Amongst the great and numerous dangers to which this country, and particularly the monarchy, is exposed, in consequence of the enormous public debt, the influence, the powerful and widely-extended influence, of the monied interest is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it necessarily aims at measures which directly tend to the subversion of the present order of things. In speaking of this monied interest, I do not mean to apply the phrase, as it was applied formerly, that is to say, to distinguish the possessors of personal property, more especially property in the funds, from persons possessing lands; the division of the proprietors into a monied interest, and a landed interest, is not applicable to the present times, all the people who have any thing, having now become, in a greater or less degree, stock-holders. From this latter circumstance it is artfully insinuated, that they are all deeply and equally interested in supporting the system; and, such is the blindness of avarice, or rather of self-interest, that men in general really act as if they preferred a hundred pounds’ worth of stock to an estate in land of fifty times the value. But, it is not of this mass of stock-holders; it is not of that description of persons who leave their children’s fortunes to accumulate in those funds, where, even according to the ratio of depreciation already experienced, a pound of to-day will not be worth much above a shilling twenty years hence; it is not of these simpletons of whom I speak, when I talk of the monied interest of the present day; I mean an interest hostile alike to the land-holder and to the stock-holder, to the colonist, to the real merchant, and to the manufacturer, to the clergy, to the nobility and to the throne; I mean the numerous and powerful body of loan-jobbers, directors, brokers, contractors and farmers general, which has been engendered by the excessive amount of the public debt, and the almost boundless extension of the issues of paper-money,——It was a body very much like this, which may with great propriety, I think, be denominated the Paper Aristocracy, that produced the revolution in France. Burke evidently had our monied interest, as well as that of France, in his view; but, when, in another passage of his celebrated work, he was showing the extreme injustice of seizing upon the property of the Church to satisfy the demands of the paper aristocracy of France, he little imagined that an act of similar injustice would so soon be thought of, and even proposed, in England, where clergyman and pauper are become terms almost synonymous. He had been an attentive observer of the rise and progress of the change that was taking place in France: and he thought it necessary to warn his own country, in time, against the influence of a description of persons, who, aided by a financiering minister, who gave into all their views, had begun the destruction of the French monarchy.——Our paper-aristocracy, who arose with the schemes of Mr. Pitt, have proceeded with very bold strides; theirs was the proposition for commuting the tithes; theirs the law for the redemption of the land-tax; theirs the numerous laws and regulations which have been made of late years in favour of jobbing and speculation, till at last they obtained a law compelling men to take their paper in payment of just debts, while they themselves were exempted, by the same law, from paying any part of the enormous debts which they had contracted, though they had given promissory notes for the amount! Their project for commuting the tithes was of this sort. All the tithes, small as well as great, belonging to the Clergy, were to be sold to the owners of the houses and land subject to such tithes; or, if the owners did not choose to purchase them, they were to be sold to other persons, as fast as such persons could be found. From the property of the Church these tithes were to be changed into property of the nation, and the Clergy were to receive, each of them according to his merits of course, a stipend from “his Majesty’s confidential servants,” payable, not in assignats, like the stipends of the constitutional clergy of France, but in paper, according to the old saying, “as good as the Bank,” though, perhaps, not very readily convertible into gold and silver, or even into brass. This project failed, and for the failure we have to thank his Majesty much more than any body else, not even excepting the bishops, who, if we may judge by their conduct with respect to the bill for what is called the “redemption of the land-tax,” had not the permanent interests of the Church so closely at heart as one might wish. If Mr. Pitt and his paper aristocracy had succeeded in their project for commuting the tithes, they would have strengthened themselves not only by the apparent security which the funds would have derived from so much property being in a manner brought to the account of the nation, but much more by the influence which such a change would have had upon the Clergy, who, feeling their very existence to depend upon the preservation of the paper-system, would necessarily have been its advocates; and thus the Bank and Lloyd’s would have had a zealous agent in every parish in the kingdom, in every nook and corner, where, even on days of religion and rest, twenty people were likely to be assembled together.——That the commutation of the tithes would have been followed by a similar measure with regard to the glebe, the parsonage houses, and other property of the Church there can be no doubt, especially when we consider what has, with so little opposition, been done in that way in the law for the redemption of the land-tax, which law I regard as the first direct and open blow aimed at the Church and the ancient nobility. Much has been effected of late years, in England as well as in France, by an artful selection of terms; the mass of mankind always being much more taken with the word than with the thing. Hence, while France was fighting for Robespierre alone, she was animated with all the enthusiasm of “liberty and equality;” hence the poor fools that live even within a hundred yards of Threadneedle-street most religiously believe that the Parliament has passed a “restriction” upon cash payments at the Bank; and hence few persons have ever supposed, that the “redemption of the land-tax” means a seizure, made by the government, of a part of every man’s estate. First a law was passed to render the land-tax perpetual. Who ever heard before of a perpetual tax? Yet so this tax was made. That being done, the tax was rendered saleable; the proprietor of the land having the preference as a purchaser. Had the measure stopped here it would have been less mischievous; but, in order to create as many purchasers as possible, in order to bring as great a sum as could be brought to the account of the Exchequer, and thereby prop the paper system, the effect of entails was removed as to private estates, while the collegiate and church establishments were let loose from those bonds which had heretofore preserved their possessions entire. That a farmer should sell one field out of ten, or a tradesman one tenement out of ten, in order to clear the other nine from the land-tax, was a matter of little consequence: the tenth field or tenth house would fall into the hands of other persons in nearly the same rank of life: no heir would be injured, no establishment weakened, by the sale. But, in suspending, for this purpose, the effect of entails, the heads of noble families were enabled, were invited, were tempted, and, in some cases, were obliged to alienate part of those estates, which they had received entire from their ancestors, and which should have descended entire to their heirs. Tom Paine and Joel Barlow, had they clubbed their talents in forming a scheme for sapping the foundations of the privileged orders, could have devised nothing at once more plausible, more popular, and, as far as it goes, more effectual than this law, which transferred to brokers and jobbers no inconsiderable portion of estates, several of which had descended from ancestor to heir from the Norman conquest to the administration of Mr. Pitt. The fields and the houses of farmers and tradesmen were divided, perhaps, amongst other farmers and other tradesmen; and, it is possible, though not very likely, that a considerable part of the land-tax of the nobility was bought up by themselves, or, that whether by purchase from one another, or from the other classes, the class of nobility gained, upon the whole, nearly as much property as it lost. This is barely possible; but what can, in this respect, be hoped with regard to the Church? Here the property does not descend in families; here the proprietor is merely a tenant for life; here, unlike the case of the nobility, it is impossible for one part of the order to gain by the loss of another part; here whatever is taken away never can return; and, therefore, the establishment is by so much robbed, impoverished, and weakened. This alienation and transfer of part of the property of the Church affords a clear illustration of that which is, in most instances, very dark and complicated, namely, the operation of the funding and paper system upon house and land. The country people wonder how it is that all the old gentlemen’s families are dropping off, one by one, and that those which remain are completely out-shone by the new gentlemen, from whose gilded footmen they learn that their masters were, but a few years ago, butchers, bakers, bottle-corkers, or old-clothes-men, and that, in fact, they are not, as to visible profession, much better now. At this the country people stand gaping with a mixture of amazement and curiosity; whereat some footman more profound and eloquent than his fellows, informs them, with sonorous voice and solemn accent, that the circumstance, at which they seem so much surprised, arises from the astonishing prosperity of the country. Upon which the country people gape still wider, not being, for their very souls, able to discover how that prosperity, which elevates bottle-corkers to country-gentlemen, should reduce country-gentlemen to bottle-corkers! But, the talkative footman, who, perhaps, begins, by this time, to grow impatient at their stupidity, flatly tells them, that, as he wants no dispute about the matter, those who differ from him in opinion may walk out of the hall; and, as country people love good things as well as town’s people, it is most likely that the far greater part of them will stay. This mode, however, of arguing with the belly instead of the brain I do not approve of; and, therefore, if the country people will listen to me only for a minute, I will endeavour to explain to them the cause of this phenomenon. The prosperity, of which they hear so much, does not extend its influence to all the people in the country. Its sphere is, indeed, rather confined, and it would be, I fancy, difficult to find many of its beneficial effects beyond the circle of the paper aristocracy. The country gentleman, who wishes and endeavours to live independently upon his estate, is obliged to pay to the government, for the support of the funding system, so great a portion of the revenue of that estate, that he has not enough left to live upon in the style in which his ancestors lived; and, in order to support that style, he sells part of his patrimony; once broken into, it goes piece by piece; his sons become merchants’ clerks or East India cadets; his daughters become companions or lady’s women to the wives of those in whose service the sons are embarked; the father, seeing his end approach, secures a life annuity for his widow; some speculator purchases the tottering old mansion; and thus the funding system swallows up the family. Generally applicable as this remark is, obvious as are the effects in every part of the country, the cause is not so distinctly seen as to render illustration unnecessary. What one loses another gains: the land all remains, belong to whom it will: howsoever much some classes may lose, there is no loss upon the whole; and there is room for contending, that birth, honour, and virtue gain as much wealth in some places as they lose in others. But, the instance of the Church sets this question at rest: from the Church part of the real property has been taken: not part of its revenues: not part of its annual income: but, part of its house and its land has been taken away, sold, and the money applied to the payment of those who have made loans to, and other bargains with, the government: and the Church possesses less than it did by so much, and it never will regain that which it has thus lost, or any portion of it. The same may be said with regard to the alienation, which, at the same time, took place, of the real property of the collegiate establishment, not excepting hospitals and other charitable foundations, part of the property of some of which was thus alienated for the purpose of supporting the funds, while the persons living within the walls of such hospitals and colleges were compelled to have recourse to the parish rates in aid of their income, which, by the depreciating effects of the paper-system, had already been reduced to a pittance, in many instances too small to afford them bread. Was this? Need I ask it? Was a scene of things like this ever contemplated by the liberal, the pious and benevolent founders of colleges, schools and hospitals; or by that government in whose wisdom and justice they confided for a due execution of their bequests? None of this alienated property will ever return to any of these foundations; and, though we cannot say that it is impossible for the property, alienated in the same way from noblemen’s and gentlemen’s families, to return; yet, there can, especially when we cast our eyes over the country, be but very little doubt upon the subject. Let it be observed, too, that there is now another land-tax; and, if the present gentleman should have a war to conduct for only a few years, I have, for my part, very great fears, that another redemption will take place; that another slice, and that a large one too, will, in the same way, be taken from the property of the ancient nobility and the Church. My fear may, perhaps, be groundless; for the circumstances of the times are different: men have now seen what a destruction of the nobility and clergy finally leads to, and they have not now to fear, that an opposition to any measure of the minister, be it what it may, will be attributed to motives hostile to the monarchy itself; a fear which certainly facilitated, during the last war, the adoption of many measures which never could have been carried without the aid of that or some equally powerful cause.——The influence which the paper aristocracy has had, and has now more than ever, in politics, may easily be seen by a reference to the list of the present House of Commons. Indeed, for them and them alone, war appears to be made and peace to be concluded. The disasters of the last war, and, finally, the total failure of its avowed objects, which were “indemnity for the past and security for the future,” were all to be ascribed to the interests of the ’Change having been consulted, in preference to the interests of the nation. The measures of the war were determined on at Lloyd’s. “Give us trade, and we will find you money,” was the cry. The traffic went on very prosperously for a while: for several years there was nothing but boasting: the war could be carried on “for ten years without any material inconvenience to the country:” or, it was, at least, so asserted by Mr. Pitt, who declared, at the same time, that he never would make peace till the balance of Europe was restored, and till we could obtain indemnity for the past and security for the future. Whether he kept his word as to the former, let the kings of Naples and Sardinia, let the Queen of Portugal and the Stadtholder, let the Hans Towns and Hanover and the Princes of Germany tell; and, with regard to the promise of “security for the future,” if we want any one to vouch for its observance, we must all at once have imbibed a degree of incredulity hitherto totally unknown to our character. The balance of Europe was not restored: on the contrary it was completely overturned. We had obtained no indemnity for the past. We left ourselves without any security for the future. Two years of the ten were not expired; yet Mr. Pitt recommended peace; assisted in making peace; openly defended peace; and for what? In order to “husband our resources:” or, in other words, to preserve the funding and paper system, weighed in the balance against which, the honour and the safety of the country, the liberties of the people and the stability of his Majesty’s throne, were light as a feather.——But, year after year, as the paper itself increases in quantity, the paper aristocracy seems to gather strength and boldness. Its love of rule, as well as its spirit of hostility to the known, legitimate, established and ancient orders of the kingdom were amply displayed in its proceedings relative to the Lloyd’s Fund for the rewarding of meritorious soldiers and sailors. There was great objection to such a fund, the largesses of which were to be bestowed by, and at the discretion of, persons officially unknown to either the army or the navy; but, when an attempt was made to draw into this fund, and to place at the disposal of its aspiring committee, all the collections made in all parts of the country, the rivalship between Lloyd’s and St. James’s became more apparent and more evidently dangerous. There was something audaciously unreasonable and bold in this attempt: something that argued a consciousness of strength too great to be overcome, if not too great to be thwarted by any power in the state. Yet, this might have been borne; but, the censure, not to say abuse; the severe reproaches and malignant insinuations, put forth, in the public prints, upon this occasion, against the nobility and clergy for not subscribing to the fund, can never be forgotten, and, politically considered, ought never to be forgiven. It was not enough for them, a self-created club of jobbers, brokers, and dealers in paper-money, to arrogate to themselves the office of collecting all the patriotic offerings of the country; to erect themselves into judges of the merits of the fleet and army; and, finally, to assume the functions of sovereignty in bestowing rewards upon soldiers and sailors; all this was not enough, their partisans must take upon them to judge also for the nobility and clergy, to reproach them with lukewarmness in the cause of the country, because their subscriptions fell short of what was expected; because they did not bring every pound they could borrow, and give it up to be disposed of at the pleasure, and in the name of, the committee at Lloyd’s, thereby strengthening the interest and increasing the influence, which was already too powerful for them to contend with, and under which they were daily and hourly sinking!—Of a similar nature and tendency has been, and is, the conduct of the Paper Aristocracy relative to the recent election for the country of Middlesex. Not content with coming forward and unreservedly stating, that with their money they are resolved to procure a person, whom they fix upon, to be elected a member of Parliament for the county, which person openly promises to be “a devoted instrument” in their hands; not content with acting up to the letter as well as the spirit of this resolution, they accuse, not only the gentleman who opposes their candidate, not only his immediate friends and active supporters, but also all the party with whom he has acted in Parliament; all these, including a vast majority of the talent, birth and public character of the country, they have the modesty to accuse of disaffection and disloyalty; and one of their partisans, who, in his fierce cat-a-mountain style, describes the young noblemen who canvassed for Sir Francis Burdett, “as springs, or rather, excrescences of aristocracy,” tells the public, that this support given “to the jacobin candidate” will enable them “to appreciate the effects of that broad-bottomed administration, which so many persons of consequence, and so many more of no consequence, so lately combined to form,” and which formation, be it remembered, Mr. Pitt’s partisans have solemly declared, that he used his utmost endeavours to effect, and for his not being able to effect it this very writer has blamed the King! But consistency is no part of the creed of a sect, who, in their quality of saints, claim, upon the argument of their renowned predecessor, Ralpho, a privilege which is wisely denied to the wicked, namely, of unsaying what they have said, and unswearing what they have sworn, just as often as convenience requires.—It is not till of late years, however, that saintship has been united with money-changing. The money-changers of old times seem to have been almost the only class of persons who patiently and silently submitted to rebuke. When their tables were overset, they shook their ears probably, but they appear to have made neither resistance nor clamour. Whether it be that the changer becomes bold in proportion to the worthlessness of the thing to be changed, or that, from its union with saintship, the trade has been exalted, I now not; but, certain it is, that our money-changers, though utter strangers to gold and silver, have a most plentiful stock of brass, as they have fully evinced in every stage of the proceedings relative to the Middlesex election, and more especially, I think, in their last meeting at the Freemasons’ Tavern, with Mr. Henry Thornton at their head. Of the resolutions passed at this meeting it is necessary to say nothing, the object of them being the same as that of the original combination; I cannot, however, refrain from admiring one sentiment of Mr. Thornton relative to the proposed subscription; to wit; that “the distant parts of the country looked often with anxiety to the metropolis, and expected from the great public virtue of the more opulent and enlightened classes in the country of Middlesex such sacrifices as might be necessary to repress the evils, to which it was subject, and to protect the constitution.” Now, though the “great public virtue” of directors, contractors, brokers, and jobbers of every description; though the great public virtue of those persons who have inundated the country with promissory notes for which the possessor cannot demand payment, and who have left us coin scarcely sufficient to carry on the daily traffic for the necessaries of life; though persons of this description should have a monopoly of the public virtue as well as of the public wealth, and though it should be perfectly consistent with the rules of modesty for Mr. Thornton and his friends to consider themselves as the most enlightened class of the county of Middlesex; though all this this should be right, I never can agree, that the people in the distant parts of the country look with any degree of anxiety to Mr. Thornton and his friends for the “protection of the constitution.” The people in the distant parts of the country have no anxiety at all upon the subject: they see Mr. Thornton and his friends subscribing, or, as he calls it, making sacrifices; and, if they have any anxiety about the matter, it arises from the fear, that a remuneration for those “sacrifices” will come out of their pockets.—Mr. Thornton all along makes his cause the cause of the government, or ministry, and charges Sir Francis Burdett with inconsistency in his language and conduct relative to Mr. Pitt. “He has been used,” says Mr. Thornton, “to inveigh particularly against Mr. Pitt, whom he has held up to the utmost abhorrence of the people; yet, if we may believe the speech of the gentleman who nominated him, he was one of those who laboured night and day, as they term it, to form an administration on a broad foundation; that is to say, an administration of which this very Mr. Pitt was to be a member!” And, what inconsistency was there in this? Were we not, all of us; or, at least, did we not all profess to be, for an union of all parties, in order that all political animosities should be buried, and that the enemy should see that he had the whole force of an undivided people to meet? Was not this the language of the nation at the time when the change of the ministry took place? Was it not the language of those who disliked as well as those who liked Mr. Pitt? Or, will Mr. Thornton insist, that every one who professed a wish for an union of parties, and who did not like Mr. Pitt, was a canting hypocrite? Besides, if a ministry upon a broad foundation had been formed, Mr. Pitt, though “a member,” would not have been the master of it. Disapproving of Mr. Pitt both as to person and system, Sir Francis Burdett would naturally prefer him in a situation where he would have the least degree of power that it was possible to pacify him with; and, cordially joining Sir Francis in disapprobation, as to the system of Mr. Pitt, my wish respecting the new ministry was the same, as I have more than once or twice unequivocally expressed it. So long ago as the winter of 1802, I gave it as my opinion, that Mr. Pitt never ought again to be at the head of a ministry: the same opinion, with some of the reasons whereon it was founded, was repeated in December, 1803; and, again, with additional reasons in the month of May last; yet, I was for a coalition of all the men of talents of all parties, doubtless including Mr. Pitt; and, I have not, on this score, at least, ever been accused of inconsistency. Indeed, the language and conduct of Sir Francis Burdett, with regard to Mr. Pitt, present no inconsistency; and the subject appears to have been introduced by Mr. Thornton in order to give an indirect blow at the whole of the Opposition, especially those persons who disapproved of the juggle, by which the present ministry was patched up.——This “enlightened” gentleman does not make use of the word jacobin, nor that of jacobinism, but he labours hard to inculcate the notion, that the election has, on the part of Sir Francis Burdett, been conducted upon jacobin principles, and that “his supporters are, unhappily, associated with men of the worst description, with men from whom arise our chief domestic danger, and the triumph of Sir Francis, therefore, would be the triumph of anarchy over law, and of democracy over the British constitution.” This is, from the ministerialists, at least, the first we have heard, in so official a manner, of “domestic dangers.” Mr. Addington and his colleagues repeatedly boasted, and I believe with perfect truth, though not with much decency, that, under their sway, the people were become unanimous; that they had, as it were, but one soul, as to their attachment to the constitution, and their resolution to defend it at the risk of their lives. Whence has arisen, then, the disaffection, and the domestic dangers, of the consequences of which Mr. Thornton is so apprehensive? Mr. Thornton himself, in speaking in defence of the peace of Amiens, (for what ministerial measure has he not spoken in defence of?) said, that it had “destroyed all discontents and rendered the people unanimous.” Since when, I ask therefore, have these “domestic dangers” again come to light? With all due submission to this bank director, our chief domestic danger does not consist in the machinations of democrats or anarchists, but in the excessive quantity of bank-notes, which, if a stop be not put to its increase, will, I am fully persuaded, produce effects fatal to our liberties and to the throne of our sovereign. This is the great cause of all our troubles and disgrace. It is, in fact, the cause that we are now at war. “Pay your bank-notes in specie,” said the Moniteur at the breaking out of the war, “and then we will believe in your ability to continue the contest.” Here we have, in a very few words, the opinion upon which the French cabinet proceeds in the war against us; and, I think, that there is no man in his senses who will venture to question the soundness of the opinion. If we continue to humour this paper-aristocracy; if they continue to issue million upon million of their paper; or even, if they are much longer skreened from the payment of what they already have afloat, we must sink beneath the enemy, without his firing a shot at us. He has nothing to do but to stand where he is, now and then showing us an aspect somewhat more menacing, till the paper system shall have brought us to the point at which we must arrive, and at which he well knows we must arrive, in the course of a very few years. Nay, if an invasion were to take place at this time, our “chief domestic danger” would arise from the excessive quantity of bank-notes. Does any man believe, that, if the enemy were landed in any considerable force, bank-notes would pass, especially near the enemy, in payment for provisions? Most assuredly they would not; and the confusion that would ensue can hardly be conceived, much less described. Lord Grenville, during the last session of parliament, suggested the adoption of some measure of precaution against this danger; but, by way of answer, he was reminded, that he formed part of the ministry when the bank restriction bill was passed! Precautions there are none adopted yet: the minister seems to be as much averse from making preparations against this contingency as some men are from making their wills: volunteers, men and horses, and even carriages, he is preparing in abundance, but not a word about money; though every man of the least reflection must perceive how extremely dangerous our situation will be, in case of actual invasion, if money, I mean real money, be not prepared in a considerable quantity for the payment of the army and the fleet.