« PreviousContinue »
the course of time, even if no opposition be made to it. The vices of the English monarchy are evidently precipitating it to a crisis and downfal. Within this last week we have seen members, of a faction ever seeking for power, use such language and sentiments towards the monarch and government, as have never been used since the time of the Commonwealth and civil wars of Charles and his parliament. In the House of Commons, Dr. Lushington has said, that the people are justified in rebellion from the misconduct of the ministers. Mr. Creevey has said, that the KING IS AN ADULTERER, and should not have brought the charge of adultery against his wife, unless his own hands had ' been clean. Almost at any other period of the last century, since the accession of the Brunswick family, either of those observations would have sent a member to the Tower. And such is the profligacy of the present government, that all it can do is, to cry hush! don't speak so loud and so plain, or the people will hear it, and take the hint.
We now wait anxiously to see what steps the Cortes of Spain will take, with respect to their revolted colonies. We hope there will be good sense enough in the assembly to admit and ratify their independence and sovereignty. We may expect to hear of its first sittings in a few days. As far as conjecture can speak of the returned members, it appears that there are but a small number but what are attached to the new system of things. We also wait anxiously to see what steps the Cortes will take as to the future religious establishment of their country. Much of the future prosperity of Spain, and the progress of reason and science, depends on this measure. Of one thing we may be satisfied, it cannot be worse than it has been, it must amend ; and so far must be satisfactory. But we really hope to see an assembly of the Cortes, of the next election, leave it to regulate itself, and make it a part of their system unconnected with the law; an unlimited toleration, and the abolition of all pains, penalties, and disfranchisements, for difference of opinion. Such a system would follow a convulsion in this country ; it is such a system that gives strength, vigour, and activity, to the United States of America. There the Atheist, the Deist, the Jew, the Christian, and the Mahometan, sit in council together on the political welfare of the country, and are only known by the common title of citizens.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE REPUBLICAN.
It appears that our wise legislators are obliged to have recourse to another loan, or in other words, to borrow more money to make up the deficiency of the expenditure; and that at a time when we are at peace with all the world: consequently they are adding to our national debt and taxation; and unless the system be altered it is impossible the country can ever be well regulated. Every day's experience convinces us that the present system produces misery, distress and vice: how and when the evil is to be remedied we are all anxious to know. Taxation has produced the evil, and taxation upon a fair and just principle will remove the evil.
It is the only fair and legal remedy that can be applied, but if not properly applied, it will have the contrary effect. First let us enquire for what purpose the money is applied which is collected by taxes? To support the government and protect our rights and property. Secondly, the cause of the increase of taxation ? A long and expensive war against Republicanism in America and France to establish Monarchy in its stead. The atlenipt to do this has cost this country some hundreds of Millions of money, which money has been borrowed of individuals of immense property, on condition that the Government would pay them interest on the money so borrowed; the interest of whicli vow amounts to near tifty millions, and which can only be paid by taxes. Now the taxes being insufficient to pay the interest, we are obliged every year to borrow more money to inake up the deficiency, therefore taxation must increase every year so long as the present system shall continue. And who are the sufferers by this increase of taxation I need not attempt to prove ; we have only to look at our poor rates, workhouses, and prisons; there is a sufficient proof where the burthen is the most felt.
I am not now going to enquire whether a million a year is too much for the royal family, or whether sucli enormous sums of money ought to be expended in places pensions, and sinecures, or whether we had any right to go to war with America and France, to prevent them from having such a government as they thought proper, or whether we should keep up a large and expensive standing army in time of peace. These are subjects I will leave to the judgment of others. But supposing the large sums paid to the royal family, to placemen, pensioners, sinecures, and the long and expensive wars have all been necessary, does it follow that the poor ought to be the greatest sufferers by supporting this system. If the war has been carried on to support monarchy, aristocracy, the clergy, and properly, ought not these to bear the greatest burthen of the expences The
property of a poor man needs po protection for he has none; and if monarchy, aristocracy, and the clergy were abolished, and a republican government established in its stead, would the poor man's fare be worse? If it would not, then why is be to be taken from his industrious habits, torn from a fond wife and family, from all his relatives and acquaintances, his family forced to a work house, and himself driven into a foreign country to fight against individuals whom he had never seen or heard of before: to undergo all the fatigue of a long, cruel, and bloody war, where thousands of individuals are suffering the greatest torments that the mind can imagine; lingering their day's away in cruelty and wretchedness, with a mind continually tortured by ihe thoughts of a distressed family; to support that system of Government which will not support him better than that republicanism which he is employed to destroy. Yet thousands have volunteered to suffer all these calamities, to protect and support the government and constitution of this country, in hopes of creating a never-ending public benefit, that when they return home crowned with the laurel of victory tliey may gather the olive of peace, and sit down under their own vine, and their own fig-tree, and have none to make them afraid.
In the name of God then, if they can't feel for the man whom they have forced to defend them, would not a generous heart teach them to reward the man who has sacrificed all his domestic enjoy. ments for their protection.
That the middling and lower classes of this country have at all times ever been the defenders of the king, the nobility, their rights, and their property against foreign or domestic enemies, must be universally admitted; and that in consequence of so doing a great expence to the country has been incurred. And where ought the burden to fall? not on that part of the community whose industry will scarcely procure them common necessaries, but on that part who are enjoying all the luxuries of life, because no man can be contented in a country like this, were a great and wise Providence has provided a super-abundance for all our wants, where he has not withholdeu one jot or little of his bounties.
The earth produces as much of the necessaries of life now as it did 100 years ago, then what right has a man to torego the greater part of his necessaries to support taxation, when the rich man will not forego one of his luxuries. It is the luxuries that ought to be taxed and not necessaries,
Luxury does not consist in the articles, but in the means of procuring them, and as property will and does procure luxuries, property is the best and only spring that taxes ought to be drawn from.
Paine says, in his system of taxation, that £1000 a year is sufficient for the support of a family in ease and respectability, conse
quently the second thousand is in the nature of a luxury, the third still more so, and by proceeding on we may arrive at a sum ihat may not improperly be called a prohibitable luxury. Then follow his table of progressive taxation.
£500 to pay 0 3d. per pound.
O 6 do.
do, On the third 1000
1 0 do. On the fourth 1000
16 do. On the fifth 1000
do. On the sixth 1000
do. On thie seventh 1000
do. And so on progressively.
Now as taxation is increasing so rapidly, would not a good and wise government endeavour to make the heaviest part of the bürthen fall upon those who have derived the greatest benefit from the expenditure which has caused that taxation?
The propositions of our correspondent are incontrovertible, and the surest proof that there is neither virtue nor morality belonging to the English government is, that its system of Devenue is most oppressive on that class of society who can the least bear it. All the political economists that have ever written, have never said half so much for the universal benes fit of societies, as is to be found in that philosophical system of taxation, which has been laid down by Paine, and quoted above. It is not too much to say, that it would prove a practical benefit to the possessor of 10,000 a year, as well as to the
possessor of a sum of less than £500. ' An income that is more than necessary to procure all the comforts and pleasures of life, is but a pain and burthen to its possessor, from which it would be humane that the law should relieve him,
Leeds, July 2, 1820. DEAR SIR, --It is with unfeigned feelings of regret and admiration, that we view the enormities of your punishment for daring to be honest and virtuous, and for publishing to the world those principles of morality and virtue, which if attended to, would have a tendency in a great measure to emancipate this deluded and oppressed nalion from
the deadly grasp of that triple-headed monster priesteraft, prejudice, and despotism, which has dispelled every prospeet of happiness and prosperity from us as a nation. Although we entertain a lively hope that you will live to see your country freed from that odious tyranny against which you so wisely and so virtuously contended, and though we are assured that the expectation of such an event must be cherished by you as some compensation for all your labours and all your sacrifices, yet we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of presenting some testimony of our esteem and gratitude for your bold attempts to draw the veil from the face of priestcraft and to display its native colours. Under these impressions, we beg that you will accept the sum of two pounds, being the voluntary contributions of a few journeymen flax-dressers towards paying that unjust fine which has been imposed upon you. That your wisdom will properly appreciate all the circumstances connected with your severe punishment that you will see nothing in them to shake your confidence in the final success and establishment of your principles, we are well assured. You, most esteemed Sir, know well, that however truth may be impeded in its march, its ultimate triumph and establislıment is ordained by a power, whose will is not to be resisted, and to you it is equally well known, that in the words of the poet and philosopher
-Where Virtue deigns to dwell,
Her sister Liberty will not be tar. To you, excellent Sir, and a few like you, it belongs to brave alike the threats and the frowns of power, and to despise the allurements of corruption-You will have your reward in the fervent thankfulness of all unprejudiced minds at least of your cotemporaries, and in the grateful recollection of posterity.
We are, Sir,
WM. ELLIS, &C.