16 OCTOBER 1841, Page 1


Now that there is no Parliament to engage attention, the unceasing activity of this political world becomes more apparent in its work- ings throughout the country; and indeed receives an impulse from the refluent tide of agitation no longer congested in the heart of the kingdom. It is in the North that this activity is chiefly seen ; and there we find it stimulated by various causes—by the discomfort, in some places by the misery, of the many, in all by their discon- tent. We see the ball of Anti-Corn-law agitation kept up by the working-people of Manchester, who meet in calm deliberation to learn political discretion from Colonel Tuomrsox. The working. men of Leicester hold a formal meeting to investigate certain misre- _presentations which they lay to the charge of the Duke of RUTLAND at an agricultural dinner ; and although their own statement is ex pzrte, it is certain that they consider themselves to have been wil- fully misrepresented. The Chartists of Glasgow seize the occa- sion of Mr. O'CONNOR'S visit to their city, in a democratic progress which he is making after his deliverance from gaol, to petition to "the House miscalled the House of Commons" for the Charter ; and they find means, in these hard times, to place a steamer at Mr. OVomucut's service for the occasion, and a coach-and-six. Nearer home, we see a more novel and curious display of activity : the Chartists burst into a religious meeting at Norwich ; insist that their own business, the means of mending their condition, shall take precedence ; appoint their own chairman ; meet feeble con- ciliatory advances with derision ; and finally put the Norwich clergymen and Propagators of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, with the Lord-Lieutenant of the county at their head, utterly to the rout. But the most remarkable evidence of the growing determination of the working-class to have their grievances sifted, is to be found in the elaborate preparations which the men of that class at Leeds have been making for an exposition of the evils under which they labour. Some time since they formed an association called the Unemployed Operatives Enumeration Society ; and that Society has been en- gaged in personally visiting all the unemployed and destitute people In Leeds, making notes of their names and circumstances. A task this which might well be imitated in other parts of the country, where destitution falls upon a people sufficiently intelligent to chronicle it : instead of having their statistics made for them, leaving the reasoning part of their cause to others, and supplying merely the passion themselves, the working-class would then be in -a better condition to do what Mr. FINNIGAN recommended at Man- chester—to take their cause into their own hands. The Leeds Society have ascertained that twenty thousand persons are subsist- ing upon an average income of less than a shilling a week : yet the cloth district is not the one which feels the present distress most severely. That astounding fact is to be submitted, we believe, with a world of details, to a general meeting on Monday next. It will not be lost upon the working-class. The charge against a Peer, of wilfully misrepresenting the condition of the People, would be a small matter, were it not coupled with another fact : those in the highest places have been, by whatever means, so effectually excluded from a knowledge of common life, that in the midst of such scenes as those just disclosed at Leeds, they are able to assert that every Eng- lishman can obtain a competency by industry. Not a week passes but what that assertion is indignantly alluded to at some public meeting. Such a combination of circumstances, and such impres- sions, cannot fail to produce discontent in dangerous forms ; a dis- content more difficult to cope with in its consequences than even the repeal of the Corn-laws.