Passages in the Life of a Radical (9)
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CHAPTER XXIX.

OLDHAM INQUEST—REPORTERS EXCLUDED—PETER FINNERTY—CONDY, ROSS, AND OTHERS—AUTHOR CORRESPONDS WITH THE PRESS.


I SHALL not pretend to enter into anything like a general history of those times, but shall content myself with stating events which more or less affected my own concerns.  The inquest on John Lees, at Oldham, commonly called the Oldham inquest, was the next transaction of importance, as connected with our unfortunate meeting.  I was without work, and so I put a pencil and some paper into my pocket and went to Oldham, with a view to copy such parts of the evidence as, in my opinion, might be useful in the ensuing trial in which I should have to take a share.  The inquest was held in the large room of the Angel Inn.  The reporters for several London journals had been put out of the room for persisting in furnishing daily reports contrary to the coroner's order, and a rather strict supervision was held over the other reporters, both for the London and provincial press, lest they should trespass in like manner; a few reporters only were therefore admitted, and I took my seat beside them, and noted down very expertly, for a first effort, a good deal of the evidence which was given on that day.  At one time there was a general clearing out amongst the reporters—several had got in, and were taking notes as usual; the coroner therefore ordered them out, and Mr. Barnes, editor of the Times, Mr. Ross, and Mr. Condy were expelled, as was also Mr. Finnerty, of the Morning Chronicle.  The coroner asked who I was, and on my explaining to him my motive for attending and taking notes, he said no more, and I remained one of the privileged few.  A short time before this, whilst perambulating the streets of Manchester in search of work, I was going down Bridgewater Place, when a gentleman threw up a window of the Bridgewater Inn, then the head inn of the town, and called me by name.  It was Mr. Pearson, our attorney, and he, finding I was at liberty for a short time, asked me in and introduced me to Mr. Finnerty, who was stopping there; and thus I became personally known to that rather remarkable man.  I had previously learned somewhat of his history from several passages in "Cobbett's Register."  He had suffered under the government of Castlereagh in Ireland, had been convicted of a libel in England, and had gone through a long imprisonment for it in Lincoln Castle.

    When I came out of the room at the inquest Mr. Finnerty, profiting by his accidental knowledge of me, asked me into a room, and with much ease and perfect self-possession—in neither of which was he seldom deficient—he inquired what I had been doing at the inquest, and on my producing my notes he slapped me on the shoulder, and continued, "Ah! Bamford, my dear fellow, you must let me have the loan of those notes.  You will, I know—won't you, now?" I said I could not spare them; they would be of service to me on my trial.  "Ah! and is it the thrial you're dreaming about?  Niv'r disthress yourself on that account, man: you'll all be well taken care of.  Why, isn't there Harmer here, and Pearson, our friend, and Hunt, himself a host?  Ah! my dear friend, you needn't be bothering your head about the thrial yit.  You could let me have the notes, you know, and get them back in print—they'll do you honner, boy! and, hear ye now, I'll pay you for your throuble."  I refused to part with my notes, to the evident chagrin and disappointment of my new friend, who eyed me with his peculiar owl-like squint and paraded to and fro in fretful mood.  I, however, kept my writings, and went home; and in a day or two I received a note requesting me to call on him at the Bridgewater Arms.  I did so, and the result was that I agreed to attend the inquest on his account, and to furnish him with notes and verbal communications for the Morning Chronicle.  I accordingly attended at Oldham during several days, and afterwards at the Star Inn, Manchester, until the proceedings were quashed on the alleged ground of an improper interference with the jury.  And thus commenced my first correspondence with the public press.

    Mr. Hunt, it would seem, had been taken with a horror of Lancashire juries and Lancashire gaols.  Nothing would satisfy him save a removal of the trial to another county, and in accordance with his pressing solicitations myself and the other co-defendants joined him in an application for a removal; and, after a hearing before the judges, the application was acceded to, and the cause ordered for trial at the next Spring Assizes at York.

    Seeing, as I suppose, that I was pretty active with my pen, and had, besides, rather more than a mere countryman's share of ready information, Mr. Finnerty intimated that if I were in London he could procure an engagement for me at the Morning Chronicle office.  Mr. Pearson approved of the idea, and was almost sure that something for my advancement in society would offer if I were only at the metropolis.  Sir Charles Wolseley entirely coincided, but, whether I went to London or not, he should be glad at any rate to have me as his guest during a week or fortnight at Wolseley Bridge.  These flattering prospects determined me, and a day or two after Mr. Finnerty had left Manchester I arrived by the coach at Wolseley Arms Inn, Wolseley Bridge.  During the supper, which the coach passengers took together, a London reporter before mentioned and a tradesman from Manchester, who shortly afterwards became bankrupt, made, as I thought, some too-free allusions to the parts which Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Finnerty had been acting in the Manchester affair, and to their political conduct generally.  I remained silent some time, until I perceived a look directed towards me.  I then said it was a pity the two gentlemen they had been making free with were not present, but if they would stop whilst a message was sent to the hall I had no doubt they would soon come over and give the talkers whatever explanation they chose to ask to their face.  My sentiment was approved of by several at the table, and especially by one gentlemanly looking man, who I thought would have been with the other party.  "John," I said to the waiter.  "Yes, sir."  "Can you step to the hall, and—"Coach, gemmen! Coach, coach!" said the driver at the door; and in a trice the two respectable backbiters had left the room, when I and several other of the passengers enjoyed a laugh at their expense.

    The next morning I went over to the hall, and found Finnerty quite comfortably domiciled.  Lady Wolseley was in the straw upstairs, so that Sir Charles had much of his own way below.  Friend Finnerty, now that he had the run of a splendid suite of apartments, attendance of servants, and all hospitalities, was also somewhat changed in his manner.  His place was in the parlour with Sir Charles; mine in the housekeeper's room, with the occasional company of that amiable, respectable, and well-informed lady.  I dined with her in the servants' hall, and took my other meals in her apartment, in company with her, the lady's maid (a joking, smiling, and modest young girl), and a Monsieur something, the French cook.  I lived pretty agreeably amongst my kind-hearted new acquaintance, yet at times I could not prevent gloomy sensations from pressing on my mind.  Finnerty had become quite condescending, for which I could not prevail on myself to feel thankful.  Sir Charles was always kind and affable, without pretension, but still I could not but feel that in his house I was only a very humble guest.  I had read how "an Ayrshire ploughman" had once been deemed good company for a Scottish duchess, but I found that the barriers of English rank were not to be moved by "a Lancashire weaver," though he could say, "I also am a poet," and, quite as much as the Scottish bard, a patriot also.  I lodged at the inn, and often on mornings would I stroll out solitarily to look at the deer on the moorlands.  Those majestic and beautiful animals would toss their proud antlers, gaze a moment in surprise, as if they also knew I was a stranger, and,


"Stretching forward free and far,
 Seek the wild heaths."


    Sometimes I rambled through the town of Rugeley; but I knew not any one there, nor did any one know me, and my visits consequently yielded but little social intercourse.  Often would I saunter through the secluded and quiet village of Colton, but I knew not then that such a man as Walter Savage Landor existed, and if I had I am not certain that I should have ventured to knock at his door.  The little village of College, or Col-edge, with its church, the banks of the Trent, and the grounds about Wolseley Hall, were often the objects of a contemplation which was continually wandering to other scenes.  Several times I went with Monsieur to shoot rabbits, but I killed none, and was more likely to be shot myself; twice I walked across my comrade's fire, and the pellets came peppering about my legs.  I was thinking of other things, wearied, but not ungrateful, out of place, and "out of gearing," as the mechanists would say.  At length the glad morning came when an end was to be put to this.  I was to go with Finnerty to London, with a gig and horse, which Charles Pearson had left at Stafford, I think, on his way down to Lancashire.  Sir Charles made me a present of two pounds; Finnerty took the whip, and bidding good morn to our worthy host, we drove slowly from Wolseley Hall.

    We passed through Rugeley, Mavesyn Ridware (Malvoisin, one of the heroes of "Ivanhoe"), and along a rural country of farmsteads, clustered cottages, and other sights of profitable industry.  I soon thought Finnerty was but an indifferent driver, he could not get the mare to go; he kept lashing, stamping on the bottom of the gig, hissing, and calling "go'long," but the tit did not quit the ground.  She would trot a little down a slope or on a short level; but there was no speed nor any continuation.  I often got out to ease her on the ascents, for I did not like to have my weight lashed out of her, but still there was little amendment; she could not get to a pace much more keep one; in fact she spoke by her manner, as plainly as a dumb beast could speak,  "I cannot do it, gentlemen,—I would freely, if I could, but I have not the work in me.  I am done, I am old!"  I soon framed this address for her in my mind, and repeated it to my fellow traveller, who said it was not so; she had been starved by some rascally ostler, and a warm mash or two would bring her round.  He, however, withheld his whip rather more, until her pace became a creep, when again he would give her a cut or two, stamp, hiss, and lash again, and make up the lost lashes by as many imprecations against the "scoundrelly ostlers."  I was right, however; had she been fit for work it is not likely that Charles Pearson would have left her.

    I began to be amused by the manner of my fellow traveller, and I thought better of him for laying the blame anywhere save on the dumb beast.  I soon found that he wished me to be a useful companion on the road that is, a kind of half cad, and half comrade; and, as I really thought he had much goodness at heart, I felt disposed to humour him in all his bearable caprices.

    At Litchfield, Finnerty spent an hour in looking at the cathedral, whilst I looked after the mare at the inn.  At Birmingham, which we reached tardily, we dined, gave the mare a good feed; and after resting two hours my friend, unexpectedly by me, gave the word to proceed, and, with reluctance on my part, for I thought the beast had done enough for that day, we went on to some road-side inn, about nine miles further, where we got down and the jaded thing was released and put into a warm stable.  On looking over the luggage, it was discovered that a new silk umbrella, which Finnerty had bought at Manchester, was missing.  He went into a passion, and stormed with all the wordiness and gesticulation for which his countrymen are remarkable; whilst I, sometimes provoked, sometimes amused, sat coolly and smoked a pipe until supper was ready.  He laid all the blame on me; he expected I would have seen that the luggage was safe; he had trusted all to me, and was thus disappointed, like a fool as he was, for troubling himself about other people's welfare.  He was sure it had been left at Birmingham, and it was my neglect in not putting it in the gig; and then again he repeated what it had cost him—two pounds, I think.

    When I could get a word in, I reminded him of its being in his hand at a certain part of the road we had just come, on which he acknowledged that it was so; but he said he put it in on my side, and I, no doubt, had suffered it to slip down by the apron.  I was of the same opinion, that it had slipped out of the gig, but I defended myself from all blame as to its loss, proffering, however, to go back in the morning, and see if I could find it.  This rather pacified him, and we got supper, but his philosophy had been too sorely tested, and when we parted for the night he was in very bad humour.  I got up early next morning, and went back on the road about four miles, looking at every rut by the way, but nothing could I see of the umbrella; as I returned I inquired at several places, but nothing could I hear of it.  He was at breakfast when I got to the inn, and on making known the bad result of my search the "fat was in the fire" again, and we yoked up, and went forward mutually dissatisfied.

    At Stratford-on-Avon he had come to a little, for I also had been knitting my brows.  He went to see Shakespeare's monument, and I the house in which the poet resided, a dilapidated place, the walls covered with the names of persons who had visited, and I added mine.

    At an ascent betwixt Stratford and Shipton, I must drive and Finnerty would walk, for the once.  He got out encumbered with his top and box coats, and began to ascend a narrow track which I saw would lead him from the road, and not to it again; as he had not, however, of late, paid much respect to my opinions, I thought I might as well not obtrude them just at that moment, and so I kept moving forward, leaning on the gig-side, and keeping an eye towards my blusterous friend.  He mounted to some height, when, looking up, he perceived his dilemma, and then, with a twist and a jerk, expressive of impatience, he descended the way he had gone up.  I laughed until tears came into my eyes, and had with difficulty composed myself, when he having hallooed as loud as he could, and I having stopped, he came up puffing and perspiring, and so we went on.

    At Shipton we learned that a coach would pass through the town that night for Oxford, and Finnerty took a sudden, and to me a happy, resolution to proceed by it, leaving me to bring the horse and gig the day following to the Mitre Inn, at Oxford.  He intimated that he had a particular engagement to be there next morning; and thus, for the present, I lost the society of my troublesome, querulous, but sometimes amusing companion.

    It was a fine morning when, leaving Shipton, I urged the old tit gently on the road to the great seat of learning.  Every nook, dell, and hill was new to me; and the men, the women, the children, and the houses were objects for continual observation.  The mare had it pretty much her own way; her load was lighter, and she went trotting when she listed, and walked when she had a right to do—namely, uphill, and it was only when I detected her absolutely crawling that I touched her with the whip.  At Chapel House, a large posting establishment, we both breakfasted, and then went on, through Eustone, Kiddington, and to Woodstock, the scene of the tale of Fair Rosamond, which had deeply interested me when a boy.  At a respectable looking public house, where I stopped, I endeavoured to learn whether there was any tradition as to the probable site of the famous bower of the unfortunate beauty, but the people knew nothing respecting it, I heard enough about Blenheim and its duke, but I should not feel justified in repeating what they said, and the less so because the persons with whom I conversed were strangers to me, and neighbours to the nobleman, and therefore the more likely to remember his failings, and forget his commendable parts.

    On entering Oxford I was struck by the noble and venerable appearance of many of its buildings, which I concluded in my own mind must be its churches and colleges.  The streets were occupied by a numerous and very respectable looking population, and I was not long in descrying, by the peculiarity of their dress, some of those fortunate and ingenious youths who, "born with silver spoons in their mouths," are, as we are taught to believe, "designed by a wise providence," and are certainly permitted by a wise people (?) to spoon up the riches and superfluities, which else would, by their very grossness, render said people lull of intellect, and sluggish in action; and yet I didn't think the young fellows looked like "spoonies."

    Having been directed to the Mitre Inn, I drove thither, and resigned the horse and gig to the ostler, with a charge to look well to the former.  I then inquired at the bar for Mr. Finnerty, and was shown into a very smart room upstairs, where a plain-featured lady beyond the bloom of life, with a bonnet on, dressed in a florid style, and with a deep pattenshoe on one foot, was caressing a fine child that could run about.  I paused and held back, the lady was surprised.  I apologised and said I understood Mr. Finnerty was there.  She said he was, and asked me to take a seat, he was in another room, and she would go for him, and she went out, taking the child with her.  In a minute I heard my friend's voice as if something was wrong.  He came in, shook my hand, and asked me to take refreshment.  I took some tea and meat, and gave him an account of my pleasant journey.  Whilst we were talking, the same lady with another child entered the room, and almost immediately went out again.  He gave me to understand that the children were his, and that Mrs. Finnerty, himself, and the children, would return to London together.  He asked how I should go, and I told him that I should walk it.  He asked when I should start, and I said I had no connections in Oxford, nor any business to transact, and I saw no reason why I should not set out that night, and had best be making my way.  Of course, he said, if I preferred going, there could be no reason why I should not; he then gave me his address in London, and said I must be sure and call upon him, and he would immediately on his arrival have some conversation with Mr. Perry about me, and he doubted not that Mr. Perry would put something in my way.  I then got up, and taking me by the hand he bade me good-bye, and said I must be sure to see him in London.  I said I would, and repeating his salutation, I came downstairs, and went into the street.

    The shades of evening were closing over the city when I thus adventured to begin my journey.  I had no luggage, save a small bundle and an umbrella, which I threw over my shoulder, and a stout ashen plant in my hand.  I knew not which way to set forth, but went along the street towards the left, until I saw some respectable looking people, of whom I inquired the way to London; and they gave me such directions as enabled me soon to quit the town and strike into the open country.  I continued to walk and it soon became dark, and when night had completely set in, I could scarcely trace the road before me.  I walked, however, briskly, and went a long way without meeting any person, or hearing anything, save now and then the tinkle of a sheep bell.  At length, when I must have left Oxford four or five miles behind, I began to hear noises at a distance on my right, and soon after I saw gleams like those of lights in the windows of a town.  In a short time there were lights before me, and I found they proceeded from a public house, into which I went and asked for some ale, which was brought to me, and was of most excellent quality.  On looking around, I liked the appearance of the house also; the rooms were neatly furnished and clean, the company was apparently respectable, and the people of the house obliging.  I inquired how far it was to the next village, and how the road lay, and they all gave such an account as made me begin to think I had best remain where I was; the people of the house were of the same opinion, and so I took up my quarters there for the night.

    Whilst we were chattering and enjoying ourselves comfortably with our pipes, some young fellows came into the next room, and called for ale.  They were in high glee, and from their conversation, which we could not but hear, we learned that there had been a kind of battle-royal in the village betwixt some of the lads of the place and a party of collegians, and that the latter, after fighting bravely, which they allowed them the merit of generally doing, had been soundly thrashed, and compelled to retreat.  I concluded that it must have been the noise of this row which had saluted my ears on the road.  Some inquiries on my part, elicited an opinion from the company as to the general conduct of the young gentlemen at college, and it certainly, like all other human emanations, had its dark side, as well as its bright one, only rather more of the former, than should be expected, considering they were to become examples to and directors of others.

    They were represented as courageous fighters, generous remunerators, and profuse spenders; all of which most of the company allowed were good English gentlemanly qualities; but then, in their intercourse with those not of their class, they were represented as being arrogant, wilful, and capricious; and too prone to lay on hard when they got the upper hand.

    It was not to be wondered at, said an elderly person who sat on the other side of the room; it was not the young gentlemen's fault, but the fault of their "pa's" and "ma's" at home, and of the institutions of the country.  If Will was schooled to be an officer in the army, would he not begin by trying to domineer over and command all who would submit to him?  If Dick was to have his father's broad acres, how could he better prepare for the enjoyment of them, as things went, than by learning to drink, gamble, and box; by picking up stable slang; and becoming a connoisseur in "dogs, horseflesh, and women"—as they had it—and by an early imitation of that reckless self-willedness which he had seen practised by his class at home?  If James is for the Church, should he not learn to be combative when a boy; inasmuch as he would have to contend against "the world, the flesh," and—another antagonist—and in favour of tithes, preferments, and fat livings? and if Jack was preparing for the navy, what so natural as that he should practise with a bamboo, instead of a rope's-end, on the heads and shoulders of the King's subjects?  Great folks, he said, sent their sons to college, and they came there tainted with the vices of their order, and the follies of their parents: they were here planted thick together like young trees; the rank and worthless dragged the others up; the vicious overshadowed the virtuous, and when they had become noxious or morally withered, they went back into the world, as their fathers had done, to prepare a new race to succeed them.  All allowed that the elderly gentleman's remarks were about the fact; I begged leave to drink his health, the company followed my example, and the conversation then becoming general, and chiefly on rural affairs, I went to bed.

    I rose early; the morning again was as fine as could be desired, and I felt happy at travelling beside broad pastures, with the free wind blowing around me.  I first traversed a level plain, and then went up a rather steep eminence, after which followed a road through woods a long way; all were new and interesting scenes to me.  I walked some twelve or fourteen miles, and then made a hearty breakfast of bread, cheese, and ale, at a neat-looking, road-side public house.  From thence I went on, through High Wycombe and Beaconsfield, where again I stopped a short time.  I could not but admire the cleanness and airiness of the town.  Towards evening I arrived at Uxbridge, and rested, after which I went towards London, and had gone some miles in the dark and rain, when a stage coach overtook me, and I mounted, and was set down at the "Bolt-in-Tun," Fleet Street, where, perhaps, it is unnecessary to say that I received very civil treatment, and stopped for the night.


 
CHAPTER XXX.

MR. HUNT—SIR RICHARD PHILLIPS—AUTHOR'S PETITIONS TO PARLIAMENT—EARL GROSVENOR, AND HIS HOUSE AT GROSVENOR PLACE.


THE morning after my arrival I went to the warehouse of a friendly tradesman in Cheapside to look after some clothes, and other requisites, which I had directed to be sent after me, and I found all safe.  I next went and took private lodgings, and then sought out Mr. Hunt, whom I found at the house of one Giles, a bread-baker, in Wyche Street, Strand.  He introduced me to Sir Richard Phillips, and I had, during my stay, many opportunities of conversing with that worthy gentleman and scholar.  He was friendly towards Hunt, but did not like his overbearing manner.  Once, I recollect, when Hunt came, he ordered the footman to say he was not at home, and on observing probably a degree of surprise in my look, he said Mr. Hunt was neither happy himself, nor would he let his friends be so.  They must not only serve him, but they must do it at his own time, in his own manner, and to the extent he wished, or he would quarrel with them.  His earnestness and vehemence he carried with him everywhere, and exhibited on the most trifling occasions; in consequence, he became annoying and oppressive, and his best friends were sometimes compelled to defend themselves by not being at home.  I knew there was too much truth in Sir Richard's representations to blame him greatly for his conclusions, though I must own I did not like my friend Hunt, with all his faults, to be thus dealt with; but Sir Richard said there was no other mode, and he must either shut his door occasionally, or quarrel with him at once, and have done with him.

    I gave Sir Richard my account of the Manchester affair, and at his suggestion, and under his care, petitions to the Houses of Lords and Commons were drawn up on my behalf, praying an investigation into the whole of the transaction, and offering to prove the allegations of the petitions at the bar of each House.  Both petitions were duly presented, and with the usual result: namely, both were "laid upon the table."

    But, connected with my petition to the Lords, an incident occurred, which, as it affords a glimpse of the great in London, I will narrate.

    Earl Grosvenor was the nobleman selected to present my petition to the House of Lords, and Sir Richard went with me to his mansion, in Grosvenor Place I think it was.  His lordship was not at home, and we were directed to call on a certain day.  It happened that Sir Richard was then engaged, and I went to his lordship myself.  The great burly porter, who wore a rich livery trimmed with gold lace, would scarcely admit me within the door, when he found I had not a letter of introduction.  I explained to him my business with his lordship, but it was of no use, he could not send my message up.  A fine table, with pens and paper, was near the window of the hall, and in my simplicity I made a move towards it, saying I could soon write a note to his lordship, but he said he could not allow me to write there; it was contrary to orders, and would cost him his place if the other servants saw me.  I accordingly bundled out, and went to a tavern and wrote a note, which I took back; the porter then took the note, and told me to come again in about twenty minutes or half an hour.  It was raining, and I had nowhere to go under cover, save the tavern, so I went there again—not much liking, however, this mode of noble housekeeping—and waited with impatience the time for the interview.  I again went, and now the folding doors were thrown open long before I arrived at the steps; the late surly porter received me with a respectful inclination and a smile, saying my note had been sent up, and his lordship would see me.  He then rang a bell, and a servant appeared, to whom the porter announced my name.  The servant asked me to follow him, and he led me into a very grand room, where he left me, saying his lordship would be with me in a few minutes.  I had never seen anything like the richness of this place before, everything seemed almost too sumptuous, and too delicate for a human habitation, and to me it seemed a little museum of curious and costly things, arranged but to look at, and not to use.  There were mirrors, and pictures, and cushions, and carpets glowing like silk; and delicate hangings; and curtains, as fine as gossamer in summer; then the tables shone like glass, and the chairs, with their high cushions trussed up, quite tempted one to sit.  Well, I stood looking about me some time, and no one appeared, and at last I thought, "I'll sit down at any rate; if his lordship should come in, he cannot be so greatly offended at one taking a seat in his house."  So I sat down, and was quite surprised; I almost sank to my elbows in the soft downy cushion, and immediately jumped up again, thinking those seats could never really be meant for human bones to rest upon, and I would not for the world have been taken by his lordship sitting there, with the cushion up to my elbows like a puff of soap suds.  I began to make the thing right again, and was so busied, when I heard a slight creaking noise; immediately I resumed my posture of attention, and a tall, gentlemanly-looking person, forty or forty-five years of age, dressed in a blue coat with yellow buttons, undoubtedly of gold, entered and accosted me in a very courteous and affable manner, and immediately entered upon the business of my petition.  I addressed him as "my lord," which indeed he was, and told him somewhat about the subject of my petition, which I now showed him, and requested he would be so kind as to present for me to the House of Lords.  He looked at it a few minutes, and said he would present it.  He then questioned me about the state of the country, and particularly of my own neighbourhood, to each of which I gave him brief and true answers, according to the best of my ability.  He then questioned me about our new rector at Middleton, the Rev. John Haughton, and as I was bound in truth, though not at the time over partial to him, I gave his lordship a fair and honourable account of the worthy clergyman, whereat he seemed much pleased.  Soon after I made my final bow, and was myself bowed out by the porter, and so I took my leave of that grand mansion and its immensely rich owner.

    I frequently called to see Sir Richard Phillips, who always advised me to cultivate literature and poetry, as two friends who would be ready to console me at all times, and under all circumstances.  He wished me to write something, in the metrical way, about the Manchester affair, but I never did; it never presented itself, as it were, to me in the form of poetry; it was too overpowering, too brimful of affliction, to be measured in verse.  I made several attempts that way, but it would not do, and I never sought to describe it in any other form until this present publication.  I felt grateful to Sir Richard; he gave me much useful caution and advice as to other matters in London.  He acted the part of a real friend, and was the only professed scholar and literary character to whose acquaintance I can refer with entire satisfaction.

    I called several times at the office of the Morning Chronicle to inquire if Mr. Finnerty was in town, and at last learned that he was so.  I accordingly made my way to a suburb, somewhere west of the town, and following my directions, I knocked at the door of one of a lot of recently constructed edifices at the angle of a square.  The same lady with the patten came to the door, and invited me to walk in, and showed me into a small, neatly furnished room on my right.  Finnerty soon made his appearance, and, after mutual compliments, he asked when I arrived in town, what I had been doing, and such like, all of which I answered.  He seemed, I thought, very mysterious and embarrassed in his manner, did not ask me to sit down or take anything, but at last said, "Would you like a walk round the square, Bamford?"  I, thinking he wished for more private conversation, said I would, and we went out.  We paced once round this place, chatting about indifferent matters, I expecting him to introduce my business with the Morning Chronicle, and at last, on my mentioning it, he did say he had not been able to see Mr. Perry yet.  We had then arrived at the angle from whence we set out, and were opposite his own door, when, giving me his hand, he said, "Good morning, Bamford; I shall be seeing you in town some of these days," and with that he went into the house and shut the door.  I was mute with astonishment; my first impulse was to send the panel in with my foot, but then I thought neither the door nor its owner had done me harm, and at last, consoling myself with the reflection that it was no place for a worthy, honest man, and that I was better out of it than within it, I went away.

    I should not have been much troubled at the sudden termination of this friendship, which I had for some time suspected to be all on my side, had I not, on returning into the city, weary, disappointed, and hungry, found that I must change my last shilling for my dinner.  I had paid several sums on the road for ostlers, baiting, and so forth, before Finnerty left me at Shipton, and I had also paid all the expenses of the journey from Shipton to Oxford, which Finnerty had undertaken to pay, and said he would reimburse on my arrival at the latter place.  I had quite forgotten to mention these matters at Oxford, but now, forced by necessity, I probably should have clone so in a delicate way, had Finnerty, as I expected he would, asked me to take breakfast with him.  But, as I said, they had quite slipped my memory, and friend Finnerty's, too, as it seemed, and now I had the uncomfortable prospect before me of starvation, or a beggarly dependence on the hospitality of friends, neither of which conditions had I anticipated on leaving home.

    Next morning I went to the house of Mr. Pearson, in Aldersgate Street, and stated to him my willingness to try my hand at writing in his office, at terms previously mentioned by him, namely, a guinea a week.  He immediately set me to work at copying, and thus by a word I was metamorphosed from a rude Lancashire rustic into "a limb of the law."  I worked hard until two o'clock, and then went out, not to dine, for I had not wherewith to purchase a dinner.  At four I returned and wrote again until six, and then shut up, and went to my humble lodgings at London Wall.  I did thus for three or four days, getting my breakfast and supper at my lodgings, and going without dinner.  I began to feel unwell; I was cold, shivery, and nervous; I had never been quite well since the night I came drenched into London, and now, feverish as I was, the employment became intolerably irksome.  At length I went to bed, and was so ill next morning I could not rise; I was in a fever, and the agitation of my mind added to the indisposition of my body.

    The next day I went to Mr. Pearson, and told him that I had been ill, and hoped he would excuse me, but I could not bear to sit at the desk.  He readily accepted my apology, and gave me a pound note for what I had done; he also invited me to come to his house that evening and take tea.  I went and met him, his lady, a mild and beautiful young being, and a gentleman who was about to come out "as a phenomenon" at the bar.  The day after I again went to Mr. Pearson's by appointment, when he took me to Peel's coffee-house, and set me to take memoranda from the newspapers, of passages from the addresses made by judges to grand juries on several State prosecutions.  I gave him my notes, and believe I did the work to his satisfaction.

    In a day or two after this I was informed that the London committee for the relief of the sufferers at the Manchester meeting had determined on presenting each of the persons who had been apprehended and held to bail with a sum of money—ten pounds, I believe—as some compensation for their loss of time and the inconvenience they had experienced.  I accordingly went to the counting-house and manufactory of Mr. Alexander Galloway, the treasurer, whose place was then near Holborn, and presented myself for what belonged to me.  He was at his desk writing, and I found him a cool, cautious, methodical man of business.  He was very affable and mild, and I must say reasonable and convincing in his manner.  On my stating who I was and the nature of my visit, he said he was sorry he could not pay me then, as, never having to his knowledge seen me before, he could not be certain that I was the person I represented myself to be, and he wished me to bring some gentleman, or produce a note from some one whom he knew, that I was the same Samuel Bamford who had been arrested and committed to Lancaster Castle.  I mentioned Mr. Hunt, Mr, Harmer, Mr. Wooller, and Mr. Pearson, who I said would instantly verify, could I get to see them, but the afternoon was far worn, and I might not be able to meet with them that night; I, however, had a letter or two of Mr. Hunt's, and one of Major Cartwright's, which I offered to produce.  Those, he said, would not do; they would not show that I was the person to whom they were addressed.  I must confess I was now a little piqued and disappointed, for I was in want of some money for immediate necessaries.  He saw, I thought, that I was hurt, for he begged I would not deem him needlessly cautious, as I must perceive, on reflection, how necessary it was, in a great place like London, to be quite certain as to the persons with whom they contracted business.  He showed me, and he entirely conciliated me by the earnestness with which he did it, that he could not possibly have any wish to withhold the money from the person for whom it was ordered, and all he sought to ascertain was that I really was the person.  I saw and appreciated his motive and his method of exactitude, and left him with the intention of obtaining a note from Mr. Harmer, whose office in Hatton Garden was the nearest place where I could expect to meet the requisite identification.  Mr. Harmer was not within, nor would he be that night, and I gave the matter up until next day, submitting to the rather familiar inconvenience of going to bed dinnerless and supperless.  On the forenoon of the following day I procured the necessary verification, and Mr. Galloway paid me the money, which proved a great present relief, as it enabled me to procure necessaries, and to pay off my lodging and other small accounts.  I afterwards called on Mr. Galloway frequently, in a friendly manner, and at one of these visits I saw Robert Owen, who was then exciting attention by his plans for the amelioration of the condition of mankind; at another visit Major Cochrane was there, an officer who was with the 15th Hussars on the field at the great meeting at Manchester.  Mr. Galloway's counting-house appeared to be frequently resorted to by literary and scientific men of all parties and of all professions.

    My petitions to Parliament had been duly presented, and had appeared, thanks to my friend Sir Richard, in several of the London journals.  They excited some attention, and the committee of the relief fund deemed it proper that similar petitions should be presented by others of the sufferers.  I accordingly, having now no further prospects or business in London, returned to Lancashire, and besides being of some use to Messrs. Hall and Service, who were sent down to select proper objects for relief, I promoted the getting up of petitions praying for inquiry, and when that had been done to a sufficient extent, I found the time at hand when it was necessary that I should begin to look about for evidence to produce at the approaching trial at York.

    On application to my attorney, Mr. Pearson, I received a set of instructions for the collection of evidence.

    Acting under these instructions, I wrote down with my own hand the examinations of about twenty-two witnesses, chiefly resident at Middleton, which examinations were copied literally by Mr. Pearson's clerk, and formed the basis of the defence relative to our proceedings.  I next subpœned my witnesses, and they were requested to meet at the Dog and Partridge public house, at Middleton, at six o'clock in the morning of Monday, the 13th of March, in order that we might all go in a body on foot to York.  On the evening preceding we took supper together, and we were joined by a number of witnesses from Manchester, who preferred to walk with us rather than go by coach.  On mustering, I think we amounted to about three score, of whom probably a dozen were women, who, in high glee, chose to take the road with their relatives and friends.  I should state that Mr. Pearson had placed in my hands a sum of money to pay the expenses, in which I was limited by my own discretion alone; all my plans had been laid before him at Manchester, and he entirely approved of them.  We set forward, therefore, with light hearts; and amid this crowd of faces beaming with hope and the excitement of novelty, I could discover two only which wore a cast of thought and sadness.  My wife and child were, as they always wished to be, with me; they were going with us as far as Rochdale, whence they were to return; my faithful dog, Mora, also went gambolling on before us.  I tried to be cheerful, with a view to promote the same feeling amongst all around me, and I could have succeeded, had I only been concerned; but when I caught my wife turning her head aside to conceal her emotion, and, looking down, met the tearful eye and inquiring look of my child, who held my hand, I could not but experience a pang that brought darkness and uncertainty to my heart, and which I endeavoured to conceal by smiles and consoling words.

    At Rochdale we breakfasted at the Angel Inn, in Blackwater Street, and were there joined by witnesses from Bury and other places, who augmented our numbers to about four score.  After an affectionate parting, full of hope on my side and of sadness on theirs, I left my wife and child to retrace their steps sorrowfully towards home, whilst I went forward, though somewhat thoughtful, amongst my joking, light-hearted companions.  The ascent of Blackstone Edge, "the back-bone of the English Alps," as it has been termed, tried the marching qualities of the women, and by the time we arrived at the top, two of them were fatigued, and went on with a mail coach, which overtook us there.  Their journey by this conveyance was a most unpleasant one; some "gentlemen" from Manchester were also passengers and they used coarse and abusive language towards the females.  The coachman and guard were appealed to for protection, but they only laughed, and, to please the "gemmen," contributed their share of insult.  The women "gave it them," however, told them what they were, and when the coach arrived at Halifax, they got down, and refused to go any further with the unmanly beings.  This conduct we only learned on our arrival at Halifax, and I mention it to show the strong and unworthy feeling which our opponents, even of the class commonly deemed respectable, were wont to indulge in those days.

    Mr. Hunt, with Johnson and Chapman, followed us in a post-chaise, and they were detained a considerable time at Rochdale, in consequence of the landlord at the "Roebuck " Inn, one Marriott, refusing to supply them with fresh horses, on learning who they were.  He was even uncivil to the travellers, but soon found that he was not likely to get anything by that mode of behaviour, and horses having been procured from another house, the journey was proceeded with.

    At Bradford many of the tender-footed men were lame, and I gave them money to go on with as best they could.  Most of the women also had by this time enough of walking for that day, and they availed themselves of such modes of conveyance as were readily attainable; some, however, held out, and walked with us every step of the road to Leeds, where we were hospitably received by the body of reformers, and lodged for the night.  The next morning we made a strong muster, being joined by numbers from Stockport, Hyde, Ashton, Stalybridge, Saddleworth, and other places, and now I believe we mustered about one hundred persons; some of the women, and an equal proportion of the men, were too lame to walk, and were sent forward by carriage; the main body, however, on foot, passed through Tadcaster, and arrived at York in a compact body at night-fall, on Tuesday, the 14th of March.  We were lodged and boarded at a large inn, the "Elephant," I think, on this side the river Ouse.


 
CHAPTER XXXI.

THE MORNING OF OUR TRIAL—PREPARATIONS IN THE COURT—ITS INTERIOR APPEARANCE—WITNESSES—HUNT'S HAT—THE JURY—COUNSEL FOR THE PROSECUTION—ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE DEFENDANTS.


OUR long expected trial, which had excited a strong interest in the public mind, commenced on the morning of Thursday, the 16th day of March, 1820, before Mr. Justice Bayley and a special jury.  At an early hour the court was beset by persons waiting for admission.  At a little before seven o'clock the reporters for the London and provincial press were admitted, and soon after several individuals, principally solicitors, and others connected with provincial newspapers, were admitted into the gallery.  A number of ladies also took possession of a box at the corner of the court, on the right hand of the Bench.  At eight o'clock a more general admission of the public took place, and the front seats in the two galleries were instantly occupied.  A vast number of persons immediately followed, till not one inch of either gallery was left unoccupied.  The box which the day before was reserved for the attorneys was, on this occasion, appropriated for the reception of magistrates, except the front seats, which had become occupied by some London reporters.  In the rush and confusion, however, many had invaded the place who had no claim to seats there.  These were forthwith informed by the officers of the court that they must retire.  The mandate was reluctantly obeyed by some, but others obstinately retained their seats, until they were finally removed by order of the magistrates, when they arrived.

    The number of witnesses put down for the prosecution exceeded eighty; for the defence, one hundred and twenty.

    At a quarter before nine, Hunt, Moorhouse, Saxton, Jones, Wilde, and Healey, went into the court; soon afterwards I and Swift went up and applied for entrance at the common door of the court.  We were informed by the keeper that no more could be admitted, the place being quite full.  We smiled at this, and said we must be admitted, and desired him to open the door; he stoutly refused, and we enjoyed the joke some time, and at last told him who we were, and that we should be wanted, and must take part in the trial.  The man then admitted us, but almost as a favour, and we made our way up an avenue towards the witness box.  Hunt saw us coming, and beckoned us to step over the backs of the seats, which we did, and I was presently by his side.

    I may here remark, that at Manchester, both before and after the meeting, at Lancaster also, and at London, Hunt had uniformly worn a white hat, and it had in consequence become the Radical badge; Johnson had also done the same, but here, before a judge and a jury of their country, they deemed it proper to display the common black hat.  I, however, who never thought it wrong to be the same always and in all places, who saw not anything to be really ashamed of in the colour of my hat, and who would not, just then, have discarded it to please judge, jury, or king, threw it down innocently enough amongst the lawyers' bags and papers, and other hats of a different colour, some of which were the sombre ones of my co-defendants.  There were some looking and smiling at the presumptuous appearance of a Radical hat on that table.  Others of our party, like myself, stuck to their white colours, declaring they would not change them under any circumstances.  I only mention this incident to show a trait of what the world deems prudence, and its judicious exercise, by some of our leaders.

    At nine o'clock Justice Bayley took his seat on the Bench, and immediately the cause of the King against Henry Hunt, Joseph Johnson, John Knight, James Moorhouse, Joseph Healey, John Thacker Saxton, Robert Jones, Samuel Bamford, George Swift, and Robert Wilde was called on.  The names of the persons summoned to act as special jurors were then read.

    At this time the court was most excessively crowded; all the bottom seats and avenues, as well as every inch of standing ground, a passage for the witnesses excepted, were closely occupied.  In each of the galleries the people were packed like bees in a hive, and there was ground for apprehension that the fronts might be forced out.  It was some time before order could be obtained, so eager were persons of all ranks to witness the commencement of this trial.  The jury box had been partly filled by strangers and had to be cleared, and several common jurymen who happened to be in it made a remonstrance to the judge on the hardship of being turned, not only out of that box, but also out of the one which had always been assigned to the waiting juryman.  This circumstance was occasioned by the arrangements which the High Sheriff, Henry Vansittart, Esq., and his subordinate officers had made for the accommodation of the public.  The box usually assigned to the magistrates of the county was this day opened for the reception of the Manchester and Cheshire magistrates; the one usually reserved for attorneys was given up to reporters for the public Press, and the attorneys, being deprived of their usual place in court, went into the jury box, and filled it so entirely as to occasion the remonstrance just mentioned, Justice Bayley said he did not understand the arrangements of the court; the place was now full: if, however, there was any situation to which the waiting juryman had a right he would order it to be cleared and kept for their accommodation; the box was accordingly cleared.

    The jury having been sworn, Mr. Littledale opened the proceedings, and the indictment was read, the substance of which, having been already given, I shall not now repeat.  We, of course, all pleaded "Not Guilty," except John Knight, who, since being bailed out of Lancaster Castle, had again been committed on a subsequent charge for attending a meeting near Burnley.

    Mr. Scarlett, Mr. Serjeant Hullock, Mr. Serjeant Cross, and Mr. Littledale, conducted the prosecution: Mr. Holt was retained for Saxton, and Mr. Barrow for Moorhouse and Jones.  Hunt, Johnson, Wilde, Swift, Healey and myself conducted our several defences and for that purpose we took our places at the barristers' table.  Some conversation ensued respecting this arrangement, and Mr. Hunt expressed his willingness to agree to any other, but the judge decided that every individual conducting his own defence should sit there; the others must take seats behind their counsel.

    Mr. Hunt said he had not been previously aware of the arrangements for the court, and he had therefore invited his co-defendants to the situations they occupied; room, however, would easily be found for them behind the bar, as he intended to move that all the witnesses on both sides (and he knew many were in court) should be ordered out of it.

    Justice Bayley accordingly ordered all the witnesses to withdraw from the court.  Mr. Barrow added, "And out of hearing also."

    The order was immediately complied with; and amongst those who retired were the Rev. W. R. Hay, the Rev. C. W. Ethelstone, Mr. Hulton, Mr. Sylvester, Mr. R. Wright, and several other of the Manchester magistrates, together with a number of gentlemen and tradesmen who had been subpœned as witnesses.  The defendants who had retained counsel also took their places behind them on the seats usually allotted to attorneys, and the very inconvenient pressure in the court was considerably mitigated.

    Immediately under the judge at the straight edge of the table, which was a half-round, sat the counsel for the prosecution already named with their attorneys.  On the judge's left, and occupying the curved edge of the table, were George Swift, Mr. Harmer, of London (who kindly suggested various matters to us), next myself, then Mr. Hunt, Mr. Pearson, Mr. Wilde, Mr. Barrow, Mr. Holt, Mr. Healey and Mr. Johnson—the two latter sitting near the witness box and almost directly in front of the judge.  The further side of the table was occupied by attorneys and others; a number of elegantly dressed females were upon the right and left of the judge and occupying seats below and standing on the floor; the large box behind us, at first assigned to magistrates, and which had been almost filled by those of Lancashire and Cheshire, who vacated it on the order being given for witnesses to retire, was now filled with a crowd of ladies and gentlemen, chiefly, as we understood, residents in the county; many ladies had obtained seats in the body of the hall, and one was observed taking the likeness of the venerable judge as he sat in his robes.

    Mr. Scarlett, after the opening by Mr. Littledale, proceeded to address the jury; but as it would be entirely beyond the scope of this work to give the proceedings of the trial, which have, no doubt, long since been placed amongst the public records, I shall only touch on such passages as concern myself and throw light on my conduct both previous to and during this important investigation.  I shall intersperse such observations with brief remarks upon and descriptions of some things which occurred both in public court and were privately known to ourselves, and shall be content to be judged, so far as my name may be concerned, by the facts which I truthfully narrate.  Mr. Scarlett's description of us should not, however, be omitted.  It was as follows:—

Of Mr. Hunt it was unnecessary that he should say anything, because his name had been so much of late connected with these transactions as to leave no doubt on the mind of any man as to his character and avocations.  The others were obscure; they were very little known, and he should therefore state who they were, premising that they were charged with assembling and inciting others to assemble to disturb the public peace.  John Knight had formerly been in business; his occupation had been latterly that of an itinerant orator.  Joseph Johnson was a brushmaker residing near Manchester, and he believed he also was in the habit of attending public meetings.  Of John Thacker Saxton, all the description which he had was that he was some way or other connected with the office of a newspaper, called the Manchester Observer.  Joseph Healey was represented as an apothecary.  James Moorhouse was a coach-master residing at Stockport, George Swift was a shoemaker at Manchester.  Of Robert Wilde he knew nothing, save that he lived near Ashton-under-Lyne.  Samuel Bamford and Robert Jones were individuals in humble circumstances.  The jury, he said, would find by unquestionable evidence that these persons were connected in some secret design.  He would be able to show the course which the parties took when he called his evidence, and therefore it was not necessary for him at that moment to state the specific acts of each; it would be sufficient to give a general view of their proceedings.

    The learned counsel then indicated the line of accusation he should take against Mr. Hunt especially.  He commenced with the Spitalfields' meeting at London in the June previous, setting forth the resolutions and describing them as illegal.  Mr. Hunt was next traced to Bullock Smithy; [19] thence to Manchester, connecting him with the proposed meeting on the 9th of August.  Then he described the drillings at White Moss and the beating of Murray and his companions.  He showed Mr. Hunt to have been stopping at the house of Johnson, at Smedley, where he said he received the visits of Knight and others of the defendants.  Next he represented the people as marching from all parts on the morning of the 16th of August.  They were, he said, provided with banners and inscriptions, and they marched upon Manchester with all the regularity of an army.  From Rochdale, from Middleton, from Oldham, from Lees, from Stockport, and many other places, parties might be seen marching towards Manchester.  "At Middleton Mr. Bamford was seen placing in marching order a body of two thousand men; they were without uniforms, but he displayed sufficient talent to put them through their evolutions.  He addressed them and gave to each of them a laurel leaf, that they might distinguish one another.  The town of Manchester was, in fact, surrounded by an immense farce, who seemed as if they were going to invade it.  Every road which approached the town was covered with parties marching in military manner, and amongst those who were marching to the town some of the individuals who were seen training at White Moss were recognised.  At eleven o'clock Mr. Hunt and his party were preparing to enter the town from the residence of Johnson.  Mr. Hunt was attended by a triumphant band; the Middleton and Rochdale force had united, they became his guards, and thus surrounded be entered the town of Manchester."

    Next he commented on our banners, and some of his strictures may show the difference betwixt the interpretation of the laws in those days and the present.  I will give a short extract of that part of his address.

    On some of the flags they would find the words, "Equal Representation or Death."  What could be the object of a sentiment such as this?  He would ask the jury to lay their hands on their hearts and say, What good object could those have in view who exhibited a flag bearing such a motto?  They were not met there to discuss whether the present state of the House of Commons was the best that could be imagined.  Good and wise men differed on that point, but, whatever difference of opinion might be entertained on the subject, of this he was sure, that there was no man who considered the question rightly that would not stand by the law and the constitution of the country as they were now administered; and if threatened with violence, that would not resist to the uttermost an attempt to make a forcible alteration of the system.

    Another banner bore the inscription, "No Corn Laws."  He came not before them to discuss whether the law on the subject of corn was good or otherwise; he had his opinions on the question, but it would not be decorous or proper to state them there.  He knew that wise men might sometimes frame a mischievous law, but it was not to be removed by riot and violence.  Would it not be a most dangerous thing to say to a mob of sixty thousand persons, for the purpose of getting rid of such a measure—particularly when the minds of the people were irritated and inflamed—would it not, he asked, be an appeal of a most inflammatory nature, to say to them, "We will have no Corn Laws; we will force the legislature to do as we please."

    Next came the inscription, "Annual Parliaments."  There were no doubt respectable and honourable men in the kingdom, who thought annual parliaments would be very useful; but would any of those individuals say that such a proposition was to be carried by violence, as the sine quâ non of their existence?  Let the people meet to petition for reform—let them submit to Parliament what they think expedient for the public good—and no man can complain.  But was it the business of a public meeting to dictate to Parliament, and to declare that it would effect a certain object, or would have nothing?  The next inscription was "Universal Suffrage and Election by Ballot."  These two points were the pretexts for calling this assembly; he felt considerable surprise that Mr. Hunt did not perceive that those three terms, taken together, meant nothing but the subversion of the Constitution, but as long as these questions were sub judice, what right had any man to say, "we will, in spite of all opposition, have these three things."  To do so was illegal; and it was most unfit that, on the subject of public grievances, the mob should be suffered to dictate to the legislature.  Let them meet and petition; let the weavers and shoemakers and other artisans in this kingdom who are destined to earn their bread by the labour of their hands inform the legislature of the best course to be pursued with respect to public affairs, if they have more wisdom than those by whom such affairs were conducted. The law enabled them to do this; but let not demagogues state to them that these three points were the only things which could be of service to them.  Another inscription was, "Let us die like men, and not be sold like slaves."  Who, he should like to know, had been selling the people of Oldham, of Rochdale, of Middleton, and of the other places, the inhabitants of which went to Manchester on that day?  He never heard of any such sale; but some persons, who did not, perhaps, choose to speak those words, thought fit to place them on a banner.

    Such were some of the constructions which the learned counsel attached to some of our banners and their inscriptions; constructions which, if followed in these days, would place some of the Chartist exhibitors in a rather perilous position.

    Witnesses were now called, who traced Mr. Hunt through Bullock Smithy, Stockport, Heaton Norris, and from Manchester, to Johnson's at Smedley.  On the examination of a witness named John Chadwick, who swore that he saw Murray at the White Moss, on the morning of the fifteenth, Mr. Hunt objected to his evidence, because he had said he did not know any one who was there by name.

    Mr. Scarlett said he wished to show that some of the White Moss drillers had attended Mr. Hunt.

Mr. Hunt said it mattered not, unless some of those persons were among the accused.

    Mr. Scarlett hoped Mr. Hunt would not be allowed to disturb the proceedings of the court.

    Mr. Justice Bayley: Mr. Hunt has a right to take the objection, and I am doubting whether this is evidence.

    The witness was here sent out of court.

    Mr. Scarlett said he was about to show that some of these persons who were training, and who assaulted Murray, had attended the meeting of the 16th, and had also cheered opposite Murray's house; he would show that Mr. Hunt and his party had done the same.  This, he conceived, was perfectly regular.

    Mr. Justice Bayley: When you have shown that any of the persons of the White Moss party were at the meeting on the 16th, then it will be evidence, but I think you had better prove that first.

    The witness was again called in and examined, and said the first person he saw at the meeting on the 16th was a man whom he had seen at the White Moss, with a letter brought from Manchester.  A person arrived at White Moss after witness had seen Murray; the parties then formed into a square like four walls, and the man who was to read the letter was in the centre.  The letter was not read, as they said there was no name to it, and they would have nothing to do with it; the man then joined them.  The man who was to have read the letter was the man who led up the Middleton and Rochdale parties on Monday.  This man was drilling the men, and giving the word of command.

    Such was the first link of the evidence which, by inference, connected me with the White Moss affair.  Why that link was not broken will hereafter appear.  For the present Mr. Pearson advised me to sit still, and not cross-examine the witness; he would be sure, he said, to swear I was the man he saw at the Moss; he would swear right a-head, no doubt.  It was for the witness to point me out, and not for me to offer myself to his notice.  I accordingly kept my seat.  This was the only evidence tendered on the first day of the trial which applied to me.

    On the morning of the second clay the court was crowded soon after seven o'clock.  The rush when the doors were open was excessive, and a number of ladies again encountered the pressure of the crowd; they were soon, however, accommodated with such places as could be spared near the Bench, and in the magistrates' large box on the left.  The defendants were assisted by Mr. Harmer and Mr. Pearson as on the previous clay.  Mr. Justice Bayley took his seat at half-past nine.  Many persons of rank in the county were present during the day.

    William Morris, the first witness examined by Serjeant Cross, said: I am a weaver, residing five miles from Manchester.  In the month of August last I saw many groups of people near Middleton; Samuel Bamford used to be amongst them.  Early on the morning of the 16th of August, I saw many hundreds of people put into regular form at Middleton, with two flags, and twenty-five men were in each section.  I know not who formed them into sections, but there certainly was a large number collected—two or three thousand at least.  They marched off four abreast, after being first drawn into the form of a square, in the inside of which was placed a chair, on which Bamford stood and said:—"Friends and neighbours, I have a few words to relate; you will march off this place quietly, and not insult any one, but rather take an insult.  I do not think there will be any disturbance, or anything to do; if there is, it will be after we come back—there is no fear, the day is our own."  He got off the chair and distributed laurel amongst the men who were to command the sections.  They put it, some in their breasts, and some in their hats.  Before they went away a large number of people came arranged in form from Rochdale, with a band of music before them, and bearing two flags.  Both bodies joined and went off together, each with a cap of liberty.  The men had nothing in their hands but bits of switches, or small sticks.  Before that day I saw the Middleton people forming and arranging, both in fields and highroads.  Bamford was with them at different times.  John Whitworth, who had been a private in the Sixth Regiment of Foot, was drilling the men, but not on the 16th of August.  John Heywood, who had been a private in the Sixth Dragoons, had also done the same.

    In his cross-examination by me the witness said: I heard you recommend them to be peaceable, and understood you wished them to continue so during the whole day.  Many thousands went with the Middleton and Rochdale people who were not formed with them, as well as a good deal of women and children.

    Such was the evidence of this witness: it was, I dare say, as near the truth as he could recollect, and was, on the whole, strongly in my favour.  I knew some points in his character which would have enabled me to put him through a severe cross-examination, but I forebore, not wishing to injure the testimony he had given on my behalf.  Hunt, however, who could not miss an opportunity for display, took him up, and handled him most unmercifully; on which Serjeant Hullock remarked aside to one of his brother counsel, what a fool Hunt must be to destroy the man's credibility, he being to all intents and purposes our witness.  The life of this man had been one of adventure and intrigue.  He had been long in the army, and deserted from it whilst a sergeant on a foreign station, taking with him his arms and accoutrements.  Soon after this trial he was apprehended for passing forged Bank of England notes, and was convicted, but, strong interest having been used to save his life, he was transported, and died abroad.

    John Heaton being examined by Mr. Littledale, said:—I live at Middleton, and am a plumber and glazier.  On the morning of the 16th of August I saw many people assembled, and Samuel Bamford among them, and in front.  They had music and two flags.  The inscriptions were—"Liberty, Strength, and Unity," and something with a cap on a pole.  Bamford had a bunch of laurel in his hand, and many others had a little of it in their hats.

    In my cross-examination, he said: I saw nothing but small sticks.  I don't know your wife, but there were many women and children, three, four, and five abreast, who appeared to partake of the conviviality of the procession.  The people did not appear sulky; they had no angry looks, but were more, as it were, in joy.  I have some little property, and had then, but I felt no occasion to go home and shut my doors when I saw this procession.

    On the third day James Platt swore to having seen me on the hustings on St. Peter's Field, and this finished the evidence against me; but the criminatory proceedings were not closed until the afternoon of the fourth day.  The court continued to be crowded each day from an early hour.  The ladies seemed still as curious as at first, and their eagerness to witness the proceedings induced many of them to seek an entrance into the court, through privileged avenues, so early as seven o'clock.  At eight the public gates were generally thrown open, and the galleries and area became speedily filled, in the usual hurried manner, by a mixed throng, which rushed into every seat and corner of the court that was not defended by constables, for the use of magistrates, attorneys, and jurors.

    On the evening of the second day, Mr. Harmer left us to attend the trial, if I mistake not, of Sir Francis Burdett, at Leicester.  A Mr. Bryant, who I understood to be a kind of chamber counsel at London, remained with Hunt and Pearson, and assisted the former in making his points and objections, but from him I derived no benefit.  The time was now approaching when I should be called on for my defence, yet I had never had one minute's private conversation with our attorney; he had never, according to my recollection, been at my inn, nor asked me to his, nor had he ever spoken to one of my witnesses, or given me any instructions, except those already noticed, for the collection of evidence; I was, in fact, entirely left to my own resources.  Every night after the court had risen, he, Hunt and Bryant, retired and spent the evening together, and remained unapproachable by, and invisible to, the other defendants.  Indeed, excepting those who had counsel, Hunt, so far as I was enabled to judge, was the only one of the party who had the benefit of careful legal advice.  During my cross-examination of the witnesses against me, Mr. Pearson would occasionally suggest a question, or advise the suppression of one; but in other respects I was left to seek counsel from my own judgment.  I regret having to say this, but truth requires it.  Every night Hunt retired with his friends, discussing the occurrences of the day and preparing for the next; consequently, he came into court ready at all points, and, like a loaded gun, he only required a sudden impulse to make a grand discharge.  Under these circumstances it was no wonder that he performed so well, that he appeared to be so greatly talented, whilst his co-defendants had not credit for the little talent which some of them really possessed.  This was just the position which Hunt wished himself and us to occupy.  He would be all in all, and he could not endure that the humblest of us should come betwixt the public and himself, that the smallest shadow should intercept one ray of his luminous presence.  This intense selfishness was constantly displayed in all his actions.  I saw it and was astonished; I could not account for it except by condemning him, and that was not to be thought of; though the facts came oozing out like water-drops, I could not harbour an unkind thought of our leader; "it was his way it was the way of great folks it was perhaps necessary that he should do so and so"; anything, in fact, rather than allow the unwelcome truth to whisper that in his weak points Hunt was the weakest of men.  I had recently some misgivings as to the integrity of his character, but they had speedily vanished; I could not endure an unworthy opinion of any of my comrades, still less of him who occupied the most prominent station before the public.  This may be called simplicity; it was the simplicity of an uncorrupted mind.  I deemed all reformers as good as myself, and I knew that I could answer for the sincerity and disinterestedness of my own intentions.  It was not until years had elapsed that observation and reflection enabled me to penetrate the mist which had so long enveloped me.  Then it was that I became aware of the real nature of past transactions and of the character of some who had been my political friends and fellow-workers in the cause of reform.

    But during this important trial circumstances arose which compelled us at times to forget all anxiety and seriousness.  Healey, as before intimated, was one of the five defendants who had a seat at the barristers' table.  On the second clay, Mr. Scarlett had a smelling-bottle which he frequently used, and then laid on the table before him.  Our friend the doctor was seated nearly opposite to the learned gentleman, and I observed him once or twice cast very desirous looks towards the phial whilst the barrister was using it.  Mr. Scarlett, however, did not, or affected not to, notice our surgical friend, and at last the patience of the latter being tried beyond control, he leaned across the table and very respectfully solicited the loan of the bottle, which was readily granted.  "Oh yes, doctor! by all means," said Mr. Scarlett, politely handing it to him, who immediately applied it to his nose and evinced its pungency by very zestful sneezing, which obliged him to apply his handkerchief to his eyes.  Of course there was some tittering around the table and Mr. Scarlett was declared to have "taken the doctor fairly by the nose."  Hunt laughed till his eyes were brim full, whilst Healey sat quite unconscious and serious.  Soon after the bottle was returned with compliments and the trial claimed our attention.  On the third day Mr. Scarlett did not bring the smelling-bottle, and the doctor seemed disappointed.  On the fourth day the doctor lugged a long, square smelling-bottle out of his pocket and laid it down before him.  Mr. Scarlett took no notice.  The doctor smelled and laid it down.  Mr. Scarlett took no notice.  The, doctor smelled again.  Mr. Scarlett did not see him.  At length, determined not to be outdone in generosity, the doctor thrust it towards Mr. Scarlett with a bow and a request that he would use it.  Mr. Scarlett coloured, but he good-humouredly took the phial and, having smelled, he politely returned it with thanks, which the doctor as politely acknowledged.  The same ceremony was repeated once, if not oftener afterwards, and the doctor, then perfectly satisfied, gave up the farce.

    On the morning of Sunday, the 19th of March, I retired to my little back room at a cottage opposite the inn, for I boarded at the latter place and lodged with a worthy couple across the street.  I now read and compared my notes and spent several hours in framing the heads of my speech for the day following.  On the morning of Monday, Mr. Chapman was sent by a committee of our friends, who were carrying into effect arrangements for the subsistence of the witnesses; the latter had been boarded at our hotel at the rate, if I mistake not, of five shillings per head per day, and it was found necessary to reduce the expenditure, else there would not be funds to carry us through the trial.  The witnesses were thenceforth to provide for themselves and would have an allowance of three shillings per clay for that purpose; all the money was to go into a common fund for disbursements.  I accordingly handed to him what money I had remaining, and that cause of anxiety was removed from my mind.

    It became apparent towards the noon of Monday, the fourth day of the trial, that the prosecutors were about to close their case, and that the defence must be commenced on the afternoon of that day.  Whilst we were talking of the matter, Hunt said, "Bamford, you will be called on to address the court the first of all the defendants."  I said I thought that scarcely probable, as we should most likely be called in the order in which our names stood in the indictment.  Hunt said he knew that was contemplated by the opposing counsel, and particularly by Mr. Scarlett, who wanted to bring him out in the evening when he was exhausted, the court wearied, and the public satiated and listless.  But, with an oath, he said he was not to be taken aback that way, he was too old a bird to be caught by such a manoeuvre.  He then opened to me his plans and said that Messrs. Barrow and Holt, the counsel for Moorhouse, Jones, and Saxton, would first address the court, then I should be called on, next Healey, then Swift, and lastly Johnson.  I asked him if he thought the opposing parties would acquiesce in that arrangement, and he said if Mr. Scarlett objected, as he durst say he would, he himself would make a special application to the judge on the subject, or to adjourn the trial until the following day.  "Now, Bamford, by—" he said, "I'll tell you what you must do if called this afternoon."  "Well, Well, what should I do?" I inquired.  "You must talk against time," he said.  "Talk against time?" I asked, "what's that?"  "You must keep possession of the court an hour and a half at least," he said; "you must talk to put on time in order to prevent them from calling on me under any circumstances to-night.  I know well that is what Scarlett is aiming at, and we must play our game so as to put it beyond his power."  "But I am not prepared with matter for an hour and a half's speech," I said; "I should break down if I attempted it."  "Don't mind that," he replied, "don't mind anything, only keep on."  "I should make myself look like a fool, and they would be laughing at me and stopping me," I replied.  "Pshaw! and suppose they did, you could listen and, when they had done, begin again."  "But I should not know what to say."  "Say! say anything, the d—est nonsense in the world, never mind what you say, only keep on until they cannot call me to-day."  Something like a glimmer of the naked truth flashed across my reluctant mind and I replied: "No, Mr. Hunt, I will not do as you desire, I will not exhibit myself before this court as a fool; I will speak as long as I can speak, to the purpose and with common sense.  I would speak until dark if that would serve you, and I was prepared for the task; but I am not, and I won't make myself ridiculous." "Very well," said Hunt, and looked another way, quite cool and distant.

    I then showed the manuscript of my address to Mr. Pearson, and he advised the striking out of a passage wherein I alluded to the circumstance of my having slept at the house of my wife's uncle on the night previous to Murray being at White Moss, and to the fact of the servant girl having removed my shoes whilst cleaning the house after I went to bed, and my not being able to find them on the following morning and her having to find them for me.  He said that passage should be erased; it had not been proved that I was at White Moss, and the attempt to explain away what had not been proved would rather strengthen the opinion, if such existed, that there was really some truth in the supposition of my having been on the Moss.  I reminded him of what Chadwick had sworn, and of what Morris and Heaton had sworn, as to my leading up the people, but he said that was not sufficient to call on me for a replication; I had not been pointed out, not personally identified by Chadwick, and I had best not take any notice of that part of the evidence.  I must confess I did not see this distinction clearly, but I yielded to his advice and the passage was struck out; the servant girl alluded to also was not examined as to that point by me.

    I think it was about three o'clock in the afternoon when Michael Fitzpatrick, a reporter for the New Times, and the last witness for the prosecution, made his exit from the witness-box.  Mr. Barrow and Mr. Holt then addressed the court on behalf of their several clients, and Mr. Hunt made application to the judge that I should next be heard, and the other defendants after me, in order that, as an indulgence, his address might be deferred until the following morning.  Mr. Scarlett, I think, observed that such a course would be irregular, but did not strongly object to it, and the favour was granted.  I accordingly addressed the court in the following terms:—

    "My lord, and gentlemen of the jury,—Before I enter into a detail of the evidence which I intend to produce in my defence, I think it necessary to notice some expressions made use of by the learned counsel for the prosecution in the speech which he addressed to the court on the opening of these proceedings.   I allude to that part of his address where he said that 'Bamford was seen training a body of ten thousand men on the morning of the 16th.'  If the brief which the learned gentleman had before him instructed him to make such an assertion, so much the better, and I sincerely wish, for his own honour, that it may be so.  [Mr. Scarlett intimated across the table that such were his instructions.]  But your lordship and the jury cannot have failed to observe that the testimony of Morris contains no such proof, and he alone has appeared against me with respect to the transactions that took place at Middleton, previous to our movement towards Manchester.  Indeed, Morris states that he knew not who formed the people into section, division, and square; that they were so formed, but by whom he does not undertake to say.  The learned gentleman also, in commenting upon some of the banners and their inscriptions, described one as bearing the words 'Annual Parliaments' and 'Universal Suffrage,' and insinuated that such were put forth as a demand, whence he inferred a design to subvert the constitution and government.  Now, the mottoes on the banner so erroneously described, were nothing more than an avowal of what we considered, and do still consider, as our political right.  There was no such thing as a demand about it; why should we demand that which we were going to Manchester to petition for?

    "With respect to drilling, I have, in common with my neighbours, heard much, seen some, and could have seen more; for it was, to use a common, though very memorable, phrase, 'as notorious as the sun at noonday.'  If it will not be trespassing too much on the time of the court, I will endeavour to give a brief account of its origin and intention.  In the course of the last six years Manchester has witnessed many public meetings, to all of which, with the exception of the last, great numbers of people from the surrounding towns and villages proceeded in groups; and on these occasions they were uniformly styled by the Liberal and venal press of the place, mobs-riotous, tumultuous, and disorderly mobs; they were ridiculed as illiterate, dirty, and mean, having chapped hands and greasy nightcaps.  They were scandalised as being drunken and disorderly, as being libellous and seditious, dividers of property, and destroyers of social order; and was it not then very natural that these poor, insulted, and vilified people should wish to rescue themselves from the unmerited imputations which were wantonly cast on their character?  It certainly was natural that they should wish to give the lie to their enemies, and thereby show to the nation and to the world that they were not what they had been represented to be.  They determined to give one example of peace and good order, such as should defy the most bitter of their enemies to criminate, and for this purpose, and this alone, was the drilling, so styled, instituted.  Only one witness for the prosecution has sworn to having heard amongst the drillers the word 'fire'; all the others swear only to their facing, and to their marching in file and in line, which evolutions were certainly most suited to familiarise them with that uniformity of motion which would be necessary for the preservation of due order and decorum in their progress to the place of meeting.  But as to these facts I do not tender to your lordship and the jury my own assertion only.  I refer you to the papers laid before the House of Commons, relative to the internal state of the country.  The particular document to which I refer in those papers is dated the 5th of August, only four clays previous to the first proposed meeting at Manchester, which should have been on the 9th; so that if we suppose the drilling parties to have been in existence a week or a fortnight before the day on which the letter referred to is dated, the ground of my argument is strengthened.  That military gentleman who did us the honour to stand so long before us on Saturday evening, and whose services, I trow, consisted in marching with Colonel Fletcher from Bolton to Manchester, and from Manchester to Bolton, talks of 'midnight drillings,' and of parties coming to the meeting in 'beautiful order.'  The former representation is not, I presume, legal evidence, and, of course, will not appear on your lordship's notes.  The latter confirms what I have said respecting the wish of the people to preserve the strictest decorum.

    "Your lordship and the jury will find by the evidence which I shall produce that by nine o'clock on the morning of the ever memorable 16th of August, numbers of persons assembled at Middleton; that they were formed into a hollow square; and that whilst so formed I addressed them, earnestly cautioning them to be on their guard against enemies, and representing the advantage which might be taken of their numbers to create a riot by persons who might be employed for that sole purpose; that I advised them not to insult any person, but rather suffer an insult on that day, as their opponents would be glad of a pretext to accuse them of riot and disorder; that I entreated them to bear towards every one a spirit of good-will, in token of which I distributed amongst them branches of laurel, emblems of purity and peace, as described by Morris and Heaton; and having heard that if I went to the meeting the police of Manchester would, on its own responsibility, arrest me, I cautioned the people against offering any resistance, if such an attempt should be made, as I preferred an appeal to the laws of my country rather than to force; that I insisted no sticks should be taken, and that in consequence several were left by the way; that we went in the greatest hilarity and good-humour, preceded by a band of music, which played loyal and national airs; and that our fathers, our mothers, our wives, our children, and our sweethearts were with us.  And this was the dreadful military array which the learned counsel described as I one vast army, bearing from all parts to the invasion of Manchester'—poor, forlorn, defenceless Manchester.  These were 'the soldiers ready to fight for Mr. Hunt'; with bare heads and with arms locked—a fighting posture, forsooth—who terrified that immortal author of green books, Mr. Francis Phillips; and of such persons, oh, dreadful to relate! was formed that 'cordon,' impenetrable to everything, save the newly ground sabres of the Manchester Yeomanry Cavalry."

    At this time the judge arose hastily and motioned me to cease speaking; the blood had gushed from his nose on the cushion before him, and he retired, with the High Sheriff, and one or two gentlemen that were near him.  In a short time his lordship returned, and I merely added some conversations on the conduct of a magistrate who had detained papers of mine, which, being a manuscript of one of Hoyle's games at draughts, the zealous functionary suspected it might possibly be the plan of a plot in cypher.  I also said I should leave my share of the general defence to Mr. Hunt, whose superior knowledge and eloquence would, no doubt, obtain for us full justice, which was all we wanted.

    In confirmation of this speech, I adduced evidence which showed that I inculcated peace and good order to the Middleton party before we left Barrowfields; that there was not to be any opposition to the police, should they come to arrest me or any other person; that the people were to keep themselves select, and return with their banners, and not to stop in the town drinking, nor loitering in the streets; that no sticks were allowed in the procession except to aged persons, and that several were resigned on the ground, or left by the way; that the wives of several of the party accompanied their husbands, and that there were many young females and children with the procession; that we seemed quite cheerful on the road; that there were no symptoms of alarm in Middleton or on the road; and that the drillings were public and in open day.  In short, all that I advanced in my speech was fully confirmed by my evidence.

    After me, Swift, Healey, and Johnson got up in succession.  Healey had for a day or two appeared to be labouring under a cold with hoarseness.  He sat opposite the judge, with a handkerchief thrown over his head, the corners drooping on his shoulders, exactly as the flaps of his lordship's wig drooped on his.  He frequently looked up towards the glass dome above him, as if a stream of air came from thence and he was affected by it; but he did not attempt to move to another seat, which he probably would have done, had he experienced illness from that cause.  Whether this was the case or not, it is a fact that he had a speech to read which had been written by a friend at Lees, and he could not read it.  He then had a cold, became hoarse, and the clerk of the court read the speech for him.  This official was a well-fed, red-faced, snub-nosed personage, with spectacles on his nose, and a wig of legal cut on his head.  He held the document at a considerable altitude, as if he were looking over his spectacles instead of through them, and he read the speech in a monotonous, half-speaking, half-singing tone, much as a school-boy, some twenty years ago would have droned out his lesson.  The doctor stood at his elbow, his looks evincing surprise and disappointment, that his document should have fallen into such incapable hands; next he became impatient, as was manifest by his varying attitudes and sharp gesticulations, by which he meant to supply the want of modulation and emphasis in the reader.  An artist was in court sketching at the time, and if he took this pair of originals, his portfolio may some day turn out one singular illustration of nature.

    Hunt had thus obtained what he so ardently desired, a night for consultation, reflection, and repose, and a crowded morning audience for his grand exhibition.  I shall not dwell upon his defence, except to notice one passage relative to Richard Carlile.  In the commencement of his address he said, "I am not only charged in the opening speech of the learned counsel with having attempted to overthrow the constituted authorities of my country, but also to extinguish in the flame of infidelity the altar of our holy religion.  It has been industriously promulgated that I was connected with Mr. Carlile; it has been promulgated that I am a man of his principles.  Where is the proof?  Without it why should the imputation have been cast?  I shall not advert to the conduct of that man, because the law has imposed its punishment upon him, and he is now enduring the reward of his temerity.  It would, therefore, be improper, and imprudent and unjust for me in open court to touch upon such a subject, but why was the topic introduced?  I will tell you, gentlemen—to connect our cause with that of irreligion, and to identify the cause of the reformers with that of Mr. Carlile.  I profess to be a reformer, but not a leveller; I profess to be a lover of liberty, but not of licentiousness; sweet, lovely liberty, gentlemen, is pure and amiable as sacred truth; licentiousness is a disgraceful as darkness and falsehood."  And then in a subsequent passage, he said, "You have heard the miserable attempt to fix upon me an irreligious connection with Carlile.  I have known the man, and if I do not say what I think of him, it is because he is now suffering, the sentence of the law, and therefore is not a fit subject for anybody's animadversion.  Of him I shall say nothing now, but I shall say that none of the principles, professions, or doctrines he is said to have espoused were ever, at any moment of my life, imbibed by or believed in by me.  In the face of God and my country I most solemnly declare that I never read one line of the theological works of Carlile until Dr. Stoddart's libel upon me first put them into my hands in the following manner.  Mr. Scarlett was then employed, as he is now, against me in the court of King's Bench.  Carlile's trial was going on, mine was the very next, and I was bound to watch it, or else expose myself to the consequences of being absent when called on—a verdict for the defendant.  Such was my unfortunate case, or else I should not have been in London, much less in court, when Carlile's trial was pending.  I here further declare, in the face of heaven, that among the reformers, rich or poor, I never recollect to have seen one line of the theological works of Thomas Paine.  Why, then, identify the reformers with such doctrines?  Good God! was it not enough to charge us with crimes against our fellow-men, but that also we must be designated as infidels against our religion and our God."

    Whilst Hunt uttered those last sentences the tears trickled down his face.  "Good God!" I also mentally exclaimed, "Is it possible? are not my ears deceiving me?"  Carlile, the reader will recollect, was one of those who went with Hunt in the carriage from Johnson's to the meeting on the morning of the 16th.  He was so fortunate as to escape from the field, and had since been tried, found guilty, and sentenced to imprisonment for a theological work, if I mistake not; and was at the moment Hunt thus denounced and renounced him in prison.  No human power, nor dread of human power, should have been able to compel Hunt to make use of such language at that time, and under those circumstances.  Whatever Carlile was, good or bad, religious or the contrary, the law had for the present done its work with him, and that is seldom part done; and, above all other moments, that was not the one to aim a clumsy and treacherous blow at a late comrade, now bound and fettered.  "Can this," thought I, "be also one of the fashionable levities of great folks?  If it be, it is requisite that I should be more guarded and more self-governed in future."  And so I was; I continued to respect Hunt for his good points, but I was no longer entirely blinded to his faults.  I never could forget this scene.

    It was about the second or third day of the trial that, in cross-examination, I put what was considered a leading question.  One of the counsel immediately called it back, and said that was not the proper way to put it.  I apologised on account of my ignorance of the forms of examinations, when Serjeant Hullock, nodding his head, said, "a pretty apt scholar, however, I think."

    One morning I observed that Mr. Scarlett was reading some verses of mine (the Lancashire Hymn) in a Manchester newspaper.  In the evening, when I was passing along the corridor from the court, I accidently joined Mr. Scarlett and Mr. Maule, the solicitor for the Government.  They both recognised me respectfully, and I returned the salute.  Mr. Scarlett said he had seen some verses of mine which were certainly open to comment by the prosecution, but he should not make any use of them to my prejudice.  He also said he understood I had published a small poetical work, called "The Weaver Boy."  I said I had.  He then said, if it should so happen that I should have to come to London in consequence of the trial, he could wish me to bring him a copy.  I said I would do so with pleasure, and if I did not come up, I would forward one to him.  Mr. Maule said, "And let me have a copy also."  I said I would take care he had one, and so with mutual civilities we parted.

    After the defence was closed, and when Mr. Scarlett was making his speech in reply, I certainly felt more surprised than flattered by the distinction which he thought proper to make in my favour.  "Bamford," he said, "and when he mentioned the name of that defendant, he could not but express his regret at the situation in which he saw him now placed; he (Mr. Scarlett) admired his talents and the respectful manner in which he had conducted his defence, and probably others as well as himself (Mr. Scarlett) were sorry that he was not found in better company."

    One day I had done something which pleased Hunt mightily, and when the court broke up and we were in the yard, Hunt said, "Come, Bamford, take my arm, you are my right-hand man."  I took his arm, and we walked down the street with a great crowd at our heels, shouting "Hunt for ever! Hunt for ever!" and huzzaing.  Looking back, I saw the judge's carriage with his lordship in, and the horses restive in consequence of the noise, and I put out my hand and desired the crowd to be silent.  Hunt heard what I said, and, giving me a sudden jerk, began cursing in his usual wont when in a passion, and asked who ordered me to stop the people from shouting?  I pointed to the carriage then in the midst of us, the horses still prancing; but that did not pacify my shout-loving friend, and he continued his maledictions until I turned to go to my lodgings.  A similar cause of displeasure was given by Moorhouse on another night when the mail-coach was passing, and was in danger of being upset.  Moorhouse received his reprimand at Hunt's apartments, and was then invited to walk out of the room.  He wept with mortification!  I laughed, as I have often done since, when thinking of the circumstance.

    A female witness from Middleton, a married woman, gave very important evidence in a most impressive manner, and was to return home the following morning.  Before going she wished to see Mr. Hunt, in order to have the honour of saying she had shaken hands with the great man.  I offered to introduce her, and we went to Hunt's apartments, but he was not there, and we were referred to a tavern, the "Black Swan," I think, in Coney Street.  We found there that Hunt, Bryant, and several others were upstairs, and I sent in my name, and after standing in the bar a short time the waiter said, "Mr Hunt could not be seen, he was engaged."  I thought there must be some mistake, and requested the man to give my compliments to Mr. Hunt, and say I should be glad to see him for a minute.  The man did so, and came down again with the same result, I was ashamed and offended at receiving such a slight; but, determined that he should not have any ground to plead a misunderstanding, I desired the waiter to go up once more, and say a lady who was going into Lancashire wished to bid him good-bye.  The servant very obligingly went up again and returned as before, "Mr. Hunt could not be seen."  The next morning I took my seat at a distance from him in the court, and it was not until repeated overtures on his part, and many fervent expressions of regret, that I resumed conversation with him.  But I could scarcely have justified myself if I had suffered any personal offence to alienate me from him during the trial.  I considered the cause too great, too holy, to suffer injury in the least by any circumstance affecting one so humble as myself.  I was, in fact, too simple-minded, too sincere, and too generous for the situation in which I was placed; and it was not until multiplied acts of deception and ingratitude had been practised upon me, that I learned (if I have yet done so) to value mankind according to their real worth.  I narrate the above as a specimen of the intercourse and confidence which existed among us at York.  The same really contemptible feeling of classism, the curse of England and Englishmen, and of Englishwomen also, existed in too great a degree amongst the witnesses.  There were "the broad cloth" and "the narrow cloth" ones, the rich and the poor; and the former seldom sought opportunities for intercommunication with the latter, but rather shunned them.  This "pride that licks the dust"—for it is nothing else—has begot a counteraction as wrong as itself.  It has filled the working classes with a fierce contempt and hatred of every one wearing a decent coat.  This latter is being as mad as the other is being mean.  The proper course for those who feel and contemn class distinction, is, first of all, to respect themselves; next, to invite a respectful equality by unoffending manners; and thirdly, to assert their right position in society by withholding the smallest deference to mere assumption.  This would be quite sufficient, without rudeness or noise, to restore the natural balance of society.

    When the judge came to read over the evidence, the following passage occurred: "The next evidence, (for the prosecution) was that which related to Bamford, and it only showed that he recommended peace and order; still he was identified with the placards if they thought them illegal.  If a meeting for considering a reform in Parliament be illegal, he is an offender, but it was his (the judge's) duty to tell them that it was not.  There was no illegality in carrying sticks unless they were for an unlawful purpose—nor banners, unless their tenor was such as to excite suspicion of the objects of those who carried them, or concurred in bringing them with an evil intention.  As to numbers, they alone did not make a meeting illegal, unless attended with such circumstances as did actually excite terror, or were reasonably calculated to excite terror; such circumstances were forbidden by the law.  They had truly heard that where there was no law there was no transgression; if the meeting was innocently intended, then the law was not violated.  We next come," observed his lordship, "to Healey's admonitory remark to me, to take care, and not in anything I say to prejudice your minds against him.  If I do, gentlemen, discard any expression of mine having such a tendency altogether from your minds.  I mean to do my duty with integrity, to the best of my poor judgment.  If I err, and err with intention, then, gentlemen, there is that power to which I am awfully responsible.  Between the crown on one hand, and my country on the other, I shall do, I hope, equal justice.  The defendants, I trust, shall suffer no undue prejudice at my hands—my conscience will uphold me in what I have to say to you; and He who will sit in judgment on all our poor acts will have to determine what motive dictated them.  I have now closed my observations upon the evidence for the prosecution, and before I sum up that for the defence, I wish to state that I have made a summary of it, which will bring its leading points with less fatigue to your minds.  If, however, I omit anything material to any of the defendants, or, as I go on, shall miss one fact in their favour, then it will only be necessary to remind me of the omission, and I will read in detail the part to which my attention is called."

    Mr. Hunt: Probably you will allow us, my lord, to avail ourselves of your kind permission, as you go on, without deeming our interruption obtrusive?

Justice Bayley: Yes, Mr. Hunt, I not only allow you, but I desire you promptly, as I go on, to call my attention as you please.

    The learned judge resumed his charge, and said that, "with respect to Bamford, all that had been proved in his speech was a recommendation to peace and order.  There were no sticks in his group, save a few common walking-sticks, carried by old men.  There were women and children in the throng, and it was for the jury to consider whether Bamford and these people, carrying their wives and daughters with them to such a crowd, meant to create on that day riot, tumult, and disorder?  With such an intention nothing was less likely than that they would carry to the scene those who were the dearest objects of their affection.  According to the evidence for Bamford, the people in his party, so far from being tumultuous, were peaceable and joyful, and the drilling, as it was called, so far from being illegal and nocturnal, was open and innocent; the only object of it being merely to enable the people to attend the meeting as conveniently for each other and the public as it was possible."  The learned judge then enumerated the names of the witnesses who swore that the Middleton party, on the 16th of August, went to the meeting in the utmost peace, and conducted themselves whilst there with equal tranquillity.  "There was no act of violence," said his lordship, "according to these witnesses, committed by them, no violation of peace, which would bring them under the reprehension of the law; and so far in favour of Bamford."  And again, whilst commenting on the various flags, his lordship said, "with respect to Bamford, who went with the Middleton flags, nothing could be more decent than his conduct throughout the day.  If the account given by the witnesses he adduced be a correct description, he everywhere recommended peace and order."

    At a quarter past twelve the learned judge closed his charge, and the jury retired.  Shortly before five they returned into court, and the foreman read their verdict as follows:—

    "Moorhouse, Jones, Wilde, Swift, and Saxton, not guilty.  Henry Hunt, Joseph Johnson, John Knight, Joseph Healey, and (to the astonishment of the judge, the bar, and the audience) Samuel Bamford, guilty of assembling with unlawful banners, an unlawful assembly, for the purpose of moving and inciting the liege subjects of our sovereign lord the king to contempt and hatred of the government and constitution of the realm, as by law established, and attending at the same."

    Mr. Justice Bayley: Do you mean that they themselves intended to incite ?

    The Foreman: Yes.

    Mr. Justice Bayley: Let the verdict be so recorded.  You find, gentlemen, on such counts as the words of your verdict are applicable to.  Do you find that they created terror, or incited it in the liege subjects of the king?

    The Foreman: We mean, my lord, to find on the first count, omitting a few words.

    The learned judge then requested they would retire and look over the counts of the indictment again, and say to which count they meant to apply their verdict.

    The jury withdrew, and in a few minutes returned with a verdict of guilty generally on the fourth count, and not guilty on the remaining counts.

    Mr. Justice Bayley: I take it for granted the defendants are still under recognizance?

    Mr. Hunt: We are, my lord.

    Mr. Justice Bayley: Then let them now additionally, in court, enter into their own recognizances to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for six months, Mr. Hunt in the sum of two thousand pounds, Mr. Johnson in one thousand, and Bamford and Healey in five hundred each.

    The parties immediately gave their several recognizances.

    His lordship addressing the jury, said they had his best thanks for the patient attention they had bestowed on this arduous trial.  He was very much obliged to them.  Then, facing the body of the court, his lordship added, "I very much approve of the conduct of the court at the time the verdict was given in"—alluding, as was understood, to the universal silence which prevailed at the time.

    The reader will perhaps not think that I speak too strongly when I say that the infamy of the verdict against myself has seldom been surpassed.

    During the whole of the ten days' investigation I did not observe that any one of the jury took a single note of the evidence, or that they indicated by the action of a single muscle of countenance, that any impression was made on their minds.  They sat motionless, and like men who were asleep with their eyes open; and it was clear, from the bungling form in which they presented their first verdict, that they had agreed upon it from a vague recollection of some point in evidence, and a clumsy misapplication of the counts in the indictment.

    In a short time after we had left the court I was somewhat surprised by the information that Hunt, Pearson, and Bryant were about to leave York that night.  I therefore hastened to Mr. Pearson and represented to him that I had not any money whatever to pay my lodging and tavern bills, every farthing I had having been given up to Mr. Chapman.  Mr. Pearson advanced me two pounds, and I went and discharged what I owed.  The next morning the generous-hearted Moorhouse yoked up his coach and dragged a full load of witnesses and defendants to Huddersfield, where we stopped for the night.  The following morning (Wednesday) Moorhouse found that, in consequence of the heavy load, he should want a pair of leaders to help him over the hills, and he applied at several places, but in vain; no horse-keeper in Huddersfield would furnish us a pair for love or money; and the Radicals of the place, indignant at the paltry annoyance, harnessed themselves to the vehicle, and drew it over the steep hills as far as Blackmoor Bottom.  At Oldham our faithful and kind friends—alas, that so few of them remain!—met us, and conducted us to a good substantial dinner at the White Horse Inn.  Here I was met by my dear wife and child, and our present joy was only saddened by the reflection that ere long there must be another parting.  We were soon again in tender conversation by the hedgerows and green fields; and I arrived at Middleton "poor in gear," but rich in the satisfaction of having performed my duty well; in having, though condemned, largely contributed towards the vindication of the conduct of the reformers on the 16th of August; in having created a feeling of respect in my enemies, and a favourable impression in the upright judge who tried us; in having disclosed to a great assemblage of wealth and aristocracy, as well as to the nation at large, that somewhat of moral and intellectual respectability had been attained by the artisans of Lancashire, whom on this occasion I represented.  From that time they advanced a step in the grade of society; they were contemplated with a mingled feeling of curiosity and deference, and they were no longer considered as "the swinish multitude," "the base unwashed helots," nor denounced as the "dividers of property, and destroyers of social order."

    If I did this, or any part of it, for my working fellow countrymen, I was entitled to their gratitude.  We shall see ere long how that just claim was discharged; how they remembered one who, whilst pleading his own cause, had never forgotten theirs.


 
CHAPTER XXXII.

HOW THE AUTHOR WAS ASSISTED WHEN HE WANTED IT—THE EMPTINESS OF POPULAR APPLAUSE—AUTHOR'S DEPARTURE FROM MIDDLETON—HIS CHILD—FAREWELL TO HIS WIFE.


THE terms of our recognizances were that we should appear in the Court of King's Bench on the first day of the ensuing Easter term, and not depart therefrom without the permission of the court.  On the approach of that time, I therefore became anxious about the means whereby I should get to London.  I should have been miserable if from any circumstance I had incurred a risk of not being in court when called, and had thereby forfeited the bail which my friends had given with me.  My Radical acquaintances, however, never asked me when or how I was going, and I felt too much what was due to myself and my situation to throw out the least hint about the matter.  One or two of the most sordid and ungrateful of my acquaintance, and God knows I had too many such, even told me that I needed not expect any assistance from them, even if I went to prison.  I smiled in contempt, and replied that it would be time to deny me their assistance when I asked for it.  Others there were who no doubt would have acted with an honourable considerateness had I made known to them my total want of funds for the journey, but I deemed it their place to ask me, and not mine to ask them.  I could not but feel that I was about to be victimised on their account; I knew what was my duty, and was prepared to do it, but I would not condescend to remind them of theirs.

    One day I was at Manchester, and in conversation about these matters I asked Mr. Evans, the editor of The Observer, if there were any funds in the town which would be available in assisting the convicted parties to London?  He said he had some money in hand belonging to the relief fund, and asked me how much I should want?  I said I should think three pounds would be sufficient.  He said I should have it, and if I would call on him a day or two before I set off he would pay it me.  I called on him the week following, and he gave me three pounds.  I purchased a pair of strong shoes, a pair or two of hose, and some other necessary articles, and then I went home and prepared in other respects for the journey.

    It would be of no use to dwell on the hours of care, thoughtfulness, and anxiety on my part, nor of the regrets and tears which I tried to soothe and to suppress on behalf of my wife and child.  Every one with a heart susceptible of our common human emotions will understand and appreciate their feelings and mine.  Suffice it to say that when the last moment had been spent on my hearth, I started to my feet, threw my stick and bundle over my shoulder, locked the door, gave my wife the key, and with her on my arm, and my little girl by the hand, I took my way down Middleton and towards Manchester.  I could not but reflect that when I went that way on the 16th of August there were ten thousand with me ready to shout, sing, or do whatever I requested; now, as if they were afraid I should want something from them, not a soul came forth to say "God be with you."  One or two whom I saw on the road did, as they passed, ask if I was "going off," to which I replied by a nod.  The words stuck in my throat, I was ashamed both for myself and them; ashamed of my past folly and of their present faithlessness.  At the bottom of the town we parted from our dear child, telling her to go to a certain neighbour's (as had been previously arranged), and be a good girl, and her mother would bring her something from Manchester.  She looked at us alternately, in tears, and then said, "And when will you come, father?"  I stooped, kissed her, and said I would come soon, and, dashing the drops from my eyes, I gave my arm to her mother, and we ascended the hill in silence.

    We stopped at Harpurhey, and whilst there a Middleton man, a weaver, came into the place, and said he understood I was going to London; I told him I was, and he urged me to accept a shilling, as he understood I had come away with but little, if any, money.  I thanked him, but refused to accept of it, alleging that I was better able to struggle with my difficulties than he was to spare a shilling from the wants of his large family.  He then said that as he was coming through Middleton John Ogden, a shopkeeper, and a neighbour whom I well knew, told him I was before him, and he would probably overtake me; that I had gone away without asking for, or receiving a farthing, and that if he overtook me he was to give me the shilling (which he put into his hand) and request me to accept it from him.  I said that altered the case; John Ogden was able to spare a shilling; I would therefore accept it, and he must give my thanks to the donor for his good and kind consideration.  My neighbour then took a glass of ale and smoked a whiff or two of his pipe, and hurried to the warehouse at Manchester; and, reader, that shilling was the only Middleton coin which I had in my pocket when I started for London to receive judgment.

    So much for the shouting, huzzaing, and the empty applause of multitudes.  A young aspirant to public notoriety may be excused if he feel a little tickled with the shouts of adulation, but whenever I see a grey-headed orator courting such acclamations, I set him down as being either a very shallow or a very designing person.  I have no patience with such hollow trumpery—with the fools who offer it, or the questionable ones who accept it.

    We stopped at the house of a relative that night, and the next morning I left Manchester in company with my wife and my friend and late co-defendant, Thacker Saxton.  At Stockport Saxton remained with some Radical friends whom he found there.  My wife still lingered with me, after having often stopped and gone on again.  At last we arrived at Stockport Moor; the afternoon was advanced, and the sun was descending.

"I saw the tear from her young eyes
 Affectionately starting,"

as my friend Spencer Hall has so beautifully expressed it; and here was a final pause and parting—that is, I left her standing with her looks bent towards me, and there she remained till distance closed the view.

    I now walked on at a quick pace, and had not gone many miles before I overtook a young man and his wife, who I soon learned were going to Macclesfield that night.  I said I was going to that place, and somewhat further; and when I told them of my destination, and that I intended to walk the journey, they were quite glad of my company, and we agreed to travel together.  I soon learned they were going from Preston to Loughborough, where they intended to settle amongst the woman's relations.  They were a very good-looking couple—he a stout, florid young fellow, and she a tall, handsome-featured woman; she was also a good walker, which he was not, being already foot-sore.

    On our arrival at Macclesfield my companions rested at a public house, whilst I went in search of some honest Radicals, to whom Saxton had given me letters of introduction.  They were chiefly working men; some of them were in pretty good circumstances, being master weavers.  I soon found them, and they took myself and fellow travellers to a decent inn, where we got refreshment, and spent a very agreeable evening.  In the morning, when our bill was called for, there was no charge against me, the kind friends who were with us the night before having settled everything which stood to my account.

    We set off from Macclesfield about six o'clock on a lovely morning, and soon were in a finely variegated and wooded country, as any one will allow who has travelled betwixt Macclesfield and Leek.  After walking some four or five miles we began to talk about breakfast, and my male companion said he would have cheese and bread and ale, whilst I anticipated a good breakfast of tea, with a couple of eggs, if they were to be had.  Soon after the man stopped, and his wife said as we went forward, she was glad I preferred tea for breakfast.  I asked her why, and she said her husband was a very hard-working man, and a good husband on the whole, but he was a little too greedy, and expected her to fare as he did on the road, instead of letting her have a few indulgences, such as tea and coffee.  It was not from want of money, she said, for he had enough with him, nor was it want of kindness to her—it was over-carefulness alone which made him so.  But now, as I was for having tea, he would hardly for shame deny her having some also.  I promised, if it was necessary, to put a word in for her, and she thanked me.  Having travelled a little further we came to a neat little tap-house, on the descent of a valley, where the cool shadow of trees made the air grateful and refreshing, and a tiny wimpling rill ran like melted pearls over dark gravel, beneath young-leafed hazels, and by green-swardecl margins.  Here we agreed to stop and take what the house afforded.  The smart-handed landlady soon placed a nice repast of tea, bread-and-butter, and a couple of eggs before me, whilst a jug of ale, with bread and cheese, were presented to my fellow-travellers.  The woman said she could not eat, and I asked her to come and join me at tea, adding, very likely the cost would be little more for tea than for the breakfast they had before them.  On hearing this opinion, her husband told her to get some tea, and then with great pleasure the woman came to my table and made a hearty breakfast.

    We rested awhile at this pleasant little hostel; the man and I (I might as well call him John at once) each smoked our pipe, with the window thrown up, and the cool breeze wafting around us. It was delicious to breakfast as we had done, and then to repose after a fine, health-creating morning's walk. John, however, I soon found, had not many conversational matters at his command. He was a plain, honest bricksetter; knew something of the value of work in his line, could make out an estimate of the expense of buildings and such things, and those were the most of what he understood.  Not so his wife, she was a sensible, well-informed woman for her station, and it was evident that on most subjects (except the purse-keeping) she was his superior, and exercised much influence over him.  She had been, as she afterwards informed me, a servant at an inn at Loughborough, where the young bricksetter, then on tramp, fell in love with and married her.  They went down to Preston to settle amongst his friends; he was very wild and reckless, and one day he fell from some scaffolding and was shockingly maimed, so that he could never be so stout again as he had been.  Latterly he had been more steady, and had saved a trifle of money, and as they had no children she had prevailed on him to return with her and live amongst her relations, and that was the cause of their journey.

    At Leek we rested again during an hour, took some refreshment, and then resumed our journey towards Ashborne.  In passing through the streets of Leek we noticed a number of weavers at their looms, and obtained permission to go into the weaving places and see them.  The rooms where they worked were on the upper floors of the houses; they were in general very clean; the work was all in the silk small-ware line, and many of the weavers were young girls—some of them good-looking, most of them very neatly attired, and many with costly combs, earrings, and other ornaments of value, showing that they earned a sufficiency of wages, and had imbibed a taste for the refinements of dress.  The sight of these young females, sitting at their elegant employment, producing rich borderings and trimmings, in good, well-aired, and well-finished apartments—some of them approached by stairs with carpets and oil cloths on them—the girls also being dressed in a style which two hundred years before would have been deemed rich for a squire's daughter, was to me very gratifying; whilst to my travelling companions it was equally surprising, and they expressed their feelings by sundry exclamations of astonishment.

    The afternoon was very hot, and we walked slowly—that is, I and the woman did—for poor John was sadly hobbled with his sore feet and we had to keep sitting down and waiting on the road for him to come up.  At length we gave him an hour's respite by stopping at a public house about four miles from Ashborne.  It was almost dark when we entered that very clean and pleasant little town.  At the first inn we went into we found accommodation, and, after partaking a good warm supper, with some hearty draughts of old ale and pipes for a dessert, we sought that repose which had now become necessary.

    The next morning we were up again early and continued my plan of travelling—namely, to walk a good stretch before breakfast.  We sat down after walking about six miles; our meal was as good as we could wish—coffee and eggs for the woman and myself, and ale, cheese, and bread for friend John.  We were now in a right farming country where large stacks, barns, and cattle-sheds were quite common on the roadsides.  The roads were broad and in good condition, and there were very often wide slips of good land on each side, apparently much trodden by cattle.  Occasionally we came to a neat, homely-looking cottage, with perhaps a large garden and a potato-ground attached, and with rose shrubs and honeybines clustering around the door.  These were specimens of our real English homes; there was no mistaking them; in no other country do such exist, and he or she who leaves this land expecting to meet with like homes in foreign ones, will be miserably disappointed.  In England alone is the term "home," with all its domestic comforts and associations, properly understood.  May it long continue the home of the brave, and eventually become the home of the really free!

    We stopped but a short time at Derby; I visited, however, the grave of Jeremiah Brandreth, in St. Cuthbert's churchyard, and paid to the remains of that deluded victim a tribute of heartfelt emotion.  I then joined my comrades and we hastened on, as well as John's feet would allow him, towards Shardlow.  There he got into a cart, and the female and I walked on, promising to wait at Kegworth till the cart arrived.  Some rain had fallen a few days before; the Trent had been flooded, and of all the verdant pastures I had ever beheld, none have surpassed the rich, vivid green of the meadows between Shardlow and Kegworth.  It was refreshing to look upon them, and as the sweet air came across them, cooling one's dewy brows, one almost felt tempted to stop and seek an abiding-place in that delicious valley.

    During our walk we had a very agreeable chat; I entered into some particulars of my early life and into matters always interesting to females, namely, the histories of some tender attachments which I had formed, but which had lapsed, either through my own indifference, or, as I was pleased to suppose, the faithlessness of the objects I loved.  This seemed to touch a tender chord in my companion, she was all attention, and when I paused, she put questions which compelled me to resume my narrative.  I spoke of the noble and exalted pleasures of true affection, and pictured the sickening pangs of love betrayed, and the unhappiness which must eventually haunt the betrayer, whether man or woman.  I repeated some verses of poetry, which heightened the picture, and at last, on looking aside, I found that her cheeks were glistening with tears.  She now became more communicative, and informed me that she had somewhat to accuse herself of with respect to a young man, the first indeed whose addresses she had encouraged: that she now often thought she behaved coldly towards him without any just cause, and that, in consequence, the lad enlisted and joined his regiment before his friends knew what had become of him; that she soon afterwards was married, and he was killed in battle.  Weeping freely, she added that at times she accused herself of having been the cause of his death.  I consoled her as well as I could by the reflection that her conduct appeared to have risen more from youthful carelessness than want of feeling.  She said he was an only child, and his mother was still living, and she thought if she could get settled down beside the old woman it would afford her some consolation to assist her and be a child to her in her old age.  I approved of this with all my heart; and now, being at Kegworth, we stepped into a public house and awaited the arrival of the cart, which soon came up, and after a cup or two of ale betwixt John and myself, and a whiff of tobacco, we set forward, and a short journey through a pleasant neighbourhood brought us to Loughborough.

    Nothing would satisfy my fellow travellers but my accompanying them to the house of the old folks, as they called them.  I was not much averse to going with them, especially as I knew that I must stop somewhere in the town all night.  I accordingly accompanied them along several streets and turnings, until we were in a humble but decent-looking thoroughfare, when, knocking at the door, the woman in a whisper told me her parents lived there.  A tall, venerable looking dame opened the door, and in a moment our female traveller was locked in her arms.  A cheerful, clear-complexioned old man at the same time got up from his chair and shook John heartily by the hand, and on John mentioning me as a fellow traveller, he gave me a like frank reception.  He then embraced his daughter, and when the first emotions of tenderness were over, we sat down to a very comfortable but homely refection, and the family party became quite cheerful and communicative.  Meantime the news had got abroad amongst the neighbours, several came in, and in a short time we were joined by a fine-looking girl, a younger daughter of the old folks, who had been at work in one of the manufactories.  In short, we had a joyful family and neighbourly meeting; liquor was sent for, a young fellow tuned up his fiddle, and the old couple led off a dance, which was followed by others; liquor was brought in abundance, and the hours flew uncounted.

    John and I and the old man were seated in a corner smoking and conversing, when I observed the younger sister come in somewhat fluttered.  She took the old mother and her sister aside, and by the expression of their countenances and the motion of her hands, I perceived that something troublesome and mysterious had occurred.  In fact, she was explaining to them, as I afterwards learned, that in going to the public house for more liquor she had to pass a stagecoach which was stopped, and that on looking up she saw a young soldier getting off the coach, with his knapsack slung on one shoulder and a foraging-cap pulled over his face, but she saw enough to convince her that he was Robert—the same who once courted her sister and who they had heard was killed in battle.  This news, as may be imagined, was soon known in the house, and caused a great sensation, particularly amongst the women.  We had just learned the cause of their whisperings, when the door opened and a young fellow, pale, slender, and well formed, wearing regimentals and an undress cap, and with a knapsack properly adjusted, stepped respectfully into the room and, seeing the old woman, he put out his hand and took hers and spoke to her affectionately, calling her mother.  She gazed a moment on his face, as if incredulous of what she beheld.  The company had drawn in a half circle at a distance around them; John, myself and the old man kept our seats, the younger sister stood beside her mother, and the married one was on a low seat behind her.

    "I scarcely know what to say to you, Robert," said the old woman.  "I am glad to see you have escaped death, for your mother's sake, but I almost wish you had not called here to-night."

    "And why not, mother? my other mother," he said, trying to force a smile. "Why not call at a house where I left friends, and mayhap a little of something more than friendship?"

    "Nothing beyond friendship now, Robert," said the mother, endeavouring to appear cool.

    "Why, where is Margaret?" he said; "I hope nothing has befallen her?"

    "Margaret is your friend," said the. old woman, "but she is nothing more now. Yonder sits her husband," pointing to John.

    John advanced towards the young man and took his hand, and, looking towards Margaret, said he believed she had been his wife about two years.

    The soldier trembled, and staggered to a seat.

    Margaret got up and gave her hand to the young soldier, saying she welcomed him home with all the regard of a sister.  She was now married, as he had heard, and was about to settle in Loughborough, and if he had never returned, his old mother should not have wanted the tender offices of a child whilst she lived.

    "Thank you, Margaret," he said; "that is some consolation; you wouldn't neglect my old mother, I know."  He put his hand over his eyes and burst into tears.

    "I would not, Robert," she said, "and if in former times I did not value you as perhaps you deserved, I was willing to make the only atonement I could by cheering the drooping years of your supposed childless parent."

    "That is very good!" "very fair on both sides!" "very handsome!" said a number of voices.  Neither of the interested parties spoke, they were both deeply affected.

    The old woman and youngest daughter then conducted Margaret into another room.  The old man shook hands with the soldier and endeavoured to cheer him.  Meantime, information had been conveyed to Robert's mother, and she now entered the room, shaking and leaning on a stick.  The meeting was most tender; it was such as could only take place betwixt a parent and child equally affectionate.  The dancing had at first been given up; a warm, substantial supper was in a short time spread on the board; Robert and his mother took some of the refreshment and then went home.  Margaret did not make her appearance.  Shortly after supper I was conducted to lodgings at an inn, and spent most of the night in confused dreams of the strange scenes which, like those of a romance, had passed before me.

    The following morning I breakfasted at the old folks, according to promise.  I asked not any question, nor did I hear anything further.  Margaret's eyes appeared as if she had been weeping.  John was attentive to her, and she seemed as if she valued his attentions, but could not entirely cast the weight from her heart.  I left the family, to pursue my way, and John accompanied me as far as Quorn, where we parted, and I never saw him afterwards.

    I merely walked through Mountsorrel, and leaving Rothley on my right, where many Knights Templars lie interred, I pushed on to Leicester, where, having spent the remainder of the day in looking at various antiquities, particularly the chamber in which Richard III. slept on the night previous to the battle of Bosworth, and the bridge over which his dead body was thrown on its return, I took up my abode for the night at a respectable looking little pot-house.  Here I met with excellent accommodation, and enjoyed the lively conversation of some stocking-weavers, who, when they learned from whence I came and the share I had borne in Lancashire politics, would almost have carried me in their arms.

    The following morning I pursued my journey, and passing through a fine country, consisting of sheep pastures and arable land, I dined at Market Harborough, and in the afternoon went on to Northampton.

    I scarcely knew where to apply for lodgings; there were so many snug-looking public houses that I was spoiled with choice.  At length I entered one of the said neat-looking places and asked a decent elderly woman if I could have lodgings there.  She frankly said at once that I could not, they were full of soldiers; and, in fact, I had seen a large number on parade as I came through the town.  I asked if she could direct me to a place, and she pointed to a respectable looking house a little higher in the street.  I went there, but received the same reply; they were "full of soldiers," and I learned that the latter were but just come into the town and were on their march to Liverpool, for Ireland.  I now was directed to a public house where coachmen and guards stopped, and where many travellers were in the habit of resting.  It was getting late and almost dark, and I determined not to be shuffled out of this next place by any pretence.  I entered a rather handsome bar parlour, where a numerous company was sitting, apparently farmers, who were taking their pipes and glass, after the fair or market.  I asked the landlady, a smart but unassuming woman, if I could have a bed for the night.  From the moment I entered she had been eyeing me over, and seeing, as I suppose, my shoes all dust, and myself a brown, and not a very polished-looking customer, she said she was very sorry, but there was not a bed to spare in the house, so many soldiers had brought billets that they were quite full.  I drew my hand across my brows, looked at my feet, rather feelingly, and requesting she would serve me with a pint of ale, I sat down.  The ale was brought, and I gave it a hearty pull, and then asked for a pipe and tobacco, which were placed before me.  My next order was for something to eat, intimating that a chop or a steak, with a hot potato, would be preferred.  Meantime, I drank up my ale and called for another pint, and sat smoking and chatting with the farmers quite in a comfortable way.  When they heard I came from Lancashire they made many inquiries as to late events and present prospects, and I told them all they required so far as my information went, and as candidly and fairly as my judgment enabled me, and we became very agreeable company.  When my supper was brought in I despatched it with a hearty relish, and then, having ordered some brandy and water, I called the landlady to receive my shot, observing that it was time I should look out for lodgings—for I wished to try what fair means would do first.  "Oh!" she said, "make yourself comfortable, young man; you seem to be very good company, and we'll make you a bed somehow or other, you shall see."  "Another glass, sir, did you say?" asked the maid, who stood at her mistress's elbow.  I nodded assent, and thus got installed for the night, and had a most excellent lodging.

    I have been the more circumstantial in narrating this transaction, inasmuch as it contains a useful intimation to foot travellers.  I have never since, save on two occasions, tried the experiment of getting lodgings at a public house in the way I put the question on this night, and on those occasions I took the plan more from curiosity than any other motive.  A foot traveller, if he is really desirous to obtain lodgings, should never stand asking about them.  He should walk into a good room—never into the common tap-room—put his dusty feet under a table, ring the bell pretty smartly, and order something to eat and drink, and not speak in the humblest of tones.  He will be served quickly and respectfully—that is, if those two things happen to be understood at the house.  After his repast he should take his pipe or cigar if he be a smoker, and whether he be or not, he should drink, chat, and make himself quite at ease until bed-time, when all he has to do will be to call the chambermaid and ask her to light him to bed.  That will be done as a matter of course, and he will probably have saved himself a tramp round the town in search of lodgings, and probably, after all, the making of his own bed under a manger or in a hay-loft.


 
CHAPTER XXXIII.

STOKE GOLDINGTON—AN IMPORTANT FUNCTIONARY—A BETRAYED ONE—A COUNTRY ALEHOUSE—AN ALARM—A SUDDEN DEPARTURE—A MAGISTRATE AND HIS CLERK—AN ACQUITTAL—A WEDDING.


AT six o'clock the following morning, the weather still delightful, I left Northampton.  With feelings of veneration I stopped to admire the fine old cross, as it is called, erected on the spot where the body of Eleanor, Queen of Edward I., rested on its way to London.  Near this place, as I was informed by a finger-post, the road to Needwood Forest diverged, and I longed for an opportunity to range through these interesting haunts of our English yeomen of old, but my imaginative wanderings were soon checked by the information which a countryman gave me, that the forest lands were nearly all enclosed.

    At a little quiet, retired public house on the Northampton side of Stoke Goldington I stopped for breakfast.  I chose to halt here for two reasons: the first, because I wished to pay my respects to a worthy old couple, if they were still living, and the second, because I had walked about eleven miles, and was hungry.  When, in my nineteenth year, I was absconding from a ship at London, weary, exhausted, and anxious lest I should be pressed, I called at nightfall at this public house, then kept by a decent elderly man and his wife with several children.  I was in my sailor's dress, with but little money in my pocket, and I told the good folks my situation.  They could not find me a bed in the house, but they took pity on me, and shook me down some good clean straw in an out-building, where, with the ducks for my companions in one corner, and the fowls in the other, I spent a night of sleep that might have blessed a king.  The kind people also gave me a breakfast of milk and bread in the morning, and when very gratefully and willingly I offered payment, they refused to receive anything.  I could not therefore pass their door without calling to thank them, but I found them not there; they were both, I believe, dead, and the people now at the house knew nothing about the circumstance which had made me a debtor to their predecessors.

    Whilst I sat enjoying my repast, a portly country-looking personage, with an air of some authority, came into the kitchen where several others were.  He was followed by a neatly and plainly attired young woman, who sat down at a respectful distance, and seemed to shun observation.  I soon learned from the tenor of his conversation with the landlord that he was a kind of deputy-constable in some of the neighbouring townships, and that the young woman was going with him before a magistrate, on a charge which would send her to prison, for having become a mother without producing a legitimate father for her offspring.  This was enough to interest me in behalf of the girl, even had not the coarse jokes of the constable and one or two others excited my disgust and strong aversion.  I once or twice put in a word of a civil and rather exculpatory tendency, for which I almost got laughed at by the men, but was repaid by the modest and grateful looks of the poor girl.  The son of the squire's coachman had, as I understood, been courting the damsel two or three years, but when she was in a way for bringing a charge upon him, he had nearly ceased visiting her, and had entirely given over talking about marriage.  These circumstances, which to the young woman must be matters of deep affliction and shame, were to the country boors subjects for scornful and bitter joking, all of which she bore very meekly and, what made me think better of her, with a good sense and self-respectful manner which prevented her from making the least reply.  She sat with her head not entirely downcast, but with an air of shame, indignation, and repentance, whilst blushes, paleness, and tears, were alternately visible on her cheeks.  I ardently wished for an opportunity for getting her out of the hands of these ruffians, and particularly of the one who had charge of her, and as I had learned the constable and she were going my way, I determined to avail myself of any chance for that purpose.  I therefore fell to cultivating a good opinion with the functionary; I gave him some tobacco, and my glass to drink from, and in a short time he was telling about the numerous perils he had gone through in his apprehension of thieves, poachers, and trespassers; on the sound judgment his office required, and the courage and activity he had on sundry occasions displayed, whilst I wondered how so rare a constable could have remained so long in a humble country situation.  At length he must go, and as he said he should be glad of my company as far as we went, we all three left the public. house.

    We had not got far ere a young fellow, apparently a farm labourer, climbed over a stile from the fields and joined us.  He was going to a doctor, he said, having had his face, some weeks before, injured by a young colt kicking him.  His head and features were bandaged so that none of them were visible save his eyes and part of his nose.  He walked with us, saying very little, but occasionally sighing, as it were from pain.  I observed the young woman glancing rather doubtfully towards him once or twice, but neither she nor the constable seemed to know him.  After walking some distance the constable said he had to turn off across the fields to a village.  He said I might as well go that way, as the foot-road led into the highway again, and was as short, and there was an excellent tap at the alehouse, where we could have a glass after his business was done.  I agreed, for I wanted to see something more of this affair, and so I stepped with him, his prisoner, and the young man into the meadow path—for the doctor also lived in the same village.  We soon arrived at the little hamlet, and the constable inquired of a servant in livery if "his worship was at home?"  He said he was, and would be downstairs in half an hour, and if he called then he would see him.  We stepped into a public house, where we ordered some ale, and having found it very good, we began to smoke, having agreed, very philosophically, that it was the wisest course to "take things easy in this world."  We had sat thus, blowing clouds for some time, and going on our second jug, when the young fellow came suddenly into the room, and, gazing wildly, said a person was killed just above, and the doctor had sent him for a constable, as they could not remove the body until one arrived.  Our active officer then, potent with ale and authority, laid down his pipe, pulled out his staff, took a huge draught, and charging me with the custody of the young woman until he returned, he hurried out of the house.  As soon as he had disappeared, "here," I said to the girl, "take that shilling, and run for thy life."  The young fellow at the same time pulled his bandages from his face; a scream burst from the girl, he laid hold of her arm, I turned to light my pipe, and the next instant they had disappeared.

    I then hastened up the lane in search of my active coadjutor, and met him coming down swearing and brandishing his truncheon.  "Where are they?"  I said, for I thought I would be first to speak.  "Where are who?" he asked.  "Why the young Jezebel and that fellow with the broken face?"  "Where are they?" he repeated, glaring on me with his two eyes as if they would have started from his head.  "Where are they indeed?" "You should know where one is at least."  I then told him in a somewhat deprecatory tone that I only turned to the fire to light my pipe, and when I looked again both the prisoner and the young fellow were gone.  "But you are not gone at any rate," he replied, "nor shall you go until you have been before the justice to answer for this.  Come along," he said, "come this way," and laying hold of my arm he reconducted me to the public house.  "Heigh ho!" I said, "there's nothing like taking things easy in this world."  "D— you and your easiness," he retorted, quite in a rage.  "John," he said to the ostler, "go and see if his worship is astir yet."  John went and soon returned with the tidings that his worship was ready.  My conductor and I then went into the house of the worthy magistrate, and were met at the yard door by a set of very cross pointers and cock-dogs, who made a general assault as if they would have worried us, and myself in particular, for they seemed to have barked at my companion before.  We were conducted into a neat carpeted room, where his worship and his clerk sat at a table covered with a green cloth, and with a number of papers and writing materials before them.  "Well, Andrew!" said the clerk, a thin, sallow, suspicious-eyed person, "where is the girl you were to bring?"  "Lord bless his honour's worship," said Andrew, "I left her in the custody of this here man and he's let her run away."  "How's that?" asked his worship, lifting his eyes from a Game Act which he had been perusing.  "How did you come to leave her in this man's charge?  I thought you had been an older officer and had known better than that," said his worship.  "May it please your honour's worship," said the constable, "I and the girl and this said prisoner, that now is, were awaiting your honour's pleasure in the public house, when in comes a scurvy knave as was awaiting o' the doctor, and said there was a person killed, and I must go and take charge of the corpse; so I 'livered my prisoner into this man's charge, and away I went arter the corpse, and when I had run up and down o' the village, I couldn't hear o' no corpse, and the people all, sir, a-laughing at me."

    The clerk gave a dark and bitter frown, the magistrate burst out a-laughing heartily.  I laughed too; in fact, I had been doing so in my mind during the last half hour.  When the clerk saw the magistrate laugh he was suddenly taken with a like cheerful sensation, and we all three laughed at Andrew, the constable.

    "Well," said the magistrate, composing himself, "but what has this to do with the loss of your prisoner?"

    "Please your honour," said the constable, "before I went a-seeking the corpse I left the girl in charge of this man, who I believe is no better than he should be, and when I came back he tells me the girl had run away whilst he was a-lighting of his pipe."

    "How was it?" asked the magistrate, addressing me.  I gave him the same account I had given the constable, on which he first, and then the clerk, burst into a hearty fit of laughter, to the apparently sore puzzlement of the constable, who seemed to think it a subject of too grave a nature for such light entertainment.

    "What do you wish his worship to do in this case, Andrew?" asked the clerk.

    "I wish his honour would send this here man to jail instead of the girl," was the reply.

    "Can we do that?" asked the magistrate, half serious, half joking.

    "We can hold him in sureties if Andrew undertakes to prefer a bill against him at the assizes," was the reply in the same strain.

    "Let it be done then," said his worship. "Andrew, you will be bound in a bond of fifty pounds to prosecute this charge at the next assizes."

    "Please your honour's worship, I'd rather be excused," said Andrew, looking alarmed.  "Who's to pay expenses?"

    "I rather think the prisoner won't pay, at any rate," said his worship; "those who prosecute will have the first chance of that."

    "Then I couldn't do it," said the constable; "I'd rather not have any hand in the affair."

    "Is the man to be discharged then?" asked the magistrate.

    "Yes, if your honour pleases," said the constable; "I don't like them ere bonds."

    The magistrate then asked me what I was and where I came from, and I told him I was a weaver and came from Lancashire.

    He asked me where I was going to and for what purpose, and I told him I was on my way to London in expectation of getting a place.

    Had I relatives in London, and what sort of a place did I expect to obtain?  I said I had not any relatives in London, but I had some good friends, and I had little doubt of getting a situation under Government.

    "Under Government," said he, with surprise; the clerk also elevated his eyebrows.

    "Yes, sir," said I, half laughing; "I'm going up in expectation of a Government place."

    "The man is non compos," said the magistrate in an undertone.

    "Very likely, sir," replied the clerk.

    "You are discharged, then," said the magistrate.  "We can't do anything with you unless there be an undertaking to prosecute."

    I bowed respectfully to his worship, gave the clerk a questionable smile, and quitting the room, I made the best of my way to the public house, where I had left my bundle and stick.

    Another person had come in whilst we were away, and the landlady had told him about the girl running off and my being taken prisoner.  This person was an attorney's clerk, and he took up my cause earnestly, and advised me to prosecute the constable for a false imprisonment.  He was giving me that advice when the constable returned.  I pretended to entertain the project, and when the official became aware of the subject on which we were deliberating, he became very uneasy, and seemed almost willing to make any compromise rather than be under the clutches of the other "limb of the law."  At length, after I had sufficiently tormented him, I agreed to a settlement, the terms of which were that he should pay for a quantity of ale, I and the attorney's clerk, whom I found to be a queer, ironical fellow, agreeing to pay for as much to come in after his was drank.

    We had sat here rather a considerable time, and had got into high good humour with each other and the liquor, when the sounds of voices and a fiddle were heard approaching the house, and in a minute after in walked the girl we had prisoner in the morning, arm in arm with a young fellow, who, by his speech and dress, we recognised as the one with the patched face; in short, they were the two runaways, followed by some half a dozen young men, two young women, and an elderly person fiddling.  They had been at church and had got wed, the banns having been published there some months before.  They were now all ready for dancing, singing, and mirth; I scarcely ever saw a set of happier-looking countenances; the lad was in raptures; the bride seemed to have more self-command than any in the place.  She thanked me most gratefully for the kindly feelings I had evinced; her husband joined her, and I found it of no use offering to break up from the wedding party.  The constable was quite reconciled, as the charge, he said, would be taken off the township, and the ratepayers would deem it no bad day's work of his.  The attorney offered his friendly services in reconciling the squire's coachman to the match, and the landlady brought in a posset of spiced ale for the wedding feast.  The fiddler rosined his bow afresh, and played up a jig that set all the lads a-capering.  In short, we ate and drank and danced the afternoon away.  Evening followed, night came, and then the noon of night; and the last scenes I committed to memory were the fiddler falling from his chair and smashing his viol, and the attorney painting the constable's face delicately with a blacking-brush whilst the latter person was fast asleep.

    The next morning I was at Newport Pagnel at an early hour.  The place had a most romantic appearance as I approached it.  There must have been heavy rains
upwards, for the Ouse had overflowed its banks, and numerous cattle were grazing on small green islets surrounded by the flood.  The weather continued all that a foot traveller could wish, and I walked on leisurely, enjoying the cooling breeze, the odour of flowers, and the music of birds some six or eight miles until I arrived at the celebrated village of Woburn, where I stepped into the first public house I came to on the left-hand side—I think it was the sign of the "Bedford Arms."  The place seemed very fine, and the people I saw moving about looked, I thought, in a strange supercilious way at me; none of them stopped to ask what I wanted.  At length I desired a woman to bring me a glass of ale, intending it as a preliminary to breakfast.  She did not pause a moment to receive my order, but looking, down, swept past me.  "Bless us," I thought, "what sort of a public house have I got into now?"  No one attended to me, and soon after I asked again for a glass of ale; this servant also went away without speaking, but in a short time a female of a superior appearance came and said they did not entertain foot travellers.  I expressed my surprise at that, and assured her I was both able and willing to pay for whatever I called for.  She said she did not doubt it, but it was an invariable rule of the house not to serve persons travelling on foot, and the rule could not be departed from.  Could I not have a draught of ale? I asked.  No, foot travellers could not have anything there.  I accordingly rose, and replacing my bundle on my shoulder, I begged her to inform her employer that the rule of the house might bring trouble and humiliation sometime, inasmuch as, if other engagements did not press me, I would go before the nearest magistrate, or the Duke of Bedford himself, and prefer a complaint against the occupier for refusing to entertain a traveller without sufficient cause.  She smiled at my law (as well she might, having scanned my appearance, and thence formed an opinion of my purse), and said there were other places in the village where I might have whatever refreshment I wanted; and then, probably thinking she had wasted time enough on me, she turned and walked off, and I came out of that inhospitable and pride-infected place.  At another inn I met with a reception the very reverse of the first; the people, both landlord and servants, were very obliging and attentive.  I made a good breakfast, rested, chatted, and received an invitation to call there again if I came that way.

    I wonder whether the people of the Duke's Arms are yet in business? and if they are, whether, like scores of their arrogant brotherhood, they have not been so far humbled by those great levellers, the railways, that if a wayfaring man now enters their house he can have a cup of ale for money?  I walked to Redburn to dinner, which consisted of a plain but delicious repast at a very humble pothouse.  Here I remarked a horseshoe nailed inside the weather board of the door, and on my pretending ignorance of its purpose, and asking what it was for, an old wrinkled dame, seemingly the mother of the household, told me with perfect seriousness that it was to keep all witches and bewitched persons and things out of the place, and that so long as it remained there nothing under the influence of witchcraft could enter.

    At St. Albans I walked amid the ruins of the old Abbey, having previously passed a fragment of a wall in the meadows below, undoubtedly a part of the remains of the British city of Verulam.  I lingered rather long with these scenes, and it was getting dark when I passed the Obelisk at Barnet, where the famous battle was fought in the Wars of the Roses.  Every step I advanced to-day, the people, their houses, and their manners, became more Londonish; and it will not then appear surprising that at the first public house I went into I was made welcome to comfortable quarters, and so remained there during the night.  The next morning I walked into London, and took my breakfast at a coffee-house.


 
CHAPTER XXXIV.

A CRUISE AMONGST THE BOOKSELLERS-VISIT TO MR. HUNT—LONDON POLITICIANS AND JURY REFORM—A PAINFUL DISCOVERY.


MY next business now was to examine the state of my purse, which was speedily done, and found scarcely able to make a jink, however shaken.  My next consideration was how to set about replenishing it.  I had, in contemplation of some such dilemma as the present, brought with me from Lancashire some manuscript poems, which I felt pretty confident of being able to sell for a decent sum, should I be in want of money during my stay in London.  I was already in want of it, or about to be, and I was thus driven to my last resource the first day of my arrival.  I wished to raise some money immediately, in order that I might be enabled to redeem some things which I had directed to be sent by the carrier, and be thereby enabled to appear before my friends in a respectable garb.

    I therefore inquired my way to Ave Maria Lane, and went into a great publishing establishment there; but, without waiting to see my productions, they told me they could not do anything with poetry.  At another place, in Paternoster Row, I could not see the great man because I had not a letter of introduction.  I went down Ludgate, and into the shop of William Hone, but he was out of town.  At a shop in the Strand the brown paper enclosure of my effusions was first opened, a glance given at the contents, myself scanned over, and the writings returned, with an assurance that' "It wouldn't take."  At a grand place in Oxford Street the shopmen stood laughing at me, as I verily believed, under pretence of being diverted by my Lancashire rhymes; and at a similar establishment in one of the wide streets beyond Charing Cross I received the comfortable advice to return home and remain at my loom.  Alas! I thought, I wish I could return home.

    I had now enough of the poet's trade, at least for one day, of—


"The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,"


and, wearied and disappointed, I turned my footsteps towards the lodgings of my friend Hunt, at Mr. Giles's, in Wych Street.  To be sure the booksellers were not entirely blamable; my appearance was, no doubt, somewhat against me.  My clothes and shoes were covered with dust, my linen soiled, and my features brown and weathered like leather; which circumstances, in consideration with my stature, and gaunt appearance, made me an object not of the most agreeable or poetical cast.  Still, I thought these booksellers must be very owls at mid-day not to conceive the possibility of finding good ore under a rude exterior like mine.  And then I bethought me—and comforted myself therewith, inasmuch as others had trodden the same weary road before me—of Otway, and Savage, and Chatterton, and of the great son of learning, as ungainly as myself—Samuel, the lexicographer—and, I might have added, of Crabbe, and others of later date, but their names had not then caught my ear.  And thus, musing as I went, and chewing bitters until they almost became sweets, I once more found myself in the shop of Mr. Giles, the bread baker, in Wych Street.

    I asked for the good old man, and a plump, short-statured lady in mourning advanced from an inner room.  I saw in a moment that she was Mrs. Giles, and, smitten with a saddening thought, I ventured to ask for her husband.  She informed me civilly, but not in that friendly tone I had been accustomed to there, that Mr. Giles was dead, that she was keeping the business on, and that Mr. Hunt had removed to an address which she gave me, in Charlotte Street, Oxford Street.

    The afternoon was far advanced, when, after traversing a part of the town I had never seen before, I knocked at the door of a very respectable looking house, and asked for Mr. Hunt, and on sending up my name was instantly admitted.  I had not long been in the house before a very respectable repast of bread, butter, and a beverage made from roasted corn was set before me, and I partook of it with a relish, though I was never very fond of "corn coffee"; but as we all know, "hunger is the best sauce."  Many questions of course were asked on both sides, and matters were discussed; and after conversing about an hour, as night was setting in, I took up my bundle and stick, received a hearty shake of the hand, with an invitation to "come to-morrow"—"come any time."  And so, bidding my friend and his family good evening, I left the house and turned into the street, to go I knew not whither.

    "This is not the way," thought I, "in which I treat my friends from a distance when they call upon me in Lancashire.  I should not have let Mr. Hunt leave my dwelling, humble as it is, without knowing whither he was going, and how he was to be entertained."  But then came the old excuse, "It is the way of great folks," "one of the peculiarities of London," and so forth; and cogitating on this and various other matters, I retraced my steps, as well as I could find my way, to Mrs. Giles's, in Wych Street.

    I thought the widow seemed more friendly after I had expressed disappointment at my visit to Mr. Hunt.  I asked her if there was a decent tavern in her neighbourhood which she could recommend as a comfortable place for lodging.  She expressed entire ignorance of any of them, but said one of the journeymen could possibly inform me; and she called one, who recommended a house in Newcastle Street, close by, as a suitable and likely place for stopping at.  She sent him to inquire if they could lodge a person from the country, and in a short time he returned, saying I could have a very good bed there if I chose.  I accordingly went with the man, who showed me the house, and I entered the public room, and, taking my seat at a table opposite the boxes, I ordered a pint of beer, as they call it, and bread and cheese for my supper.

    I had finished my repast, and sat smoking, when three or four persons entered the room, and commenced a conversation which became animated.  They were, as I soon learned, some of the London politicians of the working class, and the subject was the English jury system.  It was, if I mistake not, the approaching trial of Thistlewood and his companions which led to this discussion.  One party would have it that the English jury was one of the most complete inventions which human wisdom could have accomplished, and they landed it as fervently, and with about as much sense, as a certain class of politicians are in the habit of lauding our "glorious constitution," a thing which exists in imagination only.  Another party thought that the system was faulty, and instanced the packing of juries, and a third party thought the verdict should go according to the majority.  I sat listening attentively, but did not interfere, until at last one of the speakers asked my opinion of the subject in dispute.

    I frankly confessed that I differed from the whole of them, and thought the English jury one of the most bungling pieces of judicial machinery which could have been put together, and I noticed several instances of its clumsy and imperfect operation within my own knowledge, not, however, mentioning the late trial at York.  I asked how it could be otherwise, seeing the manner in which jurymen were selected.  In the country I came from I said they were generally men who had just the brute instinct of beavers, to scrape a little substance together and to keep it, but who for all other purposes were far behind their neighbours; and infinitely so in qualifications necessary for deciding betwixt right and wrong, guilt and innocence.  A time would come, as I ventured to suppose, when that piece of old trumpery would be done away with altogether; meanwhile I would, had I the power, endeavour to render it more useful by ordering, in a legal way, that all jurymen should be elected by ballot in each township, that their appointment should be annulled at the will of those who appointed them, that property should not qualify, that five, seven, or nine should be the number, and a majority should carry a verdict, that all juries, whether grand juries, coroner's juries, or loot juries, should be taken from this body, and that they should be paid from county or other rates, independent of the crown.  This plan was generally approved of, and I should have been honoured with a speech or two in compliment, but happily the girl came with the chamber candle, and so bidding my London patriots good night, I retired from their company.

    After ascending several heights of stairs, I demurred, and asked the girl how much further upwards we must go?  She begged pardon, and said the bed intended for me was on the second floor, and had been occupied by a lodger during a fortnight; he had gone away and they did not expect him that week, but he had suddenly returned and claimed his old bed.  Against this I could not adduce any argument, especially as it was too late to go out that night, and so, following my guide, I climbed to the uppermost floor of the house.  I looked at the apartment, which did not please me very well; it was of no use, however, beginning then to be very nice, and so I threw down my bundle and stick, whilst the girl, with the candle in her hand, reminded me that it was customary for strangers to pay before going to bed.  "Oh! very well," I said; "how how much is it?"—not thinking the charge would be more than sixpence at most. "Eighteenpence, if you please, sir," said the girl.  I put my hand hastily into my pocket, and pulling out all the money I had, I counted it, and found it to be just a penny short of the demand, namely, one shilling and fivepence.  "Well, lass," I said, "this is all the money I have in the world, and it is a penny too little," and I looked, as much as to say, "Will it do?"  "Never mind, sir," she replied; "you will be calling some clay in going past, and you can give the penny to master or mistress."  I said I would do so, and the girl then bidding me good night, left the room.

    I had never slept on so mean a bed as was presented on my turning down the clothes.  I had slept for weeks on old sails in the half-deck of a ship, or in the cable tier, and slept comfortably, but I had never lain on anything that looked and smelled so filthy as the narrow, hard couch now before me.  I, however, threw myself upon it and wooed forgetfulness, in order to escape from disgust, but there was such a racket on the other side of the partition as for a long time forbade all repose, and convinced me that I had got into a not very respectable house.  When at last all was still and I was beginning to sleep, the peaceful charm was broken by the entrance of a drunken soldier, who rolled into another bed, and kept me awake by narrating various sprees, as he called them, in which he had been engaged during the day.  At length he also became oblivious, and his very welcome snore informed me that I was at liberty to sleep if I could.  The "sweet restorer" soon came, and when I awoke in the morning my noisy companion was gone, probably to attend an early parade."

    I was not long in dressing, as may be supposed.  I merely coaxed the holes in my stockings a little lower, and turned my neck-kerchief the cleaner side out, and my embellishments were finished.  There was no water or towel in the room, and I would not make free with soldier Jack's blacking, as I had nothing to satisfy his demand should he return and make one.  I therefore slipped on my shoes and clothes, dusty and soiled as they were the night before, and grasping my trusty cudgel and my bundle, I sallied from the room, wishful to get a breath of sweet air, if there were any such in London.  As I passed along a kind of landing, a door opened just before me, and out stepped, as quietly as an old hen off her perch in a morning, as demure a looking piece of purity as the world ever exhibited.  As she turned to go clown the stairs I caught a glance of her face.  She was almost forty years of age, with rather agreeable features, modest and humble looks, as if she had been at prayers, and was dressed in second mourning of the most devout cut.  "A mother in Israel," indeed, would that frail dame have passed for.  As I followed her towards the door I really felt in a degree ashamed at being seen corning out with her.  I involuntarily turned towards the lady as she went away, and at that moment she gave me a look which spoke as plainly as a look could speak what was her unfortunate vocation.

    I sauntered down into the Strand, and turned towards Charing Cross, not that I had any business in that direction, but I thought a man without money might as well go one way as another in London.  I was half inclined to believe also that the people I met seemed as if they knew I was penniless.  After wandering an hour or so, looking in at the shop windows, and gazing at whatever was new, I retraced my steps on the other side of the street, with the view of calling at the office of The Black Dwarf, and a faint hope of receiving an invitation to breakfast.  Mr. S. was very glad to see me, and was very civil, but he did not seem to have any thought about breakfasting, and so, after a short conversation standing, I went once more into the street.  At Mr. West's, the wire-worker, I was not more fortunate, and my friend, Sir Richard Phillips, at whose shop I had called the day before, would not be at home for several days.  I consequently had no abiding place save the street, and I "maundered about," as we say in Lancashire, devising new expedients, and conjuring up hope almost against despair.  I had become quite wolfish, and the sight of good substantial meats and delicate viands in the windows of the eating-houses, all of that which in my road I stopped before and contemplated, tended to increase the pangs of hunger, which were no ways allayed by the savoury fumes arising from the cooking cellars.  At last I wandered round Fleet Market, and, coming to the prison, I found a poor debtor begging at the gate.

    "Please to bestow a trifle on a poor prisoner," he said.  "God help thee, lad," I replied, "I am more poor than thyself."

    "How is that? " he asked.

    "Why," I said, "thou has a room to retire to, and a bed to repose upon, but I have neither home, nor lodging, nor food, nor a farthing of money towards procuring them!"

    "Why, then, God help thee!" he said, "thou art indeed worse off than myself, except as to liberty."

    "And that I may not have long," I said.

    He asked me what I meant, and I told him that I was come up from the country to receive judgment for attending the Manchester meeting.

    "If that be the case," he said, "come back in an hour, and if I get as much as threepence or sixpence, thou shall have it."

    I thanked him sincerely and gratefully, and promised I would come back if no better fortune befel me, and so pleased that I had found one friend in the course of the morning, though a poor one, I bade him good-bye, and went on towards Bridge Street.

    At sight of the bridge I recollected a gentleman on the other side of the river who had behaved very kindly to me the last time I was in London, and I thought I might as well call upon him, for at all events I could not be more disappointed than I had been.  I therefore passed over the bridge, and soon found the shop of my friend in the main thoroughfare, called Surrey Road, I think.  Several young men were busy in the shop, and I asked one of them if Mr. Gibb was within?

    "Oh, yes," he said.  "Is that you, Mr. Bamford?  Walk forward; he's in the sitting-room at breakfast; he'll be glad to see you; step in."

    I thought that was like a lucky beginning, at any rate, and, without a second invitation, I entered the room.

    A glance of one moment brought the gentleman to his feet.  He took my hand and made me sit down, and rang the bell, and ordered another cup, and more butter and toast, and eggs and ham.  "You have not breakfasted, I suppose?" he said.

    I replied that I had not—it was just what I had been wanting to do during the last hour and a half.

    "Bamford," he said, as we went on with our repast, "what's the matter with you?  You don't seem as you did the last time you were in London."

    "How am I changed?" I inquired.

    "Why, the last time you were up," he said, "you were all life and cheerfulness when I saw you, and now you seem quite thoughtful.  Are you afraid of being sent to prison?"

    "No," I said, "I was not."

    "What's the reason you are so serious?" he asked.  I said "I could not help being so."

    "What's the cause?" he said.  "Tell me the reason of this great change?"

    "Well, then, to tell you God's truth," I said, "I have not a farthing in the world, and I could not have had a breakfast if I had not come here."

    "Oh! if that's all, man," he said, "make yourself easy again. Come! take some more, and make a good breakfast," and I took him at his word, I did make a good breakfast.

    When we had finished he took me to his dressing-room, where were water and towels to wash.  He also ordered the servant to clean my shoes, and found me a clean neck-kerchief and a pair of stockings.  When I returned to the sitting-room I was quite smart, comparatively.

    "Now, Bamford," he said, "this is my breakfast hour; at one we dine, at five take tea, and supper at eight; and so long as you are in London my table is yours if you will attend at meals.  Take this one pound note (putting one into my hand), and if there is not a change in your circumstances for the better when that is done come for another."  I thanked him most sincerely.  I never was more affected by an act of kindness in my life.  He was in truth, "a friend in need, a friend indeed."


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NOTES.

 
19.    The name of the place has been changed to Hazel Grove.

 



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