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If they will not; if they will still skulk, they will merit all the miseries which they are destined to suffer.
Instead of coming forward to apply for a reduction of those taxes which are pressing them as well as you to the earth, what are they doing? Why, they are applying to the Government to add to their re. ceipts by passing Corn Bills, by preventing foreign wool from being imported; and many other such silly schemes. Instead of asking for a reduction of taxes, they are asking for the means of paying taxes ! Instead of asking for the abolition of sinecure places and pensions, they pray to be enabled continue to pay the amount of those places and pensions ! They know very well, that the salaries of the judges and of many other persons were greatly raised, some years ago, on the ground of the rise in the price of labour and provisions, why then do they not ask to have those salaries reduced, now that labour is reduced? Why do they not apply to the case of the judges and others, the arguments which they apply to you? They can talk boldly enough to you; but, they are too great cowards to talk to the Government, even in the way of petition! Far more honourable is it to be a ragged pauper than to be numbered among such men.
These people call themselves the respectable part of the nation. They are, as they pretend, the virtuous part of the people, because they are quiet; as if virtue consisted in immobility! There is a canting Scotchman, in London, who publishes a paper called the “Champion," who is everlastingly harping upon the virtues of the “ fire-side," and who inculcates the duty of quiet submission. Miglit we ask this Champion of the tea-pot and milk-jug, whether Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights were won by the fire-side? Whether the tyrants of the House of Stuart and of Bourbon were hurled down by fire-side virtues ? Whether the Americans gained their independence, and have preserved their freedom, by quietly sitting by the fire-side ? O, no! these were all achieved by action, and amidst bustle and noise. Quiet, indeed! Why, in this quality, a log, or a stone, far surpasses even the pupils of this “Champion ” of quietness; and the chairs round his fire-side exceed those who sit in them. But, in order to put these quiet, fire-side, respectable people to the test, let us ask them, if they approve of drunkenness, breaches of the peace, black eyes, bloody noses, fraud, bribery, corruption, perjury, and subornation of perjury; and, if they say NO, let us ask them whether these are not going on all over the country at every general election. If they answer YES, as they must, unless they be guilty of wilful falsehood, will they then be so good as to tell us how they reconcile their inactivity with sentiments of virtue? Some men, in all former ages, have been held in esteem for their wisdom, their genius, their skill, their valour, their devotion to country, &c., but, never, until this age, was quėztness deemed a quality to be extolled. It would be no difficult matter to show, that the quiet, fire-side, gentry are the most callous and cruel, and, therefore, the most wicked part of the nation. Amongst them it is that you find all the peculators, all the blood-suckers of various degrees, all the borough voters and their offspring, all the selfish and unfeeling wretches, who, rather than risk the disturbing of their ease for one single month, rather than go a mile to hold up their hand at a public meeting, would see half the people perish with hunger and cold." The humanity, which is continually on their lips, is all fiction. They weep over the tale of woe in a novel ; but, round
their “ decent fire-side,” never was compassion felt for a real sufferer, or indignation at the acts of a powerful tyrant.
The object of the efforts of such writers is clearly enough seen. Keep all quiet! Do not rouse! Keep still! Keep down! Let those who perish, perish in silence! It will, however, be out of the power of these quacks, with all their laudanum, to allay the blood which is now boiling in the veins of the people of this kingdom ; who, if they are doomed to perish, are, at any rate, resolved not to perish in silence.-The writer, whom I have mentioned above, says, that he, of course, does not count “the lower classes, who, under the pressure of need, or under the “ influence of ignorant prejudice, may blindly and weakly rush upon “ certain and prompt punishment ; but that the security of every decent “fire-side, every respectable father's best hopes for his children, still “connect themselves with the Government.” And by Government he clearly means, all the mass as it now stands. There is nobody so callous and so insolent as your sentimental quacks and their patients. How these “decent fire-side" people would stare, if, some morning, they were to come down and find them occupied by uninvited visitors ! I hope they never will. I hope that things will never come to this pass : but if one thing, more than any other, tends to produce so sad an effect, it is the cool insolence with which such men as this writer treat the most numerous and most suffering classes of the people. .
Long as this Address already is, I cannot conclude without some ob. servations on the “ Charity Subscriptions” at the London Tavern. The object of this subscription professes to be to afford relief to the distressed labourers, &c. About forty thousand pounds have been subscribed, and there is no probability of its going much further. There is an absurdity upon the face of the scheme ; for, as all parishes are compelled by law to afford relief to every person in distress, it is very clear, that, as far as money is given by these people to relieve the poor, there will be so much saved in the parish rates. But, the folly of the thing is not what I wish you most to attend to. Several of the subscribers to this fund receive each of them more than ten thousand pounds, and some more than thirty thousand pounds each, out of those taxes which you help to pay, and which emoluments not a man of them proposes to give up. The clergy appear very forward in this subscription. An Archbishop and a Bishop assisted at the forming of the scheme. Now, then, observe, that there has been given out of the taxes, for several years past, a hundred thousand pounds a year, for what, think you ? Why, for the relief of the poor clergy! I have no account at hand later than that delivered last year, and there I find this sum !- for the poor clergy! The rich clergy do not pay this sum ; but, it comes out of those taxes, part, and a large part, of which you pay on your beer, malt, salt, shoes, &c. I dare say, that the “decent fire-sides” of these “ poor clergy" still connect themselves with the Government. Amongst all our misery we have had to support the intolerable disgrace of being an object of the charity of a Bourbon Prince, while we are paying for supporting that family upon the throne of France. Well! But, is this all ? We are taxed, at the very same moment, for the support of the French Emigrants! And you shall now see to what amount. Nay, not only French, but Durch and others, as appears from the fore-mentioned account, laid before Parliament last year. The sum, paid out of the taxes, in one year for the RELIEF of Suffering French Clergy and
Laity, St. Domingo Sufferers, Dutch Emigrants, Corsican Emigrants, was, 187,7501.; yes, one hundred and eighty-seven thousand, seven hundred and fifty pounds, paid to this set in one year out of those taxes, of which you pay so large a share, while you are insulted with a subscription to relieve you, and while there are projectors who have the audacity to recommend schemes for preventing you from marrying while young, and to induce you to emigrate from your country! I'll venture my life, that the “ decent fire-sides” of all this swarm of French clergy and laity, and Dutch, and Corsicans, and St. Domingo sufferers, “ still connect themselves closely with the Government;” and, I will also venture my life, that you do not stand in need of one more word to warm every drop of blood remaining in your bodies! As to the money subscribed by Regiments of Soldiers, whose pay arises from taxes, in part paid by you, though it is a most shocking spectacle to behold, I do not think so much of it. The soldiers are your fathers, brothers, and sons. But if they were all to give their whole pay, and if they amount to one hundred and fifty thousand men, it would not amount to one-half of what is now paid in Poor-rates, and of course would not add half a pound of bread to every pound, which the unhappy paupers now receive. All the erpenses of the Army and Ordnance amount to an enormous sum- to sixteen or eighteen millions; but the pay of 150,000 men, at one shilling a-day each, amounts to no more than two millions, seven hundred and twelve thousand, and five hundred pounds. So that, supposing them all to receive one shilling a-day each, the soldiers receive only about a third part of the sum now paid annually in Poor-rates.
I have no room, por have I any desire, to appeal to your passions upon this occasion. I have laid before you, with all the clearness I am master of, the causes of our misery, the measures which have led to those causes, and I have pointed out what appears to me to be the only remedynamely, a reform of the Commons', or People's House of Parliament. I exhort you to proceed in a peaceable and lawful manner, but at the same time, to proceed with zeal and resolution in the attainment of this object. If the skulkers will not join you, if the “decent fire-side” gentry still keep aloof, proceed by yourselves. Any man can draw up a petition, and any man can carry it up to London, with instructions to deliver it into trusty hands, to be presented whenever the House sball meet. Some further information will be given as to this matter in a future Number, In the meanwhile,
I remain your Friend,
TO THE LUD DITES.
(Political Register, November, 1816.)
FRIENDS AND FELLOW COUNTRYMEN :
At this time, when the cause of freedom is making a progress which is as cheering to the hearts of her friends as it is appalling to those of her enemies, and, when it is become evident that nothing can possibly prevent that progress from terminating in the happiness of our country, which has, for so many years, been a scene of human misery and degradation; when it is become evident that so glorious a termination of our struggles can be now prevented only by our giving way to our passions instead of listening to the voice of reason, only by our committing those acts which admit of no justification either in law or in equity; at such a time, can it be otherwise than painful to reflect, that acts of this description are committed in any part of the kingdom, and particularly in the enlightened, the patriotic, the brave town of Nottingham ?
The abuse which has been heaped upon you by those base writers whose object it is to inflame one part of the people against the other; the horrid stories which have been retailed about your injustice and cruelty; the murderous punishments which these writers express their wish to see inflicted on you; the delight which they evidently feel when any of you come to an untimely end; all these produce no feeling in my mind other than that of abhorrence of your calumniators. The atrocious wickedness of charging you with the burning of Belvoir Castle, in support of which charge there has not been produced the slightest proof, in spite of all the endeavours to do it and all the anxiety to fix such a crime upon you ; this alone ought to satisfy the nation, that it can rely upon nothing which a corrupt press has related relative to your conduct. But still it is undeniable, that you have committed acts of violence on the property of your neighbours, and have, in some instances, put themselves and their families in bodily fear. This is not to be denied, and it is deeply to be lamented.
However enlarged our views may be; however impartial we may feel towards our countrymen ; still, there will be some particular part of them whose conduct we view with more than ordinary approbation, and for whom we feel more than ordinary good will. It is impossible for me, as a native of these Islands, not to feel proud at beholding the attitude which my countrymen are now taking; at hearing the cause of freedom so ably maintained by men who seem to have sprung up, all at once, out of the earth, from the North of Scotland to the banks of the Thames.
At Glasgow, at Paisley, at Bridgeton, throughout the noble counties of York and Lancaster, and in many other parts besides the Metropolis, we now behold that which to behold almost compensates us for a life of persecution and misery. But, still, amidst this crowd of objects of admiration, Nottingham always attracts my particular attention. I have before me the history of the conduct of Nottingham in the worst of times. I have traced its conduct down to the present hour. It has been foremost in all that is public-spirited and brave; and, I shall be very nearly returned to the earth when my blood ceases to stir more quickly than usual at the bare sound of the name of Nottingham.
Judge you, then, my good friends, what pain it must have given me to hear you accused of acts, which I was not only unable to justify, but which, in conscience and in honour, I was bound to condemn! I am not one of those, who have the insolence to presume, that men are ignorant because they are poor. If I myself have more knowledge and talent than appears to have fallen to the lot of those who have brought us into our present miserable state, it ought to convince me, that there are thousands and thousands, now unknown to the public, possessed of greater talent, my education having been that of the common soldier grafted upon the ploughboy. Therefore, I beg you not to suppose, that I address myself to you as one who pretends to any superiority in point of rank, or of natural endowments. I address you as a friend who feels most sincerely for your sufferings ; who is convinced that you are in error as to the cause of those sufferings ; who wishes to remove that error ; and, I do not recollect any occasion of my whole life when I have had so ardent a desire to produce conviction.
As to the particular ground of quarrel between you and your employers, I do not pretend to understand it very clearly. "There must have been faults or follies on their side, at some time or other, and there may be still; but, I think, that we shall see, in the sequel, that those circumstances which appear to you to have arisen from their avarice, have, in fact, arisen from their want of the means, more than from their want of inclination, to afford you a competence in exchange for your labour ; and, I think this, because it is their interest that you should be happy and contented.
But, as to the use of machinery in general, I am quite sure, that there cannot be any solid objection. However, as this is a question of very great importance, let us reason it together. Hear me with patience; and, if you still differ with me in opinion, ascribe my opinion to error, for it is quite impossible for me to have any interest in differing with you. But, before we proceed any further, it may not be amiss to observe, that the writers on the side of corruption are very anxious to inculcate notions hostile to machinery, as well as notions hostile to bakers and butchers. This fact alone ought to put you on your guard. These men first endeavour to set the labouring class on upon their employers ; and then they call aloud for troops to mow them down.
By machines mankind are able to do that which their own bodily powers would never effect to the same extent. Machines are the produce of the mind of man; and, their existence distinguishes the civilized man from the savage. The savage has no machines, or, at least, nothing that we call machines. But, his life is a very miserable life. He is ignorant; his mind has no powers; and, therefore, he is feeble and contemptible. To show that machines are not naturally and necessarily an