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per cent. duties granted by the legislature of Barbadoes for the repairs of forts, the building of a sessions-house and prison, and for other public purposes, in the year 1663, he could not trace when this fund came into the sole possession of the Crown; but, in the reign of Queen Anne, on a complaint from Barbadees and the Lee ward Islands, the House of Commons addressed her Majesty on the subject, and she agreed to give it up for the purposes to which it had been originally applied. It was somewhat curious that, after Queen Anne's acknowledgment that it was not her's, that it belonged to the colonies, and that Parliament had the controul of it, it should neither go to the use of the colonies, nor fall under the inspection of Parliament, but make a dead stop, and become the absolute property of the Crown. So it was, but the cause and history of the fact were buried in obscurity: all that was known was, that it was the fund for obscure pensioners of all descriptions. He concluded with moving, "That it is expedient that the House do take into its consideration the Droits of Admiralty, the 44 per cent. duties, and other funds not usually deemed within the controul of Parliament, in order to make such provision respecting the same as shall be consistent with the dignity of the Crown, with the interests of the people, and with the maintenance of the Constitution."
Mr. Canning opposed the motion. There was no disposition on the part of his Majesty's Ministers to accept the boon which had been offered as an inducement to sell the Royal prerogatives. The Crown asked nothing beyond an arrangement already in existence, and no new burden was contemplated, and surely Parliament would not say, "You are too well satisfied, and it is our duty to see whether we cannot take something from you as a punishment for being so easily contented." Though the 44 per cent. duties were given for the consideration of repairs, &c. yet the origin of the fund was the giving of some quit rents and the settling of a disputed title. It was true that it had not formed part of the Civil List since the time of Queen Anne, but the power of granting pensions on it was co-existent with its origin. The observation as to the obscurity of pensioners, might be answered by saying, that among them were, the illustrious William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, and Edmund Burke. But to prevent any abuse from concealment, his colleagues and himself would consent that the amount of the fund, and its application, should be laid annually before Parliament, as a mat
ter of course, and without any previous motions As to the Droits of Admiralty, after deducting what had been paid to captors, and for law expences, there remained to be accounted a sum of little more than 4,000,000. Out of that sum 2,600,000% had been contributed for the public service; and two several sums had been given, one in aid of the Civil List, the other of the 4 per cent. fund the first of these contributions was, 1,300,000.; the second 40,000.; there remained, therefore, about 300,000l. to be accounted for. This sum had been paid partly in donations to different branches of the Royal Family, and partly in entertainments to foreign sovereigns. The expenditure, however, of the whole had been communicated to Parliament, and Ministers had no objection that, in future, every grant out of this fund should, as a matter of course, be so communicated; but they were not prepared to propose that a long, and almost immemorial usage should be abolished, without the most striking proof that such usage, though co-existent with the practice, was incompatible with the spirit of the Constitution. He thought it better that the patronage of the Crown should reward public political services by property under its peculiar protection, than that a democratic assembly should dole out largesses and favours according to the impulse and force of passion, party, or canvass. So far as the droits supplied any motive for going to war, he could not conceive it possible that the vilest mind that ever meddled with public affairs, would plunge the country into hostilities for so paltry a consideration. There were claims connected with these Droits, the adjustment of which, if they were taken from under the controul of the Crown, would be attended with many difficulties. With regard to the system of the Civil List, he advanced various arguments, to shew that it was more adapted to a mo. narchical constitution, than that of the American government could be; and he would not be induced by any pecuniary temptation to the Sovereign, to strip off trappings which were neither costly to the people, nor dangerous to the con stitution.
In the sequel of the discussion, the motion was supported by Sir J. Mackintosh, Mr. Marryatt, Sir J. Newport, Mr. J. Macdonald, Sir R. Wilson, Mr. Tierney, Sir J. Yorke, and Mr. W. Smith and opposed by Mr. Wynn, Mr. Vansittart, and Mr. B. Bathurst. On a division, it was negatived by 273 to 155.
TRIALS OF THE CATO STREET CONSPIRATORS
In our last Number, p. 367, we briefly noticed the trial and conviction of Thistlewood, Ings, Brunt, Tidd, and Davidson. The circumstances relative to this hor rible Conspiracy were also fully detailed in page 165.
The counts of the Indictments were four: The first and second counts were under the statute of Edward III. and charge the prisoners, first with compassing, imagining, and intending to depose the King; and secondly, with compassing, imagining, and intending to excite rebellion and war against the King, and put him to death.
The third count was on the statute of George III. and charged the prisoners with compassing, imagining, and intending to levy war, in order to compel the King to change his measures and counsels. The overt acts charged were: — - First, "Meeting, conspiring, and consulting, to devise, arrange, and mature plans and means to subvert and destroy the Constitution and Government of this realm, as by law established."
Second: 14 Conspiring, &c. to stir up, raise, make and levy insurrection, rebellion, and war against our Lord the King; and to subvert and destroy the Constitution and Government of this realm, as by law established."
Third: - 66 Conspiring, &c. to assassinate, kill, and murder, divers of the Privy Council of our Lord the King."
Fourth:- "Procuring, providing, and having large quantities of arms, with intent thereby to arm themselves and other Traitors, in order to assassinate, kill, and murder divers of the Privy Council."
Arthur Thistlewood having been placed at the Bar, the Attorney General opened the case for the Crown, and detailed to the Jury the plans and proceedings of the conspirators, as developed in the following evidence; from the whole of which he drew the conclusion that the prisoner at the bar was guilty of the treason laid to his charge. The Learned Gentleman's speech occupied the attention of the Jury for Dearly two hours.
Before the first witness for the prosecution was put into the box, all the prisoners named in the indictment were brought up, with the view, we suppose, of having an opportunity of hearing the evidence, it being principally the same which was to be adduced against most of them. They entered the Court with much apparent indifference.
The first witness called was Robert Adams, examined by the Solicitor-General. I live at No. 4, Hole-in-the-wall
passage, Brooke's-market. I am a shoemaker. I was in the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards. It is 18 years last Christmas since I left them, I knew Brunt at Cambray, in France, he went then by the name of Thomas Morton, it is 18 years ago since I first knew him: I know Thistlewood. I knew him first on the 16th of January last. He then lived in Stanhopestreet, Clare-market. I was introduced to him by Brunt and Ings. I saw him at his own place. We had some conversa, tion together. When I went in, Brunt said to Thistlewood, this is the man I was speaking to you about. Thistlewood said, "You were once in the Life Guards?" I said, "No, I was not, I originally belonged to the Blues." Thistlewood said, "You are a good swordsman ?" I said, "I could use a sword to defend myself, but I could not use it very expert, as I had not used any arms for a long time." Thistlewood said, there was no one who was worth 104. who was worth any thing for the good of his country. As to the shopkeepers of London, they were all a set of aristocrats together, and were all working under the same system of govern. ment. He should glory to see the day that all the shops were shut up and well plundered. He then alluded to Mr. Hunt, and said he was a d-d coward, and were he (Thistlewood) to go to Whitehall, he was sure he would find his (Hunt's) name there, as a spy to Government. He then turned the conversation to Cobbett, and said, he was equally the same as Hunt, and for all his writings, he had no doubt he was also a spy. This ended the con versation then, I was afterwards confined for debt in Whitecross-street prison. The next interview I had with Thistlewood was on the 16th, at the White Hart publichouse. It was in a room in the back yard. Thistlewood was present, and Ings, Brunt, and Hall; and before they broke up, Tidd. On the 17th I went to prison, remained 14 days there. I came out on Sunday, the day after the death of the King. I saw Thistlewood on the Monday evening following. I saw him in the same floor in the house where Brunt lived, in a back room. This was in Fox-court, Gray's Inn-lane. There were Brunt, Ings, Hall, and Davidson, present. There was another particular took place that night. To the best of my recollection, I met them next on the Wednesday; (by them he meant Thistlewood, Brunt, Davidson, Harrison, and Ings.) I went into the room and saw a number of pike-staves, and Thistlewood wanted to have them ferruled. Thistlewood then asked why Bradburn (the prisoner)
prisoner) was not present, and he added, that Bradburn was entrusted with money to purchase ferrules, and was not satisfied lest he should not buy them. The staves were green, and seemed as if they had just come from the country. Thistlewood said he would not give a damn for a man who would spend the money in such a way. I do not recollect any thing further then. The meetings were held twice a day from thence to the 23d of February. The room was hired by Brunt for Ings; Brunt said so. I remember one circumstance that occurred; one evening, about ten days before the Cato-street business, I went in and saw Harrison, Thistlewood, and Brunt. Harrison said, he had been speaking to one of the horse guards, and he had told him that the whole of them would be down at Windsor at the King's funeral; and Harrison said, this would be a good opportunity to do something that night (the night of the funeral.) Thistlewood said, it was a good płace, and added, that if they could get the two pieces of cannon in Gray's-inn-lane, and the six pieces in the Artillery-ground, they could so help themselves as to have possession of London before morning; and he said, that when the news should reach Windsor, the soldiers would be so tired as not to be able, when they came back to London, to do any thing; but that by activity, some might go to Hyde-park, and prevent any person or messenger from going to Windsor. He also said that they should go over the water and take the Telegraph, to prevent any communication with Woolwich. He then said that they should form a Provisional Government, and send to the sea ports to prevent any gentleman from leaving England without passports. He particularly mentioned to send to Dover, Brighton, Margate, and Ramsgate. said the present family had inherited the throne long enough, and it was no use for the present King to think of being crowned. Brunt and Ings came in after this, and Thistlewood mentioned to them what bad passed; but they said that nothing would satisfy them but their plan of assassination. They had talked at a former meeting of this plan of assassination. Two or three of them had drawn out a plan of assassinating his Majesty's Ministers at the first public dinner they had. They talked of assassination at every one of their meetings. I could not say there were pikes in the room before this. I met them on Saturday, the 19th of February, at eleven or twelve in the forenoon. I saw Thistlewood, Davidson, Brunt, Harrison, Ings, and Hall. They were all set round the fire, and seemed in a conversation betwixt themselves. They all got up and turned round, and said, "It is agreed, if nothing turns out before next Wednes
day night, next Wednesday we will go to work." It was said they were all sworn that they would not wait any longer. Thistlewood proposed they should meet the following morning at nine, to draw out a plan to go by. Thistlewood said to Brunt, "You had better go round this afternoon and mention it, in order to have the committee to-morrow."-Brunt said, he did not think he should be able to go, as he had some work to do, but he would go on the next morning, and perhaps he might see some of them; it was not necessary to bring a great many. Brunt appeared to be leaving the room then, and Thistlewood called to him, and said, "O Brunt, it will be highly necessary for those that come to-morrow morning to bring arms with them, in case any officers should come up." On which Brunt said, "Dn my eyes, if any officer should come in here, the time is now so near, I would run him through the body. I would murder him here, sooner than we should be discovered." On the next morning I went there about 11 o'clock. It was a little dark in my eyes when I went in after the snow. There were Thistlewood, Brunt, Harrison, Cooke, Bradburn, Tidd, Edwards, Wilson, myself, and another. W. Cooke, on looking round the room, said, "There are twelve in the room, and I think it enough to form a committee." Thistlewood proposed that Tidd should take the chair. Tidd took the chair, and sat with a pike in his hand. Thistlewood was on his right, and Brunt on his left. Thistlewood said, "Gentlemen, you all know what we are met for ;" and then he turned to the door, as if unwilling to mention it, and said, "the West end job." Brunt said, "D-n my eyes, name it." On which Thistlewood again said, "Gentlemen, we are come to the determination to do this job, that we are talking about so long, and as we find there is no proba. bility of meeting them (Ministers) altogether, we shall, if no opportunity occurs of doing them together, take them sepa rately, at their own houses, and do as many as we can. If we only get 3 or 4 at a time we must do them." He also, said, "I suppose it will take 15 men to do this West end job; and I propose to take the two pieces of cannon in Gray'sinn-lane, and the six pieces in the Artil lery-ground." He proposed Cooke to lead this party, and he himself would command. He said they should take the Mansion House as the seat of the Provisional Government. They were next to take the Bank of England; and Palin should be the man who should set fire to the barracks and several parts of London. This was the principal part of the plan, but if any thing else occurred before Wednesday, they would think of it. Brunt
was then going to put a proposition which ✅ he had for assassinating Ministers, but Thistlewood said, his plan should be first put from the chair, as they were nearly all agreed on it. He desired the chairman to ask if any of them had any thing to say, and that they should say it; but none of them saying any thing, the plan was carried unanimously. Brunt then came forward with his plan, which was, that they should assassinate as many of his Majesty's Ministers as possible; that they should draw lots to assassinate some of the Ministers; and whoever the fellow was on whom the lot fell he should murder the Minister, or be murdered himself; and that if any man failed in the attempt, ke (Brunt) swore by all that was good he should be run through the body. On which I got up, and said, “Mr. Brunt, do you think it possible for a man to attempt such a thing and not succeed in it; and do you mean to say he should be run through the body for not doing it?" To which he said, "I do not; if a man should attempt it and not succeed, he is a good man; but if he shows any cowardice, he deserves to be run through the body." This proposition of Brunt's was then put to the meeting. Soon after this, Palin, Potter, and Strange came in. They were welcomed, and were desired to sit near the fire, as they were wet. Palin said, "There is one thing I want to know; if it can be done, it will be a great assistance to our plan: I want to know what men are to perform each part of the plan, and who are to take the cannon. I want to know, in calling upon the men, whether I can tell them in part or whole what is to be done." The chairman said, "I don't see where the harm is of telling what is to be done." Palin, seeing he had that liberty, sat down quite satisfied. Nothing regular was transacted in the chair after that, Thistlewood said, "O Brunt, that is well thought of, as Palin is here: you and Palin go and see if the house near Furnival's Inn, is fit for setting fire to." They went (Palin and Brunt), and reported it would make a d—d good fire. Thistle wood talked of getting means for a treat on Tuesday and Wednesday. Brunt said, he would be dd but he would contribute the only 17. note he had earned for a long time. They proposed the White Hart for the house. Thistlewood proposed his own room, but afterwards thought it would not do, as it might lead to suspicion. This was all on the Sunday morning. On Monday morning they met again. Witness then told them what Hobbes told him on Sunday night, of inquiries made respecting radical meetings at his house, and that information was given at Bowstreet office, and at Lord Sidmouth's office. Harrison turned round on witness
like a lion,' and said, “Adams, you have acted dd wrong." Brunt said so too, and added, "whatever you have to communicate you have no business to communicate but to me and to Thistlewood." Witness said, it concerned all, and be should tell all of it. They repeated the same observations. They talked of calling a meeting of the Mary-le-bone union, as they wanted some money; and Brunt said, it would be of no use for that purpose. Witness and Potter went in the evening to the White Hart. Palin and Bradburn joined them. Next morning they were there too, and with them Thistlewood, Tidd, Ings, Harrison, and Brunt. Edwards came and told them there was to be a cabinet dinner next night. Thistlewood said he did not think it was true. A newspaper was sent for, and read by Thistlewood. He then read that they were to dine at Lord Harrowhy's, Grosvenorsquare. Brunt then said, “ I'll be d—d if I don't believe there is a God. I have often prayed that he would bring all these thieves together, in order to destroy them. He has answered my prayer." Thistlewood proposed that they should form a committee and sit immediately. Witness took the chair. Thistlewood proposed immediately a fresh plan to be formed respecting the assassination. Witness expressed a hope that they had paid due consideration to what he said yesterday. All got into confusion. Harrison said, "Dn that man who attempted to throw cold water on the plan, but he would run him through with the sword.” Witness left the chair and Tidd took it. Brunt moved that a watch should be set on the Earl of Harrowby's house that night. The object was to see if any men or soldiers went into Earl Harrowby's. Two were to go at six, to be relieved at nine, and they were to continue till twelve. The watch was to be resumed at four next morning. Thistlewood said, he hoped they would be satisfied that no officers or soldiers went in. They would do what they had determined to-morrow evening: and added, that it would answer their purpose much better than to attack their houses separately, when only two or three could be got together. Here they would have 14 or 16; a rare haul to murder them all. "I propose," continued he, “when the door is opened, to rush in, seize the servants, present pistols, and threaten to kill them if they make any noise; two to take the entrance to the stairs upwards, and two others to the stairs at the lower part of the house, armed with blunderbusses and hand grenades: and if any attempt to pass, to throw hand grenades and destroy them all. Others are to go where the Ministers are, to murder them all. If there shall be any good men, kill
them for keeping bad company." All agreed. Ings said, he would go first, with a brace of pistols and knives. The two swordsmen would cut off all their heads, and Castlereagh's and Sidmouth's should be flung in a bag by themselves. He added, "I shall say, my Lords, I have got as good men here as the Manchester Yeomanry; enter citizens, and do your duty." Harrison and witness were to be swordsmen. After the execution of Lord Harrowby, at his house, Harrison proposed that some should go to King-street barracks, and set fire to the premises by throwing fire into the straw in the stable. Harrison and Wilson were to go to Gray's Inn-lane, and in case they could not carry the cannon out of the military school, they were to wait till a party came to assist them. Thence they were to proceed to the Artillery barracks, to assist Cooke in taking the cannon there. If they found their strength sufficient to proceed, they were to advance to the Mansion house, and plant three of the cannon on each side of the Mansion-house, and to demand it. If it were refused, they were to fire, and then it would be given up. The Mansion-house was to be made the seat for the Provisional Government. The Bank of England was next to be taken. They would take the books, which would enable them to see farther into the villainy of the Government. The further parts of the plan were delayed till Wednesday. They agreed upon a sign and countersign. The word was "Button;" the man who came up was to say B-u-t, the other was to reply t-o-n. Being asked as to the watch, witness said, there are other things which I wish to state. I went there next morning, and found Edwards, Ings, and Hall, making fuses for the band-grenades. Davidson went on watch at six. Witness and Brunt went to relieve the watch. They saw Davidson in the square, on the watch. They went into a public-house, where Brunt played dominoes with a young man. About 11, they went out into the square, and walked for some time, till witness got ashamed of himself. They went away at 12 o'clock. He went next day to Foxcourt, between two and three. He found Brunt there. Strange came in, and in a few minutes after, two more strangers. Strange and another were trying the flints. They went into a back room to avoid the strangers, where witness saw cutlasses, blunderbusses, &c. Thistlewood, Ings, and Hall came in. Thistlewood said, "Well, my lads, this looks like something to be done." He touched witness on the shoulder, and asked how he was. Witness replied, that he was very unwell, and in low spirits. Thistlewood sent for beer and gin. Thistlewood then wanted some paGENT. MAG. May, 1820.
per to write bills on. Witness said cartridge paper would do. The paper was brought, and table and chair were got. The bills were then written; they were to be set on the houses, to let the people know what had been done. Thistlewood read as part, "Your tyrants are destroy. ed-the friends of liberty are called upon to come forward-the Provisional Government is now sitting. James Ings, Secretary. February 23d." Thistlewood was much agitated, and could write only three. Another bill was written, which was an address to the soldiers. Another person was employed to write it, and Thistlewood dictated to him. He saw Ings in the room while the bills referred to were writing. Ings was engaged in preparing himself as to the manner in which the Ministers were expected to be assembled. He put a belt round his waist, in each side of which he placed a brace of pistols. He also had a cutlass by his side, and a bag on each of his shoulders, somewhat in the way that soldiers carry their haversacks. When thus equipped he exclaimed, "D-n my eyes, I am not complete yet;" on which he took out a large knife, which he brandished as if he were proceeding to cut off heads. He then said that he meant to cut off and put the heads of Lords Castlereagh and Sidmouth into the two bags which he carried, and also to cut off the right hand of Lord Castlereagh, with a view to cure and preserve it, as it might be thought a good deal of at some future time. The knife which he brandished had a broad blade, and was about twelve.inches long; all round the handle a wax end was twisted, which, as Ings said, would enable him to keep a firmer hold of it. They began to leave the room about half-past four or five, to go about the business. Palin came in half an hour before. Palin said they ought to be aware of what they were about, and to think within themselves whether they were to do their country service or not, and whether the assassination would be countenanced by their country. If they thought their country would join them, then the man who flinched should be run through on the spot. Unless they came to this determination, they would do no good. A tall man came in, and asked what the business they were about was. Witness had never seen him before. The tall man said, if they were to serve their country, he was their man, and if any one was afraid of his life, he ought to have nothing to do with such a concern as that. Thistlewood was then gone. Brunt was told, that enquiries were made by some who were present, as to the plan they were about. Brunt said, that was not the room for telling that; but they should go with him and they would know. Brunt pro