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the young men of our day will learn | N. B. The History, of which the following is the first number, is also published in the means which enable men to make Numbers, in the book form, price 6d. each great and wonderful exertions. In the Number. meanwhile, and until I begin publish-. ing the history of my life, I shall publish in the Register, as fast as they are prepared, all the numbers successively of the History of the Reign and Regency of George IV. Every month, also, I publish in the Register, the "DEAR LITTLE TWO-PENNY TRASH." I shall publish both in the book form besides; but, I want them both to fly over the world at once, and produce their effect as speedily as possible. Thus will this Register contain all; yea, all that any man can want to know, relative to public affairs for the thirty-one years, beginning with January 1802, and ending with December, 1832. These two last four volumes (very thick) will contain a retrospect, and a résumé of the whole period; they will contain the History of the Regency and Reign of George IV., all the Monthly Two-penny Trashes for the two years, and the History of the life of the author, besides the usual matter for the Register.

1. THAT change in the religion of England, which took place in the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Elizabeth, and which is generally called the REFORMATION, has produced, in process of time, a still greater, and a most fatal, change in the nature of the English Government. Before that event, full one-third part, and indeed more, of the real

property of the country belonged to the church; that is to say, it was held in trust by the clergy of different denominations, as bishops, priests, monks, nuns, &c., for the "maintenance of religion, and for the relief of the poor and the stranger. These trustees were, therefore, in fact, the lords, or owners of something approaching to one-half of the whole of the houses and lands of England.

As to the price, it is absolutely necessary, in order to prevent me from throwing away two years of such enormous labour, which even I have not resolved until after long consideration. Here upon are sixty-four columns of print, containing more than a hundred and fifty pages of common print, and here is the stamp to

2. From the very nature of the Catholic institutions this state of things gave the common people great advantages, and in various ways, especially as it prevented them from being borne down by the aristocracy. Wher lawgivers, and are sustained by a law of prithere is an aristocracy who are heredita mogeniture, the commons, if left without some power to protect them against such a aristocracy, must, in the nature of things, be,

ber of the History of George the Fourth in the present Register, and I shall proceed with one Number every week until that work be completed, except the TrashWeek, which will come once a month; and, when George the Fourth is completed, I shall begin with my own life and go on with it in the same manner, until that be completed also. Such a thing, such labour, never was encountered before by any man; and I desire that it should be hereafter said of me, that the most laborious man that ever lived,

clear the postage. I insert the first Num-whatever they may call themselves, the slaves of that aristocracy. This protection, the com mons, or people, of England found in the Catholic church, which not only had an inte rest always opposed to the encroachments of the aristocracy, but which was, from the very nature of its institutions, the cause of a distribution of property favourable to the commons. In the first place it took a tenth part of the whole of the produce of the earth, and out of it relieved the wants of the poor, the aged, the widow, and the orphan next, the celibacy of the clergy, that is of the great mass of landowners, necessarily took from them all motive for accumulating wealth, and caused them to distribute it, in some way or other, amongst estates were immense, could possess no private the commous: next, the monastics, whose property, and were, of course, easy landlords, let their lands at low rents, and on leases for lives, so that the renters, were, in fact, pretty nearly the proprietors: one and the same family of farmers held the same farm for ages; and hence arose the term YEOMAN, which is re

was

WM. COBBETT.

No. I.
HISTORY

OF THE

REGENCY AND REIGN OF GEO. IV.
BY WILLIAM COBBETT.

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INTRODUCTION.

Sketch of the History of England, from the
Protestant Reformation to the Regency of
Geo. IV.

tained in our law-writs, but which has now no | the misery of the people, and so manifestly application. The nobility were compelled to was open rebellion approaching, that it was, follow, in this respect, the example of the after numerous efforts to avoid it, finally church; and thus the commons were the resolved on to make by law an effectual and joint-proprietors, in fact, of the whole country; permanent provision for the poor, and for the they acknowledged the owner as lord of the repair of the churches. And how did reason soil'; but they held the estates for lives; they and justice say that this ought to be done? had rents or fines to pay, at stated times, but By a tax, certainly, exclusively on the prowith this reservation, the estates were theirs; perty taken from the church and given to the they could not, like rack-renters, be turned aristocracy. This is what ought to have been out at the pleasure of the owner; and, of done; and even this would have been but a course, they were independent, free, and bold, poor compensation for all that the commons just the reverse of the rack-renters of the had lost; but instead of this a law was made present day. Another great cause of public to tax all the people for the relief of the poor happiness, arising out of this distribution of and for the repairing of the churches; and property, was, that those great landlords, the this tax, for England alone, now amounts to clergy, always, from the very nature of the the enormous sum of seven millions and a institutions, resided in the midst of their half of pounds sterling in a year. estates, and, of course, expended their reve. nues there, returning to those who laboured the fair share of the fruits of their labour; and, though the aristocracy had no such positive ties with regard to residence, example must have had, in this respect also, great effect upon them.

5. The Stuarts, who came to the throne immediately after the making of this law, besides being a feeble race of men, had not the protection which Elizabeth had found in the dread which the people had had of seeing the crown on the head of a Frenchman. The Stuarts, neither loved nor respected, had not the power to withstand the effects of the old grudge against the aristocracy, combined, as it now was, with the most furious fanaticism,

3. The Reformation broke up this state of society in England; and it has, at last, produced that state which we now behold; a state of rack-renters, of paupers, and of an aristo-hardly got quietly along through the reign of cracy making the laws and burdening the James I.; and, in that of Charles I., had to commons, or people, at their pleasure. The undergo all the sufferings of a revolution. Reformation took from the church, that is, in The Republicans, amidst all their fury against fact, from the people at large, of whom the the remains of the Catholic church, did not clergy were the trustees, all their share of the forget its estates; and, in spite of the arguments property of the country. If the makers of this of the Royalists, proceeded very coolly, and, Reformation had divided this property amongst as all the world must say, very justly, to take the people; if they had sold it and applied the the estates back again for public use. proceeds to the use of the nation at large, as was done by the makers of the French Revo-like lution of 1789, there would have been no real injury done to the commons; but this is what the makers of the Reformation did not do; they did precisely the contrary; and this too from a very obvious cause. The French Re-the Republicans had taken from it; so that, volution was made by the people; the English while the aristocracy retained all their enorReformation was made by the aristocracy mous increase of wealth and power, the king, against the wishes of the people. The French like the poor, became a charge on the public revolutionists divided the property amongst revenue; and thus were king as well as the people; the English aristocracy took the people placed at the mercy of the aristocracy; property to themselves! a state in which they have remained from that day to this.

6. The restoration of the Stuarts, which, that of Louis XVIII., was produced partly by the tyranny of the man at the bead of affairs aud partly by treachery, restored these immense estates to the aristocracy; but did not restore to the Crown the estate which

4. But this was not all that they did against the people. Having become the lords of the immense estates of the church, they, as was natural, began to put an end to that joint-proprietorship which had before existed, and, the lives dying off, they assumed the absolute possession: the race of yeomen was, little by little, swept away, and the occupants became rack-renters, wholly dependent on the will of the aristocracy. From even the parochial clergy the aristocracy had taken a great part of their revenue, while, at the same time, they allowed them to marry; and thus were the poor left without relief, and the churches without revenues to keep them in repair. Yet it was absolutely necessary that provision should be made for these objects; for, in the reign of Elizabeth, so great and so general was become

7. Next came the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688; and here the reader must have his senses at command to enable him to set the delusion of names at defiance. This revolution was made by the aristocracy, and for their sole benefit, and, like the Reformation, against the wish of the people. It was forced upon the nation by an army brought from abroad; it was made by laws passed by those who had not been chosen by the people to make laws; and that the revolution was for the benefit of the aristocracy, what need we of more proof than, is contained in the following facts, well known to all the world; that James II., who was a Catholic himself, wished to place Catholics, upon a level with Protestants as to all civil

rights; that the nation was then but at only because they were favourable to the governabout fifty years from the death of many who ment. But the Septennial bill can leave no had witnessed the transfer of the church-es-doubt in the mind of any man. One of the tates to the aristocracy, only at about forty charges against the STUARTS was, that they years from the time when those estates had had not called new parliaments frequently been taken from the aristocracy by the repub- enough; and that, thus, they had deprived the licans, and applied to public uses, and only people of the power of changing their reat about thirty years from the time when the presentatives as often as might be necessary. estates had been given back to the aristocracy The right of the people was to choose a new again; that it was evident, that if the king parliament every year. But those who incould be a Catholic himself, and were per- troduced William did not restore this right; mitted to place Catholics upon a level with but enacted that, in future, there should be Protestants, all men would say, that the Re- a new parliament every three years. Howe formation was unnecessary, and that the ver, in 1715, they found, that the people had estates had been taken from the Catholic still too much power; and in this year they, church unjustly, from which conclusion there whom the people had chosen for three years, could be but one step to the resumption of made a law to authorise themselves to sit for those estates by the nation. four years longer! Aye, and that every future parliament should sit for seven years instead of three; though the declaration against the

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8. To these facts add the following; that the Prince of Orange was not invited to England by any meeting or assemblage Stuarts stated, that “new parliaments ought of the people, nor by any person or body to be frequently called," and that this was of persons chosen by the people for that an unalienable right of the people of England, purpose, or for the making of laws; that 11. But, audacious as this was in itself, it he was invited to England by the aris- was less audacious than the pretexts set forth tocracy, and through agents sent to Hol- for the passing of the law. These were, land by them; that the Dutch army, brought such frequent elections were attended with over by William, marched to London with grievous expenses"; that they caused "vio him and displaced the English soldiers sta- lent and lasting heats and animosities"; and tioned there; that the general commanding that they might, at this time, favour the the English army went over to William; views of a restless and popish faction and that laws were immediately passed for" in causing the destruction of the peace and disarming suspected persons, and for enabling "security of the government." Now, if this the new government to put into prison whom had been a mere faction, why take away the soever it suspected of designs hostile to it. Add rights of all the people, in order to counteract these facts to the former, and then nothing its restlessness? Why, in order to keep down further need be said with regard to the actors a mere faction, subvert the fundamental laws in, or the motives to, this "Glorious Revolu- and usages of the country, and violate, in this tion." daring manner, the solemn compact so recently entered into between the crown and the people!

12. It was, then, under the auspices of the Riot act and of the Septennial act that the House of Brunswick began its reign in England; and, though Mr. CANNING will not, by those who knew him, be deemed much of an authority upon the subject, he did say, in the House of Commons, in 1822, that if the peo

9. But though by these and similar means, and by a pretty free use of the gallows and the scaffold, the aristocracy secured the estates for this time, the thing was by no means settled thus. A war with France became necessary "for the preservation of the Protestant religion"; that is to say, the quiet possession of the church-estates. To carry on this war, and to bind the monied people to the new government, it was necessary to bor-ple of England could have had their will, the row money; and hence arose the funds, the House of Brunswick would never have worn bank, and the national debt. These brought the Crown of this kingdom. The dislike of taxes, and so heavy as to create great dis- the people was not, however, to the House of contents. The people felt themselves loaded Brunswick, but to the exercise of the power with ten or twelve millions a year, instead of the aristocracy, who, by this last-menof the million and a half which they had tioned act, left hardly the semblance of power had to pay in the reign of James II.; so in the hands of the people. The Members of that, soon after the accession of George I., that House have, in general, conducted them. the first king of the House of Brunswick, he selves with great moderation; but, in its had to encounter an open rebellion; and the nome the aristorcracy has gone on with its en. aristocracy, though they had so pared down the croachments, which, however, seem at last to independence and power and influence of the be destined to counteract themselves. people, found it necessary to pare it down still more; and this they effected in the year 1715, by an act called the Riot act, and by another called the Septennial bill.

10. By the first of those laws all assemblages of the people out of doors were, in effect, put down. And why was this? Certainly not

13. The "glorious revolution" brought warst first for the keeping out of James and his family, and second for the preservation of Holland and of Hanover. These brough debts; and these brought taxes. The American colonies, now the United States, all of which, observe, had been settled by the Stu

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arts, began, in 1770, to present food for tax- | aristocracy, were too obvious to need pointing ation. The parliament (the Septennial par- out, even to parties not deeply interested in liament) passed laws to tax them. The those consequences. The obstacles to war Americans had seen how their brethren in were very great. There was the DEBT, which, England had, by degrees, lost their property by the unsuccessful American war, had been and their liberty. They raised the standard made to amount to a sum, the annual interest of "No TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTA- of which demanded six times the amount of the TION;" the septennial parliament raised the taxes which had existed in the reign of James standard of "UNCONDITIONAL SUBMISSION;" II. There were, besides, heavy burdens enthe battle began; and how it ended all the tailed upon the country by that war on acworld knows. count of half-pay and of other things. On the

14. It was impossible for these two stand-other hand, we had a most advantageous comards to remain raised for seven years, as they mercial treaty with France, which the Repubdid, without attracting the attention of the licans in France were ready to continue in world, and particularly of the intelligent and force. The interests of the people of England brave people of France, especially as the latter manifestly pointed to peace: their wishes, too, had to take a part in the conflict. The suc- were in favour of peace; and this latter is cess of the Americans, in conjunction with proved by their conduct, and still more clearly the armies of France, beckoned to the people by the PROCLAMATIONS for checking French of France to follow the bright example. As principles; by the ARISTOCRATICAL ASSOCI it was absolutely impossible for Lafayette not ATIONS formed for that purpose; and by the to imbibe the principles of Washington, so it TERRIBLE LAWS passed for the purpose of cutwas impossible that the French should not ting off all communication between the people imbibe the principles of the Americans. And of the two countries. now it was that our aristocracy began to see the effects of their septennial system recoil upon themselves. The French people, who, as FORTESCUE clearly shows, had never derived from the Catholic church the benefits which the English had derived from it; the French people, always borne down by a great standing army, while England had none; the French people, pressed to the earth by taxes, partial as well as cruelly heavy, such as England had, at that time, never heard of; the French people, insulted in their wretchedness by a haughty, a squandering, and most profligate court, and higher clergy; this oppressed and brave people resolved, in 1789, no longer to endure the degrading curse, and, at one single effort, swept away their grinding and insolent aristocracy and clergy, and, in their rage, the throne itself; and, by that act, sent dread into the heart of every aristocrat upon the face of the earth.

16. But the alternative was, Parliamentary Reform, or put down the Republic of France. That really was the alternative, and the only one. The former ought to have been chosen; but the latter was resolved on, and that, too, in spite of the acknowledged risk of failure; for, so much did the aristocracy dread the other alternative, that failure, when compared with that, lost all its terrors. To war then they went; in war they continued for twentytwo years, except the short respite procured by the peace of Amiens, which was, in fact, a truce rather than a peace. At the end of twenty-two years, Louis XVIII. was restored to the throne of France; but of that event, and its causes and consequences, the details will come into the history to which this sketch is an introduction.

17. During the fight every thing but the dread of the effect of the example of the French appears to have been overlooked by our aristocracy; and, of course, they thought nothing of the DEBT which they were contracting, though that was, as the sequel will show, destined to undo all that they were doing against the French, and to render that parliamentary reform, which it had been their great object to root out of the minds of the people, more necessary and more loudly called for than ever. They had advanced only about six years in war when they found themselves compelled to resort to a paper-money, and to make it a legal tender. This was a very important crisis in the affairs of the septennial parliament and of the aristocracy, and the consequences which have resulted, and will result, from it are to be ranked amongst those which decide the fate of governments, Therefore this matter calls for full explanation.

18. At the time when this war began, 1793, WILLIAM PITT, a son of the late Earl of Chatham, was the Prime Minister. He had estab

15. Our septennial law-makers remained, however, spectators for about two years and a half; but, in the meanwhile, the example was working here. The Septennial bill had produced all its natural consequences, wars, debts, aud taxation; and, as the cause of the evils was seen, the people had begun, even during the American war, to demand a REFORM IN THE COMMONS HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT as the only cure for existing evils, and as the only security against their recurrence for the future. When the standard of the right of representation had been raised by thirty millions of people only twenty miles from them, those of England could not be expected to be dead to the call. They were not; aud it required no long time to convince our aristocracy that one of two things must take place; namely, that the French people must be compelled to return under their ancient yoke; or that a change must take place in England, restoring to the people the right of freely choosing their repre-lished what he called a SINKING FUND, and sentatives; the consequences of which, to this had adopted other measures for reducing the

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in 1793, came the question of war against the
Republic of France. Pitt, for the reasons
before stated, was decidedly opposed to war.
The portion of the aristocracy that supported
him were for war; but, they were for their
leader too, because, if he quitted his post, Fox
came in with the tribe of Whigs at his heels.
Besides, a vast majority of the people, whether
Pittites or Foxites, were against the war. So
that Pitt had reason to fear that, with a war
on his shoulders, he would be unable to retain
his power. But the Foxite portion of the
aristocracy, seeing the common danger, and
seeing the grounds of Pitt's opposition to war,
went over and joined the Pittite party; leaving
Fox with a small party about him, to carry on
that "constitutional opposition'
"which was
necessary to amuse and deceive the people.

66

amount of the DEBT, which had now reached the fearful amount of two hundred millions and upwards. A new war was wholly incompatible with Pitt's schemes of reduction; and he, of course, would be, and he really was, opposed to the war of 1793, though he carried it on (with the exception of the truce before-mentioned) until the day of his death, which took place in 1806. And here we behold the direct, open, avowed, and all-ruling power of the aristocraey! This body had, for many years, been divided into two parties," as they called them, bearing the two nick names of TORIES and WHIGS, the etymology of which is of no consequence. The TORIES affected very great attachment to the throne and the church; the WHIGS affected perfect loyalty, indeed, but surprising devotion to the rights of the people, though it was they who had brought in the Dutch king and his army, and who had made the Riot Act and the Septennial Bill; so that, if they were the friends of the people, what must their enemies have been! The truth is, there was no difference, as far as regarded the people, between these two factions; their real quarrels were solely about the division of the spoil; for, whenever any contest arose between the aristocracy aud the poople, the two factions had always united in favour of the former; and thus it was in regard to that all important question, the war against Republican Frauce,

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21. Thus supported by the two bodies of the aristocracy united, Pitt went into this memorable war, which, though attended with numerous important consequences, was attended with none equal, in point of ultimate effect, to the measures by which paper-money was made a legal tender in 1797. The aristocracy, in resorting to this expedient, were not at all aware, that, though it gave them strength for the time, it must, in the end, bereave them of all strength; that it must take from them the means of future wars, or compel them to blow up that system of debts and funds which had been invented by them as a rock of safety, and without the existence of which the whole fabric of their power must go to pieces.

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22. In the meanwhile, however, on they went with the war, and with the struggle between them and the people on the score of Parliamentary Reform; the people ascribing the war and all its enormous debts and taxes to the want of that reform, and the aristocracy ascribing their complaints to seditions and treasonable designs, and passing laws to silence them, or punish them accordingly. When this year began (1793) the Septennial bill had been in existence seventy-nine years, and that it had produced its natural fruits is

19. PITT, who was the son of a Whig-Pensioner, and had begun his career not only as a Whig, but as a Parliamentary reformer, was now at the head of the Tories; and CHARLES Fox, who had not only been bred a Tory and begun his career as Tory, but who had, and who held to the day of his death. two sinecure offices, was at the head of the Whigs. These were the two men of the whole collection who could talk loudest, longest, and most fluently, and who were, therefore, picked out by their respective parties to lead in carrying those "debates,' as they are called, which have been one of the great means of amusing and deluding and enslaving this nation. Every effort was made by the respective parties to exalt their cham-clearly proved by the following undeniable pions in the public estimation: they were facts: namely, that at the time of the "Glorious represented as the two most wonderful men Revolution," in 1688, one of the charges that the world had ever seen; as orators, Pitt against King James was, "that he had viowas compared to Cicero, and Fox to Demos- "lated the freedom of election of Members thenes Pitt, as a lawgiver, surpassed Lycur- to serve in Parliament"; that oue of the gus: Fox more nearly resembled Solon! The standing laws of Parliament is, "that it is a people, always credulous and vain enough as “high crime and misdemeanor in any peer to to such matters, carried away by the jugglery," interfere in the clection of Members to serve ranged themselves under one or the other of " in the House of Commons"; that, in 1793, these paragons and took their respective Mr. Grey, now Earl Grey, presented a petition names as marks of honourable distinction; to the House of Commons, signed by himself and thus, for thirty long years, were the and others, stating, "that a decided majority industrious aud sincere and public-spirited" of that House was returned by one hundred people of this country divided into Pittites" and fifty-four men, partly peers and partly and Foxites; thus were they for those thirty great commoners, and by the ministry of the years the sport of the aristocracy who employ-"day"; that he offered to prove the allegation ed these political impostors, while every year by witnesses at the bar of the House, and of the thirty saw an addition to their burdens that he was not permitted to bring his witand a diminution of their liberties. nesses to the bar; that there was an appendix to this petition, containing a list of the names

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20. In this state stood the factions, when,

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