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An influence of this kind had too long prevailed, not less incompatible with the constitution, than with the best interests of the country. An influence of this odious character, leading to consequences the most pestilent and . it would be the duty of parliament to brand by some signal mark of condemnation. It was his rooted and unalterable principle, a principle in which those with whom he had the honour to act fully participated, not to accept of office without coming to an understanding with parliament for the abolition of this destructive influence; which consolidated abuses into a system, and by preventing complaints from reaching the royal ear, barred all hopes of redress of grievances. Holding these views and sentiments, he had thought it his duty to submit them to the House, and however various might be the opimions entertained of them, he had at least to congratulate himself on his own self-approbation. He had, however, the pride and satisfaction of reflecting that he still continued to enjoy the esteem of those friends for whom he felt the most sincere respect. All the arts and intrigue that had been attempted, in order to seduce many of those who had previously concurred with him on most of the #. public questions of the day, had £ailed, except in one solitary instance, and that was scarcely worth notice. He trusted he had sufficiently explained the reasons by which he had been induced to sign the letter so frequently alluded to in the course of the debate ; and with respect to his noble coadjutor in that proceeding, he must say of him, that the sentiments which that letter-conveyed, were in strict conformity to the whole tenour of his noble friend’s political life.”

The motion was lost by a great majority; the ministers of the Prince Re

gent were confirmed in their stations with the approbation of parliament; and they pursued their measures with vigour and success, till they were deprived of their great and virtuous leader, by an event, in all its circumstances, unparalleled in English history. On Monday the 11th of May, at about half-past five in the afternobn, as Mr Perceval was entering the lobby of the House of Commons, he was shot by a person of the name of Bel. lingham, who had taken his station by the door leading from the staircase. Immediately on receiving the ball, which entered his left breast, Mr Perceval staggered, and fell at the feet of a gentleman who was standing near the second pillar in the lobby. He uttered only a few words, which were but faintly articulated. He was soon recognised by the crowd of peo: ple whom the report of the pistol drew to the spot; his body was carried to the speaker's apartments; but before he reached them, all signs of life had vanished. The surgeon who had been sent for immediately arrived, and found that the ball, which was of an unusually large size, had penetrated the heart near its centre, and passed completely through it.—Amid the horror and dismay occasioned by this tragical event, no attempt was made for a few minutes to secure the assassin; but when a person at last exclaimed, “Where is the villain who fired 1" Bellingham, who had remained unobserved, stepped up to him, and coolly said, “I am the unfortunate man.” He had thrown away the pistol with which he had perpetrated the murder: he made no attempt, however, to escape, but at once resigned himself into the hands of the bye-standers, who placed him on a bench near the fire, and ordered the doors to be immediately shut. The prisoner having been searched, was conveyed to the bar of

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the House of Commons, where he was recognised by General Gascoyne, one of the members for Liverpool, and after a few minutes conveyed to the prison-room belonging to the House of Commons. Rio having been sent for, an examination of witnesses took place, when it appeared, that the assassin had been often seen of late in the gallery of the House of Commons, and had on the day of the assassination been observing every member as he entered the lobby with great attention; circumstances, however, which at the time excited no suspicion. General Gascoyne stated that he had seen Bellingham often, and that he had received from him many petitions, and memorials, respecting some claims on government, which were said to have originated in services performed by the assassin in Russia, for which he had obtained no remuneration. The assassin himself, when questioned on the subject, said, “My name is Bellingham—It is a private injury—I know what I have done— It was a denial of justice on the part of government.” He added, that “he had for more than a fortnight watched for a favourable opportunity for effecting his purpose—that he had implored for justice in vain—that he had made application to every person likely to procure him redress, and that he had at length been driven to despair, by being told at the public offices that he might do his worst. I have obeyed them,” said he, “I have done my worst, and I rejoice in the deed.” The examination was concluded at about half past nine in the evening; the prisoner was ordered to Newgate; and the necessary steps were taken to prevent the possibility of his perpetrating suicide. He was conveyed to prison about one o'clock in the morning under an escort of dragoons. The disastrous intelligence spread with amazing rapidity; and before six vol. W. PART I,

o'clock, the crowd collected in Palaceyard was immense. It was deemed prudent to order out the foot-guards, and city militia, as well as several bodies .# volunteers, to preserve the peace of the metropolis. A cabinet council was summoned, and the departure of the post was delayed till dispatches could be made out, and instructions prepared for the civil and military authorities in different parts of the kingdom, particularly in the disturbed counties, that the public tranquillity might not be endangered. Never perhaps did there prevail so strong and universal a sensation of

grief and horror. A coroner's inquest was assembled next day; and after examining the body of Mr Perceval, and taking the evidence of witnesses, a verdict was brought in of wilful murder against Bellingham. It was now discovered that the assassin had not been assisted by accomplices; that the supposed injury which had led him to the perpetration of this horrid deed was of a private nature; and an opinion arose, which, for the honour of the national character, was gladly entertained, that he had been afflicted with insanity.—It was remarked, that this assassination had no parallel in the annals of the country. That neither the murder of the Duke of Buckingham, nor the attempt made on the life of the chancellor of the exchequer Harley, by the Frenchman Guiscard, the only instances in which the lives of ministers of state had been assailed, bore any resemblance to it. In both cases, the assassins had previous knowledge of, and believed they had been injured by; the objects of their vengeance, while it was unquestionable in this instance that Mr Perceval had not even heard of Bellingham's pretended claims on government. Although there was no reason to believe that in perpetrating the murder the assassin had been influenced by K

political motives, it was generally remarked, that in one way at least, some recent political events might have had an influence on him. Insanity is powerfully wrought upon by external objects, and it is not improbable, therefore, that Bellingham, hearing of the assassinations in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, had instantly determined to commit a similar crime on the person of the prime minister.—A more than usually ferocious spirit seemed about this time to have taken possession of the public mind; for when the assassin was put into the carriage to be conveyed to Newgate, an attempt was made to rescue him. The soldiers were execrated as murderers; and even during a part of the following day, a mob collected in Palace Yard and the neighbourhood, and indulged in the most atrocious exclamations. In this state of popular turbulence it became important that the trial and punishment of the assassin should follow his crime with as much rapidity as possible; and as the sessions had already commenced at the Old Bailey, it was determined to bring Bellingham to trial on the Friday following. When parliament met the next day, a message was sent down by the Prince Regent, intimating the wish of his royal highness that a suitable provision should be made for the family of Mr Perceval, who had fallen in the prime of life, and in the melancholy circumstances which have been related. A provision of 2000l. a-year to Mrs Perceval, and a grant of 50,000l. to her twelve children, (that is, about 200l. a-year to each) were proposed,—provisions which fell far short of what might have been expected from the generosity of the nation. The grant to the children was manifestly insuf. ficient to educate them in the rank which they were entitled to hold in society. It was afterwards proposed, indeed, that the annuity to Mrs

Perceval should descend to her eldest son ; but even with this alteration, the provisions seem to have been very unworthy of the nation. No fairer case could have occurred for the display of national generosity -than this, when a provision was to be made for the family of a man at the head of the administration of his country, cut off in the discharge of his duty, and leaving his children to that nation in whose service he had lost his life. It is incredible that the provision should have been thus narrowed from an ungenerous wish to propitiate the populace, whose notions in matters of this kind are always mean and sordid. The grant ought to have been made by parliament on a scale of suitable magnificence. The family of Mr Perceval ought to have been distinguished by the liberality of the nation, and enabled to move with splendour in the highest sphere. Thus would the public gratitude have been expressed towards the memory of Mr Perceval ; while the general feeling, as to the base act by which he had perished, would have been no less decidedly indicated. Although it had been at first supposed that Bellingham was insane, from a belief that no other than a madman could have perpetrated a crime so horrid, many circumstances transpired, even before his trial, to prove that this suspicion was unfounded. Not only his manner at the time of committing the murder, but his conduct before and after it, discredited the supposition. He had transacted business with his solicitor, and other persons, within a week before the murder was committed, and nothing appeared in his conduct to raise a suspicion of insanity. He had since been much employ

ed in writing; and there was nothing

in his manner or his style to induce a belief that he had ever laboured under mental derangement, His letters, memorials, and petitions, all indicated that he was in perfect possession of his faculties; and nothing appeared to justify the belief of his insanity, except the very act for which he was to be tried. His claim upon government was the most absurd that can well be imagined. He had gone to Archangel, and become a clerk in a mercantile house there; he formed a connection with a Russian merchant in the timber trade,-returned to England to seek a contract for the supply of timber, and entered into commercial engagements with the merchants of Hull. The Russian merchant with whom he had connected himself became bankrupt, and the timber was not supplied ; the ships returned in ballast, and Bellingham was cast into prisen. On recovering his liberty, he again proceeded to Archangel, entered into new speculations, which only increased his embarrassments; he became very troublesome to the Russian government, and behaved so ill, that he was at length thrown into prison, where he remained for some time. As soon as he was set at liberty he returned to England, where he made many complaints against the conduct of the Russian government. He continued at intervals to present memorials to the British government on the subject of his claims; but as the business was entirely of a private nature, the ministers could not interfere. No other symptoms of insanity, therefore, had hitherto appeared in him than the extreme insolence and selfishness with which he had contrived to molest the British and Russian governments, as to matters of private concern, in which they could not possibly take a part. The day of his trial arrived, and as the circumstances of his case are of high interest, and importance, from their connection with that great and lamented statesman of whose services an

the country had been deprived by the act of this ruffian, it may not be improper here to give a short sketch of what occurred during the course of the trial. The prisoner, in his defence, displayed a mind not wanting in rational faculties, but apt to draw conclusions, which were to serve as a justification of his conduct, from premises which could in no way support them. He discovered powers of mind which could discern all the tendencies of human actions, and estimate their several qualities, bewildered, however, by his passions, and powerfully stimulated by an acute sense of supposed injury. He considered himself as the judge of his own actions, and the avenger of his own wrongs. In his defence, he said, “I have sustained an injury from the Russian government; I have a right to redress, —my own country will not attend to my complaint ; they dismiss it as either not understanding it, or setting their face against it ;” and from such premises ; concluded that he had a right to assassinate Mr Perceval. . He admitted that he had no resentment against the minister—that he esteemed him, and lamented him as much as any of his relatives; yet he had certainly

murdered this very man against whom

he had no ground of complaint. There was ability, composition, and occasionally even eloquence, in his defence in his language there was no involution ; all was clear and unembarrassed, with the exception of occasional allusions which he made to the death of Mr Perceval, when he seemed to be deeply affected. It was impossible from his own statement to discover that he had received any injury from the Russian overnment ; and it appeared from a tter written by Lord Grenville Levison Gower to Lord Castlereagh, that the British ambassador at St Petersburgh, so far from having been inattentive to the applications of Bellingham,

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had ceased to interfere only after he had been fully satisfied by the Russian authorities of the legality of the proceedings which had been instituted against the unhappy man,—There was no room for the plea of insanity; the evidence in support of such a plea must have been derived either from the character of the actitself by which Mr Perceval had fallen, or from the general conduct of the criminal. The act itself had no character of madness but what is common to all the excesses of the vindictive passions; and it appeared from the evidence that the general conduct of the criminal had been that of a sound and considerate man. Bellingham himself expressly disclaimed the plea of insanity which was proposed for him by his counsel, a plea which was manifestly inapplicable to his case. If there had been reason to believe that he did not understand whether murder is an innocent or prohibited act, whether wrong is right, or right wrong, or that on ordinary occasions he mistook good for evil, or evil for good, thus confounding the very elements of moral things, his case would have been very different; but Bellingham was not a creature of this kind; he had prosecuted redress and revenge for four years; he had uniformly acted with design and deliberation. To those who ask, whether the act for which he suffered was rational, it may be answered, that unfortunately the integrity of the understanding is not inconsistent with the greatest guilt, with the most unaccountable and extravagant wickedness. Experience proves that it is no evidence of an act having been done by an irrational creature that it contradicts the law of nature and the dictates of reason, that it is without an adequate motive, and without a possible benefit. There could be no doubt, therefore, as to the manner in which this atrocious criminal ought to

be disposed of; and the sentence of the law was accordingly pronounced against him without hesitation. He had no sooner heard the awful sentence than he betrayed visible symptoms of agitation and dismay ;—he seemed anxious to address the judge, but was of course prevented. When carried to his cell, he affected more calmness and composure; but he had no sooner fallen asleep than he began to start violently, like one labouring under the influence of a frightful dream, Yet every thing which he said or did still appeared rational, except that when o. was mentioned, he became transported with passion, but without betraying any symptoms of derangement. He seemed anxious for the arrival of the day of execution; and, in the mean time, employed him. self in making arrangements for his final separation from his friends. He exhibited some symptoms of a religious disposition, and occasionally moralized on the miseries and vicissitudes of hu

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sition to riot or disorder; but the state .

of the weather was such that the crowd was not so great as had been expected, and no confusion or violence ensued. Before the criminal was led out to the scaffold, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, for the last time, interrogated him as to his motives for committing the crime for which he was about to suffer, and solemnly desired him to state whether he had been aided by accomplices. He answered, with great earnestness, that he had not; but still seemed insensible of the enormity of his crime. When he was led out to the scaffold, a faint cry was heard from the mob; but it did not

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