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MR. RICHARD POTTER, previous to moving the Resolution, thus addressed the -Meeting:-After the remarks of my friend, your worthy Chairman, it is not necessary for me to enter into a justification of the steps which have been taken (and which I am proud to avow, I joined
tion which would involve themselves and others in one common ruin. It is a fact, I believe, well known to all who hear me, that the great mass of the people of this manufacturing county have long been without the necessaries of life, that some have died for want, and that tens of thousands receive a bare existence from the hands of charity. The public have been long impressed with the belief, that it was imperative upon the Government to remove every impediment which obstructs our commerce with the other nations of the world, and particularly to repeal those pernicious laws against the importation of corn, the existence of which operates as a double in), to bring about the present meetScourge upon the industrious inha-ing; the number of the inhabitants bitants of this country; first, by de-assembled show high respectability, priving them of a market for the pro- and above all, the intense interest duce of their labour; and, secondly, evidently felt, fully justifies us in by enhancing to so exorbitant a what we have done. And, surely, if price the greatest necessary of life, ever there was a period in our hisas to put it out of the power of the tory, when men of all ranks and parlabourer and mechanic to obtain for ties ought to come forward to use himself and his family their daily their utmost endeavours to rescue bread. In calling together the ley- their country from the awful calamipayers only, the Requisitionists were ties which now surround it-that penot actuated by any feelings of dis- riod is the present. It should be our respect, or of the incompetency of the business this day to inquire into, and, people at large to deliberate with if possible, find out those causes of themselves upon the question before poverty and embarrassment which afthe Meeting; but it was thought that flict us; and why a powerful nation an Address from that portion of the like England, meriting happiness and inhabitants which composes this as- greatness by its high moral character, sembly, would, in the present state its skill, its capital, its enterprise, and, of things, be more likely to have the above all, by its unwearied industry, desired effect, and that it would dis- is in a state, the most depressed and arm the opponents of the measure (if wretched; more so, I do believe, than any there be), by showing that the any country in the world-not even Resolutions which are intend to be excepting Ireland; and men of passed, were not carried by that part your enlightened minds and sound of the population which is labouring judgment, I am sure, will enter under the want of the necessaries of upon the inquiry with that calmness life. The illiberal conduct of the which its importance deserves. The Committee, to whom is intrusted the Resolution which I have the honour power of permitting the use of the of submitting to you is to this efLarge room in the Exchange, which fect:has been refused upon this occasion, is scarcely worth naming. In all probability, before another Meeting is required, the Town Hall will be in a state for use; and I congratulate you
that there will no longer be a necessity for the future to apply to this, or any other of those authorities, who, in their attachment to hole-and-corner proceedings, have treated this great and enlightened town, as if it were unworthy the exercise of any public right.-(Great and continued applause,)
"1. That this town, and the great manufacturing districts, of which "it is the centre and the mart, are "suffering, at the present moment,
"under the pressure of distress, "which is wholly unexampled in its "extent and duration; which has al"ready brought to insolvency and "ruin, great numbers of manufac"turers and dealers, and merchants, "whose honest acquisitions appeared "to have placed them beyond the "reach of embarrassment; which is
daily augmenting the difficulties of "those whom it has not yet over"whelmed; which has deprived of "all employment many thousands of "skilful and industrious families of "the labouring classes, degrading "them into miserable dependants on "the scanty pittance furnished by the poor-rates, and by charitable relief; "which is continually adding to the "number of those who are so de"pendent; which is, at the same "time, gradually forcing down into "the ranks of the necessitous, many "of the persons by whom those rates "have been paid, and that relief has "been given; and which is thus threatening to involve, in all the "horrors of starvation, this most "thickly peopled portion of the "three kingdoms."
true!) There must be something rudically wrong to have produced this state of things; it has been ascribed to various causes-some years ago, to the transition from "war to peace." During the last session of Parliament, we heard of its being caused by over-trading ruinous speculations, an over-issue of paper-money, &c. &c. But one great cause, and, in my opinion, the greatest of them all, and respecting which I trust you will this day express your opinion, was completely lost sight of, viz., over taxation.
(Applause.) This was indeed brought forward by that faithful and indefatigable friend of the people, Mr. Huine, but he could obtain no support, scarcely a hearing on that subject.-(Applause). A question of great importance, the Corn-Laws, will be brought before you by gentlemen far more qualified for the task than I am. I will, not, therefore, occupy any of your time with it. Taxation will, in all probability, by others be entered upon, but I must join my efforts to theirs in endeavouring to direct your attention to this all-important subject. I contend, then, that we are called upon to pay far more than we are able or ought to do, and unless we are speedily relieved by a considerable reduction, this country must sink in the scale of nations, or, in the emphatic and prophetic language of Earl Grey, "If this were not done (that is, inquiry made into the state of the country, and relief granted) these distresses would come on from time to tiure, in an aggravated form, and would ultimately produce such a convulsion as he hoped the country might recover from hereafter, but which the present generation could not pass through without producing a degree of suffering which he was not prepared to describe or express.' The necessity of a reduction of taxation was, in the spring of 1822, brought before Parliament by that great Statesman, Mr. Brougham, in
motion he made, pledging the House to lessen the burdens of the
It is fortunate for me, though dreadfully unfortunate for the country, that no oratorical powers are needed to induce you to adopt it, but I will avail myself of the privilege which moving a resolution gives me, to make a few observations. For a number of years back, fluctuations and changes of a most violent nature have taken place; at one time we appeared to be all prosperous and happy; suddenly a cloud arises, and a storm is generated, which, in its descent, overwhelms and destroys all before it. These convulsions have come on periodically, but none of them was ever so distressing, ever so frightful, or caused such general destruction to the trading world as the one under which we have so long suffered; for, from the highest merchant, down to the humblest weaver, all are alike pros-a trate. (Applause and cries of True!
people; he concluded a most lumi- | the habitations of some of the applinous and able view of the causes cants; those of you who may not which had brought the country into have had such opportunities, can the state it then was in, and which hardly form an idea of the wretched he justly attributed to our vast ex-state to which many of them are rependiture; and declared, "That the duced. I'have, in company with our only hope of relief to the suffering highly respected Chairman, entered classes lay in a determined reduction an apartment, probably three or four of the taxes which oppressed them. yards square, in which we found a The celebrated Mr. Burke, in his man, his wife, and six children, hudfamous speech, delivered near fifty dled together round a few embers. We years ago, on Economical Reform, asked, where is your furniture?-We observed, in glowing language, the have none but what you see, was the misery and ruin which over-taxation reply. And what do you think it was? entailed upon a people. Fortified for seats, a few loose bricks; for bedby such high authority, I again de- ding, a piece of tattered wrappering, clare my firm and solemn conviction, rolled up in a corner, with shavings in that to over-taxation a great part of it; and only one such bed for eight the distress and misery now felt niay persons. We inquired, where is your be attributed. Ministers have either food? Answer We have none, nor gone too far, or not far enough. any means of procuring any. This Free trade, cheap food, and reduction was not a solitary instance. I could of taxes, in our situation, should be detail scores, even still worse than this; simultaneous. When a prudent in- but your feelings and my own would 'dividual finds his income reduced-be too much worked upon, for it and all individuals are, I fear, now would❝ a tale unfold, whose lightest in this situation-he conforms his word would harrow up your souls." expenditure to that reduction. I ap- (Applause.) Dreadful as their conprehend a similar line of conduct will dition is, it becomes, in point of exapply to countries. The people who tent, comparatively light to what is find the money have a right, and are endured in other parts of the country. surely justified in telling their Go- I have the authority of an extensive vernment, in respectful but firm manufacturer, Mr. Edward Pollard language, that they are no longer in of Burnley, in stating, that out of a condition, or are willing to pay the population of ten thousand persons, no enormous demands made upon them less than eight thousand of them re-and that they must be consider-ceived relief only last Friday! I have ably reduced leaving to the wisdom also the authority of a gentleman, inof the legislature from and where the capable of exaggeration, who has exretrenchments may be made. You tensive print works in the neighbourare, no doubt, aware of the great dis- hood, in stating, that in no very tress which, since the commence-extended circuit round Pendle-hill, ment of this year, has prevailed, and there are at least eighty thousand perwhich still continues amongst the sons in a state of the most frightful working class of this town and neigh-destitution, comprehending, probably, bourhood, more particularly with twenty thousand families, most of those employed in the cotton busi- whom still get up in a morning withness. To endeavour to alleviate this, out having the slightest article of food a very liberal subscription has been to eat in their houses, and no certainty entered into by the wealthier part of of obtaining any that day! Good the inhabitants. I was thought wor- GOD! what a state to be in. Imathy to be appointed on the Commit-gine to yourselves, a mother with an tee for distributing this charity, and infaut at her breast, crying and in the execution of that duty, have struggling to extract nourishment visited, along with my colleagues, from those sources from whence it
had been accustomed to derive it― Į MR. SHUTTLEWORTH, moving the second Resolution, said, in furtherance of the very important purposes for which this Meeting has assembled, I have now the honour to submit to its consideration a motion against the Corn-Laws-(Cheers); and I assure you that I do this with the most perfect satisfaction, because, in my judgment, there is no question of public interest which surpasses in importance that to which this motion refers. Whether we regard the injuries which the existence of the Corn-Laws, under every modification, has inflicted on this country, the inevitable destruction which certainly awaits the continuance of such would result from its abandonment, a system, or the advantages which we cannot fail to be impressed with the conviction that our attention could not be directed to any subject of greater consequence. (Applause.) That a system like this should have been persisted in, after the mistaken views and principles in which it ori ginated had been fully and repeated
exposed-after it had been incontestibly demonstrated that it involved the grossest injustice on one part of the community for the advantage of another; after it had been shown, that it presented the most formidable obstruction to the general prosperity of the country, is a fact, which I shall leave those to reconcile to the integrity and the wisdom of Parlia
MR. LILLY now addressed the assemblage. For some minutes he was listened to with patience. He began, however, shortly to laud the measures of Government, and to ex-ment, who are still like Mr. Lilly bepress a warm confidence in the pu- hind me-(Cheers and laughter)→ rity and correctness of ministerial in the habit of making those quali intentions generally. Several muf- ties of our legislature a constant murs were heard. The Meeting ex- theme of amplification and praise hibited symptoms of impatience. It (Loud applause.) With those who had become known that he was one thus highly estimate the merits of of the ill-omened cavalry who acted Parliament, I, for one, altogether dison the 16th of August (this was the agree.-(Great applause.) I am not, 17th,) and he was soon overpowered. however, disposed on this occasion, to The Chairman repeatedly asked a enter upon any general discussion of patient hearing; but remembrance, the merits or demerits of Parliaand his pertinacious recurrence to ment; but confining myself strictly unseasonable language and gratuit- to the connexion which the charac ous opinion, caused such a tremen- ter and constitution of that body dous expression of disapprobation, have with the question before us, I that he was compelled to withdraw. shall say, that its conduct, with re
[Great emotion was here audible in the meeting-tears were given-they could not be withheld from a picture so vivid, yet so true.]—and which, from the mother's deprivations are now dried up. Imagine to yourselves, a father, surrounded by his clamorous and famished children, wailing in vain for food; and then say, if in the midst of misery and wretchedness like this, it is not incumbent upon us to call for the severest economy in the public expenditure, in order that every available means may be adopted to relieve the country from a state so dreadful.(Great and continued applause.)
MR. DAVID HOLT gave his decided approbation to the foregoing Resolution, and bore his testimony as to the extent of misery and distress just described. He expressed an opinion that, under present circumstances, it was not in the power of individual charity to reach as far as the people's necessities, and that nothing could impose an effectually check to the present deplorable state of the working classes but some wise and powerful act of Government, such as those advocated in the Resolution he seconded.
spect to corn, entitles it not to any being desirous of extenuating the
"At once the pilot, passenger, and bark."