« AnteriorContinuar »
the produce of our industry and our soil, and to receive nothing from her in return-and all this to gratify the taste or caprice of a few individuals ; (I do not mean those abroad on public or private business, or invalids, to whom the indulgence, upon proper proof, ought to be allowed.) No, no! The mass of the people will never allow this, when cause and effect are made clear to their comprehension. They have hitherto borne their privations, which high and low have suffered with patience, ignorant of the precise cause, but willing to hope for the speedy termination. Alas! that termination they will not see, unless the remedy here proposed be adopted. Year after year, they will find their means diminish, till, driven to despair, even the well-disposed will listen to the delusive language of the Radicals. Let the government and the legislature take care that this necessity is not forced upon a people, who sufficiently enlightened to be determined to assert the right of enjoying the fruits and the industry of their own country.
That the number of idle absentees who are spending English money abroad, consists of not less than 100,000, and that their daily expenses upon an average are twenty shillings each, seems to be generally admitted by those best informed on the subject. There are now 20,000 at Paris, 3000 at Boulogne, 2000 at Calais, 2000 at Brussels, 2000 at Tours, 2000 at Bordeaux; several thousands at Rome and at Naples; and they are spread more or less in ry town and village in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy. In September, 1818, there were nine English physicians at Paris, whose practice was entirely with English patients. If this statement be not correct, let measures be taken to ascertain the truth; and if it be established, I will ask those who may be inclined to discredit the conclusions which I have drawn therefrom, why France is now enjoying a high state of prosperity, acknowledged by all who have been there, and admitted to be unknown at any former period of her history; and why this country is laboring under a degree of distress-not partial or confined to particular districts or classes of the community, but, fundholders excepted, general throughout the kingdom--amongst the agriculturists, merchants, and manufacturers, landlord and tenant, master and servant; on all sides, from the Land's End to the Orkney Islands. It is supposed, and very properly supposed, that poverty and misery are the consequences of war. Have we then had inore war than the French during the last thirty years ? Has our trade been more confined or less successful ? Is our capital inferior ? Are the laws respecting property less efficient or protecting ? Are the arts and sciences, and use of machinery, not so well understood here as in France, and are the divisions of labor not so complete ? In short, is our progress not so advanced as that of the French, in all
those circumstances that constitute the wealth of nations ? The contrary in each of these particulars is well known to be the fact. The French have had more foreign war than ourselves, in addition to civil war(from which, thank God! we have been exempt) with all its horrors, and its sure accompaniment, destruction of property. How comes it then, that there are thousands of our lower classes without employment and in a state bordering on starvation, while there is no such thing in France ? It is said the people there, of all ranks, are in comfortable circumstances: thiscomes home to my argument. The French keep within themselves their own resources, and they receive the voluntary contributions of other countries. Let us reverse the picture. Suppose the whole of our countrymen now abroad were to return, and that certain rich foreigners were to think fit to reside in England, expending the enormous sum of thirty-six millions sterling; would not the whole of our population be in a state of complete prosperity, enjoying the riches (productions) of other countries as well as the whole of our own? Discontert would be banished from the land, and England would be in temporal prosperity and happiness, as superior to other countries as she is in refinement, in commerce, and in all her charitable, moral, civil, and religious institutions.
I have the honor to remain,
&c. &c. &c.
THE MARQUIS OF LANSDOWN,
SPOKEN IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS.
[Now first revised and corrected for the Pamphleteer.]
The Marquis of LANSDOWN rose, in pursuance of the notice he had given, of a motion for a committee to inquire into the means of extending the foreign trade of the country. So much did he feel the importance and magnitude of the subject, that he apprehended no sense of duty, however great, would have been sufficient to induce him to undertake the bringing it forward, had he not entertained a well-founded hope of experiencing every indulgence from the House. Under the circumstances, however, in which he had thought it necessary to propose to their Lordships the appointment of a committee, he did not suppose that it could be necessary for him to say much to justify himself for having assumed that task. He certainly felt most strongly the weight of the task, and would have been glad to have seen it in the hands of any noble Lord more able to do justice to it, but would have felt still more satisfaction had bis Majesty's ministers taken the lead in originating some measure, either in that or in the other House of Parliament. Several years bad now passed away, since the pressure of public distress engaged the attention of every friend to humanity and the country. That the noble Lord opposite omitted to propose any measure of relief, was not, therefore, sufficient to excuse their Lordships for neglecting to inquire into the state of the evil, and to look for a remedy. Those threatening clouds which some years ago began to darken the horizon had gradually increased, and now wore a more awful and ominous aspect than ever. It was then impossible that their Lordships could be justified in longer abstaining from investigating the causes of the distress under wbich the country suffered.
He felt it to be his duty to draw the attention of their Lordships to one in particular, and to propose an inquiry into the state of the foreign trade of the country; at the same time, in proposing that limited inquiry, he was far from wishing to throw any impediment in the way of any noble Lord who might be disposed to institute any investigation into any other branch of the public distress. Still less did he mean to check any inclination to inquire into the expense of public estabiishments, or to urge that economy, always expedient, but now indispensable to the welfare of the country. But the latter were among the daily duties of their Lordships, while the proposition he had to make related to a subject which seldomer called for their immediate attention. He meant to contine the proposition he had to make, to the appointment of a committee on the foreign trade of the country. He had chosen this course, because he was convinced that any more extensive inquiry would only open an arena, into which every chivalrous political economist would hasten to take his stand; into which every theory would be introduced, and where every opposing interest would have found a field of combat. In any committee of general inquiry, useful discussion would be impracticable, endless contests would arise, and inquiries would be pursued without leading to any result. But, in limiting the proposal of investigation to one single but important object, he begged it might not be concluded, that he had it in view to protect or promote the interest of any particular body in the country, in preference to others. He certainly had no such intention, but, on the contrary, had limited his proposition to a subject which he conceived intimately connected with the interest of the whole country. But, whatever course their Lordships might determine to pursue, whether that of a limited or a general inquiry, if ever they were to entertain a design so unjust as that of favoring one interest or one body of the State, at the expense any other, such a project would be impossible. So inseparably connected were the interests of society, so powerfully did the laws which Providence had imposed on those interests operate--for in regulating the wants they also regulated the actions of mea--that any partiality of this kind was impracticable. Whenever it should be attempted to fence round any particular interest, and afford an exclusive protection from a general calamity, that interest would experience a re-action worse than the evil complained of, and find itself more exposed by the very barrier erected for its defence. Such a proceeding could only tend to bring on the body whom it was wished to favor, increased humiliation and distrust. The experience of the last ten years could not be thrown away on their Lordships, and he trusted it would not on the country. In the year 1815, they had seen the distress of the agricultural body visited on the other interests of the community. They had after