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they produce revenue without taxation, and that gambling will exist, and therefore government may as well profit by it.
"That they produce revenue is true; but could a full and fair account be taken of all the loss and expense which falls on the country, from the crimes caused by lotteries, I question if one shilling of that revenue would remain. And at the last general audit, what minister will dare to state that, for the sake of a paltry revenue, he promoted sin?
"The chief blot in the public character of your great and good predecessor was, that he continued and multiplied lotteries. When the time shall come that your epitaph must be written, what nobler praise can you wish than'Here lies the man who abolished Lotteries,' who checked the tide of gambling, and preferred godliness to gain?
"That gambling (like other vices) will continue, may be literally true, but that, like others, it may be checked by wise laws, is no less certain. At least let us try the experiment. Let it be the declared intention both of ministers and the parliament to abolish all public lotteries for ever; and let new laws (for such are better observed than old ones) be passed against all private lotteries, and every species of gaming, at St. James's as well as St . Giles's; and let the police magistrates and their officers be encouraged and supported in putting those laws in force; and I have no hesitation in asserting, that great and good effects will ensue. Indeed I see no reason to doubt that similar effects will always ensue from any measure originating in a sincere desire to promote the glory of God and the real good of man. This is uncommon language in an address to a minister; but this is an uncommon administration. Not esteemed superior to its predecessors in talent, all admit its superiority in success, and until some more probable cause can be assigned, I shall attribute this to its containing (beyond all comparison) more religious principle than any within the last hundred years.
"If I am correct in this opinion, I may surely hope for support in my wish to check (at least) the daily increasing breach of the third commandment, by the multiplying oaths to such an extent, and on such paltry occasions, as to render custom-house oaths no longer proverbial. The evil is such, its consequences so fatal, and its remedy so obvious, that it seems strange they should have escaped the observation of any zealous Christian. Thousands (I might almost say millions) call on the Almighty to witness facts which they know to be false, or do not know to be true, or which they themselves consider as utterly unimportant .
"Let all oaths be abolished except in courts of justice, or other solemn assemblies; and let them there be administered with all possible solemnity, the whole court standing uncovered. In all other cases (or at least in as many as possible) let the party now required to swear sign a declaration, and let the penalties attending perjury be annexed to that signature; and let these penalties be extended to all those numberless cases in which extra-judicial oaths are now taken without the least reluctance, because liable to no punishment.
"I will mention only one other source of national immorality,—The profanation of the Lord's day, particularly by Sunday newspapers and stage coaches. If these cannot be prohibited, surely their rapid increase might be checked, in the latter case by an additional toll, and in the former by an additional stamp.
"Newspapers contribute so notoriously, and to so great a degree, to the propagation both of immoral and unconstitutional tenets, that no means should be omitted which can lessen their circulation, and the taxes on them should, therefore, be augmented as often as practicable; not with a view to increase the revenue, but to lessen the evil. Sunday tolls on travelling come within the same predicament. But the turnpikes themselves might be made, I conceive, a very efficient source of revenue as well as useful regulation, if parliament would permit them to be put into the hands of government. The roads in general are now in good order, but some improvements on those leading to the principal dock yards, &c. would be highly beneficial in times of war, and can only be executed by able engineers, and at greater expense than any local trust can supply. To find employ at this time for disbanded soldiers and seamen, and discharged workmen from Woolwich, &c. &c, is a most important object; for their distress is great, and its consequences alarming.
"Many individuals suffer by having lent money on unproductive turnpikes, to whom it would be a great relief to have their loans secured on the tolls of the whole kingdom. And if the tax on leather, or others that bear hard on the poor, could be commuted for additional tolls on travellers, it would be both popular and highly advantageous. Thus employment and food might be provided for those who have neither; and few would grudge to pay a shilling instead of sixpence, if they found their stage shortened and their delay lessened.
"If any of these crude ideas, improved by your talents, and supported by your power, can tend to promote the real good of my countrymen, I shall be amply rewarded. If not, I still hope you will pardon the attempt.
"I have the honour to subscribe myself, "Sir, "Your faithful humble servant,
."J • . . '. . "J. BoWDLEJt."
The manner in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer received this letter was highly gratifying to the writer. He replied to it on the following day at considerable length, stating that the name and character of the writer had long been sufficiently known to him to insure a respectful attention to any suggestions he might have been pleased to communicate, even without the pleasure of a personal acquaintance; and that the importance of the subjects now touched upon had brought them frequently under his consideration. He proceeds to remark successively upon every point mentioned in the former letter ; stating on the subject of accommodation in churches, that he hoped another session would not pass without a proposition being made for remedying, to a considerable extent, this great and increasing evil; that Mr. Perceval had bestowed much attention on the subject, and it had never been lost sight of since; but the magnitude of the expence to be incurred, though by no means the greatest difficulty to be encountered, would have indisposed parliament to entertain such a proposition till the conclusion of the war. With respect to the multiplication of oaths in extra-judicial proceedings, he states that much has been done to lessen the evil, care having been taken in modern statutes to avoid the introduction of new oaths, and suppress such as before existed; in consequence of which many thousand oaths less are now taken at the custom-house than
formerly; the declaration of a party, with a pecuniary penalty in case of falsehood, being substituted: but he adds that, for obvious reasons, the penalty ought not to be quite the same as that of perjury. With regard to Sunday newspapers, he reminds Mr. Bowdler of the fate of Lord Grosvenor's bill, and confesses that the apprehension of a similar contest had deterred him from meddling with them. The taking of the tolls into the hands of government, which had been often suggested, would be likely to end in a much greater expense of repairs and management, and in neglecting the greater part of the roads, in order to beautify a few great communications. The lottery he reserves to the last, as requiring more consideration, and enters into the subject at greater length.
"You," says he, "in common with many other excellent men, view it as malum in se, an evil at all events to be suppressed, and not to be tolerated under any regulations. Whether this be the true view of the case or not, it is certainly not that in which our ancestors saw it. You will recollect, perhaps, as a proof of this, a paper in the Toiler, written expressly to recommend a lottery adventure on patriotic grounds; and I have no doubt that even now some purchasers of tickets reconcile themselves to a losing chance by recollecting that the greatest part of their loss is a gain to the public service. As, however, I fear so philosophical a mode of considering the subject is very rare, it is more material to consider the practical effect produced by the lottery. I am ready to admit that it was formerly extremely mischievous, and I am inclined to think that you