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but, on the contrary, that he must be injured by the destruction of machinery. And, it appears to me equally clear, that if machines could be invented so as to make lace, stockings, &c. for half or a quarter the present price, such an improvement could not possibly be injurious to you. Because, as the same sum of money would still, if the country continued in the same state, be laid out in lace, stockings, &c., there would be a greater quantity of those goods sold and used, and the sum total of your wages would be exactly the same as it is now.
But, if machinery were injurious to you now, it must always have been injurious to you ; and there have been times, when you had no great reason to complain of want of employment at any rate. So that it is evident, that your distress must have arisen from some other cause or causes. Indeed, I know that this is the case ; and, as it is very material that you should have a clear view of these causes, I shall enter into a full explanation of them; because, until we come at the nature of the disease, it will be impossible for us to form any opinion as to the remedy.
Your distress, that is to say, that which you now more immediately feel, arises from want of employment with wages sufficient for your support. The want of such employment has arisen from the want of a sufri. cient demand for the goods you make. The want of a sufficient demand for the goods you make has arisen from the want of means in the nation at large to purchase your goods. This want of means to purchase your goods has arisen from the weight of the taxes co-operating with the bubble of paper-money. The enormous burden of taxes and the bubble of paper-money have arisen from the war, the sinecures, the standing army, the loans, and the stoppage of cash payments at the Bank; and it appears very clearly to me, that these never would have existed, if the Members of the House of Commons had been chosen annually by the people at large.
Now, in order to show, that taxes produce poverty and misery generally, let us suppose again the case of a great-patriarchal family. This family we suppose to consist of many men and their wives and children ; we suppose them all to labour in their different branches; and to enjoy each of them the same degree of wealth and comfort and ease. But all at once, by some means or other, nine or ten of the most artful men make shift to impose a tax upon the rest; and to get from them, in this way enough to support themselves and their wives and children wilhout any work at all. Is it not clear, that the taxed part of the community must work harder or fare worse in consequence of this change? Suppose this taxing work to go on, and the receivers of taxes to increase, till one-half of the whole of the produce of all the labour be taken in taxes. What misery must the payers of taxes then begin to endure? It is certain, that they must be punished in two ways ; first by an addition to the hardness of their work, and next by a reduction of their former food and clothing. They must, under such circumstances, necessarily become skinny, sick, ragged and dirty. For, you will observe, that those who would live upon the taxes, would each of them eat and drink and wear ten times as much as one of the poor mortals who were left to labour and to pay taxes. As these poor creatures would be unable to lay up anyibing against a day of sickness and old age, a poor-house must be built to prevent them from actually dying by the road-side, and a part of the taxes must be laid out to support them, in some way or other, till they expired, or, if children, till they should be able to work.
There can be no doubt, that such would be the effect of heavy taxation in this case; and the same reasoning applies to millions of families, only the causes and effects are a little more difficult to trace. Now, you will ob. serve, that I do not say, that no taxes ought to be collected. Our vile enemies impute this to me; but, my friends, I have never said it or thought it. In a large community of men, there must be laws to protect the weak against the strong; there must be administrators of the laws ; there must be persons to hold communications with foreign powers ; there must be, in case of necessary wars, a public force to carry on such wars. All these require taxes of some sort; but when the load of taxes becomes so heavy as to produce general misery amongst all those who pay and who do not receive taxes, then it is that taxes become an enormous evil.
This is our state at present. It is the sum taken from those who labour to be given to those who do not labour, which has produced all our present misery. It has been proved by me, but, which is better for us, it has been expressly acknowledged by Mr. Preston, who is a lawyer of great eminence, the owner of a large estate in Devonshire, and a Member of Parliament for a Borough, that the labourer who earns 18 pounds a year, pays 10 pounds of it in taxes. I have before observed, but I cannot repeat it ioo often, that you pay a tax on your shoes, soap, candles, salt, sugar, coffee, malt, beer, bricks, tiles, tobacco, drugs, spirits, and, indeed, on almost every thing you use in any way whatever. And, it is a monstrous cheat in the corrupt writers to attempt to persuade you, that you pay no tares, and, upon that ground to pretend, that you have no right to vote for Members of Parliament. In the single article of salt, it is very clear to me, that every one of our labourers who has a family, pays more than a pound every year. The salt is sold in London at 20s. a bushel, wholesale; but, if there was no tax, it would not exceed perhaps 3s. a bushel. Every labourer with a family must consume more than a bushel, which does not amount to more than the third part of half-a-pint a day; and, you will bear in mind, there is salt in the bacon, the butter, and the bread, besides what is used in the shape of salt,
Now, is it not clear, then, that you do pay taxes ? And, is it not also clear, that the sum, which you pay in taxes, is just so much taken from your means of purchasing food and clothes ? This brings us back to the cause of your want of employment with sufficient wages. For, while you pay heavy taxes, the landlord, the farmer, the tradesman, the merchant, are not exempt. They pay taxes upon all the articles which they use and consume, and they pay direct taxes besides, on their houses, lands, horses, servants, &c. Now, if they had not to pay these taxes, is not clear, that they would have more money to expend upon labour of various kinds ; and, of course, that they would purchase more stockings and more lace than they now purchase? A farmer's wife and daughters, who would lay out 10 pounds in these articles, cannot so lay it out, if it be taken away by the tax-gatherer ; and so it is in the case of the landlord and the tradesman. I know a country town, where a couple of hundred of pounds used to be expended on a fair-day, in cottons, woollens, gloves, linen, &c. and where, at the last fair, not fifty pounds were expended. The country-shopkeeper not wanting the goods to the same amouut as before, the London wholesale dealer does not want them to that amount ; and as he does not want them from your employers, they do not want your labour to the same amount as before. So that they are compelled to refuse you work, or, to give you work at low wages, or, to give away to you their
property and means of supporting themselves and their families, which, in reason and justice cannot be expected.
Then, there is another very injurious effect produced by this load of taxes. The goods made by you cannot be so cheap as if you and your employers had not so heavy taxes to pay. Thus foreign nations, which are not so much loaded with taxes, can afford to make the goods themselves as cheap, or cheaper, than you can make them. Formerly, when our taxes were light, the Americans, for instance, could not afford to make stockings, broadcloth, cutlery, cotton goods, glass wares, linens. They now make them all, and to a vast extent! They have machinery of all sorts, manufactories upon a large scale, and, what is quite astonishing, they, who, before our wars against the French people, did not grow woul sufficient in quantity for their hats and saddle-pads, grow now fine wool sufficient for their own manufactories of cloth, and to erport to Europe !
This change has been produced wholly by the late wars, and more especially by our Orders in Council and by our impressment of native American seamen, which last produced the war with America, to carry on which both parties, the INS and the OUTS, most cordially joined. That war finished what the Orders in Council had begun. It compelled the Americans to manufacture ; and, in order to protect their own manufactories, the Government of that country has naturally passed laws to check the import of ours. Thus it is, my good friends, that the manufacturers of England, Scotland, and Ireland, have lost a considerable part of the custom of ten millions of farmers and farmers' wires and children. I foresaw this consequence in 1811; and i most earnestly, at that time, in a series of Letters to the Prince Regent, besought the Government not to enter into that fatal war. It was, however, entered into; my advice was rejected, and the manufacturers and merchants of this kingdom are now tasting the bitter fruit of that disgraceful war, which, after having cost about fifty millions of money, was given up in the teeth of a solemn declaration to the contrary, without having effected any one of the objects for which it was professed to have been begun and prosecuted.
Thus, then, my fellow-countrymen, it is not machinery; it is not the grinding disposition of your employers ; it is not improvements in machinery; it is not extortions on the part of bakers and butchers and millers and farmers and corn-dealers, and cheese and butter sellers. It is not to any causes of this sort that you ought to attribute your present great and cruel sufferings; but wholly and solely to the great burden of taxes, co-operating with the bubble of paper-money. And now, before I proceed any further, let me explain to you how the paper-money, or funding-system has worked us all. This is a very important matter, and it is easily understood by any man of plain good sense, who will but attend to it for a moment.
Before the wars against the French people, which wars have ended in replacing our king's and country's old enemies, the family of Bourbon, on the thrones of France, Spain, and Naples, and which have restored the Inquisition that Napoleon had put down; before those wars, the chief part of the money in England, was gold and silver.
But, even the first war against the of France cost so much money, that bank-paper was used in such great abundance that, in 1797, people became alarmed, and ran to the Bank of England to get real money for the notes which they held. Then was fulfilled the prophecy of Mr. Paine. The Bank could not pay their noles; the Bank Directors went to Pitt
and told him their fears. He called a Council, and the Council issued an order to the Bank to refuse to pay their promissory notes in specie, though the notes were all payable to the bearer and on demand." The Parliament afterwards passed an Act to protect Pitt, the Council, and the Bank Directors against the law, which had been violated in these transactions ?
From this time, there has been little besides paper-money. This became plenty, and of course wages and corn and every thing became high in price. But, when the peace came, it was necessary to reduce the quantity of paper-money; because, when we came to have intercourse with foreign nations, it would never do to sell a one-pound note at Caluis, as was the case, for about thirteen shillings. The Bank and the Government had it in their power to lessen the quantity of paper. Down camc prices in a little while; and if the Debt and taxes had come down too in the same degree, there would have been no material injury; but, they did not. Taxes have continued the sume. Hence our ruin ; the complete ruin of the great mass of farmers and tradesmen and small landlords; and hence the misery of the people.
But, some of the taxes have been taken off. Yes; about 17 millions out of 70, or about a fourth part. But, the paper-money has been die minished in a greater degree, and, of course, farm-produce in the same degree as paper-money. Bread and corn sell pretty high, owing to a bad harvest; but we must take all the produce of a farm, and you will soon see how the farmer has been ruined.
Thus, our produce has fallen off 691. out of 1091. 183. Od., and our taxes have been reduced only 171. in every 701. This has been the effect of the paper-money bubble. I speak this with a certain knowledge of the facts. I myself have 8 beautiful Alderney heifers, with calf, for wbich I cannot obtain 41. each. Four years ago I could have sold just such for 161. each. I have 12 Scotch steers, for which I cannot obtain 51, each. Just such ones, at Barnet Fair, only in 1813, I saw sold for 131, each. This has been the effect of paper-money; and by this cause have thou
sands upon thousands of farmers been already wholly ruined, while thousands upon thousands more are upon the threshold of the jail.
Here, then, we have the real cuuses of our sufferings, the sufferings of all the labourers, all the farmers, all the tradesmen, and, in short, of every class, except those who live upon the taxes.
If, as I observed before, the taxes had been lowered in the same degree as the farm produce, the distress would not have been much greater than before ; that is to say, if the sum total of the year's taxes had been reduced from 70 millions to about 26 millions. But this could not be done, while the interest of the Debt was paid in full at 5 per cent., while an army of 150 thousand men was kept up; and while all the pensions and sinecures and the Civil List were kept up to their former amount ; and, besides these, all the pay of the naval and military people and all others living, in any way, upon the taxes.
And, why should such an army be kept up? There was a time, when a man would have been looked upon as mad, if he had proposed to keep up any standing soldiery at all in time of peace. Bnt, why not reduce pay and salaries? The Judges, for instance, had their salaries doubled during the war, and so had the Police Justices and many others. When the Waigs (the famous Whigs !) were in office, they augmented the allowances of the junior branches of the Royal Family from 12 thousand pounds each to 18 thousand pounds each per year. The allowance to the King, Queen, &c. called the Civil List, was augmented enormously. Now, you will observe, that all these augmentations were made upon the express ground, that the price of provisions had risen. Well, provisions fall, and down come the wages of journeymen and labourers; and why, in the name of reason and of justice, should not the salaries of the Judyes, and the pay and allowances of all others in public employ come down too? What reason can there be for keeping all these up, while your wayes have come down ?
Then, as to the DEBT, why should those who have lent their money to the Government to carry on the wars; why should they continue to be paid in full at 5 per cent. interest in the present money? It is the bubble of paper-money; it is the bubble which they have helped to make, which has reduced my Alderney heifers from 161. value to 41., and why am I and you and all the rest of us to pay them as much as we used to pay them? The greater part of them lent their money to the Government, when the pound-note was not worth more than half what it is worth now, if we take all circumstances into view ; and, what right, then, have they to be paid in full in the money of the present day? Yet, they are paid in full, and I am compelled to give them as much tax out of the price of a heifer worth 4 pounds, as I used to give them out of the price of the heifer worth 16 pounds. You will see, and you will feel most severely, that corn is now dear. But, this is owing to the short crop and bad harvest. This high price is no good to the farmer ; but a most terrible evil. If he should get 15s. a bushel for his wheat instead of 7s. or 8s., he will receive no more money ; because he will not have more than half the quantity to sell. If I sell a hog at 15s. a score, instead of 8s., I do not gain by the high price ; because, I am, from the shortness of my crop of corn, and the badness of the corn, not able to fat more than half as many hogs as I should have been able to fat, if the crop had been good and the harvest fine. So that, as you will clearly see, as to the