HC Deb 10 March 1815 vol 30 cc96-7
Sir John Newport

presented a petition from all the commercial houses of the city of Waterford, with one exception, praying for farther protection to the agriculturist, and slating the great depression under which the farmers of Ireland were labouring, and that the demand for British manufactures and colonial produce had decreased in the proportion of this depression.

Sir N. Colthurst

said, that he believed the same feeling existed in the commercial city that he represented.

Mr. Baring

was willing that every consideration should be given to the petition from the city of Waterford; but it was to be recollected that this city was mainly and principally concerned in the exportation of Irish corn, and that it was proposed by this Bill to give the Irish corn-grower the monopoly of the British market. He conceived, therefore, that the town formed no exception to the opinions entertained in commercial towns on this subject.

Sir John Newport

said, if it was in this way intended to prevent the city of Waterford from receiving due attention because it was concerned in the exporting of Irish corn, he had an equal right to say that a great part of the cities who had petitioned on the ether side were concerned in the importation of foreign corn. It was hard that no petition in favour of the Bill could be presented either from landholders or commercial men, without injurious, charges being affixed to them either by the hon. gentleman or those who took the same side with him. The city of Waterford was as much entitled to a respectful hearing as the city of London.

Mr. Baring

disclaimed any wish to prevent the petition from Waterford receiving every due attention.

Mr. Howorth

, in presenting a petition from the borough of Evesham, observed, that the expectation of the petitioners had been disappointed chiefly in this; they had expected that Parliament would, in the first instance, have made some attempt to relieve the burthens of taxation by a retrenchment of expenditure, and a reduction of establishment. He expressed his entire concurrence in the principle of the petition.

Sir Thomas Acland

presented a petition from the landholders and occupiers of land in the county of Devon, in favour of the Corn Bill. The petition stated that the poor-houses were filled with agricultural labourers deprived of their usual employment in consequence of the discouragement of agriculture.

Sir Gilbert Heathcote

said, that the number of persons out of employment might be partly owing to the season of the year, and partly to the hands discharged from the army and navy.

Mr. Gooch

said, in the county which he represented, there never were so many persons out of employment as at present, independent of the hands discharged from the army and navy.

Lord Archibald Hamilton

presented a petition against any alteration in the Corn laws, from Hamilton, Lanerk, and several other places in the Glasgow district of boroughs. The hon. member for Glasgow had been reported to have stated not only that his own opinions on this subject were changed, but that his constituents had also changed their opinions. This report had created a considerable ferment in that part of the country; and he was instructed to state most unequivocally, that their opinions on the subject of the Corn laws were still the same.

Mr. Finlay

said, in presenting two petitions the other day to the House, he had stated that the prayer of one of them was in favour of temporary restriction, and of the other, that the protecting price should not exceed 76s. In the debate he had said, that if the importation price were reduced to 75s. or 76s. he thought he might venture to state that it would not be dissatisfactory to a great part of the manufacturing district of Scotland; but whatever might be the feeling at one period, he believed that at the present moment no corn bill which went to raise the importation price above what it stood at present would be acceptable among the manufacturers. He retained his opinion unaltered, that an additional protection was necessary to the agriculturist. He thought that a protecting price of 76s. might be beneficial both to agriculture and manufactures.