Imatges de pÓgina
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A NEW YEAR'S ADDRESS TO THE RE-
` FORMERS OF GREAT BRITAIN.

FELLOW COUNTRYMEN,

THERE is one thing as certain as the return of the seasons,
and that is, that we shall finally succeed in our pursuit of
effectual liberty. It is clear and evident that we have made
no small progress within the last year, although, that year
commenced with a variety of new restrictions to check us,
and to strengthen the power of the enemy with whom we
contend. Circumstances that have occurred both without
and within this Island, have produced us material assistance.
The first thing we heard of as a set-off against the six new
restriction laws, was the revolution in Spain-the most im
portant of all revolutions--a revolution from a state of des-
potism to a state of perfect liberty, and the first revolution
of the kind without bloodshed! In Spain it was well begun
and well finished, and as this is the anniversary of the day
on which Riego proclaimed the Constitution, as established
in 1812, and took possession of the Isle de Leon, I celebrated
it as one worthy of being observed in remembrance of so
important an event to the cause of universal liberty, by
writing to you this address. This is the only means I have
of celebrating it, as company I have none, and eating and
drinking are with me but secondary objects. I look back
with real pleasure and satisfaction on the good work per-
formed in Spain in the past year: I hail with exultation the
steady, uniform, and patriotic disposition of the Spanish
soldier and the Spanish citizen; the admirable union which
exists throughout the nation, and the wisdom and prudence
displayed by its legislature. The example is still more
grand and enticing than ever was that of the United States
of America. May it be universally followed: I have had
some dread and suspicion of a re-action in Spain, from the
direful state of Priestcraft and Bigotry which has so long
darkened that country, but I am happy to see, that, after
several efforts, it has proved powerless, and that truth and
- reason bid fair to triumph effectually over delusion.
I am
disposed to think that the first of January, on which Spain
struck an effectual blow at despotism, will form a new era.

The present, from which we date in Europe, is growing old, and on examination it will be found to have had but a ridicu

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lous foundation. An era signifies some important event; the Jews dated from their book of Genesis, and if it were true it would authorize the circumstance: the Grecians computed time by their Olympic Games, which happened once in four years: the Romans from the building of their city, which, from its becoming the mistress of Europe, and a great part of Asia and Africa, justified the practice: the Mahometans date from the day on which their prophet Mahomet fled from Mecca to Medina and began successfully to propagate his nonsense by the sword: the Inhabitants of the United States of America in addition to the Christian era compute time from their declaration of Independence, the French nation dated from the Revolution during the Republic: and shall not we date from so important a period as the revolution in Spain, which has been followed, already, by Naples, and by Portugal, and which will make the Representative System of Government universal? Mr. Hunt has begun to compute time from the Manchester Massacre, but that can never be adopted as general, as it is a circumstance to be reflected upon with pain and regret ; but I understand, that Mr. Hunt's object is chiefly to proclaim the shame of that circumstance having passed without inquiry, and only to continue that computation of time until the inquiry be made, and the assassins brought to justice; which will happen as soon as we have a Representative System of Government, and not before. However, as it is desireable to make a computation of time as general as possible, I am inclined to think that the Spanish Revolution will be found the most important, and as it occurred on the first day of a year, according to our present reckoning, the time is well adapted to evade confusion in the change.

Naples was the first to follow the example of Spain, but, unfortunately in Sicily this revolution has not been bloodless and from the contiguity of Naples to the Austrian territories, it has roused a despot to war, who trembles for the security of his despotism. It now appears past doubt, that Austria will open the present year with a campaign against the liberties of Europe; for the cause of Naples is the cause of every honest and liberal minded man in Europe. The first gun fired against the liberties of Europe; should be the proclamation of a general war on the Continent between Liberty and Despotism; for if Naples be overpowered, Spain and Portugal will not be safe. I heartily hope that the Austrian army will find again the field of Gemappe on the borders of Naples; and this will be its fate, if the Neapolitans possess that enthusiastic spirit of liberty, which

ennobled the French nation at the commencement of its revo lution. Perish Despotism and let the standard of Liberty triumph! Spain must make the cause of Naples her own in self defence, and I am now inclined to think that the spirit of Liberty has so deeply pervaded the hearts of Spaniards as to make Spain a second France for enthusiasm and devotedness. If a gun be fired against the liberty of Naples, immediately Spain ought to set about the rescue of France from her present degradation. The planting of the tri-coloured flag on the north-east side of the Pyrennees, should be the signal for war against Despotism throughout Europe.

Of Portugal we cannot yet say much, the revolution has been well begun, and as well carried on, so far. Spain is the safeguard of Portugal, and the closer the union between the two countries the better. These revolutions have been no small assistance to our cause at home, as there is a class of men on whom nothing but example can operate. It has lowered the tone of the servile and abject creatures, who decry all change as anarchy, to see the majestic progress of the change in Spain. Their lies and calumnies are stifled in utterance by pointing the finger to the Peninsula. Faction trembles for her object when she sees so many revolutions effected by the union of the army and the people, without bloodshed and even without confusion. The past year has afforded us some fine specimens of patriotism, which have had the effect of silencing the abuse of that virtue, by fixing its standard in an exemplary view, and by proclaiming to the servile and corrupt part of society the true definition of the word. No material change has occurred on the continent of South America, perhaps the change in Spain might have retarded the progress of independence in the colonies by making the parties less inimical to each other. St. Domingo promises a fine example to all the West India Islands in the abolition of monarchical despotism, and the establishment of the Representative System of Government, with an elective presidency as the executive. Thus the cheering prospect of foreign affairs has amply dispelled the gloom of our more immediate interests at home, and with the triumph of the Queen over the conspiracy against her life and honour, have conjointly worked us half a revolution.

As far as the barrack system will admit, we should studiously seek to enlighten our army at home. Every thing in the shape of a quarrel with the regular military should be carefully avoided, as our rulers, and their dependants, studiously seek to foment, those quarrels between the soldiers

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and the people. Their object is, as far as possible, to keep alive provincial prejudices, by removing the soldiers from their native provinces, and interchanging them; so that Scotland is generally filled with Irish and English troops; England, with those of Scotland and Ireland; and Ireland, with those of England and Scotland. Though we have laws which make it a capital offence to do, what is called seducing a soldier or a sailor from his allegiance, yet it might be easily impressed on their minds that the welfare of their country should be the object nearest their hearts: and the success and noble conduct of the armies of Spain, Naples, and Portugal, should be continually kept in their view. Useful and instructive tracts might be easily put into their hands; for it is a folly to hoard the political pamphlets of the day; as soon as they are read by one they should be handed to another, and so on, from hand to hand, until they become illegible, and worn out like a bank note. But few people read such publications twice, and we should endeavour to meet the restriction on the press by this mode of circulation.

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Whenever a corrupt goverment exists, the people have the power of destroying it, if they set earnestly and resolutely to work, and that in a quiet manner. As every go vernment must derive its support from the body of the people; it follows, as a matter of course, that the people. must have the power in a great measure to withhold their supplies. But here the very essence of virtue is required: we must deny ourselves those little luxuries in which we have long indulged. Why not? Who gains and who loses by this denial? We do not rob ourselves: we only check our passions, and in doing this, we strengthen both our bodies and our purses. We go on to make ourselves still more formidable to that which we wish to oppose, and we fight as if with a two-edged sword, free from the danger of being either killed or wounded and at the same time improv ing our health and increasing our strength. I would appeal to those who, for the last year, have had the courage and the virtue to desist from the use of malt and spirituous liquors, foreign tea and coffee, tobacco, snuff, &c. whether they do. not feel a real satisfaction from the change of habit, and whether they are not better in health and pocket without the use of those things? There are a variety of other things which are heavily excised, the use of which might be prudently dropped, and which are not essential either to the health or the comfort of mankind. Speaking for myself, I can say, that I do not recommend more than I practise, and that my. fare. for the last year has consisted chiefly of milk, bread, and

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raw native fruits. I have been fatter and stronger than in any former year of my life, and I feel as if I had obtained a new system by the change. My natural disposition is luxurious, and under a better system of government, or where this rational warfare was not called for, I should at all times live up to my income: but I feel that I should not half do my duty were I to recommend what I did not practise. The cost of my food has not more than averaged five shillings per week for the last year, and what I should have otherwise spent I have now had the satisfaction to give away. This system of abstinence from exciseable articles was well begun last year, but it must be continued, to be effectual: six, twelve, or eighteen months will not suffice; it must end only with the present system of government. Persevere, Reformers; increase your fortitude and your virtues as you proceed.

For a considerable time last winter I made a liquor as a substitute for tea from hay, and I found it very pleasant. I would prefer it to the Breakfast Powder, or the British Herb Tea, which are now selling in London in such large quantities. In London good milk is not to be obtained, therefore some beverage is necessary as a substitute, and from universal habit something warm in the shape of tea is looked for. Nothing can be more wholesome than the Breakfast Pow der or British Herb Tea, as the former I understand to be manufactured from the best wheat, and this might as easily be done by persons in country places, as to fry a pancake or bake a loaf on the hearth. A variety of substitutes have been already pointed out for various exciseable articles, so that I need not enumerate them here: my chief object is to stimulate all Reformers to the further use of them, and not to grow weary of so easy and so effectual a mode of warfare. In this purfuit we do not punish oursives, but the common enemy. We aggravate not our own evils, but we increase the difficulties of those who oppress us. Shrink not then ye Male and Female Reformers from this virtuous mode of warfare, for to conquer our injurious habits, and our enemy at the same time, is a double conquest, to obtain which, both man, woman, and child can very properly assist.

All our other efforts at home to obtain a Reform of the Parliament seem to be wrapt up in the case of the Queen : no other step has been made in the past year: but by involving our interest with that of her Majesty we have acted most wisely, and have furthered our cause in a considerable manner. She justly observes, that her enemies are the enemies of the people, and the final triumph of the one will

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