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Letters on the Corn Laws

Letters on the Corn Laws

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Excerpt from Letters on the Corn Laws: And on the Rights of the Working Classes, Originally Inserted in the Morning Chronicle, Shewing the Injustice, and Also the Impolicy of Empowering Those Among a People, Who Have Obtained the Proprietary Possession of the Lands of a Country, to Increase, A

These letters have already appeared in the Morning Chronicle at the respective dates affixed to them, and in the precise words in which they arc now reprinted. The first of the number - for they are not a series - was the produce of a sudden thought suggested by the circumstance to which it refers: those that follow bespeak the manner of their growth, and evince too, in that growth, the danger of launching an extensive topic. If the efforts of an humble individual like myself could turn into a legitimate course the struggles, which the working classes are making in search - as I would say, rather than in defence or in assertion - of their rights, I should highly value my success. There is really nothing wanting to complete all the attainable comforts of which their situations are susceptible, except the free exercise of their rights; and if they could he brought to claim that freedom, with half the zeal and energy with which they follow phantoms or invade the freedom of others, they would soon experience the advantage of coining before the tribunal of public opinion with a good cause.

The plain and strong truths with which these letters might arm them, whenever they should be disposed to employ such weapons, must escape from view and pass out of remembrance, if they have no other depository than the fugitive columns of a newspaper; and perhaps the same fate may await them in these pages: but I am urged to afford them this second chance. If I had not believed that I could place before the public, in new and useful lights, some of those important subjects which have so much agitated the country at various times, and which are still far from being at rest, neither those columns nor these pages would have been incumbered with my thoughts; and every reader will allow, that J could have had none of, that temptation to write which often leads men, who are masters of composition, to indulge their pens, while they have really no new matter to communicate. I shall he disappointed if such pens be not employed in giving force to the propositions with which, in homely strain, these letters may supply them. Both writers and speakers may here find materials which they may turn to much better account than I have.

The subject is left in an incomplete state, but none of the leading features are wanting. If hereafter it should appear necessary to follow out, to their more perfect conclusions, any of the propositions which the letters contain, the columns of the Morning Chronicle will be again open to me. I am indebted to the editor of that paper not only for the space he has afforded me, but also for many accompanying leading articles, in which lie has proved - what I have above intimated - that my propositions will gain strength in other hands.

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