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question of the warrant of arrest not having been brought forward on that day. In a long and remarkable speech, Pratt declares the general warrant to have been “unconstitutional, illegal, and absolutely void.”. The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, with 10001. damages. And on the 21st of February, 1764, the City of London presented the judge with its freedom, as a mark of its admiration of his conduct. Thus did the restless demagogue and factious politician secure the liberty of our persons and the sanctity of our homes against one of the most daring attempts ever made upon both. The story now falls off in importance: Wilkes has done “ the deed which gilds his humble name," and the rest is little more than the tinsel of mob popularity. On the 19th of January, 1764, he was expelled the House of Commons for writing the North Briton, and on the 21st of February he was tried before Lord Mansfield, in the Court of King's Bench, for republishing the North Briton, No. 45, and also for printing an infamous and obscene “Essay on Woman,” and found guilty of both charges. Refusing to surrender for judgment, he was outlawed. “On Sunday, August 5th, 1764, the under-sheriff of Middlesex made proclamation at the great door of St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, in the following terms: John Wilkes, late of the parish of Saint Margaret, within the liberty of Westminster, in the county of Middlesex, Esq., appear before the lord the king at Westminster, on Tuesday next, after the morrow of All Souls, to satisfy the lord the king for your redemption on account of certain trespasses, contempts, and misdemeanours, whereof you are impeached, and thereupon by a certain jury of the county, taken before the king, and you, the said John Wilkes, you are convicted." »* But Wilkes, preferring his liberty to his “ redemption," retired to the Continent, from whence, on the 4th of March, 1768, he addressed a submissive letter to the king, soliciting a pardon; but this having no effect, he shortly afterwards surrendered, and was subsequently sentenced to pay a fine of 5001.

, and suffer twelve months' imprisonment, for republishing the North Briton. On the 28th of March he was returned as one of the members for Middlesex, and on the 7th of May his outlawry was considered, and in next term reversed, by the Court of King's Bench, as illegal, Serjeant Glyn gaining this point against Thurlow. On the 28th of November he petitioned the king, through Sir Joseph Mawbey, for a pardon; on the 2nd of January, 1769, he was elected alderman for the ward of Farringdon Without; on the 1st of February, his petition to the House of Commons for a restitution of his seat was declared frivolous, and he was formally expelled the House, and a writ issued for a new election. On the day of election he was returned without opposition, but voted by the House (Feb. 29th) unable to take his seat. A new election, on March 16th, saw him again elected, and next day again expelled the House. On April 13th he was for the fourth time returned by a large majority, but this time the election was declared null and void, and his opponent, Colonel Luttrell, pronounced duly elected. The Supporters of the Bill of Rights sent him 3001., and on April 20th he paid his first fine, and on the 17th of April

, 1770, he was discharged from his imprisonment. On November the 11th, 1769, he clenched the question of the general warrants by an action against Lord Halifax for false imprisonment and the seizure of his


* Annual Register, 1764.

Then a

papers, and got 40001. damages. We have no more to say of the North Briton ; of its author we may just remind the reader that he was subsequently elected sheriff, lord mayor, and chamberlain of the City of London, and member for the county of Middlesex, dying December 26th, 1792, at the age of seventy, and his remains being deposited, by his own request, in a vault of Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley-street. He left behind him, among all the stormy recollections which his name suggests, some quiet proofs of a classic and refined taste in literature ; but his translations of Theophrastus, Catullus, and Anacreon are trampled down by the boisterous North Briton, which still represents him. A few articles which he contributed to the St. James's Chronicle in 1761, appear to have been the commencement of that connexion with the newspaper press which led to so important an era in its history.

Horace Walpole relates a pillory scene in connexion with the North Briton, in which the celebrated jack-boot appears again in a prominent position :

“ Williams, the reprinter of the North Briton, stood in the pillory today (February 14th, 1765), in Palace-yard. He went in a hackneycoach, the number of which was 45.

The mob erected a gallows opposite him, on which they hung a boot with a bonnet of straw. collection was made for Williams, which amounted to nearly 2001.” The money was placed in a blue

trimmed with


the colour of the Revolution.* To this account we may add, in proof of the extravagance of public feeling, that the owner of the hackney-coach considered the honour of carrying Williams sufficient reward, and refused the proffered fare: that one gentleman put fifty guineas into the purse : that “ opposite to the pillory were erected four ladders, with cords running from one to another, on which were hung a jack-boot, an axe, and a bonnet, the latter labelled Scotch Bonnet: ” that the top of the boot being first chopped off with the axe, it and the bonnet were together burned: and that Williams stood the whole time with a sprig of laurel in his hand. Churchill

, although his character would have seemed just to suit him for such work as the North Briton, seldom appears prominently, t although it was said by Kearsley, in his examination, that he received the profits arising from the sale of the paper. If so, Wilkes must have been satisfied with the notoriety which it brought him, and which appears to have been particularly acceptable to his temperament.

The ruling of Chief Justice Pratt (now better known as Lord Camden) produced, as may well be imagined, a goodly crop of actions at law. On December 10th, 1763, Dryden Leach, printer, had obtained 3001. damages from the three king's messengers who had arrested him by mistake as the printer of the North Briton ; and, on the 4th, Arthur Beardmore, who, with Dr. Shebbeare and Entick as authors of the Monitor, and Fell and Wilson as its printers, had been arrested on a general warrant, brought an action against Lord Halifax, and recovered 15001. ; Entick got 201.; Meredith, clerk to Beardmore, 2001. ; Fell 181.; and Wilson 401. On May 4th, 1764, Beardmore got further damages of

* Fourth Estate, vol. i. p. 212.

† Mr. Tooke in his Life of Churchill, only identifies two or three papers as of the poet's writing.

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1000l. from the messengers who arrested him; and on June 1st, Fell and Wilson got 600l. ; so that Halifax, who had to bear the whole brunt of the actions (the other Secretary-of-State who had signed the warrants, Lord Egremont, being dead), found general warrants rather costly, as well as dangerous playthings.

The constitutional course of an appeal to “twelve honest men” was found to be the safest after all ; and when it seemed necessary to restrain the press,

the government were content to abide the decision of a jury. The only prosecution, however, that we have met with about this time, was that of Richard Nutt, the printer of the London Evening Post, who was tried for libel (and that, by-the-by, before the prosecution of Wilkes), September 10th, 1754.

Wilkes's fascinating manners (for Lord Mansfield, who hated him for his attacks on the Scotch, and high Tory Dr. Johnson, who, although he might have sympathised with him in this sentiment, must have hated his Whig principles, have both admitted that his manners were both gentlemanly and fascinating) attracted the friendship of another poet besides Churchill, and Thomas Chatterton, sick of all he knew of the aristocracy in Horace Walpole, allied himself to democracy and Wilkes. What papers he actually wrote we cannot now discover; we know him better as a writer for the Middlesex Journal. In October, 1768, then only fifteen years


age, this precocious genius had contributed some articles to Felix Farley's Bristol Journal and early in 1770, he commenced writing in the Middlesex Journal, under the signature of “Decimus," in the Political Register under that of “ Probus," and in the Freeholders' Magazine, with the initials “T. C.” In one of those letters to his mother, which have been so often adduced as evidence of his vanity, if not of a love of lying, but which, we think, bear touching testimony of a desire to make his loved relations happy in visions of future fame and glory, never, alas ! to be realised, breathing words of hope and comfort from the bosom that was sighing with disappointment and despair, and accompanied with presents from the hand that had not bread to put to his mouth, the hapless lad writes, under date of “Shoreditch, May 6th, 1770"-"Occasional essays for the daily papers would more than support me.” But what a different tale does his own private entries in his pocket-book tell! The youth who wrote so fondly to his proud mother and sister of the position he was gaining, and the affluence he had in store for them, and would share with them, sealed his letter, and, sick at heart, entered the miserable pittances he was receiving from the papers :

£ s. d. Recd. To May 23rd, of Mr. Hamilton, for Middlesex (Journal) i ll 8 To ditto, for Candidus and Foreign Journal.

0 2 0 Middlesex Journal

0 8 6 The fond sister who read, “I am very intimately acquainted with the editor of the Political Register, who is also editor of another publication,” little thought upon what a footing! A shade of doubt might have come across her as she read, further on: “The printers of the daily publications are all frightened out of their_patriotism, and will take nothing unless it is moderate or ministerial. I have not had five patriotic essays this fortnight, all must be ministerial or entertaining.” Did the suspicion for a moment cross her mind that the proud spirit was so bent that he





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was now writing on both sides for the sake of bread ? Did she see the thunder-cloud gathering that was to burst in a deluge of tears and put out the shining hopes of the doting mother and loving sister ?

The dazzle of the illuminations and bonfires which blazed in honour of every triumph of Wilkes, fascinated poor William Bingley, the bookseller of the Strand, who, on May 10th, 1768, brought out No. 47 of the North Briton, and got committed to Newgate on an attachment on July 1st.

Chatterton had at the last looked forward with hope to being made a martyr, but no such fortune fell to his lot; Bingley really got a grievance, but did not make skilful use of it. On November 7th he was committed to the King's Bench for not giving bail to answer interrogatories, and was thus kept in gaol for two years. Destitute of the tact and the talent of Wilkes, he continued the North Briton to No. 217 (May 11th, 1771), when he incorporated it with Bingley's Journal, which he had started in 1770. He was a mere tool in the hands of his party, and one day found himself in the Bankruptcy Court, discarded by those to whom he was no longer of any use.



Eyes less bright, and locks of grey,

Limbs that seek repose,
Show us that Life's lengthen’d day

Is drawing nigh its close :
But there's brightness in the sunset,

Rest beneath the shade
Why should age be so unlovely

As 'tis sometimes made ?
Gather'd thoughts, and chasten'd views,

Words of lofty tone,
Oft from feeble lips diffuse

Wisdom not their own;
Feeling still has all its kindness

Though in strength decayed
Why should age be so unlovely

As 'tis sometimes made?
Life has charms that yet have power

O’er the failing frame,
Charms that, to its latest hour,

Ever are the same.
And with art and nature's treasures

Still before us laid-
Why should age be so unlovely

As 'tis sometimes made ?
When the scene grows dark around

Other spheres may shine ;
Hope looks upward from the ground

Where soon we shall recline.
As the world recedes, bright visions

Heav'nward are display'da
Why should age be so unlovely

As 'tis sometimes made ?


1851, 1852, 1853.



San Francisco, July, 1852. My last letter informed you that we had left Guayaquil for Panama. I shall now proceed to give you some account of that place, and of others which we have visited since you last heard from me.

The bay at whose extremity stands the town of Panama is studded by a group of small islands, besides being partially occupied by the well-known promontory which is bordered with hills, covered up to their summits with rich vegetation. The country is hilly, but there are no mountains to be at all compared to the lofty ranges of the Andes. There are also many sandbanks in the bay that become visible at low water, and beyond these lie the shipping, which consist principally of the packet-boats that carry passengers to California. No other man-of-war than ours was at Panama during our week's visit to it. The town is built upon a projecting tongue of land which, at ebb-tide, stretches far out towards the sea, and where the water gathers in many little pools. These are probably in a great measure the cause of the fever and ague, and other complaints which constantly prevail in Panama, and of which the inhabitants show evident signs in their wan and emaciated appearance. The town was formerly surrounded and defended by a thick wall; this wall now lies almost entirely in ruins. One solitary cannon retains its place at the foot of the standard of New Granada, which waves here in all its glory. It was from this hard-working cannon that our salute of twenty-one guns was returned.

Even within the town ruined houses are seen which tell of better times. With the exceptiou of one tolerably handsome street, where there really were some signs of life and movement, the streets of Panama are all gloomy and dirty. The houses, the lower parts of which are of stone, the upper of wood, look heavy and dark, with their massive balconies enclosed by wooden lattices, painted green. What Panama most abounds in are signboards. Along the outside of every house, on both sides of the street, and from every wall, stretch enormous gaudy signboards, with words corresponding in size, in every European language, and advertising to the public every kind of trade and occupation, even to that of a physician. But if the signboards attract attention, the same cannot be said of the shops, which seem to have taken as their motto, “the simpler the better." Goods of all kinds are very expensive, especially every article of food. There are no public buildings except churches, and none of these are in the best condition.

There is nothing particular to say about the people. One sees nothing but European dresses and European customs, hears nothing but the languages of the old world blended in Babel confusion. Though the country round the town is flat, the Isthmus of Panama is hilly; the road, therefore, between Panama and Chagres is extremely picturesque. The hills are not very lofty, ranging from about 500 to 1000 feet in height; but from Cio Giganti both oceans are to be seen. The stranger is

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