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So that these two years of won- above facts before them with one derful prosperity do not equal the hand, and hold a broom-stick in two last years of bankruptcy and the other. You are to be treated misery by 1,292,400 pounds, un-in a different manner. You have less you add the salt tax; and you understood all about the debt and are not to add the whole of that the paper-money for many years; tax, because, to a certainty, part not a young weaver amongst you, of the money formerly laid out in who is turned of twenty-one, who that tax, would be laid out in the is not more fit to make laws than purchase of other taxable commo- the Lord Charleses are. Had I to dities. It appears, then, wholly deal with them, in the present inundeniable that, upon the suppo- stance, I should no more think of sition that these accounts be true; that argument that I am about to upon the supposition that they be have the honour to address to you, not a tissue of abominable false-than I should think of addressing hoods, here is proof positive, that it to the pigs in my sty. This is the Government can collect, be- by no means affectation: I am cause for a series of years it has col-perfectly sincere in all I say: I lected, as great a sum in taxes, in declare that I should no more times of general ruin and misery, think of addressing this argument as in times of general prosperity. to any of them, than I should And, it is clear, that as long as the think of addressing it to the pigs Government has physical force to that I mean to kill next Christmas. compel people to pay the taxes that it imposes, it need not, as far as concerns its revenue, care a straw whether the landlord receive
rents or not.
But now, my good friends of Blackburn, though we have this strong, and, indeed, incontrovertible argument of experience, I like better that sort of proof, and that sort of conviction, which arise out of reasons springing from my own mind. I am always better satisfied, when it appears to me, from reasoning, that the thing must be so, than when it appears to me, from any thing that I see or hear, that the thing is so. My eyes or my ears may deceive me; but reason can never err: treat it fairly, and it never will deceive you. Let us, then, my friends, consult reason upon this subject. If I were addressing myself to Boroughmongers, or any of their stupid tribes, I should lay the
The great cause of error, in this case, is, that men take it for granted, that the whole of the community have their due share and proportion of the exciseable commodities; that every man and woman, has, at all times, a due proportion of all that is consumed; and that, therefore, the whole amount of the consumption is the criterion of the comfort and happiness of the people, and of the consequent prosperity of the nation. If the premises were true, there might be something in the conclusion; but the premises are wholly false; and as mischievous a falsehood it is as ever was sucked down by a credulous people. So far from every person in the community enjoying a due share of the articles consumed, it is notorious, that, during the four years above-mentioned, hundreds of thousands were upon the point of starving, and thousands actually
starved; and that, too, while the These newspaper fellows forget quantity of exciseable commodi- this operation of the system; or
else, brutes as they are, and as that Baines, there, is at Leeds; brutes as they are, we should not hear them talking such nonsense about the "Quarter's Revenue."
ties consumed was actually increasing. How did this happen, then? Why, an unequal distribution of the exciseable commodities took place; those things which ought to have been con- I have, upon some former occasumed by the landlord, the farmer, sion, put the case somewhat in the merchant, the manufacturer, this manner: suppose me to be a the weaver, the labourer; those landlord, with a clear estate yieldthings which ought to have been ing me five hundred pounds a consumed by them, were con- year in rent. Suppose me to pay, sumed by the placeman, the pen-out of this, a hundred pounds a sioner, the sinecure-man, the Jew, year to the Government in tax on the jobber, the army-people, the wine. Suppose the Government navy-people, the police-people, to make such a change in the vaand all the bands that feed upon the taxes, and all the Quakers and other monopolizers, and all their footmen and girls, and understrappers, and devilish creatures of every description; and perhaps one single wretch employed in polishing a Quaker's boots, or waiting upon the old sly dog's wench, really consumed, in the year 1822, as much of exciseable commodities as half-a-dozen poor labourers and half-a-dozen poor weavers all put together. The newspaper brutes forget all about this: that Taylor, there, of the "Manchester Guardian," for instance, and that Cunliff, of Bolton; these fellows, for instance, never think about the operations of the taxing system, and the monopolizing system, which takes the beer, the wine, the spirits, the sugar, the tea, the tobacco, the soap, and the candles, and many other things from the weaver or the labourer, and gives them to this Quaker's scrub and pimp, and makes the rogue as fat as a hog and as greasy as a butcher, while the poor weavers and the poor labourers are skin and bone.
lue of money as would take from me the means of buying one single drop of wine for the future. Suppose there to be a thundering army, thundering dead-weight, a Debt still more thundering; and suppose the annuities and pay of all these not to be at all diminished in point of nominal value: All the people belonging to these bands would have, amongst them, that ability to purchase wine, which ability I had lost. Consequently, the same quantity of wine would be consumed: I should consume none, it is true; but these people would consume more than they consumed before; so that there would be no diminution in the consumption, and, consequently, there would be no diminution in the tax upon wine.
I will suppose myself to be a man (I hope God will forgive me for being so even in supposition) sucking up a pension out of the country. I will suppose that my pension is a hundred pounds a year. The Government makes a change in the value of the money: they make such a change that I can now buy twice as much bread
and cloth and meat as I could buy something or other that is done to before for my hundred pounds a the nation, may cause the means year. What do I do now? Why of consuming exciseable comI take a little wine, which I did not do before; I use more heer, spirits and tobacco; I burn candle a little more freely; I use dearer tea, and more of it; I put another lump of sugar in my cup. In short, the Government gets seven or eight pounds out of me for taxes more than it did before, in a year. But, what effect has the same operation of raising the value of money, upon my poorneighbour, the manufacturer over the way It makes him a great deal poorer than he was before; he, poor devil, is obliged to leave off wine, and to curtail his quantity of tea, sugar, beer and tobacco he is almost brought to the fulfilment of bis Pittite promise; namely, to give up his last shilling and his last shirt. The Government does not, therefore, get so much taxes from him as it did before; but it gets from me more than it got before it loses nothing upon the whole, though it has plunged my poor neighbour into misery and
modities; or, rather, taxable commodities, to pass from a class or description of persons, which class is less prone to consume taxable commodities than another class into whose hands those means of consumption might be conveyed. For instance, suppose a weaver's family at Blackburn to be receiving thirty shillings a week for their work: to a certainty the Government will receive, in one shape or another, in beertax, in candle-tax, in tea-tax, in sugar-tax, in soap-tax, in tobaccotax, in pepper-tax, in tax upon the cotton-gown, in window-tax; in one shape or another, the Government will, to a certainty, receive a good ten shillings out of these thirty, every week. Comes a panic; next come all sorts of laws to change the value of money, and to throw every thing into confusion; to make the soldier's thirteen pence a-week buy twice as much bread and meat as it bought before; to make the fundholder's thirty shillings worth twice what it But, not only does not an in- was: but now, here; suppose crease in the consumption of ex- there to be a flashy fundholder ciseable commodities indicate an keeping a gig, a girl, and a guinincrease of happiness and pros-guette; his money that he gets out perity amongst a people; not only of the funds is worth twice as does it never indicate this; but, it much as it was before. The poor indicates, sometimes; it always weaver is reduced down to five may indicate, and it frequently shillings a-week, in place of thirty, does indicate, precisely the con- and this fundholder, or some such trary; that is to say, an increase fellow, gets the twenty; or, he of consumption of exciseable com-gets the means equal to the twenty, modities may, and frequently does, in addition to the means that he indicate an increase in the ruin, had before. And what does he misery, the oppressions do with the money? Not as the amongst the people at large; be- weaver did, lay a large part of it cause, the acts of the Government, out in meat and bread and cloth the laws, political measures, and fuel; but he lays the whole
of it out, or the far larger part of class of persons to another; its it, in wine or spirits or something tendency is to beggar those that or other that bears a heavy tax; do the work, and to fatten the so that this thirty shillings, which, idlers, which, by the means of the when they all went to the weaver, monopolies, swarm as the lice yielded the Government only ten swarmed in the land of Egypt, shillings in tax, may, when twenty and call loudly, God knows, for of them come into the hands of the rod of another Aaron; or for the flashy fundholder, yield the Go- something or another, to sweep vernment fifteen or even eighteen them away. But, my good friends, shillings in tax. what special brutes must those be, Thus, while the weaver's fa- then, who imagine that the taxes mily is, by this act of the Govern- will fall off, merely because the ment plunged into a state of half-working people are starving! starvation; while the community This has been a very injurious is plunged into misery; while fa- delusion. These "Quarter's Remine and almost pestilence stalk venues," which I, for many years, through the land, still the Govern- have called the Old Humbug, ment may be gaining, still the have been a source of regular amount of its taxes may increase, quarterly deception. They have and steadily increase too, with the formed one of the grand tricks, increase of the misery. The ten- by which this fraudulent and dedency of the present system; the structive system has been supmultiplicity of its men in arms ported. In the days of PITT, the and in its employ; its innumera-old shuffle-breeches blackguards ble police; its various ways of used to meet one another in St. having people dependent upon it; James's-street, in London, and its paper-money system, and all shake hands so cordially, and conits endless monopolies, in corn gratulate one another upon Mr. and beer and almost every thing Pitt's statement of the flourishing else of general consumption; its quarter's revenue! This humbug system of bonding; its various is pretty nearly done for in Lonmethods of holding men's private don, and seems to be cast off for property in its hands and of lend- the use of Taylor of the "Maning public money to private per- chester Guardian," Cunliff, of sons; its transactions in canals Bolton and Bott Smith of Liverand roads and bridges and gaols; pool. At any rate, my friends, its lending money to bodies of the boroughmongers do not seem men to build gaols and make im- to relish this humbug any longer. provements, as they are called, They could not see how the quarand for improving post-roads and ter's revenue took away your dinfor police and for public works ners; but they can see plainly and for employment of the poor enough how that flourishing reveand educating the poor and reliev-nue takes away their rents; and ing the clergy and building of they mean, if we will let them, churches. The tendency of this to pay off the fundholders with a all-pervading and everlastingly sponge. This is a matter which I intermeddling system is, to convey shall treat of in the next Registhe means of enjoyment from one ter; but, in the meanwhile, be
pleased to bear in mind, that part" until a part of the church-proof the charges against the Re- " perty, the whole of the sinecure formers in 1817 was, that they "emoluments, and the whole of wished to attack the fundholders! "that immense mass of property, Pray remember that this was one "called crown-lands, be applied of the charges upon which the "to the use of the nation in gePower-of-Imprisonment Bill was "neral." Those were the prinpassed. It was a false charge; ciples laid down in the petitions for we never proposed to do in- which came up from the noble justice to the fundholders. The bo- county of Lancaster in 1817; roughmongers, however, are pro- those were the principles laid posing it now; and you will see, down by the Hampshire petition, before the next winter has passed signed on Portsdown-hill, in that over our heads, that propositions year; the same principles are rewill be made for robbing three corded in the Norfolk petition: hundred thousand families in the by these principles, my friends, middle ranks of life, in order to will we abide; for, were we to keep up the luxury and the splen- stand by and see the widow and dour of the boroughmongers. orphan in the middle rank of life It will be our business, my friends, plundered in order to add to the to be upon the alert, when these splendour and the luxury of the propositions shall be made; or, at boroughmongers, we should deleast, as soon as they shall be serve something, if the Devil made in a way for the whole could find it out, worse than hunworld clearly to understand them. ger, nakedness and the typhus The fundholders receive from fever. those who labour, and who do not Oh! but such an infamy never in any way participate in the will fall upon England! I never taxes, a great deal more than they shall see my country covered with ought to receive; but, surely, the infamy like that; and therefore I pensioners, the sinecure-people, will no longer dwell upon the horand others of that description, re-rible idea. I conclude this Letter ceive more than they ought to re- by an exhortation to you, in writceive, also. My determination, ing, similar to that which I had therefore, is now, what it was in the honour to address to you ver1823, when I addressed the peo-bally; namely, to rely upon the ple of Herefordshire upon the subject of reducing the interest of the debt. "One word from me to "the boroughmongers: one word "from me to them at parting; "and that is this: whatever influence I may possess; whatever "talent I may have at my command, shall be exerted to the "utmost to prevent the taking of "a single shilling from the in"terest of the debt, until the Par"liament shall be reformed, and
law, and not upon charity, for relief in your present distress. Charity is always amiable, commendable, and always a christian duty; but, it is not charity that you ask ; it is not alms that you seek: you seek just remuneration for the labour that you are ready to give. You are not unfortunate people; but people whose means of living have been taken away by public measures. Yours is not that sort of poverty, which is accompanied