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their sole dependence for title and estate upon a bubble, which any man might cause to burst in a few months, and that, in the meanwhile, they must assemble under the protection of trusty police-officers, first taking care to inspect the caves beneath the building: if such were now their situation and such their prospect, gladly would they close with us, and give us back our birth-right.
Such was their situation and such their real prospect in 1792. They, intent only on the present, were blind to the future. Right, reason, ex. pediency, morality, religion: all were in favour of Reform. The usurpers, however, possessed force; and force they employed, without being at all aware of what the employment of that force would finally produce. They saw danger to their usurped authority and their gains attending it. To destroy those who were the cause of this danger was their only object. They never dreamt, that, out of their temporary success a ten-fold danger might arise. If your Royal Highness follow them in their progress, you will find them, at every stage of it, wholly careless about consequences, like those, which have now arisen. They have, at times, talked like coffee-house soldiers, at others like Philpot-lane negotiators, at others like Burn's Justice lawyers, at others like spies and thief-catchers, at others like stock-jobbers, at others like Bank Directors ; but never, no, not upon any one occasion, like statesmen and legislators. Not a single man in either House, has ever, from first to last, seemed to have a correct idea as to the effects of their measures, and which effects are now throwing themselves in such alarming shapes. It was not until they had completely succeeded, that they began to see the consequences. It was not until they were drunk with joy at the thought of being able to trample on the people for ever; it was not until they had actually voted money to erect lofty columns and solemn temples with cloud-capped towers to immortalize their triumph over liberty, law and justice, that they began to perceive that there were consequences, of which they had never thought.
Gladly would they now be in the state of 1792, and suffer the people to have their birth-right. But they never can retrace their steps. They have now such a load of guilt upon them : they have now committed so many wieked acts : they are now so completely embarked with the Jenkinsons, Addingtons, Cannings, and Castlereaghs : they are now so entirely identified with the Olivers, and Castleses, and Reynoldses : they are now so closely allied to the Crosses, the Parson Powises, the Hampshire Par. sons and the Bolton Fletchers : they have now incurred the mortal hatred of so many able and determined men : they are now the objects of such a mass of deadly vengeance, that they think it too late to save themselves by any means other than those of hostility. And I frankly confess, that I think their opinion correct. Their progress has been so unprincipled, so insolent, so perfidious, so cruel and bloody, that there is scarcely a town or village which has not its victims to avenge. Ruin ; kill; de. stroy : this has been their unvarying cry against every living creature that opposed them. For the attainment of their object they have spared neither force nor fraud. They have had no compassion on any mortal from the poor starving woman at Manchester to the brave and loyal sailor, Cashman, who went out of the world blessing his king and country, and cursing these infamous tyrants; who are now happily reduced to an absolute dependence on a piece of thin paper not worth a farthing.
But, whatever may be their fate, it behoves every Englishman to do his best to prevent them from dragging down the crown along with
them; and, therefore, in the ensuing letters, I shall fully state to your Royal Highness my thoughts upon this important subject.
Your most obedient
ROYAL HIGHNESS, THE PRINCE REGENT,
ON THE DANGERS TO WHICH THE CROWN MAY BE EXPOSED, BY ITS BEING IDENTIFIED WITH THOSE WHO TRAFFIC IN SEATS, AND IN BRIBERY, CORRUPTION, AND PERJURY, AT A TIME WHEN A SUDDEN BLOWING-UP OF THE PAPER-MONEY SHALL TAKE PLACE.
(Political Register, March, 1819.)
North Hampstead, Long Island, January 5th, 1819. MAY IT PLEASE YOUR ROYAL Highness :
Before I proceed to address your Royal Highness on the subject of preserving the Crown and preventing universal confusion, it is my duty to endeavour to convince you that there exists danger; and this I shall do in the present letter.
Those, whose object it is to amuse and deceive your Royal Highness, give you accounts of the amazing resources of the country; and, we all well know, that its resources are surprisingly great; and, not only great in amount, but, when things are in their natural state, of such a nature and deposited and bestowed in such a way and in the hands of such a people, as 10 make them ten-fold in effect what resources of equal mere magnitude are in some other cases. All those who know any thing of the uses of property in England, or who know any thing of the character and habits of the people, must estimate very highly the resources of the country. “1 hose only, who are under the blindness of ignorance or of envy, can suppose it possible, that England ever can, for any length of time, become a feeble, insignificant country. It belongs to politicians like the Edinburgh Reviewers, who, at reading the romances about America, burst cut into prophecies relative to the power and glory of immense regions, which now are but a wilderness : it belongs to such men, and only to suc! men, to estimate the resources of a country by fertility of soil and extent of acres. Dunderheaded Chalmers and thief-taker Colqu.
houn, have displayed the strength and resources of England in a guess at the number of pigs, sheep, beeves, and so forth, in which respect the United States far surpass Great Britain and Ireland.
The thief-catcher's book was clearly intended to gain him a title ; though I do hope, that your Royal Highness will not be induced to bid him rise up a Baronet, at any rate ; though, after Sir Bate Dudley, it is difficult to say what may not be expected. The thief-catcher labours bard to show, that the pigs, sheep, beeves, horses, mares, colts, cocks and hens, are so numerous, that the amount of the debt is nothing at all; or, at least, nothing worth speaking of.
This is the sort of stuff, by the means of which the people's minds have been buoyed up for the last twenty-six years. No man pretends that England has not great resources, particularly in the ingenuity, industry, and punctuality of her people; and, which is of more value than all the rest, in their public spirit, their love of country, their pride of country; in which respect they exceed the people of any other country in the world.
But, Sir, the resources of the country; that is to say, the mere amount of the valuable things in a country, has very little to do with the safety of the Government of that country ; nor has it but very little to do in certain cases with the happiness of the people; nor with the capacity of the nation for great enterprise. A nation may possess the soil of Egypt, the population of China, the mines of Peru, and yet have no resources at all; for, with all these, it may be unable to bring any of its means so to act as to make the people safe in their persons at home, or to defend themselves against an invader. England, at this moment, is not very far from this state ; for, while her people are shut up in dun. geons with impunity to the oppressors, her resources are so managed as to render her wholly incapable of carrying on war. · However, the view to which I am about humbly to endeavour to draw the attention of your Royal Highness is of a very different description from that of these pig.pokers and hen-roost peepers ; a view more worthy, I hope, of being presented to your mind.
If, by the resources of a country, we mean the things of value in it, these may abound to an incalculable extent, and yet they may tend to the destruction, rather than to the preservation of the Government; for, if the part which ought to remain with some men be taken away and given to other men, the greater the quantity of valuable things, the greater the quantity of injustice, and the greater the quantity of ill-will and irritation, Labour is one of the articles of value, and it is of more value than all the other things put together. But, if the men who labour have the half of its produce taken from them, the greater the quantity of labour the greater the danger to those who cause this act of injustice. In such a community no harmony can exist : the oppressed must wish, at least, for the destruction of the oppressors, and, whenever they can do it with a chance of success, they will seek their destruction.
But, these reflections aside, valuable things are of no value to any man, unless he can use them. Stockings are of no value to the stocking-maker, unless he can turn them into bread and meat and house, and so forth. Horses are of no use to the horse-breeder, unless he can turn them into other things. Land is of no use to the landowners, unless they can turn their annual worth into other things, or, indeed, unless they really eat dirt, which, from the muddiness of the heads of most of them, one would almost suppose them to do. Nor are the valuable things of a country of any use to that country in war, unless they can be turned into soldiers and sailors and implements of war.
It follows, then, of course, that, except in the hunter-life, where every man provides everything for himself, nothing is of any value, which cannot, by some means or other, be turned into some other thing. In a very thinly settled country, where each family provides for the greater part of its wants, and where the wants are few in number, this transmutation may, with great inconvenience, be effected by the exchanging one valuable thing for another of a different nature but of equal value. But, this mode of dealing, if greatly inconvenient in the half-hunter-life, becomes intolerable in a populous community, and, indeed, it is impossible.
Hence men sought a standard of value, a sign which they might give to each other; and this has, with us, taken the name of money. Clearly, therefore, this must be a thing of vast importance, seeing that, without it, nothing is of any value at all ; seeing that, without it, the stocking. maker must eat and drink his stockings, or be starved, and that the landowner must dress out his wife and daughters in dirt, or, at best, in boughs and grass. BURTON, in his foolish and base speech, which he called a defence of the Duke of York, told a rigmarole story about some bishop having told him, that when he was tutor to some of the Royal Dukes, he never could make them clearly understand the value of money; which is likely to have been true enough, though coming from a bishop ; for, besides that the bishop might not have a very clear mode of conveying his meaning, I dare say his ideas of the value of money went no further than the very simple business of hoarding, the utility of which it would indeed have been strange if a prince had been able to comprehend. But, to the value of money as a performer of labour and as a cement of civil society, the Royal Dukes would, I hope, have paid attention.
Swift, who, in one short and beautiful poem, has more sound and useful matter on political economy than is contained in all Adam Smith's bulky volumes, calls money “the life-blood of the nation.” And it is really nothing less ; for, without it, not a member can stir. If disordered, the whole frame instantly feels the effects. If too abundant, the lenders are ruined. If too small in quantity, the borrowers are ruined, and the pennyless starved. If wholly stopped in its circulation, the society, if populous, is dissolved, and even if not populous, plunged into confusion.
A matter of such vital importance has never, heretofore, been left to the management of any hands but those of the sovereign, under whatever name he has been acknowledged. In England, to make and issue money. has, until of late years, been an attribute belonging solely to the king; to usurp this function of royalty is treason at Common Law; many men have suffered, and justly suffered, as traitors, for the act : and yet, we now behold a band of money-makers, issuing false money, too, and hanging men for imitating their false and fraudulent money.
Without a true money; without a true standard of value; without this there can be no contracts. The denomination of the law is : “ good and lawful money." But, no good and lawful money can there be, if any man, or body of men, any company or any band, can change the value of the money at their pleasure; and as often as their whims, or their interests may dictate. At every change a sweeping violation of contracts takes place; a treason is committed at every change ; and, I
do most sincerely hope, that your Royal Highness will have to order the execution of many of the traitors, in spite of their Bills of Indemnity. Empson and Dudley were hanged, thongh they pleaded Acts of Parliament in their defence. These were the real conspirators and traitors in January, 1817. The dungeons ought to have sounded with their groans ; the gallows ought to have lifted them, and not the brave Cashman, into the air.
However, it is of the yet unaccomplished acts of these traitors that I have, at present, to speak. In order that the standard of value; in order that so very important a thing as the sole cement of society should be exposed to no danger of injury, or destruction, at least, it bas wisely been the practice of all nations to make it consist, not only of materials little liable to perish, but, from their comparative rareness and the labour expended in getting at them, of great intrinsic value, in proportion to their weight. Having taken these precautions, and having con. fined the power of issuing to the sovereign, a nation might with truth say, that it bad a standard of vulue, or a money. But, when the king was robbed of his exclusive right of coining and uttering the money, and when the component matter of the money was changed from the precious metals to paper, there was no standard of value, and the property of every man lay prostrate at the feet of the new money-makers, their associates, abettors and protectors.
Suffer me to explain to your Royal Highness how it is that the papermoney crew pillage your father's people. They make paper-money. They lend the money so made, taking what they, in their cheating jargon, call a discount. Therefore, the borrower, when he brings the money back, brings a quantity, suppose a hundred pounds, more than he has received. With this hundred pounds the money-makers buy an acre of land. This is the way they plunder; this is the way they grow rich; this is the way they are enabled to live like princes, while princes and people live like beggars, If, indeed, they lent real money; if they lent even paper for which they had given any thing of value, they would have a right to their discount ; because they have a right to receive interest for their money. But, they make the thing they lend. It is the representative of nothing but their will; and their will is to take away the property of others. If they were liable to be called upon for payment in money, not of their own making, the case would be different. But, they are not. They were protected by what is called law against the just demands of their creditors. Not only can no creditor touch their bodies; he cannot touch their lands and goods; he cannot take back any part of his own property, of which they have defrauded him.
One of the great reasons, which have long been acted upon by nations, in lodging the sole power of making, issuing and regulating money ; one of the great reasons for lodging this power in the hands of the sovereign solely, was, that the sovereign could not, by possibility, be suspected to make, or to wish to make, a dishonest use of this power. The sovereign, unless supposition would admit a monster to become a sovereign, could not possibly have a selfish motive for any act calculated to injure the great mass of the people, and especially if the same act tended to throw the nation into confusion. But, if such were lodged in the hands of any private person, or any body of private persons, then the holders of such would naturally use it for their own advantage, be the consequences to the people at large what they might.