HC Deb 26 February 1819 vol 39 c709
Mr. Dickinson

said, he held in his hand two petitions signed by several respectable occupiers of land in the county of Somerset, praying for the imposition of duties on foreign produce. He was one of those who thought the present discussion of any measure of this sort inexpedient. At the same time he concurred with the petitioners in thinking that the soil of the country was capable of growing sufficient corn for the support of its inhabitants, and that we might become, as we had once been, an exporting instead of an importing people. He thought, too, that it would be sound policy not to depend on other nations for sustenance. In the present circumstances, however, he was sure that the petitioners would not wish to oppose the current of opinion in that House.

Mr. Birch

observed, that intimately connected as he was with a large manufacturing district, he could not hear in silence the many references made to this subject. He knew not how to give credit to the assertion, that the soil of the country was adequate to the support of the population. His belief was, that the population had considerably overrun the native produce. If this were not the case, it would be difficult to account for the immense importations of foreign corn which had taken place. Without such a supply, he would ask the House to consider what must have been the price of corn. He trusted that no mischievous result would be produced by these petitions; but if there should, it must be ascribed to those who caused the agitation of the subject.

Ordered to lie on the table.

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