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proportion to the amount of the theft or injury done, and no loss would ultimately accrue to any but the criminal, wbo would be very careful how he committed a second crime with such consequences in view, Every man in health can earn more han is necessary to support himself, he has work put before him to perform ; and in a Gaol the overplus should go to remunerate the injury done, and be continued until full compensation be made, when the Prisoner should be again restored to society.
Under the present system of our laws and Prison manage ment, it is better to let a thief go unpunished than to bring him to justice, as the latter attempt renders a lawyer indispensable, and leads to a sort of second robbery and further demoralization. The expence which now attends our Prisons and Courts of Law would be sufficient for the administration of the affairs of the nation, if properly managed and applied. The first principle of our present Government seems to be to try how far taxation can be strained. Every thing is managed upon the most extravagant system, and none but the tax-eaters derive any comfort or security. All else is pillage by law or against law,
These few ideas are thrown out as those of the writer only. They are original as far as he knows, never having conversed with any one upon the matter. If they lead to discussion or to good, in any shape, his aim and end is accomplished.
R. CARLILE. Dorchester Gaol, Jan. 12, 1822.
REFLECTIONS MORAL AND POLITICAL.
(Concluded from p. 108.)
If twelve millions of the metal currency be taken out of its regular circulation in trade, and twenty-four millions of paper currency established in its stead, the value of land, houses, and the produce of the land, will be raised nearly double. Consequently, this system does not only create for the rich a sure market to lend their money on interest, but it also raises their property nearly double in value.
And by means of this paper-money the circulating medium, or capital, can be augmented to any amount; and in proportion to
the quantity in circulation will be the value of every other commodity. If the paper currency be double what the metal was, every other commodity will in proportion fetch a greater quantity of money, there being a greater quantity in the market.
This paper-money is brought into the market in a variety of ways; for instance, a rich man may expend ten thousand pounds in an improvement upon his house or land; this would employ a number of persons to execute the work, these might probably be paid by paper-money, then that passes to the baker or butcher and so on. Then there is the making of roads, parks, mansions, palaces, canals, ships, bridges, garrisons, barracks, and things too numerous to be mentioned here; all of which may be paid for in paper, and which work probably would not have been done had it not been for the paper-money.
While all these things were going on, the de nd for labour was so great, that men could get almost any price for it: the money in the market was so plentiful, that one day's labour would procure double the quantity of money that it would prior to the paper-money being issued.
But then comes the charge on the people for the interest of the money which has been borrowed for all these improvements or ornaments, which must be paid. Taxes are then laid on some of the necessary articles of consumption to pay this interest, so that if the poor consume as much of them as the rich, they pay so murh tax.
The prices of such taxed articles cannot then be reduced to what they formerly were, therefore, labour must be kept up at a high price to procure the common necessaries of life: and even if there should not be a sufficient demand for labour, the price of it cannot fall in proportion, because the taxes laid upon
the necessary articles of life are stationary: consequently, if the price of labour be kept up beyond its value, the demand for it will be less, and poor-rates must increase to support those who cannot get employment, and to make up the deficiency of payment to those whose labour will not buy sufficient food to support life; and this operation produces a progressive distress with the multitude.
Now whether wars, are a national expenditure which will cause a national debt, are created for the purpose of keeping the majority of a people in a state of slavish subjection to the rich rulers; or whether for the purpose of making them more independent, happy, and free, need I pretend to say ?
But supposing the latter to be the cause or intention of the gofernment, then it must shew how weak and foolish that government is, which is endeavouring to produce peace and prosperity to a nation by a system which has in its commencement created a debt which has been increasing to such an enormous amount, that it has produced trouble and distress to the greater part of
the nation : or else it must clearly shew that the nation has not been governed by its own will, but by the will of a party.
But supposing it has been governed by a party whose interest should be to create war, and a national debt, for the purpose of gaining more power and profit, that they might reduce the people into a state of more servile subjection to their own will, for the sake of gratifying their own vanity, by being worshipped and admired for their pomp and grandeur; what then does it prove, but that human nature is susceptible of every vice and folly, and that these will act unless that power of restraint and self-defence, which Nature has given to every man, is called into action.
We see in the nation one class of men ambitious without industry, another industrious without ambition; and one selfish and avaricious, another indolent and careless; one humble, and another tyrannical. A nation, therefore, possesses, and has in action, all those natural feelings and propensities which Nature has given to man; but until all these classes are combined together for the purpose of legislation, there can be no restraint on the different dispositions indulging to an excess, until each becomes injurious to the general good.
Now, by drawing together into one focus a representative of each of these different classes in society, we have then collectively all these natural feelings operating together as a check or stimulus to each other: and unless these feelings are all so compounded, what can make man that rational and reflecting being, for which his organization destines him, or in what manner can his judgment be formed but from knowledge and reflection in all these things? Or, in what way can a nation make wise and just laws for the benefit of itself without consulting the judgment, happiness, and interest of all its members ?
Now, would it not be just to allow all an equal voice in making the laws of a nation ? For who could then feel aggrieved, or who could complain of the injustice of the laws, and who would not be anxious to make such laws as would support his own interest and happiness, for as man derives all his interest and happiness from man, the interest and happiness of all must be reciprocal ?
When any important law is about to be made, the whole nation ought to be consulted on its necessity and utility : for if traders in land, or traders in money, or traders in any other commodity, have influence in a nation to get any law made, such a law will, most assuredly, be partial and injurious to the whole.
Every representative legislator should be paid out of the public purse for his services; for what right have we to expect that one will expend his property, exert his talents and strength, destroy his rest, and fatigue his mind, without some hope of reward.
But can any thing appear so absurd and ridiculous as the present system of government called the British Constitution ? We see those who are called the representatives of the people paying
large sums of money to become so; we see that instead of the people begging of them to be their representatives, that they are begging, and paying, and bribing the people to let them be their representatives. And what can all this mean? Is it because they are so generous that they will even give away a great part of their property to be allowed to advocate the interest and welfare of the people? Or is it because the people are so ignorant and so stupid, that they have neither eyes to see, hearts to feel, nor minds to understand what is necessary to their own comfort and happiness?
Another strange anomaly appears in this Constitution, and that is, that two parts of the legislature shall be hereditary, and one part elective, and that each of the former shall have the power to reject all laws that are framed and agreed to by the pretended representatives of the people! So that if these representatives were as pure as they are corrupt, the chance would be two to one against getting wholesome laws.
In all well-regulated societies among ourselves we invariably have a written constitution; articles, rules, and regulations, are drawn up and submitted to the whole of the members to be amended, approved, or rejected, as the majority may decide, subject at all times to such alterations as the majority of the members at any time may think fit to make: a president or chairman is also elected in the same way, but he has no power to make, alter, or reject any of the rules, his duty is merely to execute the laws, and see that no individual member infringes on the general rules or constitution of the society. Such is all that is necessary in the government of a nation.
Were a society about to be formed with an hereditary chairman or president, and no rules or laws could be made without his consent, would any man in his senses become a member of such a society? As a proof that he would not, there never has been a society among ourselves upon such a principle.
What is the king of a country but the chairman of a nation ? Whether we call him king, president, or chairman, is of no moment; but whether he has an uncontrolled power over the nation in which he presides is of great consequence. As such a power invested in one person in small societies would not be countenanced as a preposterous measure, why sheuld it not be the same when applied to a nation?
Where is the right of a people if their servants are to be their masters? The king is, or ought to be, in fact, but the dignified servant of the people; his duties are to be performed for their benefit; he holds the executive power in trust; he is supposed to act in the behalf and for the good of the whole, and he receives his pay and support for the services he performs: his ministers and all assistants whom he employs in executing the public duties of his office, are also seryants, for it is for and by the people they
are or should be employed and paid. Ought they then to have the power of commanding and saying to that people, you shall act as we think proper, pay as much as we think necessary, and not inquire whether we have done right or wrong?
Now, when we find all these men, who are the servants of the nation, the principal promoters and supporters of such laws as will tend to put down public discussion and public opinion on their conduct and doctrines; when we see that three-fourths of the nation have repeatedly given their decided opinion against many measures which concern the welfare of society; and that on this account these servants have declared the nation to be in a state of rebellion, our inquiry must lead us to ask what can it rebel against? Not itself, impossible! It will not rebel against itself. Then against what does it rebel? Why against an extravagant expenditure; against the immense sums that are paid to these servants, and at the undue power they assume of making the nation pay as much as they think fit to levy upon it.
What a strange perversion of justice and common sense it is for a very small part of a nation to declare that the remaining part, (being a very large majority) is or has been “in open rebellion against all good and wise laws and institutions !" How clear it must be to every person who are the real rebels; they are the minority who rebel against the majority; who set aside the laws é of Nature and common sense, and assume a power or a right to govern according to the dictates of their own selfish views and interests. If the right exists in the majority, the minority are rebels and traitors if they attempt to deprive them of that right.
The majority ought always to rule the minority. This is a principle of social order which should be acted upon in all societies and in all congregated bodies. If the principle be considered right in all societies, whether large or small, it cannot be considered wrong when applied to a nation.
Says Harry to Dick, “ Come, lad, be of good cheer!
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