Passages in the Life of a Radical (10)
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CHAPTER XXXV.

A CHANGE IN MY SITUATION—PROCEEDINGS IN THE COURT OF KING'S BENCH.


I NOW went to the warehouse in Cheapside, where my luggage had been directed to be left, and found it had arrived.  I took it to a tavern, and put on a change of linen and  articles of outer apparel, and then I went and engaged lodgings, to which I removed my things.  I was now decent in appearance, and more comfortable in mind.  I visited my friend Mr. Gibb, and did not forget the poor fellow in the prison.  In the afternoon I again called upon Hunt, who received me very cordially, and I took some more of the "roasted" with him.  The day following Healey and Johnson arrived in London, and on the 27th of April we all made our appearance in the Court of King's Bench, when Mr. Hunt moved for a rule to show cause why the verdict returned at York should not be set aside, and a verdict of not guilty entered on the record, or why a new trial should not be granted.

    The Lord Chief Justice Abbott asked if the application was for Mr. Hunt and the other defendants.

    Mr. Hunt said it was so made.

    The Lord Chief Justice: Now state on what ground it is that you make this motion.

    Mr. Hunt: The first ground, my lord, is a misapprehension of the learned judge who tried the case, in rejecting evidence which ought to have been received.  It was evidence as to the acts of aggression, of cutting, maiming, and killing by the yeomanry cavalry, and other military, upon the persons of those who attended at the Manchester meeting.  The next point is the learned judge's admittance of evidence as to certain resolutions of a meeting held in Smithfield, and the admission of evidence as to certain trainings and drillings at a place called White Moss.  The third point is the misdirection of the judge, in consequence of such rejections and admissions; and the, fourth ground is, that the jury gave a verdict contrary to the evidence.

    The Lord Chief Justice: Have you any other ground?

    Mr. Hunt: Yes, I have a fifth and last ground, which is, that the jury gave a verdict contrary to the direction of the learned judge.

    The judges not having before them the notes of the trial, the determination as to the points urged by Mr. Hunt was postponed until Monday, the 1st of May, when we were ordered again to be in attendance.  We were accordingly in court at the time appointed, with our solicitor, Mr. Pearson, but the judges did not pronounce their determination, and we were directed to appear on the 8th of the same month.  The court was each day crowded to excess.

    On the 8th of May the judges delivered their opinion, unanimously refusing the rule applied for by us.  The Attorney-General then urged that judgment should be immediately pronounced; but Mr. Hunt requested that time should be allowed us to prepare.  I was as fully prepared on the first day as I was on the last, but coincided, through courtesy, in Mr. Hunt's various expedients to put off the evil day to the uttermost.  The request now made by him was granted by the court, and we were ordered to come up again on Saturday, the 13th of May, for judgment.

    On that day Hunt, Healey, and myself, appeared before the judges, and Johnson came shortly after.  Mr. Hunt stated that certain affidavits which he had sent for from Manchester had not arrived, and he craved the indulgence of the court until he was enabled to procure them, which he expected every hour.  This was accordingly granted, and we retired once more.  Soon after two o'clock we again went into court, and Hunt tendered an affidavit, setting forth that the person who had been despatched to Manchester for the affidavits had not arrived, nor had any letter been received from him.  Mr. Hunt next stated that since the above affidavit was sworn a letter had been received by Mr. Pearson, wherein it was alleged that the writer had been unable to procure the affidavits by the time appointed, but there was no doubt they would arrive in the course of Sunday.

    The Lord Chief Justice then ordered the case to stand over until Monday morning.

    This being the day appointed for pronouncing judgment, the court and the hall were crowded at an early hour by spectators, and hardly on any former occasion did public curiosity appear to be more excited.  Several persons of distinction were present in court during the greater part of the day.  Among others, we observed Lord Binning, Lord Apsley, and Mr. Tierney.

    About half-past eleven o'clock, the Attorney-General having prayed the judgment, we all came into court.  We were accompanied by Mr. Pearson, the solicitor, Mr. Wooler, and other friends.  The whole of the proceedings occupied the attention of the court from the hour above mentioned until past six o'clock in the evening.

    Several affidavits were put in by Hunt, Johnson, and Healey.  I did not tender any affidavit; indeed I had not been a willing party to these fruitless procrastinations.

    The Chief Justice asked the Attorney-General whether he meant to put in affidavits on the part of the crown?

    The Attorney-General: Not at present; it will depend, my lord, on the contents of the affidavits now put in.

    The first affidavit read was that of Mr. Hunt, which entered into a history of the transactions that took place at Manchester on the 16th of August.

    The joint affidavit of William Brundret, Dwarris Hart, Joseph Holland, Richard Sheridan, Samuel M'Cabe, George Burney, William Hunt, William Gregory, John Riley, Henry Barrett, William Mackelroy, and Alexander Anderson, all of them persons who had signed the requisition for calling the meeting, was next put in and read.  These persons described themselves as housekeepers at Manchester and its neighbourhood, and weavers, &c., by trade.  They described the dreadful state of depression and poverty to which they had been subjected as the motive for calling the meeting, in order thereby to obtain, by legal means, a redress of their grievances.  They stated that with the utmost industry, working fourteen hours a day, they could not earn more than eight shillings per week.

    The affidavit of Ann Jones, a married woman, occupying a house which commanded a view of all that took place at the meeting, was next put in.  She deposed that the meeting was quiet and perfectly harmonious until the yeomanry cavalry broke in upon the unresisting crowd, who were cut down and trampled upon with merciless fury.  Her house afterwards became the refuge of the wounded and dying, to whom she administered such relief as her means would afford.  She likened her house to an hospital after a military slaughter. 

    The affidavit of Nicholas Whitworth stated that after the sanguinary transactions of the 16th of August he had made it his business to inquire into the extent of the mischief, and he had seen and spoken with near four hundred persons who had been wounded by the military.  Some of these persons were injured from sabre cuts, and others by gun-shot wounds.

    Part of the affidavit, which merely spoke to the deponent's information and belief as to other circumstances connected with the transactions of that day, were rejected as not admissible.

    The affidavit of Robert Willis Hall stated, that the deponent had seen and spoken with three hundred persons, men, women, and children, who had been injured by gun-shot and sabre wounds, received from the military on the 16th of August.

    The affidavit of Joseph Rayner stated, that the deponent had seen and conversed with three hundred and eight persons injured from the like causes.

    Mr. Hunt said that before the other defendants and himself proceeded to offer any observations in mitigation of punishment, he must entreat their lordships to confine their attention solely to the fourth count of the indictment, upon which the conviction was founded.  In order to this, it was necessary that their lordships should distinguish the evidence which supported that count from that which was adduced to sustain the others, of which the defendants were acquitted, but which embraced much more heinous charges.  This caution was the more necessary, not only because it would be the height of injustice that, by blending all the evidence together, they should be punished for offences of which they had been acquitted, but because one of their lordships (Mr. Justice Best) had misconceived many parts of the evidence, and had made comments upon them with that warmth which was natural to him, and which could not but have a prejudicial effect upon the minds of the other judges in meting out the punishment they were called upon to award.  He therefore prayed that the learned judge who tried the case would read such parts of the evidence as applied to the fourth count only, so that the court might see upon what foundation their sentence was to proceed.  He, however, would leave this matter entirely to the discretion of their lordships.

    The court assured us that in awarding the punishment they should confine their attention solely to that part of the evidence which was applicable to the count on which the jury found their verdict.

    Mr. Hunt then prayed, as a matter of indulgence, that the other defendants might have the priority of him in addressing the court in mitigation of punishment.

    The court said they saw no reason for departing from the ordinary course of their proceedings.  Mr. Hunt's name stood first on the record, and therefore he would begin.

    Mr. Hunt then addressed the court in a long speech, during which he was several times stopped by the judges for irrelevant matter, and once by Justice Bayley, who, as at York, requested that he would forbear to use complimentary language.  Mr. Johnson followed in a speech more condensed and to the point, whilst, when Healey's turn came, he produced a speech ready written by his friend at Lees.  It was all to no use, however—the doctor could not make out the polysyllabic words without spelling, and I, who stood behind him, had to look over his shoulder and read for him, whilst my cheeks burned, and my ears tingled with mortification, amid the suppressed titters of the gentlemen of the long robe and the spectators.  When he was fast, and I was not attentive, he would look over his shoulder supplicatingly, and say in an undertone, "Prompt, Bamford! prompt," and then I set him going again.  At last this was beyond endurance, and I said, "Throw that confounded paper down, man, and speak off hand."  He accordingly wrapped the paper up, and went on very fluently, arguing that the inscription, "Universal Suffrage or Death," which was on the black banner from Lees, was only meant as the expression of an opinion, and was not a demand, with death as the alternative.  "Suppose," he said, "that one of your lordships had a bad leg."  The gentlemen of the long robe looked aghast, wondering what would come next; for it was well known that Justice Best, who was on the bench, had two of the worst legs in England.

    "Suppose," said our imperturbable friend, "that one of your lordships had a bad leg, and I, amongst other medical and surgical gentlemen, was called in.  Well, we hold a consultation, and we pronounce it to be a bad case—a case of gangrene, my lords; and my opinion as to the mode of treatment is asked, my lords.  I say, amputation or death! my lords, amputation or death!"  And so he went on to argue that bribery and corruption having produced a political gangrene in the State, there must be amputation of the corrupting influence, or political death would ensue.

    Hunt sat on a low seat behind Healey, and when this scene was passing I, half-diverted, half-ashamed, looked down at him, and saw him nearly suffocated with his efforts to refrain from laughing outright.

    I spoke somewhat as follows :—

    My lords,—I understand that the evidence upon which I was convicted relates to the motto, "Unity and Strength."  I must, however, confess myself at a loss to understand how guilt can be implied thereon.  If we examine that part of the evidence for the crown which applied more immediately to my case, we shall find that the unity and strength which I inculcated, and which was also expressed upon the banner from Middleton, was of a quite contrary description to that imputed to me by the verdict.  Morris, in repeating, or attempting to do so, my address to the people upon the Barrowfields, says that I made use of the following expressions:—"Friends and neighbours, I have a few words to relate; you will march off this ground quietly, not to insult any one, but rather take an insult."  Heaton declares that "the people did not seem sullen and sulky.  They had no angry look, but were more, as it were, in joy."  Now, my lords, herein you will perceive a full comment upon this short text.  Here is the "Unity and Strength" of which our banner spoke.  But if we go further on to read the evidence of Dyson, who was one of my witnesses, we shall see the utility of this motto still further exemplified.  Dyson says that I made use of the following words in my speech to the people, previous to their departure from Middleton: "Friends and neighbours, those of you who wish to join in the procession will endeavour to conduct yourselves orderly and peaceably, so that you may go as comfortably as possible.  If any person insult you or give you offence, take no notice of them.  I make no doubt but there will be persons who will make it their business to go about in order to disturb the peace of the meeting.  If you meet with any such, endeavour to keep them as quiet as possible, and if they strike you, don't strike again, for it would serve as a pretext for dispersing the meeting."  Before proceeding further, I solemnly and firmly assure your lordships that I never again will advise my countrymen to exercise that degree of patience which I here did, until every drop of blood shed on that day has been amply and deeply atoned for.  Never again will I recommend forbearance until the perpetrators of all the horrid murders which I then witnessed, and from which I miraculously escaped, have been brought to condign punishment.  My lords, I speak this not from a spirit of vindictiveness, or from a wish for indiscriminate vengeance, but from a high sense of the wrongs and injuries inflicted on my country, and from an indignant feeling that justice has been denied.  Dyson proceeds—"If the peace officers come to arrest me, or any other person, offer them no resistance, but suffer them to do their duty.  When you get to the meeting, endeavour to keep yourselves as select as possible, with your banners in your centre, so that if any of you should straggle away, you will know where to find each other by your banners: and when the meeting is over, keep close to your banners, and leave the town as soon as possible, for if you should stay drinking or loitering in the streets, your enemies might take advantage of it, and if they could raise a disturbance, you would be taken to the New Bailey."  Now, my lords, this is the kind of "Unity and Strength" which I recommended to the people, accompanied by a degree of patience, which, as I before said, I will never again recommend until justice be obtained.  This is surely not a criminal Unity—this is surely not a Strength calculated to overawe the authorities, and to fill "his Majesty's liege subjects with terror and alarm."  This is only that "Unity and Strength" which is the foundation of liberty and the security of property.  How often since my arrival in London, for the purpose of waiting upon this honourable court, have I heard boastings about the liberties of Englishmen—but if such a thing does really exist, how can it be secured without a moral "Strength" on the part of the people for its maintenance; and where shall we find strength without "Unity?"  This unity and strength, therefore, is nothing more or less than the foundation of all the glory and happiness which we enjoy; and shall it be said, then, that in this enlightened age an Englishman shall be persecuted and punished for inculcating those maxims upon which the glory of his country depends.  If such must be the case, the era is every way worthy of the deed.  Another instance of this unity and strength may be adduced in the situation of Middleton, which is a considerable manufacturing town, and situated in a populous district, and yet to secure its peace and tranquillity there are only two constables annually sworn in, and not a soldier quartered upon us; yet we have had no breaches of the peace, either on the part of the people or the authorities.  It was, indeed, at one time, deemed expedient by some individuals to raise a posse of special constables.  This measure, however, I most strenuously opposed, and happy am I to inform your lordships that the good sense of the people prevailed, and the affair was dropped.  Now, here again is that "Unity and Strength" exhibited, to which our motto so aptly alluded.  Surely if any persons had a right to such a motto, it was the inhabitants of that place, whose conduct had beautifully illustrated it.  I concluded my speech, of which the foregoing is only an extract, by assuring their lordships that I appealed not to their humanity, not to their commiseration, but to their justice.  Humble as was my situation in society, I would not condescend to beg the boon of mercy from any man or set of men, however exalted their situation.  I would disdain to receive that from their pity to which justice entitled me.

    The Attorney-General spoke at considerable length in aggravation of punishment, and contended that the conduct pursued by the defendants in this last stage of the proceedings was an aggravation of their guilt.  The only topic fairly addressed to the court in mitigation of punishment was the hardships which the defendants had suffered after they had been apprehended, but those sufferings were the natural consequences of their own crimes, which he still thought approached as near as possible to the offence of high treason.  There could be no doubt of the illegality of the defendants' conduct in every part, and for the sake of the public welfare he called upon the court to pronounce such a sentence on the defendants as would, through their example, teach others to abstain from pursuing conduct equally criminal and dangerous to the peace of society, and the security of government.

    The Solicitor-General declined offering anything on the same side, but left his learned friend, Mr. Scarlett, who was present at the trial, to say what occurred to him on the subject.

    Mr. Scarlett rose principally to correct a mistake under which Mr. Hunt seemed to labour, namely, that he (Mr. Scarlett) was selected to conduct the prosecution.  There could not be a greater misapprehension.  It was purely matter of accident, from the circumstance of his situation at the bar, and the absence of his senior, that he was employed in the case.  As to any resentment he might be supposed to entertain towards Mr. Hunt, nothing could be more erroneous.  He never entertained any towards that individual, of whom he knew nothing but what he happened to read of him in the public papers, and to suppose that he was selected to conduct the prosecution on account of this resentment, was really absurd.  If such a selection could have taken place on such an account, he could only have treated it as a personal insult towards him on the part of the Attorney-General.  Adverting to the case under consideration, he entertained no doubt of the illegality of the defendants' conduct, who, he said, endeavoured to divert the attention of the court and the public by introducing matters which had nothing whatever to do with the offence for which they were called upon to answer.  He insisted, that whatever might have been the conduct of the magistracy and yeomanry of Manchester, it was wholly irrelevant to the question of the defendants' guilt or innocence of the crime imputed by the indictment.

    Mr. Serjeant Cross followed on the same side.

    The court having deliberated upon their judgment for nearly half an hour,

    Mr. Justice Bayley proceeded to pass sentence, and in doing so he entered into a long commentary upon the case.  The case had been fully submitted to the jury, and the court, having no reason to be dissatisfied with their verdict, were pronouncing such a judgment as would satisfy the justice of the case between the public and the defendants.  Taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, and giving the defendants the benefit of such mitigatory suggestions as had been urged, the sentence was—That Henry Hunt be imprisoned in his Majesty's gaol at Ilchester, in and for the county of Somerset, for the term of two years and six months, and at the end of that time to enter into security for his good behaviour for five years, himself in £1,000, and two sureties in £500 each; and that the other defendants, Healey, Johnson, and Bamford, be severally imprisoned in His Majesty's gaol of Lincoln for one year, and that they do severally enter into securities for their good behaviour for five years, themselves in £200, and two sureties in £100 each.

    Mr. Hunt : I hope, my lord, the confinement is not to be solitary?

    Mr. Justice Bayley: We make no order on the subject.  I make no doubt that the persons to whose custody the defendants will be committed will show them every indulgence consistent with their safety.  Their duty will be performed under the inspection of the magistracy, and we take it for granted that everything will be done to avoid aggravating the inconvenience of imprisonment.

    We were then taken into custody, and when we reached the hall we were greeted with the acclamations of the assembled multitude.


 
CHAPTER XXXVI.

HEALEY'S OUTFIT FOR LONDON—GENEROUS AID OF THE RELIEF COMMITTEE—ARTHUR THISTLEWOOD AND HIS COMPANIONS—HUNT'S ENVY AND DETRACTION—HIS BASE SLANDER—EXECUTION OF THISTLEWOOD AND HIS PARTY—TRAIT OF DISINTERESTED FRIENDSHIP—OTHER ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.


IT is now requisite that my narrative should return, as it were, and trace some events and occurrences parallel in time to those already recounted, from my entrance into London until the last scene in the High Court at Westminster.  The narrative will then merge into one channel, and will so continue.

    It is perhaps almost unnecessary to say that I made no more attempts for the present in the publishing line.  My friend Sir Richard Phillips, whom I frequently called upon, advised me to drop the idea, as a volume of poetry, unless of an astonishing kind, would be quite unsaleable.

    I received a letter from my wife, informing me that a number of friends came from Oldham, expecting to see me the Sunday after I set off for London; that they were quite grieved when they learned I had gone away unprovided for, they having very promptly and liberally got up a subscription, whereby they put a handsome sum into Healey's pocket to come up with.

    In a day or two I saw Healey, and he told me how he had managed matters.  He had heard about my poor departure, but he determined to try another plan.  He got a number of small circulars printed, informing his friends that "Joseph Healey would be under the necessity of taking his departure for London on such a day, to receive judgment in the court of King's Bench; and as he was entirely without funds to carry him up, he would thankfully receive whatever sums the friends of reform contributed for that purpose," or words to such effect.  The consequence was that a number of the Oldham and Lees Radicals took the matter in hand, and went round collecting, and the following morning he had fifteen pounds given him at Oldham, besides which he collected money at Hollinwood, Failsworth, and Newton, where he made calls, and was surrounded by friends who contributed handsomely.  From his account it appeared probable that at the time he arrived at New-cross, he would have twenty pounds in his pocket.

    Such was the difference betwixt his departure for London and mine.  But then the means were different.  Had I begged it must have been from the generosity of strangers, and not from those who were indebted to me.

    Mr. Johnson was in respectable lodgings, in the Strand, I think.  Healey lodged with Mr. Chapman, of Manchester, who had come up, at a cousin of the latter, in some street on the other side of Smithfield, whilst I got a cheap and cleanly but humble domicile at the "One Bell" tavern in Fleet Street.

    When Healey had been a few days in London he wrote to his friends in Lancashire, giving an account of the heavy expenses he had necessarily incurred, and stating that he had only tenpence left.  I had not quite expended the pound my friend Gibb had presented to me.

    One morning I recollect, when the pound was done, and I was daring to entertain the question whether or not I should take my friend at his word, and ask for another, I stumbled upon Healey in the street, who pulled some money out of his pocket, and wanted to know if I had got mine.  I did not understand the question, and told him so, on which he informed me that the relief fund committee had awarded to each of us defendants ten pounds; that he had drawn his the day before and I should get mine on applying to Mr. Galloway.  I accordingly lost no time in seeking the counting-house of that gentleman; Healey went with me, and I received the money.  Thus, by the very kind and considerate attention of the committee, all further anxiety as to the ways and means of existence for the present was done away with.

    We now indulged ourselves with a trip by water to Richmond—that is, Healey, I, and Chapman—but there was either nothing very extraordinary in the landscape, or I was in no humour for appreciating it: I thought nothing of it.  A walk through the Tower was more attractive, and I paused long beside the helmets and cuirasses and weapons from the field of Waterloo, all hacked and crushed, and still rusted in gore.  At the Waterloo Museum in Pall Mall I doffed my hat before that of Napoleon, and I reverently touched the sword of Ney and the truncheon of Murat.  At the British Museum I wondered and admired, but nothing interested my feelings as did the mementos of the brave and unfortunate of our own days.

    The detection of Arthur Thistlewood and his companions took place, if I mistake not, during our trial at York; it caused a great sensation at the time, and the conviction of the same misguided men occurred soon after our arrival in London.  It was the subject of general conversation, and particularly the intrepid bearing of the prisoners during their trial.  Mrs. Thistlewood had an asylum with the family of our friend West, the wire-worker in the Strand, and I frequently saw the unfortunate woman there.  She was rather low in stature; with handsome regular features, of the Grecian cast; very pale, and with hair, eyes, and eyebrows as black as night.  Still she was not what may be called interesting: she had a coldness of manner which was almost repulsive.  She seemed as if she had no natural sensibilities, or as if affliction had benumbed them.  She wore her hair very long, and when she went to visit her husband, which she did with devoted attention, she was strictly examined, and, among other precautions, her long hair was unbound and combed out.  Hunt frequently indulged in imprecations against Thistlewood and his party.  He aspersed their courage, the fame of which seemed to have hurt him.  But the worst thing I ever knew him do was his slandering of Mrs. Thistlewood, whom he represented as carrying on a criminal intimacy with West during her husband's incarceration.  A baser, more unfounded, or more improbable slander was never uttered.  Its atrocity was its antidote.  In fact, he would have said anything of any one against whom he entertained a pique.  My blind adherence to Hunt could not but be much shaken by such oft-repeated instances of an ignoble mind.

    On the morning of the execution of the conspirators I remained in my room, earnestly praying God to sustain them in their last hour; for though they professed not to believe in a future existence, I did, and could therefore sincerely say, "Father, forgive them! they knew not what they did."  At noon, when all was over, I came downstairs.  The execution was the subject of conversation in every place, and I soon heard, as perforce I must, the particulars of the disgusting transaction.  When I met Healey he told me that he and Johnson had been to see it, and had paid a rather heavy price for places at a window nearly opposite the scaffold.  I said he was welcome to the gratification such a scene could afford; for my part, I would not have gone on any account; and such places were the very last at which persons of our description should be seen.  He put it off by saying he merely went from curiosity, to see how such things were done.  The executioner, he said, bungled in severing one of the heads: he could not hit the joint of the vertebræ, and when at last the knife touched it, the head went off in an instant.

    The day before we received sentence I called on my friend Gibb, and he not being at home, I enclosed in a letter of thanks a bank note for the one I had received from him.  A day or two after my arrival at Lincoln Castle a letter came to hand from my kind friend, enclosing the same note, and making me welcome to it.  Such traits of generosity ought not to be forgotten.

    We were conducted from the court to a small and darkish room at Bellamy's coffee-house, where Hunt expressed himself in strong terms respecting the sentence on himself.  We endeavoured to console him, as did also Mr. Pearson, but he continued giving fitful vent to his feelings until our conductors again invited us to take their arms.  They ushered us into a couple of stand coaches, and we were driven to the King's Bench prison, where Hunt engaged two rooms at the tavern which is within the prison. Johnson, Healey, and myself got lodgings in the wards of the building; and thus, reader, was I domiciled in the fifth place of my confinement.

    If the verdict of the jury at York may be termed infamous, how shall the sentence upon me of twelve months' imprisonment be described?  As infamous also, no doubt.  The former circumstance can be attributed to political fanaticism only; it was contrary to the evidence and the oath which the jury had taken.  The latter circumstance may, I think, be fairly imputed to that quite uncalled-for passage in my address to the court, where I said I would never again recommend so great a degree of forbearance as I had done, until the blood shed at Manchester had been atoned for.  That sentence I should have acted quite wisely and patriotically enough in withholding: it was a declaration which my situation did not require, and which my fellow Radicals had no right to expect.  I should have been advised against any extravagance of the sort; but as at York, I had no counsel save my own discretion, and here it failed me.  But then, where was the justice of imprisoning me, not for a crime committed, but for a speech delivered?  Yet so it was I am sincerely of opinion.  I believe, and not without reason, that Judge Bayley did all he could to prevent that sentence being passed on me; but there were four judges on the bench, and the majority govern, and three being probably against me, he would be necessitated to deliver the sentence in which the three concurred.

    The same evening, Sir Charles Wolseley entered the prison, he having been sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment in Abingdon jail, with heavy recognizances at the expiration of his confinement, for attending a reform meeting at Stockport.  I met Sir Charles on the flags, and with him a gentleman whom he introduced to me as Colonel of the Guards.  Both the colonel and Sir Charles complimented me on my address to the judges.

    It was a curious place which I had got into this time.  It seemed to be an epitome of the great world we had left, only there was not any spinning or weaving going on here, nor rushing of horses, nor rattling of chariots, but all the degrees of luxury and want, of careless pleasure and thoughtful woe, were presented; all the extremes and contrarieties of our English condition might here be observed.

    No sooner had we stepped inside the gate than we were accosted by several men, who offered to let us apartments entire, or lodgings, or shares of apartments, but we declined making any immediate engagements, preferring to look round and get some information from those who knew the place.

    A crowd was collected near the gate, some waiting the arrival of prisoners like ourselves; some taking leave of friends, or creditors, or attorneys, or members of their families, returning into the great city; and others, whose acquaintance was perhaps now but slight with the world, would be standing there smoking, and sharing, mayhap, by sympathy, in the painful or pleasurable emotions of their fellows.  A number of young and athletic men were stripped and playing at racket against the high walls of the prison, whilst numerous lookers-on sat smoking and drinking, blaming or applauding the players, and betting on the games.  Some were hanging out dingy, half-washed linen to dry near their windows; the cobbler's hammer was at work; the barber had stuck out his pole and displayed his pomatum, tooth-powders, and perukes, as if people there had nothing to care about save cosmetics and curls.  The broken-down, starved dandy stalked gaunt as a winter's wolf; the ruined gamester; the over-speculative stock-jobber; the player in his last act; the honourable tradesman ruined; the spendthrift with nothing to spend; the fox-hunter, hunted at last to his earth—all were here.  The warrior found bars of vulgar iron too strong for his polished steel; the miser, in his living rags, hutched beside the priest in his lawn; the banker was here bankrupt; the statesman without estate.  The senator in vain called "order, order," each man was thinking, acting, reading, resting, singing, praying, eating, drinking, weeping, or smiling for himself and his own concerns, just as in the wide world outside.  But here all of human reason and passion of pleasure and pain, of hope and despair, was pent up like the rolling, tossing, boiling wave of a volcano that comes not up to the brim.

    The day after our committal to this prison a son of Mr. Cobbett came to visit Johnson, but, if I recollect aright, he was not introduced to any of the other political prisoners.  His father, since his return to England, had been at variance with Hunt, and he had suffered his personal feeling so far to estrange him from the common cause as to neutralise his powerful pen on the subject of the Manchester meeting, and the extraordinary proceedings at York.  In fact, Cobbett was jealous of Hunt's popularity, just as Hunt was jealous of Thistlewood's fame; the same unworthy and unseemly spirit had now possession of both our great leaders, and the result was that they hated each other with a most sincere hatred.  Not so the worthy Major Cartwright; he was always the same.  The day after our sentence I found him in the coffee room, promising Healey to write to some of the magistrates of Lincolnshire on our behalf, should our condition when there require it.  He questioned me as to the mode in which I purposed spending any time in prison, and on my expressing a desire to learn something of the Spanish language, he promised to send me some books on the subject; and he kept his promise, but I never made any advance in the study.  My wishes were greater than my endeavours.

    We were visited by Dolby, the publisher, by Wooller, of the Black Dwarf, by Mr. Pearson, our, or rather Hunt's, attorney, and by one or two others, but, somehow or other, most of our London friends seemed to have forgotten that we were yet in the land of the living.  They never came to ask for us any more than if the prison had been our tomb.  Alas! how many unfortunates in that place have made the same reflection!  How many, on coming forth, have found that not a friend was left to welcome them back to the world.

    The day after my arrival, I announced my situation to my wife in a letter containing the following lines:


"I never will forget thee, love!
     Tho' in a prison far I be;
 I never will forget thee love!
     And thou wilt still remember me.

 I never will forget thee, love!
     When wakes on me the morning light;
 And thou shalt ever present be,
     When cometh down the cloud of night.

 I never will forget thee, love,
     When summer sheds the sultry ray;
 And thou shalt be my comforter,
     Amid the winter's cheerless day.

 Oh! they may bind, but cannot break,
     This heart, so fondly full of thee;
 That liveth only for thy sake,
     And the high cause of liberty."


    On the morning of Wednesday, the 17th of May, Mr. Hunt was sent off in custody to the jail of Ilchester, pursuant to his sentence, and on the following morning, myself, Healey, and Johnson, were called into the lodge preparatory to our removal to Lincoln.  Here was a number of turnkeys and other officers, and the first movement was the unclasping of some handcuffs for the purpose of fastening us before we set out.  Healey and Johnson demurred strongly, and showed a disposition to resist, seeming to consider it a great affront and degradation.  I said the degradation was with those who offered the insult, and not with those who were compelled to receive it.  We were then hand-chained and ushered to the door of the prison, where we expected a coach would have been in waiting; but there was not any, and we were informed we should have to walk to the booking-office.  Here was another demur, my fellow prisoners expressing a strong repugnance to walking the streets of London handcuffed.  The person who seemed to have the superintendence of this transaction, said we should have had a coach, but there was not any on the stands at that early hour.  So we set off, and I endeavoured to soothe the spirit of repining by observing that an iron manacle, worn in a just and righteous cause, was more honourable than golden links worn by a tyrant or his minion,

    But few people were in the streets, and without encountering much observation we arrived at the "Saracen's Head," on Snow Hill, where we entered a four-horse stage coach and were soon, to my great satisfaction, dashing along a broad highway, past meadows, cornfields and trees, in all the verdure of spring.

    I do not recollect having ever noticed two worse-looking fellows than the twain now our conductors.  One was a middle-aged man with a villainous physiognomy, and features as immovable as if chiselled in stone.  I looked, and looked, and looked again, but he appeared always the same trained and inscrutable being.  He seemed to have just learned how to do a turn churlishly in open day, but would be more at home in lending a hand in a lonely place at midnight.  I never, to the best of my recollection, so thoroughly disliked a man for his looks and manners.  His comrade was younger and somewhat more urbane and better-looking, but there was a restlessness and a lurking distrust in his every glance and action which indicated an acquaintance with, if not the habitual practice of, wily and unrelenting scoundrelism.  I never, before or since, set my heart so against two strangers—God forgive me if I was wrong in my estimate of their characters—and I thought I shouldn't at all wonder if something occurred that would lead me to defy them before we got to Lincoln.  These fellows sat outside the coach, we were inside; they seldom opened their lips to us nor, I believe, to any one else.  I could perceive that they were armed with pistols.  Our fellow traveller inside was a gentlemanly looking personage.  He rode a considerable distance before any conversation ensued.  When he understood who we were and what was the cause of our being chained, he became quite chatty and agreeable, but nothing occurred which claimed a place in my recollection.  When we stopped for refreshment, our conductors, like two mutes, were always with us; the hand-chains were removed, and replaced before we set out again.  And thus we travelled through a rather wet day and all night, and at dawn on the following morning the coach stopped at Newark, and we had to take a fresh conveyance.

    We were now only sixteen miles from the place of our destination, and I proposed that we should wash ourselves and adjust our dress before we made our appearance at the jail.  This favour was, after some hesitation, granted, and we were not long in finishing our toilette.  The elder fellow then approached me with the clasps ready for my wrists, but I said I would not have them on any more.  He looked surprised, and moved as if he would compel me; but I bade him keep back, for no force he could command should induce me to submit.

    Healey and Johnson expressed a similar determination, and the two fellows asked the reason for so sudden a resolve?

    I said it was not a sudden resolve on my part, for I never intended to enter Lincoln with the chains on.  I cared but little how I appeared in London or the country through which we had passed, and where I was, as I should probably remain, a perfect stranger; but I knew the consequence of a first appearance in a seemingly degraded state before persons with whom we must remain twelve months.  There was no necessity for the handcuffs, I said; he might put them in his pocket.  I would give him the word of an honest man that I would go with him peaceably without the shackles, but I would not go at all with them.

    Healey and Johnson gave a similar pledge and expressed a similar determination; and the fellows, seeing the point was not to be carried by force, gave it up; and a post-chaise being waiting at the door, we stepped into it with one of our conductors, the other riding on the seat, and in this form we passed through a fine level country and approached the ancient city of Lincoln, the cathedral and castle looming in the distance, long before we could distinctly see their outlines.

    At length we were upon a pavement, and soon entered a street which we passed along, and then began to ascend the hill on which the upper town stands.  Our nags dragged hardly and slowly for some time, until, having got on a level, we went forward more rapidly, and in a minute we stopped before a huge gate which, after the application of a heavy knocker, was soon opened, and we drove into a fine broad yard and alighted at a strong nailed door, which we passed, and were conducted into the governor's apartments, where the warrant for our detention was read, and we were received formally into his custody.


 
CHAPTER XXXVII.

OUR GOVERNOR—OUR APARTMENTS—INTERVIEW WITH THE MAGISTRATES—SKETCH OF THE PRISON—A SINGULAR MUSEUM.


OUR new governor came from his chamber in his morning gown to receive us.  I thought there seemed to be a little aim at effect in this.  His voice was clear, his utterance rapid, but distinct, and accompanied by considerable action.  His complexion was brown, his features rather attenuated, his eyes quick, clear, and deep-seated, his forehead capacious, his hair rather thin and a little grey, his age forty-five or fifty, his stature about the middle size, and his motions very lively.  Such was John Merryweather, the governor of his Majesty's castle of Lincoln, as the impression of his appearance on the morning of Friday, the 19th of May, remains on my recollection.

    After our disagreeable conductors had retired, our governor showed us the apartments we were to occupy.  We mounted two heights of stone steps, and our rooms were the first two on the right hand.  Our day-room was a very good apartment, with fireplace, table, chairs, and every requisite; lofty overhead, a smooth floor of hardened mortar or composition, and a sash window, with a strong grating of iron before it.  Our bedroom was the next to it, and of the same dimensions.  In it were two good clean beds, a table, some chairs, and, I think, a cupboard or two, for clothes or other articles.  The rooms were remarkably clean, airy, and agreeable, and we expressed more than satisfaction, thankfulness, for the indulgent feeling which had assigned us such comfortable quarters.  Mr. Merryweather gave us some general directions as to the manner in which we were required to comport ourselves towards the other prisoners, and then retired; but was quickly followed by the turnkey, a stout, active man, named Tuxford, who after some further explanatory chat, went down and sent to us the woman who made the beds, and attended on the debtors by going errands for them into the town.  With her assistance, we soon had materials for a good breakfast and dinner; a fire was burning in the place on our arrival, and whatever cooking utensils or eating vessels we required were quickly procured.  And thus, friend reader, thou seest me located in the famous castle of Lincoln, the sixth place of my confinement for alleged, or suspected, political offences.

    We had scarcely set our breakfast things aside, when, after a knock at the door, the governor again entered, accompanied by about half-a-dozen gentlemen, one or two of whom seemed to be clergymen.  They were, he informed us, magistrates of the county, who had business to transact in the adjoining court, and had taken the opportunity to visit us on our arrival.  They asked if we were satisfied with our accommodations, and we assured them we were perfectly so, and quite grateful for their attention to our comfort.

    The Rev. Dr. Caley Illingworth, chairman of the bench of magistrates, expressed a desire for himself and the others to afford us every indulgence compatible with our situation, and their duty to the executive, provided our conduct was such as justified them in pursuing that course towards us.  The only restraint they wished us at present to observe was the avoidance of the company of the debtors, the holding of conversations with them on religious or political subjects, and the circulation of publications containing opinions of which they (the magistrates) could not approve.  They also required that we should not receive the visits of any persons without the knowledge of the governor.

    We promised obedience to their injunctions, and after many assurances of good feeling on their part, and suitable acknowledgments on ours, the gentlemen withdrew, leaving us still more pleased than before with the situation we had fallen into.

    The worthy guardians of the peace and morals of the county were evidently apprehensive lest our presumed opinions should contaminate those of the other prisoners; but when they saw, after many weeks' trial, that we acted with good faith, avoiding the debtors, and not seeking opportunities to speak on unpleasant topics, the injunction was no longer held in force; and, when in time, the governor saw us take part in the sports of the place, he expressed his satisfaction; and afterwards there was little distinction betwixt us and the debtors.

    The outer turnkey was a merry, loquacious, little fellow, about seventy years of age.  He proved to be very obliging, fond of money, and somewhat singular in his way.  He kept a kind of curiosity shop, consisting of instruments of murder, or murderous assault, such as hedge-stakes, splintered with breaking skulls, poles broken and bloody, hatchets, bars, and bludgeons.  Then he had an arrangement of the skulls of murderers, male and female, and highwaymen; and, next, halters, each ticketed with the name of the man or woman who had suffered in it.  This impressive exhibition he displayed with apparent satisfaction, especially when the visitor slipped a piece of silver into his hand.

    All around the prison building I have thus sketched arose high stone walls, some parts of them appearing to be of a great age.  They comprised, as I was informed, an area of about eight acres, one part of which was a large green in front of the jail, on which the prisoners for debt took exercise; in the centre of this green was a shrubbery, and the green was bordered on three sides by a long slip of garden ground, embracing the foot of the wall, appropriated to the use of the governor, and cultivated by the more orderly of the felons.  On the wall opposite the governor's apartments was a round tower, on which executions took place; and an ancient keep, called Lucy's tower, in the rear of the jail—part of the original fortification—was now kept locked, and was tenanted only by owls, and an immense number of shell-snails, which completely formed its floor.  In a hollow at the foot of this tower were seen the green heaps above the graves of felons who had died within the prison, and of criminals who had been executed; and on a more level plot behind the Town Hall (which building fronted the gates at the extremity of the yard) was the place of interment for debtors, some with stones and inscriptions, and others with only the green mantle of their mother earth lapping over them.


"And these had once been lov'd full well,
 Though some might hate or fear them;
 But now they slept in narrow cell,
 Nor wife, nor child lay near them."


    High above the gates and prison walls, at a short distance outside, rose the towers of the venerable and magnificent cathedral.  The Lady tower contained a peal of bells which were only rung twice a year: on Lady and Michaelmas days.  They were the sweetest-toned bells I have ever heard.  One of the towers was cracked, and men were employed in boring through it to brace it with iron.  This was the tower of the great bell Old Tom, which boomed forth the hours to us, as they too slowly joined the eternity of the past.

    As I was walking in the yard the day after my arrival, several gentlemen in clerical garb entered the gates, apparently on a visit of curiosity to the place.  As they approached my line of walk, I noticed the Rev. Jabez Bunting, Wesleyan preacher, a native of Manchester, amongst them.  Recognitions were given and received, and I mentioned to him the circumstance of having often sat under his ministry at Middleton, when he was but a young man and I a boy.  I called to mind also the names of some of his old friends at that place, who were relatives of mine; and I thought I somewhat interested him, when stating a fact of which he seemed not to be apprised, namely, that my grandfather, Daniel Bamford, was the first who opened a door to the preachers of his sect at Middleton; and that John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, John Nelson, Samuel Taylor, and others of the old band, were frequent expounders under that humble roof.  The gentlemen soon departed, and I mention the circumstance only because it gave rise, after they were gone, to a series of very pleasant recollections of my young days, which served during half an hour to dispel gloomy thoughts, and lead me back to "that sweet morning time" when


"With hymns we went praising
 By rindles and bowers;
 Or, sheltered, sat gazing
 At rainbows, in showers."


    One thing, however, struck me as a falling off from the good old apostolic customs of the preachers in my younger days.  The reverend gentleman went away with his company without vouchsafing a blessing or a word of advice to me, not that I cared much about it, but I thought old John Gaulter, or little Jonathan Barker, would not have done so.

    We had not been long here before we had reason to expect that we had either some very insidious foe, or some very indiscreet friend in the neighbourhood.  One morning, Tuxford came and requested to be allowed to examine the paper we used in our letters.  There seemed to be something mysterious in his manner, but we readily showed him all we had, and allowed him to take away a sheet of each sort.  Soon after he returned with the governor, who explained the reason for the proceeding, when to our astonishment it appeared that Lord Sidmouth had received an annonymous threatening letter, bearing the Lincoln post-mark.  The letter was sent to the governor, with a request that he would examine into the matter so far as he was able, and with the view of ascertaining whether the letter was written on the sort of paper we used.

    We, of course, as in truth we must, entirely disclaimed all knowledge of the document or its writer, and strongly condemned the feeling which could lead to the writing of anonymous letters under any circumstances.  The governor expressed himself as perfectly satisfied with the examination, so far as we were concerned.  He then similarly examined the debtors, but no clue was obtained towards connecting any one in the castle with the infamous document, and the only result was, that henceforth we stood better in the governor's opinion, as well as that of the visiting magistrates.

    Our governor was a genius in his way; he was not an educated man, but had the reputation of being an adept in astronomy.  He had a handsome mounted telescope, and frequently spent whole nights in star-gazing—a very proper employment, I thought, for the governor of a prison.  One or two desperate attempts at escape had been promptly foiled by his vigilance and that of his sub-officer.

    The story of Elizabeth Barton, his housekeeper—for he was a bachelor—was rather a romantic one.  She was now about fifty years of age, a clean and industrious woman, and withal, was very tender-hearted to the prisoners.  She was now rather infirm, but had been an uncommonly handsome woman, and in the prime of her charms she was the wife of a man of desperate habits, who initiated her into the business of passing forged banknotes.  She was taken in a transaction of that sort at Lincoln, and committed for trial, at that time almost equivalent to death; whilst her husband was equally unfortunate at York.  Both were convicted, and the husband was executed, but the situation of the youthful widow, now resigned to her fate, excited a commiseration so lively, that strong means were used to have her life spared, and it was so, on condition of a long confinement.  This she spent in a manner which obtained for her the good opinion of her superiors and the good wishes of her fellow prisoners; and she had ever since been the manager of the governor's household.

    When we went our doctor became her medical adviser.  He gave her physic, and a lotion, or something of that sort, for her legs.  But there must have been a mistake this time, for she soon dispensed with his attendance, complaining that his medicine made her very ill and his lotion burned the stockings off her feet.

    Every morning the servant from a public house near attended at the gate, and served the debtors with ale.  Each debtor was allowed to purchase a quart per day, but many went without, and others took it in their stead and kept it for sale at the price of a shilling a bottle, thereby gaining fourpence.  Pipes and tobacco, and indeed ale, might be had to any reasonable extent, provided the money was forthcoming.  Spirituous liquors were prohibited: I did hear that such articles might be obtained secretly, but I never saw anything of the kind during my twelvemonths' stay in the place.

    After I was sentenced a number of my friends at Middleton bestirred themselves, and besides making a present collection, they put down their names for a regular monthly contribution so long as I remained in prison, and thenceforward I received from them one pound per month.  Without this aid I should have been sadly put to my wits as to the means of living, for I never would have asked them for a farthing or made known my situation.  However, I accepted it as tendered, in goodwill, and the most friendly relations continued betwixt us.  Healey complained that he had not the means for supporting himself and paying for his room and bed, and on making a representation to that effect to the governor, a room above was assigned him with a bed, free of any charge, together with the county allowance to prisoners, consisting of three loaves a week, one pound of butcher's meat, and a quantity of coals.

    Soon afterwards it was understood that Mrs. Johnson was in a critical state of health, and was about to come to Lincoln to visit her husband.  On that occasion I wished to give up my share of the apartments Johnson and I held, in order that he and his wife might be more comfortable during her stay.  I accordingly mentioned the circumstance to Mr. Merryweather, and intimated that I should for the present be willing to take a part of Healey's room.  Mr. Merryweather assented in a moment, as he always did to whatever was reasonable, and I had a bed put up for me in the room above; which room was the identical one previously occupied by my late friend Finnerty, when he was confined here on a charge of libel.  It was a very pleasant room, with a fire-grate, cupboards for victuals, and places to put coals, potatoes, or other matters in.  We both had iron bedsteads, and very comfortably I slept, considering circumstances, and very grateful I was for the accommodation I experienced.

    I was in the habit of receiving a considerable number of letters, newspapers, and pamphlets—perhaps four or five where Healey received one.  Letters of a general nature I read to him, those of a private nature I of course did not.  Letters containing money for myself I sometimes read to him, and sometimes did not, as I judged most proper; those with money for both of us were open to both, and when I divided the money I always took his receipt for it, giving him mine when he had to pay.  The circumstance of so many letters coming to me I soon found excited envy and jealousy in his breast.  He suspected that I did not disclose to him all the letters that contained money on our joint account.  This was, perhaps, his most weak point, and it was not long ere I discovered that an influence was at work with him which at length entirely put a stop to all confidence and friendly feeling betwixt us, and rendered me during the remainder of my imprisonment a stranger to the society of my two fellow prisoners.  This, to be sure, was no great loss, and as such I treated it; but my equanimity was assailed by the means taken to annoy me, and to lower me in the estimation of my friends.

    I was soon, as may be supposed, in active correspondence with some of the most distinguished reformers.  Hunt and Sir Charles Wolseley each wrote to me about once a fortnight, the latter also furnished me with a daily newspaper; his letters breathed, as in fact they always did, an exuberance of spirits.

    Mr. Swan, Member for Grampound, who was in the King's Bench for bribery at the election, wrote to me, inquiring about the treatment we experienced on leaving the prison.  The Honourable Robert Bligh, brother to the Earl of Darnley, did the same.  The reader will thus perceive that, though condemned and in prison, we were not entirely disregarded by some who had influence in high places.

    One day, as I was lounging in the yard, the Rev. Mr. Nelson, one of the prebendaries of the cathedral and a county magistrate, accompanied by a gentleman whom I did not know, came up to me.  Mr. Nelson introduced the gentleman as Sir Montague Cholmley, a Member of Parliament for the county and a magistrate.  Mr. Nelson said he wished to ask me a question in the presence of Sir Montague, and he hoped I would answer him in all sincerity and truth.  I promised him I would, if it appeared to me a proper question, and I did not suppose that he would require an answer to one that was not so.  He said he certainly would not.  The question was, whether or not I was satisfied with my treatment at that place?  My instantaneous reply was, "Perfectly so."  Was there nothing, then, in the conduct of the governor or the regulations I was subject to, of which I had to complain?  My reply was, "Nothing whatever."  Then I never had complained, either verbally or in writing?"  Never! such a thing never entered my mind; on the contrary, I was most grateful for the indulgence I received."  "Did I suppose," asked Mr. Nelson, "that I was as well treated there as I should have been if confined at Lancaster?"  "Yes," I said, "and a great deal better, I was of opinion.  In my own county I should probably have been put in the worst dungeon the magistrates could have found."

    Was I aware of any grounds of complaint on the part of either of my fellow prisoners, I was next asked.  I was not aware of any such cause, I answered.  Sir Montague then informed me that a letter had been sent from Lincoln to a gentleman in London, whose name I have forgotten, containing allegations of great cruelty on the part of the governor towards us, and of most uncalled-for treatment generally, and he was come down purposely, he said, to ascertain the truth or falsehood of the charge.  I said that, so far as I and my two fellow prisoners were concerned, the charge was most false, and I was certain they would bear me out in my statement.  But, I added, "your worships can see them, and let them speak for themselves."  They assented, and I led up to the room occupied by Healey and myself, and, opening the door, walked in, inviting the gentlemen to follow.  I could not see the doctor at first, and thought he must have gone out, but a kind of splashing noise directed my looks to the door, and there he was behind it, as it stood open.  "Here is Doctor Healey, gentlemen," I said, as they advanced into the room.  I never saw a look of greater mortification and embarrassment than the doctor exhibited at that moment, as the gentlemen bowed to him and smiled at each other.  The doctor was busy washing his shirt, and was actually up to his elbows in suds, which he vainly tried to conceal, first by holding his hands behind him, and when he saw that posture did not avail, by wiping the suds off, and rolling down his sleeves.  After a moment or two spent in civil inquiries as to his health, and so forth, the same questions were put to him which had been to me, and nearly the same replies were elicited, whereupon the gentlemen expressed themselves quite satisfied, and left the castle.

    We had a regular scene after they were gone.  I dearly liked a harmless joke, and had many opportunities for seeing my comrade exhibit himself in his various moods.  "Well," said I, "I never knew such a thing in my life."  "Such a thing as what," asked the doctor, who, rather sulkily, was preparing to go back to his suds.  "Why, such a thing as that a learned doctor should be caught up to his elbows in suds and washing his shirt," and I laughed until my sides almost cracked.  The doctor looked fiercely, and giving me a hearty malediction, said I had no right to bring them up; I brought them purposely, and he knew it; I had done it to lower his respectability.  I laughed louder than ever, pretending great sorrow that so celebrated a character should have been caught in the suds—laying emphasis on the latter words.  The sense of humiliation I suppose now recurred with double force, and in his passion he caught up the mug and offered to throw the suds upon me, but I stepped out of the door that moment, and the doctor's foot slipping, in the wet, he came down on the floor, and, smashing the earthen vessel, all the suds were soon floating around the room.  I then thought it time to retreat, and stepping downstairs I escaped into the yard, doubled up with laughter.  The doctor ever afterwards took care not to be surprised washing his shirt.

    I may here mention a trait in the natural instinct of the feathered tribe.  The governor had a splendid peacock, with a hen, and a young one which had the run of the grounds.  One fine clear day, the cock and hen were beside the shrubbery, and as it happened I and some other persons were at the time near the place.  The hen suddenly turned her head, side upwards, and uttered a kind of cry, in which the cock joined, and the chick was instantly close to her wing.  I looked up, but could not see anything, and the two birds keeping their heads aside, turning them as if following a moving object with their eyes, I was convinced there must be a bird of prey within the ken of their vision.  I again looked in the direction they seemed to be doing, and at length descried a small black spot at an immense height over head.  It seemed to move in a circle; and in some time I could perceive that it was gradually descending.  It came lower and lower, the fowls still keeping a steady eye on it, and the young one being under wing, and at last it came so near that we made it out to be a fine glede hawk.  He took a few circles around the castle, as if he intended to make a stoop, but, probably seeing too many of the wrong sort, he at length gave a wheel, and swept out of sight.

    The worthy Major Cartwright, faithful to his promise, did not forget to use his influence with some gentlemen of the county in our favour.  Happily, we had no need of that, though he was not to be thanked the less, for the magistrates evinced every disposition to be kind towards us, and the governor and his subordinates, though naturally a little fond of power, never gave us reason to suppose that they wished to increase the small portion of restraint we necessarily experienced.  The governor, I must say, like the magistrates who directed him, never hesitated about doing us a good turn.  I had hitherto paid him a sum per month for the use of a bed and bedding which he found me, but immediately on my application to be allowed to find my own bed, which a worthy old lady offered to provide for me, the application was granted, and the county allowance was also given me on a subsequent application.

    My best and firmest friend was the above venerable lady, the wife of a blind and aged minister of the church, who was living at Lincoln on a small allowance.  This good old woman was like a mother to me, reproving me when blamable, advising me in difficulty—for she was a sensible strong-minded woman—consoling me amid vexation and ingratitude, and defending and encouraging me in the right.  I sometimes thought that if spirits of the departed were really permitted to return to the earth, it was not improbable that the spirit of my departed mother might be the animating principle of the good being whose benign influence watched over me.  I shall ever love a good woman for the sake of Mrs. Stainton; she was to me what my own mother would have been had she lived.

    It was scarcely to be expected that two men so entirely dissimilar in person and mind as Healey and myself should long remain together, perforce, without having cavillings, differences, and ultimately dislikes.  It is all very well to have a ramble through a countryside with a man, or to be in company once or twice a week, but to have to endure the company daily of one we cannot thoroughly esteem, is rather too much for human patience; at all events, it was often too much for mine.  Nothing sooner tried me than an exhibition of duplicity and false pretension, and of these, God knows, I had enough.  I was surfeited to disgust.  But I forbear.

    The room which Healey and I occupied opened into a lobby where there was a back window looking down into the condemned ward, and over a great extent of country even to Belvoir Castle, the flagstaff of which we could see with a glass on a clear day.  This lobby, in consequence, of the view, was also visited by strangers, particularly on Sundays, and it was my wish and endeavour to keep it in a state of neatness and order.  This very proper desire was, however, often thwarted by Healey, who would put his offal and the scrapings of his dishes on the window-sill, and his potatoes with their peelings on the floor, near the door, and in sight of every one who came up.  One Sunday, on his doing this, I remonstrated with him in terms which led to warm words on both sides, in which I upbraided him with his mean jealousy on account of the letters received, and of being perfidious under the guise of friendship, and I concluded by likening him to the viper which stung the bosom of its benefactor.  This enraged him beyond endurance, and he came at me with a two-handed blow with the poker.  I caught the weapon in my hand, and in trying to wrest it from him, he having a very tenacious grasp, I lifted him off his feet, and laid him, with but little violence, on the floor, and tore the thing out of his hands by main force.  I then held the heel of my shoe over him, and said if he was not so utterly contemptible, I would stamp the breath out of his body.  I then flung the poker under the grate and went out of the room, and on returning I found him on his feet, pretending to spit blood from his lungs, which he said I had injured by crushing him.  The fact was that his lip was a little swollen and cracked, having probably come in contact with his own knuckle, or mine, during the scuffle, and that was whence the pretended blood from the lungs came.  I will not repeat the terms of reproach which I flung away upon him.  He went downstairs and brought up the turnkey, and accused me of having knocked him down, beaten him with the poker, dragged him on the floor, and stamped on his breast, and concluded by spitting out streaks of blood as before.  I then gave a true version of the affair, showing the turnkey the state in which the lobby and window were, and requested him to examine Healey's lip and see if that was not bleeding inside.  He did so, and found it bruised, and blood oozing from it.  He then told the doctor he did not believe a word he said; that he had found him in falsehoods before, and that if he were not more circumspect in his conduct he would report his behaviour to the governor, and have him removed to the other side of the prison.  Healey thus took nothing by his motion, whilst I took only the resolution to get out of his company as soon as possible.

    But it was not at Lincoln alone that I was doomed to be annoyed.  The grossest slanders were propagated at Middleton and other parts of Lancashire, and in some cases they were but too coldly combated by those who called themselves my friends, but who alas! knew little of the -generous friendship," which


                                                  "No cold medium knows;
 Burns with one love, with one resentment glows."


One hoary-headed slanderer, who hated me because I had prevented him from imposing on the relief fund and obtaining money to which he had no right, circulated a report that I was actually a Government spy, that I had sold the Middleton blue banner to the authorities at Manchester for twelve pounds, and that if the banner were sought for, it would be traced to the police-office at the said town.  The fellow actually went about the town swearing most confidently that such was the case.  A committee was appointed to investigate the charge, and a deputation waited upon my wife, who opened a chest, and pulling out the banner, displayed it; and yet the scoundrel afterwards went up and down persisting in what he had said.

    It may be readily supposed that the fine yard the prisoners had access to would induce them to take much out-of-door exercise.  This was the case, and I in particular of our party, frequently joined in the running, leaping, and football matches which took place.  I generally entered with ardour into the game, and being a good footman, was not considered a mean auxiliary to any party.  Often, however, when the game was over, and I was quite warm with the exercise, would I fling myself clown on the grass, and perhaps take a nap until some fresh sport called me again into action.  By such unthinking conduct I took many colds, and neglecting to diet myself, or take medicine, the colds struck to my weak part, the lungs, and in time I began to have my old tightness at the breast and my night cough, as at Lancaster, only much worse, attended by profuse perspirations and other weakening symptoms.

    It was about the beginning of August that my dear wife, hearing of the state of my health, expressed her wish, in a letter, to come over and see me, and I gladly assented, provided the necessary means could be obtained.  I had, at Hunt's request, written a piece called "the Song of the Slaughter," which first appeared, I think, in his memoirs, and was afterwards published at the Observer Office, Manchester; and with three pounds, accruing from the sale of it, and one pound which my wife borrowed, she was speedily in a condition to join me, and announced her intention of doing so.

    About this time the, Rev. Mr. Nelson, and other magistrates, came to the castle on business, and before they went I took an opportunity of stating to them my wife's intention of coming over, and requesting the use of a room to ourselves during her stay.  They asked if there was one anywhere unoccupied, and I said that fortunately there was one, the very next to that I was now in.  They directly went into the turnkey's lodge, taking me with them, and sending for Tuxford, they ordered him to get the room I had mentioned coloured and cleaned, and to put up a bedstead, and give me the key of the place, that being my apartment during my wife's visit.  Then, turning to me, Mr. Nelson said "We [meaning himself and the other magistrates] do not approve of all that the Manchester magistrates have done, any more than of some of your proceedings, but we consider you to be here as prisoners under peculiar circumstances, and we should be sorry to be the means of depriving you of any little indulgence compatible with your safe custody, especially, so long as you comport yourselves as you have hitherto done.  There is one thing, however," Mr. Nelson added, after a pause, "which we must enjoin upon you, and that is, that you do not make any public statement as to this matter; that you do not mention it to the newspapers, or make a noise about it.  It is an indulgence, and at variance with the rules we ourselves laid down for the governance of the prison, but, as I said, under the peculiar circumstances of yourself and your fellow prisoners, we will do all we can to make you comfortable so long as, by your conduct, you enable us to be kind towards you."

    I expressed my unfeigned gratitude to the worthy magistrates, and promised to obey their injunction.  The place was immediately whitewashed and cleaned, and the day following, to my very great comfort, I removed to that welcome domicile, with thankfulness of heart to those who had been so kind, and with extreme satisfaction at being thus left alone, and to my own thoughts.

    It was on the 18th of September that my wife was to arrive.  Our meeting was both mournful and tender.  The sight of my features, so much altered for the worse, and of my pale and wasted hands, renewed her tears, and it was not till after a fit of downright crying on her part, during which I let her feelings have uninterrupted vent, that she became more calm, and we unburdened our minds of whatever lay heaviest and most painful there.  And of such matters, what with the falsehood or apathy of friends, and the open or insidious detraction of enemies, God knows, we had enough.


 
CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE PATRIOTS OF OLDHAM—A COMFORTER IN PRISON—A MELANCHOLY SPECTACLE.


AMONGST the best and truest supporters of persecuted Radicals, and the Radical cause, were a small but firm band of patriots at Oldham.  Their like never, to my recollection, existed previously in Lancashire, nor has it ever since.  To them I owe an especial acknowledgment, and if a grateful remembrance of the men and their good deeds, and a public recognition of their good words, through a medium so humble as this, be any equivalent for their kindness, they have it.  Some of the best have long since been called to the reward of "the good and faithful servant."  Some still remain, but scattered and bowed by the storms of life.  A few winter's gales, and we shall all be gone to, I hope, "where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest."

    It may easily be conceived that the society of my wife was a great solacement.  I had now always one true friend to converse with, and though the replenishment of my "basket and my store" was somewhat more frequently required, we did not regret on that account; since, if there were plenty we partook it, and if not, with Milton, we could sit down to our "herbs and other country messes," and be thankful for them.  Our greatest cause of anxiety now was the absence of our child; but as she had been left with her uncle and aunt, in whom we had unlimited confidence, we were the more easily reconciled to her having stayed at home.  My wife certainly saved something by going to market herself.  She could go out and return without a single question at the gate, without any rude hand examining her basket; and then, when at night I was locked up, it was in company with the one most fitted to administer to my wounded mind; one who with me could retrace the hours and days from childhood, and leading me to bright recollections, could wile me from present ill to past happiness, until the present also at times became tinged with brightness.

    In the beginning of October my wife returned into Lancashire.  Our parting was fraught with saddening anticipations.  I still kept up appearances as well as I could, and partook of active exercise, but my health was no better, and the means I took to restore it were just the opposite of what my case required.

    In January, 1821, [20] my wife returned to Lincoln, in accordance with my earnest wish.

    I was witness about this time to a very affecting incident which took place at the prison.  A young, good-looking countryman had narrowly escaped being hung for an atrocious case of housebreaking.  He was sentenced to transportation for life, and had sent for his mother to come and take leave of him before he went off.  She was a little neat-looking woman, pale, and rather browned, and attired in a plain but very cleanly habit.  She stood before the barred gate leading to the dungeons, and when she heard the clank of chains coming along the dim passage, she startled, clasped her hand convulsively, and listened.  Her son soon made his appearance, dragging his chain.  He extended his arms towards her, and she rushed into the gloomy passage, and to his bosom—uttered his name—and fainted.  They rubbed her temples, and tried to give her water, but in vain.  Her teeth were fast set, her colour deathly pale, and she continued thus long—he standing weeping over her and uttering words of endearment.  "Mother!  Mother!—Dear Mother!—Oh! that I should have brought you to this!"  Many eyes unwont to melt were also in tears, but no one, save the son, spoke.  At length they motioned him to return, but he broke away, and kneeling, caught his mother in his arms, and pouring tears fast on her face, he reverently kissed her wan forehead and her cheeks, and resigning her to the attendants, he said, "Now let me go!—I've killed my poor mother!—I've broken her heart!" and they led him away.  Then they carried her out for air, and when, after some time, her senses returned, she cast a look around and peered down the passage.  "He is gone," said one of the by-standers, on which she sighed, and departed slowly out at the castle gate, weeping.

    I was indebted this spring to Mr. Berry, one of my late sureties, residing at Failsworth, and some other friends, for a suit of new clothes, which I had begun to be in need of.  They sent me a sum of money, with a request that I would fit myself out decently to come home, and I obeyed their directions, by which I lost some friends.

    Mrs. Johnson, the wife of my fellow prisoner, never recovered from her indisposition.  She kept declining in health, and returned home to die.  I mention this painful circumstance because I am desirous to render that testimony to the conduct of the magistrates and governor, which it so truly merited.

    I believe it was the wish of Mrs. Johnson that her husband should, if possible, come to see her before she died; and an application was made to Lord Sidmouth by him for that purpose, but without effect.  The visiting magistrates, and the Rev. Mr. Nelson in particular, then took up the affair, and memorialised his lordship, but with no better result than before.  The magistrates of the county next got up an urgent but respectful memorial, which was presented to his lordship by the county members, but without effect; Lord Sidmonth assigning as a reason for his refusal, that if he conceded the point in this case he did not know on what grounds he could refuse it in others which might occur, and that the practice would lead to endless confusion and evasions of the law.  Mr. Johnson did not therefore see his wife, though it was not the fault of the magistrates that he did not; and when they could not do anything more, they gave him the entire range of the grounds within the walls—every indulgence, in fact, excepting walking out of the castle gates.  Most of his time, when out of doors, was thereafter spent in the gardens, apart from the other prisoners.  I was frequently asked why I did not claim the same privilege, and I replied by reminding the interrogators that my case was different.  I had the society of one whose companionship was a greater blessing than the range of any length or breadth of land could bestow.  His privilege was not necessary to my happiness.  I was content with what I had, and, moreover, whilst a claim of that sort would not benefit me, it might injure him, by causing his confinement to our common bounds.  I therefore never interfered; and I should have acted a very selfish part if I had.

    The expiration of my imprisonment was now fast approaching, and I and my wife often amused ourselves by conjectures as to how we should get home.  It was soon decided, however, that we must walk it, and she, laughing, boasted what a light step she would lead me when we were on the road.  Some perplexities as to the means for travelling, whether on foot or otherwise, were happily dissipated by the same beneficent friends who had smoothed our path at London.  Healey, entirely unknown to me, had written to Mr. Galloway on the subject with respect to himself, and the result, to my great surprise, was a letter from that gentleman, directed to me at Lincoln, which set all our apprehensions at rest on that score.

    Two of my friends in Lancashire—namely, the aforementioned Mr. Berry, of Failsworth, and Mr. Mark Smith, of Heywood—became my sureties for five years, in one hundred pounds each, and it now only remained for me to give my recognizances in two hundred pounds, previous to my liberation.

    It was a very fine morning, I recollect; there was a large meeting of magistrates in the county hall, and many of the debtors were in court, for it was held for their relief also.  My wife took my arm and we entered the court and were shown to a seat opposite the chairman, Dr. Caley Illingworth.  The Rev. Mr. Nelson was also there, and several other magistrates whom I knew from their frequent visits to the castle.

    "Joseph Johnson," was soon afterwards called, but he did not answer.  "Joseph Healey," was next called, but neither did he appear.  I was then called, and, standing up, was invited to go across the table near the chairman.  I did so, and entered into my own recognizances in the usual terms, after which I returned and sat by my wife.  Healey and Johnson shortly afterwards came into the court, and when some business had been disposed of, they were each directed to pass over the table as I had done, and then they severally went through the same form and took seats below the chairman.

    Dr. Illingworth then called our names, and we stood up whilst he congratulated us on the near termination of our imprisonment, thanked us for our good behaviour, which had enabled the magistrates and the governor to afford us some indulgencies which we otherwise could not have had, and hoped that in future the reflections which must have presented themselves in prison would, during the remainder of our lives, produce a line of conduct which would render unnecessary any further visitations of the law—or words to that effect.

    I looked at my two fellow prisoners, expecting that something would be said by them, and especially by Johnson, who had experienced so largely the best endeavours of the magistrates on his behalf; but neither of them spoke, they both sat down.

    I, remaining on my feet, then thanked the magistrates and the governor for their kind behaviour towards me and towards my wife during my imprisonment.  I could not, I said, suffer that opportunity to escape without expressing to them how unfeignedly grateful we were for all they had done on our behalf.  Their kindness was such as I did not expect when I came to that place, and was certainly such as I should not have experienced in my own county.  It had made a deep impression on both our hearts, and for myself I must say that if any course could wean a man from error by creating a grateful feeling in his mind, it was a course such as I had experienced at that prison.  It would have an effect more powerful with me than the harshest measures that could have been adopted.  I again thanked them most sincerely and gratefully.  I should remember their kindness, I said, to the last day of my existence.

    I then sat down, thinking that now, at any rate, my two fellow prisoners could not avoid following so proper an example.  They, however, kept their seats, and spoke not one word.  Then, in a few minutes, Johnson got up and walked over the table, out of the court, and the moment after Healey followed him.

    I need not intimate what impression this scene created on the minds of all present, nor repeat the observations it gave rise to.  I will only say that I the next day left the castle with the good opinion and good wishes of all who had known me, whether rich landowners, or reverend magistrates, or poor prisoners.  The governor spoke well of me and ordered that I should be admitted to the castle on any day, so long as I stopped in Lincoln.  But my most welcome applauder was my own conscience, which told me that, whilst I had in a becoming manner submitted to the authorities of the country, I had also deserved their esteem, had disarmed, perhaps, some animosities, had done some good to the cause of reform, and had, by my conduct, made one more appeal for those of the class in life to which I belonged.

    When I came to settle with the "Old Daddy"—the turnkey at the gate—which prisoners generally did by making him a present before leaving, he begged I would give him my wooden shoes, for so he called my Lancashire clogs, which I wore in the winter.  I gave them to him, and he expressed great delight, saying he would place them in his collection of curiosities, for it seemed that clogs had been but very rarely, if ever, seen previously in Lincoln.


 
CHAPTER XXXIX.

OBJECTS AT LINCOLN—TOM OTTER—BARTON FERRY—GREAT MARKHAM—A SCRUPULOUS LANDLADY.


WE stopped a day or two in Lincoln, at our friend Stainton's, and having sent our luggage to the carriers, we examined many of the venerable ruins of the place, particularly the fine Roman arch called "The Stone Bow," one of the most perfect specimens of Roman architecture in England.  The splendid and venerable cathedral also attracted our particular notice, and we could not but lament the ruthless and insensate havoc made amongst the images and statues by the soldiers of the stern Cromwell.

    It was on the afternoon of Wednesday, a fine day, that we bade adieu to Lincoln, and passing over the race-ground, we stopped at the "Eel-pie House," where we partook of their celebrated dish, "collared eel," and had our parting glass with some friends who accompanied us.  Proceeding thence, we passed Saxmundham on our right, and at Dringey Nook we came in sight of the gibbet of Tom Otter, who, in the dark shady lane in which he then hung, murdered his sweetheart by beating out her brains with a hedge stake.  We stopped at a very decent inn, at a short distance from the gibbet, and from thence continued our journey through a level country, full of woods and plantations, till the broad waters of the Trent suddenly appeared before us.  A shout and a signal brought the ferryman over, and after some persuasion, with fear and trembling, my wife at length went on board and we were ferried over and landed in the county of Nottingham.  A short and very agreeable walk through a rural country, with pretty English cottages embowered in gardens and fruit-trees, brought us to the village of Great Markham, where we entered a snug little public house and took up our quarters.

    We sat chatting over our tea until it was nearly bedtime, and when I requested that we should be shown to our room, the landlady gave an inquiring and dubious glance at us, and retired, evidently to take a second thought upon the subject.  The servant woman next came into the room, pretending to fetch something, but once or twice I observed her taking side looks at us; and as I perceived there were misgivings of some sort, I ordered a glass of liquor and a pipe, resolved to amuse myself by watching the shifts and manœuvres of these simple country folks.

    The mistress brought the glass, and the girl brought the pipe, and each gave a scrutinising glance, which we seemed not to notice.  We were both ready to burst into laughter, only my wife was a little apprehensive lest we should be turned out of doors.  I thee'd and thou'd her in their presence, as a man might do his wife, and talked to her in my ordinary careless way; and at last the landlady came and, begging we would not be offended, asked if the young woman was my wife?  I now laughed outright, and my wife could not refrain, though she covered her face.  I assured the good woman that my companion had been my wife many years.  Nay, she had no ill opinion of her, she said, only she looked so young.  But, young as she appears, she reckons to be my age within about three weeks, I said; and she was mother to a fine girl, now in the ninth year of her age.  Oh! she was sorry to have mistaken us, she said, we should have a comfortable bed ready in a few minutes.  And so saying, she left the room, satisfied, no doubt, with the explanation which had set at rest her troublesome qualms of conscience.  We had most excellent lodgings; and in the morning we rose early and commenced our journey, by lanes and shady footpaths, sweet with the breath of flowers and echoing the music of birds.

    Elksley.  What associations in a name!  The ley—the pasture land—the lair of the elk.  Where was now the elk?  Where the wide wold, with its "gre wolf" and the elk stalking, the dimly-seen monarch of a misty land?  All had disappeared—the elk, the wolf, were no more—and the dun moor and black moss had become laden with pastures and fields of grain, and garlanded with orchard blossoms and dotted with cottages as white as lilies on a garden bed.

    Here we breakfasted with the landlady, a tidy little body, and a delicate-looking young girl, who had come from Nottingham to stop here for her health.  We found this a most agreeable resting-place; everything was fastidiously clean; the tea, the sugar, the bread, were of the best quality, whilst the butter—if I may be allowed a new compound—was most butter-fully rich.  We, of course, much enjoyed our breakfast, for—


"We together far had come,
 Among the dews that morning." [21]


And I believe our hearty eating made the poor lass from Nottingham quite hungry.  She said she had not taken such a breakfast for a long time.

    From hence we travelled a long way, nine miles, I think, chiefly through woods and plantations belonging to the Duke of Newcastle.  We seldom saw a house, and the solitude was unbroken for long distances, except by the whirring of the pheasant or partridge across the road, or the bounding of the hare.  At Shireoaks we passed a large mansion and some substantial homesteads, and entering Worksop, with its ruined abbey on the right, we again rested and partook some excellent ale.  At South Aston we entered Yorkshire, and near Aston crossed the Rother river; and successively passing Handsworth, Darnal, and Attercliffe (Qy. why not Ottercliffe, or Addercliffe?), we entered Sheffield when near nightfall, and having been directed to The Axe public house, or "Hammer and Axe," I forget which, we soon found the place, on our left as we entered the town, and there took our quarters for the night.

    We intended to stop a day here, to look about us, and survey the curiosities of this great city of Vulcan, and well should we have been repaid for the delay, no doubt, but as important events not only frequently arise from small causes, but are baffled by them, our dreams of all the shining jewels of this wondrous cave, shrouded in smoke and sulphur, and glaring red fire, were quickly annihilated by a very significant object.  As I sat up in bed, I was almost startled by a sudden exclamation of my wife, who discovered one of those noisome flat insects so common in the beds of towns and crowded places, crawling up my shirt.  This determined her.  "She would not stop in that place," she said, "for the world—she could not eat in it—and we must set off directly;" and suiting the action to the word, she was dressed in quick time, and fidgeting to be gone—to get out "into the green lanes," and to "breathe the sweet country air."  I rather thought, however, that the wish to see her child affected her; perhaps she had been dreaming of her; at all events, I am sure the anticipated pleasure of embracing my dear little girl once more had considerable influence in my acquiescence to quit the town thus suddenly.

    Well, we soon paid the shot, and were on our way out of the town.  We got, however, on the wrong route, and, before we were aware of that, we found ourselves climbing the foot of the great hills which divide Yorkshire from Derbyshire.  For several miles we continued to ascend, and everywhere we came to a small flat, and hoped we had surmounted all, when a few paces discovered to us another eminence.  I wondered how my little women stood it, but she this morning showed me her light foot indeed, and with all cheerfulness we breasted the hill, anon looking back, to see how far we had travelled towards home.  At length we entered on a broad wild moor, where for miles and miles towards Yorkshire all was a scene of dun heath and shelterless plain; whilst downwards, over Derbyshire and Cheshire, the eye commanded what seemed an almost illimitable expanse of mountain land.


"But where the vision began to fail
 There seemed to be hills of a cloudy pale."


    In the valley we had left—now as we could discover of a beautifully undulating surface, and gaily green in the sun—lay the town of Sheffield, shrouded in its furnace clouds.  On our right and left were the wild and boundless districts I have mentioned, and before us was the wrinkled front of Mam Tor, frowning like an eld, in witch-land.

    We walked to the height of Hathersage Grange, and there stopped to survey the vast, solitary, yet pleasing scenes.  My wife was seated on a grassy knoll, whilst I stood beside her with my stick and bundle over my shoulder, my back towards the sun, whose beams were somewhat mitigated by light clouds, and my looks directed over the wold towards the Yorkshire border.

    "Well, I am convinced now," I said, breaking a long silence, "that Burke was not so far wide of the truth after all."

    "What did Burke say?" she asked; "for my part, I never heard him say much of either truth or falsehood."

    She thought I was alluding to one of the simplest of my Radical comrades, whom we had nicknamed "Burke."

    "Pho! its Edmund Burke, the great orator and political apostate, that I mean."

    "And what did he say?" she asked.

    "Say?  He called the people 'the swinish multitude'; and I am convinced he was right, for I have discovered.  I am one of them."

    "What do you mean?" she again asked, now more interested.

    "I can see the wind," I said, "and that's a sure sign I'm one of the swinish herd."

    "See the wind!  And what's it like?" asked she, looking up and laughing.

    "It's the most beautiful thing I ever saw," I said, "and if thou'll come here, thou shall see it also."

    I will suppose that the curiosity natural to the sex was excited, for she instantly was at my side.

    "Now look over the top of the brown heath with a steady eye, and see if thou canst discern a remarkably bright substance, brighter than glass or pearly water, deeply clear and lucid, swimming, not like a stream, but like a quick spirit, up and down, and forward, as if hurrying to be gone."

    "Nonsense!" she said, "there is not anything."

    "Look again, steady, for a moment," I said; "I still behold it"

    "There is," she said, "there is; I see it!  Oh! what a beautiful thing!"

    I gave her a kiss, and said I loved her better than ever.  She was the first woman who, I believed, had ever seen the vital element, the life-fraught wind.

    "Is that the wind?" she asked.

    "That is the wind of heaven," I said, "now sweeping over the earth, and visible.  It is the great element of vitality, water quickened by fire, the spirit of life!"

    I know not whether I was quite right in my philosophy, but we bowed our hearts, and adored the Creator; and in that we were both right, I hope.

    We stood gazing in wonder and admiration; for still, like a spirit-stream, it kept hurrying past—or as a messenger in haste; and so we left it glittering and sweeping away.  This was on the morning of the 19th day of May, 1821.

    And, reader, I dare be bound with thee that, if having a good pair of eyes, thou wilt at the same season of the year, and on a day like ours—with a mild sun and a quick breeze out of Yorkshire—if thou, at such season, and on such day, climb to the top of Hathersage Grange and stand with thy back to the sun—Mam Tor visible on thy left hand—then also shalt thou see the beautiful apparition—the spirit of life—which we saw.  It will repay thy trouble well, I assure thee.  Neither I nor mine can ever forget it whilst memory is ours.

    At Hathersage we heard the sound of a shuttle, and my wife remarked that we were getting near home.  Fortunately we stepped into a little public house, never exceeded in neatness and comfort, except by the one at Elksley.  Our breakfast was all that could be desired, and we did justice to it, having walked our ten or eleven miles, and over such a country.

    At this place, in the churchyard, are shown two small stones, marking, as people say, the grave of Little John, the faithful companion of the bold Robin Hood.  A picturesque low cottage, situated in a garden, and overgrown with ivy and other creepers, is still shown as the one in which the broken-down outlaw took refuge after the dispersion of his band; and where he also died.  Both objects are worthy the attention of the travelling antiquary.  Such a place would be a likely shelter to a proscribed man; whilst the moors and the forest glades, then but little known, and seldom penetrated, would yield plenty of game to a good bow, and no one be the wiser of the trespass.

    At Hope, where we called at the house of the village blacksmith, to ask for a draught of water, it being a warm day, we were, with old English hospitality, presented with a jug of good brown ale, and also pressed to sit down and partake the family dinner of hot potato pie; but, with all gratitude, we declined the latter and went forward, not stopping at Castleton, for we had now fairly set our hearts on getting home.

    In climbing up the Winnits (Wind Yates) we sat down to rest, and to view the rocky scenery around and above us.  A spring of clear water was trickling near, and with that health-giving beverage we quenched our thirst.  A fine hawk was circling over head, and a couple of ravens disturbed the death like silence with their croak.  The place was mysterious, and had an air of savage grandeur.  The imagination might easily expand in such a vast and darksome gorge.  Were it indeed the portal—the palace gates of the wind? of the wild, and beautiful, and powerful existence which we had seen that morning?  And if so, whither did it lead?  We mounted to the top, and found ourselves again entering on a wide dun moor.  Mam Tor, with her bold, storm-channelled front, on our right; the sun in his mid-height above us, and a long and weary waste, with swampy bottoms, and grey grass waving in the wind, before us.

    Not wearily, but cheerfully and lightsomely, along this desert track we went, and having gone a far way, we began to descend, and eventually rested again at a public house in the pleasant little town of Chapel-le-Frith,

    Here I was certainly taken to be a fellow who was running away with some old woman's daughter.  The landlady could not, at first, believe that my wife was my wife; and when I told her, as I did the good woman at Great Markham, that she had been a mother nine years, she called John, her husband, to partake in her amazement, and "wonderfully strange," to our great amusement, they both deemed the case to be.

    We stopped not at Whaley Bridge, for the sun was getting low, but hastened to Disley, and after a brief rest there we again started, though neither I nor my fellow traveller were so alert as in the morning.  In fact our feet began to be worse for our two days' travel, and when we got upon the paved causeway, betwixt Bullock Smithy and Stockport, it was like treading on red-hot stones.  Thus, long after nightfall, we went limping arm-in-arm into Stockport.  We found the dwelling of our friend Moorhouse at the lower end of the town, and knocking at the door, were received with every hospitality.

    My friend and his wife bustled about, and did all they could to make us comfortable.  We got a supper of good refreshing tea, and then essayed to go to rest, but my poor little companion had to mount the stairs on her knees—she would not be carried up—and when her stockings were removed, her feet were found covered with blood-red blisters.  I got some hot water and soap—washed her feet well—wiped them carefully, till quite dry—wrapped them in her flannel petticoat, and put her to bed.  I then washed my own feet, for they were not much better than hers, and committing ourselves to Divine care, we were soon oblivious of all weariness and anxiety, and on awaking the next morning, our feet were as sound, for anything we felt, as they were when we set out from Lincoln.

    Our walk to Manchester the next morning was a mere pleasure trip.  We scarcely stopped there, but, hastening onwards, we entered Middleton in the afternoon, and were met in the street by our dear child, who came running, wild with delight, to our arms.  We soon made ourselves comfortable in our own humble dwelling; the fire was lighted, the hearth was clean swept, friends came to welcome us, and we were once more at home.


"Be it ever so humble
 There's no place like home."

 


 
CHAPTER XL.

OF THE AUTHOR AND HIS BOOK.


AND now, friend reader, thou hast seen me, at last, through all the places of my imprisonment and back to my home.  Have I not led thee a somewhat strange and painful, yet not altogether unpleasing, pilgrimage? whilst the consciousness that thou wast all this time treading the ground of reality, of this earthly world, must have rendered thy sojourn more strange.  Even so it is; reality is always romantic, though the romantic is not always real.

    Having written of myself and others, it may not appear unseemly if I give a short history of the origin and progress of the present work, and conclude with some general, but I trust not unimportant, observations on the present condition of the country, the fallacious views of parties, and the means to be adopted for our safe transition to an approaching state of society.

    I make no excuse about the "partiality of friends" having induced me to take the step of publication.  I have not any friends who, in that respect, either could influence me, or would attempt it.  They would know it was not necessary to do so; they would have the confidence in me to feel assured that I should produce a book which, whilst it interested the reader, would form a tablet of facts, a group of characters which otherwise would have passed into oblivion; and that it would, so far, be useful to the future historian of the days recorded.  In the performance of this task, however, I have sought counsel only of myself.  A long train of fruitless exertions, of disappointed hopes, of harassments of body and mind, of young days and years wasted and flung away for nothing, except to find selfishness, ingratitude, and detraction, where I should have met every generous and manly virtue, could not have weighed on any heart as they did on mine, without producing a will of its own, a purpose beyond the ordinary motives of human nature: therefore impervious to them, and, in some respects, also above them.

    I had friends, however, and I am proud to acknowledge them, who, when my purpose became known, lent me every assistance in furtherance of my object; but their friendship was not of that cast which—though some of them were public men—sought its reward in the public emblazonment of their names; therefore on that point I am silent.  They expected something better from me, and they have had it—the sincere though unpretending gratitude of my heart.  Still I may say they are not great men, in the ordinary sense of the word; nor rich men, in the golden hue of richness; nor poor men, from a penurious craving spirit; nor high men on the stilts of gaudy pride; nor low men, degenerate through ignorance and vice.  Some of them are poets, and of imperishable name too; others are encouragers and admirers of literature, of the genuine uneducated, as well as the educated stamp.  Some are men "well to do in the world"; some are humble, but trustworthy servants; and others in more distinguished situations: but all are of that class which is privileged to—


"Hear the muses in a ring,
 Aye, round about Jove's altar sing."


    Such are they who enabled me to bring my memoir before the public.  Without their aid I might have written—as indeed I should—for posterity: to the pecuniary benefit, mayhap, of some thankless "next of kin," or to the emolument of that very respectable set of tradesmen who are said to "drink wine out of authors' skulls."

    But there were others, besides friends, whom I had to encounter, to smile upon, when I was full of sadness, to look up unto when my hopes were drooping; for in a case like mine, where a purpose of novel execution had to be prosecuted like a piece of market business, we must try all, likely and unlikely, and spare none, shun none, on account of their looks, or creeds, or of our own suppositions.  How many bitter disappointments then fell to the lot of him who travelled the great world, with nothing to exchange for its bread save the unperishing food of the mind—the etherial for the substantial, the spirit for the body!  But why do I expatiate?

    One of that class, about the education of which so much is now being said—a self-taught writer—produces a book which is certainly not to be despised on account of its morals, its politics, or its religion.  He waits on some of the richest of those who profess to be friends to the working classes, and to them he respectfully presents his humble production, when, what is the reception he and his book experience?  One "never buys books, he has not time to look at them."  Another has "hundreds of volumes, chestsful he has never read."  One says, "the book won't suit him"; another "never reads such things"; and another superciliously walks away, he "is not in that line, that morning."

    But I will not give way to the language which waits for utterance when I recur to these things.  I will turn rather to the consolatory view, and recollect how indifference at the office of one rich man was more than atoned for by a courteous reception at that of another—how rudeness at one place was followed by encouraging attention at the next—how to the bustle and importance of the warehouse succeeded calm and respectful discussion—how ignorant superciliousness was rebuked by thanks for my attention—how, in short, many received me with civility, many with kindness, many heard me with patience, many wished me success, and gave me earnest of their wish, many recommended me to friends, many referred me to others, several led me to their hospitable boards, and some who declined my work laid me under an obligation by the manner in which they did so.

    The booksellers were certainly the most amusing class I had dealings with.  One wrote to me for the work whilst publishing in parts, and sold it well for me.  Another, whose windows were crowded with old tomes and his counters with the numbers of "Master Humphrey's Clock," "Jack Sheppard," "Nicholas Nickleby," and such like serials (a house of long standing in the trade), looked at the volume—looked at the title—turned the book over, and gave it back, declining to sell it on any account; another objected to a word in the title—it "wouldn't do for his customers"; one wrote to me from London, offering to become my agent, at forty-five per cent. of course; and another London house "begged leave to decline the publishing of it at all."

    Amidst such variety of quickly succeeding incidents, some pleasing, others discouraging, some of them ups in the world, others decided downs, but with more of the latter than the former, how could a man struggling to rise comport himself?  It would be difficult; but old John Bunyan has a verse which answer the question.


"There's no discouragement,
     Shall make him once repent,
 His first avowed intent,
     To be a pilgrim.

 Whoso beset him around
     With dismal stories;
 Do but themselves confound,
     His strength the more is.

 Nor lions can him fright,
     He'll with the giants (tyrants) fight,
 And he shall have his right,
     To be a pilgrim."


    To the effect which this and other small works of mine have produced I think I may refer with some degree of certainty and satisfaction.  The publication of my small poem—or rather versification of Berenger's "La Lyonnaise"—with its accompanying notes and postscript, was quickly followed by that most important assemblage of the trading and working classes, the operative Anti-corn-law banquet at Manchester; a decided step, and one, too, "in the right direction."  That was the first time the two classes had come together to shake hands, and look manfully in each other's faces.  A few more such meetings, and the occupation of the incendiary demagogue, the real "divider and destroyer," had ceased.  Its moral influence was greater than that of a hundred bazaars or conferences.

    Since the publication of the present work, the question of the education of the working classes has seemed to have received a fresh impulse, and the agitation on that subject still forms an engrossing topic of discussion.  A minister of the Established Church at Manchester has thought the matter of sufficient importance to claim the advocacy of his pen, and he has given it in a most excellent spirit.

    A gentleman of Salford, heretofore of Conservative principles, also put forth a tract on the necessity of uniting the middle and working classes; and just latterly, Mr. Sturge, of Birmingham, who, if I mistake not, has had one of my books in hand, has come forth an advocate for "complete suffrage."  The ruthless tone of Chartism has been softened, and I know that some of the leaders have had my books.  The more rational and honest have become loosened from the violent and unprincipled; and as, ultimately, the latter must wither of their own madness, so the former may be expected to adhere to realities only, dropping the extremes of things, until all the practical good has been obtained, wisely applied, and permanently adopted.  If I may not claim to have been the pioneer in some of these and other salutary movements, I may certainly, at any rate, take my place in the advanced guard; and it is some reward to find one's self so honourably stationed.

    Still, much remains to be done, and I am ready to do my share, in my own way, and for—THE NATION!  That is the only party I will serve; though, if all things were finely balanced, even my country has only a step-mother's claim to my services.  I have given more to her than I have received, and far more than many of her most favoured sons had either the heart, or the brains, to contribute.  But enough of this, I am willing still to lend a hand to the old lady, unkind though she has been.  Let us, then, inquire how she is situated. [22]

    Behold the crown without influence, and the sport of faction; the factions themselves strong enough to enact evil, but too weak to effect much good.  The aristocracy blindly clutching their rents, whilst their very acres are in jeopardy, as if they could not perceive, and would not be made to comprehend, until too late, that cheap bread for the people means also, all they seem to care about, cheap pride, cheap pomp, cheap distinction for themselves.

    Next are the priesthood, scrambling for worldly gain, and squabbling as to which sect or party shall have most hand in moulding the young brains of the rising generation; as if they had something else in view besides making them into good men and women; as if there were a precept, known only to themselves, and superior to that, "Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you."

    Then there are the land-tillers, blind and blundering serfs to the landowners, though the latter knock them about like the clods of their own fields, and for the same purpose too, to make them yield rent.

    Next come the manufacturers, working at the wrong end, and trying to make a pitiable impression on the heads and hearts of a class that never, since the days of Cromwell, was pervious to anything at variance with its own will, save a battle-axe or a bullet.  There they are, striving for cheap bread, as if it were present salvation, and forgetting what all history is constantly proclaiming, that nothing human is fixed: that crowns, sceptres, dominions, institutions, establishments, and monopolies are ever changing, ever departing from their old seats, springing up anew in other places, and leaving deserts where they formerly flourished.  Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Greece, Rome!—all the departed nations of the world warn us of this; and still we remain as if we were unconscious that our time must come, is coming,—nay, is almost at the threshold.

    What, then, "shall we do to be saved?"  We must look our difficulties in the face like men.  The times which have been never will return; we cannot recall that which has departed, and is still going; we cannot, any more than we can still the ocean, prevent our manufactures from being set up in other nations.  We have read them too profound a lesson for that.  We have exhibited the spectacle of a small community combating the world, and buying or beating it all round.  We have shown the secret of our strength, of all our warlike strength—and they will act upon it.  We have shown them how our manufactures produced commerce, which produced wealth, which created credit, which supplied taxes and loans illimitable, and enabled us to wield, with tremendous effect, all the resources of our vast navy and our numerous armies; beating those we encountered, and subsidising the remainder until we either had time to beat them ourselves or could get others to beat them.

    And will not the nations lay hold of this wonderful power, and try to render it available to their own interests?  Most certainly they will.  The novelty of the thing itself would be a great temptation; and though no one nation may manufacture to the extent that we have done, they may manufacture for themselves, and they will do so.  America, with its cotton fields and its teeming population, will spin its own yarn and weave its own cloth, whether we will or no; and the nations of the Continent will do, are doing, the same.  They have nothing else to do in peace, nor can anything be more natural than that they should do so.  We cannot, must not, always be spinners and weavers for the world; and if we could, I do not see that it is desirable we should.  Let these truths be impressed on our minds, and let us, like a community of sensible men, calculate all our disadvantages, and prepare for the worst.

    Whether or not we shall be prepared depends on the exertions of the wise and good of all classes.  If preparations are made we may be a suffering family, but we shall be an united one, and half our evils will be obviated.  Those we must endure will be borne in a noble spirit; whilst those we surmount, and they may be many, will be subjects for our common triumph.

    Let all the sufferers, then, of whatever class or description, all who love their country, all who would promote the happiness of posterity and of mankind, unite to procure by peaceful means a suffrage co-extensive with direct taxation, an annual accountability of members to their constituents, cheap food for the hungry, cheap clothing for the naked, cheap labour for the industrious (we must cut a straightforward swathe—we cannot turn aside to leave nooks and corners for classes), cheap rents for the cottager, cheap rents for the farmer, cheap education for every one, cheap law in our courts, cheap justice on the bench, and real justice too, cheap religion, and freedom with it, a cheap, money-despising, vanity-shunning priesthood, a cheap, noble-minded, open-handed aristocracy, elder brothers and fathers of the people, and lastly, or firstly if you will, a cheap government, and a cheap but firm Executive.

    I would not, like the O'Connorites, insist on having the whole of these things, or nothing; I would take any part, and think well of it, and get the others as soon as I could.

    A bond of union like this, entered into and prosecuted without noise, without agitation or frothy declamation (with which the ears of the people are dinned nowadays, and which is but the pumping out of so much energy to the winds), would put down all demagoguism, all trading agitation, all jealousies, all dissensions, all recriminations.  It would bring together good men and true of all grades, and would create a brotherhood which, whilst it directed the masses, would also prepare them for whatever vicissitude was at hand.  Like the veterans of an army, it would show its comrades how to bear as well as to dare.

    But the whole extent of the evil must be steadily scanned: there must not be any half-measures, any exemptions for this or that interest, for this or that portion of the community.  During fifty years the English nation has been engaged in a gluttonous scramble for wealth, and now the time is coming when there must be a disgorging from the highest to the lowest.  We shall be never the worse for it, after all, but better, more long-lived, both as individuals and as a nation, provided we get the crisis over pretty smoothly, and that depends upon ourselves.  Our weaver lads must put up, as their grandfathers did, with jannocks and barley bread, and barm dumplings, and brown ale; our farmers' "ladies," as the daughters of farmers are commonly called, must don their clogs, and milk their own cows, and make their butter, and darn their own stockings.  "The Mrs." may ride behind Robin instead of taking out her gig; whilst the manufacturer's lady must not deem it beneath her to sit basting a good Yorkshire pudding, without a fire-screen, instead of perching on a screw stool thrumming a piano.  We must all take our share in the humiliation, and be thankful it is no worse.  We must work like a willing crew, or the ship will be lost.

    Yes, the change must be prepared for in our towns, our villages, our homes, our manufactories, and our seaports, as well as at the seat of government.  The evil does not all lie there.  Our present condition is the consequence of our folly as a nation, and of the natural course of events.  Our grandfathers and fathers were all mad for war with the French, and the most wise and popular government that could have been established would have gone mad too, with a mad people under it.  The wars which plunged us into irredeemable debt were the acts of the nation, and the nation must submit to its own infliction.

    The very same cause which removed the silk manufacture from Spitalfields into Lancashire, namely, cheapness, is now taking our manufactures into other countries.  So that even the repeal of the Bread Tax, desirable as it is, would not save our trade, unaccompanied by such other measures as would cut down all other taxes to the very core, and place our expenditure on a most rigid scale of economy.  We must all be prepared to make sacrifices.  We must determine to deserve redemption; the nation must act as one man, or at least the influential portion of it must, and the sooner it is set about the better.

    If we honestly lay our shoulders to the wheel, and lift all together with a long pull and a strong pull, and a sober and noiseless one, we shall get over the slough upon firmer land, and into better ways.  If not, and we stick fast and begin to sink, how inglorious it will be to be reminded by the gods that we are perishing because we did not perform our whole duty.

    Reader, consider these things seriously—and FARE THEE WELL.


July 27, 1842.



THE END.



NOTES.

 
20.    She stayed with him till his release, in May.
 
21.    Spencer T. Hall, the poet of Sherwood (Bamford).
 
22.    It must be borne in mind that this was written in 1842, a time when, as Mr. Spencer Walpole observes, the social condition of the nation touched the lowest point in a long and continuous decline. It was just before the Free Trade epoch. Bamford's remarks convey a graphic and painful impression. He considered the state of things desperate. He lived to witness a great change.



UNWIN BROTHERS, THE GRESHAM PRESS, CHILWORTH AND LONDON.

 



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