Abbildungen der Seite

prices; therefore it could not, alone, Are the causes unknown ? No have any great effect in mitigating when the divisions of the community public suffering. It might, for a few are looked at separately, the sources months, create confidence and spe- of the suffering which overwhelms culation, and thereby get up prices; each and all, are matter of demonbut the latter would soon fall to what stration. The empire has been brought they are at present. As the auxilia- into this horrible state, neither by ry of what I have already recom the visitations of Providence, nor by mended, it would be highly effica- the measures of foreign nations, but cious. With free trade, prices in by the acts of its own rulers. It has this country must, in spite of bank not been ravaged by plague and fanotes, be mainly governed by conti- mine; its markets abroad have not nental ones, precisely as Scotch and been destroyed by war or foreign leIrish prices must be governed by gislation; but the evils which plague, British ones.

famine, war, and foreign rivalry could I now close my remarks on politi- have produced, have been showered cal economy, but before I suffer the upon it by its own lawgivers. pen to quit my fingers, I must offer And are the remedies involved in some general ones on the state of my mystery ? No. They are before the unhappy country.

eyes of all; it is matter of general For four successive years, England confession, that measures could eahas been scourged with continually sily be resorted to, which would give increasing distress. During this long prosperity to the great majority of term, not a single division of her in the community. Not only has it been habitants has known prosperity for proved by experience, but the very even a moment ! the property of her champions of the present system own, agricultural, manufacturing, and tra that a change of law could render the ding classes, has been regularly wast- agricultural interest and several ing, and the wages of her labouring others prosperous, and that the reorders have been, with little excep- turn to small notes would benefit a tion, regularly declining. The state vast part of the country. Remedies of things is now worse than it has could be at once adopted which, a ever been since the commencement. few years ago, on the admission of After losing many hundreds of mil. enemies as well as friends, filled the lions, the men of business are on the realm with wealth and abundance, verge of general bankruptcy, and the which, after pouring an incredible working classes are without a suffi- amount of riches into the public treaciency of necessaries.

sury, enriched both the individual This is wholly without example in and the community at large. modern history. Former fits of suf The ministers and legislators of fering were of short duration, they this empire avow that the causes are never seriously injured more than a intended to produce the low prices part of the population at the same which are inseparable from stagnant moment; and they were followed by markets, insolvency, and pauperism; an enlarged measure of prosperity, and they acknowledge that the rePutting out of sight the effects of ci medies did, and would again, provil war, never before, in so short a duce wealth and prosperity. The period, did any great nation sustain chief of what they urge against the such an enormous loss of capital, latter is, that the prosperity would part with such a gigantic portion of be occasionally interrupted by fits of the comforts and food of its inhabi- suffering; and while they urge this tants, and retrograde to such an ap- they confess that, without them, the palling extent in all that constitutes fits of suffering will be equally frethe well-being of society. The cir- quent. The country sees that the cumstances of the mass of the popu causes produce the bad prices and lation are now much worse in this, glutted markets which are so ruinthan in almost any foreign country. ous, and it feels that, without the There is no prospect of improvement; remedies, it has to endure, not a temon the contrary, loss and insolvency porary fit, but a permanency of loss increase, wages keep falling, and the and distress, infinitely more comprefuture promises only additions to hensive and destructive than the fit distress already insupportable. of 1825, or of any former time,

Yet the causes are to be not only ding, for one composed of prussic preserved, but multiplied; and the acid and gravel might be neither paremedies are not to be, on any ac latable nor nutritious; but in public count, resorted to.

affairs it must never be attended to. To what is this incredible and por- In the latter, whenever experience tentous state of things owing? The contradicts abstract opinion, it must reply may be given in two words - be despised. If such opinion, in its ignorance and profligacy.

application, take away the bread of To use a very stale expression of the workman and the capital of the the Liberals—The Ministry and Le- employer-if it involve the empire in gislature are half a century behind ruin, it is still unerring, and must be the body of the country in knowledge. religiously adhered to, in spite of all They and their literary partisans are that physical demonstration may ofblind to the prodigious mass of in- fer to the contrary. formation which experience has pro This is what is practically taught vided in the last fifty years; and they and acted on. In the last half cencan see nothing but the exploded tury the country has been dragged dogmas of the Economists. Did ex through every variety of experiment perience prove incontestably during in political economy; the results the war, that when corn rose, other completely falsify all the principal commodities did not rise equally doctrines of the Economists, but nethat when wages rose, profits, instead vertheless they are treated with deof falling, rose likewise that the cul- rision; and the doctrines are as conture of the worst land raised greatly, fidently appealed to, as though their instead of reducing, the general rate truth could not be impeached. of profit--that with such culture the Its character shews very clearly its means of subsistence were infinitely guilty parentage. For many years the more abundant than they had pre- leaders of the Whigs have been, in viously been without it, when the general, mere political adventurers ; amount of population was much they have been men possessed of no smaller that restrictions, prohibi stake in the public weal; traders in tions, and bounties, added very great politics, who could not afford to look ly to trade that with the paper cur at any interests but their own, and rency public prosperity was infinite whose interests were eternally at valy greater, and was much more free riance with those of the empire. Infrom fits of interruption, than it had capable of acquiring public confiever been without it did experience dence, and of triumphing as a party prove all this, and far more, did it by combating for public benefit, these decisively refute every leading prin- men have regularly contended as a ciple of the Smiths and Ricardos, the faction, by attacking all established Horners and Huskissons ?-it is a mat things. Every new doctrine, no matter below notice! Experience is a ter how absurd, which assailed the vulgar, mechanical thing, which plods policy and institutions of the empire, at the plough-tail, the desk, and the has been adopted by them, not becounter; it deals in low-bred stale cause of its truth, but by reason of realities; it is no Economist or cur its use as a weapon of opposition. In rency philosopher; and it treads this manner they have bound themthe finest opinions of “ economical selves to every thing which can disscience" in the dirt as unceremoni tress and destroy the empire. ously as those of the uninformed Every man who has paid attention hind; of course it must be disregard to the conduct of these Whig leaders, ed when it contradicts the writings must have seen ample proof that, in of the enlightened Economists who their attacks on the laws and instituwere strangers to it, and had no prac tions of the country, they have been tical knowledge of the subject on principally actuated by party and which they wrote. Actual experi factious motives. Their speeches, ment may be safely followed in indi

instead of displaying careful examividual matters ; you may listen to it nation and cautious judgment, have in the building of your dwelling, been composed of puerile, commonotherwise the latter may chance to place declamation touching abstract bury you under its ruins ; you may principles, and have manifested ig even obey it in the making of a pud norance, not more gross, than evi

dently intentional. When the Catho- has been, not conviction, but interest. lic question could serve them as a Men who have acted and spoken as party, they pressed it, to the injury of they have done, must be regarded as every public interest; when it could sordid traffickers in creeds, who are not do this, they placed it on the capable of professing and renouncing shelf. When Reform could benefit any and all for the sake of office. them as a faction, they supported it They, too, have had their punishby filling the country with convul- ment. Saying nothing of the others sion and treason; when it could no Mr Peel's public life has been one longer do this, they abandoned it. continual course of despicable groTheir conduct has been the same on velling, mercenary faithlessness to questions involving the property and principles and party; and now when food of the population.

the mask is wholly thrown awayMen who so act can only escape when the smirking hypocrite is reutter ruin by looking solely at ab- solved into the shameless betrayer stract principles; they are lost if they —his new principles break down admit that actual facts and demon- with him in every particular. As strations, that real nature and con soon as his apostasy is completed, the sequences, are entitled to the least re- world sees that the creed it has given gard. These Whig leaders have been him is composed, throughout, of dewell aware of this. Solemnly pledged structive ignorance and error. To against the navigation laws, the re every honest man this must be matstrictive system, the paper currency, ter of rejoicing. the corn laws,-in a word, against Thus, with the Whig leaders, every thing on which public prospe- Whiggism has been converted into a rity rested; and so pledged for the creed of national destruction ;-free vicious object of their personal ag- trade has been cried up, and pagrandizement, they have never deign- per currency has been cried down ed to glance at the fruits of what for purposes of factious opposithey have advocated.

tion: and by the Tory leaders this They have not wholly escaped pu- Whiggism has been embraced as nishment. In all its sorrows and suf- the means of possessing place and ferings, the country has never sus emolument. The Whig must attack pected that they could relieve it; Protestant rights, and defend Catholic when it has sighed for a change of treason; he must clamour for cheap Ministry, it has never cast its eyes on bread, vituperate the aristocracy, rail them; distressed, hopeless, and de- against British monopolies, eulogise testing the conduct and measures foreign trade, and insist on concesof their opponents, it has still de- sions to foreign nations,--he must do spised them as dolts, and hated them this though public ruin be the conas aliens.

sequence, because it forms his only An upright and wise Ministry means of gaining party support, and would have anxiously wished for an crushing those who oppose him. And Opposition composed of these Whig the fallen, degraded, liberal Tory traders, as one which would be ne must servilely echo all the Whig adcessarily for ever in the wrong, and vances, though public ruin be the covered with national animosity. But consequence, because it forms his the Tory leaders became the reverse only means of gaining that Whig alof upright and wise, and in conse liance or neutrality, without which quence they became the instruments he cannot retain office. of such an Opposition, instead of The abstract principles are,

therebeating it to the dust at the head of fore, with both, matters of guilty the country.

party and personal profit: of course I say instruments advisedly. No their truth and products are not to one can look at the conduct of the be thought of. From the manner in present Ministers touching the repeal which they are spoken of in Parliaof the Test Acts and the Catholic ment, it might be concluded that the question, and at their audacious truth of such principles could not be avowal, that principle ought to be affected by their products. Granting made subservient to expediency, that that one will, in practice, sever Ireis, to personal profit, without belie- land from England—that another will ving that their general rule of action plunge millions into insolvency and

and this press

sufferingand that a third will fill and Burdetts, can err; the empire with bankruptcy and hun- dooms you to the stake for uttering ger,-they must still be rigorously such an impious impossibility. acted on.

Granting that they have The shipowner, on attempting to yielded such fruits, it proves nothing charter his vessel, is told that he against their beneficial nature. The must take a losing freight, or a foreign profligacy is carried so far, that it vir- vessel will be employed ;-the silk tually reverses the nature of things; manufacturer, on offering his goods it makes the weal of the community for sale, is told by the mercers that consist in loss and wretchedness, and he must take a bad price, or they will renders it the first duty of govern- buy of foreigners; in many cases he ment to scourge and dismember the is told his goods are so inferior to empire.

foreign ones, that they must be reIt is because the ignorance is thus fused at any price ;--the farmer intentional, that it is so gross, invul- knows that he cannot sell his wool, nerable, and omnipotent. Refute the because foreign is used instead of it, abstract principles in Parliament !- and that if his general prices were a absurd !--you might as well attempt little higher, the market would be to argue the brute into the body and glutted with foreign produce. The spirit of man. Pray for enquiry to causes which distress and ruin them prove their baleful operation !

-ridi- are thus matters of obvious, unquesculous !–because if you prove all tionable fact, which will not admit of you assert, it will prove nothing mistake. Nevertheless, this press against them. You are treated as swears by heaven and earth that they unworthy of argument, and are silen are ignorant of their own trades, are ced by derision. Discussion and in- strangers to the causes of their injury, formation are thus excluded from and are hugely benefited by their Parliament. The Holy Whig and foreign competitors. Tory Fathers must preserve their Is the shipping interest, or any political faith from the heresy of truth other, in distress, this press protests --they must canonize their saints, sell that it is in the highest prosperity. their relics, worship their images, Is the whole community overwhelmexact credence to their legends, and ed with misery,--this press declares consign unbelievers to the moral rack that the evil has been produced soleand faggot, because in this is involved ly by itself, and not in the least by their public existence. They are de- any measures of government. Does stroyed, if argument and fact be suf- any part of the nation petition the fered to kindle the blaze of reforma- legislature for relief-pray for ention.

quiry into the source of its sufferings The press naturally follows its -and offer to point out this source parties, surpasses them in guilt, and by indisputable proofs,—this press covers every point which they are covers it with ridicule and abuse, incapable of defending. What the and insists that its prayers shall be combined Parliament dare not utter, treated with contempt. Are agriculis solemnly sworn to by the combi- ture, manufactures, and trade, overned press; where shame suspends the run with loss and bankruptcy--are labours of the former, the latter steps the labouring orders starving—is the in and completes the work. The do- country a fearful scene of waste of minion of darkness and barbarism is property, pauperism, and wretchedin every quarter guarded by the doc- ness,—this press maintains that the trines of infallibility, lying legends, causes shall not be enquired into, and pretended miracles, and bulls of ex that nothing shall be attempted in the communication of the ghostly politi- way of remedy. cal priesthood of the combined press.

At the command of its infallible This monkish body displays as much superiors, this press actually or pracunscrupulous zeal in the propagation tically proclaims that cheap corn beof error and suppression of truth, as nefits landlords and farmers-that a the Papal priesthood ever displayed losing trade benefits the shipowners, in the worst of times.

silk manufacturers, &c.—that the laSay that the Holy Fathers the bouring classes are benefited by bad Wellingtons and Hollands—the Hus- wages and loss of employment—that kissons and Broughams--the Peels the destruction of capital and trade

must enlarge them—that the country please, no party to serve, no faction reaps vast profits from the giving to benefit, by exertion; the cause is away of its trade to foreign ones that of patriotism and humanity and that individual and general loss against them, therefore the spiritless, and hunger produce individual and cringing, grovelling bondsman puts general gain and abundance.

the yoke on his neck, hangs the chains Of course the monkish priesthood on his limbs, and, even to the sacriof this press replies not to those who fice of his own estate, submits to be dissent from it, by argument and fact: made an instrument in protecting it cannot bestow these on heretics. and enlarging the fearful evils. It destroys their character, public make no distinction between Whig and private, and insists that they do and Tory. While agriculture is disnot possess a vestige of knowledge tressed as it is, not even a petition to and understanding. Refute it by Parliament has been spoken of in decisive facts, and its answer is that any quarter! you are a monster, a knave, or a lu Looking in Parliament, what are natic; overthrow its creed and le. those who still, though most ungends by convincing proof, and it worthily, bear the name of country proclaims you an outlaw and con- gentlemen ? One part are the humsigns you to perdition. Its weapons ble tools of this minister, and another naturally are the anathema and ex of that; a third must servilely folcommunication ; that they are not low their whig connexions; and a also transportation and the gallows, fourth, though they profess hostility is clearly owing to the state of the to both the ministry and the whigs, law.

cannot on any account oppose them. One great cause of this appalling With them, persons are every thing, state of things is to be found in the and principles nothing; the selfsame degeneracy of the Aristocracy. Here measures, they will oppose in one tofore this body combined much pa- ministry or party, and support in triotism with its party spirit, but it another. Looking out of Parliament, is now the degraded slave of person- it is still person, and person only, al politics. Only a few years ago, which must be regarded. This batch county and other public meetings of Peers, for weighty personal reawere held to petition for Reform or sons, goes with the ministry; that, for against the property tax, to vote ad- similar reasons, sanctions the predresses in favour of the Ministry, or sent system of policy; and the gentleto promote other subjects of still men of the county cannot be so resmaller comparative importance. But fractory as to refuse to imitate them. now when the community is strug: Principles are of course out of the gling with unexampled suffering, and question. the empire is threatened with ruin, It naturally follows, that the minisno such meetings can be mentioned. try is above the influence of the coun. The country gentleman could risk try gentlemen; it knows their abject person and fortune in the cause of servility, and despises them; all it party and faction; but he can risk no- has to do is to buy up the leading thing in that of his country : he could Peers. These Peers know that they exhaust effort in creating convulsion, can drag their abject followers to any deranging the finances, and labouring thing, therefore they go to the exto give office to one knot of public treme of corruption. men, or preserve it to another; but Another great cause is to be found he cannot stir a finger in endeavour- in the conduct of too many of those ing to arrest the progress of general who oppose the present system. insolvency, give bread to the millions These worthy people, with trembling of his starving countrymen, and place humility, protest in every third senpublic affairs under the direction of tence against imputing motives, conhonesty and right principle. He sees demning conduct, and the use of his tenants in ruin, and their labour- strong language. Let one minister ers without necessaries; he feels deceive his friends, betray his cause, that his rents are departing, and his and exhibit the darkest specimen of property is undergoing practical con- apostasy on record-he is still a most fiscation; but he is still mute and mo pure and honourable person. Let tionless. There is no ministry to another minister trample on the

« ZurückWeiter »