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have been endeavouring (some successfully) to follow his lucky example, and to force themselves into parliament and political importance on mere agitation merits or pretences? Does Mr. Cobden suppose that the world does not thoroughly understand that there is perhaps not one other man in the empire-hardly excepting Mr. O'Connell—who has achieved for himself so great a political object by mere agitation as Mr. Cobden? He is perfectly right in his suggestion that there has hitherto been no instance of an agitator who has not been stimulated by some personal interest; but he must have reckoned largely on the ignorance and credulity of a Huddersfield auditory when he offered himself as an exception to the general rule.
But—and here presents itself a most grave considerationindeed the pith and marrow of the whole case -but even if Mr. Cobden could persuade us that his zeal was not strongly imbued with political ambition, can he deny, though he seems inclined w conceal, that he and his associates were first prompted, and are still stimulated, in their warfare against the corn-laws by a more ignoble interest-mere mercantile gain the profit of the mills ? This it is that supplies the source and feeds the current of this agitation. This is the secret head of this muddy and inundating Nile. Revolutionary feelings and projects have mixed and will continue to mix themselves up with it; but the first and great object of the League was and is the LOWERING WAGES. Supposing their theory had been as right, and their intentions as good, as we think them the reverse, we know that no theory of political economy-no abstract benevolence for suffering humanityever did or ever could create and sustain such an intense and persevering activity as the unappeasable greediness of gain has imparted to these agitators. We are not such sentimentalists as to blame men for pursuing their individual advantage with the eagerness, and even the selfishness, which after all must be the mainsprings of successful business; but there are moral limits to this allowance, which seem to have little or no practical influence on the leaders of the League; who, not satisfied with the great, and in some cases enormous, profits and fortunes that have been realized under the present system of food and wages, are endeavouringby the undue influences of confederation, intimidation, and deception—to reduce wages still lower—to the great injury of the working classes, to the ruin of the agricultural interests, and to no immediate profit but their own.
The pretence that these millowners are endeavouring to lower the price of bread for the sake of the workmen is so absurd that we really know not how to expose it more forcibly than by four words, Cheap Bread = Low Wages ; and by the plain fact, that, as soon as the reduced duties on corn and provisions came into operation,
the master manufacturers immediately set about a reduction of wages, and thereby produced the disturbances.
We should like to ask these gentlemen of the League, who are just now so disinterestedly zealous for the workmen's welfare, what other proofs they have exhibited of this philanthropy ? 'Have the greatest of these capitalists ever shown any disposition to look at the workmen in any other light than as machines, which they work, like any other machine, at the least possible cost, and to the greatest possible extent that the frame will bear? Nay, have they shown anything like a sympathy for human labour? Do they ever, by choice, employ flesh, blood, and mind, in preserence to wood, iron, and the mechanical powers ? 'Quite the contrary: even where the man would be as cheap as the machine they preser the engine, because, as one of these Utilitarians once said to us, the engine never gets drunk-the true reason being, that the engine never disturbs the comfort or the profits of the master with complaints of overwork and insufficient wages.
Need we give any other proof of the indifference with which these philanthropists can look through the medium of their own interest at human suffering, than the history of the Factory Bills, and the causes which forced the Legislature to such an interference, and the delays and difficulties which that interference has had to contend with? The recent Reports of the Factory Inspectors give abundant evidence of the eagerness with which every possible improvement of machinery is caught at, in order to get rid of men. • Ingenuity,' says Mr. Horner, ' has been stimulated to the utmost to supersede inanual labour by mechanical contrivances; and, where manual labour is still necessary, by getting it performed by children and young persons instead of adults.' And he gives the instance of one class of spinners, who were by a very simple invention thrown out of employment, who had been accusfomed to live well upon high wages, and were now too old to learn a' new trade. • The case of these spinners,' adds Mr. Horner, 'is a very bard one, and entitled to great commiseration. The change has come rapidly upon them; and men advanced in life, and long accustomed to good wages, if they can find employment in the same trade, must take subordinate situations, and can only earn a scanty subsistence.' And by this change Mr. Horner found that the millowner made a saving of 1l. 16s. out of 61. 10s., or near 25 per cent. on the wages lie had been paying
Do we deprecate the use or improvement of machinery? We are guilty of no such absurdity: without 'machinery there could be no human labour at all, for everything beyond our naked fingers is machinery; the needle, the spade, the distaff, and the plough, are as strictly machines as the steam-engine. We there
fore shall never stoop to flatter the working classes by delusive declamations against machinery; but we feel, on the other hand, that, when new machinery is likely to eject an established class of human labour, those who introduce it are bound-in justice as well as charity- to make the change as gradual and the discharge of the poor people as little afflictive as possible. We think therefore that some of the exuberant philanthropy which the millowners of the League have been expending at Conferences' and Demon strations' about the country, would have been better employed at home in alleviating the immediate distresses of their own peoplein delaying rather than accelerating any unfavourable changes in the condition of the workmen-and when such changes become inevitable, in making them gradual instead of rapid : one might espect from persons of such liberality and benevolence, that they would not have dismissed as the Factory Reports state that they do—faithful and efficient servants fully equal to the work on which they had been employed, but too old to learn a new trade,' for the saving that might be made by the substitution of young persons and children. We are not sanguine enough to dream that such indulgence could be exercised for any long time, or on any extensive scale—but is it ever attempted? Are these changes ever alleviated even by the cheap decency of sympathy, real or assumed? We desire these gentlemen to produce any circumstances in their management of their affairs or their dealings with their workmen, to show that they are, or ever have been, actuated by any other principle than that same object which they are pursuing as members of the League-namely, that of getting the most work they can for the least wagesma natural object we admit, and one which, as a matter of dry business, cannot be complained of; but we may, and we do, complain of the falsehood and hypocrisy which disguise this object under professions of liberality and philanthropy, and which endeavour to excite against other classes of the community all the odium of the frequent and extensive distress, which is, and, we fear, always must be, the inevitable result of their own manufacturing system.
To conclude. We are satisfied that we have made out such a case against the Anti-Corn-Law Association and League, as no rational man in the country—not even, we trust, Lord Kinnaird himself-can resist.
We have shown that these societies set out with a public and fundamental engagement to act by legal and constitutional means ;' but that, on the contrary, all ulicir proceedings have been in the highest degree unconstitutional, and, to the common sense of mankind, illegal.
We have shown that their second fundamental engagement, that VOL. LXXI. NO. CXLI.
‘no party political discussion should be allowed at any of their meetings,' has been scandalously violated; and that the language of their speeches and their press has been not merely violent and indecent—but incendiary and seditious.
We have shown that, even from the outset, they endeavoured to menace the government and the legislature with the pressure of physical force, and that these threats continued with increasing violence, till lost at length in the tumult of the actual outbreak which they had provoked.
We have shown that the Magistrates who belonged to these societies, instead of maintaining the peace and tranquillity of their respective jurisdictions, were amongst the most prominent and violent promoters of every species of agitation; and that, while all of them talked language and promulgated doctrines that endangered the public peace, some, the highest in authority, volunteered declarations which those inclined to disturb the public peace might reasonably consider as promises of, at least, impunity.
We have shown that the League have spent, according to their own statement, 90,0001. in the last year, we know not exactly how, but clearly in furtherance of the unconstitutional, illegal, and dangerous practices which we have detailed.
We have shown, think, abundant reason to conclude that the 50,0001. which they are now endeavouring to raise is probably destined to the same, or perhaps still inore illegal, unconstitutional, and dangerous practices.
We have shown that-from first to last—their system has been one of falsehood and deception--from their original fundamental imposture of being the advocates of the poor—down to the meaner shifts of calling brutal violence freedom of discussion, and a subscription for feeding sedition and riot a fund for education or charity.
And, finally, we hope we have shown that no man of common sense, of any party—if he only adheres to the general principles of the British Constitution— can hesitate to pronounce the existence of such associations-raising money-exciting mobsorganized-and--to use a term of the same Jacobin origin as their own, affiliated — for the avowed purpose of coercing the government and the legislature--can hesitate, we say, to pronounce the existence of such associations disgraceful to our national character, and wholly incompatible either with the internal peace and commercial prosperity of the country—or, in the highest meaning of the words—the SAFETY OF THE STATE.
Art. I.—Le Rhin. Lettres à un Ami, par Victor Hugo. 1842.
Sir Francis Palgrave THIS HIS work, which has created a great sensation in Germany,
is perhaps amongst the most innocuous productions of a very able but exaggerated and mischievous writer. His novels and fictions afford in literature the species of interest resulting in vulgar life from the spectacle of an execution : an intense excitement, which, without being evil, decidedly prepares the way for all evil; and never can they be perused without leaving a taint upon the mind. His delineations of passion are false : his descriptions wonderfully spirited, full of verve in their language, and of picturesque truth in detail ; and the species of grotesque romance with which he invests the middle ages gives an interest to his scenes, persuading even the most plodding antiquary to pardon the occasionally fantastic heightening received by the picture from the warm fancy of the artist. And we have here many excellent specimens of the talent, which on other occasions he has so deplorably perverted and misused.
It is curious to observe, on the Rhine, the contrast between the powerful steam-boats, and the relics of mediæval navigationlingering upon the mighty waters. Such are the great rafts, bearing a whole population in the loghouses, which seem to have slid down bodily from the Alps; and the grave sailing-boats, heavily and rudely built, whose names still remind us of the age when Faith entered into all the concerns of human life-the Pius, the Amor, the Sancta Maria, the Gratia Dei, &c.-whilst the rushing creations of modern science testify by their appellations—Queen Victoria, the Grand Duke of Hesse, the Duke of Nassau, the Leopold-how entirely the whole feeling as well as the aspect of society has changed. • Your steam-boat,' says Victor Hugo, • is painted and gilded : your old sailor contented himself with honest pitch and tar. Your steam-boat is a personification of speculation; your sailor of faith. Your steamboat advertises itself; your sailor prays. Your steamer depends on man's protection ; your sailor on the aid of heaven.' This striking antithesis meets you—is forced upon you every moment
VOL. LXXI. NO. CXLII.