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remained neutral, in order to please his Bristol friends, who were afraid that, if he offended the castle, they should get no more funds thence for future contests. At Coleford, where the cowardly outrage was committed, as well as in Newnham, port, sherry, cider, and beer were so profusely handed about in cans, that he had seen not only men, but children, lying by the wayside in the gutters in a state of drunken helplessness."
In another part of the book Mr. Grantley Berkeley says that on this occasion his brother Henry had very little assistance from Lord Fitzhardinge for his election at Bristol. He estimates, perhaps with exaggeration, the total expense for Lord Fitzhardinge of his unsuccessful effort in West Gloucestershire at thirty thousand pounds; while the expenses on Mr. Grantley Berkeley's side, which were subscribed for by his supporters, are said by him to have been under eighteen hundred pounds.
One separate means of coercion used by Lord Fitzhardinge, as unsuccessfully as all the rest, yet remains to be told, and is thus related by Mr. Grantley Berkeley:—
"From the time that I came forward at his request in 1S31-2, Lord Fitzhardinge had put my name down to all subscription lists and clubs that he pleased ; he asked my permission to do so under the promise that for every expense so incurred he would be answerable. I also, at his request, commanded his squadron of yeomanry on the same understanding. For some time, however, and evidently with the design of crashing me, he had left accounts in arrear, all standing in my name, while at the same time the receipts for part payments were in his hands.
"Soon after he had ordered me to give up the representation of the division, he desired me to quit the yeomanry, again giving out that it was my personal unpopularity that necessitated my retirement. That falsehood having been sufficiently exposed, I refused to obey, every man of the squadron swearing to stand by me, their captain. The Lord-Lieutenant once more found himself in an awkward fix, but he ventured to send his agent, Mr. Joyner Ellis, to the non-commissioned officers of the squadron, some of whom were his powerful tenants, with a sort of round-robin, to which he thus desired them to put their names, stating in writing that they wished to retire from the troop because they did not like me, their commanding officer, I had become so overbearing and unpopular—or words to that effect. Mr. Ellis called some of the noncommissioned officers together, set this document before them, and ordered them to
Willis's Elm, as spokesman for himself and his comrades, held out his right arm, and said, 'There, Mr. Ellis; I'd sooner chop that off than set my name to such a lie.'
"This attempt, therefore, failed; still he went on, and caused the same agent to let his tenants know that those who retained their service under me would inevitably lose their farms. This menace brought me and my men together. I was far from desirous that they should act to their own disadvantage, but they were ready to dare everything rather than fail me in my need. We came to a resolution that all who feared to lose their farms should resign with my leave, but not until they had procured a friend to fill their saddles, while the more opulent tenants, who did not care for threats, were to continue to serve. After the election had terminated, I informed them that I should decline to serve in the yeomanry any longer, and suggested that we might retire together. This arrangement was carried out to the full.
"Lord iitzhardinge felt himself foiled, for my drills were attended by my usual number of men, and he saw that, unless by some still more desperate move, he could not prevent the usual muster under me for permanent duty in Stokes Croft, at Bristol. On this he went to the colonel of the regiment, the Duke of Beaufort. . . . The upshot of it was that, after close communication with Lord Fitzhardinge, I received an order from the duke to pay up years of arrears of my mess-bills and troop expenses, all of which Lord Fitzhardinge had undertaken to pay, and of which I had previously known nothing, and that, unless I immediately did so, I was not to attend the muster of the regiment.
"These were hard lines to me. I did not know that anything was owing on my account, and upon inquiry I found that there was an arrear of a considerable sum. My finances had so rapidly diminished that, like ' Walter, surnamed the Penniless,' in the Crusades, I knew myself to be a good general, and to have a large following, but I had not of my own a 'stiver to pay my troops.' A friend started up, a Mr. Clayton, who offered to advance me some money on a note of hand. He did so; and, paying the arrears thus purposely left to assist in mv ruin, I laughed in the face of Duke and Lord-Lieutenant, and marched to Bristol with my squadron for the muster of the regiment .
"My way to the parade lay through Thornoury, and the town turned out to welcome the squadron as it passed ; to the compliment so conveyed of course I carried swords ; and, placing themselves by my side at the head of the squadron, Mr. Townscnd, the Vicar of Thombury, and his two daughters, rode with me some miles on my way. Along the fourteen miles of road, and at Bristol, a welcome to the "Berkeley squadron" was hung out from many a window, and I was considerably amused at seeing my commander, the to me hostile duke, studying their devices
"As soon as the duty was over, I broke my sword, when I for the last time dismissed my men, across the pommel of my saddle, much to my old charger's astonishment, and told them that I would never again serve under any man who had lent himself, as the duke had done, to acts of undeserved oppression. Thus ended my yeomanry service."
Soon after the assembling of the new parliament, a petition signed hy a number of electors was presented to the House of Commons, praying for inquiry into the conduct of Earl Fitzhardinge, a peer and the Lord-Lieutenant of the County, with reference to the West Gloucestershire election; and on December 14th, 1847, Mr. Wakley moved for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into and report upon the allegations of the petition. The petition contained many serious charges, and was sufficiently specific. The coercion by Lord Fitzhardinge of his tenants, to make them resign their service in the yeomanry under his brother, was charged in the petition. It was alleged that he had on two occasions offered large sums of money to Mr. Grantley Berkeley to induce him to withdraw from the contest. The petition stated that "Earl Fitzhardinge, "during and about the time of the said "election, paid, or caused to be paid, "large sums of money for the purchase "of votes, and for treating voters, and "for the instigation of violence, by "which an extensive and organized "system of personal violence, gross im"morality, bribery, corruption, and in"timidation was carried on at the said "election." Such were the statements of the petition; and the incidents of the contest and the election were notorious, having for a period of many months engaged the attention of the public. It would have been expected that the House of Commons would be impatiently eager to investigate the charges against Lord Fitzhardinge, for there are orders of the House of Commons, formally renewed at the beginning of every session, that a peer cannot even vote in an election, and that "it "is a high infringement of the liberties "and privileges of the Commons of the
"Parliament, &c. to concern himself in "the election of members to serve for "the Commons in Parliament, or for "any lord-lieutenant or governor of any "county to avail himself of any autho"rity derived from his commission to "influence the election of any member "to serve in the Commons in Parlia"ment." Here the accused was lordlieutenant as well as peer. It is impossible to read the speeches of the Attorney-General (Sir J. Jervis, afterwards Chief Justice of the Common Pleas), Lord John Russell, who was Prime Minister, and Sir George Grey, the Home Secretary, in the debate on Mr. Wakley's motion, without perceiving that there was a desire to avoid the inquiry and screen Lord Fitzhardinge. But the impetuous zeal of Sir F. Thesiger on the Opposition benches for purity and freedom of election obliged the Government to make some concession; and Sir George Grey, after taking a few days to consider, proposed to refer the petition to the "Committee of Privileges," instead of to a Select Committee, as had been proposed by Mr. Wakley. The Committee of Privileges had long since ceased to be a practical institution; it was a mere tradition and name. But ingenuity conveniently discovered that similar complaints had in bygone times been referred to the Committee of Privileges; and so a Committee of Privileges was constituted, in accordance with ancient practice, by the appointment of a certain number of members by name, with the wholesale addition of every "gentleman of the long robe " having a seat in the House. Here, then, was aCommittee of uncertain and indefinite number, and swamped with lawyers. The result was, as might have been foreseen, and as was probably desired. The accused got off by a technical mode of procedure. Instead of proceeding to hear all evidence that was forthcoming in support of the allegations of the petition, the Committee required the accusers to specify Lord Fitzhardinge's acts of interference as a peer, and by authority derived from his commission as lord-lieutenant. The inquiry fell to
House of Commons would probably have treated the matter very differently.
There probably came into play, to save Lord Fitzhardinge on this occasion, that community of interest and reciprocity of service between a government and an influential parliamentary supporter which enters so largely in the working of our political system. The Government of that day tried to protect Lord Fitzhardinge against inquiry, just as a government of which Sir F. Thesiger, now Lord Chelmsford, would be a member, would endeavour to save one of its parliamentary supporters. Seasonably, too, it may have influenced the disinclination to pursue Lord Fitzhardinge with a parliamentary inquiry, that the political scandal had grown out of a family brawl.
In the debate on Mr. Wakley's motion, Admiral Berkeley, the present Lord Fitzhardinge, stated for and from his accused brother, that "it was the "foulest falsehood that ever disgraced "any set of men, when it was asserted "that he had induced any of his "tenantry to retire from the corps of "which his brother was captain; and "that he had not in any way interfered "with respect to the election."
It is fair to Mr. Grantley Berkeley to produce the reply which he made on the moment to this contradiction, and which is recorded in "Hansard." It was not Mr. Grantley Berkeley's fault that he had no opportunity of proving his statement before a Committee of the House of Commons.
"I feel it only necessary to say that I happen to be the captain of the corps which has been mentioned, and I can assure the House of the truth of the interference. I have in my possession the letters of the tenantry serving in my corps, telling me that they would not have left me had they not been coerced to do so by their landlord. If the committee is granted, I can produce these letters in support of my assertion. When I returned the muster-roll of my corps to the War Office, I represented the fact under the printed heading for observations, why so many of my best men had suddenly deserted my corps, as I thought it might appear owing to some error in my own conduct; and I then stated that they had left me through the coercion of the Lord-Lieutenant of the county. I was not permitted to send that muster-roll to the War
in obedience to my commanding officer, after having consulted a gallant officer, a friend of mine, in this House, 1 erased the words having first inquired how I was to report the fact why so many men had left my corps. I can assure the House that these men were compelled to leave it through the interference of their landlord."
The scandalous history of the West Gloucestershire election of 1847, and the other incidental revelations in Mr. Grantley Berkeley's book of delicate relations between the Lord of Berkeley Castle and the cities of Bristol, Gloucester, and Cheltenham, are lessons which should not be thrown away by those who desire to effect a real purification of the English system of representative government. The expediency, justice, and even practicability of excluding peers from influence in elections for the House of Commons, may be fairly disputed. The sessional order against any peer's "concerning himself" in elections is, and perhaps had better be, inoperative. In the last session of Parliament a nobleman, who cannot be suspected of revolutionary tendencies, broadly stated—what has indeed been stated over and over again, and is notorious, but what comes with peculiar effect from such a quarter—that the representation of counties was chiefly in the hands of peers. It was on the occasion of Mr. Locke King's motion, he introducing his often rejected Bill for a ten-pound county franchise, that Lord Robert Montagu expressed himself as follows:—
"His own great objection to the Bill was. that it was founded on a delusion. It assumed that the representation of the country was a real thing. This was a hallucination. The fact was, that the representation of the counties was in the hands of large landowners. It was chiefly in the hands of the peers."
Many boroughs, also, exemplify an over-ruling or marked influence of peers. The influence of the peerage in elections is inseparably associated with political power to peers, and a large share for the aristocracy of Government patronage; and the problem to be solved is, how to separate the legitimate influences of rank and property from abuses of wealth and power, and save from the injurious effects of boroughmongering malpractices and political jobbery.
Mr. Henry Berkeley, the member for Bristol, who has worn for many years the ballot-mantle of Mr. Grotc, and annually delivers a clever and amusing speech on the iniquities of bribers and intimidators, has excluded the Berkeley examples from his catalogues. That is not surprising. His brother Grantley supplies the omission. The many public admirers of the present parliamentary apostle of the Ballot will read with interest some of the notices in this volume of Mr. Henry Berkeley's younger days. He was, it appears, "before his severe illness, of his weight, the best amateur boxer in the kingdom," and, when only sixteen, "went to the Fives Court, under the special introduction of the late Mr. Berkeley Craven and Colonel Berkeley, and with the trial gloves on, set to, and had a great deal the best of it, with one of the well-known pugilists of the day, Caleb Baldwin." It is further related that the member for Bristol never went to bed, in his youthful days, without suspending the clothesbag, full of linen, to a nail, and hitting at it, right and left, by way of practice, for half an hour together. "The child is father of the man," and the youthful pugilist who tried his prentice hand in punishing dirty-clothes bags has ripened into the hard hitter of the House of Commons against the foul practices of intimidation and corruption.
P.S.—Since the above article was in type, we have seen a small pamphlet, which is a Reply to some passages of Mr. Grantley Berkeley's book by his four surviving brothers. The passages replied to exclusively relate to the conduct of their parents and the question of the legitimacy of the elder children under an alleged secret first marriage, which the late Lord Fitzhardinge failed to prove to the satisfaction of the House of Lords. As in the introduction to our article we have incidentally stated the illegitimacy of a portion of the family as a fact, in accordance with Mr.
decision of the House of Lords, it is, perhaps, jfair, in so delicate a matter, that we should give currency to the following declaration of Mr. Grantley's four surviving brothers, one of them being Mr. Moreton Berkeley:—
"The surviving brothers do not desire here to discuss the questions involved in the decision of the House of Lords; they simply desire to give to the world their united testimony as against that of their brother—that in thenbelief the history of the matter given by the late Earl and Countess, under sanction of their oaths, was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Their father solemnly, in his place in the House of Lords, made his declaration that the first marriage had been solemnised and registered, and confirmed that statement by his oath. Their sons believe devoutly their parents' solemn declaration. In this belief Mr. Moreton Berkeley shares as strongly as his elder brothers, and they have a perfect knowledge that their brother Craven up to the time of his death held the same conviction."
It is further stated in this pamphlet, that, long after Mr. Grantley Berkeley became a member of Parliament, "he professed to share the belief of the other members of his family in the due celebration of the first marriage."
The four brothers also say:—
"Mr. Grantley Berkeley knows that his father, within a few days of his death, and while in full possession of his intellect, and mindful of the Presence in which he must soon appear, too weak to write, dictated, and with his own hand signed, a letter to the Prince Regent, containing the following words:—' Y our Royal Highness was well acquainted with the situation which I had placed my wife and children in by concealing my first marriage in 1785.' This letter was handed to the Prince Regent, who endorsed on it these words,—' I certify the whole of these particulars to be true. G. P. R.' The Prince made a statement to the same effect to Mr. Sergeant Best, counsel for the claimant, but His Royal Highness was not called as a witness by counsel, they supposing his evidence to be a declaration made post litem motam, instead of being, as in fact it was, ante litem, motam. The mistake was fully explained in letters now extant, and which have been seen by Mr. Grantley Berkeley.
With the main object of our article this question has nothing to do; the reply of the four brothers does not touch election matters ; for ourselves and the public the decision of the House of Lords The two agents which have perhaps exerted the greatest influence on the social condition of man are printing and alcohol, both of which were unknown to the ancients. To whatever extent they may have indulged in other excitements, neither Greeks nor Romans were brandy-drinkers or gin-drinkers; and our mediaeval forefathers were obliged to restrict themselves to ale, or mead, or wine, till the impatient curiosity of mediaeval science hit upon one of the most notable of modern discoveries. We owe it to those old searchers after hidden principles and hidden powers, the alchemists, who incessantly tried experiment after experiment in pursuit of that quintessence of quintessences and elixir of elixirs, the elixir of life. After almost every imaginable substance had been called into requisition, one day it came into the head of an adventurous investigator to put wine in the alembic; and there came from it a spirit of such extraordinary purity, and which displayed such remarkable qualities, that he rejoiced in the conviction that he had at length reached the object of his vows. The exact date of this event, and the name of the discoverer, are equally unknown, but it is believed to have taken place in the course of the thirteenth century. It was no doubt at first communicated only to a few, and then gradually became known to the many; and all, equally impressed with its importance, believed they saw in it a special intervention of God's providence. They imagined at first that the new agent was destined to be the grand regenerator of mankind, which was supposed to be greatly fallen from its original perfection—that it would free man
STRONG WATERS: A CHAPTER FROM THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF THE PAST.
BY THOMAS WRIGHT, F.S.A.
firmity, and that it would prolong his life. But no good in this world is without its alloy, and even this fortunate discovery brought with it a cause of alarm. There were those who considered that a novelty so wonderful could betoken nothing less than the near approach of the consummation of all things, the end of this world.
Thus was brandy discovered . At first the alchemists modestly gave it the name, in their technical nomenclature, of aqua vini, water of wine, but this was soon changed to aqua vita;, water of life, which expressed better their estimate of its qualities, and which many of them relished all the better, because they imagined ingeniously that it involved a sort of equivoque, or pun, upon aqua vitis, the water of the vine, or of the grape. One of the famous physicians of the middle ages, Arnaldus de Villanova, who is said to have been born about the year 1300, is the earliest writer who mentions aqua, vita; and he speaks of it as though it had not then been long known (et jam virtutes ejus •notai sunt apud multos). In a treatise which bears the significant title, Be conservanda juventute et retardanda senectute, dedicated to Robert, King of Jerusalem and Sicily, Arnaldus speaks of this liquor, which he says was effective in nourishing youth (juventutem nutrit) and in keeping off the approach of old age. "It prolongs life," he says, "and on account of its operation in this "respect, it has merited the name of "aqua vitte " (prol^ngat vitam, et ex ejus operaticme did meruit aqua vita!). It was best kept, he adds, in vessels of gold, and could be preserved in no other material except glass. Only one of the anticipations of the old alchemists in