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sign of a general strike throughout the ed, they will wear no swords, carry no whole country.”
muskets, assemble no train of artillery, If further proof be required, take
seize upon no fortified places. They will the following extract from the decla- present no column for an army to attack, ration of one of those societies:
no multitude for the riot-ar ; to disperse.
They merely abstain, when their funds " SOCIAL REPORMERS. All human
are sufficient, from going to work for one beings are good by nature. Ignorance is
week, or one month, through the three the only Devil that exists, or ever did
kingdoms; and what happens in conseexist. Vice is nothing else but ignorance.
quence? Bills are dishonoured, the GaTruth leads to virtue and happiness. The
zette teems with bankruptcies--capital is character of every human being is formed
destroyed—the revenue fails—the system for him, and not by him. If the above be
of government falls into confusion, and true, all those that examine for them
every link in the chain which binds society selves will find every religion taught in the together is broken in a moment by this inert world by the different Priests, is founded on error and in direct opposition to truth conspiracy of the poor against the rich.” and nature; hence have followed priest
What their religious principles are craft, war, law or injustice, aristocracy, may be judged of from the following and every drone that exists on the labour passages in the Prospectus of a new of the industrious many,” &c. &c. Paper about to be set up in Glasgow, The design then is evident; and as
to be entitled “The FREETHINKER." a specimen of the extent to which “ The objects which the projectors have it has already been adopted, we will in view, are, chiefly, the establishment of quote one or two of the resolutions
an organ for the expression of free, unof a combination formed in Manches- fettered opinions-opinions ranging to ter, and called “ The Society for Pro- the utmost latitude of thought; the vinmoting National Regeneration." dication of such of the opinions referred
to as are founded in Reason and Philoso~ 1. That it is desirable that all who wish to see society improved, and confu- phy, from the false charges and aspersions
of bigotry and self-interest; and the apsion avoided, should endeavour to assist the working classes to obtain . for eight plication of an unerring test to the most hours' work the present full day's wages,'
approved and vaunted arguments in fa
vour of Theology. such eight hours to be performed be
“ Discussions and disquisitions, howtween the hours of six in the morning and six in the evening; and that this new re
ever, are not to preclude less weighty
matters. The lighter arms of satire and gulation should commence on the first ridicule must not be allowed to remain day of March next. 3. That persons be
inactive, while follies and absurdities call immediately appointed from among the for their employment, although the sbafts workmen to visit their fellow-workmen in should occasionally be borrowed from the cach trade, manufacture, and employment, quiver of a Taylor, a Byron, or a Vol. in every district of the kingdom, for the
taire. purpose of communicating with them on
“ Shares, Five Shillings each. Price the subject of the above resolutions, and of inducing them to determine upon their
each Number, 1!d.”
of e adoption. 9. That the workmen and
Let no one be so deluded as to suptheir friends use their utmost efforts to pose that these resolutions are likely obtain further subscriptions, and that all to prove a dead letter, or that the well-disposed females be respectfully re- utmost danger is not to be anticipaquested cordially to co-operate in this un- ted from the combinations in fur. dertaking."
therance of these objects which have These men are fully aware of their now sprung up in all the manufacown power. In illustration of this, turing districts of the country. Their we subjoin the following quotation organization is complete; their numfrom the Trades' Union Gazette of bers are prodigious; the talent which Glasgow, Feb. 1, 1834.
directs them is considerable; the de“ Power or THE TRADES' Unions.
votion which generally prevails to “ Their's will not be insurrection; it the cause is unbounded. It is well will be simply passive resistance. The
observed, in a recent number of an men may remain at leisure ; there is, able and intelligent provincial paand can be, no law to compel them to per, the Stirling Journal work against their will. They may walk “ Not only is the machinery well adaptthe streets or fields with their arms folde ed, but its effects are fearfully powerful. In Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, conceding this wise and wholesome prinPaisley, Bolton, and almost every other ciple, the Unions must not be surprised manufacturing town, there is hardly a if disinterested persons should see much manufacturer who is allowed to say what to blame in some of their avowed objects, he will pay for the work done for him; and in the means of attaining them, which and there is hardly a manufactory to be they openly or tacitly countenance. I found into which a workman can dare esteem it, for example, a most unreasonenter, who has not previously become a able object to propose a universal reducmember of the Combination. The state tion of the time of labour to eight hours of things is a frightful one, and it is ren- a-day. This is a portion of time decidedly dered doubly bideous from the fact, that below the physical powers of man, and it has arisen out of the vile misconduct of the period of his daily toil in the freest the faction now nominally holding the regions of the earth ; it is below the ave. reins of Government. Lord Grey, Lord rage of the exhausting labours of the Althorp, and Lord Brougham, the cor- learned professions; and it is inadequate respondents of the Birmingham Political to maintain the manufactures and comUnions, can have no right to find fault merce of the country. I call it an atwith Regenerators of their Country. John tempt equally illegal and immoral, when Fielden and Robert Owen, and their col- force or insult is employed to swell the leagues, are only acting precisely upon the ranks of the Unions, by the coercion of plan laid down by Lord Brougham and those who do not already belong to them. the Society for the Diffusion of Useful The Liberator will not deny, that in some Knowledge. The Crisis and Penny Ma. quarters frightful acts of violence have gazine are of a family; and the London been committed ; and I have looked in University, as originally conceived, desti- vain for any strong mark of disapprobatute of Christianity, is a fit precursor of tion of these acts on the part of the the doctrines of the Social Reformers."- united workmen. Far from perceiving Stirling Journal, Jan, 17, 1834.
such evidence of true manly feeling, I The enormous danger and peril- find in the Liberator itself, (a great ous consequences of these Trades' organ of the Unions,) bitter expressions Unions, have now attracted the at
of scorn and resentment levelled at those tention of the steadiest advocates of who, in the exercise of an undoubted the Movement; of those who were
privilege, have abstained from joining loudest in their outcry against the
them, or have thought fit to leave them. former system of government, and
This I cannot avoid designating as the
tyranny of the multitude; and that man is the most vebement supporters of the
ill versed in history and in morals, who Reform Bill. Sir Daniel Sandford,
does not hold the tyranny of the many to whose eloquent declamations in fa- be equally hateful with the tyranny of the vour of the Bill are still ringing in
few." our ears-whose name is indelibly associated in our minds with the
Let us not deceive ourselves; the words "Oligarchy-Oligarchy-Oli- great contest between the working garchy," which he so liberally pour
classes and their employers, between ed forth to an admiring operative capital and numbers, which Sir Da. audience two years ago, has address- niel now. so eloquently deplores, is ed the following admirable observa. approaching, and cannot be averted. tions to the Liberator Journal of His darling Reform Bill has renderGlasgow, the great organ of the
ed it inevitable. The operative workTrades' Unions in the West of Scot- men feel that they have been decei. land; and thus illustrates the effect ved; that the Whigs have merely of the Constitutional Revolution
used them as a ladder to raise them. which he so warmly advocated.
selves, and that, having gained, by " I do not presume to condemn the lature, they are now quite willing to
their aid, the command of the Legisgeneral principle of combinations among workmen for the sake of mutual protec
let their valued associates grovel in tion. No liberal man will assert that
the dust. It is the sense, the bitter they should not, on the contrary, be en
and universal sense of this deception couraged to consult together for their own of which they have been the victims, interest, and to maintain associations for which has produced the present gethe promotion of their common welfare. neral spread of Trades' Unions ; in I approved of the repeal of the law for other words, of immense associations merly directed against such combinations, of working men, to obtain, by a siand would oppose its re-enactment. But, multaneous strike over all parts of the country, and the terror which to have risen in rebellion against the the display of physical strength can Duke of Wellington if he had rehardly fail to produce, those extraor- tained the seals of office, after the dinary practical advantages which resignation of Earl Grey, and were the general condition of the labour on the point of shaking society to market will not permit them to ob- atoms by a run, got up for political tain, but which were falsely held purposes, on the Bank? Was it to out to them as the immense boon elevate the Whig Aristocracy at the which they would certainly obtain expense of the Tory ; to create by the change in the Constitution of close boroughs in the North, while Parliament.
it extinguished them in the South ; If any one doubts that this has to secure Calne and destroy Old been the real cause of the present Sarum; to create North Shields, frightful schism which has split so. while it gave the death-blow to Gatciety asunder, let bim take up any ton; to give an hundred thousand of the newspapers or periodical a-year to the Greylings, and take it journals which advocated the cause from the partisans of the former adof Reform three years ago. He will ministration, that all this was done ? there find, that the whole evils of the No: it was the prospect of substancountry, theoretical and practical, tial relief from distress; the belief were constantly laid on the shoulders that the hidden cause of the univerof the Boroughmongers; that it was sal suffering, which every one felt, uniformly and invariably maintained, but no one could explain, was now that the resources of the nation were brought to light; the promises everyunbounded, and the career of pros- where repeated, the assurances conperity which opened before it unli- stantly given, the prospect invariably mited, if it could only shake off the held forth of a real and important monstrous load of the Aristocracy; amelioration of circumstances from that Relief from Taxation, Increase of the proposed measure, which proWages, Fall of Prices, and Diminution duced the general, the otherwise inof Poor's Rates, were held out as the explicable delusion in its favour. immediate and necessary effect of a Now that the experiment has been Reform in the Legislature, and that made, and the reality of the promiall persons who presumed to doubt ses uniformly held forth put to the these exhilarating prospects were test, it is universally seen how de, forth with stigmatized as the tools of plorably all classes have been duped the Boroughmongers, as influenced by their deceivers. The agricultuby no other feeling but a desire to rists, who were told, that all their disfatten on the spoils of the nation, tresses were owing to the Boroughand fit to be dealt with in no other mongers, and that high prices, low way, but with the brickbat and the rents, and plentiful employment bludgeon, to be plastered with mud, would to a certainty follow the passor ducked in horseponds. It was ing of the Bill, now find themselves this infernal cry, issuing from nine. plunged deeper than ever in distress, tenths of the Press, and re-echoed by with wheat down at 50s. the quarter, nineteen-twentieths of the popular and the prospect of a speedy Repeal orators, which procured the return of the Corn Laws, which will retain of the Parliament of May, 1831, which it permanently on an average even extinguished the British Constitu- below that ruinously low standard. tion. It was the same false and de. The manufacturers, who were uni. lusive cry which roused the labour. versally assured that high wages, ing classes in such multitudes to steady employment, and low prices, overawe the House of Peers, when would certainly follow the overthrow they nobly clung to the ark of their of the Boroughmongers, now find forefathers, in May, 1832. What else themselves worse off than ever; with enabled Mr Attwood to assemble low prices, indeed, but still lower 70,000 workmen in the neighbour wages, and with a less command of hood of Birmingham, when the Bill the necessaries and conveniences was under deliberation in the House of life than they had under any of Peers; and wrought them up to former period of their history. Hear such a pitch of exasperation, that it what the Editor of the Liberator, is now admitted they were ready and the organ of the Glasgow operatives, says of their present condi. ers, after they had experienced a tion, nearly two years after the pass- full year of the benefits of the Reing of Maxima Charta. We do not form Parliament. vouch for the accuracy of the state. ment, we merely give it as we find
“ I live in the neighbourhood of perit, to illustrate the sense entertained haps 50,000 honest nailers. I have ascer. by the operatives of the working of tained from their own mouths, and from
their masters' books, that during the war the great healing measure. ". There are upwards of fifty thousand they could gain 16s. per week with the
same labour as it now took them to gain families in the West of Scotland, at this
8s. per week. But they still paid 3s. per moment, whose average income does not
week rent for their cottage and shop, the exceed seven shillings weekly for each !
same as they did during the war. Now Parcel out that miserable pittance into
take 3s. from 16s., and it leaves 13s. food, clothing, and rent, without any pro- Take 3s. from 8s., and it leaves 5s. Did vision for the contingencies of sickness
any one think that 53. would go as far in and death ; and such is the fluctuation supporting a working man's family now, experienced in the majority of trades'
as 13s. did during the war? The thing --the accidents that many are liable to,
was absurd ; 5s. would perhaps go as far and the insecurity of maintaining a place
as 6s., or possibly as 7s. But here was -that there are few at the head of a
a clear injury of one-half in the situation family who lay their heads on a pillow at of these honest, poor men.” night, know whether or not the bread of their little ones will be baken on the
When results such as these have morrow. With the extreme distress of followed the highly wrought up feel. thousands, and the insecurity of all the ings and extravagant expectations, working classes, can you, Sir Daniel - formed by the delusions univers disinterested as you say you are—lay your sally and artfully spread to procure hand upon your heart and repeat, that the passing of the Reform Bill, it is workmen have no plea for taking some no wonder that the working classes decided steps in their own behalf ?"- have become generally and alarmAnswer to Sir Daniel Sandford, Jan. 8, ingly distrustful of all public men, 1834.
and that throwing overboard altoIf any farther evidence were want- gether the pilots whom they have ing, it would be found in the state- placed at the helm, they propose ment of Mr Attwood, as to the con- to take the management of the vesdition of the Birmingham iron work- sel at once into their own hands.*
The following doggrel verses, taken from the Glasgow Trades' Union Gazette of September 14, 1833, will shew how bitterly the people feel the imposition which has been practised on them, and how completely the present approach to anarchy is owing to the false and deceitful promises by which they were deluded into the support of that fatal measure, the Reform in Parliament:
"''Tis twelve months past, just yesterday, since earth, and sky, and sea,
But this is not all. Not only do gatory act in its stead; thereby per. the working classes see that they petuating, without intending it, in have gained nothing whatever by the heart of Britain, a system of inthe Bill, but the woeful fact is now fantine slavery, and sexual demobeginning to open to their eyes, that ralization, a bondage of body and they have been made a great deal prostitution of mind, unparalleled in worse than they were before; that the annals of Christian oppression, they have been placed at the mercy and unexampled in the
history of of a body of men, who have little or Mahometan slavery. They have no sympathy with their industry; thrown out all attempts to restore and that the prevailing interest protection to British sbipowners and which now rules the determination manufacturers, adhered steadily to of Parliament, is not only not theirs, the reciprocity system, and the dogbut is actually an adverse interest. mas of free trade, when every na
With all their professions of pa- tion on earth is loading with additriotism, liberality, and a regard for tional duties the import of our mathe poor, there is no Parliament in nufacturers. They have retained 'the 'memory of man, which has the assessed taxes, the most ruinous done so little for the interest of the tax on the industry of the poor, next working classes, as that which was to the income tax, which ever was borne into St Stephen's on the trans- invented, because it is a direct burports of the Reform Bill. This is a den on the funds from which alone fact, the existence and universal labour can be maintained, and a perception of which is completely duty, not on the comforts or luxuries demonstrated by the votes of the of the working classes, but their neLegislature, and the simultaneous cessaries; not on their spirits and growth of Political Unions in all tobacco, but their bread and their parts of the country. They have beef. They have adhered to the low ihrown out, by a majority of nearly duties on beer and spirits, thereby 200, the proposal of Mr Attwood perpetuating the growth of drunkfor an extension of the currency; enness and demoralization, multiplythe only measure which can put a ing, at a fearful rate, the progress stop to the incessant and increasing of vice and profligacy, and literally distress of the last ten years, and realizing a revenue out of the wages without a speedy adoption of which of prostitution, and the brutality of all attempts to revive industry, or intoxication. They have, at one avert ultimate national insolvency, blow, inflicted an irreparable wound will prove utterly nugatory. They on eight hundred thousand compahave done nothing towards extend. ratively happy and contented labouring the Poor's Laws to Ireland, a ers in the West Indies, deluding measure imperatively called for, not them by the name of a liberty which less by the wide-spread and heart- they are incapable of enjoying, and rending, suffering of the working depriving them of a protection, and classes in that unhappy and deluded a state of rural comfort, which they country, but by the privations to have themselves confessed was “unwhich the British house-owners are precedented in any civilized state." exposed, by the enormous mass of They are now strongly urged by the Irish mendicity thrown upon them interest in the State which has obfor relief. They have resisted tained an ascendency in the Reand thrown out Mr Sadler's factory formed Parliament, to repeal the bill, and substituted a weak and nu. Corn Laws, thereby giving the finish.
But now, ah mark the circumstance, attend, my friends the mob,
Reform Ministry and Parliament, p. 6.