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by the measures of the present Ministry, than by anything else that has ever occurred. O'Connell openly boasts of this. Hear his own words :
" Mr Shiel's conviction, as to the necessity of repeal, was produced by the conduct of the British Parliament; and the administration of Lord Anglesea, Stanley, and the Attorney-General showed that, without repeal, it was impossible to do any service to Ireland. (Hear, and cheers.) He was proud to think that the enemies of Ireland were no longer to be distinguished by their religion, but by their servility. (Hear, and cheers.) Orangemen, Methodists, Presbyterians, can now be ranged amongst the patriots of Ireland ; and he was most proud to be able to state this fact, that the first person who tendered a vote to his son in Tralee, was the Methodist preacher of that town. (Cheers.). Amongst the Irish patriots were to be found men of every persuasion, while the vilest and most servile, the veriest lickspittle'-(it was an unpleasant word to use, and which he should not pronounce in a public assembly, if he could find one eqı ly expressive of the class he was describing)—but that filthy word particularly applied to the Catholic portion of the herd of slaves who were the most bitter and malignant enemies of Ireland. (Hear, and cheers.)"
In these circumstances, the salvation of the empire hangs upon a thread. If the Irish members generally support the repeal of the Union, there is no concealing the fact, that, in the present distracted and divided state of parties in this country, they may soon be able to dictate it to any Administration.
One only resource remains to hold together the falling members of the empire. The great and noble Orange party of Ireland are still firm to their duty, and to the integrity of the British dominions. Calumniated, maltreated, injured as they have been by the liberal measures, both of the present and the preceding Cabinet, they are yet firm in their allegiance both to the British crown and the British legislature. But let us not throw away our last chance. This brave and patriotic body may be driven to desperation; a drop may make the cup overflow. They are assailed by a reckless and desperate Catholic faction, strong in numbers, able in guidance, reckless in intention; men whom no bloodshed or conflagration will intimidate, no public suffering deter; who will pursue the objects of their own ambition, careless though the ruins of the empire were to overwhelm them in the pursuit. This terrible body has been headed, patronised, and flattered by the Government of England during the whole struggle on the Reform Bill, and nothing but the triumph of that measure has cooled the
alliance, or made them sensible of the desperate danger which they ran in the attempt.
Such a combination, a little longer persisted in, would have led to the dismemberment of the empire. It is by supporting, with all the might of England, the Orange party of Ireland, and by such a measure alone, that the crown of Ireland can be kept on the head of the British sovereign, or the independence of the British empire maintained. The Catholics will never cease to desire a severance-because it would lead, they hope, to a Catholic Prince and a Catholic Government, and the restitution of the whole estates, both civil and ecclesiastical, to the Catholic proprietors. Her Revolutionists will never cease to desire it, because it will at once occasion the formation of a Hibernian Republic, in close alliance with the great parent democracy of France, and place the agitators at the head of affairs. Her Protestants alone are prompted by every motive, human and divine, by kindred interest, religion, and loyalty, to resist the convulsion; and hitherto, through evil report and good report, through support and injury, they have stood firm in their faith. What madness if the affections of this great body, the sole remaining link which holds together the empire, is lost in the flattery of revolutionary passions ! But that must be the consequence if the present vacillating system is persisted in, and the tried support of the Protestant Union is lost in the vain attempt to conciliate its Catholic enemies.
THE COMMERCIAL CRISIS OF 1837
(BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, Aug. 1837)
For the last nine months, distress and suffering in their worst, most protracted, and aggravated form, have been passing over the commercial world both of this country and America. Inferior to the great catastrophe of December 1825 in the pressure on the banks, and consequent general panic through the community, the crisis of 1837 has been infinitely superior to it in the lengthened suffering which it has diffused through the manufacturing interests, and the unparalleled distress in which it has involved the working classes. The greatest mercantile houses of Britain have been brought to the edge of perdition; some, whose credit a year ago stood as high as any in Europe, have sunk in the struggle; the prudent conduct and well-timed liberality of the Bank of England alone has averted a still greater convulsion, and possibly saved the nation from the horrors of a general bankruptcy. While manufactured articles of every sort have fallen a half in value; while the produce of the British customs has sunk £900,000 in a single quarter; while nearly one-half of the cotton mills of the island have been shut up, either from inability to find a market for their produce, distrust of the solvency of their purchasers, or the insane attempts of their workmen to keep up their wages by combination and outrage, in a period of adversity, at the high level to which they had risen in the preceding unparalleled prosperity—the distress universally diffused throughout the working classes has been unprecedented. For nearly six months, 50,000 hands have been unemployed in Manchester and its vicinity; the destitution of the silk-weavers of Spitalfields and Macclesfield has been relieved for a time only
by a united effort of royal bounty and fashionable expenditure; 20,000 workmen are idle at Paisley and its vicinity, of whom 9000 are daily maintained solely by the bounty of the higher classes, themselves labouring under unprecedented difficulties; and at Glasgow, what between the long-continued pressure on the masters, and the monstrous conduct of the workmen, who have chosen this season of universal suffering to strike, to prevent any reduction of wages, nearly one-half of the labouring classes have for several months been in a state of idleness; and thousands have been kept alive solely by the munificent bounty which, in periods of real distress, is never awanting among the opulent classes in that great centre of manufacturing industry.
What renders this crisis the more distressing, and inspires the more gloomy presentiments in regard to its effects in future, is the gradual way in which it has come on, the length of time it has already lasted, and the universal application of the pressure which it has occasioned. Other commercial crises, as that of 1825, have come on at once, raged for a season with extraordinary severity, but, when the panic subsided, speedily disappeared; or, as those of 1810 and 1816, have been principally confined to the persons engaged in particular branches of manufacture or commerce. But, on this occasion, all classes are suffering alike. The cottonspinners, the cotton-holders, the iron-masters, the shawlmanufacturers, the silk-weavers, the fancy dressmakers, the handloom-weavers, the clothiers, the engineers, the machinemakers, are all involved in equal suffering. Orders have ceased, or declined to one-half; credit is shaken over the whole world. In no direction are the symptoms of a decided reaction on the part of the purchasers yet to be seen. That the commercial and manufacturing classes have hitherto stood the storm so well—that so few failures have occurred as yet amongst them—is the strongest proof of the solidity of their establishments, the general prudence of their speculations, and the immense wealth which ten continued years of peace and prosperity have diffused throughout the British mercantile world. The tempest of 1837 has thoroughly tried their strength, and demonstrated, that if it began in most cases with paper credit, it has rapidly grown into solid
opulence. Had this crisis occurred when they were no better prepared for it than they were in 1825, it is not going too far to say, that at least one-half of the whole manufacturing and commercial establishments of the country would have been destroyed. As it is, nearly two millions of operatives or their dependents are at this moment out of employment in this island; and thousands of houses have stood the shock only by yielding up the whole profits of the last ten years, and beginning the world anew, after they flattered themselves they had nearly realised the object of their fondest wishes.
But if these have been the effects of the storm in the British islands, how incomparably more disastrous have been its effects on the other side of the Atlantic! In America, a convulsion has been experienced unprecedented perhaps in the civilised world. It may truly be said that an universal bankruptcy has there taken place. In the State of New Orleans, the great emporium of the Southern States of the Union, the debts for which the inhabitants of the city and province have failed amount to the enormous and unexampled sum of FORTY-FIVE MILLIONS STERLING. In fact, every human being, with one or two exceptions, has become bankrupt. In New York, after the bankruptcies had amounted to five millions sterling, and two of the principal banks in the city had failed, and it was everywhere understood that a general failure of them all was at hand, the extraordinary step of universally suspending cash payments was adopted, which has since been generally followed in all the cities of the Union. What the effects of such a portentous state of things as this simultaneous suspension of cash payments, without any authority from the Legislature, may ultimately be, it is not for us to say; and many years, perhaps half a century, will elapse before they are all exhausted. At this time, forty years after the suspension of cash payments forced on Mr Pitt by overbearing necessity in 1797, we are far from having experienced all the consequences of that momentous change. But this much at least is certain, that the misery and ruin diffused through all classes, but especially the working ones, by this general public and private bankruptcy in America, far exceeds that arising from any catastrophe, civil or military, which has