I have no room, nor have I any desire, to appeal to your passions upon this occasion. I have laid before you, with all the clearness I am master of, the causes of our misery, the measures which have led to those causes, and I have pointed out what appears to me to be the only remedy—namely a reform of the Commons’, or People’s House of Parliament. I exhort you to proceed in a peaceable and lawful manner, but at the same time to proceed with zeal and resolution in the attainment of this object. If the skulkers will not join you, if the ‘decent fireside’ gentry still keep aloof, proceed by yourselves. Any man can draw up a petition, and any man can carry it up to London, with instructions to deliver it into trusty hands, to be presented whenever the House shall meet. Some further information will be given as to this matter in a future Number. In the meanwhile, I remain your Friend, WM. COBBETT.
TO JACK HARROW, AN ENGLISH LABOURER
On the new Cheat which is now on foot, and which goes under the name of Savings Banks
NORTH HAMPSTEAD, LONG ISLAND,
November 7th, 1818.
Friend Jack—You sometimes hear the Parson talk about deceivers, who go about in sheep’s clothing; but who inwardly are ravening wolves. You frequently hear of the tricks of the London cheats, and I daresay you have often enough witnessed those of mountebanks and gypsies. But, Jack, all the tricks of these deceivers and cheaters, if the trickery of them all were put together, would fall far short of the trick now playing off under the name of Savings Banks. And seeing that it is possible that you may be exposed to the danger of having a few pounds picked out of your pocket by this trick, I think it right to put you on your guard against the cheat.
You have before been informed of who and what the Boroughmongers are. Therefore, at present, I shall enter into no explanation of their recent conduct. But, in order to give you a clear view of their motives in this new trick, and which, I think, is about the last in their budget, I must go back and tell you something of the history of their Debt, and of what are called the Funds. Some years ago the Boroughmongers put me into a loathsome prison for two years, made me pay a thousand pounds fine, and made me enter into recognisances for seven years, only because I expressed my indignation at the flogging of Englishmen, in the heart of England, under the superintendence of hired German troops brought into the country to keep the people in awe. It pleased God, Jack, to preserve my life and health, while I was in that prison. And I employed a part of my time in writing a little book entitled Paper against Gold. In this little book I fully explained all the frauds of what is called the National Debt, and of what are called the Funds. But as it is possible that you may not have seen that little book, I will here tell you enough about these things to make you see the reasons for the Boroughmongers using this trick of Savings Banks.