« AnteriorContinuar »
as I conceive, that his motion failed. It will monster, and can discover no possible means be better for the nation in the end were every of evading his attacks, and preserving the motion, there brought forward, for the re- nation from a revolution of violence, but by lief of agriculture and the producing classes, uniting the whole of its producing and into fail as signally as this. What will be for dustrious classes, agricultural, manufacturits advantage is, that the fact should be ing, and commercial, in one compact and made evident to its landowners, farmers, solid confederation, which shall be headed and working people, both agricultural and by the agricultural body; and to effect this manufacturing, that the House of Commons, is the object of the Association to which we returned as it is at present, does not repre- belong. sent them, but the non-producing, and shop- With the failure of every motion made keeping or distributing classes only; and for the relief of the nation's distress, in the that so long as it is suffered to remain so third session of the reformed Parliament, constituted, it must be expected to act as the period seems to be at length arrived their friend, in opposition to producers, and when the public ought to be informed of the to continue a determined advocate for low above design. I send this letter, therefore, prices and low wages, and every scheme to you for publication in the Magazine, if tending to lessen the rewards of industry. you think proper, accompanied by one reChanges are required for putting agriculture cently addressed by me to the farmers of and production into an efficient state, such Cambridgeshire, through the secretary to as are little imagined even by the agricul- the Agricultural Association for that county, tural body itself; very easy to be accom- explanatory of the views of our Metropolitan plished if the producing classes can be Association, and proposing, for reasons brought acquainted with their real condition, therein assigned, that Cambridgeshire should but impossible to be accomplished other- take the lead, on the present occasion, in wise.
organizing an association of the entire agriOf all the associations now formed, or cultural body throughout the kingdom. The forming, for political purposes, our's is the petition since sent up from Cambridgeshire only one that can be fairly said to have any for presentation to the House of Commons, sound practical object in view. We seek to and inserted in the last number of the Macreate a great national party, unconnected gazine, is in strict conformity with such with any of the parties into which the nation views. It shews the farmers of Cambridgeis at present divided, but which shall take shire to be thoroughly acquainted with the in all persons who are inclined to sink their cause of their grievances, not less than the party differences in one great national con- extent; it states the appalling fact, which is federation for the general good. We wish unquestionably true, that, throughout that to rescue the nation from the fangs of the county at least, rent, tithes, and taxes, are money monster. We perceive agriculture, now all paid out of a fast diminishing capital, the leading branch of our domestic industry, instead of out of the profits which that capireduced to a state of embarrassment and tal and the farmers' industry ought to redistress, such as never has been before turn; whilst it states the cause of their known or heard of since England was a na- losses to be Peel's Bill; and, what is more, tion. We find the Government either unwil- it speaks the language of men who not only ling or unable to render it the smallest assist- know their just rights, but who seem deterance. We see the seeds of revolution scat- mined to obtain them by some other means, tered about in all directions, and contending if redress be refused them in the proper factions every where at work to increase the quarter; so as to fully justify the preference rankness of the crop. We trace all these which I have shewn towards the farmers of things to the machinations of the money Cambridgeshire.
But it is not merely agriculture that is another reduction of 50 per cent., as they threatened with destruction by the money. soon must, and even more than that, to owning classes having acquired a preponder- enable the cultivation of land to be carried ance in the House of Commons; every on, all debts and monied obligations will be branch of native industry is threatened in doubled a second time. Hence the nation the same manner, together with the whole may be considered as on the eve of an actual of our social institutions, every one of which convulsion; for assuredly when debts and is menaced by revolutionary innovations, obligations become doubled a second time, subversive of the existence, and even of the when our national debt of 800 millions beinstitution of property.
comes suddenly transformed into 1,600, Of what use then, when this is the case, there must be a convulsion :-such debts and as must be evident to the commonest appre- obligations can no longer, by any conceivahension, are such paltry associations for ble possibility, be paid, and when that happolitical purposes as those called Conserva. pens, the whole will be swept entirely away, tive, or those advocating Reform? Of what together with all descriptions of property. use, too, are Political, or Trades Unions, as The very consequences to be apprehended certain other associations are called ? Not from that destructive legislative proceeding, one of these associations can be said to have and which have since actually occurred, were any national object in view. There is not a accurately predicted to Sir Robert Peel and member of any who, if applied to, could give to the House of Commons, during its conan intelligible definition of what he means coction, by many men of knowledge and by either Conservatism or Reform. All are experience in business, by some practical equally ignorant, and equally pushing on to- men within the House, and by the Messrs. wards a convulsive revolution. The real aim Attwood and Mr. Cobbett without. Sir of every Whig and Radical Association at Robert Peel even received the most dispresent seems to be, to carry out principles of tinct warning on the subject from his own government to their extreme consequences; father ; but he wilfully rejected all warning. · while they betray an utter indifference to He, like most of the statesmen in our two the existing condition of the producing Houses of Parliament, who see only one classes. The real aim of every Tory Associa- side of a question, saw but one side of this. tion, most falsely termed Conservative, seems He saw the evils of the system of paper to be, to adopt the policy of Sir Robert Peel, money, and the necessity there was for rea policy which is still more destructive, if turning to a metallic standard of value; but possible, than that of the Whigs and Radicals; he saw none of the difficulties involved in for it is levelled more insidiously at the profits the change, or, seeing them, he knew not of industry, and strikes, therefore, more dan. how to encounter them, and so resolved to gerously at the root of all our institutions. pass them by altogether. This last suppo.
Sir R. Peel was the Chairman of that Com- sition is the one which is most agreeable to mittee of the House of Commons, which, in the course he pursued as Chairman of the 1819, caused the famous Currency Act to be Committee, in which character he seems to passed which goes by his name. The act in have taken especial care to examine no witquestion has already doubled the value of nesses but such as were likely to facilitate monied property, with the amount of all his views in carrying the measure through debts and obligations, once, (reducing that of Parliament, without reference to the quesland in a corresponding proportion), and is tion whether it was right or wrong. Of 24 now about to repeat the same process over witnesses examined by the Committee, not again. It is the sole cause of that wide- one can be mentioned who had not a strong spread ruin which is now absorbing the private interest, in opposition to the nation, capital of farmers. When rents undergo in recommending the measure to Parliament. They were all money-owners, bankers, bill. mounted before the nation can be restored brokers, bullionists, stock-jobbers, and loan- to tranquillity and peace. But who created contractors, Mr. Ricardo and Mr. Roths- these difficulties ? Not we of the agricul. child being included, with about half a dozen tural body, but Sir R. Peel and the moneygeneral merchants; all men expecting to owners. Let those, then, who were the make large fortunes by the proposed mea- authors of the whole of the mischief, unravel sure, and all men who probably have done the plot which they have so artfully conso. Not a single person was examined be- trived with full notice of all the conselonging to the agricultural or producing quences. Let him who tied the knot, untie classes, those large classes on whom the it if he can; it is no business of ours—we, whole loss was to fall, and who, as Sir R. at all events, can cut it, if we please, and Peel and the Committee had full notice, we shall be morally justified in so doing, if were about to be despoiled of the greater those classes who contrived it do not speed. part of their property.
ily untie it to our hands. I do not mean I take the account of these witnesses, and to say that it is necessary to cut it; I am of their professions, from the last number of opinion, on the contrary, that no such neyour Magazine, as copied from the Banker's cessity exists, but that it is both possible Circular ; and it shews at once the very un- and easy to untie it. This however is not fair methods that were resorted to by this our business. Let Sir R. Peel go back to Committee for carrying the measure through his bill-brokers, bullionists, and loan-conParliament. It is perfectly clear that the tractors, and ask them to help him out of witnesses were all packed, that is, selected his difficulties, for they got him in ;-we for the occasion ; the object being to carry a will not; he is their friend, not ours ;-and certain measure through Parliament, not to in that light only, as the friend of the Stock ascertain its justice and propriety. I am Exchange, of money-owners and non-profar from asserting that a fraud was designed; ducers, ought we of the agricultural body to a fraud however has been practised, either consider him. Twenty-four Cambridgeshire designedly or not; and when this can be farmers are as good witnesses to ground a proved, and we of the agricultural body, who report of a Parliamentary Committee upon suffer from the fraud, are charged with dis- for relieving the nation, as were 24 such honest intentions for merely seeking to re- men as Messrs. Ricardo and Rothschild, to lieve ourselves from it, it is high time to ground a report upon for grinding it to examine into all the circumstances of the destruction. Twenty-four Cambridgeshire case, to see if fraud may not have been a farmers too would, if I am not greatly misconcomitant of the original transaction. taken, recommend at once the knot to be
It is ludicrous to observe the cool assurance cut, without thinking it at all necessary to with which Sir R. Peel, and the friends of wait till the money-owning classes can find the bill of 1819, are in the habit of telling skill enough to untie it. It will certainly us that it is too late now for the nation to not be untied, or attempted to be untied, retrace its steps, there being such a number by either of the three political parties that of fresh contracts entered into since 1819, are now struggling for ascendancy in the as form an insuperable obstacle in the way House of Commons. These three parties of retrogradation. According to these people, are all more or less influenced by the moneynothing remains for the agricultural body, owning classes ; they are all, for that reason, but to submit with resignation to the fate advocates more or less of the cause of money, preparing to overwhelm it. I shall not in opposition to land, though composed in understate these difficulties, I admit them great measure of land owners, and they are to be of the most complicated and terrific all at present, in a proportional degree, more description, and that they must be all sur- or less hostile to every kind of native industry. The Whigs and Radicals openly or disturbance of the public peace, will be avow plans for lowering agricultural prices found more regularly developed in a pamphto a lower state than they are already, in let which I have been preparing to meet the the hope of lowering the wages of manufac- occasion, addressed to the old, staunch, turing labour, for our manufactures to be original Tories, inviting their co-operation, got up at a cheaper price for the foreign which is now ready for publication, and is market. The Tories do not openly avow only kept back till the Tories find out that plans for lowering prices, and ruining agri- their present leader, Sir R. Peel, is betrayculture, but their policy has that effect. Of ing their cause, with the cause of Conserall those who call themselves Conservatives, vatism in general. The course he is purnow trying to re-establish the government suing of conciliation and compromise, appaof Sir R. Peel, there is not a man who is rently to gain popular applause, is the best not virtually endeavouring to destroy agri- that could be devised for gradually deliverculture, and to root out every vestige of our ing up the Monarchy and Aristocracy, with ancient Constitution, with an animosity the whole of the nation's producing classes, not less deadly, and even more dangerous bound hand and foot, into the possession of than that of those, who openly avow a de- a mere money-owning, shop-keeping, and termination to establish a Republic, and to Revolutionary Democracy. force down the price of wheat to 38. a bushel. Your readers meantime will readily com
In point of fact, every body seems to be a prehend that if the different agricultural asDestructive. It would be difficult to select sociations only, such as are now scattered at a single person, belonging to either of the random throughout the Kingdom, without three parties, whose views, when examined, aim or meaning, were to appoint ours in the would not be found of an eminently destruc- metropolis to be their political representative tendency to those very institutions tive, or organ, through which alone their which this same person is in his heart most united opinions were to be conveyed to the anxious to uphold. These parties seem to Legislature, this consolidation of the agribe all equally bent on pushing their respec- cultural body must give to it a power that tive party-views to the extreme consequences would be speedily felt within the walls of of revolutionary convulsion; and it is time Parliament, as well as without, sufficient to accordingly for the nation, which appears to put a stop to the revolutionary proceedings be scarcely thought of by either, to look to of public men, and afford time for the bringitself. It is so entangled with difficulties, ing forward of regular plans, such as’are and so deeply advanced on the road to revo- now in preparation, for effectually relieving lution, that nothing, in my opinion, now the general distress, and accomplishing all can save it from a catastrophe subversive of those great changes in the Government, its whole social system, but a general con- which circumstances and good men imperafederation of all its producing classes, in tively require. which the land owners, as being its chief To promote this truly conservative and master producers, and high aristocracy of national design throughout the Kingdom at the Kingdom, must take the lead. Little large, I send you this letter for insertion in doubt can be entertained but that, if the the Magazine, accompanied by the one lately confederation could be accomplished, the addressed by me to the farmers of Camplan would succeed. The scheme for ef- bridgeshire. If men of knowledge and fecting a peaceable and quiet transfer of energy do not speedily make their appearthe Government from the hands of the mo- ance, and a stop be not put to the pressure ney-owning, commercial, and shop-keeping on agriculture, a storm may be expected to classes, to those of producers, without noise burst over our heads before long, which no
union of knowledge and energy afterwards less at present for want of co-operation, with will be able to controul.
some central means of communication with I am, Sir,
the Government, through which they may exYour most obedient Servant, press their common grievances. I stated these
JAMES B. BERNARD, views to you in conversation the other day, Author of the "Theory of the Constitution." and my object now in writing to you on the
[There are a great many useful truths in this subject is to invite the particular attention letter of Mr. Bernard's; but we shall be excused of the Cambridgeshire Association to them for saying, that we do not go the wbole length of through you, and to ask if it is inclined to some of bis views. We are not jealous of the assist in carrying them into regular execushopkeepers of the agricultural towns; because tion. I need not advert to the ruinous state we are convinced that most of them now see that the worst speculation they ever made was, to ruin of agriculture, and to the total indifference their best customer-the farmer; and before long, exhibited towards it by the Legislature, as we trust to the shopkeepers' zealons co-operation reasons to shew the necessity for all persons with us to obtain relief. Still less do we complain connected with the land to unite in some of the conduct of the Conservatives generally in
more compact and systematic form than Parliament with respect to agriculture. contrary, they are among the most faithful friends heretofore, in order to obtain substantial reof the farmer. It is that portion of them only (and lief; for these things must be self-evident to this we believe to be Mr. Bernard's meaning) who every man of sense and reflection, and they adhere to Sir R. Peel, to his bill, and to the stock- require no observation from me. I shall jobbers, of wbich complaint is made. Mr. Ber
only remark, that if the plan laid down by nard seems dissatisfied with the present constitution of the House of Commons: oor notion, on the the general Association established in London contrary, is, that if the farmers and other consti. were to be strictly followed up by Assotuents would resolve on sending only such Mem- ciations in the counties, relief must fol. bers to Parliament as would vote for the real re- low as a matter of course.
There is no medies for their distress, the present House of Commons is as well adapted as any other assembly
real difficulty in restoring agriculture to to secure tbem prosperity.-ED.]
a healthy state, nor any in making the working people of the United Kingdom col
lectively satisfied and happy; but what is (Copy).
entirely ascribable to a want of political To Mr. GEORGE Twiss, SECRETARY TO THE power in the nation's producing classes,
CAMBRIDGESHIRE AGRICULTURAL Asso- sufficient to counteract and overthrow the CIATION, CAMBRIDGE.
schemes of its money-owners, shopkeepers, London, May 18, 1835. and non-producers, who are in virtual pos. Sir,
session of the Government, and who are The Agricultural and Industrial Association seeking to reduce prices and wages to the established in London, and publishing a Ma- lowest possible amount. A national union gazine once a fortnight, has been formed by of all producers, headed by the agricula number of gentlemen of the first re- tural body, is however alone capable of efspectability, mostly members of Parliament, fecting the change. To organize, neverthefor the purpose of creating a national party less, a party into existence, composed of of the producing classes, agricultural and such widely extended materials as the agrimanufacturing, to act independently of all cultural body, and afterwards to discipline it other parties, Tory, Whig or Radical, now into proper form, is a matter of serious diffistruggling for pre-eminence in the House of culty, such as will require a very systematic Commons; and for the purpose besides of method of proceeding to surmount. Still it furnishing the different County Agricultural is practicable; if two or three county AssoAssociations, scattered at random through- ciations only would begin the business, so as out the kingdom, and rendered entirely use- to set it fairly in motion, others would soon