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LAST ADIEU TO THE OLD HOME.
regarded by those who despise their low estate. Yet the heart of the poor emigrant clings with as much affection to the land of his nativity, as the heart of a peer. Nay, more so. His associations-his friends-his knowledge, are all confined to the town in which he lived; and that is his home, his old country home. We know not the anxieties-the resolutions made and abandoned the fear to cast all that he loves on the uncertainty of the future that fill the heart of the emigrant. Perhaps it is a poor family that is leaving, and the circumstance of their departure is accompanied by no outward display. A little cart, on which is piled a few humble utensils, is the only vehicle that leaves the quiet cottage. Behind it are the coarse-clad children, looking eagerly into their mother's face to learn what all this means. To her, that little green spot never looked so green before. The sunlight never fell on that humble roof so lovingly before. The silent trees and the little garden grow dearer every moment, till she at length sobs out her farewell and turns to depart. The father stalks on with a moody brow, not venturing to turn back for a last look. To his home he might bid adieu, but between him and it are the beings he loves more than his life. The ties that bind the humble laborer to his home are not easily sundered; the associations of childhood and riper years are not all broken up without pain. It is a strong necessity that does it.
VERYBODY remembers how pale England turned a few Who
were those 3,500,000 signers of the People's Charter? Not the wealthy, nor the great, nor the indifferent man of leisure, who forgot the next moment that they had given their names; but the working people of England-the mass of British industry, starving in one of the most productive portions of the earth— men who meant something by their act. Hence, its fate is not uncared for, but watched as men watch the issue of a battle on
THE CHARTIST PETITION.
which their fortunes are staked. From every hovel in the kingdom is a father looking out with listening attitude, to catch the answer a haughty government shall return to his prayer. Hopes are bound up in that Charter, dear as life and freedom.
Loaded with 3,500,000 British names it is drawn towards London. It has reached the city, and before Lincoln's Inn the procession is forming to carry it to St. Stephen's. Borne on the shoulders of sixteen strong working-men, followed by four thousand more, it moves through the busiest thoroughfares of the city, and rolls on towards the House of Parliament. Crowds gather on the corners of every street to gaze on the unwonted spectacle. Banners float in the breeze, and the heavy tread of the working-men of England is borne ominously to the ears of the assembled Commons. They too start, and from the windows gaze on the approaching pageant. More fearful than the army of women that roared around Versailles, demanding bread, until the king shook in his palace, they come steadily on to ask for BREAD AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN. It is the PEOPLE shouting in the ears of their own Commons, and uttering truths that shall yet make the world change masters. Too bulky to find entrance even through the ample doors of the House, it is divided up and carried in fragments into the lobby. Pyramid like, that parchment is piled upon the floor. In their eagerness these men have overstepped the bounds prescribed to them, and are actually on the floor of the House-a startling omen we think of the way, and the only way they will ever find entrance there in their own persons, and in the tumult of those excitements which do not stand upon trifles or formality.
What now, ye Commons of the people! In that Charter are bound up the hearts of 3,500,000 souls. Trample on it, and you trample on 3,500,000 bleeding hearts. Scorn it, and you scorn so many determined men. Smile, and the insult may be paid in blood. We envy not the political sagacity or patriotism of the man who could sit unmoved in Parliament, while that scene was passing before him. Feargus O'Connor, who had suffered calumny and imprisonment, and toiled through
WHAT THE CHARTISTS DEMANDED.
the disastrous year to get that petition to Parliament, sat in the gallery watching its fate.
Parliament would do nothing, and now those sixteen bold men, on whose shoulders rested the hopes of the people, having finished their task, turn away; and the four thousand who thundered behind them, having fulfilled their mission, also turn away; and all over England, on wings of lightning is borne the tidings, "Refused to hear it." Beware, lest the bayonet be again whetted in Birmingham, and England have new illuminations of the people, fed by blazing dwellings. We wonder at and admire the spirit that can turn peaceably away after being treated with such contempt; not back to their workshops and fields, but back to their starvation and despair.
ND what is this petition that the Commons of Great Britain will not permit to be defended by its friends, but must hurry it away into silence and obscurity? It first describes the abuse of the elective franchise. It declares that "when representation is denied, taxation should be resisted." It condemns bribery and threats at election. It complains of the oppressive taxation to support a debt incurred without the will of the people, and for the overthrow of liberty-and of the increase of that debt in time of peace. It complains of an extortionate Church, whose prodigality they are compelled to support. It speaks of the deplorable condition of those who signed the petition-the unparalleled suffering of the lower classes everywhere, while the upper classes spend profusely as ever. It declares these abuses and this destitution, calmly, plainly, trut fully; and demands immediate reform-immediate relief. It demands also, vote by ballot-annual Parliaments-equal electoral districts the repeal of the Union, and universal suffrage -and closes by boldly intimating the fearful effects that must ere long result, unless their petition is heard.
This is all. It contains not a complaint that is untrue-pre
MACAULAY AGAINST THE PEOPLE.
fers not a claim that is not right-and yet only forty-nine out of three hundred and thirty-six were found to vote even that the petitioners might be heard in their own defence. They asked simple justice, and were hurled back from the threshold of their own House, by those who styled themselves their representatives. The great bugbear in the petition was universal suffrage; Whigs and Tories together shouted down the doctrine, declaring they would never entertain it. And what was the overwhelming argument, noble and wise legislators used against free suffrage? "The people were unfit to hold the power." Will the people believe they are not as fit to use it, as the selfish landlords who use it against the interests of the country? You cannot convince men that they do not know what they need as well as their oppressors. Strange that a free vote should not be as safe as a bought one, and yet we know that a large portion of the members obtain their seats by bribes.
Macaulay, once the champion of liberty-the defender of the Long Parliament-the eulogizer of Hampden and the Puritans the condemner of Charles, whose head rolled on the scaffold for his tyranny-this man became a mouth-piece for Tories and Whigs against the people, declaring he never would vote to give free suffrage to them. Why not, Mr. Macaulay— do not you enjoy it? Mr. Macaulay is learned in history, and always drawing instructive lessons from the past. But did he ever read of 3,500,000 people calmly, intelligently, uttering their grievances to their assembled rulers-boldly, yet respectfully presenting the charter of their rights, and appealing to the God of truth and the soul of man for their justice, and baffled at last? Has he studied the philosophy of history, and the spirit of the age so superficially as to believe such a charter, backed by so many millions of men, can be dissipated by a few passages of oratory, on the unfitness of the people to vote for their own rulers? Is the French revolution entirely forgotten-the petition that 3,000,000 of people once before sent across the Atlantic, based on the same grand principle, that
WHY THE PEOPLE MUST NOT VOTE.
taxation and representation should go together. Has he forgotten the noble band of Irish Volunteers, demanding and getting their rights. Has he ever known such a tide rolled back, and the united people hushed into trembling silence by a speech.
HE sinking of the Bourbon throne and the French aristocracy in the bloody abyss of revolution; the waving of the star-spangled banner over thirteen free States, till the shout of freedom swelled over the Alleghanies; the independent legislature of Ireland, extending its protection over the suf fering people, are facts in history Mr. Macaulay would have done well to recall before he thought, in this age of the world, to send 3,500,000 people, chidden and abashed like whipped school-boys, back to their homes.
But he said" there would be no security to property should the petitioners' prayer be granted." Strange language this for a wise man. And what security did he expect from wronged and insulted men, denied justice as well as mercy? Did he forget the midnight sky made red by the burning of "secure property," amid the terrors of Birmingham riots? Birmingham has been in a blaze; fields have shone in the light of their burning harvests; Guildhall has felt the incendiary's torch, and the Tower of London tumbled in one blazing ruinall of it this "secure property." "Government, too, would be in danger," said Macaulay: how much more so by granting the people justice, than by driving them to despair and madness by oppression and starvation?
It was once thought Macaulay was unshackled from the feudal and bigot spirit that blinds so many of the aristocracy, who will believe, against the evidence of their senses, that the people can be kept in awe by symbols and formulas. I remember once to have read a speech of his on the passage of the Reform Bill, in which occurred this bold and startling para