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Its atmosphere has, in the last week, been, to me, almost as cruel a punishment, as a whipping in Dorchester Gaol would have been. Pleasant, horrid London! What a strange mixture of the most agreeable and most disagreeable beings we meet! What beauty in its shops-what filth in its alleys and in its streets! It is the emporium of knowledge and of ignorance-of health and of disease-of good and of bad habits-of virtue and of vice—of human beauty and of human ugliness. There is something higher, and something lower, in the mankind of London, than in that of any other part of the country. Here we see splendour exhausted on person, dwelling and equipage illustrated by a contact with the extreme of rags, filth, and disease. There we perceive a commercial intercourse, on which the means of subsistence to millions depend, yesterday calm and steady, today in a state of ebullition. A bank breaks-banks are breaking and will all break, and affluent thousands feel themselves reduced to a state of beggary. London is a mixture of substance and froth; mixed with some, with some separate. Some are all substance-some all froth. All is in a state of fermentation. Property changes hands here more rapidly than in any other part of the country. The capitalist of yesterday is a pauper or a suicide to-day.
A contempt for religion shews itself powerfully, as a prominent feature among the thinking part of London's people, while religion thrives with its filth and its ignorance, and almost every alley has its religious congregation. But a great general change has taken place throughout the country on this head. It is now a part and parcel of the Common Law of the Land, that religion is not defensible and is properly assaulted as a vice! Admirable change! Why does not the Vice Society change and assist me in the assault upon the vice of religion?
I do not feel at home in London; but I feel as if I had neither house nor shop. The disconnection of shop, dwelling, and printing-office, makes business irksome and strange, and I must ask pardon for a few weeks, until this can be mended, for any little neglects that may occur.
On Tuesday evening, I attended, as privately as possible, the meeting of the Christian Evidence Society, at the Paul's Head, Cateaton-street. It is calculated to do much good, if well managed, and, at once, I make a call upon it to allow the most free, discussion. Until this be announced, I feel, that I ought not to take any public part in it. The doctrine of materialism against spiritualism has hitherto been excluded. This is my peculiar
doctrine, and I ought not to give aid to any thing below it. To gain this point would greatly shorten the discussions, and they are now extended with nonsense to wearisomeness. Free discussion produces the most mild discussions, for, with it, personal învective is not felt to be a useful weapon.
I have shaken hands with many friends; but many have called to see me while absent, and time has not permitted me to call upon many upon whom I wish, and feel it a duty, to call. I will meet any person at appointment, and, in other respects, I ask credit for a short time for the best and most grateful disposition toward all who have assisted me during my imprisonment.
MONEY MARKET, BANKING SYSTEM, STOCKS, PUB
LIC CREDIT, &c.
On the above heads, all is consternation in London among those who are connected with them. It is high time, that the present banking and funding systems were broken up, and while there is a desperate run against them, it is the duty of every public writer to heighten the panic with a view to put a stop to this sort of public mischief. Country bank notes in London are not considered to be worth their weight in other waste paper.
London Banks have
gone within the last few days whose strength was doubted by but few, if any. Not one of them ought to be trusted another day upon the present system of credit and paper money. No bank can stand a fair run under this system, and though many get propped by artificial means, all must eventually sink. The present seems to be the best possible season to break up the system, and lamentable as will be the affair to thousands, or mil lions, it will be less so now, than at any future time. There is no security in depositing property in any of the existing money establishments.
TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE, 135, FLEET-STREET.
Most respectfully do I present my sincere congratulations on your liberation from a long ard unjust imprisonment, and from the hands of those who wanted but little encouragement to have become your assassins. Such is Christianity and boasted British justice! fin imprisonment from which you have come forth pure as refined gold from the crucible ; with a character singularly honourable, just and unimpeachable ; gloriously established on the firm basis of fortitude, perseverance, and integrity; which no enemy can behold with indifference, nor without feelings of envy, fear, shame, and regret; and which every friend must contemplate with the highest approbation, satisfaction, confidence,
and esteem, as an undeniable security and promise of future ho-. nour, worth, and moral rectitude. Speaking as I am, looks very like flattering a man to his face, which some do not approve of, and which too generally borders on design or meanness. at your mercy; but I have reasons for paying my respectful compliments, and for not carrying them farther in the present instance. Your case is before the world written in deeds to which no language of mine can do justice, and which will never suffer you to fall into either oblivion or contempt, as has been prophesied by one of the second-sight seers of the infallible, doughty, dogmatic journals, The News! To whom, with your permission, Shebago intends to address a few complimentary lines on his uncommon candour and newly assumed decided character, and no less on his charity, good language, and uncommon foresight. You are, Sir, standing thus, and such is your case,
I am going but with diffidence and respect, to lay my casa before you. And I feel ashamed, and almost afraid to reveal even to yourself the miserable secret-that you have had a Greenwich Collegeman for a Correspondent in the ardent but forlorn Shebago. I have been for some time an inmate of this building, hopeless distress drove me here, where I have nothing except a bare sustenance, without liberty, and in constant danger of losing even that, and gaining a cell in Hoxton. Judge, then, how gladly I would accept of a change-how anxiously I wish for it, were I only to obtain a subsistence without the fear of a mad-house before my eyes. Any one of the letters of Shebago would obtain me that in dulgence, as they have just enough of that kind of seuse and spirit which would most assuredly gain their author the unqualified character of confirmed madness:-A term that I have more than once known to be substituted for and confounded with sense and reason.
purport, then, of the latter part of this letter is simply to inquire, if you can any way find me an employment where I can be useful to you and maintain myself. I would esteem iť a blessing, and believe me I am neither ambitious nor avaricious. A very trifle would render me happy, and removing me out of this would grant me content. I write to you with a confidence and hope not common in my correspondence with my betters. Whatever way you may decide, I shall ever remain the same in mind. I must beg pardon for troubling you with any concern of mine and taking up so much of your time, and return my thanks for the notice you have been pleased to take of my letters. Indeed, the pains you have been at, in correcting them for the press, make them as much or more yours, than those of your much obliged and humble servant, THOMAS HOOD. Marlborough Ward, Royal Hospital,
Greenwich, Dec. 14th, 1825.
Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 135, Fleet Street.
No. 25, Vol. 12.] LONDON, Friday, Dec. 23, 1825. [Price 60.
BANKS-PAPER MONEY-STOCKS-FUNDING SYSTEM
To write at this moment, upon any other subject than the above, would be to shew an indifference toward public feeling, excited on a serious matter. The paper panic of the last fortnight has superseded every other consideration ; and the death of the Emperor of Russia is made subservient to it. Even my liberation has been worked in as one of the causes of this state of things ; for such was an observation made, to my surprise, by a country gentleman not unskilled in politics. As far as study is necessary to understand this paper-morey subject, I confess that I am ignorant; for though I have read'much upon it, I have thought but little. But I have uniformly entertained an idea, that it must be a bad state of things, as to legislation and government, which is to be kept in a constant state of fear about the price of stocks, and about an ephemeral property, which exists only in the imagination when fairly sought." The real property of the country is lost sight of in a constant attention to a gambling with that which is but a spiritual or evanescent property-a mere thing of the imagination. The spiritual things called stocks are evidently only convertible to real property upon a confined scale, or in a small degree ; if all were to seek that conversion, none would find it.
You can only sell stocks when buyers are to be found. If no buyers were to be found, the thing ceases to exist, other than in the disposition of such a legislature, as may, from time to .time, be formed, to tax the existing generation with the burthen of an interest for this nominal property. So long as there is a hope that such a legislature will be found, so long will there be a gambling, a buying and selling, and all sorts of tricks with respect to what are called stocks; so long will there be no secu. rity for the industrious labourer, and so long will disappointment and misery be the predominant sensations of the people of this country. Real property, that which is only to be produced by labour, cannot compete with this nominal property created by a funding and banking system, and the former is unfairly, unjustly taxed, to support the mischievous existence of the latter.
It is probable, that what I have written has been written and spoken a thousand times before, but so far, I have not copied.
Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 135, Fleet Street.
The foregoing sentences are a plain dealing man's view of the fictitious property called stocks or funds. I am now about to copy from, and to review, Mr. Paine's Decline and Fall of the English System of Finance. This pamphlet is confessedly Mr. Cobbett's text book on this subject, and I do not expect to educe any thing new from it, nor to do any thing more than to exhibit it in a strong light, at a moment when it will be read with more than usual attention. The pamphlet itself is sold at sixpence, and is well worth the perusal of all who are interested, as to their property, or in their depositings of property, in the public funds. It can be safely said of Mr. Paine, that his penetration was so great that he always took a correct view of all political affairs. He copied from no party men; he espoused not the interests of a few against that of the many; he looked fairly at men and things and sought to work out something new for the benefit of the majority; in fact, of mankind at large. This is no where more visible than in his new view of the English System of Finance.
Mr. Paine's opening paragraph is decisive of the question; it is thus: Nothing they say, is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than the time of dying; yet, we can always fix a period beyond which man cannot live, and within some moment of which he will die. We are enabled to do this, not by any spirit of prophecy or foresight into the event, but by ob.. servation of what has happened in all cases of human or animal existence. If, then, any other subject, such, for instance, as a System of Finance, exhibits in its progress, a series of symptoms indicating decay, its final dissolution is certain, and the period of it can be calculated from the symptoms it exhibits.” If the reader can perceive that the National Debt has gone on increasing, if he can perceive, that there has been, in reality, no reduction during the ten years of peace, if he can see, that the late panic was, or is greater than any that occured during the war, greater than any that has before happened, he may rest assured, that these are so many symptoms of decay, and that the system must eventually die, and be annihilated The time when is as difficult as to say the time when a man will die, who is left to the ordinary course of events. I told Dr. England, the Archdeacon of Dorset, in February, 1822, that I then thought that the funding system would be broken up within four years, or by 1826, and the present panic is evidently one of its death-throes. The Doctor scouted the idea, and wished he had a few more thousands in the funds. The Gaoler seconded him. What do they now think?
Mr. Paine proceeds to shew the progress of the national debt with the progress of war, and his calculations with regard to the last war were quite within compass. In treating of it, he has the following observation, which has been verified to a certainty in the present year. He says!--“It will not be from the inability of pro