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provided some checks to false imprisonment, and more clearly defined the remedy ; but, in all times, since England has been England, the law of the land was, that no man could be imprisoned, except by due course of law, and due course of law included all the circumstances of informa. tions, warrants by ordinary magistrates, previous examinations, confronting with accusers, commitments stating the precise crime, and a delivery or trial at the next Sessions or Assizes. This was the due course of law in England long before the Norman Conquest, and it always continued to be due course of law. The Act of Habeas Corpus only defined more precisely the remedy in case of violations, or neglect of observance of this due course of law.
Therefore, the Absolute-Power-of-Imprisonment Act does not call itself an Act to Suspend the Act of Habeas Corpus, which would have left the law as it stood before that Act was passed. Those who have made the Revolution knew what they intended too well to give their Act that title or that effect. They call it an Act to empower his Majesty to imprison any person that he may suspect to be guilty of treason, or treasonable practices.” We all know, that his Majesty has nothing to do with the matter; and, the provisions of the Act very explicitly state that this dreadful power is lodged in other hands.
It is clear, then, that (without going into the Acts against the liberty of speech and of the press) by this one Act, all the fundamental laws of the land are effectually put an end to, seeing that it places every one's person at the absolute disposal of the Ministers, and, if the very body of a man be not safe, what absurdity is it to talk about property! That man, who has no safety for his person cannot be said to possess any thing. We are told by the hirelings of the press, that it is only the "disaffected" that this Revolution need to make uneasy. That is to say, only those whom the Ministers and Boroughmongers may dislike. But, what more is asked for by the Dey of Algiers, or by any Bourbon that ever existed ? They do not want to kill or imprison all their people. That would not suit their purpose. They do not destroy even those whom they know to hate them, provided they be still and give them no annoyance. But, the moment any one, who possesses the means, discovers the inclination to oppose or thwart them, that moment they begin to suspect him, and then they proceed to punish. They want to do nothing more. This is all that arbitrary government has ever wanted to do; and this is what the Minislers in England are now empowered to do by Act of Parliament! That they will not exercise this power against the " well-affected ;” that is to say, against their own partisans, is sure enough; nor will they exercise it against sham opponents like the Morning Chronicle, nor against impo. tent opponents like the Independent Whig. But, it is not less sure, that they will exercise it against every man, who possesses the means, and the will at the same time, of opposing their unjust, and exposing their foolish measures.
Why were there laws to protect men's persons and property ? Why was there a trial by jury for every alleged offence? The reason was, that no man should be in danger from the power of those who exercised the great functions of administering law and justice. These laws were not intended to protect those whom the Government had no dislike to, but those whom it might dislike. These laws were not intended to protect those who stood in need of no protection, but those who did stand in need of it. These laws were intended to prevent men in authority, or powerful men of any description, from hurting those whom they might regard as “ disaffected ” towards them; and, yet, forsooth, we are to think nothing of the abrogation of all these laws, because they put in jeopardy “only the disaffected !"
The Dey of Algiers proceeds against his " disaffected” by chopping off their heads, and our Ministers proceed against their “disaffected by shutting them up in prison during their pleasure, in any jail in the kingdom, and deprived of light, warmth, and all communication with relations and friends, if they please. That is all the ditference, and, of the two, the Dey's power is, according to Blackstone, the less hateful and dangerous. There is this further difference indeed: that the Dey's power extends to every person in his dominions, whereas the Boroughmongers, in giving the Ministers this dreadful power over the rest of the nation, not excepting the females of the Royal Family, have made an express clause to except their precious selves! At least, no Member of either House can be shut up without a notification to the House, and, of course, without a hearing of some sort or other.
You will want nothing to convince you, then, that a real and total Revolution has taken place in England ; and, it is a duty which we owe to mankind, to our country, to ourselves and our children to trace, if we possess the means, this great event to its true causes. This is what I shall now do in the best manner that my abilities will enable me. I intend, after a short view of the previous period, to give a minute account of the transactions of the Lust Hundred Days of English Freedom, in which transactions I was so principal an actor, and of every thing belonging to which I was so well acquainted. And, I address myself to you, my friends, upon this occasion, because you are amongst the men, for whom I have the greatest personal regard, for whose public spirit and understandings I have the greatest respect, and because you were my associates in the proposing and carrying of that memorable Petition, which the honest people of our country approved of and signed upon Portsdown-bill, which Petition contains a fair and modest statement of the chief of the nation's grievances and desires, by which Petition I am sure you will stand to the last moment of your lives.
You, who live constantly in the country, and who are necessarily engaged in your own private affairs the far greater part of your time, had no knowledge of many things, which took place in London, during the interesting period of which I mean to treat, and the detail of which, as it is necessary to you, and, in some instances, will fill you with astonishment, is, of course, much more necessary to be communicated to the people of England at large.
But, before I proceed to the performance of this duty towards my country, it is necessary that I say something of what I am doing in order to take care of myself and family, which will not only be extremely interesting to you, but, I flatter myself, will be not uninteresting to many, many thousands of my countrymen, to many of whom (wholly unknown to me personally, I have to return my unspeakable thanks for their attention and their offers of service, solid substantial service, to my wife, who was left behind me in circumstances so very trying. Indeed, the wife and children of a man, chiefly for the purpose of stifling whose writings (loyal and legal as every line of them was) a Revolution has been made in the government of a great nation, may reasonably be deemed objects of interest and of care with men, who know how to estimate talent and
zeal, who love truth, justice, and fair play, and who mourn over the disgrace of their country, exhibited in the at once mean and outrageous acts of its Government in opposition to the talents of one single man, unassisted and unsupported by any thing on earth but the resources of his own mind, and those, too, unassisted by any trick, any craft, any finesse, any disguise of any sort, or by the employment of any blandishments or Aatteries towards any human being.
For the future, my kind and good friends, my mode of reasoning, my intentions, and my prospects, are these. I will be as frank with you and with the world as I would be with my own bosom.
It is impossible that England can remain long in its present state. That is altogether impossible. More must be done, or that which is done must be undone ; and, if the latter take place, and I am alive, I shall return. If the former take place : if a direct censorship of the press be adopted, which it must be very soon, and if it become evident, that this sort of Bourbon government is to remain as long as force will upbold it, I shall, of course, not go to live under that government, knowing very well that the warrants of Lords Sidmouth and Castlereagh are much more to be dreaded even than the thunderbolts that struck the ship, in which I sailed beyond the reach of those warrants.
In the meanwhile, that is to say, while I wait to see the events which will arise out of the Bourbon measures and out of the workings of our good old friend, the National Debt, I must eat and drink, say you. Very true, and, though a little serves me and all belonging to me, i have not the least doubt that we shall be able to get a plenty of both from the earth, which is never niggardly towards those, who will apply to her with earnestness and with care. To the earth, therefore, the untaxed earth, I will apply. It would be affectation to pretend, that I have not the means of living here by my pen ; but it is my intention to be a downright farmer, and to depend solely upon what I can get in that way. I begin by counting upon nothing but what I can raise from the ground. If any thing else does come my children will be so much the richer, though they may not, perhaps, be so much the happier. I shall, I trust, set an example to my children, that, though suddenly bereft of fortune, no one need despair, who has freedom, industry and health.
Whatever I send to be published in England I shall publish here in some shape or another, and, as you will see, though I have been so ill. treated by those who govern England, I shall never turn my back upon my country or my countrymen. There are persons here, who will think well of no Englishman, who will not only distinctly and explicitly disclaim all allegiance to the King, but all regard for his country. I will do neither. I owe allegiance to the King as much as any American owes allegiance to the laws of his country. I cannot, if I would, according to the laws of England, get rid of it. And, as to my country and my countrymen, my attachment to them can never be equalled by my attachmeni io any other country or people. I owe a temporary allegiance to this country, and am bound to obey its excellent laws and Government. I am even bound to assist in repelling my own countrymen, and to consider them as enemies, if they attack this country. All this I owe in return for the protection I receive. I owe, besides, great gratitude to this sensible and brave people and to their wise, gentle, and just Government for having preserved from the fangs of despotism this one spot of the globe. I owe to them my freedom at this moment. I owe to them that I am not shut up in a dungeon instead of being seated in safety and writing to you. These are great claims upon my gratitude, and my feelings towards the Government and the People are fully commensurate with those claims; but, as to the changing of allegiance, or the denying of my country, it is what I shall never do. England, though now bowed down by Boroughmongers, is my country; her people are public-spirited, warm-hearted, sincere and brave; common dangers, exertions in common, long intercourse of sentiment, and the thousands upon thousands of marks of friendship that I have received, all these have endeared the people of my own country to me in a peculiar manner. I will die an Englishman in exile, or an Englishman in England free.
I was well aware of the violent hostility, in some persons, to the very name of England, before I left my country; and I resolved, accordingly, not to place myself in the way of disappointing any one who might expect me to become her assailant. It was this reason which induced me to leave the City of New York in twenty-four hours after landing in it. I came over to this island the next day after my landing, and here, I dare say, I shall remain as long as the National Debt and the Bourbon System will exist, unless I make a tour into New England, where I never have been, and which country ! have a great desire to see.
Here, then, we are with mutton not so fine as that of Hambledon, and lamb, less early and fine than that of Chilling; but, we have many good things which you have not; and, what is better than all the good things put together, we have not only no Secretary of State's Warrants, but of all the good things every man, woman and child has an abundance. The salt, the very salt, which our neighbour Chiddel sells you for 20 English shillings a bushel, is brought here and sold to us for three English shillings a bushel. But, then, we here have not the honour to see any such man as our neighbour GARNIER, whose grandfather was an honest coachman to George the First, and who, for a long life, has had a sinecure of twelve thousand pounds sterling a year, paid him out of those taxes, which make neighbour Chiddel's salt so dear in England, and which tax being taken off when the salt is exported, makes us buy it so cheap.* Is there never to be an end to these things ? Are they to be endured for ever? Mrs. Hinxmax-might here lend her pony to a friend for a week without her husband being surcharged and made, on that account, to pay the horse-tax for a year. Here your wives might, as good farmer's wives did in England in former times, and as they do here now, turn their fat into candles, and their ashes and grease into soap, without your being either fined or imprisoned for the deed. Here
poor CHALCROFT of Cager's Green would have no need to pull down, in consequence of an exciseman's threat, the hop.poles that the hops were climbing up out of his garden hedge. Here you might, without any risk of loss of estate or of ears, turn your own barley into malt, and your honey into metheglin. Here you might travel from Jericho to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to Babylon (for all these places are in this Island) and never meet, not only not a beggar, but scarcely a person walking on foot, as almost every body rides in some way or other. And here my son Wil.
* In my letter to Lord Sidmouth, I stated the price at 4s. 6d. a bushel; bat now find, that we give only 33. sterling.
liam's pretty little miniature mare, which has taught my children to ride, wouid not have cost me one hundred pounds sterling in tax, as she has done in England, when the original cost of herself was only four pounds, saddle and all.
But, though I say, and I mean, to place my sole dependence for a living, upon the fidelity of the earth, I beg you not to suppose, that I mean to cease, for one moment, in my efforts to aid in the restoration of the freedom of my country.
That shall be the constant object of my life. That nothing shall prevent me from pursuing, and by all the means, of all sorts, that my mind can invent, or that it can avail itself of. If the Bourbon system be rendered so complete as to make it impossible for any one to publish my writings in England, you may depend on their being always published here. They will find their way to England somehow or other; and, thoagh the circulation will not be so wide, it will be something. And, all this while, how will the Bo. roughmongers stand? They have stripped me of a large fortune; but for how long can they do it? As long as they can uphold the Bourbon system, and not one moment longer.
The sons and daughters of Corruption harp a good deal upon the circumstance of my having taken away a few hundred pounds in ready money, when I said, in my notification from Liverpool, that I carried away nothing but my wife and my children. What! did they imagine that I counted it any thing to carry with me money enough to pay my passage and to furnish me with food and lodging for a few months ? imagine it to be any thing to have the means of putting myself on shore, when I left behind me a farm covered with stock of all sorts; a house full of furnilure ; an estate which, with its improvements, had cost me forty thousand pounds and which was mortgaged for less than seventeen thousand; copyrights which were worth an immense sum, and a current income from my writings of more than ten thousand pounds; under these circumstances was it too much to have a few hundred pounds in my own pocket, and to leave sufficient at the command of my wife for the purpose of bringing her and her children over to me? Did the sons and the daughters of Corruption grudge us this? Did they really expect that, in abandoning a fortune larger than has ever been possessed by Lord Sidmouth or any of his family; did they imagine that in making this enormous sacrifice, or, rather, in being driven from these the fair fruits of my industry and talents, I was going, not only to lead the life of a mendicant, but, which was of much greater importance, to deprive myself of the means of having a place where I might have room and warmth to carry on the struggle against the Boroughmongers ? If they did imagine this, they were as ignorant as they are well known to be greedy and merciless.
However, if the Boroughmongers adopt measures which shall wholly and entirely prevent the circulation of my writings, I shall still possess the means of living happily and easily, and the Boroughmongers will live as happily as they can under their new system. While I was enjoying a comparatively trifling income in England from my writings; and had lost, during the last three or four years, large sums annually by my agricultural pursuits and by my purchases of land, in common with others, who were situated in that respect like myself; that is to say, who had been severely robbed, and thousands of them wholly ruined and brought to a jail, by the arbitrary change in the currency and by the