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هم در ن ن نما
دو را و امروز دیگر کام بند کر دیا جان
ان کے ان
THE WORKING CLASSES,
BEFORE WHOM THESE ORATIONS WERE DELIVERED,
THE FOLLOWING PAGES ARE INSCRIBED,
EVERY SENTIMENT OF DEVOTION TO THEIR TRUEST INTERESTS
THAT CAN POSSIBLY BE FELT,
BY ONE WHOSE HEARTFELT PRIDE IT IS TO BE,
ONE OF THEIR ORDER.
MY FRIENDS AND BROTHERS, We live in that age when attachment to ancient usages has become a scarce quality in the national mind. We exist at that period when reverence for the Past is well-nigh superseded by doubt as to whether the Past really deserves any reverence; and when admiration for what have long been called our wise, and venerable, and time-honoured institutions, is rapidly merging into a scepticism as to whether there be aught that is truly wise and truly venerable about our
o timehonoured institutions.” Nor does any one assist to spread this scepticism more effectually than he who seeks to revive a custom or usage which had fallen into abeyance, or to reestablish an institution which had come to be considered, nearly, as obsolete. Thus, what is called the National Militia,' —though long the subject of panegyric, even by strong-minded men who were esteemed sincere reformers,—though often held up to the people as an institution they ought to support with zeal, and guard with jealousy, lest its "free manner of embodiment by ballot” —such were the terms of old—should be abandoned, and the Militia itself displaced and subverted by a standing army; this national militia, I say, so zealously preferred as a necessary means of warlike defence, from the moment that the “ Trained Bands,” or first elements of a standing army, were formed under the Stuarts, has grown, by desuetude, into dislike, approaching to abhorrence. And the minister of state, so far from resuscitating the expired fervour of admiration for this ‘national institution' by intimating that it is to be again brought into active existence, has not only roused into vigour the slumbering dislike of the people towards it, but has awoke into energy the hatred that has long been strengthening against all warlike and blood-shedding agencies : a hatred more intense and more widely extended among the oppressed toiling classes than, perhaps, the minister of state imagined to exist. Indeed, so volcanic is the present condition of British society, that the rod of authority can scarcely stir the very surface of the social soil, in any given spot, but a bursting forth of sparks or of fame is occasioned in other seats of smouldering combustion. Thus, at every meeting held to protest against the enrolment of a militia, there has not only been witnessed, throughout our manufacturing towns and populous cities, the most decided anti-war spirit, but a loud
cry of another nature has arisen, and one that is more significative than any other that could at present be uttered, of the political and social wrong felt and endured by the toiling classes of this country: it is that emphatic cry, "No VOTENO MUSKET!”
There can be no necessity for my showing how fully, in every public meeting held in London, I have sympathised with the conviction and feeling from whence arose that cry. One, whose political course, although brief, has been at least boldly defined, need not describe his sympathies with his own class—the unenfranchised toilers—avowing their resolve not to fight for the privileges and property of others, since they have themselves neither privilege nor property for which to fight. What I may, rather, be expected to do, by way of conclusion to this exordium, will be briefly to account for the fact that I stand here, to-night, for the purpose of what is deemed by many of my own political party—a peculiar and strange advocacy.
It is well known to you, that almost simultaneously with the assemblies for protestation against the enrolment of a militia, we, as Chartists, have been holding public meetings for the humane purpose of petitioning the Legislature to restore Frost and his brother exiles to their native country.