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Chapter XXI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 7 page 5

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"Lo, we answer! See we come,
Quick at Freedom's holy call;
We come! we come! we come! we come!
To do the glorious work of all:
And hark! we raise from sea to sea
The sacred watchword, ' Liberty!'
"God is our Guide! From field, from wave,
From plough, from anvil, and from loom,
We come our country's rights to save,
And speak a tyrant faction's doom.
And hark! we raise from sea to sea
The sacred watchword, 'Liberty! '
"God is our Guide! No swords we draw -
We kindle not war's battle-fires;
By union, justice, reason, law,
We claim the birthright of our sires.
We raise the watchword, ' Liberty!'
We will, we will, we will be free."

Immediately after the singing of this hymn, Mr. Salt addressed the great assemblage thus: - "I call upon you to repeat, with bead uncovered, in the face of heaven, and the God of justice and mercy, the following words after me." In a moment every beed was uncovered, and every voice uttered slowly over that wide sea of human life swelling with holy resolution, the words of the following plight: - " With unbroken faith, through every peril and privation, we here devote ourselves and our children to our country's cause."

It was against this people, thus consecrating their energies on the altar of freedom and of country, that the military were commanded to rough-whet their swords, in order, as the working classes believed at the time, that in smiting the people, they might "inflict a ragged wound." According to the "Autobiography of a Working Man," this is how the Scots Greys were occupied while they were shut up in the barracks at Birmingham on the Sunday after the New Hall meeting. And during the whole time that the duke of Wellington was vainly endeavouring to form a ministry, the troops were kept ready booted and spurred, with the saddles on their horses, day and night. " The doubt and dread," says the " Working Man," "were not lessened by the nature of their work. Not since before the battle of Waterloo had the swords of the Greys undergone the same process. Old soldiers spoke of it, and told the young ones. Few words were spoken. We had made more noise, and probably looked less solemn, at prayers in the morning, than we did now grinding our swords. It was the Lord's day, and w e were working." Notwithstanding these precautions and formidable preparations at Birmingham, which was regarded as the chief seat of danger, it was reported and believed that the Scots Greys would not have acted against the people; so that the " cold iron " on which the enemies of popular rights relied for putting down the reformers might have failed them in the day of trial. Mr. Wellesley, member for Essex, stated that he was sorry his relative the duke of Wellington " had shown so much ignorance of the character of the British people, in supposing that they were unfit to be trusted with the liberties to which they were entitled. He had told him so often, and he was astonished that a man of such intelligent mind - a man who had led them on through blood and battle, through danger to victory - should have so mistaken the character of the British people, as to suppose that the red coat could change the character of the man, or to imagine that the soldier was not a citizen."

Fortunately the conqueror of Waterloo, whose name will be for ever associated with the glory of his country, was spared the misfortune of tarnishing his fame by turning his sword against his countrymen. But the matter of astonishment is, that he could ever have contemplated such, a thing, and that while he conceded fully the claims of the Roman catholics of Ireland, in order to avoid the alternative of civil war, he refused to concede the not less legitimate and reasonable claims of the unanimous people of England, though civil war was so imminent that the cavalry were ordered to whet their swords and saddle their horses. He offered, indeed, a small measure of reform, not the full measure that he had granted to Ireland; but Sir Robert Peel declined to follow him in this unwise experiment, though he also failed, in this great national emergency, rightly to read the signs of the times, abdicating for a time the position that he had taken, and which he afterwards happily resumed as the greatest and the safest leader in the march of social progress.

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