Old News


The National Archives has released a whole bunch of unindexed PDFs as ‘Digital Microfilm’ – it wants to get rid of its microfilm readers (the machines, not the people). In particular there’s the Home Office: Disturbances Correspondence (HO40/46) which comprises 59 freely downloadable PDFs, one of which covers Northumberland (and a few other alphabetically proximal counties) in 1839. After some correspondence between the Newcastle bigwigs and the goverment, there’s a newspaper facsimile included at the end of part two of that download.
That is the 6 December, 1839 edition of “The Northern Liberator”, a publication broadly in sympathy with the Chartist movement in the first few years of Victoria. Page 4 carries parts 5 to 8 of a series entitled “On the Question of Resistance to a Government“, possibly written by Thomas Doubleday from which the snippet

In fact, nothing can be more supremely absurd than the very idea of borrowing money for the service of a state; for if it be not right when the necessity arises that the money should be paid, it can never be right afterwards when the necessity is passed; and to endeavour to make future generations not only bear their own difficulties, but also the difficulties of those who went before them, it is not only the extreme of folly, but the extreme of injustice.

is lifted. In column two there’s a section headed “American State Debts” which contains the gobbet

American State National Debt — is beginning to be blown upon and to be reckoned not quite equal to cash. The Morning Post says that the party (President Van Buren’s) now likely to rule the United States disputes the right of the Legislatures to contract such debts, and avows a detrmination that they shall NOT BE REDEEMED!

Column 4 carries the section “Money Affairs”, opening with

The general aspect of the money affairs of the country is rather more gloomy this week than last. The Bank of England has been borrowing again at Hamburgh, to the amount of seven hundred thousand pounds; and this, it is expected, will enable the bank to make as decent a show of gold and silver in her next return as she did in her last one. But it is evident to every person looking attentively at her movements, that she is becoming every day weaker and weaker, and that great efforts are made in every direction to bolster her up, and to make common cause with her. She may be kicked over any day by a few persons in London, only they are under a dread that they themselves might fall in the mud.

Plus ça change

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