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In the meanwhile, if the Pitt Club should assemble, I hereby put in my claim to a ticket at the feast of the “ Heaven-born Minister, whose system now begins to be in a fair way of being put to the test. I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,

WM, COBBETT.

TO THE

CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER.

(Political Register, December, 1815.)

LETTER VIII.

On the Advantage, which the WHIGS are endeavouring to take of the

present Embarrassments of the Country. Sir,

Pleasant as was the vein of my correspondence with you, on the subject of finance, it must, however disagreeable to me, be interrupted for a week, in order to give me an opportunity of addressing you on the subject of the efforts, which the Whig faction appear to be making to take advantage of your present embarrassments. To be sure, you may well imagine it ridiculous for me to plague myself with anything that this old battered, worn-out, faction are doing or wishing for; but, be that as it may, I cannot refrain from stopping their mouths, whenever I see them beginning to open them. For, though they are down now, it is not impossible, that, in the times that are approaching, they may endeavour to rise, and, that they may, if the public be not warned beforehand, succeed in causing some persons to believe, that, if they had been in power, the present distresses would never have been known.

I gather the above-mentioned intention on their part from an article in the Morning Chronicle of the 18th instant. This print is their oracle ; this print has been, and yet is, one of the most mischievous in the whole country; because, it is chiefly owing to this print, that the idea of an " Opposition" has been kept in existence, when, in fact, there has been no such thing as an opposition, according to the old idea attached to that word. This idea has served to amuse the people, or, at least, a part of them; to excite false hopes; and thereby to produce the events that have brought us, by degrees, to our present state. The editor of the Morning Chronicle well knows, that there has, in fact, been no opposition party for many years; that is to say, no opposition such as formerly existed in England. Mr. Mathew CAREY, of Philadelphia, who has written a very clever book, called the “ OLIve Branch," and which I would cause to be republished here, IF I DARED, observes, that we, in England, have always a Country Party as well as a Court Party. Mr. Carey has, very likely, been deceived by this very Morning Chronicle, who knows well,

that all talk about party and opposition is now a mere fraud ; and, indeed, Sir, you know as well as anybody, that there has been, for more than 30 years, no such thing as a body of Members of Parliament answering to the description of the country party previous to the American Revolutionary war, since which war the magnitude and influenɔe of the Debt have wholly overwhelmed all the considerations, out of which a Country party arose. It is, therefore, imposture to pretend, that any such party exists. But, as to the persons whom the Morning Chronicle is holding up as your opponents, it is notorious, that they have, in one way or another, aided and abetted in carrying into execution all the schemes which have finally produced the distresses, which Mr. Perry of the Chronicle appears to lament. It is right that this charge should be proved; but I will first insert here the passage, to which I have been referring.

A most erroneous opinion seeins to prevail with respect to the notice lately “ issued, in pursuance of the Property-Tax Act, for Meetings of Commisa “sioners, to regulate the assessinents under Schedules A and B, according to new agreements between the landlords and tenants. It has been commented

upon as the spontaneous act of Ministers, evincing their desire to relieve the " agricultural interest. Now, if our readers will take the trouble of refer“ ring to the Debates, in the beginning of May last, they will find it to have been " the original intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to have enforced " the prior assessment of the year 1814, without any allowance; and that after a “ considerable struggle on the part of the gentlemen on the opposite side of the House " -after they had assured him of the fact, that many tenants were then in jail "he relinquished his plan, or rather was convinced of the folly of persisting in it. “ The consequence was that a clause was introduced into the present Act, which reserves the powers given to the Commissioners under the Act of 46 Geo. “ III. c. 65, and under these powers the proposed abatements will be made. * Thus, then, at once, vanishes the pleasing delusion that Ministers, amidst the “circle of gaieties in which they revolve, were alive to the distresses of the country. "Never at any former period, were these distresses so much felt. The weight of Taxes and Poor Rates is so great, that the landlords in many parts, can pro“ cure no rent at all-the clergy, of course, are losers in their tithes, and the shop

keepers, who have chiefly depended upon the agriculturalists, have no other “ means of satisfying their creditors, than by becoming bankrupts. Hence “ we see the frightful increase of Commissions in every week's Gazette,

exceeding all former times. Indeed, so great is the number, that a new court is talked of for bankrupt business only-offices for reference are opened in the Metropolis, and the list of dividends and notices form

a volume !— Are these the halcyon days so long promised ?- Is this the " splendid result of all the sacrifices which, year after year, we were called

upon to make? If all the private wrongs and miseries occasioned by the profligate waste and expenditure of the late war could be brought into detail — "what a melancholy catalogue they would represent! Many thousands of families hare been reduced from a state of independence to absolute ruin - and the parish “workhouse (that scene of human wretchedness and suffering) is now be

come the common asylum of those who have known better days.'- Surely the men who boast of governing upon the Pitt principles'- if it were only " for the show of a little consistency, may be prompted to some plan of economy

and retrenchment, whereby the burthens oppressing the great mass of the people

may be lightened-if it were only out of some little regard to the memory of “ their Patron Saint, by way of palliation, for the falsification of all his mighty

promises !! Economy and retrenchment are our only hope, and must be the order of the day.-We are aware that to a certain class we shall appear

very uncourtly-little less than barbarians, with reflections such as these. to “ break in upon the festivities in which Ministers may be now engaged. But it is

our duty to endeavour at least to awaken them from their apathy; for as Mr. Fox once observed—- In times like these, when the nation is groaning under "I a load of taxes which it is scarcely able to support, instead of affecting gaiety

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"' and ease, our rulers ought to manifest the same symptoms of mortifieation and “* distress which pervade the community.'

All this, summed up together, means this: that the people ought to thank the Ministers for the intended abatements in the Property-Tax; that it was Mr. Perry's " Opposition,” who caused the act of Parliament to provide for it; that it was delusion to believe the Ministers alive to the distresses of the country; that these distresses are unparalleled, and that Mr. Perry's party are the men to put an end to them.

Now, Sir, was there ever a more gross attempt at imposition ? Let us take the article as it lies before us. You are represented as not being alive to the distresses, which the people now feel, especially on the score of the Income, or Property-Tax. But, Mr. Perry, the Editor of the Morning Chronicle, appears to forget, that it was his own party, when in power, who raised this tax from 61 to 10 per centum. Were they alive, then, to the distresses of the people ? Is it not being very boid ; is it not showing a great disregard of character, to pretend, that his party have more feel. ing for the people than you and Castlereagh have ?-We are next told of the number of Bankruptcies, and of the many thousands of families, which have been reduced from a state of independence to absolute ruin, by the profligate waste and expenditure of the late war.-Well, suppose this to be the case, though I do not dare to say that it is; what then? Have not the party of Mr. Perry had their full share in urging on that war? They had, when in power, overtures made to them to put an end to the war; and, is it not notorious, that they broke off the treaty on the ground of Hanover? Is it not notorious, that they refused to make peace for England, unless Hanover was restored to the King ? Besides, who are this party? Lord Grenville, Lord Spencer, Lord Sidmouth, was in place with them. And had these men no hand in the war? Mr. Perry himself got a place, when his party came into power. Did not he, then, support the war? Aye, and was he not amongst the most loud and most shameless of all the applauders of the burning of the buildings at Washington ? Did he not applaud the conduct of Ross and Cockburn to the skies? Did he not call that act “the most brilliant dash of the whole war ?" Nay, did not his party pledge themselves to support the war against America, unless she was content to give up the question of impressment ? This they were told at the time was the most serious of all her complaints, and yet they pledged themselves to support a war against her if she did not quietly acquiesce. The public will remember (if, indeed, they ever do remember anything), that Mr. Perry was amongst the foremost, and during the late American war, to blame the Ministers ; but, for what? Not for going to war; not for the manner in which they instructed their commanders to behave towards the people who fell under their power; not for any of those acts of the war, of which thc Americans have so loudly complained. No, his blame was not directed against the Ministers on any of these accounts, but, on the contrary, he founded his blame on what he called the negligence and slowners of the Ministers, whom he exhorted to send against the Americans such an overwhelming force as would put an end to the war at once, and, of course, by the subjugation of America. And, yet, to hear Mr. Perry now ; one would imagine, that he was the mortal enemy of the late war, and the sincere friend of freedom ! Of the same description has been the conduct of his coadjutors, the Edinburgh Reviewers. If we look back into their work, we shall find them pursuing exactly the same track.

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America was always, by the whole party, even including Mr. Alexander Baring, asserted to have been the aggressor in the war ; and, if this was acknowledged, how inconsistent is it to find fault with the Ministers for having incurred debts by pursuing that war!

If we look back to the discussions in Parliament, do we find that any one man of this party ever condemned the war against America ? When she was compared to an assussin, who attacked us the dark, was there a single tongue to repel the charge, or even to call the truth of it in question? Did not this party vie with the other in voting thanks to, and a monument to perpetuate the merit of General Ross, who commanded the land forces at the burning of the buildings at Washington, and who was killed in the attempt to storm the city of Baltimore? Did any one of this party ever make any motion on any of the acts of the war, related in the “ American Exposition ?" No: but they made motions enough about what they called the remissness of you and your colleagues in carrying on the war; though, as far as I could perceive, you did, and I delight in doing you the justice to say it, everything that lay in your power to sink, burn, and destroy the Americans by sea and land; to invade, overrun and subjugate their country; to pull down their Chief Magistrate and their Government, to make them an example for all the world to shun, and an object for all the world to hold in derision. I must, Sir, do you and your colleagues, the justice to say, that you all, severally and jointly, appeared to me to do your utmost to defeat, to disgrace, and destroy the Americans; and that, if you did not succeed, it was not owing to any remissness on your part, but to that courage, skill, love of country, and good sense,

which

you had to fight against, and which, in spite of all my warnings, you did not expect to meet with.

The Morning Chronicle tells us now, that the men who boast of governing upon the Pitt Principles,” ought to endeavour to adopt some plan of economy, " by way of palliation for the fulsified predictions of all the mighty promises of their Patron Suint.And, Sir, who are these men ? Why Lord Grenville, Lord Spencer, and several others, who went with Pitt from the beginning, and Lord Grey, and Mr. Ponsonby, and the rest of those who joined the former, and who all voted a monument to Pitt upon the express ground of his public services. But further I appeal to you, Sir, I appeal to every man who recollects what has passed upon the subject; I appeal to the Parliamentary debates for the last ten years, whether Mr. Perry's whole party have not, during that time, been constantly contending, that they, and not you and your party, were acting upon the true Pitt principles; and whether shey have not boasted of this even more than you. It has been a rivalship resembling that of the public-house keepers in and near Gosport, on the subject of Alton ale. Alton ale sold here,” says one ; " Fine Alton ale,” says another; and a third says,

Real Alton ale.” The truth is, that both parties have not only professed to act upon Pitt-principles, but they have acted on those principles; and, therefore, they have nothing to reproach each other with upon that score. It is very true, that Pitt's mighty promises have all been falsified. But, were they not falsified long ago ?

And did not Mr. Perry know that they had been falsified when Mr. Purry held a place under the Grenville administration ?

However, are not Mr. Perry's own promises, those which he makes now, as likely to be falsified ? He now talks of retrenchment and economy. These, he says, are our only hope. Does he think, that, though his party were as extravagant as any, your savings would uphold the system? Does he think, that if you were to reduce the civil list, and the navy and army, full 4-5ths, that taxes enough would be collected to support the system ? Does he think, that while wheat sells at six or seven shillings a bushel, taxes can, for two years, be collected to pay the amount of the dividends? If he does think this, I pity him.

All this talk about economy is now idle. It would do something ; but nothing effectual. We are arrived at that state when economy becomes unavailing. Fifteen or twenty years ago economy might have preserved the system for a considerable number of years, if no interruption of the economy had taken place. But, now it is too late for economy to do more than make a small part of a real remedy.

Mr. Perry is angry at the festivities which are now going on amongst you. But, why should you not feast? Mr. Perry did not mourn, when he was in place. There was frolicking enough in those times, and yet wide-wasting war was going on. The truth is, that this is all mere factious cavil. It is the system that has produced the present unparalleled distress, and that system clearly appears to me, and, I believe, to the public, now to be fast drawing to a close. The only ground of difference of opinion seems to be, whether it will tumble to the right or to the left.

Sir,
Your most obedient servant,

W. COBBETT.

I am,

TO THE

CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER.

(Political Register, December, 1815.)

LETTER IX.

On the Strange Notions of the Edinburgh Revicu, for October last, on

the subject of our Finances. Sir,

In a former Letter I observed upon the number of quacks, who were coming forth with their remedies for the great national disease, which now seems to be approaching fast to a crisis. I do not lump these Reviewers along with the common herd of financial empirics; but I am afraid, that, in the discharge of my duty as a public writer, I shall be compelled to show, that, in this instance, they have been writing about that which they do not at all understand. Their observations would not call forth anything from me, did I not think it likely, that those observations may, if suffered to pass unnoticed, tend to lull the people into false security, at a moment when their minds ought to be prepared for the averting of danger. Were the Edinburgh Review one of those feeble and inefficient publications, which travel but a few miles from the spot where they are printed; or, were it the production of the more hirelings of the press ; in either of these cases

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