HC Deb 05 March 1805 vol 3 cc706-7

Petitions were presented by lord Archibald Hamilton, from Lanerk, Ruthuglen, and other places in Scotland, praying a repeal of the corn act of last session.

The Secretary

at War took occasion to call the attention of the house to the subject of those petitions. It appeared to him that the petitioners complained of the evils of a, bill, which, in point of fact, had not yet come into action. The bill was hot to operate until corn was at a certain price; and as no such case had yet occurred, he thought the people were deluded, and persuaded to feel a grievance of which they had yet had no experience.

Lord Archibald Hamilton

vidicated the right of the people to petition even where, the evil of which they complained was but likely to arise. In this case, however, the evil was actually experienced. The very passing of the act had done considerable mischief. It had created an alarm that had not yet subsided. It had raised the price of corn. But, even supposing that it had not produced that effect, if the object of the bill were exception able, it was of course such as the people were entitled to deprecate, and against which it was their right, interest, and duty to. petition.

Sir W Elford

stated the object of the act to which the petitions referred, to be to promote agriculture by encouraging the farmers. But as the act had not yet been in operation, he maintained that the price of corn was not fairly attributable to it, and that corn would have been, from various circumstances, at its present rate, if that act had never existed. This he thought it necessary to mention, as a great delusion, had gone forth among the people that the existence of this act had produced an enhancement in the price of corn. The petitions were ordered to lie on the table.

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