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/8

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rude an attack upon their pockets, do they forget their good manners, and set up a howl of rebellion.

In short, the middle classes have not so much desired to attack the principle of Class Legislation, as to prevent its development in a manner injurious to themselves. Hence, they have vehemently sought the Repeal of the Corn-laws, because they have felt those laws to interfere with their trade, while they have been content to leave the power of robbing the people in the hands of a privileged class, only bargaining that it be not effected in this particular fashion.

The lower classes, on the other hand, regard the feudal aristocracy as their natural and hereditary enemies, in a political point of view; though personally, I suspect, they like the middle class still less, regarding them as renegades from the common cause of both; and naturally expecting some sympathy from them, are proportionably disgusted at their defection. The political emancipation of the middle class was mainly achieved by means of the co-operation of the "masses," who find after all, that they have only increased the power and the number of their masters. The latter may be weak and ignorant, but they have the quick instinct common to weak and unprotected creatures, and have learnt truth in the school of experience. They have long pointed an unequivocal finger in the right direction for relief, and are determined to keep it stationary there. They have discovered, that when all are represented up to a certain point, the class excluded must of necessity, be a miserable and degraded one; and they can further urge, that in this country, that class is a numerous as well as a miserable one. Since the Reform Bill, therefore, the lower classes have withdrawn in disgust from all piecemeal and partial agitations. They profess themselves dissatisfied with the whole system of government, as at present conducted. They say, that while the power of legislation remains in the hands of the "few," the "many," will, under some pretence or other, be defrauded of their just share of the national wealth. They, therefore, demand an extension of Political Rights to every citizen, or, in other words, complete Suffrage, with the Protection of the Ballot.

And, I appeal to the candour of every honest man, who is acquainted with their history and their distress, whether they are not justified in demanding this Radical Reformation. To say nothing of the indifference displayed as to their moral and intellectual advancement, observe the pains which seem to be taken