« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
MR. TOOKE'S DECEASE.
It came out, upon his trial, that he was much more moderate in his ideas of reform than many of his brethren, only wanting a temperate amelioration of the Constitution. He himself examined the witnesses with his accustomed acuteness, and discovered throughout the whole a dignified self-possession. Two years after, he offered himself as candidate, and obtained, though left in the minority, nearly three thousand votes, for Westminster! In 1801, the eccentric Lord. Camelford nominated him for that rottenest of all rotten horoughs, Old Sarum ! He sat not long, though he continued till the dissolution of Parliament. An ata tempt, indeed, was made to exclude him, on the ground of his being a clergyman in orders; but this was overruled, and a Bill passed which determined, for the future, the ineligibility of all persons of the clerical profession to a seat in Parliament.
The latter days of Mr. Tooke were cheered by easy circumstances, and he entertained his friends with great hospitality. His manners were polished, and his appearance that of a gentleman of the old school. He died of a gradual decay, March 1812, in the 77th year of his age. He was never married, but had natural daughters, who enjoyed his property. He meant to have been interred in his own garden; and a public print, of the date of Oct. 1, 1810, has this singular paragraph on the subject :
“ Mr. Horne Tooke, aware of his declining state, has been anxious, during some months past, to complete a vault for his remains, under a plat of grass in
MR. TOOKE'S EPITAPH.
the garden, near the north wall, on Wimbledon Com
It is now ready for his reception. A handsome tomb-stone, of finely black polished marble, about eight feet long and two wide, with the following engraven Epitaph, was a few days ago laid down by his own direction :
John Horne Tooke,
Of this spot,
Died in y
Notwithstanding this special preparation for interment in his own garden, the executors of the deceased, among whom was his affectionate and firm friend Sir Francis Burdett, had his remains conveyed to Ealing churchyard, where a handsome tomb, with a laudatory inscription, is raised to his memory. The political world, with all its turmoil and bustle, has not elicited a character of more original talents, or of a more extensive celebrity. I once dined with him in a large circle of private friends; he was pleasant and communicative; the conversation turned principally about America, and the successful struggle of the United States in behalf of liberty. His habits were temperate: sitting near him, I remarked that, on that day, he made his dinner of potted char spread on slices of bread and butter, and drank a very few glasses of wine. He did not stay late, but retired at an early period.
TOOKE IN PARLIAMENT.
He was just recovered from a slight fit of the gout, and limped across the room with some degree of debility. I also once heard him speak on the hostings at Covent Garden, when candidate for Westminster. His calm and deliberate mode of elocution made ap impression on the multitude. He particularly intreated his vociferating auditors to hear his opponent, Lord Gardiner, who was assailed most grievously with the appalling hootings of the mob. He thought the noble Admiral (he said) entitled to a patient hearing for having fought their battles so well at sea; adding, that he could render them much greater service on that tempestuous element than within the walls of a British Parliament ! Gratitude must acknowledge, whatever be the merits or demerits of John Horne Tooke, that it is owing to his spirited and successful struggle in behalf of a poor printer, that we are indebted for the daily publication of the Debates during the sitting of Parliament. Previous to this period, the speeches of the Members were very imperfectly detailed; and it is a curious circumstance, that these senatorial effusions were, to avoid the law, printed under feigned names in the earlier numbers of certain popular periodical publications. But now the columns of the most ordinary newspapers become the source of information, as well as of entertainment, to all the gradations of society :
But, oh! th’important Budget !--the grand Debate-
I burn to set th'IMPRISON'D WRANGLERS free,
And whatever imparts an additional interest to the contents of the newspapers, increases their circulation
among the community; the revenue is therefore enlarged, and an essential service rendered to the country.
We next come to Barnes, lying on the banks of the Thames, a small village, in the county of Surry. Its church is an ancient structure. Here is a stone tablet, inclosed by pales, and encircled with rose-trees! It is consecrated to the memory of Edward Rose, citizen of London, who, dying in 1653, left £20 to the poor of the place, for the purchase of an acre of land, on the express condition that the pales should be kept up, and the ROSE-TREES preserved. Perhaps this worthy citizen, immured throughout life within the narrow limits of a counting-house had, notwithstanding, a predilection for the beauties of Nature, and wished that this his superior taste should be known as well as admired by posterity.
I have often remarked, that this beautiful flower, the rose, has given rise to innumerable effusions from the sons of the Muses, both in ancient and modern times. The following stanzas, however, are more pleasing to my taste than any others that occur to my recollection :-it is the production of an unlettered Muse, on seeing the last rose for the season hanging on a tree.
STANZAS ON A ROSE.
Yon lovely solitary Rose,
And droops in seeming woe;
They strew the dust below!
Despoil'd of beauty, see them laid
They tell yon lovely Flow'r,
Its leaves will strew the bower!
Returning SPRING again will grace
As sweet and fair as they ;
Yet they'll but have their day!
Thus Man's frail race spring up and bloom,
To-morrow low they lie :
And blooms above the sky!
It was at Barnes, a very few years ago, that an emigrant French nobleman and his lady, the Count and Countess D'Antraigues, were inhumanly murdered by an Italian footman! They were in the habit of going to London once a week, in a hired coach, which was at the door one morning, as usual on those occa.