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at this moment, with some pretty | same time, there came athwart serious thoughts. If I were a my mind, the recollection of per Minister of State; if I had, in secution, of ruin, of dreadful pu conjunction with colleagues, had nishments, that I had caused to an absolute majority in the Par- be inflicted upon those who had liament during twenty-three foretold that my measures would years; if I and they had, during lead to these national calamities: that time, caused such laws to be if I were such a Minister, Sir, passed, such treaties to be made, with what sort of feelings, think such taxes to be raised as we you, could I lay my head upon pleased; if I were a Minister of my pillow? And, if, in addition State, who, for twenty-three years, to all the other bitter reflections, had had such power; and if, dur- there were this, that I had puring the same period, I had caused sued my mischievous course, that a jubilee to be held, and had I had persevered in destructive caused three hundred thousand measures, and that I had rejected pounds to be expended upon feasts salutary measures, because these and rejoicings, to celebrate the latter had been recommended by glorious victories of the nation; a man to cause whom to triumph if, in addition to all this, I had was what I could not endure; if made a peace, which I had called this reflection came at the back of the fair fruit of a long and tri- all the rest, who shall describe umphant war; if I had obtained what must be, or at least, what votes of millions to reward the ought to be, my shame and my heroes of the war, and to erect remorse? monuments and triumphal arches in commemoration of the peace that they had won; if, after all this, I found myself sitting at Whitehall, every messenger and every post bringing me intelligence of the ruin, the misery, the starvation of the people, whom I had had under my sway, and whose prosperity and happiness I had had the charge of for those twenty-three years; and if, at the
Now, I do not positively assert, that this motive has been the cause of that series of measures which has led to the present state of things; but, this I know, that great numbers of persons have observed to me, that they believed this to be the case. It is my own belief'; and, I am persuaded, that if any one were to take the Register in one hand, and the Orders in Council, the Proclamations, the
liamentary Speeches, in the other hand; if he were to take these, for the last twenty-three years, and look carefully at both, he would say, that the whole of the aristocracy, that all the persons in power, legislative or executive, that all the speech-makers, and that all the writers, little as well as big, have been, each as far as he has meddled with the matter, endeavouring to carry along, or to get carried along, the Government of this country, and the affairs of this country, in some manner or other, contrary to the advice of William Cobbett. Good God! What a thing to say! Yet, from the bottom of my soul, I believe it to be true; and, a comparative statement of the measures recommended by me, and of the measures adopted by the Government, during the last twenty-three years, would prove the truth of the fact to any man who should make the comparison in a spirit of impartiality.
Acts of Parliament, and the Par- lived all this time amongst politicians; that 1 cannot have lived a dozen years or more of the time within the purlieus of the court; that I cannot have had so much to do with petitions and remonstrances and bills and all sorts of things; that I cannot have had this piece of the press in my hands all this time, without being personally acquainted with a great many men in Parliament, or in something or another, that placed them in the way of knowing the sentiments of men in place and power: this has, in fact, been the case. I have known a great many such persons; and I have had the certain knowledge of measures having been adopted because I condemned them; and of other measures being rejected, because I recommended them. I know this to have been the fact, in four or five instances; and I believe it to have been one of the general motives that have been at work during the last twenty-three years. It was not an ordinary man that you had to deal with. I soon perceived, that you all hated me most sincerely, because you were afraid of me. I felt the injustice of your hatred; but I had no power to avenge it; and I never liked to show my teeth when I was unable to bite. I saw that
If thousands of other persons have perceived this, assuredly it has not been hidden from myself. I have seen it all along, from the moment I began to write the Register, which was in 1802, to this present day. The public will be well assured, that I cannot have
you had all resolved, both parties, very extensive vengeance and I
all parties; the whole of you that had very little means, for some cut any figure at all in or about years, of causing the public, or the State, including all the Jolter- any portion of the public, to do heads into the bargain. I saw me justice, or, rather, to do justhat you had all perceived that tice to my opinions; but, I had there was a great deal of industry this for me: I WAS RIGHT; here; a great deal of capacity; a and I was sure that, at last, it great deal of spirit, unconquera- would become evident to all the ble independence, great self-con-world that I was right. I have no fidence, great boldness of enter- scruple to say, that hostility to you, prise you all perceived it by in- and the whole gang of you, Parliastinct: there wanted no conspi- ment, Ministry and all; I have racy or combination or agreement no scruple to say, that a desire to
of any sort I saw that you all felt towards me as nature bid you feel; and that is, just as rats feel towards a terrier. I saw that it was perfectly useless to attempt conciliation: I wished, at first, not to give offence; but, I soon
be revenged of you for your unjust and mean hatred; I have no scruple to say, that this feeling added greatly to my industry and my perseverance. I desired, I must have desired, to have some sort of satisfaction for this unjust found that such wishes and such antipathy. I knew; experience endeavours were useless: I soon had shown me, that I possessed found that attempts to be civil, more talent than any of you; I only added to the acrimony of the saw that you were children comhostility against me. "In short," pared to me; I felt that I had a said I to myself one day, "what mind that enabled me justly to "terrier was ever fool enough to estimate the great causes of na"endeavour to conciliate rats? tional happiness and national un"I will worry them for the future happiness; I had seen a vast deal "without sparing;" and, Sir, of the world, and have all my life upon my word, I have always long been a great observer of found (as terriers find it with rats) causes and effects as relating to that those which I have bitten be- the wealth, the poverty, the greathaved better for the future than ness, the weakness, the prosperity, the rest. the decline, of nations; and as to I had, however; no means of this monstrous affair of Debt and
Paper-money, I came to the study | to the nation; I have kept on fore-
into Spain, and, of course, that all know it; and, what is more, fothose bonds would remain good; reign nations, or, at least, foreign when they look at my warning as governments, know it too. They to the danger of trusting South all know the principles for which America, and at your most im- I am contending: they have long pudent efforts to make the traders witnessed the instinctive combinabelieve that you had there found tion against those principles: they the land of promise for them? watch you very narrowly: they Five hundred people have observ-see that you are baffled in all ed to me, that Peel's Bill would your projects: they see that I am have been repealed long and long right and that you are wrong: enough ago, had it not been for they know that you have power your pride; for the pride of the and that I have none; but they instinctive combination, which also know, that the power must made you shudder at the thought pass away from you, and that, of doing that which the gridiron perhaps, in no very peaceable prophecy had foretold! Gracious manner, unless you act upon the God, what ruin, what distraction, principles that I have laid down; what mental agony, what bodily unless, in short, you adopt the pain, what torment, what hunger, measures that I have recommendwhat strife, have not arisen from ed; and, Sir, (a word in your ear) that instinctive hatred of me THE MOMENT YOU DO which has caused the continuance THAT I AM YOUR MASof this wretched measure! And, TER! after all, the wretched measure is half chipped away; while enough of it remains to torment and agonize the nation, that whole nation exclaims, "Cobbett is right, Cobbett is right at last!"
"Aye," say yoù," and that we know, too, and the devil of any terrier shall be the master of us rats!" Nobody can blame you for that. I never in my life had the conscience to blame a rat for This is the history, so far, of the holding possession to the last pos fight between the thing and the Re-sible moment. But, there is this gister; it is so far an account of to be considered, though; the more the instinctive conspiracy's battle obstinate you are in keeping posagainst me. It is nonsense to at- session, the more sudden and untempt to disguise this. The nation comfortable may be the ejectknows it well. Friends and enemies ment. As to time, too, there ap