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then they opposed it, as a matter of course.
I trust, that the measure will be carried, not because I think it will be useful as a preventive of scarcity, for, I have stated, and any man may satisfy himself of the fact, that the food, which will thereby be saved (exclusive of that which now comes out of the distilleries in food, that is to say, in food for cows and hogs) will amount to no more than 44d. worth in a year to each individual; but, in proportion as the saving of food will be small, will also be small the pretended injury to the farmer and the landowner, while the advantage will be very great to the suffering West India planter; and besides, there will be this peculiar advantage as to revenue, that, though a time of scarcity should arise, the revenue from the distilleries will continue to be received in the same manner as if no scarcity existed. I would rather have a permission than a restriction; but, then, sugar must be released from all previous duties. It must start fairly with the barley, or else the permission is nothing.I perceive, that almost all the newspapers are against the proposed measure; no bad proof of its justice and policy; for, in no one instance do I recollect them to have been unanimous except in favour of some gross error, or delusion. They have often failed; and, I am deceived, if they will not fail now. The trial is between the plain good sense of the country at large and the sophistications of the selfish few. The former has, upon this occasion, had a pretty fair chance, and I have no doubt of its ultimately prevailing. The agriculturalists are become a sect; a combination; an affiliation of clubs; they act in concert, and they are spread all over the country. They have a multitude of scribblers amongst them. They are schemers by profession. Their connection with the press is very extensive. All the provincial papers are at their nod. Therefore, if they should be beaten in a contest with the poor, inert, divided West Indians, there will no doubt remain of the badness of their cause. My opinion is, that the agriculturalists have expended, in paragraphs, advertisements, meetings, and the like, in order to carry their point, half as much money as a year's corn, used in the distilleries, is worth; while the West Indians have made scarcely a single effort of the kind. Indeed, they have it not in their power. They have been ruined, absolutely ruined, by the hard measure dealt them by the mother country. They have little more left than the remembrance of those fortunes, which they once enjoyed, and which had descended to them from their ancestors. Mr. Coke, in his agricultural pride, chooses
to consider the West Indians as mere specu lators; nay, as gambling dealers; but, in what do they differ from him? They are land-owners as well as he; and, as to their slaves, of whom Mr. Chute spoke, I wish with all my heart, that the labourers of Norfolk were fed as well as the labourers in the West Indies, though, if the thing can be, I shall certainly be glad to see the blacks as free, in every respect, as the whites. At any rate, it is most unjust and most unmanly to rip up this grievance now. That black slavery exists is not the fault of the West Indians. The fault was that of the mother country, who established the system; and who cannot with justice complain of its existence, without doing it away at once, and making a full compensation to the owners of the slaves. Is Mr. Chute ready to contribute his share towards carrying into effect a measure of this sort? If he is not, why does he couple the subject of negro-slavery with that of the distillation of sogar?There never was, as far as my observation and recollection serve me, any set of people so ill treated by any government, as the West Indians have been treated by this government. First, they are compelled to purchase all their clothing, and all their manufactures of every description, from the mother country; and, except a little rum and molasses, that they are allowed to exchange with the Americans for food and lumber (which the mother country cannot supply them with), they are compelled to bring the whole of their produce to the mother country, and that, too, in ships belonging to the mother country, while they' are, at the same time, compelled to maintain their own internal governments, civil and military, and to have and to pay such governors and officers as the mother coun try chooses to send to rule them. Hither' they are compelled to bring their sugar; here they have to pay for their clothing and their household goods; and yet, even at a time, when it is avowed that we are in great danger from a probable scarcity of corn; when it is in evidence, before a committee of the House of Commous, that the last crop was a short one, and that scarcity actually exists in some parts of the kingdom; even at such a time, there is a formidable oppo⭑ sition to the admission of sugar into that sort of manufacture, where it will act as a substitute for corn.It is now found out.by those who joined in abusing me for the doctrine, that commerce is of comparatively little value to England. Well, then, let the West Indians go whithersoever they please with their goods; let them sell them to those who are willing to fetch them away
and to supply them with cloathing and other manufactures in return. This would be fair enough; but, to hold them in a tenfold chain of prohibitions, and, at the same time, to treat them as outcasts, is abominably unjust; it is to set at defiance that fundamental maxim, that maxim which is the basis of civil society, namely, that where protection is not yielded, there no allegiance is due.Mr. Coke asked, what claim the West Indians had to relief better than the Silk Weavers, or persons engaged in any other declining trade? It is not relief, that the West Indians, in this measure, ask. They ask for a fair competition for their produce, in that country, to which they are compelled to bring it. .If the silk-weavers could offer their wares to be used instead of corn, there would be no objection at all to give them the permission; to let silk start fairly with corn. But, there is another point, in which the analogy is deficient. Who is it that suffers principally from the decay in the silk trade? Those who pay the poor rates. The labourers in silk are thrown for maintenance upon the nation at large; but the labourers in sugar are to be maintained still, whether they work or not, wholly by the proprietors of the sugar estates. The silk-weavers are relieved, and Mr. Coke contributes towards their relief without grambling; but, he sets his face against any measure of relief to the West Indians. The war throws the silk-weavers out of employment, and they, as they ought to do, come to the nation at large, and are relieved; but, the West India plantations are impoverished by the war too, and we will neither relieve them, nor suffer them to relieve themselves by doing what they would be able todo, namely, carry, or send, their produce to other countries. The silk-weaver may sell his goods if he can; he may do what he pleases with them; but, the West Indians must bring their goods hither, whether there be a market for them or not. And, will any man of common discernment and common candour say that the cases are parallel? Will he say that there is any resemblance at all between them? And will any just man deny, that the West Indians are peculiarly entitled to the protection of that government, which holds them and their concerns in such strict and unrelenting subjection? -This hard treatment, however, and all this harsh language, towards the West Indians, is not seen in its proper light, 'till compared with that silent acquiesence, which Mr. Coke and his brother Country Gentlemen," give to all the lavish grants made to the East Indians. He has simen quietly and seen three millions
granted to the East India Company, while he ought to know, that that Company is indebted seven millions to this abused nation; and he will now, I warrant it, say nothing to oppose a measure, which, as every man of common information must perceive, will lead to the making of the nation answerable for all the thirty or forty millions of debt, which that Company has contracted. Ifthat Company had had sugar to offer us as a substitute for corn, what praises should we have heard the base newspapers bestow upon “ our
empire in the East!" The "Country Geu"tlemen" would not have moved a tongue. If they had dared to do it, the thuader from Leadenhall street would soon have reduced them to silence. Mr. Coke thinks nothing of secing the whole nation taxed to support hese real speculators; and even to pay their pension list, which amounts to a great many thousands in a year. Was there ever such a thing as this heard, or dreamt of, before ? A Company of Merchants having a national debt and a pension list, and calling upon the nation to defray the expense? Yet, against this Mr. Coke says not one word, though he talks about the taxes that oppress agricul. ture; just as if the land did not pay part, at least, of the enormous sums granted to the East India Company-But, the cause of this difference is, that the East Indians act in a body; they have their Court of Directors; they take care to expend the money we give them in such a way as to have friends in the right place; they have the daily press under their control, in consequence of the use of those means, which they know so well how to employ.This subject is now exhausted. I think, one may defy the ingenuity of man to find out any thing new to be said upon it. Some miserable cavil, or some precious absurdity, unworthy of notice, may still make its appearance; but, on one side or the other, the mind of the nation is made up; and, therefore, though with anxious wishes for its success, I shall leave the measure to its fate.
CURATES BILL.This bill has now passed the House of Commons; and, though it does not guard against the possible negligence, or which is worse, partiality of the Bishops, it will have some effect in the way of correcting the evil and the scandal of non-residence. But, I perceive, that it takes no notice of curates under lay-impropriations. These livings are in the hands of private persons; but, I see no reason why they should not be made to contribute towards the maintenance of the curates, who reside upon them. The College of Maynos blak, lends in abundance, and,
apparently, very zealous friends; and, a provision is talked of for the chaplains of the navy; but, not a word is said about curates under lay-impropriators. I hope, that these gentlemen will be considered, upon some future occasion; and not only them but their parishioners; for, if the church be of use, it is the parishioners who are the greatest sufferers in the misapplication of means for supporting that church.
WESTMINSTER ELECTION. -On Monday, the 23d instant, the anniversary of Sir Francis Burdett's election for Westminster was celebrated at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in that city.--The newspapers have given an account of the proceedings, and particularly of a speech made by the Baronet himself, in which speech he strenuously insists upon the necessity of restoring the House of Commons to what it formerly was, and what the laws and usages, which comprize what is called the constitution (if it be not a mere sound), require that that House should now be; that is to say, an assemblage of gentlemen, freely elected by the people, the real objects of their choice, and the faithful guardians of their property and their liberties. In his opinion respecting this necessity, every day's observation convinces me that Sir Francis Burdett is right; and, I am persuaded, that, if the nation were polled, leaving out those who have an interest in corruption, there would appear a majority of a thousand to one in favour of the reform, which he recommends, and which, in their better days, had been recommended by Mr. Pitt and Mr. Wilberforce.Look well at the evils we endure, and that we apprehend. Trace them back to their cause; and you will find them all meeting at this one point: a House of Commons elected as it now is. I have at this moment before my eyes, an article in the Morning Chronicle, strongly and truly stating the encroachments upon the li berty of every man, which must take place, if the new assessed tax bill pass. Well, it will pass, nevertheless; and what is the cause? So of every other such measure.—— Sir Francis well observed, that, in the present state of things, it was in vain to wish for pure and upright ministers; for, that it would be impossible for them to act according to the dictates of their own minds. A minister may desire to do that which is for the good of the country; he may have an anxions desire to promote its happiness (and, his errors aside, I do think that Mr. Perceval
is such a man); but, before he can stir an juch he has the feelings and interests of the
borough mongers to consult; he has party to counteraet and faction to mollify. How much more at his ease must such a man feel; what a load would be removed from his mind, if he could step into a House of Commons, freely chosen, and having no object in view but that of agreeing to what they thought good, and opposing what they thought bad? A House of Commons, in which there would be no strife for office of emolument, and in which nine times out of ten truth would prevail.--Whoever takes time to contemplate the situation of a minister of the king, at the present day, must per ceive, that those hours and those talents, which ought to be devoted to the service of the country; to giving the king wholesome advice; to the receiving of information; to. the forming of plans; to the performing, in short, of all his great and numerous duties; those hours and those talents will be found all taken up in pre aring for, and carrying on, battles in the House of Commons, in or der to insure success in which battles (and success must be insured), those means most be made use of which are ruinous to the country. From one evil to another we gradually have come, 'till, at last, it is a question, whether we shall be the conquered slaves of France, or not. If we are not, the prevention must finally come from the will of the people at large; it being quite farcical to talk of defending a people without their own voluntary co-operation. And, to have this will, there must be a motive in the peo ple. They must be convinced, not by paragraphs in the COURIER about our glorious constitution," but by their feeling, that they have real liberty and happiness to contend for; for unless they have this conviction, it is infatuation bordering upon insauity to expect them to lift a hand in their country's de fence.- -Whether such a change, as Sir Francis Burdett describes, will ever take place may be a question; but, unless it does, all the schemes of defence will, when the hour of real danger comes, prove ineffectual. They will, indeed, be worse than nothing; and we shall fall without even a desire to stand, as has been the case with so many other kingdoms.--The people of West minster, however, will have done their part. If England be enslaved, the fault will not be theirs. But, they alone can do little. There must be a corresponding spirit through the country at large; and there will be, unless England be doomed to add to the long list of the conquests of Napoleon, Botley, May 26, 1808.
Printed by Cox and Baylis, No. 75, Great Queen Street, and published by R. Bagshaw, Brydges Street, Covent Garden, where former Numbers may be bad, sold also by J. Badd, Crown and Mitre, Pall Mall,
VOL. XIII. No. 23.]
LONDON, SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 1908.
[PRICE 10D. Умарали When William Pitt became minister of England, the interest of the national debt (paid annually out of the taxes) amounted to something more than nine millions of pounds sterling; and, at the close of his administration, it amounted to more than twenty-five millions of pounds sterling. During his administration, he added five-fold to the assessed taxes; he created the income tax; and, by what is called the land-tax redemption act, he made that tax perpetual, and caused the alienation for ever of a considerable part of the property of the church. It was proved before a committee of the House of Commons, that, upon one occasion, he lent, without legal authority, and without the knowledge of his colleagues in office, forty thousand pounds of the public money, free of interest, to two men, who were at the time, members of the House of Commons. During his administration France became mistress of all the continent of Earope, Russia and Sweden excepted. During the year after he became minister (1785), the money paid, on account of the poor, in England and Wales, amounted to 2,004,238 pounds; and, during the year 1803 (two years before the end of his career), the money, for the same purpose, amounted to 4,267,965 pounds. During his administration, the act of "Habeas Corpus," or personal safety act, was suspended for several years together. $65] (865 warring factions, tired of the strife, and wishing to spare their purses, came to a sort of compromise that rendered an election for Westminster much such another affair as an election for Ryegate, or any other double-patroned borough. The Whigs nominated one member, and the minister of the day the other member; and, from these nominations no one ever thought of appealing any more than a soldier thinks of appealing from the word of command. That, from such a state, the people of Westminster should, all at once, have become what they now are is truly surprising. They were very nearly entrapped by Mr. Sheridan's tears over the dead body of Mr. Fox ;" and, owing to want of time for thinking, they. were once more in the hands of the great families, in the person of Lord Percy. But, the dissolution of parliament, which succeeded, caine while their shame and remorse were yet alive; and, though, owing to some of the most villainous tricks that ever were played, they did not succeed in seating the man of their choice in the Houseof Commons, yet, by the spirit which they had previously discovered, Lord Percy was induced to withdraw his pretensions, and, they laid the foundation for certain success at another opportunity, with which the manœuvres of faction soon furnished them. At this last election, though a good deal embarrassed by certain events, upon which it would be useless now to dwell, they acted with promptitude and wisdom. They seemed to have formed a resolution to prove to their former enslavers, that they knew, not only what was their own interest, but also the way to take care of it. The committee appointed to arrange the mode of proceeding were all men of the class of mere electors; there was no great man, or 2 E
SUMMARY OF POLITICS. WESTMINSTER ELECTION. In another part of this sheet will be found the Report, which was made to the electors of Westminster, on the 23d of May, by the committee, who conducted the election in favour of Sir Francis Burdett. This report is worthy of particular attention, especially as being a faithful and ably written history of the manner, in which, for many years past, the electors of Westminster have been treated by the different factions, into whose hands they were inveigled. This was a view, which I had often wished to see taken of the subject. It has now been done; and how humiliating is the reflection, that, for the last half century, the people of Westminster, so perfectly independent, and so well able to judge as to their own interests, should, until now, have had no more to do in the choosing of their representatives, than they had in choosing the Aumils of Hindostan Nay, the thing was worse than a nullity; much worse; because the electors were made to put on a shew of exercising their will; to assume the garb of freedom; and even to boast of that freedom and of their franchises, while they were, in fact, the miserable, the degraded, the despicable and the despised, tools of a few individuals, who were contending solely for the precedence in obtaining power, and, through the means of power, plunder. Really, when one looks back to the contests of the Wrays and the Hoods and the Foxes; when one reads the large volume, in which the Devonshires and some other great families make so conspicuous a figure, one is almost ashamed of one's countrymen and one's country. Yet, that which succeeded these contests was, perhaps, still more disgraceful to this the first city in the kingdom. The
would be great man, who had any share in the business from the beginning to the end; and, as if to give the lie to the opinion, that, without a head, the people are no thing, all the papers, which proceeded from this committee bore the stamp of talent far superior to that which was discovered on the side of those, who opposed them.-There is, of late years, at least, no instance to be found of so strict an obedience to the constitution. The people of Westminster proved, that they understood what the constitution really was. It is astonishing, that any one should be found, with impudence sufficient to censure their proceedings; and, they have the consolation to know, that by none but by the cankered corrupt, those proceedings have been censured.In one thing, however, they have failed. They wished to establish the principle, that no expence should fall upon the persons, elected members of parliament. But, the High Baili's bill, made against their member, has been ordered to be paid by a decision, in the court of king's bench, and the House of Conimons, after having the affair fully represented to them, have declined to interfee This subject was last before them on the 25th of May, when they were informed, that, owing to a decision of the court of king's bench, an execution was in the house of one of their members to compel him to pay for being elected, though he had not been a candidate, and though he had had neither act nor part in carrying on the election. The whigs were as silent as little fishes; but, it was truly admirable to observe how the lowyers all agreed in the necessity of abstaining from meddling with what had been settled in a court of justice.""Sir A. Pigott declared himself to be per"fectly satisfied this was not a case in which "the house could interfere. It was a pro"ceeding in the regular course of justice. "If the action in this case could have been "entertained at all, it must have been on "the ground that it arose out of a contract.
The act which allowed the expences of erecting hustings, &c. in the case of coun"ties, did not extend to boroughs; yet even "there candidates might agree that for their
accommodation, or that of their voters "during a contest of 14 or 15 days, hustings "should be erected, the expence of which "could not reasonably be expected to fall "on the High Bailiff. The action, there"fore, could only be on the contract so supposed to be entered into, and could "of course have no relation to the election,
so as to make it a matter of privilege to "be taken up by that house. This must
"be a question either of fact or of law, and "in either case it might have been brought "before the court, by demurrer, or by Lill "of exceptions, so as to have made the "ground of it appear on record. It bebov"ed those who had the legal means of de"fence in their own hands to go before the
judge in a regular manner. If they omit"ted to do so, it was not for that house to "interpose. If the house should be of "opinion that it would be improper that a "candidate should be on any account at the "expense of erecting hustings, let it be "made the subject of a prospective regula"tion. But as that was not the case at
present, this must be like any other suit "founded on a covenant, the effect of "which must be construed by the Jury." So, here we are to have another law (more glorious work for the lawyers!) ct, a member of parliament is liable to be made to pay the expences of an election, in which he has, neither directly nor indirectly, taken any part.- - But, what did Sir Arthur me in by a contract ?" There was no contract, on the part of Sir Francis Burdett; and, his goods and chattels were seized upon a judg ment, founded on a presumption that there was a contract, which presumption was sup ported solely upon the evidence of his having taken his seat.- -What had he to do with "demurrer," or your your bill of excep tions ?" These argue a law suit, and, must a man be scourged with a law-suit, if he refuse to pay a large sum of money for having been elected without his request, and even without his knowledge-Sir Arthur seems to think nothing of the punishment of a law-suit. All that a man has to do, when he receives the king's command to attend in parliament, is, ope woold think, to attend and to do his duty there; and, if his house be forcibly entered and his goods seized, in consequence of such attendance, is it not for the house to intentere? Is he, at the suit of any body, to be harrassed with. the trouble and expences of law, because he has taken his seat?Mr. LEYCESTER, (don't you remember him, reader, in the committee about Pitt's loan to Boyd and Benfield?) this gentleman, who is an old acquaintance of curs, said, that the person, "who had been held to be the agent of Sit
Francis, had refused to pay the High, "Bailiff, and yet this same person, day after, day, asked, obtained, and availed him"self of the advantage of seats for the check "clerks, inspectors, &c. who were to attend "to the honourable Baronet's interests, in "the clection." This is a mistake, Sir. It was the interests of the people, which