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a measure so full of peril.' This is candid—but what is to be said as to his Lordship’s revelations in the next page?
• I have often since asked myself the question, whether, if no secession had taken place, and the Peers had persisted in really opposing the most important provisions of the Bill, we should have had recourse to the perilous creation ? Twelve years have now rolled over my head since the crisis of 1832: I speak very calmly on this as on every political question whatever; and I cannot, with any confidence, answer it in the affirmative.
Such was my deep sense of the consequences of the act, that I much question whether I should not have preferred running the risk of the confusion that attended the loss of the Bill as it then stood : and I have a strong impression on my mind that my illustrious frievd (Earl Grey) would have more than met me half way in the determination to face that risk-(and, of course, to face the clamours of the people, which would have cost us little)-- rather than expose the constitution to so imminent a hazard of subversion.'—p. 308.
His Lordship says much more, which we should be glad to quote. Inter alia at p. 317, we find him enumerating the principal defects of the existing system of representation; and placing second on that list the want of close boroughs.' He is, however, far from agreeing with Lord John Russell that the Reform was a Revolution. If it had been a Revolution, says Lord Brougham, it must have brought to light some new men of high ability!
It appears, then, that the ‘mischief' was, after all, consummated by means of a hoaxing threat. Lord Eldon was not, of course, one of the seceders; he stood to his post first and lasthow bravely, how ably, we need not tell.
He did his duty in the midst of the severest domestic afflictionfor his wife, whom he had watched over with unwearied tenderness during many years of painful malady, was taken from him when the reform mania was still at its height-and in brave contempt of innumerable personal insults, outrages, and perils, which he shared, as his Anecdote Book expresses it,' even with the great chief to whom the English people owed the liberties they were abusing.' These vulgar injuries he soon forgot or forgave—the loss of her who had partaken in all his fortunes and all his thoughts he never entirely recovered. He continued his attendance in parliament, opposing in vain many equally absurd and baneful political innovations, the natural fruits of the mischief,' but opposing also, and with better effect, not a few rash and ill-considered projects of change within the department of the law. On purely legal ques. tions his authority with the House of Lords remained to the end supreme; and, storm once abated, his venerable presence in that assembly unquestionably contributed most essentially to the public good.
Few of our readers can have forgotten the affecting scene that occurred in the theatre at Oxford after the installation of the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor (July, 1834), when, Lord Eldon being seated by his Grace as High Steward of the University, Lord Encombe was introduced as his · Unicus Nepos,' to be admitted to an honorary degree. That scene fills a charming page in Mr. Twiss's third volume, and it is only one of many pages that will delight everybody, as proving how complete was the reconciliation between Lord Eldon and the political friends from whom he had for a time been alienated. Three years later Lord Encombe presided at the triennial celebration of Mr. Pitt's birthday; his grandfather was too feeble to be present; and the Duke, in proposing the young chairman's health, concluded with these words:
* We have all of us the most respectful and affectionate recollections of Lord Eldon. Attachment to him, I may say, is almost a part of the constitution of the country.'
Unlike his not less illustrious brother, Lord Eldon retained to the last a complete possession of all the great and varied powers of his mind. He foresaw distinctly the near termination of a disorder under which for several years his physical strength had been gradually sinking, afforded an example of Christian resignation and endurance to the few surviving members of his affectionate family, and expired placidly in Hamilton-place on the 13th of January, 1838, anno ætat. 87. He was buried by the side of his Elizabeth at Encombe.
Art. V.-1. Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry for South
Wales. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by command
of Her Majesty. 2. Letters addressed to the Rate-payers in the Swansea Union.
By J. H. Vivian, Esq., M.P. 1813. No quarter of the British Islands has, for a long course of
years, occasioned less disquietude to its rulers, or attracted less of public attention to its internal concerns, than the principality of Wales. The inhabitants of the mountainous and agricul. tural districts, of which so large a part of that country consists, have been chiefly known to their English neighbours as a patient, industrious, and hard-faring race, tenacious of the traditions and customs of their forefathers, disliking change, and not easily aroused to enterprise; of a temperament somewhat sluggish and unimaginative, but warm and choleric in their feelings when excited, and capable of no small degree of pertinacity and dogged resolu. tion in the pursuit of their objects. Far more influenced in their political attachments by local and hereditary associations, and a sort of feudal allegiance to particular families, than by the theories or watchwords of rival parties in the state; caring little for politics, as beseems those whose talk is of bullocks,' they in great ineasure seem to have exemplified the unpopular doctrine that the people have no other concern with the laws but to obey them.' The spirit of obedience has indeed been manifested as well by the rarity of any political outbreak or excitement in that country, as by the very small proportion which crime has long borne to population in the Welsh counties, as compared with the average numbers on this side of the border. Empty gaols and white gloves have not unfrequently gladdened the judge of assize, pursuing his solitary circuit through those secluded districts; albeit, the scales of Justice have been less inactive than her sword, and the time saved from the criminal court has been yet more wearily consumed in unravelling the skein of some endless pedigree, or exploring the mazes of a thrice contested will, on which the national appetite for litigation gloated only the more keenly in proportion to the insignificance of the stake.
It is not from a people formed of such materials, or addicted to such habits, that the apprehensions of statesmen are accustomed to take their rise; and accordingly it has been found that, while England, Scotland, and Ireland have successively raised spectres, affrighting cabinets from their propriety and perplexing monarchs with fear of change, no cry of Justice to Wales' has been echoed from Snowdon or Plinlimmon - no Cambrian Liberator has rallied his malcontent legions under the banners of peaceful agitation or passive resistance against the government of the day. The iron districts, indeed, in the border county of Glamorgan have occasionally caused some disquietude; but manufactures and a newly-formed population have greatly modified in that region those native characteristics of the people to which these observations are more particularly intended to apply. Accustomed therefore, as they had been, to look for danger from any quarter rather than from the patient denizens of the principality, it was with a surprise approaching to incredulity, and with an indifference partaking of contempt, that the first intelligence of an organised resistance to the laws and violation of the public peace among the peasantry of Carmarthenshire was received by the English people. The nature and avowed objects of the movement, and the guise and mode of operations assumed by the insurgents, threw an air of the comic and ridiculous over this grotesque rebellion; and as no act of gratuitous violence or cruelty stained the earlier proceedings of the rioters, it is not too much to affirm that the public were at first inclined to wink at, if
not to sympathise with, excesses carried on apparently in a spirit of frolic and good-humoured insubordination, and which seemed not without plausible grounds of excuse or palliation. Turnpikegates—the unsightly obstacles to the Englishman's freedom of locomotion—the standing tax-gatherers in his path-the imposts on his pleasure and his business—were at the outset the declared and sole objects of the Welshmen's hostility: and stern must be that man's morality, and firm his abstract respect for laws, who (not being a mortgagee of tolls) could hear with strong emotions of horror and indignation that two or three toll-gates in a heavilytaxed district had been suddenly swept away, under cover of the night, by some invisible power, without further injury to property or person. So far, therefore, from any alarm being occasioned by this outbreak, the popular prejudice against turnpikes was rather flattered and regaled by the tales of the nightly feats of • Rebecca and her daughters,' and credit was given to the Welsh genius for the novel and diverting form of insurrection which it had so appropriately devised.
The question naturally arises how or whence originated the peculiar scheme and machinery of this Cambrian crusade against turnpikes? Is any germ or feature of it to be discerned in any prevailing usage, or legend, or ancient tradition of the district ? Who suggested to the mind of the plodding and unpoetical Welsh farmer the idea of the mounted Rebecca heading the charge of her sylvan chivalry, rallied in an instant from
their mountain ambush, and dispersing again with the rapidity of ghosts at dawn? Surely they had never heard of the beautiful heroine of the Volscians:
Agmen agens equitum et forentes ære catervas
Dura pati.' As little had they probably read of Madge Wildfire, the redoubtable assailant of the Tolbooth, as described in a scarcely less
Our researches into local customs and manners have not availed to discover anything which can be regarded as the genuine type of Rebeccaism. The curious national custom of the • Ceffyl Pren,' or Wooden Horse, has indeed been suggested as having some features in common with the late disturbances, but the affinity does not appear to us to be very clearly made out beyond the common circumstances of tumultuary and lawless outrage, and the adoption of a quaint form of disguise. The • Ceffyl Pren,' which has not unfrequently afforded much trouble to the local authorities, consists of a procession headed by a man wearing the disguise of a horse's head, sometimes the skeleton of a real head covered with a sheet or cloth, sometimes a head made of wood, which is placed upon the man's shoulders. Thus accoutred and attended by his rabble train, having their faces blackened, and torches in their hands, the · Ceffyl Pren’ makes his visitations by night to the houses of those who, for any domestic misconduct, such as is occasionally visited with rough music’ in England, or from any other causes have made themselves obnoxious to popular disfavour. Houses are entered, and turned inside out, goods and furniture broken, and great uproar sometimes takes place. A very few years back, the magistrates of Cardigan felt themselves obliged to appeal to military succour against the antics of these troublesome masqueraders. The mention of this peculiar form of disguise suggests the recollection of the · Scotch cattle' rioters, who committed a series of flagrant outrages not many years since in the iron districts of Glamorganshire. The breed of black Scotch catile had recently been introduced
among those hills, where the poorness of the herbage was unfit for any less hardy breed; and being a wild, hirsute, and rough-looking animal, the rioters, who commenced the outbreak on the plea of low wages, but afterwards resorted to it on any other offence or fancied grievance, assumed a name which symbolized with their own wild habits and lawless hardihood. The ringleader, or Bull, had a bullock's skin with horns thrown round him; the others blackened their faces, roared like cattle, and committed the most outrageous and cruel excesses; for which more than one, we believe, paid the penalty on the scaffold.
These incidents, however, though curious in themselves, do not seem to bring us much nearer to Rebecca, the destroyer of turnpikes. Returning back to this side of the Severn, we seem to be coming nearer to a precedent. The minute and copious historian of Bristol, the Rev. S. Seyers, describes a great outbreak against toll-gates, which occurred there nearly a century ago.
'In the summer of the year 1749 turnpikes were erected, by an Act of Parliament passed for the purpose of repairing the roads ten miles round the city, which occasioned great murmurings among the country people, who clamoured against the toll as a mighty grievance, especially the colliers at Kingswood. About a fortnight after the erection of the gates the Ashton pike was destroyed in the night, and, soon after, the Bitton pike was blown up by gunpowder in the night. The commissioners offered 1001. reward on conviction of the offenders, and again set up the gates which had been destroyed. But, in some few days, the Bitton pike was cut down; and three persons present, coming into the city afterwards, were taken and committed to Newgate, which so enraged the Somersetshire men that they threatened they would come and