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sions of this most eloquent man; his infirmities were daily growing upon him, and he died a few weeks afterwards, on the 15th of February, 1732, in the 70th year of his age. How grievous is the fate of exiles ! How still more grievous the party division which turns their talents against their country!
Even in his shroud Atterbury was not allowed to rest. His body being brought to England to be buried in Westminster Abbey, the government gave orders to seize and search his coffin. There was a great public outcry against the Ministers on this occasion, as though their animosity sought to pursue him beyond the grave; and undoubtedly none but the strongest reasons could excuse it. They had received intelligence of some private papers of the Jacobites to be sent over by what seemed so safe and unsuspected a method of conveyance.
This mystery they determined to unravel; and with the same view was Mr. Morice arrested and examined before the Privy Council.
Atterbury's own papers had been disposed of by his own care before his death. The most secret he had destroyed; for the others he had claimed protection as an Englishman from the English ambassador, Lord Waldegrave;' that a seal might be placed upon them, and that they might be safely delivered to his executors. Lord Waldegrave declined this delicate commission, alleging that Atterbury was no longer entitled to any rights as a British subject. The Bishop next applied to the French government, but his death intervening, the papers were sent to the Scots College at Paris, and the seal of office was affixed to them, Mr. Morice obtaining only such as related to family affairs.
* Coxe, in his Narrative, speaks of smuggled brocades, not of papers. But the letter from the Under Secretary of State, which he produces as his authority, speaks only of papers, and says nothing of brocades. Mem. of Walpole, vol. i. p. 175., vol. ii
. p. 237. Boyer glides over this unpopular transaction (vol. xlii. p. 499.).
† Mr. Delafaye, Under Secretary of State, writes to Lord Waldegrave: : As to your Excellency's getting the scellé put to his effects
if your own seal would have done, and that you could " that means have had the fingering of his papers, one would 1 “done lim that favour.” (May 11.-1732.) A most delicate sense honour !
It may be observed, that the Government of George seems always to have possessed great facilities in either openly seizing or privately perusing the Jacobite correspondence. We have already seen how large a web of machinations was laid bare at Atterbury's trial. In 1728, Mr. Lockhart found that some articles of his most private letters to the Pretender were well known at the British Court, where, fortunately for himself, he had a steady friend; and on his expressing his astonishment, he was answered - “ What is proof against the money “ of Great Britain ?"* The testimony of Lord Chesterfield, as Secretary of State, is still more positive. “ The rebels, who have fled to France and elsewhere, “ think only of their public acts of rebellion, believing “ that the Government is not aware of their secret cabals “ and conspiracies, whereas, on the contrary, it is fully “ informed of them. It sees two-thirds of their letters;
they betray one another; and I have often had the
very same man's letters in my hand at once, some to “ try to make his peace at home, and others to the Pre
tender, to assure him that it was only a feigned recon“ ciliation that they might be the better able to serve “ him.... The spirit of rebellion seems to be rooted “ in these people; their faith is a Punic faith; clemency “ does not touch them, and the oaths which they take to “ Government do not bind them.” †
Nothing certainly tended more than these frequent disclosures of letters to cool the ardour of the High Tory gentlemen in England, or, at least, to redouble their caution. They came, at length, to prefer, in nearly all cases, verbal messages to any written communication, and prudently kept themselves in reserve for the landing of a foreign force. Without it, they always told James that they could only ruin themselves without assisting him. It was a frequent saying of Sir Robert Walpole “ If you see the Stuarts come again, they will begin by “ their lowest people; their chiefs will not appear till the end." I
* Lockhart's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 400. † To Madame de Monconseil
, August 16. 1750. Orig. in French. Works, vol. iii. p. 207, ed. 1779.
# H. Walpole to Sir H. Mann, Sept. 27. 1745.
From the resignation of Lord Townshend the ascendency of Walpole was absolute and uncontrolled, and confirmed by universal peace abroad, by growing prosperity at home. His system of negotiations was completed by the second treaty of Vienna, signed in March, 1731, and stipulating that the Emperor should abolish the Ostend Company, secure the succession of Don Carlos to Parma and Tuscany, and admit the Spanish troops into the Italian fortresses. England, on her part, was to guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction, on the understanding that the
young heiress should not be given in marriage to a Prince of the House of Bourbon, or of any other so powerful as to endanger the balance of power. * At home, various measures of improvement and reform were introduced about this time. An excellent law was passed, that all proceedings of courts of justice should be in the English instead of the Latin language. “Our prayers," said the Duke of Argyle, “ are in our native tongue, that "they may be intelligible; and why should not the “ laws wherein our lives and properties are concerned be
so for the same reason ?”f The charter of the East India Company was renewed on prudent and profitable terms. † Some infamous malversation was detected in
* This treaty was greatly promoted by the influence of Prince Eugene. He said to Lord Waldegrave: — “Je n'ai jamais eu peu “ de plaisir de ma vie dans les apparences d'une guerre. “Il n'y a pas assez de sujet pour faire tuer un poulet!” Lord Waldegrave to Lord Townshend, March 18. 1730. Coxe's House of Austria, vol, iii.
† Most of the lawyers were greatly opposed to the change. Lord Raymond, in order to throw difficulties in the way of it, said, that if the Bill passed the law must likewise be translated into Welsh, since many in Wales understood no English. (Parl. Hist. vol. viii. p. 861.) The great Yorkshire petition on this subject complained that “the “ number of attorneys is excessive.” (Ib. p. 844.)
See Coxe's Walpole, vol. i. p. 326.
the Charitable Corporation, which had been formed for the relief of the industrious poor, by assisting them with small sums of money at legal interest; but which, under this colour, sometimes received ten per cent., and advanced large sums on goods bought on credit by fraudulent speculators. Penalties were now inflicted on the criminals, and Sir Robert Sutton, the late ambassador at Paris, being concerned in these practices, was expelled the House. An inquiry into the Public Prisons of London laid bare a frightful system of abuses ; we find the Wardens conniving at the escape of rich prisoners, and subjecting the poor ones who could not pay heavy fines to every kind of insult, oppression, and want. The report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons is full of such cases : thus one Captain Mac Pheadris, having refused to pay some exorbitant fees, “had irons
put upon his legs, which were too little, so that, in “putting them on, his legs were like to have been 66 broken. He was dragged away to the dungeon, “where he lay, without a bed, loaded with irons, so close “ rivetted that they kept him in continual torture, and “ mortified his legs." From such usage the prisoner became lame and nearly blind; he had petitioned the judges, who, as we are told, “after several meetings and
a full hearing,” agreed to reprimand the gaoler, but decided, with infinite wisdom, that “it being out of Term, “they could not give the prisoner any relief or satisfaction!”
Another report declares that “the Com“ mittee saw in the women's sick ward many miserable objects lying, without beds, on the floor, perishing with extreme want; and in the men's sick ward yet much
On the giving food to these poor wretches, (though it was done with the utmost caution, they “ being only allowed at first the smallest quantities, and " that of liquid nourishment,) one died; the vessels of “his stomach were so disordered and contracted, for want of use, that they were totally incapable of performing their office, and the unhappy creature perished " about the time of digestion. Upon his body a coroner's
* First Report of the Select Committee, presented February 25. 1729.
“inquest sat, (a thing which, though required by law to “be always done, has, for many years, been scandal“ously omitted in this gaol,) and the jury found that he “ died of want. Those who were not so far gone, on “proper nourishment given them, recovered, so that not “above nine have died since the 25th of March last, the “ day the Committee first met there, though, before, a day “seldom passed without a death; and, upon the advanc“ing of the Spring, not less than eight or ten usually “died every twenty-four hours." *
Such atrocities in a civilised country must fill every mind with horror, and it is still more painful to reflect that for very many years, perhaps, they may have prevailed without redress. Thus, for example, in the Session of 1725 I find a petition from poor insolvent debtors in the gaol of Liverpool, declaring themselves “ reduced to a starving condition, having only straw and “ water at the courtesy of the sergeant.” | How often may not the cry of such unhappy men have gone forth and remained unheeded! How still more frequently may not their sufferings have been borne in constrained or despairing silence! The benevolent exertions of Howard, (whom that family, fertile though it be in honours, might be proud to claim as their kinsman,) and still more the gradual diffusion of compassionate and Christian principles, have, we may hope, utterly rooted out from amongst us any such flagrant abuses at the present time.
Yet let us not imagine that there is no longer any tyranny to punish, any thraldom to relieve. Let not the Legislature be weary in well doing! Let them turn a merciful eye not merely to the dungeon but to the factory, not merely to the suffering and perhaps guilty man but to the helpless and certainly unoffending child! For my part I firmly rely on the progressive march of humanity. In a barbarous age it was confined to men of our country. In a half-barbarous age it was confined to men of our religion. Within our own times it extended only to men of our colour. But as time shall roll on, I am persuaded that it will not be limited even to our kind ; that we shall feel how much the brute
* Second Report, presented May 14. 1729.