Imágenes de página

Nottingham, April 29, 1815.

“SIR-I have, in conformity with my promise to you, laid the Requisition I had the honour to receive, before my brother Magistrates, at a meeting last night; and after mature deliberation, they are of opinion with myself, in the present unsettled state of the public mind, it would be better to avoid a Town Meeting upon this occasion.—If, however, the use of the Guildhall, for the purpose of having Petitions lay there to receive signatures, would be desirable, it is quite at the service of the gentlemen who conduct this

business. I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
- “John Ashwell, Mayor.”

“To John Ashwell, Esq. Mayor.
“ SIR-I have had the honour to receive your
letter, which I shall lay before the Committee this
afternoon; should they decide on a public meet-
ing, will you be kind enough to say whether you
will permit them to have the use of the Guildhall
for that purpose. Waiting your reply, I am, Sir,
your's &c. “J. CLAYToN.”

“To M.R. cla YToN.

“SIR-In answer to your letter, the Hall will be occupied on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, in the next week. I am your obedient servant, “.J. Ashwell.” 4. To Joh N Ashwei.I., ESQ. MAYOR. St.R—I had the pleasure of receiving your esteemed favour of the 29th instant, which was laid before the Gentlemen who signed the Requisition, for their consideration; they are extremely sorry to observe that the Guildhall will be occupied on Tuesday, &c. so as to deprive them of the opportunity of meeting in that place, for the sole purpose of cousidering the propriety of addressing the Prince Regent and the House of Commons on the impolicy of interfering with the internal affairs or regulations which France may chuse to adopt as to her form of Government or Ruler, and not to involve this country again in War, with all its evils, unless for objects truly national. Will you, therefore, be kind enough to state explicitly, whether on a subject so highly important, and a proceeding so truly constitutional, any protection or countenance may be expected from the Magistrates, &c. should a Public Meeting take place (in the town), or whether such a proceeding would meet with opposition; I cau assure you it is not the wish of the persons concerned in this business, to disturb the repose of the town, &c. Waiting your reply, I remain, Sir, your most obedient servant,

[merged small][ocr errors]

** To Mr. claw. TON.

“Nottingham, 2d May, 1815. “Sin–I am not aware that your note of the first instant requires from me any particular answer. It is the duty of Magistrates to preserve the public peace always, and to the proper discharge of this duty, the attention and exertions of the Magistrates of Nottingham, I hope, will be always found directed. I am your most humble

servant, “John Asli WELL.”

“To John Ashwell, Esq. MAYor.

“Sir—I have received your letter this after. moon, and, I must confess, the contents of it do not a little surprise me, as it neither contains a candid or explicit answer to my letter of the 1st instant: I did not require of you to point out the duty of magistrates, &c.; every man of common capacity must know the line of conduct marked out for them, BY Tii e LAw of THE LAND, and to that was more observed, less trouble would accrue in the conducting of Constitutional or Public Meetings; but, it appears, the voice of the people is neither to be heard nor respected, either by one power or the other, but that their suffer. ings and calamities must be endured without a murmur or a sigh. I presume you cannot forget the Public Meeting that took place respecting the Corn Bill, at which you had the honour of presiding, and, I have no doubt, you will recollect the manly and correct conduct of it, and which you so highly complimented and commended, and the pledge you gave, to call any future Public Meeting conducted on the pure principles of the Constitution; and can that premise be so easily broken particularly by the Chief Magistrate! whose conduct and expressions ought to be as clear as the sun at noon day, without ambiguity. . A respectable Requisition was handed to you, signed by persons, if not rich, or possessing great talent, they were homest to their country, and friends of the greatest of blessings, peace! and the cause of humanity; there-fore, in my humble opinion, it became your imperious duty to have called a Public Meeting, being considered (as far as expressions go) the supporter and advocate of the cause of your country. If, Sir, you will give me a direct answer to my last letter, I shall feel obliged; in the mean time, I remain, Sir, your obedient humble servant, “J. CLAYTon.” “Nottingham, May 2, 1815,

It appears that no reply was returned by the Mayor of Nottingham to Mr. Clayton's urgent and constitutional request. Determined, however, not 'to abandon their purpose, the Committee in name of those citizens who signed the requisition, caused the following address to be printed and circulated : “FELLow TownsMEN AND CouxTRYMEN-The present moment is awfully portentous; dismally dark clouds hang over our country, pregnant with unheard of misery and woe to ourselves and future generations, the mere description of which however faintly drawn, would horrify minds the least susceptible of generous sentiments, would melt hearts the most obdurate: but we will not harrow feelings, already sufficiently wounded, by attempting to pourtray such direful calamities as must necessarily result from a renewed course of warfare with France; without having one legitimate object to stimulate us to the adoption of such a desperate measure; for desperate it must be considered by all, (of whatever political opinion,) who look at the financial difficulties of this nation. Come forward, therefore, fellow countrymen, and exercise 3your rights--be obedient to the imperious calls of duty—use every constitutional effort of which you are possessed, to prevent the vessel of your country from being driven in the gathering tempest; and then, should the Government of the nation be so infatuated as to plunge you into all the horrors of war, you will, amid all your galling sufferings, be exempt from those bitter reflections which must ever attend an accusing conscience.—You are respectfully informed, that under existing circumstances, the Committee, who continue to manage this business, consider it an act of prudence, and not of submission, to decline calling a public Meeting. They therefore, lay before you, for your approval, the following RESOLUTIONS and PETITIONS which they intended to offer, had a public Meeting been called by the Mayor, in conformity to the requisition presented to him, and which was published last week in the Nottingham Review, and in hand-bills, together with the correspondence produced by such application.—A Petition to the Prince Regent, and another to the House of Commons, will be laid for signatures, at a shop in Smithy-row, lately in the occupation of Mr. Darby, to-morrow, from ten o'clock in the morning to seven in the evening, and will continue to be open for a week. The adult male inhabitants of this town and its vicinity, who are the FRIENDS

of PEACE, and the admirers of the prin-
ciples of our excellent Constitution, it is
hoped, will come forward as one man,
and affix their names to those Petitions.—
By order of the Committee,
John GREAVES, jun. Secretary.
Wednesday Morning, May 10th, 1815.
Resolved 1. That as war is the extremity of
evil, no nation should engage therein until all
lawful and honourable means to avert it have
been tried, and proved unavailing.

2. That every nation has an indisputable right to choose its own Government; and that a war commenced and prosecuted by any other nation with a view to the annihilation of such choice, is most unjust; because it is contrary both to the law of nature and of nations, to the avowed practice of the civilized world, and to the very principles which exalted the House of Brunswick to the Throue of these realms. Therefore this Meeting regards with horror and dismay, the hostile preparations now making; the professed design of which is, to compel the French nation, by force of arms, to dethrone the Sovereign of their choice, and to impose upon them another, to whom it appears they have a complete, radical, national objection.

3. That this Meeting not only sees, but feels, the heart-rending calamities which the late wars have entailed upon this country:—Trade, commerce, and mannfacture scarcely exist: nothing present themselves for observation and contemplation, among the trading, commercial, and manufacturing part of the community, but ruiu, wretchedness, and woe.

The National Debt has been increased in a

four-fold degree, and now requires no less suin

than thirty millions sterling to pay the common interest, with an addition of public expenditure to the annual amount of twenty millions more, even on the supposition of this country enjoying universal peace.

4. That in the opinion of this Meeting, it would be highly chimerical, impolitic, and most iniquitously unjust to the people of this country, for the Government thereof to plunge them into renewed warfare for any other objects than those truly national, probable in their acquirement, and of sufficient magnitude and importance to compensate this nation for the sacrifices and sufferings naturally resulting therefrom.

5. That from the pre-eminent station which Great Britain holds in the scale of nations, this Meeting believes that her efforts to preserve the present peace would not be ineffectual,

6. That the effects which the late wars produced on this town and neighbourhood were inost lamentably afflicting; the poor-rates were increased in an eight-fold détee, and more than one-sixth of its population received parochial aid. 7. That this Meeting present an address and petition to his Itoyal Highness the Prince Regent, praying that he will not interfere by war or otherwise, with the internal affairs of France, and that the said petition be transmitted to the Right Hon. Lord Grenville, requesting him to present it to his Royal High bess. 8. That this Meeting do also present an address and petition to the Honourable the House of Commons, praying that they will not grant any supplies for the purpose of subsidising foreign powers to enable them to go to war with France, and that this petition be forwarded to John Sinith, Esq. and Lord Rancliffe, the two Members for the town, with a request that they will, upon presenting the same, cause it to be read, and support the prayer thereof. 9. That the thanks of this Meeting be given to John Smith, Esq. our worthy representative, for his independent, steady, and persevering conduct in Parliament. 10 That this Meeting cannot but regret the long absence of our other worthy representative, Lord Rancliffe, from his Parliamentary duty. appaess to the PRINce of wales, Regent OF THE UNITED KING Dom of GREAT BRITAIN .ANID ir FLAN id. The humble, dutiful, and loyal Address and Petition of o inhabitants of the town and county of the town of Nottingham, and its vicinity. - May it please your Royal Highness—We, his Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the inhabi. tants of the town and county of the town of Nottingham, and its vicinity, respectfully approach your Royal Highness, with harrowed feelings of the most poignant grief:-feelings which we have not heretofore endured; although our privations, sacrifices, and sufferings, for the last twenty years, are unparalleled in the annals of our country. We beg most ardently to impress on 'the mind of your Royal Highness, that, however just, wise, and politic, the late wars may have been considered in their respective origin and duration, that the effects resulting therefrom, on his Majesty's loyal subjects, were, and are, most grievously afflicting. After such unequalled sacrifices of blood and treasure, what national advantage- might we not have expected? But the lamentable reverse is the fact:—Trade and commerce are annihilated;—our merchants ruin. ed, our artizans pauperised. We would not

presume to dictate to your Royal Higiness, but to state constitutionally to you, our opinions and feelings. Hence the mighty warlike preparations now making, which fill our minds with painful anxiety, impel us to declare, that we think it the imperative duty of this country, not to wage war with France, (particularly when we consider the state of our finances) without it be for objects purely national, likely to be obtained, and coinmensurate with its consequent calamities:—calamities, the mere contemplation of which strike us with horror. It is so repugnant to our feel. ings—so contrary to the dictates of justice,—to the Constitution of our country, to the practice of our forefathers, to the very principies which placed your august family on the throue, and, above all, to that princely declaration, so honourable to your understanding and your heart, made by your Royal Highness, when you were invested with Regal Authority,+that “ the Crown was a sacred trust, to be held only for the welfare and happiness of the people;"—that we could not for a moment have entertained a thought, were it not for that most objectionalile Declaration made by the Plenipotentiaries of the Allied Sovereigns, bearing date the 13th of March, (and also the Treaty of the 25th of the same month,) 1815, together with the hostile attitude which Europe has since assumed, that your Royal Highness would coalesce with those Monarchs on the Continent, to prevent by force of arms, or otherwise, the French people from retaining that Sovereign and forming that Government which are the objects of their choice. We, therefore, most respectfully implore your Royal Highness, that your Royal Highness will not interfere, by war, or otherwise, with the internal affairs of France. And we further implore your Royal Highness, that no measures may be adopted by this country, to impede any friendly communications, that may be offered from that nation. And yonr petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. PETITION To THE commons of GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED.

The humble Petition of the inhabitants of Nottingham and its vicinity. Sheweth.-That your Petitioners cannot view, but with sentiments of most fearful apprehension, the extensive preparations making by the Government of this country, for an apparent renewal of war with France; nor can they avoid expressing their regret, at seeing themselves likely to be plunged once more into all the calamities, distresses, and privations, attendant upon warfare, with no other object than that of upholding the interests of a dynasty twice declared by the people unworthy to reign:—for no jobler

purpose than that of controlling a great nation in the choice of its ruler—a system of policy, which your Petitioners humbly conceive, is, in direct opposition to principies recognised by our excelle; t Constitution at the Revolution of 1688, and publicly avowed by the Prince Regent, viz “ that the Crown is held only in trust for the benefit of the people,” and calculated, in their opinion, to subvert public liberty, destroy national independence, degrade civilized society, and establish in Europe, once more, the darkness of the middle ages, and the tyranny of feudal laws. And further, that your Petitioners looking to your Honourable House as the depositary of their libe, ties, and the guardians of their properties, do most earnestly entreat your Honourable House to withhold such supplies of money and men, as may be demanded by the Executive, for the purpose of carrying on this premeditated war, until it has been satisfactorily shewn, that all attempts to arrange houourable terms with the Emperor Napoleon are impracticable and unavailing: and your Petitioners are further induced to dwell upon this point, from a conviction that no positive good is likely to arise to this country, nor any permanent repose to Europe, from an attempt to impose a Government on the French people by force of arms, Nor can your Petitioners refrain from calling the attention of your Honourable House to the direful calamities which have flowed in upon the inhabitants of these kingdoms from the late sanguinary and expensive wars, undertaken upon the same unjust and chimerical principles as that now projected, and which, in its effects upon this country, has pauperised its labouring classes, loosened the foundation of pub. lic credit, annihilated its manufacturing conse. quence, increased its taxation to an insurmountable degree, and swelled the national debt to an amount that threatens the stability of our political institutions; whilst its consequences to this town and neighbourhood, in a local point of view, are now severely felt in the diminution of their trade, the alarming increase of poor rates, and the vast accumulation of misery in every shape, by which they are surrounded, in the midst of a population destitute of employment, and goaded to despair, by the apparent hopeless state of their condition: it does, therefore, appear to your Petitioners, that under such circumstances, for the Government to enter again upon hostilities, (unless for the acquirement of great national objects, commensurate in advantage with the sacrifice made for their attainment,) would display a contempt for the sufferings of the people,

a violation of public justice, an indifference to

the voice of humanity, inconsistent with the cha

racter of Parliament, incompatible with every idea of representative Government, and portending imminent danger to the future liberties and happiness of Englishmen. Apprehensions we cannot but experience, when contemplating the marked disregard of public opinion recently manifested by your Honourable House on the question of the Corn Laws, and the attempt now making to revive that odious and inquisitorial impost, the Tax upon Income. Your Petitioners do, therefore, again most forcibly entreat that . your Honourable House will, on this occasion, suffer the voice of justice and humanity to prewail, and that in the discharge of your Parliamentary duties as the Commons of Great Britain and Ireland, you will withhold the grant of any subsidy or loan to any foreign power, or any supply of money or men, asked by the Executive at home, until such demand shall have been clearly proved to be necessary for the upholding of our country's honour—for the defence of our acknowiedged rights, or the maintenance of our national independence. And your Petitioners will ever


THE NEcessity or WAR with FRANCE.

Mr. Cobbett—The return of Napoleon to France has imparted fresh vigour to your pen in defence of peace, and, what you are pleased to call; the principles of civil, political, and religious freedom. Fearful of your influence over the public mind, and anxious to see unanimity prewail in this country, respecting the war with France, I venture to address you on the subject, relying on your candour for its insertion in your Register. We cannot, Sir, make peace with Napoleon.— We are a religious nation.—Bibles and missions to the Heathen is the cry amongst us.-We are making the most extraordinary efforts to proselytize the world to our holy and peaceable religion.—Bonaparte is an unbeliever ! What fellowship hath light with darkness : What part hath he who believeth with an infidel? What 1 shall we, who have so much regard for the souls of Hindoos and Africans have no concern for those of our French neighbours? Shall we suffer an infidel to reign over them —But if we have no regard for them, let us at least take care of ourselves. France is a very near neighbour: she publishes what she pleases respecting religion. Alas! let us fear the contagion of her infidel principles more than ever, and let us war against Napoleon their patron, till we

have placed once again on his throne the zeligious Louis the 18th. What are the sacrifices of a million of lives, and two or three huudred millions of treasure, compared with the blessed comforts of religion ?—What is the general distress of our country compared with the pleasure of fighting “ the monster Bonaparte?”. Do not call this stale and stupid reasoning. France is now much in the situation she acas when Europe began her first most just and necessary war against her ; and the same arguments which were then used by the allied powers in their justification, may be now employed in defence of their intended invasion of that country. There was a time, it is true, when that system of religion which Louis the 18th sought to revive in France, was reviled by us. We ridiculed the credulity of the French people and their devotion to their priests. But now we find this religion is so intimately connected with the principles of social order, that it has become our bounden duty to uphold it (at least on the Continent) with all our might and power. We formerly prayed for the downfall of, “that man of sin, the Pope;” now, we rejoice at his restoration! We formerly called the Jesuits the “Devil's own gang;” now, better informed, we have discovered they are a “highly respectable and enlightened body of Christians !!” The destruction of the Inquisition was long and ardently wished by us; now, better acquainted with the principles of social order, we are perfectly satisfied with its revival ' ' ' There are many political reasons why we cannot make peace with Bonaparte. He professes to have returned to “the principles of 1789.” Should this be the case, “the French people' will be really represented in the legislature:” they will be more free than they ever were before, and the nwnerous advantages arising from their revolution will be secured to them. What Jellowship can such a state of things in France have with ours in England? There can be no agreement between them : this must be obvious to every one; I need not, therefore, enlarge on this subject. There was a time, indeed, when it was thought the people of England had the greatest concern in the making of laws; that taxation and representation should go hand in hand; but now the admirable maxims of the late Bishop Horsely, of

immortal memory, that the people have nothing to do with the laws but to obey them, nor with the taxes but to pay them, are become much more fashionable. It is not long ago we contended that people had a right to choose their own rulers and forms of government: now, “the social system" of the late glorious Congress, that people are the property of kings, is most warmly approved and supported Formerly an assassin was thought the most detestable of wretches ; now a handbill is posted up in the streets of London offering £2000 for the murder of Napoleon l Now, then, Sir,you see plainly why our ministers cannot make peace with the French Emperor. You perceive it is you and your party who have remained stationary, while the rest of us have improved in religious, moral, and political knowledge Peace and liberty is the cry of those detestable and irreligious rebels the French. War, taxation, and Louis the 18th be ours. Our cause is most religious and just. The example of France is , most dangerous. Het us not grudge to spend our last shilling, and shed our last drop of blood in ousting the abominable Napoleon from the throne, where the French people have placed him, in order that so successful an instance of national rebellion against a pious King may not go unpunished. Yours, &c. A FRIEND To SocIAL ORDER.


SIR,-A nation must learn to cease warring against the liberties of another country before it can learn to defend its own. I trust that adversity is destined to perfect the character of Bonaparte, and the liberties and long glory of France.— His twenty days tranquil progress through innumerable perils of every kind, calm and benign, with his small band of friends, over a space arduous for a single traveller, in the same time, from the gulph of St. Juan to the metropolis and throne of France, has no parallel in history, and throws all, even his victories, into shade l' It is delightful indeed to see Carnot at the head of the administration of the interior, that great mind, prompt, firm, open and independent at all times, which plied not when myriads stooped, but remained erect and unmoved. Philosophy, true politics,

« AnteriorContinuar »