Page images
PDF
EPUB

mistice accordingly took place; and it was tent of wages to husbandmen wás fixable by on that occasion that the empress Catharine the magistrate, but not the minimum, or requested and obtained the bust of Mr. Fox, lowest, a circumstance which was productive whom she considered as the presiding genius of these hardships. Accordingly, a few days who had hushed the storm of war.

after this, he brought in a bill to authorise As the ministers had deferred explanation justices of the peace to regulate still furtherduring the struggle, and at its termination the price of labour at every quarter-session. studiously avoided the subject, Mr. Whit On this occasion he was supported by Messrs. bread, on the 29th of February 1792, moved, Fox, Jekyll, and Honeywood; and opposed " That a committee of the whole house by Messrs. Burdon, Buxton, Vansittart, and should take into consideration the papers Pitt. on the table, respecting the late armament Mr. Whitbread, as well as the party with against Russia." "On being seconded by Mr. whom he acted, from the beginning, blamed Grey, the member for Bedford, after an elo the war with France, as impolitic and unnéquent speech of an hour's duration, moved cessary. It is not, tlierefore, surprising that his resolution :-" That no arrangement, re they should seize on every opportunity to specting Oczakow and its district, appears to close the scene of blood; and we accordingly have been capable of affecting the political find that, when Buonaparte, on his return or commercial interests of this country, so as from Egypt, had overturned the authority to justify any hostile interference, on the part of the directory, and supplied their power of Great Britain, between Russia and the by a consulate, of which he was the organ, Porte.”

hopes were entertained of a speedy pacificaEarl Fitzwilliam, at the same time, called tion. The soldier of fortune was consethe attention of the other house to the same quently no sooner invested with the supreme subject; but the minister, in both cases, tri- power than he addressed a letter to the king umphed, so far as the suffrages of large par- of England, in which he evinced an ardent liamentary majorities could be deemed a desire for the termination of hostilities. His triumph. It was visible, however, that from majesty, however, was advised to treat this this period he ceased to be popular, and was overture with contempt, but there were some obliged to recur to the influence of numbers, who thought differently; and, when Mr. instead of that of opinion, for support.

Dundas moved an address to compliment In the struggles of the minority in parlia- the throne, Feb. 3, 1800, the subject of this ment, and of the people out of doors, to pré memoir made a most able speech, in which vent the commencement of that series of he contended that the war might have been wars which have now desolated Europe for avoided in the first instance; that, had it not twenty-five years, Mr. Whitbread was one been for the interference, the folly, and amof the small minority who rallied round Mr. bition, of the other powers of Europe, the Fox, and whose voice was always raised in French revolution would have had a very the cause of liberty and humanity. To fol- different result; that Buonaparte's letter to low his career during this eventful period, his majesty was full of good sense, equally and to give the most imperfect sketch of his free from republican familiarity and courtly speeches on various occasions, would far ex adulation; that, under our present circumceed our limits; they form part of the public stances, we ought not to refuse the proand parliamentary history of the times, to posals of the first consul for a general pacifiwhich we refer the inquisitive reader. cation; and that it was the interest of this

In 1795 a considerable degree of scarcity country that a peace should be concluded as prevailed, and the situation of the poor be- speedily as possible. came truly deplorable. The hardships inci Mr, Whitbread had by this time acquired dent to labourers, tradesmen, and manufac- a high character for talents and integrity, and turers, were referred to the consideration of was considered as only second to Mr. Fox in the house by the member for Bedford, who the house of commons. His exertions in the observed, that the maximum, or highest ex, cause of his country, his large fortune, kis

zeal, stimulated into exertion by afflicting the constitutional monarchy and republic of abuses, but at the same time moderated by France, and whose exertions doubtless tended good sense, had obtained for him a high re to shorten that war, had themselves justly putation. Clients, in the original sense, become the enemies of Buonaparte, who, in were not wanting. He received applications 1799, had availed himself of his popularity, for redress from all parts of the kingdom.- and usurped the supreme power. The war.

In respect to cases of this kind, we shall only party, who from the first had aimed at the mention two, in both of which Mr. Whit- forcible restoration of the Bourbons, availed bread took the lead. The one was that of themselves, therefore, of this feeling of the the rev. Fyshe Palmer, who, withi Skirving, friends of peace, and both parties now united Muir, Margarot, and Gerald, were driven in the new war, not against France, it was into exile, for exercising the right of uttering said, but against the tyranny of Buonaparte

, those very opinions, the popularity of which The friends of the Bourbons, and the systehad procured for the premier the exalted sta matic opponents of all liberty, were therefore tion which he then hield; and has finally led, blended on this occasion with the genuine in the course of events, to his apotheosis ! The friends of liberty, who equally disliked the other was that of Mr. Morison, a respectable Bourbons and the uncontrolled sway of fariner in the county of Banff, who, without Buonaparte. Thus, the war became popular, the commission of any known crime, and on and few lovers of liberty perceived, in the the most contemptible evidence of a remote first instance, the snare into which they were possibility of disloyalty, was in danger of being falling. 'Mr. Fox and Mr. Whitbread were

, cut off from the intercourse of society. however, ainong those few. They contended,

In 1801, Mr. Pitt and his colleagues with on every occasion, in opposition to the origidrew suddenly from office. Mr. Addington nal war-party, that the war was unnecessary; leaped from the speaker's chair to the trea- and they urged to those known friends of sury-bench, and became minister; and, as he liberty, who were among the most vehement professed himself a friend of economy, a fruit- partizans of the war, that foreign nations ful crop of abuses presented themselves.- ought not to interfere with the internal poThose in the naval department alone excited licy of other countries; that the alleged ty. at once tlie attention and the indignation of ranny of Buonaparte was a mere French the nation. Nine previous reports of the question ; and that any supposed benefit of commissioners had been treated with atten a Bourbon, or any other government, to be tion; but the tenth implicated lord Melville, imposed by foreign armies, was not worth who had returned to power, but who, on the sacrifices of blood and treasure, called for many accounts, was far from being popular. by such a war. The eloquence of these paHe had been one of the most zealous in the triots failed, however, in its effect; thoiprosecution of the American war; he was sands of pounds were spent in printing and said to have been the chief canse of the con- circulating tracts, in prose and verse

, to tinuance of the slave-trade; and he had, on inflame the public mind; and perhaps no all occasions, been the decided eneiny of con war was ever so popular as that which was stitutional reform and liberal government.- thus commenced about Malta, the alleged The circumstances of his trial are recorded in surveys of our ports by authorised spies our former pages.

(though the best surveys might be purchased The rupture of the treaty of Amiens, which for a few shillings), and the alleged preparahas caused the shedding of such rivers of tions in the French ports. An extensive blood, was the constant theme of Mr. Whit- party favoured the renewal of a contest of bread's honest animadversions, from the day which it had always approved ; and another of the famous inessage, in March 1803, when party yielded its judginent on minor ques. it was asserted that the French were making tions to its honest, but ill-directed, fiostility preparations in their ports, till within a short to the misconduct of the head of the French period of his death. The friends of liberty, governınent, in having dissolved the constiwho had opposed the former war against tutional bodies by the bayonet !

A systematic opposition to this war con themselves to be deluded by the sophistry stituted, therefore, for the last twelve years, and artifices of ministers, the exertions of a chief feature in the public labours of Mr. their representatives must at all times be Whitbread. It was an onerous, irksome, paralized and feeble. It ought to be a prin. and often ungracious task. He objected to ciple interwoven with the feelings of every its principle, and yet was often called upon British heart, that the representatives of the to praise the valour of the fleets and armies people are at least as much identified withi of the executive--and at one time, when the the country as the ministers, and that the country was considered in danger, he raised doctrines of an honest representative, acting and organised a battalion of 350 volunteers in oppostion, may be as truly British as that at Bedford. This was noble and exemplary; of any minister; otherwise no duty can be he condemned the measures which had more harassing, useless, and hazardous, than brought the country into danger; yet it was that of a member of parliament. in danger, and, without regarding the cause,

When Mr. Fox and the whig party came he discharged the duty which ought ever tó into power, in 1806, it was understood that distinguish patriotism, and was disposed, if Mr. Whitbread might have enjoyed a high needful, to part with life in its defence. In appointment; but, as he considered that a nothing did he appear greater ; in nothing seat in the legislature ought not to be used could he be greater.

as a passport to office, and that any office A representative of the people is expected would shackle his wonted independence, he to support their interests in parliament, what contented himself in voting with the ministry ever may be the wishes and policy of the on such questions as he approved; but, on ministers of the crown, and for that purpose the violent rupture of the negociations, after he is armed with freedom of speech. Few the decease of Mr. Fox, we again find him members, however, have the courage to do protesting with energy against the principle, their duty, because the ministers artfully the expediency, and the justice, of the war. contrive to identify themselves with the About this time Mr. Whitbread, in the country; and to oppose them, is, they say, opinion of many of his friends, unnecessarily to be against the country. The people too committed himself, by replying publicly to become the dupes of this sophistry, and the a circular ac!dress of sir Francis Burdett to patriot finds that the little good he can do is the electors of Westminster, of whom Mr. not worth the sacrifice of his peace and com

W was one,

Sir Francis retorted with fort. No man was ever, perhaps, more the energy, on the hostings, to the insinuations victim of this system of misrepresentation than of Mr. Whitbread, who was led to demand Mr. Whitbread. He opposed the policy of a formal explanation. These quarrels among the ministry, and he was, by their partizans, patriots, about slight differences of opinion, said to be the enemy of his country; he op

are to be lamented, as giving relative strength posed the war, and he was said to be the to their political opponents; yet they are a friend of the country's enemy; he insisted consequence of conduct, founded on a sense on economy in the expenditure of the public of rectitude, which steadily adheres to all its money, and he was lield up as the eneiny of principles. Mr. Whitbread had been a memhis prince. It required, therefore, courage ber of the famous society of the friends of the almost superhuman, and patriotism which people, in 1790, and he always voted in faabhorred every selfish consideration, to per vour of parliamentary reform; yet, after the severe in a systematic and spirited opposition dissolution of that society, he never made to the career of the ministry during the last the desire of parliamentary reform the chief twenty-five years. It is, however, evident, test of patriotism; and in this he appears to: in regard to a country in which the conserva have differed from sir Francis Burdett, Messrs. tion of liberty depends on the representatives Cartwright, Cobbett, and a very numerous of the people, that good sense and virtue is party. no less called for in the people than in their The miscellaneous parliamentary labours representatives; and that, if the people suffer of Mr. Whitbread include nearly every

branch of political economy; and the detail libel, because it appertains to so few public of his speeches would constitute a luminous characters. We see an association of kings, history of the last twenty years. Against calling themselves the friends of liberty, and, the slave trade, in all its ramifications, he in that new character of meters of liberty, was ever animated-in whatever regarded obtaining credence and applause from a large the diffusion of knowledge, and the exten- portion of mankind. We hear men boasting sion of education, he was zealous—and in of the liberty which is conferred at the point every measure connected with the meliora- of the bayonet ; and it is the popular doctrine tion of the condition of the people, with the of the day, that kings know better what de reform of the penal laws, and with the ma- gree of liberty suits their subjects than subu nagement of the poor, he was active and jects know themselves. We are openly told, useful even to the day of his lamented death. that the guardians of the independence and Few legislators ever exhibited more perfect. liberty of Poland, Genoa, Norway, and Sasintelligence on so many complicated subjects ony, have proved their qualifications to pre. as those which were constantly brought be. serve theindependence and liberties of France fore bim : in debate his intellectual vigour and all Europe. We find it likewise mainwas irresistible; and, in whatever business tained, on the highest authority, that certain he engaged, his decision was so prompt and states are not bound by public treaties, but immoveable, that it savoured of severity, may absolve themselves from their obligathough its correctness could seldom be dis- tions, though the articles continue not less puted.

obligatory on the other party ; and we see it The declining state of his health and spirits publicly proclaimed, that to resist hostility, may be inferred from his silence during the commenced to maintain the violation of recent events on the continent, which in so treaties, is “ to disturb Europe, and to de. special a manner have called for the applica- stroy the human race.” We see war's comtion of great and liberal principles of morals menced without justifiable cause, and then and public policy. If Mr. Whitbread thought hear it asserted that a right of the aggressors the war unnecessary and unjust in its origin, may grow out of the

wrong

which they inhow much must he have objected to the ap- flicted. We hear the cause of Xerxes and plication of the terms of a treaty to the head his inillion of armed slaves, in seeking to of the French government, which treaty, in destroy the liberties and independence of his view, was not only not founded in any Greece, quoted for the first time as a justifioriginal right of justice, but which had been able precedent. We hear the glories of reduced to waste paper by the non-performn- Brennus exalted for the vengeance he took ance of its conditions on the part of the allies! on the citizens of Rome, and on their public Never were the public services of a great buildings; and we are daily doomed to see man more untimely suspended. Never, was Themistocles and Camillus called rebels; the world deprived of an intrepid and re whom it was the proper duty of Xerxes and spected moral censor, at a season when the Brennus to hang up amid the smoking ruins energy

of truth was more requisite to check of Athens and Roine! In such a state of the arrogance

of

power. Never was there moral disorganization, when it is dangerous period in the history of Europe more critical, to life or liberty call a spade a spaile, how and one which required more exertions on afflicting, how irreparable is the loss of set the part of those who seek the glory of pa- courageous and inflexible an asserter of truth triotism. All those qualities, which once and freedom as Mr. Whitbread! constituted the boasted features of the Eng A few years since he was induced, partly fish character, are now basely deserted. The from motives of friendship, and partly from naine of LIBERTY is considered as the signal a taste for the drama, to undertake to res of discord, because it excites tlie opposition organize the chaos of the Drury Lane prou of its enemies; the name of TRUTH is deemed perty, and to rebuild the theatre, which had seditious, because it falsifies the assertions of been two seasons in ruins. The frauds, the ministers; and the name of INTEGRITY is a baseness, and the chicanery, which he had to

a

encounter and overcome in this task, re- ing, and had transacted business, and entersembled the labour of Hercules in cleansing tained his friends on the previous day, withthe Augean stable; yet he surmounted every out sensible change; the shock, therefore, of difficulty and, by the influence of his inte an event so unforeseen, was like that of an grity and perseverance, the most perfect earthquake, and it spread itself over the town establishment of the kind has been raised with equal rapidity, and communicated simithat exists in the world. The gratitude of lar feelings of grief and dismay. the proprietors, and the applause of the pub Mr. Whitbread was allied to earl Grey by lic, were unbounded; yet the dividends fell a double marriage; having been united, in short of Mr. Whitbread's hopes, and he stood 1788, to Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of committed to many personal friends, who sir Charles, afterwards earl, Grey, by whom had staked all their property in the concern. he had four surviving children; while his These circumstances lacerated his feelings, sister, Mary Whitbread, in 1789, gave her and, though apparently insignificant to a hand to the hon. George Grey, brother of mind occupied with mighty objects, which ear) Grey. Another sister, Emma, in 1780, included the welfare of his country and the was married to the late lord St. John, of destiny of the human race, they were that Bletsoe, whom she survives; and a third, feather which turned the scale they were and eldest, was united, in 1789, to his neighthat last drop which made the cup run over bour, Mr. Gordon, of Moore-park. and they produced an intellectual plethora Whatever may have been the transcendant fits of mental distraction-and, finally, qualities of Mr. Whitbread as a public chan. DEATH!

racter and patriot, he maintained the conThis event took place on Thursday, July sistency of his principles in all the relations the 6th, about ten in the morning, at his of private life. He was a kind and indulhouse in Dover-street, Piccadilly. On the gent husband; a tender and affectionate pasame evening a coroner's jury sat on the rent; zealous and faithful in his friendships; body, and, after hearing the evidence of some and a master to whom his servants were deof his intimate friends, they found a verdict voted through life. His fire-side was always of insanity.

cheerful and happy. He kept an liospitable For the satisfaction of his friends and the table; and was, at Southill, a living portrait public, it was deemed proper to submit the of the race of independent country gentlebrain to the examination of an eminent phy- men, of which few counties possess now sician and surgeon, and the following is the more than a solitary instance. He has often REPORT :-“On removing the upper part of been represented as severe, in exacting from skull, it was observed that the dura matter all connected with hin the performance of had become thiekened and ossified to the ex their duties; but this was with him a printent of a quarter of an inch in length, and an ciple.--It was his maxim that every man in eighth of an inch in breadth, on the left side bis sphere ought to do his duty with zeal of the longitudinal sinus, not far from the and honesty-froin its practice he never relamboidal suture. The vessels of the pia leased himself, and he could not brook indifmater were considerably distended with ference in others. He used to say, that, if blood, and this membrane was thickened and all men performed their relative duties, half opaque near to the ossified part of the dura the evils which afflict society would not mater. The ventricles of the brain contained exist ; and therefore he deemned it an unparmore fluid than usual, by one-third at least, donable crime for a man to negleet his duty and the pia mater covering the cerebellum, or abuse his trust. Hence also it was, that, was thicker than usual.

in cases of malversation which came within HENRY HALFORD. his sphere of action, no consideration of

HENRY CLINE. trouble, opposition, or inconvenience, ever July 8, 1815."

deterred hiin from seeking to correct them, He had spoken with his usual perspicacity and this he did with such energy as genein the House of Commons on Tuesday even- rally secured success One instance within

« PreviousContinue »