political motives, it was generally re- Perceval should descend to her eld. marked, that in one way at least, some est son ; but even with this altera. recent political events might have had tion, the provisions seem to have been an influence on him. Insanity is power. very unworthy of the nation. No fairfully wrought upon by external objects, er case could have occurred for the and it is not improbable, therefore, display of national generosity than that Bellingham, hearing of the assas- this, when a provision

was to be made sinations in Nottinghamshire and York- for the family of a man at the head of shire, had instantly determined to com. the administration of his country, mit a similar crime on the person of cut off in the discharge of his duty, the prime minister. A more than and leaving his children to that nation usually ferocious spirit seemed about in whose service he had lost his life. this time to have taken possession of It is incredible that the provision the public mind; for when the assassin should have been thus narrowed from was put into the carriage to be con- an ungenerous wish to propitiate the veyed to Newgate, an attempt was populace, whose notions in matters of made to rescue him. The soldiers were this kind are always mean and sordid. execrated as murderers; and even du- The grant ought to have been made by ring a part of the following day, a parliament on a scale of suitable magmob collected in Palace Yard and the nificence. The family of Mr Perceval neighbourhood, and indulged in the ought to have been distinguished by most atrocious exclamations. In this the liberality of the nation, and enabled state of popular turbulence it became to move with splendour in the highimportant that the trial and punish- est sphere. Thus would the public ment of the assassin should follow his gratitude have been expressed towards crime with as much rapidity as pos- the memory of Mr Perceval ; while. sible ; and as the sessions had already the general feeling, as to the base commenced at the Old Bailey, it was act by which he had perished, would determined to bring Bellingham to have been no less decidedly indicatrial on the Friday following.

ted. When parliament met the next day, Although it had been at first sup' a message was sent down by the Prince posed that Bellingham was insane, Regent, intimating the wish of his from a belief that no other than a madroyal highness that a suitable provision man could have perpetrated a crime so should be made for the family of Mr horrid, many circumstances transpired, Perceval, who had fallen in the prime even before his trial, to prove that this of life, and in the melancholy circum- suspicion was unfounded. Not only stances which have been related. A his manner at the time of committing provision of 20001. a.year to Mrs Per. the murder, but his conduct before ceval, and a grant of 50,0001. to her and after it, discredited the supposi. twelve children, (that is, about 2001. tion. He had transacted business with a-year to each) were proposed, -pro- his solicitor, and other persons, withvisions which fell far short of what in a week before the murder was commight have been expected from the mitted, and nothing appeared in his generosity of the nation. The grant conduct to raise a suspicion of insanito the children was manifestly insuf. ty. He had since been much employficient to educate them in the rank ed writing ; and there was nothing which they were entitled to hold in in his manner or his style to induce a society. It was afterwards proposed, belief that he had ever laboured under indeed, that the annuity to Mrs mental derangement. His letters, me

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morials, and petitions; all indicated the country had been deprived by the that he was in perfect possession of act of this ruffian, it may not be imhis faculties ; and nothing appeared to proper here to give a short sketch of justify the belief of his insanity, ex- what occurred during the course of cept the

very act for which he was to the trial. The prisoner, in his debe tried.

fence, displayed a mind not wanting His claim upon government was in rational faculties, but apt to draw the most absurd that can well be ima conclusions, which were to serve as a gined. He had gone to Archangel, justification of his conduct, from preand become a clerk in a mercantile mises which could in no way support house there ; he formed a connection them. He discovered powers of mind with a Russian merchant in the timber which could discern all the tendentrade,—returned to England to seek cies of human actions, and estimate a contract for the supply of timber, their several qualities, bewildered, and entered into commercial engage however, by his passions, and powerments with the merchants of Hull. fully stimulated by an acute sense of The Russian merchant with whom he supposed injury. He considered himhad connected himself became bank. self as the judge of his own actions, rupt, and the timber was not supplied; and the avenger of his own wrongs. the ships returned in ballast, and Bel. In his defence, he said, “ I have suslingham was cast into prison. On re- tained an injury from the Russian gocovering his liberty, he again proceed. vernment ; I have a right to redress, ed to Archangel, entered into new spe---my own country will not attend to culations, which only increased his em. my complaint ; they dismiss it as either barrassments ; he became very trouble. not understanding it, or setting their some to the Russian government, and face against it ;" and from such

prebehaved so ill, that he was at length mises he concluded that he had a right thrown into prison, where he remain- to assassinate Mr Perceval. He ad. ed for some time. As soon as he was mitted that he had no resentment set at liberty he returned to England, against the minister--that he esteemed where he made many complaints a- him, and lamented him as much as any gainst the conduct of the Russian go- of his relatives ; yet he had certainly

He continued at intervals murdered this very man against whom to present memorials to the British he had no ground of complaint. There government on the subject of his was ability, composition, and occasionclaims ; but as the business was en- ally even eloquence, in his defence. In tirely of a private nature, the ministers his language there was no involution could not interfere. No other symp- all was clear and unembarrassed, withi toms of insanity, therefore, bad hither. the exception of occasional allusions to appeared in him than the extreme which he made to the death of Mr insolence and selfishness with which he Perceval, when he seemed to be deeply had contrived to molest the British affected. It was impossible from his and Russian governments, as to mat- own statement to discover that he had .ters of private concern, in which they received any injury from the Russian could not possibly take a part. government ; and it appeared from a

The day of his trial arrived, and as letter written by Lord Grenville Levi. the circumstances of his case are of son Gower to Lord Castlereagh, that high interest and importance, from the British ambassador at St Peterstheir connection with that great and burgh, so far from having been inattenlamented statesman of whose services tive to the applications of Bellingham,




had ceased to interfere only after he be disposed of; and the sentence of had been fully satisfied by the Russian the law was accordingly pronounced authorities of the legality of the pro- against him without hesitation. ceedings which had been instituted He had no sooner heard the awful against the unhappy man.—There was sentence than he betrayed visible sympno room for the plea of insanity ; the toms of agitation and dismay; he evidence in support of such a plea seemed anxious to address the judge, must have been derived either from but was of course prevented. When the character of the act itself by which carried to his cell, he affected more Mr Perceval had fallen, or from the calmness and composure; but he had general conduct of the criminal. The no sooner fallen asleep than he began act itself had no character of madness to start violently, like one labouring but what is common to all the excess- underthe influence of a frightful dream. es of the vindictive passions ; and it Yet every thing which he said or did appeared from the evidence that the still appeared rational, except that general conduct of the criminal had when Russia was mentioned, he bebeen that of a sound and considerate came transported with passion, but man. Bellingham himself expressly without betraying any symptoms of disclaimed the plea of insanity which derangement. He seemed anxious for was proposed for him by his counsel, the arrival of the day of execution ; a plea which was manifestly inappli- and, in the mean time, employed himcable to his case, If there had been self in making arrangements for his reason to believe that he did not un- final separation from his friends. He derstand whether murder is an inno- exhibited some symptoms of a religious cent or prohibited act, whether wrong disposition, and occasionally moralized is right, or right wrong, or that on on the miseries and vicissitudes of hu. ordinary occasions he mistook good man life. He persisted to the last in defor evil, or evil for good, thus con- nying the criminality of his conduct.founding the very elements of moral Early in the morning which had been things, his case would have been very fixed for the execution of this unhapdifferent ; but Bellingham was not a py man, large parties of the military creature of this kind; he had


were ordered out and stationed at concuted redress and revenge for four venient distances, to check any dispoyears; he had uniformly acted with sition to riot or disorder ; but the state design and deliberation. To those who of the weather was such that the ask, whether the act for which he crowd was not so great as had been suffered was rational, it may be an expected, and no confusion or vioswered, that unfortunately the in

lence ensued. Before the criminal was grity of the understanding is not in- led out to the scaffold, the Lord May. consistent with the greatest guilt, with or and Sheriffs, for the last time, in. the most unaccountable and extrava. terrogated him as to his motives for gant wickedness. Experience proves committing the crime for which he that it is no evidence of an act having was about to suffer, and solemnly debeen done by an irrational creature that sired him to state whether he had been it contradicts the law of nature and the aided by accomplices. He answered, dictates of reason,--that it is with. with great earnestness, that he had out an adequate motive, and without a not ; but still seemed insensible of the possible benefit. There could be no enormity of his crime. When he was doubt, therefore, as to the manner in led out to the scaffold, a faint cry was which this atrocious criminal ought to heard from the mob; but it did not


appear that he understood what they the direction of the national councils said, or was the least affected by in the most difficult times, displayed their conduct. The sentence of the powers of mind fully adequate to his law was soon executed upon him ; the arduous duties. To the ascendancy crowd speedily began to disperse, and of his genius his political antagonists the tranquillity of the metropolis was were forced to submit ; they submitre-established.

ted with reluctance and murmuring, it Thus perished, in the 50th year of is true ; but still they were compelled his age, the Right Honourable Spencer to yield to the voice of the nation Perceval; a man who was not more which proclaimed his superiority.-distinguished by the singular variety The singular versatility of his talents and extent of his talents, than by the had full employment even during the possession of almost every public and short period of his political career. He private virtue. Descended of an an. first came forward after the death of Mr cient and honourable family, and dis. Pitt, and during the short administracovering in his youth the marks of tion of the whigs, as a speaker on the those high qualities which afterwards side of opposition ; his pointed wit and became so conspicuous, he was better severe sarcasm rendered him useful to entitled than most of his contemporaries his friends, and formidable to his eneto indulge the hopes of an honourable mies. He was soon called to fill an ambition, and to look forward to the office of high trust and power in the most gratifying distinctions to which government, and was afterwards eleva. a great and vigorous mind can aspire, ted, by the favour of his royal master, The state of his fortune, however, re- to the chief direction of the public quired that he should be educated to councils. The talents for which he some profession; and he was accord. had become so remarkable in opposiingly called to the bar, where he rose tion were now of less service to him to great eminence, and attained the but he had other and higher resources highest reputation. The practice of at command :-An easy and ready elothe law, as a preparation for public life, cution,--a quickness and penetration alhas its advantages and inconveniences ; most unrivalled,-unwearied industry, while it invigorates some of the facul.-great powers of combination,-wisties, it has a tendency, perhaps, to dom in planning, and resolution in exnarrow the range of the intellect, and ecuting the measures which he thought is more propitious to acuteness of rea- the most beneficial for his country, soning and brilliancy of wit, than to were among the eminent qualities depth of understanding, comprehen- which he displayed as chief minister. siveness of views, and energy of cha. He had not been long in power when racter. Such, certainly, was the opi- a great national calamity placed him nion of a great orator and statesman, in circumstances the most embarrasswho admitted, however, that there are ing, when he was called upon to promen so happily born that they can pose measures in which his feelings as triumph over the obstacles presented a man, and his sense of duty as a miby the narrow habits of a professional nister, were both put to severe trial, life, to the full development of the and when he had to expect from the highest qualifications of the mind. past disappointment of his enemies and Among the most distinguished of these their newly-raised hopes, an opposiexceptions, we may justly rank the late tion at once violent and formidable.. Mr Perceval, who, although brought His conduct on this singular occasion, almost immediately from the bar to which so well reconciled the most de


voted and respectful tenderness to his shew in what that safety consisted, sovereign, with the most conscientious foiling his antagonists, and often exdischarge of a great public duty, torting from them an acknowledgment which united the firmest and manliest of those talents which so unequivoperseverance in that course which the cally established his character, and constitution of the country appeared raised it to a level with that of the to him to prescribe, with the utmost greatest men of this or any


age.” mildness and candour towards adversa-, His enemies have acknowledged the ries, who tried every method of dis- vigour and penetration of his mind; turbing the gentleness of his mind, will but they have charged him with narbe long remembered with gratitude row and unphilosophical views-illiand admiration. With reference to beral maxims,--and ignorance of mothese memorable transactions, it has dern science. If by science they mean been well remarked, by one who had that barren system of metaphysical suba near view of his character, that “ in tleties which has been so well applied the critical situation in which he stood, by the professors of the present day his enemies might have expected to

to obscure the most obvious truths, find him timid, but they found him which seeks to shelter impiety and firm ; weak, and he shewed them his crimes, while it would fain cast ridistrength ; wavering, and he was faith. cule on the sentiments of virtue, which ful ; off his guard, and he was never under pretence of liberality, would ex. disconcerted ; out of humour, and no tinguish alike the ardour of patriotthing could disturb the suavity of his ism and of piety; if this be what they manner; possessing a genius at once mean by modern science, there can be deep, solid, and extensive, aided by a no doubt that Mr Perceval despised penetration which let nothing escape; it. It can be no reproach to him with displaying a great legal knowledge, those whose opinion can be of any va. and a perfect comprehension of the lue to his memory, that he neglected magnitude and importance of the part what the great Lord Chatham would he had to act, with an upright mind, have abhorred,--that he did not paand an inflexible determination to do tronise the followers of a creed which his duty. Not for a moment did he Mr Pitt had spent his life in resisting. lose sight of the interest of his sove- But Mr Perceval, although uninitireign; but although his opponents ated in the mysteries of modern phiwere strong, and the task he had to losophy, was well skilled in the prin. perform difficult, he confirmed and ciples which were professed by the established the rights of the crown in greatest of his predecessors ; he knew such a manner as best supported its the constitution of his country, and he true dignity, secured the ease and com- was determined to preserve it unimfort of the declining monarch, and sa- paired. He sincerely and ardently lotisfied the spirit and feelings of a great ved his native land; he knew that and generous nation Yet his efforts with all her imperfections, England presented no struggle ;' he was quick was still the great model of political in reply, strong in argument, never excellence, and he needed not the aids embarrassed, but always taking the of a shallow and presumptuous philodeepest and most comprehensive view sophy to tell him, that she possessed of the subject in debate, and displaying energies in herself which would yet as much firmness in support of the enable her to take vengeance for the measures he adopted for the public crimes of her neighbours. In his desafety, as talents and understanding to termination to persevere in the mighty

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