LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
William Roscoe to Lord Hollad, [26 October 1800]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“As I have been led to mention this subject, I will further venture to add, that, of all the opportunities which have hitherto occurred, of opening the eyes of the people to their true situ-
ation, the present seems to me the most favourable; and that, if any thing could induce the great and enlightened statesman, to whom you stand so nearly related, once more to exert his talents in the service of his country, this must be the time. The avowed object of the deliberations of parliament is to examine into the cause of the present distress. The nation at large are anxious for the result. An opportunity for negotiation is held out by our enemies. We are threatened with a hostile combination from the North; which, whatever may be its other consequences, will inevitably further abridge our resources. In this situation, every exertion will be made by the promoters of the war, to elude the knowledge of the real origin of the evil. The blame will be laid upon earth and upon heaven; upon any thing but that which they well know to be the effective cause.

“In the Upper House, your Lordship will, I hope, confute their destructive notions, with that clearness of argument and dignified freedom of speech, which have always characterised your exertions in the public service. The sentiments of the Marquis of Lansdowne, at such a time and on such an occasion, would produce an inconceivable effect; but, in the other House, who is there that can place this great truth in so luminous a point of view—who can enforce it
with so much energy, with so much sincerity, with so much eloquence, as
Mr. Fox?

“From the time that the minister attempted to starve the people of France, England may date the commencement of its present distress. The immense purchases of grain made by government, at exorbitant prices, overturned the mercantile system of that traffic, and, by disgusting the regular men of capital, threw the trade into other channels. Since that period, the constant interference of government and its agents in the purchase of every article of food, for an immense military and naval establishment, has been a constant and enormous drain upon both the living and dead stock of the country; and as government, in fact, never pay for what they consume, or in other words, are paid back by the people, it matters not to them at what price it is purchased. Nay, the agents of government enrich themselves; whilst the middle and lower classes of the community are pining under deprivations, or perishing in want.

“Faintly as I have been able to state my reasons, I flatter myself your Lordship will agree with me, that the opportunity is not only favourable, but the only one likely to be afforded for producing an important and beneficial effect; and that even the abilities of Mr. Fox could not have a greater subject for their exertion. His comprehensive mind will see how the war con-
nects itself with our distresses at every point, and in every quarter; and should his endeavours happily be united with those of the friends of peace in both Houses, we may not yet despair of seeing a powerful and decided impression made upon the public mind.

“I know not what apology I can make for the freedom I have taken in thus expressing my sentiments on so momentous a subject, unless I may be allowed to plead the interest which I feel, in common with your Lordship, in the honour and prosperity of the country; and the desire of seeing it rescued from the grasp of those, who are not less hostile to the real happiness of this nation than they are to that of the human race.”