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sembling with sorrow and dismay, and it was enabled to seize this House, and to our separating with pleasure ; it for a time the country. We were anticipates from our labours little be- taught by those who ought to have yond loss and suffering, and it hopes given us better instruction, that it was for an interval of ease when we cease our duty to act solely on abstract printhem.

çiples, directly the reverse of the prinTo those who, with ignorance and ciples on which we had previously actassurance which can never be suffi. ed. Were these abstract principles ciently wondered at, assert that our matter of experimental truth, or were conduct is popular, and the country is they based on such a collection of with us, I will put this question facts as gave them the colour of it? What do you call the country? Does No. They were merely the OPINIONS it consist of a few of the London of individuals. Granting that they newspapers and periodicals, and the had been promulgated by able men place-hunting, profligate, untaught, and philosophers-by Adam Smith, half-witted part of the population of Mr Ricardo, and others they still London, or of the community at large? were only the opinions of their parents,

? If the reply be—the community at They were not even represented to be large, I will ask, What has it told us? more. Experimental truth was flatly The Agricultural Interest—the dif- opposed to them. The fact was beferent Colonial Interests—the Ship- fore us, as well as the rest of the ping, Mining, and Monied Interests world, that every country had been poor the Silk Manufacture, and various and barbarous, or had advunced in other Manufactures-the Aristocracy wealth, power, and happiness, in pro-, ---and the Church, have furnished us portion as it had adhered to or departed with the most conclusive evidence that from them. This was not the asserthey are opposed to us. And it is no- tion of this writer or that the mere torious, that amidst the rest of the opinion of individuals-it was a truth community we have more opponents rendered alike notorious and unquesthan friends. If these, sir, do not tionable by history. It stared us in constitute the country, we must, of the face, let us look where we would ; necessity, find it in a minority, as in- and no one could be ignorant of it. significant in number as in all other When I reflect on this, I am lost in things. We cannot call this minority astonishment that any person, not the country, without affording evi wholly insane, could be found to be'dence either of lunacy, or of something lieve in the new opinions. much less pardonable. The over

We were taught by the Ministry whelmivg majority, whether we look and the press, that these opinions were at rank, wealth, intelligence, wisdom, perfectly unerring; and that dissent independence, patriotism, or from them would prove us to be desnumbers, is against us ihe voice of titute of knowledge, wisdom, and upgeneral society is against us. With derstanding, and brimful of prejudice the proofs of this we have been over

and bigotry. whelmed, and it follows, as a matter It is our grand, paramount duty, to of course, that the country is against deliberate before we act, even in re

spect of mere belief; but, sir, we torThis, sir, has not resulted from spe- got that we were legislators, and of culative fears and groundless assump- course we forgot the duty of deliberations. The cry of corruption has cea- tion. When certain of the Ministers, sed. It is no longer alleged that we by their shameless threats and scurare bought by the Ministry, or bound rilities, endeavoured to stifle discusby the dictates of the borough proprie- sion in this House and out of it, we tors. The opposition to us rests whol- tamely submitted to them, instead of ly on our principles and measures on driving them from office for the auda. what we say, and what we do-with- cious outrage on British rights. We out reference to any other matter. made ourselves the instruments of

What have been the principles and them and the press, in virtually estameasures which have operated so ca- blishing an luquisition of the most lamitously?

tyrannical and detestable description Some years since, an incomprehen- in favour of these new opinions. We sible and portentous delusion seized were like school-boys, eager to prothe Ministry, and through the latter nounce the lessons of our pedagogues



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unerring, in order to escape the rod hour. Our abstract truths made us and the fool's-cap. A moment's de- all in a single moment finished legisliberation might have told us, that to lators. They rendered fact and dedissent from an unproved proposition duction—the application of knowledge was no proof of ignorance; and that and the exercise of talent, wholly to differ from the mere opinion of unnecessary. They declared that para another, was no evidence of bigotry. ticular opinions were erroneous, and But we did not deliberate. Our con- that particular laws and systems ought version, after the Inquisition was es- to be abolished, or changed in a partitablished, was a matter of compul- cular manner, without any reference to sion ; it was the work of the moral circumstances. Of course, they rerack and faggot; it needed but little duced the science of legislation to the aid from our understanding and con- mechanical rules of the work-shop; viction, when it was supported by the they placed us all on an equality in terrors of martyrdom.

every qualification, save perhaps maThis conversion extended, of course, nual skill; they made the stripling the far beyond mere belief: it imposed on equal of the most experienced Minisus the duty of making wholesale ter; and in truth, through them, the changes in laws and systems. To work inhabitants of the other hemisphere we went, with all the sightless enthu- could have legislated for the British siasm of zealots: The materials on empire just as wisely as the wisest man which we had practically to labour, were in this House. Our boys found that, agriculture, commerce, and manufac- instead of having any thing to learn, tures--the fortunes and bread of the they were admirably fitted to teach ; community ; inquiry and evidence and our aged and other members, who were out of the question, our abstract had never dreamed that they underprinciples forbade the use of them; stood the principle of a law, or were we commenced when the country was qualified to utter an opinion, discoverin unexampled prosperity, and when ed that they were raised to the eleva, our toils had endured for only a few tion of leaders. Fame and distinction short months, it fell into unexampled were placed within the reach of all, suffering. Then, sir, the country shook and all naturally scrambled to partake off its delusion; bankruptcy and hun, of them. Our leaders felt that they ger convinced it of the fallacy of our could not retract without covering abstract principles by their fearful de- 'themselves with shame, and the rest monstrations; it called us its delu, of us felt that we could not retract ders, and withdrew from us its confie without abandoningour eminence, and dence.

sinking again into obscurity and insig, I say not, sir, that we ought to have nificance ; therefore we have persee embraced martyrdom, rather than have vered with constancy unparalleled. In changed our faith; I will allow for hu- endeavouring to save and benefit our man infirmity and error, and admit that selves individually, we have ruined much may be pleaded for our deplo- ourselves as a House of Cominons. rable change and consequent labours, Our protesting, sir, that we were in the way of palliation. But I say right, was of no avail, when the counthat we ought to have duly examined try knew us to be wrong. While our the tremendous evidence which resto- abstract principles were mere matter red the country to its senses. Had we of opinion and promise, we obtained done this, we should have retraced our credence; but when they were tested steps, and regained what we had lost by experiment, they were judged of in public opinion. We, however, shut by other things than our protestations. our eyes to refutation; we closed our It was useless for us to vow to the silk ears to the public voice, and we perse manufacturer that our measures had vered, regardless of every thing save benefited him, when bankruptcy and the impulses of our new bigotry. In want proved to him the contrary.. It this we were not a House of Commons was idle for us to declare to the shipaccording to the constitution. It had owner that we had conferred on him its natural consequences ; momentary advantages, when he possessed arithpublic distrust was changed into lasio metical proof that our measures had ing public dislike, and even hostility. visited him with confiscation. It was

In perfect consistency with this has fruitless in us to assure the farmer, or been our conduct up to the present husbandry labourer, that we had pro

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moted his interests, when he had con- generation to the next to do this on clusive evidence before him, that what the pretext that it would be beneficial we had done had annihilated his pro- bereafter, formed such barbarous iniperty, or taken away his bread. The quity, as had never disgraced the most country traced the fruits of our con blind and savage government known duct from interest to interest, and to history. What could the land, trade to trade; it found, from physical owner, manufacturer, farmer, or trades. demonstration, that they were only in- man, think of us, when we were thus jury and calamity; therefore it scoffed intentionally destroying his property, at our asseverations that we had been and placing him in danger of ruin? its benefactors. When we, sir, pronoun- What could the mechanic, the artisan, ced all who opposed us to be the slaves or the labourer, think of us, when we of prejudice and bigotry, the country were thus intentionally taking away saw that we believed in doctrines, in the bread of himself and family! spite of every kind of refutation- What could the country think of us, that we believed in these doctrines in when we were so acting ? When we utter contempt of glaring fact and de- even could not say confidently that cisive experiment that to justify our our 'measures would produce future adherence to these doctrines, we stifled prosperity-when our great argument investigation, refused inquiry, and as- was, that we were causing loss and serted that beggary was prosperity, distress, to prevent loss and distressloss was gain, want was abundance, and when the most ignorant hind saw, and misery was comfort; it saw this, that according to our own confession and it knew that it was not our oppo- we were doing little more than bringnents, but ourselves, who were ing that upon the community, which

we predicted would be brought upon

It saw that we it at some future time by other means were sacrificing its interests to preju- what could even charity itself say dice and bigotry, surpassing all that of our conduct? It was by good for human nature had ever previously dise tune almost miraculous, that we were played. Our nick-names and insults called madmen, and escaped more opwere cast upon a high-minded nation; probrious titles. Our pretext of fun they had their effect, and they gained ture benefit, which we half abandonus what we deserved.

ed, and half acted on, was ridiculed When at last we were fairly beaten by all, because all saw it to be groundout of our assertions, that we were in- less. The landowner saw, that we creasing prosperity and happiness, were binding him to a rent which what did we do? We actually decla- took away for ever a large part of his red that we were intentionally pro- income, and the worth of his estate. ducing distress and misery, in order The farmer saw, that we were binding that we might prevent them from vie him to prices which took away for siting the country hereafter. Effectu- ever a large part of his profits, and the ally silenced in respect of benefiting value of his farming-stock. The shipthe present, we owned that, for the owner saw, that we were binding him sake of the future, we were deliber- for ever to freights that were ruinous. ately causing much loss and suffering. The manufacturer saw, that we were We broadly

confessed that our mea- binding him to prices which took away sures for a time would scatter, far and for ever a large part of his profits, and wide, destruction to property and the worth of his stock in trade. The bread; and we entrenched ourselves labouring classes saw, that we were on the ground, that they would in taking away for ever a large part of time to come supply re-payment. A their wages. The country saw, that disgrace, sir, to my country should I we were annihilating for ever hunbe, if my cheeks were not crimsoned dreds of millions of property and inwith shame by the repetition of the We declared, sir, that what crying enormity. To intentionally we took, we took for ever; and in the cause loss and suffering to intention- same breath we protested that we took ally destroy property, and the means it in order that it might be restored of subsistence-to intentionally sub- with abundant interest : in the selfject, not individuals, but vast classes, same moment we held out hopes, and to practical confiscation and penury- solemnly vowed they should never be to intentionally sacrifice the present realized; we gave pledges, and enact




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ed laws to prevent their redemption. misery, it naturally followed, that The avowed object of our measures they did not content themselves with formed a confession that our pretext merely taking from us their confidence. was worthless. Had the country as- We did that which irresistibly tended serted far worse of us than that we to make them detest us, and it had its did not know what we were doing effects. that we had lost our reason, it might It was not possible, sir, for the have produced evidence to give some country to be kept in ignorance of colour to its assertions.

this conduct, or to be restrained from It had always previously been the judging of it. It saw that we opposed enviable privilege and honourable cha- assertions to facts, and that our

reply racteristic of the House of Commons, to the offer of proofs was a volley of to labour to increase prosperity and slanders. It heard us dared in vain happiness, but not to destroy them by our victims to the test of inquiry; to remove loss and suffering, but not it beheld us sneak away from the comto create them. Its measures were bat, when we were threatened with always intended to make the good of overpowering evidence.

When we the moment better; and if they hap- deliberately charged the petitioners pened to have a contrary effect, it with falsehood and bad motive, and zealously and promptly applied a re- then silenced them with our power as medy. If any interest or trade lan- they challenged us to the proof, it guished, the House of Commons, ale found in this sufficient to convict ourmost without solicitation, laboured to selves of falsehood and bad motive. restore it. If any class or portion of In our obstinate refusal to inquire his Majesty's subjects were in distress, into the fruits of our own measures, the House of Commons attended at and to receive evidence that these once to their petitions, and spared no measures had operated injuriously, it efforts to relieve them. In the House found testimony that we knew they of Commons, the wronged knew they would not bear investigation. In our had a friend to redress their wrongs ; admission that inquiry would be useand the suffering knew they had a less, because we could not grant rebenefactor to remove, or mitigate to the lief without departing from a system, utmost, their sufferings. But what, it perceived a confession that we could sir, has been our conduct ? When not refute the petitioners, and that we vast portions of the community com- were determined to sacrifice everyplained to us by petition, that our thing to a system which we knew to measures would involve them in ruin, be producing the most baleful consewe treated them with contempt; when quences. We re-echoed the delusive they afterwards assured us that their dogmas and fallacious statements of worst fears had been realized, and im, the Minister, only to convince it, that plored us to inquire and to receive at our object was, not its weal, but the their hands the most irrefragable proofs Minister's protection; and that to save that we had plunged them into bank, him, we would plunge it into ruin. ruptcy and want, we treated them in Within these walls we were triumph

A man who was ant, because we were careful to make then a Minister, but who, thank Hea- ourselves the sole witnesses and judges; ven ! is no longer one, heaped on them but in the Supreme Court without, every species of insult and contumely; the judge found evidence and confesa and we, to our eternal shame I speak sion against us without any thing to it, imitated him. When the silk counterpoise them, and the decision manufacturers, the ship-owners, and was accordingly. The country found others, were thus treated when their that we were not a House of Com prayers for inquiry were refused mons to protect it from the injurious when their supplications, for us to measures of the Executive-to listen examine their proofs, and deal with to its petitions to redress its wrongs them only according to what they to relieve its distresses and to watch might prove, were scornfully rejected over and foster its prosperity and hap--when they were denied all oppor. piness; therefore it found that we were tunity of refuting the aspersions we the reverse of that House of Commons, cast upon them--and when their ef. which the Constitution intended to forts to obtain an impartial hearing create. only caused us to add to their loss and Up to the present moment we have

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continued to act in this manner. How placed before it our dazzling character have we dealt with the petitions of ourselves to no purpose; we have which in every session have been poured our own eulogy into its ears in poured upon us from large portions of vain; it has rejected our new rules of the community, complaining of bitter judgment for the ancient one, of suffering, and imploring from us re- judging of the tree by its fruits; and lief ? Have we instituted inquiry? in consequence it has arrived at the No. Have we ever attempted to mi- conclusion, that we are the reverse of tigate the distress of the petitioners ? what we describe ourselves to be. No. Has the existence of the distress All things have conspired against been problematical ? No, it has been us, to sink us in public estimation. wholly above doubt. Have we been It has unfortunately happened that destitute of the means of relieving it? while we have dilated on our surpassNo, we have possessed them in abun- ing ability, we have furnished the most dance. We have received the peti- incontestable proofs of our destitution tions, and without calling for evidence of ability. The country knew the to refute a single allegation, or asking best of the leaders in our proceedings a question as to our means of granting to be scarcely second-rates, and it what they prayed for, we have been found in their speeches evidence silent, or we bave contented ourselves of gross incapacity. This was basl with saying-We know you to be dis enough, but it was nothing to what tressed, but you are mistaken touch- follows. Men among us who were ing the causes, and we can do nothing utterly unknown, and who displayed for you. We have acted as though the most rare assemblage of disqualifiour duty extended only to the crea- cations conceivable, actually undertook tion of public misery, without having to re-model or abolish laws of the any thing to do with the removal of it. greatest complexity and the most Never before, sir, in the history of sweeping operation. Nothing could civilized England was such conduct have been more admirably calculated displayed by the House of Commons. for covering us with public derision. Never before, in the history of civilized Worse yet remains. Our beardless England, did the House of Commons striplings-beings not yet released from see immense numbers of the commu- boyhood-youngsters just entering on nity involved in suffering, without their senatorial apprenticeship, to toiling heartily aud incessantly, with whom experience was utterly unout exhausting inquiry and effort, known, whose knowledge was barely however fruitlessly, to administer a sufficient to enable them to find their remedy. And how have we employed way to our doors, and in whom it was ourselves while these petitions have an unpardonable fault to think that been flowing upon us? In perfecting they were capable of forming an cur measures of public evil-in pro- opinion-these, sir, forgetting that moting visionary experiments calcu. they had every thing to learn, thrust lated only to increase the suffering themselves forward as teachers; and in threatening laws with destruction, excelled us all in oracular dogma and and thereby filling the land with ap- noisy declamation—in scoffing at the prehension and embarrassment in de wisdom of the greatest men of former vising gimcrack changes and experi. times, and covering the sufferers who ments—in vilifying the laws and petitioned us, with insult and calumny. systems yet spared by our innova. It is one of the most loathsome things tions—in boasting of our own tran- in nature, to hear one of these stripscendent talents and wisdom-and in lings, in a voice which has scarcely covering all who have called our con- divested itself of the treble tone of duct in question with slanders. childhood, reviling laws and institu.

Such proceedings, sir, could only tions, the operation of which is wholly have one effect on the opinion of the above his comprehension ; and advocountry. If in the gallop of our abo« cating changes to throw the affairs of litions, we could have abolished the a great empire into confusion, when laws of nature and the maxims of com- it is impossible for him to understand mon reason, we might perhaps have their nature and tendency. The counpersuaded it, that we were, what we try felt inexpressible disgust, when it called ourselves; but this we could saw that its injuries flowed mainly not accomplish. We have therefore from the vociferous ignorance and

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