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ENGLAND SHIPS PAUPERS HERE.
representations, her subjects out of her dominions, but she directly appropriated funds for this purpose. Money was scarce enough, the Premier knew, but he would gladly incur a deeper debt for his country, if by it he could sweep away the agitated millions around him. But the cruelest of all her acts to drive off her subjects, is the compulsion of her infirm and helpless paupers into wretched exile. In one year, between June of 1835 and July of 1836, the Poor Law Commissioners of England reported that 7,075 paupers were expatriated at the cost of £39,340, or about $196,000. A more brutal deed was never justified by a civilized nation. Whenever a good opportunity offered itself, these paupers, old and infirm, were shipped off like cattle, in vessels hired to convey them to other countries, where their miserable food and miserable burial would not be charged to the government. Is not this more inhuman than shipping off slaves to New Orleans or the Georgia plantations. Our own coasts have never rung with wilder farewells than have gone up from the shores of England's despairing emigrants. Multitudes have thus been banished for the flagrant crime of being poor, when their poverty was brought on them by the robbery of those very persons, who thus wrenched them, like neglected branches, from the parent tree.*
* I am here half tempted to give what lays at my hand, the Statistics of Pauper Exportation to the United States by the British government. Of her exportation of criminals, secretly and clandestinely, to our shores, I need hardly speak. Ever since our Government was founded this has been British policy. In multitudes of cases condemned men, indicted persons, or people who had become obnoxious or dangerous, whom the Colonial authorities would not receive, have been shipped to this country-supplying us with murderers, burglars, forgers and thieves ; while of the pauper class the number has amounted to tens of thousands. We all know that this mean, unfriendly and contemptible conduct of the British government went so far, that our General and State Governments had to resort to laws of self protection, when the most earnest and repeated protests and expostulations had failed. The records of our criminal courts in every State of the Union, show the enormous excess of imported over native pauperism and crime. It is also well known from authentic sources, that by far the larger share of imported paupers and criminals was of the class sent away by the authority or money of the government, or both.
England lets them toil as long as that toil wrings from the ground or manufactory the luxuries she enjoys, and then, when old and infirm, she ships them to strange lands to find for themselves graves. The Southern planter fed and clothed his decrepid, aged slaves. The humane man refuses to knock in the head the horse that has carried him for years, because he can do no more work. But England, more cruel to her subjects than the master to his slave or the man to his beast, not only plunders their pockets, but wrings their hearts with anguish; and when her merciless extortion can force out no more, she casts forth the exhausted and helpless wretch into the wilderness to die.
IR ROBERT PEEL did not propose any plan of emigra
voluntary emigration was increasing fast enough, without the aid of compulsion. The artisans and manufacturers, whom English injustice has driven to our shores, have helped to enrich us, and added to that prosperity which enables us to offer a still wider asylum to their brethren. If to enrich her nobles England will send away her industrious subjects, we will gladly receive them.
But our charge against England is, that much of this is not voluntary emigration. The oppression and distress that force them abroad, is as much the act of government as the special acts of confiscation and banishment. The result is the same, both to the government and the sufferers—the means only are different by which it is reached. We have no objection to voluntary emigration ; but let the emigrant's choice be between freedom and equal rights at home, and the promise of a better fortune abroad. Let him go borne up by hope and the spirit of adventure, and not crowded out by dire necessity from the home of his fathers.
The pains and regrets they suffer in their departure are not
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
years ago, at the sight of the Chartist Petition. 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 earthmen 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, truthfully; 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