« AnteriorContinuar »
families, some of whom were seen half naked with their children in their arms, running to seek shelter in a neighbour's house, others were as actively engaged in getting their goods into St. Bride's Church Yard. On the arrival of the engines the supply of water was at first very scanty, and the wind blew so strong that it was with great difficulty they could play upon the flames with effect. The firemen, whose engines were to windward, were nearly covered with flakes of fire, and some of the tops of their hats were burnt nearly out, and their coats much damaged. At one period great danger was apprehended lest the opposite houses by Shoe Lane should take fire, the roofs of which being at times covered with pieces of burning wood, linen, &c. The next house that caught fire was occupied by Mr. Marriot, an ironmonger, whose premises were very extensive, and whose property was estimated at not less than £10,000. value. Very little of his valuable machinery could be removed, and before five o'clock the whole was a heap of burning ruins. From thence the raging element extended its fury to the house of Mr. Mattrass, a hair-dresser, and to the adjoining house occupied by the agents of Richard Carlile, which sustained but partial injury. The inhabitants had time to remove the greatest part of the political and theological works therein. On no occasion since the destruction of the Winter Theatres do we remember witnessing so extensive a conflagration; the steeples of all the churches in the metropolis, particularly St. Paul's, Bride Church, &c. were completely illuminated, and were seen distinctly from the reflection of the light at some miles distance from the metropolis. The property altogether destroyed is estimated at not less than 30 or £40,000. Mr. Bond was insured in the West of England office, for £3,600. and Mr. Marriot for £3,000. in the Atlas. The whole of the buildings destroyed, it is said, are insured in the Hope. The fire was not extinguished till yesterday forenoon. Fortunately no lives were lost.
TO MR. R. CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL.
London, November 12, 1824. In this day's Republican, you have done, what I expected from your candour you would do; namely, insert my communication controverting your own opinions, or, as I think them, prejudices. I controverted your opinions without asperity, I called no names, I imputed no improper motives. You comment on my communica
tion in the same spirit, although you still differ from me. This is as it should be, this is one of the good consequences of free discussion, how extensive these consequences, and how great the good which might result were every man at liberty, to speak and write what he thinks on all speculative subjects, it is quite impossible to anticipate. But, how does it happen, that you and I can thus afford to differ, and yet no ill will, no rancour, spring up between us? The answer is easy, we seek the truth, we have no sinister interest to promote, we have nothing to gain and nothing to loose by the discussion, and the examination of ourselves, which our course of thinking has made necessary, has divested us of the silly pride of endeavouring to have the best of an argument for argument's sake, and of being angry when we have it not. This is a pretty good test of a man's sincerity. A man in search of truth can bear a great deal from an opponent. A man actuated by sinister interest can bear no opposition which he can silence, by any means, fair or foul; foul means are indeed generally used by him, and the extent of those means, are almost always proportioned to his power. If he have no other means he will abuse you. If he can injure you in your reputation, or your business, he will not fail to do so. Has he the law as a weapon in his hands he will get you fined, robbed, imprisoned. Could he burn you; he would only, not burn you, if you submitted to be silenced in good time, good time in his opinion, not in your own, for if you happened to go on, for ever so short a time you might have so far committed yourself as to be able to expiate your
offence, no where, but at the stake. This is the mighty difference of being left at liberty to discuss all subjects, and being restrained from discussing those which most need discussion.
You say each individual pays six pounds a year in taxes; and thus a pauper with a wife and three children is plundered of thirty pounds every year of his life. But this is an error. No person whose income from labour will do no more than keep him or her alive, and enable him and her to propagate the race, pays any tax at all, nor is it possible to make such people pay any tax. In 1818 -the average wages of the cotton weavers was 5s. 6d. a week. A very large proportion of them cannot now earn 7s. a week. It was and is the same with the Leicestershire stockingers. Mr. Bennet, the present member for the county of Wilts, said before a com
mittee of the House of Commons, that “a gallon loaf a week for feed, and threepence for clothes” was enough for a working man's wife and each of his children. It was, he said, what
we, gistrates, allow.
On August 31, 1822, at a petty session held in the county of Southampton, present five Parson Justices—one M. P.--and two Country Squires, all unpaid Magistrates, a recommendation was published to all the farmers in the county, to give their labourers, who were single men, “four shillings from Lady Day to Michaelmas, and three shillings from Michaelmas to Lady Day for a WEEK'S LABOUR and no more.” I must step aside from my
subject for a moment, to ask, how this recommendation could have any effect if the population were not redundant; any more than the savage acts of parliament against excessive wages had effect after the plague in the time of Edward the Third? We have seen that the penalty of death, could not prevent good wages being given while there was more work to be done than people to do it. I will now come back again. Let us suppose the
of weavers and stockingers when at 5s., or even now at 7s. a week, to be just sufficient to enable them to exist and to propagate their
That a gallon loaf for FEED and threepence for clothes was just enough for the same purposes, and that 4s. in summer and 3s. in winter for a hale fellow for a whole week's labour, could likewise be made to keep the wretch in existence, and enable him to beget his likeness and to rear it. All this supposed, let us see if any of these weavers, stockingers, and labourers do or can pay taxes. The sum in money may be part of the question. - What the people got was enough of the worst sort of food to enable them to exist and to propagate their race. Less than this it is quite impossible for them to receive for any considerable period, and we may therefore safely conclude it to be the smallest quantity they could have. Now then, double, or treble, or quadruple the taxes, and what is that to them? Nothing. No matter what the amount of taxes, they must still have the same quantities, and they will have the same quantities, so long as their labour is wanted. It is plain then, that taxes cannot reach them. Now take the other side, abolish all the taxes—things would then be cheaper-to be sure they would. But how would this affect the persons we are speak
ing of? Probably not at all. If 4s. would then buy as much as 5s. now, one fifth would be immediately taken from their wages, and they would get no more food then, than they do now It is very true that by leaving in the hands of the producers, all which is taken from them and wasted, there would be a larger savinga quicker accumulation of capital, but as there would not be a person less in the country, there would be no surplus to give to redundant labourers, the number of labourers would on the contrary be increased, and if the increase continued faster than capital accumulated, or even kept pace with it, the condition of the labourer would remain just as it is. Again and again-the mass of the population must either limit the number of children they produce, or they must continne in misery and ignorance. But the evil does not rest here, those who are now better paid will, if they continue to overbreed the demand for employment, inevitably descend in the scale until all are alike poor, destitute, unhappy, and brutal.
Who! I think I hear some one exclaiın, who!! then pays taxes ? I answer those who have something to be taxed. Those, every one of those who has any thing more than a bare subsistence, he pays taxes, heavy taxes, on whatever he consumes beyond a bare subsistence. Can he afford an additional pair of shoes, he
pays heavy taxes, not only on his own shoes, but on the shoes of every one, whose situation is such that he pays no taxes, and so in like manner, does he pay taxes on every other commodity.
Thus have been shewn:
1. That they who have only a bare subsistence from their làbour pay no taxes.
2. That those who have more than a bare subsistence pay taxes in proportion to the quantities they consume. But it must not be inferred that all pay equal taxes who consume the same commodities. As for example, the man who can afford to purchase a pot of porter, and is silly enough to make the purchase, pays a heavy tax. The rich man who brews his own beer escapes
this tax, and thus it is plain, that all men who consume the same commodity are not in all cases equally taxed.
Note by R. Carlile.--In support of my former conclusion, I
would ask F. if there be any real difference in preventing an individual from earning six pounds a year, and in taking that sum from him in taxes if earned. Does not the existing superfluity of taxation take the worth of that amount from him in the want of better food, better clothes, and better dwelling, though the value might not be earned in money; or in direct money, if earned, will F. go so far as to say, that the existing taxation, is not felt by the mere labourer? Or, if felt, will he show that my calculations are too high?
It is not a question between us whether the labourer be deprived of necessaries; but as to who or what occasions that deprivation.
In page 572 the
should be read thus:-" The progress of knowledge is advanced so far, that those who become converts to the cause, are too deeply fixed in their opinions to allow the consideration of death to disturb them."
In the same page, for onus prabandi read onus probandi.
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 84, Fleet Street.-All Correspon
dences for “ The Republican” to be left at the place of publication.