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town, they should interpose their
me to have been received thus in the " It is pretty clear, I believe, that an as arms of the people after an unmerita “ semblage of persons would take place at ed exile; but it would have been
any time that I chose to walk out to the to repay their kind intentions very spot where the dreadful scenes of the 16th
badly, to expose them to destruc" of August were exhibited. What, then! “would you expel me your town, or compel
tion for the gratification of my own me to keep myself shut up in a room ? And feelings. I knew how flagrantly “ if the people presumed to come to show me illegal this prohibition was; 1 "marks of their respect, would you visit them knew what a violation it was of " with your awful interference: Gentlemen, "we shall live to see the day, and that day is, every principle of English law; “I believe, not distant, when I shall be able but, from the considerations before " to visit the excellent people of Manchester mentioned, I turned off into the " and its neighbourhood, without your daring London road, and left boroughreve " to step in between us with your threats of “interference."--Letter of Mr. Cobbett to the
and constables, as I told them at Boroughreve and Constables of Manchester, the time, to experience those caladated at Irlam, 29th Nov. 1819.
mities which their abhorrence of me, and their acting in accordance with that abhorrence, would bring
2. In the month of June, 1826, I stopDUKE OF WELLINGTON. ped a night in this town in my
way from Preston to London. Í Al MR. JOSEPH JOHNSON'S, Smedley Lane, called no people about me; I did neur Manchester, 10th January, 1830.
nothing to give intimation of my My Lord Duke,
being in the town; and never movI PROPOSE to give you some informa ed out of the Albion Hotel, at tion, the like of which you will receive which I was for the night. The from nobody else, and on which you people, however, heard of my being will bestow some attention if you be in the town, and flocked in great wise. In the first place, the change in numbers about the hotel, in order the opinions of people of property rela to see me and shake hands with tive to the general conduct of the Go me before I went away. There vernment, and relative to their forbear were no acclamations ; no noise, ance towards it, is very great indeed. other than such as is inseparable There needs nothing more to convince from a crowd; no attempt, on my you of this than the following facts : part, to make any speech to them ;
their object merely was to see me, 1. That, in the year 1819, I, having and to shake me by the hand. This
just then landed from America, was their only offence; and for this was proceeding to Manchester, and offence, the constable, LAVENDER, was met on the road by peace knocked them and beat them ahout, officers, sent by the boroughreve, as if they had been so many base and constables of this town, to tell and blood-thirsty wretches aiming we that if I dared to approach the to commit a murder.
A great many months will draw from it. In the first place, the - there contrary to the opinions and six-and-twenty years I have not deviated:
3. But (oh, the wondrous effects of “principles which I have been permit
. Peel's Bill!) in this very towa 1 “ted to have the honour to hold and have now met with the most kind “ maintain before you ; and particu. and generous reception amongst " larly, and above all things, if you find persons of all ranks and degrees ; me to desist from the most carnest more especially amongst the more “ endeavours to obtain for the poor opulent part of the community. 1“ man the right of participating in have made four speeches on four “ choosing those who are to make the successive nights; the place, the “ laws affecting his earnings and his theatre of the Mechanics’ Institu- “ life, then say that you were, on the tion ; the price of admission, a “8th of January, 1830, listening to a shilling; the number of persons “ vile impostor, instead of listening to, that the place will contain, better "
as you thought, a man of sincerity. than a thousand ; each evening the “ Gentlemen of Manchester ! old men, place was crowded to excess; the “ they say, forget recent occurrences, interest went on increasing to the “ while they correctly remember those last ; and, on the last evening, “ that have long passed: in the present more persons, it is said, were com “ instance, I trust, and, as far as I ain pelled to go away, than could ob- " concerned, I know that the contrary tain admission. The very platform of this will be the result. Your conon which I stood was so crowded “ duct towards me has clean washed as to leave me and my little table “ from my mind all recollection of the not more than two square yards“ past, while your indulgence and kindof space; and, in short, nothing " nees shown to me will be rememcould possibly be more crowded. “ bered with gratitude to the last moBy these audiences I was listened " ment of my life.” to with the greatest attention ; Thus we parted. I do not recollect from not one single person was any moment in my life when I felt, all there heard a single hiss or mark taken together, so much pleasure as of disapprobation ; I received more when I uttered the first words of the approbation than any man could last sentence. The sentence before the
merit, and, at parting, I retired last, which gave a prospect of my being :
under a general cheering and wav- in Parliament, had been enthusiastically ing of hats.
cheered. Whether it were pride, or
what it was; whether it were a recol. These are facts which I state, as it lection of the past, joined to a recollecwere, in the hearing and the presence of tion of the present"; but, certain it is thousands and thousands of intelligent, that when the words, “Gentlemen of acute, and well-educated men, who re- Manchester," came out of my lips, I side in this wonderful hive of industry, felt a degree of pleasure, which my perseverance, ingenuity, intelligence, heart had seldom, at any rate, ever exo and talent of all sorts. Such a change, perienced before during the whole of such a reception, compared with what my eventful life, the contrasts in which I had experienced on this spot before, have been as great as ever were exo was well calculated to fill me with all perienced by mortal man. the feelings of delight. It did so, and What I felt, however, upon this oco I took my leave of my audience in the casion, is of little consequence, compared following words, as nearly as I can re- with the moral which you ought to collect : “not pass over onr heads before I shall change with regard to me is abundantly " be upon the same floor with that of Mr. worthy of your attention ; for I have “William Huskisson, of whom we have not changed ; I have been the same “ heard and read so much ; and, Gen- man; I have held the same principles, « tlemen, if you find me doing any thing and prenched the same doctrine ; for
for six-and-twenty years I have been that it is not. Mr. Pirt said, long ago, calumniated by almost the whole of the that, without putting an end to seatpress : still I have persevered, and, at selling, or, in other words, without an last, here are the people of property, effectual reform in the Commons House who thought me their foe, come round of Parliament, no honest man could be to me.
a Prime Minister of England. That This is of importance. It ought to things have not changed, in this respect, set you deliberately to consider what is for the better, since the time of Mr. the cause of this change in men's minds. Pirt, we know very well: nobody preIn the year 1819, in my answer to the tends that they have changed for the betthreat of the boroughreve and consta- ter; and, therefore, we have a right to bles, I said this : "Gentlemen, we shall hope that we shall have your support in “ live to see the day, and that day is, 1 effecting a reform in that House. You, “ believe, not distant, when I shall be able by this time, must well know the con" to visit the excellent people of Man- sequences of a want of such reform: "chester and its neighbourhood, with you must feel all the dreadful shackles “out your thinking it proper to step in and embarrassments that are imposed " between us with your threats of inter- on you, in consequence of the House of "ference.” And we have now seen that Coinmons being returned in the manner day. I have preached the forgetting described in his petition of 1793 : all of injuries amongst ourselves ; the put- beneath the aristocracy are well conting a stop to divisions amongst us ; the vinced that the country can never know cordial union of masters and of men; happiness again; never can again know the defeating of the old, tyrannical freedom from harassing embarrassment, maxim, “ divide and govern." Never until that reform shall take place. was the maxim more successfully acted I now come to matters of more imupon, than by the boroughmongers and mediate interest, because they relate to their corrupt crew of seat-dealers. As your decision relative to the currency
of long as they could persuade the middle the country. First, I will observe, that class, and particularly the richer part of all manufacturers, all persons in trade, the middle class, that the lower class who have real capital, who are not, in • had in view nothing but the taking of fact, insolvent, or nearly so, anxiously their property and cutting their throats, wish that you may persevere steadily in the base and corrupt dealers in seats adhering to the present law relative to knew they were safe in the enjoyment the one-pound notes. Every tradesman of the fruits of their infamous traffic. perceives the ruin that would now be
Now, my Lord Duke, I am glad to be inflicted on him by a return to the base able to tell you ; and I hope that you paper-money: he sees that his book will be glad to hear it (for i can see no debts, he sees that his bills by long date reason why you should not), that the due to him, would, in fact, be paid hinn two classes have begun to perceive that in about one-half their real and honest their interests are one and the same ; amount. Widows and orphans might and that seat-selling, that infamous traf- see that those who hold their money fic, which was in the House itself de- in trust, would pay them with about clared to be as notorious as the sun at one-half of their due. Every one sees noon-day, has been, and is, the great that yearly servants would be robbed of pervading cause of the ruin of the rich half their wages. The foreign merchant amongst the middle class; of the great sees that his debtor at New York would embarrassments of the whole of that pay him with one-half of what is his class; of the degradation of the whole due, while his creditor at New York of thas class, and of the half-starvation would insist upon being paid in full, of their working-people.
In short, every one who is a creditor, But grievous as this news must be to whether as inortgagee, merchant, legathe vile traffickers in seats, ought it to tee, tradesman with book debts, yearly be so to you? It ought not ; and I hope servant, or in any shape whatsoever,
would, by a return to the base paper-| look to for a defence of your conduct, if money, be robbed, by Act of Parliament, you now go back? You must confess of one-half of his due.
yourself to have inflicted all this sufferThen, sensible men see no security in ing; to have brought to ruin so many a return to the worthless rags; they hundreds of thousands of happy famiknow what ups and downs there have lies ; you must confess that you have been already; and if the Government done this in mere sport, in the mere once more recoil ; if a Government, with wantonness of cruelty; or, that you a man of your reputation for firmness; have done it through the most profound with a man pledged as you are ; if a ignorance. If you persevere, you Government with a man like YOU at are consistent; and I say you are just the head of it, recoil ; and that, too, in and wise, provided you bring back the the teeth of its solemn declarations ; taxes to bear a due proportion to the and that, too, I say, after having so- increased value of money; and this, I lemnly declared, that to recoil, would hope, is what you intend to do ; a hope put at hazard the peace of the country, which I have always expressed as a and the safety of the crown itself; if a condition on which I supported the aboGovernment thus constituted and thus lition of the one-pound notes. In going pledged now recoil, on what are the forward, therefore, you are perfectly people of England to rely in future? consistent, just, and wise ; but if you Who can venture to make a contract of recoil, you are on one or the other of any description, unless completed and the horns of the above-stated frightful satisfied upon the spot; all credit, all dilemma; you again toss men's fortunes confidence must be banished from into the air ; and you plunge this country amongst men of property; the whole into confusion. machine of commerce must come to a Nevertheless, my Lord Duke, it is stand; and all the energies of the right for me to inform you, that, though country must die away.
men of real capital are all of one mind Every man of sense perceives that as to their wishes that you may proceed, there is now no return to the base paper- there is division amongst them with money, without protecting the Bank in regard to the opinion as to what you London, and all other banks, against will do. The greater part of them demands of payments in gold. It has think; or, at least, many of them think, not required me to tell them, that, with that you will recoil ; they know, and I the present quantity of gold in the know well, that it will require uncomcountry, such a protection of the banks mon firmness in you to resist the impormust lead to two prices in the market; tunities of the landowners, generally and that, when that comes, it will go on, speaking. They, in general, are debtors; and would go on in spite of laws like their estates, from the very nature of those of ROBESPIERRE, until the whole things, must be, and always must be, amount of a year's taxes would not pay mortgaged in a very considerable profor the ornaments of a single gateway portion; and they are now paying twice in St. James's Park.
as much interest, in general, as they Therefore, the general impression is, ought to pay; twice as much as they that you will not recoil. I have every have contracted to pay, especially if the where given it as my decided opinion mortgage be of long standing. I know that you will not; because, besides the that this is unjust ; but, in the first monstrous injustice of such a measure, place, the landowners have sanctioned, and the evident peril of it to the state if not assisted, to make the very laws itself; besides these, there is your own that have inflicted the injustice. The character. For, what defence would landowners ought to be relieved from you have to offer? Having inflicted all the effects of these laws ; but they this suffering to enforce a gold pay- ought not to be relieved by the ruin of ment, in order to prevent the greatest men in trade. There ought to be an dangers to the state, where are you to equitable adjustment run throughout,
funds and all included. It is curious and, at any rate, they would know that that the writers in favour of the land they had something to rely upon. now recommend an adjustment with Therefore, be the determination what it regard to mortgages; but with regard may, it is of importance that people to nothing else.
know it as soon as possible; for, at However, what the landowners, take present, there is a suspension of all crethem as a mass, are aiming at, is, to i dit, and all confidence, generally speakforce you back to the base and false, ing. worthless rags; which they choose, I must not conclude, however, withwith all the disgrace to you, all the dis- out observing, that it will be quite imgrace to the Government and the coun- possible to persevere in gold payments try, all the danger to the state and to without a great reduction of the taxes. the throne ; they choose this rather than This is what I said in my petition to a return to low taxes, in which taxes the Parliament at the time when the they, their sons, their kindred, their de- present law lay before them. I have pendents, and their boroughmongering heard (a falsehood, of course) that you tools, have so large a share. They have said, that we have turned the corknow well that they are now getting ner ; that we have, as the farmers call double taxes in the various ways in it, got over the bad place; and that now which they receive them; but they we shall go on pretty cheerly, getting perceive that, if they keep the double better and better. My Lord Duke, betaxes, they must pay double mortgages; lieve no such thing as this: the thing and that,' in a short time, they must is impossible ; it is against reason ; it use the landed part of their estates. is against nature ; it cannot be true. A They have one estate in land and another considerable part of the five-pound in the taxes : they wish to keep both ; notes have disappeared; but they must but they must part with one or the all disappear if we persevere in this law. other. If you proceed, leaving them as they disappear, prices will fall lower the estate in the taxes, they lose the and lower, until we come back to the land to a certainty
prices of 1791 ; when the average price Therefore it is, that they wish you to of wheat had been, for twenty-five years, return to the base paper-money, which four shillings and sixpence the bushel, will still give them a lien upon both Winchester measure. The price now of these estates. They are driving at this English wheat, taking England and privately : they are endeavouring, I am Wales throughout, does not exceed six sure they are, to wheedie and cajole shillings a bushel, notwithstanding the you. Their county meetings have no two successive bad harvests that we other object than this, generally speak- have had, and notwithstanding that ing; and thus they will persevere until there is now scarcely any old rick standthey shall receive from you a positive ing, instead of the large stock of them denial, which will be a sentence passed that was always seen standing, up to upon them; which will tell them the year 1791. At the same time, the almost in so many words, you and average price of fat beef in Leadenhall your families shall no longer live on and Newgate markets, is four-pence a the industry of the incessantly toiling pound. My opinion is, that if we perse
vere with this law for two years, prices The sooner, however, that the coun- will be lower than they were in 1991, try is informed of your determination, because there are less gold and silver in the better. The King's speech itself Europe than there were in 1791. There ought to express a determination to per- having been scarcely any brought from Severe in the present law. Then every the mines for the last twenty years ; man would know what he was about: and the drain from Europe to China let things be managed ever so wisely, having been so great during that time. there would be great suffering still to By the perverseness of the English Par
but men would know the worst; liament, North America has been created