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As illustrated in the Prosecution and Punishment of
WILLIAM COBBETT. 639]
[640 In order that my countrymen and that the two sureties in the sum of 1,000 pounds each; world may not be deceived, duped, and cheated that the whole of this sentence has been executed upon this subject, I, WILLIAM COBBETT, upon me, that I have been imprisoned the two of Botley, in Hampshire, put upon record years, have paid the thousand pounds TO THE the following facts; to wit: That, ou the 24th KING, and have given the bail, Timothy Brown June, 1809, the following article was pub- and Peter Walker, Esqrs. being my sureties; lished in a London newspaper, called the that the Attorney General was Sir Vicary Gibbs, COURIER: “The Mutiny amongst the LO- the Judge who sat at the trial Lord Ellenborough, “ CAL MILITIA, which broke out at Ely, was the four Judges who sat at passing sentence Ellen" fortunately suppressed on Wednesday by the borough, Grose, Le Blanc, and Bailey; and that "arrival of four squadrons of the GÉRMAN the jurors were, Thomas Rhodes of Hampstead “ LEGION CAVALRY from Bury, under the Road, John Davis of Southampton Place, James “ command of General Auckland. Five of the Ellis of Tottenham Court Road, John Richards “ ringleaders were tried by a Court-Martial, and of Bayswater, Thomas Marsham of Baker Street,
sentenced to receive 500 lashes each, part of which Robert Heathcote of High Street Marylebone, “punishment they received on Wednesday, and John Maud of York Place Marylebone, George
a part was remitted. A stoppage for their knup Bagster of Church Terrace Pancras, Tbomas “ sacks was the ground of the complaint that ex. Taylor of Red Lion Square, David
Deane of St, “ cited this mutinous spirit, which occasioned John Street, William Palmer of Upper Street “ the men to siirround their officers, and demand Islington, Henry Favre of Pall Mall; that the “ what they deemed their arrears. The first Prinie Ministers during the time were Spencer “ division of the German Legion halted yesterday Perceval, until he was shot by John Bellingham,
at Newmarket on their return to Bury." and after that Robert B. Jenkinson, Earl of LiThat, on the 1st July, 1809, I published, in the verpool; that the prosecution and sentence took Political Register, an article censuring, in the place in the reign of King George the Third, and strongest terms, these proceedings; that, for so that, he having become insane during my impridoing, the Attorney General prosecuted, as sedi. sonnent, the 1,000 pounds was paid to his son,, tious" libellers, and by Ex-Officio Information, the Prince Regent, in his behalf; that, during my me, and also my printer, my publisher, and one imprisonment, I wrote and published 364 Essays of the principal retailers of the Political Register; and Letters upon political subjects; that, during that I was brought to trial on the 15th June, the same time, I was visited by persons from 197 1810, and was, by a Special Jury, that is to say, cities and towns, many of them as a sort of depu-, by 12 men ont of 48 appointed by the Master of ties from Societies or Clubs; that, at the expira. the Crown Office, found guilty; that, on the tion of my imprisonment, on the 9th of July, 1812, 20th of the same month, I was compelled to give a great dinner was given in London for the pnrbail for my appearance to receive judgment; pose of receiving me, at which dinner upwards of and that, as I came up from Botley (to which 600 persons were present, and at which Sir place I had returned to my family and my farm Francis Burdett presided; that dinners and other on the evening of the 15th), a Tipstaff went parties were held on the same occasion in many down from London in order to seize me, per other places in England; that, on my way home, sonally; that, on the 9th of July, 1810, I, toge, I was received at Alton, the first town in Hamp. ther with my printer, publisher, and the news shire, with the ringing of the Church bells; that man, were brought into the Court of King's a respectable company met me and gave me a Bench to receive judgment; that the three dinner at Winchester; that I was drawn from, former were sentenced to be imprisoned for more than the distance of a mile into Botley by some months in the King's Bench prison; that I the people; that, upon my arrival in the village, was sentenced to be imprisoned for two years in I found all the people assembled to receive me; Newgate, the great receptacle for malefactors, that I concluded the day by cxplaining to them and the front of which is the scene of numerous the cause of my imprisonment, and by giving hangings in the course of every year; that the them clear notions respecting the fogging of the part of the prison in which I was sentenced to be Local Militia-men at Ely, and respecting the emconfined is sometimes inhabited by felons, that ployment of Germau Troops; and, finally, which felons were actually in it at the time I entered is more than a compensation for my losses and all it; that one man was taken ont of it to be trans- my sufferings, I am in perfect health and strength, ported in about 48 hours after I was put into the and, though I must, for the sake of six children, same yard with him; and that it is the place of feel the diminution that has been made in my confinement for men guilty of unnatural crimes, property (thinking it right in me to decline the of whom there are four in it at this time; that, offer of a subscription), I have the consolation to besides this imprisonment, I was sentenced to see growing up three sons,' upon whose hearts, I pay a thousand pounds TO THE KING, and to trust, all these facts will be engraven. give security for my good behaviour for seven
WM, COBBETT. years, myself in the sum of 3,000 pounds, and Botley, July 23, 1818.
Published by R. BAGSHAW, Brydges-Street, Covent Garden.
LONDON: Printed by J. M'Creery, Black Horse-Court, Fleet-street.
Vol. XXII. No, 21.1
LONDON, SATURDAY, NOV, 21, 1812.
(642 " teen were sentenced to be imprisoned, SUMMARY OF POLITICS.
there not being sufficient evidence against INCENDIARIES OF Moscow.---From the" them to justify the Court Martial in eons official documents, which the reader will " demning them to death.". -This transfiud in the present sheet (if I haye room for action has been commented on; 'in some them), it appears that the Emperor of of the English news-papers, in a manner France has quitted the ruins of Moscow, that bas excited in me a great deal of surand that a past, at least, of his army has prise ; for, though scarcely any thing in been defeated by the Russians. Indeed, if the way of either falsehood or folly would we give full credit to the statements of the surprise me in the far greater part of those Russians and of our news-papers, we must papers, yet, there are others, and especially be ready to expect the total, or, nearly the the Morning Chronicle, from the editor of total, overthrow of the French army. For which better things might be expected, my part, I receive with great distrust, -The comments to which I here allude, whatever comes from this quarter. The contain the most extraordinary, the inost Russian accounts have uniformly been in alarming, and the most horrible doctrine direct opposition to those of the French that I remember ever to have met with in army. If we had believed the Russian ac- print, or to have heard broached in concounts, we must have believed, that the versation. The leader upon this occa, French were defeated in every battle; and sion appears to bave been the editor of the yet, we, at last, found, that the French Times news-paper, who, on the eleventh urmy had actually arrived at Moscow, into instant, put forth a justification of that çerwhich the Generals as well as the Bishops rible act, the burning of the city of Moss of Russia declared that it was impossible cow. I will first insert this article; I will for them to enter. However, as “ the then insert what the Morning Chronicle of “ father of lies” is said, upon one occa- the same day said upon the same subject ; sion, to have uttered truth; so it may be and then I will submit to the reader my with the writers of Russian Bulletins and observations thereon.It will be seen, their co-operators in Englaud; and the from a perusal of these articles, that their great conqueror may, possibly, have been, authors assert, First, that the Emperor at last, put, as we are told he has been, to Alexander had a plain, full, and porfect disgraceful fight. Of the use which right to give orders for the burning of Moss other powers, and which England in parti- cow, at the time, and in the manner, des cular, ought to make of this event, it will scribed by the French. Second, that his be time enough to speak when we have the subjects had an equal right to act as they confirmation of the important intelligence; are alleged to have done, that is lo say, to and, in the meanwhile, we will turn back sel fire to the city of Moscow at the lime to, and discuss, a matter of great import- mentioned, and ihai they had a right thus ance to the safety of the people of every to act, without any other authority, than country; I mean, the trial and execution of their own brave and laudable resolulian, the incendiaries, or, rather, a few of the Third, that Napoleon had no right to cregle incendiaries, of the city of Moscow, the any tribunal lo try these persons, and that circumstances of which transaction are, in it was a tribunal equally unknown to the the French news-papers, stated to have laws of God and man, of nature, and of been as follows: " that, on the 24th of nations, and only compelent to pronounce u “ September last, Buonaparıé caused to be sentence of judicial murder. FOURTH, “ assembled at Moscow a military commis- that įl concerns all the nations of the world, *sion or Court Martial, for the trial of solemnly lo protest against this act of the
twenty-six of the persons accused of set- Emperor of France. Fifty, that the Em
ting fire to that city: ten of them were peror of Russia would act justly by pulling “condemned to death, and the opher six- len French officers of high rank to death,
for every individual Russian executed upon " army in the Portuguese campaign of this occasion by the orders of Buonaparlé. “ 1810,-nay, the gallant, and beloved
-The whole of these assertions are, I “ Commander of that army himself,“ certhink, wholly unfounded; in support of "tissima oppressæ Europa spes,"-might which opinion, I shall submit my reasons then, or may hereafter, be led forth to to the reader when I have inserted the " execution ; for it is idle to say, that the whole of the articles from which I have ex " hand that executes is more guilty than tracted the assertions. This latter I deem“ the head that plans; or that Lord Wel. necessary, in order that the reader may see lington had greater authority to command the arguments on both sides of the question. “ in Portugal than Count Rastopchin in
The article from the Times news “ Moscow : and we know that he was at paper is as follows:-" In pursuing our " that time accused by the Moniteur in the is extracts, from the French papers received " same terms as the other is now, of " em" on Monday, we earnestly call the atten "!!ploying extraordinary means of de" tion of our readers to one, which presents "" fence, by fire and destruction, disap65 an instance of the most atrocious inso “s proved by all civilized nations." And, « lence recorded in history. The MON- “ lastly, it is evident, that if such conduct “ STER, who, without a shadow of rea “ be criminal in 1812, it was so in 1810, “sonable pretence, invaded the Russian and the liability to punishment for it “ empire, and seized its capital, has dared, will attach to the party implicated, “ in impious mockery of the forms of jus- “ throughout the whole course of his life. “ tice, to bring to trial, to condemn and" —But it is not Lord Wellington, or “ execute, certain Russian subjects, charg. "Count Rastopchin, or the Emperor Alexa
ing it on them as a crime, that they " ander alone, that is struck at; though " obeyed the orders of their Sovereign, in " they have all been honoured by the pre+ destroying property which would other-"scriptive pen of Buonaparté ;-every wise “ wise have fallen into the hands of the 's and cautious Government, every brave
public foe. We ask not, whether the " and patient people has incurred, or is « accused parties had, or had not, any ready at every instant to incur, this new " thing to do with the transaction, in point species of moral turpitude. If I may 6 of fact. We ask not, whether the con "not fire my house to prevent its affording “ flagration was accidental, or intentional," shelter to my enemy, I may not destroy " - whether it was occasioned by the can my corn, or drive my cattle beyond his “nonade of the French, or by the despe-" reach, or even refuse my wife or daugh66 rate fury of the enraged Moscovites, or " ter to his brutal lust. There is abso66 by a combination of both these causes. lutely no line to be drawn between the " We assert, that the Emperor Alexander " denial of a perfect right of defence by " had a plain, full, and perfect right to means of fire and destruction, and the as“ give orders to the effect stated ; and that sertion of a positive duty in the most base, « his subjects had an equal right to act, as creeping, slavish non-resistance: - and " they are alleged to have done, without " this he knows well enough. He loves to
any other authority than their own brave “ reign by terror, and by terror only can be 6 and laudable resolution. · The judgment " maintain such an entire subjugatiou of " pronounced by the Military Conimission, the mind of Europe, as that at which he
created at Moscow by Buonaparte, is, in " aims. This pretended judgment is part " point of legal effect, a mere nullity. He of his scheme, and emanates naturally " had, he could have no right to create any " from his system ; and is not meant to "s such tribunal,-a tribunal equally un operate specially in Russia, but in Aus“ known to the laws of God and many of tria and Prussia, in America, in England; of nature and of nations, and only compe 66 and all this under the Aimsy veil of a “ tent to pronounce a sentence of judicial "regard for the laws of war, as practised 66 murder. It concerns all the nations of" among civilized nations. We admit, " the world openly, instantly, solemnly to " that the strict laws of war should be en" protest against the usurped authority of " forced, even against enemies,—but who
this self-created “surrogate of justice."" is this grand reformer of the practice of 66 It concerns none more than the English “nations? If a similar, or even a far « nation. Upon the very same grounds" more equitable and justifiable severity too that these ien Russians have been con 6 had been practised toward him and his “demned to death, any number of indivi." agents, they would long since have been “duals who belonged to our retreating “ hung up like dogs, the objects of scora
" and abhorrence to every passer-by, for “ haps, have scarcely been believed that so " their unmanly, and (except in their own u wanton and barbarous a violation of “ bloody revolution) unprecedented cruel." every principle of justice had really been
ly. Look at the French proclamations" committed; yet such is the fact avowed " of 1807, 1808, 1809, 1810, in Poland," in the French official document. A Mi“ in Germany, in the Tyrol, in Portugal, “ litary Commission, consisting of French " in Spain, subscribed with the names of officers, is appointed to try. 26 natives of “Kosinski, Parigot, Lefebvre, Junot, Soult" Russia, upon no other charge than that “ (we take these at hazard, from a heap of " of the fair exercise of the righ's of war “ similar compositions). Are they not " against an invader; and by that Military “ enough to make the blood run cold with 6 Commission ten of these individuals are " horror, and the hair stand on end with condemned to death, and the rest sen
awful fear of the DIVINE vengeance on " tenced to linger in a prison!"-I shall “ such iniquities? Do they not contain now enter upon those reasons, upon which " threats of razing houses, burning down I found my denial of the assertions above " whole towns, shooting individuals, and stated; but, first of all, there are some " banishing families, for mere adherence to other assertions, introduced here incident“the duties of loyalty and patriotism? ally, and which, it seems to be supposed “ Were not these infernal denunciations by the writers, will be taken for granted; executed in Portugal, until the Deliverer and which I am not for so taking. We
and were they not fearfully re are told, that " the MONSTER invaded " tracted in Spain, when retaliation was " the Russian Empire without the shadow
threatened ? - This last consideration of reasonable pretence."-By the mon" points out the just, and only answer, that ster is meant the Emperor of France, he " the Emperor Alexander ought to make to whom we recognized in a solemn treaty as " the audacious Manifesto in question. lawfully the Chief Magistrate of that coun“ For the first native Russian in the list of cry; he whom we sent an Envoy to treat " those confessedly murdered by order of with in 1806; he for holding whom forth “ Buonaparté, let him instantly hang ten to the execration of the people of France “ Barons of the French Empire, or Knights Mr. Peltier was, in our Court of King's “ of the Legion of Honour, and so on for Bench, found guilty of a criminal libel; he, “ every other individual that has been exe- in short, with whom, in all human proba6 cuted.”.
-Thus far the Times news-bility, we must treat again, if we are ever paper. We will now hear the Morning to have peace. -However, monster or Chronicle. It will be recollected, monster not, it is a falsehood, it is a direct, " that one of the late French Bulletins re- clear, known falsehood, to say, that Napo5 corded the fact of several Russians hav- leon invaded Russia "without a shadow of
ing been put to death, for no other crime “ reasonable pretence ;" for, as this hire" than that of being faithful to the cause ling of the Times news-paper well knows, " of their country, in endeavouring to ren- the Emperor of France complained of the “ der the possession of Moscow of as little Czar's not having adhered to the Treaty of 4 avail as possible to the invaders, by de. Tilsit ; he complained that the Czar, hav“stroying it. It now appears that this ing, at Tilsit, obtained an equivalent for " atrocious act was attempted to be cover- shutting out the commerce of England, "ed by the mock solemnity of a Military had, with that equivalent in his possession, " Commission, at which the charge of set- refused to shut out the said commerce. He
ting fire to the City was formally made said, " when I had you within my grasp against 26 Russians, several of whom at Tilsit, I let go my hold
coudiwere natives of Moscow, and for which“ tion that you would faithfully adhere to
ten of them were sentenced to death ; " the Continental system against England; " and the remaining 16, although it was and now, being free from my grasp, you " acknowledged that there was not evi- do not adhere to that system. -Whe"dence sufficient to convict them, were ther the facts here alleged be true or false is
ordered to be detained in the prisons of not the question. The question is, whe5 Moscow, to prevent the mischief they ther there be here a reasonable preience ; "might commit! The detail of the pro- and, as it is obvious that the pretence is " ceedings of this Military Commission we not only reasonable, but very plausible, it " have extracted from the French papers. follows, of course, that the assertion of the " Had it not been for their own record thus Times is, as to this matter, wholly Jaise, “ published to the world, it would, per - The next assertion that I notice is,
that the conduct of certain French Generals hirelings of the Times and the Courier acwas " enough to make the hair stand on cused the French of having burnt the City, “ end with awful fear of DIVINE ven- and represented them as horrible monsters "geance on such iniquities.”—I beg the for the act. On the consistency of this. I reader to compare this with the cant of Mr. shall speak by and by; I only mention it Canning, who represents Buonaparte as now to shew that there has been two " let loase upon us by Divine Providence." stories as to the fact. I do not, thereWhy, then, are we to suppose that that fore, say, that the Emperor Alexander same Providence is displeased with what he did actually give orders for the destruc and his Generals do?' What a capricious, tion of the Capital of Russia, and of and, indeed, what an unjust Being, do these no small part of its inhabitants, but I men of cant make of Providence! They say, that he had no right to give such ortirsi tell us, that Providence employs Napo- ders. -It is a maxim not to be controleon as a scourge on mankind. This is not verted, except by those who hold the placing Providence in a very amiable light; people to be the mere property of the Sobut, what are we to think of them when vereign, that protection and allegiance go they add, that Providence, having hrst let together; that they are inseparable; that loose the French to scourge mankind, then the latter cannot justly be demanded where is ready to inflict vengeance upon them for the former does not exist; and that, when having been a scourge?—Reader, pray a Sovereign has no longer the power to afconsider these things! Pray, do exercise ford any portion of his subjects protection your senses! Pray, be not cheated any against an invader, he has no right to delonger for want of a little reflection !. Pray mand obedience at their hands, and has no withdraw yourself from the disgraceful si- right to do any thing to them to cause tuation of being the gull of these hypocrites. them to suffer, except in the way of open
-I now come to the five above-stated war for the recovery of that part of his assertions, the First of which is, That the territories that they inhabit. Upon what Emperor Alexander had a plain, full, and other condition is it, upon what other perfect right, to give orders for the burning principle, that men are called upon to of Moscow, at the time, and in the manner yield up their natural rights, to pay taxes, described by the French. Now, the to perform personal services, and to obey French report says, that the government of any Code of Laws? They do all this Russia had prepared before-hand the means upon the condition of their being protected of destroying Moscow by fire, if it should in the quiet enjoyment of their lives and fall into the hands of the French; that the property ; and, of course, when the Soveplan was to set fire to the city twenty-four reign ceases to have the power to protect hours after the arrival of the French, the them; when his armies flee before those of engines for putting out fire being previously the invader, leaving his people to the carried away; that divers persons were mercy of the latter, those people, during ordered to remain disguised at Moscow, in the time that the enemy is master of the order to put the plan in execution; that ac- country, owe their Sovereign no allegiance. cordingly, the city was set fire, co by these | The conqueror becomes, for the time bepersons, in the night of the 14th of Sep- ing, and perhaps, for ever, their Sovetember; that many of the incendiaries were reign ; the people cannot owe allegiance to killed upon the spot by the French sol. both at once. The people of Moscow diers; and that the persons condemned and had a right to demand protection at the executed as above mentioned, were iu the hands of their Sovereign; this right they number. ---- This is the account of the facts possessed in consequence of their having as given by the French, and it is upon an paid him taxes and yielded obedience to admission of these facts being true, that the his laws. He was, iç appears, unable to Tines news-paper makes the assertion afford them protection; he could not, which I deny.--He says, that the Em- therefore, be blamed, perhaps, for not peror Alexander had a plain, full, and per protecting them; but surely, this circumtect right to give orders for the burning of stance gave him no right to destroy them Moscow at the time and in the manner or their property? It was enough, one above described. I say that the Emperor would suppose, for him to leave his people Alexander had no such right.. Mind, I do unprotected; it was enough for the inhanot pretend to say, that he did order the bitants of a great City to find themselves ancieist Capital of bis Einpiré 10 be burnt; exposed to the ravages of an enemy; what, and but a few weeks have elapsed since the then, must they have thought, and what