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ought to have had dealt him here, need, surely, not be afraid of any consequences "which can result from the desirable and "desired proof of his having been here. "Who took him away? Where was he "landed upon the continent? Why such
squeamishness about keeping him here, "until M. Talleyrand's answer was receiv"ed?" Our laws did not permit us to keep "him long in prison." No? They have permitted men to be kept a good while, in prison, Mr. Cobbett, without any trial or examination.Were I to state all "the suspicious circumstances that present "themselves to my mind, I should extend "this letter to a length that might be in"convenient to you, and that certainly "would be useless.- I am, Sir, your friend, and No SHAM PHILANTHROPIST. -Feb. 22, 1808."
SUMMARY OF POLITICS. PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT. - I. Orders in Council II. Petition of the Middlesex Grand Jury. Upon the Orders in Council discussions have taken place, in both Houses of Parliament; and, of course, as these orders have been advised by the ins, the outs discover that they are very ruischievous and wicked things. After volumes have been spoken and written upon the subject, there are very few persons, comparatively speaking, who seem to have a clear idea of what these famous orders are, or, of the effect which they are intended to produce. In spite, therefore, of the stultifying effects of the many speeches which I have read, relative to these orders, I will endeavour to communicate to the reader my ideas respecting them; which I shall do, however, with great diffidence, being far from certain, that my ignorance of the matter is not equal to that of almost any one of the orators whose speeches I have read. Here, then, at a venture. The Emperor of France having, by his several decrees, obstructed, as much as lay in his power, all commerce with England, carried on by neutral ships, and having, by one particular decree, declared this whole kingdom in a state of blockade, and ordered his cruizers, of course, to seize, as lawful prize, neutral vessels, bound to or from 'any port of this kingdom; having, in short, declared to the neutrals, that he should consider the slightest mark of their having had, or being about to have, communication with England, as a proof of their ships and cargoes meriting confiscation, the late ministers intimated to the neutrals (there being only Denmark, Portugal, and the American States), that,
if they submitted to these mandates of France, England, in exercising her undoubted right of retaliation, would, of course, seize and confiscate all neutral ships and cargoes, bound to or from any port of France, or under the known controul of France, or in a country allied with France in the war. The neutrals do submit; for, neither of them make any public remonstrance, or protest, against the decrees of France. There: are instances cited, in which the decrees were acted upon; but that is of no conse quence; for, if the decrees had their intended effect, namely, that of putting an end to all communication between England and neutral states, there would, of course, no captures ensue; and, if they did not produce that effect to the desired extent, they would naturally produce it in some degree. Less communication with neutrals would exist in consequence of them; some ships would be prevented from coming to England, and all would come charged with an additional weight of insurance. Thus matters stood until November last, when the present ministers caused the Orders in Council to be issued, which orders contain a^ set of rules intended to prevent France, all her allies, and all the countries under the known controul of France, from having any communication with neutrals, except through the channel of the custom house of Eng land, where the goods of the neutral, intended for those countries, are to pay a duty, which duty, finally paid by the enemy, will go into the English treasury. There are nu merous rules contained in the Orders in Council; but this one will suffice for our purpose, because the arguments, on both sides, which apply to this, will, with some insignificant variations, apply to all the rest.
-There are two objections, which the OUTS make to this rule; the first is, that it is contrary to the law of nations; a very vague charge, and one that cannot be substantiated, even if we were to admit the book of a Frenchman, whose name was Vattel, and which contains merely the opinions of the said Vatiel, to be the book of the law binding upon England; for, neither in that book, nor any other book upon the subject, is there any instance of a case such as that now before us. The better way of stating the objection is, therefore, to say that? the rule which we have laid down is unjust. This, indeed, the ours do say. They say, we have no right to punish America, for instance, because Françe has broken through all the rules relating to neutrality. Very true; nor do we intend to punish America; we intend to punish France; and, if Amelion
suffer, it is neither our fault nor our wish. The decrees of Napoleon are intended to injure us. That is very fair, and we have a right to retaliate. But, the decrees of France relate to America; they make America an instrument in producing the injury to us; therefore, we have a right to make America our instrument in producing injury to France. Let France repeal her decrees, and America ceases to suffer. As matters stood, previous to the Orders in Council, a ship-load of tobacco came from America to England with all the additional price, which arose from the high insurance, occasioned by the danger of capture in consequence of the French decrces; while another ship-load of tobacco went to France, free from such high price, because there was no danger of capture from us. Was this just? To suffer things to remain in such a state would have been a most base desertion of our naval superiority. But, say the ours, the Americans did remonstrate against the French decree, and obtained an assurance, that it should not be enforced with regard to them. This is not the fact. No such assurance is contained in the note of the French minister to the American minister, upon this subject; and, if such an assurance had so been given, we had nothing to do with it. The decree contained no exceptions; the decree remained unrepealed; and there was not, and is not, any public act of the government of the American states, protesting against either the principle or the practice of that decree. Here, therefore, was a complete acquiescence, on the part of America; and, I think, it evidently appears, that the correspondence between the American and French minister was intended for no other purpose, than that of putting the former in possession of something to shew to us, in order to induce us to forego our intended and threatened retaliation. But, how the out faction can stand up, in the face of the correspondence now published, and complain of the measures of retaliation, must be matter of astonishment to every one not accustomed to observe the conduct of political parties. At the outset of that correspondence (which, as having been laid before Parliament, will, of course, appear, in its place in the Parliamentary Debates), Lord Howick writes to Mr. Erskine thus: " I "transmit to you also the copy of another "Note presented by their lordships to the "American commissioners, previously to "the signature of the treaty, on the subject "of the extraordinary declarations and or"ders of the French government, issued at * Berlin on the 16th of November last,
"This note I must recommend to your par"ticular attention; you will state to the "American government, that his majesty "relies with confidence on their good sense "and firmuess in resisting pretensions, "which, if suffered to take effect, must
prove so destructive to the commerce of "all'neutral nations. His majesty has learnt, "that the measures announced in the, decree "have already, in some instances, been car"ried into execution by the privateers of the
enemy, and there could be no doubt that "his majesty would have an undisputed "right to exercise a just retaliation. Neu"tral nations, cannot, indeed, expect that "the king should suffer the commerce of "his enemies to be carried on through "them, whilst they submit to the prohibi"tion which France has decreed against the "commerce of his majesty's subjects. But though the right of retaliation would unquestionably accrue to his majesty, yet his majesty is unwilling, except in the last extremity, to have recourse to measures "which must prove so distressing to all na"tions not engaged in the war against "France."- Has America resisted the pretensions of the decree? It is notorious that she has not; and, it is equally notorious, that the president, in his last speech to the Congress, says that he has nothing to complain of in the conduct of France, though the French decree, observe, remained unrepealed, and unmodified. The consequence is, then, that, according to Lord Howick's own letter, we had a right to adopt the measure of retaliation, especially as events had occurred, which rendered such measure more and more necessary to our safety. And yet, Lord Howick and his patriotic colleagues are now blaming the measure, and that, too, upon the ground of its injustice towards America. The other objection to this measure, is, that it is impolitic; that it is calculated to injure us, more than it is to injure France. I will not repeat the arguments that I have already, more than once, made use of to prove the contrary of this proposition; but, I think, the negative of it might be pretty safely inferred from what Lord Henry Petty has said in support of the affirmative. He is reported to have told the House of Comptons, that the "arts of substitution," to which, the French would have recourse, would be lasting injuries to this country and to her colonies. Why, now, if, by these arts, the French should, find out chemical sugar and coffee and coton, what harm would that do us? None that I can see; but, while the discovery is going on, the inconveniences of France must
be very great indeed, while the Orders in Council must go near to the producing of starvation in Spain and Portugal. Holland also must suffer severely. Hamburgh, Denmark, Russia; all must endure, not only inconvenience, but suffering; and the two-fold consequence of that suffering will naturally be, a perfect conviction of the great power of England, and a hatred of France whose ambition exposes them to the effects of the exercise of that power. But, his lordship apprehends, that we are in greater danger from a glut than France is from a scarcity. He is afraid that we shall die smothered with sweets; or, if we survive the effect of the sweets, that a superabundance of cloathing. will kill us. The fact is, however, that we hear a general outcry raised in France, and in all the countries under her controul, against these Orders in Council; we hear an out-cry in America also; but we hear none in England, except amongst persons like the Barings and amongst the opposition, both animated by motives purely selfish.
-The bill for giving effect to the Orders in Council has been carried by a very great majority in the Houses of parliament, and is certainly approved of by a still greater majority out of doors. The measure is looked upon as an act of defiance of all the world; as an assertion of our right of maritime dominion. The enemy, encouraged by our long forbearance, issues, in the heyday of triumph and from a capital which he has conquered, a decree declaring England in a state of blockade. As if he had said:
Now, that I have conquered the continent, "I will set seriously about my last labour, "and will begin by ordering the islanders "to be closely shut up, until I have leisure "to invade them." Our answer to this is, an Order in Council, making him pay a duty into the English treasury upon every article of foreign goods that he receives; and this we enforce. "I will suffer nothing," says
he, "to come to the continent from through England." To which we answer: "the continent shall have nothing that does not go from or through England." Why, the very effect of such words, if adhered to, outweighs, in the scale of national consequence, all the commerce of all the Barings on earth.. Lord Henry Petty, however, thinks nothing of this. Nay, he thinks, that it would be bad policy to induce America to declare war against France; because it would diminish the sale of our manufactures. A fine statesman it must be, who has a mind of this stanip!The publication of the correspondence with America has brought to light a fact, which I have often said I believ
ed to exist; namely, that the late ministers went a considerable way in giving up to America the great point of the right of searching for seamen. It is clear that Lords Holland and Auckland did pledge themselves to do something more than enforce the strictest possible orders for regulating the manner of searching. Now, what was that something more? They are hard pushed by Mr. Canning, to explain what they meant; and, it must be confessed, that they give an an swer far from satisfactory; and, in short, it is evident, that, rather than have gone to war with America, they would have abandoned the right altogether. For this, if for no other reason, it was a fortunate circumstance for the country that they were dismissed. When one of them tells us, that it would be a misfortune to see America at war with France, because, by that event, we should lose the sale of certain manufactures, what are we to expect from them? It is abundantly evident, that the politics of the little clan of Scotch writers prevailed in the late cabinet; that the ministers were the mere funnels, through which they blew; and that all would have been peddling and patch-work. It was so long ago as Decen ber, 1806, that I took the alarm as to their intentions with regard to America; 1 endeavoured to communicate that alarm to the public; and I flatter myself that my endea vours were not without avail. I stated my reasons for fearing, that a good treaty would not come out of the hands of Lords Holland and Auckland; that my fears were well founded the proof is now before the world. Well might the President refuse to ratify the treaty, not finding it to contain all that he demanded. He sent it back, too, like a set of articles of capitulation, underwritten here and there: this I agree to; this! reject; this I agree to, provided so and so." What an insolent proceeding! Yet, if the late ministers had been in place, when this disfigured instrument came back, my firm belief is, that they would have resumed the negociation upon the former basis, and would, like the commanders of a town, summoned to surrender and reduced to its last dead horse, have put their hands to the hu miliating conditions imposed. The right of searching for English seamen on board American ships ought never, for one mo. ment, to have been entertained, as a point for discussion. Not only was it so entertained by the late ministers; but it was expressly left open for future discussion, and a note of that purport accompanied the treaty. What was this but to acknowledge that there were entertained by our own government doubtsrespecte
ing the existence of the right? Upon the same principle, that commerce ought to be preferred to every thing else, they would, in all likelihood, have acted after the peace of Tilsit; and, then, instead of throwing Napoleon and his vassal states into consternation, as we now have, we should have been totally occupied in sending negociations to Paris, and in looking out for the enemy's flotilla.—II. A Petition from a late Grand Jury of the county of Middlesex, complaining of certain enormities in the management of the Cold-Bath-Fields prison, was, a few days past, brought before parliament by Mr. Sheridan (who, while in office, said not a word about abuses of any sort); but, it was withdrawn, at the suggestion of the ministers, because it purported to be the petition of a grand jury who were no longer a grand jury. The object of this was, of course, to obtain delay, and to take from the petition a part, at least, of its consequence. It was presented the next day, signed by the foreman of the grand jury, in his private capacity; so that, it is now the petition of one individual, instead of being that of the Grand Inquest of a County. The substance of the petition has been given in the news-papers; but, I do not choose to offer any remarks upon it, until I can lay it before my readers at full length. It is truly curious to observe how indifferent and cold the opposition appear to have been upon this subject. No animation; none of that eagerness which they discover in pleading the cause of the "poor, "harmless, suffering Danes." The prisoners in Cold-Bath-Fields prison are their countrymen, and are entitled to their protection; but, then, there was, in all probability, nothing to be gotten, no debating triumph to be obtained, in this case; and, there was, on the other side, the fearful consideration of what might happen in the way of indirectly giving credit to the former exertions of Sir Francis Burdett. The petition, however, neither party, nor both together, can stifle. It must appear in print; and it is one of the things, which will, in the end, produce those effects, which every good man so anxiously wishes for. Along with the petition should appear the names of all the persons, who signed the first petition; for the public will very well know how to decide upon the question of informality."
Botley, 25th February, 1808.
become, by its own intrinsic merit, the ob ject of general attention and perusal, it imposes on its author a sort of necessity to preserve the character it has acquired, by admitting into its pages such contributions only, as have some merit at least to recommend them. The first requisite for good writing is good sense, and sound argument. An ingredient, almost as necessary, is good grammar. And although, where the former obtain, a few small errors in the latter may be easily overlooked; yet when the language made use of is as barbarous and ungrammatical, as the facts are false, and the arguments inconclusive, you need not fear to incur the loss of your merited reputation for impartiality, by refusing to admit such compositions into your Register: and I am sure your readers in general would have thanked you, if you had spared them the trouble of labouring through the sapient reflexions of your sagacious correspondent, J. F. D. the tythe hater of Taunton. After having observed,
SIR, When a periodical work, like yours, has forced itself into notice, and is
that there is no business of a domestic nature likely to come before parliament of an equal weight and importance than the subject of tithes, as the abolition of which is seriously and devoutly prayed for, &c." he very sagaciously tells us, that nothing can ameliorate this most abominable impost but a total abolition. This appears to me a curious way of mending a thing. And to mend the matter still more, he proposes an equally curious mode of abolition; viz. by commutation. I always thought till now that Taunton had been in the South of Eng. land; but, I conclude that I have been under a mistake, and suspect that it is situate in the North of Ireland. J. F. D. then tells us that our churches are deserted, and our religion declines; because, what? Because the farmer, who rents his land is subject to the payment of tythes; and who, therefore, pays so much less rent to his landlord as the tythe is worth, wants to cheat the person who is intitled to that tythe of his just dues. For (as D. X. in the next letter has truly said) the owner of the tythe has as good a right to that tythe, as the owner of the land has to his rent: the law, and prescription, which is a branch of the law, has given it to him. Is not this the fact, Mr. Cobbett ? And if it be so, is this honest? In 99 cases out of 100 of the disputes that occur between the owner and tythe payer, is not the main cause of them to be found in the unjustifiable attempts on the part of the latter to beat down the other, and compel him to accept a very inferior and unequal price for his tythe? It is almost universally true, that when a new incumbent appears in a parish, a combi、
nation of the farmers is immediately formed to harrass him into an acceptance of their own terms: a natural feeling of resentment against oppression frequently urges the tythe owner to resist such attempts, and be resolves to take his tythe in kind: this again irritates the farmers, who "work him up" as the phrase is in the poor rates: and so the quarrel continues with mutual aggravations: but, as I said before, it generally originates in the
just and unmanly attack of the multitude against the individual, in their base attempts to make an unfair bargain with him in the outset, whether he be a lay improprietor, or a member of the church.-J. F. D. then condescends to let us into a very great secret, viz. that disputes at law of a very serious import, frequently arise from frivolous causes. But, surely, Sir, we do not want an oracle from Taunton to tell us that. We know
right scarcely less obnoxious than the other) or of any land owner to his rents, be hunted down and persecuted for claiming their own: let not the right be loaded with an abuse which belongs not to it: let us not remedy one evil by substituting a greater: and above all, let us do as we would be done by, and render unto every man his due. I dare say, were I a farmer, I should rather not let the parson's team into my field: but considering duly that 9 tenths only of its produce belonged to myself by the law of the land, and that the remaining tenth by the law of the land belonged to some one else (no matter whom it not being mine) I do think without complimenting myself too highly, I should have honesty enough to offer him a fair price for it; if we happened to differ about that price, which if it were a fair one, would very rarely happen, I should propose to call in an honest surveyor, who knew the value of the thing, and would do what is right be tween man and man, and abide by his decision. And where is the tythe owner, Mr. C. who would reject this offer? Or rather, where is the farmer who is honest and just enough to make it ?-1 protest, Sir, I have not seen or heard of any plan that appears to me so likely to reconcile the shepherd to his flock, and to cut up by the roots that prolific source of parochial contention, the quarrels about tythes, as the appointmentun der the authority of parliament by the ma gistrates of each county, of a competent per son in each parish as a surveyor and assessor, who should be sworn to a due and impartial discharge of his duty, and subject to a heavy fine for every breach of it, whose duty it should be to assess and ascertain the value of every tythable article: for which he might be paid by a poundage or percentage to be limited by statute, and to be borne equally by both parties, who should be bound by the assessment so to be made. This plan I think at least as likely to fill our churches, and restore unanimity, cordiality, and brotherly love between all ranks, as J. F. D.'s plan of amelioration by means of abolition, brought about by commutation. If you think these strictures worth your notice, I am sure they will receive it. But if they should not find a place in your Register, I shall not quarrel with your impartiality, being sure to find your pages filled with better matter than can ever flow from the pen of your constant reader and admirer.-SUUM CUIQUE.—Feb, 17, 1808
very well that the feather of a partridge, or the scent of a hare has given rise to more litigation, than all the disputes about tythes that have been agitated since the days of Archbishop Winchelsey, 500 years ago. (No bad argument this, by the bye, in favour of a position of your own, Mr. C. that a propensity to war, or to fight, which is war, is a passion natural to all the creation.) But what has this to do with the right to tythes? Does J. F. D. seriously think that if his Bashaw tythemonger harboured a pique against his friend, he would not have contrived to indulge it even if he had been no tythemonger? A pack of fox hounds would have done the business as effectually. But this is not an evil arising out of the tythes, but from the malevolent spirit of man. I defy J. F. D. and all the Solomons of Taunton Dean to contradict me in the assertion, that if my rich neighbour injures me, a poor cottager, by turning his trace horses into my little field of wheat, and trampling the corn which is to feed my family, or by leaving open the gate of the next field, and giving access to other cattle, and thereby doing me considerable damage, or by throwing down my fences and carrying off my corn before the tythe is set out, a jury of my Somersetshire neighbours will teach him a better lesson, and give me ample redress for the injury and insult. And the greater the distance in point of rank and fortune between me and my oppressor, the more signal will be their visitation upon him for his injustice. This, Sir, is not mere theory: every circuit brings it into practice-Observe, Mr. Cobbett, that I am not defending the policy of the present system of tything: but let not those whose right to tythes is as indisputable as that of a lord of a manor to his fines (a
P. S. From a passage or two in the Taunton Apollo's letter, about a revolution and change of government, I am almost inclined to suspect that something more is meant