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their clothes properly. This woman gave many other affecting details respecting their sufferings, and called earnestly on other mothers to follow her example in telling them. Her tale was received with the greatest interest by those present.
She was followed by an elderly woman named Mary Hatt, whose opening words were sufficient to excite the sympathy and attention of all who heard her. 'I can say nothing of my income,' said she, “because it is nothing!' She went on to state that her husband and two grown-up sons were all out of work, and could not obtain any. If it were not for the little bit of ground they rented of the Marquis of Lansdowne they should be starved. Last year her husband broke his leg, and she then received relief from the parish for fifteen weeks. He had not done any work since. Her son went yesterday to a farmer to ask for work. He told him to go to America. (Voices, · They'd drive us all there if they could.' We heard them say they wished they could 'pit up' the labourers like potatoes, in the winter.') She was for Free Trade, and then there would be more work and more food. (Loud cheers.)'
The resolutions unanimously adopted at the Goatacre meeting convey valuable instruction both to the advocates and the opponents of the Corn Laws.
* Resolved, 1st. That we, the labourers, at this meeting assembled, have met to make known our distress and our wants, trusting that our statements will meet the public eye, and reach the hearts of our legislators, to the end that they may pass ch measures as shall secure to in. dustry its full and fair reward, and thus improve the condition of ourselves and our fellow-countrymen.
* 2nd. That we meet not to ask for charity but for justice, in the shape of profitable and independent labour, so that we may supply ourselves and our families with the comforts and necessaries of life, which we find at present to be utterly impossible in consequence of the scarcity of employment and the lowness of wages.
* 3rd. That we firmly believe the restrictions imposed upon industry by the Corn and Provision Laws are a principal cause of our destitute condition, inasmuch as scarcity, dearness, and uncertainity are the results of tampering with the people's food; and that we further believe, if those laws were abolished, remunerative employment would be more abundant, competition for labour less severe, the farmer rendered more secure, by steadiness of price and fair rentals, and the happiness and prosperity of all classes of society materially and permanently advanced.'
There is yet another subject on which statistical information is valuable, and sufficient to bring conviction to the unbiassed mind. The League' professes not to have originated or conducted the inquiries, but it has brought their results to light. Mr. John Bright, M. P. for Durham, the ardent and generous friend of the poor and honest operative, developed the facts in his own town, annidst the most enthusiastic response of his neighbours. But we mark them as permanently recorded in * The League. Mr. Bright spoke with exultation of the improved condition of the operative in vivid contrast with the saddened and sickening state of the rural peasant; and in yet more striking comparison with the operatives' own state in the year 1841 and 1842. The futility of monopolists' assertions, that a rise in the price of bread is not injurious to the operative classes, because the price of that staple article regulates the price of labour and of all other commodities, was thus clearly evinced. The general advance of wages now, or recently in progress in almost every manufacturing district, whilst the price of bread has been falling, must, to all candid and disinterested minds, be sufficiently conclusive of the absurdity of this pretence. The appalling effects of scarcity and high prices of food, and the parties by whom these effects are most acutely felt, are discriminately and fearfully demonstrated by the other means to which we have referred. Emigration returns supply the following figures : showing
* That as the price of food advanced during the recent years of deti -cient harvests, the number of our countrymen who sought a home in foreign lands steadily and rapidly increased, and that, so soon as the scourge of famine was abated by the goodness of Providence, the tide of emigration received a check. The number of emigrants from 1838 to 1843 is as follows: 1838
57,242 When we consider how terrible was the pressure upon the country from 1838 up to the harvest of 1812, we shall not be surprised that increasing multitudes fled from a land which, however dear to them by the ties of birth and association, denied them the first of all rights, that of earuing their bread by the sweat of their brows. And of what class were these emigrants composed ? The emigrant is drafted from the masses, from the men who toil, and toil incessantly that they may live in honest independence; it is in the cottage of the artisan, and not in the mansion or the palace, that the emigrant ship finds her sorrowing freight : and the tears which fall upon her deck are the tears of the poor, whom a cruel and heartless policy has driven out as strangers upon the earth.
* But the emigration returns stand not alone in the testimony they offer against the Corn Law. The voice which speaks from our courts of justice proclaims the misery it inflicts. The number of commitments in England and Wales from 1837 to 1843 is as follows: 1837
24,443 1 840
29,591 • The variation is not important during the years 1837, '38, and '39. In the last-mentioned year the pressure of famine rapidly increased, and from that period to 1842 the number of commitments increased from 24,443 to 31,309, whilst in 1843, when the price of food had considerably fallen, the commitments also fell to 29,591.
• The tables of the Registrar-General also tell their tale of woe in the muster-roll of evidence against the laws which decree starvation. We have before us the returns of the number of deaths in nine divisions of the north-western district for the years 1840 and 1843; they are as follows:
2,900 2,576 Bury
2,170 1,832 Rochdale.
1,688 1,531 Preston
2,637 1,935 Blackburn
2,140 2,031 Wigan...
2,144 1,832 Prescott
6,489 6,283 Ashton
26,196 23,334 Showing a diminution of not less than 2,862 deaths during the cheap year 1843, as compared with the dear year in 1840, in nine districts out of 115 to which the report refers.
The 2,862 human beings whose removal from life is noted in the return for 1840, and is in excess of the number who died in 1843, were of the poor, may we not say of the poorest of our population.
• Have the working classes of this country, then, no interest in the repeal of the Corn Law ? Deficient harvests would not have brought famine if the corn law had not stood in the path. Our artisans were producing goods of almost every kind; the world begged that they might buy them from us and sell us food in exchange ; but our breadtaxing lords and squires interposed, lest if the people were thus fed, rents should fall. But the working men and their families suffered. From their ranks the corn law picked its victims : they loaded the emigrant ship-they stood in the felon's dock—they were consigned prematurely to the grave! The friend of the corn law is the enemy of the artisan, and of every man who lives by the reward of his toil. The League is the foe of the corn law, and every blow which tends to break down this grievous usurpation of the landowners, by so much contributes to give independence, and comfort, and happiness to the labourer.'
But to pass on to our more immediate object. The League tells us what the free traders have been doing while their adversaries were shouting mutual congratulations on the alleged failure of the confederacy. For ten weeks their forces were withdrawn from the public parade ground, to fight the battle of free trade at close quarters with the enemy in the registration courts. Election contests there were none; aggregate meetings in Covent Garden Theatre or in the Free Trade Hall had been suspended. There were no great field days; but recruiting was most successful and drilling most efficient, and the effective strength was never greater or more prepared to occupy advantageous positions in a fair field so soon as a general election shall come. The bitterest antagonists of the League now confess that it never was more powerful or its operations more to be dreaded. In a hundred and forty boroughs it has exercised a healthful and constitutional influence; suggesting, counselling, and even directing registration procedure : and in the greater number has added not only to the numerical strength of free-trade voters, but to the probability of parliamentary success when the trial of strength shall come.
It was wise to render, as far as possible, their electoral power impregnable in the county which may be called their own, and the result is that out of twenty-six members returned by the Duchy of Lancaster, twenty-one are certain to be free traders at the next election. Lancaster and Clitheroe, where the Tory Chairman of Ways and Means and a prospective President for a'would but dare not be free trade Tory Board of Trade, have their seats, are in a position to dictate terms of surrender from such representatives. Blackburn and Warrington have also retrieved their strength. And even in Liverpool the anti-monopolists have registered this season 452 more than their opponents. The Southern Division is no longer at the beck of Lord Francis Egerton or of a monopolist squirearchy; 1751 added to the previous number of free traders on the poll will secure the triumph of the good cause at the next contest. The Northern Division is in process of preparation and will assuredly follow.
They are not now afraid to proclaim what their antagonists say and do; neither do they hesitate to avow their own policy. They aim not at success by any coup d'etat : the conviction of the public mind and the hearty assent of enlightened citizens is deemed essential to permanent triumph. Their progress among the people they believe to be all but complete; reason and conviction are with them, principle and action will soon follow. When the masses have the power, and are free to deliberate, they do not long hesitate between monopoly and free trade. The common sense admissions of Sir James Graham, and the abstract rectitude of free trade principle of Sir R. Peel, are not more significant and cheering than is the blunt and frank acknowledgment of Lord Londonderry, who is reported to have recently told his tenantry, 'He did not understand how any minister
who thought right to introduce into his policy free trade at allhe did know how that minister could make corn an exception. They had seen during the last twenty years many changesthey had seen the minister by the force of circumstances, by the pressure from without-obliged to follow out a course of policy which was contrary to his mind to pursue ; and having seen that he could not sit down without impressing on them that similar things might take place with regard to the Corn Laws. He wished them to bear in mind that when every thing else was free, they could not expect that corn alone would be an exception.' When the light of such truths breaks in upon nobles, proverbially obtuse and benighted by obsolete prejudices, the, advocates of free trade may well hope that the dawn of a triumphant day is breaking; when the liberty of commerce, and the abolition of the Corn Laws will be realised. From the peer to the peasant, from the hereditary senator to the newly enfranchised elector, or those qualified to become such, opinion, confirmed by religion and experience, will find an echo and response: all that remains is to give them organization in the community and due representation in the legislature. This then is the object of the League's present movements.
The Council of the League contains many strenuous promoters of other liberal principles, and some who are Complete Suffragists in the fullest sense of the term. But they do not expect that the mere outcry of unenfranchised millions will prevail. The presentation of petitions has already been tried, and their prayers signed by three millions, have been contemptuously rejected. Though lords fear the issue as a class, they will not aid the cause; and a free constituency has not been realised strong enough to extract from them the concession. The sovereign of Great Britain is not a despot; and the will of our Queen is under the control of her Cabinet. She cannot, if she would, come to the delivery of her suffering people, till they can help themselves. The policy of the League is, therefore, to extend the constituency, to encrease their parliamentary strength. Three years ago they commenced this procedure. They deprecate faggot votes, and can place no reliance on the suffrage of tenants-at-will
. They imagine that their antagonists have split farm votes and registered their menials to nearly the ultimate verge of their power; and they step forward to persuade the middle classes and better-paid workmen to purchase county qualifications. The strength of trade and of the League resides in boroughs—the strength of monopoly is in an oligarchy of 30,000 landlords. The advocates of free trade were reproached with the adverse strength of the counties, and taunted to try the agricultural districts, where they were assured they would