« PreviousContinue »
"The voice of the people, which has been so generally expressed in favour of my integrity, has cheered me in the most trying circumstances; and if I were to reach the fatal moment of my expiration on the morrow, it would still murmur pleasure in my ear.
"When the Freeholders of Middlesex congratulate me upon having such fair associates as Truth and Justice in my train, I must implore the Author of all good, that as they have been my solace in time past, they may remain my inseparable companions through life, and not forsake me even in the tomb."
From the married Females.
"In this honest and affectionate address from my female neighbours, who are wives and mothers of families in and near the metropolis, I gratefully acknowledge the sympathy which they express for my many sorrows, and the indignation which they feel for my unnumbered wrongs. The approbation of my own sex must be ever dear to my heart; and it must be more particularly gratifying when it is the approbation of mothers of families in and near this enlightened metropolis.
"When my honour is attacked, every loyal Englishwoman must feel it as an imputation upon her own. The virtues of sovereigns are not circumscribed in their influence or insulated in their operations. They put in motion a wide circle of the imitative propensity in the subordinate conditions of life. Thus the virtues of the great become the property of the people; and the people are interested in preserving them from slanderous contamination.
"The present procedure against me is like a wilful attempt on the part of blind phrensy or improvident malice to destroy the moral character of the monarchy. To lessen this moral character in public estination is not merely to degrade the Queen, but to shatter into atoms that reverential respect which gives strength to the sceptre and dignity to the Sovereign.
"I shall never sacrifice that honour which is the glory of a woman, and the brightest jewel of a Queen, for any earthly consideration. All the possessions in the world would be purchased too dear if they were obtained at the price of self-condemnation. I can never be dehased, while I observe the great maxim of respecting myself.
"In this era of ceaseless change, and of violent agitation, when whole nations seemed tossed, like individuals on the ocean of storms, no circumstances, however menacing, shall shake the constancy of my attachment to the English nation, or estrange my affections from the general good of the community. The future is wisely covered with an opaque cloud; but, whatever may be my destiny, I will cherish in all vicissitudes, and preserve in all fortunes, that resignation to the divine will, which in proportion as it becomes an habitual sentiment of the mind, improves all its virtues, and elevates the general character."
From the Industrious Classes.
"I am much gratified and unfeignedly obliged by this warm and affectionate address from the industrious classes in and about the great metropolis of these realms. It affords me unspeakable satisfaction to find that this mighty city contains myriads of such persons, among whom there is a large stock of virtue and of intelligence, who condole with my sorrows, and who kindle with indignation at my wrongs. The industrious classes have shown that they still retain that independence of mind which is inflexible to external circumstances, and which was once the proud boast and the characteristic property of every Englishman. Though the gangrene of corruption has engendered a debasing venality and a fawning obsequiousness in detached portions of the community, yet Britain still retains a large portion of that heart of oak which for so many ages has made its name glorious and its annals bright.
"The industrious classes of the nation constitute the vital energy of the State. In the great fabric of society they are the strength at the bottom which supports the ornament at the top.
"The productive powers of the country are its real powers. For out of what other source is consumption supplied?-What else is it that multiplies gratifications of all kinds ?-To what else is affluence indebted for its splendour, or beauty for its decorations? Where rank is measured by usefulness, no reflecting mind will say that the industrious classes occupy the lowest step in the ascent of honourable ambition or of estimable fame.
"There have been times, and perhaps those times may still be, when the hard-earned bread of the long-toiling peasant or mechanic is insufficient for his numerous family, when the penury of the day has been succeeded by the inquietude of the night, and when night and day, and day and night, have been only a sad succession of pining wretchedness and of hopeless woe. That order of things, which in a large portion of the community, necessitates the acquisition of subsistence by the sweat of the brow, is the institution of providence for the benefit of man; but who does not see that it is not owing to the wisdom of the Deity, but to the hard-heartedness of the oppressor, when the sweat of the brow during the day is followed by the tear of affliction at its close, when the labour of the hand only adds to the aching of the heart, and what ought to be a source of joy is an aggravation of calamity? But if these things have been, I may perhaps be permitted to hope that they will ere long be only as the troubled scenery of a dream; and that happier times are approaching, when commerce will crowd our rivers, trade be busy in our streets, and industry smiling in our fields."
From Bath and Worcester.
"I am much gratified by this affectionate Address from the Citizens and Inhabitants of the ancient and loyal City of Worcester. The present procedure against me in the House of Lords, is of such an extraordinary character, that it is difficult to designate it by any appropriate name. It is not judicial; for it sets at defiance all the accustomed judicial forms. It is not constitutional; for the most vital functions of the Constitution are suspended by its operation. It is not legal; for what principles of the law are there which it does not contradict? What then is it? What is its proper designation? It is a political non-descript; a moral abortion; a legal monstrosity; the progeny of a Green Bag, swarming with slander, and putrescent with falsehood. The flagrant contents of this Green Bag have been shaken into a Bill of Pains and Penalties, by that prodigy of benevolence. whose inclinations are so confessedly not under its controul. One of the features in this procedure, which gives it a totally new and foreign aspect in the history of our jurisprudence, is, that it is supported by perjury, purchased, not at home, but abroad; not in small parcels, but in large bales; not in detached instances, but in numerous aggregates. It is perhaps the first notable instance, in which any Government issued a bounty upon false swearing, and paid three and twenty thousand pounds for the importation of such a valuable commodity. This is the last desperate effort of that selfish faction, which is an enemy even to the very semblance of virtue in any part of the state. This is the expiring violence of infuriated malignity. If this is repressed, the serpent will breathe its last in writhing agony. The evening of my life may then be a calm sunshine after a day of such deep darkness--such a long protracted continuity of trouble and of woe!"
From the Inhabitants of Shoreditch.
"The householders and inhabitants of St. Leonard Shoreditch, are requested to accept my unfeigned thanks for this affectionate address. The long series of persecutions by which I have been assailed, though they have been successfully defeated, have been as constantly renewed. The present atrocious attack upon any moral character, and upon my royal dignity, is designed by my enemies to produce that catastrophe which is to terminate this drama of iniquity. But the good people of Eugland are not willing to see a new reign open with a tragedy.
"The inhabitants of St. Leonard, Shoreditch, well remark, that the charges against me are of the most vague and indefinite kind. They have no palpable form, no distinct individual character. Such vague generalties of accusation are the common refuge of slander, when it asperses without evidence, and condemns without proof. In
the present instance, the charge against me is so indeterminate, that it is more like an inquisition into the conduct of a whole life than into the truth of any particular allegation.
"In their Bill of Pains and Penalties, my adversaries first con demn me without proof-and then, with a sort of novel refinement in legislative science, proceed to inquire whether there is any proof to justify the condemnation. They first prejudge my case, and then attempt to colour the injustice by a sort of judicial parade, which this age will never approve, and which posterity will abhor. Justice has been denominated even handed; but what should we think of that emblematical figure of judicial purity in one of whose hands the accuser had put not only a Green Bag of perjury, but a yellow bag of gold?"
From the Inhabitants of Hammersmith.
"I am sensibly impressed and deeply obliged by this affectionate Address from the inhabitants of Hammersmith, amongst whom I have my present temporary residence. I have always rejoiced in the felicitations of neighbours and in the charities of neighbourhood.
"The day on which the remains of the Princess Charlotte were committed to the silent tomb was a day of deep sorrow to the nation. But if the nation wept, it was not merely because youth and beauty had withered, and wit and elegance had vanished in the grave. These were common occurrences; but it is not a common occurrence to see every virtue in a successor to the throne; and the mirror of those virtues to behold the nation emerging from wretchedness, servitude, and disgrace, to freedom, to glory, and to happiness.
"All Europe has its eyes fixed on the present procedure in the House of Lords. I shall have to appear at the bar of that house; but that house itself will have to appear at the bar of public opinion throughout the world. I shall have to defend myself against their accusations; but they will have to defend themselves against the reproaches of individual conscience, as well as the impartial condemnation of the age which now is and of that which is to come. To have been one of the Peers who, after accusing and condemning, affected to sit in judgment on Queen Caroline, will be a sure passport to the splendid notoriety of everlasting fame."
From the Tradesmen and Artificers of Northampton.
"I set a high value on the many testimonies of regard which I have received from the mercantile and manufacturing parts of the community; among those estimable claims upon my gratitude I shall always rank this Address from the tradesmen and mechanics of the town of Northampton.
"Good and evil, happiness and misery, life and death, are the ap
pointment of God: what his goodness freely gives I feel that the same goodness may as freely take away. As a being made highly susceptible of affection, and with nerves alive to the slightest impression of pleasure or of pain, I cannot but lament over the departure of those who so long had a hold upon my heart, whose joy and sorrow were always in unison with my own; but, as far as human infirmity will permit, I endeavour to repress the falling tear, and to stop the involuntary sigh: I bend my will to that truly parental Power whose decrees have always a reference to the good of the heart which they oppress, and to the improvement of the mind which they agonize. I saw my only child cut off by the rude gust of adversity, like a flower in the early spring. Here my affection received a wound which has never been entirely closed, and which the fond intrusions of memory will not suffer to disappear. Here I felt a disposition to be querulous, and a tendency to be sceptical; but I remembered that life is only a transient discipline for a more lasting existence, and that, though man is short-sighted, the Universal Father must be good. Who is there that can look back upon his past life, and say that he has not been the better for the experience of adversity?
I cannot have the smallest doubt that the tradesmen and me chanics of Northampton feel the most zealous regard for the House of Brunswick, and for the principles of that limited monarchy which it is their duty to defend. If these principles have been outraged by any late measure, I hope to live to see the oak of British liberty send forth new and more healthy shoots, and spread its branches far and wide, till it alike covers the high and the low, the rich and the poor, under the ample canopy of its protecting shade."
From the Hammermen Society at Dalkeith.
"I am truly obliged by this Address from the Deacon and Members of the Dalkeith Hammermen Society.
"However severe my trials may have been, I trust they will ultimately be productive of good to myself, and to the people of these realms. Providence often operates in the moral world by very humble instruments; and perhaps my individual afflictions may, through the invisible agency of Divine Wisdom in the inscrutable progress of events, be one of the means by which great benefits will be conferred upon mankind. To be conscious that we are living for the good of others, that our single existence puts in motion a wide circle of human sympathies, and diffuses happiness over the whole surface, is that which renders life a real blessing, and is what more than any thing else makes me anxious to live. If that day is lost in which no good is done, how great must be the loss of those whose whole life exhibits only the mischievous activity of evil, or a dreary vacuity of good."