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traffic; our lands, possessions, aud every thing, are subservient to virtue." And similar maxims might be adduced from the writings of the best of the ancient philosophers, both Greek and Roman, in support of this lastmentioned one by the Roman historian. Tully says "That every thing that was honest was for a man's interest, and that nothing unjust could possibly be serviceable." And Plato says “It is the height of injustice to appear just, and be really a knave.”
These laws hold out every temptation to peculation and oppression, to those who are ambitious to become parish officers. Numerous instances might be mentioned to prove this assertion, particularly with regard to Select Vestries, wherein the most scandalous robberies, and the greatest perversions of the parish funds are carried on with impunity. There is not a week elapses without some exposure of this nature taking place. At Marylebone parish the, Select Vestry has been guilty of the grossest breach, for instead of appropriating the money to the relief of the poor, and various other useful purposes for which it was collected, they have wasted it on trifling gew-gaws, such as costly chairs, sofas, cushions, curtains, &c. to decorate the church and the vestry-room, so as to make the former like the gorgeous and tinselled interior of a theatre, and the latter like the state-room of a palace. At St. Martin's in the Fields, and St. Paul's Covent Garden, disgraceful transactions have taken place ; at the latter parish a Chief Police Magistrate of the metropolis so far perverted the source of justice, as to make a very prominent figure in defending and enforcing this unconstitutional measure. In the parish of St. George the Martyr, and in that of Bloomsbury, meetings of the inhabitants have been held, to check this growing and pestiferous evil. In St. Pancras parish a meeting was held sately for the appointment of commissioners for the year, when it was discovered that there was a deficit of some thousands in the accounts of the former commissioners, and the paltry excuse made to prevent inquiry was this, that as the accounts had been formerly approved of and passed by some of their own friends, it precluded all right of examination or censure now. In Clerkenwell parish something like these occurrences has taken place, for some persons there have got themselves unfairly appointed commissioners of the paving board, thereby vitiating the sound principle of the right of election.
By the bye, what legitimate or reasonable right can any body of men have to sit for life under the pretence of inanaging the affairs of a parish, to waste its money in trifles, and swallow down thousands of pounds in dinners ? The idea is preposterous, and not compatible with common sense. For this is a wise maxim : “ The end of all political associations is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man ; and those rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression,” and which has been upheld and defended from time immemorial, by the greatest champions of jiberty, it is a cause for which Lord William Russell suffered on the scaffold, and Hampden bled in the field. It is true that a set of bad men may exercise this right for a long time, but then it is only an unlawful usurpation, not a honest possession. And the man who assumes this right, and uses it to the injury of the lowest grade of the poor, deserves to be branded with some conspicuous mark on his brazen forehead, as a warning to all parish-officers and select vestrymen.
Many plans have been submitted to the public and to the legislature in lieu of the poor laws, by some of the best writers on political economy. But none, I am sure, would have been so well calculated to strike at the root of evil, as that by Thomas Paine, which was offered to the public in his “Rights of Man," in the year 1792. He takes such an enlightened and humane view of the rights and privileges of the poorer classes of society, and considers that they are justly entitled to relief as men, not to be considered as slaves, that his plan seems the only one that could be well adopted to eradicate this wide-spreading and destructive system. It places the condition of the poor on such a solid basis, and is so liberal and disinterested, that he may undoubtedly be considered as the most able and undaunted defender of the rights and privileges of mankind, that ever lived in this or any other country, ancient or modern. His plan is to abolish the poor laws altogether, and substitute a system better calculated to give universal satisfaction, and more analogous to the true dignity and proper station of man on the face of the globe, which unequivocally distinguishes him from the brute creation. - The following is a brief outline of his plan:-A remission of all burthensome taxes, or such as operate more particularly upon the condition of the lower orders of society; the abolition of all sinecures; and instead of some of these laxes, to lay an impost on all funded and landed property, which may properly be considered in the nature of a luxury, as a luxury does not so much consist in the thing itself, as the means by which it is procured. And then to apply this overplus money, in the first instance, in granting small annuities to the poor, making a distinction with respect to those persons who have got families, by giving so much more for every child, besides a donation on the birth of a child ; annuities to the aged of both sexes; donations to every new married couple ; funeral expences for persons travelling for work, and dying at a distance from their friends ; also building an asylum for the friendless poor ; or those coming to London without any friend to go to, until they can be otherwise provided for. And he makes the following judicious remarks upon the Poor Laws, and on the efficacy of the foregoing plan :-"By the operation of this plan, the Poor Laws, those instruments of civil torture, will be superseded, and the wasteful expence of litigation prevented. The hearts of the humane will not be shocked by ragged and hungry children, and persons of 70 and 80 years of age begging for bread. The dying will not be dragged from place to place to breathe their last; as a reprisal of parish upon parish. Widows will have a maintenance for their children, and not be carled away, on the death of their husbands, like culprits and criminals ; and children will no longer be considered as increasing the distress of their parents. The haunts of the wretched will be known, because it will be to their advantage; and the number of petty crimes, the offspring of distress and poverty, will be lessened. The poor, as well as the rich, will then be interested in the support of government, and the cause and apprehension of riots and tumults will cease. Ye who sit in ease and solace yourselves in plenty, and such there are in Turkey and Russia, as well as in England, and who say to yourselves :* Are we not well off?' Have ye thought of these things ? when ye do, ye will cease to speak and feel for yourselves alone.”
For a more detailed account of this plan, I must refer the reader to his “Rights of Man,” part 2, pp. 87—107 ; and for another plan of providing for the poor, in his “Agrarian Justice," pp. 5—18. They appear so equitable and humane, and so well adapted to the interests of the general state of society, that any comments would be superfluous. It would tend to make every person feel an interest in the welfare of the community, be an incentive to industry, and diffuse comparative comfort and independence in all classes of society. They may be considered Utopian plans by many ignorant and shallow-minded men, but they are evidently preferable to the poor laws; which, like those of Draco the Athenian lawgiver, may be said to be “written with bloud, and not with ink.” Clerkenwell, July 3, 1828.
For 6 The Lion."
As youthful hopes grow cold,
When first the heart awakes
has reason's ray,
Some scene, form, look, or tone,
On earth there is no knell
what all may prove,
1. W. IMRAY.
Printed and Published by RiCHARD CARLILE, 62, Fleet-street, where all Communications, post-paid, or free of expense, are requested to be left.
No.4. Vol. 2.)
LONDON, Friday, July 25, 1828. [PRICE 6d.
POLITICAL EXCITEMENT, AGITATION, PANIC, REVOLUTION, AND DREAD OF REVOLUTION.
THESE are touching points in politics ; but I shall find a reason for their introduction. The end of all political excitement must be revolution. In a glorious constitution, such as that of England, &c., is falsely boasted to be, there could not arise, such as we find do arise among us, political excitements, panics, agitations, revolutions and dread of revolution. This state of things wants amendment; that amendment can only be found in a constitution that sball be more glorious than the present.
Mankind is subject to more or less excitement, in matters of interest; in proportion with the sensibilities, whether of fear, courage, joy, love, anger or hatred. Thus a state of politics, which shall
appear most alarming to some minds, is void of excitement and coolly viewed as a matter of course, rather to be desired than to be dreaded, by others. I, for instance, have passed the state of mind that is subject to alarm or surprise, that has political fear, or that apprehends danger from political changes. Thus, I am now scarcely excitable on any of the common-place topics of the day that agitate and frighten less calmly tempered nerves. The Catholics of Ireland, with their opposing Orangemen; the Radicals of England, with their opposing mob of Aristocracy, and fanatics of all sects and parties, alarm not me: I see that right education which has been my medicine, is the medicine for all their mental diseases; and I see also, that such education is now offered to them, if they will embrace it; and also, that, whether they will or not, it will embrace them. Thus, on this head, all my grounds and reasons for fear are removed.
I have suited my subject to the times, and I intend to embrace every view of it as relating to nations, to districts, or to individuals.
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 62, Fleet Street. No. 4, VOL. 2.
AGITATION is the political word of the Catholics in Ireland, Their leaders appear to see that, and to act upon it as if, they eannot carry their object by any other means than intimidation. I approve alike their perception and their resolution ; and though, at a first thought, or first view, the idea of intimidation seems opposed to the idea of education, yet it is not so, any more than to educate a child, by the aid of intimidating correction, is not to educate it. The intimidation which the Catholics seek to produce by their agitations is that which shall so educate the Protestants as to induce the removal of bad laws. I can see no farther than this; and have, consequently, no fear on the subject. I, therefore, shall applaud all the agitation and intimidation which Catholics can produce, in relation to the bad laws of the Protestants. If the Catholic become the persecutor of the Protestant or Infidel, then the Catholic must be cured or educated to better purposes, by agitation and intimidation. The really good man, he who means well, has no ground for political fear. He can fear no changes, where he can be heard.
Changes of the administration in London, which agitate so many minds, excite not mine. I mark no difference in the effects, as to whether Liverpool, Canning, or Wellington, be prime mi· nister; and, marking no difference, I count the change as nothing, and pass it by unheeded. The debt and its interest constitute the present monarchy of this conntry, and until that be revolutionised, until that be overthrown, the personal king or his administration are not worth a thought. They are chained to the funding system and must for a time draw it along. They bear it as their cross, and are not again likely to be separated from it, while alive. The whole question of our national politics is, and will be for the future-the amount of our taxation. It cannot be reduced with the debt; the government, as at present constituted, cannot proceed with the debt. What then is to done, and when is it to be done? That grim monarch, the debt, will eat up all other English monarchy and die itself from indigestion, from incapacity to digest the foul and crude mass. Then comes the much-desired revolution: a revolution that will be desired and not dreaded. I am exciteable here. I am quickly excited on all matters that promise to be generally and permanently useful to the human race. I do not want excitement to do even indivi. dual good; but I contemn the disposition that is agitated by political trilles; because, in the sum of that disposition I find all the political evils of the country. Let me see the man who is excited about the king, about the members of the royal family, about the administration, about parliament, as at present constituted, about the Catholic question, about the church, or about religion of any kind, and I mark him as an ill-educated or ill-disposed man, one with a mind as yet but badly formed. On the other hand, let me see the man who calmly considers what revolutions