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shallow and contemptible sophism, the barriers they had undermined, and that it was time enough to bring the landmarks they had unsettled. forward the military when the peace None but a fool or a knave will prewas disturbed; and that the meet. tend to assert, that the consequences ing having, up to the moment when of such an aggregation of the disconit was dispersed, been conducted in tented, as the meeting of the 16th, an orderly and peaceable manner, might not have been dangerous and its violent dispersion was, therefore, disastrous. What, for example, took in the highest degree criminal. Upon place in London in 1780 ? Was not this principle a man should wait pa. the capital, for many days, in the postiently till his house was thoroughly session of a mob, at first as peaceable and wholly in a blaze, before he calls and orderly as that of Manchester, ed for help, or sent for the engines and assembled for a purpose certainto extinguish the flames. Was it ly not more criminal, that of perinot enough that the meeting was il. tioning against the proposed conceslegal? Was it not enough that it sions to the Roman Catholics ? Let was avowedly assembled for the pur- any sober-minded man read the his. pose of enforcing its demands by tory of Lord George Gordon's riots, the terror of an overwhelming multi- and then say, whether he will contude ? Was it not enough that it demn the violent dispersal of the imminently endangered the public Manchester Meeting and let him tranquillity; and that, in the existing farther reflect, that the head to which condition of men's minds, and with the rioters ultimately came,—when the entire combination that prevail. they destroyed the prisons, and set ed, no limits could have been fixed at liberty condemned felons, to prey to the crimes and atrocities which on the defenceless citizens, and might have been the result, had such when they even attacked the Bank an enormous mass of human beings itself at one moment with every been at once roused into action ? chance of success,—was entirely ow. Who can pretend to govern, or guide ing to the pusillanimity of the mathe conduct of one hundred thousand gistrates, who hesitated, and wavered, men, whose minds have been sedu- and shrunk from the acting till aclously and thoroughly inflamed with tion had nearly become useless ;-let the most rancorous hostility to the him reflect on this, and then demur a government of their country, who little, before he anathematises the are suffering under the most severe energy displayed by the Manchester privations, and who have been taught Magistrates. On the former occasion, to believe that their hardships and the decision and presence of mind misery are the result of the tyranny, of the late king saved the capital oppression and corruption of their from conflagration, and the country rulers ? The very men whose labours from the insane fury of religious mainly produced, or at least accele- mobs : on the latter, it is impossible rated the French Revolution, were to calculate from what evils these among the first of its victims: they much and unjustly-aspersed men had indeed broken down every ba- were the means of delivering their rier of religion and law, but the tor- country. rent they had thus set free, to pursue But before we proceed to the more its inevitable course, soon proved too immediate business of this chapter, mighty for their feeble efforts to let us stop for a moment to inquire, restrain it, and they were swept how far the designs of the disaffectaway in the common destruction of ed were aided and abetted by the particular circumstances of the coun- The first and most obvious effect try. We have already seen, that at of these failures was to diminish the the commencement of the year cir- quantity of employment for the lacumstances symptomatic of a revival bouring classes, and, by consequence, of trade and commerce had made the rate of wages, already almost as their appearance.
Unfortunately, low as they could possibly be reduced, howerer, the hope founded on these in order to enable the labourer to live. appearances proved delusive. Ex. Many were therefore thrown out of cessive production, the natural con- work altogether; and those who were
, sequence of a superabundant popu. fortunate enough to procure it, were, lation and improved machinery, glut- by the lowness of wages, accompanited the market; while our foreign ed, as it almost always is, by excescustomers, as much exhausted in sive labour, reduced io great misery. their means as ourselves, and feel. Other circumstances tended still faring as deeply the withdrawing from ther to depress the operatives, and, circulation of that immense capital if possible, to add to their sufferings. which the war had put in motion, had The passing of Mr Peel's bill, and no longer the means of purchasing to the consequent contraction of the the same extent. The demand had, issues of the Bank, raised the value therefore, diminished, while the sup- of money, and altered the relative ply continued as great as before, values of all contracts. Of this the owing to the difficulty of sudden- purchaser was naturally the first ly withdrawing capital from those to take advantage.
to take advantage. The price of employments in which it had been in- goods fell; the result of which is al. vested. These evils were greatly ag- ways a corresponding diminution ei. gravated by the state of the curren. ther of profits or of wages, which cy, which, during the continuance of vary inversely as each other. Here, the restriction, and by the facility of then, we have an additional evil inobtaining discounts and bank credits, flicted on the labouring classes by had greatly encouraged speculation the measures of last session relative and overtrading, and enabled men to to the currency; an evil which was embark in commerce to a great ex- aggravated and rendered almost intent who were possessed of no real tolerable by the circumstance, that capital to meet any exigency that though wages rapidly accommodate might arise. To such men the con. themselves, especially in the way of traction of the Bank issues that ne- depression, to the existing state of cessarily followed, nay, in some de. the currency, a considerable time gree preceded, the passing of Mr must necessarily elapse before this Peel's bill for the resumption of cash accommodation spread itself over payments, must have been a fatal the whole surface of society, and beblów; and the unavoidable conse. fore the prices of commodities fall to quence was, the columns of the Ga.
the extent of the rise that has taken zette teemed with lists of bankrupts in place in the value of money. In a all parts of the country; a fact which time of brisk trade and abundant emwill be easily understood by all those ployment, the resumption of cash who know how intimate is the con- payments would have been companection subsisting between the Coun. ratively little felt; but happening to try Banks and the Bank of England, combine with so many other causes, and how completely the operations all operating towards the same result, of the former depend upon and are it could not fail to exasperate the regulated by those of the latter. misery previously but too widely
and deeply felt. Let it not be sup- the House of Peers, whither the posed, however, that we condemn members of the House of Commons that wise and necessary measure. It had, as assual, been summoned, owas agreed, on
all hands, during the pened the session with the following discussion in Parliament of the ex. speech : pediency of resuming cash payments, “ My Lords and Gentlemen, that the evils attending a return to a “ It is with great concern that I sound and legitimate standard would am again obliged to announce to only be tenfold increased by post- you the continuance of his Majesty's ponement, and might, if much long. lamented indisposition. er delayed, have entailed ruin and “ I regret to have been under the bankruptcy on the nation. In this necessity of calling you together at opinion we entirely coincide ; al- this period of the year; but the sethough we cannot shut our eyes to ditious practices so long prevalent the immediate effects of the measure in some of the manufacturing disupon the wages of labour, and the tricts of the country have been conprices of commodities.
tinued with increased activity since Matters being in this state, it is you were last assembled in Parlianot difficult to calculate the effects ment. which the harangues, the nostrums,
“They have led to proceedings in. and the inflammatory publications compatible with the public tranquil. of evil and designing men would lity, and with the peaceful habits of produce upon a starving population. the industrious classes of the commuThe measures which it was deemed nity; and a spirit is now fully maninecessary to take for the preserva. fested, utterly hostile to the constitution of the public tranquillity indu- tion of this kingdom, and aiming not ced his Majesty's Ministers to ad- only at the change of those political vise the re-assembling of Parliament, institutions which have hitherto cona summary of the proceedings of stituted the pride and security of this which we now proceed to lay before country, but at the subversion of the our readers. This summary, circum- rights of property and of all order in stances unavoidably compel us to society. make brief; which, however, is the “ I have given directions that the less to be regretted, as the speeches necessary information on this subject will in general be found to contain shall be laid before you; and I feel little else than various and contradic. it to be my indispensable duty, to tory versions of the occurrences at press on your immediate attention Manchester on the memorable 16th the consideration of such measures of August. We shall, therefore, as may be requisite for the countercontent ourselves with giving only action and suppression of a system such an abstract as is necessary to which, if not effectually checked, explain the nature of the several must bring confusion and ruin on the acis passed, for the purpose of check- nation. ing the designs of the disaffected, and “ Gentlemen of the House of restoring the tranquillity of the dis
Commons, turbed districts.
“ The estimates for the ensuing The 23d of November being the year will be laid before you. day fixed for the re-assembling of “ The necessity of affording pro. Parliament, his Royal Highness the tection to the lives and property of Prince Regent having proceeded to his Majesty's loyal subjects has com
pelled me to make some addition to we can alone expect the continuour military force; but I have no ance of that Divine favour and prodoubt you will be of opinion that the tection which have hitherto been so arrangements for this purpose have signally experienced in this kingbeen effected in the manner likely dom.” to be the least burdensome to the In the Lords the usual address was country.
moved by Earl Manners, and second“ Although the revenue has un- ed by Lord Churchill, when Earl dergone some fluctuation since the Grey rose to move an amendment. close of the last session of Parlia. In a long speech he went over all the ment, I have the satisfaction of be. topics alluded to or suggested by the ing able to inform you, that it ap- speech ; entered at large into the pears to be again in a course of pro- history of the reform meetings both gressive improvement.
in Scotland and England ; animad“ Some depression still continues verted severely on what he thought to exist in certain branches of our the premature approval expressed in manufactures, and I deeply lament the name of the Prince Regent, by the distress which is in consequence the Secretary of State, of the meafelt by those who more immediately sures which had been resorted to by depend upon them; but this depres- the Manchester Magistrates; alludsion is in a great measure to be as- ed to the answer given to the ad. cribed to the embarrassed situation dress of the Common Council of of other countries, and I earnestly London, relative to the dispersal hope that it will be found to be of a of the Manchester meeting ; con. temporary pature.
demned the removal of Earl Fitzwil. My Lords ard Gentlemen, liam from the Lieutenancy of the “ I continue to receive from fo- West Riding of Yorkshire ; commentreign Powers the strongest assurancesed on the addition made to the army of their friendly disposition towards of 10,000 regular troops : and, after a this country.
multitude of miscellaneous observa. “ It is my most anxious wislı, that tions, concluded by moving an a. advantage should be taken of this mendment in substance as follows: season of peace to secure and ad. “ To assure bis Royal Highness vance our internal prosperity ; but the Prince Regent, that while we the successful prosecution of this deeply lament the unexampled disobject must essentially depend tress which exists, we shall take into the preservation of domestic tran- our most serious consideration the vaquillity.
rious matters contained in his Royal “ Upon the loyalty of the great Highness's most gracious speech. body of the people I have the most That it is impossible to express apconfident reliance; but it will re. probation of the attempts which were quire your utmost vigilance and ex. made to persuade the people to seek ertion, collectively and individually, relief from the distresses under which to check the dissemination of the they labour, by means dangerous to doctrines of treason and impiety, and the public tranquilliiy, and inconsisto impress upon the minds of all tent with the security of the com. classes of his Majesty's subjects, that munity; and that it is our duty, as it is from the cultivation of the prin- well as our determination, to adopt ciples of religion, and from a just sub- measures for the prevention of those ordination to lawful authority, that attempts.
« That we humbly represent to his thorities, who had pronounced it not Royal Highness, while we thus de- only illegal but treasonable. He clare our determination to give full then adverted in succession to the vigour to the law, that we feel called topics discussed by the Noble Earl on, by a sense of duty, to satisfy the who had moved the amendment, and people that their complaints shall at concluded by declaring that he should all times receive that just attention vote for the original address as it which is indispensable to their safe stood, and that, if the amendment
was persisted in, he would move the “ That this seems to us peculiarly previous question, necessary at this period, in order to A considerable discussion follow. create a confidence in the public ed, the most remarkable feature of mind, that they have a sufficient safe. which was the solemn and deliberate guard in the laws of the land against opinion expressed by the Lord Chan. all encroachment on their just rights. cellor, that the meeting at Manches
“ That we have seen with deep re- ter was an illegal one ; an opinion gret the events which took place at which he said he must hold while he Manchester on the 16th of August; found in his law-books that numbers and without pror ouncing any opinion constituted force, and force terror, on the circumstances which occurred and terror illegality. Lord Liveron that melancholy occasion, that we pool also entered at very considerfeel it demands our most serious at. able length into the question; maintention and deliberate inquiry, in or- tained most explicitly that the Magider to dispel all those feelings to strates of Manchester would not have which it has given birth, and to show received the thanks of the Govern. that the measures then resorted to ment unless they had done their duty; were the result of urgent and una. and stated the circumstances, which, voidable necessity, that they were in his judgment, rendered the meet. justified by the constitution, and that ing decidedly illegal, if not treasonthe lives of his Majesty's subjects able. It is somewhat remarkable, cannot be sacrificed with impunity.” that of all the Noble Lords who sup
The Noble Earl was answered by ported the amendment, and aniinadLord Sidmouth, who replied at large verted so severely both on the proto his statements, and went into the ceedings at Manchester and the subhistory of the proceedings at Man. sequent conduct of the Government, chester, and particularly defended not one risked an explicit and deGovernment from the charge of pre- cided opinion that the meeting was a cipitation in the approval which legal one; that eighty or a hundred they had recommended to his Royal thousand men could, without violatHighness to express of the energy ing the law, assemble with revolutionand decision with which the Man. ary ensigns, and with the attitude of chester Magistrates had acted on a defiance and intimidation, not mere. very trying occasion. On the illega. ly to petition for redress of their lity of the meeting of the 16th of grievances, but by menaces to awe August the Noble Secretary express. the Government into submission. ed himself with the greatest confi. The question being put, the amenddence, both from the nature of the ment was negatived by the enormous information of which Government majority of 125. were in possession, and from the o- In the House of Commons, the pinion delivered by great legal au. address was moved by the Honour.