Le Tocsin!



LONDON. 1793
[Page 2]


Kings!Ministers!Lords!Commons!and Pressgangs!-By whatever denomination ye are known, Oh oppressors!drop for a moment the clamour of Corruption, and hearken to the voice of Truth.

The past ages of the World have been the Epochs of theory, the present is an Age of practice,Men begin to act what they formerly thought; an unaccountable impulse urges the Arm to perform what the Heart dictates, and no sooner is Tyranny [Page 3] known, than the unanimous consent of Nations records it for destruction.

Beware, then; the arm of vengeance shall not be torpid for ever!Man supports oppression as long as his prejudices enable him, but when the increasing Weight exceeds his strength, prejudice takes itself away, and the oppression is tumbled to the earth; you may make the Blind believe that there is no Sun, or that it is not at present visible; but you cannot persuade the awakened fight of Reason that it is only a Farthing candle, Aristocratically lighted up to illuminate and benefit a few.

When Bread is wanting, and when Men are scarce, do not accuse Nature with sterility, do not libel Humanity so much by asserting that destruction is occasioned by the necessities of society; Society is sufficient for itself, it requires no aid, no Crowned Auxiliary, and it cannot be the cause of War or Misery, unless some Extra Monarchy disjoints the parts and disunites the members. War is the cause of Famine, and Courts are authors of War, they write the History of man in letters of blood, and Death is their Historian! they thin the ranks of Life, they drive the Husbandsman from the plough to the camp, and when Corn becomes scarce because of the peasants cannot cultivate it; they exclaim Nature has denied her increase, and men slaughter [Page 4] one another. Let us consider for a moment, if these things are true.

While a Commercial intercourse exists between the Nations of the Earth, no scarcity can arise to any nation, because the superfluity of one Country will always supply the deficiency of another, this commercial intercourse can only be impeded by the machinations of Tyrants! Tyrants are therefore the causes of Famine. Oh! ye oppressors of my country, have you not violated the sacred rights of social commerce, and have you not by that means provoked a reciprocal injustice. If it was not enough to fend our Brothers by thousands to their graves and to make the Fields of Flanders smoke with the gore of our countrymen, surely it was an unpardonable excess of cruelty to invent a system of starvation! at once to depopulate the earth, to barrenize nature, and to invade those sacred rights of commerce which have hitherto distributed the effects of nature of all the Tenants of the Globe.

Thro you, destructive wolves, our children cry in vain for that sustenance, which the forsaken mother is unable to give them; Thro' your arts, the last patience of human nature is exhausted, and while hunger impels the insulted Sons of poverty to desperation, the ruffians of war, shoot them like Dogs, and death finishes that long tale of lingering [Page 5] misery, which you Tyrants first began:Heavens! shall our existence be prolonged, only to make our sufferings the medium of your prosperity and pleasure, shall our scanty meals, and hard-earned morsels scarcely keep together the last remnants of a weary being, that you may wallow in Luxury, and tread with insolence upon the hands that feed you; No! No! if humanity is to fall, let it fall the Heroe of nature, and let the dagger of vengeance be the trophy to celebrate the struggles of expiring Liberty, and adorn the sephulchre of virtue.

This may be the language of passion, but it is also the language of Truth; there are many truths disagreeable to Statesmen, and none more so than, those which have an effect attached to the non-observance of them; patience appears to me a virtue, in proportionas avarice and ambition are German vices; Hanover is the Fountain-head of purgation, and Johnny Bull can evidence the effects of the German Spa. However let us remember , that, tho' it is the interest of Hanover to be the receiver of Gold, it is not his interest to take away our sheaves of Corn, since in that case it may be our interest to plant hemp instead of Wheat.

Inform me great and awfull Justice! which is guilty, the Monarchs, Ministers, and Priests who advise destruction, and murder, and fend our Corn [Page 6] and Cattle to feed the Whiskered Slaves of Austria; or the Peasant, Mechanic, or Laborer, who impelled by Nature's appetites, snatches from the Contractor a morsel which they have not bought? who great Justice! deserves most to suffer from Military Assassins of the day? Justice points to the Crown, to the Robe of the Office, and the Mitre, The Spade, the Anvil and the Loom are greater ornaments to life,- the Children of Nature use them,-and whatever Nature produces, is their Heritage and Right.

It were well if your Red-coat Assassins would cease to murder for you, for then your Tyranny would cease to be. However the Soldier is not the most faithful of your dogs, you feed him upon hard Crusts! No sooner shall the People offer him a better meal, then he will desert from your standard, and unite with the people.-Already the army is becomming enlightened; Gunpowder will soon be a useless material, and the Soldier will shortly be exalted from the state of a Slave into a Man.- Beware of that day when the Cap of Liberty shall be supported by those men, whom you now treat as Slaves! it approaches, and Tyranny trembles at the quickness of the step! Tyranny and Freedom have engaged in a race; Tyranny which at first gained upon humanity, thro' the violence of its progress, now grows weary, every nerve is [Page 7] exhausted, and leaning on a broken Sword, it scarcely pants along,-while Freedom amid the shouts of Millions arrives triumphant at the Goal.

If this is not warning sufficient to you, apply your attention to the Vengeance which Public misery is preparing to shower on your heads, look at the scenes of sorrow and starvation, of which you are the cause. and see the victims of Famine, whom you have deprived of Bread and Cheese, feasting on the ideas of future Justice.-Give them a Peace-Destroy your Monopolies,-Reform your Senates,Disband your Associations-Decline your Pensions, and then hoping for better days, the insulted World may relax its severity, and by comforting the existence of others, you may perpetuate your own.

Whenever the thunder of human Justice is collected in the recess of human Sorrow, it is no partial rod erected on the edifice of Tyranny that can divert the blow,-Man knows your guilt, he is sensible of the Oppression with which you goad him, and he is preparing the Tribunal of Justice, to retribute his injuries,-Exert your caution, make use of your Political Arithmetic and say if it is better to multiply human Sorrows, and divide social connections, or to reduce the sum of misery, and cast up the general account of our Liberties and Rights; consider well, with War, Famine and Oppression [Page 8] -come Discord, Vengeance and Destruction-with Peace, Plenty and Principle,-come Life, Wealth and Security. Reflect seriously, give us BREAD, or the appetites of Nature will oblige us to devour you?cease to Murder us with your Military, or the Bayonet that flew the unfortunate victims of Hunger and Poverty, may also pierce the Flinty-heart of the wretch, whose being is the abuse of life, and whose Tyranny is a Libel upon the patience of MAN.


This is a selection from the original text


bread, famine, hunger, oppression, poverty, starvation

Source text

Title: Le Tocsin!

Author: Anon

Publication date: 1793

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Eighteenth Century Collections Online: http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/3LTBk0 Gale Document Number: GALE|CW0105050929

Digital edition

Original author(s): Anon

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 2 to 8


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > pamphlets

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.