Page:An address to the middle and working classes engaged in trade and manufactures throughout the empire on the necessity of union at the present crisis.djvu/10

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unworthy minister, disappoint any reasonable man? Had we any right to expect even this trivial concession from the organs of constituencies exposed on every side to Aristocratical influence, formed for the express purpose of supporting Aristocratical aggression, under the veil of popular representation? Can we expect that the landlords whom we have debauched with power, will yield to our prayers the Arch Monopoly, with which, all others will fall, and so dry up the golden stream from which they derive their fatal influence? And is there any means of diminishing the power of Aristocracy, except by throwing weight into the scale of Democracy? And the necessity of this, being now obvious, is there any other means of effecting it, except by a firm alliance betwixt the middle and working classes to that end?

When the friends of Free Trade have come to a right conclusion upon these points, we may augur better for the success of their noble cause, as well as for the permanent amelioration of the condition of the labouring classes, who at present stand aloof from this agitation, not because they are enamoured of a food-tax, but because they are indisposed to engage in any political struggle, which does not recognize as a primary fact, the claim of themselves and their children to the rights of citizenship. To imagine that the "many" can have an interest in a monopoly which enhances the price of the necessaries of life, for the benefit of the "few," is absurd. They opposed it manfully in its origin, and their present comparative apathy on the subject, springs from motives which we can understand, if we cannot applaud. As to the obstructions which have been occasionally offered by a portion of them to the discussion of this question, they must, I think, be loudly deprecated by every impartial man. At the same time, we may remind those who are inclined to lay too much stress upon this fact, that if a class of men are kept in the condition of serfs, we have no right to expect that they will display the dignity and discretion of citizens.

What, therefore, I now propose, is, that the middle class of Manchester, particularly that portion of them which takes an interest in the struggle for Free Trade, should set an example to the rest of the country, of associating with their operatives to attack Monopoly in its fortress of Legislation. The Complete Suffrage and Vote by Ballot must form the basis of such an agitation, if it is to be either honest or efficient. And the question must be argued on the broad ground of principle, and not of expediency, as a right long in abeyence, and now firmly insisted upon. And