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who were convinced thereby, that they could not carry things with so high a hand as they had imagined and designed. *
* Certain very remarkable and mysterious circum. stances, attending Horne Tooke's arrest and trial, were divulged soon after his death ; for obvious reasons they were kept in profound secrecy during the lives of the principal actors. The publisher of the Report of the Trial, in allusion to Lord Erskine's speech, said, that “it required no other introduction, or preface, than an attentive perusal of the case of Thomas Hardy, the charge being the sume, and the evidence not materially different.” In fact, it was difficult to imagine upon what ground the Attorney-General could have expected to obtain a verdict aguinst Tooke, after Mr. Hardly's acquit. tal; more particularly, as several of the jury upon Hardy's trial, bad also been sworn as jurors upon Tooke's. Be that as it may, the following narrative developes this mystery, and explains the object and resources of Pitt and his colleagues
“ At the period when the sensations excited in England, by the burst of liberty in France, were in full exercise, Horne Tooke gave a weekly entertainment, at which the leaders of the party he espoused were generally present; and political discussions were carried on with a freedom which soon attracted the notice of the government.
"On one of these occasions, a northern Member of Parliament was introduced by a friend, who represented him to be “a mun of independent principles, and firmly In 1801, it is well known, that Lord Camelford procured the return of Mr. Tooke as Member for Old Sarum. He kept his seat from
attached to the cause of Reform.” At a subsequent meeting, this person proposed, that Mr. Tooke should compose a speech for him, on a popular subject, which was shortly to be debated in the house. This was accordingly done, and it was delivered; but it drew forth not a single observation from any of the opposite party; and the question was lost without any notice of the arguments it contained.
“Another was then proposed, which Mr. Tooke recommended to be accompanied by a motion for increasing the pay of the navy. One of the party remarked, that such a motion would create a mutiny.
That,' said Mr. Tooke,' is the very thing we want.'
“ What followed, it is unnecessary to add; for their plans were frustrated by the arrest of Mr. Tooke and his friends the next day, on a charge of high treason!
“ At an early period of his imprisonment, while he was one day occupied in conjectures on the immediate cause of his arrest, and the nature of the evidence by which the charge against him was to be supported, one of the attendants informed him that a person wished to speak to him. Mr. Tooke desired that he might be admitted; and a gentleman was introduced, whose person was partially concealed in a large cloak.
“After a short general conversation, and the attendant having withdrawn, the stranger asked the prisoner
February until May, when he was compelled to vacate by the votes of the House ; which declared him incompetent to sit, on the same
whether he was aware of the circumstances which led to his arrest, and of the person who gave the information? Being answered in the negative, “Then, Sir,' said the stranger, ‘I now apprise you, that the proposal and remark made by you, on the subject of increasing the pay of the navy, form the ground of the charge ; and the only witness, on whose evidence they expect to convict you, is that very person who was to deliver the speech. I am a member of His Majesty's Privy Council, amongst whom it is in debate—whether that person shall be produced as a witness on the part of the Crown, or whether they shall suffer you to call him up for the defence, and s0 convict you out of the mouth of your own witness. When that shall have been decided, you will see me again.'
“After this nobleman's departure, Mr. Tooke sent for two of his confidential friends, and, after communicating to them the circumstances, addressed one of them (a Norfolk gentleman) to the following effect :- You must go to this scoundrel, and tell him, I intend to subpæna him as a witness; and you must represent to him, that unless he interests himself powerfully in my behalf, I shall be lost; that my whole dependance is on him, as the strength of my defence will rest upon the evidence he may adduce. Add every argument you can invent to convince him that I consider my life entirely at his mercy, and that I look upon him as my best friend:
grounds as those put forward by the benchers of the Inner Temple, when they refused to call him to the bar.
in short, that all is lost without his friendship and support.'
“ The result was, that the strongest assurances of friendship were given; and, the next morning, the Privy-Counsellor again visited Mr. Tooke, and informed him that the council had finally determined that he should be allowed to call him for the defence, when the Attorney-General should elicit the necessury evidence by cross-examination. At this interview, Mr. Tooke, on the part of himself and his friends, entered into a solemn obligation never to divulge the affair, until after the death of the nobleman, who had thus hazarded his own life to save that of his friend.
“ During the interval previous to the trial, frequent cominunications took place between Mr. Tooke's friends and the northern member, by which he, as well as his employers, were completely cajoled; and, when the trial took place, they were so sure of their victim, as to have had hundreds of wurrants ready, to be issued for the apprehension of the friends of Reform, in all parts of the country.
“ But what was their astonishment and mortification, when they found, after the case on the part of the Crown had been gone through, and closed, that the witness in question was not called up at all, though in attendance, and eager to finish his infamous part in this intended tragedy! Mr. Tooke left his case as it stood;
Horne Tooke led a retired life at Wimbledon, except on Sundays, which were his public days. On these he saw company, and provided very handsome entertainment for all who had the honour of being introduced to him. These dinners were frequented by many of the political, literary, and professional men of the period; all of whom contributed to the intellectual portion of the feast. His immediate friends, Sir Francis Burdett, Colonel Boswell, &c. in as delicate a manner as possible, took care that the expenses attendant on the more solid parts of the treat afforded at these agreeable meetings, should fall lightly on the purse of their host; for, although
and, upon the summing up, the honesty and good sense of the jury prevailed over the inalevolence of the enemies to freedom.
“ The Attorney-General and his employers were thunderstruck; and, after the verdict of acquittal was pronounced, the learned judge remarked to a person who stood near him, “That the evidence for the Crown was certainly insufficient to convict the prisoner, after the fate of the indictment of Hardy; but, what motives Mr. Tooke had for not calling certain witnesses in his defence, after having subpænaed them, were best known to himself.'»