§ Mr. W. Williams
said, he had had too many opportunities of remarking it not to be aware that there was in that House, at all times, a great disposition to vote the public money away, rather than to take the subject of the distress of the country under consideration. Yet, as the distress and suffering of the people of this country were admitted on all hands, he did not deem it necessary to offer an apology to the House for resuming the debate on the resolutions proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. Wallace). The overwhelming distress, privation, and difficulty in which the people of this country (more especially the industrious and productive classes) were now placed, was not confined to any particular district of the country, or to any particular branch of trade; but it was daily spreading and extending, until at last it had nearly embraced every condition of the people, except those who lived upon the public taxes, and those who derived great advantages from the monopolies which had been created to maintain their interests. He was sorry that it was his painful duty to bear his 1016 testimony in that House, in addition to that which had already been furnished from every part of the country, to the vast distress which prevailed in the city which he had the honour to represent (Coventry). Never was such a state of things known within the memory of any man—never had so many failures taken place—and never were the two important branches of trade carried on in the city of Coventry so overwhelmed, and the destitution of the working classes so great; and in proof of this he could cite many authorities in corroboration of this fact; but he would confine himself to an extract from a source which might be relied on. The writer declared that it was certain that a vast amount of untold distress prevailed amongst the working classes of Coventry, especially the watchmaking and the silk trades, whose appearance told with too much certainty their want of food. These persons were to be found whiling away their time in the streets by the hour, because they were unable to find employment. That the watch trade was as bad as it could be, and that it was expedient some means should be devised for collecting information, and embodying it in an authentic form, showing the necessity for relief, and thus leave the Legislature without a chance of pleading ignorance of the real state of the country. Now, on the night that this debate was introduced, he had heard the speeches of the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury (Sir R. Peel), and of the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell), they being the two leaders of the two great parties in that House. The noble Lord, while he admitted the existence of the distress, stated that at that period of the Session he was unprepared to enter into any consideration of the means of affording relief, save that of a reconsideration of the Corn-laws. The noble Lord on that occasion did not state to what extent, at the present time, he was prepared to carry the views which he entertained in regard to the Corn-laws; but if the noble Lord adhered to the proposition he had made last Session, which was, then, to reduce the duty on the importation of foreign corn to 8s., he would tell the noble Lord that if that proposition was carried into effect, it would afford little or no relief in the present state of the country. Had he indeed brought it forward four years ago, undoubtedly it might then 1017 have given some relief; but since that period the evil had so much increased, that they must have recourse to measures of a much stronger character before relief could be given. He had heard the speech of the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury with extreme sorrow, (for he certainly, for himself, was deeply anxious to give his support to the measures of the right hon. Baronet; that was to say, he was anxious the right hon. Baronet should introduce such measures as he thought he could conscientiously give his support to, because the right hon. Gentleman had the means to carry out his views —he had that power from the command which he had over a large majority, to carry out his views to the full extent of his wishes, and the right hon. Gentleman was the only head of a Government, of late years, who had been in that position,) he repeated he heard the right hon. Gentleman with sorrow, because he had admitted not only that deep distress did prevail over a great part of the country, but moreover the right hon. Baronet admitted the greatest part of the propositions embodied in the resolutions of the hon. Member for Greenock, namely—That the trades and manufactures of this country are labouring under great embarrassment and difficulties; that the industrious classes are also suffering many privations and severe distress; that this state of things has been gradually advancing for several years past, and is now extending in a most alarming degree.To all this the right hon. Baronet admitted his readiness to give his assent. Now he thought these were statements of such a character as to call upon any Government to take them into their immediate consideration, with a view of discovering, if not some immediate relief, at least some means of alleviating the present distress. The right hon. Baronet said, on the 1st of July, that it was too late, and that they were too advanced in the Session to take the great and overwhelming distress into consideration. He should have expected that no period could have been too late, when such evils existed, to take measures to devise means of relief. But what was the argument of the right hon. Baronet? Why, he said, "My measures are the means of relief." Now, what were those remedial measures? Why, the first of them was that of the new Corn-law, which would make the starving mil- 1018 lions of this country pay a sum of 50,000,000l. more for their bread than what the people on the continent and America paid for it, with whom they had to compete. The next measure which the right hon. Baronet had proposed to alleviate the distress of the people was the Income-tax? Yes, the Income-tax ! which took 4,000,000l. at least, from the oppressed and destitute people. The next measure for affording relief was the new tariff. He was quite willing to admit that if our trade were in an ordinary degree of pressure, the new tariff would have had the effect of giving great relief in some branches of trade; but in the present state of distress he did not think it would give any sensible relief to the suffering classes. Then what was the next proposition of the right hon. Baronet? Why, the measure for the amendment of the Poor-law, which was to continue in office the Poor-law commissioners, &c, at a cost of 20,000l. a year. When they saw at the head of affairs the right hon. Baronet —when they saw the leaders of the two great parties admitting this distress with so much indifference, no man could deny that it must be indifference to the prevailing distress when such inefficient means as those which had been proposed by the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet had been resorted to. All that the motion of his hon. Friend went to was inquiry. The right hon. Baronet, on a former evening, had complained of the hon. Member for Whitehaven that he had not suggested any means of relief. Now, he could tell the right hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Treasury, he had a plan for relieving the country from the present pressure and distress, though he knew the Government would not adopt it; and he was afraid that he should not have the support of the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary (Sir James Graham), though he travelled very little out of the doctrines which that right hon. Gentleman had himself broached. His suggestion was, first, that they should admit corn of every description and wheat into this country free of any duty—that they should take off the duty on the raw material on two most important branches of our trade, namely, cotton and silk. He was quite aware that there were many hon. Gentlemen who had given their consideration to the subject on that side of the House (the Opposition), who were of opinion that if 1019 they entirely repealed the Corn-laws, and removed all impediments to the admission of corn or meal into this country, they would remove all the evils which now overwhelmed the country; but he did not think they went far enough, for his opinion went much further. He should propose the actual repeal of the malt-tax (for he had heard the right hon. Baronet in that House admit that beer was a necessary of life; he should further propose to reduce the duty on sugar 3d. per lb. on colonial, leaving it to be determined by the House whether they would give some protection to sugar of colonial growth. For his own part, he should have no objection to grant a protection amounting to 15 per cent. He would further reduce the duty on coffee 3d. per lb. and on tea 30 per cent. By adopting this course, the cost of living would be so much reduced, that the same amount of income would go to a further extent than one-third more would. He would therefore propose, in accordance with the suggestion which had been thrown out by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, to take off one-third from all payments out of the Exchequer, and from imposts of every kind. He would take off nothing from the pay of the common sailor, because he was not overpaid, and because he was the bulwark of the strength of the country; he would not reduce the pay of the common soldier, because that would be an experiment which it would not be desirable to try. These were the only exceptions he would make. He would take from every body else one-third from all payments, and that would give the Government a larger amount than they would derive from any taxation which he proposed to take off. But if that were not sufficient, let it be recollected that the present salaries and payments, which were made out of taxes of the country, were contracted for and made at a period of the war, when the country paid the parlies in a depreciated currency, as the right hon. Baronet said, at one-third less, but he contended it was more than that. If her Majesty's Government would adopt his suggestions, he would venture to assert that not only would it give relief to the present pressure of distress, but it would infuse amongst the manufacturing and working classes an energy and action which would remove the present disastrous position in which they were placed, 1020 and would give them work and such remuneration for their labour as should enable them to procure, as they ought to do, not only the necessaries but the comforts of life. Perhaps many hon. Gentlemen would be astonished when he stated that 100,000,000l. sterling were taken out of the pockets of the people in every way. But looking at the amount of the present taxation, which was 55,000,000l. a year, the amount of Church-rates, tithes, fees for births, baptisms, marriages, and funerals,—looking also to the amount of poor-rates, borough-rates, county-rates, and above all, looking to the amount of taxation which was paid by the working millions of the people in this country to the landed aristocracy—looking to the taxes which were paid to another class of the aristocracy, he meant the West-India planters—when he looked at all these things he could not wonder at the present distress and the present state of things. He felt persuaded, that unless the Legislature set about relieving these burdens, they would produce a state of things which it would be frightful to contemplate. We actually paid considerably more taxation on coal, wood, and iron now, than we did during the war. Where one yard of cotton goods would have paid taxation then, we had now to pay four; and, as respected the wages of labour, we had now to pay two days' wages for taxation, when we formerly paid one. He believed this increase of taxation, which had not the less taken place because in figures it would appear to have diminished, was mainly to be attributed to the Currency Bill of 1819; and let him tell them that measure then introduced by the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had not yet done its work, for it was the foundation of the Corn-laws, and all the other evils with which the country was now afflicted. He believed they were all to be attributed to the increased value given to money by that bill. On referring to the speech of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on Friday night, he could not but lament the great change that had taken place in the right hon. Gentleman's opinions since the publication of his (Sir J. Graham's) celebrated pamphlet, entitled "Corn and Currency." The right hon. Gentleman was then of opinion thatThe wisest course to be adopted by the landowners was to consent to the revision of 1021 the Corn-laws, and to a free importation at a moderate protecting duty.
§ [Sir J. Graham:
Of 15s.] No, nothing was mentioned about 15s., for the right hon. Gentleman proceeded:—But at the same time to force also a revision of all other monopolies, and to carry a reduction of taxation to a large amount: and inasmuch as Sir. R. Peel's bill in full operation would be a bonus to annuitants of 30 per cent., he contended boldly both for the equity and necessity of imposing a direct tax to a considerable amount on all annuities charged on land and payable out of the Exchequer.He was sorry the right hon. Gentleman had abandoned those opinions, but whether or not he would introduce measures founded on those opinions, he felt assured the time would come when some one else would introduce them, and force them through the House. The right hon. Baronet himself had seen this with prophetic foresight, for the work he had alluded to contained this remarkable expression—an expression to which he entreated the serious attention of the House.Whenever this country presents the spectacle of millions supplicating for bread, then will the people sweep away titles, pensions, and honours.The right hon. Baronet was no ordinary authority, and, therefore, on this he felt entitled to advise him at once to take in hand the distress which already realised the picture he had drawn, and apply to it a remedy, rather than to repress any expression of discontent which, nevertheless, unless that remedy were found, might justly be apprehended as the prelude of the catastrophe he deprecated. On these grounds he should certainly support the motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Greenock, being convinced that unless the House should sanction such a proposition, the time was not far distant when measures still more obnoxious to their feelings would be forced upon them than those which were now absolutely necessary to relieve the distresses of the people.
§ Mr. Aldam
Although the object he had in view was to relate as briefly as he could to the House the distress of the large manufacturing constituency with which he was connected, yet there were one or two points which had been alluded to in the course of the debate on which he should wish briefly to comment. The hon. Member for Shrewsbury had attributed the distress of the woollen districts to the want 1022 of a commercial treaty with France. Now he could tell the hon. Member that the woollen manufacturers of England had nothing to hope from France, but everything to fear from her; that her exports to the principal nations were English and French woollens were in competition quadrupled in the last seven years, while our own retrograded, or remained stationary. He meant not to depreciate the value of commercial treaties. If by a commercial treaty you can get free intercourse on both sides, an important object was gained; but though reciprocal free intercourse was most to be desired, he firmly believed that a liberal policy on one side was preferable to mutual restrictions. He knew it was said, in the language of the old political economists, that this one-sided system turned the balance of trade against you. He thought experience showed that commerce was very capable of finding advantageous channels for itself. What was the state of your trade with Russia? She exported six or seven millions to England, and took in return one or two; but nobody will say that the commerce of Russia was disadvantageous to England. Were a more liberal Corn-law established, it was possible that the continent might export into England far more than she received. She might insist on protecting her native manufactures, but send us largely of her grain, the balance would soon be restored by an increase in our exports to Brazil and America—in other words, we should pay for the corn of Germany with cotton, sugar, and similar produce. It was his belief, that for every million's worth of foreign corn imported into this country, we should so far increase the manufactures of this country by an increase of exports, as would directly or indirectly tend to the consumption of so much corn in addition to what would otherwise have been consumed. But this question of increased exports under the pressure of distress, was used as an argument against its existence. Now, in truth, it was a clear evidence of it. From the distress of the people their means of purchasing manufactures had decreased, the home market was contracted, and goods were forced upon the foreign market, as the only outlet, at ruinously low prices. Hence the glut at every great emporium, which threw a stronger gloom upon our prospects—for it appeared that the badness of the Home market had so far caused the foreign market to be 1023 overdone, that almost our only hope of relief must be in the revival of demand at home. The hon. Member then read the following communications which he had received:—The first was a letter re-respecting the state of Wortley, near Leeds, dated June 29, 1842—The state of trade and of the working classes in this village is deplorable. It is manifest we are losing, or have almost lost, the fine cloth trade. The manufacturers of this village have made a finer cloth than in some of the neighbouring villages, and for the last four or five years their trade has been gradually declining — the masters failing in business, the men thrown out of work: while at intervals a considerable trade has been carried on in the neighbouring villages, here nothing has been done. At present we are as bad, or even worse, than at the corresponding period of last year—less hands employed. It may be safely asserted, that for the last twelve months, there has not been one in five of the working classes that had half-work; a great part have had no work at all, and the remainder working seven or ten days, idle three or four weeks. You may see them loitering in the lanes, looking on where any kind of labour is going on, anxious to earn a shilling. Many of industrious habits, of good morals, and of a manly independent spirit, are driven, as a last resource, to parish relief. As to wages, that is not the question; work is what is craved for. Wages rest in the conscience of the master; he can get his work done for anything he can find in his heart to offer. A few years ago, there were, in this town, a good number of small cloth-manufacturers; now they are nearly all gone down and many of them are wanting work and food.The second was a letter from a cloth-manufacturing firm, in Leeds, dated the 8th of June.17:We can state for ourselves that for some time past we have been getting from bad to worse, and it is now impossible for us to manufacture fine and middling qualities of woollen cloth to sell per first cost and charges. The continental manufacturers are beating us out of many foreign markets. Their manufactories are fully occupied, and extending themselves, we are informed. The manufacturers in this country have been carrying on their concerns generally at a loss for some time. They and the wool importers have suffered very severely for the last two years. For ourselves, we are curtailing weekly, having dismissed eight or ten hands some weeks past, and we see no alternative but continuing the same course for some time to come. Instead of working both our mills full time, as we have been accustomed to do for many years past, we shall now be working only half time, and consequently, paying only one-half the usual amount of wages. The hands dismissed have ! continue as at present, will have to dismissed have 1024 very little chance of finding other employment, and those only partially employed must suffer considerably. In cloth districts about 11,000 hands in manufacture of cloth for Portugal four years since, now 500. From 1838 to December, 1841, in worsted trade there be-came insolvent nine houses, 457,000l. liabilities; sixteen woolstaplers, 175,000l.; in woollen trade thirty-nine houses 553,000l.; total 1,185,000l. Average state 6s. 8d. real 5s. Whole liabilities of persons who have failed in Leeds and the adjoining villages about 2,000,000l. in four years.Letter on woollen trade of Leeds, dated June 27:—I come to the conclusion that the woollen trade has become worse since Christmas on these data. As to merchants, many supposed solvent at Christmas have since failed. As to really solvent parties, the returns for the last six months have been on so contracted a scale, the profits so small, and the amount of insolvency among the retail trade, especially in Ireland, so great, that I am convinced few, if any, are as rich now as at Christmas. Capital is diminishing daily by a slow but fatal process, that no prudence or forethought can prevent, while the present paralysis remains on our industry. As to manufacturers, they are daily losing; the smaller men are becoming workmen or paupers; the larger, such as mill-owners or shareholders in mills, cannot make the mills pay. The charges eat up all the profit on the present scale of working (say not more than three days per week), and they are daily becoming more embarrassed and impoverished. The dyers are ill employed; the finishers worse than ever. I do not think the finishing machinery of the town and neighbourhood is wrought two and a-half days per week.Letter on machine-making trade, dated June 17:—From the commencement of 1840 we consider the machine-making business has been gradually going down, and for the last twelve months with accelerated speed. At the former period we were paying about 1,000l. per month in wages, and we are now paying only 500l., with a prospect of its going still greater less. Never, during its history, has machine-making been at so low an ebb; many large works are going on at a ruinous rate of prices, in the hope that things may alter before they are entirely ruined. If summer pass without amendment, as we fear, the approach of winter will be awful.Letter of a machine-manufacturer dated June 29, 1842:—He employs 150 people less than in 1836. Employs at present 400 artisans in the manufacture of flax and other machinery, but beyond the latter end of next month should things continue as at present, will have to dismiss 1025 200 or 300. The machine makers in general are not doing more than one quarter what they were doing three years ago. Prices have declined from 20 to 25 per cent, in the last six months. There cannot be less than 2,000 workmen out of employment at this moment, that have hitherto been employed in machine-making, generally in the receipt of good wages. Our most talented artisans have many of them emigrated to the United States. I fear the coming winter, and am apprehensive, from a probable cessation of business, that we shall be obliged to discharge nearly the whole of our people; for never at any former period did the business of machine-making present so lowering an aspect as at present.Account of the state of the woollen districts, dated June 28—In the blanket trade the employment will be about two-thirds; in the shoddy trade the people are half employed. In Purdry, Idles, and other villages in the woollen trade, the employment does not exceed one-fourth, or a day and a half per week. In Leeds the woollen trade is as bad as it can be. The smaller manufacturers are sinking into workmen—discouragement and gloomy apprehension are nearly universal. In our mills the absence of profit, and the expense of our establishments, is fast eating up capital. The people live, some on parish relief, some on their friends, many by begging, the more respectable by credit of the shopkeepers. Taking into account the woollen, worsted, and flax trades, the amount of wages paid in Leeds was 200,000l. per annum in 1841 less than in 1835 and 1836. There had been an average fall of wages of 20 per cent, in the years 1839 to 1841, as compared with the years from 1833 to 1835. Taking into account the fall of wages and diminution of employment, the earnings of the operatives have diminished at least 50 per cent.He would now proceed to lay before the House some particulars respecting the shopkeepers in the town of Leeds. The hon. Member read the following statement:—State of shopkeepers in December, 1841: Of lea-dealers and grocers of the first class, having shops in the principal streets, fifty-six have failed and gone out of business, or died, leaving no property behind; fifteen have gone out of business, losing by it; and only twelve remain who have been in the trade eight years and have not failed. Purchases made by the second class of shopkeepers are greatly diminished. Where formerly they ordered stones, they now order pounds — where hundred weights, stones.A meeting of shopkeepers of Leeds was held on the 29th of last month. At this 1026 meeting, which partook in no respect of a party character, for it was convened upon a requisition signed half by Conservatives and half by Liberals, the most startling statements were made respecting the extent to which distress had proceeded in Leeds. Mr. Yewdale, one of the speakers at the meeting, said—The state of depression at present differed materially from any that had previously been experienced. It differed from all that had gone before it; and the retrospect and the prospect presented a gloomy appearance astounding to the most able. He could appeal to others who had been in the trade as long as himself, whether there had been anything like the depression of the last three years, and more especially of the last twelve months. Former depressions had lasted six, twelve, and eighteen months. What distinguished the present was its long continuance: it had lasted three years, and was at present worse than at any previous period. In former periods of distress, if the woollen trade were depressed, the flax would be prosperous; but the present depression extends to every branch of trade— machine makers, masons, joiners, and bricklayers—to whom former distress had not extended, even in circumstances of extreme suffering. The shambles, which used to be crowded with working-men purchasing meat, were now ill attended; and the stalls were scantily supplied. The last resort of a working-man, when he cannot obtain substantial food, was tea and coffee. The revenue arising from tea and coffee was not a criterion of the prosperity of the country; it proved the great number of tea and coffee dinners. The working classes were sinking in despondency, though the number applying for relief at the workhouse board was greater than at any former period, there was a quietness that was unprecedented, they seemed to be breaking in heart, thousands of them are seeking to emigrate. Mr. Child, a butcher, believed from calculations there was one-third or one-fourth the less meat killed, and there is this striking fact—at present the best pieces realise high prices, the inferior very low; a strong proof that the working classes were much less able to purchase meat than formerly. A boot and shoemaker had taken in 1839, 79l. a week; 1840,75l.; 1841. 47l. 18s.; at present 40l. Mr. Holmes, a linendraper, keeping articles used principally by the working classes, said, that, until four years ago, it was usual to sell pieces of linen, known as Knaresborough cloth, for family use. The piece would cost from 14s. to 18s., now they never sold a piece, a few yards only for the men, and cotton alone was used by women and children. Instead of rawlings from 8d. to 11d. a yard, they sell cottons for the same purpose at 2½d. to 4d. A flannel of from 12d. to 15d. of which they used to sell from 50 yards to 100 yards 1027 weekly, had been replaced by a low woolsey, of from 6d. to 10d. a yard. Several other instances similar. Instead of bed tick they sold barding wrappers, one-sixth the price. The demand for their goods had been decreasing. Goods had on the whole lowered 20 per cent, to them, and 25 to the public, but expenses had not diminished in the same proportion.He would now communicate to the House some details relative to the poor in Leeds. A gentleman named Hold forth had furnished him with the following account in January, 1842:—I took the first street near my works, intending to go through others in rotation, but I found the task too great, and confined myself to Thundall Row which consists of thirty-four houses. Of these nine are unoccupied, and the remaining twenty-five are inhabited by 115 miserable beings, in the most appalling state of destitution, without any covering but remnants of pack-sheets, and straw broken like chaff from long usage. Many of the families had nothing eatable in the house. One family only had a loaf of bread; one twenty potatoes; and another five. One family had existed for two or three days on frosted or rotten potatoes, found on the wharf where a vessel of potatoes had been unloaded. Eight families, consisting of sixty-five persons, had no work or income.The next passage he would read was an extract from a letter on the state of the poor at present:—The operative class is sinking in despair and wretchedness. With less than half the average earnings of from 1830 to 1836, all their little savings spent, their furniture and clothes pledged, with impaired physical strength and fainting hearts, they are looking forward to the winter with dismay. I speak from personal experience, when I say there is a manifest alteration in the physical appearance of this class in the last twelve months. There is deficient sustenation written in their haggard countenances. The next winter will sweep the famine-smitten labourer as by a pestilence, if no change take place in their condition, and I see no prospect of any but for the worse. One man who was clean and neat in his appearance, but bore the marks of privation palpably written on his countenance, asked me if I thought the times would improve? I said, 'Not this year, I fear.' 'Why, then,' he said, 'I shall be under the sod. I cannot stand my present privations. I am hoping for work, but I can assure you I have been two days together, within the last six months, without tasting food, and I find that within me that says I cannot bear up at my time of life against this state of things.'The hon. Member next read the following statement:— 1028Number of persons receiving parish relief in the township of Leeds (population about 85,000), in the quarters ending April 1,—
In addition to this, no less than 12,000 persons were relieved during the winter and spring, out of a charitable fund subscribed for that purpose Of those, only 2,000 had since obtained work, leaving 10,000 distressed. A letter which I have received from Mr. Baines, the late respected representative of the borough, says:—
1839 2,143 1840 2,212 1841 2,670 1842 4,025Since the relief society terminated its labours, there has been no improvement in the condition of the distressed poor but that to which I adverted; nor is there any present prospect of any amelioration of their condition. The winter is looked forward to with painful apprehension by all considerate persons. The employers are sinking rapidly into decay in large numbers, and the means of employment weekly reduced.These details illustrated extremely well the way in which the frightful commercial depression under which the country now laboured had been brought about. A bad harvest occurred, the Corn-law did not allow the deficiency to be supplied until the price of wheat rose far above an aver age, the working classes, who were the great consumers of manufactures as well as of food, found it necessary to economise by contracting their expenditure on manufactures, in order to purchase food. The manufacturers of every description, not merely of the great staples of the country, but of everything in which labour was employed, finding the demand for their goods to fall off, diminished production, less wages were paid, the poor must economise further, the demand for manufactures further fell off, until by this constant process of action and reaction, the country was brought into its present calamitous state. But a price of food which would have been moderate when this process commenced, became a famine price ere it had terminated; and a very great temporary cheapness of provisions alone could enable the country to recover itself. He believed that this country had not the means of recovering herself within herself. Were the coming harvest to be abundant, instead of merely moderate, which was all we had reason to expect, it would not suffice to revive the industry of this coun- 1029 try. A stimulus must be applied from without. Cheapness of food would be produced by unrestricted temporary importation from America, and more especially, employment would be provided by the goods which would be exported in return for the wheat introduced; and the poor, by being enabled again to purchase manufactures, would restore that great home market, the ruin of which was the cause of our present misfortunes. Gentlemen on that side of the House were taunted with dwelling on the distress of the country, without pointing to a remedy. Now, without advocating in the present debate the permanent repeal of the Corn-laws, it was possible to point out a temporary remedy for a temporary distress. Open the ports for six months. No difficulty arising out of the currency intervenes. The coffers of the Bank are well supplied with gold. Were three or four millions of quarters of wheat paid for in specie, no disaster would follow. But, in fact, a large proportion of the corn imported being paid for in goods, the manufacture of them would furnish employment. This employment, and a cheapening of food would extend the home market, and the downward motion of the last four years would be reversed. It would appear as if Providence had furnished us the means of applying this remedy under the most favourable circumstances. An abundant harvest had occurred in America. It was said that near 3,000,000 of quarters of grain could be spared for exportation—from the nature of our trade with that country, a great part of this must be paid for in British goods—employment would be afforded—the impulse wanted to set our commercial machinery again in motion, given—and a rapid recovery reasonably anticipated. It was not safe to leave the present distress unalleviated; the patience of the people might be exhausted. The right hon. Baronet must recollect the difficulty of governing the country in 1829, after several years of bad harvests and commercial difficulties, but our present circumstances were in every respect worse. He anticipated no violent subversion of the existing order of things; but common humanity required something to be done to relieve our suffering fellow-men, and to prevent the melancholy consequences which must ensue. He would conclude by reading a resolution which was agreed 1030 to at the meeting held at Leeds on the 29th of last month:—That this meeting, solemnly believing that the safety and well-being of the community will be seriously endangered by the much longer continuance of the existing state of things, turns with the utmost anxiety to the Legislature, beseeching it most earnestly to institute an immediate and searching inquiry as to the extent of the distress among the manufacturing population, in order to ascertain the causes thereof, and to the instant application of such remedies as its wisdom and experience may suggest.
§ Sir B. Hall
could bear testimony to the extreme distress which prevailed in the borough of Marylebone. This was a matter which could easily be tested by the number of applications for parochial relief. In a report published by one of the parochial committees of Marylebone, it was stated thatThe demand for parochial relief in any given year appears to Deregulated more by the prices of the preceding year than of the current year, and this appears accounted for by the fact that the quantity of employment and the state of trade is influenced more by the character of the preceding than of any current year. Thus in 1835 the contracts were made at the lowest price, but in 1836 we had the smallest number of applicants, and the smallest sum was paid in that year, establishing the above principle. Again, the price of wheat from year to year appears to regulate not only the amount paid for provisions, but also the number of paupers depending on the fund.This would be apparent from the following statement:—
Price of wheat s. d. 1834 46 2 1835 39 4 1836 48 6 1837 55 10 1838 64 7 1839 70 8 1840 66 4
At the present time the number of paupers was 7,091, being one in twenty of the population. This was an extraordinary state of things to be existing in the wealthiest parish of the metropolis, one in which the aristocracy took up their residence, and which exhibited every superficial indication of prosperity. It was now twelve months since the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth must have been certain, from the turn which the elections were taking, that he and his friends would be called to power, and what had 1031 the right hon. Baronet done to relieve the country from its present difficulties? As a striking proof of the extent to which distress now prevailed, he would state that in many instances the pawnbrokers in the metropolis had advanced the whole of their capital upon pledges, and were unable to receive any more. In other cases, pawnbrokers who used to advance 3d. per yard on cotton goods would now lend only ld., because the goods could be bought as. 2d. a yard. It was not the lower classes alone who were suffering; the shopkeepers were involved in almost equal distress. He was necessarily acquainted with many tradesmen of Marylebone; he had frequent conversations with them, and they all concurred in assuring him that they never knew a time when there was so little money, and when there was so little punctuality in payments. Persons who had been in very good business now felt the greatest distress, and looked forward with dismay to the coming winter. He understood that it was not likely the harvest would be a plentiful one. If, as he understood to be the case, the breadth of land sown with wheat this year was only two-thirds of the usual quantity, it was impossible to expect that anything could relieve the country short of the unrestricted importation of foreign corn. The only good resulting from the alteration in the Corn-laws made by the Government was this, it had effected a change. It was no longer urged, as it used to be, that the Corn-laws were to continue as unchangeable as those of the Medes and Persians. He hoped that now the laws had begun to be tampered with, the people would unite in demanding their total repeal, or a merely nominal duty. Government was blameable for not bringing forward some measure calculated to alleviate the distress which they acknowledged to exist. Did the right hon. Baronet expect that the new tariff would cause the slightest reduction in the prices of meat, cheese, butter, and other necessaries of life? His opinion was that it would not. The only other important measure introduced by the Government besides the new Corn-bill and the tariff, was the Income-tax. That tax would be severely felt in the metropolis. Persons inclined to act fraudulently would make false returns, whilst the honest trader would make true ones. The returns would become known, and the fraudulent parties would benefit at the ex- 1032 pense of those who were inclined to act honestly.
No. of Paupers 1835 3,537 1836 3,295 1837 3,353 1838 3,478 1839 3,836 1840 4,124 1841 5,679
§ Mr. Brotherton
said, it was his painful duty to support the statement which had been made by hon. Members who had preceded him in the debate, with regard to the depression of trade and the alarming increase of destitution and misery in the manufacturing districts. In the borough with which he was connected, the distress was greater than at any former period. Trade had fallen off, profits had been reduced, taxes had increased, and confidence was nearly destroyed. The manufacturers were daily sinking, goods were lower in price than was ever before known, tradesmen were nearly ruined, and shopkeepers of every description were suffering and being reduced almost to labourers. Their receipts were continually diminishing, some only taking half and others not one third of what they did two years ago. Fifty shopkeepers in Salford received in 1839, 197,700l., and in 1841 only 130,100l.; difference 67,600l. During the last six months they have been going worse and worse. They keep selling in smaller quantities, and taking less money, selling one pennyworth of bread, bacon, meal, potatoes, &c. It was lately stated, at a public meeting of shopkeepers at Manchester, that some of them did not receive more than a few shillings in the course of the week. The number of persons relieved in the Salford union for the half year ending the 25th of December, 1841, was 3,748. For the half year ending the '24th June, the number was 6,576, being an increase of 2,828. In 1836 the number of paupers was not one third of the present number. He said he had received a letter that morning, from one of the guardians, who said,—We are now increasing more than 180 paupers per week. I assure you it is most distressing to see those who would otherwise be able-bodied men so reduced for want of sufficient food being poor emaciated creatures, that if they could now get work it is doubtful if they would be able to do it. When they come before the board of guardians they say they have sold all their furniture, and pledged every article of clothing, before they came for relief. Friday was the first relief day in this quarter; it occupied two boards from half-past nine in the morning till four in the afternoon. The property in the town, particularly cottage property, is dreadfully depreciated. There were in November last 64 mills, dyehouses, and workshops, and 2,030 empty houses in Salford, the rental of which was 1033 27,852l. per annum—being one out of every six houses. There never was more general distress and want of employment among the working classes. One fourth of the dyers are out of employ. Of bricklayers, only one in six is employed. There never were more printers out of work. Large numbers of mechanics and millwrights are unemployed. Boot and shoemakers have scarcely anything to do. Many spinners out of work, and weavers, are absolutely starving—dying off. Several mills discharging hundreds of hands. The price of weaving a piece of second 74 calico, at Colne, in 1831, was 1s.10½d.—at the present time it is not more than 9d.The prices of spinning have been greatly reduced. The same quantity of work for which 1s. 3d. was given in 1831 is now only 9d.; that for which 2s. 2d. was paid is reduced to 1s.2d. The same quantity of coarse yarn for which 3s. 9d. was paid for spinning in 1831 is now spun for 1s. 9d. Spinners who formerly earned 30s. a week do not now earn more than 20s.There was another illustration of the present distress in the employment given by spinning establishments, and which showed the effect of improvements in machinery in throwing people out of employment. There were 75 spinning establishments in Manchester, which employed, in 1829, 2,650 men to work 1,495,358 spindles. In 1841, only 1,037 men were employed to work 1,431,619 spindles. Thus 1,613 men spinners were thrown out of employment. In one mill there were employed in 1829, 70 men spinners and 230 children, working 43,680 spindles. In 1841 there were only 26 spinners and 134 children, or young persons, to work 43,796 spindles, being a decrease of 44 men and 96 children. In another mill, one man now does what four were employed to do in 1829. Yet without these improvements in machinery trade could not continue to exist. Trade could not go on without reduced prices, and there could not be low prices without those inventions which displaced the labour of men. The cause of the present distress was said by some to be joint-stock banks, and by others machinery; but it was felt deeply where joint-stock banks were not known, and where machinery had not been introduced. The real cause was that which was stated by the hon. Member for Leeds, —dear food. The cost of bread alone, during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, and 1841, wa 80,000,000l. more than in the four years of 1833, 1834, 1835, and 1836. The withdrawal of 20,000,000l. a year from other sources, and spending it 1034 in food alone, must diminish the trade and the revenue of the country. When food was cheap, trade flourished, employment was plentiful, and the revenue in. creased. When the greatest part of the earnings of the working-man were laid out in food, they had nothing left to buy clothing, furniture, or other things, and the manufacture of those articles consequently declined. Hence there was a falling off in the home trade, which was considered the best, and this could only be cured by cheap food—with cheap food the revenue was prosperous. In 1833, 1834, 1835, and 1836, there was a surplus revenue of 6,871,000l. with cheap food. In 1838, 1839, 1840, and 1841, there was a deficiency of 5,551,000l.— years of dear food. The question was often asked if the Corn-law was to be immediately repealed, would it revive trade? In his opinion it would. It would instantly give hope and confidence. Stocks of goods would be sold in exchange for corn. The corn trade would be taken out of the hands of speculators and gamblers, and the foundation of regular trade would be laid. The right hon. Baronet opposite, on a late occasion, seemed to be surprised that new mills were opened in the midst of general distress. This would always happen. New mills with the last improvements in machinery could gain a profit when the old ones could not. Dear bread stimulated invention, and compelled manufacturers to adopt improvements in machinery which dispensed with manual labour. It might be asked if the repeal of the Corn-law was to extend our foreign trade how did it happen that, in 1833, 1834, 1835, and 1836, when little corn was imported, we had good trade? There was a distinction to be kept in mind with regard to foreign and home demand. Cheap food and good trade went together. When food was cheap, the people had money to purchase clothing and furniture. This made a good home trade, and the manufacturer was not obliged to sacrifice to the foreigner. When food was dear, the home trade was destroyed, all being required for food. When food was cheap, it approached nearer to continental prices, and helped us better to compete with foreigners. The class legislation which had gone on so long had favoured agriculture at the expense of manufactures. The comparative prosperity of the two interests at present might be seen from the deposits 1035 in the savings-banks. The population of Berkshire, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, Essex, and Gloucestershire was 1,645,002; and the amount of money deposited in savings-banks was 3,335,712: or more than 40s. per head. The population of Lancashire was 1,667,074, and the amount deposited was 1,665,174l. or less than 20s. per head. The five counties of Cornwall, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Kent and Shropshire, had a population of 1,633,822; the amount of deposits was 2,548,867l.; or 1l. l1s. per head. The distress of the manufacturing population could not be without remedy, for in other countries the same thing did not exist. He would read to the House an extract from a letter which he received a few days ago from an artisan, who resided seven years in Belgium. He said—It is in articles of hand-labour alone that the Belgians supersede us; and that is on account of the cheapness and abundance of provisions, and the low rate of rents, together with the cheapness of land. These things united, enable them to work for very low wages, and at the same time to procure more of the necessaries and comforts of life than a great majority of the working classes of England can possibly do.He further said—The working classes of the continent of Europe are infinitely more happy than those of England; their wants are much more attended to by their respective governments, and even their pleasures come in for a large share of the attention of the authorities. During a residence of seven years among the manufacturing classes of Belgium, I neither saw or heard tell of a Belgian in real distress. The beggars, even, will tell you they would not leave their native country for any other in the world. Here, in England, people are starving to death, and hundreds of thousands wishing for the means to emigrate.The hon. Member concluded with saying he would cordially support the motion.
had heard but three remedial measures proposed for the distresses of the country. The first was to return to the system of paper currency; the second was to abolish all Corn-laws; and the third—that proposed by the hon. Member for Coventry—to take away at once one-third of every man's property, including the West-India interest, which the hon. Member might have left alone, for that interest had no property left. As to the first, a return to a paper currency, that might very probably promote commercial 1036 and manufacturing prosperity for the moment, but that prosperity would be short lived and delusive, and in the end aggravate those evils which it was the object to remedy. Not agreeing with the hon. Member for Whitehaven that it would be desirable to depreciate the currency and to reduce the shilling—[Mr.Attwood: "No, no !"]—he yet thought that relaxation in our currency might be made with advantage. He saw no reason why the standard here should be higher than in any other country. A joint standard of gold and silver might be adopted with advantage. At present silver was not a legal tender for more than 40s. With regard to the abolition of all Corn-laws, he did not think that any such benefit would result as those Gentlemen who proposed that course imagined. He was, however, of opinion, that the 8s. fixed duty, as proposed by the late Government, would have been far preferable to the plan which had been adopted by the present Government. He could not vote for the motion of the hon. Member for Greenock, as he was persuaded that no good could result from the proposed inquiry, whether conducted by a select committee or by an examination at the Bar of the House. He felt convinced that the Government would, between this and the next Session, do their utmost to relieve the distresses of the country, and, therefore, in their hands he was content to leave the subject.
§ Mr. M. Attwood
rose to explain. Some reference having been made in the course of the present debate to a speech of his made on a former evening, he begged to say that he had never recommended either the re-issue of one-pound notes, or a reduction of the silver shilling.
§ Viscount Howick
was not prepared to support the present motion, but all must feel indebted to the hon. Member for Greenock for bringing the subject distinctly under the notice of the House. He thought it of great importance that the House should not separate for the recess without having had brought under its consideration the appalling state of things which had been described that evening by the hon. Members for Leeds, Marylebone, and Salford. He thought the statements of those hon. Members were calculated to make a deep impression on the House and on the country. He was not prepared to vote in favour of these resolutions, because it did not appear to him that any practi- 1037 cal advantage could result from inquiry of the kind proposed. He did not believe that an inquiry, either before the select committee, or at the Bar of the House, conducted by Gentlemen of conflicting opinions, listening to witnesses equally differing among themselves, could enable them to arrive at a just decision as to the cause of the distress and the remedy to be applied. Nor could he approve of the other objects of the hon. Member, as they appeared from his notice. He did not think that there would be any advantage from preventing the prorogation of Parliament, even supposing it was in the power of the House to do so. He entertained this opinion, not because he doubted that Parliament had the power of adopting measures which would materially tend to relieve the existing distress, but that after the measures to which he would look for relief had been so lately discussed—and after the House had voted by such large majorities against those measures—he could see no advantage whatever in keeping Parliament together. On the contrary, he thought that a prorogation would be more likely to lead to the adoption of those measures, and he could not help expressing his earnest hope, that her Majesty's Government, if they should be disappointed unfortunately in those hopes which they had expressed of gradual improvement in the state of the country— and if they did find the gloomy anticipations of them (the Opposition) realised—-that they would call Parliament together before the close of the year, and try, as a last resource, those measures which had been so earnestly pressed on their consideration. He confidently believed that it was in the power of Parliament to adopt measures, not such as could at once put a stop to distress and restore prosperity, but measures which would have a tendency to mitigate the pressure of that distress, and accelerate the arrival of better times, to which he hoped they might still look forward. Parliament might do this by adopting the measures which were adverted to on the first night of the debate by various Members, and especially by his noble Friend, the Member for London. He believed, that by relaxation of the restrictions which still confined our foreign trade, by a larger and wiser alteration of the Corn-laws, than any that had yet been proposed, Parliament might do much to mitigate the existing distress. If this 1038 motion were attended with no other advantage, it was attended with this very considerable one, as he thought it, that it enabled those on his side of the House once more to point out those sources of relief to which they looked, and to throw distinctly on her Majesty's Government the entire and undivided responsibility in the present most awful state of the country, of rejecting those measures, while they had themselves no substitute to propose. He thought those who had heard the accounts given of the state of the country would agree with him, that that was a very serious responsibility. It was a responsibility the more serious, because, in the various debates and discussions which had taken place, the Members of the Government, while they guarded themselves against a uniform and general application of the principles which they laid down—while they maintained that there were exceptions to be made, and that general principles, however sound, could only be practically applied with extreme caution; yet expressed, if he rightly understood the right hon. Baronet and the other Members of the Government, their full and entire concurrence in those general principles of the importance of commercial freedom, on which they (the Opposition) rested their arguments, and the measure of relief for which they contended. Let him remind the House, that in the course of this debate the following most important admission had been made by her Majesty's Government. They had told them in the first place, that the distress which now afflicted the people of this country, especially in the manufacturing districts, could not be adequately met by the mere hand of charity. They had told them that the contributions, however liberal, must be inadequate to the greatness of the evil—that the only real relief was to be looked for in an increase of employment for the people of the country. They had admitted that improvement in the demand for labour was the only true and effectual relief. They had further admitted, with regard to the article of meat—and he thought the same argument was as applicable to the case of corn-that the population of the country had gradually outgrown the means of the supply Of food. They had also admitted distinctly upon general principles, that the interest of the country was to buy in the cheapest markets. They had admitted 1039 further, that whatever increase took place in the importation of the produce of foreign industry for consumption at home, such increase must necessarily lead to a corresponding increase of exports from this country. The House would remember that the right hon. Gentleman, the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, in defending that part of the tariff which related to cattle, had stated as a strong argument in favour of the measure proposed by her Majesty's Government, that, if 50,000 head of cattle should be imported under that alteration in the customs law, such importation would be attended with this great benefit, that it would create a corresponding demand from abroad, for the export of the produce of British industry. If that argument held good with respect to cattle, it must also be applicable to other descriptions of produce. He was persuaded that that principle so laid down by the right hon. Gentleman was sound, and that his position was no less true than important. It did not necessarily follow that the exchange of commodities between countries must be direct. Corn that we exported from Poland might not be paid for by manufactures sent direct from here to that country, but by the export of manufactures to Mexico, from whence silver would be exported into Poland. The course of commerce might be thus circuitous. In one way or another, direct or indirect, legitimate or clandestine, he believed it to be as certain a proposition as any in the whole circle of political philosophy, that whatever increase took place in the importations from foreign countries must be met in some shape by a corresponding increase in the exports from those countries. Her Majesty's Ministers had admitted that increased employment was a remedy for the distress; they had admitted that' an increase in the exportation of the produce of British industry must be followed by an increased importation of foreign commodities, and if those propositions were true, how inconsistent was it with common justice and humanity, in such a state of things as they saw then around them, to retain a law, of which not only the effect was, but the very aim and object were to restrict and diminish an importation from abroad. How, under such circumstances, could they refuse to admit foreign coffee, foreign sugar, foreign spirits, and above all, how could they 1040 maintain a law which rendered it impossible that in corn, that great staple commodity of human subsistence, anything like a steady trade could be carried on between this and other countries? The right hon. Baronet, in the course of his speech the other night, had taken credit to her Majesty's Government for having made great improvements in the Corn-law, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department used the same argument, and added that it was much too soon to assume the failure of the Corn-law so lately passed, and that it ought to be more fully and more fairly tried. He had on former occasions expressed, and was prepared at the present time to repeat, his thanks to the Government for even so much improvement in the Corn-law as they had made. He thought the change they had made was for the better, and that it was one which, under other circumstances of the country, might be attended with great advantage. But, at the same time, he was prepared to maintain that the new Corn-law had already been long enough in operation to show that he, and those who thought with him, had been correct in the anticipation they had expressed — namely, that the retaining the vicious principle of the old law would be attended in many respects with the same unfortunate results. They had then endeavoured to show that the variation of duty according to prices would have the effect of preventing a supply of foreign corn coming in with a rising market, and when it was most wanted. They saw that that was the case already. They saw that with a large stock of corn in bond, although the temptation to hold back was not so great, the supply was not much increased. The main bulk of the stock in bond used to be withheld in the hope of the duty falling, and the same practice was going on now. A small quantity, it was true, had come forth; but the main stock was kept back. They had also at that time contended that the effect of the varying duty would be to prevent trade being carried on with the more distant markets on the most advantageous terms. He believed, in consequence of the uncertain state of the law, that the corn dealers were still afraid to order corn from any but the nearest markets. He believed that the supply from America which might be obtained under a different system, could not be brought in under the 1041 law as it now existed. This was a consideration of the greatest importance, because America was a country our trade with which had chiefly suffered, and our loss of trade with which had chiefly caused the existing distress. He thought no Gentleman acquainted with the actual condition of the two countries would differ from him on that point. It was the falling off of the American trade which, more than any other failure in any one market, had contributed to the existing distress. That he assumed to be admitted on both sides of the House. The point that he and those who thought with him, had formerly contended for, was this—that the falling off of the trade with America was mainly owing to the circumstance of that country not having the means of making a return to us for those manufactures of ours which they would gladly receive; that by the export of their corn they could not make such a return. That had been their argument. But how had it been met? He knew what was the answer of her Majesty's Government. They told them that the falling off of our trade with America was owing, not to the Corn-law, but to circumstances in the internal condition of America herself—the state of her finance, her currency, and her trade. The Government said that was a conclusive proof that the Corn-law had nothing to do with it, and triumphantly appealed to the flourishing trade we had carried on with that country in 1836, when the Corn-law equally existed, to show that, from whatever cause it had arisen, the crippling of our trade with America was not to be attributed to the Corn-laws. Now, in all arguments like the present, it was his wish and care to avoid exaggeration, and he should, therefore, admit at once to her Majesty's advisers that the circumstances to which they had alluded in the internal condition of America had contributed to produce the falling off in their demand for our commodities. He would also admit that in 1836 we carried on a flourishing trade with America in spite of the existence of a Corn-law. But, having made those admissions he was prepared to maintain two things; first, that those circumstances in the internal condition of America were not totally and entirely connected with our own commercial regulations; and secondly, that the flourishing trade of 1836 was to be accounted for by circumstances 1042 quite of another character, and which gave no pretence for maintaining that the allowing corn to be imported from America would not materially contribute to the revival of trade. In 1836, the country had been blessed with an unusual succession of productive harvests. The people had enjoyed a cheap and plentiful supply, and therefore the want in America of the means of making returns for manufactures sent from this country, or of making remittances, which now so sorely pressed upon our trade was not then experienced. At that time British capital was in course of investment to an enormous extent in the stocks, the shares, and the various enterprising companies of America. Those investments went on for some time, but he conceived it was quite clear that that was a kind of process which could not permanently continue. The mercantile return, however, was then so made, and we received in return for valuable commodities only paper obligations. That system went on only too long for the real interest and advantage of both countries. This great investment of British capital in America was, in a considerable degree, owing to our Corn-laws, which tended to encourage the system in two ways: first, by producing a difficulty on the part of the Americans in the way of making returns for the manufactures she required, and therefore they were tempted to begin the process by sending over these securities; and, secondly, the Corn-laws tended to encourage the system, by refusing to receive the agricultural produce of the Americans, and so inducing them to divert their industry and enterprise from the pursuit of husbandry in which she might be best employed, and to turn them to those enter-prizes of railways and canals, and various other undertakings, in the carrying out of which the demand for British capital arose. But it was of little importance, however, whether the Corn-law had, or had not encouraged that great investment of British capital in American securities. All that was necessary for the purpose of his argument was to show that it could not be contended from what took place in 1836, that the Corn-laws were no obstacle to sound good trade, because what took place in 1836 was not good sound legitimate trade. It was a trade on the one side, as he had before observed, of valuable commodities, the return for which on the other, was formed of paper obligations. 1043 The flourishing trade of that period, therefore, was no proof that the Corn-laws were not attended with great commercial mischief. It was obvious, if they wished to increase their trade with America, they must afford the Americans the means of making remittances to this country. How was that to be accomplished? He contended that the natural means plainly pointed out, was that we should receive the agricultural produce of that country. Instead, however, of doing that, we had a law which gave an exorbitant protection—it was so called, but he never used the word without protesting against such an abuse of language—an exorbitant protection to corn in a manner and upon a principle adopted in no other instance of an imported commodity—a principle that had been rejected with respect to sugar, with respect to cattle, with respect to every other article, whether raw or manufactured—namely, a varying sliding-scale of duties ingeniously contrived to render it impossible to have any steady trade with America, who, if things were left to themselves, would be our best customer. He so strongly felt the evils of a sliding-scale that he thought advantages would accrue to the merchant and the manufacturer if a fixed duty were to be imposed to a greater amount than had yet been contemplated, because he agreed with the hon. Member for Sheffield, who had told the House the other night, and truly, that the day they passed a law enabling this country to carry on a certain steady trade with America, that day trade would revive, that orders from that country for the hardware of England, for all those commodities manufactured in the seals of her industry would flow in, and produce their natural result. For these reasons he contended that the admission of foreign corn would tend to alleviate the distress that prevailed. It would create an additional demand for labour in the manufacturing districts. But what was the answer to this? The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department had told them that another alteration in the Corn-laws would have no other effect than to add the distress of the agricultural population to that which already prevailed in the manufacturing districts. He would like to answer that argument in the precise language—if he could recollect it, for it would be more forcible than any thing he could utter—of the right hon. 1044 Baronet opposite, and of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, when they were answering an equally futile alarm with regard to the importation of cattle. Every word used by those right hon. Gentlemen on that occasion, every argument they then addressed to the House in answer to the unreasonable fears that had then been expressed, would apply with equal force on the present occasion to the unreasonable fears expressed by their right hon. Colleagues. The demand for food in this country was enormous, and looking at its amount, looking also to the means of supply abroad, the proportion to the whole consumption which we could receive from abroad was so extremely small, that it could make but little impression upon the state of our own agriculture. He was further persuaded that for some time it would produce no fall whatever in the price of corn—that the relief which, in the first instance, we should derive from a change in the Corn-laws, would not be in the form so much of a reduced price, as of an increased consumption. He was persuaded, also, that the operation of the Corn-law was far less to enhance the price of the supply consumed by the population, than to compel them to diminish their consumption. Did any man suppose it possible that with such frightful and aggravated distress as had been described by hon. Members who had addressed the House, in such a state of things as permitted 1,200,000 persons in this country to be thrown upon the poor-rates, as had been slated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir J. Graham) a few days ago— at a time when distress was not confined to this or that trade, this or that manufacture, but when it was universal; when the cry of it echoed from Leeds to Dundee, from Paisley to Manchester—did any man, he asked, imagine that such a state of things could exist, and not only exist but continue for months and months, and no diminution in the consumption of food take place? Hon. Members knew the distress of their own constituents. With regard to Sunderland, he could say that there were now 1,000 persons out of employment, and supported by contributions raised with great difficulty among the superior classes, who were themselves affected by the general distress. Those who imagined that under these circumstances no diminution in consumption of food took 1045 place, would find the best answer to their hypothesis in a visit to the wretched abode of some unemployed spinner or weaver, and in the cries of his famishing children. Suppose they admitted the corn of America, whatever was imported from that country would have to be paid for in British manufactures. At once, therefore, employment would be given to the persons who produced those manufacturers. But the advantage did not stop there. Those persons, being now out of work, are in a state of the utmost misery; they were striving to get through the difficulties of the period by the closest and narrowest economy in every possible branch of their expenditure. Their clothes became rags, and were not renewed—their furniture was sold, and they had no means of replacing it—their consumption of tea and coffee became less, of beer less, of bread less — in every possible shape and direction their consumption was reduced. But the moment these men got employment in the mills, which produced the goods to be sent to America, that moment they began to revert to their former course of expenditure, to resume their old habits, and enjoy some decent share of the comforts and luxuries of life. As they thus returned to their former way of life, they created a new demand for the labours of other persons. More spinners and weavers were set to work to produce the clothes they now required. Then the wages of all these re-employed persons being spent in shops, the small tradesmen found their situation also beginning to improve. Then the poor-rates—and let it be remembered that a new poor-rate was a serious matter to the manufacturer, and had been the cause of some mills being closed—the poor-rates would be diminished, and at the same time the petty grocers and other tradesmen in manufacturing towns immediately began to find their receipts increase. This class, too, had been compelled to practise economy; but, upon the revival of their trade, they would again increase their expenditure. This system of action and re-action created a new demand or new life throughout society, and, in the due course of the general improvements, the master manufacturer and the wholesale dealer speedily participated, and were relieved from the necessity of practising the same rigid economy that, in proportion, had been observed by all classes. Thus, by a comparatively small demand for the 1046 importation of food from America, would begin a course of improvement which would be felt throughout the whole frame-work of society, from one end of the land to the other. The right hon. Baronet opposite knew too much of the real posture of affairs—whatever might be the case with some of his supporters—and the right hon. Baronet was too intimately acquainted with the true state of the people, to say that he was using mere clap-trap arguments, or putting forward plausible sophistry in the observations he had addressed to the House. He had spoken nothing but simple truth, and he repeated that a comparatively small demand would commence a process of improvement, of which the effects would be felt throughout the country. Such were the grounds upon which, he, for one was prepared to maintain that the relaxation of the restrictions upon our commerce, and, above all, of the Corn-laws, was the only practicable method in the power of the House to adopt for the purpose of alleviating the distress that prevailed; and he did hope that Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and more especially her Majesty's Ministers, would seriously reflect upon the awful state in which they were placed. He trusted that before it was too late they would either adopt those views which had been commended to their notice, and which were completely consistent with those they had adopted in regard to some other matters, or that they would propose something which should be adapted to the same end. He, for one, confessed that he could not look forward to the approaching winter without some forebodings, not only on account of the distress, the frightful harrowing distress, that must be endured before the usual time for Parliament to re-assemble, but he could not disguise from himself that with reference to the political state of the country, things wore a most serious aspect. He could not disguise from himself that under such a pressure of distress as that which now existed, the maintenance of these Corn-laws, and other similar laws in spite of arguments, which the right hon. Baronet must allow were not altogether irrational, but at least plausible and requiring a sufficient answer, was calculated to produce a feeling and spirit in the great mass of the population which might hereafter produce the most disastrous results. Demonstrations of such a feeling had 1047 hitherto been confined to particular classes, but he could not disguise from himself that a very different temper or spirit was now springing up, and that that temper was no longer limited to those who had heretofore been set down as the mob of the Chartists, but that it was rapidly gaining ground. He had received a letter some time ago from a person belonging to a very respectable class of society, stating his conviction that such a feeling was fast gaining ground among his equals, and that the time was come when it was necessary for the middle classes to make common cause with those who had been known by a different name for the attainment of some large change in the Constitution. He for one at this juncture was not anxious, by the pressure of distress, to increase such a tendency. He thought it was dangerous so to do. He was unwilling to mention these things. He knew it was sometimes productive of inconvenience, but in the present awful condition of the country, there was less inconvenience, less apprehension of danger in speaking out and considering a measure by which the ground for alarm might be removed, than from dictates of policy to disguise a danger which would not be the less frightful, because they feared to look it in the face. He could not of course expect that her Majesty's Ministers would now retrace their steps. He was not sanguine enough to expect that even peril would induce them to take that course which he thought a sound and prudential policy dictated, and even before Parliament separated, to apply themselves to remedy the evils and distresses of the country. But he did think they had a right to expect this much if the distress continued—and the Government were not able to discover other means of affording relief to the people, at all events they would not suffer the present year to close without summoning Parliament again, and then if they had no measure of their own to suggest, to try what would be the effect of that course of policy which had been recommended to them by their opponents.
§ Mr. Morrison
said, that the distress was not confined to the manufacturing interests, but extended to the shipping, to fixed capital, and to every species of employment connected with the home and foreign trade. There was hardly a market to which we could export any thing with a hope of profit. He did not remember 1048 any period of distress so intense and widely spread as the present. He believed that when the tariff question was settled some good would be effected, but that would be the work of months. Gloomy as the present picture was, he did not see any ground for supposing that the existing state of things would continue long. If the sources of our prosperity exhibited an appearance of decay—if our beds of coals had been exhausted—our capital been wasted—the skill of our artisans and the industry of our people been surpassed by that of other nations—-he might suppose that such a state of things indicated a great national decay; but he saw no reason for entertaining such an apprehension. At the present moment he believed that the superiority of our manufactures over those of other countries was as marked and decided as it had ever been. He believed that there was not a nation nor a people in the world that would not be glad to take from us more of our manufactures than at present. The great difficulty under which they laboured was in finding equivalents to exchange for the produce of our manufacturing skill. This, he believed, was at the bottom of much of the distress of which this country now complained. He had stated that the superiority of our manufactures over the manufactures of other countries was as great at the present moment as it had ever been at any former time. In proof of this, he might refer to a document he held in his hand, which showed the amount of manufactured goods imported into the United States from England and other countries of Europe, in 1840. He had not been able to obtain the official return of the imports into America in 1841. He believed it had not yet been made out; at all events, it had not been sent to this country. He selected the United States, because he considered them as affording, above all the neutral markets of the world, the best test of the desire of other nations to become the consumers of our manufactured goods—that desire, of course, originating in the superiority of our manufactures. In the United States we met the manufactures of Belgium, of France, and of Germany, upon equal terms, while the manufacturers of America herself had an advantage of 30 or 40 per cent, in their favour; yet, with very few exceptions, it would seem that the manufactures of England were infinitely preferred. The document which 1049 he held in his hand showed the total value of the principal articles of manufactured goods imported into the United States in the year ending the 30th of September, 1840. First of all, he took the great article of cotton. The total value of printed and coloured cottons imported into the United States in 1840, amounted to $"3,893,000. of which the proportion imported from England amounted to $ 3,114,000. Of white calicoes the proportion was about the same. Of hosiery the proportion imported from England was comparatively small. The manufacturers of this article in Saxony had been underselling us in the American market, although the yarn from which their manufacture was produced was purchased at Manchester. This advantage they gained over us, not from their superior skill, but from the, greater cheapness of labour. Of cotton- twist imported into the United States, the greater proportion, as might be expected, was derived from England. The total value of the whole of this article imported in 1840 amounted to about $387,000, of which the proportion imported from England amounted to $375,000. Such was the preference given to English manufactures in America as far as cotton was concerned. The next article was linen. The total quantity of linen, bleached and unbleached, imported into the United States in 1840 amounted in value to $4,170,000; of this the proportion imported from England amounted to $3,490,000. From this statement it would appear that it was not at all necessary (as was done the other day) to impose a duty of 10d. the square yard, as a protection upon our manufactures, seeing the great superiority which we possessed in the fabrication of this article over all other countries. There were some other kinds of linen imported into the United States, in respect to all of which the same proportion was exhibited in favour of the manufacture of this country. Of woollen goods the total value imported amounted to $2,242,000, of which the proportion derived from England amounted only to $1,300,000. This was explained by the fact that the United States imported a large quantity of a species of fancy worsted goods, manufactured upon the continent, in which the French surpassed us in taste and design. In the more substantial articles of cloths and kerseymeres, the 1050 superiority was all on the side of England. Of these articles the total value imported in 1840 amounted to $4,600,000, of which the proportion imported from England amounted to $4,400,000. Of worsted hosiery the total value imported in 1840 amounted to $500,000, of which four-fifths were derived from England. In the article of silk the French, as might be expected, had a great advantage. The total value of the whole quantity of silk imported into the United States in 1840 amounted to $7,000,000, of which the proportion obtained from England amounted only to $1,100,000. But it must be borne in mind, that only a few years ago—prior to the changes which Mr. Huskisson introduced into our commercial policy—this country exported no silk goods at all to America. Since that time we had been gradually gaining upon the French in the American markets, although, as would seem from the statement he had just made, the French had still a great advantage over us. In the more common manufactures of earthenware England had all the advantage; and in all articles of hardware her superiority was not less marked. He thought he had shown by these examples that the present distress in this country was not caused by the successful competition of other nations. This was an important point to establish. We were distressed, not because our prices were too high, but because other nations could not purchase more of our goods in consequence of our laws excluding the importation of the produce which they could give us in return. In looking to the causes of the present distress, it must not be forgotten that the years 1838 and 1839 (for the distress under which we were now labouring must be dated from that time) were years in which grain was imported largely into this country— payment for the grain so imported was made in specie—7,000,000l. sterling were exported—the Bank of England was drained. This was one of the causes of our distress. It embarrassed our commerce, interrupted our foreign trade, and at once told upon our manufacturing interests. This would account for the four years of distress under which we had been labouring. The period to which he had adverted, namely 1838–39, was preceded by several years of prosperity, of abundant harvests, and of low-priced food. This must not be forgotten; because the distress which still 1051 continued afforded, during; that time, a striking contrast to the condition of the country in preceding years of prosperity. When speaking of the state of the manufacturing population, it must be borne in mind that the manufacturers were the best customers of the manufacturers — that they consumed individually more of manufactured goods than the people employed in agriculture consumed. Thence it followed, that when the manufacturers were distressed, the diminution in the consumption of manufactures was greater than it would be if the same number of agriculturists were distressed. Looking to the external causes of distress, he must look again to the United States. The hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Attwood) in the debate of the other evening, had slated that the distress and misery that had prevailed in the United States had been occasioned by the Americans having adopted our theory of free-trade. The hon. Member stated, that the Americans had been misled by our free-trade philosophers. Now, he must observe, that if the Americans were misled by anybody on this side of the Atlantic, it was not by the free-trade philosophers, but by another set of philosophers who taught us that distress meant dear money and cheap commodities, and that prosperity meant dear commodities and cheap money; that the only course we had to adopt in times of distress was, to issue an abundance of paper-money, and that then all would be right again. The Americans had acted upon this plan. When the charter of the United States' Bank expired in 1836, the government of that country chartered banks by hundreds, and poured into circulation a paper currency amounting almost to countless millions of dollars. The effect upon prices was just what the class of philosophers to whom he had adverted predicted. Prices rose very much. The sales of public land, which amounted in 1833 to about $5,000,000, in 1836 amounted to $25,000,000. Then the consequences of the excessive issue began to exhibit themselves. In 1840 the sales fell to$ $2,200,000. The value of the imports from this country, which in 1830 had been $6,132,000, amounted in 1836 to $12,400,000; in 1840 they fell to $5,200,000. This alone would account for the distress which prevailed in this country. This one fact alone of the great falling off in the course of a few years of the exports 1052 from this country to America, was sufficient to account for our distress. When the Bank of the United States fell, it dragged with it into the same gulf of ruin all the property of the country. The value of everything was deteriorated, and a state of distress and misery was produced such as had never been equalled since the annihilation of the "assignats" in France. The United States would no doubt recover from the ill-consequeuces of their impolicy; but the progress of recovery would be slow. He did not think that any great improvement would take place for the next two or three years. His noble Friend (Viscount Howick) had alluded to 'the quantity of American securities which had come over here. These had been an import of bonds to the amount of 3,000,000l. annually, on an average of ten years. This, undoubtedly, would have some effect, and a very visible effect; but if we were again to extend our trade with the United States, it was perfectly plain that we could only do so by taking their meat and corn. We now took from them a large proportion of the cotton, wool, and all the tobacco that we consumed. There were no means, therefore, of extending our trade with America, except by taking their corn and provisions. Of all the countries in the world America seemed to be the best disposed to deal with us. There was no prejudices there in favour of a manufacturing interest. The agricultural population in that country, as in others, were the masters. They returned the members of the legislature, and controlled the voice of the legislature. But they had no wish to have high tariffs and to pay dearly for the articles they consumed. They certainly had no desire to see a parcel of large manufacturing fortunes made at Lowell. Therefore it was our interest, and should be our policy, to conciliate the Americans. He had stated, that the falling off of our export trade to the United States was in itself sufficient to account for the distress now existing in this country. But there were other causes. The state of things in India was almost as bad as it had been in the United States. The capital which, in ordinary times, was applied to the assistance and support of trade, was drawn away from Calcutta and directed into a new and most unprofitable channel—it was taken from trade and applied to war. This could not fail of producing very serious and very injurious 1053 consequences—consequences as disastrous, perhaps, as those which ensued upon the war with Birmah. The state of our relations with China might be regarded as another cause of our distress. True it was that the Chinese continued to supply us with tea; but he regretted to find that we gave them nothing but opium in return. Our army and navy would, no doubt, succeed by the strong hand in settling the dispute in which we were involved with the Celestial empire; but whether the experience which the Chinese would gain of our physical power would have the ultimate effect of making them better customers was to his mind a matter of speculation. Independent of these direct causes for the depression under which our commerce and manufactures were suffering, it might be remarked that the whole commercial world was everywhere in a state of stagnation. The markets of Brazil were as bad as those of the Levant. To whatever quarter of the globe our merchants directed their attention, they were met by the impolicy of our laws, which excluded from our own markets the produce of other countries. Along with the circumstances to which he had already adverted, there were others of no small importance as connected with the condition in which we now found ourselves. One of these was the general want of confidence everywhere existing as to the terms upon which the different products of different nations were to be exchanged. Of late years discussions had been going on about commercial treaties and commercial tariffs in almost every country that could boast of any commerce at all. This could not fail to interfere with the progress and with the interests of trade. The mere fact of the agitation of these things had unquestionably done a great deal of mischief. The contemplated changes might possibly be very beneficial, but during the time that they were under discussion, and for a short time after they came into operation, they were undoubtedly productive of harm. This remark was applicable to the discussion which had taken place upon our own tariff. Many of the changes which it proposed to effect were exceedingly good, but during the time that those changes had been in agitation much mischief had been produced; and that too at a time when we could very ill afford to bear it. Some people talked about the Income-tax as a means of relieving the 1054 country from its difficulties. He apprehended that it would not be contended that the' Income-tax would do any good to trade. If it had any influence upon trade at all, it would certainly be the reverse of good. Being, however, only a tax of 3 per cent., coupled with the assurance that it was only to continue for three years, it was not likely that it would do much harm. He must remark, however, that of all taxes for a commercial country a tax upon profits was the most injurious. One of the inevitable effects of the tax would be to lower wages. He gave the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) full credit for all the advantages which the revised tariff would confer upon the country; but he certainly thought that the right +hon. Baronet very much over estimated its value when he stated that for every pound paid to the Income-tax an advantage of ten pounds would be gained from the tariff. The tariff, undoubtedly, would do much good, but nothing like the good that the right hon. Baronet seemed to anticipate from it. Its chief good appeared to him to be, that it had committed the right hon. Baronet to the party which supported him to a liberal course of commercial policy. In that respect its value was beyond all calculation. The principle admitted by the right hon. Baronet in the revision of the tariff would inevitably lead to further changes founded upon the same liberal policy. He had very little to remark upon the changes made in the new tariff in respect to manufactured goods. Upon that point he thought that Government had exhibited a great deal of unnecessary timidity, and that concessions had been made where they ought not to have been made. This remark applied particularly to the article of silk, the differential duty upon which the right hon. Baronet proposed to increase from 3d. to 1s. a pound. In his opinion, it would have been better to have left it at the old rate of 3d. a pound. Again, a duty was imposed upon linen of 10d. per square yard. This was objectionable, upon the ground that the true principle of imposing duties upon commodities of this nature was ad valorem, and not by weight or measure. Thus far he had confined his remarks to the condition and prospects of our manufactures. With the permission of the House he would now say a few words with respect to the Corn-laws. He thought it was a matter of great regret (and he was not sure 1055 that the right hon. Gentleman opposite did not participate in that regret) that the fixed duty last year proposed by his noble Friend the Member for London (Lord John Russell) had not been adopted. A fixed duty had, in his estimation, a great and decided advantage over the scale now proposed, and, indeed, over any scale that could by possibility be devised. This was so palpable, that whatever the strength of the opposition to it at the present moment, he did not doubt that before many years elapsed a fixed duty would be established. The sliding-scale operated, as the noble Viscount the Member for Sunderland (Viscount Howick) had said, especially against America. He knew that there were at this moment large stocks of provisions at New York which could be sent over to this country at a very low price— under the operation of the new tariff" they might probably come to us; but at present there was always the uncertainty in the mind of the exporter as to what the rate of duty might be in this country when the goods arrived. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department (Sir James Graham) had told the House in language which he thought the right hon. Baronet must have almost himself smiled at, of the ruin that would inevitably result to the agriculturist if the Corn-laws were abolished. The question of the total abolition of the Corn-laws had not yet been seriously discussed. The sole question during the present Session had been between the comparative merits of a sliding-scale and a fixed duty. But suppose that the trade in corn were perfectly free. What then? From all that he had heard or read upon the subject, there was no ground for supposing that the price of wheat under a system of free-trade would be less in the British market than 50s. a quarter. It would be recollected that for some years previous to 1838 the average price of wheat in this country was somewhere about 50s. a quarter. If, then, we were to have this wide spread ruin amongst the agriculturists in consequence of a free-trade in corn, why did it not come at the time that the price of wheat was as low as if our ports had been open? In those years when the price of corn was low, it was not found that the labourers in agriculture were thrown out of employment—that the farmers were ruined and reduced to beggary; on the contrary, he believed that those six years were remarkable for agri- 1056 cultural improvement. The same apprehensions were entertained when the duty was reduced on foreign wool; and yet the agriculturists had benefitted very largely by the alterations made by the measures introduced by Mr. Huskisson in respect to the importation of wool. Since the passing of these measures, and the adoption of a liberal system, the price of English wool had increased in a very remarkable degree. This showed that free-trade was not so dangerous as people imagined it to be. But the question now to be considered was, whether it would be more advantageous to have a sliding-scale or a fixed duty upon corn. If he had to decide upon matters of this sort, he would impose the same duties upon manufactures as upon agriculture. He would give the same protection to each. If he gave a protection of 10 per cent, or 15 per cent, to manufactures, he would give an equal protection to agriculture. But under any circumstances he considered a fixed duty preferable to a sliding-scale. Once adopt a fixed duty, once acquaint the world with the precise and unvarying rate at which corn should be admitted into our ports, and the negotiation of commercial treaties with many countries with which we had not now much commercial intercourse would be greatly facilitated, and advantages of no slight kind might be derived from them. Russia, Austria, Prussia,Bavaria—countries, the former of which, from the absence of coal, and the very nature of their Governments could never come to be, and perhaps never desire to be, great manufacturing countries— would gladly exchange the produce of their soil for the produce of our manufactures. When they were urged by the Gentlemen opposite to abandon the doctrine of free-trade, and to go back to the old principles which governed our commercial policy in former times, he would observe that it would only be possible to do so by getting rid of 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 of the population. Without free-trade it was impossible that the population could be employed. The operation of the principles of free-trade upon the shipping interest had been very remarkable. In 1827, at the period of Mr. Huskisson's reforms, there belonged to the United Kingdom, exclusive of the colonies, 19,524 ships, of which the tonnage was 2,181,138 tons. In 1841 there belonged to the United Kingdom, exclusive of the colonies, 23,461 ships, 1057 of which the tonnage was 2,935,399, being an increase in that short interval of 3,937 ships, and 754,261 tons, equal to the entire navy of most of the continental states. But, after all, the most important consideration connected with this subject, was the rapid increase of the population. This consideration necessarily mixed itself up with all our inquiries and met us at every step. By the last census it appeared that there was an average annual increase in the population of 270,000 souls. Even in the very period of distress which they were then discussing, within the last four years there had been an increase of more than a million. Unless employment was provided for these people by extending the basis of our foreign trade, it would be found at no distant period not only that the sliding-scale, but that all agricultural protection whatever, must be abandoned. And, if that were not done, the national capital must be consumed in the expense of transporting vast numbers of the population to the colonies, or of supporting them in idleness as paupers at home. He need not point out to the House what the consequence of such a state of things would be at the end of twenty or thirty years. To what means could the country then resort to mitigate the poverty which would have accumulated upon it. He owned that, unless some active and efficient measures were taken, he anticipated at no distant time very serious consequences from this cause alone. He saw no means of meeting the difficulty but by enlarging our foreign trade—by admitting the productions of other countries without the present restraints. He did not believe that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government would be able to retain these restraints for any long time, and he suspected that the landowners were beginning to think (he knew the farmers were) that the present change in the Corn-laws could only be of a temporary nature, and that it would be necessary, before many years elapsed, to adopt the principle of the noble Lord the Member for London.
§ Mr. G. Palmer
believed that the distress which now existed had arisen from a very different cause from that to which it was attributed by many hon. Gentlemen opposite. It had not arisen from the price of corn, nor from any of the regulations that had taken place in this country—but 1058 from the vicious system under which our manufactures had been carried on—from the encouragement given by a vicious system of credit, which had forced production far beyond the demands either of the home or foreign consumer. The consequence was that all the markets abroad were overstocked. He would just call the attention of the House to the amount of some of our articles of import and export in the year 1842, as compared with the averag of the years 1837 and 1838. He would first take the imports. The average import of cotton wool in 1837–8 was 374,485,402 lbs.; whilst in 1842 it was 440,297,101 lbs. The average quantity of sheep's wool imported in 1837–8 was 51,936,546 lbs.; and in 1842 it was 53,020,067 lbs. In cotton goods, the average export in the years 1837–8 was, 16,068,570l. of declared value; in 1842 it was 16,209,241 lbs. The average export of cotton yarn in 1837–8, was 6,136,806l. of declared value; and in. 1842 it was 7,262,540l. Of woollen goods the average export in 1837–8 was 6,495,678l. of declared value; and in 1842 the amount was 6,270,888l. If this was the case, were they to be told that the manufacturers were thrown out of employ because there was not work for them? He must say, that if the question was fairly looked at by the manufacturers, they would see it was owing to this cause and this cause only. He would appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite, he would ask those who were engaged in the export of goods, whether it was not owing to the vicious system of persons in Liverpool, London, or other places accepting the bills of manufacturers, and before the manufacturers were paid for the raw articles, they had discounted the bills which had been accepted, and thus put money in their pockets before hand. It was to the home trade that they ought look. Let them obtain as much foreign trade as they could but not by sacrificing one iota of the home trade. The home trade was at least six-sevenths of the whole. If such was the case, were they to sacrifice six-sevenths, or to sacrifice one-seventh? The hon. Member who spoke last seemed to speak with apprehension of an increase of the population. He remembered 1796 and 1797. At that time there was not a family in the country who did not put themselves and their servants on an allowance of bread per week. The people 1059 at that moment were only one-half in number what they were at this moment, and yet the number of acres was the same as now. He maintained that God never sent mouths without sending food for them. Allusion had been made to the American trade. The balance of trade appeared in our favour. How was it paid for? In paper, which he was afraid, now, was of little value indeed. The hon. Gentleman complained, that there was not more exports to America. How could there be? The Americans had no means to pay us. Let it not be supposed that by taking more goods from America, we should be able to increase the employment of the population. He did not, by any means, think it necessary, that Parliament should be kept sitting for a longer period than usual; for he believed that Ministers were the fittest persons to inquire into these circumstances. Another thing which he would recommend Government to look into was the state of the charges brought by the destitute part of the population on their neighbours. They should look into the manner in which the people were rated.
Mr. E. Ellice
said, that he had risen immediately after the speech of the hon. Member for Inverness, intending to direct his attention to that part of the subject on which the hon. Member had given so much information. He was sure the House would not regret the discussion, if it was only that it had afforded the House an opportunity of hearing the speech of the hon. Member for Inverness, which was full of so much good sense and information on the dreary prospect before us, holding out a lively hope, that a better state of things might yet dawn upon us. Before he went into the subject he must make one remark on the speech of his hon. Friend, who followed. He entirely concurred in the observation that "God never sent mouths without the means to feed them." Why was it the people of this country had no means to feed them.? Why was it, that when the rest of the world was teeming with the necessaries of life, the poor people of this country were compelled to consume their bread at double the price at which people paid in other countries? At this moment, the price of good wheat was 70s. and upwards, being double the average price of wheat throughout the civilized world. And, while wheat was at this extraordinary price, you would not allow the people 1060 to obtain it freely, but you imposed a duty of 25 per cent. If human legislation did not interfere with the wise provisions of a merciful Providence, the people would not be suffering as they were. He would not go into a discussion of the principles of free-trade. He should think he was only wasting the time of the House in so doing. His hon. Friend had said justly, that one great cause of our distress was the falling off of the American trade, and he had -justly ascribed that to the spirit of speculation and the unbounded abuse of credit which had taken place in that country. His hon. Friend might have gone further, and asked whether we were not to find the cause of this at home? He believed, that one of the main difficulties with which our trade in this country' had had to contend, had been the mal-administration of the currency of this country since the act had passed. The right hon. Baronet knew well, that he had had very great and serious doubts, at the time of the introduction of his bill in 1819, as to how far this country should be subjected to the payment of debts in an increased currency; but the right hon. Baronet would do him the justice to admit, that from the time the Legislature had determined to pass the measure, he had always been one of the foremost in supporting and maintaining it. It was not a light thing for a country like this to tamper with this most important subject, and he had always felt anxious, from the moment the country undertook the sacrifice, which he knew it undertook in ignorance of the extent, that the currency of the period should be put on a secure and stable foundation. But what had been the fact? Immediately after 1819, we went on, up to 1822, in the prosecution of measures intended to carry out the bill of the right hon. Gentleman. In 1822, prices fell. We had then a kind of collapse, such as we now experienced, because, except in point of degree, all these periods of distress followed an alteration in the currency. In 1822, the country would not stand the measure. It flew from it, and we had recourse to the 1l. notes. In 1825, the prices of all articles were much enhanced in value by the depreciation of the currency, as if the price of gold had been at the depreciating rate at which it was during the last years of the war. In 1825, the collapse came. We exported all our gold. The effects were not felt only in 1061 this country. This was the great metropolis of the commerce of the world. We could take no step here, which did not reach to the ends of the earth. What were the effects of the measure in 1822? We made money excessively abundant. Nobody knew what to do with his spare capital. The American loans followed. We lent 22,000,000l. to South America, who then became the consumers of our manufactures. In proportion as she became the consumer of our manufactures, we increased our establishments. We soon found, that we had increased our establishments to create productions beyond the means of a reasonable demand. Then, in the years 1834, 1835, and 1836, we did the very same thing to North America, which we had before done to South America. We made money abundant. The Bank of England issued its paper, sent out offers to the Bank of North America, which his hon. Friend had stated had failed in its duties to the public and to the creditor, to lend it 2,000,000l. of money. We gave encouragement in every way in which it was possible, to every speculation in America, and then we wondered, that the bubble which we had blown here, should be burst there. What was the consequence? You had an enormous American trade. Everything was exaggerated in that country. You gave the people the means of entering into speculations, which tended to the temporary consumption of much more than the real demands of the country would otherwise require. Then our manufacturing establishments increased in the same ratio, in the hope that this state of trade would be permanent. He only stated these two cases in explanation of the same case which had pervaded every part of the civilised world. Look at our colonies, and at India, and it would be found that the exaggerated state of credit here had set afloat speculations from one end of the world to the other. We must not then be surprised that when the chilling blast came over all, we should most severely feel the effects. When his hon. Friend saddled North America with being the cause of the existing evils, he should not have forgotten that the real cause was that we ourselves had not the steadiness and courage to carry our own measures into effect. The present was the third or fourth collapse to which our currency had been subjected, and because they were at pre- 1062 sent in a state of distress, he saw every probability of a recurrence of similar evils, he had taken up the other day the statement of the circulation of the Bank of England, and he found that the average was about 16,500,000l. In the four weeks ending March 15, the circulation was 16,600,000l., and on the 3rd of April he found it had suddenly increased to 18,400,000l. Now, would any man tell him that there had not been some tampering with the currency, which had occasioned an increase of 2,000,000l. within a month? He had looked with great curiosity to see whether the circulation of the country banks which had been steady throughout the year, had increased at the same time, and he found that so far from that, the circulation of the country banks, and the Bank of Scotland, and the Bank of Ireland, had rather fallen off. Now, if they had a recurrence to the old system, if they had a new issue of paper, if they shrunk from the performance of those acts which they ought to undertake with regard to the currency, he would tell the right hon. Baronet that the result would be most disastrous, for the country was in such a state at present that it would scarcely bear another collapse. It appeared to him that it was "better to bear the ills they had than fly to those they knew not of," and go back to the evils of restriction which they would probably be unable to control. He thought when the time arrived when it would be necessary to propose the renewal of the charter of the Bank of England, that the whole matter should be put upon such a footing as would ensure some steadiness in the circulation of the country. There was nothing upon which he looked with go much dread and suspicion as the administration of the currency by the Bank: if they were to have such an administration, let it be by the Government. But he should certainly prefer a currency which administered itself. He would give the Bank of England the power of issuing within the metropolis and its neighbourhood; he would give it on the same terms upon which it was conferred on other establishments; but let there be one uniform system, which would regulate and control itself, and for God's sake let them put an end to the system by which the Government and the Bank proposed to regulate the currency-one party regulating it for the benefit of the country, and the other for the benefit 1063 of the dividend holders. He really believed that the mal-administration of the currency from the time of the passing of the right hon. Baronet's bill down to the present period had been the foundation of many of the evils under which they were at present suffering. He did not say that for the purpose of blaming this or that Government. He had always resisted such a course; and he would remind the House that he had opposed his noble Friend when he made Bank of England notes a legal tender. Upon that subject he had always contended that they ought either to adhere to the declarations they had then made, or at once go to the remedy proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Whitehaven, who, he must say, had been hardly treated by the House. With regard to the observations of the right hon. Baronet as to the state of the trade of the country, he fully agreed with him. The right hon. Gentleman was aware that he had not offered the same opposition to his measures as some of his hon. Friends on that side of the House. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had no choice but an appeal to a Property-tax to make up the deficiency in the revenue. He did not hesitate to avow his abhorrence of such a tax; he thought it extremely unjust and unequal in its operation, and it was almost impossible to justify it except upon the ground of the impossibility of getting an honest tax which would meet the exigency of the case. With regard to the tariff he thought the right hon. Gentleman, acting to the best of his ability, had done great good to the trade of the country. That he had done great good as regarded one part of the tariff he was quite sure; but with regard to another part he was not so sure. He thought wherever he had taken the duty from the raw material, or from provisions, he had done great service, for which he was entitled to the thanks of the public. He thought these changes had been made by the right hon. Baronet in pursuance of principles which he knew to be right, and in opposition to the wishes of his Friends. He had had the manliness to take that course; the country would have the benefit of it, and to that extent the right hon. Baronet could have no difficulty in relying upon the cordial support of his side of the House. What the right hon. Baronet had done in that respect was in pursuance of their example, but he had the power 1064 which they unfortunately had not. But he was not quite so clear that the right hon. Baronet was right where he had reduced the duty on manufactured articles, and had thereby placed their labouring and manufacturing population on a footing with the foreign artisan. He thought it extremely injudicious to attack the glover and the shoemaker; and more especially he thought it most unfair in the right hon. Gentleman to attack his constituents, the silk-weavers. ["Hear."]-He knew he exposed himself to cavil when he made that objection, but in placing them on the same footing with the continental manufacturer the right hon. Baronet had done what he would find was neither just nor safe. [Sir R, Peel: How are they attacked?] They were not attacked, simply because the right hon. Gentleman could not get the French to agree with his propositions. It had been said that he had advocated Mr. Huskisson's measures, which were based upon the principles of free-trade, but he begged to remind the right hon. Baronet that he had recommended that they should, in the first instance, only go as far as it would be safe—to begin with the raw material and provisions, and then to go on to the manufactured articles. He was not quite so zealous a free-trader as to contend that they were always bound to apply these principles without reference to what other nations might do towards them. He owned that, with regard to manufactured articles, he should hold hard until he had adequate equivalents. He was anxious to contribute by every means in his power to lighten the distressing pressure which was at present bearing down the people of this country. He felt that they were entitled to every relief in the power of Parliament; and he believed that, with regard to the corn-trade, the new measure would give them relief. Although he despaired of his vote doing much for them, he would certainly give it in favour of the resolutions of the hon. Member for Greenock.
§ Sir C. Napier
deeply deplored the existing distress, and he believed it would be found that the shipping interest of the country was in as great distress as the manufacturing interest. He had attended a meeting of shipowners lately, where it was shown that the state of that interest was at present most deplorable. The report read at that meeting showed that the number of ships and the amount of 1065 tonnage had considerably decreased, and that, he believed, had been one of the results of the reprocity laws of Mr. Huskisson. Where foreign ships were allowed to bring in cargoes, paying merely the same duties as British ships, while they were able to build them, and victual them, and sail them, at a cheaper rate, the inevitable consequence must be that English ships would diminish, while the number of foreign ships would increase. The hon. and gallant Member referred to certain tables for the purpose of showing that a considerable reduction had taken place in freights within the last few years, and trusted that some steps would be taken to avert the ruin that was impending over that most important interest. He did not blame her Majesty's Government for the existing distress—it had been gradually coming on, and had now arrived at a serious crisis. That distress had been owing to various causes, which most of the hon. Gentlemen present were much better acquainted with than himself. The right hon. Baronet had referred to the disturbed state of trade in America, to the war in China, and the disturbances in Canada as having partly occasioned that distress; and he must say that, with regard to the war in China, the sooner the right hon. Baronet put an end to that the better. One hon. Gentleman had said that with British ships and British troops they were perfectly certain to beat the Chinese, and no doubt they would be able to do so; but the right hon. Baronet knew what an enormous population there was in that empire—that they were 5,000 miles from their own territories, and that the sending out of troops was attended with enormous expense and delay. The right hon. Gentleman should recollect also that the Chinese had attacked and scaled the walls of one of the towns occupied by British troops, which proved that they were not destitute of courage, and that all they wanted was experience; and he would therefore again press upon him the necessity of putting a speedy termination to the Chinese war, and not to contemplate the idea of going into a country having such vast resources, after giving them three years to make their preparations. It was stated, and he believed correctly that the improvements in manufactures and machinery had been another cause of the distress. The noble Lord at the head of the late Government had proposed to Parliament certain remedies 1066 for that distress. These propositions were rejected, and he thought wrongly; but whether rightly or wrongly it was unnecessary now to refer to the matter further than to say that an appeal was made to the country, and the country also rejected the propositions, and therefore if the evil still existed, it was impossible to throw the blame upon the late Government, because they had offered a remedy which the country had refused to accept. When the right hon. Baronet came in he proposed his prescription; and he first proposed an amendment of the Corn-laws, which he had contended was an improvement, as it reduced the duty nearly one-half. He admitted that; but what had its practical effect been? On the 6th of May, the date of the passing of the measure, the average price of corn was 60s. 8d., on the 13th of May it was 59. 9d., on the 20th of May it was 60s. 9d., on the 27th of May it was 61s. 10d., on the 3d of June it was 63s. 6d., on the 10th of June it was 64s., on the 17th of June it was 63s. 10d., on the 24th June it was 64s.3d., and on the 30th it was 64s. 3d. Now that proved one thing, namely, that the duty which was laid on corn before was much higher than was necessary to keep it out of the country, and the duty which the right hon. Baronet had now affixed would be just as effective in preventing corn from coming into the country as the old duties were. The merchants who dealt in corn knew a great deal better than the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, or the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, what was the state of the harvest. They had reports every day from every district of the United Kingdom, and knew the appearance of every field in the country and the exact state of the harvest, and if they saw the prospect of a bad harvest they would keep their corn, and not allow one quarter to go out of bond. He could assure the right hon. Baronet that he would be obliged to abandon all duty whatever on corn, and he did not believe that the smallest injury would result to the farmer or anybody else. He had no doubt that the tariff would do a great deal of good, but although the duties had been reduced or taken off on many articles, still they had not been reduced on articles on which the poor existed. The right hon. Baronet had kept the duty on corn, and also a very heavy duty on butter and cheese, which 1067 were great articles of consumption by the poor. A very heavy duty was also continued on sugar and coffee, which were also consumed in great quantities by the poor. And with regard to the Income-tax, he thought that if a property tax had been imposed very considerable good would have resulted, provided common justice had been observed. He would next allude to the very great hardship which gentlemen who held foreign funds suffered by the Income-tax. Some countries were now beginning to pay up the dividend (he alluded particularly to Spain and Portugal) the governments of which countries clapped their hands on 50 percent, of the money, and the moment it came into this country the right hon. Baronet would clap his hands upon 3 per cent. more. He would not have addressed the House at all, after the very excellent speeches he had heard, if he did not represent a large borough, which naturally expected that its representative should speak its sentiments.
§ Captain Layard
believed the extent of the distress existing in this country was very imperfectly known. He could bear his testimony, that although the distress was great in this country, it was equally great in Ireland. But if the distress was severe, he was happy to say, that in the neighbourhood of Ennis, private charity, judiciously bestowed, had been enabled to alleviate that distress; and although there was great poverty in the country there was also great wealth, and the people had a right to expect that some means should be found out for the purpose of mitigating their sufferings. He should give his vote in favour of the motion of the hon. Member for Greenock, believing it was the duty of that House to alleviate the distresses of the people, and not allow them to be borne down by sufferings, for the endurance of which so much credit had been given to them.
§ Mr. Scholefield
said, that there was greater distress existing at the present moment in the town of Birmingham than had ever existed during the time he had been acquainted with the affairs of the town. He had been engaged for forty years as a merchant and manufacturer, and had never known the distress of the people to be so great and extensive as at present, without the least hope of improvement. He would say, unfeignedly, that he did not see the least prospect of 1068 amendment in the state of the country. The distress was not confined to the poorer classes, for he had received a letter from an intelligent friend at Birmingham, which stated that the distress was greater among the masters than the journeymen, and the present state of affairs would reduce them to a lower station of society. The peculiarity of the position of the country consisted in this, that the employers of labour were in quite as great difficulties as the workmen. They might not suffer bodily want, and might have beds to lie on, and food to eat; but the distress they were suffering preyed upon their minds, destroyed their energies, and took from them all appetite for that which they had to eat. Another intelligent friend wrote to him to say, that every person you met knew and felt the distressed state of affairs. The empty small houses and the low price of goods all combined to satisfy them that matters were worse than they had been for years. And he could corroborate what had been stated with respect to the condition of the pawnbrokers. Those persons stated that their business was at an end, and they could not take any more pledges. One man stated that he would really return all the goods on which he had advanced money, and thereby give up the advantages of his trade. Numerous distresses for rent and poor-rates had also taken place at Birmingham, and one of the newspapers published in the town stated that there was a total stagnation of all business, and the uninhabited houses gave to the town the appearance of a deserted city. The working population was not half employed, and a great portion of them were in a state of starvation. The Money Market Letter also confirmed the statement of general distress, and said, that no business could safely be done. He was quite satisfied that that was not an exaggerated statement, and he thought that the people had a right to look to Parliament for relief. No prorogation should take place until some remedy was discovered. His hon. Friend, the Member for Whitehaven, had been censured by the right hon. Baronet for not finding out a remedy for the distress; but it should be remembered, that his hon. Friend had not been called into consultation; and there was no doubt that, if he had been consulted, he would have prescribed some good and efficient remedy. With respect to the question of the Corn-laws the right 1069 hon. Baronet and the noble Lord were completely at issue. He would venture to offer one suggestion on the subject, for, do what they would, to this complexion must it come at last, that the price of corn must either be reduced to the level of the workman's means, or higher wages must be given to the labourer to enable him to pay high prices for his food.
§ Mr. S. Crawford
entertained a different opinion as to the remedy for the existing distress to that which had been suggested. Some time ago he gave a statement of the distress existing in Rochdale, and it had such an effect that her Majesty's Ministers said it should be inquired into. The report of the assistant-commissioner, who made the inquiry, substantially confirmed that statement. The condition of Rochdale, though much distressed, was not so deplorable as the condition of many other towns in its neighbourhood. He would read a statement relative to Rochdale, which he had received from a respectable correspondent. The statement declared that the distress in Rochdale was very great, but not so great as in adjacent places, because its trade was half wool and half cotton. Journeymen were walking the streets in numbers, with absolutely nothing to do; and although the woollen trade was good, yet the wages were so low, that a man with a small family, in full work, could not earn enough to support them. The comparative numbers of the poor were—in 1836, 487; and in 1841, 3,396. In alluding to the distress, it was quite right that the distress prevailing in Ireland should not be overlooked. In Belfast —a town which, as it had now no representatives in that House, ought to be particularly brought under the notice of that House—there was great distress. A town meeting had taken place there, and in the speech of Dr. Cook it was stated there were 1,500 operatives out of employ, out of which number 1,200 were in a state of destitution. The labourers were also as badly off as the weavers. At Newtownards very great distress prevailed. In fact, both in Ireland and in Scotland, in parts which formerly were in a flourishing state, distress was rapidly manifesting itself. If ever there was a case calling for inquiry he considered that the present prevailing distress afforded that case. He was bound, however, to say that, while he approved of the hon. Member for Greenock's motives, he did not think it was the proper mode 1070 to treat the question. The distress had occurred mainly through the New Poor-law, bad harvests, and the increase of taxation. So long as the old Poor-laws were kept up, the labouring people did not feel the consequences of low wages or dear provisions. Then deficient wages were made up out of the rates; but the New Poor-law deprived the people of that resource. The cause of the present calamity was the removal of the old Poor-law, joined to the rise in the price of food. The labour market was also overstocked There was a greater number of labourers than could be employed,—and why? The cause had not been stated by any hon. Gentleman who preceded him. He conceived the great cause was the deficiency of small men in the occupancy of land. If small men had these occupancies there would be fewer labourers in the market, and there would be more men earning their support on their own foundations. It had been alleged that the country was over-populated. He denied it. There was no excess of population; and there was plenty to maintain the present number. What did this excess mean? Was it that the population was too great for the resources of the country? If so, he contended that this was not correct; and on the contrary, he asserted the resources of the country were quite adequate to support even double the present population. He would ask the House to consider the number of acres in the kingdom, and the proportion of population. Four acres properly wrought were sufficient to maintain a family of five persons. Now he found by the census of 1831, the whole number of families in England and Wales was 2,941,874, or a gross population of 14,000,000, allowing four or five persons to each family. The population now might, however, be considered as 16,000,000 or 3,500,000 of families. Each family then, having five acres, would require 14,000,000 of acres for their total subsistence. There were about 37,000,000 of acres in England, of which about 5,000,000 were not arable. So the number of acres available might be taken at 32,000,000. Out of this number only 14,000,000 were required for the present population, so there was actually a surplus of 18,000,000 of acres. Under these circumstances, he maintained there was no overplus population—and if people were allowed to occupy land and to labour for their support in that form, there 1071 would be ample subsistence for double the present population, and the labour market would be greatly lightened. These views he was aware were different from those generally entertained — but there were strong proofs that his views were correct. Wherever the allotment system had been introduced an improvement in the condition of the district was perceptible, and also a great decrease in the poor-rates. He could show that this was the fact, from the statements published by the Labourers' Friend Society, and from other sources. He considered that no real good would be effected until the present system with regard to agricultural management was changed, and a larger number of persons were allowed to subsist themselves by the cultivation of land. Something of this sort must be done, and, in addition, it would be necessary to have some counteracting power in favour of labour against the operation of capital. It was indispensable to make the rich responsible for the condition of the poor. That could only be effectually done by the occupancy of land, or the restoration of the old Poor-law. He was of opinion that as long as the present system went on, it was necessary that a Poor-law should exist, and that wages should be augmented from the poor-rates. It was admitted that machinery acted unfavourably for the working classes, and it was therefore proper that a control of some kind should be introduced. In the state of the country it was requisite that the laws enhancing the price of provisions should be removed. He would not join in censuring the sliding-scale of the Government, and giving a preference to a fixed duty, for he could not understand how the advocates of free trade could wish to retain any fixed duty. He was hostile to both measures. The free-trade advocates could not consistently adopt any other course than that of a total repeal. While he maintained the necessity for small holdings he was willing to admit this course would be of no use unless a better system of farming land was introduced. In Ireland small holders could never do good until taught how to manage the land in a better way. A great deal had been said about the advantages of emigration. He could not see any necessity for resorting to this step; though he was friendly to the proposition to give facilities for emigration. He might be allowed to remark, in connection with what he had 1072 said about the advantage of small holdings, that Belgium was an evidence of the benefit of this system. The prosperous state of that country was owing to the small holding system which prevailed there. Allusion had been made to the peaceable and quiet disposition of the people under their severe privations. The people certainly kept an awful silence on the subject of their sufferings, but he feared it was because they had no confidence in the Government, and that they were of opinion it was hopeless to expect redress from that House. If, however, the House did not show a disposition to inquire into the people's sufferings, and to redress their grievances, he feared the people would adopt means to redress their wrongs, which he should regret to see. Before the evils could be cured, there must be a thorough reform in the representation.
§ Viscount Palmerston
was anxious to express his regret that he could not vote for the resolution of his hon. Friend. He could not do so for the reasons stated by the noble Lord, the Member for London, because the motion was so drawn as to be open to considerable objection in point of technical form, and, if carried, would not lead to any beneficial practical result. If, however, he did not vote for the motion, it was not from any indifference to the distress to which it related, nor because he was in any degree incredulous as to the extent and severity of that distress. It was impossible for any man who had listened to the debate, or who had attended to the facts which came to the eyes and ears of every man, to doubt that there did at this moment prevail an excess of suffering in extent and amount unequalled at any former period. He could assure his hon. Friend that there was no person more anxious than he was to apply some remedy to the existing distress. Therefore when he stated that he agreed in the reasons given by the Government for objecting to this particular motion, he could not think that the course pursued by the Government in this debate was one which he would have wished or expected a Government to take. He should have expected them not only to have shown the technical objection by which it was capable of being opposed, but he would have expected that they would have contented themselves with expressions of regret for the distress, and not have stated to the House some intention, or opened some views of a practical 1073 remedy; but it seemed that they were not to receive any such assurance from the Government. It appeared that the Government were in a few weeks about to prorogue the Parliament without having mentioned one step they would take to alleviate the distress. The Members on the one hand were to be sent to their grouse shooting, to their pheasant shooting, to their hunting, and to their Christmas festivities, and that so they were to rest till the month of February, as if the country was in a state of perfect prosperity, as if the people were thriving, happy, and contented; and, on the other hand, the Government was to remain during that period in total inactivity, with their arms folded and entirely motionless, without making an appeal to Parliament, waiting for they knew not what events, expecting relief they knew not when or whence, but looking, he supposed, for some miraculous interference to relieve the evils which they did not attempt to remove. He might be told that they looked to the approaching harvest for relief; if they did, he warned them that they would be leaning on a broken reed. The harvest might be good, but it could not be abundant. The sun of summer could not repair the damage that had been done by the rains of autumn. The seed that had grown might yield a plentiful return; but they all knew that many a seed that had been sown in the autumn would not give any return. In spite, therefore, of the reproof given the other evening to the hon. Gentleman near him, he could not have the credulity to expect material relief from that source. It might, then, be said that the new tariff would afford great relief. That tariff was ushered into the House by the avowal of principles which all must approve, but unfortunately those principles had not been carried out to their full extent, and even that part of the tariff which would ultimately do the greatest good to the country had been postponed in its operation to such a period that it would be idle to expect that it would produce any effect as a remedy for a pressing evil. If the tariff would not afford the remedy, to what were they to look? Did they expect that private contributions would continue to supply the wants of the suffering people? That was impossible. Private charity had its limits, and that which was given in private charity was necessarily withdrawn from the employ- 1074 ment of labour. Was it, then, the intention of the Government before the Parliament separated to propose a vote from the public funds? Such a vote to be effectual must be a large one, and the effect must be to transfer and not to take away the pressure. He said that if this was all the Government meant to tell the House of their intentions, they were not performing the duty they owed to the country, nor doing what Parliament had a right to expect. The Government would tell him, as the late Government told them last year, and as they told the hon. Gentleman the Member for Whitehaven, that those who objected to the course of the Government ought to propose another. They (the Opposition) did propose another, and they had proposed it again. The present evils had arisen because the channels of commerce had been choked up. The late Ministers said that they would clear these channels, and would restore the commerce to a healthful condition. The world was large enough, and mankind was sufficiently numerous to consume all that the most industrious manufacturers could possibly produce; but men could only purchase these commodities by the produce of their own labour. So long as the Legislature prevented the exchange of this produce for manufactures, commerce could not go on, and distress must from time to time press heavily on the industrious classes. He, therefore, said that the change which the late Government had proposed, and the reduction of the duties upon corn and upon sugar would have given this relief. What was the present state of our intercourse with the United States of America? The merchants there owed us large sums of money. This produced great distress in this country. They could not pay for what they had, and therefore our manufacturers could not send out more goods. Unless we took their produce they were entirely destitute of the means of payment. The books of our traders were full of debts, and the American debtors had storehouses full of corn, with which they would pay, if they were permitted. He said that we ought to change our course. Such an emergency as the present ought to overrule all petty considerations and all false pride of adherence to recent acts. If the Government found the country labouring under great distress, and if they were shown the means by which this distress ought to be allevi 1075 ated, they ought to avail themselves of the power which they possessed in Parliament, and afford that relief to a suffering people which a change in the Corn-laws would produce. Again, he said, that it bad been shown and proved, that if they diminished the duty upon sugar, they would not only give immediate scope to our commerce, but also enlarge the comforts of the lower orders. In answer to that proposal, he might be told of some mysterious negotiations going on with the Brazils, and he said at once that they ought not to stand in the way of such a reduction. With regard to those negotiations, let them end in whatever way they might, they ought not to prevent this diminution. Treaties! why we had treaties with the Brazils in which we had all that we could ask, for the suppression of the slave-trade. By the treaty of 1826, the Brazilian government agreed that after the expiration of three years it should not be lawful for any subject of the Emperor to engage in the slave-trade, either directly or indirectly, and if he did, he was to be deemed and tried as a pirate. That was the utmost that the Government could now get by any new treaty. If the Brazilian government did not faithfully execute that treaty now, which expressly prohibited the slave-trade, what reason had they to believe that any new treaty would be of any great value? If it were found, that the government of the Brazils would not execute the treaties into which they had entered, he had shown in the case of Portugal what power the Parliament would grant to enforce it; and he thought it would be better for the Government to come down and ask for that power, rather than make fresh concessions to renew old and violent treaties. He said then that he would make the corn-trade free for the purposes of supply —not without duty, for he had always contended that they might by a small duty on corn, and that such a duty would not interfere with the supply—he would only lay such a duty upon corn and sugar as would afford a revenue and leave to commerce a free action. The people should be allowed to get corn wherever they pleased, paying only such duties as would enable the buyers to dispose of it profitably in the home markets. Those were the remedies which the late Government proposed, and he contended that the present Government ought to express to 1076 Parliament, and now was the time for such an expression, what their intentions were. They ought to say whether they meant to do anything or nothing—whether they meant to propose measures to alleviate the distress, or whether they would leave things to take their course, and because they would not adopt the measures proposed to them, leave the distress to go on till it arrived at such a pitch as would render relief almost impossible. While he said this, however, he was not one of those who looked with despondency on the permanent condition of the country. Although the distress was great, it arose from causes within control, and if those causes were removed, the country had resources enough, and the people had sufficient energy to restore us to our former course of prosperity, and to carry out our high destiny as a nation. At the same time he did not think, do what they might, that our commerce with the continent of Europe could receive any great augmentation. Where great nations near together had conflicting interests, national jealousies frequently prevented the adoption of those measures which sound commercial principles would dictate. It was said that the late Government had prevented a trade with France. Those who said so knew not how commercial jealousies animated, not only the popular mind there, but also entered into the minds of the Ministers themselves. He could show representations made to him, when Count Mole was at the head of the government, of the influence which this commercial jealousy had, and it had been lately seen that the present government in France, who were not affected by the course which the English Government might have taken in 1840 or 1841, still objected to any altered commercial policy. The experience they had lately had of the result of these negotiations, unfortunately showed that we could not expect any great extension of our commerce with France till the public feeling there should alter with respect to commercial policy. Then again with respect to Germany, we had unfortunately preserved such heavy duties on timber and on com, that we had raised up manufactures there which would interfere for a long time with our commerce. It was therefore to more distant regions that he looked for future prosperity. We must look to the rising nation that inhabited the North American continent. There we 1077 were met with our Corn-laws, and till we altered those Corn-laws, we should be crippled and confined in our commercial intercourse. We must look also to the South American nation. There again we were met by our heavy duties upon sugar, and till we modified them we could not expect to carry on our commerce with South America to the extent it was possible. We must look again to Africa; and we must look especially to India and to China. With regard to those three great fields for our commerce, notwithstanding what it had pleased the hon. Gentleman opposite to state as to the effect of our foreign policy upon our commercial interests, he would venture to say that the measures adopted by the late Government had been attended with results which must prove in the highest degree beneficial to the commercial interests of this country. The great measures which they took in Afghanistan had opened in that country—had opened a vast field for our commerce in that extensive region which was watered by the Indus, and which embraced the greatest portion of central Asia. And if the present Ministers did not have the weakness and pusillanimity to abandon the position which their predecessors had obtained for them, they would secure to this country a great degree of commerce in that important country. But he did not believe that they would abandon that position, and he would tell the House why. Because one of the first acts of the Government when it came into office, with respect to the Indian policy, was to write to Lord Auckland, requesting him to continue to act as Governor-general, a request that could not have been made if the Government did not approve of his policy, and did not mean to continue that policy. [Sir James Graham gave a sign of dissent.] Did the right hon. Baronet dispute the fact that the President of the Board of Control Wrote a letter to Lord Auckland very soon after the Government came into office, urging him to continue in the government of India? He said that when this was done it was a proof that the Government approved of his policy, and meant to pursue it, because he could not suppose that they intended to entreat him to stay in September, and then to tell him in December that they could not concur in his policy. [Cheers.] He said then of India, in spite of the taunts and cheers 1078 of those who, in his opinion, knew very little of the subject, he said that the position which the late Government had established in Central Asia had opened to us a great field of commerce. He said more. He said that the operations they had commenced in China would also tend greatly to extend our commerce. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department had, on a former occasion, told them of the great danger they would incur in entering upon a war with 300,000,000 of men. That danger had not yet appeared, because the only difficulty we had hitherto experienced was to find troops to garrison the places we had conquered almost with a single blow. He, therefore, thought that the 300,000,000 of men were to be more considered for the commercial advantages we should gain from them, than for any dangers they would cause us to incur in war. Only last year he had been shown by a merchant a piece of goods brought from Chusan, which could have been sent from this country at half the price at which it was purchased in China. If such a field were opened, what an advantage would it afford to our commerce? Those who derided this advantage were little acquainted with the subject; they little knew how much the existing distress would be alleviated by such an increased demand for our manufactures. These were the reasons why he said that whatever prospective advantages these fields of commerce would open to us, those advantages would not be immediately felt. They must take time before they came into operation; but the distress was urgent, and some remedy must be applied. He, therefore, entreated the Government not to stand upon a pedantic adherence to laws already passed, and measures already proposed. They might depend upon their party to carry through any new measures, as they had carried other measures in the present Parliament; and if they required any further assistance they would receive it honestly from that (the Opposition) side of the House. He conjured them, if they would not now-state their measures, at least to revolve those considerations in their mind. He believed that this was not a temporary distress that would pass away, but that something must be done. On the one hand the Government had these great evils, and on the other hand they had the remedy which was capable of diminishing 1079 them. He hoped that they would adopt that remedy, come from whence it might; he trusted that no false pride would stand in the way, and that, in the performance of their duty, they would stand upon higher ground than a mere adherence to measures which might have been thought at a former period the best that they could hope to carry.
said, it was impossible to listen to the speech of the noble Lord, without in the first place condoling with him for the forced idleness which his creative mind must undergo during the next autumn, when he would have no other occupation than grouse shooting and pheasant shooting, and must leave to others the cares of those affairs of State in which he had been so long and so actively engaged; but when he asked what were the intentions of the present Government, and asked whether they intended to sit by with folded arms, and not to apply themselves to the present distress, he assured the noble Lord that he took a very imperfect view of the difficulties which he and his friends had left behind them. He admitted, with the noble Lord, that the cause of the distress of this country was much beyond the reach of human legislation. ["No, no."] No! would any one tell him that much of the difficulty and distress did not arise from causes beyond the power of legislation? Would the boldest free-trader in the House say that there had not been the greatest aggravation of distress in consequence of the three or four years of deficient harvests? [Cries of "you aggravated it."] They aggravated it. Then hon. Members did not deny that much of the distress arose from causes without the reach of human powers ["the Corn-laws."] He would not be tempted to enter into that question, which had been discussed over and over again, but no one could tell him that with perfect freedom of trade—he did not mean the 8s. duty of the noble Lord—there must not be a diminished capital applicable to the purchase of manufactures, by the loss of some 1,000,000l, sterling spent in buying food to make up for a bad harvest. He might be told that there would be a mitigation of the evil to the manufacturer by the free admission of foreign corn. He would not enter upon that topic, but this mitigation would not make up for the loss of wealth arising from the deficiency of com grown within the country. He 1080 told the noble Lord also that her Majesty's Government did look forward with more hope and with less despondency than the noble Lord seemed to wish to impress upon the minds of the country; they did look forward to and fairly anticipate a harvest much more abundant and much earlier than of late years. But the noble Lord said that many a seed had been sown which the summer's sun would not ripen to perfection. He told the noble Lord that many a political seed had been sown of which they had never reaped the fruits, and when the noble Lord talked of the distress and difficulties of our commerce, and told him to look round for fresh fields to be opened to us, he must say that he could look to none of the quarters of the universe to which the noble Lord had directed his attention, without finding that British commerce, that British enterprise, and that British skill were cramped and crippled by the unavoidable results of the policy adopted by the noble Lord. The noble Lord stated that the nations in Europe had become our manufacturers. He stated that political jealousies and the long duration of peace had led them to become manufacturing nations; and as this had been the effect of the long continuance of the peace of Europe, the noble Lord stated, and truly so, that we must look to immediate foreign nations as more and more our rivals, and look to more distant parts for markets for our produce. Now let him follow the noble Lord into those more distant parts, and let him show to the House the seeds which the noble Lord had sown, and the harvest which the present Government had to reap, and what cares and anxieties, whilst the noble Lord was enjoying his grouse shooting and partridge shooting, would engage the attention of those who had succeeded to the duties of office and the cares of State, and would prevent them from leading an idle, and he hoped not so unprofitable, a life as that of the noble Lord. The noble Lord said, "Look to North America! There the Corn-laws are a check to commerce." He (Lord Stanley) also said, look to North America, and let him ask whether there were no jealousies or differences' engendered by the noble Lord, and allowed to fester under his administration? ["No."] What! were there no differences between this country and the United States? [An hon. Member; How 1081 long had they lasted?] He believed that he had not interrupted the noble Lord in the course of the noble Lord's speech; and he hoped, therefore, he might proceed without such interruption. But did the noble Lord tell him that between this country and the United States, for the last several years, there had not been serious causes of difference and uneasiness, leading to anxiety, checking commerce, and diminishing intercourse between the two countries? Did the noble Lord tell him, that when he and his Colleagues succeeded to the administration of the Government there were not three or four questions unsettled, and which for a long time had been unsettled and open, and which at the period of the noble Lord's quitting office had placed this country and the United States upon a footing of most serious anxiety and uneasiness as to their result? And those causes, which, how-ever, he hoped were about to be removed, but if removed it would not be owing to the policy or wisdom of the noble Lord— those causes, he said, if they were removed, would be one of the great evils, one of the great mischiefs, which it had been left to the present Government to undo, and which they found in a most dangerous state as left by the noble Lord. Then the noble Lord told them to look to South America, to states on the other side of the Pacific and Atlantic; and what did they see there? Even there the hand of the noble Lord was seen. Blockades in this port; commercial difficulties in that state; political differences in another. In Mexico, Buenos-Ayres, and, in fact, in every state of South America, commerce had been checked by the policy of the noble Lord. The noble Lord then told them to look to the coast of Africa. He would merely ask the noble Lord whether he had ever heard of any differences at Portendic? The noble Lord had appealed to China as one of the triumphs of his policy. The country, he was sure, would look to China with no satisfaction, and with little pride; they would, on the contrary, regard it as a subject exciting much pain; they would believe it to be a war of doubtful character, and unnecessarily brought on—a war waged against an un-warlike people, who were slaughtered without glory and almost without resistance. It was a war, not only questionable in its character, but most uncertain as to its termination—a termination which no 1082 one could foresee, while all men most earnestly desired it. The noble Lord, after paralysing by his policy our trade with China, told the House that the only difficulty which we had to contend with in that part of the world was to find troops enough to garrison the places which we conquered; and after all the embarrassments and the expenses to which that war had given rise, the noble Lord came forward and referred to the Chinese war as one of our greatest triumphs, and, above all, as one of our greatest commercial triumphs. But there was one triumph greater still, which the noble Lord kept in reserve, and that was the happy condition of our commerce in the countries bordering upon the Indus. The world might be wide enough for the most unrestrained commerce; but yet was not wide enough for the universal meddling of the policy pursued by the noble Lord and his Colleagues. Having meddled in every quarter of the globe, the noble Lord left to his successors in office the task of repairing the embarrassed finances and reviving the drooping commerce of India—embarrassments and depressions which arose solely out of the noble Lord's policy. However he might differ from the noble Lord on the topics to which he had been adverting, there was one upon which they fully agreed—one in which they cordially joined, and that was in deprecating the motion of the hon. Member for Greenock. While the noble Lord stopped to pronounce an eulogium on the departed bills introduced by himself and his Colleagues, and while he told the House of all that those bills would have effected if the voice of Parliament and of the country had not pronounced their condemnation, the noble Lord was as ready as any hon. Member on the Ministerial side of the House to join in deprecating the motion of the hon. Member for Greenock. He concurred in deprecating that motion, for he thought that it could not be attended with any advantageous result. It could lead to nothing but embarrassment if the House of Commons were to engage in an inquiry embracing every possible topic and likely to lead to no possible good. The noble Lord directed the attention of the House, at considerable length, to the distresses of the country—distresses which every one acknowledged, but for which no one suggested a remedy. Hon. Members who took part in the debate adopted the prin- 1083 ciple pursued by the noble Lord; they talked of public distress—they complained of the Poor-law—they denounced the Corn-laws—they objected to the mode in which we met the difficulties arising out of the monetary system of the United States— they found fault with the war in India— they were equally loud in their complaints against the war in China—the increase of the population alarmed them to excess— and the new tariff received no small share of their condemnation. The hon. Member for Rochdale told the House that a subdivision of the country into four-acre farms would be the great panacea for all our distresses; and another hon. Member, with no less wisdom and equal earnestness, assured the House that reciprocity treaties and free-trade were all that England wanted to make her the most prosperous of nations. But then came an equally strenuous demand from another quarter for education—for emigration— for an alteration in the sugar duties, and in those relating to the importation of timber. Every one of these was held by some individual or another to have mainly led to the present embarrassments of the country, and it was therefore said, that it was absolutely necessary that a committee of the House of Commons should investigate the effects of these various causes, the relation which they bore to each other, and the results which their removal was calculated to produce. He had listened with the greatest attention to the speeches of the hon. Member for Inverness, and the right hon. Member for Coventry, and he found the greatest difficulty in seeing how they made out a case to show that the existing distresses in England arose solely out of the monetary embarrassments of the United States; but yet he was quite willing to admit, that to some extent the pecuniary difficulties by which America was affected must have the effect of depriving us of one of our best customers. The evil, however, did not arise from our refusing to take their commodities, but it arose from their inability to take ours. During the last three years our exports to the United States of America had sunk to one-half, while our imports had remained stationary, and now our imports greatly exceeded the value of our exports. He felt that he owed some apology to the House for having troubled them, at that hour of the night, even at the length at which he-had addressed them. He should 1084 not enter into the great variety of topics in which he had been invited to engage — they were too wide for examination before a committee, and too extensive for any investigation at the Bar of that House at any period of any Session; but he could not sit still and listen to the boasts of the noble Lord opposite without looking round at the difficulties which his policy and that of his Colleagues had created—a policy tending to check the commerce of Great Britain in every quarter of the world, to increase the natural and unavoidable difficulties by which she was at this moment surrounded, and to leave her without any hope of success, or without the prospect of any mitigation of her sufferings.
Mr. E. Ellice,
in explanation, stated, that it was clear that his noble Friend did not understand the purport of his observations. He had not imputed the distress that prevailed throughout the country solely to the state of the monetary sytem in the United States. So far from saying that, he did not consider that the Corn-laws had not operated strongly in the matter, he had distinctly stated that they had mainly contributed to produce the present state of distress.
§ Sir R. Peel
hoped, that under the pressure of public business, the hon. and learned Gentleman would not persist in his motion when he regarded the present state of public business.
§ Mr. Hawes
would tell the Government, and hon. Gentlemen opposite, that they (the Opposition) were determined that this debate should be adjourned. If Government had been so anxious to get on with the public business, why did they not take care to form a House on Monday night. He himself had wished to address the House; but although Member after Member had risen on the Opposition side—until the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton elicited that remarkable, he might almost say, the indiscreet speech of the noble Lord the Member for Lancashire, not a single speaker had risen on the other side that night, to speak on the question. It was not fair, therefore, to say that they (the Opposition) occasioned delay. Nor did such a complaint, under any circum- 1085 stances, come with a good grace from the other side of the House, when it was remembered that the former Government was met night after night by amendments on going into committee of supply: nay, to such an excess was this system of opposition carried against the Whig ministry, that it was found necessary to frame a new standing order to meet the inconvenience.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, he could assure the House, that no one could have been more surprised, or more disappointed, than the Members of her Majesty's Government were on Monday last, on learning that no House had been made. On that day he and most of the principal Members of the Government had been occupied till half-past four in the investigation of that—he knew of no proper word to describe it— that scandalous occurrence which had taken place on the preceding day. He should certninly take the sense of the House on the adjournment of this debate. Great public inconvenience was caused by the delay of a vote in committee of supply, and therefore he hoped that, if after a division hon. Gentlemen opposite should succeed in forcing an adjournment, that the adjournment would take place till to-morrow, and that this question would then be allowed to take precedence of every other business.
said, that the only vote of supply the Government wanted was for their own pay, and that he did not consider a matter of such importance that it ought to supersede the question of the distresses of the country.
§ The House divided on the question that the debate be adjourned:—Ayes 84; Noes 173: Majority 89.
|List of the AYES.|
|Aldam, W.||Duncombe, T.|
|Bannerman, A.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Easthope, Sir J.|
|Bernal, Capt.||Ellis, W.|
|Blake, M. J.||Elphinstone, H.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Evans, W.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Ewart, W.|
|Brotherton, J.||Fielden, J.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.||Forster, M.|
|Busfeild, W.||Gibson, T. M.|
|Callaghan, D.||Gill, T.|
|Cavendish, hn. G. H.||Gordon, Lord F.|
|Childers, J. W.||Gore, hon. R.|
|Christie, W. D.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Cobden, R.||Hastie, A.|
|Colborne, hn. W. N. R.||Hindley, C.|
|Collins, W.||Hollond, R.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Hume, J.|
|Duncan, G.||James, W.|
|Johnson, Gen.||Russell, Lord E.|
|Langton, W. G.||Scholefield, J.|
|Layard, Capt.||Scott, R.|
|Leader, J. T.||Stansfield, W. R. C|
|Marshall, W.||Strutt, E.|
|Marsland, H.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Martin, J.||Thornely, T.|
|Morris, D.||Townley, J.|
|Muntz, G. F.||Tufnell, H.|
|Murphy, F. S.||Turner, E.|
|Napier, Sir C.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Wakley, T.|
|O'Brien, J.||Walker, R.|
|O'Connell, D.||Wallace, R.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Ward, H. G.|
|O'Connell, J.||Watson, W. H.|
|O'Conor Don||Wawn, J. T.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Williams, W.|
|Parker, J.||Wood, B.|
|Pechell, Capt.||Wyse, T.|
|Philips, M.||Yorke, H. R.|
|Redington, T. N.||Hawes, B.|
|Ricardo, J. L.||Buller, C.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Dickinson, F. H.|
|Acland, T. D.||D'Israeli, B.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Douglas, Sir H.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Douglas, Sir C. E.|
|Antrobus, E||Douglas, J. D. S.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Duffield, T.|
|Arkwright, G.||East, J. B.|
|Bailey, J.||Eastnor, Visct.|
|Bailey, J., jun.||Egerton, W. T.|
|Baillie, Col.||Egerton, Sir P.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Eliot, Lord|
|Barneby, J.||Escott, B.|
|Beckett, W.||Estcourt, T. G. B.|
|Benett, J.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Beresford, Major||Fellowes, E.|
|Bernard, Visct.||Ferguson, Sir R. A..|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Feilden, W.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Ferrand, W. B.|
|Borthwick, P.||Fitzroy, Capt.|
|Botfield, B.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Fleming, J. W.|
|Buck, L. W.||Flower, Sir J.|
|Buckley, E.||Follett, Sir W. W.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Ffolliott, J.|
|Campbell, A.||Forbes, W.|
|Cardwell, E.||Forester, hon. G. C. W.|
|Chapman, A.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Chelsea, Visct.||Gaskell, J. Milnes|
|Chetwode, Sir J.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Clayton, R. R.||Gladstone, T.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Gordon, hon. Capt.|
|Cochrane, A.||Gore, M.|
|Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G.||Gore, W. O.|
|Colvile, C.R.||Goring, C.|
|Compton, H. C.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Cripps, W.||Granby, Marq. of|
|Darby, G.||Greenall, P.|
|Dawnay, hon. W.||Greene, T.|
|Denison, E. B.||Grimsditch, T.|
|Grimston, Visct.||Mundy, E. M.|
|Grogan, E.||Newport, Visct.|
|Halford, H.||Norreys, Lord|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Packe, C. W.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Harcourt, G. G.||Palmer, R.|
|Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.||Patten, J. W.|
|Heathcote, G. J.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Henley, J. W.||Praed, W. T.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Pringle, A.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Hinde, J. H.||Reid, Sir J. R.|
|Hodgson, R.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Houldsworth, T.||Richards, R.|
|Hope, hon. C.||Rolleston, Col.|
|Hornby, J.||Round, C. G.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Hussey, T.||Sanderson, R.|
|Jackson, J.D.||Scarlett, hon. R. C.|
|James, Sir W. C.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Seymour, Sir H. B.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. II.||Sheppard, T.|
|Jones, Capt.||Smith, A.|
|Knight, H. G.||Smyth, Sir H.|
|Lawson, A.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Lefroy, A.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Legh, G. C.||Stanley, Lord|
|Leicester, Earl of||Stewart, J.|
|Liddell, hon. H. T.||Stuart, H.|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Taylor, T. E.|
|Litton, E.||Taylor, J. A.|
|Lockhart, W.||Thesiger, F.|
|Lowther, J. H.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Lyall, G.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Lygon, hon. Gen.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Maclean, D.||Vane, Lord H.|
|M'Geachy, F. A.||Verner, Col.|
|Mainwaring, T.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Manners, Lord C. S.||Wilbraham, hon. R. B.|
|March, Earl of||Williams, T. P.|
|Marsham, Visct.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Masterman, J.||Wood, Col. T.|
|Meynell, Capt.||Young, J.|
|Miles, P. W. S.||TELLERS.|
|Morgan, O.||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Morgan, C.||Baring, H.|
§ On the original question being again put,
§ Mr. Hume moved that the House do now adjourn.
§ Sir R. Peel
observed, that it was manifest the real sense of the House was marked against the adjournment; but he did not mean on such an occasion to engage in an unprofitable contest. Hetrusted, however, that the hon. Gentleman would consent to his motion being negatived without a division.
§ Motion negatived.
§ Debate adjourned to the following day.