – many of them the labours of years: all are to be seized, and withheld, because I have dared to question the wisdom and integrity of the most perfdious apostate that ever existed. Yet these are the individuals who have the impudence to tell you they associate for the protection of liberty and property. Tey ought to tell you that the associate to pillage and plunder. I meant to have gone further, and read some documents relative to these facts. But I dare not keep documents in my house. I may be taken up for high Treason again, perhaps; and my papers may again be taken, as they were before, lest they should enable me to prove my own innocence, or the guilt of my accusers. For mark the consequences of this seizure of papers. It does not only furnish the materials of accusation but it takes from the person accused the means of proving the falshood of the charges, however barely forged. Tus, on the late occasion, the Privy Council knew, the Attorney General knew, (at least they must have known, if they had read my papers, which afer my house had been pillaged of them it was their duty to do) that the whole of the evidence of Taylor,47 and other persons brought forward on the trials, was entirely false. It was proved again and again that the persons accused were the very reverse of what they accused them of being; and I can assign no reason for witholding our papers and property, but the fear we should be enabled to prove these circumstances. But this is protecting liberty and property: Tis is preserving the constitution. – Such protection! O, Citizens! would I could see that quiet, that tranquil, but that determined spirit of enquiry among you, that you would hear and see before you judged! that you would know the truth before you pronounced! – You could not then be deluded by such ridiculous pretences; you could not be made the dupes of such artifces as these. But let me not lose again the tranquillity of my soul! – I was in hopes that the scene I had beheld, had entirely allayed those irritable feelings which youthful intemperance is but too apt to indulge, Let me not, when the sting of indignation and the consciousness of injury urges my temper – let me not infame your minds with similar feelings! – I am to blame: I have spoken with more warmth

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than either the circumstances or the authors of my injuries are worthy of. – Let me turn to that picture of philosophy which I have beheld on board the transport which is to convey our beloved fellow-citizen to the solitary inhospitable region of Norfolk Island; where even the converse of those friends, sent before him, cannot soothe his melancholy hours. Let me keep before me the virtuous, the godlike fortitude, with which he bears his wrongs; and blush at the recollection that while he with unmoved philosophy bears to be wasted across the tempestuous ocean, into a long, lingering, disgraceful exile of fourteen years, I have sufered a little, paltry pillage, committed by paltry individuals, upon my labours and my little property, to hurry me into an intemperance so unworthy of the principle I would inculcate. O Citizens! could you have been with me – could you have seen what I have seen, and heard what I have heard, how would you lament the degeneracy of Britain, that could sufer such a man as Gerrald, in such a cause, to be sent into exile, in execution of such a sentence! I met, when I visited him, not the dejected countenance of an exile; but the chearfulness of a philosopher. Te health which had been impaired by his close and rigorous confnement, was considerably renovated, by the salubrious breezes of the sea; and the cheerfulness and vivacity to which his genius gave so peculiar a charm, again animated his countenance. I shall not attempt to picture to you the whole of those feelings which nothing but friendship can conceive; and friendship only when it is kindled by such exalted talents, and more exalted virtues. But I cannot forget that he lef me one bequest; which is not only mine; but is your’s also. It is a bequest to every friend of liberty. I had parted from him the third and last time that I went on board the vessel. I had come half down the ladder, by the side of the ship, that was to convey me into the little boat and take me back to Portsmouth; when, with some agitation of countenance, he called me back. – ‘My friend,’ says he (the tear standing in his eye) ‘look to my little Girl: let her not be forgotten.’ I had intended to have mentioned her to him; but the heart full of innumerable sensations, all crowding forward at once, will ofen happen to forget the most important. I returned. I enquired of him what could be done for her; and ofered her the protection of my house, so long as oppression should leave me one. – ‘No, no,’ says he, ‘my friend; I hope that is not necessary. I believe that her situation is not, at present totally uncomfortable; but countenance her – countenance my little babe: she is the vital drop that warms my heart. It will be the balm of my soul to refect that the friends of liberty have not deserted her.’ I would not then disgrace the manly scene before me with a tear: but now, it is no shame, it is no reproach to let them fow down my cheek, while I conjure you, whatever fate may fall upon me, whatever may be the lot of the few particular friends that were dear to his heart, forget not, Britons, forget not, during that

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long, long fourteen years of banishment, of fourteen years it is to be!) that Joseph Gerrald is in exile for his zeal in the cause of liberty; and that Joseph Gerrald has an infant Daughter, who may, perhaps, want a friend, and call upon the name of that country which he has served at the peril of his life, for that support which the Father can no longer yield. Having fnished this brief appeal, he turned cheerfully round; and ‘As for myself,’ says he, ‘bear witness how impossible it is for the little malice of my persecutors to punish me. Tey may punish themselves by the attempt; but as for what they call sufering, to me it is triumph, and not disgrace.’ Such are the feelings and sentiments that animate the heart of the true patriot: and while such feelings and such sentiments remain, persecution may triumph for a while, but liberty must be ultimately successful.

THE TRIBUNE

Saturday, 20th June, 1795.

Te Address of J. THELWALL to the AUDIENCE at CLOSING his LECTURES for the SEASON. FRIDAY, June 12th, 1795. HAVING fnished the general sketch or outline of the history of Apostacy; and in that hasty and imperfect manner which the pressure of time, and the copiousness of the subject would admit, glanced at some of the innumerable characters whose biography that history would include, I hasten to another part of my subject, which the particular circumstances under which I stand this evening have occasioned to press more immediately upon my heart. Tis, Citizens, is the last time I shall have the pleasure of meeting you in this place, for the present season. I am going awhile into privacy and retirement; and you will, many of you, ere long, be seeking for health and recreation in other scenes. Let us, then, before we part, have a few words relative to the nature of this undertaking, the objects to which I wish to draw your attention, and the means which I conceive the friends of liberty ought to adopt for the promotion of that cause of general happiness and general virtue, which must always go hand in hand, and which alone I hope will ever continue to be the actuating motive of the conduct, and enquiries of the Friends of Liberty. In the frst place let me say a few words upon the reasons of this adjournment. Te thronged attendance upon this and the recent evenings will convince those persons (however unwilling to be convinced) who have hitherto employed themselves in invective and abuse against every individual, however humble, who has attempted to support the cause of liberty, that I do not close these Lectures because my venom, as it has been called, is exhausted, and public curiosity no longer awake to my eforts. But there are various reasons why my present exertions should not be continued without intermission. – 85 –

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720-10

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It is neither good for your health nor for mine, that during the whole of that hot weather, which we must now expect, we should so frequently be cooped up within the walls of this place. I feel also the necessity of some retirement. I pant for the long lost pleasures of the rural scene, for the vigour produced by the rustic exercise, for the cottage, the thicket, and the rill, and the healthful inspiration of the vernal breeze; nor will the man who has been so incessantly before the public as I have been, be suspected of misanthropy when he confesses that he hungers and thirsts afer solitude and obscurity. Since the time when I escaped, by the virtue of a British jury, from the charnelhouse of Newgate, I have never had any opportunity of enjoying that relaxation which was necessary for the restoration of my health. And when you consider the infamous manner in which I was used when in Newgate – crammed in a hole where one breath of air wholesome could never gain admittance, and where the only substitute was a daily sprinkling of vinegar; when you consider that for several weeks I was thus immured, and debarred all possible resources of exercise and cleanliness, you will not be surprized to fnd that I have not recovered from the injuries my health sustained in that noxious dungeon. I think it necessary therefore to seek, for awhile, the shades of retirement; which though they may appear, for the time, to draw me from the path of public duty, are perhaps necessary in more points of view than one, to ft me for the pursuit of that duty with more vigor and more efect. For health is not all I expect from this retirement: I feel that there is a necessity for the man who stands forward in so public, permit me to say so important a situation, to investigate political subjects that may involve the opinions, and consequently the peace and happiness of thousands, to retire occasionally from the busy haunts of life to that retirement where lonely, deep, and serious meditation may eradicate the views perhaps inherent in his nature, and confrm him in those great truths, which before he can propagate with propriety he must thoroughly understand. It is from my deep conviction of the necessity of these occasional relaxations of busy and popular exertion, that I have frequently been led to consider, that one of the most fortunate and happy circumstances of my life – because I believe it was a circumstance which will assist towards my future utility to my fellow beings, was the confnement I experience in the Tower and Newgate. No kindness it is true was intended. But if the mind has received a proper bias, it will extract utility even from the persecution and malice of the bitterest enemies. Tat which was intended to bow down my spirit to servility and terror, and fnally my neck to the stroke of the Executioner, gave me an opportunity to cultivate that frmness and strength of mind which can never be cultivated but in some degree of solitude and retirement. I had an opportunity if investigating, with more seriousness and abstraction than I could ever before have the means of

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indulging, many of the sentiments which in the warmth of youth I had adopted, perhaps, without a sufcient degree of enquiry. I used the opportunity in a manner, perhaps, which few would have expected, and certainly my persecutors would not have wished. I struck with greater boldness into many of the new and dreaded felds of enquiry; and the efects were widely diferent from what the common speculations of mankind would lead them to expect. I had an opportunity of confrming myself in certain abstract principles: Principles which I believe I shall continue to venerate as the most dear and excellent things to which the human heart can be attached – because those principles, properly applied to the condition and circumstances of society; are the only guides to permanent virtue, and consequently to the permanent happiness of the human race. I had there an opportunity of confrming myself in many of those opinions which I had before adopted, and upon which I had acted with an enthusiasm of conviction which had drawn down upon my head the hatred of the interested and the persecution of the powerful. I had an opportunity, also, of detecting some erroneous passions and emotions which had sometimes perhaps perverted my feelings, and which tho’ they had never seduced me into the approbation of violence, had mixed perhaps too much of asperity and personal resentment, where all ought to have been philosophy and benevolent enquiry. I feel therefore the importance and necessity of frequently recurring to retirement and meditation; that I may not be blindly impelling you to principles and modes of conduct the justice of which I have not duly weighed; and that you may fnd this place, as far as my capacities will enable me to make it so, a theatre of instruction; not a theatre of mischievous infammation; and that truth not irrational heat and pell mell violence, may be the consequence of your attendance round this Tribune. Te meditations which led me to consolidate my opinions upon matters of politics, have also had an infuence upon a part of my conduct, which it was always my intention to explain, and which I think I cannot better explain than in this public manner: namely, that which some persons may be inclined to consider as apostacy in me – my withdrawing myself from the popular societies. Citizens, one of the frst refections that suggested itself to my mind from the late trials, and which was also confrmed by the judgement of all those on whose opinions I could rely, was this – that it was necessary to make my choice between two objects – the Tribune, and political Associations. When we consider the arts and machinations that were made use of to connect together upon the late trials, circumstances which had in reality no sort of connection whatever – that they endeavoured to hang Hardy for sentiments which I was charged with delivering, in my lectures and private correspondence,

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and to hang me for the transactions of Hardy at a time when I had no sort of connection with him or his society, it appeared to be important, both to my own safety and that of others, that I should give no crown lawyers an opportunity of involving, by legal sophistry, any political Association in the guilt, if guilt it may be called, of the sentiments that may be delivered from this place: I and could not be ignorant that the more popular my exertions in the public cause might happen to make me – the more desirous those, who wish to suppress all truth and chain the public mind in ignorance would be for my destruction. I know that standing here, unconnected with any projects or associations, and adhering to the cause of truth, I stand upon a rock which they cannot shake; and that all their attempts against it must only render it the more frm. Te laws of my country are clearly and decidedly in my favour; and honest juries shew an enlightened determination not to be misled by the sophistry of crown lawyers, nor the infammatory abuse of treasury scribblers and the garbled Reports of interested alarmists. Tey will not violate those laws which they are impannelled to defend, to curt the favour or shun the defamatory insults of a minister. I balanced therefore between the two pursuits. I found a necessity either of relinquishing the popular societies, or of relinquishing this Tribune; and, upon serious examination, I thought I perceived that my individual exertions could be more important to the cause of liberty in this place than in any society whatever. I therefore quitted the societies, not from any desertion of the cause, not from any change of principle, not from any opinion that political societies are dishonourable or unlawful. – I am convinced they are legal. I am convinced they are just; I am convinced that they are important; and that in many postures of society they are the only things that can save a nation from inevitable slavery and destruction. But considering the necessity of putting a period to all their pretences for making ridiculous charges of High Treason, and conspiracy, and hashing up mock traitors, by the dozen in a dish, some of whom, as in the late cases, had never seen each others faces or heard of each other before, I found it necessary to cut the thread of connection between the Tribune and the popular Associations. I therefore withdrew myself from them, and choice this as my only feld of exertion in the cause of liberty: convinced that a bold, decided, and active mind, determined to pursue the cause of virtue (and by virtue I mean the happiness and welfare of the human race) a mind trusting only to itself, and independent of the humours and sentiments of others, may in some circumstances of society, do more service to the cause of liberty and justice, than can possibly be done by the same individual, when mixed with other persons whose wayward passions may sometimes thwart his activity, and by whose imprudences he may perhaps, by means of such complicated charges as have lately been brought forward, be sacrifced at the sanguinary altar of ministerial ambition.

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I will honestly confess to you, Citizens, that there is also another motive which has had some infuence in determining any choice: for I ought to have no motive which I am ashamed to state to the public. If it is an honest motive, I despise the ridicule which dishonest knaves may throw upon it. If it is an improper motivate, let it be known, that its impropriety may be detected; and that I may be benefted by the animadversions of my fellow citizens. I have a family to support; a family that perhaps may be growing continually upon me: one that I believe would have been larger by two individuals at this time, if the cruel persecutions of the present Administration had not bowed down an aged mother to her grave, and murdered the infant struggling in the womb. It was necessary then for me either to abandon, in a considerable degree, the public cause, or to seek some way by which my personal interests could be united to the interest of the public. Such an union I believe is not dishonourable; and if I know my own heart (which I will not be too sure that I do – for it is certainly frequently too true ‘that the heart is deceitful to itself above all things’ – but if I know my own heart, there is no motivate can compel me to sacrifce the general to the particular feeling. Abiding by that determination – and when I do not abide by it I shall no longer have your countenance, I shall no longer have the cheering reward of your approbation – but abiding by that principle I do not feel myself at all disgraced by acknowledging that this theatre of investigation is the source of my subsistence, and of the subsistence of that family which is dependent upon me. It is a subsistence however that appears to me the most glorious independence. It is the unsolicited price of the free exertions of my intellect. It is perfectly voluntary on your part. It is neither extorted from your charity, by supplicating importunities, demanded by the imperious voice of the tax gatherer, nor extorted by litigious collectors of oppressive tythes. No man is obliged to hire me to propagate what he does not approve, nor to pay me for forging the fetters he must wear; neither do I let myself out for hire to maintain all sides of all questions, and determine the weight of each of argument by the weight of fee. Whatever advantage I receive, is an advantage of the fairest reciprocity. It is a voluntary exchange of your countenance, and your rewards for the exertions which I make; and for your opinion of my integrity and zeal in your service; and tho’ it is impossible that periodical eforts should be uniformly successful, the growing popularity and thronged attendance of these rooms forbid me to suspect that my labours have generally failed of bestowing satisfaction. Such a compact then – such a reciprocation; I belive to be the most honourable means and the most independent, by which an individual can hope to reap a livelihood by the exertion of his faculties.

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I feel however the danger of my situation; – I am conscious of moral mischiefs, to my own mind in particular, which are too likely to grow up from the situation. I hope I shall keep these dangers constantly before my eyes, that I may avoid splitting the bark of my independence, and endangering the shipwreck of that which is the dearest treasure I have, my moral rectitude, upon those rocks of delusion, interest, and passion, which may unfortunately obstruct my course. I am aware that in a situation like this, the mind is sometimes apt to become infamed, to lose sight of principles, and dwell too much personalities; – to sufer passion to snatch the reins from reason and to foster prejudice and resentment when truth and justice ought to be the only objects. I hope, whatever there may have been of that conduct this season, will be corrected in retirement before the next. I trust there is less of it this season than in that which preceded; and I trust also, that there will be still less when we meet again. ‘Else why live I an age of civilization, if I am not to refect upon the errors of my own conduct and feelings as well as those of others; and by that means endeavour to attain to virtue, wisdom and utility?’ I feel also the danger and the temptation of being carried by the tide of popularity from the direct course of independent principle. But I feel at the same time a settled conviction, that I ought rather to court your hisses than your applause, when that applause is only to be obtained by following, instead of directing the current of opinion; by courting your approbation, instead of frst looking to the approbation of my own heart, and propagating any opinion but that which I am convinced from my soul is the opinion of truth and virtue. To fortify myself in these convictions, I retire awhile into obscurity. Ere I go, however, let me recommend to you to investigate with the most scrupulous exactness every opinion and sentiment you have heard, either from my lips or the lips of any other individual. Remember – no man can deserve implicit confdence from himself, much less from a numerous auditory. Remember, that hearing and reading are no further useful than as they furnish materials for your own serious refections and meditations. Opinions, to be useful to you and mankind, must be the result of ratiocination, of examination and re-examination. Sentiments of genuine liberty must be the result of laborious reasoning, and must spring from deep rooted principles. To be efcacious they must be felt and understood, and not like the babbling of a parrot, who repeats the words, but understands not the meaning they are intended to convey. Let me advise you also to consider the state and posture of society we exist in. It is an alarming crisis; and no man can possibly determine in what sort of condition, or what circumstances we may meet again, at the end of that recess we are going to enjoy. Let us, then, fortify our minds with virtue, and with principle.

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Let us restrain the angry and turbulent passion of our souls. Let us cultivate a benevolent afection for each other: even for those who difer from us in opinion; and let us labour by kind and gentle means to turn those from their error who may be treading in the path of vice; or detect, if we can, the errors and vices into which ourselves have fallen. Above all things let us adhere to the principles of moderation. But let these principles be properly understood. For when it is properly understood, moderation is virtue; though as it is too frequently used it means the most contemptible of vices. If by moderation you mean a compromise, a midway path between vice and virtue, I despise your moderation as I despise the cavilling of a sophist who would destroy the energy of my intellect, instead of leading me to the conclusions of truth and reason. But if by moderation you mean a steady adherence to the mild principles of justice – a determination to weigh and consider every sentiment before you adopt it, to be infamed by no factious principles, to be missed by no party attachments, but to do that which is just, and never more; always taking care that we do not let violence and intemperance snatch from our hands the reins of reason, then I am the advocate of moderation – the votary of her power, and the champion of her cause. Yes, this genuine moderation, so conducive to general happiness and virtue, is the object of my supreme admiration; I only love liberty as it appears to me to promote the virtue and happiness of mankind; and if liberty will not promote this happiness and this virtue, take your liberty, for I will have none of it. And if you could persuade me – it would be very difcult I believe – but if you could persuade me, that the despotism of Turkey could promote the happiness and welfare of mankind more than the principles of liberty and equality, I would be the enemy of that liberty and equality; because I am convinced, that all our endeavours should be directed only to promote the happiness and welfare of the human species: that welfare and that happiness which ought to be the dearest objects of every man’s pursuit. Te happiness of mankind then should be our frst object. But let us deeply enquire whether that happiness can be secured without liberty. If it cannot, let us brave dangers and persecution; let us stand, if I may repeat the simile, like the Spartan at his post, and defend our land-mark to the last: and though the slaves and agents of oppression should heap rubbish afer rubbish, persecution afer persecution upon us, there let us stand till we are buried beneath the growling heaps, leaving the monumental pile to all posterity, as a trophy to stimulate their virtue, and awake in their bosoms a correspondent fame in the cause of liberty; a cause to be for ever loved, because the cause of liberty is the cause of justice and of human happiness.

THE TRIBUNE

Saturday, 13th June, 1795.

Continuation of the Narrative of the Proceedings of the Messengers, &c. [Concluded fom Number IX.] IN the early numbers of this work, I began my promised Narrative of the Proceedings of Government relative to the late prosecutions. It will not appear surprising, in the hurry and fatigue which must necessarily arise from preparing and delivering two Lectures a week, and correcting and superintending a weekly publication, that I should not have found time regularly to continue it. It appears, however, an act of duty to my readers not to close the volume without bringing this narrative to a conclusion. I proceed, therefore, in the same hasty manner in which, under my present circumstances, I am necessarily obliged to execute whatever I undertake, to perform this obligation. Te examinations being concluded for the day, I was conducted back to the house of the messenger, where I continued to be treated with that insulting mixture of afected kindness and jealous restriction, which might be expected from ignorant hypocrisy. Te character of this man, however, I saw through in an instant, and one of the frst requests I made to him was, that he would forbear to talk to me upon the politics of the day; as it was totally improper, in our situation, to enter upon any such subjects. To this he immediately assented, and at frst pretended to be very desirous of avoiding every thing of that description, though it was every now and then conspicuous enough that he was laying snares to trepan me into imprudent expressions; and, during the three last days I remained with him, he took such particular and repeated pains to lead me, from whatever subject we talked upon, into the very topic, and the parts of that topic, which it was most my duty to avoid, that I could not but suspect that he had received particular instructions upon the subject; and I was frequently obliged to repel his questions by the most indignant reproach. Once in particular, he introduced a man to sup with us, whose face I never saw before, but whom I understood to be a serjeant in the Guards, whose business it was to sleep in the house for my better – 93 –

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720-11

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security. Tis was not of itself a circumstance which displeased me; for I have some faith in physiognomy, and when I looked in his face, I had no doubt, nor have I still any reason to doubt, that my new companion was an honest, though an ignorant man; and I never objected, even when at liberty to chuse my company, to the society of such a man, whatever might be his situation in life. On this evening, however, while the glass was circulating, Timms contrived to introduce the subject of the condition of the lower orders of society. Tis is a topic with respect to which my heart has always been warm; and from the art with which it was introduced, I am convinced that he had been tutored by persons better informed, as to my passions and feelings, than he had the opportunities or the penetration to be. Upon such a topic there appeared no danger in expatiating. I always have thought, and I never have disguised that opinion, that the poor are oppressed; that they are kept in brutal ignorance, for fear they should free themselves from oppression; and that there is a most wicked and scandalous disproportion between the encrease in the price of labour, and the price of the necessaries of life; and I made no scruple to assert this in pretty round terms. Te wretch had watched his time. He saw that I was warm; and supposing me entirely of my guard, put some question to me about the purposed Convention, and the poor taking things into their own hands; or something of that kind – the terms of which I do not now quite remember. I remember, however, that it was a question of the most suspicious and improper description; and that I turned immediately towards him, and looking in his face with the utmost contempt and anger, asked him whether he was not ashamed to put such a question to a person in my situation! – I had several occasions to use this language to him. – Yet this wretch had the audacity to swear that I used to indulge myself, at his table, in very guarded conversations; and that I told him, if I had been fourteen days longer at liberty, I should have had so many friends around me, that it would have been difcult for Government to apprehend me. It is scarcely possible to conceive any thing more absurd and improbable than this story: yet as improbable stories are sometimes believed, because it appears equally improbable that they should be invented, it may not be amiss to shew out of what slender materials they may sometimes be composed. On the night of my apprehension, while I was yet waiting at the Secretary of State’s ofce, the gentlemen clerks, and others who were in attendance, pretended to condole with me upon my situation, which I (desirous of marking as strongly as I could my contempt for my oppressors) repelled, sometimes with jocularity, and sometimes with gay indiference; and among other things I remember to have said, that ‘I did not care much about it: though, to be sure, if I had been at liberty a fortnight longer, it would have made thirty or forty pounds diference to me; which, in my present circumstances, would have been of some importance.’ – At another time, while Timms and myself were at dinner, he told me, that it had

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been intended to apprehend me in my Lecture Room. ‘I am glad you did not,’ said I, gravely, ‘It might have been a dangerous experiment.’ Tese were the only foundations for the ridiculous fabrications. To remain in the power of a being of whom one has formed such an opinion as I had conceived of Timms, must be sufciently tormenting; and it was rendered the more intolerable by the afected, canting, hypocritical civility, with which his tyranny was interlarded. Let the reader picture to himself an ill-tempered, mean, and illiterate tyrant (the discarded valet of one of our nobility) deriving consequence from a house furnished with every article of ornamental luxury, and a table supplied with costly viands; yet as gloomy and restless as he was consequential; a bigot in religion, and a slave in principles; – let him imagine this being intrusted with sole and absolute dominion over a man whom he pretended to commiserate, but whom it was evident he both feared and hated; and to whom, in the struggle between malice and hypocrisy, he alternately made an ostentatious display of his kindness and indulgence; and of his power, if so disposed, to load him with chains, and fetter him to the foor, or the bed-post. – When the reader has pictured all these circumstances to his imagination, he may form some idea of the frst stage of the mild and benevolent system of imprisonment for pretended Treason. But this was not all. Tere was another circumstance relative to this close custody, which, if it had long continued, must have committed me to the still closer custody of the grave: that is to say, the total exclusion of circulating air. Excluded from all exercise by day, and shut up every night in a small room, whose only window was not only secured with shutters, bolts, bars, and bells, but also with a thick double curtain, which (in spite of my remonstrances) was constantly let down, and jammed close against the wall with a heavy table, so as to exclude every breath of air. I was thus literally parboiled in my own perspiration; and reduced, in the course of a week, to such a state of debility, that, but for my timely removal to the Tower, it would have been impossible that my health should have supported the assault. Two days before my removal, Mr. Ford48 called upon me, and told me, in the presence of Timms, Tat, ‘as in seizing my papers, which were very numerous, the Messenger had taken not only those of a public but of a private nature; the latter should be restored to me without delay, and he would give me his honour that nobody had seen them but himself.’ He then asked me, ‘Whether I would have them sent to my own house, or to the Messenger’s?’ – I replied, it would be some satisfaction to me to see what was returned; and I, therefore, wished them to be sent to me. Upon which he shewed me his seal, and told me, ‘that I might have the satisfaction of knowing they came from him to me, without being subjected to the curiosity of other persons, that he would send them sealed up with that impression.’ Yet when I enquired of the messenger, at night, how it came that my

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trunk had not arrived from Mr. Ford, he told me, with more insolent rudeness of tone and manner than he had ever before assumed, that it had been; and that he had sent it to my house, for that he would not have his room littered about with a parcel of papers. Whether, therefore, it was really returned as Mr. Ford sent it, or whatever impertinent curiosity might have examined its contents, I cannot say; but when I came, afer my trial, to inspect the efects returned, I found that all my fair copies and complete manuscripts were missing; that none of my prints or similar articles, so scandalously taken away in the general pillage, had been returned; and that the whole of the efects, thus ostentatiously delivered back, consisted of some private letters, the notes of four or fve of my lectures, a few domestic memorandums, and some blotted fragments and imperfect copies of my unpublished works. So that, in fact, every valuable article is still withheld; and I am yet to learn, whether any part of the plunder is to be restored. Afer being six days tormented by the hypocritical politeness and jealous tyranny of this keeper, I was happily relieved, by being sent to the more tolerable confnement of the Tower; where, notwithstanding the jealous restrictions and insults to which were at frst subjected, I found my situation comparatively comfortable; for my room was large, airy and pleasant, and the warders, to whose custody we were committed, with only one or two exceptions, were civil and attentive, and discharged their duty in a manner that does them credit. To this Bastille we were removed with the most jealous secrecy. And although my wife was present when the coach that was to take me away came to the door of the messenger, no sort of intimation was given to either of us, where I was going; nor could I get any information from my conductors, till the direction taken by the carriage let me into the secret. To the Tower then we were committed; and the frst information I received was, that I was neither to be permitted to send for my books, nor have the privilege of pen, ink, or paper. Tis intimation of a severity so monstrous and so unexpected, struck, for the frst time, a momentary damp to my soul; for as I could not persuade myself that the Minister would have the impudence to try us for High Treason, I expected that our imprisonment would be long; and from the iron bars, massive door, and the centinel planted with fxed bayonet at the entrance of the room, I conjectured that it was to be solitary. Te pang, however, was but momentary. A proud exultation in the cause I sufered for rushed upon my mind: I envied my fellow prisoners their share in the honour of such a persecution; and ambition mingling itself with my enthusiasm, I breathed a fruitless wish that I might have stood alone in a struggle so glorious, and so important. I recollected also, a conversation I had held several years before with a friend, of more facetiousness than delicacy, upon the subject of my youthful peculiarities, and in which, with a sort of prophetic fight of imagination, I had pictured myself as excluded in some dungeon; without either books or pen and ink, and

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asked what I should be likely to do with myself under such circumstances. – ‘Do with yourself !’ replied my friend. ‘Why, you would dip your fnger in your own excrements, and scribble poetry on the wall!’ Te conceit at frst provoked my risibility; but it let me into a train of refection productive of sensations much more consolatory and important. A crowd of expedients rushed upon my mind; a nail which I picked up in the room appeared to be a fund of inexhaustible amusement and utility; and I felt a deep conviction that there was no possible situation into which a man of active mind can be plunged in which he may not fnd means not only of improving himself, but eventually of benefting his fellow beings: a conviction attended with sensations which the proudest of my persecutions might have been envied. It was not long, however, before I found that my confnement was not to be as solitary as I expected; for that the centinel, with his fxed bayonet, not being deemed a sufcient guard for so desperate a rebel, two armed men were, also, to be placed in my room night and day. I was informed, also, that perhaps, upon specifc application to the Privy Council, I might, in time, be permitted to send for some of my books. It happened, also, that the person in whose house, or tower, I was lodged, had formerly been a bookseller, and had some few articles of his former trade still in his possession; and of him I ventured to borrow some volumes of Shakespeare’s Plays: neither myself, nor the Warders who had the custody of me, supposing that any thing more was meant by the restriction, than that nothing was to be brought into the Tower which had not frst been inspected by the Privy Council, or its agents: nor either of us ever suspecting that the safe custody of a traitor could be afected by his reading ‘Macbeth,’ or ‘As you like it.’ – But we were miserably mistaken. I was detected reading a play-book without permission of Government; the Warder was reprimanded, and the books ordered to be withdrawn; and it was near a fortnight before the repeated and spirited remonstrances of my wife could procure for me the indulgence (so it was called) of perusing any book whatever, or having the use of pen and ink. But this was not all I had to complain of. Te perpetual and insulting visits of the military were such as constantly to remind me that I existed no longer under what have been called the wise and humane laws of England, but that I was, in reality, submitted to all the jealous tyranny of a military government. I was visited almost every morning by the ofces on duty in the garrison; some of whom were insolent boys of sixteen or eighteen, who, having no pretensions either to the dignity of the citizen, or the urbanity of the gentleman, aspired to consequence by the rudeness and haughtiness of their deportment. Tree times a day I was also intruded upon by serjeants and corporals; and every two hours the centinels came bursting into my room, with their arms in their hands, without the least warning, staring in my face with the most insulting rudeness. And, to

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crown the whole, a serjeant of the Guards was appointed to attend, whenever my sister, my mother, or my wife, came to visit me, to be a spy upon our actions, and note our conversation. Te insolent deportment of this man was no small aggravation of the jealous tyranny with which we were guarded. Our friends were not permitted to see us, without orders from the Privy Council; and this favour, with respect to me, was only extended to my nearest relations, twice a week, and for only two hours at a time; and to have a surly fellow of this description seated close by our sides, listening to every word, and insolently rebuking myself, my sister, or my wife, if we did not speak as loud as he wished us, was a degree of aggravated despotism which no law has authorized, and to which no Briton ought to submit. – Te spirited deportment of Citizen Martin, however, rid us, as I understand, of this military interference; the visits of ofcers and soldiers were laid aside, and the ofce of watching and listening was transferred to one of the warders, in the absence of the gentleman gaoler. But though the person was changed, the vexatious jealousy was not to be laid aside, and even when my apothecary, the respected Mr. Wilson, procured an order to see me, partly on account of a temporary derangement of my own health, and partly to satisfy my mind as to the health of my wife, whom the fatigues and anxieties to which she was exposed had thrown into a situation of the utmost danger, not even he was exempted from the general restriction, though medical men, even under the most barbarous despotisms, have always been regarded as privileged in this respect, and I was of course obliged to forbear many of those enquiries which, under such circumstances, it is natural I should be desirous to make; but which, however important to his peace, a husband will not be disposed to make in the hearing of a third person. Such then were the circumstances, during out continuance in the Tower, of that treatment which Mr. Dundas says was no punishment, and of the lenity and indulgence of which Mr. Pitt thinks ft ostentatiously to boast. – For ten days or a fortnight I was debarred the use of books, pen, ink, and paper; for about seven or eight weeks I was never permitted to go out of my room for exercise, or for air; during the whole of that very hot weather which prevailed during a part of the last summer, my only alternative was to be closed incessantly within this apartment, or to snatch an occasional breath of air on the little leads, at the top of the round tower in which I was confned; and where the intense action of the sun, refected from the metal, was such as with difculty could be supported; and, as there were three of us, Hardy, Horne Tooke,49 and myself, who were alternately to enjoy the breezes on this sunny height, no two of us being permitted to bask there at the same time, the intervals were short, during which we could partake even of this indulgence. At length a fresh order was obtained at the request, I understand, of some of the prisoners, but which was extended in its operation to all, further indulging us with permission to walk round the ramparts of the

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Tower, guarded each by his respective warder, who had the strictest injunctions not to sufer us to speak either to each other, or to any other person. Before I quit the subject of the military, I ought to observe the very diferent manner in which they deported themselves, at the beginning, and towards the latter end, of our imprisonment. At frst they seemed solicitous of every opportunity to insult us; and even carried the expression of their abhorrence so far as to level their musquets at us, when we appeared at our windows, and to maltreat every person who testifed the least afection towards us: – a circumstance which surprised me not a little, till I heard from one of the warders that, among the infernal fabrications which had been so industriously circulated to infame the public mind against us, a report had been very successfully propagated among the soldiers, that a part of our detestable conspiracy was a plan for surprising the Tower by night, marching immediately to the Irish barracks, where the soldiers were lodged, and massacreing them all in their beds. Te eyes of the soldiery, however, as well as of the people in general, became opened, during our confnement, to the infamous artifces of our persecutors; and when, towards the latter end of our imprisonment, we were permitted to walk about the ramparts, they shewed us every mark of civility and attention, and even turned people out of the Tower who attempted to ofer us any kind of insult. At length, afer we had been kept fve months in suspence, unable to conjecture, and those who best understood the laws of the country were least able to devise, what our persecutors could possibly intend to do with us, a special commission was made out to try us for High Treason, which was opened on the 2d of October with a speech from Chief Justice Sir James Eyre,50 which, for the new and extraordinary doctrines it contains, and the strain of plausible eloquence with which those doctrines were insinuated, will long be remembered by the lovers of English liberty: – A speech which, without any portion of Mr. Brother’s prophetic spirit, I venture to foretell will at least be heard once more in a court of justice, to the great edifcation of the country in general, and of the bench and the bar in particular. I shall not animadvert upon the indecent violation of what have hitherto been regarded as essential regulations with respect to the Grand Jury. Tis has already been better done than I could possibly do it, by Citizen Martin, in his very excellent pamphlet, ‘An Account of the Proceedings on a Charge of High Treason:’ – a pamphlet which I would recommend to the perusal of every Citizen. Neither shall I make any comment upon the decency of lumping together, in one indictment for conspiracy, twelve persons, several of whom had never seen each other’s faces, nor heard each other’s names. – Sufce it to say, an indictment for High Treason was found, the whole charges contained in which were of so vague and desultory a nature, that they would not have justifed a common Justice of the Peace, understanding the duties of his ofce and the laws of

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the country, to have granted a warrant for the apprehension of any individual. Yet the indictment had been drawn with special care, and the crown lawyers had made of their case all that could be made. – Te plain fact is, that, though there are nine counts in this curious instrument, there is no one direct overt act charged in any one of them; and for this reason, that the prosecutors knew they had no overt act to charge, and therefore dwelt upon generals, – thinking perhaps, at the same time, that general charges (good sweeping clauses) were best calculated to establish a general system of Terror and Execution. Of the indictment in which I was included, together with a list of between two and three hundred jurors, and two and three hundred witnesses, I was served with a copy on the 13th of October, ten days before the day of arraignment, and my counsel and solicitor were then permitted to have free access; as was also my wife, the person in my family whom I pitched upon as best qualifed (from her fortitude, as well as her afection) to be employed as my confdential agent in this trying situation. Ten days preparation being allowed to us, by act of parliament, from the service of the copies to the day of arraignment, (exclusive of that day, and exclusive, also, of the intervening Sunday) we expected, of course, that those ten days would not be broken in upon by the prosecutors; and that we should not be moved till the morning on which we were to be arraigned, or at any rate till the evening preceding. But we were mistaken. At nine o’clock on the night of the 23d, when the gentlemen gaoler came to lock me up, I was informed that we were to be removed to Newgate at six o’clock the following morning. Tis was, to me, a very considerable inconvenience. My wife and myself had been writing all day, till seven or eight o’clock, when she departed; and I had still some instructions to prepare, which my solicitor deemed important, and which I was to have got ready against eight or nine o’clock the next morning, when she was to come for them, and assist me in writing other letters and instructions to persons who were expected to be useful in my defence. But it now became necessary for me to neglect every other consideration in the preparations for my departure; such as packing up my books, papers, and other efects; and when my faithful agent was on her way, punctual to her appointment in the morning, she had the mortifcation to meet the procession, and to see her husband conducted into the abode of felons and murderers, where she had a fresh routine of ceremonies and delays to go through before she could be admitted again to visit him. Nor was this all. When I came to the coach that was to bring me from the Tower-gate, the Sherif, Eamer, refused me permission to send for my books and papers, which I had packed up, but which I had nobody at my lodging to bring for me. Mr. Sherif Burnet would fain have insisted upon that act of justice, but Eamer obstinately refused: the consequence of which, and of other delays resulting from this circumstance, was, that even on the day of arraignment my books

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and papers had not come to hand. And yet I am told that, during a late canvas for the vacant gown (some persons objecting the treatment of the state prisoners, and myself in particular) this gentleman, or some of his friends, chose to afrm that I had written a letter – to thank him for the particular kindness and attention which he had paid to me. Tere was circumstance, however, attendant upon this removal, which I own was highly gratifying: I mean the deportment of the populace, who, as our removal at that time was perfectly unexpected, were of course a mere promiscuous multitude, and might therefore be considered as representing pretty accurately the general feelings of the country with respect to us. But, as this circumstance was faithfully detailed the next day in the Morning Post, I subjoin the account from that paper: – –

Removal of the State Prisoners to Newgate ‘At ten o’clock on Tursday night, when the gentlemen gaoler came to lock up the prisoners in the Tower, they were informed (having had no prior intimation whatever) that at eight the next morning the Sherifs would be at the gates of the Tower to received them, and convey them to Newgate. Accordingly, within half an hour of that time, the Sherifs arrived; and Horne Tooke, Kyd and Bonney, Joyce and Richter, Telwall and Hardy, were conveyed in three coaches to their new place of destination, attended by a strong guard of constables. ‘Notwithstanding the great precaution of secrecy, the crowd, however, soon became very great; and the strongest animation of feeling and sympathy was visible in almost every spectator’s countenance. Some could not even suppress the expressions of their regard, or prevent the warmth of their hearts from becoming conspicuous, not only in their looks, but even their tongues. Much to their credit, however, whatever might be the feelings of the crowd, they kept them within the bounds (not of afected inanity, it is true, but) of the most perfect real decorum; which sufciently shewed that the secrecy and precautions that had been observed were perfectly unnecessary, and that neither private afection nor popular attachment was likely to induce the Friends of Liberty to injure their cause so much, and perhaps the prisoners themselves, as to attempt to impede the course of public justice. – If the persons, whose trials are this day to begin, are guilty of conspiring to kill the King, and to introduce a scene of anarchy and massacre, those who have been hitherto deluded by them ought to have an opportunity of being convinced of the mistaken opinion they have hitherto been led to entertain concerning them; and we hope there is yet so much of the British character lef, that no Jury can be selected that will pass upon them, without the fullest conviction of their guilt, in the full extent and real meaning of the charge. If they are innocent, it is good that they should have an opportunity of proving

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their innocence; since their virtue will be ten thousand times more glorious for the ordeal it has to pass through. ‘Te prisoners retained all that chearful fortitude (or, as some of the venal scribblers in the Treasury prints have called it – criminal levity) which has uniformly characterized them during their confnement; appeared to talk with great gaiety to each other, and to the attendants in the coaches; and bowed and smiled with a gaiety, evidently unafected, to those who saluted them from the streets and windows as they passed. ‘It was highly gratifying to those who venerate the real character of the British nation, to see the manner in which they parted from their former keepers at the Tower gate. Te mutual expressions of cordiality proved, beyond a doubt, that however rigid (and we cannot help thinking some of them uselessly so) the restrictions may have been that Government thought necessary to lay them under, they have been attended with all the sofening circumstance of civility, on the part of those who were entrusted with the immediate execution of those orders – a trait of character which, we hope, will long continue to mark every department of the executive power in this country.’ Morn. Post, 25 Oct. 1794. Whatever little comfort might have been enjoyed while we were in the Tower was now entirely gone: and our accommodations were such as would leave an eternal stain upon the humanity of the country, which subjected even the vilest and basest rufans to so miserable and murderous a confnement. Richter was absolutely confned in one of the condemned cells, and I in the dead hole, or charnel-house – the common receptacle for the putrid carcases of felons who die of diseases in the jail. At my frst entrance into this place, I was struck at once with disgust and surprise. I had heard of cells and dungeons, and had pictured them to my imagination: but a place so vile, so flthy, and so abhorrent to all the feelings and senses of man, I never had beheld or conceived. Tere was a window, it is true, of six panes of glass at the top of the room, but there was a high wall about six feet beyond it, so that the portion of light was so small there was but one spot in the room where I could see to read or write even in the middle of the day; and as this window would not open, and the door, on account of the situation, could never be lef open, a breath of air (even such air as circulates within the walls of Newgate) was not to be had. Te ceiling and the upper part of the walls had once been white-washed, but they were now nearly of a colour with the chimney; the lower part had also been wainscotted; but the greater part of the wood had perished from the dampness of the place; and, all on one side, the bare bricks grinned with a sort of sepulchral horror, that might have persuaded me (had I been inclined to indulge the terrors of imagination) that I was already dead and

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buried. Tere was indeed a tolerable bed in the corner, hung with old, flthy, tattered curtains of red and white check; but all the rest was one consistent association of the utmost wretchedness. In a dark corner stood a shattered deal table, under which my coals were thrown in a heap, and upon which my victuals were to be placed; and, to complete the whole, though the foor was of the colour of soot, and in many places clotted with old hereditary flth, standing up in hillocks sometimes thicker than my fst, it was nevertheless fooded with wet, under pretence of having just been washed. Tat my feelings were shocked at the frst view of this den of horrors, I cannot deny; but those principles which had enabled me hitherto to preserve, not only my serenity but my cheerfulness, did not desert me. Te proud consciousness of sufering for truth and virtue rushed instantly again upon my soul, and I set myself down immediately to write a little sonnet ‘THE CELL,’ which appeared the next morning in the ‘Post,’ and is now, together with the other little scraps of poetry to which my situation gave birth, published in a separate pamphlet. I had scarcely fnished this little sketch, when the Sherifs, &c. entered; and Mr. Sherif Eamer began to make a thousand polite apologies for not being able to furnish us with better accommodations (every word of which I knew to be false); and thence proceeded to condole with me upon the circumstance of my confnement, and display his tender feelings, by assuring me how painful a thing it was see any Gentleman in such a situation. Of this civil insolence of triumph, which the tools of ofce, throughout every stage of the proceeding, shewed such a disposition to display, I shewed my contempt, as usual, by a cheerful indiference, equally civil, but more sincere. I told Mr. Sherif Eamer, that ‘very likely their uneasiness upon this subject might be greater than ours; that, for my own part, I was very careless about the place I was confned in, for that a man’s happiness must spring from his mind, not from the situation he breathed in; and that I had no doubt that it was all for the best.’ Te voluble vivacity with which this was uttered, appeared to shock Mr. Sherif Eamer very much. He lifed up his hands and eyes, and turned away, as though I had uttered blasphemy; and, as plain as eyes and gesticulations could speak, seemed to reprove the ‘criminal levity’ of my deportment. Te fact is, that nothing was so ofensive to our persecutors, and their agents, as our cheerfulness and gaiety. It was a contempt of their power and authority so marked and so impressive, that it was impossible for them patiently to endure it. Tis their low assassins of the quill (the scribblers in their diurnal prints) pretty openly confessed, by their scurrilous abuse. But their more exalted and more discrete agents revealed it in another manner: – they afected, indeed, to fear that our indecorum should hurt us in the public opinion; but their fears were evidently of another kind: – they could not but perceive, in this deportment, an omen or the downfall of that system if corruption they are so desirous to support: the

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plain and simple fact being, that when sufering for their principles are so deeply grounded in the conviction of their truth and propriety, as to despise the utmost malice of their persecutors, and, by their cheerfulness and fortitude, to display that conviction to the world, it is impossible that those principles should be beaten down. Tyranny and persecution may rage for a while; but, if the apostles of truth deport themselves with becoming frmness, the gibbet and the consuming fre can only assist the propagation of those opinions they were intended to exterminate. But, whatever might be my own indiference about the place I was confned in, it will not be surprising that the feelings of my faithful scribe, when at length the obtained admission, should be considerably afected. In all former stages of this trying afair, whatever might have been her internal feelings, she had always appeared before me with a countenance of such cheerfulness and fortitude as took from separation half its anxieties; but when she beheld me thrown like a dead dog into a hole so vile, the heart can better conceive than the pen describe, the sensations that must have been inspired: – sensations not likely to be alleviated by the alternate howling, swearing, and obscenity of the female convicts, when walking perpetually under my window, deprived me of the possibility of enjoying even one moment of tranquillity and silence. Tis circumstance, and a conviction that the publication of facts is a sacred duty which every citizen owes to his country, determined me to remonstrate, on the day of arraignment, against the barbarity of our treatment in this particular; and it happened that most of the prisoners had determined to pursue the same conduct, as will be seen from the following quotations from the proceedings of that day, as reported in Ramsey’s edition of the State Trials, published by Symonds. – [In Gurney’s edition, the proceedings previous to the day of trial are totally omitted: an omission which, in justice to the public, it is hoped he will remedy by an appendix, as those proceedings are fraught with matter for important observation.] Afer the proceedings on the arraignment were over, Citizen Bonney began as follows: ‘Mr. Bonney. – My lords, will your lordships allow me a few words before we quit the bar? I assure your lordships, that if I had been arraigned for any known and certain treason, for murder or for felony, I would ask no favour of your lordships; but when I stand before you upon a case in which (and I believe I have your Lordship’s opinion in my favour upon the subject) if the facts charged against us should be proved, there would be great doubt as to the law. In such a case I trust I make no improper request to your lordships, when I solicit that we may be allowed as many of the little comforts and conveniences of life (to which we have been accustomed,) as may be consistent with the security of our persons. Your lordships I am sure will agree with me that such a situation in which a man can neither sleep by night, nor cast his eye upon a ray of comfort in the day, is not the

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best adapted for the necessary preparation of his mind for so important a trial as mine: – and yet, my lords, such is my situation. I beg not to be understood to intend the smallest insinuation against the sherifs; their language and their countenances when the visited me yesterday in my cell, sufciently convinced me of the concern they felt at not being able to aford me better accommodation. As it may be some days before my trial can come on, my request to your lordship is, that I may be remanded to the custody of the governor of the Tower, where I have been treated for two and twenty weeks with the greatest humanity and attention. ‘L.C.J. Eyre. – I doubt the court cannot say any thing to it. If it should turn out that your trial should be postponed to any considerable length of time, it will be necessary for you to make application elsewhere for indulgence. ‘Mr. Bonney. – My lord, I cannot ask Mr. Erskine or Mr. Gibbs to visit me in the situation in which I am. ‘Mr. L.C.J. Eyre. – I dare say the Sherifs will do all they can for your accommodation; but, as to you ordering you back to the Tower, I think it is not within the proper authority of this court. Te application must be made elsewhere, if you wish that to be done. ‘Mr. Gibbs. – Mr. Bonney, I dare say you will have nothing to complain of. ‘Mr. Richter. – My lord, my case is precisely the same as Mr. Bonney’s. In that situation it will be impossible for me to think of requesting the visits of Messrs. Erskine and Gibbs, or indeed any persons who have been accustomed to the comforts of life. ‘L.C.J. Eyre. – I have no doubt but the Sherifs will do every thing that it becomes them to do. ‘Mr. Telwall. – My lord, in addition to the circumstances mentioned by the other prisoners, I will take the liberty to say a few words. Te situation in which I am, though deplorable beyond any thing that ever before entered my imagination, should not be a subject of complaint with me, if I were alone concerned; but men, whose connections have been used to some of the decencies of life, have persons coming to see them, whose feelings may not be supported with that fortitude which the consciousness of persecuted innocence inspires in the breast of the individual. I should wish therefore that some general regulation be made, not only with respect to one or two individuals, but with respect to the whole; at least that we should be in some place where one mouthful of fresh air may be admitted in the course of the day, in order to prevent those pernicious efects which may be produced upon the health of persons who have been used to diferent accommodations; and that the few friends who may visit us may not have the anxiety and distress of mind, which they must necessarily feel, so cruelly aggravated by beholding the very wretched manner in which we are at present provided. For my own part, I would not notice this; but there are others whose

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feelings it is a duty to have some tenderness for, and who cannot be expected to possess that fortitude which I fatter myself the circumstances of my situation have enabled me to acquire. ‘Mr. Baxter. – I wish to state, that the circumstances complained of are not peculiar to two or three prisoners: they are general to all. I should therefore hope it will not be inconsistent with our situation, that we should be better accommodated; and that we might be permitted, at least, to walk in the open air two or three hours in the day. ‘Mr. Richter. – Tis was allowed us in the Tower during the whole day. ‘L.C.J. Eyre. – I can only repeat my recommendation to the Sherifs, and the Sherifs assurance that you shall receive as good accommodations as the place will aford you, and the nature of your situation will permit.’ Yet this assurance was so far from being followed up by any performance, with respect to any person but Citizen Bonney, who was removed to a small room on the State side, that we remained in our miserable dungeons, just the same as if no promise had been made. Te Sherifs, indeed, waited upon me, to let me know that, if I chose, he would turn some one of the persons confned for seditious practices out of his apartment into my dungeon, that I might be accommodated at his expence: – a mockery to which I could only reply, that ‘It did not square with my ideas of justice, to turn other men out of their accommodations that I might turn myself into them.’ – Te fact is, however, that this was not necessary; for the prisoners for sedition proposed of themselves a plan, by which three or four decent rooms on the State side might have been furnished for our accommodation: but to this proposal it was not thought ft to attend. Te only indulgence, therefore, which we obtained, was permission to walk in the square yard of the State side: an indulgence which, for two or three days, we enjoyed pretty freely, till Timms and another messenger happened to pay us a visit, to enquire afer our health; when, behold, the next day fresh orders came down to restrain this indulgence to two hours a day, under restrictions so vexatious, that it was hardly worth acceptance. Tis confnement, which lasted better than four weeks, under circumstances totally excluding every requisite for health, – where dampness could be repelled by an enormous fre, – where cleanliness was impossible, and light excluded, – where even the disgusting necessities of nature were obliged to be compiled with in the same close hole in which I slept, sat, and eat my food, – and where the total want of atmospheric air was supplied by daily lustrations of vinegar, – brought upon me a complaint in my bowels of the most malignant complexion, of which I continue to feel the occasional efects even to this day. At length Bonney procured a Habeas Corpus to remove him again to the Tower, and I took possession of the room which he lef, and in which my beloved

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fellow-citizen, Gerrald, had been confned before his removal to the New Compter, and Citizen Muir previous to his departure to Botany Bay: – circumstances which induced me to refect how much Genius and Virtue are frequently consigned, under the present system of coercion, to those dungeons which it is pretended are built for the punishment only of the most profigate and abandoned of the human race. Will it not appear extraordinary, afer the recital of these facts, that any member of the Government should have the assurance to boast of the humanity and kindness with which we were treated. Yet that this boast has been made in the most public manner appears from the debates of that assembly generally called the House of Commons, in which Mr. Pitt is reported to have afrmed that the confession of the prisoners themselves bore testimony to the humanity and kindness with which they have been treated: a falsehood so unqualifed as few men but Pitt could have uttered without a blush. Having, afer all this oppression and injustice, been acquitted of the ridiculous charge of High Treason, I imagined of course that the property seized in my house, under false pretences, by the agents of my prosecutors, would be returned. How far this expectation has been realized, will appear from the following Correspondence with the Privy Council, &c. SIR, I Hereby desire you to restore to me the books, papers, collections of prints, and other property, taken out of my house, by his Majesty’s Messengers, on the night of Tuesday the 13th, and morning of Wednesday the 14th of May last. I am, Sir, Your’s J. THELWALL Beaufort Buildings, 12th DEC. 1794 To this I have received no answer. I, therefore, on the 17th, sent a second demand; having been informed, in the interval, that Mr. Ford had declared that Mr. White had orders to return my papers upon my sending for them. Copy of a letter lef at Mr. White’s ofce, on the 17th Dec. at six o’clock in the evening, by J. P*****. SIR, I Hereby desire you (once more) to restore to me the books, papers, collections of prints, and other property, taken out of my house by his Majesty’s Messengers, on the night of Tuesday the 13th, and morning of Wednesday the 14th of May last. Te decision of a Jury of my Country entitles me, I conceive, to the full restoration of all my property; and the injustice of withholding it

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appears the more fagrant, as many articles (and, books of considerable value, and manuscripts, the labour of years) were seized and detained, which could never have been supposed, for a moment, to have any connection with the alleged Conspiracy. JOHN THELWALL 2 Beaufort Buildings, 17th Dec. 1794. To Mr. White, Solicitor for the Treasury. To this, however, in spite of repeated applications, I could get no answer. I therefore wrote, in the next instance, to Mr. Ford. Copy. To – Ford, Esq. Secretary of State’s ofce, 2d Feb. 1795. SIR, I Take the liberty of requesting that you will inform the bearer by what means I can procure the restoration of my papers, printed books, collections of prints, and other property, taken out of my house, by his Majesty’s Messengers in May last. I should not have given you the trouble of this application, if I had not twice applied to Mr. White without being able to procure any answer. J. THELWALL 2 Beaufort Buildings, Feb. 2, 1795. Secretary of State’s, Feb. 3, 1795. SIR, IN answer to your letter of the 2d. inst. in which you desire to know by what means you can procure the Restoration of your Papers, and other articles, which were in May last taken by his Majesty’s Messengers, I am to acquaint you that every application for that purpose must be made to the Lords of the Privy Council. I am, Sir Your obedient servant, &c. RICHD. FORD. In consequence of this intimation, I applied to the Privy Council accordingly. J. THELWALL takes the liberty of applying to the Lords of his Majesty’s most honourable Privy Council for the restoration of his books, papers, collections of copper-plates, and other property, taken from his house by his Majesty’s Messengers, on the night of the 12th and morning of the 13th of May last. J. THELWALL No. 2 Beaufort Buildings Feb. 7th 1795.

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1795. – Memorandums. Saturday, Feb. 7, 1795. – WENT to the Privy Council with a letter from J. Telwall, requesting his books, papers, and copper-plate prints. J.K th Monday, 9 . – Called for an answer, and was informed that the opinion of the Attorney-General was wanted upon one point, and that they supposed that might be attained, and the books, &c. returned by that day week. J.K. Monday, 16th. – Called at the Privy Council. – Was informed that the two Messengers who seized Mr. Telwall’s books, &c. were gone abroad, and that the Privy Council did not know which books, papers, &c. belonged to Mr. Telwall, as they had more beside his. J.K. st Wednesday, April 1 . – Called at the Privy Council. – Was informed that the books, papers, &c. were not yet sent there, nor any orders respecting them. J.K. Tat they did not know which books, papers, &c. belonged to me, and which to any other of the persons arrested, I readily believe: and indeed it is totally impossible, from the manner in which they were seized, that either they, the Messengers who seized them, or any other person, should have known with any tolerable accuracy. And hence, perhaps, rather than from actual intention, we may account for the perjuries of the Messenger, who, upon my trial, swore to have found upon the person of Richter a letter, which never was out of my possession, and which another Messenger must have found in my study, between the leaves of Johnson’s folio Dictionary, and to have found upon my person another letter (the direction torn of) which I never saw, and from a person I never heard of. With respect to the frst of these papers, however, there is one very suspicious circumstance which ought to be noticed: namely that, as this was an unsent, and even unfnished letter – and as it was neither written in promotion of, nor in relation to any alleged conspiracy, it is notorious that it was not admissible evidence. Te circumstance, therefore, of the Messenger supporting it was found upon the person of Richter was a lucky mistake, as this was a proof of publication; and as, therefore, without some such mistake, this letter (upon which, and particularly upon the avowal of my republicanism which it contains, it is evident that all the hopes of my prosecutors were built) could not even have been read upon the trial. Tese circumstances, relative to the seizure of papers, if the present inquisitorial system is to go on, are of the highest importance to the lives and liberties of Englishmen; and as the perjury, with relation to the letter to Allum (had it been, in reality, any evidence of treason) would have equally implicated Richter and myself, I, therefore, subjoin the scandalous injustice and negligence, to say no worse of it, with which every thing dear to man and to society is put to hazard by the agents of the present cabinet.

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Hampstead, 7th June, 1795. DEAR CITIZEN, HAVING heard you mention some curious particulars, that fell under your observation, relative to the conduct of the Messengers, as to the paupers, &c. seized by them, and their neglect of all precaution as to the means of ascertaining them, I will be much obliged to you if you will communicate them to me, without delay, in writing, as I am at this time publishing an account of my Correspondence with the Privy Council upon this subject, and as they will equally illustrate some gross perjuries of the Messenger, upon my trial; and a curious confession of our prosecutors, that they have no means of knowing the books and papers of one person from those of another. I am, in civic afection, Your’s To Citizen J. Richter J. THELWALL. Citizen J. Telwall, Beaufort Buildings, Strand. St. James’s Place, 7th June, 1795. DEAR CITIZEN, I HAVE just received your letter of this day, and take the frst opportunity to answer it. I must frst mention that I have been this morning employing myself in writing a letter to the Privy Council, in order to obtain a restoration of the property of which I have been deprived by their authority, (though, from the account in your letter, I fear some other means must be resorted to for that purpose) and then proceed to state the circumstances of the seizure of my papers, &c. as well as the precautions which the Messenger and his assistant thought proper to take to identify them. Afer I had been shewn the warrant, they both employed themselves, at the same time, in diferent parts of my room, in seizing written and printed papers, and books of all descriptions, which they then threw together, indiscriminately, into one heap, without any mark to ascertain by whom they were taken, or in whose possession they were found. Nor was any account whatever taken of them; nor would Timms sufer a friend of mine to be in the room at the time. On observing this, I asked Timms, ‘If he would not mark them.’ He replied, ‘No not now: I shall give them to Mr. Ford to examine frst, and shall then mark such as he desires me to identify.’ – Here I could not help refecting on the very unaccountable negligence which was shewn as to the identity of papers, which were to form the support, if not to lay the foundation of a charge of the highest criminal nature known to the law, and by which the fortune, life, and honour, of the individual were to be destroyed. And though I did not think ft to pursue the subject any further at that time, I determined to watch narrowly the steps which were to be taken respecting them. – Tey were then tied up in silk handkerchiefs, and taken with me to the Treasury Chambers, in a room leading to Mr. Pollock’s

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ofce. Shortly afer this, Timms lef the room, and Kennedy, his assistant, soon followed him; leaving the papers behind them in the room with me: some other persons being casually present. Tey soon returned, and Timms took the papers away with him, leaving Kennedy with me. In less than fve minutes, however, he came back without the papers; I immediately asked, ‘If he had marked them?’ He answered, ‘No, not yet, Mr. Ford is now looking them over.’ Shortly afer this, I was taken into another room, where I was lef with Kennedy alone for the greater part of the morning; and, in about two hours, Mr. Ford, with Timms, came in. Te former returned me some of my papers, which I now have, and which have no mark whatever upon them; and the latter had my port-folio, containing letters from some of my friends, with copies of my answers; and also a small red leather book, containing an account of the conduct of a Committee of the Society*, which he informed me were to remain in his possession, as he had marked them. Tese, however, together with those which had been returned to me, did not amount to one half the quantity they had taken from me: and, indeed, Mr. Ford told me, while I was in the Council Chamber, that there were a good many others which were intended to be returned to me, as soon as he could look them out†; but although, during our confnement, I applied several times for them, I never received them. I need not make any observations on the presumption of a man’s attempting to verify, by his oath, the identity of papers which were to bring to hazard the life, fame, and fortune of a fellow creature, which were not only seized by himself, Kennedy having taken part, but on which he made no mark whatsoever, by which he might ascertain them, sufered them to be overhauled by a third person, out of his presence, for at least an hour and a half. Every unprejudiced man will draw his own conclusion from the facts, as I have stated them, and will be able to account for the extraordinary testimony given by Timms, ‘that your letter to Allum was found by him in my pocket;’ which, however, it is scarcely necessary to tell you, I never saw or heard of till I had an account of his evidence. – But an obstinate, if not a criminal, persisting in his own statements, will never surprize those who have remarked that consequential arrogance which appeared to me, during the short period I had occasion to know him, to be the most prominent feature in his character. As I believe I have omitted nothing in this statement, and am conscious of having added nothing to the truth, you are at perfect liberty to make that use of it which you may deem the most proper. I remain Your sincere friend and fellow-citizen, J. RICHTER, Jun. * Committee for preparing a plan for the new Constitution of the Society. † I think he added, ‘from the multiplicity of papers before me.’

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Having illustrated this honourable confession of his Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, I resume the thread of my Correspondence. To the Lords of his Majesty’s most honourable Privy Council. WHEN I last applied to your Lordships, relative to the restoration of my papers, books, collections of prints, and other property taken from my house, under colour of the authority of a warrant from the Secretary of State, on the evening of the 12th, and morning of the 13th of May last, I received for answer, afer many delays, if your answer was correctly reported, that the Messengers who seized these efects being out of the country, it was impossible to know my papers from those of any other person. Understanding, through the medium of the public prints, that both the Messengers are now returned I therefore renew my application, and cannot but recal to the memory of your Lordships the situation in which the liberty and property of the people of Britain are placed if, afer a man having been arrested and kept seven months in close confnement, upon an unjust suspicious, has been pronounced innocent by his country, and, afer the Judges from the bench shall have declared, (as the Chief Baron Macdonald did to me declare) Tat he has ‘been acquitted in the most reputable of all manners, by the verdict of an attentive Jury,’ he is not only to be branded by members of the government as ‘a felon,’ and a person stained with ‘moral guilt,’ but his property (the larger part of which the warrant itself did not authorize the seizure of ) is to be with-held from him, as a punishment for not having been guilty of the crime he was charged withal. – I cannot but add that it is a debt your Lordships owe both to justice and your own regulations, to shew that you do not connive at the almost indiscriminate plunder which, under colour of the authority of government, has been committed upon my premises. Beaufort Buildings, (Signed) J. THELWALL April 6, 1795. To this remonstrance, afer repeated applications, Kennedy at last brought me an answer, that ‘Mr. White had orders to select, and return, my papers; and that I must apply to him. I therefore wrote as follows: SIR, IN consequence of my application to the Privy Council, I am instructed to apply to you for the restoration of my books, papers, collections of prints, and other property, taken from my house by his Majesty’s Messengers, and others, under colour of the authority of a warrant from the Secretary, on the night of the 12th and morning of the 13th of May last. I therefore desire you to deliver the said articles to the bearer. J. THELWALL To Mr. White, Beaufort Buildings, 23rd April, Solicitor for the Treasury. 1795.

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MEMORANDUM. Saturday, 25th April, 1795. THIS day called on Mr. White, Solicitor for the Treasury, No. 6, New-square, Lincoln’s Inn, and delivered into his own hands a letter (signed J. Telwall) requesting the restoration of the books, papers, copper-plate prints, &c. which had been taken out of Mr. Telwall’s premises by the King’s messengers, &c. and that they might be delivered to me. On reading the letter, he threw it down, and in a surly manner asked me, What I meant by bringing him this letter? – I answered , Te letter explains itself: I was desired by the Privy Council to apply to you for Mr. Telwall’s property, and it is in consequence of their orders that this application is made. He replied, ‘Well, Sir, you may tell Mr. Telwall that I have nothing belonging to him!’ Wit. J. KENNEDY. To the Lords of his Majesty’s most honourable Privy Council. I TROUBLE your lordships once more upon the subject of my property taken from my house on the 13th of May, 1794. under colour of a warrant from Mr. Secretary Dundas, and never yet restored, although the verdict of my country entitles me to the restoration of the whole; and a considerable part was of that description which there could be no pretence, whatever, for seizing. I am to inform your lordships, that, in consequence of the answer I received to my last communication with you upon this subject, I wrote to Mr. White, the Solicitor for the Treasury, stating that I was instructed by your lordships to apply to him for the restoration of my books, papers, collections of prints, &c, but that, instead of having proper attention paid to my demand, my messenger was treated with great rudeness, and dismissed with the following answer: – ‘Well, sir, you may tell Mr. Telwall that I have nothing belonging to him.’ Tis was on the 25th ultimo; and since that time I have had no further information, whatever, concerning any part of my efects, nor any thing that indicates the least intention to return them. I request your lordships, therefore, to satisfy me upon this subject. – Whether I am to consider myself as having any right to my own property, or any expectation of its being restored to me? or, Whether my books are to furnish the libraries, and my prints to decorate the apartments, of the Messengers and Bow-street Runners, and my family to be deprived of all advantage which might result from the disposal of my former labours? J. THELWALL. Beaufort Buildings, 18 May, 1795. To this letter I have not been able to obtain any ofcial answer whatever; nor has any part of the stolen property been restored to me, nor, as I understand, to

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any one of the injured parties. Yet none of the ‘Associations for the Preservation of Liberty and Property’ have stood forward, to ofer us their assistance towards brining the plunderers to justice. • Te length to which the Narrative and Correspondence has extended, and the applications made to the Lecturer to print the FAREWELL ADDRESS with which the Season was concluded, renders it necessary to publish an APPEN­ DIX on Saturday next, with which will be given Title, Preface, &c and No. III of the Political Songs.

TRIBUNE, VOLUME 2 (1796)

‘On Allies and Alliances; with Strictures on the Faith of Regular Governments’, Tribune, 2:20. ‘On the comparative Estimate of the Slave Trade, the Practice of Crimping, and Mr Pitt’s Partial Requisition Bill’, Tribune, 2:22. ‘On the Importance of Avoiding Personal Factions and Divisions Among the Friends of Reform’, Tribune, 2:23. ‘On the Causes of the Late Disturbance’, Tribune, 2:29.

The second volume of collected numbers of the Tribune was published in early 1796 and was sold at five shillings for the common edition and nine for the finer alternative. Thelwall begins the collection with a preface that shows him very much on the defensive, determined to address the charges raised by William Godwin in his ‘Considerations on Lord Grenville’s and Mr. Pitt’s Bills’, published in November 1795 in response to the ‘Two Acts’. As mentioned in the general introduction to Volume 1 of this edition, Godwin’s pamphlet – though deeply critical of the proposed legislation and steadfastly defensive of the value of free speech – cast political associations as a danger to social order and seemed to single out Thelwall’s lectures as a source of substantial menace. The response in the preface captures the anger felt at this perceived betrayal as Thelwall rebukes Godwin and attempts to reject his criticisms: partly by demonstrating the value of his oratory and partly through representing his friend as an airy intellectual whose life of ‘domestic solitude’ blinded him to political truths. Thelwall later revisits the dispute in more detail after an exchange of letters, with an essay entitled ‘Godwin’s Pamphlet’ that appears in the third volume of the Tribune included below. Of the four lectures included below from volume 2, two were delivered prior to the closing of his lectures in June. ‘On Allies and Alliances; with Strictures on the Faith of Regular Governments’ was a lecture from late May and continued the central theme of the first volume: the ‘causes and calami-

– 115 –

DOI: 10.4324/9780429349720-12

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ties’ of war. Herein, Thelwall criticizes the tendency of governments to act only on the basis of short-term calculations of selfish interest, establishing treaties with particular nations while forgetting the common interest of all. The target is of course the British government who had strategically sought out a number of diplomatic relationships with other European countries in the hope of undermining Revolutionary France. By pointing to the always transient and usually damaging nature of such international alliances, Thelwall aims to vindicate his own claim that the only just wars are those of self-defence. ‘On the Comparative Estimate of the Slave Trade, the Practice of Crimping and Mr Pitt’s Partial Requisition Bill’ was originally delivered in late February, so predates the lectures of the first volume. It responds directly to parliamentary debates about the slave trade, in particular the claims that gradual abolition is the most expedient solution, as advanced by Henry Dundas (1742–1811), first Viscount Melville, and that the slaves themselves are happier than the poor of Britain, as advanced by Sir William Young (1749–1815), second Baronet, in his appendix to Bryan Edwards’s An Historical Survey of the Island of Saint Domingo (1801). Thelwall denies both suggestions and makes the case for immediate abolition in the name of justice. The other two lectures took place in a different context. Thelwall had sought a temporary retirement over the summer, believing that escape both from his exhausting oratorical performances and the metropolis would improve his suffering health. He moved to the Isle of Wight and returned to his lectures with renewed vigour in September. However, the summer months had been a somewhat factious one for the various groups associated with the reform movement, something that was of concern to Thelwall. Thus, in the first lecture of the autumn season, he abandoned his plan to speak about the nature of liberty through a critical discussion of David Hume, to instead directly address ‘the growth of a disposition to envy, faction, and division’ that had come to characterize the ‘friends of liberty and reform’.1 This performance was clearly intended to rally his audience and raise their confidence as he outlined the main purpose of the reformist cause, whilst also being careful to stress that the cause of ‘universal equality’ that he supported was not one of levelling property. In what was presumably quite an effective warning, Thelwall pointed to the chronic factionalism that defined revolutionary France and the terrible problems such a situation enabled. The other lecture from the autumnal course included here, ‘On the Causes of the Late Disturbances’, sought to lay the blame for any violence and tumult to have plagued Britain in recent years at the corrupt and unrepresentative polity and the widespread poverty it has facilitated rather than at the reform

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movement. In making this argument, he invokes the authority of Francis Bacon and the example of the irate loyalist mob that burnt down the property of Joseph Priestly.

Notes 1.

See below, p. 164.

THE

T R I B U N E, A PERIODICAL PUBLICATION consisting chiefly of the POLITICAL LECTURES of J. THELWALL

taken in short-hand by w. ramsey, and revised by the lecturer.

VOL. II. ‘If my Lectures had been of that seditious and treasonable complexion which they have described, it must have been easy to have checked me in my career, and brought me to punishment, without putting a gag upon the. nation at large, and annihilating the boasted liberties of the country.’ PREF.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR, AND SOLD BY THE FOLLOWING BOOKSELLERS: SYMONDS, PATERNOSTER ROW; RIDGWAY, YORK-STREET, ST JAMES’S; AND SMITH, PORTSMOUTH-STREET, LINCOLN’S-INN-FIELDS. 1796. – 119 –

PREFACE.

AS little alteration has taken place in the conduct of this Volume, except what was announced in the Advertisement in the First Number, it would have been perfectly superfuous to trouble the reader with further Preface or Introduction, if the singular circumstances under which I am placed, and the malignant calumny to which I have been exposed did not call upon me for some animadversion.1 To the slanderous aspersions, however, of certain leaders I shall not deign any particular answer. Men, whose trafc is corruption, and whose stock in trade forgery and misrepresentation, however high in rank, or dignifed by ofce, are beneath the serious attention of an individual whose rank is his integrity, and whose ofce the propagation of principles conducive to the general happiness of mankind. To enter the lists on the score of character with such men, were degradation; and to suppose that their assertions have so much credit with mankind as to require elaborate refutation would be an insult to the understanding of the country. It is sufcient therefore to observe, that their own conduct gives them THE LIE DIRECT: for if my Lectures, delivered upon the average of last season to an audience of 430, and upon the average of this season of 520 persons, one night with another, had been of that seditious and treasonable complexion which they have described, it must have been easy to have checked me in my career, and brought me to punishment, without putting a gag upon the nation at large, and annihilating the boasted liberties of the country. But they knew that my Lectures were not treasonable; they knew that they were not seditious; and they knew that they were therefore the more formidable. Tey would have been glad to have made them appear such, no doubt: and they have an ingenious train of spies and informers, with memories as convenient as those of their employers: but these were of no use – for I had a short-hand writer, and my real language and sentiments were therefore capable of proof. Terefore it was that the existing laws were inadequate to THEIR purposes; therefore it was that even Lord Grenville’s new-fangled treason and sedition bill would not sufce. Tey know that when perseverance and honesty are opposed to powerful corruption, and when men of any intelligence are embarked in the public cause, so long as they – 121 –

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are permitted to speak at all, they will fnd some means, even under the most severe, ambiguous, and iniquitous laws to publish such truths, and propagate such sentiments, as will ultimately be fatal to their oppressors, without exposing themselves to the condemnation of an honest jury. Terefore it is, that afer proclaiming that this shall be treason, and that shall be transportation, another law is framed to make it felony and death to speak, or even to meet, at all, but under such restrictions as are totally inimical to the independent spirit of Britons, and subversive of the provisions of the Bill of Rights.2 If there are any persons so obstinate in their prejudices as to suppose that these arguments are not conclusive as to the base manner in which, for sinister purposes, my doctrines have been misrepresented, let them appeal to the evidence of these Volumes, which, unlike the Reports of Secret Committees, shall contain no garbled accounts, no false colourings, no sophistical glossaries or misrepresentations, but shall continue to be published, in regular weekly numbers, till the whole of my Lectures are before the public, with such revisions only of stile and composition as the short-hand transcripts of extempore efusions must of necessity require. But I have been assailed from another point. In the midst of that storm which the malice and the terrors of ministerial corruption had raised around me, calumny and foul misrepresentation have been poured upon my head from a quarter, where, at such a time, and under such circumstances, it was least to have been expected. Not that I mean to insinuate, that the author of the pamphlet alluded to [Considerations on Lord Grenville’s and Mr. Pitt’s Bills; by a Lover of Order] was ever an approver of the Lectures. Te visionary peculiarities of mind, which, in the midst of all its daring excellencies, mark the ‘Enquiry Concerning Political Justice,’ cannot have escaped the observation of the attentive reader; and in the midst of all the singularities with which that valuable work abounds, nothing is perhaps more remarkable than that it should at once recommend the most extensive plan of freedom and innovation ever discussed by any writer in the English language, and reprobate every measure from which even the most moderate reform can rationally be expected.3 I knew from this singular work – I knew, also, from the frequent friendly conversations I have enjoyed with the author,4 that he was hostile to every species of popular association; and it is but justice to observe, that he has frequently endeavoured to dissuade me from continuing my Lectures, by arguments, strong and convincing I suppose to him, though to me they appeared visionary and futile. But I little expected the malignancy of a public attack, at a time when, even if such an attack had been merited, no possible advantage could accrue to the public; when the doors of my Lecture Room were on the very eve of being closed by the strong arm of authority; and when of course, the only efect such conduct

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could produce, was to infame the prejudices already so artfully excited against an individual, whose only crime was having vindicated, in an age of persecution and arbitrary usurpation, that Liberty of Speech which for more than a century has been considered as the distinguished birthright and peculiar privilege of Britons. But if an attack, at such a season, from such a quarter, was a matter of surprise, how was my astonishment increased at the extravagance and fury of that attack? What was my astonishment when I saw the man, whose private professions of esteem for the powers of my mind, and the purity of my motives, had so frequently increased my confdence, and roused the honest ambition of my soul, stand forward to accuse me at the bar of the public as ‘an impatient and headlong reformer,’5 who made it his occupation to stir up ‘all the malignant emotions of the human mind,’6 and bring the passions of the audience ‘into training’ for revengeful destruction, and lamp-post massacres? What was my astonishment when I heard this friend, this philosopher, this transcendent pattern of candour and moderation, whose liberality can fnd an excuse for the sanguinary clauses in Lord Grenville’s bill, treat those doctrines of general humanity and benevolence, so incessantly enforced in these Lectures as ‘saving clauses,’ – compare me to ‘Lord George Gordon preaching peace to the rioters in Westminster Hall;’7 and fnally, by way of climax, assimilate me to the villainous hypocrite Iago, who afer practising every artifce to awaken and to infame the groundless suspicions of Othello, shelters himself from the suspicions of the abused and deluded Moor by advising him ‘not to dishonour himself by giving harbour to a thought of jealousy.’8 Tese passages, malignant enough in themselves, become more insuferable from the recollection that the writer of them, not very long ago, reprobated another person in strong terms, for seeming, in a distant way, and in a private circle, to hint something like the charge of duplicity which they so strongly and so publicly contain. What signify, afer this, the ‘saving clauses,’ (to hurl back the contemptible charges in the teeth of its inventor) of talents ‘arrested in their growth,’ and original ‘purity of intentions.’ Tat my talents, be they great or small, have not been arrested, the growing reputation of my Lectures, and the class of auditors by which they have lately been attended, is sufcient evidence; and a comparison of my present with my former public actions will put the matter beyond dispute. And as for my intentions, if my principles are not at this time sound and good, it is of no consequence how pure they were when I ‘commenced my career;’ since, on this side of the question at least, the world will regard, as it ought, not what a man was but what he is. I have the consolation, however, to fnd that the prejudices excited against me, except in a very narrow and interested circle, have declined, in proportion as the notoriety of my conduct and my principles have increased. In short, if ministers

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had not found, that the longer my Lectures contained – that is to say, the more opportunities people of all descriptions had to hear and judge for themselves, the more general the conviction became of the propriety of my sentiments and the justice of my cause, they would never have thought it necessary to adopt such strong measures for the purpose if shutting my mouth. But it was necessary for the argument of the ‘Lover or Order,’ to represent the system of political lecturing as inimical alike to genius and principle. I am not therefore, surprised that he should persuade himself that my ‘talents had been arrested in their growth,’ and that the ‘uncommon purity of my intentions,’9 had degenerated into the designing villainy of Iago. But as for the latter I know my own heart. I know also that the world will one day do it justice. And as for the former, though I am aware how common it is for authors to ‘lay the fattering unction to their souls,’ yet Mr. Godwin must excuse me if I bow not with implicit reverence to an opinion of which the success of my undertaking is so far from furnishing the evidence. But let us examine a little the objections of this singular writer, to the system of political lecturing in general; since, as in all probability, the time is not very distant when my lectures will be resumed, this is the most important part of my subject: and if it should be found, as I believe it will, that these objections are chiefy without foundation, that if admitted they would go to restrict the wide difusion of all science, and that the few that have any sort of validity, are more than counter-balanced by the important advantages which can no otherwise be so certainly obtained, the Public will have more reason than I can have, to deprecate the attempts that have been made to rob them of this species of entertainment and instruction. ‘Whether or no Political Lectures, upon the fundamental principles of politics, to be delivered to a mixed and crowded audience,’ says the Lover of Order,’ ‘be entitled to the approbation of an enlightened Statesman, it is somewhat difcult to pronounce.’10---Difcult to pronounce whether a mixed and crowded audience ought to be instructed upon the fundamental principles of a science upon which the happiness of that general mass, from which a mixed and crowded audience must be composed, more than all other sciences depends! – Genius of common sense and honesty! if the great mass of mankind – the mixed multitude, of which society at large, as well as the generality of crowded audience, is composed, are not to be regarded as the mere dupes and instruments of a few political professors, what can be so important as to generalise, by the most expeditious means, those maxims and principles by which the science of politics can be rendered most subservient to its great end – the interest and happiness of the whole? But ‘It is not,’ continues the author, ‘for the most part, in crowded audiences, 11 that truth is successfully investigated, and the principles of science luminously conceived.’ Perhaps this is true: particularly with respect to the latter part. But is it in crowded audiences – is it in his Tribune that the Lecturer conceives his prin-

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ciples, or investigates his subject? It is there indeed that he propounds the one and illustrates the other: but if he has any regard either to his duty or to his fame, nay, if he expects, for any continuance, even that poor popularity which consists in the applauses of a promiscuous audience, however illiterate and ill-judging, the mere delivery of his Lectures will constitute the smallest part of his labours: his principles will be conceived, his subject digested, and his materials arranged in the silence and solitude of the closet; and every hour of his life, every scene he beholds, and every circumstance that occurs will furnish matter, which his observation will be perpetually seizing, and his refection applying to the important object of his investigation. Tere are some advantages which debate undoubtedly possess over the system of lecturing: It is more probable that both sides of the question should be fairly stated in open debate than in individual animadversion: misrepresentation is more easily detected, and falsehood more readily exposed*. But the advantages of lecturing are much more numerous and important. Te sentiments delivered by the professor are never of necessity the transient dictates of the moment, conceived in the warmth of passion and debate, and provoked by the desire of conquest. His temptations to pervert facts for the sake of argument are much less powerful than those of the debater; he is not so frequently obliged to bring forward his conceptions in so crude a state; and that he has the means of more lucid arrangement, and of compressing a greater body of information into his discourse, and thus combining together the advantages of elaborate research and popular enthusiasm, must be evident to the candid enquirer. If I am asked what assurance we have that he will use these advantages? I answer that he must either make use of them to a considerable degree, or else his popularity will be so short-lived, that his errors can be of small importance to society. His reputation is not to be supported with the same facility as that of the popular debater. He has no casual variety to depend upon; no alluring expectations of new faces and new names to hold out to the public; no contradiction to rouse him, no rival to stimulate, and no foil to set him of ! Every thing depends upon his diligence and exertions; his situation is so conspicuous as to submit him to an ordeal of uncommon severity ; and if he does not give to his discourse a variety and solidity which nothing but great industry, an independent originality of mind, and a mass of well-digested principles can furnish, no charm of voice, no elegance of person, no grace of action or, fow of modulated periods (if he were fortunate enough to possess all these advantages) can support his popularity through a dozen lectures. But, perhaps, I may be told that the objections of my antagonist relate not to the lecturer, but to the audience. But even in this point of view, the argument * When the Lectures are aferwards published, as in the instance under consideration, even this objection is obviated; and the Lecturer lies completely open to refutation.

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is as futile as in the other; and if indeed, it were of any validity, it would apply as forcibly against every other species of lecturing as against political lectures: for two hundred raw pupils from the country, and I have seen more in the lecture-room of Mr. Cline,12 are as efectually a crowd, aye and a mixed crowd, as fve or six hundred. Every successful professor, of whatever art or science, delivers his lectures, even on subjects the most abstruse, to a mixed and crowded audience; and the teacher of anatomy, of chemistry, or of politics, however confdent of his own powers would equally betray his ignorance, if he expected that the crowd of students who attend his discourses, will either successfully investigate or luminously conceive the principles of his science in the theatre where they are assembled. It is quite enough if the attention is so far roused and the memory so far impressed as to furnish the materials of that refection from which, and which alone any real solidity of judgement can result. Te lecturer, generally speaking, can expect no other immediate efect than to fx conviction where it was dubiously entertained, to shake the prejudices hostile to his system, and so far to interest the imagination as to compel a large part, at least, of his auditory to revolve his arguments in their minds till their truth or falsehood shall be rendered evident. He must consider himself, in short, not so much as the reaper who goes into the feld to collect the harvest of opinion, as the sower, whose business it is to scatter the feed; and though part of this feed must be expected, from the perverseness of the soil, to fail of taking sufcient root, yet, if he performs his task with judgement, the harvest, though distant, perhaps, is certain. Nor are these objections applicable only to ‘Teatres and halls of assembly;’ they must be extended also to the conversations that pass ‘in the domestic tranquillity of the fre side:’13 for it is not in conversations or debates, whether of the select few or the mixed multitude, that solid opinions are formed: these must undoubtedly be digested in the solitude of the closet. But, in defance of all the folios and quartos that were ever written, the closet would be as fruitless as the tomb, if it were not for the materials that debate and conversation furnish. It is by conversation that the mind is quickened and the obstinacy of dogmatic confdence sofened: it is in ‘mixed and crowded audiences’ – ‘in theatres and halls of assembly,’ that the real lover of his species must principally expect to inspire that generous sympathy – that social ardor, without which a nation is but a populous wilderness, and the philosopher himself only a walking index of obsolete laws and dead-lettered institutes. I wish not to bear too hard upon my opponent: the literary and political world has obligations to him which I hope will not be soon forgotten: but let any man compare together the terms of friendship and reciprocal esteem upon which, for the last two or three years, we have lived, and the time, circumstances, and complexion of this attack, and then judge whether I am guilty of illiberality when I appeal to this very pamphlet as a proof how great and how dangerous a tendency the life of domestic solitude led by this singular

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man, and his scrupulous avoidance of all popular intercourse has to deaden the best sympathies of nature, and encourage a selfsh and personal vanity, which the recluse philosopher frst mistakes for principle, and then sacrifces it to every feeling of private, and sometimes of public justice? for what milder construction can possibly be put upon the frst twenty-two pages of his pamphlet, and upon those passages in particular which relate to my Lecture, than the author, in his extreme anxiety for the reputation of candour*, overlooked every consideration of justice to a friend assailed by all the persecuting bitterness of powerful malice? Supposing the Lectures had been as pernicious as the ‘Lover of Order’ represents them, what good end could he at such a time propose by his invectives? Tey were about to be closed as it appeared for ever. Te minister had clapped the ponderous key of his authority in the door: and the whole strength of his irresistible majority was exerted to turn the massive wards, whose bolts, it was supposed, were to lock me up in silence and obscurity for ever! Was this a time for a philosopher and a friend to choose for his attack? Was this a time for candour to swell the torrent of prejudice which interested calumny had poured upon my head? and by such passages, such unfounded misrepresentations, as this pamphlet contains, to prejudice the moderate and infame the irritated against a man whom the minister had so evidently devoted to destruction? It is not, however true, that there was any foundation for considering my Lectures in that point of view in which this ‘Lover of Order’ has placed them: and the perusal of these volumes will prove my assertion. Tey are not farragoes of personal invective: they are neither ‘adapted to ripen men for purposes similar to those of the Jacobin Society of Paris,’14 nor to bring the passions of the audience into training for lamp-post massacres. In short, they were not the lectures of ‘an impatient and headlong reformer;’ and, in proof of this, I need only appeal to the fact, that my warmest and most numerous friends will be found among those frm but moderate advocates of liberty who join enthusiasm of principle with the sacred love of peace and order; and that the bitterest of my enemies may be found alike among those bigoted aristocrats, whose prejudices have prevented them from ever hearing me, and the sanguinary and infuriated, perhaps hired, advocates of violence and commotion. To sum up all: I felt as the ‘Lover of Order,’ himself express it, that to accomplish a peaceful and efectual reform, ‘Tere must be a consent of wills, that no minister and no monopolist would be frantic enough to withstand;’15 and I was not fantic enough, though the ‘Lover of Order’ is, to suppose that this consent of wills---this ‘magnifcent harmony, expanding itself through the whole commu* Te reader will judge how justly the claim of candour supported by hunting for dishonourable motives, for doctrines ‘persuading men to unbounded and universal benevolence,’ (p. 21) when promulgated by one party, and fnding excuses (p. 45) for the most tyrannical clauses in measures brought forward by another.

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nity,’16 was to be produced by writing quarto volumes, and conversing with a few speculative philosophers by the fre side. I therefore endeavoured to give my Lectures the form most conducive to general attraction. But though the form was for this reason popular and miscellaneous, and though I had not always time for the most accurate and scientifc arrangement, I fatter myself that, to the attentive reader, these Lectures will appear to be, not the loose declamations of an impetuous demagogue, but in reality ‘Lectures on the Fundamental Principles of Politics’: and that the Lectures of the present season in particular, will be admitted to contain a connected series of well-founded and digested facts, the proper investigation and application of which are absolutely essential to every friend of reform who wishes really to know what are the miseries and corruptions that call for redress, and the means by which that redress is to be procured. Hence it will be found, though I have varied my titles as much as possible, that the public might not be led to suppose, that I was repeating the same lecture again and again, that the discourse of each successive night, till the introduction of the two obnoxious Bills, rose, in tolerably exact progression from the facts and principles of the preceding, so as to form one regular and connected treatise: an advantage which will undoubtedly be felt much more sensibly by the reader than the hearer, but which, even to the casual attendant, was not without its uses, as it occasioned every individual lecture to be, in reality, better digested and arranged.

THE TRIBUNE. NO. XX

THE FIRST LECTURE ‘On ALLIES and ALLIANCES; with Strictures on the FAITH of REGULAR GOVERNMENTS.’ Delivered Wednesday, May 27th, 1795. [Note. – Tis and the ensuing Tribune are properly to be considered as concluding that Course of Lectures on the Causes and Calamities of War, of which the frst four were delivered at the beginning of the season; and for which see Vol. I. NO. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.] CITIZENS, THE subject for the present evening is, Te modern system of allies and alliances; with strictures on the faith of regular governments. Tis subject is exceedingly extensive. Tere are various points of view in which it may be treated. And, perhaps, if we trace things to the foundation, in whatever point of view we consider it, we shall be inclined to doubt whether alliances, such as are generally formed between nation and nation, are more absurd in their principle or more dangerous in their practice. Te enquiry, from the manner in which I fnd myself disposed to take it up, divides itself into two heads: frst, the political infuence of these compacts between Government and Government; and second, their operation in a military point of view. On the present evening I shall enter into an investigation only of that part of the subject which relates to the operation of these compacts upon the political liberty, and civil rights of man. What relates to the operation of alliances in the feld of battle I shall defer till another evening – When I shall, of course, be led more at large into the characters of the present confederated powers of Europe; and into some speculations on the probable catastrophe of the present war. In the frst place, Citizens, I shall examine the arguments upon which the system of alliance is justifed, and shall consider how far these arguments may be opposed by others of more serious importance to mankind. And, perhaps, when we enter seriously into the investigation we shall be obliged to confess that alli– 129 –

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ances are, in general, little other than combinations of particular governments, to oppress and plunder not only the people of all other countries, but even of their own. Te real principles of justice, I believe, and also the real principles of policy, would teach us to observe a conduct exceedingly diferent from that which has been followed by the Courts of Europe, not only during the present time, but for centuries back. I believe we should fnd that Justice would dictate to us to do all the good in our power to all the nations of the world; that policy would point out to us that the best things we can do for ourselves is really to promote the happiness and welfare of all the existing nations in the universe; and that our best way to do that is to form no particular alliances, compacts, or treaties, with any nation, or any set or body of men whatever. It is necessary, for the happiness of mankind, (and it must be admitted as soon as examined) that animosities of every description should be laid aside; that human beings should consider each other as friends and as brothers; and that they should seize all opportunities of advancing that fraternal felicity which nothing but such principles and such convictions can promote. But it is evident, if you form combinations of alliance at one time, which are to dictate to you at future periods, the events of which you cannot foresee, that you must be frequently led to a direct violation of this principle. Compacts, in their very nature, inevitably proceed upon the short-sighted principle of self interest – or more properly of sordid jealousy and exclusion. Tese combinations, therefore, set out, in the frst instance, upon the narrow and unjustifable project of promoting the interest of a few, in opposition to the interests of the aggregate of the world; and the strong probability is, nay almost the certainty, that the progress of events will shortly render the execution of these compacts even more unjust and impolitic than at the time of the frst adoption. Courts, however, have paid very little regard, in the practice, to the grand rules, either of moral conduct or national policy. On the contrary, all the cabinets of Europe have been perpetually endeavouring to foment animosities and aversions between the people of their respective nations; and to draw the Courts themselves into a closer union of compact and mutual understanding. Tese combinations among the diferent rulers of diferent parts of the universe, have for a long time gone on without exciting any degree of jealousy or enquiry among the people. A sort of lethargic confdence seems to have taken possession of the minds of men, and induced them readily to believe the tales of artful jugglers and hypocrites, that those entrusted with the management of public afairs certainly must understand better, what is for the public good than the public themselves; and that therefore they were only to repeat by rote, as parrots, the lessons put into their mouths by their rulers, without considering what were the ideas afxed, or whether they conveyed any ideas at all.

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But, Citizens, I believe this is not precisely the case at this time. A spirit of enquiry has gone very widely abroad: a spirit which I do not think all the exorcisms of priests, the persecutions of ministers, or even the machinations of the arch inquisitor Reeves himself, will ever be able to lay. Te fact is that people begin to discover this truth, that ALL THE PEOPLE OF ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH HAVE ONE COMMON INTEREST AND ONE COMMON CAUSE, which it is their duty zealously to promote, the machinations against which they are called upon anxiously to watch, and vigilantly, nay, if necessary, BRAVELY to oppose. Tis interest – this cause, is the preservation of LIBERTY, PEACE, and UNIVERSAL JUSTICE! Tis cause, which can fourish only by suppressing the malevolent passions, and cultivating a disposition to universal benevolence, if ever it triumphs, annihilates at once the systems of nationality and cabinet alliances, and unites the people of all climes and latitudes under the peaceful banner of fraternity. If this statement is seriously and coolly considered; if we strip ourselves of the animosities of faction and the attachments of party; if we take away from this system the miscolouring and misrepresentations with which those who cannot controvert is principles, have endeavoured to culminate its supporters, I believe it will bring immediate conviction to the heart of man. For who can doubt, for an instant, that all national aversion, and hatred to persons, on account of the sects, their opinions, nations, climate, language, or colour, are hostile to those generous and noble feelings of philanthropy, without which peace cannot be preserved, and the general intercourse and happiness of mankind cannot be promoted? Let us enquire then whether alliances (even abstractedly considered) have a tendency to promote this disposition so desirable for the happiness of the universe. Let us consider also – and perhaps it would be well to consider this in the frst place – whether, even if alliances could be admitted in themselves to be good, alliances upon the present principle of Machiavelian policy, are of that description which would be desirable. Admitting, for the instant, that alliances ought to be tolerated, what ought to be their object and principle, and what is the nature of the alliances that are generally formed? Do they arise from the people of the contracting – or rather the contracted nations, mixing and confederating together, and arguing with each other upon their respective views and interests, and learning the real dispositions and qualities of each other’s hearts, and thence entering into such compacts and treaties as grow out of their conviction of mutual utility? Or do they in reality grow out of those cabals and confederacies which a certain set of honourable spies, called consuls and ambassadors, carry on, frequently to the disgrace of morality, and the destruction of every virtuous, candid, and liberal principle which ought to be cherished in the human heart?

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If the seed is bad let us not expect that the fruit will be good. If you sow night-shade in your felds, not bread but poison will be your harvest! If you sow treachery, venality, intrigue, and selfshness in you national intercourses, do not expect to reap friendship, faith, and national advantage, for your harvest can only be disappointment, contention, and the sword. Te plain and simple fact is, I believe, that the people are always kept in the dark, as to the real objects of the all alliances at present formed between the courts of Europe. Tey are anxiously prevented from knowing, not only what were the motives, but what are the objects; and are hardly ever acquainted with the real tenor of the compact. Tere are, it is true, certain general articles with which you are to be acquainted, and upon the faith of which you are to pay your money – 4,600,000 pounds,17 perhaps, at a time! But if any over inquisitive individual should indulge a dangerous disposition to know more than Ministers think ft to reveal, he is silenced at once by some member of the political priesthood, who scruples not to avow with the true air of diplomatic mystery, that there may be secret articles behind the screen, but warns the profane enquirer not to approach with impious interrogatories the sanctum sanctorum of cabinet confederacy. So that while you believe you are paying a nation to fght your wars, and defend your interests abroad, you may, perhaps, be hiring foreign mercenaries to cut your throats at home. But, Citizens, I am, for my own part, much inclined to believe that alliances, conducted upon whatever principle, will be found injurious to the happiness and welfare of nations. I have always seen, during that little intercourse which I have had with the world, that the quantum of advantage produced by the individual exertions of any given number of persons, each toiling and labouring separately, has been very superior to the quantum of beneft or advantage produced by the same number of person bound together by compact and combination. And accordingly, it has been very justly observed, that when Pope, Swif, Arbuthnot, and Gay, united together18 to compose a particular work they all four, clubbing their wits, wrote a great deal worse than any one of them ever did when he trusted to his own individual genius and imagination. It is so in every thing to which the physical or mental powers of the individual are any way competent. Whatever can be done by an individual is always better done single-handed, than when the same thing is attempted by several person combined together. I not mean to say that there is no beneft and advantage in mutual exertions and labour. Tere are certain things which are beyond the strength, which are beyond the longevity of man, which it would nevertheless be very useful to society to have accomplished. And there are certain undertakings which, in a great measure, depend, and very properly depend upon numbers and combination chiefy for their success; and, therefore, it is necessary for persons to enter into combinations when any such work is to be undertaken. But I mean to contend,

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that when the business is not of such a nature that it requires a larger potion of physical strength, a larger portion of longevity, than can be commanded by an individual, nor is of that kind to which united sufrage is requisite to give it the stamp of justice and the capability of success – when neither of these is the case, the individual does better to trust to the powers, the energies of his own intellect and capacities, than to strengthen and fortify himself, as he supposes, but in reality to debilitate himself, by depending upon the untied eforts of other persons. Te question then is – whether the interests and concerns of nations are of that description that they require a combination of several nations together, or whether they are of that description that the individual nation can execute them by depending upon itself alone? For it must be observed, that, in many respects, nations resemble individuals, and the arguments that will apply to the individual will frequently apply to the nation, considered as an aggregate individual also. I do not mean to say that this is universally the case. Whoever argues by simile is in danger of falling into sophistry. And therefore let me warn you, whenever similitudes are ofered to you, from this or any other place, to examine what are the particular features and accompaniments of the things compared. For there are points always at which they do, and others at which they do not touch. But, with respect to the general principles I have laid down, I believe you will fnd, that the individual body and the social body do exactly agree. Tat is to say, that whatever can be done by the individual nation, will be better done by that individual nation than by any combination and alliance of various nations; and that combinations, and alliances of various nations, ought only to be encouraged when the undertaking is of that description that, in the nature of things, an individual nation could not accomplish it. As would be the sublime projects of Dr. Darwin19 (if indeed they can be regarded as practicable at all) for ameliorating the condition, and correcting the climates of the globe which we inhabit. But there is another point at which I suspect the comparison does not touch. For tho’ there are certain undertakings for which it is advantageous for individuals to combine, there are strong reasons for supposing that there is none, certainly there are very few objects that it is for the welfare of a nation to pursue, but what it can pursue and accomplish by its own individual exertions. In short, putting out of our calculations the benevolent visions of philosophers, and considering the characters and pursuits of nations such as they hitherto have been, I am much inclined to suspect, as you never can produce the same intimate connection between nation and nation as between individual and individual, as you never can produce the same mutual intercourse of mind, and thorough comprehension of the views and objects of each, so we shall fnd, that all those undertakings which cannot be accomplished by an individual nation are of that description that it is a great deal better never to undertake at all. For nothing but disgrace, ruin and infamy generally have attended, or I believe ever

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can attend, undertakings of so extensive and complicated a nature as to make national confederacies necessary to their conduct. But there is one circumstance in which this parallel, between individuals and communities, certainly very closely agrees; namely, the energy, the vigour, and resources of intellect, which, standing independent of all other supports, has a tendency to generate in the character. Te man who trusts to friends, to promises, and to professions, to extricate himself from embarrassment, or to attain the advantages he looked for, generally meets with nothing but disappointment; and, at last, afer trammelling himself with inefcient obligations, is lef to the pursuit of his original object in a worse condition than he set out, with mind stripped of half its vigour, and imagination clouded, a judgment embarrassed, and a spirit deprived of that keenness and ardour with which, if he had always been in the habit of depending upon his own individual exertions, he would have been able to have pressed forward to the attainment of his wishes. Is it or is it not so with nations? Consult the facts of history. Consult, if you will, the analogies of reasoning. – I believe abstract reasoning would convince you, that the arguments are still more potent with respect to the nation that the individual. But, if you love an easier task, turn over the pages of history, and see whether facts do not bear me out in the assertion I have made. Tell me, ye historians – (I will endure interruption if any man can tell me such an instance) what great, what noble, what glorious achievement ever was accomplished by a number of nations, even petty little states, so small that their numbers would hardly people a second-rate city in France! – if you want the glorious atchievements they have accomplished, turn to the histories of the little states of Greece; consult the histories of Athens and Lacedemon, those names for ever glorious – for ever dear to the heart that pants for liberty! those small but magnifcent Republics, which, like stars in the political intellectual frmament, will shine for ever as examples to mankind, and light us in the path of excellence. Tink of the great exploits of Leonidas, of Temistocles, of Epaminondas – think of the glorious struggles of Termopoly, of Salamis, of Marathon – think of the astonishing atchievements which throng in the historic page of Greece and of Rome! Consider, also, the unconquerable energy displayed by the Arabian tribes, under Mahomet, and the early leaders of that religion, which, by the sword of unassociated valour, was established over so large a portion of the earth; not by the numbers, not by the potency, wealth, or resources of the tribes who made those conquests; but by that unity, that individuality, if I may so express myself, which knit and combined the little bands of heroes and the enthusiasts together, and occasioned them to have but one head, one heart, one object and pursuit. But, whenever alliances have been made, we have always found that the nations thus allied have becomes enfeebled. We have histories and records of alliances innumerable. If I were to go largely into them, I should foretell a part

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of that which is to be the subject of my second lecture. I shall, therefore, neither dwell upon the crusades of ancient nor of modern times, at present; but shall refer them to their proper station in the second branch of my enquiry. I think I have said enough, and every individual will be able to recollect enough, to prove my position, that nations, as well as individuals, are enfeebled by extraneous dependencies – by alliances, treaties, and combinations. Tere is another part of the mischiefs, however, of those alliances which must not be passed over in silence. It is their inevitable tendency to spread the mischiefs and the ravages of hostility through a much wider circle than could otherwise be afected by the rival interests, the mistakes and passions of mankind. Alliances have been fruitful sources of calamity. Tis part of the established system of regular Governments, alone, has done more to ruin and depopulate nations, than all the gloomy passions that ever inhabited the breasts of men; nay, than the ambition of Princes and Ministers themselves would ever have been able to accomplish without this powerful engine. Te hostility which grows between nation and nation, but for this might be settled by the contest between the two parties. But the system of alliance difuses the mischief from pole to pole; and if two neighbouring nations choose to contend about the navigation of a river, the possession of an inaccessible rock, or a barren mountain, the consequence is, that the fames of war are to be kindled from nation to nation, the whole universe is to be disturbed, the peasant of every clime is to be torn from his useful occupation to the feld of death, and the matrons of the most distant nations to behold ‘their infants quartered by the hand of war.’ It has been pretended, however, that small countries, or countries of but little political force, would not be able to protect themselves, and would consequently be trampled upon by their more powerful neighbours, if it was not for this system of alliance. Let us enquire what sort of foundation there is for this observation: or rather, let us enquire what sort of efect has been produced, in this respect, by this boasted system of justice and generous protection. If security to the weak has resulted from these confederacies, of which Courts and Ministers are so fond, there is then some colour of vindication; altho’ I contend, that the principles of justice and sound policy would produce this efect still better without any such alliances. Justice would dictate to me, that if I am a strong man and my neighbour is weak, I am not to sufer another strong man, merely because he is strong, to break into my neighbour’s house and destroy him. I do not mean to say, that you are not to lend assistance to those who are absolutely wronged. I only say, you are not to make alliances and combinations, by which you agree that, however a quarrel may begin, whoever may be right, whoever may be wrong, (for this is always the sense, though not the express wording of every treaty of alliance) you are to make yourselves a party in the quarrels and

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projects of your ally, by whomsoever insulted or whomsoever he may insult. It is the alliance, not the principle of justice of protecting the weak against the tyranny of the strong, that I censure: And though there was no treaty of alliance between the Court of St. James’s and the Court of Warsaw, yet if one half of that wealth squandered in this country against the liberty of France, had been spent to protect the Poles from that destruction which a combination of despots has brought upon them, I should have gloried in the magnanimity of a nation which had stepped forward to save an oppressed and a virtuous people from the jaws of tyrannous destruction: I should have rejoiced the more in the conviction that they did it from the dictates of their honest and virtuous hearts, and not from the compulsive, or supposed compulsive circumstance of there being a treaty of mutual assistance between the respective powers. But what stronger argument can we have of the impotency and absurdity of these treaties, than the very circumstance of the fate of Poland? Te Court of Prussia enters into an alliance with the Court of Warsaw, by which they bind themselves to mutual protection and good friendship. Yet, by and by, true to the Machiavelian maxim, that ‘a Prince is never to observe his promises any longer than it is to his own interest,’ forth steps the virtuous and pious representative of the regular Government of Prussia, to make an alliance with the still more humane, pious and virtuous representative of the regular government of Russia, and the sapient, the just and magnifcent representative of the regular government of Germany, and they make a fresh compact, and a fresh alliance – for the protection of Poland? No, for the division of Poland, with whom this self same King of Prussia, this juggling mountebank in gold and purple – this King of threads and patches, had formerly made a treaty of alliance and support. But it ends not here. You have only got to the fourth act of the farcical tragedy. In all probability the ffh is now in rehearsal; and by and by we may have a treaty between the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia, against this self same King of Prussia, with whom hitherto they have been in alliance, that they may, for the better preservation of the balance of Europe, beat him out of the share of the plunder. Yet such are the allies we subsidize! Such are the powers to purchase whose faithful assistance, we strip the poor labourer of ever comfort and necessary of existence, make his marriage bed a curse, and turn the fruitful issue of his love into plagues and scorpions, harrowing his imagination, and piercing his ears with the cries of want. To one of these precious allies, in the midst of all our national distresses, 4,600,000 pounds are to be lavished; how much we are to give to the other is yet, perhaps, a secret behind the curtain of the Cabinet; but which we shall one day or other be acquainted with to our cost. Such are the regular governments upon whose faith we can depend, notwithstanding the frequent example we have had of their unqualifed treachery. In the cobweb fabric of their promises

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we consent to weave the destiny of further years of tremendous hostility, and of thousands of industrious families; upon the frail trust of such a thread we hang our trembling hopes; and, with no better security, consent to prolong the miseries of Europe, and to perpetuate that famine, scarcity, and desolation, so large a portion of which we have already distributed not only among ourselves, but to all surrounding nations. But what are the pretences for alliances? One of these pretences – and a very favorite one indeed, in this country, is the preservation of the balance of power. So you see, frst of all, we describe power by a metaphor, calling it a balance and then realize the dream of our own fancy, and at the expence of the lives of thousands, and the happiness of millions, plunge all Europe into confusion, in order that we may break a piece of power away here, and throw it in there, to preserve the equipoise of these imaginary scales. O convenience of metaphorical logic! If it suited the purpose of these sophistical reasons, they would fnd that any other sort of simile was equally descriptive. Te British constitution use to be described as a triple balance, and many fne declamations have been made by political jugglers upon the basis of this ridiculous metaphor; but projects were formed for which this triple balance would not answer, and Judge Eyre, fnding that this metaphor, instead of supporting his new fashioned theory of High Treason, changed hocus pocus, the balance into a wheel: put the poor British Constitution to the rack, ( – poor Constitution! – it had been mangle enough already!) and then, to show his knowledge of physical, as well as metaphorical science, he tells you, that any thing that presses upon the circumference must injure the centre: though we know very well that a centre is in its nature immoveable, and that whatever violence is committed upon the circumference, can only alter the direction of velocity of the converging points, while the centre inevitably remains uninfuenced. However, a wheel or a balance, or a sword, or a halter, are any of them metaphors sufciently capable of extensive application, to answer all the purposes of political reasoners. Having got the power in their hands to proceed at will to fnal demonstration, who shall dispute the intermediate gradations of their logic? or deny that a metaphor is as legitimate a basis of sound argument as a syllogism or a self evident fact? – Te rack at such times is just as good an emblem of justice as a pair of scales; and it matters not whether you adopt the one or the other; while the sword is ready to dispatch the individual whom neither the balance can weigh down nor the rack subdue. Having made the power of Europe a balance – a balance it should seem of a hundred scales! Each government supposed itself Briarius (the giant with a hundred hands) that could uphold them all; and, accordingly, it has always been thought necessary, by one or other of them, to keep the world plunged in wars to support the metaphorical equipoise. But if we ever could be blind enough to suppose that the jugglers who talk of this balance of power were in earnest, we

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ought to be very much obliged to them for their late conduct, which certainly must have opened our eyes, and convinced us that they never had any meaning, nor ever meant to have any meaning, unless it was that the people were to be put in one scale, and the individuals who compose the government in another, merely to show how light the former are in the estimation of the latter; and how immediately they, with their emptied pockets, kick the beam, weighed down by the pondrous mass of revenue, places, and patronage, in the courtly scale. Te balance of Europe! Will any person believe, if in this balance there had been any real meaning, that it was not more destroyed by the partition of Poland, than the navigation of the Scheldt? Is it more dangerous to the safety of Europe, that Savoy should be added to the French Republic, than that so large a portion of Poland should be afxed to the immense empire of Russia? – whose ferocity and ambition, whose rapid strides of usurpation, and whose faithless conduct must have convinced mankind that the real object of her pursuit is the subjugation of Europe! the slavery of the civilized universe, over which her barbarians are to be established as military governors, to restore the reign of ignorance and ferocity! Another pretence for alliances, (a more modern pretence) is the preservation of order and morality. Citizens, in what do order and morality consist? In destroying towns and villages? In depopulating nations? In laying felds and vineyards waste, and then raking the ashes together, to spread them decently over the graves of a few great victims, whose power and grandeur could not preserve them from the stroke of justice, when the wickedness and indecency of their conduct had shaken, to their foundations, the venerable structures of prejudice and superstition that once protected them? If this is what is meant by the preservation of order and morality, then indeed are the present confederates against regenerated France, at least in their intentions, most orderly, most moral, and most pious! – then, indeed, have alliances and royal combinations most frequently, and especially in the late instance, advanced the cause of order, and of that moral distribution, upon which so intimately depends the felicity of the world. Te Iö Kings, Courts, and Cabinets! – Iö alliances and royal confederacies! for the promised millenium is itself at hand! But if, by order, we mean the establishment of peace and justice; if, by morality, we mean that system of benevolent conduct, which promotes the general welfare and happiness of mankind, what order, I ask, what morality can be promoted by a band of depredators, under whatever titles or distinctions, uniting themselves together to break into a country, with whose concerns they had no right to interfere, to spread desolation through nations that did not choose to adopt their system of politics. – I know but one system of order and morality: and that must spring from the heart; from enlightened understandings, directed

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to the pursuit of principle; from a determination to promote the peace, the happiness and welfare of mankind, and, as the best means of advancing these, to resist the encroachments of tyranny and usurpation, under whatever forms or pretences their encroachments may be made. Another of the pretences for alliances and combinations, in the present day, is the preservation of religion. And here, at least, it must be admitted that the advocates for these alliances in this country, have certainly shewn a great disposition to impartiality and justice. So that they may but be employed in protecting religion, they care not what religion it is. Popish, Protestant, Greek, or Mahometan, it is all the same. So that it be but some one of those systems long established in regular government (and who shall deny the praise of regularity to Governments of the Grand Signior or the Czarina?) it matters not which. We are now very busy in protecting, and restoring the hold Roman Catholic Religion, and we know, a little while ago, that England (I mean the ministry of England, for the people you know, in these matters are non entities) were flled with just as anxious a desire for the dominion of Mahomet, as they are now for that of the Pope: just as ready to draw the sword to preserve the religion of the Ottomans, as now to preserve his Holiness in the chair of infallibility, and restore the great hats of the Cardinals to that dignity from which they have been hurled by the atheistical revolution in France. But suppose we are serious for a minute upon this subject, and ask ourselves, whether we can possibly be guilty of a greater absurdity than, in one instant, to fall down on our knees, and worship a being, whom we say is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and at the very same time, by drawing our swords to fght against his enemies, (admitting, for the instant, that such a being could either entertain or sufer enmity) to confess that we do not believe he is able to take his own part, or enforce his own will? Tese are the pretences upon which alliances have been made. But those who are acquainted with the history of Courts (and indeed they have been exceedingly busy in publishing expositions of their own history of late) those at all acquainted with the history of Courts know that pretence is one thing, the real object another. Now, Citizens as I have all possible respect for the Administration and Senate of this country, I shall not say one word about their motives: which I take it for granted, are the very best that they are capable of conceiving. But I believe it must be admitted, whatever is the case with the Cabinet and Court of Britain, that, with respect to the Cabinets of many countries, the real object of these alliances has been TO STRENGTHEN THE HANDS OF GOVERNMENT AGAINST THE PEOPLE! to support those individuals who have seized the Administration, or abused the Sovereignty of their respective nations; to fortify in their past and meditated usurpations; and to enable them to pour foreign mer-

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cenaries into their countries, and menace and overawe, and, it necessary, dragoon the people, who might be otherwise unwilling to submit to their propositions. Tat this has been the case with some of the nations of Europe, I shall proceed to show. Let us remember what was the case with Brabant. Brabant imagined, as I suspect every nation will now and then imagine, for there is no accounting for the strange conceits that sometimes get into the heads of men – the Brabanters, I say, imagined that they had RIGHTS! that they had a claim to independence! that they were not a parcel of brute beasts, a swinish multitude, who were to be driven, and whipped, and slaughtered at the will of their Lords; but that they had a right to vindicate and assert the ancient laws and liberties of their country, if they were wise enough to improve those laws and liberties, for their own advantage, as their ancestors before them improved the elder institutions, and reformed the elder abuses that existed in their days. You know the history of that struggle. Brabant was upon the brink of accomplishing its object; and the tyrant who refused to govern by the laws was about to lose his government altogether. Alliances, however, were formed with diferent Cabinets of Europe (and, O! shame to speak it, with that of Britain among the rest!) which convinced the Brabanters that they must relinquish the chimerical ideas of rights and privileges, and peaceably submit themselves to the wisdom, the virtue, the moderation, and justice of the regular and established usurpation. Brabant, however, you will recollect, though disappointed then, has since attained her object; perhaps not so well as she would before; because a nation always does best without the assistance of foreigners, however just and generous these foreigners incline to be. Holland, also, thought it had a right to settle its own government. Te Batavians remembered their ancient independence, so bravely purchase, and once so wisely established; and they did not very much like the idea of being governed by an individual, who was evidently the subject of another of the crowned heads of Europe. Tey therefore took it into their heads, that as they had a constitution which authorised them, whenever they chose, to dismiss or set up a Stadtholder just as they pleased: a Stadtholder being, in reality, no part of the ancient constitution of the Batavian States – Tey thought they had right to appeal to the ancient laws, and redress the oppressions, usurpations, and grievances under which they groaned; and they began seriously to think of setting about the business. But no, says the Stadtholder: You are combined together, and you are disposed to get rid of me; and you tell me you have a legal and constitutional, as well as a natural right so to do. I will not dispute the matter of right with you: it is not convenient to me, at present, to refer to histories and constitutions; but I will let you know that there are other Princes and Potentates in Europe who understand a logic of another sort; and with whom I am in alliance and combination; and with a Prussian army, and a British feet, I will drive you like a rebellious herd before me, or tumble you into your own dykes, like so

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many frogs, till you croak for mercy, and hide your heads in Orange peel to get out again. – So much for Dutch and Austrian alliances. Te old despotism of France had its alliances also, and the French people being bit, in their turn, by this same mad dog, love of liberty – for its astonishing how this dreadful canine infection runs from man to man, and from nation to nation, so that, dreadful to think! it may, perhaps, in time, disturb even the Pope in his Vatican, dismiss the Grand Signor from his seraglio, and infect the beautiful nymphs and emasculated Eunuchs with metaphysical notions of the rights of man. France began to think of its rights, and to set about reforming the abuses of government. Aye, say the King – or rather the Queen, for he, ‘good easy man,’ give him but his beef steak and bottle of burgundy, would not trouble you with speeches, if you did not, as you do with other automatons, make the speech for him, and compel him to do whatever you desired. Aye, aye, says the Queen, that is all very well, and my good man shall appear to agree with it. But I have great relatives, and my German alliances shall back and support us, whenever I see good that the royal puppet should break his oaths and promises. Tey shall convince you, that bonds and constitutions are paper; and that while we are amusing you with fair promises, our allies, but your open enemies, were furnishing us with the means of crushing you at pleasure. Tus, by infernal arts and machinations, the ofspring of alliances and family compacts, was France interrupted in that career of virtue and philosophy, in which she set out. Yes – I repeat it – that career of virtue and philosophy! – for though the spectacled lunatic of St. Omer’s, at the very commencement of the Revolution, fulminated his anathemas, and with his diabolical howlings against the National Assembly stigmatised their holy labours; look at their maxims of virtue, humanity, justice, and then blush, ye combined Courts and Ministers of Europe; blush at those wicked hostilities, and still more wicked intrigues, by which you have driven them from this peaceful career of intellect, to use the destructive weapons of force and violence. France, also, was interrupted in her career, by foreign alliances, by combinations of foreign Courts, that refused to explain the nature of their compacts. But France had too much energy, too much intellect, too much enthusiasm to be disappointed even for a time; and though she chose an alternative which has been dismal, in many respects, in its consequences, and was plunged by an infernal faction into excesses, at which nature shudders, yet she has taught one great and important lesson to the world, that a nation bent upon enquiry and improvement, may sometimes mistake its way, may sometimes, by the arts and the malice with which she is surrounded, be plunged awhile into tumults and mischief, but will persevere not only to the fnal accomplishment of her own virtuous objects, but to the downfall of those whose criminal artifces, or ambitious usurpations, would blast her harvest, and cloud the prospect of felicity and glory.

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See then, if it is not digressing too far, what has been the consequence to those who formed those fatal alliances. What has the Emperor got? You will tell me, perhaps, 4,600,000l. of English money. But this getting will be to him no gain; not that I believe he will ever pay you one shilling of it again, or ever be able so to do. But what has he got in point of power and grandeur? Let the Brabanters answer you that question. What has the Stadtholder got? A snug retreat on the banks of the Tames; and a Dutch fair, represented in pantomime at Frogmore, may, perhaps, convince him of the gratitude of his Master, but will poorly atone for the forfeit revenues of seven wealthy Provinces, with all the regal splendours of the Hague. But behold the consequences of Machiavelian policy! You may destroy the poor deluded puppets, whose grandeur you would exalt over the rights of man; but human intellect, when backed by human energy, is invincible: and woe to those who are frantic enough to oppose its career. Citizens, we may remember, that about eighteen months ago, we were also menaced with something like a friendly alliance of this sort in England. A fortunate disease visited some foreign troops in the neighbourhood of our coast, and they were humanely landed upon the Isle of Wight. Tis was only accident, to be sure; but then it served, you know, to feel the pulse a little. Tanks to the state of intellect in Britain, the pulse of the nation vibrated as it ought. Te glorious energy of Stanhope roused the country to a sense of its danger; and the resolutions of the Patriotic Societies, I shall venture once more to assert, conspired with the speech of that noble Citizen, to chase the Hessian and Hanoverian barbarians from our coasts: and to the latest hour of my life I shall exult, that, at the peril of a disgraceful death, I contributed, by penning some of those resolutions, to save my country from that scene of desolation and mischief, which I am sure will take place, whenever foreign mercenaries shall be marched into its bosom, to coerce the people, and dragoon them into submission to any minister, whatever may be the pretences with which a measure so diabolical may be coloured over. Hail! hail! ye fetters, chains, and dungeons! – Hail! scafolds, halters, and axes! you were meant, it is true, as the brands of infamy, and the punishments of guilt; but when tyranny and oppression reign, – when attempts are made to subjugate a nation by bands of mercenary cut-throats, ye lose your terrors in the patriot’s eye – ye are then the badges of virtue, and the passports of eternal glory. Citizens, it has been rumoured, that such a design is again in contemplation. But I do not believe it. I think the minister of this country has learned a lesson which will prevent him from doing such things again. So long as Britons are ruled by Britons, I trust that they will use no weapons but reason and enquiry, however great may be their burdens. But I have not faith enough in human patience to suppose, that they will bear to be dragooned by foreign mercenaries; that they will yield their throats to Hessian of Hanoverian butchers and sufer themselves

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to be trampled into submission by any foreign interference: nay, I confess that my pacifc principles do not go so far as to wish that they should. Te manly spirit of this nation will, I hope, be displayed in peaceable and tranquil exertions: for I am sure of this, that no important reformation, no change or amelioration ought to take place, except when there is a unanimous and manly resolution to demand it: and when there is that manly and unanimous resolution, it will require no artillery to enforce it, no bayonets to accomplish it. But when a government is supported by foreign troops, it is then no longer a question of argument. Silence or resistance are the only alternatives. Citizens, there is a good maxim among men of moral feelings, as to common plunderers. If they meet a highwayman, or footpad; if he demands their money, they will rather give it, than take away the life of a fellow-being, however depraved; but if he proceeds to violence, they must even, if they can, kill him in their own defence. In the same manner, I think the probability is that though the people sufer their money to be taken away by foreign mercenaries, they will not sufer themselves to be dragooned by the admission of them into this country; and if they would, all I can say is, that the modern inhabitants of this island are no more Britons, than the present race of slaves who inhabit what once was Greece, are Athenians and Lacedemonians. Be this as it will, with respect to our money, it must be admitted, we have parted with it pretty freely: for Britain having rather too large a quantity of these golden globulæ fowing through its veins, the political quacks have been very solicitous to apply the lancet; and not a high German Doctor of them all but has occasionally held the bason. How much the better we are for these applications, I do not pretend to determine; but our great State Physician, our political Sangrado, seems determined to persevere in the practice. But all this is done to support the reputation of regular governments. To regular governments, notwithstanding the repeated instances we have had of their perfdy, we are ready to lend our assistance, and our money. With republican innovators, we are not willing even to cease the monstrous contention of slaughter and desolation; though we cannot produce one single instance of breach of faith in any of those governments, at this time existing, that are worthy of the name of Republics. Has America broken her faith with any of the nations with which she has had any alliance? On the contrary, peruse the transactions on the bands of Miami; and then read the treaties between this country and America: consult also the rights of nations, and then answer me, Whether the irregular – the fantastical republican government of America, or the regular government of Great-Britain, can most justly be taxed with violation of its faith. Has the republic of France in any one instance notwithstanding all its wild changes, broke its faith, or violated its compacts? No: on the contrary, in the report of Gregoire, relative to the Rights

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of Nations, observe what magnanimity, what principles of justice! – so sublime, I am bound to say, as never before were propagated by the government or public assemblies of any nation in the world. Hear them, in the very moment of triumph and victory, when all the nations of the earth were in a manner prostrate before them – hear them consecrating the equal rights of nations, and declaring, that ‘sovereignty is the right of ever nation;’ that ‘it depends not upon its power, upon its riches or population;’ that ‘a dwarf is a man as much as a giant,’ and has the same rights; and that ‘sovereignty is as much the right of the little province of Sant Marine as of the gigantic republic of France.’ Turn also, if you please, to the republican government of Switzerland. Has Switzerland been less distinguished for its faith than the other governments of Europe? Quite the contrary: No nation has preserved a more unblemished character than that republic, in which, to a considerable degree, at least among many of the Cantons, the principles of liberty and equality are established: that republic in which (as the late King of Prussia declared with a sort of involuntary applause) ‘ever individual is at once a peasant, a citizen, and a soldier.’ Away then with the absurd pretences, that you can have no faith in republics; and that you are to seek for it only in the regular governments of aristocracy and monarchy. But they ask you, What signifes making peace with France, in her present state? What security can you have for a permanent peace? What do these regular governments mean by a permanent peace? Would not one suppose, from this language, that, before the republican phrenzy broke out in France, Europe was always in a state of harmony and friendship? Tat these regular governments, with their compacts and alliances, might quarrel once or twice, perhaps, in four of fve hundred years; but that their usual practice was to observe their treaties, and keep the peace inviolate, from century to century? – But what has been the fact? Consult the records only of our own country for the last hundred years, and you will fnd that, of that period, more than half has been devoted to war and desolation; that we have been fve times at war with France¸ and six times at war with Spain, as I have shewn in a former lecture; that some of these wars have lasted eight or ten years together; and that it has been a long tranquillity indeed, that has sufered you to be six or seven years at peace. War afer war, scene afer scene of contention, has ensued. No pretence has been too frivolous, no object too contemptible, to be the ground of hostility. – Te plain truth is, that these Regular Governments (that is to say, the Ministers who act under them) have an interest in keeping the world perpetually in war: that it is the people who bear the burden, but the governors who are enriched by the plunder. In short, the regular governments of Europe have hitherto shewn themselves to be consistent in but one principle – a principle which is indeed laid down by Machiavel as the fundamental axiom without which no regular govern-

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ment can possibly exist; namely, that they should neither keep peace, faith, nor compact, any longer than it is to the advantage of those by whom that compact is made. And hence it is that one universal system of slaughter and devastation has been incessantly pursued; nor is it easy to foresee when we shall get to the end of this dismal chapter. Such, then, are the principles of faith and pacifcation among these regular governments. I leave it to your serious consideration, whether this is a picture to encourage you to persevere in war, till destruction and misery overwhelm you in one common mass, rather than trust to the yet untried faith of the French republic, however various it may be in its occasional formation, or whatever may be the internal factions which at present distract it; and which are not to be wondered at, when we consider the monstrous abyss of guilt, oppression, and contaminating corruption, from which they have been struggling to get free.

THE TRIBUNE. No. XXII.

An Enquiry into the Truth of an Assertion frequently made in the ‘Honourable HOUSE of COMMONS,’ Tat the CONDITION of the COMMON PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY, is WORSE than that of WEST INDIA SLAVES.20 Te Second Lecture ‘on the Comparative Estimate of the Slave Trade, the practice of Crimping,21 and Mr. Pitt’s partial Requisition Bill.’ Delivered Friday, February 27th, 1795. CITIZENS, THE number of facts connected with the subject, which I am this evening to resume, occasioned me, in my former lecture, to run rather more largely into detail than was at frst my intention; and, therefore, compelled me to leave untouched, or but slightly touched, many of the most important arguments that relate to this very momentous question. It appeared to me, therefore, not amiss to resume it this evening, and to endeavour to investigate those parts of the subject which I, for want of time, hurried over too much or totally omitted, on the last evening. On that evening I began with some refections upon the general character of Europe; and was particularly led to condemn the avarice and cruel pride with which it arrogates to itself the right of enslaving the other portions of the globe. My business, on the present evening, is to make a more particular application of those arguments to the character of the nation, a portion of whose population I am now addressing. And, on this occasion, I wish, from those feelings of vanity every man has, with relation to the country in which he was born, that I were able to draw a picture in which nothing but the most pleasing lines and amiable colours should obtrude themselves upon the eye. I wish it were possible for me to delineate a character in which every thing should excite admiration and applause. I am afraid, however, if I discharge my duty, by dealing fairly with my countrymen, it will be impossible to have so grateful a task, on the present evening: for – 147 –

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tho’ the spark of reason has not only fallen upon the British bosom, but its fame has extended to a considerable degree, so that there is a great disposition in the minds of the people at large, to benevolence and magnanimity, yet I cannot be blind to the operation of those circumstances, which have a tendency to introduce, and, thro’ a very wide circle, have positively difused, characteristics of a very diferent description. I cannot be so blind as not to perceive, that, for a very considerable time, an illiberal, monopolizing, and rapacious spirit of commerce has difused itself among the people; and, backed by those corruptions that have crept into the government of the country, has tarnished the character of Englishmen. In short, the over eager pursuit of opulence among one class of people, and the consequent depression of the other, have produced a notion among us totally subversive of the feelings of justice and humanity – a supposition that nothing is respectable but wealth; and consequently, an hardened cruelty, or at least an insensibility of disposition, so inveterate as nothing but avarice and rapacity ever can impart to the human character. If there had wanted proofs of the existence of these qualities, in this country, the debate in a great assembly of yesterday, would furnish me with abundant argument to substantiate the position I have laid down. Let any man but cast his eye, in the slightest manner, over those arguments which were used, in opposition to a benevolent and humane motion in that assembly, and then let them tell me, whether virtue and enlightened generosity are, in reality, the only traits of character by which the present generation of Britons are to be handed down to posterity! Citizens, I shall take the liberty of entering into a serious investigation of those arguments; because it will shew you, to what retreats the friends of slavery are driven for shelter, and how hard they fnd the task of supporting their system of enslaving one portion of the human race, to support the luxurious vices and sensual gratifcations of another. A learned Alderman has observed, that this abolition, the abolition of the slave trade, ought never to be assented to – why? – not because slavery is just, not because we are entitled to the limbs, livers, and progeny of the poor blacks, by means of the divine right of our white complexions: no, this he does not attempt to prove: but, says he, the consequence of such abolition would be the loss, to this nation, of the West India Islands. If I meant to enter very fully into this part of the enquiry, I am not at all afraid, but that I should be able to prove to you, because if has been repeatedly proved, beyond reply, that this efect would not result. But such a discussion would, I believe, be perfectly superfuous, in more points of view than one – for this is a part of the argument which, notwithstanding the boasts of some, the grand exploits of others, and the confdence of many, I am much inclined to suspect, will not be urged many successive years: for, notwithstanding some apparent successes, and

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‘Te fne yellow harvest we have got,’

If we look at the condition of our islands, and the energy of the enemy, and consider the resources which, by our perseverance in the system of slavery, we give to that enemy in those regions, I am inclined to believe, that the West Indies will be lost; not by the abolition of the slave trade, but by that cruel and rapacious obstinacy, with which we determine not to relinquish that inhuman trafc. For, if we will not relinquish, there is another nation in Europe that will abolish it – will tear it up and destroy it, root and branch, with the powerful arm of liberty and equality; and with it will go, I have no doubt, or at least soon afer it, the whole of that system of colonization, whose soil is corruption, and whose manure is blood. [A feeble hiss.] I am delivering opinions, Citizens, not wishes. I do not call you together to invoke Deities to further my prayers, or fulfl my prophecies. I call you together to listen to opinions, which I am convinced are the opinions of truth. With my wishes, be they on one side or be they on the other, it would be impertinent for me to trouble you: and, therefore, I cannot but conceive, that marks of illiberal disapprobation must arise from a trembling conviction that these are but too well founded; and the calamity, if a calamity it is to be considered, will be traced to the mal-administration of those, who, having no other way to preserve their popularity, send their emissaries into every public meeting, to disturb the tranquillity of investigation. I, however, am very doubtful at least, whether the loss of colonies is, in reality, any calamity to any country. But if it were, is justice therefore to be sacrifced? Are the sacred principles of truth and liberty to be immolated at the altar of interest? And, for the sake of wealth and aggrandizement, are we to persist in those practices, whose cruelty calls aloud for redress, and for the defence of which we have no other argument, but interested necessity, the tyrant’s constant plea? Yes, says the learned Alderman, you are: for, if you loose your colonies, there is another consequence behind; a consequence, connected with that disposition of rapacity which I have been obliged to acknowledge, in some degree, to be characteristic of my country, the loss of great part of our revenue, which would, ultimately, endanger the existence of the country. Te existence of the country! the existence of the country! How long are we to be deluded by unmeaning cant? How long has party afer party, administrations and oppositions, rung the changes upon those words in our ears? But where is the individual who has told us what he means to convey to our minds by this pompous phrase? What, does the air of heaven depend upon our revenue? Do our streams derive their salubrity, and our meadows their fertility, from our revenue? Do the seas, that wash our shores, and waf to us the tribute of the world, depend upon our revenue? Or, is the aggrandizement of parties – the

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wealth of factions – the general fruit of this revenue? – Is this, I say, the existence of the country? And will mankind be annihilated when Ministers can no longer cover their tables with the wealth of a province, and fll the senate, and every department of an intricate system, with their creatures and dependents, the hungry consumers of this revenue! – But, fimsy as this argument is, it is not true. Te revenue is not benefted by colonization. I stand in fear of no contradiction when I say this: and I do not say so, because the nature of this lecture precludes contradiction; but I fear no contradiction from the world, when I afrm that Colonies do not assist the revenue of a country. Tey assist patronage, it is true, dependants upon Courts and Ministers they assist; but they injure the real revenue: for there was never yet a Colony, whose revenues equalled the expences of its government. And as for their secondary operation upon the revenue, by means of their commerce, the genuine spirit of commerce abhors monopoly and restraint, and the example of America might convince us; that the best way to increase our trade is to make our Colonies independent. But, upon what principle, let me ask, is the idea supported, that to revenue we are to sacrifce the cause of liberty and humanity? Alas! the very argument stamps, with deep conviction, the justice of that character which I felt it my melancholy duty to assign to Britain. – Yes, it is my duty to convince you that such is the degraded state of our national character; because, till you are convinced of it, you will not lend your virtuous and peaceable eforts to wipe the stain away. Behold the consequence of this rapacious avarice. Every thing is to be sacrifced to revenue; without which the wages of corruption cannot be paid. Every thing is to be sacrifced to the interest of a few monopolizing traders; because, unless monopoly goes on to an extravagant length, the extravagant projects of corruption cannot be supported. It is only by the growth of monopoly, that great revenues can be easily collected; and, therefore it is, that wealth is to be held-up as the idol of our adoration; that we are to bow down, in reverence, to every thing splendid; and that measure afer measure is to be adopted, project afer project is to be carried into execution, to keep those who are poor still poorer, to push them further down the ladder of society, to confne all favour and preferment to a few wealthy and powerful families, and to make it difcult for any to acquire but those who have already too much. But to illustrate still further this principle of rapacity, and to shew you its curious efects upon the rational as well as the moral faculties of it advocates, let us proceed to the curious arguments of that most honourable gentleman, Mr. Secretary Dundas. He is, you know, an advocate for the gradual abolition of this trafc: a man of moderation: that is to say, one of those who, not having the virtue to act right, and fnding the wrong to be no longer tenable, endeavours to frustrate the cause of justice, by fnding out a middle path between the two.

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You will remember, Citizens, that in conformity with this system of moderation, about three of four years ago, when every guard and fence of the advocates of slavery was beaten down; and the friends of liberty began to exult in the prospect, that this great fortress of tyranny was about to surrender to the irresistible artillery of reason, Dundas stepped forward with his unexpected proposition of gradual abolition, and, under pretence of a capitulation, induced the advocates of justice to raise the siege. It was proposed by him, that the measures for this gradual abolition should not take place till the end of four years.’ Four years, he told you, was a period that would make no very considerable diference to those who remained in chains and bondage – four years longer continuance of a trafc, admitted to be a perpetual scene of rapine, blood and cruelty, could be no great injury to the cause of humanity. Just as he told you, on another occasion, that seven months closeconfnement was no sort of punishment whatever. ‘Another reason,’ he says, ‘for giving four years to the planter was, that he might have some time to furnish himself with slaves, and not sufer a stagnation or bankruptcy in his business by a total stoppage.’ Can men repeat these words, and yet be ignorant of their import? Can they lay down, afer laborious examination, doctrines like these, and not shudder at the consequences? Has it not been proved to you, that the annual consumption (for it seems that human beings are to be spoken of as stock in trade!) – that the annual consumption of Africans in our West India Settlements, is no less than 60,000. Multiply – for, if we consider men as property, we must subject them, like other property, to rules of arithmetic, and strike our balances of debtor and creditor with the coldness of commercial precision. – Multiply this 60,000 by four, and you fnd, that 240,000 Africans were to be sacrifced to the moderation of this humane Secretary – for what? – why to prevent the bankruptcy of a few West India monopolists. What then – is this the enlightened and generous spirit so ofen boasted by Britons? or is it that spirit of rapacious avarice, that regards the lives of mankind, the happiness and liberties of thousands, as trifing circumstances, compared with the hurling of a few wealthy individuals from that rank which their opulence has given them, and casting them, for a while, into the humble ranks of life they have so long been in the habit of despising. But mark, Citizens, I pray you, the progress of this gradual abolition. Te four years being nearly past, the same most humane and generous pleader comes forward and tells you, that a longer time is necessary now than was requisite at the former discussion. Tough only four years were requisite four years ago, ‘more than four years are requisite now;’ and he thinks that the abolition ought, at present, to be ‘deferred indefnitely.’ Tis puts me in mind of an anecdote, in ancient history, of one Simonides, a poet and philosopher, who was consulted by the tyrant under whose dominion he lived, about the opinion he entertained of the existence and nature of God. Simonides, at frst, required two days to

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consider it; two days were granted, and when they were expired, the Monarch expected a reply. But, instead of answering the question, he required four days more. Four days more were granted, and at the end of these he came, not with his reply, but with a request of six days longer; and, at the end of those six days, he requested an indefnite time; ‘because,’ he said, ‘the more he considered of the nature of the Divinity, the more puzzled he was to give an answer to the question.’ And so, in the same manner, we have a great and mighty statesman, who fnds the same growing difculties upon a leading question of benevolence, as the ancient philosopher and poet did upon the leading question of theology; and he tells you, afer having had four years to consider upon the question, that he is less determined in his own mind when the Deity of benevolence shall begin to be acknowledged and worshipped, than he was when he told you, four years ago, that four years only were necessary before the temple should be built. But another reason why he now thinks a longer time necessary than at frst is, that in war the planter has not the same opportunity of providing slaves. Citizens, we have heard of a variety of trades; and we have heard of a variety of species of cattle in which traders may deal. In some parts of the world they are very famous for dealing in black cattle; with some, no cattle are in such repute as the golden calf; and there are other countries in which the cattle are all white. Now it happens, that while the trade of war continues, the trafc in white cattle admits of a quicker return, and, in consequence of modern improvements in the way of carrying it on, is discovered to be more proftable than the trade in black. Tus then, during the continuance of the war, it is not quite so easy to procure black slave for the plantations, as it is to procure white slaves for the ships of war, and the ranks of a devoted army: and, therefore, you are told, upon the old system of bringing forward one piece of iniquity in justifcation of another, the slave trade is to be prolonged till the return of tranquility shall enable the planter to get such a stock of human cattle as may satisfy his conscientious desires. If gold is thus to be admitted as an equivalent for life, if trade is to be set up as a thing of more advantage and consequence than humanity, and justice, can we be surprized that, in the same assembly, doctrines should be preached so abhorrent to the feelings of mankind as those I am about to recite to you? Can we be