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of the debate a division took place, when the Danes had been as good a nation as they there appeared, for the motion 108, against are a bad nation; if they had been towards it 253. This debate, in which there was a us, as harmless in their future probable views pretty fair trial of strength between the two and in their past conduct, as they bave been parties, was also a trial upon the subject of mischievous, still, if I had been minister, the Danish expedition ; but, with the ex- I would, if they had rejected the proposition ception of the information, communicated made to them, have seized their feet and to the house by Mr. Canning, there was no- arsenals; because, though ever so willing thing said, which had not, in substance at to resist the power of France, it was manifest least, been said before. That information that they wanted the ability; because, situwas, indeed, of great importance; for, it ated as they were with respect to our enemy, not only strips the Danes of that fine cha- it was also manifest, that they would have racter for inoffensiveness, which had been been made use of as instruments in his attributed to them by some persons, but hands, for the purpose of insuring our subshowed, most satisfactorily, that it was next jugation ; and because, having the power to impossible, that they could have felt any of my country committed to my hands, it thing like shame or sorrow at giving up their is my duty so to employ that power as to Hleet upon the conditions proposed by us. prevent everything which manifestly tends The minister's took the ground of necessity, to its subjugation, let who will suffer from evident from notorious circums:ances; and my exertions. And this is no new moupon this ground, which they should have“ rality." It is morality as old as the hills taken at the first, the plain common sense of and the valleys. It is a morality, which must the country and of mankind is with them. be adopted; or, we must confess that there It was well to make known to the country, are certain political evils greater than that of facts which were not beforegenerally known; seeing one's country conquered.. and this has now been done ; but, it was, IVestminster, 5th Feb. 1808. at no time, proper to lay any stress upon do secret" information, because that was sure
IRELAND, AS IT. 19. to excite doubts as to the great plea of neces
Vindex, LETTER III. sity. Some of those, who insist, that this SIR-If there be any case, in which, is a new system of morality, upon which more than another, it behaves those, who we are acting, may, probably, be sincere ; venture to state an opinion, to satisfy their but, I would ask any one of those gentle- own minds perfectly of the justice of their men, whether, if he bad, in the course of a impression, it is that, wherein their opinion, year, seen. Sweden invaded through the if adopted and acted upon, would be decin means of Denmark; a hostile fleet lying in sive of the happiness or misery of millions of the ports of Norway, and another in those their fellow creatures. Yet; so indisposed or of Sweden, he would not have cursed the incapable is the bulk of mankind, to under imbecility of those ministers, who waited take or exercise this insportant' function of patiently, to see Napoleon effect an object, intellectual and independent beings, that so dear to his heart? Much has been said there is no imposition too gross, no error too about the consequence of the future hatred Aagrant, not to obtain the countenance and of the Danes towards us. The hatred of a support of the ignorant and anreflecting nation, I allow, is not to be wantonly pro- The facility of being deluded is the preroga. voked; but, will any one pretend, that it is tive of the vulgar and unlettered ; and whilst possible for any future hatred of the Danes there are dupes there will be impostors. to produce acts more hostile to our welfare, Even those who are fully competent to form than ibose of which Denmark has been a judgment, are the automatons of habit; ina güilty for the last thirty years? In what Auence, or association, unless where their way is the hatred of that nation to operate own immediate interests hang upon the re: upon us? In the way of war to be sure. sult of their decision. Public measures are Well, then, as I have, upon a fcriner occa- of wide operation, and comparatively distant sion, clearly shewn, they have availed them- consequences; and, unless their effects be selyes of every opportunity of proving to us locally felt, or faithfully exposed, the genes the existence of this hatred for the period rality of the people seldom bestow a thonght above mentioned, without having recently upon them. This is more particularly ilie discovered in any part of their conduct, case, when the interests of remote parts only the slighiest, inclination to amend their of the empire are at stake, and the existence ways, Buty, in taking a final leave of, of habitual prejudices adds to the facility or this subject (for it is now pretty well ex- popular delusion. Weak men with heated hausted, I beg leave to repeat, that if imaginations, and wicked men with factious objects are equally ready to promote their them, yet such is the equality of their action respective purposes, by stimulating the very and reaction, that they reciprocally produce worst propensities of the unthinking part of each other and are produced. The want of the coinmunity. No part of the empire has capital acts in a variety of ways to depress suttured in this way, so much as Ireland, the people, and retard the prosperity of Irebecause no part has been so uniformiy ir:- land. Most of the multiplied sources of duced, misrepresented, and condemned, ei-employment and industry, which atford sup ther in ihe whole or in part, by almost all of port and wealth to the population of other thinse, who live undertaken to give to the states, are absolutely shut to the people of Brilix public an idea of its actual situatiou. Ireland for wait of sufficient means to proWe have had bigots of all sects, and partisans secule them with success or effect. Only a of all factions, amongst the labourers in this
single manufacture, and that confined to one department; but, from the gross misstate- province, diversifies the labours of the inments in parliainent, down to the unblush- dustrinus classes. A country possessing every ing ignorance and effiouterynot the wretched
advantage of soil, of climate, and of favourpaniphlet by Mr. John Bowles, there has able situation, for every purpose of manufacnot been any statemeni made to the public, tures and coiomerce, absolutely languishes in. Founded upon a comprehensive conception a declining tate, because it has not the opof the real extent of Irislı grievances, and portunity of developing its natural resources, the absolute necessity of adequate redress.-- The commercial jealousy of the English merIn judging of the actual siate of beland, it | camile and manufacturing interests, at the would be absurd to apply in standud, hy commencerpent of last century, blasted the which the circumstances of 2017 other coun- manufacturing prospects of Ireland, as if try are usually estimatel. Free without the
Englund (puld suffer by the prosperity of benefits of the constitution, commercial that country. The present century opened without the possession of capital, and agri- with some prospect of the extinction of that cultural in spite of every discouragement, the narrow spirit of monopoly, which coustrued state of that country defies all parallel or the health of the extremily, as the decay of competition. To be justly ascertained, it the vunk. But it is in vain, that new pros. must be estimated as it is, without reterence pects and a more auspicious feeling towards: to any other comotry, and the investigation, Ireland prevails, the defect of capital cramps . that is to lead to any general result, must be its every exertion, and the unfortunate prom conducted with a view to the interests of the pensity of its gentry to emulate the expendipeople, and not for local, partial, or party ture of their more affluent neighbours in purposes. The great and immediate cause this country, and their consequent exactions of the distresses of Ireland is the want of ca- from those, who hold under them, keep the pital; the intermediate cause, which pro- seeds of discontent alive, and close the door duces that want of capital, arises from the against the introduction of British capital.. frequent disturbances, interrupting the pub. The industry of the people, therefore, is, Jie tranquillity, and endaingering the indivi- and must be contined to the operations of: dual security of the inhabitants of that coun- husbandry and speculations in land. Labour, try, and the remote or ultimate cause is to like every thing else, which is to be purbe found in the high renys and the extrava- chased, must be similarly affected by the giat exactions of proprietors, proctors, and pumper and variety of markets, and the na. nrigldlemen. This is the clymax by which ture and extent of the demand for it. When we ascend to the true source and origin of the yent is limited and the sellers mumerous Irish calamities. The statement may be un- out of all proportion, the price must sink, palatable to the Irish landlords, but it is not and the competition will be, nut who shall the less founded; and no one of them, in or gain most, but who shall lose least by the out of parliament, will venture to contradict sale. Indispensable necessity obliges the it... Tlie façt: iş 90 well known to every one, unfortunate man, who brings bis, Jabour to in the slightest degree acquainted with that market, io dispose of it at whatever it will Country, that it would require more brass, fetch, because he has scarcely an alternative ilan Alte Bowles has proved himself to pos. but irremediable want and starvation. But sessisy, writing on a subject, of which he is
the measure of bis suffering does not end totally ignorant, to deny it. But, I shall bere. The same overflaw of the market, proceed to examine the precise manner, in that reduces the price of labour, enhances, Which these causes respectively act, and here the rept of lands, and extends to the other we shall furathat, ilough, by a regular ana extreme the sources of popular grievance.. lisis of their operation and series, they fol. Mariy bidders produce bigh prices, and avaria, luw in the :Qide, which I have placed cions pratietoiş, take advantage of the dei
mand to it
price of low, may
is voluntary on the part of him, who rents be raised, it must follow, that there is a corlaod, and obat the proprietor has a right to respondent reduction in the price of the rea dispose of his property to the best advantage. maining component part or parts of the price But how.can that be voluntary, which is the of provisions Thus, within the last thirty fruit of dire and inevitable necessity ? The years the rents of lands have been trebled to labourer must come into any terms, or be ihe farmers, and quadrupled to the peasanta. destitute of ihe means of subsistence for his ry, whilst the price of labour has scarcely family. The landlord unquestionably has a | advanced one-fourth, and the price of every right to dispose of his land on the most ad- material necessary to cultivation has been vantageous terms, but as unquestionably he trebled; so that, if the price of provisions has is bound in justice to raise the price he trebled within that period, as it undoubtedly pays for labour in the same proportion, that has, it must be obvions, that the farmer is he adds to the amount of rut for his lanıl. i indemnifieit, for the advance of his rent,' by Thus between the overcharges of ile land the proportionate advance in the price of his proprietors and middleinen, and the under produce, but that the great mass of the peorates of labour, the poor and oppressed pea- ! ple is subjected to treble the burthen as to santry are scarcely able to procure a wretch- provisions, and quadruple the oppression as ed subsistence, bereit of niany of the neces. to rents, whilst their means bave received saries, and totally destitute of any of the only a fractional addition of one fourth, or comforts or conveniencies of life. It should at most one half, during the last thirty years. in this place be observed, that the agricultu- This point is susceptible of arithmetical deral labourers are not the sole sufferers from monstration. If we suppose the price of lathese causes. All the working classes in bour thirty years ago to have been as four, Ireland, except in the cilies and great towns, and that ihe produce of his labour was, at are cut:ivators, and consequently severely that time, adequate to the maintenance of a affected by the extravagant rents demanded peasant's family, we may designate the price for lands. The uncertainty of employment, of provisions or the rent of lands, at the and the ambition of being independant of same period, by the same numerical denothe market for sustenance, make them sub- | minator fvur.
minator four. The present price of provia mit to any terms, in order that they might | sions, of labour, and the rent of lands let to have the means of raising produce for their the peasantry will be clearly ascertained, by own consumption. The practice, therefore, I applying the proportion of their respective is general, when possible, amongst the poor-, augmentation to this common denominator. er classes in Ireland, oftilling a certain por- The result is, that labour, increased one half tion of land for the support of their fami- at most, is now as six, provisions trebled as lies. In all the acts of the legislature, for twelve, and rents quadrupled as sixteen. So securing the rights of landlords or tenants, that, taking the average of rent and provie and regulating their respective interests and sions at fourteen, the disproportion, between claims, there is no provision whatever to be the labourer's necessary expenditure and bisfound, that includes, within its protecting means, is nearly as two and a half to one. operation, this most numerous and oppressed Under such circumstances, it would appear class, of occupants. An abolition or com. impossible for bim, to subsist himself and mutation of tythes would not afford relief to his family by his labour'; and the fact would them, unless sonje eftectual measures should be so, if the possession of a small portion of be taken, to shelter them from the exactions land, to raise produce for their support, did of the land proprietors and middlemen. The not enable him to compensate for the low tendre, i by wbich they hold, is universally price of his labour, and The extravagant rent aunial, and, if we may judge of the future of the land, by the intense and incessant exby the past, there is too much reason to ertions, with which he cultivates.it, both be. conclude, thrat, so far as their interests are fore and after his daily work. This stateconcerned, the removal of the burthen of ment alone will suffice to refute the calumtythes would not be attended with any ma- nies, so commonly circulated and believed of terial advantage. The comparative cheap- the Irish peasantry, that they are idle, indoness of provisions is, in general, an indica- lent, and lazy. Wlién engaged in the busition of nascent wealth and growing prosper ness of their landlords, or rather task masrity. In general it is so, but in this particu: ters, who are anxious to get as much-and pay lar case it is otherwise. The price of provi. as little as they can, they unquestionably do şions is compounded of the price of the la- not display as much alacrity and effort, as pour, land, and materials, employed in their fiber working for themselves. - It is not in human nature to be reconciled to such an clad, ill fed, and worse lodged, dependant inequality of exaction and consideration. upon his own means alone for every necesThe wretched peasant, therefore, does not, sary to restore health or sustain life, and'exfeel scrupulous of withholding some portion posed to all the hardships of a state of slavery of his full and competent services, under a without any of the advantages of a state of firm conviction, that, how low soever he freedom, the Irish peasant drags on a misermay reduce the amount of his labour, it will able existence, embitrered by intolerable still be far more than an equivalent for the practical burthens, and incapable of allevia. remuneration, which he is to receive. It is tion by the communication of any political not the peasant, then, that is lazy, but his rights.
What has been stated above renders employer, that is oppressive; and the reason it scarcely necessary to pursue this subject why the former always is supposed, when further; yet it will not be amniss to add atrothe latter ought to be the impression, is, ther illustration of the amount of the sufferbecause the characters of both are uniformli ings of the mass of the people of Ireland. taken from the representations of those, who The population of that country is now ascer think they have an interest in concealing the tained to be about five millions. Protestant real state of the case, because they would | bigots will state it to be less, as Catholic biotherwise become self-accusers.The advo- gots will perlraps represent it greater ; but, cates of the abolition of the slave trade con- however it may suit the former to estenuate, stantly argued, that the indolence, imputed or the latter to exaggerate the fact, for the to slaves, was a consequence of their unhappy purpose of decrying or enhancing the Cathocondition. If these very humane gentle- lic claims, public documents and political men had given themselves the trouble to calculation, prove the population of Ireland çxamine, but superficially, into the state and to exceed five millions of souls. Upon these circumstances of the Irish peasantry, who grounds therefore, I take its population at are accused of the same. inen tuess, they five millions; and, as in this inquiry we would have found room for the exercise of Piave nothing to do with sects or factions, I their philanthropy amongst a population, shall, according to my former grand distinc. dominally free, but actually subjected to all tion, consider that population as contprised the miseries ot bondage. They would have of two descriptions of persons, the oppresperceived, that the imputed quality was but sofs, and those, that are oppressed. In the a consequence of the reaction of a reasoning former are included all the laud proprietors principle ar ajust outrageous oppression, and both absentees and residents, and all the var they would have been encouraged to engage rious denominations and classes of popular in the laudable work of redress, by the ani- scourges, the middlenjen ; in the latter the mating prospect of proeuring comfort for so whole niass of the labouring poor , and I many millions of their fellow freeinen and have reason to assume the number of the subjects. Ja truth and in fact, the condition former at one million, and that of the latter of the slaves in the West Indies, except in at four. Now, however accident, or good the sentimental consciousness of freedom, is fortune, or unusual means from rare success, paradise, compared with the situation of the
may enable some out of this vast number ocunfortunate peasants of Ireland. For though casionally to vary their regular course of debarred of the actual enjoyment of that first diet, the great staple of their support consists blessing of man in his civil state, liberty, of potatoes. The average consumption of they possess all the substantial comforts, ibat potatoes in a family of six persons amounts can be procured from its exercise, in their io twenty stones in six days, or twelve huo." sphere." Well clad, well fed, well lodged, dred and twenty stones in the year. The and amply provided with every necessary average produce of an acre of land in culture care and attendance, they, unhappy as a con- for potatoes is eighty-two barrels of twenty, dition of slavery must be, are yet exempted stones each. From these averages of pro. from those 'anxieties and afflictions, which duce and co!sumption we shall find the conthe vicissitudes of seasons and the revolutions sumption of the whole four millions of peo. of property ordinarily bring upon their own- 1 ple to be forty millions' and six hundred
Whatever may be the circumstances thousand barrels, and the quantity of land of the planter, his slaves, as a most valuable necessary to raise that produce to be about part of his property, must be properly attend. five hundred thousand acres. It will," no ed to. The contrast between their situation doubt, be objected, that some portion of this and that of the peasants of Ireland, may be description of persons consume other kinds amply, though summarily, described, in the of food, and consequently less of that, which negative enumeration of negro comtorts and is assumed; as the great staple of their zuconmodations. Badly, or rather scarcely port. But, though that fact be admitted, it
can bare no material effect upon the result Spence and you are of opinion, that Britain just stated, nor upon that which is to follow. is independent of commerce, because comThe average rent, paid, for potatoe land, by merce creates no wealth, or at least none the labouring poor, is much under-stated at worth noticing; but, Mr. Spence makes a six guineas per acre per annum, and the distinction (a very proper one in my opinion) average rent of their cabins far exceeds two between the wealth, and the prosperity of a guineas per annum, whilst the average nation ; and says, that, though a nation may charge for tythes is at least fifteen shillings be wealthy without being prosperous, it canper acre. The result of these averages, not be prosperous, without, at the same which, I challenge any man of Ireland to time, growing wealthy :-it is, therefore, inquestion, is that four millions of the Irish cumbent upon you and Mr. Spence to shew, nation raise a subsistence, such as it is, and not only, that cominerce creates no wealth God knows how miserable their fare is, for directly, but also that it does not promote themselves from five hundred thousand acres the prosperity of the nation, before you can of land, for which, and tythes, and the decide that the nation is independent of it. wretched hovels, they in general have to Mr. Spence affirns that manufactures create dwell in, they pay by their labour alone no wealih; but at the same time, he attrito their oppressors of all denominations, butes to manufactures the flourishing state of the enormous sum of five million two agriculture, whence all wealth, according to handred and ninety thousand pounds, Irish him, is derived; for what reason, therefore, currency, annually!!! Let the land proprie- he should not have attributed to commerce tors and middlemen, who, in prosecuting a stimulus of a similar kind, I am at a loss their selfish objects, represent themselves as to guess; since I think, it may be clearly the people of Ireland, reflect upon this proved, ihat, both commerce and manufacstatement and invalidate any item of it they tures act upon agriculture, in the same way, can;, let thein state, if they dare, or shew, if and that commerce affords, at least as much they are able, that the clergy, who are by encouragement to agriculture, as manufacJaw entitled to one tenth of the produce of tures do, because it not only promotes agrithe land, in demanding little more than one culture directly, but also encourages manutenth of the rent, exacted for that Jand, are factures, wbich, by Mr. Spence's acknows to be considered as the oppressors of the ledgment, extend agriculture. Thinking, people; let them ask themselves this tre- therefore, as I think, that commerce encoumendous question, whether a population so rages agriculture in both the above ways, dioppressed can be wedded to their privations, rectly and indirectly, I cannot say that I am or dread a change ; and if, after this process, one of those enlightened persons, who feel no they shall persevere in bringing a case be- joy at a new market being opened to our fore parliament, let them take care to pre- manufactures; or that I can see any large seor themselves in a character free of suspi- branch of our commerce ont off, or in concion, and with such a representation of the sequence of it, a considerable manufacture real grievayces of their country, as may lead destroyed, and the manufacturers turned out to a radical and complete investigation of its of employment, without some degree of actual situation, and terminate in such mea- pain. It seems to me, Sir, that if a new sures, as the wisdom of parliament may re- market be opened for our goods, an addicon mend for the comfort, tranquillity, and tional spring is given to our manufactures, or happiness of the whole nation. I am, Sir, our agriculture;, and that, on the contrary, &c. -VIŅDEX. -London, Jan, 26, 1808. by catting off any part of our export trade, a
check is given to both But, Mr. Spence PERISH COMMERCE.'
makes anorber distinction, which is between Sir,
-If the subject of commerce - be goods of more or less value, and says that not grown too stale for your Register, (it is a commerce obtains for us luxuries in exsubject, I hope, that will be long interesting change for more valuable commodities. Mr. to Britons) I beg leave to send you a few ob- Spence, himself, Sir, lays it down as an servations, upon the new doctrine, promul, axiom, that the prosperity of a nation congated by you and Mr. Spence,' that Britain sists in expenditure, not in parsimony's and is independent of commerce. Amidst your it is evident, that if consumable articles, numerous correspondents, I have not seen wine, tea, tobacco, or evena Mr. Spence's any who bave attacked your principle, al- new luxury, nitrous oxyd, be imported in though it seems to me to be not very defen- exchange for our linen, and our hardware, sible. I come, therefore, if not in due sea, i the export of our manufactured goods may son, in due order, to storm the citadel, after go on increasing, year by year, for ever: and the outworks have been damaged. ------Mr. I should think it was equally evident, if we