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But this has not been the common opinion; and the taxes on newspapers, which necessitate a large fortune for carrying on a newspaper with success, form part of a plan which places power under the security of wealth.
The theory may be plausible-but what are its effects?
Itly By giving journalism the basis rather of money than of mind, you make the writers of papers less known, because less respected, and less responsible, because less known.
2dly By restricting competition to the very rich, you make papers themselves more powerful than they ought to be, and encourage them to be less honest.
3dly By creating a price for papers which but few, speaking comparatively, can afford, you make them disregardless of the interests and feelings of the great masses by whom they cannot be bought.
The first proposition I have shewn.
The second is self-evident.
The third I come to the consideration ofimpressed, I confess, with a deep sense of its importance.
And, let us allow that there is something a little ludicrous in the air of comfort with which the legislator hugs himself in his present contri
press which is so remote from all their views, habits, and ideas, that it would never enter into their heads to suppose that it could exist, but for the kindness of some attorney-general, who, by an untimely prosecution now and then, instructs them of the circumstance.
TO THE INSURGENT AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS. "You are much admired for every thing you are known "to have done during the last month; for as yet, there "is no evidence before the public that you are incendiaries
or even political rebels. Much as every thoughtful man "must lament the waste of property, much as the country "must suffer by the burnings of farm produce now going "on, were you proved to be the incendiaries, we should "defend you by saying, that you have more just and moral "cause for it than any king or faction, that ever made war, had for making war.
"A Constitutional Monarchy is hypocrisy sanctioned. "by law; its terms and limits can never be legally "defined; it is a constant contest for power among fac"tions; it is, on the part of the people, a state of conquest, or ignorant slavery; if hereditary, it is liable "to bad passion, to imbecility or to idiotcy; it is a compound of contradiction; it engenders, as it has now engendered in England, all sorts of abuses; it becomes "the government of an aristocracy; and it is, in fine and "in fact, the worst and most degrading form of govern"ment that has ever been devised for a people.
"On the Sunday mornings and evenings, and on the Friday evenings, the service is very properly called divine, and is certainly the best theological service that "has yet been presented to a congregation. The character "of the Deity is vindicated on the Sunday morning, by "Mr. Carlile, against the monstrosities set up in that name by the priests and fanatics!!!—The Prompter.
“ Man rung by want, goaded by insult, duped, maddened, starved, is no longer man-he is a monster!"let them beware of the unearthly thing they have "formed! He will ravage! rage! burn! he will (as in 'Ireland) adorn himself with blood!" - Poor Man's Guardian.
I could then turn to a tirade in which the title, that monarchical England cheerfully pronounces, is impudently laid aside, and the sovereign abused under the somewhat plain title of "Mr. Guelph," for neglecting the interests of the people, whose liberties he was at that very moment prudently, but at the same time magnanimously, extending.
Even the illustrious Princess to whom England owes so much for a retirement beneath which the royal hope of these countries has been discreetly reared-notwithstanding her prudent privacy, and conduct that defies reproach is attacked with vulgar and voluntary virulence; nor is there any principle, person, or authority so sacred in the eyes of these printed preachers to the people as to claim their for
bearance or respect.* Is there danger in this? Remember these violent absurdities are addressed to a class possessing excellent intentions, and generous sympathies, but ignorant, naturally jealous of the great, and totally without any other organ of opinion. Nay more, the journal I have been quoting from-silly as we see it, and contemptible as we may wish it to be-is written not without a certain eloquence and ability, and sold, when I last enquired, about 400 copies a week in Coventry alone; while at the very moment at which I am writing 70,000 copies are sold 'per week of similar unauthorized publications.
They are sold in opposition to the law-they are of course, written against the law—they are sold in spite of the wealthy classes-they are of course, written against the wealthy classes.
How can you hope for peace and harmony in the community when you cut in two the stream of opinion-when you exclude the peasant from that branch which you direct to the proprietor, and hide from the proprietor
*I will take this opportunity of observing that we have a pledge from the existing government that the cause of this nuisance shall be withdrawn at the earliest moment compatible with the necessities of the revenue. This is the first pledge of the kind we have received, and I never for my own part, deemed it a wise or worthy policy to disgust those who profess friendly intentions by manifesting a hitherto unmerited suspicion.
that branch which is flowing on to the peasant ?*
Rest assured that if there be any thing to prevent a violent convulsion among our neighbours, it is that low price of papers which allows every doctrine to enter into every home. -If there be any thing likely to bring about a convulsion among ourselves, it is that severance between the sevenpenny papers which go to the peer's breakfast table, and the twopenny papers which go to the mechanic's cottage.
There is another advantage in the French system: by making intelligence the governing principle of the press you bring into action a power which, from its very nature, is always preparing futurity :—
By making wealth the governing principle, you put into action a power which is never addressed but to the moment.
Any child told to look at the state of England, at the present moment, and to put his
* If you have a very high tax that high tax is avoided -and the press consists of two extremes. If you have a moderate tax by diminishing the advantage of disobeying the law and thereby providing for its obedience-you have a press addressing itself to a middle class, and therefore taking a moderate tone-uniting the two classes most opposed, and not separating them.