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Colden and Bright were forcible and their This was, of course, before the death of the reasoning cogent, while it is to be noted that Duke of Wellington; and though his referthey were often far-reaching and embraced ence to the enormous rewards conferred on many other matters of advanced political sig- the great soldier may at first seem somewhat nificance which have since that date come to harsh, it was not intended to have a special the front not only in theoretical but in prac- personal application. In 1832, after the funetical politics. It need scarcely be said that ral of Wellington, he wrote to Mr. Sturge: Cobden had been an advocate of peace as a _“The death of the duke would, one thinks, necessary means of retrenchment and material tend to weaken the military party. But if and social progress before the topic became the spirit survive it will find its champions. concreted by the outbreak of the Crimean After all, if the country will do such work war. It was remarkable that that war, which as Wellington was called on to perform, I he thought, and justly thought, should empha- don't know that it could find a more honest size all these utterances, was the occasion of instrument. He hated jobs and spoke the the whole nation becoming deaf to his repre- truth (the very opposite of Marlborough), sentations, and even retorting upon him with and although he grew rich in the service it suspicion and with indignant accusations. was by the voluntary contributions of the par
Cobden at that time may be said to have liament and government. If he had been told retired to his new home at Dunford, near to help himself at the exchequer his modesty Midhurst, where he spent all his time (and and honesty would never have allowed him to he had little leisure) which was not occupied take as much as was forced upon him. I who in parliament, in attending nieetings, or in saw with what frenzy of admiration he was making journeys to advocate or explain those welcomed by all classes at the Exhibition can principles in which he was constantly inter- never honestly admit that, in what the legisested. His business had not been successful and lature and government had done for him, had therefore been closed, a considerable pro- they had exceeded the wishes of the nation.”l portion of the sum of money subscribed for him These few words are singularly suggestive, as a national testimonial having been devoted and naturally lead to a deeper consideration to the payment of outstanding claims. The of Cobden's political views than would be house which he had purchased with part of the occasioned by many a longer but more superremaining amount was no mansion nor was the ficial extract from his speeches. He also domain extensive. On one occasion, when ad- seems to have mellowed, and his views to dressing a meeting at Aylesbury on the rela- have become wider if not clearer, amidst the tions of landlord and tenant, he illustrated some rural pleasures and repose which he was able remark by referring to his own small property. | to enjoy at Dunford, before he was for a time A man in the crowd interrupted him by almost prostrated by a great domestic calashouting the inquiry how he had got his pro- mity—the sudden death of his eldest son, and perty. The answer was unhesitating and the painful condition to which the shock of simple enough:—“I am indebted for it to the that bereavement reduced Mrs. Cobden. It bounty of my countrymen. It was the scene of is worth while to pause for a moment to my birth and infancy; it was the property of my read his own description of the place which ancestors; and it is by the munificence of my he had made his home during the summer countrymen that this small estate, which had months, for it shows not only the gentle been alienated from my father by necessity, has nature of the man, but how simply and yet again come into my hands and enabled me to light up afresh the hearth of my father, where | The reader who would learn more fully the character I spent my own childhood. I say that no war
and opinions of the eminent free-trader and peace advo.
cate will best find them displayed in Mr. John Morley's rior-duke who owns a vast domain by the vote excellent work, The Life of Richard Cobden, where the of the imperial parliament holds his property by biography of the man is furnished no less by selections
from his speeches, letters, and conversation than by the a more honourable title than I possess mine.” careful comments which accompany them.
with what genuine graphic force he wrote employ so many labourers as they might. even in ordinary correspondence. It occurs The rates have been up to this time about in a letter to Mr. Ashworth:-“I have been six shillings in the pound. We are not under for some weeks in one of the most secluded the new poor-law but in a Gilbert's Union, corners of England. Although my letter is and almost all our expense is for outdoor dated from the quiet little close borough of relief. Here is a picture which will lead you Midhurst, the house in which I am living is to expect, when you visit us, a very ignorant about one and a half mile distant, in the and very poor population. There is no postneighbouring rural parish of Heyshott. The office in the village. Every morning an old roof which now shelters me is the one under man aged about seventy goes into Midhurst which I was born, and the room where I now for the letters. He charges a penny for every sleep is the one in which I first drew breath. despatch he carries, including such miscellaneIt is an old farm-house, which had for many ous articles as horse-collars, legs of mutton, years been turned into labourers' cottages. empty sacks, and wheel-barrows. His letterWith the aid of the whitewasher and car- bag for the whole village contains on an averpenter we have made a comfortable, weather- age from two to three letters daily, including proof retreat for summer; and we are sur- newspapers. The only newspapers which enter rounded with pleasant woods and within a the parish are two copies of Bell's Weekly couple of miles of the summit of the South Messenger, a sound old Tory Protectionist Down Hills, where we have the finest air and much patronized by drowsy farmers. The some of the prettiest views in England. At wages paid by the farmers are very low, not some future day I shall be delighted to initiate exceeding eight shillings a week. I am emyou into rural life. A Sussex hill-side village ploying an old man nearly seventy, and his son will be an interesting field for an exploring about twenty-two, and his nephew about nineexcursion for you. We have a population teen, at digging and removing some fences. under three hundred in our parish. The acre- I pay the two former nine shillings a week age is about 2000, of which one proprietor, and the last eight shillings, and I am giving Colonel Wyndham, owns 1200 acres. He is a a shilling a week more than anybody else is non-resident, as indeed are all the other pro- paying. What surprises me is to observe how prietors. The clergyman is also non-resident. well the poor fellows work and how long they He lives at the village of Sledham, about last. The South Down air, in the absence of three miles distant, where he has another South Down mutton, has something to do living and a parsonage-house. He comes over with the healthiness of these people, I dare to our parish to perform service once on Sun- say. The labourers have generally a garden days alternately in the morning and after- and an allotment of a quarter of an acre; for The church is in a ruinous state, the the latter they pay 38. 9d. a year rent.
We tower having fallen down many years ago. are in the midst of woods and on the border The
parson draws about £300 a year in tithes, of common land, so that fuel is cheap. All besides the produce of a few acres of glebe- the poor have a right to cut turf on the comland. He is a decent man with a large mon for their firing, which costs 28. 3d. per family, spoken well of by everybody, and him- thousand. The labourers who live in my cotself admits the evils of clerical absenteeism. tages have pigs in their sties, but I believe it We have no school and no schoolmaster, un- is not so universally. I have satisfied myself less I give that title to a couple of cottages that however badly off the labourers may be where illiterate old women collect a score or at present, their condition was worse in the two of infants while their parents are in the time of high - priced corn. In 1847, when fields. Thus 'our village' is without resident bread was double its present price, the wages proprietors, or clergyman, or schoolmaster. of the farm labourers were not raised more Add to these disadvantages that the farmers than two to three shillings a week. At that are generally deficient of capital and do not time a man with a family spent all that he
* THE PEOPLE'S” ANTI-WAR BUDGET.
earned for bread, and still had not enough to have cut up the land into small properties, sustain his household. I have it both from leaving no estates so large as to favour abthe labourers themselves and the millers from senteeism even from the parish. In order to whom they buy their flour that they ran so provide the means of reducing taxation he deeply in debt for food during the high prices would have proposed a “people's budget," an of 1847 that they have scarcely been able, in outline of which he sketched in a letter to Mr. sone cases up to the present, to pay off their Bright, and the provisions of which were score. The class feeling among the agricultural doubtless in accord with the efforts of the labourers is in favour of a cheap loaf. They Financial Reform Association. “ I have been dare not say much about it openly, but their thinking and talking,” he said, “about coninstincts are serving them in the absence of cocting a national budget” to serve for an obeconomical knowledge, and they are unani-ject for financial reformers to work up to and mously against Chowler and the Protectionists. to prevent their losing their time upon vague I can hardly pretend that in this world's-end generalities. The plan must be one to unite spot we can say that any impulse has been all classes and interests, and to bring into one given to the demand for agricultural labourers agitation the counties and the towns. I proby the free-trade policy. Ours is about the pose to reduce the army, navy, and ordnance last place that will feel its good effects. But from £18,500,000 to £10,000,000, and thus there is one good sign that augurs well for save £8,500,000. Upon the civil expenditure the future. Skilled labourers, such as masons, in all its branches, including the cost of coljoiners, blacksmiths, painters, and so on, are lecting revenue and the management of crownin very great request, and it is difficult to get lands, I propose to save £500,000. I propose work of that kind done in moderate time. I to lay a probate and legacy duty on real proam inclined to think that in more favourable perty to affect both entailed and unentailed situations an impulse hås likewise been im- estates, by which would be got £1,500,000. parted to unskilled labour. It is certain that Here is £11,500,000 to be used in reducing during the late harvest-time there was a great and abolishing duties, which I propose to dis
I difficulty in obtaining hands on the south side pose of as follows :of the Downs towards the sea-coast, where “Customs.- Tea, reduce duty to 18. per lb.; labour is in more demand than here under wood and timber, abolish duties; butter and the north side of the hills. I long to live to cheese, abolish duties. see an agricultural labourer strike for wages!” “Upwards of 100 smaller articles of the tariff
Without reference to the opinions expressed to be abolished. (I would only leave about it will be seen how large a number of import- fifteen articles in the tariff paying customs ant topics is included in this extract from a duties.) simple friendly letter, and the ready ease with “Excise.—Malt, paper, soap, and hops, all which each of those topics is in turn made duty abolished; window-tax and advertisestrongly suggestive. The whole quotation may ment duty, all off. stand for an example of Cobden's style and “ All these changes could be effected with manner of writing and speaking—the only dif- £11,500,000. There are other duties which ference being the added strength of terse and I should prefer to remove instead of one or often vivid illustration, and earnest though two of them; but I have been guided matequiet emphasis when he was addressing an rially by
rially by a desire to bring all interests to audience. But we must look at him for a sympathize with the scheme. Thus the tea moment in relation to the war.
is to catch the merchants and all the old Cobden had strong and mostly positive women in the country; the wood and timber, opinions on those subjects which were agitat-theshipbuilder; the malt and hops, the farmers; ing political circles. For Irish difficulties he paper and soap, the Scotch anti-excise people; had but one plan, though he confessed he did the window-tax, the shopocracy of London, not know how it could be enforced. He would | Bath, &c.; the advertisements, the press.”
It is not to be supposed that Cobden had Russian loans, amounting respectively to seven any strong expectations that his proposals to and five and a half millions of exported capital open negotiations with other countries for the to be lost in foreign wars.
Such a course he reduction of armaments would be accepted. contended was contrary not only to the prinHe firmly believed that the principles on which ciples of political economy but to the claims he had always opposed war were true, and he of morality. What paradox could be more doubtless hoped that they would one day re- flagrant than for a citizen to lend money to be ceive full recognition. He had persisted in the means of military preparations on the part advocating free-trade, and the corn-laws had of a foreign power when he knew, or ought been repealed, while there was a continued to have known, that these very preparations tendency to abolish or to diminish taxes on for which he was providing would in their articles of necessary consumption. The same turn impose upon himself and the other taxresult might ultimately be achieved with re- payers of his own country the burden of coungard to the mitigation of one of the chief ter-preparations to meet them? What man causes of the burdens on the people of England with the most rudimentary sense of public duty and of other countries, and it was his duty not could pretend that it was no affair of his to to let the subject rest whenever he had an what use his money was put, so long as his opportunity of reviving it. When everybody interest was high and his security adequate? was talking about the “ Palace of Peace,” and Austria with Russia had been engaged in a the results that might be expected from the cruel and remorseless war, and then came Great International Exhibition, he estimated stretching forth her blood-stained hand to such probabilities at a lower value than many honest Dutchmen and Englishmen, asking of those who two years afterwards were among them to furnish the price of that hateful dethe foremost advocates of war. What he vastation. Not only was such a system a did was to propose that the foreign minister waste of national wealth, an anticipation of should take advantage of the favourable op- income, a destruction of capital, the imposition portunity to open negotiations with France of a heavy and profitless burden on future for reducing the armed forces, and so setting generations; but it was a direct connivance at an example to Europe. It was admitted that acts and a policy which the very men who it would be a glorious consummation of the were thus asked to lend their money to supgreat peace congress, and one devoutly to be port it, professed to dislike and condemn, and wished. Lord Palmerston and the majority had good reason for disliking and condemning. of the government and the houses of parlia- The system of foreign loans for warlike purment were ready to endorse the sentiment poses by which England, Holland, Germany, warmly enough, but to carry it into practice and France were invited to pay for the arms, was quite another matter. The maxim that clothing, and food of the belligerents was a the best security for peace was to be always system calculated to perpetuate the horrors of prepared for war had been too long accepted war. Those who lent money for such purposes to be easily relinquished, although as a matter were destitute of any of those excuses by of fact England was not prepared for the war which men justify a resort to the sword. with Russia, and had to adopt a foreign en- They could not plead patriotism, self-defence, listment bill in order to meet the sudden call or even anger, or the lust of military glory. for men to go to the Crimea. Cobden’s com- They sat down coolly to calculate the chances plete doctrine condemned the recent subscrip-to themselves of profit or loss in a game in tion to foreign loans for military purposes. He which the lives of human beings were at stake. had in 1818 declared that if Lord Palmerston They had not even the savage and brutal grahad firmly protested against the Russian in- tification which the old pagans had, after they vasion of Hungary the car would never had paid for a seat in the amphitheatre, of have given his aid to Austria, and he de- witnessing the bloody combats of gladiators in nounced with all his energy the Austrian and the circus.
"PATRICIAN BULLYING FROM THE TREASURY BENCHI.” 67 Such emphatic declarations were not likely | in 1855, “ to the vote which changed Lord to be palatable to city capitalists, nor to those Derby's government. I regret the result of who could not or would not go deeply enough that motion, for it has cost the country a huninto the question to prevent their asking why, dred millions of treasure, and between thirty if money was a commodity, they might not and forty thousand good lives.” This was trade with it without asking the purpose for strong declaration, but it has since been enwhich it was to be used, looking only to the dorsed by a large number of thoughtful men mercantile value to be placed upon it. This who never acknowledged that the results of question, it will be seen, did not really touch the Crimean campaign were other than extraCobden's position, since he could have replied vagantly purchased. Cobden, however, was by denying the moral right so to deal with not of course opposed to a protective force, any commodity whatever; but there was a far or as he said in a letter to Colonel Fitzmayer, different question which men who agreed with “to the maintenance of a disciplined force to many of his political and most of his moral serve as a nucleus in case of war, around which principles had to ask, What were the cir- the people might rally to defend their country. cumstances which justified interposition in But there is,” he continued,hardly a case to foreign affairs, and what were the grounds for be imagined or assumed in which I would conrefusing material aid in money or in arms for sent to send out a body of land forces to fight the support of a just cause ? Both Cobden the battles of the Continent; and last of all and Bright would have answered this question would I agree to send such an expedition to by referring to those wars in which we had in- the shores of Russia." terposed for the alleged purpose of preventing Cobden, although he advocated peace, had the tyranny of a stronger over a weaker power, a very shrewd notion of the way in which and by showing that in such cases prompt and we might have commenced war.
He was decided expression of opinion would have pre- quite opposed to Palmerston's opinion that vented hostilities which mostly arose from the 60,000 French and English troops would, with neglect of such an arrangement of just interests the co-operation of the navy, take Sebastopol as could be effected by wise and truly moral in six weeks, and he also stated, even if the arbitration. It may perhaps be said that sup- fortress were to be taken and destroyed, it posing the grounds of interference had been would neither give a disastrous blow to Rusthe same, the difference between Cobden's and sia nor prevent future attacks upon Turkey. Palmerston's policy was that one would have He said truly enough that we knew nothing been a serious and emphatic appeal to moral about the real strength or strategical importobligations, and the other a strong representa- ance of Sebastopol, and added that he thought tion of the demands of international law with he could have obtained full information on a threat of punishment for the breach of it. the subject at an earlier period of the war for One represented the serious remonstrances of the cost of a few thousand pounds. If we the onlooker ready to arbitrate; the other the were to defend Turkey against Russia it should sharp protest of the policeman with his hand be by the use of the navy and not by sending on a truncheon.
a land force to the Crimea. It will be seen, Of course the inevitable inquiry was how therefore, that he was not only opposed to would a ruler like the czar receive a moral Lord Palmerston and those who supported remonstrance unaccompanied by the implied | his policy in believing that these hostilities threat, that in case of refusal it might be might have been prevented, but in the opinion followed by a resort to compulsion ? Cobden that they had been misconducted. This kind himself
gave some colour to this question by of opposition was irritating enough no doubt, representing that had the proper steps been and probably Palmerston felt it to be so. taken at first Russia would have receded, At any rate it seems to have given occasion because she would not have dared to provoke for an exhibition of that“ patrician bullying hostilities. “I look back with regret,” he said from the treasury bench” to which Disraeli