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knows what court he is sent to, and where there is nobody to receive him-not a living soul that understands why or wherefore he is coming. Any of you might as well pay a man for rapping at the door of an empty house, and pretending he had some business to do with the inhabitants. You will remember, too, that this is your money, and not Lord Londonderry's money, or Lord Liverpool's money, or his Majesty's money."
Here the orator wiped his face, drank another pint of porter, and then continued:
“ Now what is the right cure for these rascalities? Do you suppose that committees and resolutions in the House of Commons will do you any good ? Not a fig's worth ; it is all villanous humbug, and ministers know it. They do not want to do you any good; as long as they can keep their places, and pocket and spend the public money, with their heads on their shoulders, you may sink or swim, be starved, or feed on grass, like Nebuchadnezzar, for all they care about the matter. No, no: if you wait till ministers pull you out of the water, you will all be drowned together; and is that any consolation? Do you expect the Whigs will save you? They are just as bad; and only snarl and growl because ministers have got hold of the bone. It is six to one, and half-a-dozen to the other, between them and the Tories. There is not a man of them to be trusted. I would not give a farthing more for George Tierney or Harry Brougham, than for Londonderry or Peel ; I have even my doubts sometimes whether Burdett and John Cam Hobhouse are real hearty fellows. Cobbett and Hunt are the men for me; these are the plain straight-forward enemies of abuses and peculation-the true friends of the people. They will tell you the truth, the strict downright truth, and nothing but the truth. Listen to me a moment longer, and you shall hear what they say.
“They say this :-You must change the system; you must have a radical reform, that is what is wanted ; that will set you right again, and bring plenty of money into the market. The people must have more share in the government; they must choose their own representatives, and choose them once a year. There will then, and not till then, be some chance of paying off the national debt, and
seeing agriculture revive. You will not then be pressed down and crushed by intolerable burdens, stripped, devoured, eaten up by taxation. There is now a conspiracy against you between ministers, tax-gatherers, landlords, and parsons, to say nothing of Jews, contractors, stockjobbers, fund-holders, and other vermin. Old England will never be merry England, until you have done away with high rents and tithes, and swept off corruption and its patrons, rotten boroughs and their possessors. As yet, you can hardly understand these things; but I have some capi. tal books at home, which will soon enlighten your minds, and explain to you at once how you are enslaved and degraded, spit and trampled upon, oppressed and famished. I will distribute them to as many as may want them; they cost almost nothing. There is one lately published by little Waddington, that does not mince matters, but is full of the right stuff. He wishes “ ministers may have close boroughs in hell :" I wish so too, and the sooner the better. Just see how they have been bribing the Grenvilles for helping to bring ruin and beggary upon the nation. You all know me for your friend ; and I solemnly declare to you, that if you offer no resistance to this robbery and pillage, you are not worthy to be called men. To bear and forbear, is in general a good rule enough to teach boys and girls; but here, it is a poor desertion of your rights-your own natural, unalienable rights; it is sheer treachery to yourselves. For myself, I should hardly be sorry to see ministers shorter by the head. Are they to consume and throw away the poor man's money with impunity on their toad-eating dependants, their parasites and slaves, their stomachs, their equipages, and their mistresses ? And the King, too—but we must not mention the King, unless we wish to be imprisoned for life, or hanged for treason, “ Curse not the king," says the proverb; and you all remember the reason. Let me tell
you in conclusion, that the hint was never more applicable than to these bad times, and this unhappy country. There are spies about; and those damnable gagging-bills will not let an honest man speak his mind."
This is a mere sample of the patriotic eloquence of this would-be demagogue; but you may judge of the rest by it,
with sufficient accuracy, as it is all of a piece. However, you are not to suppose, that the orator commenced his career among the hucksters and peasantry with such unprincipled and flagitious nonsense. At first, on the contrary, he came as the kind and sympathizing friend, with mockcompassion for their sufferings, and idle projects for their relief. He displayed his cloven foot only by degrees.
Unfortunately, his only active opponent is the tenant of mine to whom I have already alluded. But they are by no means equally matched ; and when they are pitted together, the champion of the right cause has been always vanquished. Our jacobin contains in himself, all the elements which are requisite for the leader and agitator of the people, -ready wit, unblushing effrontery, complete self-possession, and good lungs. He has, besides, the press in some measure for his auxiliary; as I forgot to mention, that in addition to his regular trade, I have reason to believe him to be a secret vender of radical publications. My honest tenant, on the other hand, with better notions and sentiments, has no powers of thought or expression; he has never been trained and exercised in habits of collecting and arranging his ideas, and knows not half so many words as his antagonist. In the strife of tongues, therefore, if he is not refuted and convinced, he is abashed and silenced, and compelled, for want of powder, to leave the enemy in possession of the field.
Since my return, I have not thought it beneath my dignity to supply and prime him with arguments. I have urged him to represent, that the present agricultural distress cannot be the effect of mere taxation, when it is felt in other countries of Europe, which are lightly taxed in comparison, in an equal degree, as appears to be the case in Switzerland, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, by the very last accounts which have been received ; that a reform in parliament, although carried to the extent of universal suffrage, and election by ballot, cannot alter the quantity of grain, or the soil and climate of the country; that national faith and character are things of some importance to the national happiness and strength ; and that these gentry can only intend to liquidate, or rather extinguish, the debt, by refusing to pay interest to the creditor, and proclaiming
to the world a national bankruptcy. But such representations are in vain. Suffering and privation are cogent arguments on the other side, or at least strong preventives against listening to reason. The consequence is, that this levelling declaimer has engendered infinite disorder, and caused almost a revolution in our little state.
What, then, am I to do, most worthy president, and my other friends of the Council ? I must confess, that I am much fretted and perplexed, both because I have at heart the interests of my tenants, and because I am anxious to maintain my former influence on my own manor. Hitherto, I have been a kind of hereditary monarch : I have considered the country for three miles round my estate as my lawful dominion; nor can I bear with patience to see my sovereignty now endangered, lessened, or usurped by a designing upstart, a dishonest, evil-minded, interloping miscreant. Yet the fellow has been gaining ground for some time past. He has made but too many proselytes : and the minds of others are unsettled, whose allegiance has not been seduced.
But I mentioned two living nuisances, two pestilent strangers, as having lately done us the honour of taking up their abode in our village. One therefore remains to be described. For this latter person I have almost a more thorough detestation, a more unqualified disgust, than even for the agitator above-mentioned, who, I have no doubt, wants only courage to be a conspirator. The other new settler in our colony is a dissenting preacher, who has come down to officiate at a small chapel, which has been lately built. You will not suspect me of adding to the number of his congregation, or cultivating his society in private life. I know him, indeed, by sight: but I intend to take especial care, that our personal acquaintance with each other shall go no farther. He is a true Methodist, with just a sufficient semblance of humility to cover his inward pride, and a sufficient cloak of sanctity to conceal the arrant duplicity of his heart. He would fain establish a character for fasting, mortification, and self-denial; but with all his efforts he looks far too sleek and well-fed for any reasonable man to suppose for a moment, that he has ever denied himself any sensual indulgences. He pretends, like so many of his brethren, to new lights, and divine impulses : he is one of the elect; and has the arrogant impiety to denounce damnation around him, as if he had a special commission for that purpose. Among others he sends me to the devil without scruple and without mercy. Assuredly, if religion consisted in clasping the hands, and turning up the eyes ; or if a man were a better Christian for smoothing down his hair over his forehead, he would have some right to conceive himself purer and more holy than the generality of mankind. It must be allowed, too, that he labours with marvellous assiduity in gaining converts, and attracting hearers. He has managed to thin the Church by the well-known arts, common to the canting impostors of his persuasion. Some he cajoles, and some he frightens: he alarms weak consciences by detailing the pains and horrors of perdition; and allures bolder and more profligate men by denying the utility of good works, and thus giving indirectly a license to crime. I could furnish you with an authentic extract from a methodistical sermon, as well as a democratical harangue: but if you ever thought of publishing this letter, it might create offence, where none was intended : and there is besides something too melancholy for exhibition in the simulation of piety, and mockery of religion. I can only assure you, that however much our dissenter may possess of the faith, which is recommended in Scriptures, he has very little of the charity.
The present possessor of the parish living is a being of quite another stamp. There is not a more worthy, hearty, honest fellow, or a more pleasant companion, in the whole county. He leaves no duties undone; and is very liberal about his tithes. But at the same time he is no controversialist: and entertains, perhaps, more contempt for his rival, than he is either warranted, or justified in doing. He has not, besides, the same motives for exertion: and somewhat of indolence has crept over him from long and continued quiet, and the secure enjoyment of the object of his hopes. He has nothing to gain: he looks for no higher preferment; and therefore it is no easy task to rouse him to active energy; or induce him fairly to enter the lists with a competitor whom he despises.