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No. III.



COBBETT'S

TWO-PENNY TRASH

For the Month of September, 1830.



TO THE

WORKING PEOPLE OF ENGLAND AND

SCOTLAND.

Kensington y August 26, 1830.
My Friends,
60. Never since the world existed was there, to man m
civil Hfe, a time more important and critical than this; and
never was it so manifest, that the condition of mankind de-
pends wholly on their own conduct, and especially on that of
the ivorking people. It is, therefore, of the greatest im-
portance that you be perfectly well informed of the causes
which have produced the recent glorious event at Paris*
The great deed was there performed by the working people;
and by the working people here, must finally be produced
those salutary effects which every good man wishes to see
produced. There are some men who happen to be so fortu-



LoNDON : Published by the Author, 183, Fleet-street ; and sold by

all Booksellers.



50 Two-penny Trash;

nate as to be able to keep their bones from labour, wha
consider the working people merely as being made to toil for
others. Others, again, who have their motives, doubtless,
choose to assert, that the working people of England are
poor things compared to those in France. My friends,
your conduct, when you have had a fair opportunity, has
always given the lie to this assertion; and, I am sure, it will
always give it the lie,

61. I undertook this little work, solely for the purpose of
giving you useful knowledge. This was my duty. You are
employed in creating food and raiment, and lodging for me,
as well as for all others who do not labour with their bodies ;
and it is my duty to supply you with that knowledge which
I have been able to acquire, in consequence of my being
supplied with the necessaries of life by your labour. At this
moment, I can communicate no knowledge to you so useful
as that w^hich relates to the recent events in France ; be-
cause, as I shall clearly show you, those events are closely
connected, and almost identified, with our own public affairs,
and with the interests of every man of us.

62. Pray observe, that all possible efforts are making to
induce us to believe", that we are not at all in the situation
in which the French would have been, if their abominable
tyrants had succeeded. You may guess at the motive of
these efforts : and you will judge of the falseness of the
opinions w^hich they are intended to inculcate, before I
have concluded the observations that I am about to make,
I am not going to give you a history or narrative of the re-
cent transactions in France. You will find that done in a
little work, published in weekly numbers in London, at
Strange's Publication Warehouse, in Paternoster-
row. These numbers are published weekly, price two- pence,



1st September, 1830. 51

.and are very well worthy of your attention. It is not a his-
tory of this great event that I am about to give you ; but I
am going to prove to you, that the Bourbon family have lost
their crown by attempting to force upon France a govern-
ment like that which exists in England now. What I am
about to prove, I will state to you first shortly the substance,
in ^ve distinct propositions, as follows :

1. That it was the English Boroughmongers who insti-
gated the ex- King of France to attempt to take away
the right of the people to choose their representatives.

2. That our Boroughmongers intended to make the two
legislative Chambers in France totally independent of
the voice of the people.

3. That the people of France well understood what the
government of England was, and saw clearly, that the
English Boroughmongers were about to do this for th^ii*
own sake.

4. That to prevent their doing this, the peojple of Paris
shed their blood,

5. And that, therefore, the family of Bourbon owe the
, loss of their crown to the resolution of the people of

France to die rather than to submit to a government
like that of England,

63. Before I enter upon these propositions, I have some
remarks to make upon the conduct of the Whigs and half
W^higs, who are full as much mortified at this event as the
Bourbons themselves. Upon all occasions, they have endea-
voured, whenever they have opened their lips upon the sub-
ject, to cause the people to believe, that we have nothing at
all to do in this affair, except merely to express our admira*

d2



52 Two-penny Tkash ;

lion of the people of Pafis, who have now got for them-
selves, 71*5^ such a government as ours ; and that we ought
to admire them, and praise them, because they have paid us
the compliment of fighting, even unto death, in order to
obtain the high prize of an English government. This
has been the language of the whole crew, wherever they
have met. But it was particularly the language of the
Scotch Whig place-hunters, who met at Edinburgh not many
days ago. The great talkers w^ere one Jeffrey, an Edin-
burgh reviewer, one Cockburne, a lawyer, a Doctor
Mackintosh, w^ho is, I suppose, a parson, one Simpson,
who appears to be a lawyer, too, and several others, amongst
whom was our Middlesex and Greek-bond gentleman.
Another time, I mean to expose the folly, as well as the in-
sincerity of this crew, who manifestly got up this meeting, at
which they resolved not to subscribe for the widows and
orphans of Paris : they manifestly got up this meeting to
prevent a meeting of the sincere, middle and working classes,
who are found in Edinburgh, as w^ell as every-where else.
This grand meeting was to be a damper, to keep the honest
and sincere cool and quiet ; and even if it should finally fail,
I should not fail to take the will for the deed.

64. The crafty and hypocritical crew, being thus as-
sembled, praised the valour of the Parisians to the skies ;
commended them for their promptitude and valour; but,
above all things, for their having spared their bloody-
minded enemies, who, be it observed, never spared them;
who were coolly playing at cards while the sanguinary Swiss,
who had so long been clothed and fed by the industrious
people of Paris, were butchering those very people. But,
what delighted these Scotch tax-eaters most, was, the dis-
covering that this revolution in France had given the French
a Government so very much like ours ^ had given them a



1st September, 1830. 53

state of freedom and of happiness almost equal to our own ;
and that, of course, we could want no changes here, being
already in possession of what the brave Parisians had been
lighting for ! Filthy hypocrites ! Base, bntbaffled.deceivers.
Some of the good fellows of Edinburgh, Paisley, and Glas-
gow, will read this paper ; but, even without reading it, they
would have detected this scandalous cheat.

(j5. Now, turning off these hypocrites with the back of
our hand, let us come to my fiwe propositions, as stated above :
let us take them one at a time and go patiently through them •
and, when we have done that, we may defy the devil to de-
ceive us. The first proposition is, —

I. That it was the English borough mongers that insti-
gated the ex-King of France to take away the right of
the people to choose their representatives.

6Q, Some one will say, " Why should our borough-
mongers do this?" The reasons, my friends, are abundant.
The distress into which the nation has been plunged by the
enormous taxation, has made the people, every-where, wish
for and petition for a reform in the House of Commons. This
feeling has been gaining ground very fast, for more than
three years : and the divers exposures which have taken
place, together w^ith our own acute sufferings, have made
even the farmers cry aloud for parliamentary reform* That
measure necessarily implies the destruction of boroughmon-
gering and all its profits. One of our great arguments in
favour of reform was, the prosperous and easy situation of
the people of France. *' Look," we said, " there are the
'^ people of France ; they experience no distress; they want
*^ no corn bills ; they do not live on cold potatoes ; they have
" no tithes ; they have no hordes of pension and sinecure



54 Two-penny Trash;

*^ people ; they have no bishops rolling in wealth ; no rectors
" with two or three livings each; no poor curates starving upon
** a miserable pittance ; and why is it thus so well in France ?
'* Because, and only because, there are no rotten boroughs
'* and no boroughmongers in France; only because the
^* people choose their representatives themselveSy and
'^ choose them by ballot,''

67. The argument was so powerful, the facts so noto-
rious, the premises so true, and the conclusion so natural
and so close, that it terrified our boroughmongers. They saw
clearly that they must give way, or, put down this example
of happiness arising out of free elections. They saw that
if that thing continued there, their traffic could not continue.
Indeed, the object of the twenty-two years' war was lost.
It is notorious that the object of that war was to prevent par-
liamentary reform ; and that the object would be totally de-
feated if they could not now conjure up something to prevent
France from being an example to England. If they could
so contrive it that the people of France should be deprived of
tiie right of election, and that the crown and the peers
should, in fact, return all, or a majority of, the members to
the lower house, then they had an answer ready for the re-
formers. ''There," they would have said, '' you wild and
^' visionary men, you see that the French have tried free
'* election and ballot ; they have found that it will not do ;
'' they have given it up, you see^ and therefore, let us hear
'/ no more of your foolish noise about reform.''

68. Thus then, the WHY is clear : the boroughmongers
had reasons more than sufficiently powerful for instigating the
Bourbons to do what they did ; and, now, let us look at the
facts in support of the charge that they did thus instigate
them. In the first place, Polignac, who was to be the



1st September, 1830. 55

instrument in the work, was an old emigrant who had long
resided in England, had married an English woman, had
been a good while the French ambassador in London, wheii,
in August y 1829 (pay attention to dates), he went from
England to France, to be invested with the office of Prime
Minister. Now, take these facts ; that he bad lived and
had been in some sort bred up amongst our boroughmongers;
that, the moment he was appointed Prime Minister, all our
boroughmonger publications, daily, weekly, monthly, and
quarterly, began to praise the appointment ; and that,
as soon as the discontent of the French began to appear,
these publications fell foul of the people of France and upon
the honest part of the press, and began to insist that some
great change was necessary in France ; and that, for the
peace of Europe (that is to say the upholding of borough-
mongering), the Government of France ought to be rendered
more monarchical. Things were going on thus in England,
when the legislative Chambers met in France, in March or
April last : the Chamber of Deputies, that is to say, the
commons house, voted an address to the king, which as good
as told him that he should have no money to be laid out by
this ministry whose tyrannical intentions were w^ell known.

69. But, before I say more of this, I must go back
some months. The Polignac ministry was, as we have seea
before, installed in the month of August, 1829, and very
early in that month, the French pre^ss, faithful to its duty,
warned the people of the danger, told them that Polignac
intended to make them submit to a Government like that of
England, and called upon, them to resist. The press was
prosecuted with all the rigours of the law, which, however,
by no means checked that press, which persevered in a
manner that^.will reflect everlasting honour on it. The na-



56 Two-penny Trash ;

tion became fully sensible of the danger, and the people
themselves began to prepare for resistance so early as the
month of February in the present year. What they dreaded
was, that they should be deprived of the right of freely
choosing, and by ballot, their oicn representatives ; they
saw that, if they had taxes imposed upon them by men
chosen by the king or the peers, or both together, they should
be slaves. They began to form associations for legal resist-
ance, in the first place. A part of France, called Buittan y,
had the great honour to set the example; and, after some
consultation on the subject, the leaders there met, and agreed
to form an association on the following grounds, and for the
following purposes, as expressed in their declaration and pro-
positions, every word of which I do beseech you to read
with attentioji !



'* We, the undersigned inhabitants of the five departments of the
ancient province of Brittany, under the cognizance and protection
of the Royal Court of Rennes, hound by our own oaths, and hy those
of the chiefs of our families, to the duty of fidelity to the king, and
of attachment to the Charter ; considering that a handful of politi-
cal intriguers have threatened to attempt the audacious project of
overturnmg the constitutional guarantees established by the Char-
ter; considering that it is due to their character and their honour
to imitate the generous resistance of their ancestors against the en-
croachments, the caprices, and the abuse of Ministerial power;
considering that resistance by physical force would be a dreadful
calamity, and that it v/ould be without motive while the means of
legal resistance remain open to us ; that in recurring to the judicial
power tiie best prospect of success is to assure the oppressors of a
fraternal and substantial union 5 under the ties of honour and of
rijsrht we therefore resolve —



'£5'



'* 1st. To subscribe individually the sum of 10 francs, besides a
tenth part subsidiarily of the contributions subscribed by the under-
signed in the electoral lists of 1830, and we oblige ourselves to pay
to th« order of the General Collectors, should it become necessary
to name them, in conformity with the third of these resolutions.

^* 2d. This subscription is to form a common fund for Brittany,
destined to indeuinify the subscribers for the expenseaf they may in-



1st September, 1830. 57

cur in consequence of xh^ refused to pay any puhlic cent Hint iona
illegally imposed, either without the free, regular, and constitu-
tional concurrence of the Kin^ and the two Chambers, as consti-
tuted by the Charter, or with the concurrence of Chambers /ormec/
by an electoral system, ivhich should exclude our right of voting in
the choice of representatives,

*' 3d. In case of the official proposition, either of an unconstitu-
tionalchange in the electoral system, or of the illegal establishment
of taxes, two mandatories from each arrondissement are to meet at
Poutivy, and as soon as they are met, to the number of twenty, they
are to name, from among the subscribers, three General Collectors,
and one Sub-Collector, in each of the five departments.

*' 4th. The duties of the Sub-Collectors are — 1st. To receive
subscriptions ; 2d, to satisfy indemnities, conformably to article 2d ;
3d, on the requisition of a subscriber, disturbed by an illegal con-*
tribution, to conduct in his name, under the care of the Sub-*
Collector of his department, or of a delegate named in his arron-
dissement, the defence and its consequences, by all legal means ;
4lh, to bring a civil action agaicst the authors, supporters, and ac-
complices, in the assessment and exaction of such illegal impo-
sitions.

*' 5th. The subscriber's name, M. -, andM. , as manda-
tories for this arrondissement, to meet the mandatories from the
other arrondissements, in conformity with article 3d, and to trans-
mit their present subscriptions to the General Collectors when
named.



70. This, which very nearly resembles the American de^
clarations, at the time when this government of ours was
preparing to compel that brave people to submit to be taxed
without being represented, alarmed the tyrants exceedingly;
and well it might; for it brought the question^ at once, to
issue, without rushing into civil war, and without provoking,
or affording an excuse for, military execution. Indirect
taxes could not be resisted in this way ; but, direct taxes
could ; I mean all such taxes as are collected by the tax-
o-atherer coming to your house and demanding the money.
You refuse to pay, you are prosecuted ; you go into court,
and plead that you oiue no taxes, because you are not re-
presented ; the cause is given against you, and your goods

d5



5S Two-penny Trash ;

are seised ; but who will buy your goods, who will dare to
buy them? You are put into jail, suppose; but then this
fund provides an indemnity for you. However, the thing
could never go thus for: the government must resolve on
open war ; or it must give way. Nothing was ever more
admirable than this, nothing more safe, nothing more effec^
tiial. And thus stood the people, resolved to face Polign ag
and his masters, when the Chambers gave their answer to
the King, as mentioned a little way back.

71. Having received this answer, the King dissolved the
Chambers, hoping to get more pliant men by a new election.
He was deceived ; for he got all the same stout men again,
ahd many others in addition. But, when he had dissolved
the Chambers, our boroughmonger press broke forth with
fresh fury against the press and the people of France, and
urged Polign AC to put them down by force, saying that
the French were 7iot Jit for liberty, such as we enjoy ed^
which was, indeed, very true ; and, at any rate, they were
resolved not to have it. But, tbat part of our press, most
notoriously belonging to the Boroughmongers, I mean the
Quarterly Review, threw off tbe mask completely, and
told PoLiGNAC, that he must put down the press, and take
away the right of representation ! This Review was pub-
lished in the month of May 3 and the following passage
from it, will leave no doubt in your minds, that the writer
(a mere hireling) knew, in May, precisely what Polignac
would do in July, I pray you to read it with atten-
tion • arid you will clearly see, that the people of France
were to be enslaved, lest the continuance of their freedom
should give countenance to our demand for Parliamentary
Reform.



" We, therefore, hope and trust, that the King of France
" present ministers may succeed, if such be their object, i



and his
in estab'



1st September, 1830. §9

^' lishing a censorship on the press, and likewise in acquiring' so
*• decided a preponderance in the Chamber of Deputies, that its
*^ existence as anindependent body capable of bearding the monarchy ^
** as it has recently dotie, shall be no longer recognised. This, we
*^ own, will be a virtual abolition of the charter, but the question is
'* obviously reduced lo this : Shall the monarchy, which is suitable
'^ to the country, be overthrown, or shall the charter, which, ia
*' every possible view, is unsuitable to it, be abrogated? It will be
*' asked, fp^hy need we care what France does? Why not let her da
*' what she pleases ? What have we to do with her institutions, a^
*^ a nation, more than we have with the domestic arrangements of
^' our next-door neighbour in the street? The answer to this, un-
*' fortunately, is but too ready. If our neighbour merely beats his
*^ wife and children, and regulates his personal concerns in the
*' worst way possible, we have no right to complain ; but if begets
*' intoxicated, and flings about firebrands, so as not only to set his
** own house on fire, but to threaten the destruction of the whole
*' parish, we are compelled, in spite of our love of quiet, to take
** a lively interest in the proceedings. If the French could be cir"
*^ cumscribed by a great Chinese wall, within which they might cut
*' one another's throats, an experiment to their hearts' content on
** irreligion and democracy, it would signify less totheneighbour-
*^ ing countries. But when the amplest experience proves, that no
** commotion of any extent in France ever fails to embroil the rest
*^ of the world, and when we know that there are innumerable ob-
*' jects of ambition, of aggrandisement, and of national revenge, all
** at this hour conspiring to stimulate a large portion of the French
*^ population to fresh wars, we cannot possibly view their present
** unsettled state without the deepest anxiety. We trust we have
** said enough to show that there is only one course of measures by
** which good order can be preserved ; and however repugnant it
*' may be to our English tastes, the necessity of the case requires
** that we should not shrink from the trial, but be prepared to wit*
*/ ness, as the less grievous of the two evils, the temporary re-
*' establishinent of a tolerably absolute authority on the part of the
*^ crown of France. Jf this be impossible, or if the attempt be
" BUNGLED IN THE EXECUTION, we 7nay bid adieu to re-^
*' pose, and buckU on our armour for another quarter of a century of
** wars. We think it is hardly possible to doubt that, unless the
** existing Government adopts, and succeeds in, carrying into effect,
<^ some very decisive measure IN THE COURSE OF THE PRE-
<^ SENT YEAR, there will ensue another burst of convulsion ;
*^ and Napoleon has left-no saying of more indisputable truth
*' behind him, than that a revolution in France is a revolution ifi
** Europe »^*



72. I need add no comment. The proof is complete;
thousands of men have been hanged upon evidence less clear



60 Two-penny Trash;

than this. I have clearly shown the powerful motive that
the Boroughmongers had for instigating Polignac ; here is^
the act of instigation ; and that this writer is hired by the
BoroughmongerSy is as notorious as that my name is Wil-

LIAM COBBETT.

2. That the Boroughmongers intended to make the two
legislative Chambers of France like the two Houses of
Parliament in England.

3. That the people of France well understood what th©
government of England was, and clearly saw that the
Boroughmongers were about to do this for their own
sake.

73. The first of these propositions is proved by the above
extract from the Quarterly Review, and from Polignac's
ordinances. The Review, in another part of it, says, that
the power of choosing a majority of the Deputies ought
to he in the Crown^ and in an hereditary aristocracy ^ as
it is in England ; and Polignac*s ordinances of the 25th
July, provide for the securing of this. The third proposi-
tion is established by a fact, that all the world is now ac-
quainted with ; namely, that in the month of November
last, there was circulated throughout all France, the follow-
ing description of the English government. It first appeared
in a paper called the Constitutionnel, which is pub-
lished at Paris ; and T beg you to read every word of it
with attention. You will find in it nothing that I have not
said a hundred times over; but, you are here to look at it as
something that the people of France saw, probably, for the
first time. Do, pray, read it with attention. This, and
other such publications, produced the glorious event at Paris.
Read this description, and then you will cease to wonder at



1st September, 1830. 61

what has taken place. After speaking of systems of oppres-
sion, which cannot, in these days, he put in force, the writer
proceeds thus :

'* There is a third systeniy which it would he much more practi-
cahle to put into execution than any of these. It is what England
is offering us the 7nodel of, and M. de Polignac has just been trying
to set in operation, namely, the system of making slaves and tools
of all the working classes in a hody, by the higher orders, under
constitutional forms and names. In this system, which the English
Government understands prodigiously vieW^ the power of making the
laws belong exclusively to the members of the aristocracy ; public si-
tuations, which are the road to honours and to fortune, fall to the
share of nobody but those who are vested with the powerof making
the laws, their children, or relations ; and the people, who do the
work, are the property in fee of those who have the management of
public affairs. The English aristocracy displays great intelligence in
the way in which it accomplishes its ends with the working classes.
It leaves them all the means for the production of wealth ; and
every one of the individuals under its influence n)ay choose the
business by which he thinks he can get the most. All attempts on
the security of individual property, which would only cause capital


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Online LibraryWilliam CobbettCobbett's two-penny trash, or, Politics for the poor .. (Volume no. 3) → online text (page 1 of 2)