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APOSTACY OF THE AGE
UN VEIL E D.
DEDICATED TO SIR ROBERT PEEL, BART.
FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY, &c.
“ The Press has now become the Pioneer of the Christian Dispensation.”
INSCRIBED TO THE PREMIER,
RIGHT HON. SIR R. PEEL, BART. FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY,
&c. &c. &c.
We take the liberty of dedicating this present publication to you, because you occupy, not only the most important and influential, but assuredly also the most responsible position in the State. The wealth of the State constitutes its strength and its glory, and to you, as First Lord of the Treasury, belongs the greatest influence in the general regulation of that wealth. How you gained your present pre-eminence, and how you are fulfilling the onerous duties which it entailed upon you, are points on which we scruple not to speak as we conscientiously feel.
By your “ No Confidence” motion you ejected your predecessor in office, and stepped into his place; but the proceeding seemed, to our humble understandings, to express little of your actual and ulterior object, and simply to imply Nulla fides in Russello, sed plena fides in Peelo? So the nation took you on trust, and the event has proved that a fuller explanation of your intentions would have been more satisfactory both for yourself and for us.
You succeeded, and became (according to your own chosen figure of speech) the First State Physician.
We now proceed to ask-What have you done, and what are you doing? What measures are you prescribing to remove, or even alleviate, the alarming malady under which you found your patient, the State, to be suffering ?
It is on the ground of your official responsibility that we take our stand whilst we venture to address you in the language of bold expostulation. The times we live in make heavy, indeed, this responsibility upon all those to whom, like yourself, great gifts have been bestowed. The Redeemer's maxim, “ Unto whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more," is no dead letter. He that
flinches from its application gives evidence, in so doing, of his own great defection.
When first you took up the reins of Government, we heard you say that you would begin by taxing the rich to relieve the poor, and we were truly glad to find you thus starting out in the right direction. Alas! how soon you lost your way. Instead of taxing the rich to relieve the poor, in reality you have fabricated a new system of taxation which, whilst it pretends to effect your object, carries fraud upon its face. You call your new tax a property tax, whilst, in fact, it is an impost upon income, a levy made upon men's earnings, if those earnings amount to a specified sum. Those who do not gain 1501. a year are professedly exempt from the tax, but are not so in reality. By an act of pure despotism, you have placed on every public creditor, even the widow with her paltry annuity of 51., your sevenpenny imposition. To these victims you promise redress, and talk of refunding! but well you know that many of those persons of very slender incomes, whom you have so mulcted of their little pittance, will be compelled by circumstances to submit to the wrong and robbery thus committed upon them, rather than pass through the