Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the whole of the civil government of the war was over, the restoration of the which, including ten most able ambas- Bourbons, the re-establishment of bigadors kept in Europe, does not equal shops and priests, and the everlasting the amount given annually in sinecures boasting of the conquest of France, and of pensions to a couple or three of the the swaggering over Frenchmen on families of our aristocracy. This exam-that account: these blinded the people ple my Lord Brougham may call " a of England so far as to make them theory" but theory or theory not, it overlook the vast advantages that France has had upon the world the effect which had derived from the revolution, by PAINE said it would have; namely, that which event she had scattered the of making people despise the glare of church property about into innumerable courts and of aristocracies; and of the hands; she had abolished the law of planting in their minds this great primogeniture; she had put an end to truth, that a rich government makes the ferocious and infamous game-laws, a poor people, and a poor government and all the innumerable petty bloody a rich people." If this circumstance tyrannies, called the Seignieurial has produced effect upon the French Courts; she had abolished for ever the and other foreign nations, what effect Gabelles and the Corvées; and above must it have produced upon the people all things, she had abolished the tithes! of England, whose intercourse with America is as close, at any rate, as the intercourse between Sussex and Yorkshire. When, in 1814, the bloody Old Times called upon our government to make war upon the Americans, to depose the President, and to destroy their government; and when nearly the same words were ascribed to SIR JOSEPH YORKE, who was then a lord of the Admiralty; at that time this bloody newspaper said, "that legitimate go❝vernments would never be safe until "that successful example of democratic "rebellion should be destroyed." If the bloody thing had said that heavy taxing and heavy tithing governments would never be safe as long as that cheap government existed, it would have been right; unless in the case of such of those governments as would make some approach towards that of America in point of cheapness. It is this great circumstance, this fascinating example, that is now urging men on to call for reform, because they know that without that they never can have cheap government.

[ocr errors]

THE THIRD great circumstance which has arisen since the year 1793, is the example afforded by France, as she now stands. During the war against the French, the example of that country had no terrors for our aristocracy or our Church; because nobody could tell how the struggle might terminate; and after

All these, however, were overlooked by the mass of the people of England, who, seeing the Bourbons again on the throne, and the Prince of Waterloo commanding at Paris, thought that all the French had got by their revolution and their wars, was the disgrace of being conquered, which notion was sedulously inculcated by all the base writers and talkers in England; and one answer to the reformers always was, that the French asked for reform, and they got revolution; and that the revolution had brought them nothing but disgrace; so that the example of the great nation of France was an argument against, rather than for, the reformers; but that glorious month which the sun favours with his brightest beams, and which had been the season of those two immortal events, the declaration of American Independence and the taking of the Bastile; that glorious month, which ought to be held as a jubilee every year, saw that revolution which is now in the course of being completed; and when, on the 29th of July, the tricoloured flag again floated from the Hotel de Ville, it proclaimed hope to the heart of every oppressed man in the world, and terror to the heart of every oppressor. It bade the miserable creatures doomed to exist on potatoes and water, to hope once more for bread and for meat; and it called upon every man of virtue and talent to exert himself in the

cause of freedom and of justice. Is of justice to me, especially as some there a man in England, with common other papers improved on the statement sense in his head, who can look at what so far as to assert, that I had actually is passing in France, and not connect it" been seized and sent to Newgate." with what is passing here with regard Now, Sir, in the first place, not only to Parliamentary Reform? If there be was I not sent to Newgate, but no warsuch man, the state of his mind is rant at all was issued against me. wholly unaccountable to me. Do you, Without stopping to inquire into the my Lord Brougham, believe that a legality, the justice, the decency of pub cheap government can be established lishing statements like this, I now proin France, and that one-half of the pre-ceed to remark, first, that I have yet sent expenditure can be kept up in Eng- heard nothing of this indictment, except land? You do not, because you can- through the newspapers: second, that not believe it. The wise way, then, is I believe such an indictment to have to reduce that expenditure with all been returned; third, that I am not at possible dispatch; and yet this you all surprised at the transaction which cannot do without a reform of the Par- has been plotting for about two months. liament, real and efficient, and including I beg my friends all over the kingdom, the ballot! and my readers all over the world, to be assured that I will meet this indictment in a manner becoming the author of The Political Register and The History of the Protestant Reformation, and The Poor Man's Friend.

Thus, my friends, readers of the Register, I have laid before you, and before the Ministers, if they choose to listen to them, my opinions relative to A REPUBLIC IN FRANCE, and a PARLIAMENTARY REFORM IN ENGLAND. BeMy friends in this country are not fore I have another opportunity of ex-aware, generally speaking, of the napressing myself upon these subjects, the die, with regard to the latter at least, will probably have been cast. To express either hopes or fears upon the subject would be totally useless. They would produce no effect; and, therefore, having thus performed my duty, I have only to add, that I am

Your faithful friend

And most obedient servant,
WM. COBBETT.

THE

WHIG-INDICTMENT.

THE following letter to the Editor of the Morning Chronicle was published on Monday last, When I have inserted it, I shall add a few remarks.

ture of a proceeding like this. First, then, they should know that a bill of indictment may be preferred by ANYBODY, against ANY-BODY, and for ANY➡ THING, whether true or false; second, that no evidence is required for the finding the bill to be true, in a case like this, other than evidence to prove the fact of publication by the party accused; and that, in the case of a Grand Jury at the Old Bailey, who have as many bills brought before them at a sessions as a stout porter can carry in his arms, to examine into the merits of the allegations is utterly impossible. Therefore, the mere finding of the bill to be a true bill amounts to nothing at all; more than that, I nay, if the parties choose, and have the pluck when the time comes, be put upon my trial. I beg my friends, therefore, to be assured that these words "true bill" have nothing in them to daunt me.

SIR,-You having published, in your paper of the 19th, a statement, that a Bill of Indictment against me had been found at the Old Bailey Sessions, and The Times Newspaper of the 19th that the Judges, then on the Bench, does not content itself with stating the had instantly signed a Bench Warrant fact of a true bill having been found to apprehend me, I beg you to insert against me; but subjoins a very broad this letter in your paper, which you hint as to the consequences of such find will deem, I hope, no more than an acting. It says "The London Grand

1

Jury, yesterday afternoon, among the England shall succeed, that success rest of their presentments, returned a shall never have to be ascribed to aban➡ true bill against Mr. COBBETT, for pub-donment of duty on the part of,

lishing a seditious libel, tending to ex-
cite disaffection among his Majesty's
subjects, particularly those engaged in
agricultural labour, and induce them to
destroy machinery, &c. The FORM of
the indictment is SIMILAR to that on
which CARLILE was CONVICTED last
sessions." That is to say, that the of-
fences are SIMILAR, and to cause it to
be believed that the result will be simi-
lar;
and that, of course, the Recorder
of London will, in all human probability,
sentence me to two years' imprisonment
in a felon's jail, and to be held in bonds
for the remainder of my life.

Sir, your most humble

And most obedient servant,
WM. COBBETT.

Kensington, Feb. 20, 1831.

On Monday morning, the 21st, I took two friends and gave bail for my appearance at the sessions. The trial cannot take place until after the middle of April. From all the circumstances, the particulars of which I have not room to detail at present, I have no question that the affair of Goodman, carried on by Parson Rusu, Justice BUR RELL and Co.; that the underhand Now, Sir, I beg, through your co-defamation of BLANDFORD and his clelumins, to assure my friends that I have rical associates; that the attempts made written and published nothing criminal; at Winchester to get confessions, espethat I have done nothing unlawful; cially from the man that was hanged that I will bring this matter before the for knocking down BINGHAM Baring; Chief Justice of the Court of King's I have not the smallest doubt that all Bench and a Jury of the city of London; these, and that the incessant workings that, so far from fearing the conse- of the bloody Times newspaper, to mix quences, I glory in being afforded this me up with Mr. CARLILE; I have not the opportunity of exposing by the means of smallest doubt that these, TREVOR'S the whole of the press, the motives to motion, and BENETT's attack, were all so this result of a mean and foul conspira- many parts of a scheme to create alarm ey against me; of showing to the whole in my family, and to get me, somehow world that this is an attempt (which I or other, to remove out of the country, make a vain attempt) to prevent me or to cease to write. The parties inter from continuing my labours for obtain-ested being convinced, as TREVOR said, ing justice for the middle and working that neither Church nor House of class of people; for causing legally Commons could stand if my writings to be taken from the receivers of the were suffered to go on. How surprised taxes and the tithes those immense these malignant and stupid Whigs must sums, the taking of which has produced have been when they saw my Register all the difficulties, all the troubles, all of last Saturday, which was actually the commotions in which we are in-publishing at the very moment when volved at home, and all the contempt their sneaking bill of indictment was brought upon our country abroad, which we now have the sorrow and the shame to behold; but, Sir, with regard to the real motives of this mean and malignant prosecution, as well as with regard to every other matter connected with the proceeding, I will, with your indulgence, inform the public as soon as I possibly can, and, in the meanwhile, I beg you and that public to be assured, that if these manifest designs to prepare the way for the annihilation of all that remains of the liberty of the press in

coming from the hands of the Grand Jury! I have always known them for the meanest and most spiteful of mortals; their malice has always been in proportion to their mercinariness and their want of talent; and God knows they have a great stock of both. They have chosen, upon this occasion, to light their candle, and it shall be my business to take care that it is not put under a bushel. I will contest the ground with them inch by inch. First, they have begun their attack in their bloody news.

useless to endeavour to effect any plan of emigration while I continued to write : and so it is, HORTON. It is so; and I will continue to write; and you shan't deceive the people, and get them to consent to go to rocks and swamps and snows and burning sands, there to perish, when they have a right to a good living in their native country.

paper; next, brought out the accusa-tute again! This fellow, who is now, tions of a man with a halter about his it seems, to have eight thousand pounds neck, whose life has been spared, though a year, said, in his lecture, that it was he has set five fires, according to his own confession; next, they make their attacks in parliament, and thence send the falsehoods all over the country; having failed to produce the effect intended by all these, and by all the eavesdroppings of fellows like BLANDFORD and SLAPP, they come at last with their Bill of Indictment, to see what that will do! All shall fail them. I will make Two-penny Trash," number nine, this one of the things by which this shall blow this stupid project of this Whig Ministry shall be remembered. I stupid Ministry to atoms. But, how am at a loss, at present, what to call it; long will it be before the Ministry itself the "Goodman Ministry," the " Trevor will be blown into atoms? As to the Ministry," the Blandford-and-Slapp indictment, I am aware that they will Ministry," or the " Indictment Minis-leave that as a valuable legacy to their try." However; there will be time successors; but what is to become of enough to fix upon a proper name themselves in the meanwhile? Look at for it. And did these greedy fools, their project for the tax on the transfer these conceited, hungry fellows; did of stock; look at all their projects, in they imagine that I did not foresee that short. But, readers of the Register, there must be fights of this sort take pray observe what is doing in France. place before the end cometh! How Mark, every-body believed that when the many times have I said, "The monster Parliament was dissolved in July last, of corruption will not expire without every-body believes that, on this side of laying its claws about it?" I have no the water, there was an eye at that room for any more at present, except time to the other side of the water. just to say this, that my readers Now, mind, the moment this Whig may rely upon it, that I will do Ministry was formed, they began to the thing well; that I will fight preach up the necessity of immediate these gallant Whigs to the bottom of the last ditch. Further information on this subject I will give, from time to time, as the circumstances may arise. WM. COBBETT.

Reform of Parliament. They drawled the thing along till just before Christmas; and then they adjourned the Parliament to the third of February, that they might have leisure to digest their plan of Reform. Well! on the third of February they met, and had their plan P.S. If the liberal Whigs can spare ready; quite ready; but, for no earthly time; if they can deduct so much from reason that they stated, or that any man their cares and anxieties about getting could imagine, they were to keep it a me into a jail, I would beg them to read secret until the first day of March. In the next Two-penny Trash," a great the middle of February a plot breaks part of which will be employed in show-out at Paris, for the restoring of ing up their precious scheme for getting CHARLES X. and the Duke de Boa rid of the people of England, which DEAUX. This plot, like that of POLIGscheme, I take upon me to say, I will defeat. Their new Governor, WILMOT HORTON (a true Whig in soul), who attacked me at the Mechanics' Institute, and then got SCOTCH BIRKBECK, and the rest of that crew, to prevent me from lecturing at the Mechanics' Insti

NAC, is defeated by the bravery, good sense, and virtue of the people of Paris; and there are the people of that famous city, demanding a REFORM OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, AND A REAL REFORM too; or, expressing their determination to proclaim a Re

public! Curious coincidence!
people of both countries demanding a
reform of the chamber of representa-
tives. It was worth while to wait,
therefore, perhaps, to see what the peo-
ple of France would do; and, upon my
word, I should not be much surprised
if Little Lord JOHN's project of Reform
were postponed from the first of March
to some other day. For my readers
may be well assured that that which we
shall finally obtain will depend, in a
great measure, upon that which shall
take place in France between that day
and the last day of June..

BRIGHTON PETITION.

The should have killed me twenty years ago. To kill me now would be of no use, even if they could do it; for there are my scholars at work all over the country. Let them read this petition from Brighton; then let them read Norfolk petition, repassed as it was the other day by the city of Norwich; then, if they could but read the speech of Mr GEORGE FAITHFULL, which was published in the Brighton Guardian of the 23rd, and were to reflect that that speech was made under the very nose of the Court, and in the presence of all the creatures hanging about it, they would, if they had sense, begin to think of yielding to the advice of the schoolmaster. This petition was passed on the very day that the liberal Whigs preferred their indictment.

The Petition of the Inhabitants of Brighthelmstone in the County of Sussex, SHEWETH,

That your petitioners, who have hitherto now find themselves called upon by the pressabstained from taking part in political matters,

sentiments, excited by that universal distress, unparalleled in the history of this country, under which the industrious classes have for

a long time been suffering and still continue to suffer.

That your petitioners are of opinion, that there can arise no well-founded expectations that the evils which threaten to disorganize society can be averted but by effecting a great reduction of taxes, failing which, the distress of the large majority of those who are not supported by the taxing system will soon lead to the most disastrous consequences.

ON Friday, the 18th instant, at a Meeting held in the town of Brighton, the following petition was agreed to, with only five hands held up against five hundred. A petition of another description was moved by one of the RICARDOS; but that was opposed by Mr. GEO. FAITHFULL, who substituteding exigences of the times to express their the following petition in its stead. I regret exceedingly that I cannot insert the whole of the proceedings of this day, and especially the speeches of Mr. FAITHFULL and Mr. FLIGHT. It will be seen that the petition is an epitome of Norfolk petition, with the important addition of the ballot. I beseech Lord BROUGHAM particularly to look well at this petition. If the Ministers were to be considering how they are to get rid of petitions like this rather than how they shall get rid of him, of whose opinions and precepts they are the echo, they would be much more sensibly as well as more honourably employed now. The whole nation seems to have but one mouth, and to be employing that mouth in sending my sentiments to the ears of the Ministers and the Parliament. Yes, Lord BROUGHAM, the "schoolmaster has really been abroad;" and abroad he means to be, in spite of your Bill of Indictment. We have often heard of locking the stable door after the steed is stolen. An attempt of this sort is now making by the tax-eaters and and their parsons, tools. To have answered their end, they

That your petitioners feel that such a reduction of taxes as the necessities of the people require cannot be made without a reduction of the interest of the national debt; that until all unmerited sinecures and pensions, that interest cannot with justice be reduced and all useless offices, shall have been abolished, the salaries of all necessary officers considerably curtailed, the army lessened, and a large portion of that species of public prothe exigences of the state. perty, called church property, applied towards

That your petitioners further feel, that there is no prospect of these things being done until therefore pray for such a reform in the Comthe people be fairly represented; and they mons' House as will shorten the duration of Parliaments, and secure to every householder, paying scot aud lot, the right of voting in the return of members, and that by ballot, which they consider the most important feature in any measure of reform.

And your petitioners will ever pray.

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »