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full uniform, with black waistcoats, breeches, and stockings,
and crape round their hats and arms.

In the second barge were the Officers of Arms, bearing
the Shield, Sword, Helm, and Crest, of the deceased, and


the great banner was borne by Captain Moorsom, sup-
ported by two lieutenants.

The third barge bore the body, and was rowed by forty-
six men from Nelson's flag-ship the Victory. This barge
was covered with black velvet, and black plumes, and
Clarencieux King-at-Arms sat at the head of the coffin,
bearing a Viscount's Coronet, upon a black velvet cushion.

In the fourth barge came the Chief Mourner, Admiral
Sir Peter Parker, with many assistant Mourners and Naval

Then followed His Majesty's barge, that of the Lords
Commissioners of the Admiralty, the Lord Mayor's barge,
and many others ; and they all passed slowly up the
silent highway, to the accompaniment of minute guns, the
shores being lined with thousands of spectators, every man
with uncovered head. All traffic on the river was sus-
pended, and the deck, yards, masts, and rigging of every
vessel were crowded with men.

The big guns of the Tower boomed forth, and similar
salutes accompanied the mournful train to Whitehall, from
whence the body was taken, with much solemnity, to the
Admiralty, there to lie till the morrow.

His resting-place was not fated to be that of his choice.
" Victory, or Westminster Abbey," he cried, forgetful that
the Nation had apportioned the Abbey to be the Pantheon
of Genius, and St. Paul's to be the Valhalla of Heroes and
to the latter he was duly borne.

(1806.) NELSON'S FUNERAL. 161

I refrain from giving the programme of the procession,
because of its length, which may be judged by the fact,
that the first part left the Admiralty at II a.m., and the
last of the mourning coaches a little before three. The
Procession may be divided into three parts : the Military,
the funeral Pageant proper, and the Mourners. There
were nearly 10,000 regular soldiers, chiefly composed of
those who had fought in Egypt, and knew of Nelson ; and
this was a large body to get together, when the means of
transport were very defective a great number of troops
in Ireland, and a big European War in progress, causing
a heavy drain upon the Army. The Pageant was as brave
as could be made, with pursuivants and heralds, standards
and trumpets, together with every sort of official procurable,
and all the nobility, from the younger sons of barons, to
George Prince of Wales, who was accompanied by the
Dukes of Clarence and Kent. The Dukes of York and
Cambridge headed the Procession, and the Duke of Sussex
made himself generally useful by first commanding his
regiment of Loyal North Britons, and then riding to St.
Paul's on his chestnut Arabian. The Mourners, besides
the relatives of the deceased, consisted of Naval Officers,
according to their rank the Seniors nearest the body ;
and, to give some idea of the number of those who followed
Nelson to the grave, there were one hundred and eighty-
four Mourning Coaches, which came after the Body, which
was carried on a triumphal car, fashioned somewhat after

VOL. I. 12


his flag-ship the Victory the accompanying illustration
of which I have taken from the best contemporary engrav-
ing I could find.

The whole of the Volunteer Corps of the Metropolis, and its
vicinity, were on duty all day, to keep the line of procession.

At twenty-three and a half minutes past five the coffin
containing Nelson's mortal remains was lowered into its
vault. Garter King-at-Arms had pronounced his style and
duly broken his staff, and then the huge procession, which
had taken so much trouble and length of time to prepare,
melted, and each man went his way ; the car being taken
to the King's Mews, where it remained for a day or two,
until it was removed to the grand hall at Greenwich and
the Hero, or rather his grave, was converted into a sight for
which money was taken.



Brave NELSON was doubtless a lion in war,

With terror his enemies filling ;
But now he is dead, they are safe from his paw,

And the LION is shewn for a shilling." x


Lo ! where the relics of brave NELSON lie !

And, lo ! each heart with saddest sorrow weeping !
Come then, ye throng, and gaze with anxious eye

But, ah ! remember, you must pay for peeping." 2

1 Morning Post, January 20, 1 806.

2 Ibid., January 21, 1806.

(1806.) DEATH OF PITT. 163

The cost of this funeral figures, in the expenses of the
year, at .14,698 us. 6d.

Yet another death : the great Statesman, WILLIAM PITT,
who had been sinking for some time, paid the debt of
Nature on the 23rd of January of this year. Parliament
voted him, by a majority of 258 to 89, a public funeral,
and sepulture in Westminster Abbey ; and also a sum not
exceeding .40,000 was voted, without opposition, to pay
his debts.

He lay in state, in the Painted Chamber of the Palace of
Westminster, on the 2Oth and 2ist of February, and people
flocked to the sight 19,800 persons passing through in the
six hours the doors were kept open ; or, in other words,
they entered and went out at the rate of fifty-five a minute.
This average was exceeded next day, when the number of
visitors rose to 27,000, or seventy-five a minute.

Of course the accessories of this funeral, which took
place on the 22nd of February, were nothing like so
gorgeous as at that of Nelson ; but there was a vast amount
of State, and the Dukes of York, Cumberland, and Cam-
bridge, were among the long line of the Nobility who paid
their last respects to William Pitt. The cost of the funeral
was 6,045 2S - 6d.

It would be without precedent to allow the year to pass
without a Fast, so one was ordered for the 26th of February.
The Houses of Lords and Commons attended Church, so
did the Volunteers. Also " The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, &c.,


attended Divine Service at St. Paul's, from whence they
returned to the Mansion House where they dined"

The Copper Coinage having, during the King's long
reign, become somewhat deteriorated, a proclamation of
His Majesty's appeared in the Gazette of the loth of May,
for a New Coinage of 150 tons of penny pieces, 427*^ tons
of halfpenny pieces, and twenty-two and a half tons of
farthings. The penny pieces were to be in the proportion
of twenty-four to the pound, avoirdupois, of copper, and
so on with the others. It was provided that no one should
be obliged to take more of such penny pieces, in one pay-
ment, than shall be of the value of one shilling, or more of
such halfpence and farthings than shall be of the value of

This year witnessed the singular sight of a Parliamentary
Impeachment. Lord Melville was accused on ten different
counts, and his trial commenced on the 29th of April ;
Westminster Hall being fitted up for the occasion. The
three principal charges against him were "First, that before
January 10, 1786, he had applied to his private use and
profit, various sums of public money entrusted to him, as
Treasurer of the Navy. Secondly, that in violation of the
Act of Parliament, for better regulating that office, he had
permitted Trotter, his paymaster, illegally to take from the
Bank of England, large sums of the money issued on
account of the Treasurer of the Navy, and to place those
sums in the hands of his private banker, in his own name,

(1806.) DEATH OF FOX. 165

and subject to his sole control and disposition. Thirdly,
that he had fraudulently and corruptly permitted Trotter
to apply the said money to purposes of private use and
emolument, and had, himself, fraudulently and corruptly
derived profit therefrom."

Of course Lord Melville pleaded " not guilty," and this
was the verdict of his peers.

On the loth of June, the Abolition of the Slave Trade
again passed the House of Commons, by a majority of
ninety-nine. On the 24th of June the Lords debated on
the same subject, and they carried, without a division, an
address to His Majesty, "praying that he would be
graciously pleased to consult with other Powers towards
the accomplishment of the same end," which would afford
another opportunity to those who were anxious again to
divide upon this question.

On the 1 3th of September of this year died Pitt's great
rival, Charles James Fox, a man who, had he lived in these
times, would have been a giant Statesman. For him
however, no public funeral, no payment by the nation of
his debts this latter probably because in the accounts for
the year figure two items of expenditure : " For secret
services for 1806,^175,000," and "For the seamen who
served in the Battle of Trafalgar, ,300,000." He was
buried on the loth of October in Westminster Abbey, and
the funeral, under the direction of his friend, Sheridan, was
a very pompous affair though, of course, it lacked the


glitter of a State ceremonial. Still there were the King's
Trumpeters and Soldiers, whilst the Horse and Foot Guards
and Volunteers lined the way. So he was carried to his
grave in the Abbey which, curiously, was dug within
eighteen inches of his old opponent, Pitt. The relation
between the two is well summed up by a contemporary
writer. " We may pronounce of them, that, as rivals for
power and for fame, their equals have not been known in
this country, and perhaps in none were there two such
Statesman, in so regular and equal a contention for pre-
eminence. In the advantages of birth and fortune they
were equal ; in eloquence, dissimilar in their manner, but
superior to all their contemporaries ; in influence upon the
minds of their hearers equal ; in talents and reputation,
dividing the nation into two parties of nearly equal
strength ; in probity, above all suspicion ; in patriotism
rivals, as in all things else." I

It must not be thought that the year passed by without
attempts being made to stop the war. They were begun
by a charming act of international courtesy and friendship
on the part of Fox, which cannot be better told than in
his own words, contained in a letter to Talleyrand.

" Downing Street, February 20, 1 806.
" SIR, I think it my duty, as an honest man, to com-
municate to you, as soon as possible, a very extraordinary

1 Annual Register, vol. xlviii. p. 916.

(1806.) FOX AND NAPOLEON. 167

circumstance which is come to my knowledge. The shortest
way will be to relate to you the fact simply as it happened.

" A few days ago a person informed me that he was just
arrived at Gravesend without a passport, requesting me at
the same time to send him one, as he had lately left Paris,
and had something to communicate to me which would
give me satisfaction. I sent for him ; he came to my house
the following day. I received him alone in my closet ;
when, after some unimportant conversation, this villain had
the audacity to tell me, that it was necessary for the
tranquillity of all crowned heads, to put to death the
Ruler of France ; and that, for this purpose, a house had
been hired at Passy, from which this detestable project
could be carried into effect with certainty, and without
risk. I did not perfectly understand if it was to be done
by a common musket, or by fire-arms upon a new principle.

" I am not ashamed to tell you, Sir, who know me, that
my confusion was extreme, in thus finding myself led into
a conversation with an avowed assassin. I instantly
ordered him to leave me, giving, at the same time, orders
to the police officer who accompanied him, to send him
out of the kingdom as soon as possible.

" It is probable that all this is unfounded, and that the
wretch had nothing more in view than to make himself of
consequence, by promising what, according to his ideas,
would afford me satisfaction.

" At all events, I thought it right to acquaint you with


what had happened, before I sent him away. Our laws do
not permit us to detain him long ; but he shall not be sent
away till after you shall have had full time to take pre-
cautions against his attempts, supposing him still to enter-
tain bad designs; and, when he goes, I shall take care to
have him landed at a seaport as remote as possible from

" He calls himself here, Guillet de la Gevrilliere, but I
think it is a false name which he has assumed.

" At his first entrance I did him the honour to believe
him to be a spy.

" I have the honour to be, with the most perfect attach-

" Sir,

" Your most obedient servant,

" C. J. Fox."

I have given this letter in extenso, to show how a Gentle-
man of the grand Old School could act towards an enemy
feeling himself dishonoured by even conversing with a
murderous traitor. It was chivalrous and manly, and well
merited Napoleon's remarks, contained in Tallyrand's reply :
" I recognize here the principles of honour and of virtue,
by which Mr. Fox has ever been actuated. Thank him on
my part."

This episode is the most agreeable one in the whole of
the papers in connection with the negotiations for peace at
that time. The King fully entered into the reasons why


these proposals did not come to a successful issue, in a
Declaration, dated October 2ist, which, with many other
papers, was laid before Parliament on December 22nd.

If " Rien n'est sacre pour un Sapeur," it is the same with
the Caricaturist. Here were men presumably doing their
honest best to promote peace, and do away with a war that
was exhausting all Europe ; yet the satirist takes it jauntily.
Take only one, the Caricature by Ansell (August, 1806).
" The Pleasing and Instructive Game of Messengers; or,
Summer Amusement for John Bull." Balls, in the shape
of Messengers, are being sent and returned, in lively suc-
cession, across the Channel ; their errands are of a most
extraordinary character. " Peace Hope Despair. No
Peace Passports Peace to a certainty No Peace Cre-
dentials Despatches, &c." Napoleon and Talleyrand like
the game. " Begar, Talley, dis be ver amusant. Keep it
up as long as you can, so that we may have time for our
project." John Bull merely looks on, leaving Fox, Sheridan,
and the Ministry, to play the game on his behalf; and, in
reply to a query by Fox, " Is it not a pretty game, Johnny ? "
the old man replies, with a somewhat puzzled air, " Pretty
enough as to that they do fly about monstrous quick, to
be sure ; but you don't get any more money out of my
pocket for all that ! "

The failure of these pacific negotiations with France,
brought a rejoinder from the French Emperor, which, to
use a familiar expression, made John Bull " set his back up."


It was no less than a proclamation of Napoleon's, dated
Berlin, November 21, 1806, in which, he attempted, on paper,
to blockade England. The principal articles in this famous
proclamation are as follow :

1. The British Isles are declared to be in a state of

2. All trade and communication with Great Britain is
strictly prohibited.

3. All letters going to, or coming from England, are not
to be forwarded, and all those written in English are to be

4. Every individual, who is a subject of Great Britain,
is to be made a prisoner of war, wherever he may be

5. All goods belonging to Englishmen are to be confis-
cated, and the amount paid to those who have suffered
through the detention of ships by the English.

6. No ships coming from Great Britain, or having been
in a port of that country, are to be admitted.

7. All trade in English Goods is rigorously prohibited.
Besides these startling facts, the time allowed for the

delivery of all English property was limited to the space
of twenty-four hours after the issue of the Proclamation ;
and if, after that time, any persons were discovered to have
secreted, or withheld, British goods, or articles, of any de-
scription, they were to be subjected to military execution.
The British subjects who were arrested in Hamburgh, and


had not escaped, were ordered to Verdun, or the interior
of France, as Prisoners of War.

This was enough to close all hopes of reconciliation, and,
although the English Newspapers took a courageous view
of the blockade, and attempted to laugh at its ever being
practicable to carry out, yet it undoubtedly created great
uneasiness, and intensified the bitter feeling between the

This, then, was the position of affairs at the end of 1806.
Consols, during the year, varied from 61 in January to 59
in December, having in July reached 66^.

The quartern loaf was fairly firm all the year, beginning
at n^d. and ending at is. id. Average price of wheat




Passing of the Slave Trade Bill Downfall of the " Ministry of all the Talents "
General Fast Election for Westminster Death of Cardinal York Arrival in
England of Louis XVIII. Copenhagen bombarded, and the Danish Fleet
captured Napoleon again proclaimed England as blockaded.

THE year 1807 began, socially, with the Abolition of
the Slave Trade, the debate on which was opened,
in the Lords, on January 2nd, and many were the
nights spent in its discussion. On Feburary loth, it was
read a third time in the Upper House, and sent down to
the Commons, who, on March 1 5th, read it a third time,
and passed it without a division. On the i8th, it was sent
again to the Lords, with some amendments. It was printed,
and these amendments were taken into consideration on
the 23rd, and the alterations agreed to on the same date ;
and exactly at noon on March 25th, the bill received the
Royal Assent by Commission, and became LAW. This
Act, be it remembered, did not abolish Slavery, but only


prohibited the Traffic in Slaves ; so that no ship should
clear out from any port within the British dominions after
May i, 1807, with slaves on board, and that no slave should
be landed in the Colonies after March i, 1808.

This Act was somewhat hurried through, owing to the
downfall of the Coalition Ministry, which will ever be known
in the political history of England as the " Ministry of all
the talents," or the " Broad-bottomed " Cabinet. While
this Ministry was in existence, it afforded the Caricaturists
plenty of food for their pencils. One of the last of them
is by Gillray (April 18, 1807), and it is called "The Pigs
Possessed, or, The Broad-bottomed Litter rushing headlong
in the Sea of Perdition." Though the subject is hackneyed,
the treatment is excellent. " Farmer George," as the King
was familiarly termed, has knocked down a portion of his
fence, which stands on the edge of a cliff, and, with brand-
ished dung-fork, and ready heel, he speeds the swine to their
destruction, thus apostrophizing them : " O, you cursed
ungrateful Grunters ! what ! after devouring more in a twelve
month, than the good old Litters did in twelve years, you
turn round to kick and bite your old Master ? but, if the
Devil or the Pope has got possession of you all pray get
out of my Farm Yard ! out with you all ; no hanger-behind !
you're all of a cursed bad breed ; so out with you all
together ! ! ! "

Of course there was the Annual Fast, which was fixed,
for February 25th. This time " the shops were all shut, and


the utmost solemnity prevailed throughout the day." Their
repetition, evidently, was educating the people as to their
implied meaning.

Sir Francis Burdett wished to retrieve his former defeat,
and we consequently find him, at the General Election in
this year, putting up for Westminster. Paull, who had
contested the seat with Sheridan, was one candidate, Lord
Cochrane, and Elliott the brewer, at Pimlico, were the
others. This election is chiefly remarkable in illustrating
the manners of the times, by a duel which took place
between two of the candidates, Paull and Burdett, the latter
of whom had squabbled over his name having been adver-
tised as intending to appear at a meeting, without his
consent having been first obtained. They met at Combe
Wood near Wimbledon, and both were wounded. Sir
Francis was successful, and a short account of his
" chairing " a custom long since consigned to limbo may
not be uninteresting. Originally, as the name implies, the
successful candidate was seated in a chair, and carried
about on the shoulders of his enthusiastic supporters, as the
winner of the Queen's prize at Wimbledon is now honoured.
But Sir Francis's admirers had improved upon this. The
procession and triumphal car started from Covent Garden,
.and worked its way to the baronet's house in Picadilly,
where he mounted the car. How he did so, the contem-
porary account does not state, but it does say that " the
car was as high as the one pair of stairs windows," and " the


- seat upon which the Baronet was placed, stood upon a lofty
Corinthian pillar." On this uncomfortable elevation, he
rode from Picadilly, down the Haymarket, up St. Martin's
Lane, and so into Covent Garden, where a dinner was

On the 3 ist of August died, at Rome, Henry Benedict
Maria Clement Stuart, Cardinal York the last of the
Stuarts. The feeble little attempt he made to assert his
right to the throne of England, would be amusing if it
had been serious ; the coining of one medal, in which he
styled himself Henry IX., was his sole affectation of
royalty. With him died all hope, if any such existed, of
disturbing the Hanoverian Succession. Curiously enough,
events made him a pensioner on George the Third's bounty,
and the annuity was granted by the one, and received by
the other, not as an act of charity, but as of brotherly
friendship ; and this annuity of ^"4,000 he duly received for
seven years before he died.

In this year, too, England gave shelter to another un-
fortunate scion of royalty Louis XVIII. who came from
Sweden in the Swedish Frigate the Freya. He travelled
under the name of the Comte de Lille, and landed at
Yarmouth. He rather ungraciously declined the Palace of
Holyrood, which was placed at his disposal, on the ground
that he had not come to England as an asylum, or for
safety, but on political business as King of France. Wisely,
he was allowed to have his own way, and he settled down


at Hartwell, in Buckinghamshire, a seat of the Marquis of
Buckingham, and here he abode until the fall of Napoleon,
when, of course, he went to Paris.

The year ends stormily. After having bombarded
Copenhagen and captured all the Danish fleet, war was
proclaimed against Denmark on the 4th of November. On
the 8th of the month, Portugal was compelled by Napoleon
to confiscate British property, and shut her ports against

Nor was he content with this. Probably he thought the
effect of his former proclamation of blockading England,
was wearing out, so he fulminated a fresh one on the nth
of November from Hamburgh, and another from Milan on
the 27th of December ; in both of which he reiterated his
intention of prohibiting intercourse between all subjects
under his control, and contumacious England, and that
this should be properly carried out he appointed com-
mercial residents, at different ports, to attend strictly to the

This, of course, was met promptly by an Order in Council,,
allowing neutral Powers to trade with the enemies of Great
Britain, provided they touched at British ports, and paid
custom dues to the British Government.

Consols this year began at 61^, and left off 62^.

Wheat varied during the year, from 845. to 733., the
highest price being 905. ; and the quartern loaf varied in
proportion from is. i*/d. to




Gloomy prospects of 1808 King's Speech Droits of the Admiralty Regulation
of Cotton Spinners' wages Riots in the Cotton districts Battle of Vimiera
Convention of Cintra Its unpopularity Articles of the Convention.

THE year 1808 opened very gloomily. Parliament
met on the 2ist of January, and was opened by
Commission. The " King's Speech," on this occa-
sion sketches the political situation better than any pen of
a modern historian can do. I therefore take some portions
of it, not sufficient to weary the reader, but to give him the
clearest idea of the state of Europe at this period.

The King informed Parliament, 1 " that, no sooner had the
result of the Negotiations at Tilsit, 2 confirmed the influence,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryJohn AshtonThe dawn of the XIXth century in England; a social sketch of the times (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 17)