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TO THE READERS.
tray you. Always believe that, if he belong to any of the great families, no matter which of them; if he be a boroughmonger's tool, and no matter what boroughmonger, he has no cordial liking for this bill: a thousand to one but he hates it in the bottom of his heart. It will be against his grain to make the pledge; but if you do not get the pledge, you may be sure, quite sure, that he will do his best to defeat the bill.
principle of right; and, like the other things of which I have just spoken, it may be introduced or not, and the bill still remain what it now is, a thing to give cordial satisfaction to the people. But the demolition of the rotten boroughs, and the extension of the suffrage; these comprise the principle of the bill, and in support of these, the pledges exacted from every Member ought to be as clear, as distinct, and as positive, as words can make them. The Morning Chronicle has insisted, and I think with reason, that a candidate pected no very great departure from In this present case, there is to be exshould be rejected for being absent at ancient habits. the second reading of the bill. It has come back again under one form or The same men will very well observed, that absence from another, except those that will be actuillness ought to be taken as proof of ally turned out for ever. There will be incapacity, therefore there should be some. inquiries preceding the pledge. And the whole put together, would make a little catechism in the following words:
Did you vote for the second reading of
the Reform Bill?
Did you vote against General Gascoyne's motion?
Will you vote for Schedule A and Schedule B of the Reform Bill, as amended by the Ministers before the Parliament was dissolved? Will you vote for the extension of the suffrage to renters of ten pounds a year as provided for by the bill lately tendered to parliament ? Will you vote for the extension of the suffrage to copyholders, leaseholders, and renters, as provided for by the bill lately presented to Parlia
scarcely a single new man. In Hampshire, for instance, they intend, it appears, to turn out the two present county Members, and to take, in their place, Those boroughs will be filled up by the two from a couple of rotten boroughs! in such way, perhaps, as to ensure two boroughmongers who own them; but very proper: no matter who are the additional votes for the bill. This is men to shove out LITTLE FLEMING and HEATHCOTE: if it were a couple of stead of Sir JAMES M'DONALD and shoyhoys, taken out of a pea-field, inSHAW LEFEVRE, it would be just as well, provided the shoyhoys could say would be quite sufficient. Now, can aye and no. Nay, in this case, aye alone any man sincerely believe that these two men do not curse the Reform Bill in their hearts? Can any man, in his rotten boroughs all their political lives, senses, believe this? What, sit for and then, all at once, abkor rotten boroughs! tinue to sit for them! Rail, against Nay, abhor them, and conIf the candidate can answer all these Call those "infernal boroughmongers them, and continue to sit for them! questions in the affirmative; if he will who deal in them, and be the noniinçes do that, and will give the answer under of those "infernal people!", These is hand, or in the presence of some two nominees do not call them infernal, One who shall take down his words, to be sure; but they speak of the hen I would trust him; then I would trafic as infamous; and, indeed, this lect him, at any rate; but if he boggle way of thinking in them is clearly imtany, one of these questions; if he plied by their votes in this hulle; if he talk about his honour, and God knows what besides, he will be
Will you vote for the giving of Members to counties or towns beyond the number specified in the said bill, if such be proposed by the Ministers?
less bound by the strongest pledges. Such men are not to be trusted, un
Hardly will it be safe then; but, with- been articles of simple purchase and out the pledge, without the certainty of sale. The cost of them is immense. ! infamy in ease of voting against the To take down a thousand voters to bill, they are not to be trusted a yard. Norwich would probably cost not less If, at last, it come to a refusal to pay than fifteen thousand pounds. There taxes, the rejection of the Bill will be fore, he who has the most money to of no use; and, it will not be amiss to expend, carries the election. In the remind candidates of this! To remind greater part of these open boroughs, them of this will be full as efficacious the resident voters would be for the as the pledge, if not more. And, as to reform candidate; and if the London the boroughmongers themselves, the voters could but be prevailed upon, for strongest argument with them would this once, to stay in London and abbe this; that, if this bill be carried stain from the exercise of their honourquietly, it will rub off all old scores; able functions as voters, this circumit will prevent the people from trying stance alone might decide the fate of back; it will prevent them from com- this bill. Therefore, it is the duty of puting how much each borough has all those who have any influence with added to the Debt; it will, in short, persons of this description, to endeavour like the old landlord's mop, rub out all to cause them to act an honest part in the chalks at once. But, if the bill be this case; to represent to them the rejected; if things come to this ex- good and the mischief that it is now in tremity, there must be, and there will their power to do, and, if possible, to be, a ripping-up of the past. The re-deter them from doing the mischief. form will take place somehow or other, The reform candidates are not likely to in spite of every-thing that can be done be able to expend the money necessary to prevent it: a river can be driven in general to the carrying down of these backwards just as easily as reform can voters; the Government cannot employ now be stopped: the longer it is de- the public money for this purpose; the layed, the greater will be the change; boroughmongers are raising a great and those who fear that this reform fund to effect this object. Thousands will bring revolution, have reason, in- of vile electioneering attornies are now deed, to dread a revolution if they suffer in the field of corruption to collect these the dispute to come to the non-payment stray souls together, and send them of taxes, which has been the great sig-down to their everlasting perdition; nal for the overthrow of governments for the next twenty days, England will in all the countries where governments be a perfect hell upon earth; much, have been overthrown. A retrospect perhaps, cannot be done with these would be a frightful thing; a thing which I never wish to see take place; but a thing which I very much fear I shall see take place, judging, as I do, from the apparent disposition of the boroughmongers.
London voters, to restrain them from taking the horrid bribes; but something may be done, and by whomsoever that something can be done, it ought not to be neglected.
I perceive that the newspapers in Besides these pledges to be taken favour of reform are calling upon peofrom candidates, there is another sort of ple to subscribe, in order to form a fund persons from whom pledges might be to be employed for counteracting the taken. There are twenty open bo- effect of the fund of the boroughroughs or more, like Dover, Norwich, mongers. It is pleasant enough for me Coventry, &c, the elections of which to see projects of this sort put forth by are generally, if not always, decided by the Times and the Courier, both of the London voters. These are very which urged the Government to pass numerous, in proportion to the resident the horrible dungeon and gagging bills voters. They form, perhaps, one out in 1817, in order to stifle the voice of of three, and sometimes one half, in reform. A strange change, to be sure: point of numbers. They have always a very strange change; and who is to
assure us that, before another year has this decline was laid byd Peri's Bill, passed over our beads, a change from which, except during a short period, the present will not be as great as that when it was in fact suspended, has been which I have just been describing? regularly at work upón (the industrious Talk of eventful times, indeed! This classes, from 1819 to the present day. is the eventful time. On the 3rd of The receipts of men in business keep February last; nay, on the 28th of gradually falling off; they become February, only about fifty days ago, poorer and poorer, without being able to there was not a man in the kingdom tell why. Their books show them the who expected to see that which we now state in which they are; but the cause behold. The next fifty days may pro- not one out of ten thousand can perduce something still more wonderful; ceive. In the neighbourhood of London, and I refrain from saying what I think thousands upon thousands of houses it possible that the third fifty days may stand uninhabited; some of the windowproduce. Amidst the incessantly re- places nailed up with boards; others peated calls for reform; amidst the tur- are actually tumbling down ; and, in moil of faction; amidst these struggles some cases, the bricks have been rewith regard to this single object, men moved from the spot, and the grass intotally overlook the general pecuniary vited to return. The country towns situation of the country. Men forget and villages are, nevertheless, perishing the state of their own affairs, and cherish by degrees, at the same time: the nation a sort of indistinct hope that those is a florid body, that seems to be shrinkaffairs may mend somehow or another, ing and sinking away without any when this great question shall be settled. visible disorder. In the meanwhile, however, the affairs of every man in trade, in agriculture, in manufactures, in commerce, are, with few exceptions, going on from bad to worse; and a settled conviction exists in every man's mind that there must be some great and general change; that, somehow or another, the burdens which men have to bear must be greatly lightened; and, upon every man's lips, you find the expression that "we want a cheap government.”
Such, paper money, are thy wonderful effects! All has been false; the debtor and creditorealike have been dealing with false money. This money has been, and is, gradually sinking away into its native nothingness, leaving not the means of causing exertion to be made in the usual manner; causing a want of employment and a want of every-thing tending to the comfort of the classes who labour. This state of things can never be got rid of but by some great change in the pecuniary affairs of the country. It is useless to try to shift off this subject from investigation: it must be investigated; and a remedy must be applied, toogterrible convulsion will be the end. If
In the meanwhile, all manner of doubts exist as to the power of the Bank to continue to pay in gold Another panic is apprehended by some persons: rumours of all sorts fill the city from day to day; and if, during the agitation of this great question of were the Minister, I would be pre'Reform, another panic were to take pared with my proposition against the place, what pen, what tongue, is to de- first reformed Parliament should meet. scribe the consequences? Those who I have always thought it useless to oppose Reform ought not only to bear propose any such subject to an unrethis in mind; but they ought also to formed Parliament. I wished to see "bear in mind that the reformers have the Parliament reformed that this subhad no hand in producing this danger,ject might be discussed with the fair at any rate. There is a slow, a gra- hope of a remedy. Nothing can be so dual, but a regular and incessant, decline terrible as that the difficulties of this in the circumstances of all that part of part of the system should come.tumbling the community who receive nothing upon us with all their weight, just at out of the taxes. The foundation of the time when we are in al sort of half
fight upon the subject of Parliamentary of a gentive London Courier
office, who arrived here
edition, containing the glorious news, that e rather than his Majesty would allow his her loved and patriotic Ministers to be conquered dissolve the Parliament. This one step has by a base and corrupt oligarchy, he would preserved the country from a bloody revolution: for which the nation was fully prepared, and we thank God we were spared the horrors which would have ensued from any want of firmness on the part of the King and the Ministers.bu
Reforinto The enemies of reform have always been bawling about the danger to property which would arise from an abolition of the boroughs and a restoration of free elections. This does appear to me to be the most strange thing in this whole world. There never was a nation upon the whole earth who set about a destruction of property. No, nor about a general transfer of property either. Who lost his property in France, unless he quitted the country These are words put down upon the and, became its enemy? Who lost his paper in haste; but the authenticity of property in America except from simi- the facts they express can be doubted lar causes 2b What, then, are these by no one; and, in these little paramen to apprehend that a change of the graphs, we clearly, read what must be mode of electing Members of Parlia- the result, if the people be finally disment would produce a general confisca- appointed. Now then, suppose, they tion, or transfer of property? Why, were to resort coolly to the remedy conquerors themselves never play tricks pointed out by the Westminster Petition so ruinous as this. From the very na-to the King; supposing a refusal to sture of things, a general destruction pay taxes were begun; what would or transfer of property can never take then be the situation of property, a as far place... as property depended upon the powers But, the surprising thing of all is, of the Government? Every one knows that those who apprehend this destruc-how swiftly a contagion of that sort sows tion of property, as they call it, from a itself. Every one knows how soon a change in the representation of the peo- refusal to pay taxes finds imitators; ple in Parliament; those who apprehend every one has seen, in short, that in such effects from a change of this sort every country where such a thing has quietly effected, seem to have no appre-taken place, no then-constituted authohensions at all, not only of this sort, but rity has been of long duration. Strange, 1of any other, from a refusal to make indeed, that those who apprehend a such change in the representation. They destruction of property from a quiet seem to have no apprehension at all reform of the Parliament, should be so from disappointment of the sanguine blind as to be unable to see any danger hopes of from fifteen to twenty millions whatever as likely to arise from an of people, assembled together upon a no obstinate refusal of that Reform. Every large piece of ground. Let such. thoughtless meu read the two following little paragraplis from two towns, con taining, at least, two hundred and fifty thousand people:ogong zu al #
There has always been, ever since I can recollect any discussion upon suchmatters, a notion prevailing amongst the aristocracy, and amongst the rich generally, that the poorer classes are Manchester Advertiser Office, Saturday, constantly wishing to get their property Deleven at noon. Never was enthusiasm like from them. Where do they find anythat which animates the people of Manchester thing in justification of this notion in at this moment. They are going up and down shaking hands and congratulating each other the history of any nation upon the face as if the general enemy of mankind were stain. of the earth? It was, only about a year The gentlemen on the Exchange received the and a half ago, a common observation Dews which was contained in an express with the Editor of the Morning Chroedition of the Courier, with a thunder of cheers and leaving of hats. All hands are off icle, that if the common people, that to their posts to beat up for the new elections, is to say, the middle and working class, Bolton Chronicle Office, Saturday evening, bad the choosing of one of the two -five o'cloche la consequel.c: of ti e kindness houses of Parliament, influenced by
the aristocracy and the rich, there would for one single moment, entertained the be no safety for property that having idea of becoming rich peoples them the power, the dower orders of society selves by the despoiling of others.niqqa would have the will, to strip the higher Have the people of England, Scotland orders of their property. Never was so and Ireland any idea of this sort at this monstrous an idea. This writer forgot moment? There may, perhaps, be half-i that almost every man has some pro-a-dozen men of this description, a fact,»* perty, more or less, and that, little as however which I question; but, as to the some men's may be, it is their all. He working people, the body which is forgot, too, that all principles of natural affected to be dreaded, such a thought right were not as yet effaced from the never entered into the mind of a singlehuman mind. He forgot, further, that man of them. They would laugh at the if he looked across the Atlantic, he saw man who should moot the idea to them: a nation where the millions choose the they have not the most distant thought law-makers, from the top to the bottom. of ever being in a state other than A nation that has swelled up from three that in which they now are: they are, millions to twelve in the course of forty from the very habits of their lives, from years; a nation containing the finest and the very frame of their minds, incapable richest commercial cities in the world, of entertaining such monstrous notions. England only excepted; a nation abound- Yet, upon no better foundation than a ing in opulent merchants and land- belief that such are the views of the owners, having, in many instances, common people, were the savage bills houses like palaces, a nation in which of 1817 enacted, and has Parliamentary there never was passed, or even pro- Reform been resisted for the last forty posed, a law to enrich the lower and years. middle class at the expense of the higher. If the aristocracy could divest themIn short, look back even to the terrible selves of this stupid, this unnatural notion, times of the French Revolution, with all they would see at once how much their cries of equality, and eulogia on better it would be to conciliate the peosans-culotterie, and find, if you can, a ple than to drive them into a train of single law or regulation, or any settled vindictive feelings and acts. Whether design, to take property from the rich they will thus divest themselves at last, : and give it to the poor. This is a mon- is more than I can say; but, leaving strous dream: it looks like the terrors them, as indeed we must, to pursue of guilt, and has nothing about it philo- their own course, it is our duty to endeasophical, or at all consonant with com-vour, by all the means in our power, to mon sense or experience. return sach men to the next Parliament
I do not positively say, however, that as shall decide for the bill without hesithe apprehension has never been enter-tation, and thus, at last, bring this matter tained. It may have been, and it may to a close without injustice to any-body, still be; but, of this I am sure, that the without violence of any sort, and with best security for the property of the great out leaving in the bosoms of the people and the rich is their acting justly and a desire to make use of their power for mercifully towards the industrious clas-purposes of revenge.
ses; for, all history tells us that, when- Before I conclude, let me offer my ever the great and the rich have been opinion, that no pledges on the one pulled down; whenever they have been hand demanded, nor on the other hand compelled to surrender their property tendered, relative to any other matter to the general purposes of the people in any shape whatever, it has always been in consequence of long-endured injustice on the part of the people. In such cases, they burst out, they avenge themselves; but they immediately return to the habits of their lives, never having,
than that of reform, ought, in this! : case, to be of any avail. This Parlia ment is to be called, according to A the words of the King's speech, for the purpose, and for the sole purpose, ofT making a reform of the Parliament,› which Parliament, when so⠀reformed, 2