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the effect of binding to them, be their deeds what they might, all the people who had money. In order to fortify themselves still more securely, they first made Parliaments triennial, which, by the Constitution, were annual; and, not satisfied with this, they, under favour of a false alarm, made those triennial Parliaments septennial; while, at the same time, they set about a system of corruption even in the remnant of suffrage that was left, and which system has, at last, become so notorious, that when proof of seat-selling is tendered to them, they refuse to receive it, on the ground, that it is too coinmon to be criminal, and even that it is necessary, and makes a part of the constitution in Church and State!
The effects of this system have well corresponded with its character and motives. The nation has been plundered without sparing : king and people liave alike been stripped of their rights, degraded and insulted without any measure. This tyranny, of which there is no parallel either in being or upon record, by its attempts to subject the people amongst whom I now am, to its plundering grasp, severed this fine country from the British dominions, and thereby created a formidable rival to England in naval power as well as in commerce. Fearing the effects of the rays of freedom, beginning to dart forth from France twenty-six years ago, it arrayed itself against the people of that country; and, by twenty-three years of violence and fraud, it, at last, succeeded in re-establishing despotism in that country and in every part of Europe where freedom had made her appearance. The twin monster, unable to repose in quiet, while there was a free man left upon the face of the earth, next bent all its force to destroy the Government, the freedom and the happiness of America. The agents it employed in this enterprise were well worthy of their employer : fire and sword against the defenceless; treachery and plunder, but, above all things, plunuler ; and, it was now for the first time, that officers of the English navy were seen writing to each other congratulatory letters upon having captured tables and chests of drawers. The brave yeomanry of America, however, so different from a base and servile Boroughmonger tenantry, drove the spoilers from their shores in disgrace; and thus preserved an asylum for the oppressed of all nations, and especially for those escaping from the fangs of the English minister, amongst whom is to be numbered him, who, in this address to you, is able, in safety, to describe the character and acts of that monster, and who has unspeakable delight in foreseeing and foretelling his doom.
There is, they say, a viper, the poison of which is of so malignant a nature, that the reptile will die, if it bite its own tail. It is a property of evil to destroy, in time, its own cause. The main lever of the Boroughtyrants has been their paper-money. By a series of frauds of unbounded magnitude, these tyrants have been able to bribe, and to set to butcher each other, a very considerable part of mankind. Under the pretext of warring for humanity and freedom and religion, where is the bayonet, where the dagger, where the stiletto, where the prostituted pen, that they have not employed in the cause of bloodshed, slavery, and real blasphemy? The grand instrument of mischief, however, is now turning its powers against themselves. The viper has, during its works of malice and of death, bitten its own tail; and the poison is hastening on to its heart.
War! The monster can make war no more. Its teeth are drawn completely out. The arming for war would send the paper down to five shillings in the pound; and a war of a year would send the debt up to
two thousand millions ! Not the people of England alone, but, the people of the whole world, are deeply interested in the fall of these tyrants, who employ the resources of matchless industry, skill, perseverance and valour, favoured by the most happy local circumstances that Providence itself could combine ; who employ all these, not to better the lot of mankind, not to assist feeble innocence against powerful guilt, not to enlighten the ignorant or to free the enslaved, not to proinote peace and friendship amongst nations; but, to erect obstacles to harmonious intercourse, to create suspicions and feuds, to shut out light from the human mind, to back tyranny wherever to be found, and, in all parts of the world, to make human affairs uncertain and human life a burden. Towards friends, allies, colonies, they have been firm or false, kind or cruel, alternately, at the calls of their own safety or interest. Towards enemies they have, from the same motives, been creeping or insolent, but always perfidious. This has been the great, unvarying characteristic of their policy and their actions. Those who spoke of us, formerly, might say that we were rude, proud, and arrogant; but, they could not say, that we were hypocritical, treacherous, or unfeeling. The English nation, famed for its open, manly dealings, for its plain, blunt sincerity, and for its kindness and humanity, these tyrants have placed at the tip-top of the list of the crafty, the perfidious and the cruel, where it stands written in the blood of Ney, and of thousands upon thousands of the victims of their relentless rapacity.
And, is this character always to belong to our nation! Is the name of England to have for ever this infamous pre-eminence ! Sir, I am, at this moment, sitting beneath the deep shade of a walnut-tree, the thermometer at ninety-eight degrees, nearly naked and sweat pouring down my breast; yet, the thought of heat ten million times as great as this, to be endured for ages, would not be to my inind half so horrible, as the thought of impunity to these base and savage tyrants. No: a day of justice is to come; a day of justice will come; and the very act which you oppose, and with regard to which I have troubled you with my remarks, ought to satisfy the minds of the people, that the day is near at hand.
From your task, Sir, you retired amidst the cheers of the Boroughmongers; I shall be sufficiently gratified, if the Blanketteers will attentively read what I have written ; and if they will constantly bear in mind, that Empson and DUDLEY were legally and justly hanged, though they truly pleaded Acts of Indemnity.
I am, Sir,
TO JACK HARROW,
AN ENGLISH LABOURER;
ON THE NEW CHEAT, WHICH IS NOW ON FOOT, AND WHICH
GOES UNDER THE NAME OF SAVINGS' BANKS.
(Political Register, January, 1819.)
North Hampstead, Long Island, November 7th, 1818. FRIEND JACK,
You sometimes hear the Parson talk about deceivers, who go about in sheep's clothing; but who, inwardly, are ravening wolves. You frequently hear of the tricks of the London cheats, and, I dare say, you have, often enough, witnessed those of mountebanks and gipsies. But Jack, all the tricks of these deceivers and cheaters, if the trickery of them all were put together, would fall far short of the trick, now playing off under the name of Savings' Banks. And, seeing that it is possible, that you may be exposed to the danger of baving a few pounds picked out of your pocket by this trick, I think it right to put you on your guard against the cheat.
You have before been informed of who and what the Boroughmongers are. Therefore, at present, I shall enter into no explanation of their recent conduct. But, in order to give you a clear view of their motives in this new trick, and which, I think, is about the last in their budget, I must go back and tell you something of the history of their Debt, and of what are called the Funds. Some years ago the Boroughmongers put me into a loathsome prison for two years, made me pay a thousand pounds fine, and made me enter into recognizances for seven years, only because I expressed my indignation at the flogging of Englishmen, in the heart of England, under the superintendence of hired German troops, brought into the country to keep the people in awe. It pleased God, Jack, to preserve my life and health, while I was in that prison. And, i employed a part of my time in writing a little book, entitled Paper against Gold. In this little book I fully explained all the frauds of what is called the National Debt, and of what are called the Funds. But, as it is possible that you may not have seen that little book, I will here tell you enough about these things to make you see the reasons for the Boroughmongers using this trick of Savings' Banks.
The Boroughmongers are, you know, those persons (some Lords, some Baronets, and some Esquires, as they call themselves), who fill, or nominate others to fill, the seats in the House of Commons. Commons means the mass of the people. So that this is the House of the People, according to the law of the land. The people, you, I, and all of us, ought to vote for the men who sit in this House. But the said Lords, Baronets and Esquires have taken our rights away, and they nominate the Members themselves. A monger is a dealer ; as ironmonger, cheesemonger, and the like : and as the Lords, Baronets and Esquires sometimes sell and sometimes buy seats, and as the seats are said to be filled by the people in certain Boroughs, these Lords, Baronets and Esquires are very properly called Boroughmongers; that is to say, dealers in boroughs, or the seats of boroughs. As all laws and all other matters of government are set up and enforced at the will of the two Houses, against whose will the King cannot stir hand or foot; and, as the Boroughmongers fill the seats of the two Houses, they have all the power, and of course, the king and people have none. Being possessed of all the power; being able to tax us at their pleasure ; being able to hang us for whatever they please to call a crime; they will, of course, do with our property and persons just what they please. And, accordingly, they take from us more than the half of our earnings; and they keep soldiers (whom they deceive) to shoot at us and kill us, if we at. tempt to resist. They put us in dungeons when they like. And, in Ireland, they compel people to remain, shut up in their houses, from sunset to sunrise, and, if any man, contrary to their commands, goes out of his house in the night, in order to go to the privy, they punish him very severely; and, in that unhappy country, they transport men and women to Botany Bay without any trial by jury, and merely by the order of two justices of the peace appointed by themselves.
This, Jack, is horrid work, to be going on amongst a people, who call themselves free; amongst a people who boast of their liberties. But, the facts are so; and now I shall explain to you how the Boroughmongers, who are so few in number, compared to the whole people, are able to commit these cruel acts and to carry on this abominable tyranny; and you will see, that the trick of Savings Banks makes a part of the means, which they now intend to use for the pepetuating of this tyranny.
Formerly, more than a hundred years ago, when the Kings of England had some real power, and before the Boroughmongers took all the powers of King and people into their hands, the people, when the kings behaved amiss, used to rise against them and compel them to act justly. They beheaded Charles the First; about a hundred and seventy years ago; and they drove James the Second out of the kingdom ; they went so far as to set his family aside for ever, and they put up the present royal family in its stead.
This was all very well; but, when King James had been driven out, the Lords and Baronets and Squires conceived the notion of ruling for ever over king and people. They made Parliaments, which used to be annual, three years of duration ; and when the members had been elected for three years, the members themselves made a law to make the people obey them for seven years. Thus was the usurpation completed; and, from that time to this, the Boroughmongers have filled the seats just as it has pleased them to do it; and, they have, as I said before, done with our property and our persons just what they have pleased to do.
Now, it will naturally be matter of wonder to you, friend Jack, that this small band of persons, and of debauched wretched persons, too, any half-dozen of whom you would be able to beat with one hand tied down; it will be matter of wonder to you, that this contemptible band should have been able thus to subjugate and hold in hondage so degrading the whole of the English people. But, Jack, recollect, that, once, à parcel of fat, lazy, drinking, and guttling monks and friars were able to make this same people to work and support them in their laziness and
debaucheries; aye, and almost to adore them, too; to go to them and kneel down and confess their sins to them, and to believe, that it was in their power to absolve them of their sins. Now, how was it, that these fat, these bastard-propagating rascals succeeded in making the people do this? Why, by fraud; by deception ; by cheatery; by making them believe lies; by frightening them half out of their wits; by making them believe, that they would go to hell, if they did not work for them. A ten thousandth part of the people were able to knock the greasy vagabonds on the head; and they would have done it, too; but they were afraid of going to hell, if they had no priest to pardon them.
Thus did these miscreants govern by fruud. The Boroughmongers, as I shall by-and by show, have, of late, been compelled to resort to open force; but, for a long while they governed by fraud alone. First, they, by the artful and able agents which they have constantly kept in pay, frightened the people with the pretended dangers of a return of the old king's family. The people were amused with this scarecrow, while the chains were silently forging to bind them with. But, the great fraud, the cheat of all cheats, was what they call the national debt. And, now, Jack, pray attend to me ; for I am going to explain the chief cause of all the disgraces and sufferings of the labourers in England ; and am also going to explain the reasons, or motives, which the Boroughmongers have for setting on foot this new fraud of Savings' Banks. I beg you, Jack, if you have no other leisure time, to stay at home, instead of going to church, for one single Sunday. Shave yourself, put on a clean shirt, and sit down and read this letter ten times over, until you understand every word of it. And, if you do that, you will laugh at the parson and tax-gatherer's coaxings about Savings Banks. You will keep your odd pennies to yourself ; or lay them out in bread or bacon.
You have heard, I dare say, a great deal about the national debt; and now I will tell you what this thing is, and how it came, and then you will see what an imposture it is, and how shamefully the people of England have been duped and robbed.
The Boroughmongers, having usurped all the powers of government, and having begun to pocket the public money at a great rate, the people grew discontented. They began to think, that they had done wrong in driving King James away. In a pretty little fable-book, there is a fable which says, that the frogs, who had a log of wood for king, prayed to Jupiter to send them something more active. He sent them a stork, or heron, which gobbled them up alive by scores! The people of England found, in the Boroughimongers, what the poor frogs found in the stork ; and, they began to cry out against them, and to wish for the old king back again.
The Boroughmongers saw their danger ; and they adopted mea. sures to prevent it. They saw, that if they could make it the interest of a great many rich people to uphold them and their system, they should be able to get along. They, therefore, passed a law to enable themselves to borrow money of rich people ; and by the same law, they imposed it on the people at large to pay, for ever, the interest of the money so, by them, borrowed. The money, which they thus borrowed, they spent in wars, or divided amongst themselves, in one shape or another. Indeed, the money, spent in wars, was pocketted, for the far greater part, by them. selves. Thus they owed, in time, immense sums of money ; and, as they continued to pass laws to compel the nation at large to pay the interest