HC Deb 09 February 1843 vol 66 cc305-7
Mr. Ferrand

gave notice that when the hon. Member for Wolverhampton brought forward his motion for the repeal of the Corn-laws, he would move the following amendment:— That this House is of opinion that the total repeal of the Corn-laws, instead of diminishing the present depression of trade, and the dreadful sufferings of the working classes, would tend greatly to increase the shock lately given to all those whose modes of thinking, feeling, and business have been regulated by living under a wise and benignant constitution, which has till lately, recognised the rights of property, the protection of industry, and the just and equitable requital of labour; under which great and extensive interests have grown up both in the agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing property of the country; and that the preposterous conception of the present depression in trade being caused by the Corn-laws cannot have a place anywhere, except possibly in the minds of a few among our own countrymen, hard pressed by the recent complications of commercial disaster, and predisposed accordingly to the most doleful imaginations, or of discarded ministers and greedy expectants of office. That a gambling principle has of late years entered into trade, which has been exhibited by the failure, to the amount of 800,000l., of the Manchester Joint-stock Bank, known by the name of 'The Bank of Squander;' aided by the wholesale immigra tion' of labourers from the southern counties into the manufacturing districts, through the agency and at the express request of some of the Lancashire millowners, as is shown in their correspondence with the Poor-law Commissioners, wherein they undertook to absorb the surplus population of the south; and that this gambling system has widely extended the sharp and rapidly increasing sufferings of all classes in the manufacturing districts, enlarged by the breadth of the changes effected in our agricultural and commercial system under the new tariff. That the system lately introduced by many of the manufacturers in this country, of never recognising the principle that trade can only be healthy and prosperous when the supply keeps pace with the demand, has had a fatally paralysing influence upon all descriptions of trade, whilst the introduction of the power-loom, and the combing-machine have crippled to an astounding degree the industry of the manufacturing operatives, placed their labour at the mercy of their masters, and inflicted the most horrible sufferings on our high-hearted labouring population, by forcing that competition among them for employment, which is already keen and restless, altogether ruinous and destructive. That the sudden and splendid opulence lately acquired by many of the manufacturers of this country has been obtained by denying to labour its just requital, by grinding down the operatives into the dust for the purpose of ' equalizing wages,' by the swindling truck system, and by destroying manual labour with the introduction of steam machinery, which has rendered reckless so many labourers, that heretofore had never quailed under misfortunes, nor ceased for a moment to place their trusts, so far as regarded human means, in their own dauntless spirit, their skilful fingers, and their indefatigable arms. That the period, foretold by the late Sir Robert Peel has at length arrived, when the indiscriminate and unlimited employment of the poor has been, and is attended with effects so serious and alarming, that they cannot be contemplated without dismay; that the machinery of our manufactures has been brought to such perfection, that instead of being a blessing to the nation, it had been converted into the bitterest curse; and that as Parliament is omnipotent to protect, so is it bound under the most sacred obligations to deliver the poor out of the hands of their oppressors.

Sir R. Inglis

said, that, before the notice was entered on the books, he begged to call the hon. Member's attention to one expression contained in it, and which he believed the hon. Member, if he reconsidered it, would not allow to remain. He alluded to the description of the Manchester Commercial Bank as the "Bank of Squander." He submitted to the hon. Member that it would be inexpedient to place upon the records of the House words like that, affecting the character of a public body.

Mr. Ferrand

did not know whether he should be in order if he were to offer a few words in explanation. The description of the bank, to which the hon. Member objected, was applied to it by Mr. Greg, of Manchester, who was one of the proprietors.

Mr. Roebuck

asked whether it were in accordance with the rules of the House that, under the guise of putting a notice on the books, an hon. Member should print a political pamphlet.

The Speaker:

That certainly would not be in accordance with the rules of the House. He had not collected the whole of the hon. Member's notice, but from what he had heard, it appeared to him that it was not the sort of notice which was sanctioned by the rules of the House, and he thought the hon. Member would act wisely if he withdrew it for the purpose of reconsidering it. Notice withdrawn.

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