HC Deb 07 April 1842 vol 62 cc20-75

On the motion that the Corn Importation Bill be read a third time,

Mr. Cobden

rose to move the amendment of which he had given notice. Previous to the year 1823, it had been the practice of Parliament for several centuries to pass measures to regulate the price of labour in the same way as it had passed measures to regulate the price of food. But in the year J 823, the last vestige of its legislation for the regulation of the price of labour disappeared in the repeal of the Spitalfields Weavers Act. Previously to that period, and subsequent also to the passing of the Corn-laws, the labouring classes of the community had petitioned Parliament again and again, praying it to adopt some, measure for the regulation of the prices of labour. In 1828 Mr. Alderman Waithman presented a petition from the weavers of ' Norwich, and founded a resolution upon it, praying the House to fix a minimum rate of wages. The worthy alderman's resolution was rejected as utterly inconsistent with sound principle. Yet in that very year the House passed the present Corn-law. In 1835 Mr. Maxwell brought forward a motion' for the regulation of wages. That motion was, treated in the most supercilious manner; the House declaring, that it was quite impossible to accede to such a proposition. Again, in 1837, the hon. Member for Oldham brought forward a similar motion, which met with the same fate as that of Mr. Maxwell. In 1809 a committee of the House, to whom a petition from the journey men cotton printers was referred, declared in their report that they were unanimously of opinion that the proposition stated in the petition, relative to the fixing a minimum for the price of labour in factories, was wholly inadmissible in principle, and incapable of being reduced into practice by any means that could be devised, and, if practicable, would be productive of most fatal consequences. These instances were sufficient to show the way in which the House had treated the repeated application of the labouring classes for protection in the price of their labour during a period that it had steadfastly adhered to a system which gave to another class of the community an absolute monopoly in the supply, and, as a necessary consequence, an absolute control over the price of food. He might probably be met by some vague declaration that Parliament, in legislating upon the article of food, did, in fact, in an indirect manner, regulate the price of labour, because, if the price of corn rose, the price of labour would rise in the same proportion. This fallacy had been too often exposed to need a word of comment now. When the Corn-laws were passed it was never stated that one of the objects of them was to regulate the price of labour; and if such an object had ever been contemplated, subsequent experience proved, that it had never been realised. He had in his hand a list of the prices of various articles of manufacture before machinery came into operation, which clearly established that the effect of a high price of food was not to maintain the price of labour. The House had frequently declared that they could give no protection to the wages of the labourer, but they were now about to give a third reading to a bill which was to give a fictitious price to corn, and so, as far as possible, regulate and keep at a high rate the price of his food. They said to the poor Hinckley frame work knitter, 'We cannot regulate the remuneration to be given for your labour:" but, when he said "Your wheat is, too high, I cannot purchase of you because I can get as good at Hamburgh for 40s.," then the landowner stepped in and said, "Oh, no! we have a law which says you must give us a certain price for our wheat before you can go to Hamburgh or any other place for it." He confessed that although the right hon. Baronet's (Sir R. Peel's) measure had up to that time been carried with a high hand, he could not bring his mind to believe that the House was really going to pass it. He did not object to it simply on the ground that it was a tax upon the people. He objected to it upon another ground. The right hon. Baronet had avowed that the object of his measure was to keep up an artificial rate in the price of corn. Had the right hon. Baronet brought forward a proposition for a fixed duty upon the importation of foreign corn, he should have opposed it in the same way as he last year opposed the proposition of the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell). He should have opposed it as a tax upon the food of the people. But the right hon. Baronet did a great deal more. The right hon. Baronet by the measure now before the House was violating the very principle for which he contended, namely, that in the legislation of Parliament the labouring man should be placed on a fair level with the peer and the landed proprietor. He was told, that Parliament could not regulate the price of labour, and yet a measure was brought forward and carried to its very last stage, the avowed object of which was to keep up to an artificial rate the price of food. In passing a measure of this nature, which, under all circumstances, was to give an artificial price to food—denying, at the same time, that the Legislature had any power to give an artificial price to the wages of labour— the House would be violating every principle of justice; and, as he had already stated, he could not bring his mind to believe that the House would assent to such a course. Mark the effect of the system, supposing the right hon. Baronet's measures to be carried. What would be the position of the manufacturing labourer? Articles of foreign manufacture were to be admitted at a lower rate of duty. Prices would be reduced—the rate of wages diminished. Where was the protection to the manufacturing labourer? He was told that the Legislature could not assist him; that he must grapple with the difficulty, and carry on a competition with his foreign rivals without aid or help. What, on the other hand, was the position of the agriculturists? Whatever his ignorance, idleness, or sloth, whatever his negligence, indiscretion, or extravagance, the Legislature assured him that no foreign competitor should be admitted into the same field with him until the produce of his labour had attained a certain price. His wheat, good, bad, or indifferent, was to be protected until it reached the price of 54s. This appeared to him to be the double violation of every principle of justice which characterised the proposition of the right hon. Baronet. If hon. Gentlemen gave to the landlords a certain regulated price of corn, would they not also give to the consumers, to the great mass of manufacturing labourers a certain regulated price of labour? Were they to toil and spin, invent and contrive—and should all their toil, and all their invention, only give them so much more or so much less of the sluggard's corn? Were the landlords still to feed the people upon the landlord's own terms? Were they to have their parks and domains wide spread out—were they to have their herds of deer, their studs of horses, and their kennels of hounds, and yet were the people only to be allowed to live upon the modicum of food which these lords of the soil chose to deal out to them. He would tell the House that this doctrine was revolutionary. He told them that it had awakened views and opinions in the minds of many men in the country who, a few years ago, would have been shocked at the entertainment of such ideas. They were questioning the title of the present possessors of the land; they were denying the right of the privileged classes to their rank and wealth. And why did they do this? Because the landlords were not content with their estates, but, to sustain their position and increase their wealth, made an inroad into the humble cottage of the spinner, and filched the earnings of the depressed and desolate weaver. He believed that this principle of legislation, if carried out, would lead to very important changes in this country. He believed that this law would not be allowed to remain. But if it did remain, it would produce a change which many of those who had taken part in the agitation of the question never contemplated when they set the ball in motion. Even the slightest modicum of justice was refused to the labouring classes. A trade in corn was denied—absolutely denied; for the whole of the foreign supply, whatever it might be, was placed, not in the hands of the general merchant, who would deal honestly and fairly, but in the hands of a few gamblers and speculators. All the sympathies of the Gentlemen opposite were with that class of dealers; and the earnest prayers of millions of petitioners had been treated with less respect than the significant whisperings of half a dozen jobbers. Let hon. Gentlemen who had some stake in the country beware of the consequence of this state of things. Already it had been destructive of capital to an extent unparalleled. He did not hesitate to declare, deliberately and advisedly, that, within the last five or six years, there had been a sacrifice of one-half of the vested capital in Lancashire. He would ask any Gentleman acquainted with that district of the country, if at the present moment, it would be possible to realise, upon the fixed capital of Lancashire, half what it was worth six years ago. How was this? Did it arise from a few failures here of there, or from a temporary depression Of trade? No; it followed from the gradual but general decay of trade—from the decline of profits, which had been eating into the floating capital, at the same time that it had eaten up half the fixed capital of that quarter of the country. He spoke only of Lancashire. Other Gentlemen, he believed, might tell the came tale with respect to other districts. Carry on the same system of le gislation—-continue the sliding-scale, and a State of things would arise for which few probably in that House were at all prepared. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the following amendment.— That inasmuch as this House has repeatedly declared, by its Votes and the reports of its committees, that it is beyond the power of Parliament to regulate the wages of labour in this country, it is inexpedient and unjust to pass a law to regulate, with a view to raise unnaturally, the prices of food. Question put that the words "The bill be now read a third time," stand part of the question.

Sit Robert Peel

assured the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cobden) that he had listened to him Upon that occasion, as upon all others, with great attention, and though he differed from him in the conclusions which he drew, he could not impute to him any unfairness in the mariner of advancing his views. He hoped, however, after the lengthened discussion which this question had already undergone, that the hon. Gentleman would not think him guilty of disrespect if he abstained from entering at large upon a topic which would necessarily have the effect of opening the whole subject of the Corn-laws again. The hon. Gentleman's argument went to this, that there ought to be no duty whatever upon the importation of foreign corn, that the whole of the duty ought to be abolished, and that corn, under all circumstances, should be admitted duty free. That was plainly the hon. Gentleman's object, because the terms of his resolution applied as strongly against the principle of a fixed duty, as against the principle of a sliding-scale. No Gentleman, therefore, who thought that a fixed duty was necessary for the protection of our domestic agriculture, would be at liberty to vote in favour of this amendment. It appeared to him that the proposed law would have the effect of facilitating the importation of foreign corn, and of contributing to regulate its price. At any rate, by taking away the sudden fluctuations in the amount of duty, it would diminish the chances of great gains being made by mere speculators and gamblers in corn. The hon. Gentleman, therefore, could not justly charge him with showing any disposition to conciliate the interest of those —parties with whom he had no concern, whose politicial opinions he knew nothing of, and by the promotion of whose interests he could not gain any advantage. The question had been so fully debated on previous occasions, that he Was sure the House would excuse him for not going farther into the subject on the present occasion. He had proposed a modification of the law—a modification which he believed a beneficial one, and which, he trusted, was now about to receive the sanction of the House. He hoped that the hon. Gentleman would not consider it disrespectful to himself, nor the House to them, if, referring to the statements which he made when the general question was before the House, he now stated that he did not consider it necessary to enter into any lengthened discussion in regard to the particular proposal of the hon. Gentleman.

Lord John Russell

said, that he did not rise for the purpose of supporting the motion of the hon. Gentleman, which seemed to him to be as inconsistent with a proposal for a fixed duty as it was with a sliding scale, he merely rose for the purpose of opposing the third reading of this bill. The object he had in view was to obtain a fixed duty of 8s.; and, in committee it was competent for him to propose a reduction of the high duty of 20s., but when they came to the high price of 66s., it was impossible for him, according to the forms of the House, to propose that duty. It was, therefore, useless for him to propose any alteration in the bill; neither after the opinion which the House had expressed on the second reading, should he wish to take the sense of the House on the third reading. But in allowing the third reading to pass, he wished shortly to state his opinion of the bill now proposed. He thought that they had had experience enough, since 1828, of the evils of a sliding scale. Instead of the ports being opened to the importation of foreign grain in seasons when it was required, they had seen how, by means of combination, the markets had been kept without a supply from abroad, until the prices rose very high, and then a large amount of corn was brought in, injuring the consumer by an artificial rise in the price, and the farmer by a large influx of corn with a small duty. Accordingly he had proposed a scheme which he thought better suited to the circumstances of the country. By that scheme they would have obtained a regular trade in corn, and that regular trade would benefit the agriculturist as much as the consumer—they would have had a trade, by which at all times the merchant could feel certain of a home market, and could calculate, not perhaps to a certainty, but at all events to a probability, the price which he would receive. If a merchant, under the proposed scale, despatched an order for corn to America, when the price was 62s., and if the price should fall to 54s. before the importation took place, he would, under the new scale, sustain a loss of 16s., namely, 8s. of price and 8s. of duty; while under the system of the fixed duty proposed by the late Government, his loss would only amount to 8s. on the price. It appeared to him, therefore, that the sliding-scale would Still continue a system of gambling inconsistent with all notions of what constitutes regular commerce; and this seemed to him a decisive objection against the bill now before the House, as well as against the system at present in existence. He admitted, that the present bill was an improvement when contrasted with the existing law; but when compared with the laws which were in operation from the time of the Revolution in 1688 down to 1800, it was much worse than any corn-law during that period. During that time they had a duty not exceeding 8s. a quarter, until the price got very high. He did not think the law of 1828 at all suited either to the then circumstances of the country, or to the improved knowledge in matters of trade of the present time. Nor was that measure good in itself, nor at all to be compared with the law of their ancestors, who were in favour of protecting all manufactures, and, among other commodities, that of corn. The present bill was not, in his opinion, suited to the circumstances of the country, and he had never heard any one assert that, in passing it, they were laying the foundation for any thing like a real or permanent settlement of the question. All that it did was to take away the most obvious deformities of the present law, and by so doing to shake the authority of the present by not establishing a measure which had any chance of being considered as a real settlement. Whenever they were called on to make an alteration in the duties on French silks and brandies, he felt very sure that they would have again to alter this Corn-law. That time, in all probability, Would soon come; and so far he rejoiced in the passing of this bill, because it would entirely shake the authority of the present law. He looked forward, in the hope of seeing, very soon after the passing of this bill, the plan of a graduated scale altogether done away with, and a fixed duty established. He was not one of those who thought, with the hon. Member for Stock port, that there should be no duty at all. On the contrary, he thought the farmer entitled to a moderate protection, but not with the extravagant view of making this country independent of foreign supply. The law of 1828, which in its essential parts was now proposed to be continued, was, in his opinion, a most faulty mode of giving that protection, and he hoped that the time was not far distant when they would be able to establish a Corn-law founded on those sound principles of trade which regulated other commodities, and which, in reference to those other commodities, the House had adopted by large majorities.

Mr. Villiers

said, that if his noble Friend hoped to conciliate his agricultural Friends by his admission of their title to moderate protection, he thought he would fail, and that they would tell him that if he really wished to protect them, he Must leave them alone, and not as he had just very properly done, denounce the measure with which they had really so much reason to be satisfied. He, however, was glad to hear that the country would have the aid of his noble Friend's energy in seeking to repeal the imperfect measure now before the House, as that might lead to a system more consistent with the views contained in the motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, and against Which no argument had yet been advanced. The right hon. Baronet had disputed the right of his hon. Friend to quote Mr. Huskisson as an authority against his bill, and had referred to two periods in Mr. Huskisson's life, in 1822 and 1828, when he approved of a graduated scale; but, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated, and truly, that this country had not the misfortune of losing Mr. Huskisson till 1830, he might have remembered that in that year Mr. Huskisson made his last speech; and if the right hon. Baronet would refer to it, he would find, that a speech more appropriate for his hon. Friend to quote could not be found, for it is there that Mr. Huskisson takes his last and deliberate view of the state of the country, and concludes earnestly and confidently that the existing system of protection and taxation could not continue. He there refers to the Corn-laws, and declares, that whatever public grounds there might be for their support, yet they certainly had the effect of raising the price of subsistence to the people, and thereby, together with our system of collecting revenue by taxing expenditure, pressed upon the productive classes in a manner that could not much longer be borne. He said, that the Corn-laws and other taxes had then the tendency of lowering profits and reducing wages, while it increased the fortune of the unproductive consumer. It was in that speech that Mr. Huskisson pointed to the condition which we were then in, and declared, that unless the taxes were shifted, or the protective system altered, that we could not collect the revenue. What my hon. Friend contends for is, that you cannot justly raise the price of food without raising the wages of labour; and if you abandon the intention of doing the latter, you ought not to attempt the former and most surely that you ought not to raise the price of food by means that, of necessity, causes the fall in the rate of wages, for that is the effect of the Corn-law on the condition of the people at present; they have been and are suffering from a high price of food, and from a serious fall in wages, and after, as my hon. Friend has said, you have frequently refused to entertain the most distant notion of legislating for the rise of wages. The consequence of the present bill will be, to continue that system, and he could not let it pass without expressing his unqualified condemnation of it. It seemed to him wholly unsuited to the exigency which rendered any change necessary. It was not recommended by any experience which the agriculturist had of the old law—it was not recommended by the experience on which the community complained of it. He believed that it would satisfy nobody, that it would relieve nobody, and it was his firm conviction that there was not one evil which could be traced to the old law during the last five years, that would not have followed under the present had it existed. It had the same faulty purpose in view, and the same mischievous principle to give it effect. The same absurd fancy, or intended object was maintained, of making us dependent for food upon our own soil, after it had been proved, that we could not produce an adequate supply, and that our population was hourly increasing. While with this scale of duties, varying with circumstances, which it was said fraudulent persons could control, causing uncertainty, which baffled all the calculations of growers or merchants either in Poland or America, who might otherwise supply us. This, then, would lead to all the results which had been experienced before—they would be obliged to buy suddenly, at high prices, in near markets, and which would be attended with all the consequences of an export of bullion, a consequent rise in the value of money at home, a depreciation of goods, and all that embarrassment and depression which we were experiencing, and which of necessity must occur; and when he reflected upon the misery, sacrifice, and ruin which this had brought upon the productive classes of this country, and when he believed that no intelligent man, unbiassed by interest, doubted the connection of these laws with these results, he could hardly repress his indignation at such an abortion of a measure as this being produced to meet such a state of things as existed in the country; and he thought that it deserved to be styled, as it had been when first delivered, and since in so many petitions, as a mere mockery of the sufferings of the people. He knew it was said by some on his side that it was an improvement, and that more food would come in; but they ought to do more than say this to satisfy him, they ought to show that more food would be produced, for unless that was done, the people here would not be benefitted, for their condition was now, that they had to exchange their labour against a constantly diminishing quantity of food. Now, with this law, did anybody believe that one grain more would be grown for this market, or any expense incurred in facilitating the conveyance of it to this country. If no more food was grown for this country, if there was more to be introduced, it would be the food grown for other people, and the price would rise abroad, and if that was the case, how could it come at the duty which it was intended to levy. He heard it stated, that the right hon. Baronet was as much alive as any man to the evils of the law, but that he had proposed all that he could carry, and that he was helpless in the matter—that his party would not allow him to do more. But really he had never heard any of those hon. Gentlemen who sit around him say this: as far as they were concerned, they seemed disposed to go wherever the right hon. Baronet would lead them, and the House had no reason to believe, that if he had submitted a more efficient measure, that it would not have been supported by his Friends. They seemed, indeed, to be a peculiarly docile party, and made fewer difficulties in changing their views than most men. They had never said a word in that House against the hon. Baronet's liberal views, and he doubted not, that they entirely coincided with them. If, however, it is true they would obstruct him in pursuing a more enlarged policy, why let the right hon. Baronet, if he is convinced that he is right, and that the country requires a different measure—let him throw himself upon the country, and let him depend upon the popular party for support. If he did that, who could supersede him? Most cordially would he receive the support of every Liberal on that side, and he would thus render great service to his country. But if his Friends were unreasonable, what could they do without him? Could the Members for Essex, or Lincoln, or Berkshire, form a Government of their own? or could any man replace him on his own side if he threw up the Government. What reason was there then, for this imperfect measure that he offers us? There was only one justification that he could think of, which was, that the constituency of this country, entrusted with the important privilege of returning Members to this House to legislate for the community at large preferred to return men to serve their own interests, and if this is the case, it is a most important matter for the community to consider; for that certainly was not the purpose for which the franchise was confided to them. But if these surmises are incorrect, can such legislation be justified on any national or public ground? There is but one, and to that the right hon. Baronet usually resorts,—namely, that it is to escape dependence on foreign soils, and to become dependent on our own. But what answer, he asked, was that to those who, being dependent upon our own soil, are left without food? They have depended upon you to provide them with food, and what state has this country been in for four years past? What is the good of telling people, that in time of war they might not be able to get food from abroad, when they find themselves by this self-dependence deprived of food in time of peace? The great mass of the people have either to depend upon the landowners of this country or those of the continent to supply them adequately with food — they have found their own lands do not produce enough, and they ask to be allowed to seek it elsewhere. This bill, then, offered an impediment to this natural claim of the people—a restriction unwise at all times, and peculiarly unjust and cruel at this time—and heartily concurring in the principle of his hon. Friend's amendment, he should cordially oppose the bill before the House; and he sincerely hoped, that if it did pass into law, that the people who had sought to abolish the old law would consider that it remained unimproved, and would as zealously seek its repeal as before.

Sir J. Tyrrell

said, that his object in rising was to answer the accusations made, both in and out of the House, against the Members representing the agricultural interest, in reference to their conduct in supporting the measure proposed by Government. They had been accused of sacrificing the interests of the agriculturists at the shrine of political principle. [" Hear, hear, and laughter."] He understood that cheer, but it did not affect him, because he had appeared before his constituents who had approved of his conduct in reference to the question under discussion. Three-fourths of his constituents, by a show of hands declared in his favour; only one individual held up his hand on the other side, and he had called on him to explain himself. He had no hesitation in saying that he agreed on one point with an hon. Gentleman who was once the greatest ornament of the Radical Bench—the late Member for Southwark (Mr. Harvey). That gentleman rejoiced that the Conservative party were in power. Why? Because he believed the Whigs would then concede what they would never have granted in office. That was the reason why he gave his vote against his conscientious conviction. It was all very well to say, "Turn out the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, but he wished to know, if they should do so, who the persons were that would be likely to succeed him? In regard to the tariff, he admitted that an universal panic had seized the agriculturists in reference to it. He knew that the right hon. Baronet had got unanswerable arguments on those parts of the tariff which were thought to be the greatest grievance. The other night the right hon. Baronet almost obstructed the order of the proceedings in the House for the purpose of presenting a petition from Ireland which he thought greatly tended to support those views upon the tariff which the right hon. Baronet had put before the country. Before the right hon. Baronet ended his observations in presenting the petition, they so coincided with the views of hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition Benches, that they absolutely drowned the closing remarks of the right hon. Baronet with their cheers of approbation. This excited his curiosity, and he read the last few lines, or what was vulgarly called the prayer of the petition, and it was to this effect, protection to all classes of the community. In that principle he himself entirely coincided; and, taking that view of the case, he confessed, he was surprised, at witnessing the great approbation which the right hon. Baronet received from hon. Members opposite on that occasion. He did not join in the opinions entertained by the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who looked forward to the advantage, by an alteration of the tariff, of enjoying a buffalo steak, instead of a beef steak, in the torrid zone. He might be told that he was afraid a buffalo's rump would supersede a round of beef. [" laughter."'] Hon. Gentlemen might ridicule his fears; but this he would say, to those who threatened the county Members with being called to an account at the hustings for having sacrificed the interest of the agriculturists in supporting the Corn-bill, that they were mistaken. Whatever ridicule he and his friends might expose themselves to, and whatever motives might be imputed to them—however they might be taunted that this bill would not be a final measure, and the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had said that the right hon. Baronet was only paltering with the subject, he was prepared on his own part, and on the part of a great majority of the county he represented, to say, if the figures of the right hon. Baronet should not be that protection which he had told them would be sufficient, but which they thought would not be sufficient, and if they should wade through that distress which the agriculturists apprehended, then that the agriculturists and those who represented them would come forward and declare that this Corn-bill should not be a final measure. [Cheers from the Opposition.] He had no objection to those cheers. On the one hand, the Gentlemen opposite said that he and those who agreed with him, must go on making concessions; they hailed the tariff and the Corn-bill as measures that cut the ground from under the feet of the agriculturists. The Friends of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had said, that the noble Lord made the greatest mistake that ever a great statesman made in butting his head against the wheatsheaf. The noble Lord had had time for reflection since then, and the proposition which he now held out to the agricultural interest was, that he was prepared to restore all those old taxes which had been repealed since the war. If her Majesty should be pleased to send for the noble Lord in the event of "our" turning out the right hon. Baronet, he had no doubt that the noble Lord's sagacity—notwithstanding the noble Lord had stated, when proportioning the constituencies under the Reform Bill, that it was his intention to give a preponderance to the agricultural interest-would direct him again to his favourite Corn-bill. He was quite aware that the arrangement of the constituency by the noble Lord was the rock on which the noble Lord split; but he remembered hearing the noble Lord declare that it was his intention to give a preponderance to the agricultural interest. The noble Lord shook his head; but he was perfectly aware, that the noble Lord did not intend to give so great a preponderance to that interest. And although he and other hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House might be accused of being as dull as the animal that browsed on the thistle, still their simplicity was not so great as to agree to the noble Lord being restored to power. It was said in the East, that when they crossed the desert they put a donkey in the front, [Laughter."] for the purpose of regulating the pace. The donkey was the regulator. There were Gentlemen on both sides of the House who had been in India, and who had crossed the desert; they could give some more particular information upon the subject, and would, no doubt confirm his views. The right hon. Gentleman, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, had in his budget proposed an alteration of the duty on the animals to which he had just been referring. He did not mean to compare the right hon. Gentleman to a donkey; but this he did say, that his proposition to relieve the financial difficulties of the country was utterly unworthy of a great Statesman. Although the House might have derived some mirth from the manner in which he had stated his sentiments, still the subject was one of so grave a character, and those whose properties they were dealing with in such a state of trepidation and alarm, that he confessed, although he was about to support the measure of the right hon. Baronet, he did so solely because he considered, under all the circumstances, he was acting the best for the interests of agriculture, and because he could not see how he could better himself by taking the chance of any measure that might be proposed by the noble Lord and his party opposite. Although the noble Lord might flatter himself, that by a combination of miscellaneous party, formed out of those who were opposed to a Corn-law and an Income-tax, he might regain an ascendency, yet he could assure the noble Lord, that whenever the time should arrive for him to make an appeal to the country, such would be the effect of the opinions which the noble Lord entertained respecting the Corn-law on the minds of the community, that instead of gaining strength, he would find himself reduced to a very considerably smaller minority.

Mr. Ward

would not attempt to follow his hon. Friend who had just sat down in his attempt to reconcile his intended conduct with his professed principles. In one of the arguments of his hon. Friend, he alluded to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he did not say whether it was to the present or to the late Chancellor of the Exchequer that he referred. He did not understand how the parallel which his hon. Friend had attempted to draw between putting a certain dull animal in advance in the East and the budget of a Chancellor of the Exchequer—whether the present or the late one—applied. The donkey still remained unappropriated. He did not exactly see the parity of the two cases, and, therefore, leaving that part of his hon. Friend's speech, he would turn to that which bore more immediately upon the subject before the House, and consider what his hon. Friend had advanced in defence and support of his own consistency in voting for this bill. He had stated very fairly that the charge which had been brought against him by his constituents—and it was a charge not brought against him only, but against all those County Members who were acting with him—was the gross inconsistency of supporting a measure which they admitted they would have scouted if it had originated with the noble Lord near him (Lord John Russell), instead of with the right hon. Baronet whom they so willingly followed. [Cheers.] He was happy to hear that those hon. Gentlemen acquiesced in that reason. They looked to men and not to principle. They had no principle. They had no principle whatsoever. He might go through the whole series of hustings speeches made at the last election, and through every appeal made to the agricultural constituencies in the kingdom by every individual who sat on the Ministerial side of the House, and he would defy any one of them to show him any one sentence, emanating from any one of those Gentlemen, which held out the slightest indication of an acquiescence in the very measure they were now supporting. Let hon. Gentlemen contradict it if they could. He would challenge every one of them. The noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire (Lord Stanley) in his speech at Lancaster ridiculed the very idea of dealing with the Corn-laws: so did all the hon. Gentlemen opposite, down from the first Bench to the second, the third, and the fourth; not one of them held out the slightest prospect that they would ever acquiesce in such a change in the Corn-laws as they were now prepared to support. Every man on that (the Ministerial) side of the House denounced the then existing Government as the bitterest enemy of the agriculturists, because it had ventured to propose an alteration in the Corn-laws, absolutely indispensable under the circumstances of the country, whereas now he had the pleasure of hearing several of the constituents of the hon. Baronet the Member for Essex (Sir John Tyrrell) tell him within the last week that they would sooner have had an 8s. Fixed duty than the present sliding-scale, with the tariff, and the Income-tax on the top of it. That was the position in which the representatives of the agricultural constituencies, with a single exception, the noble Lord the Member for North Lincolnshire (Lord Worsley), to whose consistency honourable testimony had been borne that evening, stood in the House of Commons. The hon. Member for Essex him- elf admitted, that consistency was a very pleasant thing, and regretted that it was a pleasure which he could not indulge in But what did his inconsistency, and that of those near him suggest? It suggested the reflection that they and the party whom they supported had come into power under false pretences. His hon. Friend (Sir J. Tyrrell) had talked of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) butting his head against the wheatsheaf. What was the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) doing now? What, if those hon. Gentlemen opposite dared to speak out their sentiments, was the language they would use respecting this very measure they were going to support? Take the hon. Member for Essex, for instance, what was the justification he put forth at the meeting at Chelmsford? The hon. Member said, that all his leaders had deserted him; that one noble Duke had lost his confidence because he had accepted a seat in the Cabinet, and was never worth any thing afterwards. That was the Duke of Buckingham. Another noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) had met him (Sir J. Tyrrell) in the lobby of the House, and observed to him that, although he disliked the Corn-law exceedingly, yet the noble Duke would recommend him (Sir John Tyrrell) to take it. That was the account which the hon. Baronet gave of his leaders, and he said of himself that, being an humble individual—for the hon. Baronet did not profess to put himself in the front rank, even upon the eastern principle—that being an humble individual, he was unable to find leaders in whom he could place confidence. These two noble Dukes had abandoned the agriculturists altogether. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester (Sir James Graham) was disqualified for replacing them, for he was unhappily identified with this ill-starred and fatal bill. The noble Lord the Member for Lancashire (Lord Stanley) was in the same painful condition. The hon. Baronet (Sir John Tyrrell) and the hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House were, therefore, compelled to support this odious and most indefensible measure as they regarded it, upon the principle of not falling out of the frying-pan into the fire. That was the principle upon which this law would be passed. It took away all idea of stability from the law. The hon. Baronet had himself disclaimed all idea of finality. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester did the same. Those who sat on the Opposition side of the House did the same thing, but upon a very different principle. It was said that this measure was to be a settlement of the question. There never was so paltry or contemptible an attempt! It was perfectly absurd to talk of its being a settlement. Nobody assented to it. Nobody dreamt of its being anything of the kind. It was only the beginning of a series of agitations, and party conflicts upon a question, which ought to be settled, because of the vast pecuniary interests which it involved, — conflicts upon a question which, it was his conviction, might have been, and would have been, settled by the late Government, if hon. Members on the Ministerial benches had not thrown overboard, for party purposes, the measure proposed to them. The right hon. Baronet, on the other hand, had settled nothing and disturbed everything. The arrangement proposed was equally unsatisfactory to those, whose peculiar interests hon. Members on the Ministerial side professed to represent, and to those who sat on his (Mr. Ward's) side of the House. The agricultural Members indeed supported it, but at no distant period they would find it a difficult matter to reconcile their professions to their constituents with their conduct in that House. They no doubt hoped to find support elsewhere, but if wise, they would trust to time for making their peace, and not put forward any pretentions to consistency. The speech of his hon. Friend (Sir John Tyrrell) was the best proof of the danger of such an experiment. He could not succeed in that House as he had in Essex; he could not throw dust in their eyes as he did in the eyes of those who held up their hands in his favour at Chelmsford. Trading upon the panic fears of his constituents, his hon. Friend succeeded in getting a reluctant vote in favour of his conduct, by threatening the farmers with the ghost of the late Ministry. But here, in the House of Commons, they knew how matters stood. They knew that principle had very little to do with the matter: that Gentlemen who supported the Government looked to the success of their party, and to very little besides; and that though they came into power professing one set of principles, they were quite ready to carry out another set of principles, which had been forced upon them by the influence of those, whom they were most hostile to. He (Mr. Ward) was perfectly satisfied with this state of things. In the course hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side were now pursuing, he saw public opinion going on steadily. Even his hon. Friend (Sir John Tyrrell) was reluctantly yielding to its influence. He never expected; to be reduced to the humiliating necessity of justifying a vote in favour of a modification of the Corn-law. The stone had been set rolling. He had admitted the principle, that the protected interests were no longer to form that sacred alliance which they maintained all last Session. He felt that he must concede something to other interests. He had admitted, that great concessions must be made as the price for the possession of power in this country. Now he was very glad at all this. These concessions never would have been made to the Whig party. They were made by hon. Gentlemen opposite to their own Tory party, as the condition of their maintaining power. This power they certainly would maintain, but at a very considerable sacrifice of character. [Cries of" No, no."] Yes! at a very considerable sacrifice of character for consistency; because every body must re collect the language which was used by that party in the House of Commons last year. Then all the protecting interests joined hands, and formed a mighty phalanx. The monopolists in corn said, we must support the monopolists in sugar, and the monopolists in timber, and every other kind of monopoly, down to the most insignificant, or we never can hope to stand ourselves. There was something intelligible in this. The monopolists put the advocates of free-trade down. They had everything their own way at the election; they returned such a majority as had seldom been seen in that House before. But now what did they do? Did they attempt to carry out any one principle they before professed? Did they ground upon this their claim to public confidence? No; they stood upon the individual character of their leader, and he stood upon a perfect abnegation of all those principles on which they professed that he was to take office. He (Mr. Ward) was well content with that bargain, because he saw his own principles, by means of it, gaining the upper hand in a modified way. And now that (the Ministerial party) had abandoned their principle of monopoly, they never would be allowed to re-assert it. They could not do it. They were pledged upon the Tariff. Their own leader stood pledged as an honourable man to abide by its principle, and to make no considerable alterations even in its details. They might petition, they might hold out in terrorem the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) as a reason, or as a palliation, for giving their support to the present Ministry, but the hon. Gentlemen, who now gave that support, must go on, or public opinion would desert them, and then they would have nothing to stand upon at all, for they were already totally destitute of any principle of their own. They could not resume the ground they occupied last year, for they had no one principle left, of all those, which they then put forward. [Great cries of "No, no."] Well, if they had a principle, let them state it. It ought to be carefully preserved as a precious relic, for never had public professions been more flagrantly violated in the whole history of party contests in this country, than they had by the conduct of those hon. Members who were now forming the majority of the right hon. Baronet, As to the bill before the House, he did not care whether he voted for it at all. He was not answerable for it. He did not approve of it, though he thought it was some improvement upon the existing system. He was not afraid of the consequences, even of a free-trade in corn, to those cold clays and bad soils which pure patriotism alone had no doubt induced the hon. Baronet (Sir John Tyrrell) to bring into cultivation, though some might suspect that the cultivation of such bad land had been caused by the false, and delusive hopes held out to the landowners by the old Corn-law. It was obvious, that those bad lands must at some time go out of wheat cultivation, under a state of things to which they were now happily advancing. He did not believe, that the present bill would be a permanent settlement of the question, yet he thought it would do some good. He hoped, that the anticipations entertained by the leader of the party opposite would be realised. He was, however, far from believing anything of the kind. It might have the effect of letting a little more corn come into this country, but, if he voted for it at all, he should only do so to mark his dissent from the doctrines of the agriculturists, and in resistance to the opinions which they still professed to entertain. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) was dreaded by his very sup- that porters as] being a free trader in his heart. His principles were suspected by them, and the only reason why they gave support to measures, which they themselves detested, was, because they feared that there might be something still worse behind. They might fall into the hands of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell). There might be an 8s., or even a 5s. duty, nobody could tell. And when they met to talk at county meetings in Essex upon this unfortunate bill to those, whom they had misled, and were now abandoning, it was convenient to have this bugbear about their dread of their leader going out of office, and others coming in, to allege, in order to reconcile the people to their conduct. He was quite sure that nothing else could.

Mr. Darby

said, that when the hon. Gentleman said, that the agricultural Members had deceived their constituents he begged to declare, that it was not so, as far as he was concerned; and when the hon. Member told him so, he begged to tell the hon. Member that he stated that which was not the fact. He begged to say, that no one Member at the time he addressed his constituents from the hustings at the late election could tell what the measure of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government was to be. No one could tell that, before he had seen the measure. The question was put to him on the hustings, whether he would support any measure which the right hon. Baronet might bring forward with respect to the importation of corn? and he said, that he would not pledge himself either for or against the measure before he saw what it was. That was what he had said to his constituents, and for the rest he begged to say he declined being made responsible for the sentiments and opinions which the hon. Gentleman put into the mouth of hon. Members, as addressed by them to their constituents. He was not responsible for those opinions, and he would not be made so. He said, as far as he was concerned, that he had given no pledge to his constituents, and therefore he could not be accused of want of consistency. What he said to them was, that he would agree to nothing which he was not convinced would be for their ultimate benefit. He said, moreover, that in his opinion a Member of the House of Commons was not worthy of the confidence of any constituency who did not pursue that course. But the hon. Gentleman had talked a great deal about want of principle, and had attributed want of principle to hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House; he, however, begged to tell the hon. Gentleman, that when he wanted to look for principle he would not leave his own side of the House to go to seek it on the other; and if he was in such a position as to know that this question of a Corn-bill must be settled, after two Speeches from the Throne on the subject, and that whenever carried it must be carried by some Government capable of carrying its own measures, he should not put confidence on such a question in a Government which came down with the proposition they were about to produce, altered at the last moment, and which, if in power that evening, would have been found to have abandoned the scheme which they proposed last Session. That was not the kind of Government he should look to with any hope of seeing this question finally settled in their hands; that was not the kind of Government in which the people of this country could, or ought to, have any confidence. He said, that the agricultural Members were perfectly justified in the course they were taking, knowing that this great question must be settled, in supporting a measure which was calculated to effect that object. There was a growing opinion in the country, that the Corn-law must be settled. He had enjoyed but little communication with his constituents of late, but he was proud to say, that they had trusted him throughout this matter, and as to what little he had seen of them, he had always been told, "We believe, that you have acted right, and will leave it entirely to you." Now, it appeared to him, that under the existing circumstances of this country, when he saw affairs in so unsettled a state, and when the financial difficulties of the country were so great, the worst thing he could do, that which would be most detrimental to the interests of his own constituents and the country at large, was by any crotchet of his to stop the settlement of that great question. Now, he begged to ask the noble Lord, the Member for North Lincolnshire, whose consistency had been so much lauded, whether he wished to bring back the late Government as a strong Government, or as a weak Government? Did he wish to bring them back as a weak Government? What could a weak Government do in the present difficult position of this country? Then, did he want to bring them back as a strong Government, to carry all their own measures? Could the noble Lord form a Government himself from the other side of the House. Would he apply to the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton to form part of his Government, that he might come with the strong arm of truth to sweep away all the cobwebs of monopoly; for that was the language of the noble Lord? Hon. Gentlemen might taunt him with inconsistency, and charge him with having promised not to deal with the corn question, but he answered that charge by saying, that the agricultural constituencies were perfectly well aware that the corn question would be dealt with. The right hon. Baronet had stated in the last Parliament that he should abide by the sliding-scale, but with the details of the existing Corn-laws he would not tell them what he should do. It was impossible to believe, that any man of common sense should have had any doubt about the fact, that the right hon. Baronet did mean to deal with that subject. It then became a question, whether any modification of those details should be accepted by the agricultural interest. What else could be done? Suppose a higher protection were demanded, and supposing upon that, the right hon. Baronet were to go out, with the general opinions entertained on this subject, what prospect was there that a Cabinet could be formed on that side of the House, on the principle of giving higher protection? Well, then, if a Cabinet was to be formed from the other side, what had they to expect? They knew that the noble Lord had deserted his plan of last year. Did the noble Lord mean to say, that he adhered to the principle of an 8s. fixed duty and nothing more? No, the noble Lord's proposal now was an 8s. fixed duty, with a sliding or vanishing scale at the end of it. Indeed it was somewhat doubtful whether the 8s. duty would be allowed to stand; for a noble Lord, formerly a colleague of the noble Lord, the Member for the City of London, had stated that an 8s. duty, if they came into office again could no longer even be thought of; it must then be a 5s. duty. He considered the motion of this year entirely different and distinct from that of the last. And consequently in the course which he felt it is duty to pursue, he would not lose sight of the state of parties. As an abstract proposition, he did not object to the motion. Abstractedly he opposed any system, the necessary effect of which was merely to raise the price of corn. He did not believe, that an unnatural price was beneficial to any class. As a farmer, and as the representative of an agricultural county, he did not wish —he believed it would not be for their interest—to see an unnatural price. He thought that the interests of the farmer and the interests of the consumer were not altogether separate. He thought that it was perfectly consistent that the consumer should receive some benefit from the proposition of the right hon. Baronet, and at the same time time that the farmers should not suffer. But they were told that the agricultural classes felt serious apprehension on this subject. To this remark he would answer that it was impossible not to feel some apprehension on a question of this nature. He begged pardon of the House for thus detaining them. He had not had the slightest intention of speaking when he came into the House. The hon. Gentleman had made him rise—but he would repeat that he would consider this question, surrounded by all the circumstances of the present times, when he was forming his judgment how to act, and that when he acted upon principles, he would not learn his principles from Gentlemen on the other side.

Mr. Wakley

observed, that the speech just delivered might be taken as a sample of many which would be heard during the present Parliament, and probably during the present Session. There was a growing feeling out of doors which would render such speeches necessary—a feeling that even now was causing considerable uneasiness on the opposite benches. There seemed a strange inconsistency between hon. Members on the other side of the House. The last speaker had said, that he could support the amendment as an abstract proposition, if it were not introduced in connection with the Corn-bill. What then was the amendment— That inasmuch as this House has repeatedly declared by its votes, and by the reports of its committees, that it is beyond the power of Parliament to regulate the wages of labour in this country, it is inexpedient and unjust to pass a law to regulate, with a view to raise unnaturally, the prices of food. For that proposition in the abstract the hon. Member for Sussex was ready to vote. That hon. Member affected to be a consistent and an honest politician. According to his own account, he had given no pledges on the hustings, but he did not say, that he had given no opinions, which were implied pledges. In connection with the terms of the amendment, he would ask what was the proposed Corn-law? Was not the effect of it to raise the price of corn unnaturally? Gentle-men, in their candour and integrity could not deny it; they said, indeed, that it was for the good of the country to pass it; but the amount of the concession, when the hon. Member for Sussex said, that he would support the amendment as an abstract proposition, was only this, that it was in itself an excellent amendment; but that if it were to have any practical application in the accomplishment of benefit to the people he would resist it. So much for the hon. Member for Sussex; and what did the hon. Baronet, the Member for Essex say? He spoke in the tone of a sufferer and a martyr. He complained that he had been accused of sacrificing the interests of agriculture; but this was not the whole of the charge—he had been accused, not only of sacrificing the interests of agriculture, but of sacrificing his principles and his consistency also. How did the hon. Baronet get out of this scrape? How did he defend his conduct in Parliament? He was sorry that the right hon. Baronet had not been in the House, or he would have been exceedingly amused by the ingenuity of his proselyte. The hon. Baronet, the Member for Essex, had informed the House that such was his determination to support the right hon. Baronet, that he was prepared to give a conscientious vote in direct opposition to his conviction. These were his words, "I am prepared to give a conscientious vote in defiance of my own conviction." Here there was a question for casuists: If a vote be honest which is in opposition to conviction, what is that vote which is in accordance with conviction? Could that be honest, too? "He could give no answer, the question was a puzzler; but the constituency of Essex would have the satisfaction of knowing that they had a representative who could be convinced one way and could conscientiously vote another. The hon. Baronet had talked of charges against him and of his triumphant acquittal in Essex. No doubt his con- stituents, like himself, had been convinced that their representative had done wrong, but that he had been right in doing wrong. Like Caesar, "he never did wrong but with just cause." Those who had so triumphantly acquitted the hon. Baronet had been the same parties, the farmers of Essex, who had shown so much alarm at the prospect of the introduction of calves under the tariff of the right hon. Baronet. No wonder; they saw that oxen might be brought in at a duty of 20s., and that calves might be imported for only 10s. duty. This was enough to alarm them, for they had every reason to expect that calves would soon be at a discount. The hon. Baronet had further expressed his conviction (perhaps, however, he would conscientiously vote in opposition to it,) that the heavy clay lands and the sterile sandy soils recently brought into cultivation would be sacrificed. Was it, he would enquire, one of the opinions of the hon. Baronet, that these heavy clay lands and sterile sandy soils ought to be cultivated at the public expense? Supposing a body of mill-owning manufacturers were to come to Parliament and say, "Such have been the improvements in machinery of late that our old machinery is of little or no value. We can no longer compete with foreigners, therefore be so good as to pass a law which shall enable us to work our worn out defective machinery, and to pay our workmen at the public expence. What would the right hon. Baronet say to such a reasonable application? He would refuse at once to grant such protection. That would be his honest answer, and why was it not to apply to those who had brought lands into cultivation which ought never to have been cultivated, and which never would have been cultivated but for the law which enriched the landlords at the expense of every other class of the community. A great deal had been said about the inhuman conduct of mill-owners and manufacturers to persons in their employ. Many of the charges were, no doubt, strictly true; but what had been the conduct of landlords? The moment an alarm was sounded, had they come forward to reduce their rents? Did landlords tell their tenants, "We think it for the public good that the law should be changed, and we are prepared to make a sacrifice: you who have leases are absolved from them, and we will enter into a new, and to you a more advantageous bargain?" Did they hold any such language as this? No; had they done so the farmer would have been able to pay the reasonable wages of his labourers; but instead of that, the gallant colonel and another hon. Member for Lincolnshire had stated, that in that county the wages of agricultural servants had already been reduced from 15s. a week to 12s. Thus one-fifth of the income of hard working, hard handed peasants was taken from them by hard hearted landlords. Why did not landlords, so loud in their claims for a character for liberality, say to the farmer, "If we exact our whole rent, you cannot pay your labourers their whole wages; we will remit a fair portion; those who can least afford to suffer will thus be spared, and the load will fall upon our shoulders, so well able to bear it, and the loss be taken from our pockets, so abundantly filled by the operation of the late Corn-law?" No such language as this had been heard in any quarter, and yet the landlords were the first to assert that the measure of the right hon. Baronet would be highly injurious to the agricultural interest. Out of doors an impression certainly prevailed, that if such a proposition had been made by a Whig administration, it would have been scouted by the agricultural interest from one end of the kingdom to the other. The farmers were not satisfied as it stood; nay, some of them were loud in their exclamations against the right hon. Baronet, and if he were rightly informed, one of this class, on the last market-day at Honiton, declared that he had at last found out that there was a worse devil than even Lord John. He was one who thought that, in the present state of the country, if people would but abandon faction, and forget self, much might be done for the good of the people. He thought also that the right hon. Baronet had done all the good his party would permit him to do. He believed, that he had gone to the utmost extent of liberality with reference to the votes of his supporters; but before the conflict was at an end, and before he was able to carry some of his measures, he would have to appeal for aid to the other side of the House—to his political adversaries. He considered the bill before the House an improvement, a great improvement, upon the present system, inasmuch as it would occasion a more fixed and regular price of corn. He did not believe, however, that it would produce any con- siderable reduction in the price of bread. He had been asked that morning a question in Finsbury, by a person in the watch making trade, and it was this, "What calculation has the Minister made as to the reduction in the price of bread in consequence of his proposition?" He had heard him make none, and could, therefore, give no answer. The watchmaker continued, "We are already great sufferers by the importation of watches at a duty of 25 per cent., and yet by the tariff Sir Robert Peel, we find that they are hereafter to be introduced at only 10 per cent. How shall we be able to compete with the foreigner then, when we are unable to compete with him even now, and what hope is there that we shall have a proportionate reduction in the price of bread?" That had been a question put to him to-day, but ere long it would come from every quater' of the kingdom, and from every interest.' "What reduction are we to have in the price of bread?" He advised the right hon. Baronet to be prepared with a reply. What were the promoters of this bill doing with the estate of the landed proprietor? Protecting it by law and keeping up its value. The poor man had an estate also, and what was it? His power to labour. What did they do with his estate? Did they protect it and keep up its value? That would be a question put on all sides, and that question must have an answer. The working man asked for no more than equal justice. He made that demand on his behalf, and he never would cease to urge it as long as he had a seat in that House.

Mr. Robert Palmer

said, that the hon. Gentleman opposite had occupied the time of the House, not in discussing the bill, but in throwing obloquy on Gentlemen on his side of the House. He appealed to any person if he had ever given a promise to his constituents to maintain the Corn-laws entire. He referred to his speeches and addresses to prove the reverse. There was not a man in the county he represented who was not aware that the existing Corn-law was about to undergo some alteration, and that not an immaterial one, by whatever Government might happen to be in office. The question discussed at the last election was the proposition of the noble Lord as to an 8s. fixed duty. That the country entirely rejected. He at that time stated to his constituents that if the noble Lord should again have the opportunity of introducing that proposition to the House he should again oppose it, because it was one most detrimental to the agricultural interests and to the genera) interests of the country. And, at the same time, he stated to his constituents that some, and not an immaterial, alteration should be made by whatever Government should come into office. The hon. Member for Wallingford had stated with truth that a very considerable alarm did exist in the minds of the agricultural body with respect to this measure. They did not expect so material an alteration as had been made, for it was no small thing to propose that the protection which was given them by law should be reduced by one-half. He had endeavoured to ascertain the sentiments of his constituents on this measure, and to learn the course they would have their representatives to pursue; and for that purpose he had attended a very numerous assembly in a market town of no small importance, and he would appeal to his hon. Colleague whether the unanimous opinion was not, that it was both wise and prudent for the agricultural body rather to acquiesce in the proposition of the right hon. Baronet 'than to offer any opposition to it. And the reason was, because they knew there was no middle party in the House, and that it would not be in the power of the Members for Essex or Berkshire to form a Government of themselves. One of the two parties in that House should become the Government, and under the present circumstances of the country, if the present Government were thrown out of office, the agricultural interests would be necessarily placed at the mercy of the noble Lord opposite. By a resolution which stood on the paper, for Friday, to be moved on the bringing up of the report on the Income-tax, it could be distinctly seen that the opinions of the noble Lord were not changed with regard to the agricultural interests, and that he would be prepared again, if he had the opportunity, to propose what he called his moderate fixed duty on corn, which might be 8s. now, but which would then be on a considerably tower estimate. On the whole, he came to the conclusion, that, under the circumstances in which the country was placed, by acquiescing—which he confessed he did reluctantly—in the measure of the right hon. Baronet, he was taking the last course which he could secure to the agricultural interest, the maximum protection which, at the present moment, it was practicable to maintain,


As the representative of a large agricultural constituency, would state the reasons for the vote he was about to give. He had voted for the second and third reading of the bill, hoping to see it modified in committee. Alas! he had been deceived. He believed with his constituents that the scale for wheat was too low, whilst the scale for barley and for oats was repudiated by all. Besides, when he first voted for this bill, the right hon. Baronet's tariff had not been introduced. Although it was with considerable reluctance, he must withdraw his support from the right hon. Baronet, for he should not be doing his duty to his constituents if he did not op pose a bill fraught with so much danger and destruction to the agricultural interests.

Mr. Fielden

said, that the motion of two affirmative propositions, both of which the hon. Member for Stockport contained were true. Mr. Huskisson had been quoted as an authority, but he denied that Mr. Huskisson was such an authority. He was one of those who was either for having protection to the whole body of the people, or for having protection for none. Was there protection for the working men? What was the condition of the handloom weavers? In 1815 they passed the Corn-bill, in 1819 they altered the currency, and from that time to the present the condition of the handloom weavers had become worse. Protection, in fact, was all on one side. If he voted for the third reading of this bill, and against the proposition of his hon. Friend, he would be voting for what was unjust in principle and in practice. He would be glad to see hon. Gentlemen opposite get up and answer the argument of the hon. Member for Stockport. They did not, because they could not.

Mr. Brotherton

could confirm the statement of the hon. Member for Oldham with regard to the reduction of wages which had been going on since 1815, though the price of corn was kept up as high as when the working men were receiving so much higher remuneration for their labour. He held in his hand a document which showed the depreciation of the wages of handloom weavers since 1831. In that] year 1s. 10d. a piece was paid for one description of goods; in 1841 only 1s. 1d. was paid for the same description; and he understood that the price was now reduced below 1s. He saw by the public prints that the hon. Member for Blackburn had been in the habit of employing 1,500 hands, who were now unemployed, owing to the reduction of wages. This reduction was still going on, and where they were to stop he could not magine. The reduction had not taken place in the wages of the handloom weavers alone; it had occurred in the spinning trade. The price paid for fine spinning in 1835 was 1s. 3d.', in 1841 that sum was reduced to 9d.; and spinning for which 2s. 2d. was paid in 1828 was now reduced to 1s. 2d. In the years 1835, 1836, and 1837, wages had rather increased than diminished. This showed that wages did not depend on the price of food, but on the quantity of supply and demand. In the borough of Stockport, it appeared, by recent returns, that 14,000 persons were not earning more than 9d. or 10d. a-week. By an adherence to the principle of the sliding-scale, if the produce grown in this country was 40,000,000 or 50,000,000 quarters, every increase of a shilling duty would lay a tax of 2,000,000l. on the people; and the whole loss to the public by this law would be 20,000,000l. It was a fallacy to say that we were not dependent on foreign countries for a supply, for since 1828 nearly 2,000,000 quarters of grain had been annually imported, so that we already depended on foreign countries; and when we saw our population increasing which could not be provided for by an increased production on our own land, it must be by extended manufactures. It bad been computed that 200,000 quarters of grain were used by the manufacturers; they were necessary in sizing, printing, and other departments, and several houses assured him that if the duty on corn were taken off they would save 800l. or 1,000l. a-year each. This was a heavy tax upon the public, and it was therefore convenient that the people of this country should understand that the sliding-scale imposed a tax of 20,000,000l. a-year, and that this accounted for the depreciation in the value of our own manufactures. The effect of the present bill would be to restrict commerce; it would not produce a regular trade in corn; if it did not produce a regular trade in corn it would operate against the interests of the manufacturers; if it operated against the interests of the manufacturers, it would ultimately operate against the agricultural interests, and he did ask what the agricultural interests would come to if they destroyed the manufactures of this country? He did not wish to bandy terms, or to abuse the agricultural interests, but he wished them to look to facts, and he believed that by this bill they would raise a tax which would not benefit the farmer,, and would be acting unjustly towards the rest of the community.

Mr. Blackstone

observed, that it had been stated that the country at the last dissolution expected the Corn-laws would be dealt with. That sentiment was not only cheered but re-echoed. He confessed that it was expected that the Corn-laws would be dealt with, and that there would be an alteration of the sliding-scale, but he would ask whether it was really believed that so vast and great an alteration would be proposed by the friends of the farmer? He would frankly state, that he would not consent to the alteration which was demanded of the farmer. But was be singular? He was not going to read the addresses of hon. Gentlemen to their constituents, but he would ask the House whether if this measure had been proposed by the noble Lord, the Member for London, any one of the county Members in the House would have supported him? He had had an opportunity of meeting his constituents, and he found that there was a strong and almost unanimous expression of dissent on the part of the agricultural interest. He had been since the recess in many parts of the West of England, and, be believed, he was stating the opinions of the great majority of the agricultural classes when be said, that there was a strong feeling of opposition to the measures of the right hon. Baronet, and that the proposition for the importation of live stock at a small duty would be attended with the most disastrous results to that body.

Lord Worsley

had not intended to take any part in the debate of that evening, but after the very pointed manner in which he had been referred to by the hon. Member for Essex and Sussex, he could not avoid saying a few words. The hon. Member for Sussex had stated, in reference to the scale proposed by his hon. Colleague, and that proposed by himself, that he hoped the county of Lincoln was not to be sold to the highest bidder. He hoped that such was the case; but he thought that if the hon. Gentleman bad been at the meeting of Monday last, at which he had attended, and had witnessed the reception given to his hon. Colleague, and that with which he was honoured, the hon. Member would hare been better able to judge of how the conduct of each was regarded by the people of Lincolnshire. He had been asked whether he were prepared to see a strong government coming forward with the propositions of his noble Friend, and which would have enabled him to carry the plan of a fixed duty upon corn. He could not, however, forget that the last dissolution took place upon the corn question, and when it was recollected that the opinion of the public upon the subject were known—that there had been divisions during the present Session upon a fixed duty and upon the motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton; and when the majorities upon these motions were recollected, he would ask the House, as he had asked at the meeting on Monday last, whether any one could say, that, if the present bill was thrown out, there was any chance whatever of a proposition for a fixed duty being carried. The majority against the proposition of a fixed duty had been upwards of 150, and no one could say after that that there was any danger whatever of such a result. He believed there had frequently been much mischief done in this country by a very strong government, and history contained many instances of the truth of the observation. On the one hand, he had the right hon. Baronet, with whose political opinions he could not agree, and who had for a length of time opposed measures to which he had afterwards given his assent,—on the other hand, he had his noble Friend, who had done such service to the cause of civil and religious liberty; and he should have no hesitation in seeing that party again in power, believing that if they went to a dissolution again upon that question the proposition of a fixed duty would not be carried in that House. The hon. Member for Sussex had said, that there was an opinion in the country that the Corn question should be settled, and the hon. Member for Essex had expressed a hope that the measure proposed by her Majesty's Government would be a final one. Now, with these two conflicting opinions[Sir J. Tyrell: Only in case it worked well.] He would remind the hon. Baronet of the speech he had made the other night, when he stated that he thought the scale too low, but that he would take it rather than allow the Government to fall into the hands of those who sat on his (Lord Worsley's) side of the House. The hon. Gentleman had, in fact, made a strong case against the measure. The hon. Member for Sussex had said, that he had made no pledge on the subject of the Corn-laws, but he would ask whether others had not done so? He would ask whether one of his hon. Colleagues had not stated that his first object was to secure just protection to the agricultural interest—that less protection than the present law afforded he would not consider just, and that therefore he would oppose any measure which would give them less protection. Now when such a statement was put forward by a candidate, was it not to be expected that if returned he would do his best to prevent any material alteration in the Corn-laws. He was justified in saying, that, at a meeting of an agricultural association at Brigg, in the county of Lincoln, resolutions were passed unanimously against the Corn Importation Bill, the Tariff, and the Income-tax; and that several of the farmers who had attended that meeting said that they would as soon have had the 8s. fixed duty as these combined measures of Sir Robert Peel. In opposing the motion of the hon. Member for Stockport, he begged to be understood as not giving any support to the Corn Importation Bill. He looked upon the motion in this way. He did not think the Corn-bill was intended to regulate wages, but he believed that under any Corn-bill wages would be regulated very much by the price of corn. For these reasons he should vote against the motion; but in doing so, he would repeat that he did not mean to give any support whatever to the propositions of the right hon. Baronet.

Sir Valentine Blake

said, he had intended to bring forward an amendment to the proposition for the third reading of this bill, the nature of which he would state to the House. He had proposed to move. That notwithstanding the benevolent desire expressed in her Majesty's Speech on opening the present Session of Parliament; and notwithstanding the express declaration of her Majesty's Government thereon, that they would not sanction any laws which would in its effect or operation increase the protection to the existing restrictions of the supply of corn for the home market. The House has nevertheless under the auspices of Government, sanctioned a new law which is far advanced in its progress which new laws will in its operation and effect increase the price to the consumer, and render the existing monopoly of the landed interests more valuable and more durable, and therefore more intolerable than ever. He regretted, that some more able Member of the House than he was, had not presented himself to introduce a similar motion to the House; and that the proposition of his amendment would now be out of order. But he felt it to be his duty to declare that his opinion was entirely in opposition to the principle of this measure. He maintained, that its result would be the increase and not the diminution of the price of food, but he thought, that it was only to reduce that price to restore peace and harmony, and affluence throughout the country. The averages were made up from sales of British grain in specified places, the manner in which the averages were made void, was never attempted till the very high duty was enacted a large holder of bonded corn, and his confederates contrived to evade the duty by fictitious sales, but the result was the introduction of a larger quantity of foreign corn, but by lowering the duty according to the proposed scale, the inducement to evade it by committing frauds would be taken away, and by correcting the frauds in taking the averages foreign corn was excluded, which would be otherwise introduced and the price of bread would be consequently increased. From the transactions of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, it was easy to ascertain to what extent fictitious sales were made, all founded upon the fluctuating scale; as, for instance, supposing there were 800,000 quarters of wheat under bond, and the average price was 66s., the duty was 20s. 8d., which on the whole would amount to 826,000l. Thus the construction of the sliding-scale was calculated to encourage frauds, and if the average price could only be raised 7s. per quarter by those frauds, the duty to be paid would be only 40,000l., making a difference to the holders of upwards of one million, namely, 786,000l."by the fall of the duty, and 280,000l. by the advance of prices; so that in this way, by correcting the frauds, the already wretched consumers were thrown more entirely than heretofore on the tender mercies of the landed aristocracy. He always thought that God's laws were immutable. To what purpose did they pray for daily bread? To what purpose did they offer up prayers each day at the commencement of the sittings of the House? To increase the fruits of the earth. Was it for the benefit of all, or was it only for the benefit of the favoured few, the possessors of an unrighteous mono- poly, who would do well to recollect that t was laid down in Holy Writ, "That he who keepeth the people from corn, him shall the people curse." One word only more, upon the subject of this motion. It was said, that if the price of bread were lowered, the master manufacturers would thereupon lower the wages of the workman. It was rank nonsense to make this assertion. This, and such other trash about the truck system, and the devil's dust, and the devil knew what besides, was all the result of the high price of corn, by which the manufacturers were prevented from disposing of their goods, and hence the depressed state of trade. If there were four or five men seeking for employment, and only one or two vacancies, surely it was manifest that the unfortunate labourer was at the mercy of the master-manufacturer, who selected the person who would do the work on the lowest terms; but if they reversed the picture, encouraged trade, and gave employment by lowering the price of food, they would then find the master-manufacturer coaxing the working classes, and giving high wages; because it was manifest that labour, like every other commodity, must obtain its price according to the demand.

The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question—Ayes 236; Noes 86:—Majority 150.

List of the AYES.
A'Court, Capt. Boldero, H. G.
Ackers, J. Botfield, B.
Acton, Col. Bradshaw, J.
Adare, Visct. Broadley, H.
Adderley, C. B. Broadwood.H.
Alford, Visct. Brodie, W. B.
Allix, J. P. Brownrigg, J. S.
Antrobus, E. Bruce, Lord E.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bruce, C. L. C.
Archdall, M. Bruen, Col.
Arkwright, G. Buck, L. W.
Astell, W. Buckley, E.
Attwood, M. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Bailey, J. Bunbury, T.
Bailey, J. jun. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Baillie, Col. Burroughes, H. N.
Balfour, J. M. Campell, Sir H.
Baring, hon. W. B. Campbell, A.
Barrington, Visct. Carnegie, hon. Capt.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Charteris, hon. F.
Beckett, W. Chelsea, Visct.
Bell, M. Chetwode, Sir J.
Bentinck, Lord G. Christmas, W.
Beresford, Major Christopher, R. A.
Berkeley, hon. C. Chute, W. L. W.
Blackburne, J. I. Clayton, B. R.
Blackstone, W. S. Clerk, Sir G.
Bodkin, W. H. Clive, hon. R. H.
Cochrane, A. Hope, hon. C.
Cockburn. rt. hn. Sir G. Hope, A.
Cole, hon. A. H. Hornby, J."
Collett, W. R. Howard, hn. E.J. G.
Colvile, C. R. Hughes, W. B.
Compton, H. C. James, W.
Coote, Sir C. H. Jermyn, Earl
Corry, rt. hon. H. Jocelyn, Visct.
Courtenay, Visct. Johnson, W. G.
Cripps, W. Johnstone, H.
Damer, hon. Col. Jones, Capt.
Darby, G. Kemble, H.
Dawnay, hon. W. H. Knatchbull, right hon.
Dickinson, F. H. Sir E.
D'Israeli, B. Lawson, A.
Dodd, G. Legh, G. C.
Douglas, Sir H. Lennox Lord A.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Duffield, T. Lincoln, Earl of
Duncombe, hon. A. Lockhart, W.
Du Pre, C. G. Long, W.
East, J. B. Lopes, Sir R.
Egerton, W. T. Lowther, J. H.
Eliot, Lord Lowther, hon. Col.
Emlyn, Visct. Lyall, G.
Escott, B. Lygon, hon. General
Estcourt.T. G B. Mackenzie, W. F.
Farnham, E. B. Mackinnon, W. A.
Fellowes, E. Mc Geachy, F. A.
Ferrand, W. B. Mahon, Visct.
Filmer, Sir E. Mainwaring, T.
Fitzroy, Capt. Manners Lord C. S.
Fleming, J. W. Manners, Lord J.
Forbes, W. March, Earl of
Fuller, A. E. Marsham, Visct.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Martyn, C. C.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W.E. Marton, G.
Godson, R. Master, T. W. C.
Gordon, hn. Capt. Masterman, J.
Gore, M. Maunsell, T. P.
Gore, W. R. O. Miles, P. W. S,
Goring, C. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Morgan, O.
Granby, Marquess of Mundy, E. M.
Greenall, P. Murray, C. R. S.
Greene, T. Murray, A.
Gregory, W. H. Neville, R.
Grimston, Visct. Newry, Visct.
Grogan, E. Norreys, Lord
Hale, R. B. O'Brien, A. S.
Hamilton, C. J. B. O'Brien, W. S.
Hamilton, W. J. Ossulston, Lord
Harcourt, G. G. Owen, Sir J.
Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H. Packe, C.W.
Hardy, J. Paget, Lord W.
Hawkes, T. Palmer, R.
Hayes, Sir E. Palmer, G.
Heneage, G. H. W. Patten, J. W.
Heneage, E. Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.
Henley, J. W. Peel, J.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Pigot, Sir R.
Herbert, hon. S. Plumptre, J. P.
Hillsborough, Earl of Pollock, Sir F.
Hodgson, F. Praed, W. T.
Hodgson, R. Price, R.
Hogg, J. W. Pringle,A.
Houldsworth, T. Rashleigh, W.
Holmes, hon. W. A'Ct. Reade, W. M.
Reid, Sir J. R. Tolllemache, J.
Repton, G. W. J. Trench, Sir F. W.
Richards, R. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Rose, rt. hn. Sir G.' Trollope, Sir J.
Round, C. G. Trotter, J.
Round, J. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Russell, J. D. W. Vane, Lord H.
Ryder, hon. G. D. Vere, Sir C. B.
Sandon, Visct. Verner, Col.
Scarlett, hon. R. C. Vyvyian, Sir R. R.
Seymour, Sir H. B. Waddington, H. S.
Sheppard, T. Wilbraham, hon. R.B.
Shirley, E. P. Williams, T. P.
Smith, A. Wodehouse, E.
Smollett, A. Wood, Col.
Somerset, Lord G. Wood, Col. T.
Sotheron, T. H. S, Worsley, Lord
Stanley, Lord Wortley, hon. J. S.
Stewart, J. Wyndham, Col. C.
Stuart, H. Wynn, rt. hn. C.W.W.
Sturt, H. C. Young, J.
Sutton, hon. H. M. TELLERS.
Taylor, J. A. Fremantle, Sir T.
Tennent, J. E. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Humphery, Mr. Ald.
Ainsworth, P. Johnston, A.
Aldam, W. Langston, J. H.
Bannerman, A. Leader, J. T.
Bell, J. Marshall, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Martin, J.
Bernal, Captain Metcalfe, H.
Blake, Sir V. Norreys, Sir Den.
Blewitt, R. J. Jephson
Bowring, Dr. O'Brien, C.
Brocklehurst, J. O'Connell, Don.
Browne, R. D. O'Connell, M. J.
Browne, hon. W. O'Connell, J.
Buller C. Paget, Lord F.
Buller, E. Parker, J.
Busfeild, W. Pechell, Capt.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Philips, G. R.
Cave, hon. R. 0. Philips, M.
Christie, W. D. Pinney, W.
Clay, Sir W. Powell, C.
Clements, Visct. Protheroe, E.
Collins, W. Pulsford, R.
Crawford, W. S. Ricardo, J. L.
Dalmeny, Lord Scholefield, J.
Dashwood, G. H. Scott, R.
Dennistoun, J. Smith, B.
Duncan, G. Stuart, Lord J.
Duncombe, T. Strickland, Sir G.
Dundas, Admi l Strutt, E.
Easthope, Sir J. Tancred, H. W.
Ewart, W. Thornely, T.
Fielden, J. Villiers, hon. C.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Vivian, hon. Major
Fitzwilliam, hn. G.W. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Forster, M. Wakley, T.
Fox, C. R. Walker, R.
French, F. Wallace, R.
Gibson, T. Ward, H. G.
Hawes, B. Wawn, J. T.
Heathcoat, J. White, S.
Heron, Sir R. Williams, W.
Hill, Lord M. Wood, B.
Wood, G. W. TELLERS.
Wrightson, W. B. Brotherton, J.
Yorke, H. R. Cobden, R.

On the question being again put, that the bill be read a third time,

Mr. Hindley

observed, that he was most anxious that the House should come to a decided opinion on the principle of this measure, as it would affect the agricultural interests of this country; he should therefore move, "That the debate be adjourned until Monday next." He should take the sense of the House on the subject, if any hon. Member would second the motion.

Mr. Blewitt

seconded the motion.

The House divided—Ayes 68; Noes 247:—Majority 179.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Allix, J. P. O'Brien, A. S.
Bannerman, A. O'Brien, C.
Bell, J. O'Connell, D.
Berkeley, hn. C. O'Connell, M. J.
Berkeley, hn. H. F. O'Connell, J.
Bernal, Capt. Ossulston, Lord
Blackstone, W. S. Paget, Lord A.
Bowring, Dr. Pechell, Capt.
Brotherton, J. Pinney, W.
Browne, R. D. Ponsonby, hn. J. G.
Browne, hon, W. Powell, C.
Busfeild, W. Power, J.
Byng, rt. hn. G. S, Ricardo, J. L.
Christopher, R. A. Scholefield, J.
Clements, Visct. Scott, R.
Cobden, R. Smith, B.
Colvile, C. R. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Crawford, W. S. Stuart, Lord J.
Dalmeny, Lord Strickland, Sir G.
Dashwood, G. H. Tancred, H. W.
Dennistoun, J. Trollope, Sir J.
Duncan, G. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Duncombe, T. Wakley, T.
Dundas, Admiral Walker, R.
Easthope, Sir J. Wallace, R.
Eaton, R. J, Wawn, J. T,
Ewart, W. White, S.
Fielden, J. Williams, W.
Harris, J. Q. Wodehouse, E.
Hatton, Capt. V. Wood, B.
Heneage, E. Worsley, Lord
Heron, Sir R. TELLEBS.
Hill, Lord M. Blewitt, R. J.
Murray, A. Henley, J. W.
List of the NOES.
Acland, T. D. Arkwright, G.
A'Court, Capt. Astell, W.
Ackers, J. Bailey, J.
Acton, Col. Bailey, J. jun.
Adare, Visct. Baillie, Col.
Adderley, C. B. Balfour, J. M.
Aldam, W Baring, hon. W, B.
Alford, Visct. Barrington, Visct.
Antrobus, E. Baskerville, T. B. M.
Archdall,M. Beckett, W.
Bell,M. Fitzroy, Capt.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fitzwilliam, hn. G.W.
Beresford, Major Fleming, J. W.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Forbes, W.
Blackburne, J. I. Forster, M.
Bodkin, W. H. French, F.
Boldero, H. G. Fuller, A. E.
Borthwick, P. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Botfield, B. Gladstone, rt.hn.W.E.
Bradshaw, J. Godson, R.
Broadley, H. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Broadwood, H. Gore, M.
Brodie, W. B. Gore, W. R. O.
Brownrigg, J. S. Goring, C,
Bruce, Lord E. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Bruce, C. L. C. Granby, Marquess of
Bruce, Col. Greenall, P.
Buck, L. W. Greene, T.
Buckley, E. Gregory, W. H.
Buller, C. Grimston, Visct.
Buller, E. Grogan, E.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Hale, R. B.
Bunbury, T. Hamilton, W. J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Hamilton, Lord C.
Burroughes, H. N. Harcourt, G. G.
Campbell, Sir H. Hardinge. rt. hn. SirH.
Campbell, A. Hardy, J.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Hawes, B.
Cave, hon. R. O. Hawkes, T.
Charteris, hon. F. Hayes, Sir E.
Chelsea, Visct. Heathcoat, J.
Chetwode, Sir J. Heneage, G. H. W.
Christie, W. D. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Christmas, W. Herbert, hon. S.
Chute, W. L. W. Hillsborough, Earl of
Clayton, R. R. Hodgson, F.
Clerk, Sir G. Hodgson, R.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hogg, J. W.
Cochrane, A. Houldsworth, T.
Cockburn,rt.hn.SirG. Holmes, hn. W. A'C.
Colborne. hn.W.N.R. Hope, hon. C.
Cole, hon. A. H. Hope, A.
Collett, W. R. Hornby, J.
Compton, H. C. Howard, hn. E. G. G.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hughes, W. B.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Ingestre, Visct.
Courtenay, Visct. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Cripps, W. James, W.
Damer, hon. Col. Jermyn, Earl
Darby, G. Jocelyn, Visct.
Dawnay, hon. W. H. Johnson, W. G.
Dickinson, F. H. Johnstone, A.
D'Israeli, B. Johnstone, H,
Dodd, G. Jones, Capt.
Douglas, Sir H. Kelburne, Visct.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Kemble, H.
Duffield, T. Knatchbull, right hon.
Duncombe, hon. A. Sir E.
Du Pre, C. G. Langston, J. H.
East, J. B. Lawson, A.
Egerton, W. T. Legh, G. C.
Eliot, Lord Lennox, Lord A.
Emlyn, Visct. Lincoln, Earl of
Escott, B. Lockhart, W.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Long, W.
Farnham, E. B. Lopes, Sir R.
Fellowes, E. Lowther, J. H.
Ferrand, W. B. Lowther, hon. Col.
Filmer, Sir E. Lyall, G.
Lygon, hn. General Repton, G. W. J.
Mackenzie, W. F. Richards, R.
Mackinnon, W. A. Rose, rt. hn. Sir G.
Mc Geachy, F. A. Round, C. G.
Mahon, Visct. Round, J.
Mainwaring, T. Rous, hon. Capt.
Manners Lord C. S. Russell, J. D. W.
Manners, Lord J. Ryder, hon. G. D.
March, Earl of Sandon, Visct.
Marsham, Visct. Scarlett, hon. R. C.
Martyn, C. C. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Marton, G. Sheppard, T.
Master, T. W. C. Smith, A.
Masterman, J. Smollett, A.
Maunsell, T. P. Somerset, Lord G.
Miles, P. W. S. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Mitcalfe, H. Stanley, Lord
Morgan, O. Stewart, J.
Morris, D. Stuart, H.
Mundy, E. M. Sturt, H. O..
Murray, C. R. S. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Neville, R. Taylor, J. A.
Newry, Visct. Tennent, J. E.
Norreys, Lord Tollemache, J.
O'Brien, W. S. Towneley, J.
Owen, Sir J. Trench, Sir F. W.
Packe, C. W. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Paget, Lord W. Trotter, J.
Palmer, R. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Palmer, G. Vere, Sir C. B.
Patten, J. W. Verner, Col.
Peel, rt. hn. Sir R. Vernon, G. H.
Peel, J. Waddington, H. S.
Philips, G. R. Ward, H. G.
Philips, M. Wilbraham, hn. R. B.
Pigot, Sir R. Williams, T. P.
Plumptre, J. P. Wood, Col,
Pollock, Sir F. Wood, Col. T.
Ponsonby,hn. C. F. A. Wortley, hn. J. S.
Praed, W. T. Wyndham, Col. C.
Price, R. Wynn, rt. hn. C.W.W.
Pringle, A. Young, J.
Protheroe, E. Young, Sir W.
Rashleigh, W. TELLERS.
Reade, W. M. Fremantle, Sir T.
Reid, Sir J. R. Baring, H.

Question again put, that the bill be read a third time:

Dr. Bowring

stated that he should take the sense of the House on the motion.

The House divided—Ayes 229; Noes 90:—Majority 139.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Bailey, J.
A'Court, Capt. Bailey, J., jun.
Ackers, J. Baillie, Colonel
Acton, Colonel Balfour, J. M.
Adare, Visct. Baring, hon. W. B.
Adderley, C. B. Barrington, Visct.
Alford, Visct. Baskerville, T. B. M.
Allix, J. P. Beckett, W.
Antrobus, E. Bell, M.
Arkwright, G. Bentinck, Lord G.
Astell, W. Beresford, Major
Blackburne, J. I. Fuller, A. E.
Bodkin, W. H. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Boldero, H. G. Gladstone, rt.hn.W.E.
Borthwick, P. Godson, R.
Botfield, B. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Bradshaw, J. Gore, M.
Broadley, H. Gore, W. R. O.
Broadwood, H. Goring, C.
Brodie, W. B. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Brownrigg, J. S. Granby, Marquess of
Bruce, Lord E. Greenall, P.
Bruce, C. L. C. Greene, T.
Colonel Gregory, W. H.
Buck, L. W. Grimston, Visct.
Buckley, E. Grogan, E.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Hale, It. B.
Bunbury, T. Hamilton, W. J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Hamilton, Lord C.
Burroughes, H. N. Harcourt, G. G.
Campbell, Sir H. Hardinge, right hon.
Campbell A. Sir H.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Hardy, J.
Charteris, hon. F. Hawkes, T.
Chelsea, Visct. Heneage, G. H. W.
Chetwode, Sir J. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Christmas, W. Herbert, hon. S.
Christopher, R. A. Hillsborough, Earl of
Chute, W. L. W. Hodgson, F.
Clayton, R. R. Hodgson, R.
Clerk, Sir G. Hogg, J. W.
Clive, hon. R. H. Houldsworth, T.
Cochrane, A. Holmes, hn. W. A'Ct.
Cockburn, right hon. Hope, hon. C.
Sir G. Hope, A.
Colborne, hn.W.N.R. Hornby, J.
Cole, hon. A. H. Howard, hon. C.W.G.
Collett, W. R. Howard, hon. E.G.G.
Compton, H. C. Hughes, W. B.
Coote, Sir C. H. Ingestre, Visct.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Courtenay, Visct. James, W.
Cripps, W. Jermyn, Earl
Crosse, T. B. Jocelyn, Visct.
Damer, hon. Colonel Johnson, W. G.
Darby, G. Johnstone, H.
Dawnay, hon. W. H. Jones, Capt.
Fellowes, E. Mackenzie, W. F.
Ferrand, W. B. Mackinnon, W. A.
Filmer, Sir E. McGeachy, F. A.
Fitzroy, Capt. Mahon, Visct.
Fitzwilliam, hn. G.W. Mainwaring, T.
Fleming, J. W. Manners, Lord J.
Forbes, W. Manners, Lord C. S.
March, Earl of Russell, J. D. W.
Marsham, Visct. Ryder,'hon. G. D.
Martyn, C. C. Sandon, Visct.
Marton, G. Scarlett, hon. R. C.
Master, T. W. C. Sheppard, T.
Masterman, J. Smith, A.
Maunsell, T. P. Smollett, A.
Miles, P. W. S. Somerset, Lord G.
Morgan, O. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Mundy, E. M. Stanley, Lord
Murray, C. R. S. Stewart, J.
Neville, R. Stuart, H.
Newry, Visct. Sturt, H. C.
Norreys, Lord Sutton, hon. H. M.
O'Connell, M.J. Taylor, J. A.
Owen, Sir J. Tennent, J. E.
Packe, C. W. Tollemache, J.
Paget, Lord W. Trench, Sir F. W.
Palmer, R. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Palmer, G. Trotter, J.
Patten, J. W. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R, Vere, Sir C. B.
Peel, J. Verner, Colonel
Pigot, Sir R. Vernon, G. H.
Plumptre, J. P. Waddington, H. S.
Pollock, Sir F. Wilbraham, hn. R. B.
Praed, W. T. Williams, T. P.
Price, R. Wodehouse, E.
Pringle, A. Wood, Colonel
Rashleigh, W. Wood, Colonel T.
Reade, W. M. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Reid, Sir J. R. Wyndham, Col. C.
Repton, G. W. J. Wynn. rt. hn. C.W.W.
Richards, R. Young, J.
Rose, rt. hon. Sir G. Young, Sir W.
Round, C. G. TELLERS.
Round, J. Fremantle, Sir T.
Rous, hon. Capt. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Dalmeny, Lord
Aldam, W. Dashwood, G. H.
Anson, hon. Colonel Dennistoun, J.
Archdall, M. Duncan, G.
Bannerman, A. Duncombe, T.
Bell, J. Dundas, Admiral
Berkeley, hon. C. Easthope, Sir J.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Eaton, R. J,
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Ewart, W.
Bernal, Capt. Fielden, J.
Blackstone, W. S. Forster, M.
Bridgeman, H. Fox, C. R.
Brotherton, J. French, F.
Browne, R. D. Gibson, T. M.
Browne, hon. W. Gordon, Lord F.
Buller, C. Harris, J. Q.
Buller, E. Hatton, Capt. V.
Busfeild, W. Hawes, B.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Heneage, E.
Cave, hon. R. O. Henley, J. W.
Christie, W. D. Heron, Sir R.
Clements, Visct. Hill, Lord M.
Cobden, R. Johnston, A.
Colvile, C. R. Langston, J. H.
Craig, W. G. Marjoribanks, S.
Crawford, W. S. Mitcalfe,H.
Curteis, H. B. Morris, D.
Murray, A. Scott, R.
Napier, Sir C. Smith, B.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Somerville, Sir W. M.
O'Brien, A. S. Stuart, Lord J.
O'Brien, C. Strickland, Sir G.
O'Brien, W. S. Tancred, H. W.
O'Connell, D. Towneley, J.
O'Connell, J. Trollope, Sir J.
Ossulston, Lord Villiers, hon. C.
Paget, Lord A. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Pechell, Capt. Wakley, T.
Philips, G. R. Walker, R.
Philips, M. Wallace, R.
Pinney, W. Wawn, J. T.
Ponsonby, hon. J. G, Williams, W.
Powell, C. Wood, B.
Power, J. Worsley, Lord
Pulsford, R. TELLERS.
Ricardo, J. L. Bowring, Dr.
Scholefield, J, Blewitt, R. J.

Bill read a third time.

Mr. French

stated that the clause he proposed to bring up had been framed in accordance with the prayer of a petition presented by him last night, from the five individuals having, he believed, the largest capital invested in the milling trade in Ireland, Mr. Alexander, of Belfast; Mr. Malcolmson, of Clonmel; Mr. Roberts, of Cork; Mr. Knox, of Caledon; and Mr. Russell, of Limerick. He had hoped to have had that petition printed and in the hands of Members before the third reading of the bill; but as the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government had proceeded with the third reading to night instead of to-morrow night, as originally supposed, he was unable to place this document before them in a printed form. Until the year 1793 agriculture was greatly neglected in Ireland, and the importation of corn frequently necessary for the subsistence of its inhabitants. In that year an act was passed by the Irish Parliament, for the promotion of agriculture and encouragement of corn mills, which prohibited any foreign corn ground into flour from being at any time imported into Ireland; and this prohibition was confirmed and continued by the several acts for the regulation of the trade in corn, passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom in the years 1804, 1806, 1815, 1822, and 1828." When the first protective enactment was passed by the Irish Parliament, there were but few corn mills existing in Ireland. It appeared, by a return laid on the Table of the House, in 1835, that there were then upwards of 1,800 mills in that country, which number had been since considerably increased by the extension of steam power and other causes. In the several parts of Ireland, where corn mills had been erected large tracts of waste lands had been reclaimed —tillage had been extended—the farmer benefitted by being afforded a constant and ready place of sale for his produce, unburdened by the heavy expenses of carriage to a distant market—industry had been promoted, and new comforts introduced amongst the working population; while the country had been enabled to export large quantities of grain and flour to Great Britain, beyond the supply necessary for its own wants; and he trusted the House would join in opinion with him, that it would be the greatest hardship to the Irish millers if a protection—confirmed by every act of Parliament passed for the regulation of the corn trade from 1793 to the present day, and upon the faith of which large capitals had been invested in corn mills in Ireland—should be suddenly withdrawn without any notice whatever. In their petition the millers entreated the attention of the House to the fact, that as the necessities of the Irish farmers compelled them to sell their grain soon after harvest, the Irish millers were consequently obliged to purchase their stocks before the present period of the year, and that they were now holders of large quantities of wheat, bought at prices regulated by the act proposed to be altered, and which the new bill, if passed into a law, would greatly depreciate. They also stated, that they had purchased their supplies of wheat for the present year with the more confidence, inasmuch as this House refused, in the Session of 1840, to pass a bill brought in to repeal the protection hereinbefore mentioned and enjoyed by the Irish miller for a period of fifty years. And the petition concluded with a prayer that this House should afford the Irish millers a reasonable time for working off their present stocks of wheat before the proposed law came into operation in Ireland. He particularly directed the attention of the House to the fact, that the stocks of wheat now held by the Irish millers had been necessarily laid in by them at their own warehouses, at Christmas last, when the price of corn was high, in consequence of the limited means of the Irish farmers, which compelled them to sell at that period of the year, and the absence of stores or bonding warehouses in Ireland. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Robert Peel) would not object to this clause, as it only placed the millers in the same position he had already conceded to the provision merchants, who had been allowed time to work off their stocks. The same favour had been extended to the timber and to the seed merchants, and could not, he contended, in justice be denied to the milling interest. The cases of the millers and the provision merchants were quite analogous. The importation of foreign cattle into England had hitherto been prohibited. The importation of foreign flour into Ireland had hitherto been prohibited. The importation of foreign cattle into England was now to be allowed; but time has been granted to the provision merchants to get rid of their stocks. The importation into Ireland of foreign flour was now to be allowed; the object of this clause was to allow the millers time to get rid of their stocks. He trusted, therefore, the House would consider that the claim he made on behalf of the Irish millers— the sole manufacturers of any importance remaining in that country—was only that the same measure of justice should be extended to them that had already been extended to other interests. If the House adopted this clause, some portion at least of the calamity with which the Irish millers were threatened might be averted, and time afforded to enable them to make some preparation for so momentous a change as awaited them. He concluded by moving,— That so much of this act as allows the importation into Ireland of flour, the produce and manufacture of any foreign country, or of any British possession out of Europe, shall not commence and take effect until from and after the expiration of six calendar months from the passing hereof. Clause brought Up and read a first time. On the question that it be read a second time.

Sir R. Peel

said, I propose to submit all the agricultural interests in this country to immediate competition with foreign produce, and I see no reason why there should be an exception in the case of Ireland. I will take the case of oats. Complaints have been made that the duty I proposed is not sufficient to protect Irish oats from foreign competition, but still oats are to be open to foreign competition, and no lapse of time is to be given to the grower to secure his interests. Nay, more —I think he should not possess any such advantage; and because it is of great importance that this law should be brought into operation at once, and in all cases, unless where some special or peculiar reason for a different course may exist, I doubt whether the application of the hon. Gentleman, even if granted, would benefit Ireland, although he says that hitherto the Irish millers have enjoyed a monopoly in grinding flour for exportation. But it should be recollected that we are going to admit foreign flour at lower rates of duty, and consequently that the Irish millers can no longer expect to possess the advantage they have heretofore had of the English markets. The hon. Gentleman seems to be alarmed as to the import of flour from the United States, but those who sit near him can tell him that he has no ground for alarm, and that the increase of flour from the United States will not more than correspond with the remission of the duty. I should be subjecting myself to the imputation of partiality if I were to except one interest when, by my bill, I am subjecting every other agricultural interest to competition with the foreigner. I must oppose the proposition of the hon. Member; for, in a measure which concerns so many interests, I do not think I ought to make an exception in favour of one particular interest.

Sir William Somerville

stated, that the millers had much to complain of in the present case. The bill introduced into the House by the late President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Labouchere), in 1840, which involved no such amount of injury to that body as the present measure was calculated to produce, was successfully opposed by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, amongst whom there were many Members forming a part of the present Administration. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Kent (Sir E. Knatchbull) —the present Vice-President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Gladstone)—the Secretary of the Board of Control (Mr. Tennent)— the Solicitor-general for Ireland (Mr. Jackson)—the Solicitor-general for England (Sir W. Pollock)-the gallant Officers, the Members for the counties of Donegal and Armagh—the hon. Member for Shropshire—all voted on that occasion against the bill for allowing the importation of foreign flour into Ireland. The hon. Baronet read extracts from the speeches made by these Gentlemen on that occasion, and concluded by stating that they appeared to him to be in the dilemma of either having at that time, for party motives, opposed a measure on the unfounded pretext of its being destructive to the interests of Ireland, or of now sacrificing the interests of that country for political motives. He did not see how they could reconcile their conduct to their consciences or their constituents.

Mr. Gladstone

replied, that there was no foundation for the accusation that had been made by the hon. Baronet, seeing that it was one to oppose an isolated and exceptive measure, singling out an interest alone for operation; and another, to support a comprehensive measure like the present, dealing with all interests alike. The price of flour in Ireland was regulated by the price of that article in England; and if it fell in this country, no legislative provision could keep it up in Ireland. He found that, although during the early part of the corn year there was a large exportation of flour into this country, from Ireland, yet, at this period, the latter part of the corn year, the amount of the importation of flour into Ireland, from England, was greater than the quantity she exported here. It became, therefore, apparent, that no beneficial result could arise from the introduction into the bill of the proposed clause, and he would, consequently, oppose it.

Mr. O'Connell

observed, that the Vice-President of the Board of Trade's (Mr. Gladstone's) defence of his own consistency on this question was most unfortunate; but for reasons, differing altogether from those that had been expressed by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, he would himself oppose the introduction of the clause.

Mr. Christmas

contended, that the bonus offered by the bill for the importation of foreign flour into the United Kingdom, in preference to wheat, must prove most disastrous to the milling trade of this country.

Mr. M. J. O'Connell

pointed out several other Members on the opposite side of the House, who now supported the right hon. Baronet, in withdrawing from the Irish millers the legislative protection they had so long enjoyed, but who were, at so very-recent a period, strenuously opposed to any such measure. He trusted his hon. Friend (Mr. French) would not press his motion to a division, as it was evident no beneficial result could be expected in the present temper of the House.

Question negatived.

Mr. Johnston

then moved the following clause:— And be it enacted, that foreign or colonial flour in bond, of such a degree of acidity as to be generally unfit for human food, and which shall be so ascertained by a test to be furnished by the Board of Trade, shall be permitted to be taken out of bond for use in the manufacture and finishing of cotton and other goods, upon payment of a duty of 1d. per cwt. As a merchant and manufacturer, he thought that it was the duty of the Legislature to do all in their power to promote manufacturing interests. He, therefore, was inclined to support the new tariff, considering it, though faulty, in some respects well calculated to benefit the country. In support of his motion, the hon. Member read a letter he had received from a practical chymist, in which he stated, that he could not only apply a chymical test to prove whether flour was sour or not, but, in order to the protection of the revenue, he could find means of making it so disagreeable as to be wholly unfit for human food. All he wanted was, to pin the Government to the declaration of the right hon. Baronet, viz.,—that the raw material for the use of manufactures should be admitted at the lowest duty,—he named 5 per cent.,—the duty upon flour was upwards of 40 per cent.

Mr. M. Philips

seconded the motion. It was impossible to carry on the manufactures of this country without a very extensive use of flour, and, whatever might be said, by any hon. Gentleman, all the manufacturers with whose business he had become acquainted were in the constant habit of using the very best flour. He could assure the House and the Government, that the manufacturers intended no fraud upon the revenue, all they wanted was, that they should be relieved from a great difficulty under which they laboured and which prevented them from successfully competing with the foreigner.

Dr. Bowring

had no doubt but the flour sought to be used in manufactures might be so mixed in bond as to render any fraud upon the revenue impossible.

Mr. Cobden

supported the proposition, and hoped the hon. Member for Kilmarnock would press it to a division. He could assure the House that, by agreeing to the clause, they would not only confer a great obligation upon the large manufacturers, but also render a great boon to the handloom weaver, for whom they professed so deep a sympathy, and who could not carry on his work without a plentiful use of flour.

Mr. Gladstone

said, that the Government were anxious to meet the wishes of the manufacturers as far as they could safely do so. The question, however, it should be recollected, was one of practicability, and that question had been answered in the negative. He was aware, that there was a difference of opinion on the subject amongst professional men; but those on whom the Government were accustomed to rely, had stated, their inability to supply a test that would, with sufficient certainty, distinguish the states of unsound flour, so far as to meet the objects proposed by the hon. Member's clause.

Clause brought up, and read a first time. The question that it be read a second time, was negatived.

Mr. Wakley

proposed the following clause:— And whereas it would be unjust and injurious to the public to admit into the weekly returns aforesaid, accounts of the purchases and sales of any wheat which is unfit to be used for the purposes of human food; be it therefore enacted, that no account of any purchase and sale shall be included in such weekly return as aforesaid, of any wheat which shall have been purchased and sold at a less sum than one-third of the highest price at which any wheat is stated to have been purchased and sold in any such weekly returns. He had received, from a source on which he could place implicit reliance, the following statement relative to the introduction of unsound corn into Mark-lane since February last:—

Week ending February 12 262 quarters.
February 19 130
February 26 575
March 5 96
March 12 150
March 19 354
March 26 601

This account gave an average of 309 quarters weekly. His informant stated, that with little exception, the whole of this wheat had been sold for starch, and not for food; and as a proof of the effect which a quantity of this injured wheat had upon the market, his correspondent mentioned, as a fact notorious at Mark-lane, that 1,800 quarters of this descrip- tion of wheat, sold by one house in two weeks ending April 7th, 1840, had the effect of lowering the average for that week 7s. 4d. per quarter. He was informed that, owing to the state of the harvest in Scotland, a very small quantity of the best Scotch wheat was at present sent to our market. It had been discovered that unsound grain was a prolific source of disease. At one period rye was extensively used for human food, not only in this country, but on the Continent, and it was found that in places where it was used, an epidemic prevailed, one effect of which was to produce gangrene of the extremities. The subject was investigated by medical men, and it was ascertained that the epidemic was produced by a disease in the rye. A medicine had been formed from that grain which was one of the most potent and pungent medicines in the Materia Medica, and its effect on the nervous system, especially in the case of females, was most powerful. A medical man had traced the malignant cholera of India to diseased rice; and had found that whenever rice bore a purple colour, it was invariably dangerous to the human constitution. Experiments had since been made in this country, and many facts had occurred to confirm the statements of the gentleman to whom he alluded. He thought it was the duty of the House to endeavour to prevent noxious materials from being introduced into articles of human food. He did not mean to say, that his proposition would have the effect of preventing unsound grain from being used, but it would prevent the averages from being affected by the sale of such grain. Wheat was, in some states, subject to precisely the same disease as that to which he had referred as affecting rye. He hoped the Government would not resist the clause he had proposed.

Mr. Hawes

seconded the motion. If it were as was said, the object of the law to give a certain protection to the farmer while no injury was done to the consumer, it was of great importance that the price of that wheat only which was fit for human food, should determine the averages. He thought the right hon. Baronet could not consistently oppose the proposition.

The clause brought up, and read a first time.

On the motion that it be read a second time.

Sir R. Peel

said the proposition re- quired a great deal of consideration. The clause would have no effect in preventing the use of bad food. The other night, two specimens of corn had been produced which had been sold in the London market on the same day; one of a sample of very superior corn had been sold at 80s., the other, a very inferior sample, had been sold at 36s. The effect of the proposition of the hon. Gentleman would not be to exclude that inferior sample, and those two specimens had been each an extreme. The effect of the clause would be very considerable upon the averages. If he were to select the finest bushel of corn he could find, and sold it in the market, he would have the opportunity, under this clause, of excluding all the corn from the returns of sales which did not amount to a third of that price. He might not sell this bonâ fide; but, if it were stated to be sold, that was to govern the market. This was really opening a wide field for speculation. If they were to attempt to lay down such a rule as that, all corn sold below 30s. or below 40s., should not enter into the averages, the effect might be calculated; but to say that it should be in the power of an individual to sell a bushel of corn so selected and picked out, and that he should thereby exclude all the returns of corn sold that was not a third of that price, was opening a wide field for fraud. If the highest priced corn sold did not fetch more than 70s,, then a very low priced corn would be admitted; but if a fair specimen of corn were sold, which brought 90s. or 100s., such low priced corn could not be admitted. Such a clause would produce the greatest uncertainty, and with such a power as this given for influencing the averages, the most injurious effects might be produced.

Mr. Wakley

said, when he had brought forward the clause, he had fully intended taking the sense of the House upon it; but after the remarks of the right hon. Baronet he thought the clause required further consideration, and he thought the right hon. Baronet would render a great public service if he would take the subject into consideration, and prevent the market being inundated by such horrid stuff as the wheat which had been exhibited.

Mr. Hardy

said, the right hon. Baronet had before taken the subject into his consideration on his (Mr. Hardy's) suggestion

Motion to read the clause a second time, negatived.

On the question that "This bill do pass."—

Mr. Cobden

said, he should be sorry to be present when the bill was passing with. out entering his protest against it. He ventured to denounce it as a robbery of the poor, without any compensation being given to them for the robbery. He ventured to predict that the people would not waste their time in future by petitioning that House for the repeal of the bread-tax; but that they would present their petitions, signed by millions, at the foot of the Throne, praying her Majesty to dismiss that House of Commons, and praying her to give the people an opportunity of giving an opinion as to this bread-tax. A system of promises, of chicanery, of trickery, and delusions, such as were never practised before, had led the electors to return members who would never be returned again; and he ventured to say, that the premier dared not take the sense of the people on this tax.

Bill passed.

House adjourned.