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the Lord Charleses, their sons whether rents, prices, and so forth, have had any effect upon the revenue. We know, very well, that, from the beginning of the year 1819 to the end of the year 1822, prices kept falling. We know that merchants, shipowners, manufacturers, all were depressed in the extreme. We know that the farmers were ruined by thousands upon thousands. We know, that the landlords got, for the year 1822, scarcely any rent at all. We know that thousands of farms were let upon condition that the tenant would pay the taxes. We know that the landlords were at last resolved to make an attack upon the interest of the Debt, if the ministers had not consented to pass the Smallnote Bill, and thereby pour out the paper again and make prices rise. All these things we know; and we know, besides, that the depression of manufactured goods was enormous.
and nephews. But, I have people of sense to deal with: I have a great respect for those to whom I am writing; I, therefore, must make good what I say by FACT or by ARGUMENT, or by both. This I am now about to do, and I request you, my good friends of Blackburn; I request you to pay particular attention to the facts and the arguments I am going to employ. In the first place of all, there would be no fault to be found with the taxes, if they fell off in proportion as rents fell off, and as other things fell in price. If, for instance, taxes for the whole year amounted to ten millions, when wheat was at ten shillings a bushel, and if they fell off to five millions when wheat became five shillings a bushel; if this were the case, nobody could find fault with the taxes. But, the fact is, the contrary of this is the case: the taxes do not fall off as rents and prices fall off. They keep up to their full mark, though rents fall to next to nothing, and though a large part of the people are starving.
Very well, then, we know that this took place, from the beginning of 1819 to the latter part of 1822. Let us now see, then, what taxes the Government collected in these One need enter into hardly any four years. Those were four reasoning to prove the truth of years, observe, of regularly inthis. There is, in every month of creasing embarrassment and disJanuary, an account made out of tress; mind, I say, regularly inthe taxes received in the foregoing creasing unparalleled distress, year. For instance, an account because Peel's Bill came into delivered in to the Parliament, in operation by slow degrees. It January this year, contained an had four years to come into comaccount of all the taxes received plete operation, and it was got during the last year. Now, as we into the fourth year, and had nine have all these accounts before us, months yet to come before it was and as we know how prices have in full effect. Now, my friends of stood, how rents have stood, and Blackburn, pray bear all this in how the nation has been situated mind, and, then, look at the folfor several years past, we shall, lowing account of the taxes colby a reference to these several lected in those four years. These accounts, be able to discover taxes are the custom-house taxes,
the excise taxes, the stamp taxes, the taxes on the land, the taxes upon our letters; and, in short, all the ordinary taxes that we pay; and, observe, that the working people pay the larger part of the whole. These taxes amounted, then, for the following years, as follows:
the two next years. Indeed, more than three millions additional was received in each of those years. When we come to the year 1822, you see there is a small falling off; but, in that year, part of the salt-tax was taken off. The whole of the salt-tax used to yield about a million and a halfNow, then, pray look at the years 1823 and 1824. You will find them less than the year 1822; and this is owing to the taking off of the salt-tax, which tax was in force in 1822; or, at any rate, had only been partly taken off. So that, you see, that the year of "prosperity," 1824, yielded less than the terrible year 1822. If, indeed, we reckon the salt-tax taken off, the year 1824 yielded about 600,000 pounds more than the year 1822. But, what is 600,000 pounds upon 63,000,000? Let us now take another view of this matter. It is said, that the proof of national prosperity, the proof of the comfort of the people; the proof that they are happy, consists in the keeping up of the EXCISE collections. The doctrine is, that, in proportion that the government collects money on the excise-duties; in proportion that the sum is great, the people are happy! It is held that these excise-duties, being collected upon beer, spirits, tobacco, and other things, which Boroughmongers choose to regard as luxuries to the working people; in proportion as these things yield a great tax, in that same proportion the people must be living luxuriously. Now, then, look at the following figures; bear in mind that only three millions of new taxes were laid on in 1819; bear in mind the embarrassments, the
62,882,156 64,038,686 63,048,496 62,604,533 62,150,526
I have added the year 1823 and the year 1824, for a reason which you will presently see. At present, pay attention to the first four years only. You will remember what has been said above, about the poverty, misery, and intolerable embarrassment of these four years. You will remember, that the embarrassments went on increasing; that the distress, the ruin, the suffering of every sort, got to be greater and greater, from the beginning of 1819 to 1822. You will remember that the distress of the landlords and the farmers was so great in 1822, that in numerous instances, men refused to take farms rent free; because the taxes were greater than they would be able to pay without paying any rent at all. Look, then, at the amount of the taxes received in those four years! You see, that the taxes continued to increase with the increase of the distress. But, you must be told, that in the year 1819, new taxes, to the estimated amount of three millions a year were laid on. Accordingly, you see the additional three millions received in
ruin, the misery that went on I have referred; and you must be steadily increasing from the be-assured that I should not dare to ginning of 1819 to the end of make this statement from these 1822; bear this in mind; and then accounts if it were not true. bear in mind that, in the following The last table that I have intable, I leave out the three mil-serted relates solely to the EXlions of new taxes, supposing them CISE-duties. I have inserted all to have been laid upon the them for the four years. For the excise, which was not the case. four years of increasing embarI take off the three millions of rassment, poverty and misery. new taxes, I leave the taxes as The paper-money came tumbling they were in 1819; and then I out the next year, that is to say, show you, that, instead of taxes in 1823; so that, in this year, falling off, the amount of them prosperity was coming again. In was actually augmented from the 1824, prosperity was completely beginning of 1819 to the end of come. The king, in opening the 1822. Parliament in February 1824, congratulated the hereditary legislators and the faithful Commons, that agriculture was recovering from its depression, and that it was recovering by the steady operation of natural causes. Mr. Will any one, after this, believe FREDERICK ROBINSON, that a keeping up in the taxes, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and especially in the EXCISE- in the same month of February, taxes, is a proof of the happiness 1824, congratulated the aboveof the people and the prosperity mentioned noble and honorable of the country? You, my friends, persons, that the country was in will not be cheated thus, at any a state of unexampled prosperity, rate. You know well, how flou- that it was in a state of great rishing and happy the nation was happiness, and that the Parlia said to be in 1818. You know ment had the "delightful satiswell that Peel's Bill was passed "faction of looking round upon in 1819. You know that the de-"the face of a joyous country, cline began immediately; and "smiling in plenty, receiving you know that, in 1822, calicoes" comfort and prosperity diswere as cheap as dirt, wheat" pensed upon it from the ancient fetched only about four shillings "portals of a constitutional moa bushel upon an average through-narchy"! It was in February out the kingdom, and that all was 1824, that this wise man described ruin and beggary; yet you now the country as being in this state see, that the Government did not of prosperity. Now, then, let us grow poor; that it grew rich on see how much the Government the contrary; that its taxes aug-collected from the excise in those mented, instead of declining; and two years:
you will bear in mind, that the proof of this is to be found in the annual finance accounts to which
Pounds. 27,955,810 .28,298,733 .28,912,985 .28,190,948
Pounds 28,032,231 .27,779,302
So that these two years of won-Jabove facts before them with one derful prosperity do not equal the hand, and hold a broom-stick in two last years of bankruptcy and the other. You are to be treated misery by 1,292,400 pounds, un-in a different manner. You have less you add the salt tax; and you understood all about the debt and are not to add the whole of that the paper-money for many years; tax, because, to a certainty, part not a young weaver amongst you, of the money formerly laid out in who is turned of twenty-one, who that tax, would be laid out in the is not more fit to make laws than purchase of other taxable commo- the Lord Charleses are. Had I to dities. It appears, then, wholly deal with them, in the present inundeniable that, upon the suppo-stance, I should no more think of sition that these accounts be true; that argument that I am about to upon the supposition that they be have the honour to address to you, not a tissue of abominable false- than I should think of addressing hoods, here is proof positive, that it to the pigs in my sty. This is the Government can collect, be- by no means affectation: I am cause for a series of years it has col- perfectly sincere in all I say: I lected, as great a sum in taxes, in declare that I should no more times of general ruin and misery, think of addressing this argument as in times of general prosperity. to any of them, than I should And, it is clear, that as long as the think of addressing it to the pigs Government has physical force to that I mean to kill next Christmas. compel people to pay the taxes that it imposes, it need not, as far as concerns its revenue, care a straw whether the landlord receive rents or not.
The great cause of error, in this case, is, that men take it for granted, that the whole of the community have their due share and proportion of the exciseable
But now, my good friends of commodities; that every man and Blackburn, though we have this woman, has, at all times, a due strong, and, indeed, incontroverti-proportion of all that is consumed; ble argument of experience, I like and that, therefore, the whole better that sort of proof, and that amount of the consumption is the sort of conviction, which arise out criterion of the comfort and hapof reasons springing from my own piness of the people, and of the mind. I am always better satis-consequent prosperity of the nafied, when it appears to me, from tion. If the premises were true, reasoning, that the thing must be there might be something in the so, than when it appears to me, conclusion; but the premises are from any thing that I see or hear, wholly false; and as mischievous a that the thing is so. My eyes or falsehood it is as ever was sucked my ears may deceive me; but down by a credulous people. So reason can never err: treat it far from every person in the comfairly, and it never will deceive munity enjoying a due share of you. Let us, then, my friends, the articles consumed, it is notoriconsult reason upon this subject.ous, that, during the four years If I were addressing myself to above-mentioned, hundreds of Boroughmongers, or any of their thousands were upon the point of stupid tribes, I should lay the starving, and thousands actually
starved; and that, too, while the These newspaper fellows forget quantity of exciseable commodi- this operation of the system; or ties consumed was actually in- else, brutes as they are, and as creasing. How did this happen, that Baines, there, is at Leeds; then? Why, an unequal distri- brutes as they are, we should not bution of the exciseable commo-hear them talking such nonsense dities took place; those things about the "Quarter's Revenue." which ought to have been consumed by the landlord, the farmer, the merchant, the manufacturer,
I have, upon some former occasion, put the case somewhat in this manner: suppose me to be a
the weaver, the labourer; those landlord, with a clear estate yieldthings which ought to have been ing me five hundred pounds a consumed by them, were con- year in rent. Suppose me to pay, sumed by the placeman, the pen-out of this, a hundred pounds a sioner, the sinecure-man, the Jew, year to the Government in tax on the jobber, the army-people, the wine. Suppose the Government navy-people, the police-people, to make such a change in the va- and all the bands that feed upon lue of money as would take from the taxes, and all the Quakers me the means of buying one sinand other monopolizers, and all gle drop of wine for the future. their footmen and girls, and under- Suppose there to be a thundering strappers, and devilish creatures army, thundering dead-weight, a of every description; and per- Debt still more thundering; and haps one single wretch employed suppose the annuities and pay of in polishing a Quaker's boots, or all these not to be at all diminishwaiting upon the old sly dog's ed in point of nominal value: All wench, really consumed, in the the people belonging to these year 1822, as much of exciseable bands would have, amongst them, commodities as half-a-dozen poor that ability to purchase_wine, labourers and half-a-dozen poor which ability I had lost. Conseweavers all put together. The quently, the same quantity of newspaper brutes forget all about wine would be consumed: I this: that Taylor, there, of the should consume none, it is true; "Manchester Guardian," for in- but these people would consume stance, and that Cunliff, of Bol- more than they consumed before; ton; these fellows, for instance, so that there would be no diminunever think about the operations tion in the consumption, and, conof the taxing system, and the mo- sequently, there would be no dinopolizing system, which takes the minution in the tax upon wine. beer, the wine, the spirits, the sugar, the tea, the tobacco, the soap, and the candles, and many other things from the weaver or the labourer, and gives them to this Quaker's scrub and pimp, and makes the rogue as fat as a hog and as greasy as a butcher, while the poor weavers and the poor labourers are skin and bone.
I will suppose myself to be a man (I hope God will forgive me for being so even in supposition) sucking up a pension out of the country. I will suppose that my pension is a hundred pounds a year. The Government makes a change in the value of the money: they make such a change that I can now buy twice as much bread