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CHAP, that angel should have drawn up the curtain and unfolded
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'the rising glories of his country, and whilst he was gazing
with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England, the genius should point out to him a little speck, scarce visible in the mass of the national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed body, and should tell him —' Young man, there is America — which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world. Whatever England has been growing to by a progressive increase of improvement, brought in by varieties of people, by succession of civilising conquests and civilising settlements, in a series of seventeen hundred years, you shall see as much added to her by America in the course of a single life!' If this state of his country had been foretold to him, would it not require all the sanguine credulity of youth, and all the fervid glow of enthusiasm, to make him believe it? Fortunate man, he has lived to see it I Fortunate, indeed, if he lives to see nothing that shall vary the prospect, and cloud the setting of his day!"
Birth of But, however reluctantly,—in obedience to my duty, I must Henry Ba- 110w attend to a much less interesting character, and explain
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m what manner the most improbable part of the vision was realised. "The auspicious youth" was married to Catherine, daughter and heiress of Sir Peter Apsley, by whom he had four sons and five daughters.* For Henry, the second son, I must bespeak, during a short space, the patience of the reader,
* He was or pretended to be rather alarmed by the fecundity of his wife. In a letter to Swift, alluding to the Dean's scheme for relieving the miseries of the Irish by fattening their children for the table, he says: "I did immediately propose it to Lady Bathurst as your advice,—particularly for her last boy, which was born the plumpest and finest thing that could be seen; but she fell into a passion, and bid me send you word that she would not follow up your direction, but that she would breed him to be a parson, and he should live upon the fat of the land; or a lawyer, and then instead of being eat himself he should devour others. You know women in a passion never mind what they say; but as she is a very reasonable woman, I have almost brought her over now to your opinion, and have convinced her, that, as matters stood, wc could not possibly maintain all the nine; she does begin to think it reasonable that the youngest should raise fortunes for the eldest"
although, as he had no striking qualities, good or bad, and as CHAP, he met with no remarkable vicissitudes of fortune, I cannot CI.I1expect to excite in his favour the sympathy of any class of readers.
He was born on the 2d of May, in the year 1714. I His cduknow not, and I must own I have not taken much pains to cat'0"" ascertain at what school he was educated. He probably passed through it with little flogging and little distinction. At the usual age he went to Christ Church, Oxford,—where nothing more is known of him than that he took his degree of B.A. in 1733.
Being at this time a younger brother, he was destined to At Linthe bar, and he was entered of Lincoln's Inn. The discipline coln s In" there had become what it has since continued: moots and readings having fallen into desuetude, and no other means of instruction substituted for them, the only qualification for being licensed as an advocate was — eating a certain number of dinners in the Hall.
This curriculum being completed by Mr. Bathurst, he was He is called called to the bar in the year 1736. He rode the Oxford tothebarcircuit and sat in the Court of King's Bench; but although he was very regular in his habits, he seems to have had little business beyond a few briefs given him by favour.
While still in his twenty-second year he was returned to He is reserve for the family borough of Cirencester. It is said that tur"cd to
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a lawyer ought not to enter parliament till he has fair pre- for Cirentensions to be made Solicitor General; but I do not believe ccsterthat young Bathurst's professional progress was at all impeded by his political pursuits, and without being in parliament he probably would never even have had a silk gown. He sat in the House of Commons for Cirencester, and for the county of Gloucester from 1736 to 1751, a period of fifteen years — during the whole of which he is hardly ever mentioned as having taken part in debate.
In 1741, he is said to have opposed the bill for forcibly Dr. Johnmanning the navy. His short speech is reported, and I sus- of^iiUpTech pect invigorated by Dr. Johnson, for it has the true John- on the imsonian flow: "Sir, that this law will easily admit, in the of6seSamen. execution of it, such abuses as will overbalance the benefits,
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CHAP, may readily be proved; and it will not be consistent with L that regard to the public, expected from us by those whom we represent, to enact a law which may probably become an instrument of oppression. The servant by whom I am now attended may be termed, according to the language of this bill, a sea-faring man, having been once in the West Indies; and he may, therefore, be forced from my service and dragged into a ship, by the authority of a justice of the peace, perhaps of some abandoned jobber, dignified with the commission only to influence elections, and awe those whom excises and riot acts cannot subdue. I think it, sir, not improper to declare, that I would by force oppose the execution of a law like this; that I would bar my doors and defend them; that I would call my neighbours to my assistance; and treat those who should attempt to enter, without my consent, as thieves, ruffians, and murderers." *
Though Mr. Bathurst spoke rarely, he was a constant attender in the House, and his vote might always be reckoned upon by the opponents of Sir Robert Walpole. He joined the Leicester House party, and in 1745 was made Solicitor General to the Prince of Wales, on which occasion, the rank of King's counsel was conferred upon him, and he put on a silk gown.
His other In 1749 he opposed the grant of an indemnity to the
speeches in *
parliament, citizens of Glasgow for the loss they had sustained in the late rebellion, contending that they ought to have made a stouter resistance to the rebels, and that such indemnities would lessen the disposition to oppose foreign or domestic enemies — and pointing out the burning of Penzance by the Spaniards, in the reign of Elizabeth, and of Teignmouth, with all the ships in its harbour by the French, in the reign of William III., when no compensation from parliament was made to the sufferers, or asked by them. f The same session he spoke upon his favourite subject, the manning of the navy, condemning the plan brought forward by ministers for that purpose. J In 1750, he delivered a long oration about
* 12 Pari. Hist. 93. He is represented as having said a few words on two other occasions respecting this bill. (lb. 105. 120.)
t 1 4 Pari. Hist. 527. t 14 Pari. Hist. 553. 557.
the demolition of the port of Dunkirk, a favourite topic CHAP, for the assailants of successive governments for half a cen- CLI1tury.*
Meanwhile he continued steadily to attend the courts in "Westminster Hall, and to go the Oxford circuit, though with little encouragement.
While at the bar, he was engaged in one cause celiibre,— Heconthe trial, at Oxford, of Miss Blandy for the murder of her prosecution father,—which he had to conduct for the Crown as the of Miss leader of the circuit. This is the most horrid parricide th^murdcr to be found in our criminal annals, and I hope it will remain for many generations without a parallel. Mr. Bathurst's address to the jury has been much praised for its Feb- 1?52. eloquence, and as it certainly contains proof of good feeling, if not of high talent and refined taste, I have pleasure in copying the best passages of it. After making some observations upon the prosecution being carried on by order of the King, and upon the immense concourse of people assembled, he thus proceeded : —" Miss Blandy, the prisoner at His speech the bar, a gentlewoman by birth and education, stands in- JheTasc to dieted for no less a crime than that of murder; and not only the JurJfor murder, but for the murder of her own father, and for the murder of a father passionately fond of her; undertaken with the utmost deliberation; carried on with an unvaried steadiness of purpose, and at last accomplished by a frequent repetition of the baneful dose administered with her own hand. A crime so shocking in its own nature, and so aggravated in all its circumstances, as will (if she be proved to be guilty of it) justly render her infamous to the latest posterity, and make our children's children, when they read the horrid tale of this day, blush to think that such a creature ever existed in a human form. I need not, gentlemen, point out to you the heinousness of the crime of murder. You have but to consult your own breasts, and you will know it . Has a murder been committed? Who has ever beheld the ghastly corpse of the murdered innocent, weltering in its blood, and did not feel his own blood run slow and cold
* 14 Pari. Hist. 698.
S Chap, through all his veins? Has the murderer escaped? "With
what eagerness do we pursue? With what zeal do we apprehend? With what joy do we bring to justice? And when the dreadful sentence of death is pronounced upon him, every body hears it with satisfaction, and acknowledges the justice of the divine denunciation, that ' Who sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.' If this, then, is the case of any common murderer, what will be thought of one who has murdered her own father? who has designedly done the greatest of all human injuries to him from whom she received the first and greatest of all human benefits? who has wickedly taken away his life to whom she stands indebted for life? who has deliberately destroyed in his old age him, by whose care and tenderness she was protected in her helpless infancy? who has impiously shut her ears against the loud voice of nature and of God which bid her 'honour her father,' and instead of honouring him has murdered him?—In shortly opening the case, that you may the better understand the evidence, although I shall rather extenuate than aggravate, I have a story to tell which, I trust, will shock the ears of all who hear me. Mr. Francis Blandy, the unfortunate deceased, was an attorney-at-law, who lived at Henley, in this county. A man of character and reputation; he had one only child—a daughter,—the darling of his soul, the comfort of his age. He took the utmost care of her education, and had the satisfaction to see his care was not ill bestowed, for she was genteel, agreeable, sprightly, sensible. His whole thoughts were bent to settle her advantageously in the world. In order to do that he made use of a pious fraud (if I may be allowed the expression), pretending he could give her 10,000/. for her fortune. This he did in hopes that some of the neighbouring gentlemen would pay their addresses to her; for out of regard to him she was, from her earliest youth, received into the best company; and her own behaviour made her afterwards acceptable to them. But how short-sighted is human prudence! What was intended for her promotion, proved his death and her destruction." Ho then went on to state the following facts : —- Captain Cranstoun, an oflicer of the army, of a noble family in Scot