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therefore, could not have taken place must be ruined, and the nation left to before the distresses of the country depend for subsistence on foreign supcommenced, and consequently could plies. With this view, the corn bill of not have prevented them.
1814 was proposed, but not carried ; The last branch of the expense of and in 1815, the corn bill which forms cultivation which we shall notice, the the subject of this discussion, was public burdens on the cultivator, could passed. not at that time have been diminished We shall not repeat any of the arto any considerable extent. Though guments which were advanced in the our war expenditure had ceased, yet debates of which we have given an there remained the enormous interest outline. The supporters of the bill of the national debt, and the expences painted in such powerful colours the of our peace establishment, which could general misery that must infallibly take not at that time have been reduced so place, not merely among the agricul. low as to admit of any considerable tural, but the manufacturing classes, remission of taxes. Those who are from a great part of our land being eager at all times to censure the mea. thrown out of cultivation, that it is sures of government, of course availed impossible not to deprecate this as the themselves of the opportunity of ca- greatest evil that can befall us. Their villing at the extent of the establishe views of the advantages of preserving ment that was still kept up, and at. this country independent of foreign tempted to persuade the people, that nations for the means of subsistence, our expenses ought to be as low as if and of the consequences of an opposite we had been in a state of profound line of policy, appear to be correct and tranquillity of ten years. But the peo- conclusive. Some of the advocates of ple were, happily, not misled by such the bill, however, seem to have fallen representations, but continued to pay into an error in supposing that its efthe taxes, which they saw were still fects ever could be to make corn cheap; necessary, with the same admirable and this attempt, joined to the obvious equanimity with which they had all intention of the measure, to prevent along borne them. The nation, how- the ruin of the agricultural interest, ever, now has the satisfaction to see by keeping up the price of corn, gave that the government is taking every an air of inconsistency to their argumeasure to reduce their burdens, and ments, of which their opponents did we may hope, that the restoration of not fail to take advantage. Mr Mal. permanent tranquillity will render it thus has demonstrated that prices can practicable to diminish very greatly never be low so long as we continue the national expenditure.
rich and prosperous ; and that " As it was impossible, therefore, to nation which very greatly gets the reduce the expense of cultivation to start of its neighbours in riches, withsuch an extent as to enable our agricul. out any peculiar natural facilities for turists to raise corn at the reduced growing corn, must necessarily subprices, it became the alternative, either mit to one of these alternatives--either that they must be enabled by some a very high comparative price of grain, measure of government to obtain such or a very great dependence upon other a price as would remunerate them, or countries for it."* that the agriculture of the country It is objected to the corn bill, that
* Grounds of an Opinion on the Policy of restricting the Importation of Foreign Corn, p. 46.
it has been found, by the experience mers continues, because their grain, of two years, to have failed in its ob- besides being excessively deficient in ject, for it has not relieved the distress- quantity, is in general of such bad es of the farmers ; but the salutary ef. quality, that it will hardly sell at any fects which it ought to have had have price. It cannot reasonably be doubtbeen counteracted by several circum- ed, that, had the importation been stances. It was, in the firet place, too stopped in 1814, before it had time to late in being passed. We do not blame glut our markets, prices would not the legislature for the caution which 'ħave fallen nearly so low as they did ; they shewed in 1814, when they would that an immense amount of agricultunot take this measure without further ral capital would have been saved, enquiry into its necessity ; but we are which is now irrecoverably lost, and persuaded, that, had it been adopted that much of the distress of the counat that time, it would have prevented try would have been averted. Nor much of the distress that has taken
can it be reasonably doubted, that, place. When it was proposed in 1814, had the crop of 1816 been tolerably immense importations of corn were good and abundant, our farmers would taking place, though the price was so have been much benefitted by the sale low as 678.; and upon its rejection, of this crop, without any competition the importation went on even more from foreign growers; and there is rapidly than before. The consequence good ground to hope, that we shall was, that an enormous accumulation soon be aware of the salutary effects of foreign corn took place, which of this protection from foreign comwould not have happened had the petition. ports been shut by the operation of a Those who make it a system to dis. law prohibiting importation at prices turb, as far as they can, the peace of under 80s. Though, therefore, the the country, by inflaming the people ports were shut in March 1815, when against the government, have found the corn-bill was passed, this measure our national distresses a fruitful theme. was rendered ineffectual ; for the mar- They have endeavoured, and do so kets were so glutted with foreign corn, still, to persuade the nation, that these that prices still continued to fall. In distresses, which are plainly the result December 1815, the price of wheat of causes which no human wisdom was only 55$. 9d. per quarter. In could have foreseen, nor human power January 1816, it was still lower, being prevented, have been brought upon only 528. 6d. In April following, it the country by the folly and wickedbegan to rise, but this was occasioned
ness of our ministers. They attriby the extremely bad appearance of bute them, in the first place, to an the season, and the prospect of a unnecessary war, carried on for the deficient crop. Prices continued to hopeless purpose of delivering Europe rise, and the harvest being very bad, from the sway of Buonaparte ; and the average, in November, was above when they were compelled, by the ac80s. and the ports were opened. complishment of this object, to admit Since that time to the present,* though that it was no longer hopeless, they the price of the best corn has been were obliged to hazard the wild as. very high, yet the only gainers by sertion, that it was not beneficial. it have been the importers of foreign They attribute them, in the next corn. The distress of our own far. place, to the depreciation of our
* The period at which we write-March, 1817.
currency, occasioned by over-issues, ed from the most earnest desire to re. though they have not been able to lieve the hardships of every class of show that our currency was in a state the community. But it is a necessary either of discredit or excess. They result of rash and heedless censure, attribute them to excessive taxation, and of party censure, which is often though it is not to be doubted that it the most rash and heedless of all was by this taxation that we were en- others, that it draws upon time for abled to accomplish the deliverance of its own certain refutation. There is Europe. They attribute them to the scarcely one of these objections which injury sustained by our commerce, did not grow weaker under the invesoccasioned by our own bad policy, tigation they excited; and during the though this injury proceeded, first period which has elapsed since the from the unprecedented measures of time when they were agitated, until our enemy, and next from the rash that at which these annals have been and precipitate speculations of our compiled, the conviction of the utility own merchants, when the power of of the measure in question has been gras
that enemy was at an end, causes dually strengthening. Various causes, i over which our government had cer
most of which we have already referred tainly no controul. And they de- to, have no doubt interrupted and
scribe the measure devised for the re thwarted its beneficial results; but these 3 lief of these distresses as at best a causes, we think, we have also shewa
piece of blind and short-sighted poli. to be merely of a temporary nature, cy, calculated only to aggravate the and likely, ere long, to give way to the
distresses of the poor, by raising the powerful operation of those general : price of bread, though it cannot for a principles upon which the measure is
moment be doubted that it was adopt. founded.
Domestic Affairs.--Imposture of Joanna Southcote.-Fanaticism of her Disci
ples.--Her Death and Interment.–Extension of the Order of the Bath.Classes into which it is divided.-- Remarks on the Measure, and its Tenden. cy.- Trial of Sir John Murray.-Riots on Account of the Corn Bill.- Members of the House of Commons Attacked and Insulted.--Houses attacked and Property destroyed. Continuation of the Riots on the 7th.- Persons Shot in Burlington-street.-Petition of the Electors of Westminster against the Corr Bill.- Conduct of Sir Francis Burdett in moving it, and Debate which ensued, in the House of Commons.--Acquittal of the Soldiers indicted for Murder in defence of Mr Robinson's House - Liberal Feelings of the Populace
towards them.--Anecdote of a Private Soldier of the Guards. The first domestic event which oc ral days; and derived no ungainful cupied the attention of the public, in trade, by selling a sort of sealed passthe year 1815, is almost too ridiculous port, which, like the Pope's of yore, for recital, were it not the duty of the was supposed to procure the bearer annalist to record all that can preserve instant admittance into the heavenly the form and pressure of the times, regions. Many condemned criminals, from which he forms his record. It and others, who had not inclination was the close of an impious and extra or leisure to repent of their sins, and vagant imposture, which had long in- petition for repentance, embraced this sulted religion, scandalized morality, compendious mode of assuring their and entertained the idle and thought- part of paradise. A seal with the letless.
ters J. S., which she found in sweepA wretched old woman, called Jo. ing out her master's shop, was the only anna Southcote, originally a Metho- visible proof to which she appealed in dist, had, for no less than twenty-five support of her celestial mission. She years, assumed the character of a pro- had a formal disputation with her for. phetess and an inspired writer. It is mer pastors, some of whom are said impossible to discover, from the fool. to have acknowledged her divine auish and blasphemous trash which she thority. . To the disgrace of an en. occasionally published, whether she lightened age, pretensions so blasphewas altogether an impostor, or held mous and extravagant, instead of con. that dubious rank between madness veying Mrs Southcote to Bridewell and knavery, which may be justly as or Bedlam, as her case required, prosigned to most founders of false reli- cured her an extended circle of disgions. THE Woman, as she called ciples, among whom were enrolled seherself, pretended to have immediate veral of those who had been formerint rcourse with the Deity; held con- ly believers in the maniac Brothers. troversies with Satan, whom she ba- In the month of May, 1814, deceived nished from her presence in confu- by some inward complaint, sion, after sustaining a debate of seve rous to ascertain how far the credulity
of her miserable followers would carry ced that the faithful possessed wealth them, she announced, that she was in a degree very disproportioned to impregnated with a mysterious birth, their allowance of common sense. a new incarnation of the Deity-a se Nor was it only by such expensive cond advent. Being unmarried, a gifts that the disciples of this miseravirgin, as she said, and certainly in ble enthusiast shewed their confidence her sixty-fifth year, she was never in the truth of her mission. Wagers, theless, she averred, to become the according to Voltaire, are the English mother of the promised Shiloh of test of sincerity; and that it might the Jewish prophesies. · Wonderful not be wanting on this occasion, a to say, this annunciation rather ex- citizen of Gravesend laid a bet of tended than abridged the number of two hundred to one hundred pounds, her disciples. She could now reckon Joanna Southcote would be deliveramong them, the Reverend Mr P. Fo- ed of a child before the first day of ly, whose name well merited an ad- November. The Chief Justice Gibbs ditional letter; and the no less Reve afterwards refused to sustain an acrend Mr Towzer, whose chapel she ho- tion on this wager, as contrary to noured with her attendance; a third good morals, so that the defendant reverend, who afterwards saw visions escaped for the disgrace of public exon his own account; an eminent ar posure. Nine medical men (it was tist; a half-pay colonel ; and some pretended) visited her, șix of whom, old women of both sexes. That pos to the credit of that learned faculty, terity may judge with what gross, are said to have pronounced her preg. thick, and palpable vulgarity and non nant, while the other three more cau. sense, an impostor of the nineteenth tiously suspended their judgment. century might bait her hook, and yet Her followers applied to the Archbi. not fail to catch gudgeons, we will re- . shop of Canterbury to provide ber cord six lines of the inspired strains with suitable apartments and assistof the Prophetess, or rather of the ance worthy of the expected birth; Spirit, by whom, she affirmed, they and it was by others gravely suggested, were dictated :
that the Lord Chancellor should take
Mrs Southcote under his protection, So now thy writings all may see in order, doubtless, that Shiloh, on The way that I have spoke to thee ; Because I said the second Child
his expected arrival, might become a That way the learned all would foil ;
ward of Chancery. But however deepI said the man that set thee free,
ly both church and state were inteA David's crown I'd give to He. rested in the event, peither the right
reverend archbishop, nor the learned At such slender expense of reason, lord on the woolsack, could be moved rhyme, and grammar, Mrs Southcote to give such a farce the sanction of went on and prospered. The family their countenance. of the prophetess was now maintained Mrs Southcote adjourned her mysupon a footing as suitable to her high terious delivery from time to time, pretensions, as the means of her fol until at length she appears to have lowers could support; and several ex- been partly undeceived by the pain pensive presents of plate, a cradle, or of an internal disease. A female comcribb, as it was called, the magnifi- panion addressed a medical gentleman cence of which called forth the super by her desire. “ Her case,” said her latives of newspaper eloquence, and amanuensis, after detailing the sympother elegant and valuable articles for toms, is singular in other points, the use of the expected Shiloh, evin- this event being the criterion by