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would secure success, mind,) what ple of England will afford them might you have from me! I have the means. offered myself for the City of Co. I therefore do urge the Reventry, and have pledged myself formers to bestir themselves. I am to stand the election, let who will anxious upon this subject because have the impudence to oppose us; there is no time to be lost. It is and if such there be, difficult shall suggested to me by some of the be his task. But, though I shall Electors in Town who have formdo my best, I cannot do all myself. ed themselves into a committee, to The people of Coventry are a pub- recommend to you, in Town and lic-spirited people, and always Country, to form little sub-comhave been. But they are not all of mittees of six, or a dozen of friends, them on the spot; and it will be as it may happen, to make collecnecessary to raise the means to tions; and then the sums which carry down the voters from Lon you collect you should send withdon. They have been so worn out loss of tiine, directed to me, down by corruption that great at the office of Cobbett's Evennumbers of them are left almost ing Post, London, or to be left for : destitute; besides, it would be the Committee (by those who are in - unjust to expect them to go at the neighbourhood) at the Jacob's their own expenee. They will do Wells Tavern, Barbican, where their parts by going to Coventry the Committee meet. to vote for me, if the peo
Gntered at Stationers' ball. Printed by: H, HAY, 11, Newcastle-street, Strand, and published by Wm. COBBETT, Jub.
No. 269, Straud,
This election, as far as I had
any part in it, must be considered COVENTRY ELECTION,
as immediately connected with my Which began on the Sth, and ended Dot been with a hope of getting
return to England; for, bad it on the 16th, of March, 1820.
into parliament, I should not have' returned, foreseeing and fore.
telling, as I did, that measures for Mr. JÁMES PAUL COBBETT,
stifting the press would certainly AT New YoŘK.
be adopted before the end of last Bolley, 25 March, 1890. year. Before I sailed, we had the MY DEAR JAMES,
news of the Manchester tragedy, The recent Election at Coventry and of Sidmouth's letter to the will form an important epoch, not Magistrates. It was easy to see only in my political career, but in what was to follow. Indeed, we that of this corrupting, corroding, all saw it; and it was, at New and destroying system of sway. York, a coinmon observation, that Therefore, I shall endeavour to the Parliament would be sitting to give a full and clear account of receive me with new laws against the matter from the beginning to the press ! My uncommonly short the end; and, if this account con- passage 'prevented this prediction tain but too many proofs of the from being fulfilled to the very corrupt state of the people general- letter. The Parliament met the ly; of the base and slavish pro. day after that on which I landed; pensity of many; of the coward and, the press-etiflers were be. ice and ferocity of a considerable fore it in forty-eight hours after. proportion of those engaged in wards. elections: if this be the picture I But, I calculated on the King's have to draw, the fault will be death, and upon the chance of found to be in the subject, and getting into Parliament when that not in the painter. I must speak should happen. If I succeeded in the truth, whatever be the pain it this, I knew, that I should very may give me.
quickly produce a great effect of
Prinicd by H.HAY, 11, Newcastle Sireme, strano; and publisied by WM. COBHETT, jud.
one sort or another. My desire atrocious acts, which some part was to produce a healing effect'; of the mass committed, while ! to produce a change within, and was at Coventry; hut, I, dever: to prevent it from being produced theless, do most sincerely regret, from without; to propose mea that I have not the power of al. sures, calculated to restore the leviating their sufferings. Many country to prosperity and peace; of them were so good, so true, so in short, to do great things for the faithful, that their conduct would, country, without any view to self- if any thing could, make me forinterest.
get the ruffians, who were hired Therefore, the moment the king's to stab and tear my friends. death was announced, I announced The right of voting at Coventry my intention to stand for Coventry, is solely in the Freemen, as they which is a city containing about are called. That is, all those who .twenty thousand souls, and the have, by regular indenture of ap: business in which is, principally, prenticeship, served seven years Watch-making and Ribbon-weav- to one and the same trade in the ing. It is in the County of City or Suburbs of Coventry, Warwick, and is within a few There are about three thousand of miles of the centre of England. these Freemen. So that this The land all around it, for many would appear to be a very just many miles, is very rich indeed. thing, seeing that it gives to these It is like garden ground. Much men, who are, for the far greater of it is in grass; and the cattle part, poor men, the power of and sheep are generally very fine sending two men to parliament. and fat. Nature and art appear But, you will by-and-by see, that to have exhausted their joint this power is really no power at stock upon the land and cattle in all; and that, in every case the this part of England; and yet, will of these Freemen (as they are good God! what a miserable called) is nothing ; but that they race of human beings! what a rag- are compelled, or, at least, a niaged, squalid, woe-worn assem- jority of them, to obey the will of blage of creatures! The poor others. That, in fact, these poor wretches toil for their masters and fellows bear the name of Freemen, for the Tar-eaters. Enough is and are, all the while, real slaves ; left them, and barely enough, to aye, as completely slaves as are sustain life ; and thus debility be- the negroes in Jamaica. Genecomes a habit with them. My rally these facts are not made to compassion towards the mass nrust appear so plainly. But, upon this necessarily be blunted by the loccasion, the feelings of me were
(86 rouzed. Conscience had to try its as I ever set eyes on. I told some strength openly against direct of them at Coventry, that I really force of various kinds; and there was sorry, that the Coventry men fore, now the poor, wretched were 'not as base as they; for that Freemen stand exposed in all their then, I should go home happy in degradation
the reflection, that the govern, You will observe, that all the ment of CASTLER EAGH and Sio: Freemen have a right to vote; / MOUTH was just such a govern! and, as some hundreds live in ment as they deserved.'s 14.1 London, and some hundreds more
However, the main part of the at Birmingham, and at other people at Coventry, were very towns, in different parts of the different from those London Spes Kingdom, the expence is always culators in corruption, and bad considerable; for, these out-living not brụtal force been employed, I Freemen require not only to be should have been elected by a fery taken lo Coventry, but to be enter large majority; for, though seduc. tained there and on the road, and tion of every kind was made use to be paid for their time into the of, still the conviction is my favour bargain ! This, to begin with. was so strong and so general, that is a pretty complete slab at the a majority would have decided for chance of fair play; for, it is evi me, had not beating and stabbing dent, that, as to these out-livers, been resorted to
...',..,,, the heaviest purse is pretty sure I had been at Cuvetry a fortto have the greater part of them). night before the election, and,
My first step was to meet the by writing and speaking, had proLondon voters, to address them, duced great effect upon the minds and to explain my motives to them of the people, who appeared to as fully as was necessary. You consider this as no common case. would have been charmed with Having seen the Freemen in Lontheir enthusiasm ! You would dop again, and arranged matters have thought, that they would in town, I set off for Coventry, have gone barefooted and fasting with your rister, on the night of in Coventry to vote for me. They Monday, the 28th of February; did not, however, forget to grasp the election being to come on the as much nogey as they could, and next week. We went all the while I am happy to have to say, night (the coldest of the winter) that some of them acted a most in a post: chaise; breakfasted at bonourable and patriotic part, DA VENTRY twenty miles from others of them appeared to be as Coventry, on the Tuesday niore. selfish and greedy and base a crew l.ing, and then proceeded on
towards DuschURCII, which their banners, staved in their is eleven miles from Coventry. drums, dispersed them in all di Here we were met by messengers, rections, and set off on their march who bronght accounts, that I to meet me. should certainly be murdered, if I Of course, it now became ne. attempted to enter the city. The cessary for me to get on as fast as band of rich ruftans, who had possible ; but, the two landlords leagued together against me, at Dunchurch (who had, doubt. thought and said, that, if I enter, less, heen prepared) refused to 'let ed, and remained, talking to the me have a chaise! In this difficulty, people, until the day of election, yout sister and I got into a gig, I should be sure to be elected. which had been brought out by a They, therefore, got together, on friend, and went on as füst as we the morning of Tuesday the 29th could. At about four miles from of February, a parcel of men, Coventry we met with some small whom they made partly drunk, advanced parties of young men, and whom they gave orders to go with leaves of laurel in their bats out, meet me at a bridge, about and boughs in their hands. Some a mile from the City, and if I friends soon after met us with a . refused to return to London, Aling post.chaise, into which we got. me over the bridge.
The groups of persons, assembled I could hardly bring myself to on the road, grew more frequenti believe this ; but, I should have and larger as we approached the been less incredulous if (as I after- City. All the villages, to five or wards saw) I had supposed these six miles distance, on each side of rich ruffians capable of hiring men the road, had poured out their to carry knives for the purpose of population; and, by the time that cutting and stabbing their oppo. we arrived at Coventry, the numnents. While we were delibe- ber could be little short of twenty rating on what course to pursue, thouşand. a gentleman arrived with intelli. The people had drawn the chaise gence, that the enemy had drawn from the distance of about three up, rank and file, in the City ; miles from the City, and before that they were marching off with we actually got into the streets, fourteen banners waving over the curiosity to see me was so their heads, and with drams and strongly expressed, that I was music in their front; and that, obliged to get out of the chaisc they had not reached the outside and stand upon the foot-board of the City, wben our friends sal- 1 with my hat off. The effect of, ļied forth upon them, took away this, added to that of a cold, ought