United States or Norway ? Vote for the TOP Country of the Week !

I was accompanied by the people to Hyde-Park Corner, where I took my leave of them, and returned to my house at Middleton Cottage; the whole of these three meetings in Spafields having been held in the most peaceable and orderly manner, without the least disturbance, or one single breach of the peace having been committed by any person that attended it, notwithstanding all the infamous falsehoods that were published in the newspapers to the contrary.

This and all the other meetings that followed, and all the subscriptions that were raised, may very justly be ascribed to the meeting at Spafields; for till that meeting took place, the general overwhelming distress was little known, and less regarded, by the opulent and powerful, who alone had the means of relieving it.

As, however, I was never jealous of any one myself, I had no suspicion that my friends were jealous of me, and I took no notice of it, though I was sorry to find that to the people who met on Portsdown, no apology or explanation was made for my absence, or at least for the meeting being held on the day that I was at Spafields; and I have reason to think that the people of Portsmouth, who first invited me, were very much disappointed at my not being present, and that they felt themselves slighted by me, which, I assure them, was the farthest thing in the world from my wish or intention.

"That, as to the FIRST of these assertions, as your petitioner possesses no means of ascertaining the secret thoughts of men, he cannot pretend to assert, that none of the persons, with whom the calling of the first Spafields meeting originated, had no views of a riotous or revolutionary kind; but he humbly conceives, that a simple narrative of facts will be more than sufficient to satisfy your Right Honourable House, that no such dangerous projects ever entered the minds of those who constituted almost the entire mass of that most numerous meeting.

This, as far as it goes, is very true; the House of Commons never did attend to the petitions of the people for Reform; but yet I boldly answer, that petitioning has done some good; that the petition of the first Spafields meeting obtained four thousand pounds from the droits of the Admiralty, for the suffering poor of Spital-fields and the metropolis. This was some good.

After one of these meetings in Spafields, for the purpose of requesting Sir Francis Burdett and myself to present a petition to Parliament, a serious riot took place in the city of London, in which a gentleman was shot by the military.

So that your petitioner humbly begs leave to express his confidence that your Honourable House will clearly perceive, that if any insurrection had taken place on the day of the first Spafields meeting, it would have been entirely owing to the neglect, if not connivance, of those persons who possessed a previous knowledge of the principles and views of the parties with whom that meeting originated.

"And your petitioner shall ever pray. The day of the third Spafields meeting arrived, and I drove to town in my tandem, and put up at the British Coffee-house livery-stables, in Cockspur-street, where I had for several years before gone with my horses. My trunk was, as usual, taken into a bedroom, where I meant to change my dress previously to my going to the meeting.

There had, in the meanwhile been meetings held, for the purpose of petitioning for Reform, all over the kingdom, particularly in the North of England and Scotland; which meetings emanated from the first Spafields meeting; and at almost all of these Meetings resolutions and petitions of a similar tendency were passed; Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot, being very generally prayed for.

"Your petitioner, in adverting humbly to the THIRD assertion of your Secret Committee, begs to be permitted to state, that the persons who went from Spafields to engage in riot on the 2d of December, formed no part of the meeting called for that day; that these persons came into the fields full two hours before the time of meeting; that they left the fields full an hour before that time; that they did not consist, at the time of leaving the fields, of more than forty or fifty individuals; that they were joined by sailors and others, persons going from witnessing the execution of four men in the Old Bailey; that your petitioner, who had come up from Essex in the morning, met the rioters in Cheapside; that he proceeded directly to the meeting, which he found to be very numerous; that there a resolution was immediately proposed by your petitioner, strongly condemning all rioting and violence, which resolution passed with the most unanimous acclamations; that a petition, which has since been signed by upwards of 24 thousand names, and received by the House of Commons, was then passed; and that the meeting, though immense as to numbers, finally separated, without the commission of any single act of riot, outrage, or violence.