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Charter Newspaper Archive: November 3, 1839 - Page 1

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Publication: Charter

Location: London, Middlesex

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   Charter (Newspaper) - November 3, 1839, London, Middlesex                                ESTABLISHED   BY  THE WORKING   CLASSES THEV   WHO SEEK   NOTHING   BUT   THE1U   OWN   JUST   LIBEKTY, HAVE   ALWAYS   A   EIGHT   TO   WIN   IT, AND   TO   KEEP   IT, WHENEVER THEY  HAVE THE  POWEE, BE  THE  VOICES NEVEft SO NUMEROUS THAT OPPOSE THEM.-Milton. "LIBERCY, SUCH AS DESERVES THE NAME, IS THE PORTION OF THE MASS OF THE CITIZENS, AND NOT THE HAUGHTY LICENSE OT SOME PREDOMINANT FACTION."-Edmund Burf* No. 41 SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1839. Price 6d politics* THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION. By the " British Constitution" is meant that system of Government which prevails in this country,-if a confused and heterogeneous jumble, founded on no conceivable principle, can properly be called a system at all. In the first place we have a Queen, who, independently of a thousand other prerogatives, can make war and peace without consulting any one ; who directly and immediately appoints all the members of the Government and great Officers of State; the Judges, Magistrates, Officers in the Army and Navy, and in fact every holder of an office of trust and power. In addition to this, she, by her own sole fiat, can swamp one of the branches of the legislature, by new creations, and can set at nought the united wishes of both Houses of Parliament. And she is supported in most extravagant splendour, out of the hard earnings of the people,-more money for instance being devoted to the erection of her stables, than to the education of the whole community ! Secondly, we have a House of Lords composed of hereditary Legislators, of Bishops appointed by the Crown, and of hereditary noblemen elected by their own order in Ireland and Scotland. So that however vicious and ignorant a man may be, yet if he be born a Lord, or meet with the favour of the Monarch, he is invested with legislative power, with control over the liberties, fortunes, and lives, of the people. And to crown the whole, he may exercise this power by proxy, without hearing one word of remonstrance or reasoning. Lastly, there is a House of Commons, composed of the nominal representatives of the people, hut whom it no more represents than it does the people of America. The House represents none but a few Landowners, since they command a great majority through the small country towns, sending three times more members than the large ones; arid in consequence of the County franchise being in effect confined to Landowners and Farmers, the weighty interests of the masses, and the commerce and manufactures of the nation, are held as, nothing in this absurd apology for a representation* Not one half even of the middle class have any. voice, and a small minority of those who hold the franchise, namely one sixth, returns more members than all the rest.   If this is not the acme, the very perfection and ne ptus ultra, of pre-posterousness, pray what is ?   Were it not too I well!" serious a matter, what could he better calculated to excite our risible faculties, than that under this he punished for expressing any complaint, and "exciting dissatisfaction:" nor shall 1 do more than merely allude to the refusal of the government to allow citizens to acquire a knowledge of the use of arms, for fear they should bring about a different state of things. I shall confine myself to what are called the fundamental principles of the constitution,- the system of government by Queen, Lords, and Commons, which is said to he an admirable mixture of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy, all balancing each other. This supposed balance is a mere phantom of the imagination. An actual representation of the people and an hereditary legislature are totally incompatible with each other, and were never known to exist together. Even now, in consequence of the small improvement effected by the Reform Bill, " collisions" are taking place. But what willbe the case when the popular principle becomes all powerful in what is called the lower house? Can any opposition on the part of the Lords be other than futile? What then becomes of the boasted balance ?-How long would an hereditary aristocracy be kept up, merely to'register the decrees of the people ? As to the utility of the House of Lords, in revising and correcting bills, a committee of the Commons appointed for that purpose would perform it much better, under the control of the House itself. If we look back to the origin of our boasted constitution, we shall find that it was founded in usurpation and violence. The sovereignty was acquired by conquest, and the officers of the Conqueror parcelled out the country amongst each other. They and their descendants, together with the monarch, governed the nation, made what laws they pleased, and enforced them by the sword." In course of time it became necessary, in order to facilitate the collection of the revenues, to call in the assistance of a few individuals, chosen by a portion of the people. The monarch accordingly commanded just what towns and places hs pleased to send representatives, and pointed out by nis decree, or charter, how and by whom they should he elected. These representatives he called together when he pleased, and no oftener. They were paid by their constituents, and the office was considered as one of more burthen than honour. Gradually, however, this "lower House" has acquired more power, hut it still retains the distinguishing traits of its barbarous origin, with but slight modifications. But the   svstem   has been found  to " work pretended system of representation a householder living in one place has a vote because he pays 10/. a year rent, whilst in the neighbouring town all persons similarly circumstanced; nay, paying more than four times as high a rental, have no more to do with the election of members of Parliament, than they have with the affairs of the Emperor of China! But this is]not all,-the electors fare restrained from choosing whom they please,-their choice is not a sufficient qualification,-they are prevented from electing any besides individuals of a particular class. And to effestually prevent even this semblance and shadow of popular power from being detrimental to aristocratical sway, an election takes place only once in seven years, unless the Sovereign chooses that it should be oftener. By this means the member becomes independent of his constituents, 'and is enabled to dispose of his political power in any way that may best suit his own pecuniary purposes, or best advance the interests of his relations and friends, or flatter his vanity. And when the time comes for renewing his long lease, he can afford to pay the " privileged few** pretty handsomely for their favours. This is the legislative body at whose mercy we are all placed,-an hereditary monarchy,-an hereditary House of Lords, and an assembly, which, by a fiction only, is supposed to represent the people. Can we then wonder at the melancholy state of society in these realms,-can we expect any; other, thantnat the people being unrepresented, their interests should be neglected, and nothing looked to but the aggrandizement of the aristocracy and their retainers? Although treating of the British Constitution, it is not my intention to comment here upon the Chufoh Establishment, its monstrous evils and abu8es,the danger of our standing army severed from the rest of the people and placed at the absolute disposal of the monarch, the scandalous state of vision to discover. It is a Constitution which produces the very reverse of what ought to be the object of all Governments, " the happiness of the many." Compare the condition of " the many " in this country with that of the people in free states ; look at what we are and what we ought to be, and say ought we to be satisfied, and boast of our fetters ? REFORMATOR. the dorsetshire farmers. #�f the law in its principles and administration, or the utter disregard of the representative principle both in form and substance in local affairs ;-neither shall I stop to show that by the existing laws the people ha*e in reality no power to meet together to consider their grievances, nor any right to give utterance to their feelings, inasmuch as they may system Indeed! How long so1.? Up to a comparatively recent period this was a poor and insignificant nation, and something like a fifth-rate European power. The constitution was then the same, or nearly so. To what then is our great advancement in the arts and sciences to be attribute ed ? Why, to our insular position and maritime superiority, to our mines of iron and coal, and manufacturing inventions. We have prospered in spite of ignorant class legislation doing its utmost to discourage and extinguish our commerce by enormous burthens and unwise restrictions. But although a numerous middle class has been raised, look at the condition of the great mass of the people. It k\s miserable in the extreme. We are often told that the power of the Monarch is only nominal; but the fact is quite the reverse. A King or Queen in this country can create a most powerful party, which will never fail to discover absolute wisdom in every thing that is said or done by the dispenser of all honour, power, and emolument. The fruits of this admirable Constitution are simply these; a few men of a privileged class rule the nation, and make laws for their own advantage, without regard to the people. The nation is cramped with an enormous debt, contracte dfor the purpose of supporting Monarchy and tyranny abroad; the taxes raised to pay the interest of that debt, and the expenses of Government, are raised from the earnings of the masses, instead of being levied on property. The laws make rents high and food dear, the poor are half starved for the sake of saving the pockets of the landlords, innumerable places and pensions are created to support the luxuries of the privileged classes; and, in two words, the nation is made to remain in a state of poverty, ignorance, and degradation, for the sake of a small portion of the community. Now look, ye Britons, at this picture of the " British Constitution." Is it not faithfully painted, and do you not now ardently admire the syste of government which is said to be the wonder and admiration of the world ? By the bye, I apprehend that it is our commercial and maritime pre-eminence and enormous Colonial power that attract the envy of the world, and not our laws and   constitution,  the  symmetry   and eomli- ness of which it would require a eurio'ussdrt to   the   editor   of   the   charter. Sir,-Allow me to use a small space in your eolmnns, to make public a flagrant act of oppression committed agaiust an honest and industrious labourer, by the brutally-ignorant and iron-hearted fanners of Dorset. This is not the first time that I have had occasion, �  L 1 through the public press, to denounce the inhuman and unchristian conduct of these, gentry. During the time of the agitation previous to the assembly of the Convention, a labourer of the name of John Lane, residing at Houghton, near Blaxidford, had made himself . active in spreading information amongst his brethren in the district. The farmer for whom he then worked, a man of the name of Cairns, in hearing of this, instantly discharged him. Since that time the farmers in the parish of Houghton and its neighbourhood, by mutual agreement, have refused to employ him ; telling him they would punish him for his interference. The < bject they had principally in view was, to force him into the Union workhouse, to break down, as they expressed it, his spirit, and to deter his fellow-labourers from following liis example. This persecution of poor Lane and his family has extended over a period of eighteen months. From information I have just received, they have at last succeeded in their purpose ; Lane, after struggling as long as he was able against these " friends of the poor," as they sometimes style themselves, is now an inmate of Blandford Union Workhouse, separated from his family, and his home broken up, not because he is unable or unwilling to work, but because he " dared" to thing* for himself, and to impart what knowledge he possessed to his less fortunate or less reflecting brethren. It is also worthy of remark, that the farmers who thus persecuted Lane and his family while he was a li free labourer," and who received great assistance from Stewart, the parson of Houghton, in their unholy doings, are most of them members of the Blandford Board of Guardians ;ko that poor Lane is still in their power. I regret that the late time of the week when I received the above information prevents my doing the farmers of Houghton that justice they richly deserve; but having visited the county of Dorset-during the last twelve months, I can assure you there is no species of tyranny which these fellows are not prepared to iaflict on their labourers. Another instance: A labouring man residing in the parish of Stickland,   a    village    adjoining     Houghton,    of Hicks,   about four weeks since, ordered a copy of The Charter, paper td.be sent him weekly.   The farmer for whom he was a subscriber to The the  name  of Thomas worked finding that he Charter, last week discharged him on that account, and no doubt intends him to share the fate of Lane. Even the boy who, when fetching his master's pa'per from the Blandford post office, brought Hicks, also has been discharged. Comment here is unnecessary. I have not done yet however, with the " Poor Men's Friends," of Dorset, and, with your permission, wil next week offer a few more observations on theil dastardly conduct.   Your's respectfully, RORRRT HARTWELL. Hotel and Tavern-Keeper's Bbxevolent Institution.-The first Anniversary Dinner of the Hotel and Tavern-keeper's Benevolent Institution, the object of which is the establishment of a fund for the permanent or temporary assistance of members, their widows, and children, took place on Thursday evening at the London Coffee-house, Ludgate-hilL The Chair was taken by Benjamin Bond Cabbell, Esq.; and at halfrpast she nearly two hundred gentlemen sat down to an entertainment of which it is unnecessary to say more than that it was worthy of Lovegrove's high character for good taste and liberality, and that the wines received the unanimous approval of a company which included tsoineofthe best judges in the metropolis. After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts had been given and cordially responded to, the Chairman gave 11 Pros-fierity to the Hotel and Tavern-keeper's Benevolent Institution prefacing the toast by some very exce'lent and appropriate observations on its merits, and the 'claims, which it had upon public sympathy and support. Mr. Bleaden, of the London Tavern, returned thanks, detailing the history of the formation of the Institution -pointing out the benefits it was calculated to confer upon aged and necessitous members-and inculcating the advantages of frugality arid economy. In the course of the evening the Secretary, Mr. Newbon, amidst loud applause, .read a long and cheering list of donations and subscriptions, amounting to nearly 400/. There was a vfcry full attendance of professional singersf including Messrs. Bellamy, Broadhurst, Atkins, Hawkins, Fitz-william, Robinson, and Masters Martin and Cliff, w}wBeexertipi& contributed much to the harmony and A the evening; the enjoyments of which were ;ted to an advanced honr. Ministers and the Chartists.-Sir R. Rolfe, the Solicitor-General, thus referred the other day, at a. meeting with his constituents, to the ministerial policy on the subject:-" Ministers are also accused of a want of energy in not having adopted more rigorous measures to put dowu the Chartists. It was quite a mistake to suppose that ministers had not all along been most anxious on that matter, or that they had for a moment allowed their attention to be diverted from it. It had been his duty to be in daily conference with Lord J. Russell, who watched their proceedings with the utmost anxiety, and was deterred from adopting what might be termed more rigorous measures, by the assurance which he felt that, the thing would wear itself out, and that he might safely rely upon the sound English feeling and the good sense of the people generally, to put it down. Was he right or was he not ? WTiere were the Chartists now ? (Cheers).-They might be considered as extinct.   Had the Tories been in power, he knew perfectly well that they would not have acted as the present government had done. Oh, no, we should have had the Manchester massacre re-enacted.-(Cheers.) Who does not remember what they did in 1810 ? They adopted a very different course then. After their rigorous proceedings at Manchester, they called Parliament prematurely together to pass the Six Acts for abridging the liberty of the press, and the liberty of the subject." - (Great Leering.) Anti-Bridck Toll Association. -Yesterday a meeting of merchants, traders, and others, resident in the City, and interested in the furtherance of the objects of this association, was held at the Queen's Arms, Queen-street, Cheapaide.   Mr. Hobler in the chair; when Mr. Cope, the honorary secretary, after referring to the numerous district petitions which have been forwarded to the association for presentation to the House of Commons, submitted to the meeting the draft of a petition from the City district, which, after stating the general grounds upon which the petitioners urge the interference of the House to remove the evils complained of (the tolls on Vauxhall, Waterloo, and Southwark Bridges), pray that the House will; by the immediate adoption of one or other of the means suggested and approved by the metropolis improvement committee, or by such other means as the House: may deem best adapted for accomplishing such object, to originate or sanction a measure by which the interests of the proprietors of Waterloo, Southwark, and Vauxhall Bridges, or such of them as the House may consider necessary for removing the grievances, may be purchased, in order to their being immediately thrown open* to the public free of toll. This petition was adopted and signed by the meeting. Effects of Intemperance.-An inquest was held before Mr. Baker, at the London Hospital, on Thursday, on the body of William Swan, a bricklayer, aged forty-five. Mary Swan stated that she was the deceased's wife, and resided at No. 1, Chancery-court, Ratcliff-highway. On last Monday, week he came home to his dinner and complained to her of a pain in' his wrist, saying that he scratched it slightly with a trowel. She examined the part, and saw a small puncture, like the scrape of a pin, but deemed it too trilling te notice. He went to his work on the following day, and returned home very soon, as his arm had swelled to a great size, and prevented him from working. Poultices and other remedies were tried, but witheut success, and he was removed to the London Hospital on Friday, where he died on the following Monday. Mr. Henry Stan field, a pupil in the hospital, said that after the deceased's admission the inflammation in his arm increased rapkUy,, and ultimately terminated in mortification. Witffress' was told by deceased's wiFe that he was a per intemperate habits, and in his (witnesses) opinion- ifr was owing to this alone that sueh a fatal result arose from so trifling a cause. Mary Swan, in answer to a juror, said her husband's earnings were almost all spent upon drink, and that he would abstain from food for days whilst in these fits of intoxication. The jury returned a verdict (l That the deceased die tion arising from a slight wound inflicted by a trowel." Trade is Languishing.-In Dundee there are many excellent mechanics idle, and the manufacturing population are not faring better, nor will they, we fear, for some time. In Montrose there are a considerable number of flaxdressers and others out of employment, which is a state of circumstances new in this town. In Arbroath, wo hear of very many complaints; and some people say there is too much work doing without, and too little with, orders. Several mill spinners say that they cannot get the value of raw material for yarn. The harvest has slightly eased the produce of the looms of Forfar, Kirriemuir, Brechin, and the villages, but we doubt that cloth will accumulate. We have every reason to think that provisions will be cheaper and better than last winter, because we do not depend on wheat so mueh as oats in this quarter.-Montrose Review* Exportation of Machinery.-The bobbin net machine exporters were extremely busy during the fair week, both in sending away the best workmen and the best maehines   Several orders are in town for machine insides for France, though scarcely any machines have been building in Nottingham since 1836, except those for Burton's new s�eam factory at Map per ley.   The number of bobbin net machines since that year has decreased nearly one-half in England.   A branch establishment of the jingler stocking frames are now making new frames in Ostend; this description of stocking frame was invented in London, by Mr. Holland, the fleecy patentee, in 1836; his frame now stands: in the room of the Society of Arts, in the Adelphi, Strand* \ottinghafn Journal. ' 5T ortifica-   

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