Taken from The Republican, Oct 4, 1822.


If any one enquire into my motive for the present publication , I inform them that my object is to free myself from the imputation and slanders of a faction of base and designing men, and to prevent those men from having the power of continuing the deceptions they have too long practised. An account of their conduct so far as it has come to my knowledge is submitted to the public, and it will shew that their first object is to deceive and then destroy. My only hope is that it may be the means of guarding the unwary against becoming parties to private proceedings, or placing confidence in political characters, who avow no distinct principles and whose only object is to support the popularity of particular individuals, without any regard to truth. That part of the publication which relates to the proceedings which took place in the years 1819 and 1820, is a part which I intended to keep an eternal secret had I not been publicly called upon by Mr. Wasse, who was then treasurer to the persons who sent me into the North, to give an account of my mission. The object of Mr. Wasse in calling upon me to give this account is obvious: he and his party stood self-convicted of treachery, dissimulation, and the most consummate villainy; then in order to sink me to a level with themselves be called upon me to give an account of my mission, under the idea that I should be afraid to disclose it, which would have given to him and his partisans an opportunity of traducing my character. But I tell them, once for all, I am not to be put down by clamour, nor yet by threats, neither am I afraid to publish every action of my life which concerns the public, Mr. Wasse on this occasion has done me an unintentional service, as he has given me an opportunity of fully justifying myself in refusing to hold any private intercourse upon any subject whatever with either Mr. Mann or the individuals with whom he is connected. That some of the individuals who took part in the private meetings in 1819 and 1820, were treacherous I was perfectly satisfied, and had I then known as well as I do at present who it was that took a delight in promoting private meetings, and after having drawn as many individuals as possible into them, made a practice of denouncing their proceedings, I will assure Mr. Mann that I would not on another occasion have been found in his party. I consider the present publication as a duty I owe to the public, as the parties whom I herein charge with fraud and treachery, are now evidently engaged in some scheme which they dare not allow to meet the public eye, and are endeavouring to collect money for an object which they dare not or at least have not the honesty openly to avow . They are aware that it is impossible to make me become a fool for inducing other persons to undertake hazardous enterprizes in which I am unwilling to act a part, and I intend to show them that they cannot inveigle individuals to attend private meetings, and then denounce their proceedings with impunity. The immediate cause of the present publication arises from proceedings which took place at certain meetings held in the room belonging to the Great Northern Radical Union in Leeds, to examine the causes of the divisions and dissentions – existing amongst the people called Reformers. On these occasions the persons attending the meetings might justly be considered as being divided into two parties: the one consisting of the Republicans, or the advocates of a complete Representative Government, and an elective and accountable magistracy: the other party consisting of the supporters of the Northern Union, and the people calling themselves Christian Reformers. During the first four nights of which their meetings took place, the declaration agreed to at Stockport and my letters to Mr Wooler and to Mr. Hunt on that subject, as published by Mr. Carlile in the “Effort, &c.” were read, and several letters from Mr. Mann to Mr. Carlile, and one from Mr. Watson to Mr. Carlile. During the reading several persons were called upon to speak to the truth or falsehood of what was stated in the documents that were read. Upon a part of one of Mr. Mann’s letters to Mr. Carlile , in order to induce Mr. Carlile to publish the “Efort, &c.” being read, in which he stated that he had strong grounds for believing that a person closely connected with Mitchel, (a person whom Mr. Baines and Mr. Mann had represented as a spy) was at the bottom of this aftair of Brayshaw’s. Mr Mann was immediately called upon to name the person , and after considerable equivocation he named Smithson, at the same time charging Smithson with having slandered him respecting his mission to London. Smithson declared himself to be prepaired to prove the truth of what he had stated upon that subject whenever an opportunity might be offered. Upon this Mr. Whincup and Mr. Wasse immediately called for I had an inquiry into my mission into the North, adding that I gone on a mission at the public expence and had never given an account of it, though they well knew that I had given an account of it to all who thought proper to attend at the meeting appointed for the purpose. It is in compliance with the call of these gentlemen that I now publish the account of the secret meetings and the missions of 1819 and 1820. Notwithstanding these gentlemen called upon me for an account of my missions, yet when I promised to comply and give them a full account of the whole’ affair, it exasperated them worse than all the previous exposures that had taken place, and on the fourth night the partisans of the Northern Union and the Christian Reformers treated some of the Republicans in such a manner that they are not yet free from its effects. In consequence of the treatment we received on that occasion, we considered it unsafe to attend the place any more, in consequence of which, on the fifth night, we delivered a notice to that effect to the chairman,and immediately after it was read we left the room. After this they proceeded to business with a meeting composed of only their own party, and passed a number of resolutions, one edition of which appeared in the Manchester Observer, an amended one appeared in the Dwarf, and a third edition which I have seen that was sent to Mr. Carlile differs from both the former, though I have good reasons to believe that none of them are the same as the resolution passed at the meeting. I consider that the matter contained in “The Effort,” along with the reasons assigned in a letter to Mr. Wooler which he refused to publish, in answer to the resolutions of the one sided meeting, will be sufficient to show that a design has existed to draw the reformers from their former principles to support the Whigs, and that the illiberal treatment I have received at the hands of Mr. Hunt and Mr. Wooler, has been entirely owing to my uniform practice of advocating a complete Representative System of Government. If any thing be necessary to corroborate this opinion, it may be found in the servile address of the members of the Northern Union to several Whig members of the two houses of Boroughmongers, imploring them to become members of the Northern Union. These letters will likewise give sufficient reasons why I should refuse to have any private intercourse with the committee of the Northern Union, who are the same persons as sent me upon my mission, and now call upon me to give an account of it, if any further reasons are necessary, the account of the missions contained in the present paper will be sufficient. The letter to Mr. Wooler in answer to the resolutions of the one-sided meeting is published in No. 14, Vol 6 of the Republican, for the other letters see “The Effort.”


During the time the Six Acts were in Parliament, and after the passing of them , several private meetings took place in Leeds. The reason assigned for holding these meetings privately was, that if the existing powers knew of them we should all be arrested, and Mr. Mann observed as he accompanied me to the first: “The tyrants will now be a thousand times more terrified than they were during the public meetings, as we have adopted such a plan that they can get to know nothing of what is going on.” Some of these meetings I attended in consequence of a written order signed by some person who acted as secretary, but as I always burnt the notes as soon as I received them, I will not mention this secretary’s name. Some I attended in consequence of personal notice from Mr. Mann, when I called at his shop for publications, and one I attended in consequence of an adjournment. But on all these occasions I never knew where the meeting was to be held until I got into the house where it took place. I was always directed to go to Mr. Mann’s, and he either always introduced me himself or introduced some person to me who went with me to those meetings; and Mr. Mann several times assured me that they found it necessary to take such precautions to prevent the arrest of the delegates, and that no more than one person ever knew where the meetings were to be held until they got into the place. These meetings were sufficiently secret, and though I will not undertake to say that Mr. Mann attended the whole, he certainly attended the greatest part of them, and he knew of them all, and he knew that the object of these meetings was to devise plots. In these meetings various measures were prepared for the purpose of obtaining a Parliamentary Reform. The ultimate conclusion was that it would never be obtained except by physical force, and it was held out as absolutely necessary that a time should be fixed upon for the purpose of commencing revolutionary operations. Some of the delegates from distant parts, (particularly Lever, the Huddersfield delegate, whom Mr. Mann introduced to me as a very worthy friend of Reform,) upbraided the Reformers of the neighbourhood of Leeds, on account of their backwardness. Lever represented the inhabitants of all the large towns southward as far as London as being perfectly ready to rise and fight for their liberty. The people of Lancashire and Cheshire, the people of the neighbourhood of Newcastle, and all the people of the West of Scotland, he represented as being fully prepared both with arms and ammunition. He even professed to state the numbers who were ready in some places. His accounts however appeared to me incredible; from the knowledge I possessed of the Reformers of the North, I felt satisfied that what related to them was very much exaggerated, as I had left them only a few weeks before, at which time no preparations of the kind had taken place. I urged my objections and argued that before we engaged in any such speculation as that of changing the form of Government, that it was absolute necessary that we should be satisfied that we were in possession of means adequate to the accomplishment of the end; and pointed out the evil effects that might arise from any premature movement. I was supported principally by the delegates from the small towns in the neighbourhood of Leeds, and in order to settle the dispute it was proposed that before any thing was done, persons should be sent off for the purpose of ascertaining the truth of the accounts about preparations for resistance. Missions of this description, were a dangerous affair to undertake at such a time. Lever, the Huddersfield delegate was appointed for Lancashire and Cheshire. Mr. Mann, on account of having business in London was considered the most proper person to send into the South, he was ordered to collect all the information he could on his road to London. Nottingham, Birmingham, and Coventry, were particularly mentioned as places he was to attend to; and he was likewise to endeavour to get all the information he could in London, and to call upon all the leading characters in London. Hunt, Wooler, Cartwright, Cobbett, and Thistlewood, were mentioned as persons that he was to call upon. Mr. Mann stated to the meeting that he had no doubt but that he should be able to procure all the information that might be necessary. How far he performed the duty entrusted to him I shall leave others to judge; whether acting in conformity with his instructions might bave been the means of saving the life of Thistlewood is not for me to determine. I have only his own account of his mission, it may be true or it may be false, but he told me that he had not called at any of the places mentioned on his way to London, that in London he had seen the best Friends of Reform, and that they had told him there was no union in existence in London, nor any preparations made for accomplishing Reform by means of force; but he added they advised me not to call on Thistlewood as he was surrounded by spies, and it would be a great chance if I could get away from London without one coming along with me.” For any thing I know to the contrary Thistlewood might have been one of those hot-brained individuals who will neither listen to truth nor reason when opposed to any favourite scheme they have adopted, but one thing is certain, that if Thistlewood were led into a spare by accounts from the country similar to the accounts which the gentleman to whom Mr. Mann introduced to me, brought to Leeds; if he were led into the course of conduct that he pursued, under the assurance of support from all the populous towns in the country. If Mr. Mann had obtained a true account of the state of the country, and informed Thistlewood of the manner in which he had been imposed upon, in my opinion it is highly probable that Thistlewood’s life had been saved. Perhaps Mr. Mann may urge that he had not the means of obtaining the necessary information in the towns betwixt Leeds and London; it he had not, he had no business to accept of the mission; but at the time he accepted it, I well know that he said, he had no doubt of being able to gain all the information that might be necessary. How I would ask will he justify himself for not having called upon Thistlewood, when the very men to whom he introduced me, represented bim as the most active character connected with the preparations then going forward, and it was even urged that it would be highly improperfor the other individuals who had taken a leading part in the cause of Reform, to appear to be in any way identified with the affair until such time as the people should be fairly in arms, lest we should be deprived of their services when they would become most necessary. I was appointed to go into the North, I stated there would be considerable difficulty in the undertaking, but from the acquaintance I had with the Reformers of the North, very probably I should be able to procure information as accurate as any person on such a subject. I told them as the importance of my mission would depend upon my returning personally with the information, I thought if they would give me leave to go round by York, I could devise the means of getting liberated if I should be arrested, as I had a friend in York who traded into the North, and on whom I thought I could prevail to entrust a few of his accounts to my care, and allow me to go in the character of his traveller. This proposal was approved and commended as an excellent scheme for enabling me to go in safety. I was ordered not to set out until Mr. Mann’s return, in order that I night know of the state of London before I set out; the bad state of my own health prevented me setting out till a week after his return, as soon however as I was able I set out by the way of York, and my friend accommodated me with two or three accounts for every place where I should have occasion to stop. I visited Northallerton, Darlington, Stockton, and Sunderland, at these places no preparations whatever had been made. At Shields and Newcastle I was in company with all who had taken an active part in the cause of Reform, and they informed that there were no preparations whatever, except a very small number of the colliers, and I was assured by the most enlightened friends of Reform in those places that all the accounts about preparations which we had received from that part were false. They enquired of me respecting the state of Yorkshire, observing that they had received an account stating that the people of Yorkshire were all prepared, but as it came through an unknown channel they entirely disregarded it. At Berwick and Edinburgh no preparations existed, but it is of some importance to mention a curious circumstance which shows how great a secret was made of the affairs of the secret meetings in Leeds. Whilst I was in Edinburgh waiting for a conveyance to Glasgow, I met with a gentleman with whom I had become acquainted in Glasgow, and he produced an Edinburgh newspaper eight days old, from which he read the following paragraph: Brayshaw, the Radical Orator, is on his way on a political mission to this country.” Who sent this account to the Edinburgh paper I will not say, but the information must bave gone through the medium of some person who was present at the meeting from which I was sent, and who knew the time at which I was appointed to set out, as I had only been four days on the road; but if I had gone on the day appointed I should have arrived in Edinburgh the day after this paragraph was published. When I arrived at Glasgow, I immediately called upon those whom I considered to be enlightened and able advocates of Reform, and having received their information, I was better prepared for judging of the accounts of those who were hotter but who paid less attention to the means of accomplishing their end. I believe it is generally known that I spent a considerable time amongst the Reformers in the North in the autumn of 1819, during which time I advocated the principle of Reform openly, and supported myself and my companion principally by the sale of a small pamphlet, entitled an appeal to the people of England on the necessity of Parliametary Reform. At this time, I had an opportunity of judging of the different active characters which was of great importance to me during the mission of what I am now treating of. Being now on a dangerous expedition, I always endeavoured to see those whom I considered to be most enlightened first, after that I visited those who were hot, but possessing less prudence, were more likely to engage in proceedings in which they were not likely to succeed. Until I got to Glasgow all agreed that they had no adequate preparations, but when I got to Glasgow if I had not had very extensive acquaintance I might probably have been deceived. I was told by my enlightened friends that in that part of the country there certainly were some preparations and that since the arrest of a number of deputies about five days before my arrival the preparations had been carried on as rapidly as possible, but in consequence of the arrest of most of the smiths, the preparations were then nearly at a stand, and that it was not probable that they should be able to do any thing for a considerable length of time, unless the English were in a much better state than themselves. With this information, I called upon the more sanguine individuals who were then conducting the affairs; they assured me, that they were perfectly able to overturn the government of themselves, without any assistance. In order to obtain some degree of knowledge of their real state, I asked these men if they could conscientiously take upon themselves to say, that one half of those who called themselves Reformers, in the neighbourhood of Glasgow, were really prepared to take the field? To this, they replied, “No, they should think themselves famously off, if they had any thing near a quarter of them ready,” but added they, “What you are all ready to a man in England!” I assured them, that this was not the case. They told me that a meeting of delegates had taken place in Glasgow, five days before my arrival, and that the delegates were all arrested, and that they expected that I was arrested amongst them, as they had received a letter stating that I should be present. They told me, that, since the time of those delegates being arrested, they had sent a delegate to Leeds, to determine, how the job was to be done; I enquired concerning the delegate, but none of them knew him; but they said they were satisfied that he was a firm friend. I cautioned them against being led into an error, as I could clearly perceive that some one was trying to deceive them, by sending exaggerated and false accounts from England. I then went to my more rational friends, in order to arrange means for forwarding the information, necessary to the other towns in the west of Scotland, in order to prevent individuals being deceived by exaggerated accounts, as I was satistied that no dependence in this respect, could be placed on the hot brained beings who were then conducting the business. After I had done this, I went to attend to the business of my friends which occupied nearly two hours, purposing afterwards, to go and spend the evening with some of my friends at the house of one, where I was to stay all night, but as I was going along the street to his house, I was met by one of his companions, who informed me that the police were at that moment searching his house for me, and it was hastily concluded, that the safest way would be for me to spend the night at one of the large commercial hotels where I was not known, as it was a uniform custom for each guest to have a small room to himself, and the police would not think of seeking me there; this perfectly corresponded with my assumed character of a traveller, and was accordingly adopted. Early next morning, I was conducted to a house in the suburbs of the town, occupied by a friend who was not known to take much part in political atfairs, and from thence I was conducted on a private road, so as to meet with the mail a few miles from Glasgow. I was afterwards informed through the medium of a letter, that the police went to my friend’s house the following day, and when they could not find me, they arrested him. Two other individuals beside himself had undertaken to convey the necessary information to the different towns in that part of the country, but one of them was arrested on his return to Glasgow, from some places which laid north of that town, and the other was arrested at Paisley, just as he was going to set out for Strathaven, and some towns in Ayrshire. After leaving Glasgow, I came to no place of importance until I arrived at Carlisle; and I may say with truth, that this was the only place, where any preparations of importance existed. At that place the whole of the leading characters met me at the house of a friend, and the general opinion was, that they were enabled to contend effectually against any armed force then in the place, but they could not do it, if any were brought against them from other places. At Carlisle, as well as at other places, they had received exaggerated accounts of the preparations in other places: but after I had given them a true statement of the facts, as I had found them, they all agreed that it would be the height of imprudence to attempt doing any thing by force, until they were better prepared; at least they were all of this opinion, except one hot-headed individual, who talked of taking the garrison by means of six men, armed with small pistols. Having now visited all the places to which my commission extended, I took the earliest conveyance to Huddersfield, where I was ordered to call on my return. On the Sunday following, the Huddersfield delegate, the person from Glasgow, and I think another from Manchester, met me in Leeds; but none of the Leeds Reformers were present at the meeting. To these individuals, I gave a faithful account of the state of the country, as I had actually found it; and then I told them, that such being the case, I could not possibly become a party in encouraging any revolutionary proceedings, as I was satisfied that such a cause could only terminate in the destruction of those who were engaged in them. These persons told me, I might please myself, but they were sent to fix upon a day for a general rising, and they were determined to fix on one, and we immediately separated without further ceremony: During the course of the day, I met with two Leeds men, who had been at the meeting from which I was sent into the North, they were now in company with the delegates from whom I had parted in an earlier part of the day, in consequence of which, I again stated the situation of the country as I had actually found it, and pointed out the false reports that had been brought to Leeds, and I urged the folly of pretending to make a general rising, at a time when no means existed for accomplishing the object. This was the last interview I ever had with these pretended delegates, and with the exception of some opprobious language they made use of towards myself, the above contains what passed between us. As to the two Leeds persons, whom I left in company with them, I do not recollect seeing them again for several months afterwards. The meeting from which I was sent, appointed the Sunday after that on which I parted from these delegates, for a meeting of the committee of the Reformers of Leeds, and the delegates from the surrounding villages, in order that they might receive my account of the state of the country, and of what had been agreed to, in the meeting of delegates on the preceding Sunday. This meeting, contrary to all former practice, was held in the Union room , without any precaution to make it secret. Not more than eight or nine persons attended this meeting, and most of these were from small country villages. To this meeting, I gave an account of my mission; I told then the real situation of the country, and I informed them of what had passed between myself and the persons from Huddersfield and Glasgow . I then told them, that in my opinion, those individuals were unfit to be relied upon, in any respect, on account of having brought so many exaggerated and false accounts; and that in my opinion, they were still determined to endeavour to bring as many persons as possible into danger, by procuring a partial rising, though they knew it was impossible to do any good. I requested the persons who were present at the meeting, to do all in their power to prevent any thing of the kind taking place, as I felt myself so much exhausted and so unwelí, that I had no hopes of being able to do any thing more. I likewise gave them a scrap of paper containing the minutes of my travelling expences, which amounted to one pound more than the sum I had received; this, the individuals who were present, assured me, should be made up to me, but nothing of the kind has ever been done. Now, Mr. Wasse, the worthy treasurer of the Leeds committee, as you were too idle to attend at the meeting appointed for me to give my accounts, you call upon me for another account of the money I received. Well, I will give you an account, which if you have any sense of shame, will make you blush. You say I received nine pounds. Well, with this nine pounds, I travelled upwards of five hundred miles; a road, on the greatest part of which, no coach runs regularly, except the mail: the coach fare amounted to eight pounds fifteen shillings; the night I spent at the hotel in Glasgow, in order to avoid the police, cost five shillings. I was a week upon my journey, and the rest of my expences were borne out of my own pocket. Of all my political missions, either short or long, I have not like some others in Leeds, been making an advantage of them. On many occasions I have borne my own expences, and never up to the present time, have I received one shilling for the time I have spent. Will this satisfy Mr. Wasse? If it will not, I have a little more for him and his friends, the committee of the Great Northern Union. I can tell them the reason, why so few persons attended the meeting at which I gave an account of my mission. When the gents who then formed a committee of Reformers in Leeds, and who were greater part of them the same persons as I refused to meet a year afterwards, found that I was not to be made their dupe, nor drawn into their snare,they either sent notice or called upon the greatest part of the delegates who had attended at the meeting from which I was sent, to inform them, that the meeting was to be held at Huddersfield. These gentlemen having by these means procured a meeting, of which at that time I knew nothing, they represented me as having brought false accounts, as being unfit to be trusted, and as being an agent of the existing Government. It was the men who met at Huddersfield on that memorable day, who were the framers of the plot known by the name of the April Fool Plot, which produced the transportings of Yorkshire; the hangings, the beheadings, and the banishments, of Scotland. The account of the proceedings at Huddersfield, I received of a person who was present, and who very narrowly escaped the fate of some who were less fortunate than himself. I know the whole of that mischief might have been avoided, if the Leeds committee would have listened to a true account of the state of the country. If I never before stated any thing to justify myself, for refusing to have any private intercourse with the persons who formed that committee, these facts concerning the missions will form a full justification.
The men who formed the committee, which the one-sided meeting censured me for, having refused to meet privately, were greatest part of them, the same persons who had disregarded the information I collected on this mission, and actually endeavoured to discredit and suppress the information I had collected, in order that they might be able to bring other men into danger, which they took care to avoid themselves. The next time these gentry engage a set of black-guards and bigots, to drive away their opponents by force, in order that they may pass votes of censure in a one-sided meeting, against any person for having refused to meet them privately, I would advise them to recollect the manner in which they have acted towards the persons whom they undertake to censure. Mr. Mann, after having introduced me to all these secret plotting meetings, which took place in Leeds; and after having accepted a mission from one of these meetings, the express object of which was, to determine whether the country was ripe for Revolution: you have the barefaced impudence to write to Mr. Carlile, that you are a bar against any plots being got up in Leeds, though you know perfectly well, that you never used any means to prevent the plot of the first of April 1820; no not even so much as to intimate the slightest reason, why your friends did not attend the meeting at which I gave the account of my mission, though your well knew the business on which they were gone to Huddersfield – I tell you plainly, Sir, that when you went to London, the business upon which you were sent, was, to ascertain what preparations were in existence, for the purpose of accomplishing a revolution; but, according to your own account, you never attempted to obtain any information whatever, in any town except London, and even there you never called upon the person who was represented by your friends, as taking the leading part. I have no hesitation whatever in saying, that if you had fulfiled your mission faithfully, you might have had considerable influence in preventing the plot in London, and the foolish affair that took place on the first of April. Had not either you or some of your partisans, sent information to the police in Glasgow, that they might be ready to arrest me on my arrival in that town, I have no doubt, but I should have been able to prevent the whole of the disturbance in the west of Scotland, but the infernal artifices of yourself and partisans to ensnare me on that mission, caused the police in Glasgow, when they could not find me, to arrest my friends who had been intrusted with the necessary information; yet notwithstanding all the obstacles placed in my way by your artifices, with the exception of the unfortunate Wilson, there was not found an able advocate of Reform amongst the whole company engaged in that affair. Had you taken the proper means for gaining the necessary information on your own mission, and then have attended at the other meeting appointed for giving an account of our missions to the Reformers in the neighbourhood of Leeds, then if you had been an enemy to plots, you might have prevented those which took place in 1820, by corroborating my account of the state of the country, by a faithful account of the state of preparation in the towns to which you had been sent, we should then by our joint exertions, have been able to baffle all the schemes of the secret Junto who met the very same day at Huddersfield, to arrange the detestable plot of the first of April. The fact is, so far from being a bar against plots, you show yourself to have been a partizan of the arrangers of that plot, you find it your interest to keep on good terms with them, to continue to meet with them secretly, and to form a one sided meeting with them, to censure me for refusing to have any further private dealings with them. So far from being an enemy to plots, you attended the meetings for arranging plots, and devised the means of making them secret; but the meeting which ought to have prevented them, by making known the real state of the country, you never came near; you did not think any secresy necessary in holding that meeting in order to prevent the delegates being arrested, No, it was not held for your favourite purpose. The fact is, you are the very life and soul of private meetings, ready to support any thing whilst you are in the meetings, but always equally ready to condemn every thing as soon as you leave the place; yet by such conduct as this, you profess to be a bar against any plots being got up in Leeds!!