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in particular of the anarchist journals, ' are not believed sincere, and without that belief there is no real persuasion. This is true as far as it regards the well-informed class of society with whom the traveller conversed, and from whom he forms his judgment; but it is not to this class that the apostles of anarchy direct their inflammatory discourses; it is to the credulous, the ignorant, and the half-informed, that they address themselves; it is to the countrymen who sit round the ale-house fire, open-eared, sucking in sedition with their tobacco; it is to the manufacturers and journeymen, who believe in their weekly newspaper as they do in Leake's pills, and swallow both poisons with implicit faith ; it is to the great mass of an uneducated people. That the great mass of our population should be in a state which renders them the easy dupes of every mischievous demagogue, is not the fault of the present age; we, at least, have seen and acknowledged the evil, and though no adequate measures have yet been adopted for remedying it, still a beginning has been made : but meantime the evil exists in its full force, and we feel hat too sensibly how the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children, according to the just ordinance of Heaven and the usual course of human events.
The liberty of the press,' says M. Simond, “is the palladium of English liberty, and at the same time its curse,-a vivifying and decomposing principle, incessantly at work in the body politic. It is the only plague, somebody has said, which Moses forgot to inflict on Egypt. This modern plague penetrates, like the vermin of old, into the interior of families, carrying with it defamation and misery.' The private nuisance, however, has been in a great degree checked by the heavy damages which were awarded some years ago in the case of flagrant slander; before that time the infamous attacks which were made
the characters of women, married or unmarried, rendered this abuse a national disgrace. But the public evil continues, and exists in an aggravated degree. There is not,' says the American traveller, another government in Europe who could long withstand the attacks to which this is continually exposed ;' and again, the threatening s.orms of faction hovering incessantly over the British horizon,-the exaggerations of debates,--the misrepresentation of party papers --give to this country the appearance of being perpetually on the brink of revolution.' In his judgment the danger is more apparent than real, because military usurpation is impossible in a country like England, where the people are by long habit and principle averse
to a military system, and because an ambitious reformer would find himself installed as minister by his success, and must then inevitably discover that the reforms concerning which he had long and loudly declaimed are impracticable, This indeed is certain. But it is not of usurpation that we are in
danger ;-usurpation, whether civil or military, is one of the latter stages of revolution, and overturn ! overturn! overturn ! is as much the maxim of the reformers, as it is the text of the Luddites their practical disciples. However willing some among our demagogues might be to enact the part of Lord Protector, their leaders resemble Cromwell as little in their talents as in their private morals; for Cromwell, though he continued to bear the semblance of enthusiasm, after he had ceased to be an enthusiast, was always a religious man, and exemplary in all the domestic relations of life. The danger is that we may be brought into a state which ultimately renders usurpation practicable, and disposes the great majority to submit to it willingly, or even gladly, for the sake of security, which must ever be their chief desire, as it is indeed the first object of civil society. Six years have elapsed since this writer thought the danger was ‘more apparent than real.? During that interval great changes have taken place. We were then involved in a war, the longest, the most arduous, and ultimately the most triumphant, in which this country was ever engaged. The tide of that war had not yet begun to turn in our favour ; but although the Northern prophets predictedour defeat as inevitable, and declared that no man above the level of a drivelling courtier or a feeble fanatic could look at the contest without trembling every inch of him for the result ;' and though Lord Wellington was vilified week after week by the foulmouthed and ignorant journalists of an audacious faction, and his military talents held up to contempt, the events of the war occupied the largest share of the public attention; the impulse which its expenditure gave to manufactures and agriculture employed all hands in profitable activity, and every heart which was not cankered took a lively interest in the just and honourable cause of its country. Never was any war terminated more gloriously. From the mouth of the Tagus to the Garonne the French were beaten inch by inch, and this career of military achievement was concluded by a victory of which it is no exaggeration to say that it has dimmed the splendour of all former fields, and that it will be remembered to the honour of the British name, as long as the name and the language of Britain shall endure. Peace had been the desire of all parties; the rulers and the sound part of the people looked to it as the object of the war; the factious clamoured for it, some from the mere principle of opposition, which implies the absence of any other principle; some, perhaps, from mistaken notions of humanity; and others, the self-styled friends of liberty, from an unnatural and traitorous attachment to the enemy of their country—that enemy a murderer, a liberticide, a military despot, the most faithless, the most ruthless, the most prodigal of blood.' Peace was at length effected, and as it ought to be ; we won it in battle, and dictated the terms
before the walls of Paris. This was a great and sudden change, and such a change, howeverdesirable, however necessary, however beneficial at last, could not occur without much immediate inconvenience. It was not our military departments alone which were upon the war establishment, it was every branch of trade, and every kind of industry which was in any way connected with the war or influenced by it. The ordnance, for instance, employed the foundries, the gunsmiths, &c. &c. these manufactories called upon the iron and brass works, and the furnaces kept the colliers in activity: thus it was in every part of the great political machine, (the most complicated that ever existed,) wheel within wheel, and when one was checked, the obstruction was felt through all. The whole annual war expenditure to the amount of not less than forty millions was at once withdrawn from circulation. But public expenditure is like the fountain-tree in the Indian paradise, which diffuses in fertilizing streams the vapours which it was created to collect and condense for the purpose of more beneficially returning and distributing them. A vacuum was inevitably produced by this sudden diminution, and the general dislocution which ensued may not unaptly be compared to the settling of the ice upon a wide sheet of water: explosions are made and convulsions are seen on all sides ; in one place the ruptured ice is dislodged and lifted up, in another it sinks ; sounds inexpressible by language, and wilder than the howlings of the wilderness, are emitted on every side, and thus the agitation continues for many hours till the whole has found its level, and nature resumes in silence its ordinary course.
A like effect must always be occasioned by the transition from war to peace, different in degree according as the war has been more or less protracted, according to the scale on which it has been carried on. The transition from peace to war, so infinitely deplorable in other respects, brings with it less disturbance to the trading concerns of the community; those merchants whose dealings lie with the enemy are ruined, and credit receives a sudden shock, but the effects are partial and transitory; and an increased activity produces an increased circulation, and on all sides a demand for labour. In the present case many causes concurred to aggravate the embarrassment which unavoidably accompanied the return of peace. As the country had never before been engaged in so momentous a contest, the expenditure had been greater than any country had ever before sustained, and the exertions of greater than ever had been made before by any known nation. We were at one time cut off from foreign supplies of grain, and we had to feed large armies in an unproductive land. Extensive tracts of ground which had hitherto lain waste were therefore, at great expense, but with the prospect of an adequate return, brought into
cultivation in all parts of Great Britain ; on a sudden the question came upon us at the return of peace, whether we were to open the ports that provisions of every kind might become as cheap as possible for the good of the whole community, or whether the general good would not be better consulted by shutting them, and keeping up the price of agricultural produce, to save the agricultural interest from loss. Here was a question which at first sight appeared simple to every man, whether he saw the black or the white side of the shield, and as plain as his own direct personal interest; but it belongs to the metaphysics of political economy, and is in reality infinitely complicated and infinitely difficult. And this point was not mooted for the discussion of speculative men to be considered at leisure and dispassionately investigated in indifferent times; it was brought forward as a practical question of immediate vital importance, and debated with all the blind vehemence of private interest and popular prejudice. While the Corn Bill was in debate, the evil which the landholders deprecated was going on; and when the bill was passed, the proposed remedy which had been solicited so eagerly, and so violently opposed, produced no perceptible effect in either way. The dislocation had taken place in the natural course of things, and in the natural course things found their level,—but while they were finding it, great inconvenience arose, and widely extended distress. The agriculturists received a severe shock; the credit on which they used to rely was withdrawn, the markets fell, and ruin stared them in the face.
A set of miserable sciolists have maintained that selfishness is the foundation of all our vritues as well as of all our vices, the ruling passion and prime impulse of the best men as well as of the worst;--there is therefore no other difference, upon this philosophy, between Epictetus and Tiberius, or Howard and Bonaparte, than that the one was a better calculator than the other. The opinion is not less execrable in morals than the principle itself is prejudicial when operating in ordinary life, whether as it regards individuals or communities. Heavy as the taxes were during the war, the rents of land were raised in more than an adequate proportion; a disposition too generally prevailed to exact from the tenant the largest possible sum. When the revulsion took place, the tenant was equally disposed to make his advantage of the landlord, and demanded a reduction not less exorbitant than the former advance. Each party in its turn endeavoured to profit to the uttermost by the unfavourable situation of the other,--the standard of equity was disregarded. High rents, which were as much the consequence of moral as of political causes, of error as of circumstances, have had their share in producing the existing distress; and those landlords who have screwed them to the highest point, are the persons who
now experience the most inconvenience; where the advance had been moderate, the tenants were able to withstand a temporary pressure. The manufacturing and commercial interests owe much of their embarrassment in like manner to the avidity with which immediate gain has been pursued. The iron trade, for instance, is one which has suffered most. Some years ago this was so lucrative a branch of business that great capitalists and even men of rank crowded into it; men who were actually rich, and who in other times would have believed themselves so, could not be contented with the safe and regular returns which their property would have yielded in land or in the funds, but for the sake of enormous profit risked it, making themselves dependent upon chances and circumstances which they could neither foresee nor control. The gain being in proportion to the extent of the works while it was a lucrative concern, every man,extended his works to the utmost; the possibility of producing more iron than might be required was not taken into the account; more therefore was produced than the country could consume, or than vent could be found for by exportation, and the trade was literally ruined by its prosperity, as overfeeding brings on disease in the animal body and death.
This, though the most striking instance which could be given, is not the only one ; there are many articles with which the market both at home and abroad has been overstocked. For it must not be dissembled that both America and the continental nations have learnt to manufacture for themselves many things for which they had been accustomed to depend upon England. It is vain to imagine that improvements in machinery can for any length of time be confined to the country in which they are invented, and attempts to prevent manufacturers from emigrating by penal statutes, are not only oppressive, but inefficacious. Both inen and machinery have found their way abroad; the manufacturing system has struck root there; we may perhaps find out new markets, (certainly neither enterprise nor activity will be wanting in the search,) but very many of the old ones are preoccupied, and must continue to be closed against us. There is no ultimate evil in this; on the contrary, it would be easy to show that great ultimate good must arise from it, both to ourselves, and to the general interests of mankind, --from which no nation can separate its own with impunity. But the unavoidable temporary consequences are disappointment and loss, with no inconsiderable degree of embarrassment and distress. While other countries have thus been learning to manufacture for themselves, (and this, it should be remembered, they would have done in peace as well as in war, and probably sooner in peace,) improvements have continually been made in our machinery at home, all tending to diminish the necessity for human labour,--here also