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dren. (Vol. V. p. 142.). We wish that he had been somewhat f more explicit, and had entered more largely into this subject, as we do not apprehend that from his opinion, properly qualified, we should feel under any necessity of expressing our dissent. On this interesting point, we have, however, already put on record our maturest sentiments in noticing Mr. Hawkins's Dissertation on Tradition, (Eclectic Review for Feb. 1820,) and to t that paper, we take the liberty of recalling the attention of those readers who may wish to pursue the subject.
Here, with ample materials of further citation and discussiono before us, we must reluctantly close our notice of this valua-an ble work. Perhaps, the latter volumes do not exhibit all those) marks of clear and profound thinking, careful deliberation, and intellectual energy, which are so conspicuous in the early a part of the series; but we hesitate in even expressing an opinion of their comparative value, which may sound like disparagement. The subjects of the latter volumes, though of the highest prac tical importance, did not equally call for the display of the Author's very, superior powers of mind, and may, on that aocount, have been less diligently laboured. For this, the Author's numerous avocations will satisfactorily apologize. There are many particular discourses, however, of eminent value; and the whole series will be estimated in proportion as it is made the subject of attentive and reiterated perusal. As a body of Divinity, and as a code of Christian morals, it forms an invaluable accession to the Theological Bibliotheca.
Art. VIII. A Reply to the principal Objections advanced by Cobbett and others against the Framework-knitters' Friendly Relief Society. By the author of "The Appeal." 8vo. p. 32. price 1s London, 1821..
N our Number for January 1820, we reviewed a small pamphlet, written by the Rev. Robert Hall, on the subject of the Leicester Framework-knitters' Fund; and we introduced it by a statement of the circumstances which had led to its publication." Other local tracts had, even at that time, been published with reference to the same transactions; but, though the greater portion of them lay within our reach, we did not feel it necessary to crowd our page by a citation of their titles. There was, however, one which we might have selected from the mass, as written in a fine strain of eloquent feeling; sometimes, it may be, overwrought, but always urging a vehement and powerful appeal to the better sympathies of mankind. It was not with out some reluctance, that we yielded to the reasons of expedi ency which withheld us at the time from noticing this animated “Enquiry into the consequences of the present depreciated.
"value of human labour, in Letters to T. F. Buxton, Esq. "M. P." And we shall now gratify ourselves by inserting an extract which may afford a specimen of its style, and which connects itself, by a personal reference, both with the Author and the subject of the pamphlet the title of which stands at the head of this article.
'Labour ought to be considered in the eye of law as PROPERTY; the poor have no other, and it should be regarded as sacred.—The deprivation of labour is more mischievous, and demands severer penalties, than the depreciation of the current coin,-it ought to be regarded as the most flagitious of all felonies. But it is on single crimes,-on petty aggressions, that all the rigours of human law are exhausted. One murder makes a villain, millions a hero.' Here too the strong language of the satirist is as strictly applicable. One petty theft will bring the culprit to the gallows, whilst robberies en masse, which impoverish and bring millions to ruin, are subject to no legal reprehension.
But let us observe how ecclesiastical censures will affect this class of offenders, who are out of the reach of the secular arm. We will imagine them to be brought within the sound of a warning voice, as bold and faithful as that of the Baptist in the wilderness of Judea.— The preacher may have been long admired for the transcendent powers of his eloquence, and the sublimity of his genius, and whilst they point at speculative errors, and at generalities only, the vivid flashes of his genius, and the grand reverberations of his eloquence are observed with as much complacency as the distant innoxious storm. But, when he directs his artillery against individual sins; when he draws the avenging sword against Agag; begins to tear down the altars, and to destroy the idol gods which are set up in the hearts, and worshipped in the lives of his hearers; when he launches all the terrors both of the Law and the Gospel in their most appalling forms, against the defrauders of the poor and needy;-arraigning them at the bar of conscience, and forestalling the dreadful sentence recorded against the rich oppressors; warning them that their ill-gotten wealth shall witness against them in the great day of retribution, and consume their flesh as it were fire;' then there will be an end of his popularity: the crowded ranks of his admirers will be broken, and censure and obloquy will succeed unqualified praise. Or, if no such consequence should follow, it is not because his remonstránces have taken effect, and are working reformation as well as conviction;-no, the individuals most implicated are cased in invincible armour ;......... the arrows, however pointed, strike not the conscience, because each individual wards them from his own, and directs them to his neighbour's bosom.-Even the Royal Prophet, whilst in the commission of crimes the most atrocious, was so insensible of his own enormities, as to condemn his neighbour to death for an act of oppression, which lost all its guilt in comparison with his own.'
There was another publication on the same side of the question, distinguished by purity of intention and humane feeling, but not remarkable for strong reasoning or vigorous composition.
On this unfortunate tract, Mr. Cobbett, for reasons which it is not needful to analyse, fastened with his usual energy; and availing himself of some singularly weak paragraphs, made a fierce attack, not only on the defenders of the "Friendly So"ciety," but on the system of association itself. There was a mixture of boldness and speciousness in his address, which produced a considerable effect; and it was felt expedient, that some competent writer should take up the discussion, in order to counteract the impression which had been made, not upon the workmen, but on such of the masters as had viewed the progress of the system with dislike, and were now glad to avail themselves of the services of this unexpected ally.
Under these circumstances, Mr. Hall has again come forward, and, in this admirably written pamphlet, has reinforced his former positions, with great strength of argument, and in his own peculiar and exquisite style. As we feel no disposition to mingle as partisans in the contest, our present business will be to supply such extracts as may vindicate the encomium we have expressed, and excite our readers to a perusal of the whole.In some of the tracts for which this business has given occasion, the legal penalties connected with combination had been held up in terrorem. This is put aside in the following masterly paragraph.
Since in the case before us, it is the surplus of labour alone which affords the facility of effecting a depression so destructive, by obliging those who are unemployed to engage themselves at a price by which they could not live, the object of the Union is simply to take away that necessity, by withdrawing that portion of redundant labour which produced it; a mode of proceeding perfectly analogous to that which takes place in every branch of trade and manufacture. He who is engaged in these, endeavours invariably to adjust the extent of the supply to the demand: if his capital enables him, he withholds his commodities from the market when it is glutted, and reproduces them when they are more eagerly called for. Is there any principle of political economy conceived to be violated by this discretionary power of the manufacturer to adjust his productions to his demand-to withdraw them from the market at his pleasure, when he foresees their sale will fetch no adequate returns? But this, mutatis mutandis, or with a slight change of names, is exactly the case under present discussion. The labour and skill of the mechanic or the artist, constitute the article he has to dispose of; and the Framework-knitters' Fund, against which such a clamour has been raised by interested and designing men, is nothing more or less than a provision for withholding such a portion of that article, as he perceives cannot be employed without ruinous consequences. If the principles of political economy are those of justice and common sense, they will authorise no more interference with the labouring mechanic, than with the tradesman or manufacturer: and if the manufacturer is not compelled to dispose of his productions on destructive terms, why should the mechanic be obliged thus to dis
pose of his labour? It will be acknowledged, it is more difficult for the mechanic to adjust his labour to the demand, than it is for the manufacturer to regulate his supply by the state of the market; but this is a distinct consideration: the Framework-knitters' Fund is contrived with a view to obviate this difficulty; it has already done it to a great degree, and nothing but a more general co-operation of the workmen, and of parishes, is wanted to enable them to surmount it 'altogether.' p. 8, 9.
Mr. Cobbett had urgently recommended to the Frameworkknitters to abandon their fund, and to depend upon the poorrates. To this it is forcibly replied:
If the Framework-knitters' Union is dissolved, it is universally allowed, wages will sink still lower, nor can any limits be assigned, to which they may not descend. Before its formation, nearly half the subsistence of the workmen was drawn from the parishes, or, in other words, from the public. But what more monstrous can be conceived, than a manufacture carried on at the public expense, but not for the public benefit, where all the profits are appropriated to one description of persons, while the public are taxed to an enormous amount to enable a few individuals to secure to themselves those advantages? Is there an anomaly in the social system more prodigious than this, or more pregnant with the most alarming consequences? Is it a greater enormity, let me ask, to be compelled to support a numerous herd of sinecurists, pensioners, and "eaters of taxes," to use the elegant phraseology of Mr. Cobbett, than to pay half the wages of an extensive manufacture, without deriving from it one farthing of profit, while it wells out a putrid stream of pauperism which overflows the land? Mr. Cobbett perhaps sees nothing in such a state repugnant to his feelings in the despair of the poor, and the utter incapacity of the parishes to relieve their wants, he seems to exult, as the infallible prognostic of some great convulsion; but there are those, and I hope not a few, who will contemplate such a prospect with horror."
pp. 14, 15.
After having repelled the various arguments brought forward against the Union from different quarters, the Writer of the present tract turns upon Cobbett himself in the following language, than which we know of nothing more eloquent and impressive in the Philippics or the Catilinarians.
• These, and such like extravagancies, will be quite sufficient to satisfy the reader, that he is a popular declaimer, not a philosopher; a firebrand, not a luminary. He emits fire and smoke in abundance, like a volcano, but the whole effect is to desolate, not to enlighten. His principal artifice consists in the exhibition of a few specious and bold generalities, which he illustrates and confirms by a few prominent facts, culled for his purpose, without the slightest attempt at that patient induction and inquiry, which alone lead to solid and useful results. Shrewd, intemperate, presumptuous, careless of the truth of his representations, and indifferent to their consequences, provided they make an impression, he is well qualified, it must be confessed, by
te his faults no less than his talents, by his inflammatory style and incendiary spirit, for the office he assumes, to scatter delusion, to excite insurrection, the Polyphemus of the Mob, the one-eyed monarch of the blind.” His strictures, however, on the topic under considergation are pregnant with instruction it was not his design to communicate. Whatever the inhabitants of this County may think of the Framework-knitters' Union, he plainly foresees in the consequences of its failure, the materials of ferocious delight; he sees without the aid of inspiration an inundation of miseries to follow, paupers crowding by thousands to the doors of overseers, parishes dismayed and perplexed, the poor clamouring for bread which cannot be given them, and rushing upon the point of the bayonet to avoid a more cruel and lingering death; the commencement of that tempest, in a word, which he boasts having crossed the Atlantic to witness, which is to shake all that is stable, to prostrate all that is great, and to accumulate a pile for the elevation of future demagogues.
Rome trembled when Cataline rejoiced. Let the friends of peace and order then, let the landed proprietor especially, take warning: they stand upon the brink of a precipice, from which if they suffer themselves to be precipitated, it will be no small aggravation of their calamity to perceive the ease with which it might have been prevented; together with the contemptible agency, and the flimsy sophistry, which accelerated their overthrow. If it is some consolation to the fallen to have perished by a noble hand, the indignity of being baffled and deluded by the Author of the Political Register, must be more humiliating than words can express.'
Though we reluctantly abstain, we can afford room for but one extract more, in which Mr. Hall avows his undiminished attachment to the cause which he so eloquently advocated at the commencement of his public life.
If he should be thought to have treated Mr. Cobbett with too much severity, he wishes it to be clearly understood, that his censure is in no degree founded on the professed attachment of that Writer to the cause of reform. Educated in the principles of Mr. Fox, and in those of the earliest and best days of Mr. Pitt, to which advancing years and experience have increased his attachment, it is impossible he should entertain a doubt that an important reform in our representation, is essentially connected with the freedom, the glory, and the happiness of the British Empire. p. 29.
On the whole, though we greatly prefer Mr. Hall's theology to his economics, it is not that we like the latter less, but the former more: and if he cannot be prevailed on to gratify our wishes by taking a right view of what appear to us his higher responsibilities, we shall endeavour to be grateful for a humbler dole.