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reins of Government, and become masters of the country, and all its property, for seven years to come.
While, however, no one can doubt that the causes which have now been enumerated, are those to which the present alarming social condition of the country is owing, the question remains, How this population is to be dealt with? In what way the existing dangers are to be averted, and the former healthy condition of the public mind re-established? These are momentous questions, affecting not merely the future fate of the country, but the property and patrimonial interests of every individual in the kingdom. The first thing which must strike every impartial mind in considering the present state of the country, is, that the working-classes have now proved themselves unworthy of that extension of the Suffrage for which they contend; and that, whatever doubts might formerly have existed on the subject in the minds of wellmeaning and enthusiastic, but simple and ill-informed, men, it is now established beyond all doubt, that Universal Suffrage in reality means nothing else but universal pillage. This, we always said, was the case. From first to last we have resolutely maintained, that what the working-classes understand by political power, is just the means of putting their hands in their neighbours' pockets; and that it was the belief that the Reform Bill would give them that power, which was the main cause of the enthusiasm in its favour, and the disgust of the failure of these hopes, the principal reason of the present clamour for an extension of the Suffrage. The Chartists, doubtless, deny this, as all men will do till they can admit it with impunity, and as the French Revolutionists did till they had acquired, by Universal Suffrage, the power of breaking into and pillaging every chateau in the kingdom. But how do their acts correspond with these professions? They had the mastery at Birmingham for an hour and a-half, and immediately two houses were burned and thirty gutted. If they had the command of the empire for a month and a-half, they would confiscate, and share among themselves, all the property it
But it is not necessary to have recourse to this memorable instance,
divulging the secret designs of the Chartists, to arrive at a just conclusion as to their total unfitness for any of the functions of Government, and of the enormous peril with which any concession of power to-them, however small, will be attended. The same conclusion arises, in an equally forcible manner, from a consideration of their ordinary habits, and the principles by which their private conduct is regulated. What are the qualities of mind and character which fit men for the discharge of public or political duties, and the prevalence of which in a nation renders them ripe for a share in the administration of the realm ? Economy, order, and foresight in the management of their private affairs; regularity and prudence in private life; the bettering of their circumstances, and the elevation of their habits, by the continued practice of industry, frugality, and foresight.
What, then, are the habits of the middle classes, to whom, in so great a proportion, political power has been handed over by the Reform Bill? That there are many extravagant, fraudulent, and profligate characters among them, may safely be admitted; and that a majority of the ten-pound electors in almost all the great cities in the empire, are possessed of little or no property, and belong to a class unfit to be intrusted with political power, may be considered as now com.. pletely proved by experience. But, nevertheless, there unquestionably exists among the middle classes more prudence, foresight, and economy; more patient industry and unobtrusive virtue; more strenuous exertion, and heroic selfdenial, than in any other class in the community. We shall find no parallel to it either in the ranks above or beneath them in society. The former, by the possession of hereditary fortune. or influence, are in great part relieved from the necessity of constant labour, or the duties of prospective foresight. The latter are so much habituated to attend only to present objects, and to receive impressions only from what strikes the senses, that they have never acquired these habits at all. It was upon the known and admitted prevalence of these qualities among the better portion of the middle classes, and the assertion that such habits were universal among that body of men, that the main argument in favour of
the extension of the suffrage in their favour was founded. And unquestionably, if they all possessed the foresight and self-denial which is every day manifested by a considerable part of their number, political power could not be entrusted to safer or better hands. No Government will ever be endangered in which the majority of the representative constituency are holders of policies of life insurance, proportioned to the circumstances of their respective families. The main tenance of such insurances implies a sacrifice of enjoyment to duty; of the present to the future; of selfish to social affection, which forms the best possible preparation for the due exercise of political functions.
Are then the habits of the workingclasses, above all, of the manufacturing operatives in great cities, such as to afford any well-grounded expectation that they are better qualified than the middle classes for the duty of electing legislators? Observe the conduct of the better description of the middle ranks, and say, whether the conduct of the manufacturing artisan at all resembles it, or is not rather a contrast to it. Look at the professional menthe lawyers, physicians, clergymen, merchants, shopkeepers, and manufacturers. What efforts do they make to raise themselves in the world? What industry do they exert, what frugality do they exercise? Their whole life is one, not merely of continual exertion, but of incessant foresight, and anxious consideration of the future. Their hard-earned gains are for the most part invested either in profitable speculations, or devoted to life insurances, intended to serve as a provision for their families after they themselves shall be no more. Existence to them is an incessant scene of toilsome exertion and of virtuous self-denial. Frugality and foresight pervade every part of their establishment; their whole life is a sacrifice of the present to the future. It is in their industry and frugality that the foundation is laid for almost all the wealth and prosperity of socie ty. It is in their multitude and opulence that Great Britain finds both the sources of its greatness, and its proud pre-eminence over every other country of the globe.
Now, what are the habits of the operative classes, especially in the
manufacturing districts and great towns, and what proof have they afforded by their sobriety, frugality, and foresight, that they possess the habits and qualities essential to a due appreciation or administration of public affairs? Is their conduct characterised by temperance, sobriety, and regularity of demeanour? Are they prudent, cautious, and foreseeing in their habits? Do they generally resist temptation, and forego present enjoyment for the sake of ultimate advantage to themselves or their families? Is capital accumulating in their hands? Are the numbers of them who are thrown upon the parish from destitution diminishing? And have they evinced, by the prudence with which they regulate their own passions, and coerce their own excesses, that they are adequate to the duties of selfgovernment? Above all, is the brutal and debasing habit of intoxication diminishing? Are ale-houses, and gin-shops, and spirit-cellars, every where decreasing in numbers; and does the increase of booksellers' shops in the manufacturing towns, prove that the artisans are withdrawing from the habits of sensual indulgence, to bestow their extra gains upon mental cultivation and moral improvement? Is the attendance in any church, whether Established or Voluntary, increasing amongst them; and does the rapid growth and permanent support of places of worship, prove that their desire for spiritual improvement keeps pace with their spiritual destitution? Is the morality of the sexes improving? Are cases of bastardy, desertion of children by parents, or of wives by husbands, declining in number; and is the fatal gangrene of illicit indulgence giving way before the resolute efforts of a prudent and reflecting people? Questions of this sort force themselves upon the mind when the workingclasses of the manufacturing towns unite in a loud and menacing demand for political power; and, we naturally ask ourselves, what proof have these people given by their conduct in their own sphere of life, and the management of their own affairs, that they are worthy to be raised to more elevated duties, and qualified to direct the affairs of others?
The answers to these questions are decisive against the claims now advanced for Universal Suffrage. Doubt
less there are to be found among the manufacturing operatives very many virtuous and upright men, and respectable families. Even the failings and vices of a large proportion of the more improvident, are not so much owing to individual inherent depravity, as to want of foresight, and the degrading habit of constant drinking or sensual indulgence. But that habits of improvidence, and an insatiable thirst for immediate enjoyment from the senses, are general among this class of society, has long been known and lamented by every person practically acquainted with their situation, and is now decisively proved by statistical returns pointing to conclusions with unerring certainty. Every person practically acquainted with the operatives in great towns or manufacturing districts of the country, is aware that their habits are, generally speaking, reckless and improvident in the extreme. Their employment, except during periods of commercial distress, is steady; and the too great demand for the labour of children, boys and girls, in the factories and collieries, generally renders a large offspring an advantage rather than a burden, and doubles, often triples, to married persons, the gains of the head of the family. It is no unusual thing for a family of this class, to make from fifty to sixty shillings aweek; and the common gains, even of a single skilled operative, run in general, according to the skill, from eighteen to thirty-six or forty shillings. Yet, with all these advantages, these operatives with their families, are in general the most needy and destitute of the community; a great part of their large earnings is spent in drink. They are almost all in debt to the baker, the butcher, the grocer, and the other tradesmen with whom they deal; their wives have the utmost difficulty in getting money from their husbands even for the necessary support of their families; and it is only by actions at law, and by arresting their wages, that the shopkeepers are able, after long periods, to secure payment of their debts. Paradoxical as it may appear, nothing is more certain than that these classes are, generally speaking, the most destitute of the labouring ranks; and, unfortunately, the most skilful workmen are not seldom the most profligate, and dissolute, as well as needy, characters of the community.
The magnitude of the sums which a large proportion of these workmen spend upon drink would exceed belief, if it were not attested by the concurring evidence of every person versant with the habits of the operatives in every manufacturing district of the kingdom. An action was recently brought in the Sheriff- Court of Lanarkshire against a collier, for spirits, porter, ale, and groceries, furnished to himself and his family during three years, amounting to the sum of L.78:7:4; L.72 had 'been paid by the collier during the three years, being at the rate of L.24 a-year, and the balance of L.6 odds was admitted. It may safely be affirmed that the value of spirits consumed by a large proportion of the skilled operatives in all the manufacturing towns of the kingdom, amounts to eight or ten shillings a-week of their earnings. Incredible as this doubtless will appear to persons who are not practically acquainted with the subject, there is no one, we are persuaded, who is so, that will not admit that we are rather within than without the mark. fact, on no other principle is it possible to account for the enormous and almost incredible quantity of ardent spirits consumed in the manufacturing districts, more particularly of Scotland.
It appears from the Parliamentary Reports, that the proportion of ardent spirits consumed in Scotland amounts to six millions five hundred gallons a-year, being at the rate of two gallons and three quarters annually, to every human being! Unquestionably more than a half of this enormous quantity is drunk in the manufacturing or mining districts; for it is there alone that the working-classes have such high wages as to enable them to drink it in such profusion. Beyond all doubt the average of these manufacturing districts is at least six gallons a-head a-year over the whole population-a higher average, it is believed, than is to be found in any other country of the globe.
All the institutions calculated either to accumulate capital, relieve distress, or to provide funds for the future, are maintained by the middle or higher classes, with hardly any assistance from the lower. The operatives and workmen benefit largely by such establishments, but they contribute little or nothing to their support. It has recently been ascertained, from a
comparison of returns from the different assurance offices, that the total number of persons holding policies of life insurance is only 80,000-a number so very small in proportion to the population of the empire, as to demonstrate decisively that the provident regard for the future, and selfdenial of the present, which prompts men to belong to these admirable associations, is confined almost entirely to the middle or wealthier classes of society. Who is it that maintains our hospitals, our dispensaries, our charity schools, and a large part of the Voluntary Church? The middle or higher classes, and they alone. Nobody ever heard of such establishments, how essential soever and beneficial to the working-classes, being maintained by their efforts or contributions. Were it not for the Christian charity, the humanity, and unwearied exertions of the middle classes, the operatives, who are now rising in such fearful array against them, would rot in indigence and misery; pestilence, unmitigated by medical skill, would annually desolate their ranks; and the ordinary calamities of life, unrelieved by the humanity and efforts of the better classes of society, would soon reduce the lower to hopeless destitution.
But the working-classes, it may perhaps be said by their advocates, are too poor to be able to support such establishments by themselves, and the contributions which the middle classes make to charitable institutions for their behoof, are but a part of the return of the fruits of their labour, which their monopoly of capital have enabled them to wrench from their hands. This argument may possibly appear forcible to many persons of a humane turn of mind, not practically acquainted with the situation and habits of the manufacturing operatives, or the magnitude of the funds which their great numbers put at the disposal of any persons who obtain from them contributions, however small. We never see or hear of any want of funds to enable the operatives to engage in any undertakings, how costly soever, which they have really at heart, such as long and protracted strikes against their masters, in the vain hope of keeping wages up, during periods of adversity, at the level which they had obtained in prior periods of prosperity. It was proved at the Cotton-Spinners'
Trial at Edinburgh, in January 1838, that the Cotton-Spinners' Association in Glasgow had raised eleven thousand pounds for the objects of their union in a single year; and it is understood that that association from first to last have had L.200,000 through their hands. It is well known that the strikes in which the operatives were engaged in the preceding year, in the vicinity of that great manufacturing emporium, cost the community from six to eight hundred thousand pounds. Yet the operatives contrived to maintain the struggle against their masters in most of the skilled branches of industry, for three or four months together. Examples of this kind prove, that although doubtless there is often great distress and suffering among the manufacturing classes of the community, yet they do possess within themselves funds to a very great amount; and that it is by their misdirection that so little is contributed from their earnings to purposes either of benevolence or practical utility.
But to bring this matter to a more accurate test, we shall take the case of a single city, and calculate from authentic data the sums that are annually spent in it by the workingclasses upon ardent spirits. We shall take Glasgow for the subject of the calculation, and that for several reasons; but chiefly because it is the city in the empire in which the Liberals will find, most completely exemplified, the practical working of their favourite principles of social and political government. Its prosperity has been unprecedented in the old world; its inhabitants, which in 1770 were 30,000, are now 270,000—that is, they have augmented ninefold in seventy years; its customhouse dues, which forty years ago were L. 3000, are now L.400,000 a-year; its harbour, which in the memory of man contained only fifty or sixty boats, now sees flags waving in it from every quarter of the globe. Nowhere, therefore, in the an cient abodes of mankind, can a parallel be found to its extraordinary progress and unbounded prosperity. It is, par excellence, also the spot in which the institutions and the remedies against evil, which the Liberals have so long and so ardently supported, are to be found; and where the alleged abuses on which they have wished to fix the sufferings and vices of society are rare. Society, from its extraordi
nary rapidity of growth, has entire ly outgrown the dimensions of the national Church establishment; its ancient allowance of six or seven churches was soon lost amidst the cir cumjacent multitude, and all the efforts of benevolence in the middle and higher ranks, sunk before the impossibility of providing church accommodation for a population advancing at the rate of eight or ten thousand souls a-year. The Voluntary system therefore, has long, practically speaking, been in operation; the efforts of the Churchmen to enlarge the establishment, were, till within these few years when such noble benefactions have been made, unavailing; and the existence at this moment of eighty thousand human beings, who neither go to church nor can find a place in any place of worship within its bounds, proves, that whatever causes of evil have been operating within its bosom, priestcraft, and the undue ascendency of the clergy, cannot be reckoned among the number. Aristocracy there is none within its limits; its sons and its daughters can neither allege that they have been misled by the example, or seduced by the passions, or depressed by the influence, of the landed proprietors or nobility; the national Church establishment is small; the number of Voluntary meeting-houses considerable; plenty of Catholics among the humbler classes, and unbounded republican prosperity among the higher.
Add to this, Glasgow is the place, perhaps, in the island, where the means of secular and intellectual education have long existed on the most extensive scale; and where the grand correctives to evil, provided by Lord Brougham and the other education advocates, have been in the fullest operation. The cost of elementary education is exceedingly cheap; it requires only half-a-crown or three shillings a quarter, to send a child to the grammar schools, less than the wages of a single day to all the skilled workmen. Numerous scientific and literary establishments of great celebrity exist; the university, long distinguished by its illustrious men, affords tuition so cheap as to be within the reach of the sons, not only of the middle classes in the city, but even of the farmers in the adjoining counties; so that no less
than fourteen hundred young men, chiefly from those districts, receive, at a comparatively moderate rate, the elements of a liberal education. Many other institutions, still more important to the working-classes, have long existed and flourished in the city. The Andersonian Institution, established expressly as a rival to the University, has long boasted of professors of reputation and ability, who, at the hours most convenient for the working-classes, every winter give lectures to numerous assemblages of the operatives and working classes: add to this, their professors, though intelligent and able men, are, from the absence of any proper foundation, and the excessive desire to render education cheap, with a view to the benefit of the workingclasses, remunerated in a manner wholly unsuited to their merits or their public services, and in fact kept at very near what Mr Hume would consider the ne plus ultra of perfection in such establishments, viz. the starving point. In addition to this, there are too large and flourishing Mechanics' Institutes, one in the city and one in the suburbs, the former attended by six, and the latter by fourteen, hundred students. Here, then, is a city in all circumstances the most favourable for the exemplification of the working of the boasted antidotes to evil; therefore, let us examine the habits of the people, and judge from that of their qualification and fitness to take the management of public affairs into their own hands, and rule the empire with absolute sway, by the irresistible force of numbers.
There are within the city of Glasgow properly so called, technically named "the royalty," one hundred and two thousand inhabitants, and twelve hundred spirit-shops. In the adjoining suburbs, which form part of the city, both in Parliamentary language as to elections, and also in common language, there are one hundred and sixty-eight thousand inhabitants, and at least eighteen hundred spirit-shops. In the whole Parliamentary city of Glasgow there are three thousand spirit-dealers.
Of these 3000 spirit-dealers, above 2000 are enrolled as Parliamentary electors; and of course must possess premises affording a rental of L.10 and upwards. It is universally known that a great number of spirit-dealers