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tion has not visited your lips, to be disregarded. I speak not now to a man infatuated and prejudiced, deaf to reason and blind to demonstration; but I address one, rational, free from delusion, anxious to discover truth, and open to conviction. Alas, alas! that the change has not been wrought in you by other things than loss and misery!
After you have read the Speech again and again, compel your Representatives, while they are separated, to accompany you singly through the confiscation, want, and suffering, which they have produced. Make them examine the books of the farmer, shipowner, and their other victims show them the family which they have dragged from affluence into bankruptcy-and let them see not only the agonies of the husband and father, but the privations and sorrows of the wife, the mother, and the children-take them to those whose hopes they have for ever blasted, and to the graves of those whose hearts they have broken-constrain them to enter the hovel of the labourer, whose wages they have taken away or reduced, so that he cannot provide his family with necessaries; and let them analyze fully his penury and wretchedness-and lead them through your prisons to observe the insolvency, vice, and crime, which have flowed from their measures. Spare them not-suffer them not to close their eyes-but force them into the most perfect knowledge of the ruined fortunes, the miserable insufficient meal, the rags, the hunger, the ignorance, the distress, and the wickedness, not only of the individual and family, but of the class-the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions. If all this will work in them no reformation-if it will extort from them no contrition, and no confession of error-then brand on the forehead of each,-A STRANGER TO ALL that the EnGLISHMAN SHOULD KNOW; AND AN ENEMY TO ALL THAT THE ENGLISHMAN
In my last letter, I was compelled, by the conduct you were displaying, to use language scarcely warranted by filial duty; and I, therefore, did not mention my relationship. I now avow myself to be in birth, blood, residence, and affection, one of your offspring. I make the avowal, that my words may have the greater influence. I have been proud of my descent; I have valued my plain English name above the most splendid title of foreign nobility; and I have never trod the hallowed dust of my native land, without having had elasticity imparted to my spring, and haughtiness to my demeanour, by the reflection that I was an Englishman. In me, this has been something better than prejudice, for I have known it to be amply justified by what my country contained. But, alas! where is now the boasted superiority of my country over all others, in security of property, and the means of happiness? When I see the vast mass of my countrymen stripped of their property and comforts, doomed to endure greater privations than the inhabitants of almost any foreign pation, and placed in circumstances which must demoralize them, and plunge them into barbarism-when I see this, I must exchange my pride for humiliation; I must blush and weep for England, or be a disgrace to the name of Englishman.
By that blood with which you have filled my veins, in the name of all that you have taught me to love and worship, and for the sake of every thing dear to your character and weal, I conjure you to shake off your dejection, and do your duty. Speak as you were wont to speak-let the plain, comprehensive, powerful, and majestic common sense of JOHN BULL again be heard—and you will be obeyed by your House of Commons.
I remain, my dear sir, your affectionate and dutiful son, and faithful and unchangeable friend,
ONE OF THE OLD SCHOOL.
The grand characteristic, not only of wisdom, but likewise of sanity, in the individual is-he continually refers to the fruits of his past conduct for his guidance in the present and the future. Does he regulate his family by particular rules-he examines what they yield, to ascertain whether he shall adhere to, or change them. Does he adopt a new system of management on his estate or his farm, in his counting-house or manufactory he rigidly scrutinizes its products, to determine whether he shall persist in it, or return to the old one. Does he make experiments in the conducting of his affairs-he carefully watches their results, to decide whether he shall continue or abandon them. Does he deport himself in any peculiar manner in society-he acquaints himself with the impression it makes, in order to judge whether any change in it be called for by his interests and character. If he do differently-if he follow maxims, persist in systems, continue experiments, and persevere in demeanour, without noticing or regulating his conduct by what they pro duce it forms a conclusive proof that he is destitute of the reason which distinguishes man from the beast of the field; and that he will plunge himself into irretrievable ruin. On such a proof, the world pronounces him a lunatic, and the law treats him
The case, with little exception, is the same with the body of men in its collective capacity. This body can no more act in utter disregard of what its past conduct has produced, with out proving that it is destitute of the essentials of common reason, and that it will plunge itself and others into ruin, than the individual. The world may call its members severally sane, but in the aggregate it will treat them as madmen; the law may not restrain them as lunatics in its letter and acts, because it cannot, but it will do this in its principle.
To no body of men, sir, would this apply more powerfully, than to that of which this House consists. Our duties are of a kind, which nothing but a perpetual and severe examination of the fruits of our past conduct can enable us to discharge properly. And our errors are of a kind which must be destructive alike to our cha
racter, our interests, and the interests of the community. Our loss of character alone, independently of what it is to ourselves, is a mighty public evil; and we may, by a single pernicious measure, take away the fortunes, bread, and peace of millions. If we act the part of lunatics, we are above the reach of the law; our lunacy is despotic; it may by a breath sink half the nation into beggary and wretchedness, and there is no appeal from its mandates. If this House, sir, be at this moment in the possession of common reason, it will require from me no farther proofs that it is its duty to do, what it is my object to induce it to do, viz. to institute a rigid inquiry into the consequences which its conduct in late years have yielded to itself and the community. Other proofs, however, I shall place before it; and such proofs too, as must either gain its conviction, or show it to be labouring under lunacy, perfect and incurable.
This House, sir, from nature, duty, and desert, as well as from interest and prejudice, ought always to hold a very high place in public estimation. In it, speaking constitutionally, the nation should find a child born of its own loins, uttering its own sentiments, and loving it with filial fondness—a champion to protect it from every enemy-a comforter to assuage every sorrow and a friend and benefactor to remedy every ill, and remove every distress. If ever the nation withdraw from us its confidence, and array itself against us, it must be taken as conclusive evidence, that our conduct is fearfully erroneous and injurious.
What, sir, is the case at present? This House has lost public confidence. The country-I do not mean by the term the multitude disqualified by ignorance and delusion from judging correctly, but I mean the intelligent part of the community, the knowledge, sense, and wisdom of the country-has arrayed itself against us. While the independent and enlightened men of all parties unite to con demn our conduct, it is only supported by the thick-and-thin interested partizans of our leaders. Amidst that part of society, which can only forsake us when we deserve to be forsaken, nothing is more common than to hear this House called "a public nuisance;" it constantly looks forward to our as
sembling with sorrow and dismay, and to our separating with pleasure; it anticipates from our labours little beyond loss and suffering, and it hopes for an interval of ease when we cease them.
To those who, with ignorance and assurance which can never be sufficiently wondered at, assert that our conduct is popular, and the country is with us, I will put this questionWhat do you call the country? Does it consist of a few of the London newspapers and periodicals, and the place-hunting, profligate, untaught, half-witted part of the population of London, or of the community at large? If the reply be-the community at large, I will ask, What has it told us? The Agricultural Interest-the different Colonial Interests-the Shipping, Mining, and Monied Interests the Silk Manufacture, and various other Manufactures-the Aristocracy -and the Church, have furnished us with the most conclusive evidence that they are opposed to us. And it is notorious, that amidst the rest of the community we have more opponents than friends. If these, sir, do not constitute the country, we must, of necessity, find it in a minority, as insignificant in number as in all other things. We cannot call this minority the country, without affording evidence either of lunacy, or of something much less pardonable. The overwhelming majority, whether we look at rank, wealth, intelligence, wisdom, independence, patriotism, or mere numbers, is against us-the voice of general society is against us. With the proofs of this we have been overwhelmed, and it follows, as a matter of course, that the country is against
This, sir, has not resulted from speculative fears and groundless assumptions. The cry of corruption has ceased. It is no longer alleged that we are bought by the Ministry, or bound by the dictates of the borough proprietors. The opposition to us rests wholly on our principles and measures-on what we say, and what we do-without reference to any other matter.
What have been the principles and measures which have operated so calamitously?
Some years since, an incomprehensible and portentous delusion seized the Ministry, and through the latter
it was enabled to seize this House, and for a time the country. We were taught by those who ought to have given us better instruction, that it was our duty to act solely on abstract principles, directly the reverse of the principles on which we had previously acted. Were these abstract principles matter of experimental truth, or were they based on such a collection of facts as gave them the colour of it? No. They were merely the OPINIONS of individuals. Granting that they had been promulgated by able men and philosophers-by Adam Smith, Mr Ricardo, and others—they still were only the opinions of their parents. They were not even represented to be more. Experimental truth was flatly opposed to them. The fact was before us, as well as the rest of the world, that every country had been poor and barbarous, or had advanced in wealth, power, and happiness, in proportion as it had adhered to or departed from them. This was not the assertion of this writer or that-the mere opinion of individuals-it was a truth rendered alike notorious and unquestionable by history. It stared us in the face, let us look where we would; and no one could be ignorant of it. When I reflect on this, I am lost in astonishment that any person, not wholly insane, could be found to believe in the new opinions.
We were taught by the Ministry and the press, that these opinions were perfectly unerring; and that dissent from them would prove us to be destitute of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and brimful of prejudice and bigotry.
It is our grand, paramount duty, to deliberate before we act, even in respect of mere belief; but, sir, we forgot that we were legislators, and of course we forgot the duty of deliberation. When certain of the Ministers, by their shameless threats and scurrilities, endeavoured to stifle discussion in this House and out of it, we tamely submitted to them, instead of driving them from office for the audacious outrage on British rights. We made ourselves the instruments of them and the press, in virtually establishing an luquisition of the most tyrannical and detestable description in favour of these new opinions. We were like school-boys, eager to pronounce the lessons of our pedagogues
unerring, in order to escape the rod and the fool's-cap. A moment's deliberation might have told us, that to dissent from an unproved proposition was no proof of ignorance; and that to differ from the mere opinion of another, was no evidence of bigotry. But we did not deliberate. Our conversion, after the Inquisition was es◄ tablished, was a matter of compulsion; it was the work of the moral rack and faggot; it needed but little aid from our understanding and conviction, when it was supported by the terrors of martyrdom.
This conversion extended, of course, far beyond mere belief: it imposed on us the duty of making wholesale changes in laws and systems. To work we went, with all the sightless enthusiasm of zealots: The materials on which we had practically to labour, were agriculture, commerce, and manufactures the fortunes and bread of the community; inquiry and evidence were out of the question, our abstract principles forbade the use of them; we commenced when the country was in unexampled prosperity, and when our toils had endured for only a few short months, it fell into unexampled suffering. Then, sir, the country shook off its delusion; bankruptcy and hunger convinced it of the fallacy of our abstract principles by their fearful demonstrations; it called us its deluders, and withdrew from us its confidence.
I say not, sir, that we ought to have embraced martyrdom, rather than have changed our faith; I will allow for human infirmity and error, and admit that much may be pleaded for our deplorable change and consequent labours, in the way of palliation. But I say that we ought to have duly examined the tremendous evidence which restored the country to its senses. Had we done this, we should have retraced our steps, and regained what we had lost in public opinion. We, however, shut our eyes to refutation; we closed our ears to the public voice, and we persevered, regardless of every thing save the impulses of our new bigotry. In this we were not a House of Commons according to the constitution. It had its natural consequences; momentary public distrust was changed into lasting public dislike, and even hostility.
In perfect consistency with this has been our conduct up to the present
hour. Our abstract truths made us all in a single moment finished legislators. They rendered fact and deduction-the application of knowledge
and the exercise of talent, wholly unnecessary. They declared that particular opinions were erroneous, and that particular laws and systems ought to be abolished, or changed in a particular manner, without any reference to circumstances. Of course, they reduced the science of legislation to the mechanical rules of the work-shop; they placed us all on an equality in every qualification, save perhaps manual skill; they made the stripling the equal of the most experienced Minister; and in truth, through them, the inhabitants of the other hemisphere could have legislated for the British empire just as wisely as the wisest man in this House. Our boys found that, instead of having any thing to learn, they were admirably fitted to teach; and our aged and other members, who had never dreamed that they understood the principle of a law, or were qualified to utter an opinion, discovered that they were raised to the eleva→ tion of leaders. Fame and distinction were placed within the reach of all, and all naturally scrambled to partake of them. Our leaders felt that they could not retract without covering themselves with shame, and the rest of us felt that we could not retract without abandoning our eminence, and sinking again into obscurity and insignificance; therefore we have persevered with constancy unparalleled. In endeavouring to save and benefit ourselves individually, we have ruined ourselves as a House of Commons.
Our protesting, sir, that we were right, was of no avail, when the country knew us to be wrong. While our abstract principles were mere matter of opinion and promise, we obtained credence; but when they were tested by experiment, they were judged of by other things than our protestations. It was useless for us to vow to the silk manufacturer that our measures had benefited him, when bankruptcy and want proved to him the contrary. It was idle for us to declare to the shipowner that we had conferred on him advantages, when he possessed arithmetical proof that our measures had visited him with confiscation. It was fruitless in us to assure the farmer, or husbandry labourer, that we had pro
moted his interests, when he had conclusive evidence before him, that what we had done had annihilated his property, or taken away his bread. The country traced the fruits of our conduct from interest to interest, and trade to trade; it found, from physical demonstration, that they were only injury and calamity; therefore it scoffed at our asseverations that we had been its benefactors. When we, sir, pronounced all who opposed us to be the slaves of prejudice and bigotry, the country saw that we believed in doctrines, in spite of every kind of refutationthat we believed in these doctrines in utter contempt of glaring fact and decisive experiment-that to justify our adherence to these doctrines, we stifled investigation, refused inquiry, and asserted that beggary was prosperity, loss was gain, want was abundance, and misery was comfort; it saw this, and it knew that it was not our opponents, but OURSELVES, WHO WERE
THE SLAVES OF PREJUDICE-WHO
WERE THE BIGOTS. It saw that we were sacrificing its interests to preju dice and bigotry, surpassing all that human nature had ever previously displayed. Our nick-names and insults were cast upon a high-minded nation; they had their effect, and they gained us what we deserved.
When at last we were fairly beaten out of our assertions, that we were increasing prosperity and happiness, what did we do? We actually declared that we were intentionally producing distress and misery, in order that we might prevent them from visiting the country hereafter. Effectually silenced in respect of benefiting the present, we owned that, for the sake of the future, we were deliber ately causing much loss and suffering. We broadly confessed that our measures for a time would scatter, far and wide, destruction to property and bread; and we entrenched ourselves on the ground, that they would in time to come supply re-payment. A disgrace, sir, to my country should I be, if my cheeks were not crimsoned with shame by the repetition of the crying enormity. To intentionally cause loss and suffering-to intentionally destroy property, and the means of subsistence-to intentionally subject, not individuals, but vast classes, to practical confiscation and penuryto intentionally sacrifice the present
generation to the next-to do this on the pretext that it would be beneficial hereafter, formed such barbarous iniquity, as had never disgraced the most blind and savage government known to history. What could the landowner, manufacturer, farmer, or tradesman, think of us, when we were thus intentionally destroying his property, and placing him in danger of ruin? What could the mechanic, the artisan, or the labourer, think of us, when we were thus intentionally taking away the bread of himself and family? What could the country think of us, when we were so acting? When we even could not say confidently that our measures would produce future prosperity-when our great argument was, that we were causing loss and distress, to prevent loss and distressand when the most ignorant hind saw, that according to our own confession we were doing little more than bringing that upon the community, which we predicted would be brought upon it at some future time by other means
what could even charity itself say of our conduct? It was by good fortune almost miraculous, that we were called madmen, and escaped more op◄ probrious titles. Our pretext of future benefit, which we half abandoned, and half acted on, was ridiculed by all, because all saw it to be groundless. The landowner saw, that we were binding him to a rent which took away for ever a large part of his income, and the worth of his estate. The farmer saw, that we were binding him to prices which took away for ever a large part of his profits, and the value of his farming-stock. The shipowner saw, that we were binding him for ever to freights that were ruinous. The manufacturer saw, that we were binding him to prices which took away for ever a large part of his profits, and the worth of his stock in trade. The labouring classes saw, that we were taking away for ever a large part of their wages. The country saw, that we were annihilating for ever hundreds of millions of property and income. We declared, sir, that what we took, we took for ever; and in the same breath we protested that we took it in order that it might be restored with abundant interest: in the selfsame moment we held out hopes, and solemnly vowed they should never be realized; we gave pledges, and enact