MR. THROCKMORTON, THE NEW MEMBER FOR BERKS.
THERE are peculiarities in the position of this young gentleman, not undeserving of a slight notice. We have alluded elsewhere to the circumstance of his professing the ancient faith of the Church. lie is the first English Catholic that can be said to have been re- turned to Parliament by the voice of Protestant England. The Earl of SURREY (with what noble recollections is that title asso- ciated!) has sat for two -sessions of two Parliaments ' - but he was in both instances returned tor a nominee borough. Mr. SHELL, whose great abilities will, :wader the Reform Bill, insure bins a popular seat; has hitherto sat for a nominee borough also. We do not at this moment recollect whether out of Ireland any other Catholic members have sat in the House ; certainly none have been i eturned for large towns, and none, previous to Mr. THROCK- MORTON, have even ventured to appear as candidates for a county. It has been our lot—and there is no portion of it that we are dis- posed to look back on with more complacency—during our short career, to be called on to plead the sacred cause of religious liberty, as we are at this moment called on to plead the no less sacred cause of civil liberty. We well recollect how faint were the hopes enter- tained by us, and by many more sanguine than we, when we threw out, in the form of a feeler merely, our first recommendation of the claims of our Catholic brethren to the immediate consideration of the Legislature. This was on the 24th of January 1829 ; and on the 13th of the following April, we heard in the House of Lords the words of consummation, " Le Roi le vent," given to a measure, the greatest, wisest, and best that ever the Parliament of England passed or its Monarch ratified. Such and so extraordinary was the change which took place in the outward signs, if not in the inward workings, of the minds of our rulers, in the brief space of three little months. The complete fulfilment of the wishes of Parliament—the removal of those feelings of distrust and aver- sion which the folly of man is so powerful to create, but which his repentance is so feeble to destroy—is not yet come ; but it is on the way, and the election of Mr. THROCKMORTON we hail as the harbinger of-its speedy arrival.
That young gentleman has another claim to our sympathies, of more ancient standing than our Spectatorial existence—a claim. which he derives from his excellent relation Sir JOHN THROCK- MORTON. It is one which we doubt not will be felt and acknow- ledged by thousands as well as by ourselves. Sir JOHN'S name is indeed to us a sort of household word. Who has not read that most delightful of all books, HAYLEY'S Life of COWPER? And who has been content with a single perusal of the sweet and simple effusions of the master-spirit that breathes in the epistles that give to the work its chiefest charm ? For ourselves, we should hardly gain credit with some of our readers, were we to tell how often we have thumbed its pages. There is not an in- cident in the life of the delightful poet, of whose strangely- coloured mind it presents a faithful picture, that is not fami- liar to us ; and such is the liveliness and earnestness of his descriptions, that there is not one of his friends that does not wear to our fancy the aspect of an old and honoured acquaint- ance. Among these, the THROCKMORTONS hold a conspicuous place. How pleasantly are they introduced to our notice! "You may possibly remember," says the poet to Lady HESKETH, "that at a place called Weston, a little more than a mile from Olney, there lives a family whose name is Throckmorton. The present possessor is a young man whom I remember a boy. He has a wife, who is young, genteel, and handsome. They are Papists, but much more amiable than many Protestants." The poet's first personal introduction to Sir JOHN, then Mr. THROCKMORTON, was on the important occasion of an attempt to fill a balloon. The public mind had been strongly directed to these toys by the ex- ploits of the French aeronauts. The balloon would not mount. The decomposition of water, by means of vitriol and iron-filings, requires more nicety of manipulation than a country gentleman can be supposed to possess. In those rude days,
" Coal-gas was not, nor pipe with ready aid To freight the buoyant bag and bid it sail O'er trees and chimney-tops, up to the moon, With man and basket dangling at its tail."
" A day or two afterwards," continues COWPER, " Mrs. Unwin and I walked that way, and were overtaken in a shower. I found a tree, that I thought would shelter us both, a large elm, in a grove that fronts the mansion. Mrs. T. observed us, and running towards us in the rain, insisted on our walking in. He was gone out. We sat chatting wills her till the weather cleared up ; and then, at her instance, took a walk with her in the garden. The garden is almost their only walk, and is certainly their only retreat in which they are not liable to interruption. She offered us a key of it, in a manner that made it impossible not to accept it, and said she would send us one. I should like exceedingly," he adds, "to be on an easy footing there, to give a morning call now and then, and to receive one." His wish was soon gratified ; they met at dinner. It is delightful to find recorded, by COWPER, five-and- forty years ago, an instance of that liberality of sentiment which on Wednesday called forth the warm eulogy of Sir FRANCIS BURDETT. " I happened to observe," says COWPER, "that in all professions and trades mankind affected an air of mystery. Physicians, I ob- served, in particular, were objects of that remark, who persist in prescribing in Latin—many times, no doubt, to the hazard of a patient's life, through the ignorance of an apothecary. Mr. THROCKMORTON assented to what I said ; and turning to his chap- lain, to my infinite surprise, observed to him—` that is just as ab- surd as ourpraying in Latin !' I could have hugged him for his liberality and freedom from bigotry." The acquaintance so aus- piciously begun, ripened into a warm friendship, which lasted to the poet's death. It was one of the most fatal proofs of the over-: whelming nature of his mental malady, that he was incapable of being roused even by the sight of Sir JOHN THROCKMORTON, who came to visit him a short time before he died, while he was so- journing at Derehani. To Lady Frog, as COWPER sportively-called her, some of the poet's liveliest epistles are addressed; and she was the subject of more than one of his rhyming effusions. We little thought, when we first became acquainted by fame with that lady and her excellent husband, that any event should lead us to dwell in this way on their amiable characters ; much less that such a heart-stirring occasion should present itself, as that bright scene in the glorious drama whose happy winding up may now be con- fidently anticipated—the nomination of good Sir JOHN THROCK- MORTON'S nephew for the wealthy county of Berks.