Waithman, and held a meeting at the Free- Masons' Tavern, where they manfully declared their readiness to support a Reform, upon the principle of triennial, instead of septennial Parliaments; but not one word of any alteration in the suffrage; not one of this faction was then bold or honest enough to support the Burdettite faction, even in their humbug of householder suffrage; and the consequence was, that the Burdettites, or little shopkeeper faction, made a great parade about how much further they were disposed to go than the Waithmanite, or Whig faction.
Never were resolutions more appropriate, or that came more pat to suit the occasion. I saw that this was a happy opportunity to appeal to the honest sentiments of the Livery, and I seized it, as an act of justice to them and to the public, without the slightest intention to annoy or injure Mr. Waithman, and without the slightest intention of gratifying the factious views of any party.
In performing this duty I shall divest myself of every personal consideration; and in drawing the true characters of the great rivals, Wood and Waithman, I will, if possible, divest myself of prejudice, and do them both justice.
Waithman would not have joined me in any measure, even if it had been to save the City of London from an earthquake, or its citizens from the greatest of all calamities, a famine; but at the first view of the thing, I did not perceive how this amendment was calculated to injure or cut the throat of Mr. Waithman. The dread of this mighty sacrifice did not, however, deter me from doing my duty.
Waithman, the city patriot, who was looking out for a place with as much eagerness and anxiety as a cat would watch to pounce upon a mouse: a few such men as these were mortified and hurt at the fall of those to whom they were looking up for situations of profit, and for pensions, which were to be extorted from the pockets of the people; but the nation at large rejoiced at the downfal of these upstart, hypocritical pretenders to patriotism.
At length I sent for Waithman, who came at my request. I complained to him of the ingratitude of Sir Francis Burdett, and he appeared to concur with me, and to regret that I should be so treated; but he added, that he had no power to compel the Baronet to do his duty.
I asked Sir Richard if he would second these resolutions; he replied no, he could not, but he would ask Mr. Waithman to do it; and away he went in the honesty of his heart, and told Mr. Waithman that I was going to move such resolutions as an amendment to the usual vote of thanks to Alderman Combe, and he very innocently asked him if he would second them?
Waithman had so actively exerted themselves to prevent the calling a Common Hall, that he was induced to decline proceeding at that time, he being fully convinced that, even if he procured a meeting, there would be such an opposition to the Address that it would be imprudent for him at this moment to persevere.
Preston acted as Secretary; that they had called the meeting, and directed their Secretary to invite me to attend it, and that they had also written to invite Sir Francis Burdett, Major Cartwright, Mr. Waithman, Mr. Cobbett, and several other political characters. I then inquired what was the nature of the memorial or address which they meant to submit to the Prince Regent?
He was succeeded by a Mr. Stephen, a clergyman, a brother to the Master in Chancery, who also supported the amendment, and declaimed against Mr. Waithman and all the Reformers; but particularly, by insinuation, against myself, who had agitated the peaceable county of Somerset. Mr.