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religion is disavowed, as well as mon interest which they feel, if loyalty, by the assertion, in answer not of the connexion which is to the question, “ would you live formed with the most implicated without gods or kings,'-"we in the outrages committed in the abjure tyranny of every kind." metropolis, that about Manchester
It seems, indeed, to be a part and some other places, the greatof the system adopted by these so- est exultation was manifested precieties, to prepare the minds of vious to the meeting in Spa-Fields the people for the destruction of on the 2nd of December : and the the present frame of society, by taking of the Tower, and the ruin undermining not only their habits of the Bank, were publicly and of decent and regular subordina- confidently predicted. The news tion, but all the principles of mo. of the result was impatiently exrality and religion. Your Com- pected, the roads were crowded mittee find, that there is scarcely during the night with a number any very numerous society, in the of persons, many of them deleparts ahove referred to, of whose gates from the different societies proceedings they have obtained an in the country, waiting for the account, in which some of the arrival of the mail coach, and the leading speakers do not openly disappointment was not concealed, avow the most seditious opinions, when it was ascertained that the and do not excite their hearers to riot had been quelled without be prepared for actual insurrec- much serious or extensive mistion. Topics for discussion are chief. selected with this view : amongst It appears, that the confidence others, the question, whether the of the disaffected is such, that they jacobin or the loyalist was the best represent the numbers enrolled friend to his country? Even where as amounting to several hundred petitioning is recommended, it is thousand, and that their societies proposed to be conducted in such are daily increasing ; that in their a manner, by an immense number lists they distinguish by particular of delegates attending in London marks those among their subat the same time, in several par- scribers who are able bodied men, ties, attached to each petition, as and ready to act when required; might induce an effort to obtain and that they also keep a list of by force whatever they demanded. those who refuse to join them in A general idea seenis prevalent what they call a “ black book," among those who compose these and threaten vengeance against societies, that some fixed day, at these persons when the general inno very great distance, is to be surrection shall take place. Insome appointed for a general rising. parts of one populous country, They have been taught to look to where nearly every village has althe meetings in London as the really its Hampden club, the memsignal for their operations, and bers make it no secret that they have been in the habit of adjourn- consider themselves as of no othej ing their own assemblies simulta- use than as being ready to act neously to the same day; and it is whenever they are called upon; a lamentable instance of the com- on their admission they are said VOL. LIX.
to be listed, and receive a secret depend on the simultaneous rising card with the words “ Be Ready, of the disaffected in England, with Be Steady."
some emissaries from whoni occaThe habits and manners of sional intercourse appears to have these persons seem entirely chang- taken place; and that some provi. ed: they already calculate upon sion of weapons has been made by the share of land which each is this association. to possess, and point out the de- Your committee have now substruction of the churches, as the mitted to the House, what they necessary consequence of their conceive to be a fair, and not exsuccess. It appears that prepara. aggerated statement of the result tions are in progress, in several of their investigation. They have places, for providing arms; the thought themselves precluded from demand upon gunsmiths, for every inserting, in an Appendix, the inspecies of fire-arms, has been be- formation from which it is drawn, yond all former example; the in- by the consideration, that unless tention is professed, of having re- it were extremely partial and incourse for a still larger supply to complete, they could not make it those towns where arms are ma- public without hazarding the pernufactured, and where they are to sonal safety of many useful and be obtained at a very low rate, many respectable individuals, and from the general cheapness of la- in some instances without prejubour at this time; or in case of dicing the due administration of necessity they are to be seized by public justice. force. The facility of converting On a review of the whole, it is implements of husbandry into of- a great satisfaction to your comfensive weapons, has been sug- mittee to observe, that, notwithgested; and persons have been standing the alarming progress sent to observe the state of parti. which has been inade in the sys. cular places, where depots of arms tem of extending disaffection and for the public service were sup- secret societies, its success has posed to have been formed. been confined to the principal ma
Your committee find that a sys- nufacturing districts, where the tem of secret association has been distress is more prevalent, and extended to the manufacturing po- numbers more easily collected ; pulation of Glasgow, and some and that even in many of these other populous towns of Scotland; districts, privations have been and although these societies have borne with exemplary patience availed themselves of the same and resignation, and the attempts pretext, of parliamentary reform of the disaffected have been dison the broadest basis, your com- appointed ; that few if any of the mittee are firmly persuaded, from higher orders or even of the midthe information which has been dle class of society, and scarcely laid before them, that their ulti- any of the agricultural population, mate object is the overthrow by have lent themselves to the more force of the existing form of go- violent of these projects. Great vernment, that the time for at allowance must be made for those tempting this enterprise was to who, under the pressure of ur
gent gent distress, have been led to seduced, and may seduce; the listen to plausible and confident oaths by which many of them are demagogues, in the expectation of bound together; the means sugimmediate relief. It is to be gested and prepared for the forcihoped, that many of those who ble attainment of their objects; have engaged, to a certain extent, the nature of the objects themin the projects of the disaffected, selves, which are not only the but in whom the principles of everthrow of all the political inmoral and religious duty have not stitutions of the kingdom, but also been extinguished or perverted by such a subversion of the rights the most profane and miserable and principles of property, as must sophistry, would withdraw them- necessarily lead to general conselves before those projects were fusion, plunder, and bloodshed; pushed to actual insurrection without submitting, to the most se CHAPTER II.
But, with all these allowances, rious attention of the House, the your committee cannot contem- dangers which exist, and which the plate the activity and arts of the utmost vigilance of government, leaders in this conspiracy, and the under the existing laws, has been numbers whom they have already found inadequate to prevent.
Singular Circumstunce respecting the Committee of the Lords.-- Bill
for the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus, moved by Lord Sidmouth in the House of Lords.- Debates. — Protest.–Lord Castlereagh in the House of Commons moves for Bills, for the more effectually preventing Seditious Meetings and Assemblies; for the better prevention and punishment of attempts to seduce persons in his Majesty's forces by Sea and Land from their allegiance; and for making perpetual parts of an act, for the safety and preservation of his Majesty's person and government, including those of the Prince Regent.-Debates.—Different Clauses of the Seditious Meetings Act gone through. The same bill in the House of Lords.- Protest.
SINGULAR CIRCUMSTANCE IN humility, that your petitioner ofTHE LORDS.
fers himself to the notice of, and A REMARKABLE circum- prays for a hearing from your A stance occurred, respecting right honourable House ; but that the report of the Secret Committee your petitioner, though a very drawn up by the House of Lords. humble individual, feels himself Mr. Cleary, secretary to the Lon- impelled by a sense of imperious don Union Society, having seen in duty, to beseech your right hoa report laid before their Lord. nourable House to pause, and to ships, a clause relative to the hear further evidence, before your above society, which appeared to right honourable House proceed connect it with the societies of to ailopt legislative measures upon Spencean Philanthropists, was in the report, now on the table of duced to present a petition to the your right honourable House, from House, in which he gave a cor- your late secret committee. rected statement of the society and “ Your petitioner begs permisits p:oceedings. This petition was sion humbly to state to your right put into the hands of Earl Gros- honourable House, that he has venor, who, on February 21st, read in the aforementioned report read it to the House, as follows: of the secret committee of your
lordships, the following passage, “ To the Right Hon. the Lords to wit :
Spiritual and Temporal of the " Others of these societies are United Kingdom of Great Bri. called Union Clubs, professing the tain and Ireland in Parliament same object of parliamentary reassembled.
form, but under these words un“ The Petition of Thomas Cleary, derstanding universal suffrage and
Secretary to the London Union annual parliaments--projects which Society,
evidently involve not any qualified “ Humbly showeth, That it is or partial change, but a total subwith great reluctance, as well as version of the British constitution. It appears that there is a London so closely connected the London Union Society, and branch Unions Union Society' with the societies orresponding with it, and affi- of ' Spencean Philanthropists;' liated to it. Others of these so- but your petitioner humbly begs cieties have adopted the name of leave to assure your lordships, that Spencean Philanthropists; and it he is ready and able to prove at was by members of a club of this the bar of your lordships, that description that the plans of the there never has existed, between conspirators in London were dis- these societies, the smallest concussed and prepared for execu- nexion of any sort, either in pertion":
son or design, the object of the "Your petitioner presumes not former being to obtain “a parliato oppose his opinions against mentary reform, according to the those of a committee of your right constitution," while that of the honourable House ; but he hopes, latter, as appears from the report that he may be humbly permitted of your lordships committee, has to state, that when a bill was been to obtain a common partbrought before your right honour nership in the land; and that, able House by the late duke of therefore, any evidence which may Richmond, laying it down as a have heen laid before the secret matter of principle, that annual committee of your lordships to parliaments and universal suffrage establish this connexion, is, as were the inherent and unalienable your petitioner is ready to prove rights of Englishmen, the noble at the bar of your lordships, wholly duke was not accused of a desire destitute of truth. to produre “ a total subversion of “But the facts to which your the British constitution."
petitioner is most anxious humbly " It is not, however, on mat- to endeavour to obtain the patient ters of opinion, but on matters of attention of your right honourable most important fact, that your pe. House, relate to that affiliation titioner humbly appeals to the can- and correspondence, which your dour, the wisdom, and the justice lordships secret committee have of your right honourable House, been pleased to impute to the and on matters of fact, too, with London Union Society, by observregard to which your petitioner is ing that “ it appears that there is able to submit to your right ho- a London Union Society, and Durable House the clearest and Branch Unions, corresponding most indubitable testimony with it, and affiliated to it ;' a
" Your petitioner's entire igno- . description which seems, in the rance of the views of the secret humble conception of your peticommittee of your right honuur- tioner, to resemble that which was able House, as well as his pro- given of the London Correspondfound respect and extre je defer- ing Society, in 1795, and which, ence for every thing done within as your petitioner humbly conthe walls of your right honourable ceives, point to measures of a House, are more than sufficient to nature similar to those which were restrain your petitioner from at- then adopted : and your petitioner, tempting even to guess at the rea- though with all humility, ventures sons for your committee's having to express his confidence, that the