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of those persons who have ascribed of the best-tempered fellows in the these fires, or any part of them, to the world. Men that talk very much are instrumentality or instigation of any apt to do very little; and I, if I had body but the labourers themselves; ricks and barns at stake, should be and the wonder is, how any one ever more afraid of the vengeful feelings of can have entertained such an idea. For one single labourer, whose son or broa good while I believed that no one ther I had caused to be imprisoned, or was sincere in his professions upon this severely dealt with, for poaching, than I subject; but at last I met a gentleman, should be of the speeches, the writings, a country gentleman, a considerable and the machinations of all the dislandowner and land cultivator, a ma- contented spirits of London, who, begistrate of long standing and great ex-sides all the rest, hardly know wheat perience, a public-spirited man, not from peas when they see them growing, only a liberal but a generous man, a hardly know a rick from a barn, and man singularly good, not only to his certainly do not know a barn from a own labourers but to all round about stable; are totally ignorant of the state him; a considerate, a mild, and in- of the homesteads, and of the means of dulgent man; a man of sincerity and assailing them; would be frightened out veracity as perfect as I have ever known of their wits at the idea of going along to exist in man; and this gentleman, a dark lane, or over a down, by themwhile he was ready to make every apology selves; and, in short, are as incomfor the other violences, ascribing them petent to give instructions or suggesto the real sufferings of the people, told tions in such matters as the labourers me this, that, "as to the fires, the would be to give instructions with re"people have certainly been instigated gard to getting up plays and farces at "to those by a SET OF CONSPIRA- Covent-Garden.
"TORS IN LONDON."
Yet, so loth are you to acknow
I was astounded to hear him utter ledge; so loth are the landowners, these words. I could account for Scots the parsons, the bull-frog farmers, aye, Eldon's foreigners; for when he talked and the debt-owners too; so loth are of the intelligence coming in a letter, you all to acknowledge that these fires one could see that it was a hoax. I have proceeded purely from the minds could account without much racking of of the labourers, that you all still cling my brains for the strong imaginations of to this monstrous idea of extraneous Peel and Knatchbull and the rest; but instigation. The cause of this clinging I really was frightened when I heard is this; that you cannot acknowledge this gentlemen talking of a conspiracy that the fires have proceeded purely in London instigating the fires; and, from the minds of the labourers, within his case, I can account for the out tacitly acknowledging one of two monstrous absurdity only by reflect- things; namely, that they must have ing on the effect of the stories had some deep and irresistible provocawhich the people in the country are tion, or that Englishmen are become a continually hearing of the surprising totally altered people. There is not dexterity and cleverness, and the pro- much to choose between these two; found wickedness, that exists amongst either of them looks pretty angrily at the discontented spirits in London ! If the Government which has existed for this gentleman were to dwell a little some years past. The fact is, that while in the vicinage of these surprising- these dreadful acts, if ascribed to the ly clever and discontented spirits, his mere movements of the labourers, imalarm would pretty quickly cease: he ply that they have been rendered deswould soon find that if he could keep perate by hunger. This implies that his wine-decanter and brandy-bottle they ought to have had higher wages; from them, that need be his only care; this implies, that, to put a stop to the and that if he would let them have their fires, they must have higher wages; run at them, he would find them some and this implies that many millions
22D JANUARY, 1831.
a-year must now be taken from the [To be sure, I cannot help what people aristocracy and the church, or that write to me; but if the Secretary of those many millions must be taken State will send a clerk to read all my from the debt-owners. Therefore it is letters over for me, they will stand a that every effort is made to ascribe the great deal better chance than they now fires first to foreigners, next to people stand. All that come with the postage travelling in landaus and post-chaises, not paid I send back unopened, for the next to conspirators in London, and amusement of the Duke of Richmond; lastly to writings of various descrip- and if he read them all with attention, tions, particularly "cheap publications." he will have quite enough to do. About Why, there are no cheap publications one half of them are threatening letthat I know of, except my poor Two-ters; some threatening to burn my PENNY TRASH (of which this paper house; some my barn; some to shoot is to form the eighth number, on the me; some to take me off by other These frequently come post1st of next month), and this I am al- means. lowed to publish only once in a month. age paid, and then they immediately go As to the Register, a single number of into a basket for the maid to light the it now amounts to nearly as much as fire with. Till I began to receive these the Wiltshire allowance for a week's burning letters, I used to insure; but I food and clothing for a constantly hard-have never done it since, except in the working man. I know of no cheap case of my house at Kensington, which publication but this that goes regularly my lease compels me to insure for a forth, while the "Society for promoting certain sum of money. I discovered, Useful Knowledge;" while the church too, that, in the case of every insurance parsons, with their pamphlet societies; that I had made, I had paid nearly and while the nasty, canting, lousy twice as much to the Government in Methodists, who inveigle the pennies tax as to the insurance-office for ineven from the servant-girls; while all surance. these are pouring out their pamphlets by millions, and all of them preaching up the doctrine that bacon, bread and beer corrupt the soul of man, and that potatoes, salt and water are sure to lead to eternal salvation.
This deemed a payment to protect me against the dispensations of Providence and the ill-will of my neighbours. To the former, it was my duty to submit; of the latter I was not afraid; and, therefore, why should I give up my earnings for this purpose? How, then, can the fires have been Threatening letters, indeed! I have produced by speakings and writings! and received a hundred that I could have how is a man of sense to believe that traced home to the parties with no The from Dover to Penzance, from Pevensey very extraordinary pains; and I never to Carlisle, the fires have been produced made the attempt in my life. by instigation from my speeches and post-office may be watched long enough writings. Yet I have been told, and 1 before any letter is met with from me; believe the fact, that the POST- and, whenever there be one, it is as OFFICES, particularly in Sussex, likely to be found without a seal as Hampshire, and Wiltshire, have been with it; and I hereby authorise and narrowly watched, in order to discover legally empower the post-office people some correspondence between me and to open all letters going from me to If these any-body; if they afford them any the rioters and burners. watchers will but stick to their several amusement, I shall be very glad; but posts, till they find a letter written by I beg them not to retard them on their me, or by any one by my authority, not only about rioting and burning, but about any-thing else, they will be amply punished for their curiosity. No, no, I have too much to write for the printers, to amuse myself in this sort of way.
way. Monstrous idea, that I should be
To conclude under this head. You
have now had trials in Kent, Sussex, feelings of fathers for sons, or others for Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Wilt-brothers, friends for friends; and conshire, Dorsetshire, and Buckingham- sider that there can be scarcely one shire, before some one or other of the single man, amongst the labourers of Judges. In other counties, and in these Hampshire and Wiltshire especially, counties too, you have had trials for unaffected in his mind and heart by these offences, and plenty of transport- these transactions. The Morning Chroings and imprisonings at the Quarter nicle, in giving an account of the hangSessions. More than fifteen hundred ing of Cooper and Cooke, at Winchespersons, I believe, have been arraigned ter, last Saturday, concludes the account and tried; and, amidst the cries of pa- thus:-" There was not a crowd of rents, wives, and children, under all the "more than 300 persons, and those terrors of separation or almost instant" chiefly boys. Some of the crowd we death, not one single fact has come out," heard say they would willingly give a in spite of rewards which are perfectly" sovereign for a reprieve. The moterrific; not one single fact has trans-"ment the drop fell most of them pired to countenance the idea of foreign "went away. The special constables actors or instigators, of instigation on were in attendance at seven o'clock, the part of conspirators in London, or" and, in fact, composed the greater of extraneous instrumentality of any part of the crowd. Close under the sort, and therefore I hope that you are "scaffold, on some doors, was written now satisfied that the acts have pro- "in chalk-'MURDER FOR MURceeded purely from the minds of the "DER! BLOOD FOR BLOOD!'' labourers themselves.
Now, this is what we never see and SECOND. That the means of terror or never hear of when malefactors are exeof punishment are not calculated to put cuted at other times. Cooper's offence an end to the fires.—It is an old saying was riding at the head of a mob, who that, if you kill a fly, twenty flies come extorted money, or broke machines, or to his burying. The newspapers tell something of that sort. Cooke's offence us, and indeed we know the fact must was, striking BINGHAM BARING with a be so, that there is scarcely a village in sledge hammer. But Baring was well the counties before mentioned, and par- enough to appear and give evidence ticularly in Hampshire and Wiltshire, against him; and it appears was seen which has not been, in a greater or less immediately after the affair walking in degree, plunged into a state of mourn the streets of Winchester; so that this ing in consequence of the late trials and was very far from being MURDER; their result. But, is mourning all? and, before the passing of EllenboWhen men suffer for well-known and rough's Act it would have been an ASlong-understood crimes, then there is SAULT, punishable not even with transno apology to be offered for them. portation, but with fine or imprisonTheir memory is grieved, their banish- ment, or both. Now mind, the labourment or death lamented; but the re-ers are not lawyers, they know nothing lations and friends acquiesce: the law of Ellenborough's Act; their estimate takes its course, and no vengeful feelings of crimes is traditionary; and it will take are excited in the survivors. You have a great deal indeed to convince them read the Birmingham petition for the and to produce perfect acquiescence in sparing of the lives of the men at Win- their mind upon the subject of this punchester; if you have not, I beg you to ishment. "Kill one fly, and twenty read it. The question, however, is not come to his burying." Accordingly what sort of feelings the surviving the very next sentence in The Chronlabourers ought to entertain upon the icle newspaper is in these words: "There subject; but what feelings they are "have been eight fires in the neighlikely to entertain; and now, then, "bourhood of Blandford since Saturday consider the effect of screaming mothers "last. This circumstance will almost and wives and children; think of the "preclude the hope of mercy being ex
"tended to the unhappy men now under whether here be not enough to con"sentence of death!" The same news- vince you, that the means of terror or paper contains an account of five fresh of punishment are not calculated to fires in the neighbourhood of Norwich; put an end to the fires? This is a and The Times newspaper of Saturday most important question for you to gives an account of several fires in consider; for, if these means fail, then Wiltshire, two of which it speaks of as there is no hope without the adoption follows. "The first fire, which I de-of some other. Beseeching you to re"scribed as illuminating the country for flect most seriously upon this point, I "miles around, was, I understand, on now proceed to the next proposition, "the premises of Mr. Rexworthy, near which is, if possible, of still more im"Wilton. His dwelling-house, out-portauce.
possessing this knowledge; and, as to obtaining it from others, few persons approach you who do possess it, and very rarely indeed will it happen that one of these will be found honest enough to tell you that you have not the power to do that which you wish to do. Power to induce it to listen to
"houses, and corn-ricks were all burnt THIRD, that the fires, unless effec"to the ground. I had not time in my tually put a stop to, may become far "way through here to-day to get the more extensive than they hitherto have "particulars farther than that Mr. Rex-been-King's Ministers, you know very "worthy had been active in bringing little about the habits or the means of "some of the late rioters to justice. The the labouring people. I do not impute "second fire, which I said was in the this to you as a fault: your way of neighbourhood of Wimborne, was of life, your own habits and pursuits and "corn-ricks only. These also were the associations, have precluded you from "property of a person connected with "the late prosecutions." This fire was not near Wilton but near Heytesbury, and it was so great that it lighted the street at Fisherton, though at fifteen miles distance from it. I pray you to look at these words from The Times newspaper! I pray you to look well at the cause there stated for this objections to its own effectiveness, must tremendous fire. Pray read these be in the hands of those who are enwords with attention. Look also in the dued with all those rare qualities papers of to-day at a great fire near Dover. which induce wise and just judges to Remember the fire in Essex the other listen to arguments against the compeday, in the very village from which poor tence of their own jurisdiction. Hence Ewan had been taken to be hanged! it is that you do know and that you From the single village of Pewsey there can know very little about the real are, I am told, eleven persons taken and character, the disposition, the propensicondemned to be transported; and ties and the habits of the labourers; when the carrier, from whom the story and especially about the means which came to me, came away, mothers were they possess of gratifying their vengecrying for their sous, wives for their ful feelings where, unhappily, they enhusbands, children for their fathers, tertain them. There was very little sisters for their brothers, and, in short, danger, comparatively, in the machineall was frantic lamentation. Of this breaking and the sturdy begging or village one of Lord Radnor's brothers rioting and robbery, if it must be so is the Rector, and he is also a prebend called. These would be effectually put of Salisbury, where his elder brother a stop to by the transportings and the has been sitting on the bench with the Special Commissioners.
Without stopping to comment on these facts, and without directing your eyes towards Lincolnshire, where the fires appear to be blazing more furiously than ever, let me ask you, now,
hangings; but as to the fires, it was quite another matter, as REXWORTHY has found to his cost. Of all acts the in this world of a criminal nature, the most easy to perpetrate, the least liable to detection, the least inconvenient to the perpetrator, is that of
setting fire to out-buildings ricks, and good neighbours; they are unasTo convince you of the truth of this, suming, modest, content in their state. what can you need more than perhaps of life; but they will not, and I thank the two thousand fires that have taken God that they will not, live on damned place, and the four or five convictions; potatoes while the barns are full of with regard to two of which the parties corn, the downs covered with sheep, convicted declared their innocence with and the yards full of hogs created by their dying breath? As to the immediate their labours. Above all things they means, I know nothing; but I believe are affectionate; the parents love all the stories about fire-balls and airguns to be merely ridiculous nonsense. A pipe and a match, or a bit of linen rag, as in the case of the poor orphan Goodman, in Sussex, are, I dare say, the means generally used; for, how are labouring men in general, or any of them indeed, to obtain any other means, and to keep those means by them too, without the knowledge of others?
their children, and the children the parents, with more ardour than is to be met with among the richer tribes: the constant participation in each other's hardships and toils tends to bind them more firmly to one another if you commit an act of injustice towards one, the whole village feels it individually and collectively. Even the villages themselves are connected with one Do, I pray you, look at the situation another; and thus a whole county or of this species of property; consider the district is imbued with one and the utter impossibility of watching it effec- same vengeful feeling. Is any man tually. In the case of houses, factories, or so stupid as to imagine that there is a buildings of any sort, which are usually single soul in all Pewsey, man, woman inhabited, the case is wholly different. or child, who will not remember the Here the parties must either be inmates transportation of eleven men of that or must commit the act by open vio- village? lence. It is difficult for a man even to It is a great mistake to suppose that set fire to his own house without detec- the farming stock is all collected in the tion. Not so in the case of farm pro- homesteads; if it were, it would not, duce and buildings; where there is no that I know of, add to the security. I trace, no clue, nothing to lead to detec-have a barn, for instance, now, at Barn tion, if the perpetrator be alone and Elm, one of the largest that I ever saw hold his tongue; and that perpetrator in my life. It was crammed full of may be your own servant! And who corn in the summer, trodden down in are to be your servants! Why, in the mows by oxen. Four men have Hampshire and Wiltshire particularly, been thrashing there constantly from the father, the son, the brother, the that day to this, and they will be at it uncle, the nephew, the cousin or the some time longer. There is no soul friend of some one who has been hang- living in the farm-house, and there is ed, transported, or manacled, by you no house within more than a quarter of or by some one connected with you. a mile; the barn is at all times assailThe loan-monger or Jew or Scotch able from the bank of the Thames, feelosopher brute may call the labourers which is very close, and the whole has of England peasantry; the insolent been uninsured all the time. Now vagabonds who live on their labour what protection had I for this between may call them ignorant; calumniate three and four hundred pounds' worth while they starve them; talk of their of corn, and, at one time, seven hunwant of education. They want no dred pounds worth of seeds into the education; they understand their busi- bargain? Why, I had the protection ness well; they are not ignorant, they of the good-will of the working people, know their rights, and the wrongs that my neighbours, who who never were are done them; they are tender parents wronged or oppressed by me, and on and dutiful loving children; they are whose good-will therefore I had obedient and faithful servants, and kind reason to rely. To numbers of them I