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of putting an end to that mass of bribery and corruption and immorality of every sort, which now attend elections !-How can you be injured by annual Parliaments and universal suffrage? If the Members be really the choice of the people, what is it to you how often they are elected ? Does universal suffrage frighten you? Why should it, if universal taration does not ? By the word universal, it is impossible that we should mean universal in its literal sense. We often say, that " all the worldknows such or such a thing. But, by these words, we do not mean, that all the people in all countries, savages and all, know it. The word universal is made use of to save the repetition of a great many words. We explain, that we mean, that every man, who is of age, and who is untainted with any infamous crime, should have a vote ; and, when we have so clearly shown, that even the common day-labourer is so heavily taxed, we wait to hear the arguments to prove that he ought not to be permitted to have a vote in the choosing of those by whom he is so taxed, and such arguments we have not yet heard.

The practicability is all that can possibly remain in doubt, for the justice of the thing is clear. Some persons, very sincere and very able friends of Reform, are disposed to stop at householders; that is to say, all men who are masters of a house, or occupy a house, whether they pay any direct rates or taxes, or whether they do not. This would be doing a great deal; for, as it would include all cottagers and all married journeymen, it would, perhaps, satisfy the people. But, certainly, nothing one inch short of this ever will satisfy them; and, in this case, the ballot appears necessary to preserve the free exercise of this in: valuable right; for, without the ballot, what is to protect the farmer and the householder against their landlord ? In America, where so very small a part of the farmers are tenants, and where the labouring classes are so very independent, they have still adhered to the ballot, which, besides the protection it affords to tenants and other dependent persons has the excellent effect, in many cases, of preventing strife amongst neighbours and relations, The Abbe Mably, a French writer of great eminence, in his Letters to Mr. John Adams, on the American Constitutions, finds fault of the ballot, as being a provision against an evil that ought not to erist; and he predicts, that it will tend to degrade the people. He wrote in 1786 ; but, his prediction has not yet been fulfilled. However, I would break with nobody on the subject of the ballot, nor do I believe the petitioners in general would. I have confidence enough in the honesty and spirit of my countrymen to believe that without the ballot they would act as became freemen.

But, after all, let us have the subject fairly discussed; let a bill be brought in, and let us, when we see its provisions, examine whether they be good or bad. Let free discussion take place, and I will engage, that we arrive at the truth. And, what has any one, who means rightly, to fear from such a reform? It contemplates no hostility to any lawful prerogative or privilege ; but, on the contrary, it fully contemplates the real enjoyment of both by those who are entitled to them. Are you afraid, that such a Reform would fill the Commons' or People's House with low and foolish men ? If you are, upon what are your fears founded ? Has a representative system, from top to toe, produced this effect in America? No: the four persons who have been Presidents, Messrs. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, were the four men most distinguished in their country for politica talent and wisdom, equal to

any men upon earth as to private character, and all of them possessing estates, to which, inaugmented, they retired at the termination of their public duties. The two Houses of Congress, are filled, with very few exceptions, by men of some fortune as well as men of distinguished talent. Why, then, should you suppose, that the people of England, if free to choose, would fix their choice on men of no property and no talent!

But are you afraid, that the King would be compelled to put his authority into the hands of men having no noble blood in their veins, and that, thus, the ancient families of the kingdom would have the shame of submitting to the sway of upstarts? Before you express such a fear, you should ask yourselves, who and whence came those who have this sway in their hands now. The Lord Chancellor is the son of a Coal. Merchant; Lord Sidmouth the son of a Doctor of Physic; Lord Liverpool the son of a very clever man, who was once a writer in Reviews and other such publications; Mr. Vansittart was, not many years ago, a Sessions Lawyer in Berkshire; Mr. Canning's origin I have no certain trace of; Mr. Huskisson is a farmer's son, and has been an Apothecary or Banker's clerk ; and our worthy friend, old George Rose, at whose heels the Baronets and 'Squires of Hampshire follow like well-trained spaniels, was a Purser in the Navy. Come, come, then ! Cheer up! Don't be frightened! What is it that has raised these men, and many others who could be mentioned, to such a height of power? Why, their application to business; their industry; their store of knowledge calcu. lated for the purposes of supporting the system; their superior talents of the sort that are required to carry on that which they are wanted to carry on. If, therefore, the notion of attaching importance to mere birth were to be admitted to be wise instead of being foolishness itself, what have you to fear on this score from the proposed Reform ? Nay, I see no reason at all, why the present ministers, with an exception or two, should not remain as they are. A reformed Parliament would certainly leave the King perfectly unfettered in his choice ; and, it is the cvils of the present system that we want to get rid of, and not of the men who carry it on. For, as you must have observed, amongst all the numerous petitions for Reform, not one expresses a wish to produce a change of the minisiers. The WHIG press has been, indeed, labour ing at this point; but, its efforts have been so contemptible in point of effect, that not a single petition contains any such thought. Pitt, in his better days, and before his connection with Dundas, said, that with. out a reform of the Parliament, no minister in England could be honest, by which he meant, I suppose, that no minister could act freely and effectually for the good of the country; and this appears to be the opinion of the people.

Now, then, if no other considerations had any weight with you, do you not perceive, that there is danger to yourselves in keeping aloof from so many thousands and hundreds of thousands of sturdy men as are now so eagerly seeking for the accomplishment of this great wish of their hearts? You cannot deny, if the question be put home to you, that you lament the events of the last twenty-five years. You cannot say, that you believe the present distress and misery to be temporary. You cannot point to any ground of hope of an alteration for the better, if the present system be persevered in. You can hardly endure the idea of seeing your estates wholly pass away from you. And, if you were, or are

insensible to every other feeling, do you not dread the thought of being held in contempt or abhorrence by the labouring classes ? And yet, must not this be the case, if you still resolve to keep aloof? They have, everywhere, with their accustomed deference to their superiors in rank and property, been anxiously looking towards those superiors. They have respectfully urged them to take the lead ; and, they have, everywhere except at Nottingham, and Norwich, and in the County of Cornwall, met with refusal, and, in some cases, with insult and abuse. This, however, has not prevented them from exercising their right of petition, and, in their cool, decorous, and able manner of doing it, they have given those superiors a lesson which ought to be a warning to them in future. That me'n should, by false pride, be rendered so stupid as to cast away proffered influence and power would appear incredible were not the fact attested by undeniable evidence. At CARLISLB the labouring classes have made a formal and written application to their employers to place themselves at their head in the work of petitioning. The document is curious and interesting, and is as follows. The application appears to have been a Circular.

“SIR,,We the Operative in your employ, considering the necessity of a “ Reform in Parliament to be the only means of relieving the present existing ** distress of the country, call upon you to come forward along with your brother manufacturers of other trades, in calling a general public meeting to express " the grievances which the people lie under and the necessity of redress.-Sir, “It

is the full intention of the people to petition the King, likewise the Le“ gislature-and if you absolutely refuse to act in a public capacity in the bu. u siness, we shall be under the disagreeable necessity of taking the cause in hand ourselves.—But we fondly hope you will accede to our reasonable request, and “ come forward to use every lawful means in your power to redress your own grievances and the grievances of your servants.

“ And your Petitioners will ever pray." Now, I should be glad to know, what proceeding could be more proper, more sensible than this ? What more reasonable, what more fair and honest ? And yet, it appears, that the employers, though not with insult and abuse, declined the invitation, upon the vague assertion, that no benefit could be expected to result” from such a public meeting. The insult and abuse were left to be supplied by the proprietor of the COURIER, who was once himself a journeyman tailor, and who now, affecting airs of high-blood, treats these sensible, modest, and suffering people as if they were so many curs, fit to be fed only on carrion. Do you think, that THIS is the way to conciliate the people, to cheer them with hope, to induce them to exercise fortitude and patience, and to strengthen the natural ties which bind them to their superiors in rank and wealth ? No: but it is the way to burst those ties asunder and to destroy them for ever. A Reform will take place or it will not. If it do not, if it be finally refused, and that, too, 'as those vile writers would recommend, without a fair and full and candid hearing, what disappointments, what beart-burnings, what hatreds, what resentments, what com. bustibles are here gathering together! And, if it do take place, in what contempt will the mass of the people hold those whom they, with that modesty which is inseparable from true courage, now look up to as their superiors! And, therefore, in keeping aloof from the people in this the hour of their distress and anxiety, are you acting the part of men who form a just estimate of the means of preserving even your own property and character, to say nothing of the peace, happiness and power of our

country, wbich might as far surpass all others in prosperity as it does in enterprise, talent, and renown?

The country, instead of being disturbed, as the truly seditious writers on the side of corruption would fain make us believe ; instead of being "irritatedby the agitation of the question of Reform, is kept, by the hope, which Reform holds out to it, in a state of tranquillity, wholly unparalleled in the history of the world, under a similar pressure of suffering. Of this fact, the sad scenes at Dundee are a strong and remarkable instance. At the great and populous towns of Norwich, Manchester, Paisley, Glasgow, Wigan, Bolton, Liverpool, and many others, where the people are suffering in a degree that makes the heart sink{within one to think of, they have had their meetings to petition for Reform; they have agreed on petitions ; hope has been left in their bosoms; they have been inspired with patience and fortitude ; and all is tranquil. But, at Dundee, where a partial meeting had been held early in November, and where a gentleman who moved for Reform had been borne down, there violence has broken forth, houses have been plundered, and property and life exposed to all sorts of perils, and this, too, amongst the sober, the sedate, the reflecting, the prudent, the moral people of Scotland,

One would think, that this instance alone would rouse you from your unaccountable state of torpidity. The pensioned Burke insolently said, that the King held his crown in contempt of the Reformers of 1789. You cannot hold your property in contempt of the people ; and if you could do it, what would your property be worth? Yet, every day that passes over your heads, is, by your keeping aloof, separating you more and more widely from the people, the great mass of whom are well convinced, that you have only to place yourselves at their head to obtain for them the full accomplishment of their wishes; and, what is more, they would be satisfied with less if speedily obtained by your assistance.

Thus, it appears to me, that every consideration, whether as to self or to country, calls on you to come forth and cordially join in the work of obtaining a Reform. The approaching session of Parliament will, if I am not much deceived, be the most important that this country ever saw. Its measures will finally pronounce on your fate; and, what sort of fate that will be will wholly depend on yourselves.

WM. COBBETT.

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A CALL UPON THE CLERGY,

To come forward and assist in the putting an end to Bribery, Corruption, Perjury,

and all sorts of infamies; and to deny, if they can, the persecutions and the cruelties of the House of Bourbon and the horrors of the Inquisition, both of which have now been restored.

“ 'The congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of Bribery."— JOB, chap. xv. 34.

(Political Register, December, 1816.)

London, Dec, 25, 1816. GENTLEMEN,

The text, which I have here taken is the very text, which, nearly eleven years ago, I posted up in the borough of Honiton in Devonshire, with the hope of inducing some part, at least, of its inhabitants to give their votes without receiving payment for them, which is, as you well know, not only bribery, but bribery of that sort, the being concerned in which is made, in Scripture, the ground of exposing the guilty parties to have their habitations consumed by fire. There is no doubt, that this denunciation is to be understood figuratively; that it was not meant that the bribers or the bribed would have their habitations actually burnt; but there can be as little doubt, that it was meant to declare in the strongest terms, that bribery was to be looked upon as a most heinous offence, and that it would inevitably be followed by the severest of all punishments, “ Your habitations shall be consumed ; you and your very dwellings shall be swept from the face of the earth, on account of this horrid crime." This appears to have been the clear meaning of the text, and a denunci. ation more awful is not, as far as I recollect, contained in the whole of the Scriptures.

Now, seeing that I have, in this same work of mine, and under this same title, laboured incessantly for the last eleven years of my life, with a view to root out the cause of Bribery, Corruption and Perjury, it is not without feelings strongly tinctured with indignation that I have learnt, that the most busy and most loud of the calumniators of me and my work, have been found and are still to be found in your order. I will not, however, be so unjust as these men, who make a point of con. founding me with known traitors and murderers ; I will not level against your whole body that censure, which, as I would fain hope, is merited but by comparatively a few of the clergy of the Church of England, who, as an order of men, can, I trust, never be so detestably base as to cooperate with the hirelings of corruption's press in the work of impeding the progress of undeniable truths, and in that of propagating notorious falsehoods.

But, speaking with this large and liberal exception, have I not reason to complain of the enmity which you discover towards the cause of

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