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THE

FLEET PAPERS;

BEING LETTERS TO THE RIGHT HON.

SIR J. GRAHAM, BART., M.P.,

HER MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT;

FROM

RICHARD OASTLER,

HIS VICTIM IN THE QUEEN'S PRISON.

WITH OCCASIONAL COMMUNICATIONS FROM FRIENDS.

VOL. III.

"_The Altar, the Throne, and the Cottage."

."_" Property has its duties, as well as its rights."
“ The Husbandman that laboureth, must be first partaker of the fruits."
" He shall judge the poor of the people, He shall save the children of the needy, and shall break

in pieces the Oppressor."

LONDON:
PUBLISHED BY W. J. CLEAVER, 80, BAKER STREET,

PORTMAN SQUARE;
AND JOHN PAVEY, 47, HOLYWELL STREET, STRAND.

1843.

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Being Letters to
THE RIGHT HON. SIR JAMES GRAHAM BART., M.P.,

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department ;

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“The Altar, the Throne, and the Cottage.”-“Property has its duties, as well as its rights."

• The Husbandman that laboureth, must be first partaker of the fruits.” “He shall judge the poor of the people, He shall save the children of the needy, and shall break

in pieces the Oppressor.”

VOL.III.-No, l.

LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1843.

PRICE 21.

The Queen's Prison. To The Right Hox. SIR JAMES GRAHAM, BART., M.P., HER MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT.

SIR,-I have few words for you at present. Let these suffice -the mind of England cannot fail to be intent on marking the course of those great public measures which are now occupying your attention, albeit some of them are being disclosed in prisons.

Now to my friends. Their kindness demands that the first fruits of this year shall be theirs. Read the following, and say, may I not laugh at every attempt to crush mc?

“ To MR, RICHARD OASTLER, TRE Queen's Prison.

“ Huddersfield, December 21, 1812. “My dear Sir,-Last evening I sent off by Pickford (railway) a nice little Christmas-box for you, which you will receive to-morrow (Thursday), and I hope it will come safe and sonnd. I had observed that many of your more wealthy friends send you presents of game, &c., to enable you to dine like a gentleman, I thought, that for once even a poor man like myself might enable you to dine like an Englishman on Christmas-day. I have, therefore, made a collection among your friends here, and succeeded better than I could bare hoped; and as, after paying the expenses, &c., there is 158. surplus, I have enclosed a post-office order for that amount, payable to Mrs. Oastler, as I know you can't get out' to receive it. Wishing you health and a good appetite to enjoy it,

" I remain yours, very faithfully,

“ W. HULKE. "P.S.—The contents of the parcel are—A rump of beef, a leg of mutton, and a dried tongue, from your old butcher; a citron-cake, for Mrs. O., from a lady at the top of the town; a bottle of red wine, from a lady in High Street; and half a pound of tobacco, from a friend in New Streer. The rest is procured from the cash contributed by a number of friends, consisting of Harer-cakes, a real home-fed Yorkshire ham, a plum-pudding, made by Mrs. Ilulke, who trusts it will meet your approbation, but thinks you should warm it again for your dinner; a bottle of real excellent sherry; a bottle of cordial, and another of gooseberries for a tart; half a pound of tea for Mrs. Oastler; and that, I believe, is all and little enough for our old King.' The carriage is paid, which the clerks at Pickford's tell me will include all expenses. The box itself will probably be useful. I hope you will get it soon after you receive this.

“ You will, therefore, look out for your meat offering your drink offering, and your burnt offering; and the enclosed will, I hope, be a free-will offering.-W.H."

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my

Such kindness demanded a grateful answer. See how I talk to my old friends :" To MR, W, HULKE AND OTHERS, HUDDERSFIELD.

“ The Queen's Prison, December 24, 1842. My long-proved friends,—I do wish (the pain of imprisonment excepted) that I could impart to all of you the feelings which, at this moment, have possession of mind.

“ Mark what cause of thankfulness I now have! Settled peace of mind-health of body-my dear wife sustained miraculously—my darling child among you, recovering from a painful and serious illness, and such crowds of friends as no 'King'save yours can boast.

“ Did not I tell you, that He in whom I trust would sustain me in this conflict against His foes ? He has been faithful to His promise—as my suffering, so has my support been. Have I not assured you, that while ravens have wings I shall be fed? Mark how plentifully He supplies my wants.

“ No sooner had the provisions—fowls, pork, cake, “parkin,' and bread—which, on the 7th inst., our dear and valued, good Parson Bull, brought to his imprisoned friend, as well as three hares and a pheasant, which your friend and mine, the noble and benevolent Lord Ashley, had previously sent me-no sooner, I say, had that stock been consumed, than a large hamper, containing a fine Yorkshire ham, a famous Christmas goose, a hare, and a pheasant, arrived from that true Yorkshireman, undaunted Briton, and unflinching friend of ours, W. B. Ferrand, Esq., M.P. That offering of sincere friendship was not half exhausted, when I received another hamper, containing the most excellent lurkey I ever partook of, with a pheasant and a brace of partridges, from-whom do you think ?—from a nobleman whose friendship is as true as steel, whose kindness to me has never been shaken--from one, whose faithfulness has often sustained me, when foes hare thickened, and more timorous souls have, for a moment, balted, fearing lest my singular course might end in mischiefthat hamper of provisions was from Lord Feversham.

“ The very next day, your brimful box of Yorkshire fare was safely deposited in my cell; and this day, a famous large fine turkey was sent to me, by as kind-hearted a gentleman as you will meet with in a long day's ride-a true and enthusiastic friend of the poor, though one who sometimes doubts if I take the best course to help them-I allude to John Perceval, Esq. His name is not strange to you-he was my friend before I left you.

“My receipts are so numerous, that I forget myself. Yesterday, a dear, kind friend (whose name I will not mention, because it might be in the power of an angry Secretary of State to injure him) brought me a rabbit and a famous mince-pie. I should be glad to tell you the name of that

entleman, and also his occupation-you would be pleased to know that such a person was my friend. Another time you shall know his name.

“ Next, to complete my Christmas cheer, a brother-prisoner presented me with a plato of most excellent Christmas pears.

“ Well, then, you may be sure that your old King' is well provided for--that this Christmas will not, to him, be cheerless.

* Believe me, I am thankful—thankful, first to God, and then to all my friends, His servants.

" Most heartily do I wish that every subject of our Queen might have such a cheerful Christmas as myself, (always lacking these prison walls,)—that all her cottagers might be cheered with peace and plenty. That wish is hopeless, while Philosophy usurps the place of Religion, and while Expediency banishes true Principle. Those curses of our day ehill and freeze the hearts of men— 1hey blast the rich gifts which Heaven provides for all.

“ How refreshing is the thought, that when I had power to address my countrymen, as you can bear me witness, I used it to oppose those enemies of God and man—if power is granted me once more to take the field, we will, as heretofore, neither give or take quarter.

• It was a perfect sight when your box was opened. It so happened, that two gentlemen were present-one, an editor to a London newspaper--the other had been employed on a journal in New York. So that the mind of man in both hemispheres simultaneously witnessed how bountifully, how Javishly, you had provided for your imprisoned King.' Excuse me, I would have given half the treasure, had Sir James Graham been present.

** The American gentleman would open the box. I do wish that you could have seen us all, as. first one token of your love and care,, and then another, was disencumbered of the coverings.

me.

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which they were, with so much care, surrounded. Both my friends expressed their delight. L dare not tell you all they said, but thus much I will-Backed by such friends, Mr. Oastler, you need not fear the power of all your foes,' was what one of them spoke. I felt his words were true. There was more in that box than met the ege-it was the evidence of the love of thousands—that seasoned every gift.

“ When all sour presents were piled upon the table, it was indeed a noble sight to place before a 'King.'

* Where to find room for them was indeed a puzzling question, those Grabam-blinds having robbed me of my little larder. But, never mind—Where there is a will there is a way.” My good wife and I contrived somehow. We soon had them all stowed beyond the reach of harm.

You would have laughed had you seen my cell thus furnished! I fastened a cord from window to window, and hung up the ‘Haver-cakes' so nicely!' Why, it made the place assume, in a twinkling, the comfortable appearance of a Yorkshire cottage! You do not know how that sight pleased

There some of them are now banging. Every time I see them, my thoughts are all pure Yorkshire.

" The large, fine Yorkshire ham was laid with that which Mr. Ferrand gave, in a box under the bed; the tongue was suspended on a nail against the door-casing. The Yorkshire beef and mutton (they were worthy of our county) we were obliged to thrust, with the turkey and pheasant which Lord Feversham had sent us, between the iron grates and the window-frames. It is a tight fit, I do assure you. With hard pressing and crushing we contrived to shut the window. The plumpudding, (what a large one, Hulke! and as good as it is great, Mrs. Hulke!) with the excellent citron-cake, were cupboarded. Our drawers furnished keeping places for the rest. Why do I tell you these things? Because I know that in Yorkshire, aye, and Lancashire as well, there are thousands who will rejoice to know that despite the cruel bindrances of the Home Secretary, the old King' contrived to find room for all that your love had given,

“ The quality of every article is of the best. Accept our best thanks for each and all of them.

“You favour me with do name, save Mrs. Hulke, who made the right good pudding. You will, Mr. Hulke, thank your dear wife for mine and myself. Thank also the kind ladies at the top of the town,' in High Street,' the 'friend in New Street,' and all the kind friends who belped to swell the fund which overflowed in the 15s. post-office order, which is duly and thankfully received.

" It may happen-if it be the Lord's will, it will bappen~that I shall one day thank you all in person. While absent, I will pray for you, to Him who knows every one of my anonymous benefactors.

From the bottom of our hearts, Mrs. Oastier and myself wish you all, 'A merry Christmas and a happy new year.'

“ But such a gift, from such friends, at such a time, under such circumstances, demands a few more observations. At the risk of being wearisome, I will pen them.

" It is right cheering to be kindly remembered (it is peculiarly so when a man is in prison) by any one; but your affectionate remembrances, in themselves valuable, convey to my mind a solace above price.

"For nearly twenty years I was resident in the midst of you—my goings out and comings in were known to you--my priaciples could not be misunderstood-in so long a period, my motives could not escape your penetration. Aye, my friends, there it is that I find the rrue value of your gifts. Four years of what is commonly called adversity, two years of imprisonment, the defamation of the Whig press, the libellous invectives of Melbourne and his ministerial colleagues, even in the Houses of Lords and Commons—all those things, so likely to shake the friendship of most men, could not move you. You know me, and you know that I have striven to do what good I could, though sometimes, perhaps, many of you may have wished that I had adopted a better, a wiser plan. Let such be thankful, as I am, that I have been sent to prison. It is here that I am learning wisdom. May be, if I should be privileged to take the field again, my path will be less intricate my course, God being my helper, shall be as straightforward and uncompromising—as fervent, aye, and as disinterested and enthusiastic as before, I would strive only 10 temper the zeal of yonib and inexperience with the wisdom and sobriety which years have given me in prison.- must

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