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Hardly had the nation recovered from the shock arising Chap. from this atrocious conspiracy, and its dreadful punish- x' ment, when a fresh alarm of a more serious and wide- 1820spread nature broke out in the north. Notwithstanding DisturVthe powers given to the magistrates to suppress military San°i training by the late act, it still continued through the*"|°°^d whole winter in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, and the neighbourhood of Glasgow. All the vigilance of the magistrates was unable to detect or suppress these alarming practices, which evidently presaged, at no distant period, a general insurrection against the Government. It was at first fixed for the 1st November, but adjourned then, and on various other occasions, in consequence of the preparations not being complete. Meanwhile the midnight training went on without intermission on the hills and moors, sometimes in one place, sometimes in another, so as to elude discovery or pursuit; and at length, all things being conceived to be in readiness, the insurrection was arranged to take place on the 2d April. The large military force, however, which was stationed in Lancashire and Yorkshire prevented any serious outbreak in that quarter, and it ended in an assembly of three hundred malcontents near Hud- i Ann- Reg dersfield, who dispersed on the rumour of the approach s^,,^, of a body of cavalry.1 But in Scotland affairs became 4.12;
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more serious, and revealed at once the precipice on the i. '-m5. brink of which the nation stood, and the extraordinary
for the welfare of my starving countrymen. I keenly felt for their miseries; but when their miseries were laughed at, and when, because they dared to express those miseries, they were inhumanly massacred and trampled upon, my feelings became too intenso, and I resolved on vengeance! I resolved that the lives of the instigators should be required to the souls of the murdered innocents."—Thistlewood's Address before receiving tentence.
"Lords Castlereagh and Sidmouth have been the cause of tho death of millions. I conspired to p"Ut them out of tho world, but I did not intend to commit high treason. In undertaking to kill them and their fellow-ministers, I did not expect to save my own life; but I was determined to die a martyr in my country's cause, and to avengo the innocent blood shed at Manchester."— Brunt's Speech be/ore receiving sentence; Ann. Beg. 1820, 940, 947; Appendix to Chronicle.
Chap. sway which the leaders of the movement had obtained x' over the working classes in the manufacturing districts.
1820. Qn Sunday morning, April 2d, a treasonable proclainsurrec- mation was found placarded over all the streets of Glass'cotiand. gow, Paisley, Stirling, and the neighbouring towns and Apni2- villages, in the name of a provisional government, calling on the people to desist from labour; on all manufacturers to close their workshops; on the soldiers to remember the glorious example of the Spanish troops; and on all friends of their country to come forward and effect a revolution by force, with a view to the establishment of an entire equality of civil rights. Strange to say, this treasonable proclamation, unsigned, proceeding from an unknown authority, was widely obeyed. Work immediately ceased; the manufactories were closed from the desertions of their workmen; the streets were filled with anxious crowds eagerly expecting news from the south; the sounds of industry were no longer heard; and two hundred thousand persons in the busiest districts of the country were thrown at once into a state of compulsory idleness by the mandates of an unseen and unknown power. Never was there a clearer proof how powerful an engine fear is to work upon the human heart—how much its influence is extended by the terror being sfateTHais awakened from a source of which all are ignorant. How kig'iftw' true are tne words of Tacitus, " Omne ignotum pro magHijhes vi nifico," an0- how we^ founded was the boast of Marat, 412,413;' that with three hundred determined bravos he would obMrrotion. govern France, and cause three hundred thousand heads to fall.1
Fortunately at this juncture the energy of GovernOutbreak of ment, and the spirit of the untainted parts of the country, rection^and ^ere adequate to encounter the danger. Volunteer «bTMppre* aud yeomanry corps had shortly before been formed Aprils. in various districts; regiments 800 strong had been raised in Edinburgh and Glasgow, entirely clothed at their own expense. Squadrons of yeomanry had been formed in both towns, and they came forward at the Chap.
approach of danger with the most praiseworthy alacrity. .—
At 2 P.m. on April 3, summonses were despatched to the 1820Edinburgh squadron, which was 99 strong, to assemble in marching order; at 4 P.m. 97 were at the appointed rendezvous, and set out for Glasgow.* Volunteer and yeomanry corps rapidly poured into that city; in a few days 5000 men, of whom 2000 were horse, with eight guns, were assembled in it. The crown-officers hastened to Glasgow, and directed the proceedings. This great demonstration of moral and physical strength extinguished the threatened insurrection. The expected movement in England did not take place; the appointed signal of the stopping of the London mail in vain was looked for: a tumultuous body of insurgents, which set out from Strathaven, in Lanarkshire, melted away before they arrived in Glasgow; another between Kilsyth and Falkirk was encountered at Bonnymuir by a detachment of fourteen hussars and fourteen of the Stirlingshire yeomanry, totally defeated, and nineteen of their number made prisoners. Before the week had elapsed the danger was over; the insurgents saw they were overmatched; a rigorous search for arms in Glasgow revealed to them their weakness; numerous arrests paralysed all the movements of the leaders, and sent numbers into voluntary exile; the people gradually resumed their avocations; and this outbreak, which at first had appeared so threatening, was terminated with the sacrifice only of two men executed at Stirling, one at Glasgow, and seven or eight transported. But the rebellious spirit of the manu
* The author has much pleasure in recording this just tribute to a fine and spirited corps, in the ranks of which some of the happiest days of his life have been spent. The Edinburgh squadron at that time, which was the successor of that in which Sir Walter Scott had served, and has immortalised, contained several young men destined to distinguished eminence: among others, the present Lord Justice Clerk, Hope; Mr Patrick Tytler, the historian of Scotland; Mr Loekhart, since editor of the Quarterly Review; and Mr Franc's Grant, since so eminent as a painter in London.
Chap. facturing districts was suppressed in a far more effectual v and better way, which neither caused blood to flow nor a
tear to fall. They were morally slaughtered ; the strength of their opponents, their own weakness, was evinced in an unmistakable manner. The ancient spirit and loyalty of the Scotch was shown in the most striking manner on this occasion: the flower of the youth in all the counties ranged themselves in arms around the standard of their kfo^edge; country; and Sir Walter Scott, whose chivalrous spirit fff'o 3?g' was strongly roused by these exciting events, boasted, in 39;Scotih the pride of his heart, that at a public dinner of 800
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ii. ioo,234; gentlemen in Edinburgh, presided over by the Marquis ?uf IiT of Huntly, there were gentlemen enough assembled to have raised 50,000 men in arms.1 *
Parliament met, after the general election, on 21st Death ami April. Its result had made no material difference in the Mrarat-°frespective strength of parties, but, if anything, strengthtan- ened the ministerial ranks,—the usual result of public disturbances, which awaken men to a sense of the necessity of supporting the Government, whatever it is, which is intrusted with the duty of repressing them. One distinguished member of the House, howev%r, Mr Grattan, never took his seat in the new Parliament, and expired Juno 6. soon after the session commenced. He was the last of that bright band of patriots, who, warmed into life by the *A^-^fg-great struggle for Irish independence in 1782, when the u3;'Mar- chains in which that country had so long been held by •ic3.au' '* England first began to be broken, were, after the Union, transferred to the British Parliament,2 which they caused
* "We have silenced the Scottish Whigs for our time, and, I think, drawn the flower of Scotland round the King and Constitution. Literally I do not exceed the mark, when Lord Huntly, our Cock of the North, as he is called, presided over 800 gentlemen, there was influence and following enough among us to raise 50,000 men, property enough to equip and pay them for a year, young men not unacquainted with arms enough to discipline them, and one or two experienced generals to command them. I told this to my Whig friends who were bullying me about tho popular voice—and added, they might begin when they liked, we were as ready as they."—Sir Walter Scott to Lord Sidmouth, 17th February 1821; SidmoDth'a Life, iii. 343.
to resound with strains of eloquence rarely before heard Chap. within its walls. _
He was not so luminous in his exposition of facts as Pitt, nor so vehement in his declamation as Fox; but in His characburning thoughts, generous feelings, and glowing language, statSman he was sometimes superior to either. Occasional passages aodoratorin his speeches, when quoted or repeated, are perhaps the finest and most imaginative pieces of eloquence in the English language. It was justly observed by Sir James Mackintosh, in moving a new writ for Dublin, which he had long represented, that he was perhaps the only man recorded in history who had obtained equal fame and influence in two assemblies differing from each other in such essential respects as the English and Irish Parliaments. Forty years before his death, he had been voted a grant to purchase an estate, by the Irish Parliament, in consideration of his emiuent national services, a thing unknown in an individual not connected with the public establishments. He had been a warm supporter of the Union, hoping, as he himself expressed it, that Ireland, instead of receiving laws from England, should henceforth take an equal share with her in legislating for the united empire. It is only to be regretted that his genius, great as it was, had been through life chiefly directed to an unattainable object. The independence of Ireland was the chief aspiration of his mind, and he lived to see that it was hopeless. He said, in his figurative and beautiful language, "I have sat by its cradle, I have followed its hearse." Hence his name, with the exception of the Union and the shackles burst in 1782, is linked with no great legislative improvement in his native country—for Catholic emancipation, of which he was the strenuous and able advocate, has failed, by the admission of its warmest supporters, to prove such. It is remarkable that the Irish or Celtic character, gifted, often beyond the Anglo-Saxon, with the brightest imaginative qualities, has in general been found deficient in that practical turn and intuitive saga
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