The effects of the monstrous drain of the war on the revenues of the country were now beginning to show themselves in the manufacturing districts, and the workpeople had broken out in serious riots in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire. Instead of attributing their distresses to the vast system of taxation, they attributed them to the increase of machinery, and broke into the mills in many places and destroyed it. This was only adding to the misery by destroying capital, and stopping the very machinery which gave them bread. A committee of inquiry was instituted, and the result showed that the members of Parliament were not a whit more enlightened than the artisans themselves. Instead of attempting to find some means of ameliorating the condition of the starving population—which, indeed, they could not do, for nothing but peace and reduction of taxation, and the restoration of the natural conditions of commerce could do it,—they recommended coercion, and Lord Castlereagh brought in a severe Bill for the purpose,—the first of many such Bills of his, which nearly drove the people eventually to revolution, and, by a more fortunate turn, precipitated reform of Parliament. This Bill, the operation of which was limited to the following March, was carried by large majorities, and Parliament, thinking it had done enough to quiet hungry stomachs in the north, was prorogued on the 30th of July, and on the 20th of September dissolved.

The changes in, and unce…

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