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a Reformed Parliament would find ample means, without a harassing system of taxation, and without any one act of injustice or of harshness towards any individual or any body of men. There are fundholders of different descriptions. It is certain, that a man who has acquired his property in private life is entitled to that property, fairly estimated ; but, the bubble of paper-money has shifted property from one man's pocket to another man's pocket. By this species of legerdeinain one man's cow has been changed into five pounds' worth from ixenty pounds' worth, for this is really the proportion as to lean horned cattle. Upon the whole of that sort of farm produce, which is not affected in its price by the seasons, a fall of much more than one-half has taken place. Whatever is fit for the mouth, or for immediate use in any way, sells at some price; but, there are some things, such as colts, weaned calves, store lambs, which really will bring nothing worthy of the name of price. Many men follow chiefly the rearing of sheep; and they are now selling for 9s. a-head what they ought to sell, according to their expenses, at 25s. a-head. Can it be just, then, that the bubble, which has so lowered their property, should not lower the property of the fundholder ? Suppose A. and B. to have started in 1812, each with a thousand pounds in his pocket. A. lent his money to Perceval and the rest of them, and B. went to farming. A. was to get five per cent. for his money, and B. the profit of his money and his labour. A. had to receive of B., in taxes, the amount of about seventy bushels of wheat ; for seventy bushels of wheat cost then about 501. This was fair as long as the bubble continued; but, the bubble gets a crack; and things are so changed, that A. demands and receives of B, more than one hundred bushels of wheat instead of the seventy which it was clearly understood that A. was to receive. And, if A. be paid in all sorts of farm produce, which is the case, he receives more than the double of what he ought to receive, according to the fair interpretation of the implied contract at the outset. It is, therefore, manifesily unjust, that this rate of paying and receiving should continue. Indeed, the thing is impossible, but if it were possible, it would be unjust. A Reformed Parliament, therefore, after making every reduction in expenses that was practicable, would betake themselves to this great task. They would inquire who the Fundholders were, when they deposited their money; they would compare prices at the different times; they would hunt out the receivers of public money; they would see the extent of the nation's means, and they would, in a very short time, and with the greatest correctness, allot to every one his real due. Such a Parliament would be the best friend of the Fundholder, because it would begin by lopping off almost every expense except that of the Debt, and would thereby secure the best and only chance of his being paid. At any rate the lot of the Fundholder could not be worse than it must inevitably become in the present progress. With a Reformed Parliament an accommodation, a composition, would take place ; but, if the bubble finally burst into thin air, without a Reformed Parliament, such a composition may become wholly impracticable. No persons, therefore, ought to wish for a Reformed Parliament so earnestly as the Fundholders, the greater part of whom are now, from ignorance, its decided enemies. They have a sort of vague fear, that a Reform of Parliament would lead to their utter ruin, and they have still ringing in their ears the sounds, created by knavish horror-mongers, about the French Revolution. The causes of that Revolution would, however, if they

rightly understood them, produce a very different effect on the mind. It is very notorious to all men who have read upon the subject, that it was the extravagances of the French Government which produced the Revolution. These extravagances, which imposed intolerable burdens upon the people, were persevered in, in spite of all the complaints of the people, at a moment when the taxes pressed them to the earth. But, at last, the Government could no longer collect the means of paying the interest of the debt. Still it persevered in the extravagance. It could not, however, by all its cruel edicts, wring from the people a sufficiency of money to pay the just demands upon it, and at the same time to support its army and its swarms of lazy dependants. In this dilemma it called the Notables together, and they recommended Reform! Still there was time for the Government to have saved itself from destruction and the country from bloodshed. But the Government, urged by the blood-suckers of the country, endeavoured to support the old system ; discovered insincerity in all its professions for the public good; allied itself in wishes, at least, with those who had gone abroad to invite the aid of hired soldiers ; the people became enraged; vengeance thrusted calm reason from her seat; and the throne, the noblesse, the church, all were hurled down in an instant. From the Government, vengeance marched with fire and sword against all its friends. Property became exposed to the caprice of succeeding men in power; and, in the uproar, the opulent Fundholder thought himself happy to escape with his life to some dirty hiding-place, there to reflect on the important truth, that TIMELY REFORM would have secured to him the possession of his fortune. Happy would it be, if, profiting from this dreadful example, the body of Fundholders would now join their efforts to those of the friends of timely Reform. The hirelings bid us be warned by the French Revolution. Let them take the awful warning to themselves. They are for ever reminding us, that that Revolution has ended in despotism. We, therefore, wish for a Reform that shall prevent Revolution. But, Sir, if they will have it, that our Government will never yield upon this point, and that if we have a Reform we shall not have it without a Revolution, we will not believe their assertions ; but if we were to admit them for argument's sake, even then we should see no reason to desist from our efforts to obtain Reforın, being convinced that the example of France ought not to alarm us. We have, in this country, a form of Government that we like; we have great Constitutional principles and laws, to which we are immoveably attached, which our brethren in America have firmly and most wisely adhered to, and which nothing can improve. These are land-marks for us, and would be our sure and certain guide. Whereas the French had never possessed any fixed principles or laws of this description. They were all at sea ;" and no wonder, if, in the midst of their rage their vengeance and their torments, they committed great errors in the organization of an entirely new sort of government, which the people had never before heard any thing about. Therefore, Sir, we are not to be scared by the hirelings who tell us (very falsely, I hope,) that the Government will never yield, and that we shall not have Reform without Revolution, But, we do not, I hope, stop here; for, if we could believe it possible, which we cannot, that England would, in the end, derive no greater benefit from a change than France has derived from her change, still we ought to proceed. For, Sir, in spite of every thing, that the Bourbons, aided by a million of men in arms, have been able to do, still the state of France is a state of blessedness, compared to what it was before the Revolution. France now possesses the Code Napoleon, instead of the cruel feudal system. France, in spite of invading and watching armies, has not been, and will not be, replunged into the barbarism of the seventeenth century. Re. ligious toleration cannot be gotten rid of, though murders are committed in the name of Jesus Christ. The Priests will never regain their power, and the petty tyrants of the Noblesse are for ever ejected from their privilege of robbing and insulting the people. To see a Foreigo army in their country to uphold the Bourbons against the wishes of the people must give the latter pain ; but, they are much better off than before the Revolution, when they were liable to be robbed and beaten, without daring to resist, by any of the myrmidons of the Crown. And, in truth, it is not more humiliating ; it is even less humiliating, to be kept in awe by a Foreign army, brought into the country on purpose, than by an army of one's own country, consisting of our own countrymen, paid, fed, and clothed by ourselves. In the former case, it is an open acknowledged submission to Foreign force; to the superior power of a conqueror ; but in the latter case, it is a sort of sneaking degradation, which seeks to hide itself even from the eyes of the degraded party himself

, who vainly imagines that, in shutting his eyes to his own disgrace, he can hide it from the rest of the world. Supposing, therefore, that things were to remain in France as they now are, the French bave greatly gained by their Revolution, besides having inflicted just punishment on the greater part of their oppressors, and that is a clear gain, an enjoyment possessed and past, which nothing can deprive them of. But things will not remain as they are. The French Revolution is not yet ended. It cannot stop where it is, and the events of every day tend to impress this truth on our minds. However, even the view that present circumstances present, induces us to conclude, making the very worst of every thing we see, that the example of France contains no one argument against the most strenuous exertions in favour of Reform in England. To return to the Fundholders, Sir, the notice of whose false alarms has led me into this digression, I think they ought to see much more cause for alarm in the continuance of the present system, than in a Reform that would put an end to it. Several of the Correspondents of the Board of Agriculture, Mugistrates, and, of course, " friends of Government,” tell the Board, that, if something be not done, they do not believe, that the peace of the country can be preserved! By which they must mean, that the people will rise and help themselves. This is revolution at once or, at least, open rebellion. So that it is their opinion, that one of these will take place, unless something be done. And, what is to be done other than taking off the taxes in the way that I have proposed ? And who will do that but a Reformed Parliament ? Thus, then, the Fundholders must, I should think, at last, clearly see, that their only chance of escaping ruin is in a Reform; that while the choice of the country in general lies between Reform and confusion, their own particular choice lies between Reform with something, and confusion with not a farthing. A Reformed Parliament would " preserve the peace of the country," I'll warrant it. They would hasten with sincerity and energy to remove the pressure which the people feel; they would instantly put an end to that everlasting source of ill.will and bloodshed, the religious disabilities of Catholics and Dissenters; they would throw open the doors of promotion and honourable reward to men of all religious denominations; and would thereby put an end to those bitter animosities, which, while they make men persecute each other, render the whole mass more completely subject to oppression. A Reformed Parliament would, at once, recall the army from France, and disclaim, in the most distinct terms, all intention or desire to interfere in the domestic affairs of other nations, expressing at the same time, its anxious wish to see civil and religious liberty flourish in every part of the world. This is the way, that a Reformed Parliament would proceed, in order to preserve the peace and restore the happiness of the country.

Having now, Sir, shown that a Reformed Parliament would be able to do something that no one will deny to be good, unless he be an eater of taxes, I should next proceed to answer the second question ; namely, “ in “WHAT MANNER can a Reform take place without creating con

fusion ?” but, as this is a subject that requires to be treated of somewhat in detail, it must be postponed till another week.

In the meanwhile permit me to congratulate you on the noble efforts which the friends of freedom are making in the City of London, and on the triumph of those efforts. The re-election of the Lord Mayor, excellently sound and brave and public-spirited man as he is, is nothing compared to the demonstrations upon this occasion in favour of those principles, which are now prevailing in every quarter, namely, the principles of Reform. There was a time, when a man like the Lord Mayor would not have obtained a hundred votes in the City. Singular, that the Pitt crew, by persevering in a poll, should seek to proclaim their own disgrace! But the truth is, that they can hardly believe that what they now behold is a reality. Their insolence cannot yet recede from its former point. I do not so much wonder at this, seeing that I myself, though, for 12 or 13 years, occupied in coolly foretelling the blowing up of this system, am actually astounded at what I see around me. The statue of Pitt would appear to have been placed in the Guildhall, by his corrupt friends and jobbers, for the express purpose of now carrying back the recollection of the Livery to his innumerable acts of oppression and insolence. Without this object in their sight, they might be induced to stop short in their reflection; but with this before them, the trial of Tooke and Hardy, the Transportation of the Scotch Patriots, the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, the Treason and Sedition Bills, the Laws to cramp the Press, the Bastile and“ Governor” Aris, the Loan to Boyd and Benfield, the Bank Restriction Act; all these, and a thou- • sand other things, rush in upon the mind. No wonder that Mr. Thompson was led into vehement language, when, with the miseries of his country in his mind, he happened to turn his eyes towards this statue. But, the more solemn the proceeding, in the removal of this object, so justly hateful to the eyes of the friends of freedom, the better it will be. It was voted into the Hall by the enemies of the country; let it be voted out of the Hall by its friends. It is, indeed, a deep disgrace to the City of London that it should remain there ; for, as long as it so remains, will the City be justly accused of entertaining bad principles, or of want of courage to assert good ones. This was the man who first set that mischief on foot, which has, at last, covered the country with misery, after having enslaved a great part of Europe. He was a cold, a hardened, a merciless man. The cool manner in which he pursued Messrs. Tooke and Hardy, the evidence he gave on their trial (to say nothing about VOL. IV.

LL

that of his friend Wilberforce), his Cold-Bath-Fields proceedings, these ought never to be effaced from the minds of the people of England and Scotland; and the useful sort of public instruction would be, to give a true account to the people of his acts and those of his underlings and successors. However, we have lists of the Members of the Pitt Clubs, which may serve to guide us in the selection of those who are entitled to the largest share of our resentment. A short time will show, whether these combinations of men will have the impudence to persevere in insulting the people; but, whatever they may do, the days of their glory are gone, nerer to return, and the days of their shame are at hand.

I am, with great respect,
Your most obedient Servant,

WM. COBBETT.

TO

SIR FRANCIS BURDETT, BART. IN WHAT MANNER (CAN A REFORM OF PARLIAMENT TAKE

PLACE, WITHOUT CREATING CONFUSION?

(Political Register, October, 1816.)

Botley, October 18, 1816. SIR,

Having, in my last letter, shown that a Reform of Parliament would do a great deal of good, it shall now be my business to answer the second of the questions, which fear, at the suggestion of craft, is continually putting to us. Before, however, I proceed to show, that a timely reform might be, and would be, effected without the smallest chance of creating confusion, a preliminary remark or two are called for on the conduct of those crafty and corrupt men, who suggest this question to the ignorant and the timid.

Why should any body suppose, that confusion would be created by restoring the people at large to the enjoyment of the most important of their undoubted rights? We know well enough what infamous confusion now reigns at every general election. Why, then, is confusion so much dreaded ? It will be shown, by and by, that a Reformed Parliament would be chosen by means the most simple, the most quiet in their operation, the most fair, and the best calculated to prevent those scenes of tumult and violence, and beastly conduct, which now disgrace elections ; but, before proceeding to the detail of these means, let us again ask these pretended lovers of peace and harmony, why they suppose, that a Reform of Parliament, above all things in the world, would be likely to create confusion?

The Habeas Corpus Act could be suspended for seven years at one time; new treasons could be invented ; addition upon addition to the severity of the penal code ; punishment heaped on punishment for the sake of collect

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