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to reduce the taxes to what they were before the French wars; but, this seheme is never mentioned by any of the schemers, some of whom have proposed to refuse parish relief to all persons who are able to work, whether they can get work or not; and, the Courier newspaper, in putting forth a justification of this scheme, said, that we must be cruel to be kind." Meaning, that the poor must be made to suffer, in order to prevent them from marrying and increasing. One of the Correspondents of the Board of Agriculture reckons the early marriages of the labouring classes amongst the chief causes of the national distress, and another proposes to visit with severe punishment the parents of bastards. So that here the labouring classes, who raise all the food, build all the houses, make all the clothes, get in all the fuel, are to have no share of those enjoyments, which Nature has insured to them by her very first and most imperative laws. But, this doctrine of celibacy, as dished up for the labouring classes, and the origin of which I shall presently notice, would have passed without any particular observation on my part, did I not believe, that it was really intended by some persons, to be acted upon, during the ensuing Session of Parliament. One would suppose, that that assembly must anticipate work enough without entertaining such a scheme; but, the scheme is a favourite with all those (who are very numerous), who look upon the poor as rivals in the work of tax-eating, and who begin to see, that, unless the Poor-rates can be reduced, they cannot go on with their present receipts. The corrupt press, has, too, been busy in putting forth the scheme and recommending it to be adopted. In the Country, the Justices talk about it. I met one last summer, when the following dialogue took place :
J.-" Well, Mr. Cobbett, what are we to do with the poor next winter?"
C.-" We must feed and clothe them.”
J.--" Something must be done to get rid of this intolerable burden, “ or else the land must go uncultivated, for no man can pay rent and " rates too.”
C.-“ Yes, Sir, something must be done ; but we cannot begin with the poor. They must be fed, and they will be fed, whether rents be “ paid or not.”
J.-“ But, do you think, that they ought to be allowed to marry, and then to come to others to keep their children for them ?”
C.-" That is a large question, Sir. They would want no others to " keep their children, if the articles they consume were not all so
hearily taxed as to take from them more than the half of their wages.'
J.--"Ah! we shall never see the Government-taxes taken off. They are wanted.”
C.-" Then, I am quite sure, that our Poor-rates will soon be double what they are now.”
J.-—"But, Sir, do you not think, that the Poor-laws have been very “ much misunderstood, and that the Act of Queen Elizabeth never meant " that the able poor should be relieved ?”
C.-“The Act meant, that all should be relieved, who were unable to “ procure subsistence themselves; and, common sense appears to me to
say, that it is of no consequence whether the disability consists in “ bodily weakness or in a want of employment.”
J.-" There must be an Act passed to prevent the poor from marrying. " What is done cannot be undone ; but, they should have warning, that
" those who have children in consequence of future marriages, will have “ no relief, and that, if they marry, they do it at their peril."
C.-“ An Act so at war with justice and nature never will be passed, " and, if it were, it would bring swift destruction on all who attempted to " put it in force.”
Now, this was a very good sort of man; by no means one of those harsh and unfeeling men that we sometimes meet with in such offices; and, I am very sure, that his modesty would have prevented him from making these observations, if the opinions had not become very current in his circle. The father of this dreadful scheme was Mr. MALTHUS, a clergyman of the Church of England, who, seeing the alarming increase of pauperism, seems not to have looked at the real cause, the tares, but to bave cast about him for some means of checking the increase of the breed ; as if paupers were a distinct race amongst human beings, as wolves and asses are amongst four-footed animals. Mr. MALTHUS, however, has received a complete answer from the pen of Dr. CHARLES HALL,* in a work published by the latter in 1813, and from which work I shall here insert an extract, requesting all labouring men as well as all Members of Parliament to read it with attention.
Mr. Malthus, after stating the evils of pauperism, and expressing his wish to check them, says :
" To this end I should propose a regulation to be made, declaring, that no child “ born from any marriage taking place after the expiration of a year from the date " of the law, and no illegitimate child born two years from the same date, should " ever be entitled to parish assistance. After the public notice, which I hare pro. “ posed, had been given, to the punishment of nature he should be left; the punish"ment of severe want : all parish assistance should be rigidly denied him. He “ should be taught that the laws of Nature had doomed him and his family to starte; “ that he had no claim on society for the smallest portion of food ; that if he and “ his family were saved from suffering the utmost extremities of hunger, he would “ owe it to the pity of some kind benefactor, to whom he ought to be bound by the “ strongest ties of gratitude."
Is not this enough to fill the labouring classes with indignation and rage ? But now let us hear Dr. Hall's able answer :
“ The treatment of this labouring man, I cannot help saying, appears to me “ not only inhuman, to the last degree, but unjust and iniquitous. I will ask, why “ is be thus treated ? Because, it will be answered, he does not produce by his “ labuur sufficient to maintain his family. But, I say he produces six or eight times “ as much as his family requires, but which is taken from him by those who produce " nothing. What he is entitled to is, all that his hands have made or produced, of the whole fruits of his labour, not that pittance his wages enable him to pur" chase. That he has produced what I assert, is literally true if he is an husband. “ man; and if he is an artificer, the labour which he applies in his trade, would, “ if it was suffered to he employed on the land, do the same. It is not true that “ he has doomed himself, or that Nature has doomed him and his family to starve;
* The work here quoted by Mr. COBBETT is one of extraordinary merit, although one, the docti ines of which were not a all likely to be fashioi able a: the time when it was first published. There were three editions of Dr. Hall's book; the first published in 1805, the second in 1813, and the third in 1820. These three were, in fact, but one edition, only that the Doctor, finding, most likely, that his book did not sell, brought it out a second and a third time; with a new title-page. Its original title was, “ The Effects of Civilization on the People in European Slates.” To the second publication there was added, “ An Appen. “ dix, containing Observations on the Principal Conclusion in Mr. Malthus's Essay " on Population." And the third title (1820), was, “ An Inquiry into the Cause " of the Present Distress of the People."-Ep.
" that cruel doom is brought on by the rich. If any are to be treated in this * cruel manner, it is those who have been rich, and who have never produced “ any part of all they have consumed. But none ought to receive such hard " usage. The poor labourer is to receive no assistance from others, because, it “ will be said, it will be a burthen on the rich. I say, he is no birthen on the “ rich; and that, instead of receiving any thing from them, he gives them seven “ parts out of eight of what he produces. He is under no ties of gratitude to " them; and if he had sensations of an opposite kind, it might hardly bc won“ dered at. Are the bees who produce the honey under obligation to the drones " for eating it? Are the bees a burden to the drones, and not the drones to the " bees? But who are the poor men that are to wait before they marry, and to " what time are they to wait ? I answer, that not this or that individual, but none “ of the labourers, or any of the common mechanics, can rear a family without " the greater part of them perishing for want, even with the interest of all the " money they can possibly have saved during the time they are single. Are they, " therefore, never to marry? Are not those rather to remain single, who do “ nothing to support themselves or the children they may have? And for whose " benefit are the poor to remain single, to be abstemious and continent? For “ those, I say, who wallow in waste and luxury, gensuality and lust. No restraint “ can be justly imposed on any, unless they receive all the advantages that may “ be derived from it."
Let those, therefore, ponder well, who have this scheme in their heads. But it is curious that a clergynian of the Church of England should have been the father of this doctrine. That Church quarrelled with the Church of Rome, in part, and, perhaps, principally, because the Church of Rome does not permit her clergy to marry! And, though Mr. MALTHUS may have forgotten it, one of the Articles of the Religion of the Church of England, and in which Articles Mr. Malthus has. of course, sworn that he believes, reprobates the doctrine of abstaining from marriage, as being hostile to the Word of God. The same Article says, that it is " lawful for all Christian men to marry at their own discretion.” At the solemnization of matrimony, the Church prays thus: “O, merciful Lord and Heavenly Father, by whose gracious gift " mankind is increased; we beseech thee assist with thy blessing these “ two persons, that they may both be fruitful in procreation of children, “and also live together so long in godly love and honesty that they “may see their children christianly and virtuously brought up to thy praise " and honour, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And at the churching of women, these words are uttered: “Lo, children and the fruit of the “ womb, are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord.-Like as “ the arrows in the hand of the giant : even so are the young children. "' -Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them : they shall “ not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate."
For what, then, are the labouring classes in this kingdom to be shut out of this state of life? Why are they not to have children ? Why are they not lo possess this “ heritage ? " Why are they to be deprived of sharing of these gifts and these blessings ?-Why, in short, are they to be considered as brutes; as live stock upon a farm ?
But, if this clergyman of the Church and his abettors thought it necessary to check the increase of the labouring people's children, how came they to overlook the increase of the children of the clergy them. selves ? Will they say, that the poor clergy do not receive parish relief? The clergy altogether receive, according to Mr. ARTHUR Young's calculation, more than five millions of pounds a year in England and Wales only, and there is about fifteen thousand of them in England and Wales, while there are millions of labou ring people. But, this is
not all ; for, while the clergy of the Church receive this immense sum annually, and while some of the bishops have more than twenty thousand pounds a year each, and many of the other clergy two large livings each, there have been granted, for some years past, a hundred thousand pounds a year to assist in the maintenance of the poor clergy of the Church of England. This is a mere gift out of the taxes, a large part of which taxes are paid by the labouring classes; and, what insolence as well as what cruelty and injustice is it, then, to propose to prevent the labouring classes from marrying, lest they should become chargeable to the parish, while these poor clergy who marry and have children without any attempt at hindrance, are actually chargeable, and actually receive relief, out of those very taxes, a large part of which come out of the wages of the journeyman and labourers ? Let Mr. Malthus answer this question if he can.
And now, GEORGE, in conclusion, let me first observe, that you and your sons (to say nothing of your dependents), receive a very large sum of the public taxes or loans annually, and put this sum into your private pockets. The receipt of four ihousand three hundred and twenty-four pounds a year by yourself as Treasurer of the Navy is a salary, and this is within two thousand of the sum paid to the President or chief ruler of the United States of America, though that nation is nearly as populous as Great Britain, and though she has nearly as much trade and commerce, and is much more difficult to defend than this nation, and more difficult to govern than this nation might be. Next, you have a sinecure, which you have secured for your son, George Henry Rose, who is (if all remains tight) to enjoy it for his life after your death. This office, agreeably to an account given in by yourself, in 1810, yielded you, upon an average, 4,9461. a year, though you stated that you did nothing for it. Next you have a sinecure as Keeper of Records in the Exchequer, 4001. a year. Next your son, William Stuart Rose, has a sinecure as Clerk of Exchequer Pleas, 2,1371. a year. Your son, George Henry, is now, I believe, a foreign minister, and once was, as this nation has good reason to remember, a minister from this country to America, where the charges on his account amounted to much more than the President's salary. You yourself have received in salary more than 4,0001, a year upon an average of the last twenty-six years. We will leave out the ambassador, and then the yearly receipt of you and one son, not including dependents and what we have not in the books, is as follows:
Or, in words, eleven thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven pounds a year. This is all paid by the people, and, in great part, by the labouring people; and yet no Mr. Malthus has the impudence to propose the passing of a law to prevent any of your family from marrying!
But, now, let us see what this would amount to if, instead of your
having received it, it had been put into a saving-bank for the people. Your salary has been more than 4,0001. a year for twenty-six years.
The salary, at 40001. a year . . . - £104,000
years, at 4,6461. a year - - - - 138,488
18,000 Clerk of Pleas (I guess) about 20 years, at 2,1871. - 43,740
We leave out the ambassador, and also all that you have received for bags and wax! This last, without including your salary before you were Secretary of the Treasury, would make a nice little sum. I cannot find the date when your son, William Stuart Rose, got his sinecure place of 2,1871. a year, but, I find him in a report dated more than eight years ago, and I take it at a guess at twenty years. At any rate, there are a good round three hundred thousand pounds in PRINCIPAL MONEY. I have not time to calculate the compound interest of it; but if principal and interest should fall a little short of half a million of pounds, you will confess, at any rate, that this money, if it had remained amongst the people, might have formed a very nice saving-bank !
Now, George, begging some parson in your neighbourhood to send me an exact computation of the compound interest on your receipts, and giving the Romsey Jackson full liberty to put this letter, particularly the last part of it, into print, and to circulate it freely amongst your voters and slaves of Southampton, Christ Church, and Lymington, I remain with such feelings as a man like me ought to entertain towards a man like you,
TO THE MEN OF BRISTOL
On the Birth-right of Petition. On the Gagging Measures proposed by the Sons of
Corruplion. On the great Falling-of in the Taxes.-On the probable Fate of the Fundholders.
(Political Register, January, 1817.)
London, 9th January, 1817. Men of BRISTOL,
You, I mean, who, for many years past have so bravely resisted the combined threats and delusions of the two factions, which have so long been a curse to this country, and have made us almost ashamed to be Englishmen, a name which has always heretofore been the proudest of