Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/336

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
248
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

Duel between the Duke of Wellington and Lord Winchelsea.Consistently and conscientiously as the great duke had opposed what he considered the revolutionary tendency of the Reform Bill, it must not be forgotten that it is to him that the Catholics owe the benefits of the Act of 1829, which relieved them of the disabilities under which they had so long suffered; and it must not be forgotten too, that in this measure he had not only to contend with his own repugnance to Catholic emancipation, but also with that of his chief colleagues,—of the great majority of the House of Lords, and of the king himself. With the latter indeed his task had been a very difficult one; and it was only a few days before the meeting of Parliament in the early part of 1829, that the consent of George the Fourth had been obtained. Among the most strenuous of the duke's opponents to the Catholic Relief Bill was the Earl of Winchelsea, who, in the unreasoning bitterness of his anger, shut his eyes to the injustice under which the Catholics had so long suffered, and most unwarrantably charged his grace with an intention "to introduce Popery into every department of the State." These words led to a hostile meeting in Battersea Fields on the 21st of March, 1829. Lord Winchelsea, after receiving the duke's fire, discharged his pistol in the air, and there the affair ended, his second delivering a written acknowledgment expressing his lordship's regret for having imputed disgraceful motives to the conduct of the duke, in his proCatholic exertions. Twelve months afterwards, on the 2nd of April, 1830, Richard William Lambrecht was indicted at Kingston assizes for the murder of Oliver Clayton, whom he had shot in a duel in Battersea Fields on the preceding 8th of January. Lambrecht had a narrow escape, for the judge in his summing up told the jury that if they were of opinion that the accused met Clayton "on the ground with the intention, if the difference could not be settled, of putting his life against Clayton's, and Mr. Clayton's against his," the prisoner was guilty of wilful murder; and the jury, finding on application to the learned judge that there were no circumstances in the case to reduce the crime to manslaughter, by way apparently of getting out of the difficulty, returned a verdict of not guilty. This incident suggested the sketch entitled A Hint to