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But use an' wont is law :
The toun maun pay it a'!
We're unco' sweer to draw :
( Exeunt omnes, very uproarious.)
MINISTERS AND THE BANK CHARTER.
The times are strange indeed! Nowadays, we not only have a Whig government, a Whig system of pacifying discontented countries, a Whig financier, &c., &c.; but it seems we must also have a Whig system of abstract science,-a Whig political economy! And by and by, we doubt not, should there be any end to answer by it, we shall have, from Oxford or Cambridge, or some other orthodox University, a Whig code of new mathematics!
We have been led into this anticipation by the manifesto in the Edinburgh Review on the Bank Charter,-a manifesto containing much that is ingenious and forcible, but coming to very wrong conclusions; and as it so happens, in apparent contradiction to several of the best established principles in commercial science.
We have been long aware that Ministers wished to renew the Bank Charter. Their intentions upon this subject were long ago announced in our Magazine; and there is no reason for concealing that they would have renewed it, but for the resolute stand made by Sir Henry Parnell. The evidence before the Committee, in so far as it went, was a mere cloak ; and had the Committee been prevailed upon to make a report in accordance with it, there is no doubt that a subservient House,-a House, too, which had signed the confession of its own corruption and unfitness, --would have been an instrument in inflicting this great wrong upon our commercial community. But for a press of other matter, we should this month have entered the lists with the reviewer, and made fair trial of his mettle ; but we cannot send our number forth without entering our full protest against the doctrines he upholds- our protest against the known design of Ministers—and our protest against any scheme which shall leave the active management of the currency of England in the hands of a body, so situated, that they would almost, of necessity, and in the most critical times, abuse that trust.
There are many sinister interests connected with this question; and we take the opportunity of briefly exposing them. The exposé will ena, ble our readers the better to sift the evidence, and weigh the value of the testimony offered them.
First, There is Lord Althorp's interest. To the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a body at hand, like the Bank, must always be convenient ; and by so much the more, according to the Chancellor's acquirements in the science of blundering. Lord Althorp is well aware of his own acquirements in this way; and, doubtless, they have inspired him with a strong affection towards the Bank, Had his lordship, with his clique, been Minister pro tempore only, we should have trusted the matter with him-he might have done right; but they think they have now a good hold of office, and therefore Downing Street must be made as comfortable as possible! But Lord Althorp's interest happens to be quite opposite to the interests of the country. It is our interest, in the first place, to have clear and regular Treasury accounts, independent of any Bank; and in the second place, to have a Bank that will work well for US. In regard of blundering financiers, we should probably find out some other method of dealing with them. .
Secondly, There is the Bank's own interest. That we need not explain; it is the interest of all monopolists. Let the monopoly continue ; Esto perpetua-is the cry. Nothing like monopoly !
Thirdly, What may sound odd—there is the interest of the private banker in London, in favour of the Bank. Most people think these pri. vate bankers rivals of the Great Lady of Threadneedle Street! Rivals indeed! Banks forced upwards—forced on a free system-might be rivals ; but then, they would rival the present private banker too! The present private banks are, in fact, a set of subordinates. They have been formed under the existing law; they nestle within the shadow of the “ Great Lady;" and if she tumbles,why, the wind will be too rough for them. The private bankers all know this. They are quite aware that the dissolution of the hulk which shields them would be fatal also to them, and that they would necessarily disappear before the strong and compact institutions which would arise around them. At present, the private banks have a sort of inferior monopoly ; which would be broken in upon and destroyed by great Banking Companies, formed upon the Scottish, or free system. The private bankers would be obliged to change the nature of their business, and adapt themselves to the new system ; which they cannot be supposed willing to do. If our readers will but think of this, it will thoroughly explain all the private bank adulation in the evidence, and it will enable them to weigh it.
There is one man whom we shall miss from Parliament, when this vital subject is discussed—and that is Sir HENRY PARNELL. Might not the livery and electors of London consult their own honour and the national interests by returning him? If there is a man in Britain who knows thoroughly all the windings of our complex finance system, it is Sir Henry; and he has already done us inestimable service upon this very question, by preventing the renewal of the Bank Charter. How different, a representative of that sort from a clumsy-headed alderman ! But we do not conceive that the electors of the metropolis could require one word of persuasion as to their choice.
These few hints we have thought it our duty to throw out. They contain matter to be thought over ; and they will shew everyone acquainted with the evidence, on what kind of grounds Lord Althorp would deal with one of the most important questions which can be presented to the reformed Parliament
One of the first proceedings of a Parliament calling itself reformed, should be a thorough investigation of the means by which a comprehensive national, or universal education, may be established. If the present Parliament do not immediately enter upon such investigation, this single fact is sufficient evidence of a necessity for further reform ; for then, evidently, the Parliament cannot be said to represent fairly the public feeling. That feeling now being one of intense anxiety to extend the blessings of education to every human being in the land ; to extend to all an education the most complete and excellent, which the civilization of our people will enable them to afford and receive. All know that there is much difficulty in devising means, by which this may be effected, but none doubts of the desirableness of its being done, nor of the duty we lie under of attempting to discover the means.
We have no intention of declaiming on the advantages of education, or indulging in the commonplaces of this much-talked-of, but very imperfectly understood matter, throughout the present paper. We shall assume the urgent necessity for a National Education, and the manifold benefits that would result from it. Any one who calls in question these assumptions, must seek elsewhere for refutation. It, nevertheless, is deemed advisable, to lay before the reader some observations on the kind of benefits likely to flow from an universal instruction of the people. This may tend to make many who are merely lukewarm adherents, zealous workers in the cause. Our practical Legislators, (a very narrow minded and bigoted race,) may also see good reason to extend their views somewhat beyond the routine of their ordinary proceedings, to consider something of importance, not hitherto included, by the politi. cians of this country, in the business of administration.
Of the evils which the members of a community suffer, some may result from the mal-administration of the government; some from their own negligence or error; or from the negligence or error of their fellowmembers acting in their individual or private capacity. The remedies, therefore, for certain evils, may lie in reforming government abuses ; the remedies for certain other evils may wholly rest with the people themselves acting as individuals. To give an example of this, we may make the following suppositions : A government, being ignorant or knavish, puts a tax on bread, thereby diminishing the resources of the country; and by increasing the difficulty of obtaining the means of subsistence, increasing the misery of the people. The remedy for this mischief is, reforming the government. The evil springs from the acts of the government, and, therefore, by improving the intelligence and probity of that body, you may remove the evil. But, suppose the mass of the labouring population utterly careless of their own well-being, thriftless and idle, ever yielding to the temptation of present enjoyments, regardless of the future, and improvident in preparing the means of supplying the wants which the future may bring. The result will be immense misery among the people, but the remedy will not be reforming the government, but in changing and improving the people. Make the government ever so efficient, excepting in so far as you may make it active in educating the degraded population here supposed, and you do nothing towards alleviating the evils existing. A complete representa
tion of the people, will not of itself make them industrious; the most perfect scheme of administration ; the most scientific, perspicuous, and well-administered law, will not remove the mischiefs resulting from po. pular improvidence. Make the whole government perfect and you have done nothing, unless you also reform the individuals who compose the nation. The mischief is in their conduct, and the only mode of altering that, is by improving them.
It would be well, if they who write for the people, and for those who govern them, would so far analyze the condition of the labouring popu. lation, as to be able distinctly to state, what part of their condition is dependent on themselves,--that is on the people ; what part may be improved by improving the government. A thoroughly honest and courageous exposition of this single circumstance and its results, would convey more useful information, than has ever yet proceeded from the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, or than will do so, from twenty Poor Law Commissions, headed by the dignitaries of the church,
One of the first and most important results from a general and well directed education of the people, would be a practical understanding by the many, of this great distinction existing in the various ills to which their lot is subject. They would learn, what they could by their own fore. thought and prudence remedy, and what they could not. They would become docile and patient citizens under a good government, while they would be irresistible enemies to a bad one. We should have no wild cries against machinery, no stupid burnings of ricks, no sturdy and overgrown pauper population. If discontent existed among the people, it would arise from legitimate causes, from a pressure of evils brought on by a bad government. At the present moment, amid the many outcries against the oppressive government which has existed amongst us for centuries; ay, from the very beginning of our history, a most important circumstance seems to be almost entirely forgotten. The evils of bad govern. ment, particularly in this country, are not so much of a positive as of a negative description. The government does not often immediately inflict misery on the people by any brutal or barefaced oppression ; but by abstaining from its duty, by shrinking from doing the good that is incumbent on it, enormous misery is allowed to spring up. By fostering, and perpetuating ignorance among the people, it inflicts more injury than by any or all of its direct oppressions. All its immense taxation, as a burthen, is a feather in the scale when compared with the miseries produced by the ignorance it has engendered. Could we enlighten the whole population, could we at one moment give all of them knowledge and forethought, a thorough understanding of the circumstances on which their happiness is dependent, and, at the same time, endow them with fortitude to resist present temptations to enjoyment, in a few short years they would laugh at the taxes when called a burthen, and wonder at those who believed, that so long as they existed, no happiness for the people could ever be known.
At this passage of our paper, many of our readers, we doubt not, are ready to exclaim, “ Do you truly expect such magnificent results from a general knowledge of reading and writing? Do you really believe that, by teaching the poor weavers and the unhappy farming hind to read with ease, and to write a legible hand, you can produce a popu. lation such as you describe ?” We know that there will be many to ask the question, and we now shall attempt to answer it; because, before we proceed to details, it is proper to understand the object we are en. deavouring to attain. Our present object is, the Education of the People; and our immediate purpose will be, to describe what we mean by euch education.
Without reference to any peculiar condition of men, we may say, in general terms, that a man, to be happy, should be able, with moderate labour, to acquire the means of his subsistence; and should, moreover, possess a cheerful, tranquil, confiding spirit, and be one seeking his enjoyments rather in intellectual than sensual pleasures. The business or object of education should be, so to frame the moral and intellectual man, that he have the temper and habits here described, and possess the knowledge requisite, with this moderate labour, to obtain the means of his subsistence. This is the object of education :-education itself is the process, is the actual exercise by which this moral and intellectual character is formed. Making the whole population of any kingdom or country go through this process or exercise, would be giving what we here term Universal, or National Education.
The only matter in doubt here, is, whether, by any intellectual and moral training that could be devised, the whole population could be placed in a situation wherein they could, with moderate labour, obtain the means of their subsistence. Our answer to this difficulty is as fol.. lows:-The great mass of the population live by the wages of labour; (it may be remarked, that the difficulty exists about these alone ;) their well-being is dependent upon the rate of their wages. This rate depends upon the quantity of capital to employ them. If their numbers be great as compared with this capital, their wages will be low, their labour excessive, and their condition miserable—this is the condition of the English labourer. If, on the contrary, their numbers be small, their wages will be high, their labour light, and their condition happy-this is the condition of the American labourer. All good education has a tendency to create habits of forethought, and power to resist present temptation, when attended with future misery. Such forethought and fortitude would, therefore, induce, or have a tendency to induce, the labourers not to increase their numbers beyond the point which alone could secure them high wages. The strength of this tendency would be in exact proportion to the goodness of the education imparted. And we have every reason to hope, that a scheme may be devised by which this efficient education may, though perhaps with difficulty, be imparted to the whole population of this kingdom.
It must be evident to any one who has read the foregoing statement, that education, when used by us, does not merely signify reading and writing,-ay, that it even means something more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It means, in fact, the fashioning of the whole mental, moral, and physical being; the end or scope of which is, to make that being a means of happiness to himself and those around him. To this are to be applied varied means; extensive and powerful instruments; the resources of a great, intelligent, and wealthy community. Its wisest heads, most beneficent and active spirits, are to labour in this vast, this all-important labour. For the attainment of our purpose, no pains are too great, no expenditure must be grudged. No man, however great and exalted his genius and acquirements, should shrink from lending his assistance ; for never can those talents, those acquirements, be employed to so beneficial a purpose as that of educating a whole people. Many difficulties lie in the way. To obviate these, our best judgments, most commanding intellects, ought to lend their hearty assistance. The road