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times the amount of our present injuries, if Much had been said about the decisions of our labour were protected. Yet Poulett likes the Committee of the House of Commons, protection for his own labour, (laughter) for he would let them into some of the secrets in 1824, in the very session in which the of that Committee, for it was necessary for protection we had enjoyed for fifty years them to know that of the sixty-four Hon. was taken from our labour, an act was pas- Members of that Committee, that there sed which guarantees £5,000 a year to the were sometimes not more than five attend.. Right HONOURABLE THE PRESIDENT OF ing their duties; that, he would admit, was THE BOARD OF Trade. Poulett is there- not the fault of his honourable friend, Mr. fore protected in his wages, work or play, Maxwell, whose benevolence was unquesand we, the operative weavers, require and tioned, but it served to show how the busicall upon the Legislature to give us equal ness had been attended. He, for bis part, laws, equal justice, and equal protection. considered that nothing could be more (Immense cheering).
delusive than a fixed rate of wages, and he Mr. Le Bean, in a long and very able felt assured that any legislation would be speech, moved the first Resolution, "That imperfect which denied to the operative the it is the opinion of this meeting that the Re- right of disposing of his labour at the highest port of the late Committee on hand loom price he could obtain for it. He was really weavers' petitions was founded in a just dis- anxious to see an improvement in their concrimination of the subject, the assigned dition, and had, a few nights ago, given nocauses of the distress of that suffering body tice of a motion for the establishment of being the true ones, and the remedies pro. boards of trade, or counsels of commerce, so posed being fully efficient to effect that re- that masters and men might settle all their lief which is so necessary, and which is so differences in an amicable manner. He was much desired by the whole of the hand loom afraid the present proposition of relief was weavers of the United Kingdom."
diverting them from the right and proper Mr. Payton said—It is not my intention object which was a reduction of the taxato do any thing further than second the mo- tion. He was always on the liberal side tion, as Dr. Bowring is present and has in- in the House; he would give them cheap timated that he has but a very short time to national institutions, and cheap bread ; he stay with us, and as it is only right to give would vote for a property tax, and then with that gentleman, and every other who may an extension of the principles of free trade, wish to do so, an opportunity of addressing they must be prosperous and happy. He the meeting, I shall therefore say that I most was for general education, and none was heartily second the motion.
more affectionately disposed towards the Dr. Bowring then came forward and ad- working classes than himself, though differ. dressed the meeting. He assured the as- ing as he did from them upon the present sembled operatives that no man more fully question, he was afraid he was looked upon admitted their distress than himself, not as an intruder ; but he would say that he even his honourable friend Mr. Maxwell, had paid every possible attention to their who had been chairman of their committee, case, and could think no otherwise than that and had entered warmly into their cause; it would be a species of the worst tyranny but he differed with that honourable gentle. to forbid a starving man from getting the man as to the mode of relief which should best price he could for his labour. be adopted. He thought the most efficient Montgomery Martin Esq., in proposing relief would be given by relieving them of the second Resolution, namely, that "so their national burdens-by giving them free long as the industrious classes had a large corn whereby they might exchange their portion of their earnings abstracted from manufactures with other countries for food. them by taxation-so long it was the imperative duty of the Government to afford principle of that truly social science had them protection for their labour," demon- been acted upon, instead of, as they have strated in detail the pressure of taxation, been, thoroughly perverted, I should not and the necessity of transferring the taxes have been at this moment addressing my from industry to accumulated property, in fellow workmen in this strain, nor would order to preserve the national faith invio- they have been listening to me; but we late; he urged on the weavers the necessity, should all have been much more agreeably for their own sakes, of not resorting to vio. employed. However, here we are—you all lence, pointing out the numerous examples know in what condition; and being in that which prove that every effort to better the condition, what have we been told this very condition of a nation by physical force, has day by Dr. Bowring? What but the old been followed by increasing despotism and story which I have been told, who am but a greater financial difficulties. His advice to young man, these nine years successively,the artizans was, that they should reason Wait a little longer ?! That was the way: we with their masters, and not employ the lan- are never in the right time; but there is guage of intimidation, and that they should one thing of which no one can accuse us, still continue to urge on Parliament the ne. and that is, that we have never let an opcessity and advantage of listening to their portunity pass; although all our endeavours prayers.
had received the same answer—'wait a little Mr. Hill, on moving the third Resolution, longer.' Now, I am not disposed to wait “That the false theory of political economy any longer ; I am of opinion, with all posnow advocated and acted upon, is detrimen- sible respect to the contrary opinion, that we tal to all classes of the British community, have waited long enough, and so we must excepting the fund-holder and people of tell the House of Commons; we must speak fixed incomes, causing a ruinous competi- to them in a tone of impatience; we must tion amongst the operatives under the delu- communicate our ideas strongly to the ho. sive idea of giving freedom to labour, nourable Representatives in Parliament aswhereas it only gives freedom to the capi- sembled, and when we do communicate talist to reduce the wages of labour to the with them, let it be to the purpose. (cheers) lowest possible amount, and renders every and, perhaps, they will see that we are not working man necessarily an unconditional disposed to wait any longer, and then, I am slave.” In proposing this resolution, he of opinion, they will think of giving us resaid, he felt extreme regret, because there lief. No, no! they will never do any thing was a time when he had been led to hope for us until they are obliged, not that I mean that such a resolution would not at this anything further than to oblige them by time of day have been necessary, but he felt moral force ; I am not for placing my breast assured that it was the bounden duty of to the muzzle of a musket, nor yet to every industrious man to use all his exer- the point of a bayonet, but there is anotions to convince the public that the politi- ther way of showing true determination, cal economists of the present day were de- mind a right we all possess, WHICH IS TO cidedly wrong. "Mind," said Mr. Hill, “I PETITION. (cheers.) We have petitioned do not find fault with the principles of politi- this session unsuccessfully: well, if we live cal economy, but with the cruel and cold. to see another, let us petition again. The blooded system now pursued, which those moment the House opens in with petitions ; who are its advocates have mischievously and if you are not able to claim attention, dignified with the plausible name of politi- from the justice of your request you may cal economy, the better to delude the un- obtain it by perseverance, and that is the thinking part of the community. I am, my. armour in which I hope we shall, to a man. self, a political economist, and if the true array ourselves (great cheers). We have this day had the honour of a gentlemen material injury, I wish they would try if, amongst us who has stood up as the advocate because I am of opinion that the injury of liberal opinions, that was Dr. Bowring. would prove so vastly beneficial, that even So do I, I am as liberal as he is ; so are any the enemies of regulation would see its efof those honourable gentlemen who are now fects, and willingly extend the principle. with us, for I have watched their votes in (cheers.) There is connected with that the House, and they are all, and always beautiful piece of mechanism, the steam engood; that is the test of representation. gine, beautiful if employed for the advanHow stands it with Dr. Bowring in this tages of the millions as it might be, a part particular? He is returned from a manu- called the governor,' which regulates and difacturing town; the operatives, the master rects the movements and power of the whole manufacturers, the magistrates, the minis- machine. Take away this governor, and the ters, and other influential people of the whole machine is disordered. The engine place petitioned Parliament for a fixed or re- works at random, and wanting the regulagulative price for hand loom weaving: such tive principle, destruction must inevitably were the prayers of the people, the whole ensue—so it is with us, we want the gover. people of Kilmarnock. And how did the nor, (cheers)—the regulative principle, to Doctor act—this man who has boasted to keep each part of our manufacturing maday of being a representative of the people ? chine in due and proper order, (cheers) ; and How, I repeat, did the Doctor act upon this the attainment of this principle should be the occasion? Why, he made Kilmarnock his object to which our whole attention should own borough, and set up his own individual be most strenuously directed, (great cheeropinion against the whole of his constituents. ing.) Our opponents say we shall do betHe voted as he pleased, he forgot the duties ter without the regulative principle, but so of a representative; and by acting arbitrar- long as order is required for every thing beily, he played the part of a tyrant, (cheers.) side, I think a little of it should be applied Oh! the representatives of liberal opinions. to ourselves. As members of the State, we God save us from our friends ! (cheers.)— have a right to ask and to expect it, and as But, Mr. Chairman, the theoretical advo- men knowing our own interests, we ought cates of miscalled political economy, tell us to combine to obtain it,” (cheers.) they are anxious to extend our commerce :
Mr. Hackman seconded the resolution, so am I, upon fair principles, but I see no and it was carried unanimously. reason why I should be anxious to spend my R. Broun, Esq., on moving the fourth strength for nought, or give my labour for Resolution, “That this meeting is of opinion that which is neither bread, clothing, nor that Labour is the most sacred of all proshelter, but merely a profitless swelling of perty, and that, so long as other property is the exports of my country, (great cheers.) protected by law, efforts should never be reI say let us pay attention to our home laxed to obtain legislative protection for that TRADE, OUR INTERNAL CONSUMPTION, (great consisting in labour,” said he would not folcheering.) Let us see all our fellow labour- low the example of the able men who had ers throughout Great Britain and Ireland in spoken before him, by confining his remarks the enjoyment of a proper supply of good to their particular grievances as an isolated food, proper clothing, and convenient shel. class of the producing orders of the State ; ter, and then let us turn our attention to but in the enlarged scope of the resolution the best means of exporting to other lands which had been entrusted to him, would the surplus of our manufactures, (immense consider them as the representatives of the cheering.) Now, Sir, to come to our imme- twenty millions of their distressed fellowdiate concerns—a regulation for wages, we subjects; and as such bring un'ler their are told that a regulation will do us a most consideration one or two great truths of soVOL. II. No. 3.
cial economy, which, were they adopted and whereby an addition to a cheap, rapid, and reduced to practice, would shortly restore perfect system of intercourse, taxes and society in general, and consequently them- poor rates would be reduced, food cheap. selves in particular, to comfort and pros- ened, manual employment increased, and perity. M. de Villeneuve, in his late work capital distributed. Copies of these pamphon European Pauperism, has stated that lets,* he said, he had put into the hands of the indigent in Great Britain and Ireland, their committee, and he begged to recom. amount to one-sixth of the whole popula- mend them to their attentive consideration. tion ; whilst the average of pauperism in the By what means, then, he would ask, was an various continental nations is one twenty- improvement in the general condition of the fifth. Whence, he would ask, this discre- producing classes to be effected? This was pancy? or rather, considering the superior the practical question before the meeting, enterprise, intelligence, industry, and re- and he would earnestly press it upon their sources of this great nation, how came it attention, and, through them, upon the at. that pauperism exists at all ? Under a sound tention of all their fellow workmen in the system of social economy, pauperism should land ? It was full time for the producing either not exist—or at best its existence classes, whether agricultural or industrial, should be merely nominal, (cheers.) Two to awake to their true interests, to know causes conspire to produce our present their real friends, and to reform their devis. alarming state of general distress, and to ive operations. Five years of political chiperpetuate it :-/st. OUR SYSTEM OF FREE canery and animosity had passed over the TRADE; and 2nd. OUR SYSTEM OF ACQUIR- country, during which, to their bitter ex
The former has led us to perience, they had changed masters, but not violate the spirit of the resolution which he conditions : five years of SOCIAL REFORMAheld in his hand, and to purchase a visionary tion and the causes which now render prices foreign market, at the price of the destruc- unremunerative and industry unblest, would tion of our home market. The latter has cease and determine within the British conaggregated the wealth of the country in the fines. How, then, was this end, the great hands of individuals. The two combined end of social reformation, to be achieved ? have divided society into two extremesm Solely by means of that branch of the legisusurers and paupers—to the danger alike of lature of which the producing classes are the the constitution, the altar, and the throne. authors, ought to be the controllers, and (cheers.) The remedies which he would have been the victims. But from the exsuggest for these evils were two-fold. First, isting House of Commons no measures of through the extension of that power, the relief need be expected whatever, The partial and unregulated application of which greatest, foulest, most fatal abuse under had to so great an extent displaced manual which the nation is suffering is the prinlabour, the formation of a community at ciple now dominant in the Commons' home, who should grow cheap bread at House, a principle composed of the joint home, and be so remunerated as to be able opinions of anarchists, emigrationists, moto consume prosperously commodities made nopolists, mammonists, utilitarians, and at home. (loud cheers.) Second. The end doctrinaires. (loud cheers.) So long as the that great inventions should be made a principle prevails, so long will distress ever source of national wealth instead of what be present with society! Truly did Cobbett they now are, individual. (loud cheers.) remark, that even the little finger of the These remedies he had developed at greater moneymongers was heavier for evil than the length in a couple of pamphlets, in which he had advocated a consolidation of the inland * Published by Mortimer, 2, Wigmore-street, conveyance for the service of the State, Cavendish Square.
loins of the boroughmongers ! He would their commission on the noblest of all prin. ask them What was to be done ?” Whilst ciples when practised, when professed only, the present House of Commons lasts no- the basest, viz: by the people, for the thing, by that which shall (shortly let us people. (loud cheers.) Men who to remove trust) succeed every thing. This, neverthe- the incredible amount of our social disless, was time to be up and doing: to ma- tress would make available the incredible ture that volition amongst the producing means that are at our disposal. Above all, constituency which should secure at the men who would devise, speak, vote and act, next election the return of representatives not to receive recompense here, but that who would act resolutely upon the principle at the grand assize, where all must shortly -the honest, the just and beneficent prin. render an account, they may be able to say ciple, embodied in the Resolution which he to the Judge—Lord when saw we thee an had the honour to propose. (cheers.) A hungered and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave principle by our holy religion itself ex- thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, pressly enjoined, viz.-that “each man shall and took thee in? or naked and clothed labour diligently—i.e. remuneratively, in thee? or when saw we thee sick, or in prithat station of life in which it has pleased son, and visited thee ? And the King shall God to call him ;" and for which in former answer and say, 'Inasmuch as ye have done times it was the duty of British legislators it unto millions of your distressed fellowto provide. To make that principle again subjects ye have done it unto me' - The ascendant, he would press upon them the Resolution was seconded by Mr. Wallis, vast importance of looking for other aid and unanimously carried. than that of any of the three great political William Conner, Esq. rose to move the factions now battling for place and supre- fifth Resolution. Having advocated the inmacy. What the producing classes wanted, terests of the farming and labouring classes and what they have it in their power to of his native country, it gave him great samake, is a new party who will make the tisfaction to come forward, and take a part good, the whole (i. e. the general) good, and in the proceedings of the present meeting. nothing but the good of, that world within With regard to Ireland, he considered Rackitself, the British Empire their especial ob- rent the sole and immediate cause of all her ject. (cheers.) With this view he would grievances, and to the want of protection for direct their attention to the manly and pat- labour, and the absence of a regulative sysriotic declaration which a noble individual tem to prevent undue competition, might in had that day eight days made in his place in a great measure be ascribed the prevailing Parliament, viz: that "he was of no party distress amongst the working classes of but that of his country, and that willingly England. In a pamphlet,* which he had would be give up all that he possessed to written a few months ago, he had selected see the people restored to happiness.” This as a motto a query put by an eminent wriwas the man, and such as he, to regenerate ter, viz: “Whether we are not in fact the society. He would urge them, therefore, only people who may be said to starve to meet the advances of those who were in the midst of plenty?” Might it not with willing for this, to contribute their in- equal truth be asked, whether we be not the fluence and riches,--to contribute on their only people who are paupers in the midst of part their poverty and good will. By such industry? It could not be denied that our a union of the rich and poor, of the con- system of social economy had been one of sumer and producer, of those whose wealth mutual strangulation, hostility, and destrucis in the soil, and whose property is labour, tion. In his own rich and fertile country there would shortly be snbstituted for our present rulers men who would hold * Published by W. F. Wakeman, Dublin.