William Godwin's Diary


On 5 April 1810 Sir Francis Burdett (1770–1844) was found guilty of a breach of privilege by the House of Commons for having forcefully condemned the exclusion of journalists from the debates over the Walcheren expedition of 1809 in a letter to the Westminister electors that was published in Cobbett'sPolitical Register. A motion for the commitment of Burdett to the Tower was made. An amendment proposing that he be reprimanded was defeated by 152 to 190 votes and the motion for commitment was carried without division. Burdett challenged the speaker’s warrant and barricaded himself in his London home, where crowds gathered in his support. Godwin joined these demonstrations over the weekend of 7-8 April: the references to Piccadilly on these two days are to the location of Burdett's house. Burdett was eventually seized by troops and incarcerated in the tower until the end of the parliamentary session in June.

See The Times, 6 April 1810 and DNB.