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would have defended him against moderate talents of ministry, and the most violent popular clamour. to hide from public view their atNow that the minds of men are tachment to tory principles,—we recool, that the whole of the investi- fer principally to the support which gation into the charges against the they had given to the Spanish duke of York can be sifted with due patriots,-the opposition contrived attention and impartiality, it is pro- to increase and extend the unpopubable that the criminality which larity, which their desertion of their was fixed upon him, while the pro- old and peculiar principles had first ceedings were fresh, will appear ,created. considerably less : but after all, There were, however, both in the there was much to censure in his house of lords and in the house of conduct, much that required some commons, a few, who, though they mark of public and parliamentary connected themselves generally censure ; and in the state of the with the opposition, yet retained a public opinion and feeling at that greater share of the good opinion period, a statesman would have and confidence of the nation, than displayed a most romantic and pe- the body of that party, In the rilous attachment to what he con- house of lords, lord Holland may ceived to be the cause of justice and be particularly pointed out as eninnocence, who would have kept joying a considerable share of pothe duke of York in power, in spite pularity; his relationship to Mr. of the opinion of the people, so Fox, his resemblance to that statesvery percmptorily and generally man in the warm and ingenuous expressed.
nature of his disposition and feel. From all these causes, however, ings, and the liberal and enlightand others, which affected the greatened ideas which he always erbody of the opposition, as well as pressed on the subject of civil and their leaders, they sunk in popula- religious liberty, endeared him to rity with the nation at large ; and all who venerated the memory of though their numerical force in Mı. Fox, and who looked in vain parliamont was not much lessened, to lord Grey or lord Grenville, for yet they never could bring it to act such a complete, uniform, and with sufficient union, or to bear radical adherence to his principles, with effect on any very important as they discovered in lord Holland. question. In fact, on those ques. With those also, of the ministerial tions of reform and economy, which party, who were zealous and sane had so long drawn the line of di- guine in their support of the penin. stinction between them and the sular war, lord Holland was a ministry, which had been consi- favourite : his attachment to the dered as the distinguishing tenets cause of Spain, and his confidence of the whig party, and which had in her success, at the time when the contributed principally to their po. opposition either held it forth as pularity, they were now, in a great hopeless, or branded it as a cause measure, silent or lukewarm. So of no magnitude and importance, far then as these were concerned, proved that he was not so much a the nation saw little difference be- party man, as to sacrifice his own tween them and the ministry ; while opinions to party purposes and party on those subjects that had contri consistency. The manner, also, in buted to throw a lustre over the wþich he advocated the cause of his party,
Spain, came home to the feelings of have been terminated. Some of all who were alive to a hatred of the advocates for peace rest their tyranny, and a love of liberty and cause on this ground, that it is in : independence: when he spoke on vain to combat with Bonaparte ; the subject, all the natural and ge- that the issue of every contest is nuine ardour of his mind broke only the increased extent and firmer forth, with anstudied but impres- establishment of his power : but sive eloquence he painted the situa- Mr. Whitbread seems to fix his tion of the Spaniards, and pour- opinion respecting peace on other trayed their character. Lord Hol grounds, and to give Bonaparte land, therefore, was regarded with credit for more moderation and more confidence, hope, and attach- sincerity than his past conduct and ment, than the rest of the old and general character warrant. It may regular opposition, by that part of be remarked as a most singular the nation who professed the prin- circumstance, that those persons ciples of Mr. Fox; while by those in this country who profess to have whose opinions coincided with the the greatest abhorrence of minisministry, he was viewed with less terial tyranny and oppression, look distrust and dislike than the rest of with the utmost coolness and indif
ference on the tyranny and oppresIn the house of commons, Mr. sion of Bonaparte. The regular Whirbread might be considered as opposition do not mention it with holding a place between the old and that abhorrence which might be ese regular opposition, and the popular pected from them; but the leaders pariy. On many points he indeed of the popular party in parliament voted with ihe latter; but he did go further they are almost alnot always, nor did he carry his ways ready to find an excuse for principles to such an extreme the conduct of Bonaparte : the length. The subject on which he most violent and unjustifiable acts dwelt with most emphasis, and of his tyranny raise but feeble inmost frequently, was the necessity dignation in their mind; while the and practicability of peace : on this most trifling act of ministerial oppoint he differed from the regular pression is inveighed against with opposition: they when in power the utmost bitterness. There is had attempted to make peace; and another circumstance, connected probably the experience they then with this subject, which not very had of the insincerity of Bonaparte, honourably distinguishes the reled them to despair of concluding gular opposition, those who with a peace with him on safe and ho- Mr. Whitbread take their stand nourable terms. Mr. Whitbread, between them and the popular on the other hand, contended that party; and the distinction is Bonaparte was sincere in the desire marked more deeply in proporhe had frequently expressed of tion as the love of libtaty is more concluding the war; that peace strongly professed. Ready and ought to liave been made when lord unsuspecting credence is given to Lauderdale was at Paris in 1806, every account of Bonaparte's sucand that since that period many op- cess, while accounts of the success portunities had occurred, and had of his opponents are received with been neglected by the British go. coldness and distrust. Were it not vernment, when the war might for these things, the conduct of
Mr. Mr. Whitbread and of the popular infinitely more importance than party would be hailed with more checking the power of Bonaparte; satisfaction, and inspire more con- that Britons are likely to suffer fidence with the real lovers of their more from ministerial profligacy country; for they deserve ample and wastefulness, than from the credit for the undaunted and un. conquests of the French; and that wearied firmness with which they to expose and defeat ministers in any set themselves against public of their schemes for curtailing the abuses, and against every instance liberty of the subject, or increasing of oppression. It may indeed be his burdens, is a much more hoobjected, and it has been both to nourable and just cause of congraMr. Whitbread and to sir Francis tulation, than any victory gained Bardett, that they often bring for over the French. These maxims ward charges, which on inquiry are founded on very narrow views turn out to be groundless : such of the interests of this country: had cases must happen, in spite of all Britain not been so commercial as their care and inquiry : but it is she is; had the existence of her infinitely better that the natural power not depended so much as it tendency of power to abuse and actually does, on her commerce ; oppression should be checked by had she always kept aloof from the knowledge that it is closely and foreign connections, and sought constantly watched, even though within herself alone the sources of unjust charges may be brought her wealth and well-being, it would against it, than that it should be have been practicable and proper to suffered to proceed in its career have acted on these maxims : but unnoticed and uncontrolled. With situated as Britain is, though they respect to the talents of Mr. Whit- ought to have some weight, they bread, they are naturally strong and ought not exclusively, or even vigorous he displays, perhaps, principally, to form the views and greater knowledge of mankind, regulate the conduct of the nation. than of the principles of political The talents of sir Francis Burdett science, and enforces his statements are excellently well suited to the rather by a few direct and powerful part which he acts: they would not arguments expressed in plain and have been so suitable, had they been nervous language, than by a me- assisted by regular and methodical thodical and regular process of rea- & study: he is particularly happy in soning.
seizing upon those topics which Sir Francis Burdett is decidedly admit of popular illustration; and at the head of the popular party: he illustrates them in a manner the favourite and leading maxims which those for whom he speaks of this party are, that whatever re- and writes, best relish and undergards Britain, and Britons, is of stand,
CHAPTER CHAPTER VIII.
Alarm excited by the Murders in the Metropolis-Different Plans for improving
the Police Remarks on them-Disturbances in the Manufacturing Districtstheir probable Origin and Caus:s-Extent and Object-Oath taken by the Insurgents-Report of the Committee on this Subject Distress occasioned by the Orders in Council-Petitions against them-Declaration of the Britisi
, Government on this Subject-- Mr. Perceval agrees to hear Evidence against the Orders in Council --Points at issue between the Defenders and opposers of them-Evidence begun—interrupted by the Assassination of Mr. Perceval-Particulars of that horrid Event-Bellingham's Motives and Defence of his Conduct-the Grievances of which he complained-bis Trial-Calmness of his Behaviour on this Occasion-Ingenuity and Acuteness of his Defence—impur-, tial Charge of the Judge-Remarks on the Precipitancy of the Trial-bis Execution-Sketch of his Life-Character-Talents, Political Conduct and Principles of Mr. Perceval-bis Talents seem to rise with his Rise in Situation--his Faults as a public Man-precipitate and obstinate-very acute in Debate--but rather specious and particular, than solid and philosophical-his excellent private and domestic Character-Provision made for his Wife and Family. LTHOUGH the first year of numerous proofs continually before
the prince's regency had been their eyes, that the labouring gloriously distinguished by our mic classes are comfortably supplied litary successes in the peninsular with all, or nearly all, those things war, yet at home great distress and, to which they have been accustom. dissatisfaction prevailed. It seldom' ed, or are supposed to have a natuhappens that the labouring classes ral and well-founded claim, neither of the metropolis suffer nearly so sympathize for the distress which much as those in the country, from prevails in the country, nor are the pressure of the times; the trades disposed to remove it by any change in which they are engaged depend in the conduct of public affairs. less on foreign commerce : the They are, indeed, well disposed to wages which they receive are more contribute pecuniary assistance, regular and steady: hence, while whenever it is necessary; but further discontent and misery frequently they are unwilling to go: they are grind down the comforts and the slow to believe that distress may spirits of the manufacturing classes give rise to such a change of feeling in the country, people of a similar and opinion in the great body of the rank in society, and engaged in nation, as may endanger the transimilar business in the metropolis, quillity of the community, and pass through times of public cala- conceive that when they have conmity almost untouched. The con- tributed pecuniary relief they have sequence is, that the higher ranks performed their whole duty, and in the metropolis, not witnessing secured the re-establishment of that distress of which the country in tranquillity and order. Events, general complains, but, on the con. however, occurred in the metropowary, having unequivocal and lis, during the winter of 1811,
which roused the alarm and appre. murders in 1811. Other plans, in hensions of its inhabitants in a most fact, equally objectionable, and extraordinary degree : we allude to equally hostile to the spirit of a free the murders which were committed government, but rather more softin the neighbourhood of Wapping: ened in their objectionable features, the atrocious and unparalleled na. were proposed: a military police, it ture of these murders; the secrecy was very properly observed, would with which they were committed; be at once cumbrous, expensive, and the extreme difficulty of tracing, by inefficient: for all the useful and the utmost vigilance and activity of lawful purposes of a police it the law, those who had committed would be inefficient, while for the them, made a most singular im- purposes of tyrannizing over the pression on the minds of the inha- people, it would be well adapted bitants of the metropolis. They and completely efficient: respecting immediately conceived that the the system of espionage, which was character of the British nation was also recommended, it was observed, entirely changed'; that they had that it might, indeed, for a time de become a nation of assassins; that tect or prevent robberies; but this a regular and systematic plan of si- effect would be produced only for a milar murders was laid, and would, time, unless the system was freas opportunity served, be acted quently changed and amended ; upon. For a considerable length of while the experiment would be time after these murders were per- utterly unsuited to the constitution, petrated, not only were the minds and the natural feelings of Britons. of men considerably agitated, and The third scheme, which recomtheir apprehensions of similar atro- mended an application to governcities excited ; this was natural, and ment to give new powers to the might have been expected; but they magistracy, and to establish a kind could not view the subject with the of government police, certainly coolness of common sense : certain seemed free from many of the oba undefined fears harassed and weak- jections to which the other schemes ened the public intellect; and had were exposed; but it is evident that, the British government, as many by such a scheme, the powers and governments would have done, patronage of government would taken advantage of these apprehen- have been considerablyextendedand sions, they might without much increased, while it is very doubtful, difficulty have established in the whether the public benefit derived metropolis, a system of police from it would at all compensate for equal in rigour and tyranny to that this certain and serious evil. under which the inhabitants of Pa- Such were the principal plans tis have long groaned.
recommended for putting the police There were not wanting those of the metropolis on a better and who openly and strongly recom- more efficient footing. By a refermended such a measure, who in- ence to the Parliamentary Prosisted on its necessity and advan- ceedings, it will be seen that Mr. tage, and who expressed their wil. Ryder, as secretary of state for the lingness to submit to the most strict home department, brought the military police, rather than be again subject regularly before parliaexposed to such alarms as had agi- ment, and the measure that he protaled them in consequence of the posed, is detailed there : op it we