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Be careful to withold
Your talons from the wretched and the bold:
Tempt not the brave and needy to despair,
For though your violence should leave them bare
Of gold and silver, swords and darts remain,
And will revenge the wrongs which they sustain;
The plundered still have arms.

HARD indeed must be the heart which is unaffected with the present distress experienced by the Poor in general in this commercial nation. Thousands of honest and industrious people in Great Britain, are literally starving for want of bread; and the cause invariably assigned is a stagnant commerce. My opinion on this subject will perhaps appear to some a strange phenomena — it is, that a stagnant commerce is not the real cause of the want of the necessaries of life among the laborious poor. And I am confident, that while the "Earth yields her increase," there is a method founded on JUSTICE and REASON, to prevent the poor from wanting bread, be the state of trade whatever it may.

In the first place, then, I will ask, What are the principle sources of human subsistence? Certainly Corn and Grass. Corn is moulded into many shapes for the use of man, but chiefly into bread, which is the staff of life; and from grass, we derive our flesh, milk, butter, cheese, &c. besides wool and leather, which, I think, with the addition of coal, and a few other minerals, nearly make up the real necessaries of life.

I ask again, then, who is so infatuated as to say, that the growing of corn or grass, is dependant on, or connected with the prosperity or adversity of trade? Certainly (thank Heaven!) they are not affected by the devouring sword, or ruined commerce (except at the seat of war). — Corn grows not in the loom, nor Grass upon the anvil! Why is it then, that while there is plenty of bread the poor are starving? Is there not as much grain and grass in the land as when the trade flourished? Suppose trade were to rise immediately to an amazing degree, would it make one grain of corn or blade of grass more? Certainly not. Why then, I ask again, are the poor, who are the peculiar care of HIM who delights to do his needy creatures good, not satisfied with the good of the land?

The following reasons are at least satisfactory to myself:— Because, in the time of national prosperity, house and land rent (consequently provisions are always raised by the wealthy and voluptuous, till they are, at least at par with high wages; but, when WAR, or any other cause has ruined, or impeded commerce, and reduced wages, rents and provisions remain unabated, The poor calico weavers in the vicinity of Manchester, notoriously illustrate this argument, as they are now (they who can get any) working for fifty and sixty per cent. less wages than at this time two years back, and the necessaries of life are rather agumented in their prices than diminished!!!

Hearken, O ye poor of the Land! While great men have an unbounded power to raise their rents and your provisions — and, at the same time, an uncontrouled power to make War, and consequently to dry up, or diminish, the scources of your income, your subsistance will, at the best, be precarious, and your very existence often miserable!—The present want of Bread and Butcher's Meat amongst the Poor, is not owing to the want of Grain of Grass in the world, nor, I presume, in this Land, but owing to the price of it being excessively above the price of labour. When, therefore, the price of labour cannot be brought up to the rate of provisions, provisions should be reduced to the rate of labour. Till this is practicable, the poor are miserable!

During the last twenty years, mechanical wages have been varied according to circumstances, several times, and not unusually, in some branches, twenty, thirty, forty, and even fifty per cent.— I mean on the lowering, as well as the rising side of the medium. But, with regard to land-rent, its variations have always been progressive: and to find a single instance to the contrary, would be almost, if not altogether, impossible!

It requires but little sagacity to see, that the game laws, riot act, laws against vagrants and felons, &c. &c, are made chiefly for the security of the rich against the depredations of the poor. But what security have the poor against the oppression and extortion of the rich? Certainly none at all. As every comfort of life is derived from land, and as the rich are the proprietors thereof, it may in some sense be said, that they hold the issues of life and death; and, whilst they can, uninterruptedly, raise their rents without limitation or restraint, they have an alarming and unbounded power over, not only the happiness, but even the lives of the great mass of the people—the poor.

If then, statesmen have a right to advance their lands in times of prosperity, the poor ought to have a parliament of their own chusing, invested with power to reduce them in days of adversity. This balance of power between the rich and the poor, would be productive of a thousand times more consolation to this nation, than the chimerical nonsense of court-jugglers, "the balance of power in Europe." Nor can I imagine that any judicious person would call such a power in parliament unjust or irrational, which when exercised, could ruin none, but bless millions! If it would be cruel to make a statesman of twenty thousand pounds per annum, live a year or two upon ten thousand pounds; how much more remorseless is it, to make the Spitalfield and Norwich weavers, as well as some hundred thousands more, live upon nothing—or, what is little better upon charity!!! Besides, it is a curious truth, that the very superfluities which ruin hundreds of the voluptuous great, would render happy the innumerable unhappy part of mankind.

GREAT GOD! What spectacle so affecting to a reflecting mind as Great Britain in her present state!—On the one hand, we see the impudent nobles advertising their "grand dinners,"* in the very face of the hungry poor, whom they have ruined!! On the other hand, widows, orphans, and others, are weeping, and often dying for want of bread! What can be more odious in the sight of Heaven, than feast and famine in the same nation? Yet this is literally, the case in this kingdom at this moment, and not only in the nation, but in every town, in every street, yea, often under the same roof!

Open your eyes. O ye poor of the land! in vain are your hands and your mouths open!—Do you not see how you are cajoled and degraded, by the paltry subscriptions made for you at different times and in various parts of the nation; which serve only to make your slavery more servile, and base and your misery of longer duration? I revere generous subscribers and collectors, but I scorn the means! Ye poor, take a farther look into your rights, and you will see, that, upon the principles of reason and justice, every peaceable and useful person has a right, yea, a "divine right" to be satisfied with the good of the land!** Besides, is it not monstrously provoking to be robbed by wholesale, and relieved by retail! Look again, and you will see that public collections, subscriptions and charities, are nothing more than the appendages of corruption, extortion, and oppression! If the benevolent father of the universe did not send amongst mankind provisions enough, and more than enough and running over, such is the waste of the great and the gluttonous, that many of you poor, would get none at all! Say not, therefore, ye oppressed, "there is a famine, or scarcety of provisions in this land!" It would be false. The land contains plenty; and if provisions were (as they ought to be) reduced to your wages, you would enjoy your unquestion∣able right; a comfortable sufficiency.

But, besides the destruction of your trade, and the means of subsistence, you have the mortification to see your bread eaten by dragoon and hunting horses, spaniels, &c. and your parental, affectionate, loving, provident and tender guardians, can give you a good reason why—it is their own!

Hearken! O ye poor of the land! Do you fret and whine at oppression—"yes,"—"Then, as ye do, so did your fathers before you"—and, if you do no more, your children may whine after you! Awake! Arise! arm yourselves—with truth, justice and reason—lay siege to corruption; and your unity and invincibility shall teach your oppressors terrible things?—Purge the representation of your country—claim, as your inalienable right, universal suffrage, and annual parliaments. And whenever you have the gratification to chuse a representative, let him be from among the lower order of men, and he will know how to sympathize with you, and represent you in character.—Then, and not till then, shall you experience universal peace and incessant plenty.



An Indian, who lately came to one of the American settlements to barter away his furs, had beads and other small trinkets delivered to him, wrapt up in pieces of English newspapers. Curious to know what was going on in this country, he asked a trader WHO COULD READ, to explain the contents. The first paragraph was—"Yesterday his majesty, accompanied by Lord C. and Lord W. and several other noblemen and gentlemen took the diversion of hunting." The next—"The Windsor hunt was last week most numerously attended;"—this was followed by "The Dutchess of Gordon's SUPERB dinner, attended by all the cabinet ministers, except three, who has unfortunately SPLENDID dinners in their own houses, the same evening; but for these gentlemen, her grace has declared her intention of having a magnificent feast next week." The next paragraph was dated from Yorkshire, and gave a long account of Colonel Thornton's hounds having run a fox more than 50 miles. The reader was going on with the relation of several other dinners for LORDS and COMMONERS when the Indian interrupting him, cried out "Stop, let me hear no more— I see that in what you call a civilized country, and boast so much about, the whole business of life is the same as with us— HUNTING and FEASTING.

** See Spence's Rights of Man